- Mark Twain 'based Tom Sawyer on drinking buddy from steam baths' | Books | The Guardian
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- THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
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Like many other 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:. A bit of a scare shot through Tom—a touch of uncomfortable suspicion.
Mark Twain 'based Tom Sawyer on drinking buddy from steam baths' | Books | The Guardian
So he said:. But in spite of her, Tom knew where the wind lay, now. So he forestalled what might be the next move:. Aunt Polly was vexed to think she had overlooked that bit of circumstantial evidence, and missed a trick.
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Then she had a new inspiration:. Unbutton your jacket! He opened his jacket. His shirt collar was securely sewed. But I forgive ye, Tom. This time. She was half sorry her sagacity had miscarried, and half glad that Tom had stumbled into obedient conduct for once. 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:. Confound it! 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.
This new interest was a valued novelty in whistling, which he had just acquired from a negro, and he was suffering to practise it un-disturbed. 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 and 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 the boy, not the astronomer. The summer evenings were long. It was not dark, yet. Presently Tom checked his whistle. A stranger was before him—a boy a shade larger than himself. A new-comer of any age or either sex was an im-pressive curiosity in the poor little shabby village of St. This boy was well dressed, too—well dressed on a week-day.
This was simply astounding. 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. The more Tom stared at the splendid marvel, the higher he turned up his nose at his finery and the 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 could lick you with one hand tied behind me, if I wanted to. You say you can do it. Oh, what a hat! What do you keep saying you will for? Another pause, and more eying and sidling around each other. Presently they were shoulder to shoulder. Tom said:. 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 till both were hot and flushed, each relaxed his strain with watchful caution, and Tom said:. The new boy took two broad coppers out of his pocket and held them out with derision.
Tom struck them to the ground.
Presently the confusion took form, and through the fog of battle Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy, and pounding him with his fists. 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.
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. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young the music issued at the lips.
There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust-trees were in bloom and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and above it, was green with vegetation and it lay just far enough away to seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful, and inviting.
Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.
Jim came skipping out at the gate with a tin pail, and singing Buffalo Gals.
THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
He remembered that there was company at the pump. White, mulatto, and negro boys and girls were always there waiting their turns, resting, trading playthings, quarrelling, fighting, skylarking. And he remembered that although the pump was only a hundred and fifty yards off, Jim never got back with a bucket of water under an hour—and even then somebody generally had to go after him. Jim was only human—this attraction was too much for him. He put down his pail, took the white alley, and bent over the toe with absorbing interest while the bandage was being unwound.
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In another moment he was flying down the street with his pail and a tingling rear, Tom was whitewashing with vigor, and Aunt Polly was retiring from the field with a slipper in her hand and triumph in her eye. He began to think of the fun he had planned for this day, and his sorrows multiplied. Soon the free boys would come tripping along on all sorts of delicious expeditions, and they would make a world of fun of him for having to work—the very thought of it burnt him like fire.
He got out his worldly wealth and examined it—bits of toys, marbles, and trash; enough to buy an exchange of work , maybe, but not half enough to buy so much as half an hour of pure freedom. So he returned his straitened means to his pocket, and gave up the idea of trying to buy the boys.