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“Tom Sawyer, you are just as mean as you can be, to sneak up on a person and
look at what they’re looking at.” “How could I know you was looking at
anything?” “You ought to be ashamed of yourself Tom Sawyer; you know
you’re going to tell on me, and O, what shall I do, what shall I do! I’ll be
whipped, and I never was whipped in school.” Then she stamped her little foot
and said: “Be so mean if you want to! I know something that’s going to happen.
You just wait and you’ll see! Hateful, hateful, hateful!”- and she flung out of the
house with a new explosion of crying.

Tom stood still, rather flustered by this onslaught. Presently he said to himself.
“What a curious kind of a fool a girl is. Never been licked in school! Shucks,
what’s a licking! That’s just like a girl-they’re so thin-skinned and
chickenhearted. Well, of course I ain’t going to tell old Dobbins on this little fool,
because there’s other ways of getting even on her, that ain’t so mean; but what of
it? Old Dobbins will ask who it was tore his book. Nobody’ll answer. Then he’ll
do just the way he always does-ask first one and then t’other, and when he
comes to the right girl he’ll know it, without any telling. Girls’ faces always tell
on them.

They ain’t got any backbone. She’ll get licked. Well, it’s a kind of a tight place for
Becky Thatcher, because there ain’t any way out of it.” Tom conned the thing
a moment longer and then added: “All right, though; she’d like to see me in just
such a fix-let her sweat it out!” Tom joined the mob of skylarking scholars
outside. In a few moments the master arrived and school “took in.” Tom did not
feel a strong interest in his studies. Every time he stole a glance at the girls’ side
of the room Becky’s face troubled him. Considering all things, he did not want to
pity her, and yet it was all he could do to help it. He could get up no exultation
that was really worthy the name. Presently the spelling-book discovery was
made, and Tom’s mind was entirely full of his own matters for a while after that.
Becky roused up from her lethargy of distress and showed good interest in the
proceedings. She did not expect that Tom could get out of his trouble by denying
that he spilt the ink on the book himself, and she was right. The denial only
seemed to make the thing worse for Tom. Becky supposed she would be glad of
that, and she tried to believe she was glad of it, but she found she was not
certain. When the worst came to the worst, she had an impulse to get up and tell
on Alfred Temple, but she made an effort and forced herself to keep still-
because, said she to herself, “he’ll tell about me tearing the picture, sure. I
wouldn’t say a word, not to save his life!” Tom took his whipping and went
back to his seat not at all brokenhearted, for he thought it was possible that he
had unknowingly upset the ink on the spellingbook himself, in some skylarking
bout-he had denied it for form’s sake and because it was custom, and had stuck
to the denial from principle.

A whole hour drifted by, the master sat nodding in his throne, the air was
drowsy with the hum of study. By and by, Mr. Dobbins straightened himself up,
yawned, then unlocked his desk, and reached for his book, but seemed
undecided whether to take it out or leave it. Most of the pupils glanced up

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