Tom Sawyer, Detective

by Mark Twain


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Chapter 11


TOM SAWYER DISCOVERS THE MURDERERS

WELL, that was a hard month on us all. Poor Benny, she kept up the bestshe could, and me and Tom tried to keep things cheerful there at thehouse, but it kind of went for nothing, as you may say. It was the sameup at the jail. We went up every day to see the old people, but it wasawful dreary, because the old man warn't sleeping much, and was walkingin his sleep considerable and so he got to looking fagged and miserable,and his mind got shaky, and we all got afraid his troubles would breakhim down and kill him. And whenever we tried to persuade him to feelcheerfuler, he only shook his head and said if we only knowed what it wasto carry around a murderer's load in your heart we wouldn't talk thatway. Tom and all of us kept telling him it WASN'T murder, but justaccidental killing! but it never made any difference--it was murder, andhe wouldn't have it any other way. He actu'ly begun to come out plainand square towards trial time and acknowledge that he TRIED to kill theman. Why, that was awful, you know. It made things seem fifty times asdreadful, and there warn't no more comfort for Aunt Sally and Benny. Buthe promised he wouldn't say a word about his murder when others wasaround, and we was glad of that.

Tom Sawyer racked the head off of himself all that month trying to plansome way out for Uncle Silas, and many's the night he kept me up 'mostall night with this kind of tiresome work, but he couldn't seem to get onthe right track no way. As for me, I reckoned a body might as well giveit up, it all looked so blue and I was so downhearted; but he wouldn't.He stuck to the business right along, and went on planning and thinkingand ransacking his head.

So at last the trial come on, towards the middle of October, and we wasall in the court. The place was jammed, of course. Poor old UncleSilas, he looked more like a dead person than a live one, his eyes was sohollow and he looked so thin and so mournful. Benny she set on one sideof him and Aunt Sally on the other, and they had veils on, and was fullof trouble. But Tom he set by our lawyer, and had his finger ineverywheres, of course. The lawyer let him, and the judge let him. He'most took the business out of the lawyer's hands sometimes; which waswell enough, because that was only a mud-turtle of a back-settlementlawyer and didn't know enough to come in when it rains, as the saying is.

They swore in the jury, and then the lawyer for the prostitution got upand begun. He made a terrible speech against the old man, that made himmoan and groan, and made Benny and Aunt Sally cry. The way HE told aboutthe murder kind of knocked us all stupid it was so different from the oldman's tale. He said he was going to prove that Uncle Silas was SEEN tokill Jubiter Dunlap by two good witnesses, and done it deliberate, andSAID he was going to kill him the very minute he hit him with the club;and they seen him hide Jubiter in the bushes, and they seen that Jubiterwas stone-dead. And said Uncle Silas come later and lugged Jubiter downinto the tobacker field, and two men seen him do it. And said Uncle Silasturned out, away in the night, and buried Jubiter, and a man seen him atit.

I says to myself, poor old Uncle Silas has been lying about it because hereckoned nobody seen him and he couldn't bear to break Aunt Sally's heartand Benny's; and right he was: as for me, I would 'a' lied the same way,and so would anybody that had any feeling, to save them such misery andsorrow which THEY warn't no ways responsible for. Well, it made ourlawyer look pretty sick; and it knocked Tom silly, too, for a littlespell, but then he braced up and let on that he warn't worried--but Iknowed he WAS, all the same. And the people--my, but it made a stiramongst them!

And when that lawyer was done telling the jury what he was going toprove, he set down and begun to work his witnesses.

First, he called a lot of them to show that there was bad blood betwixtUncle Silas and the diseased; and they told how they had heard UncleSilas threaten the diseased, at one time and another, and how it gotworse and worse and everybody was talking about it, and how diseased gotafraid of his life, and told two or three of them he was certain UncleSilas would up and kill him some time or another.

Tom and our lawyer asked them some questions; but it warn't no use, theystuck to what they said.

