San Francisco Daily Alta California [unsigned]
1877: January 15

Tom Sawyer was a boy, not one of the sort that you read about in good books, but a little devil, never malicious and always at some trick, and in the course of years he engaged in a multitude, all of which are here recorded in Twain's style. He had special aversions for church, Sunday school, pious people, devout conversation and the company of his sedate but good old aunt. In spite of his efforts to escape from such inflictions he had to suffer them once in a while, but in his efforts to get some diversion on such occasions he more than once made lively sensations. Too lazy to get his Sunday school lessons, he managed by sharp trading to buy up a lot of the tickets given to the best pupils, and when a distinguished visitor came the children were requested to step forward with their tickets so that the one who had the most should receive the prize. To the astonishment of all Tom Sawyer was the hero, and, after a great time had been made over him, the visitor thought Tom should have a chance to show his learning, so he asked him who were the first two of the twelve Apostles to follow Jesus, it being presumed that the prize boy knew such things perfectly, for the lesson of the term had been in the study of the four Gospels. Tom felt the necessity of giving some answer, and his was "David and Goliath," to the surprise of the visitor, the consternation of the head teacher and the amusement of the school. When Tom went to church he took a large snapping bug (which has a grip like a crab) with him, and it got hold of a church-going dog, which rushed around the building and howled in a manner highly unbecoming to the place. When he was sick his aunt gave him pain-killer, and when she went out he gave a dose to the cat, which squawled, rushed around like mad, upsetting everything, and then jumped through the window, breaking a pane of glass in the way. Aunt Polly hearing the disturbance and finding the cause, scolded Tom for being so cruel to the cat, but Tom said she had compelled him to take pain-killer when he protested, and he had not given it to pussy till she came and begged for a taste when she saw him pour it into a spoon. He went to school, and got into trouble on account of a little girl--both about ten years old. Having read about the romantic life of pirates, Tom and two companions of the same age stole a little raft, on which they floated a few miles on the Mississippi to a small uninhabited island, where they remained three days, while their relatives mourned their supposed death by drowning, and when they were discovered and brought back there was great rejoicing, and Tom was looked at by other little boys as a wonderful hero, and he put on awful airs on account of the sensation he made. What we have told here is merely part of the outline of the story; the chief merit is in the filling in, which is full of humorous and acute delineation of the follies, superstitions and peculiarities of boys, girls and older people.

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