TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

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


(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

< BACK    NEXT >




WITHIN a few minutes the news had spread,

and a dozen skiff-loads of men were on their way

to McDougal's cave, and the ferryboat,

well filled with passengers, soon followed.

Tom Sawyer was in the skiff that bore Judge Thatcher.

When the cave door was unlocked, a sorrowful

sight presented itself in the dim twilight of the place.

Injun Joe lay stretched upon the ground, dead, with

his face close to the crack of the door, as if his longing

eyes had been fixed, to the latest moment, upon the

light and the cheer of the free world outside. Tom

was touched, for he knew by his own experience how

this wretch had suffered. His pity was moved, but

nevertheless he felt an abounding sense of relief and

security, now, which revealed to him in a degree which

he had not fully appreciated before how vast a weight

of dread had been lying upon him since the day he

lifted his voice against this bloody-minded outcast.

Injun Joe's bowie-knife lay close by, its blade

broken in two. The great foundation-beam of the

door had been chipped and hacked through, with

tedious labor; useless labor, too, it was, for the native

rock formed a sill outside it, and upon that stubborn

material the knife had wrought no effect; the only

damage done was to the knife itself. But if there had

been no stony obstruction there the labor would have

been useless still, for if the beam had been wholly cut

away Injun Joe could not have squeezed his body

under the door, and he knew it. So he had only hacked

that place in order to be doing something -- in order to

pass the weary time -- in order to employ his tortured

faculties. Ordinarily one could find half a dozen bits

of candle stuck around in the crevices of this vestibule,

left there by tourists; but there were none now. The

prisoner had searched them out and eaten them. He

had also contrived to catch a few bats, and these,

also, he had eaten, leaving only their claws. The

poor unfortunate had starved to death. In one place,

near at hand, a stalagmite had been slowly growing

up from the ground for ages, builded by the water-drip

from a stalactite overhead. The captive had broken

off the stalagmite, and upon the stump had placed a

stone, wherein he had scooped a shallow hollow to

catch the precious drop that fell once in every three

minutes with the dreary regularity of a clock-tick -- a

dessertspoonful once in four and twenty hours. That

drop was falling when the Pyramids were new; when

Troy fell; when the foundations of Rome were laid

when Christ was crucified; when the Conqueror

created the British empire; when Columbus sailed;

when the massacre at Lexington was "news." It is

falling now; it will still be falling when all these things

shall have sunk down the afternoon of history, and

the twilight of tradition, and been swallowed up in

the thick night of oblivion. Has everything a purpose

and a mission? Did this drop fall patiently during

five thousand years to be ready for this flitting human

insect's need? and has it another important object to

accomplish ten thousand years to come? No matter.

It is many and many a year since the hapless half-breed

scooped out the stone to catch the priceless drops, but

to this day the tourist stares longest at that pathetic

stone and that slow-dropping water when he comes

to see the wonders of McDougal's cave. Injun Joe's

cup stands first in the list of the cavern's marvels; even

"Aladdin's Palace" cannot rival it.

Injun Joe was buried near the mouth of the cave;

and people flocked there in boats and wagons from

the towns and from all the farms and hamlets for

seven miles around; they brought their children, and

all sorts of provisions, and confessed that they had

had almost as satisfactory a time at the funeral as they

could have had at the hanging.

This funeral stopped the further growth of one

thing -- the petition to the governor for Injun Joe's

pardon. The petition had been largely signed; many

tearful and eloquent meetings had been held, and a

committee of sappy women been appointed to go in

deep mourning and wail around the governor, and

implore him to be a merciful ass and trample his duty

under foot. Injun Joe was believed to have killed five

citizens of the village, but what of that? If he had been

Satan himself there would have been plenty of weak-

lings ready to scribble their names to a pardon-petition,

and drip a tear on it from their permanently impaired

and leaky water-works.

The morning after the funeral Tom took Huck to

a private place to have an important talk. Huck had

learned all about Tom's adventure from the Welsh-

man and the Widow Douglas, by this time, but

Tom said he reckoned there was one thing they

had not told him; that thing was what he wanted

to talk about now. Huck's face saddened. He said:

"I know what it is. You got into No. 2 and never

found anything but whiskey. Nobody told me it was

you; but I just knowed it must 'a' ben you, soon as

I heard 'bout that whiskey business; and I knowed you

hadn't got the money becuz you'd 'a' got at me some

way or other and told me even if you was mum to

everybody else. Tom, something's always told me

we'd never get holt of that swag."

