Over vacation, Tom joins a "new" band of boys called the "Cadets of Temperance," known for their showy regalia and red sashes. He vows not to drink or swear, but learns that "to promise not to do a thing is the surest way to makes a body want to go and do that very thing." Unable to abstain from these vices, Tom goes back to his mischievous ways.
Tom joins the "Cadets of Temperance" because of their cool uniform. He also joins because he knows that Judge Frazier is about to die. When he joins, he vows not to drink, swear, or smoke. He also learns that "to promise not to do a thing is the surest way to make a person do that thing." When he sees that Judge Frazier is getting better, he quits the Cadets of Temperance because he is unble to keep his promise. After he quits, the judge dies shortly after, making Tom feel very regretful.