Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Part 3 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

like walking with a lantern. I have always the
strangest feeling that just outside the circle of
light, just over its edge in the darkness, I am
surrounded by a ring of furtive, sinister things,
watching me from the shadows with hostile eyes. I've
had that feeling from childhood. What is the reason?
I never feel like that when I'm really in the
darkness--when it is close all around me--I'm not the
least frightened."

"I've something of that feeling myself," admitted
Captain Jim. "I reckon when the darkness is close to
us it is a friend. But when we sorter push it away
from us--divorce ourselves from it, so to speak, with
lantern light--it becomes an enemy. But the fog is
lifting.

There's a smart west wind rising, if you notice. The
stars will be out when you get home."

They were out; and when Anne re-entered her house of
dreams the red embers were still glowing on the hearth,
and all the haunting presences were gone.

CHAPTER 14

NOVEMBER DAYS

The splendor of color which had glowed for weeks along
the shores of Four Winds Harbor had faded out into the
soft gray-blue of late autumnal hills. There came many
days when fields and shores were dim with misty rain,
or shivering before the breath of a melancholy
sea-wind--nights, too, of storm and tempest, when Anne
sometimes wakened to pray that no ship might be beating
up the grim north shore, for if it were so not even the
great, faithful light whirling through the darkness
unafraid, could avail to guide it into safe haven.

"In November I sometimes feel as if spring could never
come again," she sighed, grieving over the hopeless
unsightliness of her frosted and bedraggled
flower-plots. The gay little garden of the
schoolmaster's bride was rather a forlorn place now,
and the Lombardies and birches were under bare poles,
as Captain Jim said. But the fir-wood behind the
little house was forever green and staunch; and even in
November and December there came gracious days of
sunshine and purple hazes, when the harbor danced and
sparkled as blithely as in midsummer, and the gulf was
so softly blue and tender that the storm and the wild
wind seemed only things of a long-past dream.

Anne and Gilbert spent many an autumn evening at the
lighthouse. It was always a cheery place. Even when
the east wind sang in minor and the sea was dead and
gray, hints of sunshine seemed to be lurking all about
it. Perhaps this was because the First Mate always
paraded it in panoply of gold. He was so large and
effulgent that one hardly missed the sun, and his
resounding purrs formed a pleasant accompaniment to
the laughter and conversation which went on around
Captain Jim's fireplace. Captain Jim and Gilbert had
many long discussions and high converse on matters
beyond the ken of cat or king.

"I like to ponder on all kinds of problems, though I
can't solve 'em," said Captain Jim. "My father held
that we should never talk of things we couldn't
understand, but if we didn't, doctor, the subjects for
conversation would be mighty few. I reckon the gods
laugh many a time to hear us, but what matters so long
as we remember that we're only men and don't take to
fancying that we're gods ourselves, really, knowing
good and evil. I reckon our pow- wows won't do us or
anyone much harm, so let's have another whack at the
whence, why and whither this evening, doctor."

While they "whacked," Anne listened or dreamed.
Sometimes Leslie went to the lighthouse with them, and
she and Anne wandered along the shore in the eerie
twilight, or sat on the rocks below the lighthouse
until the darkness drove them back to the cheer of the
driftwood fire. Then Captain Jim would brew them tea
and tell them

"tales of land and sea And whatsoever might
betide The great forgotten world outside."

Leslie seemed always to enjoy those lighthouse
carousals very much, and bloomed out for the time being
into ready wit and beautiful laughter, or glowing-eyed
silence. There was a certain tang and savor in the
conversation when Leslie was present which they missed
when she was absent. Even when she did not talk she
seemed to inspire others to brilliancy. Captain Jim
told his stories better, Gilbert was quicker in
argument and repartee, Anne felt little gushes and
trickles of fancy and imagination bubbling to her lips
under the influence of Leslie's personality.

"That girl was born to be a leader in social and
intellectual circles, far away from Four Winds," she
said to Gilbert as they walked home one night. "She's
just wasted here--wasted."

"Weren't you listening to Captain Jim and yours truly
the other night when we discussed that subject
generally? We came to the comforting conclusion that
the Creator probably knew how to run His universe quite
as well as we do, and that, after all, there are no
such things as `wasted' lives, saving and except when
an individual wilfully squanders and wastes his own
life--which Leslie Moore certainly hasn't done. And
some people might think that a Redmond B.A., whom
editors were beginning to honor, was `wasted' as the
wife of a struggling country doctor in the rural
community of Four Winds."

"Gilbert!"

"If you had married Roy Gardner, now," continued
Gilbert mercilessly, "YOU could have been `a leader in
social and intellectual circles far away from Four
Winds.'"

"Gilbert BLYTHE!"

"You KNOW you were in love with him at one time,
Anne."

"Gilbert, that's mean--`pisen mean, just like all the
men,' as Miss Cornelia says. I NEVER was in love with
him. I only imagined I was. YOU know that. You KNOW
I'd rather be your wife in our house of dreams and
fulfillment than a queen in a palace."

Gilbert's answer was not in words; but I am afraid that
both of them forgot poor Leslie speeding her lonely way
across the fields to a house that was neither a palace
nor the fulfillment of a dream.

The moon was rising over the sad, dark sea behind them
and transfiguring it. Her light had not yet reached
the harbor, the further side of which was shadowy and
suggestive, with dim coves and rich glooms and
jewelling lights.

"How the home lights shine out tonight through the
dark!" said Anne. "That string of them over the
harbor looks like a necklace. And what a coruscation
there is up at the Glen! Oh, look, Gilbert; there is
ours. I'm so glad we left it burning. I hate to come
home to a dark house. OUR homelight, Gilbert! Isn't
it lovely to see?"

"Just one of earth's many millions of homes,
Anne--girl--but ours-- OURS--our beacon in `a naughty
world.' When a fellow has a home and a dear, little,
red-haired wife in it what more need he ask of life?"

"Well, he might ask ONE thing more," whispered Anne
happily. "Oh, Gilbert, it seems as if I just COULDN'T
wait for the spring."

CHAPTER 15

CHRISTMAS AT FOUR WINDS

At first Anne and Gilbert talked of going home to
Avonlea for Christmas; but eventually they decided to
stay in Four Winds. "I want to spend the first
Christmas of our life together in our own home,"
decreed Anne.

So it fell out that Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde and
the twins came to Four Winds for Christmas. Marilla
had the face of a woman who had circumnavigated the
globe. She had never been sixty miles away from home
before; and she had never eaten a Christmas dinner
anywhere save at Green Gables.

Mrs. Rachel had made and brought with her an enormous
plum pudding. Nothing could have convinced Mrs. Rachel
that a college graduate of the younger generation could
make a Christmas plum pudding properly; but she
bestowed approval on Anne's house.

"Anne's a good housekeeper," she said to Marilla in
the spare room the night of their arrival. "I've
looked into her bread box and her scrap pail. I always
judge a housekeeper by those, that's what. There's
nothing in the pail that shouldn't have been thrown
away, and no stale pieces in the bread box. Of course,
she was trained up with you--but, then, she went to
college afterwards. I notice she's got my tobacco
stripe quilt on the bed here, and that big round
braided mat of yours before her living-room fire. It
makes me feel right at home."

Anne's first Christmas in her own house was as
delightful as she could have wished. The day was fine
and bright; the first skim of snow had fallen on
Christmas Eve and made the world beautiful; the harbor
was still open and glittering.

Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia came to dinner. Leslie
and Dick had been invited, but Leslie made excuse; they
always went to her Uncle Isaac West's for Christmas,
she said.

"She'd rather have it so," Miss Cornelia told Anne.
"She can't bear taking Dick where there are strangers.
Christmas is always a hard time for Leslie. She and
her father used to make a lot of it."

Miss Cornelia and Mrs. Rachel did not take a very
violent fancy to each other. "Two suns hold not their
courses in one sphere." But they did not clash at
all, for Mrs. Rachel was in the kitchen helping Anne
and Marilla with the dinner, and it fell to Gilbert to
entertain Captain Jim and Miss Cornelia,--or rather to
be entertained by them, for a dialogue between those
two old friends and antagonists was assuredly never
dull.

"It's many a year since there was a Christmas dinner
here, Mistress Blythe," said Captain Jim. "Miss
Russell always went to her friends in town for
Christmas. But I was here to the first Christmas
dinner that was ever eaten in this house--and the
schoolmaster's bride cooked it. That was sixty years
ago today, Mistress Blythe--and a day very like
this--just enough snow to make the hills white, and the
harbor as blue as June. I was only a lad, and I'd
never been invited out to dinner before, and I was too
shy to eat enough. I've got all over THAT."

"Most men do," said Miss Cornelia, sewing furiously.
Miss Cornelia was not going to sit with idle hands,
even on Christmas.

Babies come without any consideration for holidays, and
there was one expected in a poverty-stricken household
at Glen St. Mary. Miss Cornelia had sent that
household a substantial dinner for its little swarm,
and so meant to eat her own with a comfortable
conscience.

"Well, you know, the way to a man's heart is through
his stomach, Cornelia," explained Captain Jim.

