Vanity and Vexation of Spirit
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,
sharp-pointed fir shadows falling over the meadow beyond the brook,
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,
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.
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 Gables.
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 knew.
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.
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,
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."
being patient and wise and,
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,
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,"
"I reckon she'll find it hard to explain THAT to my satisfaction.
Of course I knew you'd take her part,
But I'm bringing her up,
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
go away and don't look at me."
"Did anyone ever hear the like?"
the mystified Marilla wanted to know.
whatever is the matter with you?
What have you done?
Get right up this minute and tell me.
what is it?"
Anne had slid to the floor in despairing obedience.
"Look at my hair,
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.
what have you done to your hair?
Green it might be called,
if it were any earthly color --a queer,
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.
"I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair.
But now I know it's ten times worse to have green hair.
you little know how utterly wretched I am."
"I little know how you got into this fix,
but I mean to find out,"
"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.
what did you do to your hair?"
"I dyed it."
Dyed your hair!
didn't you know it was a wicked thing to do?"
I knew it was a little wicked,"
"But I thought it was worth while to be a little wicked to get rid of red hair.
I counted the cost,
I meant to be extra good in other ways to make up for it."
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,
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,
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 are you talking about?"
"The peddler that was here this afternoon.
I bought the dye from him."
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."
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.
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 irresistible.
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,
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."
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,
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."
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.
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.
'what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.'
That is poetry,
but it is true.
how Josie Pye will laugh!
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,
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,
and have it over.
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 much.
But there is nothing comforting in having your hair cut off because you've dyed it a dreadful color,
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.
never look at myself again until my hair grows,"
she exclaimed passionately.
Then she suddenly righted the glass.
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,
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,
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 back.
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,
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,
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 becoming.
I will call it a snood --that sounds so romantic.
But am I talking too much,
Does it hurt your head?"
"My head is better now.
It was terrible bad this afternoon,
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.
An Unfortunate Lily Maid
"OF course you must be Elaine,
"I could never have the courage to float down there."
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 still.
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,
that would spoil the effect."
"But it's so ridiculous to have a redheaded Elaine,"
"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,'
And Elaine was the lily maid.
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."
do you really think so?"
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,
and I think it is real pretty,"
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,
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 shooting.
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 schools.
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.
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.
I'll be Elaine,"
although she would have been delighted to play the principal character,
yet her artistic sense demanded fitness for it and this,
her limitations made impossible.
you must be King Arthur and Jane will be Guinevere and Diana must be Lancelot.
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,
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.
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,
Do you suppose it's really right to act like this?
Mrs. Lynde says that all play-acting is abominably wicked."
you shouldn't talk about Mrs. Lynde,"
said Anne severely.
"It spoils the effect because this is hundreds of years before Mrs. Lynde was born.
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.
she's all ready,"
"We must kiss her quiet brows and,
both of you as sorrowfully as you possibly can.
for goodness sake smile a little.
You know Elaine
'lay as though she smiled.'
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 maid.
For a few minutes Anne,
drifting slowly down,
enjoyed the romance of her situation to the full.
Then something happened not at all romantic.
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 flat.
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 moment.
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 it.
I just said,
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 stub.
And there I was,
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.
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;
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.
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,
Her imagination began to suggest all manner of gruesome possibilities to her.
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.
How on earth did you get there?"
Without waiting for an answer he pulled close to the pile and extended his hand.
There was no help for it;
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,
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 landing?"
Gilbert obligingly rowed to the landing and Anne,
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.
he said hurriedly,
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.
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 school.
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!
she said coldly,
"I shall never be friends with you,
and I don't want to be!"
Gilbert sprang into his skiff with an angry color in his cheeks.
"I'll never ask you to be friends again,
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.
he had insulted her terribly,
but still --!
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.
fairly falling on the former's neck and weeping with relief and delight,
Anne --we thought --you were --drowned --and we felt like murderers --because we had made --you be --Elaine.
And Ruby is in hysterics --oh,
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."
how splendid of him!
it's so romantic!"
finding breath enough for utterance at last.
"Of course you'll speak to him after this."
"Of course I won't,"
with a momentary return of her old spirit.
"And I don't want ever to hear the word
I'm awfully sorry you were so frightened,
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,
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,
I think I will,
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,"
"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,
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,
"I'm sure I hope so,"
said Marilla skeptically.
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,
he whispered shyly,
"a little of it is a good thing --not too much,
of course --but keep a little of it,
keep a little of it."
An Epoch in Anne's Life
Anne was bringing the cows home from the back pasture by way of Lover's Lane.
It was a September evening and all the gaps and clearings in the woods were brimmed up with ruby sunset light.
Here and there the lane was splashed with it,
but for the most part it was already quite shadowy beneath the maples,
and the spaces under the firs were filled with a clear violet dusk like airy wine.
The winds were out in their tops,
and there is no sweeter music on earth than that which the wind makes in the fir trees at evening.
The cows swung placidly down the lane,
and Anne followed them dreamily,
repeating aloud the battle canto from MARMION --which had also been part of their English course the preceding winter and which Miss Stacy had made them learn off by heart --and exulting in its rushing lines and the clash of spears in its imagery.
When she came to the lines
The stubborn spearsmen still made good Their dark impenetrable wood,
she stopped in ecstasy to shut her eyes that she might the better fancy herself one of that heroic ring.
When she opened them again it was to behold Diana coming through the gate that led into the Barry field and looking so important that Anne instantly divined there was news to be told.
But betray too eager curiosity she would not.
"Isn't this evening just like a purple dream,
It makes me so glad to be alive.
In the mornings I always think the mornings are best;
but when evening comes I think it's lovelier still."
"It's a very fine evening,"
I have such news,
You can have three guesses."
"Charlotte Gillis is going to be married in the church after all and Mrs. Allan wants us to decorate it,"
"No. Charlotte's beau won't agree to that,
because nobody ever has been married in the church yet,
and he thinks it would seem too much like a funeral.
It's too mean,
because it would be such fun.
"Jane's mother is going to let her have a birthday party?"
Diana shook her head,
her black eyes dancing with merriment.
"I can't think what it can be,"
said Anne in despair,
"unless it's that Moody Spurgeon MacPherson saw you home from prayer meeting last night.
"I should think not,"
exclaimed Diana indignantly.
"I wouldn't be likely to boast of it if he did,
the horrid creature!
I knew you couldn't guess it.
Mother had a letter from Aunt Josephine today,
and Aunt Josephine wants you and me to go to town next Tuesday and stop with her for the Exhibition.
finding it necessary to lean up against a maple tree for support,
"do you really mean it?
But I'm afraid Marilla won't let me go.
She will say that she can't encourage gadding about.
That was what she said last week when Jane invited me to go with them in their double-seated buggy to the American concert at the White Sands Hotel.
I wanted to go,
but Marilla said I'd be better at home learning my lessons and so would Jane.
I was bitterly disappointed,
I felt so heartbroken that I wouldn't say my prayers when I went to bed.
But I repented of that and got up in the middle of the night and said them."
"I'll tell you,"
"we'll get Mother to ask Marilla.
She'll be more likely to let you go then;
and if she does we'll have the time of our lives,
I've never been to an Exhibition,
and it's so aggravating to hear the other girls talking about their trips.
Jane and Ruby have been twice,
and they're going this year again."
"I'm not going to think about it at all until I know whether I can go or not,"
said Anne resolutely.
"If I did and then was disappointed,
it would be more than I could bear.
But in case I do go I'm very glad my new coat will be ready by that time.
Marilla didn't think I needed a new coat.
She said my old one would do very well for another winter and that I ought to be satisfied with having a new dress.
The dress is very pretty,
Diana --navy blue and made so fashionably.
Marilla always makes my dresses fashionably now,
because she says she doesn't intend to have Matthew going to Mrs. Lynde to make them.
I'm so glad.
It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.
it is easier for me.
I suppose it doesn't make such a difference to naturally good people.
But Matthew said I must have a new coat,
so Marilla bought a lovely piece of blue broadcloth,
and it's being made by a real dressmaker over at Carmody.
It's to be done Saturday night,
and I'm trying not to imagine myself walking up the church aisle on Sunday in my new suit and cap,
because I'm afraid it isn't right to imagine such things.
But it just slips into my mind in spite of me.
My cap is so pretty.
Matthew bought it for me the day we were over at Carmody.
It is one of those little blue velvet ones that are all the rage,
with gold cord and tassels.
Your new hat is elegant,
and so becoming.
When I saw you come into church last Sunday my heart swelled with pride to think you were my dearest friend.
Do you suppose it's wrong for us to think so much about our clothes?
Marilla says it is very sinful.
But it is such an interesting subject,
Marilla agreed to let Anne go to town,
and it was arranged that Mr. Barry should take the girls in on the following Tuesday.
As Charlottetown was thirty miles away and Mr. Barry wished to go and return the same day,
it was necessary to make a very early start.
But Anne counted it all joy,
and was up before sunrise on Tuesday morning.
A glance from her window assured her that the day would be fine,
for the eastern sky behind the firs of the Haunted Wood was all silvery and cloudless.
Through the gap in the trees a light was shining in the western gable of Orchard Slope,
a token that Diana was also up.
Anne was dressed by the time Matthew had the fire on and had the breakfast ready when Marilla came down,
but for her own part was much too excited to eat.
After breakfast the jaunty new cap and jacket were donned,
and Anne hastened over the brook and up through the firs to Orchard Slope.
Mr. Barry and Diana were waiting for her,
and they were soon on the road.
It was a long drive,
but Anne and Diana enjoyed every minute of it.
It was delightful to rattle along over the moist roads in the early red sunlight that was creeping across the shorn harvest fields.
The air was fresh and crisp,
and little smoke-blue mists curled through the valleys and floated off from the hills.
Sometimes the road went through woods where maples were beginning to hang out scarlet banners;
sometimes it crossed rivers on bridges that made Anne's flesh cringe with the old,
sometimes it wound along a harbor shore and passed by a little cluster of weather-gray fishing huts;
again it mounted to hills whence a far sweep of curving upland or misty-blue sky could be seen;
but wherever it went there was much of interest to discuss.
It was almost noon when they reached town and found their way to "Beechwood."
It was quite a fine old mansion,
set back from the street in a seclusion of green elms and branching beeches.
Miss Barry met them at the door with a twinkle in her sharp black eyes.
"So you've come to see me at last,
how you have grown!
You're taller than I am,
And you're ever so much better looking than you used to be,
But I dare say you know that without being told."
"Indeed I didn't,"
said Anne radiantly.
"I know I'm not so freckled as I used to be,
so I've much to be thankful for,
but I really hadn't dared to hope there was any other improvement.
I'm so glad you think there is,
Miss Barry's house was furnished with "great magnificence,"
as Anne told Marilla afterward.
The two little country girls were rather abashed by the splendor of the parlor where Miss Barry left them when she went to see about dinner.
"Isn't it just like a palace?"
"I never was in Aunt Josephine's house before,
and I'd no idea it was so grand.
I just wish Julia Bell could see this --she puts on such airs about her mother's parlor."
sighed Anne luxuriously,
"and silk curtains!
I've dreamed of such things,
But do you know I don't believe I feel very comfortable with them after all.
There are so many things in this room and all so splendid that there is no scope for imagination.
That is one consolation when you are poor --there are so many more things you can imagine about."
Their sojourn in town was something that Anne and Diana dated from for years.
From first to last it was crowded with delights.
On Wednesday Miss Barry took them to the Exhibition grounds and kept them there all day.
"It was splendid,"
Anne related to Marilla later on.
"I never imagined anything so interesting.
I don't really know which department was the most interesting.
I think I liked the horses and the flowers and the fancywork best.
Josie Pye took first prize for knitted lace.
I was real glad she did.
And I was glad that I felt glad,
for it shows I'm improving,
don't you think,
when I can rejoice in Josie's success?
Mr. Harmon Andrews took second prize for Gravenstein apples and Mr. Bell took first prize for a pig.
Diana said she thought it was ridiculous for a Sunday-school superintendent to take a prize in pigs,
but I don't see why.
She said she would always think of it after this when he was praying so solemnly.
Clara Louise MacPherson took a prize for painting,
and Mrs. Lynde got first prize for homemade butter and cheese.
So Avonlea was pretty well represented,
Mrs. Lynde was there that day,
and I never knew how much I really liked her until I saw her familiar face among all those strangers.
There were thousands of people there,
It made me feel dreadfully insignificant.
And Miss Barry took us up to the grandstand to see the horse races.
Mrs. Lynde wouldn't go;
she said horse racing was an abomination and,
she being a church member,
thought it her bounden duty to set a good example by staying away.
But there were so many there I don't believe Mrs. Lynde's absence would ever be noticed.
I don't think,
that I ought to go very often to horse races,
because they ARE awfully fascinating.
Diana got so excited that she offered to bet me ten cents that the red horse would win.
I didn't believe he would,
but I refused to bet,
because I wanted to tell Mrs. Allan all about everything,
and I felt sure it wouldn't do to tell her that.
It's always wrong to do anything you can't tell the minister's wife.
It's as good as an extra conscience to have a minister's wife for your friend.
And I was very glad I didn't bet,
because the red horse DID win,
and I would have lost ten cents.
So you see that virtue was its own reward.
We saw a man go up in a balloon.
I'd love to go up in a balloon,
it would be simply thrilling;
and we saw a man selling fortunes.
You paid him ten cents and a little bird picked out your fortune for you.
Miss Barry gave Diana and me ten cents each to have our fortunes told.
Mine was that I would marry a dark-complected man who was very wealthy,
and I would go across water to live.
I looked carefully at all the dark men I saw after that,
but I didn't care much for any of them,
and anyhow I suppose it's too early to be looking out for him yet.
it was a never-to-be-forgotten day,
I was so tired I couldn't sleep at night.
Miss Barry put us in the spare room,
according to promise.
It was an elegant room,
but somehow sleeping in a spare room isn't what I used to think it was.
That's the worst of growing up,
and I'm beginning to realize it.
The things you wanted so much when you were a child don't seem half so wonderful to you when you get them."
Thursday the girls had a drive in the park,
and in the evening Miss Barry took them to a concert in the Academy of Music,
where a noted prima donna was to sing.
To Anne the evening was a glittering vision of delight.
it was beyond description.
I was so excited I couldn't even talk,
so you may know what it was like.
I just sat in enraptured silence.
Madame Selitsky was perfectly beautiful,
and wore white satin and diamonds.
But when she began to sing I never thought about anything else.
I can't tell you how I felt.
But it seemed to me that it could never be hard to be good any more.
I felt like I do when I look up to the stars.
Tears came into my eyes,
they were such happy tears.
I was so sorry when it was all over,
and I told Miss Barry I didn't see how I was ever to return to common life again.
She said she thought if we went over to the restaurant across the street and had an ice cream it might help me.
That sounded so prosaic;
but to my surprise I found it true.
The ice cream was delicious,
and it was so lovely and dissipated to be sitting there eating it at eleven o'clock at night.
Diana said she believed she was born for city life.
Miss Barry asked me what my opinion was,
but I said I would have to think it over very seriously before I could tell her what I really thought.
So I thought it over after I went to bed.
That is the best time to think things out.
And I came to the conclusion,
that I wasn't born for city life and that I was glad of it.
It's nice to be eating ice cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o'clock at night once in a while;
but as a regular thing I'd rather be in the east gable at eleven,
but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and that the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook.
I told Miss Barry so at breakfast the next morning and she laughed.
