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"I took the amethyst brooch," said Anne, as if repeating a lesson
she had learned. "I took it just as you said. I didn't mean to
take it when I went in. But it did look so beautiful, Marilla,
when I pinned it on my breast that I was overcome by an
irresistible temptation. I imagined how perfectly thrilling it
would be to take it to Idlewild and play I was the Lady Cordelia
Fitzgerald. It would be so much easier to imagine I was the Lady
Cordelia if I had a real amethyst brooch on. Diana and I make
necklaces of roseberries but what are roseberries compared to
amethysts? So I took the brooch. I thought I could put it back
before you came home. I went all the way around by the road to
lengthen out the time. When I was going over the bridge across
the Lake of Shining Waters I took the brooch off to have another
look at it. Oh, how it did shine in the sunlight! And then, when
I was leaning over the bridge, it just slipped through my
fingers--so--and went down--down--down, all purplysparkling, and
sank forevermore beneath the Lake of Shining Waters. And that's
the best I can do at confessing, Marilla."

Marilla felt hot anger surge up into her heart again. This child
had taken and lost her treasured amethyst brooch and now sat
there calmly reciting the details thereof without the least
apparent compunction or repentance.

"Anne, this is terrible," she said, trying to speak calmly.
"You are the very wickedest girl I ever heard of"

"Yes, I suppose I am," agreed Anne tranquilly. "And I know I'll
have to be punished. It'll be your duty to punish me, Marilla.
Won't you please get it over right off because I'd like to go to
the picnic with nothing on my mind."

"Picnic, indeed! You'll go to no picnic today, Anne Shirley.
That shall be your punishment. And it isn't half severe enough
either for what you've done!"

"Not go to the picnic!" Anne sprang to her feet and clutched
Marilla's hand. "But you PROMISED me I might! Oh, Marilla, I
must go to the picnic. That was why I confessed. Punish me any
way you like but that. Oh, Marilla, please, please, let me go to
the picnic. Think of the ice cream! For anything you know I may
never have a chance to taste ice cream again."

Marilla disengaged Anne's clinging hands stonily.

"You needn't plead, Anne. You are not going to the picnic and
that's final. No, not a word."

Anne realized that Marilla was not to be moved. She clasped her
hands together, gave a piercing shriek, and then flung herself
face downward on the bed, crying and writhing in an utter
abandonment of disappointment and despair.

"For the land's sake!" gasped Marilla, hastening from the room.
"I believe the child is crazy. No child in her senses would
behave as she does. If she isn't she's utterly bad. Oh dear,
I'm afraid Rachel was right from the first. But I've put my hand
to the plow and I won't look back."

That was a dismal morning. Marilla worked fiercely and scrubbed
the porch floor and the dairy shelves when she could find nothing
else to do. Neither the shelves nor the porch needed it--but
Marilla did. Then she went out and raked the yard.

When dinner was ready she went to the stairs and called Anne. A
tear-stained face appeared, looking tragically over the banisters.

"Come down to your dinner, Anne."

"I don't want any dinner, Marilla," said Anne, sobbingly. "I
couldn't eat anything. My heart is broken. You'll feel remorse
of conscience someday, I expect, for breaking it, Marilla, but I
forgive you. Remember when the time comes that I forgive you.
But please don't ask me to eat anything, especially boiled pork
and greens. Boiled pork and greens are so unromantic when one is
in affliction."

Exasperated, Marilla returned to the kitchen and poured out her
tale of woe to Matthew, who, between his sense of justice and his
unlawful sympathy with Anne, was a miserable man.

"Well now, she shouldn't have taken the brooch, Marilla, or told
stories about it," he admitted, mournfuly surveying his plateful
of unromantic pork and greens as if he, like Anne, thought it a
food unsuited to crises of feeling, "but she's such a little
thing--such an interesting little thing. Don't you think it's pretty
rough not to let her go to the picnic when she's so set on it?"

"Matthew Cuthbert, I'm amazed at you. I think I've let her off
entirely too easy. And she doesn't appear to realize how wicked
she's been at all--that's what worries me most. If she'd really
felt sorry it wouldn't be so bad. And you don't seem to realize
it, neither; you're making excuses for her all the time to
yourself--I can see that."

"Well now, she's such a little thing," feebly reiterated Matthew.
"And there should be allowances made, Marilla. You know she's
never had any bringing up."

"Well, she's having it now" retorted Marilla.

The retort silenced Matthew if it did not convince him. That
dinner was a very dismal meal. The only cheerful thing about it
was Jerry Buote, the hired boy, and Marilla resented his
cheerfulness as a personal insult.

When her dishes were washed and her bread sponge set and her hens
fed Marilla remembered that she had noticed a small rent in her
best black lace shawl when she had taken it off on Monday
afternoon on returning from the Ladies' Aid.

She would go and mend it. The shawl was in a box in her trunk.
As Marilla lifted it out, the sunlight, falling through the vines
that clustered thickly about the window, struck upon something
caught in the shawl--something that glittered and sparkled in facets
of violet light. Marilla snatched at it with a gasp. It was the
amethyst brooch, hanging to a thread of the lace by its catch!

"Dear life and heart," said Marilla blankly, "what does this
mean? Here's my brooch safe and sound that I thought was at the
bottom of Barry's pond. Whatever did that girl mean by saying
she took it and lost it? I declare I believe Green Gables is
bewitched. I remember now that when I took off my shawl Monday
afternoon I laid it on the bureau for a minute. I suppose the
brooch got caught in it somehow. Well!"

Marilla betook herself to the east gable, brooch in hand. Anne
had cried herself out and was sitting dejectedly by the window.

"Anne Shirley," said Marilla solemnly, "I've just found my brooch
hanging to my black lace shawl. Now I want to know what that
rigmarole you told me this morning meant."

"Why, you said you'd keep me here until I confessed," returned
Anne wearily, "and so I decided to confess because I was bound to
get to the picnic. I thought out a confession last night after I
went to bed and made it as interesting as I could. And I said it
over and over so that I wouldn't forget it. But you wouldn't let
me go to the picnic after all, so all my trouble was wasted."

Marilla had to laugh in spite of herself. But her conscience
pricked her.

"Anne, you do beat all! But I was wrong--I see that now.
I shouldn't have doubted your word when I'd never known you to
tell a story. Of course, it wasn't right for you to confess to a
thing you hadn't done--it was very wrong to do so. But I drove you
to it. So if you'll forgive me, Anne, I'll forgive you and we'll
start square again. And now get yourself ready for the picnic."

Anne flew up like a rocket.

"Oh, Marilla, isn't it too late?"

"No, it's only two o'clock. They won't be more than well
gathered yet and it'll be an hour before they have tea. Wash
your face and comb your hair and put on your gingham. I'll fill
a basket for you. There's plenty of stuff baked in the house.
And I'll get Jerry to hitch up the sorrel and drive you down to
the picnic ground."

"Oh, Marilla," exclaimed Anne, flying to the washstand. "Five
minutes ago I was so miserable I was wishing I'd never been born
and now I wouldn't change places with an angel!"

That night a thoroughly happy, completely tired-out Anne returned
to Green Gables in a state of beatification impossible to describe.

"Oh, Marilla, I've had a perfectly scrumptious time. Scrumptious
is a new word I learned today. I heard Mary Alice Bell use it.
Isn't it very expressive? Everything was lovely. We had a
splendid tea and then Mr. Harmon Andrews took us all for a row
on the Lake of Shining Waters--six of us at a time. And Jane
Andrews nearly fell overboard. She was leaning out to pick water
lilies and if Mr. Andrews hadn't caught her by her sash just
in the nick of time she'd fallen in and prob'ly been drowned.
I wish it had been me. It would have been such a romantic
experience to have been nearly drowned. It would be such a
thrilling tale to tell. And we had the ice cream. Words fail me
to describe that ice cream. Marilla, I assure you it was sublime."

That evening Marilla told the whole story to Matthew over her
stocking basket.

"I'm willing to own up that I made a mistake," she concluded
candidly, "but I've learned a lesson. I have to laugh when I
think of Anne's `confession,' although I suppose I shouldn't for
it really was a falsehood. But it doesn't seem as bad as the
other would have been, somehow, and anyhow I'm responsible for
it. That child is hard to understand in some respects. But I
believe she'll turn out all right yet. And there's one thing
certain, no house will ever be dull that she's in."

CHAPTER XV

A Tempest in the School Teapot

"What a splendid day!" said Anne, drawing a long breath. "Isn't
it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people
who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of
course, but they can never have this one. And it's splendider
still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn't it?"

"It's a lot nicer than going round by the road; that is so dusty
and hot," said Diana practically, peeping into her dinner basket
and mentally calculating if the three juicy, toothsome, raspberry
tarts reposing there were divided among ten girls how many bites
each girl would have.

The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches,
and to eat three raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them
only with one's best chum would have forever and ever branded as
"awful mean" the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were
divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you.

The way Anne and Diana went to school WAS a pretty one. Anne
thought those walks to and from school with Diana couldn't be
improved upon even by imagination. Going around by the main road
would have been so unromantic; but to go by Lover's Lane and
Willowmere and Violet Vale and the Birch Path was romantic, if
ever anything was.

Lover's Lane opened out below the orchard at Green Gables and
stretched far up into the woods to the end of the Cuthbert farm.
It was the way by which the cows were taken to the back pasture
and the wood hauled home in winter. Anne had named it Lover's
Lane before she had been a month at Green Gables.

"Not that lovers ever really walk there," she explained to Marilla,
"but Diana and I are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there's
a Lover's Lane in it. So we want to have one, too. And it's a very
pretty name, don't you think? So romantic! We can't imagine the
lovers into it, you know. I like that lane because you can think
out loud there without people calling you crazy."

Anne, starting out alone in the morning, went down Lover's Lane
as far as the brook. Here Diana met her, and the two little
girls went on up the lane under the leafy arch of maples--"maples
are such sociable trees," said Anne; "they're always rustling and
whispering to you"--until they came to a rustic bridge. Then
they left the lane and walked through Mr. Barry's back field and
past Willowmere. Beyond Willowmere came Violet Vale--a little
green dimple in the shadow of Mr. Andrew Bell's big woods. "Of
course there are no violets there now," Anne told Marilla, "but
Diana says there are millions of them in spring. Oh, Marilla,
can't you just imagine you see them? It actually takes away my
breath. I named it Violet Vale. Diana says she never saw the
beat of me for hitting on fancy names for places. It's nice to
be clever at something, isn't it? But Diana named the Birch
Path. She wanted to, so I let her; but I'm sure I could have
found something more poetical than plain Birch Path. Anybody can
think of a name like that. But the Birch Path is one of the
prettiest places in the world, Marilla."

