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What is Jerry Cruncher’s after-hours secret occupation that results in mud on his boots and rust on his fingers?

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In book 2, chapter 14, Jerry's wife asks him if he is going out to-night. He replies that he is and he is going fishing, and young jerry asks to his father "Your fishing-rod gets rayther rusty; don't it, father?".

Do be sure to know he is not, in reality, fishing. He digs up bodies to sell for science. This was a time period when science was budding, yet the the source for bodies was extremely limited to criminals. Gravedigging was common and problematic. This is his secret job. NOT FISHING.

Hope it helps

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