To bring themselves up through the use of punishments in order to not damage their father's reputation
The Good-Conduct Club, founded by the Meredith children (idea conceived by Jem Blythe), was started in the spring of 1907. Its purpose was to discipline and 'bring up' Jerry, Faith, Una and Carl Meredith, the motherless children of Reverend John Meredith.
One spring evening, in 1907, the Meredith children were sitting somewhat disconsolately in the Methodist graveyard. They were disconsolate, because Mary Vance had just visited... and told them what she 'thought it her duty' to tell. What had Mary told them? That they were hurting their father's reputation by doing bad things!
Jem Blythe, wandering by, had a suggestion for them. Why didn't they start a Good Conduct Club? When they did something wrong, they would punish themselves for it. If they needed an umpire, they could call in Jem. The children were delighted! The Good-Conduct Club was founded and begun at once.
That selfsame spring, Faith was the first one punished by the Good Conduct Club. She had given away her stockings to Lida Marsh in a burst of charity, and then walked down the aisle at church barelegged because she did not want to wear her striped socks! Faith gave an explanation to the Journal... and then was punished: she must wear her striped stockings to school that entire week.
When all four Meredith children had a concert in the Methodist cemetery, (the same night as the Methodist prayer-meeting!), and finished up with "Polly Wolly Doodle", there was sure to be trouble. Needless to say, "everybody" was talking about it. As penance, they all decided to have a fast day that Sunday. In church, though, Una fainted! Toppling off the seat in the middle of the sermon, her father, the minister, lost his head. He rushed down the aisle. Fortunately, Dr. Blythe said she'd be fine—and that all four should eat something!
Henry Warren's ghost
In June, Mary Vance told the Meredith children, and the Blythe children a 'chilling' story. It was about Henry Warren's ghost! When Faith, Una and Carl passed by it one day thereafter, and saw something which they thought was Henry Warren's ghost... they screeched and dashed! It gave the nearby-neighbour a near heart attack, and raised quite a commotion. Jerry's proposal was that the girls go without jam at supper for a week, while Carl sit in the Methodist graveyard until twelve that evening. The three meekly took their punishments.
Thus, it was a lonely lad that sat on Hezekiah Pollock's tombstone. By the last stroke of twelve, he was inside—drenched! It had rained. Mr. Meredith took one look at him, and phoned for Dr. Blythe. For two weeks, Carl was sick. But never again did they attempt to punish one another!