Next, they called up Lem Beebe, and he took the stand. It come into mymind, then, how Lem and Jim Lane had come along talking, that time, aboutborrowing a dog or something from Jubiter Dunlap; and that brought up theblackberries and the lantern; and that brought up Bill and Jack Withers,and how they passed by, talking about a nigger stealing Uncle Silas'scorn; and that fetched up our old ghost that come along about the sametime and scared us so--and here HE was too, and a privileged character,on accounts of his being deef and dumb and a stranger, and they had fixedhim a chair inside the railing, where he could cross his legs and becomfortable, whilst the other people was all in a jam so they couldn'thardly breathe. So it all come back to me just the way it was that day;and it made me mournful to think how pleasant it was up to then, and howmiserable ever since.

LEM BEEBE, sworn, said--"I was a-coming along, that day, second of September, and Jim Lane was with me, and it was towards sundown, and we heard loud talk, like quarrelling, and we was very close, only the hazel bushes between (that's along the fence); and we heard a voice say, 'I've told you more'n once I'd kill you,' and knowed it was this prisoner's voice; and then we see a club come up above the bushes and down out of sight again, and heard a smashing thump and then a groan or two: and then we crope soft to where we could see, and there laid Jupiter Dunlap dead, and this prisoner standing over him with the club; and the next he hauled the dead man into a clump of bushes and hid him, and then we stooped low, to be cut of sight, and got away."

Well, it was awful. It kind of froze everybody's blood to hear it, andthe house was 'most as still whilst he was telling it as if there warn'tnobody in it. And when he was done, you could hear them gasp and sigh,all over the house, and look at one another the same as to say, "Ain't itperfectly terrible--ain't it awful!"

Now happened a thing that astonished me. All the time the firstwitnesses was proving the bad blood and the threats and all that, TomSawyer was alive and laying for them; and the minute they was through, hewent for them, and done his level best to catch them in lies and spiletheir testimony. But now, how different. When Lem first begun to talk,and never said anything about speaking to Jubiter or trying to borrow adog off of him, he was all alive and laying for Lem, and you could see hewas getting ready to cross-question him to death pretty soon, and then Ijudged him and me would go on the stand by and by and tell what we heardhim and Jim Lane say. But the next time I looked at Tom I got the coldshivers. Why, he was in the brownest study you ever see--miles and milesaway. He warn't hearing a word Lem Beebe was saying; and when he gotthrough he was still in that brown-study, just the same. Our lawyerjoggled him, and then he looked up startled, and says, "Take the witnessif you want him. Lemme alone--I want to think."

Well, that beat me. I couldn't understand it. And Benny and hermother--oh, they looked sick, they was so troubled. They shoved theirveils to one side and tried to get his eye, but it warn't any use, and Icouldn't get his eye either. So the mud-turtle he tackled the witness,but it didn't amount to nothing; and he made a mess of it.

Then they called up Jim Lane, and he told the very same story over again,exact. Tom never listened to this one at all, but set there thinking andthinking, miles and miles away. So the mud-turtle went in alone again andcome out just as flat as he done before. The lawyer for the prostitutionlooked very comfortable, but the judge looked disgusted. You see, Tom wasjust the same as a regular lawyer, nearly, because it was Arkansaw lawfor a prisoner to choose anybody he wanted to help his lawyer, and Tomhad had Uncle Silas shove him into the case, and now he was botching itand you could see the judge didn't like it much. All that the mud-turtlegot out of Lem and Jim was this: he asked them:

"Why didn't you go and tell what you saw?"

"We was afraid we would get mixed up in it ourselves. And we was juststarting down the river a-hunting for all the week besides; but as soonas we come back we found out they'd been searching for the body, so thenwe went and told Brace Dunlap all about it."

"When was that?"

"Saturday night, September 9th."

The judge he spoke up and says:

"Mr. Sheriff, arrest these two witnesses on suspicions of beingaccessionary after the fact to the murder."

