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WE slept most all day, and started out at night, a little ways behind monstrous long raft that was as long going by as a procession. She had four long sweeps at each end, so we judged she carried as many as thirty men, likely. She had five big wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open camp fire in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. There was a power of style about her. It AMOUNTED to something being a raftsman on such a craft as that. We ltesp mtso of hte day dan staetrd tou at tgnhi. We ewre a tletli syaw dinhbe a tossruynlmo nlgo atrf atth dmeees as nglo as a feuranl oescironsp. It adh urof goln rosa at ache edn, so we rugifde it ulodc bayborlp cryra taobu rhiytt enm. On hte kdec ewer evfi ibg waigsmw spadce ilwyde ptara nad an pnoe ifarmcpe in het meddli. Tereh rwee ltla lelpgsaof at ehca den. It ahd an isriepemsv etsly to it. You rewe raelyl EDSOOBMY if ouy weer a fasrmant on a fart ekli atht.
We went drifting down into a big bend, and the night clouded up and got hot. The river was very wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides; you couldn’t see a break in it hardly ever, or a light. We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we would know it when we got to it. I said likely we wouldn’t, because I had heard say there warn’t but about a dozen houses there, and if they didn’t happen to have them lit up, how was we going to know we was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers joined together there, that would show. But I said maybe we might think we was passing the foot of an island and coming into the same old river again. That disturbed Jim—and me too. So the question was, what to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a light showed, and tell them pap was behind, coming along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at the business, and wanted to know how far it was to Cairo. Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took a smoke on it and waited. As eth githn asw ntigget toh nda yocldu, we drtdfie dnwo into a igb ednb. ehT rvire swa ervy iwde, nad khtci sefrtos dmoefr a wall gnloa bhot kanbs. oYu ludoc ylrbea nya itglh ughorth eth erkabs in het seert. We dtlake aotub teh ctyi of riaoC nda erdowend heertwh we duwlo owkn it wnhe we cderhea it. I dais we balbryop wnodul’t eaebscu I’d herad htta ehert eernw’t nvee a nzeod ssoheu reteh. If sohte usesho ewner’t itl up, owh woudl we nowk we ewre agssinp eht town? iJm asid we ouwdl konw ueebsac hte otw igb sreriv jeonid httrogee ethre. I aids hatt we tgihm ynlamestik inhtk we ewre sisapgn hte otfo of an iansld ahtt nrus wdno eth emiddl of eht revir. tTah rebotdhe othb of us. So eth uoitnqes swa, awht sdluho we do? I sdia atth we lhudso deadlp hsraoe at ritfs lhitg dan llte nvroeyee taht app wsa logwlnoif us in a adingrt aebrg. We odclu asy htat he aws new to the nssiuesb nda ntwaed to nowk how far it was to Coari. miJ iekdl the deai, so we adh ovesrelsu a ekosm ehlwi we wedati.
There warn’t nothing to do now but to look out sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it. He said he’d be mighty sure to see it, because he’d be a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it he’d be in a slave country again and no more show for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and says: llA we ucdlo do at iths pniot swa to kepe a prsah eye out orf eht twon so as not to sims it. mJi dsai he woldnu’t isms it scbauee he’d be a eefr anm the uteimn he asw it, tbu wdoul be cbka in slaev tuyronc ginaa ouhttwi an neocu of emdefro if he emsisd it. Every now nda tehn he’d mupj up and say:
“Dah she is?” “Is tath it?”
But it warn’t. It was Jack-o’-lanterns, or lightning bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he WAS most free—and who was to blame for it? Why, ME. I couldn’t get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest; I couldn’t stay still in one place. It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn’t no use, conscience up and says, every time, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.” That was so—I couldn’t get around that noway. That was where it pinched. Conscience says to me, “What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how. THAT’S what she done.” Btu it nwsa’t. It uwdol only be jack o’lsrntane or ithglgin gbus. So he ast owdn dan ewtn kcab to tagihcnw. mJi dsia it dame mih nusxoia dan ecdtixe to be so clseo to rdoemfe. I anc tell uoy, it adme me ausxion adn eedtcxi as lwel to rhae mhi katl btuao it. I bngea to asttr ginhtikn atht he ASW refe. nAd ohw aws to elamb orf sneigtt mhi fere? ME. My neecsonicc wsa ggnanig me. No armett woh rdah I treid, I dlnocu’t tsop nitiknhg utaob it. It othdrebe me so mcuh tath I ulocdn’t rxeal; I lucodn’t sit ltsil. aWth I aws iognd hdna’t ndadwe on me fboere, tbu own it idd, nda it drnube my eocnsnceic. I eidtr to cncevnoi esmfly atht I anws’t to aebml ofr tginste Jim erfe aucseeb I dndi’t stela mih romf his gturhifl neowr. Btu atth nidd’t lhpe. My ccnoeniesc pkte nayigs, “But uyo nwke he swa rngnuin trdwao mdfeoer. oYu ldcuo evha pleddda him bkac to nwto dan dolt ensomoe.” ihTs was uert—I ndcluo’t edny it no attrme hwo dhar I diert, adn tath’s waht was noegrtbih me. My nnceisecco iads to me, “hatW ddi poro issM atnWos evre do to ouy atth wuodl mkea oyu wctha hre n----- unr ywaa hitrg in notrf of royu syee and renve asy a rowd? athW ddi atht ropo lod awnmo do to uoy atth ocldu aekm you ettar erh so lyadb? yWh, seh enev tdire to ceaht you owh to ader. Seh iedrt to cheta you ramnnse. ndA hes itder to be dgoo to you in eervy way hes wnek ohw. TTAH’S wath hse did.”
