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Rainbow Valley (Anne of Green Gables #7). Cover Image. This book is a member of the special PDF (tablet), nferosexmaufu.tk HTML Zip, nferosexmaufu.tk Anne Shirley is grown up, has married her beloved Gilbert and now is the mother of six mischievous children. These boys and girls discover a special place all. Free download of Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Available in PDF, ePub and Kindle. Read, write reviews and more.
Anne was sitting on the steps, her hands clasped over her knee, looking, in the kind dusk, as girlish as a mother of many has any right to be; and the beautiful gray-green eyes, gazing down the harbour road, were as full of unquenchable sparkle and dream as ever.
Behind her, in the hammock, Rilla Blythe was curled up, a fat, roly-poly little creature of six years, the youngest of the Ingleside children. She had curly red hair and hazel eyes that were now buttoned up after the funny, wrinkled fashion in which Rilla always went to sleep. Shirley, "the little brown boy," as he was known in the family "Who's Who," was asleep in Susan's arms.
He was brown-haired, brown-eyed and brown-skinned, with very rosy cheeks, and he was Susan's especial love. After his birth Anne had been very ill for a long time, and Susan "mothered" the baby with a passionate tenderness which none of the other children, dear as they were to her, had ever called out. Blythe had said that but for her he would never have lived. Susan had conscientiously spanked all the other Blythe children when she thought they needed it for their souls' good, but she would not spank Shirley nor allow his mother to do it.
Once, Dr. Blythe had spanked him and Susan had been stormily indignant. She had taken Shirley with her to her brother's home during his parents' absence, while all the other children had gone to Avonlea, and she had three blessed months of him all to herself.
Nevertheless, Susan was very glad to find herself back at Ingleside, with all her darlings around her again. Ingleside was her world and in it she reigned supreme. Even Anne seldom questioned her decisions, much to the disgust of Mrs. Rachel Lynde of Green Gables, who gloomily told Anne, whenever she visited Four Winds, that she was letting Susan get to be entirely too much of a boss and would live to rue it. Mary gossip, Susan. I hope Miss Cornelia can tell me everything that has happened while we've been away—everything—who has got born, or married, or drunk; who has died, or gone away, or come, or fought, or lost a cow, or found a beau.
It's so delightful to be home again with all the dear Glen folks, and I want to know all about them. Why, I remember wondering, as I walked through Westminster Abbey which of her two especial beaux Millicent Drew would finally marry. Do you know, Susan, I have a dreadful suspicion that I love gossip. I am rather interested in Millicent Drew's case myself. I never had a beau, much less two, and I do not mind now, for being an old maid does not hurt when you get used to it.
Millicent's hair always looks to me as if she had swept it up with a broom. But the men do not seem to mind that. The Good Book says that favour is deceitful and beauty is vain, but I should not have minded finding that out for myself, if it had been so ordained. I have no doubt we will all be beautiful when we are angels, but what good will it do us then? Speaking of gossip, however, they do say that poor Mrs. Harrison Miller over harbour tried to hang herself last week.
She did not succeed. But I really do not blame her for trying, for her husband is a terrible man. But she was very foolish to think of hanging herself and leaving the way clear for him to marry some other woman. If I had been in her shoes, Mrs. Not that I hold with people hanging themselves under any circumstances, Mrs. It seems they cannot make out which it is in Harrison's case. There are days when he growls at everybody because he thinks he is fore-ordained to eternal punishment.
And then there are days when he says he does not care and goes and gets drunk. My own opinion is that he is not sound in his intellect, for none of that branch of the Millers were.
His grandfather went out of his mind. He thought he was surrounded by big black spiders. They crawled over him and floated in the air about him. I hope I shall never go insane, Mrs. But, if an all-wise Providence should decree it, I hope it will not take the form of big black spiders, for I loathe the animals. As for Mrs. Miller, I do not know whether she really deserves pity or not. There are some who say she just married Harrison to spite Richard Taylor, which seems to me a very peculiar reason for getting married.
