“The true sequel to Twain’s masterpiece.” —The Christian Science Monitor
At the start of this exuberant adventure story, Huck Finn’s life is back to normal in St. Petersburg, Missouri: The Widow Douglas expects him to wear clean clothes and eat with a knife and fork, and Jim now gets paid two dollars a week for the same chores he did as a slave. But when tragedy strikes and Huck is framed for the murder of Judge Thatcher, the two old friends have no choice but to finally “light out for the Territory”—and straight into the chaos of the California Gold Rush.
With tenacious lawman Bulldog Barrett in hot pursuit, Huck and Jim zigzag west, encountering a colorful cast of con artists, vixens, outlaws, and Indians along the way. Huck’s dastardly Pap even makes an appearance, rising from a watery grave to menace his son once again. When the adventurers visit a rowdy San Francisco theater, they find their greatest surprise yet: A popular playwright has dramatized their cross-country odyssey with Huck Finn as the dastardly villain and Tom Sawyer as the noble hero.
A picaresque romp through the Old West and a heartfelt tribute to the greatest of American novels, The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is rip-roaring fun from first page to last.
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The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Greg Matthews
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1983 Greg Matthews
All rights reserved.
Back to School — The Miracle — Whiskey by the River — The Fire — At the Judge's
There was another book I writ before this one which gives the story about how me and Jim went down the river on a raft, him looking for freedom on account of he's a nigger slave and me looking to get away from the Widow Douglas who's trying to sivilize me, and you could say we both wanted the same thing. I reckon most people don't read but one book in their life so if that warn't the one you read I best tell what happened at the end of that story, which is this: Jim got set free by his owner Miss Watson that died and give him freedom in her will, and Jim tells me he seen a dead man on the river and it was my own Pap, so now I'm a true orphan. Tom Sawyer says him and me and Jim should go for howling adventures among the Injuns out west and I figured it was a good plan.
Well, it never worked out that way, not at first. Things run along smooth enough after everything got put back like it was before me and Jim run off. Jim was a free nigger now and he never stopped bragging on it. That was all very fine for him, but I never felt like hoorahing about Pap. It was kind of a relief knowing he's dead and gone but at the same time I felt sorry too; I can't explain it. Jim says as how we're both free men now with a big rosy future full of freedom ahead of us. But it never made all that much difference. I moved back in with the Widow Douglas same as before and Jim, he stayed on with her doing all the usual chores he done before for Miss Watson, only now he got paid two dollars a week for it which is more money than he ever had in his life.
I laid out a thousand dollars from Injun Joe's loot to get Jim's wife and boy and girl out of slavery and they come to live at the widow's till Jim could build a house with the money he earned, which would be when he's around ninety. I offered him the cash so's he could do it straight off but he says I done enough for him already, so his wife done the kitchen chores and such around the place and Jim was happy having his family under one roof.
Along at the tail end of summer, school started again and I drug myself along to the schoolhouse mainly to show the widow I was sorry for having run off with her sister's nigger, atonement as they say. Tom Sawyer made it tolerable easy at first but pretty soon he took to mooning and spooning around Becky Thatcher in spite of her calling him a low-down friend of a nigger thief (me).
So you could say I warn't none too happy about things, and you would of been right. After them free and easy days on the raft with Jim it was like being cooped up in prison, wearing all them clothes the widow give me, stiff and new and discomforting, and eating regular with a knife and fork and a napkin across my knees to catch the stuff that never made it as far as my mouth and which I warn't allowed to scoop up and give it a second try. It was godawful dull. Nights when sleep never come I just stared at the ceiling and recollected the good times me and Jim had drifting along down the river with nobody to tell us what to do. They was the best days of my life so far, and it seemed like they warn't ever going to come back. A body might just as well die after times like that because the rest of his life just won't measure up. It was like hauling a cannonball around inside of me, all heavy and mournful feeling, and it made me walk slow and think slow, like being only half awake all the time.
