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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Mf! It’s a VERY tough question, AIN’T it! YES, sir, I k’n tell you what’s tattooed on his breast. It’s jest a small, thin, blue arrow—that’s what it is; and if you don’t look clost, you can’t see it. NOW what do you say—hey?” “Hmph! That’s a VERY tough question, isn’t it? Yes, sir, I can tell you what’s tattoed on his chest. It’s just a small thin blue arrow, that’s what it is. And if you don’t look closely, you can’t see it. NOW what do you have to say, hm?”
Well, I never see anything like that old blister for clean out-and-out cheek. Well, I never saw a man with so much nerve.
The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab Turner and his pard, and his eye lights up like he judged he’d got the king THIS time, and says: The new old gentleman’s eyes lit up as if he’d figured he’d finally trapped the king. He turned briskly toward Ab Turner and his partner and said:
“There—you’ve heard what he said! Was there any such mark on Peter Wilks’ breast?” “There now! You heard what he said! Was there a tattoo like that on Peter Wilks’s chest?”
Both of them spoke up and says: Both of them spoke up and said:
“We didn’t see no such mark.” “We didn’t see a mark like that.”
“Good!” says the old gentleman. “Now, what you DID see on his breast was a small dim P, and a B (which is an initial he dropped when he was young), and a W, with dashes between them, so: P—B—W"—and he marked them that way on a piece of paper. “Come, ain’t that what you saw?” “Good!” said the old gentleman. “Now, what you DID see on his chest was a small, faded letters P, B (an initial he stopped using when he was young), and W, all with dashes between them. That was the way he wrote them on paper. Come now, isn’t that what you saw?”
Both of them spoke up again, and says: Both of them spoke up again:
“No, we DIDN’T. We never seen any marks at all.” “No, we didn’t. We didn’t see any marks at all.”
Well, everybody WAS in a state of mind now, and they sings out: Well, that got everyone talking, and people called out:
“The whole BILIN’ of ’m ’s frauds! Le’s duck ’em! le’s drown ’em! le’s ride ’em on a rail!” and everybody was whooping at once, and there was a rattling powwow. But the lawyer he jumps on the table and yells, and says: “They’re all frauds! Let’s get them! Let’s drown them! Let’s ride them on a rail!” Everybody was whooping and making noice at the same time. It was like a noisy Indian powwow. But the lawyer jumped up on the table and yelled:
“Gentlemen—gentleMEN! Hear me just a word—just a SINGLE word—if you PLEASE! There’s one way yet—let’s go and dig up the corpse and look.” “Gentlemen… GentleMEN! Hear me out just a second—just a second—if you PLEASE! There’s one way we can figure this out. Let’s go and dig up the corpse and look.”
That took them. That got everyone’s attention.
“Hooray!” they all shouted, and was starting right off; but the lawyer and the doctor sung out: “Hooray!” everyone shouted, and people started heading out immediately. But the lawyer and doctor called to everyone:
“Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and the boy, and fetch THEM along, too!” “Hold on, hold on! Grab these four men and the boy, and bring them along too!”
“We’ll do it!” they all shouted; “and if we don’t find them marks we’ll lynch the whole gang!” “We’ll do it!” they all shouted. “And if we don’t find those marks, we’ll hang the whole bunch!”
I WAS scared, now, I tell you. But there warn’t no getting away, you know. They gripped us all, and marched us right along, straight for the graveyard, which was a mile and a half down the river, and the whole town at our heels, for we made noise enough, and it was only nine in the evening. Well I WAS pretty scared now, let me tell you. But there wasn’t any way to escape. They grabbed all of us and marched us straight to the graveyard, which was a mile and a half down the river. The whole town was on our heels, since we made so much noise and it was only nine o’clock in the evening.
As we went by our house I wished I hadn’t sent Mary Jane out of town; because now if I could tip her the wink she’d light out and save me, and blow on our dead-beats. As I passed our house, I wished I hadn’t sent Mary Jane out of town. If she was here, I could have winked at her, and she would have come to save me by telling on these deadbeats.
Well, we swarmed along down the river road, just carrying on like wildcats; and to make it more scary the sky was darking up, and the lightning beginning to wink and flitter, and the wind to shiver amongst the leaves. This was the most awful trouble and most dangersome I ever was in; and I was kinder stunned; everything was going so different from what I had allowed for; stead of being fixed so I could take my own time if I wanted to, and see all the fun, and have Mary Jane at my back to save me and set me free when the close-fit come, here was nothing in the world betwixt me and sudden death but just them tattoo-marks. If they didn’t find them— We went down along the river road in a swarm, carrying on like wild animals. The fact that it was getting darker and the wind was blowing and lightning starting to strike made it even scarier. This was the most trouble and most danger I’d ever been in, and I was kind of stunned. Everything was unfolding differently than the way I’d planned. Instead of being able to do things at my own pace and having fun watching the king and duke get in trouble and having Mary Jane save me and set me free when things got tight, there was nothing between me and sudden death except those tattoo marks. If they didn’t find them….
I couldn’t bear to think about it; and yet, somehow, I couldn’t think about nothing else. It got darker and darker, and it was a beautiful time to give the crowd the slip; but that big husky had me by the wrist—Hines—and a body might as well try to give Goliar the slip. He dragged me right along, he was so excited, and I had to run to keep up. I couldn’t bear to think about it. And yet, somehow I couldn’t think about anything else. It got darker and darker, and it was the perfect time of night to give everyone the slip, but the big husky guy—Hines—had me by the wrist. I might as well have tried to give Goliath the slip. He was so excited that he dragged me along, and I had to run to keep up with him.
When they got there they swarmed into the graveyard and washed over it like an overflow. And when they got to the grave they found they had about a hundred times as many shovels as they wanted, but nobody hadn’t thought to fetch a lantern. But they sailed into digging anyway by the flicker of the lightning, and sent a man to the nearest house, a half a mile off, to borrow one. The crowd washed into the graveyard like a tidal wave. When they got to the grave, they found that they had about a hundred times more shovels than they needed, but that no one had thought to bring a lantern. One man was sent to the nearest house to borrow a lantern. In the meantime, they jumped right in and started digging anyway, using the light from the flashes of lightning to see by.
So they dug and dug like everything; and it got awful dark, and the rain started, and the wind swished and swushed along, and the lightning come brisker and brisker, and the thunder boomed; but them people never took no notice of it, they was so full of this business; and one minute you could see everything and every face in that big crowd, and the shovelfuls of dirt sailing up out of the grave, and the next second the dark wiped it all out, and you couldn’t see nothing at all. They dug and dug like there was no tomorrow. It got awfully dark, and then it started raining. The wind swished and swooshed all over the place. The lightening became more frequent, and the thunder boomed. But those people were so focused that they didn’t pay any attention to it. One second, you could see everything and every face in the big crowd and the shovelfuls of dirt flying out of the grave, and the next second darkness wiped it all out, and you couldn’t see anything at all.

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