“Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry…” (Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett)
NARRATOR: These family years brought profound joy and comfort. His books were bestsellers around the world. Sam Clemens, now widely known as “Mark Twain,” was beloved by presidents and the populace alike. Thomas Edison said, “An average American loves his family. If he has any love left over for some other person, he generally selects Mark Twain.” Mark Twain was very prolific, and during summers at Quarry Farm in Elmira, New York, and back home in Hartford, he wrote such masterpieces as Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Mark Twain said, “High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.” Of course his greatest work of all was written during this period, his main character based on a neighbor boy back in Hannibal, Missouri.
TWAIN: “In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person--boy or man--in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us. And as his society was forbidden us by our parents the prohibition trebled and quadrupled its value, and therefore we sought and got more of his society than any other boy’s.” (Autobiography)
HUCK: “We went tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees back towards the end of the widow's garden, stooping down so as the branches wouldn't scrape our heads. When we was passing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. We scrouched down and laid still. Tom he made a sign to me -- kind of a little noise with his mouth -- and we went creeping away on our hands and knees. …we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house.”