An engaging family story by the author-illustrator of the Melendy adventures (see Spider Web for Two, etc.) takes Portia Blake, 10, through an exciting ummer of detecting and discovery with her 12 year old and very nature-minded cousin Julian Jarman. It is the Jarmans who live in the country and the Blake children, Portia and her six year old brother Foster, who wish they could. What makes this eventually possible is Portia's and Julian's discovery of what is now literally a swamp but what used to be a lake bordered by elegant houses, one of which is still inhabited. Mrs. Cheever and her brother Pindar Payton are its inhabitants and with them come the by-products- long skirts, knickers, potted palms and friendliness- of a by gone age. As their past unfolds it also leads to a bit of present reclamation and an other of the fascinating old houses becomes a possible future home for the Blakes.