Part 3 - Anne of Green Gables Audiobook by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Chs 19-28)

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CHAPTER XIX. A Concert a Catastrophe and a Confession
"MARILLA, can I go over to see Diana just for a minute?" asked Anne, running
breathlessly down from the east gable one February evening.
"I don't see what you want to be traipsing about after dark for," said Marilla
"You and Diana walked home from school together and then stood down there in the
snow for half an hour more, your tongues going the whole blessed time, clickety-
So I don't think you're very badly off to see her again."
"But she wants to see me," pleaded Anne. "She has something very important to tell
"How do you know she has?" "Because she just signaled to me from her
window. We have arranged a way to signal with our
candles and cardboard.
We set the candle on the window sill and make flashes by passing the cardboard back
and forth. So many flashes mean a certain thing.
It was my idea, Marilla."
"I'll warrant you it was," said Marilla emphatically.
"And the next thing you'll be setting fire to the curtains with your signaling
"Oh, we're very careful, Marilla. And it's so interesting.
Two flashes mean, 'Are you there?' Three mean 'yes' and four 'no.'
Five mean, 'Come over as soon as possible, because I have something important to
reveal.' Diana has just signaled five flashes, and
I'm really suffering to know what it is."
"Well, you needn't suffer any longer," said Marilla sarcastically.
"You can go, but you're to be back here in just ten minutes, remember that."
Anne did remember it and was back in the stipulated time, although probably no
mortal will ever know just what it cost her to confine the discussion of Diana's
important communication within the limits of ten minutes.
But at least she had made good use of them. "Oh, Marilla, what do you think?
You know tomorrow is Diana's birthday.
Well, her mother told her she could ask me to go home with her from school and stay
all night with her.
And her cousins are coming over from Newbridge in a big pung sleigh to go to the
Debating Club concert at the hall tomorrow night.
And they are going to take Diana and me to the concert--if you'll let me go, that is.
You will, won't you, Marilla? Oh, I feel so excited."
"You can calm down then, because you're not going.
You're better at home in your own bed, and as for that club concert, it's all
nonsense, and little girls should not be allowed to go out to such places at all."
"I'm sure the Debating Club is a most respectable affair," pleaded Anne.
"I'm not saying it isn't.
But you're not going to begin gadding about to concerts and staying out all hours of
the night. Pretty doings for children.
I'm surprised at Mrs. Barry's letting Diana go."
"But it's such a very special occasion," mourned Anne, on the verge of tears.
"Diana has only one birthday in a year.
It isn't as if birthdays were common things, Marilla.
Prissy Andrews is going to recite 'Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight.'
That is such a good moral piece, Marilla, I'm sure it would do me lots of good to
hear it.
And the choir are going to sing four lovely pathetic songs that are pretty near as good
as hymns.
And oh, Marilla, the minister is going to take part; yes, indeed, he is; he's going
to give an address. That will be just about the same thing as a
Please, mayn't I go, Marilla?" "You heard what I said, Anne, didn't you?
Take off your boots now and go to bed. It's past eight."
"There's just one more thing, Marilla," said Anne, with the air of producing the
last shot in her locker. "Mrs. Barry told Diana that we might sleep
in the spare-room bed.
Think of the honor of your little Anne being put in the spare-room bed."
"It's an honor you'll have to get along without.
Go to bed, Anne, and don't let me hear another word out of you."
When Anne, with tears rolling over her cheeks, had gone sorrowfully upstairs,
Matthew, who had been apparently sound asleep on the lounge during the whole
dialogue, opened his eyes and said decidedly:
"Well now, Marilla, I think you ought to let Anne go."
"I don't then," retorted Marilla.
"Who's bringing this child up, Matthew, you or me?"
"Well now, you," admitted Matthew. "Don't interfere then."
"Well now, I ain't interfering.
It ain't interfering to have your own opinion.
And my opinion is that you ought to let Anne go."
"You'd think I ought to let Anne go to the moon if she took the notion, I've no doubt"
was Marilla's amiable rejoinder. "I might have let her spend the night with
Diana, if that was all.
But I don't approve of this concert plan. She'd go there and catch cold like as not,
and have her head filled up with nonsense and excitement.
It would unsettle her for a week.
I understand that child's disposition and what's good for it better than you,
Matthew." "I think you ought to let Anne go,"
repeated Matthew firmly.
Argument was not his strong point, but holding fast to his opinion certainly was.
Marilla gave a gasp of helplessness and took refuge in silence.
The next morning, when Anne was washing the breakfast dishes in the pantry, Matthew
paused on his way out to the barn to say to Marilla again:
"I think you ought to let Anne go, Marilla."
For a moment Marilla looked things not lawful to be uttered.
Then she yielded to the inevitable and said tartly:
"Very well, she can go, since nothing else'll please you."
Anne flew out of the pantry, dripping dishcloth in hand.
"Oh, Marilla, Marilla, say those blessed words again."
"I guess once is enough to say them.
This is Matthew's doings and I wash my hands of it.
If you catch pneumonia sleeping in a strange bed or coming out of that hot hall
in the middle of the night, don't blame me, blame Matthew.
Anne Shirley, you're dripping greasy water all over the floor.
I never saw such a careless child." "Oh, I know I'm a great trial to you,
Marilla," said Anne repentantly.
"I make so many mistakes. But then just think of all the mistakes I
don't make, although I might. I'll get some sand and scrub up the spots
before I go to school.
Oh, Marilla, my heart was just set on going to that concert.
I never was to a concert in my life, and when the other girls talk about them in
school I feel so out of it.
You didn't know just how I felt about it, but you see Matthew did.
Matthew understands me, and it's so nice to be understood, Marilla."
Anne was too excited to do herself justice as to lessons that morning in school.
Gilbert Blythe spelled her down in class and left her clear out of sight in mental
Anne's consequent humiliation was less than it might have been, however, in view of the
concert and the spare-room bed.
She and Diana talked so constantly about it all day that with a stricter teacher than
Mr. Phillips dire disgrace must inevitably have been their portion.
Anne felt that she could not have borne it if she had not been going to the concert,
for nothing else was discussed that day in school.
The Avonlea Debating Club, which met fortnightly all winter, had had several
smaller free entertainments; but this was to be a big affair, admission ten cents, in
aid of the library.
The Avonlea young people had been practicing for weeks, and all the scholars
were especially interested in it by reason of older brothers and sisters who were
going to take part.
Everybody in school over nine years of age expected to go, except Carrie Sloane, whose
father shared Marilla's opinions about small girls going out to night concerts.
Carrie Sloane cried into her grammar all the afternoon and felt that life was not
worth living.
For Anne the real excitement began with the dismissal of school and increased therefrom
in crescendo until it reached to a crash of positive ecstasy in the concert itself.
They had a "perfectly elegant tea;" and then came the delicious occupation of
dressing in Diana's little room upstairs.
Diana did Anne's front hair in the new pompadour style and Anne tied Diana's bows
with the especial knack she possessed; and they experimented with at least half a
dozen different ways of arranging their back hair.
At last they were ready, cheeks scarlet and eyes glowing with excitement.
True, Anne could not help a little pang when she contrasted her plain black tam and
shapeless, tight-sleeved, homemade gray- cloth coat with Diana's jaunty fur cap and
smart little jacket.
But she remembered in time that she had an imagination and could use it.
Then Diana's cousins, the Murrays from Newbridge, came; they all crowded into the
big pung sleigh, among straw and furry robes.
Anne reveled in the drive to the hall, slipping along over the satin-smooth roads
with the snow crisping under the runners.
There was a magnificent sunset, and the snowy hills and deep-blue water of the St.
Lawrence Gulf seemed to rim in the splendor like a huge bowl of pearl and sapphire
brimmed with wine and fire.
Tinkles of sleigh bells and distant laughter, that seemed like the mirth of
wood elves, came from every quarter.
"Oh, Diana," breathed Anne, squeezing Diana's mittened hand under the fur robe,
"isn't it all like a beautiful dream? Do I really look the same as usual?
I feel so different that it seems to me it must show in my looks."
"You look awfully nice," said Diana, who having just received a compliment from one
of her cousins, felt that she ought to pass it on.
"You've got the loveliest color."
The program that night was a series of "thrills" for at least one listener in the
audience, and, as Anne assured Diana, every succeeding thrill was thrillier than the
When Prissy Andrews, attired in a new pink- silk waist with a string of pearls about
her smooth white throat and real carnations in her hair--rumor whispered that the
master had sent all the way to town for
them for her--"climbed the slimy ladder, dark without one ray of light," Anne
shivered in luxurious sympathy; when the choir sang "Far Above the Gentle Daisies"
Anne gazed at the ceiling as if it were
frescoed with angels; when Sam Sloane proceeded to explain and illustrate "How
Sockery Set a Hen" Anne laughed until people sitting near her laughed too, more
out of sympathy with her than with
amusement at a selection that was rather threadbare even in Avonlea; and when Mr.
Phillips gave Mark Antony's oration over the dead body of Caesar in the most heart-
stirring tones--looking at Prissy Andrews
at the end of every sentence--Anne felt that she could rise and mutiny on the spot
if but one Roman citizen led the way. Only one number on the program failed to
interest her.
When Gilbert Blythe recited "Bingen on the Rhine" Anne picked up Rhoda Murray's
library book and read it until he had finished, when she sat rigidly stiff and
motionless while Diana clapped her hands until they tingled.
It was eleven when they got home, sated with dissipation, but with the exceeding
sweet pleasure of talking it all over still to come.
Everybody seemed asleep and the house was dark and silent.
Anne and Diana tiptoed into the parlor, a long narrow room out of which the spare
room opened.
It was pleasantly warm and dimly lighted by the embers of a fire in the grate.
"Let's undress here," said Diana. "It's so nice and warm."
"Hasn't it been a delightful time?" sighed Anne rapturously.
"It must be splendid to get up and recite there.
Do you suppose we will ever be asked to do it, Diana?"
"Yes, of course, someday. They're always wanting the big scholars to
Gilbert Blythe does often and he's only two years older than us.
Oh, Anne, how could you pretend not to listen to him?
When he came to the line,
"THERE'S ANOTHER, not A SISTER, he looked right down at you."
"Diana," said Anne with dignity, "you are my bosom friend, but I cannot allow even
you to speak to me of that person.
Are you ready for bed? Let's run a race and see who'll get to the
bed first." The suggestion appealed to Diana.
The two little white-clad figures flew down the long room, through the spare-room door,
and bounded on the bed at the same moment.
And then--something--moved beneath them, there was a gasp and a cry--and somebody
said in muffled accents: "Merciful goodness!"
Anne and Diana were never able to tell just how they got off that bed and out of the
They only knew that after one frantic rush they found themselves tiptoeing shiveringly
"Oh, who was it--WHAT was it?" whispered Anne, her teeth chattering with cold and
fright. "It was Aunt Josephine," said Diana,
gasping with laughter.
"Oh, Anne, it was Aunt Josephine, however she came to be there.
Oh, and I know she will be furious. It's dreadful--it's really dreadful--but
did you ever know anything so funny, Anne?"
"Who is your Aunt Josephine?" "She's father's aunt and she lives in
Charlottetown. She's awfully old--seventy anyhow--and I
don't believe she was EVER a little girl.
We were expecting her out for a visit, but not so soon.
She's awfully prim and proper and she'll scold dreadfully about this, I know.
Well, we'll have to sleep with Minnie May-- and you can't think how she kicks."
Miss Josephine Barry did not appear at the early breakfast the next morning.
Mrs. Barry smiled kindly at the two little girls.
"Did you have a good time last night?
I tried to stay awake until you came home, for I wanted to tell you Aunt Josephine had
come and that you would have to go upstairs after all, but I was so tired I fell
I hope you didn't disturb your aunt, Diana."
Diana preserved a discreet silence, but she and Anne exchanged furtive smiles of guilty
amusement across the table.
Anne hurried home after breakfast and so remained in blissful ignorance of the
disturbance which presently resulted in the Barry household until the late afternoon,
when she went down to Mrs. Lynde's on an errand for Marilla.
"So you and Diana nearly frightened poor old Miss Barry to death last night?" said
Mrs. Lynde severely, but with a twinkle in her eye.
"Mrs. Barry was here a few minutes ago on her way to Carmody.
She's feeling real worried over it.
Old Miss Barry was in a terrible temper when she got up this morning--and Josephine
Barry's temper is no joke, I can tell you that.
She wouldn't speak to Diana at all."
"It wasn't Diana's fault," said Anne contritely.
"It was mine. I suggested racing to see who would get
into bed first."
"I knew it!" said Mrs. Lynde, with the exultation of a correct guesser.
"I knew that idea came out of your head. Well, it's made a nice lot of trouble,
that's what.
Old Miss Barry came out to stay for a month, but she declares she won't stay
another day and is going right back to town tomorrow, Sunday and all as it is.
She'd have gone today if they could have taken her.
She had promised to pay for a quarter's music lessons for Diana, but now she is
determined to do nothing at all for such a tomboy.
Oh, I guess they had a lively time of it there this morning.
The Barrys must feel cut up. Old Miss Barry is rich and they'd like to
keep on the good side of her.
Of course, Mrs. Barry didn't say just that to me, but I'm a pretty good judge of human
nature, that's what." "I'm such an unlucky girl," mourned Anne.
"I'm always getting into scrapes myself and getting my best friends--people I'd shed my
heart's blood for--into them too. Can you tell me why it is so, Mrs. Lynde?"
"It's because you're too heedless and impulsive, child, that's what.
You never stop to think--whatever comes into your head to say or do you say or do
it without a moment's reflection."
"Oh, but that's the best of it," protested Anne.
"Something just flashes into your mind, so exciting, and you must out with it.
If you stop to think it over you spoil it all.
Haven't you never felt that yourself, Mrs. Lynde?"
No, Mrs. Lynde had not.
She shook her head sagely. "You must learn to think a little, Anne,
that's what.
The proverb you need to go by is 'Look before you leap'--especially into spare-
room beds." Mrs. Lynde laughed comfortably over her
mild joke, but Anne remained pensive.
She saw nothing to laugh at in the situation, which to her eyes appeared very
serious. When she left Mrs. Lynde's she took her way
across the crusted fields to Orchard Slope.
Diana met her at the kitchen door. "Your Aunt Josephine was very cross about
it, wasn't she?" whispered Anne.
"Yes," answered Diana, stifling a giggle with an apprehensive glance over her
shoulder at the closed sitting-room door. "She was fairly dancing with rage, Anne.
Oh, how she scolded.
She said I was the worst-behaved girl she ever saw and that my parents ought to be
ashamed of the way they had brought me up. She says she won't stay and I'm sure I
don't care.
But Father and Mother do." "Why didn't you tell them it was my fault?"
demanded Anne. "It's likely I'd do such a thing, isn't
it?" said Diana with just scorn.
"I'm no telltale, Anne Shirley, and anyhow I was just as much to blame as you."
"Well, I'm going in to tell her myself," said Anne resolutely.
Diana stared.
"Anne Shirley, you'd never! why--she'll eat you alive!"
"Don't frighten me any more than I am frightened," implored Anne.
"I'd rather walk up to a cannon's mouth.
But I've got to do it, Diana. It was my fault and I've got to confess.
I've had practice in confessing, fortunately."
"Well, she's in the room," said Diana.
"You can go in if you want to. I wouldn't dare.
And I don't believe you'll do a bit of good."
With this encouragement Anne bearded the lion in its den--that is to say, walked
resolutely up to the sitting-room door and knocked faintly.
A sharp "Come in" followed.
