The introduction of the new Harvey and William adds another element of hilarity to the con men’s inheritance scam. The contrast between the two sets of “brothers” is obvious, and the ensuing investigation underscores both the ignorance of the town and the eagerness of the townspeople to witness a dispute. Instead of reacting with anger, the town enjoys the added confusion and as the questions continue, the humor and suspense build.
Huck’s role as a servant is called into question, and unlike previous escapades, Huck is unable to convince the doctor and lawyer of his English ancestry. Instead of accepting Huck’s story, the lawyer tells Huck, “I wouldn’t strain myself if I was you. I reckon you ain’t used to lying . . . You do it pretty awkward.” Although Huck’s entire journey has been based on lies and deception, he is unable to fool intelligent men for even a moment. The irony is apparent, as is Huck’s reluctance to try and adapt his story. Instead of attempting to lie his way out of another predicament, Huck chooses to remain quiet and observe the comical investigation.
The con men’s unwillingness to leave without selling all of the family’s possessions represents the greed of the two men. Ironically, it is this same type of greed that allows Huck and the duke and the king to escape. When the townsmen see the gold in Peter Wilks’ coffin, they are unable to resist and the ensuing melee is reminiscent of Bricksville. Twain’s commentary on the greed and ignorance of the mob mentality is solidified with the duke and the king’s escape.
cravats neckerchiefs or scarves.
shekel a half-ounce gold or silver coin of the ancient Hebrews.
gabble to talk rapidly and incoherently; jabber; chatter.