Jump to Content

(Citations: On Off) Interactive View | Reading View | Print View

Prev | Section | Next


Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.
[page 196]
figure
figure

tragedy.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

all day him and the king was hard at it, rigging up a stage, and a curtain, and a row of candles for [footlights]; and that night the house was jam full of men in no time. When the place couldn’t hold [no] more, the [duke he] quit tending [door] and went around the back way and come onto the stage and stood [up] before the curtain, and made a little speech, and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most thrillingest one that ever was; and so he went [on,] [a-bragging] about the [tragedy,] and about Edmund Kean the [Elder], which was to play the main [principal] part in it; and at last when [he’d] got everybody’s expectations up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all [fours, naked]; and he was [painted,] [all over], [ring-streaked-and-striped], all sorts of colors, as [splendid] as a [rain-bow]. [And—but [never mind] the rest of his [outfit,] it was just [[wild], but] it was awful funny.] The people [most] killed themselves laughing; and when the king got done capering, and capered off behind the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and [haw-hawed] till he come back and done it over again; and after that, they made him do it another time. Well, it would [a made] a cow [laugh,] to see the shines [that] old idiot cut.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

Then the [duke he] [lets] the curtain down, and bows to the people, and says the great tragedy will be performed only two nights more, on accounts of pressing London engagements, where the seats is all [page 197] sold [aready] for it in Drury Lane; and [then he] makes them another bow, and says if he has succeeded in [pleasing them] and instructing them, he will [be] deeply [obleeged] if they will mention [it] to their friends and [get] them to come and see it.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

Twenty people [sings] out:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“What, is it over? Is that all?

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

The duke [says] yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody [[sings] out “[Sold!]” and] rose up mad, and was [agoing] for that stage and them tragedians. But a [big] [fine looking] man [jumps] up on a bench and shouts:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.” They stopped to listen. “We are sold—[mighty] badly [sold]. But [we don’t] want to be the [laughing-stock] of this whole town, [I reckon,] and never hear the last of this thing as long as we [live.] No. What we [want,] is to go out of [here] quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town! Then we’ll all be in the same boat. Ain’t that sensible?” [[“You] bet it is!—the jedge is right!” everybody [sings] [out.]] “All right, then—not a word about any sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

Next day you couldn’t hear [nothing] around that town but how splendid that show was. House was jammed [again,] [that night,] and we sold this crowd the same way. When me and [the king] and [the duke] got [home] to the raft, we all had a supper; and [by and by], about midnight, they made Jim and me back her out and float her down the middle of the [river] and fetch her in and hide her about two mile below town.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[page 198] [The third night the house was [crammed] again—and they warn’t [newcomers,] this time, but people that was at the show the other two nights. I stood by the duke at the door, and I see that every man that went in had his pockets bulging, or something muffled up under his coat—and I see it warn’t no [perfumery,] neither, not by a [long] sight. I smelt [sickly] eggs by the barrel, and rotten cabbages, and such [things;] [and if I know the [signs] of a dead cat [being around], and I bet I do, there was sixty-four of them went in.] I shoved in there for a minute, but it was too [various] for me, I couldn’t stand it.] Well, when the place couldn’t hold no more people, the duke he give a fellow a quarter and told him to tend door for him a minute, and then he started around for the stage door, I after him; but the minute we turned the corner and was in the dark, he says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Walk fast, now, till you get away from the houses, and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after you!”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

I done it, and he done the same. We struck the raft at the same time, and in less than two seconds we was gliding down stream, all dark and still, and edging towards the middle [of the river], nobody saying a word. I reckoned the poor king was in for a gaudy time of it with the audience; but nothing of the [sort:] pretty soon he [crawls] out from under the wigwam, and says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Well, how’d [the] old thing pan out this time, [duke]?”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

He [hadn’t] been up town at all.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

We never showed a light till we was about ten mile below that village. Then we lit up and had a supper, and the king and the duke fairly laughed [their bones loose] over the way they’d served them people. The duke says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house would keep mum and let the rest of the town get roped in; and I knew they’d lay for us the third night, and [consider] it was their [turn now]. Well, it is their turn, and [I’d give something to know [how much] they’d take for it.] [I] would just like to know how they’re putting in their opportunity. [[They] can turn it into a picnic, if they want to—they brought plenty provisions.]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars] in that three nights. I never see money hauled in by the [wagon load] like [that,] [before.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

