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Yours devotedly,
Anne"

The geometry examination and all the others were over in due time
and Anne arrived home on Friday evening, rather tired but with an
air of chastened triumph about her. Diana was over at Green Gables
when she arrived and they met as if they had been parted for years.

"You old darling, it's perfectly splendid to see you back again.
It seems like an age since you went to town and oh, Anne, how did
you get along?"

"Pretty well, I think, in everything but the geometry. I don't
know whether I passed in it or not and I have a creepy, crawly
presentiment that I didn't. Oh, how good it is to be back! Green
Gables is the dearest, loveliest spot in the world."

"How did the others do?"

"The girls say they know they didn't pass, but I think they did
pretty well. Josie says the geometry was so easy a child of ten
could do it! Moody Spurgeon still thinks he failed in history
and Charlie says he failed in algebra. But we don't really know
anything about it and won't until the pass list is out. That won't
be for a fortnight. Fancy living a fortnight in such suspense!
I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up until it is over."

Diana knew it would be useless to ask how Gilbert Blythe had fared,
so she merely said:

"Oh, you'll pass all right. Don't worry."

"I'd rather not pass at all than not come out pretty well up on
the list," flashed Anne, by which she meant--and Diana knew she
meant--that success would be incomplete and bitter if she did not
come out ahead of Gilbert Blythe.

With this end in view Anne had strained every nerve during the
examinations. So had Gilbert. They had met and passed each
other on the street a dozen times without any sign of recognition
and every time Anne had held her head a little higher and wished
a little more earnestly that she had made friends with Gilbert
when he asked her, and vowed a little more determinedly to
surpass him in the examination. She knew that all Avonlea junior
was wondering which would come out first; she even knew that
Jimmy Glover and Ned Wright had a bet on the question and that
Josie Pye had said there was no doubt in the world that Gilbert
would be first; and she felt that her humiliation would be
unbearable if she failed.

But she had another and nobler motive for wishing to do well.
She wanted to "pass high" for the sake of Matthew and Marilla--
especially Matthew. Matthew had declared to her his conviction
that she "would beat the whole Island." That, Anne felt,
was something it would be foolish to hope for even in the
wildest dreams. But she did hope fervently that she would be
among the first ten at least, so that she might see Matthew's
kindly brown eyes gleam with pride in her achievement. That, she
felt, would be a sweet reward indeed for all her hard work and
patient grubbing among unimaginative equations and conjugations.

At the end of the fortnight Anne took to "haunting" the post
office also, in the distracted company of Jane, Ruby, and Josie,
opening the Charlottetown dailies with shaking hands and cold,
sinkaway feelings as bad as any experienced during the Entrance
week. Charlie and Gilbert were not above doing this too, but
Moody Spurgeon stayed resolutely away.

"I haven't got the grit to go there and look at a paper in cold
blood," he told Anne. "I'm just going to wait until somebody
comes and tells me suddenly whether I've passed or not."

When three weeks had gone by without the pass list appearing Anne
began to feel that she really couldn't stand the strain much longer.
Her appetite failed and her interest in Avonlea doings languished.
Mrs. Lynde wanted to know what else you could expect with a Tory
superintendent of education at the head of affairs, and Matthew,
noting Anne's paleness and indifference and the lagging steps that
bore her home from the post office every afternoon, began seriously
to wonder if he hadn't better vote Grit at the next election.

But one evening the news came. Anne was sitting at her open window,
for the time forgetful of the woes of examinations and the cares
of the world, as she drank in the beauty of the summer dusk,
sweet-scented with flower breaths from the garden below and sibilant
and rustling from the stir of poplars. The eastern sky above the
firs was flushed faintly pink from the reflection of the west,
and Anne was wondering dreamily if the spirit of color looked
like that, when she saw Diana come flying down through the firs,
over the log bridge, and up the slope, with a fluttering newspaper
in her hand.

Anne sprang to her feet, knowing at once what that paper
contained. The pass list was out! Her head whirled and her heart
beat until it hurt her. She could not move a step. It seemed an
hour to her before Diana came rushing along the hall and burst
into the room without even knocking, so great was her excitement.

"Anne, you've passed," she cried, "passed the VERY FIRST--you and
Gilbert both--you're ties--but your name is first. Oh, I'm so proud!"

Diana flung the paper on the table and herself on Anne's bed,
utterly breathless and incapable of further speech. Anne lighted
the lamp, oversetting the match safe and using up half a dozen
matches before her shaking hands could accomplish the task.
Then she snatched up the paper. Yes, she had passed--there was
her name at the very top of a list of two hundred! That moment
was worth living for.

"You did just splendidly, Anne," puffed Diana, recovering
sufficiently to sit up and speak, for Anne, starry eyed and rapt,
had not uttered a word. "Father brought the paper home from
Bright River not ten minutes ago--it came out on the afternoon
train, you know, and won't be here till tomorrow by mail--and
when I saw the pass list I just rushed over like a wild thing.
You've all passed, every one of you, Moody Spurgeon and all,
although he's conditioned in history. Jane and Ruby did pretty
well--they're halfway up--and so did Charlie. Josie just scraped
through with three marks to spare, but you'll see she'll put on
as many airs as if she'd led. Won't Miss Stacy be delighted?
Oh, Anne, what does it feel like to see your name at the head of
a pass list like that? If it were me I know I'd go crazy with joy.
I am pretty near crazy as it is, but you're as calm and cool as a
spring evening."

"I'm just dazzled inside," said Anne. "I want to say a hundred
things, and I can't find words to say them in. I never dreamed
of this--yes, I did too, just once! I let myself think ONCE,
`What if I should come out first?' quakingly, you know, for it
seemed so vain and presumptuous to think I could lead the Island.
Excuse me a minute, Diana. I must run right out to the field to
tell Matthew. Then we'll go up the road and tell the good news
to the others."

They hurried to the hayfield below the barn where Matthew was
coiling hay, and, as luck would have it, Mrs. Lynde was talking
to Marilla at the lane fence.

"Oh, Matthew," exclaimed Anne, "I've passed and I'm first--or one
of the first! I'm not vain, but I'm thankful."

"Well now, I always said it," said Matthew, gazing at the pass
list delightedly. "I knew you could beat them all easy."

"You've done pretty well, I must say, Anne," said Marilla,
trying to hide her extreme pride in Anne from Mrs. Rachel's
critical eye. But that good soul said heartily:

"I just guess she has done well, and far be it from me to be
backward in saying it. You're a credit to your friends, Anne,
that's what, and we're all proud of you."

That night Anne, who had wound up the delightful evening with a
serious little talk with Mrs. Allan at the manse, knelt sweetly
by her open window in a great sheen of moonshine and murmured a
prayer of gratitude and aspiration that came straight from her
heart. There was in it thankfulness for the past and reverent
petition for the future; and when she slept on her white pillow
her dreams were as fair and bright and beautiful as maidenhood
might desire.

CHAPTER XXXIII

The Hotel Concert

Put on your white organdy, by all means, Anne," advised Diana decidedly.

They were together in the east gable chamber; outside it was
only twilight--a lovely yellowish-green twilight with a clear-blue
cloudless sky. A big round moon, slowly deepening from her
pallid luster into burnished silver, hung over the Haunted Wood;
the air was full of sweet summer sounds--sleepy birds twittering,
freakish breezes, faraway voices and laughter. But in Anne's room
the blind was drawn and the lamp lighted, for an important toilet
was being made.

The east gable was a very different place from what it had been
on that night four years before, when Anne had felt its bareness
penetrate to the marrow of her spirit with its inhospitable chill.
Changes had crept in, Marilla conniving at them resignedly, until
it was as sweet and dainty a nest as a young girl could desire.

The velvet carpet with the pink roses and the pink silk curtains
of Anne's early visions had certainly never materialized; but her
dreams had kept pace with her growth, and it is not probable she
lamented them. The floor was covered with a pretty matting, and
the curtains that softened the high window and fluttered in the
vagrant breezes were of pale-green art muslin. The walls, hung
not with gold and silver brocade tapestry, but with a dainty
apple-blossom paper, were adorned with a few good pictures given
Anne by Mrs. Allan. Miss Stacy's photograph occupied the place
of honor, and Anne made a sentimental point of keeping fresh
flowers on the bracket under it. Tonight a spike of white lilies
faintly perfumed the room like the dream of a fragrance. There
was no "mahogany furniture," but there was a white-painted
bookcase filled with books, a cushioned wicker rocker, a toilet
table befrilled with white muslin, a quaint, gilt-framed mirror
with chubby pink Cupids and purple grapes painted over its arched
top, that used to hang in the spare room, and a low white bed.

Anne was dressing for a concert at the White Sands Hotel.
The guests had got it up in aid of the Charlottetown hospital,
and had hunted out all the available amateur talent in the
surrounding districts to help it along. Bertha Sampson and
Pearl Clay of the White Sands Baptist choir had been asked to
sing a duet; Milton Clark of Newbridge was to give a violin solo;
Winnie Adella Blair of Carmody was to sing a Scotch ballad; and Laura
Spencer of Spencervale and Anne Shirley of Avonlea were to recite.

As Anne would have said at one time, it was "an epoch in her life,"
and she was deliciously athrill with the excitement of it.
Matthew was in the seventh heaven of gratified pride over the
honor conferred on his Anne and Marilla was not far behind,
although she would have died rather than admit it, and said she
didn't think it was very proper for a lot of young folks to be
gadding over to the hotel without any responsible person with them.

