Read CHAPTER II - SONNY BOY GOES ON A JOURNEY AND MAKES FRIENDS of Sonny Boy , free online book, by Sophie Swett, on

Sonny Boy set out, all alone, for the city in which Aunt Kate lived. Papa Plummer thought that any kind of a boy of ten ought to be able to make a little journey like that alone.

The whole Plummer family went with Sonny Boy to the Poppleton station and gave him charges, while they waited for the train. “Write every day,” said Mamma Plummer, “and learn to spell, and don’t touch Aunt Kate’s scissors to your curls.”

“Say your prayers,” whispered Grandma Plummer, “and change your wet feet.”

“Don’t lose your money,” said Papa Plummer.

“Eat your soup from the side of the spoon, and don’t say ‘ain’t’ nor ’is that so,’” said Polly, in a severe tone.

“Don’t scuff nor speak through your nose, and don’t say ‘No-sir-ee’ to Aunt Kate,” said Dorothy.

“If you go to the circus that was here last summer, find out whether the Wild Man is truly wild,” said Tom, “and see what a big drum costs big enough for the Company.”

“Go to a dog-man and find out what is good for Bevis’ dyspepsia, and whether he may eat cookies,” said Trixie.

And then the train came whizzing along, and, with his cage of white mice under his arm, and his turtle sticking its head out of his jacket pocket, Sonny Boy went into the car.

As the train moved off Sonny Boy shut his teeth tight together. In his heart he was afraid he should be homesick, like Trixie.

He took the paper off the cage to give his white mice the air, and a woman in the seat behind jumped and screamed.

“Oh, take them away! Take them away! They’ll get out!” she cried. “Anyway, they’ll frighten my baby into fits!”

Then immediately the conductor came along and angrily told Sonny Boy that that wasn’t a menagerie car, and he must either throw those things away or carry them into the baggage-car. He said some people with a screeching parrot were out in the baggage-car. They would not trust their parrot there alone, and people in the cars wouldn’t hear it screech.

Sonny Boy, with a very red face, followed the conductor to the baggage-car.

On a trunk a little girl was sitting, with her nurse, a rather cross-looking woman, beside her. Between them was a large cage. “If you want to leave your live stock here, you can go back to the car. I guess ’twill be safe enough,” said the conductor. But Sonny Boy shook his head firmly.

“Oh, what lovely little dears!” cried the little girl. She was about as old a little girl as Trixie, but she had a bright, grown-up manner that made Sonny Boy feel bashful.

“Pussy? Pussy? Scat!” shrieked the parrot from the little girl’s cage.

“Isn’t Polly wonderful to know that they are mice?” cried the little girl to Sonny Boy.

But the mice, not being used to pussies, did not mind hearing her call a cat in the least.

Some were quietly nibbling at a lump of sugar which Trixie had put into the cage for them, and some were trying to thrust their heads through the wires to see the world.

“Polly is a gray African parrot,” said the little girl. “She knows a lot, and she’s worth a hundred dollars. We are carrying her to Otto, at the hospital, but we are a little afraid they won’t let him keep her there, for some don’t like her voice.”

“I like it,” said Sonny Boy, politely and truthfully.

“So do I like your mice,” said the little girl as politely.

And then they felt they had known each other for a long time.

They sat down on a large trunk, with the cage of mice between them, and Sonny Boy told the little girl that the mice with black spots on them were Spaniards, and showed her just which of the white ones were Dewey and Sampson, and told her that the dashing little fellow that led all the others in daring swings and leaps was Hobson.

“Oh, if Otto could only see them!” cried the little girl. “He loves soldiers. He wants to be one, and only think! he isn’t like other boys. His back isn’t straight and he is lame, and though he is eleven you wouldn’t think him more than eight.”

To be lame was worse than to be bow-legged, and Sonny Boy felt a thrill of pity for Otto. He hoped Otto wasn’t cross-eyed, and he quite longed to ask if fractions and spelling came hard to him.

When it was nearly dark the nurse said that the next stopping-place would be their station, and she put a newspaper over the parrot’s cage and made ready to leave the car.

The train would reach the city soon after it left their station, she said, so Sonny Boy covered his mouse-cage with a newspaper, too, and prepared to say good-bye to his new friend.

There was great hurry and bustle when Lena and her nurse reached their station, but Lena ran back after she had gone down the car steps to tell Sonny Boy that he was one of the nicest boys she had ever seen, and had been beautifully kind all the afternoon to her and to her nurse. Sonny Boy wished that Polly could have heard her!

In the great city station Aunt Kate’s big, pompous coachman came shouting through the crowd for “Master Peter Plummer.” And Sonny Boy had to stop to think who it was he meant, for in Poppleton he was never called anything but Sonny Boy.

“Take your things, sir?” said the pompous footman, just as if Sonny Boy were grown up!

“I’ll take this, please,” said Sonny Boy, keeping hold of the cage. “It’s full of white mice.”

“Dewey! Sampson! Hobson! Cock-a-doodle-doo! Pussy! Pussy! Scat! Polly wants a cracker!” cried a shrill voice from the cage. And the pompous coachman stared in amazement.

“It’s Lena’s parrot! We must have changed cages! Oh, and she’s got my white mice!” cried Sonny Boy.