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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Don’t you believe it. We’ll fetch you a little one and you plant it in the corner over there, and raise it. And don’t call it mullen, call it Pitchiola—that’s its right name when it’s in a prison. And you want to water it with your tears.” “It sure would be. We’ll bring you a little one and you can plant it in the corner over there and raise it. And don’t call it mullein—it’s called Pitchiola. That’s the right name for it when it’s in a prison. And you’ll want to water it with your tears.”
“Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom.” “But I’ve got plenty of spring water, Master Tom.”
“You don’t WANT spring water; you want to water it with your tears. It’s the way they always do.” “You don’t WANT to water it with spring water—you need to water it with your tears. That’s how they always do it.”
“Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem mullen-stalks twyste wid spring water whiles another man’s a START’N one wid tears.” “But Master Tom, I reckon I can grow two of those mullein stalks with spring water in the time it takes to start growing one with tears.”
“That ain’t the idea. You GOT to do it with tears.” “That isn’t the point, though. You’ve GOT to do it with your tears.”
“She’ll die on my han’s, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I doan’ skasely ever cry.” “It’ll die if I do that, Master Tom, it surely will. I hardly ever cry.”
So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said Jim would have to worry along the best he could with an onion. He promised he would go to the nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim’s coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would “jis’ ’s soon have tobacker in his coffee;” and found so much fault with it, and with the work and bother of raising the mullen, and jews-harping the rats, and petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on top of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and worry and responsibility to be a prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom most lost all patience with him; and said he was just loadened down with more gaudier chances than a prisoner ever had in the world to make a name for himself, and yet he didn’t know enough to appreciate them, and they was just about wasted on him. So Jim he was sorry, and said he wouldn’t behave so no more, and then me and Tom shoved for bed. That stumped Tom. He thought it over awhile, and then said Jim would just have to try the best he could to work up some tears using an onion. He promised he would go over the n----- cabins and put one, secretly, into Jim’s coffee pot in the morning. Jim said he would “prefer to have tobacco in his coffee.” Jim didn’t like any of it and criticized it all—the work he’d have to do raising the mullein, playing the Jew’s harp, the rats, petting and flattering the snakes and spiders and stuff AND having to make the pens and write the inscriptions and journals and stuff. All of this stuff made being a prisoner more trouble than anything else he’d ever done. Tom lost all his patience with him, and said Jim had more opportunities to make a name for himself than any other prisoner ever, and yet he was too ignorant to appreciate it. He said these opportunities were all wasted on him. So Jim said he was sorry and that he wouldn’t behave like that any more. Then Tom and I headed off to bed.

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