Tom is distracted from his troubles when Becky Thatcher falls ill. He worries she will die.
Aunt Polly is worried about him. She tries remedies to cure him of his listlessness. She is always willing to try all the latest curatives. She never notices that her health periodicals contradict themselves.
Tom becomes more depressed.
However, Tom decides to bring up his spirits when his aunt starts feeding him medicine. He pours it into a crack in the floor. One day he gives it to their cat, who goes crazy and breaks things in the house before fleeing out the window. Aunt Polly is astonished by his behavior, wondering what got into the cat. She then realizes that Tom gave the cat his medicine by the tell tale spoon. She feels bad for making Tom uncomfortable with the medicine, but it did rouse his spirits.
Tom has been coming early to school. He doesn’t play with his friends. Jeff Thatcher never notices the hints he drops in his inquiries about Becky.
His spirits improve, though, when she returns to school. He shows off for her, but she acts contemptuous of him. His feelings are hurt.