The lawyer for the prostitution jumps up all excited, and says:

"Your honor! I protest against this extraordi--"

"Set down!" says the judge, pulling his bowie and laying it on hispulpit. "I beg you to respect the Court."

So he done it. Then he called Bill Withers.

BILL WITHERS, sworn, said: "I was coming along about sundown, Saturday, September 2d, by the prisoner's field, and my brother Jack was with me and we seen a man toting off something heavy on his back and allowed it was a nigger stealing corn; we couldn't see distinct; next we made out that it was one man carrying another; and the way it hung, so kind of limp, we judged it was somebody that was drunk; and by the man's walk we said it was Parson Silas, and we judged he had found Sam Cooper drunk in the road, which he was always trying to reform him, and was toting him out of danger."

It made the people shiver to think of poor old Uncle Silas toting off thediseased down to the place in his tobacker field where the dog dug up thebody, but there warn't much sympathy around amongst the faces, and Iheard one cuss say "'Tis the coldest blooded work I ever struck, lugginga murdered man around like that, and going to bury him like a animal, andhim a preacher at that."

Tom he went on thinking, and never took no notice; so our lawyer took thewitness and done the best he could, and it was plenty poor enough.

Then Jack Withers he come on the stand and told the same tale, just likeBill done.

And after him comes Brace Dunlap, and he was looking very mournful, andmost crying; and there was a rustle and a stir all around, and everybodygot ready to listen, and lost of the women folks said, "Poor cretur, poorcretur," and you could see a many of them wiping their eyes.

BRACE DUNLAP, sworn, said: "I was in considerable trouble a long time about my poor brother, but I reckoned things warn't near so bad as he made out, and I couldn't make myself believe anybody would have the heart to hurt a poor harmless cretur like that"--[by jings, I was sure I seen Tom give a kind of a faint little start, and then look disappointed again]--"and you know I COULDN'T think a preacher would hurt him--it warn't natural to think such an onlikely thing--so I never paid much attention, and now I sha'n't ever, ever forgive myself; for if I had a done different, my poor brother would be with me this day, and not laying yonder murdered, and him so harmless." He kind of broke down there and choked up, and waited to get his voice; and people all around said the most pitiful things, and women cried; and it was very still in there, and solemn, and old Uncle Silas, poor thing, he give a groan right out so everybody heard him. Then Brace he went on, "Saturday, September 2d, he didn't come home to supper. By-and-by I got a little uneasy, and one of my niggers went over to this prisoner's place, but come back and said he warn't there. So I got uneasier and uneasier, and couldn't rest. I went to bed, but I couldn't sleep; and turned out, away late in the night, and went wandering over to this prisoner's place and all around about there a good while, hoping I would run across my poor brother, and never knowing he was out of his troubles and gone to a better shore--" So he broke down and choked up again, and most all the women was crying now. Pretty soon he got another start and says: "But it warn't no use; so at last I went home and tried to get some sleep, but couldn't. Well, in a day or two everybody was uneasy, and they got to talking about this prisoner's threats, and took to the idea, which I didn't take no stock in, that my brother was murdered so they hunted around and tried to find his body, but couldn't and give it up. And so I reckoned he was gone off somers to have a little peace, and would come back to us when his troubles was kind of healed. But late Saturday night, the 9th, Lem Beebe and Jim Lane come to my house and told me all--told me the whole awful 'sassination, and my heart was broke. And THEN I remembered something that hadn't took no hold of me at the time, because reports said this prisoner had took to walking in his sleep and doing all kind of things of no consequence, not knowing what he was about. I will tell you what that thing was that come back into my memory. Away late that awful Saturday night when I was wandering around about this prisoner's place, grieving and troubled, I was down by the corner of the tobacker-field and I heard a sound like digging in a gritty soil; and I crope nearer and peeped through the vines that hung on the rail fence and seen this prisoner SHOVELING--shoveling with a long-handled shovel--heaving earth into a big hole that was most filled up; his back was to me, but it was bright moonlight and I knowed him by his old green baize work-gown with a splattery white patch in the middle of the back like somebody had hit him with a snowball. HE WAS BURYING THE MAN HE'D MURDERED!"

