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“Say-if you gimme much more of your sass I’ll take and bounce a rock off’n
your head.” “O, of course you will.” “Well I will.” “Well why don’t you do it
then? What do you keep saying you will for? Why don’t you do it? It’s because
you’re afraid.” “I ain’t afraid.” “You are.” “I ain’t.” “You are.” Another pause,
and more eyeing and sidling around each other. Presently they were shoulder to
shoulder. Tom said: “Get away from here!” “Go away yourself!” “I won’t.” “I
won’t either.” So they stood, each with a foot placed at an angle as a brace, and
both shoving with might and main, and glowering at each other with hate. But
neither could get an advantage. After struggling till both were hot and flushed,
each relaxed his strain with watchful caution, and Tom said: “You’re a coward
and a pup. I’ll tell my big brother on you, and he can thrash you with his little
finger, and I’ll make him do it, too.” “What do I care for your big brother? I’ve
got a brother that’s bigger than he is-and what’s more, he can throw him over
that fence, too.” [Both brothers were imaginary.] “That’s a lie.” “Your saying so
don’t make it so.” Tom drew a line in the dust with his big toe, and said: “I dare
you to step over that, and I’ll lick you till you can’t stand up. Anybody that’ll
take a dare will steal a sheep.” The new boy stepped over promptly, and said:
“Now you said you’d do it, now let’s see you do it.” “Don’t you crowd me, now;
you better look out.” “Well you said you’d do it-why don’t you do it?” “By
jingo! for two cents I will do it.” The new boy took two broad coppers out of his
pocket and held them out with derision. Tom struck them to the ground. In an
instant both boys were rolling and tumbling in the dirt, gripped together like
cats; and for the space of a minute they tugged and tore at each other’s hair and
clothes, punched and scratched each other’s noses, and covered themselves with
dust and glory. Presently the confusion took form, and through the fog of battle
Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy and pounding him with his fists.
“Holler ‘nuff!” said he.

The boy only struggled to free himself. He was crying,- mainly from rage.
“Holler ‘nuff!”- and the pounding went on.

At last the stranger got out a smothered “Nuff!” and Tom let him up and said:
“Now that’ll learn you. Better look out who you’re fooling with, next time.” The
new boy went off brushing the dust from his clothes, sobbing, snuffling, and
occasionally looking back and shaking his head and threatening what he would
do to Tom the “next time he caught him out.” To which Tom responded with
jeers, and started off in high feather, and as soon as his back was turned the new
boy snatched up a stone, threw it and hit him between the shoulders and then
turned tail and ran like an antelope. Tom chased the traitor home, and thus
found out where he lived. He then held a position at the gate for some time,
daring the enemy to come outside, but the enemy only made faces at him
through the window and declined. At last the enemy’s mother appeared, and
called Tom a bad, vicious, vulgar child, and ordered him away. So he went
away; but he said he “’lowed” to “lay” for that boy.

He got home pretty late, that night, and when he climbed cautiously in at the
window, he uncovered an ambuscade, in the person of his aunt; and when she

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