Anne locked the schoolhouse
door on a still, yellow evening,
when the winds were purring in
the spruces around the playground,
and the shadows were long and
lazy by the edge of the woods.
She dropped the key into her
pocket with a sigh of satisfaction.
The school year was ended, she
had been reengaged for the next,
with many expressions of satisfaction.
. .only Mr. Harmon Andrews told
her she ought to use the strap
oftener. . .and two delightful
months of a well-earned vacation
beckoned her invitingly. Anne
felt at peace with the world
and herself as she walked down
the hill with her basket of flowers
in her hand. Since the earliest
mayflowers Anne had never missed
her weekly pilgrimage to Matthew's
grave. Everyone else in Avonlea,
except Marilla, had already forgotten
quiet, shy, unimportant Matthew
Cuthbert; but his memory was
still green in Anne's heart and
always would be. She could never
forget the kind old man who had
been the first to give her the
love and sympathy her starved
childhood had craved.
At the foot of the hill a boy
was sitting on the fence in the
shadow of the spruces. . .a boy
with big, dreamy eyes and a beautiful,
sensitive face. He swung down
and joined Anne, smiling; but
there were traces of tears on
"I thought I'd wait for you,
teacher, because I knew you were
going to the graveyard," he said,
slipping his hand into hers. "I'm
going there, too. . .I'm taking
this bouquet of geraniums to
put on Grandpa Irving's grave
for grandma. And look, teacher,
I'm going to put this bunch of
white roses beside Grandpa's
grave in memory of my little
mother. . .because I can't go
to her grave to put it there.
But don't you think she'll know
all about it, just the same?"
"Yes, I am
sure she will, Paul."
"You see, teacher,
it's just three years today
since my little
mother died. It's such a long,
long time but it hurts just as
much as ever. . .and I miss her
just as much as ever. Sometimes
it seems to me that I just can't
bear it, it hurts so."
Paul's voice quivered and his
lip trembled. He looked down
at his roses, hoping that his
teacher would not notice the
tears in his eyes.
"And yet," said Anne, very
softly, "you wouldn't want it
to stop hurting . . .you wouldn't
want to forget your little mother
even if you could."
I wouldn't. . .that's just
the way I feel.
You're so good at understanding,
teacher. Nobody else understands
so well. . .not even grandma,
although she's so good to me.
Father understood pretty well,
but still I couldn't talk much
to him about mother, because
it made him feel so bad. When
he put his hand over his face
I always knew it was time to
stop. Poor father, he must be
dreadfully lonesome without me;
but you see he has nobody but
a housekeeper now and he thinks
housekeepers are no good to bring
up little boys, especially when
he has to be away from home so
much on business. Grandmothers
are better, next to mothers.
Someday, when I'm brought up,
I'll go back to father and we're
never going to be parted again."
Paul had talked so much to
Anne about his mother and father
that she felt as if she had known
them. She thought his mother
must have been very like what
he was himself, in temperament
and disposition; and she had
an idea that Stephen Irving was
a rather reserved man with a
deep and tender nature which
he kept hidden scrupulously from
"Father's not very easy to
get acquainted with," Paul had
said once. "I never got really
acquainted with him until after
my little mother died. But he's
splendid when you do get to know
him. I love him the best in all
the world, and Grandma Irving
next, and then you, teacher.
I'd love you next to father if
it wasn't my DUTY to love Grandma
Irving best, because she's doing
so much for me. YOU know, teacher.
I wish she would leave the lamp
in my room till I go to sleep,
though. She takes it right out
as soon as she tucks me up because
she says I mustn't be a coward.
I'm NOT scared, but I'd RATHER
have the light. My little mother
used always to sit beside me
and hold my hand till I went
to sleep. I expect she spoiled
me. Mothers do sometimes, you
No, Anne did
not know this, although she
might imagine it.
She thought sadly of HER "little
mother," the mother who had thought
her so "perfectly beautiful" and
who had died so long ago and
was buried beside her boyish
husband in that unvisited grave
far away. Anne could not remember
her mother and for this reason
she almost envied Paul.
"My birthday is next week," said
Paul, as they walked up the long
red hill, basking in the June
sunshine, "and father wrote me
that he is sending me something
that he thinks I'll like better
than anything else he could send.
