They was only words that he’d spoken, they couldn’t do any harm to anybody.
It wasn’t as if what he said weren’t true, was it?
Sure, he didn’t have any hard evidence, he hadn’t actually witnessed anything, but everybody knew.
He hadn’t said anything that hadn’t already been said a thousand times by everybody else at some point or another; the whole town knew, everybody.
So why did he feel so guilty all of a sudden, so uncertain of himself, after pa and his friends had picked up their rifles and driven off?