Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 26

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 26

  • It seems in this grand charade that Huck has become the king's valet, which he thinks is called a "valley."
  • (Brain snack: "Valet" would be pronounced "vall-ay" in French, but the Brits usually pronounce it "Valet." Because they're cool like that.)
  • They set up to stay in Peter's old house, where all the nieces still live.
  • Everyone has dinner together that night, and Joanna, whom Huck undiplomatically calls "hare-lip" in his narrative, pumps him for information about England, where supposedly they've all come from.
  • Huck digs himself into a hole making up contradictory stories about famous dead kings that go to his church in two different places in England. Oops.
  • He ends up having to swear he's telling the truth over a book. He does it only because it's a dictionary and not the Bible.
  • Meanwhile, Mary Jane overhears her sister giving their guest a hard time and lights into her about her lack of manners.
  • This makes Huck feel guilty about letting the duke and king rob such a nice girl of her money, and he decides that he just can't allow such low-down thievery to take place right under his nose.
  • Time for a new plan: Huck is going to steal the money, hide it, escape, and tell Mary Jane the whole thing by letter once everything has quieted down and the duke and king are out of the picture.
  • He heads upstairs and starts hunting around the king's room for the dough.
  • Of course, this is a fictional story, and we all know that in stories anyone who's ever hunting around someone else's room and hears footsteps has to hide in the closet.
  • So Huck is hanging out behind Mary Jane's dresses in the back of the closet and listening in while the duke and the king (owners of aforementioned footsteps) talk about their plan.
  • The duke is nervous, particularly since the doctor spoke out against them in public. He wants to take the cash and split.
  • But the king has bigger dreams. He's not satisfied with taking the cash when there's almost $10,000 in property to be sold off first.
  • The duke isn't too comfortable with this idea, either, since he doesn't want to leave these poor orphans without a cent and without a house.
  • Of course, the king has an answer for this: after they've left, when everyone figures out they're not the real brothers, any sale of property will be invalidated. In other words, the girls will get their stuff back, and they'll actually be stiffing the buyers.
  • The duke likes the sound of that, and the two men proceed to move the gold to a new hiding spot in the room. (Which is great for Huck to know.)
  • When the conmen leave, Huck darts out of his hiding place and takes the gold.

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