E x c e r p t 1
MOST OF THE ADVENTURES recorded in this book
really occurred; one or two were experiences of
my own, the rest those of boys who were schoolmates
of mine. Huck Finn is drawn from life; Tom Sawyer
also, but not from an individual -- he is a combination of the characteristics of three boys whom I knew,
and therefore belongs to the composite order of architecture.2
E x c e r p t 2
MONDAY morning found Tom Sawyer
miserable. Monday morning always
found him so -- because it began another
week's slow suffering in school. He generally began that day with wishing he had
had no intervening holiday, it made the going into captivity and fetters again so much more odious.
Tom lay thinking. Presently it occurred to him
that he wished he was sick; then he could stay home
from school. Here was a vague possibility. He canvassed his system. No ailment was found, and he
investigated again. This time he thought he could
detect colicky symptoms, and he began to encourage
them with considerable hope. But they soon grew
feeble, and presently died wholly away. He reflected
further. Suddenly he discovered something. One of
his upper front teeth was loose. This was lucky; he
was about to begin to groan, as a "starter," as he called
it, when it occurred to him that if he came into court
with that argument, his aunt would pull it out, and that
would hurt. So he thought he would hold the tooth in
reserve for the present, and seek further. Nothing offered for some little time, and then he remembered
hearing the doctor tell about a certain thing that laid
up a patient for two or three weeks and threatened to
make him lose a finger. So the boy eagerly drew his
sore toe from under the sheet and held it up for inspection. But now he did not know the necessary
symptoms. However, it seemed well worth while to
chance it, so he fell to groaning with considerable
But Sid slept on unconscious.
Tom groaned louder, and fancied that he began to
feel pain in the toe.
No result from Sid.
Tom was panting with his exertions by this time.
He took a rest and then swelled himself up and fetched
a succession of admirable groans.
Sid snored on.
Tom was aggravated. He said, "Sid, Sid!" and
shook him. This course worked well, and Tom began
to groan again. Sid yawned, stretched, then brought
himself up on his elbow with a snort, and began to stare
at Tom. Tom went on groaning. Sid said:
"Tom! Say, Tom!" [No response.] "Here, Tom!
TOM! What is the matter, Tom?" And he shook
him and looked in his face anxiously.
Tom moaned out:
"Oh, don't, Sid. Don't joggle me."
"Why, what's the matter, Tom? I must call
"No -- never mind. It'll be over by and by, maybe.
Don't call anybody."
"But I must! DON'T groan so, Tom, it's awful.
How long you been this way?"
"Hours. Ouch! Oh, don't stir so, Sid, you'll kill
"Tom, why didn't you wake me sooner ? Oh, Tom,
DON'T! It makes my flesh crawl to hear you. Tom,
what is the matter?"
"I forgive you everything, Sid. [Groan.] Everything you've ever done to me. When I'm gone --"
"Oh, Tom, you ain't dying, are you? Don't, Tom
oh, don't. Maybe --"
"I forgive everybody, Sid. [Groan.] Tell 'em so,
Sid. And Sid, you give my window-sash and my cat
with one eye to that new girl that's come to town, and
tell her --"
But Sid had snatched his clothes and gone. Tom
was suffering in reality, now, so handsomely was his
imagination working, and so his groans had gathered
quite a genuine tone.
Sid flew down-stairs and said:
"Oh, Aunt Polly, come! Tom's dying!"
"Yes'm. Don't wait -- come quick!"
"Rubbage! I don't believe it!"
But she fled up-stairs, nevertheless, with Sid and
Mary at her heels. And her face grew white, too,
and her lip trembled. When she reached the bedside she gasped out:
"You, Tom! Tom, what's the matter with you?"
"Oh, auntie, I'm --"
"What's the matter with you -- what is the matter
with you, child?"
"Oh, auntie, my sore toe's mortified!"
The old lady sank down into a chair and laughed
a little, then cried a little, then did both together.