But then, of course, I am no judge of things matriomonial, Mrs. And there is Cornelia Bryant at the gate, so I will put this blessed brown baby on his bed and get my knitting.
They love it above every spot on earth. Even the maple grove doesn't rival it in their affections. Marilla does spoil them terribly. Jem, in particular, can do no wrong in her eyes. Miss Cornelia held that the woman whose hands were employed always had the advantage over the woman whose hands were not. But, strange to say, her eyesight is better than it was when she was sixty. I've been dreadful lonesome.
But we haven't been dull in the Glen, believe me.
There hasn't been such an exciting spring in my time, as far as church matters go. We've got settled with a minister at last, Anne dearie. Miss Cornelia sighed and Susan groaned. But, oh Anne dearie, he has no common sense! Mary church," said Miss Cornelia, veering a tack or two. His trial sermon was simply wonderful, believe me. Every one went mad about it—and his looks. And Mr. Meredith was the first candidate we were all agreed on. Somebody had some objection to all the others.
There was some talk of calling Mr. He was a good preacher, too, but somehow people didn't care for his appearance. He was too dark and sleek. Rogers came and he was like a chip in porridge—neither harm nor good," resumed Miss Cornelia.
Everybody laughed, and poor Rogers had no chance after that. Some thought we ought to call Mr. Stewart, because he was so well educated. He could read the New Testament in five languages.
Arnett couldn't preach at all. And he picked about the worst candidating text there is in the Bible—'Curse ye Meroz. Pierson would have got the call if he had picked a different text.
But when he announced 'I will lift my eyes to the hills' he was done for. Every one grinned, for every one knew that those two Hill girls from the Harbour Head have been setting their caps for every single minister who came to the Glen for the last fifteen years.
Newman had too large a family. But I do not know why, Mrs. Though I wouldn't say, Anne dearie, that they are so bad, either. I like them—everybody likes them. It's impossible to help liking them. They would be real nice little souls if there was anyone to look after their manners and teach them what is right and proper. For instance, at school the teacher says they are model children. But at home they simply run wild. That is just the trouble. Meredith is a widower. His wife died four years ago.
If we had known that I don't suppose we would have called him, for a widower is even worse in a congregation than a single man. But he was heard to speak of his children and we all supposed there was a mother, too. And when they came there was nobody but old Aunt Martha, as they call her.
She's a cousin of Mr. Meredith's mother, I believe, and he took her in to save her from the poorhouse. She is seventy-five years old, half blind, and very deaf and very cranky. Meredith won't get any other housekeeper because he says it would hurt Aunt Martha's feelings. Anne dearie, believe me, the state of that manse is something terrible. Everything is thick with dust and nothing is ever in its place.
And we had painted and papered it all so nice before they came. They run up just like the steps of a stair. Gerald's the oldest. He's twelve and they call him Jerry. He's a clever boy. Faith is eleven. She is a regular tomboy but pretty as a picture, I must say.
James Millison was there, too. She had brought them up a dozen eggs and a little pail of milk—a very little pail, Mrs. Faith took them and whisked down the cellar with them. Near the bottom of the stairs she caught her toe and fell the rest of the way, milk and eggs and all. You can imagine the result, Mrs. But that child came up laughing. And Mrs. James Millison was very angry. She said she would never take another thing to the manse if it was to be wasted and destroyed in that fashion.
But poor Faith is always getting into scrapes. She is so heedless and impulsive. I'm going to like your Faith," said Anne decidedly. She can't even keep a straight face in church.
Una is ten—she's a sweet little thing—not pretty, but sweet. And Thomas Carlyle is nine. They call him Carl, and he has a regular mania for collecting toads and bugs and frogs and bringing them into the house. Grant called. It gave her a turn," said Susan, "and I do not wonder, for manse parlours are no places for dead rats. To be sure it may have been the cat who left it, there.
