The last day
of school came and went. A
examination" was held and Anne's
pupils acquitted themselves splendidly.
At the close they gave her an
address and a writing desk. All
the girls and ladies present
cried, and some of the boys had
it cast up to them later on that
they cried too, although they
always denied it.
Mrs. Harmon Andrews, Mrs. Peter
Sloane, and Mrs. William Bell
walked home together and talked
"I do think it is such a pity
Anne is leaving when the children
seem so much attached to her," sighed
Mrs. Peter Sloane, who had a
habit of sighing over everything
and even finished off her jokes
that way. "To be sure," she added
hastily, "we all know we'll have
a good teacher next year too."
"Jane will do her duty, I've
no doubt," said Mrs. Andrews
rather stiffly. "I don't suppose
she'll tell the children quite
so many fairy tales or spend
so much time roaming about the
woods with them. But she has
her name on the Inspector's Roll
of Honor and the Newbridge people
are in a terrible state over
"I'm real glad Anne is going
to college," said Mrs. Bell. "She
has always wanted it and it will
be a splendid thing for her."
"Well, I don't know." Mrs.
Andrews was determined not to
agree fully with anybody that
day. "I don't see that Anne needs
any more education. She'll probably
be marrying Gilbert Blythe, if
his infatuation for her lasts
till he gets through college,
and what good will Latin and
Greek do her then? If they taught
you at college how to manage
a man there might be some sense
in her going."
Andrews, so Avonlea gossip
whispered, had never learned
how to manage her "man," and
as a result the Andrews household
was not exactly a model of domestic
"I see that the Charlottetown
call to Mr. Allan is up before
the Presbytery," said Mrs. Bell. "That
means we'll be losing him soon,
"They're not going before September," said
Mrs. Sloane. "It will be a great
loss to the community. . .though
I always did think that Mrs.
Allan dressed rather too gay
for a minister's wife. But we
are none of us perfect. Did you
notice how neat and snug Mr.
Harrison looked today? I never
saw such a changed man. He goes
to church every Sunday and has
subscribed to the salary."
"Hasn't that Paul Irving grown
to be a big boy?" said Mrs. Andrews. "He
was such a mite for his age when
he came here. I declare I hardly
knew him today. He's getting
to look a lot like his father."
"He's a smart boy," said
"He's smart enough, but". .
.Mrs. Andrews lowered her voice.
. ."I believe he tells queer
stories. Gracie came home from
school one day last week with
the greatest rigmarole he had
told her about people who lived
down at the shore. . .stories
there couldn't be a word of truth
in, you know. I told Gracie not
to believe them, and she said
Paul didn't intend her to. But
if he didn't what did he tell
them to her for?"
"Anne says Paul is a genius," said
"He may be. You never know
what to expect of them Americans," said
Mrs. Andrews. Mrs. Andrews' only
acquaintance with the word "genius" was
derived from the colloquial fashion
of calling any eccentric individual "a
queer genius." She probably thought,
with Mary Joe, that it meant
a person with something wrong
in his upper story.
Back in the
schoolroom Anne was sitting
alone at her desk,
as she had sat on the first day
of school two years before, her
face leaning on her hand, her
dewy eyes looking wistfully out
of the window to the Lake of
Shining Waters. Her heart was
so wrung over the parting with
her pupils that for a moment
college had lost all its charm.
She still felt the clasp of Annetta
Bell's arms about her neck and
heard the childish wail, "I'll
NEVER love any teacher as much
as you, Miss Shirley, never,
For two years
she had worked earnestly and
many mistakes and learning from
them. She had had her reward.
She had taught her scholars something,
but she felt that they had taught
her much more. . .lessons of
tenderness, self-control, innocent
wisdom, lore of childish hearts.
Perhaps she had not succeeded
in "inspiring" any wonderful
ambitions in her pupils, but
she had taught them, more by
her own sweet personality than
by all her careful precepts,
that it was good and necessary
in the years that were before
them to live their lives finely
and graciously, holding fast
to truth and courtesy and kindness,
keeping aloof from all that savored
of falsehood and meanness and
vulgarity. They were, perhaps,
all unconscious of having learned
such lessons; but they would
remember and practice them long
after they had forgotten the
capital of Afghanistan and the
dates of the Wars of the Roses.
"Another chapter in my life
is closed," said Anne aloud,
as she locked her desk. She really
felt very sad over it; but the
romance in the idea of that "closed
chapter" did comfort her a little.
