Thomas Lynde faded out of life
as quietly and unobtrusively
as he had lived it. His wife
was a tender, patient, unwearied
nurse. Sometimes Rachel had been
a little hard on her Thomas in
health, when his slowness or
meekness had provoked her; but
when he became ill no voice could
be lower, no hand more gently
skillful, no vigil
"You've been a good wife to
me, Rachel," he once said simply,
when she was sitting by him in
the dusk, holding his thin, blanched
old hand in her work-hardened
one. "A good wife. I'm sorry
I ain't leaving you better off;
but the children will look after
you. They're all smart, capable
children, just like their mother.
A good mother. . .a good woman.
. . ."
He had fallen asleep then,
and the next morning, just as
the white dawn was creeping up
over the pointed firs in the
hollow, Marilla went softly into
the east gable and wakened Anne.
Lynde is gone. . .their hired
boy just brought
the word. I'm going right down
On the day after Thomas Lynde's
funeral Marilla went about Green
Gables with a strangely preoccupied
air. Occasionally she looked
at Anne, seemed on the point
of saying something, then shook
her head and buttoned up her
mouth. After tea she went down
to see Mrs. Rachel; and when
she returned she went to the
east gable, where Anne was correcting
"How is Mrs. Lynde tonight?" asked
"She's feeling calmer and more
composed," answered Marilla,
sitting down on Anne's bed. .
.a proceeding which betokened
some unusual mental excitement,
for in Marilla's code of household
ethics to sit on a bed after
it was made up was an unpardonable
offense. "But she's very lonely.
Eliza had to go home today. .
.her son isn't well and she felt
she couldn't stay any longer."
"When I've finished these exercises
I'll run down and chat awhile
with Mrs. Lynde," said Anne. "I
had intended to study some Latin
composition tonight but it can
"I suppose Gilbert Blythe is
going to college in the fall," said
Marilla jerkily. "How would you
like to go too, Anne?"
Anne looked up in astonishment.
"I would like
it, of course, Marilla. But
it isn't possible."
"I guess it
can be made possible. I've
always felt that you should
go. I've never felt easy to think
you were giving it all up on
I've never been sorry for a
moment that I stayed
home. I've been so happy. . .Oh,
these past two years have just
"Oh, yes, I
know you've been contented
enough. But that isn't
the question exactly. You ought
to go on with your education.
You've saved enough to put you
through one year at Redmond and
the money the stock brought in
will do for another year. . .and
there's scholarships and things
you might win."
"Yes, but I
can't go, Marilla. Your eyes
are better, of course;
but I can't leave you alone with
the twins. They need so much
"I won't be
alone with them. That's what
I meant to discuss
with you. I had a long talk with
Rachel tonight. Anne, she's feeling
dreadful bad over a good many
things. She's not left very well
off. It seems they mortgaged
the farm eight years ago to give
the youngest boy a start when
he went west; and they've never
been able to pay much more than
the interest since. And then
of course Thomas' illness has
cost a good deal, one way or
another. The farm will have to
be sold and Rachel thinks there'll
be hardly anything left after
the bills are settled. She says
she'll have to go and live with
Eliza and it's breaking her heart
to think of leaving Avonlea.
A woman of her age doesn't make
new friends and interests easy.
And, Anne, as she talked about
it the thought came to me that
I would ask her to come and live
with me, but I thought I ought
to talk it over with you first
before I said anything to her.
If I had Rachel living with me
you could go to college. How
do you feel about it?"
"I feel. . .as if. . .somebody.
. .had handed me. . .the moon.
. .and I didn't know. . .exactly.
. .what to do. . .with it," said
Anne dazedly. "But as for asking
Mrs. Lynde to come here, that
is for you to decide, Marilla.
Do you think. . .are you sure.
. .you would like it? Mrs. Lynde
is a good woman and a kind neighbor,
but. . .but. . ."
got her faults, you mean to
say? Well, she has,
of course; but I think I'd rather
put up with far worse faults
than see Rachel go away from
Avonlea. I'd miss her terrible.
She's the only close friend I've
got here and I'd be lost without
her. We've been neighbors for
forty-five years and we've never
had a quarrel. . .though we came
rather near it that time you
flew at Mrs. Rachel for calling
you homely and redhaired. Do
you remember, Anne?"
"I should think I do," said
Anne ruefully. "People don't
forget things like that. How
I hated poor Mrs. Rachel at that
"And then that
`apology' you made her. Well,
you were a handful,
in all conscience, Anne. I did
feel so puzzled and bewildered
how to manage you. Matthew understood
"Matthew understood everything," said
Anne softly, as she always spoke
"Well, I think
it could be managed so that
Rachel and I
wouldn't clash at all. It always
seemed to me that the reason
two women can't get along in
one house is that they try to
share the same kitchen and get
in each other's way. Now, if
Rachel came here, she could have
the north gable for her bedroom
and the spare room for a kitchen
as well as not, for we don't
really need a spare room at all.
