Tom and Huck hide out by the tavern, watching for visitors to No. 2. No one comes by. They head home planning to try the keys that night if it gets dark enough. But it is too clear out that night, and the same holds true for the next several nights. Finally, Thursday proves to be a stormy night, and the boys set out.
The boy's blame their delay in acting on the weather, but perhaps they are simply reluctant to move forward in this serious adventure. Twain's novel displays ambivalence about the benefits of moving into adulthood, for it involves responsibility and far less freedom to engage in fantasy.
While Huck stands guard in the tavern's alleyway, Tom goes to try the keys. He is gone for what feels like an eternity to Huck, then arrives back insisting they run like lightning. They stop only when they reach an abandoned slaughterhouse at the edge of town.
Excitement and mystery is injected back into Twain's tale as the boys race away to escape.
Tom tells Huck that the door wasn't locked. When he opened it, he almost tripped over Injun Joe, who lay passed out on the floor beside a tin cup and a bottle, with more bottles nearby. Since No. 2 is in a "Temperance Tavern"—a tavern that doesn't serve alcohol—Tom concludes that this room must be haunted by whisky. When Huck asks Tom why he didn't steal the treasure given that Injun Joe was passed out, Tom's grows defensive and asserts that Huck wouldn't have dared either.
Temperance Tavern is a sham–it is secretly a place where men can go to drink alcohol. Along with Mr. Dobbins' secret drunkenness and the boastful showmanship of the supposedly saintly Cadets of Temperance, Temperance Tavern as a secret drinking hole highlights the hypocrisy of St. Petersburg's residents. Tom also proves to be someone who acts differently than he says he will, as Huck points out. Tom does not act like the courageous hero of the story, a fact that makes Tom defensive.
They decide that Huck will watch the tavern every night to see when Injun leaves. When he does, he will fetch Tom, who will go to No. 2. to take the treasure.
Huck is proving more capable than Tom, nightly braving the danger of being found by Injun Joe..
Tom asks Huck where he's going to sleep that night. Huck says he's headed to Ben Rogers's hayloft. Ben and his slave Uncle Jake let him stay there. He eats with the slave, who shares his food with him, but Huck asks Tom not to tell anyone.
Huck speaks plainly about the social stratification of St. Petersburg. While he displays prejudice against blacks, he is able to recognize their humanity and kindness, suggesting that the maturity he's gaining is different from the kind Tom is growing into.