Anne's House of Dreams
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
"To Laura, in memory of the olden time."
CHAPTER 1. IN THE GARRET OF GREEN GABLES
"Thanks be, I'm done with geometry, learning or teaching it,"
said Anne Shirley, a trifle vindictively, as she thumped
a somewhat battered volume of Euclid into a big chest of books,
banged the lid in triumph, and sat down upon it, looking at
Diana Wright across the Green Gables garret, with gray eyes
that were like a morning sky.
The garret was a shadowy, suggestive, delightful place,
as all garrets should be. Through the open window, by
which Anne sat, blew the sweet, scented, sun-warm air
of the August afternoon; outside, poplar boughs rustled
and tossed in the wind; beyond them were the woods,
where Lover's Lane wound its enchanted path, and the
old apple orchard which still bore its rosy harvests
munificently. And, over all, was a great mountain
range of snowy clouds in the blue southern sky.
Through the other window was glimpsed a distant,
white-capped, blue sea--the beautiful St. Lawrence
Gulf, on which floats, like a jewel, Abegweit, whose
softer, sweeter Indian name has long been forsaken for
the more prosaic one of Prince Edward Island.
Diana Wright, three years older than when we last saw
her, had grown somewhat matronly in the intervening
time. But her eyes were as black and brilliant, her
cheeks as rosy, and her dimples as enchanting, as in
the long-ago days when she and Anne Shirley had vowed
eternal friendship in the garden at Orchard Slope. In
her arms she held a small, sleeping, black-curled
creature, who for two happy years had been known to the
world of Avonlea as "Small Anne Cordelia." Avonlea
folks knew why Diana had called her Anne, of course,
but Avonlea folks were puzzled by the Cordelia. There
had never been a Cordelia in the Wright or Barry
connections. Mrs. Harmon Andrews said she supposed
Diana had found the name in some trashy novel, and
wondered that Fred hadn't more sense than to allow it.
But Diana and Anne smiled at each other. They knew how
Small Anne Cordelia had come by her name.
"You always hated geometry," said Diana with a
retrospective smile. "I should think you'd be real
glad to be through with teaching, anyhow."
"Oh, I've always liked teaching, apart from geometry.
These past three years in Summerside have been very
pleasant ones. Mrs. Harmon Andrews told me when I came
home that I wouldn't likely find married life as much
better than teaching as I expected. Evidently Mrs.
Harmon is of Hamlet's opinion that it may be better to
bear the ills that we have than fly to others that we
know not of."
Anne's laugh, as blithe and irresistible as of yore,
with an added note of sweetness and maturity, rang
through the garret. Marilla in the kitchen below,
compounding blue plum preserve, heard it and smiled;
then sighed to think how seldom that dear laugh would
echo through Green Gables in the years to come.
Nothing in her life had ever given Marilla so much
happiness as the knowledge that Anne was going to marry
Gilbert Blythe; but every joy must bring with it its
little shadow of sorrow. During the three Summerside
years Anne had been home often for vacations and
weekends; but, after this, a bi-annual visit would be
as much as could be hoped for.
"You needn't let what Mrs. Harmon says worry you,"
said Diana, with the calm assurance of the four-years
matron. "Married life has its ups and downs, of
course. You mustn't expect that everything will always
go smoothly. But I can assure you, Anne, that it's a
happy life, when you're married to the right man."
Anne smothered a smile. Diana's airs of vast
experience always amused her a little.
"I daresay I'll be putting them on too, when I've been
married four years," she thought. "Surely my sense of
humor will preserve me from it, though."
"Is it settled yet where you are going to live?" asked
Diana, cuddling Small Anne Cordelia with the
inimitable gesture of motherhood which always sent
through Anne's heart, filled with sweet, unuttered
dreams and hopes, a thrill that was half pure pleasure
and half a strange, ethereal pain.
"Yes. That was what I wanted to tell you when I
'phoned to you to come down today. By the way, I can't
realize that we really have telephones in Avonlea now.
It sounds so preposterously up-to-date and modernish
for this darling, leisurely old place."
"We can thank the A. V. I. S. for them," said Diana.
"We should never have got the line if they hadn't
taken the matter up and carried it through. There was
enough cold water thrown to discourage any society.
But they stuck to it, nevertheless. You did a splendid
thing for Avonlea when you founded that society, Anne.
What fun we did have at our meetings! Will you ever
forget the blue hall and Judson Parker's scheme for
painting medicine advertisements on his fence?"
"I don't know that I'm wholly grateful to the A. V. I.
S. in the matter of the telephone," said Anne. "Oh, I
know it's most convenient-- even more so than our old
device of signalling to each other by flashes of
candlelight! And, as Mrs. Rachel says, `Avonlea must
keep up with the procession, that's what.' But somehow
I feel as if I didn't want Avonlea spoiled by what Mr.
Harrison, when he wants to be witty, calls `modern
inconveniences.' I should like to have it kept always
just as it was in the dear old years. That's
foolish--and sentimental--and impossible. So I shall
immediately become wise and practical and possible.
The telephone, as Mr. Harrison concedes, is `a buster
of a good thing'--even if you do know that probably
half a dozen interested people are listening along the
"That's the worst of it," sighed Diana. "It's so
annoying to hear the receivers going down whenever you
ring anyone up. They say Mrs. Harmon Andrews insisted
that their `phone should be put in their kitchen just
so that she could listen whenever it rang and keep an
eye on the dinner at the same time. Today, when you
called me, I distinctly heard that queer clock of the
Pyes' striking. So no doubt Josie or Gertie was
"Oh, so that is why you said, `You've got a new clock
at Green Gables, haven't you?' I couldn't imagine what
you meant. I heard a vicious click as soon as you had
spoken. I suppose it was the Pye receiver being hung
up with profane energy. Well, never mind the Pyes. As
Mrs. Rachel says, `Pyes they always were and Pyes they
always will be, world without end, amen.' I want to
talk of pleasanter things. It's all settled as to
where my new home shall be."
"Oh, Anne, where? I do hope it's near here."
"No-o-o, that's the drawback. Gilbert is going to
settle at Four Winds Harbor--sixty miles from here."
"Sixty! It might as well be six hundred," sighed
Diana. "I never can get further from home now than
"You'll have to come to Four Winds. It's the most
beautiful harbor on the Island. There's a little
village called Glen St. Mary at its head, and Dr. David
Blythe has been practicing there for fifty years. He
is Gilbert's great-uncle, you know. He is going to
retire, and Gilbert is to take over his practice. Dr.
Blythe is going to keep his house, though, so we shall
have to find a habitation for ourselves. I don't know
yet what it is, or where it will be in reality, but I
have a little house o'dreams all furnished in my
imagination--a tiny, delightful castle in Spain."
"Where are you going for your wedding tour?" asked
"Nowhere. Don't look horrified, Diana dearest. You
suggest Mrs. Harmon Andrews. She, no doubt, will
remark condescendingly that people who can't afford
wedding `towers' are real sensible not to take them;
and then she'll remind me that Jane went to Europe for
hers. I want to spend MY honeymoon at Four Winds in my
own dear house of dreams."
"And you've decided not to have any bridesmaid?"
"There isn't any one to have. You and Phil and
Priscilla and Jane all stole a march on me in the
matter of marriage; and Stella is teaching in
Vancouver. I have no other `kindred soul' and I won't
have a bridesmaid who isn't."
"But you are going to wear a veil, aren't you?" asked
"Yes, indeedy. I shouldn't feel like a bride without
one. I remember telling Matthew, that evening when he
brought me to Green Gables, that I never expected to be
a bride because I was so homely no one would ever want
to marry me--unless some foreign missionary did. I had
an idea then that foreign missionaries couldn't afford
to be finicky in the matter of looks if they wanted a
girl to risk her life among cannibals. You should have
seen the foreign missionary Priscilla married. He was
as handsome and inscrutable as those daydreams we once
planned to marry ourselves, Diana; he was the best
dressed man I ever met, and he raved over Priscilla's
`ethereal, golden beauty.' But of course there are no
cannibals in Japan."
"Your wedding dress is a dream, anyhow," sighed Diana
rapturously. "You'll look like a perfect queen in
it--you're so tall and slender. How DO you keep so
slim, Anne? I'm fatter than ever--I'll soon have no
waist at all."
"Stoutness and slimness seem to be matters of
predestination," said Anne. "At all events, Mrs.
Harmon Andrews can't say to you what she said to me
when I came home from Summerside, `Well, Anne, you're
just about as skinny as ever.' It sounds quite
romantic to be `slender,' but `skinny' has a very
"Mrs. Harmon has been talking about your trousseau.
She admits it's as nice as Jane's, although she says
Jane married a millionaire and you are only marrying a
`poor young doctor without a cent to his name.'"
"My dresses ARE nice. I love pretty things. I
remember the first pretty dress I ever had--the brown
gloria Matthew gave me for our school concert. Before
that everything I had was so ugly. It seemed to me
that I stepped into a new world that night."
"That was the night Gilbert recited `Bingen on the
Rhine,' and looked at you when he said, `There's
another, NOT a sister.' And you were so furious
because he put your pink tissue rose in his breast
pocket! You didn't much imagine then that you would
ever marry him."
"Oh, well, that's another instance of predestination,"
laughed Anne, as they went down the garret stairs.
CHAPTER 2. THE HOUSE OF DREAMS
There was more excitement in the air of Green Gables
than there had ever been before in all its history.
Even Marilla was so excited that she couldn't help
showing it--which was little short of being phenomenal.
"There's never been a wedding in this house," she
said, half apologetically, to Mrs. Rachel Lynde.
"When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a
house was not a real home until it had been consecrated
by a birth, a wedding and a death. We've had deaths
here--my father and mother died here as well as
Matthew; and we've even had a birth here. Long ago,
just after we moved into this house, we had a married
hired man for a little while, and his wife had a baby
here. But there's never been a wedding before. It
does seem so strange to think of Anne being married.
In a way she just seems to me the little girl Matthew
brought home here fourteen years ago. I can't realize
that she's grown up. I shall never forget what I felt
when I saw Matthew bringing in a GIRL. I wonder what
became of the boy we would have got if there hadn't
been a mistake. I wonder what HIS fate was."
"Well, it was a fortunate mistake," said Mrs. Rachel
Lynde, "though, mind you, there was a time I didn't
think so--that evening I came up to see Anne and she
treated us to such a scene. Many things have changed
since then, that's what."
Mrs. Rachel sighed, and then brisked up again. When
weddings were in order Mrs. Rachel was ready to let the
dead past bury its dead.
"I'm going to give Anne two of my cotton warp
spreads," she resumed. "A tobacco-stripe one and an
apple-leaf one. She tells me they're getting to be
real fashionable again. Well, fashion or no fashion, I
don't believe there's anything prettier for a
spare-room bed than a nice apple-leaf spread, that's
what. I must see about getting them bleached. I've
had them sewed up in cotton bags ever since Thomas
died, and no doubt they're an awful color. But
there's a month yet, and dew-bleaching will work
Only a month! Marilla sighed and then said proudly:
"I'm giving Anne that half dozen braided rugs I have
in the garret. I never supposed she'd want
them--they're so old-fashioned, and nobody seems to
want anything but hooked mats now. But she asked me
for them--said she'd rather have them than anything
else for her floors. They ARE pretty. I made them of
the nicest rags, and braided them in stripes. It was
such company these last few winters. And I'll make
her enough blue plum preserve to stock her jam closet
for a year. It seems real strange. Those blue plum
trees hadn't even a blossom for three years, and I
thought they might as well be cut down. And this last
spring they were white, and such a crop of plums I
never remember at Green Gables."
"Well, thank goodness that Anne and Gilbert really are
going to be married after all. It's what I've always
prayed for," said Mrs. Rachel, in the tone of one who
is comfortably sure that her prayers have availed much.
"It was a great relief to find out that she really
didn't mean to take the Kingsport man. He was rich, to
be sure, and Gilbert is poor--at least, to begin with;
but then he's an Island boy."
"He's Gilbert Blythe," said Marilla contentedly.
Marilla would have died the death before she would have
put into words the thought that was always in the
background of her mind whenever she had looked at
Gilbert from his childhood up--the thought that, had it
not been for her own wilful pride long, long ago, he
might have been HER son. Marilla felt that, in some
strange way, his marriage with Anne would put right
that old mistake. Good had come out of the evil of the
As for Anne herself, she was so happy that she almost
felt frightened. The gods, so says the old
superstition, do not like to behold too happy mortals.
It is certain, at least, that some human beings do not.
Two of that ilk descended upon Anne one violet dusk and
proceeded to do what in them lay to prick the rainbow
bubble of her satisfaction. If she thought she was
getting any particular prize in young Dr. Blythe, or if
she imagined that he was still as infatuated with her
as he might have been in his salad days, it was surely
their duty to put the matter before her in another
light. Yet these two worthy ladies were not enemies
of Anne; on the contrary, they were really quite fond
of her, and would have defended her as their own young
had anyone else attacked her. Human nature is not
obliged to be consistent.
Mrs. Inglis--nee Jane Andrews, to quote from the Daily
Enterprise--came with her mother and Mrs. Jasper Bell.
But in Jane the milk of human kindness had not been
curdled by years of matrimonial bickerings. Her lines
had fallen in pleasant places. In spite of the
fact--as Mrs. Rachel Lynde would say--that she had
married a millionaire, her marriage had been happy.
Wealth had not spoiled her. She was still the placid,
amiable, pink-cheeked Jane of the old quartette,
sympathising with her old chum's happiness and as
keenly interested in all the dainty details of Anne's
trousseau as if it could rival her own silken and
bejewelled splendors. Jane was not brilliant, and had
probably never made a remark worth listening to in her
life; but she never said anything that would hurt
anyone's feelings-- which may be a negative talent but
is likewise a rare and enviable one.
"So Gilbert didn't go back on you after all," said
Mrs. Harmon Andrews, contriving to convey an expression
of surprise in her tone. "Well, the Blythes generally
keep their word when they've once passed it, no matter
what happens. Let me see--you're twenty-five, aren't
you, Anne? When I was a girl twenty-five was the first
corner. But you look quite young. Red-headed people
"Red hair is very fashionable now," said Anne, trying
to smile, but speaking rather coldly. Life had
developed in her a sense of humor which helped her over
many difficulties; but as yet nothing had availed to
steel her against a reference to her hair.
"So it is--so it is," conceded Mrs. Harmon. "There's
no telling what queer freaks fashion will take. Well,
Anne, your things are very pretty, and very suitable to
your position in life, aren't they, Jane? I hope
you'll be very happy. You have my best wishes, I'm
sure. A long engagement doesn't often turn out well.
But, of course, in your case it couldn't be helped."
"Gilbert looks very young for a doctor. I'm afraid
people won't have much confidence in him," said Mrs.
Jasper Bell gloomily. Then she shut her mouth tightly,
as if she had said what she considered it her duty to
say and held her conscience clear. She belonged to the
type which always has a stringy black feather in its
hat and straggling locks of hair on its neck.
Anne's surface pleasure in her pretty bridal things was
temporarily shadowed; but the deeps of happiness below
could not thus be disturbed; and the little stings of
Mesdames Bell and Andrews were forgotten when Gilbert
came later, and they wandered down to the birches of
the brook, which had been saplings when Anne had come
to Green Gables, but were now tall, ivory columns in a
fairy palace of twilight and stars. In their shadows
Anne and Gilbert talked in lover-fashion of their new
home and their new life together.
"I've found a nest for us, Anne."
"Oh, where? Not right in the village, I hope. I
wouldn't like that altogether."
"No. There was no house to be had in the village.
This is a little white house on the harbor shore, half
way between Glen St. Mary and Four Winds Point. It's a
little out of the way, but when we get a 'phone in that
won't matter so much. The situation is beautiful. It
looks to the sunset and has the great blue harbor
before it. The sand-dunes aren't very far away--the
sea winds blow over them and the sea spray drenches
"But the house itself, Gilbert,--OUR first home? What
is it like?"
"Not very large, but large enough for us. There's a
splendid living room with a fireplace in it downstairs,
and a dining room that looks out on the harbor, and a
little room that will do for my office. It is about
sixty years old--the oldest house in Four Winds. But
it has been kept in pretty good repair, and was all
done over about fifteen years ago--shingled, plastered
and re-floored. It was well built to begin with. I
understand that there was some romantic story connected
with its building, but the man I rented it from didn't
He said Captain Jim was the only one who could spin
that old yarn now."
"Who is Captain Jim?"
"The keeper of the lighthouse on Four Winds Point.
You'll love that Four Winds light, Anne. It's a
revolving one, and it flashes like a magnificent star
through the twilights. We can see it from our living
room windows and our front door."
"Who owns the house?"
"Well, it's the property of the Glen St. Mary
Presbyterian Church now, and I rented it from the
trustees. But it belonged until lately to a very old
lady, Miss Elizabeth Russell. She died last spring,
and as she had no near relatives she left her property
to the Glen St. Mary Church. Her furniture is still in
the house, and I bought most of it--for a mere song you
might say, because it was all so old- fashioned that
the trustees despaired of selling it. Glen St. Mary
folks prefer plush brocade and sideboards with mirrors
and ornamentations, I fancy. But Miss Russell's
furniture is very good and I feel sure you'll like it,
"So far, good," said Anne, nodding cautious approval.
"But, Gilbert, people cannot live by furniture alone.
You haven't yet mentioned one very important thing.
Are there TREES about this house?"
"Heaps of them, oh, dryad! There is a big grove of
fir trees behind it, two rows of Lombardy poplars down
the lane, and a ring of white birches around a very
delightful garden. Our front door opens right into the
garden, but there is another entrance--a little gate
hung between two firs. The hinges are on one trunk and
the catch on the other. Their boughs form an arch
"Oh, I'm so glad! I couldn't live where there were no
trees-- something vital in me would starve. Well,
after that, there's no use asking you if there's a
brook anywhere near. THAT would be expecting too
"But there IS a brook--and it actually cuts across one
corner of the garden."
"Then," said Anne, with a long sigh of supreme
satisfaction, "this house you have found IS my house
of dreams and none other."
CHAPTER 3. THE LAND OF DREAMS AMONG
"Have you made up your mind who you're going to have
to the wedding, Anne?" asked Mrs. Rachel Lynde, as she
hemstitched table napkins industriously. "It's time
your invitations were sent, even if they are to be only
"I don't mean to have very many," said Anne. "We just
want those we love best to see us married. Gilbert's
people, and Mr. and Mrs. Allan, and Mr. and Mrs.
"There was a time when you'd hardly have numbered Mr.
Harrison among your dearest friends," said Marilla
"Well, I wasn't VERY strongly attracted to him at our
first meeting," acknowledged Anne, with a laugh over
the recollection. "But Mr. Harrison has improved on
acquaintance, and Mrs. Harrison is really a dear.
Then, of course, there are Miss Lavendar and Paul."
"Have they decided to come to the Island this summer?
I thought they were going to Europe."
"They changed their minds when I wrote them I was
going to be married. I had a letter from Paul today.
He says he MUST come to my wedding, no matter what
happens to Europe."
"That child always idolised you," remarked Mrs.
"That `child' is a young man of nineteen now, Mrs.
"How time does fly!" was Mrs. Lynde's brilliant and
"Charlotta the Fourth may come with them. She sent
word by Paul that she would come if her husband would
let her. I wonder if she still wears those enormous
blue bows, and whether her husband calls her Charlotta
or Leonora. I should love to have Charlotta at my
wedding. Charlotta and I were at a wedding long syne.
They expect to be at Echo Lodge next week. Then there
are Phil and the Reverend Jo----"
"It sounds awful to hear you speaking of a minister
like that, Anne," said Mrs. Rachel severely.
"His wife calls him that."
"She should have more respect for his holy office,
then," retorted Mrs. Rachel.
"I've heard you criticise ministers pretty sharply
yourself," teased Anne.
"Yes, but I do it reverently," protested Mrs. Lynde.
"You never heard me NICKNAME a minister."
Anne smothered a smile.
"Well, there are Diana and Fred and little Fred and
Small Anne Cordelia--and Jane Andrews. I wish I could
have Miss Stacey and Aunt Jamesina and Priscilla and
Stella. But Stella is in Vancouver, and Pris is in
Japan, and Miss Stacey is married in California, and
Aunt Jamesina has gone to India to explore her
daughter's mission field, in spite of her horror of
snakes. It's really dreadful--the way people get
scattered over the globe."
"The Lord never intended it, that's what," said Mrs.
Rachel authoritatively. "In my young days people grew
up and married and settled down where they were born,
or pretty near it. Thank goodness you've stuck to the
Island, Anne. I was afraid Gilbert would insist on
rushing off to the ends of the earth when he got
through college, and dragging you with him."
"If everybody stayed where he was born places would
soon be filled up, Mrs. Lynde."
"Oh, I'm not going to argue with you, Anne. _I_ am
not a B.A. What time of the day is the ceremony to
"We have decided on noon--high noon, as the society
reporters say. That will give us time to catch the
evening train to Glen St. Mary."
"And you'll be married in the parlor?"
"No--not unless it rains. We mean to be married in
the orchard-- with the blue sky over us and the
sunshine around us. Do you know when and where I'd
like to be married, if I could? It would be at dawn--a
June dawn, with a glorious sunrise, and roses blooming
in the gardens; and I would slip down and meet Gilbert
and we would go together to the heart of the beech
woods,--and there, under the green arches that would be
like a splendid cathedral, we would be married."
Marilla sniffed scornfully and Mrs. Lynde looked
"But that would be terrible queer, Anne. Why, it
wouldn't really seem legal. And what would Mrs. Harmon
"Ah, there's the rub," sighed Anne. "There are so
many things in life we cannot do because of the fear of
what Mrs. Harmon Andrews would say. ` 'Tis true, 'tis
pity, and pity 'tis, 'tis true.' What delightful
things we might do were it not for Mrs. Harmon
"By times, Anne, I don't feel quite sure that I
understand you altogether," complained Mrs. Lynde.
"Anne was always romantic, you know," said Marilla
"Well, married life will most likely cure her of
that," Mrs. Rachel responded comfortingly.
Anne laughed and slipped away to Lover's Lane, where
Gilbert found her; and neither of them seemed to
entertain much fear, or hope, that their married life
would cure them of romance.
The Echo Lodge people came over the next week, and
Green Gables buzzed with the delight of them. Miss
Lavendar had changed so little that the three years
since her last Island visit might have been a watch in
the night; but Anne gasped with amazement over Paul.
Could this splendid six feet of manhood be the little
Paul of Avonlea schooldays?
"You really make me feel old, Paul," said Anne. "Why,
I have to look up to you!"
"You'll never grow old, Teacher," said Paul. "You are
one of the fortunate mortals who have found and drunk
from the Fountain of Youth,--you and Mother Lavendar.
See here! When you're married I WON'T call you Mrs.
Blythe. To me you'll always be `Teacher'--the teacher
of the best lessons I ever learned. I want to show you
The "something" was a pocketbook full of poems. Paul
had put some of his beautiful fancies into verse, and
magazine editors had not been as unappreciative as they
are sometimes supposed to be. Anne read Paul's poems
with real delight. They were full of charm and
"You'll be famous yet, Paul. I always dreamed of
having one famous pupil. He was to be a college
president--but a great poet would be even better. Some
day I'll be able to boast that I whipped the
distinguished Paul Irving. But then I never did whip
you, did I, Paul? What an opportunity lost! I think I
kept you in at recess, however."
"You may be famous yourself, Teacher. I've seen a
good deal of your work these last three years."
"No. I know what I can do. I can write pretty,
fanciful little sketches that children love and editors
send welcome cheques for. But I can do nothing big.
My only chance for earthly immortality is a corner in
Charlotta the Fourth had discarded the blue bows but
her freckles were not noticeably less.
"I never did think I'd come down to marrying a Yankee,
Miss Shirley, ma'am," she said. "But you never know
what's before you, and it isn't his fault. He was born
"You're a Yankee yourself, Charlotta, since you've
"Miss Shirley, ma'am, I'm NOT! And I wouldn't be if I
was to marry a dozen Yankees! Tom's kind of nice. And
besides, I thought I'd better not be too hard to
please, for I mightn't get another chance. Tom don't
drink and he don't growl because he has to work between
meals, and when all's said and done I'm satisfied, Miss
"Does he call you Leonora?" asked Anne.
"Goodness, no, Miss Shirley, ma'am. I wouldn't know
who he meant if he did. Of course, when we got married
he had to say, `I take thee, Leonora,' and I declare to
you, Miss Shirley, ma'am, I've had the most dreadful
feeling ever since that it wasn't me he was talking to
and I haven't been rightly married at all. And so
you're going to be married yourself, Miss Shirley,
ma'am? I always thought I'd like to marry a doctor.
It would be so handy when the children had measles and
croup. Tom is only a bricklayer, but he's real good-
tempered. When I said to him, says I, `Tom, can I go
to Miss Shirley's wedding? I mean to go anyhow, but
I'd like to have your consent,' he just says, `Suit
yourself, Charlotta, and you'll suit me.' That's a
real pleasant kind of husband to have, Miss Shirley,
Philippa and her Reverend Jo arrived at Green Gables
the day before the wedding. Anne and Phil had a
rapturous meeting which presently simmered down to a
cosy, confidential chat over all that had been and was
about to be.
"Queen Anne, you're as queenly as ever. I've got
fearfully thin since the babies came. I'm not half so
good-looking; but I think Jo likes it. There's not
such a contrast between us, you see. And oh, it's
perfectly magnificent that you're going to marry
Gilbert. Roy Gardner wouldn't have done at all, at
all. I can see that now, though I was horribly
disappointed at the time. You know, Anne, you did
treat Roy very badly."
"He has recovered, I understand," smiled Anne.
"Oh, yes. He is married and his wife is a sweet
little thing and they're perfectly happy. Everything
works together for good. Jo and the Bible say that,
and they are pretty good authorities."
"Are Alec and Alonzo married yet?"
"Alec is, but Alonzo isn't. How those dear old days
at Patty's Place come back when I'm talking to you,
Anne! What fun we had!"
"Have you been to Patty's Place lately?"
"Oh, yes, I go often. Miss Patty and Miss Maria still
sit by the fireplace and knit. And that reminds
me--we've brought you a wedding gift from them, Anne.
Guess what it is."
"I never could. How did they know I was going to be
"Oh, I told them. I was there last week. And they
were so interested. Two days ago Miss Patty wrote me a
note asking me to call; and then she asked if I would
take her gift to you. What would you wish most from
Patty's Place, Anne?"
"You can't mean that Miss Patty has sent me her china
"Go up head. They're in my trunk this very moment.
And I've a letter for you. Wait a moment and I'll get
"Dear Miss Shirley," Miss Patty had written, "Maria
and I were very much interested in hearing of your
approaching nuptials. We send you our best wishes.
Maria and I have never married, but we have no
objection to other people doing so. We are sending you
the china dogs. I intended to leave them to you in my
will, because you seemed to have sincere affection for
them. But Maria and I expect to live a good while yet
(D.V.), so I have decided to give you the dogs while
you are young. You will not have forgotten that Gog
looks to the right and Magog to the left."
"Just fancy those lovely old dogs sitting by the
fireplace in my house of dreams," said Anne
rapturously. "I never expected anything so
That evening Green Gables hummed with preparations for
the following day; but in the twilight Anne slipped
away. She had a little pilgrimage to make on this last
day of her girlhood and she must make it alone. She
went to Matthew's grave, in the little poplar-shaded
Avonlea graveyard, and there kept a silent tryst with
old memories and immortal loves.
"How glad Matthew would be tomorrow if he were here,"
she whispered. "But I believe he does know and is
glad of it-- somewhere else. I've read somewhere that
`our dead are never dead until we have forgotten them.'
Matthew will never be dead to me, for I can never
She left on his grave the flowers she had brought and
walked slowly down the long hill. It was a gracious
evening, full of delectable lights and shadows. In the
west was a sky of mackerel clouds-- crimson and
amber-tinted, with long strips of apple-green sky
between. Beyond was the glimmering radiance of a
sunset sea, and the ceaseless voice of many waters came
up from the tawny shore. All around her, lying in the
fine, beautiful country silence, were the hills and
fields and woods she had known and loved so long.
"History repeats itself," said Gilbert, joining her as
she passed the Blythe gate. "Do you remember our
first walk down this hill, Anne--our first walk
together anywhere, for that matter?"
"I was coming home in the twilight from Matthew's
grave--and you came out of the gate; and I swallowed
the pride of years and spoke to you."
"And all heaven opened before me," supplemented
Gilbert. "From that moment I looked forward to
tomorrow. When I left you at your gate that night and
walked home I was the happiest boy in the world. Anne
had forgiven me."
"I think you had the most to forgive. I was an
ungrateful little wretch--and after you had really
saved my life that day on the pond, too. How I loathed
that load of obligation at first! I don't deserve the
happiness that has come to me."
Gilbert laughed and clasped tighter the girlish hand
that wore his ring. Anne's engagement ring was a
circlet of pearls. She had refused to wear a diamond.
"I've never really liked diamonds since I found out
they weren't the lovely purple I had dreamed. They
will always suggest my old disappointment ."
"But pearls are for tears, the old legend says,"
Gilbert had objected.
"I'm not afraid of that. And tears can be happy as
well as sad. My very happiest moments have been when I
had tears in my eyes-- when Marilla told me I might
stay at Green Gables--when Matthew gave me the first
pretty dress I ever had--when I heard that you were
going to recover from the fever. So give me pearls for
our troth ring, Gilbert, and I'll willingly accept the
sorrow of life with its joy."
But tonight our lovers thought only of joy and never of
sorrow. For the morrow was their wedding day, and
their house of dreams awaited them on the misty, purple
shore of Four Winds Harbor.
CHAPTER 4. THE FIRST BRIDE OF GREEN GABLES
Anne wakened on the morning of her wedding day to find
the sunshine winking in at the window of the little
porch gable and a September breeze frolicking with her
"I'm so glad the sun will shine on me," she thought happily.
She recalled the first morning she had wakened in that
little porch room, when the sunshine had crept in on
her through the blossom- drift of the old Snow Queen.
That had not been a happy wakening, for it brought with
it the bitter disappointment of the preceding night.
But since then the little room had been endeared and
consecrated by years of happy childhood dreams and
maiden visions. To it she had come back joyfully after
all her absences; at its window she had knelt through
that night of bitter agony when she believed Gilbert
dying, and by it she had sat in speechless happiness
the night of her betrothal. Many vigils of joy and
some of sorrow had been kept there; and today she must
leave it forever. Henceforth it would be hers no more;
fifteen-year-old Dora was to inherit it when she had
gone. Nor did Anne wish it otherwise; the little room
was sacred to youth and girlhood--to the past that was
to close today before the chapter of wifehood opened.
Green Gables was a busy and joyous house that forenoon.
Diana arrived early, with little Fred and Small Anne
Cordelia, to lend a hand. Davy and Dora, the Green
Gables twins, whisked the babies off to the garden.
"Don't let Small Anne Cordelia spoil her clothes,"
warned Diana anxiously.
"You needn't be afraid to trust her with Dora," said
Marilla. "That child is more sensible and careful
than most of the mothers I've known. She's really a
wonder in some ways. Not much like that other
harum-scarum I brought up."
Marilla smiled across her chicken salad at Anne. It
might even be suspected that she liked the harum-scarum
best after all.
"Those twins are real nice children," said Mrs.
Rachel, when she was sure they were out of earshot.
"Dora is so womanly and helpful, and Davy is
developing into a very smart boy. He isn't the holy
terror for mischief he used to be."
"I never was so distracted in my life as I was the
first six months he was here," acknowledged Marilla.
"After that I suppose I got used to him. He's taken a
great notion to farming lately, and wants me to let him
try running the farm next year. I may, for Mr. Barry
doesn't think he'll want to rent it much longer, and
some new arrangement will have to be made."
"Well, you certainly have a lovely day for your
wedding, Anne," said Diana, as she slipped a
voluminous apron over her silken array. "You couldn't
have had a finer one if you'd ordered it from
"Indeed, there's too much money going out of this
Island to that same Eaton's," said Mrs. Lynde
indignantly. She had strong views on the subject of
octopus-like department stores, and never lost an
opportunity of airing them. "And as for those
catalogues of theirs, they're the Avonlea girls' Bible
now, that's what. They pore over them on Sundays
instead of studying the Holy Scriptures."
"Well, they're splendid to amuse children with," said
Diana. "Fred and Small Anne look at the pictures by
"_I_ amused ten children without the aid of Eaton's
catalogue," said Mrs. Rachel severely.
"Come, you two, don't quarrel over Eaton's catalogue,"
said Anne gaily. "This is my day of days, you know.
I'm so happy I want every one else to be happy, too."
"I'm sure I hope your happiness will last, child,"
sighed Mrs. Rachel. She did hope it truly, and
believed it, but she was afraid it was in the nature of
a challenge to Providence to flaunt your happiness too
openly. Anne, for her own good, must be toned down a
But it was a happy and beautiful bride who came down
the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September
noon--the first bride of Green Gables, slender and
shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her
arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the
hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She
was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won
after years of patient waiting. It was to him she was
coming in the sweet surrender of the bride. Was he
worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped?
If he failed her--if he could not measure up to her
standard of manhood--then, as she held out her hand,
their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad
certainty. They belonged to each other; and, no matter
what life might hold for them, it could never alter
that. Their happiness was in each other's keeping and
both were unafraid.
They were married in the sunshine of the old orchard,
circled by the loving and kindly faces of long-familiar
friends. Mr. Allan married them, and the Reverend Jo
made what Mrs. Rachel Lynde afterwards pronounced to be
the "most beautiful wedding prayer" she had ever
heard. Birds do not often sing in September, but one
sang sweetly from some hidden bough while Gilbert and
Anne repeated their deathless vows. Anne heard it and
thrilled to it; Gilbert heard it, and wondered only
that all the birds in the world had not burst into
jubilant song; Paul heard it and later wrote a lyric
about it which was one of the most admired in his first
volume of verse; Charlotta the Fourth heard it and was
blissfully sure it meant good luck for her adored Miss
Shirley. The bird sang until the ceremony was ended
and then it wound up with one mad little, glad little
trill. Never had the old gray-green house among its
enfolding orchards known a blither, merrier afternoon.
All the old jests and quips that must have done duty at
weddings since Eden were served up, and seemed as new
and brilliant and mirth-provoking as if they had never
been uttered before. Laughter and joy had their way;
and when Anne and Gilbert left to catch the Carmody
train, with Paul as driver, the twins were ready with
rice and old shoes, in the throwing of which Charlotta
the Fourth and Mr. Harrison bore a valiant part.
Marilla stood at the gate and watched the carriage out
of sight down the long lane with its banks of
goldenrod. Anne turned at its end to wave her last
good-bye. She was gone--Green Gables was her home no
more; Marilla's face looked very gray and old as she
turned to the house which Anne had filled for fourteen
years, and even in her absence, with light and life.
But Diana and her small fry, the Echo Lodge people and
the Allans, had stayed to help the two old ladies over
the loneliness of the first evening; and they contrived
to have a quietly pleasant little supper time, sitting
long around the table and chatting over all the details
of the day. While they were sitting there Anne and
Gilbert were alighting from the train at Glen St. Mary.
CHAPTER 5. THE HOME COMING
Dr. David Blythe had sent his horse and buggy to meet
them, and the urchin who had brought it slipped away
with a sympathetic grin, leaving them to the delight of
driving alone to their new home through the radiant evening.
Anne never forgot the loveliness of the view that broke
upon them when they had driven over the hill behind the
village. Her new home could not yet be seen; but
before her lay Four Winds Harbor like a great, shining
mirror of rose and silver. Far down, she saw its
entrance between the bar of sand dunes on one side and
a steep, high, grim, red sandstone cliff on the other.
Beyond the bar the sea, calm and austere, dreamed in
the afterlight. The little fishing village, nestled in
the cove where the sand-dunes met the harbor shore,
looked like a great opal in the haze. The sky over
them was like a jewelled cup from which the dusk was
pouring; the air was crisp with the compelling tang of
the sea, and the whole landscape was infused with the
subtleties of a sea evening. A few dim sails drifted
along the darkening, fir-clad harbor shores. A bell
was ringing from the tower of a little white church on
the far side; mellowly and dreamily sweet, the chime
floated across the water blent with the moan of the
sea. The great revolving light on the cliff at the
channel flashed warm and golden against the clear
northern sky, a trembling, quivering star of good hope.
Far out along the horizon was the crinkled gray ribbon
of a passing steamer's smoke.
"Oh, beautiful, beautiful," murmured Anne. "I shall
love Four Winds, Gilbert. Where is our house?"
"We can't see it yet--the belt of birch running up
from that little cove hides it. It's about two miles
from Glen St. Mary, and there's another mile between it
and the light-house. We won't have many neighbors,
Anne. There's only one house near us and I don't know
who lives in it. Shall you be lonely when I'm away?"
"Not with that light and that loveliness for company.
Who lives in that house, Gilbert?"
"I don't know. It doesn't look--exactly--as if the
occupants would be kindred spirits, Anne, does it?"
The house was a large, substantial affair, painted such
a vivid green that the landscape seemed quite faded by
contrast. There was an orchard behind it, and a nicely
kept lawn before it, but, somehow, there was a certain
bareness about it. Perhaps its neatness was
responsible for this; the whole establishment, house,
barns, orchard, garden, lawn and lane, was so starkly
"It doesn't seem probable that anyone with that taste
in paint could be VERY kindred," acknowledged Anne,
"unless it were an accident--like our blue hall. I
feel certain there are no children there, at least.
It's even neater than the old Copp place on the Tory
road, and I never expected to see anything neater than
They had not met anybody on the moist, red road that
wound along the harbor shore. But just before they
came to the belt of birch which hid their home, Anne
saw a girl who was driving a flock of snow- white
geese along the crest of a velvety green hill on the
right. Great, scattered firs grew along it. Between
their trunks one saw glimpses of yellow harvest fields,
gleams of golden sand-hills, and bits of blue sea. The
girl was tall and wore a dress of pale blue print. She
walked with a certain springiness of step and erectness
of bearing. She and her geese came out of the gate at
the foot of the hill as Anne and Gilbert passed. She
stood with her hand on the fastening of the gate, and
looked steadily at them, with an expression that hardly
attained to interest, but did not descend to curiosity.
It seemed to Anne, for a fleeting moment, that there
was even a veiled hint of hostility in it. But it was
the girl's beauty which made Anne give a little gasp--a
beauty so marked that it must have attracted attention
anywhere. She was hatless, but heavy braids of
burnished hair, the hue of ripe wheat, were twisted
about her head like a coronet; her eyes were blue and
star-like; her figure, in its plain print gown, was
magnificent; and her lips were as crimson as the bunch
of blood-red poppies she wore at her belt.
"Gilbert, who is the girl we have just passed?" asked
Anne, in a low voice.
"I didn't notice any girl," said Gilbert, who had eyes
only for his bride.
"She was standing by that gate--no, don't look back.
She is still watching us. I never saw such a beautiful
"I don't remember seeing any very handsome girls while
I was here. There are some pretty girls up at the
Glen, but I hardly think they could be called
"This girl is. You can't have seen her, or you would
remember her. Nobody could forget her. I never saw
such a face except in pictures. And her hair! It made
me think of Browning's `cord of gold' and `gorgeous
"Probably she's some visitor in Four Winds--likely
some one from that big summer hotel over the harbor."
"She wore a white apron and she was driving geese."
"She might do that for amusement. Look, Anne--there's
Anne looked and forgot for a time the girl with the
splendid, resentful eyes. The first glimpse of her new
home was a delight to eye and spirit--it looked so like
a big, creamy seashell stranded on the harbor shore.
The rows of tall Lombardy poplars down its lane stood
out in stately, purple silhouette against the sky.
Behind it, sheltering its garden from the too keen
breath of sea winds, was a cloudy fir wood, in which
the winds might make all kinds of weird and haunting
music. Like all woods, it seemed to be holding and
enfolding secrets in its recesses,--secrets whose charm
is only to be won by entering in and patiently seeking.
Outwardly, dark green arms keep them inviolate from
curious or indifferent eyes.
The night winds were beginning their wild dances beyond
the bar and the fishing hamlet across the harbor was
gemmed with lights as Anne and Gilbert drove up the
poplar lane. The door of the little house opened, and
a warm glow of firelight flickered out into the dusk.
Gilbert lifted Anne from the buggy and led her into the
garden, through the little gate between the
ruddy-tipped firs, up the trim, red path to the
"Welcome home," he whispered, and hand in hand they
stepped over the threshold of their house of dreams.
CHAPTER 6. CAPTAIN JIM
"Old Doctor Dave" and "Mrs. Doctor Dave" had come down
to the little house to greet the bride and groom.
Doctor Dave was a big, jolly, white-whiskered old
fellow, and Mrs. Doctor was a trim rosy-cheeked,
silver-haired little lady who took Anne at once
to her heart, literally and figuratively.
"I'm so glad to see you, dear. You must be real
tired. We've got a bite of supper ready, and Captain
Jim brought up some trout for you. Captain Jim--where
are you? Oh, he's slipped out to see to the horse, I
suppose. Come upstairs and take your things off."
Anne looked about her with bright, appreciative eyes as
she followed Mrs. Doctor Dave upstairs. She liked the
appearance of her new home very much. It seemed to
have the atmosphere of Green Gables and the flavor of
her old traditions.
"I think I would have found Miss Elizabeth Russell a
`kindred spirit,'" she murmured when she was alone in
her room. There were two windows in it; the dormer one
looked out on the lower harbor and the sand-bar and the
Four Winds light.
"A magic casement opening on the foam Of
perilous seas in fairy lands forlorn,"
quoted Anne softly. The gable window gave a view of a
little harvest-hued valley through which a brook ran.
Half a mile up the brook was the only house in
sight--an old, rambling, gray one surrounded by huge
willows through which its windows peered, like shy,
seeking eyes, into the dusk. Anne wondered who lived
there; they would be her nearest neighbors and she
hoped they would be nice. She suddenly found herself
thinking of the beautiful girl with the white geese.
"Gilbert thought she didn't belong here," mused Anne,
"but I feel sure she does. There was something about
her that made her part of the sea and the sky and the
harbor. Four Winds is in her blood."
When Anne went downstairs Gilbert was standing before
the fireplace talking to a stranger. Both turned as
"Anne, this is Captain Boyd. Captain Boyd, my wife."
It was the first time Gilbert had said "my wife" to
anybody but Anne, and he narrowly escaped bursting with
the pride of it. The old captain held out a sinewy
hand to Anne; they smiled at each other and were
friends from that moment. Kindred spirit flashed
recognition to kindred spirit.
"I'm right down pleased to meet you, Mistress Blythe;
and I hope you'll be as happy as the first bride was
who came here. I can't wish you no better than THAT.
But your husband doesn't introduce me jest exactly
right. `Captain Jim' is my week-a-day name and you
might as well begin as you're sartain to end
up--calling me that. You sartainly are a nice little
bride, Mistress Blythe. Looking at you sorter makes
me feel that I've jest been married myself."
Amid the laughter that followed Mrs. Doctor Dave urged
Captain Jim to stay and have supper with them.
"Thank you kindly. 'Twill be a real treat, Mistress
Doctor. I mostly has to eat my meals alone, with the
reflection of my ugly old phiz in a looking-glass
opposite for company. 'Tisn't often I have a chance to
sit down with two such sweet, purty ladies."
Captain Jim's compliments may look very bald on paper,
but he paid them with such a gracious, gentle deference
of tone and look that the woman upon whom they were
bestowed felt that she was being offered a queen's
tribute in a kingly fashion.
Captain Jim was a high-souled, simple-minded old man,
with eternal youth in his eyes and heart. He had a
tall, rather ungainly figure, somewhat stooped, yet
suggestive of great strength and endurance; a
clean-shaven face deeply lined and bronzed; a thick
mane of iron-gray hair falling quite to his shoulders,
and a pair of remarkably blue, deep-set eyes, which
sometimes twinkled and sometimes dreamed, and
sometimes looked out seaward with a wistful quest in
them, as of one seeking something precious and lost.
Anne was to learn one day what it was for which Captain
It could not be denied that Captain Jim was a homely
man. His spare jaws, rugged mouth, and square brow
were not fashioned on the lines of beauty; and he had
passed through many hardships and sorrows which had
marked his body as well as his soul; but though at
first sight Anne thought him plain she never thought
anything more about it--the spirit shining through that
rugged tenement beautified it so wholly.
They gathered gaily around the supper table. The
hearth fire banished the chill of the September
evening, but the window of the dining room was open and
sea breezes entered at their own sweet will. The view
was magnificent, taking in the harbor and the sweep of
low, purple hills beyond. The table was heaped with
Mrs. Doctor's delicacies but the piece de resistance
was undoubtedly the big platter of sea trout.
"Thought they'd be sorter tasty after travelling,"
said Captain Jim. "They're fresh as trout can be,
Mistress Blythe. Two hours ago they were swimming in
the Glen Pond."
"Who is attending to the light tonight, Captain Jim?"
asked Doctor Dave.
"Nephew Alec. He understands it as well as I do.
Well, now, I'm real glad you asked me to stay to
supper. I'm proper hungry--didn't have much of a
"I believe you half starve yourself most of the time
down at that light," said Mrs. Doctor Dave severely.
"You won't take the trouble to get up a decent meal."
"Oh, I do, Mistress Doctor, I do," protested Captain
Jim. "Why, I live like a king gen'rally. Last night
I was up to the Glen and took home two pounds of steak.
I meant to have a spanking good dinner today."
"And what happened to the steak?" asked Mrs. Doctor
Dave. "Did you lose it on the way home?"
"No." Captain Jim looked sheepish. "Just at bedtime
a poor, ornery sort of dog came along and asked for a
night's lodging. Guess he belonged to some of the
fishermen 'long shore. I couldn't turn the poor cur
out--he had a sore foot. So I shut him in the porch,
with an old bag to lie on, and went to bed. But
somehow I couldn't sleep. Come to think it over, I
sorter remembered that the dog looked hungry."
"And you got up and gave him that steak--ALL that
steak," said Mrs. Doctor Dave, with a kind of
"Well, there wasn't anything else TO give him," said
Captain Jim deprecatingly. "Nothing a dog'd care for,
that is. I reckon he WAS hungry, for he made about two
bites of it. I had a fine sleep the rest of the night
but my dinner had to be sorter scanty--potatoes and
point, as you might say. The dog, he lit out for home
this morning. I reckon HE weren't a vegetarian."
"The idea of starving yourself for a worthless dog!"
sniffed Mrs. Doctor.
"You don't know but he may be worth a lot to
somebody," protested Captain Jim. "He didn't LOOK of
much account, but you can't go by looks in jedging a
dog. Like meself, he might be a real beauty inside.
The First Mate didn't approve of him, I'll allow. His
language was right down forcible. But the First Mate is
prejudiced. No use in taking a cat's opinion of a dog.
'Tennyrate, I lost my dinner, so this nice spread in
this dee-lightful company is real pleasant. It' s a
great thing to have good neighbors."
"Who lives in the house among the willows up the
brook?" asked Anne.
