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Chapter 35

  • The reader may rest satisfied that Tom's and Huck's windfall made a might_tir in the poor little village of St. Petersburg. So vast a sum, all i_ctual cash, seemed next to incredible. It was talked about, gloated over,
  • glorified, until the reason of many of the citizens tottered under the strai_f the unhealthy excitement. Every "haunted" house in St. Petersburg and th_eighboring villages was dissected, plank by plank, and its foundations dug u_nd ransacked for hidden treasure — and not by boys, but men — pretty grave,
  • unromantic men, too, some of them. Wherever Tom and Huck appeared they wer_ourted, admired, stared at. The boys were not able to remember that thei_emarks had possessed weight before; but now their sayings were treasured an_epeated; everything they did seemed somehow to be regarded as remarkable;
  • they had evidently lost the power of doing and saying commonplace things;
  • moreover, their past history was raked up and discovered to bear marks o_onspicuous originality. The village paper published biographical sketches o_he boys. The Widow Douglas put Huck's money out at six per cent., and Judg_hatcher did the same with Tom's at Aunt Polly's request. Each lad had a_ncome, now, that was simply prodigious — a dollar for every week-day in th_ear and half of the Sundays. It was just what the minister got — no, it wa_hat he was promised — he generally couldn't collect it. A dollar and _uarter a week would board, lodge, and school a boy in those old simple days —
  • and clothe him and wash him, too, for that matter.
  • Judge Thatcher had conceived a great opinion of Tom. He said that n_ommonplace boy would ever have got his daughter out of the cave. When Beck_old her father, in strict confidence, how Tom had taken her whipping a_chool, the Judge was visibly moved; and when she pleaded grace for the might_ie which Tom had told in order to shift that whipping from her shoulders t_is own, the Judge said with a fine outburst that it was a noble, a generous,
  • a magnanimous lie — a lie that was worthy to hold up its head and march dow_hrough history breast to breast with George Washington's lauded Truth abou_he hatchet! Becky thought her father had never looked so tall and so super_s when he walked the floor and stamped his foot and said that. She wen_traight off and told Tom about it.
  • Judge Thatcher hoped to see Tom a great lawyer or a great soldier some day. H_aid he meant to look to it that Tom should be admitted to the Nationa_ilitary Academy and afterward trained in the best law school in the country,
  • in order that he might be ready for either career or both.
  • Huck Finn's wealth and the fact that he was now under the Widow Douglas'
  • protection introduced him into society — no, dragged him into it, hurled hi_nto it — and his sufferings were almost more than he could bear. The widow'_ervants kept him clean and neat, combed and brushed, and they bedded hi_ightly in unsympathetic sheets that had not one little spot or stain which h_ould press to his heart and know for a friend. He had to eat with a knife an_ork; he had to use napkin, cup, and plate; he had to learn his book, he ha_o go to church; he had to talk so properly that speech was become insipid i_is mouth; whithersoever he turned, the bars and shackles of civilization shu_im in and bound him hand and foot.
  • He bravely bore his miseries three weeks, and then one day turned up missing.
  • For forty-eight hours the widow hunted for him everywhere in great distress.
  • The public were profoundly concerned; they searched high and low, they dragge_he river for his body. Early the third morning Tom Sawyer wisely went pokin_mong some old empty hogsheads down behind the abandoned slaughter-house, an_n one of them he found the refugee. Huck had slept there; he had jus_reakfasted upon some stolen odds and ends of food, and was lying off, now, i_omfort, with his pipe. He was unkempt, uncombed, and clad in the same ol_uin of rags that had made him picturesque in the days when he was free an_appy. Tom routed him out, told him the trouble he had been causing, and urge_im to go home. Huck's face lost its tranquil content, and took a melanchol_ast. He said:
  • "Don't talk about it, Tom. I've tried it, and it don't work; it don't work,
  • Tom. It ain't for me; I ain't used to it. The widder's good to me, an_riendly; but I can't stand them ways. She makes me get up just at the sam_ime every morning; she makes me wash, they comb me all to thunder; she won'_et me sleep in the woodshed; I got to wear them blamed clothes that jus_mothers me, Tom; they don't seem to any air git through 'em, somehow; an_hey're so rotten nice that I can't set down, nor lay down, nor roll aroun_nywher's; I hain't slid on a cellar-door for — well, it 'pears to be years; _ot to go to church and sweat and sweat — I hate them ornery sermons! I can'_etch a fly in there, I can't chaw. I got to wear shoes all Sunday. The widde_ats by a bell; she goes to bed by a bell; she gits up by a bell —
  • everything's so awful reg'lar a body can't stand it."
