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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 28 Summary

Instructor: Abigail Walker

Abigail has taught writing and literature at various universities. She has an M.A. In literature from American University and an M.F.A. in English from The University of Iowa.

In Chapter 28 of ''The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,'' Huck decides to tell Mary Jane the truth about the duke and the dauphin. In revealing the truth, Huck hopes both to ease his conscience and to enlist Mary Jane's help in finding a way to flee with Jim.

Easing Mary Jane's Despair

As Huck passes Mary Jane's room, he peers in and sees that she has been putting clothes in a large trunk in preparation for her trip to England. At the moment, though, she is not packing--Mary Jane is holding her head and sobbing.

When Huck asks why she is crying, Mary Jane explains that she is so heartsick about the slave family being sold and forced apart that she has lost her enthusiasm for her trip. Huck tries to reassure her, blurting out that the mother and her children will be reunited in just two weeks - the words are out of his mouth before he can stop himself from lying. Imagining the family reunited, Mary Jane flings her arms around Huck and tells him she wants him to repeat the wonderful news of the reunion.

Exposing the Impostors

Keeping his eyes on her, Huck notices that even though she is all keyed up, she still looks attractive. He knows he should tell her the truth, but he also recognizes that he is out of practice when it comes to truth-telling. An idea comes to him, and he asks if she can go away for a short while. She informs him that she can stay with a friend named Mr. Lothrop. Huck tells her that if she promises to go away to Mr. Lothrop's house, he will tell her how he knows the slave family can be reunited. Mary Jane agrees and, when Huck tells her how pleased he is, she blushes.

He gets up to lock the door and, sitting down again, he cautions Mary Jane not to 'holler' when she hears the truth. He then reveals to her that the men she believes to be her uncles are actually a couple of con artists. When he tells her the details of their many deceptions, Mary Jane is horrified and says she wants to see the impostors 'tarred and feathered, and flung in the river!'

Planning an Escape

Huck calms her, reminding her that she promised to go to Mr. Lothrop's house. Putting her soft hand on his, Mary Jane tells Huck she will do anything he says. Huck explains that she should go to Lothrop's house, and then return home at night. If Huck is not there, it will mean that he has left and is safe, in which case she can let the others know the truth about the duke and dauphin. His plan is to wait until it is dark outside so that he and Jim can escape on the raft without being detected. Huck does not reveal this plan to Mary Jane, but he does ask her to tell everyone that night that the duke and dauphin are frauds so that they will be sent to jail.

Huck still has not told Mary Jane what happened to the bag of money. Feeling unable to inform her in person, Huck writes her a note to read later; in the note, he reveals that he has hidden the money in her uncle's casket. The note also explains how terrible he feels about doing this, knowing that Mary Jane was in her room at the time sobbing, tears streaming down her beautiful face.

When he gives her the note, she takes his hand again and assures Huck she will do everything he has asked. She adds that she will always remember him and include him in her prayers.

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