List Of Contents | Contents of A Summer in a Canyon, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
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and red hair that make me what I am, or did what I am make my nose
and hair what they are--which?'

'We'll have to ask Aunt Truth,' said Margery; 'that is too difficult
a thing for us to answer.'

'Wasn't it nice I catched that big bull-frog, Margie?' cried Dick,
his eyes shining with anticipation.  'Now I'll have as many as seven
or 'leven frogs and lots of horned toads when Elsie comes, and she
can help me play with 'em.'

When the girls reached the tents again, the last article had been
taken from the team and Manuel had driven away.  The sound of Phil's
hammer could be heard from the carpenter-shop, and Pancho was already
laying the tent floor in a small, open, sunny place, where the low
boughs of a single sycamore hung so as to protect one of its corners,
leaving the rest to the full warmth of the sunshine that was to make
Elsie entirely well again.

'I am tired to death,' sighed Laura, throwing herself down in a
bamboo lounging-chair.  'Such a tramp as we had! and after all, the
boys insisted on going where Dr. Winship wouldn't allow us to follow,
so that we had to stay behind and fish with the children; I wish I
had stayed at home and read The Colonel's Daughter.'

'Oh, Laura!' remonstrated Margery, 'think of that lovely pool with
the forests of maiden-hair growing all about it!'

'And poison-oak,' grumbled Laura.  'I know I walked into some of it
and shall look like a perfect fright for a week.  I shall never make
a country girl--it's no use for me to try.'

'It's no use for you to try walking four miles in high-heeled shoes,
my dear,' said Polly, bluntly.

'They are not high,' retorted Laura, 'and if they are, I don't care
to look like a--a--cow-boy, even in the backwoods.'

'I'm an awful example,' sighed Polly, seating herself on a stump in
front of the tent, and elevating a very dusty little common-sense
boot.  'Sir Walter Raleigh would never have allowed me to walk on his
velvet cloak with that boot, would he, girls?  Oh, wasn't that
romantic, though? and don't I wish that I had been Queen Elizabeth!'

'You've got the HAIR,' said Laura.

'Thank you!  I had forgotten Elizabeth's hair was red; so it was.
This is my court train,' snatching a tablecloth that bung on a hush
near by, and pinning it to her waist in the twinkling of an eye,--
'this my farthingale,' dangling her sun-bonnet from her belt,--'this
my sceptre,' seizing a Japanese umbrella,--'this my crown,' inverting
a bright tin plate upon her curly head.  'She is just alighting from
her chariot, THUS; the courtiers turn pale, THUS; (why don't you do
it?) what shall be done?  The Royal Feet must not be wet.  "Go round
the puddle?  Prit, me Lud, 'Od's body!  Forsooth!  Certainly not!
Remove the puddle!" she says haughtily to her subjects.  They are
just about to do so, when out from behind a neighbouring chaparral
bush stalks a beautiful young prince with coal-black hair and rose-
red cheeks.  He wears a rich velvet cloak, glittering with
embroidery.  He sees not her crown, her hair outshines it; he sees
not her sceptre, her tiny hand conceals it; he sees naught save the
loathly mud.  He strips off his cloak and floats it on the puddle.
With a haughty but gracious bend of her head the Queen accepts the
courtesy; crosses the puddle, THUS, waves her sceptre, THUS, and
saying, "You shall hear from me by return mail, me Lud," she vanishes
within the castle.  The next morning she makes Sir Walter British
Minister to Florida.  He departs at once with a cargo of tobacco,
which he exchanges for sweet potatoes, and everybody is happy ever

The girls were convulsed with mirth at this historical romance, and,
as Mrs. Winship wiped the tears of merriment from her eyes, Polly
seized the golden opportunity and dropped on her knees beside her.

'Please, Aunt Truth, we can't get the white mosquito-netting because
Dr. Winship has the key of the storehouse in his pocket, and so--may-
-I--blow the horn?'

Mrs. Winship gave her consent in despair, and Polly went to the oak-
tree where the horn hung and blew all the strength of her lungs into
blast after blast for five minutes.

'That's all I needed,' she said, on returning; 'that was an escape-
valve, and I shall be lady-like and well-behaved the rest of the


'An hour and friend with friend will meet,
Lip cling to lip and hand clasp hand.'

'Now, Laura,' asked Bell, when quiet was restored, 'advise us about
Elsie's tent.  We want it to be perfectly lovely; and you have such
good taste!'

'Let me think,' said Laura.  'Oh, if she were only a brunette instead
of a blonde, we could festoon the tent with that yellow tarlatan I
brought for the play!'

'What difference does it make whether she is dark or light?' asked
Bell, obtusely.

