DO you reckon Tom Sawyer was satisfied after all

them adventures? I mean the adventures we had

down the river, and the time we set the darky Jim free

and Tom got shot in the leg. No, he wasn’t. It only

just p’isoned him for more. That was all the effect it

had. You see, when we three came back up the river

in glory, as you may say, from that long travel, and

the village received us with a torchlight procession and

speeches, and everybody hurrah’d and shouted, it

made us heroes, and that was what Tom Sawyer had

always been hankering to be.

For a while he WAS satisfied. Everybody made

much of him, and he tilted up his nose and stepped

around the town as though he owned it. Some called

him Tom Sawyer the Traveler, and that just swelled

him up fit to bust. You see he laid over me and Jim

considerable, because we only went down the river on

a raft and came back by the steamboat, but Tom went

by the steamboat both ways. The boys envied me and

Jim a good deal, but land! they just knuckled to the

dirt before TOM.

Well, I don’t know; maybe he might have been

satisfied if it hadn’t been for old Nat Parsons, which

was postmaster, and powerful long and slim, and kind

o’ good-hearted and silly, and bald-headed, on account

of his age, and about the talkiest old cretur I ever see.

For as much as thirty years he’d been the only man in

the village that had a reputation — I mean a reputation

for being a traveler, and of course he was mortal proud

of it, and it was reckoned that in the course of that

thirty years he had told about that journey over a

million times and enjoyed it every time. And now

comes along a boy not quite fifteen, and sets everybody

admiring and gawking over HIS travels, and it just give

the poor old man the high strikes. It made him sick

to listen to Tom, and to hear the people say “My

land!” “Did you ever!” “My goodness sakes

alive!” and all such things; but he couldn’t pull away

from it, any more than a fly that’s got its hind leg fast

in the molasses. And always when Tom come to a

rest, the poor old cretur would chip in on HIS same old

travels and work them for all they were worth; but

they were pretty faded, and didn’t go for much, and it

was pitiful to see. And then Tom would take another

innings, and then the old man again — and so on, and

so on, for an hour and more, each trying to beat out

the other.

You see, Parsons’ travels happened like this: When

he first got to be postmaster and was green in the busi-

ness, there come a letter for somebody he didn’t know,

and there wasn’t any such person in the village. Well,

he didn’t know what to do, nor how to act, and there

the letter stayed and stayed, week in and week out, till

the bare sight of it gave him a conniption. The postage

wasn’t paid on it, and that was another thing to worry

about. There wasn’t any way to collect that ten cents,

and he reckon’d the gov’ment would hold him respon-

sible for it and maybe turn him out besides, when they

found he hadn’t collected it. Well, at last he couldn’t

stand it any longer. He couldn’t sleep nights, he

couldn’t eat, he was thinned down to a shadder, yet

he da’sn’t ask anybody’s advice, for the very person

he asked for advice might go back on him and let the

gov’ment know about the letter. He had the letter

buried under the floor, but that did no good; if he

happened to see a person standing over the place it’d

give him the cold shivers, and loaded him up with

suspicions, and he would sit up that night till the town

was still and dark, and then he would sneak there and

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Categories: Twain, Mark