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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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THE doctor was an old man; a very nice, kind-looking old man when I got him up. I told him me and my brother was over on Spanish Island hunting yesterday afternoon, and camped on a piece of a raft we found, and about midnight he must a kicked his gun in his dreams, for it went off and shot him in the leg, and we wanted him to go over there and fix it and not say nothing about it, nor let anybody know, because we wanted to come home this evening and surprise the folks. The doctor was a nice, kind-looking old man. I told him that my brother and I had been over on Spanish Island hunting yesterday afternoon and had camped on a piece of raft that we’d found. I said that around midnight he must have kicked his gun while he was dreaming, because it went off and shot him in the leg. We wanted him to go over there and fix it and not say anything about it or let anyone know, because we wanted to be able to go home this evening and surprise the folks.
“Who is your folks?” he says. “Who’re your folks?” he asked.
“The Phelpses, down yonder.” “The Phelpses, down that way.”
“Oh,” he says. And after a minute, he says: “Oh,” he said. After another minute he said:
“How’d you say he got shot?” “How’d you say he got shot?”
“He had a dream,” I says, “and it shot him.” “He had a dream,” I said. “And the gun shot him.”
“Singular dream,” he says. “Pretty unusual dream,” he said.
So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, and we started. But when he sees the canoe he didn’t like the look of her—said she was big enough for one, but didn’t look pretty safe for two. I says: So he lit his lantern and got his saddlebags, and we headed out. But when he saw the canoe, he didn’t like the look of things. He said it was big enough for one person, but didn’t look safe enough for two. I said:
“Oh, you needn’t be afeard, sir, she carried the three of us easy enough.” “Oh, don’t worry, sir. It’s carried three of us easily before.”
“What three?” “Three? What three?”
“Why, me and Sid, and—and—and THE GUNS; that’s what I mean.” “Why, myself, Sid, and… and… and the GUNS. That’s what I meant.”
“Oh,” he says. “Oh,” he said.
But he put his foot on the gunnel and rocked her, and shook his head, and said he reckoned he’d look around for a bigger one. But they was all locked and chained; so he took my canoe, and said for me to wait till he come back, or I could hunt around further, or maybe I better go down home and get them ready for the surprise if I wanted to. But I said I didn’t; so I told him just how to find the raft, and then he started. He put his foot on the

gunnel

the rim on the side of a boat

gunnel
and rocked the canoe a bit and shook his head. He said he thought we’d better look for a bigger one, but the other canoes were all chained up. So he took my canoe, and told me to wait until he came back. He said I could hunt around a bit more or maybe go home and get everything ready for the surprise, if I wanted. But I said I didn’t want to and just told him how to find the raft. Then he set off.
I struck an idea pretty soon. I says to myself, spos’n he can’t fix that leg just in three shakes of a sheep’s tail, as the saying is? spos’n it takes him three or four days? What are we going to do? -lay around there till he lets the cat out of the bag? No, sir; I know what I’LL do. I’ll wait, and when he comes back if he says he’s got to go any more I’ll get down there, too, if I swim; and we’ll take and tie him, and keep him, and shove out down the river; and when Tom’s done with him we’ll give him what it’s worth, or all we got, and then let him get ashore. Pretty soon I had an idea. What if he can’t fix that leg quickly? I asked myself. What if it takes him three or four days? What are we going to do—wait around there until he tells everyone about us? No sir. I know what I’ll do. I’ll wait, and if he says he’s going to need to do some more work when he comes back, then I’ll go down there, swim if I have to. Then we’ll tie up the doctor and keep him on the raft and shove out into the river. And when he’s done with Tom, we’ll pay him for his services, or give him all the money we have, and then let him go ashore.
So then I crept into a lumber-pile to get some sleep; and next time I waked up the sun was away up over my head! I shot out and went for the doctor’s house, but they told me he’d gone away in the night some time or other, and warn’t back yet. Well, thinks I, that looks powerful bad for Tom, and I’ll dig out for the island right off. So away I shoved, and turned the corner, and nearly rammed my head into Uncle Silas’s stomach! He says: So I crept into a pile of lumber to get some sleep. When I woke up, the sun was already way over my head! I jumped up and headed for the doctor’s house, but they told me he’d gone away at some point in the night and wasn’t back yet. I thought to myself that this looked pretty bad for Tom, and decided to head straight for the island right away. I ran off, rounded the corner of the house, and nearly rammed head first into Uncle Silas’s stomach! He said:
“Why, TOM! Where you been all this time, you rascal?” “Why, TOM! Where have you been all this time, you rascal?”
“I hain’t been nowheres,” I says, “only just hunting for the runaway nigger—me and Sid.” “I haven’t been anywhere,” I said. “Sid and I have just been hunting for the runaway n-----.”
“Why, where ever did you go?” he says. “Your aunt’s been mighty uneasy.” “Why, where in the world did you go?” he asked. “Your aunt has been very worried.”
“She needn’t,” I says, “because we was all right. We followed the men and the dogs, but they outrun us, and we lost them; but we thought we heard them on the water, so we got a canoe and took out after them and crossed over, but couldn’t find nothing of them; so we cruised along up-shore till we got kind of tired and beat out; and tied up the canoe and went to sleep, and never waked up till about an hour ago; then we paddled over here to hear the news, and Sid’s at the post-office to see what he can hear, and I’m a-branching out to get something to eat for us, and then we’re going home.” “She doesn’t need to be worried,” I said, “because we’re all right. We followed the men and the dogs, but they outran us, and we lost them. But then we thought we heard them on the water, so we got a canoe and took out after them across the river, but we couldn’t find any trace of them. We cruised along the shore until we got tired and worn out. Then we tied the canoe up and went to sleep and didn’t wake up until about an hour ago. We paddled over here to hear the news. Sid’s at the post office to see what he can find out. I’m branching out to get us something to eat. Then we’re going home.”
So then we went to the post-office to get “Sid"; but just as I suspicioned, he warn’t there; so the old man he got a letter out of the office, and we waited awhile longer, but Sid didn’t come; so the old man said, come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe it, when he got done fooling around—but we would ride. I couldn’t get him to let me stay and wait for Sid; and he said there warn’t no use in it, and I must come along, and let Aunt Sally see we was all right. So we went to the post office to get “Sid,” but he wasn’t there, as I expected. The old man got a letter out of the office, and we waited a while longer, but Sid didn’t show up. So the old man told me to ride home with him and let Sid walk home or take the canoe when he got done fooling around. I couldn’t convince him to let me stay and wait for Sid. He said there wasn’t any use waiting and that I had to come with him so that Aunt Sally could see that we were all right.

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