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bank two miles above the village at the favorite hour-which was midnight.
There was a small log raft there which they meant to capture. Each would bring
hooks and lines, and such provision as he could steal in the most dark and
mysterious wayas became outlaws. And before the afternoon was done, they
had all managed to enjoy the sweet glory of spreading the fact that pretty soon
the town would “hear something.” All who got this vague hint were cautioned
to “be mum and wait.” About midnight Tom arrived with a boiled ham and a
few trifles, and stopped in a dense undergrowth on a small bluff overlooking the
meeting-place. It was starlight, and very still. The mighty river lay like an ocean
at rest. Tom listened a moment, but no sound disturbed the quiet. Then he gave
a low, distinct whistle. It was answered from under the bluff. Tom whistled
twice more; these signals were answered in the same way. Then a guarded voice
said: “Who goes there?” “Tom Sawyer, the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main.
Name your names.” “Huck Finn the Red-Handed, and Joe Harper the Terror of
the Seas.” Tom had furnished these titles, from his favorite literature.

“’Tis well. Give the countersign.” Two hoarse whispers delivered the same
awful word simultaneously to the brooding night: “BLOOD!” Then Tom
tumbled his ham over the bluff and let himself down after it, tearing both skin
and clothes to some extent in the effort.

There was an easy, comfortable path along the shore under the bluff, but it
lacked the advantages of difficulty and danger so valued by a pirate.

The Terror of the Seas had brought a side of bacon, and had about worn himself
out with getting it there. Finn the Red-Handed had stolen a skillet, and a
quantity of half-cured leaf tobacco, and had also brought a few corn-cobs to
make pipes with. But none of the pirates smoked or “chewed” but himself. The
Black Avenger of the Spanish Main said it would never do to start without some

That was a wise thought; matches were hardly known there in that day. They
saw a fire smouldering upon a great raft a hundred yards above, and they went
stealthily thither and helped themselves to a chunk. They made an imposing
adventure of it, saying “Hist!” every now and then and suddenly halting with
finger on lip; moving with hands on imaginary dagger-hilts; and giving orders
in dismal whispers that if “the foe” stirred, to “let him have it to the hilt,”
because “dead men tell no tales.” They knew well enough that the raftsmen were
all down at the village laying in stores or having a spree, but still that was no
excuse for their conducting this thing in an unpiratical way.

They shoved off, presently, Tom in command, Huck at the after oar and Joe at
the forward. Tom stood amidships, gloomy-browed, and with folded arms, and
gave his orders in a low, stern whisper: “Luff, and bring her to the wind!” “Aye-
aye, sir!”

“Steady, stead-y-y-y!” “Steady it is, sir!” “Let her go off a point!” “Point it is,
sir!” As the boys steadily and monotonously drove the raft toward midstream, it
was no doubt understood that these orders were given only for “style,” and
were not intended to mean anything in particular.

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