  • "Well, everybody does that way, Huck."
  • "Tom, it don't make no difference. I ain't everybody, and I can't stand it.
  • It's awful to be tied up so. And grub comes too easy — I don't take n_nterest in vittles, that way. I got to ask to go a-fishing; I got to ask t_o in a-swimming — dern'd if I hain't got to ask to do everything. Well, I'_ot to talk so nice it wasn't no comfort — I'd got to go up in the attic an_ip out awhile, every day, to git a taste in my mouth, or I'd a died, Tom. Th_idder wouldn't let me smoke; she wouldn't let me yell, she wouldn't let m_ape, nor stretch, nor scratch, before folks —" [Then with a spasm of specia_rritation and injury] — "And dad fetch it, she prayed all the time! I neve_ee such a woman! I had to shove, Tom — I just had to. And besides, tha_chool's going to open, and I'd a had to go to it — well, I wouldn't stan_hat, Tom. Looky-here, Tom, being rich ain't what it's cracked up to be. It'_ust worry and worry, and sweat and sweat, and a-wishing you was dead all th_ime. Now these clothes suits me, and this bar'l suits me, and I ain't eve_oing to shake 'em any more. Tom, I wouldn't ever got into all this trouble i_t hadn't 'a' ben for that money; now you just take my sheer of it along wit_our'n, and gimme a ten-center sometimes — not many times, becuz I don't giv_ dern for a thing 'thout it's tollable hard to git — and you go and beg of_or me with the widder."
  • "Oh, Huck, you know I can't do that. 'Tain't fair; and besides if you'll tr_his thing just a while longer you'll come to like it."
  • "Like it! Yes — the way I'd like a hot stove if I was to set on it lon_nough. No, Tom, I won't be rich, and I won't live in them cussed smother_ouses. I like the woods, and the river, and hogsheads, and I'll stick to 'em,
  • too. Blame it all! just as we'd got guns, and a cave, and all just fixed t_ob, here this dern foolishness has got to come up and spile it all!"
  • Tom saw his opportunity —
  • "Lookyhere, Huck, being rich ain't going to keep me back from turning robber."
  • "No! Oh, good-licks; are you in real dead-wood earnest, Tom?"
  • "Just as dead earnest as I'm sitting here. But Huck, we can't let you into th_ang if you ain't respectable, you know."
  • Huck's joy was quenched.
  • "Can't let me in, Tom? Didn't you let me go for a pirate?"
  • "Yes, but that's different. A robber is more high-toned than what a pirate is
  • — as a general thing. In most countries they're awful high up in the nobility
  • — dukes and such."
  • "Now, Tom, hain't you always ben friendly to me? You wouldn't shet me out,
  • would you, Tom? You wouldn't do that, now, would you, Tom?"
  • "Huck, I wouldn't want to, and I don't want to — but what would people say?
  • Why, they'd say, 'Mph! Tom Sawyer's Gang! pretty low characters in it!' They'_ean you, Huck. You wouldn't like that, and I wouldn't."
  • Huck was silent for some time, engaged in a mental struggle. Finally he said:
  • "Well, I'll go back to the widder for a month and tackle it and see if I ca_ome to stand it, if you'll let me b'long to the gang, Tom."
  • "All right, Huck, it's a whiz! Come along, old chap, and I'll ask the widow t_et up on you a little, Huck."
  • "Will you, Tom — now will you? That's good. If she'll let up on some of th_oughest things, I'll smoke private and cuss private, and crowd through o_ust. When you going to start the gang and turn robbers?"
  • "Oh, right off. We'll get the boys together and have the initiation to-night,
  • maybe."
  • "Have the which?"
  • "Have the initiation."
  • "What's that?"
  • "It's to swear to stand by one another, and never tell the gang's secrets,
  • even if you're chopped all to flinders, and kill anybody and all his famil_hat hurts one of the gang."
  • "That's gay — that's mighty gay, Tom, I tell you."
  • "Well, I bet it is. And all that swearing's got to be done at midnight, in th_onesomest, awfulest place you can find — a ha'nted house is the best, bu_hey're all ripped up now."
  • "Well, midnight's good, anyway, Tom."
  • "Yes, so it is. And you've got to swear on a coffin, and sign it with blood."
  • "Now, that's something like! Why, it's a million times bullier than pirating.
  • I'll stick to the widder till I rot, Tom; and if I git to be a reg'lar rippe_f a robber, and everybody talking 'bout it, I reckon she'll be proud sh_naked me in out of the wet."