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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 24: Splendid Days and Fearsome Nights
Tom is again the village hero. This time his name even appears in the papers. His biggest fan is Muff Potter, who is forever grateful to Tom for having rescued him from certain death.
Although Tomís days are wonderful because of his exalted status, his nights are miserable and filled with fear. Nothing in the world could persuade him to put his foot outside after nightfall. He has trouble sleeping and continually has nightmares about Injun Joe. Huck is in the same agonized state of fear. He is also upset that Tom has broken the blood oath; as a result of the betrayal, Huckís faith in humanity is considerably diminished. Both boys hope that Injun Joe is captured soon, so that they will be able to once again rest peacefully.
Tom becomes a hero once again, and he fully enjoys the adoration that he gets for saving Muff Porterís life. At night, however, he grows fearful and has nightmares about Injun Joe. Huck is in the same condition. Their only hope is that Injun Joe will be captured before he has his revenge on the boys. Unfortunately, despite outside help from law agencies, Injun Joe is not found.
It is important to notice the fickleness of the townspeople, which as been seen before. One minute they think that Tom is a rascal; the next minute they worship him as a hero. The same is true of Muff Potter. The whole town is ready to execute him for the murder of Dr. Robinson, in spite of his claim of innocence; no one says a nice word about him in his defense. Once his innocence is proven, the townsfolk forget their earlier condemnations and praise Muff Potter as a totally good person.
CHAPTER 25: Buried Treasure
After Muff Potterís murder trial, life settles into a pattern, and Tom takes up playing once again. One day he is struck by a sudden desire to hunt for buried treasure. Tom tries to enlist the help of Joe and Ben, but they are busy. He meets Huck and tells him of his plans. Huck is eager to join in the adventure. Tom and Huck pick out a spot and start digging; but they tire after a time and take a break to discuss what they are going to do with the money that they find. Huck says that he is going to spend it all on eating, drinking, and attending the circus before his Pap comes back and tries to take it from him. Tom says that he will buy a drum, a sword, and a few other things. Most of it, however, will be spent on getting married. Huck tells Tom that it is the most stupid thing to do because married people fight all the time.
After their break, Tom and Huck pick a new spot and begin digging again; but they have no luck. Tom thinks that the witches have probably interfered. Then a new idea strikes Tom. He says that they have to find out where the shadow of the limb falls at midnight, for there they will find buried treasure. They decide to come back and look for the spot the very same night.
Tom and Huck come back at midnight, mark the exact spot of the shadow of the limb, and start digging. Since they still do not meet with success, they decide to dig inside the haunted house. Huck is reluctant to dig during the night for fear of disturbing the witches. Tom agrees with him, and they decide to go to the haunted house during the day.
Tomís spirit of adventure is again seen in this chapter. He has a sudden and overpowering desire to look for buried treasure so he can become rich and marry Becky. He talks Huck into helping him. They first dig under a dead tree, but they do not find any treasure. Then they attempt to dig at midnight where the shadow of the limb falls. They still meet with no success. They finally decide to dig in the old haunted house, but are afraid to do so in the nighttime. They agree to return to the haunted house the next day.
It is important to notice the different ways that the two boys would spend their treasure. Since Huck has never had any money or security, he would spend it as fast as he could to make sure that his drunken father does not steal it away. Tom is much more practical. He will indulge in a few boyish treats, such as a puppy, a drum, and a sword, but he will save most of the money for the time he will marry Becky.
It is also important to notice that Tom and Huck again meet at midnight, which is given importance in the novel as the bewitching hour. Tom and Huck went to the graveyard at midnight; the boys set sail for Jacksonís Island at midnight; and now Tom and Huck dig for buried treasure at midnight.
Finally, it is important to realize that the entire chapter is really a foreshadowing of later events in the novel, for Tom and Huck will receive a very large treasure of gold.