I believe it has come already,
for Grandma is keeping the bookcase
drawer locked and that is something
new. And when I asked her why,
she just looked mysterious and
said little boys mustn't be too
curious. It's very exciting to
have a birthday, isn't it? I'll
be eleven. You'd never think
it to look at me, would you?
Grandma says I'm very small for
my age and that it's all because
I don't eat enough porridge.
I do my very best, but Grandma
gives such generous platefuls.
. .there's nothing mean about
Grandma, I can tell you. Ever
since you and I had that talk
about praying going home from
Sunday School that day, teacher.
. . when you said we ought to
pray about all our difficulties.
. .I've prayed every night that
God would give me enough grace
to enable me to eat every bit
of my porridge in the mornings.
But I've never been able to do
it yet, and whether it's because
I have too little grace or too
much porridge I really can't
decide. Grandma says father was
brought up on porridge, and it
certainly did work well in his
case, for you ought to see the
shoulders he has. But sometimes," concluded
Paul with a sigh and a meditative
air "I really think porridge
will be the death of me."
Anne permitted herself a smile,
since Paul was not looking at
her. All Avonlea knew that old
Mrs. Irving was bringing her
grandson up in accordance with
the good, old-fashioned methods
of diet and morals.
"Let us hope not, dear," she
said cheerfully. "How are your
rock people coming on? Does the
oldest Twin still continue to
"He HAS to," said Paul emphatically. "He
knows I won't associate with
him if he doesn't. He is really
full of wickedness, I think."
"And has Nora
found out about the Golden
"No; but I
think she suspects. I'm almost
sure she watched me
the last time I went to the cave.
_I_ don't mind if she finds out.
. . it is only for HER sake I
don't want her to. . .so that
her feelings won't be hurt. But
if she is DETERMINED to have
her feelings hurt it can't be
"If I were
to go to the shore some night
with you do you think
I could see your rock people
Paul shook his head gravely.
"No, I don't think you could
see MY rock people. I'm the only
person who can see them. But
you could see rock people of
your own. You're one of the kind
that can. We're both that kind.
YOU know, teacher," he added,
squeezing her hand chummily. "Isn't
it splendid to be that kind,
"Splendid," Anne agreed, gray
shining eyes looking down into
blue shining ones. Anne and Paul
both knew "How fair the realm
Imagination opens to the view,"
and both knew
the way to that happy land.
There the rose of
joy bloomed immortal by dale
and stream; clouds never darkened
the sunny sky; sweet bells never
jangled out of tune; and kindred
spirits abounded. The knowledge
of that land's geography. . . "east
o' the sun, west o' the moon".
. .is priceless lore, not to
be bought in any market place.
It must be the gift of the good
fairies at birth and the years
can never deface it or take it
away. It is better to possess
it, living in a garret, than
to be the inhabitant of palaces
The Avonlea graveyard was as
yet the grass-grown solitude
it had always been. To be sure,
the Improvers had an eye on it,
and Priscilla Grant had read
a paper on cemeteries before
the last meeting of the Society.
At some future time the Improvers
meant to have the lichened, wayward
old board fence replaced by a
neat wire railing, the grass
mown and the leaning monuments
Anne put on Matthew's grave
the flowers she had brought for
it, and then went over to the
little poplar shaded corner where
Hester Gray slept. Ever since
the day of the spring picnic
Anne had put flowers on Hester's
grave when she visited Matthew's.
The evening before she had made
a pilgrimage back to the little
deserted garden in the woods
and brought therefrom some of
Hester's own white roses.
"I thought you would like them
better than any others, dear," she
Anne was still sitting there
when a shadow fell over the grass
and she looked up to see Mrs.
Allan. They walked home together.
Mrs. Allan's face was not the
face of the girlbride whom the
minister had brought to Avonlea
five years before. It had lost
some of its bloom and youthful
curves, and there were fine,
patient lines about eyes and
mouth. A tiny grave in that very
cemetery accounted for some of
them; and some new ones had come
during the recent illness, now
happily over, of her little son.
But Mrs. Allan's dimples were
as sweet and sudden as ever,
her eyes as clear and bright
and true; and what her face lacked
of girlish beauty was now more
than atoned for in added tenderness
"I suppose you are looking
forward to your vacation, Anne?" she
said, as they left the graveyard.
