Tom Sawyer Abroad 109
around it, why can't we just do it? People often has to."
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 customhouse 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
*' Well, they can't raise Sahara sand in America, of