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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson||Mark Twain|
The Robber Robbed
|Page 4 of 7||
"By Jackson, he's got you, Pudd'nhead! Now why couldn't I or _any_ fool have thought of that?"
Wilson said to himself, "Anybody with a reasonably good head would have thought of it. I am not surprised that Blake didn't detect it; I am only surprised that Tom did. There is more to him than I supposed." He said nothing aloud, and Tom went on:
"Very well. The thief would not suspect that there was a trap, and he would bring or send the knife, and say he bought it for a song, or found it in the road, or something like that, and try to collect the reward, and be arrested--wouldn't he?"
"Yes," said Wilson.
"I think so," said Tom. "There can't be any doubt of it. Have you ever seen that knife?"
"Has any friend of yours?"
"Not that I know of."
"Well, I begin to think I understand why your scheme failed."
"What do you mean, Tom? What are you driving at?" asked Wilson, with a dawning sense of discomfort.
"Why, that there _isn't_ any such knife."
"Look here, Wilson," said Blake, "Tom Driscoll's right, for a thousand dollars--if I had it."
Wilson's blood warmed a little, and he wondered if he had been played upon by those strangers; it certainly had something of that look. But what could they gain by it? He threw out that suggestion. Tom replied:
"Gain? Oh, nothing that you would value, maybe. But they are strangers making their way in a new community. Is it nothing to them to appear as pets of an Oriental prince--at no expense? It is nothing to them to be able to dazzle this poor town with thousand-dollar rewards--at no expense? Wilson, there isn't any such knife, or your scheme would have fetched it to light. Or if there is any such knife, they've got it yet. I believe, myself, that they've seen such a knife, for Angelo pictured it out with his pencil too swiftly and handily for him to have been inventing it, and of course I can't swear that they've never had it; but this I'll go bail for--if they had it when they came to this town, they've got it yet."
"It looks mighty reasonable, the way Tom puts it; it most certainly does."
Tom responded, turning to leave:
"You find the old woman, Blake, and if she can't furnish the knife, go and search the twins!"
Tom sauntered away. Wilson felt a good deal depressed. He hardly knew what to think. He was loath to withdraw his faith from the twins, and was resolved not to do it on the present indecisive evidence; but--well, he would think, and then decide how to act.
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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
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