He is as full of the old Nick as he can be stuffed, Mrs. A manse cat should at least look respectable, in my opinion, whatever he really is. But I never saw such a rakish-looking beast. And he walks along the ridgepole of the manse almost every evening at sunset, Mrs. Now, you know Anne dearie, that isn't the right thing for manse children—especially when the Methodist minister's little girl always wears such nice buttoned boots.
And I do wish they wouldn't play in the old Methodist graveyard. And no other manse children ever thought of playing there. Meredith shouldn't allow it. But he has always got his nose buried in a book, when he is home. He reads and reads, or walks about in his study in a day-dream. So far he hasn't forgotten to be in church on Sundays, but twice he has forgotten about the prayer-meeting and one of the elders had to go over to the manse and remind him.
And he forgot about Fanny Cooper's wedding. They rang him up on the 'phone and then he rushed right over, just as he was, carpet slippers and all. One wouldn't mind if the Methodists didn't laugh so about it. But there's one comfort—they can't criticize his sermons. He wakes up when he's in the pulpit, believe me. And the Methodist minister can't preach at all—so they tell me. I have never heard him, thank goodness. Susan smiled slyly.
Marshall Elliott, that the Methodists and Presbyterians are talking of uniting," she said. Meredith will find that he'd better steer clear of them, too. He is entirely too sociable with them, believe me. Why, he went to the Jacob Drews' silver-wedding supper and got into a nice scrape as a result.
Drew asked him to carve the roast goose—for Jacob Drew never did or could carve. Well, Mr. Meredith tackled it, and in the process he knocked it clean off the platter into Mrs.
Reese's lap, who was sitting next him. And he just said dreamily. Reese, will you kindly return me that goose? Reese 'returned' it, as meek as Moses, but she must have been furious, for she had on her new silk dress. The worst of it is, she was a Methodist.
Reese is not liked in her own church, because she gives herself such great airs, so that the Methodists would be rather pleased that Mr. Meredith spoiled her dress. Drew from using up her tough old gander for the wedding-feast," said Susan stubbornly. But then, of course, I have had no experience along that line," said Susan, tossing her head.
Drew is mean enough herself. They say that the only thing she was ever known to give away was a crock of butter made out of cream a rat had fell into.
She contributed it to a church social. Nobody found out about the rat until afterwards. Poor Jerry meant to be sympathetic, but Mr. Marsh thought he was impertinent and is furious at him. Of course, Jerry had no business to be in a Methodist prayer-meeting at all. But they go where they like. Alec Davis of the Harbour Head," said Susan. I have heard that she says the Merediths are the worst brought up children she ever saw. Anyway, we've got them now and we must just do the best we can by them and stick up for them to the Methodists.
Well, I suppose I must be getting down harbour. Marshall will soon be home—he went over-harbour to-day—and wanting his super, man-like. I'm sorry I haven't seen the other children. And where's the doctor? We've only been home three days and in that time he has spent three hours in his own bed and eaten two meals in his own house. When that over-harbour doctor married the undertaker's daughter at Lowbridge people felt suspicious of him. It didn't look well. You and the doctor must come down soon and tell us all about your trip.
I suppose you've had a splendid time. The old world is very lovely and very wonderful. But we have come back very well satisfied with our own land. Canada is the finest country in the world, Miss Cornelia.
She waved her hand at it. Must you go? The children will be sorry to have missed you. Tell them the doughnut jar is always full. They'll go soon; but they must settle down to school again now. And the twins are going to take music lessons.
I was up last evening to arrange it with her. What a pretty girl she is! She isn't as young as she once was. I've never had any real acquaintance with her, you know. Their house is so out of the way, and I've seldom ever seen her except at church. She has tyrannized over her, and yet she has always indulged her in a good many ways. Rosemary was engaged once, you know—to young Martin Crawford.
His ship was wrecked on the Magdalens and all the crew were drowned. Rosemary was just a child—only seventeen. But she was never the same afterwards. She and Ellen have stayed very close at home since their mother's death. They don't often get to their own church at Lowbridge and I understand Ellen doesn't approve of going too often to a Presbyterian church.
