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Tom Sawyer, Detective Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer Discovers The Murderers

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"Saturday night, September 9th."

The judge he spoke up and says:

"Mr. Sheriff, arrest these two witnesses on suspicions of being accessionary 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 his pulpit. "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 the diseased down to the place in his tobacker field where the dog dug up the body, but there warn't much sympathy around amongst the faces, and I heard one cuss say "'Tis the coldest blooded work I ever struck, lugging a murdered man around like that, and going to bury him like a animal, and him a preacher at that."

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Tom he went on thinking, and never took no notice; so our lawyer took the witness 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 like Bill done.

And after him comes Brace Dunlap, and he was looking very mournful, and most crying; and there was a rustle and a stir all around, and everybody got ready to listen, and lost of the women folks said, "Poor cretur, poor cretur," and you could see a many of them wip-ing 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.

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Tom Sawyer, Detective
Mark Twain

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