TOM was a glittering hero once more -- the
pet of the old, the envy of the young.
His name even went into immortal print,
for the village paper magnified him.
There were some that believed he would
be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.
As usual, the fickle, unreasoning world took Muff
Potter to its bosom and fondled him as lavishly as it
had abused him before. But that sort of conduct is
to the world's credit; therefore it is not well to find
fault with it.
Tom's days were days of splendor and exultation
to him, but his nights were seasons of horror. Injun
Joe infested all his dreams, and always with doom
in his eye. Hardly any temptation could persuade
the boy to stir abroad after nightfall. Poor Huck
was in the same state of wretchedness and terror, for
Tom had told the whole story to the lawyer the night
before the great day of the trial, and Huck was sore
afraid that his share in the business might leak out,
yet, notwithstanding Injun Joe's flight had saved
him the suffering of testifying in court. The poor
fellow had got the attorney to promise secrecy, but
what of that? Since Tom's harassed conscience had
managed to drive him to the lawyer's house by night
and wring a dread tale from lips that had been sealed
with the dismalest and most formidable of oaths,
Huck's confidence in the human race was well-nigh
Daily Muff Potter's gratitude made Tom glad he
had spoken; but nightly he wished he had sealed up
Half the time Tom was afraid Injun Joe would
never be captured; the other half he was afraid he
would be. He felt sure he never could draw a safe
breath again until that man was dead and he had
seen the corpse.
Rewards had been offered, the country had been
scoured, but no Injun Joe was found. One of those
omniscient and awe-inspiring marvels, a detective,
came up from St. Louis, moused around, shook his
head, looked wise, and made that sort of astounding
success which members of that craft usually achieve.
That is to say, he "found a clew." But you can't
hang a "clew" for murder, and so after that detective had got through and gone home, Tom felt just
as insecure as he was before.
The slow days drifted on, and each left behind it
a slightly lightened weight of apprehension.