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  • 1917
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“I believe you,” said Miss Cornelia emphatically.

CHAPTER 38

RED ROSES

The garden of the little house was a haunt beloved of bees and reddened by late roses that August. The little house folk lived much in it, and were given to taking picnic suppers in the grassy corner beyond the brook and sitting about in it through the twilights when great night moths sailed athwart the velvet gloom. One evening Owen Ford found Leslie alone in it. Anne and Gilbert were away, and Susan, who was expected back that night, had not yet returned.

The northern sky was amber and pale green over the fir tops. The air was cool, for August was nearing September, and Leslie wore a crimson scarf over her white dress. Together they wandered through the little, friendly, flower-crowded paths in silence. Owen must go soon. His holiday was nearly over. Leslie found her heart beating wildly. She knew that this beloved garden was to be the scene of the binding words that must seal their as yet unworded understanding.

” Some evenings a strange odor blows down the air of this garden, like a phantom perfume,” said Owen. “I have never been able to discover from just what flower it comes. It is elusive and haunting and wonderfully sweet. I like to fancy it is the soul of Grandmother Selwyn passing on a little visit to the old spot she loved so well. There should be a lot of friendly ghosts about this little old house.”

“I have lived under its roof only a month,” said Leslie, “but I love it as I never loved the house over there where I have lived all my life.”

“This house was builded and consecrated by love,” said Owen. “Such houses, MUST exert an influence over those who live in them. And this garden–it is over sixty years old and the history of a thousand hopes and joys is written in its blossoms. Some of those flowers were actually set out by the schoolmaster’s bride, and she has been dead for thirty years. Yet they bloom on every summer. Look at those red roses, Leslie–how they queen it over everything else!”

“I love the red roses,” said Leslie. “Anne likes the pink ones best, and Gilbert likes the white. But I want the crimson ones. They satisfy some craving in me as no other flower does.”

“These roses are very late–they bloom after all the others have gone–and they hold all the warmth and soul of the summer come to fruition,” said Owen, plucking some of the glowing, half-opened buds.

“The rose is the flower of love–the world has acclaimed it so for centuries. The pink roses are love hopeful and expectant–the white roses are love dead or forsaken–but the red roses–ah, Leslie, what are the red roses?”

“Love triumphant,” said Leslie in a low voice.

“Yes–love triumphant and perfect. Leslie, you know–you understand. I have loved you from the first. And I KNOW you love me–I don’t need to ask you. But I want to hear you say it–my darling– my darling!”

Leslie said something in a very low and tremulous voice. Their hands and lips met; it was life’s supreme moment for them and as they stood there in the old garden, with its many years of love and delight and sorrow and glory, he crowned her shining hair with the red, red rose of a love triumphant.

Anne and Gilbert returned presently, accompanied by Captain Jim. Anne lighted a few sticks of driftwood in the fireplace, for love of the pixy flames, and they sat around it for an hour of good fellowship.

“When I sit looking at a driftwood fire it’s easy to believe I’m young again,” said Captain Jim.

“Can you read futures in the fire, Captain Jim?” asked Owen.

Captain Jim looked at them all affectionately and then back again at Leslie’s vivid face and glowing eyes.

“I don’t need the fire to read your futures,” he said. “I see happiness for all of you–all of you–for Leslie and Mr. Ford–and the doctor here and Mistress Blythe–and Little Jem–and children that ain’t born yet but will be. Happiness for you all–though, mind you, I reckon you’ll have your troubles and worries and sorrows, too. They’re bound to come–and no house, whether it’s a palace or a little house of dreams, can bar ’em out. But they won’t get the better of you if you face ’em TOGETHER with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for compass and pilot.”

The old man rose suddenly and placed one hand on Leslie’s head and one on Anne’s.

“Two good, sweet women,” he said. “True and faithful and to be depended on. Your husbands will have honor in the gates because of you–your children will rise up and call you blessed in the years to come.”

There was a strange solemnity about the little scene. Anne and Leslie bowed as those receiving a benediction. Gilbert suddenly brushed his hand over his eyes; Owen Ford was rapt as one who can see visions. All were silent for a space. The little house of dreams added another poignant and unforgettable moment to its store of memories.

“I must be going now,” said Captain Jim slowly at last. He took up his hat and looked lingeringly about the room.

“Good night, all of you,” he said, as he went out.

Anne, pierced by the unusual wistfulness of his farewell, ran to the door after him.

