It's no place for it. It was not like him. I couldn't understand it. How did it happen?"
"It happened because he didn't know anything about it. He was asleep when I got home last night."
"And you didn't wake him? Tom, is that possible?"
Tom was not getting much comfort here. He fidgeted a moment, then said:
"I didn't choose to tell him--that's all. He was going a-fishing before dawn, with Pembroke Howard, and if I got the twins into the common calaboose--and I thought sure I could--I never dreamed of their slipping out on a paltry fine for such an outrageous offense-- well, once in the calaboose they would be disgraced, and uncle wouldn't want any duels with that sort of characters, and wouldn't allow any.
"Tom, I am ashamed of you! I don't see how you could treat your good old uncle so. I am a better friend of his than you are; for if I had known the circumstances I would have kept that case out of court until I got word to him and let him have the gentleman's chance."
"You would?" exclaimed Tom, with lively surprise. "And it your first case! And you know perfectly well there never would have _been_ any case if he had got that chance, don't you? And you'd have finished your days a pauper nobody, instead of being an actually launched and recognized lawyer today. And you would really have done that, would you?"
Tom looked at him a moment or two, then shook his head sorrowfully and said:
"I believe you--upon my word I do. I don't know why I do, but I do. Pudd'nhead Wilson, I think you're the biggest fool I ever saw."
"Don't mention it."
"Well, he has been requiring you to fight the Italian, and you have refused. You degenerate remnant of an honorable line! I'm thoroughly ashamed of you, Tom!"
"Oh, that's nothing! I don't care for anything, now that the will's torn up again."
"Tom, tell me squarely--didn't he find any fault with you for anything but those two things--carrying the case into court and refusing to fight?"
He watched the young fellow's face narrowly, but it was entirely reposeful, and so also was the voice that answered:
"No, he didn't find any other fault with me. If he had had any to find, he would have begun yesterday, for he was just in the humor for it. He drove that jack-pair around town and showed them the sights, and when he came home he couldn't find his father's old silver watch that don't keep time and he thinks so much of, and couldn't remember what he did with it three or four days ago when he saw it last, and when I suggested that it probably wasn't lost but stolen, it put him in a regular passion, and he said I was a fool-- which convinced me, without any trouble, that that was just what he was afraid _had_ happened, himself, but did not want to believe it, because lost things stand a better chance of being found again than stolen ones."
"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.