It was. Other people besides Anne thought so when they stumbled
on it. It was a little narrow, twisting path, winding down over
a long hill straight through Mr. Bell's woods, where the light
came down sifted through so many emerald screens that it was as
flawless as the heart of a diamond. It was fringed in all its
length with slim young birches, white stemmed and lissom boughed;
ferns and starflowers and wild lilies-of-the-valley and scarlet
tufts of pigeonberries grew thickly along it; and always there
was a delightful spiciness in the air and music of bird calls and
the murmur and laugh of wood winds in the trees overhead. Now
and then you might see a rabbit skipping across the road if you
were quiet--which, with Anne and Diana, happened about once in a
blue moon. Down in the valley the path came out to the main road
and then it was just up the spruce hill to the school.

The Avonlea school was a whitewashed building, low in the eaves
and wide in the windows, furnished inside with comfortable
substantial old-fashioned desks that opened and shut, and were
carved all over their lids with the initials and hieroglyphics of
three generations of school children. The schoolhouse was set
back from the road and behind it was a dusky fir wood and a brook
where all the children put their bottles of milk in the morning
to keep cool and sweet until dinner hour.

Marilla had seen Anne start off to school on the first day of
September with many secret misgivings. Anne was such an odd girl.
How would she get on with the other children? And how on earth
would she ever manage to hold her tongue during school hours?

Things went better than Marilla feared, however. Anne came home
that evening in high spirits.

"I think I'm going to like school here," she announced. "I don't
think much of the master, through. He's all the time curling his
mustache and making eyes at Prissy Andrews. Prissy is grown up,
you know. She's sixteen and she's studying for the entrance
examination into Queen's Academy at Charlottetown next year.
Tillie Boulter says the master is DEAD GONE on her. She's got a
beautiful complexion and curly brown hair and she does it up so
elegantly. She sits in the long seat at the back and he sits
there, too, most of the time--to explain her lessons, he says.
But Ruby Gillis says she saw him writing something on her slate
and when Prissy read it she blushed as red as a beet and giggled;
and Ruby Gillis says she doesn't believe it had anything to do
with the lesson."

"Anne Shirley, don't let me hear you talking about your teacher
in that way again," said Marilla sharply. "You don't go to school
to criticize the master. I guess he can teach YOU something,
and it's your business to learn. And I want you to understand
right off that you are not to come home telling tales about him.
That is something I won't encourage. I hope you were a good girl."

"Indeed I was," said Anne comfortably. "It wasn't so hard as you
might imagine, either. I sit with Diana. Our seat is right by
the window and we can look down to the Lake of Shining Waters.
There are a lot of nice girls in school and we had scrumptious
fun playing at dinnertime. It's so nice to have a lot of little
girls to play with. But of course I like Diana best and always
will. I ADORE Diana. I'm dreadfully far behind the others.
They're all in the fifth book and I'm only in the fourth. I feel
that it's kind of a disgrace. But there's not one of them has
such an imagination as I have and I soon found that out. We had
reading and geography and Canadian history and dictation today.
Mr. Phillips said my spelling was disgraceful and he held up my
slate so that everybody could see it, all marked over. I felt so
mortified, Marilla; he might have been politer to a stranger, I
think. Ruby Gillis gave me an apple and Sophia Sloane lent me a
lovely pink card with `May I see you home?' on it. I'm to give
it back to her tomorrow. And Tillie Boulter let me wear her bead
ring all the afternoon. Can I have some of those pearl beads off
the old pincushion in the garret to make myself a ring? And oh,
Marilla, Jane Andrews told me that Minnie MacPherson told her
that she heard Prissy Andrews tell Sara Gillis that I had a very
pretty nose. Marilla, that is the first compliment I have ever
had in my life and you can't imagine what a strange feeling it
gave me. Marilla, have I really a pretty nose? I know you'll
tell me the truth."

"Your nose is well enough," said Marilla shortly. Secretly she
thought Anne's nose was a remarkable pretty one; but she had no
intention of telling her so.

That was three weeks ago and all had gone smoothly so far. And now,
this crisp September morning, Anne and Diana were tripping blithely
down the Birch Path, two of the happiest little girls in Avonlea.

"I guess Gilbert Blythe will be in school today," said Diana.
"He's been visiting his cousins over in New Brunswick all summer
and he only came home Saturday night. He's AW'FLY handsome, Anne.
And he teases the girls something terrible. He just torments our
lives out."

Diana's voice indicated that she rather liked having her life
tormented out than not.

"Gilbert Blythe?" said Anne. "Isn't his name that's written up on
the porch wall with Julia Bell's and a big `Take Notice' over them?"

"Yes," said Diana, tossing her head, "but I'm sure he doesn't
like Julia Bell so very much. I've heard him say he studied the
multiplication table by her freckles."

"Oh, don't speak about freckles to me," implored Anne. "It isn't
delicate when I've got so many. But I do think that writing
take-notices up on the wall about the boys and girls is the
silliest ever. I should just like to see anybody dare to write
my name up with a boy's. Not, of course," she hastened to add,
"that anybody would."

Anne sighed. She didn't want her name written up. But it was a
little humiliating to know that there was no danger of it.

"Nonsense," said Diana, whose black eyes and glossy tresses had
played such havoc with the hearts of Avonlea schoolboys that her
name figured on the porch walls in half a dozen take-notices.
"It's only meant as a joke. And don't you be too sure your name
won't ever be written up. Charlie Sloane is DEAD GONE on you.
He told his mother--his MOTHER, mind you--that you were the
smartest girl in school. That's better than being good looking."

"No, it isn't," said Anne, feminine to the core. "I'd rather be
pretty than clever. And I hate Charlie Sloane, I can't bear a boy
with goggle eyes. If anyone wrote my name up with his I'd never GET
over it, Diana Barry. But it IS nice to keep head of your class."

"You'll have Gilbert in your class after this," said Diana, "and
he's used to being head of his class, I can tell you. He's only
in the fourth book although he's nearly fourteen. Four years ago
his father was sick and had to go out to Alberta for his health
and Gilbert went with him. They were there three years and Gil
didn't go to school hardly any until they came back. You won't
find it so easy to keep head after this, Anne."

"I'm glad," said Anne quickly. "I couldn't really feel proud of
keeping head of little boys and girls of just nine or ten. I got
up yesterday spelling `ebullition.' Josie Pye was head and, mind
you, she peeped in her book. Mr. Phillips didn't see her--he
was looking at Prissy Andrews--but I did. I just swept her a
look of freezing scorn and she got as red as a beet and spelled
it wrong after all."

"Those Pye girls are cheats all round," said Diana indignantly,
as they climbed the fence of the main road. "Gertie Pye actually
went and put her milk bottle in my place in the brook yesterday.
Did you ever? I don't speak to her now."

When Mr. Phillips was in the back of the room hearing Prissy
Andrews's Latin, Diana whispered to Anne,

"That's Gilbert Blythe sitting right across the aisle from you,
Anne. Just look at him and see if you don't think he's handsome."

Anne looked accordingly. She had a good chance to do so, for the
said Gilbert Blythe was absorbed in stealthily pinning the long
yellow braid of Ruby Gillis, who sat in front of him, to the back
of her seat. He was a tall boy, with curly brown hair, roguish
hazel eyes, and a mouth twisted into a teasing smile. Presently
Ruby Gillis started up to take a sum to the master; she fell back
into her seat with a little shriek, believing that her hair was
pulled out by the roots. Everybody looked at her and Mr.
Phillips glared so sternly that Ruby began to cry. Gilbert had
whisked the pin out of sight and was studying his history with
the soberest face in the world; but when the commotion subsided
he looked at Anne and winked with inexpressible drollery.

"I think your Gilbert Blythe IS handsome," confided Anne to Diana,
"but I think he's very bold. It isn't good manners to wink at a
strange girl."

But it was not until the afternoon that things really began to happen.

Mr. Phillips was back in the corner explaining a problem in
algebra to Prissy Andrews and the rest of the scholars were doing
pretty much as they pleased eating green apples, whispering,
drawing pictures on their slates, and driving crickets harnessed
to strings, up and down aisle. Gilbert Blythe was trying to make
Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly, because Anne was at
that moment totally oblivious not only to the very existence of
Gilbert Blythe, but of every other scholar in Avonlea school itself.
With her chin propped on her hands and her eyes fixed on the blue
glimpse of the Lake of Shining Waters that the west window afforded,
she was far away in a gorgeous dreamland hearing and seeing nothing
save her own wonderful visions.

Gilbert Blythe wasn't used to putting himself out to make a girl
look at him and meeting with failure. She SHOULD look at him, that
red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big
eyes that weren't like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.

Gilbert reached across the aisle, picked up the end of Anne's
long red braid, held it out at arm's length and said in a
piercing whisper:

"Carrots! Carrots!"

Then Anne looked at him with a vengeance!

She did more than look. She sprang to her feet, her bright
fancies fallen into cureless ruin. She flashed one indignant
glance at Gilbert from eyes whose angry sparkle was swiftly
quenched in equally angry tears.

"You mean, hateful boy!" she exclaimed passionately. "How dare you!"

And then--thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's
head and cracked it--slate not head--clear across.

Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially
enjoyable one. Everybody said "Oh" in horrified delight. Diana
gasped. Ruby Gillis, who was inclined to be hysterical, began to
cry. Tommy Sloane let his team of crickets escape him altogether
while he stared open-mouthed at the tableau.

Mr. Phillips stalked down the aisle and laid his hand heavily on
Anne's shoulder.

"Anne Shirley, what does this mean?" he said angrily. Anne
returned no answer. It was asking too much of flesh and blood to
expect her to tell before the whole school that she had been
called "carrots." Gilbert it was who spoke up stoutly.

"It was my fault Mr. Phillips. I teased her."

Mr. Phillips paid no heed to Gilbert.

