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Shortly Tom came upon the juvenile pariah of the village, Huckleberry Finn, son
of the town drunkard. Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all the
mothers of the town because he was idle, and lawless, and vulgar and bad-and
because all their children admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden
society, and wished they dared to be like him. Tom was like the rest of the
respectable boys, in that he envied Huckleberry his gaudy outcast condition, and
was under strict orders not to play with him. So he played with him every time
he got a chance. Huckleberry was always dressed in the cast-off clothes of full-
grown men, and they were in perennial bloom and fluttering with rags. His hat
was a vast ruin with a wide crescent lopped out of its brim; his coat, when he
wore one, hung nearly to his heels and had the rearward buttons far down the
back; but one suspender supported his trousers; the seat of the trousers bagged
low and contained nothing; the fringed legs dragged in the dirt when not rolled

Huckleberry came and went, at his own free will. He slept on doorsteps in fine
weather and in empty hogsheads in wet; he did not have to go to school or to
church, or call any being master or obey anybody; he could go fishing or
swimming when and where he chose, and stay as long as it suited him; nobody
forbade him to fight; he could sit up as late as he pleased; he was always the first
boy that went barefoot in the spring and the last to resume leather in the fall; he
never had to wash, nor put on clean clothes; he could swear wonderfully. In a
word, everything that goes to make life precious, that boy had. So thought every
harassed, hampered, respectable boy in St. Petersburg.

Tom hailed the romantic outcast: “Hello, Huckleberry!” “Hello yourself, and see
how you like it.” “What’s that you got?” “Dead cat.”

“Lemme see him, Huck. My, he’s pretty stiff. Where’d you get him?” “Bought
him off’n a boy.” “What did you give?” “I give a blue ticket and a bladder that I
got at the slaughter house.” “Where’d you get the blue ticket?” “Bought it off’n
Ben Rogers two weeks ago for a hoop-stick.” “Say-what is dead cats good for,
Huck?” “Good for? Cure warts with.” “No! Is that so? I know something that’s
better.” “I bet you don’t. What is it?” “Why, spunk-water.” “Spunk-water! I
wouldn’t give a dem for spunk-water.” “You wouldn’t, wouldn’t you? D’you
ever try it?” “No, I hain’t. But Bob Tanner did.” “Who told you so!” “Why he
told Jeff Thatcher, and Jeff told Johnny Baker, and Johnny told Jim Hollis, and
Jim told Ben Rogers, and Ben told a nigger, and the nigger told me.

There, now!”
“Well, what of it? They’ll all lie. Leastways all but the nigger. I don’t know him.
But I never see a nigger that wouldn’t lie. Shucks! Now you tell me how Bob
Tanner done it, Huck.” “Why he took and dipped his hand in a rotten stump
where the rain water was.” “In the daytime?” “Cert’nly.” “With his face to the
stump?” “Yes. Least I reckon so.” “Did he say anything?” “I don’t reckon he did.
I don’t know.” “Aha! Talk about trying to cure warts with spunk-water such a
blame fool way as that! Why that ain’t a-going to do any good. You got to go all
by yourself, to the middle of the woods, where you know there’s a spunk-water

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