Authors: Carolyn Haywood
Illustrated by the author
AN ODYSSEY/HARCOURT YOUNG CLASSIC
Orlando Austin New York San Diego Toronto London
Copyright 1943 by Harcourt, Inc.
Copyright renewed 1971 by Carolyn Haywood
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work
should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,
Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.
First Harcourt Young Classics edition 2004
First Odyssey Classics edition 1990
First published 1943
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Haywood, Carolyn, 1898â
Back to school with Betsy/Carolyn Haywood,
"An Odyssey/Harcourt Young Classic."
Sequel: Betsy and the boys.
Sequel to: Betsy and Billy.
Summary: Third grader Betsy and her friend Billy seem to be
always getting into scrapes both inside and outside of school.
[1. SchoolsâFiction. 2. FriendshipâFiction.] I. Title.
ISBN 0-15-205105-8 ISBN 0-15-205101-5 (pb)
Printed in the United States of America
A C E G H F D B
MV CEGHFDB (pb)
To my brother
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GARDEN WALL
THUMPY AND THE WHITEWASH
THE WEDDING PRESENT
HOW MR. KILPATRICK BLEW HIS WHISTLE
JIMMY AND CHUMMY
THE TALE OF THE BLACKBOARD PICTURE
FATHER'S FUNNY DREAM
THE CHRISTMAS SLEIGH RIDE
EXACTLY WHAT BETSY WANTED
THE EASTER CHICK
It was a warm evening in August. Betsy was sitting on the top of the wall that ran back of the garden. Mother's garden was lovely. There were roses and spotted lilies, asters and zinnias. The flower beds had neat borders of tiny fuzzy purple flowers.
Betsy looked down on the other side of the wall. A long time ago there had been a garden there; long, long before Betsy had learned to climb up and sit on the wall. Now there was just a wild mass of weeds and brambles and tall grass. Betsy never climbed over the wall. She didn't like anything on the other side. She didn't like the stone house that stood in the midst of the weeds and the tall grass. No one had lived in the house as long as Betsy could remember.
Sometimes Betsy would walk around the block and look up at the front of the house. It had a big porch that was covered with vines and cobwebs. Some of the windows had been broken and the chimney had fallen down. Betsy thought it was the spookiest house she had ever seen. She never told anyone, but when it was dark she was afraid to pass the house. Betsy didn't know exactly why she was afraid, but the house just made her feel creepy.
As Betsy sat on the wall, she looked across the weeds and tall grass. She could see the back of the house. She didn't know which looked worse, the back of the house or the front of the house.
Just then Betsy's mother came out into the garden. "Why, Betsy!" said Mother. "What are you looking so sober about?"
"I was just thinking," replied Betsy. "Do you
suppose that anyone will ever live in that old house, Mother?"
"I wish someone
come to live in it," said Mother. "The 'For Sale' sign has been hanging on it as long as we have lived here."
"Maybe if someone lived in it there would be a nice garden," said Betsy.
"Wouldn't that be lovely?" replied Mother. "Then there would be flowers on both sides of the wall."
"Well, I wouldn't want to live in it," said Betsy. "It's too dark and spooky."
"Why, Betsy! How silly of you!" said Mother.
Betsy got down off the wall and began to help Mother pull up some weeds.
"When does school begin, Mother?" asked Betsy.
"In a few weeks," replied Mother.
"I wonder if Miss Grey will be my teacher again?" said Betsy. "I love Miss Grey."
"Oh, Betsy!" cried Mother. "I forgot to tell you. I met Miss Grey on the street the other day. She told me that she's going to be married. She isn't going to teach anymore."
Betsy straightened up and looked at Mother. "Miss Grey isn't going to be at school at all anymore?" she asked.
"That's right," replied Mother.
"You mean I won't see her anymore at all?" asked Betsy.
Mother looked up from the flower bed. When she saw Betsy's troubled face, she said, "Why, Betsy darling! Of course you will see Miss Grey again."
