Infomotions, Inc.Ethel Morton's Enterprise / Smith, Mabell S. C. (Mabell Shippie Clarke), 1864-1942



Author: Smith, Mabell S. C. (Mabell Shippie Clarke), 1864-1942
Title: Ethel Morton's Enterprise
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): ethel; ethel blue; ethel brown; dorothy; roger; helen; emerson; clark; smith; emily leonard; asked ethel; pink; blue; brown
Contributor(s): Widger, David, 1932- [Editor]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 59,776 words (short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 68 (easy)
Identifier: etext11660
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Title: Ethel Morton's Enterprise

Author: Mabell S.C. Smith

Release Date: March 22, 2004 [EBook #11660]

Language: English

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ETHEL MORTON'S ENTERPRISE

By

MABELL S.C. SMITH




CONTENTS

I    HOW IT STARTED
II   A SNOW MAN AND SEED CATALOGUES
III  DOROTHY TELLS HER SECRET
IV   GARDENING ON PAPER
V    A DEFECT IN THE TITLE
VI   WILD FLOWERS FOR HELEN'S GARDEN
VII  COLOR SCHEMES
VIII CAVE LIFE
IX   "NOTHING BUT LEAVES"
X    THE U.S.C. AND THE COMMUNITY
XI   THE FLOWER FESTIVAL
XII  ENOUGH TO GIVE AWAY
XIII IN BUSINESS
XIV  UNCLE DAN'S RESEARCHES
XV   FUR AND FOSSILS
XVI  FAIRYLAND
XVII THE MISSING HEIRESS




CHAPTER I


HOW IT STARTED

Ethel Morton, called from the color of her eyes Ethel "Blue" to
distinguish her from her cousin, also Ethel Morton, whose brown eyes
gave her the nickname of Ethel "Brown," was looking out of the window at
the big, damp flakes of snow that whirled down as if in a hurry to cover
the dull January earth with a gay white carpet.

"The giants are surely having a pillow fight this afternoon," she
laughed.

"In honor of your birthday," returned her cousin.

"The snowflakes are really as large as feathers," added Dorothy Smith,
another cousin, who had come over to spend the afternoon.

All three cousins had birthdays in January. The Mortons always
celebrated the birthdays of every member of the family, but since there
were three in the same month they usually had one large party and
noticed the other days with less ceremony. This year Mrs. Emerson, Ethel
Brown's grandmother, had invited the whole United Service Club, to which
the girls belonged, to go to New York on a day's expedition. They had
ascended the Woolworth Tower, gone through the Natural History Museum,
seen the historic Jumel Mansion, lunched at a large hotel and gone to
the Hippodrome. Everybody called it a perfectly splendid party, and
Ethel Blue and Dorothy were quite willing to consider it as a part of
their own birthday observances.

Next year it would be Dorothy's turn. This year her party had consisted
merely in taking her cousins on an automobile ride. A similar ride had
been planned for Ethel Blue's birthday, but the giants had plans of
their own and the young people had had to give way to them. Dorothy had
come over to spend the afternoon and dine with her cousins, however. She
lived just around the corner, so her mother was willing to let her go in
spite of the gathering drifts, because Roger, Ethel Brown's older
brother, would be able to take her home such a short distance, even if
he had to shovel a path all the way.

The snow was so beautiful that they had not wanted to do anything all
the afternoon but gaze at it. Dicky, Ethel Brown's little brother, who
was the "honorary member" of the U.S.C., had come in wanting to be
amused, and they had opened the window for an inch and brought in a few
of the huge flakes which grew into ferns and starry crystals under the
magnifying glass that Mrs. Morton always kept on the desk.

"Wouldn't it be fun if our eyeth could thee thingth like that!"
exclaimed Dicky, and the girls agreed with him that it would add many
marvels to our already marvellous world.

"As long as our eyes can't see the wee things I'm glad Aunt Marion
taught us to use this glass when we were little," said Ethel Blue who
had been brought up with her cousins ever since she was a baby.

"Mother says that when she and Uncle Roger and Uncle Richard," said
Dorothy, referring to Ethel Brown's and Ethel Blue's fathers, her
uncles--"were all young at home together Grandfather Morton used to make
them examine some new thing every day and tell him about it. Sometimes
it would be the materials a piece of clothing was made of, or the paper
of a magazine or a flower--anything that came along."

[Illustration: "It looked just as if it were a house with a lot of
rooms"]

"When I grow up," said Ethel Blue, "I'm going to have a large microscope
like the one they have in the biology class in the high school. Helen
took me to the class with her one day and the teacher let me look
through it. It was perfectly wonderful. There was a slice of the stem of
a small plant there and it looked just as if it were a house with a lot
of rooms. Each room was a cell, Helen said."

"A very suitable name," commented Ethel Brown.

"What are you people talking about?" asked Helen, who came in at that
instant.

"I was telling the girls about that time when I looked through the high
school microscope," answered Ethel Blue.

[Illustration: Single Cell]

[Illustration: Double Cell]

"You saw among other things, some cells in the very lowest form of life.
A single cell is all there is to the lowest animal or vegetable."

[Illustration: Multiple Cells]

"What do you mean by a single cell?"

"Just a tiny mass of jelly-like stuff that is called protoplasm. The
cells grow larger and divide until there are a lot of them. That's the
way plants and animals grow."

"If each is as small as those I saw under the microscope there must be
billions in me!" and Ethel Blue stretched her arms to their widest
extent and threw her head upwards as far as her neck would allow.

"I guess there are, young woman," and Helen went off to hang her snowy
coat where it would dry before she put it in the closet.

"There'th a thnow flake that lookth like a plant!" cried Dicky who had
slipped open the window wide enough to capture an especially large
feather.

"It really does!" exclaimed Ethel Blue, who was nearest to her little
cousin and caught a glimpse of the picture through the glass before the
snow melted.

"Did it have 'root, stem and leaves'?" asked Dorothy. "That's what I
always was taught made a plant--root, stem and leaves. Would Helen call
a cell that you couldn't see a plant?"

"Yes," came a faint answer from the hall. "If it's living and isn't an
animal it's a vegetable--though way down in the lower forms it's next to
impossible to tell one from the other. There isn't any rule that doesn't
have an exception."

"I should think the biggest difference would be that animals eat plants
and plants eat--what do plants eat?" ended Dorothy lamely.

"That is the biggest difference," assented Helen. "Plants are fed by
water and mineral substances that come from the soil directly, while
animals get the mineral stuff by way of the plants."

"Father told us once about some plants that caught insects. They eat
animals."

"And there are animals that eat both vegetables and animals, you and I,
for instance. So you can't draw any sharp lines."

"When a plant gets out of the cell stage and has a 'root, stem and
leaves' then you know it's a plant if you don't before," insisted
Dorothy, determined to make her knowledge useful.

"Did any of you notice the bean I've been sprouting in my room?" asked
Helen.

"I'll get it, I'll get it!" shouted Dicky.

"Trust Dicky not to let anything escape his notice!" laughed his big
sister.

Dicky returned in a minute or two carrying very carefully a shallow
earthenware dish from which some thick yellow-green tips were sprouting.

"I soaked some peas and beans last week," explained Helen, "and when
they were tender I planted them. You see they're poking up their heads
now."

[Illustration: Bean Plant]

"They don't look like real leaves," commented Ethel Blue.

"This first pair is really the two halves of the bean. They hold the
food for the little plant. They're so fat and pudgy that they never do
look like real leaves. In other plants where there isn't so much food
they become quite like their later brothers."

"Isn't it queer that whatever makes the plant grow knows enough to send
the leaves up and the roots down," said Dorothy thoughtfully.

"That's the way the life principle works," agreed Helen. "This other
little plant is a pea and I want you to see if you notice any difference
between it and the bean."

She pulled up the wee growth very delicately and they all bent over it
as it lay in her hand.

"It hathn't got fat leaveth," cried Dicky.

[Illustration: The Pea Plant]

"Good for Dicky," exclaimed Helen. "He has beaten you girls. You see the
food in the pea is packed so tight that the pea gets discouraged about
trying to send up those first leaves and gives it up as a bad job. They
stay underground and do their feeding from there."

"A sort of cold storage arrangement," smiled Ethel Brown.

"After these peas are a little taller you'd find if you pulled them up
that the supply of food had all been used up. There will be nothing down
there but a husk."

"What happens when this bean plant uses up all its food?"

"There's nothing left but a sort of skin that drops off. You can see how
it works with the bean because that is done above the ground."

"Won't it hurt those plants to pull them up this way?"

"It will set them back, but I planted a good many so as to be able to
pull them up at different ages and see how they looked."

"You pulled that out so gently I don't believe it will be hurt much."

"Probably it will take a day or two for it to catch up with its
neighbors. It will have to settle its roots again, you see."

"What are you doing this planting for?" asked Dorothy.

"For the class at school. We get all the different kinds of seeds we
can--the ones that are large enough to examine easily with only a
magnifying glass like this one. Some we cut open and examine carefully
inside to see how the new leaves are to be fed, and then we plant others
and watch them grow."

"I'd like to know why you never told me about that before?" demanded
Ethel Brown. "I'm going to get all the grains and fruits I can right off
and plant them. Is all that stuff in a horse chestnut leaf-food?"

"The horse chestnut is a hungry one, isn't it?"

"I made some bulbs blossom by putting them in a tall glass in a dark
place and bringing them into the light when they had started to sprout,"
said Ethel Blue, "but I think this is more fun. I'm going to plant some,
too."

"Grandmother Emerson always has beautiful bulbs. She has plenty in her
garden that she allows to stay there all winter, and they come up and
are scrumptious very early in the Spring. Then she takes some of them
into the house and keeps them in the dark, and they blossom all through
the cold weather."

"Mother likes bulbs, too," said Dorothy, "crocuses and hyacinths and
Chinese lilies--but I never cared much about them. Somehow the bulb
itself looks too fat. I don't care much for fat things or people."

"Don't think of it as fat; it's the food supply."

"Well, I think they're greedy things, and I'm not going ever to bother
with them. I'll leave them to Mother, but I am really going to plant a
garden this summer. I think it will be loads of fun."

"We haven't much room for a garden here," said Helen, "but we always
have some vegetables and a few flowers."

"Why don't we have a fine one this summer, Helen?" demanded Ethel Brown.
"You're learning a lot about the way plants grow, I should think you'd
like to grow them."

"I believe I should if you girls would help me. There never has been any
member of the family who was interested, and I wasn't wild about it
myself, and I just never got started."

"The truth is," confessed Ethel Brown, "if we don't have a good garden
Dorothy here will have something that will put ours entirely in the
shade."

The girls all laughed. They never had known Dorothy until the previous
summer. When she came to live in Rosemont in September they had learned
that she was extremely energetic and that she never abandoned any plan
that she attempted. The Ethels knew, therefore, that if Dorothy was
going to have a garden the next summer they'd better have a garden, too,
or else they would see little of her.

"If we both have gardens Dorothy will condescend to come and see ours
once in a while and we can exchange ideas and experiences," continued
Ethel Brown.

"I'd love to have a garden," said Ethel Blue. "Do you suppose Roger
would be willing to dig it up for us?"

"Dig up what?" asked Roger, stamping into the house in time to hear his
name.

The girls told him of their new plan.

"I'll help all of you if you'll plant one flower that I like; plant
enough of it so that I can pick a lot any time I want to. The trouble
with the little garden we've had is that there weren't enough flowers
for more than the centrepiece in the dining-room. Whenever I wanted any
I always had to go and give a squint at the dining room table and then
do some calculation as to whether there could be a stalk or two left
after Helen had cut enough for the next day."

"And there generally weren't any!" sympathized Helen.

"What flower is it you're so crazy over?" asked Ethel Blue.

"Sweetpeas, my child. Never in all my life have I had enough sweetpeas."

"I've had more than enough," groaned Ethel Brown. "One summer I stayed a
fortnight with Grandmother Emerson and I picked the sweetpeas for her
every morning. She was very particular about having them picked because
they blossom better if they're picked down every day."

"It must have taken you an awfully long time; she always has rows and
rows of them," said Helen.

"I worked a whole hour in the sun every single day! If we have acres of
sweetpeas we'll all have to help Roger pick."

"I'm willing to," said Ethel Blue. "I'm like Roger, I think they're
darling; just like butterflies or something with wings."

"We'll have to cast our professional eyes into the garden and decide on
the best place for the sweetpeas," said Roger. "They have to be planted
early, you know. If we plant them just anywhere they'll be sure to be in
the way of something that grows shorter so it will be hidden."

"Or grows taller and is a color that fights with them."

"It would be hard to find a color that wasn't matched by one sweetpea or
another. They seem to be of every combination under the sun."

"It's queer, some of the combinations would be perfectly hideous in a
dress but they look all right in Nature's dress."

"We'll send for some seedsmen's catalogues and order a lot."

"I suppose you don't care what else goes into the garden?" asked Helen.

"Ladies, I'll do all the digging you want, and plant any old thing you
ask me to, if you'll just let me have my sweetpeas," repeated Roger.

"A bargain," cried all the girls.

"I'll write for some seed catalogues this afternoon," said Helen. "It's
so appropriate, when it's snowing like this!"

"'Take time by the fetlock,' as one of the girls says in 'Little
Women,'" laughed Roger. "If you'll cast your orbs out of the window
you'll see that it has almost stopped. Come on out and make a snow man."

Every one jumped at the idea, even Helen who laid aside her writing
until the evening, and there was a great putting on of heavy coats and
overshoes and mittens.




CHAPTER II


A SNOW MAN AND SEED CATALOGUES

The snow was of just the right dampness to make snowballs, and a snow
man, after all, is just a succession of snowballs, properly placed.
Roger started the one to go at the base by rolling up a ball beside the
house and then letting it roll down the bank toward the gate.

"See it gather moss!" he cried. "It's just the opposite of a rolling
stone, isn't it?"

When it stopped it was of goodly size and it was standing in the middle
of the little front lawn.

"It couldn't have chosen a better location," commended Helen.

"We need a statue in the front yard," said Ethel Brown.

"This will give a truly artistic air to the whole place," agreed Ethel
Blue.

"What's the next move?" asked Dorothy, who had not had much experience
in this kind of manufacture.

"We start over here by the fence and roll another one, smaller than
this, to serve as the body," explained Roger. "Come on here and help me;
this snow is so heavy it needs an extra pusher already."

Dorothy lent her muscles to the task of pushing on the snow man's
"torso," as Ethel Blue, who knew something about drawing figures, called
it. The Ethels, meanwhile, were making the arms out of small snowballs
placed one against the next and slapped hard to make them stick. Helen
was rolling a ball for the head and Dicky had disappeared behind the
house to hunt for a cane.

"Heigho!" Roger called after him. "I saw an old clay pipe stuck behind a
beam in the woodshed the other day. See if it's still there and bring it
along."

Dicky nodded and raised a mittened paw to indicate that he understood
his instructions.

It required the united efforts of Helen and Roger to set the gentleman's
head on his shoulders, and Helen ran in to the cellar to get some bits
of coal to make his eyes and mouth.

"He hasn't any expression. Let me try to model a nose for the poor
lamb!" begged Ethel Blue. "Stick on this arm, Roger, while I sculpture
these marble features."

By dint of patting and punching and adding a long and narrow lump of
snow, one side of the head looked enough different from the other to
warrant calling it the face. To make the difference more marked Dorothy
broke some straws from the covering of one of the rosebushes and created
hair with them.

"Now nobody could mistake this being his speaking countenance," decided
Helen, sticking two pieces of coal where eyes should be and adding a
third for the mouth. Dicky had found the pipe and she thrust it above
his lips.

"Merely two-lips, not ruby lips," commented Roger. "This is an original
fellow; he's 'not like other girls.'"

"This cane is going to hold up his right arm; I don't feel so certain
about the left," remarked Ethel Brown anxiously.

"Let it fall at his side. That's some natural, anyway. He's walking, you
see, swinging one arm and with the other on the top of his cane."

"He'll take cold if he doesn't have something on his head. I'm nervous
about him," and Dorothy bent a worried look at their creation.

"Hullo," cried a voice from beyond the gate. "He's bully. Just make him
a cap out of this bandanna and he'll look like a Venetian gondolier."

James Hancock and his sister, Margaret, the Glen Point members of the
United Service Club, came through the gate, congratulated Ethel Blue on
her birthday, and paid elaborate compliments to the sculptors of the
Gondolier.

"That red hanky on his massive brow gives the touch of color he needed,"
said Margaret.

"We don't maintain that his features are 'faultily faultless,'" quoted
Roger, "but we do insist that they're 'icily regular.'"

"Thanks to the size of the nose Ethel Blue stuck on they're not
'splendidly null.'"

"No, there's no 'nullness' about that nose," agreed James. "That's
'some' nose!"

When they were all in the house and preparing for dinner Ethel Blue
unwrapped the gift that Margaret had brought for her birthday. It was a
shallow bowl of dull green pottery in which was growing a grove of
thick, shiny leaves. The plants were three or four inches tall and
seemed to be in the pink of condition.

"This is for the top of your Christmas desk," Margaret explained.

"It's perfectly beautiful," exclaimed not only Ethel Blue but all the
other girls, while Roger peered over their shoulders to see what it was.

"I planted it myself," said Margaret with considerable pride. "Each one
is a little grapefruit tree."

"Grapefruit? What we have for breakfast? It grows like this?"

"Mother has some in a larger bowl and it is really lovely as a
centrepiece on the dining room table."

"Watch me save grapefruit seeds!" and Ethel Brown ran out of the room to
leave an immediate request in the kitchen that no grapefruit seeds
should be thrown away when the fruit was being prepared for the table.

"When Mr. Morton and I were in Florida last winter," said Mrs. Morton,
"they told us that it was not a great number of years ago that
grapefruit was planted only because it was a handsome shrub on the lawn.
The fruit never was eaten, but was thrown away after it fell from the
tree."

"Now nobody can get enough of it," smiled Helen.

"Mother has a receipt for grapefruit marmalade that is better than the
English orange marmalade that is made of both sweet and sour oranges,"
said Dorothy. "Sometimes the sour oranges are hard to find in the
market, but grapefruit seems to have both flavors in itself."

"Is it much work?" asked Margaret.

"It isn't much work at any one time but it takes several days to get it
done."

"Why?"

"First you have to cut up the fruit, peel and all, into tiny slivers.
That's a rather long undertaking and it's hard unless you have a very,
very sharp knife."

"I've discovered that in preparing them for breakfast."

"The fruit are of such different sizes that you have to weigh the result
of your paring. To every pound of cut-up fruit add a pint of water and
let it stand over night. In the morning pour off that water and fill the
kettle again and let it boil until the toughest bit of skin is soft, and
then let it stand over night more."

"It seems to do an awful lot of resting," remarked Roger.

"A sort of 'weary Willie,'" commented James.

"When you're ready to go at it again, you weigh it once more and add
four times as many pounds of sugar as you have fruit."

"You must have to make it in a wash-boiler!"

"Not quite as bad as that, but you'll be surprised to find how much
three or four grapefruit will make. You boil this together until it is
as thick as you like to have your marmalade."

"I can recommend Aunt Louise's marmalade," said Ethel Brown. "It's the
very best I ever tasted. She taught me to make these grapefruit chips,"
and she handed about a bonbon dish laden with delicate strips of sugared
peel.

"Let's have this receipt, too," begged Margaret, as Roger went to answer
the telephone.

"You can squeeze out the juice and pulp and add a quart of water to a
cup of juice, sweeten it and make grapefruit-ade instead of lemonade for
a variety. Then take the skins and cut out all the white inside part as
well as you can, leaving just the rind."

"The next step must be to snip the rind into these long, narrow
shavings."

"It is, and you put them in cold water and let them come to a boil and
boil twenty minutes. Then drain off all the water and add cold water and
do it again."

"What's the idea of two boilings?" asked James.

"I suppose it must be to take all the bitterness out of the skin at the
same time that it is getting soft."

"Does this have to stand over night?"

"Yes, this sits and meditates all night. Then you put it on to boil
again in a syrup made of one cup of water and four cups of sugar, and
boil it until the bits are all saturated with the sweetness. If you want
to eat them right off you roll them now in powdered sugar or
confectioner's sugar, but if you aren't in a hurry you put them into a
jar and keep the air out and roll them just before you want to serve
them."

"They certainly are bully good," remarked James, taking several more
pieces.

"That call was from Tom Watkins," announced Roger, returning from the
telephone, and referring to a member of the United Service Club who,
with his sister, Della, lived in New York.

"O dear, they can't come!" prophesied Ethel Blue.

"He says he has just been telephoning to the railroad and they say that
all the New Jersey trains are delayed and so Mrs. Watkins thought he'd
better not try to bring Della out. She sends her love to you, Ethel
Blue, and her best wishes for your birthday and says she's got a present
for you that is different from any plant you ever saw in a
conservatory."

"That's what Margaret's is," laughed Ethel. "Isn't it queer you two
girls should give me growing things when we were talking about gardens
this afternoon and deciding to have one this summer."

"One!" repeated Dorothy. "Don't forget mine. There'll be two."

"If Aunt Louise should find a lot and start to build there'd be
another," suggested Ethel Brown.

"O, let's go into the gardening business," cried Roger. "I've already
offered to be the laboring man at the beck and call of these young women
all for the small reward of having all the sweetpeas I want to pick."

"What we're afraid of is that he won't want to pick them," laughed Ethel
Brown. "We're thinking of binding him to do a certain amount of picking
every day."

"Anyway, the Morton-Smith families are going to have gardens and Helen
is going to write for seed catalogues this very night before she seeks
her downy couch--she has vowed she will."

"Mother has always had a successful garden, she'll be able to give you
advice," offered Margaret.

"We'll ask it from every one we know, I rather imagine," and Dorothy
beamed at the prospect of doing something that had been one of her great
desires all her life.

The little thicket of grapefruit trees served as the centrepiece of
Ethel Blue's dinner table, and every one admired all over again its
glossy leaves and sturdy stems.

"When spring comes we'll set them out in the garden and see what
happens," promised Ethel Blue.

"We have grapefruit salad to-night. You must have sent a wireless over
to the kitchen," Ethel Brown declared to Margaret.

It was a delicious salad, the cubes of the grapefruit being mixed with
cubes of apple and of celery, garnished with cherries and served on
crisp yellow-green lettuce leaves with French dressing.

Ethel Blue always liked to see her Aunt Marion make French dressing at
the table, for her white hands moved swiftly and skilfully among the
ingredients. Mary brought her a bowl that had been chilled on ice. Into
it she poured four tablespoonfuls of olive oil, added a scant half
teaspoonful of salt with a dash of red pepper which she stirred until
the salt was dissolved. To that combination she added one tablespoonful
either of lemon juice or vinegar a drop at a time and stirring
constantly so that the oil might take up its sharper neighbor.

Dorothy particularly approved her Aunt Marion's manner of putting her
salads together. To-night, for instance, she did not have the plates
brought in from the kitchen with the salad already upon them.

"That always reminds me of a church fair," she declared.

She was willing to give herself the trouble of preparing the salad for
her family and guests with her own hands. From a bowl of lettuce she
selected the choicest leaves for the plate before her; upon these she
placed the fruit and celery mixture, dotted the top with a cherry and
poured the dressing over all. It was fascinating to watch her, and
Margaret wished that her mother served salad that way.

The Club was indeed incomplete without the Watkinses, but the members
nevertheless were sufficiently amused by several of the "Does"--things
to do--that one or another suggested. First they did shadow drawings.
The dining table proved to be the most convenient spot for that. They
all sat around under the strong electric light. Each had a block of
rather heavy paper with a rough surface, and each was given a camel's
hair brush, a bottle of ink, some water and a small saucer. From a vase
of flowers and leaves and ferns which Mrs. Morton contributed to the
game each selected what he wanted to draw. Then, holding his leaf so
that the light threw a sharp shadow upon his pad, he quickly painted the
shadow with the ink, thinning it with water upon the saucer so that the
finished painting showed several shades of gray.

"The beauty of this stunt is that a fellow who can't draw at all can
turn out almost as good a masterpiece as Ethel Blue here, who has the
makings of a real artist," and James gazed at his production with every
evidence of satisfaction.

As it happened none of them except Ethel Blue could draw at all well, so
that the next game had especial difficulties.

"All there is to it is to draw something and let us guess what it is,"
said Ethel Blue.

"You haven't given all the rules," corrected Roger. "Ethel Blue makes
two dots on a piece of paper--or a short line and a curve--anything she
feels like making. Then we copy them and draw something that will
include those two marks and she sits up and 'ha-has' and guesses what it
is."

"I promise not to laugh," said Ethel Blue.

"Don't make any such rash promise," urged Helen. "You might do yourself
an injury trying not to when you see mine."

It was fortunate for Ethel Blue that she was released from the promise,
for her guesses went wide of the mark. Ethel Brown made something that
she guessed to be a hen, Roger called it a book, Dicky maintained firmly
that it was a portrait of himself. The rest gave it up, and they all
needed a long argument by the artist to believe that she had meant to
draw a pair of candlesticks.

"Somebody think of a game where Ethel Brown can do herself justice,"
cried James, but no one seemed to have any inspiration, so they all went
to the fire, where they cracked nuts and told stories.

"If you'll write those orders for the seed catalogues I'll post them
to-night," James suggested to Helen.

"Oh, will you? Margaret and I will write them together."

"What's the rush?" demanded Roger. "This is only January."

"I know just how the girls feel," sympathized James. "When I make up my
mind to do a thing I want to begin right off, and the first step of this
new scheme is to get the catalogues hereinbefore mentioned."

"We can plan out our back yards any time, I should think," said Dorothy.

"Father says that somebody--was it Bacon, Margaret?--says that a man's
nature runs always either to herbs or to weeds. Let's start ours running
to herbs in the first month of the year and perhaps by the time the
herbs appear we'll catch up with them."




CHAPTER III


DOROTHY TELLS HER SECRET

"How queer it is that when you're interested in something you keep
seeing and hearing things connected with it!" exclaimed Ethel Blue about
a week after her birthday, when Della Watkins came out from town to
bring her her belated birthday gift.

The present proved to be a slender hillock covered with a silky green
growth exquisite in texture and color.

"What is it? What is it?" cried Ethel Blue. "We mentioned plants and
gardens on my birthday and that very evening Margaret brought me this
grapefruit jungle and now you've brought me this. Do tell me exactly
what it is."

"A cone, child. That's all. A Norway spruce cone. When it is dry its
scales are open. I filled them with grass seed and put the cone in a
small tumbler so that the lower end might be damp all the time. The
dampness makes the scales close and starts the seed to sprouting. This
has been growing a few days and the cone is almost hidden."

"It's one of the prettiest plants--would you call it a plant or a
greenhouse?--I ever saw. Does it have to be a Norway spruce cone?"

"O, no. Only they have very regular scales that hold the seed well. I
brought you out two more of them and some grass seed and canary seed so
you could try it for yourself."

"You're a perfect duck," and Ethel gave her friend a hug. "Now let me
show you what one of the girls at school gave Ethel Brown."

She indicated a strange-looking brown object hanging before the window.

"What in the world is it? It looks--yes, it looks like a sweet potato."

"That's what it is--a sweet potato with one end cut off and a cage of
tape to hold it. You see it's sprouting already, and they say that the
vines hang down from it and it looks like a little green hanging
basket."

"What's the object of cutting off the end?"

"Anna--that's Ethel Brown's friend--said that she scooped hers out just
a little bit and put a few drops of water inside so that the sun
shouldn't dry it too much."

"I should think it would grow better in a dark place. Don't you know how
Irish potatoes send out those white shoots when they're in the cellar?"

"She said she started hers in the cellar and then brought them into the
light."

"Just like bulbs."

"Exactly. Aunt Louise is having great luck with her bulbs now. She had
them in the cellar and now she is bringing them out a pot at a time, so
she has something new coming forward every few days."

"Dorothy doesn't care much for bulbs, but I think it's pretty good fun.
You can make them blossom just about when you please by keeping them in
the dark or bringing them into the light. I'm going to ask Aunt Louise
to give me some of hers when they're finished flowering. She says you
can plant them out of doors and next year they'll bloom in the garden."

"Mother has some this winter, too. I'll ask her for them after she's
through forcing them."

"I like them in the garden, too--tulips and hyacinths and daffodils and
narcissus and, jonquils. They come so early and give you a feeling that
spring really has arrived."

"You look as if spring had really arrived in the house here. If there
wasn't a little bit of that snow man left in front I shouldn't know it
had snowed last week. How in the world did you get all these shrubs to
blossom now? They don't seem to realize that it's only January."

"That's another thing that's happened since my birthday. Margaret told
us about bringing branches of the spring shrubs into the house and
making them come out in water, so we've been trying it. She sent over
those yellow bells, the Forsythia, and Roger brought in the pussy
willows from the brook on the way to Mr. Emerson's."

"This thorny red affair is the Japan quince, but I don't recognize these
others."

"That's because you're a city girl! You'll laugh when I tell you what
they are."

"They don't look like flowering shrubs to me."

"They aren't. They're flowering trees; fruit trees!"

"O-o! That really is a peach blossom, then!"

"The deep pink is peach, and the delicate pink is apple and the white is
plum."

"They're perfectly dear. Tell me how you coaxed them out. Surely you
didn't just keep them in water in this room?"

"We put them in the sunniest window we had, not too near the glass,
because it wouldn't do for them to run any chance of getting chilled.
They stayed there as long as the sun did, and then we moved them to
another warm spot and we were very careful about them at night."

"How often do you change the water?"

"Every two or three days; and once in a while we spray them to keep the
upper part fresh--and there you are. It's _fun_ to watch them come out.
Don't want to take some switches back to town with you?"

Della did.

"They make me think of a scheme that my Aunt Rose is putting into
operation. She went round the world year before last," she said, "and
she saw in Japan lots of plants growing in earthenware vases hanging
against the wall or in a long bamboo cut so that small water bottles
might be slipped in. She has some of the very prettiest wall decorations
now--a queer looking greeny-brown pottery vase has two or three sprigs
of English ivy. Another with orange tints has nasturtiums and another
tradescantia."

"Are they growing in water?"

"The ivy and the tradescantia are, but the nasturtiums and a perfectly
darling morning glory have earth. She's growing bulbs in them, too,
only she doesn't use plain water or earth, just bulb fibre."

"What's that?"

"Why, bulbs are such fat creatures that they don't need the outside food
they would get from earth; all they want is plenty of water. This fibre
stuff holds enough water to keep them damp all the time, and it isn't
messy in the house like dirt."

"What are you girls talking about?" asked Dorothy, who came in with
Ethel Brown at this moment.

Both of them were interested in the addition that Della had made to
their knowledge of flowers and gardening.

"Every day I feel myself drawn into more and more gardening," exclaimed
Dorothy. "I've set up a notebook already."

"In January!" laughed Della.

"January seems to be the time to do your thinking and planning; that's
what the people who know tell me."

"It seems to be the time for some action," retorted Della, waving her
hand at the blossoming branches about the room.

"Aren't they wonderful? I always knew you could bring them out quickly
in the house after the buds were started out of doors, but these fellows
didn't seem to be started at all--and look at them!"

"Mother says they've done so well because we've been careful to keep
them evenly warm," said Ethel Brown. "Dorothy's got the finest piece of
news to tell you. If she doesn't tell you pretty soon I shall come out
with it myself!"

"O, let her tell her own secret!" remonstrated Blue. "What is it?"

You know that sloping piece of ground about a quarter of a mile beyond
the Clarks' on the road to Mr. Emerson's?"

"You don't mean the field with the brook where Roger got the pussy
willows?"

"This side of it. There's a lovely view across the meadows on the other
side of the road, and the land runs back to some rocks and big trees."

"Certainly I know it," assented Ethel Blue. "There's a hillock on it
that's the place I've chosen for a house when I grow up and build one."

"Well, you can't have it because I've got there first!"

"What do you mean? Has Aunt Louise--?"

"She has."

"How grand! How _grand_! You'll be farther away from us than you are now
but it's a dear duck of a spot--"

"And it's right on the way to Grandfather Emerson's," added Ethel Brown.

"Mother signed the papers this morning and she's going to begin to build
as soon as the weather will allow."

"With peach trees in blossom now that ought not to be far off," laughed
Della, waving her hand again at the blossoms that pleased her so much.

"How large a house is she going to build?" asked Ethel Blue.

"Not very big. Large enough for her and me and a guest or two and of
course Elisabeth and Miss Merriam," referring to a Belgian baby who had
been brought to the United Service Club from war-stricken Belgium, and
to her caretaker, a charming young woman from the School of Mothercraft.

"Will it be made of concrete?"

"Yes, and Mother says we may all help a lot in making the plans and in
deciding on the decoration and everything."

"Isn't she the darling! It will be the next best thing to building a
house yourself!"

"There will be a garage behind the house."

"A garage! Is Aunt Louise going to set up a car?"

"Just a small one that she can drive herself. Back of the garage there's
plenty of space for a garden and she says she'll turn that over to me. I
can do anything I want with it as long as I'll be sure to have enough
vegetables for the table and lots of flowers for the house."

"O, my; O, my; what fun we'll have," ejaculated Della, who knew that
Dorothy could have no pleasure that she would not share equally with the
rest of the Club.

"I came over now to see if you people didn't want to walk over there and
see it."

"This minute?"

"This minute."

"Of course we do--if Della doesn't have to take the train back yet?"

