One blithe June morning, a fortnight
after Uncle Abe's storm, Anne
came slowly through the Green
Gables yard from the garden,
carrying in her hands two blighted
stalks of white narcissus.
"Look, Marilla," she said sorroly,
holding up the flowers before
the eyes of a grim lady, with
her hair coifed in a green gingham
apron, who was going into the
house with a plucked chicken, "these
are the only buds the storm spared.
. .and even they are imperfect.
I'm so sorry. . .I wanted some
for Matthew's grave. He was always
so fond of June lilies."
"I kind of miss them myself," admitted
Marilla, "though it doesn't seem
right to lament over them when
so many worse things have happened.
. .all the crops destroyed as
well as the fruit."
"But people have sown their
oats over again," said Anne comfortingly, "and
Mr. Harrison says he thinks if
we have a good summer they will
come out all right though late.
And my annuals are all coming
up again . . .but oh, nothing
can replace the June lilies.
Poor little Hester Gray will
have none either. I went all
the way back to her garden last
night but there wasn't one. I'm
sure she'll miss them."
"I don't think it's right for
you to say such things, Anne,
I really don't," said Marilla
severely. "Hester Gray has been
dead for thirty years and her
spirit is in heaven. . .I hope."
"Yes, but I believe she loves
and remembers her garden here
still," said Anne. "I'm sure
no matter how long I'd lived
in heaven I'd like to look down
and see somebody putting flowers
on my grave. If I had had a garden
here like Hester Gray's it would
take me more than thirty years,
even in heaven, to forget being
homesick for it by spells."
"Well, don't let the twins
hear you talking like that," was
Marilla's feeble protest, as
she carried her chicken into
Anne pinned her narcissi on
her hair and went to the lane
gate, where she stood for awhile
sunning herself in the June brightness
before going in to attend to
her Saturday morning duties.
The world was growing lovely
again; old Mother Nature was
doing her best to remove the
traces of the storm, and, though
she was not to succeed fully
for many a moon, she was really
"I wish I could just be idle
all day today," Anne told a bluebird,
who was singing and swinging
on a willow bough, "but a schoolma'am,
who is also helping to bring
up twins, can't indulge in laziness,
birdie. How sweet you are singing,
little bird. You are just putting
the feelings of my heart into
song ever so much better than
I could myself. Why, who is coming?"
An express wagon was jolting
up the lane, with two people
on the front seat and a big trunk
behind. When it drew near Anne
recognized the driver as the
son of the station agent at Bright
River; but his companion was
a stranger. . .a scrap of a woman
who sprang nimbly down at the
gate almost before the horse
came to a standstill. She was
a very pretty little person,
evidently nearer fifty than forty,
but with rosy cheeks, sparkling
black eyes, and shining black
hair, surmounted by a wonderful
beflowered and beplumed bonnet.
In spite of having driven eight
miles over a dusty road she was
as neat as if she had just stepped
out of the proverbial bandbox.
"Is this where Mr. James A.
Harrison lives?" she inquired
"No, Mr. Harrison lives over
there," said Anne, quite lost
"Well, I DID think this place
seemed too tidy. . .MUCH too
tidy for James A. to be living
here, unless he has greatly changed
since I knew him," chirped the
little lady. "Is it true that
James A. is going to be married
to some woman living in this
"No, oh no," cried
Anne, flushing so guiltily
that the stranger
looked curiously at her, as if
she half suspected her of matrimonial
designs on Mr. Harrison.
"But I saw it in an Island
paper," persisted the Fair Unknown. "A
friend sent a marked copy to
me. . .friends are always so
ready to do such things. James
A.'s name was written in over
"Oh, that note was only meant
as a joke," gasped Anne. "Mr.
Harrison has no intention of
marrying ANYBODY. I assure you
"I'm very glad to hear it," said
the rosy lady, climbing nimbly
back to her seat in the wagon, "because
he happens to be married already.
_I_ am his wife. Oh, you may
well look surprised. I suppose
he has been masquerading as a
bachelor and breaking hearts
right and left. Well, well, James
A.," nodding vigorously over
the fields at the long white
house, "your fun is over. I am
here. . .though I wouldn't have
bothered coming if I hadn't thought
you were up to some mischief.