Anne and Diana were to drive over with Jane Andrews and her
brother Billy in their double-seated buggy; and several other
Avonlea girls and boys were going too. There was a party of
visitors expected out from town, and after the concert a supper
was to be given to the performers.

"Do you really think the organdy will be best?" queried Anne anxiously.
"I don't think it's as pretty as my blue-flowered muslin--and it certainly
isn't so fashionable."

"But it suits you ever so much better," said Diana. "It's so soft
and frilly and clinging. The muslin is stiff, and makes you look too
dressed up. But the organdy seems as if it grew on you."

Anne sighed and yielded. Diana was beginning to have a
reputation for notable taste in dressing, and her advice on such
subjects was much sought after. She was looking very pretty
herself on this particular night in a dress of the lovely
wild-rose pink, from which Anne was forever debarred; but she was
not to take any part in the concert, so her appearance was of
minor importance. All her pains were bestowed upon Anne, who,
she vowed, must, for the credit of Avonlea, be dressed and combed
and adorned to the Queen's taste.

"Pull out that frill a little more--so; here, let me tie your
sash; now for your slippers. I'm going to braid your hair in two
thick braids, and tie them halfway up with big white bows--no,
don't pull out a single curl over your forehead--just have the
soft part. There is no way you do your hair suits you so well,
Anne, and Mrs. Allan says you look like a Madonna when you part
it so. I shall fasten this little white house rose just behind
your ear. There was just one on my bush, and I saved it for you."

"Shall I put my pearl beads on?" asked Anne. "Matthew brought me a
string from town last week, and I know he'd like to see them on me."

Diana pursed up her lips, put her black head on one side
critically, and finally pronounced in favor of the beads, which
were thereupon tied around Anne's slim milk-white throat.

"There's something so stylish about you, Anne," said Diana,
with unenvious admiration. "You hold your head with such an air.
I suppose it's your figure. I am just a dumpling. I've always
been afraid of it, and now I know it is so. Well, I suppose I
shall just have to resign myself to it."

"But you have such dimples," said Anne, smiling affectionately
into the pretty, vivacious face so near her own. "Lovely dimples,
like little dents in cream. I have given up all hope of dimples.
My dimple-dream will never come true; but so many of my dreams
have that I mustn't complain. Am I all ready now?"

"All ready," assured Diana, as Marilla appeared in the doorway,
a gaunt figure with grayer hair than of yore and no fewer angles,
but with a much softer face. "Come right in and look at our
elocutionist, Marilla. Doesn't she look lovely?"

Marilla emitted a sound between a sniff and a grunt.

"She looks neat and proper. I like that way of fixing her hair.
But I expect she'll ruin that dress driving over there in the dust
and dew with it, and it looks most too thin for these damp nights.
Organdy's the most unserviceable stuff in the world anyhow, and I
told Matthew so when he got it. But there is no use in saying
anything to Matthew nowadays. Time was when he would take my advice,
but now he just buys things for Anne regardless, and the clerks at
Carmody know they can palm anything off on him. Just let them tell
him a thing is pretty and fashionable, and Matthew plunks his money
down for it. Mind you keep your skirt clear of the wheel, Anne, and
put your warm jacket on."

Then Marilla stalked downstairs, thinking proudly how sweet Anne
looked, with that

"One moonbeam from the forehead to the crown"

and regretting that she could not go to the concert herself to
hear her girl recite.

"I wonder if it IS too damp for my dress," said Anne anxiously.

"Not a bit of it," said Diana, pulling up the window blind.
"It's a perfect night, and there won't be any dew. Look at
the moonlight."

"I'm so glad my window looks east into the sunrising," said Anne,
going over to Diana. "It's so splendid to see the morning coming
up over those long hills and glowing through those sharp fir tops.
It's new every morning, and I feel as if I washed my very soul in
that bath of earliest sunshine. Oh, Diana, I love this little
room so dearly. I don't know how I'll get along without it when
I go to town next month."

"Don't speak of your going away tonight," begged Diana. "I don't
want to think of it, it makes me so miserable, and I do want to
have a good time this evening. What are you going to recite, Anne?
And are you nervous?"

"Not a bit. I've recited so often in public I don't mind at all
now. I've decided to give `The Maiden's Vow.' It's so pathetic.
Laura Spencer is going to give a comic recitation, but I'd rather
make people cry than laugh."

"What will you recite if they encore you?"

"They won't dream of encoring me," scoffed Anne, who was not
without her own secret hopes that they would, and already
visioned herself telling Matthew all about it at the next
morning's breakfast table. "There are Billy and Jane now--
I hear the wheels. Come on."

Billy Andrews insisted that Anne should ride on the front seat
with him, so she unwillingly climbed up. She would have much
preferred to sit back with the girls, where she could have
laughed and chattered to her heart's content. There was not much
of either laughter or chatter in Billy. He was a big, fat,
stolid youth of twenty, with a round, expressionless face, and a
painful lack of conversational gifts. But he admired Anne
immensely, and was puffed up with pride over the prospect of
driving to White Sands with that slim, upright figure beside him.

Anne, by dint of talking over her shoulder to the girls and
occasionally passing a sop of civility to Billy--who grinned and
chuckled and never could think of any reply until it was too
late--contrived to enjoy the drive in spite of all. It was a
night for enjoyment. The road was full of buggies, all bound for
the hotel, and laughter, silver clear, echoed and reechoed along it.
When they reached the hotel it was a blaze of light from top
to bottom. They were met by the ladies of the concert committee,
one of whom took Anne off to the performers' dressing room which
was filled with the members of a Charlottetown Symphony Club,
among whom Anne felt suddenly shy and frightened and countrified.
Her dress, which, in the east gable, had seemed so dainty and
pretty, now seemed simple and plain--too simple and plain, she
thought, among all the silks and laces that glistened and rustled
around her. What were her pearl beads compared to the diamonds
of the big, handsome lady near her? And how poor her one wee white
rose must look beside all the hothouse flowers the others wore!
Anne laid her hat and jacket away, and shrank miserably into a corner.
She wished herself back in the white room at Green Gables.

It was still worse on the platform of the big concert hall of the
hotel, where she presently found herself. The electric lights
dazzled her eyes, the perfume and hum bewildered her. She wished
she were sitting down in the audience with Diana and Jane, who
seemed to be having a splendid time away at the back. She was
wedged in between a stout lady in pink silk and a tall,
scornful-looking girl in a white-lace dress. The stout lady
occasionally turned her head squarely around and surveyed Anne
through her eyeglasses until Anne, acutely sensitive of being so
scrutinized, felt that she must scream aloud; and the white-lace
girl kept talking audibly to her next neighbor about the "country
bumpkins" and "rustic belles" in the audience, languidly anticipating
"such fun" from the displays of local talent on the program.
Anne believed that she would hate that white-lace girl to the end of life.

Unfortunately for Anne, a professional elocutionist was staying
at the hotel and had consented to recite. She was a lithe,
dark-eyed woman in a wonderful gown of shimmering gray stuff
like woven moonbeams, with gems on her neck and in her dark hair.
She had a marvelously flexible voice and wonderful power of
expression; the audience went wild over her selection. Anne,
forgetting all about herself and her troubles for the time,
listened with rapt and shining eyes; but when the recitation
ended she suddenly put her hands over her face. She could never
get up and recite after that--never. Had she ever thought she
could recite? Oh, if she were only back at Green Gables!

At this unpropitious moment her name was called. Somehow
Anne--who did not notice the rather guilty little start of
surprise the white-lace girl gave, and would not have understood
the subtle compliment implied therein if she had--got on her
feet, and moved dizzily out to the front. She was so pale that
Diana and Jane, down in the audience, clasped each other's hands
in nervous sympathy.

Anne was the victim of an overwhelming attack of stage fright.
Often as she had recited in public, she had never before faced
such an audience as this, and the sight of it paralyzed her
energies completely. Everything was so strange, so brilliant,
so bewildering--the rows of ladies in evening dress, the critical
faces, the whole atmosphere of wealth and culture about her.
Very different this from the plain benches at the Debating Club,
filled with the homely, sympathetic faces of friends and neighbors.
These people, she thought, would be merciless critics. Perhaps,
like the white-lace girl, they anticipated amusement from her "rustic"
efforts. She felt hopelessly, helplessly ashamed and miserable.
Her knees trembled, her heart fluttered, a horrible faintness
came over her; not a word could she utter, and the next moment
she would have fled from the platform despite the humiliation which,
she felt, must ever after be her portion if she did so.

But suddenly, as her dilated, frightened eyes gazed out over the
audience, she saw Gilbert Blythe away at the back of the room,
bending forward with a smile on his face--a smile which seemed to
Anne at once triumphant and taunting. In reality it was nothing
of the kind. Gilbert was merely smiling with appreciation of the
whole affair in general and of the effect produced by Anne's
slender white form and spiritual face against a background of
palms in particular. Josie Pye, whom he had driven over, sat
beside him, and her face certainly was both triumphant and
taunting. But Anne did not see Josie, and would not have cared
if she had. She drew a long breath and flung her head up
proudly, courage and determination tingling over her like an
electric shock. She WOULD NOT fail before Gilbert Blythe--he
should never be able to laugh at her, never, never! Her fright
and nervousness vanished; and she began her recitation, her clear,
sweet voice reaching to the farthest corner of the room without a
tremor or a break. Self-possession was fully restored to her,
and in the reaction from that horrible moment of powerlessness
she recited as she had never done before. When she finished
there were bursts of honest applause. Anne, stepping back to
her seat, blushing with shyness and delight, found her hand
vigorously clasped and shaken by the stout lady in pink silk.

