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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 5

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 5
 
 
PARTI
 
It must have been close to one o’clock when we got below the island at last, and the raft did seem to go mighty slow. If a boat came along, we were going to take to the canoe, which we now had tied to the raft, and break for the Illinois shore but no boat came. When the first light of day began to show, we tied up to one of the many sand bars, covered with thick cotton­wood trees, that are found so often in this part of the Missis­sippi. We cut off cottonwood branches and covered up the raft with them so that it looked as though there had been a cave-in  in the bank there. We had mountains on the Missouri shore and heavy woods on the Illinois side, and the channel flowed close to the Missouri shore at this place, so we weren’t afraid of any­one running across us. We lay there all day and watched the rafts and steamboats move down the Missouri shore, and the up bound steamboats fight the big river in the middle.
 
When it was beginning to get dark we poked our heads out of the bushes and looked up and down and acrossnothing in sight; so Jim took up some of the boards of the raft and built a comfortable little wigwam to get under in hot weather and rainy, and to keep things dry. Jim made a floor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the rest of our supplies were out of reach of steamboat waves. Right in the middle of the wigwam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with a frame around it to hold it in place this was to build a fire on in bad weather or on cold days. The wigwam would keep the fire from being seen. We made an extra steering oar too in case one of the others might get broke or washed away. We fixed up a short forked stick to hang the lantern on, because we must always light the lantern whenever we saw a steamboat coming downstream be­hind us, to keep from getting run over.
 
This second night we ran between seven and eight hours, with a current that was making over four miles an hour. We caught' fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to wake us up whenever we felt sleepy. It was very pleasant, drifting down the big, still river, lying on our backs and looking up at the sky. We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all that night or the next or the next.
 
Every night we passed towns, some of them far away up on black hills, nothing but just a shiny bit of lights; not a home could you see. The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit up. In St. Petersburg, they used to say there were twenty or thirty thousand people who lived in St. Louis, Missouri, but I never believed it until I saw that wonder­ful spread of lights at two o’clock that still night. There wasn’t a sound there everybody was asleep.
 
Every night I used to slip ashore toward ten o’clock at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents worth of meal or bacon and other stuff to eat: and sometimes I lifted a chicken that wasn’t resting comfortably, and took him along. Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you don’t want him yourself you can easily find somebody that does, and a good deed isn’t ever forgotten. I never saw Pap when he didn’t want the chicken himself, but’ that is what he used to say, any­way.
Mornings, before daylight, I slipped into corn fields and bor­rowed a watermelon or some new com, or things of that kind. Pap always said it wasn’t wrong to borrow things if you meant to pay them back some time; but the Widow said it wasn’t any­thing but a soft name for stealing. As for me, it was hard to say which was right, but I figured Pap’s point of view was a little more convenient right now. We shot a bird now and then that got up too early in the morning or didn’t go to bed early enough in the evening. Take it all around, Jim and I lived pretty high.
 
The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm, with a lot of thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in a solid sheet. For several nights after this there was also a lot of fog. I guess it was during this fog that we missed Cairo, which was the city we were heading for. Cairo lies at the bottom of Il­linois, where the Ohio River comes in. We planned to sell the raft there and get on a steamboat and go away up the Ohio among the free states, and there be out of trouble, especially Jim. But somehow we passed by Cairo without even seeing it and soon found ourselves down in Arkansas.
 
In general the days swam by; they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely. Here is the way we generally put in our time. We ran nights, and laid up and hid during the daytime. As soon as the night was almost gone we stopped navigating and tied up nearly always in the dead water along a sandbar. Then we cut young cottonwood branches and hid the raft with them. Then we set out our fishing lines. Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool off. Then we sat down on the sandy bottom where the water was knee-deep, and waited for the sun to rise.
 
A little smoke couldn’t be noticed at this early hour, so we could take some fish off the lines and cook up a hot breakfast.
 
