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Title:      Emily of New Moon (1923)
Author:     Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud), 1874-1942.
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
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Edition:    1
Language:   English
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Date first posted:          December 2002
Date most recently updated: December 2002

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Emily of New Moon (1923)
Author:     Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud), 1874-1942.







TO MR GEORGE BOYD MACMILLAN
ALLOA, SCOTLAND
IN RECOGNITION OF
A LONG AND STIMULATING FRIENDSHIP




Contents

THE HOUSE IN THE HOLLOW

A WATCH IN THE NIGHT

A HOP OUT OF KIN

A FAMILY CONCLAVE

DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND

NEW MOON

THE BOOK OF YESTERDAY

TRIAL BY FIRE

A SPECIAL PROVIDENCE

GROWING PAINS

ILSE

THE TANSY PATCH

A DAUGHTER OF EVE

FANCY FED

VARIOUS TRAGEDIES

CHECK FOR MISS BROWNELL

LIVING EPISTLES

FATHER CASSIDY

FRIENDS AGAIN

BY AERIAL POST

"ROMANTIC BUT NOT COMFORTABLE"

WYTHER GRANGE

DEALS WITH GHOSTS

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HAPPINESS

"SHE COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT"

ON THE BAY SHORE

THE VOW OF EMILY

A WEAVER OF DREAMS

SACRILEGE

WHEN THE CURTAIN LIFTED

EMILY'S GREAT MOMENT




THE HOUSE IN THE HOLLOW


The house in the hollow was "a mile from anywhere"--so Maywood
people said.  It was situated in a grassy little dale, looking as
if it had never been built like other houses but had grown up there
like a big, brown mushroom.  It was reached by a long, green lane
and almost hidden from view by an encircling growth of young
birches.  No other house could be seen from it although the village
was just over the hill.  Ellen Greene said it was the lonesomest
place in the world and vowed that she wouldn't stay there a day if
it wasn't that she pitied the child.

Emily didn't know she was being pitied and didn't know what
lonesomeness meant.  She had plenty of company.  There was Father--
and Mike--and Saucy Sal.  The Wind Woman was always around; and
there were the trees--Adam-and-Eve, and the Rooster Pine, and all
the friendly lady-birches.

And there was "the flash," too.  She never knew when it might come,
and the possibility of it kept her a-thrill and expectant.

Emily had slipped away in the chilly twilight for a walk.  She
remembered that walk very vividly all her life--perhaps because of
a certain eerie beauty that was in it--perhaps because "the flash"
came for the first time in weeks--more likely because of what
happened after she came back from it.

It had been a dull, cold day in early May, threatening to rain but
never raining.  Father had lain on the sitting-room lounge all day.
He had coughed a good deal and he had not talked much to Emily,
which was a very unusual thing for him.  Most of the time he lay
with his hands clasped under his head and his large, sunken, dark-
blue eyes fixed dreamily and unseeingly on the cloudy sky that was
visible between the boughs of the two big spruces in the front
yard--Adam-and-Eve, they always called those spruces, because of a
whimsical resemblance Emily had traced between their position, with
reference to a small apple-tree between them, and that of Adam and
Eve and the Tree of Knowledge in an old-fashioned picture in one of
Ellen Greene's books.  The Tree of Knowledge looked exactly like
the squat little apple-tree, and Adam and Eve stood up on either
side as stiffly and rigidly as did the spruces.

Emily wondered what Father was thinking of, but she never bothered
him with questions when his cough was bad.  She only wished she had
somebody to talk to.  Ellen Greene wouldn't talk that day either.
She did nothing but grunt, and grunts meant that Ellen was
disturbed about something.  She had grunted last night after the
doctor had whispered to her in the kitchen, and she had grunted
when she gave Emily a bedtime snack of bread and molasses.  Emily
did not like bread and molasses, but she ate it because she did not
want to hurt Ellen's feelings.  It was not often that Ellen allowed
her anything to eat before going to bed, and when she did it meant
that for some reason or other she wanted to confer a special
favour.

Emily expected the grunting attack would wear off over night, as it
generally did; but it had not, so no company was to be found in
Ellen.  Not that there was a great deal to be found at any time.
Douglas Starr had once, in a fit of exasperation, told Emily that
"Ellen Greene was a fat, lazy old thing of no importance," and
Emily, whenever she looked at Ellen after that, thought the
description fitted her to a hair.  So Emily had curled herself up
in the ragged, comfortable old wing-chair and read The Pilgrim's
Progress all the afternoon.  Emily loved The Pilgrim's Progress.
Many a time had she walked the straight and narrow path with
Christian and Christiana--although she never liked Christiana's
adventures half as well as Christian's.  For one thing, there was
always such a crowd with Christiana.  She had not half the
fascination of that solitary, intrepid figure who faced all alone
the shadows of the Dark Valley and the encounter with Apollyon.
Darkness and hobgoblins were nothing when you had plenty of
company.  But to be ALONE--ah, Emily shivered with the delicious
horror of it!

When Ellen announced that supper was ready Douglas Starr told Emily
to go out to it.

"I don't want anything to-night.  I'll just lie here and rest.  And
when you come in again we'll have a real talk, Elfkin."

He smiled up at her his old, beautiful smile, with the love behind
it, that Emily always found so sweet.  She ate her supper quite
happily--though it wasn't a good supper.  The bread was soggy and
her egg was underdone, but for a wonder she was allowed to have
both Saucy Sal and Mike sitting, one on each side of her, and Ellen
only grunted when Emily fed them wee bits of bread and butter.

Mike had such a cute way of sitting up on his haunches and catching
the bits in his paws, and Saucy Sal had HER trick of touching
Emily's ankle with an almost human touch when her turn was too long
in coming.  Emily loved them both, but Mike was her favourite.  He
was a handsome, dark-grey cat with huge owl-like eyes, and he was
so soft and fat and fluffy.  Sal was always thin; no amount of
feeding put any flesh on her bones.  Emily liked her, but never
cared to cuddle or stroke her because of her thinness.  Yet there
was a sort of weird beauty about her that appealed to Emily.  She
was grey-and-white--very white and very sleek, with a long, pointed
face, very long ears and very green eyes.  She was a redoubtable
fighter, and strange cats were vanquished in one round.  The
fearless little spitfire would even attack dogs and rout them
utterly.

Emily loved her pussies.  She had brought them up herself, as she
proudly said.  They had been given to her when they were kittens by
her Sunday-school teacher.

"A LIVING present is so nice," she told Ellen, "because it keeps on
getting nicer all the time."

But she worried considerably because Saucy Sal didn't have kittens.

"I don't know why she doesn't," she complained to Ellen Greene.
"Most cats seem to have more kittens than they know what to do
with."

After supper Emily went in and found that her father had fallen
asleep.  She was very glad of this; she knew he had not slept much
for two nights; but she was a little disappointed that they were
not going to have that "real talk."  "Real" talks with Father were
always such delightful things.  But next best would be a walk--a
lovely all-by-your-lonesome walk through the grey evening of the
young spring.  It was so long since she had had a walk.

"You put on your hood and mind you scoot back if it starts to
rain," warned Ellen.  "YOU can't monkey with colds the way some
kids can."

"Why can't I?" Emily asked rather indignantly.  Why must SHE be
debarred from "monkeying with colds" if other children could?  It
wasn't fair.

But Ellen only grunted.  Emily muttered under her breath for her
own satisfaction, "You are a fat old thing of no importance!" and
slipped upstairs to get her hood--rather reluctantly, for she loved
to run bareheaded.  She put the faded blue hood on over her long,
heavy braid of glossy, jet-black hair, and smiled chummily at her
reflection in the little greenish glass.  The smile began at the
corners of her lips and spread over her face in a slow, subtle,
very wonderful way, as Douglas Starr often thought.  It was her
dead mother's smile--the thing that had caught and held him long
ago when he had first seen Juliet Murray.  It seemed to be Emily's
only physical inheritance from her mother.  In all else, he
thought, she was like the Starrs--in her large, purplish-grey eyes
with their very long lashes and black brows, in her high, white
forehead--too high for beauty--in the delicate modelling of her
pale oval face and sensitive mouth, in the little ears that were
pointed just a wee bit to show that she was kin to tribes of
elfland.

"I'm going for a walk with the Wind Woman, dear," said Emily.  "I
wish I could take you, too.  Do you EVER get out of that room, I
wonder.  The Wind Woman is going to be out in the fields to-night.
She is tall and misty, with thin, grey, silky clothes blowing all
about her--and wings like a bat's--only you can see through them--
and shining eyes like stars looking through her long, loose hair.
She can fly--but to-night she will walk with me all over the
fields.  She's a GREAT friend of mine--the Wind Woman is.  I've
known her ever since I was six.  We're OLD, OLD friends--but not
quite so old as you and I, little Emily-in-the-glass.  We've been
friends ALWAYS, haven't we?"

With a blown kiss to little Emily-in-the-glass, Emily-out-of-the-
glass was off.

The Wind Woman was waiting for her outside--ruffling the little
spears of striped grass that were sticking up stiffly in the bed
under the sitting-room window--tossing the big boughs of Adam-and-
Eve--whispering among the misty green branches of the birches--
teasing the "Rooster Pine" behind the house--it really did look
like an enormous, ridiculous rooster, with a huge, bunchy tail and
a head thrown back to crow.

It was so long since Emily had been out for a walk that she was
half crazy with the joy of it.  The winter had been so stormy and
the snow so deep that she was never allowed out; April had been a
month of rain and wind; so on this May evening she felt like a
released prisoner.  Where should she go?  Down the brook--or over
the fields to the spruce barrens?  Emily chose the latter.

She loved the spruce barrens, away at the further end of the long,
sloping pasture.  That was a place where magic was made.  She came
more fully into her fairy birthright there than in any other place.
Nobody who saw Emily skimming over the bare field would have envied
her.  She was little and pale and poorly clad; sometimes she
shivered in her thin jacket; yet a queen might have gladly given a
crown for her visions--her dreams of wonder.  The brown, frosted
grasses under her feet were velvet piles.  The old mossy, gnarled
half-dead spruce-tree, under which she paused for a moment to look
up into the sky, was a marble column in a palace of the gods; the
far dusky hills were the ramparts of a city of wonder.  And for
companions she had all the fairies of the country-side--for she
could believe in them here--the fairies of the white clover and
satin catkins, the little green folk of the grass, the elves of the
young fir-trees, sprites of wind and wild fern and thistledown.
Anything might happen there--everything might come true.

And the barrens were such a splendid place in which to play hide
and seek with the Wind Woman.  She was so very REAL there; if you
could just spring quickly enough around a little cluster of
spruces--only you never could--you would SEE her as well as feel
her and hear her.  There she was--that WAS the sweep of her grey
cloak--no, she was laughing up in the very top of the taller trees--
and the chase was on again--till, all at once, it seemed as if the
Wind Woman were gone--and the evening was bathed in a wonderful
silence--and there was a sudden rift in the curdled clouds
westward, and a lovely, pale, pinky-green lake of sky with a new
moon in it.

Emily stood and looked at it with clasped hands and her little
black head upturned.  She must go home and write down a description
of it in the yellow account-book, where the last thing written had
been, "Mike's Biography."  It would hurt her with its beauty until
she wrote it down.  Then she would read it to Father.  She must not
forget how the tips of the trees on the hill came out like fine
black lace across the edge of the pinky-green sky.

And then, for one glorious, supreme moment, came "the flash."

Emily called it that, although she felt that the name didn't
exactly describe it.  It couldn't be described--not even to Father,
who always seemed a little puzzled by it.  Emily never spoke of it
to any one else.

It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that
she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty.  Between it
and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the
curtain aside--but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered
it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting
realm beyond--only a glimpse--and heard a note of unearthly music.

This moment came rarely--went swiftly, leaving her breathless with
the inexpressible delight of it.  She could never recall it--never
summon it--never pretend it; but the wonder of it stayed with her
for days.  It never came twice with the same thing.  To-night the
dark boughs against that far-off sky had given it.  It had come
with a high, wild note of wind in the night, with a shadow wave
over a ripe field, with a greybird lighting on her window-sill in a
storm, with the singing of "Holy, holy, holy" in church, with a
glimpse of the kitchen fire when she had come home on a dark autumn
night, with the spirit-like blue of ice palms on a twilit pane,
with a felicitous new word when she was writing down a "description"
of something.  And always when the flash came to her Emily felt that
life was a wonderful, mysterious thing of persistent beauty.

She scuttled back to the house in the hollow, through the gathering
twilight, all agog to get home and write down her "description"
before the memory picture of what she had seen grew a little
blurred.  She knew just how she would begin it--the sentence seemed
to shape itself in her mind:  "The hill called to me and something
in me called back to it."

She found Ellen Greene waiting for her on the sunken front-
doorstep.  Emily was so full of happiness that she loved everything
at that moment, even fat things of no importance.  She flung her
arms around Ellen's knees and hugged them.  Ellen looked down
gloomily into the rapt little face, where excitement had kindled a
faint wild-rose flush, and said, with a ponderous sigh:

"Do you know that your pa has only a week or two more to live?"



A WATCH IN THE NIGHT


Emily stood quite still and looked up at Ellen's broad, red face--
as still as if she had been suddenly turned to stone.  She felt as
if she had.  She was as stunned as if Ellen had struck her a
physical blow.  The colour faded out of her little face and her
pupils dilated until they swallowed up the irises and turned her
eyes into pools of blackness.  The effect was so startling that
even Ellen Greene felt uncomfortable.

"I'm telling you this because I think it's high time you was told,"
she said.  "I've been at your pa for months to tell you, but he's
kept putting it off and off.  I says to him, says I, 'You know how
hard she takes things, and if you drop off suddent some day it'll
most kill her if she hasn't been prepared.  It's your duty to
prepare her,' and he says, says he, 'There's time enough yet,
Ellen.'  But he's never said a word, and when the doctor told me
last night that the end might come any time now, I just made up my
mind that I'D do what was right and drop a hint to prepare you.
Laws-a-massy, child, don't look like that!  You'll be looked after.
Your ma's people will see to that--on account of the Murray pride,
if for no other reason.  They won't let one of their own blood
starve or go to strangers--even if they have always hated your pa
like p'isen.  You'll have a good home--better'n you've ever had
here.  You needn't worry a mite.  As for your pa, you ought to be
thankful to see him at rest.  He's been dying by inches for the
last five years.  He's kept it from you, but he's been a great
sufferer.  Folks say his heart broke when your ma died--it came on
him so suddent-like--she was only sick three days.  That's why I
want you to know what's coming, so's you won't be all upset when it
happens.  For mercy's sake, Emily Byrd Starr, don't stand there
staring like that!  You give me the creeps!  You ain't the first
child that's been left an orphan and you won't be the last.  Try
and be sensible.  And don't go pestering your pa about what I've
told you, mind that.  Come you in now, out of the damp, and I'll
give you a cooky 'fore you go to bed."

Ellen stepped 'down as if to take the child's hand.  The power of
motion returned to Emily--she must scream if Ellen even touched her
NOW.  With one sudden, sharp, bitter little cry she avoided Ellen's
hand, darted through the door and fled up the dark staircase.

Ellen shook her head and waddled back to her kitchen.  "Anyhow,
I've done MY duty," she reflected.  "He'd have just kept saying
'time enough' and put it off till he was dead and then there'd have
been no managing her.  She'll have time now to get used to it, and
she'll brace up in a day or two.  I will say for her she's got
spunk--which is lucky, from all I've heard of the Murrays.  They
won't find it easy to overcrow HER.  She's got a streak of their
pride, too, and that'll help her through.  I wish I dared send some
of the Murrays word that he's dying, but I don't dast go that far.
There's no telling what HE'D do.  Well, I've stuck on here to the
last and I ain't sorry.  Not many women would 'a' done it, living
as they do here.  It's a shame the way that child's been brought
up--never even sent to school.  Well, I've told him often enough
what I've thought of it--it ain't on MY conscience, that's one
comfort.  Here, you Sal-thing, you git out!  Where's Mike, too?"

Ellen could not find Mike for the very good reason that he was
upstairs with Emily, held tightly in her arms, as she sat in the
darkness on her little cot-bed.  Amid her agony and desolation
there was a certain comfort in the feel of his soft fur and round
velvety head.

Emily was not crying; she stared straight into the darkness, trying
to face the awful thing Ellen had told her.  She did not doubt it--
something told her it was true.  Why couldn't she die, too?  She
couldn't go on living without Father.

"If I was God I wouldn't let things like this happen," she said.

She felt it was very wicked of her to say such a thing--Ellen had
told her once that it was the wickest thing any one could do to
find fault with God.  But she didn't care.  Perhaps if she were
wicked enough God would strike her dead and then she and Father
could keep on being together.

