Study Guide

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Chapter 18

By Mark Twain

Chapter 18

  • So now Twain tells us of Tom's "secret" after we've already heard its result.
  • The boys, it seems, paddled over to shore on Saturday night, hid out in the empty church, and waited for the perfect moment to reveal themselves.
  • On Monday morning, Polly and Mary get to asking Tom about his hijinks. Aunt Polly – and who knew she was this cool? Not us – admits that Tom's trick was pretty darn awesome, but is still disappointed that he didn't at least let her now that he was only having a bit of fun and wasn't just plain old dead.
  • Mary comes to his defense and says, well, Tom would have done it if he'd thought to do it, which doesn't really make much sense.
  • Of course, we know that Tom did think of it, and almost, in fact did it, but he's reluctant to let his aunt know because, well, he's got one last trick to play.
  • Now, as you might recall, Aunt Polly's not exactly the savviest when it comes to magic and "miracle cures" and all that stuff, and Tom capitalizes on her weakness.
  • Come to think of it, he tells her, I did dream about you guys. He then goes on to tell them, in precise detail, what went on the night he snuck into the house and listened to their conversation.
  • Aunt Polly and Mary fall for this hook, line, and sinker and Polly basically tells Sid to shut his mouth when he chimes in all skeptical like.
  • Tom shows up to school, all swagger and strut. All of the other kids admire him.
  • Soon enough, he and Joe are letting it all go to their heads; Tom doesn't even pay attention to Becky any more he's so set on enjoying his new-found fame. He even starts talking to Amy Lawrence again.
  • When she sees Tom playing hard to get, Becky takes to doing her own kind of "showing off," sighing, and glancing at Tom, and inviting everyone within earshot – except Tom and Amy – to a picnic which she has only just thought up.
  • This plan doesn't keep Becky from crying in the corner, however, and soon she's concocted another scheme. During recess, she starts looking at a picture-book with the dweeby, stuck-up Alfred Temple.
  • This time, Becky manages to get Tom annoyed. He hates the "sophisticated" kid from the big city, that "Saint Louis smartie," as Tom calls him (18.81).
  • He's just about ready to beat Temple up – who may or may not be the same kid Tom trounced in Chapter 1 – but he chooses instead to give him an imaginary beating before heading home.
  • With no Tom to torture, Becky quickly loses interest in both the book and Alfred, and so she, quite unceremoniously, tells him to buzz off.
  • Alfred, weak thing that he is, decides to take out his anger by dripping ink all over Tom's spelling book.
  • Becky sees Alfred doing this, and thinks to tell Tom of his misdeed, but she reconsiders at the last moment and heads home. She resolves to hate him forever, and can't wait to see him whipped in class the next day.