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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Well, by the end of three weeks everything was in pretty good shape. The shirt was sent in early, in a pie, and every time a rat bit Jim he would get up and write a little in his journal whilst the ink was fresh; the pens was made, the inscriptions and so on was all carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was sawed in two, and we had et up the sawdust, and it give us a most amazing stomach-ache. We reckoned we was all going to die, but didn’t. It was the most undigestible sawdust I ever see; and Tom said the same. But as I was saying, we’d got all the work done now, at last; and we was all pretty much fagged out, too, but mainly Jim. The old man had wrote a couple of times to the plantation below Orleans to come and get their runaway nigger, but hadn’t got no answer, because there warn’t no such plantation; so he allowed he would advertise Jim in the St. Louis and New Orleans papers; and when he mentioned the St. Louis ones it give me the cold shivers, and I see we hadn’t no time to lose. So Tom said, now for the nonnamous letters. Everything was in order by the end of three weeks. We sent the shirt in early to Jim in a pie, and every time a rat bit him he would get up and write a little in his journal while his ink was still fresh and dripping from his body. The pens were made and the inscriptions were carved on the grindstone. We sawed the bed leg in two, and we ate the sawdust, which gave us an awful stomachache. We thought we were all going to die, but we didn’t. It was the most undigestible sawdust I’d ever seen, and Tom said the same thing. But as I was saying, we finally got all the work done, though we were exhausted, especially Jim. The old man had written a couple times to the plantation below New Olreans, asking them to come and get their runaway n-----. He hadn’t received a reply, since the plantation didn’t exist. He figured he would place an advertisement in the St. Louis and New Orleans newspapers. When he mentioned the St. Louis newspapers to me, I got the cold shivers. I saw that there wasn’t any time to lose, so Tom said that it was now time for the anonymous letters.
“What’s them?” I says. “What’re those?” I asked.
“Warnings to the people that something is up. Sometimes it’s done one way, sometimes another. But there’s always somebody spying around that gives notice to the governor of the castle. When Louis XVI. was going to light out of the Tooleries a servant-girl done it. It’s a very good way, and so is the nonnamous letters. We’ll use them both. And it’s usual for the prisoner’s mother to change clothes with him, and she stays in, and he slides out in her clothes. We’ll do that, too.” “They’re warnings to the people that something’s up. There are different ways to do it, but there’s always someone spying around that gives notice to the governor of the castle. A servant girl gave the warning when Louis XVI was going to escape from the

Tooleries

Tom means the Tuileries Palace, where the French king Louis XVI was held captive during the French Revolution

Tooleries
. It’s a good method, and so are the anonymous letters. We’ll use them both. And it’s standard for the prisoner’s mother to change clothes with him. She remains locked up, and he escapes wearing her clothes. We’ll do that too.”
“But looky here, Tom, what do we want to WARN anybody for that something’s up? Let them find it out for themselves—it’s their lookout.” “But look, Tom—why do we want to WARN anyone that something is up? Let them find out on their own—it’s their job to be on the lookout.”
“Yes, I know; but you can’t depend on them. It’s the way they’ve acted from the very start—left us to do EVERYTHING. They’re so confiding and mullet-headed they don’t take notice of nothing at all. So if we don’t GIVE them notice there won’t be nobody nor nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our hard work and trouble this escape ’ll go off perfectly flat; won’t amount to nothing—won’t be nothing TO it.” “Yeah, I know, but you can’t depend on them. They’ve left us to do EVERYTHING for them from the beginning. They’re so trusting and idiotic that they haven’t noticed anything at all. If we don’t TELL them that something’s going on, then no one will interfer with us. After all our hard work and trouble, this escape will happen without a hitch and won’t mean anything at all. There won’t be anything TO it.”
“Well, as for me, Tom, that’s the way I’d like.” “Well, as for me, Tom, that’s the way I like it.”
“Shucks!” he says, and looked disgusted. So I says: “Shoot!” he said, looking disgusted. So I said:
“But I ain’t going to make no complaint. Any way that suits you suits me. What you going to do about the servant-girl?” “But I’m not going to complain. Whatever you want to do is fine by me. What are you going to do about the servant girl?”
“You’ll be her. You slide in, in the middle of the night, and hook that yaller girl’s frock.” “You can be the servant girl. You sneak in in the middle of the night and steal that

yellow

ie, a light-skinned black complexion

yellow
girl’s frock.”
“Why, Tom, that ’ll make trouble next morning; because, of course, she prob’bly hain’t got any but that one.” “Tom, that’s just going to bring trouble in the morning, because she probably only has that one frock.”
“I know; but you don’t want it but fifteen minutes, to carry the nonnamous letter and shove it under the front door.” “I know, but you’ll only need it for about fifteen minutes to carry the anonymous letter in and shove it under the front door.”
“All right, then, I’ll do it; but I could carry it just as handy in my own togs.” “All right, then, I’ll do it. But I could carry it just as easily in my own clothes.”
“You wouldn’t look like a servant-girl THEN, would you?” “Well, you wouldn’t look like a servant-girl THEN, would you?”
“No, but there won’t be nobody to see what I look like, ANYWAY.” “No, but there won’t be anyone around to see what I look like ANYWAY.”
“That ain’t got nothing to do with it. The thing for us to do is just to do our DUTY, and not worry about whether anybody SEES us do it or not. Hain’t you got no principle at all?” “That doesn’t have anything to do with it. We’ve got to do our DUTY and not worry about whether anyone SEES us or not. Haven’t you got any principles at all?”
“All right, I ain’t saying nothing; I’m the servant-girl. Who’s Jim’s mother?” “All right, I’m not going to argue. I’m the servant girl. Who’s Jim’s mother?”
“I’m his mother. I’ll hook a gown from Aunt Sally.” “I’m his mother. I’ll steal a gown from Aunt Sally.”
“Well, then, you’ll have to stay in the cabin when me and Jim leaves.” “Well, then, you’ll have to stay in the cabin when Jim and I leave.”
“Not much. I’ll stuff Jim’s clothes full of straw and lay it on his bed to represent his mother in disguise, and Jim ’ll take the nigger woman’s gown off of me and wear it, and we’ll all evade together. When a prisoner of style escapes it’s called an evasion. It’s always called so when a king escapes, f’rinstance. And the same with a king’s son; it don’t make no difference whether he’s a natural one or an unnatural one.” “Not really. I’ll stuff Jim’s clothes full of straw and lay it on his bed to make it look like it’s his mother in disguise. And Jim will take the n----- woman’s gown off of me and wear it, and we’ll all evade together. When a prisoner of substance escapes it’s called evasion, you know. It’s always called that when a king escapes, for example. Same goes for when a king’s son tries to escape—it doesn’t make any difference whether he’s a natural son or an unnatural one.”

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