Anne leaned back in her chair
one mild October evening and
sighed. She was sitting at a
table covered with text books
and exercises, but the closely
written sheets of paper before
her had no apparent connection
with studies or school work.
"What is the matter?" asked
Gilbert, who had arrived at the
open kitchen door just in time
to hear the sigh.
Anne colored, and thrust her
writing out of sight under some
dreadful. I was just trying
to write out some
of my thoughts, as Professor
Hamilton advised me, but I couldn't
get them to please me. They seem
so still and foolish directly
they're written down on white
paper with black ink. Fancies
are like shadows. . . you can't
cage them, they're such wayward,
dancing things. But perhaps I'll
learn the secret some day if
I keep on trying. I haven't a
great many spare moments, you
know. By the time I finish correcting
school exercises and compositions,
I don't always feel like writing
any of my own."
"You are getting on splendidly
in school, Anne. All the children
like you," said Gilbert, sitting
down on the stone step.
"No, not all.
Anthony Pye doesn't and WON'T
like me. What is worse,
he doesn't respect me. . .no,
he doesn't. He simply holds me
in contempt and I don't mind
confessing to you that it worries
me miserably. It isn't that he
is so very bad. . .he is only
rather mischievous, but no worse
than some of the others. He seldom
disobeys me; but he obeys with
a scornful air of toleration
as if it wasn't worthwhile disputing
the point or he would. . .and
it has a bad effect on the others.
I've tried every way to win him
but I'm beginning to fear I never
shall. I want to, for he's rather
a cute little lad, if he IS a
Pye, and I could like him if
he'd let me."
merely the effect of what he
hears at home."
"Not altogether. Anthony is
an independent little chap and
makes up his own mind about things.
He has always gone to men before
and he says girl teachers are
no good. Well, we'll see what
patience and kindness will do.
I like overcoming difficulties
and teaching is really very interesting
work. Paul Irving makes up for
all that is lacking in the others.
That child is a perfect darling,
Gilbert, and a genius into the
bargain. I'm persuaded the world
will hear of him some day," concluded
Anne in a tone of conviction.
"I like teaching, too," said
Gilbert. "It's good training,
for one thing. Why, Anne, I've
learned more in the weeks I've
been teaching the young the ideas
of White Sands than I learned
in all the years I went to school
myself. We all seem to be getting
on pretty well. The Newbridge
people like Jane, I hear; and
I think White Sands is tolerably
satisfied with your humble servant.
. .all except Mr. Andrew Spencer.
I met Mrs. Peter Blewett on my
way home last night and she told
me she thought it her duty to
inform me that Mr. Spencer didn't
approve of my methods."
"Have you ever noticed," asked
Anne reflectively, "that when
people say it is their duty to
tell you a certain thing you
may prepare for something disagreeable?
Why is it that they never seem
to think it a duty to tell you
the pleasant things they hear
about you? Mrs. H. B. DonNELL
called at the school again yesterday
and told me she thought it HER
duty to inform me that Mrs. Harmon
Andrew didn't approve of my reading
fairy tales to the children,
and that Mr. Rogerson thought
Prillie wasn't coming on fast
enough in arithmetic. If Prillie
would spend less time making
eyes at the boys over her slate
she might do better. I feel quite
sure that Jack Gillis works her
class sums for her, though I've
never been able to catch him
"Have you succeeded
in reconciling Mrs. DonNELL's
hopeful son to
his saintly name?"
"Yes," laughed Anne, "but
it was really a difficult task.
At first, when I called him `St.
Clair' he would not take the
least notice until I'd spoken
two or three times; and then,
when the other boys nudged him,
he would look up with such an
aggrieved air, as if I'd called
him John or Charlie and he couldn't
be expected to know I meant him.
So I kept him in after school
one night and talked kindly to
him. I told him his mother wished
me to call him St. Clair and
I couldn't go against her wishes.
He saw it when it was all explained
out. . .he's really a very reasonable
little fellow. . .and he said
_I_ could call him St. Clair
but that he'd `lick the stuffing'
out of any of the boys that tried
it. Of course, I had to rebuke
him again for using such shocking
language. Since then _I_ call
him St. Clair and the boys call
him Jake and all goes smoothly.
He informs me that he means to
be a carpenter, but Mrs. DonNELL
says I am to make a college professor
out of him."
The mention of college gave
a new direction to Gilbert's
thoughts, and they talked for
a time of their plans and wishes.
. .gravely, earnestly, hopefully,
as youth loves to talk, while
the future is yet an untrodden
path full of wonderful possibilities.
Gilbert had finally made up
his mind that he was going to
be a doctor.
"It's a splendid profession," he
said enthusiastically. "A fellow
has to fight something all through
life. . .didn't somebody once
define man as a fighting animal?.
