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Summary Chapter 18

Colonel Grangerford is a gentleman. He was a kind, quiet man. When he was angry, he could strike terror just with his frown. People behaved themselves around him. Generally, though, people liked his company because everything was pleasant and went well when he was around. Even at home, his family treats him with respect.

Grangerford owns several farms and lots of servants. He has several children. Three sons and a daughter Emmeline have died.

There is another aristocratic family called the Shepherdsons. One day, Harney Shepherson comes galloping along. Buck shoots his hat off. Huck and Buck run home before Harney can get a shot. Grangerford is pleased but reproaches Buck for shooting behind a bush instead of out in the open. Buck says the Shepherdsons never shoot out in the open.

The other members of the family seem somber at the tale. Miss Sophia seems relieved that the man wasn’t hurt. Huck asks Buck why he wanted to kill Harney, who didn’t do anything to Buck. Buck says it is due to the feud. Thirty years ago, there was some trouble that nobody remembers, and the two families started killing each other and have been doing so since.

Buck seems to have a respect for the Shepherdsons. He claims that Baldy Shepherdson was no coward. The Grangerfords retaliated against him for killing 14 year old Bud. He stood up against them. Though he died, he took two more Grangerfords with him.

Both families attend the same church and bring their guns, but they don’t fight there.

When everyone returns home, Miss Sophia asks Huck to return to the church and fetch her bible. Huck agrees, though he thinks she has another reason for wanting it. When he shakes the book, a piece of paper falls out that says, “Half past two.” She is happy to get this paper. She hugs Huck and asks him not to tell. He denies it when she asks if he read it.

Huck’s servant has been wanting to show Huck some water moccasins. Huck finds this curious but agrees to follow him. Jack shows him Jim’s hiding place in the swamp.

Jim is glad to see him. He had seen Huck swim to the shore, but he feared getting caught if he followed him. The servants have been helping him. He managed to salvage the raft. He has been buying supplies.

The next day, Huck wakes to find the family gone. Jack tells him that Miss Sophia ran off with Harney Shepherdson. The Grangerfords went after him to kill him. Huck hears gunfire in the distance.

Huck climbs a tree to see what is going on. He watches the two families face off. Buck and a 19 year old cousin get pursued. However, the men that are chasing them lose them. Huck reveals himself. Buck tells him that his father and brothers are dead. They managed to get 2-3 Shepherdsons. The family had ambushed the Grangerfords. Miss Sophia and her beau made it safely across the river.

Suddenly, the Shepherdson men return and start shooting. Buck and Joe jump into the river, injured. Huck stays up in the tree. He isn’t returning to the house. He blames himself for what happened. He should have told Sophia’s father about that letter. He finds Buck and Joe’s bodies by the river.

Huck goes to find Jim. He finds the raft gone. He cries out, and Jim replies. Jack had told Jim he was certain Huck was dead, and Jim is glad to see that isn’t the case.

Huck isn’t easy until they are a few miles from the place. He is glad to leave the feuds behind, and Jim is glad to leave the swamp.

Mark Twain