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of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor
had to live through more than two weeks, as it happened. Almost a month
having elapsed since the liniment cake episode, it was high time for her
to get into fresh trouble of some sort, little mistakes, such as
absentmindedly emptying a pan of skim milk into a basket of yarn balls in
the pantry instead of into the pigs' bucket, and walking clean over the
edge of the log bridge into the brook while wrapped in imaginative
reverie, not really being worth counting.
week after the tea at the manse Diana Barry gave a party.
and select," Anne assured Marilla.
"Just the girls in our class."
had a very good time and nothing untoward happened until after tea, when
they found themselves in the Barry garden, a little tired of all their
games and ripe for any enticing form of mischief which might present
itself. This presently took
the form of "daring."
was the fashionable amusement among the Avonlea small fry just then.
It had begun among the boys, but soon spread to the girls, and all
the silly things that were done in Avonlea that summer because the doers
thereof were "dared" to do them would fill a book by themselves.
triumph being rather more pronounced than good taste permitted, Anne Shirley
dared her to walk along the top of the board fence which bounded the garden
to the east. Now, to
"walk" board fences requires more skill and steadiness of head and
heel than one might suppose who has never tried it.
But Josie Pye, if deficient in some qualities that make for
popularity, had at least a natural and inborn gift, duly cultivated, for
walking board fences. Josie
walked the Barry fence with an airy unconcern which seemed to imply that a
little thing like that wasn't worth a "dare." Reluctant admiration
greeted her exploit, for most of the other girls could appreciate it, having
suffered many things themselves in their efforts to walk fences.
Josie descended from her perch, flushed with victory, and darted a
defiant glance at Anne.
tossed her red braids.
don't think it's such a very wonderful thing to walk a little, low, board
fence," she said. "I knew a girl in Marysville who could walk the
ridgepole of a roof."
don't believe it," said Josie flatly.
"I don't believe anybody could walk a ridgepole.
YOU couldn't, anyhow."
I?" cried Anne rashly.
I dare you to do it," said Josie defiantly.
"I dare you to climb up there and walk the ridgepole of Mr.
Barry's kitchen roof."
turned pale, but there was clearly only one thing to be done. She walked
toward the house, where a ladder was leaning against the kitchen roof.
All the fifth-class girls said, "Oh!" partly in excitement,
partly in dismay.
you do it, Anne," entreated Diana.
"You'll fall off and be killed. Never mind Josie Pye.
It isn't fair to dare anybody to do anything so dangerous."
must do it. My honor is at
stake," said Anne solemnly. "I shall walk that ridgepole, Diana,
or perish in the attempt. If I am killed you are to have my pearl bead
climbed the ladder amid breathless silence, gained the ridgepole, balanced
herself uprightly on that precarious footing, and started to walk along it,
dizzily conscious that she was uncomfortably high up in the world and that
walking ridgepoles was not a thing in which your imagination helped you out
much. Nevertheless, she managed to take several steps before the catastrophe
came. Then she swayed, lost her
balance, stumbled, staggered, and fell, sliding down over the sun-baked roof
and crashing off it through the tangle of Virginia creeper beneath-- all
before the dismayed circle below could give a simultaneous, terrified
Anne had tumbled off the roof on the side up which she had ascended Diana
would probably have fallen heir to the pearl bead ring then and there.
Fortunately she fell on the other side, where the roof extended down
over the porch so nearly to the ground that a fall therefrom was a much less
serious thing. Nevertheless, when Diana and the other girls had rushed
frantically around the house--except Ruby Gillis, who remained as if rooted
to the ground and went into hysterics--they found Anne lying all white and
limp among the wreck and ruin of the Virginia creeper.
are you killed?" shrieked Diana, throwing herself on her knees beside
her friend. "Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell
me if you're killed."
the immense relief of all the girls, and especially of Josie Pye, who, in
spite of lack of imagination, had been seized with horrible visions of a
future branded as the girl who was the cause of Anne Shirley's early and
tragic death, Anne sat dizzily up and answered uncertainly:
Diana, I am not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious."
sobbed Carrie Sloane. "Oh,
where, Anne?" Before Anne
could answer Mrs. Barry appeared on the scene.
At sight of her Anne tried to scramble to her feet, but sank back
again with a sharp little cry of pain.
the matter? Where have you hurt yourself?" demanded Mrs. Barry.
ankle," gasped Anne. "Oh,
Diana, please find your father and ask him to take me home.
I know I can never walk there. And
I'm sure I couldn't hop so far on one foot when Jane couldn't even hop
around the garden."
was out in the orchard picking a panful of summer apples when she saw Mr.
Barry coming over the log bridge and up the slope, with Mrs. Barry beside
him and a whole procession of little girls trailing after him.
In his arms he carried Anne, whose head lay limply against his
that moment Marilla had a revelation. In
the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne
had come to mean to her. She
would have admitted that she liked Anne--nay, that she was very fond of
Anne. But now she knew as she
hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything else
Barry, what has happened to her?" she gasped, more white and shaken
than the self-contained, sensible Marilla had been for many years.
herself answered, lifting her head.
be very frightened, Marilla. I
was walking the ridgepole and I fell off.
