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Chapter 32 I Have a New Name

  • WHEN I got there it was all still and Sunday-like, and hot and sunshiny; th_ands was gone to the fields; and there was them kind of faint dronings o_ugs and flies in the air that makes it seem so lonesome and like everybody'_ead and gone; and if a breeze fans along and quivers the leaves it makes yo_eel mournful, because you feel like it's spirits whispering—spirits that'_een dead ever so many years—and you always think they're talking about YOU.
  • As a general thing it makes a body wish HE was dead, too, and done with i_ll.
  • Phelps' was one of these little one-horse cotton plantations, and they al_ook alike. A rail fence round a two-acre yard; a stile made out of logs sawe_ff and up-ended in steps, like barrels of a different length, to climb ove_he fence with, and for the women to stand on when they are going to jump o_o a horse; some sickly grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly it was bar_nd smooth, like an old hat with the nap rubbed off; big double log-house fo_he white folks—hewed logs, with the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar, an_hese mud-stripes been whitewashed some time or another; round-log kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed passage joining it to the house; log smoke- house back of the kitchen; three little log nigger-cabins in a row t'othe_ide the smoke-house; one little hut all by itself away down against the bac_ence, and some outbuildings down a piece the other side; ash-hopper and bi_ettle to bile soap in by the little hut; bench by the kitchen door, wit_ucket of water and a gourd; hound asleep there in the sun; more hounds aslee_ound about; about three shade trees away off in a corner; some currant bushe_nd gooseberry bushes in one place by the fence; outside of the fence a garde_nd a watermelon patch; then the cotton fields begins, and after the field_he woods.
  • I went around and clumb over the back stile by the ash-hopper, and started fo_he kitchen. When I got a little ways I heard the dim hum of a spinning-whee_ailing along up and sinking along down again; and then I knowed for certain _ished I was dead—for that IS the lonesomest sound in the whole world.
  • I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but just trusting t_rovidence to put the right words in my mouth when the time come; for I'_oticed that Providence always did put the right words in my mouth if I lef_t alone.
  • When I got half-way, first one hound and then another got up and went for me, and of course I stopped and faced them, and kept still. And such anothe_owwow as they made! In a quarter of a minute I was a kind of a hub of _heel, as you may say—spokes made out of dogs—circle of fifteen of them packe_ogether around me, with their necks and noses stretched up towards me, a-barking and howling; and more a-coming; you could see them sailing ove_ences and around corners from everywheres.
  • A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in her hand, singing out, "Begone YOU Tige! you Spot! begone sah!" and she fetched firs_ne and then another of them a clip and sent them howling, and then the res_ollowed; and the next second half of them come back, wagging their tail_round me, and making friends with me. There ain't no harm in a hound, nohow.
  • And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and two little nigger boy_ithout anything on but tow-linen shirts, and they hung on to their mother'_own, and peeped out from behind her at me, bashful, the way they always do.
  • And here comes the white woman running from the house, about forty-five o_ifty year old, bareheaded, and her spinning-stick in her hand; and behind he_omes her little white children, acting the same way the little niggers wa_oing. She was smiling all over so she could hardly stand—and says:
  • "It's YOU, at last!—AIN'T it?"
  • I out with a "Yes'm" before I thought.
  • She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me by both hands an_hook and shook; and the tears come in her eyes, and run down over; and sh_ouldn't seem to hug and shake enough, and kept saying, "You don't look a_uch like your mother as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't care fo_hat, I'm so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it does seem like I could eat yo_p! Children, it's your cousin Tom!—tell him howdy."
  • But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in their mouths, and hi_ehind her. So she run on:
  • "Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right away—or did you get you_reakfast on the boat?"
  • I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started for the house, leading m_y the hand, and the children tagging after. When we got there she set me dow_n a split-bottomed chair, and set herself down on a little low stool in fron_f me, holding both of my hands, and says:
  • "Now I can have a GOOD look at you; and, laws-a-me, I've been hungry for it _any and a many a time, all these long years, and it's come at last! We bee_xpecting you a couple of days and more. What kep' you?—boat get aground?"
  • "Yes'm—she—"
  • "Don't say yes'm—say Aunt Sally. Where'd she get aground?"
  • I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know whether the boa_ould be coming up the river or down. But I go a good deal on instinct; and m_nstinct said she would be coming up—from down towards Orleans. That didn'_elp me much, though; for I didn't know the names of bars down that way. I se_'d got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one we got agroun_n—or—Now I struck an idea, and fetched it out:
  • "It warn't the grounding—that didn't keep us back but a little. We blowed ou_ cylinder-head."
  • "Good gracious! anybody hurt?"
  • "No'm. Killed a nigger."
  • "Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. Two years ago las_hristmas your uncle Silas was coming up from Newrleans on the old Lally Rook, and she blowed out a cylinder-head and crippled a man. And I think he die_fterwards. He was a Baptist. Your uncle Silas knowed a family in Baton Roug_hat knowed his people very well. Yes, I remember now, he DID die.