Afterwards, we would watch the lonesome river, and by and by get drowsy and fall off to sleep.
 
Soon as it was night again and off we shoved. When we got the raft out to about the middle of the river we let her alone, and let her float wherever the current wanted her to. Then we lit our pipes, and dangled our legs in the water, and talked about all kinds of things. It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up above us, all filled with stars, and we used to lie on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they were made or only just happened. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim said they’d probably gotten spoiled and had been thrown out of heaven.
 
We had one or two adventures but nothing of much import­ance. One night we came upon a house boat wrecked on a sand­bar. It seemed to be deserted and so we climbed on board to see whether maybe we might find something of use to us. Pretty soon we saw a light burning in one of the cabins. We crawled on our hands and knees as far as the door, and there were three men inside. They were arguing. They must have been gamblers or something, and maybe they were drunk too.
 
Two of the men said they were going to tie up the third fel­low and maybe kill him. They had guns; so when we heard this we got scared and beat it out of there as fast as we could. We crawled back along the side of the boat, and slow work it was seemed a week before we got to the stem. We didn’t speak or whisper, nor hardly even breathe. I said to myself, Tom Sawyer wouldn’t back out now, and I explained to Jim later that this was a real adventure and that Tom Sawyer would have made something out of it. But Jim said he didn’t want any such ad­ventures. He was still shaking so much he could hardly talk about it.
 
A few nights later we had another close call. I had taken the canoe and was on my way toward a small town to buy a few things we needed for food. Suddenly, before I even noticed it, along comes a rowboat, with two men in it with guns, and they stopped and I stopped. One of them explained that five Negroes had run off that night just above the bend of the river, and they were out looking for them. They asked me who was on the raft back there with me. I said, my father and he was sick, and I was on my way to town to get help to tow the raft ashore. They asked me what was wrong with my father, and I said I didn’t know exactly but I guessed it was smallpox because no one would come near us. Well, you should have seen those fellows clear out of there when they heard the word smallpox. They backed water and pulled away as fast as they could. I was glad to see them go, too, because I was plenty scared.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. How did Huck and Jim hide during the day?
2. What did they do to fix up the raft?
3. How far did they go the second night? What did they do to pass the time?
4. What city did they pass on the fifth night? What made Huck believe that it was a big city?
5. How did they get food?
6. Why did they pass by Cairo without seeing it?
7. Where is Cairo? Why were they planning to go there?
8. What does the author mean by the “free states”?
9. How did they pass the time as they went down the river?
10. What did they see in the wrecked house boat?
11. What was the second adventure that they had?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
mighty                freshen
fork                     dangle
shiny                  streak
village                tow
daylight              tie up
sheet                 run over
fog                      take a swim 
lovely                  cool off
 
PART II
 
But, as I said before, things in general were pretty quiet with us—that is, until we met the King and the Duke. Then it seemed we were always in some kind of hot water or other. We met the King and the Duke in this way: 
 
One morning, just about when the sun was coming up, I took the canoe and crossed over to the main shore it was only a few hundred yards from where the raft was hidden and paddled about a mile up a creek through some thick woods, to see if I couldn’t get some berries for breakfast. Just as I was passing a pHice where a kind of cow path crossed the creek, here comes a couple of men tearing up the path as fast as their legs could carry them. I thought I was a goner, for whenever anybody was after anybody I judged it was me they were after or maybe Jim. I was about to get out of there in a hurry, but they were pretty close to me then, and called out and begged me to save their lives said they hadn’t been doing anything, and were being chased for it said there were men and dogs following them. They wanted to jump right into the canoe, but I says: “Don’t you do it. I don’t hear the dogs and horses yet. You’ve got time to follow along the creek a ways. Then you take to the water, and wade down to me, and get into the canoe that’ll throw the dogs off the scent.”
 
