Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership





Title: Anne of Windy Poplars
Author: L. M. Montgomery (1874-1942)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0100251.txt
Language:   English
Date first posted: November 2001
Date most recently updated: November 2001

This eBook was produced by: Don Lainson dlainson@sympatico.ca

Production notes:
References to omitted pages are part of the text.
Italics used for emphasis have been converted to uppercase lettering,
except for the word I which is shown as _I_.

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Title:      Anne of Windy Poplars
Author:     L. M. Montgomery (1874-1942)


Please note: References to omitted pages are part of the text.
Italics used for emphasis have been converted to uppercase lettering,
except for the word I which is shown as _I_.





THE FIRST YEAR


1


(Letter from Anne Shirley, B.A., Principal of Summerside High
School, to Gilbert Blythe, medical student at Redmond College,
Kingsport.)


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"S'side, P. E. I.,
"Monday, September 12th.

"DEAREST:

"Isn't that an address!  Did you ever hear anything so delicious?
Windy Poplars is the name of my new home and I love it.  I also
love Spook's Lane, which has no legal existence.  It should be
Trent Street but it is never called Trent Street except on the rare
occasions when it is mentioned in the Weekly Courier . . . and then
people look at each other and say, 'Where on earth is that?'
Spook's Lane it is . . . although for what reason I cannot tell
you.  I have already asked Rebecca Dew about it, but all she can
say is that it has always been Spook's Lane and there was some old
yarn years ago of its being haunted.  But SHE has never seen
anything worse-looking than herself in it.

"However, I mustn't get ahead of my story.  You don't know Rebecca
Dew yet.  But you will, oh, yes, you will.  I foresee that Rebecca
Dew will figure largely in my future correspondence.

"It's dusk, dearest.  (In passing, isn't 'dusk' a lovely word?
I like it better than twilight.  It sounds so velvety and shadowy
and . . . and . . . DUSKY.)  In daylight I belong to the world . . .
in the night to sleep and eternity.  But in the dusk I'm free from
both and belong only to myself . . . and YOU.  So I'm going to keep
this hour sacred to writing to you.  Though THIS won't be a love-
letter.  I have a scratchy pen and I can't write love-letters with a
scratchy pen . . . or a sharp pen . . . or a stub pen.  So you'll
only get THAT kind of letter from me when I have exactly the right
kind of pen.  Meanwhile, I'll tell you about my new domicile and its
inhabitants.  Gilbert, they're such DEARS.

"I came up yesterday to look for a boarding-house.  Mrs. Rachel
Lynde came with me, ostensibly to do some shopping but really, I
know, to choose a boarding-house for me.  In spite of my Arts
course and my B.A., Mrs. Lynde still thinks I am an inexperienced
young thing who must be guided and directed and overseen.

"We came by train and oh, Gilbert, I had the funniest adventure.
You know I've always been one to whom adventures came unsought.
I just seem to attract them, as it were.

"It happened just as the train was coming to a stop at the station.
I got up and, stooping to pick up Mrs. Lynde's suitcase (she was
planning to spend Sunday with a friend in Summerside), I leaned my
knuckles heavily on what I thought was the shiny arm of a seat.  In
a second I received a violent crack across them that nearly made me
howl.  Gilbert, what I had taken for the arm of a seat was a man's
bald head.  He was glaring fiercely at me and had evidently just
waked up.  I apologized abjectly and got off the train as quickly
as possible.  The last I saw of him he was still glaring.  Mrs.
Lynde was horrified and my knuckles are sore yet!

"I did not expect to have much trouble in finding a boarding-house,
for a certain Mrs. Tom Pringle has been boarding the various
principals of the High School for the last fifteen years.  But, for
some unknown reason, she has grown suddenly tired of 'being
bothered' and wouldn't take me.  Several other desirable places had
some polite excuse.  Several other places WEREN'T desirable.  We
wandered about the town the whole afternoon and got hot and tired
and blue and headachy . . . at least _I_ did.  I was ready to give
up in despair . . . and then, Spook's Lane just happened!

"We had dropped in to see Mrs. Braddock, an old crony of Mrs.
Lynde's.  And Mrs. Braddock said she thought 'the widows' might
take me in.

"'I've heard they want a boarder to pay Rebecca Dew's wages.  They
can't afford to keep Rebecca any longer unless a little extra money
comes in.  And if Rebecca goes, WHO is to milk that old red cow?'

"Mrs. Braddock fixed me with a stern eye as if she thought _I_
ought to milk the red cow but wouldn't believe me on oath if I
claimed I could.

"'What widows are you talking about?' demanded Mrs. Lynde.

"'Why, Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty,' said Mrs. Braddock, as if
everybody, even an ignorant B.A., ought to know that.  'Aunt Kate
is Mrs. Amasa MacComber (she's the Captain's widow) and Aunt Chatty
is Mrs. Lincoln MacLean, just a plain widow.  But every one calls
them "aunt."  They live at the end of Spook's Lane.'

"Spook's Lane!  That settled it.  I knew I just had to board with
the widows.

"'Let's go and see them at once,' I implored Mrs. Lynde.  It seemed
to me if we lost a moment Spook's Lane would vanish back into
fairyland.

"'You can see them, but it'll be Rebecca who'll really decide
whether they'll take you or not.  Rebecca Dew rules the roost at
Windy Poplars, I can tell you."

"Windy Poplars!  It couldn't be true . . . no it couldn't.  I must
be dreaming.  And Mrs. Rachel Lynde was actually saying it was a
funny name for a place.

"'Oh, Captain MacComber called it that.  It was his house, you
know.  He planted all the poplars round it and was mighty proud of
it, though he was seldom home and never stayed long.  Aunt Kate
used to say that was inconvenient, but we never got it figured out
whether she meant his staying such a little time or his coming back
at all.  Well, Miss Shirley, I hope you'll get there.  Rebecca
Dew's a good cook and a genius with cold potatoes.  If she takes a
notion to you you'll be in clover.  If she doesn't . . . well, she
won't, that's all.  I hear there's a new banker in town looking for
a boarding-house and she may prefer him.  It's kind of funny Mrs.
Tom Pringle wouldn't take you.  Summerside is full of Pringles and
half Pringles.  They're called "The Royal Family" and you'll have
to get on their good side, Miss Shirley, or you'll never get along
in Summerside High.  They've always ruled the roost hereabouts . . .
there's a street called after old Captain Abraham Pringle.  There's
a regular clan of them, but the two old ladies at Maplehurst boss
the tribe.  I did hear they were down on you.'

"'Why should they be?' I exclaimed.  'I'm a total stranger to
them.'

"'Well, a third cousin of theirs applied for the Principalship and
they all think he should have got it.  When your application was
accepted the whole kit and boodle of them threw back their heads
and howled.  Well, people are like that.  We have to take them as
we find them, you know.  They'll be as smooth as cream to you but
they'll work against you every time.  I'm not wanting to discourage
you but forewarned is forearmed.  I hope you'll make good just to
spite them.  If the widows take you, you won't mind eating with
Rebecca Dew, will you?  She isn't a SERVANT, you know.  She's a
far-off cousin of the Captain's.  She doesn't come to the table
when there's company . . . she knows her place THEN . . . but if
you were boarding there she wouldn't consider you company, of
course.'

"I assured the anxious Mrs. Braddock that I'd love eating with
Rebecca Dew and dragged Mrs. Lynde away.  I MUST get ahead of the
banker.

"Mrs. Braddock followed us to the door.

"'And don't hurt Aunt Chatty's feelings, will you?  Her feelings
are so easily hurt.  She's so sensitive, poor thing.  You see, she
hasn't QUITE as much money as Aunt Kate . . . though Aunt Kate
hasn't any too much either.  And then Aunt Kate liked her husband
real well . . . her own husband, I mean . . . but Aunt Chatty
didn't . . . didn't like hers, I mean.  Small wonder!  Lincoln
MacLean was an old crank . . . but she thinks people hold it
against her.  It's lucky this is Saturday.  If it was Friday Aunt
Chatty wouldn't even consider taking you.  You'd think Aunt Kate
would be the superstitious one, wouldn't you?  Sailors are kind of
like that.  But it's Aunt Chatty . . . although HER husband was a
carpenter.  She was very pretty in her day, poor thing.'

"I assured Mrs. Braddock that Aunt Chatty's feelings would be
sacred to me, but she followed us down the walk.

"'Kate and Chatty won't explore your belongings when you're out.
They're very conscientious.  Rebecca Dew may, but she won't tell on
you.  And I wouldn't go to the front door if I was you.  They only
use it for something real important.  I don't think it's been
opened since Amasa's funeral.  Try the side door.  They keep the
key under the flower-pot on the window-sill, so if nobody's home
just unlock the door and go in and wait.  And whatever you do,
don't praise the cat, because Rebecca Dew doesn't like him.'

"I promised I wouldn't praise the cat and we actually got away.
Erelong we found ourselves in Spook's Lane.  It is a very short
side street, leading out to open country, and far away a blue hill
makes a beautiful back-drop for it.  On one side there are no
houses at all and the land slopes down to the harbor.  On the other
side there are only three.  The first one is just a house . . .
nothing more to be said of it.  The next one is a big, imposing,
gloomy mansion of stone-trimmed red brick, with a mansard roof
warty with dormer-windows, an iron railing around the flat top and
so many spruces and firs crowding about it that you can hardly see
the house.  It must be frightfully dark inside.  And the third and
last is Windy Poplars, right on the corner, with the grass-grown
street on the front and a real country road, beautiful with tree
shadows, on the other side.

"I fell in love with it at once.  You know there are houses which
impress themselves upon you at first sight for some reason you can
hardly define.  Windy Poplars is like that.  I may describe it to
you as a white frame house . . . very white . . . with green
shutters . . . very green . . . with a 'tower' in the corner and a
dormer-window on either side, a low stone wall dividing it from the
street, with aspen poplars growing at intervals along it, and a big
garden at the back where flowers and vegetables are delightfully
jumbled up together . . . but all this can't convey its charm to
you.  In short, it is a house with a delightful personality and has
something of the flavor of Green Gables about it.

"'This is the spot for me . . . it's been foreordained,' I said
rapturously.

"Mrs. Lynde looked as if she didn't quite trust foreordination.

"'It'll be a long walk to school,' she said dubiously.

"'I don't mind that.  It will be good exercise.  Oh, look at that
lovely birch and maple grove across the road.'

"Mrs. Lynde looked but all she said was,

"'I hope you won't be pestered with mosquitoes.'

"I hoped so, too.  I detest mosquitoes.  One mosquito can keep me
'awaker' than a bad conscience.

"I was glad we didn't have to go in by the front door.  It looked
so forbidding . . . a big, double-leaved, grained-wood affair,
flanked by panels of red, flowered glass.  It doesn't seem to
belong to the house at all.  The little green side door, which
we reached by a darling path of thin, flat sandstones sunk at
intervals in the grass, was much more friendly and inviting.  The
path was edged by very prim, well-ordered beds of ribbon grass and
bleeding-heart and tiger-lilies and sweet-William and southernwood
and bride's bouquet and red-and-white daisies and what Mrs. Lynde
calls 'pinies.'  Of course they weren't all in bloom at this
season, but you could see they had bloomed at the proper time and
done it well.  There was a rose plot in a far corner and between
Windy Poplars and the gloomy house next a brick wall all overgrown
with Virginia creeper, with an arched trellis above a faded green
door in the middle of it.  A vine ran right across it, so it was
plain it hadn't been opened for some time.  It was really only half
a door, for its top half is merely an open oblong through which we
could catch a glimpse of a jungly garden on the other side.

"Just as we entered the gate of the garden of Windy Poplars I
noticed a little clump of clover right by the path.  Some impulse
led me to stoop down and look at it.  Would you believe it,
Gilbert?  There, right before my eyes, were THREE four-leafed
clovers!  Talk about omens!  Even the Pringles can't contend
against that.  And I felt sure the banker hadn't an earthly chance.

"The side door was open so it was evident somebody was at home and
we didn't have to look under the flower-pot.  We knocked and
Rebecca Dew came to the door.  We knew it was Rebecca Dew because
it couldn't have been any one else in the whole wide world.  And
she couldn't have had any other name.

"Rebecca Dew is 'around forty' and if a tomato had black hair
racing away from its forehead, little twinkling black eyes, a tiny
nose with a knobby end and a slit of a mouth, it would look exactly
like her.  Everything about her is a little too short . . . arms
and legs and neck and nose . . . everything but her smile.  It is
long enough to reach from ear to ear.

"But we didn't see her smile just then.  She looked very grim when
I asked if I could see Mrs. MacComber.

"'You mean Mrs. CAPTAIN MacComber?' she said rebukingly, as if
there were at least a dozen Mrs. MacCombers in the house.

"'Yes,' I said meekly.  And we were forthwith ushered into the
parlor and left there.  It was rather a nice little room, a bit
cluttered up with antimacassars but with a quiet, friendly
atmosphere about it that I liked.  Every bit of furniture had its
own particular place which it had occupied for years.  How that
furniture shone!  No bought polish ever produced that mirror-like
gloss.  I knew it was Rebecca Dew's elbow grease.  There was a
full-rigged ship in a bottle on the mantelpiece which interested
Mrs. Lynde greatly.  She couldn't imagine how it ever got into the
bottle . . . but she thought it gave the room 'a nautical air.'

"'The widows' came in.  I liked them at once.  Aunt Kate was tall
and thin and gray, and a little austere . . . Marilla's type
exactly: and Aunt Chatty was short and thin and gray, and a little
wistful.  She may have been very pretty once but nothing is now
left of her beauty except her eyes.  They are lovely . . . soft and
big and brown.

"I explained my errand and the widows looked at each other.

"'We must consult Rebecca Dew,' said Aunt Chatty.

"'Undoubtedly,' said Aunt Kate.

"Rebecca Dew was accordingly summoned from the kitchen.  The cat
came in with her . . . a big fluffy Maltese, with a white breast
and a white collar.  I should have liked to stroke him, but,
remembering Mrs. Braddock's warning, I ignored him.

"Rebecca gazed at me without the glimmer of a smile.

"'Rebecca,' said Aunt Kate, who, I have discovered, does not waste
words, 'Miss Shirley wishes to board here.  I don't think we can
take her.'

"'Why not?' said Rebecca Dew.

"'It would be too much trouble for you, I am afraid,' said Aunt
Chatty.

 "'I'm well used to trouble,' said Rebecca Dew.  You CAN'T separate
those names, Gilbert.  It's impossible . . . though the widows do
it.  They call her Rebecca when they speak to her.  I don't know
how they manage it.

"'We are rather old to have young people coming and going,'
persisted Aunt Chatty.

"'Speak for yourself,' retorted Rebecca Dew.  'I'm only forty-five
and I still have the use of my faculties.  And _I_ think it would
be nice to have a young person sleeping in the house.  A girl would
be better than a boy any time.  HE'D be smoking day AND night . . .
burn us in our beds.  If you must take a boarder, MY advice would
be to take HER.  But of course it's your house.'

"She said and vanished . . . as Homer was so fond of remarking.  I
knew the whole thing was settled but Aunt Chatty said I must go up
and see if I was suited with my room.

"'We will give you the tower room, dear.  It's not quite as large
as the spare room, but it has a stove-pipe hole for a stove in
winter and a much nicer view.  You can see the old graveyard from
it.'

"I knew I would love the room . . . the very name, 'tower room,'
thrilled me.  I felt as if we were living in that old song we used
to sing in Avonlea School about the maiden who 'dwelt in a high
tower beside a gray sea.'  It proved to be the dearest place.  We
ascended to it by a little flight of corner steps leading up from
the stair-landing.  It was rather small . . . but not nearly as
small as that dreadful hall bedroom I had my first year at Redmond.
It had two windows, a dormer one looking west and a gable one
looking north, and in the corner formed by the tower another three-
sided window with casements opening outward and shelves underneath
for my books.  The floor was covered with round, braided rugs, the
big bed had a canopy top and a 'wild-goose' quilt and looked so
perfectly smooth and level that it seemed a shame to spoil it by
sleeping in it.  And, Gilbert, it is so high that I have to climb
into it by a funny little movable set of steps which in daytime are
stowed away under it.  It seems Captain MacComber bought the whole
contraption in some 'foreign' place and brought it home.

"There was a dear little corner cupboard with shelves trimmed with
white scalloped paper and bouquets painted on its door.  There was
a round blue cushion on the window-seat . . . a cushion with a
button deep in the center, making it look like a fat blue doughnut.
And there was a sweet washstand with two shelves . . . the top one
just big enough for a basin and jug of robin's-egg blue and the
under one for a soap dish and hot water pitcher.  It had a little
brass-handled drawer full of towels and on a shelf over it a white
china lady sat, with pink shoes and gilt sash and a red china rose
in her golden china hair.

"The whole place was engoldened by the light that came through the
corn-colored curtains and there was the rarest tapestry on the
whitewashed walls where the shadow patterns of the aspens outside
fell . . . living tapestry, always changing and quivering.
Somehow, it seemed such a HAPPY room.  I felt as if I were the
richest girl in the world.

"'You'll be safe there, that's what,' said Mrs. Lynde, as we went
away.

"'I expect I'll find some things a bit cramping after the freedom
of Patty's Place,' I said, just to tease her.

"'Freedom!' Mrs. Lynde sniffed.  'Freedom!  Don't talk like a
Yankee, Anne.'

"I came up today, bag and baggage.  Of course I hated to leave
Green Gables.  No matter how often and long I'm away from it, the
minute a vacation comes I'm part of it again as if I had never been
away, and my heart is torn over leaving it.  But I know I'll like
it here.  And it likes me.  I always know whether a house likes me
or not.

"The views from my windows are lovely . . . even the old graveyard,
which is surrounded by a row of dark fir trees and reached by a
winding, dyke-bordered lane.  From my west window I can see all over
the harbor to distant, misty shores, with the dear little sail-boats
I love and the ships outward bound 'for ports unknown' . . .
fascinating phrase!  Such 'scope for imagination' in it!  From the
north window I can see into the grove of birch and maple across the
road.  You know I've always been a tree worshiper.  When we studied
Tennyson in our English course at Redmond I was always sorrowfully
at one with poor Enone, mourning her ravished pines.

"Beyond the grove and the graveyard is a lovable valley with the
glossy red ribbon of a road winding through it and white houses
dotted along it.  Some valleys ARE lovable . . . you can't tell
why.  Just to look at them gives you pleasure.  And beyond it again
is my blue hill.  I'm naming it Storm King . . . the ruling
passion, etc.

"I can be so ALONE up here when I want to be.  You know it's lovely
to be alone once in a while.  The winds will be my friends.
They'll wail and sigh and croon around my tower . . . the white
winds of winter . . . the green winds of spring . . . the blue
winds of summer . . . the crimson winds of autumn . . . and the
wild winds of all seasons . . . 'stormy wind fulfilling his word.'
How I've always thrilled to that Bible verse . . . as if each and
every wind had a message for me.  I've always envied the boy who
flew with the north wind in that lovely old story of George
MacDonald's.  Some night, Gilbert, I'll open my tower casement and
just step into the arms of the wind . . . and Rebecca Dew will
never know why my bed wasn't slept in that night.

"I hope when we find our 'house of dreams,' dearest, that there
will be winds around it.  I wonder where it is . . . that unknown
house.  Shall I love it best by moonlight or dawn?  That home of
the future where we will have love and friendship and work . . .
and a few funny adventures to bring laughter in our old age.  Old
age!  Can WE ever be old, Gilbert?  It seems impossible.

"From the left window in the tower I can see the roofs of the
town . . . this place where I am to live for at least a year.
People are living in those houses who will be my friends, though I
don't know them yet.  And perhaps my enemies.  For the ilk of Pye
are found everywhere, under all kinds of names, and I understand the
Pringles are to be reckoned with.  School begins tomorrow.  I shall
have to teach geometry!  Surely that can't be any worse than
learning it.  I pray heaven there are no mathematical geniuses among
the Pringles.

"I've been here only for half a day, but I feel as if I had known
the widows and Rebecca Dew all my life.  They've asked me to call
them 'aunt' already and I've asked them to call me Anne.  I called
Rebecca Dew 'Miss Dew' . . . once.

"'Miss What?' quoth she.

"'Dew,' I said meekly.  'Isn't that your name?'

"'Well, yes, it is, but I ain't been called Miss Dew for so long it
gave me quite a turn.  You'd better not do it any more, Miss
Shirley, me not being used to it.'

"'I'll remember, Rebecca . . . Dew,' I said, trying my hardest to
leave off the Dew but not succeeding.

"Mrs. Braddock was quite right in saying Aunt Chatty was sensitive.
I discovered that at supper-time.  Aunt Kate had said something
about 'Chatty's sixty-sixth birthday.'  Happening to glance at Aunt
Chatty I saw that she had . . . no, not BURST into tears.  That is
entirely too explosive a term for her performance.  She just
overflowed.  The tears welled up in her big brown eyes and brimmed
over, effortlessly and silently.

"'What's the matter now, Chatty?' asked Aunt Kate rather dourly.

"'It . . . it was only my sixty-fifth birthday,' said Aunt Chatty.

"'I beg your pardon, Charlotte,' said Aunt Kate . . . and all was
sunshine again.

"The cat is a lovely big Tommy-cat with golden eyes, an elegant
coat of dusty Maltese and irreproachable linen.  Aunts Kate and
Chatty call him Dusty Miller, because that is his name, and Rebecca
Dew calls him That Cat because she resents him and resents the fact
that she has to give him a square inch of liver every morning and
evening, clean his hairs off the parlor arm-chair seat with an old
tooth-brush whenever he has sneaked in and hunt him up if he is out
late at night.

"'Rebecca Dew has always hated cats,' Aunt Chatty tells me, 'and
she hates Dusty especially.  Old Mrs. Campbell's dog . . . she kept
a dog then . . . brought him here two years ago in his mouth.  I
suppose he thought it was no use to take him to Mrs. Campbell.
Such a poor miserable little kitten, all wet and cold, with its
poor little bones almost sticking through its skin.  A heart of
stone couldn't have refused it shelter.  So Kate and I adopted it,
but Rebecca Dew has never really forgiven us.  We were not
diplomatic that time.  We should have refused to take it in.  I
don't know if you've noticed . . .' Aunt Chatty looked cautiously
around at the door between the dining-room and kitchen . . . 'how
we manage Rebecca Dew.'

"I HAD noticed it . . . and it was beautiful to behold.  Summerside
and Rebecca Dew may think she rules the roost but the widows know
differently.

"'We didn't want to take the banker . . . a young man would have
been SO unsettling and we would have had to worry so much if he
didn't go to church regularly.  But we pretended we did and Rebecca
Dew simply wouldn't hear of it.  I'm so glad we have you, dear.  I
feel sure you'll be a very nice person to cook for.  I hope you'll
like us all.  Rebecca Dew has some very fine qualities.  She was
not so tidy when she came fifteen years ago as she is now.  Once
Kate had to write her name . . . "Rebecca Dew" . . . right across
the parlor mirror to show the dust.  But she never had to do it
again.  Rebecca Dew can take a hint.  I hope you'll find your room
comfortable, dear.  You may have the window open at night.  Kate
does not approve of night air but she knows boarders must have
privileges.  She and I sleep together and we have arranged it so
that one night the window is shut for her and the next it is open
for me.  One can always work out little problems like that, don't
you think?  Where there is a will there is always a way.  Don't be
alarmed if you hear Rebecca prowling a good deal in the night.  She
is always hearing noises and getting up to investigate them.  I
think that is why she didn't want the banker.  She was afraid she
might run into him in her nightgown.  I hope you won't mind Kate
not talking much.  It's just her way.  And she must have so many
things to talk of . . . she was all over the world with Amasa
MacComber in her young days.  I wish I had the subjects for
conversation she has, but I've never been off P. E. Island.  I've
often wondered why things should be arranged so . . . me loving to
talk and with nothing to talk about and Kate with everything and
hating to talk.  But I suppose Providence knows best.'

"Although Aunt Chatty is a talker all right, she didn't say all
this without a break.  I interjected remarks at suitable intervals,
but they were of no importance.

"They keep a cow which is pastured at Mr. James Hamilton's up the
road and Rebecca Dew goes there to milk her.  There is any amount
of cream and every morning and evening I understand Rebecca Dew
passes a glass of new milk through the opening in the wall gate to
Mrs. Campbell's 'Woman.'  It is for 'little Elizabeth,' who must
have it under doctor's orders.  Who the Woman is, or who little
Elizabeth is, I have yet to discover.  Mrs. Campbell is the
inhabitant and owner of the fortress next door . . . which is
called The Evergreens.

"I don't expect to sleep tonight . . . I never do sleep my first
night in a strange bed and THIS is the very strangest bed I've ever
seen.  But I won't mind.  I've always loved the night and I'll like
lying awake and thinking over everything in life, past, present and
to come.  Especially TO COME.

"This is a merciless letter, Gilbert.  I won't inflict such a long
one on you again.  But I wanted to tell you everything, so that you
could picture my new surroundings for yourself.  It has come to an
end now, for far up the harbor the moon is 'sinking into shadow-
land.'  I must write a letter to Marilla yet.  It will reach Green
Gables the day after tomorrow and Davy will bring it home from the
post-office, and he and Dora will crowd around Marilla while she
opens it and Mrs. Lynde will have both ears open. . . .  Ow . . .
w . . .w!  That has made me homesick.  Good-night, dearest, from one
who is now and ever will be,

"Fondestly yours,

"ANNE SHIRLEY."



2


(Extracts from various letters from the same to the same.)


"September 26th.

"Do you know where I go to read your letters?  Across the road into
the grove.  There is a little dell there where the sun dapples the
ferns.  A brook meanders through it; there is a twisted mossy tree-
trunk on which I sit, and the most delightful row of young sister
birches.  After this, when I have a dream of a certain kind . . . a
golden-green, crimson-veined dream . . . a very dream of dreams . . .
I shall please my fancy with the belief that it came from my secret
dell of birches and was born of some mystic union between the
slenderest, airiest of the sisters and the crooning brook.  I love
to sit there and listen to the silence of the grove.  Have you ever
noticed how many different silences there are, Gilbert?  The silence
of the woods . . . of the shore . . . of the meadows . . . of the
night . . . of the summer afternoon.  All different because all the
undertones that thread them are different.  I'm sure if I were
totally blind and insensitive to heat and cold I could easily tell
just where I was by the quality of the silence about me.

"School has been 'keeping' for two weeks now and I've got things
pretty well organized.  But Mrs. Braddock was right . . . the
Pringles are my problem.  And as yet I don't see exactly how I'm
going to solve it in spite of my lucky clovers.  As Mrs. Braddock
says, they are as smooth as cream . . . and as slippery.

"The Pringles are a kind of clan who keeps tabs on each other and
fight a good bit among themselves but stand shoulder to shoulder in
regard to any outsider.  I have come to the conclusion that there
are just two kinds of people in Summerside . . . those who are
Pringles and those who aren't.

"My room is full of Pringles and a good many students who bear
another name have Pringle blood in them.  The ring-leader of them
seems to be Jen Pringle, a green-eyed bantling who looks as BECKY
SHARP must have looked at fourteen.  I believe she is deliberately
organizing a subtle campaign of insubordination and disrespect,
with which I am going to find it hard to cope.  She has a knack of
making irresistibly comic faces and when I hear a smothered ripple
of laughter running over the room behind my back I know perfectly
well what has caused it, but so far I haven't been able to catch
her out in it.  She has brains, too . . . the little wretch! . . .
can write compositions that are fourth cousins to literature and is
quite brilliant in mathematics . . . woe is me!  There is a certain
SPARKLE in everything she says or does and she has a sense of
humorous situations which would be a bond of kinship between us if
she hadn't started out by hating me.  As it is, I fear it will be a
long time before Jen and I can laugh TOGETHER over anything.

"Myra Pringle, Jen's cousin, is the beauty of the school . . . and
apparently stupid.  She does perpetrate some amusing howlers . . .
as, for instance, when she said today in history class that the
Indians thought Champlain and his men were gods or 'something
inhuman.'

"Socially the Pringles are what Rebecca Dew calls 'the e-light' of
Summerside.  Already I have been invited to two Pringle homes for
supper . . . because it is the proper thing to invite a new teacher
to supper and the Pringles are not going to omit the required
gestures.  Last night I was at James Pringle's . . . the father of
the aforesaid Jen.  He looks like a college professor but is in
reality stupid and ignorant.  He talked a great deal about
'disCIPline,' tapping the tablecloth with a finger the nail of
which was not impeccable and occasionally doing dreadful things to
grammar.  The Summerside High had always required a firm hand . . .
an experienced teacher, male preferred.  He was afraid I was a
LEETLE too young . . . 'a fault which time will cure all too soon,'
he said sorrowfully.  I didn't say anything because if I had said
anything I might have said too much.  So I was as smooth and creamy
as any Pringle of them all could have been and contented myself
with looking limpidly at him and saying inside of myself, 'You
cantankerous, prejudiced old creature!'

"Jen must have got her brains from her mother . . . whom I found
myself liking.  Jen, in her parents' presence, was a model of
decorum.  But though her words were polite her tone was insolent.
Every time she said 'Miss Shirley' she contrived to make it sound
like an insult.  And every time she looked at my hair I felt that
it was just plain carroty red.  No Pringle, I am certain, would
ever admit it was auburn.

"I liked the Morton Pringles much better . . . though Morton
Pringle never really listens to anything you say.  He says
something to you and then, while you're replying, he is busy
thinking out his next remark.

"Mrs. Stephen Pringle . . . the Widow Pringle . . . Summerside
abounds in widows . . . wrote me a letter yesterday . . . a nice,
polite, poisonous letter.  Millie has too much home work . . .
Millie is a delicate child and must not be overworked.  Mr. Bell
NEVER gave her home work.  She is a sensitive child that must be
UNDERSTOOD.  Mr. Bell understood her so well!  Mrs. Stephen is sure
I will, too, if I try!

"I do not doubt Mrs. Stephen thinks I made Adam Pringle's nose
bleed in class today by reason of which he had to go home.  And I
woke up last night and couldn't go to sleep again because I
remembered an 'i' I hadn't dotted in a question I wrote on the
board.  I'm certain Jen Pringle would notice it and a whisper will
go around the clan about it.

"Rebecca Dew says that all the Pringles will invite me to supper,
except the old ladies at Maplehurst, and then ignore me forever
afterwards.  As they are the 'e-light,' this may mean that socially
I may be banned in Summerside.  Well, we'll see.  The battle is on
but is not yet either won or lost.  Still, I feel rather unhappy
over it all.  You can't reason with prejudice.  I'm still just as I
used to be in my childhood . . . I can't bear to have people not
liking me.  It isn't pleasant to think that the families of half my
pupils hate me.  And for no fault of my own.  It is the INJUSTICE
that stings me.  There go more italics!  But a few italics really
do relieve your feelings.

"Apart from the Pringles I like my pupils very much.  There are
some clever, ambitious, hard-working ones who are really interested
in getting an education.  Lewis Allen is paying for his board by
doing HOUSEWORK at his boarding-house and isn't a bit ashamed of
it.  And Sophy Sinclair rides bareback on her father's old gray
mare six miles in and six miles out every day.  There's pluck for
you!  If I can help a girl like that, am I to mind the Pringles?

"The trouble is . . . if I can't win the Pringles I won't have much
chance of helping anybody.

"But I love Windy Poplars.  It isn't a boardinghouse . . . it's a
home!  And they like me . . . even Dusty Miller likes me, though he
sometimes disapproves of me and shows it by deliberately sitting
with his back turned towards me, occasionally cocking a golden eye
over his shoulder at me to see how I'm taking it.  I don't pet him
much when Rebecca Dew is around because it really does irritate
her.  By day he is a homely, comfortable, meditative animal . . .
but he is decidedly a weird creature at night.  Rebecca says it is
because he is never allowed to stay out after dark.  She hates to
stand in the back yard and call him.  She says the neighbors will
all be laughing at her.  She calls in such fierce, stentorian tones
that she really can be heard all over the town on a still night
shouting for 'Puss . . . PUSS . . . PUSS!'  The widows would have
a conniption if Dusty Miller wasn't in when they went to bed.
'Nobody knows what I've gone through on account of That Cat. . .
NOBODY,' Rebecca has assured me.

"The widows are going to wear well.  Every day I like them better.
Aunt Kate doesn't believe in reading novels, but informs me that
she does not propose to censor my reading-matter.  Aunt Chatty
loves novels.  She has a 'hidy-hole' where she keeps them . . . she
smuggles them in from the town library . . . together with a pack
of cards for solitaire and anything else she doesn't want Aunt Kate
to see.  It is in a chair seat which nobody but Aunt Chatty knows
is more than a chair seat.  She has shared the secret with me,
because, I strongly suspect, she wants me to aid and abet her in
the aforesaid smuggling.  There shouldn't really be any need for
hidy-holes at Windy Poplars, for I never saw a house with so many
mysterious cupboards.  Though to be sure, Rebecca Dew won't let
them BE mysterious.  She is always cleaning them out ferociously.
'A house can't keep itself clean,' she says sorrowfully when either
of the widows protests.  I am sure she would make short work of a
novel or a pack of cards if she found them.  They are both a horror
to her orthodox soul.  Rebecca Dew says cards are the devil's books
and novels even worse.  The only things Rebecca ever reads, apart
from her Bible, are the society columns of the Montreal Guardian.
She loves to pore over the houses and furniture and doings of
millionaires.

"'Just fancy soaking in a golden bathtub, Miss Shirley,' she said
wistfully.

"But she's really an old duck.  She has produced from somewhere a
comfortable old wing chair of faded brocade that just fits my kinks
and says, 'This is YOUR chair.  We'll keep it for YOU.'  And she
won't let Dusty Miller sleep on it lest I get hairs on my school
skirt and give the Pringles something to talk about.

"The whole three are very much interested in my circlet of pearls
. . . and what it signifies.  Aunt Kate showed me her engagement
ring (she can't wear it because it has grown too small) set with
turquoises.  But poor Aunt Chatty owned to me with tears in her eyes
that she had never had an engagement ring . . . her husband thought
it 'an unnecessary expenditure.'  She was in my room at the time,
giving her face a bath in buttermilk.  She does it every night to
preserve her complexion, and has sworn me to secrecy because she
doesn't want Aunt Kate to know it.

"'She would think it ridiculous vanity in a woman of my age.  And I
am sure Rebecca Dew thinks that no Christian woman should try to be
beautiful.  I used to slip down to the kitchen to do it after Kate
had gone to sleep but I was always afraid of Rebecca Dew coming
down.  She has ears like a cat's even when she is asleep.  If I
could just slip in here every night and do it . . . oh, thank you,
my dear.'

"I have found out a little about our neighbors at The Evergreens.
Mrs. Campbell (who was a Pringle!) is eighty.  I haven't seen her
but from what I can gather she is a very grim old lady.  She has a
maid, Martha Monkman, almost as ancient and grim as herself, who is
generally referred to as 'Mrs. Campbell's Woman.'  And she has her
great-granddaughter, little Elizabeth Grayson, living with her.
Elizabeth . . . on whom I have never laid eyes in spite of my two
weeks' sojourn . . . is eight years old and goes to the public
school by 'the back way' . . . a short cut through the back yards
. . . so I never encounter her, going or coming.  Her mother, who
is dead, was a granddaughter of Mrs. Campbell, who brought her up
also . . . HER parents being dead.  She married a certain Pierce
Grayson, a 'Yankee,' as Mrs. Rachel Lynde would say.  She died when
Elizabeth was born and as Pierce Grayson had to leave America at
once to take charge of a branch of his firm's business in Paris, the
baby was sent home to old Mrs. Campbell.  The story goes that he
'couldn't bear the sight of her' because she had cost her mother's
life, and has never taken any notice of her.  This of course may be
sheer gossip because neither Mrs. Campbell nor the Woman ever opens
her lips about him.

"Rebecca Dew says they are far too strict with little Elizabeth and
she hasn't much of a time of it with them.

"'She isn't like other children . . . far too old for eight years.
The things that she says sometimes!  "Rebecca," she sez to me one
day, "suppose just as you were ready to get into bed you felt your
ankle NIPPED?"  No wonder she's afraid to go to bed in the dark.
And they make her do it.  Mrs. Campbell says there are to be no
cowards in HER house.  They watch her like two cats watching a
mouse, and boss her within an inch of her life.  If she makes a
speck of noise they nearly pass out.  It's "hush, hush" all the
time.  I tell you that child is being hush-hushed to death.  And
what is to be done about it?'

"What, indeed?

"I feel that I'd like to see her.  She seems to me a bit pathetic.
Aunt Kate says she is well looked after from a physical point of
view . . . what Aunt Kate really said was, 'They feed and dress her
well' . . . but a child can't live by bread alone.  I can never
forget what my own life was before I came to Green Gables.

"I'm going home next Friday evening to spend two beautiful days in
Avonlea.  The only drawback will be that everybody I see will ask
me how I like teaching in Summerside.

"But think of Green Gables now, Gilbert . . . the Lake of Shining
Waters with a blue mist on it . . . the maples across the brook
beginning to turn scarlet . . . the ferns golden brown in the
Haunted Wood . . . and the sunset shadows in Lover's Lane, darling
spot.  I find it in my heart to wish I were there now with . . .
with . . . guess whom?

"Do you know, Gilbert, there are times when I strongly suspect that
I love you!"



"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"S'side,
"October 10th.

"HONORED AND RESPECTED SIR:--

 "That is how a love letter of Aunt Chatty's grandmother began.
Isn't it delicious?  What a thrill of superiority it must have
given the grandfather!  Wouldn't you really prefer it to 'Gilbert
darling, etc.'?  But, on the whole, I think I'm glad you're not the
grandfather . . . or A grandfather.  It's wonderful to think we're
young and have our whole lives before us . . . TOGETHER . . . isn't
it?"


(Several pages omitted.  Anne's pen being evidently neither sharp,
stub nor rusty.)


"I'm sitting on the window seat in the tower looking out into the
trees waving against an amber sky and beyond them to the harbor.
Last night I had such a lovely walk with myself.  I really had to
go somewhere for it was just a trifle dismal at Windy Poplars.
Aunt Chatty was crying in the sitting-room because her feelings had
been hurt and Aunt Kate was crying in her bedroom because it was
the anniversary of Captain Amasa's death and Rebecca Dew was crying
in the kitchen for no reason that I could discover.  I've never
seen Rebecca Dew cry before.  But when I tried tactfully to find
out what was wrong she pettishly wanted to know if a body couldn't
enjoy a cry when she felt like it.  So I folded my tent and stole
away, leaving her to her enjoyment.

"I went out and down the harbor road.  There was such a nice
frosty, Octobery smell in the air, blent with the delightful odor
of newly plowed fields.  I walked on and on until twilight had
deepened into a moonlit autumn night.  I was alone but not lonely.
I held a series of imaginary conversations with imaginary comrades
and thought out so many epigrams that I was agreeably surprised at
myself.  I couldn't help enjoying myself in spite of my Pringle
worries.

"The spirit moves me to utter a few yowls regarding the Pringles.
I hate to admit it but things are not going any too well in
Summerside High.  There is no doubt that a cabal has been organized
against me.

"For one thing, home work is never done by any of the Pringles or
half Pringles.  And there is no use in appealing to the parents.
They are suave, polite, evasive.  I know all the pupils who are
not Pringles like me but the Pringle virus of disobedience is
undermining the morale of the whole room.  One morning I found my
desk turned inside out and upside down.  Nobody knew who did it, of
course.  And no one could or would tell who left on it another day
the box out of which popped an artificial snake when I opened it.
But every Pringle in the school screamed with laughter over my
face.  I suppose I did look wildly startled.

"Jen Pringle comes late for school half the time, always with some
perfectly water-tight excuse, delivered politely, with an insolent
tilt to her mouth.  She passes notes in class under my very nose.
I found a peeled onion in the pocket of my coat when I put it on
today.  I should love to lock that girl up on bread and water until
she learned how to behave herself.

"The worst thing to date was the caricature of myself I found on
the blackboard one morning . . . done in white chalk with SCARLET
hair.  Everybody denied doing it, Jen among the rest, but I knew
Jen was the only pupil in the room who could draw like that.  It
WAS done well.  My nose . . . which, as you know, has always been
my one pride and joy . . . was humpbacked and my mouth was the
mouth of a vinegary spinster who had been teaching a school full of
Pringles for thirty years.  But it was ME.  I woke up at three
o'clock that night and writhed over the recollection.  Isn't it
queer that the things we writhe over at night are seldom wicked
things?  Just humiliating ones.

"All sorts of things are being said.  I am accused of 'marking
down' Hattie Pringle's examination papers just because she is a
Pringle.  I am said to 'laugh when the children make mistakes.'
(Well, I DID laugh when Fred Pringle defined a centurion as 'a man
who had lived a hundred years.'  I couldn't help it.)

"James Pringle is saying, 'There is no disCIPline in the school
. . . no disCIPline whatever.'  And a report is being circulated
that I am a 'foundling.'

"I am beginning to encounter the Pringle antagonism in other
quarters.  Socially as well as educationally, Summerside seems to
be under the Pringle thumb.  No wonder they are called the Royal
Family.  I wasn't invited to Alice Pringle's walking party last
Friday.  And when Mrs. Frank Pringle got up a tea in aid of a
church project (Rebecca Dew informs me that the ladies are going to
'build' the new spire!), I was the only girl in the Presbyterian
church who was not asked to take a table.  I have heard that the
minister's wife, who is a newcomer in Summerside, suggested asking
me to sing in the choir and was informed that all the Pringles
would drop out of it if she did.  That would leave such a skeleton
that the choir simply couldn't carry on.

"Of course I'm not the only one of the teachers who has trouble
with pupils.  When the other teachers send theirs up to me to be
'disciplined' . . . how I hate that word! . . . half of them are
Pringles.  But there is never any complaint made about THEM.

"Two evenings ago I kept Jen in after school to do some work she
had deliberately left undone.  Ten minutes later the carriage from
Maplehurst drew up before the school house and Miss Ellen was at
the door . . . a beautifully dressed, sweetly smiling old lady,
with elegant black lace mitts and a fine hawk-like nose, looking as
if she had just stepped out of an 1840 band-box.  She was so sorry
but could she have Jen?  She was going to visit friends in Lowvale
and had promised to take Jen.  Jen went off triumphantly and I
realized afresh the forces arrayed against me.

"In my pessimistic moods I think the Pringles are a compound of
Sloanes and Pyes.  But I know they're not.  I feel that I could
like them if they were not my enemies.  They are, for the most
part, a frank, jolly, loyal set.  I could even like Miss Ellen.
I've never seen Miss Sarah.  Miss Sarah has not left Maplehurst
for ten years.

"'Too delicate . . . or thinks she is,' says Rebecca Dew with a
sniff.  'But there ain't anything the matter with her pride.  All
the Pringles are proud but those two old girls pass everything.
You should hear them talk about their ancestors.  Well, their old
father, Captain Abraham Pringle, WAS a fine old fellow.  His
brother Myrom wasn't quite so fine, but you don't hear the Pringles
talking much about HIM.  But I'm desprit afraid you're going to
have a hard time with them all.  When they make up their mind about
anything or anybody they've never been known to change it.  But
keep your chin up, Miss Shirley . . . keep your chin up.'

"'I wish I could get Miss Ellen's recipe for pound cake,' sighed
Aunt Chatty.  'She's promised it to me time and again but it never
comes.  It's an old English family recipe.  They're SO exclusive
about their recipes.'

"In wild fantastic dreams I see myself compelling Miss Ellen to
hand that recipe over to Aunt Chatty on bended knee and make Jen
mind her p's and q's.  The maddening thing is that I could easily
make Jen do it myself if her whole clan weren't backing her up in
her deviltry."

(Two pages omitted.)

"Your obedient servant,

"ANNE SHIRLEY.

"P.S.  That was how Aunt Chatty's grandmother signed her love
letters."



"October 15th.

"We heard today that there had been a burglary at the other end of
the town last night.  A house was entered and some money and a
dozen silver spoons stolen.  So Rebecca Dew has gone up to Mr.
Hamilton's to see if she can borrow a dog.  She will tie him on the
back veranda and she advises me to lock up my engagement ring!

"By the way, I found out why Rebecca Dew cried.  It seems there had
been a domestic convulsion.  Dusty Miller had 'misbehaved again'
and Rebecca Dew told Aunt Kate she would really have to do
something about That Cat.  He was wearing her to a fiddle-string.
It was the third time in a year and she knew he did it on purpose.
And Aunt Kate said that if Rebecca Dew would always let the cat out
when he meowed there would be no danger of his misbehaving.

"'Well, this IS the last straw,' said Rebecca Dew.

"Consequently, tears!

"The Pringle situation grows a little more acute every week.
Something very impertinent was written across one of my books
yesterday and Homer Pringle turned handsprings all the way down
the aisle when leaving school.  Also, I got an anonymous letter
recently full of nasty innuendoes.  Somehow, I don't blame Jen for
either the book or the letter.  Imp as she is, there are things she
wouldn't stoop to.  Rebecca Dew is furious and I shudder to think
what she would do to the Pringles if she had them in her power.
Nero's wish isn't to be compared to it.  I really don't blame her,
for there are times when I feel myself that I could cheerfully hand
any and all of the Pringles a poisoned philter of Borgia brewing.

"I don't think I've told you much about the other teachers.  There
are two, you know . . . the Vice-principal, Katherine Brooke of the
Junior Room, and George MacKay of the Prep.  Of George I have
little to say.  He is a shy, good-natured lad of twenty, with a
slight, delicious Highland accent suggestive of low shielings and
misty islands . . . his grandfather 'was Isle of Skye' . . . and
does very well with the Preps.  So far as I know him I like him.
But I'm afraid I'm going to have a hard time liking Katherine
Brooke.

"Katherine is a girl of, I think, about twenty-eight, though she
looks thirty-five.  I have been told she cherished hopes of
promotion to the Principalship and I suppose she resents my getting
it, especially when I am considerably her junior.  She is a good
teacher . . . a bit of a martinet . . . but she is not popular with
any one.  And doesn't worry over it!  She doesn't seem to have any
friends or relations and boards in a gloomy-looking house on grubby
little Temple Street.  She dresses very dowdily, never goes out
socially and is said to be 'mean.'  She is very sarcastic and her
pupils dread her biting remarks.  I am told that her way of raising
her thick black eyebrows and drawling at them reduces them to a
pulp.  I wish I could work it on the Pringles.  But I really
shouldn't like to govern by fear as she does.  I want my pupils to
love me.

"In spite of the fact that she has apparently no trouble in making
them toe the line she is constantly sending some of them up to me
. . . especially Pringles.  I know she does it purposely and I feel
miserably certain that she exults in my difficulties and would be
glad to see me worsted.

"Rebecca Dew says that no one can make friends with her.  The
widows have invited her several times to Sunday supper . . . the
dear souls are always doing that for lonely people, and always have
the most delicious chicken salad for them . . . but she never came.
So they have given it up because, as Aunt Kate says, 'there are
limits.'

"There are rumors that she is very clever and can sing and recite
. . . 'elocute,' a la Rebecca Dew . . . but will not do either.
Aunt Chatty once asked her to recite at a church supper.

"'We thought she refused very ungraciously,' said Aunt Kate.

"'Just growled,' said Rebecca Dew.

"Katherine has a deep throaty voice . . . almost a man's voice . . .
and it does sound like a growl when she isn't in good humor.

"She isn't pretty but she might make more of herself.  She is dark
and swarthy, with magnificent black hair always dragged back from
her high forehead and coiled in a clumsy knot at the base of her
neck.  Her eyes don't match her hair, being a clear, light amber
under her black brows.  She has ears she needn't be ashamed to show
and the most beautiful hands I've ever seen.  Also, she has a well-
cut mouth.  But she dresses terribly.  Seems to have a positive
genius for getting the colors and lines she should not wear.  Dull
dark greens and drab grays, when she is too sallow for greens and
grays, and stripes which make her tall, lean figure even taller and
leaner.  And her clothes always look as if she'd slept in them.

"Her manner is very repellent . . . as Rebecca Dew would say, she
always has a chip on her shoulder.  Every time I pass her on the
stairs I feel that she is thinking horrid things about me.  Every
time I speak to her she makes me feel I've said the wrong thing.
And yet I'm very sorry for her . . . though I know she would resent
my pity furiously.  And I can't do anything to help her because she
doesn't want to be helped.  She is really hateful to me.  One day,
when we three teachers were all in the staff room, I did something
which, it seems, transgressed one of the unwritten laws of the
school, and Katherine said cuttingly, 'Perhaps you think YOU are
above rules, Miss Shirley.'  At another time, when I was suggesting
some changes which I thought would be for the good of the school,
she said with a scornful smile, 'I'm not interested in fairy
tales.'  Once, when I said some nice things about her work and
methods, she said, 'And what is to be the pill in all this jam?'

"But the thing that annoyed me most . . . well, one day when I
happened to pick up a book of hers in the staff room and glanced at
the flyleaf I said,

"'I'm glad you spell your name with a K.  Katherine is so much more
alluring than Catherine, just as K is ever so much gypsier a letter
than smug C.'

"She made no response, but the next note she sent up was signed
'Catherine Brooke'!

"I sneezed all the way home.

"I really would give up trying to be friends with her if I hadn't
a queer, unaccountable feeling that under all her bruskness and
aloofness she is actually starved for companionship.

"Altogether, what with Katherine's antagonism and the Pringle
attitude, I don't know just what I'd do if it wasn't for dear
Rebecca Dew and your letters . . . and little Elizabeth.

"Because I've got acquainted with little Elizabeth.  And she is a
darling.

"Three nights ago I took the glass of milk to the wall door and
little Elizabeth herself was there to get it instead of the Woman,
her head just coming above the solid part of the door, so that her
face was framed in the ivy.  She is small, pale, golden and
wistful.  Her eyes, looking at me through the autumn twilight, are
large and golden-hazel.  Her silver-gold hair was parted in the
middle, sleeked plainly down over her head with a circular comb,
and fell in waves on her shoulders.  She wore a pale blue gingham
dress and the expression of a princess of elf-land.  She had what
Rebecca Dew calls 'a delicate air,' and gave me the impression of a
child who was more or less undernourished . . . not in body, but in
soul.  More of a moonbeam than a sunbeam.

"'And this is Elizabeth?' I said.

"'Not tonight,' she answered gravely.  'This is my night for being
Betty because I love everything in the world tonight.  I was
Elizabeth last night and tomorrow night I'll prob'ly be Beth.
It all depends on how I feel.'

"There was the touch of the kindred spirit for you.  I thrilled to
it at once.

"'How very nice to have a name you can change so easily and still
feel it's your own.'

"Little Elizabeth nodded.

"'I can make so many names out of it.  Elsie and Betty and Bess and
Elisa and Lisbeth and Beth . . . but not Lizzie.  I never can feel
like Lizzie.'

"'Who could?' I said.

"'Do you think it silly of me, Miss Shirley?  Grandmother and the
Woman do.'

"'Not silly at all . . . very wise and very delightful,' I said.

"Little Elizabeth made saucer eyes at me over the rim of her glass.
I felt that I was being weighed in some secret spiritual balance
and presently I realized thankfully that I had not been found
wanting.  For little Elizabeth asked a favor of me . . . and little
Elizabeth does not ask favors of people she does not like.

"'Would you mind lifting up the cat and letting me pat him?' she
asked shyly.

"Dusty Miller was rubbing against my legs.  I lifted him and little
Elizabeth put out a tiny hand and stroked his head delightedly.

"'I like kittens better than babies,' she said, looking at me with
an odd little air of defiance, as if she knew I would be shocked
but tell the truth she must.

"'I suppose you've never had much to do with babies, so you don't
know how sweet they are,' I said, smiling.  'Have you a kitten of
your own?'

"Elizabeth shook her head.

"'Oh, no; Grandmother doesn't like cats.  And the Woman hates them.
The Woman is out tonight, so that is why I could come for the milk.
I love coming for the milk because Rebecca Dew is such an agree'ble
person.'

"'Are you sorry she didn't come tonight?' I laughed.

"Little Elizabeth shook her head.

"'No.  You are very agree'ble, too.  I've been wanting to get
'quainted with you but I was afraid it mightn't happen before
Tomorrow comes.'

"We stood there and talked while Elizabeth sipped her milk daintily
and she told me all about Tomorrow.  The Woman had told her that
Tomorrow never comes, but Elizabeth knows better.  It WILL come
sometime.  Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it
is Tomorrow.  Not Today but Tomorrow.  And then things will happen
. . . wonderful things.  She may even have a day to do exactly as
she likes in, with nobody watching her . . . though I think
Elizabeth feels THAT is too good to happen even in Tomorrow.  Or
she may find out what is at the end of the harbor road . . . that
wandering, twisting road like a nice red snake, that leads, so
Elizabeth thinks, to the end of the world.  Perhaps the Island of
Happiness is there.  Elizabeth feels sure there is an Island of
Happiness somewhere where all the ships that never come back are
anchored, and she will find it when Tomorrow comes.

"'And when Tomorrow comes,' said Elizabeth, 'I will have a million
dogs and forty-five cats.  I told Grandmother that when she
wouldn't let me have a kitten, Miss Shirley, and she was angry
and said, "I'm not 'customed to be spoken to like that, Miss
Impert'nence."  I was sent to bed without supper . . . but I didn't
mean to be impert'nent.  And I couldn't sleep, Miss Shirley,
because the Woman told me that she knew a child once that died in
her sleep after being impert'nent.'

"When Elizabeth had finished her milk there came a sharp tapping at
some unseen window behind the spruces.  I think we had been watched
all the time.  My elf-maiden ran, her golden head glimmering along
the dark spruce aisle until she vanished.

"'She's a fanciful little creature,' said Rebecca Dew when I told
her of my adventure . . . really, it somehow had the quality of an
adventure, Gilbert.  'One day she said to me, "Are you scared of
lions, Rebecca Dew?"  "I never met any so I can't tell you," sez I.
"There will be any amount of lions in Tomorrow," sez she, "but they
will be nice friendly lions."  "Child, you'll turn into eyes if you
look like that," sez I.  She was looking clean through me at
something she saw in that Tomorrow of hers.  "I'm thinking deep
thoughts, Rebecca Dew," she sez.  The trouble with that child is
she doesn't laugh enough.'

"I remembered Elizabeth had never laughed once during our talk.  I
feel that she hasn't learned how.  The great house is so still and
lonely and laughterless.  It looks dull and gloomy even now when
the world is a riot of autumn color.  Little Elizabeth is doing too
much listening to lost whispers.