I expect I have sprained my ankle.
But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck.
Let us look on the bright side of things."
might have known you'd go and do something of the sort when I let you go to
that party," said Marilla, sharp and shrewish in her very relief.
"Bring her in here, Mr. Barry, and lay her on the sofa.
Mercy me, the child has gone and fainted!"
was quite true. Overcome by the
pain of her injury, Anne had one more of her wishes granted to her.
She had fainted dead away.
hastily summoned from the harvest field, was straightway dispatched for the
doctor, who in due time came, to discover that the injury was more serious
than they had supposed. Anne's
ankle was broken.
night, when Marilla went up to the east gable, where a white-faced girl was
lying, a plaintive voice greeted her from the bed.
you very sorry for me, Marilla?"
was your own fault," said Marilla, twitching down the blind and
lighting a lamp.
that is just why you should be sorry for me," said Anne, "because
the thought that it is all my own fault is what makes it so hard.
If I could blame it on anybody I would feel so much better.
But what would you have done, Marilla, if you had been dared to walk
have stayed on good firm ground and let them dare away. Such
absurdity!" said Marilla.
you have such strength of mind, Marilla.
I haven't. I just felt
that I couldn't bear Josie Pye's scorn.
She would have crowed over me all my life.
And I think I have been punished so much that you needn't be very
cross with me, Marilla. It's
not a bit nice to faint, after all. And
the doctor hurt me dreadfully when he was setting my ankle.
I won't be able to go around for six or seven weeks and I'll miss the
new lady teacher. She won't be
new any more by the time I'm able to go to school.
And Gil-- everybody will get ahead of me in class.
Oh, I am an afflicted mortal. But
I'll try to bear it all bravely if only you won't be cross with me, Marilla."
there, I'm not cross," said Marilla.
"You're an unlucky child, there's no doubt about that; but as
you say, you'll have the suffering of it.
Here now, try and eat some supper."
it fortunate I've got such an imagination?" said Anne. "It will
help me through splendidly, I expect. What
do people who haven't any imagination do when they break their bones, do you
had good reason to bless her imagination many a time and oft during the
tedious seven weeks that followed. But
she was not solely dependent on it. She
had many visitors and not a day passed without one or more of the
schoolgirls dropping in to bring her flowers and books and tell her all the
happenings in the juvenile world of Avonlea.
has been so good and kind, Marilla," sighed Anne happily, on the day
when she could first limp across the floor. "It isn't very pleasant to
be laid up; but there is a bright side to it, Marilla.
You find out how many friends you have.
Why, even Superintendent Bell came to see me, and he's really a very
fine man. Not a kindred spirit,
of course; but still I like him and I'm awfully sorry I ever criticized his
prayers. I believe now he
really does mean them, only he has got into the habit of saying them as if
he didn't. He could get over
that if he'd take a little trouble. I
gave him a good broad hint. I
told him how hard I tried to make my own little private prayers interesting.
He told me all about the time he broke his ankle when he was a boy.
It does seem so strange to think of Superintendent Bell ever being a
boy. Even my imagination has
its limits, for I can't imagine THAT. When
I try to imagine him as a boy I see him with gray whiskers and spectacles,
just as he looks in Sunday school, only small.
Now, it's so easy to imagine Mrs. Allan as a little girl.
Mrs. Allan has been to see me fourteen times. Isn't that something to
be proud of, Marilla? When a minister's wife has so many claims on her time!
She is such a cheerful person to have visit you, too.
She never tells you it's your own fault and she hopes you'll be a
better girl on account of it. Mrs. Lynde always told me that when she came
to see me; and she said it in a kind of way that made me feel she might hope
I'd be a better girl but didn't really believe I would.
Even Josie Pye came to see me. I
received her as politely as I could, because I think she was sorry she dared
me to walk a ridgepole. If I
had been killed she would had to carry a dark burden of remorse all her
life. Diana has been a faithful
friend. She's been over every
day to cheer my lonely pillow. But
oh, I shall be so glad when I can go to school for I've heard such exciting
things about the new teacher. The
girls all think she is perfectly sweet. Diana says she has the loveliest
fair curly hair and such fascinating eyes.
She dresses beautifully, and her sleeve puffs are bigger than anybody
else's in Avonlea. Every other
Friday afternoon she has recitations and everybody has to say a piece or
take part in a dialogue. Oh,
it's just glorious to think of it. Josie Pye says she hates it but that is
just because Josie has so little imagination.
Diana and Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews are preparing a dialogue,
called `A Morning Visit,' for next Friday. And the Friday afternoons they
don't have recitations Miss Stacy takes them all to the woods for a `field'
day and they study ferns and flowers and birds.
And they have physical culture exercises every morning and evening.
Mrs. Lynde says she never heard of such goings on and it all comes of
having a lady teacher. But I
think it must be splendid and I believe I shall find that Miss Stacy is a
one thing plain to be seen, Anne," said Marilla, "and that is that
your fall off the Barry roof hasn't injured your tongue at all."
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