And he slumped down in his chair crying and sobbing, and 'most everybodyin the house busted out wailing, and crying, and saying, "Oh, it'sawful--awful--horrible! and there was a most tremendous excitement, andyou couldn't hear yourself think; and right in the midst of it up jumpsold Uncle Silas, white as a sheet, and sings out:

"IT'S TRUE, EVERY WORD--I MURDERED HIM IN COLD BLOOD!"

By Jackson, it petrified them! People rose up wild all over the house,straining and staring for a better look at him, and the judge washammering with his mallet and the sheriff yelling "Order--order in thecourt--order!"

And all the while the old man stood there a-quaking and his eyesa-burning, and not looking at his wife and daughter, which was clingingto him and begging him to keep still, but pawing them off with his handsand saying he WOULD clear his black soul from crime, he WOULD heave offthis load that was more than he could bear, and he WOULDN'T bear itanother hour! And then he raged right along with his awful tale,everybody a-staring and gasping, judge, jury, lawyers, and everybody, andBenny and Aunt Sally crying their hearts out. And by George, Tom Sawyernever looked at him once! Never once--just set there gazing with all hiseyes at something else, I couldn't tell what. And so the old man ragedright along, pouring his words out like a stream of fire:

"I killed him! I am guilty! But I never had the notion in my life to hurthim or harm him, spite of all them lies about my threatening him, tillthe very minute I raised the club--then my heart went cold!--then thepity all went out of it, and I struck to kill! In that one moment all mywrongs come into my mind; all the insults that that man and the scoundrelhis brother, there, had put upon me, and how they laid in together toruin me with the people, and take away my good name, and DRIVE me to somedeed that would destroy me and my family that hadn't ever done THEM noharm, so help me God! And they done it in a mean revenge--for why?Because my innocent pure girl here at my side wouldn't marry that rich,insolent, ignorant coward, Brace Dunlap, who's been sniveling here over abrother he never cared a brass farthing for--"[I see Tom give a jump andlook glad THIS time, to a dead certainty]"--and in that moment I've toldyou about, I forgot my God and remembered only my heart's bitterness, Godforgive me, and I struck to kill. In one second I was miserablysorry--oh, filled with remorse; but I thought of my poor family, and IMUST hide what I'd done for their sakes; and I did hide that corpse inthe bushes; and presently I carried it to the tobacker field; and in thedeep night I went with my shovel and buried it where--"

Up jumps Tom and shouts:

"NOW, I've got it!" and waves his hand, oh, ever so fine and starchy,towards the old man, and says:

"Set down! A murder WAS done, but you never had no hand in it!"

Well, sir, you could a heard a pin drop. And the old man he sunk downkind of bewildered in his seat and Aunt Sally and Benny didn't know it,because they was so astonished and staring at Tom with their mouths openand not knowing what they was about. And the whole house the same. Inever seen people look so helpless and tangled up, and I hain't ever seeneyes bug out and gaze without a blink the way theirn did. Tom says,perfectly ca'm:

"Your honor, may I speak?"

"For God's sake, yes--go on!" says the judge, so astonished and mixed uphe didn't know what he was about hardly.

Then Tom he stood there and waited a second or two--that was for to workup an "effect," as he calls it--then he started in just as ca'm as ever,and says:

"For about two weeks now there's been a little bill sticking on the frontof this courthouse offering two thousand dollars reward for a couple ofbig di'monds--stole at St. Louis. Them di'monds is worth twelve thousanddollars. But never mind about that till I get to it. Now about thismurder. I will tell you all about it--how it happened--who done it--everyDEtail."

You could see everybody nestle now, and begin to listen for all they wasworth.

