IT warn't very cheerful at breakfast. Aunt Sally she
looked old and tired and let the children snarl and
fuss at one another and didn't seem to notice it was
going on, which wasn't her usual style;
me and Tom
had a plenty to think about without talking; Benny she
looked like she hadn't had much sleep, and whenever
she'd lift her head a little and steal a look towards her
father you could see there was tears in her eyes; and
as for the old man, his things stayed on his plate and
got cold without him knowing they was there, I reckon,
for he was thinking and thinking all the time, and never
said a word and never et a bite.
By and by when it was stillest, that nigger's head
was poked in at the door again, and he said his Marse
Brace was getting powerful uneasy about Marse Jubiter,
which hadn't come home yet, and would Marse Silas
He was looking at Uncle Silas, and he stopped there,
like the rest of his words was froze; for Uncle Silas he
rose up shaky and steadied himself leaning his fingers
on the table, and he was panting, and his eyes was set
on the nigger, and he kept swallowing, and put his
other hand up to his throat a couple of times, and at
last he got his words started, and says:
"Does he -- does he -- think -- WHAT does he think!
Tell him -- tell him --" Then he sunk down in his
chair limp and weak, and says, so as you could hardly
hear him: "Go away -- go away!"
The nigger looked scared and cleared out, and we
all felt -- well, I don't know how we felt, but it was
awful, with the old man panting there, and his eyes set
and looking like a person that was dying. None of us
could budge; but Benny she slid around soft, with her
tears running down, and stood by his side, and nestled
his old gray head up against her and begun to stroke it
and pet it with her hands, and nodded to us to go
away, and we done it, going out very quiet, like the
dead was there.
Me and Tom struck out for the woods mighty
solemn, and saying how different it was now to what it
was last summer when we was here and everything was
so peaceful and happy and everybody thought so much
of Uncle Silas, and he was so cheerful and simple-
hearted and pudd'n-headed and good -- and now look
at him. If he hadn't lost his mind he wasn't muck
short of it. That was what we allowed.
It was a most lovely day now, and bright and sun.
shiny; and the further and further we went over the
hills towards the prairie the lovelier and lovelier the
trees and flowers got to be and the more it seemed
strange and somehow wrong that there had to be
trouble in such a world as this. And then all of a
sudden I catched my breath and grabbed Tom's arm, and
all my livers and lungs and things fell down into my legs.
"There it is!" I says. We jumped back behind a
bush shivering, and Tom says:
"'Sh! -- don't make a noise."
It was setting on a log right in the edge of a little
prairie, thinking. I tried to get Tom to come away,
but he wouldn't, and I dasn't budge by myself. He
said we mightn't ever get another chance to see one,
and he was going to look his fill at this one if he died
for it. So I looked too, though it give me the fan-
tods to do it. Tom he HAD to talk, but he talked low.
"Poor Jakey, it's got all its things on, just as he
said he would. NOW you see what we wasn't certain
about -- its hair. It's not long now the way it was:
it's got it cropped close to its head, the way he said he
would. Huck, I never see anything look any more
naturaler than what It does."
"Nor I neither," I says; "I'd recognize it any-
"So would I. It looks perfectly solid and genu-
wyne, just the way it done before it died."
So we kept a-gazing. Pretty soon Tom says:
"Huck, there's something mighty curious about this
one, don't you know? IT oughtn't to be going around
in the daytime."
"That's so, Tom -- I never heard the like of it
"No, sir, they don't ever come out only at night --
and then not till after twelve. There's something
wrong about this one, now you mark my words. I
don't believe it's got any right to be around in the
daytime. But don't it look natural! Jake was going
to play deef and dumb here, so the neighbors wouldn't
know his voice. Do you reckon it would do that if we
was to holler at it?"
"Lordy, Tom, don't talk so! If you was to holler
at it I'd die in my tracks."
"Don't you worry, I ain't going to holler at it.
Look, Huck, it's a-scratching its head -- don't you see?"
"Well, what of it?"
"Why, this. What's the sense of it scratching its
head? There ain't anything there to itch; its head is
made out of fog or something like that, and can't itch.
A fog can't itch; any fool knows that."
