List Of Contents | Contents of A Summer in a Canyon, by Kate Douglas Wiggin
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when we started.'

'Why, I certainly thought I heard him ask to go with you,' said Mrs.
Winship, in rather an alarmed tone.

'So he did; but I told him it was too far.'

'I didn't hear that; in fact, I was half asleep; I was not feeling
well.  Ask Hop Yet; he has been in the kitchen all the afternoon.'

Hop Yet replied, with discouraging tranquillity, 'Oh, I no know.  I
no sabe Dicky; he allee time lun loun camp; I no look; too muchee
work.  I chop hash--Dicky come in kitch'--make heap work--no good.  I
tell him go long--he go; bime-by you catchum; you see.'  Whereupon he
gracefully skinned an onion, and burst into a Chinese song, with
complete indifference as to whether Dicky lived or died.

'Perhaps he is with Pancho; I'll run and see!' cried Polly, dashing
swiftly in the direction of the sky-parlour.  But after a few minutes
she ran back, with a serious face.  'He's not there; Pancho has not
seen him since lunch.'

'Well, I've just happened to think,' said pale Aunt Truth, 'that papa
came into the tent for some cartridges, after you left, and of course
he took Dick with him.  I don't suppose it is any use to worry.  He
always does come out right; and I have told him so many times never
on any account to go away from the camp alone that he surely would
not do it.  Papa and the boys will be home soon, now.  It is nearly
six o'clock, and I told them that I would blow the horn at six, as
usual.  If they are too far away to hear it, they will know the time
by the sun.'

'Well,' said Bell, anxiously, 'I hope it is all right.  Papa is so
strict that he won't be late himself.  Did all the boys go with him,

'Yes, all but Philip.'

'Oh, then Dicky must be with them,' said Margery, consolingly.
'Geoffrey always takes him wherever he can.'

So the girls went into the tent to begin their dinner toilet, which
consisted in carefully brushing burrs and dust from their pretty
dresses, and donning fresh collars and stockings, with low ties of
russet leather, which Polly declared belonged only to the stage
conception of a camping costume; then, with smoothly brushed hair and
bright flower-knots at collar and belt, they looked charming enough
to grace any drawing-room in the land.

The horn was blown again at six o'clock, Aunt Truth standing at the
entrance of the path which led up the canyon, shading her anxious
eyes from the light of the setting sun. -

'Here they come!' she cried, joyously, as the welcome party appeared
in sight, guns over shoulder, full game-bags, and Jack and Geoff with
a few rabbits and quail hanging over their arms.

The girls rushed out of the tent.  Bell took in the whole group with
one swift glance, and then turned to her mother, who, like most
mothers, believed the worst at once, and grew paler as she asked:

'Papa, where is little Dick?'

'Dick!  Why, my dear, he has not been out with us.  What do you

'Are you sure you didn't take him?' faltered Aunt Truth.

'Of course I am.  Good heavens!  Doesn't any one know where the child
is?' looking at the frightened group.

'You know, uncle,' said Geoffrey, 'we started out at three o'clock.
I noticed Dicky playing with his blocks in our tent, and said good-
bye to him.  Did you see him when you came back for the cartridges?'

'Certainly I did; he called me to look at his dog making believe go
to sleep in the hammock.'

'We girls went down to the pool soon after that,' said Bell,
tearfully.  'He asked to go with us, and I told him it was too far,
and that he'd better stay with mamma, who would be all alone.  He
said "Yes" so sweetly I couldn't mistrust him.  Oh, was it my fault,
papa?  Please don't say it was!' and she burst into a passion of

'No, no, my child, of course it was not.  Don't cry; we shall find
him.  Go and look about the camp, Geoff, while we consider for a
minute what to do?'

'If there is any fault, it is mine, for going to sleep,' said poor
Aunt Truth; 'but I never dreamed he would dare to wander off alone,
my poor little disobedient darling!  What shall we do?'

'Have you spoken to Pancho and Hop Yet?' asked Phil.

'Yes; they have seen nothing.'

Hop Yet just at this moment issued from his kitchen with an immense
platter of mutton-stew and dumplings, which he deposited on the
table.  On being questioned again, he answered as before, with the
greatest serenity, intimating that Dicky would come home 'heap bime-
by' when he got 'plenty hungly.'  He seemed to think a lost boy or
two in a family rather a trifle than otherwise, and wound up his
unfeeling remarks with the practical one, 'Dinner all leady; you no
eat mutton, he get cold!  Misser Wins', I no find pickle; you

'I don't believe he would care if we all died right before his eyes,'
muttered Polly, angrily.  'I should just like to see a Chinaman's
heart once, and find out whether it was made of resin, or cuttle-
fish, or what.'

