"Hadn't any aunt!--you numskull. What has that got to do with it?"
"Heaps. Because if he'd 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
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 perceptible 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--"
"Oh, 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