Chapter IX. FINDING OF JUBITER DUNLAP
 
   IN  the  next two or three days Dummy he got to be powerful popular. He
went associating around with the neighbors, and they made much of him, and
was proud to have such a rattling curiosity among them. They had him to
breakfast, they had him to dinner, they had him to supper; they kept him
loaded up with hog and hominy, and warn't ever tired staring at him and
wondering over him, and wishing they knowed more about him, he was so
uncommon and romantic. His signs warn't no good; people couldn't
understand them and he prob'ly couldn't himself, but he done a sight of
goo-gooing, and so everybody was satisfied, and admired to hear him go it.
He toted a piece of slate around, and a pencil; and people wrote questions
on it and he wrote answers; but there warn't anybody could read his
writing but Brace Dunlap. Brace said he couldn't read it very good, but he
could manage to dig out the meaning most of the time. He said Dummy said
he belonged away off somers and used to be well off, but got busted by
swindlers which he had trusted, and was poor now, and hadn't any way to
make a living.
Everybody praised Brace Dunlap for being so good to that stranger. He
let him have a little log-cabin all to himself, and had his niggers take
care of it, and fetch him all the vittles he wanted.
Dummy was at our house some, because old Uncle Silas was so afflicted
himself, these days, that anybody else that was afflicted was a comfort to
him. Me and Tom didn't let on that we had knowed him before, and he didn't
let on that he had knowed us before. The family talked their troubles out
before him the same as if he wasn't there, but we reckoned it wasn't any
harm for him to hear what they said. Generly he didn't seem to notice, but
sometimes he did.
Well, two or three days went along, and everybody got to getting uneasy
about Jubiter Dunlap. Everybody was asking everybody if they had any idea
what had become of him. No, they hadn't, they said: and they shook their
heads and said there was something powerful strange about it. Another and
another day went by; then there was a report got around that praps he was
murdered. You bet it made a big stir! Everybody's tongue was clacking away
after that. Saturday two or three gangs turned out and hunted the woods to
see if they could run across his remainders. Me and Tom helped, and it was
noble good times and exciting. Tom he was so brimful of it he couldn't eat
nor rest. He said if we could find that corpse we would be celebrated, and
more talked about than if we got drownded.
The others got tired and give it up; but not Tom Sawyer-that warn't his
style. Saturday night he didn't sleep any, hardly, trying to think up a
plan; and towards daylight in the morning he struck it. He snaked me out
of bed and was all excited, and says:
"Quick, Huck, snatch on your clothes-I've got it! Bloodhound!"
In two minutes we was tearing up the river road in the dark towards the
village. Old Jeff Hooker had a bloodhound, and Tom was going to borrow
him. I says:
"The trail's too old, Tom-and besides, it's rained, you know."
"It don't make any difference, Huck. If the body's hid in the woods
anywhere around the hound will find it. If he's been murdered and buried,
they wouldn't bury him deep, it ain't likely, and if the dog goes over the
spot he'll scent him, sure. Huck, we're going to be celebrated, sure as
you're born!"
He was just a-blazing; and whenever he got afire he was most likely to
get afire all over. That was the way this time. In two minutes he had got
it all ciphered out, and wasn't only just going to find the corpse-no, he
was going to get on the track of that murderer and hunt HIM down, too; and
not only that, but he was going to stick to him till- "Well," I says, "you
better find the corpse first; I reckon that's a-plenty for to-day. For all
we know, there AIN'T any corpse and nobody hain't been murdered. That cuss
could 'a' gone off somers and not been killed at all."
That graveled him, and he says:
"Huck Finn, I never see such a person as you to want to spoil
everything. As long as YOU can't see anything hopeful in a thing, you
won't let anybody else. What good can it do you to throw cold water on
that corpse and get up that selfish theory that there ain't been any
murder? None in the world. I don't see how you can act so. I wouldn't
treat you like that, and you know it. Here we've got a noble good
opportunity to make a ruputation, and-"
"Oh, go ahead," I says. "I'm sorry, and I take it all back. I didn't
mean nothing. Fix it any way you want it. HE ain't any consequence to me.
