On a certain summer day, a few years ago, the little village of Briggsville, in Pennsylvania, was thrown into a state of excitement, the like of which was never known since the fearful night, a hundred years before, when a band of red men descended like a cyclone upon the little hamlet with its block-house, and left barely a dozen settlers alive to tell the story of the visitation to their descendants. Tom Gordon lived a mile from Briggsville with his widowed mother and his Aunt Cynthia, a sister to his father, who had died five years before. The boy had no brother or sister; and as he was bright, truthful, good-tempered, quick of perception, and obedient, it can be well understood that he was the pride and hope of his mother and aunt, whose circumstances were of the humblest nature. He attended the village school, where he was the most popular and promising of the threescore pupils under the care of the crabbed Mr. Jenkins. He was as active of body as mind, and took the lead among boys of his own age in athletic sports and feats of dexterity.
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