"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" - Transcript

Adam Deutschmann proudly presents
A re-telling of a Mark Twain classic

The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn

(Beginning with: Chapter 14; Was Solomon Wise?)

By and by, when we got up, we turned over the trunk the gang had stole off the wreck, and found boots, blankets, and clothes and all sorts of other things, and a lot of books, and a spyglass, and three boxes of seegars. We hadn't ever been this rich before in neither of our lives. The seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and me reading the books, and having a good general time. I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck at the ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things was adventures; but he said he didn't want no more adventures. He said that when I went into the texas and he crawled back to get on the raft and found her gone, he nearly died, because he judged it was all up with him any way it could be fixed; for if he didn't get saved he would get drownded; and if he did get saved, whoever saved him would send him back home so as to get the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him south, sure. Well, he was right; he was most always right; he had an uncommon level head for a slave.

I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and so on, 'stead of mister; and Jim's eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says:

"I didn't know dey was so many un um. I hain't hearn 'bout none un um, skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you counts dem kings dat's in a pack er k'yards. How much do a king git?

"Get?" I says; "Why they get a thousand dollars a month if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; everything belongs to them."

"Ain' dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?"

"They don't do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set around."

"No; is dat so?"

"Of course it is. They just set around--except, maybe, when there's a war; then they go to the war. But other times they just lazy around, or go hawking--just hawking and sp--Shh!--d'you hear a noise?"

We skipped out and looked; but it warn't nothing but the flutter of a steamboat's wheel away down, coming around the point; so we come back.

"Yes," says I, "and other times, when things is dull, they fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don't go just so he whacks their heads off. But mostly they hang round the harem."

"Roun' de which?"

"Harem."

"What's de harem?"

"The place where he keeps his wives. Don't you know about the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives."

"Why, yes, dat's so; I--I'd done forgot it. A harem's a bo'd'n-house, I reck'n. Mos' likely dey has rackety times in de nussery. En I reck'n de wives quarrels considerable; en dat 'crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises' man dat ever liv'. I doan' take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a wise man want to live in de mids' er sich a blimblammin' all de time? No--'deed he wouldn't. A wise man 'ud take en buil' a biler-factry en den he could shet down de biler-factry when he want to res'."

"Well, but he was the wisest man, anyway; because the widow she told me so, her own self."

"I doan' k'yer what de wider say, he warn't no wise man nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes' ways I ever see. Does you know 'bout dat chile dat he 'uz gwyne to chop in two?"

"Yes, the widow told me all about it."

"Well, den! Warn' dat de beatenes' notion in de worl'? You jes' take ein look at it a minute. Dah's de stump, dah--dat's one er de women! Heah's you--dat's de yuther one; I's Sollermun; en dish yer dollar bill's de chile. Bofe un you claims it. What does I do? Does I shin aroun' mongs' de neighbors en fine out which un you de bill do b'long to, en han' it over de right one, all safe en soun, de way dat anybody had any gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in two, en give half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat's de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wit de chile. Now I want to ast you; what's de use er dat half a bill?--can't buy noth'n wid it. En what use half a chile? I wouldn' give a dern for a million un um.

"But hang it, Jim, you've clean missed the point--blame it, you've missed it a thousand mile."

"Who? Me? Go 'long. Doan' talk to me 'bout yo' pints. I reck'n I knows sense when I sees it; en dey ain't no sense in sich doin's as dat. De 'spute warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 'spute was 'bout a whole chile; en de man dat think he kin settle a 'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan' know enough to come out'n de rain. Doan' talk to me 'bout Sollermun, Huck I knows him by de back."

"But I tell you you don't get the point."

"Blame de pint! I reck'n I knows what I knows. En mine you, de real pint is down furder--it's down deeper. It lays in de way Sollermun was raised. You take a man dat's got on'y one or two chillen; is dat man gwyne be wasteful o' chillen? No he ain't; he can't 'ford it. He knows how to value 'em. But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million chillen runnin' round' de house, en it's diffunt. He as soon chop a chile in two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'. A chile er two, mo' er less, warn't no consekens to Sollermun, dad fetch him!"

I never see such a negro. If he got a notion in his head once, there warn't no getting out again. He was the most down on Solomon of any slave I ever see. So I went to talking about other kings, and let Solomon slide.

"Jim," I says, "did you ever hear of King Louis Sixteenth?"

"Why, no, Huck."

"Well," I says, "he was a king in France that got his head cut off a long time ago. His little boy dolphin would 'a' been a king, but they took him and shut him up in jail, and some says he died there."

"Po' little chap."

"But some says he got out and got away, and come to America."

"Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome--dey ain' no kings here, is dey, Huck?"

"No."

"Den he can't git no situation. What he gwyne to do?"

Well, I don't know. Some of them gets on the police, and some of them learns people how to talk French."

"Why Huck, doan' de Frech people talk de same way we does?"

"No, Jim; you couldn't understand a word they said--not a single word."

"Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat comes?"

"I don't know; but it's so. I got some of their jabber out of a book. S'pose a man was to come up to you and say 'Polly voo-franzy,' what would you do?"

"I slug 'im."

"Jim!"

"Dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 'low no brodah to call me dat."

"Sucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only saying, do you know how to talk French?"

"Well, den, why he couldn't he jus' say it?

"Why, he is a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's way of saying it."

"Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want to hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain't no sense in it."

"Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?"

"No, a cat don't."

"Well, does a cow talk like we do?"

"No, a cow don't nuther."

"Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow like a cat?"

"No dey don't."

"It's natural and right for 'em to talk different from each other, ain't it?"

"Course."

"And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk different from us?"

"Why, mos' sholy it is."

"Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a Franchman to talk different from us? You answer me that."

"Is a cat a man, Huck?"

"No."

"Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like a man. Is a cow a man, er is a cow a cat?"

"No, she ain't either of them."

"Well, den, she ain't got no business to talk like either one er de yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman a man?"

"Yes."

"Well, den! Dad blame it, why doan' he talk like a man? You answer me dat!"

I see it warn't no use waisting words--you can't learn a negro to argue. So I quit. We rode down the Mississippi in silence for a while in the dark as a fog began to appear.