The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter VI
by Mark Twain

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Chapter VI

Self-Examination — Dentistry — the Midnight Charm — Witches and Devils — Cautious Approaches — Happy Hours

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.

But Sid slept on unconscious.

Tom groaned louder, and fancied that he began to feel pain in the toe.

No result from Sid.

Tom was panting with his exertions by this time. He took a rest and then swelled himself up and fetched a succession of admirable groans.

Sid snored on.

Tom was aggravated. He said, “Sid, Sid!” and shook him. This course worked well, and Tom began to groan again. Sid yawned, stretched, then brought himself up on his elbow with a snort, and began to stare at Tom. Tom went on groaning. Sid said:

“Tom! Say, Tom!” [No response.] “Here, Tom! Tom! What is the matter, Tom?” And he shook him and looked in his face anxiously.

Tom moaned out:

“Oh, don't, Sid. Don't joggle me.”

“Why, what's the matter, Tom? I must call auntie.”

“No—never mind. It'll be over by and by, maybe. Don't call anybody.”

“But I must! Don't groan so, Tom, it's awful. How long you been this way?”

“Hours. Ouch! Oh, don't stir so, Sid, you'll kill me.”

“Tom, why didn't you wake me sooner? Oh, Tom, don't! It makes my flesh crawl to hear you. Tom, what is the matter?”

“I forgive you everything, Sid. [Groan.] Everything you've ever done to me. When I'm gone—”

“Oh, Tom, you ain't dying, are you? Don't, Tom—oh, don't. Maybe—”

“I forgive everybody, Sid. [Groan.] Tell 'em so, Sid. And Sid, you give my window-sash and my cat with one eye to that new girl that's come to town, and tell her—”

But Sid had snatched his clothes and gone. Tom was suffering in reality, now, so handsomely was his imagination working, and so his groans had gathered quite a genuine tone.

Sid flew down-stairs and said:

“Oh, Aunt Polly, come! Tom's dying!”

“Dying!”

“Yes'm. Don't wait—come quick!”

“Rubbage! I don't believe it!”

But she fled up-stairs, nevertheless, with Sid and Mary at her heels. And her face grew white, too, and her lip trembled. When she reached the bedside she gasped out:

“You, Tom! Tom, what's the matter with you?”

“Oh, auntie, I'm—”

“What's the matter with you—what is the matter with you, child?”

“Oh, auntie, my sore toe's mortified!”

The old lady sank down into a chair and laughed a little, then cried a little, then did both together. This restored her and she said:

“Tom, what a turn you did give me. Now you shut up that nonsense and climb out of this.”

The groans ceased and the pain vanished from the toe. The boy felt a little...

(The entire section is 3,531 words.)