The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, Part XV

Tom Sawyer

Every day on Daily Readers' Book Club we offer an article length section of a book until that book is done.  We are currently reading Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  This book will have 90 parts.

Now he lapsed into suffering again, as the dry argument was resumed.
Presently he bethought him of a treasure he had and got it out.  It was
a large black beetle with formidable jaws--a "pinchbug," he called it.
It was in a percussion-cap box.  The first thing the beetle did was to
take him by the finger.  A natural fillip followed, the beetle went
floundering into the aisle and lit on its back, and the hurt finger
went into the boy's mouth.  The beetle lay there working its helpless
legs, unable to turn over.  Tom eyed it, and longed for it; but it was
safe out of his reach.  Other people uninterested in the sermon found
relief in the beetle, and they eyed it too.  Presently a vagrant poodle
dog came idling along, sad at heart, lazy with the summer softness and
the quiet, weary of captivity, sighing for change.  He spied the beetle;
the drooping tail lifted and wagged.  He surveyed the prize; walked
around it; smelt at it from a safe distance; walked around it again;
grew bolder, and took a closer smell; then lifted his lip and made a
gingerly snatch at it, just missing it; made another, and another;
began to enjoy the diversion; subsided to his stomach with the beetle
between his paws, and continued his experiments; grew weary at last,
and then indifferent and absent-minded.  His head nodded, and little by
little his chin descended and touched the enemy, who seized it.  There
was a sharp yelp, a flirt of the poodle's head, and the beetle fell a
couple of yards away, and lit on its back once more.  The neighboring
spectators shook with a gentle inward joy, several faces went behind
fans and handkerchiefs, and Tom was entirely happy.  The dog looked
foolish, and probably felt so; but there was resentment in his heart,
too, and a craving for revenge.  So he went to the beetle and began a
wary attack on it again; jumping at it from every point of a circle,
lighting with his fore-paws within an inch of the creature, making even
closer snatches at it with his teeth, and jerking his head till his
ears flapped again.  But he grew tired once more, after a while; tried
to amuse himself with a fly but found no relief; followed an ant
around, with his nose close to the floor, and quickly wearied of that;
yawned, sighed, forgot the beetle entirely, and sat down on it.  Then
there was a wild yelp of agony and the poodle went sailing up the
aisle; the yelps continued, and so did the dog; he crossed the house in
front of the altar; he flew down the other aisle; he crossed before the
doors; he clamored up the home-stretch; his anguish grew with his
progress, till presently he was but a woolly comet moving in its orbit
with the gleam and the speed of light.  At last the frantic sufferer
sheered from its course, and sprang into its master's lap; he flung it
out of the window, and the voice of distress quickly thinned away and
died in the distance.

By this time the whole church was red-faced and suffocating with
suppressed laughter, and the sermon had come to a dead standstill.  The
discourse was resumed presently, but it went lame and halting, all
possibility of impressiveness being at an end; for even the gravest
sentiments were constantly being received with a smothered burst of
unholy mirth, under cover of some remote pew-back, as if the poor
parson had said a rarely facetious thing.  It was a genuine relief to
the whole congregation when the ordeal was over and the benediction
pronounced.

Tom Sawyer went home quite cheerful, thinking to himself that there
was some satisfaction about divine service when there was a bit of
variety in it.  He had but one marring thought; he was willing that the
dog should play with his pinchbug, but he did not think it was upright
in him to carry it off.

CHAPTER VI

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 spirit.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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2 comments


Avatar of AsFarAsImConcernedNelliesStillFantasticAsFarAsImConcernedNelliesStillFantastic
December 27th, 2012  4:05 PM

This book is starting to suck balls. There is nothing we can homoeroticize in the past couple of passages. Get it together Mark Twain. When are you guys going to start posting on a regular schedule again?