I suppose," turning to Anne, "that
parrot of his is as profane as
"His parrot. . .is dead. .
.I THINK," gasped poor Anne,
who couldn't have felt sure of
her own name at that precise
"Dead! Everything will be all
right then," cried the rosy lady
jubilantly. "I can manage James
A. if that bird is out of the
With which cryptic utterance
she went joyfully on her way
and Anne flew to the kitchen
door to meet Marilla.
was that woman?"
"Marilla," said Anne solemnly,
but with dancing eyes, "do I
look as if I were crazy?"
"Not more so than usual," said
Marilla, with no thought of being
do you think I am awake?"
nonsense has got into you?
Who was that woman,
I'm not crazy and not asleep
she can't be such
stuff as dreams are made of.
. .she must be real. Anyway,
I'm sure I couldn't have imagined
such a bonnet. She says she is
Mr. Harrison's wife, Marilla."
Marilla stared in her turn.
Anne Shirley! Then what has
he been passing himself
off as an unmarried man for?"
"I don't suppose he did, really," said
Anne, trying to be just. "He
never said he wasn't married.
People simply took it for granted.
Oh Marilla, what will Mrs. Lynde
say to this?"
They found out what Mrs. Lynde
had to say when she came up that
evening. Mrs. Lynde wasn't surprised!
Mrs. Lynde had always expected
something of the sort! Mrs. Lynde
had always known there was SOMETHING
about Mr. Harrison!
"To think of his deserting
his wife!" she said indignantly. "It's
like something you'd read of
in the States, but who would
expect such a thing to happen
right here in Avonlea?"
"But we don't know that he
deserted her," protested Anne,
determined to believe her friend
innocent till he was proved guilty. "We
don't know the rights of it at
"Well, we soon will. I'm going
straight over there," said Mrs.
Lynde, who had never learned
that there was such a word as
delicacy in the dictionary. "I'm
not supposed to know anything
about her arrival, and Mr. Harrison
was to bring some medicine for
Thomas from Carmody today, so
that will be a good excuse. I'll
find out the whole story and
come in and tell you on the way
Mrs. Lynde rushed in where
Anne had feared to tread. Nothing
would have induced the latter
to go over to the Harrison place;
but she had her natural and proper
share of curiosity and she felt
secretly glad that Mrs. Lynde
was going to solve the mystery.
She and Marilla waited expectantly
for that good lady's return,
but waited in vain. Mrs. Lynde
did not revisit Green Gables
that night. Davy, arriving home
at nine o'clock from the Boulter
place, explained why.
"I met Mrs. Lynde and some
strange woman in the Hollow," he
said, "and gracious, how they
were talking both at once! Mrs.
Lynde said to tell you she was
sorry it was too late to call
tonight. Anne, I'm awful hungry.
We had tea at Milty's at four
and I think Mrs. Boulter is real
mean. She didn't give us any
preserves or cake . . .and even
the bread was skurce."
"Davy, when you go visiting
you must never criticize anything
you are given to eat," said Anne
solemnly. "It is very bad manners."
"All right. . .I'll only think
it," said Davy cheerfully. "Do
give a fellow some supper, Anne."
Anne looked at Marilla, who
followed her into the pantry
and shut the door cautiously.
"You can give
him some jam on his bread,
I know what tea
at Levi Boulter's is apt to be."
Davy took his slice of bread
and jam with a sigh.
"It's a kind of disappointing
world after all," he remarked. "Milty
has a cat that takes fits. .
.she's took a fit regular every
day for three weeks. Milty says
it's awful fun to watch her.
I went down today on purpose
to see her have one but the mean
old thing wouldn't take a fit
and just kept healthy as healthy,
though Milty and me hung round
all the afternoon and waited.
But never mind" . . .Davy brightened
up as the insidious comfort of
the plum jam stole into his soul.
. ."maybe I'll see her in one
sometime yet. It doesn't seem
likely she'd stop having them
all at once when she's been so
in the habit of it, does it?
This jam is awful nice."
Davy had no sorrows that plum
jam could not cure.
Sunday proved so rainy that
there was no stirring abroad;
but by Monday everybody had heard
some version of the Harrison
story. The school buzzed with
it and Davy came home, full of
Harrison has a new wife. .
