Betty Gordon at Bramble Farm

Alice B. Emerson
Betty Gordon at Bramble Farm
or, The Mystery of a Nobody
by Alice B. Emerson
New York: Cupples & Leon, 1920
"I do wish you'd wear a sunbonnet, Betty," said Mrs. Arnold, glancing
up from her ironing board as Betty Gordon came into the kitchen.
"You're getting old enough now to think a little about your
Betty's brown eyes laughed over the rim of the glass of water she had
drawn at the sink.
"I can't stand a sunbonnet," she declared vehemently, returning the
glass to the nickel holder under the shelf. "I know just how a horse
feels with blinders on. You know you wouldn't like it, Mrs. Arnold, if I
pulled up half your onion sets in mistake for weeds because I couldn't
see what I was doing."
Mrs. Arnold shook her head over the white ruffle she was fluting with
nervous, skillful fingers. "There's no call for you to go grubbing in that
onion bed," she said. "I'd like you to have nice hands and not be burnt
black as an Indian when your uncle comes. But then, nobody pays any
attention to what I say."
There was more truth in this statement than Mrs. Arnold herself

suspected. She was one of these patient, anxious women who
unconsciously nag every one about them and whose stream of
complaint never rises above a constant murmur. Her family were so
used to Mrs. Arnold's monotonous fault-finding that they rarely if ever
knew what she was complaining about. They did not mean to be
disrespectful, but they had fallen into the habit of not listening.
"Uncle' Dick won't mind if I'm as black as an Indian," said Betty
confidently, spreading out her strong, little brown right hand and
eyeing it critically. "With all the traveling he's done, I guess he's seen
people more tanned than I am, You're sure there wasn't a letter this
"The young ones said there wasn't," returned Mrs. Arnold, changing her
cool iron for a hot one, and testing it by holding it close to her flushed
face. "But I don't know that Ted and George would know a letter if they
saw it, their heads are so full of fishing."
"I thought' Uncle Dick would write again," observed Betty wistfully.
"But perhaps there wasn't time. He said he might come any day." "I
don't know what he'll say," worried Mrs.
Arnold, her eyes surveying the slender figure leaning against the sink.
"Your not being in mourning will certainly seem queer to him. I hope
you'll tell him Sally Pettit and I offered to make you black frocks."
Betty smiled, her peculiarly vivid, rich smile. "Dear Mrs. Arnold!" she
said, affection warm in her voice. "Of course I'll tell him. He will
understand, and not blame you. And now I'm going to tackle those
The screen door banged behind her.
Betty Gordon was an orphan, her mother having died in March (it was
now June) and her father two years before. The twelve-year-old girl
had to her knowledge but one single living relative in the world, her
father's brother, Richard Gordon. Betty had never seen this uncle. For
years he had traveled about the country, wherever his work called him,

sometimes spending months in large cities, sometimes living for weeks
in the desert. Mr. Gordon was a promoter of various industrial
enterprises and was frequently sent for to investigate new mines, oil
wells and other large developments.
"I'd love to travel," thought Betty, pulling at an especially stubborn
weed. "I hope Uncle Dick will like me and take me with him wherever
he goes. Wouldn't it be just like a fairy story if he should come here and
scoop me out of Pineville and take me hundreds of miles away to
beautiful and exciting adventures!"
This enchanting prospect so thrilled the energetic young gardener that
she sat down comfortably in the middle of the row to dream a little
more. While her father lived, Betty's home had been in a small, bustling
city where she had gone to school in the winter. The family had always
gone to the seashore in the summer; but the only exciting adventure she
could recall had been a tedious attack of the measles when she was six
years old. Mrs. Gordon, upon her husband's sudden death, had taken
her little daughter and come back to Pineville, the only home she had
known as a lonely young orphan girl. She had many kind friends in the
sleepy country town, and when she died these same friends had taken
loving charge of Betty.
The girl's grief for the loss of her mother baffled the villagers who
would have known how to deal with sorrow that expressed itself in
words or flowed out in tears. Betty's long
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