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46                            Tom Sawyer Abroad
writing," From Tom Sawyer, the Errotiort" and said it would stump old Nat Parsons, the postmaster, when it come along in the mail. I says:
" Tom Sawyer, this ain't no welkin; it's a balloon."
" Well, now, who said it was a welkin, smarty?" " You've wrote it on the letter, anyway."
" What of it? That don't mean that the balloon's the welkin."
"Oh, I thought it did. Well, then, what is a welkin?"
I see in a minute he was stuck. He raked and scraped around in his mind, but he couldn't find noth­ing, so he had to say:
"/don't know, and nobody don't know. It's just a word, and it's a mighty good word, too. There ain't many that lays over it. I don't believe there's any that does."
"Shucks!" I says. "But what does it mean ? — that's the p'int."
111 don't know what it means, I tell you. It's a word that people uses for — for — well, it's orna­mental. They don't put ruffles on a shirt to keep a person warm, do they?"
" Course they don't."
" But they put them on, don't they?"
"All right, then; that letter I wrote is a shirt, and the welkin's the ruffle on it."
I judged that that would gravel Jim, and it did.
"Now, Mars Tom, it ain't no use to talk like dat;