"Oh, Tom, you poor thick-headed thing, I'm not teasing you. I wouldn't
do that. You must go and learn it again. Don't you be discouraged, Tom,
you'll manage it--and if you do, I'll give you something ever so nice.
There, now, that's a good boy."
"All right! What is it, Mary, tell me what it is."
"Never you mind, Tom. You know if I say it's nice, it is nice."
"You bet you that's so, Mary. All right, I'll tackle it again."
And he did "tackle it again"--and under the double pressure of curiosity
and prospective gain he did it with such spirit that he accomplished a
shining success. Mary gave him a brand-new "Barlow" knife worth twelve
and a half cents; and the convulsion of delight that swept his system
shook him to his foundations. True, the knife would not cut anything,
but it was a "sure-enough" Barlow, and there was inconceivable grandeur
in that--though where the Western boys ever got the idea that such a
weapon could possibly be counterfeited to its injury is an imposing
mystery and will always remain so, perhaps. Tom contrived to scarify the
cupboard with it, and was arranging to begin on the bureau, when he was
called off to dress for Sunday-school.