A monologue from the book by Mark Twain

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson And The Comedy Of Those Extraordinary Twins. Mark Twain. Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1894.


Shet down dat light a little. More. More yit. A pusson dat is hunted don’t like de light. Dah–dat’ll do. I kin see whah you is, en dat’s enough.

I’s gwine to tell you de tale, en cut it jes as short as I kin. Dat man dat bought me ain’t a bad man; he’s good enough, as planters goes;

en if he could ‘a’ had his way I’d ‘a’ be’n a house servant in his fambly en be’n comfortable: but his wife she was a Yank,

en not right down good lookin’, en she riz up agin me straight off; so den dey sent me out to de quarter ‘mongst de common fiel’ han’s.

Dat woman warn’t satisfied even wid dat, but she worked up de overseer ag’in’ me, she ‘uz dat jealous en hateful;

so de overseer he had me out befo’ day in de mawnin’s en worked me de whole long day as long as dey’uz any light to see by;

en many’s de lashin’s I got ‘ca’se I couldn’t come up to de work o’ de stronges’. Dat overseer wuz a Yank too, outen New Englan’,

en anybody down South kin tell you what dat mean. DEY knows how to work a n*gger to death, en dey knows how to whale ’em too–

whale ’em till dey backs is welted like a washboard. ‘Long at fust my marster say de good word for me to de overseer,

but dat ‘uz bad for me; for de mistis she fine it out, en arter dat I jist ketched it at every turn–dey warn’t no mercy for me no mo’.

Bout ten days ago I ‘uz sayin’ to myself dat I couldn’t las’ many mo’ weeks I ‘uz so wore out wid de awful work en de lashin’s, en so downhearted en misable.

En I didn’t care no mo’, nuther–life warn’t wuth noth’n’ to me, if I got to go on like data. Well, dey was a little sickly n*gger girl ’bout ten year ole dat ‘uz good to me,

en hadn’t no mammy, po’ thing, en I loved her en she loved me; en she come out whah I uz’ workin’ en she had a roasted tater,

en tried to slip it to me–robbin’ herself, you see, ‘ca’se she knowed de overseer didn’t give me enough to eat–

en he ketched her at it, en give her a lick acrost de back wid his stick, which ‘uz as thick as a broom handle,

en she drop’ screamin’ on de groun’, en squirmin’ en wallerin’ aroun’ in de dust like a spider dat’s got crippled.

I couldn’t stan’ it. All de hellfire dat ‘uz ever in my heart flame’ up, en I snatch de stick outen his han’ en laid him flat.

He laid dah moanin’ en cussin’, en all out of his head, you know, en de n*ggers ‘uz plumb sk’yred to death. Dey gathered roun’ him to he’p him,

en I jumped on his hoss en took out for de river as tight as I could go. I knowed what dey would do wid me.

Soon as he got well he would start in en work me to death if marster let him; en if dey didn’t do dat, they’d sell me furder down de river, en dat’s de same thing.

so I ‘lowed to drown myself en git out o’ my troubles. It ‘uz gitt’n’ towards dark. I ‘uz at de river in two minutes.

Den I see a canoe, en I says dey ain’t no use to drown myself tell I got to; so I went on a-spinnin’ down de river–

paddled mo’n two days–and when I got here I went straight to whah you used to wuz, en den I come to dis house,

en dey say you’s away but ‘spected back every day; so I didn’t dast to go down de river to Dawson’s, ‘ca’se I might miss you.

Well, las’ Monday I ‘uz pass’n by one o’ dem places in fourth street whah deh sticks up runaway n*gger bills, en he’ps to ketch ’em, en I seed my marster!

I ‘mos’ flopped down on de groun’, I felt so gone. He had his back to me, en ‘uz talkin’ to de man en givin’ him some bills–n*gger bills,

I reckon, en I’s de n*gger. He’s offerin’ a reward–dat’s it. Ain’t I right, don’t you reckon? [Pause–apprehension in her voice.] 

Turn up dat light! I want to see yo’ face better. Dah now–lemme look at you. Chambers, you’s as white as yo’ shirt!

Has you see dat man? Has he be’n to see you?

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