Within a few minutes the news had spread, and a dozen skiff-loads of men wer_n their way to McDougal's cave, and the ferryboat, well filled wit_assengers, soon followed. Tom Sawyer was in the skiff that bore Judg_hatcher. When the cave door was unlocked, a sorrowful sight presented itsel_n the dim twilight of the place. Injun Joe lay stretched upon the ground, dead, with his face close to the crack of the door, as if his longing eyes ha_een fixed, to the latest moment, upon the light and the cheer of the fre_orld outside. Tom was touched, for he knew by his own experience how thi_retch had suffered. His pity was moved, but nevertheless he felt an aboundin_ense of relief and security, now, which revealed to him in a degree which h_ad not fully appreciated before how vast a weight of dread had been lyin_pon him since the day he lifted his voice against this bloody-minded outcast.
Injun Joe's bowie-knife lay close by, its blade broken in two. The grea_oundation-beam of the door had been chipped and hacked through, with tediou_abor; useless labor, too, it was, for the native rock formed a sill outsid_t, and upon that stubborn material the knife had wrought no effect; the onl_amage done was to the knife itself. But if there had been no ston_bstruction there the labor would have been useless still, for if the beam ha_een wholly cut away Injun Joe could not have squeezed his body under th_oor, and he knew it. So he had only hacked that place in order to be doin_omething — in order to pass the weary time — in order to employ his torture_aculties. Ordinarily one could find half a dozen bits of candle stuck aroun_n the crevices of this vestibule, left there by tourists; but there were non_ow. The prisoner had searched them out and eaten them. He had also contrive_o catch a few bats, and these, also, he had eaten, leaving only their claws.
The poor unfortunate had starved to death. In one place, near at hand, _talagmite had been slowly growing up from the ground for ages, builded by th_ater-drip from a stalactite overhead. The captive had broken off th_talagmite, and upon the stump had placed a stone, wherein he had scooped _hallow hollow to catch the precious drop that fell once in every thre_inutes with the dreary regularity of a clock-tick — a dessertspoonful once i_our and twenty hours. That drop was falling when the Pyramids were new; whe_roy fell; when the foundations of Rome were laid when Christ was crucified; when the Conqueror created the British empire; when Columbus sailed; when th_assacre at Lexington was "news." It is falling now; it will still be fallin_hen all these things shall have sunk down the afternoon of history, and th_wilight of tradition, and been swallowed up in the thick night of oblivion.
Has everything a purpose and a mission? Did this drop fall patiently durin_ive thousand years to be ready for this flitting human insect's need? and ha_t another important object to accomplish ten thousand years to come? N_atter. It is many and many a year since the hapless half-breed scooped ou_he stone to catch the priceless drops, but to this day the tourist stare_ongest at that pathetic stone and that slow-dropping water when he comes t_ee the wonders of McDougal's cave. Injun Joe's cup stands first in the lis_f the cavern's marvels; even "Aladdin's Palace" cannot rival it.
Injun Joe was buried near the mouth of the cave; and people flocked there i_oats and wagons from the towns and from all the farms and hamlets for seve_iles around; they brought their children, and all sorts of provisions, an_onfessed that they had had almost as satisfactory a time at the funeral a_hey could have had at the hanging.
This funeral stopped the further growth of one thing — the petition to th_overnor for Injun Joe's pardon. The petition had been largely signed; man_earful and eloquent meetings had been held, and a committee of sappy wome_een appointed to go in deep mourning and wail around the governor, an_mplore him to be a merciful ass and trample his duty under foot. Injun Jo_as believed to have killed five citizens of the village, but what of that? I_e had been Satan himself there would have been plenty of weaklings ready t_cribble their names to a pardon-petition, and drip a tear on it from thei_ermanently impaired and leaky water-works.
The morning after the funeral Tom took Huck to a private place to have a_mportant talk. Huck had learned all about Tom's adventure from the Welshma_nd the Widow Douglas, by this time, but Tom said he reckoned there was on_hing they had not told him; that thing was what he wanted to talk about now.
Huck's face saddened. He said:
"I know what it is. You got into No. 2 and never found anything but whiskey.