Here's what I mean. I come down the street on a Saturday with my eyes all glassed over and staring at the ground. Someone says "Hey, Huck," Jo Harper or Ben Rogers maybe, only I don't even look around, don't even say "How do," just keep on walking, sliding my boots along the sidewalk, too tired and heavy feeling to lift them proper. Pretty soon I come to the edge of town and I take myself off into the woods and flop under a tree like a rag doll. There's cool shade on my face and it feels good, but at the selfsame time it makes me want to cry. How can you figure behavior like that? So I'm sitting there flopped under the tree and the shade moves across the ground nice and slow and I'm staring at it while it moves and thinking nothing at all, which is possible I can tell you. Then I see the snake, a puff adder gliding along smooth as silk. This is the queer part I'm trying to tell. I don't shoot off like a rocket and lam out of there, I just lay quiet watching it come along the ground till it reaches my foot where it stops, surprised I'm still there, not scared or nothing. It slithers over my boot, curious-like, and comes up to take a closer look at me. I never budged, I never sweated a drop, just looked him square in his slitty eyes, and when his tongue flickers in and out rapid I done the same, returning the compliment. We stayed like that flickering our tongues at each other for some considerable time, then up comes my arm real slow, and my hand come to a stop a couple inches away from the puff adder's head. I offer him the back of my hand to bite. He ducks his head sideways and back again, back and forth like a dance, and I keep my eyes on his. Then he stops bobbing side to side and turns and slithers away. It was a perfeckly good hand he could of bit but never did. He slithers off into the leaves and then he's gone.
I knowed right off it's a sign, but the meaning of it was a mystery. I stayed sat down and turned it over good, and finally after I give up trying to puzzle it out the answer hit me. It was Pap. He come back to let me know he forgives me for hating him and being scared of him the way you are with a snake. The devil must of give him time off to come up and do it. Pap must of done one good thing in his life to get parole that way, but whatever it was he never done it while I was around. I would of remembered. Anyway, I felt a whole lot better now I understood. It was like coming through fog into open water and seeing everything bright and clear and I made up my mind to have a snake for a totem like the Injuns do.
I felt pretty good for about a week, then the blue devils come back to plague me again worse than before. The widow seen the way of it and dosed me up on castor oil so I spent a fair amount of time in the outhouse, which is not such a bad place to be when you want to get away from the entire world. I sat in there and considered things. I had my share of Injun Joe's loot being took care of by Judge Thatcher, five thousand dollars of it left after buying Jim's family into freedom, but somehow I never got happiness from it. I had a friend, Tom Sawyer, but he never bothered coming around nowadays on account of always being with Becky Thatcher. I had a full belly (before the widow dosed me) and clothes on my back and a soft bed and a roof over my head, but none of it mattered worth a damn. I could feel the whole shebang coming down slow and steady, squashing me under, and it seemed there warn't nothing I could do about it besides kill myself.
Then comes a thundering and knocking on the outhouse door and Jim's voice come through the half moon cut in the planking.
"Huck, is you in dere, Huck? I'se brimful to bustin' wid somethin' to tell, Huck."
So I pulled up my britches and come out, and he's hopping from one foot to the other with a big grin on his face and I say:
"Well, what's so important you had to disturb my function?"
"It's 'Lisbeth, Huck! She kin hear! She done took a tumble down de steps an' bang her head on de groun' an' now she kin hear good as you an' me! She ain't deef no more, Huck!'
Without you already read my other book about me and Jim you won't know he had a deaf and dumb daughter about five years old that could never talk or hear even a cannon if it went off right beside her. Jim and his wife give up hope long ago she'd ever be like her little brother who was a normal nigger boy, so now Jim's all aglow with the miraculousness of it, telling me the story three times over.
"I seen her fall down de outside steps, Huck, an' rushed on over fast as I could a-bawlin' her name out loud an' Lawd if she don' turn aroun' an' lookit me when I bawls it! She's sittin' all of a daze feelin' de bump on her head an' I calls out her name an' she turns aroun'! She done it perzacly one second after I calls it, Huck, so I knowed right off she kin hear! De Lawd must give her de push down dem steps so's to loosen de cobwebs in her head!"