"Why, Huck, I never told on that tavern-keeper.

YOU know his tavern was all right the Saturday I went

to the picnic. Don't you remember you was to watch

there that night?"

"Oh yes! Why, it seems 'bout a year ago. It

was that very night that I follered Injun Joe to the widder's."

"YOU followed him?"

"Yes -- but you keep mum. I reckon Injun Joe's

left friends behind him, and I don't want 'em souring

on me and doing me mean tricks. If it hadn't ben for

me he'd be down in Texas now, all right."

Then Huck told his entire adventure in confidence

to Tom, who had only heard of the Welshman's part

of it before.

"Well," said Huck, presently, coming back to the

main question, "whoever nipped the whiskey in No. 2,

nipped the money, too, I reckon -- anyways it's a goner

for us, Tom."

"Huck, that money wasn't ever in No. 2!"

"What!" Huck searched his comrade's face keenly.

"Tom, have you got on the track of that money again?"

"Huck, it's in the cave!"

Huck's eyes blazed.

"Say it again, Tom."

"The money's in the cave!"

"Tom -- honest injun, now -- is it fun, or earnest?"

"Earnest, Huck -- just as earnest as ever I was in my life.

Will you go in there with me and help get it out?"

"I bet I will! I will if it's where we can blaze our

way to it and not get lost."

"Huck, we can do that without the least little bit

of trouble in the world."

"Good as wheat! What makes you think the money's --"

"Huck, you just wait till we get in there. If we

don't find it I'll agree to give you my drum and every

thing I've got in the world. I will, by jings."

"All right -- it's a whiz. When do you say?"

"Right now, if you say it. Are you strong enough?"

"Is it far in the cave? I ben on my pins a little,

three or four days, now, but I can't walk more'n a

mile, Tom -- least I don't think I could."

"It's about five mile into there the way anybody

but me would go, Huck, but there's a mighty short

cut that they don't anybody but me know about.

Huck, I'll take you right to it in a skiff. I'll float

the skiff down there, and I'll pull it back again all by

myself. You needn't ever turn your hand over."

"Less start right off, Tom."

"All right. We want some bread and meat, and

our pipes, and a little bag or two, and two or three

kite-strings, and some of these new-fangled things

they call lucifer matches. I tell you, many's the

time I wished I had some when I was in there before."

A trifle after noon the boys borrowed a small skiff

from a citizen who was absent, and got under way

at once. When they were several miles below "Cave

Hollow," Tom said:

"Now you see this bluff here looks all alike all the

way down from the cave hollow -- no houses, no wood-

yards, bushes all alike. But do you see that white

place up yonder where there's been a landslide?

Well, that's one of my marks. We'll get ashore, now."

They landed.

"Now, Huck, where we're a-standing you could

touch that hole I got out of with a fishing-pole. See

if you can find it."

Huck searched all the place about, and found

nothing. Tom proudly marched into a thick clump of

sumach bushes and said:

"Here you are! Look at it, Huck; it's the snuggest

hole in this country. You just keep mum about it.

All along I've been wanting to be a robber, but I knew

I'd got to have a thing like this, and where to run across

it was the bother. We've got it now, and we'll keep it

quiet, only we'll let Joe Harper and Ben Rogers in --

because of course there's got to be a Gang, or else

there wouldn't be any style about it. Tom Sawyer's

Gang -- it sounds splendid, don't it, Huck?"

"Well, it just does, Tom. And who'll we rob?"

"Oh, most anybody. Waylay people -- that's mostly the way."

"And kill them?"

"No, not always. Hive them in the cave till they

raise a ransom."

"What's a ransom?"