Miss Josephine Barry, thin, prim, and rigid, was knitting fiercely by the fire,
her wrath quite unappeased and her eyes snapping through her gold-rimmed glasses.
She wheeled around in her chair, expecting to see Diana, and beheld a white-faced girl
whose great eyes were brimmed up with a mixture of desperate courage and shrinking
"Who are you?" demanded Miss Josephine Barry, without ceremony.
"I'm Anne of Green Gables," said the small visitor tremulously, clasping her hands
with her characteristic gesture, "and I've come to confess, if you please."
"Confess what?"
"That it was all my fault about jumping into bed on you last night.
I suggested it. Diana would never have thought of such a
thing, I am sure.
Diana is a very ladylike girl, Miss Barry. So you must see how unjust it is to blame
her." "Oh, I must, hey?
I rather think Diana did her share of the jumping at least.
Such carryings on in a respectable house!" "But we were only in fun," persisted Anne.
"I think you ought to forgive us, Miss Barry, now that we've apologized.
And anyhow, please forgive Diana and let her have her music lessons.
Diana's heart is set on her music lessons, Miss Barry, and I know too well what it is
to set your heart on a thing and not get it.
If you must be cross with anyone, be cross with me.
I've been so used in my early days to having people cross at me that I can endure
it much better than Diana can."
Much of the snap had gone out of the old lady's eyes by this time and was replaced
by a twinkle of amused interest. But she still said severely:
"I don't think it is any excuse for you that you were only in fun.
Little girls never indulged in that kind of fun when I was young.
You don't know what it is to be awakened out of a sound sleep, after a long and
arduous journey, by two great girls coming bounce down on you."
"I don't KNOW, but I can IMAGINE," said Anne eagerly.
"I'm sure it must have been very disturbing.
But then, there is our side of it too.
Have you any imagination, Miss Barry? If you have, just put yourself in our
place. We didn't know there was anybody in that
bed and you nearly scared us to death.
It was simply awful the way we felt. And then we couldn't sleep in the spare
room after being promised. I suppose you are used to sleeping in spare
But just imagine what you would feel like if you were a little orphan girl who had
never had such an honor." All the snap had gone by this time.
Miss Barry actually laughed--a sound which caused Diana, waiting in speechless anxiety
in the kitchen outside, to give a great gasp of relief.
"I'm afraid my imagination is a little rusty--it's so long since I used it," she
said. "I dare say your claim to sympathy is just
as strong as mine.
It all depends on the way we look at it. Sit down here and tell me about yourself."
"I am very sorry I can't," said Anne firmly.
"I would like to, because you seem like an interesting lady, and you might even be a
kindred spirit although you don't look very much like it.
But it is my duty to go home to Miss Marilla Cuthbert.
Miss Marilla Cuthbert is a very kind lady who has taken me to bring up properly.
She is doing her best, but it is very discouraging work.
You must not blame her because I jumped on the bed.
But before I go I do wish you would tell me if you will forgive Diana and stay just as
long as you meant to in Avonlea."
"I think perhaps I will if you will come over and talk to me occasionally," said
Miss Barry.
That evening Miss Barry gave Diana a silver bangle bracelet and told the senior members
of the household that she had unpacked her valise.
"I've made up my mind to stay simply for the sake of getting better acquainted with
that Anne-girl," she said frankly. "She amuses me, and at my time of life an
amusing person is a rarity."
Marilla's only comment when she heard the story was, "I told you so."
This was for Matthew's benefit. Miss Barry stayed her month out and over.
She was a more agreeable guest than usual, for Anne kept her in good humor.
They became firm friends. When Miss Barry went away she said:
"Remember, you Anne-girl, when you come to town you're to visit me and I'll put you in
my very sparest spare-room bed to sleep." "Miss Barry was a kindred spirit, after
all," Anne confided to Marilla.
"You wouldn't think so to look at her, but she is.
You don't find it right out at first, as in Matthew's case, but after a while you come
to see it.
Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.
It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world."
CHAPTER XX. A Good Imagination Gone Wrong
Spring had come once more to Green Gables-- the beautiful capricious, reluctant
Canadian spring, lingering along through April and May in a succession of sweet,
fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth.
The maples in Lover's Lane were red budded and little curly ferns pushed up around the
Dryad's Bubble.
Away up in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Sloane's place, the Mayflowers blossomed
out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves.
All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming
home in the clear, echoing twilight with arms and baskets full of flowery spoil.
"I'm so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers," said Anne.
"Diana says perhaps they have something better, but there couldn't be anything
better than Mayflowers, could there, Marilla?
And Diana says if they don't know what they are like they don't miss them.
But I think that is the saddest thing of all.
I think it would be TRAGIC, Marilla, not to know what Mayflowers are like and NOT to
miss them. Do you know what I think Mayflowers are,
I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer and this is
their heaven. But we had a splendid time today, Marilla.
We had our lunch down in a big mossy hollow by an old well--such a ROMANTIC spot.
Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did because he wouldn't
take a dare.
Nobody would in school. It is very FASHIONABLE to dare.
Mr. Phillips gave all the Mayflowers he found to Prissy Andrews and I heard him to
say 'sweets to the sweet.'
He got that out of a book, I know; but it shows he has some imagination.
I was offered some Mayflowers too, but I rejected them with scorn.
I can't tell you the person's name because I have vowed never to let it cross my lips.
We made wreaths of the Mayflowers and put them on our hats; and when the time came to
go home we marched in procession down the road, two by two, with our bouquets and
wreaths, singing 'My Home on the Hill.'
Oh, it was so thrilling, Marilla. All Mr. Silas Sloane's folks rushed out to
see us and everybody we met on the road stopped and stared after us.
We made a real sensation."
"Not much wonder! Such silly doings!" was Marilla's response.
After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them.
Anne walked through it on her way to school with reverent steps and worshiping eyes, as
if she trod on holy ground.
"Somehow," she told Diana, "when I'm going through here I don't really care whether
Gil--whether anybody gets ahead of me in class or not.
But when I'm up in school it's all different and I care as much as ever.
There's such a lot of different Annes in me.
I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person.
If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it
wouldn't be half so interesting."
One June evening, when the orchards were pink blossomed again, when the frogs were
singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and
the air was full of the savor of clover
fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window.
She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she
had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once
more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.
In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged.
The walls were as white, the pincushion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly
upright as ever.
Yet the whole character of the room was altered.
It was full of a new vital, pulsing personality that seemed to pervade it and
to be quite independent of schoolgirl books and dresses and ribbons, and even of the
cracked blue jug full of apple blossoms on the table.
It was as if all the dreams, sleeping and waking, of its vivid occupant had taken a
visible although unmaterial form and had tapestried the bare room with splendid
filmy tissues of rainbow and moonshine.
Presently Marilla came briskly in with some of Anne's freshly ironed school aprons.
She hung them over a chair and sat down with a short sigh.
She had had one of her headaches that afternoon, and although the pain had gone
she felt weak and "tuckered out," as she expressed it.
Anne looked at her with eyes limpid with sympathy.
"I do truly wish I could have had the headache in your place, Marilla.
I would have endured it joyfully for your sake."
"I guess you did your part in attending to the work and letting me rest," said
"You seem to have got on fairly well and made fewer mistakes than usual.
Of course it wasn't exactly necessary to starch Matthew's handkerchiefs!
And most people when they put a pie in the oven to warm up for dinner take it out and
eat it when it gets hot instead of leaving it to be burned to a crisp.
But that doesn't seem to be your way evidently."
Headaches always left Marilla somewhat sarcastic.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Anne penitently.
"I never thought about that pie from the moment I put it in the oven till now,
although I felt INSTINCTIVELY that there was something missing on the dinner table.
I was firmly resolved, when you left me in charge this morning, not to imagine
anything, but keep my thoughts on facts.
I did pretty well until I put the pie in, and then an irresistible temptation came to
me to imagine I was an enchanted princess shut up in a lonely tower with a handsome
knight riding to my rescue on a coal-black steed.
So that is how I came to forget the pie. I didn't know I starched the handkerchiefs.
All the time I was ironing I was trying to think of a name for a new island Diana and
I have discovered up the brook. It's the most ravishing spot, Marilla.
There are two maple trees on it and the brook flows right around it.
At last it struck me that it would be splendid to call it Victoria Island because
we found it on the Queen's birthday.
Both Diana and I are very loyal. But I'm sorry about that pie and the
handkerchiefs. I wanted to be extra good today because
it's an anniversary.
Do you remember what happened this day last year, Marilla?"
"No, I can't think of anything special." "Oh, Marilla, it was the day I came to
Green Gables.
I shall never forget it. It was the turning point in my life.
Of course it wouldn't seem so important to you.
I've been here for a year and I've been so happy.
Of course, I've had my troubles, but one can live down troubles.
Are you sorry you kept me, Marilla?"
"No, I can't say I'm sorry," said Marilla, who sometimes wondered how she could have
lived before Anne came to Green Gables, "no, not exactly sorry.
If you've finished your lessons, Anne, I want you to run over and ask Mrs. Barry if
she'll lend me Diana's apron pattern." "Oh--it's--it's too dark," cried Anne.
"Too dark?
Why, it's only twilight. And goodness knows you've gone over often
enough after dark." "I'll go over early in the morning," said
Anne eagerly.
"I'll get up at sunrise and go over, Marilla."
"What has got into your head now, Anne Shirley?
I want that pattern to cut out your new apron this evening.
Go at once and be smart too." "I'll have to go around by the road, then,"
said Anne, taking up her hat reluctantly.
"Go by the road and waste half an hour! I'd like to catch you!"
"I can't go through the Haunted Wood, Marilla," cried Anne desperately.
Marilla stared.
"The Haunted Wood! Are you crazy?
What under the canopy is the Haunted Wood?" "The spruce wood over the brook," said Anne
in a whisper.
"Fiddlesticks! There is no such thing as a haunted wood
anywhere. Who has been telling you such stuff?"
"Nobody," confessed Anne.
"Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted.
All the places around here are so--so-- COMMONPLACE.
We just got this up for our own amusement.
We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic,
Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it's so
Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things.
There's a white lady walks along the brook just about this time of the night and
wrings her hands and utters wailing cries.
She appears when there is to be a death in the family.
And the ghost of a little murdered child haunts the corner up by Idlewild; it creeps
up behind you and lays its cold fingers on your hand--so.
Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it.
And there's a headless man stalks up and down the path and skeletons glower at you
between the boughs.
Oh, Marilla, I wouldn't go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything.
I'd be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me."
"Did ever anyone hear the like!" ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb
"Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your
own imagination?" "Not believe EXACTLY," faltered Anne.
"At least, I don't believe it in daylight.
But after dark, Marilla, it's different. That is when ghosts walk."
"There are no such things as ghosts, Anne." "Oh, but there are, Marilla," cried Anne
"I know people who have seen them. And they are respectable people.
Charlie Sloane says that his grandmother saw his grandfather driving home the cows
one night after he'd been buried for a year.
You know Charlie Sloane's grandmother wouldn't tell a story for anything.
She's a very religious woman.
And Mrs. Thomas's father was pursued home one night by a lamb of fire with its head
cut off hanging by a strip of skin.
He said he knew it was the spirit of his brother and that it was a warning he would
die within nine days. He didn't, but he died two years after, so
you see it was really true.
And Ruby Gillis says--" "Anne Shirley," interrupted Marilla firmly,
"I never want to hear you talking in this fashion again.
I've had my doubts about that imagination of yours right along, and if this is going
to be the outcome of it, I won't countenance any such doings.
You'll go right over to Barry's, and you'll go through that spruce grove, just for a
lesson and a warning to you. And never let me hear a word out of your
head about haunted woods again."
Anne might plead and cry as she liked--and did, for her terror was very real.
Her imagination had run away with her and she held the spruce grove in mortal dread
after nightfall.
But Marilla was inexorable.
She marched the shrinking ghost-seer down to the spring and ordered her to proceed
straightaway over the bridge and into the dusky retreats of wailing ladies and
headless specters beyond.
"Oh, Marilla, how can you be so cruel?" sobbed Anne.
"What would you feel like if a white thing did snatch me up and carry me off?"
"I'll risk it," said Marilla unfeelingly.
"You know I always mean what I say. I'll cure you of imagining ghosts into
places. March, now."
Anne marched.
That is, she stumbled over the bridge and went shuddering up the horrible dim path
beyond. Anne never forgot that walk.
Bitterly did she repent the license she had given to her imagination.
The goblins of her fancy lurked in every shadow about her, reaching out their cold,
fleshless hands to grasp the terrified small girl who had called them into being.
A white strip of birch bark blowing up from the hollow over the brown floor of the
grove made her heart stand still.
The long-drawn wail of two old boughs rubbing against each other brought out the
perspiration in beads on her forehead. The swoop of bats in the darkness over her
was as the wings of unearthly creatures.
When she reached Mr. William Bell's field she fled across it as if pursued by an army
of white things, and arrived at the Barry kitchen door so out of breath that she
could hardly gasp out her request for the apron pattern.
Diana was away so that she had no excuse to linger.
The dreadful return journey had to be faced.
Anne went back over it with shut eyes, preferring to take the risk of dashing her
brains out among the boughs to that of seeing a white thing.
When she finally stumbled over the log bridge she drew one long shivering breath
of relief. "Well, so nothing caught you?" said Marilla
"Oh, Mar--Marilla," chattered Anne, "I'll b-b-be contt-tented with c-c-commonplace
places after this."
CHAPTER XXI. A New Departure in Flavorings
"Dear me, there is nothing but meetings and partings in this world, as Mrs. Lynde
says," remarked Anne plaintively, putting her slate and books down on the kitchen
table on the last day of June and wiping her red eyes with a very damp handkerchief.
"Wasn't it fortunate, Marilla, that I took an extra handkerchief to school today?
I had a presentiment that it would be needed."
"I never thought you were so fond of Mr. Phillips that you'd require two
handkerchiefs to dry your tears just because he was going away," said Marilla.
"I don't think I was crying because I was really so very fond of him," reflected
Anne. "I just cried because all the others did.
It was Ruby Gillis started it.
Ruby Gillis has always declared she hated Mr. Phillips, but just as soon as he got up
to make his farewell speech she burst into tears.
Then all the girls began to cry, one after the other.
I tried to hold out, Marilla.
I tried to remember the time Mr. Phillips made me sit with Gil--with a, boy; and the
time he spelled my name without an e on the blackboard; and how he said I was the worst
dunce he ever saw at geometry and laughed
at my spelling; and all the times he had been so horrid and sarcastic; but somehow I
couldn't, Marilla, and I just had to cry too.
Jane Andrews has been talking for a month about how glad she'd be when Mr. Phillips
went away and she declared she'd never shed a tear.
Well, she was worse than any of us and had to borrow a handkerchief from her brother--
of course the boys didn't cry--because she hadn't brought one of her own, not
expecting to need it.
Oh, Marilla, it was heartrending. Mr. Phillips made such a beautiful farewell
speech beginning, 'The time has come for us to part.'
It was very affecting.
And he had tears in his eyes too, Marilla. Oh, I felt dreadfully sorry and remorseful
for all the times I'd talked in school and drawn pictures of him on my slate and made
fun of him and Prissy.
I can tell you I wished I'd been a model pupil like Minnie Andrews.
She hadn't anything on her conscience. The girls cried all the way home from
Carrie Sloane kept saying every few minutes, 'The time has come for us to
part,' and that would start us off again whenever we were in any danger of cheering
I do feel dreadfully sad, Marilla. But one can't feel quite in the depths of
despair with two months' vacation before them, can they, Marilla?
And besides, we met the new minister and his wife coming from the station.
For all I was feeling so bad about Mr. Phillips going away I couldn't help taking
a little interest in a new minister, could I?