But nothing happened--only Mike got tired of being held so tightly
and squirmed away.  She was all alone now, with this terrible
burning pain that seemed all over her and yet was not of the body.
She could never get rid of it.  She couldn't help it by writing
about it in the old yellow account-book.  She had written there
about her Sunday-school teacher going away, and of being hungry
when she went to bed, and Ellen telling her she must be half-crazy
to talk of Wind Women and flashes; and after she had written down
all about them these things hadn't hurt her any more.  But this
couldn't be written about.  She could not even go to Father for
comfort, as she had gone when she burned her hand so badly, picking
up the red-hot poker by mistake.  Father had held her in his arms
all that night and told her stories and helped her to bear the
pain.  But Father, so Ellen had said, was going to die in a week or
two.  Emily felt as if Ellen had told her this years and years ago.
It surely couldn't be less than an hour since she had been playing
with the Wind Woman in the barrens and looking at the new moon in
the pinky-green sky.

"The flash will never come again--it can't," she thought.

But Emily had inherited certain things from her fine old ancestors--
the power to fight--to suffer,--to pity--to love very deeply--to
rejoice--to endure.  These things were all in her and looked out at
you through her purplish-grey eyes.  Her heritage of endurance came
to her aid now and bore her up.  She must not let Father know what
Ellen had told her--it might hurt him.  She must keep it all to
herself and LOVE Father, oh, so much, in the little while she could
yet have him.  She heard him cough in the room below: she must be
in bed when he came up; she undressed as swiftly as her cold
fingers permitted and crept into the little cot-bed which stood
across the open window.  The voices of the gentle spring night
called to her all unheeded--unheard the Wind Woman whistled by the
eaves.  For the fairies dwell only in the kingdom of Happiness;
having no souls they cannot enter the kingdom of Sorrow.

She lay there cold and tearless and motionless when her father came
into the room.  How very slowly he walked--how very slowly he took
off his clothes.  How was it she had never noticed these things
before?  But he was not coughing at all.  Oh, what if Ellen were
mistaken?--what if--a wild hope shot through her aching heart.  She
gave a little gasp.

Douglas Starr came over to her bed.  She felt his dear nearness as
he sat down on the chair beside her, in his old red dressing-gown.
Oh, how she loved him!  There was no other Father like him in all
the world--there never could have been--so tender, so understanding,
so wonderful!  They had always been such chums--they had loved each
other so much--it couldn't be that they were to be separated.

"Winkums, are you asleep?"

"No," whispered Emily.

"Are you sleepy, small dear?"

"No--no--not sleepy."

Douglas Starr took her hand and held it tightly.

"Then we'll have our talk, honey.  I can't sleep either.  I want to
tell you something."

"Oh--I know it--I know it!" burst out Emily.  "Oh, Father, I know
it!  Ellen told me."

Douglas Starr was silent for a moment.  Then he said under his
breath, "The old fool--the FAT old fool!"--as if Ellen's fatness
was an added aggravation of her folly.  Again, for the last time,
Emily hoped.  Perhaps it was all a dreadful mistake--just some more
of Ellen's fat foolishness.

"It--it isn't true, is it, Father?" she whispered.

"Emily, child," said her father, "I can't lift you up--I haven't
the strength--but climb up and sit on my knee--in the old way."

Emily slipped out of bed and got on her father's knee.  He wrapped
the old dressing-gown about her and held her close with his face
against hers.

"Dear little child--little beloved Emilykin, it is quite true," he
said.  "I meant to tell you myself to-night.  And now the old
absurdity of an Ellen has told you--brutally I suppose--and hurt
you dreadfully.  She has the brain of a hen and the sensibility of
a cow.  May jackals sit on her grandmother's grave!  _I_ wouldn't
have hurt you, dear."

Emily fought something down that wanted to choke her.

"Father, I can't--I can't bear it."

"Yes, you can and will.  You will live because there is something
for you to do, I think.  You have my gift--along with something I
never had.  You will succeed where I failed, Emily.  I haven't been
able to do much for you, sweetheart, but I've done what I could.
I've taught you something, I think--in spite of Ellen Greene.
Emily, do you remember your mother?"

"Just a little--here and there--like lovely bits of dreams."

"You were only four when she died.  I've never talked much to you
about her--I couldn't.  But I'm going to tell you all about her to-
night.  It doesn't hurt me to talk of her now--I'll see her so soon
again.  You don't look like her, Emily--only when you smile.  For
the rest, you're like your namesake, my mother.  When you were born
I wanted to call you Juliet, too.  But your mother wouldn't.  She
said if we called you Juliet then I'd soon take to calling her
'Mother' to distinguish between you, and she couldn't endure THAT.
She said her Aunt Nancy had once said to her, 'The first time your
husband calls you "Mother" the romance of life is over.'  So we
called you after my mother--HER maiden name was Emily Byrd.  Your
mother thought Emily the prettiest name in the world--it was quaint
and arch and delightful, she said.  Emily, your mother was the
sweetest woman ever made."

His voice trembled and Emily snuggled close.

"I met her twelve years ago, when I was sub-editor of the
Enterprise up in Charlottetown and she was in her last year at
Queen's.  She was tall and fair and blue-eyed.  She looked a little
like your Aunt Laura, but Laura was never so pretty.  Their eyes
were very much alike--and their voices.  She was one of the Murrays
from Blair Water.  I've never told you much about your mother's
people, Emily.  They live up on the old north shore at Blair Water
on New Moon Farm--always have lived there since the first Murray
came out from the Old Country in 1790.  The ship he came on was
called the New Moon and he named his farm after her."

"It's a nice name--the new moon is such a pretty thing," said
Emily, interested for a moment.

"There's been a Murray ever since at New Moon Farm.  They're a
proud family--the Murray pride is a byword along the north shore,
Emily.  Well, they had some things to be proud of, that cannot be
denied--but they carried it too far.  Folks call them 'the chosen
people' up there.

"They increased and multiplied and scattered all over, but the old
stock at New Moon Farm is pretty well run out.  Only your aunts,
Elizabeth and Laura, live there now, and their cousin, Jimmy
Murray.  They never married--could not find any one good enough for
a Murray, so it used to be said.  Your Uncle Oliver and your Uncle
Wallace live in Summerside, your Aunt Ruth in Shrewsbury, and your
Great-Aunt Nancy at Priest Pond."

"Priest Pond--that's an INTERESTING name--not a pretty name like
New Moon and Blair Water--but interesting," said Emily.  Feeling
Father's arm around her the horror had momentarily shrunk away.
For just a little while she ceased to believe it.

Douglas Starr tucked the dressing-gown a little more closely around
her, kissed her black head, and went on.

"Elizabeth and Laura and Wallace and Oliver and Ruth were old
Archibald Murray's children.  His first wife was their mother.
When he was sixty he married again--a young slip of a girl--who
died when your mother was born.  Juliet was twenty years younger
than her half-family, as she used to call them.  She was very
pretty and charming and they all loved and petted her and were very
proud of her.  When she fell in love with me, a poor young
journalist, with nothing in the world but his pen and his ambition,
there was a family earthquake.  The Murray pride couldn't tolerate
the thing at all.  I won't rake it all up--but things were said I
could never forget or forgive.  Your mother married me, Emily--and
the New Moon people would have nothing more to do with her.  Can
you believe that, in spite of it, she was never sorry for marrying
me?"

Emily put up her hand and patted her father's hollow cheek.

"Of COURSE she wouldn't be sorry.  Of COURSE she'd rather have you
than all the Murrays of any kind of a moon."

Father laughed a little--and there was just a note of triumph in
his laugh.

"Yes, she seemed to feel that way about it.  And we were so happy--
oh, Emilykin, there never were two happier people in the world.
You were the child of that happiness.  I remember the night you
were born in the little house in Charlottetown.  It was in May and
a west wind was blowing silvery clouds over the moon.  There was a
star or two here and there.  In our tiny garden--everything we had
was small except our love and our happiness--it was dark and
blossomy.  I walked up and down the path between the beds of
violets your mother had planted--and prayed.  The pale east was
just beginning to glow like a rosy pearl when someone came and told
me I had a little daughter.  I went in--and your mother, white and
weak, smiled just that dear, slow, wonderful smile I loved, and
said, 'We've--got--the--only--baby--of any importance--in--the--
world, dear.  Just--think--of that!'"

"I wish people could remember from the very moment they're born,"
said Emily.  "It would be so very interesting."

"I dare say we'd have a lot of uncomfortable memories," said her
father, laughing a little.  "It can't be very pleasant getting used
to living--no pleasanter than getting used to stopping it.  But you
didn't seem to find it hard, for you were a good wee kidlet, Emily.
We had four more happy years, and then--do you remember the time
your mother died, Emily?"

"I remember the funeral, Father--I remember it DISTINCTLY.  You
were standing in the middle of a room, holding me in your arms, and
Mother was lying just before us in a long, black box.  And you were
crying--and I couldn't think why--and I wondered why Mother looked
so white and wouldn't open her eyes.  And I leaned down and touched
her cheek--and oh, it was so cold.  It made me shiver.  And
somebody in the room said, 'Poor little thing!' and I was
frightened and put my face down on your shoulder."

"Yes, I recall that.  Your mother died very suddenly.  I don't
think we'll talk about it.  The Murrays all came to her funeral.
The Murrays have certain traditions and they live up to them very
strictly.  One of them is that nothing but candles shall be burned
for light at New Moon--and another is that no quarrel must be
carried past the grave.  They came when she was dead--they would
have come when she was ill if they had known, I will say that much
for them.  And they behaved very well--oh, very well indeed.  They
were not the Murrays of New Moon for nothing.  Your Aunt Elizabeth
wore her best black satin dress to the funeral.  For any funeral
but a Murray's the second best one would have done; and they made
no serious objection when I said your mother would be buried in the
Starr plot in Charlottetown cemetery.  They would have liked to
take her back to the old Murray burying-ground in Blair Water--they
had their own private burying-ground, you know--no indiscriminate
graveyard for THEM.  But your Uncle Wallace handsomely admitted
that a woman should belong to her husband's family in death as in
life.  And then they offered to take you and bring you up--to 'give
you your mother's place.'  I refused to let them have you--then.
Did I do right, Emily?"

"Yes--yes--yes!" whispered Emily, with a hug at every "yes."

"I told Oliver Murray--it was he who spoke to me about you--that as
long as I lived I would not be parted from my child.  He said, 'If
you ever change your mind, let us know.'  But I did not change my
mind--not even three years later when my doctor told me I must give
up work.  'If you don't, I give you a year,' he said, 'if you do,
and live out-of-doors all you can, I give you three--or possibly
four.'  He was a good prophet.  I came out here and we've had four
lovely years together, haven't we, small dear one?"

"Yes--oh, yes!"

"Those years and what I've taught you in them are the only legacy I
can leave you, Emily.  We've been living on a tiny income I have
from a life interest that was left me in an old uncle's estate--an
uncle who died before I was married.  The estate goes to a charity
now, and this little house is only a rented one.  From a worldly
point of view I've certainly been a failure.  But your mother's
people will care for you--I know that.  The Murray pride will
guarantee so much, if nothing else.  And they can't help loving
you.  Perhaps I should have sent for them before--perhaps I ought
to do it yet.  But I have pride of a kind, too--the Starrs are not
entirely traditionless--and the Murrays said some very bitter
things to me when I married your mother.  Will I send to New Moon
and ask them to come, Emily?"

"No!" said Emily, almost fiercely.

She did not want any one to come between her and Father for the few
precious days left.  The thought was horrible to her.  It would be
bad enough if they had to come--afterwards.  But she would not mind
anything much--then.

"We'll stay together to the very end, then, little Emily-child.  We
won't be parted for a minute.  And I want you to be brave.  You
mustn't be afraid of ANYTHING, Emily.  Death isn't terrible.  The
universe is full of love--and spring comes everywhere--and in death
you open and shut a door.  There are beautiful things on the other
side of the door.  I'll find your mother there--I've doubted many
things, but I've never doubted THAT.  Sometimes I've been afraid
that she would get so far ahead of me in the ways of eternity that
I'd never catch up.  But I feel NOW that she's waiting for me.  And
we'll wait for you--we won't hurry--we'll loiter and linger till
you catch up with us."

"I wish you--could take me right through the door with you,"
whispered Emily.

"After a little while you won't wish that.  You have yet to learn
how kind time is.  And life has something for you--I feel it.  Go
forward to meet it fearlessly, dear.  I know you don't feel like
that just now--but you will remember my words by and by."

"I feel just now," said Emily, who couldn't bear to hide anything
from Father, "that I don't like God any more."

Douglas Starr laughed--the laugh Emily liked best.  It was such a
dear laugh--she caught her breath over the dearness of it.  She
felt his arms tightening round her.

"Yes, you do, honey.  You can't help liking God.  He is Love
itself, you know.  You mustn't mix Him up with Ellen Greene's God,
of course."

Emily didn't know exactly what Father meant.  But all at once she
found that she wasn't afraid any longer--and the bitterness had
gone out of her sorrow, and the unbearable pain out of her heart.
She felt as if love was all about her and around her, breathed out
from some great, invisible, hovering Tenderness.  One couldn't be
afraid or bitter where love was--and love was everywhere.  Father
was going through the door--no, he was going to lift a curtain--she
liked THAT thought better, because a curtain wasn't as hard and
fast as a door--and he would slip into that world of which the
flash had given her glimpses.  He would be there in its beauty--
never very far away from her.  She could bear anything if she could
only feel that Father wasn't very far away from her--just beyond
that wavering curtain.

Douglas Starr held her until she fell asleep; and then in spite of
his weakness he managed to lay her down in her little bed.

"She will love deeply--she will suffer terribly--she will have
glorious moments to compensate--as I have had.  As her mother's
people deal with her, so may God deal with them," he murmured
brokenly.



A HOP OUT OF KIN


Douglas Starr lived two weeks more.  In after years when the pain
had gone out of their recollection, Emily thought they were the
most precious of her memories.  They were beautiful weeks--
beautiful and not sad.  And one night, when he was lying on the
couch in the sitting-room, with Emily beside him in the old wing-
chair, he went past the curtain--went so quietly and easily that
Emily did not know he was gone until she suddenly felt the strange
STILLNESS of the room--there was no breathing in it but her own.

"Father--Father!" she cried.  Then she screamed for Ellen.

Ellen Greene told the Murrays when they came that Emily had behaved
real well, when you took everything into account.  To be sure, she
had cried all night and hadn't slept a wink; none of the Maywood
people who came flocking kindly in to help could comfort her; but
when morning came her tears were all shed.  She was pale and quiet
and docile.

"That's right, now," said Ellen, "that's what comes of being
properly prepared.  Your pa was so mad at me for warning you that
he wasn't rightly civil to me since--and him a dying man.  But I
don't hold any grudge against him.  _I_ did my duty.  Mrs Hubbard's
fixing up a black dress for you, and it'll be ready by supper-time.
Your ma's people will be here to-night, so they've telegraphed, and
I'm bound they'll find you looking respectable.  They're well off
and they'll provide for you.  Your pa hasn't left a cent but there
ain't any debts, I'll say THAT for him.  Have you been in to see
the body?"

"Don't call him THAT," cried Emily, wincing.  It was horrible to
hear Father called THAT.

"Why not?  If you ain't the queerest child!  He makes a better-
looking corpse than I thought he would, what with being so wasted
and all.  He was always a pretty man, though too thin."

"Ellen Greene," said Emily, suddenly, "if you say any more of--
those things--about Father, I will put the black curse on you!"

Ellen Greene stared.

"I don't know what on earth you mean.  But that's no way to talk to
me, after all I've done for you.  You'd better not let the Murrays'
hear you talking like that or they won't want much to do with you.
The black curse indeed!  Well, here's gratitude!"

Emily's eyes smarted.  She was just a lonely, solitary little
creature and she felt very friendless.  But she was not at all
remorseful for what she had said to Ellen and she was not going to
pretend she was.

"Come you here and help me wash these dishes," ordered Ellen.
"It'll do you good to have something to take up your mind and then
you won't be after putting curses on people who have worked their
fingers to the bone for you."

Emily, with an eloquent glance at Ellen's hands, went and got a
dish-towel.

"Your hands are fat and pudgy," she said.  "The bones don't show at
all."

"Never mind sassing back!  It's awful, with your poor pa dead in
there.  But if your Aunt Ruth takes you she'll soon cure you of
that."

"Is Aunt Ruth going to take me?"

"I don't know, but she ought to.  She's a widow with no chick or
child, and well-to-do."

"I don't think I want Aunt Ruth to take me," said Emily,
deliberately, after a moment's reflection.

"Well, YOU won't have the choosing likely.  You ought to be
thankful to get a home anywhere.  Remember you're not of much
importance."

"I am important to myself," cried Emily proudly.

"It'll be some chore to bring YOU up," muttered Ellen.  "Your Aunt
Ruth is the one to do it, in my opinion.  SHE won't stand no
nonsense.  A fine woman she is and the neatest housekeeper on P. E.
Island.  You could eat off her floor."

