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The Book of the Funny Smells—and Everything

by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott

It was Carol who invented the Book. He didn't mean any harm.

I helped him.

We called it "The Book of the Funny Smells—and Everything."

It was one Tuesday noon coming home from school that we stopped the Lady on the street.

She was a very interesting looking lady. She looked like all sorts of different-colored silk roses. And a diamond brooch.

"Excuse us, Madam," I said. "But we are making a book! And we have decided to begin it with you! If you were a Beautiful Smell instead of a Beautiful Lady,—what Beautiful Smell in the Whole Wide World would you choose to be?"

The lady reeled back against the wall of the Post Office. And put on a gold eyeglass to support her.

"Merciful Impudences!" she said. "What new kind of census is this?"

We knew what a "census" was.

"No! It isn't that at all!" I explained. "This is something important."

Carol showed her the book. He showed her the pencil he was going to write the book with.

"When it's all done," I explained, "everybody will want to read it!"

"I can well believe it," said the Lady. She looked at Carol. Everybody looks at Carol.

"Who are you children, anyway?" she said.

"My name is Ruthy," I explained. "And this is my brother Carol."

She began to look at Carol all over again. She reached out and shook him by the shoulder.

"Dumbness!" she said. "Why let Sister do all the talking?"

My stomach felt pretty queer.

"My brother Carol can't talk," I explained. "He is dumb!"

The Lady turned very red.

"Oh dear—Oh dear—Oh dear," she said. She opened her purse. She took out a dollar bill. "Surely something could be done about it!" she said.

"We are not looking for money," I explained. "We are perfectly rich. We have warm underalls. And two parents. And an older sister. We have a tame coon. And a tame crow. Our Father could paint the house any Autumn he wanted to if he'd rather do it than plant Tulips."

The Lady looked at her watch. It was a bright blue watch no bigger than a violet is.

"This is all very interesting," she said. "But at the obnoxious hotel which you run in this village dinner is at twelve o'clock and if I'm not there at exactly that moment there will not be another dinner, I suppose, until twelve o'clock the next day. So——"

"Probably not," I said. "So if you don't feel timid at all about walking out with strangers, my brother Carol and I will walk home to the Hotel with you and write our book as we go."

The Lady bit herself. She bit herself in the lip. She began to walk very fast.

Carol walked very fast on one side of her. I walked very fast on the other. Carol carried the book. He carried it wide open so as to be all ready any moment. I carried the pencil.

"Can you tell me," said the Lady, "just why you and your brother have picked upon me as the first victim of your most astonishing interrogations?"

"Because you are the only Lady we ever saw in our lives that we didn't know who she was!" I explained. "And that makes it more interesting!"

"O—h," said the Lady. She gave a queer little gasp. It was the Hotel happening! She ran up the hotel steps. There was a Gentleman waiting for her at the top of the steps. He was a tall Gentleman with a very cross mustache. The Lady whispered something to him. He shook his mustache at us.

"Get out of here, you Young Scamps!" he cried. "Get out of here, I say! Get out!"

No one had ever shaken his mustache at us before. We sat down on the step to think about it.

The Gentleman ran off to call the Hotel Proprietor.

The Lady looked a little sorry. She came running back. She stooped down. She took the book from Carol. And the pencil from me. She laughed a little.

"You funny—funny children," she said. "What is it you want to know? The Most Beautiful Smell in the whole wide world,—is that it?—The Most Beautiful Smell in the whole wide world?" She looked back over her shoulder. She wrote very fast. Her cheeks looked pink. She banged the book together just the first second she had finished. She pulled my ear. "I'm—I'm sorry," she said.

"Oh, that's all right," I assured her. "We'll be round and write the rest of the book some other day!"

The Man with the Cross Mustache kept right on hunting all around.

When the Hotel Proprietor came running and saw who we were he gave us two oranges instead, and a left-over roll of wall-paper with parrots on it, and all the old calendars that were in his desk.

We had to race home across the railroad trestle to get there in time. It wasn't till we reached the Blacksmith Shop that we had a chance to stop and see what the Lady had written in our book. There was a Smoke Tree just outside the Blacksmith Shop. It was all in smoke. We sat down under it and opened our book.

This is what the Lady had written in our book.

The most beautiful smell in the world is the smell of an old tattered baseball glove—that's been lying in the damp grass—by the side of a brook—in June Time.

I looked at Carol. Carol looked at me. We felt surprised. It wasn't exactly what you would have expected. Carol rolled over on his stomach. He clapped his heels in the air. He pounded his fists in the grass.

