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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me by both hands and shook and shook; and the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and she couldn’t seem to hug and shake enough, and kept saying, “You don’t look as much like your mother as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don’t care for that, I’m so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it does seem like I could eat you up! Children, it’s your cousin Tom!—tell him howdy.” She grabbed me and hugged me tightly, then grabbed me by both hands and shook and shook. Tears came to her eyes and ran down onto her cheeks. She couldn’t get enough of hugging and shaking me, and she kept saying, “You don’t look as much like your mother as I thought you would, but for land’s sake, I don’t care about that. I’m so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it seems like I could just eat you up. Children, it’s your cousin Tom! Tell him hi!”
But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in their mouths, and hid behind her. So she run on: But they just ducked their heads and put their fingers in their mouths and hid behind her. She continued:
“Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right away—or did you get your breakfast on the boat?” “Lize, hurry up and make him a hot breakfast right away—or did you already eat breakfast on the boat?”
I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started for the house, leading me by the hand, and the children tagging after. When we got there she set me down in a split-bottomed chair, and set herself down on a little low stool in front of me, holding both of my hands, and says: I said I’d eaten on the boat. So she started heading back toward the house, leading me by the hand with the children running after. When we got there she sat me down in a split bottomed chair, sat herself down on a low stool in front of me, held both of my hands, and said:
“Now I can have a GOOD look at you; and, laws-a-me, I’ve been hungry for it a many and a many a time, all these long years, and it’s come at last! We been expecting you a couple of days and more. What kep’ you?—boat get aground?” “Now I can have a GOOD look at you. My Lord, I’ve been eager to see you plenty of times all these long years, and the day has finally come! We’ve been expecting you for at least a couple of days. What kept you? Did your boat run aground?”
“Yes’m—she—” “Yes, ma’am, it….”
“Don’t say yes’m—say Aunt Sally. Where’d she get aground?” “Don’t say yes ma’am—say Aunt Sally. Where did it run aground?”
I didn’t rightly know what to say, because I didn’t know whether the boat would be coming up the river or down. But I go a good deal on instinct; and my instinct said she would be coming up—from down towards Orleans. That didn’t help me much, though; for I didn’t know the names of bars down that way. I see I’d got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one we got aground on—or—Now I struck an idea, and fetched it out: I didn’t know what to say, since I didn’t know whether the boat would have been coming up the river or down. But I have good instincts, and my instincts said that the boat I was supposed to have been on would come up the river, from the direction of New Orleans. That didn’t help me much, though, because I didn’t know the names of the sandbars down that way. I would have to invent a sandbar or pretend to forget the name of the one we’d run aground on. Then I had an idea, and I used it:
“It warn’t the grounding—that didn’t keep us back but a little. We blowed out a cylinder-head.” “Well, running aground wasn’t the real problem—that only held us up a little. We also blew out a

cylinder head

mechanical component of a steam engine

cylinder head
.”
“Good gracious! anybody hurt?” “Good gracious! Was anyone hurt?”
“No’m. Killed a nigger.” “No, ma’am. It just killed a n-----.”
“Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. Two years ago last Christmas your uncle Silas was coming up from Newrleans on the old Lally Rook, and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man. And I think he died afterwards. He was a Baptist. Your uncle Silas knowed a family in Baton Rouge that knowed his people very well. Yes, I remember now, he DID die. Mortification set in, and they had to amputate him. But it didn’t save him. Yes, it was mortification—that was it. He turned blue all over, and died in the hope of a glorious resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. Your uncle’s been up to the town every day to fetch you. And he’s gone again, not more’n an hour ago; he’ll be back any minute now. You must a met him on the road, didn’t you?—oldish man, with a—” “Well, that’s lucky, because sometimes people get hurt. Two years ago last Christmas your uncle Silas was coming up from New Olreans on the old steamboat Lady Rook, and it blew out a cylinder head and crippled a man. I think he died afterward. He was a Baptist. Your uncle Silas knew a family in Baton Rouge that knew his family very well. Yes, I remember it now—he DID die. Gangrene set in and they had to amputate, but it didn’t save him. Yes, it was gangrene, that’s what it was. He turned blue all over and died with the hope that he’d be gloriously resurrected. They say he was an awful sight to see. Your uncle has been going in to town every day to pick you up. He’s actually gone right now. He left not more than an hour ago, so he should be back any minute now. You must have met him on the road, didn’t you? An older man, with a….”
“No, I didn’t see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat landed just at daylight, and I left my baggage on the wharf-boat and went looking around the town and out a piece in the country, to put in the time and not get here too soon; and so I come down the back way.” “No, I didn’t see anybody, Aunt Sally. The boat landed at dawn. I left my baggage on the boat at the wharf and killed some time by looking around the town and the nearby countryside a bit. I didn’t want to get here too early. So when I came here, I came the back way.”
“Who’d you give the baggage to?” “Who did you give your baggage to?”
“Nobody.” “No one.”
“Why, child, it ’ll be stole!” “But, child, it’ll get stolen!”
“Not where I hid it I reckon it won’t,” I says. “Not where I’ve hidden it, it won’t,” I said.
“How’d you get your breakfast so early on the boat?” “Well, how did you eat breakfast on the boat if you arrived so early?”
It was kinder thin ice, but I says: I saw that I was treading on thin ice, so I said:
“The captain see me standing around, and told me I better have something to eat before I went ashore; so he took me in the texas to the officers’ lunch, and give me all I wanted.” “The captain saw me standing around and told me I better have something to eat before I went ashore. So he took me inside to the officers’ mess hall and gave me all I wanted.”
I was getting so uneasy I couldn’t listen good. I had my mind on the children all the time; I wanted to get them out to one side and pump them a little, and find out who I was. But I couldn’t get no show, Mrs. Phelps kept it up and run on so. Pretty soon she made the cold chills streak all down my back, because she says: I was getting so nervous that I had stopped paying close attention. My mind was on the children the whole time, because I wanted to pull them aside and pump them for information to find out who I was supposed to be. But I never had the opportunity because Mrs. Phelps kept going on and on. Pretty soon she gave me cold chills down my spine when she said:

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