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Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Part 5 out of 6

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scores of lives himself--surely his opinion ought to
weigh more than a mere boy's."

"Thank you."

"Don't laugh. It's too serious."

"That's just my point. It IS serious. Here is a man
who is a helpless burden. He may be restored to reason
and usefulness--"

"He was so very useful before," interjected Anne
witheringly.

"He may be given a chance to make good and redeem the
past. His wife doesn't know this. I do. It is
therefore my duty to tell her that there is such a
possibility. That, boiled down, is my decision."

"Don't say `decision' yet, Gilbert. Consult somebody
else. Ask Captain Jim what he thinks about it."

"Very well. But I'll not promise to abide by his
opinion, Anne.

This is something a man must decide for himself. My
conscience would never be easy if I kept silent on the
subject."

"Oh, your conscience!" moaned Anne. "I suppose that
Uncle Dave has a conscience too, hasn't he?"

"Yes. But I am not the keeper of his conscience.
Come, Anne, if this affair did not concern Leslie--if
it were a purely abstract case, you would agree with
me,--you know you would."

"I wouldn't," vowed Anne, trying to believe it
herself. "Oh, you can argue all night, Gilbert, but
you won't convince me. Just you ask Miss Cornelia what
she thinks of it."

"You're driven to the last ditch, Anne, when you bring
up Miss Cornelia as a reinforcement. She will say,
`Just like a man,' and rage furiously. No matter.
This is no affair for Miss Cornelia to settle. Leslie
alone must decide it."

"You know very well how she will decide it," said
Anne, almost in tears. "She has ideals of duty, too.
I don't see how you can take such a responsibility on
your shoulders. _I_ couldn't."

"`Because right is right to follow right Were
wisdom in the scorn of consequence,'"

quoted Gilbert.

"Oh, you think a couplet of poetry a convincing
argument!" scoffed Anne. "That is so like a man."

And then she laughed in spite of herself. It sounded
so like an echo of Miss Cornelia.

"Well, if you won't accept Tennyson as an authority,
perhaps you will believe the words of a Greater than
he," said Gilbert seriously. "`Ye shall know the
truth and the truth shall make you free.' I believe
that, Anne, with all my heart. It's the greatest and
grandest verse in the Bible--or in any literature--and
the TRUEST, if there are comparative degrees of
trueness. And it's the first duty of a man to tell the
truth, as he sees it and believes it."

"In this case the truth won't make poor Leslie free,"
sighed Anne. "It will probably end in still more
bitter bondage for her. Oh, Gilbert, I CAN'T think you
are right."

CHAPTER 30

LESLIE DECIDES

A sudden outbreak of a virulent type of influenza at
the Glen and down at the fishing village kept Gilbert
so busy for the next fortnight that he had no time to
pay the promised visit to Captain Jim. Anne hoped
against hope that he had abandoned the idea about Dick
Moore, and, resolving to let sleeping dogs lie, she
said no more about the subject. But she thought of it
incessantly.

"I wonder if it would be right for me to tell him that
Leslie cares for Owen," she thought. "He would never
let her suspect that he knew, so her pride would not
suffer, and it MIGHT convince him that he should let
Dick Moore alone. Shall I--shall I? No, after all, I
cannot. A promise is sacred, and I've no right to
betray Leslie's secret. But oh, I never felt so
worried over anything in my life as I do over this.
It's spoiling the spring--it's spoiling everything."

One evening Gilbert abruptly proposed that they go down
and see Captain Jim. With a sinking heart Anne agreed,
and they set forth. Two weeks of kind sunshine had
wrought a miracle in the bleak landscape over which
Gilbert's crow had flown. The hills and fields were
dry and brown and warm, ready to break into bud and
blossom; the harbor was laughter-shaken again; the long
harbor road was like a gleaming red ribbon; down on the
dunes a crowd of boys, who were out smelt fishing, were
burning the thick, dry sandhill grass of the preceding
summer. The flames swept over the dunes rosily,
flinging their cardinal banners against the dark gulf
beyond, and illuminating the channel and the fishing
village. It was a picturesque scene which would at
other times have delighted Anne's eyes; but she was not
enjoying this walk. Neither was Gilbert. Their usual
good-comradeship and Josephian community of taste and
viewpoint were sadly lacking. Anne's disapproval of
the whole project showed itself in the haughty uplift
of her head and the studied politeness of her remarks.
Gilbert's mouth was set in all the Blythe obstinacy,
but his eyes were troubled. He meant to do what he
believed to be his duty; but to be at outs with Anne
was a high price to pay. Altogether, both were glad
when they reached the light--and remorseful that they
should be glad.

Captain Jim put away the fishing net upon which he was
working, and welcomed them joyfully. In the searching
light of the spring evening he looked older than Anne
had ever seen him. His hair had grown much grayer, and
the strong old hand shook a little. But his blue eyes
were clear and steady, and the staunch soul looked out
through them gallant and unafraid.

Captain Jim listened in amazed silence while Gilbert
said what he had come to say. Anne, who knew how the
old man worshipped Leslie, felt quite sure that he
would side with her, although she had not much hope
that this would influence Gilbert. She was therefore
surprised beyond measure when Captain Jim, slowly and
sorrowfully, but unhesitatingly, gave it as his opinion
that Leslie should be told.

"Oh, Captain Jim, I didn't think you'd say that," she
exclaimed reproachfully. "I thought you wouldn't want
to make more trouble for her."

Captain Jim shook his head.

"I don't want to. I know how you feel about it,
Mistress Blythe-- just as I feel meself. But it ain't
our feelings we have to steer by through life--no, no,
we'd make shipwreck mighty often if we did that.
There's only the one safe compass and we've got to set
our course by that--what it's right to do. I agree
with the doctor. If there's a chance for Dick, Leslie
should be told of it. There's no two sides to that, in
my opinion."

"Well," said Anne, giving up in despair, "wait until
Miss Cornelia gets after you two men."

"Cornelia'll rake us fore and aft, no doubt," assented
Captain Jim. "You women are lovely critters, Mistress
Blythe, but you're just a mite illogical. You're a
highly eddicated lady and Cornelia isn't, but you're
like as two peas when it comes to that. I dunno's
you're any the worse for it. Logic is a sort of hard,
merciless thing, I reckon. Now, I'll brew a cup of tea
and we'll drink it and talk of pleasant things, jest to
calm our minds a bit."

At least, Captain Jim's tea and conversation calmed
Anne's mind to such an extent that she did not make
Gilbert suffer so acutely on the way home as she had
deliberately intended to do. She did not refer to the
burning question at all, but she chatted amiably of
other matters, and Gilbert understood that he was
forgiven under protest.

"Captain Jim seems very frail and bent this spring.
The winter has aged him," said Anne sadly. "I am
afraid that he will soon be going to seek lost
Margaret. I can't bear to think of it."

"Four Winds won't be the same place when Captain Jim
`sets out to sea,'" agreed Gilbert.

The following evening he went to the house up the
brook. Anne wandered dismally around until his
return.

"Well, what did Leslie say?" she demanded when he came
in.

"Very little. I think she felt rather dazed."

"And is she going to have the operation?"

"She is going to think it over and decide very soon."

Gilbert flung himself wearily into the easy chair
before the fire. He looked tired. It had not been an
easy thing for him to tell Leslie. And the terror that
had sprung into her eyes when the meaning of what he
told her came home to her was not a pleasant thing to
remember. Now, when the die was cast, he was beset
with doubts of his own wisdom.

Anne looked at him remorsefully; then she slipped down
on the rug beside him and laid her glossy red head on
his arm.

"Gilbert, I've been rather hateful over this. I won't
be any more. Please just call me red-headed and
forgive me."

By which Gilbert understood that, no matter what came
of it, there would be no I-told-you-so's. But he was
not wholly comforted. Duty in the abstract is one
thing; duty in the concrete is quite another,
especially when the doer is confronted by a woman's
stricken eyes.

Some instinct made Anne keep away from Leslie for the
next three days. On the third evening Leslie came down
to the little house and told Gilbert that she had made
up her mind; she would take Dick to Montreal and have
the operation.

She was very pale and seemed to have wrapped herself in
her old mantle of aloofness. But her eyes had lost the
look which had haunted Gilbert; they were cold and
bright; and she proceeded to discuss details with him
in a crisp, business-like way. There were plans to be
made and many things to be thought over. When Leslie
had got the information she wanted she went home. Anne
wanted to walk part of the way with her.

"Better not," said Leslie curtly. "Today's rain has
made the ground damp. Good-night."

"Have I lost my friend?" said Anne with a sigh. "If
the operation is successful and Dick Moore finds
himself again Leslie will retreat into some remote
fastness of her soul where none of us can ever find
her."

"Perhaps she will leave him," said Gilbert.

"Leslie would never do that, Gilbert. Her sense of
duty is very strong. She told me once that her
Grandmother West always impressed upon her the fact
that when she assumed any responsibility she must never
shirk it, no matter what the consequences might be.
That is one of her cardinal rules. I suppose it's very
old-fashioned ."

