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Chapter 30 The Gold Saves the Thieves

  • WHEN they got aboard the king went for me, and shook me by the collar, an_ays:
  • "Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup! Tired of our company, hey?"
  • I says:
  • "No, your majesty, we warn't—PLEASE don't, your majesty!"
  • "Quick, then, and tell us what WAS your idea, or I'll shake the insides out o'
  • you!"
  • "Honest, I'll tell you everything just as it happened, your majesty. The ma_hat had a-holt of me was very good to me, and kept saying he had a boy abou_s big as me that died last year, and he was sorry to see a boy in such _angerous fix; and when they was all took by surprise by finding the gold, an_ade a rush for the coffin, he lets go of me and whispers, 'Heel it now, o_hey'll hang ye, sure!' and I lit out. It didn't seem no good for ME to stay—_ouldn't do nothing, and I didn't want to be hung if I could get away. So _ever stopped running till I found the canoe; and when I got here I told Ji_o hurry, or they'd catch me and hang me yet, and said I was afeard you an_he duke wasn't alive now, and I was awful sorry, and so was Jim, and wa_wful glad when we see you coming; you may ask Jim if I didn't."
  • Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut up, and said, "Oh, yes, it'_IGHTY likely!" and shook me up again, and said he reckoned he'd drownd me.
  • But the duke says:
  • "Leggo the boy, you old idiot! Would YOU a done any different? Did you inquir_round for HIM when you got loose? I don't remember it."
  • So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that town and everybody in it. Bu_he duke says:
  • "You better a blame' sight give YOURSELF a good cussing, for you're the on_hat's entitled to it most. You hain't done a thing from the start that ha_ny sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with that imaginar_lue-arrow mark. That WAS bright—it was right down bully; and it was the thin_hat saved us. For if it hadn't been for that they'd a jailed us till the_nglishmen's baggage come—and then—the penitentiary, you bet! But that tric_ook 'em to the graveyard, and the gold done us a still bigger kindness; fo_f the excited fools hadn't let go all holts and made that rush to get a loo_e'd a slept in our cravats to-night—cravats warranted to WEAR, too—longe_han WE'D need 'em."
  • They was still a minute—thinking; then the king says, kind of absent- minde_ike:
  • "Mf! And we reckoned the NIGGERS stole it!"
  • That made me squirm!
  • "Yes," says the duke, kinder slow and deliberate and sarcastic, "WE did."
  • After about a half a minute the king drawls out:
  • "Leastways, I did."
  • The duke says, the same way:
  • "On the contrary, I did."
  • The king kind of ruffles up, and says:
  • "Looky here, Bilgewater, what'r you referrin' to?"
  • The duke says, pretty brisk:
  • "When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask, what was YOU referring to?"
  • "Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but I don't know—maybe you wa_sleep, and didn't know what you was about."
  • The duke bristles up now, and says:
  • "Oh, let UP on this cussed nonsense; do you take me for a blame' fool? Don'_ou reckon I know who hid that money in that coffin?"
  • "YES, sir! I know you DO know, because you done it yourself!"
  • "It's a lie!"—and the duke went for him. The king sings out:
  • "Take y'r hands off!—leggo my throat!—I take it all back!"
  • The duke says:
  • "Well, you just own up, first, that you DID hide that money there, intendin_o give me the slip one of these days, and come back and dig it up, and hav_t all to yourself."
  • "Wait jest a minute, duke—answer me this one question, honest and fair; if yo_idn't put the money there, say it, and I'll b'lieve you, and take bac_verything I said."
  • "You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I didn't. There, now!"
  • "Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only jest this one more—now DON'_it mad; didn't you have it in your mind to hook the money and hide it?"
  • The duke never said nothing for a little bit; then he says:
  • "Well, I don't care if I DID, I didn't DO it, anyway. But you not only had i_n mind to do it, but you DONE it."
  • "I wisht I never die if I done it, duke, and that's honest. I won't say _arn't goin' to do it, because I WAS; but you—I mean somebody—got in ahead o'
  • me."
  • "It's a lie! You done it, and you got to SAY you done it, or—"
  • The king began to gurgle, and then he gasps out:
  • "'Nough!—I OWN UP!"
  • I was very glad to hear him say that; it made me feel much more easier tha_hat I was feeling before. So the duke took his hands off and says:
  • "If you ever deny it again I'll drown you. It's WELL for you to set there an_lubber like a baby—it's fitten for you, after the way you've acted. I neve_ee such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble everything— and I a-trusting yo_ll the time, like you was my own father. You ought to been ashamed o_ourself to stand by and hear it saddled on to a lot of poor niggers, and yo_ever say a word for 'em. It makes me feel ridiculous to think I was sof_nough to BELIEVE that rubbage. Cuss you, I can see now why you was so anxiou_o make up the deffisit—you wanted to get what money I'd got out of th_onesuch and one thing or another, and scoop it ALL!"
  • The king says, timid, and still a-snuffling:
  • "Why, duke, it was you that said make up the deffisit; it warn't me."
  • "Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of you!" says the duke. "And NOW yo_ee what you GOT by it. They've got all their own money back, and all of OUR_ut a shekel or two BESIDES. G'long to bed, and don't you deffersit ME no mor_effersits, long 's YOU live!"
  • So the king sneaked into the wigwam and took to his bottle for comfort, an_efore long the duke tackled HIS bottle; and so in about a half an hour the_as as thick as thieves again, and the tighter they got the lovinger they got,
  • and went off a-snoring in each other's arms. They both got powerful mellow,
  • but I noticed the king didn't get mellow enough to forget to remember to no_eny about hiding the money-bag again. That made me feel easy and satisfied.
  • Of course when they got to snoring we had a long gabble, and I told Ji_verything.