Anne, walking home from the
post office one Friday evening,
was joined by Mrs. Lynde, who
was as usual cumbered with all
the cares of church and state.
"I've just been down to Timothy
Cotton's to see if I could get
Alice Louise to help me for a
few days," she said. "I had her
last week, for, though she's
too slow to stop quick, she's
better than nobody. But she's
sick and can't come. Timothy's
sitting there, too, coughing
and complaining. He's been dying
for ten years and he'll go on
dying for ten years more. That
kind can't even die and have
done with it. . .they can't stick
to anything, even to being sick,
long enough to finish it. They're
a terrible shiftless family and
what is to become of them I don't
know, but perhaps Providence
Mrs. Lynde sighed as if she
rather doubted the extent of
Providential knowledge on the
"Marilla was in about her eyes
again Tuesday, wasn't she? What
did the specialist think of them?" she
"He was much pleased," said
Anne brightly. "He says there
is a great improvement in them
and he thinks the danger of her
losing her sight completely is
past. But he says she'll never
be able to read much or do any
fine hand-work again. How are
your preparations for your bazaar
The Ladies' Aid Society was
preparing for a fair and supper,
and Mrs. Lynde was the head and
front of the enterprise.
. .and that reminds me. Mrs.
Allan thinks it would
be nice to fix up a booth like
an old-time kitchen and serve
a supper of baked beans, doughnuts,
pie, and so on. We're collecting
old-fashioned fixings everywhere.
Mrs. Simon Fletcher is going
to lend us her mother's braided
rugs and Mrs. Levi Boulter some
old chairs and Aunt Mary Shaw
will lend us her cupboard with
the glass doors. I suppose Marilla
will let us have her brass candlesticks?
And we want all the old dishes
we can get. Mrs. Allan is specially
set on having a real blue willow
ware platter if we can find one.
But nobody seems to have one.
Do you know where we could get
"Miss Josephine Barry has one.
I'll write and ask her if she'll
lend it for the occasion," said
"Well, I wish
you would. I guess we'll have
the supper in
about a fortnight's time. Uncle
Abe Andrews is prophesying rain
and storms for about that time;
and that's a pretty sure sign
we'll have fine weather."
The said "Uncle Abe," it
may be mentioned, was at least
other prophets in that he had
small honor in his own country.
He was, in fact, considered in
the light of a standing joke,
for few of his weather predictions
were ever fulfilled. Mr. Elisha
Wright, who labored under the
impression that he was a local
wit, used to say that nobody
in Avonlea ever thought of looking
in the Charlottetown dailies
for weather probabilities. No;
they just asked Uncle Abe what
it was going to be tomorrow and
expected the opposite. Nothing
daunted, Uncle Abe kept on prophesying.
"We want to have the fair over
before the election comes off," continued
Mrs. Lynde, "for the candidates
will be sure to come and spend
lots of money. The Tories are
bribing right and left, so they
might as well be given a chance
to spend their money honestly
Anne was a red-hot Conservative,
out of loyalty to Matthew's memory,
but she said nothing. She knew
better than to get Mrs. Lynde
started on politics. She had
a letter for Marilla, postmarked
from a town in British Columbia.
"It's probably from the children's
uncle," she said excitedly, when
she got home. "Oh, Marilla, I
wonder what he says about them."
"The best plan might be to
open it and see," said Marilla
curtly. A close observer might
have thought that she was excited
also, but she would rather have
died than show it.
Anne tore open the letter and
glanced over the somewhat untidy
and poorly written contents.
"He says he
can't take the children this
spring. . .he's
been sick most of the winter
and his wedding is put off. He
wants to know if we can keep
them till the fall and he'll
try and take them then. We will,
of course, won't we Marilla?"
"I don't see that there is
anything else for us to do," said
Marilla rather grimly, although
she felt a secret relief. "Anyhow
they're not so much trouble as
they were. . .or else we've got
used to them. Davy has improved
a great deal."
