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|Tom Sawyer, Detective||Mark Twain|
|Page 3 of 3||
"The farmers--and the family."
"Why, they don't talk about you at all--at least only just a mention, once in a long time."
"The nation!" he says, surprised; "why is that?"
"Because they think you are dead long ago."
"No! Are you speaking true?--honor bright, now." He jumped up, excited.
"Honor bright. There ain't anybody thinks you are alive."
"Then I'm saved, I'm saved, sure! I'll go home. They'll hide me and save my life. You keep mum. Swear you'll keep mum--swear you'll never, never tell on me. Oh, boys, be good to a poor devil that's being hunted day and night, and dasn't show his face! I've never done you any harm; I'll never do you any, as God is in the heavens; swear you'll be good to me and help me save my life."
We'd a swore it if he'd been a dog; and so we done it. Well, he couldn't love us enough for it or be grateful enough, poor cuss; it was all he could do to keep from hugging us.
We talked along, and he got out a little hand-bag and begun to open it, and told us to turn our backs. We done it, and when he told us to turn again he was perfectly different to what he was before. He had on blue goggles and the naturalest-looking long brown whiskers and mustashes you ever see. His own mother wouldn't 'a' knowed him. He asked us if he looked like his brother Jubiter, now.
"No," Tom said; "there ain't anything left that's like him except the long hair."
"All right, I'll get that cropped close to my head before I get there; then him and Brace will keep my secret, and I'll live with them as being a stranger, and the neighbors won't ever guess me out. What do you think?"
Tom he studied awhile, then he says:
"Well, of course me and Huck are going to keep mum there, but if you don't keep mum yourself there's going to be a little bit of a risk--it ain't much, maybe, but it's a little. I mean, if you talk, won't people notice that your voice is just like Jubiter's; and mightn't it make them think of the twin they reckoned was dead, but maybe after all was hid all this time under another name?"
"By George," he says, "you're a sharp one! You're perfectly right. I've got to play deef and dumb when there's a neighbor around. If I'd a struck for home and forgot that little detail--However, I wasn't striking for home. I was breaking for any place where I could get away from these fellows that are after me; then I was going to put on this disguise and get some different clothes, and--"
He jumped for the outside door and laid his ear against it and listened, pale and kind of panting. Presently he whispers:
"Sounded like cocking a gun! Lord, what a life to lead!"
Then he sunk down in a chair all limp and sick like, and wiped the sweat off of his face.
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