230 TOM SAWYER.
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 ! "
The Welchman almost jumped out of his chair. In a moment he said:
"It's all plain enough, now. When you talked about notching ears and slitting noses I judged that that was your own embellishment, because white men don't take that sort of revenge. But an Injun! That's a different matter altogether."
During breakfast the talk went on, and in the course of it the old man said that the last thing which he and his sons had done, before going to bed, was to get a lantern and examine the stile and its vicinity for marks of blood. They found none, but captured a bulky bundle of—
If the words had been lightning they could not have leaped with a more stunning suddenness from Huck's blanched lips. His eyes were staring wide, now. and his breath suspended—waiting for the answer. The Welchman started— stared in return—three seconds—five seconds—ten—then replied—
" Of burglar's tools. Why what's the 7?iatter with you? "
Huck sank back, panting gently, but deeply, unutterably grateful. The Welch-man eyed him gravely, curiously—and presently said—
" Yes, burglar's tools. That appears to relieve you a good deal. But what did give you that turn? What were you expecting we'd found? "
Huck was in a close place—the inquiring eye was upon him—he would have given anything for material for a plausible answer—nothing suggested itself—the
inquiring eye was boring deeper and deeper—a senseless reply offered—there was
no time to weigh it, so at a venture he uttered it—feebly:
"Sunday-school books, maybe."
Poor Huck was too distressed to smile, but the old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man's pocket, because it cut down the doctor's bills like everything. Then he added :
"Poor old chap, you're white and jaded—you ain't well a bit—no wonder you're a little flighty and off your balance. But you'll come out of it. Rest and sleep will fetch you out all right, I hope."