The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 24 Summary

Instructor: Trisha Fyfe

Trisha has taught college and K-12 English, reading, writing, and math. She has a master's degree in teaching.

After a successful scam in a small, Arkansas town, the Duke and the Dauphin begin to scope out new locations to perform their fraudulent act, The Royal Nonesuch. This lesson will explore Chapter 24 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.


The Duke and the Dauphin have just walked away from a small town in Arkansas with four hundred sixty-five dollars in their pockets from a scam that consisted of a phony performance of The Royal Nonesuch, a low-comedy act that they had been advertising. Huck Finn and Jim, the runaway slave, seem to doubt these men more and more as time goes on. They cannot seem to get rid of the two con men, however.

A New Town

After pocketing a decent amount of cash in the first attempt of The Royal Nonesuch, the Duke and the Dauphin are ready for another go at this sneaky scam. But they need to be careful. They are certain that word will spread down the river fast, so when they come close to the next town that they plan to swindle, they are cautious. The Dauphin decides he should go into town to check things out himself.

Jim confesses his discomfort in being tied up every time he is left behind. He seems to understand that it is for his own good; if he is found walking freely, he could very well be mistaken for a runaway. He lets the men know he hopes that this trip into town won't last too long.

For once, the Duke shows some compassion. He configures an elaborate costume for Jim consisting of a painted, blue face and a sign that reads: 'Sick Arab - but harmless when not out of his head.' Jim is told to make a huge fuss, yelling and jumping around, if anyone is to come near. This should scare them off for good.

Scouting the Town

Meanwhile, Huck and the Dauphin change into their nicest set of clothes and journey toward town. In order to make the best impression possible, the Dauphin determines it would be wise to canoe to the steamboat where they will catch a ride. This will make it seem as if they are coming in from a bigger city, for sure. They set off down the river in the canoe.

A Boy with a Story

Along the way, they find a young boy from the country, and the Dauphin offers him a ride to the steamboat. This friendly boy enthusiastically accepts. Being on the canoe with this boy is a game-changer for the Dauphin. Early on in their conversation, the boy makes reference to a man from town by the name of Peter Wilks. The boy wonders if the Dauphin maybe could be related to this Mr. Wilks. He was expecting two of his brothers from England, you see.

The Dauphin getting the scoop from a young boy
The Dauphin getting the scoop from a young boy

They learn that Peter Wilks passed away just the night before, and he had been anxiously awaiting his two brothers from England any day. Mr. Wilks had hoped that he would see them before his death, but, unfortunately, this was not the case. This young boy conveyed that Mr. Wilks had supposedly left his two brothers, Harvey and William, a letter regarding the whereabouts of the fortune he left behind.

This most definitely caught the attention of the Dauphin, and he continued to press the poor boy for all the information and details that he could. While the boy seemed to believe it was an innocent, friendly conversation, Huck knew better. Soon after dropping the boy off to continue his own travels, Huck was instructed to head back and fetch Jim, the Duke, and all of their belongings.

A New Plan

Once together again, the Dauphin shared the whole encounter with the Duke. It was perfect. They would head into town pretending to be Mr. Wilks' two English brothers, Harvey and William. The Dauphin practiced up on his Englishman accent, and the Duke reassured everyone he was confident that he could pull of the part of William, the 'deef and dumb' brother.

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