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|Anne's House of Dreams||Lucy Maud Montgomery|
|Page 2 of 3||
Anne and Gilbert returned presently, accompanied by Captain Jim. Anne lighted a few sticks of driftwood in the fireplace, for love of the pixy flames, and they sat around it for an hour of good fellowship.
"When I sit looking at a driftwood fire it's easy to believe I'm young again," said Captain Jim.
"Can you read futures in the fire, Captain Jim?" asked Owen.
Captain Jim looked at them all affectionately and then back again at Leslie's vivid face and glowing eyes.
"I don't need the fire to read your futures," he said. "I see happiness for all of you--all of you--for Leslie and Mr. Ford--and the doctor here and Mistress Blythe--and Little Jem--and children that ain't born yet but will be. Happiness for you all--though, mind you, I reckon you'll have your troubles and worries and sorrows, too. They're bound to come--and no house, whether it's a palace or a little house of dreams, can bar 'em out. But they won't get the better of you if you face 'em TOGETHER with love and trust. You can weather any storm with them two for compass and pilot."
The old man rose suddenly and placed one hand on Leslie's head and one on Anne's.
"Two good, sweet women," he said. "True and faithful and to be depended on. Your husbands will have honor in the gates because of you--your children will rise up and call you blessed in the years to come."
There was a strange solemnity about the little scene. Anne and Leslie bowed as those receiving a benediction. Gilbert suddenly brushed his hand over his eyes; Owen Ford was rapt as one who can see visions. All were silent for a space. The little house of dreams added another poignant and unforgettable moment to its store of memories.
"I must be going now," said Captain Jim slowly at last. He took up his hat and looked lingeringly about the room.
"Good night, all of you," he said, as he went out.
Anne, pierced by the unusual wistfulness of his farewell, ran to the door after him.
"Come back soon, Captain Jim," she called, as he passed through the little gate hung between the firs.
"Ay, ay," he called cheerily back to her. But Captain Jim had sat by the old fireside of the house of dreams for the last time.
Anne went slowly back to the others.
"It's so--so pitiful to think of him going all alone down to that lonely Point," she said. "And there is no one to welcome him there."
"Captain Jim is such good company for others that one can't imagine him being anything but good company for himself," said Owen. "But he must often be lonely. There was a touch of the seer about him tonight--he spoke as one to whom it had been given to speak. Well, I must be going, too."
Anne and Gilbert discreetly melted away; but when Owen had gone Anne returned, to find Leslie standing by the hearth.
"Oh, Leslie--I know--and I'm so glad, dear," she said, putting her arms about her.
"Anne, my happiness frightens me," whispered Leslie. "It seems too great to be real--I'm afraid to speak of it--to think of it. It seems to me that it must just be another dream of this house of dreams and it will vanish when I leave here."
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|Anne's House of Dreams
Lucy Maud Montgomery
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