Part 3 out of 5
"I'm really awfully fond of the woods myself," said Jane.
Anne said nothing. She was looking afar into the western sky and
thinking of little Hester Gray.
A Danger Averted
Anne, walking home from the post office one Friday evening,
was joined by Mrs. Lynde, who was as usual cumbered with
all the cares of church and state.
"I've just been down to Timothy Cotton's to see if I could get
Alice Louise to help me for a few days," she said. "I had her last
week, for, though she's too slow to stop quick, she's better than
nobody. But she's sick and can't come. Timothy's sitting there,
too, coughing and complaining. He's been dying for ten years and
he'll go on dying for ten years more. That kind can't even die and
have done with it. . .they can't stick to anything, even to being sick,
long enough to finish it. They're a terrible shiftless family and
what is to become of them I don't know, but perhaps Providence does."
Mrs. Lynde sighed as if she rather doubted the extent of Providential
knowledge on the subject.
"Marilla was in about her eyes again Tuesday, wasn't she?
What did the specialist think of them?" she continued.
"He was much pleased," said Anne brightly. "He says there is a
great improvement in them and he thinks the danger of her losing
her sight completely is past. But he says she'll never be able to
read much or do any fine hand-work again. How are your preparations
for your bazaar coming on?"
The Ladies' Aid Society was preparing for a fair and supper,
and Mrs. Lynde was the head and front of the enterprise.
"Pretty well. . .and that reminds me. Mrs. Allan thinks it
would be nice to fix up a booth like an old-time kitchen and
serve a supper of baked beans, doughnuts, pie, and so on.
We're collecting old-fashioned fixings everywhere. Mrs.
Simon Fletcher is going to lend us her mother's braided rugs
and Mrs. Levi Boulter some old chairs and Aunt Mary Shaw will
lend us her cupboard with the glass doors. I suppose Marilla
will let us have her brass candlesticks? And we want all the
old dishes we can get. Mrs. Allan is specially set on having
a real blue willow ware platter if we can find one. But nobody
seems to have one. Do you know where we could get one?"
"Miss Josephine Barry has one. I'll write and ask her if she'll
lend it for the occasion," said Anne.
"Well, I wish you would. I guess we'll have the supper in about a
fortnight's time. Uncle Abe Andrews is prophesying rain and storms for
about that time; and that's a pretty sure sign we'll have fine weather."
The said "Uncle Abe," it may be mentioned, was at least like
other prophets in that he had small honor in his own country.
He was, in fact, considered in the light of a standing joke,
for few of his weather predictions were ever fulfilled.
Mr. Elisha Wright, who labored under the impression that
he was a local wit, used to say that nobody in Avonlea
ever thought of looking in the Charlottetown dailies for
weather probabilities. No; they just asked Uncle Abe
what it was going to be tomorrow and expected the opposite.
Nothing daunted, Uncle Abe kept on prophesying.
"We want to have the fair over before the election comes off,"
continued Mrs. Lynde, "for the candidates will be sure to come and
spend lots of money. The Tories are bribing right and left, so they
might as well be given a chance to spend their money honestly for once."
Anne was a red-hot Conservative, out of loyalty to Matthew's
memory, but she said nothing. She knew better than to get
Mrs. Lynde started on politics. She had a letter for Marilla,
postmarked from a town in British Columbia.
"It's probably from the children's uncle," she said excitedly,
when she got home. "Oh, Marilla, I wonder what he says about them."
"The best plan might be to open it and see," said Marilla curtly.
A close observer might have thought that she was excited also,
but she would rather have died than show it.
Anne tore open the letter and glanced over the somewhat untidy and
poorly written contents.
"He says he can't take the children this spring. . .he's been sick
most of the winter and his wedding is put off. He wants to know if
we can keep them till the fall and he'll try and take them then.
We will, of course, won't we Marilla?"
"I don't see that there is anything else for us to do," said
Marilla rather grimly, although she felt a secret relief.
"Anyhow they're not so much trouble as they were. . .or else
we've got used to them. Davy has improved a great deal."
"His MANNERS are certainly much better," said Anne cautiously,
as if she were not prepared to say as much for his morals.
Anne had come home from school the previous evening, to find
Marilla away at an Aid meeting, Dora asleep on the kitchen sofa,
and Davy in the sitting room closet, blissfully absorbing the
contents of a jar of Marilla's famous yellow plum preserves. . .
"company jam," Davy called it. . .which he had been forbidden to
touch. He looked very guilty when Anne pounced on him and whisked
him out of the closet.
"Davy Keith, don't you know that it is very wrong of you to be
eating that jam, when you were told never to meddle with anything
in THAT closet?"
"Yes, I knew it was wrong," admitted Davy uncomfortably, "but plum
jam is awful nice, Anne. I just peeped in and it looked so good I
thought I'd take just a weeny taste. I stuck my finger in. . ."
Anne groaned. . ."and licked it clean. And it was so much gooder
than I'd ever thought that I got a spoon and just SAILED IN."
Anne gave him such a serious lecture on the sin of stealing plum
jam that Davy became conscience stricken and promised with
repentant kisses never to do it again.
"Anyhow, there'll be plenty of jam in heaven, that's one comfort,"
he said complacently.
Anne nipped a smile in the bud.
"Perhaps there will. . .if we want it," she said, "But what makes
you think so?"
"Why, it's in the catechism," said Davy.
"Oh, no, there is nothing like THAT in the catechism, Davy."
"But I tell you there is," persisted Davy. "It was in that
question Marilla taught me last Sunday. `Why should we love God?'
It says, `Because He makes preserves, and redeems us.' Preserves
is just a holy way of saying jam."
"I must get a drink of water," said Anne hastily. When she came
back it cost her some time and trouble to explain to Davy that a
certain comma in the said catechism question made a great deal of
difference in the meaning.
"Well, I thought it was too good to be true," he said at last, with
a sigh of disappointed conviction. "And besides, I didn't see when
He'd find time to make jam if it's one endless Sabbath day, as the
hymn says. I don't believe I want to go to heaven. Won't there
ever be any Saturdays in heaven, Anne?"
"Yes, Saturdays, and every other kind of beautiful days. And every
day in heaven will be more beautiful than the one before it, Davy,"
assured Anne, who was rather glad that Marilla was not by to be shocked.
Marilla, it is needless to say, was bringing the twins up in the good old
ways of theology and discouraged all fanciful speculations thereupon.
Davy and Dora were taught a hymn, a catechism question, and two
Bible verses every Sunday. Dora learned meekly and recited like a
little machine, with perhaps as much understanding or interest as if
she were one. Davy, on the contrary, had a lively curiosity, and
frequently asked questions which made Marilla tremble for his fate.
"Chester Sloane says we'll do nothing all the time in heaven but
walk around in white dresses and play on harps; and he says he
hopes he won't have to go till he's an old man, 'cause maybe he'll
like it better then. And he thinks it will be horrid to wear
dresses and I think so too. Why can't men angels wear trousers,
Anne? Chester Sloane is interested in those things, 'cause they're
going to make a minister of him. He's got to be a minister 'cause
his grandmother left the money to send him to college and he can't
have it unless he is a minister. She thought a minister was such a
'spectable thing to have in a family. Chester says he doesn't mind
much. . .though he'd rather be a blacksmith. . .but he's bound to
have all the fun he can before he begins to be a minister, 'cause
he doesn't expect to have much afterwards. I ain't going to be a
minister. I'm going to be a storekeeper, like Mr. Blair, and keep
heaps of candy and bananas. But I'd rather like going to your kind
of a heaven if they'd let me play a mouth organ instead of a harp.
Do you s'pose they would?"
"Yes, I think they would if you wanted it," was all Anne could
trust herself to say.
The A.V.I.S. met at Mr. Harmon Andrews' that evening and a full
attendance had been requested, since important business was to be
discussed. The A.V.I.S. was in a flourishing condition, and had
already accomplished wonders. Early in the spring Mr. Major
Spencer had redeemed his promise and had stumped, graded, and
seeded down all the road front of his farm. A dozen other men,
some prompted by a determination not to let a Spencer get ahead
of them, others goaded into action by Improvers in their own
households, had followed his example. The result was that there
were long strips of smooth velvet turf where once had been
unsightly undergrowth or brush. The farm fronts that had not been
done looked so badly by contrast that their owners were secretly
shamed into resolving to see what they could do another spring.
The triangle of ground at the cross roads had also been cleared and
seeded down, and Anne's bed of geraniums, unharmed by any marauding
cow, was already set out in the center.
Altogether, the Improvers thought that they were getting on
beautifully, even if Mr. Levi Boulter, tactfully approached by a
carefully selected committee in regard to the old house on his
upper farm, did bluntly tell them that he wasn't going to have it
At this especial meeting they intended to draw up a petition to the
school trustees, humbly praying that a fence be put around the
school grounds; and a plan was also to be discussed for planting a
few ornamental trees by the church, if the funds of the society
would permit of it. . .for, as Anne said, there was no use in
starting another subscription as long as the hall remained blue.
The members were assembled in the Andrews' parlor and Jane was
already on her feet to move the appointment of a committee which
should find out and report on the price of said trees, when Gertie
Pye swept in, pompadoured and frilled within an inch of her life.
Gertie had a habit of being late. . ."to make her entrance more
effective," spiteful people said. Gertie's entrance in this
instance was certainly effective, for she paused dramatically on
the middle of the floor, threw up her hands, rolled her eyes,
and exclaimed, "I've just heard something perfectly awful.
What DO you think? Mr. Judson Parker IS GOING TO RENT ALL
THE ROAD FENCE OF HIS FARM TO A PATENT MEDICINE COMPANY TO
PAINT ADVERTISEMENTS ON."
For once in her life Gertie Pye made all the sensation she desired.
If she had thrown a bomb among the complacent Improvers she could
hardly have made more.
"It CAN'T be true," said Anne blankly.
"That's just what _I_ said when I heard it first, don't you know,"
said Gertie, who was enjoying herself hugely. "_I_ said it couldn't
be true. . .that Judson Parker wouldn't have the HEART to do it,
don't you know. But father met him this afternoon and asked him
about it and he said it WAS true. Just fancy! His farm is side-on
to the Newbridge road and how perfectly awful it will look to see
advertisements of pills and plasters all along it, don't you know?"
The Improvers DID know, all too well. Even the least imaginative
among them could picture the grotesque effect of half a mile of
board fence adorned with such advertisements. All thought of
church and school grounds vanished before this new danger.
Parliamentary rules and regulations were forgotten, and Anne,
in despair, gave up trying to keep minutes at all. Everybody
talked at once and fearful was the hubbub.
"Oh, let us keep calm," implored Anne, who was the most excited
of them all, "and try to think of some way of preventing him."
