Anne drove over to Carmody on
a shopping expedition the next
afternoon and took Diana Barry
with her. Diana was, of course,
a pledged member of the Improvement
Society, and the two girls talked
about little else all the way
to Carmody and back.
"The very first thing we ought
to do when we get started is
to have that hall painted," said
Diana, as they drove past the
Avonlea hall, a rather shabby
building set down in a wooded
hollow, with spruce trees hooding
it about on all sides. "It's
a disgraceful looking place and
we must attend to it even before
we try to get Mr. Levi Boulder
to pull his house down. Father
says we'll never succeed in DOING
that. Levi Boulter is too mean
to spend the time it would take."
"Perhaps he'll let the boys
take it down if they promise
to haul the boards and split
them up for him for kindling
wood," said Anne hopefully. "We
must do our best and be content
to go slowly at first. We can't
expect to improve everything
all at once. We'll have to educate
public sentiment first, of course."
Diana wasn't exactly sure what
educating public sentiment meant;
but it sounded fine and she felt
rather proud that she was going
to belong to a society with such
an aim in view.
of something last night that
we could do, Anne.
You know that three-cornered
piece of ground where the roads
from Carmody and Newbridge and
White Sands meet? It's all grown
over with young spruce; but wouldn't
it be nice to have them all cleared
out, and just leave the two or
three birch trees that are on
"Splendid," agreed Anne gaily. "And
have a rustic seat put under
the birches. And when spring
comes we'll have a flower-bed
made in the middle of it and
"Yes; only we'll have to devise
some way of getting old Mrs.
Hiram Sloane to keep her cow
off the road, or she'll eat our
geraniums up," laughed Diana. "I
begin to see what you mean by
educating public sentiment, Anne.
There's the old Boulter house
now. Did you ever see such a
rookery? And perched right close
to the road too. An old house
with its windows gone always
makes me think of something dead
with its eyes picked out."
"I think an old, deserted house
is such a sad sight," said Anne
dreamily. "It always seems to
me to be thinking about its past
and mourning for its old-time
joys. Marilla says that a large
family was raised in that old
house long ago, and that it was
a real pretty place, with a lovely
garden and roses climbing all
over it. It was full of little
children and laughter and songs;
and now it is empty, and nothing
ever wanders through it but the
wind. How lonely and sorrowful
it must feel! Perhaps they all
come back on moonlit nights.
. .the ghosts of the little children
of long ago and the roses and
the songs. . .and for a little
while the old house can dream
it is young and joyous again."
Diana shook her head.
"I never imagine
things like that about places
Don't you remember how cross
mother and Marilla were when
we imagined ghosts into the Haunted
Wood? To this day I can't go
through that bush comfortably
after dark; and if I began imagining
such things about the old Boulter
house I'd be frightened to pass
it too. Besides, those children
aren't dead. They're all grown
up and doing well. . .and one
of them is a butcher. And flowers
and songs couldn't have ghosts
Anne smothered a little sigh.
She loved Diana dearly and they
had always been good comrades.
But she had long ago learned
that when she wandered into the
realm of fancy she must go alone.
The way to it was by an enchanted
path where not even her dearest
might follow her.
A thunder-shower came up while
the girls were at Carmody; it
did not last long, however, and
the drive home, through lanes
where the raindrops sparkled
on the boughs and little leafy
valleys where the drenched ferns
gave out spicy odors, was delightful.
But just as they turned into
the Cuthbert lane Anne saw something
that spoiled the beauty of the
landscape for her.
Before them on the right extended
Mr. Harrison's broad, gray-green
field of late oats, wet and luxuriant;
and there, standing squarely
in the middle of it, up to her
sleek sides in the lush growth,
and blinking at them calmly over
the intervening tassels, was
a Jersey cow!
Anne dropped the reins and
stood up with a tightening of
the lips that boded no good to
the predatory quadruped. Not
a word said she, but she climbed
nimbly down over the wheels,
and whisked across the fence
before Diana understood what
"Anne, come back," shrieked
the latter, as soon as she found
her voice. "You'll ruin your
dress in that wet grain. . .ruin
it. She doesn't hear me! Well,
she'll never get that cow out
by herself. I must go and help
her, of course."
Anne was charging through the
grain like a mad thing. Diana
hopped briskly down, tied the
horse securely to a post, turned
the skirt of her pretty gingham
dress over her shoulders, mounted
the fence, and started in pursuit
of her frantic friend. She could
run faster than Anne, who was
hampered by her clinging and
drenched skirt, and soon overtook
her. Behind them they left a
trail that would break Mr. Harrison's
heart when he should see it.
"Anne, for mercy's sake, stop," panted
poor Diana. "I'm right out of
breath and you are wet to the
"I must. . .get. . .that cow.
. .out. . .before. . .Mr. Harrison.
. .sees her," gasped Anne. "I
don't. . .care. . .if I'm. .
.drowned . . .if we. . .can.
. .only. . .do that."
