MICKEY OWNS UP
Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her
Josephine Lawrence website;
please do not use on other sites without permission
BROTHER told Mickey the tar incident in a few words.
"And you can't make her believe Betty and I didn't put it on her porch," he concluded. "She's just 'termined we did it."
"And she sent the policeman to your house and all," mused Mickey. "Gee!"
His face was rather red and he looked at Brother and Sister queerly. He opened his mouth as though to say something, then apparently changed his mind.
"Well, we have to go home," declared Brother. "You'll go see Miss Putnam, won't you, Mickey?"
"I suppose so," muttered Mickey. "So long!"
"Maybe he doesn't like it," said Sister as they went on toward their house.
"Oh, yes he does," replied Brother confidently. "He'll go, you see if he doesn't."
Mickey Gaffney did go see Miss Putnam, and something about him made the old lady like him right away. She engaged him to do errands for her an hour in the morning, and again in the afternoon, and she paid him fifteen cents an hour. If he weeded in the garden that was to be extra.
"Will you have enough for your shoes?" asked Sister anxiously one morning, when Mickey came to do some weeding in the garden for Jimmie.
"My, yes, and I guess I can buy my little sister a pair," said Mickey proudly.
"Have you a little sister?" demanded Brother and Sister together. "How old is she?"
"Five," answered Mickey, getting down on his hands and knees and going at the weeds in a business-like way. "She'll be five next month."
"Isn't that nice!" commented Sister. "I'm five years old, too."
Mickey avoided her eyes and was apparently too busy to talk much to them, so by and by Brother and Sister ran off and left him to his weeding.
If they had stayed, they might have seen Mickey throw down his weeding-fork suddenly and march out of the garden.
"Don't believe that boy is going to stick to his work," said Molly to Mother Morrison. "He's gone already."
But Mickey was hurrying along toward Miss Putnam's house and did not care very much what anyone thought of him. He didn't think kindly of himself at that moment.
"Why, Mickey!" Miss Putnam looked up at him in amazement as he came around to the back porch where she was sweeping a rug. "What's the matter, child, don't you feel well?"
"I feel all right," he said briefly. "Say, Miss Putnam, you know that tar that was on your porch? I threw it!"
"You—you what?" gasped Miss Putnam. "You threw that hot tar all over my clean porch and walk? Why, Mickey!"
"Yes'm," muttered Mickey miserably.
"But why?" insisted Miss Putnam. "And Mrs. Graham told me that the Morrison boy and girl did it."
"Guess she thought she saw 'em—it was most dark," said Mickey. "But it wasn't Roddy and Betty. I did it, and Nina, my little sister, helped me."
"But why?" persisted Miss Putnam. "I never should have thought it of you, Mickey, never."
Strange as it may seem, Miss Putnam really liked Mickey. He was so willing and so cheerful and so quick that the old lady who had had to do all the work of her small home so long that she had forgotten how it felt to have younger hands helping her, began to look forward to Mickey's coming every day.
And Mickey liked Miss Putnam. He found she was very fair about time and reasonable about the amount of work she expected him to accomplish. The fact that he was barefooted did not seem to bother her and she treated him exactly as though his clothes were whole in- stead of torn and poorly patched.
Now when she asked him why he had thrown the tar, it was hard for him to tell the truth. But he did. When Mickey once made up his mind to do a thing, he always went through with it.
"It was 'count of the barbwire," Mickey explained in a low voice. "I didn't know you put it up, and I climbed the fence one night, to scare you through the window, and I thought you'd run out and chase me. And I tore my coat on the wire and scratched my face. So after that I was always looking for a chance to get even.
"When I saw the tar, I came back after sup- per and made Nina carry it for me while I slung it—we had a tin bucket. I'm awful sorry, Miss Putnam; honest I am!"
"But—did you let me send a policeman to the Morrison's house?" asked Miss Putnam uncertainly.
"I never knew about that till just before I came here to work," said Mickey earnestly. "And ever since I've felt mean as dirt, not telling. Nina is just as old as Betty. It wasn't her fault—Nina's, I mean; she does whatever I tell her to."
"Well, I'll go call on Mrs. Morrison this afternoon," said Miss Putnam briskly. "And then I'll take down that wire. I don't need it now anyway, for the children don't bother me since you're here. I guess they're afraid you'd catch them if you should chase them," she smiled grimly.
"And I can go right on working?" suggested Mickey anxiously.
"Of course, child. Why not?" said Miss Putnam.
That settled Mickey's last worry. With a hurried "thank you," he dashed away, out through the yard and up the street. He wanted to find Brother and Sister and tell them what he had done.
"My goodness, I think you're ever so brave," said Sister when she had heard his story. "I'd be scared to death to tell Miss Putnam like that."
"Pooh, she's all right," answered Mickey. "I like her. And now I have a lot of time to make up—most half an hour."
"School begins two weeks from today," announced Brother, watching Mickey tackle an onion row. "You're sure you're going, Mickey?"
"Of course," said Mickey proudly. "I'll stop for you the first morning just to prove it."
"And we'll go every day and never be late once, will we?" chimed in Sister.
But whether they were able to keep this good resolution or not remains to be seen. If you are interested to know you will have to read the next book about them, called "BROTHER AND SISTER'S SCHOOL DAYS."
Return to Josephine Lawrence, Children's Books
Return to main page