His wife is very pretty.
Not exactly regally lovely, of course--it wouldn't do, I suppose, for a minister to
have a regally lovely wife, because it might set a bad example.
Mrs. Lynde says the minister's wife over at Newbridge sets a very bad example because
she dresses so fashionably.
Our new minister's wife was dressed in blue muslin with lovely puffed sleeves and a hat
trimmed with roses.
Jane Andrews said she thought puffed sleeves were too worldly for a minister's
wife, but I didn't make any such uncharitable remark, Marilla, because I
know what it is to long for puffed sleeves.
Besides, she's only been a minister's wife for a little while, so one should make
allowances, shouldn't they? They are going to board with Mrs. Lynde
until the manse is ready."
If Marilla, in going down to Mrs. Lynde's that evening, was actuated by any motive
save her avowed one of returning the quilting frames she had borrowed the
preceding winter, it was an amiable
weakness shared by most of the Avonlea people.
Many a thing Mrs. Lynde had lent, sometimes never expecting to see it again, came home
that night in charge of the borrowers thereof.
A new minister, and moreover a minister with a wife, was a lawful object of
curiosity in a quiet little country settlement where sensations were few and
far between.
Old Mr. Bentley, the minister whom Anne had found lacking in imagination, had been
pastor of Avonlea for eighteen years.
He was a widower when he came, and a widower he remained, despite the fact that
gossip regularly married him to this, that, or the other one, every year of his
In the preceding February he had resigned his charge and departed amid the regrets of
his people, most of whom had the affection born of long intercourse for their good old
minister in spite of his shortcomings as an orator.
Since then the Avonlea church had enjoyed a variety of religious dissipation in
listening to the many and various candidates and "supplies" who came Sunday
after Sunday to preach on trial.
These stood or fell by the judgment of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a
certain small, red-haired girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert
pew also had her opinions about them and
discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to
criticize ministers in any shape or form. "I don't think Mr. Smith would have done,
Matthew" was Anne's final summing up.
"Mrs. Lynde says his delivery was so poor, but I think his worst fault was just like
Mr. Bentley's--he had no imagination.
And Mr. Terry had too much; he let it run away with him just as I did mine in the
matter of the Haunted Wood. Besides, Mrs. Lynde says his theology
wasn't sound.
Mr. Gresham was a very good man and a very religious man, but he told too many funny
stories and made the people laugh in church; he was undignified, and you must
have some dignity about a minister, mustn't you, Matthew?
I thought Mr. Marshall was decidedly attractive; but Mrs. Lynde says he isn't
married, or even engaged, because she made special inquiries about him, and she says
it would never do to have a young unmarried
minister in Avonlea, because he might marry in the congregation and that would make
trouble. Mrs. Lynde is a very farseeing woman, isn't
she, Matthew?
I'm very glad they've called Mr. Allan. I liked him because his sermon was
interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was
in the habit of it.
Mrs. Lynde says he isn't perfect, but she says she supposes we couldn't expect a
perfect minister for seven hundred and fifty dollars a year, and anyhow his
theology is sound because she questioned
him thoroughly on all the points of doctrine.
And she knows his wife's people and they are most respectable and the women are all
good housekeepers.
Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make
an ideal combination for a minister's family."
The new minister and his wife were a young, pleasant-faced couple, still on their
honeymoon, and full of all good and beautiful enthusiasms for their chosen
Avonlea opened its heart to them from the start.
Old and young liked the frank, cheerful young man with his high ideals, and the
bright, gentle little lady who assumed the mistress-ship of the manse.
With Mrs. Allan Anne fell promptly and wholeheartedly in love.
She had discovered another kindred spirit. "Mrs. Allan is perfectly lovely," she
announced one Sunday afternoon.
"She's taken our class and she's a splendid teacher.
She said right away she didn't think it was fair for the teacher to ask all the
questions, and you know, Marilla, that is exactly what I've always thought.
She said we could ask her any question we liked and I asked ever so many.
I'm good at asking questions, Marilla." "I believe you" was Marilla's emphatic
"Nobody else asked any except Ruby Gillis, and she asked if there was to be a Sunday-
school picnic this summer.
I didn't think that was a very proper question to ask because it hadn't any
connection with the lesson--the lesson was about Daniel in the lions' den--but Mrs.
Allan just smiled and said she thought there would be.
Mrs. Allan has a lovely smile; she has such EXQUISITE dimples in her cheeks.
I wish I had dimples in my cheeks, Marilla.
I'm not half so skinny as I was when I came here, but I have no dimples yet.
If I had perhaps I could influence people for good.
Mrs. Allan said we ought always to try to influence other people for good.
She talked so nice about everything. I never knew before that religion was such
a cheerful thing.
I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs. Allan's isn't, and I'd like to be
a Christian if I could be one like her. I wouldn't want to be one like Mr.
Superintendent Bell."
"It's very naughty of you to speak so about Mr. Bell," said Marilla severely.
"Mr. Bell is a real good man."
"Oh, of course he's good," agreed Anne, "but he doesn't seem to get any comfort out
of it. If I could be good I'd dance and sing all
day because I was glad of it.
I suppose Mrs. Allan is too old to dance and sing and of course it wouldn't be
dignified in a minister's wife.
But I can just feel she's glad she's a Christian and that she'd be one even if she
could get to heaven without it."
"I suppose we must have Mr. and Mrs. Allan up to tea someday soon," said Marilla
reflectively. "They've been most everywhere but here.
Let me see.
Next Wednesday would be a good time to have them.
But don't say a word to Matthew about it, for if he knew they were coming he'd find
some excuse to be away that day.
He'd got so used to Mr. Bentley he didn't mind him, but he's going to find it hard to
get acquainted with a new minister, and a new minister's wife will frighten him to
"I'll be as secret as the dead," assured Anne.
"But oh, Marilla, will you let me make a cake for the occasion?
I'd love to do something for Mrs. Allan, and you know I can make a pretty good cake
by this time." "You can make a layer cake," promised
Monday and Tuesday great preparations went on at Green Gables.
Having the minister and his wife to tea was a serious and important undertaking, and
Marilla was determined not to be eclipsed by any of the Avonlea housekeepers.
Anne was wild with excitement and delight.
She talked it all over with Diana Tuesday night in the twilight, as they sat on the
big red stones by the Dryad's Bubble and made rainbows in the water with little
twigs dipped in fir balsam.
"Everything is ready, Diana, except my cake which I'm to make in the morning, and the
baking-powder biscuits which Marilla will make just before teatime.
I assure you, Diana, that Marilla and I have had a busy two days of it.
It's such a responsibility having a minister's family to tea.
I never went through such an experience before.
You should just see our pantry. It's a sight to behold.
We're going to have jellied chicken and cold tongue.
We're to have two kinds of jelly, red and yellow, and whipped cream and lemon pie,
and cherry pie, and three kinds of cookies, and fruit cake, and Marilla's famous yellow
plum preserves that she keeps especially
for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake, and biscuits as aforesaid; and new
bread and old both, in case the minister is dyspeptic and can't eat new.
Mrs. Lynde says ministers are dyspeptic, but I don't think Mr. Allan has been a
minister long enough for it to have had a bad effect on him.
I just grow cold when I think of my layer cake.
Oh, Diana, what if it shouldn't be good!
I dreamed last night that I was chased all around by a fearful goblin with a big layer
cake for a head." "It'll be good, all right," assured Diana,
who was a very comfortable sort of friend.
"I'm sure that piece of the one you made that we had for lunch in Idlewild two weeks
ago was perfectly elegant."
"Yes; but cakes have such a terrible habit of turning out bad just when you especially
want them to be good," sighed Anne, setting a particularly well-balsamed twig afloat.
"However, I suppose I shall just have to trust to Providence and be careful to put
in the flour. Oh, look, Diana, what a lovely rainbow!
Do you suppose the dryad will come out after we go away and take it for a scarf?"
"You know there is no such thing as a dryad," said Diana.
Diana's mother had found out about the Haunted Wood and had been decidedly angry
over it.
As a result Diana had abstained from any further imitative flights of imagination
and did not think it prudent to cultivate a spirit of belief even in harmless dryads.
"But it's so easy to imagine there is," said Anne.
"Every night before I go to bed, I look out of my window and wonder if the dryad is
really sitting here, combing her locks with the spring for a mirror.
Sometimes I look for her footprints in the dew in the morning.
Oh, Diana, don't give up your faith in the dryad!"
Wednesday morning came.
Anne got up at sunrise because she was too excited to sleep.
She had caught a severe cold in the head by reason of her dabbling in the spring on the
preceding evening; but nothing short of absolute pneumonia could have quenched her
interest in culinary matters that morning.
After breakfast she proceeded to make her cake.
When she finally shut the oven door upon it she drew a long breath.
"I'm sure I haven't forgotten anything this time, Marilla.
But do you think it will rise? Just suppose perhaps the baking powder
isn't good?
I used it out of the new can. And Mrs. Lynde says you can never be sure
of getting good baking powder nowadays when everything is so adulterated.
Mrs. Lynde says the Government ought to take the matter up, but she says we'll
never see the day when a Tory Government will do it.
Marilla, what if that cake doesn't rise?"
"We'll have plenty without it" was Marilla's unimpassioned way of looking at
the subject.
The cake did rise, however, and came out of the oven as light and feathery as golden
Anne, flushed with delight, clapped it together with layers of ruby jelly and, in
imagination, saw Mrs. Allan eating it and possibly asking for another piece!
"You'll be using the best tea set, of course, Marilla," she said.
"Can I fix the table with ferns and wild roses?"
"I think that's all nonsense," sniffed Marilla.
"In my opinion it's the eatables that matter and not flummery decorations."
"Mrs. Barry had HER table decorated," said Anne, who was not entirely guiltless of the
wisdom of the serpent, "and the minister paid her an elegant compliment.
He said it was a feast for the eye as well as the palate."
"Well, do as you like," said Marilla, who was quite determined not to be surpassed by
Mrs. Barry or anybody else.
"Only mind you leave enough room for the dishes and the food."
Anne laid herself out to decorate in a manner and after a fashion that should
leave Mrs. Barry's nowhere.
Having abundance of roses and ferns and a very artistic taste of her own, she made
that tea table such a thing of beauty that when the minister and his wife sat down to
it they exclaimed in chorus over it loveliness.
"It's Anne's doings," said Marilla, grimly just; and Anne felt that Mrs. Allan's
approving smile was almost too much happiness for this world.
Matthew was there, having been inveigled into the party only goodness and Anne knew
He had been in such a state of shyness and nervousness that Marilla had given him up
in despair, but Anne took him in hand so successfully that he now sat at the table
in his best clothes and white collar and talked to the minister not uninterestingly.
He never said a word to Mrs. Allan, but that perhaps was not to be expected.
All went merry as a marriage bell until Anne's layer cake was passed.
Mrs. Allan, having already been helped to a bewildering variety, declined it.
But Marilla, seeing the disappointment on Anne's face, said smilingly:
"Oh, you must take a piece of this, Mrs. Allan.
Anne made it on purpose for you."
"In that case I must sample it," laughed Mrs. Allan, helping herself to a plump
triangle, as did also the minister and Marilla.
Mrs. Allan took a mouthful of hers and a most peculiar expression crossed her face;
not a word did she say, however, but steadily ate away at it.
Marilla saw the expression and hastened to taste the cake.
"Anne Shirley!" she exclaimed, "what on earth did you put into that cake?"
"Nothing but what the recipe said, Marilla," cried Anne with a look of
anguish. "Oh, isn't it all right?"
"All right!
It's simply horrible. Mr. Allan, don't try to eat it.
Anne, taste it yourself. What flavoring did you use?"
"Vanilla," said Anne, her face scarlet with mortification after tasting the cake.
"Only vanilla. Oh, Marilla, it must have been the baking
I had my suspicions of that bak--" "Baking powder fiddlesticks!
Go and bring me the bottle of vanilla you used."
Anne fled to the pantry and returned with a small bottle partially filled with a brown
liquid and labeled yellowly, "Best Vanilla."
Marilla took it, uncorked it, smelled it.
"Mercy on us, Anne, you've flavored that cake with ANODYNE LINIMENT.
I broke the liniment bottle last week and poured what was left into an old empty
vanilla bottle.
I suppose it's partly my fault--I should have warned you--but for pity's sake why
couldn't you have smelled it?" Anne dissolved into tears under this double
"I couldn't--I had such a cold!" and with this she fairly fled to the gable chamber,
where she cast herself on the bed and wept as one who refuses to be comforted.
Presently a light step sounded on the stairs and somebody entered the room.
"Oh, Marilla," sobbed Anne, without looking up, "I'm disgraced forever.
I shall never be able to live this down.
It will get out--things always do get out in Avonlea.
Diana will ask me how my cake turned out and I shall have to tell her the truth.
I shall always be pointed at as the girl who flavored a cake with anodyne liniment.
Gil--the boys in school will never get over laughing at it.
Oh, Marilla, if you have a spark of Christian pity don't tell me that I must go
down and wash the dishes after this.
I'll wash them when the minister and his wife are gone, but I cannot ever look Mrs.
Allan in the face again. Perhaps she'll think I tried to poison her.
Mrs. Lynde says she knows an orphan girl who tried to poison her benefactor.
But the liniment isn't poisonous. It's meant to be taken internally--although
not in cakes.
Won't you tell Mrs. Allan so, Marilla?" "Suppose you jump up and tell her so
yourself," said a merry voice.
Anne flew up, to find Mrs. Allan standing by her bed, surveying her with laughing
"My dear little girl, you mustn't cry like this," she said, genuinely disturbed by
Anne's tragic face. "Why, it's all just a funny mistake that
anybody might make."
"Oh, no, it takes me to make such a mistake," said Anne forlornly.
"And I wanted to have that cake so nice for you, Mrs. Allan."
"Yes, I know, dear.
And I assure you I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness just as much as if it
had turned out all right.
Now, you mustn't cry any more, but come down with me and show me your flower
garden. Miss Cuthbert tells me you have a little
plot all your own.
I want to see it, for I'm very much interested in flowers."
Anne permitted herself to be led down and comforted, reflecting that it was really
providential that Mrs. Allan was a kindred spirit.
Nothing more was said about the liniment cake, and when the guests went away Anne
found that she had enjoyed the evening more than could have been expected, considering
that terrible incident.
Nevertheless, she sighed deeply. "Marilla, isn't it nice to think that
tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
"I'll warrant you'll make plenty in it," said Marilla.
"I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne."
"Yes, and well I know it," admitted Anne mournfully.
"But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla?
I never make the same mistake twice."
"I don't know as that's much benefit when you're always making new ones."
"Oh, don't you see, Marilla?
There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end
of them, then I'll be through with them. That's a very comforting thought."
"Well, you'd better go and give that cake to the pigs," said Marilla.
"It isn't fit for any human to eat, not even Jerry Boute."
CHAPTER XXII. Anne is Invited Out to Tea
"And what are your eyes popping out of your head about.
Now?" asked Marilla, when Anne had just come in from a run to the post office.
"Have you discovered another kindred spirit?"
Excitement hung around Anne like a garment, shone in her eyes, kindled in every
She had come dancing up the lane, like a wind-blown sprite, through the mellow
sunshine and lazy shadows of the August evening.
"No, Marilla, but oh, what do you think?
I am invited to tea at the manse tomorrow afternoon!
Mrs. Allan left the letter for me at the post office.
Just look at it, Marilla.
'Miss Anne Shirley, Green Gables.' That is the first time I was ever called
'Miss.' Such a thrill as it gave me!
