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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 31 Summary
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The duke and king gripe about being dead broke, since they made up the inheritance deficit out of their own pockets that one time. In retrospect, that was a very, very poor choice. So, they decide to run another con. Since that worked so well for them last time. The king goes ashore to some little town to see if the people there have gotten wind of The Royal Nonesuch (assuming that news of the con has been traveling along the river). When the king doesn't come back, Huck and the duke go looking for him. He's in a bar. They start in with another typical quarrel, and Huck takes this opportunity to…run away. He gets back to the raft ready to run off with Jim, but Jim isn't there. Huck goes to shore. Has anyone seen a black man dressed in a combination of King Lear and Arab attire? In fact, someone has. This someone (just some random man from town) tells Huck that an older man—a stranger—caught the runaway slave and sold him for $40. Huck puts two and two together and realizes that the king sold Jim for a measly $40 to get his drunk on. Dilemma. Huck can't write home to Miss Watson, since she'll be upset that he helped steal her slave—but he also wants to fix the situation. Now that he thinks about it, this is really God slapping him in the face for stealing someone else's property. So he gets down on his knees to pray, determined to write a letter home explaining everything. But Huck then concludes, quite insightfully, that "you can't pray a lie." See, he doesn't want to send Jim back home. He wants to help set him free. So he concludes that, FINE, he'll just GO to hell. After hiding the canoe underwater by loading it with rocks, Huck sets out to the farm of Silas Phelps, the man to whom the king sold Jim. On the way, Huck runs into the duke nailing up a poster for The Royal Nonesuch. Huck plays dumb ("Where's Jim gone to?") and the duke confesses that (1) the king sold him, and (2) he drank up all the money already. Huck cries. See, Jim was his property and it wasn't their right to sell him. Aw, shucks. The duke feels bad and tells Huck to just go to Silas Ph– But then he cuts himself off, thinking better of telling the truth. Instead, he tells Huck that Jim is on a farm forty miles in the wrong direction. Huck, who knows better, thanks him and heads for Silas Phelps's place.
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