"Teaching is really very interesting
work," wrote Anne to a Queen's
Academy chum. "Jane says she
thinks it is monotonous but I
don't find it so. Something funny
is almost sure to happen every
day, and the children say such
amusing things. Jane says she
punishes her pupils when they
make funny speeches, which is
probably why she finds teaching
monotonous. This afternoon little
Jimmy Andrews was trying to spell
`speckled' and couldn't manage
it. `Well,' he said finally,
`I can't spell it but I know
what it means.'
Donnell's face, miss.'
is certainly very much freckled,
although I try
to prevent the others from commenting
on it. . .for I was freckled
once and well do I remember it.
But I don't think St. Clair minds.
It was because Jimmy called him
`St. Clair' that St. Clair pounded
him on the way home from school.
I heard of the pounding, but
not officially, so I don't think
I'll take any notice of it.
I was trying to teach Lottie
Wright to do addition.
I said, `If you had three candies
in one hand and two in the other,
how many would you have altogether?'
`A mouthful,' said Lottie. And
in the nature study class, when
I asked them to give me a good
reason why toads shouldn't be
killed, Benjie Sloane gravely
answered, `Because it would rain
the next day.'
"It's so hard
not to laugh, Stella. I have
to save up all
my amusement until I get home,
and Marilla says it makes her
nervous to hear wild shrieks
of mirth proceeding from the
east gable without any apparent
cause. She says a man in Grafton
went insane once and that was
how it began.
"Did you know
that Thomas a Becket was canonized
as a SNAKE?
Rose Bell says he was. . .also
that William Tyndale WROTE the
New Testament. Claude White says
a `glacier' is a man who puts
in window frames!
"I think the
most difficult thing in teaching,
as well as
the most interesting, is to get
the children to tell you their
real thoughts about things. One
stormy day last week I gathered
them around me at dinner hour
and tried to get them to talk
to me just as if I were one of
themselves. I asked them to tell
me the things they most wanted.
Some of the answers were commonplace
enough . . . dolls, ponies, and
skates. Others were decidedly
original. Hester Boulter wanted
`to wear her Sunday dress every
day and eat in the sitting room.'
Hannah Bell wanted `to be good
without having to take any trouble
about it.' Marjory White, aged
ten, wanted to be a WIDOW. Questioned
why, she gravely said that if
you weren't married people called
you an old maid, and if you were
your husband bossed you; but
if you were a widow there'd be
no danger of either. The most
remarkable wish was Sally Bell's.
She wanted a 'honeymoon.' I asked
her if she knew what it was and
she said she thought it was an
extra nice kind of bicycle because
her cousin in Montreal went on
a honeymoon when he was married
and he had always had the very
latest in bicycles!
I asked them all to tell me
the naughtiest thing
they had ever done. I couldn't
get the older ones to do so,
but the third class answered
quite freely. Eliza Bell had
`set fire to her aunt's carded
rolls.' Asked if she meant to
do it she said, `not altogether.'
She just tried a little end to
see how it would burn and the
whole bundle blazed up in a jiffy.
Emerson Gillis had spent ten
cents for candy when he should
have put it in his missionary
box. Annetta Bell's worst crime
was `eating some blueberries
that grew in the graveyard.'
Willie White had `slid down the
sheephouse roof a lot of times
with his Sunday trousers on.'
`But I was punished for it 'cause
I had to wear patched pants to
Sunday School all summer, and
when you're punished for a thing
you don't have to repent of it,'
"I wish you
could see some of their compositions.
much do I wish it that I'll send
you copies of some written recently.
Last week I told the fourth class
I wanted them to write me letters
about anything they pleased,
adding by way of suggestion that
they might tell me of some place
they had visited or some interesting
thing or person they had seen.
They were to write the letters
on real note paper, seal them
in an envelope, and address them
to me, all without any assistance
from other people. Last Friday
morning I found a pile of letters
on my desk and that evening I
realized afresh that teaching
has its pleasures as well as
its pains. Those compositions
would atone for much. Here is
Ned Clay's, address, spelling,
and grammar as originally penned.
p.e. Island can
I think I will write you a
birds. birds is very useful animals.
my cat catches birds. His name
is William but pa calls him tom.
he is oll striped and he got
one of his ears froz of last
winter. only for that he would
be a good-looking cat. My unkle
has adopted a cat. it come to
his house one day and woudent
go away and unkle says it has
forgot more than most people
ever knowed. he lets it sleep
on his rocking chare and my aunt
says he thinks more of it than
he does of his children. that
is not right. we ought to be
kind to cats and give them new
milk but we ought not be better
to them than to our children.
this is oll I can think of so
no more at present from
Donnell's is, as usual, short
and to the point.
St. Clair never wastes words.
I do not think he chose his subject
or added the postscript out of
malice aforethought. It is just
that he has not a great deal
of tact or imagination.
You told us to describe something
strange we have seen. I will
describe the Avonlea Hall. It
has two doors, an inside one
and an outside one. It has six
windows and a chimney. It has
two ends and two sides. It is
painted blue. That is what makes
it strange. It is built on the
lower Carmody road. It is the
third most important building
in Avonlea. The others are the
church and the blacksmith shop.
They hold debating clubs and
lectures in it and concerts.
Yours truly, Jacob Donnell.
P.S. The hall
is a very bright blue.'"
letter was quite long, which
for writing essays is not Annetta's
forte, and hers are generally
as brief as st. Clair's. Annetta
is a quiet little puss and a
model of good behavior, but there
isn't a shadow of orginality
in her. Here is her letter. --
I think I will write you a
letter to tell you how much I
love you. I love you with my
whole heart and soul and mind.
. .with all there is of me to
love. . .and I want to serve
you for ever. It would be my
highest privilege. That is why
I try so hard to be good in school
and learn my lessuns.
"`You are so
beautiful, my teacher. Your
voice is like music
and your eyes are like pansies
when the dew is on them. You
are like a tall stately queen.
Your hair is like rippling gold.
Anthony Pye says it is red, but
you needn't pay any attention
"`I have only
known you for a few months
but I cannot realize
that there was ever a time when
I did not know you. . .when you
had not come into my life to
bless and hallow it. I will always
look back to this year as the
most wonderful in my life because
it brought you to me. Besides,
it's the year we moved to Avonlea
from Newbridge. My love for you
has made my life very rich and
it has kept me from much of harm
and evil. I owe this all to you,
my sweetest teacher.
"`I shall never
forget how sweet you looked
the last time
I saw you in that black dress
with flowers in your hair. I
shall see you like that for ever,
even when we are both old and
gray. You will always be young
and fair to me, dearest teacher.
I am thinking of you all the
time. . .in the morning and at
the noontide and at the twilight.
I love you when you laugh and
when you sigh. . .even when you
look disdainful. I never saw
you look cross though Anthony
Pye says you always look so but
I don't wonder you look cross
at him for he deserves it. I
love you in every dress. . .you
seem more adorable in each new
dress than the last.
good night. The sun has set
and the stars
are shining. . .stars that are
as bright and beautiful as your
eyes. I kiss your hands and face,
my sweet. May God watch over
you and protect you from all
pupil Annetta Bell.'"
letter puzzled me not a little.
Annetta couldn't have composed
it any more than she could fly.
When I went to school the next
day I took her for a walk down
to the brook at recess and asked
her to tell me the truth about
the letter. Annetta cried and
'fessed up freely. She said she
had never written a letter and
she didn't know how to, or what
to say, but there was bundle
of love letters in her mother's
top bureau drawer which had been
written to her by an old `beau.'
"`It wasn't father,' sobbed
Annetta, `it was someone who
was studying for a minister,
and so he could write lovely
letters, but ma didn't marry
him after all. She said she couldn't
make out what he was driving
at half the time. But I thought
the letters were sweet and that
I'd just copy things out of them
here and there to write you.
I put "teacher" where he put "lady" and
I put in something of my own
when I could think of it and
I changed some words. I put "dress" in
place of "mood." I didn't know
just what a "mood" was but I
s'posed it was something to wear.
I didn't s'pose you'd know the
difference. I don't see how you
found out it wasn't all mine.
You must be awful clever, teacher.'
"I told Annetta
it was very wrong to copy another
letter and pass it off as her
own. But I'm afraid that all
Annetta repented of was being
"`And I do
love you, teacher,' she sobbed.
`It was all true,
even if the minister wrote it
first. I do love you with all
difficult to scold anybody
properly under such circumstances.
"Here is Barbara
Shaw's letter. I can't reproduce
the blots of
You said we might write about
a visit. I never visited but
once. It was at my Aunt Mary's
last winter. My Aunt Mary is
a very particular woman and a
great housekeeper. The first
night I was there we were at
tea. I knocked over a jug and
broke it. Aunt Mary said she
had had that jug ever since she
was married and nobody had ever
broken it before. When we got
up I stepped on her dress and
all the gathers tore out of the
skirt. The next morning when
I got up I hit the pitcher against
the basin and cracked them both
and I upset a cup of tea on the
tablecloth at breakfast. When
I was helping Aunt Mary with
the dinner dishes I dropped a
china plate and it smashed. That
evening I fell downstairs and
sprained my ankle and had to
stay in bed for a week. I heard
Aunt Mary tell Uncle Joseph it
was a mercy or I'd have broken
everything in the house. When
I got better it was time to go
home. I don't like visiting very
much. I like going to school
better, especially since I came
I want to tell
you about my Very Brave Aunt.
