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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

V. The Winning of Lucinda

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Lucinda deigned no answer. She stood on a flat stone and wrung the water from the poor green voile. Romney surveyed her apprehensively.

"Hurry, Lucinda," he entreated. "You will catch your death of cold."

"I never take cold," answered Lucinda, with chattering teeth. "And it is my dress I am thinking of--was thinking of. You have more need to hurry. You are sopping wet yourself and you know you are subject to colds. There--come."

Lucinda picked up the stringy train, which had been so brave and buoyant five minutes before, and started up the field at a brisk rate. Romney came up to her and slipped his arm through hers in the old way. For a time they walked along in silence. Then Lucinda began to shake with inward laughter. She laughed silently for the whole length of the field; and at the line fence between Peter Penhallow's land and the Grange acres she paused, threw back the fascinator from her face, and looked at Romney defiantly.

"You are thinking of--THAT," she cried, "and I am thinking of it. And we will go on, thinking of it at intervals for the rest of our lives. But if you ever mention it to me I'll never forgive you, Romney Penhallow!"

"I never will," Romney promised. There was more than a suspicion of laughter in his voice this time, but Lucinda did not choose to resent it. She did not speak again until they reached the Grange gate. Then she faced him solemnly.

"It was a case of atavism," she said. "Old Grandfather Gordon was to blame for it."

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At the Grange almost everybody was in bed. What with the guests straggling home at intervals and hurrying sleepily off to their rooms, nobody had missed Lucinda, each set supposing she was with some other set. Mrs. Frederick, Mrs. Nathaniel and Mrs. George alone were up. The perennially chilly Mrs. Nathaniel had kindled a fire of chips in the blue room grate to warm her feet before retiring, and the three women were discussing the wedding in subdued tones when the door opened and the stately form of Lucinda, stately even in the dragged voile, appeared, with the damp Romney behind her.

"Lucinda Penhallow!" gasped they, one and all.

"I was left to walk home," said Lucinda coolly. "So Romney and I came across the fields. There was no bridge over the brook, and when he was carrying me over he slipped and we fell in. That is all. No, Cecilia, I never take cold, so don't worry. Yes, my dress is ruined, but that is of no consequence. No, thank you, Cecilia, I do not care for a hot drink. Romney, do go and take off those wet clothes of yours immediately. No, Cecilia, I will NOT take a hot footbath. I am going straight to bed. Good night."

When the door closed on the pair the three sisters-in-law stared at each other. Mrs. Frederick, feeling herself incapable of expressing her sensations originally, took refuge in a quotation:

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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