"My dear, you did splendidly," she puffed. "I've been crying
like a baby, actually I have. There, they're encoring you--
they're bound to have you back!"

"Oh, I can't go," said Anne confusedly. "But yet--I must, or
Matthew will be disappointed. He said they would encore me."

"Then don't disappoint Matthew," said the pink lady, laughing.

Smiling, blushing, limpid eyed, Anne tripped back and gave a quaint,
funny little selection that captivated her audience still further.
The rest of the evening was quite a little triumph for her.

When the concert was over, the stout, pink lady--who was the wife
of an American millionaire--took her under her wing, and
introduced her to everybody; and everybody was very nice to her.
The professional elocutionist, Mrs. Evans, came and chatted with
her, telling her that she had a charming voice and "interpreted"
her selections beautifully. Even the white-lace girl paid her a
languid little compliment. They had supper in the big,
beautifully decorated dining room; Diana and Jane were invited to
partake of this, also, since they had come with Anne, but Billy
was nowhere to be found, having decamped in mortal fear of some
such invitation. He was in waiting for them, with the team,
however, when it was all over, and the three girls came merrily
out into the calm, white moonshine radiance. Anne breathed deeply,
and looked into the clear sky beyond the dark boughs of the firs.

Oh, it was good to be out again in the purity and silence of the night!
How great and still and wonderful everything was, with the murmur of
the sea sounding through it and the darkling cliffs beyond like grim
giants guarding enchanted coasts.

"Hasn't it been a perfectly splendid time?" sighed Jane, as they
drove away. "I just wish I was a rich American and could spend
my summer at a hotel and wear jewels and low-necked dresses and
have ice cream and chicken salad every blessed day. I'm sure it
would be ever so much more fun than teaching school. Anne, your
recitation was simply great, although I thought at first you were
never going to begin. I think it was better than Mrs. Evans's."

"Oh, no, don't say things like that, Jane," said Anne quickly,
"because it sounds silly. It couldn't be better than Mrs. Evans's,
you know, for she is a professional, and I'm only a schoolgirl,
with a little knack of reciting. I'm quite satisfied if the
people just liked mine pretty well."

"I've a compliment for you, Anne," said Diana. "At least I think
it must be a compliment because of the tone he said it in. Part
of it was anyhow. There was an American sitting behind Jane and
me--such a romantic-looking man, with coal-black hair and eyes.
Josie Pye says he is a distinguished artist, and that her mother's
cousin in Boston is married to a man that used to go to school
with him. Well, we heard him say--didn't we, Jane?--`Who is that
girl on the platform with the splendid Titian hair? She has a
face I should like to paint.' There now, Anne. But what does
Titian hair mean?"

"Being interpreted it means plain red, I guess," laughed Anne.
"Titian was a very famous artist who liked to paint red-haired women."

"DID you see all the diamonds those ladies wore?" sighed Jane.
"They were simply dazzling. Wouldn't you just love to be rich, girls?"

"We ARE rich," said Anne staunchly. "Why, we have sixteen years to
our credit, and we're happy as queens, and we've all got imaginations,
more or less. Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and
vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness
any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.
You wouldn't change into any of those women if you could.
Would you want to be that white-lace girl and wear a sour
look all your life, as if you'd been born turning up your nose at
the world? Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout
and short that you'd really no figure at all? Or even Mrs. Evans,
with that sad, sad look in her eyes? She must have been dreadfully
unhappy sometime to have such a look. You KNOW you wouldn't,
Jane Andrews!"

"I DON'T know--exactly," said Jane unconvinced. "I think
diamonds would comfort a person for a good deal."

"Well, I don't want to be anyone but myself, even if I
go uncomforted by diamonds all my life," declared Anne.
"I'm quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my
string of pearl beads. I know Matthew gave me as much
love with them as ever went with Madame the Pink Lady's jewels."

CHAPTER XXXIV

A Queen's Girl

The next three weeks were busy ones at Green Gables, for
Anne was getting ready to go to Queen's, and there was
much sewing to be done, and many things to be talked
over and arranged. Anne's outfit was ample and pretty, for
Matthew saw to that, and Marilla for once made no objections
whatever to anything he purchased or suggested. More--
one evening she went up to the east gable with her arms full
of a delicate pale green material.

"Anne, here's something for a nice light dress for you.
I don't suppose you really need it; you've plenty of
pretty waists; but I thought maybe you'd like something
real dressy to wear if you were asked out anywhere of an
evening in town, to a party or anything like that. I hear
that Jane and Ruby and Josie have got `evening dresses,' as
they call them, and I don't mean you shall be behind them.
I got Mrs. Allan to help me pick it in town last week,
and we'll get Emily Gillis to make it for you. Emily
has got taste, and her fits aren't to be equaled."

"Oh, Marilla, it's just lovely," said Anne. "Thank you so
much. I don't believe you ought to be so kind to me--it's
making it harder every day for me to go away."

The green dress was made up with as many tucks and frills
and shirrings as Emily's taste permitted. Anne put it
on one evening for Matthew's and Marilla's benefit,
and recited "The Maiden's Vow" for them in the kitchen.
As Marilla watched the bright, animated face and graceful
motions her thoughts went back to the evening Anne had
arrived at Green Gables, and memory recalled a vivid
picture of the odd, frightened child in her preposterous
yellowish-brown wincey dress, the heartbreak looking out
of her tearful eyes. Something in the memory brought
tears to Marilla's own eyes.

"I declare, my recitation has made you cry, Marilla,"
said Anne gaily stooping over Marilla's chair to drop a
butterfly kiss on that lady's cheek. "Now, I call that a
positive triumph."

"No, I wasn't crying over your piece," said Marilla, who
would have scorned to be betrayed into such weakness by
any poetry stuff. "I just couldn't help thinking of the
little girl you used to be, Anne. And I was wishing you could
have stayed a little girl, even with all your queer ways.
You've grown up now and you're going away; and you look
so tall and stylish and so--so--different altogether
in that dress--as if you didn't belong in Avonlea at all--
and I just got lonesome thinking it all over."

"Marilla!" Anne sat down on Marilla's gingham lap, took
Marilla's lined face between her hands, and looked gravely
and tenderly into Marilla's eyes. "I'm not a bit changed--
not really. I'm only just pruned down and branched out.
The real ME--back here--is just the same. It won't make a
bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly;
at heart I shall always be your little Anne, who will love
you and Matthew and dear Green Gables more and better every
day of her life."

Anne laid her fresh young cheek against Marilla's faded
one, and reached out a hand to pat Matthew's shoulder.
Marilla would have given much just then to have possessed
Anne's power of putting her feelings into words; but nature
and habit had willed it otherwise, and she could only put her
arms close about her girl and hold her tenderly to her heart,
wishing that she need never let her go.

Matthew, with a suspicious moisture in his eyes, got up
and went out-of-doors. Under the stars of the blue summer
night he walked agitatedly across the yard to the gate
under the poplars.

"Well now, I guess she ain't been much spoiled," he
muttered, proudly. "I guess my putting in my oar occasional
never did much harm after all. She's smart and pretty,
and loving, too, which is better than all the rest.
She's been a blessing to us, and there never was a
luckier mistake than what Mrs. Spencer made--if it WAS luck.
I don't believe it was any such thing. It was Providence,
because the Almighty saw we needed her, I reckon."

The day finally came when Anne must go to town. She
and Matthew drove in one fine September morning, after a
tearful parting with Diana and an untearful practical one--
on Marilla's side at least--with Marilla. But when Anne
had gone Diana dried her tears and went to a beach
picnic at White Sands with some of her Carmody cousins,
where she contrived to enjoy herself tolerably well; while
Marilla plunged fiercely into unnecessary work and kept at
it all day long with the bitterest kind of heartache--the
ache that burns and gnaws and cannot wash itself away in
ready tears. But that night, when Marilla went to bed,
acutely and miserably conscious that the little gable room
at the end of the hall was untenanted by any vivid young
life and unstirred by any soft breathing, she buried her
face in her pillow, and wept for her girl in a passion of
sobs that appalled her when she grew calm enough to reflect
how very wicked it must be to take on so about a sinful
fellow creature.

Anne and the rest of the Avonlea scholars reached town
just in time to hurry off to the Academy. That first day
passed pleasantly enough in a whirl of excitement, meeting
all the new students, learning to know the professors by
sight and being assorted and organized into classes.
Anne intended taking up the Second Year work being advised
to do so by Miss Stacy; Gilbert Blythe elected to do the same.
This meant getting a First Class teacher's license in
one year instead of two, if they were successful; but it also
meant much more and harder work. Jane, Ruby, Josie,
Charlie, and Moody Spurgeon, not being troubled with
the stirrings of ambition, were content to take up the
Second Class work. Anne was conscious of a pang of
loneliness when she found herself in a room with fifty
other students, not one of whom she knew, except the
tall, brown-haired boy across the room; and knowing him
in the fashion she did, did not help her much, as she
reflected pessimistically. Yet she was undeniably glad that
they were in the same class; the old rivalry could still be
carried on, and Anne would hardly have known what to do
if it had been lacking.