“Come back soon, Captain Jim,” she called, as he passed through the little gate hung between the firs.

“Ay, ay,” he called cheerily back to her. But Captain Jim had sat by the old fireside of the house of dreams for the last time.

Anne went slowly back to the others.

“It’s so–so pitiful to think of him going all alone down to that lonely Point,” she said. “And there is no one to welcome him there.”

“Captain Jim is such good company for others that one can’t imagine him being anything but good company for himself,” said Owen. “But he must often be lonely. There was a touch of the seer about him tonight–he spoke as one to whom it had been given to speak. Well, I must be going, too.”

Anne and Gilbert discreetly melted away; but when Owen had gone Anne returned, to find Leslie standing by the hearth.

“Oh, Leslie–I know–and I’m so glad, dear,” she said, putting her arms about her.

“Anne, my happiness frightens me,” whispered Leslie. “It seems too great to be real–I’m afraid to speak of it–to think of it. It seems to me that it must just be another dream of this house of dreams and it will vanish when I leave here.”

“Well, you are not going to leave here–until Owen takes you. You are going to stay with me until that times comes. Do you think I’d let you go over to that lonely, sad place again?”

“Thank you, dear. I meant to ask you if I might stay with you. I didn’t want to go back there–it would seem like going back into the chill and dreariness of the old life again. Anne, Anne, what a friend you’ve been to me–`a good, sweet woman–true and faithful and to be depended on’–Captain Jim summed you up.”

“He said `women,’ not `woman,'” smiled Anne. “Perhaps Captain Jim sees us both through the rose-colored spectacles of his love for us. But we can try to live up to his belief in us, at least.”

“Do you remember, Anne,” said Leslie slowly, “that I once said–that night we met on the shore–that I hated my good looks? I did–then. It always seemed to me that if I had been homely Dick would never have thought of me. I hated my beauty because it had attracted him, but now–oh, I’m glad that I have it. It’s all I have to offer Owen,–his artist soul delights in it. I feel as if I do not come to him quite empty-handed.”

“Owen loves your beauty, Leslie. Who would not? But it’s foolish of you to say or think that that is all you bring him. HE will tell you that–I needn’t. And now I must lock up. I expected Susan back tonight, but she has not come.”

“Oh, yes, here I am, Mrs. Doctor, dear,” said Susan, entering unexpectedly from the kitchen, “and puffing like a hen drawing rails at that! It’s quite a walk from the Glen down here.”

“I’m glad to see you back, Susan. How is your sister?”

“She is able to sit up, but of course she cannot walk yet. However, she is very well able to get on without me now, for her daughter has come home for her vacation. And I am thankful to be back, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Matilda’s leg was broken and no mistake, but her tongue was not. She would talk the legs off an iron pot, that she would, Mrs. Doctor, dear, though I grieve to say it of my own sister. She was always a great talker and yet she was the first of our family to get married. She really did not care much about marrying James Clow, but she could not bear to disoblige him. Not but what James is a good man–the only fault I have to find with him is that he always starts in to say grace with such an unearthly groan, Mrs. Doctor, dear. It always frightens my appetite clear away. And speaking of getting married, Mrs. Doctor, dear, is it true that Cornelia Bryant is going to be married to Marshall Elliott?”

“Yes, quite true, Susan.”

“Well, Mrs. Doctor, dear, it does NOT seem to me fair. Here is me, who never said a word against the men, and I cannot get married nohow. And there is Cornelia Bryant, who is never done abusing them, and all she has to do is to reach out her hand and pick one up, as it were. It is a very strange world, Mrs. Doctor, dear.”

“There’s another world, you know, Susan.”

“Yes,” said Susan with a heavy sigh, “but, Mrs. Doctor, dear, there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage there.”

CHAPTER 39

CAPTAIN JIM CROSSES THE BAR

One day in late September Owen Ford’s book came at last. Captain Jim had gone faithfully to the Glen post office every day for a month, expecting it. This day he had not gone, and Leslie brought his copy home with hers and Anne’s.

“We’ll take it down to him this evening,” said Anne, excited as a schoolgirl.

The long walk to the Point on that clear, beguiling evening along the red harbor road was very pleasant. Then the sun dropped down behind the western hills into some valley that must have been full of lost sunsets, and at the same instant the big light flashed out on the white tower of the point.

“Captain Jim is never late by the fraction of a second,” said Leslie.

