Una Nixson Hopkins.

A winter romance in poppy land online

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'You ain't gittin' a bone fellun, is you, Miss June?"






Copyright, 1910, by Richard G. Badger

All Rights Reserved


3 fi


M. H. A.

G. J. H.


''You ain't gittin a bone fellun is you, Miss

June?" Frontispiece

To face page
'There was the rush of eager horses" 48

'With an eye of affection the Major looked back
toward the snow covered heights" 76

'Stepping toward them he said confusedly, 'Have
I the honor of guests?' " 98

'It's a good story William" 152

'Some day Miss June's a-goin' to be left 'lone in
this big worf " 194

The illustrations are from photographs by
F. W. Martin, Harold A. Parker, and Ferd-
inand Ellerman.

The decorations are by Warren Rockwell.



THE Overland Limited was several
hours late when it thundered into
Pasadena. It sent a shiver through
the palms and precipitated a show-
er of rose-petals from the vine-covered lattices
flanking the station. With that keen sense of
relief, which is bred of the fatigue of a long
journey, the passengers poured out into the
fresh air, and the station platform was soon de-


luged with the various paraphernalia of travel.

During the last hours of the way, the scenery
had changed with dramatic swiftness. As the
train crossed the San Bernardino Range, a snow-
storm was raging, in comparison with which, an
ordinary Eastern blizzard would have seemed
a mere tempest in a teapot. When the engine
finally poked its nose out of the snow-drifts, and
the train descended the steep grade, the trans-
formation of scene was as sudden as though ef-
fected by pressing an electric button.

Like a carpet, deftly unrolled by a stage-
hand, a vivid green spread out over the valley.
The gray, murky sky that had threatened the
mountain-tops, was now replaced by one of a
Pacific blue. Instead of sleet and snow and
raging wind, glorious sunshine. It flooded the
range-groves; it melted the snow on the line of
cars and sent little rivulets down the window-
glass. The orange-trees, with their compact,
dark green foliage, appeared as if wearing vel-
vet hoods, to protect them from the snow, which
might fall upon them from the peaks above. Lit-


tie villages, nestled among groves of live-oaks,
gave a human interest to the bright landscape. At
the foot of the Sierra Madres lay Pasadena,
"Crown of the Valley;" like a fragrant garden,
with its sweet-scented hedges ; shaded by broad-
leaved fig-trees and feathery palms.

Among the descending passengers there were
tourists of differing degrees, bearing various hall-
marks of travel. Some were there, who, at the
first flurry of snow in their Eastern homes, al-
most involuntarily had turned the key in the door
and set their faces toward California. Others,
at one time or another, had been members of
flying excursion parties to the Western coast. In
consequence they were now prepared to misin-
form their fellow travellers with regard to
everything in sight. There too was the genuine
"tenderfoot," who, for the first time was ex-
periencing the charm of passing from snow to
roses within a few days. The majority were on
pleasure bent. A few were in search of health.

Noticeable among those leaving the train was
a woman, whom Nature had borne across the


half-century line, without making the fact too
apparent. She was accompanied by a pretty girl
about nineteen, evidently her daughter. The
mother was aristocratic in bearing. The lines
of her mouth ended in little asterisks, probably
caused by her habit of accentuating her opinions
with compressed lips. Her somewhat haughty
expression had no doubt been emphasized by
looking out upon the world through the violet-
tinted window-panes of her Beacon Street resi-

The face of the girl was unusually interest-
ing. She impressed you Well, as being just
the kind of girl one would like to know. Her
paleness, as well as her mother's solicitude sug-
gested the truth ; they had come because of her
health. That she was not ill, to the extent of
having lost interest in life, was indicated by her
well-groomed appearance. She wore a natty tail-
ored suit of brown, topped with a fetching toque.
This was set on her golden-brown hair at an
indefinable angle which added a somewhat
whimsical charm.



