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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

V. The Winning of Lucinda

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"But WHY?" persisted Mrs. George, sticking tenaciously to her point.

"Hasn't George told you?"

"No," said George's wife in mild exasperation. "George has spent most of his time since we were married telling me odd things about the Penhallows, but he hasn't got to that yet, evidently."

"Why, my dear, it is our family romance. Lucinda and Romney are in love with each other. They have been in love with each other for fifteen years and in all that time they have never spoken to each other once!"

"Dear me!" murmured Mrs. George, feeling the inadequacy of mere language. Was this a Penhallow method of courtship? "But WHY?"

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"They had a quarrel fifteen years ago," said Mrs. Frederick patiently. "Nobody knows how it originated or anything about it except that Lucinda herself admitted it to us afterwards. But, in the first flush of her rage, she told Romney that she would never speak to him again as long as she lived. And HE said he would never speak to her until she spoke first--because, you see, as she was in the wrong she ought to make the first advance. And they never have spoken. Everybody in the connection, I suppose, has taken turns trying to reconcile them, but nobody has succeeded. I don't believe that Romney has ever so much as THOUGHT of any other woman in his whole life, and certainly Lucinda has never thought of any other man. You will notice she still wears Romney's ring. They're practically engaged still, of course. And Romney said once that if Lucinda would just say one word, no matter what it was, even if it were something insulting, he would speak, too, and beg her pardon for his share in the quarrel--because then, you see, he would not be breaking his word. He hasn't referred to the matter for years, but I presume that he is of the same mind still. And they are just as much in love with each other as they ever were. He's always hanging about where she is--when other people are there, too, that is. He avoids her like a plague when she is alone. That was why he was stuck out in the blue room with us to-day. There doesn't seem to be a particle of resentment between them. If Lucinda would only speak! But that Lucinda will not do."

"Don't you think she will yet?" said Mrs. George.

Mrs. Frederick shook her crimped head sagely.

"Not now. The whole thing has hardened too long. Her pride will never let her speak. We used to hope she would be tricked into it by forgetfulness or accident--we used to lay traps for her--but all to no effect. It is such a shame, too. They were made for each other. Do you know, I get cross when I begin to thrash the whole silly affair over like this. Doesn't it sound as if we were talking of the quarrel of two school-children? Of late years we have learned that it does not do to speak of Lucinda to Romney, even in the most commonplace way. He seems to resent it."

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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