Neither Anne nor Leslie ever forgot Captain Jim’s face when they gave him the book–HIS book, transfigured and glorified. The cheeks that had been blanched of late suddenly flamed with the color of boyhood; his eyes glowed with all the fire of youth; but his hands trembled as he opened it.

It was called simply The Life-Book of Captain Jim, and on the title page the names of Owen Ford and James Boyd were printed as collaborators. The frontispiece was a photograph of Captain Jim himself, standing at the door of the lighthouse, looking across the gulf. Owen Ford had “snapped” him one day while the book was being written. Captain Jim had known this, but he had not known that the picture was to be in the book.

“Just think of it,” he said, “the old sailor right there in a real printed book. This is the proudest day of my life. I’m like to bust, girls. There’ll be no sleep for me tonight. I’ll read my book clean through before sun-up.”

“We’ll go right away and leave you free to begin it,” said Anne.

Captain Jim had been handling the book in a kind of reverent rapture. Now he decidedly closed it and laid it aside.

“No, no, you’re not going away before you take a cup of tea with the old man,” he protested. “I couldn’t hear to that–could you, Matey? The life-book will keep, I reckon. I’ve waited for it this many a year. I can wait a little longer while I’m enjoying my friends.”

Captain Jim moved about getting his kettle on to boil, and setting out his bread and butter. Despite his excitement he did not move with his old briskness. His movements were slow and halting. But the girls did not offer to help him. They knew it would hurt his feelings.

“You just picked the right evening to visit me,” he said, producing a cake from his cupboard. “Leetle Joe’s mother sent me down a big basket full of cakes and pies today. A blessing on all good cooks, says I. Look at this purty cake, all frosting and nuts. ‘Tain’t often I can entertain in such style. Set in, girls, set in! We’ll `tak a cup o’ kindness yet for auld lang syne.'”

The girls “set in” right merrily. The tea was up to Captain Jim’s best brewing. Little Joe’s mother’s cake was the last word in cakes; Captain Jim was the prince of gracious hosts, never even permitting his eyes to wander to the corner where the life-book lay, in all its bravery of green and gold. But when his door finally closed behind Anne and Leslie they knew that he went straight to it, and as they walked home they pictured the delight of the old man poring over the printed pages wherein his own life was portrayed with all the charm and color of reality itself.

“I wonder how he will like the ending–the ending I suggested,” said Leslie.

She was never to know. Early the next morning Anne awakened to find Gilbert bending over her, fully dressed, and with an expression of anxiety on his face.

“Are you called out?” she asked drowsily.

“No. Anne, I’m afraid there’s something wrong at the Point. It’s an hour after sunrise now, and the light is still burning. You know it has always been a matter of pride with Captain Jim to start the light the moment the sun sets, and put it out the moment it rises.”

Anne sat up in dismay. Through her window she saw the light blinking palely against the blue skies of dawn.

“Perhaps he has fallen asleep over his life-book,” she said anxiously, “or become so absorbed in it that he has forgotten the light.”

Gilbert shook his head.

“That wouldn’t be like Captain Jim. Anyway, I’m going down to see.”

“Wait a minute and I’ll go with you,” exclaimed Anne. “Oh, yes, I must–Little Jem will sleep for an hour yet, and I’ll call Susan. You may need a woman’s help if Captain Jim is ill.”

It was an exquisite morning, full of tints and sounds at once ripe and delicate. The harbor was sparkling and dimpling like a girl; white gulls were soaring over the dunes; beyond the bar was a shining, wonderful sea. The long fields by the shore were dewy and fresh in that first fine, purely-tinted light. The wind came dancing and whistling up the channel to replace the beautiful silence with a music more beautiful still. Had it not been for the baleful star on the white tower that early walk would have been a delight to Anne and Gilbert. But they went softly with fear.

Their knock was not responded to. Gilbert opened the door and they went in.

The old room was very quiet. On the table were the remnants of the little evening feast. The lamp still burned on the corner stand. The First Mate was asleep in a square of sunshine by the sofa.

Captain Jim lay on the sofa, with his hands clasped over the life-book, open at the last page, lying on his breast. His eyes were closed and on his face was a look of the most perfect peace and happiness–the look of one who has long sought and found at last.

“He is asleep?” whispered Anne tremulously.

Gilbert went to the sofa and bent over him for a few moments. Then he straightened up.

“Yes, he sleeps–well,” he added quietly. “Anne, Captain Jim has crossed the bar.”

They could not know precisely at what hour he had died, but Anne always believed that he had had his wish, and went out when the morning came across the gulf. Out on that shining tide his spirit drifted, over the sunrise sea of pearl and silver, to the haven where lost Margaret waited, beyond the storms and calms.

CHAPTER 40

FAREWELL TO THE HOUSE OF DREAMS

Captain Jim was buried in the little over-harbor graveyard, very near to the spot where the wee white lady slept. His relatives put up a very expensive, very ugly “monument”–a monument at which he would have poked sly fun had he seen it in life. But his real monument was in the hearts of those who knew him, and in the book that was to live for generations.

Leslie mourned that Captain Jim had not lived to see the amazing success of it.

“How he would have delighted in the reviews–they are almost all so kindly. And to have seen his life-book heading the lists of the best sellers–oh, if he could just have lived to see it, Anne!”

But Anne, despite her grief, was wiser.

“It was the book itself he cared for, Leslie–not what might be said of it–and he had it. He had read it all through. That last night must have been one of the greatest happiness for him–with the quick, painless ending he had hoped for in the morning. I am glad for Owen’s sake and yours that the book is such a success–but Captain Jim was satisfied–I KNOW.”

The lighthouse star still kept a nightly vigil; a substitute keeper had been sent to the Point, until such time as an all-wise government could decide which of many applicants was best fitted for the place–or had the strongest pull. The First Mate was at home in the little house, beloved by Anne and Gilbert and Leslie, and tolerated by a Susan who had small liking for cats.

“I can put up with him for the sake of Captain Jim, Mrs. Doctor, dear, for I liked the old man. And I will see that he gets bite and sup, and every mouse the traps account for. But do not ask me to do more than that, Mrs. Doctor, dear. Cats is cats, and take my word for it, they will never be anything else. And at least, Mrs. Doctor, dear, do keep him away from the blessed wee man. Picture to yourself how awful it would be if he was to suck the darling’s breath.”

“That might be fitly called a CAT-astrophe,” said Gilbert.

“Oh, you may laugh, doctor, dear, but it would be no laughing matter.”

“Cats never suck babies’ breaths,” said Gilbert. “That is only an old superstition, Susan.”

“Oh, well, it may be a superstition or it may not, doctor, dear. All that I know is, it has happened. My sister’s husband’s nephew’s wife’s cat sucked their baby’s breath, and the poor innocent was all but gone when they found it. And superstition or not, if I find that yellow beast lurking near our baby I will whack him with the poker, Mrs. Doctor, dear.”

Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Elliott were living comfortably and harmoniously in the green house. Leslie was busy with sewing, for she and Owen were to be married at Christmas. Anne wondered what she would do when Leslie was gone.

“Changes come all the time. Just as soon as things get really nice they change,” she said with a sigh.

“The old Morgan place up at the Glen is for sale,” said Gilbert, apropos of nothing in especial.

“Is it?” asked Anne indifferently.

“Yes. Now that Mr. Morgan has gone, Mrs. Morgan wants to go to live with her children in Vancouver. She will sell cheaply, for a big place like that in a small village like the Glen will not be very easy to dispose of.”

“Well, it’s certainly a beautiful place, so it is likely she will find a purchaser,” said Anne, absently, wondering whether she should hemstitch or feather-stitch little Jem’s “short” dresses. He was to be shortened the next week, and Anne felt ready to cry at the thought of it.

“Suppose we buy it, Anne?” remarked Gilbert quietly.

Anne dropped her sewing and stared at him.

“You’re not in earnest, Gilbert?”

“Indeed I am, dear.”

“And leave this darling spot–our house of dreams?” said Anne incredulously. “Oh, Gilbert, it’s–it’s unthinkable!”

“Listen patiently to me, dear. I know just how you feel about it. I feel the same. But we’ve always known we would have to move some day.”

“Oh, but not so soon, Gilbert–not just yet.”

“We may never get such a chance again. If we don’t buy the Morgan place someone else will–and there is no other house in the Glen we would care to have, and no other really good site on which to build. This little house is–well, it is and has been what no other house can ever be to us, I admit, but you know it is out-of-the-way down here for a doctor. We have felt the inconvenience, though we’ve made the best of it. And it’s a tight fit for us now. Perhaps, in a few years, when Jem wants a room of his own, it will be entirely too small.”

“Oh, I know–I know,” said Anne, tears filling her eyes. “I know all that can be said against it, but I love it so–and it’s so beautiful here.”

“You would find it very lonely here after Leslie goes–and Captain Jim has gone too. The Morgan place is beautiful, and in time we would love it. You know you have always admired it, Anne.”

“Oh, yes, but–but–this has all seemed to come up so suddenly, Gilbert. I’m dizzy. Ten minutes ago I had no thought of leaving this dear spot. I was planning what I meant to do for it in the spring– what I meant to do in the garden. And if we leave this place who will get it? It IS out-of-the-way, so it’s likely some poor, shiftless, wandering family will rent it–and over-run it–and oh, that would be desecration. It would hurt me horribly.”

“I know. But we cannot sacrifice our own interests to such considerations, Anne-girl. The Morgan place will suit us in every essential particular–we really can’t afford to miss such a chance. Think of that big lawn with those magnificent old trees; and of that splendid hardwood grove behind it–twelve acres of it. What a play place for our children! There’s a fine orchard, too, and you’ve always admired that high brick wall around the garden with the door in it–you’ve thought it was so like a story-book garden. And there is almost as fine a view of the harbor and the dunes from the Morgan place as from here.”

“You can’t see the lighthouse star from it.”

“Yes, You can see it from the attic window. THERE’S another advantage, Anne-girl–you love big garrets.”

“There’s no brook in the garden.”

“Well, no, but there is one running through the maple grove into the Glen pond. And the pond itself isn’t far away. You’ll be able to fancy you have your own Lake of Shining Waters again.”

“Well, don’t say anything more about it just now, Gilbert. Give me time to think–to get used to the idea.”

“All right. There is no great hurry, of course. Only–if we decide to buy, it would be well to be moved in and settled before winter.”

Gilbert went out, and Anne put away Little Jem’s short dresses with trembling hands. She could not sew any more that day. With tear-wet eyes she wandered over the little domain where she had reigned so happy a queen. The Morgan place was all that Gilbert claimed. The grounds were beautiful, the house old enough to have dignity and repose and traditions, and new enough to be comfortable and up-to-date. Anne had always admired it; but admiring is not loving; and she loved this house of dreams so much. She loved EVERYTHING about it–the garden she had tended, and which so many women had tended before her–the gleam and sparkle of the little brook that crept so roguishly across the corner–the gate between the creaking fir trees–the old red sandstone step–the stately Lombardies– the two tiny quaint glass cupboards over the chimney- piece in the living-room–the crooked pantry door in the kitchen– the two funny dormer windows upstairs–the little jog in the staircase– why, these things were a part of her! How could she leave them?

And how this little house, consecrated aforetime by love and joy, had been re-consecrated for her by her happiness and sorrow! Here she had spent her bridal moon; here wee Joyce had lived her one brief day; here the sweetness of motherhood had come again with Little Jem; here she had heard the exquisite music of her baby’s cooing laughter; here beloved friends had sat by her fireside. Joy and grief, birth and death, had made sacred forever this little house of dreams.

And now she must leave it. She knew that, even while she had contended against the idea to Gilbert. The little house was outgrown. Gilbert’s interests made the change necessary; his work, successful though it had been, was hampered by his location. Anne realised that the end of their life in this dear place drew nigh, and that she must face the fact bravely. But how her heart ached!

“It will be just like tearing something out of my life,” she sobbed. “And oh, if I could hope that some nice folk would come here in our place–or even that it would be left vacant. That itself would be better than having it overrun with some horde who know nothing of the geography of dreamland, and nothing of the history that has given this house its soul and its identity. And if such a tribe come here the place will go to rack and ruin in no time–an old place goes down so quickly if it is not carefully attended to. They’ll tear up my garden–and let the Lombardies get ragged–and the paling will come to look like a mouth with half the teeth missing–and the roof will leak–and the plaster fall–and they’ll stuff pillows and rags in broken window panes–and everything will be out-at-elbows.”

Anne’s imagination pictured forth so vividly the coming degeneration of her dear little house that it hurt her as severely as if it had already been an accomplished fact. She sat down on the stairs and had a long, bitter cry. Susan found her there and enquired with much concern what the trouble was.

“You have not quarrelled with the doctor, have you now, Mrs. Doctor, dear? But if you have, do not worry. It is a thing quite likely to happen to married couples, I am told, although I have had no experience that way myself. He will be sorry, and you can soon make it up.”

“No, no, Susan, we haven’t quarrelled. It’s only–Gilbert is going to buy the Morgan place, and we’ll have to go and live at the Glen. And it will break my heart.”

