Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 727
On Friday, Becky returns to town. Tom is delighted, and he forgets about Injun Joe and the treasure for a while. Becky’s mother has been promising for ages to hold a picnic, and now she says that it will happen tomorrow. All that night, Tom hopes to hear Huck meowing at the window. He thinks it would be amazing to have a death-defying story of murder and treasure to tell the other picnickers in the morning.
Huck does not meow, but Tom does not mind. He knows the picnic will be wonderful anyway. The adults have chartered a ferry to take the children to the picnic spot. On the way, Tom learns that Becky is supposed to stay the night with the Harper family, who live near the ferry landing. He tells her it would be much better to stay at the Widow Douglas’s house instead. “She’ll have ice cream! She has it ‘most every day—dead loads of it.” He brushes off Becky’s objections, saying that it is as safe at the Widow Douglas’s as at the Harpers’, and besides, Becky’s mother will not find out.
It does not occur to Tom until after this conversation that if he goes to stay with the Widow Douglas, he will not be home to hear Huck meow. He decides not to worry about it. There is a good chance that Huck will not meow tonight, and anyway, it makes more sense to do the fun thing he knows he can do rather than waiting for an adventure that may never come.
The ferry drops the children off at a beautiful spot, and they all play in the forest for a while before gorging themselves on food. After dinner, they all go swarming to McDougal’s cave, a labyrinth of limestone tunnels that weaves its way into the hill. There are too many tunnels for anyone to know the way through all of them, but many of the boys know routes through the tunnels that are closest to the surface. The children run and play all afternoon, sneaking down side tunnels in little groups and then doubling back to tease and scare their friends. When the game finally ends, it is almost dark. Children pile back into the ferry and travel back to town.
When the ferry returns, Huck is already keeping watch outside the tavern. Not being the sort of boy who gets invited to picnics, he does not know where the ferry is coming from or what its occupants have been doing. His mind is on his job anyway, and he wonders if he will ever see anyone coming out of room two.
Late that night, Huck sees Injun Joe and his friend emerge from room two. One of the men appears to be carrying something under his arm, and Huck guesses that it is the treasure. He decides that he does not have enough time to wake Tom. Instead he follows the men into the darkness.
The men stop outside the Widow Douglas’s house. Huck is happy at first, thinking that it will be easy to come back to the spot to dig up the treasure. However, the men do not bury anything. Instead they curse the fact that the widow seems to have visitors. While they wait for the visitors to leave, they discuss the job they are about to do. Injun Joe tells his friend to steal anything he wants from inside the widow’s house; meanwhile, Joe will take his revenge on the widow, whose husband once had Joe horsewhipped in front of the whole town. Joe describes how he plans to cut the widow’s face up.
Huck sneaks away in the darkness and runs to a house that belongs to a big Welshman. Pounding on the door, he cries out that Huckleberry Finn needs help. The Welshman grumbles that most people would not open the door to a boy like Huck—but he decides to open his door anyway. Stammering, Huck tells the man what he has heard. Seeing how scared Huck is, the Welshman decides to believe him. He and his sons arm themselves and run up the hill toward the widow’s house. Huck follows them partway there and waits until he hears gunshots. Then he flees down the hill to safety.
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