Tom swims over to the Illinois shore, sneaks on to the ferry boat which travels to St. Petersburg, then jumps out just before the boat docks – just to be safe.
He makes his way through the town, to his house.
When he gets there, he sees Aunt Polly, Mrs. Harper, Mary, and Sid around the table in the sitting-room.
Tom opens the door quietly and makes his way into the room without being noticed.
He listens to the mournful conversation: Aunt Polly and Mrs. Harper regret having treated Tom and Joe so badly – absence really does make the heart grow fonder, it seems – and only Sid strikes a sour note.
He hears the whole story of how the townspeople thought he and his companions had drowned and – this is key – that their funeral will occur on Sunday.
After Mrs. Harper leaves and everyone else heads off to bed, he sneaks to Aunt Polly's bedside, takes out his little piece of bark and then…reconsiders; he seems to have a better idea.
He gives Aunt Polly a kiss, sneaks out, "borrows" a skiff (a kind of boat), and heads back to the island.
After resting up for a bit, he heads back to camp, where he finds Huck and Joe contemplating Tom's note…and the presents he's left behind. They're afraid that Tom might desert, but they trust him, for the most part.
Tom reveals himself, announcing his return loudly, and the boys sit down for a big breakfast. Tom tells them the story of his adventure before getting some much-needed sleep.