"Don't be bitter, Anne-girl. You know you don't think
it old- fashioned--you know you have the very same idea
of sacredness of assumed responsibilities yourself.
And you are right. Shirking responsibilities is the
curse of our modern life--the secret of all the unrest
and discontent that is seething in the world."

"Thus saith the preacher," mocked Anne. But under the
mockery she felt that he was right; and she was very
sick at heart for Leslie.

A week later Miss Cornelia descended like an avalanche
upon the little house. Gilbert was away and Anne was
compelled to bear the shock of the impact alone.

Miss Cornelia hardly waited to get her hat off before
she began.

"Anne, do you mean to tell me it's true what I've
heard--that Dr. Blythe has told Leslie Dick can be
cured, and that she is going to take him to Montreal to
have him operated on?"

"Yes, it is quite true, Miss Cornelia," said Anne
bravely.

"Well, it's inhuman cruelty, that's what it is," said
Miss Cornelia, violently agitated. "I did think Dr.
Blythe was a decent man. I didn't think he could have
been guilty of this."

"Dr. Blythe thought it was his duty to tell Leslie that
there was a chance for Dick," said Anne with spirit,
"and," she added, loyalty to Gilbert getting the
better of her, "I agree with him."

"Oh, no, you don't, dearie," said Miss Cornelia. "No
person with any bowels of compassion could."

"Captain Jim does."

"Don't quote that old ninny to me," cried Miss
Cornelia. "And I don't care who agrees with him.
Think--THINK what it means to that poor hunted, harried
girl."

"We DO think of it. But Gilbert believes that a doctor
should put the welfare of a patient's mind and body
before all other considerations."

"That's just like a man. But I expected better things
of you, Anne," said Miss Cornelia, more in sorrow than
in wrath; then she proceeded to bombard Anne with
precisely the same arguments with which the latter had
attacked Gilbert; and Anne valiantly defended her
husband with the weapons he had used for his own
protection. Long was the fray, but Miss Cornelia made
an end at last.

"It's an iniquitous shame," she declared, almost in
tears. "That's just what it is--an iniquitous shame.
Poor, poor Leslie!"

"Don't you think Dick should be considered a little
too?" pleaded Anne.

"Dick! Dick Moore! HE'S happy enough. He's a better
behaved and more reputable member of society now than
he ever was before.

Why, he was a drunkard and perhaps worse. Are you
going to set him loose again to roar and to devour?"

"He may reform," said poor Anne, beset by foe without
and traitor within.

"Reform your grandmother!" retorted Miss Cornelia.
"Dick Moore got the injuries that left him as he is in
a drunken brawl. He DESERVES his fate. It was sent on
him for a punishment. I don't believe the doctor has
any business to tamper with the visitations of God."

"Nobody knows how Dick was hurt, Miss Cornelia. It may
not have been in a drunken brawl at all. He may have
been waylaid and robbed."

"Pigs MAY whistle, but they've poor mouths for it,"
said Miss Cornelia. "Well, the gist of what you tell
me is that the thing is settled and there's no use in
talking. If that's so I'll hold my tongue. I don't
propose to wear MY teeth out gnawing files. When a
thing has to be I give in to it. But I like to make
mighty sure first that it HAS to be. Now, I'll devote
MY energies to comforting and sustaining Leslie. And
after all," added Miss Cornelia, brightening up
hopefully, "perhaps nothing can be done for Dick."

CHAPTER 31

THE TRUTH MAKES FREE

Leslie, having once made up her mind what to do,
proceeded to do it with characteristic resolution and
speed. House-cleaning must be finished with first,
whatever issues of life and death might await beyond.
The gray house up the brook was put into flawless order
and cleanliness, with Miss Cornelia's ready assistance.
Miss Cornelia, having said her say to Anne, and later
on to Gilbert and Captain Jim--sparing neither of them,
let it be assured--never spoke of the matter to Leslie.
She accepted the fact of Dick's operation, referred to
it when necessary in a business-like way, and ignored
it when it was not. Leslie never attempted to discuss
it. She was very cold and quiet during these beautiful
spring days. She seldom visited Anne, and though she
was invariably courteous and friendly, that very
courtesy was as an icy barrier between her and the
people of the little house. The old jokes and laughter
and chumminess of common things could not reach her
over it. Anne refused to feel hurt. She knew that
Leslie was in the grip of a hideous dread--a dread
that wrapped her away from all little glimpses of
happiness and hours of pleasure. When one great
passion seizes possession of the soul all other
feelings are crowded aside. Never in all her life had
Leslie Moore shuddered away from the future with more
intolerable terror. But she went forward as
unswervingly in the path she had elected as the martyrs
of old walked their chosen way, knowing the end of it
to be the fiery agony of the stake.

The financial question was settled with greater ease
than Anne had feared. Leslie borrowed the necessary
money from Captain Jim, and, at her insistence, he took
a mortgage on the little farm.

"So that is one thing off the poor girl's mind," Miss
Cornelia told Anne, "and off mine too. Now, if Dick
gets well enough to work again he'll be able to earn
enough to pay the interest on it; and if he doesn't I
know Captain Jim'll manage someway that Leslie won't
have to. He said as much to me. `I'm getting old,
Cornelia,' he said, `and I've no chick or child of my
own. Leslie won't take a gift from a living man, but
mebbe she will from a dead one.' So it will be all
right as far as THAT goes. I wish everything else
might be settled as satisfactorily. As for that wretch
of a Dick, he's been awful these last few days. The
devil was in him, believe ME! Leslie and I couldn't
get on with our work for the tricks he'd play. He
chased all her ducks one day around the yard till most
of them died. And not one thing would he do for us.
Sometimes, you know, he'll make himself quite handy,
bringing in pails of water and wood. But this week if
we sent him to the well he'd try to climb down into it.
I thought once, `If you'd only shoot down there
head-first everything would be nicely settled.'"

"Oh, Miss Cornelia!"

"Now, you needn't Miss Cornelia me, Anne, dearie.
ANYBODY would have thought the same. If the Montreal
doctors can make a rational creature out of Dick Moore
they're wonders."

Leslie took Dick to Montreal early in May. Gilbert
went with her, to help her, and make the necessary
arrangements for her. He came home with the report
that the Montreal surgeon whom they had consulted
agreed with him that there was a good chance of Dick's
restoration.

"Very comforting," was Miss Cornelia's sarcastic
comment.

Anne only sighed. Leslie had been very distant at
their parting.

But she had promised to write. Ten days after
Gilbert's return the letter came. Leslie wrote that
the operation had been successfully performed and that
Dick was making a good recovery.

"What does she mean by `successfully?'" asked Anne.
"Does she mean that Dick's memory is really restored?"

"Not likely--since she says nothing of it," said
Gilbert. "She uses the word `successfully' from the
surgeon's point of view. The operation has been
performed and followed by normal results. But it is
too soon to know whether Dick's faculties will be
eventually restored, wholly or in part. His memory
would not be likely to return to him all at once. The
process will be gradual, if it occurs at all. Is that
all she says?"

"Yes--there's her letter. It's very short. Poor girl,
she must be under a terrible strain. Gilbert Blythe,
there are heaps of things I long to say to you, only it
would be mean."

"Miss Cornelia says them for you," said Gilbert with a
rueful smile. "She combs me down every time I
encounter her. She makes it plain to me that she
regards me as little better than a murderer, and that
she thinks it a great pity that Dr. Dave ever let me
step into his shoes. She even told me that the
Methodist doctor over the harbor was to be preferred
before me. With Miss Cornelia the force of
condemnation can no further go."

"If Cornelia Bryant was sick, it would not be Doctor
Dave or the Methodist doctor she would send for,"
sniffed Susan. "She would have you out of your
hard-earned bed in the middle of the night, doctor,
dear, if she took a spell of misery, that she would.
And then she would likely say your bill was past all
reason. But do not mind her, doctor, dear. It takes
all kinds of people to make a world."

No further word came from Leslie for some time. The
May days crept away in a sweet succession and the
shores of Four Winds Harbor greened and bloomed and
purpled. One day in late May Gilbert came home to be
met by Susan in the stable yard.

"I am afraid something has upset Mrs. Doctor, doctor,
dear," she said mysteriously. "She got a letter this
afternoon and since then she has just been walking
round the garden and talking to herself. You know it
is not good for her to be on her feet so much, doctor,
dear. She did not see fit to tell me what her news
was, and I am no pry, doctor, dear, and never was, but
it is plain something has upset her. And it is not
good for her to be upset."

Gilbert hurried rather anxiously to the garden. Had
anything happened at Green Gables? But Anne, sitting
on the rustic seat by the brook, did not look troubled,
though she was certainly much excited. Her eyes were
their grayest, and scarlet spots burned on her cheeks.

"What has happened, Anne?"

Anne gave a queer little laugh.

"I think you'll hardly believe it when I tell you,
Gilbert. _I_ can't believe it yet. As Susan said the
other day, `I feel like a fly coming to live in the
sun--dazed-like.' It's all so incredible. I've read
the letter a score of times and every time it's just
the same--I can't believe my own eyes. Oh, Gilbert,
you were right--so right. I can see that clearly
enough now--and I'm so ashamed of myself--and will you
ever really forgive me?"