"I am sorry to see a pupil of mine displaying such a temper and
such a vindictive spirit," he said in a solemn tone, as if the
mere fact of being a pupil of his ought to root out all evil
passions from the hearts of small imperfect mortals. "Anne, go
and stand on the platform in front of the blackboard for the rest
of the afternoon."

Anne would have infinitely preferred a whipping to this
punishment under which her sensitive spirit quivered as from a
whiplash. With a white, set face she obeyed. Mr. Phillips took
a chalk crayon and wrote on the blackboard above her head.

"Ann Shirley has a very bad temper. Ann Shirley must learn to
control her temper," and then read it out loud so that even the
primer class, who couldn't read writing, should understand it.

Anne stood there the rest of the afternoon with that legend above
her. She did not cry or hang her head. Anger was still too hot
in her heart for that and it sustained her amid all her agony of
humiliation. With resentful eyes and passion-red cheeks she
confronted alike Diana's sympathetic gaze and Charlie Sloane's
indignant nods and Josie Pye's malicious smiles. As for Gilbert
Blythe, she would not even look at him. She would NEVER look at
him again! She would never speak to him!!

When school was dismissed Anne marched out with her red head held
high. Gilbert Blythe tried to intercept her at the porch door.

"I'm awfully sorry I made fun of your hair, Anne," he whispered
contritely. "Honest I am. Don't be mad for keeps, now"

Anne swept by disdainfully, without look or sign of hearing. "Oh
how could you, Anne?" breathed Diana as they went down the road
half reproachfully, half admiringly. Diana felt that SHE could
never have resisted Gilbert's plea.

"I shall never forgive Gilbert Blythe," said Anne firmly.
"And Mr. Phillips spelled my name without an e, too.
The iron has entered into my soul, Diana."

Diana hadn't the least idea what Anne meant but she understood it
was something terrible.

"You mustn't mind Gilbert making fun of your hair," she said
soothingly. "Why, he makes fun of all the girls. He laughs at
mine because it's so black. He's called me a crow a dozen times;
and I never heard him apologize for anything before, either."

"There's a great deal of difference between being called a crow
and being called carrots," said Anne with dignity. "Gilbert
Blythe has hurt my feelings EXCRUCIATINGLY, Diana."

It is possible the matter might have blown over without more
excruciation if nothing else had happened. But when things begin
to happen they are apt to keep on.

Avonlea scholars often spent noon hour picking gum in Mr. Bell's
spruce grove over the hill and across his big pasture field.
From there they could keep an eye on Eben Wright's house, where
the master boarded. When they saw Mr. Phillips emerging therefrom
they ran for the schoolhouse; but the distance being about three
times longer than Mr. Wright's lane they were very apt to arrive
there, breathless and gasping, some three minutes too late.

On the following day Mr. Phillips was seized with one of his
spasmodic fits of reform and announced before going home to
dinner, that he should expect to find all the scholars in their
seats when he returned. Anyone who came in late would be punished.

All the boys and some of the girls went to Mr. Bell's spruce
grove as usual, fully intending to stay only long enough to "pick
a chew." But spruce groves are seductive and yellow nuts of gum
beguiling; they picked and loitered and strayed; and as usual the
first thing that recalled them to a sense of the flight of time
was Jimmy Glover shouting from the top of a patriarchal old
spruce "Master's coming."

The girls who were on the ground, started first and managed to
reach the schoolhouse in time but without a second to spare. The
boys, who had to wriggle hastily down from the trees, were later;
and Anne, who had not been picking gum at all but was wandering
happily in the far end of the grove, waist deep among the
bracken, singing softly to herself, with a wreath of rice lilies
on her hair as if she were some wild divinity of the shadowy
places, was latest of all. Anne could run like a deer, however;
run she did with the impish result that she overtook the boys at
the door and was swept into the schoolhouse among them just as
Mr. Phillips was in the act of hanging up his hat.

Mr. Phillips's brief reforming energy was over; he didn't want
the bother of punishing a dozen pupils; but it was necessary to
do something to save his word, so he looked about for a scapegoat
and found it in Anne, who had dropped into her seat, gasping for
breath, with a forgotten lily wreath hanging askew over one ear
and giving her a particularly rakish and disheveled appearance.

"Anne Shirley, since you seem to be so fond of the boys' company
we shall indulge your taste for it this afternoon," he said
sarcastically. "Take those flowers out of your hair and sit with
Gilbert Blythe."

The other boys snickered. Diana, turning pale with pity, plucked
the wreath from Anne's hair and squeezed her hand. Anne stared
at the master as if turned to stone.

"Did you hear what I said, Anne?" queried Mr. Phillips sternly.

"Yes, sir," said Anne slowly "but I didn't suppose you really meant it."

"I assure you I did"--still with the sarcastic inflection which all
the children, and Anne especially, hated. It flicked on the raw.
"Obey me at once."

For a moment Anne looked as if she meant to disobey. Then,
realizing that there was no help for it, she rose haughtily,
stepped across the aisle, sat down beside Gilbert Blythe, and
buried her face in her arms on the desk. Ruby Gillis, who got a
glimpse of it as it went down, told the others going home from
school that she'd "acksually never seen anything like it--it was
so white, with awful little red spots in it."

To Anne, this was as the end of all things. It was bad enough to
be singled out for punishment from among a dozen equally guilty
ones; it was worse still to be sent to sit with a boy, but that
that boy should be Gilbert Blythe was heaping insult on injury to
a degree utterly unbearable. Anne felt that she could not bear
it and it would be of no use to try. Her whole being seethed
with shame and anger and humiliation.

At first the other scholars looked and whispered and giggled and
nudged. But as Anne never lifted her head and as Gilbert worked
fractions as if his whole soul was absorbed in them and them only,
they soon returned to their own tasks and Anne was forgotten.
When Mr. Phillips called the history class out Anne should have
gone, but Anne did not move, and Mr. Phillips, who had been
writing some verses "To Priscilla" before he called the class,
was thinking about an obstinate rhyme still and never missed her.
Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little
pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, "You are sweet," and
slipped it under the curve of Anne's arm. Whereupon Anne arose,
took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers,
dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel,
and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert.

When school went out Anne marched to her desk, ostentatiously took
out everything therein, books and writing tablet, pen and ink,
testament and arithmetic, and piled them neatly on her cracked slate.

"What are you taking all those things home for, Anne?" Diana
wanted to know, as soon as they were out on the road. She had
not dared to ask the question before.

"I am not coming back to school any more," said Anne.
Diana gasped and stared at Anne to see if she meant it.

"Will Marilla let you stay home?" she asked.

"She'll have to," said Anne. "I'll NEVER go to school to
that man again."

"Oh, Anne!" Diana looked as if she were ready to cry. "I do
think you're mean. What shall I do? Mr. Phillips will make me
sit with that horrid Gertie Pye--I know he will because she is
sitting alone. Do come back, Anne."

"I'd do almost anything in the world for you, Diana," said Anne sadly.
"I'd let myself be torn limb from limb if it would do you any good.
But I can't do this, so please don't ask it. You harrow up my very soul."

"Just think of all the fun you will miss," mourned Diana. "We
are going to build the loveliest new house down by the brook; and
we'll be playing ball next week and you've never played ball, Anne.
It's tremendously exciting. And we're going to learn a new song--
Jane Andrews is practicing it up now; and Alice Andrews is going
to bring a new Pansy book next week and we're all going to read
it out loud, chapter about, down by the brook. And you know you
are so fond of reading out loud, Anne."

Nothing moved Anne in the least. Her mind was made up. She
would not go to school to Mr. Phillips again; she told Marilla
so when she got home.

"Nonsense," said Marilla.

"It isn't nonsense at all," said Anne, gazing at Marilla with solemn,
reproachful eyes. "Don't you understand, Marilla? I've been insulted."

"Insulted fiddlesticks! You'll go to school tomorrow as usual."

"Oh, no." Anne shook her head gently. "I'm not going back,
Marilla. "I'll learn my lessons at home and I'll be as good as I
can be and hold my tongue all the time if it's possible at all.
But I will not go back to school, I assure you."

Marilla saw something remarkably like unyielding stubbornness
looking out of Anne's small face. She understood that she would
have trouble in overcoming it; but she re-solved wisely to say
nothing more just then. "I'll run down and see Rachel about it
this evening," she thought. "There's no use reasoning with Anne
now. She's too worked up and I've an idea she can be awful stubborn
if she takes the notion. Far as I can make out from her story,
Mr. Phillips has been carrying matters with a rather high hand.
But it would never do to say so to her. I'll just talk it
over with Rachel. She's sent ten children to school and she
ought to know something about it. She'll have heard the whole
story, too, by this time."

Marilla found Mrs. Lynde knitting quilts as industriously and
cheerfully as usual.

"I suppose you know what I've come about," she said, a little
shamefacedly.

Mrs. Rachel nodded.

"About Anne's fuss in school, I reckon," she said. "Tillie
Boulter was in on her way home from school and told me about it."
"I don't know what to do with her," said Marilla. "She declares
she won't go back to school. I never saw a child so worked up.
I've been expecting trouble ever since she started to school.
I knew things were going too smooth to last. She's so high strung.
What would you advise, Rachel?"

"Well, since you've asked my advice, Marilla," said Mrs. Lynde
amiably--Mrs. Lynde dearly loved to be asked for advice--"I'd
just humor her a little at first, that's what I'd do. It's my
belief that Mr. Phillips was in the wrong. Of course, it
doesn't do to say so to the children, you know. And of course he
did right to punish her yesterday for giving way to temper. But
today it was different. The others who were late should have
been punished as well as Anne, that's what. And I don't believe
in making the girls sit with the boys for punishment. It isn't
modest. Tillie Boulter was real indignant. She took Anne's part
right through and said all the scholars did too. Anne seems real
popular among them, somehow. I never thought she'd take with
them so well."

"Then you really think I'd better let her stay home," said
Marilla in amazement.

"Yes. That is I wouldn't say school to her again until she
said it herself. Depend upon it, Marilla, she'll cool off in
a week or so and be ready enough to go back of her own accord,
that's what, while, if you were to make her go back right off,
dear knows what freak or tantrum she'd take next and make more
trouble than ever. The less fuss made the better, in my opinion.
She won't miss much by not going to school, as far as THAT goes.
Mr. Phillips isn't any good at all as a teacher. The order he keeps
is scandalous, that's what, and he neglects the young fry and
puts all his time on those big scholars he's getting ready for
Queen's. He'd never have got the school for another year if his
uncle hadn't been a trustee--THE trustee, for he just leads the
other two around by the nose, that's what. I declare, I don't
know what education in this Island is coming to."