To the Methodist she never goes, I'll say that much for her. That family of Wests have always been strong Episcopalians. Rosemary and Ellen are pretty well off.
Rosemary doesn't really need to give music lessons. She does it because she likes to. They are distantly related to Leslie, you know. Are the Fords coming to the harbour this summer? They are going on a trip to Japan and will probably be away for a year. Owen's new novel is to have a Japanese setting. This will be the first summer that the dear old House of Dreams will be empty since we left it. And he collected it all over the world. But Owen's books are all delightful, I think.
I make it a point to read every one he writes, though I've always held, Anne dearie, that reading novels is a sinful waste of time. I shall write and tell him my opinion of this Japanese business, believe me. Does he want Kenneth and Persis to be converted into pagans? Susan proceeded to put Rilla in bed and Anne sat on the veranda steps under the early stars and dreamed her incorrigible dreams and learned all over again for the hundredth happy time what a moonrise spendour and sheen could be on Four Winds Harbour.
Mary pond; but for evening revels there was no place like the little valley behind the maple grove. It was a fairy realm of romance to them. Once, looking from the attic windows of Ingleside, through the mist and aftermath of a summer thunderstorm, they had seen the beloved spot arched by a glorious rainbow, one end of which seemed to dip straight down to where a corner of the pond ran up into the lower end of the valley.
Outside of Rainbow Valley the wind might be rollicking and boisterous. Here it always went gently. Little, winding, fairy paths ran here and there over spruce roots cushioned with moss. Wild cherry trees, that in blossom time would be misty white, were scattered all over the valley, mingling with the dark spruces. A little brook with amber waters ran through it from the Glen village. The houses of the village were comfortably far away; only at the upper end of the valley was a little tumble-down, deserted cottage, referred to as "the old Bailey house.
For the rest, the garden was overgrown with caraway that swayed and foamed in the moonshine of summer eves like seas of silver. To the sought lay the pond and beyond it the ripened distance lost itself in purple woods, save where, on a high hill, a solitary old gray homestead looked down on glen and harbour.
There was a certain wild woodsiness and solitude about Rainbow Valley, in spite of its nearness to the village, which endeared it to the children of Ingleside.
The valley was full of dear, friendly hollows and the largest of these was their favourite stamping ground. Here they were assembled on this particular evening. There was a grove of young spruces in this hollow, with a tiny, grassy glade in its heart, opening on the bank of the brook.
By the brook grew a silver birch-tree, a young, incredibly straight thing which Walter had named the "White Lady. Jem had hung an old string of sleigh-bells, given him by the Glen blacksmith, on the Tree Lovers, and every visitant breeze called out sudden fairy tinkles from it. A visit to Green Gables was always considered a great treat. Aunt Marilla was very good to them, and so was Mrs.
Rachel Lynde, who was spending the leisure of her old age in knitting cotton-warp quilts against the day when Anne's daughters should need a "setting-out.
They knew all the spots their mother had loved so well in her girlhood at old Green Gables—the long Lover's Lane, that was pink-hedged in wild-rose time, the always neat yard, with its willows and poplars, the Dryad's Bubble, lucent and lovely as of yore, the Lake of Shining Waters, and Willowmere. The twins had their mother's old porch-gable room, and Aunt Marilla used to come in at night, when she thought they were asleep, to gloat over them.
But they all knew she loved Jem the best. Jem was at present busily occupied in frying a mess of small trout which he had just caught in the pond. His stove consisted of a circle of red stones, with a fire kindled in it, and his culinary utensils were an old tin can, hammered out flat, and a fork with only one tine left.
Nevertheless, ripping good meals had before now been thus prepared. Jem was the child of the House of Dreams.
All the others had been born at Ingleside. He had curly red hair, like his mother's, and frank hazel eyes, like his father's; he had his mother's fine nose and his father's steady, humorous mouth. And he was the only one of the family who had ears nice enough to please Susan.