"I don't know how you're going to prevent him," exclaimed Jane bitterly.
"Everybody knows what Judson Parker is. He'd do ANYTHING for money.
He hasn't a SPARK of public spirit or ANY sense of the beautiful."
The prospect looked rather unpromising. Judson Parker and his
sister were the only Parkers in Avonlea, so that no leverage could
be exerted by family connections. Martha Parker was a lady of all
too certain age who disapproved of young people in general and the
Improvers in particular. Judson was a jovial, smooth-spoken man,
so uniformly goodnatured and bland that it was surprising how few
friends he had. Perhaps he had got the better in too many business
transactions. . .which seldom makes for popularity. He was
reputed to be very "sharp" and it was the general opinion that he
"hadn't much principle."
"If Judson Parker has a chance to `turn an honest penny,' as he
says himself, he'll never lose it," declared Fred Wright.
"Is there NOBODY who has any influence over him?" asked Anne
"He goes to see Louisa Spencer at White Sands," suggested Carrie
Sloane. "Perhaps she could coax him not to rent his fences."
"Not she," said Gilbert emphatically. "I know Louisa Spencer well.
She doesn't `believe' in Village Improvement Societies, but she
DOES believe in dollars and cents. She'd be more likely to urge
Judson on than to dissuade him."
"The only thing to do is to appoint a committee to wait on him and protest,"
said Julia Bell, "and you must send girls, for he'd hardly be civil to boys
. . .but _I_ won't go, so nobody need nominate me."
"Better send Anne alone, " said Oliver Sloane. "She can talk Judson
over if anybody can."
Anne protested. She was willing to go and do the talking; but she
must have others with her "for moral support." Diana and Jane were
therefore appointed to support her morally and the Improvers broke
up, buzzing like angry bees with indignation. Anne was so worried
that she didn't sleep until nearly morning, and then she dreamed
that the trustees had put a fence around the school and painted
"Try Purple Pills" all over it.
The committee waited on Judson Parker the next afternoon. Anne
pleaded eloquently against his nefarious design and Jane and Diana
supported her morally and valiantly. Judson was sleek, suave, flattering;
paid them several compliments of the delicacy of sunflowers;
felt real bad to refuse such charming young ladies . . .but
business was business; couldn't afford to let sentiment stand
in the way these hard times.
"But I'll tell what I WILL do," he said, with a twinkle in his
light, full eyes. "I'll tell the agent he must use only handsome,
tasty colors. . .red and yellow and so on. I'll tell him he
mustn't paint the ads BLUE on any account."
The vanquished committee retired, thinking things not lawful to be uttered.
"We have done all we can do and must simply trust the rest to Providence,"
said Jane, with an unconscious imitation of Mrs. Lynde's tone and manner.
"I wonder if Mr. Allan could do anything," reflected Diana.
Anne shook her head.
"No, it's no use to worry Mr. Allan, especially now when the baby's
so sick. Judson would slip away from him as smoothly as from us,
although he HAS taken to going to church quite regularly just now.
That is simply because Louisa Spencer's father is an elder and very
particular about such things."
"Judson Parker is the only man in Avonlea who would dream of
renting his fences," said Jane indignantly. "Even Levi Boulter or
Lorenzo White would never stoop to that, tightfisted as they are.
They would have too much respect for public opinion."
Public opinion was certainly down on Judson Parker when the facts
became known, but that did not help matters much. Judson chuckled
to himself and defied it, and the Improvers were trying to
reconcile themselves to the prospect of seeing the prettiest part
of the Newbridge road defaced by advertisements, when Anne rose
quietly at the president's call for reports of committees on the
occasion of the next meeting of the Society, and announced that
Mr. Judson Parker had instructed her to inform the Society that he
was NOT going to rent his fences to the Patent Medicine Company.
Jane and Diana stared as if they found it hard to believe their ears.
Parliamentary etiquette, which was generally very strictly enforced
in the A.V.I.S., forbade them giving instant vent to their curiosity,
but after the Society adjourned Anne was besieged for explanations.
Anne had no explanation to give. Judson Parker had overtaken her
on the road the preceding evening and told her that he had decided
to humor the A.V.I.S. in its peculiar prejudice against patent
medicine advertisements. That was all Anne would say, then
or ever afterwards, and it was the simple truth; but when
Jane Andrews, on her way home, confided to Oliver Sloane her firm
belief that there was more behind Judson Parker's mysterious change
of heart than Anne Shirley had revealed, she spoke the truth also.
Anne had been down to old Mrs. Irving's on the shore road the
preceding evening and had come home by a short cut which led her
first over the low-lying shore fields, and then through the beech
wood below Robert Dickson's, by a little footpath that ran out to
the main road just above the Lake of Shining Waters. . .known to
unimaginative people as Barry's pond.
Two men were sitting in their buggies, reined off to the side of
the road, just at the entrance of the path. One was Judson Parker;
the other was Jerry Corcoran, a Newbridge man against whom, as
Mrs. Lynde would have told you in eloquent italics, nothing shady had
ever been PROVED. He was an agent for agricultural implements and
a prominent personage in matters political. He had a finger. . .
some people said ALL his fingers. . .in every political pie that
was cooked; and as Canada was on the eve of a general election
Jerry Corcoran had been a busy man for many weeks, canvassing the
county in the interests of his party's candidate. Just as Anne
emerged from under the overhanging beech boughs she heard Corcoran
say, "If you'll vote for Amesbury, Parker. . .well, I've a note
for that pair of harrows you've got in the spring. I suppose you
wouldn't object to having it back, eh?"
"We. . .ll, since you put it in that way," drawled Judson with a
grin, "I reckon I might as well do it. A man must look out for his
own interests in these hard times."
Both saw Anne at this moment and conversation abruptly ceased.
Anne bowed frostily and walked on, with her chin slightly more
tilted than usual. Soon Judson Parker overtook her.
"Have a lift, Anne?" he inquired genially.
"Thank you, no," said Anne politely, but with a fine, needle-like
disdain in her voice that pierced even Judson Parker's none too
sensitive consciousness. His face reddened and he twitched his
reins angrily; but the next second prudential considerations
checked him. He looked uneasily at Anne, as she walked steadily on,
glancing neither to the right nor to the left. Had she heard Corcoran's
unmistakable offer and his own too plain acceptance of it?
Confound Corcoran! If he couldn't put his meaning into less
dangerous phrases he'd get into trouble some of these
long-come-shorts. And confound redheaded school-ma'ams with a
habit of popping out of beechwoods where they had no business to be.
If Anne had heard, Judson Parker, measuring her corn in his
own half bushel, as the country saying went, and cheating himself
thereby, as such people generally do, believed that she would tell
it far and wide. Now, Judson Parker, as has been seen, was not
overly regardful of public opinion; but to be known as having
accepted a bribe would be a nasty thing; and if it ever reached
Isaac Spencer's ears farewell forever to all hope of winning Louisa
Jane with her comfortable prospects as the heiress of a well-to-do
farmer. Judson Parker knew that Mr. Spencer looked somewhat
askance at him as it was; he could not afford to take any risks.
"Ahem. . .Anne, I've been wanting to see you about that little
matter we were discussing the other day. I've decided not to let
my fences to that company after all. A society with an aim like
yours ought to be encouraged."
Anne thawed out the merest trifle.
"Thank you," she said.
"And. . .and. . .you needn't mention that little conversation of
mine with Jerry."
"I have no intention of mentioning it in any case," said Anne icily,
for she would have seen every fence in Avonlea painted with
advertisements before she would have stooped to bargain with
a man who would sell his vote.
"Just so. . .just so," agreed Judson, imagining that they
understood each other beautifully. "I didn't suppose you would.
Of course, I was only stringing Jerry. . .he thinks he's so
all-fired cute and smart. I've no intention of voting for Amesbury.
I'm going to vote for Grant as I've always done. . .you'll see
that when the election comes off. I just led Jerry on to see
if he would commit himself. And it's all right about the fence
. . .you can tell the Improvers that."
"It takes all sorts of people to make a world, as I've often heard,
but I think there are some who could be spared," Anne told her
reflection in the east gable mirror that night. "I wouldn't have
mentioned the disgraceful thing to a soul anyhow, so my conscience
is clear on THAT score. I really don't know who or what is to be
thanked for this. _I_ did nothing to bring it about, and it's hard
to believe that Providence ever works by means of the kind of
politics men like Judson Parker and Jerry Corcoran have."
The Beginning of Vacation
Anne locked the schoolhouse door on a still, yellow evening, when
the winds were purring in the spruces around the playground, and
the shadows were long and lazy by the edge of the woods. She
dropped the key into her pocket with a sigh of satisfaction. The
school year was ended, she had been reengaged for the next, with
many expressions of satisfaction. . .only Mr. Harmon Andrews told
her she ought to use the strap oftener. . .and two delightful
months of a well-earned vacation beckoned her invitingly. Anne
felt at peace with the world and herself as she walked down the
hill with her basket of flowers in her hand. Since the earliest
mayflowers Anne had never missed her weekly pilgrimage to Matthew's
grave. Everyone else in Avonlea, except Marilla, had already
forgotten quiet, shy, unimportant Matthew Cuthbert; but his memory
was still green in Anne's heart and always would be. She could
never forget the kind old man who had been the first to give her
the love and sympathy her starved childhood had craved.
At the foot of the hill a boy was sitting on the fence in the
shadow of the spruces. . .a boy with big, dreamy eyes and a
beautiful, sensitive face. He swung down and joined Anne, smiling;
but there were traces of tears on his cheeks.
"I thought I'd wait for you, teacher, because I knew you were going
to the graveyard," he said, slipping his hand into hers. "I'm going
there, too. . .I'm taking this bouquet of geraniums to put on
Grandpa Irving's grave for grandma. And look, teacher, I'm going
to put this bunch of white roses beside Grandpa's grave in memory of
my little mother. . .because I can't go to her grave to put it there.
But don't you think she'll know all about it, just the same?"
"Yes, I am sure she will, Paul."
"You see, teacher, it's just three years today since my little
mother died. It's such a long, long time but it hurts just as
much as ever. . .and I miss her just as much as ever. Sometimes
it seems to me that I just can't bear it, it hurts so."
Paul's voice quivered and his lip trembled. He looked down at his
roses, hoping that his teacher would not notice the tears in his eyes.
"And yet," said Anne, very softly, "you wouldn't want it to stop hurting
. . .you wouldn't want to forget your little mother even if you could."
"No, indeed, I wouldn't. . .that's just the way I feel. You're so
good at understanding, teacher. Nobody else understands so well. .
