Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 19

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 19

  • So, they're back in the raft.
  • Huck spends some time describing the beautiful surroundings on the river. It's quite lovely, so check it out.
  • Also, he and Jim tend to be naked. A lot. Just go with it—it's part of the whole "being one with nature" thing.
  • One morning, just as it's getting light, Huck finds a canoe and paddles to shore to look for some berries.
  • Just then, two men come tearing through the bush, running toward the water. He thinks they're after him or Jim, but it turns out they're on the lam themselves.
  • Of course Huck, having a soft spot for criminals, helps them hide and takes them aboard the raft with Jim.
  • One of these guys is old, around seventy, and pretty ratty-looking. The other is around thirty, and equally ratty.
  • We soon see that these guys don't even know each other; they're just two criminals who met while running away from the law and decided that working together would be more lucrative than trying to scam each other.
  • The younger man reveals that he was selling a kind of toothpaste that accidentally-kinda-sorta took the enamel off people's teeth.
  • Oops.
  • The older man got in similar trouble for running a scam himself. He ran a "temperance revival meeting" (which is much like Alcoholics Anonymous, except without the anonymity and it's actually more a scam than helpful in any way) until it got out that he was quite the drinker himself.
  • So that was that.
  • Back to the present: the young man starts crying and using ridiculous words like "Alas." He reveals that he's actually royalty.
  • A duke, in fact.
  • Actually, he's the Duke of Bridgewater.
  • Of course, this means that Huck and Jim have to call him "Your Lordship" and serve him and all that jazz.
  • The older man raises his eyebrows, calls the duke "Bilgewater," which is great, and declares that he himself is royalty, too.
  • What a coincidence! The funny thing is, this guy is actually a king (Louis XVII of France, he says). In the rock-paper-scissor world of fake-titles means he crushes the tar out of the duke.
  • Jim gets right to worshipping him, too.
  • It doesn't take Huck too long to realize that these guys are total liars. But Huck's a smart kid, and he knows that the easiest way to get along in life is to not cause too many quarrels.
  • If they want to be called "Your majesty," it's no no skin off his nose.
  • This, he says, is something he learned from his Pap; with people like this, you just need to let them have their own way. So he doesn't tell Jim they're lying.

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