|Pap warn’t in a good humor—so he was his natural self. He said he was down town, and everything was going wrong. His lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the money if they ever got started on the trial; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it. And he said people allowed there’d be another trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guardian, and they guessed it would win this time. This shook me up considerable, because I didn’t want to go back to the widow’s any more and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they called it. Then the old man got to cussing, and cussed everything and everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over again to make sure he hadn’t skipped any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a considerable parcel of people which he didn’t know the names of, and so called them what’s-his-name when he got to them, and went right along with his cussing.||Pap wasn’t in a good mood—which meant he was acting like his normal self. He said he’d gone to town, and that everything was all messed up. His lawyer said he thought he’d win the lawsuit and get the money if the trial ever started, but that Judge Thatcher knew how to put it off a long time. He also said that people were saying there was going to be another trial to try and take me away from pap and make the widow my legal guarden, and that this time it would actually work. This startled me because I didn’t want to go back to the widow’s house, where Id’ be so confined and civilized as they called it. The old man started swearing and cussing everything and everybody he could think of. Then he cussed them all over again just to make sure he hadn’t forgotten anyone. After that, he finished up with some general swearing at people whose names he didn’t even know, saying what’s-his-name and continuing right on with his cussing.|
|He said he would like to see the widow get me. He said he would watch out, and if they tried to come any such game on him he knowed of a place six or seven mile off to stow me in, where they might hunt till they dropped and they couldn’t find me. That made me pretty uneasy again, but only for a minute; I reckoned I wouldn’t stay on hand till he got that chance.||He said he’d like to see the widow become my guardian. He said he’d be on the lookout for them and would stash me at this secret place six or seven miles away where they wouldn’t find me no matter how hard they looked. That made me nervous again, but only for a minute because I figured that I wouldn’t be around much longer for him to do that anyway.|
|The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got. There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side of bacon, ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an old book and two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. I toted up a load, and went back and set down on the bow of the skiff to rest. I thought it all over, and I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some lines, and take to the woods when I run away. I guessed I wouldn’t stay in one place, but just tramp right across the country, mostly night times, and hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away that the old man nor the widow couldn’t ever find me any more. I judged I would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned he would. I got so full of it I didn’t notice how long I was staying till the old man hollered and asked me whether I was asleep or drownded.||
The old man made me go to the skiff to bring the stuff he’d gotten in
town. There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, a side of bacon, some
ammunition, a four-gallon jug of whisky, an old book and two newspapers for |
material used to keep the shot or powder inside older gunswadding, and some
ropetow. I carried a load up to the cabin, then went back and sat down in the bow to rest. I thought about it for awhile and reckoned that I’d take the gun and some fishing line when I ran away into the woods. I figured I wouldn’t stay in one place, but would just walk around the country, mostly at night, and hunt and fish to stay alive. I’d get so far away that neither my old man nor the widow would ever find me again. I decided that if pap got drunk enough—which I figured he would—I would finish sawing through the cabin wall that night. I sat there thinking so long that I didn’t realize how much time had passed until the old man yelled at me and asked whether I’d fallen asleep or drowned.
|I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was about dark. While I was cooking supper the old man took a swig or two and got sort of warmed up, and went to ripping again. He had been drunk over in town, and laid in the gutter all night, and he was a sight to look at. A body would a thought he was Adam—he was just all mud. Whenever his liquor begun to work he most always went for the govment, this time he says:||
It was almost dark by the time I finished carrying everything up to the
cabin. While I was cooking supper, the old man drank a gulp or two of whisky
and started cussing again. He had gotten drunk in town and spent the night
in the gutter, which made him look awful. You would have though he was |
the first man, according to the BibleAdam because he was so covered in mud. Almost every time he got drunk, he attacked the government. This time he said:
|“Call this a govment! why, just look at it and see what it’s like. Here’s the law a-standing ready to take a man’s son away from him—a man’s own son, which he has had all the trouble and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising. Yes, just as that man has got that son raised at last, and ready to go to work and begin to do suthin’ for HIM and give him a rest, the law up and goes for him. And they call THAT govment! That ain’t all, nuther. The law backs that old Judge Thatcher up and helps him to keep me out o’ my property. Here’s what the law does: The law takes a man worth six thousand dollars and up’ards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and lets him go round in clothes that ain’t fitten for a hog. They call that govment! A man can’t get his rights in a govment like this. Sometimes I’ve a mighty notion to just leave the country for good and all. Yes, and I TOLD ’em so; I told old Thatcher so to his face. Lots of ’em heard me, and can tell what I said. Says I, for two cents I’d leave the blamed country and never come a-near it agin. Them’s the very words. I says look at my hat—if you call it a hat—but the lid raises up and the rest of it goes down till it’s below my chin, and then it ain’t rightly a hat at all, but more like my head was shoved up through a jint o’ stove-pipe. Look at it, says I—such a hat for me to wear—one of the wealthiest men in this town if I could git my rights.||“They call this a government! Just look at it! The law is going to let them take a man’s son away from him—his own son, which he went to all the trouble and worry and expense to raise. Just when that son finally grows up and is ready to work and do something for HIM so that he can relax, the law tries to take him away. They call that government! That ain’t nothing. The law is backing that old Judge Thatcher and helping him keep me away from my own property. The law stuffs a man worth more than six thousand dollars into this old trap of a cabin and lets him wear clothes that ain’t fit for a pig. They call that government! A man doesn’t have any rights under a government like this. Sometimes I just feel like leaving the country once and for all. And I TOLD them that. I told this right to Judge Thatcher’s face. Lots of people heard me, and can vouch for what I said. I said that for two cents I’d leave the damned country and never go near it again. Those are the very words I used. I told them to look at my hat, if you can even call it that: The top raises up and the rest droops down til it’s below my chin. It’s barely a hat at all anymore, but more like a piece of stovepipe that my head has been shoved into. Just look at it, I told them. What a fine hat for one of the wealthiest men in town to wear—if I could just get what’s rightfully mine.|
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