WE tramped along behind Jim and Lem till we come
to the back stile where old Jim's cabin was that
he was captivated in, the time we set him free,
come the dogs piling around us to say howdy, and
there was the lights of the house, too; so we warn't
afeard any more, and was going to climb over, but
"Hold on; set down here a minute. By George!"
"What's the matter?" says I.
"Matter enough!" he says. "Wasn't you expect-
ing we would be the first to tell the family who it is
that's been killed yonder in the sycamores, and all
about them rapscallions that done it, and about the
di'monds they've smouched off of the corpse, and paint
it up fine, and have the glory of being the ones that
knows a lot more about it than anybody else?"
"Why, of course. It wouldn't be you, Tom Sawyer,
if you was to let such a chance go by. I reckon it
ain't going to suffer none for lack of paint," I says,
"when you start in to scollop the facts."
"Well, now," he says, perfectly ca'm, "what would
you say if I was to tell you I ain't going to start in at
I was astonished to hear him talk so. I says:
"I'd say it's a lie. You ain't in earnest, Tom
"You'll soon see. Was the ghost barefooted?"
"No, it wasn't. What of it?"
"You wait -- I'll show you what. Did it have its
"Yes. I seen them plain."
"Yes, I swear it."
"So do I. Now do you know what that means?"
"No. What does it mean?"
"Means that them thieves DIDN'T GET THE DI'MONDS."
"Jimminy! What makes you think that?"
"I don't only think it, I know it. Didn't the
breeches and goggles and whiskers and hand-bag and
every blessed thing turn to ghost-stuff? Everything it
had on turned, didn't it? It shows that the reason its
boots turned too was because it still had them on after
it started to go ha'nting around, and if that ain't proof
that them blatherskites didn't get the boots, I'd like to
know what you'd CALL proof."
Think of that now. I never see such a head as that
boy had. Why, I had eyes and I could see things, but
they never meant nothing to me. But Tom Sawyer
was different. When Tom Sawyer seen a thing it just
got up on its hind legs and TALKED to him -- told him
everything it knowed. I never see such a head.
"Tom Sawyer," I says, "I'll say it again as I've
said it a many a time before: I ain't fitten to black
your boots. But that's all right -- that's neither here
nor there. God Almighty made us all, and some He
gives eyes that's blind, and some He gives eyes that
can see, and I reckon it ain't none of our lookout what
He done it for; it's all right, or He'd 'a' fixed it some
other way. Go on -- I see plenty plain enough, now,
that them thieves didn't get way with the di'monds.
Why didn't they, do you reckon?"
"Because they got chased away by them other two
men before they could pull the boots off of the corpse."
"That's so! I see it now. But looky here, Tom,
why ain't we to go and tell about it?"
"Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, can't you see? Look at
it. What's a-going to happen? There's going to be
an inquest in the morning. Them two men will tell
how they heard the yells and rushed there just in time
to not save the stranger. Then the jury'll twaddle
and twaddle and twaddle, and finally they'll fetch in a
verdict that he got shot or stuck or busted over the
head with something, and come to his death by the in-
spiration of God. And after they've buried him they'll
auction off his things for to pay the expenses, and
then's OUR chance."
"Buy the boots for two dollars!"
Well, it 'most took my breath.
"My land! Why, Tom, WE'LL get the di'monds!"
"You bet. Some day there'll be a big reward
offered for them -- a thousand dollars, sure. That's
our money! Now we'll trot in and see the folks.
And mind you we don't know anything about any
murder, or any di'monds, or any thieves -- don't you
I had to sigh a little over the way he had got it fixed.
I'd 'a' SOLD them di'monds -- yes, sir -- for twelve
thousand dollars; but I didn't say anything. It
wouldn't done any good. I says:
"But what are we going to tell your aunt Sally has
made us so long getting down here from the village,
"Oh, I'll leave that to you," he says. "I reckon
you can explain it somehow."
He was always just that strict and delicate. He
never would tell a lie himself.
