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After two years of child-filled bliss, Mrs. Driscoll passes away. Two years after her death, when Tom has reached nineteen years of age, he is sent to school at Yale. However, he only makes it two years before giving up and returning to Dawson's Landing. While away at school, Tom picks up some bad habits - particularly drinking and gambling. He becomes bored with the small town and frequently escapes to the bustling city of St. Louis, where he can engage in his vices unbeknownst to his uncle. Before long, Tom's digressions get him into "deep waters."