But he had a standing feud with Susan because she would not give up calling him Little Jem. It was outrageous, thought thirteen-year-old Jem. Mother had more sense. He was and always had been a sturdy, reliable little chap.
He never broke a promise. He was not a great talker. His teachers did not think him brilliant, but he was a good, all-round student. He never took things on faith; he always liked to investigate the truth of a statement for himself.
Once Susan had told him that if he touched his tongue to a frosty latch all the skin would tear off it. Jem had promptly done it, "just to see if it was so. But Jem did not grudge suffering in the interests of science. By constant experiment and observation he learned a great deal and his brothers and sisters thought his extensive knowledge of their little world quite wonderful. Jem always knew where the first and ripest berries grew, where the first pale violets shyly wakened from their winter's sleep, and how many blue eggs were in a given robin's nest in the maple grove.
He could tell fortunes from daisy petals and suck honey from red clovers, and grub up all sorts of edible roots on the banks of the pond, while Susan went in daily fear that they would all be poisoned. He knew where the finest spruce-gum was to be found, in pale amber knots on the lichened bark, he knew where the nuts grew thickest in the beechwoods around the Harbour Head, and where the best trouting places up the brooks were.
He could mimic the call of any wild bird or beast in Four Winds and he knew the haunt of every wild flower from spring to autumn. Walter Blythe was sitting under the White Lady, with a volume of poems lying beside him, but he was not reading. He was gazing now at the emerald-misted willows by the pond, and now at a flock of clouds, like little silver sheep, herded by the wind, that were drifting over Rainbow Valley, with rapture in his wide splendid eyes.
Walter's eyes were very wonderful. All the joy and sorrow and laughter and loyalty and aspiration of many generations lying under the sod looked out of their dark gray depths. Walter was a "hop out of kin," as far as looks went. He did not resemble any known relative. He was quite the handsomest of the Ingleside children, with straight black hair and finely modelled features.
But he had all his mother's vivid imagination and passionate love of beauty. Frost of winter, invitation of spring, dream of summer and glamour of autumn, all meant much to Walter. In school, where Jem was a chieftain, Walter was not thought highly of.
He was supposed to be "girly" and milk-soppish, because he never fought and seldom joined in the school sports, preferring to herd by himself in out of the way corners and read books—especially "po'try books.
Their music was woven into his growing soul—the music of the immortals. Walter cherished the ambition to be a poet himself some day.
The thing could be done. A certain Uncle Paul—so called out of courtesy—who lived now in that mysterious realm called "the States," was Walter's model. Uncle Paul had once been a little school boy in Avonlea and now his poetry was read everywhere. But the Glen schoolboys did not know of Walter's dreams and would not have been greatly impressed if they had. In spite of his lack of physical prowess, however, he commanded a certain unwilling respect because of his power of "talking book talk.
Mary school could talk like him. He "sounded like a preacher," one boy said; and for this reason he was generally left alone and not persecuted, as most boys were who were suspected of disliking or fearing fisticuffs.
The ten year old Ingleside twins violated twin tradition by not looking in the least alike. Anne, who was always called Nan, was very pretty, with velvety nut-brown eyes and silky nut-brown hair. She was a very blithe and dainty little maiden—Blythe by name and blithe by nature, one of her teachers had said. Her complexion was quite faultless, much to her mother's satisfaction.
Blythe was wont to say jubilantly. Diana Blythe, known as Di, was very like her mother, with gray-green eyes that always shone with a peculiar lustre and brilliancy in the dusk, and red hair. Perhaps this was why she was her father's favourite. She and Walter were especial chums; Di was the only one to whom he would ever read the verses he wrote himself—the only one who knew that he was secretly hard at work on an epic, strikingly resembling "Marmion" in some things, if not in others.
She kept all his secrets, even from Nan, and told him all hers. Walter, wake up. Not that he despised fried trout either, by any means; but with Walter food for the soul always took first place. I can see his blue wings on that hill by the woods. They are a pale misty blue, just like the haze in the valley. Oh, how I wish I could fly. It must be glorious. It's delightful—and I always think, 'This isn't a dream like it's always been before.