Nobody told me it was you; but I just knowed it must 'a' ben you, soon as _eard 'bout that whiskey business; and I knowed you hadn't got the money becu_ou'd 'a' got at me some way or other and told me even if you was mum t_verybody else. Tom, something's always told me we'd never get holt of tha_wag."
"Why, Huck, I never told on that tavern-keeper. You know his tavern was al_ight the Saturday I went to the picnic. Don't you remember you was to watc_here that night?"
"Oh yes! Why, it seems 'bout a year ago. It was that very night that _ollered Injun Joe to the widder's."
"You followed him?"
"Yes — but you keep mum. I reckon Injun Joe's left friends behind him, and _on't want 'em souring on me and doing me mean tricks. If it hadn't ben for m_e'd be down in Texas now, all right."
Then Huck told his entire adventure in confidence to Tom, who had only hear_f the Welshman's part of it before.
"Well," said Huck, presently, coming back to the main question, "whoeve_ipped the whiskey in No. 2, nipped the money, too, I reckon — anyways it's _oner for us, Tom."
"Huck, that money wasn't ever in No. 2!"
"What!" Huck searched his comrade's face keenly. "Tom, have you got on th_rack of that money again?"
"Huck, it's in the cave!"
Huck's eyes blazed.
"Say it again, Tom."
"The money's in the cave!"
"Tom — honest injun, now — is it fun, or earnest?"
"Earnest, Huck — just as earnest as ever I was in my life. Will you go i_here with me and help get it out?"
"I bet I will! I will if it's where we can blaze our way to it and not ge_ost."
"Huck, we can do that without the least little bit of trouble in the world."
"Good as wheat! What makes you think the money's —"
"Huck, you just wait till we get in there. If we don't find it I'll agree t_ive you my drum and every thing I've got in the world. I will, by jings."
"All right — it's a whiz. When do you say?"
"Right now, if you say it. Are you strong enough?"
"Is it far in the cave? I ben on my pins a little, three or four days, now, but I can't walk more'n a mile, Tom — least I don't think I could."
"It's about five mile into there the way anybody but me would go, Huck, bu_here's a mighty short cut that they don't anybody but me know about. Huck, I'll take you right to it in a skiff. I'll float the skiff down there, an_'ll pull it back again all by myself. You needn't ever turn your hand over."
"Less start right off, Tom."
"All right. We want some bread and meat, and our pipes, and a little bag o_wo, and two or three kite-strings, and some of these new-fangled things the_all lucifer matches. I tell you, many's the time I wished I had some when _as in there before."
A trifle after noon the boys borrowed a small skiff from a citizen who wa_bsent, and got under way at once. When they were several miles below "Cav_ollow," Tom said:
"Now you see this bluff here looks all alike all the way down from the cav_ollow — no houses, no wood-yards, bushes all alike. But do you see that whit_lace up yonder where there's been a landslide? Well, that's one of my marks.
We'll get ashore, now."
"Now, Huck, where we're a-standing you could touch that hole I got out of wit_ fishing-pole. See if you can find it."
Huck searched all the place about, and found nothing. Tom proudly marched int_ thick clump of sumach bushes and said:
"Here you are! Look at it, Huck; it's the snuggest hole in this country. Yo_ust keep mum about it. All along I've been wanting to be a robber, but I kne_'d got to have a thing like this, and where to run across it was the bother.
We've got it now, and we'll keep it quiet, only we'll let Joe Harper and Be_ogers in — because of course there's got to be a Gang, or else there wouldn'_e any style about it. Tom Sawyer's Gang — it sounds splendid, don't it, Huck?"
"Well, it just does, Tom. And who'll we rob?"
"Oh, most anybody. Waylay people — that's mostly the way."
"And kill them?"
"No, not always. Hive them in the cave till they raise a ransom."
"What's a ransom?"
"Money. You make them raise all they can, off'n their friends; and afte_ou've kept them a year, if it ain't raised then you kill them. That's th_eneral way. Only you don't kill the women. You shut up the women, but yo_on't kill them. They're always beautiful and rich, and awfully scared. Yo_ake their watches and things, but you always take your hat off and tal_olite. They ain't anybody as polite as robbers — you'll see that in any book.
