Table of Contents | MonkeyNotes | Barron's Booknotes
Well, pretty soon the old man was up and around again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to make him give up that money, and he went for me, too, for not stopping school. He catched me a couple of times and thrashed me, but I went to school just the same, and dodged him or outrun him most of the time. I didnít want to go to school much, before, but I reckoned Iíd go now to spite pap. That law trial was a slow business; appeared like they warnít ever going to get started on it; so every now and then Iíd borrow two or three dollars off of the judge for him, to keep from getting a cowhiding. Every time he got money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he raised Cain around town; and every time he raised Cain he got jailed. He was just suited-this kind of thing was right in his line.
He got to hanging around the widowís too much, and so she told him at last, that if he didnít quit using around there she would make trouble for him. Well, wasnít he mad? He said he would show who was Huck Finnís boss. So he watched out for me one day in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the river about three miles, in a skiff, and crossed over to the Illinois shore where it was woody and there warnít no houses but an old log hut in a place where the timber was so thick you couldnít find it if you didnít know where it was.
He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the door and put the key under his head, nights. He had a gun which he had stole, I reckon, and we fished and hunted, and that was what we lived on. Every little while he locked me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded fish and game for whisky and fetched it home and got drunk and had a good time, and licked me.
The widow she found out where I was, by-and-by, and she sent a man over to try to get hold of me, but pap drove him off with the gun, and it warnít long after that till I was used to being where I was, and liked it, all but the cowhide part.
It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study. Two months or more run along, and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didnít see how Iíd ever got to like it so well at the widowís, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a book and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the time.
I didnít want to go back no more. I had stopped cussing, because the widow didnít like it; but now I took to it again because pap hadnít no objections. It was pretty good times up in the woods there take it all around. But by-and-by pap got too handy with his hickíry, and I couldnít stand it. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days. It was dreadful lonesome. I judged he had got drowned and I wasnít ever going to get out any more. I was scared. I made up my mind I would fix up some way to leave there. I had tried to get out of that cabin many a time, but I couldnít find no way. There warnít a window to it big enought for a dog to get through. I couldnít get up the chimbly, it was too narrow. The door was thick solid oak slabs. Pap was pretty careful not to leave a knife or anything in the cabin when he was away; I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a hundred times; well, I was most all the time at it, because it was about the only way to put in the time. But this time I found something at last; I found an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a rafter and the clapboards of the roof. I greased it up and went to work. There was an old horse-blanket nailed against the logs at the far end of the cabin behind the table, to keep the wind from blowing through the chinks and putting the candle out.
I got under the table and raised the blanket and went to work to saw a section of the big bottom log out, big enough to let me through. Well, it was a good long job, but I was getting towards the end of it when I heard papís gun in the woods.
I got rid of the signs of my work, and dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap came in. Pap warnít in a good humor-so he was his natural self. He said he was down to town, and everything was going wrong. His lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the money, if they ever got started on the trial; but then there was ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how to do it.
And he said people allowed thereíd be another trial to get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guardian, and they guessed it would win, this time.
This shook me up considerable, because I didnít want to go back to the widowís any more and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they called it. Then the old man got to cussing, and cussed everything and everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over again to make sure he hadnít skipped any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a considerable parcel of people which he didnít know the names of, and so called them whatís-hisname, when he got to them, and went right along with his cussing.
He said he would like to see the widow get me. He said he would watch out, and if they tried to come any such game on him he knowed of a place six or seven mile off, to stow me in, where they might hunt till they dropped and they couldnít find me. That made me pretty uneasy again, but only for a minute; I reckoned I wouldnít stay on hand till he got that chance.
The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he had got. There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side of bacon, ammunition, and a fourgallon jug of whisky, and an old book and two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. I toted up a load, and went back and set down on the bow of the skiff to rest. I thought it all over, and I reckoned I would walk off with the gun and some lines, and take to the woods when I run away. I guessed I wouldnít stay in one place, but just tramp right across the country, mostly night times, and hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away that the old man nor the widow couldnít ever find me any more. I judged I would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, and I reckoned he would. I got so full of it I didnít notice how long I was staying, till the old man hollered and asked me whether I was asleep or drownded.