Mrs. Rachel shook her head, as much as to say if she were only
at the head of the educational system of the Province things
would be much better managed.

Marilla took Mrs. Rachel's advice and not another word was said
to Anne about going back to school. She learned her lessons at
home, did her chores, and played with Diana in the chilly purple
autumn twilights; but when she met Gilbert Blythe on the road or
encountered him in Sunday school she passed him by with an icy
contempt that was no whit thawed by his evident desire to appease
her. Even Diana's efforts as a peacemaker were of no avail.
Anne had evidently made up her mind to hate Gilbert Blythe to
the end of life.

As much as she hated Gilbert, however, did she love Diana, with
all the love of her passionate little heart, equally intense in
its likes and dislikes. One evening Marilla, coming in from the
orchard with a basket of apples, found Anne sitting along by the
east window in the twilight, crying bitterly.

"Whatever's the matter now, Anne?" she asked.

"It's about Diana," sobbed Anne luxuriously. "I love Diana so,
Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well
when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave
me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband--I just hate
him furiously. I've been imagining it all out--the wedding and
everything--Diana dressed in snowy garments, with a veil, and
looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the bridesmaid,
with a lovely dress too, and puffed sleeves, but with a breaking
heart hid beneath my smiling face. And then bidding Diana
goodbye-e-e--" Here Anne broke down entirely and wept with
increasing bitterness.

Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face; but it
was no use; she collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into
such a hearty and unusual peal of laughter that Matthew, crossing
the yard outside, halted in amazement. When had he heard Marilla
laugh like that before?

"Well, Anne Shirley," said Marilla as soon as she could speak,
"if you must borrow trouble, for pity's sake borrow it handier
home. I should think you had an imagination, sure enough."

CHAPTER XVI

Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results

OCTOBER was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches
in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind
the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along
the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy
green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.

Anne reveled in the world of color about her.

"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing
in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs" 'I'm so glad I live in
a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we
just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at
these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several
thrills? I'm going to decorate my room with them."

"Messy things," said Marilla, whose aesthetic sense was not
noticeably developed. "You clutter up your room entirely too
much with out-of-doors stuff, Anne. Bedrooms were made to sleep
in."

"Oh, and dream in too, Marilla. And you know one can dream so
much better in a room where there are pretty things. I'm going
to put these boughs in the old blue jug and set them on my
table."

"Mind you don't drop leaves all over the stairs then. I'm going
on a meeting of the Aid Society at Carmody this afternoon, Anne,
and I won't likely be home before dark. You'll have to get
Matthew and Jerry their supper, so mind you don't forget to put
the tea to draw until you sit down at the table as you did last
time."

"It was dreadful of me to forget," said Anne apologetically, "but
that was the afternoon I was trying to think of a name for Violet
Vale and it crowded other things out. Matthew was so good. He
never scolded a bit. He put the tea down himself and said we
could wait awhile as well as not. And I told him a lovely fairy
story while we were waiting, so he didn't find the time long at
all. It was a beautiful fairy story, Marilla. I forgot the end
of it, so I made up an end for it myself and Matthew said he
couldn't tell where the join came in."

"Matthew would think it all right, Anne, if you took a notion to
get up and have dinner in the middle of the night. But you keep
your wits about you this time. And--I don't really know if I'm
doing right--it may make you more addlepated than ever--but you
can ask Diana to come over and spend the afternoon with you and
have tea here."

"Oh, Marilla!" Anne clasped her hands. "How perfectly lovely!
You ARE able to imagine things after all or else you'd never have
understood how I've longed for that very thing. It will seem so
nice and grown-uppish. No fear of my forgetting to put the tea
to draw when I have company. Oh, Marilla, can I use the rosebud
spray tea set?"

"No, indeed! The rosebud tea set! Well, what next? You know I
never use that except for the minister or the Aids. You'll put
down the old brown tea set. But you can open the little yellow
crock of cherry preserves. It's time it was being used anyhow--I
believe it's beginning to work. And you can cut some fruit cake
and have some of the cookies and snaps."

"I can just imagine myself sitting down at the head of the table
and pouring out the tea," said Anne, shutting her eyes
ecstatically. "And asking Diana if she takes sugar! I know she
doesn't but of course I'll ask her just as if I didn't know. And
then pressing her to take another piece of fruit cake and another
helping of preserves. Oh, Marilla, it's a wonderful sensation
just to think of it. Can I take her into the spare room to lay
off her hat when she comes? And then into the parlor to sit?"

"No. The sitting room will do for you and your company. But
there's a bottle half full of raspberry cordial that was left
over from the church social the other night. It's on the second
shelf of the sitting-room closet and you and Diana can have it if
you like, and a cooky to eat with it along in the afternoon, for
I daresay Matthew'll be late coming in to tea since he's hauling
potatoes to the vessel."

Anne flew down to the hollow, past the Dryad's Bubble and up the
spruce path to Orchard Slope, to ask Diana to tea. As a result
just after Marilla had driven off to Carmody, Diana came over,
dressed in HER second-best dress and looking exactly as it is
proper to look when asked out to tea. At other times she was
wont to run into the kitchen without knocking; but now she
knocked primly at the front door. And when Anne, dressed in her
second best, as primly opened it, both little girls shook hands
as gravely as if they had never met before. This unnatural
solemnity lasted until after Diana had been taken to the east
gable to lay off her hat and then had sat for ten minutes in the
sitting room, toes in position.

"How is your mother?" inquired Anne politely, just as if she had
not seen Mrs. Barry picking apples that morning in excellent
health and spirits.

"She is very well, thank you. I suppose Mr. Cuthbert is hauling
potatoes to the LILY SANDS this afternoon, is he?" said Diana,
who had ridden down to Mr. Harmon Andrews's that morning in
Matthew's cart.

"Yes. Our potato crop is very good this year. I hope your
father's crop is good too."

"It is fairly good, thank you. Have you picked many of your
apples yet?"

"Oh, ever so many," said Anne forgetting to be dignified and
jumping up quickly. "Let's go out to the orchard and get some of
the Red Sweetings, Diana. Marilla says we can have all that are
left on the tree. Marilla is a very generous woman. She said we
could have fruit cake and cherry preserves for tea. But it isn't
good manners to tell your company what you are going to give them
to eat, so I won't tell you what she said we could have to drink.
Only it begins with an R and a C and it's bright red color. I
love bright red drinks, don't you? They taste twice as good as
any other color."

The orchard, with its great sweeping boughs that bent to the
ground with fruit, proved so delightful that the little girls
spent most of the afternoon in it, sitting in a grassy corner
where the frost had spared the green and the mellow autumn
sunshine lingered warmly, eating apples and talking as hard as
they could. Diana had much to tell Anne of what went on in
school. She had to sit with Gertie Pye and she hated it; Gertie
squeaked her pencil all the time and it just made
her--Diana's--blood run cold; Ruby Gillis had charmed all her
warts away, true's you live, with a magic pebble that old Mary
Joe from the Creek gave her. You had to rub the warts with the
pebble and then throw it away over your left shoulder at the time
of the new moon and the warts would all go. Charlie Sloane's
name was written up with Em White's on the porch wall and Em
White was AWFUL MAD about it; Sam Boulter had "sassed" Mr.
Phillips in class and Mr. Phillips whipped him and Sam's father
came down to the school and dared Mr. Phillips to lay a hand on
one of his children again; and Mattie Andrews had a new red hood
and a blue crossover with tassels on it and the airs she put on
about it were perfectly sickening; and Lizzie Wright didn't speak
to Mamie Wilson because Mamie Wilson's grown-up sister had cut
out Lizzie Wright's grown-up sister with her beau; and everybody
missed Anne so and wished she's come to school again; and Gilbert
Blythe--

But Anne didn't want to hear about Gilbert Blythe. She jumped up
hurriedly and said suppose they go in and have some raspberry
cordial.

Anne looked on the second shelf of the room pantry but there was
no bottle of raspberry cordial there . Search revealed it away
back on the top shelf. Anne put it on a tray and set it on the
table with a tumbler.

"Now, please help yourself, Diana," she said politely. "I don't
believe I'll have any just now. I don't feel as if I wanted any
after all those apples."

Diana poured herself out a tumblerful, looked at its bright-red
hue admiringly, and then sipped it daintily.

"That's awfully nice raspberry cordial, Anne," she said. "I
didn't know raspberry cordial was so nice."

"I'm real glad you like it. Take as much as you want. I'm going
to run out and stir the fire up. There are so many
responsibilities on a person's mind when they're keeping house,
isn't there?"

When Anne came back from the kitchen Diana was drinking her
second glassful of cordial; and, being entreated thereto by Anne,
she offered no particular objection to the drinking of a third.
The tumblerfuls were generous ones and the raspberry cordial was
certainly very nice.

"The nicest I ever drank," said Diana. "It's ever so much nicer
than Mrs. Lynde's, although she brags of hers so much. It
doesn't taste a bit like hers."

