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without knowing it. She said: ďSho! Itís that dreadful murder. I dream about it
most every night myself.
Sometimes I dream itís me that done it.Ē Mary said she had been affected much
the same way. Sid seemed satisfied.
Tom got out of the presence as quick as he plausibly could, and after that he
complained of toothache for a week and tied up his jaws every night. He never
knew that Sid lay nightly watching, and frequently slipped the bandage free and
then leaned on his elbow listening a good while at a time, and afterward slipped
the bandage back to its place again. Tomís distress of mind wore off gradually
and the toothache grew irksome and was discarded. If Sid really managed to
make anything out of Tomís disjointed mutterings, he kept it to himself.
It seemed to Tom that his schoolmates never would get done holding inquests on
dead cats, and thus keeping his trouble present to his mind. Sid noticed that
Tom never was coroner at one of these inquiries, though it had been his habit to
take the lead in all new enterprises; he noticed, too, that Tom never acted as a
witness,- and that was strange; and Sid did not overlook the fact that Tom even
showed a marked aversion to these inquests, and always avoided them when he
could. Sid marveled, but said nothing. However, even inquests went out of
vogue at last, and ceased to torture Tomís conscience.
Every day or two, during this time of sorrow, Tom watched his opportunity and
went to the little grated jail-window and smuggled such small comforts through
to the ďmurdererĒ as he could get hold of. The jail was a trifling little brick den
that stood in a marsh at the edge of the village, and no guards were afforded for
it; indeed it was seldom occupied. These offerings greatly helped to ease Tomís
The villagers had a strong desire to tar-and-feather Injun Joe and ride him on a
rail, for body-snatching, but so formidable was his character that nobody could
be found who was willing to take the lead in the matter, so it was dropped. He
had been careful to begin both of his inquest-statements with the fight, without
confessing the grave-robbery that preceded it; therefore it was deemed wisest
not to try the case in the courts at present.
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