"Not for a long time. I'd take a later one anyway; I couldn't wait until
the Saturday Club meeting to see it."

"How did you know I'd suggest a walk there for the Saturday Club
meeting?"

"Could you help it?" retorted Della, laughing.

They timed themselves so that they might know just how far away from
them Dorothy was going to be and they found that it was just about half
way to Grandfather Emerson's. As somebody from the Mortons' went there
every day, and as the distance was, in reality, not long, they were
reassured as to the Smiths being quite out in the country as the change
had seemed to them at first.

"You won't be able to live in the house this summer, will you?" asked
Ethel Blue.

"Not until late in the summer or perhaps even later than that. Mother
says she isn't in a hurry because she wants the work to be done well."

"Then you won't plant the garden this year?"

"Indeed I shall. I'm going to plant the new garden and the garden where
we are now."

"Roger will strike on doing all the digging."

"He'll have to have a helper on the new garden, but I'll plant his
sweetpeas for him just the same. At the new place I'm going to have a
large garden."

"Up here on the hill?"

The girls were climbing up the ascent that rose sharply from the road.

"The house will perch on top of this little hill. Back of it, you see,
on top of the ridge, it's quite flat and the garden will be there. I was
talking about it with Mr. Emerson this morning--"

"Oho, you've called Grandfather into consultation already!"

"He's going to be our nearest neighbor on that side. He said that a
ridge like this was one of the best places for planting because it has
several exposures to the sun and you can find a spot to suit the fancy
of about every plant there is."

"Your garden will be cut off from the house by the garage. Shall you
have another nearer the road?"

"Next summer there will have to be planting of trees and shrubs and
vines around the house but this year I shall attend to the one up here
in the field."

"Brrrr! It looks bleak enough now," shivered Ethel Blue.

"Let's go up in those woods and see what's there."

"Has Aunt Louise bought them?"

"No, but she wants to. They don't belong to the same man who owned this
piece of land. They belong to the Clarks. She's going to see about it
right off, because it looks so attractive and rocky and woodsy."

"You'd have the brook, too."

"I hope she'll be able to get it. Of course just this piece is awfully
pretty, and this is the only place for a house, but the meadow with the
brook and the rocks and the woods at the back would be too lovely for
words. Why, you'd feel as if you had an estate."

The girls laughed at Dorothy's enthusiasm over the small number of acres
that were included even in the combined lots of land, but they agreed
with her that the additional land offered a variety that was worth
working hard to obtain.

They made their way up the slope and among the jumble of rocks that
looked as if giants had been tossing them about in sport. Small trees
grew from between them as they lay heaped in disorder and taller growths
stretched skyward from an occasional open space. The brook began in a
spring that bubbled clear and cold, from under a slab of rock. Round
about it all was covered with moss, still green, though frozen stiff by
the snowstorm's chilly blasts. Shrivelled ferns bending over its mouth
promised summer beauties.

"What a lovely spot!" cried Ethel Blue. "This is where fairies and wood
nymphs live when that drift melts. Don't you know this must be a great
gathering place for birds? Can't you see them now dipping their beaks
into the water and cocking their heads up at the sky afterwards!" and
she quoted:--

    "Dip, birds, dip
      Where the ferns lean over,
    And their crinkled edges drip,
      Haunt and hover."

"Here's the best place yet!" called Dorothy, who had pushed on and was
now out of sight.

"Where are you?"

"Here. See if you can find me," came a muffled answer.

"Where do you suppose she went to?" asked Ethel Brown, as they all three
straightened themselves, yet saw no sign of Dorothy.

"I hope she hasn't fallen down a precipice and been killed!" said Ethel
Blue, whose imagination sometimes ran away with her.

"More likely she has twisted her ankle," practical Ethel Brown.

"She wouldn't sound as gay as that if anything had happened to her,"
Della reminded them.

The cries that kept reaching them were unquestionably cheerful but where
they came from was a problem that they did not seem able to solve. It
was only when Dorothy poked out her head from behind a rock almost in
front of them that they saw the entrance of what looked like a real
cave.

"It's the best imitation of a cave I ever did see!" the explorer
exclaimed. "These rocks have tumbled into just the right position to
make the very best house! Come in."

Her guests were eager to accept her invitation. There was space enough
for all of them and two or three more might easily be accommodated
within, while a bit of smooth grass outside the entrance almost added
another room, "if you aren't particular about a roof," as Ethel Brown
said.

"Do you suppose Roger has never found this!" wondered Dorothy. "See,
there's room enough for a fireplace with a chimney. You could cook here.
You could sleep here. You could _live_ here!"

The others laughed at her enthusiasm, but they themselves were just as
enthusiastic. The possibilities of spending whole days here in the shade
and cool of the trees and rocks and of imagining that they were in the
highlands of Scotland left them almost gasping.

"Don't you remember when Fitz-James first sees Ellen in the 'Lady of
the Lake'?" asked Ethel Blue.

"He was separated from his men and found himself in a rocky glen
overlooking a lake. The rocks were bigger than these but we can pretend
they were just the same," and she recited a few lines from a poem whose
story they all knew and loved.

    "But not a setting beam could glow
    Within the dark ravines below,
    Where twined the path in shadow hid,
    Round many a rocky pyramid."

"I remember; he looked at the view a long time and then he blew his horn
again to see if he could make any of his men hear him, and Ellen came
gliding around a point of land in a skiff. She thought it was her father
calling her."

"And the stranger went home to their lodge and fell in love with her--O,
it's awfully romantic. I must read it again," and Dorothy gazed at the
rocks around her as if she were really in Scotland.

"Has anybody a knife?" asked Della's clear voice, bringing them all
sharply back to America and Rosemont. "My aunt--the one who has the
hanging flowerpots I was telling you about--isn't a bit well and I
thought I'd make her a little fernery that she could look at as she lies
in bed."

"But the ferns are all dried up."

"'Greenery' is a better name. Here's a scrap of partridge berry with a
red berry still clinging to it, and here's a bit of moss as green as it
was in summer, and here--yes, it's alive, it really is!" and she held up
in triumph a tiny fern that had been so sheltered under the edge of a
boulder that it had kept fresh and happy.

There was nothing more to reward their search, for they all hunted with
Della, but she was not discouraged.

"I only want a handful of growing things," she explained. "I put these
in a finger bowl, and sprinkle a few seeds of grass or canary seed on
the moss and dash some water on it from the tips of my fingers. Another
finger bowl upside down makes the cover. The sick person can see what is
going on inside right through the glass without having to raise her
head."

"How often do you water it?"

"Only once or twice a week, because the moisture collects on the upper
glass of the little greenhouse and falls down again on the plants and
keeps them, wet."

"We'll keep our eyes open every time we come here," promised Dorothy.
"There's no reason why you couldn't add a little root of this or that
any time you want to."

[Illustration: Partridge Berry]

"I know Aunty will be delighted with it," cried Della, much pleased.
"She likes all plants, but especially things that are a little bit
different. That's why she spends so much time selecting her wall
vases--so that they shall be unlike other people's."

"Fitz-James's woods," as they already called the bit of forest that
Dorothy hoped to have possession of, extended back from the road and
spread until it joined Grandfather Emerson's woods on one side and what
was called by the Rosemonters "the West Woods" on the other. The girls
walked home by a path that took them into Rosemont not far from the
station where Della was to take the train.

"Until you notice what there really is in the woods in winter you think
there isn't anything worth looking at," said Ethel Blue, walking along
with her eyes in the tree crowns.

"The shapes of the different trees are as distinct now as they are in
summer," declared Ethel Brown. "You'd know that one was an oak, and the
one next to it a beech, wouldn't you?"

"I don't know whether I would or not," confessed Dorothy honestly, "but
I can almost always tell a tree by its bark."

"I can tell a chestnut by its bark nowadays," asserted Ethel Blue,
"because it hasn't any!"

"What on earth do you mean?" inquired city-bred Della.

"Something or other has killed all the chestnuts in this part of the
world in the last two or three years. Don't you see all these dead trees
standing with bare trunks?"

"Poor old things! Is it going to last?"

"It spread up the Hudson and east and west in New York and
Massachusetts, and south into Pennsylvania."

"Roger was telling Grandfather a few days ago that a farmer was telling
him that he thought the trouble--the pest or the blight or whatever it
was--had been stopped."

"I remember now seeing a lot of dead trees somewhere when one of
Father's parishioners took us motoring in the autumn. I didn't know the
chestnut crop was threatened."

"Chestnuts weren't any more expensive this year. They must have imported
them from far-off states."

There were still pools of water in the wood path, left by the melting
snow, and the grass that they touched seemed a trifle greener than that
beside the narrow road. Once in a while a bit of vivid green betrayed a
plant that had found shelter under an overhanging stone. The leaves were
for the most part dry enough again to rustle under their feet.
Evergreens stood out sharply dark against the leafless trees.

"What are the trees that still have a few leaves left clinging to them?"
asked Della.

"Oaks. Do you know why the leaves stay on?"

"Is it a story?"

"Yes, a pleasant story. Once the Great Evil Spirit threatened to destroy
the whole world. The trees heard the threat and the oak tree begged him
not to do anything so wicked. He insisted but at last he agreed not to
do it until the last leaf had fallen in the autumn. All the trees meant
to hold On to their leaves so as to ward off the awful disaster, but one
after the other they let them go--all except the oak. The oak never yet
has let fall every one of its leaves and so the Evil Spirit never has
had a chance to put his threat into execution."

"That's a lesson in success, isn't it? Stick to whatever it is you want
to do and you're sure to succeed."

"Watch me make my garden succeed," cried Dorothy. "If 'sticking' will
make it a success I'm a stick!"




CHAPTER IV


GARDENING ON PAPER

When Saturday came and the United Service Club tramped over Dorothy's
new domain, including the domain that she hoped to have but was not yet
sure of, every member agreed that the prospect was one that gave
satisfaction to the Club as well as the possibility of pleasure and
comfort to Mrs. Smith and Dorothy. The knoll they hailed as the exact
spot where a house should go; the ridge behind it as precisely suited to
the needs of a garden.

As to the region of the meadow and the brook and the rocks and the trees
they all hoped most earnestly that Mrs. Smith would be able to buy it,
for they foresaw that it would provide much amusement for all of them
during the coming summer and many to follow.

Strangely enough Roger had never found the cave, and he looked on it
with yearning.

"Why in the world didn't I know of that three or four years ago!" he
exclaimed. "I should have lived out here all summer!"

"That's what we'd like to do," replied the Ethels earnestly. "We'll let
you come whenever you want to."

Roger gave a sniff, but the girls knew from his longing gaze that he was
quite as eager as they to fit it up for a day camp even if he was
nearly eighteen and going to college next autumn.

When the exploring tour was over they gathered in their usual meeting
place--Dorothy's attic--and discussed the gardens which had taken so
firm a hold on the girls' imaginations.

"There'll be a small garden in our back yard as usual," said Roger in a
tone that admitted of no dispute.

"And a small one in Dorothy's present back yard and a LARGE one on Miss
Smith's farm," added Tom, who had confirmed with his own eyes the
glowing tales that Della had brought home to him.

"I suppose we may all have a chance at all of these institutions?"
demanded James.

"Your mother may have something to say about your attentions to your own
garden," suggested Helen pointedly.

"I won't slight it, but I've really got to have a finger in this pie if
all of you are going to work at it!"

"Well, you shall. Calm yourself," and Roger patted him with a soothing
hand. "You may do all the digging I promised the girls I'd do."

A howl of laughter at James's expense made the attic ring.

James appeared quite undisturbed.

"I'm ready to do my share," he insisted placidly. "Why don't we make
plans of the gardens now?"

"Methodical old James always has a good idea," commended Tom. "Is there
any brown paper around these precincts, Dorothy?"

"Must it be brown?"

"Any color, but big sheets."

"I see. There is plenty," and she spread it on the table where James had
done so much pasting when they were making boxes in which to pack their
presents for the war orphans.

"Now, then, Roger, the first thing for us to do is to see--"

"With our mind's eye, Horatio?"

"--how these gardens are going to look. Take your pencil in hand and
draw us a sketch of your backyard as it is now, old man."

"That's easy," commented Roger. "Here are the kitchen steps; and here is
the drying green, and back of that is the vegetable garden and around it
flower beds and more over here next the fence."

"It's rather messy looking as it is," commented Ethel Brown. "We never
have changed it from the way the previous tenant laid it out."

"The drying green isn't half large enough for the washing for our big
family," added Helen appraisingly. "Mary is always lamenting that she
can hang out only a few lines-ful at a time."

"Why don't you give her this space behind the green and limit your
flower beds to the fence line?" asked Tom, looking over Roger's shoulder
as he drew in the present arrangement with some attention to the
comparative sizes.

"That would mean cutting out some of the present beds."

"It would, but you'll have a share in Dorothy's new garden in case Mrs.
Morton needs more flowers for the house; and the arrangement I suggest
makes the yard look much more shipshape."

"If we sod down these beds here what will Roger do for his sweetpeas?
They ought to have the sun on both sides; the fence line wouldn't be the
best place for them."

"Sweetpeas ought to be planted on chicken wire supported by stakes and
running from east to west," said Margaret wisely, "but under the
circumstances, I don't see why you couldn't fence in the vegetable
garden with sweetpeas. That would give you two east and west lines of
them and two north and south."

"And there would be space for all the blossoms that Roger would want to
pick on a summer's day," laughed Della.

"I've always wanted to have a garden of all pink flowers," announced
Dorothy. "My room in the new house is going to be pink and I'd like to
keep pink powers in it all the time."

"I've always wanted to do that, too. Let's try one here," urged Ethel
Brown, nodding earnestly at Ethel Blue.

"I don't see why we couldn't have a pink bed and a blue bed and a yellow
bed," returned Ethel Blue whose inner eye saw the plants already well
grown and blossoming.

"A wild flower bed is what I'd like," contributed Helen.

"We mustn't forget to leave a space for Dicky," suggested Roger.

"I want the garden I had latht year," insisted a decisive voice that
preceded the tramp of determined feet over the attic stairs.

"Where was it, son? I've forgotten."

"In a corner of your vegetable garden. Don't you remember my raditheth
were ripe before yourth were? Mother gave me a prithe for the firtht
vegetableth out of the garden."

"So she did. You beat me to it. Well, you may have the same corner
again."

"We ought to have some tall plants, hollyhocks or something like that,
to cover the back fence," said Ethel Brown.

"What do you say if we divide the border along the fence into four parts
and have a wild garden and pink and yellow and blue beds? Then we can
transplant any plants we have now that ought to go in some other color
bed, and we can have the tall plants at the back of the right colors to
match the bed in front of them?"

"There can be pink hollyhocks at the back of the pink bed and we already
have pinks and bleeding heart and a pink peony. We've got a good start
at a pink bed already," beamed Ethel Brown.

"We can put golden glow or that tall yellow snapdragon at the back of
the yellow bed and tall larkspurs behind the blue flowers."

"The Miss Clarks have a pretty border of dwarf ageratum--that bunchy,
fuzzy blue flower. Let's have that for the border of our blue bed."

"I remember it; it's as pretty as pretty. They have a dwarf marigold
that we could use for the yellow border."

"Or dwarf yellow nasturtiums."

"Or yellow pansies."

"We had a yellow stock last summer that was pretty and blossomed
forever; nothing seemed to stop it but the 'chill blasts of winter.'"

"Even the short stocks are too tall for a really flat border that would
match the others. We must have some 'ten week stocks' in the yellow
border, though."

"Whatever we plant for the summer yellow border we must have the yellow
spring bulbs right behind it--jonquils and daffodils and yellow tulips
and crocuses."

"They're all together now. All we'll have to do will be to select the
spot for our yellow bed."

"That's settled then. Mark it on this plan."

Roger held it out to Ethel Brown, who found the right place and
indicated the probable length of the yellow bed upon it.

"We'll have the wild garden on one side of the yellow bed and the blue
on the other and the pink next the blue," decreed Ethel Blue.

"We haven't decided on the pink border," Dorothy reminded them.

"There's a dwarf pink candytuft that couldn't be beaten for the
purpose," said James decisively. "Mother and I planted some last year to
see what it was like and it proved to be exactly what you want here."

"I know what I'd like to have for the wild border--either wild ginger or
hepatica," announced Helen after some thought.

"I don't know either of them," confessed Tom.

"You will after you've tramped the Rosemont woods with the U.S.C. all
this spring," promised Ethel Brown. "They have leaves that aren't unlike
in shape--"

"The ginger is heart-shaped," interposed Ethel Blue, "and the hepatica
is supposed to be liver-shaped."

"You have to know some physiology to recognize them," said James
gravely. "There's where a doctor's son has the advantage," and he patted
his chest.

"Their leaves seem much too juicy to be evergreen, but the hepatica does
stay green all winter."

[Illustration: Wild Ginger]

"The ginger would make the better edging," Helen decided, "because the
leaves lie closer to the ground."

"What are the blossoms?"

"The ginger has such a wee flower hiding under the leaves that it
doesn't count, but the hepatica has a beautiful little blue or purple
flower at the top of a hairy scape."

"A hairy what?" laughed Roger.

"A scape is a stem that grows up right from the or root-stock and
carries only a flower--not any leaves," defined Helen.

"That's a new one on me. I always thought a stem was a stem, whatever it
carried," said Roger.

[Illustration: Hepatica]

"And a scape was a 'grace' or a 'goat' according to its activities,"
concluded Tom.

"The hepatica would make a border that you wouldn't have to renew all
the time," contributed Dorothy, who had been thinking so deeply that she
had not heard a word of this interchange, and looked up, wondering why
every one was laughing.

"Dorothy keeps her eye on the ball," complimented James. "Have we
decided on the background flowers for the wild bed?"

"Joe-Pye-Weed is tall enough," offered James. "It's way up over my
head."

"It wouldn't cover the fence much; the blossom is handsome but the
foliage is scanty."

"There's a feathery meadow-rue that is tall. The leaves are delicate."

"I know it; it has a fine white blossom and it grows in damp places.
That will be just right. Aren't you going to have trouble with these
wild plants that like different kinds of ground?"

"Perhaps we are," Helen admitted. "Our garden is 'middling' dry, but we
can keep the wet lovers moist by watering them more generously than the
rest."

"How about the watering systems of all these gardens, anyway? You have
town water here and at Dorothy's, but how about the new place?"

"The town water runs out as far as Mr. Emerson's, luckily for us, and
Mother says she'll have the connection made as soon as the frost is out
of the ground so the builders may have all they want for their work and
I can have all I need for the garden there."

"If you get that next field with the brook and you want to plant
anything there you'll have to dig some ditches for drainage."

"I think I'll keep up on the ridge that's drained by nature."

"That's settled, then. We can't do much planning about the new garden
until we go out in a body and make our decisions on the spot," said
Margaret. "We'll have to put in vegetables and flowers where they'd
rather grow."

"That's what we're trying to do here, only it's on a small scale,"
Roger reminded her. "Our whole garden is about a twentieth of the new
one."

"I shouldn't wonder if we had to have some expert help with that,"
guessed James, who had gardened enough at Glen Point not to be ashamed
to confess ignorance now and then.

"Mr. Emerson has promised to talk it all over with me," said Dorothy.

"Let's see what there is at Dorothy's present abode, then," said Roger
gayly, and he took another sheet of brown paper and began to place on it
the position of the house and the existing borders. "Do I understand,
madam, that you're going to have a pink border here?"

"I am," replied his cousin firmly, "both here and at the new place."

"Life will take on a rosy hue for these young people if they can make
it," commented Della. "Pink flowers, a pink room--is there anything else
pink?"

"The name. Mother and I have decided on 'Sweetbrier Lodge.' Don't you
think it's pretty?"

"Dandy," approved Roger concisely, as he continued to draw. "Do you want
to change any of the beds that were here last summer?" he asked.

"Mother said she liked their positions very well. This long, narrow one
in front of the house is to be the pink one. I've got pink tulip bulbs
in the ground now and there are some pink flowering shrubs--weigelia and
flowering almond--already there against the lattice of the veranda. I'm
going to work out a list of plants that will keep a pink bed blossoming
all summer and we can use it in three places," and she nodded dreamily
to her cousins.

"We'll do that, but I think it would be fun if each one of us tried out
a new plant of some kind. Then we can find out which are most suitable
for our needs next year. We can report on them to the Club when they
come into bloom. It will save a lot of trouble if we tell what we've
found out about what some plant likes in the way of soil and position
and water and whether it is best to cut it back or to let it bloom all
it wants to, and so on."

"That's a good idea. I hope Secretary Ethel Blue is taking notes of all
these suggestions," remarked Helen, who was the president of the Club.

Ethel Blue said she was, and Roger complimented her faithfulness in
terms of extravagant absurdity.

"Your present lot of land has the best looking fencing in Rosemont, to
my way of thinking," approved Tom.

"What is it? I hardly remember myself," said Dorothy thoughtfully.

"Why, across the front there's a privet hedge, clipped low enough for
your pink garden to be seen over it; and separating you from the Clarks'
is a row of tall, thick hydrangea bushes that are beauties as long as
there are any leaves on them; and at the back there is osage orange to
shut out that old dump; and on the other side is a row of small blue
spruces."

"That's quite a showing of hedges all in one yard." exclaimed Ethel Blue
admiringly. "And I never noticed them at all!"

"At the new place Mother wants to try a barberry hedge. It doesn't grow
regularly, but each bush is handsome in itself because the branches
droop gracefully, and the leaves are a good green and the clusters of
red berries are striking."

"The leaves turn red in the autumn and the whole effect is stunning,"
contributed Della. "I saw one once in New England. They aren't usual
about here, and I should think it would be a beauty."

"You can let it grow as tall as you like," said James. "Your house is
going to be above it on the knoll and look right over it, so you don't
need a low hedge or even a clipped one."

"At the side and anywhere else where she thinks there ought to be a real
fence she's going to put honey locust."

They all laughed.

"That spiny affair _will_ be discouraging to visitors!" Helen exclaimed.
"Why don't you try hedges of gooseberries and currants and raspberries
and blackberries around your garden?"

"That would be killing two birds with one stone, wouldn't it!"

"You'll have a real problem in landscape gardening over there," said
Margaret.

"The architect of the house will help on that. That is, he and Mother
will decide exactly where the house is to be placed and how the driveway
is to run."

"There ought to be some shrubs climbing up the knoll," advised Ethel
Brown. "They'll look well below the house and they'll keep the bank from
washing. I noticed this afternoon that the rains had been rather hard
on it."

"There are a lot of lovely shrubs you can put in just as soon as you're
sure the workmen won't tramp them all down," cried Ethel Blue eagerly.
"That's one thing I do know about because I went with Aunt Marion last
year when she ordered some new bushes for our front yard."

"Recite your lesson, kid," commanded Roger briefly.

"There is the weigelia that Dorothy has in front of this house; and
forsythia--we forced its yellow blossoms last week, you know; and the
flowering almond--that has whitey-pinky-buttony blossoms."

They laughed at Ethel's description, but they listened attentively while
she described the spiky white blossoms of deutzia and the winding white
bands of the spiraea--bridal wreath.

"I can see that bank with those white shrubs all in blossom, leaning
toward the road and beckoning you in," Ethel ended enthusiastically.

"I seem to see them myself," remarked Tom, "and Dorothy can be sure that
they won't beckon in vain."

"You'll all be as welcome as daylight," cried Dorothy.

"I hate to say anything that sounds like putting a damper on this
outburst of imagination that Ethel Blue has just treated us to, but I'd
like to inquire of Miss Smith whether she has any gardening tools," said
Roger, bringing them all to the ground with a bump.

"Miss Smith hasn't one," returned Dorothy, laughing. "You forget that
we only moved in here last September and there hasn't been need for any
that we couldn't borrow of you."

[Illustration: Gardening Tools]

"You're perfectly welcome to them," answered Roger, "but if we're all
going to do the gardening act there'll be a scarcity if we don't add to
the number."

"What do we need?"

"A rake and a hoe and a claw and a trowel and a spade and a heavy line
with some pegs to do marking with."

"We've found that it's a comfort to your back to have another claw
mounted on the end of a handle as long as a hoe," contributed Margaret.

"Two claws," Dorothy amended her list, isn't many."

"And a lot of dibbles."

"Dibbles!"

"Short flat sticks whittled to a point. You use them when you're
changing little plants from the to the hot bed or the hot bed to the
garden."

"Mother and I ought to have one set of tools here and one set at
Sweetbrier Lodge," decided Dorothy.

"We keep ours in the shed. I'm going to whitewash the corner where they
belong and make it look as fine as a fiddle before the time comes to use
them."

"We have a shed here where we can keep them but at Sweetbrier there
isn't anything," and Dorothy's mouth dropped anxiously.

"We can build you a tool house," Tom was offering when James interrupted
him.

"If we can get a piano box there's your toolhouse all made," he
suggested. "Cover it with tar paper so the rain won't come in, and hang
the front on hinges with a hasp and staple and padlock, and what better
would you want?"

"Nothing," answered Ethel Brown, seriously. Ethel Blue noted it down in
her book and Roger promised to visit the local piano man and see what he
could find.

"We haven't finished deciding how we shall plant Dorothy's yard behind
this house," Margaret reminded them.

"We shan't attempt a vegetable garden here," Dorothy said. "We'll start
one at the other place so that the soil will be in good condition next
year. We'll have a man to do the heavy work of the two places, he can
bring over every morning whatever vegetables are ready for the day's
use."

"You want more flowers in this yard, then?"

"You'll laugh at what I want!"

"Don't you forget what you promithed me," piped up Dicky.

"That's what I was going to tell them now. I've promised Dicky to plant
a lot of sunflowers for his hens. He says Roger never has had space to
plant enough for him."

"True enough. Give him a big bed of them so he can have all the seeds he
wants."

"I'd like to have a wide strip across the back of the whole place, right
in front of the osage orange hedge. They'll cover the lower part that's
rather scraggly--then everywhere else I want nasturtiums, climbing and
dwarf and every color under the sun."

"That's a good choice for your yard because it's awfully stony and
nasturtiums don't mind a little thing like that."

"Then I want gourds over the trellis at the back door."

"Gourds!"

"I saw them so much in the South that I want to try them. There's one
shape that makes a splendid dipper when it's dried and you cut a hole in
it; and there's another kind just the size of a hen's egg that I want
for nest eggs for Dickey's hens; and there's the loofa full of fibre
that you can use for a bath sponge; and there's a pear-shaped one
striped green and yellow that Mother likes for a darning ball; and
there's a sweet smelling one that is as fragrant as possible in your
handkerchief case. There are some as big as buckets and some like base
ball bats, but I don't care for those."

"What a collection," applauded Ethel Brown.

"Beside that my idea of Japanese morning glories and a hop vine for our
kitchen regions has no value at all," smiled Helen.

"I'm going to have hops wherever the vines can find a place to climb at
Sweetbrier," Dorothy determined. "I love a hop vine, and it grows on
forever."

"James and I seem to be in the same condition. If we don't start home
we'll go on talking forever," Margaret complained humorously.

"There's to be hot chocolate for us down stairs at half past four," said
Dorothy, jumping up and looking at a clock that was ticking
industriously on a shelf. "Let's go down and get it, and we'll ask
Mother to sing the funny old song of 'The Four Seasons' for us."

"Why is it funny?" asked Ethel Blue.

"It's a very old English song with queer spelling."

"Something like mine?" demanded Della.

Ethel Blue kissed her.

"Never mind; Shakspere spelled his name in several different ways," she
said encouragingly, "Anyway, we can't tell how this is spelled when Aunt
Louise sings it."

As they sat about the fire in the twilight drinking their chocolate and
eating sandwiches made of nuts ground fine, mixed with mayonnaise and
put on a crisp lettuce leaf between slices of whole wheat bread, Mrs.
Smith sang the old English song to them.

    "Springe is ycomen in,
    Dappled lark singe;
      Snow melteth,
      Runnell pelteth,
    Smelleth winde of newe buddinge.

    "Summer is ycomen in,
    Loude singe cucku;
      Groweth seede,
      Bloweth meade,
    And springeth the weede newe.

    "Autumne is ycomen in,
    Ceres filleth horne;
      Reaper swinketh,
      Farmer drinketh,
    Creaketh waine with newe corn.

    "Winter is ycomen in,
    With stormy sadde cheere;
      In the paddocke,
      Whistle ruddock,
    Brighte sparke in the dead yeare."

"That's a good stanza to end with," said Ethel Blue, as she bade her
aunt "Good-bye." "We've been talking about gardens and plants and
flowers all the afternoon, and it would have seemed queer to put on a
heavy coat to go home in if you hadn't said 'Winter is ycomen in.'"




CHAPTER V


A DEFECT IN THE TITLE

In spite of their having made such an early start in talking about
gardens the members of the United Service Club did not weary of the idea
or cease to plan for what they were going to do. The only drawback that
they found in gardening as a Club activity was that the gardens were for
themselves and their families and they did not see exactly how there was
any "service" in them.

"I'll trust you youngsters to do some good work for somebody in
connection with them," asserted Grandfather Emerson one day when Roger
had been talking over with him his pet plan for remodelling the old
Emerson farmhouse into a place suitable for the summer shelter of poor
women and children from the city who needed country air and relief from
hunger and anxiety.

"We aren't rushing anything now," Roger had explained, "because we boys
are all going to graduate this June and we have our examinations to
think about. They must come first with us. But later on we'll be ready
for work of some sort and we haven't anything on the carpet except our
gardens."

"There are many good works to be done with the help of a garden,"
replied Mr. Emerson. "Ask your grandmother to tell you how she has sent
flowers into New York for the poor for many, many summers. There are
people right here in Rosemont who haven't enough ground to raise any
vegetables and they are glad to have fresh corn and Brussels sprouts
sent to them. If you really do undertake this farmhouse scheme there'll
have to be a large vegetable garden planted near the house to supply it,
and you can add a few flower beds. The old place will look better
flower-dressed than empty, and perhaps some of the women and children
will like to work in the garden."

Roger went home comforted, for he was very loyal to the Club and its
work and he did not want to become so involved with other matters that
he could not give himself to the purpose for which the Club was
organized--helping others.

As he passed the Miss Clarks he stopped to give their furnace its
nightly shaking, for he was the accredited furnace man for them and his
Aunt Louise as well as for his mother. He added the money that he earned
to the treasury of the Club so that there might always be enough there
to do a kind act whenever there should be a chance.

As he labored with the shaker and the noise of his struggles was sent
upward through the registers a voice called to him down the cellar
stairs.

"Ro-ger; Roger!"

"Yes, ma'am," replied Roger, wishing the old ladies would let him alone
until he had finished his work.

"Come up here, please, when you've done."

"Very well," he agreed, and went on with his racket.

When he went upstairs he found that the cause of his summons was the
arrival of a young man who was apparently about the age of Edward
Watkins, the doctor brother of Tom and Della.

"My nephew is a law student," said Miss Clark as she introduced the two
young people, "and I want him to know all of our neighbors."

"My name is Stanley Clark," said the newcomer, shaking hands cordially.
"I'm going to be here for a long time so I hope I'll see you often."

Roger liked him at once and thought his manner particularly pleasant in
view of the fact that he was several years older. Roger was so
accustomed to the companionship of Edward Watkins, who frequently joined
the Club in their festivities and who often came to Rosemont to call on
Miss Merriam, that the difference did not seem to him a cause of
embarrassment. He was unusually easy for a boy of his age because he had
always been accustomed to take his sailor father's place at home in the
entertainment of his mother's guests.

Young Clark, on his side, found his new acquaintance a boy worth talking
to, and they got on well. He was studying at a law school in the city,
it seemed, and commuted every day.

"It's a long ride," he agreed when Roger suggested it, "but when I get
home I have the good country air to breathe and I'd rather have that
than town amusements just now when I'm working hard."

Roger spoke of Edward Watkins and Stanley was interested in the
possibility of meeting him. Evidently his aunts had told him all about
the Belgian baby and Miss Merriam, for he said Elisabeth would be the
nearest approach to a soldier from a Belgian battlefield that he had
seen.

Roger left with the feeling that his new acquaintance would be a
desirable addition to the neighborhood group and he was so pleased that
he stopped in at his Aunt Louise's not only to shake the furnace but to
tell her about Stanley Clark.

[Illustration: The Hot Bed]

During the next month they all came to know him well and they liked his
cheerfulness and his interest in what they were doing and planning. On
Saturdays he helped Roger build a hot bed in the sunniest spot against
the side of the kitchen ell. They found that the frost had not stiffened
the ground after they managed to dig down a foot, so that the excavation
was not as hard as they had expected. They dug a hole the size of two
window sashes and four feet deep, lining the sides with some old bricks
that they found in the cellar. At first they filled the entire bed with
fresh stable manure and straw. After it had stayed under the glass two
days it was quite hot and they beat it down a foot and put on six inches
of soil made one-half of compost and one-half of leaf mould that they
found in a sheltered corner of the West Woods.

"Grandfather didn't believe we could manage to get good soil at this
season even if we did succeed in digging the hole, but when I make up my
mind to do a thing I like to succeed," said Roger triumphantly when they
had fitted the sashes on to planks that sloped at the sides so that rain
would run off the glass, and called the girls out to admire their
result.

"What are we going to put in here first?" asked Ethel Brown, who liked
to get at the practical side of matters at once.

"I'd like to have some violets," said Ethel Blue. "Could I have a corner
for them? I've had some plants promised me from the Glen Point
greenhouse man. Margaret is going to bring them over as soon as I'm
ready for them."

