Afterwards it proved true from seed, but was very variable, exhibiting rather the features of an ever-sporting variety. Another novelty was seen the first time in several individuals. It was a pink sport of the European cranesbill, Geranium pratense. It arose quite unexpectedly in the summer of 1902 from a striped variety of the blue species.
Stumbling half blindly, the Harvester passed unheeding among them, and went into the cabin. When he came out he stood a long time in deep study, but at last he returned to the woods. "Perhaps they will have found her before night," he said. "I'll harvest the cranesbill yet, because it's growing late for it, and then I'll see how they are coming on.
I'll go to-night, and then I'll look over the ginseng for parasites, and to-morrow I'll dive into the late spring growth and work until I haven't time to think. I've let cranesbill get a week past me now, and it can't be dispensed with."
Such are the blue bird's-eye, which just colours the mowing grass in shady spots and patches near the fence, and occasionally the bee-orchis and the butterfly-orchis. The latter does not grow tall in the meadows as it does in the woods, but affects a humbler growth. Blue wild geraniums also flourish in patches in the meadows, and sometimes cranesbill and campion.
One after another the Harvester introduced the Girl to the best trees, speculated on their age, previous history, and pointed out which brought large prices for lumber and which had medicinal bark and roots. On and on they slowly drove through the woods, past the big beds of cranesbill, violets, and lilies.
The work of the spring term had been in full swing for nearly a month, when Gowan Barbour, looking at the calendar hand-painted, with blue cranesbill geraniums suddenly discovered that next morning would be the festival of St. Valentine. "Could anything be better?" she exulted. "We've won the record for tidiness three weeks running, so we're entitled to a special indulgence.
And when all was done, and she was transformed into a little russet-robed, white-capped being, nothing would serve her, but to collect all the brightest cranesbill flowers she could find, and stick them in her own bodice and Rusha's. Patience could not at all understand the instinct for bright colours, but even little Ben shouted "Pretty, pretty."
In the cloisters, the ivy and the pellitory and the little cranesbill have crept with the moss and the lichen from stone to stone, and in the centre of the quadrangle stands a great walnut-tree that spreads its branches and long leaves over all the grassy ground.
The tiny rivulets which trickle down from the hills are lined with ferns and forget-me nots, and elsewhere may be seen flowers of every hue red Alpine catchfly, blue meadow cranesbill, hawksweed, wild radis, and a score of other pretty things.
GENISTA tinctoria. The flowers are in use among the country-people for dyeing cloth yellow. GERANIUM sylvaticum. MOUNTAIN CRANESBILL. The Icelanders use the flowers of this plant to dye a violet colour. HIERACIUM umbellatum. HAWKWEED. The whole herb bruised and boiled in water gives out a yellow dye. HUMULUS Lupulus.