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Chapter 28

  • 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!"
  • "No!"
  • "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?"
  • "How?"
  • "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!"
  • Huck shuddered.
  • "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."