The hotel to which they were going was only
a stone's throw from the station a woman
throwing the stone. Bougainvillea covered the
walls and hung perilously from the roof top.
Roses and carnations bordered the garden paths,
as if it were June instead of November. Wom-
en, whose summery gowns matched the flow-
ers, chatted gaily in the shade of palms or ex-
changed confidences among the magnolias and

The scarcity of men appeared to bear out to
some degree the description of California given
by Cortez in the sixteenth century: "A land
entirely inhabited by women." That there were
men among the hotel guests, the saints bear wit-
ness ! At this hour, however they were either
golfing, riding, or motoring. But, the whole
truth told, the proportion of femininity was
more than double that of the real Garden of

The mother left to the daughter the respon-
sibility of registering. In a hand, which indi-
cated character, the girl wrote


Mrs. Winthrop

June Winthrop

This done, she turned back and ran her eye
over several pages of the big book, in the hope
of finding the name of a friend. She discovered
none. The majority of the names, though, were
surprisingly familiar. This familiarity she soon
realized, arose through her having so often seen
them in the advertising pages of the popular
magazines. There were inventors of every
thing from mouse-traps to threshing-machines.
Makers of tooth powder and back combs had
written their names in democratic proximity to
those of doctors, lawyers, merchants and the
jingle complete a thief with apologies to
modern phraseology a "grafter."

The name set down just above their own at-
tracted the young girl's attention. It was writ-
ten in broad, inky strokes.

George Oliver Bond Indiana


Both the name and the handwriting looked
familiar, but she could place neither.



ON entering their apartments Mrs.
Winthrop and her daughter were
greatly surprised to find huge bou-
quets of Duchesse roses, to which
were appended the cards of Major and Mrs.
Knowles. The Major had been an army com-
rade of the late General Winthrop, although
for years Mrs. Winthrop had known nothing of
his whereabouts. The Major, however, had
learned of the expected arrival of the Win-


throps. The week before, the hotel clerk with
their telegram in his hand, had inquired wheth-
er the Major happened to know this particular
family from his own corner of the world. The
Winthrops' trunks had just come up, when Ma-
jor and Mrs. Knowles appeared in person. Gen-
eral Winthrop's widow had never liked Mrs.
Knowles. Years before she had lost all patience
with the Major for his unfaltering following of
his wife's "wandering foot." But Mrs. Win-
throp was now in a strange country with an in-
valid daughter, and her affectionate greeting of
Mrs. Knowles was sincere, for she was truly
glad to see an old acquaintance.

The Major was still a rather fine-looking man,
though he had a somewhat washed-out appear-
ance, with a suggestion of green in his counten-
ance, like a faded portrait of Reynolds. Indeed,
in the Major's case, life's pigments had grown
rather dull. His once elegant and dignified
manner had gradually given place to an irrita-
ble, nervous air. So many domestic breezes had
blown the Major's way, he had come to have the


constant appearance of looking about him for a
draft. The Major was a good man, however,
with no end of common sense, which, for the
sake of peace, he was forced to keep carefully
concealed from his wife.

Mrs. Knowles was of the dowager type. She
was hopelessly addicted to the playing of Bridge
and the crocheting of shawls. This she occa-
sionally offset by the reading of up-to-date, semi-
religious literature. She talked "New Thought"
and thought u new dress." The former served
her as a patent medicine, which she administered
to her soul ad lib. without knowing or caring
what constituted its ingredients. The latter,
through her ardent efforts to keep up with the
ever changing fashions, afforded her a species
of mental gymnastics.

Most of his wife's hobbies, particularly that
for travel, the Major humored. It was the easier
way. From their travels, however, Mrs.
Knowles gained but little. Her mental attic was
not equal to storing up its benefits.

When the door closed upon the Major and


his wife, Mrs. Winthrop and June began to
dress for dinner. June had not seen them since
she was a child. "So that's Major Knowles!"
she said. "Well, he's terribly limp. That's all
I've got to say about him. I thought in my heart
I'd broken him, when we shook hands. His arm
went down like that old pump-handle, when the
well on the farm went dry."

Mrs. Winthrop looked out of the window
dreamily, recalling the past. "The truth is,
daughter, I'm afraid almost any one would be
limp, after having lived with Maria Knowles
for thirty years."

June laughed. "She reminds me so far of a
character study in a story, that, even if you don't
exactly admire, makes good spicy reading."

