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The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson Mark Twain

Roxana Insists Upon Reform

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"Ten percent a month?"

"Dat's it. Den you take and sell yo' truck aroun', a little at a time, en pay de intrust. How long will it las'?"

"I think there's enough to pay the interest five or six months." "Den you's all right. If he don't die in six months, dat don't make no diff'rence--Providence'll provide. You's gwine to be safe-- if you behaves." She bent an austere eye on him and added, "En you IS gwine to behave--does you know dat?"

He laughed and said he was going to try, anyway. She did not unbend. She said gravely:

"Tryin' ain't de thing. You's gwine to _do_ it. You ain't gwine to steal a pin--'ca'se it ain't safe no mo'; en you ain't gwine into no bad comp'ny--not even once, you understand; en you ain't gwine to drink a drop--nary a single drop; en you ain't gwine to gamble one single gamble--not one! Dis ain't what you's gwine to try to do, it's what you's gwine to DO. En I'll tell you how I knows it. Dis is how. I's gwine to foller along to Sent Louis my own self; en you's gwine to come to me every day o' your life, en I'll look you over; en if you fails in one single one o' dem things--jist _one_-- I take my oath I'll come straight down to dis town en tell de Jedge you's a nigger en a slave--en _prove_ it!" She paused to let her words sink home. Then she added, "Chambers, does you b'lieve me when I says dat?"

Tom was sober enough now. There was no levity in his voice when he answered:

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"Yes, Mother, I know, now, that I am reformed--and permanently. Permanently--and beyond the reach of any human temptation."

"Den g'long home en begin!"

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The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
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