Miss Barry generally laughed at anything I said,
even when I said the most solemn things.
I don't think I liked it,
because I wasn't trying to be funny.
But she is a most hospitable lady and treated us royally."
Friday brought going-home time,
and Mr. Barry drove in for the girls.
I hope you've enjoyed yourselves,"
said Miss Barry,
as she bade them good-bye.
"Indeed we have,"
"I've enjoyed every minute of the time,"
throwing her arms impulsively about the old woman's neck and kissing her wrinkled cheek.
Diana would never have dared to do such a thing and felt rather aghast at Anne's freedom.
But Miss Barry was pleased,
and she stood on her veranda and watched the buggy out of sight.
Then she went back into her big house with a sigh.
It seemed very lonely,
lacking those fresh young lives.
Miss Barry was a rather selfish old lady,
if the truth must be told,
and had never cared much for anybody but herself.
She valued people only as they were of service to her or amused her.
Anne had amused her,
and consequently stood high in the old lady's good graces.
But Miss Barry found herself thinking less about Anne's quaint speeches than of her fresh enthusiasms,
her transparent emotions,
her little winning ways,
and the sweetness of her eyes and lips.
"I thought Marilla Cuthbert was an old fool when I heard she'd adopted a girl out of an orphan asylum,"
she said to herself,
"but I guess she didn't make much of a mistake after all.
If I'd a child like Anne in the house all the time I'd be a better and happier woman."
Anne and Diana found the drive home as pleasant as the drive in --pleasanter,
since there was the delightful consciousness of home waiting at the end of it.
It was sunset when they passed through White Sands and turned into the shore road.
the Avonlea hills came out darkly against the saffron sky.
Behind them the moon was rising out of the sea that grew all radiant and transfigured in her light.
Every little cove along the curving road was a marvel of dancing ripples.
The waves broke with a soft swish on the rocks below them,
and the tang of the sea was in the strong,
but it's good to be alive and to be going home,"
When she crossed the log bridge over the brook the kitchen light of Green Gables winked her a friendly welcome back,
and through the open door shone the hearth fire,
sending out its warm red glow athwart the chilly autumn night.
Anne ran blithely up the hill and into the kitchen,
where a hot supper was waiting on the table.
"So you've got back?"
folding up her knitting.
it's so good to be back,"
said Anne joyously.
"I could kiss everything,
even to the clock.
a broiled chicken!
You don't mean to say you cooked that for me!"
"I thought you'd be hungry after such a drive and need something real appetizing.
Hurry and take off your things,
and we'll have supper as soon as Matthew comes in.
I'm glad you've got back,
I must say.
It's been fearful lonesome here without you,
and I never put in four longer days."
After supper Anne sat before the fire between Matthew and Marilla,
and gave them a full account of her visit.
"I've had a splendid time,"
she concluded happily,
"and I feel that it marks an epoch in my life.
But the best of it all was the coming home."
The Queens Class Is Organized
Marilla laid her knitting on her lap and leaned back in her chair.
Her eyes were tired,
and she thought vaguely that she must see about having her glasses changed the next time she went to town,
for her eyes had grown tired very often of late.
It was nearly dark,
for the full November twilight had fallen around Green Gables,
and the only light in the kitchen came from the dancing red flames in the stove.
Anne was curled up Turk-fashion on the hearthrug,
gazing into that joyous glow where the sunshine of a hundred summers was being distilled from the maple cordwood.
She had been reading,
but her book had slipped to the floor,
and now she was dreaming,
with a smile on her parted lips.
Glittering castles in Spain were shaping themselves out of the mists and rainbows of her lively fancy;
adventures wonderful and enthralling were happening to her in cloudland --adventures that always turned out triumphantly and never involved her in scrapes like those of actual life.
Marilla looked at her with a tenderness that would never have been suffered to reveal itself in any clearer light than that soft mingling of fireshine and shadow.
The lesson of a love that should display itself easily in spoken word and open look was one Marilla could never learn.
But she had learned to love this slim,
gray-eyed girl with an affection all the deeper and stronger from its very undemonstrativeness.
Her love made her afraid of being unduly indulgent,
She had an uneasy feeling that it was rather sinful to set one's heart so intensely on any human creature as she had set hers on Anne,
and perhaps she performed a sort of unconscious penance for this by being stricter and more critical than if the girl had been less dear to her.
Certainly Anne herself had no idea how Marilla loved her.
She sometimes thought wistfully that Marilla was very hard to please and distinctly lacking in sympathy and understanding.
But she always checked the thought reproachfully,
remembering what she owed to Marilla.
said Marilla abruptly,
"Miss Stacy was here this afternoon when you were out with Diana."
Anne came back from her other world with a start and a sigh.
I'm so sorry I wasn't in.
Why didn't you call me,
Diana and I were only over in the Haunted Wood.
It's lovely in the woods now.
All the little wood things --the ferns and the satin leaves and the crackerberries --have gone to sleep,
just as if somebody had tucked them away until spring under a blanket of leaves.
I think it was a little gray fairy with a rainbow scarf that came tiptoeing along the last moonlight night and did it.
Diana wouldn't say much about that,
Diana has never forgotten the scolding her mother gave her about imagining ghosts into the Haunted Wood.
It had a very bad effect on Diana's imagination.
It blighted it.
Mrs. Lynde says Myrtle Bell is a blighted being.
I asked Ruby Gillis why Myrtle was blighted,
and Ruby said she guessed it was because her young man had gone back on her.
Ruby Gillis thinks of nothing but young men,
and the older she gets the worse she is.
Young men are all very well in their place,
but it doesn't do to drag them into everything,
Diana and I are thinking seriously of promising each other that we will never marry but be nice old maids and live together forever.
Diana hasn't quite made up her mind though,
because she thinks perhaps it would be nobler to marry some wild,
wicked young man and reform him.
Diana and I talk a great deal about serious subjects now,
We feel that we are so much older than we used to be that it isn't becoming to talk of childish matters.
It's such a solemn thing to be almost fourteen,
Miss Stacy took all us girls who are in our teens down to the brook last Wednesday,
and talked to us about it.
She said we couldn't be too careful what habits we formed and what ideals we acquired in our teens,
because by the time we were twenty our characters would be developed and the foundation laid for our whole future life.
And she said if the foundation was shaky we could never build anything really worth while on it.
Diana and I talked the matter over coming home from school.
We felt extremely solemn,
And we decided that we would try to be very careful indeed and form respectable habits and learn all we could and be as sensible as possible,
so that by the time we were twenty our characters would be properly developed.
It's perfectly appalling to think of being twenty,
It sounds so fearfully old and grown up.
But why was Miss Stacy here this afternoon?"
"That is what I want to tell you,
if you'll ever give me a chance to get a word in edgewise.
She was talking about you."
Anne looked rather scared.
Then she flushed and exclaimed:
I know what she was saying.
I meant to tell you,
honestly I did,
but I forgot.
Miss Stacy caught me reading Ben Hur in school yesterday afternoon when I should have been studying my Canadian history.
Jane Andrews lent it to me.
I was reading it at dinner hour,
and I had just got to the chariot race when school went in.
I was simply wild to know how it turned out --although I felt sure Ben Hur must win,
because it wouldn't be poetical justice if he didn't --so I spread the history open on my desk lid and then tucked Ben Hur between the desk and my knee.
I just looked as if I were studying Canadian history,
while all the while I was reveling in Ben Hur.
I was so interested in it that I never noticed Miss Stacy coming down the aisle until all at once I just looked up and there she was looking down at me,
I can't tell you how ashamed I felt,
especially when I heard Josie Pye giggling.
Miss Stacy took Ben Hur away,
but she never said a word then.
She kept me in at recess and talked to me.
She said I had done very wrong in two respects.
I was wasting the time I ought to have put on my studies;
I was deceiving my teacher in trying to make it appear I was reading a history when it was a storybook instead.
I had never realized until that moment,
that what I was doing was deceitful.
I was shocked.
I cried bitterly,
and asked Miss Stacy to forgive me and I'd never do such a thing again;
and I offered to do penance by never so much as looking at Ben Hur for a whole week,
not even to see how the chariot race turned out.
But Miss Stacy said she wouldn't require that,
and she forgave me freely.
So I think it wasn't very kind of her to come up here to you about it after all."
"Miss Stacy never mentioned such a thing to me,
and its only your guilty conscience that's the matter with you.
You have no business to be taking storybooks to school.
You read too many novels anyhow.
When I was a girl I wasn't so much as allowed to look at a novel."
how can you call Ben Hur a novel when it's really such a religious book?"
"Of course it's a little too exciting to be proper reading for Sunday,
and I only read it on weekdays.
And I never read ANY book now unless either Miss Stacy or Mrs. Allan thinks it is a proper book for a girl thirteen and three-quarters to read.
Miss Stacy made me promise that.
She found me reading a book one day called,
The Lurid Mystery of the Haunted Hall.
It was one Ruby Gillis had lent me,
it was so fascinating and creepy.
It just curdled the blood in my veins.
But Miss Stacy said it was a very silly,
and she asked me not to read any more of it or any like it.
I didn't mind promising not to read any more like it,
but it was AGONIZING to give back that book without knowing how it turned out.
But my love for Miss Stacy stood the test and I did.
It's really wonderful,
what you can do when you're truly anxious to please a certain person."
I guess I'll light the lamp and get to work,"
"I see plainly that you don't want to hear what Miss Stacy had to say.
You're more interested in the sound of your own tongue than in anything else."
I do want to hear it,"
cried Anne contritely.
"I won't say another word --not one.
I know I talk too much,
but I am really trying to overcome it,
and although I say far too much,
yet if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't,
you'd give me some credit for it.
Please tell me,
Miss Stacy wants to organize a class among her advanced students who mean to study for the entrance examination into Queen's.
She intends to give them extra lessons for an hour after school.
And she came to ask Matthew and me if we would like to have you join it.
What do you think about it yourself,
Would you like to go to Queen's and pass for a teacher?"
Anne straightened to her knees and clasped her hands.
"It's been the dream of my life --that is,
for the last six months,
ever since Ruby and Jane began to talk of studying for the Entrance.
But I didn't say anything about it,
because I supposed it would be perfectly useless.
I'd love to be a teacher.
But won't it be dreadfully expensive?
Mr. Andrews says it cost him one hundred and fifty dollars to put Prissy through,
and Prissy wasn't a dunce in geometry."
"I guess you needn't worry about that part of it.
When Matthew and I took you to bring up we resolved we would do the best we could for you and give you a good education.
I believe in a girl being fitted to earn her own living whether she ever has to or not.
You'll always have a home at Green Gables as long as Matthew and I are here,
but nobody knows what is going to happen in this uncertain world,
and it's just as well to be prepared.
So you can join the Queen's class if you like,
Anne flung her arms about Marilla's waist and looked up earnestly into her face.
"I'm extremely grateful to you and Matthew.
And I'll study as hard as I can and do my very best to be a credit to you.
I warn you not to expect much in geometry,
but I think I can hold my own in anything else if I work hard."
"I dare say you'll get along well enough.
Miss Stacy says you are bright and diligent."
Not for worlds would Marilla have told Anne just what Miss Stacy had said about her;
that would have been to pamper vanity.
"You needn't rush to any extreme of killing yourself over your books.
There is no hurry.
You won't be ready to try the Entrance for a year and a half yet.
But it's well to begin in time and be thoroughly grounded,
Miss Stacy says."
"I shall take more interest than ever in my studies now,"
said Anne blissfully,
"because I have a purpose in life.
Mr. Allan says everybody should have a purpose in life and pursue it faithfully.
Only he says we must first make sure that it is a worthy purpose.
I would call it a worthy purpose to want to be a teacher like Miss Stacy,
I think it's a very noble profession."
The Queen's class was organized in due time.
and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson joined it.
Diana Barry did not,
as her parents did not intend to send her to Queen's.
This seemed nothing short of a calamity to Anne.
since the night on which Minnie May had had the croup,
had she and Diana been separated in anything.
On the evening when the Queen's class first remained in school for the extra lessons and Anne saw Diana go slowly out with the others,
to walk home alone through the Birch Path and Violet Vale,
it was all the former could do to keep her seat and refrain from rushing impulsively after her chum.
A lump came into her throat,
and she hastily retired behind the pages of her uplifted Latin grammar to hide the tears in her eyes.
Not for worlds would Anne have had Gilbert Blythe or Josie Pye see those tears.
I really felt that I had tasted the bitterness of death,
as Mr. Allan said in his sermon last Sunday,
when I saw Diana go out alone,"
she said mournfully that night.
"I thought how splendid it would have been if Diana had only been going to study for the Entrance,
But we can't have things perfect in this imperfect world,
as Mrs. Lynde says.
Mrs. Lynde isn't exactly a comforting person sometimes,
but there's no doubt she says a great many very true things.
And I think the Queen's class is going to be extremely interesting.
Jane and Ruby are just going to study to be teachers.
That is the height of their ambition.
Ruby says she will only teach for two years after she gets through,
and then she intends to be married.
Jane says she will devote her whole life to teaching,
because you are paid a salary for teaching,
but a husband won't pay you anything,
and growls if you ask for a share in the egg and butter money.
I expect Jane speaks from mournful experience,
for Mrs. Lynde says that her father is a perfect old crank,
and meaner than second skimmings.
Josie Pye says she is just going to college for education's sake,
because she won't have to earn her own living;
she says of course it is different with orphans who are living on charity --THEY have to hustle.
Moody Spurgeon is going to be a minister.
Mrs. Lynde says he couldn't be anything else with a name like that to live up to.
I hope it isn't wicked of me,
but really the thought of Moody Spurgeon being a minister makes me laugh.
He's such a funny-looking boy with that big fat face,
and his little blue eyes,
and his ears sticking out like flaps.
But perhaps he will be more intellectual looking when he grows up.
Charlie Sloane says he's going to go into politics and be a member of Parliament,
but Mrs. Lynde says he'll never succeed at that,
because the Sloanes are all honest people,
and it's only rascals that get on in politics nowadays."
"What is Gilbert Blythe going to be?"
seeing that Anne was opening her Caesar.
"I don't happen to know what Gilbert Blythe's ambition in life is --if he has any,"
said Anne scornfully.
There was open rivalry between Gilbert and Anne now.
Previously the rivalry had been rather onesided,
but there was no longer any doubt that Gilbert was as determined to be first in class as Anne was.
He was a foeman worthy of her steel.
The other members of the class tacitly acknowledged their superiority,
and never dreamed of trying to compete with them.
Since the day by the pond when she had refused to listen to his plea for forgiveness,
save for the aforesaid determined rivalry,
had evinced no recognition whatever of the existence of Anne Shirley.
He talked and jested with the other girls,
exchanged books and puzzles with them,
discussed lessons and plans,
sometimes walked home with one or the other of them from prayer meeting or Debating Club.
But Anne Shirley he simply ignored,
and Anne found out that it is not pleasant to be ignored.
It was in vain that she told herself with a toss of her head that she did not care.
Deep down in her wayward,
feminine little heart she knew that she did care,
and that if she had that chance of the Lake of Shining Waters again she would answer very differently.
All at once,
as it seemed,
and to her secret dismay,
she found that the old resentment she had cherished against him was gone --gone just when she most needed its sustaining power.
It was in vain that she recalled every incident and emotion of that memorable occasion and tried to feel the old satisfying anger.
That day by the pond had witnessed its last spasmodic flicker.
