Read CHAPTER III - SONNY BOY GOES IN SEARCH OF HIS WHITE MICE of Sonny Boy , free online book, by Sophie Swett, on

“My dear Sonny Boy!” Aunt Kate leaned out of her carriage, ready to take him, big cage and all, into her arms.

“Cock-a-doodle-doo! Remember the Maine! Dewey! Sampson! Hobson!” screamed the parrot again. And the crowd following Sonny Boy and the coachman cheered and cheered.

Sonny Boy was afraid they would tear the cage from his arms. And they might have, had not the coachman used his fists to clear the way.

“Get us out of this, Jarvis!” said Aunt Kate.

Jarvis made the horses plunge forward, but Sonny Boy could hear the shouts following them along the street.

“She she’s a remarkable parrot,” said Sonny Boy faintly.

“I should think so!” said Aunt Kate.

“I didn’t exactly bring the parrot. She belongs to another fel another girl,” explained Sonny Boy, a little confused.

“I’m so glad!” said Aunt Kate heartily.

“I had my white mice in a cage just about as large as this. You ought to see them! Trixie and I have drilled them into two armies, American and Spanish, and we’ve got the commanders on both sides and, oh, I don’t know where they are now! I changed cages with a girl!”

“Oh, we’ll find them, never fear! And the girl shall have her parrot,” said Aunt Kate, growing suddenly very cheerful.

When they reached Aunt Kate’s house a beautiful Angora cat ran into the hall to meet her mistress. “Scat! Scat!” screamed the parrot. She had torn the newspaper off the cage with her sharp beak and was taking a look around her.

Off whisked the cat in terror, and hid, so that no one could find her. Then Aunt Kate’s little poodle waddled up to the cage. “Bow-wow!” barked the parrot. And they couldn’t drag the poodle out of the coal-cellar that night!

Sonny Boy lay awake that night longer than he had ever lain awake a night in his life, planning how to rid himself of that parrot and get his white mice again.

In the morning Aunt Kate sent out for all the daily papers, but there was no advertisement of a lost parrot in them. The parrot, with her cage muffled, was shut up in the back attic, but Aunt Kate had a nervous headache.

Sonny Boy felt sure that she was wishing she had borrowed some other one of the Plummers who wouldn’t have brought a parrot, and he was very unhappy. When Aunt Kate sat down at her desk to write an advertisement for a girl who changed a parrot for a cage of white mice, Sonny Boy stole up to the attic and got the parrot, and slipped out at the front door. He did not know the name of the station where Lena and her nurse had stopped, but he knew that it was the next station to the city, and that there was a children’s hospital there.

When Aunt Kate had said they couldn’t find the little girl without advertising, as they did not know her last name, Sonny Boy had been too bashful to tell her he thought he could.

But of course any little Poppleton boy knew what tongues were made for, and Sonny Boy felt he could make things come out right if that parrot would only keep still!

He had learned the way to the station and was hurrying on when a newsboy’s cry about the war aroused Polly.

She shouted all her war-cries, and such a crowd gathered that Sonny Boy was forced to turn into a side street and run.

But fortunately the side street led to the station, and once on board the train Polly became quiet.

He got out at the station where Lena had left him, the day before, and inquired for the children’s hospital.

There was no children’s hospital, he was told, but there was a children’s ward in the big general hospital on the hill, which the station-agent pointed out to him.

He rang timidly at the great door of the hospital, then waited a long time.

“Hurry up! Hurry up!” shrieked Polly. And a man, looking very much astonished, opened the door.

“I want to see a boy named Otto,” said Sonny Boy. “I want to give him his parrot and ”

“Are you his brother?” asked the man. “Only relatives admitted.” And when Sonny Boy shook his head he shut the door.

“Cock-a-doodle! Remember the Maine!” screamed Polly.

The man opened the door enough to look at the parrot.

“Please won’t you see if Otto has my white mice?” urged Sonny Boy.

“His sister is here. You might send for her to come out,” said a boy in buttons at the man’s elbow.

The great door was closed again, but in a few moments it opened and Lena’s startled face appeared.

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” she said, her cheeks growing very red. “But I did hope you would like her better, for Otto is just wild over the mice!”

“I don’t like her better!” said Sonny Boy stoutly.

“We think Otto ought to have everything. When you see him you’ll think so, too,” said Lena.

“I sha’n’t think he ought to have my white mice,” said Sonny Boy firmly.

The girl opened wide the big door, as if it belonged to her.

“Come!” she said, beckoning to Sonny Boy.