In the version of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” available on gutenberg.org here, this appears:
“she told him at last that if he didn’t quit using around there”
Is the use of the word “using” here a mistake, or was that the actual original word used there?
If the latter, what does it mean? Is it an archaic term for “messing about” or rural Missouri slang for something else, or what?
Apparently it’s still a common term, and I am also surprised that it was used at that time.
It’s perfectly in context since it refers to “pap”, the (ab)user of alcohol.
“Every time he got money he got drunk; and every time he got drunk he
raised Cain around town; and every time he raised Cain he got jailed.
He was just suited — this kind of thing was right in his line.
He got to
hanging around the widow’s too much and so she told him at last that
if he didn’t quit using around there she would make trouble for him.
Well, wasn’t he mad?”