The Sweet Public Domain: Celebrating Copyright Expiration with the Honey Bunch Series

Chapter V


AFTER that one rainy Sunday, when Honey Bunch made her garden book, it did not rain again for a long time. Indeed it did not rain for so long that Mr. Morton brought home a little green watering-pot for Honey Bunch one night, and after that she carried water to her garden after dinner each day.

But before the watering-pot came, Honey Bunch grew much worried. She told Mrs. Miller she was worried one morning when the good-natured washerwoman was hanging up clean clothes to dry in the part of the back yard “saved specially” for her, as Honey Bunch said.

“It’s my garden,” explained Honey Bunch. “It doesn’t grow.”

“Bless your heart, lamb, give it time,” said Mrs. Miller, taking a clothespin out of her mouth so she could speak more plainly. “Why, how long has it been since you planted it?”

“Saturday,” answered Honey Bunch forlornly. “And not a thing has come up!”

“Well, to-day is Tuesday,” said Mrs. Miller. “You’ll have to wait several more days before you see anything. But some morning, Honey Bunch, you’ll come out and there will be a row of little green tips breaking through the ground to surprise you.”

“I dug up one of the nasturtium seeds to see if it had died,” confided Honey Bunch. “But I couldn’t tell—it looked just the same as usual.”

“You mustn’t dig them up—not if you want them to grow,” said Mrs. Miller seriously. “Don’t you know what all gardeners have to have, Honey Bunch—what it is they can’t get along without?”

“A rake and hoe and spade,” declared Honey Bunch. “Uncle Peter sent them to me.”

“They’re useful,” admitted Mrs. Miller, shaking out a pillowcase and fastening it on the line, “but you could make a garden without them—if you knew how. But there’s one thing a gardener can’t succeed without.”

“Has Mother got it?” asked Honey Bunch. “She has a garden.”

“All mothers have it,” replied Mrs. Miller, smiling into the puzzled blue eyes of Honey Bunch. “Dear me, I see I’ll have to tell you —well, then, Honey Bunch, you can’t have a garden unless you have plenty of patience. Did you know that?”

“Oh!” said Honey Bunch. “Patience means waiting, doesn’t it, Mrs. Miller?” “Yes, indeed, it does,” agreed Mrs. Miller. “Patience means to wait for your garden to grow, not to dig up the seeds to look at them, and later, when the weeds come, to pull them out one by one and not get discouraged. And it’ll take a sight of patience,” added Mrs. Miller with more energy, “to keep that cat off the plants. Scat!”

Mrs. Miller was fond of Lady Clare, but the washerwoman said she believed she cared more for a garden than for any kitty cat. Anyway, she waved a towel at Lady Clare who only blinked her eyes and never moved. She was lying stretched out, full length, on the spot where the sunflowers were planted.

“I’ll have to move her,” said Honey Bunch sadly. “I have to move her lots of times. I wouldn’t care if she would lie on the nasturtiums, because they don’t belong to any one; they’re just to pick. But Lady Clare always lies down where some one’s favorite flower is planted. I move her away from Ida’s poppies ’most every day.”

“She likes it because it is a sunny place and the ground is warm,” Mrs. Miller explained. “Well, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another, when you are trying to raise something. My father was a farmer, and he was forever fighting the crows. Fast as he would get a cornfield planted, the crows would come and dig up the seed and eat it.”

“They do that up at Broad Acres—Uncle Rand’s farm,” said Honey Bunch eagerly. “Stub showed me the scarecrow Uncle Rand made to scare them away. I waited a long time once to see a crow get scared, but nothing happened.”

Mrs. Miller said she thought that the sight of Honey Bunch probably warned the crows not to come picking corn, and Honey Bunch said yes, she supposed that was the reason they had stayed away from the cornfield. Then she went over and gently picked up Lady Clare and carried her into the house and shut her in the laundry. Lady Clare curled up on a cushion in a chair and went to sleep again. Nothing bothered her. She was a happy cat.

The day after Mrs. Miller came to wash, Honey Bunch and her mother went down to the same seed store where she and her daddy had gone and bought a cabbage rose bush and the pansy plants. The same clerk waited on them and he remembered Honey Bunch and asked how her garden was growing.

“There are little green things coming pretty soon, but they haven’t come yet,” Honey Bunch told him. “And Lady Clare will lie down on it. But if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”

The clerk laughed and said that was very true.

“But you’ll be paid for all the waiting and all the trouble when you pick the first flower,” he said kindly. “And here are some flowers ready for you, to help you wait more patiently.”

He showed Honey Bunch a long basket filled with beautiful pansy plants, and the plants were filled with great, velvet pansies, dark blue, yellow and white ones. Honey Bunch thought they were the prettiest flowers she had ever seen. She didn’t wonder that Uncle Peter chose pansies as his favorite flower.