"Money. You make them raise all they can, off'n

their friends; and after you've kept them a year, if

it ain't raised then you kill them. That's the general

way. Only you don't kill the women. You shut up

the women, but you don't kill them. They're always

beautiful and rich, and awfully scared. You take

their watches and things, but you always take your

hat off and talk polite. They ain't anybody as polite

as robbers -- you'll see that in any book. Well, the

women get to loving you, and after they've been in the

cave a week or two weeks they stop crying and after

that you couldn't get them to leave. If you drove

them out they'd turn right around and come back.

It's so in all the books."

"Why, it's real bully, Tom. I believe it's better'n

to be a pirate."

"Yes, it's better in some ways, because it's close to

home and circuses and all that."

By this time everything was ready and the boys

entered the hole, Tom in the lead. They toiled their

way to the farther end of the tunnel, then made their

spliced kite-strings fast and moved on. A few steps

brought them to the spring, and Tom felt a shudder

quiver all through him. He showed Huck the frag-

ment of candle-wick perched on a lump of clay against

the wall, and described how he and Becky had watched

the flame struggle and expire.

The boys began to quiet down to whispers, now,

for the stillness and gloom of the place oppressed their

spirits. They went on, and presently entered and

followed Tom's other corridor until they reached the

"jumping-off place." The candles revealed the fact

that it was not really a precipice, but only a steep

clay hill twenty or thirty feet high. Tom whispered:

"Now I'll show you something, Huck."

He held his candle aloft and said:

"Look as far around the corner as you can. Do

you see that? There -- on the big rock over yonder

-- done with candle-smoke."

"Tom, it's a CROSS!"

"NOW where's your Number Two? 'UNDER THE

CROSS,' hey? Right yonder's where I saw Injun Joe

poke up his candle, Huck!"

Huck stared at the mystic sign awhile, and then said

with a shaky voice:

"Tom, less git out of here!"

"What! and leave the treasure?"

"Yes -- leave it. Injun Joe's ghost is round about there, certain."

"No it ain't, Huck, no it ain't. It would ha'nt the

place where he died -- away out at the mouth of the

cave -- five mile from here."

"No, Tom, it wouldn't. It would hang round the

money. I know the ways of ghosts, and so do you."

Tom began to fear that Huck was right. Mis-

givings gathered in his mind. But presently an idea

occurred to him --

"Lookyhere, Huck, what fools we're making of

ourselves! Injun Joe's ghost ain't a going to come

around where there's a cross!"

The point was well taken. It had its effect.

"Tom, I didn't think of that. But that's so. It's

luck for us, that cross is. I reckon we'll climb down

there and have a hunt for that box."

Tom went first, cutting rude steps in the clay hill

as he descended. Huck followed. Four avenues

opened out of the small cavern which the great rock

stood in. The boys examined three of them with no

result. They found a small recess in the one nearest

the base of the rock, with a pallet of blankets spread

down in it; also an old suspender, some bacon rind,

and the well-gnawed bones of two or three fowls. But

there was no money-box. The lads searched and re-

searched this place, but in vain. Tom said:

"He said UNDER the cross. Well, this comes nearest

to being under the cross. It can't be under the rock

itself, because that sets solid on the ground."

They searched everywhere once more, and then

sat down discouraged. Huck could suggest nothing.

By-and-by Tom said:

"Lookyhere, Huck, there's footprints and some can-

dle-grease on the clay about one side of this rock,

but not on the other sides. Now, what's that for?

I bet you the money IS under the rock. I'm going to

dig in the clay."

"That ain't no bad notion, Tom!" said Huck with animation.

Tom's "real Barlow" was out at once, and he had

not dug four inches before he struck wood.

"Hey, Huck! -- you hear that?"

Huck began to dig and scratch now. Some boards

were soon uncovered and removed. They had con-

cealed a natural chasm which led under the rock. Tom

got into this and held his candle as far under the rock

as he could, but said he could not see to the end of the

rift. He proposed to explore. He stooped and passed

under; the narrow way descended gradually. He

followed its winding course, first to the right, then to

the left, Huck at his heels. Tom turned a short curve,

by-and-by, and exclaimed:

"My goodness, Huck, lookyhere!"

It was the treasure-box, sure enough, occupying a

snug little cavern, along with an empty powder-keg,

a couple of guns in leather cases, two or three pairs of

old moccasins, a leather belt, and some other rubbish

well soaked with the water-drip.

