It really began the night before
with a restless, wakeful vigil
of grumbling toothache. When
Anne arose in the dull, bitter
winter morning she felt that
life was flat, stale, and unprofitable.
She went to school in no angelic
mood. Her cheek was swollen and
her face ached. The schoolroom
was cold and smoky, for the fire
refused to burn and the children
were huddled about it in shivering
groups. Anne sent them to their
seats with a sharper tone than
she had ever used before. Anthony
Pye strutted to his with his
usual impertinent swagger and
she saw him whisper something
to his seat-mate and then glance
at her with a grin.
Never, so it seemed to Anne,
had there been so many squeaky
pencils as there were that morning;
and when Barbara Shaw came up
to the desk with a sum she tripped
over the coal scuttle with disastrous
results. The coal rolled to every
part of the room, her slate was
broken into fragments, and when
she picked herself up, her face,
stained with coal dust, sent
the boys into roars of laughter.
Anne turned from the second
reader class which she was hearing.
"Really, Barbara," she said
icily, "if you cannot move without
falling over something you'd
better remain in your seat. It
is positively disgraceful for
a girl of your age to be so awkward."
Poor Barbara stumbled back
to her desk, her tears combining
with the coal dust to produce
an effect truly grotesque. Never
before had her beloved, sympathetic
teacher spoken to her in such
a tone or fashion, and Barbara
was heartbroken. Anne herself
felt a prick of conscience but
it only served to increase her
mental irritation, and the second
reader class remember that lesson
yet, as well as the unmerciful
infliction of arithmetic that
followed. Just as Anne was snapping
the sums out St. Clair Donnell
"You are half an hour late,
St. Clair," Anne reminded him
frigidly. "Why is this?"
"Please, miss, I had to help
ma make a pudding for dinner
'cause we're expecting company
and Clarice Almira's sick," was
St. Clair's answer, given in
a perfectly respectful voice
but nevertheless provocative
of great mirth among his mates.
"Take your seat and work out
the six problems on page eighty-four
of your arithmetic for punishment," said
Anne. St. Clair looked rather
amazed at her tone but he went
meekly to his desk and took out
his slate. Then he stealthily
passed a small parcel to Joe
Sloane across the aisle. Anne
caught him in the act and jumped
to a fatal conclusion about that
Old Mrs. Hiram
Sloane had lately taken to
making and selling "nut
cakes" by way of adding to her
scanty income. The cakes were
specially tempting to small boys
and for several weeks Anne had
had not a little trouble in regard
to them. On their way to school
the boys would invest their spare
cash at Mrs. Hiram's, bring the
cakes along with them to school,
and, if possible, eat them and
treat their mates during school
hours. Anne had warned them that
if they brought any more cakes
to school they would be confiscated;
and yet here was St. Clair Donnell
coolly passing a parcel of them,
wrapped up in the blue and white
striped paper Mrs. Hiram used,
under her very eyes.
"Joseph," said Anne quietly, "bring
that parcel here."
Joe, startled and abashed,
obeyed. He was a fat urchin who
always blushed and stuttered
when he was frightened. Never
did anybody look more guilty
than poor Joe at that moment.
"Throw it into the fire," said
Joe looked very blank.
"P. . .p. . .p. . .lease, m.
. .m. . .miss," he began.
"Do as I tell
you, Joseph, without any words
"B. . .b. . .but m. . .m. .
.miss. . .th. . .th. . .they're.
. ." gasped Joe in desperation.
"Joseph, are you going to obey
me or are you NOT?" said Anne.
A bolder and more self-possessed
lad than Joe Sloane would have
been overawed by her tone and
the dangerous flash of her eyes.
This was a new Anne whom none
of her pupils had ever seen before.
Joe, with an agonized glance
at St. Clair, went to the stove,
opened the big, square front
door, and threw the blue and
white parcel in, before St. Clair,
who had sprung to his feet, could
utter a word. Then he dodged
back just in time.
