HUCK said: "Tom, we can slope, if we
can find a rope. The window ain't high
from the ground."
"Shucks! what do you want to slope
"Well, I ain't used to that kind of a
crowd. I can't stand it. I ain't going down there, Tom."
"Oh, bother! It ain't anything. I don't mind it
a bit. I'll take care of you."
"Tom," said he, "auntie has been waiting for you
all the afternoon. Mary got your Sunday clothes
ready, and everybody's been fretting about you. Say
-- ain't this grease and clay, on your clothes?"
"Now, Mr. Siddy, you jist 'tend to your own business.
What's all this blow-out about, anyway?"
"It's one of the widow's parties that she's always
having. This time it's for the Welshman and his
sons, on account of that scrape they helped her out
of the other night. And say -- I can tell you something,
if you want to know."
"Why, old Mr. Jones is going to try to spring something on the people here to-night, but I overheard him
tell auntie to-day about it, as a secret, but I reckon
it's not much of a secret now. Everybody knows -- the widow, too, for all she tries to let on she don't.
Mr. Jones was bound Huck should be here -- couldn't
get along with his grand secret without Huck, you
"Secret about what, Sid?"
"About Huck tracking the robbers to the widow's.
I reckon Mr. Jones was going to make a grand time
over his surprise, but I bet you it will drop pretty flat."
Sid chuckled in a very contented and satisfied way.
"Sid, was it you that told?"
"Oh, never mind who it was. SOMEBODY told -- that's
"Sid, there's only one person in this town mean
enough to do that, and that's you. If you had been in
Huck's place you'd 'a' sneaked down the hill and never
told anybody on the robbers. You can't do any but
mean things, and you can't bear to see anybody praised
for doing good ones. There -- no thanks, as the widow
says" -- and Tom cuffed Sid's ears and helped him to
the door with several kicks. "Now go and tell auntie
if you dare -- and to-morrow you'll catch it!"
Some minutes later the widow's guests were at the
supper-table, and a dozen children were propped up
at little side-tables in the same room, after the fashion
of that country and that day. At the proper time
Mr. Jones made his little speech, in which he thanked
the widow for the honor she was doing himself and his
sons, but said that there was another person whose
And so forth and so on. He sprung his secret
about Huck's share in the adventure in the finest
dramatic manner he was master of, but the surprise it
occasioned was largely counterfeit and not as clamorous
and effusive as it might have been under happier
circumstances. However, the widow made a pretty
fair show of astonishment, and heaped so many compliments and so much gratitude upon Huck that he
almost forgot the nearly intolerable discomfort of his
new clothes in the entirely intolerable discomfort of
being set up as a target for everybody's gaze and
The widow said she meant to give Huck a home
under her roof and have him educated; and that
when she could spare the money she would start him
in business in a modest way. Tom's chance was
come. He said:
"Huck don't need it. Huck's rich."
Nothing but a heavy strain upon the good manners
of the company kept back the due and proper complimentary laugh at this pleasant joke. But the silence
was a little awkward. Tom broke it:
"Huck's got money. Maybe you don't believe it,
but he's got lots of it. Oh, you needn't smile -- I reckon
I can show you. You just wait a minute."
Tom ran out of doors. The company looked at
each other with a perplexed interest -- and inquiringly
at Huck, who was tongue-tied.
"Sid, what ails Tom?" said Aunt Polly. "He -- well,
there ain't ever any making of that boy out. I never --"
Tom entered, struggling with the weight of his sacks,
and Aunt Polly did not finish her sentence. Tom
poured the mass of yellow coin upon the table and said:
"There -- what did I tell you? Half of it's Huck's
and half of it's mine!"
The spectacle took the general breath away. All
gazed, nobody spoke for a moment. Then there was a
unanimous call for an explanation. Tom said he could
furnish it, and he did. The tale was long, but brimful
of interest. There was scarcely an interruption from
any one to break the charm of its flow. When he had
finished, Mr. Jones said:
"I thought I had fixed up a little surprise for this
occasion, but it don't amount to anything now. This
one makes it sing mighty small, I'm willing to allow."
The money was counted. The sum amounted to
a little over twelve thousand dollars. It was more
than any one present had ever seen at one time before,
though several persons were there who were worth
considerably more than that in property.