.well, not ezackly
new, but they've stopped being
married for quite a spell, Milty
says. I always s'posed people
had to keep on being married
once they'd begun, but Milty
says no, there's ways of stopping
if you can't agree. Milty says
one way is just to start off
and leave your wife, and that's
what Mr. Harrison did. Milty
says Mr. Harrison left his wife
because she throwed things at
him. . .HARD things. . .and Arty
Sloane says it was because she
wouldn't let him smoke, and Ned
Clay says it was 'cause she never
let up scolding him. I wouldn't
leave MY wife for anything like
that. I'd just put my foot down
and say, `Mrs. Davy, you've just
got to do what'll please ME 'cause
I'm a MAN.' THAT'D settle her
pretty quick I guess. But Annetta
Clay says SHE left HIM because
he wouldn't scrape his boots
at the door and she doesn't blame
her. I'm going right over to
Mr. Harrison's this minute to
see what she's like."
Davy soon returned, somewhat
was away. . .she's gone to
Carmody with Mrs.
Rachel Lynde to get new paper
for the parlor. And Mr. Harrison
said to tell Anne to go over
and see him `cause he wants to
have a talk with her. And say,
the floor is scrubbed, and Mr.
Harrison is shaved, though there
wasn't any preaching yesterday."
The Harrison kitchen wore a
very unfamiliar look to Anne.
The floor was indeed scrubbed
to a wonderful pitch of purity
and so was every article of furniture
in the room; the stove was polished
until she could see her face
in it; the walls were whitewashed
and the window panes sparkled
in the sunlight. By the table
sat Mr. Harrison in his working
clothes, which on Friday had
been noted for sundry rents and
tatters but which were now neatly
patched and brushed. He was sprucely
shaved and what little hair he
had was carefully trimmed.
"Sit down, Anne, sit down," said
Mr. Harrison in a tone but two
degrees removed from that which
Avonlea people used at funerals. "Emily's
gone over to Carmody with Rachel
Lynde. . .she's struck up a lifelong
friendship already with Rachel
Lynde. Beats all how contrary
women are. Well, Anne, my easy
times are over. . .all over.
It's neatness and tidiness for
me for the rest of my natural
life, I suppose."
Mr. Harrison did his best to
speak dolefully, but an irrepressible
twinkle in his eye betrayed him.
"Mr. Harrison, you are glad
your wife is come back," cried
Anne, shaking her finger at him. "You
needn't pretend you're not, because
I can see it plainly."
Mr. Harrison relaxed into a
"Well. . .well. . .I'm getting
used to it," he conceded. "I
can't say I was sorry to see
Emily. A man really needs some
protection in a community like
this, where he can't play a game
of checkers with a neighbor without
being accused of wanting to marry
that neighbor's sister and having
it put in the paper."
"Nobody would have supposed
you went to see Isabella Andrews
if you hadn't pretended to be
unmarried," said Anne severely.
"I didn't pretend
I was. If anybody'd have asked
me if I
was married I'd have said I was.
But they just took it for granted.
I wasn't anxious to talk about
the matter. . .I was feeling
too sore over it. It would have
been nuts for Mrs. Rachel Lynde
if she had known my wife had
left me, wouldn't it now?"
"But some people
say that you left her."
it, Anne, she started it. I'm
going to tell
you the whole story, for I don't
want you to think worse of me
than I deserve. . .nor of Emily
neither. But let's go out on
the veranda. Everything is so
fearful neat in here that it
kind of makes me homesick. I
suppose I'll get used to it after
awhile but it eases me up to
look at the yard. Emily hasn't
had time to tidy it up yet."
As soon as they were comfortably
seated on the veranda Mr. Harrison
began his tale of woe.
"I lived in
Scottsford, New Brunswick,
before I came here,
Anne. My sister kept house for
me and she suited me fine; she
was just reasonably tidy and
she let me alone and spoiled
me. . .so Emily says. But three
years ago she died. Before she
died she worried a lot about
what was to become of me and
finally she got me to promise
I'd get married. She advised
me to take Emily Scott because
Emily had money of her own and
was a pattern housekeeper. I
said, says I, `Emily Scott wouldn't
look at me.' `You ask her and
see,' says my sister; and just
to ease her mind I promised her
I would. . .and I did. And Emily
said she'd have me. Never was
so surprised in my life, Anne.
