Chapter 9 – The Cave — The Floating House

  • Huck wanted to explore the middle of the island (which was only 3¼ miles long). They climbed a ridge about 40 feet high & found a cave the size of 3 rooms & high enough for Jim to sand up in. Jim thought it would be a good spot for traps & gear to stay out of sight & out of the rain. They brought the canoe over to the cave & brought the traps in.
    • They set up to fish & cook close by, spread out the blankets on the cave floor like a carpet & ate there like a living room while it rained off & on. Huck was enjoying the time spent with Jim.
    • For 12 days, the river rose until it flooded the banks on the Illinois side which was much lower than the Missouri side (mostly bluffs).
    • In the day, they paddle around by canoe. They saw a lot of plants & animals on the island. One night they found a section of raft, 12 feet wide, 16 feet long & 6 inches high. Another night they saw a 2-story frame house floating on the river. They got up close to it & went inside but it was too dark to see anything. So they waited for daylight.
      • When daylight came, they looked in the window. There was a bed, table, 2 chairs & a lot of things on the floor. Jim saw a man on the floor & called out to him. No response. Jim knew he was dead. He was naked & shot in the back.
      • Huck didn’t want to see him. There were greasy cards all over the place, empty whiskey bottles, cloth masks & very “ignorant” words written on the walls in charcoal. There were also 2 calico dresses, a sun bonnet & women’s underwear hanging on the wall. They took all kinds of clothing, tools, kitchen utensils & sundries for themselves. As they rowed away, Jim hid under a quilt they had taken so that nobody would spot him, who’d stick out in broad daylight.

Chapter 10 – The Find — Old Hank Bunker — In Disguise

  • After breakfast, Huck wanted to find out how the man in the house died but Jim said it was bad luck because the man hadn’t been buried & would haunt them. That seemed sensible but it didn’t stop Huck’s curiosity.
    • They found $8 in silver hidden in a secret pocket in one of the coats they took. Jim said the people in the house must have stolen the coat because they wouldn’t have left without it. They also probably killed the man. Huck mentioned that of all the “bad luck” Jim said they’d been having, he sure would take some more of it. Jim warned him something bad would happen.
    • It did – 3 days later. When Huck went into the cave, he found a rattlesnake & killed it. For a joke, he curled it up on Jim’s blanket. Huck forgot about it & that night, the snake’s mate came in & bit Jim.. He jumped around yelling as the snake tried to bite him again. Huck killed it with a stick.
      • Jim poured whiskey on the bite as Huck beat himself up for forgetting a snake curls around its dead mate. Jim had him chop the snake’s head off, throw it away, skin the body & roast a piece of it. Jim ate it, saying it would cure him. He also had Huck take off the rattle & tie it around his wrist. Huck went out to clear the bushes of snakes. He wasn’t going to let Jim know it was his fault.
    • Jim sucked on the jug of whiskey, rolled around & yelled. His foot & left swelled up & he got pretty drunk. Jim was laid up for 4 days. Meanwhile, Huck resolved never to play around with snakes again.
      • Jim said that he’d rather look at a new moon over his left should than to handle a snake again. Old Hank Bunker did that once & bragged about it. Less than 2 years later, he got drunk & fell out of a shot tower. He was flatter than a pancake. Pap said he was so flat that they buried him between 2 barn doors for a coffin.
    • After a few days, Jim was back to normal. They caught a catfish that was larger than Jim was. They couldn’t reel him in, so they let it wear itself out & drown. They found a button & ball in its stomach. The ball had a spool in it. It must have been in there for quite some time to get so heavily coated.
  • The next day, Huck started to get bored & wanted to go up the river & see what was going on. Jim told him to go in the dark & dress like a girl for a disguise. He wore one of the calico dresses & the bonnet they found. Huck didn’t really look like a decent-looking girl. Jim reminded him that he had to walk & talk like a girl at all times.
    • Huck got into the canoe just after dark. He came up to town below the ferry landing & walked up to a house with a light on. He saw a woman he didn’t know about 40 years old. He was lucky because he really didn’t want to get recognized.