She could put her stove there
and what furniture she wanted
to keep, and be real comfortable
and independent. She'll have
enough to live on of course...her
children'll see to that...so
all I'd be giving her would be
house room. Yes, Anne, far as
I'm concerned I'd like it."
"Then ask her," said Anne promptly. "I'd
be very sorry myself to see Mrs.
Rachel go away."
"And if she comes," continued
Marilla, "You can go to college
as well as not. She'll be company
for me and she'll do for the
twins what I can't do, so there's
no reason in the world why you
Anne had a long meditation
at her window that night. Joy
and regret struggled together
in her heart. She had come at
last. . .suddenly and unexpectedly.
. .to the bend in the road; and
college was around it, with a
hundred rainbow hopes and visions;
but Anne realized as well that
when she rounded that curve she
must leave many sweet things
behind. . . all the little simple
duties and interests which had
grown so dear to her in the last
two years and which she had glorified
into beauty and delight by the
enthusiasm she had put into them.
She must give up her school.
. . and she loved every one of
her pupils, even the stupid and
naughty ones. The mere thought
of Paul Irving made her wonder
if Redmond were such a name to
conjure with after all.
"I've put out a lot of little
roots these two years," Anne
told the moon, "and when I'm
pulled up they're going to hurt
a great deal. But it's best to
go, I think, and, as Marilla
says, there's no good reason
why I shouldn't. I must get out
all my ambitions and dust them."
Anne sent in her resignation
the next day; and Mrs. Rachel,
after a heart to heart talk with
Marilla, gratefully accepted
the offer of a home at Green
Gables. She elected to remain
in her own house for the summer,
however; the farm was not to
be sold until the fall and there
were many arrangements to be
"I certainly never thought
of living as far off the road
as Green Gables," sighed Mrs.
Rachel to herself. "But really,
Green Gables doesn't seem as
out of the world as it used to
do. . .Anne has lots of company
and the twins make it real lively.
And anyhow, I'd rather live at
the bottom of a well than leave
These two decisions
being noised abroad speedily
ousted the arrival
of Mrs. Harrison in popular gossip.
Sage heads were shaken over Marilla
Cuthbert's rash step in asking
Mrs. Rachel to live with her.
People opined that they wouldn't
get on together. They were both "too
fond of their own way," and many
doleful predictions were made,
none of which disturbed the parties
in question at all. They had
come to a clear and distinct
understanding of the respective
duties and rights of their new
arrangements and meant to abide
"I won't meddle with you nor
you with me," Mrs. Rachel had
said decidedly, "and as for the
twins, I'll be glad to do all
I can for them; but I won't undertake
to answer Davy's questions, that's
what. I'm not an encyclopedia,
neither am I a Philadelphia lawyer.
You'll miss Anne for that."
"Sometimes Anne's answers were
about as queer as Davy's questions," said
Marilla drily. "The twins will
miss her and no mistake; but
her future can't be sacrificed
to Davy's thirst for information.
When he asks questions I can't
answer I'll just tell him children
should be seen and not heard.
That was how I was brought up,
and I don't know but what it
was just as good a way as all
these new-fangled notions for
"Well, Anne's methods seem
to have worked fairly well with
Davy," said Mrs. Lynde smilingly. "He
is a reformed character, that's
"He isn't a bad little soul," conceded
Marilla. "I never expected to
get as fond of those children
as I have. Davy gets round you
somehow . . .and Dora is a lovely
child, although she is. . .kind
of. . .well, kind of. . ."
"Monotonous? Exactly," supplied
Mrs. Rachel. "Like a book where
every page is the same, that's
what. Dora will make a good,
reliable woman but she'll never
set the pond on fire. Well, that
sort of folks are comfortable
to have round, even if they're
not as interesting as the other
Gilbert Blythe was probably
the only person to whom the news
of Anne's resignation brought
unmixed pleasure. Her pupils
looked upon it as a sheer catastrophe.
Annetta Bell had hysterics when
she went home. Anthony Pye fought
two pitched and unprovoked battles
with other boys by way of relieving
his feelings. Barbara Shaw cried
all night. Paul Irving defiantly
told his grandmother that she
needn't expect him to eat any
porridge for a week.
"I can't do it, Grandma," he
said. "I don't really know if
I can eat ANYTHING. I feel as
if there was a dreadful lump
in my throat. I'd have cried
coming home from school if Jake
Donnell hadn't been watching
me. I believe I will cry after
I go to bed. It wouldn't show
on my eyes tomorrow, would it?
And it would be such a relief.
But anyway, I can't eat porridge.