. .a smart pretty little woman
like her and an old fellow like
me. I tell you I thought at first
I was in luck. Well, we were
married and took a little wedding
trip to St. John for a fortnight
and then we went home. We got
home at ten o'clock at night,
and I give you my word, Anne,
that in half an hour that woman
was at work housecleaning. Oh,
I know you're thinking my house
needed it. . . you've got a very
expressive face, Anne; your thoughts
just come out on it like print.
. .but it didn't, not that bad.
It had got pretty mixed up while
I was keeping bachelor's hall,
I admit, but I'd got a woman
to come in and clean it up before
I was married and there'd been
considerable painting and fixing
done. I tell you if you took
Emily into a brand new white
marble palace she'd be into the
scrubbing as soon as she could
get an old dress on. Well, she
cleaned house till one o'clock
that night and at four she was
up and at it again. And she kept
on that way. . .far's I could
see she never stopped. It was
scour and sweep and dust everlasting,
except on Sundays, and then she
was just longing for Monday to
begin again. But it was her way
of amusing herself and I could
have reconciled myself to it
if she'd left me alone. But that
she wouldn't do. She'd set out
to make me over but she hadn't
caught me young enough. I wasn't
allowed to come into the house
unless I changed my boots for
slippers at the door. I darsn't
smoke a pipe for my life unless
I went to the barn. And I didn't
use good enough grammar. Emily'd
been a schoolteacher in her early
life and she'd never got over
it. Then she hated to see me
eating with my knife. Well, there
it was, pick and nag everlasting.
But I s'pose, Anne, to be fair,
_I_ was cantankerous too. I didn't
try to improve as I might have
done. . .I just got cranky and
disagreeable when she found fault.
I told her one day she hadn't
complained of my grammar when
I proposed to her. It wasn't
an overly tactful thing to say.
A woman would forgive a man for
beating her sooner than for hinting
she was too much pleased to get
him. Well, we bickered along
like that and it wasn't exactly
pleasant, but we might have got
used to each other after a spell
if it hadn't been for Ginger.
Ginger was the rock we split
on at last. Emily didn't like
parrots and she couldn't stand
Ginger's profane habits of speech.
I was attached to the bird for
my brother the sailor's sake.
My brother the sailor was a pet
of mine when we were little tads
and he'd sent Ginger to me when
he was dying. I didn't see any
sense in getting worked up over
his swearing. There's nothing
I hate worse'n profanity in a
human being, but in a parrot,
that's just repeating what it's
heard with no more understanding
of it than I'd have of Chinese,
allowances might be made. But
Emily couldn't see it that way.
Women ain't logical. She tried
to break Ginger of swearing but
she hadn't any better success
than she had in trying to make
me stop saying `I seen' and `them
things.' Seemed as if the more
she tried the worse Ginger got,
same as me.
went on like this, both of
us getting raspier,
till the CLIMAX came. Emily invited
our minister and his wife to
tea, and another minister and
HIS wife that was visiting them.
I'd promised to put Ginger away
in some safe place where nobody
would hear him. . .Emily wouldn't
touch his cage with a ten-foot
pole . . . and I meant to do
it, for I didn't want the ministers
to hear anything unpleasant in
my house. But it slipped my mind.
. .Emily was worrying me so much
about clean collars and grammar
that it wasn't any wonder. .
.and I never thought of that
poor parrot till we sat down
to tea. Just as minister number
one was in the very middle of
saying grace, Ginger, who was
on the veranda outside the dining
room window, lifted up HIS voice.
The gobbler had come into view
in the yard and the sight of
a gobbler always had an unwholesome
effect on Ginger. He surpassed
himself that time. You can smile,
Anne, and I don't deny I've chuckled
some over it since myself, but
at the time I felt almost as
much mortified as Emily. I went
out and carried Ginger to the
barn. I can't say I enjoyed the
meal. I knew by the look of Emily
that there was trouble brewing
for Ginger and James A. When
the folks went away I started
for the cow pasture and on the
way I did some thinking. I felt
sorry for Emily and kind of fancied
I hadn't been so thoughtful of
her as I might; and besides,
I wondered if the ministers would
think that Ginger had learned
his vocabulary from me. The long
and short of it was, I decided
that Ginger would have to be
mercifully disposed of and when
I'd druv the cows home I went
in to tell Emily so. But there
was no Emily and there was a
letter on the table. . .just
according to the rule in story
books. Emily writ that I'd have
to choose between her and Ginger;
she'd gone back to her own house
and there she would stay till
I went and told her I'd got rid
of that parrot.