Anne realized that she had forgiven and forgotten without knowing it.
But it was too late.
And at least neither Gilbert nor anybody else,
not even Diana,
should ever suspect how sorry she was and how much she wished she hadn't been so proud and horrid!
She determined to "shroud her feelings in deepest oblivion,"
and it may be stated here and now that she did it,
so successfully that Gilbert,
who possibly was not quite so indifferent as he seemed,
could not console himself with any belief that Anne felt his retaliatory scorn.
The only poor comfort he had was that she snubbed Charlie Sloane,
Otherwise the winter passed away in a round of pleasant duties and studies.
For Anne the days slipped by like golden beads on the necklace of the year.
She was happy,
there were lessons to be learned and honor to be won;
delightful books to read;
new pieces to be practiced for the Sunday-school choir;
pleasant Saturday afternoons at the manse with Mrs. Allan;
almost before Anne realized it,
spring had come again to Green Gables and all the world was abloom once more.
Studies palled just a wee bit then;
the Queen's class,
left behind in school while the others scattered to green lanes and leafy wood cuts and meadow byways,
looked wistfully out of the windows and discovered that Latin verbs and French exercises had somehow lost the tang and zest they had possessed in the crisp winter months.
Even Anne and Gilbert lagged and grew indifferent.
Teacher and taught were alike glad when the term was ended and the glad vacation days stretched rosily before them.
"But you've done good work this past year,"
Miss Stacy told them on the last evening,
"and you deserve a good,
Have the best time you can in the out-of-door world and lay in a good stock of health and vitality and ambition to carry you through next year.
It will be the tug of war,
you know --the last year before the Entrance."
"Are you going to be back next year,
asked Josie Pye.
Josie Pye never scrupled to ask questions;
in this instance the rest of the class felt grateful to her;
none of them would have dared to ask it of Miss Stacy,
but all wanted to,
for there had been alarming rumors running at large through the school for some time that Miss Stacy was not coming back the next year --that she had been offered a position in the grade school of her own home district and meant to accept.
The Queen's class listened in breathless suspense for her answer.
I think I will,"
said Miss Stacy.
"I thought of taking another school,
but I have decided to come back to Avonlea.
To tell the truth,
I've grown so interested in my pupils here that I found I couldn't leave them.
So I'll stay and see you through."
said Moody Spurgeon.
Moody Spurgeon had never been so carried away by his feelings before,
and he blushed uncomfortably every time he thought about it for a week.
I'm so glad,"
with shining eyes.
it would be perfectly dreadful if you didn't come back.
I don't believe I could have the heart to go on with my studies at all if another teacher came here."
When Anne got home that night she stacked all her textbooks away in an old trunk in the attic,
and threw the key into the blanket box.
"I'm not even going to look at a schoolbook in vacation,"
she told Marilla.
"I've studied as hard all the term as I possibly could and I've pored over that geometry until I know every proposition in the first book off by heart,
even when the letters ARE changed.
I just feel tired of everything sensible and I'm going to let my imagination run riot for the summer.
you needn't be alarmed,
I'll only let it run riot within reasonable limits.
But I want to have a real good jolly time this summer,
for maybe it's the last summer I'll be a little girl.
Mrs. Lynde says that if I keep stretching out next year as I've done this I'll have to put on longer skirts.
She says I'm all running to legs and eyes.
And when I put on longer skirts I shall feel that I have to live up to them and be very dignified.
It won't even do to believe in fairies then,
so I'm going to believe in them with all my whole heart this summer.
I think we're going to have a very gay vacation.
Ruby Gillis is going to have a birthday party soon and there's the Sunday school picnic and the missionary concert next month.
And Mr. Barry says that some evening he'll take Diana and me over to the White Sands Hotel and have dinner there.
They have dinner there in the evening,
Jane Andrews was over once last summer and she says it was a dazzling sight to see the electric lights and the flowers and all the lady guests in such beautiful dresses.
Jane says it was her first glimpse into high life and she'll never forget it to her dying day."
Mrs. Lynde came up the next afternoon to find out why Marilla had not been at the Aid meeting on Thursday.
When Marilla was not at Aid meeting people knew there was something wrong at Green Gables.
"Matthew had a bad spell with his heart Thursday,"
"and I didn't feel like leaving him.
he's all right again now,
but he takes them spells oftener than he used to and I'm anxious about him.
The doctor says he must be careful to avoid excitement.
That's easy enough,
for Matthew doesn't go about looking for excitement by any means and never did,
but he's not to do any very heavy work either and you might as well tell Matthew not to breathe as not to work.
Come and lay off your things,
You'll stay to tea?"
seeing you're so pressing,
perhaps I might as well,
stay" said Mrs. Rachel,
who had not the slightest intention of doing anything else.
Mrs. Rachel and Marilla sat comfortably in the parlor while Anne got the tea and made hot biscuits that were light and white enough to defy even Mrs. Rachel's criticism.
"I must say Anne has turned out a real smart girl,"
admitted Mrs. Rachel,
as Marilla accompanied her to the end of the lane at sunset.
"She must be a great help to you."
"and she's real steady and reliable now.
I used to be afraid she'd never get over her featherbrained ways,
but she has and I wouldn't be afraid to trust her in anything now."
"I never would have thought she'd have turned out so well that first day I was here three years ago,"
said Mrs. Rachel.
shall I ever forget that tantrum of hers!
When I went home that night I says to Thomas,
'Mark my words,
Marilla Cuthbert'll live to rue the step she's took.'
But I was mistaken and I'm real glad of it.
I ain't one of those kind of people,
as can never be brought to own up that they've made a mistake.
that never was my way,
I did make a mistake in judging Anne,
but it weren't no wonder,
for an odder,
unexpecteder witch of a child there never was in this world,
There was no ciphering her out by the rules that worked with other children.
It's nothing short of wonderful how she's improved these three years,
but especially in looks.
She's a real pretty girl got to be,
though I can't say I'm overly partial to that pale,
big-eyed style myself.
I like more snap and color,
like Diana Barry has or Ruby Gillis.
Ruby Gillis's looks are real showy.
But somehow --I don't know how it is but when Anne and them are together,
though she ain't half as handsome,
she makes them look kind of common and overdone --something like them white June lilies she calls narcissus alongside of the big,
Where the Brook and River Meet
Anne had her "good" summer and enjoyed it wholeheartedly.
She and Diana fairly lived outdoors,
reveling in all the delights that Lover's Lane and the Dryad's Bubble and Willowmere and Victoria Island afforded.
Marilla offered no objections to Anne's gypsyings.
The Spencervale doctor who had come the night Minnie May had the croup met Anne at the house of a patient one afternoon early in vacation,
looked her over sharply,
screwed up his mouth,
shook his head,
and sent a message to Marilla Cuthbert by another person.
"Keep that redheaded girl of yours in the open air all summer and don't let her read books until she gets more spring into her step."
This message frightened Marilla wholesomely.
She read Anne's death warrant by consumption in it unless it was scrupulously obeyed.
As a result,
Anne had the golden summer of her life as far as freedom and frolic went.
and dreamed to her heart's content;
and when September came she was bright-eyed and alert,
with a step that would have satisfied the Spencervale doctor and a heart full of ambition and zest once more.
"I feel just like studying with might and main,"
she declared as she brought her books down from the attic.
you good old friends,
I'm glad to see your honest faces once more --yes,
I've had a perfectly beautiful summer,
and now I'm rejoicing as a strong man to run a race,
as Mr. Allan said last Sunday.
Doesn't Mr. Allan preach magnificent sermons?
Mrs. Lynde says he is improving every day and the first thing we know some city church will gobble him up and then we'll be left and have to turn to and break in another green preacher.
But I don't see the use of meeting trouble halfway,
I think it would be better just to enjoy Mr. Allan while we have him.
If I were a man I think I'd be a minister.
They can have such an influence for good,
if their theology is sound;
and it must be thrilling to preach splendid sermons and stir your hearers' hearts.
Why can't women be ministers,
I asked Mrs. Lynde that and she was shocked and said it would be a scandalous thing.
She said there might be female ministers in the States and she believed there was,
but thank goodness we hadn't got to that stage in Canada yet and she hoped we never would.
But I don't see why.
I think women would make splendid ministers.
When there is a social to be got up or a church tea or anything else to raise money the women have to turn to and do the work.
I'm sure Mrs. Lynde can pray every bit as well as Superintendent Bell and I've no doubt she could preach too with a little practice."
I believe she could,"
said Marilla dryly.
"She does plenty of unofficial preaching as it is.
Nobody has much of a chance to go wrong in Avonlea with Rachel to oversee them."
said Anne in a burst of confidence,
"I want to tell you something and ask you what you think about it.
It has worried me terribly --on Sunday afternoons,
when I think specially about such matters.
I do really want to be good;
and when I'm with you or Mrs. Allan or Miss Stacy I want it more than ever and I want to do just what would please you and what you would approve of.
But mostly when I'm with Mrs. Lynde I feel desperately wicked and as if I wanted to go and do the very thing she tells me I oughtn't to do.
I feel irresistibly tempted to do it.
what do you think is the reason I feel like that?
Do you think it's because I'm really bad and unregenerate?"
Marilla looked dubious for a moment.
Then she laughed.
"If you are I guess I am too,
for Rachel often has that very effect on me.
I sometimes think she'd have more of an influence for good,
as you say yourself,
if she didn't keep nagging people to do right.
There should have been a special commandment against nagging.
I shouldn't talk so.
Rachel is a good Christian woman and she means well.
There isn't a kinder soul in Avonlea and she never shirks her share of work."
"I'm very glad you feel the same,"
said Anne decidedly.
"It's so encouraging.
I shan't worry so much over that after this.
But I dare say there'll be other things to worry me.
They keep coming up new all the time --things to perplex you,
You settle one question and there's another right after.
There are so many things to be thought over and decided when you're beginning to grow up.
It keeps me busy all the time thinking them over and deciding what is right.
It's a serious thing to grow up,
But when I have such good friends as you and Matthew and Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy I ought to grow up successfully,
and I'm sure it will be my own fault if I don't.
I feel it's a great responsibility because I have only the one chance.
If I don't grow up right I can't go back and begin over again.
I've grown two inches this summer,
Mr. Gillis measured me at Ruby's party.
I'm so glad you made my new dresses longer.
That dark-green one is so pretty and it was sweet of you to put on the flounce.
Of course I know it wasn't really necessary,
but flounces are so stylish this fall and Josie Pye has flounces on all her dresses.
I know I'll be able to study better because of mine.
I shall have such a comfortable feeling deep down in my mind about that flounce."
"It's worth something to have that,"
Miss Stacy came back to Avonlea school and found all her pupils eager for work once more.
Especially did the Queen's class gird up their loins for the fray,
for at the end of the coming year,
dimly shadowing their pathway already,
loomed up that fateful thing known as "the Entrance,"
at the thought of which one and all felt their hearts sink into their very shoes.
Suppose they did not pass!
That thought was doomed to haunt Anne through the waking hours of that winter,
Sunday afternoons inclusive,
to the almost entire exclusion of moral and theological problems.
When Anne had bad dreams she found herself staring miserably at pass lists of the Entrance exams,
where Gilbert Blythe's name was blazoned at the top and in which hers did not appear at all.
But it was a jolly,
happy swift-flying winter.
Schoolwork was as interesting,
class rivalry as absorbing,
as of yore.
New worlds of thought,
fascinating fields of unexplored knowledge seemed to be opening out before Anne's eager eyes.
"Hills peeped o'er hill and Alps on Alps arose."
Much of all this was due to Miss Stacy's tactful,
She led her class to think and explore and discover for themselves and encouraged straying from the old beaten paths to a degree that quite shocked Mrs. Lynde and the school trustees,
who viewed all innovations on established methods rather dubiously.
Apart from her studies Anne expanded socially,
mindful of the Spencervale doctor's dictum,
no longer vetoed occasional outings.
The Debating Club flourished and gave several concerts;
there were one or two parties almost verging on grown-up affairs;
there were sleigh drives and skating frolics galore.
Between times Anne grew,
shooting up so rapidly that Marilla was astonished one day,
when they were standing side by side,
to find the girl was taller than herself.
how you've grown!"
A sigh followed on the words.
Marilla felt a queer regret over Anne's inches.
The child she had learned to love had vanished somehow and here was this tall,
serious-eyed girl of fifteen,
with the thoughtful brows and the proudly poised little head,
in her place.
Marilla loved the girl as much as she had loved the child,
but she was conscious of a queer sorrowful sense of loss.
And that night,
when Anne had gone to prayer meeting with Diana,
Marilla sat alone in the wintry twilight and indulged in the weakness of a cry.
coming in with a lantern,
caught her at it and gazed at her in such consternation that Marilla had to laugh through her tears.
"I was thinking about Anne,"
"She's got to be such a big girl --and she'll probably be away from us next winter.
I'll miss her terrible."
"She'll be able to come home often,"
to whom Anne was as yet and always would be the little,
eager girl he had brought home from Bright River on that June evening four years before.
"The branch railroad will be built to Carmody by that time."
"It won't be the same thing as having her here all the time,"
sighed Marilla gloomily,
determined to enjoy her luxury of grief uncomforted.
"But there --men can't understand these things!"
There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change.
For one thing,
she became much quieter.
Perhaps she thought all the more and dreamed as much as ever,
but she certainly talked less.
Marilla noticed and commented on this also.
"You don't chatter half as much as you used to,
nor use half as many big words.
What has come over you?"
Anne colored and laughed a little,
as she dropped her book and looked dreamily out of the window,
where big fat red buds were bursting out on the creeper in response to the lure of the spring sunshine.
"I don't know --I don't want to talk as much,"
denting her chin thoughtfully with her forefinger.
"It's nicer to think dear,
pretty thoughts and keep them in one's heart,
I don't like to have them laughed at or wondered over.
And somehow I don't want to use big words any more.
It's almost a pity,
now that I'm really growing big enough to say them if I did want to.
It's fun to be almost grown up in some ways,
but it's not the kind of fun I expected,
There's so much to learn and do and think that there isn't time for big words.
Miss Stacy says the short ones are much stronger and better.
She makes us write all our essays as simply as possible.
It was hard at first.
I was so used to crowding in all the fine big words I could think of --and I thought of any number of them.
But I've got used to it now and I see it's so much better."
"What has become of your story club?
I haven't heard you speak of it for a long time."
"The story club isn't in existence any longer.
We hadn't time for it --and anyhow I think we had got tired of it.
It was silly to be writing about love and murder and elopements and mysteries.
Miss Stacy sometimes has us write a story for training in composition,
but she won't let us write anything but what might happen in Avonlea in our own lives,
and she criticizes it very sharply and makes us criticize our own too.
I never thought my compositions had so many faults until I began to look for them myself.
I felt so ashamed I wanted to give up altogether,
but Miss Stacy said I could learn to write well if I only trained myself to be my own severest critic.
And so I am trying to."
"You've only two more months before the Entrance,"
"Do you think you'll be able to get through?"
"I don't know.
Sometimes I think I'll be all right --and then I get horribly afraid.
We've studied hard and Miss Stacy has drilled us thoroughly,
but we mayn't get through for all that.
We've each got a stumbling block.
Mine is geometry of course,
and Jane's is Latin,
and Ruby and Charlie's is algebra,
and Josie's is arithmetic.
Moody Spurgeon says he feels it in his bones that he is going to fail in English history.