I shall cherish it forever among my choicest treasures."
"Mrs. Allan told me she meant to have all the members of her Sunday-school class to
tea in turn," said Marilla, regarding the wonderful event very coolly.
"You needn't get in such a fever over it.
Do learn to take things calmly, child." For Anne to take things calmly would have
been to change her nature.
All "spirit and fire and dew," as she was, the pleasures and pains of life came to her
with trebled intensity.
Marilla felt this and was vaguely troubled over it, realizing that the ups and downs
of existence would probably bear hardly on this impulsive soul and not sufficiently
understanding that the equally great
capacity for delight might more than compensate.
Therefore Marilla conceived it to be her duty to drill Anne into a tranquil
uniformity of disposition as impossible and alien to her as to a dancing sunbeam in one
of the brook shallows.
She did not make much headway, as she sorrowfully admitted to herself.
The downfall of some dear hope or plan plunged Anne into "deeps of affliction."
The fulfillment thereof exalted her to dizzy realms of delight.
Marilla had almost begun to despair of ever fashioning this waif of the world into her
model little girl of demure manners and prim deportment.
Neither would she have believed that she really liked Anne much better as she was.
Anne went to bed that night speechless with misery because Matthew had said the wind
was round northeast and he feared it would be a rainy day tomorrow.
The rustle of the poplar leaves about the house worried her, it sounded so like
pattering raindrops, and the full, faraway roar of the gulf, to which she listened
delightedly at other times, loving its
strange, sonorous, haunting rhythm, now seemed like a prophecy of storm and
disaster to a small maiden who particularly wanted a fine day.
Anne thought that the morning would never come.
But all things have an end, even nights before the day on which you are invited to
take tea at the manse.
The morning, in spite of Matthew's predictions, was fine and Anne's spirits
soared to their highest.
"Oh, Marilla, there is something in me today that makes me just love everybody I
see," she exclaimed as she washed the breakfast dishes.
"You don't know how good I feel!
Wouldn't it be nice if it could last? I believe I could be a model child if I
were just invited out to tea every day. But oh, Marilla, it's a solemn occasion
I feel so anxious. What if I shouldn't behave properly?
You know I never had tea at a manse before, and I'm not sure that I know all the rules
of etiquette, although I've been studying the rules given in the Etiquette Department
of the Family Herald ever since I came here.
I'm so afraid I'll do something silly or forget to do something I should do.
Would it be good manners to take a second helping of anything if you wanted to VERY
much?" "The trouble with you, Anne, is that you're
thinking too much about yourself.
You should just think of Mrs. Allan and what would be nicest and most agreeable to
her," said Marilla, hitting for once in her life on a very sound and pithy piece of
Anne instantly realized this. "You are right, Marilla.
I'll try not to think about myself at all."
Anne evidently got through her visit without any serious breach of "etiquette,"
for she came home through the twilight, under a great, high-sprung sky gloried over
with trails of saffron and rosy cloud, in a
beatified state of mind and told Marilla all about it happily, sitting on the big
red-sandstone slab at the kitchen door with her tired curly head in Marilla's gingham
A cool wind was blowing down over the long harvest fields from the rims of firry
western hills and whistling through the poplars.
One clear star hung over the orchard and the fireflies were flitting over in Lover's
Lane, in and out among the ferns and rustling boughs.
Anne watched them as she talked and somehow felt that wind and stars and fireflies were
all tangled up together into something unutterably sweet and enchanting.
"Oh, Marilla, I've had a most FASCINATING time.
I feel that I have not lived in vain and I shall always feel like that even if I
should never be invited to tea at a manse again.
When I got there Mrs. Allan met me at the door.
She was dressed in the sweetest dress of pale-pink organdy, with dozens of frills
and elbow sleeves, and she looked just like a seraph.
I really think I'd like to be a minister's wife when I grow up, Marilla.
A minister mightn't mind my red hair because he wouldn't be thinking of such
worldly things.
But then of course one would have to be naturally good and I'll never be that, so I
suppose there's no use in thinking about it.
Some people are naturally good, you know, and others are not.
I'm one of the others. Mrs. Lynde says I'm full of original sin.
No matter how hard I try to be good I can never make such a success of it as those
who are naturally good. It's a good deal like geometry, I expect.
But don't you think the trying so hard ought to count for something?
Mrs. Allan is one of the naturally good people.
I love her passionately.
You know there are some people, like Matthew and Mrs. Allan that you can love
right off without any trouble. And there are others, like Mrs. Lynde, that
you have to try very hard to love.
You know you OUGHT to love them because they know so much and are such active
workers in the church, but you have to keep reminding yourself of it all the time or
else you forget.
There was another little girl at the manse to tea, from the White Sands Sunday school.
Her name was Laurette Bradley, and she was a very nice little girl.
Not exactly a kindred spirit, you know, but still very nice.
We had an elegant tea, and I think I kept all the rules of etiquette pretty well.
After tea Mrs. Allan played and sang and she got Lauretta and me to sing too.
Mrs. Allan says I have a good voice and she says I must sing in the Sunday-school choir
after this.
You can't think how I was thrilled at the mere thought.
I've longed so to sing in the Sunday-school choir, as Diana does, but I feared it was
an honor I could never aspire to.
Lauretta had to go home early because there is a big concert in the White Sands Hotel
tonight and her sister is to recite at it.
Lauretta says that the Americans at the hotel give a concert every fortnight in aid
of the Charlottetown hospital, and they ask lots of the White Sands people to recite.
Lauretta said she expected to be asked herself someday.
I just gazed at her in awe. After she had gone Mrs. Allan and I had a
heart-to-heart talk.
I told her everything--about Mrs. Thomas and the twins and Katie Maurice and
Violetta and coming to Green Gables and my troubles over geometry.
And would you believe it, Marilla?
Mrs. Allan told me she was a dunce at geometry too.
You don't know how that encouraged me. Mrs. Lynde came to the manse just before I
left, and what do you think, Marilla?
The trustees have hired a new teacher and it's a lady.
Her name is Miss Muriel Stacy. Isn't that a romantic name?
Mrs. Lynde says they've never had a female teacher in Avonlea before and she thinks it
is a dangerous innovation.
But I think it will be splendid to have a lady teacher, and I really don't see how
I'm going to live through the two weeks before school begins.
I'm so impatient to see her."
CHAPTER XXIII. Anne Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor
Anne had to live through more than two weeks, as it happened.
Almost a month having elapsed since the liniment cake episode, it was high time for
her to get into fresh trouble of some sort, little mistakes, such as absentmindedly
emptying a pan of skim milk into a basket
of yarn balls in the pantry instead of into the pigs' bucket, and walking clean over
the edge of the log bridge into the brook while wrapped in imaginative reverie, not
really being worth counting.
A week after the tea at the manse Diana Barry gave a party.
"Small and select," Anne assured Marilla. "Just the girls in our class."
They had a very good time and nothing untoward happened until after tea, when
they found themselves in the Barry garden, a little tired of all their games and ripe
for any enticing form of mischief which might present itself.
This presently took the form of "daring." Daring was the fashionable amusement among
the Avonlea small fry just then.
It had begun among the boys, but soon spread to the girls, and all the silly
things that were done in Avonlea that summer because the doers thereof were
"dared" to do them would fill a book by themselves.
First of all Carrie Sloane dared Ruby Gillis to climb to a certain point in the
huge old willow tree before the front door; which Ruby Gillis, albeit in mortal dread
of the fat green caterpillars with which
said tree was infested and with the fear of her mother before her eyes if she should
tear her new muslin dress, nimbly did, to the discomfiture of the aforesaid Carrie
Then Josie Pye dared Jane Andrews to hop on her left leg around the garden without
stopping once or putting her right foot to the ground; which Jane Andrews gamely tried
to do, but gave out at the third corner and had to confess herself defeated.
Josie's triumph being rather more pronounced than good taste permitted, Anne
Shirley dared her to walk along the top of the board fence which bounded the garden to
the east.
Now, to "walk" board fences requires more skill and steadiness of head and heel than
one might suppose who has never tried it.
But Josie Pye, if deficient in some qualities that make for popularity, had at
least a natural and inborn gift, duly cultivated, for walking board fences.
Josie walked the Barry fence with an airy unconcern which seemed to imply that a
little thing like that wasn't worth a "dare."
Reluctant admiration greeted her exploit, for most of the other girls could
appreciate it, having suffered many things themselves in their efforts to walk fences.
Josie descended from her perch, flushed with victory, and darted a defiant glance
at Anne. Anne tossed her red braids.
"I don't think it's such a very wonderful thing to walk a little, low, board fence,"
she said. "I knew a girl in Marysville who could walk
the ridgepole of a roof."
"I don't believe it," said Josie flatly. "I don't believe anybody could walk a
ridgepole. YOU couldn't, anyhow."
"Couldn't I?" cried Anne rashly.
"Then I dare you to do it," said Josie defiantly.
"I dare you to climb up there and walk the ridgepole of Mr. Barry's kitchen roof."
Anne turned pale, but there was clearly only one thing to be done.
She walked toward the house, where a ladder was leaning against the kitchen roof.
All the fifth-class girls said, "Oh!" partly in excitement, partly in dismay.
"Don't you do it, Anne," entreated Diana. "You'll fall off and be killed.
Never mind Josie Pye.
It isn't fair to dare anybody to do anything so dangerous."
"I must do it. My honor is at stake," said Anne solemnly.
"I shall walk that ridgepole, Diana, or perish in the attempt.
If I am killed you are to have my pearl bead ring."
Anne climbed the ladder amid breathless silence, gained the ridgepole, balanced
herself uprightly on that precarious footing, and started to walk along it,
dizzily conscious that she was
uncomfortably high up in the world and that walking ridgepoles was not a thing in which
your imagination helped you out much. Nevertheless, she managed to take several
steps before the catastrophe came.
Then she swayed, lost her balance, stumbled, staggered, and fell, sliding down
over the sun-baked roof and crashing off it through the tangle of Virginia creeper
beneath--all before the dismayed circle
below could give a simultaneous, terrified shriek.
If Anne had tumbled off the roof on the side up which she had ascended Diana would
probably have fallen heir to the pearl bead ring then and there.
Fortunately she fell on the other side, where the roof extended down over the porch
so nearly to the ground that a fall therefrom was a much less serious thing.
Nevertheless, when Diana and the other girls had rushed frantically around the
house--except Ruby Gillis, who remained as if rooted to the ground and went into
hysterics--they found Anne lying all white
and limp among the wreck and ruin of the Virginia creeper.
"Anne, are you killed?" shrieked Diana, throwing herself on her knees beside her
"Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell me if you're killed."
To the immense relief of all the girls, and especially of Josie Pye, who, in spite of
lack of imagination, had been seized with horrible visions of a future branded as the
girl who was the cause of Anne Shirley's
early and tragic death, Anne sat dizzily up and answered uncertainly:
"No, Diana, I am not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious."
"Where?" sobbed Carrie Sloane.
"Oh, where, Anne?" Before Anne could answer Mrs. Barry
appeared on the scene.
At sight of her Anne tried to scramble to her feet, but sank back again with a sharp
little cry of pain. "What's the matter?
Where have you hurt yourself?" demanded Mrs. Barry.
"My ankle," gasped Anne. "Oh, Diana, please find your father and ask
him to take me home.
I know I can never walk there. And I'm sure I couldn't hop so far on one
foot when Jane couldn't even hop around the garden."
Marilla was out in the orchard picking a panful of summer apples when she saw Mr.
Barry coming over the log bridge and up the slope, with Mrs. Barry beside him and a
whole procession of little girls trailing after him.
In his arms he carried Anne, whose head lay limply against his shoulder.
At that moment Marilla had a revelation.
In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne had come
to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked
Anne--nay, that she was very fond of Anne.
But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than
anything else on earth.
"Mr. Barry, what has happened to her?" she gasped, more white and shaken than the
self-contained, sensible Marilla had been for many years.
Anne herself answered, lifting her head.
"Don't be very frightened, Marilla. I was walking the ridgepole and I fell off.
I expect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck.
Let us look on the bright side of things."
"I might have known you'd go and do something of the sort when I let you go to
that party," said Marilla, sharp and shrewish in her very relief.
"Bring her in here, Mr. Barry, and lay her on the sofa.
Mercy me, the child has gone and fainted!" It was quite true.
Overcome by the pain of her injury, Anne had one more of her wishes granted to her.
She had fainted dead away.
Matthew, hastily summoned from the harvest field, was straightway dispatched for the
doctor, who in due time came, to discover that the injury was more serious than they
had supposed.
Anne's ankle was broken. That night, when Marilla went up to the
east gable, where a white-faced girl was lying, a plaintive voice greeted her from
the bed.
"Aren't you very sorry for me, Marilla?" "It was your own fault," said Marilla,
twitching down the blind and lighting a lamp.
"And that is just why you should be sorry for me," said Anne, "because the thought
that it is all my own fault is what makes it so hard.
If I could blame it on anybody I would feel so much better.
But what would you have done, Marilla, if you had been dared to walk a ridgepole?"
"I'd have stayed on good firm ground and let them dare away.
Such absurdity!" said Marilla. Anne sighed.
"But you have such strength of mind, Marilla.
I haven't. I just felt that I couldn't bear Josie
Pye's scorn.
She would have crowed over me all my life. And I think I have been punished so much
that you needn't be very cross with me, Marilla.
It's not a bit nice to faint, after all.
And the doctor hurt me dreadfully when he was setting my ankle.
I won't be able to go around for six or seven weeks and I'll miss the new lady
She won't be new any more by the time I'm able to go to school.
And Gil--everybody will get ahead of me in class.
Oh, I am an afflicted mortal.
But I'll try to bear it all bravely if only you won't be cross with me, Marilla."
"There, there, I'm not cross," said Marilla.
"You're an unlucky child, there's no doubt about that; but as you say, you'll have the
suffering of it. Here now, try and eat some supper."
"Isn't it fortunate I've got such an imagination?" said Anne.
"It will help me through splendidly, I expect.
What do people who haven't any imagination do when they break their bones, do you
suppose, Marilla?"
Anne had good reason to bless her imagination many a time and oft during the
tedious seven weeks that followed. But she was not solely dependent on it.
She had many visitors and not a day passed without one or more of the schoolgirls
dropping in to bring her flowers and books and tell her all the happenings in the
juvenile world of Avonlea.
"Everybody has been so good and kind, Marilla," sighed Anne happily, on the day
when she could first limp across the floor. "It isn't very pleasant to be laid up; but
there is a bright side to it, Marilla.
You find out how many friends you have. Why, even Superintendent Bell came to see
me, and he's really a very fine man.
Not a kindred spirit, of course; but still I like him and I'm awfully sorry I ever
criticized his prayers.
I believe now he really does mean them, only he has got into the habit of saying
them as if he didn't. He could get over that if he'd take a
little trouble.
I gave him a good broad hint. I told him how hard I tried to make my own
little private prayers interesting. He told me all about the time he broke his
ankle when he was a boy.
It does seem so strange to think of Superintendent Bell ever being a boy.
Even my imagination has its limits, for I can't imagine THAT.
When I try to imagine him as a boy I see him with gray whiskers and spectacles, just
as he looks in Sunday school, only small. Now, it's so easy to imagine Mrs. Allan as
a little girl.
Mrs. Allan has been to see me fourteen times.
Isn't that something to be proud of, Marilla?
When a minister's wife has so many claims on her time!
She is such a cheerful person to have visit you, too.
She never tells you it's your own fault and she hopes you'll be a better girl on
account of it.
Mrs. Lynde always told me that when she came to see me; and she said it in a kind
of way that made me feel she might hope I'd be a better girl but didn't really believe
I would.
