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A Summer in a Canyon   By: (1856-1923)

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This etext was produced from the 1914 Gay and Hancock, Ltd. edition by David Price, email


by Kate Douglas Wiggin

SCENE: A Camping Ground in the Canyon Las Flores.


DR. PAUL WINSHIP Mine Host MRS. TRUTH WINSHIP The Guardian Angel DICKY WINSHIP A Small Scamp of Six Years BELL WINSHIP The Camp Poetess POLLY OLIVER A Sweet but Saucy Lass MARGERY NOBLE A Nut Brown Mayde PHILIP NOBLE The Useful Member GEOFFREY STRONG A Harvard Boy JACK HOWARD Prince of Mischief HOP YET A Heathen Chinee. PANCHO GUTIERREZ A Mexican man of all work.


'One to make ready, and two to prepare.'

It was nine o'clock one sunny California morning, and Geoffrey Strong stood under the live oak trees in Las Flores Canyon, with a pot of black paint in one hand and a huge brush in the other. He could have handled these implements to better purpose and with better grace had not his arms been firmly held by three laughing girls, who pulled not wisely, but too well. He was further incommoded by the presence of a small urchin who lay on the dusty ground beneath his feet, fastening an upward clutch on the legs of his trousers.

There were three large canvas tents directly in front of them, yet no one of these seemed to be the object of dissension, but rather a redwood board, some three feet in length, which was nailed on a tree near by.

'Camp Frolic! Please let us name it Camp Frolic!' cried Bell Winship, with a persuasive twitch of her cousin's sleeve.

'No, no; not Camp Frolic,' pleaded Polly Oliver. 'Pray, pray let us have Camp Ha Ha; my heart is set upon it.'

'As you are Strong, be merciful,' quoted Margery Noble, coaxingly; 'take my advice and call it Harmony Camp.'

At this juncture, a lovely woman, whose sweet face and smile made you love her at once, came up the hill from the brookside. 'What, what! still quarrelling, children?' she asked, laughingly. 'Let me be peacemaker. I've just asked the Doctor for a name, and he suggests Camp Chaparral. What do you say?'

Bell released one coat tail. 'That isn't wholly bad,' she said, critically, while the other girls clapped their hands with approval; for anything that Aunt Truth suggested was sure to be quite right.

'Wait a minute, good people,' cried Jack Howard, flinging his fishing tackle under a tree and sauntering toward the scene of action. 'Suppose we have a referee, a wise and noble judge. Call Hop Yet, and let him decide this all important subject.'

His name being sung and shouted in various keys by the assembled company, Hop Yet appeared at the door of the brush kitchen, a broad grin on his countenance, a plucked fowl in his hand.

Geoffrey took the floor. 'Now, Hop Yet, you know I got name, you got name, everybody got name. We want name this camp: you sabe? Miss Bell, she say Camp Frolic. Frolic all same heap good time' (here he executed a sort of war dance which was intended to express wild joy). 'Miss Pauline, she say Camp Ha Ha, big laugh: sabe? Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!' (chorus joined in by all to fully illustrate the subject). 'Miss Madge, she say Camp Harmony. Harmony all same heap quiet time, plenty eat, plenty drink, plenty sleep, no fight, no too muchee talk. Mrs. Winship, she say Camp Chaparral: you sabe? Chaparral, Hop Yet. Now what you say?'

Hop Yet seemed to regard the question with mingled embarrassment and amusement, but being a sharp and talkative Chinaman gave his answer promptly: 'Me say Camp Chap lal heap good name; plenty chap lal all lound; me hang um dish cloth, tow'l, little boy's stockin', on chap lal; all same clo'se line velly good. Miss Bell she folic, Miss Polly she ha! ha! allee same Camp Chap lal... Continue reading book >>

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