When she returned she handed her mother an oblong frame, hand carved, enclosing Elnora’s picture, taken by a schoolmate’s camera. She wore her storm-coat and carried a dripping umbrella. From under it looked her bright face; her books and lunchbox were on her arm, and across the bottom of the frame was carved, “Your Country Classmate.”
Then she offered another frame.
“I am strong on frames,” she said. “They seemed to be the best I could do without money. I located the maple and the black walnut myself, in a little corner that had been overlooked between the river and the ditch. They didn’t seem to belong to any one so I just took them. Uncle Wesley said it was all right, and he cut and hauled them for me. I gave the mill half of each tree for sawing and curing the remainder. Then I gave the wood-carver half of that for making my frames. A photographer gave me a lot of spoiled plates, and I boiled off the emulsion, and took the specimens I framed from my stuff. The man said the white frames were worth three and a half, and the black ones five. I exchanged those little framed pictures for the photographs of the others. For presents, I gave each one of my crowd one like this, only a different moth. The Bird Woman gave me the birch bark. She got it up north last summer.”
Elnora handed her mother a handsome black-walnut frame a foot and a half wide by two long. It finished a small, shallow glass-covered box of birch bark, to the bottom of which clung a big night moth with delicate pale green wings and long exquisite trailers.
“So you see I did not have to be ashamed of my gifts,” said Elnora. “I made them myself and raised and mounted the moths.”
“Moth, you call it,” said Mrs. Comstock. “I’ve seen a few of the things before.”
“They are numerous around us every June night, or at least they used to be,” said Elnora. “I’ve sold hundreds of them, with butterflies, dragonflies, and other specimens. Now, I must put away these and get to work, for it is almost June and there are a few more I want dreadfully. If I find them I will be paid some money for which I have been working.”
She was afraid to say college at that time. She thought it would be better to wait a few days and see if an opportunity would not come when it would work in more naturally. Besides, unless she could secure the Yellow Emperor she needed to complete her collection, she could not talk college until she was of age, for she would have no money.
WHEREIN MARGARET SINTON REVEALS A SECRET, AND MRS. COMSTOCK POSSESSES THE LIMBERLOST
“Elnora, bring me the towel, quick!” cried Mrs Comstock.
“In a minute, mother,” mumbled Elnora.
She was standing before the kitchen mirror, tying the back part of her hair, while the front turned over her face.
“Hurry! There’s a varmint of some kind!”