Ch. 25 – Is It Them? — Singing the “Doxologer” — Awful Square — Funeral Orgies — A Bad Investment

  • News got around town making people ask if it was really Wilks’s brothers. They arrived at the house & there were 3 girls standing by the door. Mary Jane in particular caught Huck’s eye. The girls were all happy to meet their uncles.
    • The coffin was set up in the corner over 2 chairs. The king & duke took off their hats & bent over the coffin for a few minutes crying. Then they went around to every woman in the house to comfort them. Huck was disgusted by was he was seeing.
    • The king gave a speech about how he was sorry that he missed seeing his brother while he was alive, especially after a journey of several thousand miles. Someone in the crowd started singing a hymn & everyone joined in raising everyone’s spirits. The king asked the family & its friends if having a nice memorial dinner would be possible. He wanted to meet with some of the people Peter had mentioned in his letters. Those there introduced themselves to the king & duke.
      • The king asked about the town as if Peter had mentioned it to him, but he mostly got the details from the man they’d run into earlier.
      • Mary Jane went & got a letter her father had left. The king read it over & cried It was a will giving the house & $3000 to the girls. But it also gave the tanyard, other houses & land (worth about $7000) & $6000 in gold to Harvey & William. The money was hidden in the cellar. They went downstairs with Huck to get it.
      • Once downstairs, the king congratulated himself on the haul they were getting. They held the gold coins in their hands & even counted them. It came out to be $415 short of what was promised in the will. They figured that Peter was too sick to count properly. They made up the deficit with the money from their own pockets because to complain of being short changed would make them look greedy & would likely arouse suspicion.
    • They went back upstairs & the king counted out the money & spoke to the people around:
      • Peter loved his girls so much that it would be criminal for him & William to take the money away from them. He handed the money to Mary Jane, Susan & Joanna (Huck called her the “hare lip”). They hugged the king & the duke, & the rest of the people shook their hands.
    • The king addressed the crowd & invited them to the public funeral orgies. He’d meant to say “obsequies” & tried to pass it off as a part of his British dialect. The doctor of the town, Abner Shackleford, didn’t believe them to be English or Peter’s brothers. The crowd asked him why not. How was it that Harvey knew everyone’s name, including those of the dogs? They asked him not to hurt Harvey’s feelings.
      • The doctor stated he only wanted to protect the family & the town, & he knew the ignorant tramps were imposters. He asked Mary Jane what she thought of them. She had so much confidence in them that she gave the money back to the king to invest on behalf of her & her sisters.

Ch. 26 – A Pious King — The King’s Clergy — She Asked His Pardon — Hiding in the Room — Huck Takes the Money

  • The crowd left & the king asked Mary Jane if they had any spare bedrooms. There was one that she gave to William, & gave her own to Harvey. She’d sleep in a cot in her sisters’ room. There was a cubby in the attic that the king gave to Huck, his “valley” (= valet). The rooms were plain & small but nice enough.
    • That night there was a big dinner. Huck waited on the king & duke while the family’s slaves waited on the rest. Mary Jane complained of how the bad the food was – but she was really just fishing for compliments.
    • Afterwards, Huck had leftovers with the Hare-lip. She asked him many questions about England. Huck got nervous in answering. She asked if he knew the King. Huck said he knew William IV from church, although he knew he’d been dead for years. The girl asked why the king would go to church all the way in Sheffield when he lived in London. Huck answered the king visited Sheffield to bathe in the sea waters. The girl said that Sheffield wasn’t on the sea. Huck said the sea waters were imported just for him.
      • She asked about his church. He said he sat with Harvey. She asked – but doesn’t Harvey preach from the pulpit? Huck had forgotten that Harvey was a preacher. He played it off that the king had 17 preachers for style.
      • Huck also said that servants were treated worse than slaves in America. They didn’t get days off or time to go to church. But he went since he was a special servant & went with the family he served.
      • He swore on a dictionary that he wasn’t lying. Mary Jane told Joanna not to bother him with all those questions. He might be telling some stretchers but she had to treat him well because he was their guest. This got Huck feeling guilty about playing a role in swindling their family. He debated confiding in the doctor or in Mary Jane herself. So, he decided he had to steal the money from the king & hide it. Once he was far enough away, he’d write Mary Jane a letter telling them where the money was.
    • Huck went into the duke’s room looking for the money. He couldn’t find it so he decided he wait hidden & eavesdrop. Rather than in an obvious spot (under the bed), he’d hide behind Mary Jane’s dresses hanging from the wall.
      • The king & duke came in & shut the door. The duke looked under the bed for spies (phew!) & then said to the king he was worried about the doctor possibly making trouble. He suggested they get out with what they had as soon as possible.
      • The king got angry because he wanted to sell of the property & make $8000-9000 extra. The duke didn’t want to rob the orphans of anything other than the money that they gave to them. The king said the sales of the property would be nullified & returned once everyone had learned that they’d been conned. So the girls wouldn’t be harmed. The duke gave in but said it was foolish to stay.
        • The duke said that he thought the money’s hiding place wasn’t good enough & the money would be taken by the slaves. The king agreed & reached behind one of the dresses very close to where Huck was standing & grabbed the bag of money & put it in the mattress.
    • Huck had the money out of there before the king & duke were all the way downstairs. He brought it up to the attic until he could find a better place for it.

