Original Illustrated Version By Mark Twain

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

They made an imposing adventure of it, saying " Hist!" every now and then, and suddenly halting with finger on lip; moving with hands on imaginary dagger-hilts; and giving orders in dismal whispers that if "the foe" stirred, to "let him have it to the hilt," because "dead men tell no talesI' They knew well enough that the raftsmen were all down at the village laying in stores or having a spree, but still that was no excuse for their conducting this thing in an unpiratical way.
They shoved off, presently, Tom in command, Huck at the after oar and Joe at the forward. Tom stood amidships, gloomy-browed, and with folded arms, and gave his orders in a low, stern whisper :
" Luff, and bring her to the wind ! "
" Aye-aye, sir ! "
" Steady, stead-y-y-y ! "
"Steady it is, sir! "
" Let her go off a point! "
" Point it is, sir ! "
As the boys steadily and monotonously drove the raft toward mid-stream it was no doubt understood that these orders were given only for " style," and were not intended to mean anything in particular.
" What sail's she carrying?"
" Courses, tops'ls and flying-jib, sir."
" Send the r'yals up! Lay out aloft, there, half a dozen of ye,—foretopmast-stuns'l! Lively, now ! "
" Aye-aye, sir! "
" Shake out that maintogalans'l! Sheets and braces ! Now, my hearties!"
"Aye-aye, sir! "
" Hellum-a-lee—hard a port! Stand by to meet her when she comes! Port, port! Now, men ! With a will! Stead-y-y-y ! "
"Steady it is, sir! "
The raft drew beyond the middle of the river; the boys pointed her head right, and then lay on their oars. The river was not high, so there was not more than a two or three-mile current. Hardly a word was said during the next three-quarters of an hour. Now the raft was passing before the distant