Read CHAPTER II of Ethel Morton's Enterprise, free online book, by Mabell S.C. Smith, on


The snow was of just the right dampness to make snowballs, and a snow man, after all, is just a succession of snowballs, properly placed. Roger started the one to go at the base by rolling up a ball beside the house and then letting it roll down the bank toward the gate.

“See it gather moss!” he cried. “It’s just the opposite of a rolling stone, isn’t it?”

When it stopped it was of goodly size and it was standing in the middle of the little front lawn.

“It couldn’t have chosen a better location,” commended Helen.

“We need a statue in the front yard,” said Ethel Brown.

“This will give a truly artistic air to the whole place,” agreed Ethel Blue.

“What’s the next move?” asked Dorothy, who had not had much experience in this kind of manufacture.

“We start over here by the fence and roll another one, smaller than this, to serve as the body,” explained Roger. “Come on here and help me; this snow is so heavy it needs an extra pusher already.”

Dorothy lent her muscles to the task of pushing on the snow man’s “torso,” as Ethel Blue, who knew something about drawing figures, called it. The Ethels, meanwhile, were making the arms out of small snowballs placed one against the next and slapped hard to make them stick. Helen was rolling a ball for the head and Dicky had disappeared behind the house to hunt for a cane.

“Heigho!” Roger called after him. “I saw an old clay pipe stuck behind a beam in the woodshed the other day. See if it’s still there and bring it along.”

Dicky nodded and raised a mittened paw to indicate that he understood his instructions.

It required the united efforts of Helen and Roger to set the gentleman’s head on his shoulders, and Helen ran in to the cellar to get some bits of coal to make his eyes and mouth.

“He hasn’t any expression. Let me try to model a nose for the poor lamb!” begged Ethel Blue. “Stick on this arm, Roger, while I sculpture these marble features.”

By dint of patting and punching and adding a long and narrow lump of snow, one side of the head looked enough different from the other to warrant calling it the face. To make the difference more marked Dorothy broke some straws from the covering of one of the rosebushes and created hair with them.

“Now nobody could mistake this being his speaking countenance,” decided Helen, sticking two pieces of coal where eyes should be and adding a third for the mouth. Dicky had found the pipe and she thrust it above his lips.

“Merely two-lips, not ruby lips,” commented Roger. “This is an original fellow; he’s ‘not like other girls.’”

“This cane is going to hold up his right arm; I don’t feel so certain about the left,” remarked Ethel Brown anxiously.

“Let it fall at his side. That’s some natural, anyway. He’s walking, you see, swinging one arm and with the other on the top of his cane.”

“He’ll take cold if he doesn’t have something on his head. I’m nervous about him,” and Dorothy bent a worried look at their creation.

“Hullo,” cried a voice from beyond the gate. “He’s bully. Just make him a cap out of this bandanna and he’ll look like a Venetian gondolier.”

James Hancock and his sister, Margaret, the Glen Point members of the United Service Club, came through the gate, congratulated Ethel Blue on her birthday, and paid elaborate compliments to the sculptors of the Gondolier.

“That red hanky on his massive brow gives the touch of color he needed,” said Margaret.

“We don’t maintain that his features are ‘faultily faultless,’” quoted Roger, “but we do insist that they’re ‘icily regular.’”

“Thanks to the size of the nose Ethel Blue stuck on they’re not ‘splendidly null.’”

“No, there’s no ‘nullness’ about that nose,” agreed James. “That’s ‘some’ nose!”

When they were all in the house and preparing for dinner Ethel Blue unwrapped the gift that Margaret had brought for her birthday. It was a shallow bowl of dull green pottery in which was growing a grove of thick, shiny leaves. The plants were three or four inches tall and seemed to be in the pink of condition.

“This is for the top of your Christmas desk,” Margaret explained.

“It’s perfectly beautiful,” exclaimed not only Ethel Blue but all the other girls, while Roger peered over their shoulders to see what it was.

“I planted it myself,” said Margaret with considerable pride. “Each one is a little grapefruit tree.”

“Grapefruit? What we have for breakfast? It grows like this?”

“Mother has some in a larger bowl and it is really lovely as a centrepiece on the dining room table.”

“Watch me save grapefruit seeds!” and Ethel Brown ran out of the room to leave an immediate request in the kitchen that no grapefruit seeds should be thrown away when the fruit was being prepared for the table.

