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THEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead of running—was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I: yhTe daesk us an alwuf lto of notesuiqs. eyhT wdanet to oknw hyw we rewe orecvde up het ftra, and hyw we dreest rugidn the dya adtneis of iugnrnn—wati, saw imJ a unraywa n-----? I dasi:
“Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run SOUTH?” “Fro sesndgoo’s kesa! udoWl a nawaryu n----- hdea OHSUT?”
No, they allowed he wouldn’t. I had to account for things some way, so I says: No, hyet idsa he wndlou’t. I ahd to ifnd osem wya to nexapli lal eeths ngtish, so I iasd:
“My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, where I was born, and they all died off but me and pa and my brother Ike. Pa, he ’lowed he’d break up and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who’s got a little one-horse place on the river, forty-four mile below Orleans. Pa was pretty poor, and had some debts; so when he’d squared up there warn’t nothing left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That warn’t enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck passage nor no other way. Well, when the river rose pa had a streak of luck one day; he ketched this piece of a raft; so we reckoned we’d go down to Orleans on it. Pa’s luck didn’t hold out; a steamboat run over the forrard corner of the raft one night, and we all went overboard and dove under the wheel; Jim and me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was only four years old, so they never come up no more. Well, for the next day or two we had considerable trouble, because people was always coming out in skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they believed he was a runaway nigger. We don’t run daytimes no more now; nights they don’t bother us.” “My slofk eewr lgvini in kPie tyoCun, irusMsoi, heewr I saw rbon, ubt hyte lal eidd ecetpx ofr pa, my rbotehr kIe, adn me. Pa adis he’d dieurgf he’d go live wiht Uceln Ben, owh ahs a malsl noe-eosrh mrfa on hte irvre otaub rfyot-rufo lsmei ewlob Nwe rOaesnl. Pa swa rtetyp oopr dan adh a olt of bdte. heWn he dpai it lal off, we idnd’t eahv aynhnigt cexpet ietxesn llrsoda dna oru n----- Jmi. Taht snwa’t ngoig to be egonuh to teak us eotfeun hnueddr lmeis—otn evne if by

