Sonny Boy

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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Mamma Plummer read a letter at the dinner-table before she touched her soup. She had been having visitors and had not had time to look at it before. And she was always in a hurry to hear from Aunt Kate.

Aunt Kate! All seven of the young Plummers pricked up their ears.

Aunt Kate was “the right kind,” as Tom Plummer said. She remembered all the young Plummers’ birthdays, and even when she was in Europe sent home beautiful presents that arrived in Poppleton on the very day. A present is so much better on the very day.

“Aunt Kate is lonesome, in her new house, without any young people,” said Mamma Plummer, at last. “She wants to borrow one of you children for six months.”

There was a chorus of delight from the young Plummers. Mamma Plummer sighed a little. People were always saying, “How many there are of the Plummers,” but Mamma Plummer never thought there were too many.

“Probably she wants one of us,” whispered Dorothy, who was sixteen, to Polly, who was eighteen.

Sydney, who was fifteen, waited eagerly. He thought Aunt Kate might have heard of the picture on the barn door and mean to give him a chance to become a great artist. Any one could see that the picture meant a man on horseback, with a pipe in his mouth, and that the man was Michael, their gardener, even if Tom did pretend to think it was the town pump.

Oliver stood up on a round of his chair; he was short, and he had such a little, squeaky voice that he had to get up high to make people notice him.

“She may want one of the youngsters,” said Polly doubtfully. “She said Trixie was a quaint child.”

“I’m not a quaint child,” said Trixie, as if her feelings were hurt. “And I’m not the one who can leave home just as well as not. So many things disagree with Bevis, and the Bantam rooster pecks my chicks.”

“You sha‘n’t go,” said Papa Plummer, patting her head. They all knew that Trixie was a home body. Once, when she tried to stay at Aunt Sarah’s, they had to bring her home in the middle of the night.

“If she wants me,” said Tom, “I’m her man.” But Tom was eating his dinner just as if nothing had happened.

Tom was twelve, and had learned that you can’t have everything you want in this world, and that the things you get sometimes turn out better than the things you want and can’t get.

Another one of the Plummers was quietly eating his dinner. That was because he was sure that Aunt Kate didn’t want him. None of the others had even thought of Sonny Boy. It was a matter of course, they would have said, that Aunt Kate didn’t want Sonny Boy.

Sonny Boy was ten. His name was Peter, but Mamma thought that too large a name for a small boy. Besides, there was another Peter Plummer—his cousin—who lived on Pippin Hill. Both Peters were named for Grandpa Plummer.

All the other Plummers were handsome, but Sonny Boy was snub-nosed and freckled and a trifle cross-eyed, and his curly hair was so red that the boys pretended to warm their hands and light matches by it....