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the girl. She observed it, “made a mouth” at him and gave him the back of her
head for the space of a minute. When she cautiously faced around again, a peach
lay before her. She thrust it away. Tom gently put it back. She thrust it away,
again, but with less animosity. Tom patiently returned it to its place. Then she let
it remain. Tom scrawled on his slate, “Please take it-I got more.” The girl
glanced at the words, but made no sign. Now the boy began to draw something
on the slate, hiding his work with his left hand. For a time the girl refused to
notice; but her human curiosity presently began to manifest itself by hardly
perceptible signs. The boy worked on, apparently unconscious. The girl made a
sort of non-committal attempt to see, but the boy did not betray that he was
aware of it.

At last she gave in and hesitatingly whispered: “Let me see it.” Tom partly
uncovered a dismal caricature of a house with two gable ends to it and a cork-
screw of smoke issuing from the chimneys. Then the girl’s interest began to
fasten itself upon the work and she forgot everything else. When it was finished,
she gazed a moment, then whispered: “It’s nice-make a man.”

The artist erected a man in the front yard, that resembled a derrick. He could
have stepped over the house; but the girl was not hypercritical; she was satisfied
with the monster, and whispered: “It’s a beautiful man-now make me coming
along.” Tom drew an hour-glass with a full moon and straw limbs to it and
armed the spreading fingers with a portentous fan.

The girl said: “It’s ever so nice-I wish I could draw.” “It’s easy,” whispered
Tom, “I’ll learn you.” “O, will you? When?” “At noon. Do you go home to
dinner?” “I’ll stay, if you will.” “Good,- that’s a whack. What’s your name?”
“Becky Thatcher. What’s yours? Oh, know. It’s Thomas Sawyer.” “That’s the
name they lick me by. I’m Tom, when I’m good. You call me Tom, will you?”
“Yes.” Now Tom began to scrawl something on the slate, hiding the words from
the girl. But she was not backward this time. She begged to see. Tom said:
“Oh it ain’t anything.”

“Yes it is.” “No it ain’t. You don’t want to see.” “Yes I do, indeed I do. Please let
me.” “You’ll tell.” “No I won’t-deed and deed and double deed I won’t.” “You
won’t tell anybody at all?- Ever, as long as you live?” “No I won’t ever tell
anybody. Now let me.” “Oh, you don’t want to see!” “Now that you treat me so,
I will see.” And she put her small hand upon his and a little scuffle ensued, Tom
pretending to resist in earnest but letting his hand slip by degrees till these
words were revealed: “I love you.” “O, you bad thing!” And she hit his hand a
smart rap, but reddened and looked pleased, nevertheless.

Just at this juncture the boy felt a slow, fateful grip closing on his ear, and a
steady, lifting impulse. In that vise he was borne across the house and deposited
in his own seat, under a peppering fire of giggles from the whole school. Then
the master stood over him during a few awful moments, and finally moved
away to his throne without saying a word. But although Tom’s ear tingled, his
heart was jubilant.

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