This restored her and she said:
"Tom, what a turn you did give me. Now you
shut up that nonsense and climb out of this."
The groans ceased and the pain vanished from the
toe. The boy felt a little foolish, and he said:
"Aunt Polly, it SEEMED mortified, and it hurt so I
never minded my tooth at all."
"Your tooth, indeed! What's the matter with your
"One of them's loose, and it aches perfectly awful."
"There, there, now, don't begin that groaning again.
Open your mouth. Well -- your tooth IS loose, but
you're not going to die about that. Mary, get me a
silk thread, and a chunk of fire out of the kitchen."
"Oh, please, auntie, don't pull it out. It don't
hurt any more. I wish I may never stir if it does.
Please don't, auntie. I don't want to stay home
"Oh, you don't, don't you? So all this row was
because you thought you'd get to stay home from
school and go a-fishing? Tom, Tom, I love you
so, and you seem to try every way you can to break
my old heart with your outrageousness." By this
time the dental instruments were ready. The old
lady made one end of the silk thread fast to Tom's
tooth with a loop and tied the other to the bedpost.
Then she seized the chunk of fire and suddenly thrust
it almost into the boy's face. The tooth hung dangling
by the bedpost, now.
But all trials bring their compensations. As Tom
wended to school after breakfast, he was the envy of
every boy he met because the gap in his upper row
of teeth enabled him to expectorate in a new and
admirable way. He gathered quite a following of
lads interested in the exhibition; and one that had
cut his finger and had been a centre of fascination
and homage up to this time, now found himself suddenly without an adherent, and shorn of his glory.
His heart was heavy, and he said with a disdain which
he did not feel that it wasn't anything to spit like
Tom Sawyer; but another boy said, "Sour grapes!"
and he wandered away a dismantled hero.
Shortly Tom came upon the juvenile pariah of the
village, Huckleberry Finn, son of the town drunkard.
Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all
the mothers of the town, because he was idle and lawless and vulgar and bad -- and because all their children
admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden society,
and wished they dared to be like him. Tom was like
the rest of the respectable boys, in that he envied
Huckleberry his gaudy outcast condition, and was under strict orders not to play with him. So he played
with him every time he got a chance. Huckleberry
was always dressed in the cast-off clothes of full-grown
men, and they were in perennial bloom and fluttering
with rags. His hat was a vast ruin with a wide crescent
lopped out of its brim; his coat, when he wore one,
hung nearly to his heels and had the rearward buttons
far down the back; but one suspender supported his
trousers; the seat of the trousers bagged low and contained nothing, the fringed legs dragged in the dirt
when not rolled up.
Huckleberry came and went, at his own free will.
He slept on doorsteps in fine weather and in empty
hogsheads in wet; he did not have to go to school or
to church, or call any being master or obey anybody;
he could go fishing or swimming when and where he
chose, and stay as long as it suited him; nobody forbade
him to fight; he could sit up as late as he pleased; he
was always the first boy that went barefoot in the spring
and the last to resume leather in the fall; he never had
to wash, nor put on clean clothes; he could swear
wonderfully. In a word, everything that goes to make
life precious that boy had. So thought every harassed,
hampered, respectable boy in St. Petersburg.
Tom hailed the romantic outcast:
"Hello yourself, and see how you like it."
"What's that you got?"
"Lemme see him, Huck. My, he's pretty stiff.
Where'd you get him?"
"Bought him off'n a boy."
"What did you give?"
"I give a blue ticket and a bladder that I got at the
"Where'd you get the blue ticket?"
"Bought it off'n Ben Rogers two weeks ago for a
"Say -- what is dead cats good for, Huck?"
"Good for? Cure warts with."
"No! Is that so? I know something that's better."
"I bet you don't. What is it?"
"Spunk-water! I wouldn't give a dern for spunk-water."
"You wouldn't, wouldn't you? D'you ever try it?"
