In the fall, Helen and Miss Sullivan returned to Alabama with full hearts and happy memories. Helen spent the autumn with her family at their summer cottage, Fern Quarry, about fourteen miles from Tuscumbia. The estate was on a mountain covered in thick woods, and Helen delighted in losing herself in the woods each day. Helen’s parents entertained many visitors, especially her father, whose friends came in droves to hunt deer.
Helen went from one beautiful natural environment to another, and delighted in the hustle and bustle of her parents’ lives as they entertained friends and fostered a sense of warmth and community at their summer homestead.
At the foot of the mountain there was a railroad, and often Helen and Mildred and their friends would watch the train go by. The tracks ran over a deep gorge, and were supported by a large trestle. One day, Mildred, Miss Sullivan, and Helen became lost in the woods, but at last spotted the trestle. They walked along the tracks, trying to find their way home, but soon heard a train approaching. They climbed down onto the trestle and waited for the train to pass overhead. After the fearsome incident they made their way home to find Fern Quarry empty; everyone was out searching for them.
Again, Helen—and this time, her younger sister Mildred, too—learn about the perils of becoming lost in nature, this time being forced to reckon with how the “real” world can intrude rather dangerously upon the realm of the natural one.