"I believe you--when he HAS a heart," retorted Miss
Cornelia. "I suppose that's why so many women kill
themselves cooking--just as poor Amelia Baxter did.
She died last Christmas morning, and she said it was
the first Christmas since she was married that she
didn't have to cook a big, twenty-plate dinner. It
must have been a real pleasant change for her. Well,
she's been dead a year, so you'll soon hear of Horace
Baxter taking notice."

"I heard he was taking notice already," said Captain
Jim, winking at Gilbert. "Wasn't he up to your place
one Sunday lately, with his funeral blacks on, and a
boiled collar?"

"No, he wasn't. And he needn't come neither. I could
have had him long ago when he was fresh. I don't want
any second-hand goods, believe ME. As for Horace
Baxter, he was in financial difficulties a year ago
last summer, and he prayed to the Lord for help; and
when his wife died and he got her life insurance he
said he believed it was the answer to his prayer.
Wasn't that like a man?"

"Have you really proof that he said that, Cornelia?"

"I have the Methodist minister's word for it--if you
call THAT proof. Robert Baxter told me the same thing
too, but I admit THAT isn't evidence. Robert Baxter
isn't often known to tell the truth."

"Come, come, Cornelia, I think he generally tells the
truth, but he changes his opinion so often it sometimes
sounds as if he didn't."

"It sounds like it mighty often, believe ME. But trust
one man to excuse another. I have no use for Robert
Baxter. He turned Methodist just because the
Presbyterian choir happened to be singing `Behold the
bridegroom cometh' for a collection piece when him and
Margaret walked up the aisle the Sunday after they were
married. Served him right for being late! He always
insisted the choir did it on purpose to insult him, as
if he was of that much importance. But that family
always thought they were much bigger potatoes than they
really were. His brother Eliphalet imagined the devil
was always at his elbow--but _I_ never believed the
devil wasted that much time on him."

"I--don't--know," said Captain Jim thoughtfully.
"Eliphalet Baxter lived too much alone--hadn't even a
cat or dog to keep him human. When a man is alone he's
mighty apt to be with the devil--if he ain't with God.
He has to choose which company he'll keep, I reckon.
If the devil always was at Life Baxter's elbow it must
have been because Life liked to have him there."

"Man-like," said Miss Cornelia, and subsided into
silence over a complicated arrangement of tucks until
Captain Jim deliberately stirred her up again by
remarking in a casual way:

"I was up to the Methodist church last Sunday
morning."

"You'd better have been home reading your Bible," was
Miss Cornelia's retort.

"Come, now, Cornelia, _I_ can't see any harm in going
to the Methodist church when there's no preaching in
your own. I've been a Presbyterian for seventy-six
years, and it isn't likely my theology will hoist
anchor at this late day."

"It's setting a bad example," said Miss Cornelia
grimly.

"Besides," continued wicked Captain Jim, "I wanted to
hear some good singing. The Methodists have a good
choir; and you can't deny, Cornelia, that the singing
in our church is awful since the split in the choir."

"What if the singing isn't good? They're doing their
best, and God sees no difference between the voice of a
crow and the voice of a nightingale."

"Come, come, Cornelia," said Captain Jim mildly, "I've
a better opinion of the Almighty's ear for music than
THAT."

"What caused the trouble in our choir?" asked Gilbert,
who was suffering from suppressed laughter.

"It dates back to the new church, three years ago,"
answered Captain Jim. "We had a fearful time over the
building of that church--fell out over the question of
a new site. The two sites wasn't more'n two hundred
yards apart, but you'd have thought they was a thousand
by the bitterness of that fight. We was split up into
three factions--one wanted the east site and one the
south, and one held to the old. It was fought out in
bed and at board, and in church and at market. All
the old scandals of three generations were dragged out
of their graves and aired. Three matches was broken up
by it. And the meetings we had to try to settle the
question! Cornelia, will you ever forget the one when
old Luther Burns got up and made a speech? HE stated
his opinions forcibly."

"Call a spade a spade, Captain. You mean he got
red-mad and raked them all, fore and aft. They
deserved it too--a pack of incapables. But what would
you expect of a committee of men? That building
committee held twenty-seven meetings, and at the end of
the twenty-seventh weren't no nearer having a church
than when they begun--not so near, for a fact, for in
one fit of hurrying things along they'd gone to work
and tore the old church down, so there we were,
without a church, and no place but the hall to worship
in."

"The Methodists offered us their church, Cornelia."

"The Glen St. Mary church wouldn't have been built to
this day," went on Miss Cornelia, ignoring Captain
Jim, "if we women hadn't just started in and took
charge. We said WE meant to have a church, if the men
meant to quarrel till doomsday, and we were tired of
being a laughing-stock for the Methodists. We held ONE
meeting and elected a committee and canvassed for
subscriptions. We got them, too. When any of the men
tried to sass us we told them they'd tried for two
years to build a church and it was our turn now. We
shut them up close, believe ME, and in six months we
had our church. Of course, when the men saw we were
determined they stopped fighting and went to work,
man-like, as soon as they saw they had to, or quit
bossing. Oh, women can't preach or be elders; but they
can build churches and scare up the money for them."

"The Methodists allow women to preach," said Captain
Jim.

Miss Cornelia glared at him.

"I never said the Methodists hadn't common sense,
Captain. What I say is, I doubt if they have much
religion."

"I suppose you are in favor of votes for women, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert.

"I'm not hankering after the vote, believe ME," said
Miss Cornelia scornfully. "_I_ know what it is to
clean up after the men. But some of these days, when
the men realize they've got the world into a mess they
can't get it out of, they'll be glad to give us the
vote, and shoulder their troubles over on us. That's
THEIR scheme. Oh, it's well that women are patient,
believe ME!"

"What about Job?" suggested Captain Jim.

"Job! It was such a rare thing to find a patient man
that when one was really discovered they were
determined he shouldn't be forgotten," retorted Miss
Cornelia triumphantly. "Anyhow, the virtue doesn't go
with the name. There never was such an impatient man
born as old Job Taylor over harbor."

"Well, you know, he had a good deal to try him,
Cornelia. Even you can't defend his wife. I always
remember what old William MacAllister said of her at
her funeral, `There's nae doot she was a Chreestian
wumman, but she had the de'il's own temper.'"

"I suppose she WAS trying," admitted Miss Cornelia
reluctantly, "but that didn't justify what Job said
when she died. He rode home from the graveyard the day
of the funeral with my father. He never said a word
till they got near home. Then he heaved a big sigh and
said, `You may not believe it, Stephen, but this is the
happiest day of my life!' Wasn't that like a man?"

"I s'pose poor old Mrs. Job did make life kinder uneasy
for him," reflected Captain Jim.

"Well, there's such a thing as decency, isn't there?
Even if a man is rejoicing in his heart over his wife
being dead, he needn't proclaim it to the four winds of
heaven. And happy day or not, Job Taylor wasn't long
in marrying again, you might notice. His second wife
could manage him. She made him walk Spanish, believe
me! The first thing she did was to make him hustle
round and put up a tombstone to the first Mrs.
Job--and she had a place left on it for her own name.
She said there'd be nobody to make Job put up a
monument to HER."

"Speaking of Taylors, how is Mrs. Lewis Taylor up at
the Glen, doctor?" asked Captain Jim.

"She's getting better slowly--but she has to work too
hard," replied Gilbert.

"Her husband works hard too--raising prize pigs," said
Miss Cornelia. "He's noted for his beautiful pigs.
He's a heap prouder of his pigs than of his children.
But then, to be sure, his pigs are the best pigs
possible, while his children don't amount to much. He
picked a poor mother for them, and starved her while
she was bearing and rearing them. His pigs got the
cream and his children got the skim milk.

"There are times, Cornelia, when I have to agree with
you, though it hurts me," said Captain Jim. "That's
just exactly the truth about Lewis Taylor. When I see
those poor, miserable children of his, robbed of all
children ought to have, it p'isens my own bite and sup
for days afterwards."

Gilbert went out to the kitchen in response to Anne's
beckoning. Anne shut the door and gave him a connubial
lecture.

"Gilbert, you and Captain Jim must stop baiting Miss
Cornelia. Oh, I've been listening to you--and I just
won't allow it."

`Anne, Miss Cornelia is enjoying herself hugely. You
know she is.'

"Well, never mind. You two needn't egg her on like
that. Dinner is ready now, and, Gilbert, DON'T let
Mrs. Rachel carve the geese. I know she means to offer
to do it because she doesn't think you can do it
properly. Show her you can."

"I ought to be able to. I've been studying A-B-C-D
diagrams of carving for the past month," said Gilbert.
"Only don't talk to me while I'm doing it, Anne, for if
you drive the letters out of my head I'll be in a worse
predicament than you were in old geometry days when
the teacher changed them."

Gilbert carved the geese beautifully. Even Mrs. Rachel
had to admit that. And everybody ate of them and
enjoyed them. Anne's first Christmas dinner was a
great success and she beamed with housewifely pride.
Merry was the feast and long; and when it was over they
gathered around the cheer of the red hearth flame and
Captain Jim told them stories until the red sun swung
low over Four Winds Harbor, and the long blue shadows
of the Lombardies fell across the snow in the lane.