"I wouldn't feel comfortable without it," she thought.
"Gilbert looks awfully determined. I suppose he's making
up his mind, here and now, to win the medal. What a
splendid chin he has! I never noticed it before. I do wish
Jane and Ruby had gone in for First Class, too. I suppose I
won't feel so much like a cat in a strange garret when I get
acquainted, though. I wonder which of the girls here are
going to be my friends. It's really an interesting speculation.
Of course I promised Diana that no Queen's girl, no matter
how much I liked her, should ever be as dear to me as she is;
but I've lots of second-best affections to bestow. I like
the look of that girl with the brown eyes and the crimson
waist. She looks vivid and red-rosy; there's that pale, fair
one gazing out of the window. She has lovely hair, and looks
as if she knew a thing or two about dreams. I'd like to know
them both--know them well--well enough to walk with my arm
about their waists, and call them nicknames. But just now I
don't know them and they don't know me, and probably don't
want to know me particularly. Oh, it's lonesome!"

It was lonesomer still when Anne found herself alone in
her hall bedroom that night at twilight. She was not to
board with the other girls, who all had relatives in town to
take pity on them. Miss Josephine Barry would have liked
to board her, but Beechwood was so far from the Academy
that it was out of the question; so miss Barry hunted up a
boarding-house, assuring Matthew and Marilla that it was
the very place for Anne.

"The lady who keeps it is a reduced gentlewoman,"
explained Miss Barry. "Her husband was a British officer,
and she is very careful what sort of boarders she takes.
Anne will not meet with any objectionable persons under
her roof. The table is good, and the house is near the
Academy, in a quiet neighborhood."

All this might be quite true, and indeed, proved to be so,
but it did not materially help Anne in the first agony
of homesickness that seized upon her. She looked dismally
about her narrow little room, with its dull-papered,
pictureless walls, its small iron bedstead and empty book-
case; and a horrible choke came into her throat as she
thought of her own white room at Green Gables, where
she would have the pleasant consciousness of a great green
still outdoors, of sweet peas growing in the garden, and
moonlight falling on the orchard, of the brook below the
slope and the spruce boughs tossing in the night wind
beyond it, of a vast starry sky, and the light from Diana's
window shining out through the gap in the trees. Here
there was nothing of this; Anne knew that outside of her
window was a hard street, with a network of telephone
wires shutting out the sky, the tramp of alien feet, and a
thousand lights gleaming on stranger faces. She knew that
she was going to cry, and fought against it.

"I WON'T cry. It's silly--and weak--there's the third
tear splashing down by my nose. There are more coming!
I must think of something funny to stop them. But there's
nothing funny except what is connected with Avonlea, and
that only makes things worse--four--five--I'm going home
next Friday, but that seems a hundred years away. Oh,
Matthew is nearly home by now--and Marilla is at the
gate, looking down the lane for him--six--seven--eight--
oh, there's no use in counting them! They're coming in a
flood presently. I can't cheer up--I don't WANT to cheer
up. It's nicer to be miserable!"

The flood of tears would have come, no doubt, had not
Josie Pye appeared at that moment. In the joy of seeing
a familiar face Anne forgot that there had never been much
love lost between her and Josie. As a part of Avonlea life
even a Pye was welcome.

"I'm so glad you came up," Anne said sincerely.

"You've been crying," remarked Josie, with aggravating pity.
"I suppose you're homesick--some people have so little
self-control in that respect. I've no intention of being
homesick, I can tell you. Town's too jolly after that poky
old Avonlea. I wonder how I ever existed there so long.
You shouldn't cry, Anne; it isn't becoming, for your
nose and eyes get red, and then you seem ALL red. I'd a
perfectly scrumptious time in the Academy today. Our French
professor is simply a duck. His moustache would give you
kerwollowps of the heart. Have you anything eatable around,
Anne? I'm literally starving. Ah, I guessed likely Marilla'd
load you up with cake. That's why I called round. Otherwise
I'd have gone to the park to hear the band play with Frank
Stockley. He boards same place as I do, and he's a sport.
He noticed you in class today, and asked me who the red-headed
girl was. I told him you were an orphan that the Cuthberts
had adopted, and nobody knew very much about what you'd been
before that."

Anne was wondering if, after all, solitude and tears were
not more satisfactory than Josie Pye's companionship when
Jane and Ruby appeared, each with an inch of Queen's
color ribbon--purple and scarlet--pinned proudly to her
coat. As Josie was not "speaking" to Jane just then she had
to subside into comparative harmlessness.

"Well," said Jane with a sigh, "I feel as if I'd lived many
moons since the morning. I ought to be home studying my
Virgil--that horrid old professor gave us twenty lines to
start in on tomorrow. But I simply couldn't settle down to
study tonight. Anne, methinks I see the traces of tears. If
you've been crying DO own up. It will restore my self-respect,
for I was shedding tears freely before Ruby came along. I
don't mind being a goose so much if somebody else is goosey,
too. Cake? You'll give me a teeny piece, won't you? Thank
you. It has the real Avonlea flavor."

Ruby, perceiving the Queen's calendar lying on the table,
wanted to know if Anne meant to try for the gold medal.

Anne blushed and admitted she was thinking of it.

"Oh, that reminds me," said Josie, "Queen's is to get one
of the Avery scholarships after all. The word came today.
Frank Stockley told me--his uncle is one of the board of
governors, you know. It will be announced in the
Academy tomorrow."

An Avery scholarship! Anne felt her heart beat more
quickly, and the horizons of her ambition shifted and
broadened as if by magic. Before Josie had told the news
Anne's highest pinnacle of aspiration had been a teacher's
provincial license, First Class, at the end of the year, and
perhaps the medal! But now in one moment Anne saw herself
winning the Avery scholarship, taking an Arts course at
Redmond College, and graduating in a gown and mortar board,
before the echo of Josie's words had died away. For the
Avery scholarship was in English, and Anne felt that here
her foot was on native heath.???

A wealthy manufacturer of New Brunswick had died and left
part of his fortune to endow a large number of scholarships
to be distributed among the various high schools and academies
of the Maritime Provinces, according to their respective
standings. There had been much doubt whether one would be
allotted to Queen's, but the matter was settled at last, and
at the end of the year the graduate who made the highest mark
in English and English Literature would win the scholarship--
two hundred and fifty dollars a year for four years at Redmond
College. No wonder that Anne went to bed that night with
tingling cheeks!

"I'll win that scholarship if hard work can do it," she
resolved. "Wouldn't Matthew be proud if I got to be a B.A.?
Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have
such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them--
that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one
ambition you see another one glittering higher up still.
It does make life so interesting."

CHAPTER XXXV

The Winter at Queen's

Anne's homesickness wore off, greatly helped in the wearing
by her weekend visits home. As long as the open weather lasted
the Avonlea students went out to Carmody on the new branch
railway every Friday night. Diana and several other Avonlea
young folks were generally on hand to meet them and they all
walked over to Avonlea in a merry party. Anne thought those
Friday evening gypsyings over the autumnal hills in the crisp
golden air, with the homelights of Avonlea twinkling beyond,
were the best and dearest hours in the whole week.

Gilbert Blythe nearly always walked with Ruby Gillis and carried
her satchel for her. Ruby was a very handsome young lady,
now thinking herself quite as grown up as she really was;
she wore her skirts as long as her mother would let her and
did her hair up in town, though she had to take it down
when she went home. She had large, bright-blue eyes, a
brilliant complexion, and a plump showy figure. She laughed
a great deal, was cheerful and good-tempered, and enjoyed the
pleasant things of life frankly.

"But I shouldn't think she was the sort of girl Gilbert would like,"
whispered Jane to Anne. Anne did not think so either, but she would
not have said so for the Avery scholarship. She could not help
thinking, too, that it would be very pleasant to have such a friend
as Gilbert to jest and chatter with and exchange ideas about books
and studies and ambitions. Gilbert had ambitions, she knew, and
Ruby Gillis did not seem the sort of person with whom such could
be profitably discussed.

There was no silly sentiment in Anne's ideas concerning Gilbert.
Boys were to her, when she thought about them at all, merely
possible good comrades. If she and Gilbert had been friends
she would not have cared how many other friends he had
nor with whom he walked. She had a genius for friendship;
girl friends she had in plenty; but she had a vague consciousness
that masculine friendship might also be a good thing to round
out one's conceptions of companionship and furnish broader
standpoints of judgment and comparison. Not that Anne could
have put her feelings on the matter into just such clear definition.
But she thought that if Gilbert had ever walked home with her
from the train, over the crisp fields and along the ferny byways,
they might have had many and merry and interesting conversations
about the new world that was opening around them and their hopes
and ambitions therein. Gilbert was a clever young fellow, with
his own thoughts about things and a determination to get the best
out of life and put the best into it. Ruby Gillis told Jane Andrews
that she didn't understand half the things Gilbert Blythe said;
he talked just like Anne Shirley did when she had a thoughtful fit
on and for her part she didn't think it any fun to be bothering about
books and that sort of thing when you didn't have to. Frank Stockley
had lots more dash and go, but then he wasn't half as good-looking as
Gilbert and she really couldn't decide which she liked best!

In the Academy Anne gradually drew a little circle of friends about her,
thoughtful, imaginative, ambitious students like herself. With the
"rose-red" girl, Stella Maynard, and the "dream girl," Priscilla Grant,
she soon became intimate, finding the latter pale spiritual-looking
maiden to be full to the brim of mischief and pranks and fun,
while the vivid, black-eyed Stella had a heartful of wistful
dreams and fancies, as aerial and rainbow-like as Anne's own.

