256 THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN.
" I've thought of something. Is there anybody here that helped to lay out my br—helped to lay out the late Peter Wilks for burying ? "
" Yes," says somebody, " me and Ab Turner done it. We're both here."
Then the old man turns towards the king, and says :
" Peraps this gentleman can tell me what was tatooed on his breast ? "
Blamed if the king didn't have to brace up mighty quick, or he'd a squshed down like a bluff bank that the river has cut under, it took him so sudden—and mind you, it was a thing that was calculated to make most anybody sqush to get fetched such a solid one as that without any notice—because how was he going to know what was tatooed on the man? He whitened a little; he couldn't help it; and it was mighty still in there, and everybody bending a little forwards and gazing at him. Says I to myself, Now he'll throw up the sponge—there ain't no more use. Well, did he? A body can't hardly believe it, but he didn't. I reckon he thought he'd keep the thing up till he tired them people out, so they'd thin out, and him and the duke could break loose and get away. Anyway, he set there, and pretty soon he begun to smile, and says :
"Mf ! It's a very tough question, ain't it! Yes, sir, I k'n tell you what's tatooed on his breast. It's jest a small, thin, blue arrow—that's what it is ; and if you don't look clost, you can't see it. Now what do you say—hey? "
Well, I never see anything like that old blister for clean out-and-out cheek.
The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab Turner and his pard, and his eye lights up like he judged he'd got the king this time, and says :
" There—you've heard what he said ! Was there any such mark on Peter Wilks's breast ? "
Both of them spoke up and says :
" We didn't see no such mark."
" Good!" says the old gentleman. " Now, what you did see on his breast was a small dim P, and a B (which is an initial he dropped when he was young), and a W, with dashes between them, so : P—B—W "—and he marked them that way on a piece of paper. " Come—ain't that what you saw? "
Both of them spoke up again, and says :
" No, we didn't. We never seen any marks at all."