When Mrs. Winthrop and June went down to
dinner, they found a table arranged for them
next to that of the Knowles' . What per-
plexed them was, that not only these friends, but
others about them were smiling.

The looks exchanged signified that they were
themselves the occasion of these amused smiles.


Neither the mother nor the daughter could solve
the mystery. Mrs. Knowles put out an arrest-
ing hand as they passed her chair. "My dears,
we can't help being amused at your roses." Not
only June, but her mother as well, wore corsage
bouquets of their Duchesse roses. "You know,"
Mrs. Knowles continued patronizingly, "Cali-
fornians never wear flowers, and you've branded
yourselves as 'tourists unlimited.' "

June let her flowers fall into her lap as she
sat down, but her mother made hers even more
conspicuous and sat stiff as a Tudor rose.

There was silence between them for a mo-
ment, then June said "I feel just like a corner
mantel my face to every one and my back fast
against the wall."

Her mother coldly surveyed their fellow-

"Never mind, mumsie dear, we don't care if
we do serve them a 'tourist menu.' What if we
don't know everything ! Then we've got some-
thing to look forward to. I wonder who all
these people are !" She looked around the room


with cheerful interest. "Isn't it funny that most
all the men have white hair? They don't look so
very old either !"

Still continuing the calm survey of the tables,
Mrs. Winthrop replied : "I suppose it has come
from their working so hard to make money."

Then indulging herself in a pet weakness, she
quoted :

"The Sire of gods and men, with hard decrees,
Forbids our plenty to be bought with ease."

To this June assented by taking a salted al-

In the middle of the night it began to rain.
The sky emptied itself in bucketfuls, rather than
drops. The late arrivals from "back east" could
only console themselves by remembering that the
second destruction of the world is not predicted
to come by flood.

June's sleep was broken by the storm.
Through her sub-consciousness ran the name
George Oliver. She seemed to see it on a large,


buff envelope, which she handed to her brother
who was lying, very weak and pale, on a bed.

In the morning she woke with a start. The
sunshine was streaming into her room, just as
if there had been no storm. Suddenly she re-
membered distinctly, that when her brother Jack
came home ill from college three years before,
he had spoken often of a George Oliver, and
that during Jack's illness he received several let-
ters from Oliver. June had frequently carried
her brother's mail upstairs. Now she understood
why his handwriting in the hotel register had
seemed so familiar.

Having established the identity of the name
which had been puzzling her, June, all excite-
ment, tapped on her mother's door and told her
of the incident.

The prospect of seeing a friend of Jack's
aroused even Mrs. Winthrop from her usual
calm, and after breakfast she asked Major
Knowles to look up Mr. Oliver.

"I wonder whether he's a millionaire or an
invalid," was the Major's observation. "They


are the only kind of young men you ever find
about these hotels."

June and her mother with Mrs. Knowles,
waited in the Moorish tea room. They were
looking over the morning paper when Major
Knowles returned, triumphantly, with young

As the Major pushed aside the oriental hang-
ings at the door, and Oliver stepped into the
room, he made a striking picture.

He was tall and broad with the manner of a
man who is sure of himself.

"Jack's friend, Mr. Oliver," the Major an-
nounced jocularly.

"A sufficient recommendation for any one,
Mr. Oliver." Mrs. Winthrop held out her hand
cordially. Mrs. Knowles was effusive as usual.
But June, greatly impressed with Oliver's ap-
pearance, in an attempt to hide it, greeted him
with a slight air of hauteur which only made
her bewitching.

Oliver seemed likable and attractive, but there
was no memoranda of his life in his face to in-


dicate his character. There was, however, a
force about him, which made one feel that he
was capable of being either a blessed saint or a
powerful sinner.

In the course of the talk that followed Oliver's
introduction, it came out that he possessed a
guarantee to popularity otherwise a touring
car. And before he left the little company, he
had invited them all to go motoring that after-



NOVEMBER had passed and Christ-
mas was at hand.
The hotel was crowded. Every
evening the great corridors and
dancing room presented scenes which for bril-
liancy could not have been surpassed in any part
of the ultra fashionable world. The women were
wonderfully gowned. The gems displayed were
worth a ransom.