Ch. 27 – The Funeral — Satisfying Curiosity — Suspicious of Huck — Quick Sales and Small Profits

  • Huck crept by where the king & duke were sleeping & then tiptoed downstairs. There were men sleeping outside the parlor where the body was. He head a noise & panicked. He put the money in the coffin. The noise was Mary Jane coming towards the coffin. She knelled & began to cry. Huck was able to sneak out without being seen.
    • He went up to bed, thinking he’d taken a big risk but felt good that he could tell Mary Jane what’d happened to the money once he was gone. He didn’t like leaving it in the coffin but didn’t dare to move it.
    • Later, the undertaker came to set everything up. The coffin was moved to the middle of the room & chairs were arranged in the parlor. People filed in slowly to look at the man & then they moved on. Once the place was full, the undertaker prepared for the rest of the funeral.
    • There was a small organ playing & people sang along with it. Just as Rev. Hobson began to speak, an incredibly loud noise came from the cellar. He tried to speak over it but it was no use. The undertaker slipped away to go down to the cellar. A few seconds later, there was a loud whack & a dog’s howl. The reverend carried on. The undertake whispered that the dog had found a rat. The sermon went on for ages. Then the king got up to speak some of his usual nonsense. Afterwards, the undertaker went up to the coffin & screwed it shut.
      • Huck didn’t know if the money was still inside. He wondered if someone had grabbed it. He wouldn’t want to write to Mary Jane & have her dig up the grave for nothing. After the burial, they came back to the house.
  • The king told everyone that his congregation back in England needed him so he wanted to settle the estate as son as possible. Of course, he & William would be taking the girls back to England. The girls got excited about this & it upset Huck to know they’d only be disappointed in the end.
    • The girls were soon jolted out of their happiness when a bunch of slave traders came into town. The kings sold the slaves off, breaking up families. Some went up to Memphis, some down to New Orleans. The slaves & girls were heartbroken about this. But Huck figured the sales would be nullified & the slaves would be returned within in a couple of weeks.
    • The next day, the king & duke came up to Huck in the attic asking if he’d been in the king’s room the night before or the one before. Huck said “no” but he did see a few slaves go in & out at a time very quietly.
      • The king & duke looked sick. The king chuckled to himself & said the slaves were the best actors he’d ever seen. Huck asked what was wrong. The king told him to mind his own business. Then the king & duke argued about whether or not it was wise to sell the slaves off so quickly.

Ch. 28 – The Trip to England — “The Brute!” — Mary Jane Decides to Leave — Huck Parting with Mary Jane — Mumps — The Opposition Line

  • When Huck woke up, he saw Mary Jane sitting & crying. She’d been packing her things to go to England but stopped. She said she was upset about the slaves & the trip was spoiled. She’d never be happy knowing the slave families had been broken up.
    • Huck said things would be better within 2 weeks. He was shocked he’d let that slip. She was eager to hear how this could be. He debated what he was going to say & how he’d say it. Before he hold her anything, he asked if she had a place to lay low for a few days. He’d prove it if she’d leave for the place. She promised.
    • So Huck told her that her 2 uncles were just frauds. She became incensed & promised to have the 2 tarred & feathered, & thrown into the river.
    • He told her to go to her friend, Mrs. Lothrop’s place & stay there until 9-9.30 & then tell them she’d forgotten something at home. If she arrived by 11, she would put a candle in the window. If he didn’t turn up by 11, it’d mean he was out of the way & safe. Then she should go around spreading the news about the 2 rapscallions. But if he couldn’t get away, she was to say he’d told her about everything long in advance & to stand by him. If he got away, he wouldn’t be there to prove they weren’t her uncles. But if he was there, he could just say they were bums.
      • He wrote “Royal Nonesuch, Brickville” on a piece of paper. She was to ask anyone in that town & they’d tell her what scoundrels they were.
    • He said the auction should still go on. People don’t have to pay until later with auctions. & by that time, the truth about them would come out & it would buy time to stir up bad feelings towards them.
      • He wanted her to leave immediately because she wouldn’t be able to maintain a poker face. It was fine to leave her sisters in innocence. He also told her that he’d stolen the money she’d given to the king. He didn’t want to tell her to her face to see her reaction, so he wrote down its location on a piece of paper & to read it on the way to the Lothrops’. They said goodbye & Mary Jane said she would pray for Huck.
    • On his way out he ran into Susan & Joanna, telling them their sister was off to see a sick friend. Again, Joanna didn’t believe a word Huck said. He said it was Hannah with the mumps. She quizzed him until he convinced her not to tell Uncle Harvey.
      • He said anything out them & Harvey would likely cancel the trip to England because the uncles would be too worried that Mary Jane got the mumps.
  • Huck was able to convince Mary Jane to do one thing while keeping the other 2 quiet & in the dark, all while priming the other 2 to tell the duke & king convincingly that Mary Jane was really working on the auction.
    • The auction was held in the public square. Everything was sold off. But after a while, a mob arrived to stop it. Among the mob were 2 men claiming to be the real Harvey & William Wilks.

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