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On Monday Morning
(Adapted from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain)
Monday morning found Tom Sawyer miserable. Monday morning always found him so because it began another week’s slow suffering in school. He generally began that day with wishing he had had no holiday in between, it made the going into prison again so much worse.
Tom lay thinking. Presently it occurred to him that he wished he was sick; then he could stay home from school. He examined himself. No sickness was found, and he investigated again. This time he could detect stomach ache, but it soon grew feeble, and presently died wholly away. He reflected further. Suddenly he discovered something. One of his upper front teeth was loose. This was lucky; he was about to begin to groan, as a “starter,” as he called it, when it occurred to him that if he came into court with that argument, his aunt would pull it out, and that would hurt. So he thought he would hold the tooth in reserve for the present, and seek further.
Nothing offered for some little time, and then he remembered hearing the doctor tell about a certain thing that laid up a patient for two or three weeks and threatened to make him lose a finger. So the boy eagerly drew his sore toe from under the sheet and held it up for inspection. But now he did not know the necessary symptoms. However, it seemed well worthwhile to chance it, so he fell groaning with considerable spirit. But Sid slept on unconscious. Tom groaned louder, and fancied that he began to feel pain in the toe. No result from Sid.
Tom was panting with his exertions by this time. He took a rest and then swelled himself up and fetched a succession of admirable groans. Sid snored on. Tom was aggravated. He said, “Sid, Sid!” and shook him. This course worked well, and Tom began to groan again. Sid yawned, stretched, then brought himself up on his elbow with a snort, and began to stare at Tom. Tom went on groaning.
Sid said:“Tom! Say, Tom!” [No response.] “Here, TOM! What is the matter, Tom? And he shook him and looked in his face anxiously. Tom moaned out: “Oh, don’t, Sid. Don’t shake me.” “Why, what’s the matter, Tom? I must call auntie.” “No-------never mind. It’ll be over by and by, maybe. Don’t call anybody.”
“But I must! Don’t groan so, Tom, it’s awful. How long you been this way?” “Hours. Ouch! Oh, don’t stir so, Sid, you’ll kill me.”
“Tom, why didn’t you wake me sooner? Oh, Tom, DON’T! It makes my flesh crawl to hear you. What is the matter?”
“I forgive you for everything, Sid. [Groan.] Everything you’ve ever done to me. When I’m gone--------”
“Oh, Tom, you aren’t dying, are you? Don’t Tom-------------oh, don’t. Maybe------------“
“I forgive everybody, Sid. [Groan.] Tell ‘em so, Sid. And Sid, you give my window- sash and my cat with one eye to that new girl that’s come to town, and tell her-------“
But Sid had snatched his clothes and gone. Tom was suffering in reality, now, his imagination was working well, and so his groans had gathered quite a genuine tone.
Sid flew down-stairs and said:
“Oh, Aunt Polly, come! Tom’s dying!”
“Yes’m. Don’t wait. Come quick!”
“Rubbish! I don’t believe it!”
But she fled upstairs, nevertheless, with Sid and Mary at her heels. And her face grew white, too, and her lip trembled. When she reached the bedside she said, “You, Tom! Tom, what’s the matter with you?”
“Oh, auntie, I’m---”
“What’s the matter with you? What is the matter with you, child?”
“Oh, auntie, my sore toe’s dying!”
The old lady sank down into a chair and laughed a little, then cried a little, then did both together. This made her feel better and she said, “Tom, what a turn you did give me. Now you shut up that nonsense and climb out of this.”
The groans stopped and the pain vanished from the toe. The boy felt a little foolish, and he said,“Aunt Polly, it seemed dying, and it hurt so I never minded my tooth at all.”
“Your tooth, indeed! What’s the matter with your tooth?”
“One of them is loose, and it aches perfectly awful.”
“There, there, now, don’t begin that groaning again. Open your mouth. Well. Your tooth is loose, but you’re not going to die from that. Mary, get me a silk thread, and a chunk of fire out of the kitchen.”
Tom said,“Oh, please, auntie, don’t pull it out. It don’t hurt any more. I wish I may never stir if it does. Please don’t, auntie. I don’t want to stay home from school.”
“Oh, you don’t, don’t you? So all this row was because you thought you’d get to stay home from school and go fishing? Tom, Tom, I love you so, and you seem to try every way you can to break my old heart with your mischief.” By this time the dental instruments were ready. The old lady made one end of the silk thread fast to Tom’s tooth with a loop and tied the other to the bedpost. Then she caught hold of the chunk of fire and suddenly pushed it almost into the boy’s face. The tooth was hanging loosely by the bedpost, now.
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