"I want to see if I can beat Dicky with early vegetables," declared
Roger. "I'm going to start early parsley and cabbage and lettuce,
cauliflower and egg plants, radishes and peas and corn in shallow
boxes--flats Grandfather says they're called--in my room and the kitchen
where it's warm and sunny, and when they've sprouted three leaves I'll
set them out here and plant some more in the flats."

"Won't transplanting them twice set them back?"

"If you take up enough earth around them they ought not to know that
they've taken a journey."

"I've done a lot of transplanting of wild plants from the woods," said
Stanley, "and I found that if I was careful to do that they didn't even
wilt."

"Why can't we start some of the flower seeds here and have early
blossoms?"

"You can. I don't see why we can't keep it going all the time and have a
constant supply of flowers and vegetables earlier than we should if we
trusted to Mother Nature to do the work unaided."

"Then in the autumn we can stow away here some of the plants we want to
save, geraniums and begonias, and plants that are pretty indoors, and
take them into the house when the indoor ones become shabby."

"Evidently right in the heart of summer is the only time this article
won't be in use," decided Stanley, laughing at their eagerness. "Have
you got anything to cover it with when the spring sunshine grows too
hot?"

"There is an old hemp rug and some straw matting in the attic--won't
they do?"

"Perfectly. Lay them over the glass so that the delicate little plants
won't get burned. You can raise the sashes, too."

"If we don't forget to close them before the sun sets and the night
chill comes on, I suppose," smiled Ethel Blue. "Mr. Emerson says that
seeds under glass do better if they're covered with newspaper until they
start."

It was about the middle of March when Mrs. Smith went in to call on her
neighbors, the Miss Clarks, one evening. They were at home and after a
talk on the ever-absorbing theme of the war Mrs. Smith said,

"I really came in here on business. I hope you've decided to sell me the
meadow lot next to my knoll. If you've made up your minds hadn't I
better tell my lawyer to make out the papers at once?"

"Sister and I made up our minds some time ago, dear Mrs. Smith, and we
wrote to Brother William about it before he came to stay with us, and he
was willing, and Stanley, here, who is the only other heir of the estate
that we know about, has no objection."

"That gives me the greatest pleasure. I'll tell my lawyer, then, to have
the title looked up right away and make out the deed--though I feel as
if I should apologize for looking up the title of land that has been in
your family as long as Mr. Emerson's has been in his."

"You needn't feel at all apologetic," broke in Stanley. "It's never safe
to buy property without having a clear title, and we aren't sure that we
are in a position to give you a clear title."

"That's why we haven't spoken to you about it before," said the elder
Miss Clark; "we were waiting to try to make it all straight before we
said anything about it one way or the other."

"Not give me a clear title!" cried Mrs. Smith. "Do you mean that I won't
be able to buy it? Why, I don't know what Dorothy will do if we can't
get that bit with the brook; she has set her heart on it."

"We want you to have it not only for Dorothy's sake but for our own. It
isn't a good building lot--it's too damp--and we're lucky to have an
offer for it."

"Can you tell me just what the trouble is? It seems as if it ought to be
straight since all of you heirs agree to the sale."

"The difficulty is," said Stanley, "that we aren't sure that we are all
the heirs. We thought we were, but Uncle William made some inquiries on
his way here, and he learned enough to disquiet him."

"Our father, John Clark, had a sister Judith," explained the younger
Miss Clark. "They lived here on the Clark estate which had belonged to
the family for many generations. Then Judith married a man named
Leonard--Peter Leonard--and went to Nebraska at a time when Nebraska was
harder to reach than California is now. That was long before the Civil
War and during those frontier days Aunt Judith and Uncle Peter evidently
were tossed about to the limit of their endurance. Her letters came less
and less often and they always told of some new grief--the death of a
child or the loss of some piece of property. Finally the letters ceased
altogether. I don't understand why her family didn't hold her more
closely, but they lost sight of her entirely."

"Probably it was more her fault than theirs," replied Mrs. Smith softly,
recalling that there had been a time when her own pride had forbade her
letting her people know that she was in dire distress.

"It doesn't make much difference to-day whose fault it was," declared
Stanley Clark cheerfully; "the part of the story that interests us is
that the family thought that all Great-aunt Judith's children were
dead. Here is where Uncle William got his surprise. When he was coming
on from Arkansas he stopped over for a day at the town where Aunt Judith
had posted her last letter to Grandfather, about sixty years ago. There
he learned from the records that she was dead and all her children were
dead--_except one_."

"Except one!" repeated Mrs. Smith. "Born after she ceased writing home?"

"Exactly. Now this daughter--Emily was her name--left the town after her
parents died and there is no way of finding out where she went. One or
two of the old people remember that the Leonard girl left, but nothing
more."

"She may be living now."

"Certainly she may; and she may have married and had a dozen children.
You see, until we can find out something about this Emily we can't give
a clear title to the land."

Mrs. Smith nodded her understanding.

"It's lucky we've never been willing to sell any of the old estate,"
said Mr. William Clark, who had entered and been listening to the story.
"If we had we should, quite ignorantly, have given a defective title."

"Isn't it possible, after making as long and thorough a search as you
can, to take the case into court and have the judge declare the title
you give to be valid, under the circumstances?"

"That is done; but you can see that such a decision would be granted
only after long research on our part. It would delay your purchase
considerably."

"However, it seems to me the thing to do," decided Mrs. Smith, and she
and Stanley at once entered upon a discussion of the ways and means by
which the hunt for Emily Leonard and her heirs was to be accomplished.
It included the employment of detectives for the spring months, and
then, if they had not met with success, a journey by Stanley during the
weeks of his summer vacation.

Dorothy and Ethel were bitterly disappointed at the result of Mrs.
Smith's attempt to purchase the coveted bit of land.

"I suppose it wouldn't have any value for any one else on earth," cried
Dorothy, "but I want it."

"I don't think I ever saw a spot that suited me so well for a summer
play place," agreed Ethel Blue, and Helen and Roger and all the rest of
the Club members were of the same opinion.

"The Clarks will be putting the price up if they should find out that we
wanted it so much," warned Roger.

"I don't believe they would," smiled Mrs. Smith. "They said they thought
themselves lucky to have a customer for it, because it isn't good for
building ground."

"We'll hope that Stanley will unearth the history of his great-aunt,"
said Roger seriously.

"And find that she died a spinster," smiled his Aunt Louise. "The fewer
heirs there are to deal the simpler it will be."




CHAPTER VI


WILD FLOWERS FOR HELEN'S GARDEN

Roger had a fair crop of lettuce in one of his flats by the middle of
March and transplanted the tiny, vivid green leaves to the hotbed
without doing them any harm. The celery and tomato seeds that he had
planted during the first week of the month were showing their heads
bravely and the cabbage and cauliflower seedlings had gone to keep the
lettuce company in the hotbed. On every warm day he opened the sashes
and let the air circulate among the young plants.

"Wordsworth says

    'It is my faith that every flower
    Enjoys the air it breathes,'

and I suppose that's true of vegetables, too," laughed Roger.

The girls, meanwhile, had been planting the seeds of Canterbury bells
and foxgloves in flats. They did not put in many of them because they
learned that they would not blossom until the second year. The flats
they made from boxes that had held tomato cans. Roger sawed through the
sides and they used the cover for the bottom of the second flat.

The dahlias they provided with pots, joking at the exclusiveness of
this gorgeous flower which likes to have a separate house for each of
its seeds. These were to be transferred to the garden about the middle
of May together with the roots of last year's dahlias which they were
going to sprout in a box of sand for about a month before allowing them
to renew their acquaintance with the flower bed.

By the middle of April they had planted a variety of seeds and were
watching the growth or awaiting the germination of gay cosmos, shy four
o'clocks, brilliant marigolds, varied petunias and stocks, smoke-blue
ageratums, old-fashioned pinks and sweet williams. Each was planted
according to the instructions of the seed catalogues, and the young
horticulturists also read and followed the advice of the pamphlets on
"Annual Flowering Plants" and "The Home Vegetable Garden" sent out by
the Department of Agriculture at Washington to any one who asks for
them.

[Illustration: A Flat]

They were prudent about planting directly in the garden seeds which did
not require forcing in the house, for they did not want them to be
nipped, but they put them in the ground just as early as any of the
seedsmen recommended, though they always saved a part of their supply
so that they might have enough for a second sowing if a frost should
come.

Certain flowers which they wished to have blossom for a long time they
sowed at intervals. Candytuft, for instance, they sowed first in April
and they planned to make a second sowing in May and a third late in July
so that they might see the pretty white border blossoms late in the
autumn. Mignonette was a plant of which Mr. Emerson was as fond as Roger
was of sweetpeas and the girls decided to give him a surprise by having
such a succession of blooms that they might invite him to a picking bee
as late as the end of October. Nasturtiums also, they planted with a
liberal hand in nooks and crannies where the soil was so poor that they
feared other plants would turn up their noses, and pansies, whose demure
little faces were favorites with Mrs. Morton, they experimented with in
various parts of the gardens and in the hotbed.

The gardens at the Mortons' and Smiths' were long established so that
there was not any special inducement to change the arrangement of the
beds, except as the young people had planned way back in January for the
enlargement of the drying green. The new garden, however, offered every
opportunity. Each bed was laid out with especial reference to the crop
that was to be put into it and the land was naturally so varied that
there was the kind of soil and the right exposure for plants that
required much moisture and for those that preferred a sandy soil, for
the sun lovers and the shade lovers.

The newly aroused interest in plants extended to the care of the house
plants which heretofore had been the sole concern of Mrs. Emerson and
Mrs. Morton. Now the girls begged the privilege of trimming off the dead
leaves from the ivies and geraniums and of washing away with oil of
lemon and a stiff brush the scale that sometimes came on the palms. They
even learned to kill the little soft white creature called aphis by
putting under the plant a pan of hot coals with tobacco thrown on them.

"It certainly has a sufficiently horrid smell," exclaimed Ethel Brown.
"I don't wonder the beasties curl up and die; I'd like to myself."

"They say aphis doesn't come on a plant with healthy sap," Ethel Blue
contributed to this talk, "so the thing to do is to make these plants so
healthy that the animals drop off starved."

"This new development is going to be a great comfort to me if it keeps
on," Mrs. Emerson confessed to her daughter humorously. "I shall
encourage the girls to use my plants for instruction whenever they want
to."

"You may laugh at their sudden affection," returned Mrs. Morton
seriously, "but I've noticed that everything the U.S.C. sets its heart
on doing gets done, and I've no doubt whatever that they'll have what
Roger calls 'some' garden this next summer."

"Roger has had long consultations with his grandfather about fertilizers
and if he's interested in the beginnings of a garden and not merely in
the results I think we can rely on him."

"They have all been absorbed in the subject for three months and now

    'Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
    The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of
        birds is come.'"

Roger maintained that his Aunt Louise's house ought to be begun at the
time that he planted his sweetpeas.

"If I can get into the ground enough to plant, surely the cellar diggers
ought to be able to do the same," he insisted.

March was not over when he succeeded in preparing a trench a foot deep
all around the spot which was to be his vegetable garden except for a
space about three feet wide which he left for an entrance. In the bottom
he placed three inches of manure and over that two inches of good soil.
In this he planted the seeds half an inch apart in two rows and covered
them with soil to the depth of three inches, stamping it down hard. As
the vines grew to the top of the trench he kept them warm with the rest
of the earth that he had taken out, until the opening was entirely
filled.

The builder was not of Roger's mind about the cellar digging, but he
really did begin operations in April. Every day the Mortons and Smiths,
singly or in squads, visited the site of Sweetbrier Lodge, as Mrs. Smith
and Dorothy had decided to call the house. Dorothy had started a
notebook in which to keep account of the progress of the new estate, but
after the first entry--"Broke ground to-day"--matters seemed to advance
so slowly that she had to fill in with memoranda concerning the growth
of the garden.

Even before the house was started its position and that of the garage
had been staked so that the garden might not encroach on them. Then the
garden had been laid out with a great deal of care by the united efforts
of the Club and Mr. Emerson and his farm superintendent.

Often the Ethels and Dorothy extended their walk to the next field and
to the woods and rocks at the back. The Clarks had learned nothing more
about their Cousin Emily, although they had a man searching records and
talking with the older people of a number of towns in Nebraska. He
reported that he was of the opinion that either the child had died when
young or that she had moved to a considerable distance from the town of
her birth or that she had been adopted and had taken the name of her
foster parents. At any rate consultation of records of marriages and
deaths in several counties had revealed to him no Emily Leonard.

The Clarks were quite as depressed by this outcome of the search as was
Mrs. Smith, but they had instructed the detective to continue his
investigation. Meanwhile they begged Dorothy and her cousins to enjoy
the meadow and woods as much as they liked.

The warm moist days of April tempted the girls to frequent searches for
wild flowers. They found the lot a very gold mine of delight. There was
so much variety of soil and of sunshine and of shadow that plants of
many different tastes flourished where in the meadow across the road
only a few kinds seemed to live. It was with a hearty shout they hailed
the first violets.

"Here they are, here they are!" cried Ethel Blue. "Aunt Marion said she
was sure she saw some near the brook. She quoted some poetry about it--

    "'Blue ran the flash across;
      Violets were born!'"

"That's pretty; what's the rest of it?" asked Ethel Brown, on her knees
taking up some of the plants with her trowel and placing them in her
basket so carefully that there was plenty of earth surrounding each one
to serve as a nest when it should be put into Helen's wild flower bed.

"It's about something good happening when everything seems very bad,"
explained Ethel Blue. "Browning wrote it."

    "Such a starved bank of moss
      Till, that May morn,
    Blue ran the flash across:
      Violets were born!

    "Sky--what a scowl of cloud
      Till, near and far,
    Ray on ray split the shroud:
      Splendid, a star!

    "World--how it walled about
      Life with disgrace
    Till God's own smile came out:
      That was thy face!"

"It's always so, isn't it!" approved Dorothy. "And the more we think
about the silver lining to every cloud the more likely it is to show
itself."

"What's this delicate white stuff? And these tiny bluey eyes?" asked
Ethel Blue, who was again stooping over to examine the plants that
enjoyed the moist positions near the stream.

"The eyes are houstonia--Quaker ladies. We must have a clump of them.
Saxifrage, Helen said the other was. She called my attention the other
day to some they had at school to analyze. It has the same sort of stem
that the hepatica has."

[Illustration: Yellow Adder's Tongue]

"I remember--a scape--only this isn't so downy."

"They're pretty, aren't they? We must be sure to get a good sized patch;
you can't see them well enough when there is only a plant or two."

"Helen wants a regular village of every kind that she transplants. She
says she'd rather have a good many of a few kinds than a single plant of
ever so many kinds."

"It will be prettier. What do you suppose this yellow bell-shaped flower
is?"

"It ought to be a lily, hanging its head like that."

"It is a lily," corroborated Ethel Brown, "but it's called 'dog-tooth
violet' though it isn't a violet at all."

"What a queer mistake. Hasn't it any other name?"

"Adder's-tongue. That's more suitable, isn't it?"

"Yes, except that I hate to have a lovely flower called by a snake's
name!"

"Not all snakes are venomous; and, anyway, we ought to remember that
every animal has some means of protecting himself and the snakes do it
through their poison fangs."

"Or through their squeezing powers, like that big constrictor we saw at
the Zoo."

"I suppose it is fair for them to have a defence," admitted Ethel Blue,
"but I don't like them, just the same, and I wish this graceful flower
had some other name."

"It has."

"O, _that_! 'Dog-tooth' is just about as ugly as 'adder's tongue'! The
botanists were in bad humor when they christened the poor little thing!"

"Do you remember what Bryant says about 'The Yellow Violet'?" asked
Ethel Brown, who was always committing verses to memory.

"Tell us," begged Ethel Blue, who was expending special care on digging
up this contribution to the garden as if to make amends for the
unkindness of the scientific world, and Ethel Brown repeated the poem
beginning

    "When beechen buds begin to swell,
      And woods the blue-bird's warble know,
    The yellow violet's modest bell
      Peeps from last year's leaves below."

Dorothy went into ecstasies over the discovery of two roots of white
violets, but there seemed to be no others, though they all sought
diligently for the fragrant blossoms among the leaves.

A cry from Ethel Blue brought the others to a drier part of the field at
a distance from the brook. There in a patch of soil that was almost
sandy was a great patch of violets of palest hue, with deep orange eyes.
They were larger than any of the other violets and their leaves were
entirely different.

"What funny leaves," cried Dorothy. "They look as if some one had
crumpled up a real violet leaf and cut it from the edge to the stem into
a fine fringe."

"Turn it upside down and press it against the ground. Don't you think it
looks like a bird's claw?"

"So it does! This must be a 'bird-foot violet,'"

"It is, and there's more meaning in the name than in the one the yellow
bell suffers from. Do you suppose there are any violets up in the
woods?"

"They seem to fit in everywhere; I shouldn't be a bit surprised if there
were some there."

Sure enough, there were, smaller and darker in color than the flowers
down by the brook and hiding more shyly under their shorter-stemmed
leaves.

"Helen is going to have some trouble to make her garden fit the tastes
of all these different flowers," said Ethel Brown thoughtfully. "I don't
see how she's going to do it."

"Naturally it's sort of half way ground," replied Ethel Blue. "She can
enrich the part that is to hold the ones that like rich food and put
sand where these bird foot fellows are to go, and plant the wet-lovers
at the end where the hydrant is so that there'll be a temptation to give
them a sprinkle every time the hose is screwed on."

[Illustration: Blue Flag]

"The ground is always damp around the hydrant; I guess she'll manage to
please her new tenants."

"If only Mother can buy this piece of land," said Dorothy, "I'm going to
plant forget-me-nots and cow lilies and arum lilies right in the stream.
There are flags and pickerel weed and cardinals here already. It will
make a beautiful flower bed all the length of the field."

"I hope and hope every day that it will come out right," sighed Ethel
Blue. "Of course the Miss Clarks are lovely about it, but you can't do
things as if it were really yours."

Almost at the same instant both the Ethels gave a cry as each discovered
a plant she had been looking for.

"Mine is wild ginger, I'm almost sure," exclaimed Ethel Brown. "Come and
see, Dorothy."

"Has it a thick, leathery leaf that lies down almost flat?" asked
Dorothy, running to see for herself.

"Yes, and a blossom you hardly notice. It's hidden under the leaves and
it's only yellowish-green. You have to look hard for it."

"That must be wild ginger," Dorothy decided. "What's yours, Ethel Blue?"

"I know mine is hepatica. See the 'hairy scape' Helen talked about? And
see what a lovely, lovely color the blossom is? Violet with a hint of
pink?"

"That would be the best of all for a border. The leaves stay green all
winter and the blossoms come early in the spring and encourage you to
think that after a while all the flowers are going to awaken."

"It's a shame to take all this out of Dorothy's lot."

"It may never be mine," sighed Dorothy. "Still, perhaps we ought not to
take too many roots; the Miss Clarks may not want all the flowers taken
out of their woods."

"We'll take some from here and some from Grandfather's woods," decided
Ethel Brown. "There are a few in the West Woods, too."

So they dug up but a comparatively small number of the hepaticas, nor
did they take many of the columbines nodding from a cleft in the
piled-up rocks.

"I know that when we have our wild garden fully planted I'm not going to
want to pick flowers just for the sake of picking them the way I used
to," confessed Ethel Blue. "Now I know something about them they seem so
alive to me, sort of like people--I'm sure they won't like to be taken
travelling and forced to make a new home for themselves."

"I know how you feel," responded Dorothy slowly. "I feel as if those
columbines were birds that had perched on those rocks just for a minute
and were going to fly away, and I didn't want to disturb them before
they flitted."

They all stood gazing at the delicate, tossing blossoms whose spurred
tubes swung in every gentlest breeze.

"It has a bird's name, too," added Dorothy as if there had been no
silence; "_aquilegia_--the eagle flower."

"Why eagle? The eagle is a strenuous old fowl," commented Ethel Brown.
"The name doesn't seem appropriate."

"It's because of the spurs--they suggest an eagle's talons."

"That's too far-fetched to suit me," confessed Ethel Brown.

"It is called 'columbine' because the spurs look a little like doves
around a drinking fountain, and the Latin word for dove is '_columba_,"
said Dorothy.

"It's queer the way they name flowers after animals--" said Ethel Blue.

"Or parts of animals," laughed her cousin. "Saxifrage isn't; Helen told
me the name meant 'rock-breaker,' because some kinds grow in the clefts
of rocks the way the columbines do."

"I wish we could find a trillium," said Ethel Blue. "The _tri_ in that
name means that everything about it is in threes."

"What is a trillium?" asked Ethel Brown.

"Roger brought in a handful the other day. 'Wake-robin' he called it."

"O, I remember them. There was a bare stalk with three leaves and the
flower was under the leaves."

"There were three petals to the corolla and three sepals to the calyx.
He had purple ones and white ones."

"Here's a white one this very minute," said Dorothy, pouncing upon a
plant eight or ten inches in height whose leaves looked eager and
strong.

"See," she said as they all leaned over to examine it; "the blossom has
two sets of leaves. The outer set is usually green or some color not so
gay as to attract insects or birds that might destroy the flower when it
is in bud. These outer leaves are called, all together, the calyx, and
each one of them is called a sepal."

"The green thing on the back of a rose is the calyx and each of its
leaflets is called a sepal," said Ethel Brown by way of fixing the
definition firmly in her mind.

"The pretty part of the flower is the corolla which means 'little
crown,' and each of its parts is called a petal."

"How did you learn all that?" demanded Ethel Brown admiringly.

"Your grandmother told me the other day."

"You've got a good memory. Helen has told me a lot of botanical terms,
but I forget them,"

"I try hard to remember everything I hear any one say about flowers or
vegetables or planting now. You never can tell when it may be useful,"
and Dorothy nodded wisely.

"Shall we take up this wake-robin?" asked Ethel Blue.

"Let's not," pleaded Ethel Brown. "We shall find others somewhere and
there's only one here."

[Illustration: Wind Flower]

They left it standing, but when they came upon a growth of wind-flowers
there were so many of them that they did not hesitate to dig them
freely.

"I wonder why they're called 'wind-flowers'?" queried Ethel Brown,
whose curiosity on the subject of names had been aroused.

"I know that answer," replied Ethel Blue unexpectedly. "That is, nobody
knows the answer exactly; I know that much."

The other girls laughed.

"What is the answer as far as anybody knows it?" demanded Dorothy.

"The scientific name is 'anemone.' It comes from the Greek word meaning
'wind.'"

"That seems to be a perfectly good answer. Probably it was given because
they dance around so prettily in the wind," guessed Dorothy.

"Helen's botany says that it was christened that either because it grew
in windy places or because it blossomed at the windy season."

"Dorothy's explanation suits me best," Ethel Brown decided. "I shall
stick to that."

"I think it's prettiest myself," agreed Dorothy.

"She's so much in earnest she doesn't realize that she's deciding
against famous botanists," giggled Ethel Brown.

"It _is_ prettier--a lot prettier," insisted Ethel Blue. "I'm glad I've
a cousin who can beat scientists!"

"What a glorious lot of finds!" cried Ethel Brown. "Just think of our
getting all these in one afternoon!"

"I don't believe we could except in a place like this where any plant
can have his taste suited with meadow or brookside or woods or rocks."

"And sunshine or shadow."

They were in a gay mood as they gathered up their baskets and trowels
and gently laid pieces of newspaper over the uprooted plants.

"It isn't hot to-day but we won't run any risk of their getting a
headache from the sun," declared Dorothy.

"These woodsy ones that aren't accustomed to bright sunshine may be
sensitive to it," assented Ethel Blue. "We must remember to tell Helen
in just what sort of spot we found each one so she can make its corner
in the garden bed as nearly like it as possible."

"I'm going to march in and quote Shakespeare to her," laughed Ethel
Brown. "I'm going to say

    'I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where oxlip and the nodding violet grows,'

and then I'll describe the 'bank' so she can copy it."

"If she doesn't she may have to repeat Bryant's 'Death of the
Flowers':--

    'The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago.'"




CHAPTER VII


COLOR SCHEMES

"Look out, Della; don't pick that! _Don't_ pick that, it's poison ivy!"
cried Ethel Brown as all the Club members were walking on the road
towards Grandfather Emerson's. A vine with handsome glossy leaves
reached an inviting cluster toward passers-by.

"Poison ivy!" repeated Della, springing back. "How do you know it is? I
thought it was woodbine--Virginia creeper."

"Virginia creeper has as many fingers as your hand; this ivy has only
three leaflets. See, I-V-Y," and Ethel Blue took a small stick and
tapped a leaflet for each letter.

"I must tell Grandfather this is here," said Helen. "He tries to keep
this road clear of it even if he finds it growing on land not his own.
It's too dangerous to be so close to the sidewalk."

"It's a shame it behaves so badly when it's so handsome."

"It's not handsome if 'handsome is as handsome does' is true. But this
is stunning when the leaves turn scarlet."

"It's a mighty good plan to admire it from a distance," decided Tom, who
had been looking at it carefully. "Della and I being 'city fellers,'
we're ignorant about it. I'll remember not to touch the three-leaved
I-V-Y, from now on."

The Club was intent on finishing their flower garden plans that
afternoon. They had gathered together all the seedsmen's catalogues that
had been sent them and they had also accumulated a pile of garden
magazines. They knew, however, that Mr. Emerson had some that they did
not have, and they also wanted his help, so they had telephoned over to
find out whether he was to be at home and whether he would help them
with the laying out of their color beds.

"Nothing I should like better," he had answered cordially so now they
were on the way to put him to the test.

"We already have some of our color plants in our gardens left over from
last year," Helen explained, "and some of the others that we knew we'd
want we've started in the hotbed, and we've sowed a few more in the open
beds, but we want to make out a full list."

"Just what is your idea," asked Mr. Emerson, while Grandmother Emerson
saw that the dining table around which they were sitting had on it a
plentiful supply of whole wheat bread sandwiches, the filling being
dates and nuts chopped together.

Helen explained their wish to have beds all of one color.

"We girls are so crazy over pink that we're going to try a pink bed at
both of Dorothy's gardens as well as in ours," she laughed.

"You'd like a list of plants that will keep on blooming all summer so
that you can always run out and get a bunch of pink blossoms, I
suppose."

"That's exactly what we want," and they took their pencils to note down
any suggestions that Mr. Emerson made.

"We've decided on pink candytuft for the border and single pink
hollyhocks for the background with foxgloves right in front of them to
cover up the stems at the bottom where they haven't many leaves and a
medium height phlox in front of that for the same reason."

"You should have pink morning glories and there's a rambler rose, a pink
one, that you ought to have in the southeast corner on your back fence,"
suggested Mr. Emerson. "Stretch a strand or two of wire above the top
and let the vine run along it. It blooms in June."

"Pink rambler," they all wrote. "What's its name?"

"Dorothy--"

"Smith?"

"Perkins."

James went through a pantomime that registered severe disappointment.

"Suppose we begin at the beginning," suggested Mr. Emerson. "I believe
we can make out a list that will keep your pink bed gay from May till
frost."

"That's what we want."

"You had some pink tulips last spring."

"We planted them in the autumn so that they'd come out early this
spring. By good luck they're just where we've decided to have a pink
bed."

"There's your first flower, then. They're near the front of the bed, I
hope. The low plants ought to be in front, of course, so they won't be
hidden."

"They're in front. So are the hyacinths."

"Are you sure they're all pink?"

"It's a great piece of good fortune--Mother selected only pink bulbs and
a few yellow ones to put back into the ground and gave the other colors
to Grandmother."

"That helps you at the very start-off. There are two kinds of pinks that
ought to be set near the front rank because they don't grow very
tall--the moss pink and the old-fashioned 'grass pink.' They are
charming little fellows and keep up a tremendous blossoming all summer
long."

"'Grass pink,'" repeated Ethel, Brown, "isn't that the same as 'spice
pink'?"

"That's what your grandmother calls it. She says she has seen people
going by on the road sniff to see what that delicious fragrance was. I
suppose these small ones must be the original pinks that the seedsmen
have burbanked into the big double ones."

"'Burbanked'?"

"That's a new verb made out of the name of Luther Burbank, the man who
has raised such marvelous flowers in California and has turned the
cactus into a food for cattle instead of a prickly nuisance."

"I've heard of him," said Margaret. "'Burbanked' means 'changed into
something superior,' I suppose."

"Something like that. Did you tell me you had a peony?"

There's a good, tall tree peony that we've had moved to the new bed."

"At the back?"

"Yes, indeed; it's high enough to look over almost everything else we
are likely to have. It blossoms early."

"To be a companion to the tulips and hyacinths."

"Have you started any peony seeds?"

"The Reine Hortense. Grandmother advised that. They're well up now."

"I'd plant a few seeds in your bed, too. If you can get a good stand of
perennials--flowers that come up year after year of their own accord--it
saves a lot of trouble."

"Those pinks are perennials, aren't they? They come up year after year
in Grandmother's garden."

"Yes, they are, and so is the columbine. You ought to put that in."

"But it isn't pink. We got some in the woods the other day. It is red,"
objected Dorothy.

"The columbine has been 'burbanked.' There's a pink one among the
cultivated kinds. They're larger than the wild ones and very lovely."

"Mother has some. Hers are called the 'Rose Queen,'" said Margaret.
"There are yellow and blue ones, too."

"Your grandmother can give you some pink Canterbury bells that will
blossom this year. They're biennials, you know."

"Does that mean they blossom every two years?"

"Not exactly. It means that the ones you planted in your flats will
only make wood and leaves this year and won't put out any flowers until
next year. That's all these pink ones of your grandmother's did last
season; this summer they're ready to go into your bed and be useful."

"Our seedlings are blue, anyway," Ethel Blue reminded the others. "They
must be set in the blue bed."

"How about sweet williams?" asked Mr. Emerson. "Don't I remember some in
your yard?"

"Mother planted some last year," answered Roger, "but they didn't
blossom."

"They will this year. They're perennials, but it takes them one season
to make up their minds to set to work. There's an annual that you might
sow now that will be blossoming in a few weeks. It won't last over,
though."

"Annuals die down at the end of the first season. I'm getting these
terms straightened in my so-called mind," laughed Dorothy.

"You said you had a bleeding heart--"

"A fine old perennial," exclaimed Ethel Brown, airing her new
information.

"--and pink candy-tuft for the border and foxgloves for the back; are
those old plants or seedlings?"

"Both."

"Then you're ready for anything! How about snapdragons?"

"I thought snapdragons were just common weeds," commented James.

"They've been improved, too, and now they are large and very handsome
and of various heights. If you have room enough you can have a lovely
bed of tall ones at the back, with the half dwarf kind before it and the
dwarf in front of all. It gives a sloping mass of bloom that is lovely,
and if you nip off the top blossoms when the buds appear you can make
them branch sidewise and become thick."

"We certainly haven't space for that bank arrangement in our garden,"
decided Roger, "but it will be worth trying in Dorothy's new garden,"
and he put down a "D" beside the note he had made.

"The snapdragon sows itself so you're likely to have it return of its
own accord another year, so you must be sure to place it just where
you'd like to have it always," warned Mr. Emerson.

"The petunia sows itself, too," Margaret contributed to the general
stock of knowledge. "You can get pretty, pale, pink petunias now, and
they blossom at a great rate all summer."

"I know a plant we ought to try," offered James. "It's the plant they
make Persian Insect Powder out of."

"The Persian daisy," guessed Mr. Emerson. "It would be fun to try that."

"Wouldn't it be easier to buy the insect powder?" asked practical Ethel
Brown.

"Very much," laughed her grandfather, "but this is good fun because it
doesn't always blossom 'true,' and you never know whether you'll get a
pink or a deep rose color. Now, let me see," continued Mr. Emerson
thoughtfully, "you've arranged for your hollyhocks and your
phlox--those will be blooming by the latter part of July, and I suppose
you've put in several sowings of sweetpeas?"

They all laughed, for Roger's demand for sweetpeas had resulted in a
huge amount of seeds being sown in all three of the gardens.

"Where are we now?" continued Mr. Emerson.

"Now there ought to be something that will come into its glory about the
first of August," answered Helen.

"What do you say to poppies?"

"Are there pink poppies?"

"O, beauties! Big bears, and little bears, and middle-sized bears;
single and double, and every one of them a joy to look upon!"

"Put down poppies two or three times," laughed Helen in answer to her
grandfather's enthusiasm.

"And while we're on the letter 'P' in the seed catalogue," added Mr.
Emerson, "order a few packages of single portulaca. There are delicate
shades of pink now, and it's a useful little plant to grow at the feet
of tall ones that have no low-growing foliage and leave the ground
bare."

"It would make a good border for us at some time."

"You might try it at Dorothy's large garden. There'll be space there to
have many different kinds of borders."

"We'll have to keep our eyes open for a pink lady's slipper over in the
damp part of the Clarks' field," said Roger.

"O, I speak for it for my wild garden," cried Helen.

"You ought to find one about the end of July, and as that is a long way
off you can put off the decision as to where to place it when you
transplant it," observed their grandfather dryly.

"Mother finds verbenas and 'ten week stocks' useful for cutting," said
Margaret. "They're easy to grow and they last a long time and there are
always blossoms on them for the house."

"Pink?" asked Ethel Blue, her pencil poised until she was assured.

"A pretty shade of pink, both of them, and they're low growing, so you
can put them forward in the beds after you take out the bulbs that
blossomed early."