'Why, a room ought to be as becoming as a dress--so Mrs. Pinkerton
says.  You know I saw a great deal of her at the hotel; and oh,
girls! her bedroom was the most exquisite thing you ever saw!  She
had a French toilet-table, covered with pale blue silk and white
marquise lace,--perfectly lovely,--with yards and yards of robin's-
egg blue watered ribbon in bows; and on it she kept all her toilet
articles, everything in hammered silver from Tiffany's with monograms
on the back,--three or four sizes of brushes, and combs, and mirrors,
and a full manicure set.  It used to take her two hours to dress; but
it was worth it.  Oh, such gorgeous tea-gowns as she had!  One of old
rose and lettuce was a perfect dream!  She always had her breakfast
in bed, you know.  I think it's delightful to have your breakfast
before you get up, and dress as slowly as you like.  I wish mamma
would let me do it.'

'What does she do after she gets dressed in her rows of old lettuce--
I mean her old rows of lettuce?' asked Polly.

'Do?  Why really, Polly, you are too stupid!  What do you suppose she
did?  What everybody else does, of course.'

'Oh!' said Polly, apologetically.

'How old is Mrs. Pinkerton?' asked Margery.

'Between nineteen and twenty.  There is not three years' difference
in our ages, though she has been married nearly two years.  It seems
so funny.'

'Only nineteen!' cried Bell.  'Why, I always thought that she was old
as the hills--twenty-five or thirty at the very least.  She always
seemed tired of things.'

'Well,' said Laura, in a whisper intended to be too low to reach Mrs.
Winship's tent, 'I don't know whether I ought to repeat what was told
me in confidence, but the fact is--well--she doesn't like Mr.
Pinkerton very well!'

The other girls, who had not enjoyed the advantages of city life and
travel, looked as dazed as any scandalmonger could have desired.

'Don't like him!' gasped Polly, nearly falling off the stump.  'Why,
she's married to him!'

'Where on earth were you brought up?' snapped Laura.  'What
difference does that make?  She can't help it if she doesn't happen
to like her husband, can she?  You can't make yourself like anybody,
can you?'

'Well, did she ever like him?' asked Margery; 'for she's only been
married a year or two, and it seems to me it might have lasted that
long if there was anything to begin on.'

'But,' whispered Laura, mysteriously, 'you see Mr. Pinkerton was very
rich and the Dentons very poor.  Mr. Denton had just died, leaving
them nothing at all to live on, and poor Jessie would have had to
teach school, or some dreadful thing like that.  The thought of it
almost killed her, she is so sensitive and so refined.  She never
told me so in so many words, but I am sure she married Mr. Pinkerton
to save her mother from poverty; and I pity her from the bottom of my

'I suppose it was noble,' said Bell, in a puzzled tone, 'if she
couldn't think of any other way, but--'

'Well, did she try very hard to think of other ways?' asked Polly.
'She never looked especially noble to me.  I thought she seemed like
a die-away, frizzlygig kind of a girl.'

'I wish, Miss Oliver, that you would be kind enough to remember that
Mrs. Pinkerton is one of my most intimate friends,' said Laura,
sharply.  'And I do wish, also, that you wouldn't talk loud enough to
be heard all through the canyon.'

The colour came into Polly's cheeks, but before she could answer,
Mrs. Winship walked in, stocking-basket in hand, and seated herself
in the little wicker rocking-chair.  Polly's clarion tones had given
her a clue to the subject, and she thought the discussion needed

'You were talking about Mrs. Pinkerton, girls,' she said, serenely.
'You say you are fond of her, Laura, dear, and it seems very
ungracious for me to criticise your friend; that is a thing which
most of us fail to bear patiently.  But I cannot let you hold her up
as an ideal to be worshipped, or ask the girls to admire as a piece
of self-denial what I fear was nothing but indolence and self-
gratification.  You are too young to talk of these things very much;
but you are not too young to make up your mind that when you agree to
live all your life long with a person, you must have some other
feeling than a determination not to teach school.  Jessie Denton's
mother, my dear Laura, would never have asked the sacrifice of her
daughter's whole life; and Jessie herself would never have made it
had she been less vain, proud, and luxurious in her tastes, and a
little braver, more self-forgetting and industrious.  These are hard
words, dear, and I am sorry to use them.  She has gained the riches
she wanted,--the carriages and servants, and tea-gowns, and hammered
silver from Tiffany's, but she looks tired and disappointed, as Bell
says; and I've no doubt she is, poor girl.'

'I don't think you do her justice, Mrs. Winship; I don't, indeed,'
said Laura.