They did this, and as soon as they got back and got into the canoe I started paddling toward the raft, and in about five min­utes we heard the dogs and the men away off shouting. Then as we got further away these sounds died down; when we struck the river all was quiet, and we paddled over to the sandbar and hid in the cottonwoods and were safe.
 
One of these fellows was about seventy years old or more, and had a bald head and very gray whiskers. He wore an old black hat and a dirty blue shirt. His trousers were torn in sev­eral places, and his trousers legs were stuck down into his boot tops. He had an old long-tailed blue coat with bright yellow but­tons thrown over his arm, and both of them carried big, fat, worn out carpet bags.
The other fellow was about thirty years old, and his clothes were just about as bad and funny looking as the old man’s. After breakfast we all talked and the first thing that came out was that these fellows didn’t know one another.
 
“What got you into trouble?” said the old fellow with the bald head.
 
“Well, I’d been selling an article to clean the teeth and it cleans them too- but it generally takes the enamel off with it.
One morning, just about when the sun was coming up, I took the canoe and crossed over to the main shore it was only a few hundred yards from where the raft was hidden and paddled about a mile up a creek through some thick woods, to see if I couldn’t get some berries for breakfast. Just as I was passing a pHice where a kind of cow path crossed the creek, here comes a couple of men tearing up the path as fast as their legs could carry them. I thought I was a goner, for whenever anybody was after anybody I judged it was me they were after or maybe Jim. I was about to get out of there in a hurry, but they were pretty close to me then, and called out and begged me to save their lives said they hadn’t been doing anything, and were being chased for it said there were men and dogs following them. They wanted to jump right into the canoe, but I says: “Don’t you do it. I don’t hear the dogs and horses yet. You’ve got time to follow along the creek a ways. Then you take to the water, and wade down to me, and get into the canoe that’ll throw the dogs off the scent.”
 
They did this, and as soon as they got back and got into the canoe I started paddling toward the raft, and in about five min­utes we heard the dogs and the men away off shouting. Then as we got further away these sounds died down; when we struck the river all was quiet, and we paddled over to the sandbar and hid in the cottonwoods and were safe.
 
One of these fellows was about seventy years old or more, and had a bald head and very gray whiskers. He wore an old black hat and a dirty blue shirt. His trousers were torn in sev­eral places, and his trousers legs were stuck down into his boot tops. He had an old long-tailed blue coat with bright yellow but­tons thrown over his arm, and both of them carried big, fat, worn out carpet bags.
The other fellow was about thirty years old, and his clothes were just about as bad and funny looking as the old man’s. After breakfast we all talked and the first thing that came out was that these fellows didn’t know one another.
 
“What got you into trouble?” said the old fellow with the bald head.
 
“Well, I’d been selling an article to clean the teeth and it cleans them too- but it generally takes the enamel off with it.
 
“Yes, it is good enough for me. It’s as good as I deserve; for who brought me so low when I was so high? I did myself. I don’t blame you, gentlemen far from it. I deserve it all. I brought myself dow yes, I did it myself, and it’s right I should suffer perfectly right.”
 
“Brought you down from where?”
 
“Ah, you would not believe it. The world never believes me  let it pass it doesn’t matter. The secret of my birth ”
“The secret of your birth? Do you mean to say ”
 
“Gentlemen,” said the young man, very serious, “I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. By rights I am a duke.”
 
Jim’s eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I guess mine did too. Then the old fellow with the bald head says: “No, you can’t mean it.”
 
“Yes, my great-grandfather, oldest son of the Duke of Bridge­water, ran away to this country about the end of the last cen­tury, to breathe the pure air of freedom. He married here, and died, leaving an infant son. His own father died about the same time, and the second son of the duke, my great-grandfather’s younger brother, seized the titles and the estates the infant real duke was ignored. I am the direct descendant of that infant I am the legal Duke of Bridgewater. And here I am, torn from my high position, hunted by men, looked down upon by the whole world, heartbroken, and in rags, my only companions thieves on a raft!”
 
