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The Greatest Works of L. M. Montgomery

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Chapter XX.
A Good Imagination Gone Wrong

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Spring had come once more to Green Gables — the beautiful capricious, reluctant Canadian spring, lingering along through April and May in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth. The maples in Lover’s Lane were red budded and little curly ferns pushed up around the Dryad’s Bubble. Away up in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Sloane’s place, the Mayflowers blossomed out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves. All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming home in the clear, echoing twilight with arms and baskets full of flowery spoil.

“I’m so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers,” said Anne. “Diana says perhaps they have something better, but there couldn’t be anything better than Mayflowers, could there, Marilla? And Diana says if they don’t know what they are like they don’t miss them. But I think that is the saddest thing of all. I think it would be TRAGIC, Marilla, not to know what Mayflowers are like and NOT to miss them. Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla? I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer and this is their heaven. But we had a splendid time today, Marilla. We had our lunch down in a big mossy hollow by an old well — such a ROMANTIC spot. Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did because he wouldn’t take a dare. Nobody would in school. It is very FASHIONABLE to dare. Mr. Phillips gave all the Mayflowers he found to Prissy Andrews and I heard him to say ‘sweets to the sweet.’ He got that out of a book, I know; but it shows he has some imagination. I was offered some Mayflowers too, but I rejected them with scorn. I can’t tell you the person’s name because I have vowed never to let it cross my lips. We made wreaths of the Mayflowers and put them on our hats; and when the time came to go home we marched in procession down the road, two by two, with our bouquets and wreaths, singing ‘My Home on the Hill.’ Oh, it was so thrilling, Marilla. All Mr. Silas Sloane’s folks rushed out to see us and everybody we met on the road stopped and stared after us. We made a real sensation.”

“Not much wonder! Such silly doings!” was Marilla’s response.

After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them. Anne walked through it on her way to school with reverent steps and worshiping eyes, as if she trod on holy ground.

“Somehow,” she told Diana, “when I’m going through here I don’t really care whether Gil — whether anybody gets ahead of me in class or not. But when I’m up in school it’s all different and I care as much as ever. There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

One June evening, when the orchards were pink blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savor of clover fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window. She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.

In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged. The walls were as white, the pincushion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly upright as ever. Yet the whole character of the room was altered. It was full of a new vital, pulsing personality that seemed to pervade it and to be quite independent of schoolgirl books and dresses and ribbons, and even of the cracked blue jug full of apple blossoms on the table. It was as if all the dreams, sleeping and waking, of its vivid occupant had taken a visible although unmaterial form and had tapestried the bare room with splendid filmy tissues of rainbow and moonshine. Presently Marilla came briskly in with some of Anne’s freshly ironed school aprons. She hung them over a chair and sat down with a short sigh. She had had one of her headaches that afternoon, and although the pain had gone she felt weak and “tuckered out,” as she expressed it. Anne looked at her with eyes limpid with sympathy.

“I do truly wish I could have had the headache in your place, Marilla. I would have endured it joyfully for your sake.”

“I guess you did your part in attending to the work and letting me rest,” said Marilla. “You seem to have got on fairly well and made fewer mistakes than usual. Of course it wasn’t exactly necessary to starch Matthew’s handkerchiefs! And most people when they put a pie in the oven to warm up for dinner take it out and eat it when it gets hot instead of leaving it to be burned to a crisp. But that doesn’t seem to be your way evidently.”

Headaches always left Marilla somewhat sarcastic.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” said Anne penitently. “I never thought about that pie from the moment I put it in the oven till now, although I felt INSTINCTIVELY that there was something missing on the dinner table. I was firmly resolved, when you left me in charge this morning, not to imagine anything, but keep my thoughts on facts. I did pretty well until I put the pie in, and then an irresistible temptation came to me to imagine I was an enchanted princess shut up in a lonely tower with a handsome knight riding to my rescue on a coal-black steed. So that is how I came to forget the pie. I didn’t know I starched the handkerchiefs. All the time I was ironing I was trying to think of a name for a new island Diana and I have discovered up the brook. It’s the most ravishing spot, Marilla. There are two maple trees on it and the brook flows right around it. At last it struck me that it would be splendid to call it Victoria Island because we found it on the Queen’s birthday. Both Diana and I are very loyal. But I’m sorry about that pie and the handkerchiefs. I wanted to be extra good today because it’s an anniversary. Do you remember what happened this day last year, Marilla?”

