" Sho, there's ticks a plenty, I could have a thousand of 'em if I wanted to."
" Well why don't you ? Becuz you know mighty well you can't. This is a pretty early tick, I reckon. It's the first one I've seen this year."
" Say Huck—I'll give you my tooth for him."
"Less see it."
Tom got out a bit of paper and carefully unrolled it. Huckleberry viewed it wistfully. The temptation was very strong. At last he said:
" Is it genuwyne? "
Tom lifted his lip aud showed the vacancy.
"Well, all right," said Huckleberry, " it's a trade."
Tom enclosed the tick in the percussion-cap box that had lately been the pinch-bug's prison, and the boys separated, each feeling wealthier than before.
When Tom reached the little isolated frame School-house, he strode in briskly, with the manner of one who had come with all honest speed. He hung his hat on a peg and flung himself into his seat with business-like alacrity. The master, throned on high in his great splint-bottom arm-chair, was dozing, lulled by the drowsy hum of study. The interruption roused him.
" Thomas Sawyer! "
Tom knew that when his name was pronounced in full, it meant trouble.
" Sir! "
" Come up here. Now sir, why are you late again, as usual ? "
Tom was about to take refuge in a lie, when he saw two long tails of yellow hair hanging down a back that he recognized by the electric sympathy of love; and by that form was the only vacant place on the girl's side of the school-house. He instantly said:
" I STOPPED TO TALK WITH HUCKLEBERRY FlNN ! "
The master's pulse stood still, and he stared helplessly. The buzz of study ceased. The pupils wondered if this fool-hardy boy had lost .his mind. The master said:
"You—you did what?"
"Stopped to talk with Huckleberry Finn."
There was no mistaking the words.