By and by], when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[page 199] “Don’t it [sprise] you, de way dem kings carries on, [Huck?”]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“No,” I says, “it don’t.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Why don’t it, Huck?”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Well, [it] don’t, because it’s in the breed. I reckon they’re all alike.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[But] Huck, dese kings o’ ourn is [reglar] rapscallions; dat’s jist what dey is; [dey’s] reglar rapscallions.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Well, that’s what I’m a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Is dat so?”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“You read about them once—you’ll see. Look at [Henry] the Eight; [this’n ’s] a [Sunday School superintendent] to him. And look at Charles Second, [and Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fifteen,] and James Second, and Edward Second, and Richard Third, and forty more; besides all them [Saxon heptarchies] that used to rip around so in old times and raise Cain. My, you ought to seen old [Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. [He] was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every [day,] and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs. ‘Fetch up Nell Gwynn,’ he says. They fetch her up. Next [morning,] ‘Chop off her head!’ And they chop it off. ‘Fetch up Jane Shore,’ he says; and up she comes. Next morning, ‘Chop off her head’—and they chop it off. [‘Ring] [up Fair] Rosamun.’ Fair Rosamun] answers the bell. Next morning, ‘Chop off her [[head.’]] [And he made every one of them [tell him a tale every night; and he kept that up till he had hogged a thousand and one tales that way, and then he [[put]] them all in a book, and called it [Domesday] [Book]—which was a good [name,] and stated the [case.]] [You don’t know kings, Jim, but] I know them; and this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest I’ve struck in history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble with this country. How does he go at it—give [notice?—give] the country a show? No. [All] of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston [[harbor]] overboard, and whacks out a declaration of independence, and dares them to come on. That was his style—he never give anybody a [chance.] He had suspicions of his father, the [duke] of Wellington. Well, what did he do?—ask him to show up? No—drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a [cat]. Spose people left money laying around where he was—what did he do? He collared it. Spose he contracted to do a thing; and you [page 200] paid him, and didn’t set down there and see that he done [it]—what did he do? He always done the other thing. Spose he opened his mouth—what then? [If] he didn’t shut it [up] powerful quick, he’d lose a lie, every time. That’s the kind of a bug Henry was; and if we’d a had him along [stead] of our [kings,] he’d a [fooled] that town a [heap] worse than ourn done. I don’t say that ourn is lambs, because they [ain’t], when you come right down to the cold facts; but they ain’t nothing to that old ram, anyway. All I [say,] is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they’re a mighty ornery lot. It’s the way they’re raised.”

figure

henry the eighth in boston harbor.

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Well, they all do, Jim. We can’t help the way a king smells; history don’t tell no way.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Now de duke, [he’s] a [tolerble] likely [man, in some [ways.]]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Yes, a duke’s different. But not [very] different. [This one’s] a middling hard [[lot,—]]for a duke. When he’s drunk, there ain’t no near-sighted man [could tell] him from a king.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“Well, anyways, I [doan] hanker for no mo’ un um, Huck. Dese is all I kin stan’.”

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[page 201] “It’s the way I feel, too, Jim. But we’ve got them on our hands, and we got to remember what they are, and make allowances. Sometimes I wish we could hear of a country that’s out of kings.”]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[What was the use to tell Jim these warn’t real kings and dukes? It wouldn’t [a done] no good; and besides, it was just as I said; you couldn’t tell them from the real kind.]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[I went to sleep, and Jim didn’t call me when it was my turn. He often done that. When I waked up, just at daybreak, he was setting there with his head down betwixt his knees, moaning and mourning to himself. I didn’t take notice, nor let on. I knowed what it was about. He was thinking about his wife and his children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick; because he hadn’t ever been away from home before in his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for [[theirn]]. It don’t seem natural, but I reckon [it’s] so. He was often moaning and [mourning,] that way, nights, [when he judged I was asleep,] and [saying] “Po’ little ’Lizabeth! po’ little Johnny! [it] mighty hard; I spec’ I ain’t ever gwyne to see you no mo’, no mo’!” He was a mighty good nigger, [Jim was.]

