[Footnote: Strange as the incidents of this story are,

they are not inventions, but facts — even to the

public confession of the accused. I take them from an

old-time Swedish criminal trial, change the actors,

and transfer the scenes to America. I have added some

details, but only a couple of them are important

ones. — M. T.]

WELL, it was the next spring after me and Tom

Sawyer set our old nigger Jim free, the time he

was chained up for a runaway slave down there on

Tom’s uncle Silas’s farm in Arkansaw. The frost was

working out of the ground, and out of the air, too, and

it was getting closer and closer onto barefoot time every

day; and next it would be marble time, and next

mumbletypeg, and next tops and hoops, and next

kites, and then right away it would be summer and go-

ing in a-swimming. It just makes a boy homesick to

look ahead like that and see how far off summer is.

Yes, and it sets him to sighing and saddening around,

and there’s something the matter with him, he don’t

know what. But anyway, he gets out by himself and

mopes and thinks; and mostly he hunts for a lone-

some place high up on the hill in the edge of the woods,

and sets there and looks away off on the big Mississippi

down there a-reaching miles and miles around the points

where the timber looks smoky and dim it’s so far off and

still, and everything’s so solemn it seems like everybody

you’ve loved is dead and gone, and you ‘most wish you

was dead and gone too, and done with it all.

Don’t you know what that is? It’s spring fever.

That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got

it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you

DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you

want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want

is to get away; get away from the same old tedious

things you’re so used to seeing and so tired of, and set

something new. That is the idea; you want to go and

be a wanderer; you want to go wandering far away to

strange countries where everything is mysterious and

wonderful and romantic. And if you can’t do that,

you’ll put up with considerable less; you’ll go any-

where you CAN go, just so as to get away, and be thank-

ful of the chance, too.

Well, me and Tom Sawyer had the spring fever, and

had it bad, too; but it warn’t any use to think about

Tom trying to get away, because, as he said, his Aunt

Polly wouldn’t let him quit school and go traipsing off

somers wasting time; so we was pretty blue. We was

setting on the front steps one day about sundown talk-

ing this way, when out comes his aunt Polly with a

letter in her hand and says:

“Tom, I reckon you’ve got to pack up and go down

to Arkansaw — your aunt Sally wants you.”

I ‘most jumped out of my skin for joy. I reckoned

Tom would fly at his aunt and hug her head off; but if

you believe me he set there like a rock, and never said

a word. It made me fit to cry to see him act so foolish,

with such a noble chance as this opening up. Why,

we might lose it if he didn’t speak up and show he was

thankful and grateful. But he set there and studied

and studied till I was that distressed I didn’t know

what to do; then he says, very ca’m, and I could a

shot him for it:

“Well,” he says, “I’m right down sorry, Aunt

Polly, but I reckon I got to be excused — for the


His aunt Polly was knocked so stupid and so mad at

the cold impudence of it that she couldn’t say a word

for as much as a half a minute, and this gave me a

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Categories: Twain, Mark