The woman lets Huck into the shack but eyes him suspiciously. Huck introduces himself as “Sarah Williams” from Hookerville. The woman chatters about a variety of subjects and eventually gets to the topic of Huck’s murder. She reveals that Pap was a suspect and that some townspeople nearly lynched him. Then, people began to suspect Jim because he ran away the same day Huck was killed. Soon, however, suspicions again turned against Pap, after he squandered on alcohol the money that the judge gave him to find Jim. Pap left town before he could be lynched, and now there is a $200 reward being offered for him. Meanwhile, there is a $300 bounty out for Jim. The woman has noticed smoke over Jackson’s Island and has told her husband to look for Jim there. He plans to go there tonight with another man and a gun.
The woman looks at Huck suspiciously and asks his name. He replies, “Mary Williams.” When the woman asks about the change, he tries to cover himself by saying his full name is “Sarah Mary Williams.” She has him try to kill a rat by throwing a lump of lead at it, and he nearly hits the rat, increasing her suspicions. Finally, she asks him to reveal his real male identity, saying she understands that he is a runaway apprentice and claiming she will not turn him in to the authorities. Huck says his name is George Peters and describes himself as an apprentice to a mean farmer. She lets him go after quizzing him on several farm subjects to make sure he is telling the truth. She tells Huck to send for her, Mrs. Judith Loftus, if he has trouble.
Back at the island, Huck builds a decoy campfire far from the cave and then returns to the cave to tell Jim they must leave. They hurriedly pack their things and slowly ride out on a raft they found when the river flooded.Read a translation of Chapter 11 →
Huck and Jim build a wigwam on the raft and spend a number of days drifting downriver, traveling by night and hiding by day to avoid being seen. On their fifth night out, they pass the great lights of St. Louis. The two of them “live pretty high,” buying, stealing, or hunting food as they need it. They feel somewhat remorseful about the stealing, however, so they decide to give up a few items as a sort of moral sacrifice.
One stormy night, they come upon a wrecked steamboat. Against Jim’s objections, Huck goes onto the wreck to loot it and have an “adventure,” the way Tom Sawyer would. On the wreck, Huck overhears two robbers threatening to kill a third so that he won’t “tell.” One of the two robbers manages to convince the other to let their victim be drowned with the wreck. The robbers leave. Huck finds Jim and says they have to cut the robbers’ boat loose to prevent them from escaping. Jim responds by telling Huck that their own raft has broken loose and floated away.Read a translation of Chapter 12 →
Huck and Jim head for the robbers’ boat. The robbers put some stolen items in their boat but leave in order to take some more money from their victim inside the steamboat. Jim and Huck jump into the robbers’ boat and head off as quietly as possible. When they are a few hundred yards away, Huck feels bad for the robbers left stranded on the wreck because, after all, he himself might end up a murderer someday. Huck and Jim find their raft and then stop so that Huck can go ashore to get help.