"How are we going to know just when to plant all these things so they'll
come out when we want them to?" asked Della, whose city life had limited
her gardening experience to a few summers at Chautauqua where they went
so late in the season that their flower beds had been planted for them
and were already blooming when they arrived.

"Study your catalogues, my child," James instructed her.

"But they don't always tell," objected Della, who had been looking over
several.

"That's because the seedsmen sell to people all over the country--people
living in all sorts of climates and with all sorts of soils. The best
way is to ask the seedsman where you buy your seeds to indicate on the
package or in a letter what the sowing time should be for our part of
the world."

"Then we'll bother Grandfather all we can," threatened Ethel Brown
seriously. "He's given us this list in the order of their blossoming--"

"More or less," interposed Mr. Emerson. "Some of them over-lap, of
course. It's roughly accurate, though."

"You can't stick them in a week apart and have them blossom a week
apart?" asked Della.

"Not exactly. It takes some of them longer to germinate and make ready
to bloom than it does others. But of course it's true in a general way
that the first to be planted are the first to bloom."

"We haven't put in the late ones yet," Ethel Blue reminded Mr. Emerson.

"Asters, to begin with. I don't see how there'll be enough room in your
small bed to make much of a show with asters. I should put some in, of
course, in May, but there's a big opportunity at the new garden to have
a splendid exhibition of them. Some asters now are almost as large and
as handsome as chrysanthemums--astermums, they call them--and the pink
ones are especially lovely."

"Put a big 'D' against 'asters,'" advised Roger. "That will mean that
there must be a large number put into Dorothy's new garden."

"The aster will begin to blossom in August and will continue until light
frost and the chrysanthemums will begin a trifle later and will last a
little longer unless there is a killing frost."

"Can we get blossoms on chrysanthemums the first, year?" asked
Margaret, who had not found that true in her experience in her mother's
garden.

"There are some new kinds that will blossom the first year, the seedsmen
promise. I'd like to have you try some of them."

"Mother has two or three pink ones--well established plants--that she's
going to let us move to the pink bed," said Helen.

"The chrysanthemums will end your procession," said Mr. Emerson, "but
you mustn't forget to put in some mallow. They are easy to grow and
blossom liberally toward the end of the season."

"Can we make candy marshmallows out of it?"

"You can, but it would be like the Persian insect powder--it would be
easier to buy it. But it has a handsome pink flower and you must surely
have it on your list."

"I remember when Mother used to have the greatest trouble getting cosmos
to blossom," said Margaret. "The frost almost always caught it. Now
there is a kind that comes before the frost."

"Cosmos is a delight at the end of the season," remarked Mr. Emerson.
"Almost all the autumn plants are stocky and sturdy, but cosmos is as
graceful as a summer plant and as delicate as a spring blossom. You can
wind up your floral year with asters and mallow and chrysanthemums and
cosmos all blooming at once."

"Now for the blue beds," said Tom, excusing himself for looking at his
watch on the plea that he and Della had to go back to New York by a
comparatively early train.

"If you're in a hurry I'll just give you a few suggestions," said Mr.
Emerson. "Really blue flowers are not numerous, I suppose you have
noticed."

"We've decided on ageratum for the border and larkspur and monkshood for
the back," said Ethel Brown.

"There are blue crocuses and hyacinths and 'baby's breath' for your
earliest blossoms, and blue columbines as well as pink and yellow ones!
and blue morning glories for your 'climber,' and blue bachelors' buttons
and Canterbury bells, and mourning bride, and pretty blue lobelia for
low growing plants and blue lupine for a taller growth. If you are
willing to depart from real blue into violet you can have heliotrope and
violets and asters and pansies and primroses and iris."

"The wild flag is fairly blue," insisted Roger, who was familiar with
the plants that edged the brook on his grandfather's farm.

"It is until you compare it with another moisture lover--forget-me-not."

"If Dorothy buys the Clarks' field she can start a colony of flags and
forget-me-nots in the stream," suggested James.

"Can you remember cineraria? There's a blue variety of that, and one of
salpiglossis, which is an exquisite flower in spite of its name."

"One of the sweetpea packages is marked 'blue,'" said Roger, "I wonder
if it will be a real blue?"

"Some of them are pretty near it. Now this isn't a bad list for a rather
difficult color," Mr. Emerson went on, looking over Ethel Blue's paper,
"but you can easily see that there isn't the variety of the pink list
and that the true blues are scarce."

"We're going to try it, anyway," returned Helen. "Perhaps we shall run
across some others. Now I wrote down for the yellows, yellow crocuses
first of all and yellow tulips."

"There are many yellow spring flowers and late summer brings goldenrod,
so it seems as if the extremes liked the color," said Margaret
observantly.

"The intermediate season does, too," returned Mr. Emerson.

"Daffodils and jonquils are yellow and early enough to suit the most
impatient," remarked James.

"Who wrote this," asked Mr. Emerson, from whom Ethel Brown inherited her
love of poetry:

    "I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high on vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd
    A host of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."

"Wordsworth," cried Ethel Brown.

"Wordsworth," exclaimed Tom Watkins in the same breath.

"That must mean that daffies grow wild in England," remarked Dorothy.

"They do, and we can have something of the same effect here if we plant
them through a lawn. The bulbs must be put in like other bulbs, in the
autumn. Crocuses may be treated in the same way. Then in the spring
they come gleaming through the sod and fill everybody with Wordsworth's
delight."

"Here's another competition between Helen's wild garden and the color
bed; which shall take the buttercups and cowslips?"

"Let the wild bed have them," urged Grandfather. "There will be plenty
of others for the yellow bed."

"We want yellow honeysuckle climbing on the high wire," declared Roger.

"Assisted by yellow jessamine?" asked Margaret.

"And canary bird vine," contributed Ethel Blue.

"And golden glow to cover the fence," added Ethel Brown.

"The California poppy is a gorgeous blossom for an edge," said Ethel
Blue, "and there are other kinds of poppies that are yellow."

"Don't forget the yellow columbines," Dorothy reminded them, "and the
yellow snapdragons."

"There's a yellow cockscomb as well as a red."

"And a yellow verbena."

"Being a doctor's son I happen to remember that calendula, which takes
the pain out of a cut finger most amazingly, has a yellow flower."

"Don't forget stocks and marigolds."

"And black-eyed-Susans--rudbeckia--grow very large when they're
cultivated."

"That ought to go in the wild garden," said Helen.

"We'll let you have it," responded Roger generously, "We can put the
African daisy in the yellow bed instead."

"Calliopsis or coreopsis is one of the yellow plants that the
Department of Agriculture Bulletin mentions," said Dorothy. "It tells
you just how to plant it and we put in the seeds early on that account."

"Gaillardia always reminds me of it a bit--the lemon color," said Ethel
Brown.

"Only that's stiffer. If you want really, truly prim things try
zinnias--old maids."

[Illustration: Rudbeckia--Black-eyed Susan]

"Zinnias come in a great variety of colors now," reported Mr. Emerson.
"A big bowl of zinnias is a handsome sight."

"We needn't put any sunflowers into the yellow bed," Dorothy reminded
them, "because almost my whole back yard is going to be full of them."

"And you needn't plant any special yellow nasturtiums because Mother
loves them and she has planted enough to give us flowers for the house,
and flowers and leaves for salads and sandwiches, and seeds for pickle
to use with mutton instead of capers."

"There's one flower you must be sure to have plenty of even if you
don't make these colored beds complete," urged Mr. Emerson; "that's the
'chalk-lover,' gypsophila."

"What is it?"

"The delicate, white blossom that your grandmother always puts among cut
flowers. It is feathery and softens and harmonizes the hues of all the
rest.

    'So warm with light his blended colors flow,'

in a bouquet when there's gypsophila in it."

"But what a name!" ejaculated Roger.




CHAPTER VIII


CAVE LIFE

The dogwood was in blossom when the girls first established themselves
in the cave in the Fitz-James woods. Mrs. Morton and Mrs. Smith thought
it was rather too cool, but the girls invited them to come and have
afternoon cocoa with them and proved to their satisfaction that the
rocks were so sheltered by their position and by the trees that towered
above them that it would take a sturdy wind to make them really
uncomfortable.

Their first duty had been to clean out the cave.

"We can pretend that no one ever has lived here since the days when
everybody lived in caves," said Ethel Blue, who was always pretending
something unusual. "We must be the first people to discover it."

"I dare say we are," replied Dorothy.

"Uhuh," murmured Ethel Brown, a sound which meant a negative reply.
"Here's an old tin can, so we aren't the very first."

"It may have been brought here by a wolf," suggested Ethel Blue.

"Perhaps it was a werwolf," suggested Dorothy.

"What's that?"

"A man turned by magic into a wolf but keeping his human feelings. The
more I think of it the more I'm sure that it was a werwolf that brought
the can here, because, having human feelings, he would know about cans
and what they had in them, and being a wolf he would carry it to his
lair or den or whatever they call it, to devour it."

"Really, Dorothy, you make me uncomfortable!" exclaimed Ethel Blue.

"That may be one down there in the field now," continued Dorothy,
enjoying her make-believe.

The Ethels turned and gazed, each with an armful of trash that she had
brought out of the cave. There was, in truth, a figure down in the field
beside the brook, and he was leaning over and thrusting a stick into the
ground and examining it closely when he drew it out.

"That can't be a werwolf," remonstrated Ethel Brown. "That's a man."

"Perhaps in the twentieth century wolves turn into men instead of men
turning into wolves," suggested Dorothy. "This may be a wolf with a
man's shape but keeping the feelings of a wolf, instead of the other way
around."

"Don't, Dorothy!" remonstrated Ethel Blue again. "He does look like a
horrid sort of man, doesn't he?"

They all looked at him and wondered what he could be doing in the Miss
Clarks' field, but he did not come any nearer to them so they did not
have a chance to find out whether he really was as horrid looking as
Ethel Blue imagined.

It was not a short task to make the cave as clean as the girls wanted it
to be. The owner of the tin can had been an untidy person or else his
occupation of Fitz-James's rocks had been so long ago that Nature had
accumulated a great deal of rubbish. Whichever explanation was correct,
there were many armfuls to be removed and then the interior of the cave
had to be subjected to a thorough sweeping before the girls' ideas of
tidiness were satisfied. They had to carry all the rubbish away to some
distance, for it would not do to leave it near the cave to be an eyesore
during the happy days that they meant to spend there.

It was all done and Roger, who happened along, had made a bonfire for
them and consumed all the undesirable stuff, before the two mothers
appeared for the promised cocoa and the visit of inspection.

The girls at once set about the task of converting them to a belief in
the sheltered position of the cave and then they turned their attention
to the preparation of the feast. They had brought an alcohol stove that
consisted of a small tripod which held a tin of solid alcohol and
supported a saucepan. When packing up time came the tripod and the can
fitted into the saucepan and the handles folded about it compactly.

"We did think at first of having an old stove top that Roger saw thrown
away at Grandfather's," Ethel Brown explained. "We could build two brick
sides to hold it up and have the stone for a back and leave the front
open and run a piece of stove pipe up through that crack in the rocks."

Mrs. Morton and Mrs. Smith, who were sitting on a convenient bit of rock
just outside the cave, peered in as the description progressed.

"Then we could burn wood underneath and regulate the draft by making a
sort of blower with some piece of old sheet iron."

The mothers made no comment as Ethel Brown seemed not to have finished
her account.

"Then we thought that perhaps you'd let us have that old oil stove up in
the attic. We could set it on this flat rock on this side of the cave."

"We thought there might be some danger about that because it isn't very,
_very_ large in here, so we finally decided on this alcohol stove. It's
safe and it doesn't take up any room and this solid alcohol doesn't slop
around and set your dress afire or your table cloth, and we can really
cook a good many things on it and the rest we can cook in our own little
kitchen and bring over here. If we cover them well they'll still be warm
when they get here."

"That's a wise decision," assented Mrs. Morton, nodding toward her
sister-in-law. "I should be afraid that the stove top arrangement might
be like the oil stove--the fuel might fall about and set fire to your
frocks."

"And it would take up much more space in the cave," suggested Mrs.
Smith. "Here's a contribution to your equipment," and she brought out a
box of paper plates and cups, and another of paper napkins.

"These are fine!" cried Ethel Blue. "They'll save washing."

"Here's our idea for furnishing. Do you want to hear it?" asked Dorothy.

"Of course we do."

"Do you see that flat oblong space there at the back? We're going to
fit a box in there. We'll turn it on its side, put hinges and a padlock
on the cover to make it into a door, and fix up shelves."

"I see," nodded her mother and aunt. "That will be your store cupboard."

"And our sideboard and our linen closet, all in one. We're going to make
it when we go home this afternoon because we know now what the
measurements are and we've got just the right box down in the cellar."

"Where do you get the water?"

"Roger is cleaning out the spring now and making the basin under it a
little larger, so we shall always have fresh spring water."

"That's good. I was going to warn you always to boil any water from the
brook."

"We'll remember."

The water for the cocoa was now bubbling in the saucepan. Ethel Blue
took four spoonfuls of prepared cocoa, wet it with one spoonful of water
and rubbed it smooth. Then she stirred it into a pint of the boiling
water and when this had boiled up once she added a pint of milk. When
the mixture boiled she took it off at once and served it in the paper
cups that her aunt had brought. To go with it Ethel Brown had prepared
almond biscuit. They were made by first blanching two ounces of almonds
by pouring boiling water on them and then slipping off their brown
overcoats. After they had been ground twice over in the meat chopper
they were mixed with four tablespoonfuls of flour and one tablespoonful
of sugar and moistened with a tablespoonful of milk. When they were
thoroughly mixed and rolled thin they were cut into small rounds and
baked in a quick oven for ten or fifteen minutes.

"These are delicious, my dear," Mrs. Smith said, smiling at her nieces,
and the Ethels were greatly pleased at their Aunt Louise's praise.

They sat about on the rocks and enjoyed their meal heartily. The birds
were busy over their heads, the leaves were beginning to come thickly in
the tree crowns and the chipmunks scampered busily about, seeming to be
not at all frightened by the coming of these new visitors to their
haunts. Dorothy tried to coax one to eat out of her hand. He was curious
to try the food that she held out to him and his courage brought him
almost within reach of her fingers before it failed and sent him
scampering back to his hole, the stripes on his back looking like
ribbons as he leaped to safety.

Within a month the cave was in excellent working order. The box proved
to be a success just as the girls had planned it. They kept there such
stores as they did not care to carry back and forth--sugar, salt and
pepper, cocoa, crackers--and a supply of eggs, cream-cheese and cookies
and milk always fresh. Sometimes when the family thermos bottle was not
in use they brought the milk in that and at other times they brought it
in an ordinary bottle and let it stand in the hollow below the spring.
Glass fruit jars with screw tops preserved all that was entrusted to
them free from injury by any marauding animals who might be tempted by
the smell to break open the cupboard. These jars the girls placed on the
top shelf; on the next they ranged their paper "linen"--which they used
for napkins and then as fuel to start the bonfire in which they
destroyed all the rubbish left over from their meal. This fire was
always small, was made in one spot which Roger had prepared by
encircling it with stones, and was invariably put out with a saucepanful
of water from the brook.

"It never pays to leave a fire without a good dousing," he always
insisted. "The rascally thing may be playing 'possum and blaze out later
when there is no one here to attend to it."

A piece of board which could be moved about at will was used as a table
when the weather was such as to make eating inside of the cave
desirable. One end was placed on top of the cupboard and the other on a
narrow ledge of stone that projected as if made for the purpose. One or
two large stones and a box or two served as seats, but there was not
room inside for all the members of the Club. When there was a general
meeting some had to sit outside.

They added to their cooking utensils a few flat saucepans in which water
would boil quickly and they made many experiments in cooking vegetables.
Beans they gave up trying to cook after several experiments, because
they took so long--from one to three hours--for both the dried and the
fresh kinds, that the girls felt that they could not afford so much
alcohol. They eliminated turnips, too, after they had prodded a
frequent fork into some obstinate roots for about three quarters of an
hour. Beets were nearly as discouraging, but not quite, when they were
young and tender, and the same was true of cabbage.

"It's only the infants that we can use in this affair," declared Dorothy
after she had replenished the saucepan from another in which she had
been heating water for the purpose, over a second alcohol stove that her
mother had lent them. Spinach, onions and parsnips were done in half an
hour and potatoes in twenty-five minutes.

They finally gave up trying to cook vegetables whole over this stove,
for they concluded that not only was it necessary to have extremely
young vegetables but the size of the cooking utensils must of necessity
be too small to have the proceedings a success. They learned one way,
however, of getting ahead of the tiny saucepan and the small stove. That
was by cutting the corn from the cob and by peeling the potatoes and
slicing them very thin before they dropped them into boiling water. Then
they were manageable.

"Miss Dawson, the domestic science teacher, says that the water you cook
any starchy foods in must always be boiling like mad," Ethel Blue
explained to her aunt one day when she came out to see how matters were
going. "If it isn't the starch is mushy. That's why you mustn't be
impatient to put on rice and potatoes and cereals until the water is
just bouncing."

"Almost all vegetables have some starch," explained Mrs. Morton. "Water
_really_ boiling is your greatest friend. When you girls are old enough
to drink tea you must remember that boiling water for tea is something
more than putting on water in a saucepan or taking it out of a kettle on
the stove."

"Isn't boiling water boiling water?" asked Roger, who was listening.

"There's boiling water _and_ boiling water," smiled his mother. "Water
for tea should be freshly drawn so that there are bubbles of air in it
and it should be put over the fire at once. When you are waiting for it
to boil you should scald your teapot so that its coldness may not chill
the hot water when you come to the actual making of the tea."

"Do I seem to remember a rule about using one teaspoonful of tea for
each person and one for the pot?" asked Tom.

"That is the rule for the cheaper grades of tea, but the better grades
are so strong that half a teaspoonful for each drinker is enough."

"Then it's just as cheap to get tea at a dollar a pound as the fifty
cent quality."

"Exactly; and the taste is far better. Well, you have your teapot warm
and your tea in it waiting, and the minute the water boils vigorously
you pour it on the tea."

"What would happen if you let it boil a while?"

"If you should taste water freshly boiled and water that has been
boiling for ten minutes you'd notice a decided difference. One has a
lively taste and the other is flat. These qualities are given to the
pot of tea of course."

"That's all news to me," declared James. "I'm glad to know it."

"I used to think 'tea and toast' was the easiest thing in the world to
prepare until Dorothy taught me how to make toast when she was fixing
invalid dishes for Grandfather after he was hurt in the fire at
Chautauqua," said Ethel Brown. "She opened my eyes," and she nodded
affectionately at her cousin.

"There's one thing we must learn to make or we won't be true campers,"
insisted Tom.

"What is it? I'm game to make it or eat it," responded Roger instantly.

"Spider cakes."

"Spiders! Ugh!" ejaculated Della daintily.

"Hush; a spider is a frying pan," Ethel Brown instructed her. "Tell us
how you do them, Tom," she begged.

"You use the kind of flour that is called 'prepared flour.' It rises
without any fuss."

The Ethels laughed at this description, but they recognized the value in
camp of a flour that doesn't make any fuss.

"Mix a pint of the flour with half a pint of milk. Let your spider get
hot and then grease it with butter or cotton seed oil."

"Why not lard."

"Lard will do the deed, of course, but butter or a vegetable fat always
seems to me cleaner," pronounced Tom wisely.

"Won't you listen to Thomas!" cried Roger. "How do you happen to know
so much?" he inquired amazedly.

"I went camping for a whole month once and I watched the cook a lot and
since then I've gathered ideas about the use of fat in cooking. As
little frying as possible for me, thank you, and no lard in mine!"

They smiled at his earnestness, but they all felt the same way, for the
girls were learning to approve of delicacy in cooking the more they
cooked.

"Go ahead with your spider cake," urged Margaret, who was writing down
the receipt as Tom gave it.

"When your buttered spider is ready you pour in half the mixture you
have ready. Spread it smooth over the whole pan, put on a cover that
you've heated, and let the cake cook four minutes. Turn it over and let
the other side cook for four minutes. You ought to have seen our camp
cook turn over his cakes; he tossed them into the air and he gave the
pan such a twist with his wrist that the cake came down all turned over
and ready to let the good work go on."

"What did he do with the other half of his batter?" asked Ethel Brown,
determined to know exactly what happened at every stage of proceedings.

"When he had taken out the first cake and given it to us he put in the
remainder and cooked it while we were attacking the first installment."

"Was it good?"

"You bet!"

"I don't know whether we can do it with this tiny fire, but let's
try--what do you say?" murmured Ethel Brown to Ethel Blue.

"We ought to have trophies of our bow and spear," Roger suggested when
he was helping with the furnishing arrangements.

"There aren't any," replied Ethel Brown briefly, "but Dicky has a glass
bowl full of tadpoles; we can have those."

So the tadpoles came to live in the cave, carried out into the light
whenever some one came and remembered to do it, and as some one came
almost every day, and as all the U.S.C. members were considerate of the
needs and feelings of animals as well as of people, the tiny creatures
did not suffer from their change of habitation.

Dicky had taken the frogs' eggs from the edge of a pool on his
grandfather's farm. They looked like black dots at first. Then they
wriggled out of the jelly and took their place in the world as tadpoles.
It was an unfailing delight to all the young people, to look at them
through a magnifying glass. They had apparently a round head with side
gills through which they breathed, and a long tail. After a time tiny
legs appeared under what might pass as the chin. Then the body grew
longer and another pair of legs made their appearance. Finally the tail
was absorbed and the tadpole's transformation into a frog was complete.
All this did not take place for many months, however, but through the
summer the Club watched the little wrigglers carefully and thought that
they could see a difference from week to week.




CHAPTER IX


"NOTHING BUT LEAVES"

When the leaves were well out on the trees Helen held an Observation
Class one afternoon, in front of the cave.

"How many members of this handsome and intelligent Club know what leaves
are for?" she inquired.

"As representing in a high degree both the qualities you mention, Madam
President," returned Tom, with a bow, "I take upon myself the duty of
replying that perhaps you and Roger do because you've studied botany,
and maybe Margaret and James do because they've had a garden, and it's
possible that the Ethels and Dorothy do inasmuch as they've had the
great benefit of your acquaintance, but that Della and I don't know the
very first thing about leaves except that spinach and lettuce are good
to eat."

"Take a good, full breath after that long sentence," advised James. "Go
ahead, Helen. I don't know much about leaves except to recognize them
when I see them."

"Do you know what they're for?" demanded Helen, once again.

"I can guess," answered Margaret. "Doesn't the plant breathe and eat
through them?"

"It does exactly that. It takes up food from water and from the soil by
its roots and it gets food and water from the air by its leaves."

"Sort of a slender diet," remarked Roger, who was blessed with a hearty
appetite.

"The leaves give it a lot of food. I was reading in a book on botany the
other day that the elm tree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, under which
Washington reviewed his army during the Revolution was calculated to
have about seven million leaves and that they gave it a surface of about
five acres. That's quite a surface to eat with!"

"Some mouth!" commented Roger.

"If each one of you will pick a leaf you'll have in your hand an
illustration of what I say," suggested Helen.

[Illustration: Lily of the Valley Leaf]

They all provided themselves with leaves, picking them from the plants
and shrubs and trees around them, except Ethel Blue, who already had a
lily of the valley leaf with some flowers pinned to her blouse.

"When a leaf has everything that belongs to it it has a little stalk of
its own that is called a _petiole_; and at the foot of the petiole it
has two tiny leaflets called _stipules_, and it has what we usually
speak of as 'the leaf' which is really the _blade_."

They all noted these parts either on their own leaves or their
neighbors', for some of their specimens came from plants that had
transformed their parts.

"What is the blade of your leaf made of?" Helen asked Ethel Brown.

"Green stuff with a sort of framework inside," answered Ethel,
scrutinizing the specimen in her hand.

"What are the characteristics of the framework?"

"It has big bones and little ones," cried Della.

"Good for Delila! The big bones are called ribs and the fine ones are
called veins. Now, will you please all hold up your leaves so we can all
see each other's. What is the difference in the veining between Ethel
Brown's oak leaf and Ethel Blue's lily of the valley leaf?"

[Illustration: Ethel Brown's Oak Leaf]

After an instant's inspection Ethel Blue said, "The ribs and veins on my
leaf all run the same way, and in the oak leaf they run every which
way."

"Right," approved Helen again. "The lily of the valley leaf is
parallel-veined and the oak leaf is net-veined. Can each one of you
decide what your own leaf is?"

"I have a blade of grass; it's parallel veined," Roger determined. All
the others had net veined specimens, but they remembered that iris and
flag and corn and bear-grass--yucca--all were parallel.

"Yours are nearly all netted because there are more net-veined leaves
than the other kind," Helen told them. "Now, there are two kinds of
parallel veining and two kinds of net veining," she went on. "All the
parallel veins that you've spoken of are like Ethel Blue's lily of the
valley leaf--the ribs run from the stem to the tip--but there's another
kind of parallel veining that you see in the pickerel weed that's
growing down there in the brook; in that the veins run parallel from a
strong midrib to the edge of the leaf."

James made a rush down to the brook and came back with a leaf of the
pickerel weed and they handed it about and compared it with the lily of
the valley leaf.

"Look at Ethel Brown's oak leaf," Helen continued. "Do you see it has a
big midrib and the other veins run out from it 'every which way' as
Ethel Blue said, making a net? Doesn't it remind you of a feather?"

They all agreed that it did, and they passed around Margaret's hat which
had a quill stuck in the band, and compared it with the oak leaf.

"That kind of veining is called pinnate veining from a Latin word that
means 'feather,'" explained Helen. "The other kind of net veining is
that of the maple leaf."

Tom and Dorothy both had maple leaves and they held them up for general
observation.

"How is it different from the oak veining?" quizzed Helen.

"The maple is a little like the palm of your hand with the fingers
running out," offered Ethel Brown.

"That's it exactly. There are several big ribs starting at the same
place instead of one midrib. Then the netting connects all these
spreading ribs. That is called _palmate_ veining because it's like the
palm of your hand."

"Or the web foot of a duck," suggested Dorothy.

[Illustration: Tom and Dorothy both had Maple Leaves]

"I should think all the leaves that have a feather-shaped framework
would be long and all the palm-shaped ones would be fat," guessed Della.

"They are, and they have been given names descriptive of their shape.
The narrowest kind, with the same width all the way, is called
'_linear_.'"

"Because it's a line--more or less," cried James.

"The next wider, has a point and is called '_lance-shaped_.' The
'_oblong_' is like the linear, the same size up and down, but it's much
wider than the linear. The '_elliptical_' is what the oblong would be if
its ends were prettily tapered off. The apple tree has a leaf whose
ellipse is so wide that it is called '_oval_.' Can you guess what
'_ovate_' is?"

"'Egg-shaped'?" inquired Tom.

"That's it; larger at one end than the other, while a leaf that is
almost round, is called '_rotund_.'"

"Named after Della," observed Della's brother in a subdued voice that
nevertheless caught his sister's ear and caused an oak twig to fly in
his direction.

"There's a lance-shaped leaf that is sharp at the base instead of the
point; that's named '_ob-lanceolate_'; and there's one called
'_spatulate_' that looks like the spatula that druggists mix things
with."

[Illustration: Linear   Lance-shaped   Oblong   Elliptical   Ovate]

"That ought to be rounded at the point and narrow at the base," said the
doctor's son.

"It is. The lower leaves of the common field daisy are examples. How do
you think the botanists have named the shape that is like an egg upside
down?"

"'_Ob-ovate_', if it's like the other _ob_," guessed Dorothy.

"The leaflets that make up the horse-chestnut leaf are '_wedge-shaped_'
at the base," Helen reminded them.

"Then there are some leaves that have nothing remarkable about their
tips but have bases that draw your attention. One is
'_heart-shaped_'--like the linden leaf or the morning-glory. Another is
'_kidney-shaped_'. That one is wider than it is long."

[Illustration: Shield-shaped    Oblancolate     Spatulate
                  Rotund
               Crenate Edge]

[Illustration: Heart-shaped                     Kidney-shaped]

"The hepatica is kidney-shaped," remarked James.

"The '_ear-shaped_' base isn't very common in this part of the world,
but there's a magnolia of that form. The '_arrow-shaped_' base you can
find in the arrow-weed in the brook. The shape like the old-time weapon,
the '_halberd_' is seen in the common sorrel."

"That nice, acid-tasting leaf?"

"Yes, that's the one. What does the nasturtium leaf remind you of?"

"Dicky always says that when the Jack-in-the-Pulpit stops preaching he
jumps on the back of a frog and takes a nasturtium leaf for a shield and
hops forth to look for adventures," said Roger, to whom Dicky confided
many of his ideas when they were working together in the garden.

[Illustration: Arrow-shaped     Ear-shaped     Halberd-shaped]

"Dicky is just right," laughed Helen. "That is a '_shield-shaped_'
leaf."

"Do the tips of the leaves have names?"

"Yes. They are all descriptive--'_pointed_,' '_acute_,' '_obtuse_,'
'_truncate_,' '_notched_,' and so on," answered Helen. "Did you notice a
minute ago that I spoke of the 'leaflet' of a horse-chestnut leaf?
What's the difference between a 'leaflet' and a 'leaf'?"

"To judge by what you said, a leaflet must be a part of a leaf. One of
the five fingers of the horse-chestnut leaf is a leaflet," Della
reasoned out in answer.

[Illustration: Obtuse      Truncated      Notched]

"Can you think of any other leaves that have leaflets?"

"A locust?"

"A rose?"

[Illustration: Pinnate             Pinnate, tendrils
               Locust Leaf         Sweet Pea Leaf]

"A sweetpea?"

The latter answer-question came from Roger and produced a laugh.

"All those are right. The leaves that are made up of leaflets are
called '_compound_' leaves, and the ones that aren't compound are
'_simple_.'"

"Most leaves are simple," decided Ethel Brown.

"There are more simple than compound," agreed Helen. "As you recall them
do you see any resemblance between the shape of the horse-chestnut leaf
and the shape of the rose leaf and anything else we've been talking
about this afternoon?"

"Helen is just naturally headed for the teaching profession!" exclaimed
James in an undertone.

Helen flushed.

"I do seem to be asking about a million questions, don't I?" she
responded good naturedly.

"The rose leaf is feather-shaped and the horse-chestnut is palm-shaped,"
Ethel Blue thought aloud, frowning delicately as she spoke. "They're
like those different kinds of veining."

"That's it exactly," commended her cousin. "Those leaves are '_pinnately
compound_' and '_palmately compound_' according as their leaflets are
arranged like a feather or like the palm of your hand. When you begin to
notice the edges of leaves you see that there is about every degree of
cutting between the margin that is quite smooth and the margin that is
so deeply cut that it is almost a compound leaf. It is never a real
compound leaf, though, unless the leaflets are truly separate and all
belong on one common stalk."

"My lily of the valley leaf has a perfectly smooth edge," said Ethel
Blue.

"That is called '_entire_.' This elm leaf of mine has a '_serrate_' edge
with the teeth pointing forward like the teeth of a saw. When they
point outward like the spines of a holly leaf they are
'_dentate_-'toothed. The border of a nasturtium leaf is '_crenate_' or
scalloped. Most honeysuckles have a '_wavy_' margin. When there are
sharp, deep notches such as there are on the upper leaves of the field
daisy, the edge is called '_cut_.'"

"This oak leaf is 'cut,' then."

"When the cuts are as deep as those the leaf is '_cleft_.' When they go
about half way to the midrib, as in the hepatica, it is '_lobed_' and
when they almost reach the midrib as they do in the poppy it is
'_parted_.'"

[Illustration: Dentate         Wavy]

"Which makes me think our ways must part if James and I are to get home
in time for dinner," said Margaret.

"There's our werwolf down in the field again," exclaimed Dorothy,
peering through the bushes toward the meadow where a man was stooping
and standing, examining what he took up from the ground.

"Let's go through the field and see what he's doing," exclaimed Roger.
"He's been here so many times he must have some purpose."

But when they passed him he was merely looking at a flower through a
small magnifying glass. He said "Good-afternoon" to them, and they saw
as they looked back, that he kept on with his bending and rising and
examination.

"He's like us, students of botany," laughed Ethel Blue. "We ought to
have asked him to Helen's class this afternoon."

"I don't like his looks," Dorothy decided. "He makes me uncomfortable. I
wish he wouldn't come here."

Roger turned back to take another look and shook his head thoughtfully.

"Me neither," he remarked concisely, and then added as if to take the
thoughts of the girls off the subject, "Here's a wild strawberry plant
for your indoor strawberry bed, Ethel Brown," and launched into the
recitation of an anonymous poem he had recently found.

    "The moon is up, the moon is up!
      The larks begin to fly,
    And, like a drowsy buttercup,
      Dark Phoebus skims the sky,
    The elephant with cheerful voice,
      Sings blithely on the spray;
    The bats and beetles all rejoice,
      Then let me, too, be gay."




CHAPTER X


THE U.S.C. AND THE COMMUNITY

Roger's interest in gardening had extended far beyond fertilizers and
sweetpeas. It was not long after the discussion in which the Mortons'
garden had been planned on paper that he happened to mention to the
master of the high school, Mr. Wheeler, what the Club was intending to
do. Mr. Wheeler had learned to value the enthusiasm and persistency of
the U.S.C. members and it did not take him long to decide that he wanted
their assistance in putting through a piece of work that would be both
pleasant and profitable for the whole community.

