The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Chapter1

I ?TOM!? No answer. ?TOM!? No answer. ?W hat?s gone with that boy, I wonder? You TOM!? No answer. The old lady pulled her sp ectacles down and looked over them about the room ; then she put them up and looked out under them. She se ldom or never looked THROUGH them for so sm all a thin g as a boy ; they were her sta te pa ir, the p ride of her heart, and were built f or ?style,? not service ? she could have seen through a pair of stove-lid s just as well. She loo ked perplex ed f or a mom ent, and then said, not fiercely, but still lou d enough for the f urniture to he ar: ?W ell, I lay if I get hold of you I?ll ?? She did not finish, for by this tim e she was bending down and punching under the be d w ith the broom, and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with. She resurrected nothing but the cat. ?I never did see the beat of that boy!? 3 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer She went to the open door and stood in it and looked out am ong the tom ato vines and ?jim pson? weeds that constituted the garden. No Tom . So she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted: ?Y-o-u-u T OM!? There was a slight noise behi nd her and she turned just in tim e to seize a sm all boy by the slack of his roundabout and arrest his flight. ?There! I might ?a? thought of that closet. W hat you been doing in there?? ?Nothing.? ?Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. W hat IS that truck?? ?I don?t know, aunt.? ?W ell, I kno w. It?s jam ? that?s wh at it is. For ty tim es I?ve said if you didn?t let th at jam alone I?d skin you. Hand m e that switch.? The switch hovered in the ai r ? the peril was des- perate ? ?My! Look behind you, aunt!? The old lady whirled round, a nd snatched her skirts out of danger. The lad fled on th e in stant, sc ram bled up the high board-f ence, and disappeared over it. 4 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer His aunt Polly stood surprised a mom ent, and then broke into a gentle laugh. ?Hang the boy, can?t I never learn anything? Ain?t he played m e tricks enough like that f or m e to be look- ing out for him by this time? But old fools is the big- gest fools there is. Can?t learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But m y goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what?s com ing? He ?pears to know just how long he can torm ent m e before I get m y dander up, and he knows if he can m ake out to put me off for a m inute or make m e laugh, it?s all down again and I can?t hit him a lick. I ain?t doing m y dut y by that boy, and that?s the Lord?s truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book s ays. I?m a laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He?s full of the Old Scratch, but laws -a-m e! he?s m y own dead sister?s boy, poor thing, and I ain?t got the heart to lash him , som e- how. Every tim e I let him off, m y conscience does hurt m e so, and every tim e I hit him m y old heart most breaks. W ell-a-well, m an th at is born of w oman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it?s so. He?ll play hooke y this evening, * and [* Southwestern for ?afternoon] I?ll just be obleeged to make hi m work, to-m orrow, to punish him . It?s m ighty 5 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer hard to m ake him work Satu rdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work m ore than he hates anything else, and I?ve GOT to do som e of m y duty by him , or I?ll be the ruination of the child.? Tom did play hookey, and he had a very good tim e. He got back hom e barely in season to help Jim , the sm all colored boy, saw next-day?s wood and split the kindlings before supper ? at least he was th ere in tim e to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work. Tom ?s younger brother (or rath er half-brother) Sid was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy, and had no adventurous, trouble- som e ways. While Tom was eating his s upper, and stealing sugar as opportunity offered, Aunt Polly asked him questions that were full of guile, and ve ry deep ? for she wanted to trap him into dam aging revealm ents. Like m any other sim ple-hearted souls, it was he r p et vanity to be lieve sh e was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplom acy, and she loved to con- tem plate her m ost transparent devices as marvel s of low cunning. Said she: ?Tom , it was m iddling warm in school, warn?t it?? ?Yes?m .? ?Powerful warm , warn?t it?? 6 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ?Yes?m .? ?Didn?t you want to go in a-swimm ing, Tom ?? A bit of a scare shot through T om ? a touch of uncomfortable suspicion. He searched Aunt Polly?s face, but it told him nothing. So he said: ?No?m ? well, not very much.? The old lady reached out her hand and felt Tom ?s shirt, and said : ?But you ain?t too warm now , though.? And it flattered her to reflect that she had di scovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that th at was what she had in her m ind. But in spite of her, Tom knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what m ight be the next m ove: ?Som e of us pum ped on our heads ? m ine?s dam p yet. See?? Aunt Polly was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circu mstantial ev idence, and m issed a trick. Then she had a new inspiration: ?Tom , you didn?t have to undo your shirt collar where I sewed it, to pum p on your head, did you? Unbutton your jacket!? The trouble vanished out of Tom?s fa ce. He opened his jacket. His s hirt collar w as securely s ewed. 7 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ?Bother! W ell, go ?long with you. I?d m ade sure you?d played hookey and been a-swimm ing. But I forgive ye, Tom . I reckon you?re a kind of a sin ged cat, as the saying is ? better?n you look. THIS tim e.? She was half sorry her saga city had m iscarried, and half glad that Tom had stum bled into obedient con- duct for once. But Sidney s aid: ?W ell, now, if I didn?t thi nk you sew ed his collar with white thread, but it?s black.? ?W hy, I did sew it with white! Tom !? But Tom did not wait for the re st. As he went out at the door he said: ?Siddy, I?ll lick you for that.? In a safe place Tom exam ined two l arge need les which were thru st into th e lap els of his ja cket, and h ad thread bound about them ? one needle carried white thread and the other black. He said: ?She?d never noticed if it hadn?t been for Sid. Confound it! som etim es she sews it with w hite, and som etim es she sews it with black. I wish to gee- m iny she?d stick to one or t?othe r ? I can?t keep the run of ?em . But I bet you I?ll lam Si d for that. I?ll learn him !? 8 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer He was not the Model B oy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though ? and loathed him . W ithin two m inutes, or even less, he had forgotten all his troubles. Not becau se his troub les were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man?s are to a m an, but because a n ew and powerful in teres t bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the tim e ? just as m en?s misfortunes are forgotten in the excite- m ent of ne w enterp ris es. This new interes t was a valu ed n ovelty in whistling, w hich he had just acquired from a negro, and he was suffering to pra ctis e it un- disturbed. It consisted in a pecu liar bird-like turn, a so rt of liqu id warble, produced by touching the tongue to the roof of the m outh at shor t in tervals in the m ids t of the m usic ? the reader probably rem embers how to do it, if he has ever been a boy. Diligen ce and atten tion soon gave him the knack of it, and he strode down the st reet with his m outh full of harm ony and his soul full of grat itude. He felt much as an astronom er feels who has discovered a new planet ? no doubt, as far as strong, d eep, unalloyed pleasure is concerned, the advantage was with the boy, not the astronom er. The summ er evenings were long. It was not dark, yet. Presently To m checked his whistle. A strang er was before 9 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer him ? a boy a shade larger than himself. A new- com er of any age or either sex was an im - pressive curiosity in the poor little shabby village of St. Petersburg. This boy was well dressed, too ? well dressed on a week-day. This was sim ply as- tounding. His cap was a dainty thing, his close- buttoned blue cloth roundabout was new and natty, and so were his pantaloons. He had shoes on ? and it was only Friday. He even wore a necktie, a bright bit of ribbon. He had a citified air about h im that ate into Tom ?s vitals. The more Tom stared at th e sple ndid m arvel, the higher he turned up his nose at his finery and the shabbier and shabbier his own outfit seem ed to him to grow. Neither boy spoke. If one m oved, the other m oved ? but only sidewise, in a circle; th ey ke pt face to face and eye to eye all the tim e. Finally Tom said: ?I can lick y ou!? ?I?d like to s ee you try it. ? ?W ell, I can do it.? ?No you can?t, either.? ?Yes I can. ? ?No you can?t.? ?I can. ? ?You can?t. ? ?Can!? 10 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ?Can?t!? An uncom fortable pause. Then Tom said: ?W hat?s