“No, I can’t think of anything special.”

“Oh, Marilla, it was the day I came to Green Gables. I shall never forget it. It was the turning point in my life. Of course it wouldn’t seem so important to you. I’ve been here for a year and I’ve been so happy. Of course, I’ve had my troubles, but one can live down troubles. Are you sorry you kept me, Marilla?”

“No, I can’t say I’m sorry,” said Marilla, who sometimes wondered how she could have lived before Anne came to Green Gables, “no, not exactly sorry. If you’ve finished your lessons, Anne, I want you to run over and ask Mrs. Barry if she’ll lend me Diana’s apron pattern.”

“Oh — it’s — it’s too dark,” cried Anne.

“Too dark? Why, it’s only twilight. And goodness knows you’ve gone over often enough after dark.”

“I’ll go over early in the morning,” said Anne eagerly. “I’ll get up at sunrise and go over, Marilla.”

“What has got into your head now, Anne Shirley? I want that pattern to cut out your new apron this evening. Go at once and be smart too.”

“I’ll have to go around by the road, then,” said Anne, taking up her hat reluctantly.

“Go by the road and waste half an hour! I’d like to catch you!”

“I can’t go through the Haunted Wood, Marilla,” cried Anne desperately.

Marilla stared.

“The Haunted Wood! Are you crazy? What under the canopy is the Haunted Wood?”

“The spruce wood over the brook,” said Anne in a whisper.

“Fiddlesticks! There is no such thing as a haunted wood anywhere. Who has been telling you such stuff?”

“Nobody,” confessed Anne. “Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted. All the places around here are so — so — COMMONPLACE. We just got this up for our own amusement. We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it’s so gloomy. Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things. There’s a white lady walks along the brook just about this time of the night and wrings her hands and utters wailing cries. She appears when there is to be a death in the family. And the ghost of a little murdered child haunts the corner up by Idlewild; it creeps up behind you and lays its cold fingers on your hand — so. Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it. And there’s a headless man stalks up and down the path and skeletons glower at you between the boughs. Oh, Marilla, I wouldn’t go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything. I’d be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me.”

“Did ever anyone hear the like!” ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb amazement. “Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your own imagination?”

“Not believe EXACTLY,” faltered Anne. “At least, I don’t believe it in daylight. But after dark, Marilla, it’s different. That is when ghosts walk.”

“There are no such things as ghosts, Anne.”

“Oh, but there are, Marilla,” cried Anne eagerly. “I know people who have seen them. And they are respectable people. Charlie Sloane says that his grandmother saw his grandfather driving home the cows one night after he’d been buried for a year. You know Charlie Sloane’s grandmother wouldn’t tell a story for anything. She’s a very religious woman. And Mrs. Thomas’s father was pursued home one night by a lamb of fire with its head cut off hanging by a strip of skin. He said he knew it was the spirit of his brother and that it was a warning he would die within nine days. He didn’t, but he died two years after, so you see it was really true. And Ruby Gillis says—”

 

“Anne Shirley,” interrupted Marilla firmly, “I never want to hear you talking in this fashion again. I’ve had my doubts about that imagination of yours right along, and if this is going to be the outcome of it, I won’t countenance any such doings. You’ll go right over to Barry’s, and you’ll go through that spruce grove, just for a lesson and a warning to you. And never let me hear a word out of your head about haunted woods again.”

Anne might plead and cry as she liked — and did, for her terror was very real. Her imagination had run away with her and she held the spruce grove in mortal dread after nightfall. But Marilla was inexorable. She marched the shrinking ghost-seer down to the spring and ordered her to proceed straightaway over the bridge and into the dusky retreats of wailing ladies and headless specters beyond.

“Oh, Marilla, how can you be so cruel?” sobbed Anne. “What would you feel like if a white thing did snatch me up and carry me off?”

