New Chronicles of Rebecca
First Chronicle : Jack O'lantern
Miss Miranda Sawyer's old-fashioned garden was the pleasantest spot in Riverboro on a
sunny July morning. The rich color of the brick house gleamed and glowed through the
shade of the elms and maples. Luxuriant hop-vines clambered up the lightning rods and
water spouts, hanging their delicate clusters here and there in graceful profusion.
Woodbine transformed the old shed and tool house to things of beauty, and the flower
beds themselves were the prettiest and most fragrant in all the countryside. A row of
dahlias ran directly around the garden spot,--dahlias scarlet, gold, and variegated. In the
very centre was a round plot where the upturned faces of a thousand pansies smiled amid
their leaves, and in the four corners were triangular blocks of sweet phlox over which the
butterflies fluttered unceasingly. In the spaces between ran a riot of portulaca and
nasturtiums, while in the more regular, shell-bordered beds grew spirea and gillyflowers,
mignonette, marigolds, and clove pinks.
Back of the barn and encroaching on the edge of the hay field was a grove of sweet
clover whose white feathery tips fairly bent under the assaults of the bees, while banks of
aromatic mint and thyme drank in the sunshine and sent it out again into the summer air,
warm, and deliciously odorous.
The hollyhocks were Miss Sawyer's pride, and they grew in a stately line beneath the four
kitchen windows, their tapering tips set thickly with gay satin circlets of pink or lavender
"They grow something like steeples," thought little Rebecca Randall, who was weeding
the bed, "and the flat, round flowers are like rosettes; but steeples wouldn't be studded
with rosettes, so if you were writing about them in a composition you'd have to give up
one or the other, and I think I'll give up the steeples:--
Gay little hollyhock
Lifting your head,
Out from your bed.
It's a pity the hollyhock isn't really little, instead of steepling up to the window top, but I
can't say, 'Gay TALL hollyhock.' . . . I might have it 'Lines to a Hollyhock in May,' for
then it would be small; but oh, no! I forgot; in May it wouldn't be blooming, and it's so
pretty to say that its head is 'sweetly rosetted' . . . I wish the teacher wasn't away; she
would like 'sweetly rosetted,' and she would like to hear me recite 'Roll on, thou deep and
dark blue ocean, roll!' that I learned out of Aunt Jane's Byron; the rolls come booming out
of it just like the waves at the beach. . . . I could make nice compositions now, everything
is blooming so, and it's so warm and sunny and happy outdoors. Miss Dearborn told me
to write something in my thought book every single day, and I'll begin this very night
when I go to bed."