Well, the women get to loving you, and after they've been in the cave a wee_r two weeks they stop crying and after that you couldn't get them to leave.
If you drove them out they'd turn right around and come back. It's so in al_he books."
"Why, it's real bully, Tom. I believe it's better'n to be a pirate."
"Yes, it's better in some ways, because it's close to home and circuses an_ll that."
By this time everything was ready and the boys entered the hole, Tom in th_ead. They toiled their way to the farther end of the tunnel, then made thei_pliced kite-strings fast and moved on. A few steps brought them to th_pring, and Tom felt a shudder quiver all through him. He showed Huck th_ragment of candle-wick perched on a lump of clay against the wall, an_escribed how he and Becky had watched the flame struggle and expire.
The boys began to quiet down to whispers, now, for the stillness and gloom o_he place oppressed their spirits. They went on, and presently entered an_ollowed Tom's other corridor until they reached the "jumping-off place." Th_andles revealed the fact that it was not really a precipice, but only a stee_lay hill twenty or thirty feet high. Tom whispered:
"Now I'll show you something, Huck."
He held his candle aloft and said:
"Look as far around the corner as you can. Do you see that? There — on the bi_ock over yonder — done with candle-smoke."
"Tom, it's a cross!"
"Now where's your Number Two? 'Under the cross,' hey? Right yonder's where _aw Injun Joe poke up his candle, Huck!"
Huck stared at the mystic sign awhile, and then said with a shaky voice:
"Tom, less git out of here!"
"What! and leave the treasure?"
"Yes — leave it. Injun Joe's ghost is round about there, certain."
"No it ain't, Huck, no it ain't. It would ha'nt the place where he died — awa_ut at the mouth of the cave — five mile from here."
"No, Tom, it wouldn't. It would hang round the money. I know the ways o_hosts, and so do you."
Tom began to fear that Huck was right. Misgivings gathered in his mind. Bu_resently an idea occurred to him —
"Lookyhere, Huck, what fools we're making of ourselves! Injun Joe's ghos_in't a going to come around where there's a cross!"
The point was well taken. It had its effect.
"Tom, I didn't think of that. But that's so. It's luck for us, that cross is.
I reckon we'll climb down there and have a hunt for that box."
Tom went first, cutting rude steps in the clay hill as he descended. Huc_ollowed. Four avenues opened out of the small cavern which the great roc_tood in. The boys examined three of them with no result. They found a smal_ecess in the one nearest the base of the rock, with a pallet of blanket_pread down in it; also an old suspender, some bacon rind, and the well-gnawe_ones of two or three fowls. But there was no money-box. The lads searched an_esearched this place, but in vain. Tom said:
"He said under the cross. Well, this comes nearest to being under the cross.
It can't be under the rock itself, because that sets solid on the ground."
They searched everywhere once more, and then sat down discouraged. Huck coul_uggest nothing. By-and-by Tom said:
"Lookyhere, Huck, there's footprints and some candle-grease on the clay abou_ne side of this rock, but not on the other sides. Now, what's that for? I be_ou the money is under the rock. I'm going to dig in the clay."
"That ain't no bad notion, Tom!" said Huck with animation.
Tom's "real Barlow" was out at once, and he had not dug four inches before h_truck wood.
"Hey, Huck! — you hear that?"
Huck began to dig and scratch now. Some boards were soon uncovered an_emoved. They had concealed a natural chasm which led under the rock. Tom go_nto this and held his candle as far under the rock as he could, but said h_ould not see to the end of the rift. He proposed to explore. He stooped an_assed under; the narrow way descended gradually. He followed its windin_ourse, first to the right, then to the left, Huck at his heels. Tom turned _hort curve, by-and-by, and exclaimed:
"My goodness, Huck, lookyhere!"
It was the treasure-box, sure enough, occupying a snug little cavern, alon_ith an empty powder-keg, a couple of guns in leather cases, two or thre_airs of old moccasins, a leather belt, and some other rubbish well soake_ith the water-drip.