"I think one of my missions in Summerside will be to teach her how
to laugh.

"Your tenderest, most faithful friend,

"ANNE SHIRLEY.

"P.S.  More of Aunt Chatty's grandmother!"



3


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"S'side,
"October 25th.

"GILBERT DEAR:--

"What do you think?  I've been to supper at Maplehurst!

"Miss Ellen herself wrote the invitation.  Rebecca Dew was really
excited . . . she had never believed they would take any notice of
me.  And she was quite sure it was not out of friendliness.

"'They have some sinister motive, that I'm certain of!' she
exclaimed.

"I really had some such feeling in my own mind.

"'Be sure you put on your best,' ordered Rebecca Dew.

"So I put on my pretty cream challis dress with the purple violets
in it and did my hair the new way with the dip in the forehead.
It's very becoming.

"The ladies of Maplehurst are positively delightful in their own
way, Gilbert.  I could love them if they'd let me.  Maplehurst is a
proud, exclusive house which draws its trees around it and won't
associate with common houses.  It has a big, white, wooden woman
off the bow of old Captain Abraham's famous ship, the Go and Ask
Her, in the orchard and billows of southernwood about the front
steps, which was brought out from the old country over a hundred
years ago by the first emigrating Pringle.  They have another
ancestor who fought at the battle of Minden and his sword is
hanging on the parlor wall beside Captain Abraham's portrait.
Captain Abraham was their father and they are evidently
tremendously proud of him.

"They have stately mirrors over the old, black, fluted mantels, a
glass case with wax flowers in it, pictures full of the beauty of
the ships of long ago, a hair-wreath containing the hair of every
known Pringle, big conch shells and a quilt on the spare-room bed
quilted in infinitesimal fans.

"We sat in the parlor on mahogany Sheraton chairs.  It was hung
with silver-stripe wallpaper.  Heavy brocade curtains at the
windows.  Marble-topped tables, one bearing a beautiful model of
a ship with crimson hull and snow-white sails--the Go and Ask Her.
An enormous chandelier, all glass and dingle-dangles, suspended
from the ceiling.  A round mirror with a clock in the center . . .
something Captain Abraham had brought home from 'foreign parts.'
It was wonderful.  I'd like something like it in our house of
dreams.

"The very shadows were eloquent and traditional.  Miss Ellen showed
me millions . . . more or less . . . of Pringle photographs, many
of them daguerreotypes in leather cases.  A big tortoise-shell cat
came in, jumped on my knee and was at once whisked out to the
kitchen by Miss Ellen.  She apologized to me.  But I expect she had
previously apologized to the cat in the kitchen.

"Miss Ellen did most of the talking.  Miss Sarah, a tiny thing in a
black silk dress and starched petticoat, with snow-white hair and
eyes as black as her dress, thin, veined hands folded on her lap
amid fine lace ruffles, sad, lovely, gentle, looked almost too
fragile to talk.  And yet I got the impression, Gilbert, that every
Pringle of the clan, including Miss Ellen herself, danced to her
piping.

"We had a delicious supper.  The water was cold, the linen
beautiful, the dishes and glassware thin.  We were waited on by a
maid, quite as aloof and aristocratic as themselves.  But Miss
Sarah pretended to be a little deaf whenever I spoke to her and I
thought every mouthful would choke me.  All my courage oozed out of
me.  I felt just like a poor fly caught on fly-paper.  Gilbert, I
can never, never conquer or win the Royal Family.  I can see myself
resigning at New Year's.  I haven't a chance against a clan like
that.

"And yet I couldn't help feeling a little sorry for the old ladies
as I looked around their house.  It had once LIVED . . . people had
been born there . . . died there . . . exulted there . . . known
sleep, despair, fear, joy, love, hope, hate.  And now it has
nothing but the memories by which they live . . . and their pride
in them.

"Aunt Chatty is much upset because when she unfolded clean sheets
for my bed today she found a diamond-shaped crease in the center.
She is sure it foretells a death in the household.  Aunt Kate is
very much disgusted with such superstition.  But I believe I rather
like superstitious people.  They lend color to life.  Wouldn't it
be a rather drab world if everybody was wise and sensible . . . and
GOOD?  What would we find to talk about?

"We had a catastrophe here two nights ago.  Dusty Miller stayed out
all night, in spite of Rebecca Dew's stentorian shouts of 'Puss' in
the back yard.  And when he turned up in the morning . . . oh, such
a looking cat!  One eye was closed completely and there was a lump
as big as an egg on his jaw.  His fur was stiff with mud and one
paw was bitten through.  But what a triumphant, unrepentant look he
had in his one good eye!  The widows were horrified but Rebecca Dew
said exultantly, 'That Cat has never had a good fight in his life
before.  And I'll bet the other cat looks far worse than he does!'

"A fog is creeping up the harbor tonight, blotting out the red road
that little Elizabeth wants to explore.  Weeds and leaves are
burning in all the town gardens and the combination of smoke and
fog is making Spook's Lane an eerie, fascinating, enchanted place.
It is growing late and my bed says, 'I have sleep for you.'  I've
grown used to climbing a flight of steps into bed . . . and
climbing down them.  Oh, Gilbert, I've never told any one this, but
it's too funny to keep any longer.  The first morning I woke up in
Windy Poplars I forgot all about the steps and made a blithe
morning-spring out of bed.  I came down like a thousand of brick,
as Rebecca Dew would say.  Luckily I didn't break any bones, but I
was black and blue for a week.

"Little Elizabeth and I are very good friends by now.  She comes
every evening for her milk because the Woman is laid up with what
Rebecca Dew calls 'brownkites.'  I always find her at the wall
gate, waiting for me, her big eyes full of twilight.  We talk with
the gate, which has never been opened for years, between us.
Elizabeth sips the glass of milk as slowly as possible in order to
spin our conversation out.  Always, when the last drop is drained,
comes the tap-tap on the window.

"I have found that one of the things that is going to happen in
Tomorrow is that she will get a letter from her father.  She had
never got one.  I wonder what the man can be thinking of.

"'You know, he couldn't bear the sight of me, Miss Shirley,' she
told me, 'but he mightn't mind writing to me.'

"'Who told you he couldn't bear the sight of you?' I asked
indignantly.

"'The Woman.'  (Always when Elizabeth says 'the Woman,' I can see
her like a great big forbidding 'W,' all angles and corners.)  'And
it must be true or he would come to see me sometimes.'

"She was Beth that night . . . it is only when she is Beth that she
will talk of her father.  When she is Betty she makes faces at her
grandmother and the Woman behind their backs; but when she turns
into Elsie she is sorry for it and thinks she ought to confess, but
is scared to.  Very rarely she is Elizabeth and then she has the
face of one who listens to fairy music and knows what roses and
clovers talk about.  She's the quaintest thing, Gilbert . . . as
sensitive as one of the leaves of the windy poplars, and I love
her.  It infuriates me to know that those two terrible old women
make her go to bed in the dark.

"'The Woman said I was big enough to sleep without a light.  But I
feel so small, Miss Shirley, because the night is so big and awful.
And there is a stuffed crow in my room and I am afraid of it.  The
Woman told me it would pick my eyes out if I cried.  Of course,
Miss Shirley, I don't believe that, but still I'm scared.  Things
WHISPER so to each other at night.  But in Tomorrow I'll never be
scared of anything . . . not even of being kidnaped!'

"'But there is no danger of your being kidnaped, Elizabeth.'

"'The Woman said there was if I went anywhere alone or talked to
strange persons.  But you're not a strange person, are you, Miss
Shirley?'

"'No, darling.  We've always known each other in Tomorrow,' I
said."



4


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"S'side,
"November 10th.

"DEAREST:

"It used to be that the person I hated most in the world was the
person who spoiled my pen-nib.  But I can't hate Rebecca Dew in
spite of her habit of using my pen to copy recipes when I'm in
school.  She's been doing it again and as a result you won't get a
long or a loving letter this time.  (Belovedest.)

"The last cricket song has been sung.  The evenings are so chilly
now that I have a small chubby, oblong wood-stove in my room.
Rebecca Dew put it up . . . I forgive her the pen for it.  There's
nothing that woman can't do; and she always has a fire lighted for
me in it when I come home from school.  It is the tiniest of stoves
. . . I could pick it up in my hands.  It looks just like a pert
little black dog on its four bandy iron legs.  But when you fill it
with hardwood sticks it blooms rosy red and throws a wonderful heat
and you can't think how cozy it is.  I'm sitting before it now,
with my feet on its tiny hearth, scribbling to you on my knee.

"Every one else in S'side . . . more or less . . . is at the Hardy
Pringles' dance.  _I_ was not invited.  And Rebecca Dew is so cross
about it that I'd hate to be Dusty Miller.  But when I think of
Hardy's daughter Myra, beautiful and brainless, trying to prove in
an examination paper that the ANGELS at the base of an isosceles
triangle are equal, I forgive the entire Pringle clan.  And last
week she included 'gallows tree' quite seriously in a list of
trees!  But, to be just, all the howlers don't originate with the
Pringles.  Blake Fenton defined an alligator recently as 'a large
kind of insect.'  Such are the high lights of a teacher's life!

"It feels like snow tonight.  I like an evening when it feels like
snow.  The wind is blowing 'in turret and tree' and making my cozy
room seem even cozier.  The last golden leaf will be blown from the
aspens tonight.

"I think I've been invited to supper everywhere by now . . . I mean
to the homes of all my pupils, both in town and country.  And oh,
Gilbert darling, I am SO sick of pumpkin preserves!  Never, never
let us have pumpkin preserves in our house of dreams.

"Almost everywhere I've gone for the last month I've had P. P. for
supper.  The first time I had it I loved it . . . it was so golden
that I felt I was eating preserved sunshine . . . and I incautiously
raved about it.  It got bruited about that I was very fond of P. P.
and people had it on purpose for me.  Last night I was going to Mr.
Hamilton's and Rebecca Dew assured me that I wouldn't have to eat
P. P. there because none of the Hamiltons liked it.  But when we sat
down to supper, there on the sideboard was the inevitable cut-glass
bowl full of P. P.

"'I hadn't any punkin preserves of my own,' said Mrs. Hamilton,
ladling me out a generous dishful, 'but I heard you was terrible
partial to it, so when I was to my cousin's in Lowvale last Sunday
I sez to her, "I'm having Miss Shirley to supper this week and
she's terrible partial to punkin preserves.  I wish you'd lend me a
jar for her."  So she did and here it is and you can take home
what's left.'

"You should have seen Rebecca Dew's face when I arrived home from
the Hamiltons' bearing a glass jar two-thirds full of P. P.!
Nobody likes it here so we buried it darkly at dead of night in the
garden.

"'You won't put this in a story, will you?' she asked anxiously.
Ever since Rebecca Dew discovered that I do an occasional bit of
fiction for the magazines she has lived in the fear . . . or hope,
I don't know which . . . that I'll put everything that happens at
Windy Poplars into a story.  She wants me to 'write up the Pringles
and blister them.'  But alas, it's the Pringles that are doing the
blistering and between them and my work in school I have scant time
for writing fiction.

"There are only withered leaves and frosted stems in the garden
now.  Rebecca Dew has done the standard roses up in straw and
potato bags, and in the twilight they look exactly like a group
of humped-back old men leaning on staffs.

"I got a post-card from Davy today with ten kisses crossed on it
and a letter from Priscilla written on some paper that 'a friend
of hers in Japan' sent her . . . silky thin paper with dim cherry
blossoms on it like ghosts.  I'm beginning to have my suspicions
about that friend of hers.  But your big fat letter was the purple
gift the day gave me.  I read it four times over to get every bit
of its savor . . . like a dog polishing off a plate!  THAT
certainly isn't a romantic simile, but it's the one that just
popped into my head.  Still, letters, even the nicest, aren't
SATISFACTORY.  I want to see YOU.  I'm glad it's only five weeks
to Christmas holidays."



5


Anne, sitting at her tower window one late November evening, with
her pen at her lip and dreams in her eyes, looked out on a twilight
world and suddenly thought she would like a walk to the old
graveyard.  She had never visited it yet, preferring the birch and
maple grove or the harbor road for her evening rambles.  But there
is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she
felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods . . . for their
glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit
and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.  So Anne
betook herself to the graveyard instead.  She was feeling for the
time so dispirited and hopeless that she thought a graveyard would
be a comparatively cheerful place.  Besides, it was full of
Pringles, so Rebecca Dew said.  They had buried there for
generations, keeping it up in preference to the new graveyard until
"no more of them could be squeezed in."  Anne felt that it would be
positively encouraging to see how many Pringles were where they
couldn't annoy anybody any more.

In regard to the Pringles Anne felt that she was at the end of her
tether.  More and more the whole situation was coming to seem like
a nightmare.  The subtle campaign of insubordination and disrespect
which Jen Pringle had organized had at last come to a head.  One
day, a week previously, she had asked the Seniors to write a
composition on "The Most Important Happenings of the Week."  Jen
Pringle had written a brilliant one . . . the little imp WAS clever
. . . and had inserted in it a sly insult to her teacher . . . one
so pointed that it was impossible to ignore it.  Anne had sent her
home, telling her that she would have to apologize before she would
be allowed to come back.  The fat was fairly in the fire.  It was
open warfare now between her and the Pringles.  And poor Anne had
no doubt on whose banner victory would perch.  The school board
would back the Pringles up and she would be given her choice
between letting Jen come back or being asked to resign.

She felt very bitter.  She had done her best and she knew she could
have succeeded if she had had even a fighting chance.

"It's not my fault," she thought miserably.  "Who COULD succeed
against such a phalanx and such tactics?"

But to go home to Green Gables defeated!  To endure Mrs. Lynde's
indignation and the Pyes' exultation!  Even the sympathy of friends
would be an anguish.  And with her Summerside failure bruited
abroad she would never be able to get another school.

But at least they had not got the better of her in the matter of
the play.  Anne laughed a little wickedly and her eyes filled with
mischievous delight over the memory.

She had organized a High School Dramatic Club and directed it in a
little play hurriedly gotten up to provide some funds for one of
her pet schemes . . . buying some good engravings for the rooms.
She had made herself ask Katherine Brooke to help her because
Katherine always seemed so left out of everything.  She could not
help regretting it many times, for Katherine was even more brusk
and sarcastic than usual.  She seldom let a practice pass without
some corrosive remark and she overworked her eyebrows.  Worse
still, it was Katherine who had insisted on having Jen Pringle take
the part of Mary Queen of Scots.

"There's no one else in the school who can play it," she said
impatiently.  "No one who has the necessary personality."

Anne was not so sure of this.  She rather thought that Sophy
Sinclair, who was tall and had hazel eyes and rich chestnut hair,
would make a far better Queen Mary than Jen.  But Sophy was not
even a member of the club and had never taken part in a play.

"We don't want absolute greenhorns in this.  I'm not going to be
associated with anything that is not successful," Katherine had
said disagreeably, and Anne had yielded.  She could not deny that
Jen was very good in the part.  She had a natural flair for acting
and she apparently threw herself into it wholeheartedly.  They
practiced four evenings a week and on the surface things went along
very smoothly.  Jen seemed to be so interested in her part that she
behaved herself as far as the play was concerned.  Anne did not
meddle with her but left her to Katherine's coaching.  Once or
twice, though, she surprised a certain look of sly triumph on Jen's
face that puzzled her.  She could not guess just what it meant.

One afternoon, soon after the practices had begun, Anne found Sophy
Sinclair in tears in a corner of the girls' coatroom.  At first she
had blinked her hazel eyes vigorously and denied it . . . then
broke down.

"I did so want to be in the play . . . to be Queen Mary," she
sobbed.  "I've never had a chance . . . father wouldn't let me join
the club because there are dues to pay and every cent counts so
much.  And of course I haven't had any experience.  I've always
loved Queen Mary . . . her very name just thrills me to my finger
tips.  I don't believe . . . I never will believe she had anything
to do with murdering Darnley.  It would have been wonderful to
fancy I was she for a little while!"

Afterwards Anne concluded that it was her guardian angel who
prompted her reply.

"I'll write the part out for you, Sophy, and coach you in it.  It
will be good training for you.  And, as we plan to give the play in
other places if it goes well here, it will be just as well to have
an understudy in case Jen shouldn't always be able to go.  But
we'll say nothing about it to any one."

Sophy had the part memorized by the next day.  She went home to
Windy Poplars with Anne every afternoon when school came out and
rehearsed it in the tower.  They had a lot of fun together, for
Sophy was full of quiet vivacity.  The play was to be put on the
last Friday in November in the town hall; it was widely advertised
and the reserved seats were sold to the last one.  Anne and
Katherine spent two evenings decorating the hall, the band was
hired, and a noted soprano was coming up from Charlottetown to sing
between the acts.  The dress rehearsal was a success.  Jen was
really excellent and the whole cast played up to her.  Friday
morning Jen was not in school; and in the afternoon her mother sent
word that Jen was ill with a very sore throat . . . they were
afraid it was tonsillitis.  Everybody concerned was very sorry, but
it was out of the question that she should take part in the play
that night.

Katherine and Anne stared at each other, drawn together for once in
their common dismay.

"We'll have to put it off," said Katherine slowly.  "And that means
failure.  Once we're into December there's so much going on.  Well,
I always thought it was foolish to try to get up a play this time
of the year."

"We are not going to postpone it," said Anne, her eyes as green as
Jen's own.  She was not going to say it to Katherine Brooke, but
she knew as well as she had ever known anything in her life that
Jen Pringle was in no more danger of tonsillitis than she was.  It
was a deliberate device, whether any of the other Pringles were a
party to it or not, to ruin the play because she, Anne Shirley, had
sponsored it.

"Oh, if you feel that way about it!" said Katherine with a nasty
shrug.  "But what do you intend to do?  Get some one to read the
part?  That would ruin it . . . Mary is the whole play."

"Sophy Sinclair can play the part as well as Jen.  The costume will
fit her and, thanks be, you made it and have it, not Jen."

The play was put on that night before a packed audience.  A
delighted Sophy played Mary . . . WAS Mary, as Jen Pringle could
never have been . . . LOOKED Mary in her velvet robes and ruff and
jewels.  Students of Summerside High, who had never seen Sophy in
anything but her plain, dowdy, dark serge dresses, shapeless coat
and shabby hats, stared at her in amazement.  It was insisted on
the spot that she become a permanent member of the Dramatic Club--
Anne herself paid the membership fee--and from then on she was one
of the pupils who "counted" in Summerside High.  But nobody knew or
dreamed, Sophy herself least of all, that she had taken the first
step that night on a pathway that was to lead to the stars.  Twenty
years later Sophy Sinclair was to be one of the leading actresses
in America.  But probably no plaudits ever sounded so sweet in her
ears as the wild applause amid which the curtain fell that night in
Summerside town hall.

Mrs. James Pringle took a tale home to her daughter Jen which would
have turned that damsel's eyes green if they had not been already
so.  For once, as Rebecca Dew said feelingly, Jen had got her come-
uppance.  And the eventual result was the insult in the composition
on Important Happenings.

Anne went down to the old graveyard along a deep-rutted lane
between high, mossy stone dykes, tasseled with frosted ferns.
Slim, pointed lombardies, from which November winds had not yet
stripped all the leaves, grew along it at intervals, coming out
darkly against the amethyst of the far hills; but the old
graveyard, with half its tombstones leaning at a drunken slant, was
surrounded by a four-square row of tall, somber fir trees.  Anne
had not expected to find any one there and was a little taken aback
when she met Miss Valentine Courtaloe, with her long delicate nose,
her thin delicate mouth, her sloping delicate shoulders and her
general air of invincible lady-likeness, just inside the gate.  She
knew Miss Valentine, of course, as did everyone in Summerside.  She
was "the" local dressmaker and what she didn't know about people,
living or dead, was not worth taking into account.  Anne had wanted
to wander about by herself, read the odd old epitaphs and puzzle
out the names of forgotten lovers under the lichens that were
growing over them.  But she could not escape when Miss Valentine
slipped an arm through hers and proceeded to do the honors of the
graveyard, where there were evidently as many Courtaloes buried as
Pringles.  Miss Valentine had not a drop of Pringle blood in her
and one of Anne's favorite pupils was her nephew.  So it was no
great mental strain to be nice to her, except that one must be very
careful never to hint that she "sewed for a living."  Miss
Valentine was said to be very sensitive on that point.

"I'm glad I happened to be here this evening," said Miss Valentine.
"I can tell you all about everybody buried here.  I always say you
have to know the ins and outs of the corpses to find a graveyard
real enjoyable.  I like a walk here better than in the new.  It's
only the OLD families that are buried here but every Tom, Dick and
Harry is being buried in the new.  The Courtaloes are buried in
this corner.  My, we've had a terrible lot of funerals in our
family."

"I suppose every old family has," said Anne, because Miss Valentine
evidently expected her to say something.

"Don't tell me ANY family has ever had as many as ours," said Miss
Valentine jealously.  "We're VERY consumptive.  Most of us died of
a cough.  This is my Aunt Bessie's grave.  She was a saint if ever
there was one.  But there's no doubt her sister, Aunt Cecilia, was
the more interesting to talk to.  The last time I ever saw her she
said to me, 'Sit down, my dear, sit down.  I'm going to die tonight
at ten minutes past eleven but that's no reason why we shouldn't
have a real good gossip for the last.'  The strange thing, Miss
Shirley, is that she did die that night at ten minutes past eleven.
Can you tell me how she knew it?"

Anne couldn't.

"My Great-great-grandfather Courtaloe is buried HERE.  He came out
in 1760 and he made spinning-wheels for a living.  I've heard he
made fourteen hundred in the course of his life.  When he died the
minister preached from the text, 'Their works do follow them,' and
old Myrom Pringle said in that case the road to heaven behind my
great-great-grandfather would be choked with spinning-wheels.  Do
you think such a remark was in good taste, Miss Shirley?"

Had any one but a Pringle said it, Anne might not have remarked so
decidedly, "I certainly do not," looking at a gravestone adorned
with a skull and cross-bones as if she questioned the good taste of
that also.

"My cousin Dora is buried HERE.  She had three husbands but they
all died very rapidly.  Poor Dora didn't seem to have any luck
picking a healthy man.  Her last one was Benjamin Banning . . . NOT
buried here . . . buried in Lowvale beside HIS first wife . . . and
he wasn't reconciled to dying.  Dora told him he was going to a
better world.  'Mebbe, mebbe,' says poor Ben, 'but I'm sorter used
to the imperfections of this one.'  He took sixty-one different
kinds of medicine but in spite of that he lingered for a good
while.  All Uncle David Courtaloe's family are HERE.  There's a
cabbage rose planted at the foot of every grave and, my, don't they
bloom!  I come here every summer and gather them for my rose-jar.
It would be a pity to let them go to waste, don't you think?"

"I . . . I suppose so."

"My poor young sister Harriet lies HERE," sighed Miss Valentine.
"She had magnificent hair . . . about the color of yours . . . not
so red perhaps.  It reached to her knees.  She was engaged when she
died.  They tell me you're engaged.  I never much wanted to be
married but I think it would have been nice to be engaged.  Oh,
I've had some chances of course . . . perhaps I was too fastidious
. . . but a Courtaloe couldn't marry EVERYBODY, could she?"

It did not seem likely she could.

"Frank Digby . . . over in that corner under the sumacs . . .
wanted me.  I DID feel a little regretful over refusing him . . .
but a Digby, my dear!  He married Georgina Troop.  She always went
to church a little late to show off her clothes.  My, she was fond
of clothes.  She was buried in such a pretty blue dress . . . I
made it for her to wear to a wedding but in the end she wore it to
her own funeral.  She had three darling little children.  They used
to sit in front of me at church and I always gave them candy.  Do
you think it wrong to give children candy in church, Miss Shirley?
Not peppermints . . . that would be all right . . . there's
something RELIGIOUS about peppermints, don't you think?  But the
poor things don't like them."

When the Courtaloe's plots were exhausted Miss Valentine's
reminiscences became a bit spicier.  It did not make so much
difference if you weren't a Courtaloe.

"Old Mrs. Russell Pringle is here.  I often wonder if she's in
heaven or not."

"But why?" gasped a rather shocked Anne.

"Well, she always hated her sister, Mary Ann, who had died a few
months before.  'If Mary Ann is in heaven I won't stay there,' says
she.  And she was a woman who always kept her word, my dear . . .
Pringle-like.  She was born a Pringle and married her cousin
Russell.  This is Mrs. Dan Pringle . . . Janetta Bird.  Seventy to
a day when she died.  Folks say she would have thought it wrong to
die a day older than three-score and ten because that is the Bible
limit.  People do say such funny things, don't they?  I've heard
that dying was the only thing she ever dared do without asking her
husband.  Do you know, my dear, what he did once when she bought a
hat he didn't like?"

"I can't imagine."

"He ET it," said Miss Valentine solemnly.  "Of course it was only a
small hat . . . lace and flowers . . . no feathers.  Still, it must
have been rather indigestible.  I understand he had gnawing pains
in his stomach for quite a time.  Of course I didn't SEE him eat
it, but I've always been assured the story was true.  Do you
suppose it was?"

"I'd believe anything of a Pringle," said Anne bitterly.

Miss Valentine pressed her arm sympathetically.

"I feel for you . . . indeed I do.  It's terrible the way they're
treating you.  But Summerside isn't ALL Pringle, Miss Shirley."

"Sometimes I think it is," said Anne with a rueful smile.

"No, it isn't.  And there are plenty of people would like to see
you get the better of them.  Don't you give in to them no matter
what they do.  It's just the old Satan that's got into them.  But
they hang together so and Miss Sarah did want that cousin of theirs
to get the school.

"The Nathan Pringles are HERE.  Nathan always believed his wife was
trying to poison him but he didn't seem to mind.  He said it made
life kind of exciting.  Once he kind of suspected she'd put arsenic
in his porridge.  He went out and fed it to a pig.  The pig died
three weeks afterwards.  But he said maybe it was only a coincidence
and anyway he couldn't be sure it was the same pig.  In the end she
died before him and he said she'd always been a real good wife to
him except for that one thing.  I think it would be charitable to
believe that he was mistaken about IT."

"'Sacred to the memory of MISS KINSEY,'" read Anne in amazement.
"What an extraordinary inscription!  Had she no other name?"

"If she had, nobody ever knew it," said Miss Valentine.  "She came
from Nova Scotia and worked for the George Pringles for forty
years.  She gave her name as Miss Kinsey and everybody called her
that.  She died suddenly and then it was discovered that nobody
knew her first name and she had no relations that anybody could
find.  So they put that on her stone . . . the George Pringles
buried her very nicely and paid for the monument.  She was a
faithful, hard-working creature but if you'd ever seen her you'd
have thought she was BORN Miss Kinsey.  The James Morleys are HERE.
I was at their golden wedding.  Such a to-do . . . gifts and
speeches and flowers . . . and their children all home and them
smiling and bowing and just hating each other as hard as they
could."

"Hating each other?"

"Bitterly, my dear.  Every one knew it.  They had for years and
years . . . almost all their married life in fact.  They quarreled
on the way home from church after the wedding.  I often wonder how
they manage to lie here so peaceably side by side."

Again Anne shivered.  How terrible . . . sitting opposite each
other at table . . . lying down beside each other at night . . .
going to church with their babies to be christened . . . and hating
each other through it all!  Yet they must have loved to begin with.
Was it possible she and Gilbert could ever . . . nonsense!  The
Pringles were getting on her nerves.

"Handsome John MacTabb is buried here.  He was always suspected of
being the reason why Annetta Kennedy drowned herself.  The MacTabbs
were all handsome but you could never believe a word they said.
There used to be a stone here for his Uncle Samuel, who was
reported drowned at sea fifty years ago.  When he turned up alive
the family took the stone down.  The man they bought it from
wouldn't take it back so Mrs. Samuel used it for a baking-board.
Talk about a marble slab for mixing on!  That old tombstone was
just fine, she said.  The MacTabb children were always bringing
cookies to school with raised letters and figures on them . . .
scraps of the epitaph.  They gave them away real generous, but I
never could bring myself to eat one.  I'm peculiar that way.  Mr.
Harley Pringle is HERE.  He had to wheel Peter MacTabb down Main
Street once, in a wheelbarrow, wearing a bonnet, for an election
bet.  All Summerside turned out to see it . . . except the
Pringles, of course.  THEY nearly died of shame.  Milly Pringle is
HERE.  I was very fond of Milly, even if she was a Pringle.  She
was so pretty and as light-footed as a fairy.  Sometimes I think,
my dear, on nights like this she must slip out of her grave and
dance like she used to do.  But I suppose a Christian shouldn't be
harboring such thoughts.  This is Herb Pringle's grave.  He was one
of the jolly Pringles.  He always made you laugh.  He laughed right
out in church once . . . when the mouse dropped out of the flowers
on Meta Pringle's hat when she bowed in prayer.  _I_ didn't feel
much like laughing.  I didn't know where the mouse had gone.  I
pulled my skirts tight about my ankles and held them there till
church was out, but it spoiled the sermon for me.  Herb sat behind
me and such a shout as he gave.  People who couldn't see the mouse
thought he'd gone crazy.  It seemed to me that laugh of his
COULDN'T die.  If HE was alive he'd stand up for you, Sarah or no
Sarah.  THIS, of course, is Captain Abraham Pringle's monument."

It dominated the whole graveyard.  Four receding platforms of stone
formed a square pedestal on which rose a huge pillar of marble
topped with a ridiculous draped urn beneath which a fat cherub was
blowing a horn.

"How ugly!" said Anne candidly.

"Oh, do you think so?"  Miss Valentine seemed rather shocked.  "It
was thought very handsome when it was erected.  That is supposed to
be Gabriel blowing his trumpet.  I think it gives quite a touch of
elegance to the graveyard.  It cost nine hundred dollars.  Captain
Abraham was a very fine old man.  It is a great pity he is dead.
If he was living they wouldn't be persecuting you the way they are.
I don't wonder Sarah and Ellen are proud of him, though I think
they carry it a bit too far."

At the graveyard gate Anne turned and looked back.  A strange,
peaceful hush lay over the windless land.  Long fingers of
moonlight were beginning to pierce the darkling firs, touching a
gravestone here and there, and making strange shadows among them.
But the graveyard wasn't a sad place after all.  Really, the people
in it seemed alive after Miss Valentine's tales.

"I've heard you write," said Miss Valentine anxiously, as they went
down the lane.  "You won't put the things I've told you in your
stories, will you?"

"You may be sure I won't," promised Anne.

"Do you think it is really wrong . . . or dangerous . . . to speak
ill of the dead?" whispered Miss Valentine a bit anxiously.

"I don't suppose it's exactly either," said Anne.  "Only . . .
rather unfair . . . like hitting those who can't defend themselves.
But you didn't say anything very dreadful of anybody, Miss
Courtaloe."

"I told you Nathan Pringle thought his wife was trying to poison
him . . ."

"But you give her the benefit of the doubt . . ." and Miss
Valentine went her way reassured.



6


"I wended my way to the graveyard this evening," wrote Anne to
Gilbert after she got home.  "I think 'wend your way' is a lovely
phrase and I work it in whenever I can.  It sounds funny to say I
enjoyed my stroll in the graveyard but I really did.  Miss
Courtaloe's stories were so funny.  Comedy and tragedy are so mixed
up in life, Gilbert.  The only thing that haunts me is that tale of
the two who lived together fifty years and hated each other all
that time.  I can't believe they really did.  Somebody has said
that 'hate is only love that has missed its way.'  I feel sure that
under the hatred they really loved each other . . . just as I
really loved you all those years I thought I hated you . . . and I
think death would show it to them.  I'm glad _I_ found out in life.
And I have found out there ARE some decent Pringles . . . dead
ones.

"Last night when I went down late for a drink of water I found Aunt
Kate buttermilking her face in the pantry.  She asked me not to
tell Chatty . . . she would think it so silly.  I promised I
wouldn't.

"Elizabeth still comes for the milk, though the Woman is pretty
well over her bronchitis.  I wonder they let her, especially since
old Mrs. Campbell is a Pringle.  Last Saturday night Elizabeth . . .
she was Betty that night I think . . . ran in singing when she
left me and I distinctly heard the Woman say to her at the porch
door, 'It's too near the Sabbath for you to be singing THAT song.'
I am sure that Woman would prevent Elizabeth from singing on any
day if she could!

"Elizabeth had on a new dress that night, a dark wine color . . .
they DO dress her nicely . . . and she said wistfully, 'I thought I
looked a little bit pretty when I put it on tonight, Miss Shirley,
and I wished father could see me.  Of course he will see me in
Tomorrow . . . but it sometimes seems so slow in coming.  I wish we
could hurry time a bit, Miss Shirley.'

"Now, dearest, I must work out some geometrical exercises.
Geometry exercises have taken the place of what Rebecca calls my
'literary efforts.'  The specter that haunts my daily path now is
the dread of an exercise popping up in class that I can't do.  And
what would the Pringles say then, oh, then . . . oh, what would the
Pringles say then!

"Meanwhile, as you love me and the cat tribe, pray for a poor
broken-hearted, ill-used Thomas cat.  A mouse ran over Rebecca
Dew's foot in the pantry the other day and she has fumed ever
since.  'That Cat does nothing but eat and sleep and let mice
overrun everything.  This IS the last straw.'  So she chivies him
from pillar to post, routs him off his favorite cushion and . . . I
know, for I caught her at it . . . assists him none too gently with
her foot when she lets him out."



7


One Friday evening, at the end of a mild, sunny December day Anne
went out to Lowvale to attend a turkey supper.  Wilfred Bryce's
home was in Lowvale, where he lived with an uncle, and he had asked
her shyly if she would go out with him after school, go to the
turkey supper in the church and spend Saturday at his home.  Anne
agreed, hoping that she might be able to influence the uncle to let
Wilfred keep on going to High School.  Wilfred was afraid that he
would not be able to go back after New Year.  He was a clever,
ambitious boy and Anne felt a special interest in him.

It could not be said that she enjoyed her visit overmuch, except in
the pleasure it gave Wilfred.  His uncle and aunt were a rather odd
and uncouth pair.  Saturday morning was windy and dark, with
showers of snow, and at first Anne wondered how she was going to
put in the day.  She felt tired and sleepy after the late hours of
the turkey supper; Wilfred had to help thrash; and there was not
even a book in sight.  Then she thought of the battered old
seaman's chest she had seen in the back of the hall upstairs and
recalled Mrs. Stanton's request.  Mrs. Stanton was writing a
history of Prince County and had asked Anne if she knew of, or
could find, any old diaries or documents that might be helpful.

"The Pringles, of course, have lots that I could use," she told
Anne.  "But I can't ask THEM.  You know the Pringles and Stantons
have never been friends."

"_I_ can't ask them either, unfortunately," said Anne.

"Oh, I'm not expecting you to.  All I want is for you to keep your
eyes open when you are visiting round in other people's homes and
if you find or hear of any old diaries or maps or anything like
that, try to get the loan of them for me.  You've no idea what
interesting things I've found in old diaries . . . little bits of
real life that make the old pioneers live again.  I want to get
things like that for my book as well as statistics and genealogical
tables."

Anne asked Mrs. Bryce if they had any such old records.  Mrs. Bryce
shook her head.

"Not as I knows on.  In course . . ." brightening up . . . "there's
old Uncle Andy's chist up there.  There might be something in it.
He used to sail with old Captain Abraham Pringle.  I'll go out and
ask Duncan if ye kin root in it."

Duncan sent word back that she could "root" in it all she liked and
if she found any "dockymints" she could have them.  He'd been
meaning to burn the hull contents anyway and take the chest for a
tool-box.  Anne accordingly rooted, but all she found was an old
yellowed diary or "log" which Andy Bryce seemed to have kept all
through his years at sea.  Anne beguiled the stormy forenoon away
by reading it with interest and amusement.  Andy was learned in sea
lore and had gone on many voyages with Captain Abraham Pringle,
whom he evidently admired immensely.  The diary was full of ill-
spelled, ungrammatical tributes to the Captain's courage and
resourcefulness, especially in one wild enterprise of beating round
the Horn.  But his admiration had not, it seemed, extended to
Abraham's brother Myrom, who was also a captain but of a different
ship.

"Up to Myrom Pringle's tonight.  His wife made him mad and he up
and throwed a glass of water in her face."

"Myrom is home.  His ship was burned and they took to the boats.
Nearly starved.  In the end they et up Jonas Selkirk, who had shot
himself.  They lived on him till the Mary G. picked them up.
Myrom told me this himself.  Seemed to think it a good joke."

Anne shivered over this last entry, which seemed all the more
horrifying for Andy's unimpassioned statement of the grim facts.
Then she fell into a reverie.  There was nothing in the book that
could be of any use to Mrs. Stanton, but wouldn't Miss Sarah and
Miss Ellen be interested in it since it contained so much about
their adored old father?  Suppose she sent it to them?  Duncan
Bryce had said she could do as she liked with it.

No, she wouldn't.  Why should she try to please them or cater to
their absurd pride, which was great enough now without any more
food?  They had set themselves to drive her out of the school and
they were succeeding.  They and their clan had beaten her.

Wilfred took her back to Windy Poplars that evening, both of them
feeling happy.  Anne had talked Duncan Bryce into letting Wilfred
finish out his year in High School.

"Then I'll manage Queen's for a year and after that teach and
educate myself," said Wilfred.  "How can I ever repay you, Miss
Shirley?  Uncle wouldn't have listened to any one else, but he
likes you.  He said to me out in the barn, 'Red-haired women could
always do what they liked with me.'  But I don't think it was your
hair, Miss Shirley, although it is so beautiful.  It was just . . .
YOU."

At two o'clock that night Anne woke up and decided that she would
send Andy Bryce's diary to Maplehurst.  After all, she had a bit of
liking for the old ladies.  And they had so little to make life
warm . . . only their pride in their father.  At three she woke
again and decided she wouldn't.  Miss Sarah pretending to be deaf,
indeed!  At four she was in the swithers again.  Finally she
determined she would send it to them.  She wouldn't be petty.
Anne had a horror of being petty . . . like the Pyes.

Having settled this, Anne went to sleep for keeps, thinking how
lovely it was to wake up in the night and hear the first snowstorm
of the winter around your tower and then snuggle down in your
blankets and drift into dreamland again.

Monday morning she wrapped up the old diary carefully and sent it
to Miss Sarah with a little note.


"DEAR MISS PRINGLE:

"I wonder if you would be interested in this old diary.  Mr. Bryce
gave it to me for Mrs. Stanton, who is writing a history of the
county, but I don't think it would be of any use to her and I
thought you might like to have it.

"Yours sincerely,

"ANNE SHIRLEY."


"That's a horribly stiff note," thought Anne, "but I can't write
naturally to them.  And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they sent
it haughtily back to me."

In the fine blue of the early winter evening Rebecca Dew got the
shock of her life.  The Maplehurst carriage drove along Spook's
Lane, over the powdery snow, and stopped at the front gate.  Miss
Ellen got out of it and then . . . to every one's amazement . . .
Miss Sarah, who had not left Maplehurst for ten years.

"They're coming to the front door," gasped Rebecca Dew, panic-
stricken.

"Where else would a Pringle come to?" asked Aunt Kate.

"Of course . . . of course . . . but it sticks," said Rebecca
tragically.  "It DOES stick . . . you know it does.  And it hasn't
been opened since we house-cleaned last spring.  This IS the last
straw."

The front door did stick . . . but Rebecca Dew wrenched it open
with desperate violence and showed the Maplehurst ladies into the
parlor.

"Thank heaven, we've had a fire in it today," she thought, "and all
I hope is That Cat hasn't haired up the sofa.  If Sarah Pringle got
cat hairs on her dress in our parlor . . ."

Rebecca Dew dared not imagine the consequences.  She called Anne
from the tower room, Miss Sarah having asked if Miss Shirley were
in, and then betook herself to the kitchen, half mad with curiosity
as to what on earth was bringing the old Pringle girls to see Miss
Shirley.

"If there's any more persecution in the wind . . ." said Rebecca
Dew darkly.

Anne herself descended with considerable trepidation.  Had they
come to return the diary with icy scorn?

It was little, wrinkled, inflexible Miss Sarah who rose and spoke
without preamble when Anne entered the room.

"We have come to capitulate," she said bitterly.  "We can do
nothing else . . . of course you knew that when you found that
scandalous entry about poor Uncle Myrom.  It wasn't true . . . it
COULDN'T be true.  Uncle Myrom was just taking a rise out of Andy
Bryce . . . Andy was SO credulous.  But everybody outside of our
family will be glad to believe it.  You knew it would make us all a
laughing stock . . . and worse.  Oh, you are very clever.  We admit
THAT.  Jen will apologize and behave herself in future . . . I,
Sarah Pringle, assure you of that.  If you will only promise not to
tell Mrs. Stanton . . . not to tell any one . . . we will do
anything . . . ANYTHING."

Miss Sarah wrung her fine lace handkerchief in her little blue-
veined hands.  She was literally trembling.

Anne stared in amazement . . . and horror.  The poor old darlings!
They thought she had been threatening them!

"Oh, you've misunderstood me dreadfully," she exclaimed, taking
Miss Sarah's poor, piteous hands.  "I . . . I never dreamed you
would think I was trying to . . . oh, it was just because I thought
you would like to have all those interesting details about your
splendid father.  I never dreamed of showing or telling that other
little item to any one.  I didn't think it was of the least
importance.  And I never will."

There was a moment's silence.  Then Miss Sarah freed her hands
gently, put her handkerchief to her eyes and sat down, with a faint
blush on her fine wrinkled face.

"We . . . we HAVE misunderstood you, my dear.  And we've . . .
we've been abominable to you.  Will you forgive us?"

Half an hour later . . . a half hour which nearly was the death of
Rebecca Dew . . . the Misses Pringle went away.  It had been a half
hour of friendly chat and discussion about the non-combustible
items of Andy's diary.  At the front door Miss Sarah . . . who had
not had the least trouble with her hearing during the interview
. . . turned back for a moment and took a bit of paper, covered
with very fine, sharp writing, from her reticule.

"I had almost forgotten . . . we promised Mrs. MacLean our recipe
for pound cake some time ago.  Perhaps you won't mind handing it to
her?  And tell her the sweating process is very important . . .
quite indispensable, indeed.  Ellen, your bonnet is slightly over
one ear.  You had better adjust it before we leave.  We . . . we
were somewhat agitated while dressing."

Anne told the widows and Rebecca Dew that she had given Andy
Bryce's old diary to the ladies of Maplehurst and that they had
come to thank her for it.  With this explanation they had to be
contented, although Rebecca Dew always felt that there was more
behind it than that . . . much more.  Gratitude for an old faded,
tobacco-stained diary would never have brought Sarah Pringle to the
front door of Windy Poplars.  Miss Shirley was deep . . . very
deep!

"I'm going to open that front door once a day after this," vowed
Rebecca.  "Just to keep it in practice.  I all but went over flat
when it DID give way.  Well, we've got the recipe for the pound
cake anyway.  Thirty-six eggs!  If you'd dispose of That Cat and
let me keep hens we might be able to afford it once a year."

Whereupon Rebecca Dew marched to the kitchen and got square with
fate by giving That Cat milk when she knew he wanted liver.

The Shirley-Pringle feud was over.  Nobody outside of the Pringles
ever knew why, but Summerside people understood that Miss Shirley,
single-handed, had, in some mysterious way, routed the whole clan,
who ate out of her hand from then on.  Jen came back to school the
next day and apologized meekly to Anne before the whole room.  She
was a model pupil thereafter and every Pringle student followed her
lead.  As for the adult Pringles, their antagonism vanished like
mist before the sun.  There were no more complaints regarding
"disCIPline" or home work.  No more of the fine, subtle snubs
characteristic of the ilk.  They fairly fell over one another
trying to be nice to Anne.  No dance or skating party was complete
without her.  For, although the fatal diary had been committed to
the flames by Miss Sarah herself, memory was memory and Miss
Shirley had a tale to tell if she chose to tell it.  It would never
do to have that nosey Mrs. Stanton know that Captain Myrom Pringle
had been a cannibal!



8


(Extract from letter to Gilbert)

"I am in my tower and Rebecca Dew is caroling Could I but climb? in
the kitchen.  Which reminds me that the minister's wife has asked
me to sing in the choir!  Of course the Pringles have told her to
do it.  I may do it on the Sundays I don't spend at Green Gables.
The Pringles have held out the right hand of fellowship with a
vengeance . . . accepted me lock, stock and barrel.  What a clan!

"I've been to three Pringle parties.  I set nothing down in malice
but I think all the Pringle girls are imitating my style of hair-
dressing.  Well, 'imitation is the sincerest flattery.'  And,
Gilbert, I'm really liking them . . . as I always knew I would if
they would give me a chance.  I'm even beginning to suspect that
sooner or later I'll find myself liking Jen.  She can be charming
when she wants to be and it is very evident she wants to be.

"Last night I bearded the lion in his den . . . in other words, I
went boldly up the front steps of The Evergreens to the square
porch with the four whitewashed iron urns in its corners, and rang
the bell.  When Miss Monkman came to the door I asked her if she
would lend little Elizabeth to me for a walk.  I expected a
refusal, but after the Woman had gone in and conferred with Mrs.
Campbell, she came back and said dourly that Elizabeth could go
but, please, I wasn't to keep her out late.  I wonder if even Mrs.
Campbell has got her orders from Miss Sarah.

"Elizabeth came dancing down the dark stairway, looking like a pixy
in a red coat and little green cap, and almost speechless for joy.

"'I feel all squirmy and excited, Miss Shirley,' she whispered as
soon as we got away.  'I'm Betty . . . I'm always Betty when I feel
like that.'

"We went as far down the Road that Leads to the End of the World as
we dared and then back.  Tonight the harbor, lying dark under a
crimson sunset, seemed full of implications of 'fairylands forlorn'
and mysterious isles in uncharted seas.  I thrilled to it and so
did the mite I held by the hand.

"'If we ran hard, Miss Shirley, could we get into the sunset?' she
wanted to know.  I remembered Paul and his fancies about the
'sunset land.'

"'We must wait for Tomorrow before we can do that,' I said.  'Look,
Elizabeth, at that golden island of cloud just over the harbor
mouth.  Let's pretend that's your island of Happiness.'

"'There is an island down there somewhere,' said Elizabeth
dreamily.  'Its name is Flying Cloud.  Isn't that a lovely name
. . . a name just out of Tomorrow?  I can see it from the garret
windows.  It belongs to a gentleman from Boston and he has a summer
home there.  But I pretend it's mine.'

"At the door I stooped and kissed Elizabeth's cheek before she went
in.  I shall never forget her eyes.  Gilbert, that child is just
starved for love.

"Tonight, when she came over for her milk, I saw that she had been
crying.

"'They . . . they made me wash your kiss off, Miss Shirley,' she
sobbed.  'I didn't want ever to wash my face again.  I VOWED I
wouldn't.  Because, you see, I didn't want to wash your kiss off.
I got away to school this morning without doing it, but tonight the
Woman just took me and SCRUBBED it off.'

"I kept a straight face.

"'You couldn't go through life without washing your face
occasionally, darling.  But never mind about the kiss.  I'll kiss
you every night when you come for the milk and then it won't matter
if it is washed off the next morning.'

"'You are the only person who loves me in the world,' said
Elizabeth.  'When you talk to me I smell violets.'

"Was anybody ever paid a prettier compliment?  But I couldn't quite
let the first sentence pass.

"'Your grandmother loves you, Elizabeth.'

"'She doesn't . . . she hates me.'

"'You're just a wee bit foolish, darling.  Your grandmother and
Miss Monkman are both old people and old people are easily
disturbed and worried.  Of course you annoy them sometimes.  And
. . . of course . . . when THEY were young, children were brought
up much more strictly than they are now.  They cling to the old
way.'

"But I felt I was not convincing Elizabeth.  After all, they DON'T
love her and she knows it.  She looked carefully back at the house
to see if the door was shut.  Then she said deliberately:

"'Grandmother and the Woman are just two old tyrants and when
Tomorrow comes I'm going to escape them forever.'

"I think she expected I'd die of horror. . . .  I really suspect
Elizabeth said it just to make a sensation.  I merely laughed and
kissed her.  I hope Martha Monkman saw it from the kitchen window.

"I can see over Summerside from the left window in the tower.  Just
now it is a huddle of friendly white roofs . . . friendly at last
since the Pringles are my friends.  Here and there a light is
gleaming in gable and dormer.  Here and there is a suggestion of
gray-ghost smoke.  Thick stars are low over it all.  It is 'a
dreaming town.'  Isn't that a lovely phrase?  You remember . . .
'Galahad through dreaming towns did go'?

"I feel so happy, Gilbert.  I won't have to go home to Green Gables
at Christmas, defeated and discredited.  Life is good . . . good!

"So is Miss Sarah's pound cake.  Rebecca Dew made one and 'sweated'
it according to directions . . . which simply means that she
wrapped it in several thicknesses of brown paper and several more
towels and left it for three days.  I can recommend it.

"(Are there, or are there not, two 'c's' in recommend'?  In spite
of the fact that I am a B.A. I can never be certain.  Fancy if the
Pringles had discovered that before I found Andy's diary!)"



9


Trix Taylor was curled up in the tower one night in February, while
little flurries of snow hissed against the windows and that
absurdly tiny stove purred like a red-hot black cat.  Trix was
pouring out her woes to Anne.  Anne was beginning to find herself
the recipient of confidences on all sides.  She was known to be
engaged, so that none of the Summerside girls feared her as a
possible rival, and there was something about her that made you
feel it was safe to tell her secrets.

Trix had come up to ask Anne to dinner the next evening.  She was a
jolly, plump little creature, with twinkling brown eyes and rosy
cheeks, and did not look as if life weighed too heavily on her
twenty years.  But it appeared that she had troubles of her own.

"Dr. Lennox Carter is coming to dinner tomorrow night.  That is why
we want you especially.  He is the new Head of the Modern Languages
Department at Redmond and dreadfully clever, so we want somebody
with brains to talk to him.  You know I haven't any to boast of,
nor Pringle either.  As for Esme . . . well, you know, Anne, Esme
is the sweetest thing and she's really clever, but she's so shy and
timid she can't even make use of what brains she has when Dr.
Carter is around.  She's so terribly in love with him.  It's
pitiful.  I'M very fond of Johnny . . . but before I'd dissolve
into such a liquid state for him!"

"Are Esme and Dr. Carter engaged?"

"Not yet" . . . significantly.  "But, oh, Anne, she's hoping he
means to ask her this time.  Would he come over to the Island to
visit his cousin right in the middle of the term if he didn't
intend to?  I hope he will for Esme's sake, because she'll just die
if he doesn't.  But between you and me and the bed-post I'm not
terribly struck on him for a brother-in-law.  He's awfully
fastidious, Esme says, and she's desperately afraid he won't
approve of US.  If he doesn't, she thinks he'll never ask her to
marry him.  So you can't imagine how she's hoping everything will
go well at the dinner tomorrow night.  I don't see why it shouldn't
. . . Mamma is the most wonderful cook . . . and we have a good
maid and I've bribed Pringle with half my week's allowance to
behave himself.  Of course he doesn't like Dr. Carter either . . .
says he's got swelled head . . . but he's fond of Esme.  If only
Papa won't have a sulky fit on!"

"Have you any reason to fear it?" asked Anne.  Every one in
Summerside knew about Cyrus Taylor's sulky fits.

"You never can tell when he'll take one," said Trix dolefully.
"He was frightfully upset tonight because he couldn't find his new
flannel nightshirt.  Esme had put it in the wrong drawer.  He may
be over it by tomorrow night or he may not.  If he's not, he'll
disgrace us all and Dr. Carter will conclude he can't marry into
such a family.  At least, that is what Esme says and I'm afraid she
may be right.  I think, Anne, that Lennox Carter is very fond of
Esme . . . thinks she would make a 'very suitable wife' for him
. . . but doesn't want to do anything rash or throw his wonderful
self away.  I've heard that he told his cousin a man couldn't be too
careful what kind of family he married into.  He's just at the point
where he might be turned either way by a trifle.  And, if it comes
to that, one of Papa's sulky fits isn't any trifle."

"Doesn't he like Dr. Carter?"

"Oh, he does.  He thinks it would be a wonderful match for Esme.
But when Father has one of his spells on, NOTHING has any influence
over him while it lasts.  That's the Pringle for you, Anne.
Grandmother Taylor was a Pringle, you know.  You just can't imagine
what we've gone through as a family.  He never goes into rages, you
know . . . like Uncle George.  Uncle George's family don't mind his
rages.  When he goes into a temper he blows off . . . you can hear
him roaring three blocks away . . . and then he's like a lamb and
brings every one a new dress for a peace-offering.  But Father just
sulks and glowers, and won't say a word to ANYBODY at meal times.
Esme says that, after all, that's better than cousin Richard
Taylor, who is always saying sarcastic things at the table and
insulting his wife; but it seems to me NOTHING could be worse than
those awful silences of Papa's.  They rattle us and we're terrified
to open our mouths.  It wouldn't be so bad, of course, if it was
only when we are alone.  But it's just as apt to be where we have
company.  Esme and I are simply tired of trying to explain away
Papa's insulting silences.  She's just sick with fear that he won't
have got over the nightshirt before tomorrow night . . . and what
will Lennox think?  And she wants you to wear your blue dress.  Her
new dress is blue, because Lennox likes blue.  But Papa hates it.
Yours may reconcile him to hers."

"Wouldn't it be better for her to wear something else?"

"She hasn't anything else fit to wear at a company dinner except
the green poplin Father gave her at Christmas.  It's a lovely dress
in itself . . . Father likes us to have pretty dresses . . . but
you can't think of anything as awful as Esme in green.  Pringle
says it makes her look as if she was in the last stages of
consumption.  And Lennox Carter's cousin told Esme he would never
marry a delicate person.  I'm more than glad Johnny isn't so
'fastidious.'"

"Have you told your father about your engagement to Johnny yet?"
asked Anne, who knew all about Trix's love affair.