We forgot all about going home. We went into the Blacksmith's Shop instead. It was a very earthy place. But nothing grew there. Not grass. Not flowers. Not even vines. Just Junk!

The Blacksmith's name was Jason. He looked something like a Stove that could be doubled up in its stomach and carried round to all four corners of a horse for the horse to put his foot on. He was making shoes for a very stout black horse. The horse's name was Ezra. There were a great many sparks around! And iron noises! And flames! And smouches! Ezra's hoofs seemed to be burning! It smelt so funny we didn't think it would be polite to ask Jason what he'd rather smell like instead! So we decided to begin the other way about. But whatever way you decided you had to scream it.

"Jason," I screamed. "If you were a Beautiful Sound instead of a Beautiful Blacksmith, what Beautiful Sound in the whole wide world would you choose to be?"

"Eh?" screamed Jason. He stopped hammering. He stopped thumping. He stopped boiling poor Ezra's hoof with a red hot poker. "Eh?" he said all over again. "Well, that's a new one on me! What's the Big Idea?"

"Well—I want to know," said Jason. He sat down on a great block of wood. He wiped his sleeve on his face. It made his sleeve all black. "If I was a Sound—?" he said. "Instead of a Man?—Instead of a man?" It seemed to puzzle him a good deal. "Not to be a man—any more you mean? No arms? Legs? Stomach? Eyes?—To get all worn out and busted stayin' on forever in one place? And then thrung away?—But to be just a—just a Sound?—Just a Sound? Well, of all the comical ideas! Of all the——" Then quite suddenly he whacked his hand down in a great black smouch on his knee and clanged his feet like dungeon chains across a clutter of horseshoes. "I've got it!" he cried. "I've got it!—If I was a Sound instead of a man I'd choose to be a Song!—Not great loud band-tunes, I mean, that nobody could play unless he was hired! And charged tickets! But some nice—pretty little Song—floatin' round all soft and easy on ladies' lips and in men's hearts. Or tinklin' out as pleasant as you please on moonlight nights from mandolin strings and young folks sparkin'. Or turnin' up just as likely as not in some old guy's whistle on the top of one of these 'ere omnibuses in London Town. Or travellin' even in a phonograph through the wonders of the great Sahara Desert. Something all simple—I mean that you could hum without even botherin' with the words. Something people would know who you was even if there wasn't any words!—Something all sweet and low——'Sweet and Low,' that's it! My Mother used to sing it! I hain't thought of it for forty years! That's the one I mean!"

"Sweet and Low"—he began to sing.

Sweet and low—Sweet and low—
Wind of the Western Sea——
 

His voice was all deep and full of sand like the way a bass drum makes you feel in your stomach. I looked at Carol. Carol looked at me. We felt pretty surprised. Jason the Blacksmith looked more surprised than anyone! But he kept right on singing!

Over the rolling waters go—
Come from the—the something—moon and blow—
While my little one—while my pretty one—sleeps.
Father will come to his babe in the nest—
S-silvery—something—all out of the West—
Silvery——

We ran!

When we got to the Smoke Tree and looked back there was no sound at all in the Blacksmith Shop except the sound of Ezra thumping his hoofs. And Jason being a Song instead of a man!

The faster we ran the more surprised we felt.

When you read a book, of course, you expect to be surprised. If you didn't think the person who made the book was going to tell you something that you didn't know before you wouldn't bother to read it. But when you're writing a book it doesn't seem exactly as though so many unexpected things ought to happen to you!

We were pretty glad when we ran right into the Old Minister who preaches sometimes when all the young ministers can't think of anything more to preach about.

The Old Minister was leaning against the Bridge. The Old Lawyer was leaning against the Bridge with him. They were waving their canes. And their long white beards. And arguing about the "Thirty-Nine Articles."—Carol thinks it was the "Fifty-Seven Varieties" they were arguing about. But the "Fifty-Seven Varieties" I'm almost sure is Pickles. It's the "Thirty-Nine Articles" that is Arguments!

The Old Minister laughed when he saw us coming. "Well—Well—Well!" he cried. "See who's here! And carrying such a big book too! And all out of breath!" He put his arm round Carol. I thought he was going to ask us our Catechisms. And there wasn't any breath left in our catechisms.

"Oh, if you were a Beautiful Sound," I gasped, "instead of a Beautiful Preacher—what Beautiful Sound in the whole wide world—would you—would you choose to be?"

