« VorigeDoorgaan »
HOW TOM SAWYER WHITEWASHED THE FENCE
Saturday morning was come, and quarreling, fighting, skylarking. all the summer world was bright and he remembered that although the fresh, and brimming with life. There pump was only a hundred and fifty was a song in every heart; and if yards off, Jim never got back with a the heart was young, the music issued bucket of water under an hourmand at the lips. There was cheer in every even then somebody generally had to face and a spring in every step. The go after him. Tom said: locust trees were in bloom and the "Say, Jim, I'll fetch the water if
fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. you'll whitewash some." 10 Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and Jim shook his head and said:
above it, was green with vegetation, “Can't, Mars Tom. Ole missis, she 50 and it lay just far enough away to tole me I got to go an' git dis water seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, an' not stop foolin' roun' wid anyreposeful, and inviting.
body. She says she spec' Mars Tom Tom appeared on the sidewalk with gwine to ax me to whitewash, an' so a bucket of whitewash and a long- she tole me go 'long an' 'tend to my handled brush. He surveyed the fence, own business-she 'lowed she'd 'tend and all gladness left him and a deep to de whitewashin'."
melancholy settled down upon his “Oh, never you mind what she said, 20 spirit. Thirty yards of board fence Jim. That's the way she always
nine feet high. Life to him seemed talks. Gimme the bucket—I won't 60 hollow, and existence but a burden. be gone only a minute. She won't Sighing, he dipped his brush and ever know." passed it along the topmost plank; “Oh, I dasn't, Mars Tom. Ole repeated the operation; did it again; missis she'd take an' tar de head off'n compared the insignificant white- 'Deed she would." washed streak with the far-reaching “She! She never licks anybodycontinent of unwhitewashed fence, and whacks 'em over the head with her
sat down on a tree-box discouraged. thimble—and who cares for that, I'd 30 Jim came skipping out at the gate like to know. She talks awful, but
with a tin pail, and singing “Buffalo talk don't hurt-anyways it don't if 70 Gals.” Bringing water from the town she don't cry. Jim, I'll give you a pump had always been hateful work marvel. I'll give you a white alley!" in Tom's eyes before, but now it did Jim began to waver. not strike him so. He remembered "White alley, Jim! And it's a that there was company at the pump. bully taw." White, mulatto, and negro boys and "My! Dat's a mighty gay marvel, girls were always there waiting their I tell you! But Mars Tom, I's turns, resting, trading playthings, powerful 'fraid ole missis—"
“And besides, if you will I'll show far over to starboard and rounded-to 60 you my sore toe.”
ponderously and with laborious pomp Jim was only human—this attrac- and circumstance—for he was pertion was too much for him. He put sonating the Big Missouri, and condown his pail, took the white alley, sidered himself to be drawing nine and bent over the toe with absorbing feet of water. He was boat and capinterest while the bandage was being tain and engine-bells combined, so unwound. In another moment he he had to imagine himself standing on
was flying down the street with his his own hurricane-deck giving the 10 pail and a tingling rear, Tom was orders and executing them:
whitewashing with vigor, and Aunt “Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!” 60 Polly was retiring from the field with The headway ran almost out and he a slipper in her hand and triumph in drew up slowly toward the sidewalk.
“Ship up to back! Ting-a-lingBut Tom's energy did not last. He ling!” His arms straightened and began to think of the fun he had stiffened down his sides. planned for this day, and his sorrows “Set her back on the stabboard! multiplied. Soon the free boys would Ting-a-ling-ling! Chow! ch-chow-wow!
come tripping along on all sorts of Chow!" His right hand, meantime, 20 delicious expeditions, and they would describing stately circles—for it was
make a world of fun of him for having representing a forty-foot wheel. to work—the very thought of it “Let her go back on the labboard! burned him like fire. He got out his Ting-a-ling-ling! Chow - ch - chowworldly wealth and examined it, chow!" The left hand began to debits of toys, marbles, and trash; scribe circles. enough to buy an exchange of work, "Stop the stabboard! Ting-a-lingmaybe, but not half enough to buy ling! Stop the labboard! Come ahead so much as half an hour of pure free- on the stabboard! Stop her! Let
dom. So he returned his straitened your outside turn over slow! Ting-a30 means to his pocket, and gave up the ling-ling! Chow-ow-ow! Get out idea of trying to buy the boys. At that head-line! Lively now! Come 80
! this dark and hopeless moment an out with your spring-line-what're inspiration burst upon him! Nothing you about there? Take a turn around less than a great, magnificent inspira- that stump with the bight of it! tion.