"No," poor Trix groaned.  "I can't summon up the courage, Anne.  I
know he'll make a frightful scene.  Papa has always been so down on
Johnny because he's poor.  Papa forgets that he was poorer than
Johnny when he started out in the hardware business.  Of course
he'll have to be told soon . . . but I want to wait until Esme's
affair is settled.  I know Papa won't speak to ANY of us for weeks
after I tell him, and Mamma will worry so . . . she can't BEAR
Father's sulky fits.  We're all such cowards before Papa.  Of
course, Mamma and Esme are naturally timid with every one, but
Pringle and I have lots of ginger.  It's only Papa who can cow us.
Sometimes I think if we had any one to back us up . . . but we
haven't, and we just feel paralyzed.  You can't imagine, Anne
darling, what a company dinner is like at our place when Papa is
sulking.  But if he only behaves tomorrow night I'll forgive him
for everything.  He CAN be very agreeable when he wants to be . . .
Papa is really just like Longfellow's little girl . . . 'when he's
good he's very, very good and when he's bad he's horrid.'  I've
seen him the life of the party."

"He was very nice the night I had dinner with you last month."

"Oh, he likes you, as I've said.  That's one of the reasons why we
want you so much.  It may have a good influence on him.  We're not
neglecting ANYTHING that may please him.  But when he has a really
bad fit of sulks on he seems to hate everything and everybody.
Anyhow, we've got a bang-up dinner planned, with an elegant orange-
custard dessert.  Mamma wanted pie because she says every man in
the world but Papa likes pie for dessert better than anything else
. . . even Professors of Modern Languages.  But Papa doesn't, so it
would never do to take a chance on it tomorrow night, when so much
depends on it.  Orange custard is Papa's favorite dessert.  As for
poor Johnny and me, I suppose I'll just have to elope with him some
day and Papa will never forgive me."

"I believe if you'd just get up enough spunk to tell him and endure
his resulting sulks you'd find he'd come round to it beautifully
and you'd be saved months of anguish."

"You don't know Papa," said Trix darkly.

"Perhaps I know him better than you do.  You've lost your
perspective."

"Lost my . . . what?  Anne darling, remember I'm not a B.A.  I only
went through the High.  I'd have loved to go to college, but Papa
doesn't believe in the Higher Education of women."

"I only meant that you're too close to him to understand him.  A
stranger could very well see him more clearly . . . understand him
better."

"I understand that nothing can induce Papa to speak if he has made
up his mind not to . . . NOTHING.  He prides himself on that."

"Then why don't the rest of you just go on and talk as if nothing
was the matter?"

"We CAN'T . . . I've told you he paralyzes us.  You'll find it out
for yourself tomorrow night if he hasn't got over the nightshirt.
I don't know how he does it but he does.  I don't believe we'd mind
so much how cranky he was if he would only talk.  It's the silence
that shatters us.  I'll never forgive Papa if he acts up tomorrow
night when so much is at stake."

"Let's hope for the best, dear."

"I'm trying to.  And I know it will help to have you there.  Mamma
thought we ought to have Katherine Brooke too, but I knew it
wouldn't have a good effect on Papa.  He hates her.  I don't blame
him for THAT, I must say.  I haven't any use for her myself.  I
don't see how you can be as nice to her as you are."

"I'm sorry for her, Trix."

"Sorry for her!  But it's all her own fault she isn't liked.  Oh,
well, it takes all kinds of people to make a world . . . but
Summerside could spare Katherine Brooke . . . glum old cat!"

"She's an excellent teacher, Trix. . . ."

"Oh, do I know it?  I was in her class.  She DID hammer things into
my head . . . and flayed the flesh off my bones with sarcasm as
well.  And the way she dresses!  Papa can't bear to see a woman
badly dressed.  He says he has no use for dowds and he's sure God
hasn't either.  Mamma would be horrified if she knew I told you
that, Anne.  She excused it in Papa because he is a man.  If that
was all we had to excuse in him!  And poor Johnny hardly daring to
come to the house now because Papa is so rude to him.  I slip out
on fine nights and we walk round and round the square and get half
frozen."

Anne drew what was something like a breath of relief when Trix had
gone, and slipped down to coax a snack out of Rebecca Dew.

"Going to the Taylors for dinner, are you?  Well, I hope old Cyrus
will be decent.  If his family weren't all so afraid of him in his
sulky fits he wouldn't indulge in them so often, of that I feel
certain.  I tell you, Miss Shirley, he ENJOYS his sulks.  And now I
suppose I must warm That Cat's milk.  Pampered animal!"



10


When Anne arrived at the Cyrus Taylor house the next evening she
felt the chill in the atmosphere as soon as she entered the door.
A trim maid showed her up to the guest room but as Anne went up the
stairs she caught sight of Mrs. Cyrus Taylor scuttling from the
dining-room to the kitchen and Mrs. Cyrus was wiping tears away
from her pale, careworn, but still rather sweet face.  It was all
too clear that Cyrus had not yet "got over" the nightshirt.

This was confirmed by a distressed Trix creeping into the room and
whispering nervously,

"Oh, Anne, he's in a dreadful humor.  He seemed pretty amiable this
morning and our hopes rose.  But Hugh Pringle beat him at a game of
checkers this afternoon and Papa can't BEAR to lose a checker game.
And it had to happen today, of course.  He found Esme 'admiring
herself in the mirror,' as he put it, and just walked her out of
her room and locked the door.  The poor darling was only wondering
if he looked nice enough to please Lennox Carter, Ph.D.  She hadn't
even a chance to put her pearl string on.  And look at me.  I
didn't dare curl my hair . . . Papa doesn't like curls that are not
natural . . . and I look like a fright.  Not that it matters about
me . . . only it just shows you.  Papa threw out the flowers Mamma
put on the dining-room table and she feels it so . . . she took
such trouble with them . . . and he wouldn't let her put on her
garnet earrings.  He hasn't had such a bad spell since he came home
from the west last spring and found Mamma had put red curtains in
the sitting-room, when he preferred mulberry.  Oh, Anne, do talk as
hard as you can at dinner, if he won't.  If you don't, it will be
TOO dreadful."

"I'll do my best," promised Anne, who certainly had never found
herself at a loss for something to say.  But then never had she
found herself in such a situation as presently confronted her.

They were all gathered around the table . . . a very pretty and
well appointed table in spite of the missing flowers.  Timid Mrs.
Cyrus, in a gray silk dress, had a face that was grayer than her
dress.  Esme, the beauty of the family . . . a very pale beauty,
pale gold hair, pale pink lips, pale forget-me-not eyes . . . was
so much paler than usual that she looked as if she were going to
faint.  Pringle, ordinarily a fat, cheerful urchin of fourteen,
with round eyes and glasses and hair so fair it looked almost
white, looked like a tied dog, and Trix had the air of a terrified
school-girl.

Dr. Carter, who was undeniably handsome and distinguished-looking,
with crisp dark hair, brilliant dark eyes and silver-rimmed
glasses, but whom Anne, in the days of his Assistant Professorship
at Redmond, had thought a rather pompous young bore, looked ill at
ease.  Evidently he felt that something was wrong somewhere . . . a
reasonable conclusion when your host simply stalks to the head of
the table and drops into his chair without a word to you or
anybody.

Cyrus would not say grace.  Mrs. Cyrus, blushing beet-red, murmured
almost inaudibly, "For what we are about to receive the Lord make
us truly thankful."  The meal started badly by nervous Esme
dropping her fork on the floor.  Everybody except Cyrus jumped,
because their nerves were likewise keyed up to the highest pitch.
Cyrus glared at Esme out of his bulging blue eyes in a kind of
enraged stillness.  Then he glared at everybody and froze them into
dumbness.  He glared at poor Mrs. Cyrus, when she took a helping of
horseradish sauce, with a glare that reminded her of her weak
stomach.  She couldn't eat any of it after that . . . and she was
so fond of it.  She didn't believe it would hurt her.  But for that
matter she couldn't eat anything, nor could Esme.  They only
pretended.  The meal proceeded in a ghastly silence, broken by
spasmodic speeches about the weather from Trix and Anne.  Trix
implored Anne with her eyes to talk, but Anne found herself for
once in her life with absolutely nothing to say.  She felt
desperately that she MUST talk, but only the most idiotic things
came into her head . . . things it would be impossible to utter
aloud.  Was everyone bewitched?  It was curious, the effect one
sulky, stubborn man had on you.  Anne couldn't have believed it
possible.  And there was no doubt that he was really quite happy in
the knowledge that he had made everybody at his table horribly
uncomfortable.  What on earth was going on in his mind?  Would he
jump if any one stuck a pin in him?  Anne wanted to slap him . . .
rap his knuckles . . . stand him in a corner . . . treat him like
the spoiled child he really was, in spite of his spiky gray hair
and truculent mustache.

Above all she wanted to make him SPEAK.  She felt instinctively
that nothing in the world would punish him so much as to be tricked
into speaking when he was determined not to.

Suppose she got up and deliberately smashed that huge, hideous,
old-fashioned vase on the table in the corner . . . an ornate thing
covered with wreaths of roses and leaves which it was most
difficult to dust but which must be kept immaculately clean.  Anne
knew that the whole family hated it, but Cyrus Taylor would not
hear of having it banished to the attic, because it had been his
mother's.  Anne thought she would do it fearlessly if she really
believed that it would make Cyrus explode into vocal anger.

Why didn't Lennox Carter talk?  If he would, she, Anne, could talk,
too, and perhaps Trix and Pringle would escape from the spell that
bound them and some kind of conversation would be possible.  But he
simply sat there and ate.  Perhaps he thought it was really the
best thing to do . . . perhaps he was afraid of saying something
that would still further enrage the evidently already enraged
parent of his lady.

"Will you please start the pickles, Miss Shirley?" said Mrs. Taylor
faintly.

Something wicked stirred in Anne.  She started the pickles . . .
and something else.  Without letting herself stop to think she bent
forward, her great, gray-green eyes glimmering limpidly, and said
gently,

"Perhaps you would be surprised to hear, Dr. Carter, that Mr.
Taylor went deaf very suddenly last week?"

Anne sat back, having thrown her bomb.  She could not tell precisely
what she expected or hoped.  If Dr. Carter got the impression that
his host was deaf instead of in a towering rage of silence, it might
loosen his tongue.  She had NOT told a falsehood . . . she had NOT
said Cyrus Taylor WAS deaf.  As for Cyrus Taylor, if she had hoped
to make him speak she had failed.  He merely glared at her, still in
silence.

But Anne's remark had an effect on Trix and Pringle that she had
never dreamed of.  Trix was in a silent rage herself.  She had, the
moment before Anne had hurled her rhetorical question, seen Esme
furtively wipe away a tear that had escaped from one of her
despairing blue eyes.  Everything was hopeless . . . Lennox Carter
would never ask Esme to marry him now . . . it didn't matter any
more what any one said or did.  Trix was suddenly possessed with a
burning desire to get square with her brutal father.  Anne's speech
gave her a weird inspiration, and Pringle, a volcano of suppressed
impishness, blinked his white eyelashes for a dazed moment and then
promptly followed her lead.  Never, as long as they might live,
would Anne, Esme or Mrs. Cyrus forget the dreadful quarter of an
hour that followed.

"Such an affliction for poor papa," said Trix, addressing Dr.
Carter across the table.  "And him only sixty-eight."

Two little white dents appeared at the corners of Cyrus Taylor's
nostrils when he heard his age advanced six years.  But he remained
silent.

"It's such a treat to have a decent meal," said Pringle, clearly
and distinctly.  "What would you think, Dr. Carter, of a man who
makes his family live on fruit and eggs . . . nothing but fruit and
eggs . . . just for a fad?"

"Does your father . . . ?" began Dr. Carter bewilderedly.

"What would you think of a husband who bit his wife when she put up
curtains he didn't like . . . deliberately bit her?" demanded Trix.

"Till the blood came," added Pringle solemnly.

"Do you mean to say your father . . . ?"

"What would you think of a man who would cut up a silk dress of his
wife's just because the way it was made didn't suit him?" said
Trix.

"What would you think," said Pringle, "of a man who refuses to let
his wife have a dog?"

"When she would so love to have one," sighed Trix.

"What would you think of a man," continued Pringle, who was
beginning to enjoy himself hugely, "who would give his wife a pair
of goloshes for a Christmas present . . . nothing but a pair of
goloshes?"

"Goloshes don't exactly warm the heart," admitted Dr. Carter.  His
eyes met Anne's and he smiled.  Anne reflected that she had never
seen him smile before.  It changed his face wonderfully for the
better.  What WAS Trix saying?  Who would have thought she could be
such a demon?

"Have you ever wondered, Dr. Carter, how awful it must be to live
with a man who thinks nothing . . . NOTHING--of picking up the
roast, if it isn't perfectly done, and hurling it at the maid?"

Dr. Carter glanced apprehensively at Cyrus Taylor, as if he feared
Cyrus might throw the skeletons of the chickens at somebody.  Then
he seemed to remember comfortingly that his host was deaf.

"What would you think of a man who believed the earth was flat?"
asked Pringle.

Anne thought Cyrus WOULD speak then.  A tremor seemed to pass over
his rubicund face, but no words came.  Still, she was sure his
mustaches were a little less defiant.

"What would you think of a man who let his aunt . . . his only aunt
. . . go to the poorhouse?" asked Trix.

"And pastured his cow in the graveyard?" said Pringle.  "Summerside
hasn't got over that sight yet."

"What would you think of a man who would write down in his diary
every day what he had for dinner?" asked Trix.

"The great Pepys did that," said Dr. Carter with another smile.
His voice sounded as if he would like to laugh.  Perhaps after all
he was not pompous, thought Anne . . . only young and shy and
overserious.  But she was feeling positively aghast.  She had never
meant things to go as far as this.  She was finding out that it is
much easier to start things than finish them.  Trix and Pringle
were being diabolically clever.  They had not said that their
father did a single one of these things.  Anne could fancy Pringle
saying, his round eyes rounder still with pretended innocence, "I
just asked those questions of Dr. Carter for INFORMATION."

"What would you think," kept on Trix, "of a man who opens and reads
his wife's letters?"

"What would you think of a man who would go to a funeral . . . his
father's funeral . . . in overalls?" asked Pringle.

What WOULD they think of next?  Mrs. Cyrus was crying openly and
Esme was quite calm with despair.  Nothing mattered any more.  She
turned and looked squarely at Dr. Carter, whom she had lost
forever.  For once in her life she was stung into saying a really
clever thing.

"What," she asked quietly, "would you think of a man who spent a
whole day hunting for the kittens of a poor cat who had been shot,
because he couldn't bear to think of them starving to death?"

A strange silence descended on the room.  Trix and Pringle looked
suddenly ashamed of themselves.  And then Mrs. Cyrus piped up,
feeling it her wifely duty to back up Esme's unexpected defense of
her father.

"And he can crochet so beautifully . . . he made the loveliest
centerpiece for the parlor table last winter when he was laid up
with lumbago."

Every one has some limit of endurance and Cyrus Taylor had reached
his.  He gave his chair such a furious backward push that it shot
instantly across the polished floor and struck the table on which
the vase stood.  The table went over and the vase broke in the
traditional thousand pieces.  Cyrus, his bushy white eyebrows
fairly bristling with wrath, stood up and exploded at last.

"I don't crochet, woman!  Is one contemptible doily going to blast
a man's reputation forever?  I was so bad with that blamed lumbago
I didn't know what I was doing.  And I'm deaf, am I, Miss Shirley?
I'm deaf?"

"She didn't SAY you were, Papa," cried Trix, who was never afraid
of her father when his temper was vocal.

"Oh, no, she didn't say it.  None of you said anything!  YOU didn't
say I was sixty-eight when I'm only sixty-two, did you?  YOU didn't
say I wouldn't let your mother have a dog!  Good Lord, woman, you
can have forty thousand dogs if you want to and you know it!  When
did I ever deny you anything you wanted . . . when?"

"Never, Poppa, never," sobbed Mrs. Cyrus brokenly.  "And I never
wanted a dog.  I never even THOUGHT of wanting a dog, Poppa."

"When did I open your letters?  When have I ever kept a diary?  A
diary!  When did I ever wear overalls to anybody's funeral?  When
did I pasture a cow in the graveyard?  What aunt of mine is in the
poorhouse?  Did I ever throw a roast at anybody?  Did I ever make
you live on fruit and eggs?"

"Never, Poppa, never," wept Mrs. Cyrus.  "You've always been a good
provider . . . the best."

"Didn't you tell me you WANTED goloshes last Christmas?"

"Yes, oh, yes; of course I did, Poppa.  And my feet have been so
nice and warm all winter."

"Well, then!"  Cyrus threw a triumphant glance around the room.
His eyes encountered Anne's.  Suddenly the unexpected happened.
Cyrus chuckled.  His cheeks actually dimpled.  Those dimples worked
a miracle with his whole expression.  He brought his chair back to
the table and sat down.

"I've got a very bad habit of sulking, Dr. Carter.  Every one has
some bad habit . . . that's mine.  The only one.  Come, come,
Momma, stop crying.  I admit I deserved all I got except that crack
of yours about crocheting.  Esme, my girl, I won't forget that you
were the only one who stood up for me.  Tell Maggie to come and
clear up that mess . . . I know you're all glad the darn thing is
smashed . . . and bring on the pudding."

Anne could never have believed that an evening which began so
terribly could end up so pleasantly.  Nobody could have been more
genial or better company than Cyrus: and there was evidently no
aftermath of reckoning, for when Trix came down a few evenings
later it was to tell Anne that she had at last scraped up enough
courage to tell her father about Johnny.

"Was he very dreadful, Trix?"

"He . . . he wasn't dreadful at all," admitted Trix sheepishly.
"He just snorted and said it was about time Johnny came to the
point after hanging around for two years and keeping every one else
away.  I think he felt he couldn't go into another spell of sulks
so soon after the last one.  And you know, Anne, between sulks Papa
really is an old duck."

"I think he is a great deal better father to you than you deserve,"
said Anne, quite in Rebecca Dew's manner.  "You were simply
outrageous at that dinner, Trix."

"Well, you know you started it," said Trix.  "And good old Pringle
helped a bit.  All's well that ends well . . . and thank goodness
I'll never have to dust that vase again."



11


(Extract from letter to Gilbert two weeks later.)

"Esme Taylor's engagement to Dr. Lennox Carter is announced.  By
all I can gather from various bits of local gossip I think he
decided that fatal Friday night that he wanted to protect her, and
save her from her father and her family . . . and perhaps from her
friends!  Her plight evidently appealed to his sense of chivalry.
Trix persists in thinking I was the means of bringing it about and
perhaps I did take a hand, but I don't think I'll ever try an
experiment like that again.  It's too much like picking up a
lightning flash by the tail.

"I really don't know what got into me, Gilbert.  It must have been
a hangover from my old detestation of anything savoring of
Pringleism.  It DOES seem old now.  I've almost forgotten it.  But
other folks are still wondering.  I hear Miss Valentine Courtaloe
says she isn't at all surprised I have won the Pringles over,
because I have 'such a way with me'; and the minister's wife thinks
it is an answer to the prayer she put up.  Well, who knows but that
it was?

"Jen Pringle and I walked part of the way home from school yesterday
and talked of 'ships and shoes and sealing wax' . . . of almost
everything but geometry.  We avoid that subject.  Jen knows I don't
know too much about geometry, but my own wee bit of knowledge about
Captain Myrom balances that.  I lent Jen my Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
I hate to lend a book I LOVE . . . it never seems quite the same
when it comes back to me . . . but I love Foxe's Martyrs only
because dear Mrs. Allan gave it to me for a Sunday-school prize
years ago.  I don't like reading about martyrs because they always
make me feel petty and ashamed . . . ashamed to admit I hate to get
out of bed on frosty mornings and shrink from a visit to the
dentist!

"Well, I'm glad Esme and Trix are both happy.  Since my own little
romance is in flower I am all the more interested in other
people's.  A NICE interest, you know.  Not curious or malicious
but just glad there's such a lot of happiness spread about.

"It's still February and 'on the convent roof the snows are
sparkling to the moon' . . . only it isn't a convent . . . just the
roof of Mr. Hamilton's barn.  But I'm beginning to think, 'Only a
few more weeks till spring . . . and a few more weeks then till
summer . . . and holidays . . . and Green Gables . . . and golden
sunlight on Avonlea meadows . . . and a gulf that will be silver at
dawn and sapphire at noon and crimson at sunset . . . and YOU.'

"Little Elizabeth and I have no end of plans for spring.  We are
such good friends.  I take her milk every evening and once in so
long she is allowed to go for a walk with me.  We have discovered
that our birthdays are on the same day and Elizabeth flushed
'divinest rosy red' with the excitement of it.  She is so sweet
when she blushes.  Ordinarily she is far too pale and doesn't get
any pinker because of the new milk.  Only when we come back from
our twilight trysts with evening winds does she have a lovely rose
color in her little cheeks.  Once she asked me gravely, 'Will I
have a lovely creamy skin like yours when I grow up, Miss Shirley,
if I put buttermilk on my face every night?'  Buttermilk seems to
be the preferred cosmetic in Spook's Lane.  I have discovered that
Rebecca Dew uses it.  She has bound me over to keep it secret from
the widows because they would think it too frivolous for her age.
The number of secrets I have to keep at Windy Poplars is aging me
before my time.  I wonder if I buttermilked my nose if it would
banish those seven freckles.  By the way, did it ever occur to you,
sir, that I had a 'lovely creamy skin'?  If it did, you never told
me so.  And have you realized to the full that I am 'comparatively
beautiful'?  Because I have discovered that I am.

"'What is it like to be beautiful, Miss Shirley?' asked Rebecca Dew
gravely the other day . . . when I was wearing my new biscuit-
colored voile.

"'I've often wondered,' said I.

"'But you ARE beautiful,' said Rebecca Dew.

"'I never thought you could be sarcastic, Rebecca,' I said
reproachfully.

"'I did not mean to be sarcastic, Miss Shirley.  You are beautiful
. . . comparatively.'

"'Oh!  Comparatively!' said I.

"'Look in the sideboard glass,' said Rebecca Dew, pointing.
'Compared to ME, you are.'

"Well, I was!

"But I hadn't finished with Elizabeth.  One stormy evening when the
wind was howling along Spook's Lane, we couldn't go for a walk, so
we came up to my room and drew a map of fairyland.  Elizabeth sat
on my blue doughnut cushion to make her higher, and looked like a
serious little gnome as she bent over the map.  (By the way, no
phonetic spelling for me!  'Gnome' is far eerier and fairy-er than
'nome.')

"Our map isn't completed yet . . . every day we think of something
more to go in it.  Last night we located the house of the Witch of
the Snow and drew a triple hill, covered completely with wild
cherry trees in bloom, behind it.  (By the way, I want some wild
cherry trees near our house of dreams, Gilbert.)  Of course we have
a Tomorrow on the map . . . located east of Today and west of
Yesterday . . . and we have no end of 'times' in fairyland.
Spring-time, long time, short time, new-moon time, good-night time,
next time . . . but no last time, because that is too sad a time
for fairyland; old time, young time . . . because if there is an
old time there ought to be a young time, too; mountain time . . .
because that has such a fascinating sound; night-time and day-time
. . . but no bed-time or school-time; Christmas-time; no only time,
because that also is too sad . . . but lost time, because it is so
nice to find it; some time, good time, fast time, slow time, half-
past kissing-time, going-home time, and time immemorial . . . which
is one of the most beautiful phrases in the world.  And we have
cunning little red arrows everywhere, pointing to the different
'times.'  I know Rebecca Dew thinks I'm quite childish.  But, oh,
Gilbert, don't let's ever grow too old and wise . . . no, not too
old and SILLY for fairyland.

"Rebecca Dew, I feel sure, is not quite certain that I am an
influence for good in Elizabeth's life.  She thinks I encourage her
in being 'fanciful.'  One evening when I was away Rebecca Dew took
the milk to her and found her already at the gate, looking at the
sky so intently that she never heard Rebecca's (anything but) fairy
footfalls.

"'I was LISTENING, Rebecca,' she explained.

"'You do too much listening,' said Rebecca disapprovingly.

"Elizabeth smiled, remotely, austerely.  (Rebecca Dew didn't use
those words but I know exactly how Elizabeth smiled.)

"'You would be surprised, Rebecca, if you knew what I hear
sometimes,' she said, in a way that made Rebecca Dew's flesh
creep on her bones . . . or so she avers.

"But Elizabeth is always touched with faery and what can be done
about it?

"Your Very Anne-est ANNE.

"P.S.1.  Never, never, never shall I forget Cyrus Taylor's face
when his wife accused him of crocheting.  But I shall always like
him because he hunted for those kittens.  And I like Esme for
standing up for her father under the supposed wreck of all her
hopes.

"P.S.2.  I have put in a new pen.  And I love you because you
aren't pompous like Dr. Carter . . . and I love you because you
haven't got sticky-out ears like Johnny.  And . . . the very best
reason of all . . . I love you for just being Gilbert!"



12


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"May 30th.

"DEAREST-AND-THEN-MORE-DEAR:

"It's spring!

"Perhaps you, up to your eyes in a welter of exams in Kingsport,
don't know it.  But I am aware of it from the crown of my head to
the tips of my toes.  Summerside is aware of it.  Even the most
unlovely streets are transfigured by arms of bloom reaching over
old board fences and a ribbon of dandelions in the grass that
borders the sidewalks.  Even the china lady on my shelf is aware of
it and I know if I could only wake up suddenly enough some night
I'd catch her dancing a pas seul in her pink, gilt-heeled shoes.

"Everything is calling 'spring' to me . . . the little laughing
brooks, the blue hazes on the Storm King, the maples in the grove
when I go to read your letters, the white cherry trees along
Spook's Lane, the sleek and saucy robins hopping defiance to Dusty
Miller in the back yard, the creeper hanging greenly down over the
half-door to which little Elizabeth comes for milk, the fir trees
preening in new tassel tips around the old graveyard . . . even the
old graveyard itself, where all sorts of flowers planted at the
heads of the graves are budding into leaf and bloom, as if to say,
'Even here life is triumphant over death.'  I had a really lovely
prowl about the graveyard the other night.  (I'm sure Rebecca Dew
thinks my taste in walks frightfully morbid.  'I can't think why
you have such a hankering after that unchancy place,' she says.)  I
roamed over it in the scented green cat's light and wondered if
Nathan Pringle's wife really had tried to poison him.  Her grave
looked so innocent with its new grass and its June lilies that I
concluded she had been entirely maligned.

"Just another month and I'll be home for vacation!  I keep thinking
of the old orchard at Green Gables with its trees now in full snow
. . . the old bridge over the Lake of Shining Waters . . . the
murmur of the sea in your ears . . . a summer afternoon in Lover's
Lane . . . and YOU!

"I have just the right kind of pen tonight, Gilbert, and so . . .

(Two pages omitted.)

"I was around at the Gibsons' this evening for a call.  Marilla
asked me some time ago to look them up because she once knew them
when they lived in White Sands.  Accordingly I looked them up and
have been looking them up weekly ever since because Pauline seems
to enjoy my visits and I'm so sorry for her.  She is simply a slave
to her mother . . . who is a terrible old woman.

"Mrs. Adoniram Gibson is eighty and spends her days in a wheel-
chair.  They moved to Summerside fifteen years ago.  Pauline, who
is forty-five, is the youngest of the family, all her brothers and
sisters being married and all of them determined not to have Mrs.
Adoniram in their homes.  She keeps the house and waits on her
mother hand and foot.  She is a little pale, fawn-eyed thing with
golden-brown hair that is still glossy and pretty.  They are quite
comfortably off and if it were not for her mother Pauline could
have a very pleasant easy life.  She just loves church work and
would be perfectly happy attending Ladies' Aids and Missionary
Societies, planning for church suppers and Welcome socials, not to
speak of exulting proudly in being the possessor of the finest
wandering-jew in town.  But she can hardly ever get away from the
house, even to go to church on Sundays.  I can't see any way of
escape for her, for old Mrs. Gibson will probably live to be a
hundred.  And, while she may not have the use of her legs, there is
certainly nothing the matter with her tongue.  It always fills me
with helpless rage to sit there and hear her making poor Pauline
the target for her sarcasm.  And yet Pauline has told me that her
mother 'thinks quite highly' of me and is much nicer to her when I
am around.  If this be so I shiver to think what she must be when I
am not around.

"Pauline dares not do ANYTHING without asking her mother.  She
can't even buy her own clothes . . . not so much as a pair of
stockings.  Everything has to be sent up for Mrs. Gibson's
approval; everything has to be worn until it has been turned twice.
Pauline has worn the same hat for four years.

"Mrs. Gibson can't bear any noise in the house or a breath of fresh
air.  It is said she never smiled in her life. . . .  I've never
caught her at it, anyway, and when I look at her I find myself
wondering what would happen to her face if she did smile.  Pauline
can't even have a room to herself.  She has to sleep in the same
room with her mother and be up almost every hour of the night
rubbing Mrs. Gibson's back or giving her a pill or getting a hot-
water bottle for her . . . HOT, not lukewarm! . . . or changing her
pillows or seeing what that mysterious noise is in the back yard.
Mrs. Gibson does her sleeping in the afternoons and spends her
nights devising tasks for Pauline.

"Yet nothing has ever made Pauline bitter.  She is sweet and
unselfish and patient and I am glad she has a dog to love.  The
only thing she has ever had her own way about is keeping that dog
. . . and then only because there was a burglary somewhere in town
and Mrs. Gibson thought it would be a protection.  Pauline never
dares to let her mother see how much she loves the dog.  Mrs.
Gibson hates him and complains of his bringing bones in but she
never actually says he must go, for her own selfish reason.

"But at last I have a chance to give Pauline something and I'm
going to do it.  I'm going to give her a DAY, though it will mean
giving up my next week-end at Green Gables.

"Tonight when I went in I could see that Pauline had been crying.
Mrs. Gibson did not long leave me in doubt why.

"'Pauline wants to go and leave me, Miss Shirley,' she said.
'Nice, grateful daughter I've got, haven't I?'

"'Only for a day, Ma,' said Pauline, swallowing a sob and trying to
smile.

"'Only for a day,' says she!  'Well, YOU know what my days are
like, Miss Shirley . . . every one knows what my days are like.
But you don't know . . .  YET . . . Miss Shirley, and I hope you
never will, how long a day can be when you are suffering.'

"I knew Mrs. Gibson didn't suffer at all now, so I didn't try to be
sympathetic.

"'I'd get some one to stay with you, of course, Ma,' said Pauline.
'You see,' she explained to me, 'my cousin Louisa is going to
celebrate her silver wedding at White Sands next Saturday week and
she wants me to go.  I was her bridesmaid when she was married to
Maurice Hilton.  I WOULD like to go so much if Ma would give her
consent.'

"'If I must die alone I must,' said Mrs. Gibson.  'I leave it to
your conscience, Pauline.'

"I knew Pauline's battle was lost the moment Mrs. Gibson left it to
her conscience.  Mrs. Gibson has got her way all her life by
leaving things to people's consciences.  I've heard that years ago
somebody wanted to marry Pauline and Mrs. Gibson prevented it by
leaving it to her conscience.

"Pauline wiped her eyes, summoned up a piteous smile and picked up
a dress she was making over . . . a hideous green and black plaid.

"'Now don't sulk, Pauline,' said Mrs. Gibson.  'I can't abide
people who sulk.  And mind you put a collar on that dress.  Would
you believe it, Miss Shirley, she actually wanted to make the dress
without a collar?  She'd wear a low-necked dress, that one, if I'd
let her.'

"I looked at poor Pauline with her slender little throat . . .
which is rather plump and pretty yet . . . enclosed in a high,
stiff-boned net collar.

"'Collarless dresses are coming in,' I said.

"'Collarless dresses,' said Mrs. Gibson, 'are indecent.'

"(Item:--I was wearing a collarless dress.)

"'Moreover,' went on Mrs. Gibson, as if it were all of a piece.  'I
never liked Maurice Hilton.  His mother was a Crockett.  He never
had any sense of decorum . . . always kissing his wife in the most
unsuitable places!'

"(Are you sure you kiss me in suitable places, Gilbert?  I'm afraid
Mrs. Gibson would think the nape of the neck, for instance, most
unsuitable.)

"'But, Ma, you know that was the day she nearly escaped being
trampled by Harvey Wither's horse running amuck on the church
green.  It was only natural Maurice should feel a little excited.'

"'Pauline, please don't contradict me.  I STILL think the church
steps were an unsuitable place for any one to be kissed.  But of
course MY opinions don't matter to ANY ONE any longer.  Of course
every one wishes I was dead.  Well, there'll be room for me in the
grave.  I know what a burden I am to you.  I might as well die.
Nobody wants me.'

"'Don't say that, Ma,' begged Pauline.

"'I WILL say it.  Here you are, determined to go to that silver
wedding although you know I'm not willing.'

"'Ma dear.  I'm not going . . . I'd never think of going if you
weren't willing.  Don't excite yourself so. . . .'

"'Oh, I can't even have a little excitement, can't I, to brighten
my dull life?  Surely you're not going so soon, Miss Shirley?'

"I felt that if I stayed any longer I'd either go crazy or slap
Mrs. Gibson's nut-cracker face.  So I said I had exam papers to
correct.

"'Ah well, I suppose two old women like us are very poor company
for a young girl,' sighed Mrs. Gibson.  'Pauline isn't very
cheerful . . . are you, Pauline?  Not very cheerful.  I don't
wonder Miss Shirley doesn't want to stay long.'

"Pauline came out to the porch with me.  The moon was shining
down on her little garden and sparkling on the harbor.  A soft,
delightful wind was talking to a white apple tree.  It was spring
. . . spring . . . spring!  Even Mrs. Gibson can't stop plum trees
from blooming.  And Pauline's soft gray-blue eyes were full of
tears.

"'I WOULD like to go to Louie's wedding so much,' she said, with a
long sigh of despairing resignation.

"'You are going,' I said.

"'Oh, no, dear, I can't go.  Poor Ma will never consent.  I'll just
put it out of my mind.  Isn't the moon beautiful tonight?' she
added, in a loud, cheerful tone.

"'I've never heard of any good that came from moon gazing,' called
out Mrs. Gibson from the sitting-room.  'Stop chirruping there,
Pauline, and come in and get my red bedroom slippers with the fur
round the tops for me.  These shoes pinch my feet something
terrible.  But nobody cares how I suffer.'

"I felt that _I_ didn't care how much she suffered.  Poor darling
Pauline!  But a day off is certainly coming to Pauline and she is
going to have her silver wedding.  I, Anne Shirley, have spoken it.

"I told Rebecca Dew and the widows all about it when I came home
and we had such fun, thinking up all the lovely, insulting things I
might have said to Mrs. Gibson.  Aunt Kate does not think I will
succeed in getting Mrs. Gibson to let Pauline go but Rebecca Dew
has faith in me.  'Anyhow, if YOU can't, nobody can,' she said.

"I was at supper recently with Mrs. Tom Pringle who wouldn't take
me to board.  (Rebecca says I am the best paying boarder she ever
heard of because I am invited out to supper so often.)  I'm very
glad she didn't.  She's nice and purry and her pies praise her in
the gates, but her home isn't Windy Poplars and she doesn't live in
Spook's Lane and she isn't Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty and Rebecca
Dew.  I love them all three and I'm going to board here next year
and the year after.  My chair is always called 'Miss Shirley's
chair' and Aunt Chatty tells me that when I'm not here Rebecca Dew
sets my place at the table just the same, so it won't seem so
lonesome.'  Sometimes Aunt Chatty's feelings have complicated
matters a bit but she says she understands me now and knows I would
never hurt her intentionally.

"Little Elizabeth and I go out for a walk twice a week now.  Mrs.
Campbell has agreed to that, but it must not be oftener and NEVER
on Sundays.  Things are better for little Elizabeth in spring.
Some sunshine gets into even that grim old house and outwardly it
is even beautiful because of the dancing shadows of tree tops.
Still, Elizabeth likes to escape from it whenever she can.  Once in
a while we go up-town so that Elizabeth can see the lighted shop
windows.  But mostly we go as far as we dare down the Road that
Leads to the End of the World, rounding every corner adventurously
and expectantly, as if we were going to find Tomorrow behind it,
while all the little green evening hills neatly nestle together in
the distance.  One of the things Elizabeth is going to do in
Tomorrow is 'go to Philadelphia and see the angel in the church.'
I haven't told her . . . I never will tell her . . . that the
Philadelphia St. John was writing about was NOT Phila., Pa.  We
lose our illusions soon enough.  And anyhow, if we COULD get into
Tomorrow, who knows what we might find there?  Angels everywhere,
perhaps.

"Sometimes we watch the ships coming up the harbor before a fair
wind, over a glistening pathway, through the transparent spring
air, and Elizabeth wonders if her father may be on board one of
them.  She clings to the hope that he may come some day.  I can't
imagine why he doesn't.  I'm sure he would if he knew what a
darling little daughter he has here longing for him.  I suppose he
never realizes she is quite a girl now . . . .  I suppose he still
thinks of her as the little baby who cost his wife her life.

"I'll soon have finished my first year in Summerside High.  The
first term was a nightmare, but the last two have been very
pleasant.  The Pringles are DELIGHTFUL PEOPLE.  How could I ever
have compared them to the Pyes?  Sid Pringle brought me a bunch of
trilliums today.  Jen is going to lead her class and Miss Ellen is
reported to have said that I am the only teacher who ever REALLY
UNDERSTOOD the child!  The only fly in my ointment is Katherine
Brooke, who continues unfriendly and distant.  I'm going to give up
trying to be friends with her.  After all, as Rebecca Dew says,
there ARE limits.

"Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you. . . .  Sally Nelson has asked me
to be one of her bridesmaids.  She is going to be married the last
of June at Bonnyview, Dr. Nelson's summer home down at the jumping-
off place.  She is marrying Gordon Hill.  Then Nora Nelson will be
the only one of Dr. Nelson's six girls left unmarried.  Jim Wilcox
has been going with her for years . . . 'off and on' as Rebecca Dew
says . . . but it never seems to come to anything and nobody thinks
it will now.  I'm very fond of Sally, but I've never made much
headway getting acquainted with Nora.  She's a good deal older than
I am, of course, and rather reserved and proud.  Yet I'd like to be
friends with her.  She isn't pretty or clever or charming but
somehow she's got a TANG.  I've a feeling she'd be worth while.

"Speaking of weddings, Esme Taylor was married to her Ph.D. last
month.  As it was on Wednesday afternoon I couldn't go to the
church to see her, but every one says she looked very beautiful and
happy and Lennox looked as if he knew he had done the right thing
and had the approval of his conscience.  Cyrus Taylor and I are
great friends.  He often refers to the dinner which he has come to
consider a great joke on everybody.  'I've never dared sulk since,'
he told me.  'Momma might accuse me of sewing patchwork next time.'
And then he tells me to be sure and give his love to 'the widows.'
Gilbert, people are delicious and life is delicious and I am

"Forevermore

"YOURS!

"P.S.  Our old red cow down at Mr. Hamilton's has a spotted calf.
We've been buying our milk for three months from Lew Hunt.  Rebecca
says we'll have cream again now . . . and that she has always heard
the Hunt well was inexhaustible and now she believes it.  Rebecca
didn't want that calf to be born at all.  Aunt Kate had to get Mr.
Hamilton to tell her that the cow was really too old to have a calf
before she would consent."



13


"Ah, when you've been old and bed-rid as long as me you'll have
more sympathy," whined Mrs. Gibson.

"Please don't think I'm lacking in sympathy, Mrs. Gibson," said
Anne, who, after half an hour's vain effort, felt like wringing
Mrs. Gibson's neck.  Nothing but poor Pauline's pleading eyes in
the background kept her from giving up in despair and going home.
"I assure you, you won't be lonely and neglected.  I will be here
all day and see that you lack nothing in any way."

"Oh, I know I'm of no use to any one," said Mrs. Gibson, apropos of
nothing that had been said.  "You don't need to rub that in, Miss
Shirley.  I'm ready to go any time . . . any time.  Pauline can gad
round all she wants to then.  I won't be here to feel neglected.
None of the young people of today have any sense.  Giddy . . . very
giddy."

Anne didn't know whether it was Pauline or herself who was the
giddy young person without sense, but she tried the last shot in
her locker.

"Well, you know, Mrs. Gibson, people will talk so terribly if
Pauline doesn't go to her cousin's silver wedding."

"Talk!" said Mrs. Gibson sharply.  "What will they talk about?"

"Dear Mrs. Gibson . . ."  ('May I be forgiven the adjective!'
thought Anne) "in your long life you have learned, I know, just
what idle tongues can say."

"You needn't be casting my age up to me," snapped Mrs. Gibson.
"And I don't need to be told it's a censorious world.  Too well
. . . too well I know it.  And I don't need to be told that this
town is full of tattling toads neither.  But I dunno's I fancy them
jabbering about me . . . saying, I s'pose, that I'm an old tyrant.
_I_ ain't stopping Pauline from going.  Didn't I leave it to her
conscience?"

"So few people will believe that," said Anne, carefully sorrowful.

Mrs. Gibson sucked a peppermint lozenge fiercely for a minute or
two.  Then she said,

"I hear there's mumps at White Sands."

"Ma, dear, you know I've had the mumps."

"There's folks as takes them twice.  You'd be just the one to take
them twice, Pauline.  You always took everything that come round.
The nights I've set up with you, not expecting you'd see the
morning!  Ah me, a mother's sacrifices ain't long remembered.
Besides, how would you get to White Sands?  You ain't been on a
train for years.  And there ain't any train back Saturday night."

"She could go on the Saturday morning train," said Anne.  "And I'm
sure Mr. James Gregor will bring her back."

"I never liked Jim Gregor.  His mother was a Tarbush."

"He is taking his double-seated buggy and going down Friday, or
else he would take her down, too.  But she'll be quite safe on the
train, Mrs. Gibson.  Just step on at Summerside . . . step off at
White Sands . . . no changing."

"There's something behind all this," said Mrs. Gibson suspiciously.
"Why are you so set on her going, Miss Shirley?  Just tell me
that."

Anne smiled into the beady-eyed face.

"Because I think Pauline is a good, kind daughter to you, Mrs.
Gibson, and needs a day off now and then, just as everybody does."

Most people found it hard to resist Anne's smile.  Either that, or
the fear of gossip vanquished Mrs. Gibson.

"I s'pose it never occurs to any one I'D like a day off from this
wheel-chair if I could get it.  But I can't . . . I just have to
bear my affliction patiently.  Well, if she must go she must.
She's always been one to get her own way.  If she catches mumps or
gets poisoned by strange mosquitoes, don't blame me for it.  I'll
have to get along as best I can.  Oh, I s'pose you'll be here, but
you ain't used to my ways as Pauline is.  I s'pose I can stand it
for one day.  If I can't . . . well, I've been living on borrowed
time many's the year now so what's the difference?"  Not a gracious
assent by any means but still an assent.  Anne in her relief and
gratitude found herself doing something she could never have
imagined herself doing . . . she bent over and kissed Mrs. Gibson's
leathery cheek.  "Thank you," she said.

"Never mind your wheedling ways," said Mrs. Gibson.  "Have a
peppermint."

"How can I ever thank you, Miss Shirley?" said Pauline, as she went
a little way down the street with Anne.

"By going to White Sands with a light heart and enjoying every
minute of the time."

"Oh, I'll do that.  You don't know what this means to me, Miss
Shirley.  It's not only Louisa I want to see.  The old Luckley
place next to her home is going to be sold and I did so want to see
it once more before it passed into the hands of strangers.  Mary
Luckley . . . she's Mrs. Howard Flemming now and lives out west
. . . was my dearest friend when I was a girl.  We were like sisters.
I used to be at the Luckley place so much and I loved it so.  I've
often dreamed of going back.  Ma says I'm getting too old to dream.
Do you think I am, Miss Shirley?"

"Nobody is ever too old to dream.  And dreams never grow old."

"I'm so glad to hear you say that.  Oh, Miss Shirley, to think of
seeing the gulf again.  I haven't seen it for fifteen years.  The
harbor is beautiful, but it isn't the gulf.  I feel as if I was
walking on air.  And I owe it all to you.  It was just because Ma
likes you she let me go.  You've made me happy . . . you are always
making people happy.  Why, whenever you come into a room, Miss
Shirley, the people in it feel happier."

"That's the very nicest compliment I've ever had paid me, Pauline."

"There's just one thing, Miss Shirley . . . I've nothing to wear
but my old black taffeta.  It's too gloomy for a wedding, isn't it?
And it's too big for me since I got thin.  You see it's six years
since I got it."

"We must try to induce your mother to let you have a new dress,"
said Anne hopefully.

But that proved to be beyond her powers.  Mrs. Gibson was adamant.
Pauline's black taffeta was plenty good for Louisa Hilton's
wedding.

"I paid two dollars a yard for it six years ago and three to Jane
Sharp for making it.  Jane was a good dressmaker.  Her mother was a
Smiley.  The idea of you wanting something 'light,' Pauline Gibson!
She'd go dressed in scarlet from head to foot, that one, if she was
let, Miss Shirley.  She's just waiting till I'm dead to do it.  Ah,
well, you'll soon be shet of all the trouble I am to you, Pauline.
Then you can dress as gay and giddy as you like, but as long as I'm
alive you'll be decent.  And what's the matter with your hat?  It's
time you wore a bonnet, anyhow."

Poor Pauline had a lively horror of having to wear a bonnet.  She
would wear her old hat for the rest of her life before she would do
that.

"I'm just going to be glad inside and forget all about my clothes,"
she told Anne, when they went out to the garden to pick a bouquet
of June lilies and bleeding-heart for the widows.

"I've a plan," said Anne, with a cautious glance to make sure Mrs.
Gibson couldn't hear her, though she was watching from the sitting-
room window.  "You know that silver-gray poplin of mine?  I'm going
to lend you that for the wedding."

Pauline dropped the basket of flowers in her agitation, making a
pool of pink and white sweetness at Anne's feet.

"Oh, my dear, I couldn't. . . .  Ma wouldn't let me."

"She won't know a thing about it.  Listen.  Saturday morning you'll
put it on under your black taffeta.  I know it will fit you.  It's
a little long, but I'll run some tucks in it tomorrow . . . tucks
are fashionable now.  It's collarless, with elbow sleeves so no one
will suspect.  As soon as you get to Gull Cove, take off the
taffeta.  When the day is over you can leave the poplin at Gull
Cove and I can get it the next week-end I'm home."

"But wouldn't it be too young for me?"

"Not a bit of it.  Any age can wear gray."

"Do you think it would be . . . right . . . to deceive Ma?"
faltered Pauline.

"In this case entirely right," said Anne shamelessly.  "You know,
Pauline, it would never do to wear a black dress to a wedding.  It
might bring the bride bad luck."

"Oh, I wouldn't do that for anything.  And of course it won't hurt
Ma.  I do hope she'll get through Saturday all right.  I'm afraid
she won't eat a bite when I'm away . . . she didn't the time I went
to Cousin Matilda's funeral.  Miss Prouty told me she didn't. . . .
Miss Prouty stayed with her.  She was so provoked at Cousin Matilda
for dying . . . Ma was, I mean."

"She'll eat. . . .  I'll see to that."

"I know you've a great knack of managing her," conceded Pauline.
"And you won't forget to give her her medicine at the regular
times, will you, dear?  Oh, perhaps I oughtn't to go after all."

"You've been out there long enough to pick forty bokays," called
Mrs. Gibson irately.  "I dunno what the widows want of your
flowers.  They've plenty of their own.  I'd go a long time without
flowers if I waited for Rebecca Dew to send me any.  I'm dying for
a drink of water.  But then I'm of no consequence."

Friday night Pauline telephoned Anne in terrible agitation.  She
had a sore throat and did Miss Shirley think it could possibly be
the mumps?  Anne ran down to reassure her, taking the gray poplin
in a brown paper parcel.  She hid it in the lilac bush and late
that night Pauline, in a cold perspiration, managed to smuggle it
upstairs to the little room where she kept her clothes and dressed,
though she was never permitted to sleep there.  Pauline was not
quite easy about the dress.  Perhaps her sore throat was a judgment
on her for deception.  But she couldn't go to Louisa's silver
wedding in that dreadful old black taffeta . . . she simply
couldn't.

Saturday morning Anne was at the Gibson house bright and early.
Anne always looked her best on a sparkling summer morning such as
this.  She seemed to sparkle with it and she moved through the
golden air like a slender figure on a Grecian urn.  The dullest
room sparkled, too . . . LIVED . . . when she came into it.

"Walking as if you owned the earth," commented Mrs. Gibson
sarcastically.

"So I do," said Anne gayly.

"Ah, you're very young," said Mrs. Gibson maddeningly.

"'I withhold not my heart from any joy,'" quoted Anne.  "That is
Bible authority for you, Mrs. Gibson."

"'Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.'  That's in the
Bible, too," retorted Mrs. Gibson.  The fact that she had so neatly
countered Miss Shirley, B.A., put her in comparatively good humor.
"I never was one to flatter, Miss Shirley, but that chip hat of
yours with the blue flower kind of sets you.  Your hair don't look
so red under it, seems to me.  Don't you admire a fresh young girl
like this, Pauline?  Wouldn't you like to be a fresh young girl
yourself, Pauline?"

Pauline was too happy and excited to want to be any one but herself
just then.  Anne went to the upstairs room with her to help her
dress.

"It's so lovely to think of all the pleasant things that must
happen today, Miss Shirley.  My throat is quite well and Ma is in
such a good humor.  You mightn't think so, but I know she is
because she is talking, even if she is sarcastic.  If she was mad
or riled she'd be sulking.  I've peeled the potatoes and the steak
is in the ice-box and Ma's blanc mange is down cellar.  There's
canned chicken for supper and a sponge cake in the pantry.  I'm
just on tenterhooks Ma'll change her mind yet.  I couldn't bear it
if she did.  Oh, Miss Shirley, do you think I'd better wear that
gray dress . . . really?"

"Put it on," said Anne in her best school-teacherish manner.

Pauline obeyed and emerged a transformed Pauline.  The gray dress
fitted her beautifully.  It was collarless and had dainty lace
ruffles in the elbow sleeves.  When Anne had done her hair Pauline
hardly knew herself.

"I hate to cover it up with that horrid old black taffeta, Miss
Shirley."

But it had to be.  The taffeta covered it very securely.  The old
hat went on . . . but it would be taken off, too, when she got to
Louisa's . . . and Pauline had a new pair of shoes.  Mrs. Gibson
had actually allowed her to get a new pair of shoes, though she
thought the heels "scandalous high."  "I'll make quite a sensation
going away on the train ALONE.  I hope people won't think it's a
death.  I wouldn't want Louisa's silver wedding to be connected in
any way with the thought of death.  Oh, perfume, Miss Shirley!
Apple-blossom!  Isn't that lovely?  Just a whiff . . . so lady-
like, I always think.  Ma won't let me buy any.  Oh, Miss Shirley,
you won't forget to feed my dog, will you?  I've left his bones in
the pantry in the covered dish.  I do hope" . . . dropping her
voice to a shamed whisper . . . "that he won't . . . misbehave . . .
in the house while you're here."

Pauline had to pass her mother's inspection before leaving.
Excitement over her outing and guilt in regard to the hidden poplin
combined to give her a very unusual flush.  Mrs. Gibson gazed at
her discontentedly.

"Oh me, oh my!  Going to London to look at the Queen, are we?
You've got too much color.  People will think you're painted.  Are
you sure you ain't?"

"Oh, no, Ma . . . NO," in shocked tones.

"Mind your manners now and when you set down, cross your ankles
decently.  Mind you don't set in a draught or talk too much."

"I won't, Ma," promised Pauline earnestly, with a nervous glance at
the clock.

"I'm sending Louisa a bottle of my sarsaparilla wine to drink
the toasts in.  I never cared for Louisa, but her mother was a
Tackaberry.  Mind you bring back the bottle and don't let her give
you a kitten.  Louisa's always giving people kittens."

"I won't, Ma."

"You're sure you didn't leave the soap in the water?"

"Quite sure, Ma," with another anguished glance at the clock.

"Are your shoe-laces tied?"

"Yes, Ma."

"You don't smell respectable . . . drenched with scent."

"Oh, no, Ma dear . . . just a little . . . the tiniest bit . . ."

"I said drenched and I mean drenched.  There isn't, a rip under
your arm, is there?"

"Oh, no, Ma."

"Let me see . . ." inexorably.

Pauline quaked.  Suppose the skirt of the gray dress showed when
she lifted her arms!

"Well, go, then."  With a long sigh.  "If I ain't here when you
come back, remember that I want to be laid out in my lace shawl and
my black satin slippers.  And see that my hair is crimped."

"Do you feel any worse, Ma?"  The poplin dress had made Pauline's
conscience very sensitive.  "If you do . . . I'll not go . . ."

"And waste the money for them shoes!  'Course you're going.  And
mind you don't slide down the banister."

But at this the worm turned.

"Ma!  Do you think I would?"

"You did at Nancy Parker's wedding."

"Thirty-five years ago!  Do you think I would do it now?"

"It's time you were off.  What are you jabbering here for?  Do you
want to miss your train?"

Pauline hurried away and Anne sighed with relief.  She had been
afraid that old Mrs. Gibson had, at the last moment, been taken
with a fiendish impulse to detain Pauline until the train was gone.

"Now for a little peace," said Mrs. Gibson.  "This house is in an
awful condition of untidiness, Miss Shirley.  I hope you realize it
ain't always so.  Pauline hasn't known which end of her was up
these last few days.  Will you please set that vase an inch to the
left?  No, move it back again.  That lamp shade is crooked.  Well,
that's a LITTLE straighter.  But that blind is an inch lower than
the other.  I wish you'd fix it."

Anne unluckily gave the blind too energetic a twist; it escaped her
fingers and went whizzing to the top.

"Ah, now you see," said Mrs. Gibson.

Anne didn't see but she adjusted the blind meticulously.

"And now wouldn't you like me to make you a nice cup of tea, Mrs.
Gibson?"

"I DO need something. . . .  I'm clean wore out with all this worry
and fuss.  My stomach seems to be dropping out of me," said Mrs.
Gibson pathetically.  "Kin you make a decent cup of tea?  I'd as
soon drink mud as the tea some folks make."

"Marilla Cuthbert taught me how to make tea.  You'll see.  But
first I'm going to wheel you out to the porch so that you can enjoy
the sunshine."

"I ain't been out on the porch for years," objected Mrs. Gibson.

"Oh, it's so lovely today, it can't hurt you.  I want you to see
the crab tree in bloom.  You can't see it unless you go out.  And
the wind is south today, so you'll get the clover scent from Norman
Johnson's field.  I'll bring you your tea and we'll drink it
together and then I'll get my embroidery and we'll sit there and
criticize everybody who passes."

"I don't hold with criticizing people," said Mrs. Gibson virtuously.
"It ain't Christian.  Would you mind telling me if that is all your
own hair?"

