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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 2

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 2
 
PART I
 
Well, I got a good going-over in the morning from old Miss Watson on account of my clothes. The Widow she didn’t scold but only cleaned off the dirt and dust, and looked so sorry that I thought I would behave for a while, if I could. Then Miss Wat­son she took me into the next room and prayed, but nothing came of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I prayed for I could get. But it wasn’t so. I tried it. Once I got a fish line, but no hooks. The fish line wasn’t any good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn’t make it work. By and by one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She never told me why, and I couldn’t make it out myself.
 
I sat down one time back in the woods, and had a long think about it. I says to myself, if a person can get anything he prays for, why doesn’t Deacon Winn get back the money he lost? Why can’t the Widow get back the things that were stolen from her? Why can’t Miss Watson get some fat on her bones? No, says I to myself, there’s nothing to it. I went and told the Widow about it, and she said that the things a body could get by praying were things “of the spirit.” This was too much for me, but she told me what she meant: I must help other people, and look out for them all the time and never think about myself. This was in­cluding Miss Watson, as I took it. I went out in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn’t see any advantage in it except for the other people. So at last I decided I wouldn’t worry about it any more, but just let it go.
 
Pap* he hadn’t been seen for more than a year, and that was all right with me; I didn’t want to see him any more. He always used to beat me when he was sober and could get his hands on me, though I used to take to the woods most of the time when he was around. Well, about this time the body of a man was found drowned in the river. Some people judged it was Pap- said this drowned man was just his size, and dressed in rags and had long hair, which was all like Pap. But they couldn’t make anything out of the face, because it had been in the water so long it wasn’t much like a face at all. Somehow I felt sure it wasn’t Pap and I judged the old man would turn up again by and by, though I wished he wouldn’t.
 
We played robbers now and then for about a month. All the boys did. But we hadn’t robbed anybody, hadn’t killed any peo­ple, but only just pretended. We used to jump out of the woods and go charging down on drivers and women in wagons carry­ing things to market, but we never really bothered any of them. Later we would go to the cave and talk over what we had done and how many people we had killed and marked.
 
One day Tom sent a boy to run about town with a flaming stick (which was the sign for the gang to get together), and then he said he had secret news by his spies that next day a whole party of Spanish merchants and rich Arabs was going to camp in Cave Hollow with two hundred elephants and six hundred camels, all loaded down with diamonds, and they didn’t have only a guard of four hundred soldiers, so we would lie in wait and kill the lot of them and steal everything.
 
I didn’t believe we could beat such a crowd of Spaniards and Arabs, but I wanted to see the camels and elephants, so I was on hand the next day for the attack; and when we got the word we rushed out of the woods and down the hill. But there weren’t any camels, or elephants either. It wasn’t anything but a Sun­day School picnic, and only a lot of kids at that. We broke up the picnic and chased the children up the valley; but we never Pap: A form of papa or father.
 
got anything except a little of the picnic lunch; and then the teacher charged in, and made us drop everything and leave.
I didn’t see any diamonds, and I told Tom Sawyer so. He said there were loads of them there, and he said there were Arabs there too, and elephants and things. I said, why couldn’t we see them, jthen? He said if I weren’t so ignorant and had read a book called Don Quixote, I would know without asking. He said it was all done by magicians. He said there were hun­dreds of soldiers there and elephants and treasure, and so on, but we had enemies called magicians, and they had turned the whole thing into a children’s Sunday school picnic just to spite us. I said, all right; then the thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom Sawyer said I was an ignorant fool.
 
Anyhow, I didn’t have too much time now to spend with the gang on these expeditions which Tom was always making up out of his head, because certain events took place soon which kept me busy and carried me far away from such scenes. Mean­while I went to school fairly regularly and could spell and read and write just a little. I could also say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty five, and I don’t believe I could ever get any further than that if I was to live for ever. I don’t take much stock in mathematics anyway.
 
At first I hated school, but by and by I got so I could stand it. Whenever I got very bored, I stayed away and spent a day in the woods, and the whipping I got the next day did me good and cheered me up again. So the longer I went to school the easier it got. I was getting rather used to the Widow’s ways too, and she didn’t bother me so much now. Living in a house and sleeping in a bed was hard for me at first, and before the cold weather started I used to slip out and sleep in the woods some­times, so that was a rest for me. I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the new ones too, a little bit. The Widow said I was coming along slow but sure, and doing satisfactorily. She said she wasn’t ashamed of me.
 