Even Josie Pye came to see me. I received her as politely as I could,
because I think she was sorry she dared me to walk a ridgepole.
If I had been killed she would had to carry a dark burden of remorse all her life.
Diana has been a faithful friend. She's been over every day to cheer my
lonely pillow.
But oh, I shall be so glad when I can go to school for I've heard such exciting things
about the new teacher. The girls all think she is perfectly sweet.
Diana says she has the loveliest fair curly hair and such fascinating eyes.
She dresses beautifully, and her sleeve puffs are bigger than anybody else's in
Every other Friday afternoon she has recitations and everybody has to say a
piece or take part in a dialogue. Oh, it's just glorious to think of it.
Josie Pye says she hates it but that is just because Josie has so little
Diana and Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews are preparing a dialogue, called 'A Morning
Visit,' for next Friday.
And the Friday afternoons they don't have recitations Miss Stacy takes them all to
the woods for a 'field' day and they study ferns and flowers and birds.
And they have physical culture exercises every morning and evening.
Mrs. Lynde says she never heard of such goings on and it all comes of having a lady
But I think it must be splendid and I believe I shall find that Miss Stacy is a
kindred spirit."
"There's one thing plain to be seen, Anne," said Marilla, "and that is that your fall
off the Barry roof hasn't injured your tongue at all."
CHAPTER XXIV. Miss Stacy and Her Pupils Get Up a Concert
It was October again when Anne was ready to go back to school--a glorious October, all
red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as
if the spirit of autumn had poured them in
for the sun to drain--amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue.
The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there
were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run
crisply through.
The Birch Path was a canopy of yellow and the ferns were sear and brown all along it.
There was a tang in the very air that inspired the hearts of small maidens
tripping, unlike snails, swiftly and willingly to school; and it WAS jolly to be
back again at the little brown desk beside
Diana, with Ruby Gillis nodding across the aisle and Carrie Sloane sending up notes
and Julia Bell passing a "chew" of gum down from the back seat.
Anne drew a long breath of happiness as she sharpened her pencil and arranged her
picture cards in her desk. Life was certainly very interesting.
In the new teacher she found another true and helpful friend.
Miss Stacy was a bright, sympathetic young woman with the happy gift of winning and
holding the affections of her pupils and bringing out the best that was in them
mentally and morally.
Anne expanded like a flower under this wholesome influence and carried home to the
admiring Matthew and the critical Marilla glowing accounts of schoolwork and aims.
"I love Miss Stacy with my whole heart, Marilla.
She is so ladylike and she has such a sweet voice.
When she pronounces my name I feel INSTINCTIVELY that she's spelling it with
an E. We had recitations this afternoon.
I just wish you could have been there to hear me recite 'Mary, Queen of Scots.'
I just put my whole soul into it.
Ruby Gillis told me coming home that the way I said the line, 'Now for my father's
arm,' she said, 'my woman's heart farewell,' just made her blood run cold."
"Well now, you might recite it for me some of these days, out in the barn," suggested
"Of course I will," said Anne meditatively, "but I won't be able to do it so well, I
It won't be so exciting as it is when you have a whole schoolful before you hanging
breathlessly on your words. I know I won't be able to make your blood
run cold."
"Mrs. Lynde says it made HER blood run cold to see the boys climbing to the very tops
of those big trees on Bell's hill after crows' nests last Friday," said Marilla.
"I wonder at Miss Stacy for encouraging it."
"But we wanted a crow's nest for nature study," explained Anne.
"That was on our field afternoon.
Field afternoons are splendid, Marilla. And Miss Stacy explains everything so
beautifully. We have to write compositions on our field
afternoons and I write the best ones."
"It's very vain of you to say so then. You'd better let your teacher say it."
"But she DID say it, Marilla. And indeed I'm not vain about it.
How can I be, when I'm such a dunce at geometry?
Although I'm really beginning to see through it a little, too.
Miss Stacy makes it so clear.
Still, I'll never be good at it and I assure you it is a humbling reflection.
But I love writing compositions.
Mostly Miss Stacy lets us choose our own subjects; but next week we are to write a
composition on some remarkable person. It's hard to choose among so many
remarkable people who have lived.
Mustn't it be splendid to be remarkable and have compositions written about you after
you're dead? Oh, I would dearly love to be remarkable.
I think when I grow up I'll be a trained nurse and go with the Red Crosses to the
field of battle as a messenger of mercy. That is, if I don't go out as a foreign
That would be very romantic, but one would have to be very good to be a missionary,
and that would be a stumbling block. We have physical culture exercises every
day, too.
They make you graceful and promote digestion."
"Promote fiddlesticks!" said Marilla, who honestly thought it was all nonsense.
But all the field afternoons and recitation Fridays and physical culture contortions
paled before a project which Miss Stacy brought forward in November.
This was that the scholars of Avonlea school should get up a concert and hold it
in the hall on Christmas Night, for the laudable purpose of helping to pay for a
schoolhouse flag.
The pupils one and all taking graciously to this plan, the preparations for a program
were begun at once.
And of all the excited performers-elect none was so excited as Anne Shirley, who
threw herself into the undertaking heart and soul, hampered as she was by Marilla's
Marilla thought it all rank foolishness. "It's just filling your heads up with
nonsense and taking time that ought to be put on your lessons," she grumbled.
"I don't approve of children's getting up concerts and racing about to practices.
It makes them vain and forward and fond of gadding."
"But think of the worthy object," pleaded Anne.
"A flag will cultivate a spirit of patriotism, Marilla."
There's precious little patriotism in the thoughts of any of you.
All you want is a good time." "Well, when you can combine patriotism and
fun, isn't it all right?
Of course it's real nice to be getting up a concert.
We're going to have six choruses and Diana is to sing a solo.
I'm in two dialogues--'The Society for the Suppression of Gossip' and 'The Fairy
Queen.' The boys are going to have a dialogue too.
And I'm to have two recitations, Marilla.
I just tremble when I think of it, but it's a nice thrilly kind of tremble.
And we're to have a tableau at the last-- 'Faith, Hope and Charity.'
Diana and Ruby and I are to be in it, all draped in white with flowing hair.
I'm to be Hope, with my hands clasped--so-- and my eyes uplifted.
I'm going to practice my recitations in the garret.
Don't be alarmed if you hear me groaning.
I have to groan heartrendingly in one of them, and it's really hard to get up a good
artistic groan, Marilla. Josie Pye is sulky because she didn't get
the part she wanted in the dialogue.
She wanted to be the fairy queen. That would have been ridiculous, for who
ever heard of a fairy queen as fat as Josie?
Fairy queens must be slender.
Jane Andrews is to be the queen and I am to be one of her maids of honor.
Josie says she thinks a red-haired fairy is just as ridiculous as a fat one, but I do
not let myself mind what Josie says.
I'm to have a wreath of white roses on my hair and Ruby Gillis is going to lend me
her slippers because I haven't any of my own.
It's necessary for fairies to have slippers, you know.
You couldn't imagine a fairy wearing boots, could you?
Especially with copper toes?
We are going to decorate the hall with creeping spruce and fir mottoes with pink
tissue-paper roses in them.
And we are all to march in two by two after the audience is seated, while Emma White
plays a march on the organ.
Oh, Marilla, I know you are not so enthusiastic about it as I am, but don't
you hope your little Anne will distinguish herself?"
"All I hope is that you'll behave yourself.
I'll be heartily glad when all this fuss is over and you'll be able to settle down.
You are simply good for nothing just now with your head stuffed full of dialogues
and groans and tableaus.
As for your tongue, it's a marvel it's not clean worn out."
Anne sighed and betook herself to the back yard, over which a young new moon was
shining through the leafless poplar boughs from an apple-green western sky, and where
Matthew was splitting wood.
Anne perched herself on a block and talked the concert over with him, sure of an
appreciative and sympathetic listener in this instance at least.
"Well now, I reckon it's going to be a pretty good concert.
And I expect you'll do your part fine," he said, smiling down into her eager,
vivacious little face.
Anne smiled back at him. Those two were the best of friends and
Matthew thanked his stars many a time and oft that he had nothing to do with bringing
her up.
That was Marilla's exclusive duty; if it had been his he would have been worried
over frequent conflicts between inclination and said duty.
As it was, he was free to, "spoil Anne"-- Marilla's phrasing--as much as he liked.
But it was not such a bad arrangement after all; a little "appreciation" sometimes does
quite as much good as all the conscientious "bringing up" in the world.
CHAPTER XXV. Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves
Matthew was having a bad ten minutes of it.
He had come into the kitchen, in the twilight of a cold, gray December evening,
and had sat down in the woodbox corner to take off his heavy boots, unconscious of
the fact that Anne and a bevy of her
schoolmates were having a practice of "The Fairy Queen" in the sitting room.
Presently they came trooping through the hall and out into the kitchen, laughing and
chattering gaily.
They did not see Matthew, who shrank bashfully back into the shadows beyond the
woodbox with a boot in one hand and a bootjack in the other, and he watched them
shyly for the aforesaid ten minutes as they
put on caps and jackets and talked about the dialogue and the concert.
Anne stood among them, bright eyed and animated as they; but Matthew suddenly
became conscious that there was something about her different from her mates.
And what worried Matthew was that the difference impressed him as being something
that should not exist.
Anne had a brighter face, and bigger, starrier eyes, and more delicate features
than the other; even shy, unobservant Matthew had learned to take note of these
things; but the difference that disturbed
him did not consist in any of these respects.
Then in what did it consist?
Matthew was haunted by this question long after the girls had gone, arm in arm, down
the long, hard-frozen lane and Anne had betaken herself to her books.
He could not refer it to Marilla, who, he felt, would be quite sure to sniff
scornfully and remark that the only difference she saw between Anne and the
other girls was that they sometimes kept their tongues quiet while Anne never did.
This, Matthew felt, would be no great help.
He had recourse to his pipe that evening to help him study it out, much to Marilla's
After two hours of smoking and hard reflection Matthew arrived at a solution of
his problem. Anne was not dressed like the other girls!
The more Matthew thought about the matter the more he was convinced that Anne never
had been dressed like the other girls-- never since she had come to Green Gables.
Marilla kept her clothed in plain, dark dresses, all made after the same unvarying
If Matthew knew there was such a thing as fashion in dress it was as much as he did;
but he was quite sure that Anne's sleeves did not look at all like the sleeves the
other girls wore.
He recalled the cluster of little girls he had seen around her that evening--all gay
in waists of red and blue and pink and white--and he wondered why Marilla always
kept her so plainly and soberly gowned.
Of course, it must be all right. Marilla knew best and Marilla was bringing
her up. Probably some wise, inscrutable motive was
to be served thereby.
But surely it would do no harm to let the child have one pretty dress--something like
Diana Barry always wore.
Matthew decided that he would give her one; that surely could not be objected to as an
unwarranted putting in of his oar. Christmas was only a fortnight off.
A nice new dress would be the very thing for a present.
Matthew, with a sigh of satisfaction, put away his pipe and went to bed, while
Marilla opened all the doors and aired the house.
The very next evening Matthew betook himself to Carmody to buy the dress,
determined to get the worst over and have done with it.
It would be, he felt assured, no trifling ordeal.
There were some things Matthew could buy and prove himself no mean bargainer; but he
knew he would be at the mercy of shopkeepers when it came to buying a girl's
After much cogitation Matthew resolved to go to Samuel Lawson's store instead of
William Blair's.
To be sure, the Cuthberts always had gone to William Blair's; it was almost as much a
matter of conscience with them as to attend the Presbyterian church and vote
But William Blair's two daughters frequently waited on customers there and
Matthew held them in absolute dread.
He could contrive to deal with them when he knew exactly what he wanted and could point
it out; but in such a matter as this, requiring explanation and consultation,
Matthew felt that he must be sure of a man behind the counter.
So he would go to Lawson's, where Samuel or his son would wait on him.
Matthew did not know that Samuel, in the recent expansion of his business, had set
up a lady clerk also; she was a niece of his wife's and a very dashing young person
indeed, with a huge, drooping pompadour,
big, rolling brown eyes, and a most extensive and bewildering smile.
She was dressed with exceeding smartness and wore several bangle bracelets that
glittered and rattled and tinkled with every movement of her hands.
Matthew was covered with confusion at finding her there at all; and those bangles
completely wrecked his wits at one fell swoop.
"What can I do for you this evening, Mr. Cuthbert?"
Miss Lucilla Harris inquired, briskly and ingratiatingly, tapping the counter with
both hands.
"Have you any--any--any--well now, say any garden rakes?" stammered Matthew.
Miss Harris looked somewhat surprised, as well she might, to hear a man inquiring for
garden rakes in the middle of December.
"I believe we have one or two left over," she said, "but they're upstairs in the
lumber room. I'll go and see."
During her absence Matthew collected his scattered senses for another effort.
When Miss Harris returned with the rake and cheerfully inquired: "Anything else
tonight, Mr. Cuthbert?"
Matthew took his courage in both hands and replied: "Well now, since you suggest it,
I might as well--take--that is--look at--buy some--some hayseed."
Miss Harris had heard Matthew Cuthbert called odd.
She now concluded that he was entirely crazy.
"We only keep hayseed in the spring," she explained loftily.
"We've none on hand just now."
"Oh, certainly--certainly--just as you say," stammered unhappy Matthew, seizing
the rake and making for the door.
At the threshold he recollected that he had not paid for it and he turned miserably
While Miss Harris was counting out his change he rallied his powers for a final
desperate attempt.
"Well now--if it isn't too much trouble--I might as well--that is--I'd like to look
at--at--some sugar." "White or brown?" queried Miss Harris
"Oh--well now--brown," said Matthew feebly. "There's a barrel of it over there," said
Miss Harris, shaking her bangles at it. "It's the only kind we have."
"I'll--I'll take twenty pounds of it," said Matthew, with beads of perspiration
standing on his forehead. Matthew had driven halfway home before he
was his own man again.
It had been a gruesome experience, but it served him right, he thought, for
committing the heresy of going to a strange store.
When he reached home he hid the rake in the tool house, but the sugar he carried in to
Marilla. "Brown sugar!" exclaimed Marilla.
"Whatever possessed you to get so much?
You know I never use it except for the hired man's porridge or black fruit cake.
Jerry's gone and I've made my cake long ago.
It's not good sugar, either--it's coarse and dark--William Blair doesn't usually
keep sugar like that."
"I--I thought it might come in handy sometime," said Matthew, making good his
When Matthew came to think the matter over he decided that a woman was required to
cope with the situation. Marilla was out of the question.
Matthew felt sure she would throw cold water on his project at once.
Remained only Mrs. Lynde; for of no other woman in Avonlea would Matthew have dared
to ask advice.
To Mrs. Lynde he went accordingly, and that good lady promptly took the matter out of
the harassed man's hands. "Pick out a dress for you to give Anne?
To be sure I will.
I'm going to Carmody tomorrow and I'll attend to it.
Have you something particular in mind? No?
Well, I'll just go by my own judgment then.
I believe a nice rich brown would just suit Anne, and William Blair has some new gloria
in that's real pretty.
Perhaps you'd like me to make it up for her, too, seeing that if Marilla was to
make it Anne would probably get wind of it before the time and spoil the surprise?
Well, I'll do it.
No, it isn't a mite of trouble. I like sewing.
I'll make it to fit my niece, Jenny Gillis, for she and Anne are as like as two peas as
far as figure goes."
"Well now, I'm much obliged," said Matthew, "and--and--I dunno--but I'd like--I think
they make the sleeves different nowadays to what they used to be.
If it wouldn't be asking too much I--I'd like them made in the new way."
