We wondered if we better go and try to find them again and give it back; but Tom thought it over and said no, it was a country that was full of robbers, and they would come and steal it; and then the sin would be on us for putting the temptation in their way. So we went on; but I wished we had took all they had, so there wouldn't 'a' been no temptation at all left.
We had had two hours of that blazing weather down there, and was dreadful thirsty when we got aboard again. We went straight for the water, but it was spoiled and bitter, besides being pretty near hot enough to scald your mouth. We couldn't drink it. It was Mississippi river water, the best in the world, and we stirred up the mud in it to see if that would help, but no, the mud wasn't any better than the water. Well, we hadn't been so very, very thirsty before, while we was interested in the lost people, but we was now, and as soon as we found we couldn't have a drink, we was more than thirty-five times as thirsty as we was a quarter of a minute before. Why, in a little while we wanted to hold our mouths open and pant like a dog.
Tom said to keep a sharp lookout, all around, every- wheres, because we'd got to find an oasis or there warn't no telling what would happen. So we done it. We kept the glasses gliding around all the time, till our arms got so tired we couldn't hold them any more. Two hours -- three hours -- just gazing and gazing, and nothing but sand, sand, SAND, and you could see the quivering heat-shimmer playing over it. Dear, dear, a body don't know what real misery is till he is thirsty all the way through and is certain he ain't ever going to come to any water any more. At last I couldn't stand it to look around on them baking plains; I laid down on the locker, and give it up.
But by and by Tom raised a whoop, and there she was! A lake, wide and shiny, with pa'm-trees leaning over it asleep, and their shadders in the water just as soft and delicate as ever you see. I never see anything look so good. It was a long ways off, but that warn't anything to us; we just slapped on a hundred- mile gait, and calculated to be there in seven minutes; but she stayed the same old distance away, all the time; we couldn't seem to gain on her; yes, sir, just as far, and shiny, and like a dream; but we couldn't get no nearer; and at last, all of a sudden, she was gone!
Tom's eyes took a spread, and he says:
"Boys, it was a MYridge!" Said it like he was glad. I didn't see nothing to be glad about. I says:
"Maybe. I don't care nothing about its name, the thing I want to know is, what's become of it?"
Jim was trembling all over, and so scared he couldn't speak, but he wanted to ask that question himself if he could 'a' done it. Tom says:
"What's BECOME of it? Why, you see yourself it's gone."
"Yes, I know; but where's it gone TO?"
He looked me over and says:
"Well, now, Huck Finn, where WOULD it go to! Don't you know what a myridge is?"
"No, I don't. What is it?"
"It ain't anything but imagination. There ain't anything TO it. "
It warmed me up a little to hear him talk like that, and I says:
"What's the use you talking that kind of stuff, Tom Sawyer? Didn't I see the lake?"
"Yes -- you think you did."
"I don't think nothing about it, I DID see it."
"I tell you you DIDN'T see it either -- because it warn't there to see."
It astonished Jim to hear him talk so, and he broke in and says, kind of pleading and distressed:
"Mars Tom, PLEASE don't say sich things in sich an awful time as dis. You ain't only reskin' yo' own self, but you's reskin' us -- same way like Anna Nias en Siffra. De lake WUZ dah -- I seen it jis' as plain as I sees you en Huck dis minute."
"Why, he seen it himself! He was the very one that seen it first. NOW, then!"
"Yes, Mars Tom, hit's so -- you can't deny it. We all seen it, en dat PROVE it was dah."
"Proves it! How does it prove it?"
"Same way it does in de courts en everywheres, Mars Tom. One pusson might be drunk, or dreamy or suthin', en he could be mistaken; en two might, maybe; but I tell you, sah, when three sees a thing, drunk er sober, it's SO.