Stand by that stage, now-let her go! He took up his brush and went Done with the engines, sir! Ting-atranquilly to work. Ben Rogers hove ling-ling! Sh't! Shit! Sh't!" (trying in sight presently—the very boy, of the gauge-cocks).
all boys, whose ridicule he had been Tom went on whitewashing--paid 40 dreading. Ben's gait was the hop- no attention to the steamboat. Ben
skip-and-jump-proof enough that his stared a moment and then said: heart was light and his anticipations "Hi-yi! You're up a stump, ain't high. He was eating an apple, and you?” giving a long, melodious whoop, at No answer. Tom surveyed his last intervals, followed by a deep-toned touch with the eye of an artist; then ding-dong, ding-dong-dong, for he he gave his brush another gentle was personating a steamboat. As
sweep and surveyed the result, as he drew near, he slackened speed, before. Ben ranged up alongside of took the middle of the street, leaned him. Tom's mouth watered for the
apple, but he stuck to his work. Ben be two thousand, that can do it the 60 said:
way it's got to be done.” “Hello, old chap, you got to work, "Noris that so? Oh, come, now hey?"
lemme just try. Only just a little Tom wheeled suddenly and said: I'd let
you was me, Tom.” “Why, it's you, Ben! I warn't “Ben, I'd like to, honest injun; noticing.”
but Aunt Polly—well, Jim wanted “Say—I'm going in a-swimming, I to do it, but
but she wouldn't let am. Don't you wish you could? him; Sid wanted to do it, and she 10 But of course you'd druther work, wouldn't let Sid. Now, don't you see wouldn't you? Course you would!” how I'm fixed? If you was to tackle 60
Tom contemplated the boy a bit, this fence and anything was to hapand said:
pen to it,” "What do you call work?”
“Oh, shucks, I'll be just as careful. "Why, ain't that work?”
Now lemme try. Say—I'll give you Tom resumed his whitewashing, and the core of my apple.' ” answered carelessly:
“Well, here—No, Ben, now don't. "Well, maybe it is, and maybe it I'm afeard" ain't. All I know, is, it suits Tom “I'll give you all of it!" 20 Sawyer."
Tom gave up the brush with reluc“Oh, come, now, you don't mean tance in his face, but alacrity in his : to let on that you like it?”
heart. And while the late steamer The brush continued to move. Big Missouri worked and sweated in
“Like it? Well, I don't see why the sun, the retired artist sat on a I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get barrel in the shade close by, dangled a chance to whitewash a fence every his legs, munched his apple, and day?"
planned the slaughter of more innoThat put the thing in a new light. cents. There was no lack of mateBen stopped nibbling his apple. Tom rial; boys happened along every little 30 swept his brush daintily back and while; they came to jeer, but remained
forth-stepped back to note the effect to whitewash. By the time Ben was 80 -added a touch here and there— fagged out, Tom had traded the next criticized the effect again-Ben watch- chance to Billy Fisher for a kite in ing every move and getting more and good repair; and when he played out, more interested, more and more ab- Johnny Miller bought in for a dead sorbed. Presently he said:
rat and a string to swing it with-and "Say, Tom, let me whitewash a so on, hour after hour. And when little.”
the middle of the afternoon came, Tom considered, was about to con- from being a poor poverty-stricken 40 sent; but he altered his mind:
boy in the morning, Tom was literally "No-no-I reckon it wouldn't rolling in wealth. He had, besides 90 hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly's the things before mentioned, twelve awful particular about this fence- marbles, part of a jew's-harp, a piece right here on the street, you know- of blue bottle glass to look through, but if it was the back fence, I wouldn't a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't mind and she wouldn't. Yes, she's unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, awful particular about this fence; it's a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin got to be done very careful; I reckon soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six firethere ain't one boy in a thousand, may- crackers, a kitten with only one eye,
a brass door-knob, a dog-collar—but all the while-plenty of company—and no dog—the handle of a knife, four the fence had three coats of whitepieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated wash on it! If he hadn't run out of old window-sash.
whitewash, he would have bankrupted He had had a nice, good, idle time every boy in the village.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
turn to it in case of sleeplessness. Mark Twain is commonly thought of as a great jester, and indeed no other writer represents so fully the sort of humor that most appeals to Americans. But he is not merely a jester. He is an interpreter of many of the ideas and experiences that have formed the American character.