One morning I happened to turn over the salt shaker at breakfast. Now everyone knows that this means very bad luck. I reached for some of the salt as quickly as I could to throw over my shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of me and stopped me. She says, “Take your hands away, Huckleberry. What a dirty mess you always make at the table.” The Widow put in a good word for me but I knew very well that this wasn’t enough to keep away the bad luck. I started out, after breakfast, feeling very much worried, and wondering when it was going to fall on me, and what it was going to be. There are ways to keep off certain kinds of bad luck, but there wasn’t anything to do now in this case, so I just went along, low- spirited and on the lookout.
 
I went down to the front garden and climbed over the fence. There, in the soft ground, I saw somebody’s tracks. The person had come up from the town and stood near the fence for a while without entering the garden. I couldn’t make it out. It was very curious somehow. I was going to follow the tracks but I leaned over to look at them first. I didn’t notice anything at first but next I did. There was a cross in the left heel made with big nails, to keep off the devil.
 
I was up in a second and flying down the hill. I looked over my shoulder every now and then but I didn’t see anybody. I went to Judge Thatcher’s as quickly as I could and told him all about it. He said there was no need to worry; he talked to me nice and quiet and said my money was safe. Though I didn’t care much about the money, I felt a little better after talking with the Judge, though somehow I couldn’t get my mind off those tracks. They looked awfully familiar to me. Later, when I lit my candle and went up to my room that night, I knew I was right. Pap was back, and there he sat waiting for me in my room  his own self.
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. How did the Widow and Miss Watson behave about Huck’s clothes the next day?
2. Why didn’t Huck believe in the power of prayer?
3. What did the Widow say he should pray for?
4: Why didn’t Huck want to see his father again?
5. What game did the boys play for about a month?
6. What did Tom’s Spaniards and Arabs turn out to be?
7. Where did Tom get his ideas from?
8. What was Huck learning in school?
Why did the Widow say that Huck was coming along slow but sure?
5. What happened to Huck one morning at breakfast?
6. Why couldn’t he keep away the bad luck?
7. What did he see outside the fence?
8. What did Judge Thatcher say to Huck?
9. Who was waiting for Huck in his room?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
merchant                              at last
diamond                               by and by
magician                              make it out
multiplication                       let go
mess                                     be on hand
sober                                     break up
at first                                     slip out
 
PART II
 
I had shut the door. Then I turned around, and there he was. I used to be scared of him all the time, he beat me so much. I guess I was scared now, too; but in a minute I saw I was mis­taken. My heart jumped a couple of times, as you might say; but right away I saw I wasn’t scared of him worth bothering about.
 
He was almost fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and dirty-looking and hung down over his face. You could see his eyes shining through. His hair was all black, not gray; so were his long, mixed-up whiskers. There wasn’t any color in his face, where his face showed. It was white not like another man’s white but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body’s skin crawl. As for his clothes just rags, that’s all. His shoes had big holes in them, and his toes you could see him working them now and then stuck out through the tops of his shoes. His hat was lying on the floor an old black hat with the top caved in.
 
I stood looking at him; he sat looking at me, with his chair leaning back a little. I set the candle down. I noticed the win­dow was up. He had climbed in by the porch. He kept looking me all over. By and by he says:
 
“Brand new clothes. You think you’re a good deal of a big- bug, don’t you?”
 
“Maybe I am, maybe I ain’t,” I said.
 
“Don’t give me any of your back talk,” he says. “You’ve put on considerable airs since I been away. I’ll fix that before I get done with you. You’re educated, too, they say can read and write. You think you’re better than your father, now, don’t you, because he can’t? I’ll take it out of you. Who told you you could bother with such fancy things, hey? who told you you could?”
 
“The Widow. She told me.”
 
“Well, I’ll teach her to interfere. And look here you drop that school, you hear? I’ll teach people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own father and let on to be better than what he is. You let me catch you fooling around that school again, do you hear? Your mother couldn’t read, and she couldn’t write, either, before she died. None of the family could before they died. I can’t, and here you are swelling yourself up like this. I ain’t the man to stand it you hear? Say, let me hear you read.” I took up a book and began to read something about General Washington and the wars. When I read about half a minute, he hit the book with his hand and knocked it across the room. He says:
 
“It’s so. You can do it. I had my doubts when they told me. Now look here you stop that putting on airs. I won’t have it. I’ll lay for you, my smart fellow; and if I catch you about the school I’ll whip you good. Pretty soon I suppose you’ll get re­ligious, too. I never saw such a son.” He sat there mumbling to himself for a minute, and then he says: “Ain’t you the sweet­smelling young thing, though? A bed, and bedclothes, and a looking glass, and a piece of carpet on the floor and your own father’s got to sleep with the pigs. I never saw such a son. There’s no end to it. Why, they even say you’re rich. Hey? how is that?”
 