After the Christmas holidays the Avonlea students gave
up going home on Fridays and settled down to hard work.
By this time all the Queen's scholars had gravitated into
their own places in the ranks and the various classes had
assumed distinct and settled shadings of individuality.
Certain facts had become generally accepted. It was admitted
that the medal contestants had practically narrowed down to
three--Gilbert Blythe, Anne Shirley, and Lewis Wilson; the
Avery scholarship was more doubtful, any one of a certain six
being a possible winner. The bronze medal for mathematics
was considered as good as won by a fat, funny little up-country
boy with a bumpy forehead and a patched coat.

Ruby Gillis was the handsomest girl of the year at the Academy;
in the Second Year classes Stella Maynard carried off the palm
for beauty, with small but critical minority in favor of Anne Shirley.
Ethel Marr was admitted by all competent judges to have the most
stylish modes of hair-dressing, and Jane Andrews--plain, plodding,
conscientious Jane--carried off the honors in the domestic science course.
Even Josie Pye attained a certain preeminence as the sharpest-
tongued young lady in attendance at Queen's. So it may be
fairly stated that Miss Stacy's old pupil's held their own in
the wider arena of the academical course.

Anne worked hard and steadily. Her rivalry with Gilbert
was as intense as it had ever been in Avonlea school,
although it was not known in the class at large, but somehow
the bitterness had gone out of it. Anne no longer wished
to win for the sake of defeating Gilbert; rather, for the
proud consciousness of a well-won victory over a worthy foeman.
It would be worth while to win, but she no longer thought life
would be insupportable if she did not.

In spite of lessons the students found opportunities for
pleasant times. Anne spent many of her spare hours at
Beechwood and generally ate her Sunday dinners there and
went to church with Miss Barry. The latter was, as she
admitted, growing old, but her black eyes were not dim nor
the vigor of her tongue in the least abated. But she never
sharpened the latter on Anne, who continued to be a prime
favorite with the critical old lady.

"That Anne-girl improves all the time," she said. "I get
tired of other girls--there is such a provoking and eternal
sameness about them. Anne has as many shades as a rainbow
and every shade is the prettiest while it lasts. I don't
know that she is as amusing as she was when she was a child,
but she makes me love her and I like people who make me love them.
It saves me so much trouble in making myself love them."

Then, almost before anybody realized it, spring had come;
out in Avonlea the Mayflowers were peeping pinkly out
on the sere barrens where snow-wreaths lingered; and
the "mist of green" was on the woods and in the valleys.
But in Charlottetown harassed Queen's students thought
and talked only of examinations.

"It doesn't seem possible that the term is nearly over,"
said Anne. "Why, last fall it seemed so long to look
forward to--a whole winter of studies and classes. And here
we are, with the exams looming up next week. Girls,
sometimes I feel as if those exams meant everything, but
when I look at the big buds swelling on those chestnut trees
and the misty blue air at the end of the streets they don't
seem half so important."

Jane and Ruby and Josie, who had dropped in, did not
take this view of it. To them the coming examinations
were constantly very important indeed--far more important
than chestnut buds or Maytime hazes. It was all very well
for Anne, who was sure of passing at least, to have her
moments of belittling them, but when your whole future
depended on them--as the girls truly thought theirs did--
you could not regard them philosophically.

"I've lost seven pounds in the last two weeks," sighed
Jane. "It's no use to say don't worry. I WILL worry.
Worrying helps you some--it seems as if you were doing
something when you're worrying. It would be dreadful if I
failed to get my license after going to Queen's all winter
and spending so much money."

"_I_ don't care," said Josie Pye. "If I don't pass this year
I'm coming back next. My father can afford to send me.
Anne, Frank Stockley says that Professor Tremaine said
Gilbert Blythe was sure to get the medal and that Emily Clay
would likely win the Avery scholarship."

"That may make me feel badly tomorrow, Josie," laughed
Anne, "but just now I honestly feel that as long as I know
the violets are coming out all purple down in the hollow
below Green Gables and that little ferns are poking their
heads up in Lovers' Lane, it's not a great deal of difference
whether I win the Avery or not. I've done my best and I
begin to understand what is meant by the `joy of the strife.'
Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.
Girls, don't talk about exams! Look at that arch of pale green
sky over those houses and picture to yourself what it must look
like over the purply-dark beech-woods back of Avonlea."

"What are you going to wear for commencement, Jane?"
asked Ruby practically.

Jane and Josie both answered at once and the chatter
drifted into a side eddy of fashions. But Anne, with her
elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her
clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out
unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome
of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from
the golden tissue of youth's own optimism. All the Beyond
was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the
oncoming years--each year a rose of promise to be woven into
an immortal chaplet.

CHAPTER XXXVI

The Glory and the Dream

On the morning when the final results of all the examina-
tions were to be posted on the bulletin board at Queen's,
Anne and Jane walked down the street together. Jane was
smiling and happy; examinations were over and she was
comfortably sure she had made a pass at least; further
considerations troubled Jane not at all; she had no soaring
ambitions and consequently was not affected with the
unrest attendant thereon. For we pay a price for everything
we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are
well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but
exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and
discouragement. Anne was pale and quiet; in ten more minutes
she would know who had won the medal and who the Avery.
Beyond those ten minutes there did not seem, just then,
to be anything worth being called Time.

"Of course you'll win one of them anyhow," said Jane,
who couldn't understand how the faculty could be so
unfair as to order it otherwise.

"I have not hope of the Avery," said Anne. "Everybody
says Emily Clay will win it. And I'm not going to march
up to that bulletin board and look at it before everybody.
I haven't the moral courage. I'm going straight to the girls'
dressing room. You must read the announcements and then
come and tell me, Jane. And I implore you in the name
of our old friendship to do it as quickly as possible.
If I have failed just say so, without trying to break it
gently; and whatever you do DON'T sympathize with me.
Promise me this, Jane."

Jane promised solemnly; but, as it happened, there was no
necessity for such a promise. When they went up the entrance
steps of Queen's they found the hall full of boys who were
carrying Gilbert Blythe around on their shoulders and yelling
at the tops of their voices, "Hurrah for Blythe, Medalist!"

For a moment Anne felt one sickening pang of defeat and
disappointment. So she had failed and Gilbert had won!
Well, Matthew would be sorry--he had been so sure she
would win.

And then!

Somebody called out:

"Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery!"

"Oh, Anne," gasped Jane, as they fled to the girls' dressing room
amid hearty cheers. "Oh, Anne I'm so proud! Isn't it splendid?"

And then the girls were around them and Anne was the
center of a laughing, congratulating group. Her shoulders
were thumped and her hands shaken vigorously. She was
pushed and pulled and hugged and among it all she managed
to whisper to Jane:

"Oh, won't Matthew and Marilla be pleased! I must write the
news home right away."

Commencement was the next important happening. The exercises
were held in the big assembly hall of the Academy. Addresses
were given, essays read, songs sung, the public award of diplomas,
prizes and medals made.

Matthew and Marilla were there, with eyes and ears for only
one student on the platform--a tall girl in pale green,
with faintly flushed cheeks and starry eyes, who read the
best essay and was pointed out and whispered about as the
Avery winner.

"Reckon you're glad we kept her, Marilla?" whispered Matthew,
speaking for the first time since he had entered the hall,
when Anne had finished her essay.

"It's not the first time I've been glad," retorted Marilla.
"You do like to rub things in, Matthew Cuthbert."

Miss Barry, who was sitting behind them, leaned forward
and poked Marilla in the back with her parasol.

"Aren't you proud of that Anne-girl? I am," she said.

Anne went home to Avonlea with Matthew and Marilla
that evening. She had not been home since April and she
felt that she could not wait another day. The apple blossoms
were out and the world was fresh and young. Diana was at
Green Gables to meet her. In her own white room, where
Marilla had set a flowering house rose on the window sill,
Anne looked about her and drew a long breath of happiness.

"Oh, Diana, it's so good to be back again. It's so good to
see those pointed firs coming out against the pink sky--
and that white orchard and the old Snow Queen. Isn't the
breath of the mint delicious? And that tea rose--why, it's
a song and a hope and a prayer all in one. And it's GOOD to
see you again, Diana!"

"I thought you like that Stella Maynard better than me,"
said Diana reproachfully. "Josie Pye told me you did.
Josie said you were INFATUATED with her."

Anne laughed and pelted Diana with the faded "June lilies"
of her bouquet.

"Stella Maynard is the dearest girl in the world except
one and you are that one, Diana," she said. "I love you
more than ever--and I've so many things to tell you. But
just now I feel as if it were joy enough to sit here and
look at you. I'm tired, I think--tired of being studious
and ambitious. I mean to spend at least two hours tomorrow
lying out in the orchard grass, thinking of absolutely nothing."

"You've done splendidly, Anne. I suppose you won't be teaching
now that you've won the Avery?"

"No. I'm going to Redmond in September. Doesn't it
seem wonderful? I'll have a brand new stock of ambition
laid in by that time after three glorious, golden months of
vacation. Jane and Ruby are going to teach. Isn't it splendid
to think we all got through even to Moody Spurgeon and Josie Pye?"

"The Newbridge trustees have offered Jane their school already,"
said Diana. "Gilbert Blythe is going to teach, too. He has to.
His father can't afford to send him to college next year, after all,
so he means to earn his own way through. I expect he'll get the
school here if Miss Ames decides to leave."

