The moral compass of Tom Sawyer
“All along I've been wanting to be a robber, but I knew I'd got to have a thing like this, and where to run across it was the bother. We've got it now, and we'll keep it quiet, only we'll let Joe Harper and Ben Rogers in—because of course there's got to be a Gang, or else there wouldn't be any style about it. Tom Sawyer's Gang— it sounds splendid, don't it, Huck?”One hundred and twenty eight years after this was published, a bad episode of The Simpsons (with guest star Thomas Pynchon!) used the same orgy joke (Bart reads issues of Playdude with the nudes cut out, and then tells Milhouse they should have orgies in the treehouse but doesn't know what orgies are), though not as effectively. As far as I can tell, despite the countless man-hours (and woman hours, but mostly man) that have been devoted to finding every reference or allusion made on The Simpsons to anything, no one has ever made note of this, possibly because it is not a reference or allusion but rather independent invention of an obvious joke involving children not knowing what orgies are.
“Well, it just does, Tom. And who'll we rob?”
“Oh, most anybody. Waylay people -- that's mostly the way.”
“And kill them?”
“No, not always. Hive them in the cave till they raise a ransom.”
“What's a ransom?”
“Money. You make them raise all they can, off'n their friends; and after you've kept them a year, if it ain't raised then you kill them. That's the general way. Only you don't kill the women. You shut up the women, but you don't kill them. They're always beautiful and rich, and awfully scared. You take their watches and things, but you always take your hat off and talk polite. They ain't anybody as polite as robbers -- you'll see that in any book. Well, the women get to loving you, and after they've been in the cave a week or two weeks they stop crying and after that you couldn't get them to leave. If you drove them out they'd turn right around and come back. It's so in all the books.”
“Why, it's real bully, Tom. I believe it's better'n to be a pirate.”
“Yes, it's better in some ways, because it's close to home and circuses and all that.”
. . .
“Now less fetch the guns and things," said Huck.
“No, Huck -- leave them there. They're just the tricks to have when we go to robbing. We'll keep them there all the time, and we'll hold our orgies there, too. It's an awful snug place for orgies.”
“I dono. But robbers always have orgies, and of course we've got to have them, too.”