"His MANNERS are certainly
much better," said Anne cautiously,
as if she were not prepared to
say as much for his morals.
Anne had come
home from school the previous
evening, to find
Marilla away at an Aid meeting,
Dora asleep on the kitchen sofa,
and Davy in the sitting room
closet, blissfully absorbing
the contents of a jar of Marilla's
famous yellow plum preserves.
. . "company jam," Davy called
it. . .which he had been forbidden
to touch. He looked very guilty
when Anne pounced on him and
whisked him out of the closet.
don't you know that it is very
wrong of you
to be eating that jam, when you
were told never to meddle with
anything in THAT closet?"
"Yes, I knew it was wrong," admitted
Davy uncomfortably, "but plum
jam is awful nice, Anne. I just
peeped in and it looked so good
I thought I'd take just a weeny
taste. I stuck my finger in.
. ." Anne groaned. . ."and licked
it clean. And it was so much
gooder than I'd ever thought
that I got a spoon and just SAILED
Anne gave him such a serious
lecture on the sin of stealing
plum jam that Davy became conscience
stricken and promised with repentant
kisses never to do it again.
"Anyhow, there'll be plenty
of jam in heaven, that's one
comfort," he said complacently.
Anne nipped a smile in the
"Perhaps there will. . .if
we want it," she said, "But what
makes you think so?"
"Why, it's in the catechism," said
"Oh, no, there
is nothing like THAT in the
"But I tell you there is," persisted
Davy. "It was in that question
Marilla taught me last Sunday.
`Why should we love God?' It
says, `Because He makes preserves,
and redeems us.' Preserves is
just a holy way of saying jam."
"I must get a drink of water," said
Anne hastily. When she came back
it cost her some time and trouble
to explain to Davy that a certain
comma in the said catechism question
made a great deal of difference
in the meaning.
"Well, I thought it was too
good to be true," he said at
last, with a sigh of disappointed
conviction. "And besides, I didn't
see when He'd find time to make
jam if it's one endless Sabbath
day, as the hymn says. I don't
believe I want to go to heaven.
Won't there ever be any Saturdays
in heaven, Anne?"
"Yes, Saturdays, and every
other kind of beautiful days.
And every day in heaven will
be more beautiful than the one
before it, Davy," assured Anne,
who was rather glad that Marilla
was not by to be shocked. Marilla,
it is needless to say, was bringing
the twins up in the good old
ways of theology and discouraged
all fanciful speculations thereupon.
Davy and Dora were taught a hymn,
a catechism question, and two
Bible verses every Sunday. Dora
learned meekly and recited like
a little machine, with perhaps
as much understanding or interest
as if she were one. Davy, on
the contrary, had a lively curiosity,
and frequently asked questions
which made Marilla tremble for
says we'll do nothing all the
time in heaven
but walk around in white dresses
and play on harps; and he says
he hopes he won't have to go
till he's an old man, 'cause
maybe he'll like it better then.
And he thinks it will be horrid
to wear dresses and I think so
too. Why can't men angels wear
trousers, Anne? Chester Sloane
is interested in those things,
'cause they're going to make
a minister of him. He's got to
be a minister 'cause his grandmother
left the money to send him to
college and he can't have it
unless he is a minister. She
thought a minister was such a
'spectable thing to have in a
family. Chester says he doesn't
mind much. . .though he'd rather
be a blacksmith. . .but he's
bound to have all the fun he
can before he begins to be a
minister, 'cause he doesn't expect
to have much afterwards. I ain't
going to be a minister. I'm going
to be a storekeeper, like Mr.
Blair, and keep heaps of candy
and bananas. But I'd rather like
going to your kind of a heaven
if they'd let me play a mouth
organ instead of a harp. Do you
s'pose they would?"
"Yes, I think they would if
you wanted it," was all Anne
could trust herself to say.