EXPLANATORY NOTES 1. For a brief biography of Mark Twain (and for all authors throughout this book) see the “Biographical Index of Authors” beginning on page 571 and arranged alphabetically. This selection is taken from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, one of three books (the others being Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi) in which Mark Twain rendered probably his greatest service to American literature. Of these Huckleberry Finn is the best; its hero has been compared with the hero of Homer's Odyssey, about whom you will read in Part II of this book, and indeed Mark Twain's book deserves very well the name that has been given it, "the Odyssean story of the Mississippi.” The three books taken together give something of the impression of an epic of the valley of the great river which is so bound up with American life. The stories perhaps seem even more characteristic of what we feel to be America than any stories of the early colonization of the eastern states. The Mississippi territory was settled by Americans, not by Englishmen, at a time when the genuine American character was being developed by the pioneers. The life that Mark Twain depicts is passing, but it is still near enough to us to be vivid, much as the story of Ulysses seemed to the Greeks in Homer's day.
2. Mark Twain, whose real name Samuel L. Clemens, wrote much about boys, for boys of all ages.' A proof of the fascination of his stories is found in the fact that Charles Darwin, the great English scientist, said that he always kept the story of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog" (see Junior High School Literature, Book I) on a chair by his bedside so that he might
QUESTIONS AND TOPICS 1. Give another title to this story. What was the “magnificent inspiration" that came to Tom when he was discouraged at having to work on Saturday? How did Tom Sawyer whitewash the fence?
2. What great law of human action, as regards work and play, did Tom discover from his experience in whitewashing the fence? Can you give examples, similar to Tom's, showing how work may be changed to play, or play to work?
3. Why do you like this story? What makes the story humorous? How does the author make his characters known to you, by what they do or by what they say? Is the dialogue lifelike? What other stories by this great humorist have you read?
4. What humorous stories of other writers have you read? Compare one of the best with this selection.
Library Reading. This selection is merely an episode in the story of Tom Sawyer. You will enjoy reading the entire book. You will also find The Boys' Life of Mark Twain, by Albert Bigelow Paine, a fascinating introduction to further readings from Mark Twain, the great American humorist.
A DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG
Mankind, says a Chinese manu- think, not so much for the sake of the 40 script, which my friend M. was oblig- tenement, which his father and he ing enough to read and explain to could easily build up again with a me, for the first seventy thousand few dry branches, and the labor of an ages ate their meat raw, clawing or hour or two, at any time, as for the biting it from the living animal, just loss of the pigs. While he was thinkas they do in Abyssinia to this day. ing what he should say to his father, This period is not obscurely hinted and wringing his hands over the
at by their great Confucius in the smoking remnants of one of those un10 second chapter of his Mundane Mu- timely sufferers, an odor assailed his
tations, where he designates a kind of nostrils, unlike any scent which he 50 golden age by the term Cho-fang, had before experienced. What could literally, the Cook's holiday. The it proceed from? Not from the burnt manuscript goes on to say that the cottage he had smelled that smell art of roasting, or rather broiling before-indeed this was by no means (which I take to be the elder brother), the first accident of the kind which was accidentally discovered in the had occurred through the negligence manner following: The swineherd, of this unlucky young firebrand. Much
Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods less did it resemble that of any known 20 one morning, as his manner was, to herb, weed, or flower. A premoni
collect mast for his hogs, left his cot- tory moistening at the same time 60 tage in the care of his eldest son, Bo- overflowed his nether lip. He knew bo, a great lubberly boy, who being not what to think. He next stooped fond of playing with fire, as younkers down to feel the pig, if there were any of his age commonly are. let some signs of life in it. He burned his sparks escape into a bundle of straw, fingers, and to cool them he applied which, kindling quickly, spread the them in his booby fashion to his conflagration over every part of their mouth. Some of the crumbs of the
poor mansion, till it was reduced to scorched skin had come away with 30 ashes. Together with the cottage his fingers, and for the first time in
(a sorry antediluvian makeshift of a his life (in the world's life indeed, for 70 building, you may think it), what was before him no man had known it) he of much more importance, a fine litter tasted-crackling! Again he felt and of new-farrowed pigs, no less than fumbled at the pig. It did not burn nine in number, perished. China him so much now, still he licked his
. pigs have been esteemed a luxury all fingers from a sort of habit. The over the East from the remotest pe- truth at length broke into his slow riods that we read of. Bo-bo was in understanding—that it was the pig the utmost consternation, as you may
that smelled so, and the pig that
tasted so delicious; and, surrendering 10. Mundane Mutations, perhaps a reference to The Book of Changes, an ancient Chinese book pre- himself up to the newborn pleasure, so served and transmitted by Confucius, the celebrated Chinese philosopher.
he fell to tearing up whole handfuls ·