Tom withered him with derision! Huck, being uncommitted as yet, joined
in with Tom, and the waverer quickly "explained," and was glad to get
out of the scrape with as little taint of chicken-hearted home-sickness
clinging to his garments as he could. Mutiny was effectually laid to
rest for the moment.
As the night deepened, Huck began to nod, and presently to snore.
Joe followed next. Tom lay upon his elbow motionless, for some time,
watching the two intently. At last he got up cautiously, on his knees,
and went searching among the grass and the flickering reflections flung
by the campfire. He picked up and inspected several large semi-cylinders
of the thin white bark of a sycamore, and finally chose two which seemed
to suit him. Then he knelt by the fire and painfully wrote something
upon each of these with his "red keel"; one he rolled up and put in his
jacket pocket, and the other he put in Joe's hat and removed it to a
little distance from the owner. And he also put into the hat certain
schoolboy treasures of almost inestimable value--among them a lump of
chalk, an India-rubber ball, three fishhooks, and one of that kind
of marbles known as a "sure 'nough crystal." Then he tiptoed his way
cautiously among the trees till he felt that he was out of hearing, and
straightway broke into a keen run in the direction of the sandbar.