I'm going to need all my strength
of mind to bear up against this,
Grandma, and I won't have any
left to grapple with porridge.
Oh Grandma, I don't know what
I'll do when my beautiful teacher
goes away. Milty Boulter says
he bets Jane Andrews will get
the school. I suppose Miss Andrews
is very nice. But I know she
won't understand things like
Diana also took a very pessimistic
view of affairs.
"It will be horribly lonesome
here next winter," she mourned,
one twilight when the moonlight
was raining "airy silver" through
the cherry boughs and filling
the east gable with a soft, dream-like
radiance in which the two girls
sat and talked, Anne on her low
rocker by the window, Diana sitting
Turkfashion on the bed. "You
and Gilbert will be gone . .
.and the Allans too. They are
going to call Mr. Allan to Charlottetown
and of course he'll accept. It's
too mean. We'll be vacant all
winter, I suppose, and have to
listen to a long string of candidates.
. .and half of them won't be
"I hope they won't call Mr.
Baxter from East Grafton here,
anyhow," said Anne decidedly. "He
wants the call but he does preach
such gloomy sermons. Mr. Bell
says he's a minister of the old
school, but Mrs. Lynde says there's
nothing whatever the matter with
him but indigestion. His wife
isn't a very good cook, it seems,
and Mrs. Lynde says that when
a man has to eat sour bread two
weeks out of three his theology
is bound to get a kink in it
somewhere. Mrs. Allan feels very
badly about going away. She says
everybody has been so kind to
her since she came here as a
bride that she feels as if she
were leaving lifelong friends.
And then, there's the baby's
grave, you know. She says she
doesn't see how she can go away
and leave that. . .it was such
a little mite of a thing and
only three months old, and she
says she is afraid it will miss
its mother, although she knows
better and wouldn't say so to
Mr. Allan for anything. She says
she has slipped through the birch
grove back of the manse nearly
every night to the graveyard
and sung a little lullaby to
it. She told me all about it
last evening when I was up putting
some of those early wild roses
on Matthew's grave. I promised
her that as long as I was in
Avonlea I would put flowers on
the baby's grave and when I was
away I felt sure that. . ."
"That I would do it," supplied
Diana heartily. "Of course I
will. And I'll put them on Matthew's
grave too, for your sake, Anne."
"Oh, thank you. I meant to
ask you to if you would. And
on little Hester Gray's too?
Please don't forget hers. Do
you know, I've thought and dreamed
so much about little Hester Gray
that she has become strangely
real to me. I think of her, back
there in her little garden in
that cool, still, green corner;
and I have a fancy that if I
could steal back there some spring
evening, just at the magic time
'twixt light and dark, and tiptoe
so softly up the beech hill that
my footsteps could not frighten
her, I would find the garden
just as it used to be, all sweet
with June lilies and early roses,
with the tiny house beyond it
all hung with vines; and little
Hester Gray would be there, with
her soft eyes, and the wind ruffling
her dark hair, wandering about,
putting her fingertips under
the chins of the lilies and whispering
secrets with the roses; and I
would go forward, oh, so softly,
and hold out my hands and say
to her, `Little Hester Gray,
won't you let me be your playmate,
for I love the roses too?' And
we would sit down on the old
bench and talk a little and dream
a little, or just be beautifully
silent together. And then the
moon would rise and I would look
around me . . .and there would
be no Hester Gray and no little
vine-hung house, and no roses.
. .only an old waste garden starred
with June lilies amid the grasses,
and the wind sighing, oh, so
sorrowfully in the cherry trees.
And I would not know whether
it had been real or if I had
just imagined it all." Diana
crawled up and got her back against
the headboard of the bed. When
your companion of twilight hour
said such spooky things it was
just as well not to be able to
fancy there was anything behind
"I'm afraid the Improvement
Society will go down when you
and Gilbert are both gone," she
"Not a bit of fear of it," said
Anne briskly, coming back from
dreamland to the affairs of practical
life. "It is too firmly established
for that, especially since the
older people are becoming so
enthusiastic about it. Look what
they are doing this summer for
their lawns and lanes. Besides,
I'll be watching for hints at
Redmond and I'll write a paper
for it next winter and send it
over. Don't take such a gloomy
view of things, Diana. And don't
grudge me my little hour of gladness
and jubilation now. Later on,
when I have to go away, I'll
feel anything but glad."
"It's all right
for you to be glad. . .you're
going to college
and you'll have a jolly time
and make heaps of lovely new
"I hope I shall make new friends," said
Anne thoughtfully. "The possibilities
of making new friends help to
make life very fascinating. But
no matter how many friends I
make they'll never be as dear
to me as the old ones. . .especially
a certain girl with black eyes
and dimples. Can you guess who
she is, Diana?"
"But there'll be so many clever
girls at Redmond," sighed Diana, "and
I'm only a stupid little country
girl who says `I seen' sometimes.