'Well,' said Phil, as Dr. Winship came through the trees from the
card-room, 'we must start out this instant, and of course we can find
him somehow, somewhere; he hasn't been gone over two hours, and he
couldn't walk far, that's certain.  Now, Uncle Doc, shall we all go
different ways, and leave the girls here to see if he doesn't turn

'Oh, papa,' cried Bell, do not leave us at home!  We can hunt as well
as any one; we know every foot of the canyon.  Let me go with Geoff,
and we'll follow the brook trail.'

'Very well.  Now, mamma, Pancho and I will go down to the main road,
and you wait patiently here.  Make all the noise you can, children;
and the one who finds him must come back to the camp and blow the
horn.  Hop Yet, we go now; if Dicky comes back, you blow the horn
yourself, will you?'

'All light, boss.  You eat um dinner now; then go bime-by; mutton
heap cold; you--'

'Dinner!' shouted Jack.  'Confound your impudence!  If you say dinner
again, I'll cut the queue off your stupid head.'

'Good!' murmured Polly, giving a savage punch to her blue Tam o'
Shanter cap.

'Jack, Jack!' remonstrated Aunt Truth.

'I know, dear auntie; but the callous old heathen makes me so mad I
can't contain myself.  Come, Margery, let's be off.  Get your shawl;
and hurrah for the one who comes back to blow the horn first!  I'll
wager you ten to one I'll have Dick in auntie's lap inside the
hour!'--at which Aunt Truth's eyes brightened, and she began to take
heart again.  But as he tore past the brush kitchen and out into the
woods, dragging Madge after him at a breathless pace, he shut his
lips together rather grimly, saying, 'I'd give five hundred dollars
(s'posin' I had a cent) to see that youngster safe again.'

'Tell me one thing, Jack,' said Margery, her teeth chattering with
nervousness; 'are there any animals in this canyon that would attack

'Oh, of course it is possible that a California lion or a wild-cat
might come down to the brook to drink--they have been killed
hereabouts--but I hardly believe it is likely; and neither do I
believe they would be apt to hurt him, any way, for he would never
attack them, you know.  What I am afraid of is that he has tumbled
over the rocks somewhere in climbing, or tangled himself up in the
chaparral.  He couldn't have made off with a pistol, could he?  He is
up to all such tricks.'

Presently the canyon began to echo with strange sounds, which I have
no doubt sent the owls, birds, and rabbits into fits of terror; for
the boys had whistles and pistols, while Polly had taken a tin pan
and a hammer.  She had gone with Phil out behind the thicket of
manzanita bushes, and they both stood motionless, undecided where to

'Oh, Phil, I can't help it; I must cry, I am so frightened.  Let me
sit down a second.  Yes, I know it's an ant-hill, and I shouldn't
care if it were a hornets' nest--I deserve to be stung.  What do you
think I said to Margery this morning?  That Dicky was a perfect
little marplot, and spoiled all our fun, and I wished he were in the
bottom of the Red Sea; and then I called him a k-k-k-ill-joy!' and
Polly buried her head in her blue Tam, and cried a good, honest, old-
fashioned cry.

'There, chirk up, poor little soul, and don't you fret over a
careless speech, that meant nothing at all.  I've wished him in the
Red Sea more than once, but I'm blessed if I ever do it again.  Come,
let's go over yonder, where we caught the young owl; Dicky may have
wanted to try that little game again.'

So they went on, calling, listening, then struggling on again, more
anxious every moment, but not so thoroughly dazed as Bell, who had
rocked her baby-brother in his cradle, and to whom he was the
embodiment of every earthly grace, if not of every heavenly virtue.

'I might have known this would happen,' she said, miserably.  'He is
so careless that, if we ever find him again, we must keep him tied to

'Take care of your steps, dear,' said Geoff, 'and munch this cracker,
or you won't have strength enough to go on with me.  I wish it were
not getting so dark; the moment the sun gets behind these mountain-
tops the light seems to vanish in an instant.--Dick-y!'

'Think of the poor darling out in this darkness--hungry, frightened,
and alone,' sighed Bell.  'It's past his bed-time now.  Oh, why did
we ever come to stay in this horrible place!'

'You must not blame the place, dear; we thought it the happiest in
the world this morning.  Here we are by the upper pool, and the path
stops.  Which way had we better go?'

'I've been here before to-day,' said Bell; 'we might follow the trail
I made.  But where is my string?  Light a match, Geoff, please.'

'What string?  What do you mean?'

'Why, I found a beautiful spot this morning, and, fearing I shouldn't
remember the way again, I took out my ball of twine and dropped a
white line all the way back, like Ariadne; but I don't see it.  Where
can it have disappeared--unless Jack or Phil took it to tease me?'