June had been forbidden to dance, but she and


her mother looked on a little while every even-
ing. Occasionally June joined the young set in
a game of cards.

George Oliver was seldom seen below stairs
after nine o'clock. He gave no reasons but
simply excused himself at that hour and disap-

"You go to bed with the chickens, Oliver,"
the Major said one evening.

Oliver smiled and replied: "I'm so high up
it's necessary for me to start early in order to
reach my room before morning."

"It's odd," Major Knowles remarked to his
wife, as he looked after Oliver, "that a fellow
with his money can be satisfied in a back room at
the top of the house."

"Do you think he has so much money?" Mrs.
Knowles' tone was incredulous.

"Of course," the Major was emphatic.
"Oliver spends a small fortune every week on
that auto alone."

"What do you really think of him, dear?"
Mrs. Knowles called the Major "dear" when-


ever she wished to gain his confidence.

"Bully chap" was the prompt reply. "But I
can't just see what he's doing around here so
long. A healthy man of his age ought to be
attending to business somewhere."

"Do you think it's June?" Mrs. Knowles
moved her chair closer to the Major.

"I can't say," he spoke doubtfully. "It cer-
tainly wasn't June that brought him here in the
first place. I like Oliver," the Major conclud-
ed, "but he's a man who never gives his confi-
dence to any one."

George Oliver seemingly had given his four
new friends sufficient opportunity to become ac-
quainted with him. Almost every day he took
Mrs. Winthrop and June motoring. Frequently
the Major and Mrs. Knowles were included in
all day trips to neighboring towns.

In spite of all the learned discourses on the
beauty of conduct, external attributes usually do
their work in the little love dreams of life before
conduct is in sight.

June had reckoned with herself after the first


few meetings with George Oliver. Alone in
her room one morning she stood before the mir-
ror and eyed herself critically. "June Win-
throp," she said aloud, u are you going to be a
fool or not? It's a question I want answered at

"Are you or are you not going to fall head
over heels in love with that man Oliver " her
tone was scornful. "You have common sense,
now exercise it. If you can't have a good time
and yet hold on to your heart strings, you'll have
to give up motoring and all the rest of the fun.
Promise to be good?"

The face in the mirror nodded. "Cross your
heart?" Another nod. "Hope to die if you
don't keep your promise?" Still another nod.
Then apparently from the mirror laughter
laughter that ended in tears.

June wiped them away hastily, and tiptoed
closer to the mirror and whispered "I loved him
the moment I set eyes on him. You know I did,
Face, but nobody else shall know I'll die first.
I'm going to be just as independent and saucy as


a girl can be from now on. And whenever
I see George Oliver coming my way, I promise
you I'll devote myself to that lonesome looking
invalid man, who seems always to be waiting for
me at the tea room door. Now that we have
had it out, life will be easier, for there are things
difficult to say even to one's own face."

The weeks had gone by and June kept her

Mrs. Knowles had invited the Winthrops and
Oliver for mid-day dinner, Christmas. One of
the hotel's private dining rooms had been set
aside for her use elaborately decorated with
California holly and Christmas greens.

In the afternoon the plan was to run over to
Los Angeles for the Christmas celebration at the
old plaza church, to which Oliver had received
an invitation for himself and friends from one
of the Padres with whom he had become ac-

The dinner was a highly artistic affair all
that Mrs. Knowles could have wished even in
her most ambitious moments. The Major was


talkative and in a state of felicity. The little
gay dining room and family board were to him
a semblance of home a thing he had not known
for twenty years. The entire dinner, of course,
had been ordered beforehand, but between
courses, the Major was seen to feel about the
table cloth for his menu card. His wife rallied
him, and explained to the guests that her hus-
band was never cut out for a domestic man.

Everybody was happy, or pretended to be.
Mrs. Winthrop, who in her heart was homesick
for Jack, found comfort in talking to Oliver.
June was charming in a dark red gown which
toned with the red of the holly and set off her
coloring to advantage. Oliver, handsome and
debonair, sent admiring glances across the table
to her without the least attempt at dissimulation.
She, however, followed the promptings of her
head, rather than her heart, and returned his
glances with obvious dignity. Capricious and
daring in her talk when she addressed Oliver,
June never for one moment fanned his vanity.

