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clean pine shingle that lay in the moonlight, took a little fragment of “red keel”
out of his pocket, got the moon on his work, and painfully scrawled these lines,
emphasizing each slow down-stroke by clamping his tongue between his teeth,
and letting up the pressure on the up-strokes: (See illustration)

Huckleberry was filled with admiration of Tom’s facility in writing, and the
sublimity of his language. He at once took a pin from his lappel and was going
to prick his flesh, but Tom said: “Hold on! Don’t do that. A pin’s brass. It might
have verdigrease on it.” “What’s verdigrease?” “It’s p’ison. That’s what it is. You
just swaller some of it once-you’ll see.” So Tom unwound the thread from one
of his needles, and each boy pricked the ball of his thumb and squeezed out a
drop of blood. In time, after many squeezes, Tom managed to sign his initials,
using the ball of his little finger for a pen. Then he showed Huckleberry how to
make an H and an F, and the oath was complete. They buried the shingle close
to the wall, with some dismal ceremonies and incantations, and the fetters that
bound their tongues were considered to be locked and the key thrown away.

A figure crept stealthily through a break in the other end of the ruined building,
now, but they did not notice it.

“Tom,” whispered Huckleberry, “does this keep us from ever telling-always?”
“Of course it does. It don’t make any difference what happens, we got to keep
mum. We’d drop down dead-don’t you know that?” “Yes, I reckon that’s so.”
They continued to whisper for some little time. Presently a dog set up a long,
lugubrious howl just outside-within ten feet of them.

The boys clasped each other suddenly, in an agony of fright.
“Which of us does he mean?” gasped Huckleberry.

“I dono-peep through the crack. Quick!” “No, you, Tom!” “I cant-I can’t do it,
Huck!” “Please, Tom. There ‘tis again!” “O, lordy, I’m thankful!” whispered
Tom. “I know his voice. It’s Bull Harbison.” “O, that’s good-I tell you, Tom, I
was most scared to death; I’d a bet anything it was a stray dog.” The dog howled
again. The boys’ hearts sank once more.

“O, my! that ain’t no Bull Harbison!” whispered Huckleberry. “Do, Tom!” Tom,
quaking with fear, yielded, and put his eye to the crack. His whisper was hardly
audible when he said: “O, Huck, IT’S A STRAY DOG!” “Quick, Tom, quick!
Who does he mean?” “Huck, he must mean us both-we’re right together.”

“O, Tom, I reckon we’re goners. I reckon there ain’t no mistake ‘bout where I’ll
go to. I been so wicked.” “Dad fetch it! This comes of playing hookey and doing
everything a feller’s told not to do. I might a been good, like Sid, if I’d a tried-
but no, I wouldn’t, of course. But if ever I get off this time, I lay I’ll just waller in
Sunday-schools!” And Tom began to snuffle a little.

“You bad!” and Huckleberry began to snuffle, too. “Consound it, Tom Sawyer,
you’re just old pie, ‘longside o’what I am. O, lordy, lordy, lordy, I wisht I only
had half your chance.” Tom choked off and whispered: “Look, Hucky, look!
He’s got his back to us!” Hucky looked, with joy in his heart.

“Well he has, by jingoes! Did he before?” “Yes, he did. But I, like a fool, never
thought. O, this is bully, you know.

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