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Chapter 30

Tom and Becky in the Cave

THE EARLIEST SUSPICION of dawn appeared on Sunday morning, Huck came
groping up the hill and rapped gently at the old Welchman’s door. The inmates
were asleep but it was a sleep that was set on a hair-trigger, on account of the
exciting episode of the night. A call came from a window“Who’s there!” Huck’s
scared voice answered in a low tone: “Please let me in! It’s only Huck Finn!” “It’s
a name that can open this door night or day, lad!- and welcome!” These were
strange words to the vagabond boy’s ears, and the pleasantest he had ever
heard. He could not recollect that the closing word had ever been applied in his
case before. The door was quickly locked, and he entered. Huck was given a seat
and the old man and his brace of tall sons speedily dressed themselves.

“Now my boy I hope you’re good and hungry, because breakfast will be ready
as soon as the sun’s up, and we’ll have a piping hot one, too-make yourself easy
about that! I and the boys hoped you’d turn up and stop here last night.”

“I was awful scared,” said Huck, “and I run. I took out when the pistols went
off, and I didn’t stop for three mile. I’ve come now becuz I wanted to know
about it, you know; and I come before daylight becuz I didn’t want to run acrost
them devils, even if they was dead.” “Well, poor chap, you do look as if you’d
had a hard night of it-but there’s a bed here for you when you’ve had your
breakfast. No, they ain’t dead, lad-we are sorry enough for that. You see we
knew right where to put our hands on them, by your description; so we crept
along on tip-toe till we got within fifteen feet of them-dark as a cellar that
sumach path was-and just then I found I was going to sneeze. It was the
meanest kind of luck! I tried to keep it back, but no use-‘twas bound to come,
and it did come! I was in the lead with my pistol raised, and when the sneeze
started those scoundrels a-rustling to get out of the path, I sung out, ‘Fire, boys!’
and blazed away at the place where the rustling was. So did the boys. But they
were off in a jiffy, those villains, and we after them, down through the woods. I
judge we never touched them. They fired a shot apiece as they started, but their
bullets whizzed by and didn’t do us any harm. As soon as we lost the sound of
their feet we quit chasing, and went down and stirred up the constables. They
got a posse together, and went off to guard the river bank, and as soon as it is
light the sheriff and a gang are going to beat up the woods. My boys will be with
them presently. I wish we had some sort of description of those rascals-‘twould
help a good deal. But you couldn’t see what they were like, in the dark, lad, I

“O, yes, I saw them down town and follered them.” “Splendid! Describe them-
describe them, my boy!” “One’s the old deaf and dumb Spaniard that’s ben
around here once or twice, and t’other’s a mean looking ragged-” “That’s
enough, lad, we know the men! Happened on them in the woods back of the
widow’s one day, and they slunk away. Off with you, boys, and tell the sheriff-

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