The A.V.I.S. met at Mr. Harmon
Andrews' that evening and a full
attendance had been requested,
since important business was
to be discussed. The A.V.I.S.
was in a flourishing condition,
and had already accomplished
wonders. Early in the spring
Mr. Major Spencer had redeemed
his promise and had stumped,
graded, and seeded down all the
road front of his farm. A dozen
other men, some prompted by a
determination not to let a Spencer
get ahead of them, others goaded
into action by Improvers in their
own households, had followed
his example. The result was that
there were long strips of smooth
velvet turf where once had been
unsightly undergrowth or brush.
The farm fronts that had not
been done looked so badly by
contrast that their owners were
secretly shamed into resolving
to see what they could do another
spring. The triangle of ground
at the cross roads had also been
cleared and seeded down, and
Anne's bed of geraniums, unharmed
by any marauding cow, was already
set out in the center.
Altogether, the Improvers thought
that they were getting on beautifully,
even if Mr. Levi Boulter, tactfully
approached by a carefully selected
committee in regard to the old
house on his upper farm, did
bluntly tell them that he wasn't
going to have it meddled with.
At this especial
meeting they intended to draw
up a petition
to the school trustees, humbly
praying that a fence be put around
the school grounds; and a plan
was also to be discussed for
planting a few ornamental trees
by the church, if the funds of
the society would permit of it.
. .for, as Anne said, there was
no use in starting another subscription
as long as the hall remained
blue. The members were assembled
in the Andrews' parlor and Jane
was already on her feet to move
the appointment of a committee
which should find out and report
on the price of said trees, when
Gertie Pye swept in, pompadoured
and frilled within an inch of
her life. Gertie had a habit
of being late. . ."to make her
entrance more effective," spiteful
people said. Gertie's entrance
in this instance was certainly
effective, for she paused dramatically
on the middle of the floor, threw
up her hands, rolled her eyes,
and exclaimed, "I've just heard
something perfectly awful. What
DO you think? Mr. Judson Parker
IS GOING TO RENT ALL THE ROAD
FENCE OF HIS FARM TO A PATENT
MEDICINE COMPANY TO PAINT ADVERTISEMENTS
For once in her life Gertie
Pye made all the sensation she
desired. If she had thrown a
bomb among the complacent Improvers
she could hardly have made more.
"It CAN'T be true," said
"That's just what _I_ said
when I heard it first, don't
you know," said Gertie, who was
enjoying herself hugely. "_I_
said it couldn't be true. . .that
Judson Parker wouldn't have the
HEART to do it, don't you know.
But father met him this afternoon
and asked him about it and he
said it WAS true. Just fancy!
His farm is side-on to the Newbridge
road and how perfectly awful
it will look to see advertisements
of pills and plasters all along
it, don't you know?"
The Improvers DID know, all
too well. Even the least imaginative
among them could picture the
grotesque effect of half a mile
of board fence adorned with such
advertisements. All thought of
church and school grounds vanished
before this new danger. Parliamentary
rules and regulations were forgotten,
and Anne, in despair, gave up
trying to keep minutes at all.
Everybody talked at once and
fearful was the hubbub.
"Oh, let us keep calm," implored
Anne, who was the most excited
of them all, "and try to think
of some way of preventing him."
"I don't know how you're going
to prevent him," exclaimed Jane
bitterly. "Everybody knows what
Judson Parker is. He'd do ANYTHING
for money. He hasn't a SPARK
of public spirit or ANY sense
of the beautiful."
looked rather unpromising.
Judson Parker and
his sister were the only Parkers
in Avonlea, so that no leverage
could be exerted by family connections.
Martha Parker was a lady of all
too certain age who disapproved
of young people in general and
the Improvers in particular.
Judson was a jovial, smooth-spoken
man, so uniformly goodnatured
and bland that it was surprising
how few friends he had. Perhaps
he had got the better in too
many business transactions. .
.which seldom makes for popularity.
He was reputed to be very "sharp" and
it was the general opinion that
he "hadn't much principle."
"If Judson Parker has a chance
to `turn an honest penny,' as
he says himself, he'll never
lose it," declared Fred Wright.