Anne felt a queer little sensation of dismayed surprise.
She had not known this; she had expected that Gilbert
would be going to Redmond also. What would she do without
their inspiring rivalry? Would not work, even at a
coeducational college with a real degree in prospect, be
rather flat without her friend the enemy?

The next morning at breakfast it suddenly struck Anne
that Matthew was not looking well. Surely he was much
grayer than he had been a year before.

"Marilla," she said hesitatingly when he had gone out,
"is Matthew quite well?"

"No, he isn't," said Marilla in a troubled tone. "He's
had some real bad spells with his heart this spring and he
won't spare himself a mite. I've been real worried about
him, but he's some better this while back and we've got a
good hired man, so I'm hoping he'll kind of rest and pick up.
Maybe he will now you're home. You always cheer him up."

Anne leaned across the table and took Marilla's face in
her hands.

"You are not looking as well yourself as I'd like to see
you, Marilla. You look tired. I'm afraid you've been
working too hard. You must take a rest, now that I'm home.
I'm just going to take this one day off to visit all the dear
old spots and hunt up my old dreams, and then it will be
your turn to be lazy while I do the work."

Marilla smiled affectionately at her girl.

"It's not the work--it's my head. I've got a pain so often
now--behind my eyes. Doctor Spencer's been fussing with
glasses, but they don't do me any good. There is a distin-
guished oculist coming to the Island the last of June and
the doctor says I must see him. I guess I'll have to.
I can't read or sew with any comfort now. Well, Anne, you've
done real well at Queen's I must say. To take First Class
License in one year and win the Avery scholarship--well,
well, Mrs. Lynde says pride goes before a fall and she
doesn't believe in the higher education of women at all;
she says it unfits them for woman's true sphere. I don't
believe a word of it. Speaking of Rachel reminds me--did
you hear anything about the Abbey Bank lately, Anne?"

"I heard it was shaky," answered Anne. "Why?"

"That is what Rachel said. She was up here one day last
week and said there was some talk about it. Matthew felt
real worried. All we have saved is in that bank--every
penny. I wanted Matthew to put it in the Savings Bank in
the first place, but old Mr. Abbey was a great friend of
father's and he'd always banked with him. Matthew said any
bank with him at the head of it was good enough for anybody."

"I think he has only been its nominal head for many
years," said Anne. "He is a very old man; his nephews
are really at the head of the institution."

"Well, when Rachel told us that, I wanted Matthew to draw
our money right out and he said he'd think of it. But
Mr. Russell told him yesterday that the bank was all right."

Anne had her good day in the companionship of the outdoor world.
She never forgot that day; it was so bright and golden and fair,
so free from shadow and so lavish of blossom. Anne spent some
of its rich hours in the orchard; she went to the Dryad's Bubble
and Willowmere and Violet Vale; she called at the manse and had
a satisfying talk with Mrs. Allan; and finally in the evening
she went with Matthew for the cows, through Lovers' Lane to the
back pasture. The woods were all gloried through with sunset
and the warm splendor of it streamed down through the hill gaps
in the west. Matthew walked slowly with bent head; Anne, tall
and erect, suited her springing step to his.

"You've been working too hard today, Matthew," she said
reproachfully. "Why won't you take things easier?"

"Well now, I can't seem to," said Matthew, as he opened
the yard gate to let the cows through. "It's only that I'm
getting old, Anne, and keep forgetting it. Well, well, I've
always worked pretty hard and I'd rather drop in harness."

"If I had been the boy you sent for," said Anne wistfully,
"I'd be able to help you so much now and spare you in a
hundred ways. I could find it in my heart to wish I had
been, just for that."

"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne,"
said Matthew patting her hand. "Just mind you that--
rather than a dozen boys. Well now, I guess it wasn't
a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was
a girl--my girl--my girl that I'm proud of."

He smiled his shy smile at her as he went into the yard.
Anne took the memory of it with her when she went to her
room that night and sat for a long while at her open window,
thinking of the past and dreaming of the future.
Outside the Snow Queen was mistily white in the moonshine;
the frogs were singing in the marsh beyond Orchard Slope.
Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and
fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before
sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same
again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.

CHAPTER XXXVII

The Reaper Whose Name Is Death

"Matthew--Matthew--what is the matter? Matthew, are you sick?"

It was Marilla who spoke, alarm in every jerky word. Anne
came through the hall, her hands full of white narcissus,--it
was long before Anne could love the sight or odor of white
narcissus again,--in time to hear her and to see Matthew
standing in the porch doorway, a folded paper in his hand,
and his face strangely drawn and gray. Anne dropped her flowers
and sprang across the kitchen to him at the same moment as
Marilla. They were both too late; before they could reach him
Matthew had fallen across the threshold.

"He's fainted," gasped Marilla. "Anne, run for Martin--
quick, quick! He's at the barn."

Martin, the hired man, who had just driven home from
the post office, started at once for the doctor, calling at
Orchard Slope on his way to send Mr. and Mrs. Barry over.
Mrs. Lynde, who was there on an errand, came too. They
found Anne and Marilla distractedly trying to restore
Matthew to consciousness.

Mrs. Lynde pushed them gently aside, tried his pulse,
and then laid her ear over his heart. She looked at their
anxious faces sorrowfully and the tears came into her eyes.

"Oh, Marilla," she said gravely. "I don't think--we can do
anything for him."

"Mrs. Lynde, you don't think--you can't think Matthew is-- is--"
Anne could not say the dreadful word; she turned sick and pallid.

"Child, yes, I'm afraid of it. Look at his face. When you've
seen that look as often as I have you'll know what it means."

Anne looked at the still face and there beheld the seal of
the Great Presence.

When the doctor came he said that death had been instantaneous
and probably painless, caused in all likelihood by some sudden shock.
The secret of the shock was discovered to be in the paper Matthew
had held and which Martin had brought from the office that morning.
It contained an account of the failure of the Abbey Bank.

The news spread quickly through Avonlea, and all day
friends and neighbors thronged Green Gables and came
and went on errands of kindness for the dead and living.
For the first time shy, quiet Matthew Cuthbert was a
person of central importance; the white majesty of death
had fallen on him and set him apart as one crowned.

When the calm night came softly down over Green Gables
the old house was hushed and tranquil. In the parlor lay
Matthew Cuthbert in his coffin, his long gray hair framing
his placid face on which there was a little kindly smile
as if he but slept, dreaming pleasant dreams. There were
flowers about him--sweet old-fashioned flowers which his mother
had planted in the homestead garden in her bridal days and
for which Matthew had always had a secret, wordless love.
Anne had gathered them and brought them to him, her anguished,
tearless eyes burning in her white face. It was the last thing
she could do for him.

The Barrys and Mrs. Lynde stayed with them that night.
Diana, going to the east gable, where Anne was standing
at her window, said gently:

"Anne dear, would you like to have me sleep with you tonight?"

"Thank you, Diana." Anne looked earnestly into her friend's face.
"I think you won't misunderstand me when I say I want to be alone.
I'm not afraid. I haven't been alone one minute since it happened--
and I want to be. I want to be quite silent and quiet and try to
realize it. I can't realize it. Half the time it seems to me that
Matthew can't be dead; and the other half it seems as if he must
have been dead for a long time and I've had this horrible
dull ache ever since."

Diana did not quite understand. Marilla's impassioned grief,
breaking all the bounds of natural reserve and lifelong habit
in its stormy rush, she could comprehend better than Anne's
tearless agony. But she went away kindly, leaving Anne alone
to keep her first vigil with sorrow.

Anne hoped that the tears would come in solitude. It seemed
to her a terrible thing that she could not shed a tear for
Matthew, whom she had loved so much and who had been
so kind to her, Matthew who had walked with her last
evening at sunset and was now lying in the dim room
below with that awful peace on his brow. But no tears
came at first, even when she knelt by her window in the
darkness and prayed, looking up to the stars beyond the
hills--no tears, only the same horrible dull ache of
misery that kept on aching until she fell asleep,
worn out with the day's pain and excitement.

In the night she awakened, with the stillness and the
darkness about her, and the recollection of the day came
over her like a wave of sorrow. She could see Matthew's
face smiling at her as he had smiled when they parted at
the gate that last evening--she could hear his voice saying,
"My girl--my girl that I'm proud of." Then the tears came
and Anne wept her heart out. Marilla heard her and crept
in to comfort her.

"There--there--don't cry so, dearie. It can't bring him back.
It--it--isn't right to cry so. I knew that today, but I
couldn't help it then. He'd always been such a good,
kind brother to me--but God knows best."

"Oh, just let me cry, Marilla," sobbed Anne. "The tears
don't hurt me like that ache did. Stay here for a little
while with me and keep your arm round me--so. I couldn't
have Diana stay, she's good and kind and sweet--but it's
not her sorrow--she's outside of it and she couldn't come
close enough to my heart to help me. It's our sorrow--
yours and mine. Oh, Marilla, what will we do without him?"

"We've got each other, Anne. I don't know what I'd do
if you weren't here--if you'd never come. Oh, Anne, I
know I've been kind of strict and harsh with you maybe--
but you mustn't think I didn't love you as well as Matthew
did, for all that. I want to tell you now when I can. It's
never been easy for me to say things out of my heart, but
at times like this it's easier. I love you as dear as if
you were my own flesh and blood and you've been my joy and
comfort ever since you came to Green Gables."