“I’ll risk it,” said Marilla unfeelingly. “You know I always mean what I say. I’ll cure you of imagining ghosts into places. March, now.”

Anne marched. That is, she stumbled over the bridge and went shuddering up the horrible dim path beyond. Anne never forgot that walk. Bitterly did she repent the license she had given to her imagination. The goblins of her fancy lurked in every shadow about her, reaching out their cold, fleshless hands to grasp the terrified small girl who had called them into being. A white strip of birch bark blowing up from the hollow over the brown floor of the grove made her heart stand still. The long-drawn wail of two old boughs rubbing against each other brought out the perspiration in beads on her forehead. The swoop of bats in the darkness over her was as the wings of unearthly creatures. When she reached Mr. William Bell’s field she fled across it as if pursued by an army of white things, and arrived at the Barry kitchen door so out of breath that she could hardly gasp out her request for the apron pattern. Diana was away so that she had no excuse to linger. The dreadful return journey had to be faced. Anne went back over it with shut eyes, preferring to take the risk of dashing her brains out among the boughs to that of seeing a white thing. When she finally stumbled over the log bridge she drew one long shivering breath of relief.

“Well, so nothing caught you?” said Marilla unsympathetically.

“Oh, Mar — Marilla,” chattered Anne, “I’ll b-b-be contt-tented with c-c-commonplace places after this.”

Chapter XXI.
A New Departure in Flavorings

Table of Contents

“Dear me, there is nothing but meetings and partings in this world, as Mrs. Lynde says,” remarked Anne plaintively, putting her slate and books down on the kitchen table on the last day of June and wiping her red eyes with a very damp handkerchief. “Wasn’t it fortunate, Marilla, that I took an extra handkerchief to school today? I had a presentiment that it would be needed.”

“I never thought you were so fond of Mr. Phillips that you’d require two handkerchiefs to dry your tears just because he was going away,” said Marilla.

“I don’t think I was crying because I was really so very fond of him,” reflected Anne. “I just cried because all the others did. It was Ruby Gillis started it. Ruby Gillis has always declared she hated Mr. Phillips, but just as soon as he got up to make his farewell speech she burst into tears. Then all the girls began to cry, one after the other. I tried to hold out, Marilla. I tried to remember the time Mr. Phillips made me sit with Gil — with a, boy; and the time he spelled my name without an e on the blackboard; and how he said I was the worst dunce he ever saw at geometry and laughed at my spelling; and all the times he had been so horrid and sarcastic; but somehow I couldn’t, Marilla, and I just had to cry too. Jane Andrews has been talking for a month about how glad she’d be when Mr. Phillips went away and she declared she’d never shed a tear. Well, she was worse than any of us and had to borrow a handkerchief from her brother — of course the boys didn’t cry — because she hadn’t brought one of her own, not expecting to need it. Oh, Marilla, it was heartrending. Mr. Phillips made such a beautiful farewell speech beginning, ‘The time has come for us to part.’ It was very affecting. And he had tears in his eyes too, Marilla. Oh, I felt dreadfully sorry and remorseful for all the times I’d talked in school and drawn pictures of him on my slate and made fun of him and Prissy. I can tell you I wished I’d been a model pupil like Minnie Andrews. She hadn’t anything on her conscience. The girls cried all the way home from school. Carrie Sloane kept saying every few minutes, ‘The time has come for us to part,’ and that would start us off again whenever we were in any danger of cheering up. I do feel dreadfully sad, Marilla. But one can’t feel quite in the depths of despair with two months’ vacation before them, can they, Marilla? And besides, we met the new minister and his wife coming from the station. For all I was feeling so bad about Mr. Phillips going away I couldn’t help taking a little interest in a new minister, could I? His wife is very pretty. Not exactly regally lovely, of course — it wouldn’t do, I suppose, for a minister to have a regally lovely wife, because it might set a bad example. Mrs. Lynde says the minister’s wife over at Newbridge sets a very bad example because she dresses so fashionably. Our new minister’s wife was dressed in blue muslin with lovely puffed sleeves and a hat trimmed with roses. Jane Andrews said she thought puffed sleeves were too worldly for a minister’s wife, but I didn’t make any such uncharitable remark, Marilla, because I know what it is to long for puffed sleeves. Besides, she’s only been a minister’s wife for a little while, so one should make allowances, shouldn’t they? They are going to board with Mrs. Lynde until the manse is ready.”

