WE didn't get done tinkering the machinery till away
late in the afternoon, and so it was so close to
sundown when we got home that we never stopped on
but made a break for the sycamores as tight
as we could go, to tell Jake what the delay was, and
have him wait till we could go to Brace's and find out
how things was there. It was getting pretty dim by the
time we turned the corner of the woods, sweating and
panting with that long run, and see the sycamores thirty
yards ahead of us; and just then we see a couple of
men run into the bunch and heard two or three terrible
screams for help. "Poor Jake is killed, sure," we
says. We was scared through and through, and broke
for the tobacker field and hid there, trembling so our
clothes would hardly stay on; and just as we skipped
in there, a couple of men went tearing by, and into the
bunch they went, and in a second out jumps four men
and took out up the road as tight as they could go,
two chasing two.
We laid down, kind of weak and sick, and listened
for more sounds, but didn't hear none for a good while
but just our hearts. We was thinking of that awful
thing laying yonder in the sycamores, and it seemed
like being that close to a ghost, and it give me the cold
shudders. The moon come a-swelling up out of the
ground, now, powerful big and round and bright, be-
hind a comb of trees, like a face looking through prison
bars, and the black shadders and white places begun to
creep around, and it was miserable quiet and still and
night-breezy and graveyardy and scary. All of a sud-
den Tom whispers:
"Look! -- what's that?"
"Don't!" I says. "Don't take a person by sur-
prise that way. I'm 'most ready to die, anyway, with-
out you doing that."
"Look, I tell you. It's something coming out of
"It's terrible tall!"
"Oh, lordy-lordy! let's --"
"Keep still -- it's a-coming this way."
He was so excited he could hardly get breath enough
to whisper. I had to look. I couldn't help it. So
now we was both on our knees with our chins on a
fence rail and gazing -- yes, and gasping too. It was
coming down the road -- coming in the shadder of the
trees, and you couldn't see it good; not till it was
pretty close to us; then it stepped into a bright splotch
of moonlight and we sunk right down in our tracks --
it was Jake Dunlap's ghost! That was what we said
We couldn't stir for a minute or two; then it was
gone We talked about it in low voices. Tom
"They're mostly dim and smoky, or like they're
made out of fog, but this one wasn't."
"No," I says; "I seen the goggles and the whiskers
"Yes, and the very colors in them loud countrified
Sunday clothes -- plaid breeches, green and black --"
"Cotton velvet westcot, fire-red and yaller squares --"
"Leather straps to the bottoms of the breeches legs
and one of them hanging unbottoned --"
"Yes, and that hat --"
"What a hat for a ghost to wear!"
You see it was the first season anybody wore that
kind -- a black sitff-brim stove-pipe, very high, and
not smooth, with a round top -- just like a sugar-loaf.
"Did you notice if its hair was the same, Huck?"
"No -- seems to me I did, then again it seems to me
"I didn't either; but it had its bag along, I noticed
"So did I. How can there be a ghost-bag, Tom?"
"Sho! I wouldn't be as ignorant as that if I was
you, Huck Finn. Whatever a ghost has, turns to ghost-
stuff. They've got to have their things, like anybody
else. You see, yourself, that its clothes was turned to
ghost-stuff. Well, then, what's to hender its bag from
turning, too? Of course it done it."
That was reasonable. I couldn't find no fault with
it. Bill Withers and his brother Jack come along by,
talking, and Jack says:
"What do you reckon he was toting?"
"I dunno; but it was pretty heavy."
"Yes, all he could lug. Nigger stealing corn from
old Parson Silas, I judged."
"So did I. And so I allowed I wouldn't let on to
"That's me, too."
Then they both laughed, and went on out of hearing.
It showed how unpopular old Uncle Silas had got to be
now. They wouldn't 'a' let a nigger steal anybody
else's corn and never done anything to him.
We heard some more voices mumbling along towards
us and getting louder, and sometimes a cackle of a
laugh. It was Lem Beebe and Jim Lane. Jim Lane
"Who? -- Jubiter Dunlap?"
"Oh, I don't know. I reckon so. I seen him spad-
ing up some ground along about an hour ago, just be-
fore sundown -- him and the parson. Said he guessed
he wouldn't go to-night, but we could have his dog if
we wanted him."
"Too tired, I reckon."
"Yes -- works so hard!"
"Oh, you bet!"
They cackled at that, and went on by. Tom said we
better jump out and tag along after them, because they
was going our way and it wouldn't be comfortable to
run across the ghost all by ourselves. So we done it,
and got home all right.
That night was the second of September -- a Satur-
day. I sha'n't ever forget it. You'll see why, pretty