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Huck Finn by Mark Twain-Original Text Online-Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT (continued)

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she’d take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same-she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion-there warn’t no backdown to her, I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain’t no flattery. And when it comes to beauty-and goodness too-she lays over them all. I hain’t ever seen her since, but I reckon I’ve thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I’d a thought it would do any good for me to pray for her, blamed if I wouldn’t a done it or bust.

Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon; because nobody see her go. When I struck Susan and the harelip, I says: “What’s the name of them people over on t’other side of the river that you all goes to see sometimes?” They says: “There’s several; but it’s the Proctors, mainly.” “That’s the name,” I says; “I most forgot it. Well, Miss Mary Jane she told me to tell you she’s gone over there in a dreadful hurry-one of them’s sick.” “Which one?” “I don’t know; leastways I kinder forget; but I think it’s-” “Sakes alive, I hope it ain’t Hanner?” “I’m sorry to say it,” I says, “but Hanner’s the very one.” “My goodness-and she so well only last week! Is she took bad?” “It ain’t no name for it. They set up with her all night, Miss Mary Jane said, and they don’t think she’ll last many hours.”

“Only think of that, now! What’s the matter with her!” I couldn’t think of anything reasonable, right off that way, so I says: “Mumps.” “Mumps your granny! They don’t set up with people that’s got the mumps.” “They don’t, don’t they? You better bet they do with these mumps. These mumps is different. It’s a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said.” “How’s it a new kind?” “Because it’s mixed up with other things.” “What other things?” “Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysiplas, and consumption, and yeller janders, and brain fever, and I don’t know what all.” “My land! And they call it the mumps?” “That’s what Miss Mary Jane said.” “Well, what in the nation do they call it the mumps for?” “Why, because it is the mumps. That’s what it starts with.” “Well, ther’ ain’t no sense in it. A body might stump his toe, and take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and some numskull up and say, ‘Why, he stumped his toe.’ Would ther’ be any sense in that? No. And ther’ ain’t no sense in this, nuther. Is it ketching?” “Is it ketching? Why, how you talk. Is a harrow catching?- in the dark? If you don’t hitch onto one tooth, you’re bound to on another, ain’t you? And you can’t get away with that tooth without fetching the whole harrow along, can you? Well, these kind of mumps is a kind of harrow, as you may say-and it ain’t no slouch of a harrow, nuther, you come to get it hitched on good.” “Well, it’s awful, I think,” says the hare-lip. “I’ll go to Uncle Harvey and-” “Oh, yes,” I says, “I would. Of course I would. I wouldn’t lose no time.” “Well, why wouldn’t you?” “Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see. Hain’t your uncles obleeged to get along home to England as fast as they can? And do you reckon they’d be mean enough to go off and leave you to go all that journey by yourselves? You know they’ll wait for you. So fur, so good. Your uncle Harvey’s a preacher, ain’t he? Very well, then; is a preacher going to deceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to deceive a ship clerk?- so as to get them to let Miss Mary Jane go aboard?


Now you know he ain’t. What will he do, then? Why, he’ll say, ‘It’s a great pity, but my church matters has got to get along the best way they can; for my niece has been exposed to the dreadful pluribus-unum mumps, and so it’s my bounden duty to set down here and wait the three months it takes to show on her if she’s got it.’ But never mind, if you think it’s best to tell your uncle Harvey-”

“Shucks, and stay fooling around here when we could all be having good times in England whilst we was waiting to find out whether Mary Jane’s got it or not? Why, you talk like a muggins.” “Well, anyway, maybe you better tell some of the neighbors.” “Listen at that, now. You do beat all, for natural stupidness. Can’t you see that they’d go and tell? Ther’ ain’t no way but just not to tell anybody at all.” “Well, maybe you’re right-yes, I judge you are right.” “But I reckon we ought to tell Uncle Harvey she’s gone out a while, anyway, so he won’t be uneasy about her?” “Yes, Miss Mary Jane she wanted you to do that. She says, ‘Tell them to give Uncle Harvey and William my love and a kiss, and say I’ve run over the river to see Mr.- Mr.- what is the name of that rich family your uncle Peter used to think so much of?- I mean the one that-”’ “Why, you must mean the Apthorps, ain’t it?” “Of course; bother them kind of names, a body can’t ever seem to remember them, half the time, somehow. Yes, she said, say she has run over for to ask the Apthorps to be sure and come to the auction and buy this house, because she allowed her uncle Peter would ruther they had it than anybody else; and she’s going to stick to them till they say they’ll come, and then, if she ain’t too tired, she’s coming home; and if she is, she’ll be home in the morning anyway. She said, don’t say nothing about the Proctors, but only about the Apthorps-which’ll be perfectly true, because she is going there to speak about their buying the house; I know it, because she told me so, herself.” “All right,” they said, and cleared out to lay for their uncles, and give them the love and the kisses, and tell them the message.

Everything was all right now. The girls wouldn’t say nothing because they wanted to go to England; and the king and the duke would ruther Mary Jane was off working for the auction than around in reach of Doctor Robinson. I felt very good; I judged I had done it pretty neat-I reckoned Tom Sawyer couldn’t a done it no neater himself. Of course he would a throwed more style into it, but I can’t do that very handy, not being brung up to it.

Well, they held the auction in the public square, along towards the end of the afternoon, and it strung along, and strung along, and the old man he was on hand and looking his level piousest, up there longside of the auctioneer, and chipping in a little Scripture, now and then, or a little goody-goody saying, of some kind, and the duke he was around goo-gooing for sympathy all he knowed how, and just spreading himself generly.

But by-and-by the thing dragged through, and everything was sold. Everything but a little old trifling lot in the graveyard. So they’d got to work that off-I never see such a girafft as the king was for wanting to swallow everything. Well, whilst they was at it, a steamboat landed, and in about two minutes up comes a crowd a whooping and yelling and laughing and carrying on, and singing out: “Here’s your opposition line! here’s your two sets o’ heirs to old Peter Wilksand you pays your money and you takes your choice!”

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

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