Chapter 33 Summary
By Tuesday afternoon, the townspeople have begun to think that Tom and Becky will never be found. Mrs. Thatcher is so worried that she gets sick, and Aunt Polly seems to age years over the course of a few days. Then, late on Tuesday night, bells begin to ring. Townspeople run out into the streets shouting, “They’re found!”
A carriage comes forward with Tom and Becky inside. The families of the two children run forward, joyously crying, to hug them and welcome them home. Tom tells the story of their adventure, adding details here and there to make it more exciting. He explains how he continued exploring passages for a long time, always traveling to the very end of his kite string. Once, when he got to the end of his string, he noticed a tiny spot of light in the distance. He put the string down and felt his way toward the light—and poked his head through a hole in the side of a hill. As fast as he could, Tom made his way back to Becky, waking her up and telling her that he had found a way out. He led her to the hole, and they cried in happiness as they climbed out. Eventually Tom managed to flag down a passing boat. The men on board gave the children food and brought them back to town.
For days after their adventure, Tom and Becky are weak and tired. Tom spends two days in bed, and it is not until he gets up again that he learns about Huck’s illness. The Widow Douglas allows Tom to stop by and visit his friend, but she forbids him from telling any exciting stories. Because of this, Tom and Huck do not get a chance to compare notes about their adventures.
One afternoon, Tom decides to stop by Becky’s house to visit her. He meets Judge Thatcher, who asks him if he would ever go back into the cave where he and Becky got lost. When Tom says yes, Judge Thatcher looks triumphant. He says that he has taken measures to prevent any boy in town from returning to McDougal’s cave. When Tom asks how, Judge Thatcher explains that as soon as Tom and Becky got out, he had the entrance sealed up with a metal door, which is chained up and triple locked. Hearing this, Tom becomes white as a ghost. Judge Thatcher demands to know what is wrong, but for a moment Tom cannot speak. Someone throws water in his face, and he stammers, “Oh, Judge! Injun Joe’s in the cave!”