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|Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Mark Twain|
|Page 4 of 6||
"I ain't undisposed. What's your line -- mainly?"
"Jour printer by trade; do a little in patent medicines; theater-actor -- tragedy, you know; take a turn to mesmerism and phrenology when there's a chance; teach singing-geography school for a change; sling a lecture sometimes -- oh, I do lots of things -- most anything that comes handy, so it ain't work. What's your lay?"
"I've done considerble in the doctoring way in my time. Layin' on o' hands is my best holt -- for cancer and paralysis, and sich things; and I k'n tell a fortune pretty good when I've got somebody along to find out the facts for me. Preachin's my line, too, and workin' camp-meetin's, and missionaryin' around."
Nobody never said anything for a while; then the young man hove a sigh and says:
"What 're you alassin' about?" says the bald-head.
"To think I should have lived to be leading such a life, and be degraded down into such company." And he begun to wipe the corner of his eye with a rag.
"Dern your skin, ain't the company good enough for you?" says the baldhead, pretty pert and uppish.
" Yes, it IS good enough for me; it's as good as I deserve; for who fetched me so low when I was so high? I did myself. I don't blame YOU, gentlemen -- far from it; I don't blame anybody. I deserve it all. Let the cold world do its worst; one thing I know -- there's a grave somewhere for me. The world may go on just as it's always done, and take everything from me -- loved ones, property, everything; but it can't take that. Some day I'll lie down in it and forget it all, and my poor broken heart will be at rest." He went on a-wiping.
"Drot your pore broken heart," says the baldhead; "what are you heaving your pore broken heart at US f'r? WE hain't done nothing."
"No, I know you haven't. I ain't blaming you, gentlemen. I brought myself down -- yes, I did it myself. It's right I should suffer -- perfectly right -- I don't make any moan."
"Brought you down from whar? Whar was you brought down from?"
"Ah, you would not believe me; the world never believes -- let it pass -- 'tis no matter. The secret of my birth --"
"The secret of your birth! Do you mean to say --"
"Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn, "I will reveal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. By rights I am a duke!"
Jim's eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon mine did, too. Then the baldhead says: "No! you can't mean it?"
"Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of the Duke of Bridgewater, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to breathe the pure air of freedom; married here, and died, leaving a son, his own father dying about the same time. The second son of the late duke seized the titles and estates -- the infant real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of that infant -- I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft!"
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