Huck looked into the old man’s honest eyes a moment, then bent over and whispered in his ear: . . . “ ’Tain’t a Spaniard—it’s Injun Joe!”
They all said they had not noticed whether Tom and Becky were on board the ferryboat on the homeward trip; it was dark; no one thought of inquiring if anyone was missing. One young man finally blurted out his fear that they were still in the cave!
The “might” was even a chillier horror than the ghostly laughter, it so confessed perishing hope. The children stood still and listened; but there was no result . . . It was but a little while before a certain indecision in his manner revealed another fearful fact to Becky—he could not find his way back!
Tom got down on his knees and felt below, and then as far around the corner as he could reach with his hand conveniently; he made an effort to stretch yet a little further to the right, and at that moment, not twenty yards away, a human hand, holding a candle, appeared from behind a rock! Tom lifted up a glorious shout, and instantly that hand was followed by the body it belonged to—Injun Joe’s!
The village was illuminated; nobody went to bed again; it was the greatest night the little town had ever seen. During the first half hour a procession of villagers filed through Judge Thatcher’s house, seized the saved ones and kissed them, squeezed Mrs. Thatcher’s hand, tried to speak but couldn’t—and drifted out raining tears all over the place.