"Puffs? Of course.
You needn't worry a speck more about it, Matthew.
I'll make it up in the very latest fashion," said Mrs. Lynde.
To herself she added when Matthew had gone:
"It'll be a real satisfaction to see that poor child wearing something decent for
The way Marilla dresses her is positively ridiculous, that's what, and I've ached to
tell her so plainly a dozen times.
I've held my tongue though, for I can see Marilla doesn't want advice and she thinks
she knows more about bringing children up than I do for all she's an old maid.
But that's always the way.
Folks that has brought up children know that there's no hard and fast method in the
world that'll suit every child.
But them as never have think it's all as plain and easy as Rule of Three--just set
your three terms down so fashion, and the sum'll work out correct.
But flesh and blood don't come under the head of arithmetic and that's where Marilla
Cuthbert makes her mistake.
I suppose she's trying to cultivate a spirit of humility in Anne by dressing her
as she does; but it's more likely to cultivate envy and discontent.
I'm sure the child must feel the difference between her clothes and the other girls'.
But to think of Matthew taking notice of it!
That man is waking up after being asleep for over sixty years."
Marilla knew all the following fortnight that Matthew had something on his mind, but
what it was she could not guess, until Christmas Eve, when Mrs. Lynde brought up
the new dress.
Marilla behaved pretty well on the whole, although it is very likely she distrusted
Mrs. Lynde's diplomatic explanation that she had made the dress because Matthew was
afraid Anne would find out about it too soon if Marilla made it.
"So this is what Matthew has been looking so mysterious over and grinning about to
himself for two weeks, is it?" she said a little stiffly but tolerantly.
"I knew he was up to some foolishness.
Well, I must say I don't think Anne needed any more dresses.
I made her three good, warm, serviceable ones this fall, and anything more is sheer
There's enough material in those sleeves alone to make a waist, I declare there is.
You'll just pamper Anne's vanity, Matthew, and she's as vain as a peacock now.
Well, I hope she'll be satisfied at last, for I know she's been hankering after those
silly sleeves ever since they came in, although she never said a word after the
The puffs have been getting bigger and more ridiculous right along; they're as big as
balloons now. Next year anybody who wears them will have
to go through a door sideways."
Christmas morning broke on a beautiful white world.
It had been a very mild December and people had looked forward to a green Christmas;
but just enough snow fell softly in the night to transfigure Avonlea.
Anne peeped out from her frosted gable window with delighted eyes.
The firs in the Haunted Wood were all feathery and wonderful; the birches and
wild cherry trees were outlined in pearl; the plowed fields were stretches of snowy
dimples; and there was a crisp tang in the air that was glorious.
Anne ran downstairs singing until her voice reechoed through Green Gables.
"Merry Christmas, Marilla!
Merry Christmas, Matthew! Isn't it a lovely Christmas?
I'm so glad it's white. Any other kind of Christmas doesn't seem
real, does it?
I don't like green Christmases. They're not green--they're just nasty faded
browns and grays. What makes people call them green?
Why--why--Matthew, is that for me?
Oh, Matthew!"
Matthew had sheepishly unfolded the dress from its paper swathings and held it out
with a deprecatory glance at Marilla, who feigned to be contemptuously filling the
teapot, but nevertheless watched the scene
out of the corner of her eye with a rather interested air.
Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence.
Oh, how pretty it was--a lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt
with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most
fashionable way, with a little ruffle of filmy lace at the neck.
But the sleeves--they were the crowning glory!
Long elbow cuffs, and above them two beautiful puffs divided by rows of shirring
and bows of brown-silk ribbon. "That's a Christmas present for you, Anne,"
said Matthew shyly.
"Why--why--Anne, don't you like it? Well now--well now."
For Anne's eyes had suddenly filled with tears.
"Like it!
Oh, Matthew!" Anne laid the dress over a chair and
clasped her hands. "Matthew, it's perfectly exquisite.
Oh, I can never thank you enough.
Look at those sleeves! Oh, it seems to me this must be a happy
dream." "Well, well, let us have breakfast,"
interrupted Marilla.
"I must say, Anne, I don't think you needed the dress; but since Matthew has got it for
you, see that you take good care of it. There's a hair ribbon Mrs. Lynde left for
It's brown, to match the dress. Come now, sit in."
"I don't see how I'm going to eat breakfast," said Anne rapturously.
"Breakfast seems so commonplace at such an exciting moment.
I'd rather feast my eyes on that dress. I'm so glad that puffed sleeves are still
It did seem to me that I'd never get over it if they went out before I had a dress
with them. I'd never have felt quite satisfied, you
It was lovely of Mrs. Lynde to give me the ribbon too.
I feel that I ought to be a very good girl indeed.
It's at times like this I'm sorry I'm not a model little girl; and I always resolve
that I will be in future.
But somehow it's hard to carry out your resolutions when irresistible temptations
come. Still, I really will make an extra effort
after this."
When the commonplace breakfast was over Diana appeared, crossing the white log
bridge in the hollow, a gay little figure in her crimson ulster.
Anne flew down the slope to meet her.
"Merry Christmas, Diana! And oh, it's a wonderful Christmas.
I've something splendid to show you. Matthew has given me the loveliest dress,
with SUCH sleeves.
I couldn't even imagine any nicer." "I've got something more for you," said
Diana breathlessly. "Here--this box.
Aunt Josephine sent us out a big box with ever so many things in it--and this is for
I'd have brought it over last night, but it didn't come until after dark, and I never
feel very comfortable coming through the Haunted Wood in the dark now."
Anne opened the box and peeped in.
First a card with "For the Anne-girl and Merry Christmas," written on it; and then,
a pair of the daintiest little kid slippers, with beaded toes and satin bows
and glistening buckles.
"Oh," said Anne, "Diana, this is too much. I must be dreaming."
"I call it providential," said Diana.
"You won't have to borrow Ruby's slippers now, and that's a blessing, for they're two
sizes too big for you, and it would be awful to hear a fairy shuffling.
Josie Pye would be delighted.
Mind you, Rob Wright went home with Gertie Pye from the practice night before last.
Did you ever hear anything equal to that?"
All the Avonlea scholars were in a fever of excitement that day, for the hall had to be
decorated and a last grand rehearsal held. The concert came off in the evening and was
a pronounced success.
The little hall was crowded; all the performers did excellently well, but Anne
was the bright particular star of the occasion, as even envy, in the shape of
Josie Pye, dared not deny.
"Oh, hasn't it been a brilliant evening?" sighed Anne, when it was all over and she
and Diana were walking home together under a dark, starry sky.
"Everything went off very well," said Diana practically.
"I guess we must have made as much as ten dollars.
Mind you, Mr. Allan is going to send an account of it to the Charlottetown papers."
"Oh, Diana, will we really see our names in print?
It makes me thrill to think of it.
Your solo was perfectly elegant, Diana. I felt prouder than you did when it was
encored. I just said to myself, 'It is my dear bosom
friend who is so honored.'"
"Well, your recitations just brought down the house, Anne.
That sad one was simply splendid." "Oh, I was so nervous, Diana.
When Mr. Allan called out my name I really cannot tell how I ever got up on that
I felt as if a million eyes were looking at me and through me, and for one dreadful
moment I was sure I couldn't begin at all. Then I thought of my lovely puffed sleeves
and took courage.
I knew that I must live up to those sleeves, Diana.
So I started in, and my voice seemed to be coming from ever so far away.
I just felt like a parrot.
It's providential that I practiced those recitations so often up in the garret, or
I'd never have been able to get through. Did I groan all right?"
"Yes, indeed, you groaned lovely," assured Diana.
"I saw old Mrs. Sloane wiping away tears when I sat down.
It was splendid to think I had touched somebody's heart.
It's so romantic to take part in a concert, isn't it?
Oh, it's been a very memorable occasion indeed."
"Wasn't the boys' dialogue fine?" said Diana.
"Gilbert Blythe was just splendid.
Anne, I do think it's awful mean the way you treat Gil.
Wait till I tell you.
When you ran off the platform after the fairy dialogue one of your roses fell out
of your hair. I saw Gil pick it up and put it in his
breast pocket.
There now. You're so romantic that I'm sure you ought
to be pleased at that." "It's nothing to me what that person does,"
said Anne loftily.
"I simply never waste a thought on him, Diana."
That night Marilla and Matthew, who had been out to a concert for the first time in
twenty years, sat for a while by the kitchen fire after Anne had gone to bed.
"Well now, I guess our Anne did as well as any of them," said Matthew proudly.
"Yes, she did," admitted Marilla. "She's a bright child, Matthew.
And she looked real nice too.
I've been kind of opposed to this concert scheme, but I suppose there's no real harm
in it after all. Anyhow, I was proud of Anne tonight,
although I'm not going to tell her so."
"Well now, I was proud of her and I did tell her so 'fore she went upstairs," said
Matthew. "We must see what we can do for her some of
these days, Marilla.
I guess she'll need something more than Avonlea school by and by."
"There's time enough to think of that," said Marilla.
"She's only thirteen in March.
Though tonight it struck me she was growing quite a big girl.
Mrs. Lynde made that dress a mite too long, and it makes Anne look so tall.
She's quick to learn and I guess the best thing we can do for her will be to send her
to Queen's after a spell. But nothing need be said about that for a
year or two yet."
"Well now, it'll do no harm to be thinking it over off and on," said Matthew.
"Things like that are all the better for lots of thinking over."
CHAPTER XXVI. The Story Club Is Formed
Junior Avonlea found it hard to settle down to humdrum existence again.
To Anne in particular things seemed fearfully flat, stale, and unprofitable
after the goblet of excitement she had been sipping for weeks.
Could she go back to the former quiet pleasures of those faraway days before the
concert? At first, as she told Diana, she did not
really think she could.
"I'm positively certain, Diana, that life can never be quite the same again as it was
in those olden days," she said mournfully, as if referring to a period of at least
fifty years back.
"Perhaps after a while I'll get used to it, but I'm afraid concerts spoil people for
everyday life. I suppose that is why Marilla disapproves
of them.
Marilla is such a sensible woman. It must be a great deal better to be
sensible; but still, I don't believe I'd really want to be a sensible person,
because they are so unromantic.
Mrs. Lynde says there is no danger of my ever being one, but you can never tell.
I feel just now that I may grow up to be sensible yet.
But perhaps that is only because I'm tired.
I simply couldn't sleep last night for ever so long.
I just lay awake and imagined the concert over and over again.
That's one splendid thing about such affairs--it's so lovely to look back to
Eventually, however, Avonlea school slipped back into its old groove and took up its
old interests. To be sure, the concert left traces.
Ruby Gillis and Emma White, who had quarreled over a point of precedence in
their platform seats, no longer sat at the same desk, and a promising friendship of
three years was broken up.
Josie Pye and Julia Bell did not "speak" for three months, because Josie Pye had
told Bessie Wright that Julia Bell's bow when she got up to recite made her think of
a chicken jerking its head, and Bessie told Julia.
None of the Sloanes would have any dealings with the Bells, because the Bells had
declared that the Sloanes had too much to do in the program, and the Sloanes had
retorted that the Bells were not capable of doing the little they had to do properly.
Finally, Charlie Sloane fought Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, because Moody Spurgeon
had said that Anne Shirley put on airs about her recitations, and Moody Spurgeon
was "licked"; consequently Moody Spurgeon's
sister, Ella May, would not "speak" to Anne Shirley all the rest of the winter.
With the exception of these trifling frictions, work in Miss Stacy's little
kingdom went on with regularity and smoothness.
The winter weeks slipped by.
It was an unusually mild winter, with so little snow that Anne and Diana could go to
school nearly every day by way of the Birch Path.
On Anne's birthday they were tripping lightly down it, keeping eyes and ears
alert amid all their chatter, for Miss Stacy had told them that they must soon
write a composition on "A Winter's Walk in
the Woods," and it behooved them to be observant.
"Just think, Diana, I'm thirteen years old today," remarked Anne in an awed voice.
"I can scarcely realize that I'm in my teens.
When I woke this morning it seemed to me that everything must be different.
You've been thirteen for a month, so I suppose it doesn't seem such a novelty to
you as it does to me. It makes life seem so much more
In two more years I'll be really grown up. It's a great comfort to think that I'll be
able to use big words then without being laughed at."
"Ruby Gillis says she means to have a beau as soon as she's fifteen," said Diana.
"Ruby Gillis thinks of nothing but beaus," said Anne disdainfully.
"She's actually delighted when anyone writes her name up in a take-notice for all
she pretends to be so mad. But I'm afraid that is an uncharitable
Mrs. Allan says we should never make uncharitable speeches; but they do slip out
so often before you think, don't they?
I simply can't talk about Josie Pye without making an uncharitable speech, so I never
mention her at all. You may have noticed that.
I'm trying to be as much like Mrs. Allan as I possibly can, for I think she's perfect.
Mr. Allan thinks so too.
Mrs. Lynde says he just worships the ground she treads on and she doesn't really think
it right for a minister to set his affections so much on a mortal being.
But then, Diana, even ministers are human and have their besetting sins just like
everybody else.
I had such an interesting talk with Mrs. Allan about besetting sins last Sunday
There are just a few things it's proper to talk about on Sundays and that is one of
them. My besetting sin is imagining too much and
forgetting my duties.
I'm striving very hard to overcome it and now that I'm really thirteen perhaps I'll
get on better." "In four more years we'll be able to put
our hair up," said Diana.
"Alice Bell is only sixteen and she is wearing hers up, but I think that's
ridiculous. I shall wait until I'm seventeen."
"If I had Alice Bell's crooked nose," said Anne decidedly, "I wouldn't--but there!
I won't say what I was going to because it was extremely uncharitable.
Besides, I was comparing it with my own nose and that's vanity.
I'm afraid I think too much about my nose ever since I heard that compliment about it
long ago.
It really is a great comfort to me. Oh, Diana, look, there's a rabbit.
That's something to remember for our woods composition.
I really think the woods are just as lovely in winter as in summer.
They're so white and still, as if they were asleep and dreaming pretty dreams."
"I won't mind writing that composition when its time comes," sighed Diana.
"I can manage to write about the woods, but the one we're to hand in Monday is
The idea of Miss Stacy telling us to write a story out of our own heads!"
"Why, it's as easy as wink," said Anne.
"It's easy for you because you have an imagination," retorted Diana, "but what
would you do if you had been born without one?
I suppose you have your composition all done?"
Anne nodded, trying hard not to look virtuously complacent and failing
"I wrote it last Monday evening. It's called 'The Jealous Rival; or In Death
Not Divided.' I read it to Marilla and she said it was
stuff and nonsense.
Then I read it to Matthew and he said it was fine.
That is the kind of critic I like. It's a sad, sweet story.
I just cried like a child while I was writing it.
It's about two beautiful maidens called Cordelia Montmorency and Geraldine Seymour
who lived in the same village and were devotedly attached to each other.
Cordelia was a regal brunette with a coronet of midnight hair and duskly
flashing eyes. Geraldine was a queenly blonde with hair
like spun gold and velvety purple eyes."
"I never saw anybody with purple eyes," said Diana dubiously.
"Neither did I. I just imagined them.
I wanted something out of the common.
Geraldine had an alabaster brow too. I've found out what an alabaster brow is.
That is one of the advantages of being thirteen.
You know so much more than you did when you were only twelve."
"Well, what became of Cordelia and Geraldine?" asked Diana, who was beginning
to feel rather interested in their fate.
"They grew in beauty side by side until they were sixteen.
Then Bertram DeVere came to their native village and fell in love with the fair
He saved her life when her horse ran away with her in a carriage, and she fainted in
his arms and he carried her home three miles; because, you understand, the
carriage was all smashed up.