The dinner was a great success. And alto-


gather the conversation was as well spiced as the

It was a delightful nine-mile ride to Los An-
geles. The beautiful landscape served as a text
for converse to begin with, but "no human being
ever spoke of scenery for above two minutes at
a time," and every member of the party lapsed
into silence and gave themselves up to the enjoy-
ment of the ride.

On reaching the city they went first through
the old part of the town, where picturesque,
crumbling adobes contested the ground with as-
piring commercial blocks.

Soon they arrived at the Plaza Church. Its
yellowish-gray facade, patched and seamed with
age, stood out against the bluest of skies. In
front of the church was the old public square
or plaza where a medley lot of people lounged
in the sunshine. Beyond the plaza lay China-
town, its gaily painted buildings showing
through the trees.

Oliver's car came to a stop. Already the
courtyard connected with the church, was full


of Spanish merrymakers. The Padre whom
Oliver knew came forward and extended his
patte de velours as he welcomed his guests.

The Patio was vivid with color. Three
Christmas trees stood in the center. They were
bright with tinsel and thickly hung with
gifts. The parishioners were scattered about
in happy groups. Gay senoritas flirted with
their cavaliers under the palms and set
their elders gossiping. Black-eyed youngsters
cast longing glances at the glittering trees. In
their moist hands they held bright red tickets,
which entitled them to gifts, for which they
waited patiently, reared as they were in the land
of Manana.

In a mellow voice one of the Padres started :
"My country 'tis of Thee" He wished to
show that his people were good patriots. The
Major and Oliver bared their heads. But their
hats were soon replaced. The limited amount
of their English made even the singing of one
verse a sore tax on the parishioners.

La Jota, an old Spanish dance, was tripped


to Spanish music by the merry feet of old and

Then there was more singing mostly hymns
rendered in soft Spanish cadences. Finally
came the distribution of gifts, which took a long
time afterward dancing again.

During the program June and Oliver shared
one of the rear wooden benches with a row of
olive skinned, fun-poking boys and girls. The
older members of the party were given seats of
honor in front.

"How lovely it has been!" June had taken
on something of the coquettish air of the pretty
senoritas around her. Oliver himself looked no
less a cavalier, than those enjoying the dance, as
he said:

"I assure you that it has been lovely for me,
Miss Winthrop." Oliver bent forward and
looked into June's face, as he added "Any
place on earth would be lovely to me if you
were only there."

June, crimson and confused, was trying to
frame an answer when her mother with the Ma-


jor and Mrs. Knowles came up.

"We might easily imagine ourselves back in
another century," Oliver said nonchalantly, as
he and June rose and they all stood at one
side, enjoying the picture "if it were not for
my car there in the foreground."

"Its been a fine trip, Oliver," the Major
said, as he put his foot on the step. "I don't
know when I've enjoyed myself so much !"

As they turned homeward, all the glories of
the setting sun were reflected from the distant
snow capped peaks.


THE week following Christmas was
a gala one in the hotel, and besides
elaborate preparations went on for
the annual Tournament of Roses
New Year's Day.

June took part in most of the festivities, but
Oliver was conspicuous by his absence. June
was piqued. She found some consolation in the
fact that Oliver had invited them all to see the
tournament procession from his car New Year's


morning, lunch al fresco, and witness the chariot
race in the afternoon.

"If we were the weatherman's old uncle, and
about to die and leave him a fortune, he couldn't
have given us a better day!" George Oliver
said as he handed his guests into his car. As
this was a holiday, he was to be his own chauf-
feur. June was given the seat at his side.

For the first morning of the New Year, na-
ture had summoned all her charms. The sun
rose clear in a cloudless sky, as if it would be
early at the fete. The snow on the mountains
sent a chill through the air but everywhere,
there was the breath of flowers the thousands
of flowers that had been gathered to adorn the

The car sped down the avenue, gay with bunt-
ing and tournament flags. Clear bugle notes

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Online LibraryUna Nixson HopkinsA winter romance in poppy land → online text (page 1 of 7)