Ethel Morton's Enterprise
Mabell S.C. Smith
Part 2 out of 4
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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
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.
'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
[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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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 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_,"
"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
"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
"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
"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
'The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago.'"
"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
"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?"
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"'Grass pink,'" repeated Ethel, Brown, "isn't that the same as 'spice
"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."
"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,"
"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
"Mother planted some last year," answered Roger, "but they didn't
"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,
"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
"--and pink candy-tuft for the border and foxgloves for the back; are
those old plants or seedlings?"
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"Only that's stiffer. If you want really, truly prim things try
[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
"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
'So warm with light his blended colors flow,'
in a bouquet when there's gypsophila in it."
"But what a name!" ejaculated Roger.
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
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.
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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,"
"What is it? I'm game to make it or eat it," responded Roger instantly.
"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
"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?"
"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.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"'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
"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
[Illustration: Linear Lance-shaped Oblong Elliptical Ovate]
"That ought to be rounded at the point and narrow at the base," said the
"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
"'_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
[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_'
"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?"
[Illustration: Pinnate Pinnate, tendrils
Locust Leaf Sweet Pea Leaf]
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
"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.
"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
"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
[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
"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."
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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.
"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
"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.
"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
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