"Mrs. Dick Moore," said Captain Jim--"and her
husband," he added, as if by way of an afterthought.
Anne smiled, and deduced a mental picture of Mrs. Dick
Moore from Captain Jim's way of putting it; evidently a
second Mrs. Rachel Lynde.
"You haven't many neighbors, Mistress Blythe," Captain
Jim went on. "This side of the harbor is mighty thinly
settled. Most of the land belongs to Mr. Howard up
yander past the Glen, and he rents it out for pasture.
The other side of the harbor, now, is thick with
folks--'specially MacAllisters. There's a whole
colony of MacAllisters you can't throw a stone but you
hit one. I was talking to old Leon Blacquiere the
other day. He's been working on the harbor all summer.
`Dey're nearly all MacAllisters over thar,' he told me.
`Dare's Neil MacAllister and Sandy MacAllister and
William MacAllister and Alec MacAllister and Angus
MacAllister--and I believe dare's de Devil
"There are nearly as many Elliotts and Crawfords,"
said Doctor Dave, after the laughter had subsided.
"You know, Gilbert, we folk on this side of Four Winds
have an old saying--`From the conceit of the Elliotts,
the pride of the MacAllisters, and the vainglory of the
Crawfords, good Lord deliver us.'"
"There's a plenty of fine people among them, though,"
said Captain Jim. "I sailed with William Crawford for
many a year, and for courage and endurance and truth
that man hadn't an equal. They've got brains over on
that side of Four Winds. Mebbe that's why this side is
sorter inclined to pick on 'em. Strange, ain't it, how
folks seem to resent anyone being born a mite cleverer
than they be."
Doctor Dave, who had a forty years' feud with the
over-harbor people, laughed and subsided.
"Who lives in that brilliant emerald house about half
a mile up the road?" asked Gilbert.
Captain Jim smiled delightedly.
"Miss Cornelia Bryant. She'll likely be over to see
you soon, seeing you're Presbyterians. If you were
Methodists she wouldn't come at all. Cornelia has a
holy horror of Methodists."
"She's quite a character," chuckled Doctor Dave. "A
most inveterate man-hater!"
"Sour grapes?" queried Gilbert, laughing.
"No, 'tisn't sour grapes," answered Captain Jim
seriously. "Cornelia could have had her pick when she
was young. Even yet she's only to say the word to see
the old widowers jump. She jest seems to have been
born with a sort of chronic spite agin men and
Methodists. She's got the bitterest tongue and the
kindest heart in Four Winds. Wherever there's any
trouble, that woman is there, doing everything to help
in the tenderest way. She never says a harsh word
about another woman, and if she likes to card us poor
scalawags of men down I reckon our tough old hides can
"She always speaks well of you, Captain Jim," said
"Yes, I'm afraid so. I don't half like it. It makes
me feel as if there must be something sorter unnateral
CHAPTER 7. THE SCHOOLMASTER'S BRIDE
"Who was the first bride who came to this house,
Captain Jim?" Anne asked, as they sat around the
fireplace after supper.
"Was she a part of the story I've heard was connected
with this house?" asked Gilbert. "Somebody told me
you could tell it, Captain Jim."
"Well, yes, I know it. I reckon I'm the only person
living in Four Winds now that can remember the
schoolmaster's bride as she was when she come to the
Island. She's been dead this thirty year, but she was
one of them women you never forget."
"Tell us the story," pleaded Anne. "I want to find
out all about the women who have lived in this house
"Well, there's jest been three--Elizabeth Russell, and
Mrs. Ned Russell, and the schoolmaster's bride.
Elizabeth Russell was a nice, clever little critter,
and Mrs. Ned was a nice woman, too. But they weren't
ever like the schoolmaster's bride.
"The schoolmaster's name was John Selwyn. He came out
from the Old Country to teach school at the Glen when I
was a boy of sixteen. He wasn't much like the usual
run of derelicts who used to come out to P.E.I. to
teach school in them days. Most of them were clever,
drunken critters who taught the children the three R's
when they were sober, and lambasted them when they
wasn't. But John Selwyn was a fine, handsome young
fellow. He boarded at my father's, and he and me were
cronies, though he was ten years older'n me. We read
and walked and talked a heap together. He knew about
all the poetry that was ever written, I reckon, and he
used to quote it to me along shore in the evenings.
Dad thought it an awful waste of time, but he sorter
endured it, hoping it'd put me off the notion of going
to sea. Well, nothing could do THAT--mother come of a
race of sea-going folk and it was born in me. But I
loved to hear John read and recite. It's almost sixty
years ago, but I could repeat yards of poetry I learned
from him. Nearly sixty years!"
Captain Jim was silent for a space, gazing into the
glowing fire in a quest of the bygones. Then, with a
sigh, he resumed his story.
"I remember one spring evening I met him on the
sand-hills. He looked sorter uplifted--jest like you
did, Dr. Blythe, when you brought Mistress Blythe in
tonight. I thought of him the minute I seen you. And
he told me that he had a sweetheart back home and that
she was coming out to him. I wasn't more'n half
pleased, ornery young lump of selfishness that I was; I
thought he wouldn't be as much my friend after she
came. But I'd enough decency not to let him see it.
He told me all about her. Her name was Persis Leigh,
and she would have come out with him if it hadn't been
for her old uncle. He was sick, and he'd looked after
her when her parents died and she wouldn't leave him.
And now he was dead and she was coming out to marry
John Selwyn. 'Twasn't no easy journey for a woman in
them days. There weren't no steamers, you must
"`When do you expect her?' says I.
"`She sails on the Royal William, the 20th of June,'
says he, `and so she should be here by mid-July. I
must set Carpenter Johnson to building me a home for
her. Her letter come today. I know before I opened it
that it had good news for me. I saw her a few nights
"I didn't understand him, and then he
explained--though I didn't understand THAT much better.
He said he had a gift--or a curse. Them was his words,
Mistress Blythe--a gift or a curse. He didn't know
which it was. He said a great-great-grandmother of his
had had it, and they burned her for a witch on account
of it. He said queer spells--trances, I think was the
name he give 'em--come over him now and again. Are
there such things, Doctor?"
"There are people who are certainly subject to
trances," answered Gilbert. "The matter is more in
the line of psychical research than medical. What were
the trances of this John Selwyn like?"
"Like dreams," said the old Doctor skeptically.
"He said he could see things in them," said Captain
"Mind you, I'm telling you jest what HE said--things
that were happening--things that were GOING to happen.
He said they were sometimes a comfort to him and
sometimes a horror. Four nights before this he'd been
in one--went into it while he was sitting looking at
the fire. And he saw an old room he knew well in
England, and Persis Leigh in it, holding out her hands
to him and looking glad and happy. So he knew he was
going to hear good news of her."
"A dream--a dream," scoffed the old Doctor.
"Likely--likely," conceded Captain Jim. "That's what
_I_ said to him at the time. It was a vast more
comfortable to think so. I didn't like the idea of him
seeing things like that--it was real uncanny.
"`No,' says he, `I didn't dream it. But we won't talk
of this again. You won't be so much my friend if you
think much about it.'
"I told him nothing could make me any less his friend.
But he jest shook his head and says, says he:
"`Lad, I know. I've lost friends before because of
this. I don't blame them. There are times when I feel
hardly friendly to myself because of it. Such a power
has a bit of divinity in it--whether of a good or an
evil divinity who shall say? And we mortals all shrink
from too close contact with God or devil.'
"Them was his words. I remember them as if 'twas
yesterday, though I didn't know jest what he meant.
What do you s'pose he DID mean, doctor?"
"I doubt if he knew what he meant himself," said
Doctor Dave testily.
"I think I understand," whispered Anne. She was
listening in her old attitude of clasped lips and
shining eyes. Captain Jim treated himself to an
admiring smile before he went on with his story.
"Well, purty soon all the Glen and Four Winds people
knew the schoolmaster's bride was coming, and they were
all glad because they thought so much of him. And
everybody took an interest in his new house--THIS
house. He picked this site for it, because you could
see the harbor and hear the sea from it. He made the
garden out there for his bride, but he didn't plant the
Lombardies. Mrs. Ned Russell planted THEM. But
there's a double row of rose-bushes in the garden that
the little girls who went to the Glen school set out
there for the schoolmaster's bride. He said they were
pink for her cheeks and white for her brow and red for
her lips. He'd quoted poetry so much that he sorter
got into the habit of talking it, too, I reckon.
"Almost everybody sent him some little present to help
out the furnishing of the house. When the Russells
came into it they were well-to-do and furnished it real
handsome, as you can see; but the first furniture that
went into it was plain enough. This little house was
rich in love, though. The women sent in quilts and
tablecloths and towels, and one man made a chest for
her, and another a table and so on. Even blind old
Aunt Margaret Boyd wove a little basket for her out of
the sweet-scented sand-hill grass. The schoolmaster's
wife used it for years to keep her handkerchiefs in.
"Well, at last everything was ready--even to the logs
in the big fireplace ready for lighting. 'Twasn't
exactly THIS fireplace, though 'twas in the same place.
Miss Elizabeth had this put in when she made the house
over fifteen years ago. It was a big, old-fashioned
fireplace where you could have roasted an ox. Many's
the time I've sat here and spun yarns, same's I'm doing
Again there was a silence, while Captain Jim kept a
passing tryst with visitants Anne and Gilbert could not
see--the folks who had sat with him around that
fireplace in the vanished years, with mirth and bridal
joy shining in eyes long since closed forever under
churchyard sod or heaving leagues of sea. Here on
olden nights children had tossed laughter lightly to
and fro. Here on winter evenings friends had
gathered. Dance and music and jest had been here.
Here youths and maidens had dreamed. For Captain Jim
the little house was tenanted with shapes entreating
"It was the first of July when the house was finished.
The schoolmaster began to count the days then. We used
to see him walking along the shore, and we'd say to
each other, `She'll soon be with him now.'
"She was expected the middle of July, but she didn't
come then. Nobody felt anxious. Vessels were often
delayed for days and mebbe weeks. The Royal William
was a week overdue--and then two--and then three. And
at last we began to be frightened, and it got worse and
worse. Fin'lly I couldn't bear to look into John
Selwyn's eyes. D'ye know, Mistress Blythe"--Captain
Jim lowered his voice--"I used to think that they
looked just like what his old great-great-grandmother's
must have been when they were burning her to death. He
never said much but he taught school like a man in a
dream and then hurried to the shore. Many a night he
walked there from dark to dawn. People said he was
losing his mind. Everybody had given up hope--the
Royal William was eight weeks overdue. It was the
middle of September and the schoolmaster's bride hadn't
come-- never would come, we thought.
"There was a big storm then that lasted three days, and
on the evening after it died away I went to the shore.
I found the schoolmaster there, leaning with his arms
folded against a big rock, gazing out to sea.
"I spoke to him but he didn't answer. His eyes seemed
to be looking at something I couldn't see. His face
was set, like a dead man's.
"`John--John,' I called out--jest like that--jest like
a frightened child, `wake up--wake up.'
"That strange, awful look seemed to sorter fade out of
He turned his head and looked at me. I've never forgot
his face-- never will forget it till I ships for my
"`All is well, lad,' he says. `I've seen the Royal
William coming around East Point. She will be here by
dawn. Tomorrow night I shall sit with my bride by my
"Do you think he did see it?" demanded Captain Jim
"God knows," said Gilbert softly. "Great love and
great pain might compass we know not what marvels."
"I am sure he did see it," said Anne earnestly.
"Fol-de-rol," said Doctor Dave, but he spoke with less
conviction than usual.
"Because, you know," said Captain Jim solemnly, "the
Royal William came into Four Winds Harbor at daylight
the next morning.
Every soul in the Glen and along the shore was at the
old wharf to meet her. The schoolmaster had been
watching there all night. How we cheered as she sailed
up the channel."
Captain Jim's eyes were shining. They were looking at
the Four Winds Harbor of sixty years agone, with a
battered old ship sailing through the sunrise splendor.
"And Persis Leigh was on board?" asked Anne.
"Yes--her and the captain's wife. They'd had an awful
passage-- storm after storm--and their provisions give
out, too. But there they were at last. When Persis
Leigh stepped onto the old wharf John Selwyn took her
in his arms--and folks stopped cheering and begun to
cry. I cried myself, though 'twas years, mind you,
afore I'd admit it. Ain't it funny how ashamed boys
are of tears?"
"Was Persis Leigh beautiful?" asked Anne.
"Well, I don't know that you'd call her beautiful
exactly--I-- don't--know," said Captain Jim slowly.
"Somehow, you never got so far along as to wonder if
she was handsome or not. It jest didn't matter. There
was something so sweet and winsome about her that you
had to love her, that was all. But she was pleasant to
look at--big, clear, hazel eyes and heaps of glossy
brown hair, and an English skin. John and her were
married at our house that night at early
candle-lighting; everybody from far and near was there
to see it and we all brought them down here afterwards.
Mistress Selwyn lighted the fire, and we went away and
left them sitting here, jest as John had seen in that
vision of his. A strange thing--a strange thing! But
I've seen a turrible lot of strange things in my
Captain Jim shook his head sagely.
"It's a dear story," said Anne, feeling that for once
she had got enough romance to satisfy her. "How long
did they live here?"
"Fifteen years. I ran off to sea soon after they were
married, like the young scalawag I was. But every time
I come back from a voyage I'd head for here, even
before I went home, and tell Mistress Selwyn all about
it. Fifteen happy years! They had a sort of talent
for happiness, them two. Some folks are like that, if
you've noticed. They COULDN'T be unhappy for long, no
matter what happened. They quarrelled once or twice,
for they was both high-sperrited. But Mistress Selwyn
says to me once, says she, laughing in that pretty way
of hers, `I felt dreadful when John and I quarrelled,
but underneath it all I was very happy because I had
such a nice husband to quarrel with and make it up
with.' Then they moved to Charlottetown, and Ned
Russell bought this house and brought his bride here.
They were a gay young pair, as I remember them. Miss
Elizabeth Russell was Alec's sister. She came to live
with them a year or so later, and she was a creature of
mirth, too. The walls of this house must be sorter
SOAKED with laughing and good times. You're the third
bride I've seen come here, Mistress Blythe--and the
Captain Jim contrived to give his sunflower compliment
the delicacy of a violet, and Anne wore it proudly.
She was looking her best that night, with the bridal
rose on her cheeks and the love-light in her eyes; even
gruff old Doctor Dave gave her an approving glance, and
told his wife, as they drove home together, that that
red-headed wife of the boy's was something of a beauty.
"I must be getting back to the light," announced
Captain Jim. "I've enj'yed this evening something
" You must come often to see us," said Anne.
"I wonder if you'd give that invitation if you knew how
likely I'll be to accept it," Captain Jim remarked
"Which is another way of saying you wonder if I mean
it," smiled Anne. "I do, `cross my heart,' as we used
to say at school."
"Then I'll come. You're likely to be pestered with me
at any hour. And I'll be proud to have you drop down
and visit me now and then, too. Gin'rally I haven't
anyone to talk to but the First Mate, bless his
sociable heart. He's a mighty good listener, and has
forgot more'n any MacAllister of them all ever knew,
but he isn't much of a conversationalist. You're young
and I'm old, but our souls are about the same age, I
reckon. We both belong to the race that knows Joseph,
as Cornelia Bryant would say."
"The race that knows Joseph?" puzzled Anne.
"Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into
two kinds-- the race that knows Joseph and the race
that don't. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with
you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things,
and the same taste in jokes--why, then he belongs to
the race that knows Joseph."
"Oh, I understand," exclaimed Anne, light breaking in
"It's what I used to call--and still call in quotation
marks `kindred spirits.'"
"Jest so--jest so," agreed Captain Jim. "We're it,
whatever IT is. When you come in tonight, Mistress
Blythe, I says to myself, says I, `Yes, she's of the
race that knows Joseph.' And mighty glad I was, for
if it wasn't so we couldn't have had any real
satisfaction in each other's company. The race that
knows Joseph is the salt of the airth, I reckon."
The moon had just risen when Anne and Gilbert went to
the door with their guests. Four Winds Harbor was
beginning to be a thing of dream and glamour and
enchantment--a spellbound haven where no tempest might
ever ravin. The Lombardies down the lane, tall and
sombre as the priestly forms of some mystic band, were
tipped with silver.
"Always liked Lombardies," said Captain Jim, waving a
long arm at them. "They're the trees of princesses.
They're out of fashion now. Folks complain that they
die at the top and get ragged-looking. So they do--so
they do, if you don't risk your neck every spring
climbing up a light ladder to trim them out. I always
did it for Miss Elizabeth, so her Lombardies never got
out-at-elbows. She was especially fond of them. She
liked their dignity and stand-offishness. THEY don't
hobnob with every Tom, Dick and Harry. If it's maples
for company, Mistress Blythe, it's Lombardies for
"What a beautiful night," said Mrs. Doctor Dave, as
she climbed into the Doctor's buggy.
"Most nights are beautiful," said Captain Jim. "But I
'low that moonlight over Four Winds makes me sorter
wonder what's left for heaven. The moon's a great
friend of mine, Mistress Blythe. I've loved her ever
since I can remember. When I was a little chap of
eight I fell asleep in the garden one evening and
wasn't missed. I woke up along in the night and I was
most scared to death. What shadows and queer noises
there was! I dursn't move. Jest crouched there
quaking, poor small mite. Seemed 'sif there weren't
anyone in the world but meself and it was mighty big.
Then all at once I saw the moon looking down at me
through the apple boughs, jest like an old friend. I
was comforted right off. Got up and walked to the
house as brave as a lion, looking at her. Many's the
night I've watched her from the deck of my vessel, on
seas far away from here. Why don't you folks tell me
to take in the slack of my jaw and go home?"
The laughter of the goodnights died away. Anne and
Gilbert walked hand in hand around their garden. The
brook that ran across the corner dimpled pellucidly in
the shadows of the birches. The poppies along its
banks were like shallow cups of moonlight. Flowers
that had been planted by the hands of the
schoolmaster's bride flung their sweetness on the
shadowy air, like the beauty and blessing of sacred
yesterdays. Anne paused in the gloom to gather a
"I love to smell flowers in the dark," she said. "You
get hold of their soul then. Oh, Gilbert, this little
house is all I've dreamed it. And I'm so glad that we
are not the first who have kept bridal tryst here!"
CHAPTER 8. MISS CORNELIA BRYANT COMES TO CALL
That September was a month of golden mists and purple
hazes at Four Winds Harbor--a month of sun-steeped days
and of nights that were swimming in moonlight, or
pulsating with stars. No storm marred it, no rough
wind blew. Anne and Gilbert put their nest in order,
rambled on the shores, sailed on the harbor, drove
about Four Winds and the Glen, or through the ferny,
sequestered roads of the woods around the harbor head;
in short, had such a honeymoon as any lovers in the
world might have envied them.
"If life were to stop short just now it would still
have been richly worth while, just for the sake of
these past four weeks, wouldn't it?" said Anne. "I
don't suppose we will ever have four such perfect weeks
again--but we've HAD them. Everything--wind, weather,
folks, house of dreams--has conspired to make our
honeymoon delightful. There hasn't even been a rainy
day since we came here."
"And we haven't quarrelled once," teased Gilbert.
"Well, `that's a pleasure all the greater for being
deferred,'" quoted Anne. "I'm so glad we decided to
spend our honeymoon here. Our memories of it will
always belong here, in our house of dreams, instead of
being scattered about in strange places."
There was a certain tang of romance and adventure in
the atmosphere of their new home which Anne had never
found in Avonlea. There, although she had lived in
sight of the sea, it had not entered intimately into
her life. In Four Winds it surrounded her and called
to her constantly. From every window of her new home
she saw some varying aspect of it. Its haunting murmur
was ever in her ears. Vessels sailed up the harbor
every day to the wharf at the Glen, or sailed out
again through the sunset, bound for ports that might be
half way round the globe. Fishing boats went
white-winged down the channel in the mornings, and
returned laden in the evenings. Sailors and
fisher-folk travelled the red, winding harbor roads,
light-hearted and content. There was always a certain
sense of things going to happen--of adventures and
farings-forth. The ways of Four Winds were less staid
and settled and grooved than those of Avonlea; winds of
change blew over them; the sea called ever to the
dwellers on shore, and even those who might not answer
its call felt the thrill and unrest and mystery and
possibilities of it.
"I understand now why some men must go to sea," said
Anne. "That desire which comes to us all at times--`to
sail beyond the bourne of sunset'--must be very
imperious when it is born in you. I don't wonder
Captain Jim ran away because of it. I never see a ship
sailing out of the channel, or a gull soaring over the
sand-bar, without wishing I were on board the ship or
had wings, not like a dove `to fly away and be at
rest,' but like a gull, to sweep out into the very
heart of a storm."
"You'll stay right here with me, Anne-girl," said
Gilbert lazily. "I won't have you flying away from me
into the hearts of storms."
They were sitting on their red sand-stone doorstep in
the late afternoon. Great tranquillities were all
about them in land and sea and sky. Silvery gulls were
soaring over them. The horizons were laced with long
trails of frail, pinkish clouds. The hushed air was
threaded with a murmurous refrain of minstrel winds and
waves. Pale asters were blowing in the sere and misty
meadows between them and the harbor.
"Doctors who have to be up all night waiting on sick
folk don't feel very adventurous, I suppose," Anne
said indulgently. "If you had had a good sleep last
night, Gilbert, you'd be as ready as I am for a flight
"I did good work last night, Anne," said Gilbert
quietly. "Under God, I saved a life. This is the
first time I could ever really claim that. In other
cases I may have helped; but, Anne, if I had not stayed
at Allonby's last night and fought death hand to hand,
that woman would have died before morning. I tried an
experiment that was certainly never tried in Four Winds
before. I doubt if it was ever tried anywhere before
outside of a hospital. It was a new thing in Kingsport
hospital last winter. I could never have dared try it
here if I had not been absolutely certain that there
was no other chance. I risked it--and it succeeded.
As a result, a good wife and mother is saved for long
years of happiness and usefulness. As I drove home
this morning, while the sun was rising over the harbor,
I thanked God that I had chosen the profession I did.
I had fought a good fight and won--think of it, Anne,
WON, against the Great Destroyer. It's what I dreamed
of doing long ago when we talked together of what we
wanted to do in life. That dream of mine came true
"Was that the only one of your dreams that has come
true?" asked Anne, who knew perfectly well what the
substance of his answer would be, but wanted to hear it
"YOU know, Anne-girl," said Gilbert, smiling into her
eyes. At that moment there were certainly two
perfectly happy people sitting on the doorstep of a
little white house on the Four Winds Harbor shore.
Presently Gilbert said, with a change of tone, "Do I or
do I not see a full-rigged ship sailing up our lane?"
Anne looked and sprang up.
"That must be either Miss Cornelia Bryant or Mrs. Moore
coming to call," she said.
"I'm going into the office, and if it is Miss Cornelia
I warn you that I'll eavesdrop," said Gilbert. "From
all I've heard regarding Miss Cornelia I conclude that
her conversation will not be dull, to say the least."
"It may be Mrs. Moore."
"I don't think Mrs. Moore is built on those lines. I
saw her working in her garden the other day, and,
though I was too far away to see clearly, I thought she
was rather slender. She doesn't seem very socially
inclined when she has never called on you yet, although
she's your nearest neighbor."
"She can't be like Mrs. Lynde, after all, or curiosity
would have brought her," said Anne. "This caller is,
I think, Miss Cornelia."
Miss Cornelia it was; moreover, Miss Cornelia had not
come to make any brief and fashionable wedding call.
She had her work under her arm in a substantial parcel,
and when Anne asked her to stay she promptly took off
her capacious sun-hat, which had been held on her head,
despite irreverent September breezes, by a tight
elastic band under her hard little knob of fair hair.
No hat pins for Miss Cornelia, an it please ye!
Elastic bands had been good enough for her mother and
they were good enough for HER. She had a fresh, round,
pink-and-white face, and jolly brown eyes. She did not
look in the least like the traditional old maid, and
there was something in her expression which won Anne
instantly. With her old instinctive quickness to
discern kindred spirits she knew she was going to like
Miss Cornelia, in spite of uncertain oddities of
opinion, and certain oddities of attire.
Nobody but Miss Cornelia would have come to make a call
arrayed in a striped blue-and-white apron and a wrapper
of chocolate print, with a design of huge, pink roses
scattered over it. And nobody but Miss Cornelia could
have looked dignified and suitably garbed in it. Had
Miss Cornelia been entering a palace to call on a
prince's bride, she would have been just as dignified
and just as wholly mistress of the situation. She
would have trailed her rose-spattered flounce over the
marble floors just as unconcernedly, and she would have
proceeded just as calmly to disabuse the mind of the
princess of any idea that the possession of a mere man,
be he prince or peasant, was anything to brag of.
"I've brought my work, Mrs. Blythe, dearie," she
remarked, unrolling some dainty material. "I'm in a
hurry to get this done, and there isn't any time to
Anne looked in some surprise at the white garment
spread over Miss Cornelia's ample lap. It was
certainly a baby's dress, and it was most beautifully
made, with tiny frills and tucks. Miss Cornelia
adjusted her glasses and fell to embroidering with
"This is for Mrs. Fred Proctor up at the Glen," she
announced. "She's expecting her eighth baby any day
now, and not a stitch has she ready for it. The other
seven have wore out all she made for the first, and
she's never had time or strength or spirit to make any
more. That woman is a martyr, Mrs. Blythe, believe ME.
When she married Fred Proctor _I_ knew how it would
turn out. He was one of your wicked, fascinating men.
After he got married he left off being fascinating and
just kept on being wicked. He drinks and he neglects
his family. Isn't that like a man? I don't know how
Mrs. Proctor would ever keep her children decently
clothed if her neighbors didn't help her out."
As Anne was afterwards to learn, Miss Cornelia was the
only neighbor who troubled herself much about the
decency of the young Proctors.
"When I heard this eighth baby was coming I decided to
make some things for it," Miss Cornelia went on.
"This is the last and I want to finish it today."
"It's certainly very pretty," said Anne. "I'll get my
sewing and we'll have a little thimble party of two.
You are a beautiful sewer, Miss Bryant."
"Yes, I'm the best sewer in these parts," said Miss
Cornelia in a matter-of-fact tone. "I ought to be!
Lord, I've done more of it than if I'd had a hundred
children of my own, believe ME! I s'pose I'm a fool,
to be putting hand embroidery on this dress for an
eighth baby. But, Lord, Mrs. Blythe, dearie, it isn't
to blame for being the eighth, and I kind of wished it
to have one real pretty dress, just as if it WAS
wanted. Nobody's wanting the poor mite--so I put some
extra fuss on its little things just on that account."
"Any baby might be proud of that dress," said Anne,
feeling still more strongly that she was going to like
"I s'pose you've been thinking I was never coming to
call on you," resumed Miss Cornelia. "But this is
harvest month, you know, and I've been busy--and a lot
of extra hands hanging round, eating more'n they work,
just like the men. I'd have come yesterday, but I went
to Mrs. Roderick MacAllister's funeral. At first I
thought my head was aching so badly I couldn't enjoy
myself if I did go. But she was a hundred years old,
and I'd always promised myself that I'd go to her
"Was it a successful function?" asked Anne, noticing
that the office door was ajar.
"What's that? Oh, yes, it was a tremendous funeral.
She had a very large connection. There was over one
hundred and twenty carriages in the procession. There
was one or two funny things happened. I thought that
die I would to see old Joe Bradshaw, who is an infidel
and never darkens the door of a church, singing `Safe
in the Arms of Jesus' with great gusto and fervor. He
glories in singing-- that's why he never misses a
funeral. Poor Mrs. Bradshaw didn't look much like
singing--all wore out slaving. Old Joe starts out once
in a while to buy her a present and brings home some
new kind of farm machinery. Isn't that like a man?
But what else would you expect of a man who never goes
to church, even a Methodist one? I was real thankful
to see you and the young Doctor in the Presbyterian
church your first Sunday. No doctor for me who isn't a
"We were in the Methodist church last Sunday evening,"
said Anne wickedly.
"Oh, I s'pose Dr. Blythe has to go to the Methodist
church once in a while or he wouldn't get the Methodist
"We liked the sermon very much," declared Anne boldly.
"And I thought the Methodist minster's prayer was one
of the most beautiful I ever heard."
"Oh, I've no doubt he can pray. I never heard anyone
make more beautiful prayers than old Simon Bentley, who
was always drunk, or hoping to be, and the drunker he
was the better he prayed."
"The Methodist minister is very fine looking," said
Anne, for the benefit of the office door.
"Yes, he's quite ornamental," agreed Miss Cornelia.
"Oh, and VERY ladylike. And he thinks that every girl
who looks at him falls in love with him--as if a
Methodist minister, wandering about like any Jew, was
such a prize! If you and the young doctor take MY
advice, you won't have much to do with the Methodists.
My motto is--if you ARE a Presbyterian, BE a
"Don't you think that Methodists go to heaven as well
as Presbyterians?" asked Anne smilelessly.
"That isn't for US to decide. It's in higher hands
than ours," said Miss Cornelia solemnly. "But I ain't
going to associate with them on earth whatever I may
have to do in heaven. THIS Methodist minister isn't
married. The last one they had was, and his wife was
the silliest, flightiest little thing I ever saw. I
told her husband once that he should have waited till
she was grown up before he married her. He said he
wanted to have the training of her. Wasn't that like a
"It's rather hard to decide just when people ARE grown
up," laughed Anne.
"That's a true word, dearie. Some are grown up when
they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're
eighty, believe ME. That same Mrs. Roderick I was
speaking of never grew up. She was as foolish when she
was a hundred as when she was ten."
"Perhaps that was why she lived so long," suggested
"Maybe 'twas. _I_'d rather live fifty sensible years
than a hundred foolish ones."
"But just think what a dull world it would be if
everyone was sensible," pleaded Anne.
Miss Cornelia disdained any skirmish of flippant
"Mrs. Roderick was a Milgrave, and the Milgraves never
had much sense. Her nephew, Ebenezer Milgrave, used to
be insane for years. He believed he was dead and used
to rage at his wife because she wouldn't bury him.
_I_'d a-done it."
Miss Cornelia looked so grimly determined that Anne
could almost see her with a spade in her hand.
"Don't you know ANY good husbands, Miss Bryant?"
"Oh, yes, lots of them--over yonder," said Miss
Cornelia, waving her hand through the open window
towards the little graveyard of the church across the
"But living--going about in the flesh?" persisted
"Oh, there's a few, just to show that with God all
things are possible," acknowledged Miss Cornelia
reluctantly. "I don't deny that an odd man here and
there, if he's caught young and trained up proper, and
if his mother has spanked him well beforehand, may turn
out a decent being. YOUR husband, now, isn't so bad,
as men go, from all I hear. I s'pose"--Miss Cornelia
looked sharply at Anne over her glasses--"you think
there's nobody like him in the world."
"There isn't," said Anne promptly.
"Ah, well, I heard another bride say that once,"
sighed Miss Cornelia. "Jennie Dean thought when she
married that there wasn't anybody like HER husband in
the world. And she was right--there wasn't! And a
good thing, too, believe ME! He led her an awful
life--and he was courting his second wife while Jennie
Wasn't that like a man? However, I hope YOUR
confidence will be better justified, dearie. The young
doctor is taking real well. I was afraid at first he
mightn't, for folks hereabouts have always thought old
Doctor Dave the only doctor in the world. Doctor Dave
hadn't much tact, to be sure--he was always talking of
ropes in houses where someone had hanged himself. But
folks forgot their hurt feelings when they had a pain
in their stomachs. If he'd been a minister instead of
a doctor they'd never have forgiven him. Soul-ache
doesn't worry folks near as much as stomach-ache.
Seeing as we're both Presbyterians and no Methodists
around, will you tell me your candid opinion of OUR
"Why--really--I--well," hesitated Anne.
Miss Cornelia nodded.
"Exactly. I agree with you, dearie. We made a mistake
when we called HIM. His face just looks like one of
those long, narrow stones in the graveyard, doesn't it?
`Sacred to the memory' ought to be written on his
forehead. I shall never forget the first sermon he
preached after he came. It was on the subject of
everyone doing what they were best fitted for--a very
good subject, of course; but such illustrations as he
used! He said, `If you had a cow and an apple tree,
and if you tied the apple tree in your stable and
planted the cow in your orchard, with her legs up, how
much milk would you get from the apple tree, or how
many apples from the cow?' Did you ever hear the like
in your born days, dearie? I was so thankful there
were no Methodists there that day--they'd never have
been done hooting over it. But what I dislike most in
him is his habit of agreeing with everybody, no matter
what is said. If you said to him, `You're a
scoundrel,' he'd say, with that smooth smile of his,
`Yes, that's so.' A minister should have more
backbone. The long and the short of it is, I consider
him a reverend jackass. But, of course, this is just
between you and me. When there are Methodists in
hearing I praise him to the skies. Some folks think
his wife dresses too gay, but _I_ say when she has to
live with a face like that she needs something to cheer
her up. You'll never hear ME condemning a woman for
her dress. I'm only too thankful when her husband
isn't too mean and miserly to allow it. Not that I
bother much with dress myself. Women just dress to
please the men, and I'd never stoop to THAT. I have
had a real placid, comfortable life, dearie, and it's
just because I never cared a cent what the men
"Why do you hate the men so, Miss Bryant?"
"Lord, dearie, I don't hate them. They aren't worth
it. I just sort of despise them. I think I'll like
YOUR husband if he keeps on as he has begun. But apart
from him about the only men in the world I've much use
for are the old doctor and Captain Jim."
"Captain Jim is certainly splendid," agreed Anne
"Captain Jim is a good man, but he's kind of vexing in
one way. You CAN'T make him mad. I've tried for
twenty years and he just keeps on being placid. It
does sort of rile me. And I s'pose the woman he
should have married got a man who went into tantrums
twice a day."
"Who was she?"
"Oh, I don't know, dearie. I never remember of Captain
Jim making up to anybody. He was edging on old as far
as my memory goes. He's seventy-six, you know. I
never heard any reason for his staying a bachelor, but
there must be one, believe ME. He sailed all his life
till five years ago, and there's no corner of the earth
he hasn't poked his nose into. He and Elizabeth
Russell were great cronies, all their lives, but they
never had any notion of sweet-hearting. Elizabeth
never married, though she had plenty of chances. She
was a great beauty when she was young. The year the
Prince of Wales came to the Island she was visiting her
uncle in Charlottetown and he was a Government
official, and so she got invited to the great ball.
She was the prettiest girl there, and the Prince danced
with her, and all the other women he didn't dance with
were furious about it, because their social standing
was higher than hers and they said he shouldn't have
passed them over. Elizabeth was always very proud of
that dance. Mean folks said that was why she never
married--she couldn't put up with an ordinary man after
dancing with a prince. But that wasn't so. She told
me the reason once--it was because she had such a
temper that she was afraid she couldn't live peaceably
with any man. She HAD an awful temper--she used to
have to go upstairs and bite pieces out of her bureau
to keep it down by times. But I told her that wasn't
any reason for not marrying if she wanted to. There's
no reason why we should let the men have a monopoly of
temper, is there, Mrs. Blythe, dearie?"
"I've a bit of temper myself," sighed Anne.
"It's well you have, dearie. You won't be half so
likely to be trodden on, believe ME! My, how that
golden glow of yours is blooming! Your garden looks
fine. Poor Elizabeth always took such care of it."
"I love it," said Anne. "I'm glad it's so full of
old-fashioned flowers. Speaking of gardening, we want
to get a man to dig up that little lot beyond the fir
grove and set it out with strawberry plants for us.
Gilbert is so busy he will never get time for it this
fall. Do you know anyone we can get?"
"Well, Henry Hammond up at the Glen goes out doing jobs
like that. He'll do, maybe. He's always a heap more
interested in his wages than in his work, just like a
man, and he's so slow in the uptake that he stands
still for five minutes before it dawns on him that he's
stopped. His father threw a stump at him when he was
Nice gentle missile, wasn't it? So like a man!
Course, the boy never got over it. But he's the only
one I can recommend at all. He painted my house for me
last spring. It looks real nice now, don't you
Anne was saved by the clock striking five.
"Lord, is it that late?" exclaimed Miss Cornelia.
"How time does slip by when you're enjoying yourself!
Well, I must betake myself home."
"No, indeed! You are going to stay and have tea with
us," said Anne eagerly.
"Are you asking me because you think you ought to, or
because you really want to?" demanded Miss Cornelia.
"Because I really want to."
"Then I'll stay. YOU belong to the race that knows
"I know we are going to be friends," said Anne, with
the smile that only they of the household of faith ever
"Yes, we are, dearie. Thank goodness, we can choose
our friends. We have to take our relatives as they
are, and be thankful if there are no penitentiary birds
among them. Not that I've many-- none nearer than
second cousins. I'm a kind of lonely soul, Mrs.
There was a wistful note in Miss Cornelia's voice.
"I wish you would call me Anne," exclaimed Anne
impulsively. "It would seem more HOMEY. Everyone in
Four Winds, except my husband, calls me Mrs. Blythe,
and it makes me feel like a stranger. Do you know that
your name is very near being the one I yearned after
when I was a child. I hated `Anne' and I called myself
`Cordelia' in imagination."
"I like Anne. It was my mother's name. Old-fashioned
names are the best and sweetest in my opinion. If
you're going to get tea you might send the young doctor
to talk to me. He's been lying on the sofa in that
office ever since I came, laughing fit to kill over
what I've been saying."
"How did you know?" cried Anne, too aghast at this
instance of Miss Cornelia's uncanny prescience to make
a polite denial.
"I saw him sitting beside you when I came up the lane,
and I know men's tricks," retorted Miss Cornelia.
"There, I've finished my little dress, dearie, and the
eighth baby can come as soon as it pleases."
CHAPTER 9. AN EVENING AT FOUR WINDS POINT
It was late September when Anne and Gilbert were able
to pay Four Winds light their promised visit. They had
often planned to go, but something always occurred to
prevent them. Captain Jim had "dropped in" several
times at the little house.
"I don't stand on ceremony, Mistress Blythe," he told
Anne. "It's a real pleasure to me to come here, and
I'm not going to deny myself jest because you haven't
got down to see me. There oughtn't to be no
bargaining like that among the race that knows Joseph.
I'll come when I can, and you come when you can, and so
long's we have our pleasant little chat it don't matter
a mite what roof's over us."
Captain Jim took a great fancy to Gog and Magog, who
were presiding over the destinies of the hearth in the
little house with as much dignity and aplomb as they
had done at Patty's Place.
"Aren't they the cutest little cusses?" he would say
delightedly; and he bade them greeting and farewell as
gravely and invariably as he did his host and hostess.
Captain Jim was not going to offend household deities
by any lack of reverence and ceremony.
"You've made this little house just about perfect," he
told Anne. "It never was so nice before. Mistress
Selwyn had your taste and she did wonders; but folks in
those days didn't have the pretty little curtains and
pictures and nicknacks you have. As for Elizabeth, she
lived in the past. You've kinder brought the future
into it, so to speak. I'd be real happy even if we
couldn't talk at all, when I come here--jest to sit and
look at you and your pictures and your flowers would be
enough of a treat. It's beautiful--beautiful."
Captain Jim was a passionate worshipper of beauty.
Every lovely thing heard or seen gave him a deep,
subtle, inner joy that irradiated his life. He was
quite keenly aware of his own lack of outward
comeliness and lamented it.
"Folks say I'm good," he remarked whimsically upon one
occasion, "but I sometimes wish the Lord had made me
only half as good and put the rest of it into looks.
But there, I reckon He knew what He was about, as a
good Captain should. Some of us have to be homely, or
the purty ones--like Mistress Blythe here--wouldn't
show up so well."
One evening Anne and Gilbert finally walked down to the
Four Winds light. The day had begun sombrely in gray
cloud and mist, but it had ended in a pomp of scarlet
and gold. Over the western hills beyond the harbor
were amber deeps and crystalline shallows, with the
fire of sunset below. The north was a mackerel sky of
little, fiery golden clouds. The red light flamed on
the white sails of a vessel gliding down the channel,
bound to a southern port in a land of palms. Beyond
her, it smote upon and incarnadined the shining, white,
grassless faces of the sand dunes. To the right, it
fell on the old house among the willows up the brook,
and gave it for a fleeting space casements more
splendid than those of an old cathedral. They glowed
out of its quiet and grayness like the throbbing,
blood-red thoughts of a vivid soul imprisoned in a dull
husk of environment.
"That old house up the brook always seems so lonely,"
said Anne. "I never see visitors there. Of course,
its lane opens on the upper road--but I don't think
there's much coming and going. It seems odd we've
never met the Moores yet, when they live within fifteen
minutes' walk of us. I may have seen them in church,
of course, but if so I didn't know them. I'm sorry
they are so unsociable, when they are our only near
"Evidently they don't belong to the race that knows
Joseph," laughed Gilbert. "Have you ever found out
who that girl was whom you thought so beautiful?"
"No. Somehow I have never remembered to ask about her.
But I've never seen her anywhere, so I suppose she must
have been a stranger. Oh, the sun has just
vanished--and there's the light."
As the dusk deepened, the great beacon cut swathes of
light through it, sweeping in a circle over the fields
and the harbor, the sandbar and the gulf.
"I feel as if it might catch me and whisk me leagues
out to sea," said Anne, as one drenched them with
radiance; and she felt rather relieved when they got so
near the Point that they were inside the range of those
dazzling, recurrent flashes.
As they turned into the little lane that led across the
fields to the Point they met a man coming out of it--a
man of such extraordinary appearance that for a moment
they both frankly stared. He was a decidedly
fine-looking person-tall, broad-shouldered, well-
featured, with a Roman nose and frank gray eyes; he was
dressed in a prosperous farmer's Sunday best; in so far
he might have been any inhabitant of Four Winds or the
Glen. But, flowing over his breast nearly to his
knees, was a river of crinkly brown beard; and adown
his back, beneath his commonplace felt hat, was a
corresponding cascade of thick, wavy, brown hair.
"Anne," murmured Gilbert, when they were out of
earshot, "you didn't put what Uncle Dave calls `a
little of the Scott Act' in that lemonade you gave me
just before we left home, did you?"
"No, I didn't," said Anne, stifling her laughter, lest
the retreating enigma should hear here. "Who in the
world can he be?"
"I don't know; but if Captain Jim keeps apparitions
like that down at this Point I'm going to carry cold
iron in my pocket when I come here. He wasn't a
sailor, or one might pardon his eccentricity of
appearance; he must belong to the over-harbor clans.
Uncle Dave says they have several freaks over there."
"Uncle Dave is a little prejudiced, I think. You know
all the over-harbor people who come to the Glen Church
seem very nice. Oh, Gilbert, isn't this beautiful?"
The Four Winds light was built on a spur of red
sand-stone cliff jutting out into the gulf. On one
side, across the channel, stretched the silvery sand
shore of the bar; on the other, extended a long,
curving beach of red cliffs, rising steeply from the
pebbled coves. It was a shore that knew the magic and
mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude
about such a shore. The woods are never solitary--
they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life.
But the sea is a mighty soul, forever moaning of some
great, unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into
itself for all eternity. We can never pierce its
infinite mystery--we may only wander, awed and
spellbound, on the outer fringe of it. The woods call
to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one
only--a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its
majestic music. The woods are human, but the sea is of
the company of the archangels.
Anne and Gilbert found Uncle Jim sitting on a bench
outside the lighthouse, putting the finishing touches
to a wonderful, full-rigged, toy schooner. He rose and
welcomed them to his abode with the gentle,
unconscious courtesy that became him so well.
"This has been a purty nice day all through, Mistress
Blythe, and now, right at the last, it's brought its
best. Would you like to sit down here outside a bit,
while the light lasts? I've just finished this bit of
a plaything for my little grand nephew, Joe, up at the
Glen. After I promised to make it for him I was kinder
sorry, for his mother was vexed. She's afraid he'll be
wanting to go to sea later on and she doesn't want the
notion encouraged in him. But what could I do,
Mistress Blythe? I'd PROMISED him, and I think it's
sorter real dastardly to break a promise you make to a
child. Come, sit down. It won't take long to stay an
The wind was off shore, and only broke the sea's
surface into long, silvery ripples, and sent sheeny
shadows flying out across it, from every point and
headland, like transparent wings. The dusk was
hanging a curtain of violet gloom over the sand dunes
and the headlands where gulls were huddling. The sky
was faintly filmed over with scarfs of silken vapor.
Cloud fleets rode at anchor along the horizons. An
evening star was watching over the bar.
"Isn't that a view worth looking at?" said Captain
Jim, with a loving, proprietary pride. "Nice and far
from the market-place, ain't it? No buying and selling
and getting gain. You don't have to pay anything--all
that sea and sky free--`without money and without
price.' There's going to be a moonrise purty soon,
too--I'm never tired of finding out what a moonrise can
be over them rocks and sea and harbor. There's a
surprise in it every time."
They had their moonrise, and watched its marvel and
magic in a silence that asked nothing of the world or
each other. Then they went up into the tower, and
Captain Jim showed and explained the mechanism of the
great light. Finally they found themselves in the
dining room, where a fire of driftwood was weaving
flames of wavering, elusive, sea-born hues in the open
"I put this fireplace in myself," remarked Captain
Jim. "The Government don't give lighthouse keepers
such luxuries. Look at the colors that wood makes. If
you'd like some driftwood for your fire, Mistress
Blythe, I'll bring you up a load some day. Sit down.
I'm going to make you a cup of tea."
Captain Jim placed a chair for Anne, having first
removed therefrom a huge, orange-colored cat and a
"Get down, Matey. The sofa is your place. I must put
this paper away safe till I can find time to finish the
story in it. It's called A Mad Love. 'Tisn't my
favorite brand of fiction, but I'm reading it jest to
see how long she can spin it out. It's at the
sixty-second chapter now, and the wedding ain't any
nearer than when it begun, far's I can see. When
little Joe comes I have to read him pirate yarns.
Ain't it strange how innocent little creatures like
children like the blood-thirstiest stories?"
"Like my lad Davy at home," said Anne. "He wants
tales that reek with gore."
Captain Jim's tea proved to be nectar. He was pleased
as a child with Anne's compliments, but he affected a
"The secret is I don't skimp the cream," he remarked
airily. Captain Jim had never heard of Oliver Wendell
Holmes, but he evidently agreed with that writer's
dictum that "big heart never liked little cream pot."
"We met an odd-looking personage coming out of your
lane," said Gilbert as they sipped. "Who was he?"
Captain Jim grinned.
"That's Marshall Elliott--a mighty fine man with jest
one streak of foolishness in him. I s'pose you
wondered what his object was in turning himself into a
sort of dime museum freak."
"Is he a modern Nazarite or a Hebrew prophet left over
from olden times?" asked Anne.
"Neither of them. It's politics that's at the bottom
of his freak. All those Elliotts and Crawfords and
MacAllisters are dyed-in-the-wool politicians. They're
born Grit or Tory, as the case may be, and they live
Grit or Tory, and they die Grit or Tory; and what
they're going to do in heaven, where there's probably
no politics, is more than I can fathom. This Marshall
Elliott was born a Grit. I'm a Grit myself in
moderation, but there's no moderation about Marshall.