Miss Stacy is going to give us examinations in June just as hard as we'll have at the Entrance and mark us just as strictly,
so we'll have some idea.
I wish it was all over,
It haunts me.
Sometimes I wake up in the night and wonder what I'll do if I don't pass."
go to school next year and try again,"
said Marilla unconcernedly.
I don't believe I'd have the heart for it.
It would be such a disgrace to fail,
especially if Gil --if the others passed.
And I get so nervous in an examination that I'm likely to make a mess of it.
I wish I had nerves like Jane Andrews.
Nothing rattles her."
Anne sighed and,
dragging her eyes from the witcheries of the spring world,
the beckoning day of breeze and blue,
and the green things upspringing in the garden,
buried herself resolutely in her book.
There would be other springs,
but if she did not succeed in passing the Entrance,
Anne felt convinced that she would never recover sufficiently to enjoy them.
The Pass List Is Out
With the end of June came the close of the term and the close of Miss Stacy's rule in Avonlea school.
Anne and Diana walked home that evening feeling very sober indeed.
Red eyes and damp handkerchiefs bore convincing testimony to the fact that Miss Stacy's farewell words must have been quite as touching as Mr. Phillips's had been under similar circumstances three years before.
Diana looked back at the schoolhouse from the foot of the spruce hill and sighed deeply.
"It does seem as if it was the end of everything,
she said dismally.
"You oughtn't to feel half as badly as I do,"
hunting vainly for a dry spot on her handkerchief.
"You'll be back again next winter,
but I suppose I've left the dear old school forever --if I have good luck,
"It won't be a bit the same.
Miss Stacy won't be there,
nor you nor Jane nor Ruby probably.
I shall have to sit all alone,
for I couldn't bear to have another deskmate after you.
we have had jolly times,
It's dreadful to think they're all over."
Two big tears rolled down by Diana's nose.
"If you would stop crying I could,"
said Anne imploringly.
"Just as soon as I put away my hanky I see you brimming up and that starts me off again.
As Mrs. Lynde says,
'If you can't be cheerful,
be as cheerful as you can.'
I dare say I'll be back next year.
This is one of the times I KNOW I'm not going to pass.
They're getting alarmingly frequent."
you came out splendidly in the exams Miss Stacy gave."
but those exams didn't make me nervous.
When I think of the real thing you can't imagine what a horrid cold fluttery feeling comes round my heart.
And then my number is thirteen and Josie Pye says it's so unlucky.
I am NOT superstitious and I know it can make no difference.
But still I wish it wasn't thirteen."
"I do wish I was going in with you,"
"Wouldn't we have a perfectly elegant time?
But I suppose you'll have to cram in the evenings."
Miss Stacy has made us promise not to open a book at all.
She says it would only tire and confuse us and we are to go out walking and not think about the exams at all and go to bed early.
It's good advice,
but I expect it will be hard to follow;
good advice is apt to be,
Prissy Andrews told me that she sat up half the night every night of her Entrance week and crammed for dear life;
and I had determined to sit up AT LEAST as long as she did.
It was so kind of your Aunt Josephine to ask me to stay at Beechwood while I'm in town."
"You'll write to me while you're in,
"I'll write Tuesday night and tell you how the first day goes,"
"I'll be haunting the post office Wednesday,"
Anne went to town the following Monday and on Wednesday Diana haunted the post office,
and got her letter.
"Dearest Diana" [wrote Anne],
"Here it is Tuesday night and I'm writing this in the library at Beechwood.
Last night I was horribly lonesome all alone in my room and wished so much you were with me.
I couldn't "cram" because I'd promised Miss Stacy not to,
but it was as hard to keep from opening my history as it used to be to keep from reading a story before my lessons were learned.
"This morning Miss Stacy came for me and we went to the Academy,
calling for Jane and Ruby and Josie on our way.
Ruby asked me to feel her hands and they were as cold as ice.
Josie said I looked as if I hadn't slept a wink and she didn't believe I was strong enough to stand the grind of the teacher's course even if I did get through.
There are times and seasons even yet when I don't feel that I've made any great headway in learning to like Josie Pye!
"When we reached the Academy there were scores of students there from all over the Island.
The first person we saw was Moody Spurgeon sitting on the steps and muttering away to himself.
Jane asked him what on earth he was doing and he said he was repeating the multiplication table over and over to steady his nerves and for pity's sake not to interrupt him,
because if he stopped for a moment he got frightened and forgot everything he ever knew,
but the multiplication table kept all his facts firmly in their proper place!
"When we were assigned to our rooms Miss Stacy had to leave us.
Jane and I sat together and Jane was so composed that I envied her.
No need of the multiplication table for good,
I wondered if I looked as I felt and if they could hear my heart thumping clear across the room.
Then a man came in and began distributing the English examination sheets.
My hands grew cold then and my head fairly whirled around as I picked it up.
Just one awful moment --Diana,
I felt exactly as I did four years ago when I asked Marilla if I might stay at Green Gables --and then everything cleared up in my mind and my heart began beating again --I forgot to say that it had stopped altogether!
--for I knew I could do something with THAT paper anyhow.
"At noon we went home for dinner and then back again for history in the afternoon.
The history was a pretty hard paper and I got dreadfully mixed up in the dates.
I think I did fairly well today.
tomorrow the geometry exam comes off and when I think of it it takes every bit of determination I possess to keep from opening my Euclid.
If I thought the multiplication table would help me any I would recite it from now till tomorrow morning.
"I went down to see the other girls this evening.
On my way I met Moody Spurgeon wandering distractedly around.
He said he knew he had failed in history and he was born to be a disappointment to his parents and he was going home on the morning train;
and it would be easier to be a carpenter than a minister,
I cheered him up and persuaded him to stay to the end because it would be unfair to Miss Stacy if he didn't.
Sometimes I have wished I was born a boy,
but when I see Moody Spurgeon I'm always glad I'm a girl and not his sister.
"Ruby was in hysterics when I reached their boardinghouse;
she had just discovered a fearful mistake she had made in her English paper.
When she recovered we went uptown and had an ice cream.
How we wished you had been with us.
if only the geometry examination were over!
as Mrs. Lynde would say,
the sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in geometry or not.
That is true but not especially comforting.
I think I'd rather it didn't go on if I failed!
The geometry examination and all the others were over in due time and Anne arrived home on Friday evening,
rather tired but with an air of chastened triumph about her.
Diana was over at Green Gables when she arrived and they met as if they had been parted for years.
"You old darling,
it's perfectly splendid to see you back again.
It seems like an age since you went to town and oh,
how did you get along?"
in everything but the geometry.
I don't know whether I passed in it or not and I have a creepy,
crawly presentiment that I didn't.
how good it is to be back!
Green Gables is the dearest,
loveliest spot in the world."
"How did the others do?"
"The girls say they know they didn't pass,
but I think they did pretty well.
Josie says the geometry was so easy a child of ten could do it!
Moody Spurgeon still thinks he failed in history and Charlie says he failed in algebra.
But we don't really know anything about it and won't until the pass list is out.
That won't be for a fortnight.
Fancy living a fortnight in such suspense!
I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up until it is over."
Diana knew it would be useless to ask how Gilbert Blythe had fared,
so she merely said:
you'll pass all right.
"I'd rather not pass at all than not come out pretty well up on the list,"
by which she meant --and Diana knew she meant --that success would be incomplete and bitter if she did not come out ahead of Gilbert Blythe.
With this end in view Anne had strained every nerve during the examinations.
So had Gilbert.
They had met and passed each other on the street a dozen times without any sign of recognition and every time Anne had held her head a little higher and wished a little more earnestly that she had made friends with Gilbert when he asked her,
and vowed a little more determinedly to surpass him in the examination.
She knew that all Avonlea junior was wondering which would come out first;
she even knew that Jimmy Glover and Ned Wright had a bet on the question and that Josie Pye had said there was no doubt in the world that Gilbert would be first;
and she felt that her humiliation would be unbearable if she failed.
But she had another and nobler motive for wishing to do well.
She wanted to "pass high" for the sake of Matthew and Marilla --especially Matthew.
Matthew had declared to her his conviction that she "would beat the whole Island."
was something it would be foolish to hope for even in the wildest dreams.
But she did hope fervently that she would be among the first ten at least,
so that she might see Matthew's kindly brown eyes gleam with pride in her achievement.
would be a sweet reward indeed for all her hard work and patient grubbing among unimaginative equations and conjugations.
At the end of the fortnight Anne took to "haunting" the post office also,
in the distracted company of Jane,
opening the Charlottetown dailies with shaking hands and cold,
sinkaway feelings as bad as any experienced during the Entrance week.
Charlie and Gilbert were not above doing this too,
but Moody Spurgeon stayed resolutely away.
"I haven't got the grit to go there and look at a paper in cold blood,"
he told Anne.
"I'm just going to wait until somebody comes and tells me suddenly whether I've passed or not."
When three weeks had gone by without the pass list appearing Anne began to feel that she really couldn't stand the strain much longer.
Her appetite failed and her interest in Avonlea doings languished.
Mrs. Lynde wanted to know what else you could expect with a Tory superintendent of education at the head of affairs,
noting Anne's paleness and indifference and the lagging steps that bore her home from the post office every afternoon,
began seriously to wonder if he hadn't better vote Grit at the next election.
But one evening the news came.
Anne was sitting at her open window,
for the time forgetful of the woes of examinations and the cares of the world,
as she drank in the beauty of the summer dusk,
sweet-scented with flower breaths from the garden below and sibilant and rustling from the stir of poplars.
The eastern sky above the firs was flushed faintly pink from the reflection of the west,
and Anne was wondering dreamily if the spirit of color looked like that,
when she saw Diana come flying down through the firs,
over the log bridge,
and up the slope,
with a fluttering newspaper in her hand.
Anne sprang to her feet,
knowing at once what that paper contained.
The pass list was out!
Her head whirled and her heart beat until it hurt her.
She could not move a step.
It seemed an hour to her before Diana came rushing along the hall and burst into the room without even knocking,
so great was her excitement.
"passed the VERY FIRST --you and Gilbert both --you're ties --but your name is first.
I'm so proud!"
Diana flung the paper on the table and herself on Anne's bed,
utterly breathless and incapable of further speech.
Anne lighted the lamp,
oversetting the match safe and using up half a dozen matches before her shaking hands could accomplish the task.
Then she snatched up the paper.
she had passed --there was her name at the very top of a list of two hundred!
That moment was worth living for.
"You did just splendidly,
recovering sufficiently to sit up and speak,
starry eyed and rapt,
had not uttered a word.
"Father brought the paper home from Bright River not ten minutes ago --it came out on the afternoon train,
and won't be here till tomorrow by mail --and when I saw the pass list I just rushed over like a wild thing.
You've all passed,
every one of you,
Moody Spurgeon and all,
although he's conditioned in history.
Jane and Ruby did pretty well --they're halfway up --and so did Charlie.
Josie just scraped through with three marks to spare,
but you'll see she'll put on as many airs as if she'd led.
Won't Miss Stacy be delighted?
what does it feel like to see your name at the head of a pass list like that?
If it were me I know I'd go crazy with joy.
I am pretty near crazy as it is,
but you're as calm and cool as a spring evening."
"I'm just dazzled inside,"
"I want to say a hundred things,
and I can't find words to say them in.
I never dreamed of this --yes,
I did too,
I let myself think ONCE,
'What if I should come out first?'
for it seemed so vain and presumptuous to think I could lead the Island.
Excuse me a minute,
I must run right out to the field to tell Matthew.
Then we'll go up the road and tell the good news to the others."
They hurried to the hayfield below the barn where Matthew was coiling hay,
as luck would have it,
Mrs. Lynde was talking to Marilla at the lane fence.
"I've passed and I'm first --or one of the first!
I'm not vain,
but I'm thankful."
I always said it,"
gazing at the pass list delightedly.
"I knew you could beat them all easy."
"You've done pretty well,
I must say,
trying to hide her extreme pride in Anne from Mrs. Rachel's critical eye.
But that good soul said heartily:
"I just guess she has done well,
and far be it from me to be backward in saying it.
You're a credit to your friends,
and we're all proud of you."
That night Anne,
who had wound up the delightful evening with a serious little talk with Mrs. Allan at the manse,
knelt sweetly by her open window in a great sheen of moonshine and murmured a prayer of gratitude and aspiration that came straight from her heart.
There was in it thankfulness for the past and reverent petition for the future;
and when she slept on her white pillow her dreams were as fair and bright and beautiful as maidenhood might desire.
The Hotel Concert
"Put on your white organdy,
by all means,
advised Diana decidedly.
They were together in the east gable chamber;
outside it was only twilight --a lovely yellowish-green twilight with a clear-blue cloudless sky.
A big round moon,
slowly deepening from her pallid luster into burnished silver,
hung over the Haunted Wood;
the air was full of sweet summer sounds --sleepy birds twittering,
faraway voices and laughter.
But in Anne's room the blind was drawn and the lamp lighted,
for an important toilet was being made.
The east gable was a very different place from what it had been on that night four years before,
when Anne had felt its bareness penetrate to the marrow of her spirit with its inhospitable chill.
Changes had crept in,
Marilla conniving at them resignedly,
until it was as sweet and dainty a nest as a young girl could desire.
The velvet carpet with the pink roses and the pink silk curtains of Anne's early visions had certainly never materialized;
but her dreams had kept pace with her growth,
and it is not probable she lamented them.
The floor was covered with a pretty matting,
and the curtains that softened the high window and fluttered in the vagrant breezes were of pale-green art muslin.
hung not with gold and silver brocade tapestry,
but with a dainty apple-blossom paper,
were adorned with a few good pictures given Anne by Mrs. Allan.
Miss Stacy's photograph occupied the place of honor,
and Anne made a sentimental point of keeping fresh flowers on the bracket under it.
Tonight a spike of white lilies faintly perfumed the room like the dream of a fragrance.
There was no "mahogany furniture,"
but there was a white-painted bookcase filled with books,
a cushioned wicker rocker,
a toilet table befrilled with white muslin,
gilt-framed mirror with chubby pink Cupids and purple grapes painted over its arched top,
that used to hang in the spare room,
and a low white bed.
Anne was dressing for a concert at the White Sands Hotel.
The guests had got it up in aid of the Charlottetown hospital,
and had hunted out all the available amateur talent in the surrounding districts to help it along.
Bertha Sampson and Pearl Clay of the White Sands Baptist choir had been asked to sing a duet;
Milton Clark of Newbridge was to give a violin solo;
Winnie Adella Blair of Carmody was to sing a Scotch ballad;
and Laura Spencer of Spencervale and Anne Shirley of Avonlea were to recite.
As Anne would have said at one time,
it was "an epoch in her life,"
and she was deliciously athrill with the excitement of it.
Matthew was in the seventh heaven of gratified pride over the honor conferred on his Anne and Marilla was not far behind,
although she would have died rather than admit it,
and said she didn't think it was very proper for a lot of young folks to be gadding over to the hotel without any responsible person with them.
Anne and Diana were to drive over with Jane Andrews and her brother Billy in their double-seated buggy;
and several other Avonlea girls and boys were going too.
There was a party of visitors expected out from town,
and after the concert a supper was to be given to the performers.
"Do you really think the organdy will be best?"
queried Anne anxiously.
"I don't think it's as pretty as my blue-flowered muslin --and it certainly isn't so fashionable."
"But it suits you ever so much better,"
"It's so soft and frilly and clinging.
