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Summary Chapter 10

Huck and Tom flee, horrified. They make sure they aren’t being followed. They are out of breath when they reach the tannery.

Huck imagines a hanging will result from this if the doctor is dead. Tom wonders if they should tell, but Huck worries about Injun Joe coming after them. He is willing to let Muff Potter take the risk, for he is foolish and drunk enough to spill it. Tom points out that Potter was unconscious when the murder happened. He may even be dead. Huck insists they have to keep quiet. He proposes they swear on it. A swear like this requires pricking their fingers to draw blood. They perform an entire solemn ritual to bind their tongues. Huck asks later if it means they can’t ever tell, and Tom says yes.

A stray dog howling upsets the boys, who believe it is a messenger of their impending deaths. They regret having been bad. Tom swears that if he gets out of this, he will reform his ways. He then notices that the stray dog’s back is to them, and both of them cheer up. The dog isn’t there for them.

The boys hear a snoring sound and go to find the source of it. They come across a sleeping Muff Potter. The stray dog is facing the man, which means it is his death the dog is foretelling. Huck brings up that nothing happened to Johnny Miller when a stray dog howled at his house. Tom points out that a girl got burned in the kitchen soon after, and though she seems to be recovering, she is probably a goner.

Tom returns home, glad that nobody found out that he had went out. He doesn’t realize Sid is awake.

When he wakes up the next morning, he is filled with foreboding. No one woke him up. No one smiles at him at breakfast. After breakfast, his aunt cries and asks him how he can break her heart like this. She has given up on him and is going to let him ruin his life. He pleads for forgiveness and it is granted.

Tom is too unhappy to revenge himself on Sid, who has already snuck away to avoid it. Tom and Joe Harper both get a whipping at school for playing hooky the day before. His heart is saddened further when Becky returns his brass knob.

Mark Twain