What is a quote from duke or the king indicating the way they underestimated the people they were trying to con?Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Duke and The King get into a fight in Chapter XXX, with each accusing the other of having schemed to steal all the money and run away with it, leaving his partner with nothing. The Duke accuses The King of wanting to "get what money I'd got out of the Nonesuch...and scoop it all!" To which The King demurs, saying it was The Duke who had wanted to "make up the deficit."

Evidently, however, they have completely underestimated the people they have been trying to con. As The Duke explains, "they've got all their own money back, and all of ourn but a shekel or two." The Duke is also very critical of the fact that The King had allowed everything to be "saddled" onto "a lot of poor" black men without ever standing up in their defense; The Duke is disappointed in himself for having believed the lie. The King and The Duke eventually retire to bed and begin drinking in order to soothe their hurt feelings over the mistakes they have made; ultimately, the alcohol makes them forget that they have had differences with each other—"the tighter they got the lovinger they got"—and it seems that the two have forgiven each other. And, indeed, The King and The Duke do not learn from their mistakes in this instance but continue with their schemes until they are finally upbraided by the angry villagers.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter XXX of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, after the duke and the king barely escape from the incensed townspeople who finally realize what frauds these men are, they reach the raft to which Huck has fled and, to Huck's regret, they re-board the raft.  As the king curses the town, the duke contradicts him,

"You better a blame sight give yourself a good cussing, for you're the one that's entitled to it most.  You hain't done a thing, from the start, that had any sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with that imaginary blue-arrow mark.  That was bright--it was right down bully; and it was the thing that saved us.  For if it hadn't been for that, they'd a jailed us till them Englishmen's baggage come--and then--the penitentiary, you bet!..."

Despite their close call with the people who lived around the Wilks girls, Bilgewater the Dauphin and the king continue the ways of the "rapscallions" that they are until one day Huck learns that they have been tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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