"I don't want to eat off her floor.  I don't care if a floor is
dirty as long as the tablecloth is clean."

"Well, her tablecloths are clean too, I reckon.  She's got an
elegant house in Shrewsbury with bow windows and wooden lace all
round the roof.  It's very stylish.  It would be a fine home for
you.  She'd learn you some sense and do you a world of good."

"I don't want to learn sense and be done a world of good to," cried
Emily with a quivering lip.  "I--I want somebody to love me."

"Well, you've got to behave yourself if you want people to like
you.  You're not to blame so much--your pa has spoiled you.  I told
him so often enough, but he just laughed.  I hope he ain't sorry
for it now.  The fact is, Emily Starr, you're queer, and folks
don't care for queer children."

"How am I queer?" demanded Emily.

"You talk queer--and you act queer--and at times you look queer.
And you're too old for your age--though that ain't YOUR fault.  It
comes of never mixing with other children.  I've always threaped at
your father to send you to school--learning at home ain't the same
thing--but he wouldn't listen to me, of course.  I don't say but
what you are as far along in book learning as you need to be, but
what you want is to learn how to be like other children.  In one
way it would be a good thing if your Uncle Oliver would take you,
for he's got a big family.  But he's not as well off as the rest,
so it ain't likely he will.  Your Uncle Wallace might, seeing as he
reckons himself the head of the family.  He's only got a grown-up
daughter.  But his wife's delicate--or fancies she is."

"I wish Aunt Laura would take me," said Emily.  She remembered that
Father had said Aunt Laura was something like her mother.

"Aunt Laura!  SHE won't have no say in it--Elizabeth's boss at New
Moon.  Jimmy Murray runs the farm, but he ain't quite all there,
I'm told--"

"What part of him isn't there?" asked Emily curiously.

"Laws, it's something about his mind, child.  He's a bit simple--
some accident or other when he was a youngster, I've heard.  It
addled his head, kind of.  Elizabeth was mixed up in it some way--
I've never heard the rights of it.  I don't reckon the New Moon
people will want to be bothered with you.  They're awful set in
their ways.  You take my advice and try to please your Aunt Ruth.
Be polite--and well-behaved--mebbe she'll take a fancy to you.
There, that's all the dishes.  You'd better go upstairs and be out
of the way."

"Can I take Mike and Saucy Sal?" asked Emily.

"No, you can't."

"They'd be company for me," pleaded Emily.

"Company or no company, you can't have them.  They're outside and
they'll stay outside.  I ain't going to have them tracking all over
the house.  The floor's been scrubbed."

"Why didn't you scrub the floor when Father was alive?" asked
Emily.  "He liked things to be clean.  You hardly ever scrubbed it
then.  Why do you do it now?"

"Listen to her!  Was I to be always scrubbing floors with my
rheumatiz?  Get off upstairs and you'd better lie down awhile."

"I'm going upstairs, but I'm not going to lie down," said Emily.
"I've got a lot of thinking to do."

"There's one thing I'd advise you to do," said Ellen, determined to
lose no chance of doing her duty, "and that is to kneel down and
pray to God to make you a good and respectful and grateful child."

Emily paused at the foot of the stairs and looked back.

"Father said I wasn't to have anything to do with your God," she
said gravely.

Ellen gasped foolishly, but could not think of any reply to this
heathenish statement.  She appealed to the universe.

"Did any one ever hear the like!"

"I know what YOUR God is like," said Emily.  "I saw His picture in
that Adam-and-Eve book of yours.  He has whiskers and wears a
nightgown.  I don't like Him.  But I like Father's God."

"And what is your father's God like, if I may ask?" demanded Ellen
sarcastically.

Emily hadn't any idea what Father's God was like, but she was
determined not to be posed by Ellen.

"He is clear as the moon, fair as the sun, and terrible as an army
with banners," she said triumphantly.

"Well, you're bound to have the last word, but the Murrays will
teach you what's what," said Ellen, giving up the argument.
"They're strict Presbyterians and won't hold by any of your
father's awful notions.  Get off upstairs."

Emily went up to the south room, feeling very desolate.

"There isn't anybody in the world who loves me now," she said, as
she curled up on her bed by the window.  But she was determined she
would not cry.  The Murrays, who had hated her father, should not
see her crying.  She felt that she detested them all--except
perhaps Aunt Laura.  How very big and empty the world had suddenly
become.  Nothing was interesting any more.  It did not matter that
the little squat apple-tree between Adam-and-Eve had become a thing
of rose-and-snow beauty--that the hills beyond the hollow were of
green silk, purple-misted--that the daffodils were out in the
garden--that the birches were hung all over with golden tassels--
that the Wind Woman was blowing white young clouds across the sky.
None of these things had any charm or consolation for her now.  In
her inexperience she believed they never would have again.

"But I promised Father I'd be brave," she whispered, clenching her
little fists, "and I will.  And I WON'T let the Murrays see I'm
afraid of them--I won't BE afraid of them!"

When the far-off whistle of the afternoon train blew beyond the
hills, Emily's heart began to beat.  She clasped her hands and
lifted her face.

"Please help me, Father's God--NOT Ellen's God," she said.  "Help
me to be brave and not cry before the Murrays."

Soon after there was the sound of wheels below--and voices--loud,
decided voices.  Then Ellen came puffing up the stairs with the
black dress--a sleazy thing of cheap merino.

"Mrs Hubbard just got it done in time, thanks be.  I wouldn't 'a'
had the Murrays see you not in black for the world.  They can't say
I haven't done my duty.  They're all here--the New Moon people and
Oliver and his wife, your Aunt Addie, and Wallace and his wife,
your Aunt Eva, and Aunt Ruth--Mrs Dutton, HER name is.  There,
you're ready now.  Come along."

"Can't I put my Venetian beads on?" asked Emily.

"Did ever any mortal!  Venetian beads with a mourning dress!  Shame
on you!  Is this a time to be thinking of vanity?"

"It isn't vanity!" cried Emily.  "Father gave me those beads last
Christmas--and I want to show the Murrays that I've got SOMETHING!"

"No more of your nonsense!  Come along, I say!  Mind your manners--
there's a good deal depends on the impression you make on them."

Emily walked rigidly downstairs before Ellen and into the parlour.
Eight people were sitting around it--and she instantly felt the
critical gaze of sixteen stranger eyes.  She looked very pale and
plain in her black dress; the purple shadows left by weeping made
her large eyes look too large and hollow.  She was desperately
afraid, and she knew it--but she would not let the Murrays see it.
She held up her head and faced the ordeal before her gallantly.

"This," said Ellen, turning her around by the shoulder, "is your
Uncle Wallace."

Emily shuddered and put out a cold hand.  She did not like Uncle
Wallace--she knew that at once--he was black and grim and ugly,
with frowning, bristly brows and a stern, unpitying mouth.  He had
big pouches under his eyes, and carefully-trimmed black side-
whiskers.  Emily decided then and there that she did not admire
side-whiskers.

"How do you do, Emily?" he said coldly--and just as coldly he bent
forward and kissed her cheek.

A sudden wave of indignation swept over Emily's soul.  How DARED he
kiss her--he had hated her father and disowned her mother!  She
would have none of his kisses!  Flash-quick, she snatched her
handkerchief from her pocket and wiped her outraged cheek.

"Well--WELL!" exclaimed a disagreeable voice from the other side of
the room.

Uncle Wallace looked as if he would like to say a great many things
but couldn't think of them.  Ellen, with a grunt of despair,
propelled Emily to the next sitter.

"Your Aunt Eva," she said.

Aunt Eva was sitting huddled up in a shawl.  She had the fretful
face of the imaginary invalid.  She shook hands with Emily and said
nothing.  Neither did Emily.

"Your Uncle Oliver," announced Ellen.

Emily rather liked Uncle Oliver's appearance.  He was big and fat
and rosy and jolly-looking.  She thought she would not mind so much
if HE kissed her, in spite of his bristly white moustache.  But
Uncle Oliver had learned Uncle Wallace's lesson.

"I'll give you a quarter for a kiss," he whispered genially.  A
joke was Uncle Oliver's idea of being kind and sympathetic, but
Emily did not know this, and resented it.

"I don't SELL my kisses," she said, lifting her head as haughtily
as any Murray of them all could do.

Uncle Oliver chuckled and seemed infinitely amused and not a bit
offended.  But Emily heard a sniff across the room.

Aunt Addie was next.  She was as fat and rosy and jolly-looking as
her husband and she gave Emily's cold hand a nice, gentle squeeze.

"How are you, dear?" she said.

That "dear" touched Emily and thawed her a trifle.  But the next in
turn froze her up instantly again.  It was Aunt Ruth--Emily knew it
was Aunt Ruth before Ellen said so, and she knew it was Aunt Ruth
who had "well--welled" and sniffed.  She knew the cold, grey eyes,
the prim, dull brown hair, the short, stout figure, the thin,
pinched, merciless mouth.

Aunt Ruth held out the tips of her fingers, but Emily did not take
them.

"Shake hands with your Aunt," said Ellen in an angry whisper.

"She does not want to shake hands with me," said Emily, distinctly,
"and so I am not going to do it."

Aunt Ruth folded her scorned hands back on her black silk lap.

"You are a very ill-bred child," she said; "but of course it was
only what was to be expected."

Emily felt a sudden compunction.  Had she cast a reflection on her
father by her behaviour?  Perhaps after all she should have shaken
hands with Aunt Ruth.  But it was too late now--Ellen had already
jerked her on.

"This is your Cousin, Mr James Murray," said Ellen, in the
disgusted tone of one who gives up something as a bad job and is
only anxious to be done with it.

"Cousin Jimmy--Cousin Jimmy," said that individual.  Emily looked
steadily at him, and liked him at once without any reservations.

He had a little, rosy, elfish face with a forked grey beard; his
hair curled over his head in a most un-Murray-like mop of glossy
brown; and his large, brown eyes were as kind and frank as a
child's.  He gave Emily a hearty handshake, though he looked
askance at the lady across from him while doing it.

"Hello, pussy!" he said.

Emily began to smile at him, but her smile was, as always, so slow
in developing that Ellen had whisked her on before it was in full
flower, and it was Aunt Laura who got the benefit of it.  Aunt
Laura started and paled.

"Juliet's smile!" she said, half under her breath.  And again Aunt
Ruth sniffed.

Aunt Laura did not look like anyone else in the room.  She was
almost pretty, with her delicate features and the heavy coils of
pale, sleek, fair hair, faintly greyed, pinned closely all around
her head.  But it was her eyes that won Emily.  They were such
round blue, BLUE eyes.  One never quite got over the shock of their
blueness.  And when she spoke it was in a beautiful, soft voice.

"You poor, dear, little child," she said, and put her arm around
Emily for a gentle hug.

Emily returned the hug and had a narrow escape then from letting
the Murrays see her cry.  All that saved her was the fact that
Ellen suddenly pushed her on into the corner by the window.

"And this is your Aunt Elizabeth."

Yes, this was Aunt Elizabeth.  No doubt about that--and she had on
a stiff, black satin dress, so stiff and rich that Emily felt sure
it must be her very best.  This pleased Emily.  Whatever Aunt
Elizabeth thought of her father, at least she had paid him the
respect of her best dress.  And Aunt Elizabeth was quite fine
looking in a tall, thin, austere style, with clear-cut features and
a massive coronet of iron-grey hair under her black lace cap.  But
her eyes, though steel-blue, were as cold as Aunt Ruth's, and her
long, thin mouth was compressed severely.  Under her cool,
appraising glance Emily retreated into herself and shut the door of
her soul.  She would have liked to please Aunt Elizabeth--who was
"boss" at New Moon--but she felt she could not do it.

Aunt Elizabeth shook hands and said nothing--the truth being that
she did not know exactly what to say.  Elizabeth Murray would not
have felt "put about" before King or Governor-General.  The Murray
pride would have carried her through there; but she did feel
disturbed in the presence of this alien, level-gazing child who had
already shown that she was anything but meek and humble.  Though
Elizabeth Murray would never have admitted it, she did not want to
be snubbed as Wallace and Ruth had been.

"Go and sit on the sofa," ordered Ellen.

Emily sat on the sofa with her eyes cast down, a slight, black,
indomitable little figure.  She folded her hands on her lap and
crossed her ankles.  They should see she had manners.

Ellen had retreated to the kitchen, thanking her stars that THAT
was over.  Emily did not like Ellen but she felt deserted when
Ellen had gone.  She was alone now before the bar of Murray
opinion.  She would have given anything to be out of the room.  Yet
in the back of her mind a design was forming of writing all about
it in the old account-book.  It would be interesting.  She could
describe them all--she knew she could.  She had the very word for
Aunt Ruth's eyes--"stone-grey."  They were just like stones--as
hard and cold and relentless.  Then a pang tore through her heart.
Father could never again read what she wrote in the account-book.

Still--she felt that she would rather like to write it all out.
How could she best describe Aunt Laura's eyes?  They were such
beautiful eyes--just to call them "blue" meant nothing--hundreds of
people had blue eyes--oh, she had it--"wells of blue"--that was the
very thing.

And then the flash came!

It was the first time since the dreadful night when Ellen had met
her on the doorstep.  She had thought it could never come again--
and now in this most unlikely place and time it HAD come--she had
seen, with other eyes than those of sense, the wonderful world
behind the veil.  Courage and hope flooded her cold little soul
like a wave of rosy light.  She lifted her head and looked about
her undauntedly--"brazenly" Aunt Ruth afterwards declared.

"Yes, she WOULD write them all out in the account-book--describe
every last one of them--sweet Aunt Laura, nice Cousin Jimmy, grim
old Uncle Wallace, and moon-faced Uncle Oliver, stately Aunt
Elizabeth and detestable Aunt Ruth.

"She's a delicate-looking child," said Aunt Eva, suddenly, in her
fretful, colourless voice.

"Well, what else could you expect?" said Aunt Addie, with a sigh
that seemed to Emily to hold some dire significance.  "She's too
pale--if she had a little colour she wouldn't be bad-looking."

"I don't know who she looks like," said Uncle Oliver, staring at
Emily.

"She is not a Murray, that is plain to be seen," said Aunt
Elizabeth, decidedly and disapprovingly.

"They are talking about me just as if I wasn't here," thought
Emily, her heart swelling with indignation over the indecency of
it.

"I wouldn't call her a Starr either," said Uncle Oliver.  "Seems to
me she's more like the Byrds--she's got her grandmother's hair and
eyes."

"She's got old George Byrd's nose," said Aunt Ruth, in a tone that
left no doubt as to her opinion of George's nose.

"She's got her father's forehead," said Aunt Eva, also
disapprovingly.

"She has her mother's smile," said Aunt Laura, but in such a low
tone that nobody heard her.

"And Juliet's long lashes--hadn't Juliet very long lashes?" said
Aunt Addie.

Emily had reached the limit of her endurance.

"You make me feel as if I was made up of scraps and patches!" she
burst out indignantly.

The Murrays stared at her.  Perhaps they felt some compunction--
for, after all, none of them were ogres and all were human, more or
less.  Apparently nobody could think of anything to say, but the
shocked silence was broken by a chuckle from Cousin Jimmy--a low
chuckle, full of mirth and free from malice.

"That's right, puss," he said.  "Stand up to them--take your own
part."

"Jimmy!" said Aunt Ruth.

Jimmy subsided.

Aunt Ruth looked at Emily.

"When I was a little girl," she said, "I never spoke until I was
spoken to."

"But if nobody ever spoke until they were spoken to there would be
no conversation," said Emily argumentatively.

"I never answered back," Aunt Ruth went on severely.  "In those
days little girls were trained properly.  We were polite and
respectful to our elders.  We were taught our place and we kept
it."

"I don't believe you ever had much fun," said Emily--and then
gasped in horror.  She hadn't meant to say that out loud--she had
only meant to THINK it.  But she had such an old habit of thinking
aloud to Father.

"Fun!" said Aunt Ruth, in a shocked tone.  "I did not think of fun
when I was a little girl."

"No, I know," said Emily gravely.  Her voice and manner were
perfectly respectful, for she was anxious to atone for her
involuntary lapse.  Yet Aunt Ruth looked as if she would like to
box her ears.  This child was PITYING her--insulting her by being
sorry for HER--because of her prim, impeccable childhood.  It was
unendurable--especially in a Starr.  And that abominable Jimmy was
chuckling again!  Elizabeth should suppress him!

Fortunately Ellen Greene appeared at this juncture and announced
supper.

"You've got to wait," she whispered to Emily.  "There ain't room
for you at the table."

Emily was glad.  She knew she could not eat a bite under the Murray
eyes.  Her aunts and uncles filed out stiffly without looking at
her--all except Aunt Laura, who turned at the door and blew her a
tiny, furtive kiss.  Before Emily could respond Ellen Greene had
shut the door.

