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148                         Tom Sawyer, Detective
Then we got him comfortable again, telling him about his people, and how Brace's wife had been dead three years, and Brace wanted to marry Benny and she shook him, and Jubiter was working for Uncle Silas, and him and Uncle Silas quarreling all the time — and then he let go and laughed.
"Land!" he says, "it's like old times to hear all this tittle-tattle, and does me good. It's been seven years and more since I heard any. How do they talk about me these days?"
" The farmers — and the family."
"Why, they don't talk about you at all — at least only just a mention, once in a long time."
" The nation !" he says, surprised ; " why is that?"
" Because they think you are dead long ago."
"No! Are you speaking true?—honor bright, now." He jumped up, excited.
" Honor bright. There ain't anybody thinks you are alive."
"Then I'm saved, I'm saved, sure! I'll go home. They'll hide me and save my life. You keep mum. Swear you'll keep mum — swear you'll never, never tell on me. Oh, boys, be good to a poor devil that's being hunted day and night, and dasn't show his face ! I've never done you any harm; I'll never do you any, as God is in the heavens; swear you'll be good to me and help me save my life."
We'd a swore it if he'd been a dog; and so we done it. Well, he couldn't love us enough for it or be grate-