"No, I hain't. But Bob Tanner did."
"Who told you so!"
"Why, he told Jeff Thatcher, and Jeff told Johnny
Baker, and Johnny told Jim Hollis, and Jim told
Ben Rogers, and Ben told a nigger, and the nigger
told me. There now!"
"Well, what of it? They'll all lie. Leastways all
but the nigger. I don't know HIM. But I never see a
nigger that WOULDN'T lie. Shucks! Now you tell me
how Bob Tanner done it, Huck."
"Why, he took and dipped his hand in a rotten
stump where the rain-water was."
"In the daytime?"
"With his face to the stump?"
"Yes. Least I reckon so."
"Did he say anything?"
"I don't reckon he did. I don't know."
"Aha! Talk about trying to cure warts with spunk-water such a blame fool way as that! Why, that ain't
a-going to do any good. You got to go all by yourself,
to the middle of the woods, where you know there's
a spunk-water stump, and just as it's midnight you back
up against the stump and jam your hand in and say:
'Barley-corn, barley-corn, injun-meal shorts,
Spunk-water, spunk-water, swaller these warts,'
and then walk away quick, eleven steps, with your
eyes shut, and then turn around three times and walk
home without speaking to anybody. Because if you
speak the charm's busted."
"Well, that sounds like a good way; but that ain't
the way Bob Tanner done."
"No, sir, you can bet he didn't, becuz he's the
wartiest boy in this town; and he wouldn't have a
wart on him if he'd knowed how to work spunk-water. I've took off thousands of warts off of my
hands that way, Huck. I play with frogs so much
that I've always got considerable many warts. Sometimes I take 'em off with a bean."
"Yes, bean's good. I've done that."
"Have you? What's your way?"
"You take and split the bean, and cut the wart so
as to get some blood, and then you put the blood on
one piece of the bean and take and dig a hole and
bury it 'bout midnight at the crossroads in the dark
of the moon, and then you burn up the rest of the bean.
You see that piece that's got the blood on it will keep
drawing and drawing, trying to fetch the other piece to
it, and so that helps the blood to draw the wart, and
pretty soon off she comes."
"Yes, that's it, Huck -- that's it; though when you're
burying it if you say 'Down bean; off wart; come no
more to bother me!' it's better. That's the way Joe
Harper does, and he's been nearly to Coonville and
most everywheres. But say -- how do you cure 'em
with dead cats?"
"Why, you take your cat and go and get in the graveyard 'long about midnight when somebody that was
wicked has been buried; and when it's midnight a devil
will come, or maybe two or three, but you can't see
'em, you can only hear something like the wind, or
maybe hear 'em talk; and when they're taking that feller
away, you heave your cat after 'em and say, 'Devil
follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat, I'm
done with ye!' That'll fetch ANY wart."
"Sounds right. D'you ever try it, Huck?"
"No, but old Mother Hopkins told me."
"Well, I reckon it's so, then. Becuz they say she's
"Say! Why, Tom, I KNOW she is. She witched
pap. Pap says so his own self. He come along one
day, and he see she was a-witching him, so he took up
a rock, and if she hadn't dodged, he'd a got her. Well,
that very night he rolled off'n a shed wher' he was a
layin drunk, and broke his arm."
"Why, that's awful. How did he know she was
"Lord, pap can tell, easy. Pap says when they
keep looking at you right stiddy, they're a-witching
you. Specially if they mumble. Becuz when they
mumble they're saying the Lord's Prayer backards."
"Say, Hucky, when you going to try the cat?"
"To-night. I reckon they'll come after old Hoss
"But they buried him Saturday. Didn't they get
him Saturday night?"
"Why, how you talk! How could their charms
work till midnight? -- and THEN it's Sunday. Devils don't slosh around much of a Sunday, I don't
"I never thought of that. That's so. Lemme go
"Of course -- if you ain't afeard."