Emily was left all alone in the room that was filling with twilight
shadows.  The pride that had sustained her in the presence of the
Murrays suddenly failed her and she knew that tears were coming.
She went straight to the closed door at the end of the parlour,
opened it, and went in.  Her father's coffin stood in the centre of
the small room which had been a bedroom.  It was heaped with
flowers--the Murrays had done the proper thing in that as in all
else.  The great anchor of white roses Uncle Wallace had brought
stood up aggressively on the small table at the head.  Emily could
not see her father's face for Aunt Ruth's heavily-fragrant pillow
of white hyacinths lying on the glass, and she dared not move it.
But she curled herself up on the floor and laid her cheek against
the polished side of the casket.  They found her there asleep when
they came in after supper.  Aunt Laura lifted her up and said,

"I'm going to take the poor child up to bed--she's worn right out."

Emily opened her eyes and looked drowsily about her.

"Can I have Mike?" she said.

"Who is Mike?"

"My cat--my big grey cat."

"A cat!" exclaimed Aunt Elizabeth in a shocked tone.  "You must not
have a cat in your bedroom!"

"Why not--for once?" pleaded Laura.

"Certainly not!" said Aunt Elizabeth.  "A cat is a most unwholesome
thing in a sleeping compartment.  I'm surprised at you, Laura!
Take the child up to bed and see that there are plenty of
bedclothes.  It's a cold night--but let me hear no more talk of
sleeping with cats."

"Mike is a clean cat," said Emily.  "He washes himself--every day."

"Take her up to bed, Laura!" said Aunt Elizabeth, ignoring Emily.

Aunt Laura yielded meekly.  She carried Emily upstairs, helped her
undress, and tucked her into bed.  Emily was very sleepy.  But
before she was wholly asleep she felt something, soft and warm and
purry and companionable, snuggling down by her shoulder.  Aunt
Laura had sneaked down, found Mike and brought him up to her.  Aunt
Elizabeth never knew and Ellen Greene dared not say a word in
protest--for was not Laura a Murray of New Moon?



A FAMILY CONCLAVE


Emily wakened at daylight the next morning.  Through her low,
uncurtained window the splendour of the sunrise was coming in, and
one faint, white star was still lingering in the crystal-green sky
over the Rooster Pine.  A fresh sweet wind of lawn was blowing
around the eaves.  Ellen Greene was sleeping in the big bed and
snoring soundly.  Except for that the little house was very still.
It was the chance for which Emily had waited.

Very carefully she slipped from her bed, tiptoed across the room
and opened the door.  Mike uncoiled himself from the mat on the
middle of the floor and followed her, rubbing his warm sides
against her chilly little ankles.  Almost guiltily she crept down
the bare, dark staircase.  How the steps creaked--surely it would
waken everybody!  But nobody appeared and Emily got down and
slipped into the parlour, drawing a long breath of relief as she
closed the door.  She almost ran across the room to the other door.

Aunt Ruth's floral pillow still covered the glass of the casket.
Emily, with a tightening of the lips that gave her face an odd
resemblance to Aunt Elizabeth, lifted up the pillow and set it on
the floor.

"Oh, Father--Father!" she whispered, putting her hand to her throat
to keep something down.  She stood there, a little shivering,
white-clad figure, and looked at her father.  This was to be her
good-bye; she must say it when they were alone together--she would
not say it before the Murrays.

Father looked so beautiful.  All the lines of pain had vanished--
his face looked almost like a boy's except for the silver hair
above it.  And he was smiling--such a nice, whimsical, wise little
smile, as if he had suddenly discovered something lovely and
unexpected and surprising.  She had seen many nice smiles on his
face in life but never one just like this.

"Father, I didn't cry before them," she whispered.  "I'm sure I
didn't disgrace the Starrs.  Not shaking hands with Aunt Ruth
wasn't disgracing the Starrs, was it?  Because she didn't really
want me to--oh, Father, I don't think any of them like me, unless
perhaps Aunt Laura does a little.  And I'm going to cry a little
bit now, Father, because I can't keep it back ALL the time."

She laid her face on the cold glass and sobbed bitterly but
briefly.  She must say good-bye before any one found her.  Raising
her head she looked long and earnestly at the beloved face.

"Good-bye, dearest darling," she whispered chokingly.

Dashing away her blinding tears she replaced Aunt Ruth's pillow,
hiding her father's face from her for ever.  Then she slipped out,
intent on speedily regaining her room.  At the door she almost fell
over Cousin Jimmy, who was sitting on a chair before it, swathed in
a huge, checked dressing-gown, and nursing Mike.

"S-s-h!" he whispered, patting her on the shoulder.  "_I_ heard you
coming down and followed you.  _I_ knew what you wanted.  I've been
sitting here to keep them out if any of them came after you.  Here,
take this and hurry back to your bed, small pussy."

"This" was a roll of peppermint lozenges.  Emily clutched it and
fled, overcome with shame at being seen by Cousin Jimmy in her
nightgown.  She hated peppermints and never ate them, but the fact
of Cousin Jimmy Murray's kindness in giving them to her sent a
thrill of delight to her heart.  And he called her "small pussy,"
too--she liked that.  She had thought nobody would ever call her
nice pet names again.  Father had had so many of them for her--
"sweetheart" and "darling" and "Emily-child" and "dear wee kidlet"
and "honey" and "elfkin."  He had a pet name for every mood and she
had loved them all.  As for Cousin Jimmy, he was nice.  Whatever
part of him was missing it wasn't his heart.  She felt so grateful
to him that after she was safely in her bed again she forced
herself to eat one of the lozenges, though it took all her grit to
worry it down.

The funeral was held that forenoon.  For once the lonesome little
house in the hollow was filled.  The coffin was taken into the
parlour and the Murrays as mourners sat stiffly and decorously all
round it, Emily among them, pale and prim in her black dress.  She
sat between Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Wallace and dared not move a
muscle.  No other Starr was present.  Her father had no near living
relatives.  The Maywood people came and looked at his dead face
with a freedom and insolent curiosity they would never have
presumed on in life.  Emily hated to have them looking at her
father like that.  They had no right--they hadn't been friendly to
him while he was alive--they had said harsh things of him--Ellen
Greene had sometimes repeated them.  Every glance that fell on him
hurt Emily; but she sat still and gave no outward sign.  Aunt Ruth
said afterwards that she had never seen a child so absolutely
devoid of all natural feeling.

When the service was over the Murrays rose and marched around the
coffin for a dutiful look of farewell.  Aunt Elizabeth took Emily's
hand and tried to draw her along with them, but Emily pulled it
back and shook her head.  She had said her good-bye already.  Aunt
Elizabeth seemed for a moment to be on the point of insisting; then
she grimly swept onward, alone, looking every inch a Murray.  No
scene must be made at a funeral.

Douglas Starr was to be taken to Charlottetown for burial beside
his wife.  The Murrays were all going but Emily was not to go.  She
watched the funeral procession as it wound up the long, grassy
hill, through the light grey rain that was beginning to fall.
Emily was glad it was raining; many a time she had heard Ellen
Greene say that happy was the corpse the rain fell on; and it was
easier to see Father go away in that soft, kind, grey mist than
through sparkling, laughing sunshine.

"Well, I must say the funeral went off fine," said Ellen Greene at
her shoulder.  "Everything's been done regardless.  If your father
was looking down from heaven at it, Emily, I'm sure he'd be
pleased."

"He isn't in heaven," said Emily.

"Good gracious!  Of all the children!"  Ellen could say no more.

"He isn't there YET.  He's only on the way.  He said he'd wait
around and go slow until I died, too, so that I could catch up with
him.  I hope I'll die soon."

"That's a wicked, wicked thing to wish," rebuked Ellen.

When the last buggy had disappeared Emily went back to the sitting-
room, got a book out of the bookcase, and buried herself in the
wing-chair.  The women who were tidying up were glad she was quiet
and out of the way.

"It's well she can read," said Mrs Hubbard gloomily.  "Some little
girls couldn't be so composed--Jennie Hood just screamed and
shrieked after they carried her mother out--the Hoods are all such
a FEELING people."

Emily was not reading.  She was thinking.  She knew the Murrays
would be back in the afternoon; and she knew her fate would
probably be settled then.  "We'll talk the matter over when we come
back," she had heard Uncle Wallace saying that morning after
breakfast.  Some instinct told her just what "the matter" was; and
she would have given one of her pointed ears to hear the discussion
with the other.  But she knew very well she would be sent out of
the way.  So she was not surprised when Ellen came to her in the
twilight and said:

"You'd better go upstairs, Emily.  Your aunts and uncles are coming
in here to talk over the business."

"Can't I help to get supper?" asked Emily, who thought that if she
were going and coming around the kitchen she might catch a word or
two.

"No.  You'd be more bother than help.  March, now."

Ellen waddled out to the kitchen, without waiting to see if Emily
marched.  Emily got up reluctantly.  How could she sleep to-night
if she did not know what was going to happen to her?  And she felt
quite sure she would not be told till morning, if then.

Her eyes fell on the oblong table in the centre of the room.  Its
cloth was of generous proportions, falling in heavy folds to the
floor.  There was a flash of black stockings across the rug, a
sudden disturbance of drapery, and then--silence.  Emily, on the
floor under the table, arranged her legs comfortably and sat
triumphant.  She would hear what was decided and nobody would be
any the wiser.

She had never been told that it was not considered strictly
honourable to eavesdrop, no occasion for such instruction ever
having arisen in her life with her father; and she considered that
it was a bit of pure luck that she had thought of hiding under the
table.  She could even see dimly through the cloth.  Her heart beat
so loudly in her excitement that she was afraid they would hear it;
there was no other sound save the soft, faraway singing of frogs
through the rain, that sounded through the open window.

In they came; down they sat around the room; Emily held her breath;
for a few minutes nobody spoke, though Aunt Eva sighed long and
heavily.  Then Uncle Wallace cleared his throat and said,

"Well, what is to be done with the child?"

Nobody was in a hurry to answer.  Emily thought they would NEVER
speak.  Finally Aunt Eva said with a whine,

"She's such a difficult child--so odd.  _I_ can't understand her at
all."

"I think," said Aunt Laura timidly, "that she has what one might
call an artistic temperament."

"She's a spoiled child," said Aunt Ruth very decidedly.  "There's
work ahead to straighten out HER manners, if you ask me."

(The little listener under the table turned her head and shot a
scornful glance at Aunt Ruth through the tablecloth.  "_I_ think
that your own manners have a slight curve."  Emily did not dare
even to murmur the words under her breath, but she shaped them with
her mouth; this was a great relief and satisfaction.)

"I agree with you," said Aunt Eva, "and I for one do not feel equal
to the task."

(Emily understood that this meant Uncle Wallace didn't mean to take
her and she rejoiced thereat.)

"The truth is," said Uncle Wallace, "Aunt Nancy ought to take her.
She has more of this world's goods than any of us."

"Aunt Nancy would never dream of taking her and you know it well
enough!" said Uncle Oliver.  "Besides, she's entirely too old to
have the bringing up of a child--her and that old witch Caroline.
Upon my soul, I don't believe either of them is human.  I would
like to take Emily--but I feel that I can hardly do it.  I've a
large family to provide for."

"She'll not likely live long to bother anyone," said Aunt Elizabeth
crisply.  "She'll probably die of consumption same as her father
did."

("I won't--I won't!" exclaimed Emily--at least she THOUGHT it with
such vim that it almost seemed that she exclaimed it.  She forgot
that she had wanted to die soon, so that she could overtake Father.
She wanted to live now, just to put the Murrays in the wrong.  "I
haven't ANY intention of dying.  I'm going to live--for ages--and
be a famous AUTHORESS--you'll just see if I don't, Aunt Elizabeth
Murray!")

"She IS a weedy-looking child," acknowledged Uncle Wallace.

(Emily relieved her outraged feelings by making a face at Uncle
Wallace through the tablecloth.  "If I ever possess a pig I am
going to name it after YOU," she thought--and then felt quite
satisfied with her revenge.)

"Somebody has to look after her as long as she's alive though, you
know," said Uncle Oliver.

("It would serve you all right if I did DIE and you suffered
terrible remorse for it all the rest of your lives," Emily thought.
Then in the pause that happened to follow, she dramatically
pictured out her funeral, selected her pall-bearers, and tried to
choose the hymn verse that she wanted engraved on her tombstone.
But before she could settle this Uncle Wallace began again.)

"Well, we are not getting anywhere.  We have to look after the
child--"

("I WISH you wouldn't call me 'THE CHILD,'" thought Emily
bitterly.)

"--and some of us must give her a home.  Juliet's daughter must not
be left to the mercy of strangers.  Personally, I feel that Eva's
health is not equal to the care and training of a child--"

"Of SUCH a child," said Aunt Eva.

(Emily stuck out her tongue at Aunt Eva.)

"Poor little soul," said Aunt Laura gently.

(Something frozen in Emily's heart melted at that moment.  She was
pitifully pleased over being called "poor little soul" so
tenderly.)

"I do not think you need pity her overmuch, Laura," said Uncle
Wallace decidedly.  "It is evident that she has very little
feeling.  I have not seen her shed a tear since we came here."

"Did you notice that she would not even take a last look at her
father?" said Aunt Elizabeth.

Cousin Jimmy suddenly whistled at the ceiling.

"She feels so much that she has to hide it," said Aunt Laura.

Uncle Wallace snorted.

"Don't you think WE might take her, Elizabeth?" Laura went on
timidly.

Aunt Elizabeth stirred restlessly.

"I don't suppose she'd be contented at New Moon, with three old
people like us."

("I would--I would!" thought Emily.)

"Ruth, what about you?" said Uncle Wallace.  "You're all alone in
that big house.  It would be a good thing for you to have some
company."

"I don't like her," said Aunt Ruth sharply.  "She is as sly as a
snake."

("I'm NOT!" thought Emily.)

"With wise and careful training many of her faults may be cured,"
said Uncle Wallace, pompously.

("I don't WANT them cured!"  Emily was getting angrier and angrier
all the time under the table.  "I like MY faults better than I do
YOUR--YOUR--" she fumbled mentally for a word--then triumphantly
recalled a phrase of her father's--"your ABOMINABLE virtues!")

"I doubt it," said Aunt Ruth, in a biting tone.  "What's bred in
the bone comes out in the flesh.  As for Douglas Starr, I think
that it was perfectly disgraceful for him to die and leave that
child without a cent."

"Did he do it on purpose?" asked Cousin Jimmy blandly.  It was the
first time he had spoken.

"He was a miserable failure," snapped Aunt Ruth.

"He wasn't--he wasn't!" screamed Emily, suddenly sticking her head
out under the tablecloth, between the end legs of the table.

For a moment the Murrays sat silent and motionless as if her
outburst had turned them to stone.  Then Aunt Ruth rose, stalked to
the table, and lifted the cloth, behind which Emily had retired in
dismay, realizing what she had done.

"Get up and come out of that, Em'ly Starr!" said Aunt Ruth.

"Em'ly Starr" got up and came out.  She was not specially
frightened--she was too angry to be that.  Her eyes had gone black
and her cheeks crimson.

"What a little beauty--what a regular little beauty!" said Cousin
Jimmy.  But nobody heard him.  Aunt Ruth had the floor.

"You shameless little eavesdropper!" she said.  "There's the Starr
blood coming out--a Murray would never have done such a thing.  You
ought to be whipped!"

"Father wasn't a failure!" cried Emily, choking with anger.  "You
had no right to call him a failure.  Nobody who was loved as much
as he was could be a failure.  I don't believe anybody EVER loved
you.  So it's YOU, that's a failure.  And I'm NOT going to die of
consumption."

"Do you realize what a shameful thing you have been guilty of?"
demanded Aunt Ruth, cold with anger.

"I wanted to hear what was going to become of me," cried Emily.  "I
didn't know it was such a dreadful thing to do--I didn't know you
were going to say such horrid things about me."

"Listeners never hear any good of themselves," said Aunt Elizabeth
impressively.  "Your mother would NEVER have done that, Emily."

The bravado all went out of poor Emily.  She felt guilty and
miserable--oh, so miserable.  She hadn't known--but it seemed she
had committed a terrible sin.

"Go upstairs," said Aunt Ruth.

Emily went, without a protest.  But before going she looked around
the room.

"While I was under the table," she said, "I made a face at Uncle
Wallace and stuck my tongue out at Aunt Eva."

She said it sorrowfully, desiring to make a clean breast of her
transgressions; but so easily do we misunderstand each other that
the Murrays actually thought that she was indulging in a piece of
gratuitous impertinence.  When the door had closed behind her they
all--except Aunt Laura and Cousin Jimmy--shook their heads and
groaned.

Emily went upstairs in a state of bitter humiliation.  She felt
that she had done something that gave the Murrays the right to
despise her, and they thought it was the Starr coming out in her--
and she had not even found out what her fate was to be.

She looked dismally at little Emily-in-the-glass.