Chapter 11 – Huck and the Woman — The Search — Prevarication — Going to Goshen

  • The woman invited him in to take a seat. Huck introduce himself as “Sarah Williams” from Hookerville. She/he was visiting her/his Uncle Abner Moore to tell him that her/his mother was sick.
    • The woman didn’t know him because she’d only been living in town for 2 weeks. She invited Sarah to spend the night because it was late. Huck wanted to go but the woman wasn’t going to let a girl on her own so late. Her husband would be home in an hour & a half to walk her home. The talk turned to the murder & Huck was happy to hear what the town had to say about it.
    • The talk was getting speculative. Some people thought that Pap was the killer. He had been pushing hard on Judge Thatcher to get Huck’s money. Since Judge Thatcher was able to delay the court case so long, Pap was getting antsy & people thought he staged the murder to bypass a trial. When Pap went to Thatcher again for the money, Thatcher gave him a little bit of it which he used to get drunk with. The next day he left with a bunch of thieves & hadn’t been seen since. The woman thought if stayed away for a year or more, people would forget their suspicion of him. There was a $200 reward for him.
    • But people also suspected Jim. He had run away the same night as the “murder”. But on top of that, there was a $300 reward for his return. The woman expected the townspeople would go after Jim mostly for the reward. The woman’s husband was getting a crew together on a boat to look for him after midnight. They figured they’d be more likely to find him by looking for campfire lights at night.
      • But while this was happening, people began to notice smoke coming from Jackson Island but it had died down a few days ago.
  • The woman asked his name again. Huck answered “Mary”. She was suspicious because he’d said it was “Sarah”. Huck tried to deflect this by saying he went by both names.
    • The woman explained to him/her about their hard times & the problems they had with rats in the house. She gave Huck a lead bar to throw at any rats if they showed themselves.
    • Then she asked him his real name. She didn’t believe he was a girl & wanted to know what his story was. Since she promised to keep his secret, Huck told her she was an orphan & he’d been sent to live with a farmer who beat him regularly, so he ran away wearing the farmer’s daughter’s clothes. He thought he was in Goshen but she informed him that he was in St. Petersburg.
    • Then she quizzed him on his country boy knowledge which he passed with flying colors. He hold her his real name was George Peters. She said he didn’t make a very believable girl & gave him tips to make him look more credible.
      • Huck sped back in the canoe to report to Jim that they had to leave immediately. Jim didn’t ask any questions. They packed their things on the raft & headed down the river.

Chapter 12 – Slow Navigation — Borrowing Things — Boarding the Wreck — The Plotters — Hunting for the Boat

  • They got below the island by about 1 AM. While the raft was slow, they didn’t see anyone else on the river. There were mountains on the Missouri side & a low shoreline covered with trees on the Illinois side. They hung out there in the day & Huck told Jim of his conversation with the lady. Jim figured they left at the perfect time & were probably able to get further on the river until they were relatively safe.
    • They hid the raft during the day & kept it covered with leaves & out of sight. They even made a wigwam from raft boards to keep them dry during the rain.
    • At night, they would travel 7-8 hours at about 4 MPH. They caught fish, talked & swam during the day. Travel at night was easy & quiet but they rarely talked or laughed. They’d pass towns perched on the hills. After 5 days, they passed St. Louis. Huck had heard it had 20 or 30000 people but never believed it. It was large indeed but was completely asleep as they passed it by.
    • Every night, Huck went ashore in a small village & bought a small amount of bacon & meal. Sometimes he stole a chicken. While he wasn’t happy stealing it, he remembered that Pap had told him that if you don’t want it yourself, you can find someone else who does & good deed is never forgotten. He’d “borrow” food when he could. Pap had said there’s no harm in borrowing so long as you paid them back. But the widow said stealing was stealing. They ate well.
  • 5 nights after St. Louis, there was a big storm & they were forced to stay in the wigwam. While staying out on the river, Huck noticed a riverboat crashed on a rock. He wanted to go out towards it. Jim was against the idea. He said they’d been doing well as it was & they should leave well enough alone, & there was probably a watchman nearby.
    • Huck didn’t agree & no watchman would risk his life for empty wreckage. Jim couldn’t argue with that so they decided to rummage around in the wreck. Jim told him they should make as little noise as possible & they moved towards the boat.
    • As they got to it, they had to feel around the ship because they had no light. After a minute, they heard voices inside. One voice was begging the others not to kill him. Another voice was telling a 3rd with a gun to kill the 1st. Jim left for the raft while Huck stuck around (with Tom Sawyer in mind) to listen.
    • The one being threatened suggested they loot the boat & not fight. They figured they had 2 hours before the boat washed ashore. They started moving.
    • Huck whispered to Jim that there was a gang of murderers aboard, he & Jim had to find their boat & let it drift away. Jim told Huck that their own raft had drifted away.

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