"This man here, Brace Dunlap, that's been sniveling so about his deadbrother that YOU know he never cared a straw for, wanted to marry thatyoung girl there, and she wouldn't have him. So he told Uncle Silas hewould make him sorry. Uncle Silas knowed how powerful he was, and howlittle chance he had against such a man, and he was scared and worried,and done everything he could think of to smooth him over and get him tobe good to him: he even took his no-account brother Jubiter on the farmand give him wages and stinted his own family to pay them; and Jubiterdone everything his brother could contrive to insult Uncle Silas, andfret and worry him, and try to drive Uncle Silas into doing him a hurt,so as to injure Uncle Silas with the people. And it done it. Everybodyturned against him and said the meanest kind of things about him, and itgraduly broke his heart--yes, and he was so worried and distressed thatoften he warn't hardly in his right mind.

"Well, on that Saturday that we've had so much trouble about, two ofthese witnesses here, Lem Beebe and Jim Lane, come along by where UncleSilas and Jubiter Dunlap was at work--and that much of what they've saidis true, the rest is lies. They didn't hear Uncle Silas say he would killJubiter; they didn't hear no blow struck; they didn't see no dead man,and they didn't see Uncle Silas hide anything in the bushes. Look at themnow--how they set there, wishing they hadn't been so handy with theirtongues; anyway, they'll wish it before I get done.

"That same Saturday evening Bill and Jack Withers DID see one man luggingoff another one. That much of what they said is true, and the rest islies. First off they thought it was a nigger stealing Uncle Silas'scorn--you notice it makes them look silly, now, to find out somebodyoverheard them say that. That's because they found out by and by who itwas that was doing the lugging, and THEY know best why they swore herethat they took it for Uncle Silas by the gait--which it WASN'T, and theyknowed it when they swore to that lie.

"A man out in the moonlight DID see a murdered person put under ground inthe tobacker field--but it wasn't Uncle Silas that done the burying. Hewas in his bed at that very time.

"Now, then, before I go on, I want to ask you if you've ever noticedthis: that people, when they're thinking deep, or when they're worried,are most always doing something with their hands, and they don't know it,and don't notice what it is their hands are doing, some stroke theirchins; some stroke their noses; some stroke up UNDER their chin withtheir hand; some twirl a chain, some fumble a button, then there's somethat draws a figure or a letter with their finger on their cheek, orunder their chin or on their under lip. That's MY way. When I'mrestless, or worried, or thinking hard, I draw capital V's on my cheek oron my under lip or under my chin, and never anything BUT capital V's--andhalf the time I don't notice it and don't know I'm doing it."

That was odd. That is just what I do; only I make an O. And I could seepeople nodding to one another, same as they do when they mean "THAT'sso."

"Now, then, I'll go on. That same Saturday--no, it was the nightbefore--there was a steamboat laying at Flagler's Landing, forty milesabove here, and it was raining and storming like the nation. And therewas a thief aboard, and he had them two big di'monds that's advertisedout here on this courthouse door; and he slipped ashore with his hand-bagand struck out into the dark and the storm, and he was a-hoping he couldget to this town all right and be safe. But he had two pals aboard theboat, hiding, and he knowed they was going to kill him the first chancethey got and take the di'monds; because all three stole them, and thenthis fellow he got hold of them and skipped.

"Well, he hadn't been gone more'n ten minutes before his pals found itout, and they jumped ashore and lit out after him. Prob'ly they burntmatches and found his tracks. Anyway, they dogged along after him allday Saturday and kept out of his sight; and towards sundown he come tothe bunch of sycamores down by Uncle Silas's field, and he went in thereto get a disguise out of his hand-bag and put it on before he showedhimself here in the town--and mind you he done that just a little afterthe time that Uncle Silas was hitting Jubiter Dunlap over the head with aclub--for he DID hit him.

"But the minute the pals see that thief slide into the bunch ofsycamores, they jumped out of the bushes and slid in after him.

"They fell on him and clubbed him to death.

"Yes, for all he screamed and howled so, they never had no mercy on him,but clubbed him to death. And two men that was running along the roadheard him yelling that way, and they made a rush into the syca-i morebunch--which was where they was bound for, anyway--and when the pals sawthem they lit out and the two new men after them a-chasing them as tightas they could go. But only a minute or two--then these two new menslipped back very quiet into the sycamores.