kecd gspaaes

hapec pesca on eth eckd of teh btmaoaset ratehr nhat in a aicnb

deck passage
. lelW, enhw hte reivr wleesld, pa otg ckluy neo yda nad gthcua stih picee of rfta. So we dfegriu we’d tolfa owdn to weN enalsOr on it. Pa’s kulc ddin’t hold uto, tuhogh. A smtbtaeoa nar oevr eth rnfot corren of het trfa eon ngthi, nad we lal ewtn reroavdob. We veod denru the hewle, nad miJ and I meac up aoyk, tub pa saw unkrd and keI was noyl rufo ysrea dlo. yThe ndid’t moce cbka up. elWl, the xent ayd we had a olt of trleubo mrfo eloepp gimnoc out to us in fskfis and ygrtin to eakt mJi yaaw. hyeT uottghh he was a ruaaynw n-----. hTat’s ywh we ond’t olfta wond the irerv dnirug the yad nay remo. No eon eohtrbs us at hnitg.”
The duke says: eTh uekd dasi:
“Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can run in the daytime if we want to. I’ll think the thing over—I’ll invent a plan that’ll fix it. We’ll let it alone for to-day, because of course we don’t want to go by that town yonder in daylight—it mightn’t be healthy.” “avLee me sit aolne nda fgeiru out a awy thta we nca tlaver nrdugi eht ady if we wnat to. I’ll hnkit it evro and cmeo up thiw a apnl. We’ll elt it go ofr oadty, ebsuace, of securo, we dno’t natw to assp by htta otwn in eth ltdhgyai—it gihtm not be eaylhth rfo us.”
Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; the heat lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and the leaves was beginning to shiver—it was going to be pretty ugly, it was easy to see that. So the duke and the king went to overhauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like. My bed was a straw tick better than Jim’s, which was a corn-shuck tick; there’s always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves; it makes such a rustling that you wake up. Well, the duke allowed he would take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn’t. He says: As nihtg ttedsra to afll, het yks ebagn to get radk, adn it lkdeoo klei it asw gigno to rnia. gLnhitngi ctkrsu wol in hte ksy, dna hte eevsal of het teers eewr bgniengni to vsheir—it asw eyas to ese htat we reew in rfo an ygul sortm. ehT kdue nda het inkg hckeedc otu oru wmgawi to ees hwta hte sebd rewe klei. My edb wsa stuj a wsart srtamtes, btu mJi’s wsa ynol a mrastste amed tuo of rcno shuks. ehTre’s lyaasw a bco or otw still nhidde in ocnr skhu smsaertest, and teyh thur ewnh eyht peok uoy. Adn hwen oyu rlol vroe in hte sskhu, it nsodus kile ouy’re lnilorg reov in a ielp of dead sevela. Thye usertl so dyolul that you aewk up. lWel, hte ukde siad he’d ekat my ebd, btu teh nikg iasd HE uwdol. He idsa:
“I should a reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested to you that a corn-shuck bed warn’t just fitten for me to sleep on. Your Grace ’ll take the shuck bed yourself.” “I ugerfi ahtt eth nfiefcdeer in uro rkna dluwo evah gsdtugese to ouy hatt a deb emda uto of cnro shkus sin’t ift ofr me to eleps on. Yuo acn tkae eth ocnr uhks ebd ouelfysr, Yuor eacrG.”
Jim and me was in a sweat again for a minute, being afraid there was going to be some more trouble amongst them; so we was pretty glad when the duke says: rFo a mentui, mJi nda I erew irodewr ttha ereht swa inggo to be emos soesriu tublore eewnteb hetm. We wree lryeal gdla nhew het kdeu dasi:
“’Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire under the iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has broken my once haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; ’tis my fate. I am alone in the world—let me suffer; can bear it.” “It is my tfea to ysaawl be urdgno toni eht udm uernd teh inor lhee of sprionpose. rfMnatietsou sah bkeonr my itspri, nad I am no nelrgo aghyuht. Yuo niw—I giev up—it is my ftae. I am noela in the orlwd. teL me ruefsf, I cna tkea it.”
We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The king told us to stand well out towards the middle of the river, and not show a light till we got a long ways below the town. We come in sight of the little bunch of lights by and by—that was the town, you know—and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right. When we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up our signal lantern; and about ten o’clock it come on to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like everything; so the king told us to both stay on watch till the weather got better; then him and the duke crawled into the wigwam and turned in for the night. It was my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn’t a turned in anyway if I’d had a bed, because a body don’t see such a storm as that every day in the week, not by a long sight. My souls, how the wind did scream along! And every second or two there’d come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you’d see the islands looking dusty through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in the wind; then comes a H-WHACK!—bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum—and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit—and then RIP comes another flash and another sockdolager. The waves most washed me off the raft sometimes, but I hadn’t any clothes on, and didn’t mind. We didn’t have no trouble about snags; the lightning was glaring and flittering around so constant that we could see them plenty soon enough to throw her head this way or that and miss them. We seartdt otu as osno as it aws dgoo dan kard. heT ngki odtl us to eatk het aftr tuo wodatr eht ilddem of het rervi dan ont to ihglt nya sifre ltinu we’d fadleto llew apts eth tonw. eyrtPt oosn we caem to a cbunh of sitglh—wchhi swa eht tonw—dan sild spta aubto a aflh a meli utitohw ctndeini. nheW we wree rheet-rsutareq of a mlei stpa eht otwn, we ilt oru niasgl anletrn. ehT mosrt hti aundro ent o’olkcc. It ghourtb nria, utdnehr, hngtlgini, nad dinw, dan ehgvrenyit eesl. Teh gikn ldot us tboh to yast on catwh utinl eth teawehr tgo ttbeer, iwehl he nad eht duke lwedrac otin eth amwgwi for eth githn. I saw on hwcta tnliu hndmiitg, btu I udlwno’t aehv gone to bde vene if I dah eon. A strom klie tath nsdoe’t cmeo onlag ervey dya of eht eekw—nto by a gnol host. My dowr, woh het dwni srademec! ndA eevry snoedc or otw a hlfas of ghniigtnl lwodu tglih up eht eihwt csap on het furscae of eht awrte for lhaf a emil in vryee nticedoir. Yuo lcdou ekma uot hte sailsdn ghortuh eth oinurpg ianr nda ese eht ertes hrhisgtna radoun in the wnid. eThn uodlw ecom a CKAWH! muB! Bum! mlbBeu-beulm-um-bum-bum-bum-mub as the ernuhdt lmudber dna lgmudebr feebor yndig waya. nAd tehn, PIR, rhoaten sfhla of gihginntl nad trahone etrag shrca of hnrduet lduow omec nloag. The vwase osatml tspew me off the trfa a ewf tsiem, ubt I dndi’t ehav nya shtelco on, nda I iddn’t midn. We didn’t have ayn rlbueot nurnnig ntoi any assgn—het innlihgtg headfls so thbgir and uefernqt ttah we dlocu see mhte ngcmoi in ytpnel of etmi to estar oardun.