"Got it at last!" said Huck, ploughing among the tarnished coins with hi_and. "My, but we're rich, Tom!"
"Huck, I always reckoned we'd get it. It's just too good to believe, but w_ave got it, sure! Say — let's not fool around here. Let's snake it out. Lemm_ee if I can lift the box."
It weighed about fifty pounds. Tom could lift it, after an awkward fashion, but could not carry it conveniently.
"I thought so," he said; "They carried it like it was heavy, that day at th_a'nted house. I noticed that. I reckon I was right to think of fetching th_ittle bags along."
The money was soon in the bags and the boys took it up to the cross rock.
"Now less fetch the guns and things," said Huck.
"No, Huck — leave them there. They're just the tricks to have when we go t_obbing. We'll keep them there all the time, and we'll hold our orgies there, too. It's an awful snug place for orgies."
"I dono. But robbers always have orgies, and of course we've got to have them, too. Come along, Huck, we've been in here a long time. It's getting late, _eckon. I'm hungry, too. We'll eat and smoke when we get to the skiff."
They presently emerged into the clump of sumach bushes, looked warily out, found the coast clear, and were soon lunching and smoking in the skiff. As th_un dipped toward the horizon they pushed out and got under way. Tom skimme_p the shore through the long twilight, chatting cheerily with Huck, an_anded shortly after dark.
"Now, Huck," said Tom, "we'll hide the money in the loft of the widow'_oodshed, and I'll come up in the morning and we'll count it and divide, an_hen we'll hunt up a place out in the woods for it where it will be safe. Jus_ou lay quiet here and watch the stuff till I run and hook Benny Taylor'_ittle wagon; I won't be gone a minute."
He disappeared, and presently returned with the wagon, put the two small sack_nto it, threw some old rags on top of them, and started off, dragging hi_argo behind him. When the boys reached the Welshman's house, they stopped t_est. Just as they were about to move on, the Welshman stepped out and said:
"Hallo, who's that?"
"Huck and Tom Sawyer."
"Good! Come along with me, boys, you are keeping everybody waiting. Here — hurry up, trot ahead — I'll haul the wagon for you. Why, it's not as light a_t might be. Got bricks in it? — or old metal?"
"Old metal," said Tom.
"I judged so; the boys in this town will take more trouble and fool away mor_ime hunting up six bits' worth of old iron to sell to the foundry than the_ould to make twice the money at regular work. But that's human nature — hurr_long, hurry along!"
The boys wanted to know what the hurry was about.
"Never mind; you'll see, when we get to the Widow Douglas'."
Huck said with some apprehension — for he was long used to being falsel_ccused:
"Mr. Jones, we haven't been doing nothing."
The Welshman laughed.
"Well, I don't know, Huck, my boy. I don't know about that. Ain't you and th_idow good friends?"
"Yes. Well, she's ben good friends to me, anyway."
"All right, then. What do you want to be afraid for?"
This question was not entirely answered in Huck's slow mind before he foun_imself pushed, along with Tom, into Mrs. Douglas' drawing-room. Mr. Jone_eft the wagon near the door and followed.
The place was grandly lighted, and everybody that was of any consequence i_he village was there. The Thatchers were there, the Harpers, the Rogerses, Aunt Polly, Sid, Mary, the minister, the editor, and a great many more, an_ll dressed in their best. The widow received the boys as heartily as any on_ould well receive two such looking beings. They were covered with clay an_andle-grease. Aunt Polly blushed crimson with humiliation, and frowned an_hook her head at Tom. Nobody suffered half as much as the two boys did, however. Mr. Jones said:
"Tom wasn't at home, yet, so I gave him up; but I stumbled on him and Huc_ight at my door, and so I just brought them along in a hurry."
"And you did just right," said the widow. "Come with me, boys."
She took them to a bedchamber and said:
"Now wash and dress yourselves. Here are two new suits of clothes — shirts, socks, everything complete. They're Huck's — no, no thanks, Huck — Mr. Jone_ought one and I the other. But they'll fit both of you. Get into them. We'l_ait — come down when you are slicked up enough."