en-de  Anne of Green Gables (1908) / CHAPTER XXXVI Medium
Kapitel 36

DIE HERRLICHKEIT UND DER TRAUM

AM Morgen, als die endgültigen Ergebnisse aller Prüfungen am Queen's auf dem Schwarzen Brett veröffentlicht werden sollten, gingen Anne und Jane gemeinsam die Straße entlang. Jane lächelte und war glücklich; die Prüfungen waren vorbei und sie war sich ganz sicher, dass sie zumindest bestanden hatte; weitere Überlegungen beunruhigten Jane überhaupt nicht; sie hatte keine hochfliegenden Ambitionen und war daher nicht von der Unruhe betroffen, die ihnen folgt. Denn wir zahlen einen Preis für alles, was wir in dieser Welt bekommen oder von ihr nehmen; und auch wenn es sich lohnt Zielsetzungen zu haben, bekommt man sie nicht umsonst, sondern sie verlangen ihren entsprechenden Anteil an Arbeit und Selbstverleugnung, Ängsten und Entmutigungen. Anne war blass und ruhig; in den nächsten zehn Minuten würde sie wissen, wer die Medaille gewonnen hatte und wer das Avery-Stipendium. Über diese zehn Minuten hinaus schien es gerade damals nichts zu geben, was es wert wäre, als Zeit bezeichnet zu werden.
"Natürlich wirst du eines von beiden gewinnen", sagte Jane, die nicht verstehen konnte, wie die Fakultät so unfair sein konnte, es anders anzuordnen.
"Ich habe keine Hoffnung auf das Avery", sagte Anne. "Alle sagen, Emily Clay wird es gewinnen. Und ich werde nicht zu diesem Schwarzen Brett gehen und es mir vor allen anderen ansehen. Ich habe nicht den Mumm dazu. Ich gehe direkt in die Mädchenumkleide. Du musst die Ankündigungen lesen und dann kommen und es mir sagen, Jane. Und ich bitte dich inständig im Namen unserer alten Freundschaft, es so schnell wie möglich zu tun. Wenn ich versagt habe, sag es einfach, ohne den Versuch zu machen, es mir schonend beizubringen; und was immer du auch tust, bemitleide mich nicht. Versprich mir das, Jane."
Jane versprach es feierlich, aber tatsächlich gab es keine Notwendigkeit für ein solches Versprechen. Als sie die Eingangstreppe vom Queen's hinaufgingen, fanden sie die Halle voller Jungen, die Gilbert Blythe auf ihren Schultern herumtrugen und mit lauter Stimme schrien: "Hurra für Blythe, Medaillengewinner!"
Für einen Moment fühlte Anne einen entsetzlichen Schmerz der Niederlage und der Enttäuschung. Also hatte sie versagt und Gilbert hatte gewonnen! Nun, Matthew würde es leid tun - er war sich so sicher gewesen, dass sie gewinnen würde.
Und dann!
Irgendeiner rief aus:" Ein dreifaches Hoch für Miss Shirley, der Gewinnerin des Averys!"
"Oh, Anne", keuchte Jane, als sie unter herzlichem Jubel in die Garderobe der Mädchen flohen. "Oh, Anne, ich bin so stolz! Ist es nicht wunderbar?"
Und dann waren die Mädchen um sie herum und Anne war das Zentrum einer lachenden, gratulierenden Gruppe. Iher Schultern wurden geklopft und ihre Hände kräftig geschüttelt. Sie wurde gedrückt und gezogen und umarmt und unter all dem schaffte sie es, Jane zuzuflüstern: "Oh,wie werden sich Matthew und Marilla freuen! Ich muss die Neuigkeiten sofort nach Hause schreiben."
Die Abschlussfeier war das nächste wichtige Ereignis. Die Feierlichkeiten fanden in der großen Aula der Akademie statt. Es wurden Reden gehalten, Essays gelesen, Lieder gesungen, Diplome öffentlich verliehen, Preise und Medaillen vergeben.
Matthew und Marilla waren da, mit Augen und Ohren nur für eine Schülerin auf der Plattform - ein großes Mädchen in blassgrün, mit schwach geröteten Wangen und sternenklaren Augen, die den besten Aufsatz vorlas und auf die gezeigt und von der als Avery-Siegerin getuschelt wurde.
