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

That was all fixed. So then we went away and went to the rubbage-pile in the back yard where they keep the old boots, and rags, and pieces of bottles, and wore-out tin things, and all such truck, and scratched around and found an old tin washpan and stopped up the holes as well as we could, to bake the pie in and took it down cellar and stole it full of flour, and started for breakfast and found a couple of shingle-nails that Tom said would be handy for a prisoner to scrabble his name and sorrows on the dungeon walls with, and dropped one of them in Aunt Sally’s apron pocket which was hanging on a chair, and t’other we stuck in the band of Uncle Silas’s hat, which was on the bureau, because we heard the children say their pa and ma was going to the runaway nigger’s house this morning, and then went to breakfast, and Tom dropped the pewter spoon in Uncle Silas’s coat pocket, and Aunt Sally wasn’t come yet, so we had to wait a little while.

And when she come she was hot, and red, and cross, and couldn’t hardly wait for the blessing; and then she went to sluicing out coffee with one hand and cracking the handiest child’s head with her thimble with the other, and says: “I’ve hunted high, and I’ve hunted low, and it does beat all, what has become of your other shirt.” My heart fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, and a hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after it and got met on the road with a cough and was shot across the table and took one of the children in the eye and curled him up like a fishing-worm, and let a cry out of him the size of a war-whoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue around the gills, and it all amounted to a considerable state of things for about a quarter of a minute or as much as that, and I would a sold out for half price if there was a bidder. But after that we was all right againit was the sudden surprise of it that knocked us so kind of cold. Uncle Silas he says: “It’s most uncommon curious, I can’t understand it. I know perfectly well I took it off, because-” “Because you hain’t got but one on. Just listen at the man! I know you took it off, and know it by a better way than your wool-gethering memory, too, because it was on the clo’esline yesterday-I see it there myself. But it’s gone-that’s the long and the short of it, and you’ll just have to change to a red flann’l one till I can get time to make a new one. And it’ll be the third I’ve made in two years; it just keeps a body on the jump to keep you in shirts; and whatever you do manage to do with ‘m all, is more’n I can make out. A body’d think you would learn to take some sort of care of ‘em, at your time of life.” “I know it, Sally, and I do try all I can. But it oughtn’t to be altogether my fault, because you know I don’t see them nor have nothing to do with them except when they’re on me; and I don’t believe I’ve ever lost one of them off of me.” “Well, it ain’t your fault if you haven’t, Silas-you’d a done it if you could, I reckon. And the shirt ain’t all that’s gone, nuther. Ther’s a spoon gone; and that ain’t all. There was ten, and now there’s only nine. The calf got the shirt I reckon, but the calf never took the spoon, that’s certain.” “Why, what else is gone, Sally?” “Ther’s six candles gone-that’s what. The rats could a got the candles, and I reckon they did;


I wonder they don’t walk off with the whole place, the way you’re always going to stop their holes and don’t do it; and if they warn’t fools they’d sleep in your hair, Silas-you’d never find it out; but you can’t lay the spoon on the rats, and that I know.” “Well, Sally, I’m in fault, and I acknowledge it; I’ve been remiss; but I won’t let to-morrow go by without stopping up them holes.” “Oh, I wouldn’t hurry, next year’ll do. Matilda Angelina Araminta Phelps!” Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches her claws out of the sugarbowl without fooling around any. Just then, the nigger woman steps onto the passage, and says: “Missus, dey’s a sheet gone.” “A sheet gone! Well, for the land’s sake!” “I’ll stop up them holes today,” says Uncle Silas, looking sorrowful.

“Oh, do shet up!- spose the rats took the sheet? Where’s it gone, Lize?” “Clah to goodness I hain’t no notion, Miss Sally. She wuz on de clo’s-line yistiddy, but she done gone; she ain’ dah no mo’, now.”

“I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never see the beat of it, in all my born days. A shirt, and a sheet, and a spoon, and six can-” “Missus,” comes a young yaller wench, “dey’s a brass cannelstick missin.” “Cler out from here, you hussy, er I’ll take a skillet to ye!” Well, she was just a biling. I begun to lay for a chance; I reckoned I would sneak out and go for the woods till the weather moderated. She kept a raging right along, running her insurrection all by herself, and everybody else mighty meek and quiet; and at last Uncle Silas, looking kind of foolish, fishes up that spoon out of his pocket. She stopped, with her mouth open and her hands up; and as for me, I wished I was in Jeruslem or somewheres. But not long; because she says: “It’s just as I expected. So you had it in your pocket all the time; and like as not you’ve got the other things there, too. How’d it get there?” “I reely don’t know, Sally,” he says, kind of apologizing, “or you know I would tell. I was a-studying over my text in Acts Seventeen, before breakfast, and I reckon I put it in there, not noticing, meaning to put my Testament in, and it must be so, because my Testament ain’t in, but I’ll go and see, and if that Testament is where I had it, I’ll know I didn’t put it in, and that will show that I laid the Testament down and took up the spoon, and-” “Oh, for the land’s sake! Give a body a rest! Go ‘long now, the whole kit and biling of ye; and don’t come nigh me again till I’ve got back my peace of mind.”

I’d a heard her, if she’d a said it to herself, let alone speaking it out; and I’d a got up and obeyed her, if I’d a been dead. As we was passing through the settingroom, the old man he took up his hat, and the shingle-nail fell out on the floor, and he just merely picked it up and laid it on the mantel-shelf, and never said nothing, and went out. Tom see him do it, and remembered about the spoon, and says: “Well, it ain’t no use to send things by him no more, he ain’t reliable.” Then he says: “But he done us a good turn with the spoon, anyway, without knowing it, and so we’ll go and do him one without him knowing it-stop up his rat-holes.” There was a noble good lot of them, down cellar, and it took us a whole hour, but we done the job tight and good, and ship-shape. Then we heard steps on the stairs, and blowed out our light, and hid; and here comes the old man, with a candle in one hand and a bundle of stuff in t’other, looking as absentminded as year before last. He went a mooning around, first to one rat-hole and then another, till he’d been to them all. Then he stood about five minutes, picking tallow-drip off of his candle and thinking. Then he turns off slow and dreamy towards the stairs, saying: “Well, for the life of me I can’t remember when I done it. I could show her now that I warn’t to blame on account of the rats. But never mind-let it go. I reckon it wouldn’t do no good.” And so he went on a mumbling up stairs, and then we left. He was a mighty nice old man. And always is.

Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for a spoon, but he said we’d got to have it; so he took a think. When he ciphered it out, he told me how we was to do; then we went and waited around the spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally coming, and then Tom went to counting the spoons and laying them out to one side, and I slid one of them up my sleeve, and Tom says: “Why, Aunt Sally, there ain’t but nine spoons, yet.” She says: “Go ‘long to your play, and don’t bother me. I know better, I counted ‘m myself.” “Well, I’ve counted them twice, Aunty, and I can’t make but nine.” She looked out of all patience, but of course she come to count-anybody would.

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