Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


THE sun rose upon a tranquil world, and beamed down upon the peaceful village like a benediction. Breakfast over, Aunt Polly had family worship: it began with a prayer built from the ground up of solid courses of Scriptural quotations, welded together with a thin mortar of originality; and from the summit of this she delivered a grim chapter of the Mosaic Law, as from Sinai.

Then Tom girded up his loins, so to speak, and went to work to "get his verses." Sid had learned his lesson days before. Tom bent all his energies to the memorizing of five verses, and he chose part of the Sermon on the Mount, because he could find no verses that were shorter. At the end of half an hour Tom had a vague general idea of his lesson, but no more, for his mind was traversing the whole field of human thought, and his hands were busy with distracting recreations. Mary took his book to hear him recite, and he tried to find his way through the fog:

"Blessed are the -- a -- a --"

"Poor" --

"Yes -- poor; blessed are the poor -- a -- a --"

"In spirit --"

"In spirit; blessed are the poor in spirit, for they -- they --"


"For THEIRS. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they -- they --"

"Sh --"

"For they -- a --"

"S, H, A --"

"For they S, H -- Oh, I don't know what it is!"


"Oh, SHALL! for they shall -- for they shall -- a -- a -- shall mourn -- a-- a -- blessed are they that shall -- they that -- a -- they that shall mourn, for they shall -- a -- shall WHAT? Why don't you tell me, Mary? -- what do you want to be so mean for?"

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