“When Mr. Morton and I were in Florida last winter,” said Mrs. Morton, “they told us that it was not a great number of years ago that grapefruit was planted only because it was a handsome shrub on the lawn. The fruit never was eaten, but was thrown away after it fell from the tree.”

“Now nobody can get enough of it,” smiled Helen.

“Mother has a receipt for grapefruit marmalade that is better than the English orange marmalade that is made of both sweet and sour oranges,” said Dorothy. “Sometimes the sour oranges are hard to find in the market, but grapefruit seems to have both flavors in itself.”

“Is it much work?” asked Margaret.

“It isn’t much work at any one time but it takes several days to get it done.”


“First you have to cut up the fruit, peel and all, into tiny slivers. That’s a rather long undertaking and it’s hard unless you have a very, very sharp knife.”

“I’ve discovered that in preparing them for breakfast.”

“The fruit are of such different sizes that you have to weigh the result of your paring. To every pound of cut-up fruit add a pint of water and let it stand over night. In the morning pour off that water and fill the kettle again and let it boil until the toughest bit of skin is soft, and then let it stand over night more.”

“It seems to do an awful lot of resting,” remarked Roger.

“A sort of ‘weary Willie,’” commented James.

“When you’re ready to go at it again, you weigh it once more and add four times as many pounds of sugar as you have fruit.”

“You must have to make it in a wash-boiler!”

“Not quite as bad as that, but you’ll be surprised to find how much three or four grapefruit will make. You boil this together until it is as thick as you like to have your marmalade.”

“I can recommend Aunt Louise’s marmalade,” said Ethel Brown. “It’s the very best I ever tasted. She taught me to make these grapefruit chips,” and she handed about a bonbon dish laden with delicate strips of sugared peel.

“Let’s have this receipt, too,” begged Margaret, as Roger went to answer the telephone.

“You can squeeze out the juice and pulp and add a quart of water to a cup of juice, sweeten it and make grapefruit-ade instead of lemonade for a variety. Then take the skins and cut out all the white inside part as well as you can, leaving just the rind.”

“The next step must be to snip the rind into these long, narrow shavings.”

“It is, and you put them in cold water and let them come to a boil and boil twenty minutes. Then drain off all the water and add cold water and do it again.”

“What’s the idea of two boilings?” asked James.

“I suppose it must be to take all the bitterness out of the skin at the same time that it is getting soft.”

“Does this have to stand over night?”

“Yes, this sits and meditates all night. Then you put it on to boil again in a syrup made of one cup of water and four cups of sugar, and boil it until the bits are all saturated with the sweetness. If you want to eat them right off you roll them now in powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar, but if you aren’t in a hurry you put them into a jar and keep the air out and roll them just before you want to serve them.”

“They certainly are bully good,” remarked James, taking several more pieces.

“That call was from Tom Watkins,” announced Roger, returning from the telephone, and referring to a member of the United Service Club who, with his sister, Della, lived in New York.

“O dear, they can’t come!” prophesied Ethel Blue.

“He says he has just been telephoning to the railroad and they say that all the New Jersey trains are delayed and so Mrs. Watkins thought he’d better not try to bring Della out. She sends her love to you, Ethel Blue, and her best wishes for your birthday and says she’s got a present for you that is different from any plant you ever saw in a conservatory.”

“That’s what Margaret’s is,” laughed Ethel. “Isn’t it queer you two girls should give me growing things when we were talking about gardens this afternoon and deciding to have one this summer.”

“One!” repeated Dorothy. “Don’t forget mine. There’ll be two.”

“If Aunt Louise should find a lot and start to build there’d be another,” suggested Ethel Brown.

“O, let’s go into the gardening business,” cried Roger. “I’ve already offered to be the laboring man at the beck and call of these young women all for the small reward of having all the sweetpeas I want to pick.”

“What we’re afraid of is that he won’t want to pick them,” laughed Ethel Brown. “We’re thinking of binding him to do a certain amount of picking every day.”

“Anyway, the Morton-Smith families are going to have gardens and Helen is going to write for seed catalogues this very night before she seeks her downy couch she has vowed she will.”

“Mother has always had a successful garden, she’ll be able to give you advice,” offered Margaret.