"THEN what did they do? I will tell you what they done. They found wherethe thief had got his disguise out of his carpet-sack to put on; so oneof them strips and puts on that disguise."

Tom waited a little here, for some more "effect"--then he says, verydeliberate:

"The man that put on that dead man's disguise was--JUBITER DUNLAP!"

"Great Scott!" everybody shouted, all over the house, and old Uncle Silashe looked perfectly astonished.

"Yes, it was Jubiter Dunlap. Not dead, you see. Then they pulled offthe dead man's boots and put Jubiter Dunlap's old ragged shoes on thecorpse and put the corpse's boots on Jubiter Dunlap. Then Jubiter Dunlapstayed where he was, and the other man lugged the dead body off in thetwilight; and after midnight he went to Uncle Silas's house, and took hisold green work-robe off of the peg where it always hangs in the passagebetwixt the house and the kitchen and put it on, and stole thelong-handled shovel and went off down into the tobacker field and buriedthe murdered man."

He stopped, and stood half a minute. Then--"And who do you reckon themurdered man WAS? It was--JAKE Dunlap, the long-lost burglar!"

"Great Scott!"

"And the man that buried him was--BRACE Dunlap, his brother!"

"Great Scott!"

"And who do you reckon is this mowing idiot here that's letting on allthese weeks to be a deef and dumb stranger? It's--JUBITER Dunlap!"

My land, they all busted out in a howl, and you never see the like ofthat excitement since the day you was born. And Tom he made a jump forJubiter and snaked off his goggles and his false whiskers, and there wasthe murdered man, sure enough, just as alive as anybody! And Aunt Sallyand Benny they went to hugging and crying and kissing and smothering oldUncle Silas to that degree he was more muddled and confused and mushed upin his mind than he ever was before, and that is saying considerable.And next, people begun to yell:

"Tom Sawyer! Tom Sawyer! Shut up everybody, and let him go on! Go on, TomSawyer!"

Which made him feel uncommon bully, for it was nuts for Tom Sawyer to bea public character that-away, and a hero, as he calls it. So when it wasall quiet, he says:

"There ain't much left, only this. When that man there, Bruce Dunlap,had most worried the life and sense out of Uncle Silas till at last heplumb lost his mind and hit this other blatherskite, his brother, with aclub, I reckon he seen his chance. Jubiter broke for the woods to hide,and I reckon the game was for him to slide out, in the night, and leavethe country. Then Brace would make everybody believe Uncle Silas killedhim and hid his body somers; and that would ruin Uncle Silas and driveHIM out of the country--hang him, maybe; I dunno. But when they foundtheir dead brother in the sycamores without knowing him, because he wasso battered up, they see they had a better thing; disguise BOTH and buryJake and dig him up presently all dressed up in Jubiter's clothes, andhire Jim Lane and Bill Withers and the others to swear to some handylies--which they done. And there they set, now, and I told them theywould be looking sick before I got done, and that is the way they'relooking now.

"Well, me and Huck Finn here, we come down on the boat with the thieves,and the dead one told us all about the di'monds, and said the otherswould murder him if they got the chance; and we was going to help him allwe could. We was bound for the sycamores when we heard them killing himin there; but we was in there in the early morning after the storm andallowed nobody hadn't been killed, after all. And when we see JubiterDunlap here spreading around in the very same disguise Jake told us HEwas going to wear, we thought it was Jake his own self--and he wasgoo-gooing deef and dumb, and THAT was according to agreement.

"Well, me and Huck went on hunting for the corpse after the others quit,and we found it. And was proud, too; but Uncle Silas he knocked us crazyby telling us HE killed the man. So we was mighty sorry we found thebody, and was bound to save Uncle Silas's neck if we could; and it wasgoing to be tough work, too, because he wouldn't let us break him out ofprison the way we done with our old nigger Jim.

