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


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 western Pennsylvania.”

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 Dorothy.

“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 books.”

“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 hug.

Ethel flushed.

“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 street.”

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 gardens.

“It’s Service Club work; we ought to have started it earlier,” she ended.

“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 yourself?”

“No, ma’am.”

“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 all.”

“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 year.”

“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 pétunias, 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 reluctantly.

“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.

70 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

Express Companies
Great Northern
United States
Wells Fargo Western


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.


“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 ‘From.’”

“It says ‘Approved Label’ at the top,” Ethel Brown observed questioningly.

“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
glass)                         Glasses.
Nature Material
To (Institution)
Rec’d by

Condition                        Date

“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 carried.”

“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 garden.”

“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 they travel.”

“Funny salt should be a freshener,” murmured Dorothy, as the Ethels murmured their understanding of the duties their president assigned to them.