Chapter 19 Summary
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.”
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.
(The entire section is 545 words.)