سال سوم - فصل 03

مجموعه: آن شرلی با موهای قرمز / : آن در ویندی پاپلز / فصل 32

آن شرلی با موهای قرمز

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سال سوم - فصل 03

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3 At two o’clock Mr. James Grand called. Mr. Grand was the chairman of the High School board of trustees and had matters of importance to talk of, which he wished to discuss fully before he left on Monday to attend an educational conference in Kingsport. Could he come to Windy Poplars in the evening? asked Anne. Unfortunately he couldn’t.

Mr. Grand was a good sort of man in his own fashion, but Anne had long ago found out that he must be handled with gloves. Moreover, Anne was very anxious to get him on her side in a battle royal over new equipment that was looming up. She went out to the twins.

“Darlings, will you play nicely out in the back yard while I have a little talk with Mr. Grand? I won’t be very long . . . and then we’ll have an afternoon-tea picnic on the banks of the pond . . . and I’ll teach you to blow soap-bubbles with red dye in them . . . the loveliest things!”

“Will you give us a quarter apiece if we behave?” demanded Gerald.

“No, Gerald dear,” said Anne firmly, “I’m not going to bribe you. I know you are going to be good, just because I ask you, as a gentleman should.”

“We’ll be good, Miss Shirley,” promised Gerald solemnly.

“Awful good,” echoed Geraldine, with equal solemnity.

It is possible they would have kept their promise if Ivy Trent had not arrived almost as soon as Anne was closeted with Mr. Grand in the parlor. But Ivy Trent did arrive and the Raymond twins hated Ivy Trent . . . the impeccable Ivy Trent who never did anything wrong and always looked as if she had just stepped out of a band-box.

On this particular afternoon there was no doubt that Ivy Trent had come over to show off her beautiful new brown boots and her sash and shoulder bows and hair bows of scarlet ribbon. Mrs. Raymond, whatever she lacked in some respects, had fairly sensible ideas about dressing children. Her charitable neighbors said she put so much money on herself that she had none to spend on the twins . . . and Geraldine never had a chance to parade the street in the style of Ivy Trent, who had a dress for every afternoon in the week. Mrs. Trent always arrayed her in “spotless white.” At least. Ivy was always spotless when she left home. If she were not quite so spotless when she returned that, of course, was the fault of the “jealous” children with whom the neighborhood abounded.

Geraldine was jealous. She longed for scarlet sash and shoulder bows and white embroidered dresses. What would she not have given for buttoned brown boots like those?

“How do you like my new sash and shoulder bows?” asked Ivy proudly.

“How do you like my new sash and shoulder bows?” mimicked Geraldine tauntingly.

“But you haven’t got shoulder bows,” said Ivy grandly.

“But you haven’t got shoulder bows,” squeaked Geraldine.

Ivy looked puzzled.

“I have so. Can’t you see them?”

“I have so. Can’t you see them?” mocked Geraldine, very happy in this brilliant idea of repeating everything Ivy said scornfully.

“They ain’t paid for,” said Gerald.

Ivy Trent had a temper. It showed itself in her face, which grew as red as her shoulder bows.

“They are, too. My mother always pays her bills.”

“My mother always pays her bills,” chanted Geraldine.

Ivy was uncomfortable. She didn’t know exactly how to cope with this. So she turned to Gerald, who was undoubtedly the handsomest boy on the street. Ivy had made up her mind about him.

“I came over to tell you I’m going to have you for my beau,” she said, looking eloquently at him out of a pair of brown eyes that, even at seven, Ivy had learned had a devastating effect on most of the small boys of her acquaintance.

Gerald turned crimson.185

“I won’t be your beau,” he said.

“But you’ve got to be,” said Ivy serenely.

“But you’ve got to be,” said Geraldine, wagging her head at him.

“I won’t be,” shouted Gerald furiously. “And don’t you give me any more of your lip, Ivy Trent.”

“You have to be,” said Ivy stubbornly.

“You have to be,” said Geraldine.

Ivy glared at her.

“You just shut up, Geraldine Raymond!”

“I guess I can talk in my own yard,” said Geraldine.

“‘Course she can,” said Gerald. “And if you don’t shut up, Ivy Trent, I’ll just go over to your place and dig the eyes out of your doll.”

“My mother would spank you if you did,” cried Ivy.

“Oh, she would, would she? Well, do you know what my mother would do to her if she did? She’d just sock her on the nose.”

“Well, anyway, you’ve got to be my beau,” said Ivy, returning calmly to the vital subject.

“I’ll . . . I’ll duck your head in the rain-barrel,” yelled the maddened Gerald . . . “I’ll rub your face in an ant’s nest . . . I’ll . . . I’ll tear them bows and sash off you . . .” triumphantly, for this at least was feasible.

“Let’s do it,” squealed Geraldine.

They pounced like furies on the unfortunate Ivy, who kicked and shrieked and tried to bite but was no match for the two of them. Together they hauled her across the yard and into the woodshed, where her howls could not be heard.

“Hurry,” gasped Geraldine, “‘fore Miss Shirley comes out.”186 No time was to be lost. Gerald held Ivy’s legs while Geraldine held her wrists with one hand and tore off her hair bow and shoulder bows and sash with the other.

“Let’s paint her legs,” shouted Gerald, his eyes falling on a couple of cans of paint left there by some workmen the previous week. “I’ll hold her and you paint her.”

Ivy shrieked vainly in despair. Her stockings were pulled down and in a few moments her legs were adorned with wide stripes of red and green paint. In the process a good deal of the paint got spattered over her embroidered dress and new boots. As a finishing touch they filled her curls with burrs.

She was a pitiful sight when they finally released her. The twins howled mirthfully as they looked at her. Long weeks of airs and condescensions from Ivy had been avenged.

“Now you go home,” said Gerald. “This’ll teach you to go ‘round telling people they have to be your beaus.”

“I’ll tell my mother,” wept Ivy. “I’ll go straight home and tell my mother on you, you horrid, horrid, hateful, ugly boy!”

“Don’t you call my brother ugly, you stuck-up thing,” cried Geraldine. “You and your shoulder bows! Here, take them with you. We don’t want them cluttering up our woodshed.”

Ivy, pursued by the bows, which Geraldine pelted after her, ran sobbing out of the yard and down the street.

“Quick . . . let’s sneak up the back stairs to the bathroom and clean up ‘fore Miss Shirley sees us,” gasped Geraldine.

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