"Is there NOBODY who has any
influence over him?" asked Anne
"He goes to see Louisa Spencer
at White Sands," suggested Carrie
Sloane. "Perhaps she could coax
him not to rent his fences."
"Not she," said Gilbert emphatically. "I
know Louisa Spencer well. She
doesn't `believe' in Village
Improvement Societies, but she
DOES believe in dollars and cents.
She'd be more likely to urge
Judson on than to dissuade him."
"The only thing to do is to
appoint a committee to wait on
him and protest," said Julia
Bell, "and you must send girls,
for he'd hardly be civil to boys
. . .but _I_ won't go, so nobody
need nominate me."
"Better send Anne alone, " said
Oliver Sloane. "She can talk
Judson over if anybody can."
She was willing to go and do
the talking; but
she must have others with her "for
moral support." Diana and Jane
were therefore appointed to support
her morally and the Improvers
broke up, buzzing like angry
bees with indignation. Anne was
so worried that she didn't sleep
until nearly morning, and then
she dreamed that the trustees
had put a fence around the school
and painted "Try Purple Pills" all
The committee waited on Judson
Parker the next afternoon. Anne
pleaded eloquently against his
nefarious design and Jane and
Diana supported her morally and
valiantly. Judson was sleek,
suave, flattering; paid them
several compliments of the delicacy
of sunflowers; felt real bad
to refuse such charming young
ladies . . .but business was
business; couldn't afford to
let sentiment stand in the way
these hard times.
"But I'll tell what I WILL
do," he said, with a twinkle
in his light, full eyes. "I'll
tell the agent he must use only
handsome, tasty colors. . .red
and yellow and so on. I'll tell
him he mustn't paint the ads
BLUE on any account."
The vanquished committee retired,
thinking things not lawful to
"We have done all we can do
and must simply trust the rest
to Providence," said Jane, with
an unconscious imitation of Mrs.
Lynde's tone and manner.
"I wonder if Mr. Allan could
do anything," reflected Diana.
Anne shook her head.
"No, it's no
use to worry Mr. Allan, especially
now when the
baby's so sick. Judson would
slip away from him as smoothly
as from us, although he HAS taken
to going to church quite regularly
just now. That is simply because
Louisa Spencer's father is an
elder and very particular about
"Judson Parker is the only
man in Avonlea who would dream
of renting his fences," said
Jane indignantly. "Even Levi
Boulter or Lorenzo White would
never stoop to that, tightfisted
as they are. They would have
too much respect for public opinion."
Public opinion was certainly
down on Judson Parker when the
facts became known, but that
did not help matters much. Judson
chuckled to himself and defied
it, and the Improvers were trying
to reconcile themselves to the
prospect of seeing the prettiest
part of the Newbridge road defaced
by advertisements, when Anne
rose quietly at the president's
call for reports of committees
on the occasion of the next meeting
of the Society, and announced
that Mr. Judson Parker had instructed
her to inform the Society that
he was NOT going to rent his
fences to the Patent Medicine
Jane and Diana stared as if
they found it hard to believe
their ears. Parliamentary etiquette,
which was generally very strictly
enforced in the A.V.I.S., forbade
them giving instant vent to their
curiosity, but after the Society
adjourned Anne was besieged for
explanations. Anne had no explanation
to give. Judson Parker had overtaken
her on the road the preceding
evening and told her that he
had decided to humor the A.V.I.S.
in its peculiar prejudice against
patent medicine advertisements.
That was all Anne would say,
then or ever afterwards, and
it was the simple truth; but
when Jane Andrews, on her way
home, confided to Oliver Sloane
her firm belief that there was
more behind Judson Parker's mysterious
change of heart than Anne Shirley
had revealed, she spoke the truth
Anne had been down to old Mrs.
Irving's on the shore road the
preceding evening and had come
home by a short cut which led
her first over the low-lying
shore fields, and then through
the beech wood below Robert Dickson's,
by a little footpath that ran
out to the main road just above
the Lake of Shining Waters. .
