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Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.


(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

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TUESDAY afternoon came, and waned to the twilight.

The village of St. Petersburg still mourned.

The lost children had not been found. Public prayers

had been offered up for them, and many and many

a private prayer that had the petitioner's whole heart in it;

but still no good news came from the cave. The majority

of the searchers had given up the quest and gone back

to their daily avocations, saying that it was plain

the children could never be found. Mrs. Thatcher was very ill,

and a great part of the time delirious. People said it was

heartbreaking to hear her call her child, and raise her

head and listen a whole minute at a time, then lay it

wearily down again with a moan. Aunt Polly had

drooped into a settled melancholy, and her gray hair

had grown almost white. The village went to its rest

on Tuesday night, sad and forlorn.

Away in the middle of the night a wild peal burst

from the village bells, and in a moment the streets were

swarming with frantic half-clad people, who shouted,

"Turn out! turn out! they're found! they're found!"

Tin pans and horns were added to the din, the popula-

tion massed itself and moved toward the river, met

the children coming in an open carriage drawn by

shouting citizens, thronged around it, joined its home-

ward march, and swept magnificently up the main

street roaring huzzah after huzzah!

The village was illuminated; nobody went to bed

again; it was the greatest night the little town had

ever seen. During the first half-hour a procession of

villagers filed through Judge Thatcher's house, seized

the saved ones and kissed them, squeezed Mrs. Thatch-

er's hand, tried to speak but couldn't -- and drifted out

raining tears all over the place.

Aunt Polly's happiness was complete, and Mrs.

Thatcher's nearly so. It would be complete, how-

ever, as soon as the messenger dispatched with the

great news to the cave should get the word to her

husband. Tom lay upon a sofa with an eager audi-

tory about him and told the history of the wonderful

adventure, putting in many striking additions to adorn

it withal; and closed with a description of how he

left Becky and went on an exploring expedition; how

he followed two avenues as far as his kite-line would

reach; how he followed a third to the fullest stretch

of the kite-line, and was about to turn back when he

glimpsed a far-off speck that looked like daylight;

dropped the line and groped toward it, pushed his

head and shoulders through a small hole, and saw the

broad Mississippi rolling by! And if it had only hap-

pened to be night he would not have seen that speck

of daylight and would not have explored that passage

any more! He told how he went back for Becky and

broke the good news and she told him not to fret her

with such stuff, for she was tired, and knew she was

going to die, and wanted to. He described how he

labored with her and convinced her; and how she

almost died for joy when she had groped to where she

actually saw the blue speck of daylight; how he pushed

his way out at the hole and then helped her out; how

they sat there and cried for gladness; how some men

came along in a skiff and Tom hailed them and told

them their situation and their famished condition; how

the men didn't believe the wild tale at first, "because,"

said they, "you are five miles down the river below the

valley the cave is in" -- then took them aboard, rowed to

a house, gave them supper, made them rest till two or

three hours after dark and then brought them home.

Before day-dawn, Judge Thatcher and the handful

of searchers with him were tracked out, in the cave, by

the twine clews they had strung behind them, and

informed of the great news.

Three days and nights of toil and hunger in the

cave were not to be shaken off at once, as Tom and

Becky soon discovered. They were bedridden all of

Wednesday and Thursday, and seemed to grow more

and more tired and worn, all the time. Tom got

about, a little, on Thursday, was down-town Friday,

and nearly as whole as ever Saturday; but Becky

did not leave her room until Sunday, and then she

looked as if she had passed through a wasting illness.

Tom learned of Huck's sickness and went to see

him on Friday, but could not be admitted to the

bedroom; neither could he on Saturday or Sunday.

He was admitted daily after that, but was warned to

keep still about his adventure and introduce no ex-

citing topic. The Widow Douglas stayed by to see

that he obeyed. At home Tom learned of the Cardiff

Hill event; also that the "ragged man's" body had

eventually been found in the river near the ferrylanding;

he had been drowned while trying to escape, perhaps.

About a fortnight after Tom's rescue from the

cave, he started off to visit Huck, who had grown

plenty strong enough, now, to hear exciting talk, and

Tom had some that would interest him, he thought.

Judge Thatcher's house was on Tom's way, and he

stopped to see Becky. The Judge and some friends

set Tom to talking, and some one asked him ironically

if he wouldn't like to go to the cave again. Tom said

he thought he wouldn't mind it. The Judge said:

"Well, there are others just like you, Tom, I've not

the least doubt. But we have taken care of that.

Nobody will get lost in that cave any more."


"Because I had its big door sheathed with boiler

iron two weeks ago, and triple-locked -- and I've got the keys."

Tom turned as white as a sheet.

"What's the matter, boy! Here, run, somebody!

Fetch a glass of water!"

The water was brought and thrown into Tom's face.

"Ah, now you're all right. What was the matter

with you, Tom?"

"Oh, Judge, Injun Joe's in the cave!"



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