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Chapter 8 JAMIE

  • Pollyanna did not see the boy "to-morrow." It rained, and she could not go t_he Garden at all. It rained the next day, too. Even on the third day she di_ot see him, for, though the sun came out bright and warm, and though she wen_ery early in the afternoon to the Garden and waited long, he did not come a_ll. But on the fourth day he was there in his old place, and Pollyann_astened forward with a joyous greeting.
  • "Oh, I'm so glad, GLAD to see you! But where've you been? You weren't her_esterday at all."
  • "I couldn't. The pain wouldn't let me come yesterday," explained the lad, wh_as looking very white.
  • "The PAIN! Oh, does it—ache?" stammered Pollyanna, all sympathy at once.
  • "Oh, yes, always," nodded the boy, with a cheerfully matter-of-fact air. "Mos_enerally I can stand it and come here just the same, except when it gets TO_ad, same as 'twas yesterday. Then I can't."
  • "But how can you stand it—to have it ache—always?" gasped Pollyanna.
  • "Why, I have to," answered the boy, opening his eyes a little wider. "Thing_hat are so are SO, and they can't be any other way. So what's the us_hinking how they might be? Besides, the harder it aches one day, the nicer
  • 'tis to have it let-up the next."
  • "I know! That's like the ga—" began Pollyanna; but the boy interrupted her.
  • "Did you bring a lot this time?" he asked anxiously. "Oh, I hope you did! Yo_ee I couldn't bring them any to-day. Jerry couldn't spare even a penny fo_eanuts this morning and there wasn't really enough stuff in the box for m_his noon."
  • Pollyanna looked shocked.
  • "You mean—that you didn't have enough to eat—yourself?—for YOUR luncheon?"
  • "Sure!" smiled the boy. "But don't worry. Tisn't the first time—and 'twon't b_he last. I'm used to it. Hi, there! here comes Sir Lancelot."
  • Pollyanna, however, was not thinking of squirrels.
  • "And wasn't there any more at home?"
  • "Oh, no, there's NEVER any left at home," laughed the boy. "You see, mumse_orks out—stairs and washings—so she gets some of her feed in them places, an_erry picks his up where he can, except nights and mornings; he gets it wit_s then—if we've got any."
  • Pollyanna looked still more shocked.
  • "But what do you do when you don't have anything to eat?"
  • "Go hungry, of course."
  • "But I never HEARD of anybody who didn't have ANYTHING to eat," gaspe_ollyanna. "Of course father and I were poor, and we had to eat beans and fis_alls when we wanted turkey. But we had SOMETHING. Why don't you tel_olks—all these folks everywhere, that live in these houses? "
  • "What's the use?"
  • "Why, they'd give you something, of course!"
  • The boy laughed once more, this time a little queerly.
  • "Guess again, kid. You've got another one coming. Nobody I know is dishin' ou_oast beef and frosted cakes for the askin'. Besides, if you didn't go hungr_nce in a while, you wouldn't know how good 'taters and milk can taste; an_ou wouldn't have so much to put in your Jolly Book."
  • "Your WHAT?"
  • The boy gave an embarrassed laugh and grew suddenly red.
  • "Forget it! I didn't think, for a minute, but you was mumsey or Jerry."
  • "But what IS your Jolly Book?" pleaded Pollyanna. "Please tell me. Are ther_nights and lords and ladies in that?"
  • The boy shook his head. His eyes lost their laughter and grew dark an_athomless.
  • "No; I wish't there was," he sighed wistfully. "But when you—you can't eve_ALK, you can't fight battles and win trophies, and have fair ladies hand yo_our sword, and bestow upon you the golden guerdon." A sudden fire came to th_oy's eyes. His chin lifted itself as if in response to a bugle call. Then, a_uddenly, the fire died, and the boy fell back into his old listlessness.
  • "You just can't do nothin'," he resumed wearily, after a moment's silence.
  • "You just have to sit and think; and times like that your THINK gets to b_omething awful. Mine did, anyhow. I wanted to go to school and lear_hings—more things than just mumsey can teach me; and I thought of that. _anted to run and play ball with the other boys; and I thought of that. _anted to go out and sell papers with Jerry; and I thought of that. I didn'_ant to be taken care of all my life; and I thought of that."
  • "I know, oh, I know," breathed Pollyanna, with shining eyes. "Didn't I lose M_egs for a while?"
  • "Did you? Then you do know, some. But you've got yours again. I hain't, yo_now," sighed the boy, the shadow in his eyes deepening.
  • "But you haven't told me yet about—the Jolly Book," prompted Pollyanna, afte_ minute.
  • The boy stirred and laughed shamefacedly.
  • "Well, you see, it ain't much, after all, except to me. YOU wouldn't see muc_n it. I started it a year ago. I was feelin' 'specially bad that day. Nothin'
  • was right. For a while I grumped it out, just thinkin'; and then I picked u_ne of father's books and tried to read. And the first thing I see was this: _earned it afterwards, so I can say it now.
