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During breakfast the talk went on, and in the course of it the old man said that
the last thing which he and his sons had done, before going to bed, was to get a
lantern and examine the stile and its vicinity for marks of blood. They found
none, but captured a bulky bundle of“Of WHAT?” If the words had been
lightning they could not have leaped with a more stunning suddenness from
Huck’s blanched lips. His eyes were staring wide, now, and his breath
suspended-waiting for the answer. The Welchman started-stared in return-
three seconds-five seconds-ten-then replied“Of burglar’s tools. Why what’s the
matter with you?” Huck sank back, panting gently, but deeply, unutterably
grateful. The Welchman eyed him gravely, curiously-and presently said“Yes,
burglar’s tools. That appears to relieve you a good deal. But what did give you
that turn? What were you expecting we’d found?” Huck was in a close place-the
inquiring eye was upon him-he would have given anything for material for a
plausible answer-nothing suggested itself-the inquiring eye was boring deeper
and deeper-a senseless reply offered-there was no time to weigh it, so at a
venture he uttered it-feebly: “Sunday-school books, maybe.” Poor Huck was too
distressed to smile, but-the old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the
details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh
was money in a man’s pocket, because it cut down the doctor’s bills like
everything. Then he added: “Poor old chap, you’re white and jaded-you ain’t
well a bit-no wonder you’re a little flighty and off your balance. But you’ll come
out of it. Rest and sleep will fetch you out all right, I hope.” Huck was irritated
to think he had been such a goose and betrayed such a suspicious excitement, for
he had dropped the idea that the parcel brought from the tavern was the
treasure, as soon as he had heard the talk at the widow’s stile. He had only
thought it was not the treasure, however-he had not known that it wasn’t-and
so the suggestion of a captured bundle was too much for his self-possession. But
on the whole he felt glad the little episode had happened, for now he knew
beyond all question that that bundle was not the bundle, and so his mind was at
rest and exceedingly comfortable. In fact everything seemed to be drifting just in
the right direction, now; the treasure must be still in No. 2, the men would be
captured and jailed that day, and he and Tom could seize the gold that night
without any trouble or any fear of interruption.

Just as breakfast was completed there was a knock at the door. Huck jumped for
a hiding place, for he had no mind to be connected even remotely with the late
event. The Welchman admitted several ladies and gentlemen, among them the
widow Douglas, and noticed that groups of citizens were climbing up the hill-to
stare at the stile. So the news had spread.

The Welchman had to tell the story of the night to the visitors. The widow’s
gratitude for her preservation was outspoken.

“Don’t say a word about it, madam. There’s another that you’re more beholden
to than you are to me and my boys, maybe, but he don’t allow me to tell his
name. We wouldn’t have been there but for him.” Of course this excited a
curiosity so vast that it almost belittled the main matter-but the Welchman

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