'Oh no; I've been with them all day.  Perhaps a snake has swallowed
it.  Come.'

But a bright idea had popped into Bell's head.  'I want to go that
way, Geoff, dear; it's as good as any other, and there are flowers
just the other side, in an open, sunny place; perhaps he found them.'

'All right; let's go ahead.'

'The trouble is, I don't know which way to go.  Here is the rock; I
remember it was a spotted one, with tall ferns growing beside it.
Now I went--let me see--this way,' and they both plunged into the
thick brush.

'Bell, Bell, this is utter nonsense!' cried Geoff.  'No child could
crawl through this tangle.'

'Dicky could crawl through anything in this universe, if it was the
wrong thing; he isn't afraid of beast, bird, or fish, and he
positively enjoys getting scratched,' said Bell.

Meanwhile, what had become of this small hero, and what was he doing?
He was last seen in the hammock, playing with the long-suffering
terrier, Lubin, who was making believe go to sleep.  It proved to be
entirely a make-believe; for, at the first loosening of Dicky's
strangling hold upon his throat, he tumbled out of the hammock and
darted into the woods.  Dicky followed, but Lubin was fleet of foot,
and it was a desperate and exciting race for full ten minutes.

At length, as Lubin heard his little master's gleeful laugh, he
realised that his anger was a thing of the past; consequently, he
wheeled about and ran into Dicky's outstretched arms, licking his
face and hands exuberantly in the joy of complete forgiveness.

By this time the voice of conscience in Dicky's soul--and it was a
very, very still, small one on all occasions--was entirely silenced.
He strayed into a sunny spot, and picked flowers enough to trim his
little sailor hat, probably divining that this was what lost children
in Sunday-school books always did, and it would be dishonourable not
to keep up the superstition.  Then he built a fine, strong dam of
stones across the brook, wading to and fro without the bother of
taking off his shoes and stockings, and filled his hat with rocks and
sunk it to the bottom for a wharf, keeping his hat-band to tie an
unhappy frog to a bit of bark, and setting him afloat as the captain
of a slave-ship.  When, at length, the struggling creature freed
himself from his bonds and leaped into the pool, Dicky played that he
was a drowning child, and threw Lubin into the water to rescue him.

In these merry antics the hours flew by unnoticed; he had never been
happier in his life, and it flashed through his mind that if he were
left entirely to himself he should always be good.

'Here I've been a whole day offul good by my lone self; haven't said
one notty word or did one notty fing, nor gotted scolded a singul
wunst, did I, Lubin?  I guess we better live here; bettent we, Lubin?
And ven we wunt git stuck inter bed fur wettin' our feets little
teenty mites of wet ev'ry singul night all the livelong days, will
we, Lubin?'

But this was a long period of reflection for Master Dicky, and he
capered on, farther and farther, the water sozzling frightfully in
his little copper-toed boots.  At length he sat down on a stone to
rest himself, and, glancing aimlessly about, his eyes fell on a white
string, which he grasped with alacrity, pulling its end from beneath
the stone on which he sat.

'Luby Winship, the anjulls gaved me this string fur ter make an offul
splendid tight harness for you, little Luby; and you can drag big
heavy stones.  Won't that be nice?'

Lubin looked doubtful, and wagged his tail dissentingly, as much as
to say that his ideas of angel ministrations were a trifle different.

But there was no end to the string!  How very, very curious!  Dicky
wound and wound and crept and crept along, until he was thoroughly
tired but thoroughly determined to see it through; and Lubin,
meanwhile, had seized the first convenient moment, after the mention
of the harness, to retire to the camp.

At length, oh joy! the tired and torn little man, following carefully
the leading-string, issued from the scratching bushes into a clean,
beautiful, round place, with a great restful-looking stump in the
centre, and round its base a small forest of snowy toadstools.  What
could be a lovelier surprise!  Dicky clapped his hands in glee as he
looked at them, and thought of a little verse of poetry which Bell
had taught him:

'Some fairy umbrellas came up to-day
Under the elm-tree, just over the way,
And as we have had a shower of rain,
The reason they came is made very plain:
To-night is the woodland fairies' ball,
And drops from the elm-tree might on them fall,
So little umbrellas wait for them here,
And under their shelter they'll dance without fear.
Take care where you step, nor crush them, I pray,
For fear you will frighten the fairies away.'

'Oh!' thought Dicky, in a trance of delight, 'now I shall go to the
fairies' ball, and see 'em dance under the cunning little teenty
umberells; and wunt they be mad at home when nobuddy can't see 'em
but just only me!  And then if that potry is a big whopper, like that
there uvver one--'laddin-lamp story of Bell's--I'll just pick evry
white toadstool for my papa's Sunday dinner, and she sha'n't never

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