MAKING them pens was a distressid tough job, and so was the saw; and Ji_llowed the inscription was going to be the toughest of all. That's the on_hich the prisoner has to scrabble on the wall. But he had to have it; To_aid he'd GOT to; there warn't no case of a state prisoner not scrabbling hi_nscription to leave behind, and his coat of arms.
"Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; "look at Gilford Dudley; look at ol_orthumberland! Why, Huck, s'pose it IS considerble trouble?—what you going t_o?—how you going to get around it? Jim's GOT to do his inscription and coa_f arms. They all do."
"Why, Mars Tom, I hain't got no coat o' arm; I hain't got nuffn but dish ye_le shirt, en you knows I got to keep de journal on dat."
"Oh, you don't understand, Jim; a coat of arms is very different."
"Well," I says, "Jim's right, anyway, when he says he ain't got no coat o_rms, because he hain't."
"I reckon I knowed that," Tom says, "but you bet he'll have one before he goe_ut of this—because he's going out RIGHT, and there ain't going to be no flaw_n his record."
So whilst me and Jim filed away at the pens on a brickbat apiece, Jim a- making his'n out of the brass and I making mine out of the spoon, Tom set t_ork to think out the coat of arms. By and by he said he'd struck so many goo_nes he didn't hardly know which to take, but there was one which he reckone_e'd decide on. He says:
"On the scutcheon we'll have a bend OR in the dexter base, a saltire MURREY i_he fess, with a dog, couchant, for common charge, and under his foot a chai_mbattled, for slavery, with a chevron VERT in a chief engrailed, and thre_nvected lines on a field AZURE, with the nombril points rampant on a dancett_ndented; crest, a runaway nigger, SABLE, with his bundle over his shoulder o_ bar sinister; and a couple of gules for supporters, which is you and me; motto, MAGGIORE FRETTA, MINORE OTTO. Got it out of a book—means the more hast_he less speed."
"Geewhillikins," I says, "but what does the rest of it mean?"
"We ain't got no time to bother over that," he says; "we got to dig in lik_ll git-out."
"Well, anyway," I says, "what's SOME of it? What's a fess?"
"A fess—a fess is—YOU don't need to know what a fess is. I'll show him how t_ake it when he gets to it."
"Shucks, Tom," I says, "I think you might tell a person. What's a ba_inister?"
"Oh, I don't know. But he's got to have it. All the nobility does."
That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to explain a thing to you, h_ouldn't do it. You might pump at him a week, it wouldn't make no difference.
He'd got all that coat of arms business fixed, so now he started in to finis_p the rest of that part of the work, which was to plan out a mournfu_nscription—said Jim got to have one, like they all done. He made up a lot, and wrote them out on a paper, and read them off, so:
1\. Here a captive heart busted. 2. Here a poor prisoner, forsook by the worl_nd friends, fretted his sorrowful life. 3. Here a lonely heart broke, and _orn spirit went to its rest, after thirty-seven years of solitary captivity.
4. Here, homeless and friendless, after thirty-seven years of bitte_aptivity, perished a noble stranger, natural son of Louis XIV.
Tom's voice trembled whilst he was reading them, and he most broke down. Whe_e got done he couldn't no way make up his mind which one for Jim to scrabbl_n to the wall, they was all so good; but at last he allowed he would let hi_crabble them all on. Jim said it would take him a year to scrabble such a lo_f truck on to the logs with a nail, and he didn't know how to make letters, besides; but Tom said he would block them out for him, and then he wouldn'_ave nothing to do but just follow the lines. Then pretty soon he says:
"Come to think, the logs ain't a-going to do; they don't have log walls in _ungeon: we got to dig the inscriptions into a rock. We'll fetch a rock."
Jim said the rock was worse than the logs; he said it would take him such _ison long time to dig them into a rock he wouldn't ever get out. But Tom sai_e would let me help him do it. Then he took a look to see how me and Jim wa_etting along with the pens. It was most pesky tedious hard work and slow, an_idn't give my hands no show to get well of the sores, and we didn't seem t_ake no headway, hardly; so Tom says:
"I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock for the coat of arms and mournfu_nscriptions, and we can kill two birds with that same rock. There's a gaud_ig grindstone down at the mill, and we'll smouch it, and carve the things o_t, and file out the pens and the saw on it, too."
It warn't no slouch of an idea; and it warn't no slouch of a grindston_uther; but we allowed we'd tackle it. It warn't quite midnight yet, so w_leared out for the mill, leaving Jim at work. We smouched the grindstone, an_et out to roll her home, but it was a most nation tough job. Sometimes, d_hat we could, we couldn't keep her from falling over, and she come might_ear mashing us every time. Tom said she was going to get one of us, sure, before we got through. We got her half way; and then we was plumb played out, and most drownded with sweat. We see it warn't no use; we got to go and fetc_im So he raised up his bed and slid the chain off of the bed-leg, and wrap_t round and round his neck, and we crawled out through our hole and dow_here, and Jim and me laid into that grindstone and walked her along lik_othing; and Tom superintended. He could out-superintend any boy I ever see.
He knowed how to do everything.
Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough to get the grindston_hrough; but Jim he took the pick and soon made it big enough. Then Tom marke_ut them things on it with the nail, and set Jim to work on them, with th_ail for a chisel and an iron bolt from the rubbage in the lean- to for _ammer, and told him to work till the rest of his candle quit on him, and the_e could go to bed, and hide the grindstone under his straw tick and sleep o_t. Then we helped him fix his chain back on the bed- leg, and was ready fo_ed ourselves. But Tom thought of something, and says:
"You got any spiders in here, Jim?"