"I didn't know--I didn't know," she whispered.  "But I'll know
after this," she added with sudden vim, "and I'll never, NEVER do
it again."

For a moment she thought she would throw herself on her bed and
cry.  She COULDN'T bear all the pain and shame that was burning in
her heart.  Then her eyes fell on the old yellow account-book on
her little table.  A minute later Emily was curled up on her bed,
Turk-fashion, writing eagerly in the old book with her little
stubby lead-pencil.  As her fingers flew over the faded lines her
cheeks flushed and her eyes shone.  She forgot the Murrays although
she was writing about them--she forgot her humiliation--although
she was describing what had happened; for an hour she wrote
steadily by the wretched light of her smoky little lamp, never
pausing, save now and then, to gaze out of the window into the dim
beauty of the misty night, while she hunted through her
consciousness for a certain word she wanted; when she found it she
gave a happy sigh and fell to again.

When she heard the Murrays coming upstairs she put her book away.
She had finished; she had written a description of the whole
occurrence and of that conclave ring of Murrays, and she had wound
up by a pathetic description of her own deathbed, with the Murrays
standing around imploring her forgiveness.  At first she depicted
Aunt Ruth as doing it on her knees in an agony of remorseful sobs.
Then she suspended her pencil--"Aunt Ruth couldn't EVER feel as bad
as THAT over anything," she thought--and drew her pencil through
the line.

In the writing, pain and humiliation had passed away.  She only
felt tired and rather happy.  It HAD been fun, finding words to fit
Uncle Wallace; and what exquisite satisfaction it had been to
describe Aunt Ruth as "a dumpy little woman."

"I wonder what my uncles and aunts would say if they knew what I
REALLY think of them," she murmured as she got into bed.



DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND


Emily, who had been pointedly ignored by the Murrays at breakfast,
was called into the parlour when the meal was over.

They were all there--the whole phalanx of them--and it occurred to
Emily as she looked at Uncle Wallace, sitting in the spring
sunshine, that she had not just found the exact word after all to
express his peculiar quality of grimness.

Aunt Elizabeth stood unsmilingly by the table with slips of paper
in her hand.

"Emily," she said, "last night we could not decide who should take
you.  I may say that none of us feel very much like doing so, for
you have behaved very badly in many respects--"

"Oh, Elizabeth--" protested Laura.  "She--she is our sister's
child."

Elizabeth lifted a hand regally.

"_I_ am doing this, Laura.  Have the goodness not to interrupt me.
As I was saying, Emily, we could not decide as to who should have
the care of you.  So we have agreed to Cousin Jimmy's suggestion
that we settle the matter by lot.  I have our names here, written
on these slips of paper.  You will draw one and the one whose name
is on it will give you a home."

Aunt Elizabeth held out the slips of paper.  Emily trembled so
violently that at first she could not draw one.  This was terrible--
it seemed as if she must blindly settle her own fate.

"Draw," said Aunt Elizabeth.

Emily set her teeth, threw back her head with the air of one who
challenges destiny, and drew.  Aunt Elizabeth took the slip from
the little shaking hand and held it up.  On it was her own name--
"Elizabeth Murray."  Laura Murray suddenly put her handkerchief to
her eyes.

"Well, that's settled," said Uncle Wallace, getting up with an air
of relief.  "And if I'm going to catch that train I've got to
hurry.  Of course, as far as the matter of expense goes, Elizabeth,
I'll do my share."

"We are not paupers at New Moon," said Aunt Elizabeth rather
coldly.  "Since it has fallen to me to take her, I shall do all
that is necessary, Wallace.  I do not shirk my duty."

"_I_ am her duty," thought Emily.  "Father said nobody ever liked a
duty.  So Aunt Elizabeth will never like me."

"You've got more of the Murray pride than all the rest of us put
together, Elizabeth," laughed Uncle Wallace.

They all followed him out--all except Aunt Laura.  She came up to
Emily, standing alone in the middle of the room, and drew her into
her arms.

"I'm so glad, Emily--I'm so glad," she whispered.  "Don't fret,
dear child.  I love you already--and New Moon is a nice place,
Emily."

"It has--a pretty name," said Emily, struggling for self-control.
"I've--always hoped--I could go with you, Aunt Laura.  I think I am
going to cry--but it's not because I'm sorry I'm going there.  My
manners are NOT as bad as you may think, Aunt Laura--and I wouldn't
have listened last night if I'd known it was wrong."

"Of course you wouldn't," said Aunt Laura.

"But I'm not a Murray, you know."

Then Aunt Laura said a queer thing--for a Murray.

"Thank heaven for that!" said Aunt Laura.

Cousin Jimmy followed Emily out and overtook her in the little
hall.  Looking carefully around to ensure privacy, he whispered.

"Your Aunt Laura is a great hand at making an apple turnover,
pussy."

Emily thought apple turnover sounded nice, though she did not know
what it was.  She whispered back a question which she would never
have dared ask Aunt Elizabeth or even Aunt Laura.

"Cousin Jimmy, when they make a cake at New Moon, will they let me
scrape out the mixing-bowl and eat the scrapings?"

"Laura will--Elizabeth won't," whispered Cousin Jimmy solemnly.

"And put my feet in the oven when they get cold?  And have a cooky
before I go to bed?"

"Answer same as before," said Cousin Jimmy.  "I'LL recite my poetry
to you.  It's very few people I do that for.  I've composed a
thousand poems.  They're not written down--I carry them here."
Cousin Jimmy tapped his forehead.

"Is it very hard to write poetry?" asked Emily, looking with new
respect at Cousin Jimmy.

"Easy as rolling off a log if you can find enough rhymes," said
Cousin Jimmy.

They all went away that morning except the New Moon people.  Aunt
Elizabeth announced that they would stay until the next day to pack
up and take Emily with them.

"Most of the furniture belongs to the house," she said, "so it
won't take us long to get ready.  There are only Douglas Starr's
books and his few personal belongings to pack."

"How shall I carry my cats?" asked Emily anxiously.

Aunt Elizabeth stared.

"Cats!  You'll take no cats, miss."

"Oh, I must take Mike and Saucy Sal!" cried Emily wildly.  "I can't
leave them behind.  I can't live without a cat."

"Nonsense!  There are barn cats at New Moon, but they are never
allowed in the house."

"Don't you like cats?" asked Emily wonderingly.

"No, I do NOT."

"Don't you like the FEEL of a nice, soft, fat cat?" persisted
Emily.

"No; I would as soon touch a snake."

"There's a lovely old wax doll of your mother's up there," said
Aunt Laura.  "I'll dress it up for you."

"I don't like dolls--they can't talk," exclaimed Emily.

"Neither can cats."

"Oh, can't they!  Mike and Saucy Sal can.  Oh, I MUST take them.
Oh, please, Aunt Elizabeth.  I LOVE those cats.  And they're the
only things left in the world that love me.  Please!"

"What's a cat more or less on two hundred acres?" said Cousin
Jimmy, pulling his forked beard.  "Take 'em along, Elizabeth."

Aunt Elizabeth considered for a moment.  She couldn't understand
why anybody should want a cat.  Aunt Elizabeth was one of those
people who never do understand anything unless it is told them in
plain language and hammered into their heads.  And THEN they
understand it only with their brains and not with their hearts.

"You may take ONE of your cats," she said at last, with the air of
a person making a great concession.  "One--and no more.  No, don't
argue.  You may as well learn first as last, Emily, that when _I_
say a thing I mean it.  That's enough, Jimmy."

Cousin Jimmy bit off something he had tried to say, stuck his hands
in his pockets, and whistled at the ceiling.

"When she won't, she won't--Murray-like.  We're all born with that
kink in us, small pussy, and you'll have to put up with it--more by
token that you're full of it yourself, you know.  Talk about your
not being Murray!  The Starr is only skin deep with you."

"It isn't--I'm ALL Starr--I WANT to be," cried Emily.  "And, oh,
how can I choose between Mike and Saucy Sal?"

This was indeed a problem.  Emily wrestled with it all day, her
heart bursting.  She liked Mike best--there was no doubt of that;
but she COULDN'T leave Saucy Sal to Ellen's tender mercies.  Ellen
had always hated Sal; but she rather liked Mike and she would be
good to him.  Ellen was going back to her own little house in
Maywood village and she wanted a cat.  At last in the evening,
Emily made her bitter decision.  She would take Saucy Sal.

"Better take the Tom," said Cousin Jimmy.  "Not so much bother with
kittens you know, Emily."

"Jimmy!" said Aunt Elizabeth sternly.  Emily wondered over the
sternness.  Why weren't kittens to be spoken of?  But she didn't
like to hear Mike called "the Tom."  It sounded insulting, someway.

And she didn't like the bustle and commotion of packing up.  She
longed for the old quiet and the sweet, remembered talks with her
father.  She felt as if he had been thrust far away from her by
this influx of Murrays.

"What's this?" said Aunt Elizabeth suddenly, pausing for a moment
in her packing.  Emily looked up and saw with dismay that Aunt
Elizabeth had in her hands the old account-book--that she was
opening it--that she was READING in it.  Emily sprang across the
floor and snatched the book.

"You mustn't read that, Aunt Elizabeth," she cried indignantly,
"that's mine--my own PRIVATE PROPERTY."

"Hoity-toity, Miss Starr," said Aunt Elizabeth, staring at her,
"let me tell you that I have a right to read your books.  I am
responsible for you now.  I am not going to have anything hidden or
underhanded, understand that.  You have evidently something there
that you are ashamed to have seen and I mean to see it.  Give me
that book."

"I'm NOT ashamed of it," cried Emily, backing away, hugging her
precious book to her breast.  "But I won't let you--or ANYBODY--see
it."

Aunt Elizabeth followed.

"Emily Starr, do you hear what I say?  Give me that book--at ONCE."

"No--no!"  Emily turned and ran.  She would NEVER let Aunt
Elizabeth see that book.  She fled to the kitchen stove--she
whisked off a cover--she crammed the book into the glowing fire.
It caught and blazed merrily.  Emily watched it in agony.  It
seemed as if part of herself were burning there.  But Aunt
Elizabeth should never see it--see all the little things she had
written and read to Father--all her fancies about the Wind Woman--
and Emily-in-the-glass--all her little cat dialogues--all the
things she had said in it last night about the Murrays.  She
watched the leaves shrivel and shudder, as if they were sentient
things, and then turn black.  A line of white writing came out
vividly on one.  "Aunt Elizabeth is very cold and HAWTY."  What if
Aunt Elizabeth had seen THAT?  What if she were seeing it now!
Emily glanced apprehensively over her shoulder.  No, Aunt Elizabeth
had gone back to the room and shut the door with what, in anybody
but a Murray, would have been called a bang.  The account-book was
a little heap of white film on the glowing coals.  Emily sat down
by the stove and cried.  She felt as if she had lost something
incalculably precious.  It was terrible to think that all those
dear things were gone.  She could never write them again--not just
the same; and if she could she wouldn't dare--she would never dare
to write ANYTHING again, if Aunt Elizabeth must see everything.
Father never insisted on seeing them.  She liked to read them to
HIM--but if she hadn't wanted to do it he would never have made
her.  Suddenly Emily, with tears glistening on her cheeks, wrote a
line in an imaginary account-book.

"Aunt Elizabeth is cold and hawty; and she is NOT FAIR."

Next morning, while Cousin Jimmy was tying the boxes at the back of
the double-seated buggy, and Aunt Elizabeth was giving Ellen her
final instructions, Emily said good-bye to everything--to the
Rooster Pine and Adam-and-Eve--"they'll miss me so when I'm gone;
there won't be any one here to love them," she said wistfully--to
the spider crack in the kitchen window--to the old wing-chair--to
the bed of striped grass--to the silver birch-ladies.  Then she
went upstairs to the window of her own old room.  That little
window had always seemed to Emily to open on a world of wonder.  In
the burned account-book there had been one piece of which she was
especially proud.  "A deskripshun of the vew from my Window."  She
had sat there and dreamed; at night she used to kneel there and say
her little prayers.  Sometimes the stars shone through it--
sometimes the rain beat against it--sometimes the little greybirds
and swallows visited it--sometimes airy fragrances floated in from
apple and lilac blossom--sometimes the Wind Woman laughed and
sighed and sang and whistled round it--Emily had heard her there in
the dark nights and in wild, white winter storms.  She did not say
good-bye to the Wind Woman, for she knew the Wind Woman would be at
New Moon, too; but she said good-bye to the little window and the
green hill she had loved, and to her fairy-haunted barrens and to
little Emily-in-the-glass.  There might be another Emily-in-the-
glass at New Moon, but she wouldn't be the same one.  And she
unpinned from the wall and stowed away in her pocket the picture of
the ball dress she had cut from a fashion sheet.  It was such a
wonderful dress--all white lace and wreaths of rosebuds, with a
long, long train of lace flounces that must reach clear across a
room.  Emily had pictured herself a thousand times wearing that
dress, sweeping, a queen of beauty, across a ballroom door.

Downstairs they were waiting for her.  Emily said good-bye to Ellen
Greene rather indifferently--she had never liked Ellen Greene at
any time, and since the night Ellen had told her her father was
going to die she had hated and feared her.

Ellen amazed Emily by bursting into tears and hugging her--begging
her not to forget her--asking her to write to her--calling her "my
blessed child."

"I am not your blessed child," said Emily, "but I will write to
you.  And will you be very good to Mike?"

"I b'lieve you feel worse over leaving that cat than you do over
leaving me," sniffed Ellen.

"Why, of course I do," said Emily, amazed that there could be any
question about it.

It took all her resolution not to cry when she bade farewell to
Mike, who was curled up on the sun-warm grass at the back door.

"Maybe I'll see you again sometime," she whispered as she hugged
him.  "I'm sure GOOD pussy cats go to heaven."

Then they were off in the double-seated buggy with its fringed
canopy, always affected by the Murrays of New Moon.  Emily had
never driven in anything so splendid before.  She had never had
many drives.  Once or twice her father had borrowed Mr Hubbard's
old buckboard and grey pony and driven to Charlottetown.  The
buckboard was rattly and the pony slow, but Father had talked to
her all the way and made the road a wonder.

Cousin Jimmy and Aunt Elizabeth sat in front, the latter very
imposing in black lace bonnet and mantle.  Aunt Laura and Emily
occupied the seat behind, with Saucy Sal between them in a basket,
shrieking piteously.

Emily glanced back as they drove up the grassy lane, and thought
the little, old, brown house in the hollow had a brokenhearted
look.  She longed to run back and comfort it.  In spite of her
resolution, the tears came into her eyes; but Aunt Laura put a kid-
gloved hand across Sal's basket and caught Emily's in a close,
understanding squeeze.

"Oh, I just love you, Aunt Laura," whispered Emily.

And Aunt Laura's eyes were very, very blue and deep and kind.



NEW MOON


Emily found the drive through the blossomy June world pleasant.
Nobody talked much; even Saucy Sal had subsided into the silence of
despair; now and then Cousin Jimmy made a remark, more to himself,
as it seemed, than to anybody else.  Sometimes Aunt Elizabeth
answered it, sometimes not.  She always spoke crisply and used no
unnecessary words.

They stopped in Charlottetown and had dinner.  Emily, who had had
no appetite since her father's death, could not eat the roast beef
which the boarding-house waitress put before her.  Whereupon Aunt
Elizabeth whispered mysteriously to the waitress who went away and
presently returned with a plateful of delicate cold chicken--fine
white slices, beautifully trimmed with lettuce frills.

"Can you eat THAT?" said Aunt Elizabeth sternly, as to a culprit at
the bar.

"I'll--try," whispered Emily.

She was too frightened just then to say more, but by the time she
had forced down some of the chicken she had made up her small mind
that a certain matter must be put right.

"Aunt Elizabeth," she said.

"Hey, what?" said Aunt Elizabeth, directing her steel-blue eyes
straight at her niece's troubled ones.

"I would like you to understand," said Emily, speaking very primly
and precisely so that she would be sure to get things right, "that
it was not because I did not like the roast beef I did not eat it.
I was not hungry at all; and I just et some of the chicken to
oblige you, not because I liked it any better."

"Children should eat what is put before them and never turn up
their noses at good, wholesome food," said Aunt Elizabeth severely.
So Emily felt that Aunt Elizabeth had not understood after all and
she was unhappy about it.

After dinner Aunt Elizabeth announced to Aunt Laura that they would
do some shopping.

"We must get some things for the child," she said.

"Oh, please don't call me 'the child,'" exclaimed Emily.  "It makes
me feel as if I didn't belong anywhere.  Don't you like my name,
Aunt Elizabeth?  Mother thought it so pretty.  And I don't need any
'things.'  I have two whole sets of underclothes--only one is
patched--"

"S-s-sh!" said Cousin Jimmy, gently kicking Emily's shins under the
table.

