Anne's House of Dreams
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Part 2 out of 6
Anne looked and sprang up.
"That must be either Miss Cornelia Bryant or Mrs. Moore
coming to call," she said.
"I'm going into the office, and if it is Miss Cornelia
I warn you that I'll eavesdrop," said Gilbert. "From
all I've heard regarding Miss Cornelia I conclude that
her conversation will not be dull, to say the least."
"It may be Mrs. Moore."
"I don't think Mrs. Moore is built on those lines. I
saw her working in her garden the other day, and,
though I was too far away to see clearly, I thought she
was rather slender. She doesn't seem very socially
inclined when she has never called on you yet, although
she's your nearest neighbor."
"She can't be like Mrs. Lynde, after all, or curiosity
would have brought her," said Anne. "This caller is,
I think, Miss Cornelia."
Miss Cornelia it was; moreover, Miss Cornelia had not
come to make any brief and fashionable wedding call.
She had her work under her arm in a substantial parcel,
and when Anne asked her to stay she promptly took off
her capacious sun-hat, which had been held on her head,
despite irreverent September breezes, by a tight
elastic band under her hard little knob of fair hair.
No hat pins for Miss Cornelia, an it please ye!
Elastic bands had been good enough for her mother and
they were good enough for HER. She had a fresh, round,
pink-and-white face, and jolly brown eyes. She did not
look in the least like the traditional old maid, and
there was something in her expression which won Anne
instantly. With her old instinctive quickness to
discern kindred spirits she knew she was going to like
Miss Cornelia, in spite of uncertain oddities of
opinion, and certain oddities of attire.
Nobody but Miss Cornelia would have come to make a call
arrayed in a striped blue-and-white apron and a wrapper
of chocolate print, with a design of huge, pink roses
scattered over it. And nobody but Miss Cornelia could
have looked dignified and suitably garbed in it. Had
Miss Cornelia been entering a palace to call on a
prince's bride, she would have been just as dignified
and just as wholly mistress of the situation. She
would have trailed her rose-spattered flounce over the
marble floors just as unconcernedly, and she would have
proceeded just as calmly to disabuse the mind of the
princess of any idea that the possession of a mere man,
be he prince or peasant, was anything to brag of.
"I've brought my work, Mrs. Blythe, dearie," she
remarked, unrolling some dainty material. "I'm in a
hurry to get this done, and there isn't any time to
Anne looked in some surprise at the white garment
spread over Miss Cornelia's ample lap. It was
certainly a baby's dress, and it was most beautifully
made, with tiny frills and tucks. Miss Cornelia
adjusted her glasses and fell to embroidering with
"This is for Mrs. Fred Proctor up at the Glen," she
announced. "She's expecting her eighth baby any day
now, and not a stitch has she ready for it. The other
seven have wore out all she made for the first, and
she's never had time or strength or spirit to make any
more. That woman is a martyr, Mrs. Blythe, believe ME.
When she married Fred Proctor _I_ knew how it would
turn out. He was one of your wicked, fascinating men.
After he got married he left off being fascinating and
just kept on being wicked. He drinks and he neglects
his family. Isn't that like a man? I don't know how
Mrs. Proctor would ever keep her children decently
clothed if her neighbors didn't help her out."
As Anne was afterwards to learn, Miss Cornelia was the
only neighbor who troubled herself much about the
decency of the young Proctors.
"When I heard this eighth baby was coming I decided to
make some things for it," Miss Cornelia went on.
"This is the last and I want to finish it today."
"It's certainly very pretty," said Anne. "I'll get my
sewing and we'll have a little thimble party of two.
You are a beautiful sewer, Miss Bryant."
"Yes, I'm the best sewer in these parts," said Miss
Cornelia in a matter-of-fact tone. "I ought to be!
Lord, I've done more of it than if I'd had a hundred
children of my own, believe ME! I s'pose I'm a fool,
to be putting hand embroidery on this dress for an
eighth baby. But, Lord, Mrs. Blythe, dearie, it isn't
to blame for being the eighth, and I kind of wished it
to have one real pretty dress, just as if it WAS
wanted. Nobody's wanting the poor mite--so I put some
extra fuss on its little things just on that account."
"Any baby might be proud of that dress," said Anne,
feeling still more strongly that she was going to like
"I s'pose you've been thinking I was never coming to
call on you," resumed Miss Cornelia. "But this is
harvest month, you know, and I've been busy--and a lot
of extra hands hanging round, eating more'n they work,
just like the men. I'd have come yesterday, but I went
to Mrs. Roderick MacAllister's funeral. At first I
thought my head was aching so badly I couldn't enjoy
myself if I did go. But she was a hundred years old,
and I'd always promised myself that I'd go to her
"Was it a successful function?" asked Anne, noticing
that the office door was ajar.
"What's that? Oh, yes, it was a tremendous funeral.
She had a very large connection. There was over one
hundred and twenty carriages in the procession. There
was one or two funny things happened. I thought that
die I would to see old Joe Bradshaw, who is an infidel
and never darkens the door of a church, singing `Safe
in the Arms of Jesus' with great gusto and fervor. He
glories in singing-- that's why he never misses a
funeral. Poor Mrs. Bradshaw didn't look much like
singing--all wore out slaving. Old Joe starts out once
in a while to buy her a present and brings home some
new kind of farm machinery. Isn't that like a man?
But what else would you expect of a man who never goes
to church, even a Methodist one? I was real thankful
to see you and the young Doctor in the Presbyterian
church your first Sunday. No doctor for me who isn't a
"We were in the Methodist church last Sunday evening,"
said Anne wickedly.
"Oh, I s'pose Dr. Blythe has to go to the Methodist
church once in a while or he wouldn't get the Methodist
"We liked the sermon very much," declared Anne boldly.
"And I thought the Methodist minster's prayer was one
of the most beautiful I ever heard."
"Oh, I've no doubt he can pray. I never heard anyone
make more beautiful prayers than old Simon Bentley, who
was always drunk, or hoping to be, and the drunker he
was the better he prayed."
"The Methodist minister is very fine looking," said
Anne, for the benefit of the office door.
"Yes, he's quite ornamental," agreed Miss Cornelia.
"Oh, and VERY ladylike. And he thinks that every girl
who looks at him falls in love with him--as if a
Methodist minister, wandering about like any Jew, was
such a prize! If you and the young doctor take MY
advice, you won't have much to do with the Methodists.
My motto is--if you ARE a Presbyterian, BE a
"Don't you think that Methodists go to heaven as well
as Presbyterians?" asked Anne smilelessly.
"That isn't for US to decide. It's in higher hands
than ours," said Miss Cornelia solemnly. "But I ain't
going to associate with them on earth whatever I may
have to do in heaven. THIS Methodist minister isn't
married. The last one they had was, and his wife was
the silliest, flightiest little thing I ever saw. I
told her husband once that he should have waited till
she was grown up before he married her. He said he
wanted to have the training of her. Wasn't that like a
"It's rather hard to decide just when people ARE grown
up," laughed Anne.
"That's a true word, dearie. Some are grown up when
they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're
eighty, believe ME. That same Mrs. Roderick I was
speaking of never grew up. She was as foolish when she
was a hundred as when she was ten."
"Perhaps that was why she lived so long," suggested
"Maybe 'twas. _I_'d rather live fifty sensible years
than a hundred foolish ones."
"But just think what a dull world it would be if
everyone was sensible," pleaded Anne.
Miss Cornelia disdained any skirmish of flippant
"Mrs. Roderick was a Milgrave, and the Milgraves never
had much sense. Her nephew, Ebenezer Milgrave, used to
be insane for years. He believed he was dead and used
to rage at his wife because she wouldn't bury him.
_I_'d a-done it."
Miss Cornelia looked so grimly determined that Anne
could almost see her with a spade in her hand.
"Don't you know ANY good husbands, Miss Bryant?"
"Oh, yes, lots of them--over yonder," said Miss
Cornelia, waving her hand through the open window
towards the little graveyard of the church across the
"But living--going about in the flesh?" persisted
"Oh, there's a few, just to show that with God all
things are possible," acknowledged Miss Cornelia
reluctantly. "I don't deny that an odd man here and
there, if he's caught young and trained up proper, and
if his mother has spanked him well beforehand, may turn
out a decent being. YOUR husband, now, isn't so bad,
as men go, from all I hear. I s'pose"--Miss Cornelia
looked sharply at Anne over her glasses--"you think
there's nobody like him in the world."
"There isn't," said Anne promptly.
"Ah, well, I heard another bride say that once,"
sighed Miss Cornelia. "Jennie Dean thought when she
married that there wasn't anybody like HER husband in
the world. And she was right--there wasn't! And a
good thing, too, believe ME! He led her an awful
life--and he was courting his second wife while Jennie
Wasn't that like a man? However, I hope YOUR
confidence will be better justified, dearie. The young
doctor is taking real well. I was afraid at first he
mightn't, for folks hereabouts have always thought old
Doctor Dave the only doctor in the world. Doctor Dave
hadn't much tact, to be sure--he was always talking of
ropes in houses where someone had hanged himself. But
folks forgot their hurt feelings when they had a pain
in their stomachs. If he'd been a minister instead of
a doctor they'd never have forgiven him. Soul-ache
doesn't worry folks near as much as stomach-ache.
Seeing as we're both Presbyterians and no Methodists
around, will you tell me your candid opinion of OUR
"Why--really--I--well," hesitated Anne.
Miss Cornelia nodded.
"Exactly. I agree with you, dearie. We made a mistake
when we called HIM. His face just looks like one of
those long, narrow stones in the graveyard, doesn't it?
`Sacred to the memory' ought to be written on his
forehead. I shall never forget the first sermon he
preached after he came. It was on the subject of
everyone doing what they were best fitted for--a very
good subject, of course; but such illustrations as he
used! He said, `If you had a cow and an apple tree,
and if you tied the apple tree in your stable and
planted the cow in your orchard, with her legs up, how
much milk would you get from the apple tree, or how
many apples from the cow?' Did you ever hear the like
in your born days, dearie? I was so thankful there
were no Methodists there that day--they'd never have
been done hooting over it. But what I dislike most in
him is his habit of agreeing with everybody, no matter
what is said. If you said to him, `You're a
scoundrel,' he'd say, with that smooth smile of his,
`Yes, that's so.' A minister should have more
backbone. The long and the short of it is, I consider
him a reverend jackass. But, of course, this is just
between you and me. When there are Methodists in
hearing I praise him to the skies. Some folks think
his wife dresses too gay, but _I_ say when she has to
live with a face like that she needs something to cheer
her up. You'll never hear ME condemning a woman for
her dress. I'm only too thankful when her husband
isn't too mean and miserly to allow it. Not that I
bother much with dress myself. Women just dress to
please the men, and I'd never stoop to THAT. I have
had a real placid, comfortable life, dearie, and it's
just because I never cared a cent what the men
"Why do you hate the men so, Miss Bryant?"
"Lord, dearie, I don't hate them. They aren't worth
it. I just sort of despise them. I think I'll like
YOUR husband if he keeps on as he has begun. But apart
from him about the only men in the world I've much use
for are the old doctor and Captain Jim."
"Captain Jim is certainly splendid," agreed Anne
"Captain Jim is a good man, but he's kind of vexing in
one way. You CAN'T make him mad. I've tried for
twenty years and he just keeps on being placid. It
does sort of rile me. And I s'pose the woman he
should have married got a man who went into tantrums
twice a day."
"Who was she?"
"Oh, I don't know, dearie. I never remember of Captain
Jim making up to anybody. He was edging on old as far
as my memory goes. He's seventy-six, you know. I
never heard any reason for his staying a bachelor, but
there must be one, believe ME. He sailed all his life
till five years ago, and there's no corner of the earth
he hasn't poked his nose into. He and Elizabeth
Russell were great cronies, all their lives, but they
never had any notion of sweet-hearting. Elizabeth
never married, though she had plenty of chances. She
was a great beauty when she was young. The year the
Prince of Wales came to the Island she was visiting her
uncle in Charlottetown and he was a Government
official, and so she got invited to the great ball.
She was the prettiest girl there, and the Prince danced
with her, and all the other women he didn't dance with
were furious about it, because their social standing
was higher than hers and they said he shouldn't have
passed them over. Elizabeth was always very proud of
that dance. Mean folks said that was why she never
married--she couldn't put up with an ordinary man after
dancing with a prince. But that wasn't so. She told
me the reason once--it was because she had such a
temper that she was afraid she couldn't live peaceably
with any man. She HAD an awful temper--she used to
have to go upstairs and bite pieces out of her bureau
to keep it down by times. But I told her that wasn't
any reason for not marrying if she wanted to. There's
no reason why we should let the men have a monopoly of
temper, is there, Mrs. Blythe, dearie?"
"I've a bit of temper myself," sighed Anne.
"It's well you have, dearie. You won't be half so
likely to be trodden on, believe ME! My, how that
golden glow of yours is blooming! Your garden looks
fine. Poor Elizabeth always took such care of it."
"I love it," said Anne. "I'm glad it's so full of
old-fashioned flowers. Speaking of gardening, we want
to get a man to dig up that little lot beyond the fir
grove and set it out with strawberry plants for us.
Gilbert is so busy he will never get time for it this
fall. Do you know anyone we can get?"
"Well, Henry Hammond up at the Glen goes out doing jobs
like that. He'll do, maybe. He's always a heap more
interested in his wages than in his work, just like a
man, and he's so slow in the uptake that he stands
still for five minutes before it dawns on him that he's
stopped. His father threw a stump at him when he was
Nice gentle missile, wasn't it? So like a man!
Course, the boy never got over it. But he's the only
one I can recommend at all. He painted my house for me
last spring. It looks real nice now, don't you
Anne was saved by the clock striking five.
"Lord, is it that late?" exclaimed Miss Cornelia.
"How time does slip by when you're enjoying yourself!
Well, I must betake myself home."
"No, indeed! You are going to stay and have tea with
us," said Anne eagerly.
"Are you asking me because you think you ought to, or
because you really want to?" demanded Miss Cornelia.
"Because I really want to."
"Then I'll stay. YOU belong to the race that knows
"I know we are going to be friends," said Anne, with
the smile that only they of the household of faith ever
"Yes, we are, dearie. Thank goodness, we can choose
our friends. We have to take our relatives as they
are, and be thankful if there are no penitentiary birds
among them. Not that I've many-- none nearer than
second cousins. I'm a kind of lonely soul, Mrs.
There was a wistful note in Miss Cornelia's voice.
"I wish you would call me Anne," exclaimed Anne
impulsively. "It would seem more HOMEY. Everyone in
Four Winds, except my husband, calls me Mrs. Blythe,
and it makes me feel like a stranger. Do you know that
your name is very near being the one I yearned after
when I was a child. I hated `Anne' and I called myself
`Cordelia' in imagination."
"I like Anne. It was my mother's name. Old-fashioned
names are the best and sweetest in my opinion. If
you're going to get tea you might send the young doctor
to talk to me. He's been lying on the sofa in that
office ever since I came, laughing fit to kill over
what I've been saying."
"How did you know?" cried Anne, too aghast at this
instance of Miss Cornelia's uncanny prescience to make
a polite denial.
"I saw him sitting beside you when I came up the lane,
and I know men's tricks," retorted Miss Cornelia.
"There, I've finished my little dress, dearie, and the
eighth baby can come as soon as it pleases."
AN EVENING AT FOUR WINDS POINT
It was late September when Anne and Gilbert were able
to pay Four Winds light their promised visit. They had
often planned to go, but something always occurred to
prevent them. Captain Jim had "dropped in" several
times at the little house.
"I don't stand on ceremony, Mistress Blythe," he told
Anne. "It's a real pleasure to me to come here, and
I'm not going to deny myself jest because you haven't
got down to see me. There oughtn't to be no
bargaining like that among the race that knows Joseph.
I'll come when I can, and you come when you can, and so
long's we have our pleasant little chat it don't matter
a mite what roof's over us."
Captain Jim took a great fancy to Gog and Magog, who
were presiding over the destinies of the hearth in the
little house with as much dignity and aplomb as they
had done at Patty's Place.
"Aren't they the cutest little cusses?" he would say
delightedly; and he bade them greeting and farewell as
gravely and invariably as he did his host and hostess.
Captain Jim was not going to offend household deities
by any lack of reverence and ceremony.
"You've made this little house just about perfect," he
told Anne. "It never was so nice before. Mistress
Selwyn had your taste and she did wonders; but folks in
those days didn't have the pretty little curtains and
pictures and nicknacks you have. As for Elizabeth, she
lived in the past. You've kinder brought the future
into it, so to speak. I'd be real happy even if we
couldn't talk at all, when I come here--jest to sit and
look at you and your pictures and your flowers would be
enough of a treat. It's beautiful--beautiful."
Captain Jim was a passionate worshipper of beauty.
Every lovely thing heard or seen gave him a deep,
subtle, inner joy that irradiated his life. He was
quite keenly aware of his own lack of outward
comeliness and lamented it.
"Folks say I'm good," he remarked whimsically upon one
occasion, "but I sometimes wish the Lord had made me
only half as good and put the rest of it into looks.
But there, I reckon He knew what He was about, as a
good Captain should. Some of us have to be homely, or
the purty ones--like Mistress Blythe here--wouldn't
show up so well."
One evening Anne and Gilbert finally walked down to the
Four Winds light. The day had begun sombrely in gray
cloud and mist, but it had ended in a pomp of scarlet
and gold. Over the western hills beyond the harbor
were amber deeps and crystalline shallows, with the
fire of sunset below. The north was a mackerel sky of
little, fiery golden clouds. The red light flamed on
the white sails of a vessel gliding down the channel,
bound to a southern port in a land of palms. Beyond
her, it smote upon and incarnadined the shining, white,
grassless faces of the sand dunes. To the right, it
fell on the old house among the willows up the brook,
and gave it for a fleeting space casements more
splendid than those of an old cathedral. They glowed
out of its quiet and grayness like the throbbing,
blood-red thoughts of a vivid soul imprisoned in a dull
husk of environment.
"That old house up the brook always seems so lonely,"
said Anne. "I never see visitors there. Of course,
its lane opens on the upper road--but I don't think
there's much coming and going. It seems odd we've
never met the Moores yet, when they live within fifteen
minutes' walk of us. I may have seen them in church,
of course, but if so I didn't know them. I'm sorry
they are so unsociable, when they are our only near
"Evidently they don't belong to the race that knows
Joseph," laughed Gilbert. "Have you ever found out
who that girl was whom you thought so beautiful?"
"No. Somehow I have never remembered to ask about her.
But I've never seen her anywhere, so I suppose she must
have been a stranger. Oh, the sun has just
vanished--and there's the light."
As the dusk deepened, the great beacon cut swathes of
light through it, sweeping in a circle over the fields
and the harbor, the sandbar and the gulf.
"I feel as if it might catch me and whisk me leagues
out to sea," said Anne, as one drenched them with
radiance; and she felt rather relieved when they got so
near the Point that they were inside the range of those
dazzling, recurrent flashes.
As they turned into the little lane that led across the
fields to the Point they met a man coming out of it--a
man of such extraordinary appearance that for a moment
they both frankly stared. He was a decidedly
fine-looking person-tall, broad-shouldered, well-
featured, with a Roman nose and frank gray eyes; he was
dressed in a prosperous farmer's Sunday best; in so far
he might have been any inhabitant of Four Winds or the
Glen. But, flowing over his breast nearly to his
knees, was a river of crinkly brown beard; and adown
his back, beneath his commonplace felt hat, was a
corresponding cascade of thick, wavy, brown hair.
"Anne," murmured Gilbert, when they were out of
earshot, "you didn't put what Uncle Dave calls `a
little of the Scott Act' in that lemonade you gave me
just before we left home, did you?"
"No, I didn't," said Anne, stifling her laughter, lest
the retreating enigma should hear here. "Who in the
world can he be?"
"I don't know; but if Captain Jim keeps apparitions
like that down at this Point I'm going to carry cold
iron in my pocket when I come here. He wasn't a
sailor, or one might pardon his eccentricity of
appearance; he must belong to the over-harbor clans.
Uncle Dave says they have several freaks over there."
"Uncle Dave is a little prejudiced, I think. You know
all the over-harbor people who come to the Glen Church
seem very nice. Oh, Gilbert, isn't this beautiful?"
The Four Winds light was built on a spur of red
sand-stone cliff jutting out into the gulf. On one
side, across the channel, stretched the silvery sand
shore of the bar; on the other, extended a long,
curving beach of red cliffs, rising steeply from the
pebbled coves. It was a shore that knew the magic and
mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude
about such a shore. The woods are never solitary--
they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life.
But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some
great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into
itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its
infinite mystery--we may only wander, awed and
spellbound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call
to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one
only--a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its
majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of
the company of the archangels.
Anne and Gilbert found Uncle Jim sitting on a bench
outside the lighthouse, putting the finishing touches
to a wonderful, full-rigged, toy schooner. He rose and
welcomed them to his abode with the gentle,
unconscious courtesy that became him so well.
"This has been a purty nice day all through, Mistress
Blythe, and now, right at the last, it's brought its
best. Would you like to sit down here outside a bit,
while the light lasts? I've just finished this bit of
a plaything for my little grand nephew, Joe, up at the
Glen. After I promised to make it for him I was kinder
sorry, for his mother was vexed. She's afraid he'll be
wanting to go to sea later on and she doesn't want the
notion encouraged in him. But what could I do,
Mistress Blythe? I'd PROMISED him, and I think it's
sorter real dastardly to break a promise you make to a
child. Come, sit down. It won't take long to stay an
The wind was off shore, and only broke the sea's
surface into long, silvery ripples, and sent sheeny
shadows flying out across it, from every point and
headland, like transparent wings. The dusk was
hanging a curtain of violet gloom over the sand dunes
and the headlands where gulls were huddling. The sky
was faintly filmed over with scarfs of silken vapor.
Cloud fleets rode at anchor along the horizons. An
evening star was watching over the bar.
"Isn't that a view worth looking at?" said Captain
Jim, with a loving, proprietary pride. "Nice and far
from the market-place, ain't it? No buying and selling
and getting gain. You don't have to pay anything--all
that sea and sky free--`without money and without
price.' There's going to be a moonrise purty soon,
too--I'm never tired of finding out what a moonrise can
be over them rocks and sea and harbor. There's a
surprise in it every time."
They had their moonrise, and watched its marvel and
magic in a silence that asked nothing of the world or
each other. Then they went up into the tower, and
Captain Jim showed and explained the mechanism of the
great light. Finally they found themselves in the
dining room, where a fire of driftwood was weaving
flames of wavering, elusive, sea-born hues in the open
"I put this fireplace in myself," remarked Captain
Jim. "The Government don't give lighthouse keepers
such luxuries. Look at the colors that wood makes. If
you'd like some driftwood for your fire, Mistress
Blythe, I'll bring you up a load some day. Sit down.
I'm going to make you a cup of tea."
Captain Jim placed a chair for Anne, having first
removed therefrom a huge, orange-colored cat and a
"Get down, Matey. The sofa is your place. I must put
this paper away safe till I can find time to finish the
story in it. It's called A Mad Love. 'Tisn't my
favorite brand of fiction, but I'm reading it jest to
see how long she can spin it out. It's at the
sixty-second chapter now, and the wedding ain't any
nearer than when it begun, far's I can see. When
little Joe comes I have to read him pirate yarns.
Ain't it strange how innocent little creatures like
children like the blood-thirstiest stories?"
"Like my lad Davy at home," said Anne. "He wants
tales that reek with gore."
Captain Jim's tea proved to be nectar. He was pleased
as a child with Anne's compliments, but he affected a
"The secret is I don't skimp the cream," he remarked
airily. Captain Jim had never heard of Oliver Wendell
Holmes, but he evidently agreed with that writer's
dictum that "big heart never liked little cream pot."
"We met an odd-looking personage coming out of your
lane," said Gilbert as they sipped. "Who was he?"
Captain Jim grinned.
"That's Marshall Elliott--a mighty fine man with jest
one streak of foolishness in him. I s'pose you
wondered what his object was in turning himself into a
sort of dime museum freak."
"Is he a modern Nazarite or a Hebrew prophet left over
from olden times?" asked Anne.
"Neither of them. It's politics that's at the bottom
of his freak. All those Elliotts and Crawfords and
MacAllisters are dyed-in-the-wool politicians. They're
born Grit or Tory, as the case may be, and they live
Grit or Tory, and they die Grit or Tory; and what
they're going to do in heaven, where there's probably
no politics, is more than I can fathom. This Marshall
Elliott was born a Grit. I'm a Grit myself in
moderation, but there's no moderation about Marshall.
Fifteen years ago there was a specially bitter general
election. Marshall fought for his party tooth and
nail. He was dead sure the Liberals would win--so
sure that he got up at a public meeting and vowed that
he wouldn't shave his face or cut his hair until the
Grits were in power. Well, they didn't go in--and
they've never got in yet--and you saw the result today
for yourselves. Marshall stuck to his word."
"What does his wife think of it?" asked Anne.
"He's a bachelor. But if he had a wife I reckon she
couldn't make him break that vow. That family of
Elliotts has always been more stubborn than natteral.
Marshall's brother Alexander had a dog he set great
store by, and when it died the man actilly wanted to
have it buried in the graveyard, `along with the other
Christians,' he said. Course, he wasn't allowed to; so
he buried it just outside the graveyard fence, and
never darkened the church door again. But Sundays he'd
drive his family to church and sit by that dog's grave
and read his Bible all the time service was going on.
They say when he was dying he asked his wife to bury
him beside the dog; she was a meek little soul but she
fired up at THAT. She said SHE wasn't going to be
buried beside no dog, and if he'd rather have his last
resting place beside the dog than beside her, jest to
say so. Alexander Elliott was a stubborn mule, but he
was fond of his wife, so he give in and said, `Well,
durn it, bury me where you please. But when Gabriel's
trump blows I expect my dog to rise with the rest of
us, for he had as much soul as any durned Elliott or
Crawford or MacAllister that ever strutted.' Them was
HIS parting words. As for Marshall, we're all used to
him, but he must strike strangers as right down
peculiar- looking. I've known him ever since he was
ten--he's about fifty now--and I like him. Him and me
was out cod-fishing today. That's about all I'm good
for now--catching trout and cod occasional. But
'tweren't always so--not by no manner of means. I used
to do other things, as you'd admit if you saw my
Anne was just going to ask what his life-book was when
the First Mate created a diversion by springing upon
Captain Jim's knee. He was a gorgeous beastie, with a
face as round as a full moon, vivid green eyes, and
immense, white, double paws. Captain Jim stroked his
velvet back gently.
"I never fancied cats much till I found the First
Mate," he remarked, to the accompaniment of the Mate's
tremendous purrs. "I saved his life, and when you've
saved a creature's life you're bound to love it. It's
next thing to giving life. There's some turrible
thoughtless people in the world, Mistress Blythe. Some
of them city folks who have summer homes over the
harbor are so thoughtless that they're cruel. It's the
worst kind of cruelty--the thoughtless kind. You can't
cope with it. They keep cats there in the summer, and
feed and pet 'em, and doll 'em up with ribbons and
collars. And then in the fall they go off and leave
'em to starve or freeze. It makes my blood boil,
Mistress Blythe. One day last winter I found a poor
old mother cat dead on the shore, lying against the
skin-and-bone bodies of her three little kittens.
She'd died trying to shelter 'em. She had her poor
stiff paws around 'em. Master, I cried. Then I swore.
Then I carried them poor little kittens home and fed
'em up and found good homes for 'em. I knew the woman
who left the cat and when she come back this summer I
jest went over the harbor and told her my opinion of
her. It was rank meddling, but I do love meddling in a
"How did she take it?" asked Gilbert.
"Cried and said she `didn't think.' I says to her,
says I, `Do you s'pose that'll be held for a good
excuse in the day of Jedgment, when you'll have to
account for that poor old mother's life? The Lord'll
ask you what He give you your brains for if it wasn't
to think, I reckon.' I don't fancy she'll leave cats
to starve another time."
"Was the First Mate one of the forsaken?" asked Anne,
making advances to him which were responded to
graciously, if condescendingly.
"Yes. I found HIM one bitter cold day in winter,
caught in the branches of a tree by his durn-fool
ribbon collar. He was almost starving. If you could
have seen his eyes, Mistress Blythe! He was nothing
but a kitten, and he'd got his living somehow since
he'd been left until he got hung up. When I loosed him
he gave my hand a pitiful swipe with his little red
tongue. He wasn't the able seaman you see now. He was
meek as Moses. That was nine years ago. His life has
been long in the land for a cat. He's a good old pal,
the First Mate is."
"I should have expected you to have a dog," said
Captain Jim shook his head.
"I had a dog once. I thought so much of him that when
he died I couldn't bear the thought of getting another
in his place. He was a FRIEND--you understand,
Mistress Blythe? Matey's only a pal. I'm fond of
Matey--all the fonder on account of the spice of
devilment that's in him--like there is in all cats.
But I LOVED my dog. I always had a sneaking sympathy
for Alexander Elliott about HIS dog. There isn't any
devil in a good dog. That's why they're more lovable
than cats, I reckon. But I'm darned if they're as
interesting. Here I am, talking too much. Why don't
you check me? When I do get a chance to talk to
anyone I run on turrible. If you've done your tea I've
a few little things you might like to look at--picked
'em up in the queer corners I used to be poking my nose
Captain Jim's "few little things" turned out to be a
most interesting collection of curios, hideous, quaint
and beautiful. And almost every one had some striking
story attached to it.
Anne never forgot the delight with which she listened
to those old tales that moonlit evening by that
enchanted driftwood fire, while the silver sea called
to them through the open window and sobbed against the
rocks below them.
Captain Jim never said a boastful word, but it was
impossible to help seeing what a hero the man had
been--brave, true, resourceful, unselfish. He sat
there in his little room and made those things live
again for his hearers. By a lift of the eyebrow, a
twist of the lip, a gesture, a word, he painted a whole
scene or character so that they saw it as it was.
Some of Captain Jim's adventures had such a marvellous
edge that Anne and Gilbert secretly wondered if he were
not drawing a rather long bow at their credulous
expense. But in this, as they found later, they did
him injustice. His tales were all literally true.
Captain Jim had the gift of the born storyteller,
whereby "unhappy, far-off things" can be brought
vividly before the hearer in all their pristine
Anne and Gilbert laughed and shivered over his tales,
and once Anne found herself crying. Captain Jim
surveyed her tears with pleasure shining from his face.
"I like to see folks cry that way," he remarked.
"It's a compliment. But I can't do justice to the
things I've seen or helped to do. I've 'em all jotted
down in my life-book, but I haven't got the knack of
writing them out properly. If I could hit on jest the
right words and string 'em together proper on paper I
could make a great book. It would beat A Mad Love
holler, and I believe Joe'd like it as well as the
pirate yarns. Yes, I've had some adventures in my
time; and, do you know, Mistress Blythe, I still lust
after 'em. Yes, old and useless as I be, there's an
awful longing sweeps over me at times to sail
out--out--out there--forever and ever."
"Like Ulysses, you would
`Sail beyond the sunset and the baths Of all
the western stars until you die,'"
said Anne dreamily.
"Ulysses? I've read of him. Yes, that's just how I
feel--jest how all us old sailors feel, I reckon. I'll
die on land after all, I s'pose. Well, what is to be
will be. There was old William Ford at the Glen who
never went on the water in his life, 'cause he was
afraid of being drowned. A fortune-teller had
predicted he would be. And one day he fainted and fell
with his face in the barn trough and was drowned. Must
you go? Well, come soon and come often. The doctor is
to do the talking next time. He knows a heap of things
I want to find out. I'm sorter lonesome here by times.
It's been worse since Elizabeth Russell died. Her and
me was such cronies."
Captain Jim spoke with the pathos of the aged, who see
their old friends slipping from them one by
one--friends whose place can never be quite filled by
those of a younger generation, even of the race that
knows Joseph. Anne and Gilbert promised to come soon
"He's a rare old fellow, isn't he?" said Gilbert, as
they walked home.
"Somehow, I can't reconcile his simple, kindly
personality with the wild, adventurous life he has
lived," mused Anne.
"You wouldn't find it so hard if you had seen him the
other day down at the fishing village. One of the men
of Peter Gautier's boat made a nasty remark about some
girl along the shore. Captain Jim fairly scorched the
wretched fellow with the lightning of his eyes. He
seemed a man transformed. He didn't say much--but the
way he said it! You'd have thought it would strip the
flesh from the fellow's bones. I understand that
Captain Jim will never allow a word against any woman
to be said in his presence."
"I wonder why he never married," said Anne. "He
should have sons with their ships at sea now, and
grandchildren climbing over him to hear his
stories--he's that kind of a man. Instead, he has
nothing but a magnificent cat."
But Anne was mistaken. Captain Jim had more than that.
He had a memory.
"I'm going for a walk to the outside shore tonight,"
Anne told Gog and Magog one October evening. There was
no one else to tell, for Gilbert had gone over the
harbor. Anne had her little domain in the speckless
order one would expect of anyone brought up by Marilla
Cuthbert, and felt that she could gad shoreward with a
clear conscience. Many and delightful had been her
shore rambles, sometimes with Gilbert, sometimes with
Captain Jim, sometimes alone with her own thoughts and
new, poignantly-sweet dreams that were beginning to
span life with their rainbows. She loved the gentle,
misty harbor shore and the silvery, wind-haunted sand
shore, but best of all she loved the rock shore, with
its cliffs and caves and piles of surf-worn boulders,
and its coves where the pebbles glittered under the
pools; and it was to this shore she hied herself
There had been an autumn storm of wind and rain,
lasting for three days. Thunderous had been the crash
of billows on the rocks, wild the white spray and spume
that blew over the bar, troubled and misty and
tempest-torn the erstwhile blue peace of Four Winds
Harbor. Now it was over, and the shore lay
clean-washed after the storm; not a wind stirred, but
there was still a fine surf on, dashing on sand and
rock in a splendid white turmoil--the only restless
thing in the great, pervading stillness and peace.
"Oh, this is a moment worth living through weeks of
storm and stress for," Anne exclaimed, delightedly
sending her far gaze across the tossing waters from the
top of the cliff where she stood. Presently she
scrambled down the steep path to the little cove below,
where she seemed shut in with rocks and sea and sky.
"I'm going to dance and sing," she said. "There's no
one here to see me--the seagulls won't carry tales of
the matter. I may be as crazy as I like."
She caught up her skirt and pirouetted along the hard
strip of sand just out of reach of the waves that
almost lapped her feet with their spent foam. Whirling
round and round, laughing like a child, she reached the
little headland that ran out to the east of the cove;
then she stopped suddenly, blushing crimson; she was
not alone; there had been a witness to her dance and
The girl of the golden hair and sea-blue eyes was
sitting on a boulder of the headland, half-hidden by a
jutting rock. She was looking straight at Anne with a
strange expression--part wonder, part sympathy,
part--could it be?--envy. She was bare-headed, and her
splendid hair, more than ever like Browning's "gorgeous
snake," was bound about her head with a crimson
ribbon. She wore a dress of some dark material, very
plainly made; but swathed about her waist, outlining
its fine curves, was a vivid girdle of red silk. Her
hands, clasped over her knee, were brown and somewhat
work- hardened; but the skin of her throat and cheeks
was as white as cream. A flying gleam of sunset broke
through a low-lying western cloud and fell across her
hair. For a moment she seemed the spirit of the sea
personified--all its mystery, all its passion, all its
"You--you must think me crazy," stammered Anne, trying
to recover her self-possession. To be seen by this
stately girl in such an abandon of childishness--she,
Mrs. Dr. Blythe, with all the dignity of the matron to
keep up--it was too bad!
"No," said the girl, "I don't."
She said nothing more; her voice was expressionless;
her manner slightly repellent; but there was something
in her eyes--eager yet shy, defiant yet pleading--which
turned Anne from her purpose of walking away. Instead,
she sat down on the boulder beside the girl.
"Let's introduce ourselves," she said, with the smile
that had never yet failed to win confidence and
friendliness. "I am Mrs. Blythe--and I live in that
little white house up the harbor shore."
"Yes, I know," said the girl. "I am Leslie
Moore--Mrs. Dick Moore," she added stiffly.
Anne was silent for a moment from sheer amazement. It
had not occurred to her that this girl was
married--there seemed nothing of the wife about her.
And that she should be the neighbor whom Anne had
pictured as a commonplace Four Winds housewife! Anne
could not quickly adjust her mental focus to this
"Then--then you live in that gray house up the brook,"
"Yes. I should have gone over to call on you long
ago," said the other. She did not offer any
explanation or excuse for not having gone.
"I wish you WOULD come," said Anne, recovering herself
somewhat. "We're such near neighbors we ought to be
friends. That is the sole fault of Four Winds--there
aren't quite enough neighbors. Otherwise it is
"You like it?"
"LIKE it! I love it. It is the most beautiful place I
"I've never seen many places," said Leslie Moore,
slowly, "but I've always thought it was very lovely
here. I--I love it, too."
She spoke, as she looked, shyly, yet eagerly. Anne had
an odd impression that this strange girl--the word
"girl" would persist-- could say a good deal if she
"I often come to the shore," she added.
"So do I," said Anne. "It's a wonder we haven't met
"Probably you come earlier in the evening than I do.
It is generally late--almost dark--when I come. And I
love to come just after a storm--like this. I don't
like the sea so well when it's calm and quiet. I like
the struggle--and the crash--and the noise."
"I love it in all its moods," declared Anne. "The sea
at Four Winds is to me what Lover's Lane was at home.
Tonight it seemed so free--so untamed--something broke
loose in me, too, out of sympathy. That was why I
danced along the shore in that wild way. I didn't
suppose anybody was looking, of course. If Miss
Cornelia Bryant had seen me she would have forboded a
gloomy prospect for poor young Dr. Blythe."
"You know Miss Cornelia?" said Leslie, laughing. She
had an exquisite laugh; it bubbled up suddenly and
unexpectedly with something of the delicious quality of
a baby's. Anne laughed, too.
"Oh, yes. She has been down to my house of dreams
"Your house of dreams?"
"Oh, that's a dear, foolish little name Gilbert and I
have for our home. We just call it that between
ourselves. It slipped out before I thought."
"So Miss Russell's little white house is YOUR house of
dreams," said Leslie wonderingly. "_I_ had a house of
dreams once--but it was a palace," she added, with a
laugh, the sweetness of which was marred by a little
note of derision.
"Oh, I once dreamed of a palace, too," said Anne. "I
suppose all girls do. And then we settle down
contentedly in eight-room houses that seem to fulfill
all the desires of our hearts--because our prince is
there. YOU should have had your palace really,
though--you are so beautiful. You MUST let me say
it--it has to be said--I'm nearly bursting with
admiration. You are the loveliest thing I ever saw,
"If we are to be friends you must call me Leslie,"
said the other with an odd passion.
"Of course I will. And MY friends call me Anne."
"I suppose I am beautiful," Leslie went on, looking
stormily out to sea. "I hate my beauty. I wish I had
always been as brown and plain as the brownest and
plainest girl at the fishing village over there.
Well, what do you think of Miss Cornelia?"
The abrupt change of subject shut the door on any
"Miss Cornelia is a darling, isn't she?" said Anne.
"Gilbert and I were invited to her house to a state tea
last week. You've heard of groaning tables."
"I seem to recall seeing the expression in the
newspaper reports of weddings," said Leslie, smiling.
"Well, Miss Cornelia's groaned--at least, it
creaked--positively. You couldn't have believed she
would have cooked so much for two ordinary people. She
had every kind of pie you could name, I think--except
lemon pie. She said she had taken the prize for lemon
pies at the Charlottetown Exhibition ten years ago and
had never made any since for fear of losing her
reputation for them."
"Were you able to eat enough pie to please her?"
"_I_ wasn't. Gilbert won her heart by eating--I won't
tell you how much. She said she never knew a man who
didn't like pie better than his Bible. Do you know, I
love Miss Cornelia."
"So do I," said Leslie. "She is the best friend I
have in the world."
Anne wondered secretly why, if this were so, Miss
Cornelia had never mentioned Mrs. Dick Moore to her.
Miss Cornelia had certainly talked freely about every
other individual in or near Four Winds.
"Isn't that beautiful?" said Leslie, after a brief
silence, pointing to the exquisite effect of a shaft of
light falling through a cleft in the rock behind them,
across a dark green pool at its base. "If I had come
here--and seen nothing but just that--I would go home
"The effects of light and shadow all along these shores
are wonderful," agreed Anne. "My little sewing room
looks out on the harbor, and I sit at its window and
feast my eyes. The colors and shadows are never the
same two minutes together."
"And you are never lonely?" asked Leslie abruptly.
"Never-- when you are alone?"
"No. I don't think I've ever been really lonely in my
life," answered Anne. "Even when I'm alone I have
real good company-- dreams and imaginations and
pretendings. I LIKE to be alone now and then, just to
think over things and TASTE them. But I love
friendship-- and nice, jolly little times with people.
Oh, WON'T you come to see me--often? Please do. I
believe," Anne added, laughing, "that you'd like me if
you knew me."
"I wonder if YOU would like ME," said Leslie
seriously. She was not fishing for a compliment. She
looked out across the waves that were beginning to be
garlanded with blossoms of moonlit foam, and her eyes
filled with shadows.
"I'm sure I would," said Anne. "And please don't
think I'm utterly irresponsible because you saw me
dancing on the shore at sunset. No doubt I shall be
dignified after a time. You see, I haven't been
married very long. I feel like a girl, and sometimes
like a child, yet."
"I have been married twelve years," said Leslie.
Here was another unbelievable thing.
"Why, you can't be as old as I am!" exclaimed Anne.
"You must have been a child when you were married."
"I was sixteen," said Leslie, rising, and picking up
the cap and jacket lying beside her. "I am
twenty-eight now. Well, I must go back."
"So must I. Gilbert will probably be home. But I'm so
glad we both came to the shore tonight and met each
Leslie said nothing, and Anne was a little chilled.
She had offered friendship frankly but it had not been
accepted very graciously, if it had not been absolutely
repelled. In silence they climbed the cliffs and
walked across a pasture-field of which the feathery,
bleached, wild grasses were like a carpet of creamy
velvet in the moonlight. When they reached the shore
lane Leslie turned.
"I go this way, Mrs. Blythe. You will come over and
see me some time, won't you?"
Anne felt as if the invitation had been thrown at her.
She got the impression that Leslie Moore gave it
"I will come if you really want me to," she said a
"Oh, I do--I do," exclaimed Leslie, with an eagerness
which seemed to burst forth and beat down some
restraint that had been imposed on it.
"Then I'll come. Good-night--Leslie."
"Good-night, Mrs. Blythe."
Anne walked home in a brown study and poured out her
tale to Gilbert.
"So Mrs. Dick Moore isn't one of the race that knows
Joseph?" said Gilbert teasingly.
"No--o--o, not exactly. And yet--I think she WAS one
of them once, but has gone or got into exile," said
Anne musingly. "She is certainly very different from
the other women about here. You can't talk about eggs
and butter to HER. To think I've been imagining her a
second Mrs. Rachel Lynde! Have you ever seen Dick
"No. I've seen several men working about the fields of
the farm, but I don't know which was Moore."
"She never mentioned him. I KNOW she isn't happy."
"From what you tell me I suppose she was married before
she was old enough to know her own mind or heart, and
found out too late that she had made a mistake. It's a
common tragedy enough, Anne.
A fine woman would have made the best of it. Mrs.
Moore has evidently let it make her bitter and
"Don't let us judge her till we know," pleaded Anne.
"I don't believe her case is so ordinary. You will
understand her fascination when you meet her, Gilbert.
It is a thing quite apart from her beauty. I feel that
she possesses a rich nature, into which a friend might
enter as into a kingdom; but for some reason she bars
every one out and shuts all her possibilities up in
herself, so that they cannot develop and blossom.
There, I've been struggling to define her to myself
ever since I left her, and that is the nearest I can
get to it. I'm going to ask Miss Cornelia about her."
THE STORY OF LESLIE MOORE
"Yes, the eighth baby arrived a fortnight ago," said
Miss Cornelia, from a rocker before the fire of the
little house one chilly October afternoon. "It's a
girl. Fred was ranting mad--said he wanted a
boy--when the truth is he didn't want it at all. If it
had been a boy he'd have ranted because it wasn't a
girl. They had four girls and three boys before, so I
can't see that it made much difference what this one
was, but of course he'd have to be cantankerous, just
like a man. The baby is real pretty, dressed up in its
nice little clothes. It has black eyes and the
dearest, tiny hands."
"I must go and see it. I just love babies," said
Anne, smiling to herself over a thought too dear and
sacred to be put into words.
"I don't say but what they're nice," admitted Miss
Cornelia. "But some folks seem to have more than they
really need, believe ME. My poor cousin Flora up at
the Glen had eleven, and such a slave as she is! Her
husband suicided three years ago. Just like a man!"
"What made him do that?" asked Anne, rather shocked.
"Couldn't get his way over something, so he jumped into
the well . A good riddance! He was a born tyrant.
But of course it spoiled the well. Flora could never
abide the thought of using it again, poor thing! So
she had another dug and a frightful expense it was, and
the water as hard as nails. If he HAD to drown himself
there was plenty of water in the harbor, wasn't there?
I've no patience with a man like that. We've only had
two suicides in Four Winds in my recollection. The
other was Frank West--Leslie Moore's father. By the
way, has Leslie ever been over to call on you yet?"
"No, but I met her on the shore a few nights ago and we
scraped an acquaintance," said Anne, pricking up her
Miss Cornelia nodded.
"I'm glad, dearie. I was hoping you'd foregather with
her. What do you think of her?"
"I thought her very beautiful."
"Oh, of course. There was never anybody about Four
Winds could touch her for looks. Did you ever see her
hair? It reaches to her feet when she lets it down.
But I meant how did you like her?"
"I think I could like her very much if she'd let me,"
said Anne slowly.
"But she wouldn't let you--she pushed you off and kept
you at arm's length. Poor Leslie! You wouldn't be
much surprised if you knew what her life has been.
It's been a tragedy--a tragedy!" repeated Miss
"I wish you would tell me all about her--that is, if
you can do so without betraying any confidence."
"Lord, dearie, everybody in Four Winds knows poor
Leslie's story. It's no secret--the OUTSIDE, that is.
Nobody knows the INSIDE but Leslie herself, and she
doesn't take folks into her confidence. I'm about the
best friend she has on earth, I reckon, and she's never
uttered a word of complaint to me. Have you ever seen
"Well, I may as well begin at the beginning and tell
you everything straight through, so you'll understand
it. As I said, Leslie's father was Frank West. He was
clever and shiftless--just like a man. Oh, he had
heaps of brains--and much good they did him! He
started to go to college, and he went for two years,
and then his health broke down. The Wests were all
inclined to be consumptive. So Frank came home and
started farming. He married Rose Elliott from over
harbor. Rose was reckoned the beauty of Four
Winds--Leslie takes her looks from her mother, but she
has ten times the spirit and go that Rose had, and a
far better figure. Now you know, Anne, I always take
the ground that us women ought to stand by each other.
We've got enough to endure at the hands of the men, the
Lord knows, so I hold we hadn't ought to clapper-claw
one another, and it isn't often you'll find me running
down another woman. But I never had much use for Rose
Elliott. She was spoiled to begin with, believe ME,
and she was nothing but a lazy, selfish, whining
creature. Frank was no hand to work, so they were
poor as Job's turkey. Poor! They lived on potatoes
and point, believe ME. They had two children--Leslie
and Kenneth. Leslie had her mother's looks and her
father's brains, and something she didn't get from
either of them. She took after her Grandmother West--a
splendid old lady. She was the brightest, friendliest,
merriest thing when she was a child, Anne. Everybody
liked her. She was her father's favorite and she was
awful fond of him. They were `chums,' as she used to
say. She couldn't see any of his faults--and he WAS a
taking sort of man in some ways.
"Well, when Leslie was twelve years old, the first
dreadful thing happened. She worshipped little
Kenneth--he was four years younger than her, and he WAS
a dear little chap. And he was killed one day--fell
off a big load of hay just as it was going into the
barn, and the wheel went right over his little body and
crushed the life out of it. And mind you, Anne, Leslie
saw it. She was looking down from the loft. She gave
one screech--the hired man said he never heard such a
sound in all his life--he said it would ring in his
ears till Gabriel's trump drove it out. But she never
screeched or cried again about it. She jumped from the
loft onto the load and from the load to the floor, and
caught up the little bleeding, warm, dead body,
Anne--they had to tear it from her before she would let
it go. They sent for me--I can't talk of it."
Miss Cornelia wiped the tears from her kindly brown
eyes and sewed in bitter silence for a few minutes.
"Well," she resumed, "it was all over--they buried
little Kenneth in that graveyard over the harbor, and
after a while Leslie went back to her school and her
studies. She never mentioned Kenneth's name--I've
never heard it cross her lips from that day to this. I
reckon that old hurt still aches and burns at times;
but she was only a child and time is real kind to
children, Anne, dearie. After a while she began to
laugh again--she had the prettiest laugh. You don't
often hear it now."
"I heard it once the other night," said Anne. "It IS
a beautiful laugh."
"Frank West began to go down after Kenneth's death. He
wasn't strong and it was a shock to him, because he was
real fond of the child, though, as I've said, Leslie
was his favorite. He got mopy and melancholy, and
couldn't or wouldn't work. And one day, when Leslie
was fourteen years of age, he hanged himself--and in
the parlor, too, mind you, Anne, right in the middle of
the parlor from the lamp hook in the ceiling. Wasn't
that like a man? It was the anniversary of his
wedding day, too. Nice, tasty time to pick for it,
wasn't it? And, of course, that poor Leslie had to be
the one to find him. She went into the parlor that
morning, singing, with some fresh flowers for the
vases, and there she saw her father hanging from the
ceiling, his face as black as a coal. It was something
awful, believe ME!"
"Oh, how horrible!" said Anne, shuddering. "The poor,
"Leslie didn't cry at her father's funeral any more
then she had cried at Kenneth's. Rose whooped and
howled for two, however, and Leslie had all she could
do trying to calm and comfort her mother. I was
disgusted with Rose and so was everyone else, but
Leslie never got out of patience. She loved her
mother. Leslie is clannish--her own could never do
wrong in her eyes. Well, they buried Frank West beside
Kenneth, and Rose put up a great big monument to him.
It was bigger than his character, believe ME! Anyhow,
it was bigger than Rose could afford, for the farm was
mortgaged for more than its value. But not long after
Leslie's old grandmother West died and she left Leslie
a little money--enough to give her a year at Queen's
Academy. Leslie had made up her mind to pass for a
teacher if she could, and then earn enough to put
herself through Redmond College. That had been her
father's pet scheme--he wanted her to have what he had
lost. Leslie was full of ambition and her head was
chock full of brains. She went to Queen's, and she
took two years' work in one year and got her First;
and when she came home she got the Glen school. She
was so happy and hopeful and full of life and
eagerness. When I think of what she was then and what
she is now, I say--drat the men!"
Miss Cornelia snipped her thread off as viciously as
if, Nero-like, she was severing the neck of mankind by
"Dick Moore came into her life that summer. His
father, Abner Moore, kept store at the Glen, but Dick
had a sea-going streak in him from his mother; he used
to sail in summer and clerk in his father's store in
winter. He was a big, handsome fellow, with a little
ugly soul. He was always wanting something till he got
it, and then he stopped wanting it--just like a man.
Oh, he didn't growl at the weather when it was fine,
and he was mostly real pleasant and agreeable when
everything went right. But he drank a good deal, and
there were some nasty stories told of him and a girl
down at the fishing village. He wasn't fit for Leslie
to wipe her feet on, that's the long and short of it.
And he was a Methodist! But he was clean mad about
her--because of her good looks in the first place, and
because she wouldn't have anything to say to him in the
second. He vowed he'd have her--and he got her!"
"How did he bring it about?"
"Oh, it was an iniquitous thing! I'll never forgive
Rose West. You see, dearie, Abner Moore held the
mortgage on the West farm, and the interest was overdue
some years, and Dick just went and told Mrs. West that
if Leslie wouldn't marry him he'd get his father to
foreclose the mortgage. Rose carried on
terrible--fainted and wept, and pleaded with Leslie not
to let her be turned out of her home. She said it
would break her heart to leave the home she'd come to
as a bride. I wouldn't have blamed her for feeling
dreadful bad over it--but you wouldn't have thought
she'd be so selfish as to sacrifice her own flesh and
blood because of it, would you? Well, she was.
And Leslie gave in--she loved her mother so much she
would have done anything to save her pain. She married
Dick Moore. None of us knew why at the time. It
wasn't till long afterward that I found out how her
mother had worried her into it. I was sure there was
something wrong, though, because I knew how she had
snubbed him time and again, and it wasn't like Leslie
to turn face--about like that. Besides, I knew that
Dick Moore wasn't the kind of man Leslie could ever
fancy, in spite of his good looks and dashing ways. Of
course, there was no wedding, but Rose asked me to go
and see them married. I went, but I was sorry I did.
I'd seen Leslie's face at her brother's funeral and at
her father's funeral--and now it seemed to me I was
seeing it at her own funeral. But Rose was smiling as
a basket of chips, believe ME!
"Leslie and Dick settled down on the West place--Rose
couldn't bear to part with her dear daughter!--and
lived there for the winter. In the spring Rose took
pneumonia and died--a year too late! Leslie was
heart-broken enough over it. Isn't it terrible the way
some unworthy folks are loved, while others that
deserve it far more, you'd think, never get much
affection? As for Dick, he'd had enough of quiet
married life--just like a man. He was for up and off.
He went over to Nova Scotia to visit his relations--his
father had come from Nova Scotia--and he wrote back to
Leslie that his cousin, George Moore, was going on a
voyage to Havana and he was going too. The name of the
vessel was the Four Sisters and they were to be gone
about nine weeks.
"It must have been a relief to Leslie. But she never
said anything. From the day of her marriage she was
just what she is now--cold and proud, and keeping
everyone but me at a distance. I won't BE kept at a
distance, believe ME! I've just stuck to Leslie as
close as I knew how in spite of everything."
"She told me you were the best friend she had," said
"Did she?" exclaimed Miss Cornelia delightedly.
"Well, I'm real thankful to hear it. Sometimes I've
wondered if she really did want me around at all--she
never let me think so. You must have thawed her out
more than you think, or she wouldn't have said that
much itself to you. Oh, that poor, heart-broken girl!
I never see Dick Moore but I want to run a knife clean
Miss Cornelia wiped her eyes again and having relieved
her feelings by her blood-thirsty wish, took up her
"Well, Leslie was left over there alone. Dick had put
in the crop before he went, and old Abner looked after
it. The summer went by and the Four Sisters didn't
come back. The Nova Scotia Moores investigated, and
found she had got to Havana and discharged her cargo
and took on another and left for home; and that was all
they ever found out about her. By degrees people began
to talk of Dick Moore as one that was dead. Almost
everyone believed that he was, though no one felt
certain, for men have turned up here at the harbor
after they'd been gone for years. Leslie never thought
he was dead--and she was right. A thousand pities too!
The next summer Captain Jim was in Havana--that was
before he gave up the sea, of course. He thought he'd
poke round a bit--Captain Jim was always meddlesome,
just like a man--and he went to inquiring round among
the sailors' boarding houses and places like that, to
see if he could find out anything about the crew of the
Four Sisters. He'd better have let sleeping dogs lie,
in my opinion! Well, he went to one out-of-the-way
place, and there he found a man he knew at first sight
it was Dick Moore, though he had a big beard. Captain
Jim got it shaved off and then there was no
doubt--Dick Moore it was--his body at least. His mind
wasn't there--as for his soul, in my opinion he never
"What had happened to him?"
"Nobody knows the rights of it. All the folks who kept
the boarding house could tell was that about a year
before they had found him lying on their doorstep one
morning in an awful condition--his head battered to a
jelly almost. They supposed he'd got hurt in some
drunken row, and likely that's the truth of it. They
took him in, never thinking he could live. But he
did--and he was just like a child when he got well.
He hadn't memory or intellect or reason. They tried to
find out who he was but they never could. He couldn't
even tell them his name--he could only say a few simple
words. He had a letter on him beginning `Dear Dick'
and signed `Leslie,' but there was no address on it and
the envelope was gone. They let him stay on--he
learned to do a few odd jobs about the place--and there
Captain Jim found him. He brought him home-- I've
always said it was a bad day's work, though I s'pose
there was nothing else he could do. He thought maybe
when Dick got home and saw his old surroundings and
familiar faces his memory would wake up. But it hadn't
any effect. There he's been at the house up the brook
ever since. He's just like a child, no more nor less.
Takes fractious spells occasionally, but mostly he's
just vacant and good humored and harmless. He's apt to
run away if he isn't watched. That's the burden
Leslie has had to carry for eleven years--and all
alone. Old Abner Moore died soon after Dick was
brought home and it was found he was almost bankrupt.
When things were settled up there was nothing for
Leslie and Dick but the old West farm. Leslie rented
it to John Ward, and the rent is all she has to live
on. Sometimes in summer she takes a boarder to help
out. But most visitors prefer the other side of the
harbor where the hotels and summer cottages are.
Leslie's house is too far from the bathing shore.
She's taken care of Dick and she's never been away from
him for eleven years--she's tied to that imbecile for
life. And after all the dreams and hopes she once had!
You can imagine what it has been like for her, Anne,
dearie--with her beauty and spirit and pride and
cleverness. It's just been a living death."
"Poor, poor girl!" said Anne again. Her own happiness
seemed to reproach her. What right had she to be so
happy when another human soul must be so miserable?
"Will you tell me just what Leslie said and how she
acted the night you met her on the shore?" asked Miss
She listened intently and nodded her satisfaction.
"YOU thought she was stiff and cold, Anne, dearie, but
I can tell you she thawed out wonderful for her. She
must have taken to you real strong. I'm so glad. You
may be able to help her a good deal. I was thankful
when I heard that a young couple was coming to this
house, for I hoped it would mean some friends for
Leslie; especially if you belonged to the race that
knows Joseph. You WILL be her friend, won't you, Anne,
"Indeed I will, if she'll let me," said Anne, with all
her own sweet, impulsive earnestness.
"No, you must be her friend, whether she'll let you or
not," said Miss Cornelia resolutely. "Don't you mind
if she's stiff by times-- don't notice it. Remember
what her life has been--and is--and must always be, I
suppose, for creatures like Dick Moore live forever, I
understand. You should see how fat he's got since he
came home. He used to be lean enough. Just MAKE her
be friends--you can do it--you're one of those who have
the knack. Only you mustn't be sensitive. And don't
mind if she doesn't seem to want you to go over there
much. She knows that some women don't like to be where
Dick is--they complain he gives them the creeps. Just
get her to come over here as often as she can. She
can't get away so very much--she can't leave Dick long,
for the Lord knows what he'd do--burn the house down
most likely. At nights, after he's in bed and asleep,
is about the only time she's free. He always goes to
bed early and sleeps like the dead till next morning.
That is how you came to meet her at the shore likely.
She wanders there considerable."
"I will do everything I can for her," said Anne. Her
interest in Leslie Moore, which had been vivid ever
since she had seen her driving her geese down the hill,
was intensified a thousand fold by Miss Cornelia's
narration. The girl's beauty and sorrow and loneliness
drew her with an irresistible fascination. She had
never known anyone like her; her friends had hitherto
been wholesome, normal, merry girls like herself, with
only the average trials of human care and bereavement
to shadow their girlish dreams. Leslie Moore stood
apart, a tragic, appealing figure of thwarted
womanhood. Anne resolved that she would win entrance
into the kingdom of that lonely soul and find there the
comradeship it could so richly give, were it not for
the cruel fetters that held it in a prison not of its
"And mind you this, Anne, dearie," said Miss Cornelia,
who had not yet wholly relieved her mind, "You mustn't
think Leslie is an infidel because she hardly ever goes
to church--or even that she's a Methodist. She can't
take Dick to church, of course--not that he ever
troubled church much in his best days. But you just
remember that she's a real strong Presbyterian at
heart, Anne, dearie."
LESLIE COMES OVER
Leslie came over to the house of dreams one frosty
October night, when moonlit mists were hanging over the
harbor and curling like silver ribbons along the
seaward glens. She looked as if she repented coming
when Gilbert answered her knock; but Anne flew past
him, pounced on her, and drew her in.
"I'm so glad you picked tonight for a call," she said
gaily. "I made up a lot of extra good fudge this
afternoon and we want someone to help us eat it--before
the fire--while we tell stories. Perhaps Captain Jim
will drop in, too. This is his night."
"No. Captain Jim is over home," said Leslie. "He--he
made me come here," she added, half defiantly.
"I'll say a thank-you to him for that when I see him,"
said Anne, pulling easy chairs before the fire.
"Oh, I don't mean that I didn't want to come,"
protested Leslie, flushing a little. "I--I've been
thinking of coming--but it isn't always easy for me to
"Of course it must be hard for you to leave Mr.
Moore," said Anne, in a matter-of-fact tone. She had
decided that it would be best to mention Dick Moore
occasionally as an accepted fact, and not give undue
morbidness to the subject by avoiding it. She was
right, for Leslie's air of constraint suddenly
vanished. Evidently she had been wondering how much
Anne knew of the conditions of her life and was
relieved that no explanations were needed. She allowed
her cap and jacket to be taken, and sat down with a
girlish snuggle in the big armchair by Magog. She was
dressed prettily and carefully, with the customary
touch of color in the scarlet geranium at her white
throat. Her beautiful hair gleamed like molten gold in
the warm firelight. Her sea-blue eyes were full of
soft laughter and allurement. For the moment, under the
influence of the little house of dreams, she was a
girl again--a girl forgetful of the past and its
bitterness. The atmosphere of the many loves that had
sanctified the little house was all about her; the
companionship of two healthy, happy, young folks of
her own generation encircled her; she felt and yielded
to the magic of her surroundings--Miss Cornelia and
Captain Jim would scarcely have recognized her; Anne
found it hard to believe that this was the cold,
unresponsive woman she had met on the shore--this
animated girl who talked and listened with the
eagerness of a starved soul. And how hungrily Leslie's
eyes looked at the bookcases between the windows!
"Our library isn't very extensive," said Anne, "but
every book in it is a FRIEND. We've picked our books
up through the years, here and there, never buying one
until we had first read it and knew that it belonged to
the race of Joseph."
Leslie laughed--beautiful laughter that seemed akin to
all the mirth that had echoed through the little house
in the vanished years.
"I have a few books of father's--not many," she said.
"I've read them until I know them almost by heart. I
don't get many books. There's a circulating library at
the Glen store--but I don't think the committee who
pick the books for Mr. Parker know what books are of
Joseph's race--or perhaps they don't care. It was so
seldom I got one I really liked that I gave up getting
"I hope you'll look on our bookshelves as your own,"
"You are entirely and wholeheartedly welcome to the
loan of any book on them."
"You are setting a feast of fat things before me,"
said Leslie, joyously. Then, as the clock struck ten,
she rose, half unwillingly.
"I must go. I didn't realise it was so late. Captain
Jim is always saying it doesn't take long to stay an
hour. But I've stayed two--and oh, but I've enjoyed
them," she added frankly.
"Come often," said Anne and Gilbert. They had risen
and stood together in the firelight's glow. Leslie
looked at them--youthful, hopeful, happy, typifying all
she had missed and must forever miss. The light went
out of her face and eyes; the girl vanished; it was the
sorrowful, cheated woman who answered the invitation
almost coldly and got herself away with a pitiful
Anne watched her until she was lost in the shadows of
the chill and misty night. Then she turned slowly back
to the glow of her own radiant hearthstone.
"Isn't she lovely, Gilbert? Her hair fascinates me.
Miss Cornelia says it reaches to her feet. Ruby Gillis
had beautiful hair--but Leslie's is ALIVE--every thread
of it is living gold."
"She is very beautiful," agreed Gilbert, so heartily
that Anne almost wished he were a LITTLE less
"Gilbert, would you like my hair better if it were like
Leslie's?" she asked wistfully.
"I wouldn't have your hair any color but just what it
is for the world," said Gilbert, with one or two
You wouldn't be ANNE if you had golden hair--or hair of
any color but"--
"Red," said Anne, with gloomy satisfaction.
"Yes, red--to give warmth to that milk-white skin and
those shining gray-green eyes of yours. Golden hair
wouldn't suit you at all Queen Anne--MY Queen
Anne--queen of my heart and life and home."
"Then you may admire Leslie's all you like," said Anne
A GHOSTLY EVENING
One evening, a week later, Anne decided to run over the
fields to the house up the brook for an informal call.
It was an evening of gray fog that had crept in from
the gulf, swathed the harbor, filled the glens and
valleys, and clung heavily to the autumnal meadows.
Through it the sea sobbed and shuddered. Anne saw Four
Winds in a new aspect, and found it weird and
mysterious and fascinating; but it also gave her a
little feeling of loneliness. Gilbert was away and
would be away until the morrow, attending a medical
pow-wow in Charlottetown. Anne longed for an hour of
fellowship with some girl friend. Captain Jim and Miss
Cornelia were "good fellows" each, in their own way;
but youth yearned to youth.
"If only Diana or Phil or Pris or Stella could drop in
for a chat," she said to herself, "how delightful it
would be! This is such a GHOSTLY night. I'm sure all
the ships that ever sailed out of Four Winds to their
doom could be seen tonight sailing up the harbor with
their drowned crews on their decks, if that shrouding
fog could suddenly be drawn aside. I feel as if it
concealed innumerable mysteries--as if I were
surrounded by the wraiths of old generations of Four
Winds people peering at me through that gray veil. If
ever the dear dead ladies of this little house came
back to revisit it they would come on just such a night
as this. If I sit here any longer I'll see one of them
there opposite me in Gilbert's chair. This place isn't
exactly canny tonight. Even Gog and Magog have an air
of pricking up their ears to hear the footsteps of
unseen guests. I'll run over to see Leslie before I
frighten myself with my own fancies, as I did long ago
in the matter of the Haunted Wood. I'll leave my house
of dreams to welcome back its old inhabitants. My fire
will give them my good-will and greeting--they will be
gone before I come back, and my house will be mine once
more. Tonight I am sure it is keeping a tryst with the
Laughing a little over her fancy, yet with something of
a creepy sensation in the region of her spine, Anne
kissed her hand to Gog and Magog and slipped out into
the fog, with some of the new magazines under her arm
"Leslie's wild for books and magazines," Miss Cornelia
had told her, "and she hardly ever sees one. She can't
afford to buy them or subscribe for them. She's really
pitifully poor, Anne. I don't see how she makes out to
live at all on the little rent the farm brings in.
She never even hints a complaint on the score of
poverty, but I know what it must be. She's been
handicapped by it all her life. She didn't mind it
when she was free and ambitious, but it must gall now,
believe ME. I'm glad she seemed so bright and merry
the evening she spent with you. Captain Jim told me he
had fairly to put her cap and coat on and push her out
of the door. Don't be too long going to see her
either. If you are she'll think it's because you don't
like the sight of Dick, and she'll crawl into her shell
again. Dick's a great, big, harmless baby, but that
silly grin and chuckle of his do get on some people's
nerves. Thank goodness, I've no nerves myself. I like
Dick Moore better now than I ever did when he was in
his right senses--though the Lord knows that isn't
saying much. I was down there one day in housecleaning
time helping Leslie a bit, and I was frying doughnuts.
Dick was hanging round to get one, as usual, and all at
once he picked up a scalding hot one I'd just fished
out and dropped it on the back of my neck when I was
bending over. Then he laughed and laughed. Believe
ME, Anne, it took all the grace of God in my heart to
keep me from just whisking up that stew-pan of boiling
fat and pouring it over his head."
Anne laughed over Miss Cornelia's wrath as she sped
through the darkness. But laughter accorded ill with
that night. She was sober enough when she reached the
house among the willows. Everything was very silent.
The front part of the house seemed dark and deserted,
so Anne slipped round to the side door, which opened
from the veranda into a little sitting room. There she
The door was open. Beyond, in the dimly lighted room,
sat Leslie Moore, with her arms flung out on the table
and her head bent upon them. She was weeping
horribly--with low, fierce, choking sobs, as if some
agony in her soul were trying to tear itself out. An
old black dog was sitting by her, his nose resting on
his lap, his big doggish eyes full of mute, imploring
sympathy and devotion. Anne drew back in dismay. She
felt that she could not intermeddle with this
bitterness. Her heart ached with a sympathy she might
not utter. To go in now would be to shut the door
forever on any possible help or friendship. Some
instinct warned Anne that the proud, bitter girl would
never forgive the one who thus surprised her in her
abandonment of despair.
Anne slipped noiselessly from the veranda and found her
way across the yard. Beyond, she heard voices in the
gloom and saw the dim glow of a light. At the gate she
met two men--Captain Jim with a lantern, and another
who she knew must be Dick Moore--a big man, badly gone
to fat, with a broad, round, red face, and vacant eyes.
Even in the dull light Anne got the impression that
there was something unusual about his eyes.
"Is this you, Mistress Blythe?" said Captain Jim.
"Now, now, you hadn't oughter be roaming about alone on
a night like this. You could get lost in this fog
easier than not. Jest you wait till I see Dick safe
inside the door and I'll come back and light you over
the fields. I ain't going to have Dr. Blythe coming
home and finding that you walked clean over Cape
Leforce in the fog. A woman did that once, forty years
"So you've been over to see Leslie," he said, when he
"I didn't go in," said Anne, and told what she had
seen. Captain Jim sighed.
"Poor, poor, little girl! She don't cry often,
Mistress Blythe-- she's too brave for that. She must
feel terrible when she does cry. A night like this is
hard on poor women who have sorrows. There's
something about it that kinder brings up all we've
"It's full of ghosts," said Anne, with a shiver.
"That was why I came over--I wanted to clasp a human
hand and hear a human voice.
There seem to be so many INHUMAN presences about
tonight. Even my own dear house was full of them.
They fairly elbowed me out. So I fled over here for
companionship of my kind."
"You were right not to go in, though, Mistress Blythe.
Leslie wouldn't have liked it. She wouldn't have liked
me going in with Dick, as I'd have done if I hadn't met
you. I had Dick down with me all day. I keep him with
me as much as I can to help Leslie a bit."
"Isn't there something odd about his eyes?" asked
"You noticed that? Yes, one is blue and t'other is
hazel--his father had the same. It's a Moore
peculiarity. That was what told me he was Dick Moore
when I saw him first down in Cuby. If it hadn't a-bin
for his eyes I mightn't a-known him, with his beard and
fat. You know, I reckon, that it was me found him and
brought him home. Miss Cornelia always says I
shouldn't have done it, but I can't agree with her. It
was the RIGHT thing to do--and so 'twas the only thing.
There ain't no question in my mind about THAT. But my
old heart aches for Leslie. She's only twenty-eight
and she's eaten more bread with sorrow than most women
do in eighty years."
They walked on in silence for a little while.
Presently Anne said, "Do you know, Captain Jim, I never
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