سال اول - فصل 14

مجموعه: آن شرلی با موهای قرمز / : آن در ویندی پاپلز / فصل 14

آن شرلی با موهای قرمز

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سال اول - فصل 14

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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14

It was ten o’clock when Pauline came at last . . . a flushed, starry-eyed Pauline, looking ten years younger, in spite of the resumed taffeta and the old hat, and carrying a beautiful bouquet which she hurriedly presented to the grim lady in the wheel-chair.

“The bride sent you her bouquet, Ma. Isn’t it lovely? Twenty-five white roses.”

“Cat’s hindfoot! I don’t s’pose any one thought of sending me a crumb of wedding-cake. People nowadays don’t seem to have any family feeling. Ah, well, I’ve seen the day . . .”

“But they did. I’ve a great big piece here in my bag. And everybody asked about you and sent you their love, Ma.”

“Did you have a nice time?” asked Anne.

Pauline sat down on a hard chair because she knew her mother would resent it if she sat on a soft one.

“Very nice,” she said cautiously. “We had a lovely wedding-dinner and Mr.

Freeman, the Gull Cove minister, married Louisa and Maurice over again. . . .”

“I call that sacrilegious. . . .”

“And then the photographer took all our pictures. The flowers were simply wonderful. The parlor was a bower . . .”

“Like a funeral I s’pose . . .”

“And, oh, Ma. Mary Luckley was there from the west . . . Mrs. Flemming, you know. You remember what friends she and I always were. We used to call each other Polly and Molly. . . .”

“Very silly names . . .”

“And it was so nice to see her again and have a long talk over old times. Her sister Em was there, too, with such a delicious baby.”89

“You talk as if it was something to eat,” grunted Mrs. Gibson. “Babies are common enough.”

“Oh, no, babies are never common,” said Anne, bringing a bowl of water for Mrs.

Gibson’s roses. “Every one is a miracle.”

“Well, I had ten and I never saw much that was miraculous about any of them.

Pauline, do sit still if you kin. You fidget me. I notice you ain’t asking how I got along. But I s’pose I couldn’t expect it.”

“I can tell how you got along without asking, Ma . . . you look so bright and cheerful.” Pauline was still so uplifted by the day that she could be a little arch even with her mother. “I’m sure you and Miss Shirley had a nice time together.”

“We got on well enough. I just let her have her own way. I admit it’s the first time in years I’ve heard some interesting conversation. I ain’t so near the grave as some people would like to make out. Thank heaven I’ve never got deaf or childish. Well, I s’pose the next thing you’ll be off to the moon. And I s’pose they didn’t care for my sarsaparilla wine by any chance?”

“Oh, they did. They thought it delicious.”

“You’ve taken your own time telling me that. Did you bring back the bottle . . . or would it be too much to expect you’d remember that?”

“The . . . the bottle got broke,” faltered Pauline. “Some one knocked it over in the pantry. But Louisa gave me another just exactly the same, Ma, so you needn’t worry.”

“I’ve had that bottle ever since I started housekeeping. Louisa’s can’t be exactly the same. They don’t make such bottles nowadays. I wish you’d bring me another shawl. I’m sneezing . . . I expect I’ve got a terrible cold. You can’t either of you seem to remember not to let the night air git at me. Likely it’ll bring my neuritis back.”

An old neighbor up the street dropped in at this Juncture and Pauline snatched at the chance to go a little way with Anne.

“Good night, Miss Shirley,” said Mrs. Gibson quite graciously. “I’m much obliged to you. If there was more people like you in this town, it would be the better for it.” She grinned toothlessly and pulled Anne down to her. “I don’t care what people say . . . I think you’re real nice-looking,” she whispered.90 Pauline and Anne walked along the street, through the cool, green night, and Pauline let herself go, as she had not dared do before her mother.

“Oh, Miss Shirley, it was heavenly. How can I ever repay you? I’ve never spent such a wonderful day . . . I’ll live on it for years. It was such fun being a bridesmaid again. And Captain Isaac Kent was groomsman. He . . . he used to be an old beau of mine . . . well, no, hardly a beau . . . . I don’t think he ever had any real intentions but we drove round together . . . and he paid me two compliments.

He said, ‘I remember how pretty you looked at Louisa’s wedding in that winecolored dress.’ Wasn’t it wonderful his remembering the dress? And he said, ‘Your hair looks just as much like molasses taffy as it ever did.’ There wasn’t anything improper in his saying that, was there, Miss Shirley?”

“Nothing whatever.”

“Lou and Molly and I had such a nice supper together after everybody had gone.

I was so hungry . . . I don’t think I’ve been so hungry for years. It was so nice to eat just what I wanted and nobody to warn me about things that wouldn’t agree with my stomach. After supper Mary and I went over to her old home and wandered around the garden, talking over old times. We saw the lilac bushes we planted years ago. We had some beautiful summers together when we were girls.

Then when it came sunset we went down to the dear old shore and sat there on a rock in silence. There was a bell ringing down at the harbor and it was lovely to feel the wind from the sea again and see the stars trembling in the water. I had forgotten night on the gulf could be so beautiful. When it got quite dark we went back and Mr. Gregor was ready to start . . . and so,” concluded Pauline with a laugh, “The Old Woman Got Home That Night.”

“I wish . . . I wish you didn’t have such a hard time at home, Pauline. . . .”

“Oh, dear Miss Shirley, I won’t mind it now,” said Pauline quickly. “After all, poor Ma needs me. And it’s nice to be needed, my dear.”

Yes, it was nice to be needed. Anne thought of this in her tower room, where Dusty Miller, having evaded both Rebecca Dew and the widows, was curled up on her bed. She thought of Pauline trotting back to her bondage but companied by “the immortal spirit of one happy day.”

“I hope some one will always need me,” said Anne to Dusty Miller. “And it’s wonderful, Dusty Miller, to be able to give happiness to somebody. It has made me feel so rich, giving Pauline this day. But, oh, Dusty Miller, you don’t think I’ll91 ever be like Mrs. Adoniram Gibson, even if I live to be eighty? Do you, Dusty Miller?”

Dusty Miller, with rich, throaty purrs, assured her he didn’t.

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