"Schätze, du bist froh, dass wir sie behalten haben, Marilla?" flüsterte Matthew und sprach zum ersten Mal seit er den Saal betreten hatte, als Anne ihren Aufsatz beendet hatte.
"Es ist nicht das erste Mal, dass ich froh bin", erwiderte Marilla. "Du liebst es wirklich einem Dinge unter die Nase zu reiben, Matthew Cuthbert",
Miss Barry, die hinten ihnen saß, beugte sich nach vorne und stupste Marillas Rücken mit ihrem Sonnenschirm.
"Bist du nicht stolz auf dieses Anne-Mädchen? Das bin ich," sagte sie.
Anne ging an diesem Abend mit Matthew und Marilla nach Hause nach Avonlea. Sie war seit April nicht mehr zu Hause gewesen und hatte das Gefühl, dass sie nicht einen Tag länger warten könnte. Die Apfelblüten waren aufgeblüht und die Welt war frisch und jung. Diana war auf Green Gables, um sie zu treffen. In ihrem eigenen weißen Raum, in dem Marilla eine blühende Hausrose auf die Fensterbank gestellt hatte, schaute Anne sich um und nahm einen langen Atemzug des Glücks.
"Oh Diana, es ist so schön, wieder zurück zu sein. Es ist so schön zu sehen, wie sich diese spitzen Tannen gegen den rosa Himmel abheben - und dieser weiße Obstgarten und die alte Schneekönigin. Ist der Duft der Minze nicht köstlich? Und diese Teerose - nun, sie ist ein Lied und eine Hoffnung und ein Gebet in einem. Und es ist schön, dich wiederzusehen, Diana!"
"Ich dachte, du würdest Stella Maynard lieber mögen als mich," sagte Diana vorwurfsvoll. "Josie Pye hat mir gesagt, dass es so wäre. Josie sagte, du wärst in sie vernarrt.“
Anne lachte und bewarf Diana mit den verblassten "Juni-Lilien" ihres Straußes.
"Stella Maynard ist das liebste Mädchen der Welt, außer einer, und du bist diese Eine, Diana," sagte sie. "Ich liebe dich mehr als je zuvor - und ich habe dir so vieles zu erzählen. Aber gerade jetzt fühle ich mich, als ob es genug Freude wäre, hier zu sitzen und dich anzusehen. Ich ... , ich glaube, ich bin es müde, lernbegierig und ergeizig zu sein. Ich habe vor, morgen wenigstens zwei Stunden im Gras des Obstgartens zu liegen und über wirklich nichts nachzudenken".
„Du bist wirklich hervorragend gewesen, Anne. Ich nehme an, du wirst nicht mehr als Lehrerin arbeiten, jetzt, wo du das Avery- Stipendium gewonnen hast?
„Nein. Ich werde im September nach Redmond gehen. Kommt dir das nicht wunderbar vor? Ich werde nach drei herrlichen, goldenen Monaten Ferien einen brandneuen Vorrat an Ambitionen haben. Jane und Ruby werden unterrichten. Ist es nicht großartig, wenn man überlegt, dass wir alle durchgekommen sind, sogar Moody Spurgeon und Josie Pye"?
"Die Kuratoren von Newbridge haben Jane bereits ihre Schule angeboten", sagte Diana. "Gilbert Blythe wird auch unterrichten. Er muss es tun. Sein Vater kann es sich schließlich nicht leisten, ihn nächstes Jahr aufs College zu schicken, deshalb beabsichtigt er, dafür sein eigenes Geld zu verdienen. Ich rechne damit, dass er die Schule hier bekommt, wenn Miss Ames beschließt, aufzuhören.“
Anne spürte ein eigenartiges kleines Gefühl von Bestürzung und Überraschung. Sie hatte das nicht gewusst; sie hatte erwartet, dass Gilbert auch nach Redmond gehen würde. Was würde sie ohne seine inspirierende Rivalität tun? Wäre es nicht auch an einer Hochschule, wo Mädchen und Jungen gemeinsam studieren, mit der Aussicht auf einen echten Abschluss ziemlich schal ohne ihren Freund, den Feind?
