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.
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.
“What, is it over? Is that all?”
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:
“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.”
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.
[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:
“Walk fast, now, till you get away from the houses, and then shin for the raft like the dickens was after you!”
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:
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:
“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.]”
By and by], when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says:
“No,” I says, “it don’t.”
“Why don’t it, Huck?”
“Well, that’s what I’m a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.”
“Is dat so?”
“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.”
“But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck.”
“Well, they all do, Jim. We can’t help the way a king smells; history don’t tell no way.”
[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.”]
[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.]
“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:
[“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!”]]