British Quarterly Review [unsigned]
1876: October

Tom Sawyer is a bit of a scamp, a kind of juvenile Gil Blas, an enfant terrible, a schoolboy full of practical jokes and solemn impositions, who wins a Sunday-school Bible by buying tickets, and proves his assiduous study by the astounding answer to the question, "Who were the first two apostles?" "David and Goliath." He absconds from school, and with a village ne'er-do-well sets up for a pirate on an island in the river, then steals home at night to listen to his old aunt weeping over him as drowned, and is furtively present on Sunday to hear his funeral sermon preached. In one of his escapades he is witness of a midnight murder--gets lost in a cave on the Mississippi, finds the murderer and his treasure, and ends his schoolboy days by being a hero. The book is full of roaring fun, interspersed with touches of true pathos. It will have the effect of making boys think that an unscrupulous scapegrace is sure to turn out a noble man; it might therefore have given more emphasis to truth and straightforwardness. But it is irresistible; fully up to the mark of the "Innocents Abroad."

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