"It seems queer that here in Rosemont where we are on the very edge of
the country there should be any people who do not have gardens," he said
to Roger.

"There are, though," responded Roger. "I was walking down by the station
the other day where those shanties are that the mill hands live in and I
noticed that not one of them had space for more than a plant or two and
they seemed to be so discouraged at the prospect that even the plant or
two wasn't there."

"Yet all the children that live in those houses go to our public
schools. Now my idea is that we should have a community garden, planted
and taken care of by the school children."

"Bully!" exclaimed Roger enthusiastically. "Where are you going to get
your land?"

"That's the question. It ought to be somewhere near the graded school,
and there isn't any ploughed land about there. The only vacant land
there is is that cheerful spot that used to be the dump."

"Isn't that horrible! One corner of it is right behind the house where
my aunt Louise lives. Fortunately there's a thick hedge that shuts it
off."

"Still it's there, and I imagine she'd be glad enough to have it made
into a pleasant sight instead of an eyesore."

"You mean that the dump might be made into the garden?"

"If we can get people like Mrs. Smith who are personally affected by it,
and others who have the benefit of the community at heart to contribute
toward clearing off the ground and having it fertilized I believe that
would be the right place."

"You can count on Aunt Louise, I know. She'd be glad to help. Anybody
would. Why it would turn that terrible looking spot into almost a park!"

"The children would prepare the gardens once the soil was put into
something like fair condition, but the first work on that lot is too
heavy even for the larger boys."

"They could pick up the rubbish on top."

"Yes, they could do that, and the town carts could carry it away and
burn it. The town would give us the street sweepings all spring and
summer and some of the people who have stables would contribute
fertilizer. Once that was turned under with the spade and topped off by
some commercial fertilizer with a dash of lime to sweeten matters, the
children could do the rest."

"What is your idea about having the children taught? Will the regular
teachers do it?"

"All the children have some nature study, and simple gardening can be
run into that, our superintendent tells me. Then I know something about
gardening and I'll gladly give some time to the outdoor work."

"I'd like to help, too," said Roger unassumingly, "if you think I know
enough."

"If you're going to have a share in planting and working three gardens I
don't see why you can't keep sufficiently ahead of the children to be
able to show them what to do. We'd be glad to have your help," and Mr.
Wheeler shook hands cordially with his new assistant.

Roger was not the only member of his family interested in the new plan.
His Grandfather was public-spirited and at a meeting of citizens called
for the purpose of proposing the new community venture he offered money,
fertilizer, seeds, and the services of a man for two days to help in the
first clearing up. Others followed his example, one citizen giving a
liberal sum of money toward the establishment of an incinerator which
should replace in part the duties of the dump, and another heading a
subscription list for the purchase of a fence which should keep out
stray animals and boys whose interests might be awakened at the time
the vegetables ripened rather than during the days of preparation and
backache. Mrs. Smith answered her nephew's expectations by adding to the
fund. The town contributed the lot, and supported the new work
generously in more than one way.

When it came to the carrying out of details Mr. Wheeler made further
demands upon the Club. He asked the boys to give some of their Saturday
time to spreading the news of the proposed garden among the people who
might contribute and also the people who might want to have their
children benefit by taking the new "course of study." Although James and
Tom did not live in Rosemont they were glad to help and for several
Saturdays the Club tramps were utilized as a means of spreading the good
news through the outskirts of the town.

The girls were placed among the workers when the day came to register
the names of the children who wanted to undertake the plots. There were
so many of them that there was plenty to do for both the Ethels and for
Dorothy and Helen, who assisted Mr. Wheeler. The registration was based
on the catalogue plan. For each child there was a card, and on it the
girls wrote his name and address, his grade in school and a number
corresponding to the number of one of the plots into which the big field
was divided. It did not take him long to understand that on the day when
the garden was to open he was to hunt up his plot and that after that he
and his partner were to be responsible for everything that happened to
it.

Two boys or two girls were assigned to each plot but more children
applied than there were plots to distribute. The Ethels were disturbed
about this at first for it seemed a shame that any one who wanted to
make a garden should not have the opportunity. Helen reminded them,
however, that there might be some who would find their interest grow
faint when the days grew hot and long and the weeds seemed to wax tall
at a faster rate than did the desirable plants.

"When some of these youngsters fall by the wayside we can supply their
places from the waiting list," she said.

"There won't be so many fall by the wayside if there is a waiting list,"
prophesied her Aunt Louise who had come over to the edge of the ground
to see how popular the new scheme proved to be. "It's human nature to
want to stick if you think that some one else is waiting to take your
place."

The beds were sixteen feet long and five feet wide and a path ran all
around. This permitted every part of the bed to be reached by hand, and
did away with the necessity of stepping on it. It was decreed that all
the plots were to be edged with flowers, but the workers might decide
for themselves what they should be. The planters of the first ten per
cent. of the beds that showed seedlings were rewarded by being allowed
the privilege of planting the vines and tall blossoming plants that were
to cover the inside of the fence.

Most of the plots were given over to vegetables, even those cared for by
small children, for the addition of a few extras to the family table was
more to be desired than the bringing home of a bunch of flowers, but
even the most provident children had the pleasure of picking the white
candytuft or blue ageratum, or red and yellow dwarf nasturtiums that
formed the borders.

Once a week each plot received a visit from some one qualified to
instruct the young farmer and the condition of the plot was indicated on
his card. Here, too, and on the duplicate card which was filed in the
schoolhouse, the child's attendance record was kept, and also the amount
of seed he used and the extent of the crop he harvested. In this way the
cost of each of the little patches was figured quite closely. As it
turned out, some of the children who were not blessed with many brothers
and sisters, sold a good many dimes' worth of vegetables in the course
of the summer.

"This surely is a happy sight!" exclaimed Mr. Emerson to his wife as he
passed one day and stopped to watch the children at work, some, just
arrived, getting their tools from the toolhouse in one corner of the
lot, others already hard at work, some hoeing, some on their knees
weeding, all as contented as they were busy.

"Come in, come in," urged Mr. Wheeler, who noticed them looking over the
fence. "Come in and see how your grandson's pupils are progressing."

The Emersons were eager to accept the invitation.

"Here is the plan we've used in laying out the beds," explained Mr.
Wheeler, showing them a copy of a Bulletin issued by the Department of
Agriculture. "Roger and I studied over it a long time and we came to the
conclusion that we couldn't better this. This one is all vegetables,
you see, and that has been chosen by most of the youngsters. Some of the
girls, though, wanted more flowers, so they have followed this one."

[Illustration: Plan of a vegetable     Plan of a combined
               school garden           vegetable and flower school garden]

"This vegetable arrangement is the one I've followed at home," said
Roger, "only mine is larger. Dicky's garden is just this size."

"Would there be any objection to my offering a small prize?" asked Mr.
Emerson.

"None at all."

"Then I'd like to give some packages of seeds--as many as you think
would be suitable--to the partners who make the most progress in the
first month."

"And I'd like to give a bundle of flower seeds to the border that is in
the most flourishing condition by the first of August," added Mrs.
Emerson.

"And the United Service Club would like to give some seeds for the
earliest crop of vegetables harvested from any plot," promised Roger,
taking upon himself the responsibility of the offer which he was sure
the other members would confirm.

Mr. Wheeler thanked them all and assured them that notice of the prizes
would be given at once so that the competition might add to the present
enthusiasm.

"Though it would be hard to do that," he concluded, smiling with
satisfaction.

"No fair planting corn in the kitchen and transplanting it the way I'm
doing at home," decreed Roger, enlarging his stipulations concerning the
Club offer.

"I understand; the crop must be raised here from start to finish,"
replied Mr. Wheeler.

The interest of the children in the garden and of their parents and the
promoters in general in the improvement that they had made in the old
town dump was so great that the Ethels were inspired with an idea that
would accomplish even more desirable changes. The suggestion was given
at one of the Saturday meetings of the Club.

"You know how horrid the grounds around the railroad station are," Ethel
Blue reminded them.

"There's some grass," objected Roger.

"A tiny patch, and right across the road there are ugly weeds. I think
that if we put it up to the people of Rosemont right now they'd be
willing to do something about making the town prettier by planting in a
lot of conspicuous places."

"Where besides the railroad station?" inquired Helen.

"Can you ask? Think of the Town Hall! There isn't a shrub within a half
mile."

"And the steps of the high school," added Ethel Brown. "You go over them
every day for ten months, so you're so accustomed to them that you don't
see that they're as ugly as ugly. They ought to have bushes planted at
each side to bank them from sight."

"I dare say you're right," confessed Helen, while Roger nodded assent
and murmured something about Japan ivy.

"Some sort of vine at all the corners would be splendid," insisted Ethel
Brown. "Ethel Blue and Dorothy and I planted Virginia Creeper and Japan
ivy and clematis wherever we could against the graded school building;
didn't we tell you? The principal said we might; he took the
responsibility and we provided the plants and did the planting."

"He said he wished we could have some rhododendrons and mountain laurel
for the north side of the building, and some evergreen azalea bushes,
but he didn't know where we'd get them, because he had asked the
committee for them once and they had said that they were spending all
their money on the inside of the children's heads and that the outside
of the building would have to look after itself."

"That's just the spirit the city fathers have been showing about the
park. They've actually got that started, though," said Roger gratefully.

"They're doing hardly any work on it; I went by there yesterday,"
reported Dorothy. "It's all laid out, and I suppose they've planted
grass seed for there are places that look as if they might be lawns in
the dim future."

"Too bad they couldn't afford to sod them," remarked James, wisely.

"If they'd set out clumps of shrubs at the corners and perhaps put a
carpet of pansies under them it would help," declared Ethel Blue, who
had consulted with the Glen Point nurseryman one afternoon when the Club
went there to see Margaret and James.

"Why don't we make a roar about it?" demanded Roger. "Ethel Blue had the
right idea when she said that now was the time to take advantage of the
citizens' interest. If we could in some way call their attention to the
high school and the Town Hall and the railroad station and the park."

"And tell them that the planting at the graded school as far as it goes,
was done by three little girls," suggested Tom, grinning at the
disgusted faces with which the Ethels and Dorothy heard themselves
called "little girls"; "that ought to put them to shame."

"Isn't the easiest way to call their attention to it to have a piece in
the paper?" asked Ethel Brown.

"You've hit the right idea," approved James. "If your editor is like the
Glen Point editor he'll be glad of a new crusade to undertake."

"Particularly if it's backed by your grandfather," added Della shrewdly.

The result of this conference of the Club was that they laid the whole
matter before Mr. Emerson and found that it was no trouble at all to
enlist his interest.

"If you're interested right off why won't other people be?" asked Ethel
Brown when it was clear that her grandfather would lend his weight to
anything they undertook.

"I believe they will be, and I think you have the right idea about
making a beginning. Go to Mr. Montgomery, the editor of the Rosemont
_Star_, and say that I sent you to lay before him the needs of this
community in the way of added beauty. Tell him to 'play it up' so that
the Board of Trade will get the notion through their heads that people
will be attracted to live here if they see lovely grounds about them.
He'll think of other appeals. Go to see him."

The U.S.C. never let grass grow under its feet. The Ethels and Dorothy,
Roger and Helen went to the office of the _Star_ that very afternoon.

"You seem to be a delegation," said the editor, receiving them with a
smile.

"We represent our families, who are citizens of Rosemont," answered
Roger, "and who want your help, and we also represent the United Service
Club which is ready to help you help them."

"I know you!" responded Mr. Montgomery genially. "Your club is well
named. You've already done several useful things for Rosemont people and
institutions. What is it now?"

Roger told him to the last detail, even quoting Tom's remark about the
"three little girls," and adding some suggestions about town prizes for
front door yards which the Ethels had poured into his ears as they came
up the stairs. While he was talking the editor made some notes on a pad
lying on his desk. The Ethels were afraid that that meant that he was
not paying much attention, and they glanced at each other with growing
disappointment. When Roger stopped, however, Mr. Montgomery nodded
gravely.

"I shall be very glad indeed to lend the weight of the _Star_ toward the
carrying out of your proposition," he remarked, seeming not to notice
the bounce of delight that the younger girls could not resist. "What
would you think of a series of editorials, each striking a different
note?" and he read from his pad;--Survey of Rosemont; Effect of
Appearance of Railroad Station, Town Hall, etc., on Strangers; Value of
Beauty as a Reinforcement to Good Roads and Good Schools. "That is, as
an extra attraction for drawing new residents," he explained. "We have
good roads and good schools, but I can conceive of people who might say
that they would have to be a lot better than they are before they'd live
in a town where the citizens had no more idea of the fitness of things
than to have a dump heap almost in the heart of the town and to let the
Town Hall look like a jail."

The listening party nodded their agreement with the force of this
argument.

"'What Three Little Girls Have Done,'" read Mr. Montgomery. "I'll invite
any one who is interested to take a look at the graded schoolhouse and
see how much better it looks as a result of what has been accomplished
there. I know, because I live right opposite it, and I'm much obliged to
you young ladies."

He bowed so affably in the direction of the Ethels and Dorothy, and
"young ladies" sounded so pleasantly in their ears that they were
disposed to forgive him for the "little girls" of his title.

"I have several other topics here," he went on, "some appealing to our
citizens' love of beauty and some to their notions of commercial values.
If we keep this thing up every day for a week and meanwhile work up
sentiment, I shouldn't wonder if we had some one calling a public
meeting at the end of the week. If no one else does I'll do it myself,"
he added amusedly.

"What can we do?" asked Ethel Brown, who always went straight to the
practical side.

"Stir up sentiment. You stirred your grandfather; stir all your
neighbors; talk to all your schoolmates and get them to talk at home
about the things you tell them. I'll send a reporter to write up a
little 'story' about the U.S.C. with a twist on the end that the
grown-ups ought not to leave a matter like this for youngsters to
handle, no matter how well they would do it."

"But we'd like to handle it," stammered Ethel Blue.

"You'll have a chance; you needn't be afraid of that. The willing horse
may always pull to the full extent of his strength. But the citizens of
Rosemont ought not to let a public matter like this be financed by a few
kids," and Mr. Montgomery tossed his notebook on his desk with a force
that hinted that he had had previous encounters with an obstinate
element in his chosen abiding place.

The scheme that he had outlined was followed out to the letter, with
additions made as they occurred to the ingenious minds of the editor or
of his clever young reporters who took an immense delight in running
under the guise of news items, bits of reminder, gentle gibes at
slowness, bland comments on ignorance of the commercial value of beauty,
mild jokes at letting children do men's work. It was all so good-natured
that no one took offence, and at the same time no one who read the
_Star_ had the opportunity to forget that seed had been sown.

It germinated even more promptly than Mr. Montgomery had prophesied. He
knew that Mr. Emerson stood ready to call a mass meeting at any moment
that he should tell him that the time was ripe, but both he and Mr.
Emerson thought that the call might be more effective if it came from a
person who really had been converted by the articles in the paper. This
person came to the front but five days after the appearance of the
first editorial in the surprising person of the alderman who had been
foremost in opposing the laying out of the park.

"You may think me a weathercock," he said rather sheepishly to Mr.
Montgomery, "but when I make up my mind that a thing is desirable I put
my whole strength into putting it through. When I finally gave my vote
for the park I was really converted to the park project and I tell you
I've been just frothing because the other aldermen have been so slow
about putting it in order. I haven't been able to get them to
appropriate half enough for it."

Mr. Montgomery smothered a smile, and listened, unruffled, to his
caller's proposal.

"My idea now," he went on, "is to call a mass meeting in the Town Hall
some day next week, the sooner the better. I'll be the chairman or Mr.
Emerson or you, I don't care who it is. We'll put before the people all
the points you've taken up in your articles. We'll get people who
understand the different topics to talk about them--some fellow on the
commercial side and some one else on the beauty side and so on; and
we'll have the Glen Point nurseryman--"

"We ought to have one over here," interposed Mr. Montgomery."

"We will if this goes through. There's a new occupation opened here at
once by this scheme! We'll have him give us a rough estimate of how much
it would cost to make the most prominent spots in Rosemont look decent
instead of like a deserted ranch," exclaimed the alderman, becoming
increasingly enthusiastic.

"I don't know that I'd call Rosemont that," objected the editor. "People
don't like to have their towns abused too much; but if you can work up
sentiment to have those public places fixed up and then you can get to
work on some sort of plan for prizes for the prettiest front yards and
the best grown vines over doors and-so on, and raise some competitive
feeling I believe we'll have no more trouble than we did about the
school gardens. It just takes some one to start the ball rolling, and
you're the person to do it," and tactful Mr. Montgomery laid an
approving hand on the shoulder of the pleased alderman.

If it had all been cut and dried it could not have worked out better.
The meeting was packed with citizens who proved to be so full of
enthusiasm that they did not stand in need of conversion. They moved,
seconded and passed resolution after resolution urging the aldermen to
vote funds for improvements and they mentioned spots in need of
improvement and means of improving them that U.S.C. never would have had
the courage to suggest.

"We certainly are indebted to you young people for a big move toward
benefiting Rosemont," said Mr. Montgomery to the Club as he passed the
settee where they were all seated together. "It's going to be one of the
beauty spots of New Jersey before this summer is over!"

"And the Ethels are the authors of the ideal" murmured Tom Watkins,
applauding silently, as the girls blushed.




CHAPTER XI


THE FLOWER FESTIVAL

The Idea of having a town flower-costume party was the Ethels', too. It
came to them when contributions were beginning to flag, just as they
discovered that the grounds around the fire engine house were a disgrace
to a self-respecting community, as their emphatic friend, the alderman,
described them.

"People are always willing to pay for fun," Ethel Brown said, "and this
ought to appeal to them because the money that is made by the party will
go back to them by being spent for the town."

Mrs. Morton and Mrs. Emerson and Mrs. Smith thought the plan was
possible, and they offered to enlist the interest of the various clubs
and societies to which they belonged. The schools were closed now so
that there was no opportunity of advertising the entertainment through
the school children, but all the clergymen co-operated heartily in every
way in their power and Mr. Montgomery gave the plan plenty of free
advertising, not only in the advertising columns but through the means
of reading notices which his reporters prepared with as much interest
and skill as they had shown in working up public opinion on the general
improvement scheme.

"It must be in the school house hall so everybody will go," declared
Helen.

"Why not use the hall and the grounds, too?" inquired Ethel Blue. "If
it's a fine evening there are various things that would be prettier to
have out of doors than indoors."

"The refreshments, for instance," explained Ethel Brown. "Every one
would rather eat his ice cream and cake at a table on the lawn in front
of the schoolhouse than inside where it may be stuffy if it happens to
be a warm night."

"Lanterns on the trees and candles on each table would make light
enough," decided Ethel Blue.

"There could be a Punch and Judy show in a tent at the side of the
schoolhouse," suggested Dorothy.

"What is there flowery about a Punch and Judy show?" asked Roger
scornfully.

"Nothing at all," returned Dorothy meekly, "but for some reason or other
people always like a Punch and Judy show."

"Where are we going to get a tent?"

"A tent would be awfully warm," Ethel Brown decided. "Why couldn't we
have it in the corner where there is a fence on two sides? We could lace
boughs back and forth between the palings and make the fence higher, and
on the other two sides borrow or buy some wide chicken wire from the
hardware store and make that eye-proof with branches."

"And string an electric light wire over them. I begin to get
enthusiastic," cried Roger. "We could amuse, say, a hundred people at a
time at ten cents apiece, in the side-show corner and keep them away
from the other more crowded regions."

"Exactly," agreed Dorothy; "and if you can think of any other side show
that the people will like better than Punch and Judy, why, put it in
instead."

"We might have finger shadows--rabbits' and dogs' heads and so on;
George Foster does them splendidly, and then have some one recite and
some one else do a monologue in costume."

"Aren't we going to have that sort of thing inside?"

"I suppose so, but if your idea is to give more space inside,
considering that all Rosemont is expected to come to this festivity, we
might as well have a performance in two rings, so to speak."

"Especially as some of the people might be a little shy about coming
inside," suggested Dorothy.

"Why not forget Punch and Judy and have the same performance exactly in
both places?" demanded Roger, quite excited with his idea. "The Club
gives a flower dance, for instance, in the hall; then they go into the
yard and give it there in the ten cent enclosure while number two of the
program is on the platform inside. When number two is done inside it is
put on outside, and so right through the whole performance."

"That's not bad except that the outside people are paying ten cents to
see the show and the inside people aren't paying anything."

"Well, then, why not have the tables where you sell things--if you are
going to have any?"--

"We are," Helen responded to the question in her brother's voice.

"--have your tables on the lawn, and have everybody pay to see the
performance--ten cents to go inside or ten cents to see the same thing
in the enclosure?"

"That's the best yet," decided Ethel Brown. "That will go through well
if only it is pleasant weather."

"I feel in my bones it will be," and Ethel Blue laughed hopefully.

The appointed day was fair and not too warm. The whole U.S.C. which went
on duty at the school house early in the day, pronounced the behavior of
the weather to be exactly what it ought to be.

The boys gave their attention to the arrangement of the screen of boughs
in the corner of the school lot, and the girls, with Mrs. Emerson, Mrs.
Morton and Mrs. Smith, decorated the hall. Flowers were to be sold
everywhere, both indoors and out, so there were various tables about the
room and they all had contributed vases of different sorts to hold the
blossoms.

"I must say, I don't think these look pretty a bit," confessed Dorothy,
gazing with her head on one side at a large bowl of flowers of all
colors that she had placed in the middle of one of the tables.

Her mother looked at it and smiled.

"Don't try to show off your whole stock at once," she advised. "Have a
few arranged in the way that shows them to the best advantage and let
Ethel Blue draw a poster stating that there are plenty more behind the
scenes. Have your supply at the back or under the table in large jars
and bowls and replenish your vases as soon as you sell their contents."

The Ethels and Dorothy thought this was a sensible way of doing things
and said so, and Ethel Blue at once set about the preparation of three
posters drawn on brown wrapping paper and showing a girl holding a
flower and saying "We have plenty more like this. Ask for them." They
proved to be very pretty and were put up in the hall and the outside
enclosure and on the lawn.

"There are certain kinds of flowers that should always be kept low,"
explained Mrs. Smith as they all sorted over the cut flowers that had
been contributed. "Flowers that grow directly from the ground like
crocuses or jonquils or daffodils or narcissus--the spring bulbs--should
be set into flat bowls through netting that will hold them upright.
There are bowls sold for this purpose."

"Don't they call them 'pansy bowls'?"

"I have heard them called that. Some of them have a pierced china top;
others have a silver netting. You can make a top for a bowl of any size
by cutting chicken wire to suit your needs."

"I should think a low-growing plant like ageratum would be pretty in a
vase of that sort."

"It would, and pansies, of course, and anemones--windflowers--held
upright by very fine netting and nodding in every current of air as if
they were still in the woods."

"I think I'll make a covering for a glass bowl we have at home,"
declared Ethel Brown, who was diligently snipping ends of stems as she
listened.

"A glass bowl doesn't seem to me suitable," answered her aunt. "Can you
guess why?"

Ethel Brown shook her head with a murmured "No." It was Della who
offered an explanation.

"The stems aren't pretty enough to look at," she suggested. "When you
use a glass bowl or vase the stems you see through it ought to be
graceful."

"I think so," responded Mrs. Smith. "That's why we always take pleasure
in a tall slender glass vase holding a single rose with a long stem
still bearing a few leaves. We get the effect that it gives us out of
doors."

"That's what we like to see," agreed Mrs. Morton. "Narcissus springing
from a low bowl is an application of the same idea. So are these few
sprays of clematis waving from a vase made to hang on the wall. They
aren't crowded; they fall easily; they look happy."

"And in a room you would select a vase that would harmonize with the
coloring," added Margaret, who was mixing sweetpeas in loose bunches
with feathery gypsophila.

"When we were in Japan Dorothy and I learned something about the
Japanese notions of flower arrangement," continued Mrs. Smith. "They
usually use one very beautiful dominating blossom. If others are added
they are not competing for first place but they act as helpers to add to
the beauty of the main attraction."

"We've learned some of the Japanese ways," said Mrs. Emerson. "I
remember when people always made a bouquet perfectly round and of as
many kinds of flowers as they could put into it."

"People don't make 'bouquets' now; they gather a 'bunch of flowers,' or
they give you a single bloom," smiled her daughter. "But isn't it true
that we get as much pleasure out of a single superb chrysanthemum or
rose as we do out of a great mass of them?"

"There are times when I like masses," admitted Mrs. Emerson. "I like
flowers of many kinds if the colors are harmoniously arranged, and I
like a mantelpiece banked with the kind of flowers that give you
pleasure when you see them in masses in the garden or the greenhouse."

"If the vases they are in don't show," warned Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Emerson agreed to that.

"The choice of vases is almost as important as the choice of flowers,"
she added. "If the stems are beautiful they ought to show and you must
have a transparent vase, as you said about the rose. If the stems are
not especially worthy of admiration the better choice is an opaque vase
of china or pottery."

"Or silver or copper?" questioned Margaret.

"Metals and blossoms never seem to me to go well together," confessed
Mrs. Emerson. "I have seen a copper cup with a bunch of violets loosely
arranged so that they hung over the edge and the copper glinted through
the blossoms and leaves and the effect was lovely; but flowers to be put
into metal must be chosen with that in mind and arranged with especial
care."

"Metal _jardinieres_ don't seem suitable to me, either," confessed Mrs.
Emerson. "There are so many beautiful potteries now that it is possible
to something harmonious for every flowerpot."

"You don't object to a silver centrepiece on the dining table, do you?"

"That's the only place where it doesn't seem out of place," smiled Mrs.
Emerson. "There are so many other pieces of silver on the table that it
is merely one of the articles of table equipment and therefore is not
conspicuous. Not a standing vase, mind you!" she continued. "I don't
know anything more irritating than to have to dodge about the
centrepiece to see your opposite neighbor. It's a terrible bar to
conversation."

They all had experienced the same discomfort, and they all laughed at
the remembrance.

"A low bowl arranged flat is the rule for centrepieces," repeated Mrs.
Emerson seriously.

"Mother always says that gay flowers are the city person's greatest help
in brightening up a dark room," said Della as she laid aside all the
calliopsis from the flowers she was sorting. "I'm going to take a bunch
of this home to her to-night."

"I always have yellow or white or pink flowers in the dark corner of our
sitting room," said Mrs. Smith. "The blue ones or the deep red ones or
the ferns may have the sunny spots."

"Father insists on yellow blossoms of some kind in the library," added
Mrs. Emerson. "He says they are as good as another electric light to
brighten the shadowy side where the bookcases are."

"I remember seeing a gay array of window boxes at Stratford-on-Avon,
once upon a time," contributed Mrs. Morton. "It was a sunshiny day when
I saw them, but they were well calculated to enliven the very grayest
weather that England can produce. I was told that the house belonged to
Marie Corelli, the novelist."

"What plants did she have?" asked Dorothy.

"Blue lobelia and scarlet geraniums and some frisky little yellow bloom;
I couldn't see exactly what it was."

"Red and yellow and blue," repeated Ethel Brown. "Was it pretty?"

"Very. Plenty of each color and all the boxes alike all over the front
of the house."

"We shouldn't need such vividness under our brilliant American skies,"
commented Mrs. Smith. "Plenty of green with flowers of one color makes a
window box in the best of taste, to my way of thinking."

"And that color one that is becoming to the house, so to speak," smiled
Helen. "I saw a yellow house the other day that had yellow flowers in
the window boxes. They were almost extinguished by their background."

"I saw a white one in Glen Point with white daisies, and the effect was
the same," added Margaret. "The poor little flowers were lost. There are
ivies and some small evergreen shrubs that the greenhouse-men raise
especially for winter window boxes now. I've been talking a lot with the
nurseryman at Glen Point and he showed me some the other day that he
warranted to keep fresh-looking all through the cold weather unless
there were blizzards."

"We must remember those at Sweetbrier Lodge," Mrs. Smith said to
Dorothy.

"Why don't you give a talk on arranging flowers as part of the program
this evening?" Margaret asked Mrs. Smith.

"Do, Aunt Louise. You really ought to," urged Helen, and the Ethels
added their voices.

"Give a short talk and illustrate it by the examples the girls have been
arranging," Mrs. Morton added, and when Mrs. Emerson said that she
thought the little lecture would have real value as well as interest
Mrs. Smith yielded.

"Say what you and Grandmother have been telling us and you won't need to
add another thing," cried Helen. "I think it will be the very best
number on the program."

"I don't believe it will compete with the side show in the yard,"
laughed Mrs. Smith, "but I'm quite willing to do it if you think it will
give any one pleasure."

"But you'll be part of the side show in the yard," and they explained
the latest plan of running the program.

When the flowers had all been arranged to their satisfaction the girls
went into the yard where they found the tables and chairs placed for the
serving of the refreshments. The furniture had been supplied by the
local confectioner who was to furnish the ice cream and give the
management a percentage of what was received. The cake was all supplied
by the ladies of the town and the money obtained from its sale was clear
profit.

The girls covered the bleakness of the plain tables by placing a
centrepiece of radiating ferns flat on the wood. On that stood a small
vase, each one having flowers of but one color, and each one having a
different color.

Under the trees among the refreshment tables, but not in their way, were
the sales tables. On one, cut flowers were to be sold; on another,
potted plants, and a special corner was devoted to wild plants from the
woods. A seedsman had given them a liberal supply of seeds to sell on
commission, agreeing to take back all that were not sold and to
contribute one per cent. more than he usually gave to his sales people,
"for the good of the cause."

Every one in the whole town who raised vegetables had contributed to the
Housewives' Table, and as the names of the donors were attached the
table had all the attraction of an exhibit at a county fair and was
surrounded all the time by so many men that the women who bought the
vegetables for home use had to be asked to come back later to get them,
so that the discussion of their merits among their growers might
continue with the specimens before them.

"That's a hint for another year," murmured Ethel Blue to Ethel Brown.
"We can have a make-believe county fair and charge admission, and give
medals--"

"Of pasteboard."

"Exactly. I'm glad we thought to have a table of the school garden
products; all the parents will be enormously interested. It will bring
them here, and they won't be likely to go away without: spending nickel
or a dime on ice cream."

A great part of the attractiveness of the grounds was due to the
contribution of a dealer in garden furniture. In return for being
allowed to put up advertisements of his stock in suitable places where
they would not be too conspicuous, he furnished several artistic
settees, an arbor or two and a small pergola, which the Glen Point
greenhouseman decorated in return for a like use of his advertising
matter.

Still another table, under the care of Mrs. Montgomery, the wife of the
editor, showed books on flowers and gardens and landscape gardening and
took subscriptions for several of the garden and home magazines. Last of
all a fancy table was covered with dolls and paper dolls dressed like
the participants in the floral procession that was soon to form and pass
around the lawn; lamp shades in the form of huge flowers; hats,
flower-trimmed; and half a hundred other small articles including many
for ten, fifteen and twenty-five cents to attract the children.

At five o'clock the Flower Festival was opened and afternoon tea was
served to the early comers. All the members of the United Service Club
and the other boys and girls of the town who helped them wore flower
costumes. It was while the Ethels were serving Mrs. Smith and the Miss
Clarks that the latter called their attention to a man who sat at a
table not far away.

"That man is your rival," they announced, smiling, to Mrs. Smith.

"My rival! How is that?" inquired Mrs. Smith.

"He wants to buy the field."

They all exclaimed and looked again at the man who sat quietly eating
his ice cream as if he had no such dreadful intentions. The Ethels,
however, recognized him as he pushed back a lock of hair that fell over
his forehead.

"Why, that's our werwolf!" they exclaimed after taking a good look at
him, and they explained how they had seen him several times in the
field, always digging a stick into the ground and examining what it
brought up.

"He says he's a botanist, and he finds so much to interest him in the
field that he wants to buy it so that he may feel free to work there,"
said Miss Clark the younger.

"That's funny," commented Ethel Blue. "He almost never looks at any
flowers or plants. He just pokes his stick in and that's all."

"He offered us a considerable sum for the property but we told him that
you had an option on it, Mrs. Smith, and we explained that we couldn't
give title anyway."

"Did his interest seem to fail?"

"He asked us a great many questions and we told him all about our aunt
and the missing cousin. I thought you might be interested to know that
some one else besides yourself sees some good in the land."

"It's so queer," said the other Miss Clark. "That land has never had an
offer made for it and here we have two within a few weeks of each
other."

"And we can't take advantage of either of them!"

The Ethels noticed later on that the man was joined by a girl about
their own age. They looked at her carefully so that they would recognize
her again if they saw her, and they also noticed that the werwolf, as he
talked to her, so often pushed back from his forehead the lock of hair
that fell over it that it had become a habit.

The full effect of the flower costumes was seen after the lanterns were
lighted, when some of the young married women attended to the tables
while their youngers marched around the lawn that all might see the
costumes and be attracted to the entertainment in the hall and behind
the screen in the open.

Roger led the procession, impersonating "Spring."

"That's a new one to me," ejaculated the editor of the _Star_ in
surprise. "I always thought 'Spring' was of the feminine gender."

"Not this year," returned Roger merrily as he passed by.

He was dressed like a tree trunk in a long brown cambric robe that
fitted him closely and gave him at the foot only the absolute space that
he needed for walking. He carried real apple twigs almost entirely
stripped of their leaves and laden with blossoms made of white and pink
paper. The effect was of a generously flowering apple tree and every one
recognized it.

