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It would be most an hour, yet, till breakfast, so we left, and struck down into the woods; because Tom said we got to have some light to see how to dig by, and a lantern makes too much, and might get us into trouble; what we must have was a lot of them rotten chunks that’s called fox-fire and just makes a soft kind of a glow when you lay them in a dark place. We fetched an armful and hid it in the weeds, and set down to rest, and Tom says, kind of dissatisfied: “Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and awkward as it can be. And so it makes it so rotten difficult to get up a difficult plan. There ain’t no watchman to be druggednow there ought to be a watchman. There ain’t even a dog to get a sleeping-mixture to. And there’s Jim chained by one leg, with a ten-foot chain, to the leg of his bed: why, all you got to do is to lift up the bedstead and slip off the chain. And Uncle Silas he trusts everybody; sends the key to the punkinheaded nigger, and don’t send nobody to watch the nigger. Jim could a got out of that window hole before this, only there wouldn’t be no use trying to travel with a tenfoot chain on his leg. Why, drat it, Huck, it’s the stupidest arrangement I ever see.
You got to invent all the difficulties. Well, we can’t help it, we got to do the best we can with the materials we’ve got. Anyhow, there’s one thing-there’s more honor in getting him out through a lot of difficulties and dangers, where there warn’t one of them furnished to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish them, and you had to contrive them all out of your own head. Now look at just that one thing of the lantern. When you come down to the cold facts, we simply got to let on that a lantern’s resky. Why, we could work with a torchlight procession if we wanted to, I believe. Now, whilst I think of it, we got to hunt up something to make a saw out of, the first chance we get.” “What do we want of a saw?” “What do we want of it? Hain’t we got to saw the leg of Jim’s bed off, so as to get the chain loose?” “Why, you just said a body could lift up the bedstead and slip the chain off.” “Well, if that ain’t just like you, Huck Finn. You can get up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a thing. Why, hain’t you ever read any books at all?-Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, nor Benvenuto Chelleeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them heroes? Whoever heard of getting a prisoner loose in such an oldmaidy way as that? No; the way all the best authorities does, is to saw the bed-leg in two, and leave it just so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can’t be found, and put some dirt and grease around the sawed place so the very keenest seneskal can’t see no sign of its being sawed, and thinks the bed-leg is perfectly sound. Then, the night you’re ready, fetch the leg a kick, down she goes; slip off your chain, and there you are. Nothing to do but hitch your rope-ladder to the battlements, shin down it, break your leg in the moat-because a rope-ladder is nineteen foot too short, you know-and there’s your horses and your trusty vassles, and they scoop you up and fling you across a saddle and away you go, to your native Langudoc, or Navarre, or wherever it is. It’s gaudy, Huck. I wish there was a moat to this cabin.
If we get time, the night of the escape, we’ll dig one.”
I says: “What do we want of a moat, when we’re going to snake him out from under the cabin?” But he never heard me. He had forgot me and everything else. He had his chin in his hand, thinking. Pretty soon, he sighs, and shakes his head; then sighs again, and says: “No, it wouldn’t do-there ain’t necessity enough for it.” “For what?” I says.
“Why, to saw Jim’s leg off,” he says.
“Good land!” I says, “why, there ain’t no necessity for it. And what you want to saw his leg off for, anyway?” “Well, some of the best authorities has done it. They couldn’t get the chain off, so they just cut their hand off, and shoved. And a leg would be better still.
But we got to let that go. There ain’t necessity enough in this case; and besides, Jim’s a nigger and wouldn’t understand the reasons for it, and how it’s the custom in Europe; so we’ll let it go. But there’s one thing-he can have a rope-ladder; we can tear up our sheets and make him a rope-ladder easy enough. And we can send it to him in a pie; it’s mostly done that way. And I’ve et worse pies.” “Why, Tom Sawyer, how you talk,” I says; “Jim ain’t got no use for a ropeladder.”
“He has got use for it. How you talk, you better say; you don’t know nothing about it. He’s got to have a rope ladder; they all do.” “What in the nation can he do with it?” “Do with it? He can hide it in his bed, can’t he? That’s what they all do; and he’s got to, too. Huck, you don’t ever seem to want to do anything that’s regular; you want to be starting something fresh all the time. Spose he don’t do nothing with it? ain’t it there in his bed, for a clew, after he’s gone? and don’t you reckon they’ll want clews? Of course they will. And you wouldn’t leave them any? That would be a pretty howdy-do, wouldn’t it! I never heard of such a thing.” “Well,” I says, “if it’s in the regulations, and he’s got to have it, all right, let him have it; because I don’t wish to go back on no regulations; but there’s one thing, Tom Sawyer-if we go to tearing up our sheets to make Jim a rope-ladder, we’re going to get into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure as you’re born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark ladder don’t cost nothing, and don’t waste nothing, and is just as good to load up a pie with, and hide in a straw tick, as any rag ladder you can start; and as for Jim, he ain’t had no experience, and so he don’t care what kind of a-” “Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as you, I’d keep still-that’s what I’d do. Who ever heard of a state prisoner escaping by a hickry-bark ladder? Why, it’s perfectly ridiculous.”
“Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if you’ll take my advice, you’ll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothes-line.” He said that would do. And that give him another idea, and he says: “Borrow a shirt, too.” “What do we want of a shirt, Tom?” “Want it for Jim to keep a journal on.” “Journal your granny-Jim can’t write.” “Spose he can’t write-he can make marks on the shirt, can’t he, if we make him a pen out of an old pewter spoon or a piece of an old iron barrel-hoop?” “Why, Tom, we can pull a feather out of a goose and make him a better one; and quicker, too.” “Prisoners don’t have geese running around the donjon-keep to pull pens out of, you muggins. They always make their pens out of the hardest, toughest, troublesomest piece of old brass candlestick or something like that they can get their hands on; and it takes them weeks and weeks, and months and months to file it out, too, because they’ve got to do it by rubbing it on the wall. They wouldn’t use a goosequill if they had it. It ain’t regular.” “Well, then, what’ll we make him the ink out of?” “Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but that’s the common sort and women; the best authorities uses their own blood. Jim can do that; and when he wants to send any little common ordinary mysterious message to let the world know where he’s captivated, he can write it on the bottom of a tin plate with a fork and throw it out of the window. The Iron Mask always done that, and it’s a blame’ good way, too.” “Jim ain’t got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan.” “That ain’t anything; we can get him some.” “Can’t nobody read his plates.” “That ain’t got nothing to do with it, Huck Finn. All he’s got to do is to write on the plate and throw it out. You don’t have to be able to read it. Why, half the time you can’t read anything a prisoner writes on a plate, or anywhere else.” “Well, then, what’s the sense in wasting the plates?” “Why, blame it all, it ain’t the prisoner’s plates.” “But it’s somebody’s plates, ain’t it?” “Well, spos’n it is? What does the prisoner care whose-” He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast-horn blowing. So we cleared out for the house.