For a few moments the terrified
occupants of Avonlea school did
not know whether it was an earthquake
or a volcanic explosion that
had occurred. The innocent looking
parcel which Anne had rashly
supposed to contain Mrs. Hiram's
nut cakes really held an assortment
of firecrackers and pinwheels
for which Warren Sloane had sent
to town by St. Clair Donnell's
father the day before, intending
to have a birthday celebration
that evening. The crackers went
off in a thunderclap of noise
and the pinwheels bursting out
of the door spun madly around
the room, hissing and spluttering.
Anne dropped into her chair white
with dismay and all the girls
climbed shrieking upon their
desks. Joe Sloane stood as one
transfixed in the midst of the
commotion and St. Clair, helpless
with laughter, rocked to and
fro in the aisle. Prillie Rogerson
fainted and Annetta Bell went
It seemed a long time, although
it was really only a few minutes,
before the last pinwheel subsided.
Anne, recovering herself, sprang
to open doors and windows and
let out the gas and smoke which
filled the room. Then she helped
the girls carry the unconscious
Prillie into the porch, where
Barbara Shaw, in an agony of
desire to be useful, poured a
pailful of half frozen water
over Prillie's face and shoulders
before anyone could stop her.
It was a full
hour before quiet was restored
. . .but it was
a quiet that might be felt. Everybody
realized that even the explosion
had not cleared the teacher's
mental atmosphere. Nobody, except
Anthony Pye, dared whisper a
word. Ned Clay accidentally squeaked
his pencil while working a sum,
caught Anne's eye and wished
the floor would open and swallow
him up. The geography class were
whisked through a continent with
a speed that made them dizzy.
The grammar class were parsed
and analyzed within an inch of
their lives. Chester Sloane,
spelling "odoriferous" with two
f's, was made to feel that he
could never live down the disgrace
of it, either in this world or
that which is to come.
Anne knew that she had made
herself ridiculous and that the
incident would be laughed over
that night at a score of tea-tables,
but the knowledge only angered
her further. In a calmer mood
she could have carried off the
situation with a laugh but now
that was impossible; so she ignored
it in icy disdain.
When Anne returned to the school
after dinner all the children
were as usual in their seats
and every face was bent studiously
over a desk except Anthony Pye's.
He peered across his book at
Anne, his black eyes sparkling
with curiosity and mockery. Anne
twitched open the drawer of her
desk in search of chalk and under
her very hand a lively mouse
sprang out of the drawer, scampered
over the desk, and leaped to
Anne screamed and sprang back,
as if it had been a snake, and
Anthony Pye laughed aloud.
Then a silence fell. . .a very
creepy, uncomfortable silence.
Annetta Bell was of two minds
whether to go into hysterics
again or not, especially as she
didn't know just where the mouse
had gone. But she decided not
to. Who could take any comfort
out of hysterics with a teacher
so white-faced and so blazing-eyed
standing before one?
"Who put that mouse in my desk?" said
Anne. Her voice was quite low
but it made a shiver go up and
down Paul Irving's spine. Joe
Sloane caught her eye, felt responsible
from the crown of his head to
the sole of his feet, but stuttered
"N. . .n. .
.not m. . .m. . .me t. . .t.
. .teacher, n. .
.n. . .not m. . .m. . .me."
Anne paid no attention to the
wretched Joseph. She looked at
Anthony Pye, and Anthony Pye
looked back unabashed and unashamed.
"Yes, it was," said
Anne took her pointer from
her desk. It was a long, heavy
It was far from being the most
severe punishment Anthony Pye
had ever undergone. Anne, even
the stormy-souled Anne she was
at that moment, could not have
punished any child cruelly. But
the pointer nipped keenly and
finally Anthony's bravado failed
him; he winced and the tears
came to his eyes.
dropped the pointer and told
Anthony to go to his seat. She
sat down at her desk feeling
ashamed, repentant, and bitterly
mortified. Her quick anger was
gone and she would have given
much to have been able to seek
relief in tears. So all her boasts
had come to this. . .she had
actually whipped one of her pupils.
How Jane would triumph! And how
Mr. Harrison would chuckle! But
worse than this, bitterest thought
of all, she had lost her last
chance of winning Anthony Pye.