“Do you want them sent?” asked the clerk, when he had shown Honey Bunch and her mother the rose bush, its roots wrapped in burlap to keep the damp earth safely around it.

“Oh, no, Mother, do let’s take them home with us,” begged Honey Bunch. “We can plant them right away.”

Mrs. Morton said they would carry the plants. She took the pansies, for they were rather heavy, and Honey Bunch carried the rose bush. That was lighter, and it wasn’t a large bush, just a nice one, the clerk said.

“Come in again and tell me about your garden,” he said to Honey Bunch, when she said good-bye. She promised him she would do so.

Mr. Morton came home a little earlier than usual that night, and he set out the rose bush and the pansy plants for Honey Bunch before dinner. While he was planting them, Honey Bunch brought out a low glass dish and picked the pansies—her mother told her that pansy plants should be kept almost free of flowers, that as soon as they bloomed the blossoms should be picked and then more would come. So Honey Bunch filled the dish with lovely pansy faces and they had it for a center piece on the dinner table that night. Honey Bunch said she wished Uncle Peter could see it.

“Uncle Peter is going to England with Julie’s daddy this summer,” said Honey Bunch’s mother, when Honey Bunch wished that he could see the pansies. “But I think, as soon as college closes, he will come and stay with us for a few days, and then you may show him his pansy plants.”

A few days after this Honey Bunch came rushing into the house with such an excited face that her mother knew something had happened.

“Mother!” she cried. “Oh, Mother! My garden grew! Come see! It grew a lot!”

Mrs. Morton was sewing on a new dress for Honey Bunch, but she dropped her sewing on the floor and ran out to see the garden. Sure enough, little green tips were peeping through the earth. How pretty they did look! And how straight the rows were!

“Why, Honey Bunch Morton, you have a real garden!” said her mother, looking as pleased as Honey Bunch did. “Won’t it be fun to tell Daddy when he comes home tonight!”

Honey Bunch could hardly wait to tell Daddy. While she was waiting for night to come she ran over and told Ida Camp and brought her back to look. She told Norman Clark, too, and Mrs. Miller, whom she saw passing the house on her way home from some other place where she washed.

“My garden grew!” sang Honey Bunch to herself. “My garden grew—all the flowers came up.”

She ran all the way to the corner when she saw her daddy coming and she told him about the garden long before they reached the house. He went out with her to see it right away and he said it was a fine start.

“Now things will grow so fast you’ll be astonished,” he told her. “You’ll have to be a little patient about the flowers—they won’t come right away; but they won’t be long.”

Honey Bunch thought it strange that every one talked about patience when they spoke of her garden. There was a picture of her great-great Aunt Patience in an old album in the attic, and she wondered if Aunt Patience had had a garden. She decided to ask her mother some day.

Every morning Honey Bunch went out and worked in her garden. There was not much to do yet, of course, but she put on her apron and felt very important walking up and down between the rows. Mrs. Farriday, if she saw her from her kitchen, always called to her to ask her how her garden was growing and sometimes they compared notes. Mrs. Farriday had a garden, and sometimes she entered her flowers in the Barham Flower Show. This was held once a year and the most beautiful flowers were exhibited and prizes were given for the best and rarest.

“Oh, Lady Clare!” Honey Bunch looked reproachfully at the beautiful cat when she found her for the second time one morning lying on the sunflower plants. “What a bad kitty you are! I’m going to put you out in the street and you can go and play with Raymond.”

Raymond was Ida Camp’s cat, and Lady Clare often went up on the Camp porch and sat in the sunshine with Raymond. No one knew what they talked about, but Honey Bunch thought she did. She said they told each other what they had had for breakfast and talked about the dog who lived on the next street and sometimes chased them both up a tree.

Honey Bunch stooped down and lifted Lady Clare, who was pretty heavy. She carried her toward the low fence that separated the side yard from the street, intending to put her down on the other side. But, to her surprise, she saw some one there, watching her.

An old lady with white hair sat in a funny looking chair, drawn close up to the fence. She had bright black eyes and she stared at Honey Bunch. When she saw the little girl looking at her, she smiled.

“You like to work in your garden, don’t you?” she said pleasantly. “I’ve seen you several mornings as I went past; and this morning I said I was going to stop and maybe get acquainted. Do you like flowers?”

“Oh, yes!” answered Honey Bunch. “I’m going to have some by and by. This is my very first garden, and it’s growing now.”

“I think it looks as though you were a good gardener,” returned the old lady. “Does the cat walk on your beds?”

Honey Bunch clapped her hands. She had to put Lady Clare down to do it and the cat ran away, over into Norman’s yard.

“That’s why Lady Clare goes to sleep on the flowers, isn’t it?” cried Honey Bunch. “I never thought of it! I just scolded her! Poor Lady Clare!”

The old lady looked at Honey Bunch and her black eyes crinkled up with laughter. Honey Bunch laughed to see her laughing.

This page has paths: