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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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WE dasn’t stop again at any town for days and days; kept right along down the river. We was down south in the warm weather now, and a mighty long ways from home. We begun to come to trees with Spanish moss on them, hanging down from the limbs like long, gray beards. It was the first I ever see it growing, and it made the woods look solemn and dismal. So now the frauds reckoned they was out of danger, and they begun to work the villages again. We didn’t stop at any town for several days—we just kept floating down the river. We were getting further south now and the weather was warming. We were a pretty long way from home. We started to come across trees with Spanish moss hanging down from the limbs like long, gray beards. It was the first time I’d ever seen it growing, and it made the woods look solemn and dismal. The frauds figured that they were out of danger now, and they began to scam the people in the local villages again.
First they done a lecture on temperance; but they didn’t make enough for them both to get drunk on. Then in another village they started a dancing-school; but they didn’t know no more how to dance than a kangaroo does; so the first prance they made the general public jumped in and pranced them out of town. Another time they tried to go at yellocution; but they didn’t yellocute long till the audience got up and give them a solid good cussing, and made them skip out. They tackled missionarying, and mesmerizing, and doctoring, and telling fortunes, and a little of everything; but they couldn’t seem to have no luck. So at last they got just about dead broke, and laid around the raft as she floated along, thinking and thinking, and never saying nothing, by the half a day at a time, and dreadful blue and desperate. First, they put on a lecture on temperance, but they didn’t even make enough money for both of them to get drunk on. In another village they started a dancing school. But they didn’t know to dance any better than a kangaroo, so the first time they pranced around for the general public, the people stepped in and praned THEM out of town. Another time they tried to make a business of

yellocution

Huck means elocution, or public speaking

yellocution
, but they didn’t yellocute long before the audience got up and started swearing at them and ran them off. They tried their hands at being missionaries, hypnotists, doctors, and fortunetellers, and a little bit of everything else, but they didn’t have much luck. They were just about dead broke, so they laid everything they owned out on the raft as we were floating along. They would think and think, without saying a word for half days at a time, looking very blue and desperate.
And at last they took a change and begun to lay their heads together in the wigwam and talk low and confidential two or three hours at a time. Jim and me got uneasy. We didn’t like the look of it. We judged they was studying up some kind of worse deviltry than ever. We turned it over and over, and at last we made up our minds they was going to break into somebody’s house or store, or was going into the counterfeit-money business, or something. So then we was pretty scared, and made up an agreement that we wouldn’t have nothing in the world to do with such actions, and if we ever got the least show we would give them the cold shake and clear out and leave them behind. Well, early one morning we hid the raft in a good, safe place about two mile below a little bit of a shabby village named Pikesville, and the king he went ashore and told us all to stay hid whilst he went up to town and smelt around to see if anybody had got any wind of the Royal Nonesuch there yet. ("House to rob, you MEAN,” says I to myself; “and when you get through robbing it you’ll come back here and wonder what has become of me and Jim and the raft—and you’ll have to take it out in wondering.”) And he said if he warn’t back by midday the duke and me would know it was all right, and we was to come along. They finally stopped moping and put their heads together. They would in the wigwam and talk confidentially with their voices low for two or three hours at a time. We figured they were coming up with some kind of terrible plan that was even worse than the previous ones. We thought and thought about it ourselves, and finally made up our minds that they were planning on breaking into someone’s house or store or counterfeiting money or something. That made us pretty scared, and we agreed that we wouldn’t have anything in the world to do with whatever they were planning. And if we ever got mixed up in their plans, we would shake free of them and leave them to fend for themselves. Well, early one morning we hid the raft in a good, safe hiding place about two miles below a shabby little village called Pikesville. The king went ashore and told us to stay hidden while he went into the town and sniffed around to see if anyone had gotten wind of the Royal Nonesuch scam. (You mean, look for a house to rob, I said to myself. And when you get through robbing it, you’ll come back here and wonder where Jim and I went with the raft—and you’ll just have to spend the rest of your life wondering.) He said that if he wasn’t back by noon, the duke and I would know it was okay and could follow him into town.
So we stayed where we was. The duke he fretted and sweated around, and was in a mighty sour way. He scolded us for everything, and we couldn’t seem to do nothing right; he found fault with every little thing. Something was a-brewing, sure. I was good and glad when midday come and no king; we could have a change, anyway—and maybe a chance for THE chance on top of it. So me and the duke went up to the village, and hunted around there for the king, and by and by we found him in the back room of a little low doggery, very tight, and a lot of loafers bullyragging him for sport, and he a-cussing and a-threatening with all his might, and so tight he couldn’t walk, and couldn’t do nothing to them. The duke he begun to abuse him for an old fool, and the king begun to sass back, and the minute they was fairly at it I lit out and shook the reefs out of my hind legs, and spun down the river road like a deer, for I see our chance; and I made up my mind that it would be a long day before they ever see me and Jim again. I got down there all out of breath but loaded up with joy, and sung out: So we stayed where we were. The duke fretted and worried and acted sour. He scolded us for everything, and it seemed like we couldn’t do anything right—he found fault with every little thing. Something was definitely up. I was really glad when noon came and the king still wasn’t back, because it meant that there’d at least be a change in things, and maybe a chance to ditch these guys if we were lucky. So the duke and I went into the village and searched around for the king. Pretty soon we found him in the back room of a rundown saloon. He was drunk and there was a group of loafers teasing him. He cussed and threatened them with all his might, but he was so drunk that he couldn’t have done anything to them anyway. The duke began to yell at him and called him an old fool. The king started to yell back at him. The next minute they were at each other, so I ran back down to the raft as fast as my legs would take me. This was our chance, and I was determined that it would be a long time before they ever saw Jim and me again. I was all out of breath but very happy when I reached the raft. I cried out:
“Set her loose, Jim! we’re all right now!” “Let’s get going, Jim! We’re all clear now!”

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