by M TWAIN · Cited by 3386 — 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
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IN this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary ÒPike CountyÓ dialect; and four modiÞed vari- eties of this last. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.THE AUTHOR

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” Scene: The Mississippi Valley Time : Forty to Þfty years ago ou donÕt know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ; but that ainÕt 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 PollyÑTomÕs Aunt Polly, she isÑand 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 apieceÑall gold. It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put

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it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year roundÑmore 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 dis- mal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldnÕt stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisÞed. 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 couldnÕt do noth- ing 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 couldnÕt 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 warnÕt really anything the matter with them,Ñthat 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 Þnd out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didnÕt care no more about him, because I donÕt take no stock in dead people.Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let me. But she wouldnÕt. She said it was a mean practice and wasnÕt 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 donÕt know nothing about it. Here she was a-bothering about Moses, which was no kin to her, and no use to anybody, being gone, you see, yet Þnding 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, &

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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 couldnÕt stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I was Þdgety. Miss Watson would say, ÒDonÕt put your feet up there, Huckleberry;Ó and ÒDonÕt scrunch up like that, HuckleberryÑset up straight;Ó and pretty soon she would say, ÒDonÕt gap and stretch like that, HuckleberryÑwhy donÕt you try to behave?Ó Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didnÕt mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warnÕt particular. She said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldnÕt say it for the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, I couldnÕt see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldnÕt try for it. But I never said so, because it would only make trouble, and wouldnÕt 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 didnÕt 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 lone- some. 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 warnÕt no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shin- ing, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldnÕt 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 thatÕs on its mind and canÕt make itself understood, and so canÕt rest ‘

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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 ßipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriv- eled up. I didnÕt 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 lit- tle lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away. But I hadnÕt no conÞdence. You do that when youÕve lost a horseshoe that youÕve found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadnÕt ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad luck when youÕd 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 wouldnÕt know. Well, after a long time I heard the clock away off in the town go boomÑboomÑboomÑtwelve licks; and all still againÑstiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard a twig snap down in the dark amongst the treesÑsomething was a stirring. I set still and lis- tened. Directly I could just barely hear a Òme-yow! me-yow!Ó down there. That was good! Says I, Òme-yow! me-yow!Ó 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. (

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