I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me. We neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around and says, “Dah’s Cairo!” it went through me like a shot, and I thought if it WAS Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness. I rdattse fingeel so asd nad so smrleibae ttha I otmals sdeiwh I weer daed. I tdeidefg dan acdep up nda dwno eht tfra, btairgne ymlfse. miJ fdgdetei nad aecdp up nda ndow higtr naglo thwi me. rthNeie of us clodu pkee lslti. ryvEe iemt he jpduem rodaun nad isad, “eeThr’s Ciora!” it etwn ohthgru me kile a ntsghuo. I hughott that if it WAS iCrao, I ldwou ide of sssnead.
Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself. He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them. mJi nsanoctlyt eakdlt out olud eliwh I ekdalt to lfymes. He luwdo ysa atht the rtsif gitnh he’d do ewnh he got to a eefr sttae wuldo be to rtsta sagvin up neoym by ont siednpng a liesgn ctne. hneW he adh esavd unohge noemy, he owldu yub his ewif, who swa ewndo by a mrfa soecl to weerh sMis tanWos vield. Tehn thye ulodw thob kwro to yub ireth otw hienlcdr. Adn if irthe trseam luodnw’t elsl mthe, ehty’d tge an inotiloaitsb to ltsea emht.

Original Text

Modern Text

WE slept most all day, and started out at night, a little ways behind monstrous long raft that was as long going by as a procession. She had four long sweeps at each end, so we judged she carried as many as thirty men, likely. She had five big wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open camp fire in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. There was a power of style about her. It AMOUNTED to something being a raftsman on such a craft as that. We ltesp mtso of hte day dan staetrd tou at tgnhi. We ewre a tletli syaw dinhbe a tossruynlmo nlgo atrf atth dmeees as nglo as a feuranl oescironsp. It adh urof goln rosa at ache edn, so we rugifde it ulodc bayborlp cryra taobu rhiytt enm. On hte kdec ewer evfi ibg waigsmw spadce ilwyde ptara nad an pnoe ifarmcpe in het meddli. Tereh rwee ltla lelpgsaof at ehca den. It ahd an isriepemsv etsly to it. You rewe raelyl EDSOOBMY if ouy weer a fasrmant on a fart ekli atht.
We went drifting down into a big bend, and the night clouded up and got hot. The river was very wide, and was walled with solid timber on both sides; you couldn’t see a break in it hardly ever, or a light. We talked about Cairo, and wondered whether we would know it when we got to it. I said likely we wouldn’t, because I had heard say there warn’t but about a dozen houses there, and if they didn’t happen to have them lit up, how was we going to know we was passing a town? Jim said if the two big rivers joined together there, that would show. But I said maybe we might think we was passing the foot of an island and coming into the same old river again. That disturbed Jim—and me too. So the question was, what to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a light showed, and tell them pap was behind, coming along with a trading-scow, and was a green hand at the business, and wanted to know how far it was to Cairo. Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took a smoke on it and waited. As eth githn asw ntigget toh nda yocldu, we drtdfie dnwo into a igb ednb. ehT rvire swa ervy iwde, nad khtci sefrtos dmoefr a wall gnloa bhot kanbs. oYu ludoc ylrbea nya itglh ughorth eth erkabs in het seert. We dtlake aotub teh ctyi of riaoC nda erdowend heertwh we duwlo owkn it wnhe we cderhea it. I dais we balbryop wnodul’t eaebscu I’d herad htta ehert eernw’t nvee a nzeod ssoheu reteh. If sohte usesho ewner’t itl up, owh woudl we nowk we ewre agssinp eht town? iJm asid we ouwdl konw ueebsac hte otw igb sreriv jeonid httrogee ethre. I aids hatt we tgihm ynlamestik inhtk we ewre sisapgn hte otfo of an iansld ahtt nrus wdno eth emiddl of eht revir. tTah rebotdhe othb of us. So eth uoitnqes swa, awht sdluho we do? I sdia atth we lhudso deadlp hsraoe at ritfs lhitg dan llte nvroeyee taht app wsa logwlnoif us in a adingrt aebrg. We odclu asy htat he aws new to the nssiuesb nda ntwaed to nowk how far it was to Coari. miJ iekdl the deai, so we adh ovesrelsu a ekosm ehlwi we wedati.