Cousin Jimmy only meant that it would be better if she let Aunt
Elizabeth buy "things" for her when she was in the humour for it;
but Emily thought he was rebuking her for mentioning such matters
as underclothes and subsided in scarlet confusion.  Aunt Elizabeth
went on talking to Laura as if she had not heard.

"She must not wear that cheap black dress in Blair Water.  You
could sift oatmeal through it.  It is nonsense expecting a child of
ten to wear black at all.  I shall get her a nice white dress with
a black sash for good, and some black-and-white-check gingham for
school.  Jimmy, we'll leave the child with you.  Look after her."

Cousin Jimmy's method of looking after her was to take her to a
restaurant down street and fill her up with ice-cream.  Emily had
never had many chances at ice-cream and she needed no urging, even
with lack of appetite, to eat two saucerfuls.  Cousin Jimmy eyed
her with satisfaction.

"No use my getting anything for you that Elizabeth could see," he
said.  "But she can't see what is inside of you.  Make the most of
your chance, for goodness alone knows when you'll get any more."

"Do you never have ice-cream at New Moon?"

Cousin Jimmy shook his head.

"Your Aunt Elizabeth doesn't like new-fangled things.  In the
house, we belong to fifty years ago, but on the farm she has to
give way.  In the house--candles; in the dairy, her grandmother's
big pans to set the milk in.  But, pussy, New Moon is a pretty good
place after all.  You'll like it some day."

"Are there any fairies there?" asked Emily, wistfully.

"The woods are full of 'em," said Cousin Jimmy.  "And so are the
columbines in the old orchard.  We grow columbines there on purpose
for the fairies."

Emily sighed.  Since she was eight she had known there were no
fairies anywhere nowadays; yet she hadn't quite given up the hope
that one or two might linger in old-fashioned, out-of-the-way
spots.  And where so likely as at New Moon?"

"Really-truly fairies?" she questioned.

"Why, you know, if a fairy was really-truly it wouldn't BE a
fairy," said Cousin Jimmy seriously.  "Could it, now?"

Before Emily could think this out the aunts returned and soon they
were all on the road again.  It was sunset when they came to Blair
Water--a rosy sunset that flooded the long, sandy sea-coast with
colour and brought red road and fir-darkened hill out in fleeting
clearness of outline.  Emily looked about her on her new
environment and found it good.  She saw a big house peering whitely
through a veil of tall old trees--no mushroom growth of yesterday's
birches but trees that had loved and been loved by three
generations--a glimpse of silver water glistening through the dark
spruces--that was the Blair Water itself, she knew--and a tall,
golden-white church spire shooting up above the maple woods in the
valley below.  But it was none of these that brought her the flash--
THAT came with the sudden glimpse of the dear, friendly, little
dormer window peeping through vines on the roof--and right over it,
in the opalescent sky, a real new moon, golden and slender.  Emily
was tingling all over with it as Cousin Jimmy lifted her from the
buggy and carried her into the kitchen.

She sat on a long wooden bench that was satin-smooth with age and
scrubbing, and watched Aunt Elizabeth lighting candles here and
there, in great, shining, brass candlesticks--on the shelf between
the windows, on the high dresser where the row of blue and white
plates began to wink her a friendly welcome, on the long table in
the corner.  And as she lighted them, elvish "rabbits' candles"
flashed up amid the trees outside the windows.

Emily had never seen a kitchen like this before.  It had dark
wooden walls and low ceiling, with black rafters crossing it, from
which hung hams and sides of bacon and bunches of herbs and new
socks and mittens, and many other things, the names and uses of
which Emily could not imagine.  The sanded floor was spotlessly
white, but the boards had been scrubbed away through the years
until the knots in them stuck up all over in funny little bosses,
and in front of the stove they had sagged, making a queer, shallow
little hollow.  In one corner of the ceiling was a large square
hole which looked black and spookish in the candlelight, and made
her feel creepy.  SOMETHING might pop down out of a hole like that
if one hadn't behaved just right, you know.  And candles cast such
queer wavering shadows.  Emily didn't know whether she liked the
New Moon kitchen or not.  It was an interesting place--and she
rather thought she would like to describe it in the old account-
book, if it hadn't been burned--but Emily suddenly found herself
trembling on the verge of tears.

"Cold?" said Aunt Laura kindly.  "These June evenings are chilly
yet.  Come into the sitting-room--Jimmy has kindled a fire in the
stove there."

Emily, fighting desperately for self-control, went into the
sitting-room.  It was much more cheerful than the kitchen.  The
floor was covered with gay-striped homespun, the table had a bright
crimson cloth, the walls were hung with pretty, diamond-patterned
paper, the curtains were of wonderful pale-red damask with a design
of white ferns scattered all over them.  They looked very rich and
imposing and Murray-like.  Emily had never seen such curtains
before.  But best of all were the friendly gleams and flickers from
the jolly hardwood fire in the open stove that mellowed the ghostly
candlelight with something warm and rosy-golden.  Emily toasted her
toes before it and felt reviving interest in her surroundings.
What lovely little leaded glass doors closed the china closets on
either side of the high, black, polished mantel!  What a funny,
delightful shadow the carved ornament on the sideboard cast on the
wall behind it--just like a negro's side-face, Emily decided.  What
mysteries might lurk behind the chintz-lined glass doors of the
bookcase!  Books were Emily's friends wherever she found them.  She
flew over to the bookcase and opened the door.  But before she
could see more than the backs of rather ponderous volumes, Aunt
Elizabeth came in, with a mug of milk and a plate whereon lay two
little oatmeal cakes.

"Emily," said Aunt Elizabeth sternly, "shut that door.  Remember
that after this you are not to meddle with things that don't belong
to you."

"I thought books belonged to everybody," said Emily.

"Ours don't," said Aunt Elizabeth, contriving to convey the
impression that New Moon books were in a class by themselves.
"Here is your supper, Emily.  We are all so tired that we are just
having a lunch.  Eat it and then we will go to bed."

Emily drank the milk and worried down the oatcakes, still gazing
about her.  How pretty the wallpaper was, with the garland of roses
inside the gilt diamond!  Emily wondered if she could "see it in
the air."  She tried--yes, she could--there it hung, a yard from
her eyes, a little fairy pattern, suspended in mid-air like a
screen.  Emily had discovered that she possessed this odd knack
when she was six.  By a certain movement of the muscles of her
eyes, which she could never describe, she could produce a tiny
replica of the wallpaper in the air before her--could hold it there
and look at it as long as she liked--could shift it back and forth,
to any distance she chose, making it larger or smaller as it went
farther away or came nearer.  It was one of her secret joys when
she went into a new room anywhere to "see the paper in the air."
And this New Moon paper made the prettiest fairy paper she had ever
seen.

"What are you staring at nothing in that queer way for?" demanded
Aunt Elizabeth, suddenly returning.

Emily shrank into herself.  She couldn't explain to Aunt Elizabeth--
Aunt Elizabeth would be like Ellen Greene and say she was "crazy."

"I--I wasn't staring at anything."

"Don't contradict.  I say you were," retorted Aunt Elizabeth.
"Don't do it again.  It gives your face an unnatural expression.
Come now--we will go upstairs.  You are to sleep with me."

Emily gave a gasp of dismay.  She had hoped it might be with Aunt
Laura.  Sleeping with Aunt Elizabeth seemed a very formidable
thing.  But she dared not protest.  They went up to Aunt
Elizabeth's big, sombre bedroom where there was dark, grim
wallpaper that could never be transformed into a fairy curtain, a
high black bureau, topped with a tiny swing-mirror, so far above
her that there could be no Emily-in-the-glass, tightly closed
windows with dark-green curtains, a high bedstead with a dark-green
canopy, and a huge, fat, smothering feather-bed, with high, hard
pillows.

Emily stood still, gazing about her.

"Why don't you get undressed?" asked Aunt Elizabeth.

"I--I don't like to undress before you," faltered Emily.

Aunt Elizabeth looked at Emily through her cold, spectacled eyes.

"Take off your clothes, AT ONCE," she said.

Emily obeyed, tingling with anger and shame.  It was abominable--
taking off her clothes while Aunt Elizabeth stood and watched her.
The outrage of it was unspeakable.  It was even harder to say her
prayers before Aunt Elizabeth.  Emily felt that it was not much
good to pray under such circumstances.  Father's God seemed very
far away and she suspected that Aunt Elizabeth's was too much like
Ellen Greene's.

"Get into bed," said Aunt Elizabeth, turning down the clothes.

Emily glanced at the shrouded window.

"Aren't you going to open the window, Aunt Elizabeth?"

Aunt Elizabeth looked at Emily as if the latter had suggested
removing the roof.

"Open the window--and let in the night air!" she exclaimed.
"Certainly not!"

"Father and I always had our window open," cried Emily.

"No wonder he died of consumption," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "Night
air is poison."

"What air is there at night but night air?" asked Emily.

"Emily," said Aunt Elizabeth icily, "get--into--bed."

Emily got in.

But it was utterly impossible to sleep, lying there in that
engulfing bed that seemed to swallow her up, with that cloud of
blackness above her and not a gleam of light anywhere--and Aunt
Elizabeth lying beside her, long and stiff and bony.

"I feel as if I was in bed with a griffin," thought Emily.  "Oh--
oh--oh--I'm going to cry--I know I am."

Desperately and vainly she strove to keep the tears back--they
WOULD come.  She felt utterly alone and lonely--there in that
darkness, with an alien, hostile world all around her--for it
seemed hostile now.  And there was such a strange, mysterious,
mournful sound in the air--far away, yet clear.  It was the murmur
of the sea, but Emily did not know that and it frightened her.  Oh,
for her little bed at home--oh, for Father's soft breathing in the
room--oh, for the dancing friendliness of well-known stars shining
down through her open window!  She MUST go back--she couldn't stay
here--she would never be happy here!  But there wasn't any "back"
to go to--no home--no father--.  A great sob burst from her--
another followed and then another.  It was no use to clench her
hands and set her teeth--and chew the inside of her cheeks--nature
conquered pride and determination and had her way.

"What are you crying for?" asked Aunt Elizabeth.

To tell the truth Aunt Elizabeth felt quite as uncomfortable and
disjointed as Emily did.  She was not used to a bedfellow; she
didn't want to sleep with Emily any more than Emily wanted to sleep
with her.  But she considered it quite impossible that the child
should be put off by herself in one of the big, lonely New Moon
rooms; and Laura was a poor sleeper, easily disturbed; children
always kicked, Elizabeth Murray had heard.  So there was nothing to
do but take Emily in with her; and when she had sacrificed comfort
and inclination to do her unwelcome duty this ungrateful and
unsatisfactory child was not contented.

"I asked you what you were crying for, Emily?" she repeated.

"I'm--homesick, I guess," sobbed Emily.

Aunt Elizabeth was annoyed.

"A nice home you had to be homesick for," she said sharply.

"It--it wasn't as elegant--as New Moon," sobbed Emily, "but--FATHER
was there.  I guess I'm Fathersick, Aunt Elizabeth.  Didn't you
feel awfully lonely when YOUR father died?"

Elizabeth Murray involuntarily remembered the ashamed, smothered
feeling of relief when old Archibald Murray had died--the handsome,
intolerant, autocratic old man who had ruled his family with a rod
of iron all his life and had made existence at New Moon miserable
with the petulant tyranny of the five years of invalidism that had
closed his career.  The surviving Murrays had behaved impeccably,
and wept decorously, and printed a long and flattering obituary.
But had one genuine feeling of regret followed Archibald Murray to
his tomb?  Elizabeth did not like the memory and was angry with
Emily for evoking it.

"I was resigned to the will of Providence," she said coldly.
"Emily, you must understand right now that you are to be grateful
and obedient and show your appreciation of what is being done for
you.  I won't have tears and repining.  What would you have done if
you had no friends to take you in?  Answer me that."

"I suppose I would have starved to death," admitted Emily--
instantly beholding a dramatic vision of herself lying dead,
looking exactly like the pictures she had seen in one of Ellen
Greene's missionary magazines depicting the victims of an Indian
famine.

"Not exactly--but you would have been sent to some orphanage where
you would have been half-starved, probably.  You little know what
you have escaped.  You have come to a good home where you will be
cared for and educated properly."

Emily did not altogether like the sound of being "educated
properly."  But she said humbly,

"I know it was very good of you to bring me to New Moon, Aunt
Elizabeth.  And I won't bother you long, you know.  I'll soon be
grown-up and able to earn my own living.  What do you think is the
earliest age a person can be called grown-up, Aunt Elizabeth?"

"You needn't think about that," said Aunt Elizabeth shortly.  "The
Murray women have never been under any necessity for earning their
own living.  All we require of you is to be a good and contented
child and to conduct yourself with becoming prudence and modesty."

This sounded terribly hard.

"I WILL be," said Emily, suddenly determining to be heroic, like
the girl in the stories she had read.  "Perhaps it won't be so very
hard after all, Aunt Elizabeth,"--Emily happened at this point to
recall a speech she had heard her father use once, and thought this
a good opportunity to work it in--"because, you know, God is good
and the devil might be worse."

Poor Aunt Elizabeth!  To have a speech like that fired at her in
the darkness of the night from that unwelcome little interloper
into her orderly life and peaceful bed!  Was it any wonder that for
a moment or so she was too paralysed to reply!  Then she exclaimed
in tones of horror, "Emily, NEVER say that again!"

"All right," said Emily meekly.  "But," she added defiantly under
her breath, "I'll go on thinking it."

"And now," said Aunt Elizabeth, "I want to say that I am not in the
habit of talking all night if you are.  I tell you to go to sleep,
and I EXPECT you to obey me.  Good night."

The tone of Aunt Elizabeth's good night would have spoiled the best
night in the world.  But Emily lay very still and sobbed no more,
though the noiseless tears trickled down her cheeks in the darkness
for some time.  She lay so still that Aunt Elizabeth imagined she
was asleep and went to sleep herself.

"I wonder if anybody in the world is awake but me," thought Emily,
feeling a sickening loneliness.  "If I only had Saucy Sal here!
She isn't so cuddly as Mike but she'd be better than nothing.  I
wonder where she is.  I wonder if they gave her any supper."

Aunt Elizabeth had handed Sal's basket to Cousin Jimmy with an
impatient, "Here--look to this cat," and Jimmy had carried it off.
Where had he put it?  Perhaps Saucy Sal would get out and go home--
Emily had heard cats always went back home.  She wished SHE could
get out and go home--she pictured herself and her cat running
eagerly along the dark, starlit roads to the little house in the
hollow--back to the birches and Adam-and-Eve and Mike, and the old
wing-chair and her dear little cot and the open window where the
Wind Woman sang to her and at dawn one could see the blue of the
mist on the homeland hills.

"Will it ever be morning?" thought Emily.  "Perhaps things won't be
so bad in the morning."

And then--she heard the Wind Woman at the window--she heard the
little, low, whispering murmur of the June night breeze--cooing,
friendly, lovesome.

"Oh, you're out there, are you, dearest one?" she whispered,
stretching out her arms.  "Oh, I'm so glad to hear you.  You're
such company, Wind Woman.  I'm not lonesome any more.  And the
flash came, too!  I was afraid it might never come at New Moon."

Her soul suddenly escaped from the bondage of Aunt Elizabeth's
stuffy feather-bed and gloomy canopy and sealed windows.  She was
out in the open with the Wind Woman and the other gipsies of the
night--the fireflies, the moths, the brooks, the clouds.  Far and
wide she wandered in enchanted reverie until she coasted the shore
of dreams and fell soundly asleep on the fat, hard pillow, while
the Wind Woman sang softly and luringly in the vines that clustered
over New Moon.



THE BOOK OF YESTERDAY


That first Saturday and Sunday at New Moon always stood out in
Emily's memory as a very wonderful time, so crowded was it with new
and generally delightful impressions.  If it be true that we "count
time by heart throbs" Emily lived two years in it instead of two
days.  Everything was fascinating from the moment she came down the
long, polished staircase into the square hall that was filled with
a soft, rosy light coming through the red glass panes of the front
door.  Emily gazed through the panes delightedly.  What a strange,
fascinating, red world she beheld, with a weird red sky that
looked, she thought, as if it belonged to the Day of Judgment.

There was a certain charm about the old house which Emily felt
keenly and responded to, although she was too young to understand
it.  It was a house which aforetime had had vivid brides and
mothers and wives, and the atmosphere of their loves and lives
still hung around it, not yet banished by the old-maidishness of
the regime of Elizabeth and Laura.

"Why--I'm going to LOVE New Moon," thought Emily, quite amazed at
the idea.

Aunt Laura was setting the breakfast table in the kitchen, which
seemed quite bright and jolly in the glow of morning sunshine.
Even the black hole in the ceiling had ceased to be spookish and
become only a commonplace entrance to the kitchen loft.  And on the
red-sandstone doorstep Saucy Sal was sitting, preening her fur as
contentedly as if she had lived at New Moon all her life.  Emily
did not know it, but Sal had already drunk deep the delight of
battle with her peers that morning and taught the barn cats their
place once and for all.  Cousin Jimmy's big yellow Tom had got a
fearful drubbing, and was minus several bits of his anatomy, while
a stuck-up, black lady-cat, who fancied herself considerably, had
made up her mind that if that grey-and-white, narrow-faced
interloper from goodness knew where was going to stay at New Moon,
SHE was not.