"I must be getting back to the light," he said
finally. "I'll jest have time to walk home before
sundown. Thank you for a beautiful Christmas, Mistress
Blythe. Bring Master Davy down to the light some
night before he goes home.

"I want to see those stone gods," said Davy with a
relish.

CHAPTER 16

NEW YEAR'S EVE AT THE LIGHT

The Green Gables folk went home after Christmas,
Marilla under solemn covenant to return for a month in
the spring. More snow came before New Year's, and the
harbor froze over, but the gulf still was free, beyond
the white, imprisoned fields. The last day of the old
year was one of those bright, cold, dazzling winter
days, which bombard us with their brilliancy, and
command our admiration but never our love. The sky was
sharp and blue; the snow diamonds sparkled insistently;
the stark trees were bare and shameless, with a kind of
brazen beauty; the hills shot assaulting lances of
crystal. Even the shadows were sharp and stiff and
clear-cut, as no proper shadows should be. Everything
that was handsome seemed ten times handsomer and less
attractive in the glaring splendor; and everything that
was ugly seemed ten times uglier, and everything was
either handsome or ugly. There was no soft blending,
or kind obscurity, or elusive mistiness in that
searching glitter. The only things that held their own
individuality were the firs--for the fir is the tree of
mystery and shadow, and yields never to the
encroachments of crude radiance.

But finally the day began to realise that she was
growing old. Then a certain pensiveness fell over her
beauty which dimmed yet intensified it; sharp angles,
glittering points, melted away into curves and
enticing gleams. The white harbor put on soft grays
and pinks; the far-away hills turned amethyst.

"The old year is going away beautifully," said Anne.

She and Leslie and Gilbert were on their way to the
Four Winds Point, having plotted with Captain Jim to
watch the New Year in at the light. The sun had set
and in the southwestern sky hung Venus, glorious and
golden, having drawn as near to her earth-sister as is
possible for her. For the first time Anne and Gilbert
saw the shadow cast by that brilliant star of evening,
that faint, mysterious shadow, never seen save when
there is white snow to reveal it, and then only with
averted vision, vanishing when you gaze at it directly.

"It's like the spirit of a shadow, isn't it?"
whispered Anne. "You can see it so plainly haunting
your side when you look ahead; but when you turn and
look at it--it's gone."

"I have heard that you can see the shadow of Venus only
once in a lifetime, and that within a year of seeing it
your life's most wonderful gift will come to you,"
said Leslie. But she spoke rather hardly; perhaps she
thought that even the shadow of Venus could bring her
no gift of life. Anne smiled in the soft twilight; she
felt quite sure what the mystic shadow promised her.

They found Marshall Elliott at the lighthouse. At
first Anne felt inclined to resent the intrusion of
this long-haired, long-bearded eccentric into the
familiar little circle. But Marshall Elliott soon
proved his legitimate claim to membership in the
household of Joseph. He was a witty, intelligent,
well-read man, rivalling Captain Jim himself in the
knack of telling a good story. They were all glad when
he agreed to watch the old year out with them.

Captain Jim's small nephew Joe had come down to spend
New Year's with his great-uncle, and had fallen asleep
on the sofa with the First Mate curled up in a huge
golden ball at his feet.

"Ain't he a dear little man?" said Captain Jim
gloatingly. "I do love to watch a little child asleep,
Mistress Blythe. It's the most beautiful sight in the
world, I reckon. Joe does love to get down here for a
night, because I have him sleep with me. At home he
has to sleep with the other two boys, and he doesn't
like it. "Why can't I sleep with father, Uncle Jim?"
says he. `Everybody in the Bible slept with their
fathers.' As for the questions he asks, the minister
himself couldn't answer them. They fair swamp me.
`Uncle Jim, if I wasn't ME who'd I be?' and, `Uncle
Jim, what would happen if God died?' He fired them two
off at me tonight, afore he went to sleep. As for his
imagination, it sails away from everything. He makes
up the most remarkable yarns--and then his mother shuts
him up in the closet for telling stories . And he sits
down and makes up another one, and has it ready to
relate to her when she lets him out. He had one for me
when he come down tonight. `Uncle Jim,' says he,
solemn as a tombstone, `I had a 'venture in the Glen
today.' `Yes, what was it?' says I, expecting
something quite startling, but nowise prepared for
what I really got. `I met a wolf in the street,' says
he, `a 'normous wolf with a big, red mouf and AWFUL
long teeth, Uncle Jim.' `I didn't know there was any
wolves up at the Glen,' says I. `Oh, he comed there
from far, far away,' says Joe, `and I fought he was
going to eat me up, Uncle Jim.' `Were you scared?'
says I. `No, 'cause I had a big gun,' says Joe, `and I
shot the wolf dead, Uncle Jim,--solid dead--and then
he went up to heaven and bit God,' says he. Well, I
was fair staggered, Mistress Blythe."

The hours bloomed into mirth around the driftwood fire.
Captain Jim told tales, and Marshall Elliott sang old
Scotch ballads in a fine tenor voice; finally Captain
Jim took down his old brown fiddle from the wall and
began to play. He had a tolerable knack of fiddling,
which all appreciated save the First Mate, who sprang
from the sofa as if he had been shot, emitted a shriek
of protest, and fled wildly up the stairs.

"Can't cultivate an ear for music in that cat nohow,"
said Captain Jim. "He won't stay long enough to learn
to like it. When we got the organ up at the Glen
church old Elder Richards bounced up from his seat the
minute the organist began to play and scuttled down the
aisle and out of the church at the rate of
no-man's-business. It reminded me so strong of the
First Mate tearing loose as soon as I begin to fiddle
that I come nearer to laughing out loud in church than
I ever did before or since."

There was something so infectious in the rollicking
tunes which Captain Jim played that very soon Marshall
Elliott's feet began to twitch. He had been a noted
dancer in his youth. Presently he started up and held
out his hands to Leslie. Instantly she responded.
Round and round the firelit room they circled with a
rhythmic grace that was wonderful. Leslie danced like
one inspired; the wild, sweet abandon of the music
seemed to have entered into and possessed her. Anne
watched her in fascinated admiration. She had never
seen her like this. All the innate richness and color
and charm of her nature seemed to have broken loose and
overflowed in crimson cheek and glowing eye and grace
of motion. Even the aspect of Marshall Elliott, with
his long beard and hair, could not spoil the picture.
On the contrary, it seemed to enhance it. Marshall
Elliott looked like a Viking of elder days, dancing
with one of the blue-eyed, golden-haired daughters of
the Northland.

"The purtiest dancing I ever saw, and I've seen some in
my time," declared Captain Jim, when at last the bow
fell from his tired hand. Leslie dropped into her
chair, laughing, breathless.

"I love dancing," she said apart to Anne. "I haven't
danced since I was sixteen--but I love it. The music
seems to run through my veins like quicksilver and I
forget everything--everything--except the delight of
keeping time to it. There isn't any floor beneath me,
or walls about me, or roof over me--I'm floating amid
the stars."

Captain Jim hung his fiddle up in its place, beside a
large frame enclosing several banknotes.

"Is there anybody else of your acquaintance who can
afford to hang his walls with banknotes for pictures?"
he asked. "There's twenty ten-dollar notes there, not
worth the glass over them. They're old Bank of P. E.
Island notes. Had them by me when the bank failed, and
I had 'em framed and hung up, partly as a reminder not
to put your trust in banks, and partly to give me a
real luxurious, millionairy feeling. Hullo, Matey,
don't be scared. You can come back now. The music and
revelry is over for tonight. The old year has just
another hour to stay with us. I've seen seventy-six
New Years come in over that gulf yonder, Mistress
Blythe."

"You'll see a hundred," said Marshall Elliott.

Captain Jim shook his head.

"No; and I don't want to--at least, I think I don't.
Death grows friendlier as we grow older. Not that one
of us really wants to die though, Marshall. Tennyson
spoke truth when he said that. There's old Mrs.
Wallace up at the Glen. She's had heaps of trouble all
her life, poor soul, and she's lost almost everyone she
cared about. She's always saying that she'll be glad
when her time comes, and she doesn't want to sojourn
any longer in this vale of tears. But when she takes a
sick spell there's a fuss! Doctors from town, and a
trained nurse, and enough medicine to kill a dog. Life
may be a vale of tears, all right, but there are some
folks who enjoy weeping, I reckon."

They spent the old year's last hour quietly around the
fire. A few minutes before twelve Captain Jim rose and
opened the door.

"We must let the New Year in," he said.

Outside was a fine blue night. A sparkling ribbon of
moonlight garlanded the gulf. Inside the bar the
harbor shone like a pavement of pearl. They stood
before the door and waited--Captain Jim with his ripe,
full experience, Marshall Elliott in his vigorous but
empty middle life, Gilbert and Anne with their precious
memories and exquisite hopes, Leslie with her record of
starved years and her hopeless future. The clock on
the little shelf above the fireplace struck twelve.