Anne spent a fortnight at Echo
Lodge early in her vacation and
everybody concerned had a good
She took Miss Lavendar on a
shopping expedition to town and
persuaded her to buy a new organdy
dress; then came the excitement
of cutting and making it together,
while the happy Charlotta the
Fourth basted and swept up clippings.
Miss Lavendar had complained
that she could not feel much
interest in anything, but the
sparkle came back to her eyes
over her pretty dress.
"What a foolish, frivolous
person I must be," she sighed. "I'm
wholesomely ashamed to think
that a new dress. . . even it
is a forget-me-not organdy. .
.should exhilarate me so, when
a good conscience and an extra
contribution to Foreign Missions
couldn't do it."
Midway in her visit Anne went
home to Green Gables for a day
to mend the twins' stockings
and settle up Davy's accumulated
store of questions. In the evening
she went down to the shore road
to see Paul Irving. As she passed
by the low, square window of
the Irving sitting room she caught
a glimpse of Paul on somebody's
lap; but the next moment he came
flying through the hall.
"Oh, Miss Shirley," he cried
excitedly, "you can't think what
has happened! Something so splendid.
Father is here. . . just think
of that! Father is here! Come
right in. Father, this is my
beautiful teacher. YOU know,
Stephen Irving came forward
to meet Anne with a smile. He
was a tall, handsome man of middle
age, with iron-gray hair, deep-set,
dark blue eyes, and a strong,
sad face, splendidly modeled
about chin and brow. Just the
face for a hero of romance, Anne
thought with a thrill of intense
satisfaction. It was so disappointing
to meet someone who ought to
be a hero and find him bald or
stooped, or otherwise lacking
in manly beauty. Anne would have
thought it dreadful if the object
of Miss Lavendar's romance had
not looked the part.
"So this is my little son's
`beautiful teacher,' of whom
I have heard so much," said Mr.
Irving with a hearty handshake. "Paul's
letters have been so full of
you, Miss Shirley, that I feel
as if I were pretty well acquainted
with you already. I want to thank
you for what you have done for
Paul. I think that your influence
has been just what he needed.
Mother is one of the best and
dearest of women; but her robust,
matter-of-fact Scotch common
sense could not always understand
a temperament like my laddie's.
What was lacking in her you have
supplied. Between you, I think
Paul's training in these two
past years has been as nearly
ideal as a motherless boy's could
to be appreciated. Under Mr.
Irving's praise Anne's
face "burst flower like into
rosy bloom," and the busy, weary
man of the world, looking at
her, thought he had never seen
a fairer, sweeter slip of girlhood
than this little "down east" schoolteacher
with her red hair and wonderful
Paul sat between them blissfully
"I never dreamed father was
coming," he said radiantly. "Even
Grandma didn't know it. It was
a great surprise. As a general
thing. . ." Paul shook his brown
curls gravely. . ."I don't like
to be surprised. You lose all
the fun of expecting things when
you're surprised. But in a case
like this it is all right. Father
came last night after I had gone
to bed. And after Grandma and
Mary Joe had stopped being surprised
he and Grandma came upstairs
to look at me, not meaning to
wake me up till morning. But
I woke right up and saw father.
I tell you I just sprang at him."
"With a hug like a bear's," said
Mr. Irving, putting his arms
around Paul's shoulder smilingly. "I
hardly knew my boy, he had grown
so big and brown and sturdy."
"I don't know which was the
most pleased to see father, Grandma
or I," continued Paul. "Grandma's
been in kitchen all day making
the things father likes to eat.
She wouldn't trust them to Mary
Joe, she says. That's HER way
of showing gladness. _I_ like
best just to sit and talk to
father. But I'm going to leave
you for a little while now if
you'll excuse me. I must get
the cows for Mary Joe. That is
one of my daily duties."
When Paul had
scampered away to do his "daily duty" Mr.
Irving talked to Anne of various
But Anne felt that he was thinking
of something else underneath
all the time. Presently it came
to the surface.
last letter he spoke of going
with you to visit an
old. . . friend of mine. . .Miss
Lewis at the stone house in Grafton.
Do you know her well?"
"Yes, indeed, she is a very
dear friend of mine," was Anne's
demure reply, which gave no hint
of the sudden thrill that tingled
over her from head to foot at
Mr. Irving's question. Anne "felt
instinctively" that romance was
peeping at her around a corner.
Mr. Irving rose and went to
the window, looking out on a
great, golden, billowing sea
where a wild wind was harping.
For a few moments there was silence
in the little dark-walled room.
