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Chapter 1


CHAPTER I.

YOU don't know about me without you have read a
book by the name of The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was
made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth,
mainly. There was things which he stretched, but
mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never
seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it
was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt
Polly -- Tom's Aunt Polly, she is -- and Mary, and
the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book,
which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as
I said before.

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom
and me found the money that the robbers hid in the
cave, and it made us rich. We got six thousand dollars
apiece -- all gold. It was an awful sight of money
when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took
it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar
a day apiece all the year round -- more than a body
could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she
took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize
me; but it was rough living in the house all the time,
considering how dismal regular and decent the widow
was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it
no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my
sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But
Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going
to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would
go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went
back.

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor
lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names,
too, but she never meant no harm by it. She put me
in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing
but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up. Well,
then, the old thing commenced again. The widow
rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time.
When you got to the table you couldn't go right to
eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck
down her head and grumble a little over the victuals,
though there warn't really anything the matter with
them, -- that is, nothing only everything was cooked
by itself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different;
things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps
around, and the things go better.

After supper she got out her book and learned me
about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat
to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out
that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so
then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't
take no stock in dead people.

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow
to let me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean
practice and wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it
any more. That is just the way with some people.
They get down on a thing when they don't know
nothing about it. Here she was a-bothering about
Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to any-
body, being gone, you see, yet finding a power of
fault with me for doing a thing that had some good in
it. And she took snuff, too; of course that was all
right, because she done it herself.

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid,
with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and
took a set at me now with a spelling-book. She
worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then
the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it
much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull,
and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, "Don't
put your feet up there, Huckleberry;" and "Don't
scrunch up like that, Huckleberry -- set up straight;"
and pretty soon she would say, "Don't gap and stretch
like that, Huckleberry -- why don't you try to be-
have?" Then she told me all about the bad place,
and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then,
but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was to go
somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't
particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said;
said she wouldn't say it for the whole world; she was
going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I
couldn't see no advantage in going where she was
going, so I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it.
But I never said so, because it would only make
trouble, and wouldn't do no good.

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told
me all about the good place. She said all a body
would have to do there was to go around all day long
with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn't
think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if
she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she
said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about
that, because I wanted him and me to be together.

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got
tiresome and lonesome. By and by they fetched the
niggers in and had prayers, and then everybody was
off to bed. I went up to my room with a piece of
candle, and put it on the table. Then I set down in a
chair by the window and tried to think of something
cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I
most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and
the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and
I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about some-
body that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog cry-
ing about somebody that was going to die; and the
wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I
couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold
shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I
heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it
wants to tell about something that's on its mind and
can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in
its grave, and has to go about that way every night
grieving. I got so down-hearted and scared I did wish
I had some company. Pretty soon a spider went
crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit
in the candle; and before I could budge it was all
shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to tell me that
that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some
bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes
off of me. I got up and turned around in my tracks
three times and crossed my breast every time; and
then I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to
keep witches away. But I hadn't no confidence.
You do that when you've lost a horseshoe that you've
found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I
hadn't ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep
off bad luck when you'd killed a spider.

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my
pipe for a smoke; for the house was all as still as
death now, and so the widow wouldn't know. Well,
after a long time I heard the clock away off in the
town go boom -- boom -- boom -- twelve licks; and
all still again -- stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard
a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees --
something was a stirring. I set still and listened.
Directly I could just barely hear a "me-yow! me-
yow!" down there. That was good! Says I, "me-
yow! me-yow!" as soft as I could, and then I put
out the light and scrambled out of the window on to
the shed. Then I slipped down to the ground and
crawled in among the trees, and, sure enough, there
was Tom Sawyer waiting for me.

Mark Twain