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Huck is not too thrilled about being stuck on a sinking ship with three robbers, two of whom have no qualms about murdering their friend. But he determinedly resolves that "it warnt no time to be sentimentering" (13.1).
They make their way down to the far end of the ship and find the robbers' skiff. As the robbers approach, they hide in the darkness and watch Jake and Bill load it up with the stolen supplies.
When the two robbers go back for more, Huck and Jim jump into the skiff and start off down the river, hoping to catch up with their own raft.
Everything is great, except that Huck starts to have a moral crisis about leaving the men to die on the sinking steamship.
Moral crises always come at super inconvenient times, right?
As soon as they see lights on the shore, they'll stop and send someone back to the ship to help.
When they reach the raft, Huck heads for shore in the skiff.
He soon comes upon a ferryboat at the outset of a little town and greets the watchman. It's time for Huck, master of deception, to work some magic.
Huck breaks down in tears and pretends that his family is stuck on the steamship and in mortal peril.
He hams this up quite a bit.
The watchman is all, "Great Scott!" He'd loved to help, but he doesn't know who's going to pay for the trouble it will take to go over and rescue these folks.
Huck pretends that one of the women stuck on the ferry is the niece of the richest man in town.
Apparently the watchman isn't as savvy as Mrs. Judith Loftus, because he takes off to rescue them.
Huck knows he should beat it, too, but he feels like he has to stay and make sure the men are okay first.
Also, he stops to congratulate himself on being such a good guy. If only the widow could see!
But by the time the wreck comes floating toward him on the river, it looks like no one survived.
Still, Huck isn't too heavy-hearted over the dead robbers. If they can stand it, he says, so can he.