Fifteen years ago there was a specially bitter general
election. Marshall fought for his party tooth and
nail. He was dead sure the Liberals would win--so
sure that he got up at a public meeting and vowed that
he wouldn't shave his face or cut his hair until the
Grits were in power. Well, they didn't go in--and
they've never got in yet--and you saw the result today
for yourselves. Marshall stuck to his word."
"What does his wife think of it?" asked Anne.
"He's a bachelor. But if he had a wife I reckon she
couldn't make him break that vow. That family of
Elliotts has always been more stubborn than natteral.
Marshall's brother Alexander had a dog he set great
store by, and when it died the man actilly wanted to
have it buried in the graveyard, `along with the other
Christians,' he said. Course, he wasn't allowed to; so
he buried it just outside the graveyard fence, and
never darkened the church door again. But Sundays he'd
drive his family to church and sit by that dog's grave
and read his Bible all the time service was going on.
They say when he was dying he asked his wife to bury
him beside the dog; she was a meek little soul but she
fired up at THAT. She said SHE wasn't going to be
buried beside no dog, and if he'd rather have his last
resting place beside the dog than beside her, jest to
say so. Alexander Elliott was a stubborn mule, but he
was fond of his wife, so he give in and said, `Well,
durn it, bury me where you please. But when Gabriel's
trump blows I expect my dog to rise with the rest of
us, for he had as much soul as any durned Elliott or
Crawford or MacAllister that ever strutted.' Them was
HIS parting words. As for Marshall, we're all used to
him, but he must strike strangers as right down
peculiar- looking. I've known him ever since he was
ten--he's about fifty now--and I like him. Him and me
was out cod-fishing today. That's about all I'm good
for now--catching trout and cod occasional. But
'tweren't always so--not by no manner of means. I used
to do other things, as you'd admit if you saw my
Anne was just going to ask what his life-book was when
the First Mate created a diversion by springing upon
Captain Jim's knee. He was a gorgeous beastie, with a
face as round as a full moon, vivid green eyes, and
immense, white, double paws. Captain Jim stroked his
velvet back gently.
"I never fancied cats much till I found the First
Mate," he remarked, to the accompaniment of the Mate's
tremendous purrs. "I saved his life, and when you've
saved a creature's life you're bound to love it. It's
next thing to giving life. There's some turrible
thoughtless people in the world, Mistress Blythe. Some
of them city folks who have summer homes over the
harbor are so thoughtless that they're cruel. It's the
worst kind of cruelty--the thoughtless kind. You can't
cope with it. They keep cats there in the summer, and
feed and pet 'em, and doll 'em up with ribbons and
collars. And then in the fall they go off and leave
'em to starve or freeze. It makes my blood boil,
Mistress Blythe. One day last winter I found a poor
old mother cat dead on the shore, lying against the
skin-and-bone bodies of her three little kittens.
She'd died trying to shelter 'em. She had her poor
stiff paws around 'em. Master, I cried. Then I swore.
Then I carried them poor little kittens home and fed
'em up and found good homes for 'em. I knew the woman
who left the cat and when she come back this summer I
jest went over the harbor and told her my opinion of
her. It was rank meddling, but I do love meddling in a
"How did she take it?" asked Gilbert.
"Cried and said she `didn't think.' I says to her,
says I, `Do you s'pose that'll be held for a good
excuse in the day of Jedgment, when you'll have to
account for that poor old mother's life? The Lord'll
ask you what He give you your brains for if it wasn't
to think, I reckon.' I don't fancy she'll leave cats
to starve another time."
"Was the First Mate one of the forsaken?" asked Anne,
making advances to him which were responded to
graciously, if condescendingly.
"Yes. I found HIM one bitter cold day in winter,
caught in the branches of a tree by his durn-fool
ribbon collar. He was almost starving. If you could
have seen his eyes, Mistress Blythe! He was nothing
but a kitten, and he'd got his living somehow since
he'd been left until he got hung up. When I loosed him
he gave my hand a pitiful swipe with his little red
tongue. He wasn't the able seaman you see now. He was
meek as Moses. That was nine years ago. His life has
been long in the land for a cat. He's a good old pal,
the First Mate is."
"I should have expected you to have a dog," said
Captain Jim shook his head.
"I had a dog once. I thought so much of him that when
he died I couldn't bear the thought of getting another
in his place. He was a FRIEND--you understand,
Mistress Blythe? Matey's only a pal. I'm fond of
Matey--all the fonder on account of the spice of
devilment that's in him--like there is in all cats.
But I LOVED my dog. I always had a sneaking sympathy
for Alexander Elliott about HIS dog. There isn't any
devil in a good dog. That's why they're more lovable
than cats, I reckon. But I'm darned if they're as
interesting. Here I am, talking too much. Why don't
you check me? When I do get a chance to talk to
anyone I run on turrible. If you've done your tea I've
a few little things you might like to look at--picked
'em up in the queer corners I used to be poking my nose
Captain Jim's "few little things" turned out to be a
most interesting collection of curios, hideous, quaint
and beautiful. And almost every one had some striking
story attached to it.
Anne never forgot the delight with which she listened
to those old tales that moonlit evening by that
enchanted driftwood fire, while the silver sea called
to them through the open window and sobbed against the
rocks below them.
Captain Jim never said a boastful word, but it was
impossible to help seeing what a hero the man had
been--brave, true, resourceful, unselfish. He sat
there in his little room and made those things live
again for his hearers. By a lift of the eyebrow, a
twist of the lip, a gesture, a word, he painted a whole
scene or character so that they saw it as it was.
Some of Captain Jim's adventures had such a marvellous
edge that Anne and Gilbert secretly wondered if he were
not drawing a rather long bow at their credulous
expense. But in this, as they found later, they did
him injustice. His tales were all literally true.
Captain Jim had the gift of the born storyteller,
whereby "unhappy, far-off things" can be brought
vividly before the hearer in all their pristine
Anne and Gilbert laughed and shivered over his tales,
and once Anne found herself crying. Captain Jim
surveyed her tears with pleasure shining from his face.
"I like to see folks cry that way," he remarked.
"It's a compliment. But I can't do justice to the
things I've seen or helped to do. I've 'em all jotted
down in my life-book, but I haven't got the knack of
writing them out properly. If I could hit on jest the
right words and string 'em together proper on paper I
could make a great book. It would beat A Mad Love
holler, and I believe Joe'd like it as well as the
pirate yarns. Yes, I've had some adventures in my
time; and, do you know, Mistress Blythe, I still lust
after 'em. Yes, old and useless as I be, there's an
awful longing sweeps over me at times to sail
out--out--out there--forever and ever."
"Like Ulysses, you would
`Sail beyond the sunset and the baths Of all
the western stars until you die,'"
said Anne dreamily.
"Ulysses? I've read of him. Yes, that's just how I
feel--jest how all us old sailors feel, I reckon. I'll
die on land after all, I s'pose. Well, what is to be
will be. There was old William Ford at the Glen who
never went on the water in his life, 'cause he was
afraid of being drowned. A fortune-teller had
predicted he would be. And one day he fainted and fell
with his face in the barn trough and was drowned. Must
you go? Well, come soon and come often. The doctor is
to do the talking next time. He knows a heap of things
I want to find out. I'm sorter lonesome here by times.
It's been worse since Elizabeth Russell died. Her and
me was such cronies."
Captain Jim spoke with the pathos of the aged, who see
their old friends slipping from them one by
one--friends whose place can never be quite filled by
those of a younger generation, even of the race that
knows Joseph. Anne and Gilbert promised to come soon
"He's a rare old fellow, isn't he?" said Gilbert, as
they walked home.
"Somehow, I can't reconcile his simple, kindly
personality with the wild, adventurous life he has
lived," mused Anne.
"You wouldn't find it so hard if you had seen him the
other day down at the fishing village. One of the men
of Peter Gautier's boat made a nasty remark about some
girl along the shore. Captain Jim fairly scorched the
wretched fellow with the lightning of his eyes. He
seemed a man transformed. He didn't say much--but the
way he said it! You'd have thought it would strip the
flesh from the fellow's bones. I understand that
Captain Jim will never allow a word against any woman
to be said in his presence."
"I wonder why he never married," said Anne. "He
should have sons with their ships at sea now, and
grandchildren climbing over him to hear his
stories--he's that kind of a man. Instead, he has
nothing but a magnificent cat."
But Anne was mistaken. Captain Jim had more than that.
He had a memory.
CHAPTER 10. LESLIE MOORE
"I'm going for a walk to the outside shore tonight,"
Anne told Gog and Magog one October evening. There was
no one else to tell, for Gilbert had gone over the
harbor. Anne had her little domain in the speckless
order one would expect of anyone brought up by Marilla
Cuthbert, and felt that she could gad shoreward with a
clear conscience. Many and delightful had been her
shore rambles, sometimes with Gilbert, sometimes with
Captain Jim, sometimes alone with her own thoughts and
new, poignantly-sweet dreams that were beginning to
span life with their rainbows. She loved the gentle,
misty harbor shore and the silvery, wind-haunted sand
shore, but best of all she loved the rock shore, with
its cliffs and caves and piles of surf-worn boulders,
and its coves where the pebbles glittered under the
pools; and it was to this shore she hied herself
There had been an autumn storm of wind and rain,
lasting for three days. Thunderous had been the crash
of billows on the rocks, wild the white spray and spume
that blew over the bar, troubled and misty and
tempest-torn the erstwhile blue peace of Four Winds
Harbor. Now it was over, and the shore lay
clean-washed after the storm; not a wind stirred, but
there was still a fine surf on, dashing on sand and
rock in a splendid white turmoil--the only restless
thing in the great, pervading stillness and peace.
"Oh, this is a moment worth living through weeks of
storm and stress for," Anne exclaimed, delightedly
sending her far gaze across the tossing waters from the
top of the cliff where she stood. Presently she
scrambled down the steep path to the little cove below,
where she seemed shut in with rocks and sea and sky.
"I'm going to dance and sing," she said. "There's no
one here to see me--the seagulls won't carry tales of
the matter. I may be as crazy as I like."
She caught up her skirt and pirouetted along the hard
strip of sand just out of reach of the waves that
almost lapped her feet with their spent foam. Whirling
round and round, laughing like a child, she reached the
little headland that ran out to the east of the cove;
then she stopped suddenly, blushing crimson; she was
not alone; there had been a witness to her dance and
The girl of the golden hair and sea-blue eyes was
sitting on a boulder of the headland, half-hidden by a
jutting rock. She was looking straight at Anne with a
strange expression--part wonder, part sympathy,
part--could it be?--envy. She was bare-headed, and her
splendid hair, more than ever like Browning's "gorgeous
snake," was bound about her head with a crimson
ribbon. She wore a dress of some dark material, very
plainly made; but swathed about her waist, outlining
its fine curves, was a vivid girdle of red silk. Her
hands, clasped over her knee, were brown and somewhat
work- hardened; but the skin of her throat and cheeks
was as white as cream. A flying gleam of sunset broke
through a low-lying western cloud and fell across her
hair. For a moment she seemed the spirit of the sea
personified--all its mystery, all its passion, all its
"You--you must think me crazy," stammered Anne, trying
to recover her self-possession. To be seen by this
stately girl in such an abandon of childishness--she,
Mrs. Dr. Blythe, with all the dignity of the matron to
keep up--it was too bad!
"No," said the girl, "I don't."
She said nothing more; her voice was expressionless;
her manner slightly repellent; but there was something
in her eyes--eager yet shy, defiant yet pleading--which
turned Anne from her purpose of walking away. Instead,
she sat down on the boulder beside the girl.
"Let's introduce ourselves," she said, with the smile
that had never yet failed to win confidence and
friendliness. "I am Mrs. Blythe--and I live in that
little white house up the harbor shore."
"Yes, I know," said the girl. "I am Leslie
Moore--Mrs. Dick Moore," she added stiffly.
Anne was silent for a moment from sheer amazement. It
had not occurred to her that this girl was
married--there seemed nothing of the wife about her.
And that she should be the neighbor whom Anne had
pictured as a commonplace Four Winds housewife! Anne
could not quickly adjust her mental focus to this
"Then--then you live in that gray house up the brook,"
"Yes. I should have gone over to call on you long
ago," said the other. She did not offer any
explanation or excuse for not having gone.
"I wish you WOULD come," said Anne, recovering herself
somewhat. "We're such near neighbors we ought to be
friends. That is the sole fault of Four Winds--there
aren't quite enough neighbors. Otherwise it is
"You like it?"
"LIKE it! I love it. It is the most beautiful place I
"I've never seen many places," said Leslie Moore,
slowly, "but I've always thought it was very lovely
here. I--I love it, too."
She spoke, as she looked, shyly, yet eagerly. Anne had
an odd impression that this strange girl--the word
"girl" would persist-- could say a good deal if she
"I often come to the shore," she added.
"So do I," said Anne. "It's a wonder we haven't met
"Probably you come earlier in the evening than I do.
It is generally late--almost dark--when I come. And I
love to come just after a storm--like this. I don't
like the sea so well when it's calm and quiet. I like
the struggle--and the crash--and the noise."
"I love it in all its moods," declared Anne. "The sea
at Four Winds is to me what Lover's Lane was at home.
Tonight it seemed so free--so untamed--something broke
loose in me, too, out of sympathy. That was why I
danced along the shore in that wild way. I didn't
suppose anybody was looking, of course. If Miss
Cornelia Bryant had seen me she would have forboded a
gloomy prospect for poor young Dr. Blythe."
"You know Miss Cornelia?" said Leslie, laughing. She
had an exquisite laugh; it bubbled up suddenly and
unexpectedly with something of the delicious quality of
a baby's. Anne laughed, too.
"Oh, yes. She has been down to my house of dreams
"Your house of dreams?"
"Oh, that's a dear, foolish little name Gilbert and I
have for our home. We just call it that between
ourselves. It slipped out before I thought."
"So Miss Russell's little white house is YOUR house of
dreams," said Leslie wonderingly. "_I_ had a house of
dreams once--but it was a palace," she added, with a
laugh, the sweetness of which was marred by a little
note of derision.
"Oh, I once dreamed of a palace, too," said Anne. "I
suppose all girls do. And then we settle down
contentedly in eight-room houses that seem to fulfill
all the desires of our hearts--because our prince is
there. YOU should have had your palace really,
though--you are so beautiful. You MUST let me say
it--it has to be said--I'm nearly bursting with
admiration. You are the loveliest thing I ever saw,
"If we are to be friends you must call me Leslie,"
said the other with an odd passion.
"Of course I will. And MY friends call me Anne."
"I suppose I am beautiful," Leslie went on, looking
stormily out to sea. "I hate my beauty. I wish I had
always been as brown and plain as the brownest and
plainest girl at the fishing village over there.
Well, what do you think of Miss Cornelia?"
The abrupt change of subject shut the door on any
"Miss Cornelia is a darling, isn't she?" said Anne.
"Gilbert and I were invited to her house to a state tea
last week. You've heard of groaning tables."
"I seem to recall seeing the expression in the
newspaper reports of weddings," said Leslie, smiling.
"Well, Miss Cornelia's groaned--at least, it
creaked--positively. You couldn't have believed she
would have cooked so much for two ordinary people. She
had every kind of pie you could name, I think--except
lemon pie. She said she had taken the prize for lemon
pies at the Charlottetown Exhibition ten years ago and
had never made any since for fear of losing her
reputation for them."
"Were you able to eat enough pie to please her?"
"_I_ wasn't. Gilbert won her heart by eating--I won't
tell you how much. She said she never knew a man who
didn't like pie better than his Bible. Do you know, I
love Miss Cornelia."
"So do I," said Leslie. "She is the best friend I
have in the world."
Anne wondered secretly why, if this were so, Miss
Cornelia had never mentioned Mrs. Dick Moore to her.
Miss Cornelia had certainly talked freely about every
other individual in or near Four Winds.
"Isn't that beautiful?" said Leslie, after a brief
silence, pointing to the exquisite effect of a shaft of
light falling through a cleft in the rock behind them,
across a dark green pool at its base. "If I had come
here--and seen nothing but just that--I would go home
"The effects of light and shadow all along these shores
are wonderful," agreed Anne. "My little sewing room
looks out on the harbor, and I sit at its window and
feast my eyes. The colors and shadows are never the
same two minutes together."
"And you are never lonely?" asked Leslie abruptly.
"Never-- when you are alone?"
"No. I don't think I've ever been really lonely in my
life," answered Anne. "Even when I'm alone I have
real good company-- dreams and imaginations and
pretendings. I LIKE to be alone now and then, just to
think over things and TASTE them. But I love
friendship-- and nice, jolly little times with people.
Oh, WON'T you come to see me--often? Please do. I
believe," Anne added, laughing, "that you'd like me if
you knew me."
"I wonder if YOU would like ME," said Leslie
seriously. She was not fishing for a compliment. She
looked out across the waves that were beginning to be
garlanded with blossoms of moonlit foam, and her eyes
filled with shadows.
"I'm sure I would," said Anne. "And please don't
think I'm utterly irresponsible because you saw me
dancing on the shore at sunset. No doubt I shall be
dignified after a time. You see, I haven't been
married very long. I feel like a girl, and sometimes
like a child, yet."
"I have been married twelve years," said Leslie.
Here was another unbelievable thing.
"Why, you can't be as old as I am!" exclaimed Anne.
"You must have been a child when you were married."
"I was sixteen," said Leslie, rising, and picking up
the cap and jacket lying beside her. "I am
twenty-eight now. Well, I must go back."
"So must I. Gilbert will probably be home. But I'm so
glad we both came to the shore tonight and met each
Leslie said nothing, and Anne was a little chilled.
She had offered friendship frankly but it had not been
accepted very graciously, if it had not been absolutely
repelled. In silence they climbed the cliffs and
walked across a pasture-field of which the feathery,
bleached, wild grasses were like a carpet of creamy
velvet in the moonlight. When they reached the shore
lane Leslie turned.
"I go this way, Mrs. Blythe. You will come over and
see me some time, won't you?"
Anne felt as if the invitation had been thrown at her.
She got the impression that Leslie Moore gave it
"I will come if you really want me to," she said a
"Oh, I do--I do," exclaimed Leslie, with an eagerness
which seemed to burst forth and beat down some
restraint that had been imposed on it.
"Then I'll come. Good-night--Leslie."
"Good-night, Mrs. Blythe."
Anne walked home in a brown study and poured out her
tale to Gilbert.
"So Mrs. Dick Moore isn't one of the race that knows
Joseph?" said Gilbert teasingly.
"No--o--o, not exactly. And yet--I think she WAS one
of them once, but has gone or got into exile," said
Anne musingly. "She is certainly very different from
the other women about here. You can't talk about eggs
and butter to HER. To think I've been imagining her a
second Mrs. Rachel Lynde! Have you ever seen Dick
"No. I've seen several men working about the fields of
the farm, but I don't know which was Moore."
"She never mentioned him. I KNOW she isn't happy."
"From what you tell me I suppose she was married before
she was old enough to know her own mind or heart, and
found out too late that she had made a mistake. It's a
common tragedy enough, Anne.
A fine woman would have made the best of it. Mrs.
Moore has evidently let it make her bitter and
"Don't let us judge her till we know," pleaded Anne.
"I don't believe her case is so ordinary. You will
understand her fascination when you meet her, Gilbert.
It is a thing quite apart from her beauty. I feel that
she possesses a rich nature, into which a friend might
enter as into a kingdom; but for some reason she bars
every one out and shuts all her possibilities up in
herself, so that they cannot develop and blossom.
There, I've been struggling to define her to myself
ever since I left her, and that is the nearest I can
get to it. I'm going to ask Miss Cornelia about her."
CHAPTER 11. THE STORY OF LESLIE MOORE
"Yes, the eighth baby arrived a fortnight ago," said
Miss Cornelia, from a rocker before the fire of the
little house one chilly October afternoon. "It's a
girl. Fred was ranting mad--said he wanted a
boy--when the truth is he didn't want it at all. If it
had been a boy he'd have ranted because it wasn't a
girl. They had four girls and three boys before, so I
can't see that it made much difference what this one
was, but of course he'd have to be cantankerous, just
like a man. The baby is real pretty, dressed up in its
nice little clothes. It has black eyes and the
dearest, tiny hands."
"I must go and see it. I just love babies," said
Anne, smiling to herself over a thought too dear and
sacred to be put into words.
"I don't say but what they're nice," admitted Miss
Cornelia. "But some folks seem to have more than they
really need, believe ME. My poor cousin Flora up at
the Glen had eleven, and such a slave as she is! Her
husband suicided three years ago. Just like a man!"
"What made him do that?" asked Anne, rather shocked.
"Couldn't get his way over something, so he jumped into
the well . A good riddance! He was a born tyrant.
But of course it spoiled the well. Flora could never
abide the thought of using it again, poor thing! So
she had another dug and a frightful expense it was, and
the water as hard as nails. If he HAD to drown himself
there was plenty of water in the harbor, wasn't there?
I've no patience with a man like that. We've only had
two suicides in Four Winds in my recollection. The
other was Frank West--Leslie Moore's father. By the
way, has Leslie ever been over to call on you yet?"
"No, but I met her on the shore a few nights ago and we
scraped an acquaintance," said Anne, pricking up her
Miss Cornelia nodded.
"I'm glad, dearie. I was hoping you'd foregather with
her. What do you think of her?"
"I thought her very beautiful."
"Oh, of course. There was never anybody about Four
Winds could touch her for looks. Did you ever see her
hair? It reaches to her feet when she lets it down.
But I meant how did you like her?"
"I think I could like her very much if she'd let me,"
said Anne slowly.
"But she wouldn't let you--she pushed you off and kept
you at arm's length. Poor Leslie! You wouldn't be
much surprised if you knew what her life has been.
It's been a tragedy--a tragedy!" repeated Miss
"I wish you would tell me all about her--that is, if
you can do so without betraying any confidence."
"Lord, dearie, everybody in Four Winds knows poor
Leslie's story. It's no secret--the OUTSIDE, that is.
Nobody knows the INSIDE but Leslie herself, and she
doesn't take folks into her confidence. I'm about the
best friend she has on earth, I reckon, and she's never
uttered a word of complaint to me. Have you ever seen
"Well, I may as well begin at the beginning and tell
you everything straight through, so you'll understand
it. As I said, Leslie's father was Frank West. He was
clever and shiftless--just like a man. Oh, he had
heaps of brains--and much good they did him! He
started to go to college, and he went for two years,
and then his health broke down. The Wests were all
inclined to be consumptive. So Frank came home and
started farming. He married Rose Elliott from over
harbor. Rose was reckoned the beauty of Four
Winds--Leslie takes her looks from her mother, but she
has ten times the spirit and go that Rose had, and a
far better figure. Now you know, Anne, I always take
the ground that us women ought to stand by each other.
We've got enough to endure at the hands of the men, the
Lord knows, so I hold we hadn't ought to clapper-claw
one another, and it isn't often you'll find me running
down another woman. But I never had much use for Rose
Elliott. She was spoiled to begin with, believe ME,
and she was nothing but a lazy, selfish, whining
creature. Frank was no hand to work, so they were
poor as Job's turkey. Poor! They lived on potatoes
and point, believe ME. They had two children--Leslie
and Kenneth. Leslie had her mother's looks and her
father's brains, and something she didn't get from
either of them. She took after her Grandmother West--a
splendid old lady. She was the brightest, friendliest,
merriest thing when she was a child, Anne. Everybody
liked her. She was her father's favorite and she was
awful fond of him. They were `chums,' as she used to
say. She couldn't see any of his faults--and he WAS a
taking sort of man in some ways.
"Well, when Leslie was twelve years old, the first
dreadful thing happened. She worshipped little
Kenneth--he was four years younger than her, and he WAS
a dear little chap. And he was killed one day--fell
off a big load of hay just as it was going into the
barn, and the wheel went right over his little body and
crushed the life out of it. And mind you, Anne, Leslie
saw it. She was looking down from the loft. She gave
one screech--the hired man said he never heard such a
sound in all his life--he said it would ring in his
ears till Gabriel's trump drove it out. But she never
screeched or cried again about it. She jumped from the
loft onto the load and from the load to the floor, and
caught up the little bleeding, warm, dead body,
Anne--they had to tear it from her before she would let
it go. They sent for me--I can't talk of it."
Miss Cornelia wiped the tears from her kindly brown
eyes and sewed in bitter silence for a few minutes.
"Well," she resumed, "it was all over--they buried
little Kenneth in that graveyard over the harbor, and
after a while Leslie went back to her school and her
studies. She never mentioned Kenneth's name--I've
never heard it cross her lips from that day to this. I
reckon that old hurt still aches and burns at times;
but she was only a child and time is real kind to
children, Anne, dearie. After a while she began to
laugh again--she had the prettiest laugh. You don't
often hear it now."
"I heard it once the other night," said Anne. "It IS
a beautiful laugh."
"Frank West began to go down after Kenneth's death. He
wasn't strong and it was a shock to him, because he was
real fond of the child, though, as I've said, Leslie
was his favorite. He got mopy and melancholy, and
couldn't or wouldn't work. And one day, when Leslie
was fourteen years of age, he hanged himself--and in
the parlor, too, mind you, Anne, right in the middle of
the parlor from the lamp hook in the ceiling. Wasn't
that like a man? It was the anniversary of his
wedding day, too. Nice, tasty time to pick for it,
wasn't it? And, of course, that poor Leslie had to be
the one to find him. She went into the parlor that
morning, singing, with some fresh flowers for the
vases, and there she saw her father hanging from the
ceiling, his face as black as a coal. It was something
awful, believe ME!"
"Oh, how horrible!" said Anne, shuddering. "The poor,
"Leslie didn't cry at her father's funeral any more
then she had cried at Kenneth's. Rose whooped and
howled for two, however, and Leslie had all she could
do trying to calm and comfort her mother. I was
disgusted with Rose and so was everyone else, but
Leslie never got out of patience. She loved her
mother. Leslie is clannish--her own could never do
wrong in her eyes. Well, they buried Frank West beside
Kenneth, and Rose put up a great big monument to him.
It was bigger than his character, believe ME! Anyhow,
it was bigger than Rose could afford, for the farm was
mortgaged for more than its value. But not long after
Leslie's old grandmother West died and she left Leslie
a little money--enough to give her a year at Queen's
Academy. Leslie had made up her mind to pass for a
teacher if she could, and then earn enough to put
herself through Redmond College. That had been her
father's pet scheme--he wanted her to have what he had
lost. Leslie was full of ambition and her head was
chock full of brains. She went to Queen's, and she
took two years' work in one year and got her First;
and when she came home she got the Glen school. She
was so happy and hopeful and full of life and
eagerness. When I think of what she was then and what
she is now, I say--drat the men!"
Miss Cornelia snipped her thread off as viciously as
if, Nero-like, she was severing the neck of mankind by
"Dick Moore came into her life that summer. His
father, Abner Moore, kept store at the Glen, but Dick
had a sea-going streak in him from his mother; he used
to sail in summer and clerk in his father's store in
winter. He was a big, handsome fellow, with a little
ugly soul. He was always wanting something till he got
it, and then he stopped wanting it--just like a man.
Oh, he didn't growl at the weather when it was fine,
and he was mostly real pleasant and agreeable when
everything went right. But he drank a good deal, and
there were some nasty stories told of him and a girl
down at the fishing village. He wasn't fit for Leslie
to wipe her feet on, that's the long and short of it.
And he was a Methodist! But he was clean mad about
her--because of her good looks in the first place, and
because she wouldn't have anything to say to him in the
second. He vowed he'd have her--and he got her!"
"How did he bring it about?"
"Oh, it was an iniquitous thing! I'll never forgive
Rose West. You see, dearie, Abner Moore held the
mortgage on the West farm, and the interest was overdue
some years, and Dick just went and told Mrs. West that
if Leslie wouldn't marry him he'd get his father to
foreclose the mortgage. Rose carried on
terrible--fainted and wept, and pleaded with Leslie not
to let her be turned out of her home. She said it
would break her heart to leave the home she'd come to
as a bride. I wouldn't have blamed her for feeling
dreadful bad over it--but you wouldn't have thought
she'd be so selfish as to sacrifice her own flesh and
blood because of it, would you? Well, she was.
And Leslie gave in--she loved her mother so much she
would have done anything to save her pain. She married
Dick Moore. None of us knew why at the time. It
wasn't till long afterward that I found out how her
mother had worried her into it. I was sure there was
something wrong, though, because I knew how she had
snubbed him time and again, and it wasn't like Leslie
to turn face--about like that. Besides, I knew that
Dick Moore wasn't the kind of man Leslie could ever
fancy, in spite of his good looks and dashing ways. Of
course, there was no wedding, but Rose asked me to go
and see them married. I went, but I was sorry I did.
I'd seen Leslie's face at her brother's funeral and at
her father's funeral--and now it seemed to me I was
seeing it at her own funeral. But Rose was smiling as
a basket of chips, believe ME!
"Leslie and Dick settled down on the West place--Rose
couldn't bear to part with her dear daughter!--and
lived there for the winter. In the spring Rose took
pneumonia and died--a year too late! Leslie was
heart-broken enough over it. Isn't it terrible the way
some unworthy folks are loved, while others that
deserve it far more, you'd think, never get much
affection? As for Dick, he'd had enough of quiet
married life--just like a man. He was for up and off.
He went over to Nova Scotia to visit his relations--his
father had come from Nova Scotia--and he wrote back to
Leslie that his cousin, George Moore, was going on a
voyage to Havana and he was going too. The name of the
vessel was the Four Sisters and they were to be gone
about nine weeks.
"It must have been a relief to Leslie. But she never
said anything. From the day of her marriage she was
just what she is now--cold and proud, and keeping
everyone but me at a distance. I won't BE kept at a
distance, believe ME! I've just stuck to Leslie as
close as I knew how in spite of everything."
"She told me you were the best friend she had," said
"Did she?" exclaimed Miss Cornelia delightedly.
"Well, I'm real thankful to hear it. Sometimes I've
wondered if she really did want me around at all--she
never let me think so. You must have thawed her out
more than you think, or she wouldn't have said that
much itself to you. Oh, that poor, heart-broken girl!
I never see Dick Moore but I want to run a knife clean
Miss Cornelia wiped her eyes again and having relieved
her feelings by her blood-thirsty wish, took up her
"Well, Leslie was left over there alone. Dick had put
in the crop before he went, and old Abner looked after
it. The summer went by and the Four Sisters didn't
come back. The Nova Scotia Moores investigated, and
found she had got to Havana and discharged her cargo
and took on another and left for home; and that was all
they ever found out about her. By degrees people began
to talk of Dick Moore as one that was dead. Almost
everyone believed that he was, though no one felt
certain, for men have turned up here at the harbor
after they'd been gone for years. Leslie never thought
he was dead--and she was right. A thousand pities too!
The next summer Captain Jim was in Havana--that was
before he gave up the sea, of course. He thought he'd
poke round a bit--Captain Jim was always meddlesome,
just like a man--and he went to inquiring round among
the sailors' boarding houses and places like that, to
see if he could find out anything about the crew of the
Four Sisters. He'd better have let sleeping dogs lie,
in my opinion! Well, he went to one out-of-the-way
place, and there he found a man he knew at first sight
it was Dick Moore, though he had a big beard. Captain
Jim got it shaved off and then there was no
doubt--Dick Moore it was--his body at least. His mind
wasn't there--as for his soul, in my opinion he never
"What had happened to him?"
"Nobody knows the rights of it. All the folks who kept
the boarding house could tell was that about a year
before they had found him lying on their doorstep one
morning in an awful condition--his head battered to a
jelly almost. They supposed he'd got hurt in some
drunken row, and likely that's the truth of it. They
took him in, never thinking he could live. But he
did--and he was just like a child when he got well.
He hadn't memory or intellect or reason. They tried to
find out who he was but they never could. He couldn't
even tell them his name--he could only say a few simple
words. He had a letter on him beginning `Dear Dick'
and signed `Leslie,' but there was no address on it and
the envelope was gone. They let him stay on--he
learned to do a few odd jobs about the place--and there
Captain Jim found him. He brought him home-- I've
always said it was a bad day's work, though I s'pose
there was nothing else he could do. He thought maybe
when Dick got home and saw his old surroundings and
familiar faces his memory would wake up. But it hadn't
any effect. There he's been at the house up the brook
ever since. He's just like a child, no more nor less.
Takes fractious spells occasionally, but mostly he's
just vacant and good humored and harmless. He's apt to
run away if he isn't watched. That's the burden
Leslie has had to carry for eleven years--and all
alone. Old Abner Moore died soon after Dick was
brought home and it was found he was almost bankrupt.
When things were settled up there was nothing for
Leslie and Dick but the old West farm. Leslie rented
it to John Ward, and the rent is all she has to live
on. Sometimes in summer she takes a boarder to help
out. But most visitors prefer the other side of the
harbor where the hotels and summer cottages are.
Leslie's house is too far from the bathing shore.
She's taken care of Dick and she's never been away from
him for eleven years--she's tied to that imbecile for
life. And after all the dreams and hopes she once had!
You can imagine what it has been like for her, Anne,
dearie--with her beauty and spirit and pride and
cleverness. It's just been a living death."
"Poor, poor girl!" said Anne again. Her own happiness
seemed to reproach her. What right had she to be so
happy when another human soul must be so miserable?
"Will you tell me just what Leslie said and how she
acted the night you met her on the shore?" asked Miss
She listened intently and nodded her satisfaction.
"YOU thought she was stiff and cold, Anne, dearie, but
I can tell you she thawed out wonderful for her. She
must have taken to you real strong. I'm so glad. You
may be able to help her a good deal. I was thankful
when I heard that a young couple was coming to this
house, for I hoped it would mean some friends for
Leslie; especially if you belonged to the race that
knows Joseph. You WILL be her friend, won't you, Anne,
"Indeed I will, if she'll let me," said Anne, with all
her own sweet, impulsive earnestness.
"No, you must be her friend, whether she'll let you or
not," said Miss Cornelia resolutely. "Don't you mind
if she's stiff by times-- don't notice it. Remember
what her life has been--and is--and must always be, I
suppose, for creatures like Dick Moore live forever, I
understand. You should see how fat he's got since he
came home. He used to be lean enough. Just MAKE her
be friends--you can do it--you're one of those who have
the knack. Only you mustn't be sensitive. And don't
mind if she doesn't seem to want you to go over there
much. She knows that some women don't like to be where
Dick is--they complain he gives them the creeps. Just
get her to come over here as often as she can. She
can't get away so very much--she can't leave Dick long,
for the Lord knows what he'd do--burn the house down
most likely. At nights, after he's in bed and asleep,
is about the only time she's free. He always goes to
bed early and sleeps like the dead till next morning.
That is how you came to meet her at the shore likely.
She wanders there considerable."
"I will do everything I can for her," said Anne. Her
interest in Leslie Moore, which had been vivid ever
since she had seen her driving her geese down the hill,
was intensified a thousand fold by Miss Cornelia's
narration. The girl's beauty and sorrow and loneliness
drew her with an irresistible fascination. She had
never known anyone like her; her friends had hitherto
been wholesome, normal, merry girls like herself, with
only the average trials of human care and bereavement
to shadow their girlish dreams. Leslie Moore stood
apart, a tragic, appealing figure of thwarted
womanhood. Anne resolved that she would win entrance
into the kingdom of that lonely soul and find there the
comradeship it could so richly give, were it not for
the cruel fetters that held it in a prison not of its
"And mind you this, Anne, dearie," said Miss Cornelia,
who had not yet wholly relieved her mind, "You mustn't
think Leslie is an infidel because she hardly ever goes
to church--or even that she's a Methodist. She can't
take Dick to church, of course--not that he ever
troubled church much in his best days. But you just
remember that she's a real strong Presbyterian at
heart, Anne, dearie."
CHAPTER 12. LESLIE COMES OVER
Leslie came over to the house of dreams one frosty
October night, when moonlit mists were hanging over the
harbor and curling like silver ribbons along the
seaward glens. She looked as if she repented coming
when Gilbert answered her knock; but Anne flew past
him, pounced on her, and drew her in.
"I'm so glad you picked tonight for a call," she said
gaily. "I made up a lot of extra good fudge this
afternoon and we want someone to help us eat it--before
the fire--while we tell stories. Perhaps Captain Jim
will drop in, too. This is his night."
"No. Captain Jim is over home," said Leslie. "He--he
made me come here," she added, half defiantly.
"I'll say a thank-you to him for that when I see him,"
said Anne, pulling easy chairs before the fire.
"Oh, I don't mean that I didn't want to come,"
protested Leslie, flushing a little. "I--I've been
thinking of coming--but it isn't always easy for me to
"Of course it must be hard for you to leave Mr.
Moore," said Anne, in a matter-of-fact tone. She had
decided that it would be best to mention Dick Moore
occasionally as an accepted fact, and not give undue
morbidness to the subject by avoiding it. She was
right, for Leslie's air of constraint suddenly
vanished. Evidently she had been wondering how much
Anne knew of the conditions of her life and was
relieved that no explanations were needed. She allowed
her cap and jacket to be taken, and sat down with a
girlish snuggle in the big armchair by Magog. She was
dressed prettily and carefully, with the customary
touch of color in the scarlet geranium at her white
throat. Her beautiful hair gleamed like molten gold in
the warm firelight. Her sea-blue eyes were full of
soft laughter and allurement. For the moment, under the
influence of the little house of dreams, she was a
girl again--a girl forgetful of the past and its
bitterness. The atmosphere of the many loves that had
sanctified the little house was all about her; the
companionship of two healthy, happy, young folks of
her own generation encircled her; she felt and yielded
to the magic of her surroundings--Miss Cornelia and
Captain Jim would scarcely have recognized her; Anne
found it hard to believe that this was the cold,
unresponsive woman she had met on the shore--this
animated girl who talked and listened with the
eagerness of a starved soul. And how hungrily Leslie's
eyes looked at the bookcases between the windows!
"Our library isn't very extensive," said Anne, "but
every book in it is a FRIEND. We've picked our books
up through the years, here and there, never buying one
until we had first read it and knew that it belonged to
the race of Joseph."
Leslie laughed--beautiful laughter that seemed akin to
all the mirth that had echoed through the little house
in the vanished years.
"I have a few books of father's--not many," she said.
"I've read them until I know them almost by heart. I
don't get many books. There's a circulating library at
the Glen store--but I don't think the committee who
pick the books for Mr. Parker know what books are of
Joseph's race--or perhaps they don't care. It was so
seldom I got one I really liked that I gave up getting
"I hope you'll look on our bookshelves as your own,"
"You are entirely and wholeheartedly welcome to the
loan of any book on them."
"You are setting a feast of fat things before me,"
said Leslie, joyously. Then, as the clock struck ten,
she rose, half unwillingly.
"I must go. I didn't realise it was so late. Captain
Jim is always saying it doesn't take long to stay an
hour. But I've stayed two--and oh, but I've enjoyed
them," she added frankly.
"Come often," said Anne and Gilbert. They had risen
and stood together in the firelight's glow. Leslie
looked at them--youthful, hopeful, happy, typifying all
she had missed and must forever miss. The light went
out of her face and eyes; the girl vanished; it was the
sorrowful, cheated woman who answered the invitation
almost coldly and got herself away with a pitiful
Anne watched her until she was lost in the shadows of
the chill and misty night. Then she turned slowly back
to the glow of her own radiant hearthstone.
"Isn't she lovely, Gilbert? Her hair fascinates me.
Miss Cornelia says it reaches to her feet. Ruby Gillis
had beautiful hair--but Leslie's is ALIVE--every thread
of it is living gold."
"She is very beautiful," agreed Gilbert, so heartily
that Anne almost wished he were a LITTLE less
"Gilbert, would you like my hair better if it were like
Leslie's?" she asked wistfully.
"I wouldn't have your hair any color but just what it
is for the world," said Gilbert, with one or two
You wouldn't be ANNE if you had golden hair--or hair of
any color but"--
"Red," said Anne, with gloomy satisfaction.
"Yes, red--to give warmth to that milk-white skin and
those shining gray-green eyes of yours. Golden hair
wouldn't suit you at all Queen Anne--MY Queen
Anne--queen of my heart and life and home."
"Then you may admire Leslie's all you like," said Anne
CHAPTER 13. A GHOSTLY EVENING
One evening, a week later, Anne decided to run over the
fields to the house up the brook for an informal call.
It was an evening of gray fog that had crept in from
the gulf, swathed the harbor, filled the glens and
valleys, and clung heavily to the autumnal meadows.
Through it the sea sobbed and shuddered. Anne saw Four
Winds in a new aspect, and found it weird and
mysterious and fascinating; but it also gave her a
little feeling of loneliness. Gilbert was away and
would be away until the morrow, attending a medical
pow-wow in Charlottetown. Anne longed for an hour of
fellowship with some girl friend. Captain Jim and Miss
Cornelia were "good fellows" each, in their own way;
but youth yearned to youth.
"If only Diana or Phil or Pris or Stella could drop in
for a chat," she said to herself, "how delightful it
would be! This is such a GHOSTLY night. I'm sure all
the ships that ever sailed out of Four Winds to their
doom could be seen tonight sailing up the harbor with
their drowned crews on their decks, if that shrouding
fog could suddenly be drawn aside. I feel as if it
concealed innumerable mysteries--as if I were
surrounded by the wraiths of old generations of Four
Winds people peering at me through that gray veil. If
ever the dear dead ladies of this little house came
back to revisit it they would come on just such a night
as this. If I sit here any longer I'll see one of them
there opposite me in Gilbert's chair. This place isn't
exactly canny tonight. Even Gog and Magog have an air
of pricking up their ears to hear the footsteps of
unseen guests. I'll run over to see Leslie before I
frighten myself with my own fancies, as I did long ago
in the matter of the Haunted Wood. I'll leave my house
of dreams to welcome back its old inhabitants. My fire
will give them my good-will and greeting--they will be
gone before I come back, and my house will be mine once
more. Tonight I am sure it is keeping a tryst with the
Laughing a little over her fancy, yet with something of
a creepy sensation in the region of her spine, Anne
kissed her hand to Gog and Magog and slipped out into
the fog, with some of the new magazines under her arm
"Leslie's wild for books and magazines," Miss Cornelia
had told her, "and she hardly ever sees one. She can't
afford to buy them or subscribe for them. She's really
pitifully poor, Anne. I don't see how she makes out to
live at all on the little rent the farm brings in.
She never even hints a complaint on the score of
poverty, but I know what it must be. She's been
handicapped by it all her life. She didn't mind it
when she was free and ambitious, but it must gall now,
believe ME. I'm glad she seemed so bright and merry
the evening she spent with you. Captain Jim told me he
had fairly to put her cap and coat on and push her out
of the door. Don't be too long going to see her
either. If you are she'll think it's because you don't
like the sight of Dick, and she'll crawl into her shell
again. Dick's a great, big, harmless baby, but that
silly grin and chuckle of his do get on some people's
nerves. Thank goodness, I've no nerves myself. I like
Dick Moore better now than I ever did when he was in
his right senses--though the Lord knows that isn't
saying much. I was down there one day in housecleaning
time helping Leslie a bit, and I was frying doughnuts.
Dick was hanging round to get one, as usual, and all at
once he picked up a scalding hot one I'd just fished
out and dropped it on the back of my neck when I was
bending over. Then he laughed and laughed. Believe
ME, Anne, it took all the grace of God in my heart to
keep me from just whisking up that stew-pan of boiling
fat and pouring it over his head."
Anne laughed over Miss Cornelia's wrath as she sped
through the darkness. But laughter accorded ill with
that night. She was sober enough when she reached the
house among the willows. Everything was very silent.
The front part of the house seemed dark and deserted,
so Anne slipped round to the side door, which opened
from the veranda into a little sitting room. There she
The door was open. Beyond, in the dimly lighted room,
sat Leslie Moore, with her arms flung out on the table
and her head bent upon them. She was weeping
horribly--with low, fierce, choking sobs, as if some
agony in her soul were trying to tear itself out. An
old black dog was sitting by her, his nose resting on
his lap, his big doggish eyes full of mute, imploring
sympathy and devotion. Anne drew back in dismay. She
felt that she could not intermeddle with this
bitterness. Her heart ached with a sympathy she might
not utter. To go in now would be to shut the door
forever on any possible help or friendship. Some
instinct warned Anne that the proud, bitter girl would
never forgive the one who thus surprised her in her
abandonment of despair.
Anne slipped noiselessly from the veranda and found her
way across the yard. Beyond, she heard voices in the
gloom and saw the dim glow of a light. At the gate she
met two men--Captain Jim with a lantern, and another
who she knew must be Dick Moore--a big man, badly gone
to fat, with a broad, round, red face, and vacant eyes.
Even in the dull light Anne got the impression that
there was something unusual about his eyes.
"Is this you, Mistress Blythe?" said Captain Jim.
"Now, now, you hadn't oughter be roaming about alone on
a night like this. You could get lost in this fog
easier than not. Jest you wait till I see Dick safe
inside the door and I'll come back and light you over
the fields. I ain't going to have Dr. Blythe coming
home and finding that you walked clean over Cape
Leforce in the fog. A woman did that once, forty years
"So you've been over to see Leslie," he said, when he
"I didn't go in," said Anne, and told what she had
seen. Captain Jim sighed.
"Poor, poor, little girl! She don't cry often,
Mistress Blythe-- she's too brave for that. She must
feel terrible when she does cry. A night like this is
hard on poor women who have sorrows. There's
something about it that kinder brings up all we've
"It's full of ghosts," said Anne, with a shiver.
"That was why I came over--I wanted to clasp a human
hand and hear a human voice.
There seem to be so many INHUMAN presences about
tonight. Even my own dear house was full of them.
They fairly elbowed me out. So I fled over here for
companionship of my kind."
"You were right not to go in, though, Mistress Blythe.
Leslie wouldn't have liked it. She wouldn't have liked
me going in with Dick, as I'd have done if I hadn't met
you. I had Dick down with me all day. I keep him with
me as much as I can to help Leslie a bit."
"Isn't there something odd about his eyes?" asked
"You noticed that? Yes, one is blue and t'other is
hazel--his father had the same. It's a Moore
peculiarity. That was what told me he was Dick Moore
when I saw him first down in Cuby. If it hadn't a-bin
for his eyes I mightn't a-known him, with his beard and
fat. You know, I reckon, that it was me found him and
brought him home. Miss Cornelia always says I
shouldn't have done it, but I can't agree with her. It
was the RIGHT thing to do--and so 'twas the only thing.
There ain't no question in my mind about THAT. But my
old heart aches for Leslie. She's only twenty-eight
and she's eaten more bread with sorrow than most women
do in eighty years."
They walked on in silence for a little while.
Presently Anne said, "Do you know, Captain Jim, I never
like walking with a lantern. I have always the
strangest feeling that just outside the circle of
light, just over its edge in the darkness, I am
surrounded by a ring of furtive, sinister things,
watching me from the shadows with hostile eyes. I've
had that feeling from childhood. What is the reason?