"Welcome, New Year," said Captain Jim, bowing low as
the last stroke died away. "I wish you all the best
year of your lives, mates. I reckon that whatever the
New Year brings us will be the best the Great Captain
has for us--and somehow or other we'll all make port in
a good harbor."

CHAPTER 17

A FOUR WINDS WINTER

Winter set in vigorously after New Year's. Big, white
drifts heaped themselves about the little house, and
palms of frost covered its windows. The harbor ice
grew harder and thicker, until the Four Winds people
began their usual winter travelling over it. The safe
ways were "bushed" by a benevolent Government, and
night and day the gay tinkle of the sleigh-bells
sounded on it. On moonlit nights Anne heard them in
her house of dreams like fairy chimes. The gulf froze
over, and the Four Winds light flashed no more. During
the months when navigation was closed Captain Jim's
office was a sinecure.

"The First Mate and I will have nothing to do till
spring except keep warm and amuse ourselves. The last
lighthouse keeper used always to move up to the Glen in
winter; but I'd rather stay at the Point. The First
Mate might get poisoned or chewed up by dogs at the
Glen. It's a mite lonely, to be sure, with neither the
light nor the water for company, but if our friends
come to see us often we'll weather it through."

Captain Jim had an ice boat, and many a wild, glorious
spin Gilbert and Anne and Leslie had over the glib
harbor ice with him. Anne and Leslie took long
snowshoe tramps together, too, over the fields, or
across the harbor after storms, or through the woods
beyond the Glen. They were very good comrades in their
rambles and their fireside communings. Each had
something to give the other--each felt life the richer
for friendly exchange of thought and friendly silence;
each looked across the white fields between their homes
with a pleasant consciousness of a friend beyond. But,
in spite of all this, Anne felt that there was always a
barrier between Leslie and herself--a constraint that
never wholly vanished.

"I don't know why I can't get closer to her," Anne
said one evening to Captain Jim. "I like her so
much--I admire her so much--I WANT to take her right
into my heart and creep right into hers. But I can
never cross the barrier."

"You've been too happy all your life, Mistress
Blythe," said Captain Jim thoughtfully. "I reckon
that's why you and Leslie can't get real close together
in your souls. The barrier between you is her
experience of sorrow and trouble. She ain't
responsible for it and you ain't; but it's there and
neither of you can cross it."

"My childhood wasn't very happy before I came to Green
Gables," said Anne, gazing soberly out of the window
at the still, sad, dead beauty of the leafless
tree-shadows on the moonlit snow.

"Mebbe not--but it was just the usual unhappiness of a
child who hasn't anyone to look after it properly.
There hasn't been any TRAGEDY in your life, Mistress
Blythe. And poor Leslie's has been almost ALL
tragedy. She feels, I reckon, though mebbe she hardly
knows she feels it, that there's a vast deal in her
life you can't enter nor understand--and so she has to
keep you back from it--hold you off, so to speak, from
hurting her. You know if we've got anything about us
that hurts we shrink from anyone's touch on or near it.
It holds good with our souls as well as our bodies, I
reckon. Leslie's soul must be near raw--it's no wonder
she hides it away."

"If that were really all, I wouldn't mind, Captain Jim.
I would understand. But there are times--not always,
but now and again-- when I almost have to believe that
Leslie doesn't--doesn't like me. Sometimes I surprise
a look in her eyes that seems to show resentment and
dislike--it goes so quickly--but I've seen it, I'm sure
of that. And it hurts me, Captain Jim. I'm not used
to being disliked-- and I've tried so hard to win
Leslie's friendship."

"You have won it, Mistress Blythe. Don't you go
cherishing any foolish notion that Leslie don't like
you. If she didn't she wouldn't have anything to do
with you, much less chumming with you as she does. I
know Leslie Moore too well not to be sure of that."

"The first time I ever saw her, driving her geese down
the hill on the day I came to Four Winds, she looked at
me with the same expression," persisted Anne. "I felt
it, even in the midst of my admiration of her beauty.
She looked at me resentfully--she did, indeed, Captain
Jim."

"The resentment must have been about something else,
Mistress Blythe, and you jest come in for a share of it
because you happened past. Leslie DOES take sullen
spells now and again, poor girl. I can't blame her,
when I know what she has to put up with. I don't know
why it's permitted. The doctor and I have talked a lot
abut the origin of evil, but we haven't quite found out
all about it yet. There's a vast of onunderstandable
things in life, ain't there, Mistress Blythe?
Sometimes things seem to work out real proper-like,
same as with you and the doctor. And then again they
all seem to go catawampus. There's Leslie, so clever
and beautiful you'd think she was meant for a queen,
and instead she's cooped up over there, robbed of
almost everything a woman'd value, with no prospect
except waiting on Dick Moore all her life. Though,
mind you, Mistress Blythe, I daresay she'd choose her
life now, such as it is, rather than the life she
lived with Dick before he went away. THAT'S something
a clumsy old sailor's tongue mustn't meddle with. But
you've helped Leslie a lot--she's a different creature
since you come to Four Winds. Us old friends see the
difference in her, as you can't. Miss Cornelia and me
was talking it over the other day, and it's one of the
mighty few p'ints that we see eye to eye on. So jest
you throw overboard any idea of her not liking you."

Anne could hardly discard it completely, for there were
undoubtedly times when she felt, with an instinct that
was not to be combated by reason, that Leslie harbored
a queer, indefinable resentment towards her. At times,
this secret consciousness marred the delight of their
comradeship; at others it was almost forgotten; but
Anne always felt the hidden thorn was there, and might
prick her at any moment. She felt a cruel sting from
it on the day when she told Leslie of what she hoped
the spring would bring to the little house of dreams.
Leslie looked at her with hard, bitter, unfriendly
eyes.

"So you are to have THAT, too," she said in a choked
voice. And without another word she had turned and
gone across the fields homeward. Anne was deeply hurt;
for the moment she felt as if she could never like
Leslie again. But when Leslie came over a few
evenings later she was so pleasant, so friendly, so
frank, and witty, and winsome, that Anne was charmed
into forgiveness and forgetfulness. Only, she never
mentioned her darling hope to Leslie again; nor did
Leslie ever refer to it. But one evening, when late
winter was listening for the word of spring, she came
over to the little house for a twilight chat; and when
she went away she left a small, white box on the table.
Anne found it after she was gone and opened it
wonderingly. In it was a tiny white dress of exquisite
workmanship-- delicate embroidery, wonderful tucking,
sheer loveliness. Every stitch in it was handwork; and
the little frills of lace at neck and sleeves were of
real Valenciennes. Lying on it was a card--"with
Leslie's love."

"What hours of work she must have put on it," said
Anne. "And the material must have cost more than she
could really afford. It is very sweet of her."

But Leslie was brusque and curt when Anne thanked her,
and again the latter felt thrown back upon herself.

Leslie's gift was not alone in the little house. Miss
Cornelia had, for the time being, given up sewing for
unwanted, unwelcome eighth babies, and fallen to sewing
for a very much wanted first one, whose welcome would
leave nothing to be desired. Philippa Blake and Diana
Wright each sent a marvellous garment; and Mrs. Rachel
Lynde sent several, in which good material and honest
stitches took the place of embroidery and frills. Anne
herself made many, desecrated by no touch of machinery,
spending over them the happiest hours of the happy
winter.

Captain Jim was the most frequent guest of the little
house, and none was more welcome. Every day Anne loved
the simple-souled, true-hearted old sailor more and
more. He was as refreshing as a sea breeze, as
interesting as some ancient chronicle. She was never
tired of listening to his stories, and his quaint
remarks and comments were a continual delight to her.
Captain Jim was one of those rare and interesting
people who "never speak but they say something." The
milk of human kindness and the wisdom of the serpent
were mingled in his composition in delightful
proportions.

Nothing ever seemed to put Captain Jim out or depress
him in any way.

"I've kind of contracted a habit of enj'ying things,"
he remarked once, when Anne had commented on his
invariable cheerfulness. "It's got so chronic that I
believe I even enj'y the disagreeable things. It's
great fun thinking they can't last. `Old rheumatiz,'
says I, when it grips me hard, `you've GOT to stop
aching sometime. The worse you are the sooner you'll
stop, mebbe. I'm bound to get the better of you in the
long run, whether in the body or out of the body.'"

One night, by the fireside at the light Anne saw
Captain Jim's "life-book." He needed no coaxing to
show it and proudly gave it to her to read.

"I writ it to leave to little Joe," he said. "I don't
like the idea of everything I've done and seen being
clean forgot after I've shipped for my last v'yage.
Joe, he'll remember it, and tell the yarns to his
children."

It was an old leather-bound book filled with the record
of his voyages and adventures. Anne thought what a
treasure trove it would be to a writer. Every sentence
was a nugget. In itself the book had no literary
merit; Captain Jim's charm of storytelling failed him
when he came to pen and ink; he could only jot roughly
down the outline of his famous tales, and both spelling
and grammar were sadly askew. But Anne felt that if
anyone possessed of the gift could take that simple
record of a brave, adventurous life, reading between
the bald lines the tales of dangers staunchly faced and
duty manfully done, a wonderful story might be made
from it. Rich comedy and thrilling tragedy were both
lying hidden in Captain Jim's "life-book," waiting for
the touch of the master hand to waken the laughter and
grief and horror of thousands.

