List Of Contents | Contents of A Summer in a Canyon, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
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floated from the tip top of the front entrance to the tent.  The
ceremony of raising the flag was attended with much enthusiasm, and
its accomplishment greeted by a deafening cheer from the entire

'Unless one wants Paradise,' sighed Margery, 'who wouldn't be
contented with dear Camp Chaparral?'

'Who would live in a house, any way?' exclaimed Philip.  'Sniff this
air, and look up at that sky!'

'And this is what they call "roughing it," in Santa Barbara,' quoth
Dr. Winship.  'Why, you youngsters have made that tent fit for the
occupancy of a society belle.'

'Now, let's organise for reception!' cried Geoffrey.  'Assemble, good
people!  Come over here, Aunt Truth!  I will take the chair myself,
since I don't happen to see anybody who would fill it with more

'I am going to mount my broncho and go out on the road to meet my
beloved family,' said Jack, sauntering up to the impromptu council-

'How can you tell when they will arrive?' asked Mrs. Winship.

'I can make a pretty good guess.  They'll probably start from Tacitas
as early as eight or nine o'clock, if Elsie is well.  Let's see:
it's about twenty-five miles, isn't it, Uncle Doc?  Say twenty-three
to the place where they turn off the main road.  Well, I'll take a
bit of lunch, ride out ten or twelve miles, hitch my horse in the
shade, and wait.'

'Very well,' said Geoffrey.  'It is not usual for committees to
appoint themselves, but as you are a near relative of our
distinguished guests we will grant you special consideration and
order you to the front.  Ladies and gentlemen, passing over the
slight informality of the nomination, all in favour of appointing Mr.
John Howard Envoy Extraordinary please manifest it by the usual

Six persons yelled 'Ay,' four raised the right hand, and one stood

'There seems to be a slight difference of opinion as to the usual
sign.  All right.--Contrary minded!'

'No!' shouted Polly, at the top of her lungs.

'It is a unanimous vote,' said Geoffrey, crushingly, bringing down
his fist as an imaginary gavel with incredible force and dignity.
'Dr. and Mrs. Winship, will you oblige the Chair by acting as a
special Reception Committee?'

'Certainly,' responded the doctor, smilingly.  'Will the Chair kindly
outline the general policy of the committee?'

'Hm-m-m!  Yes, certainly--of course.  The Chair suggests that the
Reception Committee--well, that they stay at home and--receive the
guests,--yes, that will do very nicely.  All-in-favour-and-so-forth-
it-is-a-vote-and-so-ordered.  Secretary will please spread a copy on
the minutes.'  Gavel.

'I rise to a point of order,' said Jack, sagely.  'There is no
secretary and there are no minutes.'

'Mere form,' said the Chair; 'sit down; there will be minutes in a
minute,--got to do some more things first; that will do, SIT DOWN.
Will the Misses Burton and Messrs. Burton and Noble kindly act as
Committee on Decoration?'

'Where's the Committee on Music, and Refreshments, and Olympian
Games, and all that sort of thing?' interrupted Polly, who had not
the slightest conception of parliamentary etiquette; 'and why don't
you hurry up and put me on something?'

'If Miss Oliver refuses to bridle her tongue, and persists in
interrupting the business of the meeting, the Chair will be obliged
to remove her,' said Geoffrey, with chilling emphasis.

Polly rose again, undaunted.  'I would respectfully ask the Chair,
who put him in the chair, any way?'

'Question!' roared Philip.

'Second the motion!' shrieked Bell, that being the only parliamentary
expression she knew.

'Order!' cried Geoffrey in stentorian accents.  'I will adjourn the
meeting and clear the court-room unless there is order.'

'Do!' remarked Polly, encouragingly.  'I will rise again, like
Phoebus, from my ashes, to say that--'

Here Jack sprang to his feet.  'I would suggest to the Chair that the
last speaker amend her motion by substituting the word "Phoenix" for

'Accept the amendment,' said Polly, serenely, amidst the general

'Question!' called Bell, with another mighty projection of memory
into a missionary meeting that she had once attended.

'I am not aware that there is any motion before the house,' said
Geoffrey, cuttingly.

'Second the motion!'

'Second the amendment!' shouted the girls.

'Ladies, there IS no motion.  Will you oblige the Chair by remaining
quiet until speech is requested?'

'Move that the meeting be adjourned and another one called, with a
new Chair!' remarked Margery, who felt that the honour of her sex was
at stake.

'Move that this motion be so ordered and spread upon the minutes, and
a copy of it be presented to the Chairman,' suggested Philip.

'Move that the copy be appropriately bound in CALF,' said Jack,
dodging an imaginary blow.

'Move that the other committees be elected by ballot,' concluded
Scott Burton.