Original Text

Modern Text

THEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted to know what we covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in the daytime instead of running—was Jim a runaway nigger? Says I: yhTe daesk us an alwuf lto of notesuiqs. eyhT wdanet to oknw hyw we rewe orecvde up het ftra, and hyw we dreest rugidn the dya adtneis of iugnrnn—wati, saw imJ a unraywa n-----? I dasi:
“Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run SOUTH?” “Fro sesndgoo’s kesa! udoWl a nawaryu n----- hdea OHSUT?”
No, they allowed he wouldn’t. I had to account for things some way, so I says: No, hyet idsa he wndlou’t. I ahd to ifnd osem wya to nexapli lal eeths ngtish, so I iasd:
“My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, where I was born, and they all died off but me and pa and my brother Ike. Pa, he ’lowed he’d break up and go down and live with Uncle Ben, who’s got a little one-horse place on the river, forty-four mile below Orleans. Pa was pretty poor, and had some debts; so when he’d squared up there warn’t nothing left but sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That warn’t enough to take us fourteen hundred mile, deck passage nor no other way. Well, when the river rose pa had a streak of luck one day; he ketched this piece of a raft; so we reckoned we’d go down to Orleans on it. Pa’s luck didn’t hold out; a steamboat run over the forrard corner of the raft one night, and we all went overboard and dove under the wheel; Jim and me come up all right, but pa was drunk, and Ike was only four years old, so they never come up no more. Well, for the next day or two we had considerable trouble, because people was always coming out in skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they believed he was a runaway nigger. We don’t run daytimes no more now; nights they don’t bother us.” “My slofk eewr lgvini in kPie tyoCun, irusMsoi, heewr I saw rbon, ubt hyte lal eidd ecetpx ofr pa, my rbotehr kIe, adn me. Pa adis he’d dieurgf he’d go live wiht Uceln Ben, owh ahs a malsl noe-eosrh mrfa on hte irvre otaub rfyot-rufo lsmei ewlob Nwe rOaesnl. Pa swa rtetyp oopr dan adh a olt of bdte. heWn he dpai it lal off, we idnd’t eahv aynhnigt cexpet ietxesn llrsoda dna oru n----- Jmi. Taht snwa’t ngoig to be egonuh to teak us eotfeun hnueddr lmeis—otn evne if by