"Well, then, if it don't itch and can't itch, what in
the nation is it scratching it for? Ain't it just habit,
don't you reckon?"
"No, sir, I don't. I ain't a bit satisfied about the
way this one acts. I've a blame good notion it's a
bogus one -- I have, as sure as I'm a-sitting here.
Because, if it -- Huck!"
"Well, what's the matter now?"
"YOU CAN'T SEE THE BUSHES THROUGH IT!"
"Why, Tom, it's so, sure! It's as solid as a cow.
I sort of begin to think --"
"Huck, it's biting off a chaw of tobacker! By
George, THEY don't chaw -- they hain't got anything to
chaw WITH. Huck!"
"It ain't a ghost at all. It's Jake Dunlap his own
"Oh your granny!" I says.
"Huck Finn, did we find any corpse in the syca-
"Or any sign of one?"
"Mighty good reason. Hadn't ever been any corpse
"Why, Tom, you know we heard --"
"Yes, we didJ-- heard a howl or two. Does that
prove anybody was killed? Course it don't. And we
seen four men run, then this one come walking out and
we took it for a ghost. No more ghost than you are.
It was Jake Dunlap his own self, and it's Jake Dunlap
now. He's been and got his hair cropped, the way he
said he would, and he's playing himself for a stranger,
just the same as he said he would. Ghost? Hum! --
he's as sound as a nut."
Then I see it all, and how we had took too much for
granted. I was powerful glad he didn't get killed, and
so was Tom, and we wondered which he would like the
best -- for us to never let on to know him, or how?
Tom reckoned the best way would be to go and ask
him. So he started; but I kept a little behind, because
I didn't know but it might be a ghost, after all. When
Tom got to where he was, he says:
"Me and Huck's mighty glad to see you again,
and you needn't be afeared we'll tell. And if you
think it'll be safer for you if we don't let on to know
you when we run across you, say the word and you'll
see you can depend on us, and would ruther cut our
hands off than get you into the least little bit of
First off he looked surprised to see us, and not very
glad, either; but as Tom went on he looked pleasanter,
and when he was done he smiled, and nodded his head
several times, and made signs with his hands, and says:
"Goo-goo -- goo-goo," the way deef and dummies
Just then we see some of Steve Nickerson's people
coming that lived t'other side of the prairie, so Tom
"You do it elegant; I never see anybody do it
better. You're right; play it on us, too; play it on
us same as the others; it'll keep you in practice and
prevent you making blunders. We'll keep away from
you and let on we don't know you, but any time we
can be any help, you just let us know."
Then we loafed along past the Nickersons, and of
course they asked if that was the new stranger yonder,
and where'd he come from, and what was his name,
and which communion was he, Babtis' or Methodis',
and which politics, Whig or Democrat, and how long
is he staying, and all them other questions that humans
always asks when a stranger comes, and animals does,
too. But Tom said he warn't able to make anything
out of deef and dumb signs, and the same with goo-
gooing. Then we watched them go and bullyrag Jake;
because we was pretty uneasy for him. Tom said it
would take him days to get so he wouldn't forget he
was a deef and dummy sometimes, and speak out be-
fore he thought. When we had watched long enough
to see that Jake was getting along all right and working
his signs very good, we loafed along again, allowing to
strike the schoolhouse about recess time, which was a
I was so disappointed not to hear Jake tell about the
row in the sycamores, and how near he come to get-
ting killed, that I couldn't seem to get over it, and
Tom he felt the same, but said if we was in Jake's fix
we would want to go careful and keep still and not take
The boys and girls was all glad to see us again, and
we had a real good time all through recess. Coming
to school the Henderson boys had come across the new
deef and dummy and told the rest; so all the scholars
was chuck full of him and couldn't talk about anything
else, and was in a sweat to get a sight of him because
they hadn't ever seen a deef and dummy in their lives,
and it made a powerful excitement.
Tom said it was tough to have to keep mum now;
said we would be heroes if we could come out and tell
all we knowed; but after all, it was still more heroic to
keep mum, there warn't two boys in a million could do
it. That was Tom Sawyer's idea about it, and
reckoned there warn't anybody could better it.