  • "'Pleasures lie thickest where no pleasures seem;   There's not a leaf tha_alls upon the ground   But holds some joy, of silence or of sound.'
  • [Footnote: Blanchard. Lyric Offerings. Hidden Joys.]
  • "Well, I was mad. I wished I could put the guy that wrote that in my place, and see what kind of joy he'd find in my 'leaves.' I was so mad I made up m_ind I'd prove he didn't know what he was talkin' about, so I begun to hun_or 'em—the joys in my 'leaves,' you know. I took a little old empty noteboo_hat Jerry had given me, and I said to myself that I'd write 'em down.
  • Everythin' that had anythin' about it that I liked I'd put down in the book.
  • Then I'd just show how many 'joys' I had."
  • "Yes, yes!" cried Pollyanna, absorbedly, as the boy paused for breath.
  • "Well, I didn't expect to get many, but—do you know?—I got a lot. There wa_omethin' about 'most everythin' that I liked a LITTLE, so in it had to go.
  • The very first one was the book itself—that I'd got it, you know, to write in.
  • Then somebody give me a flower in a pot, and Jerry found a dandy book in th_ubway. After that it was really fun to hunt 'em out—I'd find 'em in suc_ueer places, sometimes. Then one day Jerry got hold of the little notebook, and found out what 'twas. Then he give it its name—the Jolly Book. And—an_hat's all."
  • "All—ALL!" cried Pollyanna, delight and amazement struggling for the master_n her glowing little face. "Why, that's the game! You're playing the gla_ame, and don't know it—only you're playing it ever and ever so much bette_han I ever could! Why, I—I couldn't play it at all, I'm afraid, if I—I didn'_ave enough to eat, and couldn't ever walk, or anything," she choked.
  • "The game? What game? I don't know anything about any game," frowned the boy.
  • Pollyanna clapped her hands.
  • "I know you don't—I know you don't, and that's why it's so perfectly lovely, and so—so wonderful! But listen. I'll tell you what the game is."
  • And she told him.
  • "Gee!" breathed the boy appreciatively, when she had finished. "Now what d_ou think of that!"
  • "And here you are, playing MY game better than anybody I ever saw, and I don'_ven know your name yet, nor anything!" exclaimed Pollyanna, in almos_westruck tones. "But I want to;—I want to know everything."
  • "Pooh! there's nothing to know," rejoined the boy, with a shrug. "Besides, see, here's poor Sir Lancelot and all the rest, waiting for their dinner," h_inished.
  • "Dear me, so they are," sighed Pollyanna, glancing impatiently at th_luttering and chattering creatures all about them. Recklessly she turned he_ag upside down and scattered her supplies to the four winds. "There, now, that's done, and we can talk again," she rejoiced. "And there's such a lot _ant to know. First, please, what IS your name? I only know it isn't 'Si_ames.'"
  • The boy smiled.
  • "No, it isn't; but that's what Jerry 'most always calls me. Mumsey and th_est call me 'Jamie.'"
  • "'JAMIE!'" Pollyanna caught her breath and held it suspended. A wild hope ha_ome to her eyes. It was followed almost instantly, however, by fearful doubt.
  • "Does 'mumsey' mean—mother?"
  • "Sure!"
  • Pollyanna relaxed visibly. Her face fell. If this Jamie had a mother, he coul_ot, of course, be Mrs. Carew's Jamie, whose mother had died long ago. Still, even as he was, he was wonderfully interesting.
  • "But where do you live?" she catechized eagerly. "Is there anybody else i_our family but your mother and—and Jerry? Do you always come here every day?
  • Where is your Jolly Book? Mayn't I see it? Don't the doctors say you can eve_alk again? And where was it you said you got it?—this wheel chair, I mean."
  • The boy chuckled.
  • "Say, how many of them questions do you expect me to answer all at once? I'l_egin at the last one, anyhow, and work backwards, maybe, if I don't forge_hat they be. I got this chair a year ago. Jerry knew one of them fellers wha_rites for papers, you know, and he put it in about me—how I couldn't eve_alk, and all that, and—and the Jolly Book, you see. The first thing I knew, _hole lot of men and women come one day toting this chair, and said 'twas fo_e. That they'd read all about me, and they wanted me to have it to remembe_hem by."
  • "My! how glad you must have been!"
  • "I was. It took a whole page of my Jolly Book to tell about that chair."
  • "But can't you EVER walk again?" Pollyanna's eyes were blurred with tears.
  • "It don't look like it. They said I couldn't."
  • "Oh, but that's what they said about me, and then they sent me to Dr. Ames, and I stayed 'most a year; and HE made me walk. Maybe he could YOU!"
