Ethel Morton's Enterprise
Mabell S.C. Smith
Part 3 out of 4
"Though it would be hard to do that," he concluded, smiling with
"No fair planting corn in the kitchen and transplanting it the way I'm
doing at home," decreed Roger, enlarging his stipulations concerning the
"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
"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
"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
"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
"'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
"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
"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
"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.
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,
"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
"It must be in the school house hall so everybody will go," declared
"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
"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
"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
"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
"A glass bowl doesn't seem to me suitable," answered her aunt. "Can you
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
"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
"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
"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
They all had experienced the same discomfort, and they all laughed at
"A low bowl arranged flat is the rule for centrepieces," repeated Mrs.
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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.
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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"It's Service Club work; we ought to have started it earlier," she
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
NATIONAL PLANT, FLOWER AND FRUIT GUILD,
70 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
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.
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
"It says 'Approved Label' at the top," Ethel Brown observed
"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.
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
"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
"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
"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
"Funny salt should be a freshener," murmured Dorothy, as the Ethels
murmured their understanding of the duties their president assigned to
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
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.
TEA and SANDWICHES
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"What do you suppose Mother and Aunt Louise will say?" asked Ethel Brown
"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,
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
When the Ethels and Dorothy received their first order for the
decoration of a house for an afternoon reception they were somewhat
"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
"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
And they admitted themselves that if happiness made them sweet to look
at it must be true.
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
"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
"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.
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
"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
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
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
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."
"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
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,
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
"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
"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?"
"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."
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