"I done everything I could the whole month to think up some way to saveUncle Silas, but I couldn't strike a thing. So when we come into courtto-day I come empty, and couldn't see no chance anywheres. But by and byI had a glimpse of something that set me thinking--just a little weeglimpse--only that, and not enough to make sure; but it set me thinkinghard--and WATCHING, when I was only letting on to think; and by and by,sure enough, when Uncle Silas was piling out that stuff about HIM killingJubiter Dunlap, I catched that glimpse again, and this time I jumped upand shut down the proceedings, because I KNOWED Jubiter Dunlap wasa-setting here before me. I knowed him by a thing which I seen himdo--and I remembered it. I'd seen him do it when I was here a year ago."

He stopped then, and studied a minute--laying for an "effect"--I knowedit perfectly well. Then he turned off like he was going to leave theplatform, and says, kind of lazy and indifferent:

"Well, I believe that is all."

Why, you never heard such a howl!--and it come from the whole house:

"What WAS it you seen him do? Stay where you are, you little devil! Youthink you are going to work a body up till his mouth's a-watering andstop there? What WAS it he done?"

That was it, you see--he just done it to get an "effect"; you couldn't'a' pulled him off of that platform with a yoke of oxen.

"Oh, it wasn't anything much," he says. "I seen him looking a littleexcited when he found Uncle Silas was actuly fixing to hang himself for amurder that warn't ever done; and he got more and more nervous andworried, I a-watching him sharp but not seeming to look at him--and allof a sudden his hands begun to work and fidget, and pretty soon his leftcrept up and HIS FINGER DRAWED A CROSS ON HIS CHEEK, and then I HAD him!"

Well, then they ripped and howled and stomped and clapped their handstill Tom Sawyer was that proud and happy he didn't know what to do withhimself.

And then the judge he looked down over his pulpit and says:

"My boy, did you SEE all the various details of this strange conspiracyand tragedy that you've been describing?"

"No, your honor, I didn't see any of them."

"Didn't see any of them! Why, you've told the whole history straightthrough, just the same as if you'd seen it with your eyes. How did youmanage that?"

Tom says, kind of easy and comfortable:

"Oh, just noticing the evidence and piecing this and that together, yourhonor; just an ordinary little bit of detective work; anybody could 'a'done it."

"Nothing of the kind! Not two in a million could 'a' done it. You are avery remarkable boy."

Then they let go and give Tom another smashing round, and he--well, hewouldn't 'a' sold out for a silver mine. Then the judge says:

"But are you certain you've got this curious history straight?"

"Perfectly, your honor. Here is Brace Dunlap--let him deny his share ofit if he wants to take the chance; I'll engage to make him wish he hadn'tsaid anything...... Well, you see HE'S pretty quiet. And his brother'spretty quiet, and them four witnesses that lied so and got paid for it,they're pretty quiet. And as for Uncle Silas, it ain't any use for himto put in his oar, I wouldn't believe him under oath!"

Well, sir, that fairly made them shout; and even the judge he let go andlaughed. Tom he was just feeling like a rainbow. When they was donelaughing he looks up at the judge and says:

"Your honor, there's a thief in this house."

"A thief?"

"Yes, sir. And he's got them twelve-thousand-dollar di'monds on him."

By gracious, but it made a stir! Everybody went shouting:

"Which is him? which is him? p'int him out!"

And the judge says:

"Point him out, my lad. Sheriff, you will arrest him. Which one is it?"

Tom says:

"This late dead man here--Jubiter Dunlap."

Then there was another thundering let-go of astonishment and excitement;but Jubiter, which was astonished enough before, was just fairlyputrified with astonishment this time. And he spoke up, about halfcrying, and says:

"Now THAT'S a lie. Your honor, it ain't fair; I'm plenty bad enoughwithout that. I done the other things--Brace he put me up to it, andpersuaded me, and promised he'd make me rich, some day, and I done it,and I'm sorry I done it, and I wisht I hadn't; but I hain't stole nodi'monds, and I hain't GOT no di'monds; I wisht I may never stir if itain't so. The sheriff can search me and see."