If he's killed, I'm as glad of it as you are; and if he-"
"I never said anything about being glad; I only-"
"Well, then, I'm as SORRY as you are. Any way you druther have it, that
is the way I druther have it. He-"
"There ain't any druthers ABOUT it, Huck Finn; nobody said anything
about druthers. And as for-"
He forgot he was talking, and went tramping along, studying. He begun
to get excited again, and pretty soon he says:
"Huck, it'll be the bulliest thing that ever happened if we find the
body after everybody else has quit looking, and then go ahead and hunt up
the murderer. It won't only be an honor to us, but it'll be an honor to
Uncle Silas because it was us that done it. It'll set him up again, you
see if it don't."
But Old Jeff Hooker he throwed cold water on the whole business when we
got to his blacksmith shop and told him what we come for.
"You can take the dog," he says, "but you ain't a-going to find any
corpse, because there ain't any corpse to find. Everybody's quit looking,
and they're right. Soon as they come to think, they knowed there warn't no
corpse. And I'll tell you for why. What does a person kill another person
for, Tom Sawyer?-answer me that."
"Why, he-er-"
"Answer up! You ain't no fool. What does he kill him FOR?"
"Well, sometimes it's for revenge, and-"
"Wait. One thing at a time. Revenge, says you; and right you are. Now
who ever had anything agin that poor trifling no-account? Who do you
reckon would want to kill HIM?- that rabbit!"
Tom was stuck. I reckon he hadn't thought of a person having to have a
REASON for killing a person before, and now he sees it warn't likely
anybody would have that much of a grudge against a lamb like Jubiter
Dunlap. The blacksmith says, by and by:
"The revenge idea won't work, you see. Well, then, what's next?
Robbery? B'gosh, that must 'a' been it, Tom! Yes, sirree, I reckon we've
struck it this time. Some feller wanted his gallus-buckles, and so he-"
But it was so funny he busted out laughing, and just went on laughing
and laughing and laughing till he was 'most dead, and Tom looked so put
out and cheap that I knowed he was ashamed he had come, and he wished he
hadn't. But old Hooker never let up on him. He raked up everything a
person ever could want to kill another person about, and any fool could
see they didn't any of them fit this case, and he just made no end of fun
of the whole business and of the people that had been hunting the body;
and he said:
"If they'd had any sense they'd 'a' knowed the lazy cuss slid out
because he wanted a loafing spell after all this work. He'll come
pottering back in a couple of weeks, and then how'll you fellers feel?
But, laws bless you, take the dog, and go and hunt his remainders. Do,
Tom."
Then he busted out, and had another of them forty-rod laughs of hisn.
Tom couldn't back down after all this, so he said, "All right, unchain
him;" and the blacksmith done it, and we started home and left that old
man laughing yet.
It was a lovely dog. There ain't any dog that's got a lovelier
disposition than a bloodhound, and this one knowed us and liked us. He
capered and raced around ever so friendly, and powerful glad to be free
and have a holiday; but Tom was so cut up he couldn't take any intrust in
him, and said he wished he'd stopped and thought a minute before he ever
started on such a fool errand. He said old Jeff Hooker would tell
everybody, and we'd never hear the last of it.
So we loafed along home down the back lanes, feeling pretty glum and
not talking. When we was passing the far corner of our tobacker field we
heard the dog set up a long howl in there, and we went to the place and he
was scratching the ground with all his might, and every now and then
canting up his head sideways and fetching another howl.
It was a long square, the shape of a grave; the rain had made it sink
down and show the shape. The minute we come and stood there we looked at
one another and never said a word. When the dog had dug down only a few
inches he grabbed something and pulled it up, and it was an arm and a
sleeve. Tom kind of gasped out, and says:
"Come away, Huck-it's found."
I just felt awful. We struck for the road and fetched the first men
that come along. They got a spade at the crib and dug out the body, and
you never see such an excitement. You couldn't make anything out of the
face, but you didn't need to. Everybody said:
"Poor Jubiter; it's his clothes, to the last rag!"
Some rushed off to spread the news and tell the justice of the peace
and have an inquest, and me and Tom lit out for the house. Tom was all
afire and 'most out of breath when we come tearing in where Uncle Silas
and Aunt Sally and Benny was. Tom sung out:
"Me and Huck's found Jubiter Dunlap's corpse all by ourselves with a
bloodhound, after everybody else had quit hunting and given it up; and if
it hadn't a been for us it never WOULD 'a' been found; and he WAS murdered
too-they done it with a club or something like that; and I'm going to
start in and find the murderer, next, and I bet I'll do it!"
Aunt Sally and Benny sprung up pale and astonished, but Uncle Silas
fell right forward out of his chair on to the floor and groans out:
"Oh, my God, you've found him NOW!"