190 THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.
double-barrel gun in his hand, and takes his stand, perfectly ca'm and deliberate, not saying a word. The racket stopped, and the wave sucked back.
Sherburn never said a word—just stood there, looking down. The stillness was awful creepy and uncomfortable. Sherburn run his eye slow along the crowd ; and wherever it struck, the people tried a little to outgaze him, but they couldn't; they dropped their eyes and looked sneaky. Then pretty soon Sherburn sort of laughed ; not the pleasant kind, but the kind that makes you feel like when you are eating bread that's got sand in it.
Then he says, slow and scornful:
" The idea of you lynching anybody ! It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man ! Because you re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man's safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it's day-time and you're not behind him.
" Do I know you ? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South, and I've lived in the North; so I know the average all around. The average man's a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men, in the day-time, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people—whereas you're just as brave, and no braver. Why don't your juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark—and it's just what they ivould do
" So they always acquit; and then a man goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn't bring a man with you ; that's one mistake, and the other is that you didn't come in the dark, and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man—Buck Harkness, there—and if you hadn't had him to start you, you'd a taken it out in blowing.
"You didn't want to come. The average man don't like trouble and danger. You don't like trouble and danger. But if only half a man—like Buck Hark-