Anne said something of this to Gilbert as they walked
home.

"Why don't you try your hand at it yourself, Anne?"

Anne shook her head.

" No. I only wish I could. But it's not in the power
of my gift. You know what my forte is, Gilbert--the
fanciful, the fairylike, the pretty. To write Captain
Jim's life-book as it should be written one should be a
master of vigorous yet subtle style, a keen
psychologist, a born humorist and a born tragedian. A
rare combination of gifts is needed. Paul might do it
if he were older. Anyhow, I'm going to ask him to come
down next summer and meet Captain Jim."

"Come to this shore," wrote Anne to Paul. "I am
afraid you cannot find here Nora or the Golden Lady or
the Twin Sailors; but you will find one old sailor who
can tell you wonderful stories."

Paul, however wrote back, saying regretfully that he
could not come that year. He was going abroad for two
year's study.

"When I return I'll come to Four Winds, dear Teacher,"
he wrote.

"But meanwhile, Captain Jim is growing old," said
Anne, sorrowfully, "and there is nobody to write his
life-book."

CHAPTER 18

SPRING DAYS

The ice in the harbor grew black and rotten in the
March suns; in April there were blue waters and a
windy, white-capped gulf again; and again the Four
Winds light begemmed the twilights.

"I'm so glad to see it once more," said Anne, on the
first evening of its reappearance. "I've missed it so
all winter. The northwestern sky has seemed blank and
lonely without it."

The land was tender with brand-new, golden-green, baby
leaves. There was an emerald mist on the woods beyond
the Glen. The seaward valleys were full of fairy mists
at dawn.

Vibrant winds came and went with salt foam in their
breath. The sea laughed and flashed and preened and
allured, like a beautiful, coquettish woman. The
herring schooled and the fishing village woke to life.
The harbor was alive with white sails making for the
channel. The ships began to sail outward and inward
again.

"On a spring day like this," said Anne, "I know
exactly what my soul will feel like on the resurrection
morning."

"There are times in spring when I sorter feel that I
might have been a poet if I'd been caught young,"
remarked Captain Jim. "I catch myself conning over old
lines and verses I heard the schoolmaster reciting
sixty years ago. They don't trouble me at other times.
Now I feel as if I had to get out on the rocks or the
fields or the water and spout them."

Captain Jim had come up that afternoon to bring Anne a
load of shells for her garden, and a little bunch of
sweet-grass which he had found in a ramble over the
sand dunes.

"It's getting real scarce along this shore now," he
said. "When I was a boy there was a-plenty of it. But
now it's only once in a while you'll find a plot--and
never when you're looking for it. You jest have to
stumble on it--you're walking along on the sand hills,
never thinking of sweet-grass--and all at once the air
is full of sweetness-- and there's the grass under your
feet. I favor the smell of sweet-grass. It always
makes me think of my mother."

"She was fond of it?" asked Anne.

"Not that I knows on. Dunno's she ever saw any
sweet-grass. No, it's because it has a kind of
motherly perfume--not too young, you
understand--something kind of seasoned and wholesome
and dependable--jest like a mother. The schoolmaster's
bride always kept it among her handkerchiefs. You
might put that little bunch among yours, Mistress
Blythe. I don't like these boughten scents-- but a
whiff of sweet-grass belongs anywhere a lady does."

Anne had not been especially enthusiastic over the idea
of surrounding her flower beds with quahog shells; as a
decoration they did not appeal to her on first thought.
But she would not have hurt Captain Jim's feelings for
anything; so she assumed a virtue she did not at first
feel, and thanked him heartily. And when Captain Jim
had proudly encircled every bed with a rim of the big,
milk-white shells, Anne found to her surprise that she
liked the effect. On a town lawn, or even up at the
Glen, they would not have been in keeping, but here, in
the old-fashioned, sea-bound garden of the little house
of dreams, they BELONGED.

"They DO look nice," she said sincerely.

"The schoolmaster's bride always had cowhawks round her
beds," said Captain Jim. "She was a master hand with
flowers. She LOOKED at 'em--and touched 'em--SO--and
they grew like mad. Some folks have that knack--I
reckon you have it, too, Mistress Blythe."

"Oh, I don't know--but I love my garden, and I love
working in it. To potter with green, growing things,
watching each day to see the dear, new sprouts come up,
is like taking a hand in creation, I think. Just now
my garden is like faith--the substance of things hoped
for. But bide a wee."

"It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled
brown seeds and think of the rainbows in 'em," said
Captain Jim. "When I ponder on them seeds I don't find
it nowise hard to believe that we've got souls that'll
live in other worlds. You couldn't hardly believe
there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than
grains of dust, let alone color and scent, if you
hadn't seen the miracle, could you?"

Anne, who was counting her days like silver beads on a
rosary, could not now take the long walk to the
lighthouse or up the Glen road. But Miss Cornelia and
Captain Jim came very often to the little house. Miss
Cornelia was the joy of Anne's and Gilbert's existence.
They laughed side-splittingly over her speeches after
every visit. When Captain Jim and she happened to
visit the little house at the same time there was much
sport for the listening. They waged wordy warfare, she
attacking, he defending. Anne once reproached the
Captain for his baiting of Miss Cornelia.

"Oh, I do love to set her going, Mistress Blythe,"
chuckled the unrepentant sinner. "It's the greatest
amusement I have in life. That tongue of hers would
blister a stone. And you and that young dog of a
doctor enj'y listening to her as much as I do."

Captain Jim came along another evening to bring Anne
some mayflowers. The garden was full of the moist,
scented air of a maritime spring evening. There was a
milk-white mist on the edge of the sea, with a young
moon kissing it, and a silver gladness of stars over
the Glen. The bell of the church across the harbor was
ringing dreamily sweet. The mellow chime drifted
through the dusk to mingle with the soft spring-moan of
the sea. Captain Jim's mayflowers added the last
completing touch to the charm of the night.

"I haven't seen any this spring, and I've missed
them," said Anne, burying her face in them.

"They ain't to be found around Four Winds, only in the
barrens away behind the Glen up yander. I took a
little trip today to the Land-of-nothing-to-do, and
hunted these up for you. I reckon they're the last
you'll see this spring, for they're nearly done."

"How kind and thoughtful you are, Captain Jim. Nobody
else-- not even Gilbert"--with a shake of her head at
him--"remembered that I always long for mayflowers in
spring."

"Well, I had another errand, too--I wanted to take Mr.
Howard back yander a mess of trout. He likes one
occasional, and it's all I can do for a kindness he did
me once. I stayed all the afternoon and talked to him.
He likes to talk to me, though he's a highly eddicated
man and I'm only an ignorant old sailor, because he's
one of the folks that's GOT to talk or they're
miserable, and he finds listeners scarce around here.
The Glen folks fight shy of him because they think he's
an infidel. He ain't that far gone exactly--few men
is, I reckon--but he's what you might call a heretic.
Heretics are wicked, but they're mighty int'resting.
It's jest that they've got sorter lost looking for
God, being under the impression that He's hard to
find--which He ain't never. Most of 'em blunder to Him
after awhile, I guess. I don't think listening to Mr.
Howard's arguments is likely to do me much harm. Mind
you, I believe what I was brought up to believe. It
saves a vast of bother--and back of it all, God is
good. The trouble with Mr. Howard is that he's a
leetle TOO clever. He thinks that he's bound to live
up to his cleverness, and that it's smarter to thrash
out some new way of getting to heaven than to go by the
old track the common, ignorant folks is travelling.
But he'll get there sometime all right, and then he'll
laugh at himself."

"Mr. Howard was a Methodist to begin with," said Miss
Cornelia, as if she thought he had not far to go from
that to heresy.

"Do you know, Cornelia," said Captain Jim gravely,
"I've often thought that if I wasn't a Presbyterian I'd
be a Methodist."

"Oh, well," conceded Miss Cornelia, "if you weren't a
Presbyterian it wouldn't matter much what you were.
Speaking of heresy, reminds me, doctor--I've brought
back that book you lent me--that Natural Law in the
Spiritual World--I didn't read more'n a third of it. I
can read sense, and I can read nonsense, but that book
is neither the one nor the other."

"It IS considered rather heretical in some quarters,"
admitted Gilbert, "but I told you that before you took
it, Miss Cornelia."

"Oh, I wouldn't have minded its being heretical. I can
stand wickedness, but I can't stand foolishness," said
Miss Cornelia calmly, and with the air of having said
the last thing there was to say about Natural Law.

"Speaking of books, A Mad Love come to an end at last
two weeks ago," remarked Captain Jim musingly. "It
run to one hundred and three chapters. When they got
married the book stopped right off, so I reckon their
troubles were all over. It's real nice that that's the
way in books anyhow, isn't it, even if 'tistn't so
anywhere else?"

"I never read novels," said Miss Cornelia. "Did you
hear how Geordie Russell was today, Captain Jim?"