Never would he like her now.
Anne, by what
somebody has called "a Herculaneum effort," kept
back her tears until she got
home that night. Then she shut
herself in the east gable room
and wept all her shame and remorse
and disappointment into her pillows.
. .wept so long that Marilla
grew alarmed, invaded the room,
and insisted on knowing what
the trouble was.
"The trouble is, I've got things
the matter with my conscience," sobbed
Anne. "Oh, this has been such
a Jonah day, Marilla. I'm so
ashamed of myself. I lost my
temper and whipped Anthony Pye."
"I'm glad to hear it," said
Marilla with decision. "It's
what you should have done long
"Oh, no, no,
Marilla. And I don't see how
I can ever look
those children in the face again.
I feel that I have humiliated
myself to the very dust. You
don't know how cross and hateful
and horrid I was. I can't forget
the expression in Paul Irving's
eyes. . .he looked so surprised
and disappointed. Oh, Marilla,
I HAVE tried so hard to be patient
and to win Anthony's liking.
. .and now it has all gone for
Marilla passed her hard work-worn
hand over the girl's glossy,
tumbled hair with a wonderful
tenderness. When Anne's sobs
grew quieter she said, very gently
"You take things
too much to heart, Anne. We
all make mistakes.
. .but people forget them. And
Jonah days come to everybody.
As for Anthony Pye, why need
you care if he does dislike you?
He is the only one."
"I can't help
it. I want everybody to love
me and it hurts me so
when anybody doesn't. And Anthony
never will now. Oh, I just made
an idiot of myself today, Marilla.
I'll tell you the whole story."
Marilla listened to the whole
story, and if she smiled at certain
parts of it Anne never knew.
When the tale was ended she said
mind. This day's done and there's
a new one coming
tomorrow, with no mistakes in
it yet, as you used to say yourself.
Just come downstairs and have
your supper. You'll see if a
good cup of tea and those plum
puffs I made today won't hearten
"Plum puffs won't minister
to a mind diseased," said Anne
disconsolately; but Marilla thought
it a good sign that she had recovered
sufficiently to adapt a quotation.
supper table, with the twins'
and Marilla's matchless plum
puffs. . .of which Davy ate four.
. . did "hearten her up" considerably
after all. She had a good sleep
that night and and awakened in
the morning to find herself and
the world transformed. It had
snowed softly and thickly all
through the hours of darkness
and the beautiful whiteness,
glittering in the frosty sunshine,
looked like a mantle of charity
cast over all the mistakes and
humiliations of the past.
is a fresh beginning, Every
morn is the world made
sang Anne, as she dressed.
Owing to the snow she had to
go around by the road to school
and she thought it was certainly
an impish coincidence that Anthony
Pye should come ploughing along
just as she left the Green Gables
lane. She felt as guilty as if
their positions were reversed;
but to her unspeakable astonishment
Anthony not only lifted his cap.
. .which he had never done before.
. .but said easily,
"Kind of bad
walking, ain't it? Can I take
those books for
her books and wondered if she
be awake. Anthony walked on in
silence to the school, but when
Anne took her books she smiled
down at him. . .not the stereotyped "kind" smile
she had so persistently assumed
for his benefit but a sudden
outflashing of good comradeship.
Anthony smiled. . .no, if the
truth must be told, Anthony GRINNED
back. A grin is not generally
supposed to be a respectful thing;
yet Anne suddenly felt that if
she had not yet won Anthony's
liking she had, somehow or other,
won his respect.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde came up the
next Saturday and confirmed this.
I guess you've won over Anthony
what. He says he believes you
are some good after all, even
if you are a girl. Says that
whipping you gave him was `just
as good as a man's.'"
"I never expected to win him
by whipping him, though," said
Anne, a little mournfully, feeling
that her ideals had played her
false somewhere. "It doesn't
seem right. I'm sure my theory
of kindness can't be wrong."
"No, but the Pyes are an exception
to every known rule, that's what," declared
Mrs. Rachel with conviction.
you'd come to it," when he heard
it, and Jane rubbed it in rather