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|Tom Sawyer Abroad||Mark Twain|
|Page 5 of 7||
But he says:
"Oh, it ain't that kind of duty. The kind I mean is a tax. Whenever you strike a frontier -- that's the border of a country, you know -- you find a custom-house there, and the gov'ment officers comes and rummages among your things and charges a big tax, which they call a duty because it's their duty to bust you if they can, and if you don't pay the duty they'll hog your sand. They call it confiscating, but that don't deceive nobody, it's just hogging, and that's all it is. Now if we try to carry this sand home the way we're pointed now, we got to climb fences till we git tired -- just frontier after frontier -- Egypt, Arabia, Hindostan, and so on, and they'll all whack on a duty, and so you see, easy enough, we CAN'T go THAT road."
"Why, Tom," I says, "we can sail right over their old frontiers; how are THEY going to stop us?"
He looked sorrowful at me, and says, very grave:
"Huck Finn, do you think that would be honest?"
I hate them kind of interruptions. I never said nothing, and he went on:
"Well, we're shut off the other way, too. If we go back the way we've come, there's the New York custom-house, and that is worse than all of them others put together, on account of the kind of cargo we've got."
"Well, they can't raise Sahara sand in America, of course, and when they can't raise a thing there, the duty is fourteen hundred thousand per cent. on it if you try to fetch it in from where they do raise it."
"There ain't no sense in that, Tom Sawyer."
"Who said there WAS? What do you talk to me like that for, Huck Finn? You wait till I say a thing's got sense in it before you go to accusing me of saying it."
"All right, consider me crying about it, and sorry. Go on."
"Mars Tom, do dey jam dat duty onto everything we can't raise in America, en don't make no 'stinction 'twix' anything?"
"Yes, that's what they do."
"Mars Tom, ain't de blessin' o' de Lord de mos' valuable thing dey is?"
"Yes, it is."
"Don't de preacher stan' up in de pulpit en call it down on de people?"
"Whah do it come from?"
"Yassir! you's jes' right, 'deed you is, honey -- it come from heaven, en dat's a foreign country. NOW, den! do dey put a tax on dat blessin'?"
"No, they don't."
"Course dey don't; en so it stan' to reason dat you's mistaken, Mars Tom. Dey wouldn't put de tax on po' truck like san', dat everybody ain't 'bleeged to have, en leave it off'n de bes' thing dey is, which nobody can't git along widout."
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|Tom Sawyer Abroad
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