FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS ON APPLE TREE ISLAND
FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS ON APPLE TREE ISLAND
MABEL C. HAWLEY
AUTHOR OF "FOUR LITTLE BLOSSOMS AT BROOKSIDE FARM" "FOUR LITTLE
BLOSSOMS AT OAK HILL SCHOOL" ETC.
ILLUSTRATED BY WALTER F. RODGERS
I THE NEW CAR
II BOBBY HAS A PLAN
III HOW THE PLAN WORKED
IV TWADDLES' GRASSHOPPER
V APPLE TREE ISLAND
VI ERRANDS IN TOWN
VII BEGINNING THE JOURNEY
VIII OLD BROOKSIDE FRIENDS
IX ON THE WAY AGAIN
X ON THE ISLAND
XI A DAMP ADVENTURE
XII SUNNY SUMMER DAYS
XIII A SIGNAL FOR HELP
XIV THE RESCUE
XV BOBBY'S GREAT DISCOVERY
THE NEW CAR
Half of a small boy protruded from the oven his stout tan shoes
"Twaddles!" Nora coming into her orderly kitchen was amazed.
"Glory be child are you making toast of yourself?"
The shoes gave a final wriggle and Twaddles deftly backed out of
the oven turning to show a flushed face and a pair of dark
"What are ye doing?" insisted Norah curiously. "The sponge cake
was baked and put away hours ago."
"Oh I don't want any of your sponge cake" Twaddles assured her
loftily forgetting perhaps the many times he had hung around
the kitchen door during Norah's baking and teased for "just one
bite." "I'm life-saving Norah."
"You're what?" asked Norah incredulously.
Twaddles sat down comfortably on the stone hearth before the old-
fashioned coal range and began to clean caked mud from the soles
of his shoes.
"It's a robin" he explained. "A sick robin Norah. I found him on
the grass and he was too cold and wet to fly. Mother used to put
'em in the oven when she was a little girl and that made 'em all
"You'll scorch him" said Norah stooping down to look. "That oven
is nearly hot enough to bake biscuit in Twaddles. Wait I'll wrap
your robin up in cotton and we'll put him on the shelf warmer;
that's about the temperature he needs."
Twaddles assured of expert attention for his patient scrambled
to his feet.
"I have to go out in front and watch for Daddy" he announced
importantly. "I want to see what color the new car's painted. Sam
said to be sure and write him."
Norah working over the faintly peeping young robin blushed very
"You take the brush pan and broom" she directed Twaddles "and
brush up that mud. Wasn't it only this morning your mother was
telling you not to be making extra work?"
Twaddles obediently seized the dustpan and the long-handled broom.
His intentions were doubtless of the best but he was a stranger
to the ways of broom handles. This one in his hands caught the
lid of a kettle Norah had on the stove and sent it spinning across
the room to land with a noisy clatter in the sink. Twaddles
privately considered this a distinct feat but Norah was
"Glory be!" cried the long-suffering Norah. "Be off with ye and
I'll clean up the mud. The more helpful ye try to be Twaddles
the more work ye make."
Twaddles departed with as much dignity as he could muster and
running through the front hall found his mother and his brother
Bobby looking at the window boxes on the front porch. The boxes
had been put away for the winter and that morning Father Blossom
had brought them down to see about painting them.
"Can I plant things?" demanded Twaddles.
Meg who was digging contentedly in the flower bed at the foot of
the steps looked at him sympathetically. Meg's fair little face
was flushed and there was a streak of dirt across her small
straight nose and she was unmistakably very busy and very happy.
"Isn't it fun?" she greeted her little brother. "Mother says we
may each have a garden this year; didn't you Mother?"
"I surely did" agreed Mother Blossom smiling. "What is Dot
Around the corner of the house came Dot Twaddles' twin sister.
Her hair-ribbon drooped perilously on the end of a straggling lock
of dark hair and her pretty dark blue frock hung in a gap below
the belt where it had pulled loose at the gathers. Dot always had
trouble about keeping her frocks neat.
