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Git up! what you ‘bout!” I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make out where I was. It was after sun-up, and I had been sound asleep. Pap was standing over me, looking sour-and sick, too. He says“What you doin’ with this gun?” I judged he didn’t know nothing about what he had been doing, so I says: “Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him.” “Why didn’t you roust me out?” “Well I tried to, but I couldn’t; I couldn’t budge you.” “Well, all right. Don’t stand there palavering all day, but out with you and see if there’s a fish on the lines for breakfast. I’ll be along in a minute.” He unlocked the door and I cleared out, up the river bank. I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I knowed the river had begun to rise. I reckoned I would have great times now, if I was over at the town. The June rise used to be always luck for me; because as soon as that rise begins, here comes cord-wood floating down, and pieces of log rafts-sometimes a dozen logs together; so all you have to do is to catch them and sell them to the wood yards and the sawmill.
I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and ‘tother one out for what the rise might fetch along. Well, all at once, here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. I shot head first off of the bank, like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out for the canoe. I just expected there’d be somebody laying down in it, because people often done that to fool folks, and when a chap had pulled a skiff out most to it they’d raise up and laugh at him. But it warn’t so this time. It was a drift-canoe, sure enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore. Thinks I, the old man will be glad when he sees this-she’s worth ten dollars. But when I got to shore pap wasn’t in sight yet, and as I was running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over with vines and willows, I struck another idea; I judged I’d hide her good, and then, stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I’d go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on foot.
It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the old man coming, all the time; but I got her hid; and then I out and looked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old man down the path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with his gun. So he hadn’t seen anything.
When he got along, I was hard at it taking up a “trot” line. He abused me a little for being so slow, but I told him I fell in the river and that was what made me so long. I knowed he would see I was wet, and then he would be asking questions. We got five cat-fish off of the lines and went home.
While we laid off, after breakfast, to sleep up, both of us being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I could fix up some way to keep pap and the widow from trying to follow me, it would be a certainer thing than trusting to luck to get far enough off before they missed me; you see, all kinds of things might happen. Well, I didn’t see no way for a while, but by-and-by pap raised up a minute, to drink another barrel of water, and he says: “Another time a man comes a-prowling round here, you roust me out, you hear? That man warn’t here for no good. I’d a shot him.
Next time, you roust me out, you hear?” Then he dropped down and went to sleep again-but what he had been saying give me the very idea I wanted. I says to myself, I can fix it now so nobody won’t think of following me.
About twelve o’clock we turned out and went along up the bank. The river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of driftwood going by on the rise. By-and-by, along comes part of a log raft-nine logs fast together. We went out with the skiff and towed it ashore. Then we had dinner. Anybody but pap would a waited and seen the day through, so as to catch more stuff; but that warn’t pap’s style. Nine logs was enough for one time; he must shove right over to town and sell. So he locked me in and took the skiff and started off towing the raft about half-past three. I judged he wouldn’t come back that night. I waited till I reckoned he had got a good start, then I out with my saw and went to work on that log again. Before he was side of the river I was out of the hole; him and his raft was just a speck on the water away off yonder.
I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the canoe was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and put it in; then I done the same with the side of bacon; then the whisky jug; I took all the coffee and sugar there was, and all the ammunition; I took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd, I took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two blankets, and the skillet and the coffeepot. I took fish-lines and matches and other things-everything that was worth a cent. I cleaned out the place. I wanted an axe, but there wasn’t any, only the one out at the wood pile, and I knowed why I was going to leave that. I fetched out the gun, and now I was done.
I had wore the ground a good deal, crawling out of the hole and dragging out so many things. So I fixed that as good as I could from the outside by scattering dust on the place, which covered up the smoothness and the sawdust. Then I fixed the piece of log back in its place, and put two rocks under it and one against it to hold it there,- for it was bent up at that place, and didn’t quite touch ground.
If you stood four or five foot away and didn’t know it was sawed, you wouldn’t ever notice it; and besides, this was the back of the cabin and it warn’t likely anybody would go fooling around there.
It was all grass clear to the canoe; so I hadn’t left a track. I followed around to see. I stood on the bank and looked out over the river. All safe. So I took the gun and went up a piece into the woods and was hunting around for some birds, when I see a wild pig; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they had got away from the prairie farms. I shot this fellow and took him into camp.
I took the axe and smashed in the door-I beat it and hacked it considerable, adoing it. I fetched the pig in and took him back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the axe, and laid him down on the ground to bleed-I say ground, because it was ground-hard packed, and no boards. Well, next I took an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it,- all I could drag-and I started it from the pig and dragged it to the door and through the woods down to the river and dumped it in, and down it sunk, out of sight. You could easy see that something had been dragged over the ground. I did wish Tom Sawyer was there, I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of business, and throw in the fancy touches.