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Chapter 33 The Pitiful Ending of Royalty

  • SO I started for town in the wagon, and when I was half-way I see a wago_oming, and sure enough it was Tom Sawyer, and I stopped and waited till h_ome along. I says "Hold on!" and it stopped alongside, and his mouth opene_p like a trunk, and stayed so; and he swallowed two or three times like _erson that's got a dry throat, and then says:
  • "I hain't ever done you no harm. You know that. So, then, what you want t_ome back and ha'nt ME for?"
  • I says:
  • "I hain't come back—I hain't been GONE."
  • When he heard my voice it righted him up some, but he warn't quite satisfie_et. He says:
  • "Don't you play nothing on me, because I wouldn't on you. Honest injun, yo_in't a ghost?"
  • "Honest injun, I ain't," I says.
  • "Well—I—I—well, that ought to settle it, of course; but I can't somehow see_o understand it no way. Looky here, warn't you ever murdered AT ALL?"
  • "No. I warn't ever murdered at all—I played it on them. You come in here an_eel of me if you don't believe me."
  • So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was that glad to see me again h_idn't know what to do. And he wanted to know all about it right off, becaus_t 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 w_rove off a little piece, and I told him the kind of a fix I was in, and wha_id he reckon we better do? He said, let him alone a minute, and don't distur_im. So he thought and thought, and pretty soon he says:
  • "It's all right; I've got it. Take my trunk in your wagon, and let on it'_our'n; and you turn back and fool along slow, so as to get to the house abou_he time you ought to; and I'll go towards town a piece, and take a fres_tart, and get there a quarter or a half an hour after you; and you needn'_et on to know me at first."
  • I says:
  • "All right; but wait a minute. There's one more thing—a thing that NOBOD_on't know but me. And that is, there's a nigger here that I'm a- trying t_teal out of slavery, and his name is JIM—old Miss Watson's Jim."
  • He says:
  • "What! Why, Jim is—"
  • He stopped and went to studying. I says:
  • "I know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty, low-down business; but what i_t is? I'm low down; and I'm a-going to steal him, and I want you keep mum an_ot let on. Will you?"
  • His eye lit up, and he says:
  • "I'll HELP you steal him!"
  • Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It was the most astonishin_peech I ever heard—and I'm bound to say Tom Sawyer fell considerable in m_stimation. Only I couldn't believe it. Tom Sawyer a NIGGER-STEALER!
  • "Oh, shucks!" I says; "you're joking."
  • "I ain't joking, either."
  • "Well, then," I says, "joking or no joking, if you hear anything said about _unaway nigger, don't forget to remember that YOU don't know nothing abou_im, and I don't know nothing about him."
  • Then we took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and he drove off his way and _rove mine. But of course I forgot all about driving slow on accounts of bein_lad and full of thinking; so I got home a heap too quick for that length of _rip. The old gentleman was at the door, and he says:
  • "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'_onderful. Why, I wouldn't take a hundred dollars for that horse now—_ouldn't, honest; and yet I'd a sold her for fifteen before, and thought 'twa_ll she was worth."
  • That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best old soul I ever see. But i_arn't surprising; because he warn't only just a farmer, he was a preacher, too, and had a little one-horse log church down back of the plantation, whic_e built it himself at his own expense, for a church and schoolhouse, an_ever charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it, too. There wa_lenty other farmer-preachers like that, and done the same way, down South.
  • In about half an hour Tom's wagon drove up to the front stile, and Aunt Sall_he see it through the window, because it was only about fifty yards, an_ays:
  • "Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who 'tis? Why, I do believe it's _tranger. Jimmy" (that's one of the children) "run and tell Lize to put o_nother plate for dinner."
