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gay, but it was up-hill work; it roused no smile, no response, and he lapsed into
silence and let his heart sink down to the depths.

After breakfast his aunt took him aside, and Tom almost brightened in the hope
that he was going to be flogged; but it was not so. His aunt wept over him and
asked him how he could go and break her old heart so; and finally told him to
go on, and ruin himself and bring her gray hairs with sorrow to the grave, for it
was no use for her to try any more. This was worse than a thousand whippings,
and Tomís heart was sorer now than his body. He cried, he pleaded for
forgiveness, promised reform over and over again and then received his
dismissal, feeling that he had won but an imperfect forgiveness and established
but a feeble confidence.

He left the presence too miserable to even feel revengeful toward Sid; and so the
latterís prompt retreat through the back gate was unnecessary. He moped to
school gloomy and sad, and took his flogging, along with Joe Harper, for
playing hooky the day before, with the air of one whose heart was busy with
heavier woes and wholly dead to trifles. Then he betook himself to his seat,
rested his elbows on his desk and his jaws in his hands and stared at the wall
with the stony stare of suffering that has reached the limit and can no further go.
His elbow was pressing against some hard substance. After a long time he
slowly and sadly changed his position, and took up this object with a sigh. It
was in a paper. He unrolled it. A long, lingering, colossal sigh followed, and his
heart broke. It was his brass andiron knob!

This final feather broke the camelís back.

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