“We’ll ask it from every one we know, I rather imagine,” and Dorothy beamed at the prospect of doing something that had been one of her great desires all her life.

The little thicket of grapefruit trees served as the centrepiece of Ethel Blue’s dinner table, and every one admired all over again its glossy leaves and sturdy stems.

“When spring comes we’ll set them out in the garden and see what happens,” promised Ethel Blue.

“We have grapefruit salad to-night. You must have sent a wireless over to the kitchen,” Ethel Brown declared to Margaret.

It was a delicious salad, the cubes of the grapefruit being mixed with cubes of apple and of celery, garnished with cherries and served on crisp yellow-green lettuce leaves with French dressing.

Ethel Blue always liked to see her Aunt Marion make French dressing at the table, for her white hands moved swiftly and skilfully among the ingredients. Mary brought her a bowl that had been chilled on ice. Into it she poured four tablespoonfuls of olive oil, added a scant half teaspoonful of salt with a dash of red pepper which she stirred until the salt was dissolved. To that combination she added one tablespoonful either of lemon juice or vinegar a drop at a time and stirring constantly so that the oil might take up its sharper neighbor.

Dorothy particularly approved her Aunt Marion’s manner of putting her salads together. To-night, for instance, she did not have the plates brought in from the kitchen with the salad already upon them.

“That always reminds me of a church fair,” she declared.

She was willing to give herself the trouble of preparing the salad for her family and guests with her own hands. From a bowl of lettuce she selected the choicest leaves for the plate before her; upon these she placed the fruit and celery mixture, dotted the top with a cherry and poured the dressing over all. It was fascinating to watch her, and Margaret wished that her mother served salad that way.

The Club was indeed incomplete without the Watkinses, but the members nevertheless were sufficiently amused by several of the “Does” things to do that one or another suggested. First they did shadow drawings. The dining table proved to be the most convenient spot for that. They all sat around under the strong electric light. Each had a block of rather heavy paper with a rough surface, and each was given a camel’s hair brush, a bottle of ink, some water and a small saucer. From a vase of flowers and leaves and ferns which Mrs. Morton contributed to the game each selected what he wanted to draw. Then, holding his leaf so that the light threw a sharp shadow upon his pad, he quickly painted the shadow with the ink, thinning it with water upon the saucer so that the finished painting showed several shades of gray.

“The beauty of this stunt is that a fellow who can’t draw at all can turn out almost as good a masterpiece as Ethel Blue here, who has the makings of a real artist,” and James gazed at his production with every evidence of satisfaction.

As it happened none of them except Ethel Blue could draw at all well, so that the next game had especial difficulties.

“All there is to it is to draw something and let us guess what it is,” said Ethel Blue.

“You haven’t given all the rules,” corrected Roger. “Ethel Blue makes two dots on a piece of paper or a short line and a curve anything she feels like making. Then we copy them and draw something that will include those two marks and she sits up and ‘ha-has’ and guesses what it is.”

“I promise not to laugh,” said Ethel Blue.

“Don’t make any such rash promise,” urged Helen. “You might do yourself an injury trying not to when you see mine.”

It was fortunate for Ethel Blue that she was released from the promise, for her guesses went wide of the mark. Ethel Brown made something that she guessed to be a hen, Roger called it a book, Dicky maintained firmly that it was a portrait of himself. The rest gave it up, and they all needed a long argument by the artist to believe that she had meant to draw a pair of candlesticks.

“Somebody think of a game where Ethel Brown can do herself justice,” cried James, but no one seemed to have any inspiration, so they all went to the fire, where they cracked nuts and told stories.

“If you’ll write those orders for the seed catalogues I’ll post them to-night,” James suggested to Helen.

“Oh, will you? Margaret and I will write them together.”

“What’s the rush?” demanded Roger. “This is only January.”

“I know just how the girls feel,” sympathized James. “When I make up my mind to do a thing I want to begin right off, and the first step of this new scheme is to get the catalogues hereinbefore mentioned.”

“We can plan out our back yards any time, I should think,” said Dorothy.

“Father says that somebody was it Bacon, Margaret? says that a man’s nature runs always either to herbs or to weeds. Let’s start ours running to herbs in the first month of the year and perhaps by the time the herbs appear we’ll catch up with them.”