<SPAN name="link2H_4_0030" id="link2H_4_0030">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
A Wedding at the Stone House
The last week in August came. Miss Lavendar was to be married in it. Two
weeks later Anne and Gilbert would leave for Redmond College. In a week's
time Mrs. Rachel Lynde would move to Green Gables and set up her lares and
penates in the erstwhile spare room, which was already prepared for her
coming. She had sold all her superfluous household plenishings by auction
and was at present reveling in the congenial occupation of helping the
Allans pack up. Mr. Allan was to preach his farewell sermon the next
Sunday. The old order was changing rapidly to give place to the new, as
Anne felt with a little sadness threading all her excitement and
"Changes ain't totally pleasant but they're excellent things," said Mr.
Harrison philosophically. "Two years is about long enough for things to
stay exactly the same. If they stayed put any longer they might grow
Mr. Harrison was smoking on his veranda. His wife had self-sacrificingly
told that he might smoke in the house if he took care to sit by an open
window. Mr. Harrison rewarded this concession by going outdoors altogether
to smoke in fine weather, and so mutual goodwill reigned.
Anne had come over to ask Mrs. Harrison for some of her yellow dahlias.
She and Diana were going through to Echo Lodge that evening to help Miss
Lavendar and Charlotta the Fourth with their final preparations for the
morrow's bridal. Miss Lavendar herself never had dahlias; she did not like
them and they would not have suited the fine retirement of her
old-fashioned garden. But flowers of any kind were rather scarce in
Avonlea and the neighboring districts that summer, thanks to Uncle Abe's
storm; and Anne and Diana thought that a certain old cream-colored stone
jug, usually kept sacred to doughnuts, brimmed over with yellow dahlias,
would be just the thing to set in a dim angle of the stone house stairs,
against the dark background of red hall paper.
"I s'pose you'll be starting off for college in a fortnight's time?"
continued Mr. Harrison. "Well, we're going to miss you an awful lot, Emily
and me. To be sure, Mrs. Lynde'll be over there in your place. There ain't
nobody but a substitute can be found for them."
The irony of Mr. Harrison's tone is quite untransferable to paper. In
spite of his wife's intimacy with Mrs. Lynde, the best that could be said
of the relationship between her and Mr. Harrison even under the new
regime, was that they preserved an armed neutrality.
"Yes, I'm going," said Anne. "I'm very glad with my head . . . and very
sorry with my heart."
"I s'pose you'll be scooping up all the honors that are lying round loose
"I may try for one or two of them," confessed Anne, "but I don't care so
much for things like that as I did two years ago. What I want to get out
of my college course is some knowledge of the best way of living life and
doing the most and best with it. I want to learn to understand and help
other people and myself."
Mr. Harrison nodded.
"That's the idea exactly. That's what college ought to be for, instead of
for turning out a lot of B.A.'s, so chock full of book-learning and vanity
that there ain't room for anything else. You're all right. College won't
be able to do you much harm, I reckon."
Diana and Anne drove over to Echo Lodge after tea, taking with them all
the flowery spoil that several predatory expeditions in their own and
their neighbors' gardens had yielded. They found the stone house agog with
excitement. Charlotta the Fourth was flying around with such vim and
briskness that her blue bows seemed really to possess the power of being
everywhere at once. Like the helmet of Navarre, Charlotta's blue bows
waved ever in the thickest of the fray.
"Praise be to goodness you've come," she said devoutly, "for there's heaps
of things to do . . . and the frosting on that cake WON'T harden . . . and
there's all the silver to be rubbed up yet . . . and the horsehair trunk
to be packed . . . and the roosters for the chicken salad are running out
there beyant the henhouse yet, crowing, Miss Shirley, ma'am. And Miss
Lavendar ain't to be trusted to do a thing. I was thankful when Mr. Irving
came a few minutes ago and took her off for a walk in the woods.
Courting's all right in its place, Miss Shirley, ma'am, but if you try to
mix it up with cooking and scouring everything's spoiled. That's MY
opinion, Miss Shirley, ma'am."
Anne and Diana worked so heartily that by ten o'clock even Charlotta the
Fourth was satisfied. She braided her hair in innumerable plaits and took
her weary little bones off to bed.
"But I'm sure I shan't sleep a blessed wink, Miss Shirley, ma'am, for fear
that something'll go wrong at the last minute . . . the cream won't whip .
. . or Mr. Irving'll have a stroke and not be able to come."