'If you are really attached to her, Laura, don't make the mistake of
admiring her faults of character, but try to find her better
qualities, and help her to develop them.  It is a fatal thing when
girls of your age set up these false standards, and order their lives
by them.  There are worse things than school-teaching, yes, or even
floor-scrubbing or window-washing.  Lovely tea-gowns and silver-
backed brushes are all very pretty and nice to have, if they are not
gained at the sacrifice of something better.  I should have said to
my daughter, had I been Mrs. Denton, "We will work for each other, my
darling, and try to do whatever God gives us to do; but, no matter
how hard life is, your heart is the most precious thing in the world,
and you must never sell that, if we part with everything else."  Oh,
my girls, my girls, if I could only make you believe that "poor and
content is rich, and rich enough."  I cannot bear to think of your
growing year by year into the conviction that these pretty glittering
things of wealth are the true gold of life which everybody seeks.
Forgive me, Laura, if I have hurt your feelings.'

'I know you would never hurt anybody's feelings, if you could help
it, Mrs. Winship,' Laura answered, with a hint of coldness in her
voice, 'though I can't help thinking that you are a little hard on
poor Jessie; but, even then, one can surely like a person without
wishing to do the very same things she does.'

'Yes, that is true,' said Mrs. Winship, gravely.  'But one cannot
constantly justify a wrong action in another without having one's own
standard unconsciously lowered.  What we continually excuse in other
people we should be inclined by and by to excuse in ourselves.  Let
us choose our friends as wisely as possible, and love them dearly,
helping them to grow worthier of our love at the same time we are
trying to grow worthier of theirs; because "we live by admiration,
hope, and love," you know, but not by admiring and loving the wrong

'But there is the horn, and I hear the boys.  Let us come to
luncheon, and tell our good news of Elsie.'

[Music follows]
With incredible energy.
The horn!  The horn!  The lus-ty, lus-ty horn!  'Tis
not a thing to laugh to scorn, A thing to laugh to scorn!

Long before the boys appeared in sight, their voices rang through the
canyon in a chorus that woke the echoes, and presently they came into
view, bearing two quarters and a saddle of freshly killed mutton,
hanging from a leafy branch swung between Jack's sturdy shoulder and

'A splendid "still hunt" this morning, Aunt Truth!' exclaimed Jack.
'Game plenty and not too shy, dogs in prime condition, hunters ditto.
Behold the result!'

The girls could scarcely tell whether or no Laura was offended at
Aunt Truth's unexpected little lecture.  She did not appear quite as
unrestrained as usual, but as everybody was engaged in the
preparations for Elsie's welcome there was a general atmosphere of
hilarity and confusion, so that no awkwardness was possible.

The tool-shop resounded with blows of hammer and steel.  Dicky was
under everybody's feet, and his 'seven or ten frogs,' together with
his unrivalled collection of horned toads, were continually escaping
from their tin pails and boxes in the various tents, and everybody
was obliged to join in the search to recover and re-incarcerate them,
in order to keep the peace.

Hop Yet was making a gold and silver cake, with 'Elsie' in pink
letters on chocolate frosting.  Philip had pitched the new tent so
that in one corner there was a slender manzanita-tree which had been
cropped for some purpose or other.  He had nailed a cross-piece on
this, so that it resembled the letter T, and was now laboriously
boring holes and fitting in pegs, that Elsie might have a sort of
closet behind her bed.

As for the rustic furniture, the girls and boys declared it to be too
beautiful for words.  They stood in circles about it and admired it
without reserve, each claiming that his own special piece of work was
the gem of the collection.  The sunlight shining through the grey and
green tints of the tent was voted perfection, Philip's closet a
miracle of ingenuity, the green and white straw matting an

The looking-glass had been mounted on a packing-box, and converted by
Laura into a dressing-table that rivalled Mrs. Pinkerton's; for green
tarlatan and white mosquito-netting had been so skilfully combined
that the traditional mermaid might have been glad to make her toilet
there 'with a comb and a glass in her hand.'  The rest of the green
and white gauzy stuff had been looped from the corners of the tent to
the centre of the roof-piece, and delicate tendrils of wild clematis
climbed here and there as if it were growing, its roots plunged in
cunningly hidden bottles of water.  Bell had gone about with pieces
of awning cloth and green braid, and stitched an elaborate system of
pockets on the inside of the tent wherever they would not be too
prominent.  There were tiny pockets for needle-work, thimbles, and
scissors, medium-sized pockets for soap and combs and brushes, bigger
pockets for shoes and slippers and stockings, and mammoth pockets for
anything else that Elsie might ordain to put in a pocket.

By four o'clock in the afternoon Margery had used her clever fingers
to such purpose that a white silesia flag, worked with the camp name,

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