Behind Roger came several of the spring blossoms--the Ethels first,
representing the yellow crocus and the violet. Ethel Brown wore a white
dress covered with yellow gauze sewn with yellow crocuses. A ring of
crocuses hung from its edge and a crocus turned upside down made a
fascinating cap. All the flowers were made of tissue paper. Ethel Blue's
dress was fashioned in the same way, her violet gauze being covered with
violets and her cap a tiny lace affair with a violet border. In her case
she was able to use many real violets and to carry a basket of the fresh
flowers. The contents was made up of small bunches of buttonhole size
and she stepped from the procession at almost every table to sell a
bunch to some gentleman sitting there. A scout kept the basket always
full.

Sturdy James made a fine appearance in the spring division in the
costume of a red and yellow tulip. He wore long green stockings and a
striped tulip on each leg constituted his breeches. Another, with the
points of the petals turning upwards, made his jacket, and yet another,
a small one, upside down, served as a cap. James had been rather averse
to appearing in this costume because Margaret had told him he looked
bulbous and he had taken it seriously, but he was so applauded that he
came to the conclusion that it was worth while to be a bulb if you could
be a good one.

Helen led the group of summer flowers. As "Summer" she wore bunches of
all the flowers in the garden, arranged harmoniously as in one of the
old-fashioned bouquets her grandmother had spoken of in the morning. It
had been a problem to keep all these blossoms fresh for it would not be
possible for her to wear artificial flowers. The Ethels had found a
solution, however, when they brought home one day from the drug store
several dozen tiny glass bottles. Around the neck of each they fastened
a bit of wire and bent it into a hook which fitted into an eye sewed on
to the old but pretty white frock which Helen was sacrificing to the
good cause. After she had put on the dress each one of these bottles was
fitted with its flowers which had been picked some time before and
revived in warm water and salt so that they would not wilt.

"These bottles make me think of a story our French teacher told us
once," Helen laughed as she stood carefully to be made into a bouquet.
"There was a real Cyrano de Bergerac who lived in the 17th century. He
told a tale supposed to be about his own adventures in which he said
that once he fastened about himself a number of phials filled with dew.
The heat of the sun attracted them as it does the clouds and raised him
high in the air. When he found that he was not going to alight on the
moon as he had thought, he broke some of the phials and descended to
earth again."

"What a ridiculous story," laughed Ethel Blue, kneeling at Helen's feet
with a heap of flowers beside her on the floor.

"The rest of it is quite as foolish. When he landed on the earth again
he found that the sun was still shining, although according to his
calculation it ought to be midnight; and he also did not recognize the
place he dropped upon in spite of the fact that he had apparently gone
straight up and fallen straight down. Strange people surrounded him and
he had difficulty in making himself understood. After a time he was
taken before an official from whom he learned that on account of the
rotation of the earth under him while he was in the air, although he had
risen when but two leagues from Paris he had descended in Canada."

The younger girls laughed delightedly at this absurd tale, as they
worked at their task. Bits of trailing vine fell from glass to glass so
that none of the holders showed, but a delicate tinkling sounded from
them like the water of a brook.

"This gown of yours is certainly successful," decided Margaret,
surveying the result of the Ethels' work, "but I dare say it isn't
comfortable, so you'd better have another one that you can slip into
behind the scenes after you've made the rounds in this."

Helen took the advice and after the procession had passed by, she put on
a pretty flowered muslin with pink ribbons.

Dorothy walked immediately behind Helen. She was dressed like a garden
lily, her petals wired so that they turned out and up at the tips. She
wore yellow stockings and slippers as a reminder of the anthers or
pollen boxes on the ends of the stamens of the lilies.

Dicky's costume created as much sensation as Roger's. He was a
Jack-in-the-Pulpit. A suit of green striped in two shades fitted him
tightly, and over his head he carried his pulpit, a wire frame covered
with the same material of which his clothes were made. The shape was
exact and he looked so grave as he peered forth from his shelter that
his appearance was saluted with hearty hand clapping.

Several of the young people of the town followed in the Summer
division. One of them was a fleur-de-lis, wearing a skirt of green leaf
blades and a bodice representing the purple petals of the blossom.
George Foster was monkshood, a cambric robe--a "domino"--serving to give
the blue color note, and a very correct imitation of the flower's helmet
answering the purpose of a head-dress. Gregory Patton was Grass, and
achieved one of the successful costumes of the line with a robe that
rippled to the ground, green cambric its base, completely covered with
grass blades.

"That boy ought to have a companion dressed like a haycock," laughed Mr.
Emerson as Gregory passed him.

Margaret led the Autumn division, her dress copied from a chestnut tree
and burr. Her kirtle was of the long, slender leaves overlapping each
other. The bodice was in the tones of dull yellow found in the velvety
inside of the opened burr and of the deep brown of the chestnut itself.
This, too, was approved by the onlookers.

Behind her walked Della, a combination of purple asters and golden rod,
the rosettes of the former seeming a rich and solid material from which
the heads of goldenrod hung in a delicate fringe.

A "long-haired Chrysanthemum" was among the autumn flowers, his tissue
paper petals slightly wired to make them stand out, and a stalk of
Joe-Pye-Weed strode along with his dull pink corymb proudly elevated
above the throng.

All alone as a representative of Winter was Tom Watkins, decorated
superbly as a Christmas Tree. Boughs of Norway spruce were bound upon
his arms and legs and covered his body. Shining balls hung from the
twigs, tinsel glistened as he passed under the lantern light, and
strings of popcorn reached from his head to his feet. There was no
question of his popularity among the children. Every small boy who saw
him asked if he had a present for him.

The flower procession served to draw the people into the hall and the
screened corner. They cheerfully yielded up a dime apiece at the
entrance to each place, and when the "show" was over they were
re-replaced by another relay of new arrivals, so that the program was
gone through twice in the hall and twice in the open in the course of
the evening.

A march of all the flowers opened the program. This was not difficult,
for all the boys and girls were accustomed to such drills at school, but
the effect in costumes under the electric light was very striking.
Roger, still dressed as an apple tree, recited Bryant's "Planting of the
Apple Tree." Dicky delivered a brief sermon from his pulpit. George
Foster ordered the lights out and went behind a screen on which he made
shadow finger animals to the delight of every child present. Mrs. Smith
gave her little talk on the arrangement of flowers, illustrating it by
the examples around the room which were later carried out to the open
when she repeated her "turn" in the enclosure. The cartoonist of the
_Star_ gave a chalk talk on "Famous Men of the Day," reciting an amusing
biography of each and sketching his portrait, framed in a rose, a daisy,
mountain laurel, a larkspur or whatever occurred to the artist as he
talked.

There was music, for Mr. Schuler, who formerly had taught music in the
Rosemont schools and who was now with his wife at Rose House, where the
United Service Club was taking care of several poor women and children,
had drilled some of his former pupils in flower choruses. One of these,
by children of Dicky's age, was especially liked.

Every one was pleased and the financial result was so satisfactory that
Rosemont soon began to blossom like the flower from which it was named.

"Team work certainly does pay," commented Roger enthusiastically when
the Club met again to talk over the great day.

And every one of them agreed that it did.




CHAPTER XII


ENOUGH TO GIVE AWAY

At the very beginning of his holidays Stanley Clark had gone to Nebraska
to replace the detective who had been vainly trying to find some trace
of his father's cousin, Emily Leonard. The young man was eager to have
the matter straightened out, both because it was impossible to sell any
of the family land unless it were, and because he wanted to please Mrs.
Smith and Dorothy, and because his orderly mind was disturbed at there
being a legal tangle in his family.

Perhaps he put into his search more clearness of vision than the
detective, or perhaps he came to it at a time when he could take
advantage of what his predecessor had done;--whatever the reason, he did
find a clue and it seemed a strange coincidence that it was only a few
days after the Miss Clarks had received the second offer for their field
that a letter came to them from their nephew, saying that he had not
only discovered the town to which Emily's daughter had gone and the name
of the family into which she had been adopted, but had learned the fact
that the family had later on removed to the neighborhood of Pittsburg.

"At least, this brings the search somewhat nearer home," Stanley wrote,
"but it also complicates it, for 'the neighborhood of Pittsburg' is very
vague, and it covers a large amount of country. However, I am going to
start to-night for Pittsburg to see what I can do there. I've grown so
accustomed to playing hide-and-seek with Cousin Emily and I'm so pleased
with my success so far that I'm hopeful that I may pick up the trail in
western Pennsylvania."

The Clarks and the Smiths all shared Stanley's hopefulness, for it did
indeed seem wonderful that he should have found the missing evidence
after so many weeks of failure by the professional detective, and, if he
had traced one step, why not the next?

The success of the gardens planted by the U.S.C. had been remarkable.
The plants had grown as if they wanted to please, and when blossoming
time came, they bloomed with all their might.

"Do you remember the talk you and I had about Rose House just before the
Fresh Air women and children came out?" asked Ethel Blue of her cousin.

Ethel Brown nodded, and Ethel Blue explained the conversation to
Dorothy.

"We thought Roger's scheme was pretty hard for us youngsters to carry
out and we felt a little uncertain about it, but we made up our minds
that people are almost always successful when they _want_ like
everything to do something and _make up their minds_ that they are going
to put it through and _learn how_ to put it through."

"We've proved it again with the gardens," responded Ethel Brown. "We
wanted to have pretty gardens and we made up our minds that we could if
we tried and then we learned all we could about them from people and
books."

"Just see what Roger knows now about fertilizers!" exclaimed Dorothy in
a tone of admiration. "Fertilizers aren't a bit interesting until you
think of them as plant food and realize that plants like different kinds
of food and try to find out what they are. Roger has studied it out and
we've all had the benefit of his knowledge."

"Which reminds me that if we want any flowers at all next week we'd
better put on some nitrate of soda this afternoon or this dry weather
will ruin them."

"Queer how that goes right to the blossoms and doesn't seem to make the
whole plant grow."

"I did a deadly deed to one of my calceolarias," confessed Ethel Blue.
"I forgot you mustn't use it after the buds form and I sprinkled away
all over the plant just as I had been doing."

"Did you kill the buds?"

"It discouraged them. I ought to have put some crystals on the ground a
little way off and let them take it in in the air."

"It doesn't seem as though it were strong enough to do either good or
harm, does it? One tablespoonful in two gallons of water!"

"Grandfather says he wouldn't ask for plants to blossom better than ours
are doing." Ethel Brown repeated the compliment with just pride.

"It's partly because we've loved to work with them and loved them,"
insisted Ethel Blue. "Everything you love answers back. If you hate your
work it's just like hating people; if you don't like a girl she doesn't
like you and you feel uncomfortable outside and inside; if you don't
like your work it doesn't go well."

"What do you know about hating?" demanded Dorothy, giving Ethel Blue a
hug.

Ethel flushed.

"I know a lot about it," she insisted. "Some days I just despise
arithmetic and on those days I never can do anything right; but when I
try to see some sense in it I get along better."

They all laughed, for Ethel Blue's struggles with mathematics were
calculated to arouse sympathy even in a hardened breast.

"It's all true," agreed Helen, who had been listening quietly to what
the younger girls were saying, "and I believe we ought to show people
more than we do that we like them. I don't see why we're so scared to
let a person know that we think she's done something well, or to
sympathize with her when she's having a hard time."

"O," exclaimed Dorothy shrinkingly, "it's so embarrassing to tell a
person you're sorry."

"You don't have to tell her in words," insisted Helen. "You can make her
realize that you understand what she is going through and that you'd
like to help her."

"How can you do it without talking?" asked Ethel Brown, the practical.

"When I was younger," answered Helen thoughtfully, "I used to be rather
afraid of a person who was in trouble. I thought she might think I was
intruding if I spoke of it. But Mother told me one day that a person who
was suffering didn't want to be treated as if she were in disgrace and
not to be spoken to, and I've always tried to remember it. Now, when I
know about it or guess it I make a point of being just as nice as I know
how to her. Sometimes we don't talk about the trouble at all; sometimes
it comes out naturally after a while. But even if the subject isn't
mentioned she knows that there is at least one person who is interested
in her and her affairs."

"I begin to see why you're so popular at school," remarked Margaret, who
had known for a long time other reasons for Helen's popularity.

Helen threw a leaf at her friend and asked the Ethels to make some
lemonade. They had brought the juice in a bottle and chilled water in a
thermos bottle, so that the preparation was not hard. There were cold
cheese straws to eat with it. The Ethels had made them in their small
kitchen at home by rubbing two tablespoonfuls of butter into four
tablespoonfuls of flour, adding two tablespoonfuls of grated cheese,
seasoning with a pinch of cayenne, another of salt and another of mace,
rolling out to a thickness of a quarter of an inch, cutting into strips
about four inches long and half an inch wide and baking in a hot oven.

"'Which I wish to remark and my language is plain,'" Helen quoted, "that
in spite of Dicky's picking all the blossoms we have so many flowers now
that we ought to do--give them away.

"Ethel Blue and I have been taking some regularly every week to the old
ladies at the Home," returned Ethel Brown.

"I was wondering if there were enough to send some to the hospital at
Glen Point," suggested Margaret. "The Glen Point people are pretty good
about sending flowers, but the hospital is an old story with them and
sometimes they don't remember when they might."

"I should think we might send some there and some to the Orphanage,"
said Dorothy, from whose large garden the greater part of the supply
would have to come. "Have the orphans any gardens to work in?"

"They have beds like your school garden here in Rosemont, but they have
to give the vegetables to the house and I suppose it isn't much fun to
raise vegetables and then have them taken away from you."

"They eat them themselves."

"But they don't know Willy's tomato from Johnny's. If Willy and Johnny
were allowed to sell their crops they'd be willing to pay out of the
profit for the seed they use and they'd take a lot of interest in it.
The housekeeper would buy all they'd raise, and they'd feel that their
gardens were self-supporting. Now they feel that the seed is given to
them out of charity, and that it's a stingy sort of charity after all
because they are forced to pay for the seed by giving up their
vegetables whether they want to or not."

"Do they enjoy working the gardens?"

"I should say not! James and I said the other day that they were the
most forlorn looking gardeners we ever laid our eyes on."

"Don't they grow any flowers at all?"

"Just a few in a border around the edge of their vegetable gardens and
some in front of the main building where they'll be seen from the
street."

The girls looked at each other and wrinkled their noses.

"Let's send some there every week and have the children understand that
young people raised them and thought it was fun to do it."

"And can't you ask to have the flowers put in the dining-room and the
room where the children are in the evening and not in the reception room
where only guests will see them?"

"I will," promised Margaret. "James and I have a scheme to try to have
the children work their gardens on the same plan that the children do
here," she went on. "We're going to get Father to put it before the
Board of Management, if we can."

"I do hope he will. The kiddies here are so wild over their gardens that
it's proof to any one that it's a good plan."

"Oo-hoo," came Roger's call across the field.

"Oo-hoo. Come up," went back the answer.

"What are you girls talking about?" inquired the young man, arranging
himself comfortably with his back against a rock and accepting a paper
tumbler of lemonade and some cheese straws.

Helen explained their plan for disposing of the extra flowers from their
gardens.

"It's Service Club work; we ought to have started it earlier," she
ended.

"The Ethels did begin it some time ago; I caught them at it," he
accused, shaking his finger at his sister and cousin.

"I told the girls we had been taking flowers to the Old Ladies' Home,"
confessed Ethel Brown.

"O, you have! I didn't know that! I did find out that you were supplying
the Atwoods down by the bridge with sweetpeas."

"There have been such oodles," protested Ethel Blue.

"Of course. It was the right thing to do."

"How did you know about it, anyway? Weren't you taking flowers there
yourself?"

"No, ma'am."

"What were you doing?"

"I know; I saw him digging there one day."

"O, keep still, Dorothy," Roger remonstrated.

"You might as well tell us about it."

"It isn't anything. I did look in one day to ask if they'd like some
sweetpeas, but I found the Ethels were ahead of me. The old lady has a
fine snowball bush and a beauty syringa in front of the house. When I
spoke about them she said she had always wanted to have a bed of white
flowers around the two bushes, so I offered to make one for her. That's
all."

"Good for Roger!" cried Margaret. "Tell us what you put into it. We've
had pink and blue and yellow beds this year; we can add white next
year."

"Just common things," replied Roger. "It was rather late so I planted
seeds that would hurry up; sweet alyssum for a border, of course, and
white verbenas and balsam, and petunias, and candytuft and, phlox and
stocks and portulaca and poppies. Do you remember, I asked you, Dorothy,
if you minded my taking up that aster that showed a white bud? That went
to Mrs. Atwood. The seeds are all coming up pretty well now and the old
lady is as pleased as Punch."

"I should think she might be! Can the old gentleman cultivate them or is
his rheumatism too bad?"

"I put in an hour there every once in a while," Roger admitted
reluctantly.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of!" laughed Helen encouragingly. "What I
want to know is how we are to send our flowers in to New York to the
Flower and Fruit Guild. Della said she'd look it up and let us know."

"She did. I saw Tom yesterday and he gave me these slips and asked me to
tell you girls about them and I forgot it."

Roger bobbed his head by way of asking forgiveness, which was granted by
a similar gesture.

"It seems that the National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild will
distribute anything you send to it at 70 Fifth Avenue; or you can select
some institution you're interested in and send your stuff directly to
it, and if you use one of these Guild pasters the express companies will
carry the parcel free."

"Good for the express companies!" exclaimed Ethel Brown.

"Here's one of the pasters," and Roger handed one of them to Margaret
while the others crowded about to read it.

             APPROVED LABEL
  NATIONAL PLANT, FLOWER AND FRUIT GUILD,
     70 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Express Companies
  Adams
  American
  Great Northern
  National
  United States
  Wells Fargo Western

WILL DELIVER FREE

Within a distance of one hundred (100) miles from stations on their
lines to any charitable institution or organization within the delivery
limits of adjacent cities. If an exchange of baskets is made they will
be returned without charge.


Conditions

This property is carried at owner's risk of loss or damage. No box or
basket shall exceed twenty (20) pounds in weight. All jellies to be
carefully packed and boxed. All potted plants to be set in boxes.

For _Chapel of Comforter_,
              _10 Horatio Street_,
                      _New York City_.


From _United Service Club_,
               _Rosemont, New Jersey_.

KINDLY DELIVER PROMPTLY.

"Where it says 'For,'" explained Roger, "you fill in, say, 'Chapel of
the Comforter, 10 Horatio Street' or 'St. Agnes' Day Nursery, 7 Charles
Street,' and you write 'United Service Club, Rosemont, N.J.,' after
'From.'"

"It says 'Approved Label' at the top," Ethel Brown observed
questioningly.

"That's so people won't send flowers to their friends and claim free
carriage from the express companies on the ground that it's for
charity," Roger went on. "Then you fill out this postcard and put it
into every bundle you send.

Sender Will Please Fill Out One of These Cards as far as
"Received by" and Enclose in Every Shipment.
    National Plant, Flower and Fruit Guild.
    National Office: 70 Fifth Avenue, N.Y.C.

Sender
Town
Sends to-day (Date)
Plants                        Flowers     (Bunches)
Fruit or Vegetables           Quarts or Bushels
Jelly, Preserved Fruit or Grape Juice (estimated @ 1/2 pint as a
  glass)                      Glasses.
Nature Material
To (Institution)
Rec'd by

Address
Condition                     Date

"That tells the people at the Day Nursery, for instance, just what you
packed and assures them that the parcel hasn't been tampered with; they
acknowledge the receipt at the foot of the card,--here, do you see?--and
send it to the 'New York City Branch, National Plant, Flower and Fruit
Guild, 70 Fifth Ave., New York City.' That enables the Guild to see that
the express company is reporting correctly the number of bundles it has
carried."

"They've worked out the best way after long experience, Tom says, and
they find this is excellent. They recommend it to far-off towns that
send to them for help about starting a guild."

"Let's send our flowers to Mr. Watkins's chapel," suggested Ethel Blue.
"Della told me the people hardly ever see a flower, it's so far to any
of the parks where there are any."

"Our women at Rose House were pathetic over the flowers when they first
came," said Helen. "Don't you remember the Bulgarian? She was a country
girl and she cried when she first went into the garden."

"I'm glad we planted a flower garden there as well as a vegetable
garden."

"It has been as much comfort to the women as ours have been to us."

"I think they would like to send in some flowers from their garden beds
to the chapel," suggested Ethel Blue. "I was talking with Mrs. Paterno
the other day and she said they all felt that they wanted all their
friends to have a little piece of their splendid summer. This will be a
way for them to help."

"Mr. Watkins's assistant would see that the bunches were given to their
friends if they marked them for special people," said Ethel Brown.

"Let's get it started as soon as we can," said Helen. "You're secretary,
Ethel Blue; write to-day to the Guild for some pasters and postcards and
tell them we are going to send to Mr. Watkins's chapel; and Ethel Brown,
you seem to get on pretty well with Bulgarian and Italian and a few of
the other tongues that they speak at Rose House--suppose you try to make
the women understand what we are going to do. Tell them we'll let them
know on what day we're going to send the parcel in, so that they can cut
their flowers the night before and freshen them in salt and water before
they travel."

"Funny salt should be a freshener," murmured Dorothy, as the Ethels
murmured their understanding of the duties their president assigned to
them.




CHAPTER XIII


IN BUSINESS

It was quite clear to the Clarks that the "botanist" had not given up
his hope of buying the field, in spite of the owners' insistence that
not only was its title defective but that the option had been promised
to Mrs. Smith. He roamed up and down the road almost every day, going
into the field, as the girls could see from their elevation in
Fitz-James's woods, and stopping at the Clarks' on his return if he saw
any of the family on the veranda, to inquire what news had come from
their nephew.

"I generally admire persistency," remarked Mr. Clark one day to Mrs.
Smith and Dorothy, and the Ethels, "but in this case it irritates me.
When you tell a man that you can't sell to him and that you wouldn't if
you could it seems as if he might take the hint and go away."

"I don't like him," and Mrs. Smith gave a shrug of distaste. "He doesn't
look you squarely in the face."

"I hate that trick he has of brushing his hair out of his eyes. It makes
me nervous," confessed the younger Miss Clark.

"I can't see why a botanist doesn't occasionally look at a plant,"
observed Dorothy. "We've watched him day after day and we've almost
never seen him do a thing except push his stick into the ground and
examine it afterwards."

"Do you remember that girl who was with him at the Flower Festival?"
inquired Ethel Brown. "I saw her with him again this afternoon at the
field. When he pushed his cane down something seemed to stick to it when
it came up and he wiped it off with his hand and gave it to her."

"Could you see what it was like?"

"It looked like dirt to me."

"What did she do with it?"

"She took it and began to turn it around in her hand, rubbing it with
her fingers the way Dorothy does when she's making her clay things."

Mr. Clark brought down his foot with a thump upon the porch.

"I'll bet you five million dollars I know what he's up to!" he
exclaimed.

"What?" "What?" "What?" rang out from every person on the porch.

"I'll go right over there this minute and find out for myself."

"Find out what?"

"Do tell us."

"What do you think it is?"

Mr. Clark paused on the steps as he was about to set off.

"Clay," he answered briefly. "There are capital clays in different parts
of New Jersey. Don't you remember there are potteries that make
beautiful things at Trenton? I shouldn't wonder a bit if that field has
pretty good clay and this man wants to buy it and start a pottery
there."

"Next to my house!" exclaimed Mrs. Smith disgustedly.

"Don't be afraid; if we're ever able to sell the field you're the person
who will get it," promised the old gentleman's sisters in chorus. "We
don't want a pottery on the street any more than you do," they added,
and expressed a wish that their brother might be able to convince the
persistent would-be purchaser of the utter hopelessness of his wishes.

"What do you hear from Stanley?" Mrs. Smith asked.

"He's still quite at sea in Pittsburg--if one may use such an expression
about a place as far from the ocean as that!" laughed Miss Clark. "He
thinks he'll go fast if ever he gets a start, but he hasn't found any
trace of the people yet. He's going to search the records not only in
Allegheny County but in Washington and Westmoreland and Fayette Counties
and the others around Pittsburg, if it's necessary. He surely is
persistent."

"Isn't it lucky he is? And don't you hope he'll find some clue before
his holidays end? That detective didn't seem to make any progress at
all!"

Mr. Clark came back more than ever convinced that he had guessed the
cause of the "botanist's" perseverance.

"Unless my eyes and fingers deceive me greatly this is clay and pretty
smooth clay," he reported to the waiting group, and Dorothy, who knew
something about clay because she had been taught to model, said she
thought so, too.

"We know his reason for wanting the land, then," declared Mr. Clark;
"now if we could learn why he can't seem to take it in that he's not
going to get it, no matter what happens, we might be able to make him
take his afternoon walks in some other direction."

"Who is he? And where is he staying?" inquired Mrs. Smith.

"He calls himself Hapgood and he's staying at the Motor Inn."

"Is the little girl his daughter?"

"I'll ask him if he ever comes here again," and Mr. Clark looked as if
he almost wished he would appear, so that he might gratify his
curiosity.

The Motor Inn was a house of no great size on the main road to Jersey
City. A young woman, named Foster, lived in it with her mother and
brother. The latter, George, was a high school friend of Helen and
Roger. Miss Foster taught dancing in the winter and, being an
enterprising young woman, had persuaded her mother to open the old house
for a tea room for the motorists who sped by in great numbers on every
fair day, and who had no opportunity to get a cup of tea and a sandwich
any nearer than Glen Point in one direction and Athens Creek in the
other.

"Here are we sitting down and doing nothing to attract the money out of
their pockets and they are hunting for a place to spend it!" she had
exclaimed.

The house was arranged like the Emerson farmhouse, with a wide hall
dividing it, two rooms on each side. Miss Foster began by putting out a
rustic sign which her brother made for her.

      MOTOR INN
  TEA and SANDWICHES
  LUNCHEON    DINNER

it read. The entrance was attractive with well-kept grass and pretty
flowers. Miss Foster took a survey of it from the road and thought she
would like to go inside herself if she happened to be passing.

They decided to keep the room just in front of the kitchen for the
family, but the room across the hall they fitted with small tables of
which they had enough around the house. The back room they reserved for
a rest room for the ladies, and provided it with a couch and a dressing
table always kept fully, equipped with brushes, pins and hairpins.

"If we build up a real business we can set tables here in the hall,"
Miss Foster suggested.

"Why not on the veranda at the side?" her mother asked.

"That's better still. We might put a few out there to indicate that
people can have their tea there if they want to, and then let them take
their choice in fair weather."

The Inn had been a success from the very first day when a car stopped
and delivered a load of people who ate their simple but well-cooked
luncheon hungrily and liked it so well that they ordered dinner for the
following Sunday and promised to send other parties.

"What I like best about your food, if you'll allow me to say so," the
host of the machine-load said to Miss Foster, "is that your sandwiches
are delicate and at the same time there are more than two bites to them.
They are full-grown sandwiches, man's size."

"My brother calls them 'lady sandwiches' though," laughed Miss Foster.
"He says any sandwich with the crust cut off is unworthy a man's
attention."

"Tell him for me that he's mistaken. No crust on mine, but a whole slice
of bread to make up for the loss," and he paid his bill enthusiastically
and packed away into his thermos box a goodly pile of the
much-to-be-enjoyed sandwiches.

People for every meal of the day began to appear at the Motor Inn, for
it was surprising how many parties made a before-breakfast start to
avoid the heat of the day on a long trip, and turned up at the Inn about
eight or nine o'clock demanding coffee and an omelette. Then one or two
Rosemont people came to ask if friends of theirs might be accommodated
with rooms and board for a week or two, and in this way the old house by
the road grew rapidly to be more like the inn its sign called it than
the tea room it was intended to be. Servants were added, another veranda
was built on, and it looked as if Miss Foster would not teach dancing
when winter came again but would have to devote herself to the
management of the village hotel which the town had always needed.

It was while the members of the U.S.C. were eating ices and cakes there
late one afternoon when they had walked to the station with the
departing Watkinses that the Ethels had one of the ideas that so often
struck them at almost the same moment. It came as they watched a motor
party go off, supplying themselves with a box of small cakes for the
children after trying to buy from Miss Foster the jar of wild iris that
stood in state on the table in the hall. It was not fresh enough to
travel they had decided when their hostess had offered to give it to
them and they all had examined the purple heads that showed themselves
to be past their prime when they were brought out into the light from
the semi-darkness of the hall.

"Couldn't we--?" murmured Ethel Blue with uplifted eye-brows, glancing
at Ethel Brown.

"Let's ask her if we may?" replied Ethel Brown, and without any more
discussion than this they laid before Miss Foster the plan that had
popped into their minds ready made. Ethel Brown was the spokeswoman.

"Would you mind if we had a flower counter here in your hall?" she
asked. "We need to make some money for our women at Rose House."

"A flower counter? Upon my word, children, you take my breath away!"
responded Miss Foster.

"We'd try not to give you any trouble," said Ethel Blue. "One of us
would stay here every day to look after it and we'd pay rent for the use
of the space."

"Upon my word!" exclaimed Miss Foster again. "You must let me think a
minute."

She was a rapid thinker and her decision was quickly made.

"We'll try it for a week," she said. "Perhaps we'll find that there
isn't enough demand for the flowers to make it worth while, though
people often want to buy any flowers they see here, as those people you
saw did."

"If you'll tell us just what space we can have we'll try not to bother
you," promised Ethel Blue again, and Miss Foster smiled at her
eagerness.

"We want it to be a regular business, so will you please tell us how
much rent we ought to pay?" asked Ethel Brown.

Miss Foster smiled again, but she was trying to carry on a regular
business herself and she knew how she would feel if people did not take
her seriously.

"We'll call it five per cent of what you sell," she said. "I don't think
I could make it less," and she smiled again.

"That's five cents on every dollar's worth," calculated Ethel Brown
seriously. "That isn't enough unless you expect us to sell a great many
dollars' worth."

"We'll call it that for this trial week, anyway," decided Miss Foster.
"If the test goes well we can make another arrangement. If you have a
pretty table it will be an attraction to my hall and perhaps I shall
want to pay you for coming," she added good naturedly.

She pointed out to them the exact spot on which they might place their
flowers and agreed to let them arrange the flowers daily for her rooms
and tables and to pay them for it.

"I have no flowers for cutting this summer," she said, "and I've been
bothered getting some every day. It has taken George's time when he
should have been doing other things."

"We'll do it for the rent," offered Ethel Blue.

"No, I've been buying flowers outside and using my own time in arranging
them. It's only fair that I should pay you as I would have paid some one
long ago if I could have found the right person. I stick to the
percentage arrangement for the rent."

On the way home the girls realized with some discomfiture that without
consulting Mrs. Morton and Mrs. Smith they had made an arrangement that
would keep them away from home a good deal and put them in a rather
exposed position.

"What do you suppose Mother and Aunt Louise will say?" asked Ethel Brown
doubtfully.

"I think they'll let us do it. They know we need the money for Rose
House just awfully, and they like Miss Foster and her mother--I've heard
Aunt Marion say they were so brave about undertaking the Inn."

Her voice quavered off into uncertainty, for she realized as she spoke
that what a young woman of Miss Foster's age did in connection with her
mother was a different matter from a business venture entered into alone
by girls of fourteen.

The fact that the business venture was to be carried on under the eye of
Mrs. Foster and her daughter, ladies whom Mrs. Morton knew well and
respected and admired, was the turning point in her decision to allow
the girls to conduct the affair which had entered their minds so
suddenly. She and Mrs. Smith went to the Inn and assisted in the
arrangement of the first assortment of flowers and plants, saw to it
that there was a space on the back porch where they could be handled
without the water or vases being in the way of the workers in the Inn,
suggested that an additional sign reading

  PLANTS and CUT FLOWERS

be hung below the sign outside and that a card

  FOR THE BENEFIT OF ROSE HOUSE

be placed over the table inside, and then went away and left the girls
to manage affairs themselves.

It was while Ethel Blue was drawing the poster to hang over the table
that the "botanist" walked into the hall and strolled over to
investigate the addition to the furnishings. He asked a question or two
in a voice they did not like. They noticed that the young girl with him
called him "Uncle Dan" and that he called her "Mary."

The girls had arranged their flowers according to Mrs. Smith's and Mrs.
Emerson's ideas, not crowding them but showing each to its best
advantage and selecting for each a vase that suited its form and
coloring. Their supplies were kept out of sight in order not to mar the
effect. The tables of the tea rooms were decorated with pink on this
opening day, both because they thought that some of the guests might
see some connection between pink and the purpose of the sale, helping
_Rose House_--and for the practical reason that they had more pink
blossoms than any other color, thanks to their love of that gay hue.

It was noon before any people outside of the resident guests of the Inn
stopped at the house. Then a party of people evidently from a distance,
for they were covered with dust, ordered luncheon. While the women were
arranging their hair in the dressing room the men came over to the
flower table and asked countless questions.

"Here, Gerald," one called to another, "these young women have just
begun this business to-day and they haven't had a customer yet. I'm
going to be the first; you can be the second."

"Nothing of the sort; I'll be the first myself," and "Gerald" tossed
half a dollar on to the table with an order for "Sweetpeas, all pink,
please."

Ethel Blue, flushed with excitement over this first sale, set about
filling a box with the fresh butterfly blossoms, while Ethel Brown
attended to the man who had begun the conversation. He wanted "A bunch
of bachelor's buttons for a young lady with blue eyes." An older man who
came to see what the younger ones were doing bought buttonholes for all
the men and directed that a handful of flowers of different kinds be
placed beside each plate on the large table on the shady porch where
they were to have their meal.