"Eh?" said the Old Minister. "Eh?—What's—that? A—A—Sound instead of a Preacher? Well, upon my word!—This minute, you mean? Or any minute? If I was a Beautiful Sound instead of——?" He mopped his forehead. He looked pretty hot. He twinkled his eyes at the Old Lawyer. "Well—just this minute," he said, "I'd rather be the Sound of Foaming Beer than anything else in the world that I can think of!" He thumped his cane on the ground. The Old Lawyer thumped his cane on the ground. They both started off down the road thumping as they walked. We heard them chuckling as they thumped. They weren't arguing any more about the "Thirty-Nine Articles." They were arguing about Cheese.

And that was surprising too!

There wasn't any dinner left when we got home except just knives and forks and spoons. My Mother found us two bowls to go with the spoons. And some milk to go with the bowls. And some crackers to go with the milk. Everything went very well.

We told my Mother we were sorry to be late but that we were writing a book and it was very important.

My Mother said yes,—she knew that writing books was very important and had always noticed that people who wrote 'em were very apt to be late to things. Her only regret, she said, was that Carol and I hadn't had a little more time in which to form habits of promptness before we began on such a chronic career as Literature.

My Father said "Stuff and Nonsense!" My Father said that if we'd kindly condescend to tear ourselves away from the Charms of Literature for one brief afternoon he'd like to have us weed the Tulip Bed.

We said we would.

We forgot all about our book. It isn't that pulling up weeds is any special fun. It's the putting flowers back that you've pulled up by mistake that is such a Game in itself. You have to make little splints for them out of Forsythia twigs. You have to build little collars of pebble-stone all around them to keep marauding beetles from eating up their wiltedness. You have to bring them medicine-water from the brook instead of from the kitchen—so that nobody will scream and say, "Oh, what have you done now?—Oh, what have you done now?"

It was Supper Time before we knew it. There was creamed chicken for supper. And wild strawberry preserve. And a letter from our sister Rosalee. Our sister Rosalee is in Cuba visiting her Betrother. She wrote seven pages about it. She seemed to like her Betrother very much.

My Mother cried a little. My Father said "Oh, Pshaw! Oh, Pshaw! You can't keep 'em babies forever!" My Mother tried not to look at my Father's eyes. She looked at his feet instead. When she looked at his feet instead she saw that there were holes in his slippers. She seemed very glad. She ran and got a big needle. And a big thread. My Father had to sit very still.

It seemed a very good time to remember about the Book.

Carol went and got the Book. He put it down on the Dining Room table. It was a gray book with a red back to it. It said "Lanos Bryant" across the back of it. It was Lanos Bryant who had given us the book. Lanos Bryant was the Butcher. It was an old Account Book. The front of it was all mixed up with figurings. It was in the back of it that we were making Our Book.

My Mother looked up. She smiled at us.

"Why, bless my heart," she said, "we mustn't forget about the children's Book!"

"No such luck," said my Father.

Everybody smiled a little.

"What's the Book about?" said my Mother.

I looked at Carol. Carol looked at me. He nudged me to go on.

"It's about You!" I said. "And about Father! And about Jason the Blacksmith! And about the Old Preacher. And about most anybody I guess that would like to be About-ed!"

"Well—Well—Well," said my Mother. "And what is it for?"

"Oh, it's just for fun," I said. "But it's very important.—Just the first instant anybody reads it he'll know all there is to know about everybody without ever having to go and make calls on them! Everything interesting about them I mean! Everything that really matters! Lots of things that nobody would have guessed!"

"Mercy!" said my Mother. She stopped mending my Father and jumped right up.

My Father jumped right up too!

"Oh, it isn't written yet!" I said. "It's only just begun!"

"O—h," said my Mother. And sat down again.

"We though maybe you and Father would help us," I said.

"O—h," said my Father. And sat down again too.

Carol began to laugh. I don't know why he laughed.

"It's—it's just a set of questions," I explained.

Carol opened the Book and found the questions.

"Just five or six questions," I explained. "All you have to do is to answer the questions—and tell us how to spell it perhaps.—And then that makes the Book!"

"It certainly sounds simple," said my Mother. She began mending my Father very hard. "And what are some of the questions?" she asked.

"Well—the first question," I explained, "is 'What is your name?'"

My Mother gave a little giggle. She hushed my Father with her hand.

"Oh surely," she said, "there couldn't be any objection to telling these pleasant children our names?"

"No—o," admitted my Father.

My Mother looked up. She twinkled her eyes a little as well as her mouth.

