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

Chapter VI


         NOT long after the dolls’ tea party, Honey Bunch made a discovery. That is, she thought it was a discovery. She had been sweeping the sidewalk with her little broom, and close up against the steps she found a slip of paper. Honey Bunch liked to sweep and she was always finding things, for a broom, you know, digs out all the corners and will not let anything hide away.
          “This,” said Honey Bunch to herself, smoothing out the piece of paper, “has writing on it; maybe it is the Lulu-man’s card. I’ll ask Mother.”
         Honey Bunch called the stranger, who had called to see her Daddy while he was on his Washington trip, the “Lulu-man.” Neither Honey Bunch nor Mother had ever remembered his name, though Honey Bunch remembered his little girl’s name was Lulu and that he called her Roses.
         Now Honey Bunch thought perhaps she had found the card the man had left, and that, she knew, would make both Mother and Daddy very happy. So she left her little broom on the side porch and ran into the house to find Mother and ask her.
         She went upstairs, where Mother had been when Honey Bunch went out to sweep. But no Mother was there now. Honey Bunch looked in every room, even the sewing room, but she found no Mother. Then she came downstairs and peeped in every room, but they were all empty.
         Next Honey Bunch went to the kitchen. Some one was there, some one who stood at the table by the window, with a large apron on, mixing something in a yellow bowl.
          “Mother!” cried Honey Bunch. “I looked all over the house for you!”
          “Did you, dear?” said Mother. “I’ve been right here all the time. Did you get tired of sweeping?”
          “I found something!” replied Honey Bunch proudly. “I found it on the grass right by the steps; is it the Lulu-man’s card, Mother?”
         Mother dried her hands on a clean towel and took the scrap of paper Honey Bunch held out to her. She held it toward the light eagerly and looked at it carefully.
          “Is it the card, Mother?” asked Honey Bunch again.
          “No, darling,” answered Mother. “This is nothing but a piece of an old envelope that has evidently blown off some trash basket. It isn’t even any name we ever heard of. I’m sorry, for Daddy would be so glad to have that man’s name. Can’t you remember just the first part of it, Honey Bunch? Do try.”
          “I did,” said Honey Bunch sadly. “I tried and tried.”
          “Yes, I know you did,” Mother told her, giving her a kiss. “Daddy says we are not to bother our heads about the card any more; but I cannot help thinking of it very often and wishing I had put it away in a safer place.
But worrying won’t help me make a good pie, will it, dear?”
          “Are you making a pie?” asked Honey Bunch. “Oh, Mother, you said I could bake a pie some day. You truly did, Mother. Isn’t this some day, Mother?”
         Her mother laughed and sifted more flour into the yellow bowl.
          “I suppose this is ‘some day,’ ” she said, smiling. “Well, Honey Bunch, if you want to learn to make a pie, perhaps now is the time for you to learn. Come here and I will tie an apron on you.”
         Mother took down a pink apron from a hook on the pantry door and tied it around the little girl’s neck. It was so long that the ends had to be pinned up twice and Honey Bunch looked like a fat little cook when she Was finally fixed.
          “Now you must wash your hands very carefully,” said Mother. “A good cook always has clean hands.”
         Honey Bunch went over to the sink and washed her hands—with soap—and dried them—with a towel—and then announced she was ready to make a pie.
          “What kind of pie shall I make, Mother?” she asked, quite as though she could make any kind, if she wished to.
          “I’m making an apple pie,” answered her mother. “Would you like to make an apple pie, dear?”
         Honey Bunch thought she would, and she helped Mother clear one end of the table so that she would have room to mix and roll her crust.
          “I’ll give you some of my dough, because that is already mixed,” explained Mother. “But you may take this apple and cut it up for your pie. And in the cupboard you will find a little round tin that will be just the right size for you.”
         Honey Bunch found the tin and then she was ready to cut up the apple. She was not allowed to touch the kitchen knives as a rule, but this morning Mother gave her a little paring knife and showed her how to use it. The knife wasn’t very sharp, so there was small danger that the little girl would cut herself, but it was sharp enough to cut an apple if one worked slowly. Honey Bunch thought it was a very good knife and she worked carefully, peeling her apple and then cutting it in four parts, as Mother showed her.
          “Those are quarters,” explained Mother. “Now take out the little pieces of core—we don’t eat those. You are doing very nicely, Honey Bunch. I suspect you will be a great little cook one of these days.”
          “Grace Winters cut herself with the carving knife,” said Honey Bunch, carefully cutting out a piece of core. “Her mother told her not to touch it and she did and she cut her thumb.”
          “That’s because she was naughty,” said Honey Bunch’s mother seriously. “We have to learn to use knives like any other tools. As long as you don’t touch them, unless you first ask if you may, you won’t cut yourself, Honey Bunch. Grace’s mother knew that a carving knife isn’t for little girls to handle, but poor
Grace had to find that out for herself. Is her thumb well again, dear?”
          “Pretty near well,” said Honey Bunch. “She has to wear a rag tied on it yet. What do I do next, Mother?”
          “Goodness, next you will need a rolling pin,” answered Mother. “Let me see, what shall I give you to use? I know! Wait a minute, Honey Bunch, and I’ll get you something.”
