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Huck Finn by Mark Twain-Original Text Online-Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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CHAPTER ELEVEN

“Come in,” says the woman, and I did. She says: “Take a cheer.” I done it. She looked me all over with her little shiny eyes, and says: “What might your name be?” “Sarah Williams.” “Where ‘bouts do you live? In this neighborhood?” “No’m. In Hookerville, seven mile below. I’ve walked all the way and I’m all tired out.” “Hungry, too, I reckon. I’ll find you something.” “No’m, I ain’t hungry. I was so hungry I had to stop two mile below here at a farm; so I ain’t hungry no more. It’s what makes me so late. My mother’s down sick, and out of money and everything, and I come to tell my uncle Abner Moore.

He lives at the upper end of the town, she says. I hain’t ever been here before. Do you know him?” “No; but I don’t know everybody yet. I haven’t lived here quite two weeks.

It’s a considerable ways to the upper end of the town. You better stay here all night. Take off your bonnet.” “No,” I says, “I’ll rest a while, I reckon, and go on. I ain’t afeard of the dark.”

She said she wouldn’t let me go by myself, but her husband would be in byand-by, maybe in a hour and a half, and she’d send him along with me. Then she got to talking about her husband, and about her relations up the river, and her relations down the river, and about how much better off they used to was, and how they didn’t know but they’d made a mistake coming to our town, instead of letting well alone-and so on and so on, till I was afeard I had made a mistake coming to her to find out what was going on in this town; but by-and-by she dropped onto pap and the murder, and then I was pretty willing to let her clatter right along. She told about me and Tom Sawyer finding the six thousand dollars (only she got it ten) and all about pap and what a hard lot he was, and what a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to where I was murdered. I says: “Who done it? We’ve heard considerable about these goings on, down in Hookerville, but we don’t know who ‘twas that killed Huck Finn.” “Well, I reckon there’s a right smart chance of people here that’d like to know who killed him. Some thinks old Finn done it himself.” “No-is that so?” “Most everybody thought it at first. He’ll never know how nigh he come to getting lynched. But before night they changed around and judged it was done by a runaway nigger named Jim.” “Why he-” I stopped. I reckoned I better keep still. She run on, and never noticed I had put in at all. “The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed. So there’s a reward out for him-three hundred dollars. And there’s a reward out for old Finn too-two hundred dollars. You see, he come to town the morning after the murder, and told about it, and was out with ‘em on the ferry-boat hunt, and right away after he up and left. Before night they wanted to lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next day they found out the nigger was gone; they found out he hadn’t ben seen sence ten o’clock the night the murder was done. So then they put it on him, you see, and while they was full of it, next day back comes old Finn and went boohooing to Judge Thatcher to get money to hunt for the nigger all over Illinois with. The judge give him some, and that evening he got drunk and was around till after midnight with a couple of mighty hard looking strangers, and then went off with them. Well, he hain’t come back sence, and they ain’t looking for him back till this thing blows over a little, for people thinks now that he killed his boy and fixed things so folks would think robbers done it, and then he’d get Huck’s money without having to bother a long time with a lawsuit. People do say he warn’t any too good to do it. Oh, he’s sly, I reckon. If he don’t come back for a year, he’ll be all right. You can’t prove anything on him, you know; everything will be quieted down then, and he’ll walk into Huck’s money as easy as nothing.” “Yes, I reckon so, ‘m. I don’t see nothing in the way of it. Has everybody quit thinking the nigger done it?” “Oh, no, not everybody. A good many thinks he done it. But they’ll get the nigger pretty soon, now, and maybe they can scare it out of him.” “Why, are they after him yet?” “Well, you’re innocent, ain’t you! Does three hundred dollars lay round every day for people to pick up? Some folks thinks the nigger ain’t far from here. I’m one of them-but I hain’t talked it around. A few days ago I was talking with an old couple that lives next door in the log shanty, and they happened to say hardly anybody ever goes to that island over yonder that they call Jackson’s Island.


Don’t anybody live there? says I. No, nobody, says they. I didn’t say any more, but I done some thinking. I was pretty near certain I’d seen smoke over there, about the head of the island, a day or two before that, so I says to myself, like as not that nigger’s hiding over there; anyway, says I, it’s worth the trouble to give the place a hunt. I hain’t seen any smoke sence, so I reckon maybe he’s gone, if it was him; but my husband’s going over to see-him and another man. He was gone up the river; but he got back today and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago.” I had got so uneasy I couldn’t set still. I had to do something with my hands; so I took up a needle off of the table and went to threading it. My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it. When the woman stopped talking, I looked up, and she was looking at me pretty curious, and smiling a little. I put down the needle and thread and let on to be interested-and I was, too-and says: “Three hundred dollars is a power of money. I wish my mother could get it. Is your husband going over there tonight?” “Oh, yes. He went up town with the man I was telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could borrow another gun. They’ll go over after midnight.” “Couldn’t they see better if they was to wait till daytime?” “Yes. And couldn’t the nigger see better, too? After midnight he’ll likely be asleep, and they can slip around through the woods and hunt up his camp fire all the better for the dark, if he’s got one.” “I didn’t think of that.” The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and I didn’t feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says: “What did you say your name was, honey?” “M-Mary Williams.” Somehow it didn’t seem to me that I said it was Mary before, so I didn’t look up; seemed to me I said it was Sarah; so I felt sort of cornered, and was afeard maybe I was looking it, too. I wished the woman would say something more; the longer she set still, the uneasier I was. But now she says: “Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when you first come in?” “Oh, yes’m, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah’s my first name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary.”

“Oh, that’s the way of it?” “Yes’m.” I was feeling better, then, but I wished I was out of there, anyway. I couldn’t look up yet.

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