half-past ten the cracked bell of the small church began to ring, and the people
soon began to get together for the morning sermon. The Sunday-school children
distributed themselves around the house and sat down with their parents.
Aunt Polly came, and Tom, Sid and Mary sat with her. Tom was made to sit next to
the aisle, so that he was as far away from the open window and the seductive
outside summer scenes as possible.
The crowd filed up the aisles: the old postmaster, who had seen better days; the
mayor and his wife; the justice of the peace; the widow Douglass, fair, smart,
and forty, a generous, goodhearted person and wealthy, her hill mansion was the
only palace in the town, and the most hospitable and attractive place that St.
Petersburg had; the old and well-respected Major and Mrs. Ward; the lawyer
Riverson; next came the local beauty queen – the belle of the village, followed
by a crowd of smart young heart- breakers; then came all the young men in a
group. They had been standing around doing nothing much, looking cool and
admiring the girls until the last girl had passed by them; and last of all came
the Model Boy, Willie Mufferson, taking so much care of his mother as if she
were made of glass. He always brought his mother to church, and he was the pride
of all the matrons. The boys all hated him, he was so good. And besides, he had
been "thrown up to them" so much.
His white handkerchief was hanging out of his back pocket, as usual
on Sundays, accidentally. Tom had no handkerchief, and he thought that boys who
had one as snobs.
The congregation being fully assembled, now, the bell rang once more, to warn
the lazy and slow-moving. A solemn silence fell upon the church which was only
broken by the giggling and whispering of the choir in the gallery.
The choir always giggled and whispered all through the service. There was once a
church choir that did not have bad manners, but I have forgotten where it was,
now. It was a long time ago, and I can hardly remember anything about it, but I
think it was in some foreign country.
... to be continued!
* The text has been adapted from the Adventures
of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
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