This is real'—and then I wake up after all, and it's heart-breaking. Nan had produced the banquet-board—a board literally as well as figuratively—from which many a feast, seasoned as no viands were elsewhere, had been eaten in Rainbow Valley. It was converted into a table by propping it on two large, mossy stones. Newspapers served as tablecloth, and broken plates and handleless cups from Susan's discard furnished the dishes.
From a tin box secreted at the root of a spruce tree Nan brought forth bread and salt. The brook gave Adam's ale of unsurpassed crystal. For the rest, there was a certain sauce, compounded of fresh air and appetite of youth, which gave to everything a divine flavour. To sit in Rainbow Valley, steeped in a twilight half gold, half amethyst, rife with the odours of balsam-fir and woodsy growing things in their springtime prime, with the pale stars of wild strawberry blossoms all around you, and with the sough of the wind and tinkle of bells in the shaking tree tops, and eat fried trout and dry bread, was something which the mighty of earth might have envied them.
He likes saying grace. And cut it short, too, Walt. I'm starving. An interruption occurred. John Knox Meredith might be, and was, a very absent-minded, indulgent man.
But it could not be denied that there was something very homelike and lovable about the Glen St.
Mary manse in spite of its untidiness. Even the critical housewives of the Glen felt it, and were unconsciously mellowed in judgement because of it. Perhaps its charm was in part due to accidental circumstances—the luxuriant vines clustering over its gray, clap-boarded walls, the friendly acacias and balm-of-gileads that crowded about it with the freedom of old acquaintance, and the beautiful views of harbour and sand-dunes from its front windows.
But these things had been there in the reign of Mr. Meredith's predecessor, when the manse had been the primmest, neatest, and dreariest house in the Glen. So much of the credit must be given to the personality of its new inmates. There was an atmosphere of laughter and comradeship about it; the doors were always open; and inner and outer worlds joined hands. Love was the only law in Glen St. Mary manse. The people of his congregation said that Mr.
Meredith spoiled his children. Very likely he did. It is certain that he could not bear to scold them. But he did not know the half of their goings-on. He belonged to the sect of dreamers. The windows of his study looked out on the graveyard but, as he paced up and down the room, reflecting deeply on the immortality of the soul, he was quite unaware that Jerry and Carl were playing leap-frog hilariously over the flat stones in that abode of dead Methodists.
Meredith had occasional acute realizations that his children were not so well looked after, physically or morally, as they had been before his wife died, and he had always a dim sub-consciousness that house and meals were very different under Aunt Martha's management from what they had been under Cecilia's.
For the rest, he lived in a world of books and abstractions; and, therefore, although his clothes were seldom brushed, and although the Glen housewives concluded, from the ivory-like pallor of his clear-cut features and slender hands, that he never got enough to eat, he was not an unhappy man.
If ever a graveyard could be called a cheerful place, the old Methodist graveyard at Glen St. Mary might be so called. The new graveyard, at the other side of the Methodist church, was a neat and proper and doleful spot; but the old one had been left so long to Nature's kindly and gracious ministries that it had become very pleasant. It was surrounded on three sides by a dyke of stones and sod, topped by a gray and uncertain paling.
Outside the dyke grew a row of tall fir trees with thick, balsamic boughs. The dyke, which had been built by the first settlers of the Glen, was old enough to be beautiful, with mosses and green things growing out of its crevices, violets purpling at its base in the early spring days, and asters and golden-rod making an autumnal glory in its corners.
Little ferns clustered companionably between its stones, and here and there a big bracken grew.
On the eastern side there was neither fence nor dyke. The graveyard there straggled off into a young fir plantation, ever pushing nearer to the graves and deepening eastward into a thick wood. The air was always full of the harp-like voices of the sea, and the music of gray old trees, and in the spring mornings the choruses of birds in the elms around the two churches sang of life and not of death.