"Yes.. . .I
could roll the word as a sweet
my tongue. I think the summer
is going to be lovely. For one
thing, Mrs. Morgan is coming
to the Island in July and Priscilla
is going to bring her up. I feel
one of my old `thrills' at the
"I hope you'll
have a good time, Anne. You've
hard this past year and you have
"Oh, I don't
know. I've come so far short
in so many things.
I haven't done what I meant to
do when I began to teach last
fall. I haven't lived up to my
"None of us ever do," said
Mrs. Allan with a sigh. "But
then, Anne, you know what Lowell
says, `Not failure but low aim
is crime.' We must have ideals
and try to live up to them, even
if we never quite succeed. Life
would be a sorry business without
them. With them it's grand and
great. Hold fast to your ideals,
"I shall try. But I have to
let go most of my theories," said
Anne, laughing a little. "I had
the most beautiful set of theories
you ever knew when I started
out as a schoolma'am, but every
one of them has failed me at
some pinch or another."
"Even the theory on corporal
punishment," teased Mrs. Allan.
But Anne flushed.
"I shall never
forgive myself for whipping
dear, he deserved it. And it
agreed with him. You
have had no trouble with him
since and he has come to think
there's nobody like you. Your
kindness won his love after the
idea that a 'girl was no good'
was rooted out of his stubborn
"He may have
deserved it, but that is not
the point. If I had
calmly and deliberately decided
to whip him because I thought
it a just punishment for him
I would not feel over it as I
do. But the truth is, Mrs. Allan,
that I just flew into a temper
and whipped him because of that.
I wasn't thinking whether it
was just or unjust. . .even if
he hadn't deserved it I'd have
done it just the same. That is
what humiliates me."
"Well, we all
make mistakes, dear, so just
put it behind you.
We should regret our mistakes
and learn from them, but never
carry them forward into the future
with us. There goes Gilbert Blythe
on his wheel. . .home for his
vacation too, I suppose. How
are you and he getting on with
We plan to finish the Virgil
tonight. . .there
are only twenty lines to do.
Then we are not going to study
any more until September."
"Do you think
you will ever get to college?"
"Oh, I don't know." Anne looked
dreamily afar to the opal-tinted
horizon. "Marilla's eyes will
never be much better than they
are now, although we are so thankful
to think that they will not get
worse. And then there are the
twins. . .somehow I don't believe
their uncle will ever really
send for them. Perhaps college
may be around the bend in the
road, but I haven't got to the
bend yet and I don't think much
about it lest I might grow discontented."
"Well, I should
like to see you go to college,
if you never do, don't be discontented
about it. We make our own lives
wherever we are, after all. .
.college can only help us to
do it more easily. They are broad
or narrow according to what we
put into them, not what we get
out. Life is rich and full here.
. . everywhere. . .if we can
only learn how to open our whole
hearts to its richness and fulness."
"I think I understand what
you mean," said Anne thoughtfully, "and
I know I have so much to feel
thankful for. . .oh, so much.
. . my work, and Paul Irving,
and the dear twins, and all my
friends. Do you know, Mrs. Allan,
I'm so thankful for friendship.
It beautifies life so much."
"True friendship is a very
helpfulul thing indeed," said
Mrs. Allan, "and we should have
a very high ideal of it, and
never sully it by any failure
in truth and sincerity. I fear
the name of friendship is often
degraded to a kind of intimacy
that has nothing of real friendship
"Yes. . .like
Gertie Pye's and Julia Bell's.
They are very
intimate and go everywhere together;
but Gertie is always saying nasty
things of Julia behind her back
and everybody thinks she is jealous
of her because she is always
so pleased when anybody criticizes
Julia. I think it is desecration
to call that friendship. If we
have friends we should look only
for the best in them and give
them the best that is in us,
don't you think? Then friendship
would be the most beautiful thing
in the world."
"Friendship IS very beautiful," smiled
Mrs. Allan, "but some day. .
Then she paused abruptly. In
the delicate, white-browed face
beside her, with its candid eyes
and mobile features, there was
still far more of the child than
of the woman. Anne's heart so
far harbored only dreams of friendship
and ambition, and Mrs. Allan
did not wish to brush the bloom
from her sweet unconsciousness.
So she left her sentence for
the future years to finish.