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[But this time I somehow got to talking to him about his wife and young ones; and [by and by] he says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“What [make] me feel so bad dis time, ’uz bekase I hear sumpn over yonder on de bank like a whack, er a slam, while ago, en it [mine] me er de time I treat my little ’Lizabeth so ornery. She warn’t on’y ’bout fo’ year ole, en she tuck de sk’yarlet fever, en had a powful rough spell; but she got well, en one day she was a-stannin’ aroun’, en I says to her, I says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[“ ‘Shet] de do’.’

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[“She] never done it; [jis’] stood dah, kiner smilin’ up at me. It make me mad; en I says agin, mighty loud, I says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“ ‘[Doan] you [hear] me?—shet de do’!’

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[“She] jis’ stood [de] same way, kiner smilin’ up. I was [a-bilin’!] I says:

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

“ ‘I lay I make you [mine]!’

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

[“En] wid dat I fetch’ her a slap side de head dat [sont her] a-sprawlin’. Den I went into de yuther room, [en ’uz] gone ’bout ten minutes; en when I come back, dah was dat do’ a-stannin’ open yit, en dat chile stannin’ mos’ right in it, a-lookin’ down [en] mournin’, en de tears runnin’ down. My, but I wuz [mad.] I was [agwyne] for de chile, but [jis’] den—it was a do’ dat [open’] innerds—jis’ den, ’long come de wind en [page 202] slam it to, behine de chile, ker-blam!—en my lan’, de chile [never] move’! My breff mos’ hop outer me; en I feel so—so—I [doan] know how I feel. [I crope] out, all a-tremblin’, en crope aroun’ en open de do’ easy en slow, en poke my head in behine de chile, sof’ en still, en all [uv] a [sudden] I says pow! jis’ as loud as I could yell. [[She never budge!]] [O], Huck, I bust out [a-cryin’,] en grab her up in my [arms] en say, ‘[O] de po’ little thing! [de [Lord] God Amighty] fogive po’ ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to fogive [hisseff] as [long’s] he live!’ [O], [she was plumb deef en dumb], Huck, plumb deef en dumb—en I’d ben [a treat’n] her so!”]]


Explanatory Notes: Expand | Collapse
Textual Commentary

Add to My Citations
Click to add citation to My Citations.

These notes identify real people, places, books, and events that Mark Twain drew upon for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They document historical, literary, and cultural allusions, parallels, analogues, or influences, both in the text and in E. W. Kemble’s illustrations. They identify important moments in the seven-year course of composition and in the process of revision and first publication: when Mark Twain wrote or revised parts of the text, when he stopped or resumed work on them, how he struggled with or commented on them. References to the manuscript may distinguish between its newly discovered first half (MS1) and its long familiar second half (MS2), now both in the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. References to the typed copies of MS1 and MS2 which Mark Twain had made are to the documents which served as Kemble’s and the first edition printer’s copy, but the typescripts themselves are not known to survive. What they probably contained and how Mark Twain revised them are matters inferred from the manuscript, the first edition set from the typescripts, and other evidence. For the history of composition, revision, publication, and reception, see the introduction. References to the text are keyed to this volume by page and line: 3.10 means page 3, line 10. Chapter titles and picture captions are not included in the line count, but when they are referred to, the word title or caption is substituted for the line number: 3 caption means the caption on page 3. Frequently cited books have been assigned an abbreviation, always italicized, which is followed by a page (or volume and page) number: “MTBus, 21” or “MTL, 1:456–57.” But most works are cited by the author’s last name, followed by page number, unless there is only one page: “Abbott, 16–17” or simply “Pease.” When two or more works by the same author are cited, the year of publication differentiates them: “Budd 1985, 1” or “Budd 1962, 34–76.” For works likely to be consulted in any of various editions, citations give chapter numbers (or book, canto, or act numbers) rather than page numbers. Quotations of Mark Twain’s published work are from critically edited texts produced by the Mark Twain Project or from the first printings, as necessary. Quotations from original documents follow their wording and punctuation exactly, even when a published form is also cited and may differ slightly from the original. Repositories of unique documents are identified by the standard Library of Congress abbreviation. [page 374] Documents owned by individuals are cited by the owner’s last name. All abbreviations and names used as citations are defined in References, pp. 1121–64.


Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
198.1–8 The third night . . . went in.] Mark Twain’s account of the final “Royal Nonesuch” performance is similar in tone and detail to a scene in Albert W. Aiken’s Richard Talbot of Cinnabar; or, The Brothers of the Red Hand, serialized in the Saturday Journal from 8 May to 14 August 1880 and published in book form in Beadle and Adams’s “Dime Library” series in November 1880. Aiken described an entertainment in a western mining camp by an itinerant actor billed as J. Lysander Tubbs, “The Arkansaw Comedian,” late of the Drury Lane Theatre. Like the king and the duke, Tubbs advertises his advent with a comically bombastic handbill, which lists recitations and musical interludes, as well as scenes from Hamlet and Julius Caesar, all performed by Tubbs in different guises. The show is attended by “quite a large party of the boys” who come armed “with sundry articles,” including potatoes, with which to assault the performer (Aiken, 7–9, in Johannsen, 1:10–11, 207, 440).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
198.35 Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dollars] An Elizabethan variant of the king and duke’s scam occurs in a tale “laid somewhere about 1567.” The London swindler, however, absconds with the proceeds and strands his audience in Northumberland [page 440] Place before giving them even a single performance. John Chamberlain (1553–1627), “the letter-writer,” reported that “a precisely similar adventure” actually took place in 1602 (Hazlitt 1890, 203–4).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
199.15 Saxon heptarchies] “Heptarchy,” or rule of seven, refers to the sixth- to ninth-century kingdoms unified later as Anglo-Saxon England. The heptarchy concept is now known to have been the highly simplified yet convenient invention of a twelfth-century historian (see Keynes).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
199.16–23 Henry the Eight . . . Nell Gwynn . . . Jane Shore . . . Fair Rosamun] Although King Henry VIII (1491–1547) did behead two of his wives, neither is mentioned here. Eleanor (Nell) Gwyn (1650–87) was the mistress of Charles II; Jane Shore (d. 1527), the mistress of Edward IV; and Rosamond Clifford (d. 1176), the mistress of Henry II.

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
199.24–27 tell him a tale every night . . . Domesday Book] Huck confuses The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments with the Domesday Book, a general census and survey of land holdings in England completed in 1086 for William the Conqueror. Neither book concerned Henry VIII, nor did any of the other events or persons mentioned in the rest of the paragraph: the Boston tea party (1773), the Declaration of Independence (1776), the duke of Wellington (1769–1852), or George, duke of Clarence (1449–78), reputedly drowned in a butt of malmsey wine in the Tower of London.

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
202.8–9 she was plumb deef en dumb] One of Mark Twain’s 1880 working notes, which gives a real antecedent for this episode, specifies that the child’s deafness was caused by scarlet fever (Mark Twain’s Working Notes, working note 2-11, p. 482). In late 1882 or early 1883 the author noted to himself: “Some rhymes about the little child whose mother boxed its ears for inattention & presently when it did not notice the heavy slamming of a door, perceived that it was deaf” (N&J2, 510). Clemens had recent personal experience with the ravages of scarlet fever: the Clemens children, particularly little Jean, were ill for several weeks in June and July 1882, and the children of his coachman, Patrick McAleer, were stricken in January 1883 (SLC to Fairbanks, 7 May 83, CSmH, in MTMF, 252). In January 1884, when William Dean Howells’s son, John, was recovering from the same disease, Clemens recalled the scarlet fever “calamity” and sounded a cautionary note: “I suppose lots of people will say it is safe to let John get out of bed within 6 weeks after he is well; but history does seem to condemn that course. . . . Our Patrick could answer that with a sigh. One of his children is deaf” (SLC to Howells, 7 Jan 84, NN-B, and 20 Jan 84, MH-H, in MTHL, 2:460, 465).