I found it rather hard to imagine the proposal because I had no experience to go
I asked Ruby Gillis if she knew anything about how men proposed because I thought
she'd likely be an authority on the subject, having so many sisters married.
Ruby told me she was hid in the hall pantry when Malcolm Andres proposed to her sister
She said Malcolm told Susan that his dad had given him the farm in his own name and
then said, 'What do you say, darling pet, if we get hitched this fall?'
And Susan said, 'Yes--no--I don't know--let me see'--and there they were, engaged as
quick as that.
But I didn't think that sort of a proposal was a very romantic one, so in the end I
had to imagine it out as well as I could.
I made it very flowery and poetical and Bertram went on his knees, although Ruby
Gillis says it isn't done nowadays. Geraldine accepted him in a speech a page
I can tell you I took a lot of trouble with that speech.
I rewrote it five times and I look upon it as my masterpiece.
Bertram gave her a diamond ring and a ruby necklace and told her they would go to
Europe for a wedding tour, for he was immensely wealthy.
But then, alas, shadows began to darken over their path.
Cordelia was secretly in love with Bertram herself and when Geraldine told her about
the engagement she was simply furious, especially when she saw the necklace and
the diamond ring.
All her affection for Geraldine turned to bitter hate and she vowed that she should
never marry Bertram. But she pretended to be Geraldine's friend
the same as ever.
One evening they were standing on the bridge over a rushing turbulent stream and
Cordelia, thinking they were alone, pushed Geraldine over the brink with a wild,
mocking, 'Ha, ha, ha.'
But Bertram saw it all and he at once plunged into the current, exclaiming, 'I
will save thee, my peerless Geraldine.'
But alas, he had forgotten he couldn't swim, and they were both drowned, clasped
in each other's arms. Their bodies were washed ashore soon
They were buried in the one grave and their funeral was most imposing, Diana.
It's so much more romantic to end a story up with a funeral than a wedding.
As for Cordelia, she went insane with remorse and was shut up in a lunatic
asylum. I thought that was a poetical retribution
for her crime."
"How perfectly lovely!" sighed Diana, who belonged to Matthew's school of critics.
"I don't see how you can make up such thrilling things out of your own head,
I wish my imagination was as good as yours."
"It would be if you'd only cultivate it," said Anne cheeringly.
"I've just thought of a plan, Diana.
Let you and me have a story club all our own and write stories for practice.
I'll help you along until you can do them by yourself.
You ought to cultivate your imagination, you know.
Miss Stacy says so. Only we must take the right way.
I told her about the Haunted Wood, but she said we went the wrong way about it in
that." This was how the story club came into
It was limited to Diana and Anne at first, but soon it was extended to include Jane
Andrews and Ruby Gillis and one or two others who felt that their imaginations
needed cultivating.
No boys were allowed in it--although Ruby Gillis opined that their admission would
make it more exciting--and each member had to produce one story a week.
"It's extremely interesting," Anne told Marilla.
"Each girl has to read her story out loud and then we talk it over.
We are going to keep them all sacredly and have them to read to our descendants.
We each write under a nom-de-plume. Mine is Rosamond Montmorency.
All the girls do pretty well.
Ruby Gillis is rather sentimental. She puts too much lovemaking into her
stories and you know too much is worse than too little.
Jane never puts any because she says it makes her feel so silly when she had to
read it out loud. Jane's stories are extremely sensible.
Then Diana puts too many murders into hers.
She says most of the time she doesn't know what to do with the people so she kills
them off to get rid of them.
I mostly always have to tell them what to write about, but that isn't hard for I've
millions of ideas." "I think this story-writing business is the
foolishest yet," scoffed Marilla.
"You'll get a pack of nonsense into your heads and waste time that should be put on
your lessons. Reading stories is bad enough but writing
them is worse."
"But we're so careful to put a moral into them all, Marilla," explained Anne.
"I insist upon that. All the good people are rewarded and all
the bad ones are suitably punished.
I'm sure that must have a wholesome effect. The moral is the great thing.
Mr. Allan says so.
I read one of my stories to him and Mrs. Allan and they both agreed that the moral
was excellent. Only they laughed in the wrong places.
I like it better when people cry.
Jane and Ruby almost always cry when I come to the pathetic parts.
Diana wrote her Aunt Josephine about our club and her Aunt Josephine wrote back that
we were to send her some of our stories.
So we copied out four of our very best and sent them.
Miss Josephine Barry wrote back that she had never read anything so amusing in her
That kind of puzzled us because the stories were all very pathetic and almost everybody
died. But I'm glad Miss Barry liked them.
It shows our club is doing some good in the world.
Mrs. Allan says that ought to be our object in everything.
I do really try to make it my object but I forget so often when I'm having fun.
I hope I shall be a little like Mrs. Allan when I grow up.
Do you think there is any prospect of it, Marilla?"
"I shouldn't say there was a great deal" was Marilla's encouraging answer.
"I'm sure Mrs. Allan was never such a silly, forgetful little girl as you are."
"No; but she wasn't always so good as she is now either," said Anne seriously.
"She told me so herself--that is, she said she was a dreadful mischief when she was a
girl and was always getting into scrapes. I felt so encouraged when I heard that.
Is it very wicked of me, Marilla, to feel encouraged when I hear that other people
have been bad and mischievous? Mrs. Lynde says it is.
Mrs. Lynde says she always feels shocked when she hears of anyone ever having been
naughty, no matter how small they were.
Mrs. Lynde says she once heard a minister confess that when he was a boy he stole a
strawberry tart out of his aunt's pantry and she never had any respect for that
minister again.
Now, I wouldn't have felt that way.
I'd have thought that it was real noble of him to confess it, and I'd have thought
what an encouraging thing it would be for small boys nowadays who do naughty things
and are sorry for them to know that perhaps
they may grow up to be ministers in spite of it.
That's how I'd feel, Marilla."
"The way I feel at present, Anne," said Marilla, "is that it's high time you had
those dishes washed. You've taken half an hour longer than you
should with all your chattering.
Learn to work first and talk afterwards."
CHAPTER XXVII. Vanity and Vexation of Spirit
Marilla, walking home one late April evening from an Aid meeting, realized that
the winter was over and gone with the thrill of delight that spring never fails
to bring to the oldest and saddest as well as to the youngest and merriest.
Marilla was not given to subjective analysis of her thoughts and feelings.
She probably imagined that she was thinking about the Aids and their missionary box and
the new carpet for the vestry room, but under these reflections was a harmonious
consciousness of red fields smoking into
pale-purply mists in the declining sun, of long, sharp-pointed fir shadows falling
over the meadow beyond the brook, of still, crimson-budded maples around a mirrorlike
wood pool, of a wakening in the world and a stir of hidden pulses under the gray sod.
The spring was abroad in the land and Marilla's sober, middle-aged step was
lighter and swifter because of its deep, primal gladness.
Her eyes dwelt affectionately on Green Gables, peering through its network of
trees and reflecting the sunlight back from its windows in several little coruscations
of glory.
Marilla, as she picked her steps along the damp lane, thought that it was really a
satisfaction to know that she was going home to a briskly snapping wood fire and a
table nicely spread for tea, instead of to
the cold comfort of old Aid meeting evenings before Anne had come to Green
Consequently, when Marilla entered her kitchen and found the fire black out, with
no sign of Anne anywhere, she felt justly disappointed and irritated.
She had told Anne to be sure and have tea ready at five o'clock, but now she must
hurry to take off her second-best dress and prepare the meal herself against Matthew's
return from plowing.
"I'll settle Miss Anne when she comes home," said Marilla grimly, as she shaved
up kindlings with a carving knife and with more vim than was strictly necessary.
Matthew had come in and was waiting patiently for his tea in his corner.
"She's gadding off somewhere with Diana, writing stories or practicing dialogues or
some such tomfoolery, and never thinking once about the time or her duties.
She's just got to be pulled up short and sudden on this sort of thing.
I don't care if Mrs. Allan does say she's the brightest and sweetest child she ever
She may be bright and sweet enough, but her head is full of nonsense and there's never
any knowing what shape it'll break out in next.
Just as soon as she grows out of one freak she takes up with another.
But there!
Here I am saying the very thing I was so riled with Rachel Lynde for saying at the
Aid today.
I was real glad when Mrs. Allan spoke up for Anne, for if she hadn't I know I'd have
said something too sharp to Rachel before everybody.
Anne's got plenty of faults, goodness knows, and far be it from me to deny it.
But I'm bringing her up and not Rachel Lynde, who'd pick faults in the Angel
Gabriel himself if he lived in Avonlea.
Just the same, Anne has no business to leave the house like this when I told her
she was to stay home this afternoon and look after things.
I must say, with all her faults, I never found her disobedient or untrustworthy
before and I'm real sorry to find her so now."
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew, who, being patient and wise and, above all,
hungry, had deemed it best to let Marilla talk her wrath out unhindered, having
learned by experience that she got through
with whatever work was on hand much quicker if not delayed by untimely argument.
"Perhaps you're judging her too hasty, Marilla.
Don't call her untrustworthy until you're sure she has disobeyed you.
Mebbe it can all be explained--Anne's a great hand at explaining."
"She's not here when I told her to stay," retorted Marilla.
"I reckon she'll find it hard to explain THAT to my satisfaction.
Of course I knew you'd take her part, Matthew.
But I'm bringing her up, not you."
It was dark when supper was ready, and still no sign of Anne, coming hurriedly
over the log bridge or up Lover's Lane, breathless and repentant with a sense of
neglected duties.
Marilla washed and put away the dishes grimly.
Then, wanting a candle to light her way down the cellar, she went up to the east
gable for the one that generally stood on Anne's table.
Lighting it, she turned around to see Anne herself lying on the bed, face downward
among the pillows. "Mercy on us," said astonished Marilla,
"have you been asleep, Anne?"
"No," was the muffled reply. "Are you sick then?" demanded Marilla
anxiously, going over to the bed.
Anne cowered deeper into her pillows as if desirous of hiding herself forever from
mortal eyes. "No.
But please, Marilla, go away and don't look at me.
I'm in the depths of despair and I don't care who gets head in class or writes the
best composition or sings in the Sunday- school choir any more.
Little things like that are of no importance now because I don't suppose I'll
ever be able to go anywhere again. My career is closed.
Please, Marilla, go away and don't look at me."
"Did anyone ever hear the like?" the mystified Marilla wanted to know.
"Anne Shirley, whatever is the matter with you?
What have you done? Get right up this minute and tell me.
This minute, I say.
There now, what is it?" Anne had slid to the floor in despairing
obedience. "Look at my hair, Marilla," she whispered.
Accordingly, Marilla lifted her candle and looked scrutinizingly at Anne's hair,
flowing in heavy masses down her back. It certainly had a very strange appearance.
"Anne Shirley, what have you done to your hair?
Why, it's GREEN!"
Green it might be called, if it were any earthly color--a queer, dull, bronzy green,
with streaks here and there of the original red to heighten the ghastly effect.
Never in all her life had Marilla seen anything so grotesque as Anne's hair at
that moment. "Yes, it's green," moaned Anne.
"I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair.
But now I know it's ten times worse to have green hair.
Oh, Marilla, you little know how utterly wretched I am."
"I little know how you got into this fix, but I mean to find out," said Marilla.
"Come right down to the kitchen--it's too cold up here--and tell me just what you've
done. I've been expecting something queer for
some time.
You haven't got into any scrape for over two months, and I was sure another one was
due. Now, then, what did you do to your hair?"
"I dyed it."
"Dyed it! Dyed your hair!
Anne Shirley, didn't you know it was a wicked thing to do?"
"Yes, I knew it was a little wicked," admitted Anne.
"But I thought it was worth while to be a little wicked to get rid of red hair.
I counted the cost, Marilla.
Besides, I meant to be extra good in other ways to make up for it."
"Well," said Marilla sarcastically, "if I'd decided it was worth while to dye my hair
I'd have dyed it a decent color at least.
I wouldn't have dyed it green." "But I didn't mean to dye it green,
Marilla," protested Anne dejectedly. "If I was wicked I meant to be wicked to
some purpose.
He said it would turn my hair a beautiful raven black--he positively assured me that
it would. How could I doubt his word, Marilla?
I know what it feels like to have your word doubted.
And Mrs. Allan says we should never suspect anyone of not telling us the truth unless
we have proof that they're not.
I have proof now--green hair is proof enough for anybody.
But I hadn't then and I believed every word he said IMPLICITLY."
"Who said?
Who are you talking about?" "The peddler that was here this afternoon.
I bought the dye from him."
"Anne Shirley, how often have I told you never to let one of those Italians in the
house! I don't believe in encouraging them to come
around at all."
"Oh, I didn't let him in the house. I remembered what you told me, and I went
out, carefully shut the door, and looked at his things on the step.
Besides, he wasn't an Italian--he was a German Jew.
He had a big box full of very interesting things and he told me he was working hard
to make enough money to bring his wife and children out from Germany.
He spoke so feelingly about them that it touched my heart.
I wanted to buy something from him to help him in such a worthy object.
Then all at once I saw the bottle of hair dye.
The peddler said it was warranted to dye any hair a beautiful raven black and
wouldn't wash off.
In a trice I saw myself with beautiful raven-black hair and the temptation was
But the price of the bottle was seventy- five cents and I had only fifty cents left
out of my chicken money.
I think the peddler had a very kind heart, for he said that, seeing it was me, he'd
sell it for fifty cents and that was just giving it away.
So I bought it, and as soon as he had gone I came up here and applied it with an old
hairbrush as the directions said.
I used up the whole bottle, and oh, Marilla, when I saw the dreadful color it
turned my hair I repented of being wicked, I can tell you.
And I've been repenting ever since."
"Well, I hope you'll repent to good purpose," said Marilla severely, "and that
you've got your eyes opened to where your vanity has led you, Anne.
Goodness knows what's to be done.
I suppose the first thing is to give your hair a good washing and see if that will do
any good."
Accordingly, Anne washed her hair, scrubbing it vigorously with soap and
water, but for all the difference it made she might as well have been scouring its
original red.
The peddler had certainly spoken the truth when he declared that the dye wouldn't wash
off, however his veracity might be impeached in other respects.
"Oh, Marilla, what shall I do?" questioned Anne in tears.
"I can never live this down.
People have pretty well forgotten my other mistakes--the liniment cake and setting
Diana drunk and flying into a temper with Mrs. Lynde.
But they'll never forget this.
They will think I am not respectable. Oh, Marilla, 'what a tangled web we weave
when first we practice to deceive.' That is poetry, but it is true.
And oh, how Josie Pye will laugh!
Marilla, I CANNOT face Josie Pye. I am the unhappiest girl in Prince Edward
Island." Anne's unhappiness continued for a week.
During that time she went nowhere and shampooed her hair every day.
Diana alone of outsiders knew the fatal secret, but she promised solemnly never to
tell, and it may be stated here and now that she kept her word.
At the end of the week Marilla said decidedly:
"It's no use, Anne. That is fast dye if ever there was any.
Your hair must be cut off; there is no other way.
You can't go out with it looking like that."
Anne's lips quivered, but she realized the bitter truth of Marilla's remarks.
With a dismal sigh she went for the scissors.
"Please cut it off at once, Marilla, and have it over.
Oh, I feel that my heart is broken. This is such an unromantic affliction.
The girls in books lose their hair in fevers or sell it to get money for some
good deed, and I'm sure I wouldn't mind losing my hair in some such fashion half so
But there is nothing comforting in having your hair cut off because you've dyed it a
dreadful color, is there? I'm going to weep all the time you're
cutting it off, if it won't interfere.