Am nächsten Morgen beim Frühstück fiel Anne plötzlich auf, dass Matthew nicht gesund aussah. Gewiss waren seine Haare viel grauer, als sie ein Jahr zuvor gewesen waren.
"Marilla," sagte sie zögernd, als er hinausgegangen war, "geht es Matthew wirklich gut"?
"Nein, es geht ihm nicht gut", sagte Marilla in einem beunruhigenden Ton. „Er hatte in diesem Frühjahr einige wirklich schlimme Herzanfälle und er will sich auch nicht ein wenig schonen. Ich habe mir wirklich Sorgen um ihn gemacht, aber es geht ihm in der Zwischenzeit besser und wir haben einen Lohnarbeiter bekommen, deshalb hoffe ich, dass er sich irgendwie ausruhen und erholen wird. Vielleicht wird er das tun, jetzt, da du zu Hause bist. Du munterst ihn immer so auf.“
Anne lehnte sich über den Tisch und nahm Marillas Gesicht in ihre Hände.
"Du siehst selbst nicht so gut aus, wie ich dich gerne sehen würde, Marilla. Du schaust müde aus. Ich fürchte, du hast zu hart gearbeitet. Du musst dich ausruhen, jetzt, wo ich zu Hause bin. Ich werde mir diesen einen Tag frei nehmen, um all die lieben alten Orte zu besuchen und meine alten Träume zu verfolgen, und dann wirst du an der Reihe sein, faul zu sein, während ich die Arbeit mache."
Marilla lächelte ihr Mädchen liebevoll an.
"Es ist nicht die Arbeit - es ist mein Kopf. Ich habe jetzt so oft Schmerzen - hinter meinen Augen. Doktor Spencer ist mir mit einer Brille auf die Nerven gegangen, aber sie nützt mir nichts. Ein ausgezeichneter Augenarzt wird gegen Ende Juni auf die Insel kommen, und der Doktor sagt, ich müsste zu ihm gehen. Ich schätze, das muss ich auch. Ich kann jetzt schon nicht mehr ohne Hilfen lesen oder nähen. Nun, Anne, du hast es am Queen's wirklich gut gemacht, das muss ich sagen. Eine erstklassige Zulassung in einem Jahr zu bekommen, und das Avery-Stipendium zu bekommen - na so was, Frau Lynde sagt, dass Stolz vor dem Fall kommt, und glaubt überhaupt nicht an eine höhere Schulbildung für Frauen; sie sagt, es verdirbt sie für die wahren Aufgaben einer Frau. Ich glaube kein Wort davon. Über Rachel zu sprechen erinnert mich an etwas - hast du in letzter Zeit irgendetwas über die Abbey Bank gehört?
Ich hörte ,dass sie finanziell auf wackligen Füßen steht",antwortete Anne. "Warum?"
" Das ist es, was Rachel sagte. Sie war in der vergangenen Woche einen Tag hier oben und sagte, dass es etwas zu besprechen gibt. Matthew machte sich richtig Sorgen. Alles, was wir gespart haben, liegt in dieser Bank - jeder Penny. Ich wollte zunächst, dass Matthew es in auf die Sparkasse bringt, aber der alte Herr Abbey war ein sehr guter Freund meines Vaters und hatte seine Geldgeschäfte immer mit ihm gemacht. Matthew sagte, dass jede Bank, die jener führen würde, wäre für Jeden gut genug".
"Ich denke, er war seit vielen Jahren nur noch dem Namen nach das Oberhaupt", sagte Anne. "Er ist sein alter Mann; seine Neffen stehen in Wirklichkeit an der Spitze der Institution."
"Nun, als Rachel uns das sagte, wollte ich, dass Matthew unser Geld sofort abziehen würde, und er sagte, er würde darüber nachdenken. Aber Mr. Russel sagte ihm gestern, dass mit der Bank alles in Ordnung sei."