"Afeard! 'Tain't likely. Will you meow?"
"Yes -- and you meow back, if you get a chance.
Last time, you kep' me a-meowing around till old
Hays went to throwing rocks at me and says 'Dern
that cat!' and so I hove a brick through his window
but don't you tell."
"I won't. I couldn't meow that night, becuz auntie
was watching me, but I'll meow this time. Say --
"Nothing but a tick."
"Where'd you get him?"
"Out in the woods."
"What'll you take for him?"
"I don't know. I don't want to sell him."
"All right. It's a mighty small tick, anyway."
"Oh, anybody can run a tick down that don't belong
to them. I'm satisfied with it. It's a good enough
tick for me."
"Sho, there's ticks a plenty. I could have a thousand of 'em if I wanted to."
"Well, why don't you? Becuz you know mighty
well you can't. This is a pretty early tick, I reckon.
It's the first one I've seen this year."
"Say, Huck -- I'll give you my tooth for him."
"Less see it."
Tom got out a bit of paper and carefully unrolled
it. Huckleberry viewed it wistfully. The temptation was very strong. At last he said:
"Is it genuwyne?"
Tom lifted his lip and showed the vacancy.
"Well, all right," said Huckleberry, "it's a trade."
Tom enclosed the tick in the percussion-cap box
that had lately been the pinchbug's prison, and the
boys separated, each feeling wealthier than before.
When Tom reached the little isolated frame schoolhouse, he strode in briskly, with the manner of one
who had come with all honest speed. He hung his
hat on a peg and flung himself into his seat with business-like alacrity. The master, throned on high in his
great splint-bottom arm-chair, was dozing, lulled by the
drowsy hum of study.4 The interruption roused him.
Tom knew that when his name was pronounced in
full, it meant trouble.
"Come up here. Now, sir, why are you late again,
Tom was about to take refuge in a lie, when he
saw two long tails of yellow hair hanging down a back
that he recognized by the electric sympathy of love; and by that form was THE ONLY VACANT PLACE on the
girls' side of the school-house. He instantly said:
"I STOPPED TO TALK WITH HUCKLEBERRY FINN!"5
The master's pulse stood still, and he stared helplessly. The buzz of study ceased. The pupils wondered if this foolhardy boy had lost his mind. The
"You -- you did what?"
"Stopped to talk with Huckleberry Finn."
There was no mistaking the words.
"Thomas Sawyer, this is the most astounding confession I have ever listened to. No mere ferule will
answer for this offence. Take off your jacket."6
The master's arm performed until it was tired and
the stock of switches notably diminished. Then the
"Now, sir, go and sit with the girls! And let this
be a warning to you."
The titter that rippled around the room appeared
to abash the boy, but in reality that result was caused
rather more by his worshipful awe of his unknown
idol and the dread pleasure that lay in his high good
fortune. He sat down upon the end of the pine bench
and the girl hitched herself away from him with a toss
of her head. Nudges and winks and whispers traversed
the room, but Tom sat still, with his arms upon the
long, low desk before him, and seemed to study his book.
By and by attention ceased from him, and the accustomed school murmur rose upon the dull air once
more. Presently the boy began to steal furtive glances
at the girl. She observed it, "made a mouth" at him
and gave him the back of her head for the space of a
minute. When she cautiously faced around again,
a peach lay before her. She thrust it away. Tom
gently put it back. She thrust it away again, but with
less animosity. Tom patiently returned it to its place.
Then she let it remain. Tom scrawled on his slate,
"Please take it -- I got more." The girl glanced at the
words, but made no sign. Now the boy began to draw
something on the slate, hiding his work with his left
hand. For a time the girl refused to notice; but her
human curiosity presently began to manifest itself by
hardly perceptible signs. The boy worked on, apparently unconscious. The girl made a sort of noncommittal attempt to see, but the boy did not betray
that he was aware of it. At last she gave in and hesitatingly whispered:
"Let me see it."