I never feel like that when I'm really in the
darkness--when it is close all around me--I'm not the
"I've something of that feeling myself," admitted
Captain Jim. "I reckon when the darkness is close to
us it is a friend. But when we sorter push it away
from us--divorce ourselves from it, so to speak, with
lantern light--it becomes an enemy. But the fog is
There's a smart west wind rising, if you notice. The
stars will be out when you get home."
They were out; and when Anne re-entered her house of
dreams the red embers were still glowing on the hearth,
and all the haunting presences were gone.
CHAPTER 14. NOVEMBER DAYS
The splendor of color which had glowed for weeks along
the shores of Four Winds Harbor had faded out into the
soft gray-blue of late autumnal hills. There came many
days when fields and shores were dim with misty rain,
or shivering before the breath of a melancholy
sea-wind--nights, too, of storm and tempest, when Anne
sometimes wakened to pray that no ship might be beating
up the grim north shore, for if it were so not even the
great, faithful light whirling through the darkness
unafraid, could avail to guide it into safe haven.
"In November I sometimes feel as if spring could never
come again," she sighed, grieving over the hopeless
unsightliness of her frosted and bedraggled
flower-plots. The gay little garden of the
schoolmaster's bride was rather a forlorn place now,
and the Lombardies and birches were under bare poles,
as Captain Jim said. But the fir-wood behind the
little house was forever green and staunch; and even in
November and December there came gracious days of
sunshine and purple hazes, when the harbor danced and
sparkled as blithely as in midsummer, and the gulf was
so softly blue and tender that the storm and the wild
wind seemed only things of a long-past dream.
Anne and Gilbert spent many an autumn evening at the
lighthouse. It was always a cheery place. Even when
the east wind sang in minor and the sea was dead and
gray, hints of sunshine seemed to be lurking all about
it. Perhaps this was because the First Mate always
paraded it in panoply of gold. He was so large and
effulgent that one hardly missed the sun, and his
resounding purrs formed a pleasant accompaniment to
the laughter and conversation which went on around
Captain Jim's fireplace. Captain Jim and Gilbert had
many long discussions and high converse on matters
beyond the ken of cat or king.
"I like to ponder on all kinds of problems, though I
can't solve 'em," said Captain Jim. "My father held
that we should never talk of things we couldn't
understand, but if we didn't, doctor, the subjects for
conversation would be mighty few. I reckon the gods
laugh many a time to hear us, but what matters so long
as we remember that we're only men and don't take to
fancying that we're gods ourselves, really, knowing
good and evil. I reckon our pow- wows won't do us or
anyone much harm, so let's have another whack at the
whence, why and whither this evening, doctor."
While they "whacked," Anne listened or dreamed.
Sometimes Leslie went to the lighthouse with them, and
she and Anne wandered along the shore in the eerie
twilight, or sat on the rocks below the lighthouse
until the darkness drove them back to the cheer of the
driftwood fire. Then Captain Jim would brew them tea
and tell them
"tales of land and sea And whatsoever might
betide The great forgotten world outside."
Leslie seemed always to enjoy those lighthouse
carousals very much, and bloomed out for the time being
into ready wit and beautiful laughter, or glowing-eyed
silence. There was a certain tang and savor in the
conversation when Leslie was present which they missed
when she was absent. Even when she did not talk she
seemed to inspire others to brilliancy. Captain Jim
told his stories better, Gilbert was quicker in
argument and repartee, Anne felt little gushes and
trickles of fancy and imagination bubbling to her lips
under the influence of Leslie's personality.
"That girl was born to be a leader in social and
intellectual circles, far away from Four Winds," she
said to Gilbert as they walked home one night. "She's
just wasted here--wasted."
"Weren't you listening to Captain Jim and yours truly
the other night when we discussed that subject
generally? We came to the comforting conclusion that
the Creator probably knew how to run His universe quite
as well as we do, and that, after all, there are no
such things as `wasted' lives, saving and except when
an individual wilfully squanders and wastes his own
life--which Leslie Moore certainly hasn't done. And
some people might think that a Redmond B.A., whom
editors were beginning to honor, was `wasted' as the
wife of a struggling country doctor in the rural
community of Four Winds."
"If you had married Roy Gardner, now," continued
Gilbert mercilessly, "YOU could have been `a leader in
social and intellectual circles far away from Four
"You KNOW you were in love with him at one time,
"Gilbert, that's mean--`pisen mean, just like all the
men,' as Miss Cornelia says. I NEVER was in love with
him. I only imagined I was. YOU know that. You KNOW
I'd rather be your wife in our house of dreams and
fulfillment than a queen in a palace."
Gilbert's answer was not in words; but I am afraid that
both of them forgot poor Leslie speeding her lonely way
across the fields to a house that was neither a palace
nor the fulfillment of a dream.
The moon was rising over the sad, dark sea behind them
and transfiguring it. Her light had not yet reached
the harbor, the further side of which was shadowy and
suggestive, with dim coves and rich glooms and
"How the home lights shine out tonight through the
dark!" said Anne. "That string of them over the
harbor looks like a necklace. And what a coruscation
there is up at the Glen! Oh, look, Gilbert; there is
ours. I'm so glad we left it burning. I hate to come
home to a dark house. OUR homelight, Gilbert! Isn't
it lovely to see?"
"Just one of earth's many millions of homes,
Anne--girl--but ours-- OURS--our beacon in `a naughty
world.' When a fellow has a home and a dear, little,
red-haired wife in it what more need he ask of life?"
"Well, he might ask ONE thing more," whispered Anne
happily. "Oh, Gilbert, it seems as if I just COULDN'T
wait for the spring."
CHAPTER 15. CHRISTMAS AT FOUR WINDS
At first Anne and Gilbert talked of going home to
Avonlea for Christmas; but eventually they decided to
stay in Four Winds. "I want to spend the first
Christmas of our life together in our own home,"
So it fell out that Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde and
the twins came to Four Winds for Christmas. Marilla
had the face of a woman who had circumnavigated the
globe. She had never been sixty miles away from home
before; and she had never eaten a Christmas dinner
anywhere save at Green Gables.
Mrs. Rachel had made and brought with her an enormous
plum pudding. Nothing could have convinced Mrs. Rachel
that a college graduate of the younger generation could
make a Christmas plum pudding properly; but she
bestowed approval on Anne's house.
"Anne's a good housekeeper," she said to Marilla in
the spare room the night of their arrival. "I've
looked into her bread box and her scrap pail. I always
judge a housekeeper by those, that's what. There's
nothing in the pail that shouldn't have been thrown
away, and no stale pieces in the bread box. Of course,
she was trained up with you--but, then, she went to
college afterwards. I notice she's got my tobacco
stripe quilt on the bed here, and that big round
braided mat of yours before her living-room fire. It
makes me feel right at home."
Anne's first Christmas in her own house was as
delightful as she could have wished. The day was fine
and bright; the first skim of snow had fallen on
Christmas Eve and made the world beautiful; the harbor
was still open and glittering.
Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia came to dinner. Leslie
and Dick had been invited, but Leslie made excuse; they
always went to her Uncle Isaac West's for Christmas,
"She'd rather have it so," Miss Cornelia told Anne.
"She can't bear taking Dick where there are strangers.
Christmas is always a hard time for Leslie. She and
her father used to make a lot of it."
Miss Cornelia and Mrs. Rachel did not take a very
violent fancy to each other. "Two suns hold not their
courses in one sphere." But they did not clash at
all, for Mrs. Rachel was in the kitchen helping Anne
and Marilla with the dinner, and it fell to Gilbert to
entertain Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia,--or rather to
be entertained by them, for a dialogue between those
two old friends and antagonists was assuredly never
"It's many a year since there was a Christmas dinner
here, Mistress Blythe," said Captain Jim. "Miss
Russell always went to her friends in town for
Christmas. But I was here to the first Christmas
dinner that was ever eaten in this house--and the
schoolmaster's bride cooked it. That was sixty years
ago today, Mistress Blythe--and a day very like
this--just enough snow to make the hills white, and the
harbor as blue as June. I was only a lad, and I'd
never been invited out to dinner before, and I was too
shy to eat enough. I've got all over THAT."
"Most men do," said Miss Cornelia, sewing furiously.
Miss Cornelia was not going to sit with idle hands,
even on Christmas.
Babies come without any consideration for holidays, and
there was one expected in a poverty-stricken household
at Glen St. Mary. Miss Cornelia had sent that
household a substantial dinner for its little swarm,
and so meant to eat her own with a comfortable
"Well, you know, the way to a man's heart is through
his stomach, Cornelia," explained Captain Jim.
"I believe you--when he HAS a heart," retorted Miss
Cornelia. "I suppose that's why so many women kill
themselves cooking--just as poor Amelia Baxter did.
She died last Christmas morning, and she said it was
the first Christmas since she was married that she
didn't have to cook a big, twenty-plate dinner. It
must have been a real pleasant change for her. Well,
she's been dead a year, so you'll soon hear of Horace
Baxter taking notice."
"I heard he was taking notice already," said Captain
Jim, winking at Gilbert. "Wasn't he up to your place
one Sunday lately, with his funeral blacks on, and a
"No, he wasn't. And he needn't come neither. I could
have had him long ago when he was fresh. I don't want
any second-hand goods, believe ME. As for Horace
Baxter, he was in financial difficulties a year ago
last summer, and he prayed to the Lord for help; and
when his wife died and he got her life insurance he
said he believed it was the answer to his prayer.
Wasn't that like a man?"
"Have you really proof that he said that, Cornelia?"
"I have the Methodist minister's word for it--if you
call THAT proof. Robert Baxter told me the same thing
too, but I admit THAT isn't evidence. Robert Baxter
isn't often known to tell the truth."
"Come, come, Cornelia, I think he generally tells the
truth, but he changes his opinion so often it sometimes
sounds as if he didn't."
"It sounds like it mighty often, believe ME. But trust
one man to excuse another. I have no use for Robert
Baxter. He turned Methodist just because the
Presbyterian choir happened to be singing `Behold the
bridegroom cometh' for a collection piece when him and
Margaret walked up the aisle the Sunday after they were
married. Served him right for being late! He always
insisted the choir did it on purpose to insult him, as
if he was of that much importance. But that family
always thought they were much bigger potatoes than they
really were. His brother Eliphalet imagined the devil
was always at his elbow--but _I_ never believed the
devil wasted that much time on him."
"I--don't--know," said Captain Jim thoughtfully.
"Eliphalet Baxter lived too much alone--hadn't even a
cat or dog to keep him human. When a man is alone he's
mighty apt to be with the devil--if he ain't with God.
He has to choose which company he'll keep, I reckon.
If the devil always was at Life Baxter's elbow it must
have been because Life liked to have him there."
"Man-like," said Miss Cornelia, and subsided into
silence over a complicated arrangement of tucks until
Captain Jim deliberately stirred her up again by
remarking in a casual way:
"I was up to the Methodist church last Sunday
"You'd better have been home reading your Bible," was
Miss Cornelia's retort.
"Come, now, Cornelia, _I_ can't see any harm in going
to the Methodist church when there's no preaching in
your own. I've been a Presbyterian for seventy-six
years, and it isn't likely my theology will hoist
anchor at this late day."
"It's setting a bad example," said Miss Cornelia
"Besides," continued wicked Captain Jim, "I wanted to
hear some good singing. The Methodists have a good
choir; and you can't deny, Cornelia, that the singing
in our church is awful since the split in the choir."
"What if the singing isn't good? They're doing their
best, and God sees no difference between the voice of a
crow and the voice of a nightingale."
"Come, come, Cornelia," said Captain Jim mildly, "I've
a better opinion of the Almighty's ear for music than
"What caused the trouble in our choir?" asked Gilbert,
who was suffering from suppressed laughter.
"It dates back to the new church, three years ago,"
answered Captain Jim. "We had a fearful time over the
building of that church--fell out over the question of
a new site. The two sites wasn't more'n two hundred
yards apart, but you'd have thought they was a thousand
by the bitterness of that fight. We was split up into
three factions--one wanted the east site and one the
south, and one held to the old. It was fought out in
bed and at board, and in church and at market. All
the old scandals of three generations were dragged out
of their graves and aired. Three matches was broken up
by it. And the meetings we had to try to settle the
question! Cornelia, will you ever forget the one when
old Luther Burns got up and made a speech? HE stated
his opinions forcibly."
"Call a spade a spade, Captain. You mean he got
red-mad and raked them all, fore and aft. They
deserved it too--a pack of incapables. But what would
you expect of a committee of men? That building
committee held twenty-seven meetings, and at the end of
the twenty-seventh weren't no nearer having a church
than when they begun--not so near, for a fact, for in
one fit of hurrying things along they'd gone to work
and tore the old church down, so there we were,
without a church, and no place but the hall to worship
"The Methodists offered us their church, Cornelia."
"The Glen St. Mary church wouldn't have been built to
this day," went on Miss Cornelia, ignoring Captain
Jim, "if we women hadn't just started in and took
charge. We said WE meant to have a church, if the men
meant to quarrel till doomsday, and we were tired of
being a laughing-stock for the Methodists. We held ONE
meeting and elected a committee and canvassed for
subscriptions. We got them, too. When any of the men
tried to sass us we told them they'd tried for two
years to build a church and it was our turn now. We
shut them up close, believe ME, and in six months we
had our church. Of course, when the men saw we were
determined they stopped fighting and went to work,
man-like, as soon as they saw they had to, or quit
bossing. Oh, women can't preach or be elders; but they
can build churches and scare up the money for them."
"The Methodists allow women to preach," said Captain
Miss Cornelia glared at him.
"I never said the Methodists hadn't common sense,
Captain. What I say is, I doubt if they have much
"I suppose you are in favor of votes for women, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert.
"I'm not hankering after the vote, believe ME," said
Miss Cornelia scornfully. "_I_ know what it is to
clean up after the men. But some of these days, when
the men realize they've got the world into a mess they
can't get it out of, they'll be glad to give us the
vote, and shoulder their troubles over on us. That's
THEIR scheme. Oh, it's well that women are patient,
"What about Job?" suggested Captain Jim.
"Job! It was such a rare thing to find a patient man
that when one was really discovered they were
determined he shouldn't be forgotten," retorted Miss
Cornelia triumphantly. "Anyhow, the virtue doesn't go
with the name. There never was such an impatient man
born as old Job Taylor over harbor."
"Well, you know, he had a good deal to try him,
Cornelia. Even you can't defend his wife. I always
remember what old William MacAllister said of her at
her funeral, `There's nae doot she was a Chreestian
wumman, but she had the de'il's own temper.'"
"I suppose she WAS trying," admitted Miss Cornelia
reluctantly, "but that didn't justify what Job said
when she died. He rode home from the graveyard the day
of the funeral with my father. He never said a word
till they got near home. Then he heaved a big sigh and
said, `You may not believe it, Stephen, but this is the
happiest day of my life!' Wasn't that like a man?"
"I s'pose poor old Mrs. Job did make life kinder uneasy
for him," reflected Captain Jim.
"Well, there's such a thing as decency, isn't there?
Even if a man is rejoicing in his heart over his wife
being dead, he needn't proclaim it to the four winds of
heaven. And happy day or not, Job Taylor wasn't long
in marrying again, you might notice. His second wife
could manage him. She made him walk Spanish, believe
me! The first thing she did was to make him hustle
round and put up a tombstone to the first Mrs.
Job--and she had a place left on it for her own name.
She said there'd be nobody to make Job put up a
monument to HER."
"Speaking of Taylors, how is Mrs. Lewis Taylor up at
the Glen, doctor?" asked Captain Jim.
"She's getting better slowly--but she has to work too
hard," replied Gilbert.
"Her husband works hard too--raising prize pigs," said
Miss Cornelia. "He's noted for his beautiful pigs.
He's a heap prouder of his pigs than of his children.
But then, to be sure, his pigs are the best pigs
possible, while his children don't amount to much. He
picked a poor mother for them, and starved her while
she was bearing and rearing them. His pigs got the
cream and his children got the skim milk.
"There are times, Cornelia, when I have to agree with
you, though it hurts me," said Captain Jim. "That's
just exactly the truth about Lewis Taylor. When I see
those poor, miserable children of his, robbed of all
children ought to have, it p'isens my own bite and sup
for days afterwards."
Gilbert went out to the kitchen in response to Anne's
beckoning. Anne shut the door and gave him a connubial
"Gilbert, you and Captain Jim must stop baiting Miss
Cornelia. Oh, I've been listening to you--and I just
won't allow it."
`Anne, Miss Cornelia is enjoying herself hugely. You
know she is.'
"Well, never mind. You two needn't egg her on like
that. Dinner is ready now, and, Gilbert, DON'T let
Mrs. Rachel carve the geese. I know she means to offer
to do it because she doesn't think you can do it
properly. Show her you can."
"I ought to be able to. I've been studying A-B-C-D
diagrams of carving for the past month," said Gilbert.
"Only don't talk to me while I'm doing it, Anne, for if
you drive the letters out of my head I'll be in a worse
predicament than you were in old geometry days when
the teacher changed them."
Gilbert carved the geese beautifully. Even Mrs. Rachel
had to admit that. And everybody ate of them and
enjoyed them. Anne's first Christmas dinner was a
great success and she beamed with housewifely pride.
Merry was the feast and long; and when it was over they
gathered around the cheer of the red hearth flame and
Captain Jim told them stories until the red sun swung
low over Four Winds Harbor, and the long blue shadows
of the Lombardies fell across the snow in the lane.
"I must be getting back to the light," he said
finally. "I'll jest have time to walk home before
sundown. Thank you for a beautiful Christmas, Mistress
Blythe. Bring Master Davy down to the light some
night before he goes home.
"I want to see those stone gods," said Davy with a
CHAPTER 16. NEW YEAR'S EVE AT THE LIGHT
The Green Gables folk went home after Christmas,
Marilla under solemn covenant to return for a month in
the spring. More snow came before New Year's, and the
harbor froze over, but the gulf still was free, beyond
the white, imprisoned fields. The last day of the old
year was one of those bright, cold, dazzling winter
days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and
command our admiration but never our love. The sky was
sharp and blue; the snow diamonds sparkled insistently;
the stark trees were bare and shameless, with a kind of
brazen beauty; the hills shot assaulting lances of
crystal. Even the shadows were sharp and stiff and
clear-cut, as no proper shadows should be. Everything
that was handsome seemed ten times handsomer and less
attractive in the glaring splendor; and everything that
was ugly seemed ten times uglier, and everything was
either handsome or ugly. There was no soft blending,
or kind obscurity, or elusive mistiness in that
searching glitter. The only things that held their own
individuality were the firs--for the fir is the tree of
mystery and shadow, and yields never to the
encroachments of crude radiance.
But finally the day began to realise that she was
growing old. Then a certain pensiveness fell over her
beauty which dimmed yet intensified it; sharp angles,
glittering points, melted away into curves and
enticing gleams. The white harbor put on soft grays
and pinks; the far-away hills turned amethyst.
"The old year is going away beautifully," said Anne.
She and Leslie and Gilbert were on their way to the
Four Winds Point, having plotted with Captain Jim to
watch the New Year in at the light. The sun had set
and in the southwestern sky hung Venus, glorious and
golden, having drawn as near to her earth-sister as is
possible for her. For the first time Anne and Gilbert
saw the shadow cast by that brilliant star of evening,
that faint, mysterious shadow, never seen save when
there is white snow to reveal it, and then only with
averted vision, vanishing when you gaze at it directly.
"It's like the spirit of a shadow, isn't it?"
whispered Anne. "You can see it so plainly haunting
your side when you look ahead; but when you turn and
look at it--it's gone."
"I have heard that you can see the shadow of Venus only
once in a lifetime, and that within a year of seeing it
your life's most wonderful gift will come to you,"
said Leslie. But she spoke rather hardly; perhaps she
thought that even the shadow of Venus could bring her
no gift of life. Anne smiled in the soft twilight; she
felt quite sure what the mystic shadow promised her.
They found Marshall Elliott at the lighthouse. At
first Anne felt inclined to resent the intrusion of
this long-haired, long-bearded eccentric into the
familiar little circle. But Marshall Elliott soon
proved his legitimate claim to membership in the
household of Joseph. He was a witty, intelligent,
well-read man, rivalling Captain Jim himself in the
knack of telling a good story. They were all glad when
he agreed to watch the old year out with them.
Captain Jim's small nephew Joe had come down to spend
New Year's with his great-uncle, and had fallen asleep
on the sofa with the First Mate curled up in a huge
golden ball at his feet.
"Ain't he a dear little man?" said Captain Jim
gloatingly. "I do love to watch a little child asleep,
Mistress Blythe. It's the most beautiful sight in the
world, I reckon. Joe does love to get down here for a
night, because I have him sleep with me. At home he
has to sleep with the other two boys, and he doesn't
like it. "Why can't I sleep with father, Uncle Jim?"
says he. `Everybody in the Bible slept with their
fathers.' As for the questions he asks, the minister
himself couldn't answer them. They fair swamp me.
`Uncle Jim, if I wasn't ME who'd I be?' and, `Uncle
Jim, what would happen if God died?' He fired them two
off at me tonight, afore he went to sleep. As for his
imagination, it sails away from everything. He makes
up the most remarkable yarns--and then his mother shuts
him up in the closet for telling stories . And he sits
down and makes up another one, and has it ready to
relate to her when she lets him out. He had one for me
when he come down tonight. `Uncle Jim,' says he,
solemn as a tombstone, `I had a 'venture in the Glen
today.' `Yes, what was it?' says I, expecting
something quite startling, but nowise prepared for
what I really got. `I met a wolf in the street,' says
he, `a 'normous wolf with a big, red mouf and AWFUL
long teeth, Uncle Jim.' `I didn't know there was any
wolves up at the Glen,' says I. `Oh, he comed there
from far, far away,' says Joe, `and I fought he was
going to eat me up, Uncle Jim.' `Were you scared?'
says I. `No, 'cause I had a big gun,' says Joe, `and I
shot the wolf dead, Uncle Jim,--solid dead--and then
he went up to heaven and bit God,' says he. Well, I
was fair staggered, Mistress Blythe."
The hours bloomed into mirth around the driftwood fire.
Captain Jim told tales, and Marshall Elliott sang old
Scotch ballads in a fine tenor voice; finally Captain
Jim took down his old brown fiddle from the wall and
began to play. He had a tolerable knack of fiddling,
which all appreciated save the First Mate, who sprang
from the sofa as if he had been shot, emitted a shriek
of protest, and fled wildly up the stairs.
"Can't cultivate an ear for music in that cat nohow,"
said Captain Jim. "He won't stay long enough to learn
to like it. When we got the organ up at the Glen
church old Elder Richards bounced up from his seat the
minute the organist began to play and scuttled down the
aisle and out of the church at the rate of
no-man's-business. It reminded me so strong of the
First Mate tearing loose as soon as I begin to fiddle
that I come nearer to laughing out loud in church than
I ever did before or since."
There was something so infectious in the rollicking
tunes which Captain Jim played that very soon Marshall
Elliott's feet began to twitch. He had been a noted
dancer in his youth. Presently he started up and held
out his hands to Leslie. Instantly she responded.
Round and round the firelit room they circled with a
rhythmic grace that was wonderful. Leslie danced like
one inspired; the wild, sweet abandon of the music
seemed to have entered into and possessed her. Anne
watched her in fascinated admiration. She had never
seen her like this. All the innate richness and color
and charm of her nature seemed to have broken loose and
overflowed in crimson cheek and glowing eye and grace
of motion. Even the aspect of Marshall Elliott, with
his long beard and hair, could not spoil the picture.
On the contrary, it seemed to enhance it. Marshall
Elliott looked like a Viking of elder days, dancing
with one of the blue-eyed, golden-haired daughters of
"The purtiest dancing I ever saw, and I've seen some in
my time," declared Captain Jim, when at last the bow
fell from his tired hand. Leslie dropped into her
chair, laughing, breathless.
"I love dancing," she said apart to Anne. "I haven't
danced since I was sixteen--but I love it. The music
seems to run through my veins like quicksilver and I
forget everything--everything--except the delight of
keeping time to it. There isn't any floor beneath me,
or walls about me, or roof over me--I'm floating amid
Captain Jim hung his fiddle up in its place, beside a
large frame enclosing several banknotes.
"Is there anybody else of your acquaintance who can
afford to hang his walls with banknotes for pictures?"
he asked. "There's twenty ten-dollar notes there, not
worth the glass over them. They're old Bank of P. E.
Island notes. Had them by me when the bank failed, and
I had 'em framed and hung up, partly as a reminder not
to put your trust in banks, and partly to give me a
real luxurious, millionairy feeling. Hullo, Matey,
don't be scared. You can come back now. The music and
revelry is over for tonight. The old year has just
another hour to stay with us. I've seen seventy-six
New Years come in over that gulf yonder, Mistress
"You'll see a hundred," said Marshall Elliott.
Captain Jim shook his head.
"No; and I don't want to--at least, I think I don't.
Death grows friendlier as we grow older. Not that one
of us really wants to die though, Marshall. Tennyson
spoke truth when he said that. There's old Mrs.
Wallace up at the Glen. She's had heaps of trouble all
her life, poor soul, and she's lost almost everyone she
cared about. She's always saying that she'll be glad
when her time comes, and she doesn't want to sojourn
any longer in this vale of tears. But when she takes a
sick spell there's a fuss! Doctors from town, and a
trained nurse, and enough medicine to kill a dog. Life
may be a vale of tears, all right, but there are some
folks who enjoy weeping, I reckon."
They spent the old year's last hour quietly around the
fire. A few minutes before twelve Captain Jim rose and
opened the door.
"We must let the New Year in," he said.
Outside was a fine blue night. A sparkling ribbon of
moonlight garlanded the gulf. Inside the bar the
harbor shone like a pavement of pearl. They stood
before the door and waited--Captain Jim with his ripe,
full experience, Marshall Elliott in his vigorous but
empty middle life, Gilbert and Anne with their precious
memories and exquisite hopes, Leslie with her record of
starved years and her hopeless future. The clock on
the little shelf above the fireplace struck twelve.
"Welcome, New Year," said Captain Jim, bowing low as
the last stroke died away. "I wish you all the best
year of your lives, mates. I reckon that whatever the
New Year brings us will be the best the Great Captain
has for us--and somehow or other we'll all make port in
a good harbor."
CHAPTER 17. A FOUR WINDS WINTER
Winter set in vigorously after New Year's. Big, white
drifts heaped themselves about the little house, and
palms of frost covered its windows. The harbor ice
grew harder and thicker, until the Four Winds people
began their usual winter travelling over it. The safe
ways were "bushed" by a benevolent Government, and
night and day the gay tinkle of the sleigh-bells
sounded on it. On moonlit nights Anne heard them in
her house of dreams like fairy chimes. The gulf froze
over, and the Four Winds light flashed no more. During
the months when navigation was closed Captain Jim's
office was a sinecure.
"The First Mate and I will have nothing to do till
spring except keep warm and amuse ourselves. The last
lighthouse keeper used always to move up to the Glen in
winter; but I'd rather stay at the Point. The First
Mate might get poisoned or chewed up by dogs at the
Glen. It's a mite lonely, to be sure, with neither the
light nor the water for company, but if our friends
come to see us often we'll weather it through."
Captain Jim had an ice boat, and many a wild, glorious
spin Gilbert and Anne and Leslie had over the glib
harbor ice with him. Anne and Leslie took long
snowshoe tramps together, too, over the fields, or
across the harbor after storms, or through the woods
beyond the Glen. They were very good comrades in their
rambles and their fireside communings. Each had
something to give the other--each felt life the richer
for friendly exchange of thought and friendly silence;
each looked across the white fields between their homes
with a pleasant consciousness of a friend beyond. But,
in spite of all this, Anne felt that there was always a
barrier between Leslie and herself--a constraint that
never wholly vanished.
"I don't know why I can't get closer to her," Anne
said one evening to Captain Jim. "I like her so
much--I admire her so much--I WANT to take her right
into my heart and creep right into hers. But I can
never cross the barrier."
"You've been too happy all your life, Mistress
Blythe," said Captain Jim thoughtfully. "I reckon
that's why you and Leslie can't get real close together
in your souls. The barrier between you is her
experience of sorrow and trouble. She ain't
responsible for it and you ain't; but it's there and
neither of you can cross it."
"My childhood wasn't very happy before I came to Green
Gables," said Anne, gazing soberly out of the window
at the still, sad, dead beauty of the leafless
tree-shadows on the moonlit snow.
"Mebbe not--but it was just the usual unhappiness of a
child who hasn't anyone to look after it properly.
There hasn't been any TRAGEDY in your life, Mistress
Blythe. And poor Leslie's has been almost ALL
tragedy. She feels, I reckon, though mebbe she hardly
knows she feels it, that there's a vast deal in her
life you can't enter nor understand--and so she has to
keep you back from it--hold you off, so to speak, from
hurting her. You know if we've got anything about us
that hurts we shrink from anyone's touch on or near it.
It holds good with our souls as well as our bodies, I
reckon. Leslie's soul must be near raw--it's no wonder
she hides it away."
"If that were really all, I wouldn't mind, Captain Jim.
I would understand. But there are times--not always,
but now and again-- when I almost have to believe that
Leslie doesn't--doesn't like me. Sometimes I surprise
a look in her eyes that seems to show resentment and
dislike--it goes so quickly--but I've seen it, I'm sure
of that. And it hurts me, Captain Jim. I'm not used
to being disliked-- and I've tried so hard to win
"You have won it, Mistress Blythe. Don't you go
cherishing any foolish notion that Leslie don't like
you. If she didn't she wouldn't have anything to do
with you, much less chumming with you as she does. I
know Leslie Moore too well not to be sure of that."
"The first time I ever saw her, driving her geese down
the hill on the day I came to Four Winds, she looked at
me with the same expression," persisted Anne. "I felt
it, even in the midst of my admiration of her beauty.
She looked at me resentfully--she did, indeed, Captain
"The resentment must have been about something else,
Mistress Blythe, and you jest come in for a share of it
because you happened past. Leslie DOES take sullen
spells now and again, poor girl. I can't blame her,
when I know what she has to put up with. I don't know
why it's permitted. The doctor and I have talked a lot
abut the origin of evil, but we haven't quite found out
all about it yet. There's a vast of onunderstandable
things in life, ain't there, Mistress Blythe?
Sometimes things seem to work out real proper-like,
same as with you and the doctor. And then again they
all seem to go catawampus. There's Leslie, so clever
and beautiful you'd think she was meant for a queen,
and instead she's cooped up over there, robbed of
almost everything a woman'd value, with no prospect
except waiting on Dick Moore all her life. Though,
mind you, Mistress Blythe, I daresay she'd choose her
life now, such as it is, rather than the life she
lived with Dick before he went away. THAT'S something
a clumsy old sailor's tongue mustn't meddle with. But
you've helped Leslie a lot--she's a different creature
since you come to Four Winds. Us old friends see the
difference in her, as you can't. Miss Cornelia and me
was talking it over the other day, and it's one of the
mighty few p'ints that we see eye to eye on. So jest
you throw overboard any idea of her not liking you."
Anne could hardly discard it completely, for there were
undoubtedly times when she felt, with an instinct that
was not to be combated by reason, that Leslie harbored
a queer, indefinable resentment towards her. At times,
this secret consciousness marred the delight of their
comradeship; at others it was almost forgotten; but
Anne always felt the hidden thorn was there, and might
prick her at any moment. She felt a cruel sting from
it on the day when she told Leslie of what she hoped
the spring would bring to the little house of dreams.
Leslie looked at her with hard, bitter, unfriendly
"So you are to have THAT, too," she said in a choked
voice. And without another word she had turned and
gone across the fields homeward. Anne was deeply hurt;
for the moment she felt as if she could never like
Leslie again. But when Leslie came over a few
evenings later she was so pleasant, so friendly, so
frank, and witty, and winsome, that Anne was charmed
into forgiveness and forgetfulness. Only, she never
mentioned her darling hope to Leslie again; nor did
Leslie ever refer to it. But one evening, when late
winter was listening for the word of spring, she came
over to the little house for a twilight chat; and when
she went away she left a small, white box on the table.
Anne found it after she was gone and opened it
wonderingly. In it was a tiny white dress of exquisite
workmanship-- delicate embroidery, wonderful tucking,
sheer loveliness. Every stitch in it was handwork; and
the little frills of lace at neck and sleeves were of
real Valenciennes. Lying on it was a card--"with
"What hours of work she must have put on it," said
Anne. "And the material must have cost more than she
could really afford. It is very sweet of her."
But Leslie was brusque and curt when Anne thanked her,
and again the latter felt thrown back upon herself.
Leslie's gift was not alone in the little house. Miss
Cornelia had, for the time being, given up sewing for
unwanted, unwelcome eighth babies, and fallen to sewing
for a very much wanted first one, whose welcome would
leave nothing to be desired. Philippa Blake and Diana
Wright each sent a marvellous garment; and Mrs. Rachel
Lynde sent several, in which good material and honest
stitches took the place of embroidery and frills. Anne
herself made many, desecrated by no touch of machinery,
spending over them the happiest hours of the happy
Captain Jim was the most frequent guest of the little
house, and none was more welcome. Every day Anne loved
the simple-souled, true-hearted old sailor more and
more. He was as refreshing as a sea breeze, as
interesting as some ancient chronicle. She was never
tired of listening to his stories, and his quaint
remarks and comments were a continual delight to her.
Captain Jim was one of those rare and interesting
people who "never speak but they say something." The
milk of human kindness and the wisdom of the serpent
were mingled in his composition in delightful
Nothing ever seemed to put Captain Jim out or depress
him in any way.
"I've kind of contracted a habit of enj'ying things,"
he remarked once, when Anne had commented on his
invariable cheerfulness. "It's got so chronic that I
believe I even enj'y the disagreeable things. It's
great fun thinking they can't last. `Old rheumatiz,'
says I, when it grips me hard, `you've GOT to stop
aching sometime. The worse you are the sooner you'll
stop, mebbe. I'm bound to get the better of you in the
long run, whether in the body or out of the body.'"
One night, by the fireside at the light Anne saw
Captain Jim's "life-book." He needed no coaxing to
show it and proudly gave it to her to read.
"I writ it to leave to little Joe," he said. "I don't
like the idea of everything I've done and seen being
clean forgot after I've shipped for my last v'yage.
Joe, he'll remember it, and tell the yarns to his
It was an old leather-bound book filled with the record
of his voyages and adventures. Anne thought what a
treasure trove it would be to a writer. Every sentence
was a nugget. In itself the book had no literary
merit; Captain Jim's charm of storytelling failed him
when he came to pen and ink; he could only jot roughly
down the outline of his famous tales, and both spelling
and grammar were sadly askew. But Anne felt that if
anyone possessed of the gift could take that simple
record of a brave, adventurous life, reading between
the bald lines the tales of dangers staunchly faced and
duty manfully done, a wonderful story might be made
from it. Rich comedy and thrilling tragedy were both
lying hidden in Captain Jim's "life-book," waiting for
the touch of the master hand to waken the laughter and
grief and horror of thousands.
Anne said something of this to Gilbert as they walked
"Why don't you try your hand at it yourself, Anne?"
Anne shook her head.
" No. I only wish I could. But it's not in the power
of my gift. You know what my forte is, Gilbert--the
fanciful, the fairylike, the pretty. To write Captain
Jim's life-book as it should be written one should be a
master of vigorous yet subtle style, a keen
psychologist, a born humorist and a born tragedian. A
rare combination of gifts is needed. Paul might do it
if he were older. Anyhow, I'm going to ask him to come
down next summer and meet Captain Jim."
"Come to this shore," wrote Anne to Paul. "I am
afraid you cannot find here Nora or the Golden Lady or
the Twin Sailors; but you will find one old sailor who
can tell you wonderful stories."
Paul, however wrote back, saying regretfully that he
could not come that year. He was going abroad for two
"When I return I'll come to Four Winds, dear Teacher,"
"But meanwhile, Captain Jim is growing old," said
Anne, sorrowfully, "and there is nobody to write his
CHAPTER 18. SPRING DAYS
The ice in the harbor grew black and rotten in the
March suns; in April there were blue waters and a
windy, white-capped gulf again; and again the Four
Winds light begemmed the twilights.
"I'm so glad to see it once more," said Anne, on the
first evening of its reappearance. "I've missed it so
all winter. The northwestern sky has seemed blank and
lonely without it."
The land was tender with brand-new, golden-green, baby
leaves. There was an emerald mist on the woods beyond
the Glen. The seaward valleys were full of fairy mists
Vibrant winds came and went with salt foam in their
breath. The sea laughed and flashed and preened and
allured, like a beautiful, coquettish woman. The
herring schooled and the fishing village woke to life.
The harbor was alive with white sails making for the
channel. The ships began to sail outward and inward
"On a spring day like this," said Anne, "I know
exactly what my soul will feel like on the resurrection
"There are times in spring when I sorter feel that I
might have been a poet if I'd been caught young,"
remarked Captain Jim. "I catch myself conning over old
lines and verses I heard the schoolmaster reciting
sixty years ago. They don't trouble me at other times.
Now I feel as if I had to get out on the rocks or the
fields or the water and spout them."
Captain Jim had come up that afternoon to bring Anne a
load of shells for her garden, and a little bunch of
sweet-grass which he had found in a ramble over the
"It's getting real scarce along this shore now," he
said. "When I was a boy there was a-plenty of it. But
now it's only once in a while you'll find a plot--and
never when you're looking for it. You jest have to
stumble on it--you're walking along on the sand hills,
never thinking of sweet-grass--and all at once the air
is full of sweetness-- and there's the grass under your
feet. I favor the smell of sweet-grass. It always
makes me think of my mother."
"She was fond of it?" asked Anne.
"Not that I knows on. Dunno's she ever saw any
sweet-grass. No, it's because it has a kind of
motherly perfume--not too young, you
understand--something kind of seasoned and wholesome
and dependable--jest like a mother. The schoolmaster's
bride always kept it among her handkerchiefs. You
might put that little bunch among yours, Mistress
Blythe. I don't like these boughten scents-- but a
whiff of sweet-grass belongs anywhere a lady does."
Anne had not been especially enthusiastic over the idea
of surrounding her flower beds with quahog shells; as a
decoration they did not appeal to her on first thought.
But she would not have hurt Captain Jim's feelings for
anything; so she assumed a virtue she did not at first
feel, and thanked him heartily. And when Captain Jim
had proudly encircled every bed with a rim of the big,
milk-white shells, Anne found to her surprise that she
liked the effect. On a town lawn, or even up at the
Glen, they would not have been in keeping, but here, in
the old-fashioned, sea-bound garden of the little house
of dreams, they BELONGED.
"They DO look nice," she said sincerely.
"The schoolmaster's bride always had cowhawks round her
beds," said Captain Jim. "She was a master hand with
flowers. She LOOKED at 'em--and touched 'em--SO--and
they grew like mad. Some folks have that knack--I
reckon you have it, too, Mistress Blythe."
"Oh, I don't know--but I love my garden, and I love
working in it. To potter with green, growing things,
watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up,
is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now
my garden is like faith--the substance of things hoped
for. But bide a wee."
"It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled
brown seeds and think of the rainbows in 'em," said
Captain Jim. "When I ponder on them seeds I don't find
it nowise hard to believe that we've got souls that'll
live in other worlds. You couldn't hardly believe
there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than
grains of dust, let alone color and scent, if you
hadn't seen the miracle, could you?"
Anne, who was counting her days like silver beads on a
rosary, could not now take the long walk to the
lighthouse or up the Glen road. But Miss Cornelia and
Captain Jim came very often to the little house. Miss
Cornelia was the joy of Anne's and Gilbert's existence.
They laughed side-splittingly over her speeches after
every visit. When Captain Jim and she happened to
visit the little house at the same time there was much
sport for the listening. They waged wordy warfare, she
attacking, he defending. Anne once reproached the
Captain for his baiting of Miss Cornelia.
"Oh, I do love to set her going, Mistress Blythe,"
chuckled the unrepentant sinner. "It's the greatest
amusement I have in life. That tongue of hers would
blister a stone. And you and that young dog of a
doctor enj'y listening to her as much as I do."
Captain Jim came along another evening to bring Anne
some mayflowers. The garden was full of the moist,
scented air of a maritime spring evening. There was a
milk-white mist on the edge of the sea, with a young
moon kissing it, and a silver gladness of stars over
the Glen. The bell of the church across the harbor was
ringing dreamily sweet. The mellow chime drifted
through the dusk to mingle with the soft spring-moan of
the sea. Captain Jim's mayflowers added the last
completing touch to the charm of the night.
"I haven't seen any this spring, and I've missed
them," said Anne, burying her face in them.
"They ain't to be found around Four Winds, only in the
barrens away behind the Glen up yander. I took a
little trip today to the Land-of-nothing-to-do, and
hunted these up for you. I reckon they're the last
you'll see this spring, for they're nearly done."
"How kind and thoughtful you are, Captain Jim. Nobody
else-- not even Gilbert"--with a shake of her head at
him--"remembered that I always long for mayflowers in
"Well, I had another errand, too--I wanted to take Mr.
Howard back yander a mess of trout. He likes one
occasional, and it's all I can do for a kindness he did
me once. I stayed all the afternoon and talked to him.
He likes to talk to me, though he's a highly eddicated
man and I'm only an ignorant old sailor, because he's
one of the folks that's GOT to talk or they're
miserable, and he finds listeners scarce around here.
The Glen folks fight shy of him because they think he's
an infidel. He ain't that far gone exactly--few men
is, I reckon--but he's what you might call a heretic.
Heretics are wicked, but they're mighty int'resting.
It's jest that they've got sorter lost looking for
God, being under the impression that He's hard to
find--which He ain't never. Most of 'em blunder to Him
after awhile, I guess. I don't think listening to Mr.
Howard's arguments is likely to do me much harm. Mind
you, I believe what I was brought up to believe. It
saves a vast of bother--and back of it all, God is
good. The trouble with Mr. Howard is that he's a
leetle TOO clever. He thinks that he's bound to live
up to his cleverness, and that it's smarter to thrash
out some new way of getting to heaven than to go by the
old track the common, ignorant folks is travelling.
But he'll get there sometime all right, and then he'll
laugh at himself."
"Mr. Howard was a Methodist to begin with," said Miss
Cornelia, as if she thought he had not far to go from
that to heresy.
"Do you know, Cornelia," said Captain Jim gravely,
"I've often thought that if I wasn't a Presbyterian I'd
be a Methodist."
"Oh, well," conceded Miss Cornelia, "if you weren't a
Presbyterian it wouldn't matter much what you were.
Speaking of heresy, reminds me, doctor--I've brought
back that book you lent me--that Natural Law in the
Spiritual World--I didn't read more'n a third of it. I
can read sense, and I can read nonsense, but that book
is neither the one nor the other."
"It IS considered rather heretical in some quarters,"
admitted Gilbert, "but I told you that before you took
it, Miss Cornelia."
"Oh, I wouldn't have minded its being heretical. I can
stand wickedness, but I can't stand foolishness," said
Miss Cornelia calmly, and with the air of having said
the last thing there was to say about Natural Law.
"Speaking of books, A Mad Love come to an end at last
two weeks ago," remarked Captain Jim musingly. "It
run to one hundred and three chapters. When they got
married the book stopped right off, so I reckon their
troubles were all over. It's real nice that that's the
way in books anyhow, isn't it, even if 'tistn't so
"I never read novels," said Miss Cornelia. "Did you
hear how Geordie Russell was today, Captain Jim?"
"Yes, I called in on my way home to see him. He's
getting round all right--but stewing in a broth of
trouble, as usual, poor man.
'Course he brews up most of it for himself, but I
reckon that don't make it any easier to bear."
"He's an awful pessimist," said Miss Cornelia.
"Well, no, he ain't a pessimist exactly, Cornelia. He
only jest never finds anything that suits him."
"And isn't that a pessimist?"
"No, no. A pessimist is one who never expects to find
anything to suit him. Geordie hain't got THAT far
"You'd find something good to say of the devil himself,
"Well, you've heard the story of the old lady who said
he was persevering. But no, Cornelia, I've nothing
good to say of the devil."
"Do you believe in him at all?" asked Miss Cornelia
"How can you ask that when you know what a good
Presbyterian I am, Cornelia? How could a Presbyterian
get along without a devil?"
"DO you?" persisted Miss Cornelia.
Captain Jim suddenly became grave.
"I believe in what I heard a minister once call `a
mighty and malignant and INTELLIGENT power of evil
working in the universe,'" he said solemnly. "I do
THAT, Cornelia. You can call it the devil, or the
`principle of evil,' or the Old Scratch, or any name
you like. It's THERE, and all the infidels and
heretics in the world can't argue it away, any more'n
they can argue God away. It's there, and it's
working. But, mind you, Cornelia, I believe it's going
to get the worst of it in the long run."
"I am sure I hope so," said Miss Cornelia, none too
hopefully. "But speaking of the devil, I am positive
that Billy Booth is possessed by him now. Have you
heard of Billy's latest performance?"
"No, what was that?"
"He's gone and burned up his wife's new, brown
broadcloth suit, that she paid twenty-five dollars for
in Charlottetown, because he declares the men looked
too admiring at her when she wore it to church the
first time. Wasn't that like a man?"
"Mistress Booth IS mighty pretty, and brown's her
color," said Captain Jim reflectively.
"Is that any good reason why he should poke her new
suit into the kitchen stove? Billy Booth is a jealous
fool, and he makes his wife's life miserable. She's
cried all the week about her suit. Oh, Anne, I wish I
could write like you, believe ME. Wouldn't I score
some of the men round here!"
"Those Booths are all a mite queer," said Captain Jim.
"Billy seemed the sanest of the lot till he got married
and then this queer jealous streak cropped out in him.
His brother Daniel, now, was always odd."
"Took tantrums every few days or so and wouldn't get
out of bed," said Miss Cornelia with a relish. "His
wife would have to do all the barn work till he got
over his spell. When he died people wrote her letters
of condolence; if I'd written anything it would have
been one of congratulation. Their father, old Abram
Booth, was a disgusting old sot. He was drunk at his
wife's funeral, and kept reeling round and hiccuping `I
didn't dri--i--i--nk much but I feel a--a-- awfully
que--e--e--r.' I gave him a good jab in the back with
my umbrella when he came near me, and it sobered him up
until they got the casket out of the house. Young
Johnny Booth was to have been married yesterday, but
he couldn't be because he's gone and got the mumps.
Wasn't that like a man?"
"How could he help getting the mumps, poor fellow?"
"I'd poor fellow him, believe ME, if I was Kate Sterns.
I don't know how he could help getting the mumps, but I
DO know the wedding supper was all prepared and
everything will be spoiled before he's well again.
Such a waste! He should have had the mumps when he was
"Come, come, Cornelia, don't you think you're a mite
Miss Cornelia disdained to reply and turned instead to
Susan Baker, a grim-faced, kind-hearted elderly
spinster of the Glen, who had been installed as
maid-of-all-work at the little house for some weeks.
Susan had been up to the Glen to make a sick call, and
had just returned.
"How is poor old Aunt Mandy tonight?" asked Miss
"Very poorly--very poorly, Cornelia. I am afraid she
will soon be in heaven, poor thing!"
"Oh, surely, it's not so bad as that!" exclaimed Miss
Cornelia, sympathetically .