Anne hatte ihren guten Tag in der Gemeinschaft da draußen. Sie vergaß diesen Tag nie; er war so hell und golden und heiter, so schattenlos und voller Blütenpracht. Anne verbrachte einige ihrer kostbaren Stunden im Obstgarten; sie ging zu Dryad's Bubble und Willowmere und Violet Vale; sie ging am Pfarrhaus vorbei und hatte eine erfüllende Unterhaltung mit Mrs. Allan; und schließlich ging sie mit Matthew durch Lover's Lane zu den Kühen auf der hinteren Weide. Die Wälder glänzten im Sonnenuntergang und die warme Pracht strömte durch die Hügellücken im Westen hinunter. Matthew ging langsam, sein Kopf gesenkt; Anne, groß und aufrecht, passte ihren federnden Schritt seinem an.
Du hast heute zu hart gearbeitet, Matthew," sagte sie vorwurfsvoll. „Warum willst du die Dinge nicht leichter angehen?“
"Nun, ich kann das nicht", sagte Matthew, als er das Hoftor öffnete, um die Kühe durchzulassen.
"Es ist nur, dass ich alt werde, Anne, und es vergesse. Nun, nun, ich habe immer sehr hart gearbeitet und würde am liebsten bei der Arbeit sterben."
"Wenn ich der Junge gewesen wäre, nach dem du geschickt hattest", sagte Anne wehmütig, "dann wäre ich jetzt in der Lage, dir so viel zu helfen und dich auf jedwede Weise zu schonen. Ich wünschte mir aus tiefstem Herzen, ich wäre einer, nur deswegen."
Nun, jetzt hätte ich lieber dich, Anne, als ein Dutzend Jungen", sagte Matthew und tätschelte ihre Hand. "Bedenke das - lieber als ein Dutzend Jungen. Nun, ich denke, es war kein Junge, der das Avery-Stipendium gewonnen hat, ist es nicht so? Es war ein Mädchen - mein Mädchen - mein Mädchen, auf das ich stolz bin."
Er lächelte sie mit seinem scheuen Lächeln an, als er in den Hof ging. Anne nahm die Erinnerung daran mit, als sie ihr Zimmer für die Nacht aufsuchte, und saß lange an ihrem offenen Fenster, über die Vergangenheit und die Zukunft nachdenkend. Die Schneekönigin da draußen war milchig weiß im Mondenschein; die Frösche sangen im Sumpf hinter dem Hang mit dem Obstgarten. Anne würde sich immer an die silbrige, friedvolle Schönheit und duftende Stille dieser Nacht erinnern. Es war die letzte Nacht, bevor Trauer ihr Leben berrührte; und kein Leben ist jemals das gleiche, wenn einmal dieser kalte, heilige Hauch darüber gelegt wurde.
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CHAPTER XXXVI.
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THE GLORY AND THE DREAM.
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Beyond those ten minutes there did not seem, just then, to be anything worth being called Time.
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"I have no hope of the Avery," said Anne.
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"Everybody says Emily Clay will win it.
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And I'm not going to march up to that bulletin board and look at it before everybody.
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I haven't the moral courage.
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I'm going straight to the girls' dressing-room.
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You must read the announcements and then come and tell me, Jane.
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And I implore you in the name of our old friendship to do it as quickly as possible.
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Promise me this, Jane".
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Jane promised solemnly; but, as it happened, there was no necessity for such a promise.
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For a moment Anne felt one sickening pang of defeat and disappointment.
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So she had failed and Gilbert had won!
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Well, Matthew would be sorry—he had been so sure she would win.
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And then!
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Somebody called out: "Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery"!
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"Oh, Anne," gasped Jane, as they fled to the girls' dressing-room amid hearty cheers.
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"Oh, Anne, I'm so proud!
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Isn't it splendid"?
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And then the girls were around them and Anne was the centre of a laughing, congratulating group.
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Her shoulders were thumped and her hands shaken vigorously.
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I must write the news home right away".
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Commencement was the next important happening.
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The exercises were held in the big assembly hall of the Academy.
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"Reckon you're glad we kept her, Marilla?"
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"It's not the first time I've been glad," retorted Marilla.
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"You do like to rub things in, Matthew Cuthbert".
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"Aren't you proud of that Anne-girl?
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I am," she said.
