Johnny Tremain Chapter 12, A Man Can Stand Up
Johnny realizes that a foot soldier of Pumpkin's regiment would have already been fighting and that those returned to Boston would be injured or war-weathered. So he makes himself look like an embattled soldier. Johnny watches as boats arrive with throngs of injured British soldiers. One boat even has Colonel Smith, who is shot in the leg, and also Lieutenant Stranger. Johnny has to catch himself from helping. Just the other day, Lieutenant Stranger had been a friend; now he is an enemy. Johnny tells some sailors that he has a message to send to Earl Percy and fortunately, he gets a ride to Charlestown without much trouble. In Charlestown, Johnny takes off Pumpkin's uniform.
Johnny finds out from a tavern-keeper that Colonel Smith's men seized Concord after Lexington, only to be routed by the Minute Men. If it were not for Earl Percy's reinforcements, Colonel Smith's troops would have all perished. The tavern-keeper does not know about Doctor Warren's whereabouts.
Johnny finds Paul Revere, who tells him that Doctor Warren is at Lexington. Johnny goes to Lexington where a woman tells him the names of the men who died there. Rab is not one of them. Johnny finally finds Doctor Warren, who tells him about Rab; he is badly wounded. Johnny goes to see him. Rab looks so pale and weak. Rab reminisces with Johnny about the first day they met at the Boston Observer office. Rab asks Johnny to hold on to his musket and go to Silsbee's Cove to see if the women had come out of hiding, and to see if Grandsire (grandfather) is there. At Silsbee's Cove, Johnny finds the place empty. Grandsire is not there and his old gun above the hearth is missing. When Johnny returns to Buckman's Tavern, Doctor Warren tells him that Rab is dead. Johnny recalls James Otis and his speech about how a great many are going to die--so that a man can stand up. Johnny picks up Rab's musket to examine it. Doctor Warren sees Johnny's crippled hand and tells him he can free the thumb by cutting through the scar tissues. Doctor Warren does not promise that Johnny will be able to cast silver again. Johnny, however, is only concerned about whether his hand will be good enough to shoot a musket. Sensing Johnny's determination, Doctor Warren agrees to perform the surgery.
Johnny looks around. This is his country and his people. He sees twenty or thirty ragged men marching to Yankee Doodle. On the heels of the men, in a chaise sits Major Silsbee with his gun. Johnny thinks of running to him to announce that Rab is dead. But Johnny knows Granshire will not stop; he will take his band of fighting men to Cambridge and to the siege of Boston so that at last, a man can stand up.