  • The boy shook his head.
  • "He couldn't—you see; I couldn't go to him, anyway. 'Twould cost too much.
  • We'll just have to call it that I can't ever—walk again. But never mind." Th_oy threw back his head impatiently. "I'm trying not to THINK of that. Yo_now what it is when—when your THINK gets to going."
  • "Yes, yes, of course—and here I am talking about it!" cried Pollyanna, penitently. "I SAID you knew how to play the game better than I did, now. Bu_o on. You haven't told me half, yet. Where do you live? And is Jerry all th_rothers and sisters you've got?"
  • A swift change came to the boy's face. His eyes glowed.
  • "Yes—and he ain't mine, really. He ain't any relation, nor mumsey ain't, neither. And only think how good they've been to me!"
  • "What's that?" questioned Pollyanna, instantly on the alert. "Isn't that—that
  • 'mumsey' your mother at all?"
  • "No; and that's what makes—"
  • "And haven't you got any mother?" interrupted Pollyanna, in growin_xcitement.
  • "No; I never remember any mother, and father died six years ago."
  • "How old were you?"
  • "I don't know. I was little. Mumsey says she guesses maybe I was about six.
  • That's when they took me, you see."
  • "And your name is Jamie?" Pollyanna was holding her breath.
  • "Why, yes, I told you that."
  • "And what's the other name?" Longingly, but fearfully, Pollyanna asked thi_uestion.
  • "I don't know."
  • "YOU DON'T KNOW!"
  • "I don't remember. I was too little, I suppose. Even the Murphys don't know.
  • They never knew me as anything but Jamie."
  • A great disappointment came to Pollyanna's face, but almost immediately _lash of thought drove the shadow away.
  • "Well, anyhow, if you don't know what your name is, you can't know it isn't
  • 'Kent'!" she exclaimed.
  • "'Kent'?" puzzled the boy.
  • "Yes," began Pollyanna, all excitement. "You see, there was a little boy name_amie Kent that—" She stopped abruptly and bit her lip. It had occurred t_ollyanna that it would be kinder not to let this boy know yet of her hop_hat he might be the lost Jamie. It would be better that she make sure of i_efore raising any expectations, otherwise she might be bringing him sorro_ather than joy. She had not forgotten how disappointed Jimmy Bean had bee_hen she had been obliged to tell him that the Ladies' Aid did not want him, and again when at first Mr. Pendleton had not wanted him, either. She wa_etermined that she would not make the same mistake a third time; so ver_romptly now she assumed an air of elaborate indifference on this mos_angerous subject, as she said:
  • "But never mind about Jamie Kent. Tell me about yourself. I'm SO interested!"
  • "There isn't anything to tell. I don't know anything nice," hesitated the boy.
  • "They said father was—was queer, and never talked. They didn't even know hi_ame. Everybody called him 'The Professor.' Mumsey says he and I lived in _ittle back room on the top floor of the house in Lowell where they used t_ive. They were poor then, but they wasn't near so poor as they are now.
  • Jerry's father was alive them days, and had a job."
  • "Yes, yes, go on," prompted Pollyanna.
  • "Well, mumsey says my father was sick a lot, and he got queerer and queerer, so that they had me downstairs with them a good deal. I could walk then, _ittle, but my legs wasn't right. I played with Jerry, and the little gir_hat died. Well, when father died there wasn't anybody to take me, and som_en were goin' to put me in an orphan asylum; but mumsey says I took on so, and Jerry took on so, that they said they'd keep me. And they did. The littl_irl had just died, and they said I might take her place. And they've had m_ver since. And I fell and got worse, and they're awful poor now, too, beside_erry's father dyin'. But they've kept me. Now ain't that what you call bein'
  • pretty good to a feller?"
  • "Yes, oh, yes," cried Pollyanna. "But they'll get their reward—I know they'l_et their reward!" Pollyanna was quivering with delight now. The last doub_ad fled. She had found the lost Jamie. She was sure of it. But not yet mus_he speak. First Mrs. Carew must see him. Then—THEN—! Even Pollyanna'_magination failed when it came to picturing the bliss in store for Mrs. Care_nd Jamie at that glad reunion.
  • She sprang lightly to her feet in utter disregard of Sir Lancelot who had com_ack and was nosing in her lap for more nuts.
  • "I've got to go now, but I'll come again to-morrow. Maybe I'll have a lad_ith me that you'll like to know. You'll be here to-morrow, won't you?" sh_inished anxiously.
  • "Sure, if it's pleasant. Jerry totes me up here 'most every mornin'. The_ixed it so he could, you know; and I bring my dinner and stay till fou_'clock. Jerry's good to me—he is!"
  • "I know, I know," nodded Pollyanna. "And maybe you'll find somebody else to b_ood to you, too," she caroled. With which cryptic statement and a beamin_mile, she was gone.