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Anne went home to Avonlea with Matthew and Marilla that evening.
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She had not been home since April and she felt that she could not wait another day.
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The apple-blossoms were out and the world was fresh and young.
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Diana was at Green Gables to meet her.
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"Oh, Diana, it's so good to be back again.
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Isn't the breath of the mint delicious?
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And that tea rose—why, it's a song and a hope and a prayer all in one.
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And it's good to see you again, Diana"!
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"I thought you liked that Stella Maynard better than me," said Diana reproachfully.
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"Josie Pye told me you did.
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Josie said you were infatuated with her".
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Anne laughed and pelted Diana with the faded "June lilies " of her bouquet.
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"I love you more than ever—and I've so many things to tell you.
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But just now I feel as if it were joy enough to sit here and look at you.
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I'm tired, I think—tired of being studious and ambitious.
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"You've done splendidly, Anne.
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I suppose you won't be teaching now that you've won the Avery"?
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"No.
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I'm going to Redmond in September.
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Doesn't it seem wonderful?
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Jane and Ruby are going to teach.
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Isn't it splendid to think we all got through even to Moody Spurgeon and Josie Pye"?
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"The Newbridge trustees have offered Jane their school already," said Diana.
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"Gilbert Blythe is going to teach, too.
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He has to.
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I expect he'll get the school here if Miss Ames decides to leave".
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Anne felt a queer little sensation of dismayed surprise.
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She had not known this; she had expected that Gilbert would be going to Redmond also.
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What would she do without their inspiring rivalry?
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The next morning at breakfast it suddenly struck Anne that Matthew was not looking well.
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Surely he was much grayer than he had been a year before.
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"Marilla," she said hesitatingly when he had gone out, "is Matthew quite well"?
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"No, he isn't," said Marilla in a troubled tone.
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"He's had some real bad spells with his heart this spring and he won't spare himself a mite.
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Maybe he will now you're home.
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You always cheer him up".
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Anne leaned across the table and took Marilla's face in her hands.
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"You are not looking as well yourself as I'd like to see you, Marilla.
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You look tired.
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I'm afraid you've been working too hard.
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You must take a rest, now that I'm home.
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Marilla smiled affectionately at her girl.
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"It's not the work—it's my head.
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I've a pain so often now—behind my eyes.
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Doctor Spencer's been fussing with glasses, but they don't do me any good.
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I guess I'll have to.
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I can't read or sew with any comfort now.
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Well, Anne, you've done real well at Queen's I must say.
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I don't believe a word of it.
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Speaking of Rachel reminds me—did you hear anything about the Abbey Bank lately, Anne"?
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"I heard that it was shaky," answered Anne.
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"Why"?
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"That is what Rachel said.
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She was up here one day last week and said there was some talk about it.
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Matthew felt real worried.
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All we have saved is in that bank—every penny.
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Matthew said any bank with him at the head of it was good enough for anybody".
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"I think he has only been its nominal head for many years," said Anne.
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"He is a very old man; his nephews are really at the head of the institution".
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But Mr. Russell told him yesterday that the bank was all right".
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Anne had her good day in the companionship of the outdoor world.
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Matthew walked slowly with bent head; Anne, tall and erect, suited her springing step to his.
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"You've been working too hard to-day, Matthew," she said reproachfully.
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"Why won't you take things easier"?
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"Well now, I can't seem to," said Matthew, as he opened the yard gate to let the cows through.
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"It's only that I'm getting old, Anne, and keep forgetting it.
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Well, well, I've always worked pretty hard and I'd rather drop in harness".
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I could find it in my heart to wish I had been, just for that".
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"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne," said Matthew patting her hand.
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"Just mind you that—rather than a dozen boys.
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Well now, I guess it wasn't a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it?
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unit 131
It was a girl—my girl—my girl that I'm proud of".
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unit 132
He smiled his shy smile at her as he went into the yard.
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unit 135
Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night.
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CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE GLORY AND THE DREAM.