We struck across the big yard, noticing this, that,
and t'other thing that was so familiar, and we so glad
to see it again, and when we got to the roofed big
passageway betwixt the double log house and the
kitchen part, there was everything hanging on the wall
just as it used to was, even to Uncle Silas's old faded
green baize working-gown with the hood to it, and rag-
gedy white patch between the shoulders that always
looked like somebody had hit him with a snowball; and
then we lifted the latch and walked in. Aunt Sally she
was just a-ripping and a-tearing around, and the
children was huddled in one corner, and the old man
he was huddled in the other and praying for help in
time of need. She jumped for us with joy and tears
running down her face and give us a whacking box on
the ear, and then hugged us and kissed us and boxed
us again, and just couldn't seem to get enough of it,
she was so glad to see us; and she says:
"Where HAVE you been a-loafing to, you good-for-
nothing trash! I've been that worried about you I
didn't know what to do. Your traps has been here
ever so long, and I've had supper cooked fresh about
four times so as to have it hot and good when you
come, till at last my patience is just plumb wore out,
and I declare I -- I -- why I could skin you alive! You
must be starving, poor things! -- set down, set down,
everybody; don't lose no more time."
It was good to be there again behind all that noble
corn-pone and spareribs, and everything that you could
ever want in this world. Old Uncle Silas he peeled off
one of his bulliest old-time blessings, with as many
layers to it as an onion, and whilst the angels was haul-
ing in the slack of it I was trying to study up what to
say about what kept us so long. When our plates was
all loadened and we'd got a-going, she asked me, and
"Well, you see, -- er -- Mizzes --"
"Huck Finn! Since when am I Mizzes to you?
Have I ever been stingy of cuffs or kisses for you since
the day you stood in this room and I took you for Tom
Sawyer and blessed God for sending you to me, though
you told me four thousand lies and I believed every
one of them like a simpleton? Call me Aunt Sally --
like you always done."
So I done it. And I says:
"Well, me and Tom allowed we would come along
afoot and take a smell of the woods, and we run across
Lem Beebe and Jim Lane, and they asked us to go with
them blackberrying to-night, and said they could bor-
row Jubiter Dunlap's dog, because he had told them
just that minute --"
"Where did they see him?" says the old man; and
when I looked up to see how HE come to take an intrust
in a little thing like that, his eyes was just burning into
me, he was that eager. It surprised me so it kind of
throwed me off, but I pulled myself together again and
"It was when he was spading up some ground along
with you, towards sundown or along there."
He only said, "Um," in a kind of a disappointed
way, and didn't take no more intrust. So I went on.
"Well, then, as I was a-saying --"
"That'll do, you needn't go no furder." It was
Aunt Sally. She was boring right into me with her
eyes, and very indignant. "Huck Finn," she says,
"how'd them men come to talk about going a-black-
berrying in September -- in THIS region?"
I see I had slipped up, and I couldn't say a word.
She waited, still a-gazing at me, then she says:
"And how'd they come to strike that idiot idea of
going a-blackberrying in the night?"
"Well, m'm, they -- er -- they told us they had a
lantern, and --"
"Oh, SHET up -- do! Looky here; what was they
going to do with a dog? -- hunt blackberries with it?"
"I think, m'm, they --"
"Now, Tom Sawyer, what kind of a lie are you fix-
ing YOUR mouth to contribit to this mess of rubbage?
Speak out -- and I warn you before you begin, that
I don't believe a word of it. You and Huck's been up
to something you no business to -- I know it perfectly
well; I know you, BOTH of you. Now you explain that
dog, and them blackberries, and the lantern, and the
rest of that rot -- and mind you talk as straight as a
string -- do you hear?"
Tom he looked considerable hurt, and says, very
"It is a pity if Huck is to be talked to that way, just
for making a little bit of a mistake that anybody could
"What mistake has he made?"
"Why, only the mistake of saying blackberries when
of course he meant strawberries."
"Tom Sawyer, I lay if you aggravate me a little
more, I'll --"
"Aunt Sally, without knowing it -- and of course
without intending it -- you are in the wrong. If you'd
'a' studied natural history the way you ought, you
would know that all over the world except just here in
Arkansaw they ALWAYS hunt strawberries with a dog --
and a lantern --"
But she busted in on him there and just piled into
him and snowed him under. She was so mad she
couldn't get the words out fast enough, and she gushed
them out in one everlasting freshet. That was what
Tom Sawyer was after. He allowed to work her up
and get her started and then leave her alone and let her
burn herself out. Then she would be so aggravated
with that subject that she wouldn't say another word
about it, nor let anybody else. Well, it happened just
so. When she was tuckered out and had to hold up,
he says, quite ca'm:
"And yet, all the same, Aunt Sally --"
"Shet up!" she says, "I don't want to hear
another word out of you."
So we was perfectly safe, then, and didn't have no
more trouble about that delay. Tom done it elegant.