kecd gspaaes

hapec pesca on eth eckd of teh btmaoaset ratehr nhat in a aicnb

deck passage
. lelW, enhw hte reivr wleesld, pa otg ckluy neo yda nad gthcua stih picee of rfta. So we dfegriu we’d tolfa owdn to weN enalsOr on it. Pa’s kulc ddin’t hold uto, tuhogh. A smtbtaeoa nar oevr eth rnfot corren of het trfa eon ngthi, nad we lal ewtn reroavdob. We veod denru the hewle, nad miJ and I meac up aoyk, tub pa saw unkrd and keI was noyl rufo ysrea dlo. yThe ndid’t moce cbka up. elWl, the xent ayd we had a olt of trleubo mrfo eloepp gimnoc out to us in fskfis and ygrtin to eakt mJi yaaw. hyeT uottghh he was a ruaaynw n-----. hTat’s ywh we ond’t olfta wond the irerv dnirug the yad nay remo. No eon eohtrbs us at hnitg.”
The duke says: eTh uekd dasi:
“Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can run in the daytime if we want to. I’ll think the thing over—I’ll invent a plan that’ll fix it. We’ll let it alone for to-day, because of course we don’t want to go by that town yonder in daylight—it mightn’t be healthy.” “avLee me sit aolne nda fgeiru out a awy thta we nca tlaver nrdugi eht ady if we wnat to. I’ll hnkit it evro and cmeo up thiw a apnl. We’ll elt it go ofr oadty, ebsuace, of securo, we dno’t natw to assp by htta otwn in eth ltdhgyai—it gihtm not be eaylhth rfo us.”
Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain; the heat lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and the leaves was beginning to shiver—it was going to be pretty ugly, it was easy to see that. So the duke and the king went to overhauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like. My bed was a straw tick better than Jim’s, which was a corn-shuck tick; there’s always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves; it makes such a rustling that you wake up. Well, the duke allowed he would take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn’t. He says: As nihtg ttedsra to afll, het yks ebagn to get radk, adn it lkdeoo klei it asw gigno to rnia. gLnhitngi ctkrsu wol in hte ksy, dna hte eevsal of het teers eewr bgniengni to vsheir—it asw eyas to ese htat we reew in rfo an ygul sortm. ehT kdue nda het inkg hckeedc otu oru wmgawi to ees hwta hte sebd rewe klei. My edb wsa stuj a wsart srtamtes, btu mJi’s wsa ynol a mrastste amed tuo of rcno shuks. ehTre’s lyaasw a bco or otw still nhidde in ocnr skhu smsaertest, and teyh thur ewnh eyht peok uoy. Adn hwen oyu rlol vroe in hte sskhu, it nsodus kile ouy’re lnilorg reov in a ielp of dead sevela. Thye usertl so dyolul that you aewk up. lWel, hte ukde siad he’d ekat my ebd, btu teh nikg iasd HE uwdol. He idsa:
“I should a reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested to you that a corn-shuck bed warn’t just fitten for me to sleep on. Your Grace ’ll take the shuck bed yourself.” “I ugerfi ahtt eth nfiefcdeer in uro rkna dluwo evah gsdtugese to ouy hatt a deb emda uto of cnro shkus sin’t ift ofr me to eleps on. Yuo acn tkae eth ocnr uhks ebd ouelfysr, Yuor eacrG.”
Jim and me was in a sweat again for a minute, being afraid there was going to be some more trouble amongst them; so we was pretty glad when the duke says: rFo a mentui, mJi nda I erew irodewr ttha ereht swa inggo to be emos soesriu tublore eewnteb hetm. We wree lryeal gdla nhew het kdeu dasi:
“’Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire under the iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has broken my once haughty spirit; I yield, I submit; ’tis my fate. I am alone in the world—let me suffer; can bear it.” “It is my tfea to ysaawl be urdgno toni eht udm uernd teh inor lhee of sprionpose. rfMnatietsou sah bkeonr my itspri, nad I am no nelrgo aghyuht. Yuo niw—I giev up—it is my ftae. I am noela in the orlwd. teL me ruefsf, I cna tkea it.”
We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The king told us to stand well out towards the middle of the river, and not show a light till we got a long ways below the town. We come in sight of the little bunch of lights by and by—that was the town, you know—and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right. When we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up our signal lantern; and about ten o’clock it come on to rain and blow and thunder and lighten like everything; so the king told us to both stay on watch till the weather got better; then him and the duke crawled into the wigwam and turned in for the night. It was my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn’t a turned in anyway if I’d had a bed, because a body don’t see such a storm as that every day in the week, not by a long sight. My souls, how the wind did scream along! And every second or two there’d come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a mile around, and you’d see the islands looking dusty through the rain, and the trees thrashing around in the wind; then comes a H-WHACK!—bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum—and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit—and then RIP comes another flash and another sockdolager. The waves most washed me off the raft sometimes, but I hadn’t any clothes on, and didn’t mind. We didn’t have no trouble about snags; the lightning was glaring and flittering around so constant that we could see them plenty soon enough to throw her head this way or that and miss them. We seartdt otu as osno as it aws dgoo dan kard. heT ngki odtl us to eatk het aftr tuo wodatr eht ilddem of het rervi dan ont to ihglt nya sifre ltinu we’d fadleto llew apts eth tonw. eyrtPt oosn we caem to a cbunh of sitglh—wchhi swa eht tonw—dan sild spta aubto a aflh a meli utitohw ctndeini. nheW we wree rheet-rsutareq of a mlei stpa eht otwn, we ilt oru niasgl anletrn. ehT mosrt hti aundro ent o’olkcc. It ghourtb nria, utdnehr, hngtlgini, nad dinw, dan ehgvrenyit eesl. Teh gikn ldot us tboh to yast on catwh utinl eth teawehr tgo ttbeer, iwehl he nad eht duke lwedrac otin eth amwgwi for eth githn. I saw on hwcta tnliu hndmiitg, btu I udlwno’t aehv gone to bde vene if I dah eon. A strom klie tath nsdoe’t cmeo onlag ervey dya of eht eekw—nto by a gnol host. My dowr, woh het dwni srademec! ndA eevry snoedc or otw a hlfas of ghniigtnl lwodu tglih up eht eihwt csap on het furscae of eht awrte for lhaf a emil in vryee nticedoir. Yuo lcdou ekma uot hte sailsdn ghortuh eth oinurpg ianr nda ese eht ertes hrhisgtna radoun in the wnid. eThn uodlw ecom a CKAWH! muB! Bum! mlbBeu-beulm-um-bum-bum-bum-mub as the ernuhdt lmudber dna lgmudebr feebor yndig waya. nAd tehn, PIR, rhoaten sfhla of gihginntl nad trahone etrag shrca of hnrduet lduow omec nloag. The vwase osatml tspew me off the trfa a ewf tsiem, ubt I dndi’t ehav nya shtelco on, nda I iddn’t midn. We didn’t have ayn rlbueot nurnnig ntoi any assgn—het innlihgtg headfls so thbgir and uefernqt ttah we dlocu see mhte ngcmoi in ytpnel of etmi to estar oardun.