Jimmy Takes the Helm

“It’s Jimmy Bean. He wants ter see ye, ma’am,” announced Nancy in the doorway.

“Me?” rejoined Miss Polly, plainly surprised. “Are you sure he did not mean Miss Pollyanna? He may see her a few minutes today, if he likes.”

“Yes’m. I told him. But he said it was you he wanted.”

“Very well, I’ll come down.” And Miss Polly arose from her chair a little wearily.

In the sitting room she found waiting for her a round-eyed, flushed-faced boy, who began to speak at once.

“Ma’am, I s’pose it’s dreadful—what I’m doin’, an’ what I’m sayin’; but I can’t help it. It’s for Pollyanna, and I’d walk over hot coals for her, or face you, or—or anythin’ like that, any time. An’ I think you would, too, if you thought there was a chance for her ter walk again. An’ so that’s why I come ter tell ye that as long as it’s only pride an’ et—et-somethin’ that’s keepin’ Pollyanna from walkin’, why I knew you would ask Dr. Chilton here if you understood—”

“Wh-at?” interrupted Miss Polly, the look of stupefaction on her face changing to one of angry indignation.

Jimmy sighed despairingly.

“There, I didn’t mean ter make ye mad. That’s why I begun by tellin’ ye about her walkin’ again. I thought you’d listen ter that.”

“Jimmy, what are you talking about?”

Jimmy sighed again.

“That’s what I’m tryin’ ter tell ye.”

“Well, then tell me. But begin at the beginning, and be sure I understand each thing as you go. Don’t plunge into the middle of it as you did before—and mix everything all up!”

Jimmy wet his lips determinedly.

“Well, ter begin with, Dr. Chilton come ter see Mr. Pendleton, an’ they talked in the library. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, Jimmy.” Miss Polly’s voice was rather faint.

“Well, the window was open, and I was weedin’ the flower-bed under it; an’ I heard ’em talk.”

“Oh, Jimmy! Listening?

“ ’Twa’n’t about me, an’ ’twa’n’t sneak listenin’,” bridled Jimmy. “And I’m glad I listened. You will be when I tell ye. Why, it may make Pollyanna—walk!”

“Jimmy, what do you mean?” Miss Polly was leaning forward eagerly.

“There, I told ye so,” nodded Jimmy, contentedly. “Well, Dr. Chilton knows some doctor somewhere that can cure Pollyanna, he thinks—make her walk, ye know; but he can’t tell sure till he sees her. And he wants ter see her somethin’ awful, but he told Mr. Pendleton that you wouldn’t let him.”

Miss Polly’s face turned very red.

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