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Johnny Tremain

Johnny Tremain

by Esther Forbes

Johnny Tremain Chapter 9 Summary

The Scarlet Deluge

  • Paul Revere organizes a spy system consisting of thirty artisans, and they meet secretly at the Green Dragon tavern. The British don't suspect anything because the Green Dragon is owned by the Masons—a worldwide secret society—and the men are mostly Masons.
  • Johnny continues to work in the stables at the Afric Queen. His spy job is to keep track of the soldiers there; he's also supposed to stay tight with Dove, who is still working for the British.
  • Lydia, the washerwoman at the Afric Queen, tells Johnny that Lieutenant Stranger has been drafting lots of notes to Miss Lavinia to tell her he can't come to her party on December 15. When they put the scraps Lydia gives them together, they discover that the British plan to steal the militia stores at Fort William and Mary.
  • Johnny takes this info to Paul Revere, who rides with the news. The British are forced to abort the mission.
  • That winter, Johnny feels sorry for Dove because no one really likes him, and he and Rab take him under their wings. Oh—and they also occasionally get him drunk in order to pump him for information.
  • Johnny often does Dove's work in the stable to keep him from getting fired. He takes care of Nan and Sandy, the colonel's two horses.
  • One day, Lieutenant Stranger finds Johnny there and asks if he'd like to learn jumping. Johnny and Lieutenant Stranger go to Boston Common often to exercise and jump their horses. They are equals there, but indoors the lieutenant sees Johnny as his inferior.
  • Johnny is still delivering papers on Thursdays, and one day he rides Goblin across Boston Common, where British troops are encamped. An officer grabs Goblin's bridle, dumps the papers in the mud, and threatens Johnny with thirty lashes.
  • The soldier holding Goblin's head is Pumpkin, who also works at the Lytes's stables, and he indicates that Johnny should give Goblin his spurs to escape.
  • Johnny loses control of Goblin, who runs all over Boston before coming to a stop at the Lytes's, where he's used to getting carrots.
  • Pumpkin is there. He tells Johnny lots of British soldiers are Whigs, and that he himself would like to desert and get a farm.
  • Johnny agrees to help Pumpkin desert in exchange for his musket for Rab.
  • Johnny gives Pumpkin one of the beautiful smocks his mother made. He has never worn them because silversmiths and horse boys don't wear smocks, but he recognizes the love that went into making them.
  • Johnny gets the musket for Rab, who is very appreciative, and uses his silversmith skills to make a bullet mold and bullets—which, apparently, he can do one-handed.
  • In early April, the mood is changing. Everyone feels something is going to happen soon.
  • The king is mad at General Gage for not putting the rebellion down with more force and is sending three more generals: Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne.
  • Gage must make his move before he is relieved of command.
  • Johnny takes Nan and Sandy out for a walk on Boston Common and notices some soldiers down in the marsh but doesn't think much of it.
  • Then the drums start, and Johnny looks closer—there's a chaplain, a coffin, an open grave, a firing squad. And Pumpkin.
  • Pumpkin is executed for desertion, which shakes Johnny up quite badly. He worries that he is a coward, but decides to take things stoically, like Rab, and say nothing.
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