Tom manages to swim to shore. He hitches a ride on a ferryboat, which takes him to his village. He goes home and looks through the window. He sees Aunt Polly, Sid, Mary, and Joe Harper’s mother. He sneaks inside and hides under the bed.
He listens to their conversation. Aunt Polly is crying, saying that Tom was not a bad boy. He was just full of mischief. Mrs. Harper regrets whipping Joe for taking cream she later remembered throwing out. Aunt Polly and Mrs. Harper both miss their boys, even if they were troublesome. They regret their reproaches.
Tom is tempted to reveal himself, but he continues to listen. It is supposed that the boys had drowned while swimming. At first, people had assumed they had sailed to the next town when the raft was discovered missing. When the raft was found without them, they concluded that they had drowned. If they aren’t found by Sunday, they will have their funerals.
Mrs. Harper leaves. When everyone goes to bed, Tom leaves the house. He takes a skiff from the ferryboat and rows to the island.
He returns to camp. Joe is confident that Tom will return. Tom reveals himself and updates them about what he saw.