"I was all
riled up, Anne, and I said
she might stay till
doomsday if she waited for that;
and I stuck to it. I packed up
her belongings and sent them
after her. It made an awful lot
of talk . . .Scottsford was pretty
near as bad as Avonlea for gossip.
. .and everybody sympathized
with Emily. It kept me all cross
and cantankerous and I saw I'd
have to get out or I'd never
have any peace. I concluded I'd
come to the Island. I'd been
here when I was a boy and I liked
it; but Emily had always said
she wouldn't live in a place
where folks were scared to walk
out after dark for fear they'd
fall off the edge. So, just to
be contrary, I moved over here.
And that's all there is to it.
I hadn't ever heard a word from
or about Emily till I come home
from the back field Saturday
and found her scrubbing the floor
but with the first decent dinner
I'd had since she left me all
ready on the table. She told
me to eat it first and then we'd
talk. . .by which I concluded
that Emily had learned some lessons
about getting along with a man.
So she's here and she's going
to stay. . .seeing that Ginger's
dead and the Island's some bigger
than she thought. There's Mrs.
Lynde and her now. No, don't
go, Anne. Stay and get acquainted
with Emily. She took quite a
notion to you Saturday. . . wanted
to know who that handsome redhaired
girl was at the next house."
Mrs. Harrison welcomed Anne
radiantly and insisted on her
staying to tea.
"James A. has been telling
me all about you and how kind
you've been, making cakes and
things for him," she said. "I
want to get acquainted with all
my new neighbors just as soon
as possible. Mrs. Lynde is a
lovely woman, isn't she? So friendly."
When Anne went home in the
sweet June dusk, Mrs. Harrison
went with her across the fields
where the fireflies were lighting
their starry lamps.
"I suppose," said Mrs. Harrison
confidentially, "that James A.
has told you our story?"
"Then I needn't
tell it, for James A. is a
just man and he
would tell the truth. The blame
was far from being all on his
side. I can see that now. I wasn't
back in my own house an hour
before I wished I hadn't been
so hasty but I wouldn't give
in. I see now that I expected
too much of a man. And I was
real foolish to mind his bad
grammar. It doesn't matter if
a man does use bad grammar so
long as he is a good provider
and doesn't go poking round the
pantry to see how much sugar
you've used in a week. I feel
that James A. and I are going
to be real happy now. I wish
I knew who `Observer' is, so
that I could thank him. I owe
him a real debt of gratitude."
Anne kept her
own counsel and Mrs. Harrison
never knew that
her gratitude found its way to
its object. Anne felt rather
bewildered over the far-reaching
consequences of those foolish "notes." They
had reconciled a man to his wife
and made the reputation of a
Mrs. Lynde was in the Green
Gables kitchen. She had been
telling the whole story to Marilla.
"Well, and how do you like
Mrs. Harrison?" she asked Anne.
I think she's a real nice little
"That's exactly what she is," said
Mrs. Rachel with emphasis, "and
as I've just been sayin' to Marilla,
I think we ought all to overlook
Mr. Harrison's peculiarities
for her sake and try to make
her feel at home here, that's
what. Well, I must get back.
Thomas'll be wearying for me.
I get out a little since Eliza
came and he's seemed a lot better
these past few days, but I never
like to be long away from him.
I hear Gilbert Blythe has resigned
from White Sands. He'll be off
to college in the fall, I suppose."
Mrs. Rachel looked sharply
at Anne, but Anne was bending
over a sleepy Davy nodding on
the sofa and nothing was to be
read in her face. She carried
Davy away, her oval girlish cheek
pressed against his curly yellow
head. As they went up the stairs
Davy flung a tired arm about
Anne's neck and gave her a warm
hug and a sticky kiss.
"You're awful nice, Anne. Milty
Boulter wrote on his slate today
and showed it to Jennie Sloane, "`Roses
red and vi'lets blue, Sugar's
sweet, and so are you"
and that 'spresses
my feelings for you ezackly,