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Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain Chapter 4 Summary

The Rising Eye

  • Johnny wakes up in a considerably improved mood. All the way to Merchant Lyte's counting house, he imagines how great life is going to be now that he's a cherished member of one of the wealthiest families in Boston.
  • Um, except Johnny's getting a little ahead of himself since he hasn't been accepted by that family yet.
  • Johnny enters the counting house, where two old clerks are really rude to him, and one young one, Sewall, is nice. Sewall tells him to go on in and see Mr. Lyte.
  • Johnny introduces himself to Mr. Lyte using his full name and tells him about his mother.
  • Mr. Lyte—not a relative we would pick—accuses Johnny of lying, takes a lot of snuff, and throws in a few "your mamas" about Johnny's mother. Johnny's temper goes to town and he tells Mr. Lyte he'd rather not be related to him, but unfortunately he can prove their relationship.
  • Johnny describes his silver cup, and Mr. Lyte's mood changes. He invites Johnny to bring the cup to his home that evening.
  • Johnny goes to the Laphams's to get the cup, still in a really good mood because he believes the cup will prove his relationship to the Lytes.
  • While he's there, Mrs. Lapham takes the opportunity to tell him Grandpa won't let her kick him out, but he's to return to sleeping in the attic, be nice to Mr. Tweedie, and fuhgedabout ever marrying Cilla.
  • Johnny leaves, happier still because Cilla and Isannah have returned to teasing him and treating him normally.
  • To kill time before he can go to the Lytes's house, he stops by to visit Rab, who loans him a nice shirt and jacket to wear and feeds him supper.
  • When Johnny shows up at the Lytes's house, he hesitates about which door to use, but finally he uses the front door and introduces himself by his full name.
  • Mr. Lyte presents him, rather mockingly, to the rest of the family, and they all go into the dining room to put the cup beside three identical ones on the sideboard.
  • And then—wait for it—Mr. Lyte accuses Johnny of stealing the cup on the night of August 23. Apparently, Mr. Lyte had started off with four cups.
  • The sheriff, who is already there, arrests Johnny and takes him to jail. He tells Johnny he has the right to notify someone of his arrest, and Johnny asks the sheriff to tell Rab.
  • Johnny spends the night in jail, actually feeling better than he felt the night before on his mother's grave, despite the fact that he could be hanged for stealing the cup. He feels hanging is less painful than Isannah's shrieks when she saw his hand.
  • Rab arrives the next morning with books, blankets, and food.
  • Also, Rab is wearing a medallion around his neck with a Tree of Liberty on it. Turns out Rab is one of the Sons of Liberty, and so are the turnkey and the jailer. This earns Johnny a nicer cell.
  • Rab asks Johnny if anyone knew he had the cup before August 23; this would prove that Johnny's cup is different from the one stolen from Mr. Lyte's house.
  • Johnny remembers that he showed Cilla the cup, and Rab asks if she would testify for him. Johnny says she will if Mrs. Lapham will let her.
  • Rab returns the next morning with the news that Mr. Lyte has already visited the Laphams and made a huge silver order and has promised to order more items if things go his way. Mrs. Lapham has sworn Cilla will be under lock and key during the trial.
  • Rab says Cilla will testify for Johnny no matter what though, and that he will get her out in time.
  • Third Founding Father Alert: Rab gets Josiah Quincy, a less famous Founding Father than some other Founding Fathers, to defend Johnny for free.
  • When the case is called, Lavinia Lyte walks in to watch. She's known for doing weird stuff like this.
  • Rab and Cilla show up just as Johnny is taking the stand.
  • Mr. Lyte acts like the case is open and shut and gets all buddy-buddy with the judge, even straight up asking for the death penalty like it's no big deal.
  • Johnny turns out to be a very charismatic speaker, and people almost applaud when he's done telling his version of events.
  • Cilla is called to the stand and confirms Johnny's story.
  • Then Isannah runs in, ignores all the rules of court, and flings herself on the judge, telling her version of the story, which is just a repetition of what Cilla said. Everyone thinks she's so beautiful and charming that no one minds.
  • The judge dismisses the case, returns Johnny's cup, and tells Johnny he can sue Mr. Lyte if he wants.
  • Johnny, Mr. Quincy, Cilla, and Rab are celebrating outside the courthouse when they notice Isannah is missing.
  • They spot Isannah gazing in adoration up at Lavinia Lyte. Cilla calls her back, and she says Miss Lyte told her she was one-of-a-kind.
  • Isannah tries to give Johnny a kiss, but he won't let her kiss him in public, so she kisses his injured hand instead.

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