fluenced by his companions than his best friends cared to see him. At present he was inclined to make a chum of Ed Brown, who, though only a year older, was so precociously shrewd, and what the world calls "smart," that, according to good Widow Barry's opinion, "he could buy and sell Masther Tom any day."
The old woman had, indeed, many opportunities for observation; for is not sometimes so simple a transaction as the buying of an apple a real test of character? If a boy or man is tricky or mean or unjust in his business dealings, is it likely that we shall find him upright and honorable in other things? Though Mrs. Norris was not as well posted as the apple-vender, one or two occurrences had caused her to positively forbid Tom to have any more to do with Ed,--a command which he grumbled a good deal about, and, alas! occasionally disobeyed.
But to continue our story. The following Saturday morning the skies were blue, the sun shone bright, the gladness of spring was in the air,--all promised a long,
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