"Every bit," laughed Anne.

"Pity it's red.  Though red hair seems to be gitting popular now.
I sort of like your laugh.  That nervous giggle of poor Pauline's
always gits on my nerves.  Well, if I've got to git out, I s'pose
I've got to.  I'll likely ketch my death of cold, but the
responsibility is yours, Miss Shirley.  Remember I'm eighty . . .
every day of it, though I hear old Davy Ackham has been telling all
around Summerside I'm only seventy-nine.  His mother was a Watt.
The Watts were always jealous."

Anne moved the wheel-chair deftly out, and proved that she had a
knack of arranging pillows.  Soon after she brought out the tea and
Mrs. Gibson deigned approval.

"Yes, this is drinkable, Miss Shirley.  Ah me, for one year I had
to live entirely on liquids.  They never thought I'd pull through.
I often think it might have been better if I hadn't.  Is that the
crab tree you was raving about?"

"Yes . . . isn't it lovely . . . so white against that deep blue
sky?"

"It ain't poetical," was Mrs. Gibson's sole comment.  But she
became rather mellow after two cups of tea and the forenoon wore
away until it was time to think of dinner.

"I'll go and get it ready and then I'll bring it out here on a
little table."

"No, you won't, miss.  No crazy monkey-shines like that for me!
People would think it awful queer, us eating out here in public.  I
ain't denying it's kind of nice out here . . . though the smell of
clover always makes me kind of squalmish . . . and the forenoon's
passed awful quick to what it mostly does, but I ain't eating my
dinner out-of-doors for any one.  I ain't a gypsy.  Mind you wash
your hands clean before you cook the dinner.  My, Mrs. Storey must
be expecting more company.  She's got all the spare-room bed-
clothes airing on the line.  It ain't real hospitality . . . just a
desire for sensation.  Her mother was a Carey."

The dinner Anne produced pleased even Mrs. Gibson.

"I didn't think any one who wrote for the papers could cook.  But
of course Marilla Cuthbert brought you up.  Her mother was a
Johnson.  I s'pose Pauline will eat herself sick at that wedding.
She don't know when she's had enough . . . just like her father.
I've seen him gorge on strawberries when he knew he'd be doubled up
with pain an hour afterwards.  Did I ever show you his picture,
Miss Shirley?  Well, go to the spare-room and bring it down.
You'll find it under the bed.  Mind you don't go prying into the
drawers while you're up there.  But take a peep and see if there's
any dust curls under the bureau.  I don't trust Pauline. . . .  Ah,
yes, that's him.  His mother was a Walker.  There's no men like
that nowadays.  This is a degenerate age, Miss Shirley."

"Homer said the same thing eight hundred years, B.C.," smiled Anne.

"Some of them Old Testament writers was always croaking," said Mrs.
Gibson.  "I daresay you're shocked to hear me say so, Miss Shirley,
but my husband was very broad in his views.  I hear you're engaged
. . . to a medical student.  Medical students mostly drink, I
believe . . . have to, to stand the dissecting-room.  Never marry a
man who drinks, Miss Shirley.  Nor one who ain't a good provider.
Thistledown and moonshine ain't much to live on, I kin tell you.
Mind you clean the sink and rinse the dish-towels.  I can't abide
greasy dish-towels.  I s'pose you'll have to feed the dog.  He's
too fat now, but Pauline just stuffs him.  Sometimes I think I'll
have to get rid of him."

"Oh, I wouldn't do that, Mrs. Gibson.  There are always burglaries,
you know . . . and your house is lonely, off here by itself.  You
really do need protection."

"Oh, well, have it your own way.  I'd ruther do anything than argue
with people, 'specially when I've such a queer throbbing in the
back of my neck.  I s'pose it means I'm going to have a stroke."

"You need your nap.  When you've had it you'll feel better.  I'll
tuck you up and lower your chair.  Would you like to go out on the
porch for your nap?"

"Sleeping in public!  That'd be worse than eating.  You do have the
queerest ideas.  You just fix me up right here in the sitting-room
and draw the blinds down and shut the door to keep the flies out.
I daresay you'd like a quiet spell yourself . . . your tongue's
been going pretty steady."

Mrs. Gibson had a good long nap, but woke up in a bad humor.  She
would not let Anne wheel her out to the porch again.

"Want me to ketch my death in the night air, I s'pose," she
grumbled, although it was only five o'clock.  Nothing suited her.
The drink Anne brought her was too cold . . . the next one wasn't
cold enough . . . of course ANYTHING would do for HER.  Where was
the dog?  Misbehaving, no doubt.  Her back ached . . . her knees
ached . . . her head ached . . . her breastbone ached.  Nobody
sympathized with her . . . nobody knew what she went through.  Her
chair was too high . . . her chair was too low. . . .  She wanted a
shawl for her shoulders and an afghan for her knees and a cushion
for her feet.  And WOULD Miss Shirley see where that awful draught
was coming from?  She could do with a cup of tea, but she didn't
want to be a trouble to any one and she would soon be at rest in
her grave.  Maybe they might appreciate her when she was gone.

"Be the day short or be the day long, at last it weareth to evening
song."  There were moments when Anne thought it never would, but it
did.  Sunset came and Mrs. Gibson began to wonder why Pauline
wasn't coming.  Twilight came . . . still no Pauline.  Night and
moonshine and no Pauline.

"I knew it," said Mrs. Gibson cryptically.

"You know she can't come till Mr. Gregor comes and he's generally
the last dog hung," soothed Anne.  "Won't you let me put you to
bed, Mrs. Gibson?  You're tired . . . I know it's a bit of a strain
having a stranger round instead of some one you're accustomed to."

The little puckery lines about Mrs. Gibson's mouth deepened
obstinately.

"I'm not going to bed till that girl comes home.  But if you're so
anxious to be gone, GO.  _I_ can stay alone . . . or die alone."

At half past nine Mrs. Gibson decided that Jim Gregor was not
coming home till Monday.

"Nobody could ever depend on Jim Gregor to stay in the same mind
twenty-four hours.  And he thinks it's wrong to travel on Sunday
even to come home.  He's on your school board, ain't he?  What do
you really think of him and his opinions on eddication?"

Anne went wicked.  After all, she had endured a good deal at Mrs.
Gibson's hands that day.

"I think he's a psychological anachronism," she answered gravely.

Mrs. Gibson did not bat an eyelash.

"I agree with you," she said.  But she pretended to go to sleep
after that.



14


It was ten o'clock when Pauline came at last . . . a flushed,
starry-eyed Pauline, looking ten years younger, in spite of the
resumed taffeta and the old hat, and carrying a beautiful bouquet
which she hurriedly presented to the grim lady in the wheel-chair.

"The bride sent you her bouquet, Ma.  Isn't it lovely?  Twenty-five
white roses."

"Cat's hindfoot!  I don't s'pose any one thought of sending me a
crumb of wedding-cake.  People nowadays don't seem to have any
family feeling.  Ah, well, I've seen the day . . ."

"But they did.  I've a great big piece here in my bag.  And
everybody asked about you and sent you their love, Ma."

"Did you have a nice time?" asked Anne.

Pauline sat down on a hard chair because she knew her mother would
resent it if she sat on a soft one.

"Very nice," she said cautiously.  "We had a lovely wedding-dinner
and Mr. Freeman, the Gull Cove minister, married Louisa and Maurice
over again. . . ."

"I call that sacrilegious. . . ."

"And then the photographer took all our pictures.  The flowers were
simply wonderful.  The parlor was a bower . . ."

"Like a funeral I s'pose . . ."

"And, oh, Ma.  Mary Luckley was there from the west . . . Mrs.
Flemming, you know.  You remember what friends she and I always
were.  We used to call each other Polly and Molly. . . ."

"Very silly names . . ."

"And it was so nice to see her again and have a long talk over old
times.  Her sister Em was there, too, with such a delicious baby."

"You talk as if it was something to eat," grunted Mrs. Gibson.
"Babies are common enough."

"Oh, no, babies are never common," said Anne, bringing a bowl of
water for Mrs. Gibson's roses.  "Every one is a miracle."

"Well, I had ten and I never saw much that was miraculous about any
of them.  Pauline, do sit still if you kin.  You fidget me.  I
notice you ain't asking how _I_ got along.  But I s'pose I couldn't
expect it."

"I can tell how you got along without asking, Ma . . . you look so
bright and cheerful."  Pauline was still so uplifted by the day
that she could be a little arch even with her mother.  "I'm sure
you and Miss Shirley had a nice time together."

"We got on well enough.  I just let her have her own way.  I
admit it's the first time in years I've heard some interesting
conversation.  I ain't so near the grave as some people would like
to make out.  Thank heaven I've never got deaf or childish.  Well,
I s'pose the next thing you'll be off to the moon.  And I s'pose
they didn't care for my sarsaparilla wine by any chance?"

"Oh, they did.  They thought it delicious."

"You've taken your own time telling me that.  Did you bring back
the bottle . . . or would it be too much to expect you'd remember
that?"

"The . . . the bottle got broke," faltered Pauline.  "Some one
knocked it over in the pantry.  But Louisa gave me another just
exactly the same, Ma, so you needn't worry."

"I've had that bottle ever since I started housekeeping.  Louisa's
can't be exactly the same.  They don't make such bottles nowadays.
I wish you'd bring me another shawl.  I'm sneezing . . . I expect
I've got a terrible cold.  You can't either of you seem to remember
not to let the night air git at me.  Likely it'll bring my neuritis
back."

An old neighbor up the street dropped in at this Juncture and
Pauline snatched at the chance to go a little way with Anne.

"Good night, Miss Shirley," said Mrs. Gibson quite graciously.
"I'm much obliged to you.  If there was more people like you in
this town, it would be the better for it."  She grinned toothlessly
and pulled Anne down to her.  "I don't care what people say . . . I
think you're real nice-looking," she whispered.

Pauline and Anne walked along the street, through the cool, green
night, and Pauline let herself go, as she had not dared do before
her mother.

"Oh, Miss Shirley, it was heavenly.  How can I ever repay you?
I've never spent such a wonderful day . . . I'll live on it for
years.  It was such fun being a bridesmaid again.  And Captain
Isaac Kent was groomsman.  He . . . he used to be an old beau of
mine . . . well, no, hardly a beau . . . .  I don't think he ever
had any real intentions but we drove round together . . . and he
paid me two compliments.  He said, 'I remember how pretty you
looked at Louisa's wedding in that wine-colored dress.'  Wasn't it
wonderful his remembering the dress?  And he said, 'Your hair looks
just as much like molasses taffy as it ever did.'  There wasn't
anything improper in his saying that, was there, Miss Shirley?"

"Nothing whatever."

"Lou and Molly and I had such a nice supper together after
everybody had gone.  I was so hungry . . . I don't think I've been
so hungry for years.  It was so nice to eat just what I wanted and
nobody to warn me about things that wouldn't agree with my stomach.
After supper Mary and I went over to her old home and wandered
around the garden, talking over old times.  We saw the lilac bushes
we planted years ago.  We had some beautiful summers together when
we were girls.  Then when it came sunset we went down to the dear
old shore and sat there on a rock in silence.  There was a bell
ringing down at the harbor and it was lovely to feel the wind from
the sea again and see the stars trembling in the water.  I had
forgotten night on the gulf could be so beautiful.  When it got
quite dark we went back and Mr. Gregor was ready to start . . . and
so," concluded Pauline with a laugh, "The Old Woman Got Home That
Night."

"I wish . . . I wish you didn't have such a hard time at home,
Pauline. . . ."

"Oh, dear Miss Shirley, I won't mind it now," said Pauline quickly.
"After all, poor Ma needs me.  And it's nice to be needed, my
dear."

Yes, it was nice to be needed.  Anne thought of this in her tower
room, where Dusty Miller, having evaded both Rebecca Dew and the
widows, was curled up on her bed.  She thought of Pauline trotting
back to her bondage but companied by "the immortal spirit of one
happy day."

"I hope some one will always need me," said Anne to Dusty Miller.
"And it's wonderful, Dusty Miller, to be able to give happiness to
somebody.  It has made me feel so rich, giving Pauline this day.
But, oh, Dusty Miller, you don't think I'll ever be like Mrs.
Adoniram Gibson, even if I live to be eighty?  Do you, Dusty
Miller?"

Dusty Miller, with rich, throaty purrs, assured her he didn't.



15


Anne went down to Bonnyview on the Friday night before the wedding.
The Nelsons were giving a dinner for some family friends and
wedding-guests arriving by the boat train.  The big, rambling house
which was Dr. Nelson's "summer home" was built among spruces on a
long point with the bay on both sides and a stretch of golden-
breasted dunes beyond that knew all there was to be known about
winds.

Anne liked it the moment she saw it.  An old stone house always
looks reposeful and dignified.  It fears not what rain or wind or
changing fashion can do.  And on this June evening it was bubbling
over with young life and excitement, the laughter of girls, the
greetings of old friends, buggies coming and going, children
running everywhere, gifts arriving, every one in the delightful
turmoil of a wedding, while Dr. Nelson's two black cats, who
rejoiced in the names of Barnabas and Saul, sat on the railing of
the veranda and watched everything like two imperturbable sable
sphinxes.

Sally detached herself from a mob and whisked Anne upstairs.

"We've saved the north gable room for you.  Of course you'll have
to share it with at least three others.  There's a perfect riot
here.  Father's having a tent put up for the boys down among the
spruces and later on we can have cots in the glassed-in porch at
the back.  And we can pack most of the children in the hay-loft of
course.  Oh, Anne, I'm so excited.  It's really no end of fun
getting married.  My wedding-dress just came from Montreal today.
It's a DREAM . . . cream corded silk with a lace bertha and pearl
embroidery.  The loveliest gifts have come.  This is your bed.
Mamie Gray and Dot Fraser and Sis Palmer have the others.  Mother
wanted to put Amy Stewart here but I wouldn't let her.  Amy hates
you because she wanted to be my bridesmaid.  But I couldn't have
any one so fat and dumpy, could I now?  Besides, she looks like
somebody seasick in Nile green.  Oh, Anne, Aunt Mouser is here.
She came just a few minutes ago and we're simply horror-stricken.
Of course we had to invite her, but we never thought of her coming
before tomorrow."

"Who in the world is Aunt Mouser?"

"Dad's aunt, Mrs. James Kennedy.  Oh, of course she's really Aunt
Grace, but Tommy nicknamed her Aunt Mouser because she's always
mousing round pouncing on things we don't want her to find out.
There's no escaping her.  She even gets up early in the morning for
fear of missing something and she's the last to go to bed at night.
But that isn't the worst.  If there's a wrong thing to say she's
certain to say it and she's never learned that there are questions
that mustn't be asked.  Dad calls her speeches 'Aunt Mouser's
felicities.'  I know she'll spoil the dinner.  Here she comes now."

The door opened and Aunt Mouser came in . . . a fat, brown, pop-
eyed little woman, moving in an atmosphere of moth-balls and
wearing a chronically worried expression.  Except for the
expression she really did look a good deal like a hunting pussy-
cat.

"So you're the Miss Shirley I've always heard so much of.  You
ain't a bit like a Miss Shirley I once knew.  SHE had such
beautiful eyes.  Well, Sally, so you're to be married at last.
Poor Nora is the only one left.  Well, your mother is lucky to be
rid of five of you.  Eight years ago I said to her, 'Jane,' sez I,
'do you think you'll EVER get all those girls married off?'  Well,
a man is nothing but trouble as I sees it and of all the uncertain
things marriage is the uncertainest, but what else is there for a
woman in this world?  That's what I've just been saying to poor
Nora.  'Mark my words, Nora,' I said to her, 'there isn't much fun
in being an old maid.  What's Jim Wilcox thinking of?' I said to
her."

"Oh, Aunt Grace, I wish you hadn't!  Jim and Nora had some sort of
a quarrel last January and he's never been round since."

"I believe in saying what I think.  Things is better said.  I'd
heard of that quarrel.  That's why I asked her about him.  'It's
only right,' I told her, 'that you should know they say he's
driving Eleanor Pringle.'  She got red and mad and flounced off.
What's Vera Johnson doing here?  She ain't any relation."

"Vera's always been a great friend of mine, Aunt Grace.  She's
going to play the wedding-march."

"Oh, she is, is she?  Well, all I hope is she won't make a mistake
and play the Dead March like Mrs. Tom Scott did at Dora Best's
wedding.  Such a bad omen.  I don't know where you're going to put
the mob you've got here for the night.  Some of us will have to
sleep on the clothes-line I reckon."

"Oh, we'll find a place for every one, Aunt Grace."

"Well, Sally, all I hope is you won't change your mind at the last
moment like Helen Summers did.  It clutters things up so.  Your
father is in terrible high spirits.  I never was one to go looking
for trouble but all I hope is it ain't the forerunner of a stroke.
I've seen it happen that way."

"Oh, Dad's fine, Aunt Mouser.  He's just a bit excited."

"Ah, you're too young, Sally, to know all that can happen.  Your
mother tells me the ceremony is at high noon tomorrow.  The
fashions in weddings are changing like everything else and not for
the better.  When _I_ was married it was in the evening and my
father laid in twenty gallons of liquor for the wedding.  Ah, dear
me, times ain't what they used to be.  What's the matter with Mercy
Daniels?  I met her on the stairs and her complexion has got
terrible muddy."

"'The quality of mercy is not strained,'" giggled Sally, wriggling
into her dinner-dress.

"Don't quote the Bible flippantly," rebuked Aunt Mouser.  "You must
excuse her, Miss Shirley.  She just ain't used to getting married.
Well, all I hope is the groom won't have a hunted look like so many
of them do.  I s'pose they do feel that way, but they needn't show
it so plain.  And I hope he won't forget the ring.  Upton Hardy
did.  Him and Flora had to be married with a ring off one of the
curtain poles.  Well, I'll be taking another look at the wedding-
presents.  You've got a lot of nice things, Sally.  All I hope is
it won't be as hard to keep the handles of them spoons polished as
I think likely."

Dinner that night in the big, glassed-in porch was a gay affair.
Chinese lanterns had been hung all about it, shedding mellow-tinted
lights on the pretty dresses and glossy hair and white, unlined
brows of girls.  Barnabas and Saul sat like ebony statues on the
broad arms of the Doctor's chair, where he fed them tidbits
alternately.

"Just about as bad as Parker Pringle," said Aunt Mouser.  "HE has
his dog sit at the table with a chair and napkin of his own.  Well,
sooner or later there'll be a judgment."

It was a large party, for all the married Nelson girls and their
husbands were there, besides ushers and bridesmaids; and it was a
merry one, in spite of Aunt Mouser's "felicities" . . . or perhaps
because of them.  Nobody took Aunt Mouser very seriously; she was
evidently a joke among the young fry.  When she said, on being
introduced to Gordon Hill, "Well, well, you ain't a bit like I
expected.  I always thought Sally would pick out a tall handsome
man," ripples of laughter ran through the porch.  Gordon Hill, who
was on the short side and called no more than "pleasant-faced" by
his best friends, knew he would never hear the last of it.  When
she said to Dot Fraser, "Well, well, a new dress every time I see
you!  All I hope is your father's purse will be able to stand it
for a few years yet," Dot could, of course, have boiled her in oil,
but some of the other girls found it amusing.  And when Aunt Mouser
mournfully remarked, apropos of the preparations of the wedding-
dinner, "All I hope is everybody will get her teaspoons afterwards.
Five were missing after Gertie Paul's wedding.  They never turned
up," Mrs. Nelson, who had borrowed three dozen and the sisters-in-
law she had borrowed them from all looked harried.  But Dr. Nelson
haw-hawed cheerfully.

"We'll make everyone turn out their pockets before they go, Aunt
Grace."

"Ah, you may laugh, Samuel.  It is no joking-matter to have
anything like that happen in the family.  SOME ONE must have those
teaspoons.  I never go anywhere but I keep my eyes open for them.
I'd know them wherever I saw them, though it was twenty-eight years
ago.  Poor Nora was just a baby then.  You remember you had her
there, Jane, in a little white embroidered dress?  Twenty-eight
years!  Ah, Nora, you're getting on, though in this light you don't
show your age so much."

Nora did not join in the laugh that followed.  She looked as if she
might flash lightning at any moment.  In spite of her daffodil-hued
dress and the pearls in her dark hair, she made Anne think of a
black moth.  In direct contrast with Sally, who was a cool, snowy
blonde, Nora Nelson had magnificent black hair, dusky eyes, heavy
black brows and velvety red cheeks.  Her nose was beginning to look
a trifle hawk-like and she had never been accounted pretty, but
Anne felt an odd attraction to her in spite of her sulky,
smoldering expression.  She felt that she would prefer Nora as a
friend to the popular Sally.

They had a dance after dinner and music and laughter came tumbling
out of the broad low windows of the old stone house in a flood.  At
ten Nora had disappeared.  Anne was a little tired of the noise and
merriment.  She slipped through the hall to a back door that opened
almost on the bay, and flitted down a flight of rocky steps to the
shore, past a little grove of pointed firs.  How divine the cool
salt air was after the sultry evening!  How exquisite the silver
patterns of moonlight on the bay!  How dream-like that ship which
had sailed at the rising of the moon and was now approaching the
harbor bar!  It was a night when you might expect to stray into a
dance of mermaids.

Nora was hunched up in the grim black shadow of a rock by the
water's edge, looking more like a thunderstorm than ever.

"May I sit with you for a while?" asked Anne.  "I'm a little tired
of dancing and it's a shame to miss this wonderful night.  I envy
you with the whole harbor for a back yard like this."

"What would you feel like at a time like this if you had no beau?"
asked Nora abruptly and sullenly.  "Or any likelihood of one," she
added still more sullenly.

"I think it must be your own fault if you haven't," said Anne,
sitting down beside her.  Nora found herself telling Anne her
troubles.  There was always something about Anne that made people
tell her their troubles.

"You're saying that to be polite of course.  You needn't.  You know
as well as I do that I'm not a girl men are likely to fall in love
with . . . I'm 'the plain Miss Nelson.'  It ISN'T my fault that I
haven't anybody.  I couldn't stand it in there any longer.  I had
to come down here and just let myself be unhappy.  I'm tired of
smiling and being agreeable to every one and pretending not to care
when they give me digs about not being married.  I'm not going to
pretend any longer.  I DO care . . . I care horribly.  I'm the only
one of the Nelson girls left.  Five of us are married or will be
tomorrow.  You heard Aunt Mouser casting my age up to me at the
dinnertable.  And I heard her telling Mother before dinner that I
had 'aged quite a bit' since last summer.  Of course I have.  I'm
twenty-eight.  In twelve more years I'll be forty.  How will I
endure life at forty, Anne, if I haven't got any roots of my own by
that time?"

"I wouldn't mind what a foolish old woman said."

"Oh, wouldn't you?  You haven't a nose like mine.  I'll be as beaky
as Father in ten more years.  And I suppose you wouldn't care,
either, if you'd waited years for a man to propose . . . and he
just wouldn't?"

"Oh, yes, I think I would care about THAT."

"Well, that's my predicament exactly.  Oh, I know you've heard of
Jim Wilcox and me.  It's such an old story.  He's been hanging
around me for years . . . but he's never said anything about
getting married."

"Do you care for him?"

"Of course I care.  I've always pretended I didn't but, as I've
told you, I'm through with pretending.  And he's never been near me
since last January.  We had a fight . . . but we've had hundreds of
fights.  He always came back before . . . but he hasn't come this
time . . . and he never will.  He doesn't want to.  Look at his
house across the bay, shining in the moonlight.  I suppose he's
there . . . and I'm here . . . and all the harbor between us.
That's the way it always will be.  It . . . it's terrible!  And I
can't do a thing."

"If you sent for him, wouldn't he come back?"

"Send for him!  Do you think I'd do THAT?  I'd die first.  If he
wants to come, there's nothing to prevent him coming.  If he
doesn't, _I_ don't want him to.  Yes, I do . . . I do!  I love Jim
. . . and I want to get married.  I want to have a home of my own
and be 'Mrs.' and shut Aunt Mouser's mouth.  Oh, I wish I could be
Barnabas or Saul for a few moments just to swear at her!  If she
calls me 'poor Nora' again I'll throw a scuttle at her.  But after
all, she only says what everybody thinks.  Mother has despaired
long ago of my ever marrying, so she leaves me alone, but the rest
rag me.  I hate Sally . . . of course I'm dreadful . . . but I hate
her.  She's getting a nice husband and a lovely home.  It isn't
fair she should have everything and I nothing.  She isn't better or
cleverer or much prettier than me . . . only luckier.  I suppose
you think I'm awful . . . not that I care what you think."

"I think you're very, very tired, after all these weeks of
preparation and strain, and that things which were always hard have
become TOO hard all at once."

"You understand . . . oh, yes, I always knew you would.  I've
wanted to be friends with you, Anne Shirley.  I like the way you
laugh.  I've always wished I could laugh like that.  I'm not as
sulky as I look . . . it's these eyebrows.  I really think they're
what scare the men away.  I never had a real girl friend in my
life.  But of course I always had Jim.  We've been . . . friends
. . . ever since we were kids.  Why, I used to put a light up in
that little window in the attic whenever I wanted him over
particularly and he'd sail across at once.  We went everywhere
together.  No other boy ever had a chance . . . not that any one
wanted it, I suppose.  And now it's all over.  He was just tired of
me and was glad of the excuse of a quarrel to get free.  Oh, won't I
hate you tomorrow because I've told you this!"

"Why?"

"We always hate people who surprise our secrets, I suppose," said
Nora drearily.  "But there's something gets into you at a wedding
. . . and I just don't care . . . I don't care for anything.  Oh,
Anne Shirley, I'm so miserable!  Just let me have a good cry on your
shoulder.  I've GOT to smile and look happy all day tomorrow. Sally
thinks it's because I'm superstitious that I wouldn't be her
bridesmaid. . . .  'Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride,' you
know.  'Tisn't!  I just couldn't endure to stand there and hear her
saying, 'I will,' and know I'd never have a chance to say it for
Jim.  I'd have flung back my head and howled.  I want to be a bride
. . . and have a trousseau . . . and monogrammed linen . . . and
lovely presents.  Even Aunt Mouser's silver butter-dish.  She always
gives a butter-dish to every bride . . . awful things with tops like
the dome of St. Peter's.  We could have had it on the breakfast
table just for Jim to make fun of.  Anne, I think I'm going crazy."

The dance was over when the girls went back to the house, hand in
hand.  People were being stowed away for the night.  Tommy Nelson
was taking Barnabas and Saul to the barn.  Aunt Mouser was still
sitting on a sofa, thinking of all the dreadful things she hoped
wouldn't happen on the morrow.

"I hope nobody will get up and give a reason why they shouldn't be
joined together.  THAT happened at Tillie Hatfield's wedding."

"No such good luck for Gordon as that," said the groomsman.  Aunt
Mouser fixed him with a stony brown eye.

"Young man, marriage isn't exactly a joke."

"You bet it isn't," said the unrepentant.  "Hello, Nora, when are
we going to have a chance to dance at your wedding?"

Nora did not answer in words.  She went closer up to him and
deliberately slapped him, first on one side of his face and then on
the other.  The slaps were not make-believe ones.  Then she went
upstairs without looking behind her.

"That girl," said Aunt Mouser, "is overwrought."



16


The forenoon of Saturday passed in a whirl of last-minute things.
Anne, shrouded in one of Mrs. Nelson's aprons, spent it in the
kitchen helping Nora with the salads.  Nora was all prickles,
evidently repenting, as she had foretold, her confidences of the
night before.

"We'll be all tired out for a month," she snapped, "and Father
can't really afford all this splurge.  But Sally was set on having
what she calls a 'pretty wedding' and Father gave in.  He's always
spoiled her."

"Spite and jealousy," said Aunt Mouser, suddenly popping her head
out of the pantry, where she was driving Mrs. Nelson frantic with
her hopings against hope.

"She's right," said Nora bitterly to Anne.  "Quite right.  I AM
spiteful and jealous . . . I hate the very look of happy people.
But all the same I'm not sorry I slapped Jud Taylor's face last
night.  I'm only sorry I didn't tweak his nose into the bargain.
Well, that finishes the salads.  They do look pretty.  I love
fussing things up when I'm normal.  Oh, after all, I hope
everything will go off nicely for Sally's sake.  I suppose I do
love her underneath everything, though just now I feel as if I
hated every one and Jim Wilcox worst of all."

"Well, all I hope is the groom won't be missing just before the
ceremony," floated out from the pantry in Aunt Mouser's lugubrious
tones.  "Austin Creed was.  He just forgot he was to be married
that day.  The Creeds were always forgetful, but I call that
carrying things too far."

The two girls looked at each other and laughed.  Nora's whole face
changed when she laughed . . . lightened . . . glowed . . .
rippled.  And then some one came out to tell her that Barnabas had
been sick on the stairs . . . too many chicken livers probably.
Nora rushed off to repair the damage and Aunt Mouser came out of
the pantry to hope that the wedding-cake wouldn't disappear as had
happened at Alma Clark's wedding ten years before.

By noon everything was in immaculate readiness . . . the table
laid, the beds beautifully dressed, baskets of flowers everywhere;
and in the big north room upstairs Sally and her three bridesmaids
were in quivering splendor.  Anne, in her Nile green dress and hat,
looked at herself in the mirror, and wished that Gilbert could see
her.

"You're wonderful," said Nora half enviously.

"You're looking wonderful yourself, Nora.  That smoke-blue chiffon
and that picture hat bring out the gloss of your hair and the blue
of your eyes."

"There's nobody to care how I look," said Nora bitterly.  "Well,
watch me grin, Anne.  I mustn't be the death's head at the feast, I
suppose.  I have to play the wedding-march after all . . . Vera's
got a terrible headache.  I feel more like playing the Dead March,
as Aunt Mouser foreboded."

Aunt Mouser, who had wandered round all the morning, getting in
everybody's way, in a none too clean old kimono and a wilted
"boudoir cap," now appeared resplendent in maroon grosgrain and
told Sally one of her sleeves didn't fit and she hoped nobody's
petticoat would show below her dress as had happened at Annie
Crewson's wedding.  Mrs. Nelson came in and cried because Sally
looked so lovely in her wedding-dress.

"Now, now, don't be sentimental, Jane," soothed Aunt Mouser.
"You've still got one daughter left . . . and likely to have her by
all accounts.  Tears ain't lucky at weddings.  Well, all I hope is
nobody'll drop dead like old Uncle Cromwell at Roberta Pringle's
wedding, right in the middle of the ceremony.  The bride spent two
weeks in bed from shock."

With this inspiring send-off the bridal party went downstairs, to
the strains of Nora's wedding-march somewhat stormily played, and
Sally and Gordon were married without anybody dropping dead or
forgetting the ring.  It WAS a pretty wedding group and even Aunt
Mouser gave up worrying about the universe for a few moments.
"After all," she told Sally hopefully later on, "even if you ain't
very happy married, it's likely you'd be more unhappy not."  Nora
alone continued to glower from the piano stool, but she went up to
Sally and gave her a fierce hug, wedding-veil and all.

"So that's finished," said Nora drearily, when the dinner was over
and the bridal party and most of the guests had gone.  She glanced
around at the room which looked as forlorn and disheveled as rooms
always do in the aftermath . . . a faded, trampled corsage lying on
the floor . . . chairs awry . . . a torn piece of lace . . . two
dropped handkerchiefs . . . crumbs the children had scattered . . .
a dark stain on the ceiling where the water from a jug Aunt Mouser
had overturned in a guest-room had seeped through.

"I must clear up this mess," went on Nora savagely.  "There's a
lot of young fry waiting for the boat train and some staying over
Sunday.  They're going to wind up with a bonfire on the shore and a
moonlit rock dance.  You can imagine how much I feel like moonlight
dancing.  _I_ want to go to bed and cry."

"A house after a wedding is over does seem a rather forsaken
place," said Anne.  "But I'll help you clear up and then we'll have
a cup of tea."

"Anne Shirley, do you think a cup of tea is a panacea for everything?
It's you who ought to be the old maid, not me.  Never mind.  I don't
want to be horrid, but I suppose it's my native disposition.  I hate
the thought of this shore dance more than the wedding.  Jim always
used to be at our shore dances.  Anne, I've made up my mind to go
and train for a nurse.  I know I'll hate it . . . and heaven help my
future patients . . . but I'm not going to hang around Summerside
and be teased about being on the shelf any longer.  Well, let's
tackle this pile of greasy plates and look as if we liked it."

"I do like it . . . I've always liked washing dishes.  It's fun to
make dirty things clean and shining again."

"Oh, you ought to be in a museum," snapped Nora.

By moonrise everything was ready for the shore dance.  The boys had
a huge bonfire of driftwood ablaze on the point, and the waters of
the harbor were creaming and shimmering in the moonlight.  Anne was
expecting to enjoy herself hugely, but a glimpse of Nora's face, as
the latter went down the steps carrying a basket of sandwiches,
gave her pause.

"She's so unhappy.  If there was anything I could do!"

An idea popped into Anne's head.  She had always been a prey to
impulse.  Darting into the kitchen, she snatched up a little hand-
lamp alight there, sped up the back stairs and up another flight to
the attic.  She set the light in the dormer-window that looked out
across the harbor.  The trees hid it from the dancers.

"He may see it and come.  I suppose Nora will be furious with me,
but that won't matter if he only comes.  And now to wrap up a bit
of wedding-cake for Rebecca Dew."

Jim Wilcox did not come.  Anne gave up looking for him after a
while and forgot him in the merriment of the evening.  Nora had
disappeared and Aunt Mouser had for a wonder gone to bed.  It was
eleven o'clock when the revelry ceased and the tired moonlighters
yawned their way upstairs.  Anne was so sleepy, she never thought
of the light in the attic.  But at two o'clock Aunt Mouser crept
into the room and flashed a candle in the girls' faces.

"Goodness, what's the matter?" gasped Dot Fraser, sitting up in
bed.

"S-s-s-sh," warned Aunt Mouser, her eyes nearly popping out of her
head, "I think there's some one in the house . . . I KNOW there is.
What is that noise?"

"Sounds like a cat mewing or a dog barking," giggled Dot.

"Nothing of the sort," said Aunt Mouser severely.  "I know there's
a dog barking in the barn, but that is not what wakened me.  It was
a bump . . . a loud, distinct bump."

"'From ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties and things
that go bump in the night, good Lord, deliver us,'" murmured Anne.

"Miss Shirley, this ain't any laughing-matter.  There's burglars in
this house.  I'm going to call Samuel."

Aunt Mouser disappeared and the girls looked at each other.

"Do you suppose . . . all the wedding-presents are down in the
library . . ." said Anne.

"I'm going to get up, anyhow," said Mamie.  "Anne, did you ever see
anything like Aunt Mouser's face when she held the candle low and
the shadows fell upward . . . and all those wisps of hair hanging
about it?  Talk of the Witch of Endor!"

Four girls in kimonos slipped out into the hall.  Aunt Mouser was
coming along it, followed by Dr. Nelson in dressing-gown and
slippers.  Mrs. Nelson, who couldn't find her kimono, was sticking
a terrified face out of her door.

"Oh, Samuel . . . don't take any risks . . . if it's burglars they
may shoot. . . ."

"Nonsense!  I don't believe there's anything," said the Doctor.

"I tell you I heard a bump," quavered Aunt Mouser.

A couple of boys joined the party.  They crept cautiously down the
stairs with the Doctor at the head and Aunt Mouser, candle in one
hand and poker in the other, bringing up the rear.

There were undoubtedly noises in the library.  The Doctor opened
the door and walked in.

Barnabas, who had contrived to be overlooked in the library when
Saul had been taken to the barn, was sitting on the back of the
chesterfield, blinking amused eyes.  Nora and a young man were
standing in the middle of the room, which was dimly lighted by
another flickering candle.  The young man had his arms around Nora
and was holding a large white handkerchief to her face.

"He's chloroforming her!" shrieked Aunt Mouser, letting the poker
fall with a tremendous crash.

The young man turned, dropped the handkerchief and looked foolish.
Yet he was a rather nice-looking young man, with crinkly russet
eyes and crinkly red-brown hair, not to mention a chin that gave
the world assurance of a chin.

Nora snatched the handkerchief up and applied it to her face.

"Jim Wilcox, what does this mean?" said the Doctor, with exceeding
sternness.

"_I_ don't know what it means," said Jim Wilcox rather sulkily.
"All I know is Nora signaled for me.  I didn't see the light till I
got home at one from a Masonic banquet in Summerside.  And I sailed
right over."

"I didn't signal for you," stormed Nora.  "For pity's sake don't
look like that, Father.  I wasn't asleep . . . I was sitting at my
window . . . I hadn't undressed . . . and I saw a man coming up
from the shore.  When he got near the house I knew it was Jim, so I
ran down.  And I . . . I ran into the library door and made my nose
bleed.  He's just been trying to stop it."

"I jumped in at the window and knocked over that bench. . . ."

"I told you I heard a bump," said Aunt Mouser.

". . . and now Nora says she didn't signal for me, so I'll just
relieve you of my unwelcome presence, with apologies to all
concerned."

"It's really too bad to have disturbed your night's rest and
brought you all the way over the bay on a wild-goose chase," said
Nora as icily as possible, consistent with hunting for a bloodless
spot on Jim's handkerchief.

"Wild-GOOSE chase is right," said the Doctor.

"You'd better try a door-key down your back," said Aunt Mouser.

"It was I who put the light in the window," said Anne shamefacedly,
"and then I forgot . . ."

"You dared!" cried Nora, "I'll never forgive you . . ."

"Have you all gone crazy?" said the Doctor irritably.  "What's all
this fuss about, anyhow?  For heaven's sake put that window down,
Jim . . . there's a wind blowing in fit to chill you to the bone.
Nora, hang your head back and your nose will be all right."

Nora was shedding tears of rage and shame.  Mingled with the blood
on her face they made her a fearsome sight.  Jim Wilcox looked as
if he wished the floor would open and gently drop him in the
cellar.

"Well," said Aunt Mouser belligerently, "all you can do now is
marry her, Jim Wilcox.  She'll never get a husband if it gets round
that she was found here with you at two o'clock at night."

"Marry her!" cried Jim in exasperation.  "What have I wanted all my
life but to marry her . . . never wanted anything else!"

"Then why didn't you say so long ago?" demanded Nora, whirling
about to face him.

"Say so?  You've snubbed and frozen and jeered at me for years.
You've gone out of your way times without number to show me how you
despised me.  I didn't think it was the least use to ask you.  And
last January you said . . ."

"You goaded me into saying it . . ."

"_I_ goaded you!  I like that!  You picked a quarrel with me just
to get rid of me. . . ."

"I didn't . . . I . . ."

"And yet I was fool enough to tear over here in the dead of night
because I thought you'd put our old signal in the window and wanted
me!  Ask you to marry me!  Well, I'll ask you now and have done
with it and you can have the fun of turning me down before all this
gang.  Nora Edith Nelson, will you marry me?"

"Oh, won't I . . . won't I!" cried Nora so shamelessly that even
Barnabas blushed for her.

Jim gave her one incredulous look . . . then sprang at her.
Perhaps her nose had stopped bleeding . . . perhaps it hadn't.
It didn't matter.

"I think you've all forgotten that this is the Sabbath morn," said
Aunt Mouser, who had just remembered it herself.  "I could do
with a cup of tea if any one would make it.  I ain't used to
demonstrations like this.  All I hope is poor Nora has really
landed him at last.  At least, she has witnesses."

They went to the kitchen and Mrs. Nelson came down and made tea for
them . . . all except Jim and Nora, who remained closeted in the
library with Barnabas for chaperon.  Anne did not see Nora until
the morning . . . such a different Nora, ten years younger, flushed
with happiness.

"I owe this to you, Anne.  If you hadn't set the light . . . though
just for two and a half minutes last night I could have chewed your
ears off!"

"And to think I slept through it all," moaned Tommy Nelson heart-
brokenly.

But the last word was with Aunt Mouser.

"Well, all I hope is it won't be a case of marrying in haste and
repenting at leisure."



17


(Extract from letter to Gilbert.)

"School closed today.  Two months of Green Gables and dew-wet,
spicy ferns ankle-deep along the brook and lazy, dappling shadows
in Lover's Lane and wild strawberries in Mr. Bell's pasture and the
dark loveliness of firs in the Haunted Wood!  My very soul has
wings.

"Jen Pringle brought me a bouquet of lilies of the valley and
wished me a happy vacation.  She's coming down to spend a week-end
with me some time.  Talk of miracles!

"But little Elizabeth is heart-broken.  I wanted her for a visit,
too, but Mrs. Campbell did not 'deem it advisable.'  Luckily, I
hadn't said anything to Elizabeth about it, so she was spared that
disappointment.

"'I believe I'll be Lizzie all the time you're away, Miss Shirley,'
she told me.  'I'll FEEL like Lizzie anyway.'

"'But think of the fun we'll have when I come back,' I said.  'Of
course you won't be Lizzie.  There's no such person as Lizzie in
you.  And I'll write you every week, little Elizabeth.'

"'Oh, Miss Shirley, will you!  I've never had a letter in my life.
Won't it be fun!  And I'll write you if they'll let me have a
stamp.  If they don't, you'll know I'm thinking of you just the
same.  I've called the chipmunk in the back yard after you . . .
Shirley.  You don't mind, do you?  I thought at first of calling it
Anne Shirley . . . but then I thought that mightn't be respectful
. . . and, anyway, Anne doesn't sound chipmunky.  Besides, it might
be a gentleman chipmunk.  Chipmunks are such darling things, aren't
they?  But the Woman says they eat the rosebush roots.'

"'She would!' I said.

"I asked Katherine Brooke where she was going to spend the summer
and she briefly answered, 'Here.  Where did you suppose?'

"I felt as if I ought to ask her to Green Gables, but I just
couldn't.  Of course I don't suppose she'd have come, anyway.  And
she's such a kill-joy.  She'd spoil everything.  But when I think
of her alone in that cheap boarding-house all summer, my conscience
gives me unpleasant jabs.

"Dusty Miller brought in a live snake the other day and dropped it
on the floor of the kitchen.  If Rebecca Dew could have turned pale
she would have.  'This IS really the last straw!' she said.  But
Rebecca Dew is just a little peevish these days because she has to
spend all her spare time picking big gray-green beetles off the
rose trees and dropping them in a can of kerosene.  She thinks
there are entirely too many insects in the world.

"'It's just going to be eaten up by them some day,' she predicts
mournfully.

"Nora Nelson is to be married to Jim Wilcox in September.  Very
quietly . . . no fuss, no guests, no bridesmaids.  Nora told me
that was the only way to escape Aunt Mouser, and she will NOT have
Aunt Mouser to see her married.  I'm to be present, however, sort
of unofficially.  Nora says Jim would never have come back if I
hadn't set that light in the window.  He was going to sell his
store and go west.  Well, when I think of all the matches I'm
supposed to have made . . .

"Sally says they'll fight most of their time but that they'll be
happier fighting with each other than agreeing with anybody else.
But I don't think they'll fight . . . much.  I think it is just
misunderstanding that makes most of the trouble in the world.  You
and I for so long, now . . .

"Good night, belovedest.  Your sleep will be sweet if there is any
influence in the wishes of

"YOUR OWN.

"P.S.  The above sentence is quoted verbatim from a letter of Aunt
Chatty's grandmother."




THE SECOND YEAR



1


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"September 14th.

"I can hardly reconcile myself to the fact that our beautiful two
months are over.  They WERE beautiful, weren't they, dearest?  And
now it will be only two years before . . .

(Several paragraphs omitted.)

"But there has been a good deal of pleasure in coming back to Windy
Poplars . . . to my own private tower and my own special chair and
my own lofty bed . . . and even Dusty Miller basking on the kitchen
window-sill.

"The widows were glad to see me and Rebecca Dew said frankly, 'It's
good to have you back.'  Little Elizabeth felt the same way.  We
had a rapturous meeting at the green gate.

"'I was a little afraid you might have got into Tomorrow before
me,' said little Elizabeth.

"'Isn't this a lovely evening?' I said.

"'Where you are it's always a lovely evening, Miss Shirley,' said
little Elizabeth.

"Talk of compliments!

"'How have you put in the summer, darling?' I asked.

"'Thinking,' said little Elizabeth softly, 'of all the lovely
things that will happen in Tomorrow.'

"Then we went up to the tower room and read a story about elephants.
Little Elizabeth is very much interested in elephants at present.

"'There is something bewitching about the very name of elephant,
isn't there?' she said gravely, holding her chin in her small hands
after a fashion she has.  'I expect to meet lots of elephants in
Tomorrow.'

"We put an elephant park in our map of fairyland.  It is no use
looking superior and disdainful, my Gilbert, as I know you will be
looking when you read this.  Not a bit of use.  The world always
WILL have fairies.  It can't get along without them.  And somebody
has to supply them.

"It's rather nice to be back in school, too.  Katherine Brooke
isn't any more companionable but my pupils seemed glad to see me
and Jen Pringle wants me to help her make the tin halos for the
angels' heads in a Sunday-school concert.

"I think the course of study this year will be much more interesting
than last year.  Canadian History has been added to the curriculum.
I have to give a little 'lecturette' tomorrow on the War of 1812.
It seems so strange to read over the stories of those old wars . . .
things that can never happen again.  I don't suppose any of us will
ever have more than an academic interest in 'battles long ago.'
It's impossible to think of Canada ever being at war again.  I am so
thankful that phase of history is over.

"We are going to reorganize the Dramatic Club at once and canvass
every family connected with the school for a subscription.  Lewis
Allen and I are going to take the Dawlish Road as our territory and
canvass it next Saturday afternoon.  Lewis will try to kill two
birds with one stone, as he is competing for a prize offered by
Country Homes for the best photograph of an attractive farmhouse.
The prize is twenty-five dollars and that will mean a badly needed
new suit and overcoat for Lewis.  He worked on a farm all summer
and is doing housework and waiting on the table at his boarding-
house again this year.  He must hate it, but he never says a word
about it.  I do like Lewis . . . he is so plucky and ambitious,
with a charming grin in place of a smile.  And he really isn't
over-strong.  I was afraid last year he would break down.  But his
summer on the farm seems to have built him up a bit.  This is his
last year in High and then he hopes to achieve a year at Queen's.
The widows are going to ask him to Sunday-night supper as often as
possible this winter.  Aunt Kate and I have had a conference on
ways and means and I persuaded her to let me put up the extras.  Of
course we didn't try to persuade Rebecca Dew.  I merely asked Aunt
Kate in Rebecca's hearing if I could have Lewis Allen in on Sunday
nights at least twice a month.  Aunt Kate said coldly she was
afraid they couldn't afford it, in addition to their usual lonely
girl.

"Rebecca Dew uttered a cry of anguish.

"'This IS the last straw.  Getting so poor we can't afford a bite
now and again to a poor, hard-working, sober boy who is trying to
get an education! You pay more for liver for That Cat and him ready
to burst.  Well, take a dollar off my wages and have him.'

"The gospel according to Rebecca was accepted.  Lewis Allen is
coming and neither Dusty Miller's liver nor Rebecca Dew's wages
will be less.  Dear Rebecca Dew!

"Aunt Chatty crept into my room last night to tell me she wanted to
get a beaded cape but that Aunt Kate thought she was too old for it
and her feelings had been hurt.

"'Do you think I am, Miss Shirley?  I don't want to be undignified
. . . but I've always wanted a beaded cape so much.  I always
thought they were what you might call jaunty . . . and now they're
in again."

"'Too old!  Of course you're not too old, dearest,' I assured her.
'Nobody is ever too old to wear just what she wants to wear.  You
wouldn't WANT to wear it if you were too old.'  'I shall get it and
defy Kate,' said Aunt Chatty, anything but defiantly.  But I think
she will . . . and I think I know how to reconcile Aunt Kate.

"I'm alone in my tower.  Outside there is a still, still night and
the silence is velvety.  Not even the poplars are stirring.  I have
just leaned out of my window and blown a kiss in the direction of
somebody not a hundred miles away from Kingsport."



2


The Dawlish Road was a meandering sort of road, and the afternoon
was made for wanderers . . . or so Anne and Lewis thought as they
prowled along it, now and then pausing to enjoy a sudden sapphire
glimpse of the strait through the trees or to snap a particularly
lovely bit of scenery or picturesque little house in a leafy
hollow.  It was not, perhaps, quite so pleasant to call at the
houses themselves and ask for subscriptions for the benefit of the
Dramatic Club, but Anne and Lewis took turns doing the talking . . .
he taking on the women while Anne manipulated the men.

"Take the men if you're going in that dress and hat," Rebecca Dew
had advised.  "I've had a good bit of experience in canvassing in
my day and it all went to show that the better-dressed and better-
looking you are the more money . . . or promise of it . . . you'll
get, if it's the men you have to tackle.  But if it's the women,
put on the oldest and ugliest things you have."

"Isn't a road an interesting thing, Lewis?" said Anne dreamily.
"Not a straight road, but one with ends and kinks around which
anything of beauty and surprise may be lurking.  I've always loved
bends in roads."

"Where does this Dawlish Road go to?" asked Lewis practically . . .
though at the same moment he was reflecting that Miss Shirley's
voice always made him think of spring.

"I might be horrid and school-teacherish, Lewis, and say that it
doesn't go anywhere . . . it stays right here.  But I won't.  As to
where it goes or where it leads to . . . who cares?  To the end of
the world and back, perhaps.  Remember what Emerson says . . . 'Oh,
what have I to do with time?'  That's our motto for today.  I
expect the universe will muddle on if we let it alone for a while.
Look at those cloud shadows . . . and that tranquillity of green
valleys . . . and that house with an apple tree at each of its
corners.  Imagine it in spring.  This is one of the days people
FEEL alive and every wind of the world is a sister.  I'm glad there
are so many clumps of spice ferns along this road . . . spice ferns
with gossamer webs on them.  It brings back the days when I
pretended . . . or believed . . . I think I really did believe . . .
that gossamer webs were fairies' tablecloths."

They found a wayside spring in a golden hollow and sat down on a
moss that seemed made of tiny ferns, to drink from a cup that Lewis
twisted out of birch bark.

"You never know the real joy of drinking till you're dry with
thirst and find water," he said.  "That summer I worked out west on
the railroad they were building, I got lost on the prairie one hot
day and wandered for hours.  I thought I'd die of thirst and then I
came to a settler's shack, and he had a little spring like this in
a clump of willows.  How I drank!  I've understood the Bible and
its love of good water better ever since."

"We're going to get some water from another quarter," said Anne
rather anxiously.  "There's a shower coming up and . . . Lewis, I
love showers, but I've got on my best hat and my second-best dress.
And there isn't a house within half a mile."

"There's an old deserted blacksmith's forge over there," said
Lewis, "but we'll have to run for it."

Run they did and from its shelter enjoyed the shower as they had
enjoyed everything else on that carefree, gypsying afternoon.  A
veiled hush had fallen over the world.  All the young breezes that
had been whispering and rustling so importantly along the Dawlish
Road had folded their wings and become motionless and soundless.
Not a leaf stirred, not a shadow flickered.  The maple leaves at
the bend of the road turned wrong side out until the trees looked
as if they were turning pale from fear.  A huge cool shadow seemed
to engulf them like a green wave . . . the cloud had reached them.
Then the rain, with a rush and sweep of wind.  The shower pattered
sharply down on the leaves, danced along the smoking red road and
pelted the roof of the old forge right merrily.

"If this lasts . . ." said Lewis.

But it didn't.  As suddenly as it had come up, it was over and the
sun was shining on the wet, glistening trees.  Dazzling glimpses of
blue sky appeared between the torn white clouds.  Far away they
could see a hill still dim with rain, but below them the cup of the
valley seemed to brim over with peach-tinted mists.  The woods
around were pranked out with a sparkle and glitter as of springtime,
and a bird began to sing in the big maple over the forge as if he
were cheated into believing it really was springtime, so amazingly
fresh and sweet did the world seem all at once.

"Let's explore this," said Anne, when they resumed their tramp,
looking along a little side road running between old rail fences
smothered in goldenrod.

"I don't think there's anybody living along that road," said Lewis
doubtfully.  "I think it's only a road running down to the harbor."

"Never mind . . . let's go along it.  I've always had a weakness
for side roads . . . something off the beaten track, lost and green
and lonely.  Smell the wet grass, Lewis.  Besides, I feel in my
bones that there IS a house on it . . . a certain kind of house
. . . a very snappable house."

Anne's bones did not deceive her.  Soon there was a house . . . and
a snappable house to boot.  It was a quaint, old-fashioned one, low
in the eaves, with square, small-paned windows.  Big willows
stretched patriarchal arms over it and an apparent wilderness of
perennials and shrubs crowded all about it.  It was weather-gray
and shabby, but the big barns beyond it were snug and prosperous-
looking, up-to-date in every respect.  "I've always heard, Miss
Shirley, that when a man's barns are better than his house, it's a
sign that his income exceeds his expenditure," said Lewis, as they
sauntered up the deep-rutted grassy lane.

"I should think it was a sign that he thought more of his horses
than of his family," laughed Anne.  "I'm not expecting a subscription
to our club here, but that's the most likely house for a prize
contest we've encountered yet.  It's grayness won't matter in a
photograph."

"This lane doesn't look as if it were much traveled," said Lewis
with a shrug.  "Evidently the folks who live here aren't strongly
sociable.  I'm afraid we'll find they don't even know what a
dramatic club is.  Anyhow, I'm going to secure my picture before we
rouse any of them from their lair."

The house seemed deserted, but after the picture was taken they
opened a little white gate, crossed the yard and knocked on a faded
blue kitchen door, the front door evidently being like that of
Windy Poplars, more for show than for use . . . if a door literally
hidden in Virginia creeper could be said to be for show.

They expected at least the civility which they had hitherto met in
their calls, whether backed up with generosity or not.  Consequently
they were decidedly taken aback when the door was jerked open and on
the threshold appeared, not the smiling farmer's wife or daughter
they had expected to see, but a tall, broad-shouldered man of
fifty, with grizzled hair and bushy eyebrows, who demanded
unceremoniously,

"What do you want?"

"We have called, hoping to interest you in our High School Dramatic
Club," began Anne, rather lamely.  But she was spared further
effort.

"Never heard of it.  Don't want to hear about it.  Nothing to do
with it," was the uncompromising interruption, and the door was
promptly shut in their faces.

"I believe we've been snubbed," said Anne as they walked away.

"Nice amiable gentleman, that," grinned Lewis.  "I'm sorry for his
wife, if he has one."