Emily gathered Sal up in her arms and kissed her joyously, to the
horror of Aunt Elizabeth, who was coming across the platform from
the cook-house with a plate of sizzling bacon in her hands.

"Don't ever let me see you kissing a cat again," she ordered.

"Oh, all right," agreed Emily cheerfully, "I'll only kiss her when
you don't see me after this."

"I don't want any of your pertness, miss.  You are not to kiss cats
at all."

"But Aunt Elizabeth, I didn't kiss her on her mouth, OF COURSE.  I
just kissed her between her ears.  It's nice--won't you just try it
for once and see for yourself?"

"That will do, Emily.  You have said quite enough."  And Aunt
Elizabeth sailed on into the kitchen majestically, leaving Emily
momentarily wretched.  She felt that she had offended Aunt
Elizabeth, and she hadn't the least notion why or how.

But the scene before her was too interesting to worry long about
Aunt Elizabeth.  Delicious smells were coming from the cook-house--
a little, slant-roofed building at the corner where the big
cooking-stove was placed in summer.  It was thickly overgrown with
hop vines, as most of the New Moon buildings were.  To the right
was the "new" orchard, very wonderful now in blossom, but a rather
commonplace spot after all, since Cousin Jimmy cultivated it in
most up-to-date fashion and had grain growing in the wide spaces
between the straight rows of trees that looked all alike.  But on
the other side of the barn lane, just behind the well, was the "old
orchard," where Cousin Jimmy said the columbines grew and which
seemed to be a delightful place where trees had come up at their
own sweet will, and grown into individual shapes and sizes, where
blue-eyed ivy twined about their roots and wild-briar roses rioted
over the grey paling fence.  Straight ahead, closing the vista
between the orchards, was a little slope covered with huge white
birches, among which were the big New Moon barns, and beyond the
new orchard a little, lovable red road looped lightly up and up,
over a hill, until it seemed to touch the vivid blue of the sky.

Cousin Jimmy came down from the barns, carrying brimming pails of
milk, and Emily ran with him to the dairy behind the cook-house.
Such a delightful spot she had never seen or imagined.  It was a
snow-white little building in a clump of tall balm-of-gileads.  Its
grey roof was dotted over with cushions of moss like fat green-
velvet mice.  You went down six sand-stone steps with ferns
crowding about them, and opened a white door with a glass panel in
it, and went down three more steps.  And then you were in a clean,
earthy-smelling, damp, cool place with an earthen floor and windows
screened by the delicate emerald of young hop vines, and broad
wooden shelves all around, whereon stood wide, shallow pans of
glossy brown ware, full of milk coated over with cream so rich that
it was positively yellow.

Aunt Laura was waiting for them and she strained the milk into
empty pans and then skimmed some of the full ones.  Emily thought
skimming was a lovely occupation and longed to try her hand at it.
She also longed to sit right down and write a description of that
dear dairy; but alas, there was no account-book; still, she could
write it in her head.  She squatted down on a little three-legged
stool in a dim corner and proceeded to do it, sitting so still that
Jimmy and Laura forgot her and went away and later had to hunt for
her a quarter of an hour.  This delayed breakfast and made Aunt
Elizabeth very cross.  But Emily had found just the right sentence
to define the clear yet dim green light that filled the dairy and
was so happy over it that she didn't mind Aunt Elizabeth's black
looks a bit.

After breakfast Aunt Elizabeth informed Emily that henceforth it
would be one of her duties to drive the cows to pasture every
morning.

"Jimmy has no hired man just now and it will save him a few
minutes."

"And don't be afraid," added Aunt Laura, "the cows know the way so
well they'll go of themselves.  You have only to follow and shut
the gates."

"I'm not afraid," said Emily.

But she was.  She knew nothing about cows; still, she was
determined that the Murrays should not suspect a Starr was scared.
So, her heart beating like a trip-hammer, she sallied valiantly
forth and found that what Aunt Laura had said was true and cows
were not such ferocious animals after all.  They went gravely on
ahead and she had only to follow, through the old orchard and then
through the scrub maple growth beyond, along a twisted ferny path
where the Wind Woman was purring and peeping around the maple
clumps.

Emily loitered by the pasture gate until her eager eyes had taken
in all the geography of the landscape.  The old pasture ran before
her in a succession of little green bosoms right down to the famous
Blair Water--an almost perfectly round pond, with grassy, sloping,
treeless margins.  Beyond it was the Blair Water valley, filled
with homesteads, and further out the great sweep of the white-
capped gulf.  It seemed to Emily's eyes a charming land of green
shadows, and blue waters.  Down in one corner of the pasture,
walled off by an old stone dyke, was the little private graveyard
where the dead-and-gone Murrays were buried.  Emily wanted to go
and explore it, but was afraid to trust herself in the pasture.

"I'll go as soon as I get better acquainted with the cows," she
resolved.

Off to the right, on the crest of a steep little hill, covered with
young birches and firs, was a house that puzzled and intrigued
Emily.  It was grey and weather-worn, but it didn't look old.  It
had never been finished; the roof was shingled but the sides were
not, and the windows were boarded over.  Why had it never been
finished?  And it was meant to be such a pretty little house--a
house you could love--a house where there would be nice chairs and
cosy fires and bookcases and lovely, fat, purry cats and unexpected
corners; then and there she named it the Disappointed House, and
many an hour thereafter did she spend finishing that house,
furnishing it as it should be furnished, and inventing the proper
people and animals to live in it.

To the left of the pasture-field was another house of a quite
different type--a big, old house, tangled over with vines, flat-
roofed, with mansard windows, and a general air of indifference and
neglect about it.  A large, untidy lawn, overgrown with unpruned
shrubs and trees, straggled right down to the pond, where enormous
willows drooped over the water.  Emily decided that she would ask
Cousin Jimmy about these houses when she got a good chance.

She felt that, before she went back, she must slip along the
pasture fence and explore a certain path which she saw entering the
grove of spruce and maple further down.  She did--and found that it
led straight into Fairyland--along the bank of a wide, lovely
brook--a wild, dear, little path with lady-ferns beckoning and
blowing along it, the shyest of elfin June-bells under the firs,
and little whims of loveliness at every curve.  She breathed in the
tang of fir-balsam and saw the shimmer of gossamers high up in the
boughs, and everywhere the frolic of elfin lights and shadows.
Here and there the young maple branches interlaced as if to make a
screen for dryad faces--Emily knew all about dryads, thanks to her
father--and the great sheets of moss under the trees were meet for
Titania's couch.

"This is one of the places where dreams grow," said Emily happily.

She wished the path might go on forever, but presently it veered
away from the brook, and when she had scrambled over a mossy, old
board fence she found herself in the "front garden" of New Moon,
where Cousin Jimmy was pruning some spirea bushes.

"Oh, Cousin Jimmy, I've found the dearest little road," said Emily
breathlessly.

"Coming up through Lofty John's bush?"

"Isn't it our bush?" asked Emily, rather disappointed.

"No, but it ought to be.  Fifty years ago Uncle Archibald sold that
jog of land to Lofty John's father--old Mike Sullivan.  He built a
little house down near the pond and lived there till he quarrelled
with Uncle Archibald--which wasn't long, of course.  Then he moved
his house across the road--and Lofty John lives there now.
Elizabeth has tried to buy the land back from him--she's offered
him far more than it's worth--but Lofty John won't sell--just for
spite, seeing that he has a good farm of his own and this piece
isn't much good to him.  He only pastures a few young cattle on it
through the summer, and what was cleared is all growing up with
scrub maple.  It's a thorn in Elizabeth's side and likely to be as
long as Lofty John nurses his spite."

"Why is he called Lofty John?"

"Because he's a high and lofty fellow.  But never mind him.  I want
to show you round my garden, Emily.  It's mine.  Elizabeth bosses
the farm; but she lets me run the garden--to make up for pushing me
into the well."

"DID she do that?"

"Yes.  She didn't mean to, of course.  We were just children--I was
here on a visit--and the men were putting a new hood on the well
and cleaning it.  It was open--and we were playing tag around it.
I made Elizabeth mad--forget what I said--'twasn't hard to make her
mad you understand--and she made to give me a bang on the head.  I
saw it coming--and stepped back to get out of the way--and down I
went, head first.  Don't remember anything more about it.  There
was nothing but mud at the bottom--but my head struck the stones at
the side.  I was took up for dead--my head all cut up.  Poor
Elizabeth was--"  Cousin Jimmy shook his head, as if to intimate
that it was impossible to describe how or what poor Elizabeth was.
"I got about after a while, though--pretty near as good as new.
Folks say I've never been quite right since--but they only say that
because I'm a poet, and because nothing ever worries me.  Poets are
so scarce in Blair Water folks don't understand them, and most
people worry so much, they think you're not right if you don't
worry."

"Won't you recite some of your poetry to me, Cousin Jimmy?" asked
Emily eagerly.

"When the spirit moves me I will.  It's no use to ask me when the
spirit don't move me."

"But how am I to know when the spirit moves you, Cousin Jimmy?"

"I'll begin of my own accord to recite my compositions.  But I'll
tell you this--the spirit generally moves me when I'm boiling the
pigs' potatoes in the fall.  Remember that and be around."

"Why don't you write your poetry down?"

"Paper's too scarce at New Moon.  Elizabeth has some pet economies
and writing-paper of any kind is one of them.

"But haven't you any money of your own, Cousin Jimmy?"

"Oh, Elizabeth pays me good wages.  But she puts all my money in
the bank and just doles out a few dollars to me once in a while.
She says I'm not fit to be trusted with money.  When I came here to
work for her she paid me my wages at the end of the month and I
started for Shrewsbury to put it in the bank.  Met a tramp on the
road--a poor, forlorn creature without a cent.  I gave HIM the
money.  Why not?  _I_ had a good home and a steady job and clothes
enough to do me for years.  I s'pose it was the foolishest thing I
ever did--and the nicest.  But Elizabeth never got over it.  SHE'S
managed my money ever since.  But come you now, and I'll show you
my garden before I have to go and sow turnips."

The garden was a beautiful place, well worthy Cousin Jimmy's pride.
It seemed like a garden where no frost could wither or rough wind
blow--a garden remembering a hundred vanished summers.  There was a
high hedge of clipped spruce all around it, spaced at intervals by
tall Lombardies.  The north side was closed in by a thick grove of
spruce against which a long row of peonies grew, their great red
blossoms splendid against its darkness.  One big spruce grew in the
centre of the garden and underneath it was a stone bench, made of
flat shore stones worn smooth by long polish of wind and wave.  In
the south-east corner was an enormous clump of lilacs, trimmed into
the semblance of one large drooping-boughed tree, gloried over with
purple.  An old summer-house, covered with vines, filled the south-
west corner.  And in the north-west corner there was a sundial of
grey stone, placed just where the broad red walk that was bordered
with striped grass, and picked out with pink conchs, ran off into
Lofty John's bush.  Emily had never seen a sundial before and hung
over it enraptured.

"Your great-great-grandfather, Hugh Murray, had that brought out
from the Old Country," said Cousin Jimmy.  "There isn't as fine a
one in the Maritime Provinces.  And Uncle George Murray brought
those conchs from the Indies.  He was a sea-captain."

Emily looked about her with delight.  The garden was lovely and the
house quite splendid to her childish eyes.  It had a big front
porch with Grecian columns.  These were thought very elegant in
Blair Water, and went far to justify the Murray pride.  A
schoolmaster had said they gave the house a classical air.  To be
sure, the classical effect was just now rather smothered in hop-
vines that rioted over the whole porch and hung in pale-green
festoons above the rows of potted scarlet geraniums that flanked
the steps.

Emily's heart swelled with pride.

"It's a noble house," she said.

"And what about my garden?" demanded Cousin Jimmy jealously.

"It's fit for a queen," said Emily, gravely and sincerely.

Cousin Jimmy nodded, well pleased, and then a strange sound crept
into his voice and an odd look into his eyes.

"There is a spell woven round this garden.  The blight shall spare
it and the green worm pass it by.  Drought dares not invade it and
the rain comes here gently."

Emily took an involuntary step backward--she almost felt like
running away.  But now Cousin Jimmy was himself again.

"Isn't this grass about the sundial like green velvet?  I've taken
some pains with it, I can tell you.  You make yourself at home in
this garden."  Cousin Jimmy made a splendid gesture.  "I confer the
freedom of it upon you.  Good-luck to you, and may you find the
Lost Diamond."

"The Lost Diamond?" said Emily wonderingly.  What fascinating thing
was this?

"Never hear the story?  I'll tell it to-morrow--Sunday's lazy day
at New Moon.  I must get off to my turnips now or I'll have
Elizabeth out looking at me.  She won't say anything--she'll just
LOOK.  Ever seen the real Murray look?"

"I guess I saw it when Aunt Ruth pulled me out from under the
table," said Emily ruefully.

"No--no.  That was the Ruth Dutton look--spite and malice and all
uncharitableness.  I hate Ruth Dutton.  She laughs at my poetry--
not that she ever hears any of it.  The spirit never moves when
Ruth is around.  Dunno where they got her.  Elizabeth is a crank
but she's sound as a nut, and Laura's a saint.  But Ruth's worm-
eaten.  As for the Murray look, you'll know it when you see it.
It's as well known as the Murray pride.  We're a darn queer lot--
but we're the finest people ever happened.  I'll tell you all about
us to-morrow."

Cousin Jimmy kept his promise while the aunts were away at church.
It had been decided in family conclave that Emily was not to go to
church that day.

"She has nothing suitable to wear," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "By next
Sunday we will have her white dress ready."

Emily was disappointed that she was not to go to church.  She had
always found church very interesting on the rare occasions when she
got there.  It had been too far at Maywood for her father to walk
but sometimes Ellen Greene's brother had taken her and Ellen.

"Do you think, Aunt Elizabeth," she said wistfully, "that God would
be much offended if I wore my black dress to church?  Of course
it's cheap--I think Ellen Greene paid for it herself--but it covers
me all up."

"Little girls who do not understand things should hold their
tongues," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "I do not choose that Blair Water
people should see my niece in such a dress as that wretched black
merino.  And if Ellen Greene paid for it we must repay her.  You
should have told us that before we came away from Maywood.  No, you
are not going to church to-day.  You can wear the black dress to
school to-morrow.  We can cover it up with an apron."

Emily resigned herself with a sigh of disappointment to staying
home; but it was very pleasant after all.  Cousin Jimmy took her
for a walk to the pond, showed her the graveyard and opened the
book of yesterday for her.

"Why are all the Murrays buried here?" asked Emily.  "Is it really
because they are too good to be buried with common people?"

"No--no, pussy.  We don't carry our pride as far as THAT.  When old
Hugh Murray settled at New Moon there was nothing much but woods
for miles and no graveyards nearer than Charlottetown.  That's why
the old Murrays were buried here--and later on we kept it up
because we wanted to lie with our own, here on the green, green
banks of the old Blair Water."

"That sounds like a line out of a poem, Cousin Jimmy," said Emily.

"So it is--out of one of my poems."

"I kind of like the idea of a 'sclusive burying-ground like this,"
said Emily decidedly, looking around her approvingly at the velvet
grass sloping down to the fairy-blue pond, the neat walks, the
well-kept graves.

Cousin Jimmy chuckled.

"And yet they say you ain't a Murray," he said.  "Murray and Byrd
and Starr--and a dash of Shipley to boot, or Cousin Jimmy Murray is
much mistaken."

"Shipley?"

"Yes--Hugh Murray's wife--your great-great-grandmother--was a
Shipley--an Englishwoman.  Ever hear of how the Murrays came to New
Moon?"

"No."

"They were bound for Quebec--hadn't any notion of coming to P. E.
I.  They had a long rough voyage and water got scarce, so the
captain of the New Moon put in here to get some.  Mary Murray had
nearly died of seasickness coming but--never seemed to get her sea-
legs--so the captain, being sorry for her, told her she could go
ashore with the men and feel solid ground under her for an hour or
so.  Very gladly she went and when she got to shore she said, 'Here
I stay.'  And stay she did; nothing could budge her; old Hugh--he
was young Hugh then, of course, coaxed and stormed and raged and
argued--and even cried, I've been told--but Mary wouldn't be moved.
In the end he gave in and had his belongings landed and stayed,
too.  So that is how the Murrays came to P. E. Island."

"I'm glad it happened like that," said Emily.

"So was old Hugh in the long run.  And yet it rankled, Emily--it
rankled.  He never forgave his wife with a whole heart.  Her grave
is over there in the corner--that one with the flat red stone.  Go
you and look at what he had put on it."