"Our names are 'Father' and 'Mother'," she said.

Carol wrote the names in the Book. He wrote them very black and literary looking. "Father" at the top of one page. And "Mother" at the top of the other. They looked nice.

"All right then," said my Father. "Fire away!"

I looked at my Father. I looked at my Mother. I didn't know just which one to begin with. Carol kicked me in the shins for encouragement. I decided to begin with my Mother.

"Oh Mother," I said. "If you were a Beautiful Smell instead of a Beautiful Mother,—what Beautiful Smell in the whole wide world—would you choose to be?"

"Eh? What's that? What?" said my Father. "Well, of all the idiotic foolishness! Of all the—"

"Why no—not at all," said my Mother. "Why—Why I think it's rather interesting! Why—Why—Though I must admit," she laughed out suddenly, "that I never quite thought of things in just that way before!" She looked out the window. She looked in the fire-place. She looked at my Father. She looked at Carol. She looked at me. She began to clap her hands. "I've got it!" she said. "I know what I'd choose! A White Iris! In all the world there's no perfume that can compare with the perfume of a White Iris!—Orris root they call it. Orris—"

"Humph! What's the matter with Tulips?" said my Father.

"Oh but Tulips don't have any smell at all," said my Mother. "Except just the nice earthy smell of Spring winds and Spring rains and Spring sunbeams!—Oh of course they look as though they were going to smell tremendously sweet!" she acknowledged very politely. "But they're just so busy being gay I suppose that—"

"The Tulip Goldfinch," said my Father coldly, "is noted for its fragrance."

"Oh dear—Oh dear—Oh dear," said my Mother. She seemed very sorry. She folded her hands. "Oh very well," she said. "Mondays,—Wednesdays,—Fridays,—and Sundays,—I will be the fragrance of the Tulip Goldfinch. But Tuesdays,—Thursdays and Saturdays I really must insist on being the fragrance of a White Iris!"

"Humph!" said my Father. "There aren't any of them that are worth the nice inky lithograph smell of the first Garden Catalogues that come off the presses 'long about February!"

My Mother clapped her hands again.

"Oh Goodie!" she said. "Write Father down as choosing to smell like 'the nice inky lithograph smell of the first Garden Catalogues that come off the presses 'long about February'!"

My Father had to tell us how to spell "Lithograph." Carol wrote it very carefully. My Mother laughed.

"Well really," said my Mother, "I'm beginning to have a very good time.—What is Question No. 2?"

"Question No. 2," I said, "is:—If you were a Beautiful Sound instead of a Beautiful Father and Mother,—what Beautiful Sound in the whole wide world would you choose to be?"

My Father felt better almost at once.

"Oh Pshaw!" he said. "That's easy. I'd be the Sound of Gold Pieces jingling in the pocket of a man—of a man—" He looked at my Mother. "—Of a man who had a Brown-Eyed Wife who looked something like my Brown-Eyed Wife—and three children whose names—when you spoke 'em quickly sounded very similar—yes, very similar indeed to 'Ruthy' and 'Carol' and 'Rosalee'!"

"Oh what nonsense!" said my Mother.

"What does the jingle of Gold Pieces amount to?—Now if I could be any Sound I wanted to—I'd choose to be the sweet—soft—breathy little stir that a nice little family makes when it wakes up in the morning—so that no matter how much you've worried during the long black night you can feel at once that everything's all right! And that everybody's all there!—In all the world," cried my Mother, "I know of no sweeter sound than the sound of a nice little family—waking up in the morning!"

I turned to Carol's page. I laughed and laughed. "Bubbling Fat is what Carol would like to sound like!" I cried. "The noise that Bubbling Fat makes when you drop doughnuts into it!—But I?—If I could be any lovely Sound I wanted to,—I'd like to be the Sound of Rain on a Tin Roof—at night! All over the world people would be lying awake listening to you! And even if they didn't want to listen they'd have to! Till you were good and ready to stop!"

It took Carol a good while to write down everything about "Gold Pieces" and a "Nice Little Family waking up in the Morning" and "Rain on a Tin Roof."

"The next question is pretty hard," I explained. "Maybe you'd like to be thinking about it.—If you were a Beautiful Sight—that people came miles to see,—what Beautiful Sight in the whole wide world would you choose to be?"

My Father didn't wait a minute. "A Field of Tulips!" he said.

Carol pounded the table with his fists. His face was like an explosion of smiles. He pointed to my Father's page in the Book.