The Meredith children loved the old graveyard. Blue-eyed ivy, "garden-spruce," and mint ran riot over the sunken graves. Blueberry bushes grew lavishly in the sandy corner next to the fir wood. The varying fashions of tombstones for three generations were to be found there, from the flat, oblong, red sandstone slabs of old settlers, down through the days of weeping willows and clasped hands, to the latest monstrosities of tall "monuments" and draped urns.
One of the latter, the biggest and ugliest in the graveyard, was sacred to the memory of a certain Alec Davis who had been born a Methodist but had taken to himself a Presbyterian bride of the Douglas clan.
She had made him turn Presbyterian and kept him toeing the Presbyterian mark all his life. But when he died she did not dare to doom him to a lonely grave in the Presbyterian graveyard over-harbour.
His people were all buried in the Methodist cemetery; so Alec Davis went back to his own in death and his widow consoled herself by erecting a monument which cost more than any of the Methodists could afford. The Meredith children hated it, without just knowing why, but they loved the old, flat, bench-like stones with the tall grasses growing rankly about them.
They made jolly seats for one thing.
They were all sitting on one now. Jerry, tired of leap frog, was playing on a jew's-harp. Carl was lovingly poring over a strange beetle he had found; Una was trying to make a doll's dress, and Faith, leaning back on her slender brown wrists, was swinging her bare feet in lively time to the jew's-harp.
Jerry had his father's black hair and large black eyes, but in him the latter were flashing instead of dreamy. Faith, who came next to him, wore her beauty like a rose, careless and glowing.
She had golden-brown eyes, golden-brown curls and crimson cheeks. She laughed too much to please her father's congregation and had shocked old Mrs. Taylor, the disconsolate spouse of several departed husbands, by saucily declaring—in the church-porch at that—"The world isn't a vale of tears, Mrs. It's a world of laughter. Her braids of straight, dead-black hair betrayed no lawless kinks, and her almond-shaped, dark-blue eyes had something wistful and sorrowful in them.
Her mouth had a trick of falling open over her tiny white teeth, and a shy, meditative smile occasionally crept over her small face. She was much more sensitive to public opinion than Faith, and had an uneasy consciousness that there was something askew in their way of living. She longed to put it right, but did not know how. Now and then she dusted the furniture—but it was so seldom she could find the duster because it was never in the same place twice.
And when the clothes-brush was to be found she tried to brush her father's best suit on Saturdays, and once sewed on a missing button with coarse white thread.
When Mr. Meredith went to church next day every female eye saw that button and the peace of the Ladies' Aid was upset for weeks. Carl had the clear, bright, dark-blue eyes, fearless and direct, of his dead mother, and her brown hair with its glints of gold. He knew the secrets of bugs and had a sort of freemasonry with bees and beetles.
Una never liked to sit near him because she never knew what uncanny creature might be secreted about him. Jerry refused to sleep with him because Carl had once taken a young garter snake to bed with him; so Carl slept in his old cot, which was so short that he could never stretch out, and had strange bed-fellows.
Perhaps it was just as well that Aunt Martha was half blind when she made that bed. Altogether they were a jolly, lovable little crew, and Cecilia Meredith's heart must have ached bitterly when she faced the knowledge that she must leave them.
This opened up an interesting field of speculation. The place is full," said Jerry. I could hear the teams going past and the people talking.
I like lots of company," said Faith. Ants are awf'ly int'resting. Methodists must be better than Presbyterians after all.
But when anyone is dead you mustn't say anything of him but good or he'll come back and ha'nt you. Aunt Martha told me that. I asked father if it was true and he just looked through me and muttered, 'True? What is truth? What is truth, O jesting Pilate? Alec Davis would come back and ha'nt me if I threw a stone at the urn on top of his tombstone," said Jerry. Davis would," giggled Faith. Last Sunday I made a face at her nephew and he made one back at me and you should have seen her glare.
