That night Tom and Huck were ready for their adventure. They hung about th_eighborhood of the tavern until after nine, one watching the alley at _istance and the other the tavern door. Nobody entered the alley or left it;
nobody resembling the Spaniard entered or left the tavern door. The nigh_romised to be a fair one; so Tom went home with the understanding that if _onsiderable degree of darkness came on, Huck was to come and "maow,"
whereupon he would slip out and try the keys. But the night remained clear,
and Huck closed his watch and retired to bed in an empty sugar hogshead abou_welve. Tuesday the boys had the same ill luck. Also Wednesday. But Thursda_ight promised better. Tom slipped out in good season with his aunt's old ti_antern, and a large towel to blindfold it with. He hid the lantern in Huck'_ugar hogshead and the watch began. An hour before midnight the tavern close_p and its lights (the only ones thereabouts) were put out. No Spaniard ha_een seen. Nobody had entered or left the alley. Everything was auspicious.
The blackness of darkness reigned, the perfect stillness was interrupted onl_y occasional mutterings of distant thunder.
Tom got his lantern, lit it in the hogshead, wrapped it closely in the towel,
and the two adventurers crept in the gloom toward the tavern. Huck stoo_entry and Tom felt his way into the alley. Then there was a season of waitin_nxiety that weighed upon Huck's spirits like a mountain. He began to wish h_ould see a flash from the lantern — it would frighten him, but it would a_east tell him that Tom was alive yet. It seemed hours since Tom ha_isappeared. Surely he must have fainted; maybe he was dead; maybe his hear_ad burst under terror and excitement. In his uneasiness Huck found himsel_rawing closer and closer to the alley; fearing all sorts of dreadful things,
and momentarily expecting some catastrophe to happen that would take away hi_reath. There was not much to take away, for he seemed only able to inhale i_y thimblefuls, and his heart would soon wear itself out, the way it wa_eating. Suddenly there was a flash of light and Tom came tearing by him:
."Run!" said he; "run, for your life!"
He needn't have repeated it; once was enough; Huck was making thirty or fort_iles an hour before the repetition was uttered. The boys never stopped til_hey reached the shed of a deserted slaughter-house at the lower end of th_illage. Just as they got within its shelter the storm burst and the rai_oured down. As soon as Tom got his breath he said:
"Huck, it was awful! I tried two of the keys, just as soft as I could; bu_hey seemed to make such a power of racket that I couldn't hardly get m_reath I was so scared. They wouldn't turn in the lock, either. Well, withou_oticing what I was doing, I took hold of the knob, and open comes the door!
It warn't locked! I hopped in, and shook off the towel, and, great Caesar'_host!"
"What! — what'd you see, Tom?"
"Huck, I most stepped onto Injun Joe's hand!"
"Yes! He was lying there, sound asleep on the floor, with his old patch on hi_ye and his arms spread out."
"Lordy, what did you do? Did he wake up?"
"No, never budged. Drunk, I reckon. I just grabbed that towel and started!"
"I'd never 'a' thought of the towel, I bet!"
"Well, I would. My aunt would make me mighty sick if I lost it."
"Say, Tom, did you see that box?"
"Huck, I didn't wait to look around. I didn't see the box, I didn't see th_ross. I didn't see anything but a bottle and a tin cup on the floor by Inju_oe; yes, I saw two barrels and lots more bottles in the room. Don't you see,
now, what's the matter with that ha'nted room?"
"Why, it's ha'nted with whiskey! Maybe all the Temperance Taverns have got _a'nted room, hey, Huck?"
"Well, I reckon maybe that's so. Who'd 'a' thought such a thing? But say, Tom,
now's a mighty good time to get that box, if Injun Joe's drunk."
"It is, that! You try it!"
"Well, no — I reckon not."
"And I reckon not, Huck. Only one bottle alongside of Injun Joe ain't enough.
If there'd been three, he'd be drunk enough and I'd do it."
There was a long pause for reflection, and then Tom said:
"Lookyhere, Huck, less not try that thing any more till we know Injun Joe'_ot in there. It's too scary. Now, if we watch every night, we'll be dead sur_o see him go out, some time or other, and then we'll snatch that bo_uicker'n lightning."
"Well, I'm agreed. I'll watch the whole night long, and I'll do it ever_ight, too, if you'll do the other part of the job."
"All right, I will. All you got to do is to trot up Hooper Street a block an_aow — and if I'm asleep, you throw some gravel at the window and that'l_etch me."
"Agreed, and good as wheat!"
"Now, Huck, the storm's over, and I'll go home. It'll begin to be daylight i_ couple of hours. You go back and watch that long, will you?"
"I said I would, Tom, and I will. I'll ha'nt that tavern every night for _ear! I'll sleep all day and I'll stand watch all night."
"That's all right. Now, where you going to sleep?"
"In Ben Rogers' hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap's nigger man, Uncl_ake. I tote water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants me to, and any time I as_im he gives me a little something to eat if he can spare it. That's a might_ood nigger, Tom. He likes me, becuz I don't ever act as if I was above him.
Sometime I've set right down and eat with him. But you needn't tell that. _ody's got to do things when he's awful hungry he wouldn't want to do as _teady thing."
"Well, if I don't want you in the daytime, I'll let you sleep. I won't com_othering around. Any time you see something's up, in the night, just ski_ight around and maow."