"It's already written!" I said. "We guessed it all the time!"

We turned to my Mother. We saw a little quiver go through my Mother's shoulders.

"I'd choose to be a Storm at Sea!" said my Mother.

"What?" cried my Father.

"A Storm at Sea!" said my Mother.

My Father stopped saying "What?" And made a little gasping sound instead. "You?You?" he said. "The gentlest soul that ever breathed?—Would like to be a 'Storm at Sea'?"

"It's only the 'mother' side of me that is gentle!" laughed my Mother. She threw back her head suddenly. She thrust out her hands. It jerked her soft, calm hair all fluffy and wild across her forehead. Her eyes danced! Her cheeks turned all pink! "Oh wouldn't it be fun?" she cried. "All the roaring! And the ranting! And the foaming! And the Furying!—Racing up the beaches in great waves! And splashes! Banging against the rocks! Scaring the fishes almost to pieces! Rocking the boats till people fell Bump right out of their berths onto the floor! Ruffling the gulls till——"

"You wouldn't actually—wreck a boat would you?" said my Father.

My Mother stopped tossing her head. And waving her hands. She gave a little sigh. She began mending my Father again very hard.

"Just——pirates," she said.

"O—h," said my Father.

"We intended to make the next one about 'Motions,'" I explained. "But it was too hard. Carol wanted to be an Elevator!—Carol says an Elevator is like quick-silver in a giant thermometer that's gone mad!—He wanted to be the motion it makes when the Elevator's going down and the floor's coming up! But it made me feel queer in my stomach!"

"Merciful Heavens!" said my Father. "What kind of a family have I drawn?—My Wife wants to be a 'Storm at Sea' and my Son aspires to feel like an 'Elevator Gone Mad'!"

Carol looked at my Mother. My Mother looked at Carol. They laughed their eyes together.

"So we made it 'Money' and 'Memory' instead," I explained.

"Made what 'Money' and 'Memory' instead?" said my Father.

"The next two questions," I explained.

"O—h," said my Mother.

"Fire away!" said my Father.

"Question No. 4," I said. "Which do you like best? Times? or Things?"

"Times or Things?" said my Father. "Whatever in the world do you mean?" His eyebrows looked pretty puzzled.

"Why, we mean," I explained, "if somebody gave you five whole dollars for your birthday—how would you rather spend it?—What would you get most fun out of, we mean?—Times? Or Things?—Would you be most apt to spend it for Rabbits, we mean? Or going to a Fair?"

"Oh," said my Father, "I see!—Times or Things?—Times—or things?—Why Things!" he decided almost at once. "Things of course!—When you buy a Thing you've got something really tangible for your money! Something definite! Something really to show!—'Rabbits' I admit would probably not be my choice.—But a book, now! A set of garden tools?—A pair of rubber boots even?"

"N—o," said my Mother very softly, "I'm almost sure I'd rather 'go to the Fair'!—'Times' or 'Things'?—Yes I'm perfectly positive," she cried out, "that Times give me more pleasure than Things do!—Now that I think of it I can see quite plainly that always—always I've preferred to spend my money 'going to the Fair'!"

"Yes, but how foolish," said my Father. "When the Fair's over it's over!—Nothing left to show for it but just a memory."

My Mother laughed right out loud. It was the prettiest laugh.

"Now that's where you're mistaken!" she laughed. "When the Fair's what you call 'over,'—that's the time it's really just begun!—Books get lost—or puppies chew them! Garden tools rust! Even the best rubber boots in the world get the most awful holes poked through their toes!—But a Happy Memory?—A Happy Memory—?" She jumped up suddenly and crept into my Father's arms.

My Father stroked her hair. And stroked it.

Carol kicked me in the shins.

"There's only one more question!" I cried out pretty loud.

"What is it?" said my Mother. It sounded pretty mumbly through my Father's shoulder.

"Oh this one is very important," I said. "It's about colors."

"Colors?" said my Father. He didn't seem to care nearly as much as you'd have thought he would.

"C—Colors," mumbled my Mother.

"Somewhere in a book," I explained, "we read about a man who wanted his memory 'kept green?'—Why green? Why not pink?—Why not blue?—Or even red with a cunning little white line in it?"

"Eh?" said my Father.

"If you were going away," I explained.

My Mother's hands clutched at his coat. She gave a queer little shiver. "Oh not—'away'!" she protested.

"For ever and ever," I explained.

My Mother's face came peering out from the shadow of my Father's shoulder. She started to laugh. And made a little sob instead. "Oh not for——ever——and ever?" she said.

