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going to let me have one.” “O, goody; I hope she’ll let me come.” “Well she will.
The picnic’s for me. She’ll let anybody come that I want, and I want you.”
“That’s ever so nice. When is it going to be?” “By and by. Maybe about
vacation.” “O, won’t it be fun! You going to have all the girls and boys?”

“Yes, every one that’s friends to me-or wants to be;” and she glanced ever so
furtively at Tom, but he talked right along to Amy Lawrence about the terrible
storm on the island, and how the lightning tore the great sycamore tree “all to
flinders” while he was “standing within three feet of it.” “O, may I come?” said
Gracie Miller.

“Yes.” “And me?” said Sally Rogers.
“Yes.” “And me, too?” said Susy Harper. “And Joe?” “Yes.” And so on, with
clapping of joyful hands till all the group had begged for invitations but Tom
and Amy. Then Tom turned coolly away, still talking, and took Amy with him.
Becky’s lips trembled and the tears came to her eyes; she hid these signs with a
forced gayety and went on chattering, but the life had gone out of the picnic,
now, and out of everything else; she got away as soon as she could and hid
herself and had what her sex call “a good cry.” Then she sat moody, with
wounded pride till the bell rang. She roused up, now, with a vindictive cast in
her eye, and gave her plaited tails a shake and said she knew what she’d do.

At recess Tom continued his flirtation with Amy with jubilant self-satisfaction.
And he kept drifting about to find Becky and lacerate her with the performance.
At last he spied her, but there was a sudden falling of his mercury. She was
sitting cosily on a little bench behind the school-house looking at a picture book
with Alfred Temple-and so absorbed were they, and their heads so close
together over the book that they did not seem to be conscious of anything in the
world beside. Jealousy ran red hot through Tom’s veins. He began to hate
himself for throwing away the chance Becky had offered for a reconciliation. He
called himself a fool, and all the hard names he could think of. He wanted to cry
with vexation. Amy chatted happily along, as they walked, for her heart was
singing, but Tom’s tongue had lost its function. He did not hear what Amy was
saying, and whenever she paused expectantly he could only stammer an
awkward assent, which was as often misplaced as otherwise. He kept drifting to
the rear of the schoolhouse, again and again, to sear his eye-balls with the
hateful spectacle there. He could not help it. And it maddened him to see, as he
thought he saw, that Becky Thatcher never once suspected that he was even in
the land of the living. But she did see, nevertheless; and she knew she was
winning her fight, too, and was glad to see him suffer as she had suffered.
Amy’s happy prattle became intolerable. Tom hinted at things he had to attend
to; things that must be done; and time was fleeting. But in vain-the girl chirped
on. Tom thought, “O hang her, ain’t I ever going to get rid of her?” At last he
must be attending to those things; and she said artlessly that she would be
“around” when school let out. And he hastened away, hating her for it.

“Any other boy!” Tom thought, grating his teeth. “Any boy in the whole town
but that Saint Louis smarty that thinks he dresses so fine and is aristocracy! O, all

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