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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson||Mark Twain|
Tom Stares at Ruin
|Page 3 of 5||
"Whe-ew!" whistled Wilson. "Score another one the list."
"Yes, theft. That watch isn't lost, it's stolen. There's been another raid on the town--and just the same old mysterious sort of thing that has happened once before, as you remember."
"You don't mean it!"
"It's as sure as you are born! Have you missed anything yourself?"
"No. That is, I did miss a silver pencil case that Aunt Mary Pratt gave me last birthday--"
"You'll find it stolen--that's what you'll find."
"No, I sha'n't; for when I suggested theft about the watch and got such a rap, I went and examined my room, and the pencil case was missing, but it was only mislaid, and I found it again."
"You are sure you missed nothing else?"
"Well, nothing of consequence. I missed a small plain gold ring worth two or three dollars, but that will turn up. I'll look again."
"In my opinion you'll not find it. There's been a raid, I tell you. Come _in!_"
Mr. Justice Robinson entered, followed by Buckstone and the town constable, Jim Blake. They sat down, and after some wandering and aimless weather-conversation Wilson said:
"By the way, We've just added another to the list of thefts, maybe two. Judge Driscoll's old silver watch is gone, and Tom here has missed a gold ring."
"Well, it is a bad business," said the justice, "and gets worse the further it goes. The Hankses, the Dobsons, the Pilligrews, the Ortons, the Grangers, the Hales, the Fullers, the Holcombs, in fact everybody that lives around about Patsy Cooper's had been robbed of little things like trinkets and teaspoons and suchlike small valuables that are easily carried off. It's perfectly plain that the thief took advantage of the reception at Patsy Cooper's when all the neighbors were in her house and all their niggers hanging around her fence for a look at the show, to raid the vacant houses undisturbed. Patsy is miserable about it; miserable on account of the neighbors, and particularly miserable on account of her foreigners, of course; so miserable on their account that she hasn't any room to worry about her own little losses."
"It's the same old raider," said Wilson. "I suppose there isn't any doubt about that."
"Constable Blake doesn't think so."
"No, you're wrong there," said Blake. "The other times it was a man; there was plenty of signs of that, as we know, in the profession, thought we never got hands on him; but this time it's a woman."
Wilson thought of the mysterious girl straight off. She was always in his mind now. But she failed him again. Blake continued:
"She's a stoop-shouldered old woman with a covered basket on her arm, in a black veil, dressed in mourning. I saw her going aboard the ferryboat yesterday. Lives in Illinois, I reckon; but I don't care where she lives, I'm going to get her--she can make herself sure of that."
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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
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