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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain to my wife this book is affectionately dedicated preface most of the adventures recorded in this book really occurred one or two were experiences 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 the odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West the period of this story that is to say 30 or 40 years ago although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account for a part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves and of how they felt and thought and talked and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in the author Hartford 1876 chapter 1 Tom no answer Tom no answer what’s gone with that boy I wonder you Tom no answer the old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room then she put them up and looked out under them she seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy they were her state pair the pride of her heart and were built for style not service she could have seen through a pair of stove lids just as well she looked perplexed for a moment and then said not fiercely but still loud enough for the furniture to hear well I say if I get hold of you I’ll she did not finish for by this time she was bending down and punching under the bed with a broom and so she needed breath to punctuate the punches with she resurrected nothing but the I never see the beat of that boy she went to the open door and stood in it and looked out among the tomato vines and jimpson weeds that constituted the garden no Tom so she lifted up her voice at an angle calculated for distance and shouted you Tom there was a slight noise behind her and she turned just in time to seize a small boy by the slack of his roundabouts and arrest his flight there I might have thought of that closet what you’ve been doing in there nothing nothing look at your hands and look at your mouth what is that truck I don’t know what well I know it’s Jam that’s what it is 40 times I’ve said if you didn’t let that Jam alone I’ll skin you hand me that switch the switch hovered in the air the peril was desperate my look behind you want the old lady whirled round and snatched her skirts out of danger the lad fled on the instant scrambled up the high board fence and disappeared over it his aunt polly’s stood surprised a moment and then broke into a gentle laugh hang that boy can’t I never learn anything ain’t he played me tricks enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time but old fools is the biggest fools there is can’t learn an old dog new tricks as the saying is but my goodness he never plays them alike two days and how is a body to know what’s coming he appears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh it’s all down again and I can’t hit him a lick I ain’t doing my duty by that boy and that’s the Lord’s truth goodness knows spare the rod and spoil the child as the Good Book says I’m a laying up sin and suffering a for us both I know he’s full of the old scratch but Laza me he’s my own dead sister’s boy poor thing and I ain’t got the heart to lash him somehow every time I let him off my conscience does hurt me so and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks well well a man that is born of a woman is of days and full of trouble as the scripture says and I reckon it’s so he’ll play hooky this evening that’s southwestern for afternoon’ and I’ll just be a bleed to make him work tomorrow to punish him it’s mighty hard to make him work Saturdays when all the boys is having holiday but he hates work more than he hates anything else and I’ve got to do some of my duty by him or I’ll be the ruination of the child Tom did play hooky and he had a very good time he got back home barely in season

to help Jim a small colored boy saw next days would and split the kindling before supper at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did 3/4 of the work Tom’s younger brother or rather 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 troublesome ways while tom was eating his supper and stealing sugar his opportunity offered and Polly asked him questions that were full of guile and very deep for she wanted to trap him into damaging revealment like many others simple hearted Souls it was her pet vanity to believe she was endowed with a talent for dark and mysterious diplomacy and she loved to contemplate her most transparent devices as marvels of low cunning said she Tom it was middling warm in school wasn’t it yes’m powerful warm wasn’t it yes’m didn’t you want to go in a swimming Tom a bit of a scare shot through Tom a touch of uncomfortable suspicion he searched at Polly’s face but it told him nothing so he said known 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 discovered that the shirt was dry without anybody knowing that that was what she had in her mind but in spite of her Tom knew where the wind lay now so he for stalled what might be the next move some of us pumped on our heads Minds damp yatshi’ and polly was vexed to think had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence and missed a trick then she had a new inspiration Tom you didn’t have to undo your shirt collar where I sewed it to pump on your head did you unbutton your jacket the trouble vanished out of Tom’s face he opened his jacket his shirt collar was securely sewed bother well go along with you I made sure you’d played hooky and Benes women but I forgive you Tom I reckon you’re a kind of singed cat as the same is better than you look this time she was half sorry her sagacity had miscarried and half glad that Tom had stumbled into obedient conduct for once but Sydney said well now if I didn’t think you sewed his collar with white thread but it’s black why I did so it was white Tom but Tom did not wait for the rest as he went out the door he said city I’ll lick you for that in a safe place Tom examined two large needles which were thrust into the lapels of his jacket and had 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 CID confound it sometimes she sews it with white and sometimes she sews it with black I wish to jiminy she’d stick to one or t’other I can’t keep the run of them but I bet I learned to sit for that I’ll learn him he was not the model boy of the village he knew the model boy very well though and loathed him within two minutes or even less he had forgotten all his troubles now because his troubles were one whit less heavy and bitter to him than a man’s are to a man but because a new and powerful interest bore them down and drove them out of his mind for the time just as men’s misfortunes are forgotten in the excitement of new enterprises this new interest was a valued novelty in whistling which he had just acquired from a Negro and he was suffering to practice it undisturbed it consisted in a peculiar bird-like turn a sort of liquid warble produced by touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth at short intervals in the midst of the music the reader probably remembers how to do it if he has ever been a boy diligence and attention soon gave him the knack of it and he strode down the street with his mouth full of harmony in his soul full of gratitude he felt much as an astronomer feels who has discovered a new planet no doubt as far as strong deep unalloyed pleasure is concerned the advantage was with a boy not the astronomer the summer evenings were long it was not dark yet presently Tom checked his whistled a stranger was before him a boy a shade larger than himself a newcomer of any age or either sex was an impressive curiosity in the poor little shabby village of st Petersburg this boy was well dressed too well dressed on a weekday this was simply astounding his cap was a dainty thing his clothes 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 acidified air about him that aid into Toms vitals the more Tom stared at the splendid marvel the higher he turned up his nose at his finery and a shabbier and

