"Because I loved you so, and you laid there moaning and I was so sorry."
The words sounded like truth. The old lady could not hide a tremor in
her voice when she said:
"Kiss me again, Tom!--and be off with you to school, now, and don't
bother me any more."
The moment he was gone, she ran to a closet and got out the ruin of a
jacket which Tom had gone pirating in. Then she stopped, with it in her
hand, and said to herself:
"No, I don't dare. Poor boy, I reckon he's lied about it--but it's a
blessed, blessed lie, there's such a comfort come from it. I hope
the Lord--I know the Lord will forgive him, because it was such
good-heartedness in him to tell it. But I don't want to find out it's a
lie. I won't look."
She put the jacket away, and stood by musing a minute. Twice she put out
her hand to take the garment again, and twice she refrained. Once more
she ventured, and this time she fortified herself with the thought:
"It's a good lie--it's a good lie--I won't let it grieve me." So she
sought the jacket pocket. A moment later she was reading Tom's piece of
bark through flowing tears and saying: "I could forgive the boy, now, if
he'd committed a million sins!"