The muslin is stiff,
and makes you look too dressed up.
But the organdy seems as if it grew on you."
Anne sighed and yielded.
Diana was beginning to have a reputation for notable taste in dressing,
and her advice on such subjects was much sought after.
She was looking very pretty herself on this particular night in a dress of the lovely wild-rose pink,
from which Anne was forever debarred;
but she was not to take any part in the concert,
so her appearance was of minor importance.
All her pains were bestowed upon Anne,
for the credit of Avonlea,
be dressed and combed and adorned to the Queen's taste.
"Pull out that frill a little more --so;
let me tie your sash;
now for your slippers.
I'm going to braid your hair in two thick braids,
and tie them halfway up with big white bows --no,
don't pull out a single curl over your forehead --just have the soft part.
There is no way you do your hair suits you so well,
and Mrs. Allan says you look like a Madonna when you part it so.
I shall fasten this little white house rose just behind your ear.
There was just one on my bush,
and I saved it for you."
"Shall I put my pearl beads on?"
"Matthew brought me a string from town last week,
and I know he'd like to see them on me."
Diana pursed up her lips,
put her black head on one side critically,
and finally pronounced in favor of the beads,
which were thereupon tied around Anne's slim milk-white throat.
"There's something so stylish about you,
with unenvious admiration.
"You hold your head with such an air.
I suppose it's your figure.
I am just a dumpling.
I've always been afraid of it,
and now I know it is so.
I suppose I shall just have to resign myself to it."
"But you have such dimples,"
smiling affectionately into the pretty,
vivacious face so near her own.
like little dents in cream.
I have given up all hope of dimples.
My dimple-dream will never come true;
but so many of my dreams have that I mustn't complain.
Am I all ready now?"
as Marilla appeared in the doorway,
a gaunt figure with grayer hair than of yore and no fewer angles,
but with a much softer face.
"Come right in and look at our elocutionist,
Doesn't she look lovely?"
Marilla emitted a sound between a sniff and a grunt.
"She looks neat and proper.
I like that way of fixing her hair.
But I expect she'll ruin that dress driving over there in the dust and dew with it,
and it looks most too thin for these damp nights.
Organdy's the most unserviceable stuff in the world anyhow,
and I told Matthew so when he got it.
But there is no use in saying anything to Matthew nowadays.
Time was when he would take my advice,
but now he just buys things for Anne regardless,
and the clerks at Carmody know they can palm anything off on him.
Just let them tell him a thing is pretty and fashionable,
and Matthew plunks his money down for it.
Mind you keep your skirt clear of the wheel,
and put your warm jacket on."
Then Marilla stalked downstairs,
thinking proudly how sweet Anne looked,
"One moonbeam from the forehead to the crown"
and regretting that she could not go to the concert herself to hear her girl recite.
"I wonder if it IS too damp for my dress,"
said Anne anxiously.
"Not a bit of it,"
pulling up the window blind.
"It's a perfect night,
and there won't be any dew.
Look at the moonlight."
"I'm so glad my window looks east into the sunrising,"
going over to Diana.
"It's so splendid to see the morning coming up over those long hills and glowing through those sharp fir tops.
It's new every morning,
and I feel as if I washed my very soul in that bath of earliest sunshine.
I love this little room so dearly.
I don't know how I'll get along without it when I go to town next month."
"Don't speak of your going away tonight,"
"I don't want to think of it,
it makes me so miserable,
and I do want to have a good time this evening.
What are you going to recite,
And are you nervous?"
"Not a bit.
I've recited so often in public I don't mind at all now.
I've decided to give
'The Maiden's Vow.'
It's so pathetic.
Laura Spencer is going to give a comic recitation,
but I'd rather make people cry than laugh."
"What will you recite if they encore you?"
"They won't dream of encoring me,"
who was not without her own secret hopes that they would,
and already visioned herself telling Matthew all about it at the next morning's breakfast table.
"There are Billy and Jane now --I hear the wheels.
Billy Andrews insisted that Anne should ride on the front seat with him,
so she unwillingly climbed up.
She would have much preferred to sit back with the girls,
where she could have laughed and chattered to her heart's content.
There was not much of either laughter or chatter in Billy.
He was a big,
stolid youth of twenty,
with a round,
and a painful lack of conversational gifts.
But he admired Anne immensely,
and was puffed up with pride over the prospect of driving to White Sands with that slim,
upright figure beside him.
by dint of talking over her shoulder to the girls and occasionally passing a sop of civility to Billy --who grinned and chuckled and never could think of any reply until it was too late --contrived to enjoy the drive in spite of all.
It was a night for enjoyment.
The road was full of buggies,
all bound for the hotel,
echoed and reechoed along it.
When they reached the hotel it was a blaze of light from top to bottom.
They were met by the ladies of the concert committee,
one of whom took Anne off to the performers' dressing room which was filled with the members of a Charlottetown Symphony Club,
among whom Anne felt suddenly shy and frightened and countrified.
in the east gable,
had seemed so dainty and pretty,
now seemed simple and plain --too simple and plain,
among all the silks and laces that glistened and rustled around her.
What were her pearl beads compared to the diamonds of the big,
handsome lady near her?
And how poor her one wee white rose must look beside all the hothouse flowers the others wore!
Anne laid her hat and jacket away,
and shrank miserably into a corner.
She wished herself back in the white room at Green Gables.
It was still worse on the platform of the big concert hall of the hotel,
where she presently found herself.
The electric lights dazzled her eyes,
the perfume and hum bewildered her.
She wished she were sitting down in the audience with Diana and Jane,
who seemed to be having a splendid time away at the back.
She was wedged in between a stout lady in pink silk and a tall,
scornful-looking girl in a white-lace dress.
The stout lady occasionally turned her head squarely around and surveyed Anne through her eyeglasses until Anne,
acutely sensitive of being so scrutinized,
felt that she must scream aloud;
and the white-lace girl kept talking audibly to her next neighbor about the "country bumpkins" and "rustic belles" in the audience,
languidly anticipating "such fun" from the displays of local talent on the program.
Anne believed that she would hate that white-lace girl to the end of life.
Unfortunately for Anne,
a professional elocutionist was staying at the hotel and had consented to recite.
She was a lithe,
dark-eyed woman in a wonderful gown of shimmering gray stuff like woven moonbeams,
with gems on her neck and in her dark hair.
She had a marvelously flexible voice and wonderful power of expression;
the audience went wild over her selection.
forgetting all about herself and her troubles for the time,
listened with rapt and shining eyes;
but when the recitation ended she suddenly put her hands over her face.
She could never get up and recite after that --never.
Had she ever thought she could recite?
if she were only back at Green Gables!
At this unpropitious moment her name was called.
Somehow Anne --who did not notice the rather guilty little start of surprise the white-lace girl gave,
and would not have understood the subtle compliment implied therein if she had --got on her feet,
and moved dizzily out to the front.
She was so pale that Diana and Jane,
down in the audience,
clasped each other's hands in nervous sympathy.
Anne was the victim of an overwhelming attack of stage fright.
Often as she had recited in public,
she had never before faced such an audience as this,
and the sight of it paralyzed her energies completely.
Everything was so strange,
so bewildering --the rows of ladies in evening dress,
the critical faces,
the whole atmosphere of wealth and culture about her.
Very different this from the plain benches at the Debating Club,
filled with the homely,
sympathetic faces of friends and neighbors.
would be merciless critics.
like the white-lace girl,
they anticipated amusement from her "rustic" efforts.
She felt hopelessly,
helplessly ashamed and miserable.
Her knees trembled,
her heart fluttered,
a horrible faintness came over her;
not a word could she utter,
and the next moment she would have fled from the platform despite the humiliation which,
must ever after be her portion if she did so.
as her dilated,
frightened eyes gazed out over the audience,
she saw Gilbert Blythe away at the back of the room,
bending forward with a smile on his face --a smile which seemed to Anne at once triumphant and taunting.
In reality it was nothing of the kind.
Gilbert was merely smiling with appreciation of the whole affair in general and of the effect produced by Anne's slender white form and spiritual face against a background of palms in particular.
whom he had driven over,
sat beside him,
and her face certainly was both triumphant and taunting.
But Anne did not see Josie,
and would not have cared if she had.
She drew a long breath and flung her head up proudly,
courage and determination tingling over her like an electric shock.
She WOULD NOT fail before Gilbert Blythe --he should never be able to laugh at her,
Her fright and nervousness vanished;
and she began her recitation,
sweet voice reaching to the farthest corner of the room without a tremor or a break.
Self-possession was fully restored to her,
and in the reaction from that horrible moment of powerlessness she recited as she had never done before.
When she finished there were bursts of honest applause.
stepping back to her seat,
blushing with shyness and delight,
found her hand vigorously clasped and shaken by the stout lady in pink silk.
you did splendidly,"
"I've been crying like a baby,
actually I have.
they're encoring you --they're bound to have you back!"
I can't go,"
said Anne confusedly.
"But yet --I must,
or Matthew will be disappointed.
He said they would encore me."
"Then don't disappoint Matthew,"
said the pink lady,
Anne tripped back and gave a quaint,
funny little selection that captivated her audience still further.
The rest of the evening was quite a little triumph for her.
When the concert was over,
pink lady --who was the wife of an American millionaire --took her under her wing,
and introduced her to everybody;
and everybody was very nice to her.
The professional elocutionist,
came and chatted with her,
telling her that she had a charming voice and "interpreted" her selections beautifully.
Even the white-lace girl paid her a languid little compliment.
They had supper in the big,
beautifully decorated dining room;
Diana and Jane were invited to partake of this,
since they had come with Anne,
but Billy was nowhere to be found,
having decamped in mortal fear of some such invitation.
He was in waiting for them,
with the team,
when it was all over,
and the three girls came merrily out into the calm,
white moonshine radiance.
Anne breathed deeply,
and looked into the clear sky beyond the dark boughs of the firs.
it was good to be out again in the purity and silence of the night!
How great and still and wonderful everything was,
with the murmur of the sea sounding through it and the darkling cliffs beyond like grim giants guarding enchanted coasts.
"Hasn't it been a perfectly splendid time?"
as they drove away.
"I just wish I was a rich American and could spend my summer at a hotel and wear jewels and low-necked dresses and have ice cream and chicken salad every blessed day.
I'm sure it would be ever so much more fun than teaching school.
your recitation was simply great,
although I thought at first you were never going to begin.
I think it was better than Mrs. Evans's."
don't say things like that,
said Anne quickly,
"because it sounds silly.
It couldn't be better than Mrs. Evans's,
for she is a professional,
and I'm only a schoolgirl,
with a little knack of reciting.
I'm quite satisfied if the people just liked mine pretty well."
"I've a compliment for you,
"At least I think it must be a compliment because of the tone he said it in.
Part of it was anyhow.
There was an American sitting behind Jane and me --such a romantic-looking man,
with coal-black hair and eyes.
Josie Pye says he is a distinguished artist,
and that her mother's cousin in Boston is married to a man that used to go to school with him.
we heard him say --didn't we,
--'Who is that girl on the platform with the splendid Titian hair?
She has a face I should like to paint.'
But what does Titian hair mean?"
"Being interpreted it means plain red,
"Titian was a very famous artist who liked to paint red-haired women."
"DID you see all the diamonds those ladies wore?"
"They were simply dazzling.
Wouldn't you just love to be rich,
"We ARE rich,"
said Anne staunchly.
we have sixteen years to our credit,
and we're happy as queens,
and we've all got imaginations,
more or less.
Look at that sea,
girls --all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.
We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.
You wouldn't change into any of those women if you could.
Would you want to be that white-lace girl and wear a sour look all your life,
as if you'd been born turning up your nose at the world?
Or the pink lady,
kind and nice as she is,
so stout and short that you'd really no figure at all?
Or even Mrs. Evans,
with that sad,
sad look in her eyes?
She must have been dreadfully unhappy sometime to have such a look.
You KNOW you wouldn't,
"I DON'T know --exactly,"
said Jane unconvinced.
"I think diamonds would comfort a person for a good deal."
I don't want to be anyone but myself,
even if I go uncomforted by diamonds all my life,"
"I'm quite content to be Anne of Green Gables,
with my string of pearl beads.
I know Matthew gave me as much love with them as ever went with Madame the Pink Lady's jewels."
A Queen's Girl
The next three weeks were busy ones at Green Gables,
for Anne was getting ready to go to Queen's,
and there was much sewing to be done,
and many things to be talked over and arranged.
Anne's outfit was ample and pretty,
for Matthew saw to that,
and Marilla for once made no objections whatever to anything he purchased or suggested.
More --one evening she went up to the east gable with her arms full of a delicate pale green material.
here's something for a nice light dress for you.
I don't suppose you really need it;
you've plenty of pretty waists;
but I thought maybe you'd like something real dressy to wear if you were asked out anywhere of an evening in town,
to a party or anything like that.
I hear that Jane and Ruby and Josie have got
as they call them,
and I don't mean you shall be behind them.
I got Mrs. Allan to help me pick it in town last week,
and we'll get Emily Gillis to make it for you.
Emily has got taste,
and her fits aren't to be equaled."
it's just lovely,"
"Thank you so much.
I don't believe you ought to be so kind to me --it's making it harder every day for me to go away."
The green dress was made up with as many tucks and frills and shirrings as Emily's taste permitted.
Anne put it on one evening for Matthew's and Marilla's benefit,
and recited "The Maiden's Vow" for them in the kitchen.
As Marilla watched the bright,
animated face and graceful motions her thoughts went back to the evening Anne had arrived at Green Gables,
and memory recalled a vivid picture of the odd,
frightened child in her preposterous yellowish-brown wincey dress,
the heartbreak looking out of her tearful eyes.
Something in the memory brought tears to Marilla's own eyes.
my recitation has made you cry,
said Anne gaily stooping over Marilla's chair to drop a butterfly kiss on that lady's cheek.
I call that a positive triumph."
I wasn't crying over your piece,"
who would have scorned to be betrayed into such weakness by any poetry stuff.
"I just couldn't help thinking of the little girl you used to be,
And I was wishing you could have stayed a little girl,
even with all your queer ways.
You've grown up now and you're going away;
and you look so tall and stylish and so --so --different altogether in that dress --as if you didn't belong in Avonlea at all --and I just got lonesome thinking it all over."
Anne sat down on Marilla's gingham lap,
took Marilla's lined face between her hands,
and looked gravely and tenderly into Marilla's eyes.
"I'm not a bit changed --not really.
I'm only just pruned down and branched out.
The real ME --back here --is just the same.
It won't make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly;
at heart I shall always be your little Anne,
who will love you and Matthew and dear Green Gables more and better every day of her life."
Anne laid her fresh young cheek against Marilla's faded one,
and reached out a hand to pat Matthew's shoulder.
Marilla would have given much just then to have possessed Anne's power of putting her feelings into words;
but nature and habit had willed it otherwise,
and she could only put her arms close about her girl and hold her tenderly to her heart,
wishing that she need never let her go.
with a suspicious moisture in his eyes,
got up and went out-of-doors.
Under the stars of the blue summer night he walked agitatedly across the yard to the gate under the poplars.
I guess she ain't been much spoiled,"
"I guess my putting in my oar occasional never did much harm after all.
She's smart and pretty,
which is better than all the rest.
She's been a blessing to us,
and there never was a luckier mistake than what Mrs. Spencer made --if it WAS luck.
I don't believe it was any such thing.
It was Providence,
because the Almighty saw we needed her,
The day finally came when Anne must go to town.