.known to unimaginative people
as Barry's pond.
Two men were
sitting in their buggies, reined
off to the side
of the road, just at the entrance
of the path. One was Judson Parker;
the other was Jerry Corcoran,
a Newbridge man against whom,
as Mrs. Lynde would have told
you in eloquent italics, nothing
shady had ever been PROVED. He
was an agent for agricultural
implements and a prominent personage
in matters political. He had
a finger. . . some people said
ALL his fingers. . .in every
political pie that was cooked;
and as Canada was on the eve
of a general election Jerry Corcoran
had been a busy man for many
weeks, canvassing the county
in the interests of his party's
candidate. Just as Anne emerged
from under the overhanging beech
boughs she heard Corcoran say, "If
you'll vote for Amesbury, Parker.
. .well, I've a note for that
pair of harrows you've got in
the spring. I suppose you wouldn't
object to having it back, eh?"
"We. . .ll, since you put it
in that way," drawled Judson
with a grin, "I reckon I might
as well do it. A man must look
out for his own interests in
these hard times."
Both saw Anne at this moment
and conversation abruptly ceased.
Anne bowed frostily and walked
on, with her chin slightly more
tilted than usual. Soon Judson
Parker overtook her.
"Have a lift, Anne?" he
"Thank you, no," said
Anne politely, but with a fine,
disdain in her voice that pierced
even Judson Parker's none too
sensitive consciousness. His
face reddened and he twitched
his reins angrily; but the next
second prudential considerations
checked him. He looked uneasily
at Anne, as she walked steadily
on, glancing neither to the right
nor to the left. Had she heard
Corcoran's unmistakable offer
and his own too plain acceptance
of it? Confound Corcoran! If
he couldn't put his meaning into
less dangerous phrases he'd get
into trouble some of these long-come-shorts.
And confound redheaded school-ma'ams
with a habit of popping out of
beechwoods where they had no
business to be. If Anne had heard,
Judson Parker, measuring her
corn in his own half bushel,
as the country saying went, and
cheating himself thereby, as
such people generally do, believed
that she would tell it far and
wide. Now, Judson Parker, as
has been seen, was not overly
regardful of public opinion;
but to be known as having accepted
a bribe would be a nasty thing;
and if it ever reached Isaac
Spencer's ears farewell forever
to all hope of winning Louisa
Jane with her comfortable prospects
as the heiress of a well-to-do
farmer. Judson Parker knew that
Mr. Spencer looked somewhat askance
at him as it was; he could not
afford to take any risks.
"Ahem. . .Anne,
I've been wanting to see you
about that little
matter we were discussing the
other day. I've decided not to
let my fences to that company
after all. A society with an
aim like yours ought to be encouraged."
Anne thawed out the merest
"Thank you," she
"And. . .and.
. .you needn't mention that
of mine with Jerry."
"I have no intention of mentioning
it in any case," said Anne icily,
for she would have seen every
fence in Avonlea painted with
advertisements before she would
have stooped to bargain with
a man who would sell his vote.
"Just so. . .just so," agreed
Judson, imagining that they understood
each other beautifully. "I didn't
suppose you would. Of course,
I was only stringing Jerry. .
.he thinks he's so all-fired
cute and smart. I've no intention
of voting for Amesbury. I'm going
to vote for Grant as I've always
done. . .you'll see that when
the election comes off. I just
led Jerry on to see if he would
commit himself. And it's all
right about the fence . . .you
can tell the Improvers that."
"It takes all sorts of people
to make a world, as I've often
heard, but I think there are
some who could be spared," Anne
told her reflection in the east
gable mirror that night. "I wouldn't
have mentioned the disgraceful
thing to a soul anyhow, so my
conscience is clear on THAT score.
I really don't know who or what
is to be thanked for this. _I_
did nothing to bring it about,
and it's hard to believe that
Providence ever works by means
of the kind of politics men like
Judson Parker and Jerry Corcoran