The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

by: Mark Twain

Chapters 21–24

1

Vacation was approaching. The schoolmaster, always severe, grew severer and more exacting than ever, for he wanted the school to make a good showing on “Examination” day.

2

The dreadful secret of the murder was a chronic misery. It was a very cancer for permanency and pain . . . Then came the measles . . . During two whole weeks Tom lay a prisoner, dead to the world and its happenings.

3

At last the sleepy atmosphere was stirred—and vigorously: the murder trial came on in the court. It became the absorbing topic of village talk immediately. Tom could not get away from it.

4

Tom began—hesitatingly at first, but as he warmed up to his subject, his words flowed more and more easily; in a little while every sound ceased but his own voice; every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale.

5

Tom was a glittering hero once more—the pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print for the village paper magnified him . . . As usual, the fickle, unreasoning world took Muff Potter to its bosom and fondled him as lavishly as it had abused him before.