Then he turned and looked down
into Anne's sympathetic face
with a smile, half-whimsical,
"I wonder how much you know," he
"I know all about it," replied
Anne promptly. "You see," she
explained hastily, "Miss Lavendar
and I are very intimate. She
wouldn't tell things of such
a sacred nature to everybody.
We are kindred spirits."
"Yes, I believe
you are. Well, I am going to
ask a favor of
you. I would like to go and see
Miss Lavendar if she will let
me. Will you ask her if I may
Would she not? Oh, indeed she
would! Yes, this was romance,
the very, the real thing, with
all the charm of rhyme and story
and dream. It was a little belated,
perhaps, like a rose blooming
in October which should have
bloomed in June; but none the
less a rose, all sweetness and
fragrance, with the gleam of
gold in its heart. Never did
Anne's feet bear her on a more
willing errand than on that walk
through the beechwoods to Grafton
the next morning. She found Miss
Lavendar in the garden. Anne
was fearfully excited. Her hands
grew cold and her voice trembled.
I have something to tell you.
. .something very
important. Can you guess what
Anne never supposed that Miss
Lavendar could GUESS; but Miss
Lavendar's face grew very pale
and Miss Lavendar said in a quiet,
still voice, from which all the
color and sparkle that Miss Lavendar's
voice usually suggested had faded.
"How did you know? Who told
you?" cried Anne disappointedly,
vexed that her great revelation
had been anticipated.
knew that must be it, just
from the way you spoke."
"He wants to come and see you," said
Anne. "May I send him word that
"Yes, of course," fluttered
Miss Lavendar. "There is no reason
why he shouldn't. He is only
coming as any old friend might."
Anne had her own opinion about
that as she hastened into the
house to write a note at Miss
"Oh, it's delightful to be
living in a storybook," she thought
gaily. "It will come out all
right of course. . .it must.
. .and Paul will have a mother
after his own heart and everybody
will be happy. But Mr. Irving
will take Miss Lavendar away.
. .and dear knows what will happen
to the little stone house. .
.and so there are two sides to
it, as there seems to be to everything
in this world." The important
note was written and Anne herself
carried it to the Grafton post
office, where she waylaid the
mail carrier and asked him to
leave it at the Avonlea office.
"It's so very important," Anne
assured him anxiously. The mail
carrier was a rather grumpy old
personage who did not at all
look the part of a messenger
of Cupid; and Anne was none too
certain that his memory was to
be trusted. But he said he would
do his best to remember and she
had to be contented with that.
Charlotta the Fourth felt that
some mystery pervaded the stone
house that afternoon. . .a mystery
from which she was excluded.
Miss Lavendar roamed about the
garden in a distracted fashion.
Anne, too, seemed possessed by
a demon of unrest, and walked
to and fro and went up and down.
Charlotta the Fourth endured
it till atience ceased to be
a virtue; then she confronted
Anne on the occasion of that
romantic young person's third
aimless peregrination through
"Please, Miss Shirley, ma'am," said
Charlotta the Fourth, with an
indignant toss of her very blue
bows, "it's plain to be seen
you and Miss Lavendar have got
a secret and I think, begging
your pardon if I'm too forward,
Miss Shirley, ma'am, that it's
real mean not to tell me when
we've all been such chums."
dear, I'd have told you all
about it if it were
my secret. . .but it's Miss Lavendar's,
you see. However, I'll tell you
this much. . .and if nothing
comes of it you must never breathe
a word about it to a living soul.
You see, Prince Charming is coming
tonight. He came long ago, but
in a foolish moment went away
and wandered afar and forgot
the secret of the magic pathway
to the enchanted castle, where
the princess was weeping her
faithful heart out for him. But
at last he remembered it again
and the princess is waiting still.
. .because nobody but her own
dear prince could carry her off."
"Oh, Miss Shirley, ma'am, what
is that in prose?" gasped the
an old friend of Miss Lavendar's
is coming to
see her tonight."
"Do you mean an old beau of
hers?" demanded the literal Charlotta.
"That is probably what I do
mean. . .in prose," answered
Anne gravely. "It is Paul's father.
. .Stephen Irving. And goodness
knows what will come of it, but
let us hope for the best, Charlotta."