"I don't think he can have, or she would civilize him a trifle,"
said Anne, trying to recover her shattered poise.  "I wish Rebecca
Dew had the handling of him.  But we've got his house, at least,
and I've a premonition that it's going to win the prize.  Bother!
I've just got a pebble in my shoe and I'm going to sit down on my
gentleman's stone dyke, with or without his permission, and remove
it."

"Luckily it's out of sight of the house," said Lewis.

Anne had just retied her shoe-lace when they heard something
pushing softly through the jungle of shrubbery on their right.
Then a small boy about eight years of age came into view and stood
surveying them bashfully, with a big apple turnover clasped tightly
in his chubby hands.  He was a pretty child, with glossy brown
curls, big trustful brown eyes and delicately modeled features.
There was an air of refinement about him, in spite of the fact that
he was bare-headed and bare-legged, with only a faded blue cotton
shirt and a pair of threadbare velvet knickerbockers between head
and legs.  But he looked like a small prince in disguise.

Just behind him was a big black Newfoundland dog whose head was
almost on a level with the lad's shoulder.

Anne looked at him with a smile that always won children's hearts.

"Hello, sonny," said Lewis.  "Who belongs to you?"

The boy came forward with an answering smile, holding out his
turnover.

"This is for you to eat," he said shyly.  "Dad made it for me, but
I'd rather give it to you.  I've lots to eat."

Lewis, rather tactlessly, was on the point of refusing to take the
little chap's snack, but Anne gave him a quick nudge.  Taking the
hint, he accepted it gravely and handed it to Anne, who, quite as
gravely, broke it in two and gave half of it back to him.  They
knew they must eat it and they had painful doubts as to "Dad's"
ability in the cooking line, but the first mouthful reassured them.
"Dad" might not be strong on courtesy but he could certainly make
turnovers.

"This is delicious," said Anne.  "What is your name, dear?"

"Teddy Armstrong," said the small benefactor.  "But Dad always
calls me Little Fellow.  I'm all he has, you know.  Dad is awful
fond of me and I'm awful fond of Dad.  I'm afraid you think my dad
is impolite 'cause he shut that door so quick, but he doesn't mean
to be.  I heard you asking for something to eat."  ("We didn't but
it doesn't matter," thought Anne.)

"I was in the garden behind the hollyhocks, so I just thought I'd
bring you my turnover 'cause I'm always so sorry for poor people
who haven't plenty to eat.  I have, always.  My dad is a splendid
cook.  You ought to see the rice puddings he can make."

"Does he put raisins in them?" asked Lewis with a twinkle.

"Lots and lots.  There's nothing mean about my dad."

"Haven't you any mother, darling?" asked Anne.

"No.  My mother is dead.  Mrs. Merrill told me once she'd gone to
heaven, but my dad says there's no such place and I guess he ought
to know.  My dad is an awful wise man.  He's read thousands of
books.  I mean to be just 'zackly like him when I grow up . . .
only I'll always give people things to eat when they want them.  My
dad isn't very fond of people, you know, but he's awful good to
me."

"Do you go to school?" asked Lewis.

"No.  My dad teaches me at home.  The trustees told him I'd have to
go next year, though.  I think I'd like to go to school and have
some other boys to play with.  'Course I've got Carlo and Dad
himself is splendid to play with when he has time.  My dad is
pretty busy, you know.  He has to run the farm and keep the house
clean, too.  That's why he can't be bothered having people around,
you see.  When I get bigger I'll be able to help him lots and then
he'll have more time to be polite to folks."

"That turnover was just about right, Little Fellow," said Lewis,
swallowing the last crumb.

The Little Fellow's eyes beamed.

"I'm so glad you liked it," he said.

"Would you like to have your picture taken?" said Anne, feeling
that it would never do to offer this generous small soul money.
"If you would, Lewis will take it."

"Oh, wouldn't I!" said the Little Fellow eagerly.  "Carlo, too?"

"Certainly Carlo, too."

Anne posed the two prettily before a background of shrubs, the
little lad standing with his arm about his big, curly playmate's
neck, both dog and boy seeming equally well pleased, and Lewis took
the picture with his last remaining plate.

"If it comes out well I'll send you one by mail," he promised.
"How shall I address it?"

"Teddy Armstrong, care of Mr. James Armstrong, Glencove Road," said
the Little Fellow.  "Oh, won't it be fun to have something coming
to me mineself through the post-office!  I tell you I'll feel awful
proud.  I won't say a word to Dad about it so that it'll be a
splendid surprise for him."

"Well, look out for your parcel in two or three weeks," said Lewis,
as they bade him good-by.  But Anne suddenly stooped and kissed the
little sunburned face.  There was something about it that tugged at
her heart.  He was so sweet . . . so gallant . . . so motherless!

They looked back at him before a curve in the lane and saw him
standing on the dyke, with his dog, waving his hand to them.

Of course Rebecca Dew knew all about the Armstrongs.

"James Armstrong has never got over his wife's death five years
ago," she said.  "He wasn't so bad before that . . . agreeable
enough, though a bit of a hermit.  Kind of built that way.  He was
just wrapped up in his bit of a wife . . . she was twenty years
younger than he was.  Her death was an awful shock to him I've
heard . . . just seemed to change his nature completely.  He got
sour and cranky.  Wouldn't even get a housekeeper . . . looked
after his house and child himself.  He kept bachelor's hall for
years before he was married, so he ain't a bad hand at it."

"But it's no life for the child," said Aunt Chatty.  "His father
never takes him to church or anywhere he'd see people."

"He worships the boy, I've heard," said Aunt Kate.

"'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,'" quoted Rebecca Dew
suddenly.



3


It was almost three weeks before Lewis found time to develop his
pictures.  He brought them up to Windy Poplars the first Sunday
night he came to supper.  Both the house and the Little Fellow came
out splendidly.  The Little Fellow smiled up from the picture "as
real as life," said Rebecca Dew.

"Why, he looks like you, Lewis!" exclaimed Anne.

"He does that," agreed Rebecca Dew, squinting at it judicially.
"The minute I saw it, his face reminded me of somebody but I
couldn't think who."

"Why, the eyes . . . the forehead . . . the whole expression . . .
are yours, Lewis," said Anne.

"It's hard to believe I was ever such a good-looking little chap,"
shrugged Lewis.  "I've got a picture of myself somewhere, taken
when I was eight.  I must hunt it out and compare it.  You'd laugh
to see it, Miss Shirley.  I'm the most sober-eyed kid, with long
curls and a lace collar, looking stiff as a ramrod.  I suppose I
had my head clamped in one of those three-clawed contraptions they
used to use.  If this picture really resembles me, it must be only
a coincidence.  The Little Fellow can't be any relation of mine.  I
haven't an relative on the Island . . . now."

"Where were you born?" asked Aunt Kate.

"N. B.  Father and Mother died when I was ten and I came over here
to live with a cousin of mother's . . . I called her Aunt Ida.  She
died too, you know . . . three years ago."

"Jim Armstrong came from New Brunswick," said Rebecca Dew.  "HE
ain't a real islander . . . wouldn't be such a crank if he was.  We
have our peculiarities but we're CIVILIZED."

"I'm not sure that I want to discover a relation in the amiable Mr.
Armstrong," grinned Lewis, attacking Aunt Chatty's cinnamon toast.
"However, I think when I get the photograph finished and mounted
I'll take it out to Glencove Road myself and investigate a little.
He may be a distant cousin or something.  I really know nothing
about my mother's people, if she had any living.  I've always been
under the impression that she hadn't.  Father hadn't, I know."

"If you take the picture out in person, won't the Little Fellow be
a bit disappointed over losing his thrill of getting something
through the post-office?" said Anne.

"I'll make it up to him . . . I'll send him something else by
mail."

The next Saturday afternoon Lewis came driving along Spook's Lane
in an antiquated buggy behind a still more antiquated mare.

"I'm going out to Glencove to take little Teddy Armstrong his
picture, Miss Shirley.  If my dashing turn-out doesn't give you
heart-failure I'd like to have you come, too.  I don't THINK any of
the wheels will fall off."

"Where on earth did you pick up that relic, Lewis?" demanded
Rebecca Dew.

"Don't poke fun at my gallant steed, Miss Dew.  Have some respect
for age.  Mr. Bender lent me both mare and buggy on condition I'd
do an errand for him along the Dawlish Road.  I hadn't time to walk
out to Glencove today and back."

"Time!" said Rebecca Dew.  "I could walk there and back myself
faster than that animal."

"And carry a bag of potatoes back for Mr. Bender?  You wonderful
woman!"

Rebecca Dew's red cheeks grew even redder.

"It ain't nice to make fun of your elders," she said rebukingly.
Then, by way of coals of fire . . . "Could you do with a few
doughnuts afore you start out?"

The white mare, however, developed surprising powers of locomotion
when they were once more out in the open.  Anne giggled to herself
as they jogged along the road.  What would Mrs. Gardiner or even
Aunt Jamesina say if they could see her now?  Well, she didn't
care.  It was a wonderful day for a drive through a land that was
keeping its old lovely ritual of autumn, and Lewis was a good
companion.  Lewis would attain his ambitions.  Nobody else of her
acquaintance, she reflected, would dream of asking her to go
driving in the Bender buggy behind the Bender mare.  But it never
occurred to Lewis that there was anything odd about it.  What
difference HOW you traveled as long as you got there?  The calm
rims of the upland hills were as blue, the roads as red, the maples
as gorgeous, no matter what vehicle you rode in.  Lewis was a
philosopher and cared as little what people might say as he did
when some of the High School pupils called him "Sissy" because he
did housework for his board.  Let them call!  Some day the laugh
would be on the other side.  His pockets might be empty but his
head wasn't.  Meanwhile the afternoon was an idyl and they were
going to see the Little Fellow again.  They told Mr. Bender's
brother-in-law about their errand when he put the bag of potatoes
in the back of the buggy.

"Do you mean to say you've got a photo of little Teddy Armstrong?"
exclaimed Mr. Merrill.

"That I have and a good one."  Lewis unwrapped it and held it
proudly out.  "I don't believe a professional photographer could
have taken a better."

Mr. Merrill slapped his leg resoundingly.

"Well, if that don't beat all!  Why, little Teddy Armstrong is
dead . . ."

"Dead!" exclaimed Anne in horror.  "Oh, Mr. Merrill . . . no . . .
don't tell me . . . that dear little boy . . ."

"Sorry, miss, but it's a fact.  And his father is just about wild
and all the worse that he hasn't got any kind of a picture of him
at all.  And now you've got a good one.  Well, well!"

"It . . . it seems impossible," said Anne, her eyes full of tears.
She was seeing the slender little figure waving his farewell from
the dyke.

"Sorry to say it's only too true.  He died nearly three weeks ago.
Pneumonia.  Suffered awful but he was just as brave and patient as
any one could be, they say.  I dunno what'll become of Jim
Armstrong now.  They say he's like a crazy man--just moping and
muttering to himself all the time.  'If I only had a picture of my
Little Fellow,' he keeps saying."

"I'm sorry for that man," said Mrs. Merrill suddenly.  She had not
hitherto spoken, standing by her husband, a gaunt, square-built
gray woman in wind-whipped calico and check apron.  "He's well-to-
do and I've always felt he looked down on us because we were poor.
But we have our boy . . . and it don't never matter how poor you
are as long as you've got something to love."

Anne looked at Mrs. Merrill with a new respect.  Mrs. Merrill was
not beautiful, but as her sunken gray eyes met Anne's, something of
spirit kinship was acknowledged between them.  Anne had never seen
Mrs. Merrill before and never saw her again, but she always
remembered her as a woman who had attained to the ultimate secret
of life.  You were never poor as long as you had something to love.

The golden day was spoiled for Anne.  Somehow, the Little Fellow
had won her heart in their brief meeting.  She and Lewis drove in
silence down the Glencove Road and up the grassy lane.  Carlo was
lying on the stone before the blue door.  He got up and came down
over to them, as they descended from the buggy, licking Anne's hand
and looking up at her with big wistful eyes as if asking for news
of his little playmate.  The door was open and in the dim room
beyond they saw a man with his head bowed on the table.

At Anne's knock he started up and came to the door.  She was
shocked at the change in him.  He was hollow-cheeked, haggard and
unshaven, and his deep-set eyes flashed with a fitful fire.

She expected a repulse at first, but he seemed to recognize her,
for he said listlessly,

"So you're back?  The Little Fellow said you talked to him and
kissed him.  He liked you.  I was sorry I'd been so churlish to
you.  What is it you want?"

"We want to show you something," said Anne gently.

"Will you come in and sit down?" he said drearily.

Without a word Lewis took the Little Fellow's picture from its
wrappings and held it out to him.  He snatched it up, gave it one
amazed, hungry look, then dropped on his chair and burst into tears
and sobs.  Anne had never seen a man weep so before.  She and Lewis
stood in mute sympathy until he had regained his self-control.

"Oh, you don't know what this means to me," he said brokenly at last.
"I hadn't any picture of him.  And I'm not like other folks . . . I
can't recall a face . . . I can't see faces as most folks can in
their mind.  It's been awful since the Little Fellow died. . . .  I
couldn't even remember what he looked like.  And now you've brought
me this . . . after I was so rude to you.  Sit down . . . sit down.
I wish I could express my thanks in some way.  I guess you've saved
my reason . . . maybe my life.  Oh, miss, isn't it like him?  You'd
think he was going to speak.  My dear Little Fellow! How am I going
to live without him?  I've nothing to live for now. First his mother
. . . now him."

"He was a dear little lad," said Anne tenderly.

"That he was.  Little Teddy . . . Theodore, his mother named him
. . . her 'gift of Gods' she said he was.  And he was so patient
and never complained.  Once he smiled up in my face and said, 'Dad,
I think you've been mistaken in one thing . . . just one.  I guess
there is a heaven, isn't there?  Isn't there, Dad?'  I said to him,
yes, there was. . . .  God forgive me for ever trying to teach him
anything else.  He smiled again, contented like, and said, 'Well,
Dad, I'm going there and Mother and God are there, so I'll be
pretty well off.  But I'm worried about you, Dad.  You'll be so
awful lonesome without me.  But just do the best you can and be
polite to folks and come to us by and by.'  He made me promise I'd
try, but when he was gone I couldn't stand the blankness of it.
I'd have gone mad if you hadn't brought me this.  It won't be so
hard now."

He talked about his Little Fellow for some time, as if he found
relief and pleasure in it.  His reserve and gruffness seemed to
have fallen from him like a garment.  Finally Lewis produced the
small faded photograph of himself and showed it to him.

"Have you ever seen anybody who looked like that, Mr. Armstrong?"
asked Anne.

Mr. Armstrong peered at it in perplexity.

"It's awful like the Little Fellow," he said at last.  "Whose might
it be?"

"Mine," said Lewis, "when I was seven years old.  It was because of
the strange resemblance to Teddy that Miss Shirley made me bring it
to show you.  I thought it possible that you and I or the Little
Fellow might be some distant relation.  My name is Lewis Allen and
my father was George Allen.  I was born in New Brunswick."

James Armstrong shook his head.  Then he said,

"What was your mother's name?"

"Mary Gardiner."

James Armstrong looked at him for a moment in silence.

"She was my half-sister," he said at last.  "I hardly knew her . . .
never saw her but once.  I was brought up in an uncle's family
after my father's death.  My mother married again and moved away.
She came to see me once and brought her little daughter.  She died
soon after and I never saw my half-sister again.  When I came over
to the Island to live, I lost all trace of her.  You are my nephew
and the Little Fellow's cousin."

This was surprising news to a lad who had fancied himself alone
in the world.  Lewis and Anne spent the whole evening with Mr.
Armstrong and found him to be a well-read and intelligent man.
Somehow, they both took a liking to him.  His former inhospitable
reception was quite forgotten and they saw only the real worth of
the character and temperament below the unpromising shell that had
hitherto concealed them.

"Of course the Little Fellow couldn't have loved his father so much
if it hadn't been so," said Anne, as she and Lewis drove back to
Windy Poplars through the sunset.

When Lewis Allen went the next week-end to see his uncle, the
latter said to him,

"Lad, come and live with me.  You are my nephew and I can do well
for you . . . what I'd have done for my Little Fellow if he'd
lived.  You're alone in the world and so am I.  I need you.  I'll
grow hard and bitter again if I live here alone.  I want you to
help me keep my promise to the Little Fellow.  His place is empty.
Come you and fill it."

"Thank you, Uncle; I'll try," said Lewis, holding out his hand.

"And bring that teacher of yours here once in a while.  I like that
girl.  The Little Fellow liked her.  'Dad,' he said to me, 'I
didn't think I'd ever like anybody but you to kiss me, but I liked
it when she did.  There was something in her eyes, Dad.'"



4


"The old porch thermometer says it's zero and the new side-door one
says it's ten above," remarked Anne, one frosty December night.
"So I don't know whether to take my muff or not."

"Better go by the old thermometer," said Rebecca Dew cautiously.
"It's probably more used to our climate.  Where are you going this
cold night, anyway?"

"I'm going round to Temple Street to ask Katherine Brooke to spend
the Christmas holidays with me at Green Gables."

"You'll spoil your holidays, then," said Rebecca Dew solemnly.
"She'd go about snubbing the angels, that one . . . that is, if she
ever condescended to enter heaven.  And the worst of it is, she's
proud of her bad manners . . . thinks it shows her strength of mind
no doubt!"

"My brain agrees with every word you say but my heart simply
won't," said Anne.  "I feel, in spite of everything, that Katherine
Brooke is only a shy, unhappy girl under her disagreeable rind.  I
can never make any headway with her in Summerside, but if I can get
her to Green Gables I believe it will thaw her out."

"You won't get her.  She won't go," predicted Rebecca Dew.
"Probably she'll take it as an insult to be asked . . . think
you're offering her charity.  WE asked her here once to Christmas
dinner . . . the year afore you came . . . you remember, Mrs.
MacComber, the year we had two turkeys give us and didn't know how
we was to get 'em et . . . and all she said was, 'No, thank you.
If there's anything I hate, it's the word Christmas!'"

"But that is so dreadful . . . hating Christmas!  Something HAS to
be done, Rebecca Dew.  I'm going to ask her and I've a queer
feeling in my thumbs that tells me she will come."

"Somehow," said Rebecca Dew reluctantly, "when you say a thing is
going to happen, a body believes it will.  You haven't got a second
sight, have you?  Captain MacComber's mother had it.  Useter give
me the creeps."

"I don't think I have anything that need give you creeps.  It's
only just . . . I've had a feeling for some time that Katherine
Brooke is almost crazy with loneliness under her bitter outside and
that my invitation will come pat to the psychological moment,
Rebecca Dew."

"I am not a B.A.," said Rebecca with awful humility, "and I do not
deny your right to use words I cannot always understand.  Neither
do I deny that you can wind people round your little finger.  Look
how you managed the Pringles.  But I do say I pity you if you take
that iceberg and nutmeg grater combined home with you for Christmas."

Anne was by no means as confident as she pretended to be during her
walk to Temple Street.  Katherine Brooke had really been unbearable
of late.  Again and again Anne, rebuffed, had said, as grimly as
Poe's raven, "Nevermore."  Only yesterday Katherine had been
positively insulting at a staff meeting.  But in an unguarded
moment Anne had seen something looking out of the older girl's eyes
. . . a passionate, half-frantic something like a caged creature
mad with discontent.  Anne spent the first half of the night trying
to decide whether to invite Katherine Brooke to Green Gables or
not.  Finally she fell asleep with her mind irrevocably made up.

Katherine's landlady showed Anne into the parlor and shrugged a fat
shoulder when she asked for Miss Brooke.

"I'll tell her you're here but I dunno if she'll come down.  She's
sulking.  I told her at dinner tonight that Mrs. Rawlins says its
scandalous the way she dresses, for a teacher in Summerside High,
and she took it high and mighty as usual."

"I don't think you should have told Miss Brooke that," said Anne
reproachfully.

"But I thought she ought to know," said Mrs. Dennis somewhat
waspishly.

"Did you also think she ought to know that the Inspector said she
was one of the best teachers in the Maritimes?" asked Anne.  "Or
didn't you know it?"

"Oh, I heard it.  But she's stuck-up enough now without making her
any worse.  Proud's no name for it . . . though what she's got to
be proud of, _I_ dunno.  Of course she was mad anyhow tonight
because I'd said she couldn't have a dog.  She's took a notion into
her head she'd like to have a dog.  Said she'd pay for his rations
and see he was no bother.  But what'd I do with him when she was in
school?  I put my foot down.  'I'm boarding no dogs,' sez I."

"Oh, Mrs. Dennis, won't you let her have a dog?  He wouldn't bother
you . . . much.  You could keep him in the basement while she was
in school.  And a dog really is such a protection at night.  I wish
you would . . . PLEASE."

There was always something about Anne Shirley's eyes when she said
"please" that people found hard to resist.  Mrs. Dennis, in spite
of fat shoulders and a meddlesome tongue, was not unkind at heart.
Katherine Brooke simply got under her skin at times with her
ungracious ways.

"I dunno why you should worry as to her having a dog or not.  I
didn't know you were such friends.  She hasn't ANY friends.  I
never had such an unsociable boarder."

"I think that is why she wants a dog, Mrs. Dennis.  None of us can
live without some kind of companionship."

"Well, it's the first human thing I've noticed about her," said
Mrs. Dennis.  "I dunno's I have any awful objection to a dog, but
she sort of vexed me with her sarcastic way of asking . . . 'I
s'pose you wouldn't consent if I asked you if I might have a dog,
Mrs. Dennis,' she sez, haughty like.  Set her up with it!  'You're
s'posing right,' sez I, as haughty as herself.  I don't like eating
my words any more than most people, but you can tell her she can
have a dog if she'll guarantee he won't misbehave in the parlor."

Anne did not think the parlor could be much worse if the dog did
misbehave.  She eyed the dingy lace curtains and the hideous purple
roses on the carpet with a shiver.

"I'm sorry for any one who has to spend Christmas in a boarding-
house like this," she thought.  "I don't wonder Katherine hates the
word.  I'd like to give this place a good airing . . . it smells of
a thousand meals.  WHY does Katherine go on boarding here when she
has a good salary?"

"She says you can come up," was the message Mrs. Dennis brought
back, rather dubiously, for Miss Brooke had run true to form.

The narrow, steep stair was repellent.  It didn't want you.  Nobody
would go up who didn't have to.  The linoleum in the hall was worn
to shreds.  The little back hall-bedroom where Anne presently found
herself was even more cheerless than the parlor.  It was lighted by
one glaring unshaded gas jet.  There was an iron bed with a valley
in the middle of it and a narrow, sparsely draped window looking
out on a backyard garden where a large crop of tin cans flourished.
But beyond it was a marvelous sky and a row of lombardies standing
out against long, purple, distant hills.

"Oh, Miss Brooke, look at that sunset," said Anne rapturously from
the squeaky, cushionless rocker to which Katherine had ungraciously
pointed her.

"I've seen a good many sunsets," said the latter coldly, without
moving.  ("Condescending to me with your sunsets!" she thought
bitterly.)

"You haven't seen this one.  No two sunsets are alike.  Just sit
down here and let us let it sink into our souls," SAID Anne.
THOUGHT Anne, "Do you EVER say anything pleasant?"

"Don't be ridiculous, please."

The most insulting words in the world!  With an added edge of insult
in Katherine's contemptuous tones.  Anne turned from her sunset and
looked at Katherine, much more than half inclined to get up and walk
out.  But Katherine's eyes looked a trifle strange. HAD she been
crying?  Surely not . . . you couldn't imagine Katherine Brooke
crying.

"You don't make me feel very welcome," Anne said slowly.

"I can't pretend things.  I haven't YOUR notable gift for doing
the queen act . . . saying exactly the right thing to every one.
You're NOT welcome.  What sort of room is this to welcome any one
to?"

Katherine made a scornful gesture at the faded walls, the shabby
bare chairs and the wobbly dressing-table with its petticoat of
limp muslin.

"It isn't a nice room, but why do you stay here if you don't like
it?"

"Oh . . . why . . . Why?  YOU wouldn't understand.  It doesn't
matter.  I don't care what anybody thinks.  What brought you here
tonight?  I don't suppose you came just to soak in the sunset."

"I came to ask if you would spend the Christmas holidays with me at
Green Gables."

("Now," thought Anne, "for another broadside of sarcasm!  I do wish
she'd sit down at least.  She just stands there as if waiting for
me to go.")

But there was silence for a moment.  Then Katherine said slowly,

"Why do you ask me?  It isn't because you like me . . . even you
couldn't pretend THAT."

"It's because I can't bear to think of any human being spending
Christmas in a place like THIS," said Anne candidly.

The sarcasm came then.

"Oh, I see.  A seasonable outburst of charity.  I'm hardly a
candidate for that YET, Miss Shirley."

Anne got up.  She was out of patience with this strange, aloof
creature.  She walked across the room and looked Katherine squarely
in the eye.  "Katherine Brooke, whether you know it or not, what
YOU want is a good spanking."

They gazed at each other for a moment.

"It must have relieved you to say that," said Katherine.  But
somehow the insulting tone had gone out of her voice.  There was
even a faint twitch at the corner of her mouth.

"It has," said Anne.  "I've been wanting to tell you just that for
some time.  I didn't ask you to Green Gables out of charity . . .
you know that perfectly well.  I told you my true reason.  NOBODY
ought to spend Christmas here . . . the very idea is indecent."

"You asked me to Green Gables just because you are sorry for me."

"I AM sorry for you.  Because you've shut out life . . . and now
life is shutting you out.  Stop, it, Katherine.  Open your doors to
life . . . and life will come in."

"The Anne Shirley version of the old bromide, 'If you bring a
smiling visage to the glass you meet a smile,'" said Katherine with
a shrug.

"Like all bromides, that's absolutely true.  Now, are you coming to
Green Gables or are you not?"

"What would you say if I accepted . . . to yourself, not to me?"

"I'd say you were showing the first faint glimmer of common sense
I'd ever detected in you," retorted Anne.

Katherine laughed . . . surprisingly.  She walked across to the
window, scowled at the fiery streak which was all that was left of
the scorned sunset and then turned.

"Very well . . . I'll go.  Now you can go through the motions of
telling me you're delighted and that we'll have a jolly time."

"I AM delighted.  But I don't know if you'll have a jolly time or
not.  That will depend a good deal on yourself, Miss Brooke."

"Oh, I'll behave myself decently.  You'll be surprised.  You won't
find me a very exhilarating guest, I suppose, but I promise you I
won't eat with my knife or insult people when they tell me it's a
fine day.  I tell you frankly that the only reason I'm going is
because even I can't stick the thought of spending the holidays
here alone.  Mrs. Dennis is going to spend Christmas week with her
daughter in Charlottetown.  It's a bore to think of getting my own
meals.  I'm a rotten cook.  So much for the triumph of matter over
mind.  But will you give me your word of honor that you won't wish
me a merry Christmas?  I just don't want to be merry at Christmas."

"I won't.  But I can't answer for the twins."

"I'm not going to ask you to sit down here . . . you'd freeze . . .
but I see that there's a very fine moon in place of your sunset and
I'll walk home with you and help you to admire it if you like."

"I do like," said Anne, "but I want to impress on your mind that we
have MUCH finer moons in Avonlea."

"So she's going?" said Rebecca Dew as she filled Anne's hot-water
bottle.  "Well, Miss Shirley, I hope you'll never try to induce me
to turn Mohammedan . . . because you'd likely succeed.  Where IS
That Cat?  Out frisking round Summerside and the weather at zero."

"Not by the new thermometer.  And Dusty Miller is curled up on the
rocking-chair by my stove in the tower, snoring with happiness."

"Ah well," said Rebecca Dew with a little shiver as she shut the
kitchen door, "I wish every one in the world was as warm and
sheltered as we are tonight."



5


Anne did not know that a wistful little Elizabeth was watching out
of one of the mansard windows of The Evergreens as she drove away
from Windy Poplars . . . an Elizabeth with tears in her eyes who
felt as if everything that made life worth living had gone out of
her life for the time being and that she was the very Lizziest of
Lizzies.  But when the livery sleigh vanished from her sight around
the corner of Spook's Lane Elizabeth went and knelt down by her
bed.

"Dear God," she whispered, "I know it isn't any use to ask You for
a merry Christmas for me because Grandmother and The Woman couldn't
be merry, but please let my dear Miss Shirley have a merry, merry
Christmas and bring her back safe to me when it's over.

"Now," said Elizabeth, getting up from her knees, "I've done all
that I can."

Anne was already tasting Christmas happiness.  She fairly sparkled
as the train left the station.  The ugly streets slipped past her
. . . she was going home . . . home to Green Gables.  Out in the
open country the world was all golden-white and pale violet, woven
here and there with the dark magic of spruces and the leafless
delicacy of birches.  The low sun behind the bare woods seemed
rushing through the trees like a splendid god, as the train sped on.
Katherine was silent but did not seem ungracious.

"Don't expect me to talk," she had warned Anne curtly.

"I won't.  I hope you don't think I'm one of those terrible people
who make you feel that you HAVE to talk to them all the time.
We'll just talk when we feel like it.  I admit I'm likely to feel
like it a good part of the time, but you're under no obligation to
take any notice of what I'm saying."

Davy met them at Bright River with a big two-seated sleigh full of
furry robes . . . and a bear hug for Anne.  The two girls snuggled
down in the back seat.  The drive from the station to Green Gables
had always been a very pleasant part of Anne's week-ends home.
She always recalled her first drive home from Bright River with
Matthew.  That had been in spring and this was December, but
everything along the road kept saying to her, "Do you remember?"
The snow crisped under the runners; the music of the bells tinkled
through the ranks of tall pointed firs, snow-laden.  The White Way
of Delight had little festoons of stars tangled in the trees.  And
on the last hill but one they saw the great gulf, white and
mystical under the moon but not yet ice-bound.

"There's just one spot on this road where I always feel suddenly
. . . 'I'm HOME,'" said Anne.  "It's the top of the next hill, where
we'll see the lights of Green Gables.  I'm just thinking of the
supper Marilla will have ready for us.  I believe I can smell it
here.  Oh, it's good . . . good . . . good to be home again!"

At Green Gables every tree in the yard seemed to welcome her back
. . . every lighted window was beckoning.  And how good Marilla's
kitchen smelled as they opened the door.  There were hugs and
exclamations and laughter.  Even Katherine seemed somehow no
outsider, but one of them.  Mrs. Rachel Lynde had set her cherished
parlor lamp on the supper-table and lighted it.  It was really a
hideous thing with a hideous red globe, but what a warm rosy
becoming light it cast over everything!  How warm and friendly were
the shadows!  How pretty Dora was growing!  And Davy really seemed
almost a man.

There was news to tell.  Diana had a small daughter . . . Josie Pye
actually had a young man . . . and Charlie Sloane was said to be
engaged.  It was all just as exciting as news of empire could have
been.  Mrs. Lynde's new patchwork quilt, just completed, containing
five thousand pieces, was on display and received its meed of
praise.

"When you come home, Anne," said Davy, "everything seems to come
alive."

"Ah, this is how life should be," purred Dora's kitten.

"I've always found it hard to resist the lure of a moonlight
night," said Anne after supper.  "How about a snow-shoe tramp, Miss
Brooke?  I think that I've heard that you snowshoe."

"Yes . . . it's the only thing I CAN do . . . but I haven't done it
for six years," said Katherine with a shrug.

Anne rooted out her snow-shoes from the garret and Davy shot over
to Orchard Slope to borrow an old pair of Diana's for Katherine.
They went through Lover's Lane, full of lovely tree shadows, and
across fields where little fir trees fringed the fences and through
woods which were full of secrets they seemed always on the point of
whispering to you but never did . . . and through open glades that
were like pools of silver.

They did not talk or want to talk.  It was as if they were afraid
to talk for fear of spoiling something beautiful.  But Anne had
never felt so NEAR Katherine Brooke before.  By some magic of its
own the winter night had brought them together . . . ALMOST
together but not quite.

When they came out to the main road and a sleigh flashed by, bells
ringing, laughter tinkling, both girls gave an involuntary sigh.
It seemed to both that they were leaving behind a world that had
nothing in common with the one to which they were returning . . .
a world where time was not . . . which was young with immortal youth
. . . where souls communed with each other in some medium that
needed nothing so crude as words.

"It's been wonderful," said Katherine so obviously to herself that
Anne made no response.

They went down the road and up the long Green Gables lane but just
before they reached the yard gate, they both paused as by a common
impulse and stood in silence, leaning against the old mossy fence
and looked at the brooding, motherly old house seen dimly through
its veil of trees.  How beautiful Green Gables was on a winter
night!

Below it the Lake of Shining Waters was locked in ice, patterned
around its edges with tree shadows.  Silence was everywhere, save
for the staccato clip of a horse trotting over the bridge.  Anne
smiled to recall how often she had heard that sound as she lay in
her gable room and pretended to herself that it was the gallop of
fairy horses passing in the night.

Suddenly another sound broke the stillness.

"Katherine . . . you're . . . why, you're not crying!"

Somehow, it seemed impossible to think of Katherine crying.  But
she was.  And her tears suddenly humanized her.  Anne no longer
felt afraid of her.

"Katherine . . . dear Katherine . . . what is the matter?  Can I
help?"

"Oh . . . you can't understand!" gasped Katherine.  "Things have
always been made easy for YOU.  You . . . you seem to live in a
little enchanted circle of beauty and romance.  'I wonder what
delightful discovery I'll make today' . . . that seems to be your
attitude to life, Anne.  As for me, I've forgotten how to live . . .
no, I never knew how.  I'm . . . I'm like a creature caught in a
trap.  I can never get out . . . and it seems to me that somebody
is always poking sticks at me through the bars.  And you . . . you
have more happiness than you know what to do with . . . friends
everywhere, a lover!  Not that I want a lover . . . I hate men . . .
but if I died tonight, not one living soul would miss me.  How
would you like to be absolutely friendless in the world?"

Katherine's voice broke in another sob.

"Katherine, you say you like frankness.  I'm going to be frank.
If you are as friendless as you say, it is your own fault.  I've
wanted to be friends with you.  But you've been all prickles and
stings."

"Oh, I know . . . I know.  How I hated you when you came first!
Flaunting your circlet of pearls . . ."

"Katherine, I didn't 'flaunt' it!"

"Oh, I suppose not.  That's just my natural hatefulness.  But it
seemed to flaunt itself . . . not that I envied you your beau . . .
I've never wanted to be married . . . I saw enough of that with
father and mother . . . but I hated your being over me when you
were younger than I . . . I was glad when the Pringles made trouble
for you.  You seemed to have everything I hadn't . . . charm . . .
friendship . . . youth.  Youth!  I never had anything but starved
youth.  You know nothing about it.  You don't know . . . you
haven't the least idea what it is like not to be wanted by any one
. . . any one!"

"Oh, haven't I?" cried Anne.

In a few poignant sentences she sketched her childhood before
coming to Green Gables.

"I wish I'd known that," said Katherine.  "It would have made a
difference.  To me you seemed one of the favorites of fortune.
I've been eating my heart out with envy of you.  You got the
position I wanted . . . oh, I know you're better qualified than I
am, but there it was.  You're pretty . . . at least you make people
believe you're pretty.  MY earliest recollection is of some one
saying, 'What an ugly child!'  You come into a room delightfully
. . . oh, I remember how you came into school that first morning.
But I think the real reason I've hated you so is that you always
seemed to have some secret delight . . . as if every day of life
was an adventure.  In spite of my hatred there were times when I
acknowledged to myself that you might just have come from some far-
off star."

"Really, Katherine, you take my breath with all these compliments.
But you don't hate me any longer, do you?  We can be friends now."

"I don't know . . . I've never had a friend of any kind, much less
one of anything like my own age.  I don't belong anywhere . . .
never have belonged.  I don't think I know how to BE a friend.  No,
I don't hate you any longer . . . I don't know how I feel about you
. . . oh, I suppose it's your noted charm beginning to work on me.
I only know that I feel I'd like to tell you what my life has been
like.  I could never have told you if you hadn't told me about your
life before you came to Green Gables.  I want you to understand
what has made me as I am.  I don't know why I should want you to
understand . . . but I do."

"Tell me, Katherine dear.  I do want to understand you."

"You DO know what it is like not to be wanted, I admit . . . but
not what it is like to know that your father and mother don't want
you.  Mine didn't.  They hated me from the moment I was born . . .
and before . . . and they hated each other.  Yes, they did.  They
quarreled continually . . . just mean, nagging, petty quarrels.  My
childhood was a nightmare.  They died when I was seven and I went
to live with Uncle Henry's family.  THEY didn't want me either.
They all looked down on me because I was 'living on their charity.'
I remember all the snubs I got . . . every one.  I can't remember a
single kind word.  I had to wear my cousins' castoff clothes.  I
remember one hat in particular . . . it made me look like a
mushroom.  And they made fun of me whenever I put it on.  One day I
tore it off and threw it on the fire.  I had to wear the most awful
old tam to church all the rest of the winter.  I never even had a
dog . . . and I wanted one so.  I had some brains . . . I longed so
for a B.A. course . . . but naturally I might just as well have
yearned for the moon.  However, Uncle Henry agreed to put me
through Queen's if I would pay him back when I got a school.  He
paid my board in a miserable third-rate boarding-house where I had
a room over the kitchen that was ice cold in winter and boiling hot
in summer, and full of stale cooking smells in all seasons.  And
the clothes I had to wear to Queen's!  But I got my license and I
got the second room in Summerside High . . . the only bit of luck
I've ever had.  Even since then I've been pinching and scrimping to
pay Uncle Henry . . . not only what he spent putting me through
Queen's, but what my board through all the years I lived there cost
him.  I was determined I would not owe him one cent.  That is why
I've boarded with Mrs. Dennis and dressed shabbily.  And I've just
finished paying him.  For the first time in my life I feel FREE.
But meanwhile I've developed the wrong way.  I know I'm unsocial
. . . I know I can never think of the right thing to say.  I know
it's my own fault that I'm always neglected and overlooked at
social functions.  I know I've made being disagreeable into a fine
art.  I know I'm sarcastic.  I know I'm regarded as a tyrant by my
pupils.  I know they hate me.  Do you think it doesn't hurt me to
know it?  They always look afraid of me . . . I hate people who
look as if they were afraid of me.  Oh, Anne . . . hate's got to be
a disease with me.  I do want to be like other people . . . and I
never can now.  THAT is what makes me so bitter."

"Oh, but you can!" Anne put her arm about Katherine.  "You can put
hate out of your mind . . . cure yourself of it.  Life is only
beginning for you now . . . since at last you're quite free and
independent.  And you never know what may be around the next bend
in the road."

"I've heard you say that before . . . I've laughed at your 'bend in
the road.'  But the trouble is there aren't any bends in my road.
I can see it stretching straight out before me to the sky-line . . .
endless monotony.  Oh, does life ever FRIGHTEN you, Anne, with
its BLANKNESS . . . its swarms of cold, uninteresting people?  No,
of course it doesn't.  YOU don't have to go on teaching all the
rest of your life.  And you seem to find EVERYBODY interesting,
even that little round red being you call Rebecca Dew.  The truth
is, I hate teaching . . . and there's nothing else I can do.  A
school-teacher is simply a slave of time.  Oh, I know you like it
. . . I don't see how you can.  Anne, I want to travel.  It's the
one thing I've always longed for.  I remember the one and only
picture that hung on the wall of my attic room at Uncle Henry's
. . . a faded old print that had been discarded from the other rooms
with scorn.  It was a picture of palms around a spring in the
desert, with a string of camels marching away in the distance.  It
literally fascinated me.  I've always wanted to go and find it . . .
I want to see the Southern Cross and the Taj Mahal and the pillars
of Karnak.  I want to KNOW . . . not just BELIEVE . . . that the
world is round.  And I can never do it on a teacher's salary.  I'll
just have to go on forever, prating of King Henry the Eighth's wives
and the inexhaustible resources of the Dominion."

Anne laughed.  It was safe to laugh now, for the bitterness had
gone out of Katherine's voice.  It sounded merely rueful and
impatient.

"Anyhow, we're going to be friends . . . and we're going to have a
jolly ten days here to begin our friendship.  I've always wanted to
be friends with you, Katherine . . . spelled with a K!  I've always
felt that underneath all your prickles was something that would
make you worth while as a friend."

"So that is what you've really thought of me?  I've often wondered.
Well, the leopard will have a go at changing its spots if it's at
all possible.  Perhaps it is.  I can believe almost anything at
this Green Gables of yours.  It's the first place I've ever been in
that felt like a HOME.  I should like to be more like other people
. . . if it isn't too late.  I'll even practice a sunny smile for
that Gilbert of yours when he arrives tomorrow night.  Of course
I've forgotten how to talk to young men . . . if I ever knew.
He'll just think me an old-maid gooseberry.  I wonder if, when I go
to bed tonight, I'll feel furious with myself for pulling off my
mask and letting you see into my shivering soul like this."

"No, you won't.  You'll think, 'I'm glad she's found out I'm
human.'  We're going to snuggle down among the warm fluffy
blankets, probably with two hot-water bottles, for likely Marilla
and Mrs. Lynde will each put one in for us for fear the other has
forgotten it.  And you'll feel deliciously sleepy after this walk
in the frosty moonshine . . . and first thing you'll know, it will
be morning and you'll feel as if you were the first person to
discover that the sky is blue.  And you'll grow learned in lore of
plum puddings because you're going to help me make one for Tuesday
. . . a great big plummy one."

Anne was amazed at Katherine's good looks when they went in.  Her
complexion was radiant after her long walk in the keen air and
color made all the difference in the world to her.

"Why, Katherine would be handsome if she wore the right kind of
hats and dresses," reflected Anne, trying to imagine Katherine with
a certain dark, richly red velvet hat she had seen in a Summerside
shop, on her black hair and pulled over her amber eyes.  "I've
simply got to see what can be done about it."



6


Saturday and Monday were full of gay doings at Green Gables.  The
plum pudding was concocted and the Christmas tree brought home.
Katherine and Anne and Davy and Dora went to the woods for it . . .
a beautiful little fir to whose cutting down Anne was only
reconciled by the fact that it was in a little clearing of Mr.
Harrison's which was going to be stumped and plowed in the spring
anyhow.

They wandered about, gathering creeping spruce and ground pine for
wreaths . . . even some ferns that kept green in a certain deep
hollow of the woods all winter . . . until day smiled back at night
over white-bosomed hills and they came back to Green Gables in
triumph . . . to meet a tall young man with hazel eyes and the
beginnings of a mustache which made him look so much older and
maturer that Anne had one awful moment of wondering if it were
really Gilbert or a stranger.

Katherine, with a little smile that tried to be sarcastic but
couldn't quite succeed, left them in the parlor and played games
with the twins in the kitchen all the evening.  To her amazement
she found she was enjoying it.  And what fun it was to go down
cellar with Davy and find that there were really such things as
sweet apples still left in the world.

Katherine had never been in a country cellar before and had no idea
what a delightful, spooky, shadowy place it could be by candle-
light.  Life already seemed WARMER.  For the first time it came
home to Katherine that life might be beautiful, even for her.

Davy made enough noise to wake the Seven Sleepers, at an unearthly
hour Christmas morning, ringing an old cowbell up and down the
stairs.  Marilla was horrified at his doing such a thing when there
was a guest in the house, but Katherine came down laughing.
Somehow, an odd camaraderie had sprung up between her and Davy.
She told Anne candidly that she had no use for the impeccable Dora
but that Davy was somehow tarred with her own brush.

They opened the parlor and distributed the gifts before breakfast
because the twins, even Dora, couldn't have eaten anything if they
hadn't.  Katherine, who had not expected anything except, perhaps,
a duty gift from Anne, found herself getting presents from every
one.  A gay, crocheted afghan from Mrs. Lynde . . . a sachet of
orris root from Dora . . . a paper-knife from Davy . . . a
basketful of tiny jars of jam and jelly from Marilla . . . even a
little bronze chessy cat for a paper-weight from Gilbert.

And, tied under the tree, curled up on a bit of warm and woolly
blanket, a dear little brown-eyed puppy, with alert, silken ears
and an ingratiating tail.  A card tied to his neck bore the legend,
"From Anne, who dares, after all, to wish you a Merry Christmas."

Katherine gathered his wriggling little body up in her arms and
spoke shakily.

"Anne . . . he's a darling!  But Mrs. Dennis won't let me keep him.
I asked her if I might get a dog and she refused."

"I've arranged it all with Mrs. Dennis.  You'll find she won't
object.  And, anyway, Katherine, you're not going to be there long.
You MUST find a decent place to live, now that you've paid off what
you thought were your obligations.  Look at the lovely box of
stationery Diana sent me.  Isn't it fascinating to look at the
blank pages and wonder what will be written on them?"

Mrs. Lynde was thankful it was a white Christmas . . . there would
be no fat graveyards when Christmas was white . . . but to
Katherine it seemed a purple and crimson and golden Christmas.  And
the week that followed was just as beautiful.  Katherine had often
wondered bitterly just what it would be like to be happy and now
she found out.  She bloomed out in the most astonishing way.  Anne
found herself enjoying their companionship.

"To think I was afraid she would spoil my Christmas holiday!" she
reflected in amazement.

"To think," said Katherine to herself, "that I was on the verge of
refusing to come here when Anne invited me!"

They went for long walks . . . through Lover's Lane and the Haunted
Wood, where the very silence seemed friendly . . . over hills where
the light snow whirled in a winter dance of goblins . . . through
old orchards full of violet shadows . . . through the glory of
sunset woods.  There were no birds to chirp or sing, no brooks to
gurgle, no squirrels to gossip.  But the wind made occasional music
that had in quality what it lacked in quantity.

"One can always find something lovely to look at or listen to,"
said Anne.

They talked of "cabbages and kings," and hitched their wagons to
stars, and came home with appetites that taxed even the Green
Gables pantry.  One day it stormed and they couldn't go out.  The
east wind was beating around the eaves and the gray gulf was
roaring.  But even a storm at Green Gables had charms of its own.
It was cozy to sit by the stove and dreamily watch the firelight
flickering over the ceiling while you munched apples and candy.
How jolly supper was with the storm wailing outside!

One night Gilbert took them to see Diana and her new baby daughter.

"I never held a baby in my life before," said Katherine as they
drove home.  "For one thing, I didn't want to, and for another I'd
have been afraid of it going to pieces in my grasp.  You can't
imagine how I felt . . . so big and clumsy with that tiny, exquisite
thing in my arms.  I know Mrs. Wright thought I was going to drop it
every minute.  I could see her striving heroically to conceal her
terror.  But it did something to me . . . the baby I mean . . . I
haven't decided just what."

"Babies are such fascinating creatures," said Anne dreamily.  "They
are what I heard somebody at Redmond call 'terrific bundles of
potentialities.'  Think of it, Katherine . . . Homer must have been
a baby once . . . a baby with dimples and great eyes full of light
. . . he couldn't have been blind then, of course."

"What a pity his mother didn't know he was to be Homer," said
Katherine.

"But I think I'm glad Judas' mother didn't know he was to be
Judas," said Anne softly.  "I hope she never did know."



There was a concert in the hall one night, with a party at Abner
Sloane's after it, and Anne persuaded Katherine to go to both.

"I want you to give us a reading for our program, Katherine.  I've
heard you read beautifully."

"I used to recite . . . I think I rather liked doing it.  But the
summer before last I recited at a shore concert which a party of
summer resorters got up . . . and I heard them laughing at me
afterwards."

"How do you know they were laughing at you?"

"They must have been.  There wasn't anything else to laugh at."

Anne hid a smile and persisted in asking for the reading.

"Give Genevra for an encore.  I'm told you do that splendidly.
Mrs. Stephen Pringle told me she never slept a wink the night after
she heard you give it."

"No; I've never liked Genevra.  It's in the reading, so I try
occasionally to show the class how to read it.  I really have no
patience with Genevra.  Why didn't she scream when she found
herself locked in?  When they were hunting everywhere for her,
surely somebody would have heard her."

Katherine finally promised the reading but was dubious about the
party.  "I'll go, of course.  But nobody will ask me to dance and
I'll feel sarcastic and prejudiced and ashamed.  I'm always
miserable at parties . . . the few I've ever gone to.  Nobody seems
to think I can dance . . . and you know I can fairly well, Anne.  I
picked it up at Uncle Henry's, because a poor bit of a maid they
had wanted to learn, too, and she and I used to dance together in
the kitchen at night to the music that went on in the parlor.  I
think I'd like it . . . with the right kind of partner."

"You won't be miserable at this party, Katherine.  You won't be
outside looking in.  There's all the difference in the world, you
know, between being inside looking out and outside looking in.  You
have such lovely hair, Katherine.  Do you mind if I try a new way
of doing it?"

Katherine shrugged.

"Oh, go ahead.  I suppose my hair does look dreadful . . . but I've
no time to be always primping.  I haven't a party dress.  Will my
green taffeta do?"

"It will have to do . . . though green is the one color above all
others that you should never wear, my Katherine.  But you're going
to wear a red, pin-tucked chiffon collar I've made for you.  Yes,
you ARE.  You ought to have a red dress, Katherine."

"I've always hated red.  When I went to live with Uncle Henry, Aunt
Gertrude always made me wear aprons of bright Turkey-red.  The
other children in school used to call out 'Fire,' when I came in
with one of those aprons on.  Anyway, I can't be bothered with
clothes."

"Heaven grant me patience!  Clothes are VERY important," said Anne
severely, as she braided and coiled.  Then she looked at her work
and saw that it was good.  She put her arm about Katherine's
shoulders and turned her to the mirror.

"Don't you truly think we are a pair of quite good-looking girls?"
she laughed.  "And isn't it really nice to think people will find
some pleasure in looking at us?  There are so many homely people
who would actually look quite attractive if they took a little
pains with themselves.  Three Sundays ago in church . . . you
remember the day poor old Mr. Milvain preached and had such a
terrible cold in his head that nobody could make out what he was
saying? . . . well, I passed the time making the people around me
beautiful.  I gave Mrs. Brent a new nose, I waved Mary Addison's
hair and gave Jane Marden's a lemon rinse . . . I dressed Emma Dill
in blue instead of brown . . . I dressed Charlotte Blair in stripes
instead of checks . . . I removed several moles . . . and I shaved
off Thomas Anderson's long, sandy Piccadilly weepers.  You couldn't
have known them when I got through with them.  And, except perhaps
for Mrs. Brent's nose, they could have done everything I did,
themselves.  Why, Katherine, your eyes are just the color of tea
. . . amber tea.  Now, live up to your name this evening . . . a
brook should be sparkling . . . limpid . . . merry."

"Everything I'm not."

"Everything you've been this past week.  So you CAN be it."

"That's only the magic of Green Gables.  When I go back to
Summerside, twelve o'clock will have struck for Cinderella."

"You'll take the magic back with you.  Look at yourself . . .
looking for once as you ought to look all the time."

Katherine gazed at her reflection in the mirror as if rather
doubting her identity.

"I do look years younger," she admitted.  "You were right . . .
clothes DO do things to you.  Oh, I know I've been looking older
than my age.  I didn't care.  Why should I?  Nobody else cared.
And I'm not like you, Anne.  Apparently you were born knowing how
to live.  And I don't know anything about it . . . not even the A B
C.  I wonder if it's too late to learn.  I've been sarcastic so
long, I don't know if I can be anything else.  Sarcasm seemed to me
to be the only way I could make any impression on people.  And it
seems to me, too, that I've always been afraid when I was in the
company of other people . . . afraid of saying something stupid
. . . afraid of being laughed at."

"Katherine Brooke, look at yourself in that mirror; carry that
picture of yourself with you . . . magnificent hair framing your
face instead of trying to pull it backward . . . eyes sparkling
like dark stars . . . a little flush of excitement on your cheeks
. . . and you won't feel afraid.  Come, now.  We're going to be
late, but fortunately all the performers have what I heard Dora
referring to as 'preserved' seats."

Gilbert drove them to the hall.  How like old times it was . . .
only Katherine was with her in place of Diana.  Anne sighed.  Diana
had so many other interests now.  No more running round to concerts
and parties for her.

But what an evening it was!  What silvery satin roads with a pale
green sky in the west after a light snowfall!  Orion was treading
his stately march across the heavens, and hills and fields and
woods lay around them in a pearly silence.

Katherine's reading captured her audience from the first line, and
at the party she could not find dances for all her would-be
partners.  She suddenly found herself laughing without bitterness.
Then home to Green Gables, warming their toes at the sitting-room
fire by the light of two friendly candles on the mantel; and Mrs.
Lynde tiptoeing into their room, late as it was, to ask them if
they'd like another blanket and assure Katherine that her little
dog was snug and warm in a basket behind the kitchen stove.

"I've got a new outlook on life," thought Katherine as she drifted
off to slumber.  "I didn't know there were people like this."

"Come again," said Marilla when she left.

Marilla never said that to any one unless she meant it.

"Of course she's coming again," said Anne.  "For weekends . . . and
for WEEKS in the summer.  We'll build bonfires and hoe in the
garden . . . and pick apples and go for the cows . . . and row on
the pond and get lost in the woods.  I want to show you Little
Hester Gray's garden, Katherine, and Echo Lodge and Violet Vale
when it's full of violets."



7


"Windy Poplars,
"January 5th,
"The street where ghosts (should) walk.

"MY ESTEEMED FRIEND:

"That isn't anything Aunt Chatty's grandmother wrote.  It's only
something she would have written if she'd thought of it.

"I've made a New Year resolution to write sensible love-letters.
Do you suppose such a thing is possible?

"I have left dear Green Gables but I have returned to dear Windy
Poplars.  Rebecca Dew had a fire lighted in the tower room for me
and a hot-water bottle in the bed.

"I'm so glad I like Windy Poplars.  It would be dreadful to live in
a place I didn't like . . . that didn't seem friendly to me . . .
that didn't say, 'I'm glad you're back.'  Windy Poplars does.  It's
a bit old-fashioned and a bit prim, but it likes me.

"And I was glad to see Aunt Kate and Aunt Chatty and Rebecca Dew
again.  I can't help seeing their funny sides but I love them well
for all that.

"Rebecca Dew said such a nice thing to me yesterday.

"'Spook's Lane has been a different place since you came here, Miss
Shirley.'

"I'm glad you liked Katherine, Gilbert.  She was surprisingly nice
to you.  It's amazing to find how nice she can be when she tries.
And I think she is just as much amazed at it herself as any one
else.  She had no idea it would be so easy.

