Good evening y'all. My name is Mary Sawyer, and this is the story of St. Petersburg, Missouri in the ten years after the infamous antics of my cousin Tom and all his friends. After Tom and Huck found Injun Joe's treasure in the cave, they were the richest boys in town. Tom kept half of his share of the fortune, and spilt the other half evenly between Aunt Polly, Sid and myself. I suppose part of that now belongs to Miss Becky Thatcher, who is now Mrs. Becky Sawyer. I know that's what y'all expected, but she ain't Mrs. Sawyer because she married Tom. She's been married to Sid for the past year and a half.
Tom took to drinking like a duck takes to water soon after he got rich. He bought himself a steamboat, named it after himself and set it on fire with a cigarette while he was drunk out of his mind later that year. Soon after was his fifteenth birthday. That was about the time that Becky decided she would have nothing to do with that scoundrel. Meanwhile, Tom decided that he was more interested in Susie Harper, and he promptly decided to get engaged to her.
Joe Harper was powerful angry about that, but soon the whole town started whispering that Joe was just jealous of Susie. Joe married Gracie Miller as soon as he could, but even now no one is wholly convinced that he weren't in love with my cousin. I haven't a clue how much gold the boys found ten years ago, but it must have been an awful sum, 'cause Tom managed to buy more than I would have ever thought possible, and spent most of his time showering all his fiancés in gifts. At one point he was engaged to Susie Harper, Sally Rogers, Rachel Eaton, Ruby Gardener, Clara Rice, Naomi Watts and Holly Bender all at once. By the time he was eighteen, he wanted something more than a kiss to seal each engagement. Sally, Naomi and Susie all had babies the next year, and all of them had suspicious red hair that matched a certain cousin of mine. They all started saying that it was immaculate conception, but no one but senile old Muff Potter bought it for a moment.
Tom ain't all bad though, he and Huck both gave huge sums of money to the church and the school, which brought a lot of happiness for the people of St. Petersburg. Huck, in contrast to Tom, turned out to be a real diamond in the rough. He ain't powerful smart, but sure is kind, and he ain't never fooled around with no girls. I must admit, I love that man, but he won't even look at me. I try to get him to study the bible just to spend a little time with him. While I was pining for Huck, Sid was pining for Becky. He ain't showy like Tom, but Becky fell for him none the same. Now Sid is married, Aunt Polly cold in the ground after an outbreak of fever, and Tom off drinking and causing "immaculate conceptions," while I live all alone in the house I grew up in.
It seems I'm the only one left behind. Even snobby Rachel Eaton with her two daughters (belonging to Tom/ Jesus) is married to Willie Mufferson, with whom she has three more children, all of whom are awful brats. It's awful lonely being me. Everyone thinks I'm happy here with my Bible, but I miss getting to live with people. I could move in with Sid and Becky, but they're off in Rhode Island to get away from all this "Southern Nonsense" that Becky has hated since she moved here. I can't live with Aunt Polly or my own parents, because they're all dead. I sure as Sunday can't move in with Tom and his "fiancés," of which he presently has three. He and Naomi have four children, he has six with Holly, and only two with Sally. Amy Lawrence says she won't speak to him, and she married Alfred Temple, but all five of her daughters look nothing like their father, and have a strange resemblance to you know who.
I once thought about being a nun, but I just couldn't bare the thought of moving away from St. Petersburg up to the convent. Now that war is stirring with the North, I know that most of the men will go off to fight. Tom has already paid off poor Samuel Rice to go in his place. Joe Harper seems real enthusiastic about the prospect of sharing a tent with seven other men for an extended period of time, so he's already agreed to go. Sid would have to fight for the North, so he and Becky are fleeing up to Canada to go live with the beavers or something. If Huckleberry Finn goes off to fight I'll probably cry for days, but I won't have no choice but to smile at everyone. After all, he ain't my Huck. I am thirty years old, and I know I ain't never going to marry. What man is going to want a chubby, shy, girl who spends her life reading. Being Tom the town hero/drunkard's cousin made me out to be some kind of big sister to all the boys. I've been invited to all the weddings, but no one has had the slightest interest in me.
What do you care for the writings of a woman who might as well give up and get eight cats? I don't turn heads like twenty year old Stella Mortenstair. I don't even have the passable looks of Ruth Cole, who is married to Billy Fisher. Huck, my Huck, is engaged to Stella. I hope that they'll be very happy, but I would be happier still if he were engaged to me. I guess I just got to go on praying, giving thanks for my unconquerable soul. The sun is setting now, and I wish very much that the big Mississippi River could just carry me away from here, and I would go too, if only here wasn't the only place I've ever been able to call home.