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The Golden Road Lucy Maud Montgomery

Peg Bowen Comes To Church

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"Well, I can't make out what the old lady was driving at," said Dan.

"That's a nice way to speak of your great-grandmother," said Felicity severely.

"How does The Family Guide say you ought to speak of your great-grandma, sweet one?" asked Dan.

"There is one thing about it that puzzles me," remarked Cecily. "She calls herself a GRATEFUL widow. Now, what was she grateful for?"

"Because she was rid of him at last," said graceless Dan.

"Oh, it couldn't have been that," protested Cecily seriously. "I've always heard that Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother were very much attached to each other."

"Maybe, then, it means she was grateful that she'd had him as long as she did," suggested Peter.

"She was grateful to him because he had been so kind to her in life, I think," said Felicity.

"What is a 'distressed relict'?" asked Felix.

"'Relict' is a word I hate," said the Story Girl. "It sounds so much like relic. Relict means just the same as widow, only a man can be a relict, too."

"Great-Grandmother seemed to run short of rhymes at the last of the epitaph," commented Dan.

"Finding rhymes isn't as easy as you might think," avowed Peter, out of his own experience.

"I think Grandmother King intended the last of the epitaph to be in blank verse," said Felicity with dignity.

There was still only a sprinkling of people in the church when we went in and took our places in the old-fashioned, square King pew. We had just got comfortably settled when Felicity said in an agitated whisper, "Here is Peg Bowen!"

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We all stared at Peg, who was pacing composedly up the aisle. We might be excused for so doing, for seldom were the decorous aisles of Carlisle church invaded by such a figure. Peg was dressed in her usual short drugget skirt, rather worn and frayed around the bottom, and a waist of brilliant turkey red calico. She wore no hat, and her grizzled black hair streamed in elf locks over her shoulders. Face, arms and feet were bare--and face, arms and feet were liberally powdered with FLOUR. Certainly no one who saw Peg that night could ever forget the apparition.

Peg's black eyes, in which shone a more than usually wild and fitful light, roved scrutinizingly over the church, then settled on our pew.

"She's coming here," whispered Felicity in horror. "Can't we spread out and make her think the pew is full?"

But the manoeuvre was too late. The only result was that Felicity and the Story Girl in moving over left a vacant space between them and Peg promptly plumped down in it.

"Well, I'm here," she remarked aloud. "I did say once I'd never darken the door of Carlisle church again, but what that boy there"--nodding at Peter--"said last winter set me thinking, and I concluded maybe I'd better come once in a while, to be on the safe side."

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The Golden Road
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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