"I should think Marilla's raspberry cordial would prob'ly be much
nicer than Mrs. Lynde's," said Anne loyally. "Marilla is a
famous cook. She is trying to teach me to cook but I assure you,
Diana, it is uphill work. There's so little scope for
imagination in cookery. You just have to go by rules. The last
time I made a cake I forgot to put the flour in. I was thinking
the loveliest story about you and me, Diana. I thought you were
desperately ill with smallpox and everybody deserted you, but I
went boldly to your bedside and nursed you back to life; and then
I took the smallpox and died and I was buried under those poplar
trees in the graveyard and you planted a rosebush by my grave and
watered it with your tears; and you never, never forgot the
friend of your youth who sacrificed her life for you. Oh, it was
such a pathetic tale, Diana. The tears just rained down over my
cheeks while I mixed the cake. But I forgot the flour and the
cake was a dismal failure. Flour is so essential to cakes, you
know. Marilla was very cross and I don't wonder. I'm a great
trial to her. She was terribly mortified about the pudding sauce
last week. We had a plum pudding for dinner on Tuesday and there
was half the pudding and a pitcherful of sauce left over.
Marilla said there was enough for another dinner and told me to
set it on the pantry shelf and cover it. I meant to cover it
just as much as could be, Diana, but when I carried it in I was
imagining I was a nun--of course I'm a Protestant but I imagined
I was a Catholic--taking the veil to bury a broken heart in
cloistered seclusion; and I forgot all about covering the pudding
sauce. I thought of it next morning and ran to the pantry.
Diana, fancy if you can my extreme horror at finding a mouse
drowned in that pudding sauce! I lifted the mouse out with a
spoon and threw it out in the yard and then I washed the spoon in
three waters. Marilla was out milking and I fully intended to
ask her when she came in if I'd give the sauce to the pigs; but
when she did come in I was imagining that I was a frost fairy
going through the woods turning the trees red and yellow,
whichever they wanted to be, so I never thought about the
pudding sauce again and Marilla sent me out to pick apples.
Well, Mr. and Mrs. Chester Ross from Spencervale came here that
morning. You know they are very stylish people, especially Mrs.
Chester Ross. When Marilla called me in dinner was all ready and
everybody was at the table. I tried to be as polite and
dignified as I could be, for I wanted Mrs. Chester Ross to think
I was a ladylike little girl even if I wasn't pretty. Everything
went right until I saw Marilla coming with the plum pudding in
one hand and the pitcher of pudding sauce WARMED UP, in the other.
Diana, that was a terrible moment. I remembered everything and I
just stood up in my place and shrieked out `Marilla, you mustn't
use that pudding sauce. There was a mouse drowned in it. I
forgot to tell you before.' Oh, Diana, I shall never forget that
awful moment if I live to be a hundred. Mrs. Chester Ross just
LOOKED at me and I thought I would sink through the floor with
mortification. She is such a perfect housekeeper and fancy what
she must have thought of us. Marilla turned red as fire but she
never said a word--then. She just carried that sauce and
pudding out and brought in some strawberry preserves. She even
offered me some, but I couldn't swallow a mouthful. It was like
heaping coals of fire on my head. After Mrs. Chester Ross went
away, Marilla gave me a dreadful scolding. Why, Diana, what is
the matter?"

Diana had stood up very unsteadily; then she sat down again,
putting her hands to her head.

"I'm--I'm awful sick," she said, a little thickly. "I--I--must go
right home."

"Oh, you mustn't dream of going home without your tea," cried
Anne in distress. "I'll get it right off--I'll go and put the
tea down this very minute."

"I must go home," repeated Diana, stupidly but determinedly.

"Let me get you a lunch anyhow," implored Anne. "Let me give you
a bit of fruit cake and some of the cherry preserves. Lie down
on the sofa for a little while and you'll be better. Where do
you feel bad?"

"I must go home," said Diana, and that was all she would say. In
vain Anne pleaded.

"I never heard of company going home without tea," she mourned.
"Oh, Diana, do you suppose that it's possible you're really
taking the smallpox? If you are I'll go and nurse you, you can
depend on that. I'll never forsake you. But I do wish you'd
stay till after tea. Where do you feel bad?"

"I'm awful dizzy," said Diana.

And indeed, she walked very dizzily. Anne, with tears of
disappointment in her eyes, got Diana's hat and went with her as
far as the Barry yard fence. Then she wept all the way back to
Green Gables, where she sorrowfully put the remainder of the
raspberry cordial back into the pantry and got tea ready for
Matthew and Jerry, with all the zest gone out of the performance.

The next day was Sunday and as the rain poured down in torrents
from dawn till dusk Anne did not stir abroad from Green Gables.
Monday afternoon Marilla sent her down to Mrs. Lynde's on an
errand. In a very short space of time Anne came flying back up
the lane with tears rolling down her cheeks. Into the kitchen
she dashed and flung herself face downward on the sofa in an
agony.

"Whatever has gone wrong now, Anne?" queried Marilla in doubt and
dismay. "I do hope you haven't gone and been saucy to Mrs. Lynde
again."

No answer from Anne save more tears and stormier sobs!

"Anne Shirley, when I ask you a question I want to be answered.
Sit right up this very minute and tell me what you are crying
about."

Anne sat up, tragedy personified.

"Mrs. Lynde was up to see Mrs. Barry today and Mrs. Barry was in
an awful state," she wailed. "She says that I set Diana DRUNK
Saturday and sent her home in a disgraceful condition. And she
says I must be a thoroughly bad, wicked little girl and she's
never, never going to let Diana play with me again. Oh, Marilla,
I'm just overcome with woe."

Marilla stared in blank amazement.

"Set Diana drunk!" she said when she found her voice. "Anne are
you or Mrs. Barry crazy? What on earth did you give her?"

"Not a thing but raspberry cordial," sobbed Anne. "I never
thought raspberry cordial would set people drunk, Marilla--not
even if they drank three big tumblerfuls as Diana did. Oh, it
sounds so--so--like Mrs. Thomas's husband! But I didn't mean to
set her drunk."

"Drunk fiddlesticks!" said Marilla, marching to the sitting room
pantry. There on the shelf was a bottle which she at once
recognized as one containing some of her three-year-old homemade
currant wine for which she was celebrated in Avonlea, although
certain of the stricter sort, Mrs. Barry among them, disapproved
strongly of it. And at the same time Marilla recollected that
she had put the bottle of raspberry cordial down in the cellar
instead of in the pantry as she had told Anne.

She went back to the kitchen with the wine bottle in her hand.
Her face was twitching in spite of herself.

"Anne, you certainly have a genius for getting into trouble. You
went and gave Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial.
Didn't you know the difference yourself?"

"I never tasted it," said Anne. "I thought it was the cordial.
I meant to be so--so--hospitable. Diana got awfully sick and had
to go home. Mrs. Barry told Mrs. Lynde she was simply dead
drunk. She just laughed silly-like when her mother asked her
what was the matter and went to sleep and slept for hours. Her
mother smelled her breath and knew she was drunk. She had a
fearful headache all day yesterday. Mrs. Barry is so indignant.
She will never believe but what I did it on purpose."

"I should think she would better punish Diana for being so greedy
as to drink three glassfuls of anything," said Marilla shortly.
"Why, three of those big glasses would have made her sick even if
it had only been cordial. Well, this story will be a nice handle
for those folks who are so down on me for making currant wine,
although I haven't made any for three years ever since I found
out that the minister didn't approve. I just kept that bottle
for sickness. There, there, child, don't cry. I can't see as
you were to blame although I'm sorry it happened so."

"I must cry," said Anne. "My heart is broken. The stars in their
courses fight against me, Marilla. Diana and I are parted forever.
Oh, Marilla, I little dreamed of this when first we swore our vows
of friendship."

"Don't be foolish, Anne. Mrs. Barry will think better of it
when she finds you're not to blame. I suppose she thinks you've
done it for a silly joke or something of that sort. You'd best
go up this evening and tell her how it was."

"My courage fails me at the thought of facing Diana's injured
mother," sighed Anne. "I wish you'd go, Marilla. You're so much
more dignified than I am. Likely she'd listen to you quicker
than to me."

"Well, I will," said Marilla, reflecting that it would probably
be the wiser course. "Don't cry any more, Anne. It will be all
right."

Marilla had changed her mind about it being all right by the time
she got back from Orchard Slope. Anne was watching for her
coming and flew to the porch door to meet her.

"Oh, Marilla, I know by your face that it's been no use," she
said sorrowfully. "Mrs. Barry won't forgive me?"

"Mrs. Barry indeed!" snapped Marilla. "Of all the unreasonable
women I ever saw she's the worst. I told her it was all a
mistake and you weren't to blame, but she just simply didn't
believe me. And she rubbed it well in about my currant wine and
how I'd always said it couldn't have the least effect on anybody.
I just told her plainly that currant wine wasn't meant to be
drunk three tumblerfuls at a time and that if a child I had to do
with was so greedy I'd sober her up with a right good spanking."

Marilla whisked into the kitchen, grievously disturbed, leaving a
very much distracted little soul in the porch behind her.
Presently Anne stepped out bareheaded into the chill autumn dusk;
very determinedly and steadily she took her way down through the
sere clover field over the log bridge and up through the spruce
grove, lighted by a pale little moon hanging low over the western
woods. Mrs. Barry, coming to the door in answer to a timid
knock, found a white-lipped eager-eyed suppliant on the doorstep.

Her face hardened. Mrs. Barry was a woman of strong prejudices
and dislikes, and her anger was of the cold, sullen sort which is
always hardest to overcome. To do her justice, she really
believed Anne had made Diana drunk out of sheer malice prepense,???
and she was honestly anxious to preserve her little daughter from
the contamination of further intimacy with such a child.

"What do you want?" she said stiffly.

Anne clasped her hands.

"Oh, Mrs. Barry, please forgive me. I did not mean
to--to--intoxicate Diana. How could I? Just imagine if you were
a poor little orphan girl that kind people had adopted and you
had just one bosom friend in all the world. Do you think you
would intoxicate her on purpose? I thought it was only raspberry
cordial. I was firmly convinced it was raspberry cordial. Oh,
please don't say that you won't let Diana play with me any more.
If you do you will cover my life with a dark cloud of woe."

This speech which would have softened good Mrs. Lynde's heart in
a twinkling, had no effect on Mrs. Barry except to irritate her
still more. She was suspicious of Anne's big words and dramatic
gestures and imagined that the child was making fun of her. So
she said, coldly and cruelly:

"I don't think you are a fit little girl for Diana to associate
with. You'd better go home and behave yourself."

Anne's lips quivered.

"Won't you let me see Diana just once to say farewell?" she
implored.

"Diana has gone over to Carmody with her father," said Mrs.
Barry, going in and shutting the door.

Anne went back to Green Gables calm with despair.

"My last hope is gone," she told Marilla. "I went up and saw
Mrs. Barry myself and she treated me very insultingly. Marilla,
I do NOT think she is a well-bred woman. There is nothing more
to do except to pray and I haven't much hope that that'll do much
good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do
very much with such an obstinate person as Mrs. Barry."

"Anne, you shouldn't say such things" rebuked Marilla, striving
to overcome that unholy tendency to laughter which she was
dismayed to find growing upon her. And indeed, when she told the
whole story to Matthew that night, she did laugh heartily over
Anne's tribulations.