"It's going to make so much difference in school, having a Vice you
can really work with.  She is going to change her boarding-house,
and I have already persuaded her to get that velvet hat and have
not yet given up hope of persuading her to sing in the choir.

"Mr. Hamilton's dog came down yesterday and chivied Dusty Miller.
'This IS the last straw,' said Rebecca Dew.  And with her red
cheeks redder still, her chubby back shaking with anger, and in
such a hurry that she put her hat on hindside before and never knew
it, she toddled up the road and gave Mr. Hamilton quite a large
piece of her mind.  I can just see his foolish, amiable face while
he was listening to her.

"'I do not like That Cat,' she told me, 'but he is OURS and no
Hamilton dog is going to come here and give him impudence in his
own back yard.  "He only chased your cat in fun," said Jabez
Hamilton.  "The Hamilton ideas of fun are different from the
MacComber ideas of fun or the MacLean ideas of fun or, if it comes
to that, the Dew ideas of fun," I told him.  "Tut, tut, you must
have had cabbage for dinner, Miss Dew," said he.  "No," I said,
"but I COULD have had.  Mrs. Captain MacComber didn't sell all her
cabbages last fall and leave her family without any because the
price was so good.  There are some people," sez I, "that can't hear
anything because of the jingle in their pocket."  And I left that
to sink in.  But what could you expect from a Hamilton?  Low scum!'

"There is a crimson star hanging low over the white Storm King.  I
wish you were here to watch it with me.  If you were, I really
think it would be more than a moment of esteem and friendship."


"January 12th.

"Little Elizabeth came over two nights ago to find out if I could
tell her what peculiar kind of terrible animals Papal bulls were,
and to tell me tearfully that her teacher had asked her to sing at
a concert the public school is getting up but that Mrs. Campbell
put her foot down and said 'no' most decidedly.  When Elizabeth
attempted to plead, Mrs. Campbell said,

"'Have the goodness not to talk back to me, Elizabeth, if you
please.'

"Little Elizabeth wept a few bitter tears in the tower room that
night and said she felt it would make her Lizzie forever.  She
could never be any of her other names again.

"'Last week I loved God, this week I don't,' she said defiantly.

"All her class were taking part in the program and she felt 'like a
leopard.'  I think the sweet thing meant she felt like a leper and
that was sufficiently dreadful.  Darling Elizabeth must not feel
like a leper.

"So I manufactured an errand to The Evergreens next evening.  The
Woman . . . who might really have lived before the flood, she
looks so ancient . . . gazed at me coldly out of great gray,
expressionless eyes, showed me grimly into the drawing-room and
went to tell Mrs. Campbell that I had asked for her.

"I don't think there has been any sunshine in that drawing-room
since the house was built.  There was a piano, but I'm sure it
could never have been played on.  Stiff chairs, covered with silk
brocade, stood against the wall . . . ALL the furniture stood
against the wall except a central marble-topped table, and none of
it seemed to be acquainted with the rest.

"Mrs. Campbell came in.  I had never seen her before.  She has a
fine, sculptured old face that might have been a man's, with black
eyes and black bushy brows under frosty hair.  She has not quite
eschewed ALL vain adornment of the body, for she wore large black
onyx earrings that reached to her shoulders.  She was painfully
polite to me and I was painlessly polite to her.  We sat and
exchanged civilities about the weather for a few moments . . .
both, as Tacitus remarked a few thousand years ago, 'with
countenances adjusted to the occasion.'  I told her, truthfully,
that I had come to see if she would lend me the Rev. James Wallace
Campbell's Memoirs for a short time, because I understood there was
a good deal about the early history of Prince County in them which
I wished to make use of in school.

"Mrs. Campbell thawed quite markedly and summoning Elizabeth, told
her to go up to her room and bring down the Memoirs.  Elizabeth's
face showed signs of tears and Mrs. Campbell condescended to
explain that it was because little Elizabeth's teacher had sent
another note begging that she be allowed to sing at the concert,
and that she, Mrs. Campbell, had written a very stinging reply
which little Elizabeth would have to carry to her teacher the next
morning.

"'I do not approve of children of Elizabeth's age singing in
public,' said Mrs. Campbell.  'It tends to make them bold and
forward.'

"As if anything could make little Elizabeth bold and forward!

"'I think perhaps you are wise, Mrs. Campbell,' I remarked in my
most patronizing tone.  'In any event Mabel Phillips is going to
sing, and I am told that her voice is really so wonderful that she
will make all the others seem as nothing.  No doubt it is MUCH
better that Elizabeth should not appear in competition with her.'

"Mrs. Campbell's face was a study.  She may be Campbell outside but
she is Pringle at the core.  She said nothing, however, and I knew
the psychological moment for stopping.  I thanked her for the
Memoirs and came away.

"The next evening when little Elizabeth came to the garden gate for
her milk, her pale, flower-like face was literally a-star.  She
told me that Mrs. Campbell had told her she might sing after all,
if she were careful not to let herself get puffed up about it.

"You see, Rebecca Dew had told me that the Phillips and the
Campbell clans have always been rivals in the matter of good
voices!

"I gave Elizabeth a bit of a picture for Christmas to hang above
her bed . . . just a light-dappled woodland path leading up a hill
to a quaint little house among some trees.  Little Elizabeth says
she is not so frightened now to go to sleep in the dark, because as
soon as she gets into bed she pretends that she is walking up the
path to the house and that she goes inside and it is all lighted
and her father is there.

"Poor darling!  I can't help detesting that father of hers!"


"January 19th.

"There was a dance at Carry Pringle's last night.  Katherine was
there in a dark red silk with the new side flounces and her hair
had been done by a hairdresser.  Would you believe it, people who
had known her ever since she came to teach in Summerside actually
asked one another who she was when she came into the room.  But I
think it was less the dress and hair that made the difference than
some indefinable change in herself.

"Always before, when she was out with people, her attitude seemed
to be, 'These people bore me.  I expect I bore them and I hope I
do.'  But last night it was as if she had set lighted candles in
all the windows of her house of life.

"I've had a hard time winning Katherine's friendship.  But nothing
worth while is ever easy come by and I have always felt that her
friendship would be worth while.

"Aunt Chatty has been in bed for two days with a feverish cold and
thinks she may have the doctor tomorrow, in case she is taking
pneumonia.  So Rebecca Dew, her head tied up in a towel, has been
cleaning the house madly all day to get it in perfect order before
the doctor's possible visit.  Now she is in the kitchen ironing Aunt
Chatty's white cotton nighty with the crochet yoke, so that it will
be ready for her to slip over her flannel one.  It was spotlessly
clean before, but Rebecca Dew thought it was not quite a good color
from lying in the bureau drawer."


"January 28th.

"January so far has been a month of cold gray days, with an
occasional storm whirling across the harbor and filling Spook's
Lane with drifts.  But last night we had a silver thaw and today
the sun shone.  My maple grove was a place of unimaginable
splendors.  Even the commonplaces had been made lovely.  Every bit
of wire fencing was a wonder of crystal lace.

"Rebecca Dew has been poring this evening over one of my magazines
containing an article on 'Types of Fair Women,' illustrated by
photographs.

"'Wouldn't it be lovely, Miss Shirley, if some one could just wave
a wand and make everybody beautiful?' she said wistfully.  'Just
fancy my feelings, Miss Shirley, if I suddenly found myself
beautiful!  But then' . . . with a sigh . . . 'if we were all
beauties who would do the work?'"



8


"I'm so tired," sighed Cousin Ernestine Bugle, dropping into her
chair at the Windy Poplars supper-table.  "I'm afraid sometimes to
sit down for fear I'll never be able to git up again."

Cousin Ernestine, a cousin three times removed of the late Captain
MacComber, but still, as Aunt Kate used to reflect, much too close,
had walked in from Lowvale that afternoon for a visit to Windy
Poplars.  It cannot be said that either of the widows had welcomed
her very heartily, in spite of the sacred ties of family.  Cousin
Ernestine was not an exhilarating person, being one of those
unfortunates who are constantly worrying not only about their own
affairs but everybody else's as well and will not give themselves
or others any rest at all.  The very look of her, Rebecca Dew
declared, made you feel that life was a vale of tears.

Certainly Cousin Ernestine was not beautiful and it was extremely
doubtful if she ever had been.  She had a dry, pinched little face,
faded, pale blue eyes, several badly placed moles and a whining
voice.  She wore a rusty black dress and a decrepit neck-piece of
Hudson seal which she would not remove even at the table, because
she was afraid of draughts.

Rebecca Dew might have sat at the table with them had she wished,
for the widows did not regard Cousin Ernestine as any particular
"company."  But Rebecca always declared she couldn't "savor her
victuals" in that old kill-joy's society.  She preferred to "eat
her morsel" in the kitchen, but that did not prevent her from
saying her say as she waited on the table.

"Likely it's the spring getting into your bones," she remarked
unsympathetically.

"Ah, I hope it's only that, Miss Dew.  But I'm afraid I'm like poor
Mrs. Oliver Gage.  She et mushrooms last summer but there must-a
been a toadstool among them, for she's never felt the same since.

"But you can't have been eating mushrooms as early as this," said
Aunt Chatty.

"No, but I'm afraid I've et something else.  Don't try to cheer me
up, Charlotte.  You mean well, but it ain't no use.  I've been
through too much.  Are you sure there ain't a spider in that cream
jug, Kate?  I'm afraid I saw one when you poured my cup."

"We never have spiders in OUR cream jugs," said Rebecca Dew
ominously, and slammed the kitchen door.

"Mebbe it was only a shadder," said Cousin Ernestine meekly.  "My
eyes ain't what they were.  I'm afraid I'll soon be blind.  That
reminds me . . . I dropped in to see Martha MacKay this afternoon
and she was feeling feverish and all out in some kind of a rash.
'Looks to me as though you had the measles,' I told her.  'Likely
they'll leave you almost blind.  Your family all have weak eyes.'
I thought she ought to be prepared.  Her mother isn't well either.
The doctor says it's indigestion, but I'm afraid it's a GROWTH.
'And if you have to have an operation and take chloroform,' I told
her, 'I'm afraid you'll never come out of it.  Remember you're a
Hillis and the Hillises all had weak hearts.  Your father died of
heart-failure, you know.'"

"At eighty-seven!" said Rebecca Dew, whisking away a plate.

"And you know three score and ten is the Bible limit," said Aunt
Chatty cheerfully.

Cousin Ernestine helped herself to a third teaspoonful of sugar and
stirred her tea sadly.

"So King David said, Charlotte, but I'm afraid David wasn't a very
nice man in some respects."

Anne caught Aunt Chatty's eye and laughed before she could help
herself.

Cousin Ernestine looked at her disapprovingly.

"I've heerd you was a great girl to laugh.  Well, I hope it'll
last, but I'm afraid it won't.  I'm afraid you'll find out all too
soon that life's a melancholy business.  Ah well, I was young
myself once."

"Was you really?" inquired Rebecca Dew sarcastically, bringing in
the muffins.  "Seems to me you must always have been afraid to be
young.  It takes courage, I can tell you that, Miss Bugle."

"Rebecca Dew has such an odd way of putting things," complained
Cousin Ernestine.  "Not that I mind her of course.  And it's well
to laugh when you can, Miss Shirley, but I'm afraid you're tempting
Providence by being so happy.  You're awful like our last minister's
wife's aunt . . . she was always laughing and she died of a
parralattic stroke.  The third one kills you.  I'm afraid our new
minister out at Lowvale is inclined to be frivolous.  The minute I
saw him I sez to Louisy, 'I'm afraid a man with legs like that must
be addicted to dancing.'  I s'pose he's give it up since he turned
minister, but I'm afraid the strain will come out in his family.
He's got a young wife and they say she's scandalously in love with
him.  I can't seem to git over the thought of any one marrying a
minister for love.  I'm afraid it's awful irreverent.  He preaches
pretty fair sermons, but I'm afraid from what he said of Elijah the
Tidbit last Sunday that he's far too liberal in his views of the
Bible."

"I see by the papers that Peter Ellis and Fanny Bugle were married
last week," said Aunt Chatty.

"Ah, yes.  I'm afraid that'll be a case of marrying in haste and
repenting at leisure.  They've only known each other three years.
I'm afraid Peter'll find out that fine feathers don't always make
fine birds.  I'm afraid Fanny's very shiftless.  She irons her
table napkins on the right side first and only.  Not much like her
sainted mother.  Ah, SHE was a thorough woman if ever there was
one.  When she was in mourning she always wore black nightgowns.
Said she felt as bad in the night as in the day.  I was down at
Andy Bugle's, helping them with the cooking, and when I come
downstairs on the wedding morning if there wasn't Fanny eating an
egg for her breakfast . . . and her gitting married that day.  I
don't s'pose you'll believe that . . . I wouldn't if I hadn't a-
seen it with my own eyes.  My poor dead sister never et a thing for
three days afore she was married.  And after her husband died we
was all afraid she was never going to eat again.  There are times
when I feel I can't understand the Bugles any longer.  There was a
time when you knew where you was with your own connection, but it
ain't that way now."

"Is it true that Jean Young is going to be married again?" asked
Aunt Kate.

"I'm afraid it is.  Of course Fred Young is supposed to be dead,
but I'm dreadful afraid he'll turn up yet.  You could never trust
that man.  She's going to marry Ira Roberts.  I'm afraid he's only
marrying her to make her happy.  His Uncle Philip once wanted to
marry me, but I sez to him, sez I, 'Bugle I was born and Bugle I
will die.  Marriage is a leap in the dark,' sez I, 'and I ain't
going to be drug into it.'  There's been an awful lot of weddings
in Lowvale this winter.  I'm afraid there'll be funerals all summer
to make up for it.  Annie Edwards and Chris Hunter were married
last month.  I'm afraid they won't be as fond of each other in a
few years' time as they are now.  I'm afraid she was just swept off
her feet by his dashing ways.  His Uncle Hiram was crazy . . . he
belieft he was a dog for years."

"If he did his own barking nobody need have grudged him the fun of
it," said Rebecca Dew, bringing in the pear preserves and the layer
cake.

"I never heerd that he barked," said Cousin Ernestine.  "He just
gnawed bones and buried them when nobody was looking.  His wife
felt it."

"Where is Mrs. Lily Hunter this winter?" asked Aunt Chatty.

"She's been spending it with her son in San Francisco and I'm awful
afraid there'll be another earthquake afore she gits out of it.  If
she does, she'll likely try to smuggle and have trouble at the
border.  If it ain't one thing, it's another when you're traveling.
But folks seem to be crazy for it.  My cousin Jim Bugle spent the
winter in Florida.  I'm afraid he's gitting rich and worldly.  I
said to him afore he went, sez I . . . I remember it was the night
afore the Colemans' dog died . . . or was it? . . . yes, it was . . .
'Pride goeth afore destruction and a haughty spirit afore a fall,'
sez I.  His daughter is teaching over in the Bugle Road school and
she can't make up her mind which of her beaus to take. 'There's one
thing I can assure you of, Mary Annetta,' sez I, 'and that is you'll
never git the one you love best.  So you'd better take the one as
loves you . . . if you kin be sure he does.'  I hope she'll make a
better choice than Jessie Chipman did.  I'm afraid SHE'S just going
to marry Oscar Green because he was always round.  'Is THAT what
you've picked out?' I sez to her.  His brother died of galloping
consumption.  'And don't be married in May,' sez I, 'for May's awful
unlucky for a wedding.'"

"How encouraging you always are!" said Rebecca Dew, bringing in a
plate of macaroons.

"Can you tell me," said Cousin Ernestine, ignoring Rebecca Dew and
taking a second helping of pears, "if a calceolaria is a flower or
a disease?"

"A flower," said Aunt Chatty.

Cousin Ernestine looked a little disappointed.

"Well, whatever it is, Sandy Bugle's widow's got it.  I heerd her
telling her sister in church last Sunday that she had a calceolaria
at last.  Your geraniums are dreadful scraggy, Charlotte.  I'm
afraid you don't fertilize them properly.  Mrs. Sandy's gone out of
mourning and poor Sandy only dead four years.  Ah well, the dead
are soon forgot nowadays.  My sister wore crape for her husband
twenty-five years."

"Did you know your placket was open?" said Rebecca, setting a
coconut pie before Aunt Kate.

"I haven't time to be always staring at my face in the glass," said
Cousin Ernestine acidly.  "What if my placket is open?  I've got
three petticoats on, haven't I?  They tell me the girls nowadays
only wear one.  I'm afraid the world is gitting dreadful gay and
giddy.  I wonder if they ever think of the judgment day."

"Do you s'pose they'll ask us at the judgment day how many
petticoats we've got on?" asked Rebecca Dew, escaping to the
kitchen before any one could register horror.  Even Aunt Chatty
thought Rebecca Dew really had gone a little too far.

"I s'pose you saw old Alec Crowdy's death last week in the paper,"
sighed Cousin Ernestine.  "His wife died two years ago, lit'rally
harried into her grave, poor creetur.  They say he's been awful
lonely since she died, but I'm afraid that's too good to be true.
And I'm afraid they're not through with their troubles with him
yet, even if he is buried.  I hear he wouldn't make a will and I'm
afraid there'll be awful ructions over the estate.  They say
Annabel Crowdy is going to marry a jack-of-all-trades.  Her
mother's first husband was one, so mebbe it's heredit'ry.
Annabel's had a hard life of it, but I'm afraid she'll find it's
out of the frying-pan into the fire, even if it don't turn out he's
got a wife already."

"What is Jane Goldwin doing with herself this winter?" asked Aunt
Kate.  "She hasn't been in to town for a long time."

"Ah, poor Jane!  She's just pining away mysteriously.  They don't
know what's the matter with her, but I'm afraid it'll turn out to
be an alibi.  What is Rebecca Dew laughing like a hyenus out in
the kitchen for?  I'm afraid you'll have her on your hands yet.
There's an awful lot of weak minds among the Dews."

"I see Thyra Cooper has a baby," said Aunt Chatty.

"Ah, yes, poor little soul.  Only one, thank mercy.  I was afraid
it would be twins.  Twins run so in the Coopers."

"Thyra and Ned are such a nice young couple," said Aunt Kate, as if
determined to salvage something from the wreck of the universe.

But Cousin Ernestine would not admit that there was any balm in
Gilead much less in Lowvale.

"Ah, she was real thankful to git him at last.  There was a time
she was afraid he wouldn't come back from the west.  I warned her.
'You may be sure he'll disappoint you,' I told her.  'He's always
disappointed people.  Every one expected him to die afore he was a
year old, but you see he's alive yet.'  When he bought the Holly
place I warned her again.  'I'm afraid that well is full of
typhoid,' I told her.  'The Holly hired man died of typhoid there
five years ago.'  They can't blame ME if anything happens.  Joseph
Holly has some misery in his back.  He calls it lumbago, but I'm
afraid it's the beginning of spinal meningitis."

"Old Uncle Joseph Holly is one of the best men in the world," said
Rebecca Dew, bringing in a replenished teapot.

"Ah, he's good," said Cousin Ernestine lugubriously.  "Too good!
I'm afraid his sons will all go to the bad.  You see it like that
so often.  Seems as if an average has to be struck.  No, thank you,
Kate, I won't have any more tea . . . well, mebbe a macaroon.  They
don't lie heavy on the stomach, but I'm afraid I've et far too
much.  I must be taking French leave, for I'm afraid it'll be dark
afore I git home.  I don't want to git my feet wet; I'm so afraid
of ammonia.  I've had something traveling from my arm to my lower
limbs all winter.  Night after night I've laid awake with it.
Ah, nobody knows what I've gone through, but I ain't one of the
complaining sort.  I was determined I'd git up to see you once
more, for I may not be here another spring.  But you've both failed
terrible, so you may go afore me yet.  Ah well, it's best to go
while there's some one of your own left to lay you out.  Dear me,
how the wind is gitting up!  I'm afraid our barn roof will blow off
if it comes to a gale.  We've had so much wind this spring I'm
afraid the climate is changing.  Thank you, Miss Shirley . . ." as
Anne helped her into her coat . . . "Be careful of yourself.  You
look awful washed out.  I'm afraid people with red hair never have
real strong constitutions."

"I think my constitution is all right," smiled Anne, handing Cousin
Ernestine an indescribable bit of millinery with a stringy ostrich
feather dripping from its back.  "I have a touch of sore throat
tonight, Miss Bugle, that's all."

"Ah!"  Another of Cousin Ernestine's dark forebodings came to her.
"You want to watch a sore throat.  The symptoms of diptheria and
tonsillitis are exactly the same till the third day.  But there's
one consolation . . . you'll be spared an awful lot of trouble if
you die young."



9


"Tower Room,
"Windy Poplars,
"April 20th.

"POOR DEAR GILBERT:

"'I said of laughter, it is mad, and of mirth, what doeth it?'  I'm
afraid I'll turn gray young . . . I'm afraid I'll end up in the
poorhouse . . . I'm afraid none of my pupils will pass their finals
. . . Mr. Hamilton's dog barked at me Saturday night and I'm afraid
I'll have hydrophobia . . . I'm afraid my umbrella will turn inside
out when I keep a tryst with Katherine tonight . . . I'm afraid
Katherine likes me so much now that she can't always like me as
much . . . I'm afraid my hair isn't auburn after all . . . I'm
afraid I'll have a mole on the end of my nose when I'm fifty . . .
I'm afraid my school is a fire-trap . . . I'm afraid I'll find a
mouse in my bed tonight . . . I'm afraid you got engaged to me just
because I was always around . . . I'm afraid I'll soon be picking
at the counterpane.

"No, dearest, I'm not crazy . . . not yet.  It's only that Cousin
Ernestine Bugle is catching.

"I know now why Rebecca Dew has always called her 'Miss Much-
afraid.'  The poor soul has borrowed so much trouble, she must be
hopelessly in debt to fate.

"There are so many Bugles in the world . . . not many quite so far
gone in Buglism as Cousin Ernestine, perhaps, but so many kill-
joys, afraid to enjoy today because of what tomorrow will bring.

"Gilbert darling, don't let's ever be afraid of things.  It's such
dreadful slavery.  Let's be daring and adventurous and expectant.
Let's dance to meet life and all it can bring to us, even if it
brings scads of trouble and typhoid and twins!

"Today has been a day dropped out of June into April.  The snow is
all gone and the fawn meadows and golden hills just sing of spring.
I know I heard Pan piping in the little green hollow in my maple
bush and my Storm King was bannered with the airiest of purple
hazes.  We've had a great deal of rain lately and I've loved
sitting in my tower in the still, wet hours of the spring
twilights.  But tonight is a gusty, hurrying night . . . even the
clouds racing over the sky are in a hurry and the moonlight that
gushes out between them is in a hurry to flood the world.

"Suppose, Gilbert, we were walking hand in hand down one of the
long roads in Avonlea tonight!

"Gilbert, I'm afraid I'm scandalously in love with you.  You don't
think it's irreverent, do you?  But then, you're not a minister."



10


"I'm SO different," sighed Hazel.

It was really dreadful to be so different from other people . . .
and yet rather wonderful, too, as if you were a being strayed from
another star.  Hazel would not have been one of the common herd for
ANYTHING . . . no matter what she suffered by reason of her
differentness.

"Everybody is different," said Anne amusedly.

"You are smiling."  Hazel clasped a pair of very white, very dimpled
hands and gazed adoringly at Anne.  She emphasized at least one
syllable in every word she uttered.  "You have such a fascinating
smile . . . such a HAUNTING smile.  I knew the moment I first saw
you that you would understand EVERYTHING.  We are on the SAME PLANE.
Sometimes I think I must be PSYCHIC, Miss Shirley.  I always know so
INSTINCTIVELY the moment I meet any one whether I'm going to like
them or not.  I felt at once that you were sympathetic . . . that
you would UNDERSTAND.  It's so sweet to be understood.  Nobody
understands me, Miss Shirley . . . NOBODY.  But when I saw you, some
inner voice whispered to me, 'SHE will understand . . . with her you
can be your REAL SELF.'  Oh, Miss Shirley, let's be REAL . . . let's
ALWAYS be real.  Oh, Miss Shirley, do you love me the leastest,
tiniest bit?"

"I think you're a dear," said Anne, laughing a little and ruffling
Hazel's golden curls with her slender fingers.  It was quite easy
to be fond of Hazel.

Hazel had been pouring out her soul to Anne in the tower room, from
which they could see a young moon hanging over the harbor and the
twilight of a late May evening filling the crimson cups of the
tulips below the windows.

"Don't let's have any light yet," Hazel had begged, and Anne had
responded,

"No . . . it's lovely here when the dark is your friend, isn't it?
When you turn on the light, it makes the dark your enemy . . . and
it glowers in at you resentfully."

"I can THINK things like that but I can never express them so
beautifully," moaned Hazel in an anguish of rapture.  "You talk in
the language of the violets, Miss Shirley."

Hazel couldn't have explained in the least what she meant by that,
but it didn't matter.  It sounded SO poetic.

The tower room was the only peaceful room in the house.  Rebecca
Dew had said that morning, with a hunted look, "We MUST get the
parlor and spare-room papered before the Ladies' Aid meets here,"
and had forthwith removed all the furniture from both to make way
for a paper-hanger who then refused to come until the next day.
Windy Poplars was a wilderness of confusion, with one sole oasis in
the tower room.

Hazel Marr had a notorious "crush" on Anne.  The Marrs were new-
comers in Summerside, having moved there from Charlottetown during
the winter.  Hazel was an "October blonde," as she liked to
describe herself, with hair of golden bronze and brown eyes, and,
so Rebecca Dew declared, had never been much good in the world
since she found out she was pretty.  But Hazel was popular,
especially among the boys, who found her eyes and curls a quite
irresistible combination.

Anne liked her.  Earlier in the evening she had been tired and a
trifle pessimistic, with the fag that comes with late afternoon in
a schoolroom, but she felt rested now; whether as a result of the
May breeze, sweet with apple blossom, blowing in at the window,
or of Hazel's chatter, she could not have told.  Perhaps both.
Somehow, to Anne, Hazel recalled her own early youth, with all its
raptures and ideals and romantic visions.

Hazel caught Anne's hand and pressed her lips to it reverently.

"I HATE all the people you have loved before me, Miss Shirley.  I
hate all the other people you love NOW.  I want to possess you
EXCLUSIVELY."

"Aren't you a bit unreasonable, honey?  YOU love other people
besides me.  How about Terry, for example?"

"Oh, Miss Shirley!  It's that I want to talk to you about.  I can't
endure it in silence any longer . . . I CANNOT.  I MUST talk to
some one about it . . . some one who UNDERSTANDS.  I went out the
night before last and walked round and round the pond all night
. . . well, nearly . . . till twelve, anyhow.  I've suffered
everything . . . EVERYTHING."

Hazel looked as tragic as a round, pink-and-white face, long-lashed
eyes and a halo of curls would let her.

"Why, Hazel dear, I thought you and Terry were so happy . . . that
everything was settled."

Anne could not be blamed for thinking so.  During the preceding
three weeks, Hazel had raved to her about Terry Garland, for
Hazel's attitude was, what was the use of having a beau if you
couldn't talk to some one about him?

"EVERYBODY thinks that," retorted Hazel with great bitterness.
"Oh, Miss Shirley, life seems so full of perplexing problems.  I
feel sometimes as if I wanted to lie down somewhere . . . ANYWHERE
. . . and fold my hands and never THINK again."

"My dear girl, what has gone wrong?"

"Nothing . . . and EVERYTHING.  Oh, Miss Shirley, CAN I tell you
all about it . . . CAN I pour out my whole soul to you?"

"Of course, dear."

"I have really no place to pour out my soul," said Hazel
pathetically.  "Except in my journal, of course.  Will you let me
show you my journal some day, Miss Shirley?  It is a self-
revelation.  And yet I cannot write out what burns in my soul.  It
. . . it STIFLES me!"  Hazel clutched dramatically at her throat.

"Of course I'd like to see it if you want me to.  But what is this
trouble between you and Terry?"

"Oh, Terry!!  Miss Shirley, will you believe me when I tell you
that Terry seems like a STRANGER to me?  A stranger!  Some one I'd
never seen before," added Hazel, so that there might be no mistake.

"But, Hazel . . . I thought you loved him . . . you said . . ."

"Oh, I know.  I THOUGHT I loved him, too.  But now I know it was
all a terrible mistake.  Oh, Miss Shirley, you can't dream how
DIFFICULT my life is . . . how IMPOSSIBLE."

"I know something about it," said Anne sympathetically, remembering
Roy Gardiner.

"Oh, Miss Shirley, I'm sure I don't love him enough to marry him.
I realize that now . . . now that it is too late.  I was just
moonlighted into thinking I loved him.  If it hadn't been for the
moon I'm sure I would have asked for time to think it over.  But I
was swept off my feet . . . I can see that now.  Oh, I'll run away
. . . I'll do something desperate!"

"But, Hazel dear, if you feel you've made a mistake, why not just
tell him . . ."

"Oh, Miss Shirley, I couldn't!  It would kill him.  He simply
adores me.  There isn't any way out of it really.  And Terry's
beginning to talk of getting married.  Think of it . . . a child
like me . . . I'm only eighteen.  All the friends I've told about
my engagement as a secret are congratulating me . . . and it's such
a farce.  They think Terry is a great catch because he comes into
ten thousand dollars when he is twenty-five.  His grandmother left
it to him.  As if I cared about such a sordid thing as MONEY!  Oh,
Miss Shirley, WHY is it such a mercenary world . . . WHY?"

"I suppose it is mercenary in some respects, but not in all, Hazel.
And if you feel like this about Terry . . . we all make mistakes
. . . it's very hard to know our own minds sometimes. . . ."

"Oh, isn't it?  I KNEW you'd understand.  I DID think I cared for
him, Miss Shirley.  The first time I saw him I just sat and gazed
at him the whole evening.  WAVES went over me when I met his eyes.
He was SO handsome . . . though I thought even then that his hair
was TOO curly and his eyelashes too white.  THAT should have warned
me.  But I always put my soul into everything, you know . . . I'm
so intense.  I felt little shivers of ecstasy whenever he came near
me.  And now I feel nothing . . . NOTHING!  Oh, I've grown old
these past few weeks, Miss Shirley . . . OLD!  I've hardly eaten
anything since I got engaged.  Mother could tell you.  I'm SURE I
don't love him enough to marry him.  Whatever else I may be in
doubt about, I know THAT."

"Then you shouldn't . . ."

"Even that moonlight night he proposed to me, I was thinking of
what dress I'd wear to Joan Pringle's fancy dress party.  I thought
it would be lovely to go as Queen of the May in pale green, with a
sash of darker green and a cluster of pale pink roses in my hair.
And a May-pole decked with tiny roses and hung with pink and green
ribbons.  Wouldn't it have been fetching?  And then Joan's uncle
had to go and die and Joan couldn't have the party after all, so it
all went for nothing.  But the point is . . . I really couldn't
have loved him when my thoughts were wandering like that, could I?"

"I don't know . . . our thoughts play us curious tricks some
times."

"I really don't think I ever want to get married at all, Miss
Shirley.  Do you happen to have an orangewood stick handy?  Thanks.
My half-moons are getting ragged.  I might as well do them while
I'm talking.  Isn't it just lovely to be exchanging confidences
like this?  It's so seldom one gets the opportunity . . . the world
intrudes itself so.  Well, what was I talking of . . . oh, yes,
Terry.  What am I to do, Miss Shirley?  I want your advice.  Oh, I
feel like a trapped creature!"

"But, Hazel, it's so very simple . . ."

"Oh, it isn't simple at all, Miss Shirley!  It's dreadfully
complicated.  Mamma is so outrageously pleased, but Aunt Jean
isn't.  SHE doesn't like Terry, and everybody says she has such
good judgment.  I don't want to marry anybody.  I'm ambitious . . .
I want a career.  Sometimes I think I'd like to be a nun.  Wouldn't
it be wonderful to be the bride of heaven?  I think the Catholic
church is SO picturesque, don't you?  But of course I'm not a
Catholic . . . and anyway, I suppose you could hardly call it a
career.  I've always felt I'd love to be a nurse.  It's such a
romantic profession, don't you think?  Smoothing fevered brows and
all that . . . and some handsome millionaire patient falling in
love with you and carrying you off to spend a honeymoon in a villa
on the Riviera, facing the morning sun and the blue Mediterranean.
I've SEEN myself in it.  Foolish dreams, perhaps, but, oh, so
sweet.  I CAN'T give them up for the prosaic reality of marrying
Terry Garland and settling down in SUMMERSIDE!"

Hazel shivered at the very idea and scrutinized a half-moon
critically.

"I suppose . . ." began Anne.

"We haven't ANYTHING in common, you know, Miss Shirley.  He doesn't
care for poetry and romance, and they're my very LIFE.  Sometimes I
think I must be a reincarnation of Cleopatra . . . or would it be
Helen of Troy? . . . one of those languorous, seductive creatures,
anyhow.  I have such WONDERFUL thoughts and feelings . . . I don't
know where I get them if that isn't the explanation.  And Terry is
so terribly matter-of-fact . . . he can't be a reincarnation of
anybody.  What he said when I told him about Vera Fry's quill pen
proves that, doesn't it?"

"But I never heard of Vera Fry's quill pen," said Anne patiently.

"Oh, haven't you?  I thought I'd told you.  I've told you so much.
Vera's fiance gave her a quill pen he'd made out of a feather he'd
picked up that had fallen from a crow's wing.  He said to her, 'Let
your spirit soar to heaven with it whenever you use it, like the
bird who once bore it.'  Wasn't that just WONDERFUL?  But Terry
said the pen would wear out very soon, especially if Vera wrote as
much as she talked, and anyway he didn't think crows ever soared to
heaven.  He just missed the meaning of the whole thing completely
. . . it's very essence."

"What WAS its meaning?"

"Oh . . . why . . . why . . . SOARING, you know . . . getting away
from the clods of earth.  Did you notice Vera's ring?  A sapphire.
I think sapphires are too dark for engagement rings.  I'd rather
have your dear, romantic little hoop of pearls.  Terry wanted to
give me my ring right away . . . but I said not yet a while . . .
it would seem like a fetter . . . so IRREVOCABLE, you know.  I
wouldn't have felt like that if I'd really loved him, would I?"

"No, I'm afraid not . . ."

"It's been so WONDERFUL to tell somebody what I really feel like.
Oh, Miss Shirley, if I could only find myself free again . . . free
to seek the deeper meaning of life!  Terry wouldn't understand what
I meant if I said THAT to him.  And I know he has a temper . . .
all the Garlands have.  Oh, Miss Shirley . . . if you would just
talk to him . . . tell him what I feel like . . . he thinks you're
wonderful . . . he'd be guided by what you say."

"Hazel, my dear little girl, how could I do that?"

"I don't see why not."  Hazel finished the last new moon and laid
the orangewood stick down tragically.  "If you can't, there isn't
any help ANYWHERE.  But I can never, Never, NEVER marry Terry
Garland."

"If you don't love Terry, you ought to go to him and tell him so
. . . no matter how badly it will make him feel.  Some day you'll
meet some one you can really love, Hazel dear . . . you won't have
any doubts then . . . you'll KNOW."

"I shall never love ANYBODY again," said Hazel, stonily calm.
"Love brings only sorrow.  Young as I am I have learned THAT.  This
would make a wonderful plot for one of your stories, wouldn't it,
Miss Shirley?  I must be going . . . I'd no idea it was so late.  I
feel SO much better since I've confided in you . . . 'touched your
soul in shadowland,' as Shakespeare says."

"I think it was Pauline Johnson," said Anne gently.

"Well, I knew it was somebody . . . somebody who had LIVED.  I
think I shall sleep tonight, Miss Shirley.  I've hardly slept since
I found myself engaged to Terry, without the LEAST notion how it
had all come about."

Hazel fluffed out her hair and put on her hat, a hat with a rosy
lining to its brim and rosy blossoms around it.  She looked so
distractingly pretty in it that Anne kissed her impulsively.
"You're the prettiest thing, darling," she said admiringly.

Hazel stood very still.

Then she lifted her eyes and stared clear through the ceiling of
the tower room, clear through the attic above it, and sought the
stars.

"I shall never, NEVER forget this WONDERFUL moment, Miss Shirley,"
she murmured rapturously.  "I feel that my beauty . . . if I have
any . . . has been CONSECRATED.  Oh, Miss Shirley, you don't know
how really terrible it is to have a reputation for beauty and to be
always afraid that when people meet you they will not think you as
pretty as you were reported to be.  It's TORTURE.  Sometimes I just
DIE of mortification because I fancy I can see they're disappointed.
Perhaps it's only my imagination . . . I'm SO imaginative . . . too
much so for my own good, I fear.  I IMAGINED I was in love with
Terry, you see.  Oh, Miss Shirley, CAN you smell the apple-blossom
fragrance?"

Having a nose, Anne could.

"Isn't it just DIVINE?  I hope heaven will be ALL flowers.  One
could be good if one lived in a lily, couldn't one?"

"I'm afraid it might be a little confining," said Anne perversely.

"Oh, Miss Shirley, don't . . . DON'T be sarcastic with your little
adorer.  Sarcasm just SHRIVELS me up like a leaf."

"I see she hasn't talked you quite to death," said Rebecca Dew,
when Anne had come back after seeing Hazel to the end of Spook's
Lane.  "I don't see how you put up with her."

"I like her, Rebecca, I really do.  _I_ was a dreadful little
chatterbox when I was a child.  I wonder if I sounded as silly to
the people who had to listen to me as Hazel does sometimes."

"I didn't know you when you was a child but I'm sure you didn't,"
said Rebecca.  "Because you would MEAN what you said no matter how
you expressed it and Hazel Marr doesn't.  She's nothing but skim
milk pretending to be cream."

"Oh, of course she dramatizes herself a bit as most girls do, but I
think she means some of the things she says," said Anne, thinking
of Terry.  Perhaps it was because she had a rather poor opinion of
the said Terry that she believed Hazel was quite in earnest in all
she said about him.  Anne thought Hazel was throwing herself away
on Terry in spite of the ten thousand he was "coming into."  Anne
considered Terry a good-looking, rather weak youth who would fall
in love with the first pretty girl who made eyes at him and would,
with equal facility, fall in love with the next one if Number One
turned him down or left him alone too long.

Anne had seen a good deal of Terry that spring, for Hazel had
insisted on her playing gooseberry frequently; and she was destined
to see more of him, for Hazel went to visit friends in Kingsport
and during her absence Terry rather attached himself to Anne,
taking her out for rides and "seeing her home" from places.  They
called each other "Anne" and "Terry," for they were about the same
age, although Anne felt quite motherly towards him.  Terry felt
immensely flattered that "the clever Miss Shirley" seemed to like
his companionship and he became so sentimental the night of May
Connelly's party, in a moonlit garden, where the shadows of the
acacias blew crazily about, that Anne amusedly reminded him of the
absent Hazel.

"Oh, Hazel!" said Terry.  "That child!"

"You're engaged to 'that child,' aren't you?" said Anne severely.

"Not really engaged . . . nothing but some boy-and-girl nonsense.
I . . . I guess I was just swept off my feet by the moonlight."

Anne did a bit of rapid thinking.  If Terry really cared so little
for Hazel as this, the child was far better freed from him.
Perhaps this was a heaven-sent opportunity to extricate them both
from the silly tangle they had got themselves into and from which
neither of them, taking things with all the deadly seriousness of
youth, knew how to escape.

"Of course," went on Terry, misinterpreting her silence.  "I'm in a
bit of a predicament, I'll own.  I'm afraid Hazel has taken me a
little bit too seriously, and I don't just know the best way to
open her eyes to her mistake."

Impulsive Anne assumed her most maternal look.

"Terry, you are a couple of children playing at being grown up.
Hazel doesn't really care anything more for you than you do for
her.  Apparently the moonlight affected both of you.  SHE wants to
be free but is afraid to tell you so for fear of hurting your
feelings.  She's just a bewildered, romantic girl and you're a boy
in love with love, and some day you'll both have a good laugh at
yourselves."

("I think I've put that very nicely," thought Anne complacently.)

Terry drew a long breath.

"You've taken a weight off my mind, Anne.  Hazel's a sweet little
thing, of course, I hated to think of hurting her, but I've
realized my . . . our . . . mistake for some weeks.  When one meets
a WOMAN . . . THE woman . . . you're not going in yet, Anne?  Is
all this good moonlight to be wasted?  You look like a white rose
in the moonlight . . . Anne. . . ."

But Anne had flown.



11


Anne, correcting examination papers in the tower room one mid-June
evening, paused to wipe her nose.  She had wiped it so often that
evening that it was rosy-red and rather painful.  The truth was
that Anne was the victim of a very severe and very unromantic cold
in the head.  It would not allow her to enjoy the soft green sky
behind the hemlocks of The Evergreens, the silver-white moon
hanging over the Storm King, the haunting perfume of the lilacs
below her window or the frosty, blue-penciled irises in the vase
on her table.  It darkened all her past and overshadowed all her
future.

"A cold in the head in June is an immoral thing," she told Dusty
Miller, who was meditating on the window-sill.  "But in two weeks
from today I'll be in dear Green Gables instead of stewing here
over examination papers full of howlers and wiping a worn-out nose.
Think of it, Dusty Miller."

Apparently Dusty Miller thought of it.  He may also have thought
that the young lady who was hurrying along Spook's Lane and down
the road and along the perennial path looked angry and disturbed
and un-June-like.  It was Hazel Marr, only a day back from
Kingsport, and evidently a much disturbed Hazel Marr, who, a few
minutes later, burst stormily into the tower room without waiting
for a reply to her sharp knock.

"Why, Hazel dear . . ." (KERSHOO!) . . . "are you back from
Kingsport already?  I didn't expect you till next week."

"No, I suppose you didn't," said Hazel sarcastically.  "Yes, Miss
Shirley, I AM back.  And what do I find?  That you have been doing
your best to lure Terry away from me . . . and all but succeeding."

"Hazel!"  (KERSHOO!)

"Oh, I know it all!  You told Terry I didn't love him . . . that I
wanted to break our engagement . . . our SACRED engagement!"

"Hazel . . . child!"  (KERSHOO!)

"Oh, yes, sneer at me . . . sneer at everything.  But don't try to
deny it.  You did it . . . and you did it DELIBERATELY."

"Of course, I did.  You asked me to."

"I . . . asked . . . you . . . to!"

"Here, in this very room.  You told me you didn't love him and
could never marry him."

"Oh, just a mood, I suppose.  I never dreamed you'd take me
seriously.  I thought YOU would understand the artistic temperament.
You're ages older than I am, of course, but even YOU can't have
forgotten the crazy ways girls talk . . . feel.  YOU who pretended
to be my friend!"

"This must be a nightmare," thought poor Anne, wiping her nose.
"Sit down, Hazel . . . do."

"Sit down!"  Hazel flew wildly up and down the room.  "How can I
sit down . . . how can ANYBODY sit down when her life is in ruins
all about her?  Oh, if that is what being old does to you . . .
jealous of younger people's happiness and determined to wreck it
. . . I shall pray never to grow old."

Anne's hand suddenly tingled to box Hazel's ears with a strange
horrible primitive tingle of desire.  She slew it so instantly that
she would never believe afterwards that she had really felt it.
But she did think a little gentle chastisement was indicated.

"If you can't sit down and talk sensibly, Hazel, I wish you would
go away."  (A very violent KERSHOO.)  "I have work to do."  (Sniff
. . . sniff . . . snuffle!)

"I am not going away till I have told you just what I think of you.
Oh, I know I've only myself to blame . . . I should have known . . .
I DID know.  I felt instinctively the first time I saw you that
you were DANGEROUS.  That red hair and those green eyes!  But I
never DREAMED you'd go so far as to make trouble between me and
Terry.  I thought you were a CHRISTIAN at least.  I never HEARD of
any one doing such a thing.  Well, you've broken my heart, if that
is any satisfaction to you."

"You little goose . . ."

"I won't talk to you!  Oh, Terry and I were so happy before you
spoiled everything.  _I_ was so happy . . . the first girl of my
set to be engaged.  I even had my wedding all planned out . . .
four bridesmaids in lovely pale blue silk dresses with black velvet
ribbon on the flounces.  So chic!  Oh, I don't know if I hate you
the most or pity you the most!  Oh, how COULD you treat me like
this . . . after I've LOVED you so . . . TRUSTED you so . . .
BELIEVED in you so!"

Hazel's voice broke . . . her eyes filled with tears . . . she
collapsed on a rocking-chair.

"You can't have many exclamation points left," thought Anne, "but
no doubt the supply of italics is inexhaustible."

"This will just about kill poor Momma," sobbed Hazel.  "She was so
pleased . . . EVERYBODY was so pleased . . . they all thought it an
IDEAL match.  Oh, can ANYTHING ever again be like it used to be?"

"Wait till the next moonlight night and try," said Anne gently.

"Oh, yes, laugh, Miss Shirley . . . laugh at my suffering.  I have
not the least doubt that you find it all very amusing . . . very
amusing indeed!  YOU don't know what suffering is!  It is terrible
. . . TERRIBLE!"

Anne looked at the clock and sneezed.

"Then don't suffer," she said unpityingly.

"I WILL suffer.  My feelings are VERY deep.  Of course a SHALLOW
soul wouldn't suffer.  But I am thankful I am NOT shallow whatever
else I am.  Have you ANY idea what it means to be in love, Miss
Shirley?  Really, terribly deeply, WONDERFULLY in love?  And then
to trust and be deceived?  I went to Kingsport SO happy . . .
loving all the world!  I told Terry to be good to you while I was
away . . . not to let you be lonesome.  I came home last night SO
happy.  And he told me he didn't love me any longer . . . that it
was all a mistake . . . a MISTAKE! . . . and that YOU had told him
I didn't care for him any longer, and wanted to be FREE!"

"My intentions were honorable," said Anne, laughing.  Her impish
sense of humor had come to her rescue and she was laughing as much
at herself as at Hazel.

"Oh, HOW did I live through the night?" said Hazel wildly.  "I just
walked the floor.  And you don't know . . . you can't even IMAGINE
what I've gone through today.  I've had to sit and listen . . .
actually LISTEN . . . to people talking about Terry's infatuation
for YOU.  Oh, people have been watching you!  THEY know what you've
been doing.  And why . . . WHY!  That is what I CANNOT understand.
You had your own lover . . . why couldn't you have left me mine?
What had you against me?  What had I ever DONE to you?"

"I think," said Anne, thoroughly exasperated, "that you and Terry
both need a good spanking.  If you weren't too angry to listen to
reason . . ."

"Oh, I'm not ANGRY, Miss Shirley . . . only HURT . . . terribly
hurt," said Hazel in a voice positively foggy with tears.  "I feel
that I have been betrayed in EVERYTHING . . . in friendship as well
as in love.  Well, they say after your heart is broken you never
suffer any more.  I hope it's true, but I fear it isn't."

"What has become of your ambition, Hazel?  And what about the
millionaire patient and the honeymoon villa on the blue
Mediterranean?"

"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about, Miss Shirley.
I'm not a bit ambitious . . . I'm not one of those dreadful new
women.  MY highest ambition was to be a happy wife and make a happy
home for my husband.  WAS . . . WAS!  To think it should be in the
past tense!  Well, it doesn't do to trust ANY ONE.  I've learned
THAT.  A bitter, bitter lesson!"

Hazel wiped her eyes and Anne wiped her nose, and Dusty Miller
glared at the evening star with the expression of a misanthrope.

"You'd better go, I think, Hazel.  I'm really very busy and I
can't see that there is anything to be gained by prolonging this
interview."

Hazel walked to the door with the air of Mary Queen of Scots
advancing to the scaffold, and turned there dramatically.

"Farewell, Miss Shirley.  I leave you to your conscience."

Anne, left alone with her conscience, laid down her pen, sneezed
three times and gave herself a plain talking-to.

"You may be a B.A., Anne Shirley, but you have a few things to
learn yet . . . things that even Rebecca Dew could have told you
. . . DID tell you.  Be honest with yourself, my dear girl, and take
your medicine like a gallant lady.  Admit that you were carried
off your feet by flattery.  Admit that you really liked Hazel's
professed adoration for you.  Admit you found it pleasant to be
worshiped.  Admit that you liked the idea of being a sort of dea ex
machina . . . saving people from their own folly when they didn't
in the least want to be saved from it.  And having admitted all
this and feeling wiser and sadder and a few thousand years older,
pick up your pen and proceed with your examination papers, pausing
to note in passing that Myra Pringle thinks a seraph is 'an animal
that abounds in Africa.'"



12


A week later a letter came for Anne, written on pale blue paper
edged with silver.


"DEAR MISS SHIRLEY:

"I am writing this to tell you that ALL MISUNDERSTANDING is cleared
away between Terry and me and we are so deeply, intensely,
WONDERFULLY happy that we have decided we can forgive you.  Terry
says he was just moonlighted into making love to you but that his
heart never REALLY swerved in its allegiance to me.  He says he
really likes SWEET, SIMPLE girls . . . that ALL MEN do . . . and
has no use for INTRIGUING, DESIGNING ONES.  We don't understand why
you behaved to us as you did . . . we never will understand.
Perhaps you just wanted material for a story and thought you could
find it in tampering with the first sweet, tremulous love of a
girl.  But we thank you for REVEALING US TO OURSELVES.  Terry says
he never realized the deeper meaning of life before.  So really it
was all for the best.  We are SO sympathetic . . . we can FEEL each
other's thoughts.  Nobody understands him but me and I want to be a
SOURCE OF INSPIRATION to him forever.  _I_ am not clever like YOU
but I feel I can be THAT, for we are SOUL-MATES and have vowed
eternal TRUTH AND CONSTANCY to each other, no matter how many
JEALOUS PEOPLE and FALSE FRIENDS may try to make trouble between
us.

"We are going to be married as soon as I have my trousseau ready.
I am going up to Boston to get it.  There really isn't ANYTHING in
Summerside.  My dress is to be WHITE MOIRE and my traveling-suit
will be dove gray with hat, gloves and blouse of DELPHINIUM BLUE.
Of course I'm very young, but I want to be married when I AM young,
before the BLOOM goes off life.

Terry is all that my WILDEST DREAMS could picture and every THOUGHT
of my heart is for him alone.  I KNOW we are going to be RAPTUROUSLY
HAPPY.  ONCE I believed all my friends would REJOICE with me in my
happiness, but I have learned a BITTER LESSON in WORLDLY WISDOM
since then.

"Yours TRULY,

HAZEL MARR.

"P.S. 1.  You told me Terry had SUCH A TEMPER.  Why, he's a perfect
lamb, his sister says.

"H.M.

P.S.  2.  I've heard that LEMON JUICE will bleach freckles.  You
might try it on your nose.

"H.M."


"To quote Rebecca Dew," remarked Anne to Dusty Miller, "postscript
Number Two IS the last straw."



13


Anne went home for her second Summerside vacation with mixed
feelings.  Gilbert was not to be in Avonlea that summer.  He had
gone west to work on a new railroad that was being built.  But
Green Gables was still Green Gables and Avonlea was still Avonlea.
The Lake of Shining Waters shone and sparkled as of old.  The ferns
still grew as thickly over the Dryad's Bubble, and the log-bridge,
though it was a little crumblier and mossier every year, still led
up to the shadows and silences and wind-songs of the Haunted Wood.

And Anne had prevailed on Mrs. Campbell to let little Elizabeth go
home with her for a fortnight . . . no more.  But Elizabeth,
looking forward to two whole weeks with Miss Shirley, asked no more
of life.

"I feel like MISS Elizabeth today," she told Anne with a sigh of
delightful excitement, as they drove away from Windy Poplars.
"Will you please call me 'Miss Elizabeth' when you introduce me to
your friends at Green Gables?  It would make me feel so grown up."

"I will," promised Anne gravely, remembering a small, red-headed
damsel who had once begged to be called Cordelia.

Elizabeth's drive from Blight River to Green Gables, over a road
which only Prince Edward Island in June can show, was almost as
ecstatic a thing for her as it had been for Anne that memorable
spring evening so many years ago.  The world was beautiful, with
wind-rippled meadows on every hand and surprises lurking around
every corner.  She was with her beloved Miss Shirley; she would be
free from the Woman for two whole weeks; she had a new pink gingham
dress and a pair of lovely new brown boots.  It was almost as if
Tomorrow were already there . . . with fourteen Tomorrows to
follow.  Elizabeth's eyes were shining with dreams when they turned
into the Green Gables lane where the pink wild roses grew.

Things seemed to change magically for Elizabeth the moment she got
to Green Gables.  For two weeks she lived in a world of romance.
You couldn't step outside the door without stepping into something
romantic.  Things were just bound to happen in Avonlea . . . if not
today, then tomorrow.  Elizabeth knew she hadn't QUITE got into
Tomorrow yet, but she knew she was on the very fringes of it.

Everything in and about Green Gables seemed to be acquainted with
her.  Even Marilla's pink rosebud tea-set was like an old friend.
The rooms looked at her as if she had always known and loved them;
the very grass was greener than grass anywhere else; and the people
who lived at Green Gables were the kind of people who lived in
Tomorrow.  She loved them and was beloved by them.  Davy and Dora
adored her and spoiled her; Marilla and Mrs. Lynde approved of her.
She was neat, she was lady-like, she was polite to her elders.
They knew Anne did not like Mrs. Campbell's methods, but it was
plain to be seen that she had trained her great-granddaughter
properly.

"Oh, I don't want to sleep, Miss Shirley," Elizabeth whispered when
they were in bed in the little porch gable, after a rapturous
evening.  "I don't want to sleep away a single minute of these
wonderful two weeks.  I wish I could get along without any sleep
while I'm here."

For a while she didn't sleep.  It was heavenly to lie there and
listen to the splendid low thunder Miss Shirley had told her was
the sound of the sea.  Elizabeth loved it and the sigh of the wind
around the eaves as well.  Elizabeth had always been "afraid of the
night."  Who knew what queer thing might jump at you out of it?
But now she was afraid no longer.  For the first time in her life
the night seemed like a friend to her.

They would go to the shore tomorrow, Miss Shirley had promised, and
have a dip in those silver-tipped waves they had seen breaking
beyond the green dunes of Avonlea when they drove over the last
hill.  Elizabeth could see them coming in, one after the other.
One of them was a great dark wave of sleep . . . it rolled right
over her . . . Elizabeth drowned in it with a delicious sigh of
surrender.

"It's . . . so . . . easy . . . to . . . love . . . God . . .
here," was her last conscious thought.

But she lay awake for a while every night of her stay at Green
Gables, long after Miss Shirley had gone to sleep, thinking over
things.  Why couldn't life at The Evergreens be like life at Green
Gables?

