"Tom Sawyer"
by Mark Twain

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     This thought broke her down, and she wandered away, with tears rolling down her cheeks. Then quite a group of boys and girls--playmates of Tom's and Joe's--came by, and stood looking over the paling fence and talking in reverent tones of how Tom did so-and-so the last time they saw him, and how Joe said this and that small trifle (pregnant with awful prophecy, as they could easily see now!)--and each speaker pointed out the exact spot where the lost lads stood at the time, and then added something like "and I was a-standing just so--just as I am now, and as if you was him--I was as close as that--and he smiled, just this way--and then something seemed to go all over me, like--awful, you know--and I never thought what it meant, of course, but I can see now!"


     Then there was a dispute about who saw the dead boys last in life, and many claimed that dismal distinction, and offered evidences, more or less tampered with by the witness; and when it was ultimately decided who did see the departed last, and exchanged the last words with them, the lucky parties took upon themselves a sort of sacred importance, and were gaped at and envied by all the rest. One poor chap, who had no other grandeur to offer, said with tolerably manifest pride in the remembrance:

     "Well, Tom Sawyer he licked me once."

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