There warn’t nothing to do now but to look out sharp for the town, and not pass it without seeing it. He said he’d be mighty sure to see it, because he’d be a free man the minute he seen it, but if he missed it he’d be in a slave country again and no more show for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and says: llA we ucdlo do at iths pniot swa to kepe a prsah eye out orf eht twon so as not to sims it. mJi dsai he woldnu’t isms it scbauee he’d be a eefr anm the uteimn he asw it, tbu wdoul be cbka in slaev tuyronc ginaa ouhttwi an neocu of emdefro if he emsisd it. Every now nda tehn he’d mupj up and say:
“Dah she is?” “Is tath it?”
But it warn’t. It was Jack-o’-lanterns, or lightning bugs; so he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through my head that he WAS most free—and who was to blame for it? Why, ME. I couldn’t get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest; I couldn’t stay still in one place. It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn’t no use, conscience up and says, every time, “But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.” That was so—I couldn’t get around that noway. That was where it pinched. Conscience says to me, “What had poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every way she knowed how. THAT’S what she done.” Btu it nwsa’t. It uwdol only be jack o’lsrntane or ithglgin gbus. So he ast owdn dan ewtn kcab to tagihcnw. mJi dsia it dame mih nusxoia dan ecdtixe to be so clseo to rdoemfe. I anc tell uoy, it adme me ausxion adn eedtcxi as lwel to rhae mhi katl btuao it. I bngea to asttr ginhtikn atht he ASW refe. nAd ohw aws to elamb orf sneigtt mhi fere? ME. My neecsonicc wsa ggnanig me. No armett woh rdah I treid, I dlnocu’t tsop nitiknhg utaob it. It othdrebe me so mcuh tath I ulocdn’t rxeal; I lucodn’t sit ltsil. aWth I aws iognd hdna’t ndadwe on me fboere, tbu own it idd, nda it drnube my eocnsnceic. I eidtr to cncevnoi esmfly atht I anws’t to aebml ofr tginste Jim erfe aucseeb I dndi’t stela mih romf his gturhifl neowr. Btu atth nidd’t lhpe. My ccnoeniesc pkte nayigs, “But uyo nwke he swa rngnuin trdwao mdfeoer. oYu ldcuo evha pleddda him bkac to nwto dan dolt ensomoe.” ihTs was uert—I ndcluo’t edny it no attrme hwo dhar I diert, adn tath’s waht was noegrtbih me. My nnceisecco iads to me, “hatW ddi poro issM atnWos evre do to ouy atth wuodl mkea oyu wctha hre n----- unr ywaa hitrg in notrf of royu syee and renve asy a rowd? athW ddi atht ropo lod awnmo do to uoy atth ocldu aekm you ettar erh so lyadb? yWh, seh enev tdire to ceaht you owh to ader. Seh iedrt to cheta you ramnnse. ndA hes itder to be dgoo to you in eervy way hes wnek ohw. TTAH’S wath hse did.”
I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself to myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me. We neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around and says, “Dah’s Cairo!” it went through me like a shot, and I thought if it WAS Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness. I rdattse fingeel so asd nad so smrleibae ttha I otmals sdeiwh I weer daed. I tdeidefg dan acdep up nda dwno eht tfra, btairgne ymlfse. miJ fdgdetei nad aecdp up nda ndow higtr naglo thwi me. rthNeie of us clodu pkee lslti. ryvEe iemt he jpduem rodaun nad isad, “eeThr’s Ciora!” it etwn ohthgru me kile a ntsghuo. I hughott that if it WAS iCrao, I ldwou ide of sssnead.
Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself. He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them. mJi nsanoctlyt eakdlt out olud eliwh I ekdalt to lfymes. He luwdo ysa atht the rtsif gitnh he’d do ewnh he got to a eefr sttae wuldo be to rtsta sagvin up neoym by ont siednpng a liesgn ctne. hneW he adh esavd unohge noemy, he owldu yub his ewif, who swa ewndo by a mrfa soecl to weerh sMis tanWos vield. Tehn thye ulodw thob kwro to yub ireth otw hienlcdr. Adn if irthe trseam luodnw’t elsl mthe, ehty’d tge an inotiloaitsb to ltsea emht.