It looks perfectly solid and genuwyne, just the way it done before it died."
So we kept a-gazing. Pretty soon Tom says:
"Huck, there's something mighty curious about this one, don't you know? IT oughtn't to be going around in the daytime."
"That's so, Tom--I never heard the like of it before."
"No, sir, they don't ever come out only at night-- and then not till after twelve. There's something wrong about this one, now you mark my words. I don't believe it's got any right to be around in the daytime. But don't it look natural! Jake was going to play deef and dumb here, so the neighbors wouldn't know his voice. Do you reckon it would do that if we was to holler at it?"
"Lordy, Tom, don't talk so! If you was to holler at it I'd die in my tracks."
"Don't you worry, I ain't going to holler at it. Look, Huck, it's a-scratching its head--don't you see?"
"Well, what of it?"
"Why, this. What's the sense of it scratching its head? There ain't anything there to itch; its head is made out of fog or something like that, and can't itch. A fog can't itch; any fool knows that."
"Well, then, if it don't itch and can't itch, what in the nation is it scratching it for? Ain't it just habit, don't you reckon?"
"No, sir, I don't. I ain't a bit satisfied about the way this one acts. I've a blame good notion it's a bogus one--I have, as sure as I'm a-sitting here. Because, if it--Huck!"
"Well, what's the matter now?"
"YOU CAN'T SEE THE BUSHES THROUGH IT!"
"Why, Tom, it's so, sure! It's as solid as a cow. I sort of begin to think--"
"Huck, it's biting off a chaw of tobacker! By George, THEY don't chaw--they hain't got anything to chaw WITH. Huck!"
"It ain't a ghost at all. It's Jake Dunlap his own self!"
"Oh your granny!" I says.
"Huck Finn, did we find any corpse in the sycamores?"
"Or any sign of one?"
"Mighty good reason. Hadn't ever been any corpse there."
"Why, Tom, you know we heard--"
"Yes, we did--heard a howl or two. Does that prove anybody was killed? Course it don't. And we seen four men run, then this one come walking out and we took it for a ghost. No more ghost than you are. It was Jake Dunlap his own self, and it's Jake Dunlap now. He's been and got his hair cropped, the way he said he would, and he's playing himself for a stranger, just the same as he said he would. Ghost? Hum!--he's as sound as a nut."
Then I see it all, and how we had took too much for granted. I was powerful glad he didn't get killed, and so was Tom, and we wondered which he would like the best--for us to never let on to know him, or how? Tom reckoned the best way would be to go and ask him. So he started; but I kept a little behind, because I didn't know but it might be a ghost, after all. When Tom got to where he was, he says:
"Me and Huck's mighty glad to see you again, and you needn't be afeared we'll tell. And if you think it'll be safer for you if we don't let on to know you when we run across you, say the word and you'll see you can depend on us, and would ruther cut our hands off than get you into the least little bit of danger."
First off he looked surprised to see us, and not very glad, either; but as Tom went on he looked pleasanter, and when he was done he smiled, and nodded his head several times, and made signs with his hands, and says:
"Goo-goo--goo-goo," the way deef and dummies does.
Just then we see some of Steve Nickerson's people coming that lived t'other side of the prairie, so Tom says:
"You do it elegant; I never see anybody do it better. You're right; play it on us, too; play it on us same as the others; it'll keep you in practice and prevent you making blunders. We'll keep away from you and let on we don't know you, but any time we can be any help, you just let us know."
Then we loafed along past the Nickersons, and of course they asked if that was the new stranger yonder, and where'd he come from, and what was his name, and which communion was he, Babtis' or Methodis', and which politics, Whig or Democrat, and how long is he staying, and all them other questions that humans always asks when a stranger comes, and animals does, too.