When the women appeared they were equally interested, and inquired all
about Rose House. One of them directed that enough ferns for the
renewal of a centerpiece should be ready for her to take away when they
left and the other bought one of the hanging baskets which Roger had
arranged as a sample of what they could supply if called upon.

"Roger will be tickled to pieces that his idea caught on at once," Ethel
Brown murmured to Ethel Blue as they sorted and packed their orders, not
very deftly, but swiftly enough for the posies to add to the enjoyment
of the people at the table and for the parcels to be ready for them when
the motor came to the door.

"We'll tell all our friends about you," the guests promised as they
left.

These were the only patrons until afternoon brought in several parties
for tea. Almost every one of them was sufficiently drawn by the "Rose
House" placard to make inquiries, and several of them bought flowers and
potted plants. The same was true of the dinner arrivals.

When the girls examined their receipts for the day they found they had
taken in over seven dollars, had booked several orders and already had
learned a good deal about what people liked and what they could carry
conveniently in their machines.

"We shan't need to have so many cut flowers here," they decided after
the day's experience. "It's better to leave them on the plants and then
if we run short to telephone to the house and have Dicky bring over an
extra supply."

"These potted plants are all right here, though. We can leave them on
the back porch at night, Miss Foster says, and bring them in to the
table in the morning."

"We must get Roger to fill some more hanging baskets and ox muzzles and
make some ivy balls; those are going to take."

The plan worked out extremely well, its only drawback being that the
girls had to give more time to the table at the Inn than they liked.
They were "spelled" however, by other members of the Club, and finally,
as a result of a trip when they all went away for a few days, they
engaged a schoolmate of the Ethels who had helped them occasionally, to
give her whole time to the work at the Inn.

Financially the scheme worked out very well. When it came time to pay
the rent for the first week the Ethels decided that they were accepting
charity if they only paid Miss Foster five per cent. of their gross
earnings, so they doubled it.

"I am buying the cut flowers at the same price that the girls are
selling them to other customers, and I am glad to pay for their
arrangement for it releases me to attend to matters that need me more,"
she had explained. "Even if it should be a few cents on the wrong side
of my account, I am glad to contribute something to Rose House. And the
motoring season is comparatively short, too."

Every once in a while they received an idea from some one who asked for
something they did not have. One housekeeper wanted fresh herbs and the
Ethels telephoned directions for the picking of the herb bed that Roger
had planted for their own kitchen use.

"We need the herbs ourselves, Miss Ethel," came back a protest from
Mary.

"I don't want to refuse to fill any order I get, Mary," Ethel Brown
insisted. "Next year we'll plant a huge bed, enough for a dozen
kitchens."

This unexpected order resulted in the making of another poster giving
the information that fresh kitchen herbs might be had on order and would
be delivered by parcel post to any address.

Several of their customers demanded ferns for their houses indoors or
for their porches or wild gardens. This order was not welcome for it
meant that some one had to go to the woods to get them as none had been
planted in the gardens as yet. Still, in accordance with their decision
never to refuse to fill an order unless it was absolutely impossible,
the girls went themselves or sent one of the boys on a search for what
they needed.

One steady customer was an invalid who lived in Athens Creek and who
could drive only a few miles once or twice a week. She happened in to
the Inn one day and ever after she made the house her goal. Her especial
delight was meadow flowers, and she placed a standing order to have an
armful of meadow blossoms ready for her every Thursday. This
necessitated a visit to the meadows opposite Grandfather Emerson's house
every Wednesday afternoon so that the flowers should have recovered from
their first shock by the next morning.

"This takes me back to the days when I used to follow the flowers
through the whole summer," the invalid cried delightedly. "Ah,
Joe-Pye-Weed has arrived," she exclaimed joyfully over the handsome
blossom.

When the Ethels and Dorothy received their first order for the
decoration of a house for an afternoon reception they were somewhat
overcome.

"Can we do it?" they asked each other.

They concluded they could. One went to the house two days beforehand to
examine the rooms and to see what vases and bowls they should have at
their disposal. Then they looked over the gardens very carefully to see
what blossoms would be cut on the appointed day, and then they made a
plan with pencil and paper.

Mr. Emerson lent his car on the morning of the appointed day and Roger
went with them to unload the flowers and plants. They had kept the
flowers of different colors together, a matter easy to do when cutting
from their beds of special hues, and this arrangement made easy the work
of decorating different rooms in different colors. The porch was made
cool with ferns and hanging vines; the hall, which seemed dark to eyes
blinded by the glare outside, was brightened with yellow posies; the
dining room had delicate blue lobelia mingled with gypsophila springing
from low, almost unseen dishes all over the table where the tea and
coffee were poured, and hanging in festoons from the smaller table on
which stood the bowl of grape juice lemonade, made very sour and very
sweet and enlivened with charged water. The girls profited by this
combination, for the various amounts used in it were being "tried out"
during the morning and with every new trial refreshing glasses were
handed about for criticism by the workers.

In the drawing room where the hostess stood to receive, superb pink
poppies reared their heads from tall vases, pink snapdragons bobbed on
the mantel piece and a bank of pink candytuft lay on the top of the
piano. A lovely vine waved from a wall vase of exquisite design and
vines trailed around the wide door as naturally as if they grew there
instead of springing from bottles of water concealed behind tall jars of
pink hollyhocks.

"It is perfectly charming, my dears, and I can't tell you how obliged I
am," said their hostess as she pressed a bill into Ethel Brown's hand.
"I know that every woman who will be here will want you the next time
she entertains, and I shall tell everybody you did it."

She was as good as her word and the attempt resulted in several other
orders. The girls tried to make each house different from any that they
had decorated before, and they thought that they owed the success that
brought them many compliments to the fact that they planned it all out
beforehand and left nothing to be done in a haphazard way.

Meanwhile Rose House benefited greatly by the welcome weekly additions
from the flower sale to its slender funds.

"I'm not sure it isn't roses ye are yerselves, yer that sweet to look
at!" exclaimed Moya, the cook at Rose House, one day when the girls were
there.

And they admitted themselves that if happiness made them sweet to look
at it must be true.




CHAPTER XIV


UNCLE DAN'S RESEARCHES

"Uncle Dan," whose last name was Hapgood, did not cease his calls upon
the Clarks. Sometimes he brought with him his niece, whose name, they
learned, was Mary Smith.

"Another Smith!" ejaculated Dorothy who had lived long enough in the
world to find out the apparent truth of the legend, that originally all
the inhabitants of the earth were named Smith and so continued until
some of them misbehaved and were given other names by way of punishment.

No one liked Mr. Hapgood better as time went on.

"I believe he is a twentieth century werwolf, as Dorothy said," Ethel
Brown insisted. "He's a wolf turned into a man but keeping the feelings
of a wolf."

The girls found little to commend in the manners of his niece and
nothing to attract. By degrees the "botanist's" repeated questioning put
him in command of all the information the Clarks had themselves about
the clue that Stanley was hunting down. He seemed especially interested
when he learned that the search had been transferred to the vicinity of
Pittsburg.

"My sister, Mary's mother, lived near Pittsburg," he told them when he
heard it; "I know that part of the country pretty well."

For several days he was not seen either by the Clarks or by the girls
who went to the Motor Inn to attend to the flowers, and Mrs. Foster told
the Ethels that Mary had been left in her care while her uncle went away
on a business trip.

At the end of a week he appeared again at the Clarks', bringing the
young girl with him. He received the usual courteous but unenthusiastic
reception with which they always met this man who had forced himself
upon them so many times. Now his eyes were sparkling and more nervously
than ever he kept pushing back the lock of hair that hung over his
forehead.

"Well, I've been away," he began.

The Clarks said that they had heard so.

"I been to western Pennsylvania."

His hearers expressed a lukewarm interest.

"I went to hunt up the records of Fayette County concerning the
grandparents of Mary here."

"I hope you were successful," remarked the elder Miss Clark politely.

"Yes, ma'am, I was," shouted Hapgood in reply, thumping his hand on the
arm of his chair with a vigor that startled his hosts. "Yes, sir, I was,
sir; perfectly successful; _en_-tirely successful."

Mr. Clark murmured something about the gratification the success must be
to Mr. Hapgood and awaited the next outburst.

It came without delay.

"Do you want to know what I found out?"

"Certainly, if you care to tell us."

"Well, I found out that Mary here is the granddaughter of your cousin,
Emily Leonard, you been huntin' for."

"Mary!" exclaimed the elder Miss Clark startled, her slender hands
fluttering agitatedly as the man's heavy voice forced itself upon her
ears and the meaning of what he said entered her mind.

"This child!" ejaculated the younger sister, Miss Eliza, doubtfully,
adjusting her glasses and leaning over to take a closer look at the
proposed addition to the family.

"Hm!"

This comment came from Mr. Clark.

A dull flush crept over Hapgood's face.

"You don't seem very cordial," he remarked.

"O," the elder Miss Clark, Miss Maria, began apologetically, but she was
interrupted by her brother.

"You have the proofs, I suppose."

Hapgood could not restrain a glare of dislike, but he drew a bundle of
papers from his pocket.

"I knew you'd ask for 'em."

"Naturally," answered the calm voice of Mr. Clark.

"So I copied these from the records and swore to 'em before a notary."

"You copied them yourself?"

"Yes, sir, with my own hand," and the man held up that member as if to
call it as a witness to his truth.

"I should have preferred to have had the copying done by a typist
accredited by the county clerk," said Mr. Clark coolly.

Hapgood flushed angrily.

"If you don't believe me--" he began, but Mr. Clark held up a warning
finger.

"It's always wise to follow the custom in such cases," he observed.

Hapgood, finding himself in the wrong, leaned over Mr. Clark's shoulder
and pointed eagerly to the notary's signature.

"Henry Holden--that's the notary--that's him," he repeated several times
insistently.

Mr. Clark nodded and read the papers slowly aloud so that his sisters
might hear their contents. They recited the marriage at Uniontown, the
county seat of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on the fifteenth day of
December, 1860, of Emily Leonard to Edward Smith.

"There you are," insisted Hapgood loudly. "That's her; that's the
grandmother of Mary here."

"You're sure of that?"

"Here's the record of the birth of Jabez, son of Edward and Emily
(Leonard) Smith two years later, and the record of his marriage to my
sister and the record of the birth of Mary. After I got the marriage of
this Emily straightened out the rest was easy. We had it right in the
family."

The two sisters gazed at each other aghast. The man was so assertive and
coarse, and the child was so far from gentle that it seemed impossible
that she could be of their own blood. Still, they remembered that
surroundings have greater influence than inheritance, so they held
their peace, though Miss Maria stretched out her hand to Mary. Mary
stared at it but made no move to take it.

"Your records look as if they might be correct," said Mr. Clark, an
admission greeted by Hapgood with a pleased smile and a complacent rub
of the hands; "but," went on the old gentleman, "I see nothing here that
would prove that this Emily Leonard was our cousin."

"But your nephew, Stanley, wrote you that he had found that your Emily
had removed to the neighborhood of Pittsburg."

"That's true," acknowledged the elder man, bending his head, "but Emily
Leonard isn't an unusual name."

"O, she's the one all right," insisted Hapgood bluffly.

"Further, your record doesn't state the names of this Emily Leonard's
parents."

Hapgood tossed back the unruly lock of hair.

"I ought to have gone back one step farther," he conceded. "I might have
known you'd ask that."

"Naturally."

"I'll send to the county clerk and get that straightened out."

"It might be well," advised Mr. Clark mildly. "One other point prevents
my acceptance of these documents as proof that your niece belongs to our
family. Neither the investigator whom we had working on the case nor my
nephew have ever told us the date of birth of our Emily Leonard. We can,
of course, obtain that, if it is not already in my nephew's possession,
but without it we can't be sure that our cousin was of marriageable age
on December fifteenth, 1860."

It was Mr. Clark's turn to rub his hands together complacently as
Hapgood looked more and more discomfited.

"In fact, my dear sir," Mr. Clark continued, "you have proved nothing
except that some Emily Leonard married a man named Smith on the date
named."

He tapped the papers gently with a thin forefinger and returned them to
their owner, who began to bluster.

"I might have known you'd put up a kick," he exclaimed.

"I live, when I'm at home, in Arkansas," replied Mr. Clark softly, "and
Arkansas is so near Missouri that I have come to belong to the
brotherhood who 'have to be shown.'"

Hapgood greeted this sally with the beginning of a snarl, but evidently
thought it the part of discretion to remain friendly with the people he
wanted to persuade.

"I seem to have done this business badly," he said, "but I'll send back
for the rest of the evidence and you'll have to admit that Mary's the
girl you need to complete your family tree."

"Come here, dear," Miss Clark called to Mary in her quiet voice. "Are
your father and mother alive?"

"Father is," she thought the child answered, but her reply was
interrupted by Hapgood's loud voice, saying, "She's an orphan, poor kid.
Pretty tough just to have an old bachelor uncle to look after yer,
ain't it?"

The younger Miss Clark stepped to the window to pull down the shade
while the couple were still within the yard and she saw the man give the
girl a shake and the child rub her arm as if the touch had been too
rough for comfort.

"Poor little creature! I can't say I feel any affection for her, but she
must have a hard time with that man!"

The interview left Mr. Clark in a disturbed state in spite of the
calmness he had assumed in talking with Hapgood. He walked restlessly up
and down the room and at last announced that he was going to the
telegraph office.

"I might as well wire Stanley to send us right off the date of Emily
Leonard's birth, and, just as soon as he finds it, the name of the man
she married."

"If she did marry," interposed Miss Maria. "Some of our family don't
marry," and she humorously indicated the occupants of the room by a wave
of her knitting needles.

At that instant the doorbell rang, and the maid brought in a telegram.

"It's from Stanley," murmured Mr. Clark.

"What a strange co-incidence," exclaimed the elder Miss Clark.

"What does he say, Brother?" eagerly inquired the younger Miss Clark.

"'Emily married a man named Smith,'" Mr. Clark read slowly.

"Is that all he says?"

"Every word."

"Dear boy! I suppose he thought we'd like to know as soon as he found
out!" and Miss Eliza's thoughts flashed away to the nephew she loved,
forgetting the seriousness of the message he had sent.

"The information seems to have come at an appropriate time," commented
Mr. Clark grimly.

"It must be true, then," sighed Miss Maria; "that Mary belongs to us."

"We don't know at all if Hapgood's Emily is our Emily, even if they did
both marry Smiths," insisted Mr. Clark stoutly, his obstinacy reviving.
"I shall send a wire to Stanley at once asking for the dates of Emily's
birth and marriage. He must have them both by this time; why on earth
doesn't he send full information and not such a measly telegram as
this!" and the old gentleman put on his hat and took his cane and
stamped off in a rage to the Western Union office.

The sisters left behind gazed at each other forlornly.

"She certainly is an unprepossessing child," murmured Miss Maria, "but
don't you think, under the circumstances, that we ought to ask her to
pay us a visit?"

Miss Clark the elder contemplated her knitting for a noticeable interval
before she answered.

"I don't see any 'ought' about it," she replied at last, "but I think it
would be kind to do so."

Meanwhile Mr. Clark, stepping into the telegraph office, met Mr. Hapgood
coming out. That worthy looked somewhat startled at the encounter, but
pulled himself together and said cheerfully "Just been sending off a
wire about our matter."

When the operator read Mr. Clark's telegram a few minutes later he said
to himself wonderingly, "Emily Leonard sure is the popular lady!"

Mr. Clark was not at all pleased with his sister's proposal that they
invite Mary Smith to make them a visit.

"It will look to Hapgood as if we thought his story true," he objected,
when they suggested the plan the next morning. "I don't believe it is
true, even if our Emily did marry a Smith, according to Stanley."

"I don't believe it is, either," answered Miss Maria dreamily. "A great
many people marry Smiths."

"They have to; how are they to do anything else?" inquired the old
gentleman testily. "There is such a lot of them you can't escape them.
We're talking about your name, ladies," he continued as Dorothy and her
mother came in, and then he related the story of Hapgood's visit and the
possibility that Mary might prove to belong to them.

"Do you think he honestly believes that she's the missing heir?" Mrs.
Smith asked.

The ladies looked uncertain but there was no doubt in their brother's
mind.

"Not for a moment of time do I think he does," he shouted.

"But what would be his object? Why should he try to thrust the child
into a perfectly strange family?"

The elder Miss Clark ventured a guess.

"He may want to provide for her future if she's really an orphan, as he
says."

"I don't believe she is an orphan. Before her precious uncle drowned her
reply with one of his roars I distinctly heard her say that her father
was alive," retorted the exasperated Mr. Clark.

"The child would be truly fortunate to have all of you dear people to
look after her," Mrs. Smith smiled, "but if her welfare isn't his
reason, what is?"

"I believe it has something to do with that piece of land," conjectured
Mr. Clark. "He never said a word about it to-night. That's a bad sign.
He wants that land and he's made up his mind to have it and this has
something to do with it."

"How could it have?" inquired Mrs. Smith.

"This is all I can think of. Before we can sell that land or any of our
land we must have the consent of all the living heirs or else the title
isn't good, as you very well know. Now Emily Leonard and her descendants
are the only heirs missing. This man says that the child, Mary, is Emily
Leonard's grandchild and that Emily and her son, the child's father, are
dead. That would mean that if we wanted to sell that land we'd be
obliged to have the signatures of my sisters and my nephew, Stanley, and
myself, and also of the guardian of this child. Of course Hapgood will
say he's the child's guardian. Do you suppose, Mrs. Smith, that he's
going to sign any deed that gives you that land? Not much! He'll say
it's for the child's best interests that the land be not sold now,
because it contains valuable clay or whatever it is he thinks he has
found there. Then he'll offer to buy the land himself and he'll be
willing enough to sign the deed then."

"But _we_ might not be," interposed Miss Maria.

"I should say not," returned her brother emphatically, "but he'd
probably make a lot of trouble for us and be constantly appealing to us
on the ground that we ought to sell the land for the child's good--or he
might even say for Stanley's good or our good, the brazen, persistent
animal."

"Brother," remonstrated Miss Maria. "You forget that you may be speaking
of the uncle of our little cousin."

"Little cousin nothing!" retorted Mr. Clark fiercely. "It's all very
nice for the Mortons to find that that charming girl who takes care of
the Belgian baby is a relative. This is a very different proposition!
However, I suppose you girls--" meaning by this term the two ladies of
more than seventy--"won't be happy unless you have the youngster here,
so you might as well send for her, but you'd better have the length of
her visit distinctly understood."

"We might say a week," suggested Miss Eliza hesitatingly.

"Say a week, and say it emphatically," approved her brother, and trotted
off to his study, leaving the ladies to compose, with Mrs. Smith's help,
a note that would not be so cordial that Brother would forbid its being
sent, but that would nevertheless give a hint of their kindly feeling to
the forlorn child, so roughly cared for by her strange uncle.

Mary Smith went to them, and made a visit that could not be called a
success in any way. She was painfully conscious of the difference
between her clothes and the Ethels' and Dorothy's and Della's, though
why theirs seemed more desirable she could not tell, since her own were
far more elaborate. The other girls wore middy blouses constantly, even
the older girls, Helen and Margaret, while her dresses were of silk or
some other delicate material and adorned with many ruffles and much
lace.

She was conscious, too, of a difference between her manners and theirs,
and she could not understand why, in her heart, she liked theirs better,
since they were so gentle as to seem to have no spirit at all, according
to her views. She was always uncomfortable when she was with them and
her efforts to be at ease caused her shyness to go to the other extreme
and made her manners rough and impertinent.

Mrs. Smith found her crying one day when she came upon her suddenly in
the hammock on the Clarks' veranda.

"Can I help?" she asked softly, leaning over the small figure whose
every movement indicated protest.

"No, you can't," came back the fierce retort. "You're one of 'em. You
don't know."

"Don't know what?"

"How I feel. Nobody likes me. Miss Clark just told me to go out of her
room."

"Why were you in her room?"

"Why, shouldn't I go into her room? When I woke up this morning I made
up my mind I'd do my best to be nice all day long. They're so old I
don't know what to talk to 'em about, but I made up my mind I'd stick
around 'em even if I didn't know what to say. Right after breakfast they
always go upstairs--I think it's to be rid of me--and they don't come
down for an hour, and then they bring down their knitting and their
embroidery and they sit around all day long except when that Belgian
baby that lives at your house comes in--then they get up and try to play
with her."

Mrs. Smith smiled, remembering the efforts of the two old ladies to play
with "Ayleesabet." Mary noticed the smile.

"They do look fools, don't they?" she cried eagerly.

"I think they look very dear and sweet when they are playing with
Ayleesabet. I was not smiling _at_ them but because I sympathized with
their enjoyment of the baby."

"Well, I made up my mind they needn't think they had to stay upstairs
because I wasn't nice; I'd go upstairs and be nice. So I went upstairs
to Miss Maria's room and walked in."

"Walked right in? Without knocking?"

"I walked right in. She was sitting in front of that low table she has
with the looking glass and all the bottles and boxes on it. Her hair was
down her back--what there was of it--and she was doing up her switch."

Mrs. Smith was so aghast at this intrusion and at the injured tone in
which it was told that she had no farther inclination to smile.

"I said, 'I thought I'd come up and sit with you a while,' and she
said, 'Leave the room at once, Mary,' just like that. She was as mad as
she could be."

"Do you blame her?"

"Why should she be mad, when I went up there to be nice to her? She's an
old cat!"

"Dear child, come and sit on this settee with me and let's talk it
over."

Mrs. Smith put her arm over the shaking shoulders of the angry girl and
drew her toward her. After an instant's stiffening against it Mary
admitted to herself that it was pleasant; she didn't wonder Dorothy was
sweet if her mother did this often.

"Now we're comfortable," said Mrs. Smith. "Tell me, dear, aren't there
some thoughts in your mind that you don't like to tell to any one?
thoughts that seem to belong just to you yourself? Perhaps they're about
God; perhaps they're about people you love, perhaps they're about your
own feelings--but they seem too private and sacred for you to tell any
one. They're your own, ownest thoughts."

Mary nodded.

"Do you remember your mother?"

Mary nodded again.

"Sometimes when you recall how she took you in her arms and cuddled you
when you were hurt, and how you loved her and she loved you I know you
think thoughts that you couldn't express to any one else."

Mary gave a sniff that hinted of tears.

"Everybody has an inner life that is like a church. You know you
wouldn't think of running into a church and making a noise and
disturbing the worshippers. It's just so with people's minds; you can't
rush in and talk about certain things to any one--the things that he
considers too sacred to talk about."

"How are you going to tell?"

Mrs. Smith drew a long breath. How was she to make this poor, untutored
child understand.

"You have to tell by your feelings," she answered slowly. "Some people
are more reserved than others. I believe you are reserved."

"Me?" asked Mary wonderingly.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there were a great many things that you
might have talked about with your mother, if she had lived, but that you
find it hard to talk about with your uncle."

Mary nodded.

"He's fierce," she commented briefly.

"If he should begin to talk to you about some of the tender memories
that you have of your mother, for instance, it might be hard for you to
answer him. You'd be apt to think that he was coming into your own
private church."

"I see that," the girl answered; "but," returning to the beginning of
the conversation, "I didn't want to talk secrets with Miss Maria; I just
wanted to be nice."

"Just in the same way that people have thoughts of their very own that
you mustn't intrude on, so there are reserves in their habits that you
mustn't intrude on. Every one has a right to freedom from intrusion. I
insist on it for myself; my daughter never enters my bedroom without
knocking. I pay her the same respect; I always tap at her door and wait
for her answer before I enter."

"Would you be mad if she went into your room without knocking?"

"I should be sorry that she was so inconsiderate of my feelings. She
might, perhaps, interrupt me at my toilet. I should not like that."

"Is that what I did to Miss Maria?"

"Yes, dear, it was. You don't know Miss Maria well, and yet you opened
the door of her private room and went in without being invited."

"I'm sorry," she said briefly.

"I'm sure you are, now you understand why it wasn't kind."

"I wish she knew I meant to be nice."

"Would you like to have me tell her? I think she'll understand there are
some things you haven't learned for you haven't a mother to teach you."

"Uncle Dan says maybe I'll have to live with the old ladies all the
time, so they might as well know I wasn't trying to be mean," she
whispered resignedly.

"I'll tell Miss Maria, then, and perhaps you and she will be better
friends from now on because she'll know you want to please her. And now,
I came over to tell you that the U.S.C. is going into New York to-day to
see something of the Botanical Garden and the Arboretum. I'm going with
them and they'd be glad to have you go, too."

"They won't be very glad, but I'd like to go," responded the girl, her
face lighted with the nearest approach to affection Mrs. Smith ever had
seen upon it.




CHAPTER XV


FUR AND FOSSILS

When the Club gathered at the station to go into town Mary was arrayed
in a light blue satin dress as unsuitable for her age as it was for the
time of day and the way of traveling. The other girls were dressed in
blue or tan linen suits, neat and plain. Secretly Mary thought their
frocks were not to be named in the same breath with hers, but once when
she had said something about the simplicity of her dress to Ethel Blue,
Ethel had replied that Helen had learned from her dressmaking teacher
that dresses should be suited to the wearer's age and occupation, and
that she thought her linen blouses and skirts were entirely suitable for
a girl of fourteen who was a gardener when she wasn't in school.

This afternoon Dorothy had offered her a pongee dust coat when she
stopped at the Smiths' on her way to the cars.

"Aren't you afraid you'll get that pretty silk all cindery?" she asked.

Mary realized that Dorothy thought her not appropriately dressed for
traveling, but she tossed her head and said, "O, I like to wear
something good looking when I go into New York."

One of the purposes of the expedition was to see at the Museum of
Natural History some of the fossil leaves and plants about which the
Mortons had heard from Lieutenant and Captain Morton who had found
several of them themselves in the course of their travels.

At the Museum they gathered around the stones and examined them with the
greatest interest. There were some shells, apparently as perfect as when
they were turned into stone, and others represented only by the moulds
they had left when they crumbled away. There were ferns, the delicate
fronds showing the veining that strengthened the leaflets when they
danced in the breeze of some prehistoric morning.

"It's wonderful!" exclaimed the Ethels, and Mary asked, "What happened
to it?"

"I thought some one would ask that," replied Mrs. Smith, "so I brought
these verses by Mary Branch to read to you while we stood around one of
these ancient rocks."

    THE PETRIFIED FERN

    "In a valley, centuries ago
      Grew a little fern-leaf, green and slender,
      Veining delicate and fibers tender;
    Waving when the wind crept down so low.
      Rushes tall and moss and grass grew round it,
      Playful sunbeams darted in and found it,
      Drops of dew stole in by night and crowned it,
      But no foot of man e'er trod that way;
      Earth was young and keeping holiday.

    "Monster fishes swam the silent main;
      Stately forests waved their giant branches,
      Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches
    Mammoth creatures stalked across the plain;
      Nature revelled in grand mysteries,
      But the little fern was not of these,
      Did not number with the hills and trees;
      Only grew and waved its wild sweet way,
      No one came to note it day by day.

    "Earth, one time, put on a frolic mood,
      Heaved the rocks and changed the mighty motion
      Of the deep, strong currents of the ocean;
    Moved the plain and shook the haughty wood
      Crushed the little fern in soft, moist clay,--
      Covered it and hid it safe away.
      O, the long, long centuries since that day!
      O, the changes! O, life's bitter cost,
      Since that useless little fern was lost!

    "Useless? Lost? There came a thoughtful man
      Searching Nature's secrets, far and deep;
      From a fissure in a rocky steep
    He withdrew a stone, o'er which there ran
      Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,
      Veinings, leafage, fibers clear and fine,
      And the fern's life lay in every line!
      So, I think, God hides some souls away,
      Sweetly to surprise us, the last day."

From the Museum the party went to the Bronx where they first took a long
walk through the Zoo. How Mary wished that she did not have on a pale
blue silk dress and high heeled shoes as she dragged her tired feet over
the gravel paths and stood watching Gunda, the elephant, "weaving" back
and forth on his chain, and the tigers and leopards keeping up their
restless pacing up and down their cages, and the monkeys, chattering
hideously and snatching through the bars at any shining object worn by
their visitors! It was only because she stepped back nimbly that she did
not lose a locket that attracted the attention of an ugly imitation of a
human being.

The herds of large animals pleased them all.

"How kind it is of the keepers to give these creatures companions and
the same sort of place to live in that they are accustomed to,"
commented Ethel Brown.

"Did you know that this is one of the largest herds of buffalo in the
United States?" asked Tom, who, with Della, had joined them at the
Museum. "Father says that when he was young there used to be plenty of
buffalo on the western plains. The horse-car drivers used to wear coats
of buffalo skin and every new England farmer had a buffalo robe. It was
the cheapest fur in use. Then the railroads went over the plains and
there was such a destruction of the big beasts that they were
practically exterminated. They are carefully preserved now."

"The prairie dogs always amuse me," said Mrs. Smith. "Look at that
fellow! Every other one is eating his dinner as fast as he can but this
one is digging with his front paws and kicking the earth away with his
hind paws with amazing industry."

"He must be a convict at hard labor," guessed Roger.

"Or the Mayor of the Prairie Dog Town setting an example to his
constituents," laughed James.

The polar bear was suffering from the heat and nothing but the tip of
his nose and his eyes were to be seen above the water of his tank where
he floated luxuriously in company with two cakes of ice.

The wolves and the foxes had dens among rocks and the wild goats stood
daintily on pinnacles to see what was going on at a distance. No one
cared much for the reptiles, but the high flying cage for birds kept
them beside it for a long time.

Across the road they entered the grounds of the Arboretum and passed
along a narrow path beside a noisy brook under heavy trees, until they
came to a grove of tall hemlocks. With upturned heads they admired these
giants of the forest and then passed on to view other trees from many
climes and countries.

"Here's the Lumholtz pine that father wrote me about from Mexico," cried
Ethel Blue, whose father, Captain Morton, had been with General Funston
at Vera Cruz. "See, the needles hang down like a spray, just as he said.
You know the wood has a peculiar resonance and the Mexicans make musical
instruments of it."

"It's a graceful pine," approved Ethel Brown. "What a lot of pines there
are."

"We are so accustomed about here to white pines that the other kinds
seem strange, but in the South there are several kinds," contributed
Dorothy. "The needles of the long leaf pine are a foot long and much
coarser than these white pine needles. Don't you remember, I made some
baskets out of them?"

The Ethels did remember.

"Their green is yellower. The tree is full of resin and it makes the
finest kind of kindling."

"Is that what the negroes call 'light wood'?" asked Della.

"Yes, that's light wood. In the fields that haven't been cultivated for
a long time there spring up what they call in the South 'old field
pines' or 'loblolly pines.' They have coarse yellow green needles, too,
but they aren't as long as the others. There are three needles in the
bunch."

"Don't all the pines have three needles in the bunch?" asked Margaret.

"Look at this white pine," she said, pulling down a bunch off a tree
they were passing. "It has five; and the 'Table Mountain pine' has only
two."

"Observant little Dorothy!" exclaimed Roger.

"O, I know more than that," laughed Dorothy. "Look hard at this white
pine needle; do you see, it has three sides, two of them white and one
green? The loblolly needle has only two sides, though the under is so
curved that it looks like two; and the 'Table Mountain' has two sides."

"What's the use of remembering all that?" demanded Mary sullenly.

Dorothy, who had been dimpling amusedly as she delivered her lecture,
flushed deeply.

"I don't know," she admitted.

"We like to hear about it because we've been gardening all summer and
anything about trees or plants interests us," explained Tom politely,
though the way in which Mary spoke seemed like an attack on Dorothy.

"I've always found that everything I ever learned was useful at some
time or other," James maintained decidedly. "You never can tell when
this information that Dorothy has given us may be just what we need for
some purpose or other."

"It served Dorothy's purpose just now when she interested us for a few
minutes telling about the different kinds," insisted Ethel Blue, but
Mary walked on before them with a toss of her head that meant "It
doesn't interest me."

Dorothy looked at her mother, uncertain whether to take it as a joke or
to feel hurt. Mrs. Smith smiled and shook her head almost imperceptibly
and Dorothy understood that it was kindest to say nothing more.

They chatted on as they walked through the Botanical Gardens and
exclaimed over the wonders of the hothouses and examined the collections
of the Museum, but the edge had gone from the afternoon and they were
not sorry to find themselves on the train for Rosemont. Mary sat with
Mrs. Smith.

"I really was interested in what Dorothy told about the pines," she
whispered as the train rumbled on; "I was mad because I didn't know
anything that would interest them, too."

"I dare say you know a great many things that would interest them,"
replied Mrs. Smith. "Some day you must tell me about the most
interesting thing you ever saw in all your life and we'll see if it
won't interest them."

"That was in a coal mine," replied Mary promptly. "It was the footstep
of a man thousands and thousands of years old. It made you wonder what
men looked like and how they lived so long ago."

"You must tell us all about it, some time. It will make a good addition
to what we learned to-day about the fossils."

When the Mortons reached home they found Mr. Emerson waiting for them at
their house.

"I've a proposal to make to these children, with your permission,
Marion," he said to his daughter.

"Say on, sir," urged Roger.