She and Matthew drove in one fine September morning,
after a tearful parting with Diana and an untearful practical one --on Marilla's side at least --with Marilla.
But when Anne had gone Diana dried her tears and went to a beach picnic at White Sands with some of her Carmody cousins,
where she contrived to enjoy herself tolerably well;
while Marilla plunged fiercely into unnecessary work and kept at it all day long with the bitterest kind of heartache --the ache that burns and gnaws and cannot wash itself away in ready tears.
But that night,
when Marilla went to bed,
acutely and miserably conscious that the little gable room at the end of the hall was untenanted by any vivid young life and unstirred by any soft breathing,
she buried her face in her pillow,
and wept for her girl in a passion of sobs that appalled her when she grew calm enough to reflect how very wicked it must be to take on so about a sinful fellow creature.
Anne and the rest of the Avonlea scholars reached town just in time to hurry off to the Academy.
That first day passed pleasantly enough in a whirl of excitement,
meeting all the new students,
learning to know the professors by sight and being assorted and organized into classes.
Anne intended taking up the Second Year work being advised to do so by Miss Stacy;
Gilbert Blythe elected to do the same.
This meant getting a First Class teacher's license in one year instead of two,
if they were successful;
but it also meant much more and harder work.
and Moody Spurgeon,
not being troubled with the stirrings of ambition,
were content to take up the Second Class work.
Anne was conscious of a pang of loneliness when she found herself in a room with fifty other students,
not one of whom she knew,
except the tall,
brown-haired boy across the room;
and knowing him in the fashion she did,
did not help her much,
as she reflected pessimistically.
Yet she was undeniably glad that they were in the same class;
the old rivalry could still be carried on,
and Anne would hardly have known what to do if it had been lacking.
"I wouldn't feel comfortable without it,"
"Gilbert looks awfully determined.
I suppose he's making up his mind,
here and now,
to win the medal.
What a splendid chin he has!
I never noticed it before.
I do wish Jane and Ruby had gone in for First Class,
I suppose I won't feel so much like a cat in a strange garret when I get acquainted,
I wonder which of the girls here are going to be my friends.
It's really an interesting speculation.
Of course I promised Diana that no Queen's girl,
no matter how much I liked her,
should ever be as dear to me as she is;
but I've lots of second-best affections to bestow.
I like the look of that girl with the brown eyes and the crimson waist.
She looks vivid and red-rosy;
there's that pale,
fair one gazing out of the window.
She has lovely hair,
and looks as if she knew a thing or two about dreams.
I'd like to know them both --know them well --well enough to walk with my arm about their waists,
and call them nicknames.
But just now I don't know them and they don't know me,
and probably don't want to know me particularly.
It was lonesomer still when Anne found herself alone in her hall bedroom that night at twilight.
She was not to board with the other girls,
who all had relatives in town to take pity on them.
Miss Josephine Barry would have liked to board her,
but Beechwood was so far from the Academy that it was out of the question;
so Miss Barry hunted up a boarding-house,
assuring Matthew and Marilla that it was the very place for Anne.
"The lady who keeps it is a reduced gentlewoman,"
explained Miss Barry.
"Her husband was a British officer,
and she is very careful what sort of boarders she takes.
Anne will not meet with any objectionable persons under her roof.
The table is good,
and the house is near the Academy,
in a quiet neighborhood."
All this might be quite true,
proved to be so,
but it did not materially help Anne in the first agony of homesickness that seized upon her.
She looked dismally about her narrow little room,
with its dull-papered,
its small iron bedstead and empty book-case;
and a horrible choke came into her throat as she thought of her own white room at Green Gables,
where she would have the pleasant consciousness of a great green still outdoors,
of sweet peas growing in the garden,
and moonlight falling on the orchard,
of the brook below the slope and the spruce boughs tossing in the night wind beyond it,
of a vast starry sky,
and the light from Diana's window shining out through the gap in the trees.
Here there was nothing of this;
Anne knew that outside of her window was a hard street,
with a network of telephone wires shutting out the sky,
the tramp of alien feet,
and a thousand lights gleaming on stranger faces.
She knew that she was going to cry,
and fought against it.
"I WON'T cry.
It's silly --and weak --there's the third tear splashing down by my nose.
There are more coming!
I must think of something funny to stop them.
But there's nothing funny except what is connected with Avonlea,
and that only makes things worse --four --five --I'm going home next Friday,
but that seems a hundred years away.
Matthew is nearly home by now --and Marilla is at the gate,
looking down the lane for him --six --seven --eight --oh,
there's no use in counting them!
They're coming in a flood presently.
I can't cheer up --I don't WANT to cheer up.
It's nicer to be miserable!"
The flood of tears would have come,
had not Josie Pye appeared at that moment.
In the joy of seeing a familiar face Anne forgot that there had never been much love lost between her and Josie.
As a part of Avonlea life even a Pye was welcome.
"I'm so glad you came up,"
Anne said sincerely.
"You've been crying,"
with aggravating pity.
"I suppose you're homesick --some people have so little self-control in that respect.
I've no intention of being homesick,
I can tell you.
Town's too jolly after that poky old Avonlea.
I wonder how I ever existed there so long.
You shouldn't cry,
it isn't becoming,
for your nose and eyes get red,
and then you seem ALL red.
I'd a perfectly scrumptious time in the Academy today.
Our French professor is simply a duck.
His moustache would give you kerwollowps of the heart.
Have you anything eatable around,
I'm literally starving.
I guessed likely Marilla'd load you up with cake.
That's why I called round.
Otherwise I'd have gone to the park to hear the band play with Frank Stockley.
He boards same place as I do,
and he's a sport.
He noticed you in class today,
and asked me who the red-headed girl was.
I told him you were an orphan that the Cuthberts had adopted,
and nobody knew very much about what you'd been before that."
Anne was wondering if,
solitude and tears were not more satisfactory than Josie Pye's companionship when Jane and Ruby appeared,
each with an inch of Queen's color ribbon --purple and scarlet --pinned proudly to her coat.
As Josie was not "speaking" to Jane just then she had to subside into comparative harmlessness.
said Jane with a sigh,
"I feel as if I'd lived many moons since the morning.
I ought to be home studying my Virgil --that horrid old professor gave us twenty lines to start in on tomorrow.
But I simply couldn't settle down to study tonight.
methinks I see the traces of tears.
If you've been crying DO own up.
It will restore my self-respect,
for I was shedding tears freely before Ruby came along.
I don't mind being a goose so much if somebody else is goosey,
You'll give me a teeny piece,
It has the real Avonlea flavor."
perceiving the Queen's calendar lying on the table,
wanted to know if Anne meant to try for the gold medal.
Anne blushed and admitted she was thinking of it.
that reminds me,"
"Queen's is to get one of the Avery scholarships after all.
The word came today.
Frank Stockley told me --his uncle is one of the board of governors,
It will be announced in the Academy tomorrow."
An Avery scholarship!
Anne felt her heart beat more quickly,
and the horizons of her ambition shifted and broadened as if by magic.
Before Josie had told the news Anne's highest pinnacle of aspiration had been a teacher's provincial license,
at the end of the year,
and perhaps the medal!
But now in one moment Anne saw herself winning the Avery scholarship,
taking an Arts course at Redmond College,
and graduating in a gown and mortar board,
before the echo of Josie's words had died away.
For the Avery scholarship was in English,
and Anne felt that here her foot was on native heath.
A wealthy manufacturer of New Brunswick had died and left part of his fortune to endow a large number of scholarships to be distributed among the various high schools and academies of the Maritime Provinces,
according to their respective standings.
There had been much doubt whether one would be allotted to Queen's,
but the matter was settled at last,
and at the end of the year the graduate who made the highest mark in English and English Literature would win the scholarship --two hundred and fifty dollars a year for four years at Redmond College.
No wonder that Anne went to bed that night with tingling cheeks!
"I'll win that scholarship if hard work can do it,"
"Wouldn't Matthew be proud if I got to be a B.A.?
it's delightful to have ambitions.
I'm so glad I have such a lot.
And there never seems to be any end to them --that's the best of it.
Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still.
It does make life so interesting."
The Winter at Queen's
Anne's homesickness wore off,
greatly helped in the wearing by her weekend visits home.
As long as the open weather lasted the Avonlea students went out to Carmody on the new branch railway every Friday night.
Diana and several other Avonlea young folks were generally on hand to meet them and they all walked over to Avonlea in a merry party.
Anne thought those Friday evening gypsyings over the autumnal hills in the crisp golden air,
with the homelights of Avonlea twinkling beyond,
were the best and dearest hours in the whole week.
Gilbert Blythe nearly always walked with Ruby Gillis and carried her satchel for her.
Ruby was a very handsome young lady,
now thinking herself quite as grown up as she really was;
she wore her skirts as long as her mother would let her and did her hair up in town,
though she had to take it down when she went home.
She had large,
a brilliant complexion,
and a plump showy figure.
She laughed a great deal,
was cheerful and good-tempered,
and enjoyed the pleasant things of life frankly.
"But I shouldn't think she was the sort of girl Gilbert would like,"
whispered Jane to Anne.
Anne did not think so either,
but she would not have said so for the Avery scholarship.
She could not help thinking,
that it would be very pleasant to have such a friend as Gilbert to jest and chatter with and exchange ideas about books and studies and ambitions.
Gilbert had ambitions,
and Ruby Gillis did not seem the sort of person with whom such could be profitably discussed.
There was no silly sentiment in Anne's ideas concerning Gilbert.
Boys were to her,
when she thought about them at all,
merely possible good comrades.
If she and Gilbert had been friends she would not have cared how many other friends he had nor with whom he walked.
She had a genius for friendship;
girl friends she had in plenty;
but she had a vague consciousness that masculine friendship might also be a good thing to round out one's conceptions of companionship and furnish broader standpoints of judgment and comparison.
Not that Anne could have put her feelings on the matter into just such clear definition.
But she thought that if Gilbert had ever walked home with her from the train,
over the crisp fields and along the ferny byways,
they might have had many and merry and interesting conversations about the new world that was opening around them and their hopes and ambitions therein.
Gilbert was a clever young fellow,
with his own thoughts about things and a determination to get the best out of life and put the best into it.
Ruby Gillis told Jane Andrews that she didn't understand half the things Gilbert Blythe said;
he talked just like Anne Shirley did when she had a thoughtful fit on and for her part she didn't think it any fun to be bothering about books and that sort of thing when you didn't have to.
Frank Stockley had lots more dash and go,
but then he wasn't half as good-looking as Gilbert and she really couldn't decide which she liked best!
In the Academy Anne gradually drew a little circle of friends about her,
ambitious students like herself.
With the "rose-red" girl,
and the "dream girl,"
she soon became intimate,
finding the latter pale spiritual-looking maiden to be full to the brim of mischief and pranks and fun,
while the vivid,
black-eyed Stella had a heartful of wistful dreams and fancies,
as aerial and rainbow-like as Anne's own.
After the Christmas holidays the Avonlea students gave up going home on Fridays and settled down to hard work.
By this time all the Queen's scholars had gravitated into their own places in the ranks and the various classes had assumed distinct and settled shadings of individuality.
Certain facts had become generally accepted.
It was admitted that the medal contestants had practically narrowed down to three --Gilbert Blythe,
and Lewis Wilson;
the Avery scholarship was more doubtful,
any one of a certain six being a possible winner.
The bronze medal for mathematics was considered as good as won by a fat,
funny little up-country boy with a bumpy forehead and a patched coat.
Ruby Gillis was the handsomest girl of the year at the Academy;
in the Second Year classes Stella Maynard carried off the palm for beauty,
with small but critical minority in favor of Anne Shirley.
Ethel Marr was admitted by all competent judges to have the most stylish modes of hair-dressing,
and Jane Andrews --plain,
conscientious Jane --carried off the honors in the domestic science course.
Even Josie Pye attained a certain preeminence as the sharpest-tongued young lady in attendance at Queen's.
So it may be fairly stated that Miss Stacy's old pupils held their own in the wider arena of the academical course.
Anne worked hard and steadily.
Her rivalry with Gilbert was as intense as it had ever been in Avonlea school,
although it was not known in the class at large,
but somehow the bitterness had gone out of it.
Anne no longer wished to win for the sake of defeating Gilbert;
for the proud consciousness of a well-won victory over a worthy foeman.
It would be worth while to win,
but she no longer thought life would be insupportable if she did not.
In spite of lessons the students found opportunities for pleasant times.
Anne spent many of her spare hours at Beechwood and generally ate her Sunday dinners there and went to church with Miss Barry.
The latter was,
as she admitted,
but her black eyes were not dim nor the vigor of her tongue in the least abated.
But she never sharpened the latter on Anne,
who continued to be a prime favorite with the critical old lady.
"That Anne-girl improves all the time,"
"I get tired of other girls --there is such a provoking and eternal sameness about them.
Anne has as many shades as a rainbow and every shade is the prettiest while it lasts.
I don't know that she is as amusing as she was when she was a child,
but she makes me love her and I like people who make me love them.
It saves me so much trouble in making myself love them."
almost before anybody realized it,
spring had come;
out in Avonlea the Mayflowers were peeping pinkly out on the sere barrens where snow-wreaths lingered;
and the "mist of green" was on the woods and in the valleys.
But in Charlottetown harassed Queen's students thought and talked only of examinations.
"It doesn't seem possible that the term is nearly over,"
last fall it seemed so long to look forward to --a whole winter of studies and classes.
And here we are,
with the exams looming up next week.
sometimes I feel as if those exams meant everything,
but when I look at the big buds swelling on those chestnut trees and the misty blue air at the end of the streets they don't seem half so important."
Jane and Ruby and Josie,
who had dropped in,
did not take this view of it.
To them the coming examinations were constantly very important indeed --far more important than chestnut buds or Maytime hazes.
It was all very well for Anne,
who was sure of passing at least,
to have her moments of belittling them,
but when your whole future depended on them --as the girls truly thought theirs did --you could not regard them philosophically.
"I've lost seven pounds in the last two weeks,"
"It's no use to say don't worry.
I WILL worry.
Worrying helps you some --it seems as if you were doing something when you're worrying.
It would be dreadful if I failed to get my license after going to Queen's all winter and spending so much money."
"_I_ don't care,"
said Josie Pye.
"If I don't pass this year I'm coming back next.
My father can afford to send me.
Frank Stockley says that Professor Tremaine said Gilbert Blythe was sure to get the medal and that Emily Clay would likely win the Avery scholarship."
"That may make me feel badly tomorrow,
"but just now I honestly feel that as long as I know the violets are coming out all purple down in the hollow below Green Gables and that little ferns are poking their heads up in Lovers' Lane,
it's not a great deal of difference whether I win the Avery or not.
I've done my best and I begin to understand what is meant by the
'joy of the strife.'
Next to trying and winning,
the best thing is trying and failing.
don't talk about exams!
Look at that arch of pale green sky over those houses and picture to yourself what it must look like over the purply-dark beech-woods back of Avonlea."
"What are you going to wear for commencement,
asked Ruby practically.
Jane and Josie both answered at once and the chatter drifted into a side eddy of fashions.
with her elbows on the window sill,
her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands,
and her eyes filled with visions,
looked out unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth's own optimism.
All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years --each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet.
The Glory and the Dream
On the morning when the final results of all the examinations were to be posted on the bulletin board at Queen's,
Anne and Jane walked down the street together.