. .though I really know better
when I stop to think. Well, of
course these past two years have
really been too pleasant to last.
I know SOMEBODY who is glad you
are going to Redmond anyhow.
Anne, I'm going to ask you a
question. . .a serious question.
Don't be vexed and do answer
seriously. Do you care anything
"Ever so much as a friend and
not a bit in the way you mean," said
Anne calmly and decidedly; she
also thought she was speaking
Diana sighed. She wished, somehow,
that Anne had answered differently.
mean EVER to be married, Anne?"
"Perhaps. . .some day. . .when
I meet the right one," said Anne,
smiling dreamily up at the moonlight.
"But how can you be sure when
you do meet the right one?" persisted
"Oh, I should
know him. . .SOMETHING would
tell me. You know what
my ideal is, Diana."
ideals change sometimes."
And I COULDN'T care for any
man who didn't fulfill
"What if you
never meet him?"
"Then I shall die an old maid," was
the cheerful response. "I daresay
it isn't the hardest death by
"Oh, I suppose the dying would
be easy enough; it's the living
an old maid I shouldn't like," said
Diana, with no intention of being
humorous. "Although I wouldn't
mind being an old maid VERY much
if I could be one like Miss Lavendar.
But I never could be. When I'm
forty-five I'll be horribly fat.
And while there might be some
romance about a thin old maid
there couldn't possibly be any
about a fat one. Oh, mind you,
Nelson Atkins proposed to Ruby
Gillis three weeks ago. Ruby
told me all about it. She says
she never had any intention of
taking him, because any one who
married him will have to go in
with the old folks; but Ruby
says that he made such a perfectly
beautiful and romantic proposal
that it simply swept her off
her feet. But she didn't want
to do anything rash so she asked
for a week to consider; and two
days later she was at a meeting
of the Sewing Circle at his mother's
and there was a book called `The
Complete Guide to Etiquette,'
lying on the parlor table. Ruby
said she simply couldn't describe
her feelings when in a section
of it headed, `The Deportment
of Courtship and Marriage,' she
found the very proposal Nelson
had made, word for word. She
went home and wrote him a perfectly
scathing refusal; and she says
his father and mother have taken
turns watching him ever since
for fear he'll drown himself
in the river; but Ruby says they
needn't be afraid; for in the
Deportment of Courtship and Marriage
it told how a rejected lover
should behave and there's nothing
about drowning in THAT. And she
says Wilbur Blair is literally
pining away for her but she's
perfectly helpless in the matter."
Anne made an impatient movement.
"I hate to
say it. . .it seems so disloyal.
. .but, well, I
don't like Ruby Gillis now. I
liked her when we went to school
and Queen's together. . .though
not so well as you and Jane of
course. But this last year at
Carmody she seems so different.
. .so. . .so. . ."
"I know," nodded Diana. "It's
the Gillis coming out in her.
. . she can't help it. Mrs. Lynde
says that if ever a Gillis girl
thought about anything but the
boys she never showed it in her
walk and conversation. She talks
about nothing but boys and what
compliments they pay her, and
how crazy they all are about
her at Carmody. And the strange
thing is, they ARE, too. . ." Diana
admitted this somewhat resentfully. "Last
night when I saw her in Mr. Blair's
store she whispered to me that
she'd just made a new `mash.'
I wouldn't ask her who it was,
because I knew she was dying
to BE asked. Well, it's what
Ruby always wanted, I suppose.
You remember even when she was
little she always said she meant
to have dozens of beaus when
she grew up and have the very
gayest time she could before
she settled down. She's so different
from Jane, isn't she? Jane is
such a nice, sensible, lady-like
"Dear old Jane is a jewel," agreed
Anne, "but," she added, leaning
forward to bestow a tender pat
on the plump, dimpled little
hand hanging over her pillow, "there's
nobody like my own Diana after
all. Do you remember that evening
we first met, Diana, and `swore'
eternal friendship in your garden?
We've kept that `oath,' I think.
. .we've never had a quarrel
nor even a coolness. I shall
never forget the thrill that
went over me the day you told
me you loved me. I had had such
a lonely, starved heart all through
my childhood. I'm just beginning
to realize how starved and lonely
it really was. Nobody cared anything
for me or wanted to be bothered
with me. I should have been miserable
if it hadn't been for that strange
little dream-life of mine, wherein
I imagined all the friends and
love I craved. But when I came
to Green Gables everything was
changed. And then I met you.
You don't know what your friendship
meant to me. I want to thank
you here and now, dear, for the
warm and true affection you've
always given me."
"And always, always will," sobbed
Diana. "I shall NEVER love anybody
. . .any GIRL. . .half as well
as I love you. And if I ever
do marry and have a little girl
of my own I'm going to name her