"Mr. Clark is getting very nervous about this man Hapgood. The man is
beginning to act as if he, as the guardian of the child, had a real
claim on the Clark estate, and he becomes more and more irritating every
day. They haven't heard from Stanley for several days. He hasn't
answered either a letter or a telegram that his uncle sent him and the
old ladies are working themselves into a great state of anxiety over
him. I tell them that he has been moving about all the time and that
probably neither the letter nor the wire reached him, but Clark vows
that Hapgood has intercepted them and his sisters are sure the boy is
ill or has been murdered."

"Poor creatures," smiled Mrs. Morton sympathetically. "Is there anything
you can do about it?"

"I told Clark a few minutes ago that I'd go out to western Pennsylvania
and hunt up the boy and help him run down whatever clues he has. Clark
was delighted at the offer--said he didn't like to go himself and leave
his sisters with this man roaming around the place half the time."

"It was kind of you. I've no doubt Stanley is working it all out well,
but, boy-like, he doesn't realize that the people at home want to have
him report to them every day."

"My proposal is, Marion, that you lend me these children, Helen and the
Ethels and Roger, for a few days' trip."

"Wow, wow!" rose a shout of joy.

"Or, better still, that you come, too, and bring Dicky."

Mrs. Morton was not a sailor's wife for nothing.

"I'll do it," she said promptly. "When do you want us to start?"

"Can you be ready for an early morning train from New York?"

"We can!" was the instant reply of every person in the room.




CHAPTER XVI


FAIRYLAND

All day long the train pulled its length across across the state of
Pennsylvania, climbing mountains and bridging streams and piercing
tunnels. All day long Mr. Emerson's party was on the alert, dashing from
one side to the other of the car to see some beautiful vista or to look
down on a brook brawling a hundred feet below the trestle that supported
them or waving their hands to groups of children staring open-mouthed at
the passing train.

"Pennsylvania is a beautiful state," decided Ethel Brown as they
penetrated the splendid hills of the Allegheny range.

"Nature made it one of the most lovely states of the Union," returned
her grandfather. "Man has played havoc with it in spots. Some of the
villages among the coal mines are hideous from the waste that has been
thrown out for years upon a pile never taken away, always increasing. No
grass grows on it, no children play on it, the hens won't scratch on it.
The houses of the miners turn one face to this ugliness and it is only
because they turn toward the mountains on another side that the people
are preserved from the death of the spirit that comes to those who look
forever on the unlovely."

"Is there any early history about here?" asked Helen, whose interest
was unfailing in the story of her country.

"The French and Indian Wars were fought in part through this land,"
answered Mr. Emerson. "You remember the chief struggle for the continent
lay between the English and the French. There were many reasons why the
Indians sided with the French in Canada, and the result of the
friendship was that; the natives were supplied with arms by the
Europeans and the struggle was prolonged for about seventy-five years."

"Wasn't the attack on Deerfield during the French and Indian War?" asked
Ethel Blue.

"Yes, and there were many other such attacks."

"The French insisted that all the country west of the Alleghenies
belonged to them and they disputed the English possession at every
point. When Washington was only twenty-one years old he was sent to beg
the French not to interfere with the English, but he had a hard journey
with no fortunate results. It was on this journey that he picked out a
good position for a fort and started to build it. It was where Pittsburg
now stands."

"That was a good position for a fort, where the Allegheny and
Monongahela Rivers join to make the Ohio," commended Roger.

"It was such a good position that the French drove off the English
workmen and finished the work themselves. They called it Fort Duquesne
and it became one of a string of sixty French forts extending from
Quebec to New Orleans."

"Some builders!" commended Roger.

"Fort Duquesne was so valuable that the English sent one of their
generals, Braddock, to capture it. Washington went with him on his
staff, to show him the way."

"It must have been a long trip from the coast through all this hilly
country."

"It was. They had to build roads and they were many weeks on the way."

"It was a different matter from the twentieth century transportation of
soldiers by train and motor trucks and stages," reminded Mrs. Morton.

"When the British were very near Fort Duquesne," continued Mr. Emerson,
"the French sent out a small band, mainly Indians, to meet them. The
English general didn't understand Indian fighting and kept his men
massed in the road where they were shot down in great numbers and he
lost his own life. There's a town named after him, on the site of the
battle."

"Here it is," and Helen pointed it out on the map in the railway folder.
"It's about ten miles from Pittsburg."

"Washington took command after the death of Braddock, and this was his
first real military experience. However, his heart was in the taking of
Fort Duquesne and when General Forbes was sent out to make another
attempt at capturing it Washington commanded one of the regiments of
Virginia troops."

"Isn't there any poetry about it?" demanded Ethel Brown, who knew her
grandfather's habit of collecting historical ballads.

"Certainly there is. There are some verses on 'Fort Duquesne' by Florus
Plimpton written for the hundredth anniversary of the capture."

"Did they have a great old fight to take the fort?" asked Roger.

"No fight at all. Here's what Plimpton says:--

    "So said: and each to sleep addressed his wearied limbs and mind,
    And all was hushed i' the forest, save the sobbing of the wind,
    And the tramp, tramp, tramp of the sentinel, who started oft in fright
    At the shadows wrought 'mid the giant trees by the fitful camp-fire
        light.

    "Good Lord! what sudden glare is that that reddens all the sky,
    As though hell's legions rode the air and tossed their torches high!
    Up, men! the alarm drum beats to arms! and the solid ground seems riven
    By the shock of warring thunderbolts in the lurid depth of heaven!

    "O, there was clattering of steel and mustering in array,
    And shouts and wild huzzas of men, impatient of delay,
    As came the scouts swift-footed in--'They fly! the foe! they fly!
    They've fired the powder magazine and blown it to the sky.'

"All the English had to do was to walk in, put out the fire, repair the
fort and re-name it."

"What did they call it?"

"After the great statesman--Fort Pitt."

"That's where 'Pittsburg' got its name, then! I never thought about its
being in honor of Pitt!" exclaimed Helen.

"It is 'Pitt's City,'" rejoined her grandfather. "And this street," he
added somewhat later when they were speeding in a motor bus to a hotel
near the park, "this street is Forbes Street, named after the British
general. Somewhere there is a Bouquet Street, to commemorate another
hero of the war."

"I saw 'Duquesne Way' marked on the map," announced Ethel Blue.

On the following morning they awakened to find themselves opposite a
large and beautiful park with a mass of handsome buildings rising
impressively at the entrance.

"It is Schenley Park and the buildings house the Carnegie Institute.
We'll go over them by and bye."

"It's a library," guessed Dicky, who was not too young to have the
steelmaker's name associated with libraries in his youthful mind.

"It is a library and a fine one. There's also a Music Hall and an art
museum and a natural history museum. You'll see more fossil ferns there,
and the skeleton of a diplodocus--"

"A dip-what?" demanded Roger.

"Diplodocus, with the accent on the _plod_; one of the hugest animals
that ever walked the earth. They found the bones of this monster almost
complete in Colorado and wired them together so you can get an idea of
what really 'big game' was like in the early geological days."

"How long is he?"

"If all the ten members of the U.S.C. were to take hold of hands and
stretch along his length there would be space for four or five more to
join the string."

"Where's my hat?" demanded Roger. "I want to go over and make that
fellow's acquaintance instanter."

"When you go, notice the wall paintings," said his mother. "They show
the manufacture and uses of steel and they are considered among the
finest things of their kind in America. Alexander, the artist, did them.
You've seen some of his work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York."

"Pittsburg has the good sense to have a city organist," Mr. Emerson
continued. "Every Sunday afternoon he plays on the great organ in the
auditorium and the audience drifts in from the park and drifts out to
walk farther, and in all several thousand people hear some good music in
the course of the afternoon."

"There seem to be some separate buildings behind the Institute."

"The Technical Schools, and beyond them is the Margaret Morrison School
where girls may learn crafts and domestic science and so on."

"It's too bad it isn't a clear day," sighed Ethel Blue, as she rose from
the table.

"This is a bright day, Miss," volunteered the waiter who handed her her
unnecessary sunshade.

"You call this clear?" Mrs. Morton asked him.

"Yes, madam, this is a bright day for Pittsburg."

When they set forth they shook their heads over the townsman's idea of a
clear day, for the sky was overcast and clouds of dense black smoke
rolled together from the two sides of the city and met over their heads.

"It's from the steel mills," Mr. Emerson explained as he advised Ethel
Brown to wipe off a smudge of soot that had settled on her cheek and
warned his daughter that if she wanted to preserve the whiteness of her
gloves she had better replace them by colored ones until she returned to
a cleaner place.

They were to take the afternoon train up the Monongahela River to the
town from which Stanley Clark had sent his wire telling his uncle that
"Emily Leonard married a man named Smith," but there were several hours
to devote to sightseeing before train time, and the party went over
Schenley Park with thoroughness, investigated several of the "inclines"
which carried passengers from the river level to the top of the heights
above, motored among the handsome residences and ended, on the way to
the station, with a flying visit to the old blockhouse which is all that
is left of Port Pitt.

"So this is really a blockhouse," Helen said slowly as she looked at the
little two story building with its heavy beams.

"There are the musket holes," Ethel Brown pointed out.

"This is really where soldiers fought before the Revolution!"

"It really is," her mother assured her. "It is in the care of one of
the historical societies now; that's why it is in such good condition."

Roger had secured the tickets and had telephoned to the hotel at
Brownsville for rooms so they took their places in the train with no
misgivings as to possible discomfort at night. Their excitement was
beginning to rise, however, for two reasons. In the first place they had
been quite as disturbed as Dorothy and her mother over the difficulties
attending the purchase of the field and the Fitz-James Woods, and the
later developments in connection with the man, Hapgood. Now that they
were approaching the place where they knew Stanley Clark was working out
the clue they began to feel the thrill that comes over explorers on the
eve of discovery.

The other reason for excitement lay in the fact that Mr. Emerson had
promised them some wonderful sights before they reached their
destination. He had not told them what they were, although he had
mentioned something about fairyland that had started an abundant flow of
questions from Dicky. Naturally they were all alert to find out what
novelty their eyes were to see.

"I saw one novelty this afternoon," said Roger. "When I stepped into
that little stationery shop to get a newspaper I noticed in the rear a
queer tin thing with what looked like cotton wool sticking against its
back wall. I asked the woman who sold the papers what it was."

"Trust Roger for not letting anything pass him," smiled Ethel Brown.

"That's why I'm such a cyclopedia of accurate information, ma'am,"
Roger retorted. "She said it was a stove."

"With cotton wool for fuel?" laughed Ethel Blue.

"It seems they use natural gas here for heating as well as cooking, and
the woolly stuff was asbestos. The gas is turned on at the foot of the
back wall and the asbestos becomes heated and gives off warmth but
doesn't burn."

"I stayed in Pittsburg once in a boarding house where the rooms were
heated with natural gas," said Mr. Emerson. "It made a sufficient heat,
but you had to be careful not to turn the burner low just before all the
methodical Pittsburgers cooked dinner, for if you made it too low the
flame might go out when the pressure was light."

"Did the opposite happen at night?"

"It did. In the short time I was there the newspapers noted several
cases of fires caused by people leaving their stoves turned up high at
night and the flames bursting into the room and setting fire to some
inflammable thing near at hand when the pressure grew strong after the
good Pittsburgers went to bed."

"It certainly is useful," commended Mrs. Morton. "A turn of the key and
that's all."

"No coal to be shovelled--think of it!" exclaimed Roger, who took care
of several furnaces in winter. "No ashes to be sifted and carried away!
The thought causes me to burst into song," and he chanted ridicuously:--

    "Given a tight tin stove, asbestos fluff,
    A match of wood, an iron key, and, puff,
      Thou, Natural Gas, wilt warm the Arctic wastes,
    And Arctic wastes are Paradise enough."

As the train drew out of the city the young people's expectations of
fairyland were not fulfilled.

"I don't see anything but dirt and horridness, Grandfather," complained
Ethel Brown.

Mr. Emerson looked out of the window thoughtfully for a moment.

"True," he answered, "it's not yet dark enough for the magic to work."

"No wonder everything is sooty and grimy with those chimneys all around
us throwing out tons and tons of soft coal smoke to settle over
everything. Don't they ever stop?"

"They're at it twenty-four hours a day," returned her grandfather. "But
night will take all the ugliness into its arms and hide it; the
sordidness and griminess will disappear and fairyland will come forth
for a playground. The ugly smoke will turn into a thing of beauty. The
queer point of it all is," he continued, shaking his head sadly,
"fairyland is there all the time and always beautiful, only you can't
see it."

Dicky's eyes opened wide and he gazed out of the window intent on
peering into this mysterious invisible playground.

"Lots of things are like that," agreed Roger. "Don't you remember how
those snowflakes we looked at under the magnifying glass on Ethel Blue's
birthday burst into magnificent crystals? You wouldn't think a handful
of earth--just plain dirt--was pretty, would you? But it is. Look at it
through a microscope and see what happens."

"But, Grandfather, if the beauty is there right now why can't we see
it?" insisted Ethel Brown.

Mr. Emerson stared out of the window for a moment.

"That was a pretty necklace of beads you strung for Ayleesabet."

"We all thought they were beauty beads."

"And that was a lovely string of pearls that Mrs. Schermerhorn wore at
the reception for which you girls decorated her house."

There could be no disagreement from that opinion.

"Since Ayleesabet is provided with such beauties we shan't have to fret
about getting her anything else when she goes to her coming-out party,
shall we?"

"What are you saying, Grandfather!" exclaimed Helen. "Of course
Ayleesabet's little string of beads can't be compared with a pearl
necklace!"

"There you are!" retorted Mr. Emerson; "Helen has explained it. This
fairyland we are going to see can't be compared with the glory of the
sun any more than Ayleesabet's beads can be compared with Mrs.
Schermerhorn's pearls. We don't even see the fairyland when the sun is
shining but when the sun has set the other beauties become clear."

"O-o-o!" shouted Dicky, whose nose had been glued to the window in an
effort to prove his grandfather's statement; "look at that funny
umbrella!"

Everybody jumped to one window or another, and they saw in the gathering
darkness a sudden blast of flame and white hot particles shooting into
the air and spreading out like an umbrella of vast size.

"Look at it!" exclaimed the two Ethels, in a breath; "isn't that
beautiful! What makes it?"

"The grimy steel mills of the daytime make the fairyland of night,"
announced Mr. Emerson.

Across the river they noticed suddenly that the smoke pouring from a
chimney had turned blood red with tongues of vivid flame shooting
through it like pulsing veins. There was no longer any black smoke. It
had changed to heavy masses of living fire of shifting shades. Great
ingots of steel sent the observers a white hot greeting or glowed more
coolly as the train shot by them. Huge piles of smoking slag that had
gleamed dully behind the mills now were veined with vivid red, looking
like miniature volcanoes streaked with lava.

It was sometimes too beautiful for words to describe it suitably, and
sometimes too terrible for an exclamation to do it justice. It created
an excitement that was wearying, and when the train pulled into
Brownsville it was a tired party that found its way to the hotel.

As the children went off to bed Mr. Emerson called out "To-morrow all
will be grime and dirt again; fairyland has gone."

"Never mind, Grandfather," cried Ethel Brown, "we won't forget that it
is there just the same if only we could see it."

"And we'll think a little about the splendiferousness of the sun, too,"
called Helen from the elevator. "I never thought much about it before."




CHAPTER XVII


THE MISSING HEIRESS

Mr. Emerson's investigations proved that Stanley Clark had left
Brownsville several days previously and had gone to Millsboro, farther
up the Monongahela.

He had left that as his forwarding address, the hotel clerk said. This
information necessitated a new move at once, so the next morning, bright
and early, Mr. Emerson led his party to the river where they boarded a
little steamer scarcely larger than a motor boat.

They were soon puffing away at a fair rate of speed against the sluggish
current. The factories and huge steel plants had disappeared and the
banks looked green and country-like as mile after mile slipped by.
Suddenly Roger, who was sitting by the steersman's wheel, exclaimed,
"Why, look! there's a waterfall in front of us."

So, indeed, there was, a wide fall stretching from shore to shore, but
Roger, eyeing it suspiciously, added in an aggrieved tone, "But it's a
dam. Must be a dam. Look how straight it is."

"How on earth," called Ethel Blue, "are we going to get over it?"

"Jump up it the way Grandpa told me the salmon fishes do," volunteered
Dicky.

Everybody laughed, but Mr. Emerson declared that was just about what
they were going to do. The boat headed in for one end of the dam and her
passengers soon found themselves floating in a granite room, with huge
wooden doors closed behind them. The water began to boil around them,
and as it poured into the lock from unseen channels the boat rose
slowly. In a little while the Ethels cried that they could see over the
tops of the walls, and in a few minutes more another pair of big gates
opened in front of them and they glided into another chamber and out
into the river again, this time above the "falls."

"I feel as if I had been through the Panama Canal," declared Ethel Blue.

"That's just the way its huge locks work," said Mrs. Morton. "The next
time your Uncle Roger has a furlough I hope it will be long enough for
us to go down there and see it."

"I wonder," asked Roger, "if there are many more dams like this on the
Monongahela."

"There's one about every ten miles," volunteered the steersman. "Until
the government put them in only small boats could go up the river. Now
good sized ones can go all the way to Wheeling, West Virginia. If you
want to, you can go by boat all the way from Wheeling to the Gulf of
Mexico."

"The Gulf of Mexico," echoed the two Ethels. Then they added, also
together, "So you can!" and Ethel Brown said, "The Indians used to go
from the upper end of Lake Chautauqua to the Gulf in their canoes? When
they got to Fort Duquesne it was easy paddling."

"What is that high wharf with a building on it overhanging the river?"
asked Helen.

"That's a coal tipple," said her grandfather. "Do you see on shore some
low-lying houses and sheds? They are the various machinery plants and
offices of the coal mine and that double row of small houses a quarter
of a mile farther up is where the employes live."

As the boat continued up the river it passed many such tipples. They
were now in the soft coal country, the steersman said, and in due time
they arrived at Millsboro, a little town about ten miles above
Brownsville.

Here Mr. Emerson made immediate inquiries about Stanley Clark, and found
that he had gone on, leaving "Uniontown, Fayette County," as his
forwarding address. "That's the county seat where Hapgood says he copied
his records," said Mr. Emerson. "I hope we shall catch young Clark there
and get that matter straightened out."

As there was no train to Uniontown until the afternoon, Mr. Emerson
engaged a motor car to take them to a large mine whose tipple they had
passed on the way up. The Superintendent was a friend of the driver of
the car and he willingly agreed to show them through. Before entering
the mine he pointed out to them samples of coal which he had collected.
Some had fern leaves plainly visible upon their surfaces and others
showed leaves of trees and shrubs.

    "Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,
    Veinings, leafage, fibers clear and fine,"

quoted Ethel Blue softly, as she looked at them.

Mrs. Morton stopped before a huge block of coal weighing several tons
and said to her son, "Here's a lump for your furnace, Roger."

"Phew," said Roger. "Think of a furnace large enough to fit that lump!
Do you get many of them?" he asked of the Superintendent.

"We keep that," said the Superintendent, "because it's the largest
single lump of coal ever brought out of this mine. Of course, we could
get them if we tried to, but it's easier to handle it in smaller
pieces."

"What'th in that little houthe over there?" asked Dicky. "Theems to me I
thee something whithing round."

"That's the fan that blows fresh air into the mine so that the miners
can breathe, and drives out the poisonous and dangerous gases."

"What would happen if the fan stopped running?" asked Ethel Brown.

"Many things might happen," said the Superintendent gravely. "Men might
suffocate for lack of air, or an explosion might follow from the
collection of the dreaded 'fire damp' ignited by some miner's lamp."

"Fire damp?" repeated Mrs. Morton. "That is really natural gas, isn't
it?"

"Yes, they're both 'marsh gas' caused by the decay of the huge ferns and
plants of the carboniferous age. Some of them hardened into coal and
others rotted when they were buried, and the gas was caught in huge
pockets. It is gas from these great pockets that people use for heating
and cooking all about here and even up into Canada."

Ethel Brown had been listening and the words "some of them hardened into
coal" caught her ear. She went close to her grandfather's side.

"Tell me," she said, "exactly what is coal and how did it get here?"

"What _I_ want to know," retorted Mr. Emerson, "is what brand of
curiosity you have in your cranium, and how did it get there? Answer me
that."

Ethel Brown laughed.

"Let's have a lecture," she urged, "and," handing her grandfather a
small lump of coal, "here's your text."

Mr. Emerson turned the bit of coal over and over.

"When I look at this little piece of black stone," he said, "I seem to
see dense forests filled with luxuriant foliage and shrubbery and
mammoth trees under which move sluggish streams draining the swampy
ground. The air is damp and heavy and warm."

"What about the animals?"

"There are few animals. Most of them are water creatures, though there
are a few that can live on land and in the water, too, and in the latter
part of the coal-making period enormous reptiles crawled over the wet
floor of the forest. Life is easy in all this leafy splendor and so is
death, but no eye of man is there to look upon it, no birds brighten the
dense green of the trees, and the ferns and shrubs have no flowers as
we know them. The air is heavy with carbon."

"Where was the coal?"

"The coal wasn't made yet. You know how the soil of the West Woods at
home is deep with decayed leaves? Just imagine what soil would be if it
were made by the decay of these huge trees and ferns! It became yards
and yards deep and silt and water pressed it down and crushed from it
almost all the elements except the carbon, and it was transformed into a
mineral, and that mineral is coal."

"Coal? Our coal?"

"Our coal. See the point of a fern leaf on this bit?" and he held out
the piece of coal he had been holding. "That fern grew millions of years
ago."

"Isn't it delicate and pretty!" exclaimed Ethel Blue, as it reached her
in passing from hand to hand, "and also not as clean as it once was!"
she added ruefully, looking at her fingers.

By way of preparation for their descent into the mine each member of the
party was given a cap on which was fastened a small open wick oil lamp.
They did not light them, however, until they had all been carried a
hundred feet down into the earth in a huge elevator. Here they needed
the illumination of the tiny lamps whose flicker made dancing shadows on
the walls.

Following the Superintendent their first visit was to the stable.

"What is a stable doing down here?" wondered Ethel Brown.

"Mules pull the small cars into which the miners toss the coal as they
cut it out. These fellows probably will never see the light of day
again," and their leader stroked the nose of the animal nearest him
which seemed startled at his touch.

"He's almost blind, you see," the Superintendent explained. "His eyes
have adjusted themselves to the darkness and even these feeble lights
dazzle him."

The girls felt the tears very near their eyelids as they thought of the
fate of these poor beasts, doomed never to see the sun again or to feel
the grass under their feet.

"I once knew a mule who was so fond of music that he used to poke his
head into the window near which his master's daughter was playing on the
piano," said the Superintendent, who noticed their agitation and wanted
to amuse them. "We might get up band concerts for these fellows."

"Poor old things, I believe they would like it!" exclaimed Helen.

"This is a regular underground village," commented Mrs. Morton, as they
walked for a long distance through narrow passages until they found
themselves at the heading of a drift where the men were working.

"Is there any gas here?" asked the Superintendent, and when the miners
said "Yes," he lifted his hand light, which was encased in wire gauze,
and thrust it upwards toward the roof and gave a grunt as it flickered
near the top.

There it was, the dreaded fire-damp, in a layer above their heads. One
touch of an open flame and there would be a terrible explosion, yet the
miners were working undisturbed just beneath it with unprotected lamps
on their caps. The visitors felt suddenly like recruits under fire--they
were far from enjoying the situation but they did not want to seem
alarmed. No one made any protest, but neither did any one protest when
the Superintendent led the way to a section of the mine where there was
no gas that they might see a sight which he assured them was without
doubt wonderful.

They were glad that they had been assured that there was no fire-damp
here, for their leader lifted his lamp close to the roof. Ethel Blue
made the beginning of an exclamation as she saw his arm rising, but she
smothered her cry for her good sense told her that this experienced man
would not endanger the lives of himself or his guests. The coal had been
taken out very cleanly, and above them they saw not coal but shale.

"What is shale?" inquired Helen.

"Hardened clay," replied the Superintendent. "There were no men until
long after the carboniferous period when coal was formed, but just in
this spot it must have happened that the soil that had gathered above
the deposits of coal was very light for some reason or other. Above the
coal there was only a thin layer of soft clay. One day a hunter tramped
this way and left his autograph behind."

He held his lamp steadily upward, and there in the roof were the
unmistakable prints of the soles of a man's feet, walking.

"It surely does look mightily as if your explanation was correct,"
exclaimed Mr. Emerson, as he gazed at the three prints, in line and
spaced as a walker's would be. Their guide said that there had been six,
but the other three had fallen after being exposed to the air.

"I wish it hadn't been such a muddy day," sighed Ethel Blue. "The mud
squeezed around so that his toe marks were filled right up."

"It certainly was a muddy day," agreed Roger, "but I'm glad it was. If
he had been walking on rocks we never should have known that he had
passed this way a million or so years ago."

They were all so filled with interest that they were almost unwilling to
go on in the afternoon, although Mr. Emerson promised them other sights
around Uniontown, quite different from any they had seen yet.

It was late in the afternoon when they ferried across the river in a
boat running on a chain, and took the train for the seat of Fayette
County. As the daylight waned they found themselves travelling through a
country lighted by a glare that seemed to spread through the atmosphere
and to be reflected back from the clouds and sky.

"What is it?" Dicky almost whimpered, as he snuggled closer to his
mother.

"Ask Grandfather," returned Mrs. Morton.

"It's the glare from the coke ovens," answered Mr. Emerson. "Do you see
those long rows of bee-hives? Those are ovens in which soft coal is
being burned so that a certain ingredient called bitumen may be driven
off from it. What is left after that is done is a substance that looks
somewhat like a dry, sponge if that were gray and hard. It burns with a
very hot flame and is invaluable in the smelting of iron and the making
of steel."

"That's why they make so much here," guessed Ethel Brown, who had been
counting the ovens and was well up in the hundreds with plenty more in
sight. "Here is where they make most of the iron and steel in the United
States and they have to have coke for it."

"And you notice how conveniently the coal beds lie to the iron mines?
Nature followed an efficiency program, didn't she?" laughed Roger.

"They turn out about twenty million tons of coke a year just around
here," Helen read from her guidebook, "and it is one of the two greatest
coke burning regions of the world!"

"Where's the other?"

"In the neighborhood of Durham, England."

"It is a wonderful sight!" exclaimed Ethel Blue. "I never knew fire
could be so wonderful and so different!"

Mr. Emerson's search for Stanley Clark seemed to be a stern chase and
consequently a long one. Here again the hotel clerk told him that Mr.
Clark had gone on, this time to Washington, the seat of Washington
County. He was fairly sure that he was still there because he had
received a letter from him just the day before asking that something he
had left behind should be sent him to that point, which was done.

As soon as the Record Office was open in the morning Mr. Emerson and
Roger went there.

"We might as well check up on Hapgood's investigations," said Mr.
Emerson. "They may be all right, and he may be honestly mistaken in
thinking that his Emily is the Clarks' Emily; or he may have faked some
of his records. It won't take us long to find out. Mr. Clark let me take
his copy of Hapgood's papers."

It was not a long matter to prove that Hapgood's copy of the records was
correct. Emily Leonard had married Edward Smith; their son, Jabez, had
married a Hapgood and Mary was their child. Where Hapgood's copy had
been deficient was in his failing to record that this Emily Leonard was
the daughter of George and Sabina Leonard, whereas the Clarks' Emily was
the daughter of Peter and Judith Leonard.

"There's Hapgood's whole story knocked silly," remarked Mr. Emerson
complacently.

"But it leaves us just where we were about the person the Clarks' Emily
married."

"Stanley wouldn't have telegraphed that she married a Smith if he hadn't
been sure. He sent that wire from Millsboro, you know. He must have
found something in that vicinity."

"I'm going to try to get him on the telephone to-night, and then we can
join him in Washington tomorrow if he'll condescend to stay in one spot
for a few hours and not keep us chasing over the country after him."

"That's Jabez Smith over there now," the clerk, who had been interested
in their search, informed them.

"Jabez Smith!" repeated Roger, his jaw dropped.

"Jabez Smith!" repeated Mr. Emerson. "Why, he's dead!"

"Jabez Smith? The Hapgood woman's husband? Father of Mary Smith? He
isn't dead. He's alive and drunk almost every day."

He indicated a man leaning against the wall of the corridor and Mr.
Emerson and Roger approached him.

"Don't you know the Miss Clarks said they thought that Mary said her
father was alive but her uncle interrupted her loudly and said she was
'an orphan, poor kid'?" Roger reminded his grandfather.

"She's half an orphan; her mother really is dead, the clerk says."

Jabez Smith acknowledged his identity and received news of his
brother-in-law and his daughter with no signs of pleasure.

"What scheming is Hapgood up to now?" he muttered crossly.

"Do you remember what your grandfather and grandmother Leonards' names
were," asked Mr. Emerson.

The man looked at him dully, as if he wondered what trick there might be
in the inquiry, but evidently he came to the conclusion that his new
acquaintance was testing his memory, so he pulled himself together and
after some mental searching answered, "George Leonard; Sabina Leonard."

His hearers were satisfied, and left him still supporting the Court
House wall with his person instead of his taxes.

Stanley, the long pursued, was caught on the wire, and hailed their
coming with delight. He said that he thought he had all the information
he needed and that he had been planning to go home the next day, so they
were just in time.

"That's delightful; he can go with us," exclaimed Ethel Brown, and Helen
and Roger looked especially pleased.

The few hours that passed before they met in Washington were filled with
guesses as to whether Stanley had built up the family tree of his cousin
Emily so firmly that it could not be shaken.

"We proved this morning that Hapgood's story was a mixture of truth and
lies," Mr. Emerson said, "but we haven't anything to replace it. Our
evidence is all negative."

"Stanley seems sure," Roger reminded him.

When Stanley met them at the station in Washington he seemed both sure
and happy. He shook hands with them all.

"It is perfectly great to have you people here," he said to Helen.

"Have you caught Emily?" she replied, dimpling with excitement.

"I have Emily traced backwards and forwards. Let's go into the writing
room of the hotel and you shall see right off how she stands."

They gathered around the large table and listened to the account of the
young lawyer's adventures. He had had a lead that took him to Millsboro
soon after he reached western Pennsylvania, but he missed the trail
there and spent some time in hunting in surrounding towns before he came
on the record in the Uniontown courthouse.

"I certainly thought I had caught her then," he confessed. "I thought so
until I compared the ages of the two Emilies. I found that our Emily
would have been only ten years old at the time the Uniontown Emily
married Edward Smith."

"Mr. Clark wired you to find out just that point."

"Did he? I never received the despatch. Hadn't I told him the date of
our Emily's birth?

"He has a crow to pick with you over that."

"Too bad. Well, I moseyed around some more, and the trail led me back to
Millsboro again, where I ought to have found the solution in the first
place if I had been more persevering. I came across an old woman in
Millsboro who had been Emily Leonard's bridesmaid when she married
Julian Smith. That sent me off to the county seat and there I found it
all set down in black and white;--Emily Leonard, adopted daughter of Asa
Wentworth and daughter of Peter and Judith (Clark) Leonard. There was
everything I wanted."

"You knew she had been adopted by a Wentworth?"

"I found that out before I left Nebraska."

"What was the date of the marriage?"

"1868. She was eighteen. Two years later her only child, a son, Leonard,
was born, and she died--"

"Her son Leonard! Leonard Smith!" exclaimed Mrs. Morton suddenly. "Do
you suppose--" she hesitated, looking at her father.

He raised his eyebrows doubtfully, then turning to Stanley he inquired:

"You didn't find out what became of this Leonard Smith, did you?"

"I didn't find any record of his marriage, but I met several men who
used to know him. They said he became quite a distinguished musician,
and that he married a Philadelphia woman."

"Did they know her name?" asked Mrs. Morton, leaning forward eagerly.

"One of them said he thought it was Martin. Smith never came back here
to live after he set forth to make his fortune, so they were a little
hazy about his marriage and they didn't know whether he was still
alive."

"The name wasn't Morton, was it?"

The girls looked curiously at their mother, for she was crimson with
excitement. Stanley could take them no farther, however.

"Father," Mrs. Morton said to Mr. Emerson, as the young people chattered
over Stanley's discoveries, "I think I'd better send a telegram to
Louise and ask her what her husband's parents' names were. Wouldn't it
be too strange if he should be the son of the lost Emily?"

Mr. Emerson hurried to the telegraph office and sent an immediate wire
to "Mrs. Leonard Smith, Rosemont, N.J. Wire names of your husband's
parents," it read.

The answer came back before morning;--"Julian and Emily Leonard Smith."

"Now why in the wide world didn't she remember that when we've done
nothing but talk about Emily Leonard for weeks!" cried Mrs. Smith's
sister-in-law impatiently.

"I dare say she never gave them a thought; Leonard Smith's mother died
when he was born, Stanley says. How about the father, Stanley?"

"Julian Smith? He died years ago. I saw his death record this morning."

"Then I don't see but you've traced the missing heir right to your own
next door neighbor, Stanley."

"It looks to me as if that was just what had happened," laughed the
young lawyer. "Isn't that jolly! It's Dorothy whose guardian's signature
is lacking to make the deed of the field valid when we sell it to her
mother!"

"It's Dorothy who is a part owner of Fitz-James's woods already!" cried
the Ethels.

Another telegram went to Rosemont at once. This one was addressed to
"Miss Dorothy Smith." It said, "Stanley welcomes you into family.
Congratulations from all on your good fortune," and it was signed "The
Travellers."


THE END









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