"Anne, I'll shake you if you don't grow coherent.
Redmond would be ashamed of you. WHAT has happened?"

"You won't believe it--you won't believe it--"

"I'm going to phone for Uncle Dave," said Gilbert,
pretending to start for the house.

"Sit down, Gilbert. I'll try to tell you. I've had a
letter, and oh, Gilbert, it's all so amazing--so
incredibly amazing--we never thought--not one of us
ever dreamed--"

"I suppose," said Gilbert, sitting down with a
resigned air, "the only thing to do in a case of this
kind is to have patience and go at the matter
categorically. Whom is your letter from?"

"Leslie--and, oh, Gilbert--"

"Leslie! Whew! What has she to say? What's the news
about Dick?"

Anne lifted the letter and held it out, calmly dramatic
in a moment.

"There is NO Dick! The man we have thought Dick
Moore-- whom everybody in Four Winds has believed for
twelve years to be Dick Moore--is his cousin, George
Moore, of Nova Scotia, who, it seems, always resembled
him very strikingly. Dick Moore died of yellow fever
thirteen years ago in Cuba."

CHAPTER 32

MISS CORNELIA DISCUSSES THE AFFAIR

"And do you mean to tell me, Anne, dearie, that Dick
Moore has turned out not to be Dick Moore at all but
somebody else? Is THAT what you phoned up to me
today?"

"Yes, Miss Cornelia. It is very amazing, isn't it?"

"It's--it's--just like a man," said Miss Cornelia
helplessly. She took off her hat with trembling
fingers. For once in her life Miss Cornelia was
undeniably staggered.

"I can't seem to sense it, Anne," she said. "I've
heard you say it--and I believe you--but I can't take
it in. Dick Moore is dead-- has been dead all these
years--and Leslie is free?"

"Yes. The truth has made her free. Gilbert was right
when he said that verse was the grandest in the
Bible."

"Tell me everything, Anne, dearie. Since I got your
phone I've been in a regular muddle, believe ME.
Cornelia Bryant was never so kerflummuxed before."

"There isn't a very great deal to tell. Leslie's
letter was short. She didn't go into particulars.
This man--George Moore--has recovered his memory and
knows who he is. He says Dick took yellow fever in
Cuba, and the Four Sisters had to sail without him.
George stayed behind to nurse him. But he died very
shortly afterwards.

George did not write Leslie because he intended to come
right home and tell her himself."

"And why didn't he?"

"I suppose his accident must have intervened. Gilbert
says it is quite likely that George Moore remembers
nothing of his accident, or what led to it, and may
never remember it. It probably happened very soon
after Dick's death. We may find out more particulars
when Leslie writes again."

"Does she say what she is going to do? When is she
coming home?"

"She says she will stay with George Moore until he can
leave the hospital. She has written to his people in
Nova Scotia. It seems that George's only near relative
is a married sister much older than himself. She was
living when George sailed on the Four Sisters, but of
course we do not know what may have happened since.
Did you ever see George Moore, Miss Cornelia?"

"I did. It is all coming back to me. He was here
visiting his Uncle Abner eighteen years ago, when he
and Dick would be about seventeen. They were double
cousins, you see. Their fathers were brothers and
their mothers were twin sisters, and they did look a
terrible lot alike. Of course," added Miss Cornelia
scornfully, "it wasn't one of those freak resemblances
you read of in novels where two people are so much
alike that they can fill each other's places and their
nearest and dearest can't tell between them. In those
days you could tell easy enough which was George and
which was Dick, if you saw them together and near at
hand. Apart, or some distance away, it wasn't so easy.
They played lots of tricks on people and thought it
great fun, the two scamps. George Moore was a little
taller and a good deal fatter than Dick--though neither
of them was what you would call fat--they were both of
the lean kind. Dick had higher color than George, and
his hair was a shade lighter. But their features were
just alike, and they both had that queer freak of
eyes--one blue and one hazel. They weren't much alike
in any other way, though. George was a real nice
fellow, though he was a scalawag for mischief, and some
said he had a liking for a glass even then. But
everybody liked him better than Dick. He spent about a
month here. Leslie never saw him; she was only about
eight or nine then and I remember now that she spent
that whole winter over harbor with her grandmother
West. Captain Jim was away, too--that was the winter
he was wrecked on the Magdalens. I don't suppose
either he or Leslie had ever heard about the Nova
Scotia cousin looking so much like Dick. Nobody ever
thought of him when Captain Jim brought Dick--George, I
should say--home. Of course, we all thought Dick had
changed considerable--he'd got so lumpish and fat. But
we put that down to what had happened to him, and no
doubt that was the reason, for, as I've said, George
wasn't fat to begin with either. And there was no
other way we could have guessed, for the man's senses
were clean gone. I can't see that it is any wonder we
were all deceived. But it's a staggering thing. And
Leslie has sacrificed the best years of her life to
nursing a man who hadn't any claim on her! Oh, drat
the men! No matter what they do, it's the wrong thing.
And no matter who they are, it's somebody they
shouldn't be. They do exasperate me."

"Gilbert and Captain Jim are men, and it is through
them that the truth has been discovered at last," said
Anne.

"Well, I admit that," conceded Miss Cornelia
reluctantly. "I'm sorry I raked the doctor off so.
It's the first time in my life I've ever felt ashamed
of anything I said to a man. I don't know as I shall
tell him so, though. He'll just have to take it for
granted. Well, Anne, dearie, it's a mercy the Lord
doesn't answer all our prayers. I've been praying hard
right along that the operation wouldn't cure Dick. Of
course I didn't put it just quite so plain. But that
was what was in the back of my mind, and I have no
doubt the Lord knew it."

"Well, He has answered the spirit of your prayer. You
really wished that things shouldn't be made any harder
for Leslie. I'm afraid that in my secret heart I've
been hoping the operation wouldn't succeed, and I am
wholesomely ashamed of it."

"How does Leslie seem to take it?"

"She writes like one dazed. I think that, like
ourselves, she hardly realises it yet. She says, `It
all seems like a strange dream to me, Anne.' That is
the only reference she makes to herself."

"Poor child! I suppose when the chains are struck off
a prisoner he'd feel queer and lost without them for a
while. Anne, dearie, here's a thought keeps coming
into my mind. What about Owen Ford? We both know
Leslie was fond of him. Did it ever occur to you that
he was fond of her?"

"It--did--once," admitted Anne, feeling that she might
say so much.

"Well, I hadn't any reason to think he was, but it just
appeared to me he MUST be. Now, Anne, dearie, the Lord
knows I'm not a match-maker, and I scorn all such
doings. But if I were you and writing to that Ford man
I'd just mention, casual-like, what has happened. That
is what _I_'d do."

"Of course I will mention it when I write him," said
Anne, a trifle distantly. Somehow, this was a thing
she could not discuss with Miss Cornelia. And yet, she
had to admit that the same thought had been lurking in
her mind ever since she had heard of Leslie's freedom.
But she would not desecrate it by free speech.

"Of course there is no great rush, dearie. But Dick
Moore's been dead for thirteen years and Leslie has
wasted enough of her life for him. We'll just see what
comes of it. As for this George Moore, who's gone and
come back to life when everyone thought he was dead and
done for, just like a man, I'm real sorry for him. He
won't seem to fit in anywhere."

"He is still a young man, and if he recovers
completely, as seems likely, he will be able to make a
place for himself again. It must be very strange for
him, poor fellow. I suppose all these years since his
accident will not exist for him."

CHAPTER 33

LESLIE RETURNS

A fortnight later Leslie Moore came home alone to the
old house where she had spent so many bitter years. In
the June twilight she went over the fields to Anne's,
and appeared with ghost-like suddenness in the scented
garden.

"Leslie!" cried Anne in amazement. "Where have you
sprung from? We never knew you were coming. Why
didn't you write? We would have met you."

"I couldn't write somehow, Anne. It seemed so futile
to try to say anything with pen and ink. And I wanted
to get back quietly and unobserved."

Anne put her arms about Leslie and kissed her. Leslie
returned the kiss warmly. She looked pale and tired,
and she gave a little sigh as she dropped down on the
grasses beside a great bed of daffodils that were
gleaming through the pale, silvery twilight like golden
stars.

"And you have come home alone, Leslie?"

"Yes. George Moore's sister came to Montreal and took
him home with her. Poor fellow, he was sorry to part
with me--though I was a stranger to him when his memory
first came back. He clung to me in those first hard
days when he was trying to realise that Dick's death
was not the thing of yesterday that it seemed to him.
It was all very hard for him. I helped him all I
could. When his sister came it was easier for him,
because it seemed to him only the other day that he had
seen her last. Fortunately she had not changed much,
and that helped him, too."

"It is all so strange and wonderful, Leslie. I think
we none of us realise it yet."