  • Everybody made a rush for the front door, because, of course, a stranger don'_ome EVERY year, and so he lays over the yaller-fever, for interest, when h_oes come. Tom was over the stile and starting for the house; the wagon wa_pinning up the road for the village, and we was all bunched in the fron_oor. Tom had his store clothes on, and an audience—and that was always nut_or Tom Sawyer. In them circumstances it warn't no trouble to him to throw i_n amount of style that was suitable. He warn't a boy to meeky along up tha_ard like a sheep; no, he come ca'm and important, like the ram. When he go_-front of us he lifts his hat ever so gracious and dainty, like it was th_id of a box that had butterflies asleep in it and he didn't want to distur_hem, and says:
  • "Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?"
  • "No, my boy," says the old gentleman, "I'm sorry to say 't your driver ha_eceived you; Nichols's place is down a matter of three mile more. Come in, come in."
  • Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and says, "Too late—he's out o_ight."
  • "Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in and eat your dinner with us; an_hen we'll hitch up and take you down to Nichols's."
  • "Oh, I CAN'T make you so much trouble; I couldn't think of it. I'll walk —_on't mind the distance."
  • "But we won't LET you walk—it wouldn't be Southern hospitality to do it. Com_ight in."
  • "Oh, DO," says Aunt Sally; "it ain't a bit of trouble to us, not a bit in th_orld. You must stay. It's a long, dusty three mile, and we can't let yo_alk. And, besides, I've already told 'em to put on another plate when I se_ou coming; so you mustn't disappoint us. Come right in and make yourself a_ome."
  • So Tom he thanked them very hearty and handsome, and let himself be persuaded, and come in; and when he was in he said he was a stranger from Hicksville, Ohio, and his name was William Thompson—and he made another bow.
  • Well, he run on, and on, and on, making up stuff about Hicksville an_verybody in it he could invent, and I getting a little nervious, an_ondering how this was going to help me out of my scrape; and at last, stil_alking along, he reached over and kissed Aunt Sally right on the mouth, an_hen settled back again in his chair comfortable, and was going on talking; but she jumped up and wiped it off with the back of her hand, and says:
  • "You owdacious puppy!"
  • He looked kind of hurt, and says:
  • "I'm surprised at you, m'am."
  • "You're s'rp—Why, what do you reckon I am? I've a good notion to take and—Say, what do you mean by kissing me?"
  • He looked kind of humble, and says:
  • "I didn't mean nothing, m'am. I didn't mean no harm. I—I—thought you'd lik_t."
  • "Why, you born fool!" She took up the spinning stick, and it looked like i_as all she could do to keep from giving him a crack with it. "What made yo_hink I'd like it?"
  • "Well, I don't know. Only, they—they—told me you would."
  • "THEY told you I would. Whoever told you's ANOTHER lunatic. I never heard th_eat of it. Who's THEY?"
  • "Why, everybody. They all said so, m'am."
  • It was all she could do to hold in; and her eyes snapped, and her finger_orked like she wanted to scratch him; and she says:
  • "Who's 'everybody'? Out with their names, or ther'll be an idiot short."
  • He got up and looked distressed, and fumbled his hat, and says:
  • "I'm sorry, and I warn't expecting it. They told me to. They all told me to.
  • They all said, kiss her; and said she'd like it. They all said it—every one o_hem. But I'm sorry, m'am, and I won't do it no more —I won't, honest."
  • "You won't, won't you? Well, I sh'd RECKON you won't!"
  • "No'm, I'm honest about it; I won't ever do it again—till you ask me."
  • "Till I ASK you! Well, I never see the beat of it in my born days! I la_ou'll be the Methusalem-numskull of creation before ever I ask you— or th_ikes of you."
  • "Well," he says, "it does surprise me so. I can't make it out, somehow. The_aid you would, and I thought you would. But—" He stopped and looked aroun_low, like he wished he could run across a friendly eye somewheres, an_etched up on the old gentleman's, and says, "Didn't YOU think she'd like m_o kiss her, sir?"
  • "Why, no; I—I—well, no, I b'lieve I didn't."
  • Then he looks on around the same way to me, and says:
  • "Tom, didn't YOU think Aunt Sally 'd open out her arms and say, 'Sid Sawyer—'"
  • "My land!" she says, breaking in and jumping for him, "you impudent youn_ascal, to fool a body so—" and was going to hug him, but he fended her off, and says:
  • "No, not till you've asked me first."
  • So she didn't lose no time, but asked him; and hugged him and kissed him ove_nd over again, and then turned him over to the old man, and he took what wa_eft. And after they got a little quiet again she says:
  • "Why, dear me, I never see such a surprise. We warn't looking for YOU at all, but only Tom. Sis never wrote to me about anybody coming but him."
  • "It's because it warn't INTENDED for any of us to come but Tom," he says; "bu_ begged and begged, and at the last minute she let me come, too; so, comin_own the river, me and Tom thought it would be a first-rate surprise for hi_o come here to the house first, and for me to by and by tag along and dro_n, and let on to be a stranger. But it was a mistake, Aunt Sally. This ain'_o healthy place for a stranger to come."
  • "No—not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to had your jaws boxed; I hain't bee_o put out since I don't know when. But I don't care, I don't mind th_erms—I'd be willing to stand a thousand such jokes to have you here. Well, t_hink of that performance! I don't deny it, I was most putrified wit_stonishment when you give me that smack."
  • We had dinner out in that broad open passage betwixt the house and th_itchen; and there was things enough on that table for seven families— and al_ot, too; none of your flabby, tough meat that's laid in a cupboard in a dam_ellar all night and tastes like a hunk of old cold cannibal in the morning.
  • Uncle Silas he asked a pretty long blessing over it, but it was worth it; an_t didn't cool it a bit, neither, the way I've seen them kind of interruption_o lots of times. There was a considerable good deal of talk all th_fternoon, and me and Tom was on the lookout all the time; but it warn't n_se, they didn't happen to say nothing about any runaway nigger, and we wa_fraid to try to work up to it. But at supper, at night, one of the littl_oys says:
  • "Pa, mayn't Tom and Sid and me go to the show?"
  • "No," says the old man, "I reckon there ain't going to be any; and yo_ouldn't go if there was; because the runaway nigger told Burton and me al_bout that scandalous show, and Burton said he would tell the people; so _eckon they've drove the owdacious loafers out of town before this time."
  • So there it was!—but I couldn't help it. Tom and me was to sleep in the sam_oom and bed; so, being tired, we bid good-night and went up to bed righ_fter supper, and clumb out of the window and down the lightning- rod, an_hoved for the town; for I didn't believe anybody was going to give the kin_nd the duke a hint, and so if I didn't hurry up and give them one they'd ge_nto trouble sure.
  • On the road Tom he told me all about how it was reckoned I was murdered, an_ow pap disappeared pretty soon, and didn't come back no more, and what a sti_here was when Jim run away; and I told Tom all about our Royal Nonesuc_apscallions, and as much of the raft voyage as I had time to; and as w_truck into the town and up through the—here comes a raging rush of peopl_ith torches, and an awful whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans an_lowing horns; and we jumped to one side to let them go by; and as they wen_y I see they had the king and the duke astraddle of a rail—that is, I knowe_t WAS the king and the duke, though they was all over tar and feathers, an_idn't look like nothing in the world that was human—just looked like a coupl_f monstrous big soldier-plumes. Well, it made me sick to see it; and I wa_orry for them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn't ever feel an_ardness against them any more in the world. It was a dreadful thing to see.
  • Human beings CAN be awful cruel to one another.
  • We see we was too late—couldn't do no good. We asked some stragglers about it, and they said everybody went to the show looking very innocent; and laid lo_nd kept dark till the poor old king was in the middle of his cavortings o_he stage; then somebody give a signal, and the house rose up and went fo_hem.
  • So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow—though I hadn't don_othing. But that's always the way; it don't make no difference whether you d_ight or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes fo_im anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't know no more than a person'_onscience does I would pison him. It takes up more room than all the rest o_ person's insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same.