What disappointment does Huck face at the end of Chapter 29 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter XXIX of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck's conscience bothers him enough that he reveals to Mary Jane, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the deceased Peter Wilks, the fraud of the king and the duke, who have posed as her relatives.  He consoles her about the sale of the family slaves, telling her the slaves will be returned because the sale is illegal.  Then, Huck devises a plan for getting the king and the duke in jail, and tells Mary Jane to leave town for a couple of days until the situation is resolved. 

When confusion exists because of the arrival of the real brothers, Harvey and William Wilks, one of the brothers contends that there is a tattoo on the chest of the deceased, Peter Wilks.  The king claims that it is a blue arrow; a brother declares that he has initials, instead. A lawyer suggests that the body be exhumed so that the claims can be verified.  While everyone is gathered around, the coffin is opened and a bag of gold discovered within.  Since Huck knows that the king and duke may realize that he has moved the gold they had, he runs and rows out to the raft, urging Jim to quickly untie it so they can get away from the nefarious duke and king.  However, just as he delights in his reclaimed freedom, Huck narrates,

"I noticed a sound that I knowed mighty well--and held my breath and listened and here they come!"

The king and the duke have also fled, and are coming for Huck, who "wilted right down onto the planks" in his despair, trying not to cry as he fears what the flim-flam men will do to him.

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