"That old nuisance of a Rachel
Lynde was here again today, pestering
me for a subscription towards
buying a carpet for the vestry
room," said Mr. Harrison wrathfully. "I
detest that woman more than anybody
I know. She can put a whole sermon,
text, comment, and application,
into six words, and throw it
at you like a brick."
Anne, who was perched on the
edge of the veranda, enjoying
the charm of a mild west wind
blowing across a newly ploughed
field on a gray November twilight
and piping a quaint little melody
among the twisted firs below
the garden, turned her dreamy
face over her shoulder.
"The trouble is, you and Mrs.
Lynde don't understand one another," she
explained. "That is always what
is wrong when people don't like
each other. I didn't like Mrs.
Lynde at first either; but as
soon as I came to understand
her I learned to."
"Mrs. Lynde may be an acquired
taste with some folks; but I
didn't keep on eating bananas
because I was told I'd learn
to like them if I did," growled
Mr. Harrison." And as for understanding
her, I understand that she is
a confirmed busybody and I told
"Oh, that must have hurt her
feelings very much," said Anne
reproachfully. "How could you
say such a thing? I said some
dreadful things to Mrs. Lynde
long ago but it was when I had
lost my temper. I couldn't say
"It was the
truth and I believe in telling
the truth to everybody."
"But you don't tell the whole
truth," objected Anne. "You only
tell the disagreeable part of
the truth. Now, you've told me
a dozen times that my hair was
red, but you've never once told
me that I had a nice nose."
"I daresay you know it without
any telling," chuckled Mr. Harrison.
"I know I have
red hair too. . .although it's
than it used to be. . .so there's
no need of telling me that either."
I'll try and not mention it
again since you're
so sensitive. You must excuse
me, Anne. I've got a habit of
being outspoken and folks mustn't
"But they can't
help minding it. And I don't
think it's any
help that it's your habit. What
would you think of a person who
went about sticking pins and
needles into people and saying,
`Excuse me, you mustn't mind
it. . .it's just a habit I've
got.' You'd think he was crazy,
wouldn't you? And as for Mrs.
Lynde being a busybody, perhaps
she is. But did you tell her
she had a very kind heart and
always helped the poor, and never
said a word when Timothy Cotton
stole a crock of butter out of
her dairy and told his wife he'd
bought it from her? Mrs. Cotton
cast it up to her the next time
they met that it tasted of turnips
and Mrs. Lynde just said she
was sorry it had turned out so
"I suppose she has some good
qualities," conceded Mr. Harrison
grudgingly. "Most folks have.
I have some myself, though you
might never suspect it. But anyhow
I ain't going to give anything
to that carpet. Folks are everlasting
begging for money here, it seems
to me. How's your project of
painting the hall coming on?"
We had a meeting of the A.V.I.S.
last Friday night
and found that we had plenty
of money subscribed to paint
the and shingle the roof too.
MOST people gave very liberally,
Anne was a sweet-souled lass,
but she could instill some venom
into innocent italics when occasion
are you going to have it?"
"We have decided
on a very pretty green. The
roof will be
dark red, of course. Mr. Roger
Pye is going to get the paint
in town today."
Pye of Carmody. He has nearly
finished the shingling.
We had to give him the contract,
for every one of the Pyes. .
. and there are four families,
you know. . .said they wouldn't
give a cent unless Joshua got
it. They had subscribed twelve
dollars between them and we thought
that was too much to lose, although
some people think we shouldn't
have given in to the Pyes. Mrs.
Lynde says they try to run everything."
"The main question
is will this Joshua do his
If he does I don't see that it
matters whether his name is Pye
"He has the
reputation of being a good
workman, though they say
he's a very peculiar man. He
hardly ever talks."
"He's peculiar enough all right
then," said Mr. Harrison drily. "Or
at least, folks here will call
him so. I never was much of a
talker till I came to Avonlea
and then I had to begin in self-defense
or Mrs. Lynde would have said
I was dumb and started a subscription
to have me taught sign language.
You're not going yet, Anne?"
"I must. I
have some sewing to do for
Dora this evening.
Besides, Davy is probably breaking
Marilla's heart with some new
mischief by this time. This morning
the first thing he said was,
`Where does the dark go, Anne?
I want to know.' I told him it
went around to the other side
of the world but after breakfast
he declared it didn't. . .that
it went down the well. Marilla
says she caught him hanging over
the well-box four times today,
trying to reach down to the dark."
"He's a limb," declared Mr.
Harrison. "He came over here
yesterday and pulled six feathers
out of Ginger's tail before I
could get in from the barn. The
poor bird has been moping ever
since. Those children must be
a sight of trouble to you folks."
"Everything that's worth having
is some trouble," said Anne,
secretly resolving to forgive
Davy's next offence, whatever
it might be, since he had avenged
her on Ginger.
Mr. Roger Pye
brought the hall paint home
that night and Mr.
Joshua Pye, a surly, taciturn
man, began painting the next
day. He was not disturbed in
his task. The hall was situated
on what was called "the lower
road." In late autumn this road
was always muddy and wet, and
people going to Carmody traveled
by the longer "upper" road. The
hall was so closely surrounded
by fir woods that it was invisible
unless you were near it. Mr.
