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|Tom Sawyer Abroad||Mark Twain|
Tom Discourses On The Desert
|Page 3 of 4||
"Good land! have you got the documents for that, Tom Sawyer?"
"Yes, and they're right here, and I've been studying them. You can look for yourself. From New York to the Pacific is 2,600 miles. From one end of the Great Desert to the other is 3,200. The United States contains 3,600,000 square miles, the Desert contains 4,162,000. With the Desert's bulk you could cover up every last inch of the United States, and in under where the edges projected out, you could tuck England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Denmark, and all Germany. Yes, sir, you could hide the home of the brave and all of them countries clean out of sight under the Great Sahara, and you would still have 2,000 square miles of sand left."
"Well," I says, "it clean beats me. Why, Tom, it shows that the Lord took as much pains makin' this Desert as makin' the United States and all them other countries."
Jim says: "Huck, dat don' stan' to reason. I reckon dis Desert wa'n't made at all. Now you take en look at it like dis -- you look at it, and see ef I's right. What's a desert good for? 'Taint good for nuthin'. Dey ain't no way to make it pay. Hain't dat so, Huck?"
"Yes, I reckon."
"Hain't it so, Mars Tom?"
"I guess so. Go on."
"Ef a thing ain't no good, it's made in vain, ain't it?"
"NOW, den! Do de Lord make anything in vain? You answer me dat."
"Well -- no, He don't."
"Den how come He make a desert?"
"Well, go on. How DID He come to make it?"
"Mars Tom, I b'lieve it uz jes like when you's buildin' a house; dey's allays a lot o' truck en rubbish lef' over. What does you do wid it? Doan' you take en k'yart it off en dump it into a ole vacant back lot? 'Course. Now, den, it's my opinion hit was jes like dat -- dat de Great Sahara warn't made at all, she jes HAPPEN'."
I said it was a real good argument, and I believed it was the best one Jim ever made. Tom he said the same, but said the trouble about arguments is, they ain't nothing but THEORIES, after all, and theories don't prove nothing, they only give you a place to rest on, a spell, when you are tuckered out butting around and around trying to find out something there ain't no way TO find out. And he says:
"There's another trouble about theories: there's always a hole in them somewheres, sure, if you look close enough. It's just so with this one of Jim's. Look what billions and billions of stars there is. How does it come that there was just exactly enough star-stuff, and none left over? How does it come there ain't no sand-pile up there?"
But Jim was fixed for him and says:
"What's de Milky Way? -- dat's what I want to know. What's de Milky Way? Answer me dat!"
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