"He isn't in the habit of having strokes, is he?" asked Diana, the dimpled
corners of her mouth twitching. To Diana, Charlotta the Fourth was, if not
exactly a thing of beauty, certainly a joy forever.
"They're not things that go by habit," said Charlotta the Fourth with
dignity. "They just HAPPEN . . . and there you are. ANYBODY can have a
stroke. You don't have to learn how. Mr. Irving looks a lot like an uncle
of mine that had one once just as he was sitting down to dinner one day.
But maybe everything'll go all right. In this world you've just got to
hope for the best and prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends."
"The only thing I'm worried about is that it won't be fine tomorrow," said
Diana. "Uncle Abe predicted rain for the middle of the week, and ever
since the big storm I can't help believing there's a good deal in what
Uncle Abe says."
Anne, who knew better than Diana just how much Uncle Abe had to do with
the storm, was not much disturbed by this. She slept the sleep of the just
and weary, and was roused at an unearthly hour by Charlotta the Fourth.
"Oh, Miss Shirley, ma'am, it's awful to call you so early," came wailing
through the keyhole, "but there's so much to do yet . . . and oh, Miss
Shirley, ma'am, I'm skeered it's going to rain and I wish you'd get up and
tell me you think it ain't." Anne flew to the window, hoping against hope
that Charlotta the Fourth was saying this merely by way of rousing her
effectually. But alas, the morning did look unpropitious. Below the window
Miss Lavendar's garden, which should have been a glory of pale virgin
sunshine, lay dim and windless; and the sky over the firs was dark with
"Isn't it too mean!" said Diana.
"We must hope for the best," said Anne determinedly. "If it only doesn't
actually rain, a cool, pearly gray day like this would really be nicer
than hot sunshine."
"But it will rain," mourned Charlotta, creeping into the room, a figure of
fun, with her many braids wound about her head, the ends, tied up with
white thread, sticking out in all directions. "It'll hold off till the
last minute and then pour cats and dogs. And all the folks will get
sopping . . . and track mud all over the house . . . and they won't be
able to be married under the honeysuckle . . . and it's awful unlucky for
no sun to shine on a bride, say what you will, Miss Shirley, ma'am. <i>I</i>
knew things were going too well to last."
Charlotta the Fourth seemed certainly to have borrowed a leaf out of Miss
Eliza Andrews' book.
It did not rain, though it kept on looking as if it meant to. By noon the
rooms were decorated, the table beautifully laid; and upstairs was waiting
a bride, "adorned for her husband."
"You do look sweet," said Anne rapturously.
"Lovely," echoed Diana.
"Everything's ready, Miss Shirley, ma'am, and nothing dreadful has
happened YET," was Charlotta's cheerful statement as she betook herself to
her little back room to dress. Out came all the braids; the resultant
rampant crinkliness was plaited into two tails and tied, not with two bows
alone, but with four, of brand-new ribbon, brightly blue. The two upper
bows rather gave the impression of overgrown wings sprouting from
Charlotta's neck, somewhat after the fashion of Raphael's cherubs. But
Charlotta the Fourth thought them very beautiful, and after she had
rustled into a white dress, so stiffly starched that it could stand alone,
she surveyed herself in her glass with great satisfaction . . . a
satisfaction which lasted until she went out in the hall and caught a
glimpse through the spare room door of a tall girl in some softly clinging
gown, pinning white, star-like flowers on the smooth ripples of her ruddy
"Oh, I'll NEVER be able to look like Miss Shirley," thought poor Charlotta
despairingly. "You just have to be born so, I guess . . . don't seem's if
any amount of practice could give you that AIR."
By one o'clock the guests had come, including Mr. and Mrs. Allan, for Mr.
Allan was to perform the ceremony in the absence of the Grafton minister
on his vacation. There was no formality about the marriage. Miss Lavendar
came down the stairs to meet her bridegroom at the foot, and as he took
her hand she lifted her big brown eyes to his with a look that made
Charlotta the Fourth, who intercepted it, feel queerer than ever. They
went out to the honeysuckle arbor, where Mr. Allan was awaiting them. The
guests grouped themselves as they pleased. Anne and Diana stood by the old
stone bench, with Charlotta the Fourth between them, desperately clutching
their hands in her cold, tremulous little paws.
Mr. Allan opened his blue book and the ceremony proceeded. Just as Miss
Lavendar and Stephen Irving were pronounced man and wife a very beautiful
and symbolic thing happened. The sun suddenly burst through the gray and
poured a flood of radiance on the happy bride. Instantly the garden was
alive with dancing shadows and flickering lights.