If Marilla, in going down to Mrs. Lynde’s that evening, was actuated by any motive save her avowed one of returning the quilting frames she had borrowed the preceding winter, it was an amiable weakness shared by most of the Avonlea people. Many a thing Mrs. Lynde had lent, sometimes never expecting to see it again, came home that night in charge of the borrowers thereof. A new minister, and moreover a minister with a wife, was a lawful object of curiosity in a quiet little country settlement where sensations were few and far between.

Old Mr. Bentley, the minister whom Anne had found lacking in imagination, had been pastor of Avonlea for eighteen years. He was a widower when he came, and a widower he remained, despite the fact that gossip regularly married him to this, that, or the other one, every year of his sojourn. In the preceding February he had resigned his charge and departed amid the regrets of his people, most of whom had the affection born of long intercourse for their good old minister in spite of his shortcomings as an orator. Since then the Avonlea church had enjoyed a variety of religious dissipation in listening to the many and various candidates and “supplies” who came Sunday after Sunday to preach on trial. These stood or fell by the judgment of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a certain small, redhaired girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert pew also had her opinions about them and discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to criticize ministers in any shape or form.

“I don’t think Mr. Smith would have done, Matthew” was Anne’s final summing up. “Mrs. Lynde says his delivery was so poor, but I think his worst fault was just like Mr. Bentley’s — he had no imagination. And Mr. Terry had too much; he let it run away with him just as I did mine in the matter of the Haunted Wood. Besides, Mrs. Lynde says his theology wasn’t sound. Mr. Gresham was a very good man and a very religious man, but he told too many funny stories and made the people laugh in church; he was undignified, and you must have some dignity about a minister, mustn’t you, Matthew? I thought Mr. Marshall was decidedly attractive; but Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t married, or even engaged, because she made special inquiries about him, and she says it would never do to have a young unmarried minister in Avonlea, because he might marry in the congregation and that would make trouble. Mrs. Lynde is a very farseeing woman, isn’t she, Matthew? I’m very glad they’ve called Mr. Allan. I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it. Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t perfect, but she says she supposes we couldn’t expect a perfect minister for seven hundred and fifty dollars a year, and anyhow his theology is sound because she questioned him thoroughly on all the points of doctrine. And she knows his wife’s people and they are most respectable and the women are all good housekeepers. Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister’s family.”

The new minister and his wife were a young, pleasant-faced couple, still on their honeymoon, and full of all good and beautiful enthusiasms for their chosen lifework. Avonlea opened its heart to them from the start. Old and young liked the frank, cheerful young man with his high ideals, and the bright, gentle little lady who assumed the mistress-ship of the manse. With Mrs. Allan Anne fell promptly and wholeheartedly in love. She had discovered another kindred spirit.

“Mrs. Allan is perfectly lovely,” she announced one Sunday afternoon. “She’s taken our class and she’s a splendid teacher. She said right away she didn’t think it was fair for the teacher to ask all the questions, and you know, Marilla, that is exactly what I’ve always thought. She said we could ask her any question we liked and I asked ever so many. I’m good at asking questions, Marilla.”

“I believe you” was Marilla’s emphatic comment.

“Nobody else asked any except Ruby Gillis, and she asked if there was to be a Sunday-school picnic this summer. I didn’t think that was a very proper question to ask because it hadn’t any connection with the lesson — the lesson was about Daniel in the lions’ den — but Mrs. Allan just smiled and said she thought there would be. Mrs. Allan has a lovely smile; she has such EXQUISITE dimples in her cheeks. I wish I had dimples in my cheeks, Marilla. I’m not half so skinny as I was when I came here, but I have no dimples yet. If I had perhaps I could influence people for good. Mrs. Allan said we ought always to try to influence other people for good. She talked so nice about everything. I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing. I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs. Allan’s isn’t, and I’d like to be a Christian if I could be one like her. I wouldn’t want to be one like Mr. Superintendent Bell.”