Jane was smiling and happy;
examinations were over and she was comfortably sure she had made a pass at least;
further considerations troubled Jane not at all;
she had no soaring ambitions and consequently was not affected with the unrest attendant thereon.
For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world;
and although ambitions are well worth having,
they are not to be cheaply won,
but exact their dues of work and self-denial,
anxiety and discouragement.
Anne was pale and quiet;
in ten more minutes she would know who had won the medal and who the Avery.
Beyond those ten minutes there did not seem,
to be anything worth being called Time.
"Of course you'll win one of them anyhow,"
who couldn't understand how the faculty could be so unfair as to order it otherwise.
"I have not hope of the Avery,"
"Everybody says Emily Clay will win it.
And I'm not going to march up to that bulletin board and look at it before everybody.
I haven't the moral courage.
I'm going straight to the girls' dressing room.
You must read the announcements and then come and tell me,
And I implore you in the name of our old friendship to do it as quickly as possible.
If I have failed just say so,
without trying to break it gently;
and whatever you do DON'T sympathize with me.
Promise me this,
Jane promised solemnly;
as it happened,
there was no necessity for such a promise.
When they went up the entrance steps of Queen's they found the hall full of boys who were carrying Gilbert Blythe around on their shoulders and yelling at the tops of their voices,
"Hurrah for Blythe,
For a moment Anne felt one sickening pang of defeat and disappointment.
So she had failed and Gilbert had won!
Matthew would be sorry --he had been so sure she would win.
Somebody called out:
"Three cheers for Miss Shirley,
winner of the Avery!"
as they fled to the girls' dressing room amid hearty cheers.
Anne I'm so proud!
Isn't it splendid?"
And then the girls were around them and Anne was the center of a laughing,
Her shoulders were thumped and her hands shaken vigorously.
She was pushed and pulled and hugged and among it all she managed to whisper to Jane:
won't Matthew and Marilla be pleased!
I must write the news home right away."
Commencement was the next important happening.
The exercises were held in the big assembly hall of the Academy.
Addresses were given,
the public award of diplomas,
prizes and medals made.
Matthew and Marilla were there,
with eyes and ears for only one student on the platform --a tall girl in pale green,
with faintly flushed cheeks and starry eyes,
who read the best essay and was pointed out and whispered about as the Avery winner.
"Reckon you're glad we kept her,
speaking for the first time since he had entered the hall,
when Anne had finished her essay.
"It's not the first time I've been glad,"
"You do like to rub things in,
who was sitting behind them,
leaned forward and poked Marilla in the back with her parasol.
"Aren't you proud of that Anne-girl?
Anne went home to Avonlea with Matthew and Marilla that evening.
She had not been home since April and she felt that she could not wait another day.
The apple blossoms were out and the world was fresh and young.
Diana was at Green Gables to meet her.
In her own white room,
where Marilla had set a flowering house rose on the window sill,
Anne looked about her and drew a long breath of happiness.
it's so good to be back again.
It's so good to see those pointed firs coming out against the pink sky --and that white orchard and the old Snow Queen.
Isn't the breath of the mint delicious?
And that tea rose --why,
it's a song and a hope and a prayer all in one.
And it's GOOD to see you again,
"I thought you liked that Stella Maynard better than me,"
said Diana reproachfully.
"Josie Pye told me you did.
Josie said you were INFATUATED with her."
Anne laughed and pelted Diana with the faded "June lilies" of her bouquet.
"Stella Maynard is the dearest girl in the world except one and you are that one,
"I love you more than ever --and I've so many things to tell you.
But just now I feel as if it were joy enough to sit here and look at you.
I think --tired of being studious and ambitious.
I mean to spend at least two hours tomorrow lying out in the orchard grass,
thinking of absolutely nothing."
"You've done splendidly,
I suppose you won't be teaching now that you've won the Avery?"
"No. I'm going to Redmond in September.
Doesn't it seem wonderful?
I'll have a brand new stock of ambition laid in by that time after three glorious,
golden months of vacation.
Jane and Ruby are going to teach.
Isn't it splendid to think we all got through even to Moody Spurgeon and Josie Pye?"
"The Newbridge trustees have offered Jane their school already,"
"Gilbert Blythe is going to teach,
He has to.
His father can't afford to send him to college next year,
so he means to earn his own way through.
I expect he'll get the school here if Miss Ames decides to leave."
Anne felt a queer little sensation of dismayed surprise.
She had not known this;
she had expected that Gilbert would be going to Redmond also.
What would she do without their inspiring rivalry?
Would not work,
even at a coeducational college with a real degree in prospect,
be rather flat without her friend the enemy?
The next morning at breakfast it suddenly struck Anne that Matthew was not looking well.
Surely he was much grayer than he had been a year before.
she said hesitatingly when he had gone out,
"is Matthew quite well?"
said Marilla in a troubled tone.
"He's had some real bad spells with his heart this spring and he won't spare himself a mite.
I've been real worried about him,
but he's some better this while back and we've got a good hired man,
so I'm hoping he'll kind of rest and pick up.
Maybe he will now you're home.
You always cheer him up."
Anne leaned across the table and took Marilla's face in her hands.
"You are not looking as well yourself as I'd like to see you,
You look tired.
I'm afraid you've been working too hard.
You must take a rest,
now that I'm home.
I'm just going to take this one day off to visit all the dear old spots and hunt up my old dreams,
and then it will be your turn to be lazy while I do the work."
Marilla smiled affectionately at her girl.
"It's not the work --it's my head.
I've got a pain so often now --behind my eyes.
Doctor Spencer's been fussing with glasses,
but they don't do me any good.
There is a distinguished oculist coming to the Island the last of June and the doctor says I must see him.
I guess I'll have to.
I can't read or sew with any comfort now.
you've done real well at Queen's I must say.
To take First Class License in one year and win the Avery scholarship --well,
Mrs. Lynde says pride goes before a fall and she doesn't believe in the higher education of women at all;
she says it unfits them for woman's true sphere.
I don't believe a word of it.
Speaking of Rachel reminds me --did you hear anything about the Abbey Bank lately,
"I heard it was shaky,"
"That is what Rachel said.
She was up here one day last week and said there was some talk about it.
Matthew felt real worried.
All we have saved is in that bank --every penny.
I wanted Matthew to put it in the Savings Bank in the first place,
but old Mr. Abbey was a great friend of father's and he'd always banked with him.
Matthew said any bank with him at the head of it was good enough for anybody."
"I think he has only been its nominal head for many years,"
"He is a very old man;
his nephews are really at the head of the institution."
when Rachel told us that,
I wanted Matthew to draw our money right out and he said he'd think of it.
But Mr. Russell told him yesterday that the bank was all right."
Anne had her good day in the companionship of the outdoor world.
She never forgot that day;
it was so bright and golden and fair,
so free from shadow and so lavish of blossom.
Anne spent some of its rich hours in the orchard;
she went to the Dryad's Bubble and Willowmere and Violet Vale;
she called at the manse and had a satisfying talk with Mrs. Allan;
and finally in the evening she went with Matthew for the cows,
through Lovers' Lane to the back pasture.
The woods were all gloried through with sunset and the warm splendor of it streamed down through the hill gaps in the west.
Matthew walked slowly with bent head;
tall and erect,
suited her springing step to his.
"You've been working too hard today,
she said reproachfully.
"Why won't you take things easier?"
I can't seem to,"
as he opened the yard gate to let the cows through.
"It's only that I'm getting old,
and keep forgetting it.
I've always worked pretty hard and I'd rather drop in harness."
"If I had been the boy you sent for,"
said Anne wistfully,
"I'd be able to help you so much now and spare you in a hundred ways.
I could find it in my heart to wish I had been,
just for that."
I'd rather have you than a dozen boys,
said Matthew patting her hand.
"Just mind you that --rather than a dozen boys.
I guess it wasn't a boy that took the Avery scholarship,
It was a girl --my girl --my girl that I'm proud of."
He smiled his shy smile at her as he went into the yard.
Anne took the memory of it with her when she went to her room that night and sat for a long while at her open window,
thinking of the past and dreaming of the future.
Outside the Snow Queen was mistily white in the moonshine;
the frogs were singing in the marsh beyond Orchard Slope.
Anne always remembered the silvery,
peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night.
It was the last night before sorrow touched her life;
and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold,
sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.
The Reaper Whose Name Is Death
"Matthew --Matthew --what is the matter?
are you sick?"
It was Marilla who spoke,
alarm in every jerky word.
Anne came through the hall,
her hands full of white narcissus,
--it was long before Anne could love the sight or odor of white narcissus again,
--in time to hear her and to see Matthew standing in the porch doorway,
a folded paper in his hand,
and his face strangely drawn and gray.
Anne dropped her flowers and sprang across the kitchen to him at the same moment as Marilla.
They were both too late;
before they could reach him Matthew had fallen across the threshold.
run for Martin --quick,
He's at the barn."
the hired man,
who had just driven home from the post office,
started at once for the doctor,
calling at Orchard Slope on his way to send Mr. and Mrs. Barry over.
who was there on an errand,
They found Anne and Marilla distractedly trying to restore Matthew to consciousness.
Mrs. Lynde pushed them gently aside,
tried his pulse,
and then laid her ear over his heart.
She looked at their anxious faces sorrowfully and the tears came into her eyes.
she said gravely.
"I don't think --we can do anything for him."
you don't think --you can't think Matthew is --is --" Anne could not say the dreadful word;
she turned sick and pallid.
I'm afraid of it.
Look at his face.
When you've seen that look as often as I have you'll know what it means."
Anne looked at the still face and there beheld the seal of the Great Presence.
When the doctor came he said that death had been instantaneous and probably painless,
caused in all likelihood by some sudden shock.
The secret of the shock was discovered to be in the paper Matthew had held and which Martin had brought from the office that morning.
It contained an account of the failure of the Abbey Bank.
The news spread quickly through Avonlea,
and all day friends and neighbors thronged Green Gables and came and went on errands of kindness for the dead and living.
For the first time shy,
quiet Matthew Cuthbert was a person of central importance;
the white majesty of death had fallen on him and set him apart as one crowned.
When the calm night came softly down over Green Gables the old house was hushed and tranquil.
In the parlor lay Matthew Cuthbert in his coffin,
his long gray hair framing his placid face on which there was a little kindly smile as if he but slept,
dreaming pleasant dreams.
There were flowers about him --sweet old-fashioned flowers which his mother had planted in the homestead garden in her bridal days and for which Matthew had always had a secret,
Anne had gathered them and brought them to him,
tearless eyes burning in her white face.
It was the last thing she could do for him.
The Barrys and Mrs. Lynde stayed with them that night.
going to the east gable,
where Anne was standing at her window,
would you like to have me sleep with you tonight?"
Anne looked earnestly into her friend's face.
"I think you won't misunderstand me when I say I want to be alone.
I'm not afraid.
I haven't been alone one minute since it happened --and I want to be.
I want to be quite silent and quiet and try to realize it.
I can't realize it.
Half the time it seems to me that Matthew can't be dead;
and the other half it seems as if he must have been dead for a long time and I've had this horrible dull ache ever since."
Diana did not quite understand.
Marilla's impassioned grief,
breaking all the bounds of natural reserve and lifelong habit in its stormy rush,
she could comprehend better than Anne's tearless agony.
But she went away kindly,
leaving Anne alone to keep her first vigil with sorrow.
Anne hoped that the tears would come in solitude.
It seemed to her a terrible thing that she could not shed a tear for Matthew,
whom she had loved so much and who had been so kind to her,
Matthew who had walked with her last evening at sunset and was now lying in the dim room below with that awful peace on his brow.
But no tears came at first,
even when she knelt by her window in the darkness and prayed,
looking up to the stars beyond the hills --no tears,
only the same horrible dull ache of misery that kept on aching until she fell asleep,
worn out with the day's pain and excitement.
In the night she awakened,
with the stillness and the darkness about her,
and the recollection of the day came over her like a wave of sorrow.
She could see Matthew's face smiling at her as he had smiled when they parted at the gate that last evening --she could hear his voice saying,
"My girl --my girl that I'm proud of."
Then the tears came and Anne wept her heart out.
Marilla heard her and crept in to comfort her.
"There --there --don't cry so,
It can't bring him back.
It --it --isn't right to cry so.
I knew that today,
but I couldn't help it then.
He'd always been such a good,
kind brother to me --but God knows best."
just let me cry,
"The tears don't hurt me like that ache did.
Stay here for a little while with me and keep your arm round me --so.
I couldn't have Diana stay,
she's good and kind and sweet --but it's not her sorrow --she's outside of it and she couldn't come close enough to my heart to help me.
It's our sorrow --yours and mine.
what will we do without him?"
"We've got each other,
I don't know what I'd do if you weren't here --if you'd never come.
I know I've been kind of strict and harsh with you maybe --but you mustn't think I didn't love you as well as Matthew did,
for all that.
I want to tell you now when I can.
It's never been easy for me to say things out of my heart,
but at times like this it's easier.
I love you as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood and you've been my joy and comfort ever since you came to Green Gables."
Two days afterwards they carried Matthew Cuthbert over his homestead threshold and away from the fields he had tilled and the orchards he had loved and the trees he had planted;
and then Avonlea settled back to its usual placidity and even at Green Gables affairs slipped into their old groove and work was done and duties fulfilled with regularity as before,
although always with the aching sense of "loss in all familiar things."
new to grief,
thought it almost sad that it could be so --that they COULD go on in the old way without Matthew.
She felt something like shame and remorse when she discovered that the sunrises behind the firs and the pale pink buds opening in the garden gave her the old inrush of gladness when she saw them --that Diana's visits were pleasant to her and that Diana's merry words and ways moved her to laughter and smiles --that,
the beautiful world of blossom and love and friendship had lost none of its power to please her fancy and thrill her heart,
that life still called to her with many insistent voices.
"It seems like disloyalty to Matthew,
to find pleasure in these things now that he has gone,"
she said wistfully to Mrs. Allan one evening when they were together in the manse garden.
"I miss him so much --all the time --and yet,
the world and life seem very beautiful and interesting to me for all.
Today Diana said something funny and I found myself laughing.
I thought when it happened I could never laugh again.
And it somehow seems as if I oughtn't to."
"When Matthew was here he liked to hear you laugh and he liked to know that you found pleasure in the pleasant things around you,"
said Mrs. Allan gently.
"He is just away now;
and he likes to know it just the same.
I am sure we should not shut our hearts against the healing influences that nature offers us.
But I can understand your feeling.
I think we all experience the same thing.
We resent the thought that anything can please us when someone we love is no longer here to share the pleasure with us,
and we almost feel as if we were unfaithful to our sorrow when we find our interest in life returning to us."
"I was down to the graveyard to plant a rosebush on Matthew's grave this afternoon,"
said Anne dreamily.
"I took a slip of the little white Scotch rosebush his mother brought out from Scotland long ago;
Matthew always liked those roses the best --they were so small and sweet on their thorny stems.
It made me feel glad that I could plant it by his grave --as if I were doing something that must please him in taking it there to be near him.
I hope he has roses like them in heaven.
Perhaps the souls of all those little white roses that he has loved so many summers were all there to meet him.
I must go home now.
Marilla is all alone and she gets lonely at twilight."
"She will be lonelier still,
when you go away again to college,"
said Mrs. Allan.
Anne did not reply;
she said good night and went slowly back to green Gables.
Marilla was sitting on the front door-steps and Anne sat down beside her.