The long and the short of it is Jim and me took his little girl to Doc Crabb, who's the only one in town that'll touch a nigger, and he pokes around inside her ears with a little stick and goes behind her and claps his hands and suchlike and ends up deciding she can hear good as gold, only he can't explain why. But he does say maybe she ain't dumb neither, and just never spoke words on account of not knowing what words is, being deaf, and now she can hear talk being spoke all around her she'll know people ain't just breathing when they open and shut their mouths, and she'll listen and get the hang of it and start in talking herself.
Jim come out walking on air with Elizabeth perched on his shoulders looking around at the sound of folks jawing and buggy wheels squeaking and a blue jay on a picket fence warbling away. You never seen the like of her face, all full of wonderment. It made me feel kind of lighthearted too, the way you get when someone else's happiness rubs off on you. Jim was the best nigger I ever met and if anyone deserved a piece of good luck I reckon it was him. We went on home and told the widow and she declared it was a miracle and give Elizabeth a hunk of sugar to suck and Jim the rest of the day off.
"Leave the chores Jim; you must celebrate this blessed event," she says.
And he did, with whiskey, which was maybe not so smart seeing he never had but a mouthful before in his life. But his wages was there to buy it and his little girl was there with two good ears to give him a reason for it so he went and got the whiskey, only it was me that went into the store to fetch it for him.
"You do it, Huck," he says. "I never went into no store to get liquor befo'. I don't have no 'sperience of it. You go on in an' get it for me. Here de money, If'n dey got big bottles an' little bottles you be sure an' get de bigges'."
So I done it, in two minds about the whole thing, but doing it anyway. When I handed over the bottle Jim tucked it under his arm like it was a treasure and walked extra careful so as not to jog it loose and smash it on the way home. When his old woman seen what he had she got kind of snotty and went at him about the demon drink and such. She's a big woman with a voice to match, but Jim stood firm.
"It only for de celebratin' of de chile's bran' new ears," he says, getting his dander up. "Don' you get tonguewhippin' me, woman. I'se de boss in dis here place an' if'n I wants to celebrate wid a couple snorts das my priv'lege an' no woman goin' to tell me diff'rent."
And he hauled out the cork and tilted the bottle right there and then in front of her and his adam's apple bobbed up and down like a monkey on a stick. About five seconds later the taste hit him and he gasps and gags and his eyes come near to bugging out of his head. His old lady throwed back her head and brayed like a jackass.
"De drinker," she says, scornful. "De genulman wid de top hat an' walkin' cane an' de glasser whiskey in his han' fixin' to cut de dash. Huh! Mo' like de boy takin' de firs' puff on de pipe an' comin' near to puke on it! Well, if'n you wants to look ridickerless you kin go somewheres else an' do it. I ain't havin' no chiler mine watchin' her daddy make de fool an' pukin' all over de flo'. You git right now, an' you, Huck, you watch over him good. Now he a free man he thinkin' all de time he kin do what he want, but it ain't so. He still a nigger an' niggers don' go buyin' no bottler whiskey, not in dis town."
So we went down by the river and settled in a shady spot where we could hear the water sliding by and took turns pulling at the whiskey. It went down slow but regular till the bottle was near three-quarters empty and the sun was setting. Sometimes we chinwagged about this and that, but mostly we just sat and sucked on the bottle. Soon it come on toward dusk and the bats and owls begun to flit around. Jim give a sigh and shook his head and I could see the white of his teeth and the whites of his eyes, considerable crossed by now, and he says:
"Huck, you is sittin' wid de happies' man in de worl'."
"Why's that, Jim?" I ask, knowing the why of it already but not wanting to stop him talking it all out.
"On account of I got ever'thin' a man need. A woman dat look after me fine an' two chillen dat both kin hear real good. Dat Johnny, he a chip off'n de ol' block, a-tearassin' aroun' an' gettin' in trouble all de time. I'se goin' to hafter wallop him good perty soon, an' learn him some respec' an' manners. He a free man too, an' he goin' to get brung up right. Das de mos' impo'tant thing, Huck, dat freedom. A man ain't a man nohow lessen he got freedom. You an' me is lucky. We got a whole amounter freedom an' de brains to enjoy it. Ain't dat so, Huck?"