"I got a hose!" she declared triumphantly. "Daddy won't have to
buy one. The Mertons threw this out on the trash basket and I
brought it home. I guess Daddy can mend it."
Bobby shouted with laughter.
"That's the old piece they used to beat rugs with" he said
positively "Nobody could mend that."
"Come see the robin I found" suggested Twaddles. "It's getting
dry on the shelf warmer. Perhaps we can keep him to play with."
"That you can't" said Mother Blossom quickly. "It wouldn't be
right in the first place and in the second place it is against
the law. You must put him out in the grass again Twaddles as
soon as he is warm and dry."
"Daddy!" Meg's quick eyes had seen a car making the corner turn.
"Here comes Daddy! What color is the car Bobby?"
"Black--no blue dark blue!" cried Bobby.
As the comfortable touring car drew up at the curb and the smiling
driver waved a gloved hand at the eager group on the porch Dot
jumped up and down with excitement.
"Take me Daddy?" she shrieked. "Aren't you going?"
Pell-mell the children raced down the garden path and Mrs. Blossom
followed more leisurely.
"Aren't you going?" Dot kept repeating. "Aren't you going?"
"You don't care much where you go do you Dot?" asked her father
whimsically. "The main idea with you seems to be to keep moving.
How about it Mother--want to take a little drive?" Mrs. Blossom
glanced toward the house.
"I'm as bad as the children" she confessed. "It must be this
Spring weather. I really ought to be upstairs mending stockings
but how can I stay indoors on a day like this?"
"Get your hat" said Mr. Blossom crisply. "That settles it--we're
going to take a spin. Pile in youngsters."
Mother Blossom came back with her hat and sweaters for the
children and Norah came to the door to wave to them and see the
new car. It was a very handsome nicely finished model painted
dark blue as Bobby had said. The seats were upholstered in dark
blue rep and there was plenty of room for the Blossom family and
for guests when they had them.
"May I ride with you Daddy?" asked Meg.
"It's my turn" insisted Twaddles. "Isn't it Daddy?"
"That was the old car" said Bobby. "This is beginning all over.
Isn't it Daddy? Meg and I should ride in the front seat first
'cause we're the oldest."
"If we have to hear this every time we go driving I'm afraid
Mother will refuse to go with us" answered Father Blossom
seriously. "Suppose we settle the question another time and to-day
let the three girls ride in the tonneau? I'll need Bobby to keep
an eye on Twaddles because I'll have to give all my attention to
"I know you must miss Sam" said Mother Blossom as Meg and Dot
climbed in beside her and Bobby and Twaddles took their places in
the front seat beside Father Blossom. "He was such an excellent
"Well in a way he kept me from learning" said her husband
starting the car a trifle unevenly. "Sam was so fine a driver I
was perfectly content to let him run the car and never even felt
ambitious to drive myself. If we want to go anywhere this summer
I'll be glad I have my own driver's license. What's the matter
"I dropped my handkerchief" announced Twaddles sadly. "Right in
the mud. See? it's back there Daddy."
"Well I hardly think we'll stop for that" said Father Blossom
judicially. "You've plenty of those little cotton things and I
want to go as far as the lake road before supper time."
"It wasn't a little cotton thing" reported Twaddles whose
conscience was peculiar in that it usually bothered him too late.
"I borrowed one of your nice white hankies Daddy to wrap my
sick bird in."
"Well I must say!" sputtered Father Blossom. "I must say! Oh
Twaddles why do you always do something you shouldn't? Those
handkerchiefs are pure linen and hand-initialed. I'll have to
stop--you run back and see if you can find it."
He stopped the car and Twaddles obediently jumped out and ran back
to the place where he had dropped the handkerchief. When he had
had plenty of time to return and didn't appear Bobby stood up in
the car to look.
"He's fussing with something" he announced. "He's got a stick and
is poking something. I'd better go and get him hadn't I Daddy?"