'This is simply disgraceful!' exclaimed the Chair.  'Order! order!  I
appoint Miss Oliver Committee on Entertainment, with a view of
keeping her still.'

This was received with particular as well as general satisfaction.

'Miss Winship, we appoint you Committee on Music.'

'All right.  Do you wish it to be original?'

'Certainly not; we wish it to be good.'

'But we only know one chorus, and that's "My Witching Dinah Snow."'

'Never mind; either write new words to that tune or sing tra-la-la to
it.  Mr. Richard Winship, the Chair appoints you Committee on
Menagerie, and suggests that as we have proclaimed a legal holiday,
you give your animals the freedom of the city.'

'Don't know what freedom of er city means,' said Dicky, who feared
that he was being made the butt of ridicule.

'Why, we want you to allow the captives to parade in the evening,
with torch-lights and mottoes.'

'All right!' cried Dicky, kindling in an instant; ''n' Luby, 'n' the
doat, 'n' my horn' toads, all e'cept the one that just gotted away in
Laura's bed; but may be she'll find him to-night, so they'll be all

This was too much for the various committees, and Laura's wild shriek
was the signal for a hasty adjournment.  A common danger restored
peace to the assembly, and they sought the runaway in perfect

'Well,' said Jack, when quiet was restored, 'I am going a little
distance up the Pico Negro trail; there are some magnificent Spanish
bayonets growing there, and if you'll let me have Pancho, Uncle Doc,
we can bring down four of them and lash them to each of the corners
of Elsie's tent,--they'll keep fresh several days in water, you

'Take him, certainly,' said Dr. Winship.

'Do let me go with you!' pleaded Laura, with enthusiasm.  'I should
like the walk so much.'

'It's pretty rough, Laura,' objected Margery.  'If you couldn't
endure our walk this morning, you would never get home alive from
Pico Negro.'

'Oh, that was in the heat of the day,' she answered.  'I feel equal
to any amount of walking now, if Jack doesn't mind taking me.'

'Delighted, of course, Miss Laura.  You'll be willing to carry home
one of the trees, I suppose, in return for the pleasure of my

'Snub him severely, Laura,' cried Bell; 'we never allow him to say
such things unreproved.'

'I think he is snubbed too much already,' replied Laura, with a
charming smile, 'and I shall see how a course of encouragement will
affect his behaviour.'

'That will be what I long have sought,
And mourned because I found it not,'

sang Jack, nonchalantly.

'Oh, Laura,' remonstrated Bell, 'think twice before you encourage him
in his dreadful ways.  We have studied him very carefully, and we
know that the only way to live with him is to keep him in a sort of
"pint pot" where we can hold the lid open just a little, and clap it
down suddenly whenever he tries to spring out.'

'Do not mind that young person, Miss Laura, but form your own
impressions of my charming character.  Excuse me, please, while I put
on a celluloid collar, and make some few changes in my toilet
necessary to a proper appearance in your distinguished company.'

'I prefer you as you are,' answered Laura, laughingly.  'Let us start
at once.'

'Do you hear that, young person?  She prefers me as I are!  Now see
what magic power her generosity has upon me!'  And he darted into the
tent, from which he issued in a moment with his Derby hat, a
manzanita cane, a pocket-handkerchief tied about his throat, and a
flower pinned on his flannel camping-shirt--a most ridiculous figure,
since nothing seems so out of place in the woods as any suggestion of
city costumes or customs.  Laura was in high good-humour, and looked
exceedingly brilliant and pretty, as she always did when she was the
central figure of any group or the bright particular star of any

'Be home before dark,' said Dr. Winship.  'Pancho, keep a look-out
for the pack-mule.  Truth, one of the pack-mules has disappeared.'

'So?  Dumpling or Ditto?'

'Ditto, curiously enough.  His name should have led him not to set an
example, but to follow one.'

Elsie came.

Perhaps you thought that this was going to be an exciting story, and
that something would happen to keep her at the Tacitas ranch; but
nothing did.  Everything came to pass exactly as it was arranged, and
Jack met his mother and sister at twelve o'clock some four miles from
the camp, and escorted them to the gates.

'Welcome' had been painted on twenty different boards or bits of
white cloth and paper, and nailed here and there on the trees that
lined the rough wood-road; the strains of an orchestra, formed of a
guitar, banjo, castanets, Chinese fiddle, and tin cans, greeted them
from a distance, but were properly allowed to die away in silence
when the guest neared the tents.  Everything wore a new and smiling
face, and Elsie never came more dangerously near being squeezed to

Elsie, in the prettiest of gingham dresses, and her cloud of golden
hair braided in two funny little pugs to keep it out of the dust;
Elsie, with a wide hat that shaded her face, already a little tanned
and burned, no longer colourless; Elsie, with no lines of pain in her
pretty forehead, and the hollow ring gone from her voice; Elsie, who
jumped over the wheel of the wagon, and hugged her huggers with the
strength of a young bear!  It was too good to believe, and nobody did
quite believe it for days.