Susan did not enter into Anne’s feelings at all. She was, indeed, quite rejoiced over the prospect of living at the Glen. Her one grievance against her place in the little house was its lonesome location.

“Why, Mrs. Doctor, dear, it will be splendid. The Morgan house is such a fine, big one.”

“I hate big houses,” sobbed Anne.

“Oh, well, you will not hate them by the time you have half a dozen children,” remarked Susan calmly. “And this house is too small already for us. We have no spare room, since Mrs. Moore is here, and that pantry is the most aggravating place I ever tried to work in. There is a corner every way you turn. Besides, it is out-of-the-world down here. There is really nothing at all but scenery.”

“Out of your world perhaps, Susan–but not out of mine,” said Anne with a faint smile.

“I do not quite understand you, Mrs. Doctor, dear, but of course I am not well educated. But if Dr. Blythe buys the Morgan place he will make no mistake, and that you may tie to. They have water in it, and the pantries and closets are beautiful, and there is not another such cellar in P. E. Island, so I have been told. Why, the cellar here, Mrs. Doctor, dear, has been a heart-break to me, as well you know.”

“Oh, go away, Susan, go away,” said Anne forlornly. “Cellars and pantries and closets don’t make a HOME. Why don’t you weep with those who weep?”

“Well, I never was much hand for weeping, Mrs. Doctor, dear. I would rather fall to and cheer people up than weep with them. Now, do not you cry and spoil your pretty eyes. This house is very well and has served your turn, but it is high time you had a better.”

Susan’s point of view seemed to be that of most people. Leslie was the only one who sympathised
understandingly with Anne. She had a good cry, too, when she heard the news. Then they both dried their tears and went to work at the preparations for moving.

“Since we must go let us go as soon as we can and have it over,” said poor Anne with bitter resignation.

“You know you will like that lovely old place at the Glen after you have lived in it long enough to have dear memories woven about it,” said Leslie. “Friends will come there, as they have come here– happiness will glorify it for you. Now, it’s just a house to you–but the years will make it a home.”

Anne and Leslie had another cry the next week when they shortened Little Jem. Anne felt the tragedy of it until evening when in his long nightie she found her own dear baby again.

“But it will be rompers next–and then trousers–and in no time he will be grown-up,” she sighed.

“Well, you would not want him to stay a baby always, Mrs. Doctor, dear, would you?” said Susan. “Bless his innocent heart, he looks too sweet for anything in his little short dresses, with his dear feet sticking out. And think of the save in the ironing, Mrs. Doctor, dear.”

“Anne, I have just had a letter from Owen,” said Leslie, entering with a bright face. “And, oh! I have such good news. He writes me that he is going to buy this place from the church trustees and keep it to spend our summer vacations in. Anne, are you not glad?”

“Oh, Leslie, `glad’ isn’t the word for it! It seems almost too good to be true. I sha’n’t feel half so badly now that I know this dear spot will never be desecrated by a vandal tribe, or left to tumble down in decay. Why, it’s lovely! It’s lovely!”

One October morning Anne wakened to the realisation that she had slept for the last time under the roof of her little house. The day was too busy to indulge regret and when evening came the house was stripped and bare. Anne and Gilbert were alone in it to say farewell. Leslie and Susan and Little Jem had gone to the Glen with the last load of furniture. The sunset light streamed in through the curtainless windows.

“It has all such a heart-broken, reproachful look, hasn’t it?” said Anne. “Oh, I shall be so homesick at the Glen tonight!”

“We have been very happy here, haven’t we, Anne-girl?” said Gilbert, his voice full of feeling.

Anne choked, unable to answer. Gilbert waited for her at the fir-tree gate, while she went over the house and said farewell to every room. She was going away; but the old house would still be there, looking seaward through its quaint windows. The autumn winds would blow around it mournfully, and the gray rain would beat upon it and the white mists would come in from the sea to enfold it; and the moonlight would fall over it and light up the old paths where the schoolmaster and his bride had walked. There on that old harbor shore the charm of story would linger; the wind would still whistle alluringly over the silver sand-dunes; the waves would still call from the red rock-coves.

“But we will be gone,” said Anne through her tears.

She went out, closing and locking the door behind her. Gilbert was waiting for her with a smile. The lighthouse star was gleaming northward. The little garden, where only marigolds still bloomed, was already hooding itself in shadows.

Anne knelt down and kissed the worn old step which she had crossed as a bride.

“Good-bye, dear little house of dreams,” she said.