Aunt Polly, Mary, and the Harpers threw
themselves on Tom and Joe and covered them with kisses, thanking God and just
about everything else for their safe return. Poor Huck was uncomfortable. He
didn’t know exactly what to do or where to hide from so many unwelcoming eyes.
He started to quietly move away, but Tom held him and said, "Aunt Polly, it’s
not fair. Somebody's got to be happy to see Huck."
"And so they shall. I'm glad to see him, poor motherless thing!" And the loving
attentions Aunt Polly gave him were the one thing capable of making him more
uncomfortable than he was before.
Suddenly the minister shouted at the top of his voice: "Praise God from whom all
blessings flow - SING! - with all your heart!"
And they did. Everyone sang as loudly as they could. Tom Sawyer
the Pirate looked around and thought in his heart that this was the
proudest moment of his life.
Tom got more hugs and kisses that day, according to Aunt Polly, than he had got
before in a year.
That was Tom's great secret, to return home with his brother pirates and attend
their own funerals. They had paddled over to the river bank on a log, at sunset
on Saturday, landing eight or nine kilometres below the village.
They had slept in the forest outside the town until nearly daylight, and had
then crept through back lanes and alleys and finished their sleep in the church
At breakfast on Monday morning, Aunt Polly and Mary were very loving to Tom and
gave him everything he asked for. There was a lot of talk at the breakfast table.
Aunt Polly said, "Well, it was a fine joke, Tom, to keep everybody suffering
almost a week so that you boys could have a good time, but it is a pity you were
so hard-hearted as to let me suffer so much.
If you were able to come over the river on a log to go to your funeral, you
could have come over to let me know that you weren’t dead."
"Yes, you could have done that, Tom," said Mary; "and I believe you would if you
had thought of it."
"Would you, Tom?" said Aunt Polly. "Be honest, would you, if you'd thought of it?"
"I…..well, I don't know. It would have spoiled everything."
"Tom, I thought you loved me more than that," said Aunt Polly, sadly.
"At least you could have thought about it, even if you didn't do it."
"It’s not so bad, auntie," said Mary. "That’s just the way Tom is. He’s always
in such a rush that he never thinks of anything."
"It’s a pity. Sid would have thought of it. And Sid would have come and done it,
too. Tom, you'll look back, some day, when it's too late, and wish you'd cared a
little more for me when it would have cost you so little."
"Now, auntie, you know I do care for you," said Tom.
"I'd be sure if you acted more like it."
"Now I wish I'd thought about it," said Tom, "but I dreamt about you. That's
something, isn’t it?"
"It’s not much. A cat does that. But it's better than nothing. What did you
"Wednesday night I dreamt that you were sitting over there by the bed, and Sid
was sitting by the wooden box with Mary next to him."
"Well, we were sitting there. We always do. I'm glad your dreams could take even
that much trouble about us."
"And I dreamt that Joe Harper's mother was here."
"Yes, she was here! Did you dream anything else?"
"Oh, lots. But I can’t really remember, now."
"Well, please try to remember."
"Somehow it seems to me that the wind….the wind blew the…..the……"
"Try harder, Tom! The wind blew something. What? Come on!"
Tom pressed his fingers on his head for a minute, and then said, "I've got it
now! I've got it now! It blew the candle!"
"Good God! Go on, Tom. Go on!"
"And I think you said, 'Why, I believe that that door……'"
"Yes. Go on, Tom!"
"Just let me think for a moment. Just a moment. Oh, yes. You said you believed
the door was open."
"Yes! I did! Didn't I, Mary! Go on!"
"And then….and then….well I’m not sure, but I think you made Sid go and….and….."
"Well? Well? What did I make him do, Tom? What did I make him do?"
"You made him…..you……Oh, you made him shut the door."
"Well, for heaven’s sake! I’ve never heard anything like this in all my life!
Don't tell me there’s no meaning in dreams, anymore. I’m going to tell Sereny
Harper about this immediately. I'd like to see her explain this with her doubts
about superstition. Go on, Tom!"
"Oh, I can see it clearly, now. Next you said I wasn’t really bad, only
mischievous and not any more responsible than….than….I think it was a young
horse, or something."
"And so it was! Well, goodness gracious! Go on, Tom!"
"And then you began to cry."
"Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Not for the first time. And then?"
"Then Mrs. Harper began to cry, and said Joe was just the same, and she wished
she hadn't hit him for taking cream when she had thrown it out herself."
"Tom! The spirit was with you! You were prophesizing, that’s what you were doing!
My God! Go on,Tom!"
"Then Sid said……he said…."
"I don't think I said anything," said Sid.
"Yes, you did, Sid," said Mary.
"Shut your mouth and let Tom go on! What did he say, Tom?"
"He said….well, I think he said he hoped I was better off where I had gone to,
but if I'd been better sometimes…."
"Did you hear that! It’s exactly what he said!"
"And you told him to shut up."
"I did! There must have been an angel there. There was an angel there, somewhere!"
"And Mrs. Harper talked about Joe scaring her with a firecracker, and you talked
about Peter and the painkiller."
"And then there was a whole lot of talk about searching for us in the river, and
about having the funeral on Sunday, and then you and old Miss Harper hugged and
cried, and she went."
"That’s exactly how it happened. Tom, you couldn't have been more accurate if
you’d actually been there! And then what? Go on, Tom!"
"Then I thought you prayed for me, and I could see you and hear every word you
said. And you went to bed, and I was so sorry that I wrote on a piece of a tree,
'We’re not dead, we’re only away being pirates,' and put it on the table by the
candle. You looked so good, laying there asleep, that I thought I went and
leaned over and kissed you on the lips."
"Did you, Tom, did you! I just forgave you everything for that!" And she hugged
Tom so hard that it made him feel very guilty.
... to be continued!
* The text has been adapted from the Adventures
of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
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