your nam e?? ??Tisn?t any of your business, m aybe .? ?W ell I ?low I?ll MAKE it m y business.? ?W ell why don?t you? ? ?If you say much, I will. ? ?Much ? much ? MUCH. There now.? ?Oh, you think you?re m ighty s mart, DON?T you? I could lick you with one hand tied behind m e, if I wanted to.? ?W ell why don?t you DO it? You SAY you can do it.? ?W ell I W ILL, if you fool with m e.? ?Oh yes ? I ?ve seen wh ole f amilies in the s ame fix.? ?Sm arty! You think you?re SOME, now, DON?T you? Oh, what a hat!? ?You can lump that hat if you don?t like it. I dare you to knock it off ? and anybody that?ll take a dare will suck eggs.? ?You?re a lia r!? ?You?re ano ther.? ?You?re a fighting liar and dasn?t take it up.? ?Aw ? take a walk!? 11 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ?Say ? if you give me m uch more of your s ass I?ll take and bounce a rock off?n your head.? ?Oh, of COURSE you will.? ?W ell I W ILL.? ?W ell why don?t you DO it then? What do you keep SAYING you will for? W hy don?t you DO it? It?s because you ?re afraid.? ?I AIN?T afraid.? ?You are.? ?I ain ?t.? ?You are.? Another pause, and m ore eying and sidling around each oth er. Presently th ey were sho ulder to sho ulder. Tom said: ?Get away from here!? ?Go away yourself!? ?I won?t. ? ?I won?t either.? So they stood, each with a foot placed at an angle as a brace, and both shov ing with m ight and m ain, and glowering at each oth er with hate. But neither could get an advantage. After struggling till both were hot and flushed, each relaxed his strain with watchful caution, and Tom said: 12 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ?You?re a coward and a pup. I?l l tell my big brother on you, and he can thrash you with his little finger, and I?ll make hi m do it, too.? ?W hat do I c are for your big brother? I?ve got a brother that?s bigger than he is ? and what?s m ore, he can throw him over that fence, too.? [Bot h brothers were im aginary.] ?That?s a lie. ? ?YOUR saying so don?t m ake it so.? Tom drew a line in the d ust with his big toe, and said: ?I dare you to step over th at, and I?ll lick you till you can?t stand up. Anybody that?ll take a d are will steal sheep.? The new boy stepped over prom ptly, and said: ?Now you said you?d do it, now let?s see you do it.? ?Don?t you crowd m e now; you better look out.? ?W ell, you SAID you?d do it ? why don?t you do it?? ?By jingo! f or two cents I W ILL do i t.? The new boy took two broad coppers out of his pocket and held them out with deri sion. Tom struck them to the ground. In an instant both boys were rolling and tum bling in the dirt, gripped together like cats ; and for the space of a m inute they tugged and tore at each other?s hair and clothes, punched and scratche d each other?s nose, and covered them selves with dust and glory. Presently the 13 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer confusion took for m, and through the fog of battle Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy, and pounding him with his fists. ?Holler ?nuff!? said he. The boy only struggled to free him self. He was crying ? m ainly from rage. ?Holler ?nuff!? ? and the pounding went on. At last the stranger got out a sm othered ??Nuff!? and Tom let him up and said: ?Now that?ll learn you. Better look out who you?re fooling with next tim e.? The new boy went off br ushing the dust from his clothes, sobbing, snuffling, and occasionally looking back and shaking his head and thre atening what he would do to Tom the ?next tim e he caught him out.? To w hich Tom responded with jeers, and star ted off in high fe ather, and as soon as his back was turned the new boy snatched up a stone, threw it and hit him be - tween the shou lders and then turned tail and ran like an antelope. Tom chased the traitor hom e, and thus found out where he lived. He then held a position at the gate for som e tim e, daring the enem y to com e out- side, but the enemy only m ade faces at him through the window and declined. At last the enem y?s m other appeared, a nd called Tom a ba d, vicious, 14 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer vulgar child, and ordered hi m away. So he went away; but he said he ??lowed? to ?lay? for that boy. He got hom e pretty late that night, and when he clim bed cau tiously in a t th e window, he uncovered an am buscade, in the p erso n of his aun t; and when she saw the state h is cloth es w ere in her r esolution to turn h is Saturday h oliday into captivity at ha rd lab or bec ame adam antine in its firm ness. 15 of 353 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
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