Two days afterwards they carried Matthew Cuthbert
over his homestead threshold and away from the fields he
had tilled and the orchards he had loved and the trees he
had planted; and then Avonlea settled back to its usual
placidity and even at Green Gables affairs slipped into
their old groove and work was done and duties fulfilled
with regularity as before, although always with the aching
sense of "loss in all familiar things." Anne, new to grief,
thought it almost sad that it could be so--that they COULD
go on in the old way without Matthew. She felt something
like shame and remorse when she discovered that the
sunrises behind the firs and the pale pink buds opening in
the garden gave her the old inrush of gladness when she
saw them--that Diana's visits were pleasant to her and
that Diana's merry words and ways moved her to laughter
and smiles--that, in brief, the beautiful world of blossom
and love and friendship had lost none of its power to
please her fancy and thrill her heart, that life still
called to her with many insistent voices.

"It seems like disloyalty to Matthew, somehow, to find
pleasure in these things now that he has gone," she said
wistfully to Mrs. Allan one evening when they were together
in the manse garden. "I miss him so much--all the time--
and yet, Mrs. Allan, the world and life seem very beautiful
and interesting to me for all. Today Diana said something
funny and I found myself laughing. I thought when it
happened I could never laugh again. And it somehow seems
as if I oughtn't to."

"When Matthew was here he liked to hear you laugh
and he liked to know that you found pleasure in the
pleasant things around you," said Mrs. Allan gently.
"He is just away now; and he likes to know it just the same.
I am sure we should not shut our hearts against the healing
influences that nature offers us. But I can understand
your feeling. I think we all experience the same thing.
We resent the thought that anything can please us when someone
we love is no longer here to share the pleasure with us,
and we almost feel as if we were unfaithful to our sorrow
when we find our interest in life returning to us."

"I was down to the graveyard to plant a rosebush on
Matthew's grave this afternoon," said Anne dreamily.
"I took a slip of the little white Scotch rosebush his
mother brought out from Scotland long ago; Matthew always
liked those roses the best--they were so small and sweet on
their thorny stems. It made me feel glad that I could plant
it by his grave--as if I were doing something that must please
him in taking it there to be near him. I hope he has roses
like them in heaven. Perhaps the souls of all those little
white roses that he has loved so many summers were all there
to meet him. I must go home now. Marilla is all alone and
she gets lonely at twilight."

"She will be lonelier still, I fear, when you go away again
to college," said Mrs. Allan.

Anne did not reply; she said good night and went slowly
back to green Gables. Marilla was sitting on the front
door-steps and Anne sat down beside her. The door was
open behind them, held back by a big pink conch shell
with hints of sea sunsets in its smooth inner convolutions.

Anne gathered some sprays of pale-yellow honeysuckle and put
them in her hair. She liked the delicious hint of fragrance,
as some aerial benediction, above her every time she moved.

"Doctor Spencer was here while you were away," Marilla said.
"He says that the specialist will be in town tomorrow
and he insists that I must go in and have my eyes examined.
I suppose I'd better go and have it over. I'll be more
than thankful if the man can give me the right kind of
glasses to suit my eyes. You won't mind staying here alone
while I'm away, will you? Martin will have to drive me in
and there's ironing and baking to do."

"I shall be all right. Diana will come over for company
for me. I shall attend to the ironing and baking beautifully--
you needn't fear that I'll starch the handkerchiefs or flavor
the cake with liniment."

Marilla laughed.

"What a girl you were for making mistakes in them days, Anne.
You were always getting into scrapes. I did use to think you
were possessed. Do you mind the time you dyed your hair?"

"Yes, indeed. I shall never forget it," smiled Anne,
touching the heavy braid of hair that was wound about her
shapely head. "I laugh a little now sometimes when I
think what a worry my hair used to be to me--but I don't
laugh MUCH, because it was a very real trouble then.
I did suffer terribly over my hair and my freckles.
My freckles are really gone; and people are nice enough
to tell me my hair is auburn now--all but Josie Pye.
She informed me yesterday that she really thought it
was redder than ever, or at least my black dress made
it look redder, and she asked me if people who had red
hair ever got used to having it. Marilla, I've almost
decided to give up trying to like Josie Pye. I've made
what I would once have called a heroic effort to like her,
but Josie Pye won't BE liked."

"Josie is a Pye," said Marilla sharply, "so she can't help
being disagreeable. I suppose people of that kind serve
some useful purpose in society, but I must say I don't
know what it is any more than I know the use of thistles.
Is Josie going to teach?"

"No, she is going back to Queen's next year. So are
Moody Spurgeon and Charlie Sloane. Jane and Ruby are
going to teach and they have both got schools--Jane at
Newbridge and Ruby at some place up west."

"Gilbert Blythe is going to teach too, isn't he?"

"Yes"--briefly.

"What a nice-looking fellow he is," said Marilla absently.
"I saw him in church last Sunday and he seemed so tall and manly.
He looks a lot like his father did at the same age. John Blythe
was a nice boy. We used to be real good friends, he and I.
People called him my beau."

Anne looked up with swift interest.

"Oh, Marilla--and what happened?--why didn't you--"

"We had a quarrel. I wouldn't forgive him when he asked me to.
I meant to, after awhile--but I was sulky and angry and I wanted
to punish him first. He never came back--the Blythes were all
mighty independent. But I always felt--rather sorry. I've always
kind of wished I'd forgiven him when I had the chance."

"So you've had a bit of romance in your life, too," said Anne softly.

"Yes, I suppose you might call it that. You wouldn't think so
to look at me, would you? But you never can tell about people
from their outsides. Everybody has forgot about me and John.
I'd forgotten myself. But it all came back to me when I saw
Gilbert last Sunday."

CHAPTER XXXVIII

The Bend in the road

Marilla went to town the next day and returned in the
evening. Anne had gone over to Orchard Slope with Diana
and came back to find Marilla in the kitchen, sitting
by the table with her head leaning on her hand. Something
in her dejected attitude struck a chill to Anne's heart.
She had never seen Marilla sit limply inert like that.

"Are you very tired, Marilla?"

"Yes--no--I don't know," said Marilla wearily, looking
up. "I suppose I am tired but I haven't thought about it.
It's not that."

"Did you see the oculist? What did he say?" asked Anne
anxiously.

"Yes, I saw him. He examined my eyes. He says that if
I give up all reading and sewing entirely and any kind of
work that strains the eyes, and if I'm careful not to cry,
and if I wear the glasses he's given me he thinks my eyes
may not get any worse and my headaches will be cured. But
if I don't he says I'll certainly be stone-blind in six
months. Blind! Anne, just think of it!"

For a minute Anne, after her first quick exclamation of
dismay, was silent. It seemed to her that she could NOT
speak. Then she said bravely, but with a catch in her voice:

"Marilla, DON'T think of it. You know he has given you hope.
If you are careful you won't lose your sight altogether;
and if his glasses cure your headaches it will be a great thing."

"I don't call it much hope," said Marilla bitterly. "What
am I to live for if I can't read or sew or do anything like
that? I might as well be blind--or dead. And as for crying,
I can't help that when I get lonesome. But there, it's no
good talking about it. If you'll get me a cup of tea I'll be
thankful. I'm about done out. Don't say anything about this
to any one for a spell yet, anyway. I can't bear that folks
should come here to question and sympathize and talk about it."

When Marilla had eaten her lunch Anne persuaded her to go
to bed. Then Anne went herself to the east gable and sat
down by her window in the darkness alone with her tears
and her heaviness of heart. How sadly things had changed
since she had sat there the night after coming home! Then
she had been full of hope and joy and the future had looked
rosy with promise. Anne felt as if she had lived years
since then, but before she went to bed there was a smile on
her lips and peace in her heart. She had looked her duty
courageously in the face and found it a friend--as duty ever
is when we meet it frankly.

One afternoon a few days later Marilla came slowly in
from the front yard where she had been talking to a caller--
a man whom Anne knew by sight as Sadler from Carmody.
Anne wondered what he could have been saying to bring that
look to Marilla's face.

"What did Mr. Sadler want, Marilla?"

Marilla sat down by the window and looked at Anne.
There were tears in her eyes in defiance of the oculist's
prohibition and her voice broke as she said:

"He heard that I was going to sell Green Gables and
he wants to buy it."

"Buy it! Buy Green Gables?" Anne wondered if she had heard aright.
"Oh, Marilla, you don't mean to sell Green Gables!"

"Anne, I don't know what else is to be done. I've thought
it all over. If my eyes were strong I could stay here
and make out to look after things and manage, with a good
hired man. But as it is I can't. I may lose my sight
altogether; and anyway I'll not be fit to run things.
Oh, I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd have
to sell my home. But things would only go behind worse and
worse all the time, till nobody would want to buy it.
Every cent of our money went in that bank; and there's
some notes Matthew gave last fall to pay. Mrs. Lynde
advises me to sell the farm and board somewhere--with
her I suppose. It won't bring much--it's small and the
buildings are old. But it'll be enough for me to live on
I reckon. I'm thankful you're provided for with that
scholarship, Anne. I'm sorry you won't have a home to
come to in your vacations, that's all, but I suppose you'll
manage somehow."

Marilla broke down and wept bitterly.

"You mustn't sell Green Gables," said Anne resolutely.

"Oh, Anne, I wish I didn't have to. But you can see for yourself.
I can't stay here alone. I'd go crazy with trouble and loneliness.
And my sight would go--I know it would."

"You won't have to stay here alone, Marilla. I'll be with you.
I'm not going to Redmond."