Elizabeth had never lived where she could make a noise if she
wanted to.  Everybody at The Evergreens had to move softly . . .
speak softly . . . even, so Elizabeth felt, THINK softly.  There
were times when Elizabeth desired perversely to yell loud and long.

"You may make all the noise you want to here," Anne had told her.
But it was strange . . . she no longer wanted to yell, now that
there was nothing to prevent her.  She liked to go quietly,
stepping gently among all the lovely things around her.  But
Elizabeth learned to laugh during that sojourn at Green Gables.
And when she went back to Summerside she carried delightful
memories with her and left equally delightful ones behind her.
To the Green Gables folks Green Gables seemed for months full of
memories of little Elizabeth.  For "little Elizabeth" she was to
them in spite of the fact that Anne had solemnly introduced her as
"Miss Elizabeth."  She was so tiny, so golden, so elf-like, that
they couldn't think of her as anything but little Elizabeth . . .
little Elizabeth dancing in a twilight garden among the white June
lilies . . . coiled up on a bough of the big Duchess apple tree
reading fairy tales, unlet and unhindered . . . little Elizabeth
half drowned in a field of buttercups where her golden head seemed
just a larger buttercup . . . chasing silver-green moths or trying
to count the fireflies in Lover's Lane . . . listening to the
bumblebees zooming in the canterbury-bells . . . being fed
strawberries and cream by Dora in the pantry or eating red currants
with her in the yard . . . "Red currants are such beautiful things,
aren't they, Dora?  It's just like eating jewels, isn't it?" . . .
little Elizabeth singing to herself in the haunted dusk of the firs
. . . with fingers sweet from gathering the big, fat, pink "cabbage
roses" . . . gazing at the great moon hanging over the brook valley
. . . "I think the moon has WORRIED EYES, don't you, Mrs. Lynde?"
. . . crying bitterly because a chapter in the serial story in
Davy's magazine left the hero in a sad predicament . . . "Oh, Miss
Shirley, I'm sure he can never live through it!" . . . little
Elizabeth curled up, all flushed and sweet like a wild rose, for an
afternoon nap on the kitchen sofa with Dora's kittens cuddled about
her . . . shrieking with laughter to see the wind blowing the
dignified old hens' tails over their backs . . . COULD it be little
Elizabeth laughing like that? . . . helping Anne frost cupcakes,
Mrs. Lynde cut the patches for a new "double Irish chain" quilt,
and Dora rub the old brass candlesticks till they could see their
faces in them . . . cutting out tiny biscuits with a thimble under
Marilla's tutelage.  Why, the Green Gables folks could hardly look
at a place or thing without being reminded of little Elizabeth.

"I wonder if I'll ever have such a happy fortnight again," thought
little Elizabeth, as she drove away from Green Gables.  The road to
the station was just as beautiful as it had been two weeks before,
but half the time little Elizabeth couldn't see it for tears.

"I couldn't have believed I'd miss a child so much," said Mrs.
Lynde.

When little Elizabeth went, Katherine Brooke and her dog came for
the rest of the summer.  Katherine had resigned from the staff of
the High School at the close of the year and meant to go to Redmond
in the fall to take a secretarial course at Redmond University.
Anne had advised this.

"I know you'd like it and you've never liked teaching," said the
latter, as they sat one evening in a ferny corner of a clover field
and watched the glories of a sunset sky.

"Life owes me something more than it has paid me and I'm going out
to collect it," said Katherine decidedly.  "I feel so much younger
than I did this time last year," she added with a laugh.

"I'm sure it's the best thing for you to do, but I hate to think of
Summerside and the High without you.  What will the tower room be
like next year without our evenings of confab and argument, and our
hours of foolishness, when we turned everybody and everything into
a joke?"




The Third Year



1


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"September 8th.

"Dearest:

"The summer is over . . . the summer in which I have seen you only
that week-end in May.  And I am back at Windy Poplars for my third
and last year in Summerside High.  Katherine and I had a delightful
time together at Green Gables and I'm going to miss her dreadfully
this year.  The new Junior teacher is a jolly little personage,
chubby and rosy and friendly as a puppy . . . but somehow, there's
nothing more to her than that.  She has sparkling shallow blue eyes
with no thought behind them.  I like her . . . I'll always like her
. . . neither more nor less . . . there's nothing to DISCOVER in
her.  There was so much to discover in Katherine, when you once got
past her guard.

"There is no change at Windy Poplars . . . yes there is.  The old
red cow has gone to her long home, so Rebecca Dew sadly informed me
when I came down to supper Monday night.  The widows have decided
not to bother with another one but to get milk and cream from Mr.
Cherry.  This means that little Elizabeth will come no more to the
garden gate for her new milk.  But Mrs. Campbell seems to have
grown reconciled to her coming over here when she wants to, so that
does not make so much difference now.

"And another change is brewing.  Aunt Kate told me, much to my
sorrow, that they have decided to give Dusty Miller away as soon as
they can find a suitable home for him.  When I protested, she said
they were really driven to it for peace' sake.  Rebecca Dew has
been constantly complaining about him all summer and there seems to
be no other way of satisfying her.  Poor Dusty Miller . . . and he
is such a nice, prowly, purry darling!

"Tomorrow, being Saturday, I'm going to look after Mrs. Raymond's
twins while she goes to Charlottetown to the funeral of some
relative.  Mrs. Raymond is a widow who came to our town last
winter.  Rebecca Dew and the Windy Poplars widows . . . really,
Summerside is a great place for widows . . . think her a 'little
too grand' for Summerside, but she was really a wonderful help to
Katherine and me in our Dramatic Club activities.  One good turn
deserves another.

"Gerald and Geraldine are eight and are a pair of angelic-looking
youngsters, but Rebecca Dew 'pulled a mouth,' to use one of her own
expressions, when I told her what I was going to do.

"'But I love children, Rebecca.'

"'Children, yes, but them's holy terrors, Miss Shirley.  Mrs.
Raymond doesn't believe in punishing children no matter what they
do.  She says she's determined they'll have a "natural" life.  They
take people in by that saintly look of theirs, but I've heard what
her neighbors have to say of them.  The minister's wife called one
afternoon . . . well, Mrs. Raymond was sweet as sugar pie to her,
but when she was leaving a shower of Spanish onions came flying
down the stairs and one of them knocked her hat off.  "Children
always behave so abominably when you 'specially want them to be
good," was all Mrs. Raymond said . . . kinder as if she was rather
proud of them being so unmanageable.  They're from the States, you
know' . . . as if that explained everything.  Rebecca has about as
much use for 'Yankees' as Mrs. Lynde has."



2


Saturday forenoon Anne betook herself to the pretty, old-fashioned
cottage on a street that straggled out into the country, where Mrs.
Raymond and her famous twins lived.  Mrs. Raymond was all ready to
depart . . . rather gayly dressed for a funeral, perhaps . . .
especially with regard to the beflowered hat perched on top of the
smooth brown waves of hair that flowed around her head . . . but
looking very beautiful.  The eight-year-old twins, who had
inherited her beauty, were sitting on the stairs, their delicate
faces wreathed with a quite cherubic expression.  They had
complexions of pink and white, large China-blue eyes and aureoles
of fine, fluffy, pale yellow hair.

They smiled with engaging sweetness when their mother introduced
them to Anne and told them that dear Miss Shirley had been so kind
as to come and take care of them while Mother was away at dear
Aunty Ella's funeral, and of course they would be good and not give
her one teeny-weeny bit of trouble, wouldn't they, darlings?

The darlings nodded gravely and contrived, though it hadn't seemed
possible, to look more angelic than ever.

Mrs. Raymond took Anne down the walk to the gate with her.

"They're all I've got . . . now," she said pathetically.  "Perhaps
I may have spoiled them a little . . . I know people say I have . . .
people always know so much better how you ought to bring up your
children than you know yourself, haven't you noticed, Miss Shirley?
But _I_ think loving is better than spanking any day, don't you,
Miss Shirley?  I'm sure YOU will have no trouble with them.
Children always KNOW whom they can play on and whom they can't,
don't you think?  That poor old Miss Prouty up the street . . . I
had her to stay with them one day, but the poor darlings couldn't
bear her.  So of course they teased her a good bit . . . YOU know
what children are.  She has revenged herself by telling the most
ridiculous tales about them all over town.  But they'll just love
you and I know they'll be angels.  Of course, they have high
spirits . . . but children should have, don't you think?  It's so
pitiful to see children with a cowed appearance, isn't it?  I like
them to be natural, don't you?  Too good children don't seem
natural, DO they?  Don't let them sail their boats in the bathtub
or go wading in the pond, will you?  I'm SO afraid of them catching
cold . . . their father died of pneumonia."

Mrs. Raymond's large blue eyes looked as if they were going to
overflow, but she gallantly blinked the tears away.

"Don't worry if they quarrel a little--children always DO quarrel,
don't you think?  But if any outsider attacks them . . . my dear!!
They really just worship each other, you know.  I could have taken
ONE of them to the funeral, but they simply wouldn't hear of it.
They've never been separated a day in their lives.  And I COULDN'T
look after twins at a funeral, could I now?"

"Don't worry, Mrs. Raymond," said Anne kindly.  "I'm sure Gerald
and Geraldine and I will have a beautiful day together.  I love
children."

"I know it.  I felt sure the minute I saw you that you loved
children.  One can always tell, don't you think?  There's SOMETHING
about a person who loves children.  Poor old Miss Prouty detests
them.  She looks for the worst in children and so of course she
finds it.  You can't conceive what a comfort it is to me to reflect
that my darlings are under the care of one who loves and
understands children.  I'm sure I'll quite enjoy the day."

"You might take US to the funeral," shrieked Gerald, suddenly
sticking his head out of an upstairs window.  "We never have any
fun like that."

"Oh, they're in the bathroom!" exclaimed Mrs. Raymond tragically.
"Dear Miss Shirley, please go and take them out.  Gerald darling,
you know mother couldn't take you BOTH to the funeral.  Oh, Miss
Shirley, he's got that coyote skin from the parlor floor tied round
his neck by the paws again.  He'll ruin it.  Please make him take
it off at once.  I MUST hurry or I'll miss the train."

Mrs. Raymond sailed elegantly away and Anne ran upstairs to find
that the angelic Geraldine had grasped her brother by the legs and
was apparently trying to hurl him bodily out of the window.

"Miss Shirley, make Gerald stop putting out his tongue at me," she
demanded fiercely.

"Does it hurt you?" asked Anne smilingly.

"Well, he's not going to put out his tongue at ME," retorted
Geraldine, darting a baleful look at Gerald, who returned it with
interest.

"My tongue's my own and YOU can't stop me from putting it out when
I like . . . can she, Miss Shirley?"

Anne ignored the question.

"Twins dear, it's just an hour till lunch-time.  Shall we go and
sit in the garden and play games and tell stories?  And, Gerald,
won't you put that coyote skin back on the floor?"

"But I want to play wolf," said Gerald.

"He wants to play wolf," cried Geraldine, suddenly aligning herself
on her brother's side.

"We want to play wolf," they both cried together.

A peal from the door-bell cut the knot of Anne's dilemma.

"Come on and see who it is," cried Geraldine.  They flew to the
stairs and by reason of sliding down the banisters, got to the
front door much quicker than Anne, the coyote skin coming unloosed
and drifting away in the process.

"We never buy anything from peddlers," Gerald told the lady
standing on the door-stone.

"Can I see your mother?" asked the caller.

"No, you can't.  Mother's gone to Aunt Ella's funeral.  Miss
Shirley's looking after us.  That's her coming down the stairs.
SHE'LL make you scat."

Anne DID feel rather like making the caller "scat" when she saw who
it was.  Miss Pamela Drake was not a popular caller in Summerside.
She was always "canvassing" for something and it was generally
quite impossible to get rid of her unless you bought it, since she
was utterly impervious to snubs and hints and had apparently all
the time in the world at her command.

This time she was "taking orders" for an encyclopedia . . .
something no school-teacher could afford to be without.  Vainly
Anne protested that she did not need an encyclopedia . . . the High
School already possessed a very good one.

"Ten years out of date," said Miss Pamela firmly.  "We'll just sit
down here on this rustic bench, Miss Shirley, and I'll show you my
prospectus."

"I'm afraid I haven't time, Miss Drake.  I have the children to
look after."

"It won't take but a few minutes.  I've been meaning to call on
you, Miss Shirley, and I call it real fortunate to find you here.
Run away and play, children, while Miss Shirley and I skim over
this beautiful prospectus."

"Mother's hired Miss Shirley to look after us," said Geraldine,
with a toss of her aerial curls.  But Gerald had tugged her
backward and they slammed the door shut.

"You see, Miss Shirley, what this encyclopedia MEANS.  Look at the
beautiful paper . . . FEEL it . . . the splendid engravings . . .
no other encyclopedia on the market has half the number of
engravings . . . the wonderful print--a blind man could read it--
and all for eighty dollars . . . eight dollars down and eight
dollars a month till it's all paid.  You'll never have such another
chance . . . we're just doing this to introduce it . . . next year
it will be a hundred and twenty."

"But I don't want an encyclopedia, Miss Drake," said Anne
desperately.

"Of course you want an encyclopedia . . . EVERY ONE wants an
encyclopedia . . . a National encyclopedia.  _I_ don't know how I
lived before I became acquainted with the National encyclopedia.
Live!  I didn't live . . . I merely existed.  LOOK at that
engraving of the cassowary, Miss Shirley.  Did you ever really SEE
a cassowary before?"

"But, Miss Drake, I . . ."

"If you think the terms a little too onerous I feel sure I can make
a special arrangement for you, being a school-teacher . . . six a
month instead of eight.  You simply can't refuse an offer like
that, Miss Shirley."

Anne almost felt she couldn't.  Wouldn't it be worth six dollars a
month to get rid of this terrible woman who had so evidently made
up her mind not to go until she had got an order?  Besides, WHAT
were the twins doing?  They were alarmingly quiet.  Suppose they
were sailing their boats in the bathtub.  Or had sneaked out of the
back door and gone wading in the pond.

She made one more pitiful effort to escape.

"I'll think this over, Miss Drake, and let you know . . ."

"There's no time like the present," said Miss Drake, briskly
getting out her fountain-pen.  "You KNOW you're going to take the
National, so you might just as well sign for it now as any other
time.  Nothing is ever gained by putting things off.  The price may
go up any moment and then you'd have to pay a hundred and twenty.
Sign here, Miss Shirley."

Anne felt the fountain-pen being forced into her hand . . . another
moment . . . and then there was such a blood-curdling shriek from
Miss Drake that Anne dropped the fountain-pen under the clump of
golden glow that flanked the rustic seat, and gazed in amazed
horror at her companion.

Was THAT Miss Drake . . . that indescribable object, hatless,
spectacleless, almost hairless?  Hat, spectacles, false front were
floating in the air above her head half-way up to the bathroom
window, out of which two golden heads were hanging.  Gerald was
grasping a fishing-rod to which were tied two cords ending in fish-
hooks.  By what magic he had contrived to make a triple catch, only
he could have told.  Probably it was sheer luck.

Anne flew into the house and upstairs.  By the time she reached the
bathroom the twins had fled.  Gerald had dropped the fishing-rod
and a peep from the window revealed a furious Miss Drake retrieving
her belongings, including the fountain-pen, and marching to the
gate.  For once in her life Miss Pamela Drake had failed to land
her order.

Anne discovered the twins seraphically eating apples on the back
porch.  It was hard to know what to do.  Certainly, such behavior
could not be allowed to pass without a rebuke . . . but Gerald had
undoubtedly rescued her from a difficult position and Miss Drake
WAS an odious creature who needed a lesson.  Still . . .

"You've et a great big worm!" shrieked Gerald.  "I saw it disappear
down your throat."

Geraldine laid down her apple and promptly turned sick . . . very
sick.  Anne had her hands full for some time.  And when Geraldine
was better, it was lunch-hour and Anne suddenly decided to let
Gerald off with a very mild reproof.  After all, no lasting harm
had been done Miss Drake, who would probably hold her tongue
religiously about the incident for her own sake.

"Do you think, Gerald," she said gently, "that what you did was a
gentlemanly action?"

"Nope," said Gerald, "but it was good fun.  Gee, I'm some
fisherman, ain't I?"

The lunch was excellent.  Mrs. Raymond had prepared it before she
left and whatever her shortcomings as a disciplinarian might be,
she was a good cook.  Gerald and Geraldine, being occupied with
gorging, did not quarrel or display worse table manners than the
general run of children.  After lunch Anne washed the dishes,
getting Geraldine to help dry them and Gerald to put them carefully
away in the cupboard.  They were both quite knacky at it and Anne
reflected complacently that all they needed was wise training and a
little firmness.



3


At two o'clock Mr. James Grand called.  Mr. Grand was the chairman
of the High School board of trustees and had matters of importance
to talk of, which he wished to discuss fully before he left on
Monday to attend an educational conference in Kingsport.  Could he
come to Windy Poplars in the evening? asked Anne.  Unfortunately he
couldn't.

Mr. Grand was a good sort of man in his own fashion, but Anne had
long ago found out that he must be handled with gloves.  Moreover,
Anne was very anxious to get him on her side in a battle royal over
new equipment that was looming up.  She went out to the twins.

"Darlings, will you play nicely out in the back yard while I have a
little talk with Mr. Grand?  I won't be very long . . . and then
we'll have an afternoon-tea picnic on the banks of the pond . . .
and I'll teach you to blow soap-bubbles with red dye in them . . .
the loveliest things!"

"Will you give us a quarter apiece if we behave?" demanded Gerald.

"No, Gerald dear," said Anne firmly, "I'm not going to bribe you.
I know you are going to be good, just because I ask you, as a
gentleman should."

"We'll be good, Miss Shirley," promised Gerald solemnly.

"Awful good," echoed Geraldine, with equal solemnity.

It is possible they would have kept their promise if Ivy Trent had
not arrived almost as soon as Anne was closeted with Mr. Grand in
the parlor.  But Ivy Trent did arrive and the Raymond twins hated
Ivy Trent . . . the impeccable Ivy Trent who never did anything
wrong and always looked as if she had just stepped out of a band-
box.

On this particular afternoon there was no doubt that Ivy Trent had
come over to show off her beautiful new brown boots and her sash
and shoulder bows and hair bows of scarlet ribbon.  Mrs. Raymond,
whatever she lacked in some respects, had fairly sensible ideas
about dressing children.  Her charitable neighbors said she put so
much money on herself that she had none to spend on the twins . . .
and Geraldine never had a chance to parade the street in the style
of Ivy Trent, who had a dress for every afternoon in the week.
Mrs. Trent always arrayed her in "spotless white."  At least.  Ivy
was always spotless when she left home.  If she were not quite so
spotless when she returned that, of course, was the fault of the
"jealous" children with whom the neighborhood abounded.

Geraldine WAS jealous.  She longed for scarlet sash and shoulder
bows and white embroidered dresses.  What would she not have given
for buttoned brown boots like those?

"How do you like my new sash and shoulder bows?" asked Ivy proudly.

"How do you like my new sash and shoulder bows?" mimicked Geraldine
tauntingly.

"But you haven't got shoulder bows," said Ivy grandly.

"But you haven't got shoulder bows," squeaked Geraldine.

Ivy looked puzzled.

"I have so.  Can't you see them?"

"I have so.  Can't you see them?" mocked Geraldine, very happy in
this brilliant idea of repeating everything Ivy said scornfully.

"They ain't paid for," said Gerald.

Ivy Trent had a temper.  It showed itself in her face, which grew
as red as her shoulder bows.

"They are, too.  MY mother always pays her bills."

"MY mother always pays her bills," chanted Geraldine.

Ivy was uncomfortable.  She didn't know exactly how to cope with
this.  So she turned to Gerald, who was undoubtedly the handsomest
boy on the street.  Ivy had made up her mind about him.

"I came over to tell you I'm going to have you for my beau," she
said, looking eloquently at him out of a pair of brown eyes that,
even at seven, Ivy had learned had a devastating effect on most of
the small boys of her acquaintance.

Gerald turned crimson.

"I won't be your beau," he said.

"But you've got to be," said Ivy serenely.

"But you've got to be," said Geraldine, wagging her head at him.

"I won't be," shouted Gerald furiously.  "And don't you give me any
more of your lip, Ivy Trent."

"You have to be," said Ivy stubbornly.

"You have to be," said Geraldine.

Ivy glared at her.

"You just shut up, Geraldine Raymond!"

"I guess I can talk in my own yard," said Geraldine.

"'Course she can," said Gerald.  "And if YOU don't shut up, Ivy
Trent, I'll just go over to your place and dig the eyes out of your
doll."

"My mother would spank you if you did," cried Ivy.

"Oh, she would, would she?  Well, do you know what MY mother would
do to her if she did?  She'd just sock her on the nose."

"Well, anyway, you've got to be my beau," said Ivy, returning
calmly to the vital subject.

"I'll . . . I'll duck your head in the rain-barrel," yelled the
maddened Gerald . . . "I'll rub your face in an ant's nest . . .
I'll . . . I'll tear them bows and sash off you . . ." triumphantly,
for this at least was feasible.

"Let's do it," squealed Geraldine.

They pounced like furies on the unfortunate Ivy, who kicked and
shrieked and tried to bite but was no match for the two of them.
Together they hauled her across the yard and into the woodshed,
where her howls could not be heard.

"Hurry," gasped Geraldine, "'fore Miss Shirley comes out."

No time was to be lost.  Gerald held Ivy's legs while Geraldine
held her wrists with one hand and tore off her hair bow and
shoulder bows and sash with the other.

"Let's paint her legs," shouted Gerald, his eyes falling on a
couple of cans of paint left there by some workmen the previous
week.  "I'll hold her and you paint her."

Ivy shrieked vainly in despair.  Her stockings were pulled down and
in a few moments her legs were adorned with wide stripes of red and
green paint.  In the process a good deal of the paint got spattered
over her embroidered dress and new boots.  As a finishing touch
they filled her curls with burrs.

She was a pitiful sight when they finally released her.  The twins
howled mirthfully as they looked at her.  Long weeks of airs and
condescensions from Ivy had been avenged.

"Now you go home," said Gerald.  "This'll teach you to go 'round
telling people they have to be your beaus."

"I'll tell my mother," wept Ivy.  "I'll go straight home and tell
my mother on you, you horrid, horrid, hateful, UGLY boy!"

"Don't you call my brother ugly, you stuck-up thing," cried
Geraldine.  "You and your shoulder bows!  Here, take them with you.
WE don't want them cluttering up OUR woodshed."

Ivy, pursued by the bows, which Geraldine pelted after her, ran
sobbing out of the yard and down the street.

"Quick . . . let's sneak up the back stairs to the bathroom and
clean up 'fore Miss Shirley sees us," gasped Geraldine.



4


Mr. Grand had talked himself out and bowed himself away.  Anne
stood for a moment on the door-stone, wondering uneasily where her
charges were.  Up the street and in at the gate came a wrathful
lady, leading a forlorn and still sobbing atom of humanity by the
hand.

"Miss Shirley, where is Mrs. Raymond?" demanded Mrs. Trent.

"Mrs. Raymond is . . ."

"I insist on seeing Mrs. Raymond.  She shall see with her own eyes
what HER children have done to poor, helpless, innocent Ivy.  Look
at her, Miss Shirley . . . just LOOK at her!"

"Oh, Mrs. Trent . . . I'm so sorry!  It is all my fault.  Mrs.
Raymond is away . . . and I promised to look after them . . . but
Mr. Grand came . . ."

"No, it isn't your fault, Miss Shirley.  I don't blame YOU.  No one
can cope with those diabolical children.  The whole street knows
them.  If Mrs. Raymond isn't here, there is no point in my
remaining.  I shall take my poor child home.  But Mrs. Raymond
shall hear of this . . . indeed she shall.  Listen to THAT, Miss
Shirley.  Are they tearing each other limb from limb?"

"That" was a chorus of shrieks, howls and yells that came echoing
down the stairs.  Anne ran upwards.  On the hall floor was a
twisting, writhing, biting, tearing, scratching mass.  Anne
separated the furious twins with difficulty and, holding each
firmly by a squirming shoulder, demanded the meaning of such
behavior.

"She says I've got to be Ivy Trent's beau," snarled Gerald.

"So he has got to be," screamed Geraldine.

"I won't be!"

"You've got to be!"

"Children!" said Anne.  Something in her tone quelled them.  They
looked at her and saw a Miss Shirley they had not seen before.  For
the first time in their young lives they felt the force of
authority.

"You, Geraldine," said Anne quietly, "will go to bed for two hours.
You, Gerald, will spend the same length of time in the hall closet.
Not a word.  You have behaved abominably and you must take your
punishment.  Your mother left you in my charge and you will obey
me."

"Then punish us TOGETHER," said Geraldine, beginning to cry.

"Yes . . . you've no right to sep'rate us . . . we've never been
sep'rated," muttered Gerald.

"You will be now."  Anne was still very quiet.  Meekly Geraldine
took off her clothes and got into one of the cots in their room.
Meekly Gerald entered the hall closet.  It was a large airy closet
with a window and a chair and nobody could have called the
punishment an unduly severe one.  Anne locked the door and sat down
with a book by the hall window.  At least, for two hours she would
know a little peace of mind.

A peep at Geraldine a few minutes later showed her to be sound
asleep, looking so lovely in her sleep that Anne almost repented
her sternness.  Well, a nap would be good for her, anyway.  When
she wakened she should be permitted to get up, even if the two
hours had not expired.

At the end of an hour Geraldine was still sleeping.  Gerald had
been so quiet that Anne decided that he had taken his punishment
like a man and might be forgiven.  After all, Ivy Trent was a vain
little monkey and had probably been very irritating.

Anne unlocked the closet door and opened it.

There was no Gerald in the closet.  The window was open and the
roof of the side porch was just beneath it.  Anne's lips tightened.
She went downstairs and out into the yard.  No sign of Gerald.  She
explored the woodshed and looked up and down the street.  Still no
sign.

She ran through the garden and through the gate into the lane that
led through a patch of scrub woodland to the little pond in Mr.
Robert Creedmore's field.  Gerald was happily poling himself about
on it in the small flat Mr. Creedmore kept there.  Just as Anne
broke through the trees Gerald's pole, which he had stuck rather
deep in the mud, came away with unexpected ease at his third tug
and Gerald promptly shot heels over head backward into the water.

Anne gave an involuntary shriek of dismay, but there was no real
cause for alarm.  The pond at its deepest would not come up to
Gerald's shoulders and where he had gone over, it was little deeper
than his waist.  He had somehow got on his feet and was standing
there rather foolishly, with his aureole plastered drippingly down
on his head, when Anne's shriek was re-echoed behind her, and
Geraldine, in her nightgown, tore through the trees and out to the
edge of the little wooden platform to which the flat was commonly
moored.

With a despairing shriek of "Gerald!" she took a flying leap that
landed her with a tremendous splash by Gerald's side and almost
gave him another ducking.

"Gerald, are you drowned?" cried Geraldine.  "Are you drowned,
darling?"

"No . . . no . . . darling," Gerald assured her through his
chattering teeth.

They embraced and kissed passionately.

"Children, come in here this minute," said Anne.

They waded to the shore.  The September day, warm in the morning,
had turned cold and windy in the late afternoon.  They shivered
terribly . . . their faces were blue.  Anne, without a word of
censure, hurried them home, got off their wet clothes and got them
into Mrs. Raymond's bed, with hot-water bottles at their feet.
They still continued to shiver.  Had they got a chill?  Were they
headed for pneumonia?

"You should have taken better care of us, Miss Shirley," said
Gerald, still chattering.

"'Course you should," said Geraldine.

A distracted Anne flew downstairs and telephoned for the doctor.
By the time he came the twins had got warm, and he assured Anne
that they were in no danger.  If they stayed in bed till tomorrow
they would be all right.

He met Mrs. Raymond coming up from the station on the way back, and
it was a pale, almost hysterical lady who presently rushed in.

"Oh, Miss Shirley, how COULD you have let my little treasures get
into such danger!"

"That's just what we told her, Mother," chorused the twins.

"I trusted you . . . I told you . . ."

"I hardly see how I was to blame, Mrs. Raymond," said Anne, with
eyes as cold as gray mist.  "You will realize this, I think, when
you are calmer.  The children are quite all right . . . I simply
sent for the doctor as a precautionary measure.  If Gerald and
Geraldine had obeyed me, this would not have happened."

"I thought a TEACHER would have a little authority over children,"
said Mrs. Raymond bitterly.

"Over children perhaps . . . but not young demons," thought Anne.
She said only,

"Since you are here, Mrs. Raymond, I think I will go home.  I don't
think I can be of any further service and I have some school work
to do this evening."

As one child the twins hurled themselves out of bed and flung their
arms around her.

"I hope there'll be a funeral every week," cried Gerald.  "'Cause I
like you, Miss Shirley, and I hope you'll come and look after us
every time Mother goes away."

"So do I," said Geraldine.

"I like you ever so much better than Miss Prouty."

"Oh, ever so much," said Geraldine.

"Will you put us in a story?" demanded Gerald.

"Oh, do," said Geraldine.

"I'm sure you MEANT well," said Mrs. Raymond tremulously.

"Thank you," said Anne icily, trying to detach the twins' clinging
arms.

"Oh, don't let's quarrel about it," begged Mrs. Raymond, her
enormous eyes filling with tears.  "I CAN'T endure quarreling with
anybody."

"Certainly not."  Anne was at her stateliest and Anne COULD be very
stately.  "I don't think there is the slightest necessity for
quarreling.  I think Gerald and Geraldine have quite enjoyed the
day, though I don't suppose poor little Ivy Trent did."

Anne went home feeling years older.

"To think I ever thought Davy was mischievous," she reflected.

She found Rebecca in the twilight garden gathering late pansies.

"Rebecca Dew, I used to think the adage, 'Children should be seen
and not heard,' entirely too harsh.  But I see its points now."

"My poor darling.  I'll get you a nice supper," said Rebecca Dew.
And did NOT say, "I told you so."



5


(Extract from letter to Gilbert.)

"Mrs. Raymond came down last night and, with tears in her eyes,
begged me to forgive her for her 'hasty behavior.'  'If you knew a
mother's heart, Miss Shirley, you would not find it hard to
forgive.'

"I didn't find it hard to forgive as it was . . . there is really
something about Mrs. Raymond I can't help liking and she was a duck
about the Dramatic Club.  Just the same I did NOT say, 'Any
Saturday you want to be away, I'll look after your offspring.'  One
learns by experience . . . even a person so incorrigibly optimistic
and trustful as myself.

"I find that a certain section of Summerside society is at present
very much exercised over the loves of Jarvis Morrow and Dovie
Westcott . . . who, as Rebecca Dew says, have been engaged for over
a year but can't get any 'forrader.'  Aunt Kate, who is a distant
aunt of Dovie's . . . to be exact, I think she's the aunt of a
second cousin of Dovie's on the mother's side . . . is deeply
interested in the affair because she thinks Jarvis is such an
excellent match for Dovie . . . and also, I suspect, because she
hates Franklin Westcott and would like to see him routed, horse,
foot and artillery.  Not that Aunt Kate would admit she 'hated'
anybody, but Mrs. Franklin Westcott was a very dear girlhood friend
of hers and Aunt Kate solemnly avers that he murdered her.

"_I_ am interested in it, partly because I'm very fond of Jarvis
and moderately fond of Dovie and partly, I begin to suspect,
because I am an inveterate meddler in other people's business . . .
always with excellent intentions, of course.

"The situation is briefly this:--Franklin Westcott is a tall,
somber, hard-bitten merchant, close and unsociable.  He lives in a
big, old-fashioned house called Elmcroft just outside the town on
the upper harbor road.  I have met him once or twice but really
know very little about him, except that he has an uncanny habit
of saying something and then going off into a long chuckle of
soundless laughter.  He has never gone to church since hymns came
in and he insists on having all his windows open even in winter
storms.  I confess to a sneaking sympathy with him in this, but I
am probably the only person in Summerside who would.  He has got
into the habit of being a leading citizen and nothing municipal
dares to be done without his approval.

"His wife is dead.  It is common report that she was a slave,
unable to call her soul her own.  Franklin told her, it is said,
when he brought her home that he would be master.

"Dovie, whose real name is Sibyl, is his only child . . . a very
pretty, plump, lovable girl of nineteen, with a red mouth always
falling a little open over her small white teeth, glints of
chestnut in her brown hair, alluring blue eyes and sooty lashes so
long you wonder if they can be real.  Jen Pringle says it is her
eyes Jarvis is really in love with.  Jen and I have actually talked
the affair over.  Jarvis is her favorite cousin.

"(In passing, you wouldn't believe how fond Jen is of me . . . and
I of Jen.  She's really the cutest thing.)

"Franklin Westcott has never allowed Dovie to have any beaus and
when Jarvis Morrow began to 'pay her attention,' he forbade him the
house and told Dovie there was to be no more 'running round with
that fellow.'  But the mischief had been done.  Dovie and Jarvis
were already fathoms deep in love.

"Everybody in town is in sympathy with the lovers.  Franklin
Westcott is really unreasonable.  Jarvis is a successful young
lawyer, of good family, with good prospects, and a very nice,
decent lad in himself.

"'Nothing could be more suitable,' declares Rebecca Dew.  'Jarvis
Morrow could have ANY girl he wanted in Summerside.  Franklin
Westcott has just made up his mind that Dovie is to be an old maid.
He wants to be sure of a housekeeper when Aunt Maggie dies.'

"'Isn't there any one who has any influence with him?' I asked.

"'Nobody can argue with Franklin Westcott.  He's too sarcastical.
And if you get the better of him he throws a tantrum.  I've never
seen him in one of his tantrums but I've heard Miss Prouty describe
how he acted one time she was there sewing.  He got mad over
something . . . nobody knew what.  He just grabbed everything in
sight and flung it out of the window.  Milton's poems went flying
clean over the fence into George Clarke's lily pond.  He's always
kind of had a grudge at life.  Miss Prouty says her mother told her
that the yelps of him when he was born passed anything she ever
heard.  I suppose God has some reason for making men like that, but
you'd wonder.  No, I can't see any chance for Jarvis and Dovie
unless they elope.  It's a kind of low-down thing to do, though
there's been a terrible lot of romantic nonsense talked about
eloping.  But this is a case where anybody would excuse it.'

"I don't know what to do but I must do something.  I simply can't
sit still and see people make a mess of their lives under my very
nose, no matter how many tantrums Franklin Westcott takes.  Jarvis
Morrow is not going to wait forever . . . rumor has it that he is
getting out of patience already and has been seen savagely cutting
Dovie's name out of a tree on which he had cut it.  There is an
attractive Palmer girl who is reported to be throwing herself at
his head, and his sister is said to have said that his mother has
said that HER son has no need to dangle for years at any girl's
apron-string.

"Really, Gilbert, I'm quite unhappy about it.

"It's moonlight tonight, beloved . . . moonlight on the poplars of
the yard . . . moonlit dimples all over the harbor where a phantom
ship is drifting outwards . . . moonlight on the old graveyard . . .
on my own private valley . . . on the Storm King.  And it will be
moonlight in Lover's Lane and on the Lake of Shining Waters and the
old Haunted Wood and Violet Vale.  There should be fairy dances on
the hills tonight.  But, Gilbert dear, moonlight with no one to
share it is just . . . just MOONSHINE.

"I wish I could take little Elizabeth for a walk.  She loves a
moonlight walk.  We had some delightful ones when she was at Green
Gables.  But at home Elizabeth never sees moonlight except from the
window.

"I am beginning to be a little worried about her, too.  She is
going on ten now and those two old ladies haven't the least idea
what she needs, spiritually and emotionally.  As long as she has
good food and good clothes, they cannot imagine her needing
anything more.  And it will be worse with every succeeding year.
What kind of girlhood will the poor child have?"



6


Jarvis Morrow walked home from the High School Commencement with
Anne and told her his woes.

"You'll have to run away with her, Jarvis.  Everybody says so.  As
a rule I don't approve of elopements" ("I said that like a teacher
of forty years' experience," thought Anne with an unseen grin) "but
there are exceptions to all rules."

"It takes two to make a bargain, Anne.  I can't elope alone.  Dovie
is so frightened of her father, I can't get her to agree.  And it
wouldn't be an elopement . . . really.  She'd just come to my
sister Julia's . . . Mrs. Stevens, you know . . . some evening.
I'd have the minister there and we could be married respectably
enough to please anybody and go over to spend our honeymoon with
Aunt Bertha in Kingsport.  Simple as that.  But I can't get Dovie
to chance it.  The poor darling has been giving in to her father's
whims and crotchets so long, she hasn't any will-power left."

"You'll simply have to make her do it, Jarvis."

"Great Peter, you don't suppose I haven't tried, do you, Anne?
I've begged till I was black in the face.  When she's with me
she'll almost promise it, but the minute she's home again she sends
me word she can't.  It seems odd, Anne, but the poor child is
really fond of her father and she can't bear the thought of his
never forgiving her."

"You must tell her she has to choose between her father and you."

"And suppose she chooses him?"

"I don't think there's any danger of that."

"You can never tell," said Jarvis gloomily.  "But something has to
be decided soon.  I can't go on like this forever.  I'm crazy about
Dovie . . . everybody in Summerside knows that.  She's like a
little red rose just out of reach . . . I MUST reach her, Anne."

"Poetry is a very good thing in its place, but it won't get you
anywhere in this instance, Jarvis," said Anne coolly.  "That sounds
like a remark Rebecca Dew would make, but it's quite true.  What
you need in this affair is plain, hard common sense.  Tell Dovie
you're tired of shilly-shallying and that she must take you or
leave you.  If she doesn't care enough for you to leave her father
for you, it's just as well for you to realize it."

Jarvis groaned.

"You haven't been under the thumb of Franklin Westcott all your
life, Anne.  You haven't any realization of what he's like.  Well,
I'll make a last and final effort.  As you say, if Dovie really
cares for me she'll come to me . . . and if she doesn't, I might as
well know the worst.  I'm beginning to feel I've made myself rather
ridiculous."

"If you're beginning to feel like that," thought Anne, "Dovie would
better watch out."

Dovie herself slipped into Windy Poplars a few evenings later to
consult Anne.

"What shall I do, Anne?  What CAN I do?  Jarvis wants me to elope
. . . practically.  Father is to be in Charlottetown one night next
week attending a Masonic banquet . . . and it WOULD be a good
chance.  Aunt Maggie would never suspect.  Jarvis wants me to go to
Mrs. Stevens' and be married there."

"And why don't you, Dovie?"

"Oh, Anne, do you really think I ought to?" Dovie lifted a sweet,
coaxing face.  "Please, PLEASE make up my mind for me.  I'm just
distracted."  Dovie's voice broke on a tearful note.  "Oh, Anne,
you don't know Father.  He just hates Jarvis . . . I can't imagine
why . . . can you?  How can ANYBODY hate Jarvis?  When he called on
me the first time, Father forbade him the house and told him he'd
set the dog on him if he ever came again . . . our big bull.  You
know they never let go once they take hold.  And he'll never
forgive me if I run away with Jarvis."

"You must choose between them, Dovie."

"That's just what Jarvis said," wept Dovie.  "Oh, he was so stern
. . . I never saw him like that before.  And I can't . . . I CAN'T
li . . i . . i . . ve without him, Anne."

"Then live with him, my dear girl.  And don't call it eloping.
Just coming into Summerside and being married among his friends
isn't eloping."

"Father will call it so," said Dovie, swallowing a sob.  "But I'm
going to take your advice, Anne.  I'm sure YOU wouldn't advise me
to take any step that was wrong.  I'll tell Jarvis to go ahead and
get the license and I'll come to his sister's the night Father is
in Charlottetown."

Jarvis told Anne triumphantly that Dovie had yielded at last.

"I'm to meet her at the end of the lane next Tuesday night . . .
she won't have me go down to the house for fear Aunt Maggie might
see me . . . and we'll just step up to Julia's and be married in a
brace of shakes.  All my folks will be there, so it will make the
poor darling quite comfortable.  Franklin Westcott said I should
never get his daughter.  I'll show him he was mistaken."



7


Tuesday was a gloomy day in late November.  Occasional cold, gusty
showers drifted over the hills.  The world seemed a dreary outlived
place, seen through a gray drizzle.

"Poor Dovie hasn't a very nice day for her wedding," thought Anne.
"Suppose . . . suppose . . ." she quaked and shivered . . .
"suppose it doesn't turn out well, after all.  It will be my fault.
Dovie would never have agreed to it if I hadn't advised her to.
And suppose Franklin Westcott never forgives her.  Anne Shirley,
stop this!  The weather is all that's the matter with you."

By night the rain had ceased but the air was cold and raw and the
sky lowering.  Anne was in her tower room, correcting school
papers, with Dusty Miller coiled up under her stove.  There came a
thunderous knock at the front door.

Anne ran down.  Rebecca Dew poked an alarmed head out of her
bedroom door.  Anne motioned her back.

"It's some one at the FRONT DOOR!" said Rebecca hollowly.

"It's all right, Rebecca dear.  At least, I'm afraid it's all wrong
. . . but, anyway, it's only Jarvis Morrow.  I saw him from the
side tower window and I know he wants to see me."

"Jarvis Morrow!"  Rebecca went back and shut her door.  "This IS
the last straw."

"Jarvis, whatever is the matter?"

"Dovie hasn't come," said Jarvis wildly.  "We've waited HOURS . . .
the minister's there . . . and my friends . . . and Julia has
supper ready . . . and Dovie hasn't come.  I waited for her at the
end of the lane till I was half crazy.  I didn't dare go down to
the house because I didn't know what had happened.  That old brute
of a Franklin Westcott may have come back.  Aunt Maggie may have
locked her up.  But I've got to KNOW.  Anne, you must go to
Elmcroft and find out why she hasn't come."

"Me?" said Anne incredulously and ungrammatically.

"Yes, you.  There's no one else I can trust . . . no one else who
knows.  Oh, Anne, don't fail me now.  You've backed us up right
along.  Dovie says you are the only real friend she has.  It isn't
late . . . only nine.  Do go."

"And be chewed up by the bulldog?" said Anne sarcastically.

"That old dog!" said Jarvis contemptuously.  "He wouldn't say boo
to a tramp.  You don't suppose I was afraid of the dog, do you?
Besides, he's always shut up at night.  I simply don't want to make
any trouble for Dovie at home if they've found out.  Anne, please!"

"I suppose I'm in for it," said Anne with a shrug of despair.

Jarvis drove her to the long lane of Elmcroft, but she would not
let him come further.

"As you say, it might complicate matters for Dovie in case her
father has come home."

Anne hurried down the long, tree-bordered lane.  The moon
occasionally broke through the windy clouds, but for the most part
it was gruesomely dark and she was not a little dubious about the
dog.

There seemed to be only one light in Elmcroft . . . shining from
the kitchen window.  Aunt Maggie herself opened the side door to
Anne.  Aunt Maggie was a very old sister of Franklin Westcott's, a
little bent, wrinkled woman who had never been considered very
bright mentally, though she was an excellent housekeeper.

"Aunt Maggie, is Dovie home?"

"Dovie's in bed," said Aunt Maggie stolidly.

"In bed?  Is she sick?"

"Not as I knows on.  She seemed to be in a dither all day.  After
supper she says she was tired and ups and goes to bed."

"I must see her for a moment, Aunt Maggie.  I . . . I just want a
little important information."

"Better go up to her room then.  It's the one on the right side as
you go up."

Aunt Maggie gestured to the stairs and waddled out to the kitchen.

Dovie sat up as Anne walked in, rather unceremoniously, after a
hurried rap.  As could be seen by the light of a tiny candle, Dovie
was in tears, but her tears only exasperated Anne.

"Dovie Westcott, did you forget that you promised to marry Jarvis
Morrow tonight . . . TONIGHT?"

"No . . . no . . ." whimpered Dovie.  "Oh, Anne, I'm so unhappy
. . . I've put in such a dreadful day.  You can never, never know
what I've gone through."

"I know what poor Jarvis has gone through, waiting for two hours at
that lane in the cold and drizzle," said Anne mercilessly.

"Is he . . . is he very angry, Anne?"

"Just what you could notice" . . . bitingly.

"Oh, Anne, I just got frightened.  I never slept one wink last
night.  I couldn't go through with it . . . I couldn't.  I . . .
there's really something disgraceful about eloping, Anne.  And I
wouldn't get any nice presents . . . well, not many, anyhow.  I've
always wanted to be m . . . m . . . arried in church . . . with
lovely decorations . . . and a white veil and dress . . . and
s . . . s . . . ilver slippers!"

"Dovie Westcott, get right out of that bed . . . AT ONCE . . . and
get dressed . . . and come with me."

"Anne . . . it's too late now."

"It isn't too late.  And it's now or never . . . you must know
that, Dovie, if you've a grain of sense.  You must know Jarvis
Morrow will never speak to you again if you make a fool of him like
this."

"Oh, Anne, he'll forgive me when he knows . . ."

"He won't.  I know Jarvis Morrow.  He isn't going to let you play
indefinitely with his life.  Dovie, do you want me to drag you
bodily out of bed?"

Dovie shuddered and sighed.

"I haven't any suitable dress . . ."

"You've half-a-dozen pretty dresses.  Put on your rose taffeta."

"And I haven't ANY trousseau.  The Morrows will always cast that up
to me. . . ."

"You can get one afterwards.  Dovie, didn't you weigh all these
things in the balance before?"

"No . . . no . . . that's just the trouble.  I only began to think
of them last night.  And Father . . . you don't know Father,
Anne. . . ."

"Dovie.  I'll give you just ten minutes to get dressed!"

Dovie was dressed in the specified time.

"This dress is g . . . g . . . getting too tight for me," she
sobbed as Anne hooked her up.  "If I get much fatter I don't
suppose Jarvis will l . . . l . . . love me.  I wish I was tall and
slim and pale, like you, Anne.  Oh, Anne, what if Aunt Maggie hears
us!"

"She won't.  She's shut in the kitchen and you know she's a little
deaf.  Here's your hat and coat and I've tumbled a few things into
this bag."

"Oh, my heart is fluttering so.  Do I look terrible, Anne?"

"You look lovely," said Anne sincerely.  Dovie's satin skin was
rose and cream and all her tears hadn't spoiled her eyes.  But
Jarvis couldn't see her eyes in the dark and he was just a little
annoyed with his adored fair one and rather cool during the drive
to town.

"For Heaven's sake, Dovie, don't look so scared over having to
marry me," he said impatiently as she came down the stairs of the
Stevens house.  "And don't cry . . . it will make your nose swell.
It's nearly ten o'clock and we've got to catch the eleven o'clock
train."

Dovie was quite all right as soon as she found herself irrevocably
married to Jarvis.  What Anne rather cattishly described in a
letter to Gilbert as "the honeymoon look" was already on her face.

"Anne, darling, we owe it all to you.  We'll never forget it, will
we, Jarvis?  And, oh, Anne darling, will you do just one more thing
for me?  Please break the news to Father.  He'll be home early
tomorrow evening . . . and SOMEBODY has got to tell him.  You can
smooth him over if anybody can.  Please do your best to get him to
forgive me."

Anne felt she rather needed some smoothing-over herself just then;
but she also felt rather uneasily responsible for the outcome of
the affair, so she gave the required promise.

"Of course he'll be terrible . . . simply terrible, Anne . . . but
he can't kill you," said Dovie comfortingly.  "Oh, Anne, you don't
know . . .you can't realize . . . how SAFE I feel with Jarvis."

When Anne got home Rebecca Dew had reached the point where she had
to satisfy her curiosity or go mad.  She followed Anne to the tower
room in her night-dress, with a square of flannel wrapped round her
head, and heard the whole story.

"Well, I suppose this is what you might call 'life,'" she said
sarcastically.  "But I'm real glad Franklin Westcott has got his
come-uppance at last, and so will Mrs. Captain MacComber be.  But I
don't envy you the job of breaking the news to him.  He'll rage and
utter vain things.  If I was in your shoes, Miss Shirley, I
wouldn't sleep one blessed wink tonight."

"I feel that it won't be a very pleasant experience," agreed Anne
ruefully.



8


Anne betook herself to Elmcroft the next evening, walking through
the dream-like landscape of a November fog with a rather sinking
sensation pervading her being.  It was not exactly a delightful
errand.  As Dovie had said, of course Franklin Westcott wouldn't
kill her.  Anne did not fear physical violence . . . though if all
the tales told of him were true, he might throw something at her.
Would he gibber with rage?  Anne had never seen a man gibbering
with rage and she imagined it must be a rather unpleasant sight.
But he would probably exercise his noted gift for unpleasant
sarcasm, and sarcasm, in man or woman, was the one weapon Anne
dreaded.  It always hurt her . . . raised blisters on her soul that
smarted for months.

"Aunt Jamesina used to say, 'Never, if you can help it, be the
bringer of ill news,'" reflected Anne.  "She was as wise in that as
in everything else.  Well, here I am."

Elmcroft was an old-fashioned house with towers at every corner and
a bulbous cupola on the roof.  And at the top of the flight of
front steps sat the dog.

"'If they take hold they never let go,'" remembered Anne.  Should
she try going round to the side door?  Then the thought that
Franklin Westcott might be watching her from the window braced her
up.  Never would she give him the satisfaction of seeing that she
was afraid of his dog.  Resolutely, her head held high, she marched
up the steps, past the dog and rang the bell.  The dog had not
stirred.  When Anne glanced at him over her shoulder he was
apparently asleep.

Franklin Westcott, it transpired, was not at home but was expected
every minute, as the Charlottetown train was due.  Aunt Maggie
convoyed Anne into what she called the "liberry" and left her
there.  The dog had got up and followed them in.  He came and
arranged himself at Anne's feet.

Anne found herself liking the "liberry."  It was a cheerful, shabby
room, with a fire glowing cozily in the grate, and bearskin rugs on
the worn red carpet of the floor.  Franklin Westcott evidently did
himself well in regard to books and pipes.

Presently she heard him come in.  He hung up his hat and coat in
the hall: he stood in the library doorway with a very decided scowl
on his brow.  Anne recalled that her impression of him the first
time she had seen him was that of a rather gentlemanly pirate, and
she felt a repetition of it.

"Oh, it's you, is it?" he said rather gruffly.  "Well, and what do
you want?"

He had not even offered to shake hands with her.  Of the two, Anne
thought the dog had decidedly the better manners.

"Mr. Westcott, please hear me through patiently before . . ."

"I am patient . . . very patient.  Proceed!"

Anne decided that there was no use beating about the bush with a
man like Franklin Westcott.

"I have come to tell you," she said steadily, "that Dovie has
married Jarvis Morrow."

Then she waited for the earthquake.  None came.  Not a muscle of
Franklin Westcott's lean brown face changed.  He came in and sat
down in the bandy-legged leather chair opposite Anne.

"When?" he said.

"Last night . . . at his sister's," said Anne.

Franklin Westcott looked at her for a moment out of yellowish brown
eyes deeply set under penthouses of grizzled eyebrow.  Anne had a
moment of wondering what he had looked like when he was a baby.
Then he threw back his head and went into one of his spasms of
soundless laughter.

"You mustn't blame Dovie, Mr. Westcott," said Anne earnestly,
recovering her powers of speech now that the awful revelation was
over.  "It wasn't her fault. . . ."

"I'll bet it wasn't," said Franklin Westcott.

WAS he trying to be sarcastic?

"No, it was all mine," said Anne, simply and bravely.  "I advised
her to elo . . . to be married . . . I MADE her do it.  So please
forgive her, Mr. Westcott."

Franklin Westcott coolly picked up a pipe and began to fill it.

"If you've managed to make Sibyl elope with Jarvis Morrow, Miss
Shirley, you've accomplished more than I ever thought anybody
could.  I was beginning to be afraid she'd never have backbone
enough to do it.  And then I'd have had to back down . . . and
Lord, how we Westcotts hate backing down!  You've saved my face,
Miss Shirley, and I'm profoundly grateful to you."

There was a very loud silence while Franklin Westcott tamped his
tobacco down and looked with an amused twinkle at Anne's face.
Anne was so much at sea she didn't know what to say.

"I suppose," he said, "that you came here in fear and trembling to
break the terrible news to me?"

"Yes," said Anne, a trifle shortly.

Franklin Westcott chuckled soundlessly.

"You needn't have.  You couldn't have brought me more welcome news.
Why, I picked Jarvis Morrow out for Sibyl when they were kids.
Soon as the other boys began taking notice of her, I shooed them
off.  That gave Jarvis his first notion of her.  He'd show the old
man!  But he was so popular with the girls that I could hardly
believe the incredible luck when he did really take a genuine fancy
to her.  Then I laid out my plan of campaign.  I knew the Morrows
root and branch.  You don't.  They're a good family, but the men
don't want things they can get easily.  And they're determined to
get a thing when they're told they can't.  They always go by
contraries.  Jarvis' father broke three girls' hearts because their
families threw them at his head.  In Jarvis' case I knew exactly
what would happen.  Sibyl would fall head over heels in love with
him . . . and he'd be tired of her in no time.  I knew he wouldn't
keep on wanting her if she was too easy to get.  So I forbade him
to come near the place and forbade Sibyl to have a word to say to
him and generally played the heavy parent to perfection.  Talk
about the charm of the uncaught!  It's nothing to the charm of the
uncatchable.  It all worked out according to schedule, but I struck
a snag in Sibyl's spinelessness.  She's a nice child but she IS
spineless.  I've been thinking she'd never have the pluck to marry
him in my teeth.  Now, if you've got your breath back, my dear
young lady, unbosom yourself of the whole story."

Anne's sense of humor had again come to her rescue.  She could
never refuse an opportunity for a good laugh, even when it was on
herself.  And she suddenly felt very well acquainted with Franklin
Westcott.

He listened to the tale, taking quiet, enjoyable whiffs of his
pipe.  When Anne had finished he nodded comfortably.

"I see I'm more in your debt even than I thought.  She'd never have
got up the courage to do it if it hadn't been for you.  And Jarvis
Morrow wouldn't have risked being made a fool of twice . . . not if
I know the breed.  Gosh, but I've had a narrow escape!  I'm yours
to command for life.  You're a real brick to come here as you did,
believing all the yarns gossip told you.  You've been told a-
plenty, haven't you now?"

Anne nodded.  The bulldog had got his head on her lap and was
snoring blissfully.

"Every one agreed that you were cranky, crabbed and crusty," she
said candidly.

"And I suppose they told you I was a tyrant and made my poor wife's
life miserable and ruled my family with a rod of iron?"