But when she slipped into the east gable before going to bed and
found that Anne had cried herself to sleep an unaccustomed
softness crept into her face.

"Poor little soul," she murmured, lifting a loose curl of hair
from the child's tear-stained face. Then she bent down and
kissed the flushed cheek on the pillow.

CHAPTER XVII
A New Interest in Life

THE next afternoon Anne, bending over her patchwork at the
kitchen window, happened to glance out and beheld Diana down by
the Dryad's Bubble beckoning mysteriously. In a trice Anne was
out of the house and flying down to the hollow, astonishment and
hope struggling in her expressive eyes. But the hope faded when
she saw Diana's dejected countenance.

"Your mother hasn't relented?" she gasped.

Diana shook her head mournfully.

"No; and oh, Anne, she says I'm never to play with you again.
I've cried and cried and I told her it wasn't your fault, but it
wasn't any use. I had ever such a time coaxing her to let me
come down and say good-bye to you. She said I was only to stay
ten minutes and she's timing me by the clock."

"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell in," said
Anne tearfully. "Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to
forget me, the friend of your youth, no matter what dearer
friends may caress thee?"

"Indeed I will," sobbed Diana, "and I'll never have another bosom
friend--I don't want to have. I couldn't love anybody as I love
you."

"Oh, Diana," cried Anne, clasping her hands, "do you LOVE me?"

"Why, of course I do. Didn't you know that?"

"No." Anne drew a long breath. "I thought you LIKED me of course
but I never hoped you LOVED me. Why, Diana, I didn't think
anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can
remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It's a ray of light which will
forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana.
Oh, just say it once again."

"I love you devotedly, Anne," said Diana stanchly, "and I always
will, you may be sure of that."

"And I will always love thee, Diana," said Anne, solemnly
extending her hand. "In the years to come thy memory will shine
like a star over my lonely life, as that last story we read
together says. Diana, wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet-black
tresses in parting to treasure forevermore?"

"Have you got anything to cut it with?" queried Diana, wiping
away the tears which Anne's affecting accents had caused to flow
afresh, and returning to practicalities.

"Yes. I've got my patchwork scissors in my apron pocket
fortunately," said Anne. She solemnly clipped one of Diana's
curls. "Fare thee well, my beloved friend. Henceforth we must
be as strangers though living side by side. But my heart will
ever be faithful to thee."

Anne stood and watched Diana out of sight, mournfully waving her
hand to the latter whenever she turned to look back. Then she
returned to the house, not a little consoled for the time being
by this romantic parting.

"It is all over," she informed Marilla. "I shall never have
another friend. I'm really worse off than ever before, for I
haven't Katie Maurice and Violetta now. And even if I had it
wouldn't be the same. Somehow, little dream girls are not
satisfying after a real friend. Diana and I had such an
affecting farewell down by the spring. It will be sacred in my
memory forever. I used the most pathetic language I could think
of and said `thou' and `thee.' `Thou' and `thee' seem so much
more romantic than `you.' Diana gave me a lock of her hair and
I'm going to sew it up in a little bag and wear it around my neck
all my life. Please see that it is buried with me, for I don't
believe I'll live very long. Perhaps when she sees me lying cold
and dead before her Mrs. Barry may feel remorse for what she has
done and will let Diana come to my funeral."

"I don't think there is much fear of your dying of grief as long
as you can talk, Anne," said Marilla unsympathetically.

The following Monday Anne surprised Marilla by coming down from
her room with her basket of books on her arm and hip??? lips primmed
up into a line of determination.

"I'm going back to school," she announced. "That is all there is
left in life for me, now that my friend has been ruthlessly torn
from me. In school I can look at her and muse over days
departed."

"You'd better muse over your lessons and sums," said Marilla,
concealing her delight at this development of the situation. "If
you're going back to school I hope we'll hear no more of breaking
slates over people's heads and such carryings on. Behave
yourself and do just what your teacher tells you."

"I'll try to be a model pupil," agreed Anne dolefully. "There
won't be much fun in it, I expect. Mr. Phillips said Minnie
Andrews was a model pupil and there isn't a spark of imagination
or life in her. She is just dull and poky and never seems to
have a good time. But I feel so depressed that perhaps it will
come easy to me now. I'm going round by the road. I couldn't
bear to go by the Birch Path all alone. I should weep bitter
tears if I did."

Anne was welcomed back to school with open arms. Her imagination
had been sorely missed in games, her voice in the singing and her
dramatic ability in the perusal aloud of books at dinner hour.
Ruby Gillis smuggled three blue plums over to her during
testament reading; Ella May MacPherson gave her an enormous
yellow pansy cut from the covers of a floral catalogue--a species
of desk decoration much prized in Avonlea school. Sophia Sloane
offered to teach her a perfectly elegant new pattern of knit
lace, so nice for trimming aprons. Katie Boulter gave her a
perfume bottle to keep slate water in, and Julia Bell copied
carefully on a piece of pale pink paper scalloped on the edges
the following effusion:

When twilight drops her curtain down
And pins it with a star
Remember that you have a friend
Though she may wander far.

"It's so nice to be appreciated," sighed Anne rapturously to
Marilla that night.

The girls were not the only scholars who "appreciated" her. When
Anne went to her seat after dinner hour--she had been told by Mr.
Phillips to sit with the model Minnie Andrews--she found on her
desk a big luscious "strawberry apple." Anne caught it up all
ready to take a bite when she remembered that the only place in
Avonlea where strawberry apples grew was in the old Blythe
orchard on the other side of the Lake of Shining Waters. Anne
dropped the apple as if it were a red-hot coal and ostentatiously
wiped her fingers on her handkerchief. The apple lay untouched
on her desk until the next morning, when little Timothy Andrews,
who swept the school and kindled the fire, annexed it as one of
his perquisites. Charlie Sloane's slate pencil, gorgeously
bedizened with striped red and yellow paper, costing two cents
where ordinary pencils cost only one, which he sent up to her
after dinner hour, met with a more favorable reception. Anne was
graciously pleased to accept it and rewarded the donor with a
smile which exalted that infatuated youth straightway into the
seventh heaven of delight and caused him to make such fearful
errors in his dictation that Mr. Phillips kept him in after
school to rewrite it.

But as,

The Caesar's pageant shorn of Brutus' bust
Did but of Rome's best son remind her more.

so the marked absence of any tribute or recognition from Diana
Barry who was sitting with Gertie Pye embittered Anne's little
triumph.

"Diana might just have smiled at me once, I think," she mourned
to Marilla that night. But the next morning a note most
fearfully and wonderfully twisted and folded, and a small parcel
were passed across to Anne.

Dear Anne (ran the former)

Mother says I'm not to play with you or talk to you even in
school. It isn't my fault and don't be cross at me, because I
love you as much as ever. I miss you awfully to tell all my
secrets to and I don't like Gertie Pye one bit. I made you one
of the new bookmarkers out of red tissue paper. They are awfully
fashionable now and only three girls in school know how to make
them. When you look at it remember
Your true friend
Diana Barry.

Anne read the note, kissed the bookmark, and dispatched a prompt
reply back to the other side of the school.

My own darling Diana:--

Of course I am not cross at you because you have to obey your
mother. Our spirits can commune. I shall keep your lovely
present forever. Minnie Andrews is a very nice little
girl--although she has no imagination--but after having been
Diana's busum friend I cannot be Minnie's. Please excuse
mistakes because my spelling isn't very good yet, although much
improoved.
Yours until death us do part
Anne or Cordelia Shirley.

P.S. I shall sleep with your letter under my pillow tonight.
A. OR C.S.

Marilla pessimistically expected more trouble since Anne had
again begun to go to school. But none developed. Perhaps Anne
caught something of the "model" spirit from Minnie Andrews; at
least she got on very well with Mr. Phillips thenceforth. She
flung herself into her studies heart and soul, determined not to
be outdone in any class by Gilbert Blythe. The rivalry between
them was soon apparent; it was entirely good natured on Gilbert's
side; but it is much to be feared that the same thing cannot be
said of Anne, who had certainly an unpraiseworthy tenacity for
holding grudges. She was as intense in her hatreds as in her
loves. She would not stoop to admit that she meant to rival
Gilbert in schoolwork, because that would have been to
acknowledge his existence which Anne persistently ignored; but
the rivalry was there and honors fluctuated between them. Now
Gilbert was head of the spelling class; now Anne, with a toss of
her long red braids, spelled him down. One morning Gilbert had
all his sums done correctly and had his name written on the
blackboard on the roll of honor; the next morning Anne, having
wrestled wildly with decimals the entire evening before, would be
first. One awful day they were ties and their names were written
up together. It was almost as bad as a take-notice and Anne's
mortification was as evident as Gilbert's satisfaction. When the
written examinations at the end of each month were held the
suspense was terrible. The first month Gilbert came out three
marks ahead. The second Anne beat him by five. But her triumph
was marred by the fact that Gilbert congratulated her heartily
before the whole school. It would have been ever so much sweeter
to her if he had felt the sting of his defeat.

Mr. Phillips might not be a very good teacher; but a pupil so
inflexibly determined on learning as Anne was could hardly escape
making progress under any kind of teacher. By the end of the
term Anne and Gilbert were both promoted into the fifth class and
allowed to begin studying the elements of "the branches"--by
which Latin, geometry, French, and algebra were meant. In
geometry Anne met her Waterloo.

"It's perfectly awful stuff, Marilla," she groaned. "I'm sure
I'll never be able to make head or tail of it. There is no scope
for imagination in it at all. Mr. Phillips says I'm the worst
dunce he ever saw at it. And Gil--I mean some of the others are
so smart at it. It is extremely mortifying, Marilla.

Even Diana gets along better than I do. But I don't mind being
beaten by Diana. Even although we meet as strangers now I still
love her with an INEXTINGUISHABLE love. It makes me very sad at
times to think about her. But really, Marilla, one can't stay
sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?"

CHAPTER XVIII
Anne to the Rescue

ALL things great are wound up with all things little. At first
glance it might not seem that the decision of a certain Canadian
Premier to include Prince Edward Island in a political tour could
have much or anything to do with the fortunes of little Anne
Shirley at Green Gables. But it had.

