26 THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.
their breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn't belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued ; and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he mast have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot, forever.
Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom if he got it out of his own head. He said, some of it, but the rest was out of pirate books, and robber books, and every gang that was high-toned had it.
Some thought it .would be good to kill the families of boys that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good idea, so he took a pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben Rogers says :
" Here's Huck Finn, he hain't got no family—what you going to do 'bout him ? "
"Well, hain't he got a father ?" says Tom Sawyer.
"Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find him, these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tanyard, but he hain't been seen in these parts for a year or more."
They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, because they said every boy must have a family or somebody to kill, or else it wouldn't be fair and square for the others. Well, nobody could think of anything to do—everybody was stumped, and set still. I was most ready to cry; but all at once I thought of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson—they could kill her. Everybody said:
" Oh, she'll do, she'll do. That's all right. Huck can come in."
Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get blood to sign with, and I made my mark on the paper.
" Now," says Ben Rogers, "what's the line of business of this Gang ?"
"Nothing only robbery and murder," Tom said.
"But who are we going to rob ? houses—or cattle—or------"
"Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain't robbery, it's burglary," says Tom Sawyer. " We ain't burglars. That ain't no sort of style. We are high-