"Yes; but I really did take all that with a grain of salt, Mr.
Westcott.  I felt that Dovie couldn't be as fond of you as she was
if you were as dreadful as gossip painted you."

"Sensible gal!  My wife was a happy woman, Miss Shirley.  And when
Mrs. Captain MacComber tells you I bullied her to death, tick her
off for me.  Excuse my common way.  Mollie was pretty . . .
prettier than Sibyl.  Such a pink-and-white skin . . . such golden-
brown hair . . . such dewy blue eyes!  She was the prettiest woman
in Summerside.  Had to be.  I couldn't have stood it if a man had
walked into church with a handsomer wife than me.  I ruled my
household as a man should but NOT tyrannically.  Oh, of course, I
had a spell of temper now and then, but Mollie didn't mind them
after she got used to them.  A man has a right to have a row with
his wife now and then, hasn't he?  Women get tired of monotonous
husbands.  Besides, I always gave her a ring or a necklace or some
such gaud after I calmed down.  There wasn't a woman in Summerside
had more nice jewelry.  I must get it out and give it to Sibyl."

Anne went wicked.

"What about Milton's poems?"

"Milton's poems?  Oh, that!  It wasn't Milton's poems . . . it was
Tennyson's.  I reverence Milton but I can't abide Alfred.  He's too
sickly sweet.  Those last two lines of Enoch Arden made me so mad
one night, I did fire the book through the window.  But I picked it
up the next day for the sake of the Bugle Song.  I'd forgive
anybody anything for that.  It DIDN'T go into George Clarke's lily
pond--that was old Prouty's embroidery.  You're not going?  Stay
and have a bite of supper with a lonely old fellow robbed of his
only whelp."

"I'm really sorry I can't, Mr. Westcott, but I have to attend a
meeting of the staff tonight."

"Well, I'll be seeing you when Sibyl comes back.  I'll have to
fling a party for them, no doubt.  Good gosh, what a relief this
has been to my mind.  You've no idea how I'd have hated to have to
back down and say, 'Take her.'  NOW all I have to do is to pretend
to be heart-broken and resigned and forgive her sadly for the sake
of her poor mother.  I'll do it beautifully . . . Jarvis must never
suspect.  Don't YOU give the show away."

"I won't," promised Anne.

Franklin Westcott saw her courteously to the door.  The bulldog sat
up on his haunches and cried after her.

Franklin Westcott took his pipe out of his mouth at the door and
tapped her on the shoulder with it.

"Always remember," he said solemnly, "there's more than one way to
skin a cat.  It can be done so that the animal'll never know he's
lost his hide.  Give my love to Rebecca Dew.  A nice old puss, if
you stroke her the right way.  And thank you . . . thank you."

Anne betook herself home, through the soft, calm evening.  The fog
had cleared, the wind had shifted and there was a look of frost in
the pale green sky.

"People told me I didn't know Franklin Westcott," reflected Anne.
"They were right . . . I didn't.  And neither did they."

"How did he take it?" Rebecca Dew was keen to know.  She had been
on tenterhooks during Anne's absence.

"Not so badly after all," said Anne confidentially . "I THINK
he'll forgive Dovie in time."

"I never did see the beat of you, Miss Shirley, for talking people
round," said Rebecca Dew admiringly.  "You have certainly got a way
with you."

"'Something attempted, something done has earned a night's
repose,'" quoted Anne wearily as she climbed the three steps into
her bed that night.  "But just wait till the next person asks my
advice about eloping!"



9


(Extract from letter to Gilbert.)

"I am invited to have supper tomorrow night with a lady of
Summerside.  I know you won't believe me, Gilbert, when I tell you
her name is Tomgallon . . . Miss Minerva Tomgallon.  You'll say
I've been reading Dickens too long and too late.

"Dearest, aren't you glad your name is Blythe?  I am sure I could
never marry you if it were Tomgallon.  Fancy . . . Anne Tomgallon!
No, you can't fancy it.

"This is the ultimate honor Summerside has to bestow . . . an
invitation to Tomgallon House.  It has no other name.  No nonsense
about Elms or Chestnuts or Crofts for the Tomgallons.

"I understand they were the 'Royal Family' in old days.  The
Pringles are mushrooms compared to them.  And now there is left of
them all only Miss Minerva, the sole survivor of six generations of
Tomgallons.  She lives alone in a huge house on Queen Street . . .
a house with great chimneys, green shutters and the only stained-
glass window in a private house in town.  It is big enough for four
families and is occupied only by Miss Minerva, a cook and a maid.
It is very well kept up, but somehow whenever I walk past it I feel
that it is a place which life has forgotten.

"Miss Minerva goes out very little, excepting to the Anglican
church, and I had never met her until a few weeks ago, when she
came to a meeting of staff and trustees to make a formal gift of
her father's valuable library to the school.  She looks exactly as
you would expect a Minerva Tomgallon to look . . . tall and thin,
with a long, narrow white face, a long thin nose and a long thin
mouth.  That doesn't sound very attractive, yet Miss Minerva is
quite handsome in a stately, aristocratic style and is always
dressed with great, though somewhat old-fashioned, elegance.  She
was quite a beauty when she was young, Rebecca Dew tells me, and
her large black eyes are still full of fire and dark luster.  She
suffers from no lack of words, and I don't think I ever heard any
one enjoy making a presentation speech more.

"Miss Minerva was especially nice to me, and yesterday I received a
formal little note inviting me to have supper with her.  When I
told Rebecca Dew, she opened her eyes as widely as if I had been
invited to Buckingham Palace.

"'It's a great honor to be asked to Tomgallon House,' she said in a
rather awed tone.  I never heard of Miss Minerva asking any of the
principals there before.  To be sure, they were all men, so I
suppose it would hardly have been proper.  Well, I hope she won't
talk you to death, Miss Shirley.  The Tomgallons could all talk the
hind leg off a cat.  And they liked to be in the front of things.
Some folks think the reason Miss Minerva lives so retired is
because now that she's old she can't take the lead as she used to
do and she won't play second fiddle to any one.  What are you going
to wear, Miss Shirley?  I'd like to see you wear your cream silk
gauze with your black velvet bows.  It's so dressy.'

"'I'm afraid it would be rather too "dressy" for a quiet evening
out,' I said.

"'Miss Minerva would like it, I think.  The Tomgallons all liked
their company to be nicely arrayed.  They say Miss Minerva's
grandfather once shut the door in the face of a woman who had been
asked there to a ball, because she came in her second-best dress.
He told her her best was none too good for the Tomgallons.'

"Nevertheless, I think I'll wear my green voile, and the ghosts of
the Tomgallons must make the best of it.

"I'm going to confess something I did last week, Gilbert.  I
suppose you'll think I'm meddling again in other folks' business.
But I HAD to do something.  I'll not be in Summerside next year and
I can't bear the thought of leaving little Elizabeth to the mercy
of those two unloving old women who are growing bitterer and
narrower every year.  What kind of a girlhood will she have with
them in that gloomy old place?

"'I wonder,' she said to me wistfully, not long ago, 'what it would
be like to have a grandmother you weren't afraid of.'

"This is what I did: I WROTE TO HER FATHER.  He lives in Paris and
I didn't know his address, but Rebecca Dew had heard and remembered
the name of the firm whose branch he runs there, so I took a chance
and addressed him in care of it.  I wrote as diplomatic a letter as
I could, but I told him plainly that he ought to take Elizabeth.  I
told him how she longs for and dreams about him and that Mrs.
Campbell was really too severe and strict with her.  Perhaps
nothing will come of it, but if I hadn't written I would be forever
haunted by the conviction that I ought to have done it.

"What made me think of it was Elizabeth telling me very seriously
one day that she had 'written a letter to God,' asking Him to bring
her father back to her and make him love her.  She said she had
stopped on the way home from school, in the middle of a vacant lot,
and read it, looking up at the sky.  I knew she had done something
odd, because Miss Prouty had seen the performance and told me about
it when she came to sew for the widows next day.  She thought
Elizabeth was getting 'queer' . . . 'talking to the sky like that.'

"I asked Elizabeth about it and she told me.

"'I thought God might pay more attention to a letter than a
prayer,' she said.  'I've prayed so long.  He must get so many
prayers.'

"That night I wrote to her father.

"Before I close I must tell you about Dusty Miller.  Some time ago
Aunt Kate told me that she felt she must find another home for him
because Rebecca Dew kept complaining about him so that she felt she
really could not endure it any longer.  One evening last week when
I came home from school there was no Dusty Miller.  Aunt Chatty
said they had given him to Mrs. Edmonds, who lives on the other
side of Summerside from Windy Poplars.  I felt sorry, for Dusty
Miller and I have been excellent friends.  'But, at least,' I
thought, 'Rebecca Dew will be a happy woman.'

"Rebecca was away for the day, having gone to the country to help a
relative hook rugs.  When she returned at dusk nothing was said,
but at bedtime when she was calling Dusty Miller from the back
porch Aunt Kate said quietly:

"'You needn't call Dusty Miller, Rebecca.  He is not here.  We have
found a home for him elsewhere.  You will not be bothered with him
any more.'

"If Rebecca Dew could have turned pale she would have done so.

"'Not here?  Found a home for him?  Good grief!  Isn't this his
home?'

"'We have given him to Mrs. Edmonds.  She has been very lonely
since her daughter married and thought a nice cat would be
company.'

"Rebecca Dew came in and shut the door.  She looked very wild.

"'This IS the last straw,' she said.  And indeed it seemed to be.
I've never seen Rebecca Dew's eyes emit such sparkles of rage.
'I'll be leaving at the end of the month, Mrs. MacComber, and
sooner if you can be suited.'

"'But, Rebecca,' said Aunt Kate in bewilderment, 'I don't
understand.  You've always disliked Dusty Miller.  Only last week
you said . . .'

"'That's right,' said Rebecca bitterly.  'Cast things up to me!
Don't have any regard for my feelings!  That poor dear Cat!  I've
waited on him and pampered him and got up nights to let him in.
And now he's been spirited away behind my back without so much as a
by-your-leave.  And to Sarah Edmonds, who wouldn't buy a bit of
liver for the poor creature if he was dying for it!  The only
company I had in the kitchen!'

"'But, Rebecca, you've always . . .'

"'Oh, keep on . . . keep on!  Don't let ME get a word in edgewise,
Mrs. MacComber.  I've raised that cat from a kitten . . . I've
looked after his health and his morals . . . and what for?  That
Jane Edmonds should have a well-trained cat for company.  Well, I
hope she'll stand out in the frost at nights, as I've done, calling
that cat for HOURS rather than leave him out to freeze, but I doubt
it . . . I seriously doubt it.  Well, Mrs. MacComber, all I hope is
that your conscience won't trouble you the next time it's ten below
zero.  _I_ won't sleep a wink when it happens, but of course THAT
doesn't matter an old shoe to any one.'

"'Rebecca, if you would only . . .'

"'Mrs. MacComber, I am not a worm, neither am I a doormat.  Well,
this has been a lesson for me . . . a valuable lesson!  Never again
will I allow my affections to twine themselves around an animal of
any kind or description.  And if you'd done it open and aboveboard
. . . but behind my back . . . taking advantage of me like that!  I
never heard of anything so dirt mean!  But who am I that I should
expect MY feelings to be considered!'

"'Rebecca,' said Aunt Kate desperately, 'if you want Dusty Miller
back we can get him back.'

"'Why didn't you say so before then?' demanded Rebecca Dew.  'And I
doubt it.  Jane Edmonds has got her claws in him.  Is it likely
she'll give him up?'

"'I think she will,' said Aunt Kate, who had apparently reverted to
jelly.  'And if he comes back you won't leave us, will you,
Rebecca?'

"'I may think it over,' said Rebecca, with the air of one making a
tremendous concession.

"Next day, Aunt Chatty brought Dusty Miller home in a covered
basket.  I caught a glance exchanged between her and Aunt Kate
after Rebecca had carried Dusty Miller out to the kitchen and shut
the door.  I wonder!  Was it all a deep-laid plot on the part of
the widows, aided and abetted by Jane Edmonds?

"Rebecca has never uttered a word of complaint about Dusty Miller
since and there is a veritable clang of victory in her voice when
she shouts for him at bedtime.  It sounds as if she wanted all
Summerside to know that Dusty Miller is back where he belongs and
that she has once more got the better of the widows!"



10


It was on a dark, windy March evening, when even the clouds
scudding over the sky seemed in a hurry, that Anne skimmed up the
triple flight of broad, shallow steps flanked by stone urns and
stonier lions, that led to the massive front door of Tomgallon
House.  Usually, when she had passed it after dark it was somber
and grim, with a dim twinkle of light in one or two windows.  But
now it blazed forth brilliantly, even the wings on either side
being lighted up, as if Miss Minerva were entertaining the whole
town.  Such an illumination in her honor rather overcame Anne.  She
almost wished she had put on her cream gauze.

Nevertheless she looked very charming in her green voile and
perhaps Miss Minerva, meeting her in the hall, thought so, for her
face and voice were very cordial.  Miss Minerva herself was regal
in black velvet, a diamond comb in the heavy coils of her iron-gray
hair and a massive cameo brooch surrounded by a braid of some
departed Tomgallon's hair.  The whole costume was a little
outmoded, but Miss Minerva wore it with such a grand air that it
seemed as timeless as royalty's.

"Welcome to Tomgallon House, my dear," she said, giving Anne a bony
hand, likewise well sprinkled with diamonds.  "I am very glad to
have you here as my guest."

"I am . . ."

"Tomgallon House was always the resort of beauty and youth in the
old days.  We used to have a great many parties and entertained all
the visiting celebrities," said Miss Minerva, leading Anne to the
big staircase over a carpet of faded red velvet.  "But all is
changed now.  I entertain very little.  I am the last of the
Tomgallons.  Perhaps it is as well.  Our family, my dear, are UNDER
A CURSE."

Miss Minerva infused such a gruesome tinge of mystery and horror
into her tones that Anne almost shivered.  The Curse of the
Tomgallons!  What a title for a story!

"This is the stair down which my Great-grandfather Tomgallon fell
and broke his neck the night of his house-warming given to
celebrate the completion of his new home.  This house was
consecrated by human blood.  He fell THERE . . ."  Miss Minerva
pointed a long white finger so dramatically at a tiger-skin rug in
the hall that Anne could almost see the departed Tomgallon dying on
it.  She really did not know what to say, so said inanely, "Oh!"

Miss Minerva ushered her along a hall, hung with portraits and
photographs of faded loveliness, with the famous stained-glass
window at its end, into a large, high-ceilinged, very stately
guest-room.  The high walnut bed, with its huge headboard, was
covered with so gorgeous a silken quilt that Anne felt it was a
desecration to lay her coat and hat on it.

"You have very beautiful hair, my dear," said Miss Minerva
admiringly.  "I always liked red hair.  My Aunt Lydia had it . . .
she was the only red-haired Tomgallon.  One night when she was
brushing it in the north room it caught fire from her candle and
she ran shrieking down the hall wrapped in flames.  All part of the
Curse, my dear . . . all part of the Curse."

"Was she . . ."

"No, she wasn't burned to death, but she lost all her beauty.  She
was very handsome and vain.  She never went out of the house from
that night to the day of her death and she left directions that her
coffin was to be shut so that no one might see her scarred face.
Won't you sit down to remove your rubbers, my dear?  This is a very
comfortable chair.  My sister died in it from a stroke.  She was a
widow and came back home to live after her husband's death.  Her
little girl was scalded in our kitchen with a pot of boiling water.
Wasn't that a tragic way for a child to die?"

"Oh, how . . ."

"But at least we knew HOW it died.  My half-aunt Eliza . . . at
least, she would have been my half-aunt if she had lived . . . just
DISAPPEARED when she was six years old.  Nobody ever knew what
became of her."

"But surely . . ."

"EVERY search was made but nothing was ever discovered.  It was
said that her mother . . . my step-grandmother . . . had been very
cruel to an orphan niece of my grandfather's who was being brought
up here.  She locked it up in the closet at the head of the stairs,
one hot summer day, for punishment and when she went to let it out
she found it . . . DEAD.  Some people thought it was a judgment on
her when her own child vanished.  But I think it was just Our
Curse."

"Who put . . . ?"

"What a high instep you have, my dear!  My instep used to be
admired too.  It was said a stream of water could run under it
. . . the test of an aristocrat."

Miss Minerva modestly poked a slipper from under her velvet skirt
and revealed what was undoubtedly a very handsome foot.

"It certainly . . ."

"Would you like to see over the house, my dear, before we have
supper?  It used to be the Pride of Summerside.  I suppose
everything is very old-fashioned now, but perhaps there are a few
things of interest.  That sword hanging by the head of the stairs
belonged to my great-great-grandfather who was an officer in the
British Army and received a grant of land in Prince Edward Island
for his services.  He never lived in this house, but my great-
great-grandmother did for a few weeks.  She did not long survive
her son's tragic death."

Miss Minerva marched Anne ruthlessly over the whole huge house,
full of great square rooms . . . ballroom, conservatory, billiard-
room, three drawing-rooms, breakfast-room, no end of bedrooms and
an enormous attic.  They were all splendid and dismal.

"Those were my Uncle Ronald and my Uncle Reuben," said Miss
Minerva, indicating two worthies who seemed to be scowling at each
other from the opposite sides of a fireplace.  "They were twins and
they hated each other bitterly from birth.  The house rang with
their quarrels.  It darkened their mother's whole life.  And during
their final quarrel in this very room, while a thunderstorm was
going on, Reuben was killed by a flash of lightning.  Ronald never
got over it.  He was a HAUNTED MAN from that day.  His wife," Miss
Minerva added reminiscently, "swallowed her wedding-ring."

"What an ex . . ."

"Ronald thought it was very careless and wouldn't have anything
done.  A prompt emetic might have . . . but it was never heard of
again.  It spoiled her life.  She always felt so UNmarried without
a wedding-ring."

"What a beautiful . . ."

"Oh, yes, that was my Aunt Emilia . . . not my aunt really, of
course.  Just the wife of Uncle Alexander.  She was noted for her
spiritual look, but she poisoned her husband with a stew of
mushrooms . . . toadstools really.  We always pretended it was an
accident, because a murder is such a messy thing to have in a
family, but we all knew the truth.  Of course she married him
against her will.  She was a gay young thing and he was far too old
for her.  December and May, my dear.  Still, that did not really
justify toadstools.  She went into a decline soon afterwards.  They
are buried together in Charlottetown . . . all the Tomgallons bury
in Charlottetown.  This was my Aunt Louise.  She drank laudanum.
The doctor pumped it out and saved her, but we all felt we could
never trust her again.  It was really rather a relief when she died
respectably of pneumonia.  Of course, some of us didn't blame her
much.  You see, my dear, her husband had spanked her."

"Spanked . . ."

"Exactly.  There are really some things no gentleman should do, my
dear, and one of them is spank his wife.  Knock her down . . .
possibly . . . but spank her, never!  I would like," said Miss
Minerva, very majestically, "to see the man who would dare to spank
ME."

Anne felt she would like to see him also.  She realized that there
are limits to the imagination after all.  By no stretch of hers
could she imagine a husband spanking Miss Minerva Tomgallon.

"This is the ballroom.  Of course it is never used now.  But there
have been any number of balls here.  The Tomgallon balls were
famous.  People came from all over the Island to them.  That
chandelier cost my father five hundred dollars.  My Great-aunt
Patience dropped dead while dancing here one night . . . right
there in that corner.  She had fretted a great deal over a man who
had disappointed her.  I cannot imagine any girl breaking her heart
over a man.  Men," said Miss Minerva, staring at a photograph of
her father . . . a person with bristling side-whiskers and a hawk-
like nose . . . "have always seemed to me such TRIVIAL creatures."



11


The dining-room was in keeping with the rest of the house.  There
was another ornate chandelier, an equally ornate, gilt-framed
mirror over the mantelpiece, and a table beautifully set with
silver and crystal and old Crown Derby.  The supper, served by a
rather grim and ancient maid, was bountiful and exceedingly good,
and Anne's healthy young appetite did full justice to it.  Miss
Minerva kept silence for a time and Anne dared say nothing for fear
of starting another avalanche of tragedies.  Once a large, sleek
black cat came into the room and sat down by Miss Minerva with a
hoarse meow.  Miss Minerva poured a saucer of cream and set it down
before him.  She seemed so much more human after this that Anne
lost a good deal of her awe of the last of the Tomgallons.

"Do have some more of the peaches, my dear.  You've eaten nothing
. . . positively nothing."

"Oh, Miss Tomgallon, I've enjoyed . . ."

"The Tomgallons always set a good table," said Miss Minerva
complacently.  "My Aunt Sophia made the best sponge-cake I ever
tasted.  I think the only person my father ever really hated to see
come to our house was his sister Mary, because she had such a poor
appetite.  She just minced and tasted.  He took it as a personal
insult.  Father was a very unrelenting man.  He never forgave my
brother Richard for marrying against his will.  He ordered him out
of the house and he was never allowed to enter it again.  Father
always repeated the Lord's Prayer at family worship every morning,
but after Richard flouted him he always left out the sentence,
'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against
us.'  I can see him," said Miss Minerva dreamily, "kneeling there
leaving it out."

After supper they went to the smallest of the three drawing-rooms
. . . which was still rather big and grim . . . and spent the
evening before the huge fire . . . a pleasant, friendly enough fire.
Anne crocheted at a set of intricate doilies and Miss Minerva
knitted away at an afghan and kept up what was practically a
monologue composed in great part of colorful and gruesome Tomgallon
history.

"This is a house of tragical memories, my dear."

"Miss Tomgallon, didn't ANY pleasant thing ever happen in this
house?" asked Anne, achieving a complete sentence by a mere fluke.
Miss Minerva had had to stop talking long enough to blow her nose.

"Oh, I suppose so," said Miss Minerva, as if she hated to admit it.
"Yes, of course, we used to have gay times here when I was a girl.
They tell me you're writing a book about every one in Summerside,
my dear."

"I'm not . . . there isn't a word of truth . . ."

"Oh!" Miss Minerva was plainly a little disappointed.  "Well, if
ever you do you are at liberty to use any of our stories you like,
perhaps with the names disguised.  And now what do you say to a
game of parchesi?"

"I'm afraid it is time I was going. . . ."

"Oh, my dear, you can't go home tonight.  It's pouring cats and
dogs . . . and listen to the wind.  I don't keep a carriage now
. . . I have so little use for one . . . and you can't walk half
a mile in that deluge.  You must be my guest for the night."

Anne was not sure she wanted to spend a night in Tomgallon House.
But neither did she want to walk to Windy Poplars in a March
tempest.  So they had their game of parchesi . . . in which Miss
Minerva was so interested that she forgot to talk about horrors
. . . and then a "bedtime snack."  They ate cinnamon toast and
drank cocoa out of old Tomgallon cups of marvelous thinness and
beauty.

Finally Miss Minerva took her up to a guest-room which Anne at
first was glad to see was not the one where Miss Minerva's sister
had died of a stroke.

"This is Aunt Annabella's room," said Miss Minerva, lighting the
candles in the silver candlesticks on a rather pretty green
dressing-table and turning out the gas.  Matthew Tomgallon had
blown out the gas one night . . . whereupon exit Matthew Tomgallon.
"She was the handsomest of all the Tomgallons.  That's her picture
above the mirror.  Do you notice what a proud mouth she had?  She
made that crazy quilt on the bed.  I hope you'll be comfortable, my
dear.  Mary has aired the bed and put two hot bricks in it.  And
she has aired this night-dress for you . . ." pointing to an ample
flannel garment hanging over a chair and smelling strongly of moth
balls.  "I hope it will fit you.  It hasn't been worn since poor
Mother died in it.  Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you . . ." Miss
Minerva turned back at the door . . . "this is the room Oscar
Tomgallon came back to life in--after being thought dead for two
days.  They DIDN'T WANT HIM TO, you know--THAT was the tragedy.  I
hope you'll sleep well, my dear."

Anne did not know if she could sleep at all or not.  Suddenly there
seemed something strange and alien in the room . . . something a
little hostile.  But is there not something strange about any room
that has been occupied through generations?  Death has lurked in it
. . . love has been rosy red in it . . . births have been here . . .
all the passions . . . all the hopes.  It is full of wraths.

But this was really rather a terrible old house, full of the ghosts
of dead hatreds and heart-breaks, crowded with dark deeds that had
never been dragged into light and were still festering in its
corners and hidy-holes.  Too many women must have wept here.  The
wind wailed very eerily in the spruces by the window.  For a moment
Anne felt like running out, storm or no storm.

Then she took herself resolutely in hand and commanded common
sense.  If tragic and dreadful things had happened here, many
shadowy years agone, amusing and lovely things must have happened,
too.  Gay and pretty girls had danced here and talked over their
charming secrets; dimpled babies had been born here; there had been
weddings and balls and music and laughter.  The sponge-cake lady
must have been a comfortable creature and the unforgiven Richard a
gallant lover.

"I'll think on these things and go to bed.  What a quilt to sleep
under!  I wonder if I'll be as crazy as it by morning.  And this is
a spare room!  I've never forgotten what a thrill it used to give
me to sleep in any one's spare room."

Anne uncoiled and brushed her hair under the very nose of Annabella
Tomgallon, who stared down at her with a face in which there were
pride and vanity, and something of the insolence of great beauty.
Anne felt a little creepy as she looked in the mirror.  Who knew
what faces might look out of it at her?  All the tragic and haunted
ladies who had ever looked into it, perhaps.  She bravely opened
the closet door, half expecting any number of skeletons to tumble
out, and hung up her dress.  She sat down calmly on a rigid chair,
which looked as if it would be insulted if anybody sat on it, and
took off her shoes.  Then she put on the flannel nightgown, blew
out the candles and got into the bed, pleasantly warm from Mary's
bricks.  For a little while the rain streaming on the panes and
the shriek of the wind around the old eaves prevented her from
sleeping.  Then she forgot all the Tomgallon tragedies in dreamless
slumber until she found herself looking at dark fir boughs against
a red sunrise.

"I've enjoyed having you so much, my dear," said Miss Minerva when
Anne left after breakfast.  "We've had a real cheerful visit,
haven't we?  Though I've lived so long alone I've almost forgotten
how to talk.  And I need not say what a delight it is to meet a
really charming and unspoiled young girl in this frivolous age.  I
didn't tell you yesterday but it was my birthday, and it was very
pleasant to have a bit of youth in the house.  There is nobody to
remember my birthday now . . ." Miss Minerva gave a faint sigh
. . . "and once there were so many."

"Well, I suppose you heard a pretty grim chronicle," said Aunt
Chatty that night.

"Did all those things Miss Minerva told me really happen, Aunt
Chatty?"

"Well, the queer thing is, they did," said Aunt Chatty.  "It's a
curious thing, Miss Shirley, but a lot of awful things did happen
to the Tomgallons."

"I don't know that there were many more than happen in any large
family in the course of six generations," said Aunt Kate.

"Oh, I think there were.  They really did seem under a curse.  So
many of them died sudden or violent deaths.  Of course there is a
streak of insanity in them . . . every one knows that.  That was
curse enough . . . but I've heard an old story . . . I can't recall
the details . . . of the carpenter who built the house cursing it.
Something about the contract . . . old Paul Tomgallon held him to
it and it ruined him, it cost so much more than he had figured."

"Miss Minerva seems rather proud of the curse," said Anne.

"Poor old thing, it's all she has," said Rebecca Dew.

Anne smiled to think of the stately Miss Minerva being referred to
as a poor old thing.  But she went to the tower room and wrote to
Gilbert:

"I thought Tomgallon House was a sleepy old place where nothing
ever happened.  Well, perhaps things don't happen now but evidently
they DID.  Little Elizabeth is always talking of Tomorrow.  But the
old Tomgallon house is Yesterday.  I'm glad I don't live in
Yesterday . . . that Tomorrow is still a friend.

"Of course I think Miss Minerva has all the Tomgallon liking for
the spotlight and gets no end of satisfaction out of her tragedies.
They are to her what husband and children are to other women.  But,
oh, Gilbert, no matter how old we get in years to come, don't let's
ever see life as ALL tragedy and revel in it.  I think I'd hate a
house one hundred and twenty years old.  I hope when we get our
house of dreams it will either be new, ghostless and traditionless,
or, if that can't be, at least have been occupied by reasonably
happy people.  I shall never forget my night at Tomgallon House.
And for once in my life I've met a person who could talk me down."



12


Little Elizabeth Grayson had been born expecting things to happen.
That they seldom happened under the watchful eyes of Grandmother
and the Woman never brighted her expectations in the least.  Things
were just bound to happen some time . . . if not today, then
tomorrow.

When Miss Shirley came to live at Windy Poplars Elizabeth felt that
Tomorrow must be very close at hand and her visit to Green Gables
was like a foretaste of it.  But now in the June of Miss Shirley's
third and last year in Summerside High, little Elizabeth's heart
had descended into the nice buttoned boots Grandmother always got
for her to wear.  Many children at the school where she went envied
little Elizabeth those beautiful buttoned kid boots.  But little
Elizabeth cared nothing about buttoned boots when she could not
tread the way to freedom in them.  And now her adored Miss Shirley
was going away from her forever.  At the end of June she would be
leaving Summerside and going back to that beautiful Green Gables.
Little Elizabeth simply could not bear the thought of it.  It was
of no use for Miss Shirley to promise that she would have her down
to Green Gables in the summer before she was married.  Little
Elizabeth knew somehow that Grandmother would not let her go again.
Little Elizabeth knew Grandmother had never really approved of her
intimacy with Miss Shirley.

"It will be the end of everything, Miss Shirley," she sobbed.

"Let's hope, darling, that it is only a new beginning," said Anne
cheerfully.  But she felt downcast herself.  No word had ever come
from little Elizabeth's father.  Either her letter had never
reached him or he did not care.  And, if he did not care, what was
to become of Elizabeth?  It was bad enough now in her childhood,
but what would it be later on?

"Those two old dames will boss her to death," Rebecca Dew had said.
Anne felt that there was more truth than elegance in her remark.

Elizabeth knew that she was "bossed."  And she especially resented
being bossed by the Woman.  She did not like it in Grandmother, of
course, but one conceded reluctantly that perhaps a grandmother had
a certain right to boss you.  But what right had the Woman?
Elizabeth always wanted to ask her that right out.  She WOULD do it
some time . . . when Tomorrow came.  And oh, how she would enjoy
the look on the Woman's face!

Grandmother would never let little Elizabeth go out walking by
herself . . . for fear, she said, that she might be kidnaped by
gypsies.  A child had been once, forty years before.  It was very
seldom gypsies came to the Island now, and little Elizabeth felt
that it was only an excuse.  But why should Grandmother care
whether she were kidnaped or not?  Elizabeth knew that Grandmother
and the Woman didn't love her at all.  Why, they never even spoke
of her by her name if they could help it.  It was always "the
child."  How Elizabeth hated to be called "the child" just as they
might have spoken of "the dog" or "the cat" if there had been one.
But when Elizabeth had ventured a protest, Grandmother's face had
grown dark and angry and little Elizabeth had been punished for
impertinence, while the Woman looked on, well content.  Little
Elizabeth often wondered just why the Woman hated her.  Why should
any one hate you when you were so small?  Could you be worth
hating?  Little Elizabeth did not know that the mother whose life
she had cost had been that bitter old woman's darling and, if she
had known, could not have understood what perverted shapes thwarted
love can take.

Little Elizabeth hated the gloomy, splendid Evergreens, where
everything seemed unacquainted with her although she had lived in
it all her life.  But after Miss Shirley had come to Windy Poplars
everything had changed magically.  Little Elizabeth lived in a
world of romance after Miss Shirley's coming.  There was beauty
wherever you looked.  Fortunately Grandmother and the Woman
couldn't prevent you from looking, though Elizabeth had no doubt
they would if they could.  The short walks along the red magic of
the harbor road, which she was all too rarely permitted to share
with Miss Shirley, were the high lights in her shadowy life.  She
loved everything she saw . . . the far-away lighthouse painted in
odd red and white rings . . . the far, dim blue shores . . . the
little silvery blue waves . . . the range lights that gleamed
through the violet dusks . . . all gave her so much delight that it
hurt.  And the harbor with its smoky islands and glowing sunsets!
Elizabeth always went up to a window in the mansard roof to watch
them through the treetops . . . and the ships that sailed at the
rising of the moon.  Ships that came back . . . ships that never
came back.  Elizabeth longed to go in one of them . . . on a voyage
to the Island of Happiness.  The ships that never came back stayed
there, where it was always Tomorrow.

That mysterious red road ran on and on and her feet itched to
follow it.  Where did it lead to?  Sometimes Elizabeth thought she
would burst if she didn't find out.  When Tomorrow really came she
would fare forth on it and perhaps find an island all her own where
she and Miss Shirley could live alone and Grandmother and the Woman
could never come.  They both hated water and would not put foot in
a boat for anything.  Little Elizabeth liked to picture herself
standing on her island and mocking them, as they stood vainly
glowering on the mainland shore.

"This is Tomorrow," she would taunt them.  "You can't catch me any
more.  You're only in Today."

What fun it would be!  How she would enjoy the look on the Woman's
face!

Then one evening in late June an amazing thing happened.  Miss
Shirley had told Mrs.  Campbell that she had an errand next day at
Flying Cloud, to see a certain Mrs.  Thompson, who was convener of
the refreshment committee of the Ladies' Aid, and might she take
Elizabeth with her.  Grandmother had agreed with her usual dourness
. . . Elizabeth could never understand why she agreed at all, being
completely ignorant of the Pringle horror of a certain bit of
information Miss Shirley possessed . . . but she had agreed.

"We'll go right down to the harbor mouth," whispered Anne, "after
I've done my errand at Flying Cloud."

Little Elizabeth went to bed in such excitement that she didn't
expect to sleep a wink.  At last she was going to answer the lure
of the road that had called so long.  In spite of her excitement,
she conscientiously went through her little ritual of retiring.
She folded her clothes and cleaned her teeth and brushed her golden
hair.  She thought she had rather pretty hair, though of course it
wasn't like Miss Shirley's lovely red-gold with the ripples in it
and the little love-locks that curled around her ears.  Little
Elizabeth would have given anything to have had hair like Miss
Shirley's.

Before she got into bed little Elizabeth opened one of the drawers
in the high, black, polished old bureau and took a carefully hidden
picture from under a pile of hankies . . . a picture of Miss
Shirley which she had cut out of a special edition of the Weekly
Courier that had reproduced a photograph of the High School staff.

"Good night, dearest Miss Shirley."  She kissed the picture and
returned it to its hiding-place.  Then she climbed into bed and
cuddled down under the blankets . . . for the June night was cool
and the breeze of the harbor searching.  Indeed, it was more than a
breeze tonight.  It whistled and banged and shook and thumped, and
Elizabeth knew the harbor would be a tossing expanse of waves under
the moonlight.  What fun it would be to steal down close to it
under the moon!  But it was only in Tomorrow one could do that.

Where was Flying Cloud?  What a name!  Out of Tomorrow again.  It
was maddening to be so near Tomorrow and not be able to get into
it.  But suppose the wind blew up rain for tomorrow!  Elizabeth
knew she would never be allowed to go anywhere in rain.

She sat up in bed and clasped her hands.

"Dear God," she said, "I don't like to meddle, but COULD You see
that it is fine tomorrow?  PLEASE, dear God."

The next afternoon was glorious.  Little Elizabeth felt as if she
had slipped from some invisible shackles when she and Miss Shirley
walked away from that house of gloom.  She took a huge gulp of
freedom, even if the Woman was scowling after them through the red
glass of the big front door.  How heavenly to be walking through
the lovely world with Miss Shirley!  It was always so wonderful to
be alone with Miss Shirley.  What would she do when Miss Shirley
had gone?  But little Elizabeth put the thought firmly away.  She
wouldn't spoil the day by thinking it.  Perhaps . . . a great
perhaps . . . she and Miss Shirley would get into Tomorrow this
afternoon and then they would never be separated.  Little Elizabeth
just wanted to walk quietly on towards that blueness at the end of
the world, drinking in the beauty around her.  Every turn and kink
of the road revealed new lovelinesses . . . and it turned and
kinked interminably, following the windings of a tiny river that
seemed to have appeared from nowhere.

On every side were fields of buttercups and clover where bees
buzzed.  Now and then they walked through a milky way of daisies.
Far out the strait laughed at them in silver-tipped waves.  The
harbor was like watered silk.  Little Elizabeth liked it better
that way than when it was like pale blue satin.  They drank the
wind in.  It was a very gentle wind.  It purred about them and
seemed to coax them on.

"Isn't it nice, walking with the wind like this?" said little
Elizabeth.

"A nice, friendly, perfumed wind," said Anne, more to herself than
Elizabeth.  "Such a wind as I used to think a MISTRAL was.  Mistral
SOUNDS like that.  What a disappointment when I found out it was a
rough, disagreeable wind!"

Elizabeth didn't quite understand . . . she had never heard of the
mistral . . . but the music of her beloved's voice was enough for
her.  The very sky was glad.  A sailor with gold rings in his ears
. . . the very kind of person one would meet in Tomorrow . . .
smiled as he passed them.  Elizabeth thought of a verse she had
learned in Sunday-school . . . "The little hills rejoice on every
side."  Had the man who wrote that ever seen hills like those blue
ones over the harbor?

"I think this road leads right to God," she said dreamily.

"Perhaps," said Anne.  "Perhaps all roads do, little Elizabeth.
We turn off here just now.  We must go over to that island . . .
that's Flying Cloud."

Flying Cloud was a long, slender islet, lying about a quarter of a
mile from the shore.  There were trees on it and a house.  Little
Elizabeth had always wished she might have an island of her own,
with a little bay of silver sand in it.

"How do we get to it?"

"We'll row out in this flat," said Miss Shirley, picking up the
oars in a small boat tied to a leaning tree.

Miss Shirley could row.  Was there anything Miss Shirley couldn't
do?  When they reached the island, it proved to be a fascinating
place where anything might happen.  Of course it was in Tomorrow.
Islands like this didn't happen except in Tomorrow.  They had no
part or lot in humdrum Today.

A little maid who met them at the door of the house told Anne she
would find Mrs. Thompson on the far end of the island, picking wild
strawberries.  Fancy an island where wild strawberries grew!

Anne went to hunt Mrs. Thompson up, but first she asked if little
Elizabeth might wait in the living-room.  Anne was thinking that
little Elizabeth looked rather tired after her unaccustomedly long
walk and needed a rest.  Little Elizabeth didn't think she did, but
Miss Shirley's lightest wish was law.

It was a beautiful room, with flowers everywhere and wild sea-
breezes blowing in.  Elizabeth liked the mirror over the mantel
which reflected the room so beautifully and, through the open
window, a glimpse of harbor and hill and strait.

All at once a man came through the door.  Elizabeth felt a moment
of dismay and terror.  Was he a gypsy?  He didn't look like her
idea of a gypsy but of course she had never seen one.  He might be
one . . . and then in a swift flash of intuition Elizabeth decided
she didn't care if he did kidnap her.  She liked his crinkly hazel
eyes and his crinkly brown hair and his square chin and his smile.
For he was smiling.

"Now, who are you?" he asked.

"I'm . . . I'm me," faltered Elizabeth, still a little flustered.

"Oh, to be sure . . . you.  Popped out of the sea, I suppose . . .
come up from the dunes . . . no name known among mortals."

Elizabeth felt that she was being made fun of a little.  But she
didn't mind.  In fact she rather liked it.  But she answered a bit
primly.

"My name is Elizabeth Grayson."

There was a silence . . . a very queer silence.  The man looked at
her for a moment without saying anything.  Then he politely asked
her to sit down.

"I'm waiting for Miss Shirley," she explained.  "She's gone to see
Mrs. Thompson about the Ladies' Aid Supper.  When she comes back we
are going down to the end of the world."

Now, if you have any notion of kidnaping me, Mr. Man!

"Of course.  But meanwhile you might as well be comfortable.  And
I must do the honors.  What would you like in the way of light
refreshment?  Mrs. Thompson's cat has probably brought something
in."

Elizabeth sat down.  She felt oddly happy and at home.

"Can I have just what I like?"

"Certainly."

"Then," said Elizabeth triumphantly, "I'd like some ice-cream with
strawberry jam on it."

The man rang a bell and gave an order.  Yes, this must be Tomorrow
. . . no doubt about it.  Ice-cream and strawberry jam didn't
appear in this magical manner in Today, cats or no cats.

"We'll set a share aside for your Miss Shirley," said the man.

They were good friends right away.  The man didn't talk a great
deal, but he looked at Elizabeth very often.  There was a
tenderness in his face . . . a tenderness she had never seen before
in anybody's face, not even Miss Shirley's.  She felt that he liked
her.  And she knew that she liked him.

Finally he glanced out of the window and stood up.

"I think I must go now," he said.  "I see your Miss Shirley coming
up the walk, so you'll not be alone."

"Won't you wait and see Miss Shirley?" asked Elizabeth, licking her
spoon to get the last vestige of the jam.  Grandmother and the
Woman would have died of horror had they seen her.

"Not this time," said the man.

Elizabeth knew he hadn't the slightest notion of kidnaping her,
and she felt the strangest, most unaccountable sensation of
disappointment.

"Good-by and thank you," she said politely.  "It is very nice here
in Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?"

"This is Tomorrow," explained Elizabeth.  "I've always wanted to
get into Tomorrow and now I have."

"Oh, I see.  Well, I'm sorry to say I don't care much about
Tomorrow.  _I_ would like to get back into Yesterday."

Little Elizabeth was sorry for him.  But how could he be unhappy?
How could any one living in Tomorrow be unhappy?

Elizabeth looked longingly back to Flying Cloud as they rowed away.
Just as they pushed through the scrub spruces that fringed the
shore to the road, she turned for another farewell look at it.  A
flying team of horses attached to a truck wagon whirled around the
bend, evidently quite beyond their driver's control.

Elizabeth heard Miss Shirley shriek. . . .



13


The room went around oddly.  The furniture nodded and jiggled.  The
bed . . . how came she to be in bed?  Somebody with a white cap on
was just going out of the door.  What door?  How funny one's head
felt!  There were voices somewhere . . . low voices.  She could not
see who was talking, but somehow she knew it was Miss Shirley and
the man.

What were they saying?  Elizabeth heard sentences here and there,
bobbing out of a confusion of murmuring.

"Are you really . . . ?" Miss Shirley's voice sounded so excited.

"Yes . . . your letter . . . see for myself . . . before approaching
Mrs. Campbell . . . Flying Cloud is the summer home of our General
Manager. . . ."

If that room would only stay put!  Really, things behaved rather
queerly in Tomorrow.  If she could only turn her head and see the
talkers . . . Elizabeth gave a long sigh.

Then they came over to her bed . . . Miss Shirley and the man.
Miss Shirley all tall and white, like a lily, looking as if she had
been through some terrible experience but with some inner radiance
shining behind it all . . . a radiance that seemed part of the
golden sunset light which suddenly flooded the room.  The man was
smiling down at her.  Elizabeth felt that he loved her very much
and that there was some secret, tender and dear, between them which
she would learn as soon as she had learned the language spoken in
Tomorrow.

"Are you feeling better, darling?" said Miss Shirley.

"Have I been sick?"

"You were knocked down by a team of runaway horses on the mainland
road," said Miss Shirley.  "I . . . I wasn't quick enough.  I
thought you were killed.  I brought you right back here in the flat
and your . . . this gentleman telephoned for a doctor and nurse."

"Will I die?" said little Elizabeth.

"No, indeed, darling.  You were only stunned and you will be all
right soon.  And, Elizabeth darling, this is your father."

"Father is in France.  Am I in France, too?"  Elizabeth would not
have been surprised at it.  Wasn't this Tomorrow?  Besides, things
were still a bit wobbly.

"Father is very much here, my sweet."  He had such a delightful
voice . . . you loved him for his voice.  He bent and kissed her.
"I've come for you.  We'll never be separated anymore."

The woman in the white cap was coming in again.  Somehow, Elizabeth
knew whatever she had to say must be said before she got quite in.

"Will we live together?"

"Always," said Father.

"And will Grandmother and the Woman live with us?"

"They will not," said Father.

The sunset gold was fading and the nurse was looking her
disapproval.  But Elizabeth didn't care.

"I've found Tomorrow," she said, as the nurse looked Father and
Miss Shirley out.

"I've found a treasure I didn't know I possessed," said Father, as
the nurse shut the door on him.  "And I can never thank you enough
for that letter, Miss Shirley."

"And so," wrote Anne to Gilbert that night, "little Elizabeth's
road of mystery has led on to happiness and the end of her old
world."



14


"Windy Poplars,
"Spook's Lane,
"(For the last time),
"June 27th.

"DEAREST:

"I've come to another bend in the road.  I've written you a good
many letters in this old tower room these past three years.  I
suppose this is the last one I will write you for a long, long
time.  Because after this there won't be any need of letters.  In
just a few weeks now we'll belong to each other forever . . . we'll
be together.  Just think of it . . . being together . . . talking,
walking, eating.  dreaming, planning together . . . sharing each
other's wonderful moments . . . making a home out of our house of
dreams.  OUR house!  Doesn't that sound 'mystic and wonderful,'
Gilbert?  I've been building dream houses all my life and now one
of them is going to come true.  As to whom I really want to share
my house of dreams with . . . well, I'll tell you that at four
o'clock next year.

"Three years sounded endless at the beginning, Gilbert.  And now
they are gone like a watch in the night.  They have been very happy
years . . . except for those first few months with the Pringles.
After that, life has seemed to flow by like a pleasant golden
river.  And my old feud with the Pringles seems like a dream.  They
like me now for myself . . . they have forgotten they ever hated
me.  Cora Pringle, one of the Widow Pringle's brood, brought me a
bouquet of roses yesterday and twisted round the stems was a bit of
paper bearing the legend, 'To the sweetest teacher in the whole
world.'  Fancy that for a Pringle!

"Jen is broken-hearted because I am leaving.  I shall watch Jen's
career with interest.  She is brilliant and rather unpredictable.
One thing is certain . . . she will have no commonplace existence.
She can't look so much like Becky Sharp for nothing.

"Lewis Allen is going to McGill.  Sophy Sinclair is going to
Queen's.  Then she means to teach until she has saved up enough
money to go to the School of Dramatic Expression in Kingsport.
Myra Pringle is going to 'enter society' in the fall.  She is so
pretty that it won't matter a bit that she wouldn't know a past
perfect participle if she met it on the street.

"And there is no longer a small neighbor on the other side of the
vine-hung gate.  Little Elizabeth has gone forever from that
sunshineless house . . . gone into her Tomorrow.  If I were staying
on in Summerside I should break my heart, missing her.  But as it
is, I'm glad.  Pierce Grayson took her away with him.  He is not
going back to Paris but will be living in Boston.  Elizabeth cried
bitterly at our parting but she is so happy with her father that I
feel sure her tears will soon be dried.  Mrs. Campbell and the
Woman were very dour over the whole affair and put all the blame on
me . . . which I accept cheerfully and unrepentantly.

"'She has had a good home here,' said Mrs. Campbell majestically.

"'Where she never heard a single word of affection,' I thought but
did not say.

"'I think I'll be Betty all the time now, darling Miss Shirley,'
were Elizabeth's last words.  'Except,' she called back, 'when I'm
lonesome for you, and then I'll be Lizzie.'

"'Don't you ever dare to be Lizzie, no matter what happens,' I
said.

"We threw kisses to each other as long as we could see, and I came
up to my tower room with tears in my eyes.  She's been so sweet,
the dear little golden thing.  She always seemed to me like a
little aeolian harp, so responsive to the tiniest breath of
affection that blew her way.  It's been an adventure to be her
friend.  I hope Pierce Grayson realizes what a daughter he has . . .
and I think he does.  He sounded very grateful and repentant.

"'I didn't realize she was no longer a baby,' he said, 'nor how
unsympathetic her environment was.  Thank you a thousand times for
all you have done for her.'

"I had our map of fairyland framed and gave it to little Elizabeth
for a farewell keepsake.

"I'm sorry to leave Windy Poplars.  Of course, I'm really a bit
tired of living in a trunk, but I've loved it here . . . loved my
cool morning hours at my window . . . loved my bed into which I
have veritably climbed every night . . . loved my blue doughnut
cushion . . . loved all the winds that blew.  I'm afraid I'll never
be quite so chummy with the winds again as I've been here.  And
shall I ever have a room again from which I can see both the rising
and the setting sun?

"I've finished with Windy Poplars and the years that have been
linked with it.  And I've kept the faith.  I've never betrayed Aunt
Chatty's hidy-hole to Aunt Kate or the buttermilk secret of each to
either of the others.

"I think they are all sorry to see me go . . . and I'm glad of it.
It would be terrible to think they were glad I am going . . . or
that they would not miss me a little when I'm gone.  Rebecca Dew
has been making all my favorite dishes for a week now . . . she
even devoted ten eggs to angel-cake TWICE . . . and using the
'company' china.  And Aunt Chatty's soft brown eyes brim over
whenever I mention my departure.  Even Dusty Miller seems to gaze
at me reproachfully as he sits about on his little haunches.

"I had a long letter from Katherine last week.  She has a gift for
writing letters.  She has got a position as private secretary to a
globe-trotting M. P.  What a fascinating phrase 'globe-trotting'
is!  A person who would say, 'Let's go to Egypt,' as one might say,
'Let's go to Charlottetown' . . . and GO!  That life will just suit
Katherine.

"She persists in ascribing all her changed outlook and prospects to
me.  'I wish I could tell you what you've brought into my life,'
she wrote.  I suppose I did help.  And it wasn't easy at first.
She seldom said anything without a sting in it, and listened to any
suggestion I made in regard to the school work with an air of
disdainfully humoring a lunatic.  But somehow, I've forgotten it
all.  It was just born of her secret bitterness against life.

"Everybody has been inviting me to supper . . . even Pauline
Gibson.  Old Mrs. Gibson died a few months ago, so Pauline dared do
it.  And I've been to Tomgallon House for another supper with Miss
Minerva of that ilk and another one-sided conversation.  But I had
a very good time, eating the delicious meal Miss Minerva provided,
and she had a good time airing a few more tragedies.  She couldn't
quite hide the fact that she was sorry for any one who was not a
Tomgallon, but she paid me several nice compliments and gave me a
lovely ring set with an aquamarine . . . a moonlight blend of blue
and green . . . that her father had given her on her eighteenth
birthday . . . 'when I was young and handsome, dear . . . QUITE
handsome.  I may say that NOW, I suppose.'  I was glad it belonged
to Miss Minerva and not to the wife of Uncle Alexander.  I'm sure I
could never have worn it if it had.  It is very beautiful.  There
is a mysterious charm about the jewels of the sea.

"Tomgallon House is certainly very splendid, especially now when
its grounds are all a-leaf and a-flower.  But I wouldn't give my as
yet unfounded house of dreams for Tomgallon House and grounds with
the ghosts thrown in.

"Not but what a ghost might be a nice, aristocratic sort of thing
to have around.  My only quarrel with Spook's Lane is that there
are no spooks.

"I went to my old graveyard yesterday evening for a last prowl . . .
walked all round it and wondered if Herbert Pringle occasionally
chuckled to himself in his grave.  And I'm saying good-by tonight
to the old Storm King, with the sunset on its brow, and my little
winding valley full of dusk.

"I'm a wee bit tired after a month of exams and farewells and 'last
things.'  For a week after I get back to Green Gables I'm going to
be lazy . . . do absolutely nothing but run free in a green world
of summer loveliness.  I'll dream by the Dryad's Bubble in the
twilight.  I'll drift on the Lake of Shining Waters in a shallop
shaped from a moonbeam . . . or in Mr. Barry's flat, if moonbeam
shallops are not in season.  I'll gather starflowers and June bells
in the Haunted Wood.  I'll find plots of wild strawberries in Mr.
Harrison's hill pasture.  I'll join the dance of fireflies in
Lover's Lane and visit Hester Gray's old, forgotten garden . . .
and sit out on the back door-step under the stars and listen to the
sea calling in its sleep.

"And when the week is ended YOU will be home . . . and I won't want
anything else."



When the time came the next day for Anne to say good-by to the
folks at Windy Poplars, Rebecca Dew was not on hand.  Instead, Aunt
Kate gravely handed Anne a letter.

"Dear Miss Shirley," wrote Rebecca Dew, "I am writing this to bid
my farewell because I cannot trust myself to say it.  For three
years you have sojourned under our roof.  The fortunate possessor
of a cheerful spirit and a natural taste for the gaieties of youth,
you have never surrendered yourself to the vain pleasures of the
giddy and fickle crowd.  You have conducted yourself on all
occasions and to every one, especially the one who pens these
lines, with the most refined delicacy.  You have always been most
considerate of my feelings and I find a heavy gloom on my spirits
at the thought of your departure.  But we must not repine at what
Providence has ordained.  (First Samuel, 29th and 18th.)

"You will be lamented by all in Summerside who had the privilege of
knowing you, and the homage of one faithful though humble heart
will ever be yours, and my prayer will ever be for your happiness
and welfare in this world and your eternal felicity in that which
is to come.

"Something whispers to me that you will not be long 'Miss Shirley'
but that you will erelong be linked together in a union of souls
with the choice of your heart, who, I understand from what I have
heard, is a very exceptional young man.  The writer, possessed of
but few personal charms and beginning to feel her age (not but what
I'm good for a good few years yet), has never permitted herself to
cherish any matrimonial aspirations.  But she does not deny herself
the pleasure of an interest in the nuptials of her friends and may
I express a fervent wish that your married life will be one of
continued and uninterrupted Bliss?  (Only do not expect too much of
a man.)

"My esteem and, may I say, my affection for you will never lessen,
and once in a while when you have nothing better to do will you
kindly remember that there is such a person as

"Your obedient servant,

"REBECCA DEW.

"P.S.  God bless you."


Anne's eyes were misty as she folded the letter up.  Though she
strongly suspected Rebecca Dew had got most of her phrases out of
her favorite "Book of Deportment and Etiquette," that did not make
them any the less sincere, and the P. S. certainly came straight
from Rebecca Dew's affectionate heart.

"Tell dear Rebecca Dew I'll never forget her and that I'm coming
back to see you all every summer."

"We have memories of you that nothing can take away," sobbed Aunt
Chatty.

"Nothing," said Aunt Kate, emphatically.

But as Anne drove away from Windy Poplars the last message from it
was a large white bath-towel fluttering frantically from the tower
window.  Rebecca Dew was waving it.



THE END





This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia