In the opening chapter of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” Aunt Polly, described as “the elderly woman” is looking for Tom. She finds him after he sneaks up behind her. He has been hiding in the closet, and his face is covered with jam. She tells Tom that she is going to switch him, but he distracts her and takes off over the fence.
Aunt Polly is sure that Tom will skip school. She hates to punish him on Saturday when on the boys are playing, but she feels she must “do right” by bringing up her dead sister’s boy. During supper Aunt Polly is desperately trying to find out if Tom ditched school. She asks him questions about his day and eventually gets around to asking him about his shirt collar.
“Tom, you didn’t have to undo your shirt collar, where I sewed it, to pump on your head, did you? Unbutton your jacket.”
"Tom opened his jacket. His shirt collar was securely sewn."
“'Well, go along. I was sure you’d played hooky and been swimming.' She was half sorry that her shrewdness had miscarried and half glad that Tom had, for once, been obedient."
“Sid said, 'I thought you sewed his collar with white thread. Now the thread is black.'”
“'Why, I did sew it with white! Tom!' Tom didn’t wait for the rest. As he went out the door, he said, ‘Sid, I’ll wallop you for that.’ He thought, ‘She’d never have noticed if it hadn’t been for Sid.’” (pg. 4)
Twain tells the reader that Sid, Tom’s half-brother was a "quiet boy with no adventure in his spirit" and was the perfect boy so Tom hated him. When Sid pointed out to Aunt Polly that the thread was a different color she realized that Tom had indeed played hooky. She did punish him by making him white wash the fence, but that is another chapter.