It was a January the Premier came, to address his loyal
supporters and such of his nonsupporters as chose to be present
at the monster mass meeting held in Charlottetown. Most of the
Avonlea people were on Premier's side of politics; hence on the
night of the meeting nearly all the men and a goodly proportion
of the women had gone to town thirty miles away. Mrs. Rachel
Lynde had gone too. Mrs. Rachel Lynde was a red-hot politician
and couldn't have believed that the political rally could be
carried through without her, although she was on the opposite
side of politics. So she went to town and took her
husband--Thomas would be useful in looking after the horse--and
Marilla Cuthbert with her. Marilla had a sneaking interest in
politics herself, and as she thought it might be her only chance
to see a real live Premier, she promptly took it, leaving Anne
and Matthew to keep house until her return the following day.

Hence, while Marilla and Mrs. Rachel were enjoying themselves
hugely at the mass meeting, Anne and Matthew had the cheerful
kitchen at Green Gables all to themselves. A bright fire was
glowing in the old-fashioned Waterloo stove and blue-white frost
crystals were shining on the windowpanes. Matthew nodded over a
FARMERS' ADVOCATE on the sofa and Anne at the table studied her
lessons with grim determination, despite sundry wistful glances
at the clock shelf, where lay a new book that Jane Andrews had
lent her that day. Jane had assured her that it was warranted to
produce any number of thrills, or words to that effect, and
Anne's fingers tingled to reach out for it. But that would mean
Gilbert Blythe's triumph on the morrow. Anne turned her back on
the clock shelf and tried to imagine it wasn't there.

"Matthew, did you ever study geometry when you went to school?"

"Well now, no, I didn't," said Matthew, coming out of his doze
with a start.

"I wish you had," sighed Anne, "because then you'd be able to
sympathize with me. You can't sympathize properly if you've
never studied it. It is casting a cloud over my whole life. I'm
such a dunce at it, Matthew."

"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew soothingly. "I guess you're
all right at anything. Mr. Phillips told me last week in
Blair's store at Carmody that you was the smartest scholar in
school and was making rapid progress. `Rapid progress' was his
very words. There's them as runs down Teddy Phillips and says he
ain't much of a teacher, but I guess he's all right."

Matthew would have thought anyone who praised Anne was "all
right."

"I'm sure I'd get on better with geometry if only he wouldn't
change the letters," complained Anne. "I learn the proposition
off by heart and then he draws it on the blackboard and puts
different letters from what are in the book and I get all mixed
up. I don't think a teacher should take such a mean advantage,
do you? We're studying agriculture now and I've found out at
last what makes the roads red. It's a great comfort. I wonder
how Marilla and Mrs. Lynde are enjoying themselves. Mrs. Lynde
says Canada is going to the dogs the way things are being run at
Ottawa and that it's an awful warning to the electors. She says
if women were allowed to vote we would soon see a blessed change.
What way do you vote, Matthew?"

"Conservative," said Matthew promptly. To vote Conservative was
part of Matthew's religion.

"Then I'm Conservative too," said Anne decidedly. "I'm glad
because Gil--because some of the boys in school are Grits. I
guess Mr. Phillips is a Grit too because Prissy Andrews's father
is one, and Ruby Gillis says that when a man is courting he
always has to agree with the girl's mother in religion and her
father in politics. Is that true, Matthew?"

"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.

"Did you ever go courting, Matthew?"

"Well now, no, I dunno's I ever did," said Matthew, who had
certainly never thought of such a thing in his whole existence.

Anne reflected with her chin in her hands.

"It must be rather interesting, don't you think, Matthew? Ruby
Gillis says when she grows up she's going to have ever so many
beaus on the string and have them all crazy about her; but I
think that would be too exciting. I'd rather have just one in
his right mind. But Ruby Gillis knows a great deal about such
matters because she has so many big sisters, and Mrs. Lynde says
the Gillis girls have gone off like hot cakes. Mr. Phillips
goes up to see Prissy Andrews nearly every evening. He says it
is to help her with her lessons but Miranda Sloane is studying
for Queen's too, and I should think she needed help a lot more
than Prissy because she's ever so much stupider, but he never
goes to help her in the evenings at all. There are a great many
things in this world that I can't understand very well, Matthew."

"Well now, I dunno as I comprehend them all myself," acknowledged Matthew.

"Well, I suppose I must finish up my lessons. I won't allow
myself to open that new book Jane lent me until I'm through. But
it's a terrible temptation, Matthew. Even when I turn my back on
it I can see it there just as plain. Jane said she cried herself
sick over it. I love a book that makes me cry. But I think I'll
carry that book into the sitting room and lock it in the jam
closet and give you the key. And you must NOT give it to me,
Matthew, until my lessons are done, not even if I implore you on
my bended knees. It's all very well to say resist temptation,
but it's ever so much easier to resist it if you can't get the
key. And then shall I run down the cellar and get some russets,
Matthew? Wouldn't you like some russets?"

"Well now, I dunno but what I would," said Matthew, who never ate
russets but knew Anne's weakness for them.

Just as Anne emerged triumphantly from the cellar with her
plateful of russets came the sound of flying footsteps on the icy
board walk outside and the next moment the kitchen door was flung
open and in rushed Diana Barry, white faced and breathless, with
a shawl wrapped hastily around her head. Anne promptly let go of
her candle and plate in her surprise, and plate, candle, and
apples crashed together down the cellar ladder and were found at
the bottom embedded in melted grease, the next day, by Marilla,
who gathered them up and thanked mercy the house hadn't been set
on fire.

"Whatever is the matter, Diana?" cried Anne. "Has your mother
relented at last?"

"Oh, Anne, do come quick," implored Diana nervously. "Minnie May
is awful sick--she's got croup. Young Mary Joe says--and Father
and Mother are away to town and there's nobody to go for the
doctor. Minnie May is awful bad and Young Mary Joe doesn't know
what to do--and oh, Anne, I'm so scared!"

Matthew, without a word, reached out for cap and coat, slipped
past Diana and away into the darkness of the yard.

"He's gone to harness the sorrel mare to go to Carmody for the
doctor," said Anne, who was hurrying on hood and jacket. "I know
it as well as if he'd said so. Matthew and I are such kindred
spirits I can read his thoughts without words at all."

"I don't believe he'll find the doctor at Carmody," sobbed Diana.
"I know that Dr. Blair went to town and I guess Dr. Spencer
would go too. Young Mary Joe never saw anybody with croup and
Mrs. Lynde is away. Oh, Anne!"

"Don't cry, Di," said Anne cheerily. "I know exactly what to do
for croup. You forget that Mrs. Hammond had twins three times.
When you look after three pairs of twins you naturally get a lot
of experience. They all had croup regularly. Just wait till I
get the ipecac bottle--you mayn't have any at your house. Come
on now."

The two little girls hastened out hand in hand and hurried
through Lover's Lane and across the crusted field beyond, for the
snow was too deep to go by the shorter wood way. Anne, although
sincerely sorry for Minnie May, was far from being insensible to
the romance of the situation and to the sweetness of once more
sharing that romance with a kindred spirit.

The night was clear and frosty, all ebony of shadow and silver of
snowy slope; big stars were shining over the silent fields; here
and there the dark pointed firs stood up with snow powdering
their branches and the wind whistling through them. Anne thought
it was truly delightful to go skimming through all this mystery
and loveliness with your bosom friend who had been so long
estranged.

Minnie May, aged three, was really very sick. She lay on the
kitchen sofa feverish and restless, while her hoarse breathing
could be heard all over the house. Young Mary Joe, a buxom,
broad-faced French girl from the creek, whom Mrs. Barry had
engaged to stay with the children during her absence, was
helpless and bewildered, quite incapable of thinking what to do,
or doing it if she thought of it.

Anne went to work with skill and promptness.

"Minnie May has croup all right; she's pretty bad, but I've seen
them worse. First we must have lots of hot water. I declare,
Diana, there isn't more than a cupful in the kettle! There, I've
filled it up, and, Mary Joe, you may put some wood in the stove.
I don't want to hurt your feelings but it seems to me you might
have thought of this before if you'd any imagination. Now, I'll
undress Minnie May and put her to bed and you try to find some
soft flannel cloths, Diana. I'm going to give her a dose of
ipecac first of all."

Minnie May did not take kindly to the ipecac but Anne had not
brought up three pairs of twins for nothing. Down that ipecac
went, not only once, but many times during the long, anxious
night when the two little girls worked patiently over the
suffering Minnie May, and Young Mary Joe, honestly anxious to do
all she could, kept up a roaring fire and heated more water than
would have been needed for a hospital of croupy babies.

It was three o'clock when Matthew came with a doctor, for he had
been obliged to go all the way to Spencervale for one. But the
pressing need for assistance was past. Minnie May was much
better and was sleeping soundly.

"I was awfully near giving up in despair," explained Anne. "She
got worse and worse until she was sicker than ever the Hammond
twins were, even the last pair. I actually thought she was going
to choke to death. I gave her every drop of ipecac in that
bottle and when the last dose went down I said to myself--not to
Diana or Young Mary Joe, because I didn't want to worry them any
more than they were worried, but I had to say it to myself just
to relieve my feelings--`This is the last lingering hope and I
fear, tis a vain one.' But in about three minutes she coughed up
the phlegm and began to get better right away. You must just
imagine my relief, doctor, because I can't express it in words.
You know there are some things that cannot be expressed in words."

"Yes, I know," nodded the doctor. He looked at Anne as if he
were thinking some things about her that couldn't be expressed in
words. Later on, however, he expressed them to Mr. and Mrs. Barry.

"That little redheaded girl they have over at Cuthbert's is as
smart as they make 'em. I tell you she saved that baby's life,
for it would have been too late by the time I got there. She
seems to have a skill and presence of mind perfectly wonderful in
a child of her age. I never saw anything like the eyes of her
when she was explaining the case to me."

Anne had gone home in the wonderful, white-frosted winter
morning, heavy eyed from loss of sleep, but still talking
unweariedly to Matthew as they crossed the long white field and
walked under the glittering fairy arch of the Lover's Lane
maples.