The door was open behind them,
held back by a big pink conch shell with hints of sea sunsets in its smooth inner convolutions.
Anne gathered some sprays of pale-yellow honeysuckle and put them in her hair.
She liked the delicious hint of fragrance,
as some aerial benediction,
above her every time she moved.
"Doctor Spencer was here while you were away,"
"He says that the specialist will be in town tomorrow and he insists that I must go in and have my eyes examined.
I suppose I'd better go and have it over.
I'll be more than thankful if the man can give me the right kind of glasses to suit my eyes.
You won't mind staying here alone while I'm away,
Martin will have to drive me in and there's ironing and baking to do."
"I shall be all right.
Diana will come over for company for me.
I shall attend to the ironing and baking beautifully --you needn't fear that I'll starch the handkerchiefs or flavor the cake with liniment."
"What a girl you were for making mistakes in them days,
You were always getting into scrapes.
I did use to think you were possessed.
Do you mind the time you dyed your hair?"
I shall never forget it,"
touching the heavy braid of hair that was wound about her shapely head.
"I laugh a little now sometimes when I think what a worry my hair used to be to me --but I don't laugh MUCH,
because it was a very real trouble then.
I did suffer terribly over my hair and my freckles.
My freckles are really gone;
and people are nice enough to tell me my hair is auburn now --all but Josie Pye.
She informed me yesterday that she really thought it was redder than ever,
or at least my black dress made it look redder,
and she asked me if people who had red hair ever got used to having it.
I've almost decided to give up trying to like Josie Pye.
I've made what I would once have called a heroic effort to like her,
but Josie Pye won't BE liked."
"Josie is a Pye,"
said Marilla sharply,
"so she can't help being disagreeable.
I suppose people of that kind serve some useful purpose in society,
but I must say I don't know what it is any more than I know the use of thistles.
Is Josie going to teach?"
she is going back to Queen's next year.
So are Moody Spurgeon and Charlie Sloane.
Jane and Ruby are going to teach and they have both got schools --Jane at Newbridge and Ruby at some place up west."
"Gilbert Blythe is going to teach too,
"What a nice-looking fellow he is,"
said Marilla absently.
"I saw him in church last Sunday and he seemed so tall and manly.
He looks a lot like his father did at the same age.
John Blythe was a nice boy.
We used to be real good friends,
he and I.
People called him my beau."
Anne looked up with swift interest.
Marilla --and what happened?
--why didn't you --"
"We had a quarrel.
I wouldn't forgive him when he asked me to.
I meant to,
after awhile --but I was sulky and angry and I wanted to punish him first.
He never came back --the Blythes were all mighty independent.
But I always felt --rather sorry.
I've always kind of wished I'd forgiven him when I had the chance."
"So you've had a bit of romance in your life,
said Anne softly.
I suppose you might call it that.
You wouldn't think so to look at me,
But you never can tell about people from their outsides.
Everybody has forgot about me and John.
I'd forgotten myself.
But it all came back to me when I saw Gilbert last Sunday."
The Bend in the road
Marilla went to town the next day and returned in the evening.
Anne had gone over to Orchard Slope with Diana and came back to find Marilla in the kitchen,
sitting by the table with her head leaning on her hand.
Something in her dejected attitude struck a chill to Anne's heart.
She had never seen Marilla sit limply inert like that.
"Are you very tired,
"Yes --no --I don't know,"
said Marilla wearily,
"I suppose I am tired but I haven't thought about it.
It's not that."
"Did you see the oculist?
What did he say?"
asked Anne anxiously.
I saw him.
He examined my eyes.
He says that if I give up all reading and sewing entirely and any kind of work that strains the eyes,
and if I'm careful not to cry,
and if I wear the glasses he's given me he thinks my eyes may not get any worse and my headaches will be cured.
But if I don't he says I'll certainly be stone-blind in six months.
just think of it!"
For a minute Anne,
after her first quick exclamation of dismay,
It seemed to her that she could NOT speak.
Then she said bravely,
but with a catch in her voice:
DON'T think of it.
You know he has given you hope.
If you are careful you won't lose your sight altogether;
and if his glasses cure your headaches it will be a great thing."
"I don't call it much hope,"
said Marilla bitterly.
"What am I to live for if I can't read or sew or do anything like that?
I might as well be blind --or dead.
And as for crying,
I can't help that when I get lonesome.
it's no good talking about it.
If you'll get me a cup of tea I'll be thankful.
I'm about done out.
Don't say anything about this to any one for a spell yet,
I can't bear that folks should come here to question and sympathize and talk about it."
When Marilla had eaten her lunch Anne persuaded her to go to bed.
Then Anne went herself to the east gable and sat down by her window in the darkness alone with her tears and her heaviness of heart.
How sadly things had changed since she had sat there the night after coming home!
Then she had been full of hope and joy and the future had looked rosy with promise.
Anne felt as if she had lived years since then,
but before she went to bed there was a smile on her lips and peace in her heart.
She had looked her duty courageously in the face and found it a friend --as duty ever is when we meet it frankly.
One afternoon a few days later Marilla came slowly in from the front yard where she had been talking to a caller --a man whom Anne knew by sight as Sadler from Carmody.
Anne wondered what he could have been saying to bring that look to Marilla's face.
"What did Mr. Sadler want,
Marilla sat down by the window and looked at Anne.
There were tears in her eyes in defiance of the oculist's prohibition and her voice broke as she said:
"He heard that I was going to sell Green Gables and he wants to buy it."
Buy Green Gables?"
Anne wondered if she had heard aright.
you don't mean to sell Green Gables!"
I don't know what else is to be done.
I've thought it all over.
If my eyes were strong I could stay here and make out to look after things and manage,
with a good hired man.
But as it is I can't.
I may lose my sight altogether;
and anyway I'll not be fit to run things.
I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd have to sell my home.
But things would only go behind worse and worse all the time,
till nobody would want to buy it.
Every cent of our money went in that bank;
and there's some notes Matthew gave last fall to pay.
Mrs. Lynde advises me to sell the farm and board somewhere --with her I suppose.
It won't bring much --it's small and the buildings are old.
But it'll be enough for me to live on I reckon.
I'm thankful you're provided for with that scholarship,
I'm sorry you won't have a home to come to in your vacations,
but I suppose you'll manage somehow."
Marilla broke down and wept bitterly.
"You mustn't sell Green Gables,"
said Anne resolutely.
I wish I didn't have to.
But you can see for yourself.
I can't stay here alone.
I'd go crazy with trouble and loneliness.
And my sight would go --I know it would."
"You won't have to stay here alone,
I'll be with you.
I'm not going to Redmond."
"Not going to Redmond!"
Marilla lifted her worn face from her hands and looked at Anne.
what do you mean?"
"Just what I say.
I'm not going to take the scholarship.
I decided so the night after you came home from town.
You surely don't think I could leave you alone in your trouble,
after all you've done for me.
I've been thinking and planning.
Let me tell you my plans.
Mr. Barry wants to rent the farm for next year.
So you won't have any bother over that.
And I'm going to teach.
I've applied for the school here --but I don't expect to get it for I understand the trustees have promised it to Gilbert Blythe.
But I can have the Carmody school --Mr. Blair told me so last night at the store.
Of course that won't be quite as nice or convenient as if I had the Avonlea school.
But I can board home and drive myself over to Carmody and back,
in the warm weather at least.
And even in winter I can come home Fridays.
We'll keep a horse for that.
I have it all planned out,
And I'll read to you and keep you cheered up.
You sha'n't be dull or lonesome.
And we'll be real cozy and happy here together,
you and I."
Marilla had listened like a woman in a dream.
I could get on real well if you were here,
But I can't let you sacrifice yourself so for me.
It would be terrible."
Anne laughed merrily.
"There is no sacrifice.
Nothing could be worse than giving up Green Gables --nothing could hurt me more.
We must keep the dear old place.
My mind is quite made up,
I'm NOT going to Redmond;
and I AM going to stay here and teach.
Don't you worry about me a bit."
"But your ambitions --and --"
"I'm just as ambitious as ever.
I've changed the object of my ambitions.
I'm going to be a good teacher --and I'm going to save your eyesight.
I mean to study at home here and take a little college course all by myself.
I've dozens of plans,
I've been thinking them out for a week.
I shall give life here my best,
and I believe it will give its best to me in return.
When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road.
I thought I could see along it for many a milestone.
Now there is a bend in it.
I don't know what lies around the bend,
but I'm going to believe that the best does.
It has a fascination of its own,
I wonder how the road beyond it goes --what there is of green glory and soft,
checkered light and shadows --what new landscapes --what new beauties --what curves and hills and valleys further on."
"I don't feel as if I ought to let you give it up,"
referring to the scholarship.
"But you can't prevent me.
I'm sixteen and a half,
'obstinate as a mule,'
as Mrs. Lynde once told me,"
don't you go pitying me.
I don't like to be pitied,
and there is no need for it.
I'm heart glad over the very thought of staying at dear Green Gables.
Nobody could love it as you and I do --so we must keep it."
"You blessed girl!"
"I feel as if you'd given me new life.
I guess I ought to stick out and make you go to college --but I know I can't,
so I ain't going to try.
I'll make it up to you though,
When it became noised abroad in Avonlea that Anne Shirley had given up the idea of going to college and intended to stay home and teach there was a good deal of discussion over it.
Most of the good folks,
not knowing about Marilla's eyes,
thought she was foolish.
Mrs. Allan did not.
She told Anne so in approving words that brought tears of pleasure to the girl's eyes.
Neither did good Mrs. Lynde.
She came up one evening and found Anne and Marilla sitting at the front door in the warm,
scented summer dusk.
They liked to sit there when the twilight came down and the white moths flew about in the garden and the odor of mint filled the dewy air.
Mrs. Rachel deposited her substantial person upon the stone bench by the door,
behind which grew a row of tall pink and yellow hollyhocks,
with a long breath of mingled weariness and relief.
"I declare I'm getting glad to sit down.
I've been on my feet all day,
and two hundred pounds is a good bit for two feet to carry round.
It's a great blessing not to be fat,
I hope you appreciate it.
I hear you've given up your notion of going to college.
I was real glad to hear it.
You've got as much education now as a woman can be comfortable with.
I don't believe in girls going to college with the men and cramming their heads full of Latin and Greek and all that nonsense."
"But I'm going to study Latin and Greek just the same,
said Anne laughing.
"I'm going to take my Arts course right here at Green Gables,
and study everything that I would at college."
Mrs. Lynde lifted her hands in holy horror.
you'll kill yourself."
"Not a bit of it.
I shall thrive on it.
I'm not going to overdo things.
'Josiah Allen's wife,'
I shall be
But I'll have lots of spare time in the long winter evenings,
and I've no vocation for fancy work.
I'm going to teach over at Carmody,
"I don't know it.
I guess you're going to teach right here in Avonlea.
The trustees have decided to give you the school."
springing to her feet in her surprise.
I thought they had promised it to Gilbert Blythe!"
"So they did.
But as soon as Gilbert heard that you had applied for it he went to them --they had a business meeting at the school last night,
you know --and told them that he withdrew his application,
and suggested that they accept yours.
He said he was going to teach at White Sands.
Of course he knew how much you wanted to stay with Marilla,
and I must say I think it was real kind and thoughtful in him,
for he'll have his board to pay at White Sands,
and everybody knows he's got to earn his own way through college.
So the trustees decided to take you.
I was tickled to death when Thomas came home and told me."
"I don't feel that I ought to take it,"
"I mean --I don't think I ought to let Gilbert make such a sacrifice for --for me."
"I guess you can't prevent him now.
He's signed papers with the White Sands trustees.
So it wouldn't do him any good now if you were to refuse.
Of course you'll take the school.
You'll get along all right,
now that there are no Pyes going.
Josie was the last of them,
and a good thing she was,
There's been some Pye or other going to Avonlea school for the last twenty years,
and I guess their mission in life was to keep school teachers reminded that earth isn't their home.
Bless my heart!
What does all that winking and blinking at the Barry gable mean?"
"Diana is signaling for me to go over,"
"You know we keep up the old custom.
Excuse me while I run over and see what she wants."
Anne ran down the clover slope like a deer,
and disappeared in the firry shadows of the Haunted Wood.
Mrs. Lynde looked after her indulgently.
"There's a good deal of the child about her yet in some ways."
"There's a good deal more of the woman about her in others,"
with a momentary return of her old crispness.
But crispness was no longer Marilla's distinguishing characteristic.
As Mrs. Lynde told her Thomas that night.
"Marilla Cuthbert has got MELLOW.
Anne went to the little Avonlea graveyard the next evening to put fresh flowers on Matthew's grave and water the Scotch rosebush.
She lingered there until dusk,
liking the peace and calm of the little place,
with its poplars whose rustle was like low,
and its whispering grasses growing at will among the graves.
When she finally left it and walked down the long hill that sloped to the Lake of Shining Waters it was past sunset and all Avonlea lay before her in a dreamlike afterlight --"a haunt of ancient peace."
There was a freshness in the air as of a wind that had blown over honey-sweet fields of clover.
Home lights twinkled out here and there among the homestead trees.
Beyond lay the sea,
misty and purple,
with its haunting,
The west was a glory of soft mingled hues,
and the pond reflected them all in still softer shadings.
The beauty of it all thrilled Anne's heart,
and she gratefully opened the gates of her soul to it.
"Dear old world,"
"you are very lovely,
and I am glad to be alive in you."
Halfway down the hill a tall lad came whistling out of a gate before the Blythe homestead.
It was Gilbert,
and the whistle died on his lips as he recognized Anne.
He lifted his cap courteously,
but he would have passed on in silence,
if Anne had not stopped and held out her hand.
with scarlet cheeks,
"I want to thank you for giving up the school for me.
It was very good of you --and I want you to know that I appreciate it."
Gilbert took the offered hand eagerly.
"It wasn't particularly good of me at all,
I was pleased to be able to do you some small service.
Are we going to be friends after this?
Have you really forgiven me my old fault?"
Anne laughed and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw her hand.
"I forgave you that day by the pond landing,
although I didn't know it.
What a stubborn little goose I was.
I've been --I may as well make a complete confession --I've been sorry ever since."
"We are going to be the best of friends,"
"We were born to be good friends,
You've thwarted destiny enough.
I know we can help each other in many ways.
You are going to keep up your studies,
So am I.
I'm going to walk home with you."
Marilla looked curiously at Anne when the latter entered the kitchen.
"Who was that came up the lane with you,
vexed to find herself blushing.
"I met him on Barry's hill."
"I didn't think you and Gilbert Blythe were such good friends that you'd stand for half an hour at the gate talking to him,"
said Marilla with a dry smile.
"We haven't been --we've been good enemies.
But we have decided that it will be much more sensible to be good friends in the future.
Were we really there half an hour?
It seemed just a few minutes.
we have five years' lost conversations to catch up with,
Anne sat long at her window that night companioned by a glad content.
The wind purred softly in the cherry boughs,
and the mint breaths came up to her.
The stars twinkled over the pointed firs in the hollow and Diana's light gleamed through the old gap.
Anne's horizons had closed in since the night she had sat there after coming home from Queen's;
but if the path set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers of quiet happiness would bloom along it.
The joy of sincere work and worthy aspiration and congenial friendship were to be hers;
nothing could rob her of her birthright of fancy or her ideal world of dreams.
And there was always the bend in the road!
"'God's in his heaven,
all's right with the world,'" whispered Anne softly.