Jim pitied him so much, and so did I. We tried to comfort him, but he said it wasn’t much use. He was accustomed to suf­fering. But he said that if we simply recognized his title as a duke, that would do him more good than anything else. So we said we would if he would tell us how. He said we ought to bow when we spoke to him, and say “Your Grace,” or “My Lord,” and one of us ought to wait on him at dinner, and do anything for him he wanted done.
 
Well, that was all easy, so we did it. All through dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, “Will your Grace have some of this or some of that?” and so on, and you could see it was mighty pleasing to him.
 
But the old man got pretty silent by and by he didn’t seem to like all the attention we were giving to the Duke. He seemed to have something on his mind. So a little later he got started on his story. He said there was also a secret connected with his birth. He was really the King of France.
 
You can bet Jim and I stared this time. Then the Duke says:
 
“You are what?”
 
“Yes, my friend,” the old man says, “it is true your eyes are lookin’ at this very moment on the poor, disappeared Dauphin, Louis the Seventeen, son of Louis the Sixteen and Mary An- tonette.”
 
“You! At your age?”
 
“Trouble has done it, Bilgewater* trouble has brought these grey hairs to my head and these wrinkles to my face. But, yes, gentlemen, you see before you, in shame and suffering, the wan­dering, exiled but legal King of France.”
 
Well, he began to cry and he took on so that Jim and I hardly knew what to do. We were so sorry and so glad and proud we had him with us, too. So we started to try to comfort him as we did with the Duke. But he said it wasn’t any use. The only thing that sometimes made him feel better for a while was if people treated him according to his rights, and got down on one knee to speak to him, and always called him, “Your Majesty,” and waited on him first at meals, and didn’t sit down in his presence until he asked them. So Jim and I started to address him as “Your Majesty” and doing this and that and the other for him, and standing up until he told us we might sit down. This did him a lot of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable. But now it was the Duke’s turn to look a little sour, for he didn’t seem a bit satisfied with the way things were going. Still, the King acted very friendly towards him, and said the Duke’s great­grandfather and the other Dukes of Bilgewater were highly re­spected by his father and were often allowed to come to the palace. But the Duke still looked annoyed, until by and by the King says:
 
“Probably we’ve got to be together a long time on this raft, Bilgewater, and so what’s the use of your bein’ so sour? It’ll only make things uncomfortable. It ain’t my fault I wasn’t born aduke, and it ain’t your fault you weren’t born a king so what’s the use of worrying? Make the best of things the way you find them that’s what I always say. This ain’t such a bad thing we’ve struck here plenty of food and n easy life come, give me your hand, Duke, and let’s all be friends.”
 
The Duke did it, and Jim and I were glad to see it. It made things much more comfortable and pleasant for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind toward the others.
 
It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars weren’t kings or dukes at all, but just low-down frauds and ras­cals. But I never said anything, never let on kept it to myself. It’s the best way. Then you don’t have any quarrels, and don’t get into any trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I didn’t object, as long as it would keep peace in the fam­ily, and it wasn’t any use to tell Jim, so I didn’t tell him. If I never learned anything from Pap, I learned that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.
 
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. How did Huck meet the King and the Duke?
2. How did they throw the dogs off the scent?
3. What did the two men look like?
4. How had the younger man gotten into trouble?
5. How had the older man gotten into trouble?
6. What did the two men say that they could do?
7. What did the young man say about the secret of his birth?
8. How did the young man say that Huck and Jim could make him feel better?
9. What was the story that the old man then told about his birth?
10. What did the old man say would make him feel better?
11. Why were Huck and Jim glad when the King and the Duke shook hands?
12. What did Huck decide about the two men?
 
B. Use the following words and expressions in sentences of your own:
 
scent                            wrinkle
boot                              fraud
button                          by trade
print                             be about to
sigh                             run across
reveal                         all of a sudden
infant                          make the best of
seize                          let on