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Mark Twain > Adventures Of Tom Sawyer > Chapter XXXIV

Adventures Of Tom Sawyer

Chapter XXXIV


HUCK said: "Tom, we can slope, if we can find a rope. The window ain't
high from the ground."

"Shucks! what do you want to slope for?"

"Well, I ain't used to that kind of a crowd. I can't stand it. I ain't
going down there, Tom."

"Oh, bother! It ain't anything. I don't mind it a bit. I'll take care
of you."

Sid appeared.

"Tom," said he, "auntie has been waiting for you all the afternoon.
Mary got your Sunday clothes ready, and everybody's been fretting about
you. Say--ain't this grease and clay, on your clothes?"

"Now, Mr. Siddy, you jist 'tend to your own business. What's all this
blow-out about, anyway?"

"It's one of the widow's parties that she's always having. This time
it's for the Welshman and his sons, on account of that scrape they
helped her out of the other night. And say--I can tell you something,
if you want to know."

"Well, what?"

"Why, old Mr. Jones is going to try to spring something on the people
here to-night, but I overheard him tell auntie to-day about it, as a
secret, but I reckon it's not much of a secret now. Everybody knows--
the widow, too, for all she tries to let on she don't. Mr. Jones was
bound Huck should be here--couldn't get along with his grand secret
without Huck, you know!"

"Secret about what, Sid?"

"About Huck tracking the robbers to the widow's. I reckon Mr. Jones
was going to make a grand time over his surprise, but I bet you it will
drop pretty flat."

Sid chuckled in a very contented and satisfied way.

"Sid, was it you that told?"

"Oh, never mind who it was. SOMEBODY told--that's enough."

"Sid, there's only one person in this town mean enough to do that, and
that's you. If you had been in Huck's place you'd 'a' sneaked down the
hill and never told anybody on the robbers. You can't do any but mean
things, and you can't bear to see anybody praised for doing good ones.
There--no thanks, as the widow says"--and Tom cuffed Sid's ears and
helped him to the door with several kicks. "Now go and tell auntie if
you dare--and to-morrow you'll catch it!"

Some minutes later the widow's guests were at the supper-table, and a
dozen children were propped up at little side-tables in the same room,
after the fashion of that country and that day. At the proper time Mr.
Jones made his little speech, in which he thanked the widow for the
honor she was doing himself and his sons, but said that there was
another person whose modesty--

And so forth and so on. He sprung his secret about Huck's share in the
adventure in the finest dramatic manner he was master of, but the
surprise it occasioned was largely counterfeit and not as clamorous and
effusive as it might have been under happier circumstances. However,
the widow made a pretty fair show of astonishment, and heaped so many
compliments and so much gratitude upon Huck that he almost forgot the
nearly intolerable discomfort of his new clothes in the entirely
intolerable discomfort of being set up as a target for everybody's gaze
and everybody's laudations.

The widow said she meant to give Huck a home under her roof and have
him educated; and that when she could spare the money she would start
him in business in a modest way. Tom's chance was come. He said:

"Huck don't need it. Huck's rich."

Nothing but a heavy strain upon the good manners of the company kept
back the due and proper complimentary laugh at this pleasant joke. But
the silence was a little awkward. Tom broke it:

"Huck's got money. Maybe you don't believe it, but he's got lots of
it. Oh, you needn't smile--I reckon I can show you. You just wait a
minute."

Tom ran out of doors. The company looked at each other with a
perplexed interest--and inquiringly at Huck, who was tongue-tied.

"Sid, what ails Tom?" said Aunt Polly. "He--well, there ain't ever any
making of that boy out. I never--"

Tom entered, struggling with the weight of his sacks, and Aunt Polly
did not finish her sentence. Tom poured the mass of yellow coin upon
the table and said:

"There--what did I tell you? Half of it's Huck's and half of it's mine!"

The spectacle took the general breath away. All gazed, nobody spoke
for a moment. Then there was a unanimous call for an explanation. Tom
said he could furnish it, and he did. The tale was long, but brimful of
interest. There was scarcely an interruption from any one to break the
charm of its flow. When he had finished, Mr. Jones said:

"I thought I had fixed up a little surprise for this occasion, but it
don't amount to anything now. This one makes it sing mighty small, I'm
willing to allow."

The money was counted. The sum amounted to a little over twelve
thousand dollars. It was more than any one present had ever seen at one
time before, though several persons were there who were worth
considerably more than that in property.

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