"No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't, Mars Tom."
"All right, we'll get you some."
"But bless you, honey, I doan' WANT none. I's afeard un um. I jis' 's soo_ave rattlesnakes aroun'."
Tom thought a minute or two, and says:
"It's a good idea. And I reckon it's been done. It MUST a been done; it stand_o reason. Yes, it's a prime good idea. Where could you keep it?"
"Keep what, Mars Tom?"
"Why, a rattlesnake."
"De goodness gracious alive, Mars Tom! Why, if dey was a rattlesnake to com_n heah I'd take en bust right out thoo dat log wall, I would, wid my head."
Why, Jim, you wouldn't be afraid of it after a little. You could tame it."
"Yes—easy enough. Every animal is grateful for kindness and petting, and the_ouldn't THINK of hurting a person that pets them. Any book will tell yo_hat. You try—that's all I ask; just try for two or three days. Why, you ca_et him so in a little while that he'll love you; and sleep with you; an_on't stay away from you a minute; and will let you wrap him round your nec_nd put his head in your mouth."
"PLEASE, Mars Tom—DOAN' talk so! I can't STAN' it! He'd LET me shove his hea_n my mouf—fer a favor, hain't it? I lay he'd wait a pow'ful long time 'fo' _ST him. En mo' en dat, I doan' WANT him to sleep wid me."
"Jim, don't act so foolish. A prisoner's GOT to have some kind of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake hain't ever been tried, why, there's more glory to b_ained in your being the first to ever try it than any other way you coul_ver think of to save your life."
"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' WANT no sich glory. Snake take 'n bite Jim's chin off, den WHAH is de glory? No, sah, I doan' want no sich doin's."
"Blame it, can't you TRY? I only WANT you to try—you needn't keep it up if i_on't work."
"But de trouble all DONE ef de snake bite me while I's a tryin' him. Mars Tom, I's willin' to tackle mos' anything 'at ain't onreasonable, but ef you en Huc_etches a rattlesnake in heah for me to tame, I's gwyne to LEAVE, dat'_HORE."
"Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you're so bull-headed about it. We ca_et you some garter-snakes, and you can tie some buttons on their tails, an_et on they're rattlesnakes, and I reckon that 'll have to do."
"I k'n stan' DEM, Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I couldn' get along widout um, _ell you dat. I never knowed b'fo' 't was so much bother and trouble to be _risoner."
"Well, it ALWAYS is when it's done right. You got any rats around here?"
"No, sah, I hain't seed none."
"Well, we'll get you some rats."
"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' WANT no rats. Dey's de dadblamedest creturs to 'stur_ body, en rustle roun' over 'im, en bite his feet, when he's tryin' to sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme g'yarter-snakes, 'f I's got to have 'm, but doan'
gimme no rats; I hain' got no use f'r um, skasely."
"But, Jim, you GOT to have 'em—they all do. So don't make no more fuss abou_t. Prisoners ain't ever without rats. There ain't no instance of it. And the_rain them, and pet them, and learn them tricks, and they get to be a_ociable as flies. But you got to play music to them. You got anything to pla_usic on?"
"I ain' got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o' paper, en a juice-harp; but _eck'n dey wouldn' take no stock in a juice-harp."
"Yes they would. THEY don't care what kind of music 'tis. A jews-harp's plent_ood enough for a rat. All animals like music—in a prison they dote on it.
Specially, painful music; and you can't get no other kind out of a jews-harp.
It always interests them; they come out to see what's the matter with you.
Yes, you're all right; you're fixed very well. You want to set on your be_ights before you go to sleep, and early in the mornings, and play your jews- harp; play 'The Last Link is Broken'—that's the thing that 'll scoop a ra_uicker 'n anything else; and when you've played about two minutes you'll se_ll the rats, and the snakes, and spiders, and things begin to feel worrie_bout you, and come. And they'll just fairly swarm over you, and have a nobl_ood time."
"Yes, DEY will, I reck'n, Mars Tom, but what kine er time is JIM havin'? Bles_f I kin see de pint. But I'll do it ef I got to. I reck'n I better keep d_nimals satisfied, en not have no trouble in de house."
Tom waited to think it over, and see if there wasn't nothing else; and prett_oon he says:
"Oh, there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise a flower here, do yo_eckon?"
"I doan know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but it's tolable dark in heah, en _in' got no use f'r no flower, nohow, en she'd be a pow'ful sight o' trouble."
"Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners has done it."
"One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks would grow in heah, Mars Tom, _eck'n, but she wouldn't be wuth half de trouble she'd coss."
"Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little one and you plant it in th_orner over there, and raise it. And don't call it mullen, call i_itchiola—that's its right name when it's in a prison. And you want to wate_t with your tears."
"Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom."
"You don't WANT spring water; you want to water it with your tears. It's th_ay they always do."
"Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem mullen-stalks twyste wid sprin_ater whiles another man's a START'N one wid tears."
"That ain't the idea. You GOT to do it with tears."
"She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I doan' skasely eve_ry."
So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said Jim would have t_orry along the best he could with an onion. He promised he would go to th_igger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim's coffee-pot, in the morning. Ji_aid he would "jis' 's soon have tobacker in his coffee;" and found so muc_ault with it, and with the work and bother of raising the mullen, and jews- harping the rats, and petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders an_hings, on top of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and worry an_esponsibility to be a prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom mos_ost all patience with him; and said he was just loadened down with mor_audier chances than a prisoner ever had in the world to make a name fo_imself, and yet he didn't know enough to appreciate them, and they was jus_bout wasted on him. So Jim he was sorry, and said he wouldn't behave so n_ore, and then me and Tom shoved for bed.