"What a lovely omen," thought Anne, as she ran to kiss the bride. Then the
three girls left the rest of the guests laughing around the bridal pair
while they flew into the house to see that all was in readiness for the
"Thanks be to goodness, it's over, Miss Shirley, ma'am," breathed
Charlotta the Fourth, "and they're married safe and sound, no matter what
happens now. The bags of rice are in the pantry, ma'am, and the old shoes
are behind the door, and the cream for whipping is on the sullar steps."
At half past two Mr. and Mrs. Irving left, and everybody went to Bright
River to see them off on the afternoon train. As Miss Lavendar . . . I beg
her pardon, Mrs. Irving . . . stepped from the door of her old home
Gilbert and the girls threw the rice and Charlotta the Fourth hurled an
old shoe with such excellent aim that she struck Mr. Allan squarely on the
head. But it was reserved for Paul to give the prettiest send-off. He
popped out of the porch ringing furiously a huge old brass dinner bell
which had adorned the dining room mantel. Paul's only motive was to make a
joyful noise; but as the clangor died away, from point and curve and hill
across the river came the chime of "fairy wedding bells," ringing clearly,
sweetly, faintly and more faint, as if Miss Lavendar's beloved echoes were
bidding her greeting and farewell. And so, amid this benediction of sweet
sounds, Miss Lavendar drove away from the old life of dreams and
make-believes to a fuller life of realities in the busy world beyond.
Two hours later Anne and Charlotta the Fourth came down the lane again.
Gilbert had gone to West Grafton on an errand and Diana had to keep an
engagement at home. Anne and Charlotta had come back to put things in
order and lock up the little stone house. The garden was a pool of late
golden sunshine, with butterflies hovering and bees booming; but the
little house had already that indefinable air of desolation which always
follows a festivity.
"Oh dear me, don't it look lonesome?" sniffed Charlotta the Fourth, who
had been crying all the way home from the station. "A wedding ain't much
cheerfuller than a funeral after all, when it's all over, Miss Shirley,
A busy evening followed. The decorations had to be removed, the dishes
washed, the uneaten delicacies packed into a basket for the delectation of
Charlotta the Fourth's young brothers at home. Anne would not rest until
everything was in apple-pie order; after Charlotta had gone home with her
plunder Anne went over the still rooms, feeling like one who trod alone
some banquet hall deserted, and closed the blinds. Then she locked the
door and sat down under the silver poplar to wait for Gilbert, feeling
very tired but still unweariedly thinking "long, long thoughts."
"What are you thinking of, Anne?" asked Gilbert, coming down the walk. He
had left his horse and buggy out at the road.
"Of Miss Lavendar and Mr. Irving," answered Anne dreamily. "Isn't it
beautiful to think how everything has turned out . . . how they have come
together again after all the years of separation and misunderstanding?"
"Yes, it's beautiful," said Gilbert, looking steadily down into Anne's
uplifted face, "but wouldn't it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if
there had been NO separation or misunderstanding . . . if they had come
hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but
those which belonged to each other?"
For a moment Anne's heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her
eyes faltered under Gilbert's gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness
of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner
consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of
unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not
come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down;
perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways;
perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of
illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music,
perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful
friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.
Then the veil dropped again; but the Anne who walked up the dark lane was
not quite the same Anne who had driven gaily down it the evening before.
The page of girlhood had been turned, as by an unseen finger, and the page
of womanhood was before her with all its charm and mystery, its pain and
Gilbert wisely said nothing more; but in his silence he read the history
of the next four years in the light of Anne's remembered blush. Four years
of earnest, happy work . . . and then the guerdon of a useful knowledge
gained and a sweet heart won.
Behind them in the garden the little stone house brooded among the
shadows. It was lonely but not forsaken. It had not yet done with dreams
and laughter and the joy of life; there were to be future summers for the
little stone house; meanwhile, it could wait. And over the river in purple
durance the echoes bided their time.
The correct words were obtained from the L.C. Page &
Company, Inc. edition of this book copyright 1909 -
Thirteenth Impression, April 1911.
Italic emphases have been CAPITALIZED for emphasis, other
italics, such as titles have been 'Placed in Single Quotes.'
Italic I's are <i>I</i>.
Most spellings and combined words have been left as they
were in the majority of the editions originally published.
Some spelling errors we presume were not intended have been
<br /> <br />
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Anne Of Avonlea, by Lucy Maud Montgomery