"Yes, I called in on my way home to see him. He's
getting round all right--but stewing in a broth of
trouble, as usual, poor man.

'Course he brews up most of it for himself, but I
reckon that don't make it any easier to bear."

"He's an awful pessimist," said Miss Cornelia.

"Well, no, he ain't a pessimist exactly, Cornelia. He
only jest never finds anything that suits him."

"And isn't that a pessimist?"

"No, no. A pessimist is one who never expects to find
anything to suit him. Geordie hain't got THAT far
yet."

"You'd find something good to say of the devil himself,
Jim Boyd."

"Well, you've heard the story of the old lady who said
he was persevering. But no, Cornelia, I've nothing
good to say of the devil."

"Do you believe in him at all?" asked Miss Cornelia
seriously.

"How can you ask that when you know what a good
Presbyterian I am, Cornelia? How could a Presbyterian
get along without a devil?"

"DO you?" persisted Miss Cornelia.

Captain Jim suddenly became grave.

"I believe in what I heard a minister once call `a
mighty and malignant and INTELLIGENT power of evil
working in the universe,'" he said solemnly. "I do
THAT, Cornelia. You can call it the devil, or the
`principle of evil,' or the Old Scratch, or any name
you like. It's THERE, and all the infidels and
heretics in the world can't argue it away, any more'n
they can argue God away. It's there, and it's
working. But, mind you, Cornelia, I believe it's going
to get the worst of it in the long run."

"I am sure I hope so," said Miss Cornelia, none too
hopefully. "But speaking of the devil, I am positive
that Billy Booth is possessed by him now. Have you
heard of Billy's latest performance?"

"No, what was that?"

"He's gone and burned up his wife's new, brown
broadcloth suit, that she paid twenty-five dollars for
in Charlottetown, because he declares the men looked
too admiring at her when she wore it to church the
first time. Wasn't that like a man?"

"Mistress Booth IS mighty pretty, and brown's her
color," said Captain Jim reflectively.

"Is that any good reason why he should poke her new
suit into the kitchen stove? Billy Booth is a jealous
fool, and he makes his wife's life miserable. She's
cried all the week about her suit. Oh, Anne, I wish I
could write like you, believe ME. Wouldn't I score
some of the men round here!"

"Those Booths are all a mite queer," said Captain Jim.
"Billy seemed the sanest of the lot till he got married
and then this queer jealous streak cropped out in him.
His brother Daniel, now, was always odd."

"Took tantrums every few days or so and wouldn't get
out of bed," said Miss Cornelia with a relish. "His
wife would have to do all the barn work till he got
over his spell. When he died people wrote her letters
of condolence; if I'd written anything it would have
been one of congratulation. Their father, old Abram
Booth, was a disgusting old sot. He was drunk at his
wife's funeral, and kept reeling round and hiccuping `I
didn't dri--i--i--nk much but I feel a--a-- awfully
que--e--e--r.' I gave him a good jab in the back with
my umbrella when he came near me, and it sobered him up
until they got the casket out of the house. Young
Johnny Booth was to have been married yesterday, but
he couldn't be because he's gone and got the mumps.
Wasn't that like a man?"

"How could he help getting the mumps, poor fellow?"

"I'd poor fellow him, believe ME, if I was Kate Sterns.
I don't know how he could help getting the mumps, but I
DO know the wedding supper was all prepared and
everything will be spoiled before he's well again.
Such a waste! He should have had the mumps when he was
a boy."

"Come, come, Cornelia, don't you think you're a mite
unreasonable?"

Miss Cornelia disdained to reply and turned instead to
Susan Baker, a grim-faced, kind-hearted elderly
spinster of the Glen, who had been installed as
maid-of-all-work at the little house for some weeks.
Susan had been up to the Glen to make a sick call, and
had just returned.

"How is poor old Aunt Mandy tonight?" asked Miss
Cornelia.

Susan sighed.

"Very poorly--very poorly, Cornelia. I am afraid she
will soon be in heaven, poor thing!"

"Oh, surely, it's not so bad as that!" exclaimed Miss
Cornelia, sympathetically .

Captain Jim and Gilbert looked at each other. Then
they suddenly rose and went out.

"There are times," said Captain Jim, between spasms,
"when it would be a sin NOT to laugh. Them two
excellent women!"

CHAPTER 19

DAWN AND DUSK

In early June, when the sand hills were a great glory
of pink wild roses, and the Glen was smothered in apple
blossoms, Marilla arrived at the little house,
accompanied by a black horsehair trunk, patterned with
brass nails, which had reposed undisturbed in the Green
Gables garret for half a century. Susan Baker, who,
during her few weeks' sojourn in the little house, had
come to worship "young Mrs. Doctor," as she called
Anne, with blind fervor, looked rather jealously
askance at Marilla at first. But as Marilla did not
try to interfere in kitchen matters, and showed no
desire to interrupt Susan's ministrations to young Mrs.
Doctor, the good handmaiden became reconciled to her
presence, and told her cronies at the Glen that Miss
Cuthbert was a fine old lady and knew her place.

One evening, when the sky's limpid bowl was filled with
a red glory, and the robins were thrilling the golden
twilight with jubilant hymns to the stars of evening,
there was a sudden commotion in the little house of
dreams. Telephone messages were sent up to the Glen,
Doctor Dave and a white-capped nurse came hastily down,
Marilla paced the garden walks between the quahog
shells, murmuring prayers between her set lips, and
Susan sat in the kitchen with cotton wool in her ears
and her apron over her head.

Leslie, looking out from the house up the brook, saw
that every window of the little house was alight, and
did not sleep that night.

The June night was short; but it seemed an eternity to
those who waited and watched.

"Oh, will it NEVER end?" said Marilla; then she saw
how grave the nurse and Doctor Dave looked, and she
dared ask no more questions. Suppose Anne--but Marilla
could not suppose it.

"Do not tell me," said Susan fiercely, answering the
anguish in Marilla's eyes, "that God could be so cruel
as to take that darling lamb from us when we all love
her so much."

"He has taken others as well beloved," said Marilla
hoarsely.

But at dawn, when the rising sun rent apart the mists
hanging over the sandbar, and made rainbows of them,
joy came to the little house. Anne was safe, and a
wee, white lady, with her mother's big eyes, was lying
beside her. Gilbert, his face gray and haggard from
his night's agony, came down to tell Marilla and Susan.

"Thank God," shuddered Marilla.

Susan got up and took the cotton wool out of her ears.

"Now for breakfast," she said briskly. "I am of the
opinion that we will all be glad of a bite and sup.
You tell young Mrs. Doctor not to worry about a single
thing--Susan is at the helm. You tell her just to
think of her baby."

Gilbert smiled rather sadly as he went away. Anne, her
pale face blanched with its baptism of pain, her eyes
aglow with the holy passion of motherhood, did not need
to be told to think of her baby. She thought of
nothing else. For a few hours she tasted of happiness
so rare and exquisite that she wondered if the angels
in heaven did not envy her.

"Little Joyce," she murmured, when Marilla came in to
see the baby. "We planned to call her that if she were
a girlie. There were so many we would have liked to
name her for; we couldn't choose between them, so we
decided on Joyce--we can call her Joy for
short--Joy--it suits so well. Oh, Marilla, I thought I
was happy before. Now I know that I just dreamed a
pleasant dream of happiness. THIS is the reality."

"You mustn't talk, Anne--wait till you're stronger,"
said Marilla warningly.

"You know how hard it is for me NOT to talk," smiled
Anne.

At first she was too weak and too happy to notice that
Gilbert and the nurse looked grave and Marilla
sorrowful. Then, as subtly, and coldly, and
remorselessly as a sea-fog stealing landward, fear
crept into her heart. Why was not Gilbert gladder?
Why would he not talk about the baby? Why would they
not let her have it with her after that first
heavenly--happy hour? Was--was there anything wrong?

"Gilbert," whispered Anne imploringly, "the baby--is
all right--isn't she? Tell me--tell me."

Gilbert was a long while in turning round; then he bent
over Anne and looked in her eyes. Marilla, listening
fearfully outside the door, heard a pitiful,
heartbroken moan, and fled to the kitchen where Susan
was weeping.

"Oh, the poor lamb--the poor lamb! How can she bear
it, Miss Cuthbert? I am afraid it will kill her. She
has been that built up and happy, longing for that
baby, and planning for it. Cannot anything be done
nohow, Miss Cuthbert?"

"I'm afraid not, Susan. Gilbert says there is no hope.
He knew from the first the little thing couldn't
live."

"And it is such a sweet baby," sobbed Susan. "I never
saw one so white--they are mostly red or yallow. And
it opened its big eyes as if it was months old. The
little, little thing! Oh, the poor, young Mrs.
Doctor!"

At sunset the little soul that had come with the
dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind it. Miss
Cornelia took the wee, white lady from the kindly but
stranger hands of the nurse, and dressed the tiny
waxen form in the beautiful dress Leslie had made for
it. Leslie had asked her to do that. Then she took it
back and laid it beside the poor, broken, tear-blinded
little mother.

"The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away,
dearie," she said through her own tears. "Blessed be
the name of the Lord."