"The child has probably found a garden snake or a frog" said
Mother Blossom who knew her children thoroughly as her next
remark proved. "If Bobby goes after Twaddles they will play with
it until dark. Let Meg go. Tell Twaddles dear that he is to come
immediately. And don't let him forget the handkerchief."
Meg ran all the way to where Twaddles sat on a stone blissfully
engrossed with something in the roadway.
"Mother says to come this minute" she commanded. "What you got
"There! you've scared it" said Twaddles regretfully. "It was a
dear little snake. All right I'm coming. I was all ready to start
when you came."
After this delay the trip went smoothly and Father Blossom
declared that he was pleased with the new car. They reached the
broad level lake road and drove for several miles along it until
Mother Blossom said that if they were not to keep Norah's supper
waiting they must turn back.
"Want to get out Meg?" Father Blossom asked his little daughter
Meg was always afraid when it was necessary to turn a car. She
usually got out when Sam Layton the Blossom's former chauffeur
backed their car or found a turn necessary. Now however she
shook her head. Meg was learning too.
Father Blossom carefully swung the heavy car around and was ready
to send it ahead toward home when suddenly the wheel seemed to
take matters into its own hand--if a steering wheel can do such a
thing. Anyway with a sudden lurch and a bound the car plunged
directly into a heavy screen of brushwood that bordered one side
of the road!
BOBBY HAS A PLAN
Twaddles was the first to speak. The plunge had been so unexpected
and there had been so little warning none at all in fact that
if any one had been inclined to scream there was no opportunity.
They were all breathless and rather shaken up. But Twaddles who
had thrown his arms around Bobby's neck managed to grin.
"Well what do you know about that!" he ejaculated in his funny
serious little voice.
That made them all laugh and then Father Blossom began to ask
anxiously if any one was hurt.
"No one thank goodness" Mother Blossom assured him opening the
tonneau door so that Meg and Dot might step out. "You haven't cut
your hand Ralph?"
"Just a scratch" answered Father Blossom carelessly. "I bore down
pretty hard on the wheel rim. Well I'm thankful we didn't turn
over. What do you suppose was the reason for this running jump?"
The four little Blossoms were out on the ground now picking their
way carefully for they were surrounded by clumps of prickly
bushes. Mother Blossom joined Father Blossom who was anxiously
inspecting the car.
"It's wedged in so tightly I'll never be able to back it out" he
said. "Only see Margaret how neatly it has slipped in between
these three saplings. If I had tried that stunt I couldn't have
made it once in fifty chances."
Meg and Dot and Twaddles and Bobby crowded closer to look. Perhaps
this is a good time to tell you who the four little Blossoms were
if you have never met them before.
You have guessed of course that they had other and longer names.
Meg was named for her mother Margaret; Bobby was Robert Hayward
Blossom on the school roll; the twins (they were four years old)
were Dorothy Anna and Arthur Gifford Blossom but no one ever
thought of calling the roly-poly dark-eyed pair anything but Dot
If you have read the first book of this series "Four Little
Blossoms at Brookside Farm" you know that Father Blossom owned a
large foundry on the edge of the pretty town of Oak Hill and that
he and his family lived in a comfortable old-fashioned house with
Norah who had been with them for years and Sam Layton the good-
natured man of all work to help make things run smoothly. You
will remember that Brookside Farm was the name of Aunt Polly's
home Aunt Polly being the older sister of Mother Blossom. The
Four Little Blossoms spent a delightful summer at Brookside and
came home just in time for Meg and Bobby to enter Oak Hill school.
What they did that first winter in school and how the twins tried
their best to do exactly as Meg and Bobby did and usually
succeeded is told in the book called "Four Little Blossoms at Oak
Hill School." They found school most exciting and it did seem as
though there was something to be done every minute of the short
winter days but dear me when the heavy snowfalls began you
should have seen the children! They coasted and they skated and
Meg lost her beautiful turquoise locket. But she found it so you
need not be sorry. The whole story of that locket is told in the
third book of the series called "Four Little Blossoms and Their
Winter Fun." Meg and Bobby were lost in a snowstorm too and for
a time things looked very serious for them but that adventure
also had a happy ending.
And now we find the four little Blossoms early in April just as
glad to see the beautiful shining green Spring as they had been
to see the first Winter snow. Sam Layton had gone away to Canada
to work on a farm soon after the weather grew pleasant and the
four little Blossoms missed him very much. They suspected that
Norah missed him too though she said nothing. The children had
all promised to write to Sam and Norah wrote every week.
This was the reason Father Blossom was driving the new car. As he
said Sam was such an excellent driver there had really been no
need for him to drive; but with Sam away if Father Blossom wanted
to reach his foundry on time every morning there was nothing for
him to do but to learn to drive the car himself.
"I'll go and see if I can persuade some farmer to come and pull us
out" he said to Mother Blossom when he had tried without results
to back the car from the mass of bushes and saplings into which it
had driven. "You stay right here with Mother children and I'll
be back in fifteen or twenty minutes."
Twaddles wanted to go with his father but when it was explained
to him that his mother and the girls needed his protection and
that of Bobby he was quite willing to wait quietly in the bushes.
That is as quietly as Twaddles ever waited anywhere.
"Perhaps we can find flowers" Meg suggested as Father Blossom
disappeared whistling. "Brush some of these leaves away Dot and
let's see what grows underneath."
"Oh dear!" came with a big sigh from Dot and they turned to see
her caught by a bush whose sharp spikes went right through her
firm serge frock and bloomers and held her fast.
"I'll get you" offered Twaddles gallantly and he tried to
scramble over the intervening bushes fortunately all low.
But though low they were tightly woven for no underbrush had
been cut from this section of the woods for years. In a moment
Twaddles was pinned as tightly as Dot a narrow string-like coil
of vine wrapping securely round his ankles and a sharp stake
thrusting itself slantwise through the sleeve of his sweater.
"Don't wriggle" implored Mother Blossom as she and Meg and Bobby
came cautiously to the rescue. "I do want these clothes to last
you till it is time to buy Summer ones. Hold still Dot. There!
Now come and sit in the car and I'll tell you a story till Daddy
Bobby had managed to free Twaddles and the four little Blossoms
climbed into the car and really sat very still--for them--while
Mother Blossom began the story of what she did when she was a
little girl and went away to boarding school for the first time.
The children loved "true" stories and they listened intently till
Dot spied her father coming down the crooked little path and set
up a shout.
Father Blossom had found a farmer who lived near and had arranged
with him to bring two strong horses and a heavy rope and see if he
could pull the car from the underbrush. The farmer was a tall
silent man who seemed not to hear the excited questions of the
four little Blossoms and never even spoke to Mother Blossom
beyond a quick jerk at his cap when he first saw her sitting in
But although the farmer whose name was Ellis was "no talker"
(he himself said so) he was a quick worker and in less than ten
minutes he had rigged up the rope to the car fastened it to the
collars of his horses and in another five minutes the car was out
in the road and clear of the bushes and saplings.
"Only scratched a mite" commented the farmer pocketing the bill
Father Blossom gave him to pay for his time and trouble. "Lucky
not to have to have the whole thing scraped and re-varnished."
The Blossoms were home in time for supper and of course Norah had
to hear about the drive. Bobby did not have much to say for he
was busy thinking out a little plan that he privately decided
could best be tried out at school. Bobby's experience had been
that Twaddles and Dot always wanted a finger in his plans and that
too many fingers are as bad as too many cooks. And any one will
tell you that too many cooks are worse than none.
"Can I take my automobile to school this morning?" Bobby asked at
the breakfast table the day after the drive in the new car.
Bobby was very proud of his automobile that worked with pedals
like a tricycle but looked exactly like a miniature automobile
even to the red paint and the lamps and the tin license tacked on
the back axle.
"If you won't let it interfere with your school work I suppose
you may" conceded Mother Blossom. "Is there a place where you can
keep it during school hours?"