"Got it at last!" said Huck, ploughing among the tar-

nished coins with his hand. "My, but we're rich, Tom!"

"Huck, I always reckoned we'd get it. It's just

too good to believe, but we HAVE got it, sure! Say --

let's not fool around here. Let's snake it out. Lemme

see if I can lift the box."

It weighed about fifty pounds. Tom could lift it,

after an awkward fashion, but could not carry it


"I thought so," he said; "THEY carried it like it

was heavy, that day at the ha'nted house. I noticed

that. I reckon I was right to think of fetching the

little bags along."

The money was soon in the bags and the boys took

it up to the cross rock.

"Now less fetch the guns and things," said Huck.

"No, Huck -- leave them there. They're just the

tricks to have when we go to robbing. We'll keep them

there all the time, and we'll hold our orgies there, too.

It's an awful snug place for orgies."

"What orgies?"

"I dono. But robbers always have orgies, and of

course we've got to have them, too. Come along,

Huck, we've been in here a long time. It's getting

late, I reckon. I'm hungry, too. We'll eat and smoke

when we get to the skiff."

They presently emerged into the clump of sumach

bushes, looked warily out, found the coast clear, and

were soon lunching and smoking in the skiff. As

the sun dipped toward the horizon they pushed out

and got under way. Tom skimmed up the shore

through the long twilight, chatting cheerily with Huck,

and landed shortly after dark.

"Now, Huck," said Tom, "we'll hide the money

in the loft of the widow's woodshed, and I'll come

up in the morning and we'll count it and divide, and

then we'll hunt up a place out in the woods for it

where it will be safe. Just you lay quiet here and

watch the stuff till I run and hook Benny Taylor's

little wagon; I won't be gone a minute."

He disappeared, and presently returned with the

wagon, put the two small sacks into it, threw some

old rags on top of them, and started off, dragging his

cargo behind him. When the boys reached the Welsh-

man's house, they stopped to rest. Just as they were

about to move on, the Welshman stepped out and said:

"Hallo, who's that?"

"Huck and Tom Sawyer."

"Good! Come along with me, boys, you are keep-

ing everybody waiting. Here -- hurry up, trot ahead --

I'll haul the wagon for you. Why, it's not as light as

it might be. Got bricks in it? -- or old metal?"

"Old metal," said Tom.

"I judged so; the boys in this town will take more

trouble and fool away more time hunting up six bits'

worth of old iron to sell to the foundry than they would

to make twice the money at regular work. But that's

human nature -- hurry along, hurry along!"

The boys wanted to know what the hurry was about.

"Never mind; you'll see, when we get to the Widow Douglas'."

Huck said with some apprehension -- for he was

long used to being falsely accused:

"Mr. Jones, we haven't been doing nothing."

The Welshman laughed.

"Well, I don't know, Huck, my boy. I don't know

about that. Ain't you and the widow good friends?"

"Yes. Well, she's ben good friends to me, anyway."

"All right, then. What do you want to be afraid for?"

This question was not entirely answered in Huck's

slow mind before he found himself pushed, along

with Tom, into Mrs. Douglas' drawing-room. Mr.

Jones left the wagon near the door and followed.

The place was grandly lighted, and everybody that

was of any consequence in the village was there. The

Thatchers were there, the Harpers, the Rogerses, Aunt

Polly, Sid, Mary, the minister, the editor, and a great

many more, and all dressed in their best. The widow

received the boys as heartily as any one could well

receive two such looking beings. They were covered

with clay and candle-grease. Aunt Polly blushed

crimson with humiliation, and frowned and shook her

head at Tom. Nobody suffered half as much as the

two boys did, however. Mr. Jones said:

"Tom wasn't at home, yet, so I gave him up; but

I stumbled on him and Huck right at my door, and so

I just brought them along in a hurry."

"And you did just right," said the widow.

"Come with me, boys."

She took them to a bedchamber and said:

"Now wash and dress yourselves. Here are two

new suits of clothes -- shirts, socks, everything complete.

They're Huck's -- no, no thanks, Huck -- Mr. Jones

bought one and I the other. But they'll fit both of

you. Get into them. We'll wait -- come down when

you are slicked up enough."

Then she left.



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >






Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 






Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA