"Tom Sawyer"
by Mark Twain

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     "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!"

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