Then she went away, leaving Anne and Gilbert alone
together with their dead.

The next day, the small white Joy was laid in a velvet
casket which Leslie had lined with apple-blossoms, and
taken to the graveyard of the church across the harbor.
Miss Cornelia and Marilla put all the little love-made
garments away, together with the ruffled basket which
had been befrilled and belaced for dimpled limbs and
downy head. Little Joy was never to sleep there; she
had found a colder, narrower bed.

"This has been an awful disappointment to me," sighed
Miss Cornelia. "I've looked forward to this baby--and
I did want it to be a girl, too."

"I can only be thankful that Anne's life was spared,"
said Marilla, with a shiver, recalling those hours of
darkness when the girl she loved was passing through
the valley of the shadow.

"Poor, poor lamb! Her heart is broken," said Susan.

"I ENVY Anne," said Leslie suddenly and fiercely, "and
I'd envy her even if she had died! She was a mother
for one beautiful day. I'd gladly give my life for
THAT!"

"I wouldn't talk like that, Leslie, dearie," said Miss
Cornelia deprecatingly. She was afraid that the
dignified Miss Cuthbert would think Leslie quite
terrible.

Anne's convalescence was long, and made bitter for her
by many things. The bloom and sunshine of the Four
Winds world grated harshly on her; and yet, when the
rain fell heavily, she pictured it beating so
mercilessly down on that little grave across the
harbor; and when the wind blew around the eaves she
heard sad voices in it she had never heard before.

Kindly callers hurt her, too, with the well-meant
platitudes with which they strove to cover the
nakedness of bereavement. A letter from Phil Blake was
an added sting. Phil had heard of the baby's birth,
but not of its death, and she wrote Anne a
congratulatory letter of sweet mirth which hurt her
horribly.

"I would have laughed over it so happily if I had my
baby," she sobbed to Marilla. "But when I haven't it
just seems like wanton cruelty--though I know Phil
wouldn't hurt me for the world. Oh, Marilla, I don't
see how I can EVER be happy again--EVERYTHING will
hurt me all the rest of my life."

"Time will help you," said Marilla, who was racked
with sympathy but could never learn to express it in
other than age-worn formulas.

"It doesn't seem FAIR," said Anne rebelliously.
"Babies are born and live where they are not
wanted--where they will be neglected-- where they will
have no chance. I would have loved my baby so--and
cared for it so tenderly--and tried to give her every
chance for good. And yet I wasn't allowed to keep
her."

"It was God's will, Anne," said Marilla, helpless
before the riddle of the universe--the WHY of
undeserved pain. "And little Joy is better off."

"I can't believe THAT," cried Anne bitterly. Then,
seeing that Marilla looked shocked, she added
passionately, "Why should she be born at all--why
should any one be born at all--if she's better off
dead? I DON'T believe it is better for a child to die
at birth than to live its life out--and love and be
loved--and enjoy and suffer--and do its work--and
develop a character that would give it a personality in
eternity. And how do you know it was God's will?
Perhaps it was just a thwarting of His purpose by the
Power of Evil. We can't be expected to be resigned to
THAT."

"Oh, Anne, don't talk so," said Marilla, genuinely
alarmed lest Anne were drifting into deep and dangerous
waters. "We can't understand--but we must have
faith--we MUST believe that all is for the best. I
know you find it hard to think so, just now. But try
to be brave--for Gilbert's sake. He's so worried about
you. You aren't getting strong as fast as you
should."

"Oh, I know I've been very selfish," sighed Anne. "I
love Gilbert more than ever--and I want to live for his
sake. But it seems as if part of me was buried over
there in that little harbor graveyard-- and it hurts so
much that I'm afraid of life."

"It won't hurt so much always, Anne."

"The thought that it may stop hurting sometimes hurts
me worse than all else, Marilla."

"Yes, I know, I've felt that too, about other things.
But we all love you, Anne. Captain Jim has been up
every day to ask for you--and Mrs. Moore haunts the
place--and Miss Bryant spends most of her time, I
think, cooking up nice things for you. Susan doesn't
like it very well. She thinks she can cook as well as
Miss Bryant."

"Dear Susan! Oh, everybody has been so dear and good
and lovely to me, Marilla. I'm not ungrateful--and
perhaps--when this horrible ache grows a little
less--I'll find that I can go on living."

CHAPTER 20

LOST MARGARET

Anne found that she could go on living; the day came
when she even smiled again over one of Miss Cornelia's
speeches. But there was something in the smile that
had never been in Anne's smile before and would never
be absent from it again.

On the first day she was able to go for a drive Gilbert
took her down to Four Winds Point, and left her there
while he rowed over the channel to see a patient at the
fishing village. A rollicking wind was scudding across
the harbor and the dunes, whipping the water into
white-caps and washing the sandshore with long lines of
silvery breakers.

"I'm real proud to see you here again, Mistress
Blythe," said Captain Jim. "Sit down--sit down. I'm
afeared it's mighty dusty here today--but there's no
need of looking at dust when you can look at such
scenery, is there?"

"I don't mind the dust," said Anne, "but Gilbert says
I must keep in the open air. I think I'll go and sit
on the rocks down there."

"Would you like company or would you rather be alone?"

"If by company you mean yours I'd much rather have it
than be alone," said Anne, smiling. Then she sighed.
She had never before minded being alone. Now she
dreaded it. When she was alone now she felt so
dreadfully alone.

"Here's a nice little spot where the wind can't get at
you," said Captain Jim, when they reached the rocks.
"I often sit here. It's a great place jest to sit and
dream."

"Oh--dreams," sighed Anne. "I can't dream now,
Captain Jim--I'm done with dreams."

"Oh, no, you're not, Mistress Blythe--oh, no, you're
not," said Captain Jim meditatively. "I know how you
feel jest now--but if you keep on living you'll get
glad again, and the first thing you know you'll be
dreaming again--thank the good Lord for it! If it
wasn't for our dreams they might as well bury us.
How'd we stand living if it wasn't for our dream of
immortality? And that's a dream that's BOUND to come
true, Mistress Blythe. You'll see your little Joyce
again some day."

"But she won't be my baby," said Anne, with trembling
lips. "Oh, she may be, as Longfellow says, `a fair
maiden clothed with celestial grace'--but she'll be a
stranger to me."

"God will manage better'n THAT, I believe," said
Captain Jim.

They were both silent for a little time. Then Captain
Jim said very softly:

"Mistress Blythe, may I tell you about lost Margaret?"

"Of course," said Anne gently. She did not know who
"lost Margaret" was, but she felt that she was going
to hear the romance of Captain Jim's life.

"I've often wanted to tell you about her," Captain Jim
went on.

"Do you know why, Mistress Blythe? It's because I want
somebody to remember and think of her sometime after
I'm gone. I can't bear that her name should be
forgotten by all living souls. And now nobody
remembers lost Margaret but me."

Then Captain Jim told the story--an old, old forgotten
story, for it was over fifty years since Margaret had
fallen asleep one day in her father's dory and
drifted--or so it was supposed, for nothing was ever
certainly known as to her fate--out of the channel,
beyond the bar, to perish in the black thundersquall
which had come up so suddenly that long-ago summer
afternoon. But to Captain Jim those fifty years were
but as yesterday when it is past.

"I walked the shore for months after that," he said
sadly, "looking to find her dear, sweet little body;
but the sea never give her back to me. But I'll find
her sometime, Mistress Blythe--I'll find her sometime .
She's waiting for me. I wish I could tell you jest how
she looked, but I can't. I've seen a fine, silvery
mist hanging over the bar at sunrise that seemed like
her--and then again I've seen a white birch in the
woods back yander that made me think of her. She had
pale, brown hair and a little white, sweet face, and
long slender fingers like yours, Mistress Blythe, only
browner, for she was a shore girl. Sometimes I wake up
in the night and hear the sea calling to me in the old
way, and it seems as if lost Margaret called in it.
And when there's a storm and the waves are sobbing and
moaning I hear her lamenting among them. And when they
laugh on a gay day it's HER laugh--lost Margaret's
sweet, roguish, little laugh. The sea took her from
me, but some day I'll find her. Mistress Blythe. It
can't keep us apart forever."

"I am glad you have told me about her," said Anne. "I
have often wondered why you had lived all your life
alone."

"I couldn't ever care for anyone else. Lost Margaret
took my heart with her--out there," said the old
lover, who had been faithful for fifty years to his
drowned sweetheart. "You won't mind if I talk a good
deal about her, will you, Mistress Blythe? It's a
pleasure to me--for all the pain went out of her memory
years ago and jest left its blessing. I know you'll
never forget her, Mistress Blythe. And if the years,
as I hope, bring other little folks to your home, I
want you to promise me that you'll tell THEM the story
of lost Margaret, so that her name won't be forgotten
among humankind."

CHAPTER 21

BARRIERS SWEPT AWAY

"Anne," said Leslie, breaking abruptly a short
silence, "you don't know how GOOD it is to be sitting
here with you again--working-- and talking--and being
silent together."