We all sat and looked at each other. I felt awful queer in my stomach.

Carol kicked me in the shins. He wrote something quick on a piece of paper and shoved it across the table at me.

"China was the place that Carol meant!" I explained. "Oh he didn't mean—at all—what you thought he meant!—If you were going away to—to China—for ever and ever—and ever—and gave your Best Friend a whole lot of money like twenty-five dollars to remember you by—what color do you hope he'd keep your memory?"

"Oh—yes—why of course!" said my Father quite quickly. "It's a jolly one after all, isn't it!—Color—Color?—Let me see!—For twenty-five dollars you say? Yes Yes!—The very thing! Yellow of course! I hope my Best Friend would have wit enough to buy a Lamp!—Nothing fancy you know but something absolutely reliable.—Daytimes to be sure your memory wouldn't be much use to him. But nights—the time everybody needs everybody the most,—Nights I say,—looking back from—from China, was it that you designated?—Nights it would be rather pleasant I think to feel that one lived on and on—as a yellow glow in his friend's life."

My Father reached out and pinched my ear.

"How about it, Ruthy?" he asked.

"Oh that's all right," I admitted. "But if I gave my Best Friend twenty-five dollars to remember me by—I hope he'd buy a Blueberry Bush!—Just think of all the colors it would keep your memory!—White in blossom-time! And blue in fruit-season! And red as blood all the Autumn! With brown rabbits hopping through you!—And speckled birds laying—goodness knows what colored eggs! And—"

Somebody banged the front door. Somebody scuffled on the threshold. Somebody shouted "Hello—Hello—Hello—!" It was the Old Doctor.

We ran to see if he had peppermints in his pocket.

He had!

After the Old Doctor had given us all the peppermints he thought we ought to have—and seven more besides, he sat down in the big cretonne chair by the window, and fanned his neck with a newspaper. He seemed to be pretty mad at the people who had made his collars.

"W-hew!" he said. "The man who invented a 21-inch collar ought to be forced to suck boiling starch through the neck of a Blueing Bottle!"

We didn't see just why.

The Old Doctor said he didn't care to discuss it.

"Any news to-day?" asked my Father.

"News enough!" said the Old Doctor. He seemed pretty mad about that too!

"Such as what?" asked my Father.

"There's a Prince and Princess in town!" said the Old Doctor. "Or a Duch and Duchess!—Or a Fool and Fooless!—I don't care what you call 'em!—They've got some sort of a claim on the old Dun Voolees estate. Brook,—meadow,—blueberry——hillside,—popple grove,—everything! They've come way from Austria to prove it! Going to build a Tannery! Or a Fertilizer Factory! Or some other equally odoriferous industry! Fill the town with foreign laborers!—String a line of lowsy shacks clear from the Blacksmith Shop to the river!—Hope they choke!"

"Oh my dear—my dear!" said my Mother.

The Old Doctor looked a little funny.

"Oh I admit it's worth something," he said, "to have you call me your 'dear.'—But I'm mad I tell you clear through. And when you've got as much 'through' to you as I have, that's some mad!—W-hew!" he said. "When I think of our village,—our precious, clean, decent, simple little All-American village—turned into a cheap—racketty—crowd-you-off-the-sidewalk Saturday Night Hell Hole...?"

"Oh—Oh—OH!" cried my Mother.

"Quick! Get him some raspberry shrub," cried my Father.

"Maybe he'd like to play the Children's new Game!" cried my Mother.

"It isn't a Game," I explained. "It's a Book!"

My Mother ran to get the Raspberry Shrub. She brought a whole pitcher. It tinkled with ice. It sounded nice. When the Old Doctor had drunken it he seemed cooled quite a little. He put the glass down on the table. He saw the Book. He looked surprised.