"I cannot. When I went into the house over there an
hour ago, I felt that it MUST be a dream--that Dick
must be there, with his childish smile, as he had been
for so long. Anne, I seem stunned yet. I'm not glad or
sorry--or ANYTHING. I feel as if something had been
torn suddenly out of my life and left a terrible hole.
I feel as if I couldn't be _I_--as if I must have
changed into somebody else and couldn't get used to it.
It gives me a horrible lonely, dazed, helpless feeling.
It's good to see you again--it seems as if you were a
sort of anchor for my drifting soul. Oh, Anne, I
dread it all--the gossip and wonderment and
questioning. When I think of that, I wish that I need
not have come home at all. Dr. Dave was at the station
when I came off the train--he brought me home. Poor
old man, he feels very badly because he told me years
ago that nothing could be done for Dick. `I honestly
thought so, Leslie,' he said to me today. `But I
should have told you not to depend on my opinion--I
should have told you to go to a specialist. If I had,
you would have been saved many bitter years, and poor
George Moore many wasted ones. I blame myself very
much, Leslie.' I told him not to do that--he had done
what he thought right. He has always been so kind to
me--I couldn't bear to see him worrying over it."

"And Dick--George, I mean? Is his memory fully
restored?"

"Practically. Of course, there are a great many
details he can't recall yet--but he remembers more and
more every day. He went out for a walk on the evening
after Dick was buried. He had Dick's money and watch
on him; he meant to bring them home to me, along with
my letter. He admits he went to a place where the
sailors resorted--and he remembers drinking--and
nothing else. Anne, I shall never forget the moment he
remembered his own name. I saw him looking at me with
an intelligent but puzzled expression. I said, `Do you
know me, Dick?' He answered, `I never saw you before.
Who are you? And my name is not Dick. I am George
Moore, and Dick died of yellow fever yesterday! Where
am I? What has happened to me?' I--I fainted, Anne.
And ever since I have felt as if I were in a dream."

"You will soon adjust yourself to this new state of
things, Leslie. And you are young--life is before
you--you will have many beautiful years yet."

"Perhaps I shall be able to look at it in that way
after a while, Anne. Just now I feel too tired and
indifferent to think about the future. I'm--I'm--Anne,
I'm lonely. I miss Dick. Isn't it all very strange?
Do you know, I was really fond of poor Dick--George, I
suppose I should say--just as I would have been fond of
a helpless child who depended on me for everything. I
would never have admitted it--I was really ashamed of
it--because, you see, I had hated and despised Dick so
much before he went away. When I heard that Captain
Jim was bringing him home I expected I would just feel
the same to him. But I never did--although I continued
to loathe him as I remembered him before. From the
time he came home I felt only pity--a pity that hurt
and wrung me. I supposed then that it was just because
his accident had made him so helpless and changed. But
now I believe it was because there was really a
different personality there. Carlo knew it, Anne--I
know now that Carlo knew it. I always thought it
strange that Carlo shouldn't have known Dick. Dogs are
usually so faithful. But HE knew it was not his master
who had come back, although none of the rest of us
did. I had never seen George Moore, you know. I
remember now that Dick once mentioned casually that he
had a cousin in Nova Scotia who looked as much like him
as a twin; but the thing had gone out of my memory, and
in any case I would never have thought it of any
importance. You see, it never occurred to me to
question Dick's identity. Any change in him seemed to
me just the result of the accident.

"Oh, Anne, that night in April when Gilbert told me he
thought Dick might be cured! I can never forget it.
It seemed to me that I had once been a prisoner in a
hideous cage of torture, and then the door had been
opened and I could get out. I was still chained to the
cage but I was not in it. And that night I felt that a
merciless hand was drawing me back into the cage--back
to a torture even more terrible than it had once been.
I didn't blame Gilbert. I felt he was right. And he
had been very good--he said that if, in view of the
expense and uncertainty of the operation, I should
decide not to risk it, he would not blame me in the
least. But I knew how I ought to decide--and I
couldn't face it. All night I walked the floor like a
mad woman, trying to compel myself to face it. I
couldn't, Anne--I thought I couldn't--and when morning
broke I set my teeth and resolved that I WOULDN'T. I
would let things remain as they were. It was very
wicked, I know. It would have been just punishment for
such wickedness if I had just been left to abide by
that decision. I kept to it all day. That afternoon I
had to go up to the Glen to do some shopping. It was
one of Dick's quiet, drowsy days, so I left him alone.
I was gone a little longer than I had expected, and he
missed me. He felt lonely. And when I got home, he
ran to meet me just like a child, with such a pleased
smile on his face. Somehow, Anne, I just gave way
then. That smile on his poor vacant face was more than
I could endure. I felt as if I were denying a child
the chance to grow and develop. I knew that I must
give him his chance, no matter what the consequences
might be. So I came over and told Gilbert. Oh, Anne,
you must have thought me hateful in those weeks before
I went away. I didn't mean to be--but I couldn't think
of anything except what I had to do, and everything and
everybody about me were like shadows."

"I know--I understood, Leslie. And now it is all
over--your chain is broken--there is no cage."

"There is no cage," repeated Leslie absently, plucking
at the fringing grasses with her slender, brown hands.
"But--it doesn't seem as if there were anything else,
Anne. You--you remember what I told you of my folly
that night on the sand-bar? I find one doesn't get
over being a fool very quickly. Sometimes I think
there are people who are fools forever. And to be a
fool--of that kind--is almost as bad as being a--a dog
on a chain."

"You will feel very differently after you get over
being tired and bewildered," said Anne, who, knowing a
certain thing that Leslie did not know, did not feel
herself called upon to waste overmuch sympathy.

Leslie laid her splendid golden head against Anne's
knee.

"Anyhow, I have YOU," she said. "Life can't be
altogether empty with such a friend. Anne, pat my
head--just as if I were a little girl--MOTHER me a
bit--and let me tell you while my stubborn tongue is
loosed a little just what you and your comradeship have
meant to me since that night I met you on the rock
shore."

CHAPTER 34

THE SHIP O'DREAMS COMES TO HARBOR

One morning, when a windy golden sunrise was billowing
over the gulf in waves of light, a certain weary stork
flew over the bar of Four Winds Harbor on his way from
the Land of Evening Stars. Under his wing was tucked a
sleepy, starry-eyed, little creature. The stork was
tired, and he looked wistfully about him. He knew he
was somewhere near his destination, but he could not
yet see it. The big, white light-house on the red
sandstone cliff had its good points; but no stork
possessed of any gumption would leave a new, velvet
baby there. An old gray house, surrounded by willows,
in a blossomy brook valley, looked more promising, but
did not seem quite the thing either. The staring
green abode further on was manifestly out of the
question. Then the stork brightened up. He had
caught sight of the very place--a little white house
nestled against a big, whispering firwood, with a
spiral of blue smoke winding up from its kitchen
chimney--a house which just looked as if it were meant
for babies. The stork gave a sigh of satisfaction, and
softly alighted on the ridge-pole.

Half an hour later Gilbert ran down the hall and tapped
on the spare-room door. A drowsy voice answered him
and in a moment Marilla's pale, scared face peeped out
from behind the door.

"Marilla, Anne has sent me to tell you that a certain
young gentleman has arrived here. He hasn't brought
much luggage with him, but he evidently means to
stay."

"For pity's sake!" said Marilla blankly. "You don't
mean to tell me, Gilbert, that it's all over. Why
wasn't I called?"

"Anne wouldn't let us disturb you when there was no
need. Nobody was called until about two hours ago.
There was no `passage perilous' this time."

"And--and--Gilbert--will this baby live?"

"He certainly will. He weighs ten pounds and--why,
listen to him. Nothing wrong with his lungs, is there?
The nurse says his hair will be red. Anne is furious
with her, and I'm tickled to death."

That was a wonderful day in the little house of dreams.

"The best dream of all has come true," said Anne, pale
and rapturous. "Oh, Marilla, I hardly dare believe it,
after that horrible day last summer. I have had a
heartache ever since then--but it is gone now."

"This baby will take Joy's place," said Marilla.

"Oh, no, no, NO, Marilla. He can't--nothing can ever
do that. He has his own place, my dear, wee
man-child. But little Joy has hers, and always will
have it. If she had lived she would have been over a
year old. She would have been toddling around on her
tiny feet and lisping a few words. I can see her so
plainly, Marilla. Oh, I know now that Captain Jim was
right when he said God would manage better than that my
baby would seem a stranger to me when I found her
Beyond. I've learned THAT this past year. I've
followed her development day by day and week by week--I
always shall. I shall know just how she grows from
year to year--and when I meet her again I'll know
her--she won't be a stranger. Oh, Marilla, LOOK at his
dear, darling toes! Isn't it strange they should be so
perfect?"

"It would be stranger if they weren't," said Marilla
crisply. Now that all was safely over, Marilla was
herself again.

"Oh, I know--but it seems as if they couldn't be quite
FINISHED, you know--and they are, even to the tiny
nails. And his hands--JUST look at his hands,
Marilla."

"They appear to be a good deal like hands," Marilla
conceded.

"See how he clings to my finger. I'm sure he knows me
already. He cries when the nurse takes him away. Oh,
Marilla, do you think--you don't think, do you--that
his hair is going to be red?"