.not even grandma, although she's so good to me. Father understood
pretty well, but still I couldn't talk much to him about mother,
because it made him feel so bad. When he put his hand over his face
I always knew it was time to stop. Poor father, he must be dreadfully
lonesome without me; but you see he has nobody but a housekeeper
now and he thinks housekeepers are no good to bring up little boys,
especially when he has to be away from home so much on business.
Grandmothers are better, next to mothers. Someday, when I'm brought
up, I'll go back to father and we're never going to be parted again."
Paul had talked so much to Anne about his mother and father that
she felt as if she had known them. She thought his mother must
have been very like what he was himself, in temperament and
disposition; and she had an idea that Stephen Irving was a rather
reserved man with a deep and tender nature which he kept hidden
scrupulously from the world.
"Father's not very easy to get acquainted with," Paul had said once.
"I never got really acquainted with him until after my little mother died.
But he's splendid when you do get to know him. I love him the best in all
the world, and Grandma Irving next, and then you, teacher. I'd love you
next to father if it wasn't my DUTY to love Grandma Irving best, because
she's doing so much for me. YOU know, teacher. I wish she would leave
the lamp in my room till I go to sleep, though. She takes it right out
as soon as she tucks me up because she says I mustn't be a coward.
I'm NOT scared, but I'd RATHER have the light. My little mother
used always to sit beside me and hold my hand till I went to sleep.
I expect she spoiled me. Mothers do sometimes, you know."
No, Anne did not know this, although she might imagine it.
She thought sadly of HER "little mother," the mother who
had thought her so "perfectly beautiful" and who had died
so long ago and was buried beside her boyish husband in
that unvisited grave far away. Anne could not remember
her mother and for this reason she almost envied Paul.
"My birthday is next week," said Paul, as they walked up the long
red hill, basking in the June sunshine, "and father wrote me that he
is sending me something that he thinks I'll like better than anything
else he could send. I believe it has come already, for Grandma
is keeping the bookcase drawer locked and that is something new.
And when I asked her why, she just looked mysterious and said
little boys mustn't be too curious. It's very exciting to have a
birthday, isn't it? I'll be eleven. You'd never think it to look
at me, would you? Grandma says I'm very small for my age and that
it's all because I don't eat enough porridge. I do my very best,
but Grandma gives such generous platefuls. . .there's nothing mean
about Grandma, I can tell you. Ever since you and I had that talk
about praying going home from Sunday School that day, teacher. . .
when you said we ought to pray about all our difficulties. . .I've
prayed every night that God would give me enough grace to enable me
to eat every bit of my porridge in the mornings. But I've never
been able to do it yet, and whether it's because I have too little
grace or too much porridge I really can't decide. Grandma says
father was brought up on porridge, and it certainly did work
well in his case, for you ought to see the shoulders he has.
But sometimes," concluded Paul with a sigh and a meditative air
"I really think porridge will be the death of me."
Anne permitted herself a smile, since Paul was not looking at her.
All Avonlea knew that old Mrs. Irving was bringing her grandson up
in accordance with the good, old-fashioned methods of diet and morals.
"Let us hope not, dear," she said cheerfully. "How are your rock people
coming on? Does the oldest Twin still continue to behave himself?"
"He HAS to," said Paul emphatically. "He knows I won't associate
with him if he doesn't. He is really full of wickedness, I think."
"And has Nora found out about the Golden Lady yet?"
"No; but I think she suspects. I'm almost sure she watched me the
last time I went to the cave. _I_ don't mind if she finds out. . .
it is only for HER sake I don't want her to. . .so that her feelings
won't be hurt. But if she is DETERMINED to have her feelings hurt
it can't be helped."
"If I were to go to the shore some night with you do you think I
could see your rock people too?"
Paul shook his head gravely.
"No, I don't think you could see MY rock people. I'm the only
person who can see them. But you could see rock people of your
own. You're one of the kind that can. We're both that kind.
YOU know, teacher," he added, squeezing her hand chummily.
"Isn't it splendid to be that kind, teacher?"
"Splendid," Anne agreed, gray shining eyes looking down into blue
shining ones. Anne and Paul both knew
"How fair the realm
Imagination opens to the view,"
and both knew the way to that happy land. There the rose of joy
bloomed immortal by dale and stream; clouds never darkened the
sunny sky; sweet bells never jangled out of tune; and kindred
spirits abounded. The knowledge of that land's geography. . .
"east o' the sun, west o' the moon". . .is priceless lore, not to
be bought in any market place. It must be the gift of the good
fairies at birth and the years can never deface it or take it away.
It is better to possess it, living in a garret, than to be the
inhabitant of palaces without it.
The Avonlea graveyard was as yet the grass-grown solitude it had
always been. To be sure, the Improvers had an eye on it, and
Priscilla Grant had read a paper on cemeteries before the
last meeting of the Society. At some future time the Improvers
meant to have the lichened, wayward old board fence replaced by a
neat wire railing, the grass mown and the leaning monuments
Anne put on Matthew's grave the flowers she had brought for it, and
then went over to the little poplar shaded corner where Hester Gray slept.
Ever since the day of the spring picnic Anne had put flowers on Hester's
grave when she visited Matthew's. The evening before she had made a
pilgrimage back to the little deserted garden in the woods and brought
therefrom some of Hester's own white roses.
"I thought you would like them better than any others, dear,"
she said softly.
Anne was still sitting there when a shadow fell over the grass and
she looked up to see Mrs. Allan. They walked home together.
Mrs. Allan's face was not the face of the girlbride whom the
minister had brought to Avonlea five years before. It had lost
some of its bloom and youthful curves, and there were fine, patient
lines about eyes and mouth. A tiny grave in that very cemetery
accounted for some of them; and some new ones had come during the
recent illness, now happily over, of her little son. But Mrs. Allan's
dimples were as sweet and sudden as ever, her eyes as clear and bright
and true; and what her face lacked of girlish beauty was now more than
atoned for in added tenderness and strength.
"I suppose you are looking forward to your vacation, Anne?" she said,
as they left the graveyard.
"Yes.. . .I could roll the word as a sweet morsel under my tongue.
I think the summer is going to be lovely. For one thing, Mrs. Morgan
is coming to the Island in July and Priscilla is going to bring her up.
I feel one of my old `thrills' at the mere thought."
"I hope you'll have a good time, Anne. You've worked very hard
this past year and you have succeeded."
"Oh, I don't know. I've come so far short in so many things. I
haven't done what I meant to do when I began to teach last fall.
I haven't lived up to my ideals."
"None of us ever do," said Mrs. Allan with a sigh. "But then, Anne,
you know what Lowell says, `Not failure but low aim is crime.'
We must have ideals and try to live up to them, even if we never
quite succeed. Life would be a sorry business without them.
With them it's grand and great. Hold fast to your ideals, Anne."
"I shall try. But I have to let go most of my theories," said Anne,
laughing a little. "I had the most beautiful set of theories you ever
knew when I started out as a schoolma'am, but every one of them has
failed me at some pinch or another."
"Even the theory on corporal punishment," teased Mrs. Allan.
But Anne flushed.
"I shall never forgive myself for whipping Anthony."
"Nonsense, dear, he deserved it. And it agreed with him. You have
had no trouble with him since and he has come to think there's
nobody like you. Your kindness won his love after the idea that a
'girl was no good' was rooted out of his stubborn mind."
"He may have deserved it, but that is not the point. If I had
calmly and deliberately decided to whip him because I thought it a
just punishment for him I would not feel over it as I do. But the
truth is, Mrs. Allan, that I just flew into a temper and whipped
him because of that. I wasn't thinking whether it was just or
unjust. . .even if he hadn't deserved it I'd have done it just the
same. That is what humiliates me."
"Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We
should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry
them forward into the future with us. There goes Gilbert Blythe on
his wheel. . .home for his vacation too, I suppose. How are you
and he getting on with your studies?"
"Pretty well. We plan to finish the Virgil tonight. . .there are
only twenty lines to do. Then we are not going to study any more
"Do you think you will ever get to college?"
"Oh, I don't know." Anne looked dreamily afar to the opal-tinted
horizon. "Marilla's eyes will never be much better than they are now,
although we are so thankful to think that they will not get worse.
And then there are the twins. . .somehow I don't believe their uncle
will ever really send for them. Perhaps college may be around the bend
in the road, but I haven't got to the bend yet and I don't think much
about it lest I might grow discontented."
"Well, I should like to see you go to college, Anne; but if you
never do, don't be discontented about it. We make our own lives
wherever we are, after all. . .college can only help us to do it
more easily. They are broad or narrow according to what we put
into them, not what we get out. Life is rich and full here. . .
everywhere. . .if we can only learn how to open our whole hearts
to its richness and fulness."
"I think I understand what you mean," said Anne thoughtfully,
"and I know I have so much to feel thankful for. . .oh, so much. . .
my work, and Paul Irving, and the dear twins, and all my friends.
Do you know, Mrs. Allan, I'm so thankful for friendship. It
beautifies life so much."
"True friendship is a very helpfulul thing indeed," said Mrs. Allan,
"and we should have a very high ideal of it, and never sully
it by any failure in truth and sincerity. I fear the name of
friendship is often degraded to a kind of intimacy that has nothing
of real friendship in it."
"Yes. . .like Gertie Pye's and Julia Bell's. They are very intimate
and go everywhere together; but Gertie is always saying nasty things
of Julia behind her back and everybody thinks she is jealous of her
because she is always so pleased when anybody criticizes Julia.
I think it is desecration to call that friendship. If we have
friends we should look only for the best in them and give them
the best that is in us, don't you think? Then friendship would
be the most beautiful thing in the world."
"Friendship IS very beautiful," smiled Mrs. Allan, "but some day. . ."
Then she paused abruptly. In the delicate, white-browed face
beside her, with its candid eyes and mobile features, there was
still far more of the child than of the woman. Anne's heart so far
harbored only dreams of friendship and ambition, and Mrs. Allan
did not wish to brush the bloom from her sweet unconsciousness.
So she left her sentence for the future years to finish.
The Substance of Things Hoped For
"Anne," said Davy appealingly, scrambling up on the shiny,
leather-covered sofa in the Green Gables kitchen, where Anne sat,
reading a letter, "Anne, I'm AWFUL hungry. You've no idea."
"I'll get you a piece of bread and butter in a minute," said Anne
absently. Her letter evidently contained some exciting news, for
her cheeks were as pink as the roses on the big bush outside, and
her eyes were as starry as only Anne's eyes could be.
"But I ain't bread and butter hungry, " said Davy in a disgusted tone.
"I'm plum cake hungry."
"Oh," laughed Anne, laying down her letter and putting her arm
about Davy to give him a squeeze, "that's a kind of hunger that can
be endured very comfortably, Davy-boy. You know it's one of
Marilla's rules that you can't have anything but bread and butter
"Well, gimme a piece then. . .please."
Davy had been at last taught to say "please," but he generally
tacked it on as an afterthought. He looked with approval at the
generous slice Anne presently brought to him. "You always put such
a nice lot of butter on it, Anne. Marilla spreads it pretty thin.
It slips down a lot easier when there's plenty of butter."
The slice "slipped down" with tolerable ease, judging from its
rapid disappearance. Davy slid head first off the sofa, turned a
double somersault on the rug, and then sat up and announced decidedly,
"Anne, I've made up my mind about heaven. I don't want to go there."
"Why not?" asked Anne gravely.
"Cause heaven is in Simon Fletcher's garret, and I don't like
"Heaven in. . .Simon Fletcher's garret!" gasped Anne, too amazed
even to laugh. "Davy Keith, whatever put such an extraordinary
idea into your head?"
"Milty Boulter says that's where it is. It was last Sunday in
Sunday School. The lesson was about Elijah and Elisha, and I up
and asked Miss Rogerson where heaven was. Miss Rogerson looked
awful offended. She was cross anyhow, because when she'd asked us
what Elijah left Elisha when he went to heaven Milty Boulter said,
`His old clo'es,' and us fellows all laughed before we thought. I
wish you could think first and do things afterwards, 'cause then
you wouldn't do them. But Milty didn't mean to be disrespeckful.
He just couldn't think of the name of the thing. Miss Rogerson said
heaven was where God was and I wasn't to ask questions like that.
Milty nudged me and said in a whisper, `Heaven's in Uncle Simon's
garret and I'll esplain about it on the road home.' So when
we was coming home he esplained. Milty's a great hand at
esplaining things. Even if he don't know anything about a thing
he'll make up a lot of stuff and so you get it esplained all the
same. His mother is Mrs. Simon's sister and he went with her to
the funeral when his cousin, Jane Ellen, died. The minister said
she'd gone to heaven, though Milty says she was lying right before
them in the coffin. But he s'posed they carried the coffin to the
garret afterwards. Well, when Milty and his mother went upstairs
after it was all over to get her bonnet he asked her where heaven
was that Jane Ellen had gone to, and she pointed right to the
ceiling and said, `Up there.' Milty knew there wasn't anything but
the garret over the ceiling, so that's how HE found out. And he's
been awful scared to go to his Uncle Simon's ever since."
Anne took Davy on her knee and did her best to straighten out this
theological tangle also. She was much better fitted for the task
than Marilla, for she remembered her own childhood and had an
instinctive understanding of the curious ideas that seven-year-olds
sometimes get about matters that are, of course, very plain and
simple to grown up people. She had just succeeded in convincing
Davy that heaven was NOT in Simon Fletcher's garret when Marilla
came in from the garden, where she and Dora had been picking peas.
Dora was an industrious little soul and never happier than when
"helping" in various small tasks suited to her chubby fingers. She
fed chickens, picked up chips, wiped dishes, and ran errands galore.
She was neat, faithful and observant; she never had to be told how
to do a thing twice and never forgot any of her little duties.
Davy, on the other hand, was rather heedless and forgetful; but
he had the born knack of winning love, and even yet Anne and Marilla
liked him the better.
While Dora proudly shelled the peas and Davy made boats of the pods,
with masts of matches and sails of paper, Anne told Marilla about
the wonderful contents of her letter.
"Oh, Marilla, what do you think? I've had a letter from Priscilla
and she says that Mrs. Morgan is on the Island, and that if it is
fine Thursday they are going to drive up to Avonlea and will reach
here about twelve. They will spend the afternoon with us and go to
the hotel at White Sands in the evening, because some of Mrs. Morgan's
American friends are staying there. Oh, Marilla, isn't it wonderful?
I can hardly believe I'm not dreaming."
"I daresay Mrs. Morgan is a lot like other people," said Marilla drily,
although she did feel a trifle excited herself. Mrs. Morgan was a
famous woman and a visit from her was no commonplace occurrence.
"They'll be here to dinner, then?"
"Yes; and oh, Marilla, may I cook every bit of the dinner myself?
I want to feel that I can do something for the author of `The
Rosebud Garden,' if it is only to cook a dinner for her.
You won't mind, will you?"
"Goodness, I'm not so fond of stewing over a hot fire in July that
it would vex me very much to have someone else do it. You're quite
welcome to the job."
"Oh, thank you," said Anne, as if Marilla had just conferred a
tremendous favor, "I'll make out the menu this very night."
"You'd better not try to put on too much style," warned Marilla,
a little alarmed by the high-flown sound of "menu." You'll likely
come to grief if you do."
"Oh, I'm not going to put on any `style,' if you mean trying to do or
have things we don't usually have on festal occasions," assured Anne.
"That would be affectation, and, although I know I haven't as much
sense and steadiness as a girl of seventeen and a schoolteacher
ought to have, I'm not so silly AS that. But I want to have
everything as nice and dainty as possible. Davy-boy, don't leave
those peapods on the back stairs. . .someone might slip on them.
I'll have a light soup to begin with. . .you know I can make
lovely cream-of-onion soup. . .and then a couple of roast fowls.
I'll have the two white roosters. I have real affection for
those roosters and they've been pets ever since the gray hen
hatched out just the two of them. . .little balls of yellow down.
But I know they would have to be sacrificed sometime, and surely
there couldn't be a worthier occasion than this. But oh, Marilla,
_I_ cannot kill them. . .not even for Mrs. Morgan's sake. I'll have
to ask John Henry Carter to come over and do it for me."
"I'll do it," volunteered Davy, "if Marilla'll hold them by the legs"
cause I guess it'd take both my hands to manage the axe. It's awful
jolly fun to see them hopping about after their heads are cut off."
"Then I'll have peas and beans and creamed potatoes and a
lettuce salad, for vegetables," resumed Anne, "and for dessert,
lemon pie with whipped cream, and coffee and cheese and lady fingers.
I'll make the pies and lady fingers tomorrow and do up my white muslin
dress. And I must tell Diana tonight, for she'll want to do up hers.
Mrs. Morgan's heroines are nearly always dressed in white muslin,
and Diana and I have always resolved that that was what we
would wear if we ever met her. It will be such a delicate
compliment, don't you think? Davy, dear, you mustn't poke peapods
into the cracks of the floor. I must ask Mr. and Mrs. Allan and
Miss Stacy to dinner, too, for they're all very anxious to meet
Mrs. Morgan. It's so fortunate she's coming while Miss Stacy is here.
Davy dear, don't sail the peapods in the water bucket. . .go out to
the trough. Oh, I do hope it will be fine Thursday, and I think it
will, for Uncle Abe said last night when he called at Mr. Harrison's,
that it was going to rain most of this week."
"That's a good sign," agreed Marilla.
Anne ran across to Orchard Slope that evening to tell the news to Diana,
who was also very much excited over it, and they discussed the matter
in the hammock swung under the big willow in the Barry garden.
"Oh, Anne, mayn't I help you cook the dinner?" implored Diana.
"You know I can make splendid lettuce salad."
"Indeed you, may" said Anne unselfishly. "And I shall want you to
help me decorate too. I mean to have the parlor simply a BOWER of
blossoms. . .and the dining table is to be adorned with wild roses.
Oh, I do hope everything will go smoothly. Mrs. Morgan's heroines
NEVER get into scrapes or are taken at a disadvantage, and they
are always so selfpossessed and such good housekeepers. They seem
to be BORN good housekeepers. You remember that Gertrude in
`Edgewood Days' kept house for her father when she was only eight
years old. When I was eight years old I hardly knew how to do a
thing except bring up children. Mrs. Morgan must be an authority
on girls when she has written so much about them, and I do want her
to have a good opinion of us. I've imagined it all out a dozen
different ways. . .what she'll look like, and what she'll say, and
what I'll say. And I'm so anxious about my nose. There are seven
freckles on it, as you can see. They came at the A.V.I S. picnic,
when I went around in the sun without my hat. I suppose it's
ungrateful of me to worry over them, when I should be thankful
they're not spread all over my face as they once were; but I do
wish they hadn't come. . .all Mrs. Morgan's heroines have such
perfect complexions. I can't recall a freckled one among them."
"Yours are not very noticeable," comforted Diana. "Try a little
lemon juice on them tonight."
The next day Anne made her pies and lady fingers, did up her muslin
dress, and swept and dusted every room in the house. . .a quite
unnecessary proceeding, for Green Gables was, as usual, in the
apple pie order dear to Marilla's heart. But Anne felt that a
fleck of dust would be a desecration in a house that was to be
honored by a visit from Charlotte E. Morgan. She even cleaned out
the "catch-all" closet under the stairs, although there was not the
remotest possibility of Mrs. Morgan's seeing its interior.
"But I want to FEEL that it is in perfect order, even if she isn't
to see it," Anne told Marilla. "You know, in her book `Golden Keys,'
she makes her two heroines Alice and Louisa take for their motto
that verse of Longfellow's,
"`In the elder days of art
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part,
For the gods see everywhere,'
and so they always kept their cellar stairs scrubbed and never
forgot to sweep under the beds. I should have a guilty conscience
if I thought this closet was in disorder when Mrs. Morgan was in
the house. Ever since we read `Golden Keys,' last April, Diana and
I have taken that verse for our motto too."
That night John Henry Carter and Davy between them contrived to execute
the two white roosters, and Anne dressed them, the usually distasteful
task glorified in her eyes by the destination of the plump birds.
"I don't like picking fowls," she told Marilla, "but isn't it fortunate
we don't have to put our souls into what our hands may be doing?
I've been picking chickens with my hands but in imagination I've
been roaming the Milky Way."
"I thought you'd scattered more feathers over the floor than usual,"
Then Anne put Davy to bed and made him promise that he would behave
perfectly the next day.
"If I'm as good as good can be all day tomorrow will you let me be
just as bad as I like all the next day?" asked Davy.
"I couldn't do that," said Anne discreetly, "but I'll take you and
Dora for a row in the flat right to the bottom of the pond, and
we'll go ashore on the sandhills and have a picnic."
"It's a bargain," said Davy. "I'll be good, you bet. I meant to
go over to Mr. Harrison's and fire peas from my new popgun at
Ginger but another day'll do as well. I espect it will be just
like Sunday, but a picnic at the shore'll make up for THAT."
A Chapter of Accidents
Anne woke three times in the night and made pilgrimages to her
window to make sure that Uncle Abe's prediction was not coming true.
Finally the morning dawned pearly and lustrous in a sky full of
silver sheen and radiance, and the wonderful day had arrived.
Diana appeared soon after breakfast, with a basket of flowers over
one arm and HER muslin dress over the other. . .for it would not
do to don it until all the dinner preparations were completed.