"Lanos—Bryant? Accounts?" he read. He looked at the date. He looked at my Father. "What you trying to do, Man?" he said. "Reconstruct a financial picture of our village as it was a generation ago? Or trace your son Carol's very palpable distaste for a brush, back to his grandfather's somewhat avid devotion to pork chops?" He picked up the book. He opened the first pages. He read the names written at the tops of the pages. Some of the names were pretty faded.—"Alden, Hoppin, Weymoth, Dun Vorlees," he read. He put on his glasses. He scrunched his eyes. He grunted his throat. "W-hew!" he said. "A hundred pounds of beans in one month?—Is it any wonder that young Alden ran away to sea—and sunk clear to the bottom in his first shipwreck?—'Roast Beef'?—'Roast Beef'?—'Malt and Hops'?—'Malt and Hops'?—'Roast Beef'?—'Malt and Hops'?—Is that where Old Man Weymoth got his rheumatism?—And Young Weymoth—his blood pressure?—Dun Vorlees?—Dun Vorlees?—What? No meat at all from November to February?—No fruit?—Only three pounds of sugar?—Great Gastronomics! Back of all that arrogance,—that insulting aloofness,—was real Hunger gnawing at the Dun Vorlees vitals?—Was that the reason why—?—Merciful Heavens!" cried the Old Doctor. "This book is worth twenty dollars to me—this very minute in my Practice! The light it sheds on the Village Stomach,—the Village Nerves,—the—"

"Please, Sir," I said. "The Book is Carol's. Mr. Lanos Bryant gave it to him.—And we're planning to get a great deal more than twenty dollars for it when we sell it!"

"Eh?" said the Old Doctor. "What?"

He jerked round in his chair and glared at Carol.

"This I'll have you understand, my Young Man," he said, "is in the cause of Science!"

Carol looked pretty nervous. He began to smooth his hair as well as he could without bristles. It didn't smooth much.

"Oh please, Sir," I explained, "people who write books never have smooth hair!"

"Who's talking about writing books?" roared the Old Doctor.

"Please, Sir, we're trying to talk about it," I said. My voice sounded pretty little. "It's the back part of the book that's the important part," I explained. "It's the back part of the book that we're writing!"

"Eh?" said the Old Doctor.

He slammed the book together. He stood up and began to look for his hat.

There didn't seem a moment to lose if we we're going to get him into our book. I ran and caught him by the hand. Even if his face was busy his hands always had time to be friends with Carol and me.

"Oh please—please—please," I besought him. "If you were a Beautiful Smell instead of a Beautiful Doctor,—what Beautiful Smell in the whole wide world would you choose to be?"

"What?" said the old Doctor. "What? W-h-a-t?" he kept saying over and over. He looked at my Father. He looked at my Mother. My Mother told him about our Book. He made a loud Guffaw. "Guffaw" I think is the noise he made. Carol is sure that it is! He looked at Carol. He looked at me. He began to Guffaw all over again.

"Well really, Young Authorettes," he said, "I hardly know how to answer you or how to choose. Ether or Chloroform and general Disinfectants being the most familiar savors of my daily life,—the only savors indeed that I ever expect to suggest to anybody—" He looked out the window. There was an apple-blossom tree. It made the window look very full of June. His collar seemed to hurt him. It made him pretty serious. It made his voice all solemn.

"But I'll tell you, Kiddies," he said quite suddenly. "I'll tell you the Sweetest Thing that I ever smelled in my life!—It was the first Summer I was back from College.—I was out on the Common playing ball. Somebody brought me word that my Father was dead.—I didn't go home.—I slunk off instead to my favorite trout-brook—and sat down under a big white birch tree—and cursed!—I was very bitter. I needed my Father very much that year. And my step-mother was a harsh woman.—Late that night when I got home,—ugly with sorrow,—I found that I'd left my Catcher's glove. It happened to be one that my Father had given me.—With matches and a tin-can lantern I fumbled my way back to the brook. The old glove lay palm-upward in the moss and leaves. Somebody had filled the palm with wild violets.—I put my face down in it—like a kid—and bawled my heart out.—It was little Annie Dun Vorlees it seemed who had put the violets there. Trailed me clear from the Ball Field. Little kid too. Only fourteen years to my twenty. Why her Mother wouldn't even let me come to the house. Had made Annie promise even not to speak to me.—But when Trouble hit me, little Annie—?" The Old Doctor frowned his eyebrows. "Words!" he said. "It's words after all that have the real fragrance to 'em!—Now take that word 'Loyalty' for instance. I can't even see it in a Newspaper without—" He put back his head suddenly. He gave a queer little chuckle. "Sounds funny, doesn't it, Kiddies," he laughed, "to say that the sweetest thing you ever smelled in your life was an old baseball glove thrown down on the mossy bank of a brook?"

I looked at Carol. Carol looked at me. His eyes were popping. We ran to the Book. We snatched it open. It bumped our heads. We pointed to the writing. I read it out loud.

The most beautiful smell in the world is the smell of an old tattered baseball glove that's been lying in the damp grass—by the side of a brook—in June Time.

My Mother looked funny.