Tom says:

"Your honor, it wasn't right to call him a thief, and I'll let up on thata little. He did steal the di'monds, but he didn't know it. He stolethem from his brother Jake when he was laying dead, after Jake had stolethem from the other thieves; but Jubiter didn't know he was stealingthem; and he's been swelling around here with them a month; yes, sir,twelve thousand dollars' worth of di'monds on him--all that riches, andgoing around here every day just like a poor man. Yes, your honor, he'sgot them on him now."

The judge spoke up and says:

"Search him, sheriff."

Well, sir, the sheriff he ransacked him high and low, and everywhere:searched his hat, socks, seams, boots, everything--and Tom he stood therequiet, laying for another of them effects of hisn. Finally the sheriffhe give it up, and everybody looked disappointed, and Jubiter says:

"There, now! what'd I tell you?"

And the judge says:

"It appears you were mistaken this time, my boy."

Then Tom took an attitude and let on to be studying with all his might,and scratching his head. Then all of a sudden he glanced up chipper, andsays:

"Oh, now I've got it! I'd forgot."

Which was a lie, and I knowed it. Then he says:

"Will somebody be good enough to lend me a little small screwdriver?There was one in your brother's hand-bag that you smouched, Jubiter. butI reckon you didn't fetch it with you."

"No, I didn't. I didn't want it, and I give it away."

"That's because you didn't know what it was for."

Jubiter had his boots on again, by now, and when the thing Tom wanted waspassed over the people's heads till it got to him, he says to Jubiter:

"Put up your foot on this chair." And he kneeled down and begun tounscrew the heel-plate, everybody watching; and when he got that bigdi'mond out of that boot-heel and held it up and let it flash and blazeand squirt sunlight everwhichaway, it just took everybody's breath; andJubiter he looked so sick and sorry you never see the like of it. Andwhen Tom held up the other di'mond he looked sorrier than ever. Land! hewas thinking how he would 'a' skipped out and been rich and independentin a foreign land if he'd only had the luck to guess what the screwdriverwas in the carpet-bag for.

Well, it was a most exciting time, take it all around, and Tom got cordsof glory. The judge took the di'monds, and stood up in his pulpit, andcleared his throat, and shoved his spectacles back on his head, and says:

"I'll keep them and notify the owners; and when they send for them itwill be a real pleasure to me to hand you the two thousand dollars, foryou've earned the money--yes, and you've earned the deepest and mostsincerest thanks of this community besides, for lifting a wronged andinnocent family out of ruin and shame, and saving a good and honorableman from a felon's death, and for exposing to infamy and the punishmentof the law a cruel and odious scoundrel and his miserable creatures!"

Well, sir, if there'd been a brass band to bust out some music, then, itwould 'a' been just the perfectest thing I ever see, and Tom Sawyer hesaid the same.

Then the sheriff he nabbed Brace Dunlap and his crowd, and by and by nextmonth the judge had them up for trial and jailed the whole lot. Andeverybody crowded back to Uncle Silas's little old church, and was everso loving and kind to him and the family and couldn't do enough for them;and Uncle Silas he preached them the blamedest jumbledest idiotic sermonsyou ever struck, and would tangle you up so you couldn't find your wayhome in daylight; but the people never let on but what they thought itwas the clearest and brightest and elegantest sermons that ever was; andthey would set there and cry, for love and pity; but, by George, theygive me the jim-jams and the fan-tods and caked up what brains I had, andturned them solid; but by and by they loved the old man's intellects backinto him again, and he was as sound in his skull as ever he was, whichain't no flattery, I reckon. And so the whole family was as happy asbirds, and nobody could be gratefuler and lovinger than what they was toTom Sawyer; and the same to me, though I hadn't done nothing. And whenthe two thousand dollars come, Tom give half of it to me, and never toldanybody so, which didn't surprise me, because I knowed him.

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Mark Twain
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