Chapters 26, 27 and 28
con artists were invited by the Wilks daughters to spend the night
at their home. Huck is beginning to feel guilty about the whole
scheme and decides to hide the women's gold to prevent the men from
absconding with it.
Huck decides to hide the gold in the casket itself until the following
morning at which time he plans to remove it before the funeral.
The next day, the undertaker seals the coffin before Huck has a
chance to remove the gold.
Planning their getaway, the king and duke realize that the gold
is no longer where they had hidden it. They interrogate Huck about
the matter, but they ultimately come to believe that some of the
house slaves must have stolen the gold.
Huck finds Mary Jane, one of the Wilks' girls, stricken with grief.
Being overcome with remorse, Huck tells her that the men are frauds
and that they tricked her and stolen their money. He tells that
he has taken the gold away from them and hidden it in the casket.
He also tells her about the incident in the previous town and that
the people there would provide witnesses against the tricksters.
She promises to remember him forever and thanks him for his honesty.
By the end of the chapter, real trouble for the king and duke has
come with the arrival of the legitimate heirs. It seems a confrontation
will soon follow
Twain continues his attack on the institution of slavery. Having shown
that black people have as strong feelings for family as whites, he illustrates the far-too common practice of breaking up black families and selling them off to different masters.
Basically, there were to types of slave.
The vast majority worked on plantations. They were workers in the fields and had no direct contact with their owners. They received their orders from an overseer and they were treated like machinery.
The other type of slaves was domestic.
They worked in the white households and did have personal contact with their masters. Those who had been with a family for a long time became almost like pets, but there was always the threat hanging over them that if they misbehaved, they would be separated from their family and sold to a plantation.
The slaves whom we have come across in this story have been domestic slaves
and that is why the separation of the Wilks family slaves caused such grief.
Surprisingly, Twain portrays these white masters in a fairly sympathetic
light and one wonders if they would have been as grief-stricken in reality.