"I don't see much hair of any color," said Marilla.
"I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you, until it
becomes visible."

"Marilla, he HAS hair--look at that fine little down
all over his head. Anyway, nurse says his eyes will be
hazel and his forehead is exactly like Gilbert's."

"And he has the nicest little ears, Mrs. Doctor,
dear," said Susan. "The first thing I did was to look
at his ears. Hair is deceitful and noses and eyes
change, and you cannot tell what is going to come of
them, but ears is ears from start to finish, and you
always know where you are with them. Just look at
their shape--and they are set right back against his
precious head. You will never need to be ashamed of
his ears, Mrs. Doctor, dear."

Anne's convalescence was rapid and happy. Folks came
and worshipped the baby, as people have bowed before
the kingship of the new-born since long before the Wise
Men of the East knelt in homage to the Royal Babe of
the Bethlehem manger. Leslie, slowly finding herself
amid the new conditions of her life, hovered over it,
like a beautiful, golden-crowned Madonna. Miss
Cornelia nursed it as knackily as could any mother in
Israel. Captain Jim held the small creature in his big
brown hands and gazed tenderly at it, with eyes that
saw the children who had never been born to him.

"What are you going to call him?" asked Miss Cornelia.

"Anne has settled his name," answered Gilbert.

"James Matthew--after the two finest gentlemen I've
ever known--not even saving your presence," said Anne
with a saucy glance at Gilbert.

Gilbert smiled.

"I never knew Matthew very well; he was so shy we boys
couldn't get acquainted with him--but I quite agree
with you that Captain Jim is one of the rarest and
finest souls God ever clothed in clay. He is so
delighted over the fact that we have given his name to
our small lad. It seems he has no other namesake."

"Well, James Matthew is a name that will wear well and
not fade in the washing," said Miss Cornelia. "I'm
glad you didn't load him down with some highfalutin,
romantic name that he'd be ashamed of when he gets to
be a grandfather. Mrs. William Drew at the Glen has
called her baby Bertie Shakespeare. Quite a
combination, isn't it? And I'm glad you haven't had
much trouble picking on a name. Some folks have an
awful time. When the Stanley Flaggs' first boy was
born there was so much rivalry as to who the child
should be named for that the poor little soul had to
go for two years without a name. Then a brother came
along and there it was--`Big Baby' and `Little Baby.'
Finally they called Big Baby Peter and Little Baby
Isaac, after the two grandfathers, and had them both
christened together. And each tried to see if it
couldn't howl the other down. You know that Highland
Scotch family of MacNabs back of the Glen? They've got
twelve boys and the oldest and the youngest are both
called Neil--Big Neil and Little Neil in the same
family. Well, I s'pose they ran out of names."

"I have read somewhere," laughed Anne, "that the first
child is a poem but the tenth is very prosy prose.
Perhaps Mrs. MacNab thought that the twelfth was merely
an old tale re-told."

"Well, there's something to be said for large
families," said Miss Cornelia, with a sigh. "I was an
only child for eight years and I did long for a
brother and sister. Mother told me to pray for
one--and pray I did, believe ME. Well, one day Aunt
Nellie came to me and said, `Cornelia, there is a
little brother for you upstairs in your ma's room. You
can go up and see him.' I was so excited and delighted
I just flew upstairs. And old Mrs. Flagg lifted up the
baby for me to see. Lord, Anne, dearie, I never was so
disappointed in my life. You see, I'd been praying for
A BROTHER TWO YEARS OLDER THAN MYSELF."

"How long did it take you to get over your
disappointment?" asked Anne, amid her laughter.

"Well, I had a spite at Providence for a good spell,
and for weeks I wouldn't even look at the baby. Nobody
knew why, for I never told. Then he began to get real
cute, and held out his wee hands to me and I began to
get fond of him. But I didn't get really reconciled to
him until one day a school chum came to see him and
said she thought he was awful small for his age. I
just got boiling mad, and I sailed right into her, and
told her she didn't know a nice baby when she saw one,
and ours was the nicest baby in the world. And after
that I just worshipped him. Mother died before he was
three years old and I was sister and mother to him
both. Poor little lad, he was never strong, and he
died when he wasn't much over twenty. Seems to me I'd
have given anything on earth, Anne, dearie, if he'd
only lived."

Miss Cornelia sighed. Gilbert had gone down and
Leslie, who had been crooning over the small James
Matthew in the dormer window, laid him asleep in his
basket and went her way. As soon as she was safely out
of earshot, Miss Cornelia bent forward and said in a
conspirator's whisper:

"Anne, dearie, I'd a letter from Owen Ford yesterday.
He's in Vancouver just now, but he wants to know if I
can board him for a month later on. YOU know what that
means. Well, I hope we're doing right."

"We've nothing to do with it--we couldn't prevent him
from coming to Four Winds if he wanted to," said Anne
quickly. She did not like the feeling of match-making
Miss Cornelia's whispers gave her; and then she weakly
succumbed herself.

"Don't let Leslie know he is coming until he is here,"
she said. "If she found out I feel sure she would go
away at once. She intends to go in the fall
anyhow--she told me so the other day. She is going to
Montreal to take up nursing and make what she can of
her life."

"Oh, well, Anne, dearie," said Miss Cornelia, nodding
sagely "that is all as it may be. You and I have done
our part and we must leave the rest to Higher Hands."

CHAPTER 35

POLITICS AT FOUR WINDS

When anne came downstairs again, the Island, as well as
all Canada, was in the throes of a campaign preceding a
general election. Gilbert, who was an ardent
Conservative, found himself caught in the vortex, being
much in demand for speech-making at the various county
rallies. Miss Cornelia did not approve of his mixing
up in politics and told Anne so.

"Dr. Dave never did it. Dr. Blythe will find he is
making a mistake, believe ME. Politics is something no
decent man should meddle with."

"Is the government of the country to be left solely to
the rogues then?" asked Anne.

"Yes--so long as it's Conservative rogues," said Miss
Cornelia, marching off with the honors of war. "Men
and politicians are all tarred with the same brush.
The Grits have it laid on thicker than the
Conservatives, that's all--CONSIDERABLY thicker. But
Grit or Tory, my advice to Dr. Blythe is to steer clear
of politics. First thing you know, he'll be running an
election himself, and going off to Ottawa for half the
year and leaving his practice to go to the dogs."

"Ah, well, let's not borrow trouble," said Anne. "The
rate of interest is too high. Instead, let's look at
Little Jem. It should be spelled with a G. Isn't he
perfectly beautiful? Just see the dimples in his
elbows. We'll bring him up to be a good Conservative,
you and I, Miss Cornelia."

"Bring him up to be a good man," said Miss Cornelia.
"They're scarce and valuable; though, mind you, I
wouldn't like to see him a Grit. As for the election,
you and I may be thankful we don't live over harbor.
The air there is blue these days. Every Elliott and
Crawford and MacAllister is on the warpath, loaded for
bear. This side is peaceful and calm, seeing there's
so few men. Captain Jim's a Grit, but it's my opinion
he's ashamed of it, for he never talks politics. There
isn't any earthly doubt that the Conservatives will be
returned with a big majority again."

Miss Cornelia was mistaken. On the morning after the
election Captain Jim dropped in at the little house to
tell the news. So virulent is the microbe of party
politics, even in a peaceable old man, that Captain
Jim's cheeks were flushed and his eyes were flashing
with all his old-time fire.

"Mistress Blythe, the Liberals are in with a sweeping
majority. After eighteen years of Tory mismanagement
this down-trodden country is going to have a chance at
last."

"I never heard you make such a bitter partisan speech
before, Captain Jim. I didn't think you had so much
political venom in you," laughed Anne, who was not
much excited over the tidings. Little Jem had said
"Wow-ga" that morning. What were principalities and
powers, the rise and fall of dynasties, the overthrow
of Grit or Tory, compared with that miraculous
occurrence?

"It's been accumulating for a long while," said
Captain Jim, with a deprecating smile. "I thought I
was only a moderate Grit, but when the news came that
we were in I found out how Gritty I really was."

"You know the doctor and I are Conservatives."

"Ah, well, it's the only bad thing I know of either of
you, Mistress Blythe. Cornelia is a Tory, too. I
called in on my way from the Glen to tell her the
news."

"Didn't you know you took your life in your hands?"

"Yes, but I couldn't resist the temptation."

"How did she take it?"

"Comparatively calm, Mistress Blythe, comparatively
calm. She says, says she, `Well, Providence sends
seasons of humiliation to a country, same as to
individuals. You Grits have been cold and hungry for
many a year. Make haste to get warmed and fed, for you
won't be in long.' `Well, now Cornelia,' I says,
`mebbe Providence thinks Canada needs a real long spell
of humiliation.' Ah, Susan, have YOU heard the news?
The Liberals are in."

Susan had just come in from the kitchen, attended by
the odor of delectable dishes which always seemed to
hover around her.

"Now, are they?" she said, with beautiful unconcern.
"Well, I never could see but that my bread rose just as
light when Grits were in as when they were not. And if
any party, Mrs. Doctor, dear, will make it rain before
the week is out, and save our kitchen garden from
entire ruination, that is the party Susan will vote
for. In the meantime, will you just step out and give
me your opinion on the meat for dinner? I am fearing
that it is very tough, and I think that we had better
change our butcher as well as our government."

One evening, a week later, Anne walked down to the
Point, to see if she could get some fresh fish from
Captain Jim, leaving Little Jem for the first time. It
was quite a tragedy. Suppose he cried? Suppose Susan
did not know just exactly what to do for him? Susan
was calm and serene.

"I have had as much experience with him as you, Mrs.
Doctor, dear, have I not?"

"Yes, with him--but not with other babies. Why, I
looked after three pairs of twins, when I was a child,
Susan. When they cried, I gave them peppermint or
castor oil quite coolly. It's quite curious now to
recall how lightly I took all those babies and their
woes."

"Oh, well, if Little Jem cries, I will just clap a hot
water bag on his little stomach," said Susan.

"Not too hot, you know," said Anne anxiously. Oh, was
it really wise to go?

"Do not you fret, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Susan is not the
woman to burn a wee man. Bless him, he has no notion
of crying."

Anne tore herself away finally and enjoyed her walk to
the Point after all, through the long shadows of the
sun-setting. Captain Jim was not in the living room of
the lighthouse, but another man was--a handsome,
middle-aged man, with a strong, clean-shaven chin, who
was unknown to Anne. Nevertheless, when she sat down,
he began to talk to her with all the assurance of an
old acquaintance. There was nothing amiss in what he
said or the way he said it, but Anne rather resented
such a cool taking-for-granted in a complete stranger.
Her replies were frosty, and as few as decency
required. Nothing daunted, her companion talked on for
several minutes, then excused himself and went away.
Anne could have sworn there was a twinkle in his eye
and it annoyed her. Who was the creature? There was
something vaguely familiar about him but she was
certain she had never seen him before.

"Captain Jim, who was that who just went out?" she
asked, as Captain Jim came in.

"Marshall Elliott," answered the captain.

"Marshall Elliott!" cried Anne. "Oh, Captain Jim--it
wasn't-- yes, it WAS his voice--oh, Captain Jim, I
didn't know him--and I was quite insulting to him! WHY
didn't he tell me? He must have seen I didn't know
him."

"He wouldn't say a word about it--he'd just enjoy the
joke. Don't worry over snubbing him--he'll think it
fun. Yes, Marshall's shaved off his beard at last and
cut his hair. His party is in, you know. I didn't
know him myself first time I saw him. He was up in
Carter Flagg's store at the Glen the night after
election day, along with a crowd of others, waiting for
the news. About twelve the 'phone came through--the
Liberals were in. Marshall just got up and walked
out--he didn't cheer or shout--he left the others to do
that, and they nearly lifted the roof off Carter's
store, I reckon. Of course, all the Tories were over
in Raymond Russell's store. Not much cheering THERE.
Marshall went straight down the street to the side door
of Augustus Palmer's barber shop. Augustus was in bed
asleep, but Marhall hammered on the door until he got
up and come down, wanting to know what all the racket
was about.

"Come into your shop and do the best job you ever did
in your life, Gus,' said Marshall. `The Liberals are
in and you're going to barber a good Grit before the
sun rises.'

"Gus was mad as hops--partly because he'd been dragged
out of bed, but more because he's a Tory. He vowed he
wouldn't shave any man after twelve at night.

"`You'll do what I want you to do, sonny,' said
Marshall, `or I'll jest turn you over my knee and give
you one of those spankings your mother forgot.'

"He'd have done it, too, and Gus knew it, for Marshall
is as strong as an ox and Gus is only a midget of a
man. So he gave in and towed Marshall in to the shop
and went to work. `Now,' says he, `I'll barber you up,
but if you say one word to me about the Grits getting
in while I'm doing it I'll cut your throat with this
razor,' says he. You wouldn't have thought mild little
Gus could be so bloodthirsty, would you? Shows what
party politics will do for a man. Marshall kept quiet
and got his hair and beard disposed of and went home.
When his old housekeeper heard him come upstairs she
peeked out of her bedroom door to see whether 'twas him
or the hired boy. And when she saw a strange man
striding down the hall with a candle in his hand she
screamed blue murder and fainted dead away. They had
to send for the doctor before they could bring her to,
and it was several days before she could look at
Marshall without shaking all over."

Captain Jim had no fish. He seldom went out in his
boat that summer, and his long tramping expeditions
were over. He spent a great deal of his time sitting
by his seaward window, looking out over the gulf, with
his swiftly-whitening head leaning on his hand. He sat
there tonight for many silent minutes, keeping some
tryst with the past which Anne would not disturb.
Presently he pointed to the iris of the West:

"That's beautiful, isn't, it, Mistress Blythe? But I
wish you could have seen the sunrise this morning. It
was a wonderful thing--wonderful. I've seen all kinds
of sunrises come over that gulf. I've been all over
the world, Mistress Blythe, and take it all in all,
I've never seen a finer sight than a summer sunrise
over the gulf. A man can't pick his time for dying,
Mistress Blythe--jest got to go when the Great Captain
gives His sailing orders. But if I could I'd go out
when the morning comes across that water. I've watched
it many a time and thought what a thing it would be to
pass out through that great white glory to whatever was
waiting beyant, on a sea that ain't mapped out on any
airthly chart. I think, Mistress Blythe, that I'd find
lost Margaret there."

Captain Jim had often talked to Anne of lost Margaret
since he had told her the old story. His love for her
trembled in every tone--that love that had never grown
faint or forgetful.

"Anyway, I hope when my time comes I'll go quick and
easy. I don't think I'm a coward, Mistress
Blythe--I've looked an ugly death in the face more than
once without blenching. But the thought of a lingering
death does give me a queer, sick feeling of horror."

"Don't talk about leaving us, dear, DEAR Captain,
Jim," pleaded Anne, in a choked voice, patting the old
brown hand, once so strong, but now grown very feeble.
"What would we do without you?"

Captain Jim smiled beautifully.

"Oh, you'd get along nicely--nicely--but you wouldn't
forget the old man altogether, Mistress Blythe--no, I
don't think you'll ever quite forget him. The race of
Joseph always remembers one another. But it'll be a
memory that won't hurt--I like to think that my memory
won't hurt my friends--it'll always be kind of pleasant
to them, I hope and believe. It won't be very long now
before lost Margaret calls me, for the last time. I'll
be all ready to answer. I jest spoke of this because
there's a little favor I want to ask you. Here's this
poor old Matey of mine"--Captain Jim reached out a
hand and poked the big, warm, velvety, golden ball on
the sofa. The First Mate uncoiled himself like a
spring with a nice, throaty, comfortable sound, half
purr, half meow, stretched his paws in air, turned over
and coiled himself up again. "HE'll miss me when I
start on the V'yage. I can't bear to think of leaving
the poor critter to starve, like he was left before.
If anything happens to me will you give Matey a bite
and a corner, Mistress Blythe?"

"Indeed I will."

"Then that is all I had on my mind. Your Little Jem is
to have the few curious things I picked up--I've seen
to that. And now I don't like to see tears in those
pretty eyes, Mistress Blythe. I'll mebbe hang on for
quite a spell yet. I heard you reading a piece of
poetry one day last winter--one of Tennyson's pieces.
I'd sorter like to hear it again, if you could recite
it for me."

Softly and clearly, while the seawind blew in on them,
Anne repeated the beautiful lines of Tennyson's
wonderful swan song-- "Crossing the Bar." The old
captain kept time gently with his sinewy hand.

"Yes, yes, Mistress Blythe," he said, when she had
finished, "that's it, that's it. He wasn't a sailor,
you tell me--I dunno how he could have put an old
sailor's feelings into words like that, if he wasn't
one. He didn't want any `sadness o' farewells' and
neither do I, Mistress Blythe--for all will be well
with me and mine beyant the bar."

CHAPTER 36

BEAUTY FOR ASHES

"Any news from Green Gables, Anne?"

"Nothing very especial," replied Anne, folding up
Marilla's letter. "Jake Donnell has been there
shingling the roof. He is a full-fledged carpenter
now, so it seems he has had his own way in regard to
the choice of a life-work. You remember his mother
wanted him to be a college professor. I shall never
forget the day she came to the school and rated me for
failing to call him St. Clair."

"Does anyone ever call him that now?"

"Evidently not. It seems that he has completely lived
it down. Even his mother has succumbed. I always
thought that a boy with Jake's chin and mouth would get
his own way in the end. Diana writes me that Dora has
a beau. Just think of it--that child!"

"Dora is seventeen," said Gilbert. "Charlie Sloane
and I were both mad about you when you were seventeen,
Anne."

"Really, Gilbert, we must be getting on in years,"
said Anne, with a half-rueful smile, "when children who
were six when we thought ourselves grown up are old
enough now to have beaux. Dora's is Ralph
Andrews--Jane's brother. I remember him as a little,
round, fat, white-headed fellow who was always at the
foot of his class. But I understand he is quite a
fine-looking young man now."

"Dora will probably marry young. She's of the same
type as Charlotta the Fourth--she'll never miss her
first chance for fear she might not get another."

"Well; if she marries Ralph I hope he will be a little
more up-and-coming than his brother Billy," mused
Anne.

"For instance," said Gilbert, laughing, "let us hope
he will be able to propose on his own account. Anne,
would you have married Billy if he had asked you
himself, instead of getting Jane to do it for him?"

"I might have." Anne went off into a shriek of
laughter over the recollection of her first proposal.
"The shock of the whole thing might have hypnotized me
into some such rash and foolish act. Let us be
thankful he did it by proxy."

"I had a letter from George Moore yesterday," said
Leslie, from the corner where she was reading.

"Oh, how is he?" asked Anne interestedly, yet with an
unreal feeling that she was inquiring about some one
whom she did not know.

"He is well, but he finds it very hard to adapt himself
to all the changes in his old home and friends. He is
going to sea again in the spring. It's in his blood,
he says, and he longs for it. But he told me something
that made me glad for him, poor fellow. Before he
sailed on the Four Sisters he was engaged to a girl at
home. He did not tell me anything about her in
Montreal, because he said he supposed she would have
forgotten him and married someone else long ago, and
with him, you see, his engagement and love was still a
thing of the present. It was pretty hard on him, but
when he got home he found she had never married and
still cared for him. They are to be married this fall.
I'm going to ask him to bring her over here for a
little trip; he says he wants to come and see the place
where he lived so many years without knowing it."

"What a nice little romance," said Anne, whose love
for the romantic was immortal. "And to think," she
added with a sigh of self-reproach, "that if I had had
my way George Moore would never have come up from the
grave in which his identity was buried. How I did
fight against Gilbert's suggestion! Well, I am
punished: I shall never be able to have a different
opinion from Gilbert's again! If I try to have, he
will squelch me by casting George Moore's case up to
me!"

"As if even that would squelch a woman!" mocked
Gilbert. "At least do not become my echo, Anne. A
little opposition gives spice to life . I do not want
a wife like John MacAllister's over the harbor. No
matter what he says, she at once remarks in that drab,
lifeless little voice of hers, `That is very true,
John, dear me!'"

Anne and Leslie laughed. Anne's laughter was silver
and Leslie's golden, and the combination of the two was
as satisfactory as a perfect chord in music.

Susan, coming in on the heels of the laughter, echoed
it with a resounding sigh.

"Why, Susan, what is the matter?" asked Gilbert.

"There's nothing wrong with little Jem, is there,
Susan?" cried Anne, starting up in alarm.

"No, no, calm yourself, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Something
has happened, though. Dear me, everything has gone
catawampus with me this week. I spoiled the bread, as
you know too well--and I scorched the doctor's best
shirt bosom--and I broke your big platter. And now, on
the top of all this, comes word that my sister Matilda
has broken her leg and wants me to go and stay with her
for a spell."

"Oh, I'm very sorry--sorry that your sister has met
with such an accident, I mean," exclaimed Anne.

"Ah, well, man was made to mourn, Mrs. Doctor, dear.
That sounds as if it ought to be in the Bible, but they
tell me a person named Burns wrote it. And there is no
doubt that we are born to trouble as the sparks fly
upward. As for Matilda, I do not know what to think of
her. None of our family ever broke their legs before.
But whatever she has done she is still my sister, and I
feel that it is my duty to go and wait on her, if you
can spare me for a few weeks, Mrs. Doctor, dear."

"Of course, Susan, of course. I can get someone to
help me while you are gone."

"If you cannot I will not go, Mrs. Doctor, dear,
Matilda's leg to the contrary notwithstanding. I will
not have you worried, and that blessed child upset in
consequence, for any number of legs."

"Oh, you must go to your sister at once, Susan. I can
get a girl from the cove, who will do for a time."

"Anne, will you let me come and stay with you while
Susan is away?" exclaimed Leslie. "Do! I'd love
to--and it would be an act of charity on your part.
I'm so horribly lonely over there in that big barn of a
house. There's so little to do--and at night I'm worse
than lonely--I'm frightened and nervous in spite of
locked doors. There was a tramp around two days ago."

Anne joyfully agreed, and next day Leslie was installed
as an inmate of the little house of dreams. Miss
Cornelia warmly approved of the arrangement.

"It seems Providential," she told Anne in confidence.
"I'm sorry for Matilda Clow, but since she had to break
her leg it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Leslie will be here while Owen Ford is in Four Winds,
and those old cats up at the Glen won't get the chance
to meow, as they would if she was living over there
alone and Owen going to see her. They are doing enough
of it as it is, because she doesn't put on mourning. I
said to one of them, `If you mean she should put on
mourning for George Moore, it seems to me more like his
resurrection than his funeral; and if it's Dick you
mean, I confess _I_ can't see the propriety of going
into weeds for a man who died thirteen years ago and
good riddance then!' And when old Louisa Baldwin
remarked to me that she thought it very strange that
Leslie should never have suspected it wasn't her own
husband _I_ said, `YOU never suspected it wasn't Dick
Moore, and you were next-door neighbor to him all his
life, and by nature you're ten times as suspicious as
Leslie.' But you can't stop some people's tongues,
Anne, dearie, and I'm real thankful Leslie will be
under your roof while Owen is courting her."

Owen Ford came to the little house one August evening
when Leslie and Anne were absorbed in worshipping the
baby. He paused at the open door of the living room,
unseen by the two within, gazing with greedy eyes at
the beautiful picture. Leslie sat on the floor with
the baby in her lap, making ecstatic dabs at his fat
little hands as he fluttered them in the air.

"Oh, you dear, beautiful, beloved baby," she mumbled,
catching one wee hand and covering it with kisses.

"Isn't him ze darlingest itty sing," crooned Anne,
hanging over the arm of her chair adoringly. "Dem itty
wee pads are ze very tweetest handies in ze whole big
world, isn't dey, you darling itty man."

Anne, in the months before Little Jem's coming, had
pored diligently over several wise volumes, and pinned
her faith to one in especial, "Sir Oracle on the Care
and Training of Children." Sir Oracle implored
parents by all they held sacred never to talk "baby
talk" to their children. Infants should invariably be
addressed in classical language from the moment of
their birth. So should they learn to speak English
undefiled from their earliest utterance. "How,"
demanded Sir Oracle, "can a mother reasonably expect
her child to learn correct speech, when she continually
accustoms its impressionable gray matter to such absurd
expressions and distortions of our noble tongue as
thoughtless mothers inflict every day on the helpless
creatures committed to their care? Can a child who is
constantly called `tweet itty wee singie' ever attain
to any proper conception of his own being and
possibilities and destiny?"

Anne was vastly impressed with this, and informed
Gilbert that she meant to make it an inflexible rule
never, under any circumstances, to talk "baby talk" to
her children. Gilbert agreed with her, and they made a
solemn compact on the subject--a compact which Anne
shamelessly violated the very first moment Little Jem
was laid in her arms. "Oh, the darling itty wee
sing!" she had exclaimed. And she had continued to
violate it ever since. When Gilbert teased her she
laughed Sir Oracle to scorn.

"He never had any children of his own, Gilbert--I am
positive he hadn't or he would never have written such
rubbish. You just can't help talking baby talk to a
baby. It comes natural--and it's RIGHT. It would be
inhuman to talk to those tiny, soft, velvety little
creatures as we do to great big boys and girls. Babies
want love and cuddling and all the sweet baby talk they
can get, and Little Jem is going to have it, bless his
dear itty heartums."

"But you're the worst I ever heard, Anne," protested
Gilbert, who, not being a mother but only a father, was
not wholly convinced yet that Sir Oracle was wrong. "I
never heard anything like the way you talk to that
child."

"Very likely you never did. Go away--go away. Didn't
I bring up three pairs of Hammond twins before I was
eleven? You and Sir Oracle are nothing but
cold-blooded theorists. Gilbert, JUST look at him!
He's smiling at me--he knows what we're talking about.
And oo dest agwees wif evy word muzzer says, don't oo,
angel-lover?"

Gilbert put his arm about them. "Oh you mothers!" he
said. "You mothers! God knew what He was about when
He made you."

So Little Jem was talked to and loved and cuddled; and
he throve as became a child of the house of dreams.
Leslie was quite as foolish over him as Anne was. When
their work was done and Gilbert was out of the way,
they gave themselves over to shameless orgies of
love-making and ecstasies of adoration, such as that in
which Owen Ford had surprised them.

Leslie was the first to become aware of him. Even in
the twilight Anne could see the sudden whiteness that
swept over her beautiful face, blotting out the crimson
of lip and cheeks.

Owen came forward, eagerly, blind for a moment to Anne.

"Leslie!" he said, holding out his hand. It was the
first time he had ever called her by her name; but the
hand Leslie gave him was cold; and she was very quiet
all the evening, while Anne and Gilbert and Owen
laughed and talked together. Before his call ended she
excused herself and went upstairs . Owen's gay spirits
flagged and he went away soon after with a downcast
air.

Gilbert looked at Anne.

"Anne, what are you up to? There's something going on
that I don't understand. The whole air here tonight
has been charged with electricity. Leslie sits like
the muse of tragedy; Owen Ford jokes and laughs on the
surface, and watches Leslie with the eyes of his soul.
You seem all the time to be bursting with some
suppressed excitement. Own up. What secret have you
been keeping from your deceived husband?"

"Don't be a goose, Gilbert," was Anne's conjugal
reply. "As for Leslie, she is absurd and I'm going up
to tell her so."

Anne found Leslie at the dormer window of her room.
The little place was filled with the rhythmic thunder
of the sea. Leslie sat with locked hands in the misty
moonshine--a beautiful, accusing presence.

"Anne," she said in a low, reproachful voice, "did you
know Owen Ford was coming to Four Winds?"

"I did," said Anne brazenly.

"Oh, you should have told me, Anne," Leslie cried
passionately. "If I had known I would have gone
away--I wouldn't have stayed here to meet him. You
should have told me. It wasn't fair of you, Anne--oh,
it wasn't fair!"

Leslie's lips were trembling and her whole form was
tense with emotion. But Anne laughed heartlessly. She
bent over and kissed Leslie's upturned reproachful
face.

"Leslie, you are an adorable goose. Owen Ford didn't
rush from the Pacific to the Atlantic from a burning
desire to see ME. Neither do I believe that he was
inspired by any wild and frenzied passion for Miss
Cornelia. Take off your tragic airs, my dear friend,
and fold them up and put them away in lavender. You'll
never need them again. There are some people who can
see through a grindstone when there is a hole in it,
even if you cannot. I am not a prophetess, but I shall
venture on a prediction. The bitterness of life is
over for you. After this you are going to have the
joys and hopes--and I daresay the sorrows, too--of a
happy woman. The omen of the shadow of Venus did come
true for you, Leslie. The year in which you saw it
brought your life's best gift for you--your love for
Owen Ford. Now, go right to bed and have a good
sleep."

Leslie obeyed orders in so far that she went to bed:
but it may be questioned if she slept much. I do not
think she dared to dream wakingly; life had been so
hard for this poor Leslie, the path on which she had
had to walk had been so strait, that she could not
whisper to her own heart the hopes that might wait on
the future. But she watched the great revolving light
bestarring the short hours of the summer night, and her
eyes grew soft and bright and young once more. Nor,
when Owen Ford came next day, to ask her to go with him
to the shore, did she say him nay.

CHAPTER 37

MISS CORNELIA MAKES A STARTLING ANNOUNCEMENT

Miss Cornelia sailed down to the little house one
drowsy afternoon, when the gulf was the faint,
bleached blue of the August seas, and the orange lilies
at the gate of Anne's garden held up their imperial
cups to be filled with the molten gold of August
sunshine. Not that Miss Cornelia concerned herself
with painted oceans or sun-thirsty lilies. She sat in
her favorite rocker in unusual idleness. She sewed
not, neither did she spin. Nor did she say a single
derogatory word concerning any portion of mankind. In
short, Miss Cornelia's conversation was singularly
devoid of spice that day, and Gilbert, who had stayed
home to listen to her, instead of going a-fishing, as
he had intended, felt himself aggrieved. What had come
over Miss Cornelia? She did not look cast down or
worried. On the contrary, there was a certain air of
nervous exultation about her.

"Where is Leslie?" she asked--not as if it mattered
much either.

"Owen and she went raspberrying in the woods back of
her farm," answered Anne. "They won't be back before
supper time-- if then."

"They don't seem to have any idea that there is such a
thing as a clock," said Gilbert. "I can't get to the
bottom of that affair. I'm certain you women pulled
strings. But Anne, undutiful wife, won't tell me.
Will you, Miss Cornelia?"

"No, I shall not. But," said Miss Cornelia, with the
air of one determined to take the plunge and have it
over, "I will tell you something else. I came today on
purpose to tell it. I am going to be married."

Anne and Gilbert were silent. If Miss Cornelia had
announced her intention of going out to the channel and
drowning herself the thing might have been believable.
This was not. So they waited. Of course Miss Cornelia
had made a mistake.

"Well, you both look sort of kerflummexed," said Miss
Cornelia, with a twinkle in her eyes. Now that the
awkward moment of revelation was over, Miss Cornelia
was her own woman again. "Do you think I'm too young
and inexperienced for matrimony?"

"You know--it IS rather staggering," said Gilbert,
trying to gather his wits together. "I've heard you
say a score of times that you wouldn't marry the best
man in the world."

"I'm not going to marry the best man in the world,"
retorted Miss Cornelia. "Marshall Elliott is a long
way from being the best."

"Are you going to marry Marshall Elliott?" exclaimed
Anne, recovering her power of speech under this second
shock.

"Yes. I could have had him any time these twenty years
if I'd lifted my finger. But do you suppose I was
going to walk into church beside a perambulating
haystack like that?"

"I am sure we are very glad--and we wish you all
possible happiness," said Anne, very flatly and
inadequately, as she felt. She was not prepared for
such an occasion. She had never imagined herself
offering betrothal felicitations to Miss Cornelia.

"Thanks, I knew you would," said Miss Cornelia. "You
are the first of my friends to know it."

"We shall be so sorry to lose you, though, dear Miss
Cornelia," said Anne, beginning to be a little sad and
sentimental.

"Oh, you won't lose me," said Miss Cornelia
unsentimentally. "You don't suppose I would live over
harbor with all those MacAllisters and Elliotts and
Crawfords, do you? `From the conceit of the Elliotts,
the pride of the MacAllisters and the vain-glory of the
Crawfords, good Lord deliver us.' Marshall is coming
to live at my place. I'm sick and tired of hired men.
That Jim Hastings I've got this summer is positively
the worst of the species. He would drive anyone to
getting married. What do you think? He upset the
churn yesterday and spilled a big churning of cream
over the yard. And not one whit concerned about it was
he! Just gave a foolish laugh and said cream was good
for the land. Wasn't that like a man? I told him I
wasn't in the habit of fertilising my back yard with
cream."

"Well, I wish you all manner of happiness too, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert, solemnly; "but," he added,
unable to resist the temptation to tease Miss Cornelia,
despite Anne's imploring eyes, "I fear your day of
independence is done. As you know, Marshall Elliott is
a very determined man."

"I like a man who can stick to a thing," retorted Miss
Cornelia. "Amos Grant, who used to be after me long
ago, couldn't. You never saw such a weather-vane. He
jumped into the pond to drown himself once and then
changed his mind and swum out again. Wasn't that like
a man? Marshall would have stuck to it and drowned."

"And he has a bit of a temper, they tell me,"
persisted Gilbert.

"He wouldn't be an Elliott if he hadn't. I'm thankful
he has. It will be real fun to make him mad. And you
can generally do something with a tempery man when it
comes to repenting time. But you can't do anything
with a man who just keeps placid and aggravating."

"You know he's a Grit, Miss Cornelia."

"Yes, he IS," admitted Miss Cornelia rather sadly.
"And of course there is no hope of making a
Conservative of him. But at least he is a
Presbyterian. So I suppose I shall have to be
satisfied with that."

"Would you marry him if he were a Methodist, Miss
Cornelia?"

"No, I would not. Politics is for this world, but
religion is for both."

"And you may be a `relict' after all, Miss Cornelia."

"Not I. Marshall will live me out. The Elliotts are
long-lived, and the Bryants are not."

"When are you to be married?" asked Anne.

"In about a month's time. My wedding dress is to be
navy blue silk. And I want to ask you, Anne, dearie,
if you think it would be all right to wear a veil with
a navy blue dress. I've always thought I'd like to
wear a veil if I ever got married. Marshall says to
have it if I want to. Isn't that like a man?"

"Why shouldn't you wear it if you want to?" asked
Anne.

"Well, one doesn't want to be different from other
people," said Miss Cornelia, who was not noticeably
like anyone else on the face of the earth. "As I say,
I do fancy a veil. But maybe it shouldn't be worn with
any dress but a white one. Please tell me, Anne,
dearie, what you really think. I'll go by your
advice."

"I don't think veils are usually worn with any but
white dresses," admitted Anne, "but that is merely a
convention; and I am like Mr. Elliott, Miss Cornelia.
I don't see any good reason why you shouldn't have a
veil if you want one."

But Miss Cornelia, who made her calls in calico
wrappers, shook her head.

"If it isn't the proper thing I won't wear it," she
said, with a sigh of regret for a lost dream.

"Since you are determined to be married, Miss
Cornelia," said Gilbert solemnly, "I shall give you
the excellent rules for the management of a husband
which my grandmother gave my mother when she married my
father."

"Well, I reckon I can manage Marshall Elliott," said
Miss Cornelia placidly. "But let us hear your rules."

"The first one is, catch him."

"He's caught. Go on."

"The second one is, feed him well."

"With enough pie. What next?"

"The third and fourth are--keep your eye on him."

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