But the Jersey cow appeared
to see no good reason for being
hustled out of her luscious browsing
ground. No sooner had the two
breathless girls got near her
than she turned and bolted squarely
for the opposite corner of the
"Head her off," screamed Anne. "Run,
Diana did run. Anne tried to,
and the wicked Jersey went around
the field as if she were possessed.
Privately, Diana thought she
was. It was fully ten minutes
before they headed her off and
drove her through the corner
gap into the Cuthbert lane.
There is no denying that Anne
was in anything but an angelic
temper at that precise moment.
Nor did it soothe her in the
least to behold a buggy halted
just outside the lane, wherein
sat Mr. Shearer of Carmody and
his son, both of whom wore a
"I guess you'd better have
sold me that cow when I wanted
to buy her last week, Anne," chuckled
"I'll sell her to you now,
if you want her," said her flushed
and disheveled owner. "You may
have her this very minute."
give you twenty for her as
I offered before,
and Jim here can drive her right
over to Carmody. She'll go to
town with the rest of the shipment
this evening. Mr. Reed of Brighton
wants a Jersey cow."
Five minutes later Jim Shearer
and the Jersey cow were marching
up the road, and impulsive Anne
was driving along the Green Gables
lane with her twenty dollars.
"What will Marilla say?" asked
"Oh, she won't
care. Dolly was my own cow
and it isn't likely
she'd bring more than twenty
dollars at the auction. But oh
dear, if Mr. Harrison sees that
grain he will know she has been
in again, and after my giving
him my word of honor that I'd
never let it happen! Well, it
has taught me a lesson not to
give my word of honor about cows.
A cow that could jump over or
break through our milk-pen fence
couldn't be trusted anywhere."
Marilla had gone down to Mrs.
Lynde's, and when she returned
knew all about Dolly's sale and
transfer, for Mrs. Lynde had
seen most of the transaction
from her window and guessed the
it's just as well she's gone,
though you DO do
things in a dreadful headlong
fashion, Anne. I don't see how
she got out of the pen, though.
She must have broken some of
the boards off."
"I didn't think of looking," said
Anne, "but I'll go and see now.
Martin has never come back yet.
Perhaps some more of his aunts
have died. I think it's something
like Mr. Peter Sloane and the
octogenarians. The other evening
Mrs. Sloane was reading a newspaper
and she said to Mr. Sloane, `I
see here that another octogenarian
has just died. What is an octogenarian,
Peter?' And Mr. Sloane said he
didn't know, but they must be
very sickly creatures, for you
never heard tell of them but
they were dying. That's the way
with Martin's aunts."
"Martin's just like all the
rest of those French," said Marilla
in disgust. "You can't depend
on them for a day." Marilla was
looking over Anne's Carmody purchases
when she heard a shrill shriek
in the barnyard. A minute later
Anne dashed into the kitchen,
wringing her hands.
what's the matter now?"
whatever shall I do? This is
terrible. And it's
all my fault. Oh, will I EVER
learn to stop and reflect a little
before doing reckless things?
Mrs. Lynde always told me I would
do something dreadful some day,
and now I've done it!"
are the most exasperating girl!
WHAT is it you've done?"
"Sold Mr. Harrison's
Jersey cow. . .the one he bought
Mr. Bell . . .to Mr. Shearer!
Dolly is out in the milking pen
this very minute."
are you dreaming?"
"I only wish
I were. There's no dream about
it, though it's
very like a nightmare. And Mr.
Harrison's cow is in Charlottetown
by this time. Oh, Marilla, I
thought I'd finished getting
into scrapes, and here I am in
the very worst one I ever was
in in my life. What can I do?"
nothing to do, child, except
go and see Mr.
Harrison about it. We can offer
him our Jersey in exchange if
he doesn't want to take the money.
She is just as good as his."
"I'm sure he'll be awfully
cross and disagreeable about
it, though," moaned Anne.
he will. He seems to be an
irritable sort of a
man. I'll go and explain to him
if you like."
"No, indeed, I'm not as mean
as that," exclaimed Anne. "This
is all my fault and I'm certainly
not going to let you take my
punishment. I'll go myself and
I'll go at once. The sooner it's
over the better, for it will
be terribly humiliating."
Poor Anne got her hat and her
twenty dollars and was passing
out when she happened to glance
through the open pantry door.
On the table reposed a nut cake
which she had baked that morning.
. .a particularly toothsome concoction
iced with pink icing and adorned
with walnuts. Anne had intended
it for Friday evening, when the
youth of Avonlea were to meet
at Green Gables to organize the
Improvement Society. But what
were they compared to the justly
offended Mr. Harrison? Anne thought
that cake ought to soften the
heart of any man, especially
one who had to do his own cooking,
and she promptly popped it into
a box. She would take it to Mr.
Harrison as a peace offering.
"That is, if he gives me a
chance to say anything at all," she
thought ruefully, as she climbed
the lane fence and started on
a short cut across the fields,
golden in the light of the dreamy
August evening. "I know now just
how people feel who are being
led to execution."