Chapter 19 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 545

On Monday morning, Aunt Polly claims that Tom does not love her much. She says that if he did, he would not have put her through so much worry; he would have given her some sign that he was not dead. Mary defends Tom, saying that he would have given his family a message if he had thought of it. She says, “It’s only Tom’s giddy way—he is always in such a rush that the never thinks of anything.”

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Aunt Polly’s accusations make Tom feel guilty. He does not want to admit that he came home, so he claims that he dreamed of the family while he was gone. He describes the night he spent eavesdropping on his family and Mrs. Thatcher. Aunt Polly, gullible as ever, hears Tom’s accurate descriptions of that evening’s conversation and declares that he was “prophesying.” She is so overcome by amazement that she forgives him and gives him an apple.

Among the town’s children, Tom is a hero. Small boys follow him around, and boys his own age watch with envy. When he and Joe get out their pipes and smoke in front of the other children, they become the absolute pinnacle of coolness. Tom decides that he no longer needs Becky Thatcher now that he his famous. He turns his attentions on Amy Lawrence to make Becky jealous.

Seeing Tom and Amy together, Becky grows angry indeed. She tells all the children that she is having a picnic, and that she can invite anyone she wants. She asks everyone except Tom and Amy, who simply ignore her. Dismayed, Becky retreats to cry by herself. When she is finished, she forms a new plan.

At recess, Tom continues to walk around with Amy, but he notices that Becky is no longer hovering around them. He looks for her and sees her happily paging through a picture book with Alfred Temple, a boy Tom hates for being rich and well-dressed. Becky pretends not to notice Tom watching, and he grows increasingly angry. He resolves to “lick” Alfred the next chance he gets.

At noon, Tom runs home, unable to bear the sight of Becky and Alfred together. Becky notices that Tom is not watching her, and she begins to wish that she had given him her attention when he was nearby. She has told Alfred that she will look at his picture book with him all through lunch, but now she shoves him away and says she hates him. Alfred has not done anything wrong, so it does not take him long to figure out that Becky has been using him to get to Tom. Furious, he sneaks into the schoolhouse and looks for a way to harm Tom without too much risk to himself. He thinks for a while and then pours a whole bottle of ink onto the pages of Tom’s spelling book.

Becky watches this through the window. She briefly considers finding Tom and telling him what has happened. This, she knows, would win his friendship back. However, she is not ready to forgive him for his meanness. She decides to hate him forever, and she resolves to feel glad when he is wrongly whipped for ruining the book.

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