Captain Jim and Gilbert looked at each other. Then
they suddenly rose and went out.
"There are times," said Captain Jim, between spasms,
"when it would be a sin NOT to laugh. Them two
CHAPTER 19. DAWN AND DUSK
In early June, when the sand hills were a great glory
of pink wild roses, and the Glen was smothered in apple
blossoms, Marilla arrived at the little house,
accompanied by a black horsehair trunk, patterned with
brass nails, which had reposed undisturbed in the Green
Gables garret for half a century. Susan Baker, who,
during her few weeks' sojourn in the little house, had
come to worship "young Mrs. Doctor," as she called
Anne, with blind fervor, looked rather jealously
askance at Marilla at first. But as Marilla did not
try to interfere in kitchen matters, and showed no
desire to interrupt Susan's ministrations to young Mrs.
Doctor, the good handmaiden became reconciled to her
presence, and told her cronies at the Glen that Miss
Cuthbert was a fine old lady and knew her place.
One evening, when the sky's limpid bowl was filled with
a red glory, and the robins were thrilling the golden
twilight with jubilant hymns to the stars of evening,
there was a sudden commotion in the little house of
dreams. Telephone messages were sent up to the Glen,
Doctor Dave and a white-capped nurse came hastily down,
Marilla paced the garden walks between the quahog
shells, murmuring prayers between her set lips, and
Susan sat in the kitchen with cotton wool in her ears
and her apron over her head.
Leslie, looking out from the house up the brook, saw
that every window of the little house was alight, and
did not sleep that night.
The June night was short; but it seemed an eternity to
those who waited and watched.
"Oh, will it NEVER end?" said Marilla; then she saw
how grave the nurse and Doctor Dave looked, and she
dared ask no more questions. Suppose Anne--but Marilla
could not suppose it.
"Do not tell me," said Susan fiercely, answering the
anguish in Marilla's eyes, "that God could be so cruel
as to take that darling lamb from us when we all love
her so much."
"He has taken others as well beloved," said Marilla
But at dawn, when the rising sun rent apart the mists
hanging over the sandbar, and made rainbows of them,
joy came to the little house. Anne was safe, and a
wee, white lady, with her mother's big eyes, was lying
beside her. Gilbert, his face gray and haggard from
his night's agony, came down to tell Marilla and Susan.
"Thank God," shuddered Marilla.
Susan got up and took the cotton wool out of her ears.
"Now for breakfast," she said briskly. "I am of the
opinion that we will all be glad of a bite and sup.
You tell young Mrs. Doctor not to worry about a single
thing--Susan is at the helm. You tell her just to
think of her baby."
Gilbert smiled rather sadly as he went away. Anne, her
pale face blanched with its baptism of pain, her eyes
aglow with the holy passion of motherhood, did not need
to be told to think of her baby. She thought of
nothing else. For a few hours she tasted of happiness
so rare and exquisite that she wondered if the angels
in heaven did not envy her.
"Little Joyce," she murmured, when Marilla came in to
see the baby. "We planned to call her that if she were
a girlie. There were so many we would have liked to
name her for; we couldn't choose between them, so we
decided on Joyce--we can call her Joy for
short--Joy--it suits so well. Oh, Marilla, I thought I
was happy before. Now I know that I just dreamed a
pleasant dream of happiness. THIS is the reality."
"You mustn't talk, Anne--wait till you're stronger,"
said Marilla warningly.
"You know how hard it is for me NOT to talk," smiled
At first she was too weak and too happy to notice that
Gilbert and the nurse looked grave and Marilla
sorrowful. Then, as subtly, and coldly, and
remorselessly as a sea-fog stealing landward, fear
crept into her heart. Why was not Gilbert gladder?
Why would he not talk about the baby? Why would they
not let her have it with her after that first
heavenly--happy hour? Was--was there anything wrong?
"Gilbert," whispered Anne imploringly, "the baby--is
all right--isn't she? Tell me--tell me."
Gilbert was a long while in turning round; then he bent
over Anne and looked in her eyes. Marilla, listening
fearfully outside the door, heard a pitiful,
heartbroken moan, and fled to the kitchen where Susan
"Oh, the poor lamb--the poor lamb! How can she bear
it, Miss Cuthbert? I am afraid it will kill her. She
has been that built up and happy, longing for that
baby, and planning for it. Cannot anything be done
nohow, Miss Cuthbert?"
"I'm afraid not, Susan. Gilbert says there is no hope.
He knew from the first the little thing couldn't
"And it is such a sweet baby," sobbed Susan. "I never
saw one so white--they are mostly red or yallow. And
it opened its big eyes as if it was months old. The
little, little thing! Oh, the poor, young Mrs.
At sunset the little soul that had come with the
dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it. Miss
Cornelia took the wee, white lady from the kindly but
stranger hands of the nurse, and dressed the tiny
waxen form in the beautiful dress Leslie had made for
it. Leslie had asked her to do that. Then she took it
back and laid it beside the poor, broken, tear-blinded
"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away,
dearie," she said through her own tears. "Blessed be
the name of the Lord."
Then she went away, leaving Anne and Gilbert alone
together with their dead.
The next day, the small white Joy was laid in a velvet
casket which Leslie had lined with apple-blossoms, and
taken to the graveyard of the church across the harbor.
Miss Cornelia and Marilla put all the little love-made
garments away, together with the ruffled basket which
had been befrilled and belaced for dimpled limbs and
downy head. Little Joy was never to sleep there; she
had found a colder, narrower bed.
"This has been an awful disappointment to me," sighed
Miss Cornelia. "I've looked forward to this baby--and
I did want it to be a girl, too."
"I can only be thankful that Anne's life was spared,"
said Marilla, with a shiver, recalling those hours of
darkness when the girl she loved was passing through
the valley of the shadow.
"Poor, poor lamb! Her heart is broken," said Susan.
"I ENVY Anne," said Leslie suddenly and fiercely, "and
I'd envy her even if she had died! She was a mother
for one beautiful day. I'd gladly give my life for
"I wouldn't talk like that, Leslie, dearie," said Miss
Cornelia deprecatingly. She was afraid that the
dignified Miss Cuthbert would think Leslie quite
Anne's convalescence was long, and made bitter for her
by many things. The bloom and sunshine of the Four
Winds world grated harshly on her; and yet, when the
rain fell heavily, she pictured it beating so
mercilessly down on that little grave across the
harbor; and when the wind blew around the eaves she
heard sad voices in it she had never heard before.
Kindly callers hurt her, too, with the well-meant
platitudes with which they strove to cover the
nakedness of bereavement. A letter from Phil Blake was
an added sting. Phil had heard of the baby's birth,
but not of its death, and she wrote Anne a
congratulatory letter of sweet mirth which hurt her
"I would have laughed over it so happily if I had my
baby," she sobbed to Marilla. "But when I haven't it
just seems like wanton cruelty--though I know Phil
wouldn't hurt me for the world. Oh, Marilla, I don't
see how I can EVER be happy again--EVERYTHING will
hurt me all the rest of my life."
"Time will help you," said Marilla, who was racked
with sympathy but could never learn to express it in
other than age-worn formulas.
"It doesn't seem FAIR," said Anne rebelliously.
"Babies are born and live where they are not
wanted--where they will be neglected-- where they will
have no chance. I would have loved my baby so--and
cared for it so tenderly--and tried to give her every
chance for good. And yet I wasn't allowed to keep
"It was God's will, Anne," said Marilla, helpless
before the riddle of the universe--the WHY of
undeserved pain. "And little Joy is better off."
"I can't believe THAT," cried Anne bitterly. Then,
seeing that Marilla looked shocked, she added
passionately, "Why should she be born at all--why
should any one be born at all--if she's better off
dead? I DON'T believe it is better for a child to die
at birth than to live its life out--and love and be
loved--and enjoy and suffer--and do its work--and
develop a character that would give it a personality in
eternity. And how do you know it was God's will?
Perhaps it was just a thwarting of His purpose by the
Power of Evil. We can't be expected to be resigned to
"Oh, Anne, don't talk so," said Marilla, genuinely
alarmed lest Anne were drifting into deep and dangerous
waters. "We can't understand--but we must have
faith--we MUST believe that all is for the best. I
know you find it hard to think so, just now. But try
to be brave--for Gilbert's sake. He's so worried about
you. You aren't getting strong as fast as you
"Oh, I know I've been very selfish," sighed Anne. "I
love Gilbert more than ever--and I want to live for his
sake. But it seems as if part of me was buried over
there in that little harbor graveyard-- and it hurts so
much that I'm afraid of life."
"It won't hurt so much always, Anne."
"The thought that it may stop hurting sometimes hurts
me worse than all else, Marilla."
"Yes, I know, I've felt that too, about other things.
But we all love you, Anne. Captain Jim has been up
every day to ask for you--and Mrs. Moore haunts the
place--and Miss Bryant spends most of her time, I
think, cooking up nice things for you. Susan doesn't
like it very well. She thinks she can cook as well as
"Dear Susan! Oh, everybody has been so dear and good
and lovely to me, Marilla. I'm not ungrateful--and
perhaps--when this horrible ache grows a little
less--I'll find that I can go on living."
CHAPTER 20. LOST MARGARET
Anne found that she could go on living; the day came
when she even smiled again over one of Miss Cornelia's
speeches. But there was something in the smile that
had never been in Anne's smile before and would never
be absent from it again.
On the first day she was able to go for a drive Gilbert
took her down to Four Winds Point, and left her there
while he rowed over the channel to see a patient at the
fishing village. A rollicking wind was scudding across
the harbor and the dunes, whipping the water into
white-caps and washing the sandshore with long lines of
"I'm real proud to see you here again, Mistress
Blythe," said Captain Jim. "Sit down--sit down. I'm
afeared it's mighty dusty here today--but there's no
need of looking at dust when you can look at such
scenery, is there?"
"I don't mind the dust," said Anne, "but Gilbert says
I must keep in the open air. I think I'll go and sit
on the rocks down there."
"Would you like company or would you rather be alone?"
"If by company you mean yours I'd much rather have it
than be alone," said Anne, smiling. Then she sighed.
She had never before minded being alone. Now she
dreaded it. When she was alone now she felt so
"Here's a nice little spot where the wind can't get at
you," said Captain Jim, when they reached the rocks.
"I often sit here. It's a great place jest to sit and
"Oh--dreams," sighed Anne. "I can't dream now,
Captain Jim--I'm done with dreams."
"Oh, no, you're not, Mistress Blythe--oh, no, you're
not," said Captain Jim meditatively. "I know how you
feel jest now--but if you keep on living you'll get
glad again, and the first thing you know you'll be
dreaming again--thank the good Lord for it! If it
wasn't for our dreams they might as well bury us.
How'd we stand living if it wasn't for our dream of
immortality? And that's a dream that's BOUND to come
true, Mistress Blythe. You'll see your little Joyce
again some day."
"But she won't be my baby," said Anne, with trembling
lips. "Oh, she may be, as Longfellow says, `a fair
maiden clothed with celestial grace'--but she'll be a
stranger to me."
"God will manage better'n THAT, I believe," said
They were both silent for a little time. Then Captain
Jim said very softly:
"Mistress Blythe, may I tell you about lost Margaret?"
"Of course," said Anne gently. She did not know who
"lost Margaret" was, but she felt that she was going
to hear the romance of Captain Jim's life.
"I've often wanted to tell you about her," Captain Jim
"Do you know why, Mistress Blythe? It's because I want
somebody to remember and think of her sometime after
I'm gone. I can't bear that her name should be
forgotten by all living souls. And now nobody
remembers lost Margaret but me."
Then Captain Jim told the story--an old, old forgotten
story, for it was over fifty years since Margaret had
fallen asleep one day in her father's dory and
drifted--or so it was supposed, for nothing was ever
certainly known as to her fate--out of the channel,
beyond the bar, to perish in the black thundersquall
which had come up so suddenly that long-ago summer
afternoon. But to Captain Jim those fifty years were
but as yesterday when it is past.
"I walked the shore for months after that," he said
sadly, "looking to find her dear, sweet little body;
but the sea never give her back to me. But I'll find
her sometime, Mistress Blythe--I'll find her sometime .
She's waiting for me. I wish I could tell you jest how
she looked, but I can't. I've seen a fine, silvery
mist hanging over the bar at sunrise that seemed like
her--and then again I've seen a white birch in the
woods back yander that made me think of her. She had
pale, brown hair and a little white, sweet face, and
long slender fingers like yours, Mistress Blythe, only
browner, for she was a shore girl. Sometimes I wake up
in the night and hear the sea calling to me in the old
way, and it seems as if lost Margaret called in it.
And when there's a storm and the waves are sobbing and
moaning I hear her lamenting among them. And when they
laugh on a gay day it's HER laugh--lost Margaret's
sweet, roguish, little laugh. The sea took her from
me, but some day I'll find her. Mistress Blythe. It
can't keep us apart forever."
"I am glad you have told me about her," said Anne. "I
have often wondered why you had lived all your life
"I couldn't ever care for anyone else. Lost Margaret
took my heart with her--out there," said the old
lover, who had been faithful for fifty years to his
drowned sweetheart. "You won't mind if I talk a good
deal about her, will you, Mistress Blythe? It's a
pleasure to me--for all the pain went out of her memory
years ago and jest left its blessing. I know you'll
never forget her, Mistress Blythe. And if the years,
as I hope, bring other little folks to your home, I
want you to promise me that you'll tell THEM the story
of lost Margaret, so that her name won't be forgotten
CHAPTER 21. BARRIERS SWEPT AWAY
"Anne," said Leslie, breaking abruptly a short
silence, "you don't know how GOOD it is to be sitting
here with you again--working-- and talking--and being
They were sitting among the blue-eyed grasses on the
bank of the brook in Anne's garden. The water sparkled
and crooned past them; the birches threw dappled
shadows over them; roses bloomed along the walks. The
sun was beginning to be low, and the air was full of
woven music. There was one music of the wind in the
firs behind the house, and another of the waves on the
bar, and still another from the distant bell of the
church near which the wee, white lady slept. Anne
loved that bell, though it brought sorrowful thoughts
She looked curiously at Leslie, who had thrown down her
sewing and spoken with a lack of restraint that was
very unusual with her.
"On that horrible night when you were so ill," Leslie
went on, "I kept thinking that perhaps we'd have no
more talks and walks and WORKS together. And I
realised just what your friendship had come to mean to
me--just what YOU meant--and just what a hateful little
beast I had been."
"Leslie! Leslie! I never allow anyone to call my
"It's true. That's exactly what I am--a hateful little
beast. There's something I've GOT to tell you, Anne. I
suppose it will make you despise me, but I MUST confess
it. Anne, there have been times this past winter and
spring when I have HATED you."
"I KNEW it," said Anne calmly.
"You KNEW it?"
"Yes, I saw it in your eyes."
" And yet you went on liking me and being my friend."
"Well, it was only now and then you hated me, Leslie.
Between times you loved me, I think."
"I certainly did. But that other horrid feeling was
always there, spoiling it, back in my heart. I kept it
down--sometimes I forgot it-- but sometimes it would
surge up and take possession of me. I hated you
because I ENVIED you--oh, I was sick with envy of you
at times. You had a dear little home--and love--and
happiness--and glad dreams--everything I wanted--and
never had--and never could have. Oh, never could have!
THAT was what stung. I wouldn't have envied you, if I
had had any HOPE that life would ever be different for
me. But I hadn't--I hadn't--and it didn't seem FAIR.
It made me rebellious--and it hurt me--and so I hated
you at times. Oh, I was so ashamed of it--I'm dying of
shame now--but I couldn't conquer it.
That night, when I was afraid you mightn't live--I
thought I was going to be punished for my
wickedness--and I loved you so then. Anne, Anne, I
never had anything to love since my mother died, except
Dick's old dog--and it's so dreadful to have nothing to
love--life is so EMPTY--and there's NOTHING worse than
emptiness-- and I might have loved you so much--and
that horrible thing had spoiled it--"
Leslie was trembling and growing almost incoherent with
the violence of her emotion.
"Don't, Leslie," implored Anne, "oh, don't. I
understand-- don't talk of it any more."
"I must--I must. When I knew you were going to live I
vowed that I would tell you as soon as you were
well--that I wouldn't go on accepting your friendship
and companionship without telling you how unworthy I
was of it. And I've been so afraid--it would turn you
"You needn't fear that, Leslie."
"Oh, I'm so glad--so glad, Anne." Leslie clasped her
brown, work-hardened hands tightly together to still
their shaking. "But I want to tell you everything, now
I've begun. You don't remember the first time I saw
you, I suppose--it wasn't that night on the shore--"
"No, it was the night Gilbert and I came home. You
were driving your geese down the hill. I should think
I DO remember it! I thought you were so beautiful--I
longed for weeks after to find out who you were."
"I knew who YOU were, although I had never seen either
of you before. I had heard of the new doctor and his
bride who were coming to live in Miss Russell's little
house. I--I hated you that very moment, Anne."
"I felt the resentment in your eyes--then I doubted--I
thought I must be mistaken--because WHY should it be?"
"It was because you looked so happy. Oh, you'll agree
with me now that I AM a hateful beast--to hate another
woman just because she was happy,--and when her
happiness didn't take anything from me! That was why I
never went to see you. I knew quite well I ought to
go--even our simple Four Winds customs demanded that.
But I couldn't. I used to watch you from my window--I
could see you and your husband strolling about your
garden in the evening--or you running down the poplar
lane to meet him. And it hurt me. And yet in another
way I wanted to go over. I felt that, if I were not so
miserable, I could have liked you and found in you what
I've never had in my life--an intimate, REAL friend of
my own age. And then you remember that night at the
shore? You were afraid I would think you crazy. You
must have thought _I_ was."
"No, but I couldn't understand you, Leslie. One moment
you drew me to you--the next you pushed me back."
"I was very unhappy that evening. I had had a hard
day. Dick had been very--very hard to manage that day.
Generally he is quite good-natured and easily
controlled, you know, Anne. But some days he is very
different. I was so heartsick--I ran away to the shore
as soon as he went to sleep. It was my only refuge. I
sat there thinking of how my poor father had ended his
life, and wondering if I wouldn't be driven to it some
day. Oh, my heart was full of black thoughts! And
then you came dancing along the cove like a glad,
light-hearted child. I--I hated you more then than
I've ever done since. And yet I craved your
friendship. The one feeling swayed me one moment; the
other feeling the next. When I got home that night I
cried for shame of what you must think of me. But it's
always been just the same when I came over here.
Sometimes I'd be happy and enjoy my visit. And at
other times that hideous feeling would mar it all.
There were times when everything about you and your
house hurt me. You had so many dear little things I
couldn't have. Do you know--it's ridiculous-- but I
had an especial spite at those china dogs of yours.
There were times when I wanted to catch up Gog and
Magog and bang their pert black noses together! Oh,
you smile, Anne--but it was never funny to me. I would
come here and see you and Gilbert with your books and
your flowers, and your household goods, and your little
family jokes--and your love for each other showing in
every look and word, even when you didn't know it--and
I would go home to--you know what I went home to! Oh,
Anne, I don't believe I'm jealous and envious by
nature. When I was a girl I lacked many things my
schoolmates had, but I never cared--I never disliked
them for it. But I seem to have grown so hateful--"
"Leslie, dearest, stop blaming yourself. You are NOT
hateful or jealous or envious. The life you have to
live has warped you a little, perhaps-but it would have
ruined a nature less fine and noble than yours. I'm
letting you tell me all this because I believe it's
better for you to talk it out and rid your soul of it.
But don't blame yourself any more."
"Well, I won't. I just wanted you to know me as I am.
That time you told me of your darling hope for the
spring was the worst of all, Anne. I shall never
forgive myself for the way I behaved then. I repented
it with tears. And I DID put many a tender and loving
thought of you into the little dress I made. But I
might have known that anything I made could only be a
shroud in the end."
"Now, Leslie, that IS bitter and morbid--put such
I was so glad when you brought the little dress; and
since I had to lose little Joyce I like to think that
the dress she wore was the one you made for her when
you let yourself love me."
"Anne, do you know, I believe I shall always love you
after this. I don't think I'll ever feel that dreadful
way about you again. Talking it all out seems to have
done away with it, somehow. It's very strange --and I
thought it so real and bitter. It's like opening the
door of a dark room to show some hideous creature
you've believed to be there--and when the light streams
in your monster turns out to have been just a shadow,
vanishing when the light comes. It will never come
between us again."
"No, we are real friends now, Leslie, and I am very
"I hope you won't misunderstand me if I say something
else. Anne, I was grieved to the core of my heart when
you lost your baby; and if I could have saved her for
you by cutting off one of my hands I would have done
it. But your sorrow has brought us closer together.
Your perfect happiness isn't a barrier any longer. Oh,
don't misunderstand, dearest--I'm NOT glad that your
happiness isn't perfect any longer--I can say that
sincerely; but since it isn't, there isn't such a gulf
"I DO understand that, too, Leslie. Now, we'll just
shut up the past and forget what was unpleasant in it.
It's all going to be different. We're both of the race
of Joseph now. I think you've been wonderful
--wonderful. And, Leslie, I can't help believing that
life has something good and beautiful for you yet."
Leslie shook her head.
"No," she said dully. "There isn't any hope. Dick
will never be better--and even if his memory were to
come back--oh, Anne, it would be worse, even worse,
than it is now. This is something you can't
understand, you happy bride. Anne, did Miss Cornelia
ever tell you how I came to marry Dick?"
"I'm glad--I wanted you to know--but I couldn't bring
myself to talk of it if you hadn't known. Anne, it
seems to me that ever since I was twelve years old life
has been bitter. Before that I had a happy childhood.
We were very poor--but we didn't mind. Father was so
splendid--so clever and loving and sympathetic. We
were chums as far back as I can remember. And mother
was so sweet. She was very, very beautiful. I look
like her, but I am not so beautiful as she was."
"Miss Cornelia says you are far more beautiful."
"She is mistaken--or prejudiced. I think my figure IS
better-- mother was slight and bent by hard work--but
she had the face of an angel. I used just to look up
at her in worship. We all worshipped her,--father and
Kenneth and I."
Anne remembered that Miss Cornelia had given her a very
different impression of Leslie's mother. But had not
love the truer vision? Still, it WAS selfish of Rose
West to make her daughter marry Dick Moore.
"Kenneth was my brother," went on Leslie. "Oh, I
can't tell you how I loved him. And he was cruelly
killed. Do you know how?"
"Anne, I saw his little face as the wheel went over
him. He fell on his back. Anne--Anne--I can see it
now. I shall always see it. Anne, all I ask of heaven
is that that recollection shall be blotted out of my
memory. O my God!"
"Leslie, don't speak of it. I know the story--don't go
into details that only harrow your soul up
unavailingly. It WILL be blotted out."
After a moment's struggle, Leslie regained a measure of
"Then father's health got worse and he grew
despondent--his mind became unbalanced--you've heard
all that, too?"
"After that I had just mother to live for. But I was
very ambitious. I meant to teach and earn my way
through college. I meant to climb to the very top--oh,
I won't talk of that either. It's no use. You know
what happened. I couldn't see my dear little
heart-broken mother, who had been such a slave all her
life, turned out of her home. Of course, I could have
earned enough for us to live on. But mother COULDN'T
leave her home. She had come there as a bride--and she
had loved father so--and all her memories were there.
Even yet, Anne, when I think that I made her last year
happy I'm not sorry for what I did. As for Dick--I
didn't hate him when I married him--I just felt for him
the indifferent, friendly feeling I had for most of my
schoolmates. I knew he drank some--but I had never
heard the story of the girl down at the fishing cove.
If I had, I COULDN'T have married him, even for
mother's sake. Afterwards--I DID hate him--but mother
never knew. She died--and then I was alone. I was
only seventeen and I was alone. Dick had gone off in
the Four Sisters. I hoped he wouldn't be home very
much more. The sea had always been in his blood. I
had no other hope. Well, Captain Jim brought him home,
as you know--and that's all there is to say. You know
me now, Anne--the worst of me--the barriers are all
down. And you still want to be my friend?"
Anne looked up through the birches, at the white
paper-lantern of a half moon drifting downwards to the
gulf of sunset. Her face was very sweet.
"I am your friend and you are mine, for always," she
said. "Such a friend as I never had before. I have
had many dear and beloved friends--but there is a
something in you, Leslie, that I never found in anyone
else. You have more to offer me in that rich nature of
yours, and I have more to give you than I had in my
careless girlhood. We are both women--and friends
They clasped hands and smiled at each other through the
tears that filled the gray eyes and the blue.
CHAPTER 22. MISS CORNELIA ARRANGES MATTERS
Gilbert insisted that Susan should be kept on at the
little house for the summer. Anne protested at first.
"Life here with just the two of us is so sweet,
Gilbert. It spoils it a little to have anyone else.
Susan is a dear soul, but she is an outsider. It won't
hurt me to do the work here."
"You must take your doctor's advice," said Gilbert.
"There's an old proverb to the effect that shoemakers'
wives go barefoot and doctors' wives die young. I
don't mean that it shall be true in my household. You
will keep Susan until the old spring comes back into
your step, and those little hollows on your cheeks fill
"You just take it easy, Mrs. Doctor, dear," said
Susan, coming abruptly in. "Have a good time and do
not worry about the pantry. Susan is at the helm.
There is no use in keeping a dog and doing your own
barking. I am going to take your breakfast up to you
"Indeed you are not," laughed Anne. "I agree with
Miss Cornelia that it's a scandal for a woman who isn't
sick to eat her breakfast in bed, and almost justifies
the men in any enormities."
"Oh, Cornelia!" said Susan, with ineffable contempt.
"I think you have better sense, Mrs. Doctor, dear, than
to heed what Cornelia Bryant says. I cannot see why
she must be always running down the men, even if she is
an old maid. _I_ am an old maid, but you never hear ME
abusing the men. I like 'em. I would have married one
if I could. Is it not funny nobody ever asked me to
marry him, Mrs. Doctor, dear? I am no beauty, but I am
as good-looking as most of the married women you see.
But I never had a beau. What do you suppose is the
"It may be predestination," suggested Anne, with
"That is what I have often thought, Mrs. Doctor, dear,
and a great comfort it is. I do not mind nobody
wanting me if the Almighty decreed it so for His own
wise purposes. But sometimes doubt creeps in, Mrs.
Doctor, dear, and I wonder if maybe the Old Scratch has
not more to do with it than anyone else. I cannot feel
resigned THEN. But maybe," added Susan, brightening
up, "I will have a chance to get married yet. I often
and often think of the old verse my aunt used to
There never was a goose so gray but sometime soon or
late Some honest gander came her way and took her for
A woman cannot ever be sure of not being married till
she is buried, Mrs. Doctor, dear, and meanwhile I will
make a batch of cherry pies. I notice the doctor
favors 'em, and I DO like cooking for a man who
appreciates his victuals."
Miss Cornelia dropped in that afternoon, puffing a
"I don't mind the world or the devil much, but the
flesh DOES rather bother me," she admitted. "You
always look as cool as a cucumber, Anne, dearie. Do I
smell cherry pie? If I do, ask me to stay to tea.
Haven't tasted a cherry pie this summer. My cherries
have all been stolen by those scamps of Gilman boys
from the Glen."
"Now, now, Cornelia," remonstrated Captain Jim, who
had been reading a sea novel in a corner of the living
room, "you shouldn't say that about those two poor,
motherless Gilman boys, unless you've got certain
proof. Jest because their father ain't none too honest
isn't any reason for calling them thieves. It's more
likely it's been the robins took your cherries.
They're turrible thick this year."
"Robins!" said Miss Cornelia disdainfully. "Humph!
Two- legged robins, believe ME!"
"Well, most of the Four Winds robins ARE constructed on
that principle," said Captain Jim gravely.
Miss Cornelia stared at him for a moment. Then she
leaned back in her rocker and laughed long and
"Well, you HAVE got one on me at last, Jim Boyd, I'll
admit. Just look how pleased he is, Anne, dearie,
grinning like a Chessy-cat. As for the robins' legs if
robins have great, big, bare, sunburned legs, with
ragged trousers hanging on 'em, such as I saw up in my
cherry tree one morning at sunrise last week, I'll beg
the Gilman boys' pardon. By the time I got down they
were gone. I couldn't understand how they had
disappeared so quick, but Captain Jim has enlightened
me. They flew away, of course."
Captain Jim laughed and went away, regretfully
declining an invitation to stay to supper and partake
of cherry pie.
"I'm on my way to see Leslie and ask her if she'll take
a boarder," Miss Cornelia resumed. "I'd a letter
yesterday from a Mrs. Daly in Toronto, who boarded a
spell with me two years ago. She wanted me to take a
friend of hers for the summer. His name is Owen Ford,
and he's a newspaper man, and it seems he's a grandson
of the schoolmaster who built this house. John
Selwyn's oldest daughter married an Ontario man named
Ford, and this is her son. He wants to see the old
place his grandparents lived in. He had a bad spell of
typhoid in the spring and hasn't got rightly over it,
so his doctor has ordered him to the sea. He doesn't
want to go to the hotel--he just wants a quiet home
place. I can't take him, for I have to be away in
August. I've been appointed a delegate to the W.F.M.S.
convention in Kingsport and I'm going. I don't know
whether Leslie'll want to be bothered with him, either,
but there's no one else. If she can't take him he'll
have to go over the harbor."
"When you've seen her come back and help us eat our
cherry pies," said Anne. "Bring Leslie and Dick, too,
if they can come. And so you're going to Kingsport?
What a nice time you will have. I must give you a
letter to a friend of mine there--Mrs. Jonas Blake."
"I've prevailed on Mrs. Thomas Holt to go with me,"
said Miss Cornelia complacently. "It's time she had a
little holiday, believe ME. She has just about worked
herself to death. Tom Holt can crochet beautifully,
but he can't make a living for his family. He never
seems to be able to get up early enough to do any work,
but I notice he can always get up early to go fishing.
Isn't that like a man?"
Anne smiled. She had learned to discount largely Miss
Cornelia's opinions of the Four Winds men. Otherwise
she must have believed them the most hopeless
assortment of reprobates and ne'er-do-wells in the
world, with veritable slaves and martyrs for wives.
This particular Tom Holt, for example, she knew to be a
kind husband, a much loved father, and an excellent
neighbor. If he were rather inclined to be lazy,
liking better the fishing he had been born for than the
farming he had not, and if he had a harmless
eccentricity for doing fancy work, nobody save Miss
Cornelia seemed to hold it against him. His wife was
a "hustler," who gloried in hustling; his family got a
comfortable living off the farm; and his strapping sons
and daughters, inheriting their mother's energy, were
all in a fair way to do well in the world. There was
not a happier household in Glen St. Mary than the
Miss Cornelia returned satisfied from the house up the
"Leslie's going to take him," she announced. "She
jumped at the chance. She wants to make a little money
to shingle the roof of her house this fall, and she
didn't know how she was going to manage it. I expect
Captain Jim'll be more than interested when he hears
that a grandson of the Selwyns' is coming here. Leslie
said to tell you she hankered after cherry pie, but she
couldn't come to tea because she has to go and hunt up
her turkeys. They've strayed away. But she said, if
there was a piece left, for you to put it in the pantry
and she'd run over in the cat's light, when prowling's
in order, to get it. You don't know, Anne, dearie,
what good it did my heart to hear Leslie send you a
message like that, laughing like she used to long ago.
There's a great change come over her lately. She
laughs and jokes like a girl, and from her talk I
gather she's here real often."
"Every day--or else I'm over there," said Anne. "I
don't know what I'd do without Leslie, especially just
now when Gilbert is so busy. He's hardly ever home
except for a few hours in the wee sma's. He's really
working himself to death. So many of the over-harbor
people send for him now."
"They might better be content with their own doctor,"
said Miss Cornelia. "Though to be sure I can't blame
them, for he's a Methodist. Ever since Dr. Blythe
brought Mrs. Allonby round folks think he can raise the
dead. I believe Dr. Dave is a mite jealous--just like
a man. He thinks Dr. Blythe has too many new-fangled
notions! `Well,' I says to him, `it was a new-fangled
notion saved Rhoda Allonby. If YOU'D been attending
her she'd have died, and had a tombstone saying it had
pleased God to take her away.' Oh, I DO like to speak
my mind to Dr. Dave! He's bossed the Glen for years,
and he thinks he's forgotten more than other people
ever knew. Speaking of doctors, I wish Dr. Blythe'd
run over and see to that boil on Dick Moore's neck.
It's getting past Leslie's skill. I'm sure I don't
know what Dick Moore wants to start in having boils
for--as if he wasn't enough trouble without that!"
"Do you know, Dick has taken quite a fancy to me,"
said Anne. "He follows me round like a dog, and smiles
like a pleased child when I notice him."
"Does it make you creepy?"
"Not at all. I rather like poor Dick Moore. He seems
so pitiful and appealing, somehow."
"You wouldn't think him very appealing if you'd see him
on his cantankerous days, believe ME. But I'm glad you
don't mind him-- it's all the nicer for Leslie. She'll
have more to do when her boarder comes. I hope he'll
be a decent creature. You'll probably like him--he's a
"I wonder why people so commonly suppose that if two
individuals are both writers they must therefore be
hugely congenial," said Anne, rather scornfully.
"Nobody would expect two blacksmiths to be violently
attracted toward each other merely because they were
Nevertheless, she looked forward to the advent of Owen
Ford with a pleasant sense of expectation. If he were
young and likeable he might prove a very pleasant
addition to society in Four Winds. The latch-string of
the little house was always out for the race of Joseph.
CHAPTER 23. OWEN FORD COMES
One evening Miss Cornelia telephoned down to Anne.
"The writer man has just arrived here. I'm going to
drive him down to your place, and you can show him the
way over to Leslie's. It's shorter than driving round
by the other road, and I'm in a mortal hurry. The
Reese baby has gone and fallen into a pail of hot water
at the Glen, and got nearly scalded to death and they
want me right off--to put a new skin on the child, I
presume. Mrs. Reese is always so careless, and then
expects other people to mend her mistakes. You won't
mind, will you, dearie? His trunk can go down
"Very well," said Anne. "What is he like, Miss
"You'll see what he's like outside when I take him
down. As for what he's like inside only the Lord who
made him knows THAT. I'm not going to say another
word, for every receiver in the Glen is down."
"Miss Cornelia evidently can't find much fault with Mr.
Ford's looks, or she would find it in spite of the
receivers," said Anne. "I conclude therefore, Susan,
that Mr. Ford is rather handsome than otherwise."
"Well, Mrs. Doctor, dear, I DO enjoy seeing a
well-looking man," said Susan candidly. "Had I not
better get up a snack for him? There is a strawberry
pie that would melt in your mouth."
"No, Leslie is expecting him and has his supper ready.
Besides, I want that strawberry pie for my own poor
man. He won't be home till late, so leave the pie and
a glass of milk out for him, Susan."
"That I will, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Susan is at the helm.
After all, it is better to give pie to your own men
than to strangers, who may be only seeking to devour,
and the doctor himself is as well-looking a man as you
often come across."
When Owen Ford came Anne secretly admitted, as Miss
Cornelia towed him in, that he was very "well-looking"
indeed. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with thick,
brown hair, finely-cut nose and chin, large and
brilliant dark-gray eyes.
"And did you notice his ears and his teeth, Mrs.
Doctor, dear?" queried Susan later on. "He has got
the nicest-shaped ears I ever saw on a man's head. I
am choice about ears. When I was young I was scared
that I might have to marry a man with ears like flaps.
But I need not have worried, for never a chance did I
have with any kind of ears."
Anne had not noticed Owen Ford's ears, but she did see
his teeth, as his lips parted over them in a frank and
friendly smile. Unsmiling, his face was rather sad and
absent in expression, not unlike the melancholy,
inscrutable hero of Anne's own early dreams; but mirth
and humor and charm lighted it up when he smiled.
Certainly, on the outside, as Miss Cornelia said, Owen
Ford was a very presentable fellow.
"You cannot realise how delighted I am to be here, Mrs.
Blythe," he said, looking around him with eager,
interested eyes. "I have an odd feeling of coming
home. My mother was born and spent her childhood
here, you know. She used to talk a great deal to me of
her old home. I know the geography of it as well as of
the one I lived in, and, of course, she told me the
story of the building of the house, and of my
grandfather's agonised watch for the Royal William. I
had thought that so old a house must have vanished
years ago, or I should have come to see it before
"Old houses don't vanish easily on this enchanted
coast," smiled Anne. "This is a `land where all
things always seem the same'-- nearly always, at least.
John Selwyn's house hasn't even been much changed, and
outside the rose-bushes your grandfather planted for
his bride are blooming this very minute."
"How the thought links me with them! With your leave I
must explore the whole place soon."
"Our latch-string will always be out for you,"
promised Anne. "And do you know that the old sea
captain who keeps the Four Winds light knew John Selwyn
and his bride well in his boyhood? He told me their
story the night I came here--the third bride of the old
"Can it be possible? This IS a discovery. I must hunt
"It won't be difficult; we are all cronies of Captain
Jim. He will be as eager to see you as you could be to
see him. Your grandmother shines like a star in his
memory. But I think Mrs. Moore is expecting you. I'll
show you our `cross-lots' road."
Anne walked with him to the house up the brook, over a
field that was as white as snow with daisies. A
boat-load of people were singing far across the harbor.
The sound drifted over the water like faint, unearthly
music wind-blown across a starlit sea. The big light
flashed and beaconed. Owen Ford looked around him with
"And so this is Four Winds," he said. "I wasn't
prepared to find it quite so beautiful, in spite of all
mother's praises. What colors-- what scenery--what
charm! I shall get as strong as a horse in no time.
And if inspiration comes from beauty, I should
certainly be able to begin my great Canadian novel
"You haven't begun it yet?" asked Anne.
"Alack-a-day, no. I've never been able to get the
right central idea for it. It lurks beyond me--it
allures--and beckons--and recedes-- I almost grasp it
and it is gone. Perhaps amid this peace and
loveliness, I shall be able to capture it. Miss Bryant
tells me that you write."
"Oh, I do little things for children. I haven't done
much since I was married. And--I have no designs on a
great Canadian novel," laughed Anne. "That is quite
Owen Ford laughed too.
"I dare say it is beyond me as well. All the same I
mean to have a try at it some day, if I can ever get
time. A newspaper man doesn't have much chance for
that sort of thing. I've done a good deal of short
story writing for the magazines, but I've never had the
leisure that seems to be necessary for the writing of a
book. With three months of liberty I ought to make a
start, though--if I could only get the necessary motif
for it--the SOUL of the book."
An idea whisked through Anne's brain with a suddenness
that made her jump. But she did not utter it, for they
had reached the Moore house. As they entered the yard
Leslie came out on the veranda from the side door,
peering through the gloom for some sign of her expected
guest. She stood just where the warm yellow light
flooded her from the open door. She wore a plain dress
of cheap, cream-tinted cotton voile, with the usual
girdle of crimson. Leslie was never without her touch
of crimson. She had told Anne that she never felt
satisfied without a gleam of red somewhere about her,
if it were only a flower. To Anne, it always seemed to
symbolise Leslie's glowing, pent-up personality,
denied all expression save in that flaming glint.
Leslie's dress was cut a little away at the neck and
had short sleeves. Her arms gleamed like ivory-tinted
marble. Every exquisite curve of her form was
outlined in soft darkness against the light. Her hair
shone in it like flame. Beyond her was a purple sky,
flowering with stars over the harbor.
Anne heard her companion give a gasp. Even in the dusk
she could see the amazement and admiration on his face.
"Who is that beautiful creature?" he asked.
"That is Mrs. Moore," said Anne. "She is very lovely,
"I--I never saw anything like her," he answered,
rather dazedly. "I wasn't prepared--I didn't
expect--good heavens, one DOESN'T expect a goddess for
a landlady ! Why, if she were clothed in a gown of
sea-purple, with a rope of amethysts in her hair, she
would be a veritable sea-queen. And she takes in
"Even goddesses must live," said Anne. "And Leslie
isn't a goddess. She's just a very beautiful woman, as
human as the rest of us. Did Miss Bryant tell you
about Mr. Moore?"
"Yes,--he's mentally deficient, or something of the
sort, isn't he? But she said nothing about Mrs. Moore,
and I supposed she'd be the usual hustling country
housewife who takes in boarders to earn an honest
"Well, that's just what Leslie is doing," said Anne
crisply. "And it isn't altogether pleasant for her,
either. I hope you won't mind Dick. If you do, please
don't let Leslie see it. It would hurt her horribly.
He's just a big baby, and sometimes a rather annoying
"Oh, I won't mind him. I don't suppose I'll be much in
the house anyhow, except for meals. But what a shame
it all is! Her life must be a hard one."
"It is. But she doesn't like to be pitied."
Leslie had gone back into the house and now met them at
the front door. She greeted Owen Ford with cold
civility, and told him in a business-like tone that his
room and his supper were ready for him. Dick, with a
pleased grin, shambled upstairs with the valise, and
Owen Ford was installed as an inmate of the old house
among the willows.
CHAPTER 24. THE LIFE-BOOK OF CAPTAIN JIM
"I have a little brown cocoon of an idea that may
possibly expand into a magnificent moth of
fulfilment," Anne told Gilbert when she reached home.
He had returned earlier than she had expected, and was
enjoying Susan's cherry pie. Susan herself hovered in
the background, like a rather grim but beneficent
guardian spirit, and found as much pleasure in watching
Gilbert eat pie as he did in eating it.
"What is your idea?" he asked.
"I sha'n't tell you just yet--not till I see if I can
bring the thing about."
"What sort of a chap is Ford?"
"Oh, very nice, and quite good-looking."
"Such beautiful ears, doctor, dear," interjected Susan
with a relish.
"He is about thirty or thirty-five, I think, and he
meditates writing a novel. His voice is pleasant and
his smile delightful, and he knows how to dress. He
looks as if life hadn't been altogether easy for him,
Owen Ford came over the next evening with a note to
Anne from Leslie; they spent the sunset time in the
garden and then went for a moonlit sail on the harbor,
in the little boat Gilbert had set up for summer
outings. They liked Owen immensely and had that
feeling of having known him for many years which
distinguishes the freemasonry of the house of Joseph.
"He is as nice as his ears, Mrs. Doctor, dear," said
Susan, when he had gone. He had told Susan that he had
never tasted anything like her strawberry shortcake and
Susan's susceptible heart was his forever.
"He has got a way with him." she reflected, as she
cleared up the relics of the supper. "It is real queer
he is not married, for a man like that could have
anybody for the asking. Well, maybe he is like me, and
has not met the right one yet."
Susan really grew quite romantic in her musings as she
washed the supper dishes.
Two nights later Anne took Owen Ford down to Four Winds
Point to introduce him to Captain Jim. The clover
fields along the harbor shore were whitening in the
western wind, and Captain Jim had one of his finest
sunsets on exhibition. He himself had just returned
from a trip over the harbor.
"I had to go over and tell Henry Pollack he was dying.
Everybody else was afraid to tell him. They expected
he'd take on turrible, for he's been dreadful
determined to live, and been making no end of plans for
the fall. His wife thought he oughter be told and that
I'd be the best one to break it to him that he couldn't
get better. Henry and me are old cronies--we sailed in
the Gray Gull for years together. Well, I went over
and sat down by Henry's bed and I says to him, says I,
jest right out plain and simple, for if a thing's got
to be told it may as well be told first as last, says
I, `Mate, I reckon you've got your sailing orders this
time,' I was sorter quaking inside, for it's an awful
thing to have to tell a man who hain't any idea he's
dying that he is. But lo and behold, Mistress Blythe,
Henry looks up at me, with those bright old black eyes
of his in his wizened face and says, says he, `Tell me
something I don't know, Jim Boyd, if you want to give
me information. I've known THAT for a week.' I was
too astonished to speak, and Henry, he chuckled. `To
see you coming in here,' says he, `with your face as
solemn as a tombstone and sitting down there with your
hands clasped over your stomach, and passing me out a
blue-mouldy old item of news like that! It'd make a
cat laugh, Jim Boyd,' says he. `Who told you?' says I,
stupid like. `Nobody,' says he. `A week ago Tuesday
night I was lying here awake--and I jest knew. I'd
suspicioned it before, but then I KNEW. I've been
keeping up for the wife's sake. And I'd LIKE to have
got that barn built, for Eben'll never get it right.
But anyhow, now that you've eased your mind, Jim, put
on a smile and tell me something interesting,' Well,
there it was. They'd been so scared to tell him and he
knew it all the time. Strange how nature looks out for
us, ain't it, and lets us know what we should know when
the time comes? Did I never tell you the yarn about
Henry getting the fish hook in his nose, Mistress
"Well, him and me had a laugh over it today. It
happened nigh unto thirty years ago. Him and me and
several more was out mackerel fishing one day. It was
a great day--never saw such a school of mackerel in
the gulf--and in the general excitement Henry got quite
wild and contrived to stick a fish hook clean through
one side of his nose. Well, there he was; there was
barb on one end and a big piece of lead on the other,
so it couldn't be pulled out. We wanted to take him
ashore at once, but Henry was game; he said he'd be
jiggered if he'd leave a school like that for anything
short of lockjaw; then he kept fishing away, hauling in
hand over fist and groaning between times. Fin'lly the
school passed and we come in with a load; I got a file
and begun to try to file through that hook. I tried to
be as easy as I could, but you should have heard
Henry--no, you shouldn't either. It was well no ladies
were around. Henry wasn't a swearing man, but he'd
heard some few matters of that sort along shore in his
time, and he fished 'em all out of his recollection and
hurled 'em at me. Fin'lly he declared he couldn't
stand it and I had no bowels of compassion. So we
hitched up and I drove him to a doctor in
Charlottetown, thirty-five miles--there weren't none
nearer in them days--with that blessed hook still
hanging from his nose. When we got there old Dr. Crabb
jest took a file and filed that hook jest the same as
I'd tried to do, only he weren't a mite particular
about doing it easy!"
Captain Jim's visit to his old friend had revived many
recollections and he was now in the full tide of
"Henry was asking me today if I remembered the time old
Father Chiniquy blessed Alexander MacAllister's boat.
Another odd yarn--and true as gospel. I was in the
boat myself. We went out, him and me, in Alexander
MacAllister's boat one morning at sunrise. Besides,
there was a French boy in the boat--Catholic of course.
You know old Father Chiniquy had turned Protestant, so
the Catholics hadn't much use for him. Well, we sat
out in the gulf in the broiling sun till noon, and not
a bite did we get. When we went ashore old Father
Chiniquy had to go, so he said in that polite way of
his, `I'm very sorry I cannot go out with you dis
afternoon, Mr. MacAllister, but I leave you my
blessing. You will catch a t'ousand dis afternoon.
`Well, we did not catch a thousand, but we caught
exactly nine hundred and ninety-nine--the biggest catch
for a small boat on the whole north shore that summer.
Curious, wasn't it? Alexander MacAllister, he says to
Andrew Peters, `Well, and what do you think of Father
Chiniquy now?' `Vell,' growled Andrew, `I t'ink de old
devil has got a blessing left yet.' Laws, how Henry
did laugh over that today!"
"Do you know who Mr. Ford is, Captain Jim?" asked
Anne, seeing that Captain Jim's fountain of
reminiscence had run out for the present. "I want you
Captain Jim shook his head.