Tom partly uncovered a dismal caricature of a
house with two gable ends to it and a corkscrew of
smoke issuing from the chimney. Then the girl's
interest began to fasten itself upon the work and she
forgot everything else. When it was finished, she
gazed a moment, then whispered:
"It's nice -- make a man."
The artist erected a man in the front yard, that
resembled a derrick. He could have stepped over
the house; but the girl was not hypercritical; she was
satisfied with the monster, and whispered:
"It's a beautiful man -- now make me coming
Tom drew an hour-glass with a full moon and straw
limbs to it and armed the spreading fingers with a
portentous fan. The girl said:
"It's ever so nice -- I wish I could draw."
"It's easy," whispered Tom, "I'll learn you."
"Oh, will you? When?"
"At noon. Do you go home to dinner?"
"I'll stay if you will."
"Good -- that's a whack. What's your name?"
"Becky Thatcher. What's yours? Oh, I know.
It's Thomas Sawyer."
"That's the name they lick me by. I'm Tom when
I'm good. You call me Tom, will you?"
Now Tom began to scrawl something on the slate,
hiding the words from the girl. But she was not
backward this time. She begged to see. Tom said:
"Oh, it ain't anything."
"Yes it is."
"No it ain't. You don't want to see."
"Yes I do, indeed I do. Please let me."
"No I won't -- deed and deed and double deed
"You won't tell anybody at all? Ever, as long as
"No, I won't ever tell ANYbody. Now let me."
"Oh, YOU don't want to see!"
"Now that you treat me so, I WILL see." And she
put her small hand upon his and a little scuffle ensued,
Tom pretending to resist in earnest but letting his hand
slip by degrees till these words were revealed: "I LOVE
"Oh, you bad thing!" And she hit his hand a
smart rap, but reddened and looked pleased, nevertheless.
Just at this juncture the boy felt a slow, fateful
grip closing on his ear, and a steady lifting impulse.
In that vise he was borne across the house and deposited in his own seat, under a peppering fire of
giggles from the whole school. Then the master
stood over him during a few awful moments, and
finally moved away to his throne without saying a
word. But although Tom's ear tingled, his heart
As the school quieted down Tom made an honest
effort to study, but the turmoil within him was too
great. In turn he took his place in the reading class
and made a botch of it; then in the geography class
and turned lakes into mountains, mountains into rivers,
and rivers into continents, till chaos was come again;
then in the spelling class, and got "turned down," by
a succession of mere baby words, till he brought up at
the foot and yielded up the pewter medal which he had
worn with ostentation for months.7
THE harder Tom tried to fasten his mind
on his book, the more his ideas wandered.
So at last, with a sigh and a yawn, he gave
it up. It seemed to him that the noon
recess would never come. The air was
utterly dead. There was not a breath
stirring. It was the sleepiest of sleepy days. The
drowsing murmur of the five and twenty studying
scholars soothed the soul like the spell that is in the
murmur of bees. Away off in the flaming sunshine,
Cardiff Hill lifted its soft green sides through a shimmering veil of heat, tinted with the purple of distance;
a few birds floated on lazy wing high in the air; no other
living thing was visible but some cows, and they were
asleep. Tom's heart ached to be free, or else to have
something of interest to do to pass the dreary time.
His hand wandered into his pocket and his face lit up
with a glow of gratitude that was prayer, though he did
not know it. Then furtively the percussion-cap box
came out. He released the tick and put him on the
long flat desk. The creature probably glowed with a
gratitude that amounted to prayer, too, at this moment,
but it was premature: for when he started thankfully
to travel off, Tom turned him aside with a pin and made
him take a new direction.
Tom's bosom friend sat next him, suffering just
as Tom had been, and now he was deeply and gratefully interested in this entertainment in an instant.
