The Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette, by Jeannette Marks

The Cheerful Cricket and Others

It was toward evening, and the Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette was seated at the edge of Shiner Pond. The Quartette always gathered here about dusk upon a broad flat toad-stool which grew at the foot of a spreading oak. Mr. Tree Toad Todson had leased this toad-stool for the summer season from his first cousin, the unfortunate Toadie Todson. From pieces of straw he had built up to the edge of it a short flight of steps so that Miss K. T. Did, their first soprano, found it easy to mount to the platform.

To-night was a special evening and the attendance was large. Out on the pond the Snapping Turtles were moving swiftly from one log to another, bearing upon their backs groups of Fireflies. The Fireflies were there in numbers this night, because one of the selections on the program was a "Firefly Dance," composed by Mr. Frisky Frog, and to be danced by Miss K. T. Did. The other members of the Quartette were to sing the song while Miss Katy danced. It spoiled the effect somewhat to lose her clear high soprano, but Mr. Tree Toad Todson filled in with his penetrating tenor, and it was rumored that the Composition would be a great success.

As nearly as I can remember it, this was the program for that evening.

_Sixth Annual In-Season Out of Door Concert

of

The Marsh Grass Vesper Quartette_

June the twenty-sixth,

Nineteen-hundred-and-six

Shiner Pond Pavilion

Members

Miss K. T. Did…. Soprano

Mr. Tree Toad Todson…. Tenor

  Mr. Cricky… Baritone
  Mr. Frisky Frog, 3d… Bass
                          Assisted by
  Miss Glo Worm
  Mr. Fiah Fli, Jr.

                       ————————————-
                               PROGRAM

  I. A Warm Night Herr June Bug
            Rendered by Mr. Cricky
  II. The Firefly Dance Mr. Frisky Frog
            Danced by Miss K. T. Did
  III. The Moonbeam Song Miss Glo Worm
                     (Intermission)
  IV. A Lullabye Mr. T. Toad Todson
            Mr. T. Toad Todson
                     Assisted by
            Mrs. Frisky Frog
  V. A Lament Mr. T. Toad Todson
    (In memory of Toadie Todson)
       Sung by T. Toad Todson
  VI. Mosquito Aria Mr. Cricky
       Sung by Miss K. T. Did

VII. There's Dreamland Coming

The Quartette

Assisted by Miss Glo Worm and Mr. Fiah Fli, Jr.

It would be impossible to give the whole program without taking you right into the concert. The Lullabye Mrs. Frisky Frog sang together with Mr. T. Toad Todson, and sang very beautifully. She had sung it a great many times to her own little children while they were still polly-wogs. Only when she sang it to them she altered the chorus Mrs. Frisky Frog changed the chorus for her little ones because she knew well enough that her pollywogs never slept at night. At least I never saw any asleep at night of all those who swarm in black clumps there on the edge of Shiner's Pond in the moonlight. But I have not told you yet how Mrs. Frisky Frog sang the chorus.

  Wiggle wog
  Woggle wig
  Sing my pollywog
  A tune to every jig.

Once while they were practising the lullabye at rehearsal, Mrs. Frisky Frog forgot, and through force of habit sang the chorus she had made up for her own little polly-woggles. But, dear me! Mr. T. Toad Todson flew into a towering rage and croaked at her till he was fairly hoarse. "Non-sense! Non-sense! Non-sense!" he jerked out, and when finally he could control himself he spluttered aloud that he had never in his life written such nonsense. You remember it was he who composed the song. Poor Mrs. Frisky Frog's eyes rolled back a little further than usual, and her throat jumped up and down with fear. It did not do to speak crossly to Mrs. Frisky, she was so tenderhearted and was never known to speak a cross word to her own little ones, or for that matter to any one. Mrs. Cricky, one day while she was talking with Mrs. Poe Tato-Bug, said that she knew of only one model mother in the community and that was the admirable mother of those ugly little pollywogs. Here Mrs. Cricky heaved a proud sigh as she thought of her own little darlings, Chee and Chirk and Chirp, decked out in their pretty little clover sun-bonnets.

But to go back to Mrs. Frisky Frog. Mr. Frisky Frog, who was a member of the Quartette, became so angry with Mr. T. Toad Todson for the angry croaking at his wife that his eyes fairly glowered at him. Mrs. Cricky always called that kind of anger in Mr. Cricky "righteous indignation." Peace was soon restored, however, as Mr. Tree Toad Todson, very much of a gentleman at heart, was most anxious to ask pardon for this display of temper.

But we have spent too much time in discussing the lullabye and the trouble it brought Mrs. Frisky. The concert began. A Warm Night was vigorously applauded, and the Fire-Fly Dance was the success of the evening. Miss K. T. Did had bought at a most extravagant price from Stingy one fourth of an inch of his best rainbow-hue cobweb. This made for her a beautiful scarf, which she waved over the light of the glow-worms that had been arranged in a wide circle on the broad, flat toad-stool. Around, in and out, now over, now under her scarf, three fireflies sped with burning wings. And Miss Katy never danced better, flashing her cobweb scarf in and out the glow-worm circle as with lightsome foot and wing she danced round and round. Mrs. Cricky said she did wish the little ones had been allowed to come. Usually it did not seem right for children to stay up late at night. But this night she did believe it would have added to their education to see such skill, especially as Chee was a little inclined to toe in and be clumsy. You remember, Chee stumbled and fell into the lake.

All of the evening was successful, and the applause at the close of the concert as they responded to an encore with the Mosquito Aria was wonderful. There were no clapping hands, but rather the beating of wings, the enthusiastic croaking from various kinds of little red throats, and the flash-flash of lights from the Fire-Flies and Glow-Worms. Mr. Cricky in writing it up for the June Bug Journal pronounced it the success of the season. We will close with a few stanzas of "There's Dreamland Coming." Probably you have heard it, for it has a way of singing itself the moment you are off to sleep. Try sleeping and see if it is not heard.

There's Dreamland Coming

Adaptation from EUGENE COWLES "FORGOTTEN"

Moderately slowly

  There's dreamland coming, dearie,
  And dreaming, coming, too,
  Sweet dreamland for the weary,
  To cradle such as you.

  Then close your eyes, my darling,
  And say your little prayer;
  Dreamland is waiting for you,
  And God will take you there.

  There's dreamland coming, dearie,
  And dreaming, coming, too,
  Sweet dreamland for the weary,
  To cradle such as you.