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They caught fish, cooked supper and ate it, and then fell to guessing at what the
village was thinking and saying about them; and the pictures they drew of the
public distress on their account were gratifying to look upon-from their point of
view. But when the shadows of night closed them in, they gradually ceased to
talk, and sat gazing into the fire, with their minds evidently wandering
elsewhere. The excitement was gone, now, and Tom and Joe could not keep back
thoughts of certain persons at home who were not enjoying this fine frolic as
much as they were. Misgivings came; they grew troubled and unhappy; a sigh
or two escaped, unawares.

By and by Joe timidly ventured upon a roundabout “feeler” as to how the others
might look upon a return to civilization-not right now, but Tom withered him
with derision! Huck, being uncommitted, as yet, joined in with Tom, and the
waverer quickly “explained,” and was glad to get out of the scrape with as little
taint of chicken-hearted homesickness clinging to his garments as he could.
Mutiny was effectually laid to rest for the moment.

As the night deepened, Huck began to nod, and presently to snore. Joe followed
next. Tom lay upon his elbow motionless, for some time, watching the two
intently. At last he got up cautiously, on his knees, and went searching among
the grass and the flickering reflections flung by the camp-fire. He picked up and
inspected several large semi-cylinders of the thin white bark of a sycamore, and
finally chose two which seemed to suit him. Then he knelt by the fire and
painfully wrote something upon each of these with his “red keel;” one he rolled
up and put in his jacket pocket, and the other he put in Joe’s hat and removed it
to a little distance from the owner. And he also put into the hat certain schoolboy
treasures of almost inestimable value-among them a lump of chalk, an India
rubber ball, three fish-hooks, and one of that kind of marbles known as a “sure
‘nough crystal.” Then he tip-toed his way cautiously among the trees till he felt
that he was out of hearing, and straightway broke into a keen run in the
direction of the sand-bar.

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