"Not going to Redmond!" Marilla lifted her worn face
from her hands and looked at Anne. "Why, what do you mean?"

"Just what I say. I'm not going to take the scholarship.
I decided so the night after you came home from town. You
surely don't think I could leave you alone in your trouble,
Marilla, after all you've done for me. I've been thinking
and planning. Let me tell you my plans. Mr. Barry wants
to rent the farm for next year. So you won't have any
bother over that. And I'm going to teach. I've applied
for the school here--but I don't expect to get it for I
understand the trustees have promised it to Gilbert Blythe.
But I can have the Carmody school--Mr. Blair told me so last
night at the store. Of course that won't be quite as nice
or convenient as if I had the Avonlea school. But I can board
home and drive myself over to Carmody and back, in the
warm weather at least. And even in winter I can come home
Fridays. We'll keep a horse for that. Oh, I have it all
planned out, Marilla. And I'll read to you and keep you
cheered up. You sha'n't be dull or lonesome. And we'll be
real cozy and happy here together, you and I."

Marilla had listened like a woman in a dream.

"Oh, Anne, I could get on real well if you were here, I know.
But I can't let you sacrifice yourself so for me. It would be terrible."

"Nonsense!" Anne laughed merrily. "There is no sacrifice.
Nothing could be worse than giving up Green Gables--nothing
could hurt me more. We must keep the dear old place.
My mind is quite made up, Marilla. I'm NOT going
to Redmond; and I AM going to stay here and teach.
Don't you worry about me a bit."

"But your ambitions--and--"

"I'm just as ambitious as ever. Only, I've changed the
object of my ambitions. I'm going to be a good teacher--
and I'm going to save your eyesight. Besides, I mean to study
at home here and take a little college course all by myself.
Oh, I've dozens of plans, Marilla. I've been thinking them
out for a week. I shall give life here my best, and I believe
it will give its best to me in return. When I left Queen's
my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road.
I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there
is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend,
but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a
fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how
the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft,
checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new
beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on."

"I don't feel as if I ought to let you give it up," said Marilla,
referring to the scholarship.

"But you can't prevent me. I'm sixteen and a half, `obstinate
as a mule,' as Mrs. Lynde once told me," laughed Anne.
"Oh, Marilla, don't you go pitying me. I don't like
to be pitied, and there is no need for it. I'm heart glad
over the very thought of staying at dear Green Gables.
Nobody could love it as you and I do--so we must keep it."

"You blessed girl!" said Marilla, yielding. "I feel as if
you'd given me new life. I guess I ought to stick out and
make you go to college--but I know I can't, so I ain't
going to try. I'll make it up to you though, Anne."

When it became noised abroad in Avonlea that Anne
Shirley had given up the idea of going to college and
intended to stay home and teach there was a good deal of
discussion over it. Most of the good folks, not knowing
about Marilla's eyes, thought she was foolish. Mrs. Allan
did not. She told Anne so in approving words that brought
tears of pleasure to the girl's eyes. Neither did good
Mrs. Lynde. She came up one evening and found Anne and Marilla
sitting at the front door in the warm, scented summer dusk.
They liked to sit there when the twilight came down and the
white moths flew about in the garden and the odor of mint
filled the dewy air.

Mrs. Rachel deposited her substantial person upon the
stone bench by the door, behind which grew a row of tall
pink and yellow hollyhocks, with a long breath of mingled
weariness and relief.

"I declare I'm getting glad to sit down. I've been on my feet
all day, and two hundred pounds is a good bit for two feet to
carry round. It's a great blessing not to be fat, Marilla.
I hope you appreciate it. Well, Anne, I hear you've given up
your notion of going to college. I was real glad to hear it.
You've got as much education now as a woman can be comfortable
with. I don't believe in girls going to college with the men and
cramming their heads full of Latin and Greek and all that nonsense."

"But I'm going to study Latin and Greek just the same,
Mrs. Lynde," said Anne laughing. "I'm going to take my
Arts course right here at Green Gables, and study everything
that I would at college."

Mrs. Lynde lifted her hands in holy horror.

"Anne Shirley, you'll kill yourself."

"Not a bit of it. I shall thrive on it. Oh, I'm not going
to overdo things. As `Josiah Allen's wife,' says, I shall
be `mejum'. But I'll have lots of spare time in the long
winter evenings, and I've no vocation for fancy work.
I'm going to teach over at Carmody, you know."

"I don't know it. I guess you're going to teach right here
in Avonlea. The trustees have decided to give you the school."

"Mrs. Lynde!" cried Anne, springing to her feet in her surprise.
"Why, I thought they had promised it to Gilbert Blythe!"

"So they did. But as soon as Gilbert heard that you had
applied for it he went to them--they had a business meeting
at the school last night, you know--and told them that he
withdrew his application, and suggested that they accept yours.
He said he was going to teach at White Sands. Of course he
knew how much you wanted to stay with Marilla, and I must say
I think it was real kind and thoughtful in him, that's what.
Real self-sacrificing, too, for he'll have his board to pay
at White Sands, and everybody knows he's got to earn his own
way through college. So the trustees decided to take you.
I was tickled to death when Thomas came home and told me."

"I don't feel that I ought to take it," murmured Anne.
"I mean--I don't think I ought to let Gilbert make such
a sacrifice for--for me."

"I guess you can't prevent him now. He's signed papers with
the White Sands trustees. So it wouldn't do him any good now
if you were to refuse. Of course you'll take the school.
You'll get along all right, now that there are no Pyes going.
Josie was the last of them, and a good thing she was, that's what.
There's been some Pye or other going to Avonlea school for the
last twenty years, and I guess their mission in life was to
keep school teachers reminded that earth isn't their home.
Bless my heart! What does all that winking and blinking
at the Barry gable mean?"

"Diana is signaling for me to go over," laughed Anne.
"You know we keep up the old custom. Excuse me while I
run over and see what she wants."

Anne ran down the clover slope like a deer, and disappeared
in the firry shadows of the Haunted Wood. Mrs. Lynde looked
after her indulgently.

"There's a good deal of the child about her yet in some ways."

"There's a good deal more of the woman about her in others,"
retorted Marilla, with a momentary return of her old crispness.

But crispness was no longer Marilla's distinguishing
characteristic. As Mrs. Lynde told her Thomas that night.

"Marilla Cuthbert has got MELLOW. That's what."

Anne went to the little Avonlea graveyard the next
evening to put fresh flowers on Matthew's grave and water
the Scotch rosebush. She lingered there until dusk, liking
the peace and calm of the little place, with its poplars
whose rustle was like low, friendly speech, and its
whispering grasses growing at will among the graves.
When she finally left it and walked down the long hill that
sloped to the Lake of Shining Waters it was past sunset and
all Avonlea lay before her in a dreamlike afterlight--
"a haunt of ancient peace." There was a freshness in the air
as of a wind that had blown over honey-sweet fields of clover.
Home lights twinkled out here and there among the homestead
trees. Beyond lay the sea, misty and purple, with its
haunting, unceasing murmur. The west was a glory of soft
mingled hues, and the pond reflected them all in still
softer shadings. The beauty of it all thrilled Anne's heart,
and she gratefully opened the gates of her soul to it.

"Dear old world," she murmured, "you are very lovely,
and I am glad to be alive in you."

Halfway down the hill a tall lad came whistling out of a
gate before the Blythe homestead. It was Gilbert, and the
whistle died on his lips as he recognized Anne. He lifted
his cap courteously, but he would have passed on in
silence, if Anne had not stopped and held out her hand.

"Gilbert," she said, with scarlet cheeks, "I want to
thank you for giving up the school for me. It was very
good of you--and I want you to know that I appreciate it."

Gilbert took the offered hand eagerly.

"It wasn't particularly good of me at all, Anne. I was
pleased to be able to do you some small service. Are we
going to be friends after this? Have you really forgiven
me my old fault?"

Anne laughed and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw her hand.

"I forgave you that day by the pond landing, although
I didn't know it. What a stubborn little goose I was.
I've been--I may as well make a complete confession--I've
been sorry ever since."

"We are going to be the best of friends," said Gilbert,
jubilantly. "We were born to be good friends, Anne.
You've thwarted destiny enough. I know we can help each
other in many ways. You are going to keep up your studies,
aren't you? So am I. Come, I'm going to walk home with you."

Marilla looked curiously at Anne when the latter entered
the kitchen.

"Who was that came up the lane with you, Anne?"

"Gilbert Blythe," answered Anne, vexed to find herself
blushing. "I met him on Barry's hill."

"I didn't think you and Gilbert Blythe were such good
friends that you'd stand for half an hour at the gate
talking to him," said Marilla with a dry smile.

"We haven't been--we've been good enemies. But we
have decided that it will be much more sensible to be
good friends in the future. Were we really there half an
hour? It seemed just a few minutes. But, you see, we have
five years' lost conversations to catch up with, Marilla."

Anne sat long at her window that night companioned by
a glad content. The wind purred softly in the cherry
boughs, and the mint breaths came up to her. The stars
twinkled over the pointed firs in the hollow and Diana's
light gleamed through the old gap.

Anne's horizons had closed in since the night she had
sat there after coming home from Queen's; but if the path
set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers
of quiet happiness would bloom along it. The joy of
sincere work and worthy aspiration and congenial friendship
were to be hers; nothing could rob her of her birthright
of fancy or her ideal world of dreams. And there was always
the bend in the road!

"`God's in his heaven, all's right with the world,'"
whispered Anne softly.

***

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