Chapter 28 Summary

When Tom wakes up the next morning, he begins to suspect that the adventure in the haunted house was only a dream. This would explain why there was so much gold, more gold than could possibly be expected to exist in real life. Tom has never before seen even fifty dollars at once. To him, words like “hundreds” and “thousands” are “mere fanciful forms of speech.” He has never imagined that any actual person could possess a hundred dollars. If people really analyzed what he thought hidden treasure would be, they would find him imagining “a handful of real dimes, and a bushel of vague, splendid, ungraspable ones.”

After breakfast, Tom decides to find out whether or not the treasure was real. He finds Huck sitting on a boat, dangling his feet into the water and looking sad. Tom decides not to bring up the subject of their adventure. Instead, he says hello and waits. Huck soon begins to complain that they never should have brought their pick and shovel into the haunted house.

Reassured that the treasure is real, Tom begins planning to find it. Huck does not think they have a chance of taking thousands of dollars from the likes of Injun Joe, but he is willing to discuss what the men might have meant when they referred to their hiding spot as “number two.” The boys know it cannot be a house number, since their town is too small to have numbered buildings. Tom suggests it may be a room at a tavern. Huck agrees, and Tom runs happily away to investigate the town’s two inns.

In the more expensive of the two taverns, Tom finds room two occupied by a lawyer who has been living there for some time. In the less expensive, he interviews the innkeeper’s son, who says that room two is mysteriously locked at all times. The boy believes the room is haunted because he never sees anyone go in or out except at night, and he sometimes sees lights inside when he does not expect them.

When Tom relates this information to Huck, both boys agree that room two in the cheaper tavern may well belong to Injun Joe and his companion. Tom and Huck resolve to find all the keys they can and use them to try to open the tavern’s back door. Both boys are scared of what may happen, but they are also determined to get that treasure for themselves.