I disagreed with him about the enjoying but never spoke it. I just let him rattle on about freedom and happiness and how his cup runneth over. Meanwhile his bottle runneth low and the moon come up and the bullfrogs got to croaking at one another and pretty soon Jim commenced to snore. I sat peaceful and pie-eyed listening to the frogs and the crickets and Jim sawing wood, a nice easy feeling. Along come a steamboat all lit up with smoke belching from her chimneys and blotting out the stars. There was an orchestra on her playing a tune that come to me clear as a bell across half a mile of water, then she's gone around a bend and the sternwheel slapping the water fades and dies.
It warn't no good. Them blue devils was back, bottle shaped, and there ain't a meaner kind than that. Maybe this was how Pap got started on drinking, feeling good at first then bad later on. I tried keeping him out of my head but he kept peering around a tree and laughing at me, his face all fishbelly white and his long hair hanging down in his eyes, then at last he ducks back out of sight and he's gone. I got out my pipe and smoked awhile to steady my nerves. What right did a nigger have to be happy when a white man was miserable? It never made no kind of sense, but it warn't Jim's fault so I never held it against him. He's my friend after all.
Right about then I decided to lower the level of whiskey inside me and raise the level of the mighty Mississippi, only it was hard work to stand up straight and I had to crawl on hands and knees down the bank, steepish hereabouts so I ended up sliding head first into the drink, which give the bullfrogs something to croak about for days, I bet. It was cool in the water, so I stayed there floating in the shallows and sobering up some. Then I seen the fire, not the flames on account of the trees, but the glow in the sky overhead. Something in St. Petersburg was burning.
I swum ashore and tried to wake Jim, but he's dead drunk so I left him there and legged it back to town quick as I could, thinking how he'd be sorry in the morning he missed all the excitement. Finding the fire was easy enough; I just followed everyone that was streaming along toward it, but the closer I got the sicker I felt. The fire was in our street, and it was the Widow Douglas's house. The flames was licking the boards from the ground on up to the gables, crackling and roaring and throwing red light over everything. I looked at the windows but there warn't nobody there waiting to jump down. The town fire engine come clanging along the street and come to a halt and the brigade whipped out the hose and pumped away, playing the water onto the front porch where it done as much good as a gnat pissing on a stove. I run back and forth like a fretful dog trying to get close but the heat turned me away. Finally the roof give way with a crash and the whole place come down like a house of cards and shot sparks and flame high up in the air, then the walls fell in and it never even looked like a house no more. All the brigade could do was play the hose on the place next door so it won't catch light too. People around me was saying how no one come out of the house after the fire got started. The widow was dead and Jim's family too, all of them crisped. I pushed through the crowd and run as hard as I could away into the dark.
Next morning when Jim opens his eyes the first thing he seen was me sitting right by him. He pulled himself up onto his elbows and give me a bleary look.
"Lawdy, Huck, I got all de chillen of Israel trampin' in my head dis mornin'. Dat whiskey's mighty fine for celebratin', but I'd sure hate to do it regular. Reckon I'd get de Philistines too."
He laughs at his joke, which is middling witty coming from him, then he catches the look on my face.
"Say, Huck, you lookin' awful troubled 'bout somethin'. You tell your ol' frien' Jim. You got a pain in de gut from celebratin'?"
"No," I say.
"Well, what den?"
"The widow's house burned down last night, Jim. They're all dead."