This bosom friend was Joe Harper. The two boys
were sworn friends all the week, and embattled enemies
on Saturdays. Joe took a pin out of his lapel and
began to assist in exercising the prisoner. The sport
grew in interest momently. Soon Tom said that they
were interfering with each other, and neither getting
the fullest benefit of the tick. So he put Joe's slate on
the desk and drew a line down the middle of it from top
"Now," said he, "as long as he is on your side you
can stir him up and I'll let him alone; but if you let him
get away and get on my side, you're to leave him alone
as long as I can keep him from crossing over."
"All right, go ahead; start him up."
The tick escaped from Tom, presently, and crossed
the equator. Joe harassed him awhile, and then he
got away and crossed back again. This change of
base occurred often. While one boy was worrying the
tick with absorbing interest, the other would look on
with interest as strong, the two heads bowed together
over the slate, and the two souls dead to all things else.
At last luck seemed to settle and abide with Joe. The
tick tried this, that, and the other course, and got as
excited and as anxious as the boys themselves, but time
and again just as he would have victory in his very
grasp, so to speak, and Tom's fingers would be twitching
to begin, Joe's pin would deftly head him off, and keep
possession. At last Tom could stand it no longer.
The temptation was too strong. So he reached out
and lent a hand with his pin. Joe was angry in a
moment. Said he:
"Tom, you let him alone."
"I only just want to stir him up a little, Joe."
"No, sir, it ain't fair; you just let him alone."
"Blame it, I ain't going to stir him much."
"Let him alone, I tell you."
"You shall -- he's on my side of the line."
"Look here, Joe Harper, whose is that tick?"
"I don't care whose tick he is -- he's on my side of
the line, and you sha'n't touch him."
"Well, I'll just bet I will, though. He's my tick
and I'll do what I blame please with him, or die!"
A tremendous whack came down on Tom's shoulders, and its duplicate on Joe's; and for the space
of two minutes the dust continued to fly from the
two jackets and the whole school to enjoy it. The
boys had been too absorbed to notice the hush that had
stolen upon the school awhile before when the master
came tiptoeing down the room and stood over them.
He had contemplated a good part of the performance
before he contributed his bit of variety to it.
When school broke up at noon, Tom flew to Becky
Thatcher, and whispered in her ear:
"Put on your bonnet and let on you're going home;
and when you get to the corner, give the rest of 'em
the slip, and turn down through the lane and come back.
I'll go the other way and come it over 'em the same
So the one went off with one group of scholars, and
the other with another. In a little while the two met
at the bottom of the lane, and when they reached the
school they had it all to themselves.8 Then they sat
together, with a slate before them, and Tom gave Becky
the pencil and held her hand in his, guiding it, and so
created another surprising house. When the interest
in art began to wane, the two fell to talking. Tom
was swimming in bliss. He said:
"Do you love rats?"
"No! I hate them!"
"Well, I do, too -- LIVE ones. But I mean dead
ones, to swing round your head with a string."
"No, I don't care for rats much, anyway. What
I like is chewing-gum."
"Oh, I should say so! I wish I had some now."
"Do you? I've got some. I'll let you chew it
awhile, but you must give it back to me."
That was agreeable, so they chewed it turn about,
and dangled their legs against the bench in excess of
"Was you ever at a circus?" said Tom.
"Yes, and my pa's going to take me again some
time, if I'm good."
"I been to the circus three or four times -- lots of
times. Church ain't shucks to a circus. There's
things going on at a circus all the time. I'm going
to be a clown in a circus when I grow up."
"Oh, are you! That will be nice. They're so
lovely, all spotted up."
"Yes, that's so. And they get slathers of money -- most a dollar a day, Ben Rogers says. Say, Becky,
was you ever engaged?"
"Why, engaged to be married."
"Would you like to?"
"I reckon so. I don't know. What is it like?"
"Like? Why it ain't like anything. You only
just tell a boy you won't ever have anybody but him,
ever ever ever, and then you kiss and that's all. Anybody can do it."