shabbier his own outfit seemed to him to grow neither boy spoke if one moved the other moved but only sidewise in a circle they kept face to face and eye to eye all the time finally Tom said I can lick you I’d like to see you try it well I can do it no you can’t either yes I can no you can’t I can you can’t can’t can’t an uncomfortable pause then Tom said what’s your name there’s none of your business maybe well I’d allow I’ll make it my business well why don’t you if you say much I will much much much they are now oh you think you’re mighty smart don’t you I could lick you with one hand tied behind me if I wanted to well why don’t you do it you say you can do it well I will if you fool with me oh yes I’ve seen whole families in the same fix smarty you think you’re some now don’t you oh what a 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 liar you’re another you’re a fighting liar and doesn’t take it up take a walk say if you give me much more of your sass I’ll take and bounce a rock off in your head oh of course you will well I will well why don’t you do it then why do you keep saying you will for why don’t you do it it’s because you’re afraid I ain’t afraid you are I hate you are another pause and more eying and sidling around each other presently they were shoulder to shoulder tom said get away from me go away yourself I won’t well I won’t either so they stood each with a foot placed at an angle as a brace and both shoving with might and main and glowering at each other with hate but neither could get an advantage after struggling until both were hot and flushed each relaxed his strain with watchful caution and Tom said you’re a coward and a pup I’ll tell my big brother on you and he can thrash you with his little finger and I’ll make him do it too what do I care for your big brother I’ve got a brother that’s bigger than he is and what’s more he can throw him over that fence too both brothers were imaginary that’s a lie you’re saying so doesn’t make it so Tom drew a line in the dust with his big toe and said I dare you to step over that and I’ll lick you till you can’t stand up anybody that’ll take a dare was a steel sheep the new boy stepped over promptly and said now you said you’d do it now let’s see you do it don’t you crowd me now you better look out well you said you’d do it why don’t you do it by jingo for two cents I will do it the new boy took two broad coppers out of his pocket and held them out with derision Tom struck them to the ground in an instant both boys were rolling and tumbling in the dirt gripped together like cats and for the space of a minute they tugged and tore at each other’s hair and clothes punched and scratched each other’s noses and covered themselves with dust and Auri presently the confusion took form and through the fog of battle Tom appeared seated astride the new boy and pounding him with his fists poller enough said he the boy only struggled to free himself he was crying mainly from rage holler enough and the pounding went on at last the stranger got out of smothered nuff and Tom led him up and said now that’ll learn you better look out who you’re fooling with next time the new boy went off brushing the dust from his clothes sobbing snuffling and occasionally looking back and shaking his head and threatening what he would do to Tom the next time he caught him out to which Tom responded with jeers and started off in a high feather and as soon as his back was turned the new boys snatched up a stone threw it and hit him between the shoulders and then turned tail and ran like an antelope Tom chased the traitor home and thus found out where he lived he then held a position at the gate for some time daring the enemy to come outside but the enemy only made faces at him through the window and declined at last the enemy’s mother appeared and called Tom a bad vicious vulgar child and ordered him away so he went away but he said he allowed to lay for that boy he got home pretty late that night and when he climbed cautiously in at the window he uncovered an ambuscade in the person of his aunt and when she saw the state his clothes were in her resolution to turn his Saturday holiday into captivity at hard labor became adamantine in its firmness

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