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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 28: Overreaching Don’t Pay
When Huck comes down the next morning, he finds Mary Jane packing her things, planning to go to England with her “uncles.” Suddenly, she stops packing and starts crying. Huck asks what is troubling her. She tells him that she cannot bear to think about the male servants being separated from their families; she is also afraid she may never see the sold servants again, which fills her with sadness. Huck blurts out that they will see each other again within a few weeks. He thinks for a couple of minutes and asks her if there is any place where she could go away for several days; she says she could go to the Lothrops. He then tells her that the two men claiming to be her uncles are actually a couple of frauds who heard of her uncle’s death from a neighbor. Huck and Mary Jane plan how they are going to catch these two impostors. He says that they should allow the auction to take place as scheduled, so as to not arouse suspicion. He writes on a piece of paper where he has hidden the bag of gold and asks her to read it on her way to Mr. Lothrop’s.
When Huck sees Mary Jane’s sisters, he tells them that she has gone to visit one of her friends who has a sick family member. To prevent them from revealing this to their uncle, he tells them that there is a possibility that their sister may catch the same illness. Even if the uncles realize she has been exposed, they would probably delay their departure to England until they were sure that Mary Jane is safe. The girls readily agree to remain quiet about Mary Jane’s whereabouts.
At the end of the chapter, the auction of the house takes place as scheduled; near the end of the auction, Wilks’ real brothers arrive.
When Huck sees Mary Jane in tears, he cannot hold back the truth any longer and reveals everything to her. He asks her to go away for a couple of days so that she will not slip and tell the truth in her actions, in her face, or in her words. He convinces Mary Jane’s sisters not to reveal their sister’s whereabouts by weaving a plausible story. The careful and clever Huck plans most of his moves carefully and leaves little to chance.
The chapter ends on a note of suspense. The real William and Harvey arrive from England while the auction of the house is going on.