“It’s very naughty of you to speak so about Mr. Bell,” said Marilla severely. “Mr. Bell is a real good man.”

“Oh, of course he’s good,” agreed Anne, “but he doesn’t seem to get any comfort out of it. If I could be good I’d dance and sing all day because I was glad of it. I suppose Mrs. Allan is too old to dance and sing and of course it wouldn’t be dignified in a minister’s wife. But I can just feel she’s glad she’s a Christian and that she’d be one even if she could get to heaven without it.”

“I suppose we must have Mr. and Mrs. Allan up to tea someday soon,” said Marilla reflectively. “They’ve been most everywhere but here. Let me see. Next Wednesday would be a good time to have them. But don’t say a word to Matthew about it, for if he knew they were coming he’d find some excuse to be away that day. He’d got so used to Mr. Bentley he didn’t mind him, but he’s going to find it hard to get acquainted with a new minister, and a new minister’s wife will frighten him to death.”

“I’ll be as secret as the dead,” assured Anne. “But oh, Marilla, will you let me make a cake for the occasion? I’d love to do something for Mrs. Allan, and you know I can make a pretty good cake by this time.”

“You can make a layer cake,” promised Marilla.

Monday and Tuesday great preparations went on at Green Gables. Having the minister and his wife to tea was a serious and important undertaking, and Marilla was determined not to be eclipsed by any of the Avonlea housekeepers. Anne was wild with excitement and delight. She talked it all over with Diana Tuesday night in the twilight, as they sat on the big red stones by the Dryad’s Bubble and made rainbows in the water with little twigs dipped in fir balsam.

 

“Everything is ready, Diana, except my cake which I’m to make in the morning, and the baking-powder biscuits which Marilla will make just before teatime. I assure you, Diana, that Marilla and I have had a busy two days of it. It’s such a responsibility having a minister’s family to tea. I never went through such an experience before. You should just see our pantry. It’s a sight to behold. We’re going to have jellied chicken and cold tongue. We’re to have two kinds of jelly, red and yellow, and whipped cream and lemon pie, and cherry pie, and three kinds of cookies, and fruit cake, and Marilla’s famous yellow plum preserves that she keeps especially for ministers, and pound cake and layer cake, and biscuits as aforesaid; and new bread and old both, in case the minister is dyspeptic and can’t eat new. Mrs. Lynde says ministers are dyspeptic, but I don’t think Mr. Allan has been a minister long enough for it to have had a bad effect on him. I just grow cold when I think of my layer cake. Oh, Diana, what if it shouldn’t be good! I dreamed last night that I was chased all around by a fearful goblin with a big layer cake for a head.”

“It’ll be good, all right,” assured Diana, who was a very comfortable sort of friend. “I’m sure that piece of the one you made that we had for lunch in Idlewild two weeks ago was perfectly elegant.”

“Yes; but cakes have such a terrible habit of turning out bad just when you especially want them to be good,” sighed Anne, setting a particularly well-balsamed twig afloat. “However, I suppose I shall just have to trust to Providence and be careful to put in the flour. Oh, look, Diana, what a lovely rainbow! Do you suppose the dryad will come out after we go away and take it for a scarf?”

“You know there is no such thing as a dryad,” said Diana. Diana’s mother had found out about the Haunted Wood and had been decidedly angry over it. As a result Diana had abstained from any further imitative flights of imagination and did not think it prudent to cultivate a spirit of belief even in harmless dryads.

“But it’s so easy to imagine there is,” said Anne. “Every night before I go to bed, I look out of my window and wonder if the dryad is really sitting here, combing her locks with the spring for a mirror. Sometimes I look for her footprints in the dew in the morning. Oh, Diana, don’t give up your faith in the dryad!”

Wednesday morning came. Anne got up at sunrise because she was too excited to sleep. She had caught a severe cold in the head by reason of her dabbling in the spring on the preceding evening; but nothing short of absolute pneumonia could have quenched her interest in culinary matters that morning. After breakfast she proceeded to make her cake. When she finally shut the oven door upon it she drew a long breath.

