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Huck needs information from the woman about the status of Jim and himself. He wants to know what the town thinks has happened to them. He can't go as a male because this would most certainly scare her and give his identity away as well.
Huck lets on to his gender by,
-Huck does a poor job of threading a needle.
-throws a piece of lead at a rat
-Huck is nervous and fidgety