Excerpted from The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Greg Matthews. Copyright © 1983 Greg Matthews. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1 Back to School — The Miracle — Whiskey by the River — The Fire — At the Judge's,
2 The Old Cabin — The Totem — Hibernation — Gold in California! — The Plan — Murder in St. Petersburg,
3 A Prisoner's Life — Religion on a Plate — Conversations with Tom Sawyer — Desperate Plans — Failure,
4 Escape! — A Rough Ride — Bad Signs on the Arkansas — Goodbye, Mississippi — Heading West,
5 Knights and Dragons — Shelter from the Storm — A Slew of Lies — Lady Luck — Pipe Smokers of History,
6 A Church on Wheels — High Times — God's Work — Coin and Paper — The Facts of Life,
7 The Role of Religion — Messing with Jesus — Saving Souls — A Sad Discovery — Reflections on Friendship — A Handy Theory,
8 Suspicioned? — The Dead Return — The Arm of the Law — Unsatisfied Customers — Grace to the Rescue — The Plan Misfires,
9 St. Joseph — A New Partner — An Interesting Article — Short Tempers in Tent City — A Long Rifle — Across the Missouri,
10 The Wagon Train — A Mountain Man — An Unpaid Debt — Conjures and Crows — A Hex Is Planned,
11 Building a Doll — Two False Alarms — A Lecture from the Colonel — Unsettling News — Hopes and Dreams — A Sense of Smell,
12 The Ways of Women — The Hex Undone — Two into One — Injuns! — A Willing Target — A Threat Withdrawn,
13 Brotherly Love — An Oath of Friendship — Pistols at Dawn — Sad Sights at Fort Kearney — A Peculiar Promise,
14 Steamboat a-Comin'! — Unwanted Passengers — The Bulldog Bites — A Prisoner in the Fort — A Question of Costume — Prairie Storm,
15 Captured by Injuns — Amazing Revelations — Hunger and Madness — Miracle in a Tepee — The Buffalo Hunt — An Unfortunate Encounter,
16 A Daring Rescue — The Tables Turned — The Poet of the Plains — Betrayed! — Revenge of the Sioux,
17 Invitation to a Wedding — A Stern Warning — The Woman in Black — The Bride Unveiled — A Question of Color — Declarations in the Hay,
18 Friends Fall Out — A Necessary Note — Harmless Entertainment — The Disguise Fails — Faith Rekindled,
19 A Change of Plan — Restless Nights — A Wayfarer's Grave — Gateway to the Rockies — New Arrivals — Bearmeat and Misery,
20 Death in the Mist — A Haven of Safety — A Philosophical Poem — A Nasty Surprise — Unseemly Laughter,
21 Westward Again — The Dread Disease — A Band Divided — Bravery and Sacrifice — The Nature of Reality,
22 City in the Wilderness — A Bargain Struck — The Rewards of Enterprise — Castles and Kings — A Chance Reunion,
23 Sun and Salt — Trouble and Tribulation — Separate Paths — Injuns Again — Mission of Mercy,
24 Samaritans — Two for the Price of One — Hard Times — Snakemeat and Swampwater — Hardest Time of All,
25 Taking Things Slow — A Golden Fable — A Helping Hand — No Longer Alone — Along the Carson — A Tight Corner,
26 Hard Riding — A Bad Luck Meeting — Strong Words and Apologies — A Parting Shot — Journey's End,
27 The Jumping-off Place — A Race for Gold — The Smiling Winner — Spaniard Hospitality — An Expensive Surprise,
28 A Familiar Face — To the Goldfields — Hard Work for No Profit — Unfriendly Neighbors — First Strike — A Mean Trick,
29 Golden Harvest — Rough Justice — A Roof Overhead — The Grim Reaper — A Friendship Renewed — Goodbye, Diggings,
30 Downriver — Merry Christmas — A Close Shave — Fond Farewells — The Price of Pies — Welcome to San Francisco,
31 Roughing It — Work for Idle Hands — A Small World — Whiskey by the Bay — Shady Business — No Help Wanted,
32 The Price of Fame — The Facts Fancified — A Renewed Acquaintance — Food and Water — Cash and Promises,
33 A Narrow Escape — Chance Meeting — The Seamy Side — Night Work — Partners in Crime,
34 The Painful Truth — A Hot Landscape — Resting Up — The Robbers Robbed — The Finger Pointed — An Appeal Refused,
35 A Disappearance — Deception and Revelation — A Leavetaking — Poetic Justice — Out of the Egg — The Spider's Web,
36 Close to the Rug — The Truth Will Out — The Wages of Sin — Vindication! — Goodbye, America,
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