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Chapter 13

The Pirate Crew Set Sail

TOM’S MIND was made up now. He was gloomy and desperate. He was a
forsaken, friendless boy, he said; nobody loved him; when they found out what
they had driven him to, perhaps they would be sorry; he had tried to do right
and get along, but they would not let him; since nothing would do them but to
be rid of him, let it be so; and let them blame him for the consequences-why
shouldn’t they? What right had the friendless to complain? Yes, they had forced
him to it at last: he would lead a life of crime. There was no choice.

By this time he was far down Meadow Lane, and the bell for school to “take up”
tinkled faintly upon his ear. He sobbed, now, to think he should never, never
hear that old familiar sound any more-it was very hard, but it was forced on
him; since he was driven out into the cold world, he must submit-but he forgave

Then the sobs came thick and fast.
Just at this point he met his soul’s sworn comrade, Hoe Harper-hard-eyed, and
with evidently a great and dismal purpose in his heart. Plainly here were “two
souls with but a single thought.” Tom, wiping his eyes with his sleeve, began to
blubber out something about a resolution to escape from hard usage and lack of
sympathy at home by roaming abroad into the great world never to return; and
ended by hoping that Joe would not forget him.

But it transpired that this was a request which Joe had just been going to make of
Tom, and had come to hunt him up for that purpose. His mother had whipped
him for drinking some cream which he had never tasted and knew nothing
about; it was plain that she was tired of him and wished him to go; if she felt
that way, there was nothing for him to do but succumb; he hoped she would be
happy, and never regret having driven her poor boy out into the unfeeling
world to suffer and die.

As the two boys walked sorrowing along, they made a new compact to stand by
each other and be brothers and never separate till death relieved them of their
troubles. Then they began to lay their plans. Joe was for being a hermit, and
living on crusts in a remote cave, and dying, some time, of cold, and want, and
grief; but after listening to Tom, he conceded that there were some conspicuous
advantages about a life of crime, and so he consented to be a pirate.

Three miles below St. Petersburg, at a point where the Mississippi river was a
trifle over a mile wide, there was a long, narrow, wooded island, with a shallow
bar at the head of it, and this offered well as a rendezvous. It was not inhabited;
it lay far over toward the further shore, abreast a dense and almost wholly
unpeopled forest. So Jackson’s Island was chosen. Who were to be the subjects of
their piracies, was a matter that did not occur to them. Then they hunted up
Huckleberry Finn, and he joined them promptly, for all careers were one to him;
he was indifferent. They presently separated to meet at a lonely spot on the river

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