Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 24 Summary
- The cons dress up Jim as an Arab (or "A-rab") so he won't be discovered as a runaway slave.
- Still, in case the outfit isn't enough (they used some of the props from their King Lear supplies), they put a sign on him that says "Sick Arab—but harmless when not out of his head."
- Well, that ought to take care of it.
- The two con men are ready to try the The Royal Nonesuch gig again, but they're afraid news of the scam might have spread along the river by now.
- Yeah, considering all the lynching-talk, we'd be worried about that, too.
- The king decides he'll just drop into the next village and "trust in Providence" to lead him the right way.
- He and Huck dress themselves up nicely in some new clothes and decide to arrive in town by steamboat, for appearance's sake.
- Pretty soon, they run into a young man from the country who takes them toward the boat and spills all the town gossip on the way.
- Turns out, a wealthy man named Peter Wilks has just died. While he was sick, he had sent for his brothers William (who is deaf and mute) and Harvey (a preacher in England).
- But they haven't shown up yet, which means they missed the chance to say good-bye to their brother before he died.
- Still in town, however, are Peter's three nieces: Mary Jane (nineteen), Susan (fifteen), and Joanna (fourteen, has a harelip).
- The king is super interested (mostly because dead people equals money, in the inheritance sense) and pumps this guy for all the information he's got.
- When they get to the steamboat, the king hangs back.
- He sends Huck to fetch the duke, and a new plot commences.
- Can you tell where this is going? Yeah.
- The duke and king decide to play the part of the dead man's brothers. They travel to town and make a big stink about the fact that Peter died before they arrived. (The king is playing the part of the preacher, with a British accent and all, and the duke plays William, the deaf mute.)
- Watching the two men blubber on and lament their dear, beloved dead "brother," Huck comments that, "it was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race" (24.49).
- Well said, Huck.