At three o'clock the happiest party in the world assembled at the
rough dining-table under the sycamore-trees.

Elsie beamed upon the feast from the high-backed manzanita chair, a
faint colour in her cheeks, and starry prisms of light in a pair of
eyes that had not sparkled for many a weary month.  Hop Yet smiled a
trifle himself, wore his cap with a red button on the top to wait
upon the table, and ministered to the hungry people with more
interest and alacrity than he had shown since he had been dragged
from Santa Barbara, his Joss, and his nightly game of fantan.  And
such a dinner as he had prepared in honour of the occasion!--longer
by four courses than usual, and each person was allowed two plates in
the course of the meal.


Quail Soup.          Crackers.
         Chili Colorado.
(Mutton stew, in Spanish style,
      with Chili peppers, tomatoes,
          and onions.)
Cold Boiled Ham.       Fried Potatoes.
   Apples and Onions stewed together.
Ginger-snaps.          Pickles.
  Peaches, Apricots, and Nectarines.
California Nuts and Raisins.

And last of all, a surprise of Bell's, flapjacks, long teased for by
the boys, and prepared and fried by her own hands while the merry
party waited at table, to get them smoking hot.

She came in flushed with heat and pride, the prettiest cook anybody
ever saw, with her hair bobbed up out of the way and doing its best
to escape, a high-necked white apron, sleeves rolled up to the elbow,
and an insinuating spot of batter in the dimple of her left cheek.

'There!' she cried, joyfully, as she deposited a heaping plate in
front of her mother, and set the tin can of maple syrup by its side.
'Begin on those, and I'll fry like lightning on two griddles to keep
up with you,' and she rushed to the brush kitchen to turn her next
instalments that had been left to brown.  Hop Yet had retired to a
distant spot by the brook, and was washing dish-towels.  All Chinese
cooks are alike in their horror of a woman in the kitchen; but some
of them will unbend so far as to allow her to amuse herself so long
as they are not required to witness the disagreeable spectacle.

Bell delicately inserted the cake-turner under the curled edges of
the flapjacks and turned them over deftly, using a little too much
force, perhaps, in the downward stroke when she flung them back on
the griddle.

'Seems to me they come down with considerable of a thud,' she said,
reflectively.  'I hope they're not tough, for I should never hear the
last of it.  Guess I'll punch one with the handle of this tin shovel,
and see how it acts.  Goodness! it's sort of--elastic.  That's funny.
Well, perhaps it's the way they ought to look.'  Here she transferred
the smoking mysteries to her plate, passed a bit of pork over the
griddles, and, after ladling out eight more, flew off to the group at
the table.

'Are they good?' she was beginning to ask, when the words were frozen
on her lips by the sight of a significant tableau.

The four boys were standing on the bench that served instead of
dining-chairs, each with a plate and a pancake on the table in front
of them.  Jack held a hammer and spike, Scott Burton a hatchet,
Geoffrey a saw, and Philip a rifle.  Bell was nothing if not
intuitive.  No elaborate explanations ever were needed to show her a
fact.  Without a word she flung the plate of flapjacks she held as
far into a thicket as she had force to fling it, and then dropped on
her knees.

"'Shoot, if you must, this old grey head,
But spare my flapjacks, sirs," she said!

'What's the matter with them?  Tough?  I refuse to believe it.  Your
tools are too dull,--that's all.  Use more energy!  Nothing in this
world can be accomplished without effort.'

'They're a lovely brown,' began Mrs. Winship, sympathetically.

'And they have a very good flavour,' added Elsie.

'Don't touch them, dearest!' cried Bell, snatching the plate from
under Elsie's very nose.  'I won't have you made ill by my failures.
But as for the boys, I don't care a fig for them.  Let them make
flapjacks more to their taste, the odious things!  Polly Oliver, did
you put in that baking powder, as I told you, while I went for the

Polly blanched.  'Baking powder?' she faltered.

'Yes, baking powder!  B-A-K-I-N-G P-O-W-D-E-R!  Do I make myself

'Oh, baking powder, to be sure.  Well, now that you mention the
matter, I do remember that Dicky called me away just as I was getting
it; and now that I think of it, Elsie came just afterwards, and--and-

'And that's the whole of my story, O,' sang Jack.  'I recommend the
criminal to the mercy of the court.'

'A case of too many cooks,' laughed Dr. Winship.  'Cheer up, girls;

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