|THE first time I catched Tom private I asked him what was his idea, time of the evasion?—what it was he’d planned to do if the evasion worked all right and he managed to set a nigger free that was already free before? And he said, what he had planned in his head from the start, if we got Jim out all safe, was for us to run him down the river on the raft, and have adventures plumb to the mouth of the river, and then tell him about his being free, and take him back up home on a steamboat, in style, and pay him for his lost time, and write word ahead and get out all the niggers around, and have them waltz him into town with a torchlight procession and a brass-band, and then he would be a hero, and so would we. But I reckoned it was about as well the way it was.||The first time I got Tom in private, I asked him what his idea had been at the time of the evasion. What did he plan to do if the evasion worked and he managed to set a n----- free who had already been free before? He said he would have done the same thing he’d been planning to do from the start: If we got Jim out safely, we’d run him down the river on the raft and have adventures all the way to the mouth. Then we would have told him about him being free and taken him back home on the steamboat in style. We would pay him for his lost time and send word ahead to gather all the n------ around and have them waltz into town in a torchlit parade with a brass band. He would be a hero and so would we. But I suppose the way it turned out was almost as good.|
|We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when Aunt Polly and Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally found out how good he helped the doctor nurse Tom, they made a heap of fuss over him, and fixed him up prime, and give him all he wanted to eat, and a good time, and nothing to do. And we had him up to the sick-room, and had a high talk; and Tom give Jim forty dollars for being prisoner for us so patient, and doing it up so good, and Jim was pleased most to death, and busted out, and says:||We had Jim out of the chains in no time. Aunt Polly, Uncle Silas, and Aunt Sally made a huge fuss over Jim once they found out how much he’d helped the doctor nurse Tom back to health. They treated him very well, giving him all he wanted to eat and lots of free time to enjoy. We had him come up to the sick room to talk about important stuff. Tom gave Jim forty dollars for playing the part of the prisoner so patiently and doing it so well. Jim was almost pleased to death. He burst out:|
|“DAH, now, Huck, what I tell you?—what I tell you up dah on Jackson islan’? I TOLE you I got a hairy breas’, en what’s de sign un it; en I TOLE you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be rich AGIN; en it’s come true; en heah she is! DAH, now! doan’ talk to ME—signs is SIGNS, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis’ ’s well ’at I ’uz gwineter be rich agin as I’s a-stannin’ heah dis minute!”||“THERE now, Huck! What did I tell you when we were on Jackson Island? I TOLD you I had a hairy chest. And what does that mean? I TOLD you that I had once been rich and told you I’d be rich AGAIN. And it came true! Here I am! THERE now! Don’t talk to ME—signs are SIGNS, mind you. As sure as I’m standing here, I knew that I was going to be rich again!”|
|And then Tom he talked along and talked along, and says, le’s all three slide out of here one of these nights and get an outfit, and go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over in the Territory, for a couple of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that suits me, but I ain’t got no money for to buy the outfit, and I reckon I couldn’t get none from home, because it’s likely pap’s been back before now, and got it all away from Judge Thatcher and drunk it up.||Then Tom talked for a long while. He said we three should sneak out one of these nights, buy some new clothes, and spend a week or two having grand adventures among the Indians over in Indian Territory. I said that’d be fine, but that I didn’t have money to buy a new outfit. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to get any from home either, because it was likely that Pap had gone back by now and taken all the money from Judge Thatcher and drunk it.|
|“No, he hain’t,” Tom says; “it’s all there yet—six thousand dollars and more; and your pap hain’t ever been back since. Hadn’t when I come away, anyhow.”||“No, he hasn’t,” said Tom. “It’s all there—six thousand dollars and more. And your Pap hasn’t ever been back since. He hadn’t by the time I’d left anyway.”|
|Jim says, kind of solemn:||Jim said, kind of solemnly:|
|“He ain’t a-comin’ back no mo’, Huck.”||“He won’t be coming back anymore, Huck.”|
|I says:||I said:|
|“Why, Jim?”||“Why, Jim?”|
|“Nemmine why, Huck—but he ain’t comin’ back no mo.”||“Nevermind why, Huck—but he won’t be coming back anymore.”|
|But I kept at him; so at last he says:||But I kept asking him, so he finally said:|
|“Doan’ you ’member de house dat was float’n down de river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en unkivered him and didn’ let you come in? Well, den, you kin git yo’ money when you wants it, kase dat wuz him.”||“Don’t you remember the house that was floating down the river? Remember how there was a man inside who was covered up? And how I went in and uncovered him and didn’t let you come in? Well, you can get your money when you want it, because that was him.”|
|Tom’s most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on a watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is, and so there ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t a-going to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.||
Tom is almost well now. He wears the bullet around his neck on the |
chain that holds a pocketwatchwatch guard of his watch and is always checking what time it is. So there isn’t anything more to write about, and I sure am glad of it. If I had known how much trouble it would be to write a book, then I wouldn’t have ever started writing it in the first place. And I’m not going to write anymore. I suppose I’m going to head out for Indian Territory ahead of the others, because Aunt Sally’s going to adopt me and civilize me, and I can’t stand it. I’ve tried that before.
Take a Study Break!