Study Guide

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 27

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 27

  • Huck is all tiptoeing around downstairs when… he hears more footsteps.
  • He darts into the parlor where the deceased Peter Wilks is laid out in his coffin. Bingo!
  • He shoves the bag of gold in under the dead man's hands and then hides behind the door (of the parlor, not the coffin) while Mary Jane comes in and cries over Peter's body.
  • Then Huck tiptoes out again, and worries for a good three paragraphs or so about what he's going to do now that the money is tucked in with the stiff .
  • Time for the funeral. Huck spends some time telling us all about the undertaker, who "slid[es] around in his black gloves with his softy soothering ways, […] making no more noise than a cat" and adding that "he was the softest, glidingest, stealthiest man I ever see; and there warn't no more smile to him than there is to a ham" (27.7).
  • Okay, we're officially creeped out by that description.
  • As the Reverend begins the service, there's a big hullabaloo coming from the basement.
  • A dog is barking its head off.
  • The undertaker surfaces from the cellar with a rat—that's why the dog was barking.
  • Huck wisely comments that this was a good call on the undertaker's part, and that really he's the most popular man in town.
  • Getting rather nervous as the ceremony draws to a close, Huck sweats like a madman while the undertaker… slowly… nails the coffin closed without even looking inside.
  • Except Huck isn't sure whether the money is still in the coffin or whether someone's taken it out. Yes, that does complicate things a bit.
  • The king declares that, really, he must be going, since his church back in England is in desperate need of their preacher.
  • (He's pretending to be a preacher now, remember?)
  • On account of his hurried departure, he has to start selling off the property right away, including the girls' house, since according to the plan, they're coming with their two uncles back to England.
  • The king sells off the girls' slaves without consideration for keeping the black families together.
  • This puts everyone off, since it's an inhumane thing to do—even in this culture that sees black people as property.
  • The duke is a bit uneasy about this whole thing, but what with playing a deaf-mute and all, he doesn't really say anything.
  • The next day, the day of the planned property auction, the king and the duke wake Huck up and interrogate him. It seems they're missing their gold, and they're trying to figure out if he's the one that stole it.
  • Huck is all, "Not me," but he does say that he saw the black slaves (the ones that have just been sold and aren't around anymore) go into the king's room.
  • The king is all "Oh no!" and Huck is all, "I'm so clever!" since the scapegoats aren't there to get interrogated or punished.

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