"I'm not surprised at the statement that man made at the meeting--he must have known you children, indeed!"
"Seems to me that we are getting this young man 'rooted' in this work,"
laughed Aunt Selina, who liked the expression ever since Mrs. Talmage told her how to interest friends in the work.
"Well, I'm 'grafted' upon this idea even if I'm not 'rooted,'" returned Mr. Richards, laughingly. "So much so, in fact, that I am going to make a suggestion that I think will meet with the approval of all of you."
The children came closer to await his proposition.
"At present I am an advertising man, but I used to be on one of the large newspapers in the city, and whenever any unusual story came in I was supposed to 'dress it' for publication. Now, in my opinion, this whole affair will make a fine story for the press and at the same time give this magazine the publicity it needs." Mr. Richards looked at the ladies for approval.
"It doesn't seem valuable enough for a paper to print," ventured Mrs.
"It is the _unusual_ that papers are always after," replied Mr.
Richards. "Show me anything more unusual than this (waving his arm about to embrace the children, the plant and the work) and I will run after it!"
"What would you say in the story?" asked Aunt Selina.
"Well, I'd take kodak pictures of this office, of the plant, and of the Winter Nest you have been telling me about. Then we would group the children on the lawn in front of the house and have a picture of the Blue Birds and Bobolinks who own and publish this magazine."
"What would Mr. Sphere say if he saw the story in the papers?" asked Aunt Selina.
"He'd say, 'Richie, old boy, I always knew you had a grain of sense in your head!'" laughed Mr. Richards.
"I have a fine camera in case you want to use it," said Ned, eagerly.
"And we have everything in good shape to have a picture taken," added Meredith.
"If the ladies consent we will lose no more time, but get the pictures while the sun is right," Mr. Richards said, as he turned toward the ladies and Blue Birds.
"Yes, yes, Mother Wings, let's do it!" cried several Blue Birds. So Aunt Selina and Mrs. Talmage smiled a consent.
Ned brought his camera and Mr. Richards grouped the Bobolinks about the machines in as workman-like poses as possible, and managed to get a good picture of them. Next, the office, with Jinks at the typewriter and Ned at the desk, was photographed. Outside, the Blue Birds and Bobolinks grouped themselves in front of the door and another picture was taken.
The Blue Birds were given their pose as editors in the large library of the house, where books and writing material could be utilized in the picture. The Winter Nest was the last picture to be taken.
"Now, watch the papers for a story of your entire plan and achievement, with ill.u.s.trations, and if you don't tell me the next time I come out that my idea was the best publicity plan imaginable, then you'll be ungrateful, indeed!" said Mr. Richards, pleased as he could be with the success of his visit.
"When will the papers come out?" asked Ned.
"I'll keep you posted day by day. I'm not going to lose sight of such a promising crowd of young folks, _I tell you!_" laughed the young man as he placed the film in his pocket and started to say good-by.
"Say, here, are you going to take that magazine with you?" cried Don, seeing the magazine rolled up in the visitor's hand.
"Well, I guess! I'm going to exploit this everywhere I go," said Mr.
Richards, tapping the paper with his hand.
"And tell the newspaper man that lots of famous folks have promised to write for us," said Ruth, who desired the magazine to have all the glory possible.
"And tell him to be sure and say that Aunt Selina will be glad to have grown-ups write to ask her about Happy Hills," added Aunt Selina, anxious to have the children's farm advertised.
"I'll make them write everything I can think of, and more too, if possible," laughed the young man as he started down the steps.
"Oh, Mr. Richards, I forgot to tell----" Don started to say something, but Ike interrupted from the automobile which had been waiting for some time in front of the house.
"There'll just be time to jump aboard that train if we get off at once!"
Mr. Richards jumped in and raised his hat to the ladies, while Ike started the car at full speed, the children meantime waving their hands and shouting reminders after the visitor.
Back to the Publishing House trooped the bevy of workers, more eager than ever to continue their work.
"Now, he's what I call an 'all right' man!" declared Don Starr, emphatically, as he accented his words with punches at the st.i.tcher.
"What a piece of luck for us," exclaimed Ned, overjoyed at the promised newspaper story.
"I always said I wanted to go through college," said Tuck Stevens, thoughtfully; "but what's the use? When I have such a good business to work in and will be all ready to live on my money by the time I'm a man, why should I bother?"
"That's so, Tuck; better have a good time on that money," laughed Jinks.
"Better 'not count your chickens before they're hatched' or they may never come out of the sh.e.l.l," teased Ned.
The Blue Birds had been equally busy talking, while folding pages, but the work soon engrossed too much of their attention to keep up any conversation.
After several hours' work the Blue Birds began to feel tired and decided to carry the finished magazines to the house.
As each little girl came up the steps carrying a heap of neatly finished magazines, the two ladies stopped talking and turned to watch the girls deposit the magazines on the table in the hallway.
"What were you saying about Happy Hills, mother?" asked Ruth.
"Aunt Selina was telling me all about the three beautiful hills at the back of the estate. She said what pretty kodak pictures they would make if we wanted to use them for the magazine, and I said it might be a good plan to write up a short story about our plan for next month's issue."
"Oh, yes, that would be a fine start for the farm," cried Ruth.
"And we think that we would need all of the time we can get to make sure of next summer's success," added Aunt Selina.
"Aunt Selina, how many poor children do you think we can keep at Happy Hills?" asked Ruth.
"We could not tell without having expert help to show how many camps can be built there," said Aunt Selina.
"Oh, are you going to build camps, Aunt Selina?" asked Norma.
"I thought the children were going to live in the woods," said Dot.
"But you didn't expect them to sleep on the ground and dress behind the bushes, did you?" said May.
"I never thought what they would do," returned Dot.
"Will you have nests to live in like ours in the cherry-tree?" asked Betty.
"No, dearie, I am planning to build little houses that will hold about six or eight bunks, and a locker for each child. These houses will have a floor and a roof with posts to hold it up, but the walls will be made of canvas curtains that we can roll up when we want the house wide open.
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