"I never was any hand at guessing, Mistress Blythe, and
yet somehow when I come in I thought, `Where have I
seen them eyes before?'--for I HAVE seen 'em."
"Think of a September morning many years ago," said
Anne, softly. "Think of a ship sailing up the
harbor--a ship long waited for and despaired of. Think
of the day the Royal William came in and the first
look you had at the schoolmaster's bride."
Captain Jim sprang up.
"They're Persis Selwyn's eyes," he almost shouted.
"You can't be her son--you must be her--"
"Grandson; yes, I am Alice Selwyn's son."
Captain Jim swooped down on Owen Ford and shook his
hand over again.
"Alice Selwyn's son! Lord, but you're welcome! Many's
the time I've wondered where the descendants of the
schoolmaster were living. I knew there was none on the
Island. Alice--Alice--the first baby ever born in that
little house. No baby ever brought more joy! I've
dandled her a hundred times. It was from my knee she
took her first steps alone. Can't I see her mother's
face watching her--and it was near sixty years ago. Is
she living yet?"
"No, she died when I was only a boy."
"Oh, it doesn't seem right that I should be living to
hear that," sighed Captain Jim. "But I'm heart-glad
to see you. It's brought back my youth for a little
while. You don't know yet what a boon THAT is.
Mistress Blythe here has the trick--she does it quite
often for me."
Captain Jim was still more excited when he discovered
that Owen Ford was what he called a "real writing
man." He gazed at him as at a superior being.
Captain Jim knew that Anne wrote, but he had never
taken that fact very seriously. Captain Jim thought
women were delightful creatures, who ought to have the
vote, and everything else they wanted, bless their
hearts; but he did not believe they could write.
"Jest look at A Mad Love," he would protest. "A woman
wrote that and jest look at it--one hundred and three
chapters when it could all have been told in ten. A
writing woman never knows when to stop; that's the
trouble. The p'int of good writing is to know when to
"Mr. Ford wants to hear some of your stories, Captain
Jim" said Anne. "Tell him the one about the captain
who went crazy and imagined he was the Flying
This was Captain Jim's best story. It was a compound
of horror and humor, and though Anne had heard it
several times she laughed as heartily and shivered as
fearsomely over it as Mr. Ford did. Other tales
followed, for Captain Jim had an audience after his own
heart. He told how his vessel had been run down by a
steamer; how he had been boarded by Malay pirates; how
his ship had caught fire; how he helped a political
prisoner escape from a South African republic; how he
had been wrecked one fall on the Magdalens and stranded
there for the winter; how a tiger had broken loose on
board ship; how his crew had mutinied and marooned him
on a barren island--these and many other tales, tragic
or humorous or grotesque, did Captain Jim relate. The
mystery of the sea, the fascination of far lands, the
lure of adventure, the laughter of the world--his
hearers felt and realised them all. Owen Ford
listened, with his head on his hand, and the First
Mate purring on his knee, his brilliant eyes fastened
on Captain Jim's rugged, eloquent face.
"Won't you let Mr. Ford see your life-book, Captain
Jim?" asked Anne, when Captain Jim finally declared
that yarn-spinning must end for the time.
"Oh, he don't want to be bothered with THAT,"
protested Captain Jim, who was secretly dying to show
"I should like nothing better than to see it, Captain
Boyd," said Owen. "If it is half as wonderful as your
tales it will be worth seeing."
With pretended reluctance Captain Jim dug his life-book
out of his old chest and handed it to Owen.
"I reckon you won't care to wrastle long with my old
hand o' write. I never had much schooling," he
observed carelessly. "Just wrote that there to amuse
my nephew Joe. He's always wanting stories. Comes
here yesterday and says to me, reproachful-like, as I
was lifting a twenty-pound codfish out of my boat,
`Uncle Jim, ain't a codfish a dumb animal?' I'd been
a-telling him, you see, that he must be real kind to
dumb animals, and never hurt 'em in any way. I got out
of the scrape by saying a codfish was dumb enough but
it wasn't an animal, but Joe didn't look satisfied, and
I wasn't satisfied myself. You've got to be mighty
careful what you tell them little critters. THEY can
see through you."
While talking, Captain Jim watched Owen Ford from the
corner of his eye as the latter examined the life-book;
and presently observing that his guest was lost in its
pages, he turned smilingly to his cupboard and
proceeded to make a pot of tea. Owen Ford separated
himself from the life-book, with as much reluctance as
a miser wrenches himself from his gold, long enough to
drink his tea, and then returned to it hungrily.
"Oh, you can take that thing home with you if you want
to," said Captain Jim, as if the "thing" were not his
most treasured possession. "I must go down and pull my
boat up a bit on the skids. There's a wind coming.
Did you notice the sky tonight?
Mackerel skies and mares' tails Make tall ships
carry short sails."
Owen Ford accepted the offer of the life-book gladly.
On their way home Anne told him the story of lost
"That old captain is a wonderful old fellow," he said.
"What a life he has led! Why, the man had more
adventures in one week of his life than most of us have
in a lifetime. Do you really think his tales are all
"I certainly do. I am sure Captain Jim could not tell
a lie; and besides, all the people about here say that
everything happened as he relates it. There used to be
plenty of his old shipmates alive to corroborate him.
He's one of the last of the old type of P.E. Island
sea-captains. They are almost extinct now."
CHAPTER 25. THE WRITING OF THE BOOK
Owen Ford came over to the little house the next
morning in a state of great excitement. "Mrs. Blythe,
this is a wonderful book--absolutely wonderful. If I
could take it and use the material for a book I feel
certain I could make the novel of the year out of it.
Do you suppose Captain Jim would let me do it?"
"Let you! I'm sure he would be delighted," cried
Anne. "I admit that it was what was in my head when I
took you down last night. Captain Jim has always been
wishing he could get somebody to write his life-book
properly for him."
"Will you go down to the Point with me this evening,
Mrs. Blythe? I'll ask him about that life-book myself,
but I want you to tell him that you told me the story
of lost Margaret and ask him if he will let me use it
as a thread of romance with which to weave the stories
of the life-book into a harmonious whole."
Captain Jim was more excited than ever when Owen Ford
told him of his plan. At last his cherished dream was
to be realized and his "life-book" given to the world.
He was also pleased that the story of lost Margaret
should be woven into it.
"It will keep her name from being forgotten," he said
"That's why I want it put in."
"We'll collaborate," cried Owen delightedly. "You
will give the soul and I the body. Oh, we'll write a
famous book between us, Captain Jim. And we'll get
right to work."
"And to think my book is to be writ by the
schoolmaster's grandson!" exclaimed Captain Jim.
"Lad, your grandfather was my dearest friend. I
thought there was nobody like him. I see now why I had
to wait so long. It couldn't be writ till the right
man come. You BELONG here--you've got the soul of this
old north shore in you-- you're the only one who COULD
It was arranged that the tiny room off the living room
at the lighthouse should be given over to Owen for a
workshop. It was necessary that Captain Jim should be
near him as he wrote, for consultation upon many
matters of sea-faring and gulf lore of which Owen was
He began work on the book the very next morning, and
flung himself into it heart and soul. As for Captain
Jim, he was a happy man that summer. He looked upon
the little room where Owen worked as a sacred shrine.
Owen talked everything over with Captain Jim, but he
would not let him see the manuscript.
"You must wait until it is published," he said. "Then
you'll get it all at once in its best shape."
He delved into the treasures of the life-book and used
them freely. He dreamed and brooded over lost Margaret
until she became a vivid reality to him and lived in
his pages. As the book progressed it took possession
of him and he worked at it with feverish eagerness. He
let Anne and Leslie read the manuscript and criticise
it; and the concluding chapter of the book, which the
critics, later on, were pleased to call idyllic, was
modelled upon a suggestion of Leslie's.
Anne fairly hugged herself with delight over the
success of her idea.
"I knew when I looked at Owen Ford that he was the very
man for it," she told Gilbert. "Both humor and
passion were in his face, and that, together with the
art of expression, was just what was necessary for the
writing of such a book. As Mrs. Rachel would say, he
was predestined for the part."
Owen Ford wrote in the mornings. The afternoons were
generally spent in some merry outing with the Blythes.
Leslie often went, too, for Captain Jim took charge of
Dick frequently, in order to set her free. They went
boating on the harbor and up the three pretty rivers
that flowed into it; they had clambakes on the bar and
mussel-bakes on the rocks; they picked strawberries on
the sand-dunes; they went out cod-fishing with Captain
Jim; they shot plover in the shore fields and wild
ducks in the cove--at least, the men did. In the
evenings they rambled in the low-lying, daisied, shore
fields under a golden moon, or they sat in the living
room at the little house where often the coolness of
the sea breeze justified a driftwood fire, and talked
of the thousand and one things which happy, eager,
clever young people can find to talk about.
Ever since the day on which she had made her confession
to Anne Leslie had been a changed creature. There was
no trace of her old coldness and reserve, no shadow of
her old bitterness. The girlhood of which she had been
cheated seemed to come back to her with the ripeness of
womanhood; she expanded like a flower of flame and
perfume; no laugh was readier than hers, no wit
quicker, in the twilight circles of that enchanted
summer. When she could not be with them all felt that
some exquisite savor was lacking in their intercourse.
Her beauty was illumined by the awakened soul within,
as some rosy lamp might shine through a flawless vase
of alabaster. There were hours when Anne's eyes seemed
to ache with the splendor of her. As for Owen Ford,
the "Margaret" of his book, although she had the soft
brown hair and elfin face of the real girl who had
vanished so long ago, "pillowed where lost Atlantis
sleeps," had the personality of Leslie Moore, as it
was revealed to him in those halcyon days at Four Winds
All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer--one
of those summers which come seldom into any life, but
leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their
going--one of those summers which, in a fortunate
combination of delightful weather, delightful friends
and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as
anything can come in this world.
"Too good to last," Anne told herself with a little
sigh, on the September day when a certain nip in the
wind and a certain shade of intense blue on the gulf
water said that autumn was hard by.
That evening Owen Ford told them that he had finished
his book and that his vacation must come to an end.
"I have a good deal to do to it yet--revising and
pruning and so forth," he said, "but in the main it's
done. I wrote the last sentence this morning. If I
can find a publisher for it it will probably be out
next summer or fall."
Owen had not much doubt that he would find a publisher.
He knew that he had written a great book--a book that
would score a wonderful success--a book that would
LIVE. He knew that it would bring him both fame and
fortune; but when he had written the last line of it he
had bowed his head on the manuscript and so sat for a
long time. And his thoughts were not of the good work
he had done.
CHAPTER 26. OWEN FORD'S CONFESSION
"I'm so sorry Gilbert is away," said Anne. "He had to
go--Allan Lyons at the Glen has met with a serious
accident. He will not likely be home till very late.
But he told me to tell you he'd be up and over early
enough in the morning to see you before you left. It's
too provoking. Susan and I had planned such a nice
little jamboree for your last night here."
She was sitting beside the garden brook on the little
rustic seat Gilbert had built. Owen Ford stood before
her, leaning against the bronze column of a yellow
birch. He was very pale and his face bore the marks of
the preceding sleepless night. Anne, glancing up at
him, wondered if, after all, his summer had brought him
the strength it should. Had he worked too hard over
his book? She remembered that for a week he had not
been looking well.
"I'm rather glad the doctor is away," said Owen
slowly. "I wanted to see you alone, Mrs. Blythe.
There is something I must tell somebody, or I think it
will drive me mad. I've been trying for a week to look
it in the face--and I can't. I know I can trust
you--and, besides, you will understand. A woman with
eyes like yours always understands. You are one of the
folks people instinctively tell things to. Mrs.
Blythe, I love Leslie. LOVE her! That seems too weak
His voice suddenly broke with the suppressed passion of
his utterance. He turned his head away and hid his
face on his arm. His whole form shook. Anne sat
looking at him, pale and aghast. She had never
thought of this! And yet--how was it she had never
thought of it? It now seemed a natural and inevitable
thing. She wondered at her own blindness.
But--but--things like this did not happen in Four
Winds. Elsewhere in the world human passions might set
at defiance human conventions and laws--but not HERE,
surely. Leslie had kept summer boarders off and on for
ten years, and nothing like this had happened. But
perhaps they had not been like Owen Ford; and the
vivid, LIVING Leslie of this summer was not the cold,
sullen girl of other years. Oh, SOMEBODY should have
thought of this! Why hadn't Miss Cornelia thought of
it? Miss Cornelia was always ready enough to sound the
alarm where men were concerned. Anne felt an
unreasonable resentment against Miss Cornelia. Then
she gave a little inward groan. No matter who was to
blame the mischief was done. And Leslie--what of
Leslie? It was for Leslie Anne felt most concerned.
"Does Leslie know this, Mr. Ford?" she asked quietly.
"No--no,--unless she has guessed it. You surely don't
think I'd be cad and scoundrel enough to tell her, Mrs.
Blythe. I couldn't help loving her--that's all--and my
misery is greater than I can bear."
"Does SHE care?" asked Anne. The moment the question
crossed her lips she felt that she should not have
asked it. Owen Ford answered it with overeager
"No--no, of course not. But I could make her care if
she were free--I know I could."
"She does care--and he knows it," thought Anne. Aloud
she said, sympathetically but decidedly:
"But she is not free, Mr. Ford. And the only thing you
can do is to go away in silence and leave her to her
"I know--I know," groaned Owen. He sat down on the
grassy bank and stared moodily into the amber water
beneath him. "I know there's nothing to do--nothing
but to say conventionally, `Good- bye, Mrs. Moore.
Thank you for all your kindness to me this summer,'
just as I would have said it to the sonsy, bustling,
keen-eyed housewife I expected her to be when I came.
Then I'll pay my board money like any honest boarder
and go! Oh, it's very simple. No doubt--no
perplexity--a straight road to the end of the world!
And I'll walk it--you needn't fear that I won't, Mrs.
Blythe. But it would be easier to walk over red-hot
Anne flinched with the pain of his voice. And there
was so little she could say that would be adequate to
the situation. Blame was out of the question--advice
was not needed--sympathy was mocked by the man's stark
agony. She could only feel with him in a maze of
compassion and regret. Her heart ached for Leslie!
Had not that poor girl suffered enough without this?
"It wouldn't be so hard to go and leave her if she were
only happy," resumed Owen passionately. "But to think
of her living death--to realise what it is to which I
do leave her! THAT is the worst of all. I would give
my life to make her happy--and I can do nothing even to
help her--nothing. She is bound forever to that poor
wretch--with nothing to look forward to but growing old
in a succession of empty, meaningless, barren years.
It drives me mad to think of it. But I must go through
my life, never seeing her, but always knowing what she
is enduring. It's hideous--hideous!"
"It is very hard," said Anne sorrowfully. "We--her
friends here--all know how hard it is for her."
"And she is so richly fitted for life," said Owen
"Her beauty is the least of her dower--and she is the
most beautiful woman I've ever known. That laugh of
hers! I've angled all summer to evoke that laugh, just
for the delight of hearing it. And her eyes-- they are
as deep and blue as the gulf out there. I never saw
such blueness--and gold! Did you ever see her hair
down, Mrs. Blythe?"
"I did--once. I had gone down to the Point to go
fishing with Captain Jim but it was too rough to go
out, so I came back. She had taken the opportunity of
what she expected to be an afternoon alone to wash her
hair, and she was standing on the veranda in the
sunshine to dry it. It fell all about her to her feet
in a fountain of living gold. When she saw me she
hurried in, and the wind caught her hair and swirled it
all around her--Danae in her cloud. Somehow, just then
the knowledge that I loved her came home to me--and
realised that I had loved her from the moment I first
saw her standing against the darkness in that glow of
light. And she must live on here--petting and soothing
Dick, pinching and saving for a mere existence, while I
spend my life longing vainly for her, and debarred, by
that very fact, from even giving her the little help a
friend might. I walked the shore last night, almost
till dawn, and thrashed it all out over and over again.
And yet, in spite of everything, I can't find it in my
heart to be sorry that I came to Four Winds. It seems
to me that, bad as everything is, it would be still
worse never to have known Leslie. It's burning,
searing pain to love her and leave her--but not to have
loved her is unthinkable. I suppose all this sounds
very crazy--all these terrible emotions always do sound
foolish when we put them into our inadequate words.
They are not meant to be spoken--only felt and endured.
I shouldn't have spoken--but it has helped-- some. At
least, it has given me strength to go away respectably
tomorrow morning, without making a scene. You'll write
me now and then, won't you, Mrs. Blythe, and give me
what news there is to give of her?"
"Yes," said Anne. "Oh, I'm so sorry you are
going--we'll miss you so--we've all been such friends!
If it were not for this you could come back other
summers. Perhaps, even yet--by-and-by--when you've
"I shall never forget--and I shall never come back to
Four Winds," said Owen briefly.
Silence and twilight fell over the garden. Far away
the sea was lapping gently and monotonously on the bar.
The wind of evening in the poplars sounded like some
sad, weird, old rune--some broken dream of old
memories. A slender shapely young aspen rose up before
them against the fine maize and emerald and paling rose
of the western sky, which brought out every leaf and
twig in dark, tremulous, elfin loveliness.
"Isn't that beautiful?" said Owen, pointing to it with
the air of a man who puts a certain conversation behind
"It's so beautiful that it hurts me," said Anne
softly. "Perfect things like that always did hurt
me--I remember I called it `the queer ache' when I was
a child. What is the reason that pain like this seems
inseparable from perfection? Is it the pain of
finality--when we realise that there can be nothing
beyond but retrogression?"
"Perhaps," said Owen dreamily, "it is the prisoned
infinite in us calling out to its kindred infinite as
expressed in that visible perfection."
"You seem to have a cold in the head. Better rub some
tallow on your nose when you go to bed," said Miss
Cornelia, who had come in through the little gate
between the firs in time to catch Owen's last remark.
Miss Cornelia liked Owen; but it was a matter of
principle with her to visit any "high-falutin"
language from a man with a snub.
Miss Cornelia personated the comedy that ever peeps
around the corner at the tragedy of life. Anne, whose
nerves had been rather strained, laughed hysterically,
and even Owen smiled. Certainly, sentiment and
passion had a way of shrinking out of sight in Miss
Cornelia's presence. And yet to Anne nothing seemed
quite as hopeless and dark and painful as it had seemed
a few moments before. But sleep was far from her eyes
CHAPTER 27. ON THE SAND BAR
Owen Ford left Four Winds the next morning. In the
evening Anne went over to see Leslie, but found nobody.
The house was locked and there was no light in any
window. It looked like a home left soulless. Leslie
did not run over on the following day--which Anne
thought a bad sign.
Gilbert having occasion to go in the evening to the
fishing cove, Anne drove with him to the Point,
intending to stay awhile with Captain Jim. But the
great light, cutting its swathes through the fog of the
autumn evening, was in care of Alec Boyd and Captain
Jim was away.
"What will you do?" asked Gilbert. "Come with me?"
"I don't want to go to the cove--but I'll go over the
channel with you, and roam about on the sand shore till
you come back. The rock shore is too slippery and grim
Alone on the sands of the bar Anne gave herself up to
the eerie charm of the night. It was warm for
September, and the late afternoon had been very foggy;
but a full moon had in part lessened the fog and
transformed the harbor and the gulf and the surrounding
shores into a strange, fantastic, unreal world of pale
silver mist, through which everything loomed
phantom-like. Captain Josiah Crawford's black
schooner sailing down the channel, laden with potatoes
for Bluenose ports, was a spectral ship bound for a far
uncharted land, ever receding, never to be reached.
The calls of unseen gulls overhead were the cries of
the souls of doomed seamen. The little curls of foam
that blew across the sand were elfin things stealing up
from the sea-caves. The big, round-shouldered
sand-dunes were the sleeping giants of some old
northern tale. The lights that glimmered palely across
the harbor were the delusive beacons on some coast of
fairyland. Anne pleased herself with a hundred fancies
as she wandered through the mist. It was
delightful--romantic-- mysterious to be roaming here
alone on this enchanted shore.
But was she alone? Something loomed in the mist before
her--took shape and form--suddenly moved towards her
across the wave-rippled sand.
"Leslie!" exclaimed Anne in amazement. "Whatever are
"If it comes to that, whatever are YOU doing here?"
said Leslie, trying to laugh. The effort was a
failure. She looked very pale and tired; but the love
locks under her scarlet cap were curling about her
face and eyes like little sparkling rings of gold.
"I'm waiting for Gilbert--he's over at the Cove. I
intended to stay at the light, but Captain Jim is
"Well, _I_ came here because I wanted to walk--and
walk--and WALK," said Leslie restlessly. "I couldn't
on the rock shore--the tide was too high and the rocks
prisoned me. I had to come here--or I should have gone
mad, I think. I rowed myself over the channel in
Captain Jim's flat. I've been here for an hour.
Come--come--let us walk. I can't stand still. Oh,
"Leslie, dearest, what is the trouble?" asked Anne,
though she knew too well already.
"I can't tell you--don't ask me . I wouldn't mind your
knowing-- I wish you did know--but I can't tell you--I
can't tell anyone. I've been such a fool, Anne--and
oh, it hurts so terribly to be a fool. There's nothing
so painful in the world."
She laughed bitterly. Anne slipped her arm around her.
"Leslie, is it that you have learned to care for Mr.
Leslie turned herself about passionately.
"How did you know?" she cried. "Anne, how did you
know? Oh, is it written in my face for everyone to
see? Is it as plain as that?"
"No, no. I--I can't tell you how I knew. It just came
into my mind, somehow. Leslie, don't look at me like
"Do you despise me?" demanded Leslie in a fierce, low
tone. "Do you think I'm wicked--unwomanly? Or do you
think I'm just plain fool?"
"I don't think you any of those things. Come, dear,
let's just talk it over sensibly, as we might talk over
any other of the great crises of life. You've been
brooding over it and let yourself drift into a morbid
view of it. You know you have a little tendency to do
that about everything that goes wrong, and you promised
me that you would fight against it."
"But--oh, it's so--so shameful," murmured Leslie. "To
love him--unsought--and when I'm not free to love
"There's nothing shameful about it. But I'm very sorry
that you have learned to care for Owen, because, as
things are, it will only make you more unhappy."
"I didn't LEARN to care," said Leslie, walking on and
speaking passionately. "If it had been like that I
could have prevented it. I never dreamed of such a
thing until that day, a week ago, when he told me he
had finished his book and must soon go away. Then--
then I knew. I felt as if someone had struck me a
terrible blow. I didn't say anything--I couldn't
speak--but I don't know what I looked like. I'm so
afraid my face betrayed me. Oh, I would die of shame
if I thought he knew--or suspected."
Anne was miserably silent, hampered by her deductions
from her conversation with Owen. Leslie went on
feverishly, as if she found relief in speech.
"I was so happy all this summer, Anne--happier than I
ever was in my life. I thought it was because
everything had been made clear between you and me, and
that it was our friendship which made life seem so
beautiful and full once more. And it WAS, in part--but
not all--oh, not nearly all. I know now why everything
was so different. And now it's all over--and he has
gone. How can I live, Anne? When I turned back into
the house this morning after he had gone the solitude
struck me like a blow in the face."
"It won't seem so hard by and by, dear," said Anne,
who always felt the pain of her friends so keenly that
she could not speak easy, fluent words of comforting.
Besides, she remembered how well- meant speeches had
hurt her in her own sorrow and was afraid.
"Oh, it seems to me it will grow harder all the time,"
said Leslie miserably. "I've nothing to look forward
to. Morning will come after morning--and he will not
come back--he will never come back. Oh, when I think
that I will never see him again I feel as if a great
brutal hand had twisted itself among my heartstrings,
and was wrenching them. Once, long ago, I dreamed of
love--and I thought it must be beautiful--and NOW--its
like THIS. When he went away yesterday morning he was
so cold and indifferent. He said `Good- bye, Mrs.
Moore' in the coldest tone in the world--as if we had
not even been friends--as if I meant absolutely nothing
to him. I know I don't--I didn't want him to
care--but he MIGHT have been a little kinder."
"Oh, I wish Gilbert would come," thought Anne. She
was racked between her sympathy for Leslie and the
necessity of avoiding anything that would betray Owen's
confidence. She knew why his good-bye had been so
cold--why it could not have the cordiality that their
good-comradeship demanded--but she could not tell
"I couldn't help it, Anne--I couldn't help it," said
"I know that."
"Do you blame me so very much?"
"I don't blame you at all."
"And you won't--you won't tell Gilbert?"
" Leslie! Do you think I would do such a thing?"
"Oh, I don't know--you and Gilbert are such CHUMS. I
don't see how you could help telling him everything."
"Everything about my own concerns--yes. But not my
"I couldn't have HIM know. But I'm glad YOU know. I
would feel guilty if there were anything I was ashamed
to tell you. I hope Miss Cornelia won't find out.
Sometimes I feel as if those terrible, kind brown eyes
of hers read my very soul. Oh, I wish this mist would
never lift--I wish I could just stay in it forever,
hidden away from every living being. I don't see how I
can go on with life. This summer has been so full. I
never was lonely for a moment. Before Owen came there
used to be horrible moments--when I had been with you
and Gilbert--and then had to leave you. You two would
walk away together and I would walk away ALONE. After
Owen came he was always there to walk home with me--we
would laugh and talk as you and Gilbert were
doing--there were no more lonely, envious moments for
me. And NOW! Oh, yes, I've been a fool. Let's have
done talking about my folly. I'll never bore you with
"Here is Gilbert, and you are coming back with us,"
said Anne, who had no intention of leaving Leslie to
wander alone on the sand-bar on such a night and in
such a mood. "There's plenty of room in our boat for
three, and we'll tie the flat on behind."
"Oh, I suppose I must reconcile myself to being the odd
one again," said poor Leslie with another bitter
laugh. "Forgive me, Anne--that was hateful. I ought
to be thankful--and I AM--that I have two good friends
who are glad to count me in as a third. Don't mind my
hateful speeches. I just seem to be one great pain all
over and everything hurts me."
"Leslie seemed very quiet tonight, didn't she?" said
Gilbert, when he and Anne reached home. "What in the
world was she doing over there on the bar alone?"
"Oh, she was tired--and you know she likes to go to the
shore after one of Dick's bad days."
"What a pity she hadn't met and married a fellow like
Ford long ago," ruminated Gilbert. "They'd have made
an ideal couple, wouldn't they?"
"For pity's sake, Gilbert, don't develop into a
match-maker. It's an abominable profession for a
man," cried Anne rather sharply, afraid that Gilbert
might blunder on the truth if he kept on in this
"Bless us, Anne-girl, I'm not matchmaking," protested
Gilbert, rather surprised at her tone. "I was only
thinking of one of the might-have-beens."
"Well, don't. It's a waste of time," said Anne. Then
she added suddenly:
"Oh, Gilbert, I wish everybody could be as happy as we
CHAPTER 28. ODDS AND ENDS
"I've been reading obituary notices," said Miss
Cornelia, laying down the Daily Enterprise and taking
up her sewing.
The harbor was lying black and sullen under a dour
November sky; the wet, dead leaves clung drenched and
sodden to the window sills; but the little house was
gay with firelight and spring-like with Anne's ferns
"It's always summer here, Anne," Leslie had said one
day; and all who were the guests of that house of
dreams felt the same.
"The Enterprise seems to run to obituaries these
days," quoth Miss Cornelia. "It always has a couple
of columns of them, and I read every line. It's one of
my forms of recreation, especially when there's some
original poetry attached to them. Here's a choice
sample for you:
She's gone to be with her Maker, Never more to
roam. She used to play and sing with joy The
song of Home, Sweet Home.
Who says we haven't any poetical talent on the Island!
Have you ever noticed what heaps of good people die,
Anne, dearie? It's kind of pitiful. Here's ten
obituaries, and every one of them saints and models,
even the men. Here's old Peter Stimson, who has `left
a large circle of friends to mourn his untimely loss.'
Lord, Anne, dearie, that man was eighty, and everybody
who knew him had been wishing him dead these thirty
years. Read obituaries when you're blue, Anne,
dearie--especially the ones of folks you know. If
you've any sense of humor at all they'll cheer you up,
believe ME. I just wish _I_ had the writing of the
obituaries of some people. Isn't `obituary' an awful
ugly word? This very Peter I've been speaking of had a
face exactly like one. I never saw it but I thought of
the word OBITUARY then and there. There's only one
uglier word that I know of, and that's RELICT. Lord,
Anne, dearie, I may be an old maid, but there's this
comfort in it--I'll never be any man's `relict.'"
"It IS an ugly word," said Anne, laughing. "Avonlea
graveyard was full of old tombstones `sacred to the
memory of So-and-So, RELICT of the late So-and-So.' It
always made me think of something worn out and moth
eaten. Why is it that so many of the words connected
with death are so disagreeable? I do wish that the
custom of calling a dead body `the remains' could be
abolished. I positively shiver when I hear the
undertaker say at a funeral, `All who wish to see the
remains please step this way.' It always gives me the
horrible impression that I am about to view the scene
of a cannibal feast."
"Well, all I hope," said Miss Cornelia calmly, "is
that when I'm dead nobody will call me `our departed
sister.' I took a scunner at this
sister-and-brothering business five years ago when
there was a travelling evangelist holding meetings at
the Glen. I hadn't any use for him from the start. I
felt in my bones that there was something wrong with
him. And there was. Mind you, he was pretending to be
a Presbyterian--PresbyTARian, HE called it--and all the
time he was a Methodist. He brothered and sistered
everybody. He had a large circle of relations, that
man had. He clutched my hand fervently one night, and
said imploringly, `My DEAR sister Bryant, are you a
Christian?' I just looked him over a bit, and then I
said calmly, `The only brother I ever had, MR. Fiske,
was buried fifteen years ago, and I haven't adopted any
since. As for being a Christian, I was that, I hope
and believe, when you were crawling about the floor in
petticoats.' THAT squelched him, believe ME. Mind
you, Anne dearie, I'm not down on all evangelists.
We've had some real fine, earnest men, who did a lot of
good and made the old sinners squirm. But this
Fiske-man wasn't one of them. I had a good laugh all
to myself one evening. Fiske had asked all who were
Christians to stand up. _I_ didn't, believe me! I
never had any use for that sort of thing. But most of
them did, and then he asked all who wanted to be
Christians to stand up. Nobody stirred for a spell, so
Fiske started up a hymn at the top of his voice. Just
in front of me poor little Ikey Baker was sitting in
the Millison pew. He was a home boy, ten years old,
and Millison just about worked him to death. The poor
little creature was always so tired he fell asleep
right off whenever he went to church or anywhere he
could sit still for a few minutes. He'd been sleeping
all through the meeting, and I was thankful to see the
poor child getting a rest, believe ME. Well, when
Fiske's voice went soaring skyward and the rest joined
in, poor Ikey wakened with a start. He thought it was
just an ordinary singing and that everybody ought to
stand up, so he scrambled to his feet mighty quick,
knowing he'd get a combing down from Maria Millison for
sleeping in meeting. Fiske saw him, stopped and
shouted, `Another soul saved! Glory Hallelujah!' And
there was poor, frightened Ikey, only half awake and
yawning, never thinking about his soul at all. Poor
child, he never had time to think of anything but his
tired, overworked little body.
"Leslie went one night and the Fiske-man got right
after her--oh, he was especially anxious about the
souls of the nice-looking girls, believe me!--and he
hurt her feelings so she never went again. And then he
prayed every night after that, right in public, that
the Lord would soften her hard heart. Finally I went
to Mr. Leavitt, our minister then, and told him if he
didn't make Fiske stop that I'd just rise up the next
night and throw my hymn book at him when he mentioned
that `beautiful but unrepentant young woman.' I'd have
done it too, believe ME. Mr. Leavitt did put a stop to
it, but Fiske kept on with his meetings until Charley
Douglas put an end to his career in the Glen. Mrs.
Charley had been out in California all winter. She'd
been real melancholy in the fall--religious
melancholy--it ran in her family. Her father worried
so much over believing that he had committed the
unpardonable sin that he died in the asylum. So when
Rose Douglas got that way Charley packed her off to
visit her sister in Los Angeles. She got perfectly
well and came home just when the Fiske revival was in
full swing. She stepped off the train at the Glen,
real smiling and chipper, and the first thing she saw
staring her in the face on the black, gable-end of the
freight shed, was the question, in big white letters,
two feet high, `Whither goest thou--to heaven or hell?'
That had been one of Fiske's ideas, and he had got
Henry Hammond to paint it. Rose just gave a shriek and
fainted; and when they got her home she was worse than
ever. Charley Douglas went to Mr. Leavitt and told him
that every Douglas would leave the church if Fiske was
kept there any longer. Mr. Leavitt had to give in, for
the Douglases paid half his salary, so Fiske departed,
and we had to depend on our Bibles once more for
instructions on how to get to heaven. After he was
gone Mr. Leavitt found out he was just a masquerading
Methodist, and he felt pretty sick, believe ME. Mr.
Leavitt fell short in some ways, but he was a good,
"By the way, I had a letter from Mr. Ford yesterday,"
said Anne. "He asked me to remember him kindly to
"I don't want his remembrances," said Miss Cornelia,
"Why?" said Anne, in astonishment. "I thought you
"Well, so I did, in a kind of way. But I'll never
forgive him for what he done to Leslie. There's that
poor child eating her heart out about him--as if she
hadn't had trouble enough--and him ranting round
Toronto, I've no doubt, enjoying himself same as ever.
Just like a man."
"Oh, Miss Cornelia, how did you find out?"
"Lord, Anne, dearie, I've got eyes, haven't I? And
I've known Leslie since she was a baby . There's been
a new kind of heartbreak in her eyes all the fall, and
I know that writer-man was behind it somehow. I'll
never forgive myself for being the means of bringing
him here. But I never expected he'd be like he was. I
thought he'd just be like the other men Leslie had
boarded--conceited young asses, every one of them, that
she never had any use for. One of them did try to
flirt with her once and she froze him out--so bad, I
feel sure he's never got himself thawed since. So I
never thought of any danger."
"Don't let Leslie suspect you know her secret," said
Anne hurriedly. "I think it would hurt her."
"Trust me, Anne, dearie. _I_ wasn't born yesterday.
Oh, a plague on all the men! One of them ruined
Leslie's life to begin with, and now another of the
tribe comes and makes her still more wretched. Anne,
this world is an awful place, believe me."
"There's something in the world amiss Will be
unriddled by and by,"
quoted Anne dreamily.
"If it is, it'll be in a world where there aren't any
men," said Miss Cornelia gloomily.
"What have the men been doing now?" asked Gilbert,
"Mischief--mischief! What else did they ever do?"
"It was Eve ate the apple, Miss Cornelia."
" 'Twas a he-creature tempted her," retorted Miss
Leslie, after her first anguish was over, found it
possible to go on with life after all, as most of us
do, no matter what our particular form of torment has
been. It is even possible that she enjoyed moments of
it, when she was one of the gay circle in the little
house of dreams. But if Anne ever hoped that she was
forgetting Owen Ford she would have been undeceived by
the furtive hunger in Leslie's eyes whenever his name
was mentioned. Pitiful to that hunger, Anne always
contrived to tell Captain Jim or Gilbert bits of news
from Owen's letters when Leslie was with them. The
girl's flush and pallor at such moments spoke all too
eloquently of the emotion that filled her being. But
she never spoke of him to Anne, or mentioned that night
on the sand-bar.
One day her old dog died and she grieved bitterly over
"He's been my friend so long," she said sorrowfully to
Anne. "He was Dick's old dog, you know--Dick had him
for a year or so before we were married. He left him
with me when he sailed on the Four Sisters. Carlo got
very fond of me--and his dog-love helped me through
that first dreadful year after mother died, when I was
alone. When I heard that Dick was coming back I was
afraid Carlo wouldn't be so much mine. But he never
seemed to care for Dick, though he had been so fond of
him once. He would snap and growl at him as if he were
a stranger. I was glad. It was nice to have one thing
whose love was all mine. That old dog has been such a
comfort to me, Anne. He got so feeble in the fall that
I was afraid he couldn't live long--but I hoped I could
nurse him through the winter. He seemed pretty well
this morning. He was lying on the rug before the fire;
then, all at once, he got up and crept over to me; he
put his head on my lap and gave me one loving look out
of his big, soft, dog eyes--and then he just shivered
and died. I shall miss him so."
"Let me give you another dog, Leslie," said Anne .
"I'm getting a lovely Gordon setter for a Christmas
present for Gilbert. Let me give you one too."
Leslie shook her head.
"Not just now, thank you, Anne. I don't feel like
having another dog yet. I don't seem to have any
affection left for another. Perhaps--in time--I'll let
you give me one. I really need one as a kind of
protection. But there was something almost human about
Carlo-- it wouldn't be DECENT to fill his place too
hurriedly, dear old fellow ."
Anne went to Avonlea a week before Christmas and stayed
until after the holidays. Gilbert came up for her, and
there was a glad New Year celebration at Green Gables,
when Barrys and Blythes and Wrights assembled to devour
a dinner which had cost Mrs. Rachel and Marilla much
careful thought and preparation. When they went back
to Four Winds the little house was almost drifted over,
for the third storm of a winter that was to prove
phenomenally stormy had whirled up the harbor and
heaped huge snow mountains about everything it
encountered. But Captain Jim had shovelled out doors
and paths, and Miss Cornelia had come down and kindled
"It's good to see you back, Anne, dearie! But did you
ever see such drifts? You can't see the Moore place at
all unless you go upstairs. Leslie'll be so glad
you're back. She's almost buried alive over there.
Fortunately Dick can shovel snow, and thinks it's great
fun. Susan sent me word to tell you she would be on
hand tomorrow. Where are you off to now, Captain?"
"I reckon I'll plough up to the Glen and sit a bit with
old Martin Strong. He's not far from his end and he's
lonesome. He hasn't many friends--been too busy all
his life to make any. He's made heaps of money,
"Well, he thought that since he couldn't serve God and
Mammon he'd better stick to Mammon," said Miss
Cornelia crisply. "So he shouldn't complain if he
doesn't find Mammon very good company now."
Captain Jim went out, but remembered something in the
yard and turned back for a moment.
"I'd a letter from Mr. Ford, Mistress Blythe, and he
says the life-book is accepted and is going to be
published next fall. I felt fair uplifted when I got
the news. To think that I'm to see it in print at
"That man is clean crazy on the subject of his
life-book," said Miss Cornelia compassionately. "For
my part, I think there's far too many books in the
CHAPTER 29. GILBERT AND ANNE DISAGREE
Gilbert laid down the ponderous medical tome over which
he had been poring until the increasing dusk of the
March evening made him desist. He leaned back in his
chair and gazed meditatively out of the window. It was
early spring--probably the ugliest time of the year.
Not even the sunset could redeem the dead, sodden
landscape and rotten black harbor ice upon which he
looked. No sign of life was visible, save a big black
crow winging his solitary way across a leaden field.
Gilbert speculated idly concerning that crow. Was he a
family crow, with a black but comely crow wife
awaiting him in the woods beyond the Glen? Or was he a
glossy young buck of a crow on courting thoughts
intent? Or was he a cynical bachelor crow, believing
that he travels the fastest who travels alone?
Whatever he was, he soon disappeared in congenial gloom
and Gilbert turned to the cheerier view indoors.
The firelight flickered from point to point, gleaming
on the white and green coats of Gog and Magog, on the
sleek, brown head of the beautiful setter basking on
the rug, on the picture frames on the walls, on the
vaseful of daffodils from the window garden, on Anne
herself, sitting by her little table, with her sewing
beside her and her hands clasped over her knee while
she traced out pictures in the fire--Castles in Spain
whose airy turrets pierced moonlit cloud and sunset
bar-ships sailing from the Haven of Good Hopes straight
to Four Winds Harbor with precious burthen. For Anne
was again a dreamer of dreams, albeit a grim shape of
fear went with her night and day to shadow and darken
Gilbert was accustomed to refer to himself as "an old
married man." But he still looked upon Anne with the
incredulous eyes of a lover. He couldn't wholly
believe yet that she was really his. It MIGHT be only
a dream after all, part and parcel of this magic house
of dreams. His soul still went on tip-toe before her,
lest the charm be shattered and the dream dispelled.
"Anne," he said slowly, "lend me your ears. I want to
talk with you about something."
Anne looked across at him through the fire-lit gloom.
"What is it?" she asked gaily. "You look fearfully
solemn, Gilbert. I really haven't done anything
naughty today. Ask Susan."
"It's not of you--or ourselves--I want to talk. It's
about Dick Moore."
"Dick Moore?" echoed Anne, sitting up alertly. "Why,
what in the world have you to say about Dick Moore?"
"I've been thinking a great deal about him lately. Do
you remember that time last summer I treated him for
those carbuncles on his neck?"
" I took the opportunity to examine the scars on his
head thoroughly. I've always thought Dick was a very
interesting case from a medical point of view. Lately
I've been studying the history of trephining and the
cases where it has been employed. Anne, I have come to
the conclusion that if Dick Moore were taken to a good
hospital and the operation of trephining performed on
several places in his skull, his memory and faculties
might be restored."
"Gilbert!" Anne's voice was full of protest. "Surely
you don't mean it!"
"I do, indeed. And I have decided that it is my duty
to broach the subject to Leslie."
"Gilbert Blythe, you shall NOT do any such thing,"
cried Anne vehemently. "Oh, Gilbert, you won't--you
won't. You couldn't be so cruel. Promise me you
"Why, Anne-girl, I didn't suppose you would take it
like this. Be reasonable--"
"I won't be reasonable--I can't be reasonable--I AM
reasonable. It is you who are unreasonable. Gilbert,
have you ever once thought what it would mean for
Leslie if Dick Moore were to be restored to his right
senses? Just stop and think! She's unhappy enough
now; but life as Dick's nurse and attendant is a
thousand times easier for her than life as Dick's wife.
I know--I KNOW! It's unthinkable. Don't you meddle
with the matter. Leave well enough alone."
"I HAVE thought over that aspect of the case
thoroughly, Anne. But I believe that a doctor is
bound to set the sanctity of a patient's mind and body
above all other considerations, no matter what the
consequences may be. I believe it his duty to endeavor
to restore health and sanity, if there is any hope
whatever of it."
"But Dick isn't your patient in that respect," cried
Anne, taking another tack. "If Leslie had asked you if
anything could be done for him, THEN it might be your
duty to tell her what you really thought. But you've
no right to meddle ."
"I don't call it meddling. Uncle Dave told Leslie
twelve years ago that nothing could be done for Dick.
She believes that, of course."
"And why did Uncle Dave tell her that, if it wasn't
true?" cried Anne, triumphantly. "Doesn't he know as
much about it as you?"
"I think not--though it may sound conceited and
presumptuous to say it. And you know as well as I
that he is rather prejudiced against what he calls
`these new-fangled notions of cutting and carving.'
He's even opposed to operating for appendicitis."
"He's right," exclaimed Anne, with a complete change
of front. `I believe myself that you modern doctors
are entirely too fond of making experiments with human
flesh and blood."
"Rhoda Allonby would not be a living woman today if I
had been afraid of making a certain experiment,"
argued Gilbert. "I took the risk--and saved her
"I'm sick and tired of hearing about Rhoda Allonby,"
cried Anne--most unjustly, for Gilbert had never
mentioned Mrs. Allonby's name since the day he had told
Anne of his success in regard to her. And he could not
be blamed for other people's discussion of it.
Gilbert felt rather hurt.
"I had not expected you to look at the matter as you
do, Anne," he said a little stiffly, getting up and
moving towards the office door. It was their first
approach to a quarrel.
But Anne flew after him and dragged him back.
"Now, Gilbert, you are not `going off mad.' Sit down
here and I'll apologise bee-YEW-ti-fully, I shouldn't
have said that. But--oh, if you knew--"
Anne checked herself just in time. She had been on the
very verge of betraying Leslie's secret.
"Knew what a woman feels about it," she concluded
"I think I do know. I've looked at the matter from
every point of view--and I've been driven to the
conclusion that it is my duty to tell Leslie that I
believe it is possible that Dick can be restored to
himself; there my responsibility ends. It will be for
her to decide what she will do."
"I don't think you've any right to put such a
responsibility on her. She has enough to bear. She is
poor--how could she afford such an operation?"
"That is for her to decide," persisted Gilbert
"You say you think that Dick can be cured. But are you
SURE of it?"
"Certainly not. Nobody could be sure of such a thing.
There may have been lesions of the brain itself, the
effect of which can never be removed. But if, as I
believe, his loss of memory and other faculties is due
merely to the pressure on the brain centers of certain
depressed areas of bone, then he can be cured."
"But it's only a possibility!" insisted Anne. "Now,
suppose you tell Leslie and she decides to have the
operation. It will cost a great deal. She will have
to borrow the money, or sell her little property. And
suppose the operation is a failure and Dick remains the
How will she be able to pay back the money she borrows,
or make a living for herself and that big helpless
creature if she sells the farm?"
"Oh, I know--I know. But it is my duty to tell her. I
can't get away from that conviction."
"Oh, I know the Blythe stubbornness," groaned Anne.
"But don't do this solely on your own responsibility.
Consult Doctor Dave."
"I HAVE done so," said Gilbert reluctantly.
"And what did he say?"
"In brief--as you say--leave well enough alone. Apart
from his prejudice against new-fangled surgery, I'm
afraid he looks at the case from your point of
view--don't do it, for Leslie's sake."
"There now," cried Anne triumphantly. "I do think,
Gilbert, that you ought to abide by the judgment of a
man nearly eighty, who has seen a great deal and saved
scores of lives himself--surely his opinion ought to
weigh more than a mere boy's."
"Don't laugh. It's too serious."
"That's just my point. It IS serious. Here is a man
who is a helpless burden. He may be restored to reason
"He was so very useful before," interjected Anne
"He may be given a chance to make good and redeem the
past. His wife doesn't know this. I do. It is
therefore my duty to tell her that there is such a
possibility. That, boiled down, is my decision."
"Don't say `decision' yet, Gilbert. Consult somebody
else. Ask Captain Jim what he thinks about it."
"Very well. But I'll not promise to abide by his
This is something a man must decide for himself. My
conscience would never be easy if I kept silent on the
"Oh, your conscience!" moaned Anne. "I suppose that
Uncle Dave has a conscience too, hasn't he?"
"Yes. But I am not the keeper of his conscience.
Come, Anne, if this affair did not concern Leslie--if
it were a purely abstract case, you would agree with
me,--you know you would."
"I wouldn't," vowed Anne, trying to believe it
herself. "Oh, you can argue all night, Gilbert, but
you won't convince me. Just you ask Miss Cornelia what
she thinks of it."
"You're driven to the last ditch, Anne, when you bring
up Miss Cornelia as a reinforcement. She will say,
`Just like a man,' and rage furiously. No matter.
This is no affair for Miss Cornelia to settle. Leslie
alone must decide it."
"You know very well how she will decide it," said
Anne, almost in tears. "She has ideals of duty, too.
I don't see how you can take such a responsibility on
your shoulders. _I_ couldn't."
"`Because right is right to follow right Were
wisdom in the scorn of consequence,'"
"Oh, you think a couplet of poetry a convincing
argument!" scoffed Anne. "That is so like a man."
