Huckleberry Finn (Huck) is the narrator. He is picking up where The Adventures of Tom Sawyer left off. He is talking about how at the end of that book, Tom and he had found the money hidden in the robber’s cave. It was split between them, giving each boy $6,000. The Widow Douglas adopted Huck. She was nice, but her attempts to civilize him drove him crazy. He ran away. Tom found him and blackmailed him into going back by saying he couldn’t be part of Tom’s gang of robbers if he didn’t.
Huck describes his routine at the Widow Douglas’ home. He showed an interest in learning about Moses until he learned that he was dead, for the dead don’t interest him. The widow disapproves of him smoking even though she takes snuff.
Miss Watson is the Widow Douglas’ sister. She comes to live with them and teaches Huck spelling. She gets angry when he says he wish he could go to Hell. He doesn’t think Heaven is worth trying for, but he learns not to say that. He is glad when she says Tom won’t go to Heaven either, for he desires Tom’s company.
He was pretty depressed when he went to bed. A spider crawling up on his shoulder is taken as a bad sign. He does a ritual to protect himself. He hears Tom Sawyer meowing at his window, and goes down to join him.