The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain
No Fear Chapter 18 Page 4
No Fear Chapter 18: Page 4

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I went off down to the river, studying over this thing, and pretty soon I noticed that my nigger was following along behind. When we was out of sight of the house he looked back and around a second, and then comes a-running, and says: I headed off down to the river, thinking this over. Pretty soon, I noticed that my n----- was following me. When we were out of view of the house, he looked all around for a second, and then ran up to me saying:
“Mars Jawge, if you’ll come down into de swamp I’ll show you a whole stack o’ water-moccasins.” “Master George, if you come down to the swamp, I’ll show a whole bunch of

water moccasins

poisonous water snakes indigenous to the South

water moccasins
Thinks I, that’s mighty curious; he said that yesterday. He oughter know a body don’t love water-moccasins enough to go around hunting for them. What is he up to, anyway? So I says: That’s odd, I thought, he said the same thing yesterday. He should know no one likes water moccasins enough to go hunting for them. I wondered what he was up to, so I said:
“All right; trot ahead.” “All right, lead the way.”
I followed a half a mile; then he struck out over the swamp, and waded ankle deep as much as another half-mile. We come to a little flat piece of land which was dry and very thick with trees and bushes and vines, and he says: I followed him for about half a mile, and then he started heading across the swamp. We waded in ankle-deep water for about another half mile until we came to a flat little piece of land. It was dry and thick with trees, bushes, and vines. He said:
“You shove right in dah jist a few steps, Mars Jawge; dah’s whah dey is. I’s seed ’m befo’; I don’t k’yer to see ’em no mo’.” “Go right in there just a few feet, Master George. That’s where they are. I’ve seen them before, and I don’t care to see them anymore.”
Then he slopped right along and went away, and pretty soon the trees hid him. I poked into the place a-ways and come to a little open patch as big as a bedroom all hung around with vines, and found a man laying there asleep—and, by jings, it was my old Jim! Then he started walking away, and pretty soon he disappeared into the trees. I headed in the direction he’d pointed until I came to an open space about the size of a bedroom. It was draped with hanging vines and there was a man lying there fast asleep. By golly, it was my old Jim!”
I waked him up, and I reckoned it was going to be a grand surprise to him to see me again, but it warn’t. He nearly cried he was so glad, but he warn’t surprised. Said he swum along behind me that night, and heard me yell every time, but dasn’t answer, because he didn’t want nobody to pick HIM up and take him into slavery again. Says he: I woke him up. I imagined he was going to be really surprised to see me again, but he wasn’t. He was so glad that he nearly cried, but he wasn’t surprised. He said he’d swum along behind me the night the boat hit us. He heard me yelling, but he didn’t answer because he didn’t want anyone to catch HIM and reenslave him. He said:
“I got hurt a little, en couldn’t swim fas’, so I wuz a considable ways behine you towards de las’; when you landed I reck’ned I could ketch up wid you on de lan’ ’dout havin’ to shout at you, but when I see dat house I begin to go slow. I ’uz off too fur to hear what dey say to you—I wuz ’fraid o’ de dogs; but when it ’uz all quiet agin I knowed you’s in de house, so I struck out for de woods to wait for day. Early in de mawnin’ some er de niggers come along, gwyne to de fields, en dey tuk me en showed me dis place, whah de dogs can’t track me on accounts o’ de water, en dey brings me truck to eat every night, en tells me how you’s a-gitt’n along.” “I’d been injured just a little and couldn’t swim very fast, so I was far behind you. After you’d landed, I figured I could catch up with you on land without having to shout to you. But I slowed down when I saw that house. I was too far away to hear what they said to you, and I was afraid of the dogs. But when things quieted down again and I knew you were in the house, I headed out into the woods to wait for a day. Some n------ passed by early in the morning as they were headed out to the fields. They helped me and showed me this place where the dogs wouldn’t find me because of the water. They brought me food to eat every night and told me how you were doing.”
“Why didn’t you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?” “Why didn’t you tell my Jack to bring me here sooner?”
“Well, ’twarn’t no use to ’sturb you, Huck, tell we could do sumfn—but we’s all right now. I ben a-buyin’ pots en pans en vittles, as I got a chanst, en a-patchin’ up de raf’ nights when—” “Well, it wasn’t any use to bother you, Huck, until we could do something. But we’re okay now. I bought pots and pans and food when I got the chance and I’ve been patching up the raft at night when….”
“WHAT raft, Jim?” “WHAT raft, Jim?”
“Our ole raf’.” “Our old raft.”
“You mean to say our old raft warn’t smashed all to flinders?” “Are you telling me that our raft wasn’t smashed to pieces?”
“No, she warn’t. She was tore up a good deal—one en’ of her was; but dey warn’t no great harm done, on’y our traps was mos’ all los’. Ef we hadn’ dive’ so deep en swum so fur under water, en de night hadn’ ben so dark, en we warn’t so sk’yerd, en ben sich punkin-heads, as de sayin’ is, we’d a seed de raf’. But it’s jis’ as well we didn’t, ’kase now she’s all fixed up agin mos’ as good as new, en we’s got a new lot o’ stuff, in de place o’ what ’uz los’.” “No, it wasn’t. It had been torn up an awful lot, especially one end of it. The damage wasn’t serious, though we did lose most of our traps. We’d have been able to see the raft if we hadn’t dove so deep and swum so far under the water, and if the night hadn’t been so dark and we weren’t scared out of our minds. But it’s just as well that we didn’t see it, because now it’s all fixed up and almost as good as new. And we’ve got a lot of new stuff to replace what was lost.”
“Why, how did you get hold of the raft again, Jim—did you catch her?” “But how did you get the raft back again, Jim—did you catch it?”
“How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods? No; some er de niggers foun’ her ketched on a snag along heah in de ben’, en dey hid her in a crick ’mongst de willows, en dey wuz so much jawin’ ’bout which un ’um she b’long to de mos’ dat I come to heah ’bout it pooty soon, so I ups en settles de trouble by tellin’ ’um she don’t b’long to none uv um, but to you en me; en I ast ’m if dey gwyne to grab a young white genlman’s propaty, en git a hid’n for it? Den I gin ’m ten cents apiece, en dey ’uz mighty well satisfied, en wisht some mo’ raf’s ’ud come along en make ’m rich agin. Dey’s mighty good to me, dese niggers is, en whatever I wants ’m to do fur me I doan’ have to ast ’m twice, honey. Dat Jack’s a good nigger, en pooty smart.” “How would I be able to catch it when I’ve been in the woods? No, some of the n------ found it on a nearby snag at a bend in the river. They hid it in a creek among the willows. They were talking so much about which of them now owned it that pretty soon I heard about it too. I set them all straight by telling them that it didn’t belong to any of them because it was ours. I asked them if they were going to steal a young white gentleman’s property and get beaten for it. Then I gave them ten cents each. They were happy with that and wished more rafts would come along and make them rich. They’ve been really good to me, these n------. I don’t ever have to ask them twice to help me with whatever I need, kid. Your n-----’s a good one, and pretty smart.”