They were sitting among the blue-eyed grasses on the
bank of the brook in Anne's garden. The water sparkled
and crooned past them; the birches threw dappled
shadows over them; roses bloomed along the walks. The
sun was beginning to be low, and the air was full of
woven music. There was one music of the wind in the
firs behind the house, and another of the waves on the
bar, and still another from the distant bell of the
church near which the wee, white lady slept. Anne
loved that bell, though it brought sorrowful thoughts
now.

She looked curiously at Leslie, who had thrown down her
sewing and spoken with a lack of restraint that was
very unusual with her.

"On that horrible night when you were so ill," Leslie
went on, "I kept thinking that perhaps we'd have no
more talks and walks and WORKS together. And I
realised just what your friendship had come to mean to
me--just what YOU meant--and just what a hateful little
beast I had been."

"Leslie! Leslie! I never allow anyone to call my
friends names."

"It's true. That's exactly what I am--a hateful little
beast. There's something I've GOT to tell you, Anne. I
suppose it will make you despise me, but I MUST confess
it. Anne, there have been times this past winter and
spring when I have HATED you."

"I KNEW it," said Anne calmly.

"You KNEW it?"

"Yes, I saw it in your eyes."

" And yet you went on liking me and being my friend."

"Well, it was only now and then you hated me, Leslie.
Between times you loved me, I think."

"I certainly did. But that other horrid feeling was
always there, spoiling it, back in my heart. I kept it
down--sometimes I forgot it-- but sometimes it would
surge up and take possession of me. I hated you
because I ENVIED you--oh, I was sick with envy of you
at times. You had a dear little home--and love--and
happiness--and glad dreams--everything I wanted--and
never had--and never could have. Oh, never could have!
THAT was what stung. I wouldn't have envied you, if I
had had any HOPE that life would ever be different for
me. But I hadn't--I hadn't--and it didn't seem FAIR.
It made me rebellious--and it hurt me--and so I hated
you at times. Oh, I was so ashamed of it--I'm dying of
shame now--but I couldn't conquer it.

That night, when I was afraid you mightn't live--I
thought I was going to be punished for my
wickedness--and I loved you so then. Anne, Anne, I
never had anything to love since my mother died, except
Dick's old dog--and it's so dreadful to have nothing to
love--life is so EMPTY--and there's NOTHING worse than
emptiness-- and I might have loved you so much--and
that horrible thing had spoiled it--"

Leslie was trembling and growing almost incoherent with
the violence of her emotion.

"Don't, Leslie," implored Anne, "oh, don't. I
understand-- don't talk of it any more."

"I must--I must. When I knew you were going to live I
vowed that I would tell you as soon as you were
well--that I wouldn't go on accepting your friendship
and companionship without telling you how unworthy I
was of it. And I've been so afraid--it would turn you
against me."

"You needn't fear that, Leslie."

"Oh, I'm so glad--so glad, Anne." Leslie clasped her
brown, work-hardened hands tightly together to still
their shaking. "But I want to tell you everything, now
I've begun. You don't remember the first time I saw
you, I suppose--it wasn't that night on the shore--"

"No, it was the night Gilbert and I came home. You
were driving your geese down the hill. I should think
I DO remember it! I thought you were so beautiful--I
longed for weeks after to find out who you were."

"I knew who YOU were, although I had never seen either
of you before. I had heard of the new doctor and his
bride who were coming to live in Miss Russell's little
house. I--I hated you that very moment, Anne."

"I felt the resentment in your eyes--then I doubted--I
thought I must be mistaken--because WHY should it be?"

"It was because you looked so happy. Oh, you'll agree
with me now that I AM a hateful beast--to hate another
woman just because she was happy,--and when her
happiness didn't take anything from me! That was why I
never went to see you. I knew quite well I ought to
go--even our simple Four Winds customs demanded that.
But I couldn't. I used to watch you from my window--I
could see you and your husband strolling about your
garden in the evening--or you running down the poplar
lane to meet him. And it hurt me. And yet in another
way I wanted to go over. I felt that, if I were not so
miserable, I could have liked you and found in you what
I've never had in my life--an intimate, REAL friend of
my own age. And then you remember that night at the
shore? You were afraid I would think you crazy. You
must have thought _I_ was."

"No, but I couldn't understand you, Leslie. One moment
you drew me to you--the next you pushed me back."

"I was very unhappy that evening. I had had a hard
day. Dick had been very--very hard to manage that day.
Generally he is quite good-natured and easily
controlled, you know, Anne. But some days he is very
different. I was so heartsick--I ran away to the shore
as soon as he went to sleep. It was my only refuge. I
sat there thinking of how my poor father had ended his
life, and wondering if I wouldn't be driven to it some
day. Oh, my heart was full of black thoughts! And
then you came dancing along the cove like a glad,
light-hearted child. I--I hated you more then than
I've ever done since. And yet I craved your
friendship. The one feeling swayed me one moment; the
other feeling the next. When I got home that night I
cried for shame of what you must think of me. But it's
always been just the same when I came over here.
Sometimes I'd be happy and enjoy my visit. And at
other times that hideous feeling would mar it all.
There were times when everything about you and your
house hurt me. You had so many dear little things I
couldn't have. Do you know--it's ridiculous-- but I
had an especial spite at those china dogs of yours.
There were times when I wanted to catch up Gog and
Magog and bang their pert black noses together! Oh,
you smile, Anne--but it was never funny to me. I would
come here and see you and Gilbert with your books and
your flowers, and your household goods, and your little
family jokes--and your love for each other showing in
every look and word, even when you didn't know it--and
I would go home to--you know what I went home to! Oh,
Anne, I don't believe I'm jealous and envious by
nature. When I was a girl I lacked many things my
schoolmates had, but I never cared--I never disliked
them for it. But I seem to have grown so hateful--"

"Leslie, dearest, stop blaming yourself. You are NOT
hateful or jealous or envious. The life you have to
live has warped you a little, perhaps-but it would have
ruined a nature less fine and noble than yours. I'm
letting you tell me all this because I believe it's
better for you to talk it out and rid your soul of it.
But don't blame yourself any more."

"Well, I won't. I just wanted you to know me as I am.
That time you told me of your darling hope for the
spring was the worst of all, Anne. I shall never
forgive myself for the way I behaved then. I repented
it with tears. And I DID put many a tender and loving
thought of you into the little dress I made. But I
might have known that anything I made could only be a
shroud in the end."

"Now, Leslie, that IS bitter and morbid--put such
thoughts away.

I was so glad when you brought the little dress; and
since I had to lose little Joyce I like to think that
the dress she wore was the one you made for her when
you let yourself love me."

"Anne, do you know, I believe I shall always love you
after this. I don't think I'll ever feel that dreadful
way about you again. Talking it all out seems to have
done away with it, somehow. It's very strange --and I
thought it so real and bitter. It's like opening the
door of a dark room to show some hideous creature
you've believed to be there--and when the light streams
in your monster turns out to have been just a shadow,
vanishing when the light comes. It will never come
between us again."

"No, we are real friends now, Leslie, and I am very
glad."

"I hope you won't misunderstand me if I say something
else. Anne, I was grieved to the core of my heart when
you lost your baby; and if I could have saved her for
you by cutting off one of my hands I would have done
it. But your sorrow has brought us closer together.
Your perfect happiness isn't a barrier any longer. Oh,
don't misunderstand, dearest--I'm NOT glad that your
happiness isn't perfect any longer--I can say that
sincerely; but since it isn't, there isn't such a gulf
between us."

"I DO understand that, too, Leslie. Now, we'll just
shut up the past and forget what was unpleasant in it.
It's all going to be different. We're both of the race
of Joseph now. I think you've been wonderful
--wonderful. And, Leslie, I can't help believing that
life has something good and beautiful for you yet."

Leslie shook her head.

"No," she said dully. "There isn't any hope. Dick
will never be better--and even if his memory were to
come back--oh, Anne, it would be worse, even worse,
than it is now. This is something you can't
understand, you happy bride. Anne, did Miss Cornelia
ever tell you how I came to marry Dick?"

"Yes."

"I'm glad--I wanted you to know--but I couldn't bring
myself to talk of it if you hadn't known. Anne, it
seems to me that ever since I was twelve years old life
has been bitter. Before that I had a happy childhood.
We were very poor--but we didn't mind. Father was so
splendid--so clever and loving and sympathetic. We
were chums as far back as I can remember. And mother
was so sweet. She was very, very beautiful. I look
like her, but I am not so beautiful as she was."

"Miss Cornelia says you are far more beautiful."

"She is mistaken--or prejudiced. I think my figure IS
better-- mother was slight and bent by hard work--but
she had the face of an angel. I used just to look up
at her in worship. We all worshipped her,--father and
Kenneth and I."

Anne remembered that Miss Cornelia had given her a very
different impression of Leslie's mother. But had not
love the truer vision? Still, it WAS selfish of Rose
West to make her daughter marry Dick Moore.

"Kenneth was my brother," went on Leslie. "Oh, I
can't tell you how I loved him. And he was cruelly
killed. Do you know how?"

"Yes."

"Anne, I saw his little face as the wheel went over
him. He fell on his back. Anne--Anne--I can see it

Book of the day: