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  • CHAPTER XII A Jonah Day

  • It really began the night before with a restless, wakeful vigil of grumbling

  • toothache.

  • When Anne arose in the dull, bitter winter morning she felt that life was flat, stale,

  • and unprofitable. She went to school in no angelic mood.

  • Her cheek was swollen and her face ached.

  • The schoolroom was cold and smoky, for the fire refused to burn and the children were

  • huddled about it in shivering groups. Anne sent them to their seats with a

  • sharper tone than she had ever used before.

  • Anthony Pye strutted to his with his usual impertinent swagger and she saw him whisper

  • something to his seat-mate and then glance at her with a grin.

  • Never, so it seemed to Anne, had there been so many squeaky pencils as there were that

  • morning; and when Barbara Shaw came up to the desk with a sum she tripped over the

  • coal scuttle with disastrous results.

  • The coal rolled to every part of the room, her slate was broken into fragments, and

  • when she picked herself up, her face, stained with coal dust, sent the boys into

  • roars of laughter.

  • Anne turned from the second reader class which she was hearing.

  • "Really, Barbara," she said icily, "if you cannot move without falling over something

  • you'd better remain in your seat.

  • It is positively disgraceful for a girl of your age to be so awkward."

  • Poor Barbara stumbled back to her desk, her tears combining with the coal dust to

  • produce an effect truly grotesque.

  • Never before had her beloved, sympathetic teacher spoken to her in such a tone or

  • fashion, and Barbara was heartbroken.

  • Anne herself felt a prick of conscience but it only served to increase her mental

  • irritation, and the second reader class remember that lesson yet, as well as the

  • unmerciful infliction of arithmetic that followed.

  • Just as Anne was snapping the sums out St. Clair Donnell arrived breathlessly.

  • "You are half an hour late, St. Clair," Anne reminded him frigidly.

  • "Why is this?"

  • "Please, miss, I had to help ma make a pudding for dinner 'cause we're expecting

  • company and Clarice Almira's sick," was St. Clair's answer, given in a perfectly

  • respectful voice but nevertheless provocative of great mirth among his mates.

  • "Take your seat and work out the six problems on page eighty-four of your

  • arithmetic for punishment," said Anne.

  • St. Clair looked rather amazed at her tone but he went meekly to his desk and took out

  • his slate. Then he stealthily passed a small parcel to

  • Joe Sloane across the aisle.

  • Anne caught him in the act and jumped to a fatal conclusion about that parcel.

  • Old Mrs. Hiram Sloane had lately taken to making and selling "nut cakes" by way of

  • adding to her scanty income.

  • The cakes were specially tempting to small boys and for several weeks Anne had had not

  • a little trouble in regard to them.

  • On their way to school the boys would invest their spare cash at Mrs. Hiram's,

  • bring the cakes along with them to school, and, if possible, eat them and treat their

  • mates during school hours.

  • Anne had warned them that if they brought any more cakes to school they would be

  • confiscated; and yet here was St. Clair Donnell coolly passing a parcel of them,

  • wrapped up in the blue and white striped paper Mrs. Hiram used, under her very eyes.

  • "Joseph," said Anne quietly, "bring that parcel here."

  • Joe, startled and abashed, obeyed.

  • He was a fat urchin who always blushed and stuttered when he was frightened.

  • Never did anybody look more guilty than poor Joe at that moment.

  • "Throw it into the fire," said Anne.

  • Joe looked very blank. "P...p...p...lease, m...m...miss," he

  • began. "Do as I tell you, Joseph, without any

  • words about it."

  • "B...b...but m...m...miss...th...th ...they're ..." gasped Joe in desperation.

  • "Joseph, are you going to obey me or are you NOT?" said Anne.

  • A bolder and more self-possessed lad than Joe Sloane would have been overawed by her

  • tone and the dangerous flash of her eyes. This was a new Anne whom none of her pupils

  • had ever seen before.

  • Joe, with an agonized glance at St. Clair, went to the stove, opened the big, square

  • front door, and threw the blue and white parcel in, before St. Clair, who had sprung

  • to his feet, could utter a word.

  • Then he dodged back just in time. For a few moments the terrified occupants

  • of Avonlea school did not know whether it was an earthquake or a volcanic explosion

  • that had occurred.

  • The innocent looking parcel which Anne had rashly supposed to contain Mrs. Hiram's nut

  • cakes really held an assortment of firecrackers and pinwheels for which Warren

  • Sloane had sent to town by St. Clair

  • Donnell's father the day before, intending to have a birthday celebration that

  • evening.

  • The crackers went off in a thunderclap of noise and the pinwheels bursting out of the

  • door spun madly around the room, hissing and spluttering.

  • Anne dropped into her chair white with dismay and all the girls climbed shrieking

  • upon their desks.

  • Joe Sloane stood as one transfixed in the midst of the commotion and St. Clair,

  • helpless with laughter, rocked to and fro in the aisle.

  • Prillie Rogerson fainted and Annetta Bell went into hysterics.

  • It seemed a long time, although it was really only a few minutes, before the last

  • pinwheel subsided.

  • Anne, recovering herself, sprang to open doors and windows and let out the gas and

  • smoke which filled the room.

  • Then she helped the girls carry the unconscious Prillie into the porch, where

  • Barbara Shaw, in an agony of desire to be useful, poured a pailful of half frozen

  • water over Prillie's face and shoulders before anyone could stop her.

  • It was a full hour before quiet was restored ...but it was a quiet that might

  • be felt.

  • Everybody realized that even the explosion had not cleared the teacher's mental

  • atmosphere. Nobody, except Anthony Pye, dared whisper a

  • word.

  • Ned Clay accidentally squeaked his pencil while working a sum, caught Anne's eye and

  • wished the floor would open and swallow him up.

  • The geography class were whisked through a continent with a speed that made them

  • dizzy. The grammar class were parsed and analyzed

  • within an inch of their lives.

  • Chester Sloane, spelling "odoriferous" with two f's, was made to feel that he could

  • never live down the disgrace of it, either in this world or that which is to come.

  • Anne knew that she had made herself ridiculous and that the incident would be

  • laughed over that night at a score of tea- tables, but the knowledge only angered her

  • further.

  • In a calmer mood she could have carried off the situation with a laugh but now that was

  • impossible; so she ignored it in icy disdain.

  • When Anne returned to the school after dinner all the children were as usual in

  • their seats and every face was bent studiously over a desk except Anthony

  • Pye's.

  • He peered across his book at Anne, his black eyes sparkling with curiosity and

  • mockery.

  • Anne twitched open the drawer of her desk in search of chalk and under her very hand

  • a lively mouse sprang out of the drawer, scampered over the desk, and leaped to the

  • floor.

  • Anne screamed and sprang back, as if it had been a snake, and Anthony Pye laughed

  • aloud. Then a silence fell...a very creepy,

  • uncomfortable silence.

  • Annetta Bell was of two minds whether to go into hysterics again or not, especially as

  • she didn't know just where the mouse had gone.

  • But she decided not to.

  • Who could take any comfort out of hysterics with a teacher so white-faced and so

  • blazing-eyed standing before one? "Who put that mouse in my desk?" said Anne.

  • Her voice was quite low but it made a shiver go up and down Paul Irving's spine.

  • Joe Sloane caught her eye, felt responsible from the crown of his head to the sole of

  • his feet, but stuttered out wildly,

  • "N...n...not m...m...me t...t...teacher, n ...n...not m...m...me."

  • Anne paid no attention to the wretched Joseph.

  • She looked at Anthony Pye, and Anthony Pye looked back unabashed and unashamed.

  • "Anthony, was it you?" "Yes, it was," said Anthony insolently.

  • Anne took her pointer from her desk.

  • It was a long, heavy hardwood pointer. "Come here, Anthony."

  • It was far from being the most severe punishment Anthony Pye had ever undergone.

  • Anne, even the stormy-souled Anne she was at that moment, could not have punished any

  • child cruelly.

  • But the pointer nipped keenly and finally Anthony's bravado failed him; he winced and

  • the tears came to his eyes. Anne, conscience-stricken, dropped the

  • pointer and told Anthony to go to his seat.

  • She sat down at her desk feeling ashamed, repentant, and bitterly mortified.

  • Her quick anger was gone and she would have given much to have been able to seek relief

  • in tears.

  • So all her boasts had come to this...she had actually whipped one of her pupils.

  • How Jane would triumph! And how Mr. Harrison would chuckle!

  • But worse than this, bitterest thought of all, she had lost her last chance of

  • winning Anthony Pye. Never would he like her now.

  • Anne, by what somebody has called "a Herculaneum effort," kept back her tears

  • until she got home that night.

  • Then she shut herself in the east gable room and wept all her shame and remorse and

  • disappointment into her pillows...wept so long that Marilla grew alarmed, invaded the

  • room, and insisted on knowing what the trouble was.

  • "The trouble is, I've got things the matter with my conscience," sobbed Anne.

  • "Oh, this has been such a Jonah day, Marilla.

  • I'm so ashamed of myself. I lost my temper and whipped Anthony Pye."

  • "I'm glad to hear it," said Marilla with decision.

  • "It's what you should have done long ago." "Oh, no, no, Marilla.

  • And I don't see how I can ever look those children in the face again.

  • I feel that I have humiliated myself to the very dust.

  • You don't know how cross and hateful and horrid I was.

  • I can't forget the expression in Paul Irving's eyes...he looked so surprised and

  • disappointed.

  • Oh, Marilla, I HAVE tried so hard to be patient and to win Anthony's liking...and

  • now it has all gone for nothing."

  • Marilla passed her hard work-worn hand over the girl's glossy, tumbled hair with a

  • wonderful tenderness. When Anne's sobs grew quieter she said,

  • very gently for her,

  • "You take things too much to heart, Anne. We all make mistakes...but people forget

  • them. And Jonah days come to everybody.

  • As for Anthony Pye, why need you care if he does dislike you?

  • He is the only one." "I can't help it.

  • I want everybody to love me and it hurts me so when anybody doesn't.

  • And Anthony never will now. Oh, I just made an idiot of myself today,

  • Marilla.

  • I'll tell you the whole story." Marilla listened to the whole story, and if

  • she smiled at certain parts of it Anne never knew.

  • When the tale was ended she said briskly,

  • "Well, never mind. This day's done and there's a new one

  • coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself.

  • Just come downstairs and have your supper.

  • You'll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won't hearten you

  • up."

  • "Plum puffs won't minister to a mind diseased," said Anne disconsolately; but

  • Marilla thought it a good sign that she had recovered sufficiently to adapt a

  • quotation.

  • The cheerful supper table, with the twins' bright faces, and Marilla's matchless plum

  • puffs...of which Davy ate four... did "hearten her up" considerably after all.

  • She had a good sleep that night and awakened in the morning to find herself and

  • the world transformed.

  • It had snowed softly and thickly all through the hours of darkness and the

  • beautiful whiteness, glittering in the frosty sunshine, looked like a mantle of

  • charity cast over all the mistakes and humiliations of the past.

  • "Every morn is a fresh beginning, Every morn is the world made new,"

  • sang Anne, as she dressed.

  • Owing to the snow she had to go around by the road to school and she thought it was

  • certainly an impish coincidence that Anthony Pye should come ploughing along

  • just as she left the Green Gables lane.

  • She felt as guilty as if their positions were reversed; but to her unspeakable

  • astonishment Anthony not only lifted his cap...which he had never done before...but

  • said easily,

  • "Kind of bad walking, ain't it? Can I take those books for you, teacher?"

  • Anne surrendered her books and wondered if she could possibly be awake.

  • Anthony walked on in silence to the school, but when Anne took her books she smiled

  • down at him...not the stereotyped "kind" smile she had so persistently assumed for

  • his benefit but a sudden outflashing of good comradeship.

  • Anthony smiled...no, if the truth must be told, Anthony GRINNED back.

  • A grin is not generally supposed to be a respectful thing; yet Anne suddenly felt

  • that if she had not yet won Anthony's liking she had, somehow or other, won his

  • respect.

  • Mrs. Rachel Lynde came up the next Saturday and confirmed this.

  • "Well, Anne, I guess you've won over Anthony Pye, that's what.

  • He says he believes you are some good after all, even if you are a girl.

  • Says that whipping you gave him was 'just as good as a man's.'"

  • "I never expected to win him by whipping him, though," said Anne, a little

  • mournfully, feeling that her ideals had played her false somewhere.

  • "It doesn't seem right.

  • I'm sure my theory of kindness can't be wrong."

  • "No, but the Pyes are an exception to every known rule, that's what," declared Mrs.

  • Rachel with conviction.

  • Mr. Harrison said, "Thought you'd come to it," when he heard it, and Jane rubbed it

  • in rather unmercifully.

  • CHAPTER XIII A Golden Picnic

  • Anne, on her way to Orchard Slope, met Diana, bound for Green Gables, just where

  • the mossy old log bridge spanned the brook below the Haunted Wood, and they sat down

  • by the margin of the Dryad's Bubble, where

  • tiny ferns were unrolling like curly-headed green pixy folk wakening up from a nap.

  • "I was just on my way over to invite you to help me celebrate my birthday on Saturday,"

  • said Anne.

  • "Your birthday? But your birthday was in March!"

  • "That wasn't my fault," laughed Anne. "If my parents had consulted me it would

  • never have happened then.

  • I should have chosen to be born in spring, of course.

  • It must be delightful to come into the world with the mayflowers and violets.

  • You would always feel that you were their foster sister.

  • But since I didn't, the next best thing is to celebrate my birthday in the spring.

  • Priscilla is coming over Saturday and Jane will be home.

  • We'll all four