“I’m sure I haven’t forgotten anything this time, Marilla. But do you think it will rise? Just suppose perhaps the baking powder isn’t good? I used it out of the new can. And Mrs. Lynde says you can never be sure of getting good baking powder nowadays when everything is so adulterated. Mrs. Lynde says the Government ought to take the matter up, but she says we’ll never see the day when a Tory Government will do it. Marilla, what if that cake doesn’t rise?”

“We’ll have plenty without it” was Marilla’s unimpassioned way of looking at the subject.

The cake did rise, however, and came out of the oven as light and feathery as golden foam. Anne, flushed with delight, clapped it together with layers of ruby jelly and, in imagination, saw Mrs. Allan eating it and possibly asking for another piece!

“You’ll be using the best tea set, of course, Marilla,” she said. “Can I fix the table with ferns and wild roses?”

“I think that’s all nonsense,” sniffed Marilla. “In my opinion it’s the eatables that matter and not flummery decorations.”

“Mrs. Barry had HER table decorated,” said Anne, who was not entirely guiltless of the wisdom of the serpent, “and the minister paid her an elegant compliment. He said it was a feast for the eye as well as the palate.”

“Well, do as you like,” said Marilla, who was quite determined not to be surpassed by Mrs. Barry or anybody else. “Only mind you leave enough room for the dishes and the food.”

Anne laid herself out to decorate in a manner and after a fashion that should leave Mrs. Barry’s nowhere. Having abundance of roses and ferns and a very artistic taste of her own, she made that tea table such a thing of beauty that when the minister and his wife sat down to it they exclaimed in chorus over it loveliness.

“It’s Anne’s doings,” said Marilla, grimly just; and Anne felt that Mrs. Allan’s approving smile was almost too much happiness for this world.

Matthew was there, having been inveigled into the party only goodness and Anne knew how. He had been in such a state of shyness and nervousness that Marilla had given him up in despair, but Anne took him in hand so successfully that he now sat at the table in his best clothes and white collar and talked to the minister not uninterestingly. He never said a word to Mrs. Allan, but that perhaps was not to be expected.

All went merry as a marriage bell until Anne’s layer cake was passed. Mrs. Allan, having already been helped to a bewildering variety, declined it. But Marilla, seeing the disappointment on Anne’s face, said smilingly:

“Oh, you must take a piece of this, Mrs. Allan. Anne made it on purpose for you.”

“In that case I must sample it,” laughed Mrs. Allan, helping herself to a plump triangle, as did also the minister and Marilla.

Mrs. Allan took a mouthful of hers and a most peculiar expression crossed her face; not a word did she say, however, but steadily ate away at it. Marilla saw the expression and hastened to taste the cake.

“Anne Shirley!” she exclaimed, “what on earth did you put into that cake?”

“Nothing but what the recipe said, Marilla,” cried Anne with a look of anguish. “Oh, isn’t it all right?”

“All right! It’s simply horrible. Mr. Allan, don’t try to eat it. Anne, taste it yourself. What flavoring did you use?”

“Vanilla,” said Anne, her face scarlet with mortification after tasting the cake. “Only vanilla. Oh, Marilla, it must have been the baking powder. I had my suspicions of that bak—”

“Baking powder fiddlesticks! Go and bring me the bottle of vanilla you used.”

Anne fled to the pantry and returned with a small bottle partially filled with a brown liquid and labeled yellowly, “Best Vanilla.”

Marilla took it, uncorked it, smelled it.

“Mercy on us, Anne, you’ve flavored that cake with ANODYNE LINIMENT. I broke the liniment bottle last week and poured what was left into an old empty vanilla bottle. I suppose it’s partly my fault — I should have warned you — but for pity’s sake why couldn’t you have smelled it?”

Anne dissolved into tears under this double disgrace.

“I couldn’t — I had such a cold!” and with this she fairly fled to the gable chamber, where she cast herself on the bed and wept as one who refuses to be comforted.

Presently a light step sounded on the stairs and somebody entered the room.