“They lie  that’s how.”
 
“Look here and mind how you talk to me. I’m standing all I can stand now so don’t give me any back talk. I’ve been in town two days and I’ve heard nothing but about your being rich. I heard about it way down the river, too. That’s why I came here.”
“I ain’t got any money.”
 
“It’s a lie. Judge Thatcher’s got it. I’ll ask him, and I’ll make him give-it up too, or I’ll know the reason why. Say, how much have you got in your pocket? I want it.”
 
“I’ve only a dollar, and I need that to ”
“It doesn’t make any difference whether you need it or not  just hand it over.”
 
He took it and bit it to see whether it was good, and then he said he was going downtown to get some whiskey said he hadn’t had a drink all day. When he got out on the porch he put his head in the window again and cursed me for putting on airs and trying to be better than he was. And when I figured he was gone he came back and put his head in again, and told me to mind about that school, because he was going to lay for me and beat me if I didn’t drop that.
 
Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge Thatcher’s and tried to make him give up the money, but he couldn’t. Then he swore he’d make the law force the judge to hand all the money over to him.
 
The judge and the Widow went to law to get the court to take me away from him and let one of them be my legal guard­ian; but there was a new judge that had just come, and he didn’t know the old man. He said courts mustn’t interfere and separate families if they could help it said he’d rather not take a child away from its own father. So Judge Thatcher and the Widow had to give up the matter.
 
That pleased the old man until he couldn’t rest. He said he’d beat me until I was black and blue if I didn’t raise some money for him. I borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, and Pap took it and got drunk, and went blowing around town, and cursing and carrying on; and he kept it up until late at night. They jailed him, and next day they had him before the court and jailed him for a week. But pretty soon he was out again and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping school.
 
He caught me a couple of times and beat me, but I went to school just the same and most of the time managed to run away from him.
 
I didn’t want to go to school before, but now I kept going just to spite Pap. That law trial was a slow business appeared as though they weren’t going to get started on it; so every now and then I’d borrow two or three dollars from the judge, to keep from getting a whipping. Every time Pap got the money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he raised the devil around town, and every time he raised the devil he got jailed. But Pap was just suited for this kind of thing it was right in his line.
 
He got to hanging around the Widow’s too much, and so she told him at last that if he didn’t stop she would make trouble for him. Well, wasn’t he mad? He said he would show her who was Huck Finn’s boss. So he watched out for me, and one day caught me and took me up the river about three miles in a row­boat, and crossed over to the Illinois shore where the woods were very heavy and there were no houses but an old log cabin in a place where the trees were so thick you couldn’t find the cabin if you didn’t know where it was.
 
He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin and he always locked the door and put the key under his head at night. He had a gun which he had stolen, I guess, and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived on. Every little while he locked me in and he went down to the store, three miles farther down the river, and exchanged fish and game for whiskey, and brought it home and had a good time, and beat me. The Widow she found out by- and by where I was, and she sent a man over to try to get hold of me; but Pap drove him off with the gun. And it wasn’t long after that I was used to being where I was, and liked it all but the whippings.
 
It was kind of lazy and pleasant, lying around comfortable all day, smoking and fishing and no books to study. Two months or more ran along, and my clothes got to be-all rags and dirt, and I didn’t see how I’d ever gotten to like it so well at the Wid­ow’s, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate and comb your hair, and go to bed and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a book, and have old Miss WatscJn picking at you all the time. I didn’t want to go back any more. I had stopped swear­ing, because the Widow didn’t like it; but now I took it up again because Pap didn’t object. It was pretty good times up there in the woods, considering everything.
 
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Describe Huck’s father.
2. How did Huck’s father feel about the boy’s clothes and his schooling?
3. Who in Huck’s family had been able to read?
4. Why had Huck’s father come to see the boy?
5. How was he going to spend Huck’s dollar?
6. Why hadn’t the Widow or Judge Thatcher become Huck’s legal guardian?
7. How did Huck’s father behave after that?
8. How did Huck keep his father from beating him?
9. What did Huck’s father do one day?
10. How did he keep Huck from running off?
11. Why did Huck begin to like being with his father?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
too                               but on airs
boss                           bring up (a clild)
comb                          give up
turn around               run away from
hang down                have a good time