"Good Gracious," she said. "Are my children developing 'Second Sight'?—First it was the 'Field of Tulips' already written down as their Father's choice before he could even get the words out of his mouth!—And now, hours before the Old Doctor ever even dreamed of the Book's existence they've got his distinctly unique taste in perfumes all—"

"But this isn't the Old Doctor!" I cried out. "She wrote it herself. It's the Lady down at the hotel. It's the—the Empress that the Old Doctor was talking about!"

"The—Empress?" gasped the Old Doctor.

"Well maybe you said 'Princess,'" I admitted. "It was some one from Austria anyway—come to fuss about the old Dun Vorlees place! You said it was! You said that's who it was!—It's the only Strange Lady in the village!"

"What?" gasped the Old Doctor. "What?" He looked at the book. He read the Lady's writing. Anybody could have seen that it wasn't our writing. It was too dressy. He put on his glasses. He read it again.

—the smell of an old tattered baseball glove—that's been lying in the damp grass—side of a brook—June Time.

"Good Lord!" he cried out. "Good Lord!"—He couldn't seem to swallow through his collar. "Not anyone else!" he gasped. "In all the world!—There couldn't possibly be anyone else! It must—It must be little Annie Dun Vorlees herself!"

He rushed to the window. There was a grocery boy driving by.

"Hi! Hi there!" he called out. "Don't mind anybody's orders just now! Take me quick to the Hotel!—It's an Emergency I tell you! She may be gone before I get there!"

We sat down on the sofa and curled up our legs. Our legs felt queer.

My Mother and Father sat down on the other sofa. They looked queer all over. They began to talk about the Village. It wasn't exactly the Village that we knew. It was as though they talked about the Village when it was a child. They talked about when the Bridge was first built. They talked about the Spring when the Big Freshet swept the meadow. They talked about the funny color of Jason the Blacksmith's first long trousers. They talked about a tiny mottled Fawn that they had caught once with their own hands at a Sunday School picnic in the Arbutus Woods. They talked about the choir rehearsals in the old white church. They talked about my Father's Graduation Essay in the High School. It was like History that was sweet instead of just true. It made you feel a little lonely in your throat. Our Tame Coon came and curled up on our legs. It made our legs feel better. The clock struck nine. Our Father and Mother forgot all about us. Pretty soon we forgot all about ourselves. When we woke up the Old Doctor had come back. He was standing by the table in the lamplight talking to my Father and my Mother.

He looked just the same—only different—like a portrait in a newspaper that somebody had tried to copy. All around the inner edges of his bigness it was as though someone had sketched the outline of a slimmer man.—It looked nice.

"Well it was little Annie Dun Vorlees!" he said.

"Was it indeed?" said my Father.

"Hasn't changed a mite!" said the Old Doctor. "Not a mite!—Oh of course she's wearing silks now instead of gingham.—And her hair?—Well perhaps it's just a little bit gray but——"

"Gray hair's very pretty," said my Mother.

"Humph!" said the Old Doctor. "I expected of course that she'd think me changed a good deal. I've grown stout. 'Healthy' she called it.—She thought I looked 'very healthy'!" The Old Doctor shifted his feet. He twitched at a newspaper on the table. "That Austrian gentlemen with her isn't her Husband," he said. "She's a—she's a widow now.—It's her Husband's brother."

"Really?" said my Father.

"Oh Thunder!" said the Old Doctor. "I guess perhaps I spoke a little bit hastily when I was here before—about their ruining the Village!—I've been talking a bit with Annie and—" His face turned quite red suddenly. He laughed a little. "There won't be any changes made at present in the old Dun Vorlees place—I imagine.—Not at present anyhow."

He looked over at us. We scrunched our eyes perfectly tight.

"Asleep," he said. He picked up our Book. He tucked it under his arm. He looked at my Father and Mother. "It's quite time," he said, "that you started a Bank Account for these children's college education.—It costs a great deal to send children to college nowadays. Carol will surely want a lot of baseball bats.—And girls I know are forever needing bonnets!" He took two Big Gold Pieces from his pocket and put them down on the table where our Book had been. They looked very shining.

My Father gave a little gasp. He jumped up! He started to argue!

My Mother hushed him with her hand. "S—sh——not to-night!" she whispered. "Not to-night!"

She looked at the Old Doctor. She looked at our Book all hugged up tight under his arm. Her eyes looked as though they were going to cry. But her mouth looked as though it was going to laugh.

"Oh of course—if it's in the Cause of Science," she said. "If it's in the Cause of Science."