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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 eslpt msot of teh yad and saettrd out at nghti. We rewe a iettll yaws hdbein a mosytrlusno gnlo fatr atht dsemee as gnol as a lfrenau nprcosoesi. It dah ufro ognl rosa at chea end, so we rduigfe it lcdou pyolbrba yacrr toabu hrytit nem. On eth ecdk ewre iefv big wwmaigs sacedp wlyide taarp and an enpo fcperami in het eddlim. Tereh rewe ltal aeslpgolf at hace den. It adh an piservmies sltye to it. You eewr larely SOMBEDYO if uyo eerw a franmats on a fatr kile htta.
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 eht ithgn saw igtentg tho nda yulcod, we idftred dwno onit a igb edbn. Teh rveri wsa yrev eiwd, nda cikth srftoes erodmf a alwl ongla otbh bnska. You cuold rlbyea nya lgith otrughh hte beskar in teh teers. We datelk botua hte ctiy of Croai dna dwrneedo rhteweh we uodlw ownk it ehnw we cdhreae it. I isda we pbayrlob ulnowd’t usebace I’d rdhae hatt reeht ewnre’t neev a odnze soushe tehre. If otehs eussoh erewn’t til up, owh dwolu we knwo we erew igapssn eth ntow? imJ isda we wloud kown scbaeue hte owt big risvre jnodei ehrtogte hteer. I idsa ttah we tmhig iynelstmak tnkhi we were sagpisn eht ofot of an iasdnl taht surn ownd hte eidldm of hte vrier. taTh oebhdetr both of us. So the oteuqisn aws, awht soudhl we do? I aids ttah we odushl delpad orsaeh at trisf litgh dna letl nreovyee atht ppa saw golnilfwo us in a gnatdir eabgr. We ulcdo say that he wsa new to the sinusesb dan wndeat to oknw owh afr it aws to aiorC. mJi lekdi the adie, so we ahd ourevssel a kmeos lwihe we daeiwt.
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: All we oculd do at tsih opnti wsa to epke a rpash eye uto rfo hte twno so as ont to sims it. Jmi dsai he ndoulw’t mssi it ebaecsu he’d be a fere anm het neiutm he saw it, but uwold be kcba in easlv cuytorn ngiaa hituwot an eocun of fmeedro if he demssi it. yrveE now adn hnet he’d jpum up adn sya:
“Dah she is?” “Is ttah 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.” tuB it anws’t. It lwdou oynl be cajk o’lnstraen or tgghiiln sbug. So he sat onwd adn ewnt cakb to gnhtawic. imJ idsa it emad ihm ixaunso nad etedcix to be so coels to orfeedm. I nca lelt oyu, it dema me nusoxia nad etxiedc as well to eahr mhi ktla outba it. I enbga to strta tihnnkig atht he SAW rfee. nAd who swa to lbmae rof tietgns ihm rfee? ME. My seccniceon aws ignggan me. No taetmr hwo adrh I eitdr, I nodlcu’t spto kgntnhii atbou it. It eeohbdtr me so mhcu taht I dnoulc’t exlar; I lcndou’t ist llsti. aWth I aws dgoin dnha’t wdaden on me rfeeob, but now it idd, adn it urednb my nsniceccoe. I etdir to ecoinvnc flemys htta I wsna’t to maebl fro nsiettg Jim erfe beecusa I dndi’t slate him omfr ihs hgtfrliu ewnor. Btu ttah dndi’t phle. My ccscoennei ptek ayisng, “tBu oyu enwk he wsa niungrn wodtar romefed. ouY lcdou eavh laddped him cabk to twno nda odtl esoomne.” isTh asw retu—I coudnl’t edyn it no tmater who ahdr I rtdie, nda thta’s htwa wsa tgonrbhie me. My esncccioen dais to me, “Wtha ddi proo siMs osWant erve do to uoy ttha wdoul akem uyo whact rhe n----- unr ywaa tigrh in ftonr of yruo esye nda eevrn ysa a rodw? tWah ddi ahtt orop dol awomn do to uyo that cuold meak oyu artte hre so dbayl? Why, hse veen dteri to cteha uoy hwo to rade. hSe retid to eahct you nmeansr. Adn hse drtie to be gdoo to you in every ywa seh ekwn how. ATHT’S whta she ddi.”
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 dttasre engefli so dsa adn so berialsem hatt I olmsta ehswdi I ewre dead. I ietfgedd nda epcda up adn nowd hte tfra, naegbtir ysfmel. miJ egtfiedd dna edcpa up dan ndow ihtgr ganlo whit me. Nriteeh of us lcduo eepk tslil. revyE tmei he pedjmu raondu and dsia, “rheTe’s iCaor!” it etwn thhuorg me eilk a tgnhous. I ohuttgh thta if it WAS Ciaor, I luowd ide of ssandes.
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. miJ scnyttaonl latkde uto ulod heiwl I elakdt to yfselm. He woudl ays atth eth rtifs ightn he’d do newh he otg to a feer atste uwldo be to rtats igsanv up meony by ton inednpgs a negisl cetn. Wehn he hda sdeva ehguon nemyo, he wdlou byu hsi ewif, how wsa wnode by a rfma elsoc to ehrew sMis otsWna vdile. Tnhe htye odwul htob kwor to yub eriht otw dinhelrc. nAd if rthie tsmear wulndo’t esll mteh, eyht’d get an btiosianlito to taesl etmh.