  • Mortification set in, and they had to amputate him. But it didn't save him.
  • Yes, it was mortification—that was it. He turned blue all over, and died i_he hope of a glorious resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. You_ncle's been up to the town every day to fetch you. And he's gone again, no_ore'n an hour ago; he'll be back any minute now. You must a met him on th_oad, didn't you?—oldish man, with a—"
  • "No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat landed just at daylight, and _eft my baggage on the wharf-boat and went looking around the town and out _iece in the country, to put in the time and not get here too soon; and so _ome down the back way."
  • "Who'd you give the baggage to?"
  • "Nobody."
  • "Why, child, it 'll be stole!"
  • "Not where I hid it I reckon it won't," I says.
  • "How'd you get your breakfast so early on the boat?"
  • It was kinder thin ice, but I says:
  • "The captain see me standing around, and told me I better have something t_at before I went ashore; so he took me in the texas to the officers' lunch, and give me all I wanted."
  • I was getting so uneasy I couldn't listen good. I had my mind on the childre_ll the time; I wanted to get them out to one side and pump them a little, an_ind out who I was. But I couldn't get no show, Mrs. Phelps kept it up and ru_n so. Pretty soon she made the cold chills streak all down my back, becaus_he says:
  • "But here we're a-running on this way, and you hain't told me a word abou_is, nor any of them. Now I'll rest my works a little, and you start up yourn; just tell me EVERYTHING—tell me all about 'm all every one of 'm; and how the_re, and what they're doing, and what they told you to tell me; and every las_hing you can think of."
  • Well, I see I was up a stump—and up it good. Providence had stood by me thi_ur all right, but I was hard and tight aground now. I see it warn't a bit o_se to try to go ahead—I'd got to throw up my hand. So I says to myself, here's another place where I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth t_egin; but she grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed, and says:
  • "Here he comes! Stick your head down lower—there, that'll do; you can't b_een now. Don't you let on you're here. I'll play a joke on him. Children, don't you say a word."
  • I see I was in a fix now. But it warn't no use to worry; there warn't nothin_o do but just hold still, and try and be ready to stand from under when th_ightning struck.
  • I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman when he come in; then th_ed hid him. Mrs. Phelps she jumps for him, and says:
  • "Has he come?"
  • "No," says her husband.
  • "Good-NESS gracious!" she says, "what in the warld can have become of him?"
  • "I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and I must say it makes m_readful uneasy."
  • "Uneasy!" she says; "I'm ready to go distracted! He MUST a come; and you'v_issed him along the road. I KNOW it's so—something tells me so."
  • "Why, Sally, I COULDN'T miss him along the road—YOU know that."
  • "But oh, dear, dear, what WILL Sis say! He must a come! You must a missed him.
  • He—"
  • "Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already distressed. I don't know what i_he world to make of it. I'm at my wit's end, and I don't mind acknowledging
  • 't I'm right down scared. But there's no hope that he's come; for he COULDN'_ome and me miss him. Sally, it's terrible—just terrible—something's happene_o the boat, sure!"
  • "Why, Silas! Look yonder!—up the road!—ain't that somebody coming?"
  • He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, and that give Mrs. Phelps th_hance she wanted. She stooped down quick at the foot of the bed and give me _ull, and out I come; and when he turned back from the window there she stood, a-beaming and a-smiling like a house afire, and I standing pretty meek an_weaty alongside. The old gentleman stared, and says:
  • "Why, who's that?"
  • "Who do you reckon 't is?"
  • "I hain't no idea. Who IS it?"
  • "It's TOM SAWYER!"
  • By jings, I most slumped through the floor! But there warn't no time to swa_nives; the old man grabbed me by the hand and shook, and kept on shaking; an_ll the time how the woman did dance around and laugh and cry; and then ho_hey both did fire off questions about Sid, and Mary, and the rest of th_ribe.
  • But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I was; for it was like bein_orn again, I was so glad to find out who I was. Well, they froze to me fo_wo hours; and at last, when my chin was so tired it couldn't hardly go an_ore, I had told them more about my family—I mean the Sawyer family—than eve_appened to any six Sawyer families. And I explained all about how we blowe_ut a cylinder-head at the mouth of White River, and it took us three days t_ix it. Which was all right, and worked first-rate; because THEY didn't kno_ut what it would take three days to fix it. If I'd a called it a bolthead i_ould a done just as well.
  • Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one side, and prett_ncomfortable all up the other. Being Tom Sawyer was easy and comfortable, an_t stayed easy and comfortable till by and by I hear a steamboat coughin_long down the river. Then I says to myself, s'pose Tom Sawyer comes down o_hat boat? And s'pose he steps in here any minute, and sings out my nam_efore I can throw him a wink to keep quiet?
  • Well, I couldn't HAVE it that way; it wouldn't do at all. I must go up th_oad and waylay him. So I told the folks I reckoned I would go up to the tow_nd fetch down my baggage. The old gentleman was for going along with me, bu_ said no, I could drive the horse myself, and I druther he wouldn't take n_rouble about me.