"Kiss? What do you kiss for?"
"Why, that, you know, is to -- well, they always
"Why, yes, everybody that's in love with each
other. Do you remember what I wrote on the slate?"
"Ye -- yes."
"What was it?"
"I sha'n't tell you."
"Shall I tell YOU?"
"Ye -- yes -- but some other time."
"No, not now -- tomorrow."
"Oh, no, NOW. Please, Becky -- I'll whisper it,
I'll whisper it ever so easy."
Becky hesitating, Tom took silence for consent,
and passed his arm about her waist and whispered
the tale ever so softly, with his mouth close to her
ear. And then he added:
"Now you whisper it to me -- just the same."
She resisted, for a while, and then said:
"You turn your face away so you can't see, and
then I will. But you mustn't ever tell anybody --
WILL you, Tom? Now you won't, WILL you?"
"No, indeed, indeed I won't. Now, Becky."
He turned his face away. She bent timidly around
till her breath stirred his curls and whispered, "I --
love -- you!"
Then she sprang away and ran around and around
the desks and benches, with Tom after her, and took
refuge in a corner at last, with her little white apron to
her face. Tom clasped her about her neck and pleaded:
"Now, Becky, it's all done -- all over but the kiss.
Don't you be afraid of that -- it ain't anything at all.
Please, Becky." And he tugged at her apron and the
By and by she gave up, and let her hands drop;
her face, all glowing with the struggle, came up and
submitted. Tom kissed the red lips and said:
"Now it's all done, Becky. And always after this,
you know, you ain't ever to love anybody but me, and
you ain't ever to marry anybody but me, ever never
and forever. Will you?"
"No, I'll never love anybody but you, Tom, and
I'll never marry anybody but you -- and you ain't to
ever marry anybody but me, either."
"Certainly. Of course. That's PART of it. And
always coming to school or when we're going home,
you're to walk with me, when there ain't anybody
looking -- and you choose me and I choose you at
parties, because that's the way you do when you're
"It's so nice. I never heard of it before."
"Oh, it's ever so gay! Why, me and Amy
The big eyes told Tom his blunder and he stopped,
"Oh, Tom! Then I ain't the first you've ever
been engaged to!"
The child began to cry. Tom said:
"Oh, don't cry, Becky, I don't care for her any
"Yes, you do, Tom -- you know you do."
Tom tried to put his arm about her neck, but she
pushed him away and turned her face to the wall,
and went on crying. Tom tried again, with soothing words in his mouth, and was repulsed again.
Then his pride was up, and he strode away and went
outside. He stood about, restless and uneasy, for a
while, glancing at the door, every now and then,
hoping she would repent and come to find him. But
she did not. Then he began to feel badly and fear
that he was in the wrong. It was a hard struggle
with him to make new advances, now, but he nerved
himself to it and entered. She was still standing back
there in the corner, sobbing, with her face to the wall.
Tom's heart smote him. He went to her and stood a
moment, not knowing exactly how to proceed. Then
he said hesitatingly:
"Becky, I -- I don't care for anybody but you."
No reply -- but sobs.
"Becky" -- pleadingly. "Becky, won't you say something?"
Tom got out his chiefest jewel, a brass knob from
the top of an andiron, and passed it around her so
that she could see it, and said:
"Please, Becky, won't you take it?"
She struck it to the floor. Then Tom marched
out of the house and over the hills and far away, to
return to school no more that day. Presently Becky
began to suspect. She ran to the door; he was not
in sight; she flew around to the play-yard; he was
not there. Then she called:
"Tom! Come back, Tom!"
She listened intently, but there was no answer.
She had no companions but silence and loneliness.
So she sat down to cry again and upbraid herself;
and by this time the scholars began to gather again,
and she had to hide her griefs and still her broken
heart and take up the cross of a long, dreary, aching
afternoon, with none among the strangers about her
to exchange sorrows with.