The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 26 Summary

Instructor: Molly Richards

Molly has ten years of middle school teaching experience and two master's degrees in teaching.

In chapter 26 of ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'', Huck's conscience begins to get the best of him at the Wilks' house. He decides to find a way to get the sisters their money back.

The King and the Duke

The King and the Duke have done a fantastic job of fooling the Wilks sisters into believing they are their deceased father's brothers from England. After putting on a good show, tears and all, the sisters allow the frauds to collect their father's money from the basement. They come upstairs with a plan to give it to the girls, which just solidifies belief in their scheme. The only one they aren't fooling is the sisters' late father's friend, the doctor. Huck's conscience might just get the best of him as well.

An English Quiz

The fraudulent brothers ask if the sisters have room for them to stay, and they of course say yes. After getting settled, they all have a big dinner, with Huck waiting on the brothers. Huck gets to eat after helping to clear the dishes, and is joined by the youngest Wilks sister, Joanna. Huck calls her ''harelip'' because of her cleft lip, a split in the opening in the roof of her mouth.

Harelip and Huck eat in the kitchen and begin to talk about England. She asks Huck if he has ever seen the King of England, and Huck begins to get all tangled in a web of lies, because he cannot remember his story. But Huck is a smooth talker and gets himself out of trouble when he can't remember where he is from or that Harvey is a preacher. But then he backs himself into a corner when he talks about how often he goes to church, and then tells her how poorly servants are treated in England, so poorly that he never gets to go to church. That sets Harelip off. She asks if he is lying, and he swears (on a dictionary) that he is not. Sweating he may be, but not lying.

Guilty Conscience

Mary Jane and Susan come into the kitchen hearing Harelip questioning Huck's story, and they scold her for not believing him. How rude to treat a guest, even a servant that way! And there goes Huck's conscience...''this is a girl that I'm letting that old reptile rob of her money!'' Harelip takes the blame for treating Huck so poorly and apologizes to him, all the while making Huck more squeamish and guilty. Here are these nice sisters, making room for him and these frauds in their house, and they're getting taken, right in their own home. Huck decides that the only thing he can do to make it right is to get their money back.

The Plan

But how is Huck to do it? He could tell the doctor, but that might run the King and the Duke off. He could tell the eldest sister, Mary Jane, but she might not be able to pretend like she doesn't know, and that would give the frauds a chance to run away. Huck decides he will just have to steal the money himself, hide it, and write a letter to Mary Jane telling her where it is. And it has to be that night.

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