And then she laughed in spite of herself. It sounded
so like an echo of Miss Cornelia.
"Well, if you won't accept Tennyson as an authority,
perhaps you will believe the words of a Greater than
he," said Gilbert seriously. "`Ye shall know the
truth and the truth shall make you free.' I believe
that, Anne, with all my heart. It's the greatest and
grandest verse in the Bible--or in any literature--and
the TRUEST, if there are comparative degrees of
trueness. And it's the first duty of a man to tell the
truth, as he sees it and believes it."
"In this case the truth won't make poor Leslie free,"
sighed Anne. "It will probably end in still more
bitter bondage for her. Oh, Gilbert, I CAN'T think you
CHAPTER 30. LESLIE DECIDES
A sudden outbreak of a virulent type of influenza at
the Glen and down at the fishing village kept Gilbert
so busy for the next fortnight that he had no time to
pay the promised visit to Captain Jim. Anne hoped
against hope that he had abandoned the idea about Dick
Moore, and, resolving to let sleeping dogs lie, she
said no more about the subject. But she thought of it
"I wonder if it would be right for me to tell him that
Leslie cares for Owen," she thought. "He would never
let her suspect that he knew, so her pride would not
suffer, and it MIGHT convince him that he should let
Dick Moore alone. Shall I--shall I? No, after all, I
cannot. A promise is sacred, and I've no right to
betray Leslie's secret. But oh, I never felt so
worried over anything in my life as I do over this.
It's spoiling the spring--it's spoiling everything."
One evening Gilbert abruptly proposed that they go down
and see Captain Jim. With a sinking heart Anne agreed,
and they set forth. Two weeks of kind sunshine had
wrought a miracle in the bleak landscape over which
Gilbert's crow had flown. The hills and fields were
dry and brown and warm, ready to break into bud and
blossom; the harbor was laughter-shaken again; the long
harbor road was like a gleaming red ribbon; down on the
dunes a crowd of boys, who were out smelt fishing, were
burning the thick, dry sandhill grass of the preceding
summer. The flames swept over the dunes rosily,
flinging their cardinal banners against the dark gulf
beyond, and illuminating the channel and the fishing
village. It was a picturesque scene which would at
other times have delighted Anne's eyes; but she was not
enjoying this walk. Neither was Gilbert. Their usual
good-comradeship and Josephian community of taste and
viewpoint were sadly lacking. Anne's disapproval of
the whole project showed itself in the haughty uplift
of her head and the studied politeness of her remarks.
Gilbert's mouth was set in all the Blythe obstinacy,
but his eyes were troubled. He meant to do what he
believed to be his duty; but to be at outs with Anne
was a high price to pay. Altogether, both were glad
when they reached the light--and remorseful that they
should be glad.
Captain Jim put away the fishing net upon which he was
working, and welcomed them joyfully. In the searching
light of the spring evening he looked older than Anne
had ever seen him. His hair had grown much grayer, and
the strong old hand shook a little. But his blue eyes
were clear and steady, and the staunch soul looked out
through them gallant and unafraid.
Captain Jim listened in amazed silence while Gilbert
said what he had come to say. Anne, who knew how the
old man worshipped Leslie, felt quite sure that he
would side with her, although she had not much hope
that this would influence Gilbert. She was therefore
surprised beyond measure when Captain Jim, slowly and
sorrowfully, but unhesitatingly, gave it as his opinion
that Leslie should be told.
"Oh, Captain Jim, I didn't think you'd say that," she
exclaimed reproachfully. "I thought you wouldn't want
to make more trouble for her."
Captain Jim shook his head.
"I don't want to. I know how you feel about it,
Mistress Blythe-- just as I feel meself. But it ain't
our feelings we have to steer by through life--no, no,
we'd make shipwreck mighty often if we did that.
There's only the one safe compass and we've got to set
our course by that--what it's right to do. I agree
with the doctor. If there's a chance for Dick, Leslie
should be told of it. There's no two sides to that, in
"Well," said Anne, giving up in despair, "wait until
Miss Cornelia gets after you two men."
"Cornelia'll rake us fore and aft, no doubt," assented
Captain Jim. "You women are lovely critters, Mistress
Blythe, but you're just a mite illogical. You're a
highly eddicated lady and Cornelia isn't, but you're
like as two peas when it comes to that. I dunno's
you're any the worse for it. Logic is a sort of hard,
merciless thing, I reckon. Now, I'll brew a cup of tea
and we'll drink it and talk of pleasant things, jest to
calm our minds a bit."
At least, Captain Jim's tea and conversation calmed
Anne's mind to such an extent that she did not make
Gilbert suffer so acutely on the way home as she had
deliberately intended to do. She did not refer to the
burning question at all, but she chatted amiably of
other matters, and Gilbert understood that he was
forgiven under protest.
"Captain Jim seems very frail and bent this spring.
The winter has aged him," said Anne sadly. "I am
afraid that he will soon be going to seek lost
Margaret. I can't bear to think of it."
"Four Winds won't be the same place when Captain Jim
`sets out to sea,'" agreed Gilbert.
The following evening he went to the house up the
brook. Anne wandered dismally around until his
"Well, what did Leslie say?" she demanded when he came
"Very little. I think she felt rather dazed."
"And is she going to have the operation?"
"She is going to think it over and decide very soon."
Gilbert flung himself wearily into the easy chair
before the fire. He looked tired. It had not been an
easy thing for him to tell Leslie. And the terror that
had sprung into her eyes when the meaning of what he
told her came home to her was not a pleasant thing to
remember. Now, when the die was cast, he was beset
with doubts of his own wisdom.
Anne looked at him remorsefully; then she slipped down
on the rug beside him and laid her glossy red head on
"Gilbert, I've been rather hateful over this. I won't
be any more. Please just call me red-headed and
By which Gilbert understood that, no matter what came
of it, there would be no I-told-you-so's. But he was
not wholly comforted. Duty in the abstract is one
thing; duty in the concrete is quite another,
especially when the doer is confronted by a woman's
Some instinct made Anne keep away from Leslie for the
next three days. On the third evening Leslie came down
to the little house and told Gilbert that she had made
up her mind; she would take Dick to Montreal and have
She was very pale and seemed to have wrapped herself in
her old mantle of aloofness. But her eyes had lost the
look which had haunted Gilbert; they were cold and
bright; and she proceeded to discuss details with him
in a crisp, business-like way. There were plans to be
made and many things to be thought over. When Leslie
had got the information she wanted she went home. Anne
wanted to walk part of the way with her.
"Better not," said Leslie curtly. "Today's rain has
made the ground damp. Good-night."
"Have I lost my friend?" said Anne with a sigh. "If
the operation is successful and Dick Moore finds
himself again Leslie will retreat into some remote
fastness of her soul where none of us can ever find
"Perhaps she will leave him," said Gilbert.
"Leslie would never do that, Gilbert. Her sense of
duty is very strong. She told me once that her
Grandmother West always impressed upon her the fact
that when she assumed any responsibility she must never
shirk it, no matter what the consequences might be.
That is one of her cardinal rules. I suppose it's very
"Don't be bitter, Anne-girl. You know you don't think
it old- fashioned--you know you have the very same idea
of sacredness of assumed responsibilities yourself.
And you are right. Shirking responsibilities is the
curse of our modern life--the secret of all the unrest
and discontent that is seething in the world."
"Thus saith the preacher," mocked Anne. But under the
mockery she felt that he was right; and she was very
sick at heart for Leslie.
A week later Miss Cornelia descended like an avalanche
upon the little house. Gilbert was away and Anne was
compelled to bear the shock of the impact alone.
Miss Cornelia hardly waited to get her hat off before
"Anne, do you mean to tell me it's true what I've
heard--that Dr. Blythe has told Leslie Dick can be
cured, and that she is going to take him to Montreal to
have him operated on?"
"Yes, it is quite true, Miss Cornelia," said Anne
"Well, it's inhuman cruelty, that's what it is," said
Miss Cornelia, violently agitated. "I did think Dr.
Blythe was a decent man. I didn't think he could have
been guilty of this."
"Dr. Blythe thought it was his duty to tell Leslie that
there was a chance for Dick," said Anne with spirit,
"and," she added, loyalty to Gilbert getting the
better of her, "I agree with him."
"Oh, no, you don't, dearie," said Miss Cornelia. "No
person with any bowels of compassion could."
"Captain Jim does."
"Don't quote that old ninny to me," cried Miss
Cornelia. "And I don't care who agrees with him.
Think--THINK what it means to that poor hunted, harried
"We DO think of it. But Gilbert believes that a doctor
should put the welfare of a patient's mind and body
before all other considerations."
"That's just like a man. But I expected better things
of you, Anne," said Miss Cornelia, more in sorrow than
in wrath; then she proceeded to bombard Anne with
precisely the same arguments with which the latter had
attacked Gilbert; and Anne valiantly defended her
husband with the weapons he had used for his own
protection. Long was the fray, but Miss Cornelia made
an end at last.
"It's an iniquitous shame," she declared, almost in
tears. "That's just what it is--an iniquitous shame.
Poor, poor Leslie!"
"Don't you think Dick should be considered a little
too?" pleaded Anne.
"Dick! Dick Moore! HE'S happy enough. He's a better
behaved and more reputable member of society now than
he ever was before.
Why, he was a drunkard and perhaps worse. Are you
going to set him loose again to roar and to devour?"
"He may reform," said poor Anne, beset by foe without
and traitor within.
"Reform your grandmother!" retorted Miss Cornelia.
"Dick Moore got the injuries that left him as he is in
a drunken brawl. He DESERVES his fate. It was sent on
him for a punishment. I don't believe the doctor has
any business to tamper with the visitations of God."
"Nobody knows how Dick was hurt, Miss Cornelia. It may
not have been in a drunken brawl at all. He may have
been waylaid and robbed."
"Pigs MAY whistle, but they've poor mouths for it,"
said Miss Cornelia. "Well, the gist of what you tell
me is that the thing is settled and there's no use in
talking. If that's so I'll hold my tongue. I don't
propose to wear MY teeth out gnawing files. When a
thing has to be I give in to it. But I like to make
mighty sure first that it HAS to be. Now, I'll devote
MY energies to comforting and sustaining Leslie. And
after all," added Miss Cornelia, brightening up
hopefully, "perhaps nothing can be done for Dick."
CHAPTER 31. THE TRUTH MAKES FREE
Leslie, having once made up her mind what to do,
proceeded to do it with characteristic resolution and
speed. House-cleaning must be finished with first,
whatever issues of life and death might await beyond.
The gray house up the brook was put into flawless order
and cleanliness, with Miss Cornelia's ready assistance.
Miss Cornelia, having said her say to Anne, and later
on to Gilbert and Captain Jim--sparing neither of them,
let it be assured--never spoke of the matter to Leslie.
She accepted the fact of Dick's operation, referred to
it when necessary in a business-like way, and ignored
it when it was not. Leslie never attempted to discuss
it. She was very cold and quiet during these beautiful
spring days. She seldom visited Anne, and though she
was invariably courteous and friendly, that very
courtesy was as an icy barrier between her and the
people of the little house. The old jokes and laughter
and chumminess of common things could not reach her
over it. Anne refused to feel hurt. She knew that
Leslie was in the grip of a hideous dread--a dread
that wrapped her away from all little glimpses of
happiness and hours of pleasure. When one great
passion seizes possession of the soul all other
feelings are crowded aside. Never in all her life had
Leslie Moore shuddered away from the future with more
intolerable terror. But she went forward as
unswervingly in the path she had elected as the martyrs
of old walked their chosen way, knowing the end of it
to be the fiery agony of the stake.
The financial question was settled with greater ease
than Anne had feared. Leslie borrowed the necessary
money from Captain Jim, and, at her insistence, he took
a mortgage on the little farm.
"So that is one thing off the poor girl's mind," Miss
Cornelia told Anne, "and off mine too. Now, if Dick
gets well enough to work again he'll be able to earn
enough to pay the interest on it; and if he doesn't I
know Captain Jim'll manage someway that Leslie won't
have to. He said as much to me. `I'm getting old,
Cornelia,' he said, `and I've no chick or child of my
own. Leslie won't take a gift from a living man, but
mebbe she will from a dead one.' So it will be all
right as far as THAT goes. I wish everything else
might be settled as satisfactorily. As for that wretch
of a Dick, he's been awful these last few days. The
devil was in him, believe ME! Leslie and I couldn't
get on with our work for the tricks he'd play. He
chased all her ducks one day around the yard till most
of them died. And not one thing would he do for us.
Sometimes, you know, he'll make himself quite handy,
bringing in pails of water and wood. But this week if
we sent him to the well he'd try to climb down into it.
I thought once, `If you'd only shoot down there
head-first everything would be nicely settled.'"
"Oh, Miss Cornelia!"
"Now, you needn't Miss Cornelia me, Anne, dearie.
ANYBODY would have thought the same. If the Montreal
doctors can make a rational creature out of Dick Moore
Leslie took Dick to Montreal early in May. Gilbert
went with her, to help her, and make the necessary
arrangements for her. He came home with the report
that the Montreal surgeon whom they had consulted
agreed with him that there was a good chance of Dick's
"Very comforting," was Miss Cornelia's sarcastic
Anne only sighed. Leslie had been very distant at
But she had promised to write. Ten days after
Gilbert's return the letter came. Leslie wrote that
the operation had been successfully performed and that
Dick was making a good recovery.
"What does she mean by `successfully?'" asked Anne.
"Does she mean that Dick's memory is really restored?"
"Not likely--since she says nothing of it," said
Gilbert. "She uses the word `successfully' from the
surgeon's point of view. The operation has been
performed and followed by normal results. But it is
too soon to know whether Dick's faculties will be
eventually restored, wholly or in part. His memory
would not be likely to return to him all at once. The
process will be gradual, if it occurs at all. Is that
all she says?"
"Yes--there's her letter. It's very short. Poor girl,
she must be under a terrible strain. Gilbert Blythe,
there are heaps of things I long to say to you, only it
would be mean."
"Miss Cornelia says them for you," said Gilbert with a
rueful smile. "She combs me down every time I
encounter her. She makes it plain to me that she
regards me as little better than a murderer, and that
she thinks it a great pity that Dr. Dave ever let me
step into his shoes. She even told me that the
Methodist doctor over the harbor was to be preferred
before me. With Miss Cornelia the force of
condemnation can no further go."
"If Cornelia Bryant was sick, it would not be Doctor
Dave or the Methodist doctor she would send for,"
sniffed Susan. "She would have you out of your
hard-earned bed in the middle of the night, doctor,
dear, if she took a spell of misery, that she would.
And then she would likely say your bill was past all
reason. But do not mind her, doctor, dear. It takes
all kinds of people to make a world."
No further word came from Leslie for some time. The
May days crept away in a sweet succession and the
shores of Four Winds Harbor greened and bloomed and
purpled. One day in late May Gilbert came home to be
met by Susan in the stable yard.
"I am afraid something has upset Mrs. Doctor, doctor,
dear," she said mysteriously. "She got a letter this
afternoon and since then she has just been walking
round the garden and talking to herself. You know it
is not good for her to be on her feet so much, doctor,
dear. She did not see fit to tell me what her news
was, and I am no pry, doctor, dear, and never was, but
it is plain something has upset her. And it is not
good for her to be upset."
Gilbert hurried rather anxiously to the garden. Had
anything happened at Green Gables? But Anne, sitting
on the rustic seat by the brook, did not look troubled,
though she was certainly much excited. Her eyes were
their grayest, and scarlet spots burned on her cheeks.
"What has happened, Anne?"
Anne gave a queer little laugh.
"I think you'll hardly believe it when I tell you,
Gilbert. _I_ can't believe it yet. As Susan said the
other day, `I feel like a fly coming to live in the
sun--dazed-like.' It's all so incredible. I've read
the letter a score of times and every time it's just
the same--I can't believe my own eyes. Oh, Gilbert,
you were right--so right. I can see that clearly
enough now--and I'm so ashamed of myself--and will you
ever really forgive me?"
"Anne, I'll shake you if you don't grow coherent.
Redmond would be ashamed of you. WHAT has happened?"
"You won't believe it--you won't believe it--"
"I'm going to phone for Uncle Dave," said Gilbert,
pretending to start for the house.
"Sit down, Gilbert. I'll try to tell you. I've had a
letter, and oh, Gilbert, it's all so amazing--so
incredibly amazing--we never thought--not one of us
"I suppose," said Gilbert, sitting down with a
resigned air, "the only thing to do in a case of this
kind is to have patience and go at the matter
categorically. Whom is your letter from?"
"Leslie--and, oh, Gilbert--"
"Leslie! Whew! What has she to say? What's the news
Anne lifted the letter and held it out, calmly dramatic
in a moment.
"There is NO Dick! The man we have thought Dick
Moore-- whom everybody in Four Winds has believed for
twelve years to be Dick Moore--is his cousin, George
Moore, of Nova Scotia, who, it seems, always resembled
him very strikingly. Dick Moore died of yellow fever
thirteen years ago in Cuba."
CHAPTER 32. MISS CORNELIA DISCUSSES THE AFFAIR
"And do you mean to tell me, Anne, dearie, that Dick
Moore has turned out not to be Dick Moore at all but
somebody else? Is THAT what you phoned up to me
"Yes, Miss Cornelia. It is very amazing, isn't it?"
"It's--it's--just like a man," said Miss Cornelia
helplessly. She took off her hat with trembling
fingers. For once in her life Miss Cornelia was
"I can't seem to sense it, Anne," she said. "I've
heard you say it--and I believe you--but I can't take
it in. Dick Moore is dead-- has been dead all these
years--and Leslie is free?"
"Yes. The truth has made her free. Gilbert was right
when he said that verse was the grandest in the
"Tell me everything, Anne, dearie. Since I got your
phone I've been in a regular muddle, believe ME.
Cornelia Bryant was never so kerflummuxed before."
"There isn't a very great deal to tell. Leslie's
letter was short. She didn't go into particulars.
This man--George Moore--has recovered his memory and
knows who he is. He says Dick took yellow fever in
Cuba, and the Four Sisters had to sail without him.
George stayed behind to nurse him. But he died very
George did not write Leslie because he intended to come
right home and tell her himself."
"And why didn't he?"
"I suppose his accident must have intervened. Gilbert
says it is quite likely that George Moore remembers
nothing of his accident, or what led to it, and may
never remember it. It probably happened very soon
after Dick's death. We may find out more particulars
when Leslie writes again."
"Does she say what she is going to do? When is she
"She says she will stay with George Moore until he can
leave the hospital. She has written to his people in
Nova Scotia. It seems that George's only near relative
is a married sister much older than himself. She was
living when George sailed on the Four Sisters, but of
course we do not know what may have happened since.
Did you ever see George Moore, Miss Cornelia?"
"I did. It is all coming back to me. He was here
visiting his Uncle Abner eighteen years ago, when he
and Dick would be about seventeen. They were double
cousins, you see. Their fathers were brothers and
their mothers were twin sisters, and they did look a
terrible lot alike. Of course," added Miss Cornelia
scornfully, "it wasn't one of those freak resemblances
you read of in novels where two people are so much
alike that they can fill each other's places and their
nearest and dearest can't tell between them. In those
days you could tell easy enough which was George and
which was Dick, if you saw them together and near at
hand. Apart, or some distance away, it wasn't so easy.
They played lots of tricks on people and thought it
great fun, the two scamps. George Moore was a little
taller and a good deal fatter than Dick--though neither
of them was what you would call fat--they were both of
the lean kind. Dick had higher color than George, and
his hair was a shade lighter. But their features were
just alike, and they both had that queer freak of
eyes--one blue and one hazel. They weren't much alike
in any other way, though. George was a real nice
fellow, though he was a scalawag for mischief, and some
said he had a liking for a glass even then. But
everybody liked him better than Dick. He spent about a
month here. Leslie never saw him; she was only about
eight or nine then and I remember now that she spent
that whole winter over harbor with her grandmother
West. Captain Jim was away, too--that was the winter
he was wrecked on the Magdalens. I don't suppose
either he or Leslie had ever heard about the Nova
Scotia cousin looking so much like Dick. Nobody ever
thought of him when Captain Jim brought Dick--George, I
should say--home. Of course, we all thought Dick had
changed considerable--he'd got so lumpish and fat. But
we put that down to what had happened to him, and no
doubt that was the reason, for, as I've said, George
wasn't fat to begin with either. And there was no
other way we could have guessed, for the man's senses
were clean gone. I can't see that it is any wonder we
were all deceived. But it's a staggering thing. And
Leslie has sacrificed the best years of her life to
nursing a man who hadn't any claim on her! Oh, drat
the men! No matter what they do, it's the wrong thing.
And no matter who they are, it's somebody they
shouldn't be. They do exasperate me."
"Gilbert and Captain Jim are men, and it is through
them that the truth has been discovered at last," said
"Well, I admit that," conceded Miss Cornelia
reluctantly. "I'm sorry I raked the doctor off so.
It's the first time in my life I've ever felt ashamed
of anything I said to a man. I don't know as I shall
tell him so, though. He'll just have to take it for
granted. Well, Anne, dearie, it's a mercy the Lord
doesn't answer all our prayers. I've been praying hard
right along that the operation wouldn't cure Dick. Of
course I didn't put it just quite so plain. But that
was what was in the back of my mind, and I have no
doubt the Lord knew it."
"Well, He has answered the spirit of your prayer. You
really wished that things shouldn't be made any harder
for Leslie. I'm afraid that in my secret heart I've
been hoping the operation wouldn't succeed, and I am
wholesomely ashamed of it."
"How does Leslie seem to take it?"
"She writes like one dazed. I think that, like
ourselves, she hardly realises it yet. She says, `It
all seems like a strange dream to me, Anne.' That is
the only reference she makes to herself."
"Poor child! I suppose when the chains are struck off
a prisoner he'd feel queer and lost without them for a
while. Anne, dearie, here's a thought keeps coming
into my mind. What about Owen Ford? We both know
Leslie was fond of him. Did it ever occur to you that
he was fond of her?"
"It--did--once," admitted Anne, feeling that she might
say so much.
"Well, I hadn't any reason to think he was, but it just
appeared to me he MUST be. Now, Anne, dearie, the Lord
knows I'm not a match-maker, and I scorn all such
doings. But if I were you and writing to that Ford man
I'd just mention, casual-like, what has happened. That
is what _I_'d do."
"Of course I will mention it when I write him," said
Anne, a trifle distantly. Somehow, this was a thing
she could not discuss with Miss Cornelia. And yet, she
had to admit that the same thought had been lurking in
her mind ever since she had heard of Leslie's freedom.
But she would not desecrate it by free speech.
"Of course there is no great rush, dearie. But Dick
Moore's been dead for thirteen years and Leslie has
wasted enough of her life for him. We'll just see what
comes of it. As for this George Moore, who's gone and
come back to life when everyone thought he was dead and
done for, just like a man, I'm real sorry for him. He
won't seem to fit in anywhere."
"He is still a young man, and if he recovers
completely, as seems likely, he will be able to make a
place for himself again. It must be very strange for
him, poor fellow. I suppose all these years since his
accident will not exist for him."
CHAPTER 33. LESLIE RETURNS
A fortnight later Leslie Moore came home alone to the
old house where she had spent so many bitter years. In
the June twilight she went over the fields to Anne's,
and appeared with ghost-like suddenness in the scented
"Leslie!" cried Anne in amazement. "Where have you
sprung from? We never knew you were coming. Why
didn't you write? We would have met you."
"I couldn't write somehow, Anne. It seemed so futile
to try to say anything with pen and ink. And I wanted
to get back quietly and unobserved."
Anne put her arms about Leslie and kissed her. Leslie
returned the kiss warmly. She looked pale and tired,
and she gave a little sigh as she dropped down on the
grasses beside a great bed of daffodils that were
gleaming through the pale, silvery twilight like golden
"And you have come home alone, Leslie?"
"Yes. George Moore's sister came to Montreal and took
him home with her. Poor fellow, he was sorry to part
with me--though I was a stranger to him when his memory
first came back. He clung to me in those first hard
days when he was trying to realise that Dick's death
was not the thing of yesterday that it seemed to him.
It was all very hard for him. I helped him all I
could. When his sister came it was easier for him,
because it seemed to him only the other day that he had
seen her last. Fortunately she had not changed much,
and that helped him, too."
"It is all so strange and wonderful, Leslie. I think
we none of us realise it yet."
"I cannot. When I went into the house over there an
hour ago, I felt that it MUST be a dream--that Dick
must be there, with his childish smile, as he had been
for so long. Anne, I seem stunned yet. I'm not glad or
sorry--or ANYTHING. I feel as if something had been
torn suddenly out of my life and left a terrible hole.
I feel as if I couldn't be _I_--as if I must have
changed into somebody else and couldn't get used to it.
It gives me a horrible lonely, dazed, helpless feeling.
It's good to see you again--it seems as if you were a
sort of anchor for my drifting soul. Oh, Anne, I
dread it all--the gossip and wonderment and
questioning. When I think of that, I wish that I need
not have come home at all. Dr. Dave was at the station
when I came off the train--he brought me home. Poor
old man, he feels very badly because he told me years
ago that nothing could be done for Dick. `I honestly
thought so, Leslie,' he said to me today. `But I
should have told you not to depend on my opinion--I
should have told you to go to a specialist. If I had,
you would have been saved many bitter years, and poor
George Moore many wasted ones. I blame myself very
much, Leslie.' I told him not to do that--he had done
what he thought right. He has always been so kind to
me--I couldn't bear to see him worrying over it."
"And Dick--George, I mean? Is his memory fully
"Practically. Of course, there are a great many
details he can't recall yet--but he remembers more and
more every day. He went out for a walk on the evening
after Dick was buried. He had Dick's money and watch
on him; he meant to bring them home to me, along with
my letter. He admits he went to a place where the
sailors resorted--and he remembers drinking--and
nothing else. Anne, I shall never forget the moment he
remembered his own name. I saw him looking at me with
an intelligent but puzzled expression. I said, `Do you
know me, Dick?' He answered, `I never saw you before.
Who are you? And my name is not Dick. I am George
Moore, and Dick died of yellow fever yesterday! Where
am I? What has happened to me?' I--I fainted, Anne.
And ever since I have felt as if I were in a dream."
"You will soon adjust yourself to this new state of
things, Leslie. And you are young--life is before
you--you will have many beautiful years yet."
"Perhaps I shall be able to look at it in that way
after a while, Anne. Just now I feel too tired and
indifferent to think about the future. I'm--I'm--Anne,
I'm lonely. I miss Dick. Isn't it all very strange?
Do you know, I was really fond of poor Dick--George, I
suppose I should say--just as I would have been fond of
a helpless child who depended on me for everything. I
would never have admitted it--I was really ashamed of
it--because, you see, I had hated and despised Dick so
much before he went away. When I heard that Captain
Jim was bringing him home I expected I would just feel
the same to him. But I never did--although I continued
to loathe him as I remembered him before. From the
time he came home I felt only pity--a pity that hurt
and wrung me. I supposed then that it was just because
his accident had made him so helpless and changed. But
now I believe it was because there was really a
different personality there. Carlo knew it, Anne--I
know now that Carlo knew it. I always thought it
strange that Carlo shouldn't have known Dick. Dogs are
usually so faithful. But HE knew it was not his master
who had come back, although none of the rest of us
did. I had never seen George Moore, you know. I
remember now that Dick once mentioned casually that he
had a cousin in Nova Scotia who looked as much like him
as a twin; but the thing had gone out of my memory, and
in any case I would never have thought it of any
importance. You see, it never occurred to me to
question Dick's identity. Any change in him seemed to
me just the result of the accident.
"Oh, Anne, that night in April when Gilbert told me he
thought Dick might be cured! I can never forget it.
It seemed to me that I had once been a prisoner in a
hideous cage of torture, and then the door had been
opened and I could get out. I was still chained to the
cage but I was not in it. And that night I felt that a
merciless hand was drawing me back into the cage--back
to a torture even more terrible than it had once been.
I didn't blame Gilbert. I felt he was right. And he
had been very good--he said that if, in view of the
expense and uncertainty of the operation, I should
decide not to risk it, he would not blame me in the
least. But I knew how I ought to decide--and I
couldn't face it. All night I walked the floor like a
mad woman, trying to compel myself to face it. I
couldn't, Anne--I thought I couldn't--and when morning
broke I set my teeth and resolved that I WOULDN'T. I
would let things remain as they were. It was very
wicked, I know. It would have been just punishment for
such wickedness if I had just been left to abide by
that decision. I kept to it all day. That afternoon I
had to go up to the Glen to do some shopping. It was
one of Dick's quiet, drowsy days, so I left him alone.
I was gone a little longer than I had expected, and he
missed me. He felt lonely. And when I got home, he
ran to meet me just like a child, with such a pleased
smile on his face. Somehow, Anne, I just gave way
then. That smile on his poor vacant face was more than
I could endure. I felt as if I were denying a child
the chance to grow and develop. I knew that I must
give him his chance, no matter what the consequences
might be. So I came over and told Gilbert. Oh, Anne,
you must have thought me hateful in those weeks before
I went away. I didn't mean to be--but I couldn't think
of anything except what I had to do, and everything and
everybody about me were like shadows."
"I know--I understood, Leslie. And now it is all
over--your chain is broken--there is no cage."
"There is no cage," repeated Leslie absently, plucking
at the fringing grasses with her slender, brown hands.
"But--it doesn't seem as if there were anything else,
Anne. You--you remember what I told you of my folly
that night on the sand-bar? I find one doesn't get
over being a fool very quickly. Sometimes I think
there are people who are fools forever. And to be a
fool--of that kind--is almost as bad as being a--a dog
on a chain."
"You will feel very differently after you get over
being tired and bewildered," said Anne, who, knowing a
certain thing that Leslie did not know, did not feel
herself called upon to waste overmuch sympathy.
Leslie laid her splendid golden head against Anne's
"Anyhow, I have YOU," she said. "Life can't be
altogether empty with such a friend. Anne, pat my
head--just as if I were a little girl--MOTHER me a
bit--and let me tell you while my stubborn tongue is
loosed a little just what you and your comradeship have
meant to me since that night I met you on the rock
CHAPTER 34. THE SHIP O'DREAMS COMES TO HARBOR
One morning, when a windy golden sunrise was billowing
over the gulf in waves of light, a certain weary stork
flew over the bar of Four Winds Harbor on his way from
the Land of Evening Stars. Under his wing was tucked a
sleepy, starry-eyed, little creature. The stork was
tired, and he looked wistfully about him. He knew he
was somewhere near his destination, but he could not
yet see it. The big, white light-house on the red
sandstone cliff had its good points; but no stork
possessed of any gumption would leave a new, velvet
baby there. An old gray house, surrounded by willows,
in a blossomy brook valley, looked more promising, but
did not seem quite the thing either. The staring
green abode further on was manifestly out of the
question. Then the stork brightened up. He had
caught sight of the very place--a little white house
nestled against a big, whispering firwood, with a
spiral of blue smoke winding up from its kitchen
chimney--a house which just looked as if it were meant
for babies. The stork gave a sigh of satisfaction, and
softly alighted on the ridge-pole.
Half an hour later Gilbert ran down the hall and tapped
on the spare-room door. A drowsy voice answered him
and in a moment Marilla's pale, scared face peeped out
from behind the door.
"Marilla, Anne has sent me to tell you that a certain
young gentleman has arrived here. He hasn't brought
much luggage with him, but he evidently means to
"For pity's sake!" said Marilla blankly. "You don't
mean to tell me, Gilbert, that it's all over. Why
wasn't I called?"
"Anne wouldn't let us disturb you when there was no
need. Nobody was called until about two hours ago.
There was no `passage perilous' this time."
"And--and--Gilbert--will this baby live?"
"He certainly will. He weighs ten pounds and--why,
listen to him. Nothing wrong with his lungs, is there?
The nurse says his hair will be red. Anne is furious
with her, and I'm tickled to death."
That was a wonderful day in the little house of dreams.
"The best dream of all has come true," said Anne, pale
and rapturous. "Oh, Marilla, I hardly dare believe it,
after that horrible day last summer. I have had a
heartache ever since then--but it is gone now."
"This baby will take Joy's place," said Marilla.
"Oh, no, no, NO, Marilla. He can't--nothing can ever
do that. He has his own place, my dear, wee
man-child. But little Joy has hers, and always will
have it. If she had lived she would have been over a
year old. She would have been toddling around on her
tiny feet and lisping a few words. I can see her so
plainly, Marilla. Oh, I know now that Captain Jim was
right when he said God would manage better than that my
baby would seem a stranger to me when I found her
Beyond. I've learned THAT this past year. I've
followed her development day by day and week by week--I
always shall. I shall know just how she grows from
year to year--and when I meet her again I'll know
her--she won't be a stranger. Oh, Marilla, LOOK at his
dear, darling toes! Isn't it strange they should be so
"It would be stranger if they weren't," said Marilla
crisply. Now that all was safely over, Marilla was
"Oh, I know--but it seems as if they couldn't be quite
FINISHED, you know--and they are, even to the tiny
nails. And his hands--JUST look at his hands,
"They appear to be a good deal like hands," Marilla
"See how he clings to my finger. I'm sure he knows me
already. He cries when the nurse takes him away. Oh,
Marilla, do you think--you don't think, do you--that
his hair is going to be red?"
"I don't see much hair of any color," said Marilla.
"I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you, until it
"Marilla, he HAS hair--look at that fine little down
all over his head. Anyway, nurse says his eyes will be
hazel and his forehead is exactly like Gilbert's."
"And he has the nicest little ears, Mrs. Doctor,
dear," said Susan. "The first thing I did was to look
at his ears. Hair is deceitful and noses and eyes
change, and you cannot tell what is going to come of
them, but ears is ears from start to finish, and you
always know where you are with them. Just look at
their shape--and they are set right back against his
precious head. You will never need to be ashamed of
his ears, Mrs. Doctor, dear."
Anne's convalescence was rapid and happy. Folks came
and worshipped the baby, as people have bowed before
the kingship of the new-born since long before the Wise
Men of the East knelt in homage to the Royal Babe of
the Bethlehem manger. Leslie, slowly finding herself
amid the new conditions of her life, hovered over it,
like a beautiful, golden-crowned Madonna. Miss
Cornelia nursed it as knackily as could any mother in
Israel. Captain Jim held the small creature in his big
brown hands and gazed tenderly at it, with eyes that
saw the children who had never been born to him.
"What are you going to call him?" asked Miss Cornelia.
"Anne has settled his name," answered Gilbert.
"James Matthew--after the two finest gentlemen I've
ever known--not even saving your presence," said Anne
with a saucy glance at Gilbert.
"I never knew Matthew very well; he was so shy we boys
couldn't get acquainted with him--but I quite agree
with you that Captain Jim is one of the rarest and
finest souls God ever clothed in clay. He is so
delighted over the fact that we have given his name to
our small lad. It seems he has no other namesake."
"Well, James Matthew is a name that will wear well and
not fade in the washing," said Miss Cornelia. "I'm
glad you didn't load him down with some highfalutin,
romantic name that he'd be ashamed of when he gets to
be a grandfather. Mrs. William Drew at the Glen has
called her baby Bertie Shakespeare. Quite a
combination, isn't it? And I'm glad you haven't had
much trouble picking on a name. Some folks have an
awful time. When the Stanley Flaggs' first boy was
born there was so much rivalry as to who the child
should be named for that the poor little soul had to
go for two years without a name. Then a brother came
along and there it was--`Big Baby' and `Little Baby.'
Finally they called Big Baby Peter and Little Baby
Isaac, after the two grandfathers, and had them both
christened together. And each tried to see if it
couldn't howl the other down. You know that Highland
Scotch family of MacNabs back of the Glen? They've got
twelve boys and the oldest and the youngest are both
called Neil--Big Neil and Little Neil in the same
family. Well, I s'pose they ran out of names."
"I have read somewhere," laughed Anne, "that the first
child is a poem but the tenth is very prosy prose.
Perhaps Mrs. MacNab thought that the twelfth was merely
an old tale re-told."
"Well, there's something to be said for large
families," said Miss Cornelia, with a sigh. "I was an
only child for eight years and I did long for a
brother and sister. Mother told me to pray for
one--and pray I did, believe ME. Well, one day Aunt
Nellie came to me and said, `Cornelia, there is a
little brother for you upstairs in your ma's room. You
can go up and see him.' I was so excited and delighted
I just flew upstairs. And old Mrs. Flagg lifted up the
baby for me to see. Lord, Anne, dearie, I never was so
disappointed in my life. You see, I'd been praying for
A BROTHER TWO YEARS OLDER THAN MYSELF."
"How long did it take you to get over your
disappointment?" asked Anne, amid her laughter.
"Well, I had a spite at Providence for a good spell,
and for weeks I wouldn't even look at the baby. Nobody
knew why, for I never told. Then he began to get real
cute, and held out his wee hands to me and I began to
get fond of him. But I didn't get really reconciled to
him until one day a school chum came to see him and
said she thought he was awful small for his age. I
just got boiling mad, and I sailed right into her, and
told her she didn't know a nice baby when she saw one,
and ours was the nicest baby in the world. And after
that I just worshipped him. Mother died before he was
three years old and I was sister and mother to him
both. Poor little lad, he was never strong, and he
died when he wasn't much over twenty. Seems to me I'd
have given anything on earth, Anne, dearie, if he'd
Miss Cornelia sighed. Gilbert had gone down and
Leslie, who had been crooning over the small James
Matthew in the dormer window, laid him asleep in his
basket and went her way. As soon as she was safely out
of earshot, Miss Cornelia bent forward and said in a
"Anne, dearie, I'd a letter from Owen Ford yesterday.
He's in Vancouver just now, but he wants to know if I
can board him for a month later on. YOU know what that
means. Well, I hope we're doing right."
"We've nothing to do with it--we couldn't prevent him
from coming to Four Winds if he wanted to," said Anne
quickly. She did not like the feeling of match-making
Miss Cornelia's whispers gave her; and then she weakly
"Don't let Leslie know he is coming until he is here,"
she said. "If she found out I feel sure she would go
away at once. She intends to go in the fall
anyhow--she told me so the other day. She is going to
Montreal to take up nursing and make what she can of
"Oh, well, Anne, dearie," said Miss Cornelia, nodding
sagely "that is all as it may be. You and I have done
our part and we must leave the rest to Higher Hands."
CHAPTER 35. POLITICS AT FOUR WINDS
When anne came downstairs again, the Island, as well as
all Canada, was in the throes of a campaign preceding a
general election. Gilbert, who was an ardent
Conservative, found himself caught in the vortex, being
much in demand for speech-making at the various county
rallies. Miss Cornelia did not approve of his mixing
up in politics and told Anne so.
"Dr. Dave never did it. Dr. Blythe will find he is
making a mistake, believe ME. Politics is something no
decent man should meddle with."
"Is the government of the country to be left solely to
the rogues then?" asked Anne.
"Yes--so long as it's Conservative rogues," said Miss
Cornelia, marching off with the honors of war. "Men
and politicians are all tarred with the same brush.
The Grits have it laid on thicker than the
Conservatives, that's all--CONSIDERABLY thicker. But
Grit or Tory, my advice to Dr. Blythe is to steer clear
of politics. First thing you know, he'll be running an
election himself, and going off to Ottawa for half the
year and leaving his practice to go to the dogs."
"Ah, well, let's not borrow trouble," said Anne. "The
rate of interest is too high. Instead, let's look at
Little Jem. It should be spelled with a G. Isn't he
perfectly beautiful? Just see the dimples in his
elbows. We'll bring him up to be a good Conservative,
you and I, Miss Cornelia."
"Bring him up to be a good man," said Miss Cornelia.
"They're scarce and valuable; though, mind you, I
wouldn't like to see him a Grit. As for the election,
you and I may be thankful we don't live over harbor.
The air there is blue these days. Every Elliott and
Crawford and MacAllister is on the warpath, loaded for
bear. This side is peaceful and calm, seeing there's
so few men. Captain Jim's a Grit, but it's my opinion
he's ashamed of it, for he never talks politics. There
isn't any earthly doubt that the Conservatives will be
returned with a big majority again."
Miss Cornelia was mistaken. On the morning after the
election Captain Jim dropped in at the little house to
tell the news. So virulent is the microbe of party
politics, even in a peaceable old man, that Captain
Jim's cheeks were flushed and his eyes were flashing
with all his old-time fire.
"Mistress Blythe, the Liberals are in with a sweeping
majority. After eighteen years of Tory mismanagement
this down-trodden country is going to have a chance at
"I never heard you make such a bitter partisan speech
before, Captain Jim. I didn't think you had so much
political venom in you," laughed Anne, who was not
much excited over the tidings. Little Jem had said
"Wow-ga" that morning. What were principalities and
powers, the rise and fall of dynasties, the overthrow
of Grit or Tory, compared with that miraculous
"It's been accumulating for a long while," said
Captain Jim, with a deprecating smile. "I thought I
was only a moderate Grit, but when the news came that
we were in I found out how Gritty I really was."
"You know the doctor and I are Conservatives."
"Ah, well, it's the only bad thing I know of either of
you, Mistress Blythe. Cornelia is a Tory, too. I
called in on my way from the Glen to tell her the
"Didn't you know you took your life in your hands?"
"Yes, but I couldn't resist the temptation."
"How did she take it?"
"Comparatively calm, Mistress Blythe, comparatively
calm. She says, says she, `Well, Providence sends
seasons of humiliation to a country, same as to
individuals. You Grits have been cold and hungry for
many a year. Make haste to get warmed and fed, for you
won't be in long.' `Well, now Cornelia,' I says,
`mebbe Providence thinks Canada needs a real long spell
of humiliation.' Ah, Susan, have YOU heard the news?
The Liberals are in."
Susan had just come in from the kitchen, attended by
the odor of delectable dishes which always seemed to
hover around her.
"Now, are they?" she said, with beautiful unconcern.
"Well, I never could see but that my bread rose just as
light when Grits were in as when they were not. And if
any party, Mrs. Doctor, dear, will make it rain before
the week is out, and save our kitchen garden from
entire ruination, that is the party Susan will vote
for. In the meantime, will you just step out and give
me your opinion on the meat for dinner? I am fearing
that it is very tough, and I think that we had better
change our butcher as well as our government."
One evening, a week later, Anne walked down to the
Point, to see if she could get some fresh fish from
Captain Jim, leaving Little Jem for the first time. It
was quite a tragedy. Suppose he cried? Suppose Susan
did not know just exactly what to do for him? Susan
was calm and serene.
"I have had as much experience with him as you, Mrs.
Doctor, dear, have I not?"
"Yes, with him--but not with other babies. Why, I
looked after three pairs of twins, when I was a child,
Susan. When they cried, I gave them peppermint or
castor oil quite coolly. It's quite curious now to
recall how lightly I took all those babies and their
"Oh, well, if Little Jem cries, I will just clap a hot
water bag on his little stomach," said Susan.
"Not too hot, you know," said Anne anxiously. Oh, was
it really wise to go?
"Do not you fret, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Susan is not the
woman to burn a wee man. Bless him, he has no notion
Anne tore herself away finally and enjoyed her walk to
the Point after all, through the long shadows of the
sun-setting. Captain Jim was not in the living room of
the lighthouse, but another man was--a handsome,
middle-aged man, with a strong, clean-shaven chin, who
was unknown to Anne. Nevertheless, when she sat down,
he began to talk to her with all the assurance of an
old acquaintance. There was nothing amiss in what he
said or the way he said it, but Anne rather resented
such a cool taking-for-granted in a complete stranger.
Her replies were frosty, and as few as decency
required. Nothing daunted, her companion talked on for
several minutes, then excused himself and went away.
Anne could have sworn there was a twinkle in his eye
and it annoyed her. Who was the creature? There was
something vaguely familiar about him but she was
certain she had never seen him before.
"Captain Jim, who was that who just went out?" she
asked, as Captain Jim came in.
"Marshall Elliott," answered the captain.
"Marshall Elliott!" cried Anne. "Oh, Captain Jim--it
wasn't-- yes, it WAS his voice--oh, Captain Jim, I
didn't know him--and I was quite insulting to him! WHY
didn't he tell me? He must have seen I didn't know
"He wouldn't say a word about it--he'd just enjoy the
joke. Don't worry over snubbing him--he'll think it
fun. Yes, Marshall's shaved off his beard at last and
cut his hair. His party is in, you know. I didn't
know him myself first time I saw him. He was up in
Carter Flagg's store at the Glen the night after
election day, along with a crowd of others, waiting for
the news. About twelve the 'phone came through--the
Liberals were in. Marshall just got up and walked
out--he didn't cheer or shout--he left the others to do
that, and they nearly lifted the roof off Carter's
store, I reckon. Of course, all the Tories were over
in Raymond Russell's store. Not much cheering THERE.
Marshall went straight down the street to the side door
of Augustus Palmer's barber shop. Augustus was in bed
asleep, but Marhall hammered on the door until he got
up and come down, wanting to know what all the racket
"Come into your shop and do the best job you ever did
in your life, Gus,' said Marshall. `The Liberals are
in and you're going to barber a good Grit before the
"Gus was mad as hops--partly because he'd been dragged
out of bed, but more because he's a Tory. He vowed he
wouldn't shave any man after twelve at night.
"`You'll do what I want you to do, sonny,' said
Marshall, `or I'll jest turn you over my knee and give
you one of those spankings your mother forgot.'
"He'd have done it, too, and Gus knew it, for Marshall
is as strong as an ox and Gus is only a midget of a
man. So he gave in and towed Marshall in to the shop
and went to work. `Now,' says he, `I'll barber you up,
but if you say one word to me about the Grits getting
in while I'm doing it I'll cut your throat with this
razor,' says he. You wouldn't have thought mild little
Gus could be so bloodthirsty, would you? Shows what
party politics will do for a man. Marshall kept quiet
and got his hair and beard disposed of and went home.
When his old housekeeper heard him come upstairs she
peeked out of her bedroom door to see whether 'twas him
or the hired boy. And when she saw a strange man
striding down the hall with a candle in his hand she
screamed blue murder and fainted dead away. They had
to send for the doctor before they could bring her to,
and it was several days before she could look at
Marshall without shaking all over."
Captain Jim had no fish. He seldom went out in his
boat that summer, and his long tramping expeditions
were over. He spent a great deal of his time sitting
by his seaward window, looking out over the gulf, with
his swiftly-whitening head leaning on his hand. He sat
there tonight for many silent minutes, keeping some
tryst with the past which Anne would not disturb.
Presently he pointed to the iris of the West:
"That's beautiful, isn't, it, Mistress Blythe? But I
wish you could have seen the sunrise this morning. It
was a wonderful thing--wonderful. I've seen all kinds
of sunrises come over that gulf. I've been all over
the world, Mistress Blythe, and take it all in all,
I've never seen a finer sight than a summer sunrise
over the gulf. A man can't pick his time for dying,
Mistress Blythe--jest got to go when the Great Captain
gives His sailing orders. But if I could I'd go out
when the morning comes across that water. I've watched
it many a time and thought what a thing it would be to
pass out through that great white glory to whatever was
waiting beyant, on a sea that ain't mapped out on any
airthly chart. I think, Mistress Blythe, that I'd find
lost Margaret there."