Meanwhile she wore her afternoon pink print and a lawn apron
fearfully and wonderfully ruffled and frilled; and very neat and
pretty and rosy she was.
"You look simply sweet," said Anne admiringly.
"But I've had to let out every one of my dresses AGAIN. I weigh
four pounds more than I did in July. Anne, WHERE will this end?
Mrs. Morgan's heroines are all tall and slender."
"Well, let's forget our troubles and think of our mercies," said
Anne gaily. "Mrs. Allan says that whenever we think of anything
that is a trial to us we should also think of something nice that
we can set over against it. If you are slightly too plump you've
got the dearest dimples; and if I have a freckled nose the SHAPE of
it is all right. Do you think the lemon juice did any good?"
"Yes, I really think it did," said Diana critically; and, much
elated, Anne led the way to the garden, which was full of airy
shadows and wavering golden lights.
"We'll decorate the parlor first. We have plenty of time, for
Priscilla said they'd be here about twelve or half past at the
latest, so we'll have dinner at one."
There may have been two happier and more excited girls somewhere
in Canada or the United States at that moment, but I doubt it.
Every snip of the scissors, as rose and peony and bluebell fell,
seemed to chirp, "Mrs. Morgan is coming today." Anne wondered
how Mr. Harrison COULD go on placidly mowing hay in the field
across the lane, just as if nothing were going to happen.
The parlor at Green Gables was a rather severe and gloomy apartment,
with rigid horsehair furniture, stiff lace curtains, and white
antimacassars that were always laid at a perfectly correct angle,
except at such times as they clung to unfortunate people's buttons.
Even Anne had never been able to infuse much grace into it, for
Marilla would not permit any alterations. But it is wonderful
what flowers can accomplish if you give them a fair chance;
when Anne and Diana finished with the room you would not have
A great blue bowlful of snowballs overflowed on the polished table.
The shining black mantelpiece was heaped with roses and ferns.
Every shelf of the what-not held a sheaf of bluebells; the dark
corners on either side of the grate were lighted up with jars full
of glowing crimson peonies, and the grate itself was aflame with
yellow poppies. All this splendor and color, mingled with the
sunshine falling through the honeysuckle vines at the windows in a
leafy riot of dancing shadows over walls and floor, made of the
usually dismal little room the veritable "bower" of Anne's
imagination, and even extorted a tribute of admiration from
Marilla, who came in to criticize and remained to praise.
"Now, we must set the table," said Anne, in the tone of a priestess
about to perform some sacred rite in honor of a divinity. "We'll
have a big vaseful of wild roses in the center and one single rose
in front of everybody's plate -- and a special bouquet of rosebuds
only by Mrs. Morgan's -- an allusion to `The Rosebud Garden' you know."
The table was set in the sitting room, with Marilla's finest linen
and the best china, glass, and silver. You may be perfectly
certain that every article placed on it was polished or scoured to
the highest possible perfection of gloss and glitter.
Then the girls tripped out to the kitchen, which was filled with
appetizing odors emanating from the oven, where the chickens were
already sizzling splendidly. Anne prepared the potatoes and Diana
got the peas and beans ready. Then, while Diana shut herself into
the pantry to compound the lettuce salad, Anne, whose cheeks were
already beginning to glow crimson, as much with excitement as from
the heat of the fire, prepared the bread sauce for the chickens,
minced her onions for the soup, and finally whipped the cream for
her lemon pies.
And what about Davy all this time? Was he redeeming his promise to
be good? He was, indeed. To be sure, he insisted on remaining in
the kitchen, for his curiosity wanted to see all that went on. But
as he sat quietly in a corner, busily engaged in untying the knots
in a piece of herring net he had brought home from his last trip to
the shore, nobody objected to this.
At half past eleven the lettuce salad was made, the golden circles
of the pies were heaped with whipped cream, and everything was
sizzling and bubbling that ought to sizzle and bubble.
"We'd better go and dress now," said Anne, "for they may be here by twelve.
We must have dinner at sharp one, for the soup must be served as soon as
Serious indeed were the toilet rites presently performed in the
east gable. Anne peered anxiously at her nose and rejoiced to see
that its freckles were not at all prominent, thanks either to the
lemon juice or to the unusual flush on her cheeks. When they were
ready they looked quite as sweet and trim and girlish as ever did
any of "Mrs. Morgan's heroines."
"I do hope I'll be able to say something once in a while, and not
sit like a mute," said Diana anxiously. "All Mrs. Morgan's
heroines converse so beautifully. But I'm afraid I'll be
tongue-tied and stupid. And I'll be sure to say `I seen.'
I haven't often said it since Miss Stacy taught here; but in
moments of excitement it's sure to pop out. Anne, if I were
to say `I seen' before Mrs. Morgan I'd die of mortification.
And it would be almost as bad to have nothing to say."
"I'm nervous about a good many things," said Anne, "but I
don't think there is much fear that I won't be able to talk."
And, to do her justice, there wasn't.
Anne shrouded her muslin glories in a big apron and went down to
concoct her soup. Marilla had dressed herself and the twins, and
looked more excited than she had ever been known to look before.
At half past twelve the Allans and Miss Stacy came. Everything was
going well but Anne was beginning to feel nervous. It was surely
time for Priscilla and Mrs. Morgan to arrive. She made frequent
trips to the gate and looked as anxiously down the lane as ever her
namesake in the Bluebeard story peered from the tower casement.
"Suppose they don't come at all?" she said piteously.
"Don't suppose it. It would be too mean," said Diana, who, however,
was beginning to have uncomfortable misgivings on the subject.
"Anne," said Marilla, coming out from the parlor, "Miss Stacy wants
to see Miss Barry's willowware platter."
Anne hastened to the sitting room closet to get the platter. She
had, in accordance with her promise to Mrs. Lynde, written to Miss
Barry of Charlottetown, asking for the loan of it. Miss Barry was
an old friend of Anne's, and she promply sent the platter out, with
a letter exhorting Anne to be very careful of it, for she had paid
twenty dollars for it. The platter had served its purpose at the
Aid bazaar and had then been returned to the Green Gables closet,
for Anne would not trust anybody but herself to take it back to town.
She carried the platter carefully to the front door where her
guests were enjoying the cool breeze that blew up from the brook.
It was examined and admired; then, just as Anne had taken it back
into her own hands, a terrific crash and clatter sounded from the
kitchen pantry. Marilla, Diana, and Anne fled out, the latter
pausing only long enough to set the precious platter hastily down
on the second step of the stairs.
When they reached the pantry a truly harrowing spectacle met their
eyes. . .a guilty looking small boy scrambling down from the
table, with his clean print blouse liberally plastered with yellow
filling, and on the table the shattered remnants of what had been
two brave, becreamed lemon pies.
Davy had finished ravelling out his herring net and had wound the
twine into a ball. Then he had gone into the pantry to put it up
on the shelf above the table, where he already kept a score or so
of similar balls, which, so far as could be discovered, served no
useful purpose save to yield the joy of possession. Davy had to
climb on the table and reach over to the shelf at a dangerous
angle. . .something he had been forbidden by Marilla to do, as he
had come to grief once before in the experiment. The result in
this instance was disastrous. Davy slipped and came sprawling
squarely down on the lemon pies. His clean blouse was ruined for
that time and the pies for all time. It is, however, an ill wind
that blows nobody good, and the pig was eventually the gainer by
"Davy Keith," said Marilla, shaking him by the shoulder, "didn't I
forbid you to climb up on that table again? Didn't I?"
"I forgot," whimpered Davy. "You've told me not to do such an
awful lot of things that I can't remember them all."
"Well, you march upstairs and stay there till after dinner.
Perhaps you'll get them sorted out in your memory by that time.
No, Anne, never you mind interceding for him. I'm not punishing
him because he spoiled your pies. . .that was an accident.
I'm punishing him for his disobedience. Go, Davy, I say."
"Ain't I to have any dinner?" wailed Davy.
"You can come down after dinner is over and have yours in the kitchen."
"Oh, all right," said Davy, somewhat comforted. "I know Anne'll
save some nice bones for me, won't you, Anne? 'Cause you know I
didn't mean to fall on the pies. Say, Anne, since they ARE spoiled
can't I take some of the pieces upstairs with me?"
"No, no lemon pie for you, Master Davy," said Marilla, pushing him
toward the hall."
What shall we do for dessert?" asked Anne, looking regretfully at
the wreck and ruin.
"Get out a crock of strawberry preserves," said Marilla consolingly.
"There's plenty of whipped cream left in the bowl for it."
One o'clock came. . .but no Priscilla or Mrs. Morgan. Anne was in
an agony. Everything was done to a turn and the soup was just
what soup should be, but couldn't be depended on to remain so for
any length of time.
"I don't believe they're coming after all," said Marilla crossly.
Anne and Diana sought comfort in each other's eyes.
At half past one Marilla again emerged from the parlor.
"Girls, we MUST have dinner. Everybody is hungry and it's no use
waiting any longer. Priscilla and Mrs. Morgan are not coming,
that's plain, and nothing is being improved by waiting."
Anne and Diana set about lifting the dinner, with all the zest gone
out of the performance.
"I don't believe I'll be able to eat a mouthful," said Diana dolefully.
"Nor I. But I hope everything will be nice for Miss Stacy's and
Mr. and Mrs. Allan's sakes," said Anne listlessly.
When Diana dished the peas she tasted them and a very peculiar
expression crossed her face.
"Anne, did YOU put sugar in these peas?"
"Yes," said Anne, mashing the potatoes with the air of one expected
to do her duty. "I put a spoonful of sugar in. We always do.
Don't you like it?"
"But _I_ put a spoonful in too, when I set them on the stove," said Diana.
Anne dropped her masher and tasted the peas also. Then she made a grimace.
"How awful! I never dreamed you had put sugar in, because I knew
your mother never does. I happened to think of it, for a wonder. . .
I'm always forgetting it. . .so I popped a spoonful in."
"It's a case of too many cooks, I guess," said Marilla, who
had listened to this dialogue with a rather guilty expression.
"I didn't think you'd remember about the sugar, Anne, for I'm
perfectly certain you never did before. . .so _I_ put in a spoonful."
The guests in the parlor heard peal after peal of laughter from the
kitchen, but they never knew what the fun was about. There were no
green peas on the dinner table that day, however.
"Well," said Anne, sobering down again with a sigh of recollection,
"we have the salad anyhow and I don't think anything has happened
to the beans. Let's carry the things in and get it over."
It cannot be said that that dinner was a notable success socially.
The Allans and Miss Stacy exerted themselves to save the situation
and Marilla's customary placidity was not noticeably ruffled.
But Anne and Diana, between their disappointment and the reaction
from their excitement of the forenoon, could neither talk nor eat.