"No, I won't," said Betsy, beginning to cry. "I won't see Miss Grey anymore if she isn't going to be at school. I won't ever see her."
"Yes, you will, dear," said Mother. "I'll invite her to tea."
"But that won't be like school. In school I saw her every day," said Betsy.
That night when Betsy went to bed she felt very unhappy. She didn't see why Miss Grey had to get married and spoil everything.
The next morning Betsy's friend, Ellen, came to play at Betsy's house. Betsy told Ellen about Miss Grey.
Ellen felt sorry too when she heard that Miss Grey wouldn't be at school.
"I wish we could go to the wedding," said Ellen.
"I don't want to go to any old wedding," said Betsy. "I think Miss Grey is just a meanie to get married."
"I guess you never saw a wedding cake," said Ellen, "or you would want to go. You get a piece in a box to take home."
Just then Billy Porter arrived. Billy was in the same room in school as Betsy and Ellen.
"Hi!" shouted Billy. "What do you know?"
"Plenty," said Betsy. "Miss Grey isn't coming back to school. She's getting married and we'll never see her again."
"Married!" shouted Billy. "What does she want to get married for? She must be crazy!"
"Ellen wants to go to the wedding," said Betsy.
Billy looked at Ellen. "You must be crazy too," he said. "I'd like to see anybody drag me to a wedding."
"I guess you've never been to a wedding," said Ellen. "You never got any wedding cake to take home in a box."
"What did you say?" asked Billy.
"I said, I guess you never got any wedding cake to take home in a box," replied Ellen.
The children sat quietly thinking. After a while Betsy said, "Maybe we ought to give Miss Grey a wedding present."
"Well," said Billy, "maybe so."
"I think it would be nice," said Ellen.
"You're sure about the cake, aren't you, Ellen?" asked Billy.
"Of course I'm sure," replied Ellen. "I've been to two weddings and I can show you the boxes the cake was in."
"Well, I haven't any money to buy a wedding present," said Billy.
"I haven't any money either," said Ellen.
"And I just spent my last fifty cents for a birthday present for Father," said Betsy.
"We'll all have to earn some money," said Billy.
"Yes," said Betsy. "There is no use deciding on a present until we see how much money we have to spend."
"I can earn some if I deliver orders for Mr. Watson, the grocer," said Billy.
"I can earn some minding Mrs. Plummer's twins," said Ellen.
"Well," said Betsy, "I'll have to find a way to earn some too."
When Billy and Ellen left, Betsy went into the garden. She climbed up on the garden wall. She sat wondering how she could earn some money for Miss Grey's wedding present.
Soon she saw a tall man coming through the weeds and the grass on the other side of the wall. Betsy was so surprised she nearly fell off the wall. She had never seen anyone there before.
The man smiled at Betsy and said, "Hello, there! I am Mr. Jackson. What's your name?"
"My name is Betsy," replied Betsy.
"Well, Betsy, I'm glad to meet you because you are going to be my nearest neighbor. I've just bought this house," said Mr. Jackson, waving his hand toward the old house.
"You have?" said Betsy, in great surprise. "And will there be a garden on the other side of the wall?"
"Yes, indeed," said Mr. Jackson. "Someday there will be a garden but just now I have to fix up the house. It's a sight."
"It certainly is," said Betsy.
"And now," said Mr. Jackson, "I'll tell you why I came over to speak to you. Do you happen to have an older brother?"
"No," replied Betsy, "but I have a baby sister."
Mr. Jackson laughed. "I'm afraid your baby sister won't be able to help me out," he said.
"You see," he went on, "there will be workmen in the house and I would like to find a boy who would be willing to go over to the house every day, after the workmen are gone. I want him to make sure that the front door and the back door have been locked. Do you know any boy around here who would do that for me? I'll pay him five cents a day."
Betsy looked up at the old house that gave her the creeps.
Five cents a day,
she thought. How she would love to make five cents a day! But would she have the courage to go up to the doors of the old house? She wondered about that.
Mr. Jackson stood waiting for Betsy to answer.