Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 19: The Duke and the Dauphin Come Aboard
Huck and Jim continue their journey on the big river by resting during the day and running during the nights. One morning, when Huck goes ashore, he sees two men tearing down the path. When they see Huck, they ask him to save them as they are being chased by people and dogs. Huck suggests that they should go towards the water so the dogs would lose their scent. They get on the raft with Jim and Huck and are on their way. Soon, Huck realizes that the men do not know each other but are fellow fugitives, one about seventy and the other about thirty. The younger of the two calls himself the Duke of Bridgewater and the older one calls himself the Dauphin, Louis the Seventeenth. They are both consummate liars and frauds who trick people and get away just before being caught. The Duke and the Dauphin quickly take charge of the raft and make both Huck and Jim do their bidding. Huck decides that the best way to get along with this kind of men is to let them have their way and not interfere.
By this chapter, Huck and Jim have given up any plan of returning to Cairo. They simply drift on down the Mississippi, and Twain describes the peaceful qualities of life on the river. It is important to notice Huck’s description of the sunrise, which is very poetic. This is contrary to Twains’s normal, realistic style of writing, but it points out the serenity of nature in contrast to the struggles created by society.
In this chapter, Huck again shows his sympathetic nature. When the Duke and Dauphin are being chased, Huck wants to help them and gives them advice to run towards the river. Little does he know that the two men will join Jim and himself on the raft. The two frauds and liars tell preposterous stories about who they are and quickly take charge of things. Huck shows his practical side once again when he decides it is best not to interfere with this type. He also realizes that they would sell Jim if ever given the opportunity.