. .and I want to fight disease
and pain and ignorance. . .which
are all members one of another.
I want to do my share of honest,
real work in the world, Anne.
. . add a little to the sum of
human knowledge that all the
good men have been accumulating
since it began. The folks who
lived before me have done so
much for me that I want to show
my gratitude by doing something
for the folks who will live after
me. It seems to me that is the
only way a fellow can get square
with his obligations to the race."
"I'd like to add some beauty
to life," said Anne dreamily. "I
don't exactly want to make people
KNOW more. . .though I know that
IS the noblest ambition. . .but
I'd love to make them have a
pleasanter time because of me.
. .to have some little joy or
happy thought that would never
have existed if I hadn't been
"I think you're fulfilling
that ambition every day," said
And he was right. Anne was
one of the children of light
by birthright. After she had
passed through a life with a
smile or a word thrown across
it like a gleam of sunshine the
owner of that life saw it, for
the time being at least, as hopeful
and lovely and of good report.
Finally Gilbert rose regretfully.
"Well, I must
run up to MacPhersons'. Moody
Spurgeon came home from
Queen's today for Sunday and
he was to bring me out a book
Professor Boyd is lending me."
"And I must
get Marilla's tea. She went
to see Mrs. Keith this
evening and she will soon be
Anne had tea ready when Marilla
came home; the fire was crackling
cheerily, a vase of frost-bleached
ferns and ruby-red maple leaves
adorned the table, and delectable
odors of ham and toast pervaded
the air. But Marilla sank into
her chair with a deep sigh.
"Are your eyes troubling you?
Does your head ache?" queried
"No. I'm only
tired. . .and worried. It's
about Mary and
those children . . .Mary is worse.
. .she can't last much longer.
And as for the twins, _I_ don't
know what is to become of them."
uncle been heard from?"
had a letter from him. He's
working in a lumber
camp and `shacking it,' whatever
that means. Anyway, he says he
can't possibly take the children
till the spring. He expects to
be married then and will have
a home to take them to; but he
says she must get some of the
neighbors to keep them for the
winter. She says she can't bear
to ask any of them. Mary never
got on any too well with the
East Grafton people and that's
a fact. And the long and short
of it is, Anne, that I'm sure
Mary wants me to take those children.
. .she didn't say so but she
"Oh!" Anne clasped her hands,
all athrill with excitement. "And
of course you will, Marilla,
"I haven't made up my mind," said
Marilla rather tartly. "I don't
rush into things in your headlong
way, Anne. Third cousinship is
a pretty slim claim. And it will
be a fearful responsibility to
have two children of six years
to look after. . .twins, at that."
Marilla had an idea that twins
were just twice as bad as single
"Twins are very interesting.
. .at least one pair of them," said
Anne. "It's only when there are
two or three pairs that it gets
monotonous. And I think it would
be real nice for you to have
something to amuse you when I'm
away in school."
"I don't reckon
there'd be much amusement in
it. . .more
worry and bother than anything
else, I should say. It wouldn't
be so risky if they were even
as old as you were when I took
you. I wouldn't mind Dora so
much. . .she seems good and quiet.
But that Davy is a limb."
Anne was fond of children and
her heart yearned over the Keith
twins. The remembrance of her
own neglected childhood was very
vivid with her still. She knew
that Marilla's only vulnerable
point was her stern devotion
to what she believed to be her
duty, and Anne skillfully marshalled
her arguments along this line.
"If Davy is
naughty it's all the more reason
why he should
have good training, isn't it,
Marilla? If we don't take them
we don't know who will, nor what
kind of influences may surround
them. Suppose Mrs. Keith's next
door neighbors, the Sprotts,
were to take them. Mrs. Lynde
says Henry Sprott is the most
profane man that ever lived and
you can't believe a word his
children say. Wouldn't it be
dreadful to have the twins learn
anything like that? Or suppose
they went to the Wiggins'. Mrs.
Lynde says that Mr. Wiggins sells
everything off the place that
can be sold and brings his family
up on skim milk. You wouldn't
like your relations to be starved,
even if they were only third
cousins, would you? It seems
to me, Marilla, that it is our
duty to take them."
"I suppose it is," assented
Marilla gloomily. "I daresay
I'll tell Mary I'll take them.
You needn't look so delighted,
Anne. It will mean a good deal
of extra work for you. I can't
sew a stitch on account of my
eyes, so you'll have to see to
the making and mending of their
clothes. And you don't like sewing."
"I hate it," said Anne calmly, "but
if you are willing to take those
children from a sense of duty
surely I can do their sewing
from a sense of duty. It does
people good to have to do things
they don't like. . .in moderation."