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Fearing, Kenneth (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XXIII, Number III (December 1923)

Hussong, Mary Elizabeth
Brogans encounter patent leather boots,   pp. 13-14

Page 13

Brogans Encounter Patent Leather Boots
By Mary Elizabeth Hussong.
This was a Robin Hood day, all blue and
gold like the days in the legend book. To be
sure, Peter, standing in the garden, a little tyrant
to the chickens, could see no forests beyond the
white paling of the farm yard fence, but only
stretches of cornfields. Yet it was so easy to shut
one's eyes tight and conjure up green forests with
gliding deer.
Peter cocked his ears.  Was that-three
blasts? No, only the chickens. This time he
shut his eyes. A shy, little smile flickered around
his mouth. So Will Scarlet was going to stea up
behind-and surprise-.   He turned sharply.
No, only the chickens behind him, too.
Then hearing the bell at the house he ran.
Once he stumbled, and as he did so he noticed his
old, rusty brogans. Only the other day he had
heard a woman in town-she was fat and ugly-
say that the little Saunders boy must be wearing
his father's shoes. How he had wanted to say
something loud and terrifying to her. But oh,
mortifying thought, his eyes had filled with tears.
Once, Peter stopped to admire the cool,
silky sheets on the clothes line. Stared at for a
minute, they took on the proport ons of billowy,
open-mouthed ghosts. They began to bounce
toward him. He hurried.
"Peter, here's the eggs for Mrs. Dougherty.
Take them now, and be careful not to break any."
The rouglsh, old sun began suddenly to beat
down piteously on poor little Peter. The road of
fine, white dust stretched on-endless. And the
basket was fuller than usual!
In the sleepy afternoon the country road
was deserted save for a rare farm wagon. One
of the drivers hollered, "Hello, kid," and grinned
horribly. Peter pretended that he didn't hear.
What was that? Oh, no! Yes! Low and
mumbling and far away-thunder! Peter put the
basket down with a thump. Something chipped.
A sickening, hot feeling came over him. He was
afraid to look. But when he did, oh, relieving
sight, none were broken. The sun went under a
cloud. The low rumbling began again. Peter
took big steps. God must be very angry to mut-
ter like that. God must be a terrible person, any-
way. And they said he must love-oh, if he just
only wouldn't howl and grumble like that.
Peter was surprised-he had been so busy
with thoughts-to find himself now trudging
around to the back door of the big, white house
where the Daugherty's lived.
"All right, Peter. Just put the eggs down.
I'll be out in a minute." He heard Mrs. Dougher-
ty's voice in the kitchen.
A little "Hello" from around the corner of
the house made him set the eggs down almost too
suddenly. Before him stood a little fairy book
vision of white and gold and pink.   Patent
leather boots, the most beautiful Peter had ever
seen and a determined chin, which he didn't
notice, were the only things which dist nguished
her from the fairy folk.
"You're the little egg boy, aren't you?"
Peter shook his head, astonished. He was of
Robin's band and for all he knew th s wa3
'Of course you are, silly. I saw the eggs.
"Peter, here's your basket. But I think it's
going to storm. Don't you want to come in and
play with my little granddaughter till it clears
Peter hesitated. But a loud clap of thunder
hurried his decision.
And then the two found themselves alone in
the big library. And all around were rows and
rows of books, quite as many as the town library.
"Here are some t nker toys.' Lydia showed
him a big box. "Grandfather Dougherty gave
them to me. We'll build things."
Never were there such fascinating toys!
They began to build a house like Grandmother
Daugherty's. But when it was finished Peter
awkwardly caught hs foot under the porch, and
that spacious veranda tumbled and brought the
rest with it.
Lydia's eyes glittered furiously. "You hor-
rid boy! You're awkward as a cow! But no
wonder-your feet are so big! You wear your
father's shoes, don't you? My aunt Clara said
you do. Don't you wish you had pretty shoes
like mine?"
A patent leather boot shot out. But Peter
had somehow lost his taste for patent leather.
"You're poor, aren't you? Don't you wish
you were rich ?"
'-Oh, no. I'll bet you don't. My father has
two cars. Did you ever ride in a car?"
December, 1923

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