DARK SCHEMES. 303
" He has got use for it. How you talk, you better say; you don't know nothing about it. He's got to have a rope ladder ; they all do."
" What in the nation can he do with it ? "
"Do with it ? He can hide it in his bed, can't he ? That's what they all do ; and he's got to, too. Huck, you don't ever seem to want to do anything that's regular ; you want to be starting something fresh all the time. Spose he don't do nothing with it ? ain't it there in his bed, for a clew, after he's gone ? and don't you reckon they'll want clews ? Of course they will. And you wouldn't leave them any ? That would be a pretty howdy-do, wouldn't it ! I never heard of such a thing."
" Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's got to have it, all right, let him have it; because I don't wish to go back on no regulations ; but there's one thing, Tom Sawyer—if we go to tearing up our sheets to make Jim a rope-ladder, we're going to get into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure as you're born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark ladder don't cost nothing, and don't waste nothing, and is just as good to load up a pie with, and hide in a straw tick, as any rag ladder you can start; and as for Jim, he ain't had no experience, and so he don't care what kind of a------"
"Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as you, I'd keep still—that's what I'd do. Who ever heard of a state prisoner escaping by a hickry-bark ladder ? Why, it's perfectly ridiculous."
" Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way ; but if you'll take my advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothes-line."
He said that would do. And that give him another idea, and he says :
" Borrow a shirt, too."
" What do we want of a shirt, Tom ? "
"Want it for Jim to keep a journal on."
"Journal your granny—Jim can't write."
"Spose he can't write—he can make marks on the shirt, can't he, if we make him a pen out of an old pewter spoon or a piece of an old iron barrel-hoop ? "
"Why, Tom, we can pull a feather out of a goose and make him a better one ; and quicker, too."