Anne tried heroically to bear her part in the conversation for the
sake of her guests; but all the sparkle had been quenched in her
for the time being, and, in spite of her love for the Allans and
Miss Stacy, she couldn't help thinking how nice it would be when
everybody had gone home and she could bury her weariness and
disappointment in the pillows of the east gable.
There is an old proverb that really seems at times to be inspired
. . ."it never rains but it pours." The measure of that day's
tribulations was not yet full. Just as Mr. Allan had finished
returning thanks there arose a strange, ominous sound on the
stairs, as of some hard, heavy object bounding from step to step,
finishing up with a grand smash at the bottom. Everybody ran out
into the hall. Anne gave a shriek of dismay.
At the bottom of the stairs lay a big pink conch shell amid the
fragments of what had been Miss Barry's platter; and at the top of
the stairs knelt a terrified Davy, gazing down with wide-open eyes
at the havoc.
"Davy," said Marilla ominously, "did you throw that conch down ON PURPOSE?"
"No, I never did," whimpered Davy. "I was just kneeling here,
quiet as quiet, to watch you folks through the bannisters, and my
foot struck that old thing and pushed it off. . .and I'm awful
hungry. . .and I do wish you'd lick a fellow and have done with it,
instead of always sending him upstairs to miss all the fun."
"Don't blame Davy," said Anne, gathering up the fragments with
trembling fingers. "It was my fault. I set that platter there and
forgot all about it. I am properly punished for my carelessness;
but oh, what will Miss Barry say?"
"Well, you know she only bought it, so it isn't the same as if it
was an heirloom," said Diana, trying to console.
The guests went away soon after, feeling that it was the most tactful
thing to do, and Anne and Diana washed the dishes, talking less than
they had ever been known to do before. Then Diana went home with a
headache and Anne went with another to the east gable, where she
stayed until Marilla came home from the post office at sunset,
with a letter from Priscilla, written the day before. Mrs. Morgan
had sprained her ankle so severely that she could not leave her room.
"And oh, Anne dear," wrote Priscilla, "I'm so sorry, but I'm afraid
we won't get up to Green Gables at all now, for by the time Aunty's
ankle is well she will have to go back to Toronto. She has to be
there by a certain date."
"Well," sighed Anne, laying the letter down on the red sandstone
step of the back porch, where she was sitting, while the twilight
rained down out of a dappled sky, "I always thought it was too good
to be true that Mrs. Morgan should really come. But there. . .that
speech sounds as pessimistic as Miss Eliza Andrews and I'm ashamed
of making it. After all, it was NOT too good to be true. . .things
just as good and far better are coming true for me all the time.
And I suppose the events of today have a funny side too.
Perhaps when Diana and I are old and gray we shall be able
to laugh over them. But I feel that I can't expect to do it
before then, for it has truly been a bitter disappointment."
"You'll probably have a good many more and worse disappointments
than that before you get through life," said Marilla, who honestly
thought she was making a comforting speech. "It seems to me, Anne,
that you are never going to outgrow your fashion of setting your
heart so on things and then crashing down into despair because you
don't get them."
"I know I'm too much inclined that, way" agreed Anne ruefully.
"When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right
up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize
I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying
part IS glorious as long as it lasts. . .it's like soaring through
a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud."
"Well, maybe it does," admitted Marilla. "I'd rather walk calmly
along and do without both flying and thud. But everybody has her
own way of living. . .I used to think there was only one right way
. . .but since I've had you and the twins to bring up I don't feel
so sure of it. What are you going to do about Miss Barry's platter?"
"Pay her back the twenty dollars she paid for it, I suppose.
I'm so thankful it wasn't a cherished heirloom because then
no money could replace it."
"Maybe you could find one like it somewhere and buy it for her."
"I'm afraid not. Platters as old as that are very scarce. Mrs.
Lynde couldn't find one anywhere for the supper. I only wish I
could, for of course Miss Barry would just as soon have one platter
as another, if both were equally old and genuine. Marilla, look at
that big star over Mr. Harrison's maple grove, with all that holy
hush of silvery sky about it. It gives me a feeling that is like
a prayer. After all, when one can see stars and skies like that,
little disappointments and accidents can't matter so much, can they?"
"Where's Davy?" said Marilla, with an indifferent glance at the star.
"In bed. I've promised to take him and Dora to the shore for a
picnic tomorrow. Of course, the original agreement was that he
must be good. But he TRIED to be good. . .and I hadn't the heart
to disappoint him."
"You'll drown yourself or the twins, rowing about the pond in that flat,"
grumbled Marilla. "I've lived here for sixty years and I've never been
on the pond yet."
"Well, it's never too late to mend," said Anne roguishly.
"Suppose you come with us tomorrow. We'll shut Green Gables up
and spend the whole day at the shore, daffing the world aside."
"No, thank you," said Marilla, with indignant emphasis. "I'd be a
nice sight, wouldn't I, rowing down the pond in a flat? I think I
hear Rachel pronouncing on it. There's Mr. Harrison driving away
somewhere. Do you suppose there is any truth in the gossip that
Mr. Harrison is going to see Isabella Andrews?"
"No, I'm sure there isn't. He just called there one evening
on business with Mr. Harmon Andrews and Mrs. Lynde saw him and
said she knew he was courting because he had a white collar on.
I don't believe Mr. Harrison will ever marry. He seems to have
a prejudice against marriage."
"Well, you can never tell about those old bachelors. And if he had
a white collar on I'd agree with Rachel that it looks suspicious,
for I'm sure he never was seen with one before."
"I think he only put it on because he wanted to conclude a business
deal with Harmon Andrews," said Anne. "I've heard him say that's
the only time a man needs to be particular about his appearance,
because if he looks prosperous the party of the second part won't
be so likely to try to cheat him. I really feel sorry for Mr.
Harrison; I don't believe he feels satisfied with his life. It
must be very lonely to have no one to care about except a parrot,
don't you think? But I notice Mr. Harrison doesn't like to be
pitied. Nobody does, I imagine."
"There's Gilbert coming up the lane," said Marilla. "If he wants
you to go for a row on the pond mind you put on your coat and
rubbers. There's a heavy dew tonight."
An Adventure on the Tory Road
"Anne," said Davy, sitting up in bed and propping his chin on
his hands, "Anne, where is sleep? People go to sleep every night,
and of course I know it's the place where I do the things I dream,
but I want to know WHERE it is and how I get there and back without
knowing anything about it. . .and in my nighty too. Where is it?"
Anne was kneeling at the west gable window watching the sunset sky that
was like a great flower with petals of crocus and a heart of fiery yellow.
She turned her head at Davy's question and answered dreamily,
"`Over the mountains of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow.'"
Paul Irving would have known the meaning of this, or made a meaning
out of it for himself, if he didn't; but practical Davy, who, as
Anne often despairingly remarked, hadn't a particle of imagination,
was only puzzled and disgusted.
"Anne, I believe you're just talking nonsense."
"Of course, I was, dear boy. Don't you know that it is only very
foolish folk who talk sense all the time?"
"Well, I think you might give a sensible answer when I ask a
sensible question," said Davy in an injured tone.
"Oh, you are too little to understand," said Anne. But she felt rather
ashamed of saying it; for had she not, in keen remembrance of many
similar snubs administered in her own early years, solemnly vowed
that she would never tell any child it was too little to understand?
Yet here she was doing it. . .so wide sometimes is the gulf between
theory and practice.
"Well, I'm doing my best to grow," said Davy, "but it's a thing you
can't hurry much. If Marilla wasn't so stingy with her jam I believe
I'd grow a lot faster."
"Marilla is not stingy, Davy," said Anne severely. "It is very
ungrateful of you to say such a thing."
"There's another word that means the same thing and sounds a lot
better, but I don't just remember it," said Davy, frowning intently.
"I heard Marilla say she was it, herself, the other day."
"If you mean ECONOMICAL, it's a VERY different thing from being stingy.
It is an excellent trait in a person if she is economical.
If Marilla had been stingy she wouldn't have taken you and Dora
when your mother died. Would you have liked to live with Mrs. Wiggins?"
"You just bet I wouldn't!" Davy was emphatic on that point. "Nor I
don't want to go out to Uncle Richard neither. I'd far rather live
here, even if Marilla is that long-tailed word when it comes to jam,
'cause YOU'RE here, Anne. Say, Anne, won't you tell me a story
'fore I go to sleep? I don't want a fairy story. They're all
right for girls, I s'pose, but I want something exciting. . .lots
of killing and shooting in it, and a house on fire, and in'trusting
things like that."
Fortunately for Anne, Marilla called out at this moment from her room.
"Anne, Diana's signaling at a great rate. You'd better see what she wants."
Anne ran to the east gable and saw flashes of light coming through
the twilight from Diana's window in groups of five, which meant,
according to their old childish code, "Come over at once for I have
something important to reveal." Anne threw her white shawl over her
head and hastened through the Haunted Wood and across Mr. Bell's
pasture corner to Orchard Slope.
"I've good news for you, Anne," said Diana. "Mother and I have
just got home from Carmody, and I saw Mary Sentner from Spencer
vale in Mr. Blair's store. She says the old Copp girls on the
Tory Road have a willow-ware platter and she thinks it's exactly
like the one we had at the supper. She says they'll likely sell it,
for Martha Copp has never been known to keep anything she COULD sell;
but if they won't there's a platter at Wesley Keyson's at Spencervale
and she knows they'd sell it, but she isn't sure it's just the same
kind as Aunt Josephine's."
"I'll go right over to Spencervale after it tomorrow," said Anne
resolutely, "and you must come with me. It will be such a weight
off my mind, for I have to go to town day after tomorrow and how
can I face your Aunt Josephine without a willow-ware platter?
It would be even worse than the time I had to confess about
jumping on the spare room bed."
Both girls laughed over the old memory. . .concerning which, if
any of my readers are ignorant and curious, I must refer them to
Anne's earlier history.
The next afternoon the girls fared forth on their platter hunting
expedition. It was ten miles to Spencervale and the day was not
especially pleasant for traveling. It was very warm and windless,
and the dust on the road was such as might have been expected after
six weeks of dry weather.
"Oh, I do wish it would rain soon," sighed Anne. "Everything is so
parched up. The poor fields just seem pitiful to me and the trees
seem to be stretching out their hands pleading for rain. As for my
garden, it hurts me every time I go into it. I suppose I shouldn't
complain about a garden when the farmers' crops are suffering so.
Mr. Harrison says his pastures are so scorched up that his poor
cows can hardly get a bite to eat and he feels guilty of cruelty
to animals every time he meets their eyes."
After a wearisome drive the girls reached Spencervale and turned
down the "Tory" Road. . .a green, solitary highway where the strips
of grass between the wheel tracks bore evidence to lack of travel.
Along most of its extent it was lined with thick-set young spruces
crowding down to the roadway, with here and there a break where the
back field of a Spencervale farm came out to the fence or an expanse
of stumps was aflame with fireweed and goldenrod.
"Why is it called the Tory Road?" asked Anne.
"Mr. Allan says it is on the principle of calling a place a grove
because there are no trees in it," said Diana, "for nobody lives
along the road except the Copp girls and old Martin Bovyer at the
further end, who is a Liberal. The Tory government ran the road
through when they were in power just to show they were doing something."
Diana's father was a Liberal, for which reason she and Anne never
discussed politics. Green Gables folk had always been Conservatives.
Finally the girls came to the old Copp homestead. . .a place of
such exceeding external neatness that even Green Gables would have
suffered by contrast. The house was a very old-fashioned one,
situated on a slope, which fact had necessitated the building of a
stone basement under one end. The house and out-buildings were all
whitewashed to a condition of blinding perfection and not a weed
was visible in the prim kitchen garden surrounded by its white paling.
"The shades are all down," said Diana ruefully. "I believe that nobody
This proved to be the case. The girls looked at each other in perplexity.
"I don't know what to do," said Anne. "If I were sure the platter
was the right kind I would not mind waiting until they came home.
But if it isn't it may be too late to go to Wesley Keyson's
Diana looked at a certain little square window over the basement.
"That is the pantry window, I feel sure," she said, "because this
house is just like Uncle Charles' at Newbridge, and that is their
pantry window. The shade isn't down, so if we climbed up on the
roof of that little house we could look into the pantry and might
be able to see the platter. Do you think it would be any harm?"
"No, I don't think so," decided Anne, after due reflection, "since
our motive is not idle curiosity."
This important point of ethics being settled, Anne prepared to mount the
aforesaid "little house," a construction of lathes, with a peaked roof,
which had in times past served as a habitation for ducks. The Copp girls
had given up keeping ducks. . ."because they were such untidy birds". . .
and the house had not been in use for some years, save as an abode of
correction for setting hens. Although scrupulously whitewashed it had
become somewhat shaky, and Anne felt rather dubious as she scrambled up
from the vantage point of a keg placed on a box.
"I'm afraid it won't bear my weight," she said as she gingerly
stepped on the roof.
"Lean on the window sill," advised Diana, and Anne accordingly leaned.
Much to her delight, she saw, as she peered through the pane,
a willow-ware platter, exactly such as she was in quest of,
on the shelf in front of the window. So much she saw before the
catastrophe came. In her joy Anne forgot the precarious nature
of her footing, incautiously ceased to lean on the window sill,
gave an impulsive little hop of pleasure. . .and the next moment she
had crashed through the roof up to her armpits, and there she hung,
quite unable to extricate herself. Diana dashed into the duck
house and, seizing her unfortunate friend by the waist, tried to
draw her down.
"Ow. . .don't," shrieked poor Anne. "There are some long
splinters sticking into me. See if you can put something under my
feet. . .then perhaps I can draw myself up."
Diana hastily dragged in the previously mentioned keg and Anne
found that it was just sufficiently high to furnish a secure
resting place for her feet. But she could not release herself.
"Could I pull you out if I crawled up?" suggested Diana.
Anne shook her head hopelessly.
"No. . .the splinters hurt too badly. If you can find an axe you
might chop me out, though. Oh dear, I do really begin to believe
that I was born under an ill-omened star."
Diana searched faithfully but no axe was to be found.
"I'll have to go for help," she said, returning to the prisoner.
"No, indeed, you won't," said Anne vehemently. "If you do the story
of this will get out everywhere and I shall be ashamed to show my face.
No, we must just wait until the Copp girls come home and bind them
to secrecy. They'll know where the axe is and get me out.
I'm not uncomfortable, as long as I keep perfectly still. . .
not uncomfortable in BODY I mean. I wonder what the Copp girls
value this house at. I shall have to pay for the damage I've done,
but I wouldn't mind that if I were only sure they would understand
my motive in peeping in at their pantry window. My sole comfort is
that the platter is just the kind I want and if Miss Copp will only
sell it to me I shall be resigned to what has happened."
"What if the Copp girls don't come home until after night. . .or
till tomorrow?" suggested Diana.
"If they're not back by sunset you'll have to go for other
assistance, I suppose," said Anne reluctantly, "but you mustn't go
until you really have to. Oh dear, this is a dreadful predicament.
I wouldn't mind my misfortunes so much if they were romantic, as
Mrs. Morgan's heroines' always are, but they are always just
simply ridiculous. Fancy what the Copp girls will think when they
drive into their yard and see a girl's head and shoulders sticking
out of the roof of one of their outhouses. Listen. . .is that a
wagon? No, Diana, I believe it is thunder."
Thunder it was undoubtedly, and Diana, having made a hasty
pilgrimage around the house, returned to announce that a very black
cloud was rising rapidly in the northwest.
"I believe we're going to have a heavy thunder-shower," she exclaimed
in dismay, "Oh, Anne, what will we do?"
"We must prepare for it," said Anne tranquilly. A thunderstorm
seemed a trifle in comparison with what had already happened.
"You'd better drive the horse and buggy into that open shed.
Fortunately my parasol is in the buggy. Here. . .take my hat
with you. Marilla told me I was a goose to put on my best hat
to come to the Tory Road and she was right, as she always is."
Diana untied the pony and drove into the shed, just as the first
heavy drops of rain fell. There she sat and watched the resulting
downpour, which was so thick and heavy that she could hardly see
Anne through it, holding the parasol bravely over her bare head.
There was not a great deal of thunder, but for the best part of an
hour the rain came merrily down. Occasionally Anne slanted back
her parasol and waved an encouraging hand to her friend; But
conversation at that distance was quite out of the question.
Finally the rain ceased, the sun came out, and Diana ventured
across the puddles of the yard.
"Did you get very wet?" she asked anxiously.
"Oh, no," returned Anne cheerfully. "My head and shoulders are
quite dry and my skirt is only a little damp where the rain beat
through the lathes. Don't pity me, Diana, for I haven't minded it
at all. I kept thinking how much good the rain will do and how glad
my garden must be for it, and imagining what the flowers and buds
would think when the drops began to fall. I imagined out a most
interesting dialogue between the asters and the sweet peas and the
wild canaries in the lilac bush and the guardian spirit of the garden.
When I go home I mean to write it down. I wish I had a pencil and
paper to do it now, because I daresay I'll forget the best parts
before I reach home."
Diana the faithful had a pencil and discovered a sheet of wrapping
paper in the box of the buggy. Anne folded up her dripping
parasol, put on her hat, spread the wrapping paper on a shingle
Diana handed up, and wrote out her garden idyl under conditions
that could hardly be considered as favorable to literature.
Nevertheless, the result was quite pretty, and Diana was
"enraptured" when Anne read it to her.
"Oh, Anne, it's sweet. . .just sweet. DO send it to the `Canadian Woman.'"
Anne shook her head.
"Oh, no, it wouldn't be suitable at all. There is no PLOT in it,
you see. It's just a string of fancies. I like writing such things,
but of course nothing of the sort would ever do for publication,
for editors insist on plots, so Priscilla says. Oh, there's
Miss Sarah Copp now. PLEASE, Diana, go and explain."
Miss Sarah Copp was a small person, garbed in shabby black, with a hat
chosen less for vain adornment than for qualities that would wear well.
She looked as amazed as might be expected on seeing the curious tableau
in her yard, but when she heard Diana's explanation she was all sympathy.
She hurriedly unlocked the back door, produced the axe, and with a few
skillfull blows set Anne free. The latter, somewhat tired and stiff,
ducked down into the interior of her prison and thankfully emerged
into liberty once more.
"Miss Copp," she said earnestly. "I assure you I looked into your
pantry window only to discover if you had a willow-ware platter.
I didn't see anything else -- I didn't LOOK for anything else."
"Bless you, that's all right," said Miss Sarah amiably. "You
needn't worry -- there's no harm done. Thank goodness, we Copps
keep our pantries presentable at all times and don't care who sees
into them. As for that old duckhouse, I'm glad it's smashed, for
maybe now Martha will agree to having it taken down. She never
would before for fear it might come in handy sometime and I've had to
whitewash it every spring. But you might as well argue with a post
as with Martha. She went to town today -- I drove her to the station.
And you want to buy my platter. Well, what will you give for it?"
"Twenty dollars," said Anne, who was never meant to match business
wits with a Copp, or she would not have offered her price at the start.
"Well, I'll see," said Miss Sarah cautiously. "That platter is mine
fortunately, or I'd never dare to sell it when Martha wasn't here.
As it is, I daresay she'll raise a fuss. Martha's the boss
of this establishment I can tell you. I'm getting awful tired of
living under another woman's thumb. But come in, come in. You
must be real tired and hungry. I'll do the best I can for you in
the way of tea but I warn you not to expect anything but bread and
butter and some cowcumbers. Martha locked up all the cake and
cheese and preserves afore she went. She always does, because she
says I'm too extravagant with them if company comes."
The girls were hungry enough to do justice to any fare, and they
enjoyed Miss Sarah's excellent bread and butter and "cowcumbers"
thoroughly. When the meal was over Miss Sarah said,
"I don't know as I mind selling the platter. But it's worth
twenty-five dollars. It's a very old platter."
Diana gave Anne's foot a gentle kick under the table, meaning,
"Don't agree -- she'll let it go for twenty if you hold out."
But Anne was not minded to take any chances in regard to that
precious platter. She promptly agreed to give twenty-five and
Miss Sarah looked as if she felt sorry she hadn't asked for thirty.
"Well, I guess you may have it. I want all the money I can scare
up just now. The fact is -- " Miss Sarah threw up her head
importantly, with a proud flush on her thin cheeks -- "I'm going
to be married -- to Luther Wallace. He wanted me twenty years ago.
I liked him real well but he was poor then and father packed him off.
I s'pose I shouldn't have let him go so meek but I was timid and
frightened of father. Besides, I didn't know men were so skurse."
When the girls were safely away, Diana driving and Anne holding
the coveted platter carefully on her lap, the green, rain-freshened
solitudes of the Tory Road were enlivened by ripples of girlish laughter.
"I'll amuse your Aunt Josephine with the `strange eventful history'
of this afternoon when I go to town tomorrow. We've had a rather
trying time but it's over now. I've got the platter, and that rain
has laid the dust beautifully. So `all's well that ends well.'"
"We're not home yet," said Diana rather pessimistically, "and
there's no telling what may happen before we are. You're such
a girl to have adventures, Anne."
"Having adventures comes natural to some people," said Anne
serenely. "You just have a gift for them or you haven't."
Just a Happy Day
"After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and
sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful
or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Life at Green Gables was full of just such days, for Anne's adventures
and misadventures, like those of other people, did not all happen at once,
but were sprinkled over the year, with long stretches of harmless, happy
days between, filled with work and dreams and laughter and lessons.
Such a day came late in August. In the forenoon Anne and Diana rowed
the delighted twins down the pond to the sandshore to pick "sweet grass"
and paddle in the surf, over which the wind was harping an old lyric
learned when the world was young.
In the afternoon Anne walked down to the old Irving place to see Paul.
She found him stretched out on the grassy bank beside the thick fir
grove that sheltered the house on the north, absorbed in a book of
fairy tales. He sprang up radiantly at sight of her.
"Oh, I'm so glad you've come, teacher," he said eagerly, "because
Grandma's away. You'll stay and have tea with me, won't you?
It's so lonesome to have tea all by oneself. YOU know, teacher.
I've had serious thoughts of asking Young Mary Joe to sit down
and eat her tea with me, but I expect Grandma wouldn't approve.
She says the French have to be kept in their place. And anyhow,
it's difficult to talk with Young Mary Joe. She just laughs and says,
`Well, yous do beat all de kids I ever knowed.' That isn't my idea
"Of course I'll stay to tea," said Anne gaily. "I was dying to be
asked. My mouth has been watering for some more of your grandma's
delicious shortbread ever since I had tea here before."
Paul looked very sober.
"If it depended on me, teacher," he said, standing before Anne with
his hands in his pockets and his beautiful little face shadowed with
sudden care, "You should have shortbread with a right good will.
But it depends on Mary Joe. I heard Grandma tell her before she
left that she wasn't to give me any shortcake because it was too
rich for little boys' stomachs. But maybe Mary Joe will cut some
for you if I promise I won't eat any. Let us hope for the best."
"Yes, let us," agreed Anne, whom this cheerful philosophy suited
exactly, "and if Mary Joe proves hard-hearted and won't give me any
shortbread it doesn't matter in the least, so you are not to worry
"You're sure you won't mind if she doesn't?" said Paul anxiously.
"Perfectly sure, dear heart."
"Then I won't worry," said Paul, with a long breath of relief,
"especially as I really think Mary Joe will listen to reason.
She's not a naturally unreasonable person, but she has learned
by experience that it doesn't do to disobey Grandma's orders.
Grandma is an excellent woman but people must do as she tells them.
She was very much pleased with me this morning because I managed at
last to eat all my plateful of porridge. It was a great effort but
I succeeded. Grandma says she thinks she'll make a man of me yet.
But, teacher, I want to ask you a very important question.
You will answer it truthfully, won't you?"
"I'll try," promised Anne.
"Do you think I'm wrong in my upper story?" asked Paul, as if his
very existence depended on her reply.
"Goodness, no, Paul," exclaimed Anne in amazement. "Certainly
you're not. What put such an idea into your head?"
"Mary Joe. . .but she didn't know I heard her. Mrs. Peter Sloane's
hired girl, Veronica, came to see Mary Joe last evening and I heard
them talking in the kitchen as I was going through the hall.
I heard Mary Joe say, `Dat Paul, he is de queeres' leetle boy.
He talks dat queer. I tink dere's someting wrong in his upper story.'
I couldn't sleep last night for ever so long, thinking of it, and
wondering if Mary Joe was right. I couldn't bear to ask Grandma
about it somehow, but I made up my mind I'd ask you. I'm so glad
you think I'm all right in my upper story."
"Of course you are. Mary Joe is a silly, ignorant girl, and you
are never to worry about anything she says," said Anne indignantly,
secretly resolving to give Mrs. Irving a discreet hint as to the
advisability of restraining Mary Joe's tongue.
"Well, that's a weight off my mind," said Paul. "I'm perfectly
happy now, teacher, thanks to you. It wouldn't be nice to
have something wrong in your upper story, would it, teacher?
I suppose the reason Mary Joe imagines I have is because I tell
her what I think about things sometimes."
"It is a rather dangerous practice," admitted Anne, out of the
depths of her own experience.
"Well, by and by I'll tell you the thoughts I told Mary Joe and you
can see for yourself if there's anything queer in them," said Paul,
"but I'll wait till it begins to get dark. That is the time I ache
to tell people things, and when nobody else is handy I just HAVE to
tell Mary Joe. But after this I won't, if it makes her imagine I'm
wrong in my upper story. I'll just ache and bear it."
"And if the ache gets too bad you can come up to Green Gables and
tell me your thoughts," suggested Anne, with all the gravity that
endeared her to children, who so dearly love to be taken seriously.
"Yes, I will. But I hope Davy won't be there when I go because he
makes faces at me. I don't mind VERY much because he is such a
little boy and I am quite a big one, but still it is not pleasant
to have faces made at you. And Davy makes such terrible ones.
Sometimes I am frightened he will never get his face straightened
out again. He makes them at me in church when I ought to be thinking
of sacred things. Dora likes me though, and I like her, but not so
well as I did before she told Minnie May Barry that she meant to
marry me when I grew up. I may marry somebody when I grow up but
I'm far too young to be thinking of it yet, don't you think, teacher?"
"Rather young," agreed teacher.
"Speaking of marrying, reminds me of another thing that has been
troubling me of late," continued Paul. "Mrs. Lynde was down here
one day last week having tea with Grandma, and Grandma made me show
her my little mother's picture. . .the one father sent me for my
birthday present. I didn't exactly want to show it to Mrs. Lynde.
Mrs. Lynde is a good, kind woman, but she isn't the sort of person
you want to show your mother's picture to. YOU know, teacher.
But of course I obeyed Grandma. Mrs. Lynde said she was very
pretty ut kind of actressy looking, and must have been an awful lot
younger than father. Then she said, `Some of these days your pa
will be marrying again likely. How will you like to have a new ma,
Master Paul? ' Well, the idea almost took my breath away, teacher,
but I wasn't going to let Mrs. Lynde see THAT. I just looked her
straight in the face. . .like this. . .and I said, `Mrs. Lynde,
father made a pretty good job of picking out my first mother and I
could trust him to pick out just as good a one the second time.'
And I CAN trust him, teacher. But still, I hope, if he ever does
give me a new mother, he'll ask my opinion about her before it's
too late. There's Mary Joe coming to call us to tea. I'll go and
consult with her about the shortbread."
As a result of the "consultation," Mary Joe cut the shortbread and
added a dish of preserves to the bill of fare. Anne poured the tea
and she and Paul had a very merry meal in the dim old sitting room
whose windows were open to the gulf breezes, and they talked so much
"nonsense" that Mary Joe was quite scandalized and told Veronica
the next evening that "de school mees" was as queer as Paul.
After tea Paul took Anne up to his room to show her his
mother's picture, which had been the mysterious birthday present
kept by Mrs. Irving in the bookcase. Paul's little low-ceilinged
room was a soft whirl of ruddy light from the sun that was setting
over the sea and swinging shadows from the fir trees that grew
close to the square, deep-set window. From out this soft glow
and glamor shone a sweet, girlish face, with tender mother eyes,
that was hanging on the wall at the foot of the bed.
"That's my little mother," said Paul with loving pride. "I got
Grandma to hang it there where I'd see it as soon as I opened my
eyes in the morning. I never mind not having the light when I go
to bed now, because it just seems as if my little mother was right
here with me. Father knew just what I would like for a birthday
present, although he never asked me. Isn't it wonderful how much
fathers DO know?"
"Your mother was very lovely, Paul, and you look a little like her.
But her eyes and hair are darker than yours."
"My eyes are the same color as father's," said Paul, flying
about the room to heap all available cushions on the window seat,
"but father's hair is gray. He has lots of it, but it is gray.
You see, father is nearly fifty. That's ripe old age, isn't it?
But it's only OUTSIDE he's old. INSIDE he's just as young as anybody.
Now, teacher, please sit here; and I'll sit at your feet. May I lay
my head against your knee? That's the way my little mother and I
used to sit. Oh, this is real splendid, I think."
"Now, I want to hear those thoughts which Mary Joe pronounces so queer,"
said Anne, patting the mop of curls at her side. Paul never needed any
coaxing to tell his thoughts. . .at least, to congenial souls.
"I thought them out in the fir grove one night," he said dreamily.
"Of course I didn't BELIEVE them but I THOUGHT them. YOU know,
teacher. And then I wanted to tell them to somebody and there was
nobody but Mary Joe. Mary Joe was in the pantry setting bread and
I sat down on the bench beside her and I said, `Mary Joe, do you
know what I think? I think the evening star is a lighthouse on the
land where the fairies dwell.' And Mary Joe said, `Well, yous are
de queer one. Dare ain't no such ting as fairies.' I was very much
provoked. Of course, I knew there are no fairies; but that needn't
prevent my thinking there is. You know, teacher. But I tried
again quite patiently. I said, `Well then, Mary Joe, do you know
what I think? I think an angel walks over the world after the sun
sets. . .a great, tall, white angel, with silvery folded wings. . .
and sings the flowers and birds to sleep. Children can hear him
if they know how to listen.' Then Mary Joe held up her hands
all over flour and said, `Well, yous are de queer leetle boy.
Yous make me feel scare.' And she really did looked scared.
I went out then and whispered the rest of my thoughts to the garden.
There was a little birch tree in the garden and it died. Grandma says
the salt spray killed it; but I think the dryad belonging to it was
a foolish dryad who wandered away to see the world and got lost.
And the little tree was so lonely it died of a broken heart."
"And when the poor, foolish little dryad gets tired of the world
and comes back to her tree HER heart will break," said Anne.
"Yes; but if dryads are foolish they must take the consequences,
just as if they were real people," said Paul gravely. "Do you know
what I think about the new moon, teacher? I think it is a little
golden boat full of dreams."
"And when it tips on a cloud some of them spill out and fall into
"Exactly, teacher. Oh, you DO know. And I think the violets are
little snips of the sky that fell down when the angels cut out
holes for the stars to shine through. And the buttercups are made
out of old sunshine; and I think the sweet peas will be butterflies
when they go to heaven. Now, teacher, do you see anything so very
queer about those thoughts?"
"No, laddie dear, they are not queer at all; they are strange and
beautiful thoughts for a little boy to think, and so people who
couldn't think anything of the sort themselves, if they tried for a
hundred years, think them queer. But keep on thinking them, Paul
. . .some day you are going to be a poet, I believe."
When Anne reached home she found a very different type of boyhood
waiting to be put to bed. Davy was sulky; and when Anne had
undressed him he bounced into bed and buried his face in the pillow.
"Davy, you have forgotten to say your prayers," said Anne rebukingly.
"No, I didn't forget," said Davy defiantly, "but I ain't going to
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