“Maria, besides attending to domestic details, must also inspect the mail and only show us letters when absolutely necessary, as well as to say ‘not at home,’ with the impenetrable New York butler manner to every one who calls.
“Thus Bart and I will be equally free without the rending of heart strings—free to love and enjoy home from without, for it is really strange when one comes to think of it, we learn of the outside world by looking out the windows, but we so seldom have time to stand in another view-point and look in. Thus it occurred to me, instead of taking one long vacation, we can break the time into three or four in order to follow the garden seasons and the work they suggest. A bit at the end of May for both planning and locating the spring wild flowers before they have wholly shed their petals, and so on through the season, ending in October by the transplanting of trees and shrubs that we have marked and in setting out the hardy roses, for which we shall have made a garden according to the plan that Aunt Lavinia says is to be among the early Garden, You, and I records.
“May 15. Maria Maxwell has joyfully agreed to come the twenty-first, having obtained a substitute for her final week of teaching, as well as rented her ‘parlor car,’ as she calls her flat, to a couple of students who come from the South for change of air and to attend summer school at Columbia College. It seems that many people look upon New York as a summer watering place. Strange that a difference in climate can be merely a matter of point of view.
“Now that we have decided to camp out at home, we are beginning to realize the positive economy of the arrangement, for as we are not going among people,—neither are they coming to us,—we shall need no new clothes!
“We, a pair of natural spendthrifts, are actually turning miserly for the garden’s sake.
“Last night Bart went to the attic with a lantern and dragged from obscurity two frightful misfit suits of the first bicycle cuff-on-the-pants period, that were ripening in the camphor chest for future missionary purposes, announcing that these, together with some flannel shirts, would be his summer outfit, while this morning I went into town and did battle at a sale of substantial, dollar shirt-waists, and turning my back upon all the fascinations of little girls’ frills and fur-belows, bought stout gingham for aprons and overalls, into which I shall presently pop the Infant, and thus save both stitches and laundry work.
“Mother has sent a note expressing her pleasure in our plan and enclosing a cheque for $50, suggesting that it should be put into a birthday rose bed—my birthday is in two days—in miniature like the old garden at her home on the north Virginia border. I’m sending you the list of such roses as she remembered that were in it, but I’m sure many, like Gloire de Dijon, would be winter killed here. Will you revise the list for me?