"I hope that he'll marry Miss
Lavendar," was Charlotta's unequivocal
response. "Some women's intended
from the start to be old maids,
and I'm afraid I'm one of them,
Miss Shirley, ma'am, because
I've awful little patience with
the men. But Miss Lavendar never
was. And I've been awful worried,
thinking what on earth she'd
do when I got so big I'd HAVE
to go to Boston. There ain't
any more girls in our family
and dear knows what she'd do
if she got some stranger that
might laugh at her pretendings
and leave things lying round
out of their place and not be
willing to be called Charlotta
the Fifth. She might get someone
who wouldn't be as unlucky as
me in breaking dishes but she'd
never get anyone who'd love her
And the faithful little handmaiden
dashed to the oven door with
They went through the form
of having tea as usual that night
at Echo Lodge; but nobody really
ate anything. After tea Miss
Lavendar went to her room and
put on her new forget-me-not
organdy, while Anne did her hair
for her. Both were dreadfully
excited; but Miss Lavendar pretended
to be very calm and indifferent.
"I must really mend that rent
in the curtain tomorrow," she
said anxiously, inspecting it
as if it were the only thing
of any importance just then. "Those
curtains have not worn as well
as they should, considering the
price I paid. Dear me, Charlotta
has forgotten to dust the stair
railing AGAIN. I really MUST
speak to her about it."
Anne was sitting on the porch
steps when Stephen Irving came
down the lane and across the
"This is the one place where
time stands still," he said,
looking around him with delighted
eyes. "There is nothing changed
about this house or garden since
I was here twenty-five years
ago. It makes me feel young again."
"You know time always does
stand still in an enchanted palace," said
Anne seriously. "It is only when
the prince comes that things
begin to happen."
Mr. Irving smiled a little
sadly into her uplifted face,
all astar with its youth and
"Sometimes the prince comes
too late," he said. He did not
ask Anne to translate her remark
into prose. Like all kindred
spirits he "understood."
"Oh, no, not if he is the real
prince coming to the true princess," said
Anne, shaking her red head decidedly,
as she opened the parlor door.
When he had gone in she shut
it tightly behind him and turned
to confront Charlotta the Fourth,
who was in the hall, all "nods
and becks and wreathed smiles."
"Oh, Miss Shirley, ma'am," she
breathed, "I peeked from the
kitchen window. . .and he's awful
handsome. . .and just the right
age for Miss Lavendar. And oh,
Miss Shirley, ma'am, do you think
it would be much harm to listen
at the door?"
"It would be dreadful, Charlotta," said
Anne firmly, "so just you come
away with me out of the reach
"I can't do anything, and it's
awful to hang round just waiting," sighed
Charlotta. "What if he don't
propose after all, Miss Shirley,
ma'am? You can never be sure
of them men. My older sister,
Charlotta the First, thought
she was engaged to one once.
But it turned out HE had a different
opinion and she says she'll never
trust one of them again. And
I heard of another case where
a man thought he wanted one girl
awful bad when it was really
her sister he wanted all the
time. When a man don't know his
own mind, Miss Shirley, ma'am,
how's a poor woman going to be
sure of it?"
"We'll go to the kitchen and
clean the silver spoons," said
Anne. "That's a task which won't
require much thinking fortunately.
. . for I COULDN'T think tonight.
And it will pass the time."
It passed an hour. Then, just
as Anne laid down the last shining
spoon, they heard the front door
shut. Both sought comfort fearfully
in each other's eyes.
"Oh, Miss Shirley, ma'am," gasped
Charlotta, "if he's going away
this early there's nothing into
it and never will be." They flew
to the window. Mr. Irving had
no intention of going away. He
and Miss Lavendar were strolling
slowly down the middle path to
the stone bench.
"Oh, Miss Shirley, ma'am, he's
got his arm around her waist," whispered
Charlotta the Fourth delightedly. "He
must have proposed to her or
she'd never allow it."
Anne caught Charlotta the Fourth
by her own plump waist and danced
her around the kitchen until
they were both out of breath.
"Oh, Charlotta," she cried
gaily, "I'm neither a prophetess
nor the daughter of a prophetess
but I'm going to make a prediction.
There'll be a wedding in this
old stone house before the maple
leaves are red. Do you want that
translated into prose, Charlotta?"
"No, I can understand that," said
Charlotta. "A wedding ain't poetry.
Why, Miss Shirley, ma'am, you're
crying! What for?"
"Oh, because it's all so beautiful.
. .and story bookish. . .and
romantic. . .and sad," said Anne,
winking the tears out of her
eyes. "It's all perfectly lovely.
. .but there's a little sadness
mixed up in it too, somehow."
"Oh, of course there's a resk
in marrying anybody," conceded
Charlotta the Fourth, "but, when
all's said and done, Miss Shirley,
ma'am, there's many a worse thing
than a husband."