Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 25

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 25

  • The first thing Huck tells us about the people in town is that Mary Jane, the oldest of the nieces, is beautiful. And a redhead.
  • The nieces fall for the plot hook, line, and sinker, thanks to all the info that the king got from the young man he met earlier.
  • They embrace the duke and king as their long-absent uncles.
  • Huck thinks it's disgusting the way the duke and king kneel and pray over the dead body, pretending to be distraught.
  • Then they get to the business of the will; Peter allotted $3,000 and the house to the three nieces, and another three thousand and other property (worth seven grand) to his brothers.
  • The two conmen go down into the cellar where the six thousand in gold is hidden. They're all Scrooge-McDuck-excited and get to counting it right away.
  • The money ends up being short: it's not quite six thousand as it should be. Actually, it's $415 short.
  • The cons are worried that the townsfolk will start to get suspicious if money is missing; they might think the brothers stole it. So the duke suggests making up the deficit using their own money (the profits from The Royal Nonesuch).
  • We're getting a good whiff of foreshadowing right here.
  • The duke decides it would be even more impressively magnanimous of them to go upstairs and publicly give all $6,000 to the girls.
  • The king does so, but being the king, of course, he has to couch the presentation in all sorts of pomp and circumstance.
  • One little problem: the king doesn't actually know much about pomp. Like, he keeps referring to the "funeral orgies" they're going to hold the next day.
  • The duke, who is apparently less of a fool than the king, keeps trying to get his attention and tell him that, actually, the word is "obsequies."
  • The king then has to publicly explain to the world that "orgies" is the British term.
  • Everyone is all, "Oh, OK," except for one particularly not-stupid man, a doctor named Robinson, who acts quite the skeptic.
  • Actually, he directly calls the king a fraud with "the worst imitation" of a British accent he's ever heard (25.40).
  • No one likes a skeptic, and the townspeople rally behind the cons.
  • To prove her faith in the two men, Mary Jane gives them back the $6,000 back and says she doesn't even want a receipt.

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