The next morning Huck goes to the Welchman's house to find out what happened. He is welcomed warmly. The Welchman describes how he and his sons almost had the outlaws, but then the Welchman sneezed, alerting the outlaws to their approach. A chase followed, with the outlaws firing shots. No one was harmed. The lawmen were alerted to the situation, and search parties continue to hunt for the outlaws that morning.
Huck follows up on the events of the night before, showing his genuine investment in the well-being of the widow Douglas. The novel continues to jump between being a practically-oriented tale of growing up and a sensationalistic adventure, full of strange twists like badly-timed sneezes.
Huck describes the appearance of the outlaws without revealing that the Spaniard is Injun Joe, from whom he still fears retribution. The Welchman presses him to be fully honest, and he reveals the Spaniard's true identity, without mentioning the treasure. The Welchman is shocked, then realizes it makes sense, for the violent plan Huck described would only be performed, the Welchman thinks, by an "Injun".
Huck has developed an ability to act judiciously, weighing the pros and cons of how his behavior might affect others and acting accordingly. He doesn't mention the treasure because its whereabouts don't pose an imminent danger to anyone. Though the Welchman is now accepting of Huck, he remains prejudiced against Native Americans. That said, Twain is also, arguably, prejudiced against Native Americans, as Injun Joe is the only purely unsympathetic character in the novel.
The Welchman describes how he and his sons found a bundle the outlaws had been carrying. Huck blurts out "Of WHAT?", fearing the bundle contained the treasure. In fact, the Welchman reveals that it contained burglar's tools. However, the Welchman wonders what Huck worried was in the bundle. Huck fibs: "Sunday-school books, maybe."
Huck is wise enough to know that the goodness of adults can be inconsistent, and that if word of the treasure got out the adults would likely snatch it away from him and Tom..
Visitor, including the widow Douglas, arrive to ask the Welchman about the chase. Huck hides. The visitors are all extremely curious about the Welchman's secret helper, but the Welchman keeps Huck's secret.
Huck prefers to stay out of the spotlight, being a pragmatist and knowing that being noticed generally only gets him into more trouble. He is noble, as well, in his modesty, which sharply contrasts with Tom's showmanship.
At church that morning, Mrs. Thatcher learns that Becky did not stay the night at the Harpers, while Aunt Polly is also distressed because she doesn't know where Tom is. The other children confess that the pair may well still be in the cave.
Despite his previous acts of maturity, Tom is not as firm as Huck in entering into adulthood, and falls back into the frivolities of youth easily. His infatuation with Becky led him to stray from the group with her, once again prioritizing his own interests and acting unwisely as a result.
A search party of two hundred people from the town sets out for the cave and its environs. Traces of Becky and Tom are found near the cave, including graffiti of the words "Becky & Tom" as well as Becky's ribbon.
Throughout the novel, the villagers unite in the face of misfortune. However, coupled with their sincere unity in times of crisis is a love of gossip—a common small-town vice.
Huck catches a fever at the Welchman's. The widow Douglas tends to him. He's not told of Tom's disappearance. When he asks about what has been going on at the Temperance Tavern, he learns that the villagers' were scandalized at the discovery that liquor was on the premises. Huck is delighted when he hears nothing about the treasure being discovered.
Twain once again resorts to an awkward plot device to maintain control over his story. Huck has proven himself a hero, suggesting that the novel can soon resolve itself. Tom and Becky need to first be accounted for, though, so Huck will remain sick off-stage for the time being. His illness has no other significance in the story.