"Oh, Matthew, isn't it a wonderful morning? The world looks like
something God had just imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it?
Those trees look as if I could blow them away with a
breath--pouf! I'm so glad I live in a world where there are white
frosts, aren't you? And I'm so glad Mrs. Hammond had three pairs
of twins after all. If she hadn't I mightn't have known what to
do for Minnie May. I'm real sorry I was ever cross with Mrs.
Hammond for having twins. But, oh, Matthew, I'm so sleepy. I
can't go to school. I just know I couldn't keep my eyes open and
I'd be so stupid. But l hate to stay home, for Gil--some of the
others will get head of the class, and it's so hard to get up
again--although of course the harder it is the more satisfaction
you have when you do get up, haven't you?"

"Well now, I guess you'll manage all right," said Matthew,
looking at Anne's white little face and the dark shadows under
her eyes. "You just go right to bed and have a good sleep. I'll
do all the chores."

Anne accordingly went to bed and slept so long and soundly that
it was well on in the white and rosy winter afternoon when she
awoke and descended to the kitchen where Marilla, who had arrived
home in the meantime, was sitting knitting.

"Oh, did you see the Premier?" exclaimed Anne at once. "What did
he look like Marilla?"

"Well, he never got to be Premier on account of his looks," said
Marilla. "Such a nose as that man had! But he can speak. I was
proud of being a Conservative. Rachel Lynde, of course, being a
Liberal, had no use for him. Your dinner is in the oven, Anne,
and you can get yourself some blue plum preserve out of the
pantry. I guess you're hungry. Matthew has been telling me
about last night. I must say it was fortunate you knew what to
do. I wouldn't have had any idea myself, for I never saw a case
of croup. There now, never mind talking till you've had your
dinner. I can tell by the look of you that you're just full
up with speeches, but they'll keep."

Marilla had something to tell Anne, but she did not tell it just
then for she knew if she did Anne's consequent excitement would
lift her clear out of the region of such material matters as
appetite or dinner. Not until Anne had finished her saucer of
blue plums did Marilla say:

"Mrs. Barry was here this afternoon, Anne. She wanted to see
you, but I wouldn't wake you up. She says you saved Minnie May's
life, and she is very sorry she acted as she did in that affair
of the currant wine. She says she knows now you didn't mean to
set Diana drunk, and she hopes you'll forgive her and be good
friends with Diana again. You're to go over this evening if you
like for Diana can't stir outside the door on account of a bad
cold she caught last night. Now, Anne Shirley, for pity's sake
don't fly up into the air."

The warning seemed not unnecessary, so uplifted and aerial was
Anne's expression and attitude as she sprang to her feet, her
face irradiated with the flame of her spirit.

"Oh, Marilla, can I go right now--without washing my dishes?
I'll wash them when I come back, but I cannot tie myself down to
anything so unromantic as dishwashing at this thrilling moment."

"Yes, yes, run along," said Marilla indulgently. "Anne
Shirley--are you crazy? Come back this instant and put something
on you. I might as well call to the wind. She's gone without a
cap or wrap. Look at her tearing through the orchard with her
hair streaming. It'll be a mercy if she doesn't catch her death
of cold."

Anne came dancing home in the purple winter twilight across the
snowy places. Afar in the southwest was the great shimmering,
pearl-like sparkle of an evening star in a sky that was pale
golden and ethereal rose over gleaming white spaces and dark
glens of spruce. The tinkles of sleigh bells among the snowy
hills came like elfin chimes through the frosty air, but their
music was not sweeter than the song in Anne's heart and on her
lips.

"You see before you a perfectly happy person, Marilla," she
announced. "I'm perfectly happy--yes, in spite of my red hair.
Just at present I have a soul above red hair. Mrs. Barry kissed
me and cried and said she was so sorry and she could never repay
me. I felt fearfully embarrassed, Marilla, but I just said as
politely as I could, `I have no hard feelings for you, Mrs.
Barry. I assure you once for all that I did not mean to
intoxicate Diana and henceforth I shall cover the past with the
mantle of oblivion.' That was a pretty dignified way of speaking
wasn't it, Marilla?

I felt that I was heaping coals of fire on Mrs. Barry's head.
And Diana and I had a lovely afternoon. Diana showed me a new
fancy crochet stitch her aunt over at Carmody taught her. Not a
soul in Avonlea knows it but us, and we pledged a solemn vow
never to reveal it to anyone else. Diana gave me a beautiful
card with a wreath of roses on it and a verse of poetry:

"If you love me as I love you
Nothing but death can part us two.

And that is true, Marilla. We're going to ask Mr. Phillips to
let us sit together in school again, and Gertie Pye can go with
Minnie Andrews. We had an elegant tea. Mrs. Barry had the very
best china set out, Marilla, just as if I was real company. I
can't tell you what a thrill it gave me. Nobody ever used their
very best china on my account before. And we had fruit cake and
pound cake and doughnuts and two kinds of preserves, Marilla.
And Mrs. Barry asked me if I took tea and said `Pa, why don't
you pass the biscuits to Anne?' It must be lovely to be grown up,
Marilla, when just being treated as if you were is so nice."

"I don't know about that," said Marilla, with a brief sigh.

"Well, anyway, when I am grown up," said Anne decidedly, "I'm
always going to talk to little girls as if they were too, and
I'll never laugh when they use big words. I know from sorrowful
experience how that hurts one's feelings. After tea Diana and I
made taffy. The taffy wasn't very good, I suppose because
neither Diana nor I had ever made any before. Diana left me to
stir it while she buttered the plates and I forgot and let it
burn; and then when we set it out on the platform to cool the cat
walked over one plate and that had to be thrown away. But the
making of it was splendid fun. Then when I came home Mrs. Barry
asked me to come over as often as I could and Diana stood at the
window and threw kisses to me all the way down to Lover's Lane.
I assure you, Marilla, that I feel like praying tonight and I'm
going to think out a special brand-new prayer in honor of the
occasion."

CHAPTER XIX

A Concert a Catastrophe and a Confession

"MARILLA, can I go over to see Diana just for a minute?" asked
Anne, running breathlessly down from the east gable one February
evening.

"I don't see what you want to be traipsing about after dark for,"
said Marilla shortly. "You and Diana walked home from school
together and then stood down there in the snow for half an hour
more, your tongues going the whole blessed time, clickety-clack.
So I don't think you're very badly off to see her again."

"But she wants to see me," pleaded Anne. "She has something very
important to tell me."

"How do you know she has?"

"Because she just signaled to me from her window. We have
arranged a way to signal with our candles and cardboard. We set
the candle on the window sill and make flashes by passing the
cardboard back and forth. So many flashes mean a certain thing.
It was my idea, Marilla."

"I'll warrant you it was," said Marilla emphatically. "And the
next thing you'll be setting fire to the curtains with your
signaling nonsense."

"Oh, we're very careful, Marilla. And it's so interesting. Two
flashes mean, `Are you there?' Three mean `yes' and four `no.'
Five mean, `Come over as soon as possible, because I have
something important to reveal.' Diana has just signaled five
flashes, and I'm really suffering to know what it is."

"Well, you needn't suffer any longer," said Marilla
sarcastically. "You can go, but you're to be back here in just
ten minutes, remember that."

Anne did remember it and was back in the stipulated time,
although probably no mortal will ever know just what it cost her
to confine the discussion of Diana's important communication
within the limits of ten minutes. But at least she had made good
use of them.

"Oh, Marilla, what do you think? You know tomorrow is Diana's
birthday. Well, her mother told her she could ask me to go home
with her from school and stay all night with her. And her
cousins are coming over from Newbridge in a big pung sleigh to
go to the Debating Club concert at the hall tomorrow night. And
they are going to take Diana and me to the concert--if you'll let
me go, that is. You will, won't you, Marilla? Oh, I feel so
excited."

"You can calm down then, because you're not going. You're better
at home in your own bed, and as for that club concert, it's all
nonsense, and little girls should not be allowed to go out to
such places at all."

"I'm sure the Debating Club is a most respectable affair,"
pleaded Anne.

"I'm not saying it isn't. But you're not going to begin gadding
about to concerts and staying out all hours of the night. Pretty
doings for children. I'm surprised at Mrs. Barry's letting
Diana go."

"But it's such a very special occasion," mourned Anne, on the
verge of tears. "Diana has only one birthday in a year. It
isn't as if birthdays were common things, Marilla. Prissy
Andrews is going to recite `Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight.' That
is such a good moral piece, Marilla, I'm sure it would do me lots
of good to hear it. And the choir are going to sing four lovely
pathetic songs that are pretty near as good as hymns. And oh,
Marilla, the minister is going to take part; yes, indeed,
he is; he's going to give an address. That will be just about
the same thing as a sermon. Please, mayn't I go, Marilla?"

"You heard what I said, Anne, didn't you? Take off your boots
now and go to bed. It's past eight."

"There's just one more thing, Marilla," said Anne, with the air
of producing the last shot in her locker. "Mrs. Barry told
Diana that we might sleep in the spare-room bed. Think of the
honor of your little Anne being put in the spare-room bed."

"It's an honor you'll have to get along without. Go to bed,
Anne, and don't let me hear another word out of you."

When Anne, with tears rolling over her cheeks, had gone
sorrowfully upstairs, Matthew, who had been apparently sound
asleep on the lounge during the whole dialogue, opened his eyes
and said decidedly:

"Well now, Marilla, I think you ought to let Anne go."

"I don't then," retorted Marilla. "Who's bringing this child up,
Matthew, you or me?"

"Well now, you," admitted Matthew.

"Don't interfere then."

"Well now, I ain't interfering. It ain't interfering to have
your own opinion. And my opinion is that you ought to let Anne
go."

"You'd think I ought to let Anne go to the moon if she took the
notion, I've no doubt" was Marilla's amiable rejoinder. "I might
have let her spend the night with Diana, if that was all. But I
don't approve of this concert plan. She'd go there and catch
cold like as not, and have her head filled up with nonsense and
excitement. It would unsettle her for a week. I understand that
child's disposition and what's good for it better than you,
Matthew."

"I think you ought to let Anne go," repeated Matthew firmly.
Argument was not his strong point, but holding fast to his
opinion certainly was. Marilla gave a gasp of helplessness and
took refuge in silence. The next morning, when Anne was washing
the breakfast dishes in the pantry, Matthew paused on his way out
to the barn to say to Marilla again:

"I think you ought to let Anne go, Marilla."

For a moment Marilla looked things not lawful to be uttered.
Then she yielded to the inevitable and said tartly:

"Very well, she can go, since nothing else'll please you."

Anne flew out of the pantry, dripping dishcloth in hand.

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