The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, Part IV

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.

"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 nose, and covered
themselves with dust and glory.  Presently the confusion took form, 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 himself.  He was crying--mainly from rage.

"Holler 'nuff!"--and the pounding went on.

At last the stranger got out a smothered "'Nuff!" and Tom let him up
and said:

"Now that'll learn you.  Better look out who you're fooling with next

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 high feather, and
as soon as his back was turned the new boy 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 "'lowed" 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.


SATURDAY morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and
fresh, and brimming with life.  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.  Bringing water from
the town pump had always been hateful work in Tom's eyes, before, but
now it did not strike him so.  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.  Tom said:

"Say, Jim, I'll fetch the water if you'll whitewash some."

Jim shook his head and said:

"Can't, Mars Tom.  Ole missis, she tole me I got to go an' git dis
water an' not stop foolin' roun' wid anybody.  She say she spec' Mars
Tom gwine to ax me to whitewash, an' so she tole me go 'long an' 'tend
to my own business--she 'lowed SHE'D 'tend to de whitewashin'."

"Oh, never you mind what she said, Jim.  That's the way she always
talks.  Gimme the bucket--I won't be gone only a a minute.  SHE won't
ever know."


One comment

Profile photo of FlossyFlossy
December 10th, 2012  11:28 AM

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 nose, and covered
themselves with dust and glory.

We do not even need to make any modifications here.