Original Text

Modern Text

Jim he grumbled a little, but give in. He said we mustn’t talk any more than we could help, and then talk mighty low. The lightning showed us the wreck again just in time, and we fetched the stabboard derrick, and made fast there. Jim grumbled a bit, but he gave in. He said we mustn’t talk anymore than was absolutely necessary, and only then in low voices. The lightning flashes showed us the way to the wreck, and we grabbed hold of the starboard


part of the framework of the boat

and tied the raft to it.
The deck was high out here. We went sneaking down the slope of it to labboard, in the dark, towards the texas, feeling our way slow with our feet, and spreading our hands out to fend off the guys, for it was so dark we couldn’t see no sign of them. Pretty soon we struck the forward end of the skylight, and clumb on to it; and the next step fetched us in front of the captain’s door, which was open, and by Jimminy, away down through the texas-hall we see a light! and all in the same second we seem to hear low voices in yonder! The deck of the steamboat was pretty high above the water. We pulled up to the boat’s port side. We snuck in the dark toward the cabins, slowly feeling our way along the deck with our feet and spreading our hands out in front to fend off any guards. It was so dark that we wouldn’t have seen any sign of them. Pretty soon we got to the front end of the skylight, so we climbed on to it. Our next step brought us to the open door of the captain’s quarters. We looked in, and by golly, we saw a light down in the cabin! And we could hear voices down in there, too!
Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful sick, and told me to come along. I says, all right, and was going to start for the raft; but just then I heard a voice wail out and say: Jim whispered to me that he had a bad feeling about this. He told me we better get going. I agreed and was about to head for the raft when I heard a voice from below cry out:
“Oh, please don’t, boys; I swear I won’t ever tell!” “Oh please don’t, guys. I swear I won’t ever tell!”
Another voice said, pretty loud: Another voice then said pretty loudly:
“It’s a lie, Jim Turner. You’ve acted this way before. You always want more’n your share of the truck, and you’ve always got it, too, because you’ve swore ’t if you didn’t you’d tell. But this time you’ve said it jest one time too many. You’re the meanest, treacherousest hound in this country.” “You’re lying, Jim Turner. You’ve acted like this before. You always want more than your share of the loot, and you always get it, because you’ve sworn you’d tell if you didn’t get it. Well, you’ve joked around one too many times. You’re the most awful, most treacherous rascal around.”
By this time Jim was gone for the raft. I was just a-biling with curiosity; and I says to myself, Tom Sawyer wouldn’t back out now, and so I won’t either; I’m a-going to see what’s going on here. So I dropped on my hands and knees in the little passage, and crept aft in the dark till there warn’t but one stateroom betwixt me and the cross-hall of the texas. Then in there I see a man stretched on the floor and tied hand and foot, and two men standing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern in his hand, and the other one had a pistol. This one kept pointing the pistol at the man’s head on the floor, and saying: By this time Jim had gone to the raft. My curiousity was killing me, though. I told myself that Tom Sawyer wouldn’t back out now, so I decided that I wouldn’t either. I was going to see what was going on down there. I dropped to my hands and knees inside the little passageway and crept in the dark toward the back of the ship. I got to where there was only one stateroom between me and the cabin hallway. I peeked in and saw a man stretched out on the floor with his hands and feet bound. There were two men standing over him, one of them holding a dim lantern. The other man had a pistol, and he kept pointing it at the head of the man on the floor, saying:
“I’d LIKE to! And I orter, too—a mean skunk!” “I’d LIKE to shoot you! And I ought to, you damned skunk!”
The man on the floor would shrivel up and say, “Oh, please don’t, Bill; I hain’t ever goin’ to tell.” The man on the floor would curl up and say things like, “Oh, please don’t, Bill! I’m not ever going to tell!”
And every time he said that the man with the lantern would laugh and say: And every time he said that the man with the lantern would laugh and say:
“’Deed you AIN’T! You never said no truer thing ’n that, you bet you.” And once he said: “Hear him beg! and yit if we hadn’t got the best of him and tied him he’d a killed us both. And what FOR? Jist for noth’n. Jist because we stood on our RIGHTS—that’s what for. But I lay you ain’t a-goin’ to threaten nobody any more, Jim Turner. Put UP that pistol, Bill.” “Indeed you won’t! You’ve never said a truer word than that!” Once he said: “Listen to him beg! But if we hadn’t beaten him and tied him up, he would’ve killed us both. And what FOR? Because he could. Just because we stood up for our RIGHTS, that’s why. But I swear you aren’t going to threaten anybody ever again, Jim Turner. Put that pistol away, Bill.”
Bill says: Bill said:
“I don’t want to, Jake Packard. I’m for killin’ him—and didn’t he kill old Hatfield jist the same way—and don’t he deserve it?” “I don’t want to put it away, Jake Packard. I want to kill him. Didn’t he kill old Hatfield the same way? Doesn’t he deserve to die?”
“But I don’t WANT him killed, and I’ve got my reasons for it.” “But I’ve got my reasons for not wanting him killed.”
“Bless yo’ heart for them words, Jake Packard! I’ll never forgit you long’s I live!” says the man on the floor, sort of blubbering. “Bless you, Jake Packard! I’ll never forget you as long as I live,” blubbered the man on the floor.
Packard didn’t take no notice of that, but hung up his lantern on a nail and started towards where I was there in the dark, and motioned Bill to come. I crawfished as fast as I could about two yards, but the boat slanted so that I couldn’t make very good time; so to keep from getting run over and catched I crawled into a stateroom on the upper side. The man came a-pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got to my stateroom, he says: Packard didn’t notice him, but hung his lantern on a nail. He started walking toward where I was hiding and motioned for Bill to follow. I crawled as fast as I could for about two yards. It took me longer than it normally would since the boat was slanted to one side. I crawled up the slant and into a stateroom to avoid getting stepped on and caught. The other man came walking up in the dark, and when Packard got to the stateroom, he said:
“Here—come in here.” “Hey—come in here.”
And in he come, and Bill after him. But before they got in I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come. Then they stood there, with their hands on the ledge of the berth, and talked. I couldn’t see them, but I could tell where they was by the whisky they’d been having. I was glad I didn’t drink whisky; but it wouldn’t made much difference anyway, because most of the time they couldn’t a treed me because I didn’t breathe. I was too scared. And, besides, a body COULDN’T breathe and hear such talk. They talked low and earnest. Bill wanted to kill Turner. He says: He and Bill came inside, but I had crawled in the upper birth before they arrived. I was cornered and regretted my decision to stay on the boat. They stood there talking, their hands on the ledge of the berth. I couldn’t see them, but I could tell where they were by the whisky on their breath. I was glad I hadn’t drunk any whiskey myself, but it wouldn’t have made much of a difference since I was holding my breath. I was so scared. But even if I wasn’t scared, I wouldn’t be able to hear them talking if I breathed. They talked in low but earnest voices. Bill wanted to kill Turner. He said: