Part 2 - Anne of Green Gables Audiobook by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Chs 11-18)


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Transcript:
CHAPTER XI. Anne's Impressions of Sunday-School
"Well, how do you like them?" said Marilla. Anne was standing in the gable room,
looking solemnly at three new dresses spread out on the bed.
One was of snuffy colored gingham which Marilla had been tempted to buy from a
peddler the preceding summer because it looked so serviceable; one was of black-
and-white checkered sateen which she had
picked up at a bargain counter in the winter; and one was a stiff print of an
ugly blue shade which she had purchased that week at a Carmody store.
She had made them up herself, and they were all made alike--plain skirts fulled tightly
to plain waists, with sleeves as plain as waist and skirt and tight as sleeves could
be.
"I'll imagine that I like them," said Anne soberly.
"I don't want you to imagine it," said Marilla, offended.
"Oh, I can see you don't like the dresses!
What is the matter with them? Aren't they neat and clean and new?"
"Yes." "Then why don't you like them?"
"They're--they're not--pretty," said Anne reluctantly.
"Pretty!" Marilla sniffed.
"I didn't trouble my head about getting pretty dresses for you.
I don't believe in pampering vanity, Anne, I'll tell you that right off.
Those dresses are good, sensible, serviceable dresses, without any frills or
furbelows about them, and they're all you'll get this summer.
The brown gingham and the blue print will do you for school when you begin to go.
The sateen is for church and Sunday school. I'll expect you to keep them neat and clean
and not to tear them.
I should think you'd be grateful to get most anything after those skimpy wincey
things you've been wearing." "Oh, I AM grateful," protested Anne.
"But I'd be ever so much gratefuller if--if you'd made just one of them with puffed
sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now.
It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves."
"Well, you'll have to do without your thrill.
I hadn't any material to waste on puffed sleeves.
I think they are ridiculous-looking things anyhow.
I prefer the plain, sensible ones."
"But I'd rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible
all by myself," persisted Anne mournfully. "Trust you for that!
Well, hang those dresses carefully up in your closet, and then sit down and learn
the Sunday school lesson.
I got a quarterly from Mr. Bell for you and you'll go to Sunday school tomorrow," said
Marilla, disappearing downstairs in high dudgeon.
Anne clasped her hands and looked at the dresses.
"I did hope there would be a white one with puffed sleeves," she whispered
disconsolately.
"I prayed for one, but I didn't much expect it on that account.
I didn't suppose God would have time to bother about a little orphan girl's dress.
I knew I'd just have to depend on Marilla for it.
Well, fortunately I can imagine that one of them is of snow-white muslin with lovely
lace frills and three-puffed sleeves."
The next morning warnings of a sick headache prevented Marilla from going to
Sunday-school with Anne. "You'll have to go down and call for Mrs.
Lynde, Anne." she said.
"She'll see that you get into the right class.
Now, mind you behave yourself properly. Stay to preaching afterwards and ask Mrs.
Lynde to show you our pew.
Here's a cent for collection. Don't stare at people and don't fidget.
I shall expect you to tell me the text when you come home."
Anne started off irreproachable, arrayed in the stiff black-and-white sateen, which,
while decent as regards length and certainly not open to the charge of
skimpiness, contrived to emphasize every corner and angle of her thin figure.
Her hat was a little, flat, glossy, new sailor, the extreme plainness of which had
likewise much disappointed Anne, who had permitted herself secret visions of ribbon
and flowers.
The latter, however, were supplied before Anne reached the main road, for being
confronted halfway down the lane with a golden frenzy of wind-stirred buttercups
and a glory of wild roses, Anne promptly
and liberally garlanded her hat with a heavy wreath of them.
Whatever other people might have thought of the result it satisfied Anne, and she
tripped gaily down the road, holding her ruddy head with its decoration of pink and
yellow very proudly.
When she had reached Mrs. Lynde's house she found that lady gone.
Nothing daunted, Anne proceeded onward to the church alone.
In the porch she found a crowd of little girls, all more or less gaily attired in
whites and blues and pinks, and all staring with curious eyes at this stranger in their
midst, with her extraordinary head adornment.
Avonlea little girls had already heard queer stories about Anne.
Mrs. Lynde said she had an awful temper; Jerry Buote, the hired boy at Green Gables,
said she talked all the time to herself or to the trees and flowers like a crazy girl.
They looked at her and whispered to each other behind their quarterlies.
Nobody made any friendly advances, then or later on when the opening exercises were
over and Anne found herself in Miss Rogerson's class.
Miss Rogerson was a middle-aged lady who had taught a Sunday-school class for twenty
years.
Her method of teaching was to ask the printed questions from the quarterly and
look sternly over its edge at the particular little girl she thought ought to
answer the question.
She looked very often at Anne, and Anne, thanks to Marilla's drilling, answered
promptly; but it may be questioned if she understood very much about either question
or answer.
She did not think she liked Miss Rogerson, and she felt very miserable; every other
little girl in the class had puffed sleeves.
Anne felt that life was really not worth living without puffed sleeves.
"Well, how did you like Sunday school?" Marilla wanted to know when Anne came home.
Her wreath having faded, Anne had discarded it in the lane, so Marilla was spared the
knowledge of that for a time. "I didn't like it a bit.
It was horrid."
"Anne Shirley!" said Marilla rebukingly. Anne sat down on the rocker with a long
sigh, kissed one of Bonny's leaves, and waved her hand to a blossoming fuchsia.
"They might have been lonesome while I was away," she explained.
"And now about the Sunday school. I behaved well, just as you told me.
Mrs. Lynde was gone, but I went right on myself.
I went into the church, with a lot of other little girls, and I sat in the corner of a
pew by the window while the opening exercises went on.
Mr. Bell made an awfully long prayer.
I would have been dreadfully tired before he got through if I hadn't been sitting by
that window.
But it looked right out on the Lake of Shining Waters, so I just gazed at that and
imagined all sorts of splendid things." "You shouldn't have done anything of the
sort.
You should have listened to Mr. Bell." "But he wasn't talking to me," protested
Anne. "He was talking to God and he didn't seem
to be very much inter-ested in it, either.
I think he thought God was too far off though.
There was a long row of white birches hanging over the lake and the sunshine fell
down through them, 'way, 'way down, deep into the water.
Oh, Marilla, it was like a beautiful dream!
It gave me a thrill and I just said, 'Thank you for it, God,' two or three times."
"Not out loud, I hope," said Marilla anxiously.
"Oh, no, just under my breath.
Well, Mr. Bell did get through at last and they told me to go into the classroom with
Miss Rogerson's class. There were nine other girls in it.
They all had puffed sleeves.
I tried to imagine mine were puffed, too, but I couldn't.
Why couldn't I?
It was as easy as could be to imagine they were puffed when I was alone in the east
gable, but it was awfully hard there among the others who had really truly puffs."
"You shouldn't have been thinking about your sleeves in Sunday school.
You should have been attending to the lesson.
I hope you knew it."
"Oh, yes; and I answered a lot of questions.
Miss Rogerson asked ever so many. I don't think it was fair for her to do all
the asking.
There were lots I wanted to ask her, but I didn't like to because I didn't think she
was a kindred spirit. Then all the other little girls recited a
paraphrase.
She asked me if I knew any. I told her I didn't, but I could recite,
'The Dog at His Master's Grave' if she liked.
That's in the Third Royal Reader.
It isn't a really truly religious piece of poetry, but it's so sad and melancholy that
it might as well be.
She said it wouldn't do and she told me to learn the nineteenth paraphrase for next
Sunday. I read it over in church afterwards and
it's splendid.
There are two lines in particular that just thrill me.
"'Quick as the slaughtered squadrons fell In Midian's evil day.'
"I don't know what 'squadrons' means nor 'Midian,' either, but it sounds SO
tragical. I can hardly wait until next Sunday to
recite it.
I'll practice it all the week. After Sunday school I asked Miss Rogerson--
because Mrs. Lynde was too far away--to show me your pew.
I sat just as still as I could and the text was Revelations, third chapter, second and
third verses. It was a very long text.
If I was a minister I'd pick the short, snappy ones.
The sermon was awfully long, too. I suppose the minister had to match it to
the text.
I didn't think he was a bit interesting. The trouble with him seems to be that he
hasn't enough imagination. I didn't listen to him very much.
I just let my thoughts run and I thought of the most surprising things."
Marilla felt helplessly that all this should be sternly reproved, but she was
hampered by the undeniable fact that some of the things Anne had said, especially
about the minister's sermons and Mr. Bell's
prayers, were what she herself had really thought deep down in her heart for years,
but had never given expression to.
It almost seemed to her that those secret, unuttered, critical thoughts had suddenly
taken visible and accusing shape and form in the person of this outspoken morsel of
neglected humanity.
>
CHAPTER XII. A Solemn Vow and Promise
It was not until the next Friday that Marilla heard the story of the flower-
wreathed hat. She came home from Mrs. Lynde's and called
Anne to account.
"Anne, Mrs. Rachel says you went to church last Sunday with your hat rigged out
ridiculous with roses and buttercups. What on earth put you up to such a caper?
A pretty-looking object you must have been!"
"Oh. I know pink and yellow aren't becoming to
me," began Anne.
"Becoming fiddlesticks! It was putting flowers on your hat at all,
no matter what color they were, that was ridiculous.
You are the most aggravating child!"
"I don't see why it's any more ridiculous to wear flowers on your hat than on your
dress," protested Anne. "Lots of little girls there had bouquets
pinned on their dresses.
What's the difference?" Marilla was not to be drawn from the safe
concrete into dubious paths of the abstract.
"Don't answer me back like that, Anne.
It was very silly of you to do such a thing.
Never let me catch you at such a trick again.
Mrs. Rachel says she thought she would sink through the floor when she saw you come in
all rigged out like that. She couldn't get near enough to tell you to
take them off till it was too late.
She says people talked about it something dreadful.
Of course they would think I had no better sense than to let you go decked out like
that."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Anne, tears welling into her eyes.
"I never thought you'd mind.
The roses and buttercups were so sweet and pretty I thought they'd look lovely on my
hat. Lots of the little girls had artificial
flowers on their hats.
I'm afraid I'm going to be a dreadful trial to you.
Maybe you'd better send me back to the asylum.
That would be terrible; I don't think I could endure it; most likely I would go
into consumption; I'm so thin as it is, you see.
But that would be better than being a trial to you."
"Nonsense," said Marilla, vexed at herself for having made the child cry.
"I don't want to send you back to the asylum, I'm sure.
All I want is that you should behave like other little girls and not make yourself
ridiculous.
Don't cry any more. I've got some news for you.
Diana Barry came home this afternoon.
I'm going up to see if I can borrow a skirt pattern from Mrs. Barry, and if you like
you can come with me and get acquainted with Diana."
Anne rose to her feet, with clasped hands, the tears still glistening on her cheeks;
the dish towel she had been hemming slipped unheeded to the floor.
"Oh, Marilla, I'm frightened--now that it has come I'm actually frightened.
What if she shouldn't like me! It would be the most tragical
disappointment of my life."
"Now, don't get into a fluster. And I do wish you wouldn't use such long
words. It sounds so funny in a little girl.
I guess Diana'll like you well enough.
It's her mother you've got to reckon with. If she doesn't like you it won't matter how
much Diana does.
If she has heard about your outburst to Mrs. Lynde and going to church with
buttercups round your hat I don't know what she'll think of you.
You must be polite and well behaved, and don't make any of your startling speeches.
For pity's sake, if the child isn't actually trembling!"
Anne WAS trembling.
Her face was pale and tense.
"Oh, Marilla, you'd be excited, too, if you were going to meet a little girl you hoped
to be your bosom friend and whose mother mightn't like you," she said as she
hastened to get her hat.
They went over to Orchard Slope by the short cut across the brook and up the firry
hill grove. Mrs. Barry came to the kitchen door in
answer to Marilla's knock.
She was a tall black-eyed, black-haired woman, with a very resolute mouth.
She had the reputation of being very strict with her children.
"How do you do, Marilla?" she said cordially.
"Come in. And this is the little girl you have
adopted, I suppose?"
"Yes, this is Anne Shirley," said Marilla. "Spelled with an E," gasped Anne, who,
tremulous and excited as she was, was determined there should be no
misunderstanding on that important point.
Mrs. Barry, not hearing or not comprehending, merely shook hands and said
kindly: "How are you?"
"I am well in body although considerable rumpled up in spirit, thank you ma'am,"
said Anne gravely.
Then aside to Marilla in an audible whisper, "There wasn't anything startling
in that, was there, Marilla?"
Diana was sitting on the sofa, reading a book which she dropped when the callers
entered.
She was a very pretty little girl, with her mother's black eyes and hair, and rosy
cheeks, and the merry expression which was her inheritance from her father.
"This is my little girl Diana," said Mrs. Barry.
"Diana, you might take Anne out into the garden and show her your flowers.
It will be better for you than straining your eyes over that book.
She reads entirely too much--" this to Marilla as the little girls went out--"and
I can't prevent her, for her father aids and abets her.
She's always poring over a book.
I'm glad she has the prospect of a playmate--perhaps it will take her more
out-of-doors."
Outside in the garden, which was full of mellow sunset light streaming through the
dark old firs to the west of it, stood Anne and Diana, gazing bashfully at each other
over a clump of gorgeous tiger lilies.
The Barry garden was a bowery wilderness of flowers which would have delighted Anne's
heart at any time less fraught with destiny.
It was encircled by huge old willows and tall firs, beneath which flourished flowers
that loved the shade.
Prim, right-angled paths neatly bordered with clamshells, intersected it like moist
red ribbons and in the beds between old- fashioned flowers ran riot.
There were rosy bleeding-hearts and great splendid crimson peonies; white, fragrant
narcissi and thorny, sweet Scotch roses; pink and blue and white columbines and
lilac-tinted Bouncing Bets; clumps of
southernwood and ribbon grass and mint; purple Adam-and-Eve, daffodils, and masses
of sweet clover white with its delicate, fragrant, feathery sprays; scarlet
lightning that shot its fiery lances over
prim white musk-flowers; a garden it was where sunshine lingered and bees hummed,
and winds, beguiled into loitering, purred and rustled.
"Oh, Diana," said Anne at last, clasping her hands and speaking almost in a whisper,
"oh, do you think you can like me a little- -enough to be my bosom friend?"
Diana laughed.
Diana always laughed before she spoke. "Why, I guess so," she said frankly.
"I'm awfully glad you've come to live at Green Gables.
It will be jolly to have somebody to play with.
There isn't any other girl who lives near enough to play with, and I've no sisters
big enough."
"Will you swear to be my friend forever and ever?" demanded Anne eagerly.
Diana looked shocked. "Why it's dreadfully wicked to swear," she
said rebukingly.
"Oh no, not my kind of swearing. There are two kinds, you know."
"I never heard of but one kind," said Diana doubtfully.
"There really is another.
Oh, it isn't wicked at all. It just means vowing and promising
solemnly." "Well, I don't mind doing that," agreed
Diana, relieved.
"How do you do it?" "We must join hands--so," said Anne
gravely. "It ought to be over running water.
We'll just imagine this path is running water.
I'll repeat the oath first.
I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and
moon shall endure. Now you say it and put my name in."
Diana repeated the "oath" with a laugh fore and aft.
Then she said: "You're a queer girl, Anne.
I heard before that you were queer.
But I believe I'm going to like you real well."
When Marilla and Anne went home Diana went with them as for as the log bridge.
The two little girls walked with their arms about each other.
At the brook they parted with many promises to spend the next afternoon together.
"Well, did you find Diana a kindred spirit?" asked Marilla as they went up
through the garden of Green Gables.
"Oh yes," sighed Anne, blissfully unconscious of any sarcasm on Marilla's
part. "Oh Marilla, I'm the happiest girl on
Prince Edward Island this very moment.
I assure you I'll say my prayers with a right good-will tonight.
Diana and I are going to build a playhouse in Mr. William Bell's birch grove tomorrow.
Can I have those broken pieces of china that are out in the woodshed?
Diana's birthday is in February and mine is in March.
Don't you think that is a very strange coincidence?
Diana is going to lend me a book to read. She says it's perfectly splendid and
tremendously exciting.
She's going to show me a place back in the woods where rice lilies grow.
Don't you think Diana has got very soulful eyes?
I wish I had soulful eyes.
Diana is going to teach me to sing a song called 'Nelly in the Hazel Dell.'
She's going to give me a picture to put up in my room; it's a perfectly beautiful
picture, she says--a lovely lady in a pale blue silk dress.
A sewing-machine agent gave it to her.
I wish I had something to give Diana.
I'm an inch taller than Diana, but she is ever so much fatter; she says she'd like to
be thin because it's so much more graceful, but I'm afraid she only said it to soothe
my feelings.
We're going to the shore some day to gather shells.
We have agreed to call the spring down by the log bridge the Dryad's Bubble.
Isn't that a perfectly elegant name?
I read a story once about a spring called that.
A dryad is sort of a grown-up fairy, I think."
"Well, all I hope is you won't talk Diana to death," said Marilla.
"But remember this in all your planning, Anne.
You're not going to play all the time nor most of it.
You'll have your work to do and it'll have to be done first."
Anne's cup of happiness was full, and Matthew caused it to overflow.
He had just got home from a trip to the store at Carmody, and he sheepishly
produced a small parcel from his pocket and handed it to Anne, with a deprecatory look
at Marilla.
"I heard you say you liked chocolate sweeties, so I got you some," he said.
"Humph," sniffed Marilla. "It'll ruin her teeth and stomach.
There, there, child, don't look so dismal.
You can eat those, since Matthew has gone and got them.
He'd better have brought you peppermints. They're wholesomer.
Don't sicken yourself eating all them at once now."
"Oh, no, indeed, I won't," said Anne eagerly.
"I'll just eat one tonight, Marilla.
And I can give Diana half of them, can't I? The other half will taste twice as sweet to
me if I give some to her. It's delightful to think I have something
to give her."
"I will say it for the child," said Marilla when Anne had gone to her gable, "she isn't
stingy. I'm glad, for of all faults I detest
stinginess in a child.
Dear me, it's only three weeks since she came, and it seems as if she'd been here
always. I can't imagine the place without her.
Now, don't be looking I told-you-so, Matthew.
That's bad enough in a woman, but it isn't to be endured in a man.
I'm perfectly willing to own up that I'm glad I consented to keep the child and that
I'm getting fond of her, but don't you rub it in, Matthew Cuthbert."
>
CHAPTER XIII. The Delights of Anticipation
"It's time Anne was in to do her sewing," said Marilla, glancing at the clock and
then out into the yellow August afternoon where everything drowsed in the heat.
"She stayed playing with Diana more than half an hour more'n I gave her leave to;
and now she's perched out there on the woodpile talking to Matthew, nineteen to
the dozen, when she knows perfectly well she ought to be at her work.
And of course he's listening to her like a perfect ninny.
I never saw such an infatuated man.
The more she talks and the odder the things she says, the more he's delighted
evidently. Anne Shirley, you come right in here this
minute, do you hear me!"
A series of staccato taps on the west window brought Anne flying in from the
yard, eyes shining, cheeks faintly flushed with pink, unbraided hair streaming behind
her in a torrent of brightness.
"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed breathlessly, "there's going to be a Sunday-school picnic
next week--in Mr. Harmon Andrews's field, right near the lake of Shining Waters.
And Mrs. Superintendent Bell and Mrs. Rachel Lynde are going to make ice cream--
think of it, Marilla--ICE CREAM! And, oh, Marilla, can I go to it?"
"Just look at the clock, if you please, Anne.
What time did I tell you to come in?" "Two o'clock--but isn't it splendid about
the picnic, Marilla?
Please can I go? Oh, I've never been to a picnic--I've
dreamed of picnics, but I've never--" "Yes, I told you to come at two o'clock.
And it's a quarter to three.
I'd like to know why you didn't obey me, Anne."
"Why, I meant to, Marilla, as much as could be.
But you have no idea how fascinating Idlewild is.
And then, of course, I had to tell Matthew about the picnic.
Matthew is such a sympathetic listener.
Please can I go?" "You'll have to learn to resist the
fascination of Idle-whatever-you-call-it.
When I tell you to come in at a certain time I mean that time and not half an hour
later. And you needn't stop to discourse with
sympathetic listeners on your way, either.
As for the picnic, of course you can go. You're a Sunday-school scholar, and it's
not likely I'd refuse to let you go when all the other little girls are going."
"But--but," faltered Anne, "Diana says that everybody must take a basket of things to
eat.
I can't cook, as you know, Marilla, and-- and--I don't mind going to a picnic without
puffed sleeves so much, but I'd feel terribly humiliated if I had to go without
a basket.
It's been preying on my mind ever since Diana told me."
"Well, it needn't prey any longer. I'll bake you a basket."
"Oh, you dear good Marilla.
Oh, you are so kind to me. Oh, I'm so much obliged to you."
Getting through with her "ohs" Anne cast herself into Marilla's arms and rapturously
kissed her sallow cheek.
It was the first time in her whole life that childish lips had voluntarily touched
Marilla's face. Again that sudden sensation of startling
sweetness thrilled her.
She was secretly vastly pleased at Anne's impulsive caress, which was probably the
reason why she said brusquely: "There, there, never mind your kissing
nonsense.
I'd sooner see you doing strictly as you're told.
As for cooking, I mean to begin giving you lessons in that some of these days.
But you're so featherbrained, Anne, I've been waiting to see if you'd sober down a
little and learn to be steady before I begin.
You've got to keep your wits about you in cooking and not stop in the middle of
things to let your thoughts rove all over creation.
Now, get out your patchwork and have your square done before teatime."
"I do NOT like patchwork," said Anne dolefully, hunting out her workbasket and
sitting down before a little heap of red and white diamonds with a sigh.
"I think some kinds of sewing would be nice; but there's no scope for imagination
in patchwork. It's just one little seam after another and
you never seem to be getting anywhere.
But of course I'd rather be Anne of Green Gables sewing patchwork than Anne of any
other place with nothing to do but play.
I wish time went as quick sewing patches as it does when I'm playing with Diana,
though. Oh, we do have such elegant times, Marilla.
I have to furnish most of the imagination, but I'm well able to do that.
Diana is simply perfect in every other way.
You know that little piece of land across the brook that runs up between our farm and
Mr. Barry's.
It belongs to Mr. William Bell, and right in the corner there is a little ring of
white birch trees--the most romantic spot, Marilla.
Diana and I have our playhouse there.
We call it Idlewild. Isn't that a poetical name?
I assure you it took me some time to think it out.
I stayed awake nearly a whole night before I invented it.
Then, just as I was dropping off to sleep, it came like an inspiration.
Diana was ENRAPTURED when she heard it.
We have got our house fixed up elegantly. You must come and see it, Marilla--won't
you?
We have great big stones, all covered with moss, for seats, and boards from tree to
tree for shelves. And we have all our dishes on them.
Of course, they're all broken but it's the easiest thing in the world to imagine that
they are whole.
There's a piece of a plate with a spray of red and yellow ivy on it that is especially
beautiful. We keep it in the parlor and we have the
fairy glass there, too.
The fairy glass is as lovely as a dream. Diana found it out in the woods behind
their chicken house.
It's all full of rainbows--just little young rainbows that haven't grown big yet--
and Diana's mother told her it was broken off a hanging lamp they once had.
But it's nice to imagine the fairies lost it one night when they had a ball, so we
call it the fairy glass. Matthew is going to make us a table.
Oh, we have named that little round pool over in Mr. Barry's field Willowmere.
I got that name out of the book Diana lent me.
That was a thrilling book, Marilla.
The heroine had five lovers. I'd be satisfied with one, wouldn't you?
She was very handsome and she went through great tribulations.
She could faint as easy as anything.
I'd love to be able to faint, wouldn't you, Marilla?
It's so romantic. But I'm really very healthy for all I'm so
thin.
I believe I'm getting fatter, though. Don't you think I am?
I look at my elbows every morning when I get up to see if any dimples are coming.
Diana is having a new dress made with elbow sleeves.
She is going to wear it to the picnic. Oh, I do hope it will be fine next
Wednesday.
I don't feel that I could endure the disappointment if anything happened to
prevent me from getting to the picnic. I suppose I'd live through it, but I'm
certain it would be a lifelong sorrow.
It wouldn't matter if I got to a hundred picnics in after years; they wouldn't make
up for missing this one.
They're going to have boats on the Lake of Shining Waters--and ice cream, as I told
you. I have never tasted ice cream.
Diana tried to explain what it was like, but I guess ice cream is one of those
things that are beyond imagination." "Anne, you have talked even on for ten
minutes by the clock," said Marilla.
"Now, just for curiosity's sake, see if you can hold your tongue for the same length of
time." Anne held her tongue as desired.
But for the rest of the week she talked picnic and thought picnic and dreamed
picnic.
On Saturday it rained and she worked herself up into such a frantic state lest
it should keep on raining until and over Wednesday that Marilla made her sew an
extra patchwork square by way of steadying her nerves.
On Sunday Anne confided to Marilla on the way home from church that she grew actually
cold all over with excitement when the minister announced the picnic from the
pulpit.
"Such a thrill as went up and down my back, Marilla!
I don't think I'd ever really believed until then that there was honestly going to
be a picnic.
I couldn't help fearing I'd only imagined it.
But when a minister says a thing in the pulpit you just have to believe it."
"You set your heart too much on things, Anne," said Marilla, with a sigh.
"I'm afraid there'll be a great many disappointments in store for you through
life."
"Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," exclaimed Anne.
"You mayn't get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun
of looking forward to them.
Mrs. Lynde says, 'Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be
disappointed.' But I think it would be worse to expect
nothing than to be disappointed."
Marilla wore her amethyst brooch to church that day as usual.
Marilla always wore her amethyst brooch to church.
She would have thought it rather sacrilegious to leave it off--as bad as
forgetting her Bible or her collection dime.
That amethyst brooch was Marilla's most treasured possession.
A seafaring uncle had given it to her mother who in turn had bequeathed it to
Marilla.
It was an old-fashioned oval, containing a braid of her mother's hair, surrounded by a
border of very fine amethysts.
Marilla knew too little about precious stones to realize how fine the amethysts
actually were; but she thought them very beautiful and was always pleasantly
conscious of their violet shimmer at her
throat, above her good brown satin dress, even although she could not see it.
Anne had been smitten with delighted admiration when she first saw that brooch.
"Oh, Marilla, it's a perfectly elegant brooch.
I don't know how you can pay attention to the sermon or the prayers when you have it
on.
I couldn't, I know. I think amethysts are just sweet.
They are what I used to think diamonds were like.
Long ago, before I had ever seen a diamond, I read about them and I tried to imagine
what they would be like. I thought they would be lovely glimmering
purple stones.
When I saw a real diamond in a lady's ring one day I was so disappointed I cried.
Of course, it was very lovely but it wasn't my idea of a diamond.
Will you let me hold the brooch for one minute, Marilla?
Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?"
>
CHAPTER XIV. Anne's Confession
ON the Monday evening before the picnic Marilla came down from her room with a
troubled face.
"Anne," she said to that small personage, who was shelling peas by the spotless table
and singing, "Nelly of the Hazel Dell" with a vigor and expression that did credit to
Diana's teaching, "did you see anything of my amethyst brooch?
I thought I stuck it in my pincushion when I came home from church yesterday evening,
but I can't find it anywhere."
"I--I saw it this afternoon when you were away at the Aid Society," said Anne, a
little slowly. "I was passing your door when I saw it on
the cushion, so I went in to look at it."
"Did you touch it?" said Marilla sternly. "Y-e-e-s," admitted Anne, "I took it up and
I pinned it on my breast just to see how it would look."
"You had no business to do anything of the sort.
It's very wrong in a little girl to meddle.
You shouldn't have gone into my room in the first place and you shouldn't have touched
a brooch that didn't belong to you in the second.
Where did you put it?"
"Oh, I put it back on the bureau. I hadn't it on a minute.
Truly, I didn't mean to meddle, Marilla.
I didn't think about its being wrong to go in and try on the brooch; but I see now
that it was and I'll never do it again. That's one good thing about me.
I never do the same naughty thing twice."
"You didn't put it back," said Marilla. "That brooch isn't anywhere on the bureau.
You've taken it out or something, Anne." "I did put it back," said Anne quickly--
pertly, Marilla thought.
"I don't just remember whether I stuck it on the pincushion or laid it in the china
tray. But I'm perfectly certain I put it back."
"I'll go and have another look," said Marilla, determining to be just.
"If you put that brooch back it's there still.
If it isn't I'll know you didn't, that's all!"
Marilla went to her room and made a thorough search, not only over the bureau
but in every other place she thought the brooch might possibly be.
It was not to be found and she returned to the kitchen.
"Anne, the brooch is gone. By your own admission you were the last
person to handle it.
Now, what have you done with it? Tell me the truth at once.
Did you take it out and lose it?" "No, I didn't," said Anne solemnly, meeting
Marilla's angry gaze squarely.
"I never took the brooch out of your room and that is the truth, if I was to be led
to the block for it--although I'm not very certain what a block is.
So there, Marilla."
Anne's "so there" was only intended to emphasize her assertion, but Marilla took
it as a display of defiance. "I believe you are telling me a falsehood,
Anne," she said sharply.
"I know you are. There now, don't say anything more unless
you are prepared to tell the whole truth. Go to your room and stay there until you
are ready to confess."
"Will I take the peas with me?" said Anne meekly.
"No, I'll finish shelling them myself. Do as I bid you."
When Anne had gone Marilla went about her evening tasks in a very disturbed state of
mind. She was worried about her valuable brooch.
What if Anne had lost it?
And how wicked of the child to deny having taken it, when anybody could see she must
have! With such an innocent face, too!
"I don't know what I wouldn't sooner have had happen," thought Marilla, as she
nervously shelled the peas. "Of course, I don't suppose she meant to
steal it or anything like that.
She's just taken it to play with or help along that imagination of hers.
She must have taken it, that's clear, for there hasn't been a soul in that room since
she was in it, by her own story, until I went up tonight.
And the brooch is gone, there's nothing surer.
I suppose she has lost it and is afraid to own up for fear she'll be punished.
It's a dreadful thing to think she tells falsehoods.
It's a far worse thing than her fit of temper.
It's a fearful responsibility to have a child in your house you can't trust.
Slyness and untruthfulness--that's what she has displayed.
I declare I feel worse about that than about the brooch.
If she'd only have told the truth about it I wouldn't mind so much."
Marilla went to her room at intervals all through the evening and searched for the
brooch, without finding it. A bedtime visit to the east gable produced
no result.
Anne persisted in denying that she knew anything about the brooch but Marilla was
only the more firmly convinced that she did.
She told Matthew the story the next morning.
Matthew was confounded and puzzled; he could not so quickly lose faith in Anne but
he had to admit that circumstances were against her.
"You're sure it hasn't fell down behind the bureau?" was the only suggestion he could
offer.
"I've moved the bureau and I've taken out the drawers and I've looked in every crack
and cranny" was Marilla's positive answer. "The brooch is gone and that child has
taken it and lied about it.
That's the plain, ugly truth, Matthew Cuthbert, and we might as well look it in
the face." "Well now, what are you going to do about
it?"
Matthew asked forlornly, feeling secretly thankful that Marilla and not he had to
deal with the situation. He felt no desire to put his oar in this
time.
"She'll stay in her room until she confesses," said Marilla grimly,
remembering the success of this method in the former case.
"Then we'll see.
Perhaps we'll be able to find the brooch if she'll only tell where she took it; but in
any case she'll have to be severely punished, Matthew."
"Well now, you'll have to punish her," said Matthew, reaching for his hat.
"I've nothing to do with it, remember. You warned me off yourself."
Marilla felt deserted by everyone.
She could not even go to Mrs. Lynde for advice.
She went up to the east gable with a very serious face and left it with a face more
serious still.
Anne steadfastly refused to confess. She persisted in asserting that she had not
taken the brooch.
The child had evidently been crying and Marilla felt a pang of pity which she
sternly repressed. By night she was, as she expressed it,
"beat out."
"You'll stay in this room until you confess, Anne.
You can make up your mind to that," she said firmly.
"But the picnic is tomorrow, Marilla," cried Anne.
"You won't keep me from going to that, will you?
You'll just let me out for the afternoon, won't you?
Then I'll stay here as long as you like AFTERWARDS cheerfully.
But I MUST go to the picnic."
"You'll not go to picnics nor anywhere else until you've confessed, Anne."
"Oh, Marilla," gasped Anne. But Marilla had gone out and shut the door.
Wednesday morning dawned as bright and fair as if expressly made to order for the
picnic.
Birds sang around Green Gables; the Madonna lilies in the garden sent out whiffs of
perfume that entered in on viewless winds at every door and window, and wandered
through halls and rooms like spirits of benediction.
The birches in the hollow waved joyful hands as if watching for Anne's usual
morning greeting from the east gable.
But Anne was not at her window. When Marilla took her breakfast up to her
she found the child sitting primly on her bed, pale and resolute, with tight-shut
lips and gleaming eyes.
"Marilla, I'm ready to confess." "Ah!"
Marilla laid down her tray. Once again her method had succeeded; but
her success was very bitter to her.
"Let me hear what you have to say then, Anne."
"I took the amethyst brooch," said Anne, as if repeating a lesson she had learned.
"I took it just as you said.
I didn't mean to take it when I went in. But it did look so beautiful, Marilla, when
I pinned it on my breast that I was overcome by an irresistible temptation.
I imagined how perfectly thrilling it would be to take it to Idlewild and play I was
the Lady Cordelia Fitzgerald.
It would be so much easier to imagine I was the Lady Cordelia if I had a real amethyst
brooch on.
Diana and I make necklaces of roseberries but what are roseberries compared to
amethysts? So I took the brooch.
I thought I could put it back before you came home.
I went all the way around by the road to lengthen out the time.
When I was going over the bridge across the Lake of Shining Waters I took the brooch
off to have another look at it. Oh, how it did shine in the sunlight!
And then, when I was leaning over the bridge, it just slipped through my fingers-
-so--and went down--down--down, all purply- sparkling, and sank forevermore beneath the
Lake of Shining Waters.
And that's the best I can do at confessing, Marilla."
Marilla felt hot anger surge up into her heart again.
This child had taken and lost her treasured amethyst brooch and now sat there calmly
reciting the details thereof without the least apparent compunction or repentance.
"Anne, this is terrible," she said, trying to speak calmly.
"You are the very wickedest girl I ever heard of."
"Yes, I suppose I am," agreed Anne tranquilly.
"And I know I'll have to be punished. It'll be your duty to punish me, Marilla.
Won't you please get it over right off because I'd like to go to the picnic with
nothing on my mind." "Picnic, indeed!
You'll go to no picnic today, Anne Shirley.
That shall be your punishment. And it isn't half severe enough either for
what you've done!" "Not go to the picnic!"
Anne sprang to her feet and clutched Marilla's hand.
"But you PROMISED me I might! Oh, Marilla, I must go to the picnic.
That was why I confessed.
Punish me any way you like but that. Oh, Marilla, please, please, let me go to
the picnic. Think of the ice cream!
For anything you know I may never have a chance to taste ice cream again."
Marilla disengaged Anne's clinging hands stonily.
"You needn't plead, Anne.
You are not going to the picnic and that's final.
No, not a word." Anne realized that Marilla was not to be
moved.
She clasped her hands together, gave a piercing shriek, and then flung herself
face downward on the bed, crying and writhing in an utter abandonment of
disappointment and despair.
"For the land's sake!" gasped Marilla, hastening from the room.
"I believe the child is crazy. No child in her senses would behave as she
does.
If she isn't she's utterly bad. Oh dear, I'm afraid Rachel was right from
the first. But I've put my hand to the plow and I
won't look back."
That was a dismal morning. Marilla worked fiercely and scrubbed the
porch floor and the dairy shelves when she could find nothing else to do.
Neither the shelves nor the porch needed it--but Marilla did.
Then she went out and raked the yard. When dinner was ready she went to the
stairs and called Anne.
A tear-stained face appeared, looking tragically over the banisters.
"Come down to your dinner, Anne." "I don't want any dinner, Marilla," said
Anne, sobbingly.
"I couldn't eat anything. My heart is broken.
You'll feel remorse of conscience someday, I expect, for breaking it, Marilla, but I
forgive you.
Remember when the time comes that I forgive you.
But please don't ask me to eat anything, especially boiled pork and greens.
Boiled pork and greens are so unromantic when one is in affliction."
Exasperated, Marilla returned to the kitchen and poured out her tale of woe to
Matthew, who, between his sense of justice and his unlawful sympathy with Anne, was a
miserable man.
"Well now, she shouldn't have taken the brooch, Marilla, or told stories about it,"
he admitted, mournfully surveying his plateful of unromantic pork and greens as
if he, like Anne, thought it a food
unsuited to crises of feeling, "but she's such a little thing--such an interesting
little thing.
Don't you think it's pretty rough not to let her go to the picnic when she's so set
on it?" "Matthew Cuthbert, I'm amazed at you.
I think I've let her off entirely too easy.
And she doesn't appear to realize how wicked she's been at all--that's what
worries me most. If she'd really felt sorry it wouldn't be
so bad.
And you don't seem to realize it, neither; you're making excuses for her all the time
to yourself--I can see that." "Well now, she's such a little thing,"
feebly reiterated Matthew.
"And there should be allowances made, Marilla.
You know she's never had any bringing up." "Well, she's having it now" retorted
Marilla.
The retort silenced Matthew if it did not convince him.
That dinner was a very dismal meal.
The only cheerful thing about it was Jerry Buote, the hired boy, and Marilla resented
his cheerfulness as a personal insult.
When her dishes were washed and her bread sponge set and her hens fed Marilla
remembered that she had noticed a small rent in her best black lace shawl when she
had taken it off on Monday afternoon on returning from the Ladies' Aid.
She would go and mend it. The shawl was in a box in her trunk.
As Marilla lifted it out, the sunlight, falling through the vines that clustered
thickly about the window, struck upon something caught in the shawl--something
that glittered and sparkled in facets of violet light.
Marilla snatched at it with a gasp. It was the amethyst brooch, hanging to a
thread of the lace by its catch!
"Dear life and heart," said Marilla blankly, "what does this mean?
Here's my brooch safe and sound that I thought was at the bottom of Barry's pond.
Whatever did that girl mean by saying she took it and lost it?
I declare I believe Green Gables is bewitched.
I remember now that when I took off my shawl Monday afternoon I laid it on the
bureau for a minute. I suppose the brooch got caught in it
somehow.
Well!" Marilla betook herself to the east gable,
brooch in hand. Anne had cried herself out and was sitting
dejectedly by the window.
"Anne Shirley," said Marilla solemnly, "I've just found my brooch hanging to my
black lace shawl. Now I want to know what that rigmarole you
told me this morning meant."
"Why, you said you'd keep me here until I confessed," returned Anne wearily, "and so
I decided to confess because I was bound to get to the picnic.
I thought out a confession last night after I went to bed and made it as interesting as
I could. And I said it over and over so that I
wouldn't forget it.
But you wouldn't let me go to the picnic after all, so all my trouble was wasted."
Marilla had to laugh in spite of herself. But her conscience pricked her.
"Anne, you do beat all!
But I was wrong--I see that now. I shouldn't have doubted your word when I'd
never known you to tell a story.
Of course, it wasn't right for you to confess to a thing you hadn't done--it was
very wrong to do so. But I drove you to it.
So if you'll forgive me, Anne, I'll forgive you and we'll start square again.
And now get yourself ready for the picnic." Anne flew up like a rocket.
"Oh, Marilla, isn't it too late?"
"No, it's only two o'clock. They won't be more than well gathered yet
and it'll be an hour before they have tea. Wash your face and comb your hair and put
on your gingham.
I'll fill a basket for you. There's plenty of stuff baked in the house.
And I'll get Jerry to hitch up the sorrel and drive you down to the picnic ground."
"Oh, Marilla," exclaimed Anne, flying to the washstand.
"Five minutes ago I was so miserable I was wishing I'd never been born and now I
wouldn't change places with an angel!"
That night a thoroughly happy, completely tired-out Anne returned to Green Gables in
a state of beatification impossible to describe.
"Oh, Marilla, I've had a perfectly scrumptious time.
Scrumptious is a new word I learned today. I heard Mary Alice Bell use it.
Isn't it very expressive?
Everything was lovely. We had a splendid tea and then Mr. Harmon
Andrews took us all for a row on the Lake of Shining Waters--six of us at a time.
And Jane Andrews nearly fell overboard.
She was leaning out to pick water lilies and if Mr. Andrews hadn't caught her by her
sash just in the nick of time she'd fallen in and prob'ly been drowned.
I wish it had been me.
It would have been such a romantic experience to have been nearly drowned.
It would be such a thrilling tale to tell. And we had the ice cream.
Words fail me to describe that ice cream.
Marilla, I assure you it was sublime." That evening Marilla told the whole story
to Matthew over her stocking basket.
"I'm willing to own up that I made a mistake," she concluded candidly, "but I've
learned a lesson.
I have to laugh when I think of Anne's 'confession,' although I suppose I
shouldn't for it really was a falsehood.
But it doesn't seem as bad as the other would have been, somehow, and anyhow I'm
responsible for it. That child is hard to understand in some
respects.
But I believe she'll turn out all right yet.
And there's one thing certain, no house will ever be dull that she's in."
>
CHAPTER XV. A Tempest in the School Teapot
"What a splendid day!" said Anne, drawing a long breath.
"Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this?
I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it.
They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one.
And it's splendider still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn't it?"
"It's a lot nicer than going round by the road; that is so dusty and hot," said Diana
practically, peeping into her dinner basket and mentally calculating if the three
juicy, toothsome, raspberry tarts reposing
there were divided among ten girls how many bites each girl would have.
The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three
raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them only with one's best chum would have
forever and ever branded as "awful mean" the girl who did it.
And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize
you.
The way Anne and Diana went to school WAS a pretty one.
Anne thought those walks to and from school with Diana couldn't be improved upon even
by imagination.
Going around by the main road would have been so unromantic; but to go by Lover's
Lane and Willowmere and Violet Vale and the Birch Path was romantic, if ever anything
was.
Lover's Lane opened out below the orchard at Green Gables and stretched far up into
the woods to the end of the Cuthbert farm.
It was the way by which the cows were taken to the back pasture and the wood hauled
home in winter. Anne had named it Lover's Lane before she
had been a month at Green Gables.
"Not that lovers ever really walk there," she explained to Marilla, "but Diana and I
are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there's a Lover's Lane in it.
So we want to have one, too.
And it's a very pretty name, don't you think?
So romantic! We can't imagine the lovers into it, you
know.
I like that lane because you can think out loud there without people calling you
crazy." Anne, starting out alone in the morning,
went down Lover's Lane as far as the brook.
Here Diana met her, and the two little girls went on up the lane under the leafy
arch of maples--"maples are such sociable trees," said Anne; "they're always rustling
and whispering to you"--until they came to a rustic bridge.
Then they left the lane and walked through Mr. Barry's back field and past Willowmere.
Beyond Willowmere came Violet Vale--a little green dimple in the shadow of Mr.
Andrew Bell's big woods.
"Of course there are no violets there now," Anne told Marilla, "but Diana says there
are millions of them in spring. Oh, Marilla, can't you just imagine you see
them?
It actually takes away my breath. I named it Violet Vale.
Diana says she never saw the beat of me for hitting on fancy names for places.
It's nice to be clever at something, isn't it?
But Diana named the Birch Path.
She wanted to, so I let her; but I'm sure I could have found something more poetical
than plain Birch Path. Anybody can think of a name like that.
But the Birch Path is one of the prettiest places in the world, Marilla."
It was. Other people besides Anne thought so when
they stumbled on it.
It was a little narrow, twisting path, winding down over a long hill straight
through Mr. Bell's woods, where the light came down sifted through so many emerald
screens that it was as flawless as the heart of a diamond.
It was fringed in all its length with slim young birches, white stemmed and lissom
boughed; ferns and starflowers and wild lilies-of-the-valley and scarlet tufts of
pigeonberries grew thickly along it; and
always there was a delightful spiciness in the air and music of bird calls and the
murmur and laugh of wood winds in the trees overhead.
Now and then you might see a rabbit skipping across the road if you were quiet-
-which, with Anne and Diana, happened about once in a blue moon.
Down in the valley the path came out to the main road and then it was just up the
spruce hill to the school.
The Avonlea school was a whitewashed building, low in the eaves and wide in the
windows, furnished inside with comfortable substantial old-fashioned desks that opened
and shut, and were carved all over their
lids with the initials and hieroglyphics of three generations of school children.
The schoolhouse was set back from the road and behind it was a dusky fir wood and a
brook where all the children put their bottles of milk in the morning to keep cool
and sweet until dinner hour.
Marilla had seen Anne start off to school on the first day of September with many
secret misgivings. Anne was such an odd girl.
How would she get on with the other children?
And how on earth would she ever manage to hold her tongue during school hours?
Things went better than Marilla feared, however.
Anne came home that evening in high spirits.
"I think I'm going to like school here," she announced.
"I don't think much of the master, through. He's all the time curling his mustache and
making eyes at Prissy Andrews.
Prissy is grown up, you know. She's sixteen and she's studying for the
entrance examination into Queen's Academy at Charlottetown next year.
Tillie Boulter says the master is DEAD GONE on her.
She's got a beautiful complexion and curly brown hair and she does it up so elegantly.
She sits in the long seat at the back and he sits there, too, most of the time--to
explain her lessons, he says.
But Ruby Gillis says she saw him writing something on her slate and when Prissy read
it she blushed as red as a beet and giggled; and Ruby Gillis says she doesn't
believe it had anything to do with the lesson."
"Anne Shirley, don't let me hear you talking about your teacher in that way
again," said Marilla sharply.
"You don't go to school to criticize the master.
I guess he can teach YOU something, and it's your business to learn.
And I want you to understand right off that you are not to come home telling tales
about him. That is something I won't encourage.
I hope you were a good girl."
"Indeed I was," said Anne comfortably. "It wasn't so hard as you might imagine,
either. I sit with Diana.
Our seat is right by the window and we can look down to the Lake of Shining Waters.
There are a lot of nice girls in school and we had scrumptious fun playing at
dinnertime.
It's so nice to have a lot of little girls to play with.
But of course I like Diana best and always will.
I ADORE Diana.
I'm dreadfully far behind the others. They're all in the fifth book and I'm only
in the fourth. I feel that it's kind of a disgrace.
But there's not one of them has such an imagination as I have and I soon found that
out. We had reading and geography and Canadian
history and dictation today.
Mr. Phillips said my spelling was disgraceful and he held up my slate so that
everybody could see it, all marked over. I felt so mortified, Marilla; he might have
been politer to a stranger, I think.
Ruby Gillis gave me an apple and Sophia Sloane lent me a lovely pink card with 'May
I see you home?' on it. I'm to give it back to her tomorrow.
And Tillie Boulter let me wear her bead ring all the afternoon.
Can I have some of those pearl beads off the old pincushion in the garret to make
myself a ring?
And oh, Marilla, Jane Andrews told me that Minnie MacPherson told her that she heard
Prissy Andrews tell Sara Gillis that I had a very pretty nose.
Marilla, that is the first compliment I have ever had in my life and you can't
imagine what a strange feeling it gave me. Marilla, have I really a pretty nose?
I know you'll tell me the truth."
"Your nose is well enough," said Marilla shortly.
Secretly she thought Anne's nose was a remarkable pretty one; but she had no
intention of telling her so.
That was three weeks ago and all had gone smoothly so far.
And now, this crisp September morning, Anne and Diana were tripping blithely down the
Birch Path, two of the happiest little girls in Avonlea.
"I guess Gilbert Blythe will be in school today," said Diana.
"He's been visiting his cousins over in New Brunswick all summer and he only came home
Saturday night.
He's AW'FLY handsome, Anne. And he teases the girls something terrible.
He just torments our lives out."
Diana's voice indicated that she rather liked having her life tormented out than
not. "Gilbert Blythe?" said Anne.
"Isn't his name that's written up on the porch wall with Julia Bell's and a big
'Take Notice' over them?"
"Yes," said Diana, tossing her head, "but I'm sure he doesn't like Julia Bell so very
much. I've heard him say he studied the
multiplication table by her freckles."
"Oh, don't speak about freckles to me," implored Anne.
"It isn't delicate when I've got so many.
But I do think that writing take-notices up on the wall about the boys and girls is the
silliest ever. I should just like to see anybody dare to
write my name up with a boy's.
Not, of course," she hastened to add, "that anybody would."
Anne sighed. She didn't want her name written up.
But it was a little humiliating to know that there was no danger of it.
"Nonsense," said Diana, whose black eyes and glossy tresses had played such havoc
with the hearts of Avonlea schoolboys that her name figured on the porch walls in half
a dozen take-notices.
"It's only meant as a joke. And don't you be too sure your name won't
ever be written up. Charlie Sloane is DEAD GONE on you.
He told his mother--his MOTHER, mind you-- that you were the smartest girl in school.
That's better than being good looking." "No, it isn't," said Anne, feminine to the
core.
"I'd rather be pretty than clever. And I hate Charlie Sloane, I can't bear a
boy with goggle eyes. If anyone wrote my name up with his I'd
never GET over it, Diana Barry.
But it IS nice to keep head of your class." "You'll have Gilbert in your class after
this," said Diana, "and he's used to being head of his class, I can tell you.
He's only in the fourth book although he's nearly fourteen.
Four years ago his father was sick and had to go out to Alberta for his health and
Gilbert went with him.
They were there three years and Gil didn't go to school hardly any until they came
back. You won't find it so easy to keep head
after this, Anne."
"I'm glad," said Anne quickly. "I couldn't really feel proud of keeping
head of little boys and girls of just nine or ten.
I got up yesterday spelling 'ebullition.'
Josie Pye was head and, mind you, she peeped in her book.
Mr. Phillips didn't see her--he was looking at Prissy Andrews--but I did.
I just swept her a look of freezing scorn and she got as red as a beet and spelled it
wrong after all."
"Those Pye girls are cheats all round," said Diana indignantly, as they climbed the
fence of the main road. "Gertie Pye actually went and put her milk
bottle in my place in the brook yesterday.
Did you ever? I don't speak to her now."
When Mr. Phillips was in the back of the room hearing Prissy Andrews's Latin, Diana
whispered to Anne,
"That's Gilbert Blythe sitting right across the aisle from you, Anne.
Just look at him and see if you don't think he's handsome."
Anne looked accordingly.
She had a good chance to do so, for the said Gilbert Blythe was absorbed in
stealthily pinning the long yellow braid of Ruby Gillis, who sat in front of him, to
the back of her seat.
He was a tall boy, with curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes, and a mouth twisted
into a teasing smile.
Presently Ruby Gillis started up to take a sum to the master; she fell back into her
seat with a little shriek, believing that her hair was pulled out by the roots.
Everybody looked at her and Mr. Phillips glared so sternly that Ruby began to cry.
Gilbert had whisked the pin out of sight and was studying his history with the
soberest face in the world; but when the commotion subsided he looked at Anne and
winked with inexpressible drollery.
"I think your Gilbert Blythe IS handsome," confided Anne to Diana, "but I think he's
very bold. It isn't good manners to wink at a strange
girl."
But it was not until the afternoon that things really began to happen.
Mr. Phillips was back in the corner explaining a problem in algebra to Prissy
Andrews and the rest of the scholars were doing pretty much as they pleased eating
green apples, whispering, drawing pictures
on their slates, and driving crickets harnessed to strings, up and down aisle.
Gilbert Blythe was trying to make Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly,
because Anne was at that moment totally oblivious not only to the very existence of
Gilbert Blythe, but of every other scholar in Avonlea school itself.
With her chin propped on her hands and her eyes fixed on the blue glimpse of the Lake
of Shining Waters that the west window afforded, she was far away in a gorgeous
dreamland hearing and seeing nothing save her own wonderful visions.
Gilbert Blythe wasn't used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and
meeting with failure.
She SHOULD look at him, that red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin
and the big eyes that weren't like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.
Gilbert reached across the aisle, picked up the end of Anne's long red braid, held it
out at arm's length and said in a piercing whisper:
"Carrots!
Carrots!" Then Anne looked at him with a vengeance!
She did more than look. She sprang to her feet, her bright fancies
fallen into cureless ruin.
She flashed one indignant glance at Gilbert from eyes whose angry sparkle was swiftly
quenched in equally angry tears. "You mean, hateful boy!" she exclaimed
passionately.
"How dare you!" And then--thwack!
Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it--slate not
head--clear across.
Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one.
Everybody said "Oh" in horrified delight. Diana gasped.
Ruby Gillis, who was inclined to be hysterical, began to cry.
Tommy Sloane let his team of crickets escape him altogether while he stared open-
mouthed at the tableau.
Mr. Phillips stalked down the aisle and laid his hand heavily on Anne's shoulder.
"Anne Shirley, what does this mean?" he said angrily.
Anne returned no answer.
It was asking too much of flesh and blood to expect her to tell before the whole
school that she had been called "carrots." Gilbert it was who spoke up stoutly.
"It was my fault Mr. Phillips.
I teased her." Mr. Phillips paid no heed to Gilbert.
"I am sorry to see a pupil of mine displaying such a temper and such a
vindictive spirit," he said in a solemn tone, as if the mere fact of being a pupil
of his ought to root out all evil passions from the hearts of small imperfect mortals.
"Anne, go and stand on the platform in front of the blackboard for the rest of the
afternoon."
Anne would have infinitely preferred a whipping to this punishment under which her
sensitive spirit quivered as from a whiplash.
With a white, set face she obeyed.
Mr. Phillips took a chalk crayon and wrote on the blackboard above her head.
"Ann Shirley has a very bad temper.
Ann Shirley must learn to control her temper," and then read it out loud so that
even the primer class, who couldn't read writing, should understand it.
Anne stood there the rest of the afternoon with that legend above her.
She did not cry or hang her head.
Anger was still too hot in her heart for that and it sustained her amid all her
agony of humiliation.
With resentful eyes and passion-red cheeks she confronted alike Diana's sympathetic
gaze and Charlie Sloane's indignant nods and Josie Pye's malicious smiles.
As for Gilbert Blythe, she would not even look at him.
She would NEVER look at him again! She would never speak to him!!
When school was dismissed Anne marched out with her red head held high.
Gilbert Blythe tried to intercept her at the porch door.
"I'm awfully sorry I made fun of your hair, Anne," he whispered contritely.
"Honest I am. Don't be mad for keeps, now."
Anne swept by disdainfully, without look or sign of hearing.
"Oh how could you, Anne?" breathed Diana as they went down the road half reproachfully,
half admiringly.
Diana felt that SHE could never have resisted Gilbert's plea.
"I shall never forgive Gilbert Blythe," said Anne firmly.
"And Mr. Phillips spelled my name without an e, too.
The iron has entered into my soul, Diana."
Diana hadn't the least idea what Anne meant but she understood it was something
terrible. "You mustn't mind Gilbert making fun of
your hair," she said soothingly.
"Why, he makes fun of all the girls. He laughs at mine because it's so black.
He's called me a crow a dozen times; and I never heard him apologize for anything
before, either."
"There's a great deal of difference between being called a crow and being called
carrots," said Anne with dignity. "Gilbert Blythe has hurt my feelings
EXCRUCIATINGLY, Diana."
It is possible the matter might have blown over without more excruciation if nothing
else had happened. But when things begin to happen they are
apt to keep on.
Avonlea scholars often spent noon hour picking gum in Mr. Bell's spruce grove over
the hill and across his big pasture field. From there they could keep an eye on Eben
Wright's house, where the master boarded.
When they saw Mr. Phillips emerging therefrom they ran for the schoolhouse; but
the distance being about three times longer than Mr. Wright's lane they were very apt
to arrive there, breathless and gasping, some three minutes too late.
On the following day Mr. Phillips was seized with one of his spasmodic fits of
reform and announced before going home to dinner, that he should expect to find all
the scholars in their seats when he returned.
Anyone who came in late would be punished.
All the boys and some of the girls went to Mr. Bell's spruce grove as usual, fully
intending to stay only long enough to "pick a chew."
But spruce groves are seductive and yellow nuts of gum beguiling; they picked and
loitered and strayed; and as usual the first thing that recalled them to a sense
of the flight of time was Jimmy Glover
shouting from the top of a patriarchal old spruce "Master's coming."
The girls who were on the ground, started first and managed to reach the schoolhouse
in time but without a second to spare.
The boys, who had to wriggle hastily down from the trees, were later; and Anne, who
had not been picking gum at all but was wandering happily in the far end of the
grove, waist deep among the bracken,
singing softly to herself, with a wreath of rice lilies on her hair as if she were some
wild divinity of the shadowy places, was latest of all.
Anne could run like a deer, however; run she did with the impish result that she
overtook the boys at the door and was swept into the schoolhouse among them just as Mr.
Phillips was in the act of hanging up his hat.
Mr. Phillips's brief reforming energy was over; he didn't want the bother of
punishing a dozen pupils; but it was necessary to do something to save his word,
so he looked about for a scapegoat and
found it in Anne, who had dropped into her seat, gasping for breath, with a forgotten
lily wreath hanging askew over one ear and giving her a particularly rakish and
disheveled appearance.
"Anne Shirley, since you seem to be so fond of the boys' company we shall indulge your
taste for it this afternoon," he said sarcastically.
"Take those flowers out of your hair and sit with Gilbert Blythe."
The other boys snickered.
Diana, turning pale with pity, plucked the wreath from Anne's hair and squeezed her
hand. Anne stared at the master as if turned to
stone.
"Did you hear what I said, Anne?" queried Mr. Phillips sternly.
"Yes, sir," said Anne slowly "but I didn't suppose you really meant it."
"I assure you I did"--still with the sarcastic inflection which all the
children, and Anne especially, hated. It flicked on the raw.
"Obey me at once."
For a moment Anne looked as if she meant to disobey.
Then, realizing that there was no help for it, she rose haughtily, stepped across the
aisle, sat down beside Gilbert Blythe, and buried her face in her arms on the desk.
Ruby Gillis, who got a glimpse of it as it went down, told the others going home from
school that she'd "acksually never seen anything like it--it was so white, with
awful little red spots in it."
To Anne, this was as the end of all things.
It was bad enough to be singled out for punishment from among a dozen equally
guilty ones; it was worse still to be sent to sit with a boy, but that that boy should
be Gilbert Blythe was heaping insult on injury to a degree utterly unbearable.
Anne felt that she could not bear it and it would be of no use to try.
Her whole being seethed with shame and anger and humiliation.
At first the other scholars looked and whispered and giggled and nudged.
But as Anne never lifted her head and as Gilbert worked fractions as if his whole
soul was absorbed in them and them only, they soon returned to their own tasks and
Anne was forgotten.
When Mr. Phillips called the history class out Anne should have gone, but Anne did not
move, and Mr. Phillips, who had been writing some verses "To Priscilla" before
he called the class, was thinking about an obstinate rhyme still and never missed her.
Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart
with a gold motto on it, "You are sweet," and slipped it under the curve of Anne's
arm.
Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers,
dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her
position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert.
When school went out Anne marched to her desk, ostentatiously took out everything
therein, books and writing tablet, pen and ink, testament and arithmetic, and piled
them neatly on her cracked slate.
"What are you taking all those things home for, Anne?"
Diana wanted to know, as soon as they were out on the road.
She had not dared to ask the question before.
"I am not coming back to school any more," said Anne.
Diana gasped and stared at Anne to see if she meant it.
"Will Marilla let you stay home?" she asked.
"She'll have to," said Anne.
"I'll NEVER go to school to that man again."
"Oh, Anne!" Diana looked as if she were ready to cry.
"I do think you're mean.
What shall I do? Mr. Phillips will make me sit with that
horrid Gertie Pye--I know he will because she is sitting alone.
Do come back, Anne."
"I'd do almost anything in the world for you, Diana," said Anne sadly.
"I'd let myself be torn limb from limb if it would do you any good.
But I can't do this, so please don't ask it.
You harrow up my very soul." "Just think of all the fun you will miss,"
mourned Diana.
"We are going to build the loveliest new house down by the brook; and we'll be
playing ball next week and you've never played ball, Anne.
It's tremendously exciting.
And we're going to learn a new song--Jane Andrews is practicing it up now; and Alice
Andrews is going to bring a new Pansy book next week and we're all going to read it
out loud, chapter about, down by the brook.
And you know you are so fond of reading out loud, Anne."
Nothing moved Anne in the least. Her mind was made up.
She would not go to school to Mr. Phillips again; she told Marilla so when she got
home. "Nonsense," said Marilla.
"It isn't nonsense at all," said Anne, gazing at Marilla with solemn, reproachful
eyes. "Don't you understand, Marilla?
I've been insulted."
"Insulted fiddlesticks! You'll go to school tomorrow as usual."
"Oh, no." Anne shook her head gently.
"I'm not going back, Marilla.
I'll learn my lessons at home and I'll be as good as I can be and hold my tongue all
the time if it's possible at all. But I will not go back to school, I assure
you."
Marilla saw something remarkably like unyielding stubbornness looking out of
Anne's small face.
She understood that she would have trouble in overcoming it; but she re-solved wisely
to say nothing more just then. "I'll run down and see Rachel about it this
evening," she thought.
"There's no use reasoning with Anne now. She's too worked up and I've an idea she
can be awful stubborn if she takes the notion.
Far as I can make out from her story, Mr. Phillips has been carrying matters with a
rather high hand. But it would never do to say so to her.
I'll just talk it over with Rachel.
She's sent ten children to school and she ought to know something about it.
She'll have heard the whole story, too, by this time."
Marilla found Mrs. Lynde knitting quilts as industriously and cheerfully as usual.
"I suppose you know what I've come about," she said, a little shamefacedly.
Mrs. Rachel nodded.
"About Anne's fuss in school, I reckon," she said.
"Tillie Boulter was in on her way home from school and told me about it."
"I don't know what to do with her," said Marilla.
"She declares she won't go back to school. I never saw a child so worked up.
I've been expecting trouble ever since she started to school.
I knew things were going too smooth to last.
She's so high strung.
What would you advise, Rachel?"
"Well, since you've asked my advice, Marilla," said Mrs. Lynde amiably--Mrs.
Lynde dearly loved to be asked for advice-- "I'd just humor her a little at first,
that's what I'd do.
It's my belief that Mr. Phillips was in the wrong.
Of course, it doesn't do to say so to the children, you know.
And of course he did right to punish her yesterday for giving way to temper.
But today it was different. The others who were late should have been
punished as well as Anne, that's what.
And I don't believe in making the girls sit with the boys for punishment.
It isn't modest. Tillie Boulter was real indignant.
She took Anne's part right through and said all the scholars did too.
Anne seems real popular among them, somehow.
I never thought she'd take with them so well."
"Then you really think I'd better let her stay home," said Marilla in amazement.
"Yes.
That is I wouldn't say school to her again until she said it herself.
Depend upon it, Marilla, she'll cool off in a week or so and be ready enough to go back
of her own accord, that's what, while, if you were to make her go back right off,
dear knows what freak or tantrum she'd take next and make more trouble than ever.
The less fuss made the better, in my opinion.
She won't miss much by not going to school, as far as THAT goes.
Mr. Phillips isn't any good at all as a teacher.
The order he keeps is scandalous, that's what, and he neglects the young fry and
puts all his time on those big scholars he's getting ready for Queen's.
He'd never have got the school for another year if his uncle hadn't been a trustee--
THE trustee, for he just leads the other two around by the nose, that's what.
I declare, I don't know what education in this Island is coming to."
Mrs. Rachel shook her head, as much as to say if she were only at the head of the
educational system of the Province things would be much better managed.
Marilla took Mrs. Rachel's advice and not another word was said to Anne about going
back to school.
She learned her lessons at home, did her chores, and played with Diana in the chilly
purple autumn twilights; but when she met Gilbert Blythe on the road or encountered
him in Sunday school she passed him by with
an icy contempt that was no whit thawed by his evident desire to appease her.
Even Diana's efforts as a peacemaker were of no avail.
Anne had evidently made up her mind to hate Gilbert Blythe to the end of life.
As much as she hated Gilbert, however, did she love Diana, with all the love of her
passionate little heart, equally intense in its likes and dislikes.
One evening Marilla, coming in from the orchard with a basket of apples, found Anne
sitting along by the east window in the twilight, crying bitterly.
"Whatever's the matter now, Anne?" she asked.
"It's about Diana," sobbed Anne luxuriously.
"I love Diana so, Marilla.
I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that
Diana will get married and go away and leave me.
And oh, what shall I do?
I hate her husband--I just hate him furiously.
I've been imagining it all out--the wedding and everything--Diana dressed in snowy
garments, with a veil, and looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the
bridesmaid, with a lovely dress too, and
puffed sleeves, but with a breaking heart hid beneath my smiling face.
And then bidding Diana goodbye-e-e--" Here Anne broke down entirely and wept with
increasing bitterness.
Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face; but it was no use; she
collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into such a hearty and unusual peal of
laughter that Matthew, crossing the yard outside, halted in amazement.
When had he heard Marilla laugh like that before?
"Well, Anne Shirley," said Marilla as soon as she could speak, "if you must borrow
trouble, for pity's sake borrow it handier home.
I should think you had an imagination, sure enough."
>
CHAPTER XVI. Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results
OCTOBER was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow
turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and
the wild cherry trees along the lane put on
the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves
in aftermaths. Anne reveled in the world of color about
her.
"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms
full of gorgeous boughs, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?
Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several
thrills?
I'm going to decorate my room with them." "Messy things," said Marilla, whose
aesthetic sense was not noticeably developed.
"You clutter up your room entirely too much with out-of-doors stuff, Anne.
Bedrooms were made to sleep in." "Oh, and dream in too, Marilla.
And you know one can dream so much better in a room where there are pretty things.
I'm going to put these boughs in the old blue jug and set them on my table."
"Mind you don't drop leaves all over the stairs then.
I'm going on a meeting of the Aid Society at Carmody this afternoon, Anne, and I
won't likely be home before dark.
You'll have to get Matthew and Jerry their supper, so mind you don't forget to put the
tea to draw until you sit down at the table as you did last time."
"It was dreadful of me to forget," said Anne apologetically, "but that was the
afternoon I was trying to think of a name for Violet Vale and it crowded other things
out.
Matthew was so good. He never scolded a bit.
He put the tea down himself and said we could wait awhile as well as not.
And I told him a lovely fairy story while we were waiting, so he didn't find the time
long at all. It was a beautiful fairy story, Marilla.
I forgot the end of it, so I made up an end for it myself and Matthew said he couldn't
tell where the join came in."
"Matthew would think it all right, Anne, if you took a notion to get up and have dinner
in the middle of the night. But you keep your wits about you this time.
And--I don't really know if I'm doing right--it may make you more addlepated than
ever--but you can ask Diana to come over and spend the afternoon with you and have
tea here."
"Oh, Marilla!" Anne clasped her hands.
"How perfectly lovely!
You ARE able to imagine things after all or else you'd never have understood how I've
longed for that very thing. It will seem so nice and grown-uppish.
No fear of my forgetting to put the tea to draw when I have company.
Oh, Marilla, can I use the rosebud spray tea set?"
"No, indeed!
The rosebud tea set! Well, what next?
You know I never use that except for the minister or the Aids.
You'll put down the old brown tea set.
But you can open the little yellow crock of cherry preserves.
It's time it was being used anyhow--I believe it's beginning to work.
And you can cut some fruit cake and have some of the cookies and snaps."
"I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the
tea," said Anne, shutting her eyes ecstatically.
"And asking Diana if she takes sugar!
I know she doesn't but of course I'll ask her just as if I didn't know.
And then pressing her to take another piece of fruit cake and another helping of
preserves.
Oh, Marilla, it's a wonderful sensation just to think of it.
Can I take her into the spare room to lay off her hat when she comes?
And then into the parlor to sit?"
"No. The sitting room will do for you and your
company.
But there's a bottle half full of raspberry cordial that was left over from the church
social the other night.
It's on the second shelf of the sitting- room closet and you and Diana can have it
if you like, and a cooky to eat with it along in the afternoon, for I daresay
Matthew'll be late coming in to tea since he's hauling potatoes to the vessel."
Anne flew down to the hollow, past the Dryad's Bubble and up the spruce path to
Orchard Slope, to ask Diana to tea.
As a result just after Marilla had driven off to Carmody, Diana came over, dressed in
HER second-best dress and looking exactly as it is proper to look when asked out to
tea.
At other times she was wont to run into the kitchen without knocking; but now she
knocked primly at the front door.
And when Anne, dressed in her second best, as primly opened it, both little girls
shook hands as gravely as if they had never met before.
This unnatural solemnity lasted until after Diana had been taken to the east gable to
lay off her hat and then had sat for ten minutes in the sitting room, toes in
position.
"How is your mother?" inquired Anne politely, just as if she had not seen Mrs.
Barry picking apples that morning in excellent health and spirits.
"She is very well, thank you.
I suppose Mr. Cuthbert is hauling potatoes to the LILY SANDS this afternoon, is he?"
said Diana, who had ridden down to Mr. Harmon Andrews's that morning in Matthew's
cart.
"Yes. Our potato crop is very good this year.
I hope your father's crop is good too." "It is fairly good, thank you.
Have you picked many of your apples yet?"
"Oh, ever so many," said Anne forgetting to be dignified and jumping up quickly.
"Let's go out to the orchard and get some of the Red Sweetings, Diana.
Marilla says we can have all that are left on the tree.
Marilla is a very generous woman. She said we could have fruit cake and
cherry preserves for tea.
But it isn't good manners to tell your company what you are going to give them to
eat, so I won't tell you what she said we could have to drink.
Only it begins with an R and a C and it's bright red color.
I love bright red drinks, don't you? They taste twice as good as any other
color."
The orchard, with its great sweeping boughs that bent to the ground with fruit, proved
so delightful that the little girls spent most of the afternoon in it, sitting in a
grassy corner where the frost had spared
the green and the mellow autumn sunshine lingered warmly, eating apples and talking
as hard as they could. Diana had much to tell Anne of what went on
in school.
She had to sit with Gertie Pye and she hated it; Gertie squeaked her pencil all
the time and it just made her--Diana's-- blood run cold; Ruby Gillis had charmed all
her warts away, true's you live, with a
magic pebble that old Mary Joe from the Creek gave her.
You had to rub the warts with the pebble and then throw it away over your left
shoulder at the time of the new moon and the warts would all go.
Charlie Sloane's name was written up with Em White's on the porch wall and Em White
was AWFUL MAD about it; Sam Boulter had "sassed" Mr. Phillips in class and Mr.
Phillips whipped him and Sam's father came
down to the school and dared Mr. Phillips to lay a hand on one of his children again;
and Mattie Andrews had a new red hood and a blue crossover with tassels on it and the
airs she put on about it were perfectly
sickening; and Lizzie Wright didn't speak to Mamie Wilson because Mamie Wilson's
grown-up sister had cut out Lizzie Wright's grown-up sister with her beau; and
everybody missed Anne so and wished she's come to school again; and Gilbert Blythe--
But Anne didn't want to hear about Gilbert Blythe.
She jumped up hurriedly and said suppose they go in and have some raspberry cordial.
Anne looked on the second shelf of the room pantry but there was no bottle of raspberry
cordial there.
Search revealed it away back on the top shelf.
Anne put it on a tray and set it on the table with a tumbler.
"Now, please help yourself, Diana," she said politely.
"I don't believe I'll have any just now. I don't feel as if I wanted any after all
those apples."
Diana poured herself out a tumblerful, looked at its bright-red hue admiringly,
and then sipped it daintily. "That's awfully nice raspberry cordial,
Anne," she said.
"I didn't know raspberry cordial was so nice."
"I'm real glad you like it. Take as much as you want.
I'm going to run out and stir the fire up.
There are so many responsibilities on a person's mind when they're keeping house,
isn't there?"
When Anne came back from the kitchen Diana was drinking her second glassful of
cordial; and, being entreated thereto by Anne, she offered no particular objection
to the drinking of a third.
The tumblerfuls were generous ones and the raspberry cordial was certainly very nice.
"The nicest I ever drank," said Diana. "It's ever so much nicer than Mrs. Lynde's,
although she brags of hers so much.
It doesn't taste a bit like hers." "I should think Marilla's raspberry cordial
would prob'ly be much nicer than Mrs. Lynde's," said Anne loyally.
"Marilla is a famous cook.
She is trying to teach me to cook but I assure you, Diana, it is uphill work.
There's so little scope for imagination in cookery.
You just have to go by rules.
The last time I made a cake I forgot to put the flour in.
I was thinking the loveliest story about you and me, Diana.
I thought you were desperately ill with smallpox and everybody deserted you, but I
went boldly to your bedside and nursed you back to life; and then I took the smallpox
and died and I was buried under those
poplar trees in the graveyard and you planted a rosebush by my grave and watered
it with your tears; and you never, never forgot the friend of your youth who
sacrificed her life for you.
Oh, it was such a pathetic tale, Diana. The tears just rained down over my cheeks
while I mixed the cake. But I forgot the flour and the cake was a
dismal failure.
Flour is so essential to cakes, you know. Marilla was very cross and I don't wonder.
I'm a great trial to her. She was terribly mortified about the
pudding sauce last week.
We had a plum pudding for dinner on Tuesday and there was half the pudding and a
pitcherful of sauce left over.
Marilla said there was enough for another dinner and told me to set it on the pantry
shelf and cover it.
I meant to cover it just as much as could be, Diana, but when I carried it in I was
imagining I was a nun--of course I'm a Protestant but I imagined I was a Catholic-
-taking the veil to bury a broken heart in
cloistered seclusion; and I forgot all about covering the pudding sauce.
I thought of it next morning and ran to the pantry.
Diana, fancy if you can my extreme horror at finding a mouse drowned in that pudding
sauce!
I lifted the mouse out with a spoon and threw it out in the yard and then I washed
the spoon in three waters.
Marilla was out milking and I fully intended to ask her when she came in if I'd
give the sauce to the pigs; but when she did come in I was imagining that I was a
frost fairy going through the woods turning
the trees red and yellow, whichever they wanted to be, so I never thought about the
pudding sauce again and Marilla sent me out to pick apples.
Well, Mr. and Mrs. Chester Ross from Spencervale came here that morning.
You know they are very stylish people, especially Mrs. Chester Ross.
When Marilla called me in dinner was all ready and everybody was at the table.
I tried to be as polite and dignified as I could be, for I wanted Mrs. Chester Ross to
think I was a ladylike little girl even if I wasn't pretty.
Everything went right until I saw Marilla coming with the plum pudding in one hand
and the pitcher of pudding sauce WARMED UP, in the other.
Diana, that was a terrible moment.
I remembered everything and I just stood up in my place and shrieked out 'Marilla, you
mustn't use that pudding sauce. There was a mouse drowned in it.
I forgot to tell you before.'
Oh, Diana, I shall never forget that awful moment if I live to be a hundred.
Mrs. Chester Ross just LOOKED at me and I thought I would sink through the floor with
mortification.
She is such a perfect housekeeper and fancy what she must have thought of us.
Marilla turned red as fire but she never said a word--then.
She just carried that sauce and pudding out and brought in some strawberry preserves.
She even offered me some, but I couldn't swallow a mouthful.
It was like heaping coals of fire on my head.
After Mrs. Chester Ross went away, Marilla gave me a dreadful scolding.
Why, Diana, what is the matter?"
Diana had stood up very unsteadily; then she sat down again, putting her hands to
her head. "I'm--I'm awful sick," she said, a little
thickly.
"I--I--must go right home." "Oh, you mustn't dream of going home
without your tea," cried Anne in distress. "I'll get it right off--I'll go and put the
tea down this very minute."
"I must go home," repeated Diana, stupidly but determinedly.
"Let me get you a lunch anyhow," implored Anne.
"Let me give you a bit of fruit cake and some of the cherry preserves.
Lie down on the sofa for a little while and you'll be better.
Where do you feel bad?"
"I must go home," said Diana, and that was all she would say.
In vain Anne pleaded. "I never heard of company going home
without tea," she mourned.
"Oh, Diana, do you suppose that it's possible you're really taking the smallpox?
If you are I'll go and nurse you, you can depend on that.
I'll never forsake you.
But I do wish you'd stay till after tea. Where do you feel bad?"
"I'm awful dizzy," said Diana. And indeed, she walked very dizzily.
Anne, with tears of disappointment in her eyes, got Diana's hat and went with her as
far as the Barry yard fence.
Then she wept all the way back to Green Gables, where she sorrowfully put the
remainder of the raspberry cordial back into the pantry and got tea ready for
Matthew and Jerry, with all the zest gone out of the performance.
The next day was Sunday and as the rain poured down in torrents from dawn till dusk
Anne did not stir abroad from Green Gables.
Monday afternoon Marilla sent her down to Mrs. Lynde's on an errand.
In a very short space of time Anne came flying back up the lane with tears rolling
down her cheeks.
Into the kitchen she dashed and flung herself face downward on the sofa in an
agony. "Whatever has gone wrong now, Anne?"
queried Marilla in doubt and dismay.
"I do hope you haven't gone and been saucy to Mrs. Lynde again."
No answer from Anne save more tears and stormier sobs!
"Anne Shirley, when I ask you a question I want to be answered.
Sit right up this very minute and tell me what you are crying about."
Anne sat up, tragedy personified.
"Mrs. Lynde was up to see Mrs. Barry today and Mrs. Barry was in an awful state," she
wailed.
"She says that I set Diana DRUNK Saturday and sent her home in a disgraceful
condition.
And she says I must be a thoroughly bad, wicked little girl and she's never, never
going to let Diana play with me again. Oh, Marilla, I'm just overcome with woe."
Marilla stared in blank amazement.
"Set Diana drunk!" she said when she found her voice.
"Anne are you or Mrs. Barry crazy? What on earth did you give her?"
"Not a thing but raspberry cordial," sobbed Anne.
"I never thought raspberry cordial would set people drunk, Marilla--not even if they
drank three big tumblerfuls as Diana did.
Oh, it sounds so--so--like Mrs. Thomas's husband!
But I didn't mean to set her drunk." "Drunk fiddlesticks!" said Marilla,
marching to the sitting room pantry.
There on the shelf was a bottle which she at once recognized as one containing some
of her three-year-old homemade currant wine for which she was celebrated in Avonlea,
although certain of the stricter sort, Mrs.
Barry among them, disapproved strongly of it.
And at the same time Marilla recollected that she had put the bottle of raspberry
cordial down in the cellar instead of in the pantry as she had told Anne.
She went back to the kitchen with the wine bottle in her hand.
Her face was twitching in spite of herself. "Anne, you certainly have a genius for
getting into trouble.
You went and gave Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial.
Didn't you know the difference yourself?" "I never tasted it," said Anne.
"I thought it was the cordial.
I meant to be so--so--hospitable. Diana got awfully sick and had to go home.
Mrs. Barry told Mrs. Lynde she was simply dead drunk.
She just laughed silly-like when her mother asked her what was the matter and went to
sleep and slept for hours. Her mother smelled her breath and knew she
was drunk.
She had a fearful headache all day yesterday.
Mrs. Barry is so indignant. She will never believe but what I did it on
purpose."
"I should think she would better punish Diana for being so greedy as to drink three
glassfuls of anything," said Marilla shortly.
"Why, three of those big glasses would have made her sick even if it had only been
cordial.
Well, this story will be a nice handle for those folks who are so down on me for
making currant wine, although I haven't made any for three years ever since I found
out that the minister didn't approve.
I just kept that bottle for sickness. There, there, child, don't cry.
I can't see as you were to blame although I'm sorry it happened so."
"I must cry," said Anne.
"My heart is broken. The stars in their courses fight against
me, Marilla. Diana and I are parted forever.
Oh, Marilla, I little dreamed of this when first we swore our vows of friendship."
"Don't be foolish, Anne. Mrs. Barry will think better of it when she
finds you're not to blame.
I suppose she thinks you've done it for a silly joke or something of that sort.
You'd best go up this evening and tell her how it was."
"My courage fails me at the thought of facing Diana's injured mother," sighed
Anne. "I wish you'd go, Marilla.
You're so much more dignified than I am.
Likely she'd listen to you quicker than to me."
"Well, I will," said Marilla, reflecting that it would probably be the wiser course.
"Don't cry any more, Anne.
It will be all right." Marilla had changed her mind about it being
all right by the time she got back from Orchard Slope.
Anne was watching for her coming and flew to the porch door to meet her.
"Oh, Marilla, I know by your face that it's been no use," she said sorrowfully.
"Mrs. Barry won't forgive me?"
"Mrs. Barry indeed!" snapped Marilla. "Of all the unreasonable women I ever saw
she's the worst.
I told her it was all a mistake and you weren't to blame, but she just simply
didn't believe me.
And she rubbed it well in about my currant wine and how I'd always said it couldn't
have the least effect on anybody.
I just told her plainly that currant wine wasn't meant to be drunk three tumblerfuls
at a time and that if a child I had to do with was so greedy I'd sober her up with a
right good spanking."
Marilla whisked into the kitchen, grievously disturbed, leaving a very much
distracted little soul in the porch behind her.
Presently Anne stepped out bareheaded into the chill autumn dusk; very determinedly
and steadily she took her way down through the sere clover field over the log bridge
and up through the spruce grove, lighted by
a pale little moon hanging low over the western woods.
Mrs. Barry, coming to the door in answer to a timid knock, found a white-lipped eager-
eyed suppliant on the doorstep.
Her face hardened. Mrs. Barry was a woman of strong prejudices
and dislikes, and her anger was of the cold, sullen sort which is always hardest
to overcome.
To do her justice, she really believed Anne had made Diana drunk out of sheer malice
prepense, and she was honestly anxious to preserve her little daughter from the
contamination of further intimacy with such a child.
"What do you want?" she said stiffly. Anne clasped her hands.
"Oh, Mrs. Barry, please forgive me.
I did not mean to--to--intoxicate Diana. How could I?
Just imagine if you were a poor little orphan girl that kind people had adopted
and you had just one bosom friend in all the world.
Do you think you would intoxicate her on purpose?
I thought it was only raspberry cordial. I was firmly convinced it was raspberry
cordial.
Oh, please don't say that you won't let Diana play with me any more.
If you do you will cover my life with a dark cloud of woe."
This speech which would have softened good Mrs. Lynde's heart in a twinkling, had no
effect on Mrs. Barry except to irritate her still more.
She was suspicious of Anne's big words and dramatic gestures and imagined that the
child was making fun of her. So she said, coldly and cruelly:
"I don't think you are a fit little girl for Diana to associate with.
You'd better go home and behave yourself." Anne's lips quivered.
"Won't you let me see Diana just once to say farewell?" she implored.
"Diana has gone over to Carmody with her father," said Mrs. Barry, going in and
shutting the door.
Anne went back to Green Gables calm with despair.
"My last hope is gone," she told Marilla. "I went up and saw Mrs. Barry myself and
she treated me very insultingly.
Marilla, I do NOT think she is a well-bred woman.
There is nothing more to do except to pray and I haven't much hope that that'll do
much good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do very much
with such an obstinate person as Mrs. Barry."
"Anne, you shouldn't say such things" rebuked Marilla, striving to overcome that
unholy tendency to laughter which she was dismayed to find growing upon her.
And indeed, when she told the whole story to Matthew that night, she did laugh
heartily over Anne's tribulations.
But when she slipped into the east gable before going to bed and found that Anne had
cried herself to sleep an unaccustomed softness crept into her face.
"Poor little soul," she murmured, lifting a loose curl of hair from the child's tear-
stained face. Then she bent down and kissed the flushed
cheek on the pillow.
>
CHAPTER XVII. A New Interest in Life
THE next afternoon Anne, bending over her patchwork at the kitchen window, happened
to glance out and beheld Diana down by the Dryad's Bubble beckoning mysteriously.
In a trice Anne was out of the house and flying down to the hollow, astonishment and
hope struggling in her expressive eyes. But the hope faded when she saw Diana's
dejected countenance.
"Your mother hasn't relented?" she gasped. Diana shook her head mournfully.
"No; and oh, Anne, she says I'm never to play with you again.
I've cried and cried and I told her it wasn't your fault, but it wasn't any use.
I had ever such a time coaxing her to let me come down and say good-bye to you.
She said I was only to stay ten minutes and she's timing me by the clock."
"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell in," said Anne tearfully.
"Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to forget me, the friend of your
youth, no matter what dearer friends may caress thee?"
"Indeed I will," sobbed Diana, "and I'll never have another bosom friend--I don't
want to have. I couldn't love anybody as I love you."
"Oh, Diana," cried Anne, clasping her hands, "do you LOVE me?"
"Why, of course I do. Didn't you know that?"
"No."
Anne drew a long breath. "I thought you LIKED me of course but I
never hoped you LOVED me. Why, Diana, I didn't think anybody could
love me.
Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember.
Oh, this is wonderful!
It's a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed
from thee, Diana. Oh, just say it once again."
"I love you devotedly, Anne," said Diana stanchly, "and I always will, you may be
sure of that." "And I will always love thee, Diana," said
Anne, solemnly extending her hand.
"In the years to come thy memory will shine like a star over my lonely life, as that
last story we read together says.
Diana, wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet- black tresses in parting to treasure
forevermore?"
"Have you got anything to cut it with?" queried Diana, wiping away the tears which
Anne's affecting accents had caused to flow afresh, and returning to practicalities.
"Yes.
I've got my patchwork scissors in my apron pocket fortunately," said Anne.
She solemnly clipped one of Diana's curls. "Fare thee well, my beloved friend.
Henceforth we must be as strangers though living side by side.
But my heart will ever be faithful to thee."
Anne stood and watched Diana out of sight, mournfully waving her hand to the latter
whenever she turned to look back.
Then she returned to the house, not a little consoled for the time being by this
romantic parting. "It is all over," she informed Marilla.
"I shall never have another friend.
I'm really worse off than ever before, for I haven't Katie Maurice and Violetta now.
And even if I had it wouldn't be the same. Somehow, little dream girls are not
satisfying after a real friend.
Diana and I had such an affecting farewell down by the spring.
It will be sacred in my memory forever. I used the most pathetic language I could
think of and said 'thou' and 'thee.'
'Thou' and 'thee' seem so much more romantic than 'you.'
Diana gave me a lock of her hair and I'm going to sew it up in a little bag and wear
it around my neck all my life.
Please see that it is buried with me, for I don't believe I'll live very long.
Perhaps when she sees me lying cold and dead before her Mrs. Barry may feel remorse
for what she has done and will let Diana come to my funeral."
"I don't think there is much fear of your dying of grief as long as you can talk,
Anne," said Marilla unsympathetically.
The following Monday Anne surprised Marilla by coming down from her room with her
basket of books on her arm and hip and her lips primmed up into a line of
determination.
"I'm going back to school," she announced. "That is all there is left in life for me,
now that my friend has been ruthlessly torn from me.
In school I can look at her and muse over days departed."
"You'd better muse over your lessons and sums," said Marilla, concealing her delight
at this development of the situation.
"If you're going back to school I hope we'll hear no more of breaking slates over
people's heads and such carryings on. Behave yourself and do just what your
teacher tells you."
"I'll try to be a model pupil," agreed Anne dolefully.
"There won't be much fun in it, I expect.
Mr. Phillips said Minnie Andrews was a model pupil and there isn't a spark of
imagination or life in her. She is just dull and poky and never seems
to have a good time.
But I feel so depressed that perhaps it will come easy to me now.
I'm going round by the road. I couldn't bear to go by the Birch Path all
alone.
I should weep bitter tears if I did." Anne was welcomed back to school with open
arms.
Her imagination had been sorely missed in games, her voice in the singing and her
dramatic ability in the perusal aloud of books at dinner hour.
Ruby Gillis smuggled three blue plums over to her during testament reading; Ella May
MacPherson gave her an enormous yellow pansy cut from the covers of a floral
catalogue--a species of desk decoration much prized in Avonlea school.
Sophia Sloane offered to teach her a perfectly elegant new pattern of knit lace,
so nice for trimming aprons.
Katie Boulter gave her a perfume bottle to keep slate water in, and Julia Bell copied
carefully on a piece of pale pink paper scalloped on the edges the following
effusion:
When twilight drops her curtain down And pins it with a star
Remember that you have a friend Though she may wander far.
"It's so nice to be appreciated," sighed Anne rapturously to Marilla that night.
The girls were not the only scholars who "appreciated" her.
When Anne went to her seat after dinner hour--she had been told by Mr. Phillips to
sit with the model Minnie Andrews--she found on her desk a big luscious
"strawberry apple."
Anne caught it up all ready to take a bite when she remembered that the only place in
Avonlea where strawberry apples grew was in the old Blythe orchard on the other side of
the Lake of Shining Waters.
Anne dropped the apple as if it were a red- hot coal and ostentatiously wiped her
fingers on her handkerchief.
The apple lay untouched on her desk until the next morning, when little Timothy
Andrews, who swept the school and kindled the fire, annexed it as one of his
perquisites.
Charlie Sloane's slate pencil, gorgeously bedizened with striped red and yellow
paper, costing two cents where ordinary pencils cost only one, which he sent up to
her after dinner hour, met with a more favorable reception.
Anne was graciously pleased to accept it and rewarded the donor with a smile which
exalted that infatuated youth straightway into the seventh heaven of delight and
caused him to make such fearful errors in
his dictation that Mr. Phillips kept him in after school to rewrite it.
But as, The Caesar's pageant shorn of Brutus' bust
Did but of Rome's best son remind her more. so the marked absence of any tribute or
recognition from Diana Barry who was sitting with Gertie Pye embittered Anne's
little triumph.
"Diana might just have smiled at me once, I think," she mourned to Marilla that night.
But the next morning a note most fearfully and wonderfully twisted and folded, and a
small parcel were passed across to Anne.
Dear Anne (ran the former) Mother says I'm not to play with you or
talk to you even in school. It isn't my fault and don't be cross at me,
because I love you as much as ever.
I miss you awfully to tell all my secrets to and I don't like Gertie Pye one bit.
I made you one of the new bookmarkers out of red tissue paper.
They are awfully fashionable now and only three girls in school know how to make
them. When you look at it remember
Your true friend
Diana Barry.
Anne read the note, kissed the bookmark, and dispatched a prompt reply back to the
other side of the school.
My own darling Diana:-- Of course I am not cross at you because you
have to obey your mother. Our spirits can commune.
I shall keep your lovely present forever.
Minnie Andrews is a very nice little girl-- although she has no imagination--but after
having been Diana's busum friend I cannot be Minnie's.
Please excuse mistakes because my spelling isn't very good yet, although much
improoved. Yours until death us do part
Anne or Cordelia Shirley.
P.S. I shall sleep with your letter under my pillow tonight.
A. OR C.S.
Marilla pessimistically expected more trouble since Anne had again begun to go to
school. But none developed.
Perhaps Anne caught something of the "model" spirit from Minnie Andrews; at
least she got on very well with Mr. Phillips thenceforth.
She flung herself into her studies heart and soul, determined not to be outdone in
any class by Gilbert Blythe.
The rivalry between them was soon apparent; it was entirely good natured on Gilbert's
side; but it is much to be feared that the same thing cannot be said of Anne, who had
certainly an unpraiseworthy tenacity for holding grudges.
She was as intense in her hatreds as in her loves.
She would not stoop to admit that she meant to rival Gilbert in schoolwork, because
that would have been to acknowledge his existence which Anne persistently ignored;
but the rivalry was there and honors fluctuated between them.
Now Gilbert was head of the spelling class; now Anne, with a toss of her long red
braids, spelled him down.
One morning Gilbert had all his sums done correctly and had his name written on the
blackboard on the roll of honor; the next morning Anne, having wrestled wildly with
decimals the entire evening before, would be first.
One awful day they were ties and their names were written up together.
It was almost as bad as a take-notice and Anne's mortification was as evident as
Gilbert's satisfaction.
When the written examinations at the end of each month were held the suspense was
terrible. The first month Gilbert came out three
marks ahead.
The second Anne beat him by five. But her triumph was marred by the fact that
Gilbert congratulated her heartily before the whole school.
It would have been ever so much sweeter to her if he had felt the sting of his defeat.
Mr. Phillips might not be a very good teacher; but a pupil so inflexibly
determined on learning as Anne was could hardly escape making progress under any
kind of teacher.
By the end of the term Anne and Gilbert were both promoted into the fifth class and
allowed to begin studying the elements of "the branches"--by which Latin, geometry,
French, and algebra were meant.
In geometry Anne met her Waterloo. "It's perfectly awful stuff, Marilla," she
groaned. "I'm sure I'll never be able to make head
or tail of it.
There is no scope for imagination in it at all.
Mr. Phillips says I'm the worst dunce he ever saw at it.
And Gil--I mean some of the others are so smart at it.
It is extremely mortifying, Marilla. "Even Diana gets along better than I do.
But I don't mind being beaten by Diana.
Even although we meet as strangers now I still love her with an INEXTINGUISHABLE
love. It makes me very sad at times to think
about her.
But really, Marilla, one can't stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can
one?"
>
CHAPTER XVIII. Anne to the Rescue
ALL things great are wound up with all things little.
At first glance it might not seem that the decision of a certain Canadian Premier to
include Prince Edward Island in a political tour could have much or anything to do with
the fortunes of little Anne Shirley at Green Gables.
But it had.
It was a January the Premier came, to address his loyal supporters and such of
his nonsupporters as chose to be present at the monster mass meeting held in
Charlottetown.
Most of the Avonlea people were on Premier's side of politics; hence on the
night of the meeting nearly all the men and a goodly proportion of the women had gone
to town thirty miles away.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde had gone too.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde was a red-hot politician and couldn't have believed that the
political rally could be carried through without her, although she was on the
opposite side of politics.
So she went to town and took her husband-- Thomas would be useful in looking after the
horse--and Marilla Cuthbert with her.
Marilla had a sneaking interest in politics herself, and as she thought it might be her
only chance to see a real live Premier, she promptly took it, leaving Anne and Matthew
to keep house until her return the following day.
Hence, while Marilla and Mrs. Rachel were enjoying themselves hugely at the mass
meeting, Anne and Matthew had the cheerful kitchen at Green Gables all to themselves.
A bright fire was glowing in the old- fashioned Waterloo stove and blue-white
frost crystals were shining on the windowpanes.
Matthew nodded over a FARMERS' ADVOCATE on the sofa and Anne at the table studied her
lessons with grim determination, despite sundry wistful glances at the clock shelf,
where lay a new book that Jane Andrews had lent her that day.
Jane had assured her that it was warranted to produce any number of thrills, or words
to that effect, and Anne's fingers tingled to reach out for it.
But that would mean Gilbert Blythe's triumph on the morrow.
Anne turned her back on the clock shelf and tried to imagine it wasn't there.
"Matthew, did you ever study geometry when you went to school?"
"Well now, no, I didn't," said Matthew, coming out of his doze with a start.
"I wish you had," sighed Anne, "because then you'd be able to sympathize with me.
You can't sympathize properly if you've never studied it.
It is casting a cloud over my whole life.
I'm such a dunce at it, Matthew." "Well now, I dunno," said Matthew
soothingly. "I guess you're all right at anything.
Mr. Phillips told me last week in Blair's store at Carmody that you was the smartest
scholar in school and was making rapid progress.
'Rapid progress' was his very words.
There's them as runs down Teddy Phillips and says he ain't much of a teacher, but I
guess he's all right." Matthew would have thought anyone who
praised Anne was "all right."
"I'm sure I'd get on better with geometry if only he wouldn't change the letters,"
complained Anne.
"I learn the proposition off by heart and then he draws it on the blackboard and puts
different letters from what are in the book and I get all mixed up.
I don't think a teacher should take such a mean advantage, do you?
We're studying agriculture now and I've found out at last what makes the roads red.
It's a great comfort.
I wonder how Marilla and Mrs. Lynde are enjoying themselves.
Mrs. Lynde says Canada is going to the dogs the way things are being run at Ottawa and
that it's an awful warning to the electors.
She says if women were allowed to vote we would soon see a blessed change.
What way do you vote, Matthew?" "Conservative," said Matthew promptly.
To vote Conservative was part of Matthew's religion.
"Then I'm Conservative too," said Anne decidedly.
"I'm glad because Gil--because some of the boys in school are Grits.
I guess Mr. Phillips is a Grit too because Prissy Andrews's father is one, and Ruby
Gillis says that when a man is courting he always has to agree with the girl's mother
in religion and her father in politics.
Is that true, Matthew?" "Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.
"Did you ever go courting, Matthew?"
"Well now, no, I dunno's I ever did," said Matthew, who had certainly never thought of
such a thing in his whole existence. Anne reflected with her chin in her hands.
"It must be rather interesting, don't you think, Matthew?
Ruby Gillis says when she grows up she's going to have ever so many beaus on the
string and have them all crazy about her; but I think that would be too exciting.
I'd rather have just one in his right mind.
But Ruby Gillis knows a great deal about such matters because she has so many big
sisters, and Mrs. Lynde says the Gillis girls have gone off like hot cakes.
Mr. Phillips goes up to see Prissy Andrews nearly every evening.
He says it is to help her with her lessons but Miranda Sloane is studying for Queen's
too, and I should think she needed help a lot more than Prissy because she's ever so
much stupider, but he never goes to help her in the evenings at all.
There are a great many things in this world that I can't understand very well,
Matthew."
"Well now, I dunno as I comprehend them all myself," acknowledged Matthew.
"Well, I suppose I must finish up my lessons.
I won't allow myself to open that new book Jane lent me until I'm through.
But it's a terrible temptation, Matthew. Even when I turn my back on it I can see it
there just as plain.
Jane said she cried herself sick over it. I love a book that makes me cry.
But I think I'll carry that book into the sitting room and lock it in the jam closet
and give you the key.
And you must NOT give it to me, Matthew, until my lessons are done, not even if I
implore you on my bended knees.
It's all very well to say resist temptation, but it's ever so much easier to
resist it if you can't get the key. And then shall I run down the cellar and
get some russets, Matthew?
Wouldn't you like some russets?" "Well now, I dunno but what I would," said
Matthew, who never ate russets but knew Anne's weakness for them.
Just as Anne emerged triumphantly from the cellar with her plateful of russets came
the sound of flying footsteps on the icy board walk outside and the next moment the
kitchen door was flung open and in rushed
Diana Barry, white faced and breathless, with a shawl wrapped hastily around her
head.
Anne promptly let go of her candle and plate in her surprise, and plate, candle,
and apples crashed together down the cellar ladder and were found at the bottom
embedded in melted grease, the next day, by
Marilla, who gathered them up and thanked mercy the house hadn't been set on fire.
"Whatever is the matter, Diana?" cried Anne.
"Has your mother relented at last?"
"Oh, Anne, do come quick," implored Diana nervously.
"Minnie May is awful sick--she's got croup.
Young Mary Joe says--and Father and Mother are away to town and there's nobody to go
for the doctor.
Minnie May is awful bad and Young Mary Joe doesn't know what to do--and oh, Anne, I'm
so scared!"
Matthew, without a word, reached out for cap and coat, slipped past Diana and away
into the darkness of the yard.
"He's gone to harness the sorrel mare to go to Carmody for the doctor," said Anne, who
was hurrying on hood and jacket. "I know it as well as if he'd said so.
Matthew and I are such kindred spirits I can read his thoughts without words at
all." "I don't believe he'll find the doctor at
Carmody," sobbed Diana.
"I know that Dr. Blair went to town and I guess Dr. Spencer would go too.
Young Mary Joe never saw anybody with croup and Mrs. Lynde is away.
Oh, Anne!"
"Don't cry, Di," said Anne cheerily. "I know exactly what to do for croup.
You forget that Mrs. Hammond had twins three times.
When you look after three pairs of twins you naturally get a lot of experience.
They all had croup regularly. Just wait till I get the ipecac bottle--you
mayn't have any at your house.
Come on now."
The two little girls hastened out hand in hand and hurried through Lover's Lane and
across the crusted field beyond, for the snow was too deep to go by the shorter wood
way.
Anne, although sincerely sorry for Minnie May, was far from being insensible to the
romance of the situation and to the sweetness of once more sharing that romance
with a kindred spirit.
The night was clear and frosty, all ebony of shadow and silver of snowy slope; big
stars were shining over the silent fields; here and there the dark pointed firs stood
up with snow powdering their branches and the wind whistling through them.
Anne thought it was truly delightful to go skimming through all this mystery and
loveliness with your bosom friend who had been so long estranged.
Minnie May, aged three, was really very sick.
She lay on the kitchen sofa feverish and restless, while her hoarse breathing could
be heard all over the house.
Young Mary Joe, a buxom, broad-faced French girl from the creek, whom Mrs. Barry had
engaged to stay with the children during her absence, was helpless and bewildered,
quite incapable of thinking what to do, or doing it if she thought of it.
Anne went to work with skill and promptness.
"Minnie May has croup all right; she's pretty bad, but I've seen them worse.
First we must have lots of hot water. I declare, Diana, there isn't more than a
cupful in the kettle!
There, I've filled it up, and, Mary Joe, you may put some wood in the stove.
I don't want to hurt your feelings but it seems to me you might have thought of this
before if you'd any imagination.
Now, I'll undress Minnie May and put her to bed and you try to find some soft flannel
cloths, Diana. I'm going to give her a dose of ipecac
first of all."
Minnie May did not take kindly to the ipecac but Anne had not brought up three
pairs of twins for nothing.
Down that ipecac went, not only once, but many times during the long, anxious night
when the two little girls worked patiently over the suffering Minnie May, and Young
Mary Joe, honestly anxious to do all she
could, kept up a roaring fire and heated more water than would have been needed for
a hospital of croupy babies.
It was three o'clock when Matthew came with a doctor, for he had been obliged to go all
the way to Spencervale for one. But the pressing need for assistance was
past.
Minnie May was much better and was sleeping soundly.
"I was awfully near giving up in despair," explained Anne.
"She got worse and worse until she was sicker than ever the Hammond twins were,
even the last pair. I actually thought she was going to choke
to death.
I gave her every drop of ipecac in that bottle and when the last dose went down I
said to myself--not to Diana or Young Mary Joe, because I didn't want to worry them
any more than they were worried, but I had
to say it to myself just to relieve my feelings--'This is the last lingering hope
and I fear, tis a vain one.'
But in about three minutes she coughed up the phlegm and began to get better right
away. You must just imagine my relief, doctor,
because I can't express it in words.
You know there are some things that cannot be expressed in words."
"Yes, I know," nodded the doctor.
He looked at Anne as if he were thinking some things about her that couldn't be
expressed in words. Later on, however, he expressed them to Mr.
and Mrs. Barry.
"That little redheaded girl they have over at Cuthbert's is as smart as they make 'em.
I tell you she saved that baby's life, for it would have been too late by the time I
got there.
She seems to have a skill and presence of mind perfectly wonderful in a child of her
age. I never saw anything like the eyes of her
when she was explaining the case to me."
Anne had gone home in the wonderful, white- frosted winter morning, heavy eyed from
loss of sleep, but still talking unweariedly to Matthew as they crossed the
long white field and walked under the
glittering fairy arch of the Lover's Lane maples.
"Oh, Matthew, isn't it a wonderful morning? The world looks like something God had just
imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it?
Those trees look as if I could blow them away with a breath--pouf!
I'm so glad I live in a world where there are white frosts, aren't you?
And I'm so glad Mrs. Hammond had three pairs of twins after all.
If she hadn't I mightn't have known what to do for Minnie May.
I'm real sorry I was ever cross with Mrs. Hammond for having twins.
But, oh, Matthew, I'm so sleepy. I can't go to school.
I just know I couldn't keep my eyes open and I'd be so stupid.
But I hate to stay home, for Gil--some of the others will get head of the class, and
it's so hard to get up again--although of course the harder it is the more
satisfaction you have when you do get up, haven't you?"
"Well now, I guess you'll manage all right," said Matthew, looking at Anne's
white little face and the dark shadows under her eyes.
"You just go right to bed and have a good sleep.
I'll do all the chores."
Anne accordingly went to bed and slept so long and soundly that it was well on in the
white and rosy winter afternoon when she awoke and descended to the kitchen where
Marilla, who had arrived home in the meantime, was sitting knitting.
"Oh, did you see the Premier?" exclaimed Anne at once.
"What did he look like Marilla?"
"Well, he never got to be Premier on account of his looks," said Marilla.
"Such a nose as that man had! But he can speak.
I was proud of being a Conservative.
Rachel Lynde, of course, being a Liberal, had no use for him.
Your dinner is in the oven, Anne, and you can get yourself some blue plum preserve
out of the pantry.
I guess you're hungry. Matthew has been telling me about last
night. I must say it was fortunate you knew what
to do.
I wouldn't have had any idea myself, for I never saw a case of croup.
There now, never mind talking till you've had your dinner.
I can tell by the look of you that you're just full up with speeches, but they'll
keep."
Marilla had something to tell Anne, but she did not tell it just then for she knew if
she did Anne's consequent excitement would lift her clear out of the region of such
material matters as appetite or dinner.
Not until Anne had finished her saucer of blue plums did Marilla say:
"Mrs. Barry was here this afternoon, Anne. She wanted to see you, but I wouldn't wake
you up.
She says you saved Minnie May's life, and she is very sorry she acted as she did in
that affair of the currant wine.
She says she knows now you didn't mean to set Diana drunk, and she hopes you'll
forgive her and be good friends with Diana again.
You're to go over this evening if you like for Diana can't stir outside the door on
account of a bad cold she caught last night.
Now, Anne Shirley, for pity's sake don't fly up into the air."
The warning seemed not unnecessary, so uplifted and aerial was Anne's expression
and attitude as she sprang to her feet, her face irradiated with the flame of her
spirit.
"Oh, Marilla, can I go right now--without washing my dishes?
I'll wash them when I come back, but I cannot tie myself down to anything so
unromantic as dishwashing at this thrilling moment."
"Yes, yes, run along," said Marilla indulgently.
"Anne Shirley--are you crazy? Come back this instant and put something on
you.
I might as well call to the wind. She's gone without a cap or wrap.
Look at her tearing through the orchard with her hair streaming.
It'll be a mercy if she doesn't catch her death of cold."
Anne came dancing home in the purple winter twilight across the snowy places.
Afar in the southwest was the great shimmering, pearl-like sparkle of an
evening star in a sky that was pale golden and ethereal rose over gleaming white
spaces and dark glens of spruce.
The tinkles of sleigh bells among the snowy hills came like elfin chimes through the
frosty air, but their music was not sweeter than the song in Anne's heart and on her
lips.
"You see before you a perfectly happy person, Marilla," she announced.
"I'm perfectly happy--yes, in spite of my red hair.
Just at present I have a soul above red hair.
Mrs. Barry kissed me and cried and said she was so sorry and she could never repay me.
I felt fearfully embarrassed, Marilla, but I just said as politely as I could, 'I have
no hard feelings for you, Mrs. Barry.
I assure you once for all that I did not mean to intoxicate Diana and henceforth I
shall cover the past with the mantle of oblivion.'
That was a pretty dignified way of speaking wasn't it, Marilla?"
"I felt that I was heaping coals of fire on Mrs. Barry's head.
And Diana and I had a lovely afternoon.
Diana showed me a new fancy crochet stitch her aunt over at Carmody taught her.
Not a soul in Avonlea knows it but us, and we pledged a solemn vow never to reveal it
to anyone else.
Diana gave me a beautiful card with a wreath of roses on it and a verse of
poetry: "If you love me as I love you
Nothing but death can part us two.
"And that is true, Marilla. We're going to ask Mr. Phillips to let us
sit together in school again, and Gertie Pye can go with Minnie Andrews.
We had an elegant tea.
Mrs. Barry had the very best china set out, Marilla, just as if I was real company.
I can't tell you what a thrill it gave me. Nobody ever used their very best china on
my account before.
And we had fruit cake and pound cake and doughnuts and two kinds of preserves,
Marilla.
And Mrs. Barry asked me if I took tea and said 'Pa, why don't you pass the biscuits
to Anne?'
It must be lovely to be grown up, Marilla, when just being treated as if you were is
so nice." "I don't know about that," said Marilla,
with a brief sigh.
"Well, anyway, when I am grown up," said Anne decidedly, "I'm always going to talk
to little girls as if they were too, and I'll never laugh when they use big words.
I know from sorrowful experience how that hurts one's feelings.
After tea Diana and I made taffy.
The taffy wasn't very good, I suppose because neither Diana nor I had ever made
any before.
Diana left me to stir it while she buttered the plates and I forgot and let it burn;
and then when we set it out on the platform to cool the cat walked over one plate and
that had to be thrown away.
But the making of it was splendid fun. Then when I came home Mrs. Barry asked me
to come over as often as I could and Diana stood at the window and threw kisses to me
all the way down to Lover's Lane.
I assure you, Marilla, that I feel like praying tonight and I'm going to think out
a special brand-new prayer in honor of the occasion."
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