Original Illustrated Version By Mark Twain

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AUNT POLLY WEAKENS.                                       in
"They do, do they?" There was something in the tone that made Tom apprehensive.
" Yes'm. That is, I believe they do."
"Yon do? "
The old lady was bending down, Tom watching, with interest emphasized by anxiety. Too late he divined her "drift." The handle of the tell-tale tea-spoon was visible under the bed-valance. Aunt Polly took it, held it up. Tom winced, and dropped his eyes. Aunt Polly raised him by the usual handle—his ear—and cracked his head soundly with her thimble.
" Now, sir, what did you want to treat that poor dumb beast so,for? " "I done it out of pity for him—because he hadn't any aunt."                   '
" Hadn't any aunt !—you numscull. What has that got to do with it? " "Heaps. Betause if he'd a had one she'd a burnt him out herself! She'd a roasted his bowels out of him 'thout any more feeling than if he was a human! "
Aunt Polly felt a sudden pang of remorse. This was putting the thing in a new light; what was cruelty to a cat might be cruelty to a boy, too. She .began to soften; she felt sorry. Her eyes watered a little, and she put her hand on Tom's head and said gently :
"I was meaning for the best, Tom. And Tom, it did do you good." Tom looked up in her face with just a preceptible twinkle peeping through his gravity:
" I know you was meaning for the best, aunty, and so was I with Peter. It done him good, too. I never see him get around so since — "
" O, go 'long with you, Tom, before you aggravate me again. And you try and see if you can't be a good boy, for once, and you needn't take any more medicine." Tom reached school ahead of time. It was noticed that this strange thing had been occurring every day latterly. And now, as usual of late, he hung about the gate of the school-yard instead of playing with his comrades. He was sick, he said, and he looked it. He tried to seem to be looking everywhere but whither he really was looking—down the road. Presently Jeff Thatcher hove in sight, and Tom's face lighted; he gazed a moment, and then turned sorrowfully away. When