She lives in
Ontario and one day she went
out to the barn and saw a dog
in the yard. The dog had no business
there so she got a stick and
whacked him hard and drove him
into the barn and shut him up.
Pretty soon a man came looking
for an inaginary lion' (Query;
-- Did Willie mean a menagerie
lion?) `that had run away from
a circus. And it turned out that
the dog was a lion and my Very
Brave Aunt had druv him into
the barn with a stick. It was
a wonder she was not et up but
she was very brave. Emerson Gillis
says if she thought it was a
dog she wasn't any braver than
if it really was a dog. But Emerson
is jealous because he hasn't
got a Brave Aunt himself, nothing
"I have kept
the best for the last. You
laugh at me because
I think Paul is a genius but
I am sure his letter will convince
you that he is a very uncommon
child. Paul lives away down near
the shore with his grandmother
and he has no playmates. . .no
real playmates. You remember
our School Management professor
told us that we must not have
`favorites' among our pupils,
but I can't help loving Paul
Irving the best of all mine.
I don't think it does any harm,
though, for everybody loves Paul,
even Mrs. Lynde, who says she
could never have believed she'd
get so fond of a Yankee. The
other boys in school like him
too. There is nothing weak or
girlish about him in spite of
his dreams and fancies. He is
very manly and can hold his own
in all games. He fought St. Clair
Donnell recently because St.
Clair said the Union Jack was
away ahead of the Stars and Stripes
as a flag. The result was a drawn
battle and a mutual agreement
to respect each other's patriotism
henceforth. St. Clair says he
can hit the HARDEST but Paul
can hit the OFTENEST.
My dear teacher,
You told us we might write
you about some interesting people
we knew. I think the most interesting
people I know are my rock people
and I mean to tell you about
them. I have never told anybody
about them except grandma and
father but I would like to have
you know about them because you
understand things. There are
a great many people who do not
understand things so there is
no use in telling them.
My rock people live at the
shore. I used to visit them almost
every evening before the winter
came. Now I can't go till spring,
but they will be there, for people
like that never change. . .that
is the splendid thing about them.
Nora was the first one of them
I got acquainted with and so
I think I love her the best.
She lives in Andrews' Cove and
she has black hair and black
eyes, and she knows all about
the mermaids and the water kelpies.
You ought to hear the stories
she can tell. Then there are
the Twin Sailors. They don't
live anywhere, they sail all
the time, but they often come
ashore to talk to me. They are
a pair of jolly tars and they
have seen everything in the world.
. .and more than what is in the
world. Do you know what happened
to the youngest Twin Sailor once?
He was sailing and he sailed
right into a moonglade. A moonglade
is the track the full moon makes
on the water when it is rising
from the sea, you know, teacher.
Well, the youngest Twin Sailor
sailed along the moonglade till
he came right up to the moon,
and there was a little golden
door in the moon and he opened
it and sailed right through.
He had some wonderful adventures
in the moon but it would make
this letter too long to tell
Then there is the Golden Lady
of the cave. One day I found
a big cave down on the shore
and I went away in and after
a while I found the Golden Lady.
She has golden hair right down
to her feet and her dress is
all glittering and glistening
like gold that is alive. And
she has a golden harp and plays
on it all day long. . .you can
hear the music any time along
shore if you listen carefully
but most people would think it
was only the wind among the rocks.
I've never told Nora about the
Golden Lady. I was afraid it
might hurt her feelings. It even
hurt her feelings if I talked
too long with the Twin Sailors.
I always met the Twin Sailors
at the Striped Rocks. The youngest
Twin Sailor is very good-tempered
but the oldest Twin Sailor can
look dreadfully fierce at times.
I have my suspicions about that
oldest Twin. I believe he'd be
a pirate if he dared. There's
really something very mysterious
about him. He swore once and
I told him if he ever did it
again he needn't come ashore
to talk to me because I'd promised
grandmother I'd never associate
with anybody that swore. He was
pretty well scared, I can tell
you, and he said if I would forgive
him he would take me to the sunset.
So the next evening when I was
sitting on the Striped Rocks
the oldest Twin came sailing
over the sea in an enchanted
boat and I got in her. The boat
was all pearly and rainbowy,
like the inside of the mussel
shells, and her sail was like
moonshine. Well, we sailed right
across to the sunset. Think of
that, teacher, I've been in the
sunset. And what do you suppose
it is? The sunset is a land all
flowers. We sailed into a great
garden, and the clouds are beds
of flowers. We sailed into a
great harbor, all the color of
gold, and I stepped right out
of the boat on a big meadow all
covered with buttercups as big
as roses. I stayed there for
ever so long. It seemed nearly
a year but the Oldest Twin says
it was only a few minutes. You
see, in the sunset land the time
is ever so much longer than it
Your loving pupil Paul Irving.
P. S. of course,
this letter isn't really true,