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Anne Of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

Around the Bend

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"I'm afraid the Improvement Society will go down when you and Gilbert are both gone," she remarked dolefully.

"Not a bit of fear of it," said Anne briskly, coming back from dreamland to the affairs of practical life. "It is too firmly established for that, especially since the older people are becoming so enthusiastic about it. Look what they are doing this summer for their lawns and lanes. Besides, I'll be watching for hints at Redmond and I'll write a paper for it next winter and send it over. Don't take such a gloomy view of things, Diana. And don't grudge me my little hour of gladness and jubilation now. Later on, when I have to go away, I'll feel anything but glad."

"It's all right for you to be glad. . .you're going to college and you'll have a jolly time and make heaps of lovely new friends."

"I hope I shall make new friends," said Anne thoughtfully. "The possibilities of making new friends help to make life very fascinating. But no matter how many friends I make they'll never be as dear to me as the old ones. . .especially a certain girl with black eyes and dimples. Can you guess who she is, Diana?"

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"But there'll be so many clever girls at Redmond," sighed Diana, "and I'm only a stupid little country girl who says `I seen' sometimes. . .though I really know better when I stop to think. Well, of course these past two years have really been too pleasant to last. I know somebody who is glad you are going to Redmond anyhow. Anne, I'm going to ask you a question. . .a serious question. Don't be vexed and do answer seriously. Do you care anything for Gilbert?"

"Ever so much as a friend and not a bit in the way you mean," said Anne calmly and decidedly; she also thought she was speaking sincerely.

Diana sighed. She wished, somehow, that Anne had answered differently.

"Don't you mean ever to be married, Anne?"

"Perhaps. . .some day. . .when I meet the right one," said Anne, smiling dreamily up at the moonlight.

"But how can you be sure when you do meet the right one?" persisted Diana.

"Oh, I should know him. . .something would tell me. You know what my ideal is, Diana."

"But people's ideals change sometimes."

"Mine won't. And I couldn't care for any man who didn't fulfill it."

"What if you never meet him?"

"Then I shall die an old maid," was the cheerful response. "I daresay it isn't the hardest death by any means."

"Oh, I suppose the dying would be easy enough; it's the living an old maid I shouldn't like," said Diana, with no intention of being humorous. "Although I wouldn't mind being an old maid VERY much if I could be one like Miss Lavendar. But I never could be. When I'm forty-five I'll be horribly fat. And while there might be some romance about a thin old maid there couldn't possibly be any about a fat one. Oh, mind you, Nelson Atkins proposed to Ruby Gillis three weeks ago. Ruby told me all about it. She says she never had any intention of taking him, because any one who married him will have to go in with the old folks; but Ruby says that he made such a perfectly beautiful and romantic proposal that it simply swept her off her feet. But she didn't want to do anything rash so she asked for a week to consider; and two days later she was at a meeting of the Sewing Circle at his mother's and there was a book called `The Complete Guide to Etiquette,' lying on the parlor table. Ruby said she simply couldn't describe her feelings when in a section of it headed, `The Deportment of Courtship and Marriage,' she found the very proposal Nelson had made, word for word. She went home and wrote him a perfectly scathing refusal; and she says his father and mother have taken turns watching him ever since for fear he'll drown himself in the river; but Ruby says they needn't be afraid; for in the Deportment of Courtship and Marriage it told how a rejected lover should behave and there's nothing about drowning in THAT. And she says Wilbur Blair is literally pining away for her but she's perfectly helpless in the matter."

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Anne Of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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