It seems such a tragic thing." Anne wept then, but later on, when she went
upstairs and looked in the glass, she was calm with despair.
Marilla had done her work thoroughly and it had been necessary to shingle the hair as
closely as possible. The result was not becoming, to state the
case as mildly as may be.
Anne promptly turned her glass to the wall. "I'll never, never look at myself again
until my hair grows," she exclaimed passionately.
Then she suddenly righted the glass.
"Yes, I will, too. I'd do penance for being wicked that way.
I'll look at myself every time I come to my room and see how ugly I am.
And I won't try to imagine it away, either.
I never thought I was vain about my hair, of all things, but now I know I was, in
spite of its being red, because it was so long and thick and curly.
I expect something will happen to my nose next."
Anne's clipped head made a sensation in school on the following Monday, but to her
relief nobody guessed the real reason for it, not even Josie Pye, who, however, did
not fail to inform Anne that she looked like a perfect scarecrow.
"I didn't say anything when Josie said that to me," Anne confided that evening to
Marilla, who was lying on the sofa after one of her headaches, "because I thought it
was part of my punishment and I ought to bear it patiently.
It's hard to be told you look like a scarecrow and I wanted to say something
But I didn't. I just swept her one scornful look and then
I forgave her. It makes you feel very virtuous when you
forgive people, doesn't it?
I mean to devote all my energies to being good after this and I shall never try to be
beautiful again. Of course it's better to be good.
I know it is, but it's sometimes so hard to believe a thing even when you know it.
I do really want to be good, Marilla, like you and Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy, and grow
up to be a credit to you.
Diana says when my hair begins to grow to tie a black velvet ribbon around my head
with a bow at one side. She says she thinks it will be very
I will call it a snood--that sounds so romantic.
But am I talking too much, Marilla? Does it hurt your head?"
"My head is better now.
It was terrible bad this afternoon, though. These headaches of mine are getting worse
and worse. I'll have to see a doctor about them.
As for your chatter, I don't know that I mind it--I've got so used to it."
Which was Marilla's way of saying that she liked to hear it.
CHAPTER XXVIII. An Unfortunate Lily Maid
"OF course you must be Elaine, Anne," said Diana.
"I could never have the courage to float down there."
"Nor I," said Ruby Gillis, with a shiver.
"I don't mind floating down when there's two or three of us in the flat and we can
sit up. It's fun then.
But to lie down and pretend I was dead--I just couldn't.
I'd die really of fright."
"Of course it would be romantic," conceded Jane Andrews, "but I know I couldn't keep
I'd be popping up every minute or so to see where I was and if I wasn't drifting too
far out. And you know, Anne, that would spoil the
"But it's so ridiculous to have a redheaded Elaine," mourned Anne.
"I'm not afraid to float down and I'd love to be Elaine.
But it's ridiculous just the same.
Ruby ought to be Elaine because she is so fair and has such lovely long golden hair--
Elaine had 'all her bright hair streaming down,' you know.
And Elaine was the lily maid.
Now, a red-haired person cannot be a lily maid."
"Your complexion is just as fair as Ruby's," said Diana earnestly, "and your
hair is ever so much darker than it used to be before you cut it."
"Oh, do you really think so?" exclaimed Anne, flushing sensitively with delight.
"I've sometimes thought it was myself--but I never dared to ask anyone for fear she
would tell me it wasn't.
Do you think it could be called auburn now, Diana?"
"Yes, and I think it is real pretty," said Diana, looking admiringly at the short,
silky curls that clustered over Anne's head and were held in place by a very jaunty
black velvet ribbon and bow.
They were standing on the bank of the pond, below Orchard Slope, where a little
headland fringed with birches ran out from the bank; at its tip was a small wooden
platform built out into the water for the convenience of fishermen and duck hunters.
Ruby and Jane were spending the midsummer afternoon with Diana, and Anne had come
over to play with them.
Anne and Diana had spent most of their playtime that summer on and about the pond.
Idlewild was a thing of the past, Mr. Bell having ruthlessly cut down the little
circle of trees in his back pasture in the spring.
Anne had sat among the stumps and wept, not without an eye to the romance of it; but
she was speedily consoled, for, after all, as she and Diana said, big girls of
thirteen, going on fourteen, were too old
for such childish amusements as playhouses, and there were more fascinating sports to
be found about the pond.
It was splendid to fish for trout over the bridge and the two girls learned to row
themselves about in the little flat- bottomed dory Mr. Barry kept for duck
It was Anne's idea that they dramatize Elaine.
They had studied Tennyson's poem in school the preceding winter, the Superintendent of
Education having prescribed it in the English course for the Prince Edward Island
They had analyzed and parsed it and torn it to pieces in general until it was a wonder
there was any meaning at all left in it for them, but at least the fair lily maid and
Lancelot and Guinevere and King Arthur had
become very real people to them, and Anne was devoured by secret regret that she had
not been born in Camelot. Those days, she said, were so much more
romantic than the present.
Anne's plan was hailed with enthusiasm.
The girls had discovered that if the flat were pushed off from the landing place it
would drift down with the current under the bridge and finally strand itself on another
headland lower down which ran out at a curve in the pond.
They had often gone down like this and nothing could be more convenient for
playing Elaine.
"Well, I'll be Elaine," said Anne, yielding reluctantly, for, although she would have
been delighted to play the principal character, yet her artistic sense demanded
fitness for it and this, she felt, her limitations made impossible.
"Ruby, you must be King Arthur and Jane will be Guinevere and Diana must be
But first you must be the brothers and the father.
We can't have the old dumb servitor because there isn't room for two in the flat when
one is lying down.
We must pall the barge all its length in blackest samite.
That old black shawl of your mother's will be just the thing, Diana."
The black shawl having been procured, Anne spread it over the flat and then lay down
on the bottom, with closed eyes and hands folded over her breast.
"Oh, she does look really dead," whispered Ruby Gillis nervously, watching the still,
white little face under the flickering shadows of the birches.
"It makes me feel frightened, girls.
Do you suppose it's really right to act like this?
Mrs. Lynde says that all play-acting is abominably wicked."
"Ruby, you shouldn't talk about Mrs. Lynde," said Anne severely.
"It spoils the effect because this is hundreds of years before Mrs. Lynde was
Jane, you arrange this. It's silly for Elaine to be talking when
she's dead." Jane rose to the occasion.
Cloth of gold for coverlet there was none, but an old piano scarf of yellow Japanese
crepe was an excellent substitute.
A white lily was not obtainable just then, but the effect of a tall blue iris placed
in one of Anne's folded hands was all that could be desired.
"Now, she's all ready," said Jane.
"We must kiss her quiet brows and, Diana, you say, 'Sister, farewell forever,' and
Ruby, you say, 'Farewell, sweet sister,' both of you as sorrowfully as you possibly
Anne, for goodness sake smile a little. You know Elaine 'lay as though she smiled.'
That's better. Now push the flat off."
The flat was accordingly pushed off, scraping roughly over an old embedded stake
in the process.
Diana and Jane and Ruby only waited long enough to see it caught in the current and
headed for the bridge before scampering up through the woods, across the road, and
down to the lower headland where, as
Lancelot and Guinevere and the King, they were to be in readiness to receive the lily
For a few minutes Anne, drifting slowly down, enjoyed the romance of her situation
to the full. Then something happened not at all
The flat began to leak.
In a very few moments it was necessary for Elaine to scramble to her feet, pick up her
cloth of gold coverlet and pall of blackest samite and gaze blankly at a big crack in
the bottom of her barge through which the water was literally pouring.
That sharp stake at the landing had torn off the strip of batting nailed on the
Anne did not know this, but it did not take her long to realize that she was in a
dangerous plight.
At this rate the flat would fill and sink long before it could drift to the lower
headland. Where were the oars?
Left behind at the landing!
Anne gave one gasping little scream which nobody ever heard; she was white to the
lips, but she did not lose her self- possession.
There was one chance--just one.
"I was horribly frightened," she told Mrs. Allan the next day, "and it seemed like
years while the flat was drifting down to the bridge and the water rising in it every
I prayed, Mrs. Allan, most earnestly, but I didn't shut my eyes to pray, for I knew the
only way God could save me was to let the flat float close enough to one of the
bridge piles for me to climb up on it.
You know the piles are just old tree trunks and there are lots of knots and old branch
stubs on them.
It was proper to pray, but I had to do my part by watching out and right well I knew
I just said, 'Dear God, please take the flat close to a pile and I'll do the rest,'
over and over again. Under such circumstances you don't think
much about making a flowery prayer.
But mine was answered, for the flat bumped right into a pile for a minute and I flung
the scarf and the shawl over my shoulder and scrambled up on a big providential
And there I was, Mrs. Allan, clinging to that slippery old pile with no way of
getting up or down. It was a very unromantic position, but I
didn't think about that at the time.
You don't think much about romance when you have just escaped from a watery grave.
I said a grateful prayer at once and then I gave all my attention to holding on tight,
for I knew I should probably have to depend on human aid to get back to dry land."
The flat drifted under the bridge and then promptly sank in midstream.
Ruby, Jane, and Diana, already awaiting it on the lower headland, saw it disappear
before their very eyes and had not a doubt but that Anne had gone down with it.
For a moment they stood still, white as sheets, frozen with horror at the tragedy;
then, shrieking at the tops of their voices, they started on a frantic run up
through the woods, never pausing as they
crossed the main road to glance the way of the bridge.
Anne, clinging desperately to her precarious foothold, saw their flying forms
and heard their shrieks.
Help would soon come, but meanwhile her position was a very uncomfortable one.
The minutes passed by, each seeming an hour to the unfortunate lily maid.
Why didn't somebody come?
Where had the girls gone? Suppose they had fainted, one and all!
Suppose nobody ever came! Suppose she grew so tired and cramped that
she could hold on no longer!
Anne looked at the wicked green depths below her, wavering with long, oily
shadows, and shivered. Her imagination began to suggest all manner
of gruesome possibilities to her.
Then, just as she thought she really could not endure the ache in her arms and wrists
another moment, Gilbert Blythe came rowing under the bridge in Harmon Andrews's dory!
Gilbert glanced up and, much to his amazement, beheld a little white scornful
face looking down upon him with big, frightened but also scornful gray eyes.
"Anne Shirley!
How on earth did you get there?" he exclaimed.
Without waiting for an answer he pulled close to the pile and extended his hand.
There was no help for it; Anne, clinging to Gilbert Blythe's hand, scrambled down into
the dory, where she sat, drabbled and furious, in the stern with her arms full of
dripping shawl and wet crepe.
It was certainly extremely difficult to be dignified under the circumstances!
"What has happened, Anne?" asked Gilbert, taking up his oars.
"We were playing Elaine" explained Anne frigidly, without even looking at her
rescuer, "and I had to drift down to Camelot in the barge--I mean the flat.
The flat began to leak and I climbed out on the pile.
The girls went for help. Will you be kind enough to row me to the
Gilbert obligingly rowed to the landing and Anne, disdaining assistance, sprang nimbly
on shore. "I'm very much obliged to you," she said
haughtily as she turned away.
But Gilbert had also sprung from the boat and now laid a detaining hand on her arm.
"Anne," he said hurriedly, "look here. Can't we be good friends?
I'm awfully sorry I made fun of your hair that time.
I didn't mean to vex you and I only meant it for a joke.
Besides, it's so long ago.
I think your hair is awfully pretty now-- honest I do.
Let's be friends." For a moment Anne hesitated.
She had an odd, newly awakened consciousness under all her outraged
dignity that the half-shy, half-eager expression in Gilbert's hazel eyes was
something that was very good to see.
Her heart gave a quick, queer little beat. But the bitterness of her old grievance
promptly stiffened up her wavering determination.
That scene of two years before flashed back into her recollection as vividly as if it
had taken place yesterday.
Gilbert had called her "carrots" and had brought about her disgrace before the whole
Her resentment, which to other and older people might be as laughable as its cause,
was in no whit allayed and softened by time seemingly.
She hated Gilbert Blythe!
She would never forgive him! "No," she said coldly, "I shall never be
friends with you, Gilbert Blythe; and I don't want to be!"
"All right!"
Gilbert sprang into his skiff with an angry color in his cheeks.
"I'll never ask you to be friends again, Anne Shirley.
And I don't care either!"
He pulled away with swift defiant strokes, and Anne went up the steep, ferny little
path under the maples. She held her head very high, but she was
conscious of an odd feeling of regret.
She almost wished she had answered Gilbert differently.
Of course, he had insulted her terribly, but still--!
Altogether, Anne rather thought it would be a relief to sit down and have a good cry.
She was really quite unstrung, for the reaction from her fright and cramped
clinging was making itself felt.
Halfway up the path she met Jane and Diana rushing back to the pond in a state
narrowly removed from positive frenzy. They had found nobody at Orchard Slope,
both Mr. and Mrs. Barry being away.
Here Ruby Gillis had succumbed to hysterics, and was left to recover from
them as best she might, while Jane and Diana flew through the Haunted Wood and
across the brook to Green Gables.
There they had found nobody either, for Marilla had gone to Carmody and Matthew was
making hay in the back field.
"Oh, Anne," gasped Diana, fairly falling on the former's neck and weeping with relief
and delight, "oh, Anne--we thought--you were--drowned--and we felt like murderers--
because we had made--you be--Elaine.
And Ruby is in hysterics--oh, Anne, how did you escape?"
"I climbed up on one of the piles," explained Anne wearily, "and Gilbert Blythe
came along in Mr. Andrews's dory and brought me to land."
"Oh, Anne, how splendid of him!
Why, it's so romantic!" said Jane, finding breath enough for utterance at last.
"Of course you'll speak to him after this." "Of course I won't," flashed Anne, with a
momentary return of her old spirit.
"And I don't want ever to hear the word 'romantic' again, Jane Andrews.
I'm awfully sorry you were so frightened, girls.
It is all my fault.
I feel sure I was born under an unlucky star.
Everything I do gets me or my dearest friends into a scrape.
We've gone and lost your father's flat, Diana, and I have a presentiment that we'll
not be allowed to row on the pond any more."
Anne's presentiment proved more trustworthy than presentiments are apt to do.
Great was the consternation in the Barry and Cuthbert households when the events of
the afternoon became known.
"Will you ever have any sense, Anne?" groaned Marilla.
"Oh, yes, I think I will, Marilla," returned Anne optimistically.
A good cry, indulged in the grateful solitude of the east gable, had soothed her
nerves and restored her to her wonted cheerfulness.
"I think my prospects of becoming sensible are brighter now than ever."
"I don't see how," said Marilla. "Well," explained Anne, "I've learned a new
and valuable lesson today.
Ever since I came to Green Gables I've been making mistakes, and each mistake has
helped to cure me of some great shortcoming.
The affair of the amethyst brooch cured me of meddling with things that didn't belong
to me. The Haunted Wood mistake cured me of
letting my imagination run away with me.
The liniment cake mistake cured me of carelessness in cooking.
Dyeing my hair cured me of vanity. I never think about my hair and nose now--
at least, very seldom.
And today's mistake is going to cure me of being too romantic.
I have come to the conclusion that it is no use trying to be romantic in Avonlea.
It was probably easy enough in towered Camelot hundreds of years ago, but romance
is not appreciated now.
I feel quite sure that you will soon see a great improvement in me in this respect,
Marilla." "I'm sure I hope so," said Marilla
But Matthew, who had been sitting mutely in his corner, laid a hand on Anne's shoulder
when Marilla had gone out.
"Don't give up all your romance, Anne," he whispered shyly, "a little of it is a good
thing--not too much, of course--but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it."