Joshua Pye painted away in the
solitude and independence that
were so dear to his unsociable
Friday afternoon he finished
his job and went home to Carmody.
Soon after his departure Mrs.
Rachel Lynde drove by, having
braved the mud of the lower road
out of curiosity to see what
the hall looked like in its new
coat of paint. When she rounded
the spruce curve she saw.
The sight affected
Mrs. Lynde oddly. She dropped
held up her hands, and said "Gracious
Providence!" She stared as if
she could not believe her eyes.
Then she laughed almost hysterically.
be some mistake. . .there must.
I knew those Pyes
would make a mess of things."
Mrs. Lynde drove home, meeting
several people on the road and
stopping to tell them about the
hall. The news flew like wildfire.
Gilbert Blythe, poring over a
text book at home, heard it from
his father's hired boy at sunset,
and rushed breathlessly to Green
Gables, joined on the way by
Fred Wright. They found Diana
Barry, Jane Andrews, and Anne
Shirley, despair personified,
at the yard gate of Green Gables,
under the big leafless willows.
"It isn't true surely, Anne?" exclaimed
"It is true," answered Anne,
looking like the muse of tragedy. "Mrs.
Lynde called on her way from
Carmody to tell me. Oh, it is
simply dreadful! What is the
use of trying to improve anything?"
"What is dreadful?" asked
Oliver Sloane, arriving at
with a bandbox he had brought
from town for Marilla.
"Haven't you heard?" said Jane
wrathfully. "Well, its simply
this. . .Joshua Pye has gone
and painted the hall blue instead
of green. . .a deep, brilliant
blue, the shade they use for
painting carts and wheelbarrows.
And Mrs. Lynde says it is the
most hideous color for a building,
especially when combined with
a red roof, that she ever saw
or imagined. You could simply
have knocked me down with a feather
when I heard it. It's heartbreaking,
after all the trouble we've had."
"How on earth could such a
mistake have happened?" wailed
The blame of this unmerciful
disaster was eventually narrowed
down to the Pyes. The Improvers
had decided to use Morton-Harris
paints and the Morton-Harris
paint cans were numbered according
to a color card. A purchaser
chose his shade on the card and
ordered by the accompanying number.
Number 147 was the shade of green
desired and when Mr. Roger Pye
sent word to the Improvers by
his son, John Andrew, that he
was going to town and would get
their paint for them, the Improvers
told John Andrew to tell his
father to get 147. John Andrew
always averred that he did so,
but Mr. Roger Pye as stanchly
declared that John Andrew told
him 157; and there the matter
stands to this day.
That night there was blank
dismay in every Avonlea house
where an Improver lived. The
gloom at Green Gables was so
intense that it quenched even
Davy. Anne wept and would not
"I must cry, even if I am almost
seventeen, Marilla," she sobbed. "It
is so mortifying. And it sounds
the death knell of our society.
We'll simply be laughed out of
In life, as in dreams, however,
things often go by contraries.
The Avonlea people did not laugh;
they were too angry. Their money
had gone to paint the hall and
consequently they felt themselves
bitterly aggrieved by the mistake.
Public indignation centered on
the Pyes. Roger Pye and John
Andrew had bungled the matter
between them; and as for Joshua
Pye, he must be a born fool not
to suspect there was something
wrong when he opened the cans
and saw the color of the paint.
Joshua Pye, when thus animadverted
upon, retorted that the Avonlea
taste in colors was no business
of his, whatever his private
opinion might be; he had been
hired to paint the hall, not
to talk about it; and he meant
to have his money for it.
The Improvers paid him his
money in bitterness of spirit,
after consulting Mr. Peter Sloane,
who was a magistrate.
"You'll have to pay it," Peter
told him. "You can't hold him
responsible for the mistake,
since he claims he was never
told what the color was supposed
to be but just given the cans
and told to go ahead. But it's
a burning shame and that hall
certainly does look awful."
Improvers expected that Avonlea
would be more prejudiced
than ever against them; but instead,
public sympathy veered around
in their favor. People thought
the eager, enthusiastic little
band who had worked so hard for
their object had been badly used.
Mrs. Lynde told them to keep
on and show the Pyes that there
really were people in the world
who could do things without making
a muddle of them. Mr. Major Spencer
sent them word that he would
clean out all the stumps along
the road front of his farm and
seed it down with grass at his
own expense; and Mrs. Hiram Sloane
called at the school one day
and beckoned Anne mysteriously
out into the porch to tell her
that if the "Sassiety" wanted
to make a geranium bed at the
crossroads in the spring they
needn't be afraid of her cow,
for she would see that the marauding
animal was kept within safe bounds.
Even Mr. Harrison chuckled, if
he chuckled at all, in private,
and was all sympathy outwardly.
Anne. Most paints fade uglier
every year but that
blue is as ugly as it can be
to begin with, so it's bound
to fade prettier. And the roof
is shingled and painted all right.
Folks will be able to sit in
the hall after this without being
leaked on. You've accomplished
so much anyhow."
"But Avonlea's blue hall will
be a byword in all the neighboring
settlements from this time out," said
And it must be confessed that