There was not even a zephyr stirring; the dead noonday sun had even stilled the songs of the birds; nature lay in a trance that was broken by no sound but the occasional far-off hammering of a woodpecker, and this seemed to render the pervading silence and sense of loneliness the more profound. The boy's soul was steeped in melancholy; his feelings were in happy accord with his surroundings.

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harper, p. 73.

TIME: Mid-1800's

PLACE: southern U.S.

CIRCUMSTANCE: Tom experiences summertime depression



By and by, out of the stillness, little, scarcely perceptibly noises began to emphasize themselves. The ticking of the clock began to bring itself into notice. Old beams began to crack mysteriously. The stairs creaked faintly. Evidently spirits were abroad. A measured, muffled snore issued from Aunt Polly's chamber. And now the tiresome chirping of a cricket that no human ingenuity could locate, began. Next the ghastly ticking of a death-watch in the wall at the bed's head made Tom shudder - it meant that somebody's days were numbered. Then the howl of a far-off dog rose on the night air, and was answered by a fainter howl from a remoter distance. Tom was in agony. At last he was satistfied that time had ceased and eternity begun; he began to doze, despite himself; the clock chimed eleven, but he did not hear it. And then there came, mingling with his half-formed dreams, a most melancholy caterwauling. The raising of a neighboring window disturbed him. A cry of "Scat! You devil!" and the crash of an empty bottle against the back of his aunt's woodshed brought him wide awake, and a single minute later he was dressed and out of the window and creeping along the roof of the "ell" on all fours. He "meow'd" with caution, once or twice, as he went; then jumped to the roof of the woodshed and thence to the ground. Huckleberry Finn was there, with his dead cat.

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Harper, p. 80-81.

TIME: middle 1800's

PLACE: Southern U.S.

CIRCUMSTANCE: Tom and Huck depart on another adventure