ON the morning when the final results of all the examinations were to be posted on the bulletin board at Queen's, Anne and Jane walked down the street together. Jane was smiling and happy; examinations were over and she was comfortably sure she had made a pass at least; further considerations troubled Jane not at all; she had no soaring ambitions and consequently was not affected with the unrest attendant thereon. For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement. Anne was pale and quiet; in ten more minutes she would know who had won the medal and who the Avery. Beyond those ten minutes there did not seem, just then, to be anything worth being called Time.
"Of course you'll win one of them anyhow," said Jane, who couldn't understand how the faculty could be so unfair as to order it otherwise.
"I have no hope of the Avery," said Anne. "Everybody says Emily Clay will win it. And I'm not going to march up to that bulletin board and look at it before everybody. I haven't the moral courage. I'm going straight to the girls' dressing-room. You must read the announcements and then come and tell me, Jane. And I implore you in the name of our old friendship to do it as quickly as possible. If I have failed just say so, without trying to break it gently; and whatever you do don't sympathize with me. Promise me this, Jane".
Jane promised solemnly; but, as it happened, there was no necessity for such a promise. When they went up the entrance steps of Queen's they found the hall full of boys who were carrying Gilbert Blythe around on their shoulders and yelling at the tops of their voices, "Hurrah for Blythe, Medallist"!
For a moment Anne felt one sickening pang of defeat and disappointment. So she had failed and Gilbert had won! Well, Matthew would be sorry—he had been so sure she would win.
And then!
Somebody called out:
"Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery"!
"Oh, Anne," gasped Jane, as they fled to the girls' dressing-room amid hearty cheers. "Oh, Anne, I'm so proud! Isn't it splendid"?
And then the girls were around them and Anne was the centre of a laughing, congratulating group. Her shoulders were thumped and her hands shaken vigorously. She was pushed and pulled and hugged and among it all she managed to whisper to Jane:
"Oh, won't Matthew and Marilla be pleased! I must write the news home right away".
Commencement was the next important happening. The exercises were held in the big assembly hall of the Academy. Addresses were given, essays read, songs sung, the public award of diplomas, prizes and medals made.
Matthew and Marilla were there, with eyes and ears for only one student on the platform—a tall girl in pale green, with faintly flushed cheeks and starry eyes, who read the best essay and was pointed out and whispered about as the Avery winner.
"Reckon you're glad we kept her, Marilla?" whispered Matthew, speaking for the first time since he had entered the hall, when Anne had finished her essay.
"It's not the first time I've been glad," retorted Marilla. "You do like to rub things in, Matthew Cuthbert".
Miss Barry, who was sitting behind them, leaned forward and poked Marilla in the back with her parasol.
"Aren't you proud of that Anne-girl? I am," she said.
Anne went home to Avonlea with Matthew and Marilla that evening. She had not been home since April and she felt that she could not wait another day. The apple-blossoms were out and the world was fresh and young. Diana was at Green Gables to meet her. In her own white room, where Marilla had set a flowering house rose on the window sill, Anne looked about her and drew a long breath of happiness.
"Oh, Diana, it's so good to be back again. It's so good to see those pointed firs coming out against the pink sky—and that white orchard and the old Snow Queen. Isn't the breath of the mint delicious? And that tea rose—why, it's a song and a hope and a prayer all in one. And it's good to see you again, Diana"!
"I thought you liked that Stella Maynard better than me," said Diana reproachfully. "Josie Pye told me you did. Josie said you were infatuated with her".
Anne laughed and pelted Diana with the faded "June lilies " of her bouquet.
"Stella Maynard is the dearest girl in the world except one and you are that one, Diana," she said. "I love you more than ever—and I've so many things to tell you. But just now I feel as if it were joy enough to sit here and look at you. I'm tired, I think—tired of being studious and ambitious. I mean to spend at least two hours to-morrow lying out in the orchard grass, thinking of absolutely nothing".
"You've done splendidly, Anne. I suppose you won't be teaching now that you've won the Avery"?
"No. I'm going to Redmond in September. Doesn't it seem wonderful? I'll have a brand-new stock of ambition laid in by that time after three glorious, golden months of vacation. Jane and Ruby are going to teach. Isn't it splendid to think we all got through even to Moody Spurgeon and Josie Pye"?
"The Newbridge trustees have offered Jane their school already," said Diana. "Gilbert Blythe is going to teach, too. He has to. His father can't afford to send him to college next year, after all, so he means to earn his own way through. I expect he'll get the school here if Miss Ames decides to leave".
Anne felt a queer little sensation of dismayed surprise. She had not known this; she had expected that Gilbert would be going to Redmond also. What would she do without their inspiring rivalry? Would not work, even at a co-educational college with a real degree in prospect, be rather flat without her friend the enemy?
The next morning at breakfast it suddenly struck Anne that Matthew was not looking well. Surely he was much grayer than he had been a year before.
"Marilla," she said hesitatingly when he had gone out, "is Matthew quite well"?
"No, he isn't," said Marilla in a troubled tone. "He's had some real bad spells with his heart this spring and he won't spare himself a mite. I've been real worried about him, but he's some better this while back and we've got a good hired man, so I'm hoping he'll kind of rest and pick up. Maybe he will now you're home. You always cheer him up".
Anne leaned across the table and took Marilla's face in her hands.
"You are not looking as well yourself as I'd like to see you, Marilla. You look tired. I'm afraid you've been working too hard. You must take a rest, now that I'm home. I'm just going to take this one day off to visit all the dear old spots and hunt up my old dreams, and then it will be your turn to be lazy while I do the work".
Marilla smiled affectionately at her girl.
"It's not the work—it's my head. I've a pain so often now—behind my eyes. Doctor Spencer's been fussing with glasses, but they don't do me any good. There is a distinguished oculist coming to the Island the last of June and the doctor says I must see him. I guess I'll have to. I can't read or sew with any comfort now. Well, Anne, you've done real well at Queen's I must say. To take First Class License in one year and win the Avery scholarship—well, well, Mrs. Lynde says pride goes before a fall and she doesn't believe in the higher education of women at all; she says it unfits them for woman's true sphere. I don't believe a word of it. Speaking of Rachel reminds me—did you hear anything about the Abbey Bank lately, Anne"?
"I heard that it was shaky," answered Anne. "Why"?
"That is what Rachel said. She was up here one day last week and said there was some talk about it. Matthew felt real worried. All we have saved is in that bank—every penny. I wanted Matthew to put it in the Savings Bank in the first place, but old Mr. Abbey was a great friend of father's and he'd always banked with him. Matthew said any bank with him at the head of it was good enough for anybody".
"I think he has only been its nominal head for many years," said Anne. "He is a very old man; his nephews are really at the head of the institution".
"Well, when Rachel told us that, I wanted Matthew to draw our money right out and he said he'd think of it. But Mr. Russell told him yesterday that the bank was all right".
Anne had her good day in the companionship of the outdoor world. She never forgot that day; it was so bright and golden and fair, so free from shadow and so lavish of blossom. Anne spent some of its rich hours in the orchard; she went to the Dryad's Bubble and Willowmere and Violet Vale; she called at the manse and had a satisfying talk with Mrs. Allan; and finally in the evening she went with Matthew for the cows, through Lovers' Lane to the back pasture. The woods were all gloried through with sunset and the warm splendour of it streamed down through the hill gaps in the west. Matthew walked slowly with bent head; Anne, tall and erect, suited her springing step to his.
"You've been working too hard to-day, Matthew," she said reproachfully. "Why won't you take things easier"?
"Well now, I can't seem to," said Matthew, as he opened the yard gate to let the cows through.
"It's only that I'm getting old, Anne, and keep forgetting it. Well, well, I've always worked pretty hard and I'd rather drop in harness".
"If I had been the boy you sent for," said Anne wistfully, "I'd be able to help you so much now and spare you in a hundred ways. I could find it in my heart to wish I had been, just for that".
"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne," said Matthew patting her hand. "Just mind you that—rather than a dozen boys. Well now, I guess it wasn't a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was a girl—my girl—my girl that I'm proud of".
He smiled his shy smile at her as he went into the yard. Anne took the memory of it with her when she went to her room that night and sat for a long while at her open window, thinking of the past and dreaming of the future. Outside the Snow Queen was mistily white in the moonshine; the frogs were singing in the marsh beyond Orchard Slope. Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.