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SO I started for town in the wagon, and when I was half-way I see a wagon coming, and sure enough it was Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and waited till he come along. I says “Hold on!” and it stopped alongside, and his mouth opened up like a trunk, and stayed so; and he swallowed two or three times like a person that’s got a dry throat, and then says: So I headed to town in the wagon. About halfway there, I saw a wagon coming toward me. Sure enough, it was Tom Sawyer. I stopped and waited until he reached me. I said, “Hold on!” and it pulled up alongside me. His mouth fell open like the lid of a trunk and stayed that way. He swallowed two or three times like a person with a dry throat. Then he says:
“I hain’t ever done you no harm. You know that. So, then, what you want to come back and ha’nt ME for?” “I’ve never done anything to hurt you. You know that. So why do you want to come back and haunt ME?”
I says: I said:
“I hain’t come back—I hain’t been GONE.” “I haven’t come back—I was never GONE.”
When he heard my voice it righted him up some, but he warn’t quite satisfied yet. He says: The sound of my voice cleared his head a little, but he still wasn’t quite satisfied. He said:
“Don’t you play nothing on me, because I wouldn’t on you. Honest injun, you ain’t a ghost?” “Don’t you try to fool me, because I wouldn’t do that to you. Honestly now—you’re not a ghost?”
“Honest injun, I ain’t,” I says. “Honestly, I’m not,” I said.
“Well—I—I—well, that ought to settle it, of course; but I can’t somehow seem to understand it no way. Looky here, warn’t you ever murdered AT ALL?” “Well… I… I… well, that settles it, of course. But I can’t understand it at all. Look here—weren’t you MURDERED?”
“No. I warn’t ever murdered at all—I played it on them. You come in here and feel of me if you don’t believe me.” “No, I wasn’t murdered at all—it was a trick I played on everyone. You come over here and touch my skin if you don’t believe me.”
So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was that glad to see me again he didn’t know what to do. And he wanted to know all about it right off, because it was a grand adventure, and mysterious, and so it hit him where he lived. But I said, leave it alone till by and by; and told his driver to wait, and we drove off a little piece, and I told him the kind of a fix I was in, and what did he reckon we better do? He said, let him alone a minute, and don’t disturb him. So he thought and thought, and pretty soon he says: So he did, and that satisfied him. He was so glad to see me that he didn’t know what to do. He wanted to know everything right away, because he said it was a grand adventure and mysterious—just the kind of stuff he liked best. But I told him to wait for a little while. I told his driver to wait, and Tom and I rode off a little ways. I told him the trouble I was in, and asked for his advice on what we should do. He said to leave him alone for a minute and not to bother him. He thought and thought, and pretty soon he said:
“It’s all right; I’ve got it. Take my trunk in your wagon, and let on it’s your’n; and you turn back and fool along slow, so as to get to the house about the time you ought to; and I’ll go towards town a piece, and take a fresh start, and get there a quarter or a half an hour after you; and you needn’t let on to know me at first.” “Okay, I’ve got it. Take my trunk in your wagon, and pretend that it’s yours. You turn around and head back slowly so that you get back to the house around the time you were supposed to. I’ll head toward town, then I’ll set out again so that I get to the farm about a quarter or half an hour after you. Pretend you don’t know me.”
I says: I said:
“All right; but wait a minute. There’s one more thing—a thing that NOBODY don’t know but me. And that is, there’s a nigger here that I’m a-trying to steal out of slavery, and his name is JIM—old Miss Watson’s Jim.” “All right, but wait a minute. There’s one more thing—something that NO ONE knows but me. There’s a n----- here, and I’m trying to steal him out of slavery. His name is JIM—it’s old Miss Watson’s slave, Jim.”
He says: He said:
“What! Why, Jim is—” “Huh?! But Jim is….”
He stopped and went to studying. I says: He stopped and started thinking again. I said:
“I know what you’ll say. You’ll say it’s dirty, low-down business; but what if it is? I’m low down; and I’m a-going to steal him, and I want you keep mum and not let on. Will you?” “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say that stealing him is a dirty, low-down thing to do. So what, though? I’m low-down myself, and I’m going to steal him. I want you to not say anything or let on that you know. Will you?”
His eye lit up, and he says: His eyes lit up, and he said:
“I’ll HELP you steal him!” “I’ll HELP you steal him!”
Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It was the most astonishing speech I ever heard—and I’m bound to say Tom Sawyer fell considerable in my estimation. Only I couldn’t believe it. Tom Sawyer a NIGGER-STEALER! I was so shocked that I nearly fell over like I’d been shot. It was the most astonishing thing I’d ever heard—and I have to say my opinion of Tom Sawyer dropped a lot when I heard it. I just couldn’t believe it: Tom Sawyer, a N----- STEALER!”
“Oh, shucks!” I says; “you’re joking.” “No way!” I said. “You’re joking.”
“I ain’t joking, either.” “Nope, I’m not joking.”
“Well, then,” I says, “joking or no joking, if you hear anything said about a runaway nigger, don’t forget to remember that YOU don’t know nothing about him, and I don’t know nothing about him.” “Well, then,” I said. “Joke or no joke, if you hear anything about a runaway n-----, remember that neither you nor I know anything about him.”
Then we took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and he drove off his way and I drove mine. But of course I forgot all about driving slow on accounts of being glad and full of thinking; so I got home a heap too quick for that length of a trip. The old gentleman was at the door, and he says: We took the trunk and put it in my wagon. Then he went his way, and I went mine. Of course, I forgot all about driving slowly because I was so happy and lost in thought. I got home far too quickly for that length of a trip. The old gentleman was the door, and he said:
“Why, this is wonderful! Whoever would a thought it was in that mare to do it? I wish we’d a timed her. And she hain’t sweated a hair—not a hair. It’s wonderful. Why, I wouldn’t take a hundred dollars for that horse now—I wouldn’t, honest; and yet I’d a sold her for fifteen before, and thought ’twas all she was worth.” “This is great! Whoever thought that old mare could make the trip that quickly! I wished we had timed her. She’s not even sweating at all—not a single drop. Wow. Why, I wouldn’t sell that horse now, not even for a hundred dollars—honestly, I wouldn’t. And yet, before now I would have sold her for fifteen dollars because I thought that was all she was worth.”