I'll bet she boxed his ears when they got out. Marshall Elliott told me we mustn't offend her on any account or I'd have made a face at her, too! The manse children had been at the station that afternoon when the Blythe small fry had arrived. He won the prize the teacher offered last year for writing a poem, Bertie Shakespeare Drew told me. Bertie's mother thought he should have got the prize because of his name, but Bertie said he couldn't write poetry to save his soul, name or no name.
I don't like most of the girls round here. Even the nice ones are poky. But the Blythe twins look jolly. I thought twins always looked alike, but they don't. I think the red-haired one is the nicest. Una envied all children their mothers. She had been only six when her mother died, but she had some very precious memories, treasured in her soul like jewels, of twilight cuddlings and morning frolics, of loving eyes, a tender voice, and the sweetest, gayest laugh.
Elliot says that is because she never really grew up," said Faith. Elliot says Mrs. Blythe just stayed a little girl inside. They all smelled it now. A most delectable odour came floating up on the still evening air from the direction of the little woodsy dell below the manse hill.
Aunt Martha's habit was to boil a large slab of mutton early in the week and serve it up every day, cold and greasy, as long as it lasted. To this Faith, in a moment of inspiration, had give the name of "ditto", and by this it was invariably known at the manse. They all sprang up, frolicked over the lawn with the abandon of young puppies, climbed a fence, and tore down the mossy slope, guided by the savory lure that ever grew stronger.
A few minutes later they arrived breathlessly in the sanctum sanctorum of Rainbow Valley where the Blythe children were just about to give thanks and eat. They halted shyly. Una wished they had not been so precipitate: but Di Blythe was equal to that and any occasion.
She stepped forward, with a comrade's smile. Down they all sat on mossy stones. Merry was that feast and long. Nan and Di would probably have died of horror had they known what Faith and Una knew perfectly well—that Carl had two young mice in his jacket pocket. But they never knew it, so it never hurt them. Where can folks get better acquainted than over a meal table?
When the last trout had vanished, the manse children and the Ingleside children were sworn friends and allies. They had always known each other and always would. The race of Joseph recognized its own. They poured out the history of their little pasts. The manse children heard of Avonlea and Green Gables, of Rainbow Valley traditions, and of the little house by the harbour shore where Jem had been born.
The Ingleside children heard of Maywater, where the Merediths had lived before coming to the Glen, of Una's beloved, one-eyed doll and Faith's pet rooster. Faith was inclined to resent the fact that people laughed at her for petting a rooster. She liked the Blythes because they accepted it without question. And I brought him up from a little, wee, yellow chicken. Johnson at Maywater gave him to me. A weasel had killed all his brothers and sisters. I called him after her husband. I never liked dolls or cats.
And what do the children think? That he's the best father in the world. And what does the town think? He's a fine minister, though he could use a wife to manage things. He doesn't need a wife, he need a firm kick to the teeth. He's their father - their only parent alive - and he is supposedly too thick to understand that his children need socks? That they need guidance and affection? And all of that is excused because he is so holy and devoted to God?
I couldn't stomach the lot of them. At one point, their weak-minded father has to whip one of the boys for throwing a eel at an old lady and the father discovers he cannot bring himself to do such a cruel act. The children meet in secret to punish themselves because if their father won't discipline them, then they will have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and raise themselves. I honestly don't think L.
Montgomery actually met any children.
And, then there is the shoe-horned religion at every page. I don't mind reading religious books and quite like how it was handled in the first couple of Anne of Green Gables. But, Book 7 uses a funnel to force it down our throats so often that it actually soured me to this book. Heaven forbid if anyone questions the minutest aspect of God's love or infinite kindness - every single precocious child would discuss the finer points of theology.
Preferably in painstaking detail. At one point, one of the clan marches up to a non-church goer to demand he attend church so her father's salary could be paid. When he refuses, she feels a fury wash over herself and calls him names including vampire and says she doesn't care if he goes to hell. He of course finds this sweet and adorable - and immediately swears to start attending.