Captain Jim had often talked to Anne of lost Margaret
since he had told her the old story. His love for her
trembled in every tone--that love that had never grown
faint or forgetful.
"Anyway, I hope when my time comes I'll go quick and
easy. I don't think I'm a coward, Mistress
Blythe--I've looked an ugly death in the face more than
once without blenching. But the thought of a lingering
death does give me a queer, sick feeling of horror."
"Don't talk about leaving us, dear, DEAR Captain,
Jim," pleaded Anne, in a choked voice, patting the old
brown hand, once so strong, but now grown very feeble.
"What would we do without you?"
Captain Jim smiled beautifully.
"Oh, you'd get along nicely--nicely--but you wouldn't
forget the old man altogether, Mistress Blythe--no, I
don't think you'll ever quite forget him. The race of
Joseph always remembers one another. But it'll be a
memory that won't hurt--I like to think that my memory
won't hurt my friends--it'll always be kind of pleasant
to them, I hope and believe. It won't be very long now
before lost Margaret calls me, for the last time. I'll
be all ready to answer. I jest spoke of this because
there's a little favor I want to ask you. Here's this
poor old Matey of mine"--Captain Jim reached out a
hand and poked the big, warm, velvety, golden ball on
the sofa. The First Mate uncoiled himself like a
spring with a nice, throaty, comfortable sound, half
purr, half meow, stretched his paws in air, turned over
and coiled himself up again. "HE'll miss me when I
start on the V'yage. I can't bear to think of leaving
the poor critter to starve, like he was left before.
If anything happens to me will you give Matey a bite
and a corner, Mistress Blythe?"
"Indeed I will."
"Then that is all I had on my mind. Your Little Jem is
to have the few curious things I picked up--I've seen
to that. And now I don't like to see tears in those
pretty eyes, Mistress Blythe. I'll mebbe hang on for
quite a spell yet. I heard you reading a piece of
poetry one day last winter--one of Tennyson's pieces.
I'd sorter like to hear it again, if you could recite
it for me."
Softly and clearly, while the seawind blew in on them,
Anne repeated the beautiful lines of Tennyson's
wonderful swan song-- "Crossing the Bar." The old
captain kept time gently with his sinewy hand.
"Yes, yes, Mistress Blythe," he said, when she had
finished, "that's it, that's it. He wasn't a sailor,
you tell me--I dunno how he could have put an old
sailor's feelings into words like that, if he wasn't
one. He didn't want any `sadness o' farewells' and
neither do I, Mistress Blythe--for all will be well
with me and mine beyant the bar."
CHAPTER 36. BEAUTY FOR ASHES
"Any news from Green Gables, Anne?"
"Nothing very especial," replied Anne, folding up
Marilla's letter. "Jake Donnell has been there
shingling the roof. He is a full-fledged carpenter
now, so it seems he has had his own way in regard to
the choice of a life-work. You remember his mother
wanted him to be a college professor. I shall never
forget the day she came to the school and rated me for
failing to call him St. Clair."
"Does anyone ever call him that now?"
"Evidently not. It seems that he has completely lived
it down. Even his mother has succumbed. I always
thought that a boy with Jake's chin and mouth would get
his own way in the end. Diana writes me that Dora has
a beau. Just think of it--that child!"
"Dora is seventeen," said Gilbert. "Charlie Sloane
and I were both mad about you when you were seventeen,
"Really, Gilbert, we must be getting on in years,"
said Anne, with a half-rueful smile, "when children who
were six when we thought ourselves grown up are old
enough now to have beaux. Dora's is Ralph
Andrews--Jane's brother. I remember him as a little,
round, fat, white-headed fellow who was always at the
foot of his class. But I understand he is quite a
fine-looking young man now."
"Dora will probably marry young. She's of the same
type as Charlotta the Fourth--she'll never miss her
first chance for fear she might not get another."
"Well; if she marries Ralph I hope he will be a little
more up-and-coming than his brother Billy," mused
"For instance," said Gilbert, laughing, "let us hope
he will be able to propose on his own account. Anne,
would you have married Billy if he had asked you
himself, instead of getting Jane to do it for him?"
"I might have." Anne went off into a shriek of
laughter over the recollection of her first proposal.
"The shock of the whole thing might have hypnotized me
into some such rash and foolish act. Let us be
thankful he did it by proxy."
"I had a letter from George Moore yesterday," said
Leslie, from the corner where she was reading.
"Oh, how is he?" asked Anne interestedly, yet with an
unreal feeling that she was inquiring about some one
whom she did not know.
"He is well, but he finds it very hard to adapt himself
to all the changes in his old home and friends. He is
going to sea again in the spring. It's in his blood,
he says, and he longs for it. But he told me something
that made me glad for him, poor fellow. Before he
sailed on the Four Sisters he was engaged to a girl at
home. He did not tell me anything about her in
Montreal, because he said he supposed she would have
forgotten him and married someone else long ago, and
with him, you see, his engagement and love was still a
thing of the present. It was pretty hard on him, but
when he got home he found she had never married and
still cared for him. They are to be married this fall.
I'm going to ask him to bring her over here for a
little trip; he says he wants to come and see the place
where he lived so many years without knowing it."
"What a nice little romance," said Anne, whose love
for the romantic was immortal. "And to think," she
added with a sigh of self-reproach, "that if I had had
my way George Moore would never have come up from the
grave in which his identity was buried. How I did
fight against Gilbert's suggestion! Well, I am
punished: I shall never be able to have a different
opinion from Gilbert's again! If I try to have, he
will squelch me by casting George Moore's case up to
"As if even that would squelch a woman!" mocked
Gilbert. "At least do not become my echo, Anne. A
little opposition gives spice to life . I do not want
a wife like John MacAllister's over the harbor. No
matter what he says, she at once remarks in that drab,
lifeless little voice of hers, `That is very true,
John, dear me!'"
Anne and Leslie laughed. Anne's laughter was silver
and Leslie's golden, and the combination of the two was
as satisfactory as a perfect chord in music.
Susan, coming in on the heels of the laughter, echoed
it with a resounding sigh.
"Why, Susan, what is the matter?" asked Gilbert.
"There's nothing wrong with little Jem, is there,
Susan?" cried Anne, starting up in alarm.
"No, no, calm yourself, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Something
has happened, though. Dear me, everything has gone
catawampus with me this week. I spoiled the bread, as
you know too well--and I scorched the doctor's best
shirt bosom--and I broke your big platter. And now, on
the top of all this, comes word that my sister Matilda
has broken her leg and wants me to go and stay with her
for a spell."
"Oh, I'm very sorry--sorry that your sister has met
with such an accident, I mean," exclaimed Anne.
"Ah, well, man was made to mourn, Mrs. Doctor, dear.
That sounds as if it ought to be in the Bible, but they
tell me a person named Burns wrote it. And there is no
doubt that we are born to trouble as the sparks fly
upward. As for Matilda, I do not know what to think of
her. None of our family ever broke their legs before.
But whatever she has done she is still my sister, and I
feel that it is my duty to go and wait on her, if you
can spare me for a few weeks, Mrs. Doctor, dear."
"Of course, Susan, of course. I can get someone to
help me while you are gone."
"If you cannot I will not go, Mrs. Doctor, dear,
Matilda's leg to the contrary notwithstanding. I will
not have you worried, and that blessed child upset in
consequence, for any number of legs."
"Oh, you must go to your sister at once, Susan. I can
get a girl from the cove, who will do for a time."
"Anne, will you let me come and stay with you while
Susan is away?" exclaimed Leslie. "Do! I'd love
to--and it would be an act of charity on your part.
I'm so horribly lonely over there in that big barn of a
house. There's so little to do--and at night I'm worse
than lonely--I'm frightened and nervous in spite of
locked doors. There was a tramp around two days ago."
Anne joyfully agreed, and next day Leslie was installed
as an inmate of the little house of dreams. Miss
Cornelia warmly approved of the arrangement.
"It seems Providential," she told Anne in confidence.
"I'm sorry for Matilda Clow, but since she had to break
her leg it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Leslie will be here while Owen Ford is in Four Winds,
and those old cats up at the Glen won't get the chance
to meow, as they would if she was living over there
alone and Owen going to see her. They are doing enough
of it as it is, because she doesn't put on mourning. I
said to one of them, `If you mean she should put on
mourning for George Moore, it seems to me more like his
resurrection than his funeral; and if it's Dick you
mean, I confess _I_ can't see the propriety of going
into weeds for a man who died thirteen years ago and
good riddance then!' And when old Louisa Baldwin
remarked to me that she thought it very strange that
Leslie should never have suspected it wasn't her own
husband _I_ said, `YOU never suspected it wasn't Dick
Moore, and you were next-door neighbor to him all his
life, and by nature you're ten times as suspicious as
Leslie.' But you can't stop some people's tongues,
Anne, dearie, and I'm real thankful Leslie will be
under your roof while Owen is courting her."
Owen Ford came to the little house one August evening
when Leslie and Anne were absorbed in worshipping the
baby. He paused at the open door of the living room,
unseen by the two within, gazing with greedy eyes at
the beautiful picture. Leslie sat on the floor with
the baby in her lap, making ecstatic dabs at his fat
little hands as he fluttered them in the air.
"Oh, you dear, beautiful, beloved baby," she mumbled,
catching one wee hand and covering it with kisses.
"Isn't him ze darlingest itty sing," crooned Anne,
hanging over the arm of her chair adoringly. "Dem itty
wee pads are ze very tweetest handies in ze whole big
world, isn't dey, you darling itty man."
Anne, in the months before Little Jem's coming, had
pored diligently over several wise volumes, and pinned
her faith to one in especial, "Sir Oracle on the Care
and Training of Children." Sir Oracle implored
parents by all they held sacred never to talk "baby
talk" to their children. Infants should invariably be
addressed in classical language from the moment of
their birth. So should they learn to speak English
undefiled from their earliest utterance. "How,"
demanded Sir Oracle, "can a mother reasonably expect
her child to learn correct speech, when she continually
accustoms its impressionable gray matter to such absurd
expressions and distortions of our noble tongue as
thoughtless mothers inflict every day on the helpless
creatures committed to their care? Can a child who is
constantly called `tweet itty wee singie' ever attain
to any proper conception of his own being and
possibilities and destiny?"
Anne was vastly impressed with this, and informed
Gilbert that she meant to make it an inflexible rule
never, under any circumstances, to talk "baby talk" to
her children. Gilbert agreed with her, and they made a
solemn compact on the subject--a compact which Anne
shamelessly violated the very first moment Little Jem
was laid in her arms. "Oh, the darling itty wee
sing!" she had exclaimed. And she had continued to
violate it ever since. When Gilbert teased her she
laughed Sir Oracle to scorn.
"He never had any children of his own, Gilbert--I am
positive he hadn't or he would never have written such
rubbish. You just can't help talking baby talk to a
baby. It comes natural--and it's RIGHT. It would be
inhuman to talk to those tiny, soft, velvety little
creatures as we do to great big boys and girls. Babies
want love and cuddling and all the sweet baby talk they
can get, and Little Jem is going to have it, bless his
dear itty heartums."
"But you're the worst I ever heard, Anne," protested
Gilbert, who, not being a mother but only a father, was
not wholly convinced yet that Sir Oracle was wrong. "I
never heard anything like the way you talk to that
"Very likely you never did. Go away--go away. Didn't
I bring up three pairs of Hammond twins before I was
eleven? You and Sir Oracle are nothing but
cold-blooded theorists. Gilbert, JUST look at him!
He's smiling at me--he knows what we're talking about.
And oo dest agwees wif evy word muzzer says, don't oo,
Gilbert put his arm about them. "Oh you mothers!" he
said. "You mothers! God knew what He was about when
He made you."
So Little Jem was talked to and loved and cuddled; and
he throve as became a child of the house of dreams.
Leslie was quite as foolish over him as Anne was. When
their work was done and Gilbert was out of the way,
they gave themselves over to shameless orgies of
love-making and ecstasies of adoration, such as that in
which Owen Ford had surprised them.
Leslie was the first to become aware of him. Even in
the twilight Anne could see the sudden whiteness that
swept over her beautiful face, blotting out the crimson
of lip and cheeks.
Owen came forward, eagerly, blind for a moment to Anne.
"Leslie!" he said, holding out his hand. It was the
first time he had ever called her by her name; but the
hand Leslie gave him was cold; and she was very quiet
all the evening, while Anne and Gilbert and Owen
laughed and talked together. Before his call ended she
excused herself and went upstairs . Owen's gay spirits
flagged and he went away soon after with a downcast
Gilbert looked at Anne.
"Anne, what are you up to? There's something going on
that I don't understand. The whole air here tonight
has been charged with electricity. Leslie sits like
the muse of tragedy; Owen Ford jokes and laughs on the
surface, and watches Leslie with the eyes of his soul.
You seem all the time to be bursting with some
suppressed excitement. Own up. What secret have you
been keeping from your deceived husband?"
"Don't be a goose, Gilbert," was Anne's conjugal
reply. "As for Leslie, she is absurd and I'm going up
to tell her so."
Anne found Leslie at the dormer window of her room.
The little place was filled with the rhythmic thunder
of the sea. Leslie sat with locked hands in the misty
moonshine--a beautiful, accusing presence.
"Anne," she said in a low, reproachful voice, "did you
know Owen Ford was coming to Four Winds?"
"I did," said Anne brazenly.
"Oh, you should have told me, Anne," Leslie cried
passionately. "If I had known I would have gone
away--I wouldn't have stayed here to meet him. You
should have told me. It wasn't fair of you, Anne--oh,
it wasn't fair!"
Leslie's lips were trembling and her whole form was
tense with emotion. But Anne laughed heartlessly. She
bent over and kissed Leslie's upturned reproachful
"Leslie, you are an adorable goose. Owen Ford didn't
rush from the Pacific to the Atlantic from a burning
desire to see ME. Neither do I believe that he was
inspired by any wild and frenzied passion for Miss
Cornelia. Take off your tragic airs, my dear friend,
and fold them up and put them away in lavender. You'll
never need them again. There are some people who can
see through a grindstone when there is a hole in it,
even if you cannot. I am not a prophetess, but I shall
venture on a prediction. The bitterness of life is
over for you. After this you are going to have the
joys and hopes--and I daresay the sorrows, too--of a
happy woman. The omen of the shadow of Venus did come
true for you, Leslie. The year in which you saw it
brought your life's best gift for you--your love for
Owen Ford. Now, go right to bed and have a good
Leslie obeyed orders in so far that she went to bed:
but it may be questioned if she slept much. I do not
think she dared to dream wakingly; life had been so
hard for this poor Leslie, the path on which she had
had to walk had been so strait, that she could not
whisper to her own heart the hopes that might wait on
the future. But she watched the great revolving light
bestarring the short hours of the summer night, and her
eyes grew soft and bright and young once more. Nor,
when Owen Ford came next day, to ask her to go with him
to the shore, did she say him nay.
CHAPTER 37. MISS CORNELIA MAKES A STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT
Miss Cornelia sailed down to the little house one
drowsy afternoon, when the gulf was the faint,
bleached blue of the August seas, and the orange lilies
at the gate of Anne's garden held up their imperial
cups to be filled with the molten gold of August
sunshine. Not that Miss Cornelia concerned herself
with painted oceans or sun-thirsty lilies. She sat in
her favorite rocker in unusual idleness. She sewed
not, neither did she spin. Nor did she say a single
derogatory word concerning any portion of mankind. In
short, Miss Cornelia's conversation was singularly
devoid of spice that day, and Gilbert, who had stayed
home to listen to her, instead of going a-fishing, as
he had intended, felt himself aggrieved. What had come
over Miss Cornelia? She did not look cast down or
worried. On the contrary, there was a certain air of
nervous exultation about her.
"Where is Leslie?" she asked--not as if it mattered
"Owen and she went raspberrying in the woods back of
her farm," answered Anne. "They won't be back before
supper time-- if then."
"They don't seem to have any idea that there is such a
thing as a clock," said Gilbert. "I can't get to the
bottom of that affair. I'm certain you women pulled
strings. But Anne, undutiful wife, won't tell me.
Will you, Miss Cornelia?"
"No, I shall not. But," said Miss Cornelia, with the
air of one determined to take the plunge and have it
over, "I will tell you something else. I came today on
purpose to tell it. I am going to be married."
Anne and Gilbert were silent. If Miss Cornelia had
announced her intention of going out to the channel and
drowning herself the thing might have been believable.
This was not. So they waited. Of course Miss Cornelia
had made a mistake.
"Well, you both look sort of kerflummexed," said Miss
Cornelia, with a twinkle in her eyes. Now that the
awkward moment of revelation was over, Miss Cornelia
was her own woman again. "Do you think I'm too young
and inexperienced for matrimony?"
"You know--it IS rather staggering," said Gilbert,
trying to gather his wits together. "I've heard you
say a score of times that you wouldn't marry the best
man in the world."
"I'm not going to marry the best man in the world,"
retorted Miss Cornelia. "Marshall Elliott is a long
way from being the best."
"Are you going to marry Marshall Elliott?" exclaimed
Anne, recovering her power of speech under this second
"Yes. I could have had him any time these twenty years
if I'd lifted my finger. But do you suppose I was
going to walk into church beside a perambulating
haystack like that?"
"I am sure we are very glad--and we wish you all
possible happiness," said Anne, very flatly and
inadequately, as she felt. She was not prepared for
such an occasion. She had never imagined herself
offering betrothal felicitations to Miss Cornelia.
"Thanks, I knew you would," said Miss Cornelia. "You
are the first of my friends to know it."
"We shall be so sorry to lose you, though, dear Miss
Cornelia," said Anne, beginning to be a little sad and
"Oh, you won't lose me," said Miss Cornelia
unsentimentally. "You don't suppose I would live over
harbor with all those MacAllisters and Elliotts and
Crawfords, do you? `From the conceit of the Elliotts,
the pride of the MacAllisters and the vain-glory of the
Crawfords, good Lord deliver us.' Marshall is coming
to live at my place. I'm sick and tired of hired men.
That Jim Hastings I've got this summer is positively
the worst of the species. He would drive anyone to
getting married. What do you think? He upset the
churn yesterday and spilled a big churning of cream
over the yard. And not one whit concerned about it was
he! Just gave a foolish laugh and said cream was good
for the land. Wasn't that like a man? I told him I
wasn't in the habit of fertilising my back yard with
"Well, I wish you all manner of happiness too, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert, solemnly; "but," he added,
unable to resist the temptation to tease Miss Cornelia,
despite Anne's imploring eyes, "I fear your day of
independence is done. As you know, Marshall Elliott is
a very determined man."
"I like a man who can stick to a thing," retorted Miss
Cornelia. "Amos Grant, who used to be after me long
ago, couldn't. You never saw such a weather-vane. He
jumped into the pond to drown himself once and then
changed his mind and swum out again. Wasn't that like
a man? Marshall would have stuck to it and drowned."
"And he has a bit of a temper, they tell me,"
"He wouldn't be an Elliott if he hadn't. I'm thankful
he has. It will be real fun to make him mad. And you
can generally do something with a tempery man when it
comes to repenting time. But you can't do anything
with a man who just keeps placid and aggravating."
"You know he's a Grit, Miss Cornelia."
"Yes, he IS," admitted Miss Cornelia rather sadly.
"And of course there is no hope of making a
Conservative of him. But at least he is a
Presbyterian. So I suppose I shall have to be
satisfied with that."
"Would you marry him if he were a Methodist, Miss
"No, I would not. Politics is for this world, but
religion is for both."
"And you may be a `relict' after all, Miss Cornelia."
"Not I. Marshall will live me out. The Elliotts are
long-lived, and the Bryants are not."
"When are you to be married?" asked Anne.
"In about a month's time. My wedding dress is to be
navy blue silk. And I want to ask you, Anne, dearie,
if you think it would be all right to wear a veil with
a navy blue dress. I've always thought I'd like to
wear a veil if I ever got married. Marshall says to
have it if I want to. Isn't that like a man?"
"Why shouldn't you wear it if you want to?" asked
"Well, one doesn't want to be different from other
people," said Miss Cornelia, who was not noticeably
like anyone else on the face of the earth. "As I say,
I do fancy a veil. But maybe it shouldn't be worn with
any dress but a white one. Please tell me, Anne,
dearie, what you really think. I'll go by your
"I don't think veils are usually worn with any but
white dresses," admitted Anne, "but that is merely a
convention; and I am like Mr. Elliott, Miss Cornelia.
I don't see any good reason why you shouldn't have a
veil if you want one."
But Miss Cornelia, who made her calls in calico
wrappers, shook her head.
"If it isn't the proper thing I won't wear it," she
said, with a sigh of regret for a lost dream.
"Since you are determined to be married, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert solemnly, "I shall give you
the excellent rules for the management of a husband
which my grandmother gave my mother when she married my
"Well, I reckon I can manage Marshall Elliott," said
Miss Cornelia placidly. "But let us hear your rules."
"The first one is, catch him."
"He's caught. Go on."
"The second one is, feed him well."
"With enough pie. What next?"
"The third and fourth are--keep your eye on him."
"I believe you," said Miss Cornelia emphatically.
CHAPTER 38. RED ROSES
The garden of the little house was a haunt beloved of
bees and reddened by late roses that August. The
little house folk lived much in it, and were given to
taking picnic suppers in the grassy corner beyond the
brook and sitting about in it through the twilights
when great night moths sailed athwart the velvet gloom.
One evening Owen Ford found Leslie alone in it. Anne
and Gilbert were away, and Susan, who was expected back
that night, had not yet returned.
The northern sky was amber and pale green over the fir
tops. The air was cool, for August was nearing
September, and Leslie wore a crimson scarf over her
white dress. Together they wandered through the
little, friendly, flower-crowded paths in silence.
Owen must go soon. His holiday was nearly over.
Leslie found her heart beating wildly. She knew that
this beloved garden was to be the scene of the binding
words that must seal their as yet unworded
" Some evenings a strange odor blows down the air of
this garden, like a phantom perfume," said Owen. "I
have never been able to discover from just what flower
it comes. It is elusive and haunting and wonderfully
sweet. I like to fancy it is the soul of Grandmother
Selwyn passing on a little visit to the old spot she
loved so well. There should be a lot of friendly
ghosts about this little old house."
"I have lived under its roof only a month," said
Leslie, "but I love it as I never loved the house over
there where I have lived all my life."
"This house was builded and consecrated by love," said
Owen. "Such houses, MUST exert an influence over those
who live in them. And this garden--it is over sixty
years old and the history of a thousand hopes and joys
is written in its blossoms. Some of those flowers were
actually set out by the schoolmaster's bride, and she
has been dead for thirty years. Yet they bloom on
every summer. Look at those red roses, Leslie--how
they queen it over everything else!"
"I love the red roses," said Leslie. "Anne likes the
pink ones best, and Gilbert likes the white. But I
want the crimson ones. They satisfy some craving in me
as no other flower does."
"These roses are very late--they bloom after all the
others have gone--and they hold all the warmth and soul
of the summer come to fruition," said Owen, plucking
some of the glowing, half-opened buds.
"The rose is the flower of love--the world has
acclaimed it so for centuries. The pink roses are
love hopeful and expectant--the white roses are love
dead or forsaken--but the red roses--ah, Leslie, what
are the red roses?"
"Love triumphant," said Leslie in a low voice.
"Yes--love triumphant and perfect. Leslie, you
know--you understand. I have loved you from the
first. And I KNOW you love me--I don't need to ask
you. But I want to hear you say it--my darling-- my
Leslie said something in a very low and tremulous
voice. Their hands and lips met; it was life's
supreme moment for them and as they stood there in the
old garden, with its many years of love and delight and
sorrow and glory, he crowned her shining hair with the
red, red rose of a love triumphant.
Anne and Gilbert returned presently, accompanied by
Captain Jim. Anne lighted a few sticks of driftwood in
the fireplace, for love of the pixy flames, and they
sat around it for an hour of good fellowship.
"When I sit looking at a driftwood fire it's easy to
believe I'm young again," said Captain Jim.
"Can you read futures in the fire, Captain Jim?" asked
Captain Jim looked at them all affectionately and then
back again at Leslie's vivid face and glowing eyes.
"I don't need the fire to read your futures," he said.
"I see happiness for all of you--all of you--for Leslie
and Mr. Ford--and the doctor here and Mistress
Blythe--and Little Jem--and children that ain't born
yet but will be. Happiness for you all--though, mind
you, I reckon you'll have your troubles and worries and
sorrows, too. They're bound to come--and no house,
whether it's a palace or a little house of dreams, can
bar 'em out. But they won't get the better of you if
you face 'em TOGETHER with love and trust. You can
weather any storm with them two for compass and
The old man rose suddenly and placed one hand on
Leslie's head and one on Anne's.
"Two good, sweet women," he said. "True and faithful
and to be depended on. Your husbands will have honor
in the gates because of you--your children will rise up
and call you blessed in the years to come."
There was a strange solemnity about the little scene.
Anne and Leslie bowed as those receiving a
benediction. Gilbert suddenly brushed his hand over
his eyes; Owen Ford was rapt as one who can see
visions. All were silent for a space. The little
house of dreams added another poignant and
unforgettable moment to its store of memories.
"I must be going now," said Captain Jim slowly at
last. He took up his hat and looked lingeringly about
"Good night, all of you," he said, as he went out.
Anne, pierced by the unusual wistfulness of his
farewell, ran to the door after him.
"Come back soon, Captain Jim," she called, as he
passed through the little gate hung between the firs.
"Ay, ay," he called cheerily back to her. But Captain
Jim had sat by the old fireside of the house of dreams
for the last time.
Anne went slowly back to the others.
"It's so--so pitiful to think of him going all alone
down to that lonely Point," she said. "And there is
no one to welcome him there."
"Captain Jim is such good company for others that one
can't imagine him being anything but good company for
himself," said Owen. "But he must often be lonely.
There was a touch of the seer about him tonight--he
spoke as one to whom it had been given to speak. Well,
I must be going, too."
Anne and Gilbert discreetly melted away; but when Owen
had gone Anne returned, to find Leslie standing by the
"Oh, Leslie--I know--and I'm so glad, dear," she said,
putting her arms about her.
"Anne, my happiness frightens me," whispered Leslie.
"It seems too great to be real--I'm afraid to speak of
it--to think of it. It seems to me that it must just
be another dream of this house of dreams and it will
vanish when I leave here."
"Well, you are not going to leave here--until Owen
takes you. You are going to stay with me until that
times comes. Do you think I'd let you go over to that
lonely, sad place again?"
"Thank you, dear. I meant to ask you if I might stay
with you. I didn't want to go back there--it would
seem like going back into the chill and dreariness of
the old life again. Anne, Anne, what a friend you've
been to me--`a good, sweet woman--true and faithful and
to be depended on'--Captain Jim summed you up."
"He said `women,' not `woman,'" smiled Anne. "Perhaps
Captain Jim sees us both through the rose-colored
spectacles of his love for us. But we can try to live
up to his belief in us, at least."
"Do you remember, Anne," said Leslie slowly, "that I
once said--that night we met on the shore--that I hated
my good looks? I did--then. It always seemed to me
that if I had been homely Dick would never have thought
of me. I hated my beauty because it had attracted him,
but now--oh, I'm glad that I have it. It's all I have
to offer Owen,--his artist soul delights in it. I feel
as if I do not come to him quite empty-handed."
"Owen loves your beauty, Leslie. Who would not? But
it's foolish of you to say or think that that is all
you bring him. HE will tell you that--I needn't. And
now I must lock up. I expected Susan back tonight, but
she has not come."
"Oh, yes, here I am, Mrs. Doctor, dear," said Susan,
entering unexpectedly from the kitchen, "and puffing
like a hen drawing rails at that! It's quite a walk
from the Glen down here."
"I'm glad to see you back, Susan. How is your
"She is able to sit up, but of course she cannot walk
yet. However, she is very well able to get on without
me now, for her daughter has come home for her
vacation. And I am thankful to be back, Mrs. Doctor,
dear. Matilda's leg was broken and no mistake, but her
tongue was not. She would talk the legs off an iron
pot, that she would, Mrs. Doctor, dear, though I grieve
to say it of my own sister. She was always a great
talker and yet she was the first of our family to get
married. She really did not care much about marrying
James Clow, but she could not bear to disoblige him.
Not but what James is a good man--the only fault I have
to find with him is that he always starts in to say
grace with such an unearthly groan, Mrs. Doctor, dear.
It always frightens my appetite clear away. And
speaking of getting married, Mrs. Doctor, dear, is it
true that Cornelia Bryant is going to be married to
"Yes, quite true, Susan."
"Well, Mrs. Doctor, dear, it does NOT seem to me fair.
Here is me, who never said a word against the men, and
I cannot get married nohow. And there is Cornelia
Bryant, who is never done abusing them, and all she has
to do is to reach out her hand and pick one up, as it
were. It is a very strange world, Mrs. Doctor, dear."
"There's another world, you know, Susan."
"Yes," said Susan with a heavy sigh, "but, Mrs.
Doctor, dear, there is neither marrying nor giving in
CHAPTER 39. CAPTAIN JIM CROSSES THE BAR
One day in late September Owen Ford's book came at
last. Captain Jim had gone faithfully to the Glen post
office every day for a month, expecting it. This day
he had not gone, and Leslie brought his copy home with
hers and Anne's.
"We'll take it down to him this evening," said Anne,
excited as a schoolgirl.
The long walk to the Point on that clear, beguiling
evening along the red harbor road was very pleasant.
Then the sun dropped down behind the western hills into
some valley that must have been full of lost sunsets,
and at the same instant the big light flashed out on
the white tower of the point.
"Captain Jim is never late by the fraction of a
second," said Leslie.
Neither Anne nor Leslie ever forgot Captain Jim's face
when they gave him the book--HIS book, transfigured and
glorified. The cheeks that had been blanched of late
suddenly flamed with the color of boyhood; his eyes
glowed with all the fire of youth; but his hands
trembled as he opened it.
It was called simply The Life-Book of Captain Jim, and
on the title page the names of Owen Ford and James Boyd
were printed as collaborators. The frontispiece was a
photograph of Captain Jim himself, standing at the door
of the lighthouse, looking across the gulf. Owen Ford
had "snapped" him one day while the book was being
written. Captain Jim had known this, but he had not
known that the picture was to be in the book.
"Just think of it," he said, "the old sailor right
there in a real printed book. This is the proudest day
of my life. I'm like to bust, girls. There'll be no
sleep for me tonight. I'll read my book clean through
"We'll go right away and leave you free to begin it,"
Captain Jim had been handling the book in a kind of
reverent rapture. Now he decidedly closed it and laid
"No, no, you're not going away before you take a cup of
tea with the old man," he protested. "I couldn't hear
to that--could you, Matey? The life-book will keep, I
reckon. I've waited for it this many a year. I can
wait a little longer while I'm enjoying my friends."
Captain Jim moved about getting his kettle on to boil,
and setting out his bread and butter. Despite his
excitement he did not move with his old briskness. His
movements were slow and halting. But the girls did not
offer to help him. They knew it would hurt his
"You just picked the right evening to visit me," he
said, producing a cake from his cupboard. "Leetle
Joe's mother sent me down a big basket full of cakes
and pies today. A blessing on all good cooks, says I.
Look at this purty cake, all frosting and nuts.
'Tain't often I can entertain in such style. Set in,
girls, set in! We'll `tak a cup o' kindness yet for
auld lang syne.'"
The girls "set in" right merrily. The tea was up to
Captain Jim's best brewing. Little Joe's mother's cake
was the last word in cakes; Captain Jim was the prince
of gracious hosts, never even permitting his eyes to
wander to the corner where the life-book lay, in all
its bravery of green and gold. But when his door
finally closed behind Anne and Leslie they knew that he
went straight to it, and as they walked home they
pictured the delight of the old man poring over the
printed pages wherein his own life was portrayed with
all the charm and color of reality itself.
"I wonder how he will like the ending--the ending I
suggested," said Leslie.
She was never to know. Early the next morning Anne
awakened to find Gilbert bending over her, fully
dressed, and with an expression of anxiety on his face.
"Are you called out?" she asked drowsily.
"No. Anne, I'm afraid there's something wrong at the
Point. It's an hour after sunrise now, and the light
is still burning. You know it has always been a matter
of pride with Captain Jim to start the light the moment
the sun sets, and put it out the moment it rises."
Anne sat up in dismay. Through her window she saw the
light blinking palely against the blue skies of dawn.
"Perhaps he has fallen asleep over his life-book," she
said anxiously, "or become so absorbed in it that he
has forgotten the light."
Gilbert shook his head.
"That wouldn't be like Captain Jim. Anyway, I'm going
down to see."
"Wait a minute and I'll go with you," exclaimed Anne.
"Oh, yes, I must--Little Jem will sleep for an hour
yet, and I'll call Susan. You may need a woman's help
if Captain Jim is ill."
It was an exquisite morning, full of tints and sounds
at once ripe and delicate. The harbor was sparkling
and dimpling like a girl; white gulls were soaring over
the dunes; beyond the bar was a shining, wonderful sea.
The long fields by the shore were dewy and fresh in
that first fine, purely-tinted light. The wind came
dancing and whistling up the channel to replace the
beautiful silence with a music more beautiful still.
Had it not been for the baleful star on the white tower
that early walk would have been a delight to Anne and
Gilbert. But they went softly with fear.
Their knock was not responded to. Gilbert opened the
door and they went in.
The old room was very quiet. On the table were the
remnants of the little evening feast. The lamp still
burned on the corner stand. The First Mate was asleep
in a square of sunshine by the sofa.
Captain Jim lay on the sofa, with his hands clasped
over the life-book, open at the last page, lying on his
breast. His eyes were closed and on his face was a
look of the most perfect peace and happiness--the look
of one who has long sought and found at last.
"He is asleep?" whispered Anne tremulously.
Gilbert went to the sofa and bent over him for a few
moments. Then he straightened up.
"Yes, he sleeps--well," he added quietly. "Anne,
Captain Jim has crossed the bar."
They could not know precisely at what hour he had died,
but Anne always believed that he had had his wish, and
went out when the morning came across the gulf. Out on
that shining tide his spirit drifted, over the sunrise
sea of pearl and silver, to the haven where lost
Margaret waited, beyond the storms and calms.
CHAPTER 40. FAREWELL TO THE HOUSE OF DREAMS
Captain Jim was buried in the little over-harbor
graveyard, very near to the spot where the wee white
lady slept. His relatives put up a very expensive,
very ugly "monument"--a monument at which he would
have poked sly fun had he seen it in life. But his
real monument was in the hearts of those who knew him,
and in the book that was to live for generations.
Leslie mourned that Captain Jim had not lived to see
the amazing success of it.
"How he would have delighted in the reviews--they are
almost all so kindly. And to have seen his life-book
heading the lists of the best sellers--oh, if he could
just have lived to see it, Anne!"
But Anne, despite her grief, was wiser.
"It was the book itself he cared for, Leslie--not what
might be said of it--and he had it. He had read it all
through. That last night must have been one of the
greatest happiness for him--with the quick, painless
ending he had hoped for in the morning. I am glad for
Owen's sake and yours that the book is such a
success--but Captain Jim was satisfied--I KNOW."
The lighthouse star still kept a nightly vigil; a
substitute keeper had been sent to the Point, until
such time as an all-wise government could decide which
of many applicants was best fitted for the place--or
had the strongest pull. The First Mate was at home in
the little house, beloved by Anne and Gilbert and
Leslie, and tolerated by a Susan who had small liking
"I can put up with him for the sake of Captain Jim,
Mrs. Doctor, dear, for I liked the old man. And I will
see that he gets bite and sup, and every mouse the
traps account for. But do not ask me to do more than
that, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Cats is cats, and take my
word for it, they will never be anything else. And at
least, Mrs. Doctor, dear, do keep him away from the
blessed wee man. Picture to yourself how awful it
would be if he was to suck the darling's breath."
"That might be fitly called a CAT-astrophe," said
"Oh, you may laugh, doctor, dear, but it would be no
"Cats never suck babies' breaths," said Gilbert.
"That is only an old superstition, Susan."
"Oh, well, it may be a superstition or it may not,
doctor, dear. All that I know is, it has happened. My
sister's husband's nephew's wife's cat sucked their
baby's breath, and the poor innocent was all but gone
when they found it. And superstition or not, if I find
that yellow beast lurking near our baby I will whack
him with the poker, Mrs. Doctor, dear."
Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Elliott were living comfortably
and harmoniously in the green house. Leslie was busy
with sewing, for she and Owen were to be married at
Christmas. Anne wondered what she would do when Leslie
"Changes come all the time. Just as soon as things get
really nice they change," she said with a sigh.
"The old Morgan place up at the Glen is for sale,"
said Gilbert, apropos of nothing in especial.
"Is it?" asked Anne indifferently.
"Yes. Now that Mr. Morgan has gone, Mrs. Morgan wants
to go to live with her children in Vancouver. She will
sell cheaply, for a big place like that in a small
village like the Glen will not be very easy to dispose
"Well, it's certainly a beautiful place, so it is
likely she will find a purchaser," said Anne,
absently, wondering whether she should hemstitch or
feather-stitch little Jem's "short" dresses. He was
to be shortened the next week, and Anne felt ready to
cry at the thought of it.
"Suppose we buy it, Anne?" remarked Gilbert quietly.
Anne dropped her sewing and stared at him.
"You're not in earnest, Gilbert?"
"Indeed I am, dear."
"And leave this darling spot--our house of dreams?"
said Anne incredulously. "Oh, Gilbert, it's--it's
"Listen patiently to me, dear. I know just how you
feel about it. I feel the same. But we've always
known we would have to move some day."
"Oh, but not so soon, Gilbert--not just yet."
"We may never get such a chance again. If we don't buy
the Morgan place someone else will--and there is no
other house in the Glen we would care to have, and no
other really good site on which to build. This little
house is--well, it is and has been what no other house
can ever be to us, I admit, but you know it is
out-of-the-way down here for a doctor. We have felt
the inconvenience, though we've made the best of it.
And it's a tight fit for us now. Perhaps, in a few
years, when Jem wants a room of his own, it will be
entirely too small."
"Oh, I know--I know," said Anne, tears filling her
eyes. "I know all that can be said against it, but I
love it so--and it's so beautiful here."
"You would find it very lonely here after Leslie
goes--and Captain Jim has gone too. The Morgan place
is beautiful, and in time we would love it. You know
you have always admired it, Anne."
"Oh, yes, but--but--this has all seemed to come up so
suddenly, Gilbert. I'm dizzy. Ten minutes ago I had
no thought of leaving this dear spot. I was planning
what I meant to do for it in the spring-- what I meant
to do in the garden. And if we leave this place who
will get it? It IS out-of-the-way, so it's likely some
poor, shiftless, wandering family will rent it--and
over-run it--and oh, that would be desecration. It
would hurt me horribly."
"I know. But we cannot sacrifice our own interests to
such considerations, Anne-girl. The Morgan place will
suit us in every essential particular--we really can't
afford to miss such a chance. Think of that big lawn
with those magnificent old trees; and of that splendid
hardwood grove behind it--twelve acres of it. What a
play place for our children! There's a fine orchard,
too, and you've always admired that high brick wall
around the garden with the door in it--you've thought
it was so like a story-book garden. And there is
almost as fine a view of the harbor and the dunes from
the Morgan place as from here."
"You can't see the lighthouse star from it."
"Yes, You can see it from the attic window. THERE'S
another advantage, Anne-girl--you love big garrets."
"There's no brook in the garden."
"Well, no, but there is one running through the maple
grove into the Glen pond. And the pond itself isn't
far away. You'll be able to fancy you have your own
Lake of Shining Waters again."
"Well, don't say anything more about it just now,
Gilbert. Give me time to think--to get used to the
"All right. There is no great hurry, of course.
Only--if we decide to buy, it would be well to be
moved in and settled before winter."
Gilbert went out, and Anne put away Little Jem's short
dresses with trembling hands. She could not sew any
more that day. With tear-wet eyes she wandered over
the little domain where she had reigned so happy a
queen. The Morgan place was all that Gilbert claimed.
The grounds were beautiful, the house old enough to
have dignity and repose and traditions, and new enough
to be comfortable and up-to-date. Anne had always
admired it; but admiring is not loving; and she loved
this house of dreams so much. She loved EVERYTHING
about it--the garden she had tended, and which so many
women had tended before her--the gleam and sparkle of
the little brook that crept so roguishly across the
corner--the gate between the creaking fir trees--the
old red sandstone step--the stately Lombardies-- the
two tiny quaint glass cupboards over the chimney- piece
in the living-room--the crooked pantry door in the
kitchen-- the two funny dormer windows upstairs--the
little jog in the staircase-- why, these things were a
part of her! How could she leave them?
And how this little house, consecrated aforetime by
love and joy, had been re-consecrated for her by her
happiness and sorrow! Here she had spent her bridal
moon; here wee Joyce had lived her one brief day; here
the sweetness of motherhood had come again with Little
Jem; here she had heard the exquisite music of her
baby's cooing laughter; here beloved friends had sat by
her fireside. Joy and grief, birth and death, had made
sacred forever this little house of dreams.
And now she must leave it. She knew that, even while
she had contended against the idea to Gilbert. The
little house was outgrown. Gilbert's interests made
the change necessary; his work, successful though it
had been, was hampered by his location. Anne realised
that the end of their life in this dear place drew
nigh, and that she must face the fact bravely. But how
her heart ached!
"It will be just like tearing something out of my
life," she sobbed. "And oh, if I could hope that some
nice folk would come here in our place--or even that it
would be left vacant. That itself would be better than
having it overrun with some horde who know nothing of
the geography of dreamland, and nothing of the history
that has given this house its soul and its identity.
And if such a tribe come here the place will go to rack
and ruin in no time--an old place goes down so quickly
if it is not carefully attended to. They'll tear up my
garden--and let the Lombardies get ragged--and the
paling will come to look like a mouth with half the
teeth missing--and the roof will leak--and the plaster
fall--and they'll stuff pillows and rags in broken
window panes--and everything will be out-at-elbows."
Anne's imagination pictured forth so vividly the coming
degeneration of her dear little house that it hurt her
as severely as if it had already been an accomplished
fact. She sat down on the stairs and had a long,
bitter cry. Susan found her there and enquired with
much concern what the trouble was.
"You have not quarrelled with the doctor, have you now,
Mrs. Doctor, dear? But if you have, do not worry. It
is a thing quite likely to happen to married couples, I
am told, although I have had no experience that way
myself. He will be sorry, and you can soon make it
"No, no, Susan, we haven't quarrelled. It's
only--Gilbert is going to buy the Morgan place, and
we'll have to go and live at the Glen. And it will
break my heart."
Susan did not enter into Anne's feelings at all. She
was, indeed, quite rejoiced over the prospect of living
at the Glen. Her one grievance against her place in
the little house was its lonesome location.
"Why, Mrs. Doctor, dear, it will be splendid. The
Morgan house is such a fine, big one."
"I hate big houses," sobbed Anne.
"Oh, well, you will not hate them by the time you have
half a dozen children," remarked Susan calmly. "And
this house is too small already for us. We have no
spare room, since Mrs. Moore is here, and that pantry
is the most aggravating place I ever tried to work in.
There is a corner every way you turn. Besides, it is
out-of-the-world down here. There is really nothing at
all but scenery."
"Out of your world perhaps, Susan--but not out of
mine," said Anne with a faint smile.
"I do not quite understand you, Mrs. Doctor, dear, but
of course I am not well educated. But if Dr. Blythe
buys the Morgan place he will make no mistake, and that
you may tie to. They have water in it, and the
pantries and closets are beautiful, and there is not
another such cellar in P. E. Island, so I have been
told. Why, the cellar here, Mrs. Doctor, dear, has
been a heart-break to me, as well you know."
"Oh, go away, Susan, go away," said Anne forlornly.
"Cellars and pantries and closets don't make a HOME.
Why don't you weep with those who weep?"
"Well, I never was much hand for weeping, Mrs. Doctor,
dear. I would rather fall to and cheer people up than
weep with them. Now, do not you cry and spoil your
pretty eyes. This house is very well and has served
your turn, but it is high time you had a better."
Susan's point of view seemed to be that of most people.
Leslie was the only one who sympathised
understandingly with Anne. She had a good cry, too,
when she heard the news. Then they both dried their
tears and went to work at the preparations for moving.
"Since we must go let us go as soon as we can and have
it over," said poor Anne with bitter resignation.
"You know you will like that lovely old place at the
Glen after you have lived in it long enough to have
dear memories woven about it," said Leslie. "Friends
will come there, as they have come here-- happiness
will glorify it for you. Now, it's just a house to
you--but the years will make it a home."
Anne and Leslie had another cry the next week when they
shortened Little Jem. Anne felt the tragedy of it
until evening when in his long nightie she found her
own dear baby again.
"But it will be rompers next--and then trousers--and in
no time he will be grown-up," she sighed.
"Well, you would not want him to stay a baby always,
Mrs. Doctor, dear, would you?" said Susan. "Bless his
innocent heart, he looks too sweet for anything in his
little short dresses, with his dear feet sticking out.
And think of the save in the ironing, Mrs. Doctor, dear."
"Anne, I have just had a letter from Owen," said
Leslie, entering with a bright face. "And, oh! I have
such good news. He writes me that he is going to buy
this place from the church trustees and keep it to
spend our summer vacations in. Anne, are you not glad?"
"Oh, Leslie, `glad' isn't the word for it! It seems
almost too good to be true. I sha'n't feel half so
badly now that I know this dear spot will never be
desecrated by a vandal tribe, or left to tumble down in
decay. Why, it's lovely! It's lovely!"
One October morning Anne wakened to the realisation
that she had slept for the last time under the roof of
her little house. The day was too busy to indulge
regret and when evening came the house was stripped and
bare. Anne and Gilbert were alone in it to say
farewell. Leslie and Susan and Little Jem had gone to
the Glen with the last load of furniture. The sunset
light streamed in through the curtainless windows.
"It has all such a heart-broken, reproachful look,
hasn't it?" said Anne. "Oh, I shall be so homesick at
the Glen tonight!"
"We have been very happy here, haven't we, Anne-girl?"
said Gilbert, his voice full of feeling.
Anne choked, unable to answer. Gilbert waited for her
at the fir-tree gate, while she went over the house and
said farewell to every room. She was going away; but
the old house would still be there, looking seaward
through its quaint windows. The autumn winds would
blow around it mournfully, and the gray rain would beat
upon it and the white mists would come in from the sea
to enfold it; and the moonlight would fall over it and
light up the old paths where the schoolmaster and his
bride had walked. There on that old harbor shore the
charm of story would linger; the wind would still
whistle alluringly over the silver sand-dunes; the
waves would still call from the red rock-coves.
"But we will be gone," said Anne through her tears.
She went out, closing and locking the door behind her.
Gilbert was waiting for her with a smile. The
lighthouse star was gleaming northward. The little
garden, where only marigolds still bloomed, was already
hooding itself in shadows.
Anne knelt down and kissed the worn old step which she
had crossed as a bride.
"Good-bye, dear little house of dreams," she said.