         Mother pulled out a drawer in a table and took out a short, round stick. It did not look like the rolling pin she used; hers was of glass and much larger around than the stick.
          “Is that a rolling pin?” asked Honey Bunch doubtfully.
         Mother laughed a little as she wiped the stick on a white cloth.
          “Well, it will make a handy rolling pin,” she said. “It is a piece of a broom stick, dear, and Daddy cut it off and sandpapered it down smooth for me. I really use it to prop up that funny little window in the pantry, but it will be just the right size for you to use as a rolling pin.”
         Then Mother gave Honey Bunch a little lump of the pie crust (Honey Bunch called it “dough”) she had mixed in the yellow bowl, and showed her how to roll it out thin on the table top. Before they rolled the crust, they sprinkled the table with flour, so the crust would not stick.
          “Now you put the crust in your tin pan and cut the apples in slices and lay them in carefully,” said Mother, when Honey Bunch had rolled her “dough” in a round, flat piece. “And then I’ll give you some sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle on top.”
         Although Honey Bunch had washed her hands very carefully before she began to bake, her pie crust looked much darker than Mother’s. It was gray, really, but Honey Bunch thought perhaps it would turn whiter in the oven.
          “Oh! Oh!” squealed the little girl, as she tried to pull the crust from the table to put it in her pie pan. “Oh, Mother, it’s breaking!”
         Mother said there was a way to lift the crust without breaking it and she showed Honey Bunch how to slip a knife underneath the crust and lift it over to the pan. Then Honey Bunch had a delightful time slicing her apples with her paring knife and arranging them in layers in the pan. Honey Bunch took a long time to fix her apples and Mother had two pies ready for the oven before the little cook was ready to put on her top crust.
         She thought it was great fun to sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon and then put on the top crust “like a blanket,” she said, and pinch the edges so the apples should not fall out.
          “That looks like a beautiful pie!” said Mother, when Honey Bunch held it up for her to see.
          “B-zzt! B-zzt!” came two short, sharp rings of the doorbell.
          “Daddy!” shouted Honey Bunch, for her father always rang the bell twice.
         Honey Bunch put her pie on the nearest chair and dashed for the door. Sure enough, it was Daddy, and he seemed very glad to see her, though he had left the house only a few hours ago.
          “Left my keys and came up for them!” he told Mother, who had followed Honey Bunch into the hall.
          “Why didn’t you telephone to me and send the office boy up?” asked Honey Bunch’s mother. “It would have saved you time, David.”
          “Oh, I had to go over to court, anyway,” answered Daddy Morton. “Say, Honey Bunch, don’t you want to run upstairs and get Daddy his other glasses? You’ll find them on the dresser in my room.”
         Honey Bunch pattered upstairs, trying not to walk on her pink apron. One end had come loose while she was making the pie. She found the glasses and hurried down. Her daddy and mother were out in the kitchen. They were talking very earnestly.
          “Come here, dear, and let me pin up your apron,” said her mother, and Honey Bunch, banding the glasses to Daddy, went up to Mother and turned around to have the apron pinned up again.
          “I know it is early to order it, but there’ll be no harm done,” said Daddy Morton.
         Honey Bunch’s mother fixed the apron and then put her arm around her little girl.
          “How many tons do you think we shall need?” she asked.
         Honey Bunch knew they were talking grown-up talk. She often heard them, and she listened quietly, wondering a little about a great many things. Grown-up people, she had found, liked to talk about many different things.
          “Oh, I could guess, but I won’t do that,” said Daddy Morton now, who could not possibly know how anxious his little daughter was to tell him what she had been doing that morning, or he would not have talked so long without giving her a chance to tell him. “I mean to see the man who built the house and lived here two winters and ask him.”
          “Coal will be high, Mrs. Williams said,” declared Honey Bunch’s mother.
         They were talking about coal to keep the house warm, Honey Bunch knew then. She leaned against Mother’s knee and smiled at Daddy, who was sitting in the chair by the table.
          “We have to have it, though,” said Daddy, smiling back at Honey Bunch. “Have to keep little girls warm and cozy when old Jack Frost comes prowling round hunting for little fingers and toes.”
          “Daddy!” said Honey Bunch.
          “Well, sweetness, what is it?” asked her daddy. “You’ve been asking me a question with your blue eyes for some time. What is it, dear?”
          “I don’t like to bother you,” said Honey Bunch. “Mother says you like to rest when you come home. But, Daddy, if you don’t mind, would you get up so I can bake my pie?”
          “Bake your pie?” said her daddy. “Why, go ahead, Honey Bunch, and bake it.”
          “I can’t ’less you get up,” explained Honey Bunch. “You’re sitting on it, Daddy.”
           Daddy Morton stared at Honey Bunch as though he had not understood her.
          “Sitting on your pie?” he said. “Did you Say I was sitting on your pie?”
         Honey Bunch nodded anxiously.
          “Yes, you’re sitting on it,” she answered. “Please, Daddy, I would like to bake it now.” Daddy Morton stood up hastily. There, in the chair was what was left of the beautiful apple pie Honey Bunch had made. It was very flat indeed, flat and “squashy,” Honey Bunch said, and the little girl felt like crying.

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