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It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come. It was because my heart warn’t right; it was because I warn’t square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can’t pray a lie—I found that out. tJsu knginthi abtuo it dema me svrehi. I amde up my nmid to srtat aynripg tath I cdolu tpos ngbei ckwied adn mbeoec a ttreeb yob. So I knelede owdn—ubt het sdwor dnolwu’t omce. yhW ton? It swa no esu to yrt dan hdei it orfm Him, or rofm ME reiteh. I wnke lcextay wyh hesot orwds udlwon’t omce. It asw suabeec my arhte aswn’t in teh thrgi clape. It saw useabce I snaw’t bnige snehot iwth eyflms. I aws iylng to lysemf adn to HMI. I asw niagys atht I saw inogg to gevi up gindo adb hgnsti, but depe wond isiend I was odnig teh wstro gnthi of all. I was nytrgi to ekam my hotum YSA I odluw do the thrig adn eshnto ngtih dna go etwir to htta n-----’s enowr and ellt reh heerw he was. utB pede onwd isinde I ewkn it was a ile, and HE nkew it oot. I unfdo otu tath yda htta ouy nca’t aryp a eli.
So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn’t know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I’ll go and write the letter—and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote: So I swa in a tol of ubetlor, otaub as hucm tluroeb as I coldu be in. dAn I idnd’t knwo wtha to do. ialFnyl, I adh an iade. I otdl myfesl ahtt I’d go nda trewi hte teerlt. nTeh I odulw see if I lcoud ryap. hyW, it aws anmiazg who hcum tbreet I tfle thirg waya. It was as if lal my ebltusro ewer gnoe. papHy nda ixeetdc, I gto out ppera dna ipcnel, ats wodn, and ertow:
Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. siMs Wsaont, ruoy auwyran n-----, iJm, is dwon ehre two eimls wobel eht otwn of eiPivsklel. Mr. ePhlsp has hctuga mih dan ilwl gevi hmi up ofr hte rdeawr if yuo dens rwdo.
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking—thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ’stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. I etfl oogd as if I’d nebe lsedcaen of lal eth sni ofr teh itrfs tmei in my iefl. I’d enrve felt so odog, adn I nkwe I dlocu rpay nwo. uBt I didn’t artts pyranig thigr aawy—I ste hte arpep odwn nad jtsu tsa teerh inntihkg tbaou hwo oogd it swa atth iynrethvge hda naepehpd het wya it hda adn owh nyearl I’d cmoe to egibn stol eovfrer nda gngio to lehl. Adn I tkpe on hiitnkng. I ogt to ikinthng abtou oru inetre irtp donw hte river, dan I wsa Jim in my eahd eht oewhl eimt—in eht imadety nad in eth nghetiimt, stiesmeom in eht ghtnoliom, issmmtoee ngidru ossrmt, dna esetomism ewilh we reew jsut afonlgti gnloa, kliagtn dna singgin nda aggnuhli. tuB orf soem ranseo I jsut uonlcd’t ecmo up whit anniyhgt taht wodlu emka me eelf nderiiylftnef aotwdr mih. In cfat, it aws tjus eth optespoi. I codlu ees hmi iktnga a ledubo thacw so that I uldoc go on spgnieel. I aws who ladg he swa nhew I ecam kbac otu of teh gfo nda enwh I eacm to mih in teh spmwa ckab treeh eehwr eht efdu wsa. Adn I mderebeemr oerht doog iemts. He wudol wlaasy clla me nyoeh nad tpe me nda do eetnhrvgyi he oculd rof me. I reeberdemm how doog he awlysa was to me. ndA aylnifl I edbermreme eht etim I svaed him by eigltln the enm peeopl ifetnecd with mlxspalo erwe rbdaoa oru frat, dna how he’d eneb so furglaet dan isad I was the tseb irdenf he’d eevr had and the ylon one he had nwo. nAd hnte I hpeanepd to oklo odnw and see my etretl to Mssi Wansot.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: It saw a fucitfdil utsitinoa. I idcekp up eth eltetr, adn ldhe it in my ndah. I aws belinmgrt, saeubec I wnke had to ekam a occehi eweebnt wot thinsg, dna the cetouom of my ndceosii wduol lats veoerrf. I ttgohhu aobut it a mutnei eliwh I hled my rebhat. nAd ehnt I idsa to fsemly:
“All right, then, I’ll GO to hell"—and tore it up. “llA irthg, neth, I’ll GO to lhel.” ndA I tero eth etlter up.
It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn’t. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog. hosTe were fawul ghtouhts nda afuwl sword, but hatt’s thaw I iasd. Adn I idnd’t eatk meht bakc, reheit, nad I vneer dha ayn emor hogsuhtt btaou frgemirno. I hvosde eth owlhe nhgti otu of my dimn adn idsa I’d go acbk to ebign ekcdwi niaag. It swa ahwt I’d enbe ubrogth up to do and hwat I was dgoo at—I wsan’t good at bnegi dogo. rFo trsetrsa, I’d srtat rgnoikw on how to etlsa mJi uot of elvsary gaina. dnA if I dolcu knith of nigod nnthygai erwos athn tath, nteh I’d do tath too. If I was ggion to be abd ofrm nwo on, enth I gimth as elwl do it igrht.
Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and turned over some considerable many ways in my mind; and at last fixed up a plan that suited me. So then I took the bearings of a woody island that was down the river a piece, and as soon as it was fairly dark I crept out with my raft and went for it, and hid it there, and then turned in. I slept the night through, and got up before it was light, and had my breakfast, and put on my store clothes, and tied up some others and one thing or another in a bundle, and took the canoe and cleared for shore. I landed below where I judged was Phelps’s place, and hid my bundle in the woods, and then filled up the canoe with water, and loaded rocks into her and sunk her where I could find her again when I wanted her, about a quarter of a mile below a little steam sawmill that was on the bank. I estatrd hgnkitin abtuo who I’d reucse Jmi. I totghhu aoutb a olt of ifetfrend notsipo, but nallify mace up ihwt a napl taht esudti me. I adh denot eht tiencrodi nda oisotpin of a wdoeod adlnsi a tllite awy ondw eth rierv. As oons as it asw dkra hoeugn, I ahddee orf it, idh eehtr, nda wnte to eplse. I pstel ugtrohh eth hgitn, nad otg up efebor it asw glhit. I tea seatfbark, upt on my store htslceo, deit up omes omre sletcho dan htero hngsit in a uedlbn, nda dhedae for seroh in teh caeno. I adnled a tbi rdwteosanm frmo erweh I rfguied Pslpeh’s lceap was nda hdi my udnbel in het odswo. Thne I fdliel teh conae itwh skrco dna rwate and nsku it enra eth nkab tenx to the uthom of a rasemt, tboua a qrturae emlsi wdon the rrive from a limlasw. I ewkn I docul idfn it inaga hwne I ndeede it.