Emily ran curiously over.  The big flat stone was inscribed with
one of the long, discursive epitaphs of an older day.  But beneath
the epitaph was no scriptural verse or pious psalm.  Clear and
distinct, in spite of age and lichen, ran the line, "Here I stay."

"THAT'S how he got even with her," said Cousin Jimmy.  "He was a
good husband to her--and she was a good wife and bore him a fine
family--and he never was the same after her death.  But that
rankled in him until it had to come out."

Emily gave a little shiver.  Somehow, the idea of that grim old
ancestor with his undying grudge against his nearest and dearest
was rather terrifying.

"I'm glad I'm only HALF Murray," she said to herself.  Aloud--
"Father told me it was a Murray tradition not to carry spite past
the grave."

"So 'tis now--but it took its rise from this very thing.  His
family were so horrified at it, you see.  It made considerable of a
scandal.  Some folks twisted it round to mean that Old Hugh didn't
believe in the resurrection, and there was talk of the session
taking it up, but after a while the talk died away."

Emily skipped over to another lichen-grown stone.

"Elizabeth Burnley--who was she, Cousin Jimmy?"

"Old William Murray's wife.  He was Hugh's brother, and came out
here five years after Hugh did.  His wife was a great beauty and
had been a belle in the Old Country.  She didn't like the P. E.
Island woods.  She was homesick, Emily--scandalous homesick.  For
weeks after she came here she wouldn't take off her bonnet--just
walked the floor in it, demanding to be taken back home."

"Didn't she take it off when she went to bed?" asked Emily.

"Dunno if she did go to bed.  Anyway, William wouldn't take her
back home so in time she took off her bonnet and resigned herself.
Her daughter married Hugh's son, so Elizabeth was your great-great-
grandmother."

Emily looked down at the sunken green grave and wondered if any
homesick dreams haunted Elizabeth Burnley's slumber of a hundred
years.

"It's dreadful to be homesick--_I_ know," she thought
sympathetically.

"Little Stephen Murray is buried over there," said Cousin Jimmy.
"His was the first marble stone in the burying-ground.  He was your
grandfather's brother--died when he was twelve.  He has," said
Cousin Jimmy solemnly, "became a Murray tradition."

"Why?"

"He was so beautiful and clever and good.  He hadn't a fault--so of
course he couldn't live.  They say there never was such a handsome
child in the connection.  And lovable--everybody loved him.  He has
been dead for ninety years--not a Murray living to-day ever saw
him--and yet we talk about him at family gatherings--he's more real
than lots of living people.  So you see, Emily, he must have been
an extraordinary child--but it ended in that--"  Cousin Jimmy waved
his hand towards the grassy grave and the white, prim headstone.

"I wonder," thought Emily, "if anyone will remember ME ninety years
after I'm dead."

"This old yard is nearly full," reflected Cousin Jimmy.  "There's
just room in yonder corner for Elizabeth and Laura--and me.  None
for you, Emily."

"I don't want to be buried here," flashed Emily.  "I think it's
splendid to have a graveyard like this in the family--but _I_ am
going to be buried in Charlottetown graveyard with Father and
Mother.  But there's one thing worries me Cousin Jimmy, do YOU
think I'm likely to die of consumption?"

Cousin Jimmy looked judicially down into her eyes.

"No," he said, "no, Miss Puss.  You've got enough life in YOU to
carry you far.  You aren't meant for death."

"I feel that, too," said Emily, nodding.  "And now, Cousin Jimmy,
WHY is that house over there disappointed?"

"Which one?--oh, Fred Clifford's house.  Fred Clifford began to
build that house thirty years ago.  He was to be married and his
lady picked out the plan.  And when the house was just as far along
as you see she jilted him, Emily--right in the face of day she
jilted him.  Never another nail was driven in the house.  Fred went
out to British Columbia.  He's living there yet--married and happy.
But he won't sell that lot to anyone--so I reckon he feels the
sting yet."

"I'm so sorry for that house.  I WISH it had been finished.  It
WANTS to be--even yet it WANTS to be."

"Well, I reckon it never will.  Fred had a bit of Shipley in him,
too, you see.  One of old Hugh's girls was his grandmother.  And
Doctor Burnley up there in the big grey house has more than a bit."

"Is he a relation of ours, too, Cousin Jimmy?"

"Forty-second cousin.  Way back he had a cousin of Mary Shipley's
for a great-something.  That was in the Old Country--his forebears
came out here after we did.  He's a good doctor but an odd stick--
odder by far than I am, Emily, and yet nobody ever says he's not
all there.  Can you account for that?  HE doesn't believe in God--
and _I_ am not such a fool as that."

"Not in ANY God?"

"Not in any God.  He's an infidel, Emily.  And he's bringing his
little girl up the same way, which _I_ think is a shame, Emily,"
said Cousin Jimmy confidentially.

"Doesn't her mother teach her things?"

"Her mother is--dead," answered Cousin Jimmy, with a little odd
hesitation.  "Dead these ten years," he added in a firmer tone.
"Ilse Burnley is a great girl--hair like daffodils and eyes like
yellow diamonds."

"Oh, Cousin Jimmy, you promised you'd tell me about the Lost
Diamond," cried Emily eagerly.

"To be sure--to be sure.  Well, it's there--somewhere in or about
the old summer-house, Emily.  Fifty years ago Edward Murray and his
wife came here from Kingsport for a visit.  A great lady she was,
and wearing silks and diamonds like a queen, though no beauty.  She
had a ring on with a stone in it that cost two hundred pounds,
Emily.  That was a big lot of money to be wearing on one wee woman-
finger, wasn't it?  It sparkled on her white hand as she held her
dress going up the steps of the summer-house; but when she came
down the steps it was gone."

"And was it NEVER found?" asked Emily breathlessly.

"Never--and for no lack of searching.  Edward Murray wanted to have
the house pulled down--but Uncle Archibald wouldn't hear of it--
because he had built it for his bride.  The two brothers quarrelled
over it and were never good friends again.  Everybody in the
connection has taken a spell hunting for the diamond.  Most folks
think it fell out of the summer-house among the flowers or shrubs.
But I know better, Emily.  I know Miriam Murray's diamond is
somewhere about that old house yet.  On moonlit nights, Emily, I've
seen it glinting--glinting and beckoning.  But never in the same
place--and when you go to it--it's gone, and you see it laughing at
you from somewhere else."

Again there was that eerie, indefinable something in Cousin Jimmy's
voice or look that gave Emily a sudden crinkly feeling in her
spine.  But she loved the way he talked to her, as if she were
grown-up; and she loved the beautiful land around her; and, in
spite of the ache for her father and the house in the hollow which
persisted all the time and hurt her so much at night that her
pillow was wet with secret tears, she was beginning to be a little
glad again in sunset and bird song and early white stars, in
moonlit nights and singing winds.  She knew life was going to be
wonderful here--wonderful and interesting, what with out-door cook-
houses and cream-girdled dairies and pond paths and sundials, and
Lost Diamonds, and Disappointed Houses and men who didn't believe
in ANY God--not even Ellen Greene's God.  Emily hoped she would
soon see Dr Burnley.  She was very curious to see what an infidel
looked like.  And she had already quite made up her mind that she
would find the Lost Diamond.



TRIAL BY FIRE


Aunt Elizabeth drove Emily to school the next morning.  Aunt Laura
had thought that, since there was only a month before vacation, it
was not worth while for Emily to "start school."  But Aunt
Elizabeth did not yet feel comfortable with a small niece skipping
around New Moon, poking into everything insatiably, and was
resolved that Emily must go to school to get her out of the way.
Emily herself, always avid for new experiences, was quite keen to
go, but for all that she was seething with rebellion as they drove
along.  Aunt Elizabeth had produced a terrible gingham apron and an
equally terrible gingham sunbonnet from somewhere in the New Moon
garret, and made Emily put them on.  The apron was a long sack-like
garment, high in the neck, with SLEEVES.  Those sleeves were the
crowning indignity.  Emily had never seen any little girl wearing
an apron with sleeves.  She rebelled to the point of tears over
wearing it, but Aunt Elizabeth was not going to have any nonsense.
Emily saw the Murray look then; and when she saw it she buttoned
her rebellious feeling tightly up in her soul and let Aunt
Elizabeth put the apron on her.

"It was one of your mother's aprons when she was a little girl,
Emily," said Aunt Laura comfortingly, and rather sentimentally.

"Then," said Emily, uncomforted and unsentimental, "I don't wonder
she ran away with Father when she grew up."

Aunt Elizabeth finished buttoning the apron and gave Emily a none
too gentle push away from her.

"Put on your sunbonnet," she ordered.

"Oh, please, Aunt Elizabeth, don't make me wear that horrid thing."

Aunt Elizabeth, wasting no further words, picked up the bonnet and
tied it on Emily's head.  Emily had to yield.  But from the depths
of the sunbonnet issued a voice, defiant though tremulous.

"Anyway, Aunt Elizabeth, you can't boss God," it said.

Aunt Elizabeth was too cross to speak all the way to the
schoolhouse.  She introduced Emily to Miss Brownell, and drove
away.  School was already "in," so Emily hung her sunbonnet on the
porch nail and went to the desk Miss Brownell assigned her.  She
had already made up her mind that she did not like Miss Brownell
and never would like her.

Miss Brownell had the reputation in Blair Water of being a fine
teacher--due mainly to the fact that she was a strict disciplinarian
and kept excellent "order."  She was a thin, middle-aged person
with a colourless face, prominent teeth, most of which she showed
when she laughed, and cold, watchful grey eyes--colder even than
Aunt Ruth's.  Emily felt as if those merciless agate eyes saw clean
through her to the core of her sensitive little soul.  Emily could
be fearless enough on occasion; but in the presence of a nature
which she instinctively felt to be hostile to hers she shrank away
in something that was more repulsion than fear.

She was a target for curious glances all the morning.  The Blair
Water school was large and there were at least twenty little girls
of about her own age.  Emily looked back curiously at them all and
thought the way they whispered to each other behind hands and books
when they looked at her very ill-mannered.  She felt suddenly
unhappy and homesick and lonesome--she wanted her father and her
old home and the dear things she loved.

"The New Moon girl is crying," whispered a black-eyed girl across
the aisle.  And then came a cruel little giggle.

"What is the matter with you, Emily?" said Miss Brownell suddenly
and accusingly.

Emily was silent.  She could not tell Miss Brownell what was the
matter with her--especially when Miss Brownell used such a tone.

"When I ask one of my pupils a question, Emily, I am accustomed to
having an answer.  Why are you crying?"

There was another giggle from across the aisle.  Emily lifted
miserable eyes and in her extremity fell back on a phrase of her
father's.

"It is a matter that concerns only myself," she said.

A red spot suddenly appeared in Miss Brownell's sallow cheek.  Her
eyes gleamed with cold fire.

"You will remain in during recess as a punishment for your
impertinence," she said--but she left Emily alone the rest of the
day.

Emily did not in the least mind staying in at recess, for, acutely
sensitive to her environment as she was, she realized that, for
some reason she could not fathom, the atmosphere of the school was
antagonistic.  The glances cast at her were not only curious but
ill-natured.  She did not want to go out to the playground with
those girls.  She did not want to go to school in Blair Water.  But
she would not cry any more.  She sat erect and kept her eyes on her
book.  Suddenly a soft, malignant hiss came across the aisle.

"Miss Pridey--Miss Pridey!"

Emily looked across at the girl.  Large, steady, purplish-grey eyes
gazed into beady, twinkling, black ones--gazed unquailingly--with
something in them that cowed and compelled.  The black eyes wavered
and fell, their owner covering her retreat with another giggle and
toss of her short braid of hair.

"I can master HER," thought Emily, with a thrill of triumph.

But there is strength in numbers and at noon hour Emily found
herself standing alone on the playground facing a crowd of
unfriendly faces.  Children can be the most cruel creatures alive.
They have the herd instinct of prejudice against any outsider, and
they are merciless in its indulgence.  Emily was a stranger and one
of the proud Murrays--two counts against her.  And there was about
her, small and ginghamed and sunbonneted as she was, a certain
reserve and dignity and fineness that they resented.  And they
resented the level way she looked at them, with that disdainful
face under cloudy black hair, instead of being shy and drooping as
became an interloper on probation.

"You are a proud one," said Black-eyes.  "Oh, my, you may have
buttoned boots, but you are living on charity."

Emily had not wanted to put on the buttoned boots.  She wanted to
go barefoot as she had always done in summer.  But Aunt Elizabeth
had told her that no child from New Moon had ever gone barefoot to
school.

"Oh, just look at the baby apron," laughed another girl, with a
head of chestnut curls.

Now Emily flushed.  This was indeed the vulnerable point in her
armour.  Delighted at her success in drawing blood the curled one
tried again.

"Is that your grandmother's sunbonnet?"

There was a chorus of giggles.

"Oh, she wears a sunbonnet to save her complexion," said a bigger
girl.  "That's the Murray pride.  The Murrays are rotten with
pride, my mother says."

"You're awful ugly," said a fat, squat little miss, nearly as broad
as she was long.  "Your ears look like a cat's."

"You needn't be so proud," said Black-eyes.  "Your kitchen ceiling
isn't plastered even."

"And your Cousin Jimmy is an idiot," said Chestnut-curls.

"He isn't!" cried Emily.  "He has more sense than any of you.  You
can say what you like about me but you are not going to INSULT MY
FAMILY.  If you say one more word about them I'll look you over
with the evil eye."

Nobody understood what this threat meant, but that made it all the
more effective.  It produced a brief silence.  Then the baiting
began again in a different form.

"Can you sing?" asked a thin, freckled girl, who yet contrived to
be very pretty in spite of thinness and freckles.

"No," said Emily.

"Can you dance?"

"No."

"Can you sew?"

"No."

"Can you cook?"

"No."

"Can you knit lace?"

"No."

"Can you crochet?"

"No."

"Then what CAN you do?" said the Freckled-one in a contemptuous
tone.

"I can write poetry," said Emily, without in the least meaning to
say it.  But at that instant she knew she COULD write poetry.  And
with this queer unreasonable conviction came--the flash!  Right
there, surrounded by hostility and suspicion, fighting alone for
her standing, without backing or advantage, came the wonderful
moment when soul seemed to cast aside the bonds of flesh and spring
upward to the stars.  The rapture and delight on Emily's face
amazed and enraged her foes.  They thought it a manifestation of
Murray pride in an uncommon accomplishment.

"You lie," said Black-eyes bluntly.

"A Starr does not lie," retorted Emily.  The flash was gone, but
its uplift remained.  She looked them all over with a cool
detachment that quelled them temporarily.

"Why don't you like me?" she asked directly.

There was no reply.  Emily looked straight at Chestnut-curls and
repeated her question.  Chestnut-curls felt herself compelled to
answer it.

"Because you ain't a bit like us," she muttered.

"I wouldn't want to be," said Emily scornfully.

"Oh, my, you are one of the Chosen People," mocked Black-eyes.

"Of course I am," retorted Emily.

She walked away to the schoolhouse, conqueror in that battle.

But the forces against her were not so easily cowed.  There was
much whispering and plotting after she had gone in, a conference
with some of the boys, and a handing over of bedizened pencils and
chews of gum for value received.

An agreeable sense of victory and the afterglow of the flash
carried Emily through the afternoon in spite of the fact that Miss
Brownell ridiculed her for her mistakes in spelling.  Miss Brownell
was very fond of ridiculing her pupils.  All the girls in the class
giggled except one who had not been there in the morning and was
consequently at the tail.  Emily had been wondering who she was.
She was as unlike the rest of the girls as Emily herself, but in a
totally different style.  She was tall, oddly dressed in an
overlong dress of faded, striped print, and barefooted.  Her thick
hair, cut short, fluffed out all around her head in a bushy wave
that seemed to be of brilliant spun gold; and her glowing eyes were
of a brown so light and translucent as to be almost amber.  Her
mouth was large, and she had a saucy, pronounced chin.  Pretty she
might not be called, but her face was so vivid and mobile that
Emily could not drag her fascinated eyes from it.  And she was the
only girl in class who did not, sometime through the lesson, get a
barb of sarcasm from Miss Brownell, though she made as many
mistakes as the rest of them.

At recess one of the girls came up to Emily with a box in her hand.
Emily knew that she was Rhoda Stuart and thought her very pretty
and sweet.  Rhoda had been in the crowd around her at the noon hour
but she had not said anything.  She was dressed in crispy pink
gingham; she had smooth, lustrous braids of sugar-brown hair, big
blue eyes, a rose-bud mouth, doll-like features and a sweet voice.
If Miss Brownell could be said to have a favourite it was Rhoda
Stuart, and she seemed generally popular in her own set and much
petted by the older girls.

"Here is a present for you," she said sweetly.

Emily took the box unsuspectingly.  Rhoda's smile would have
disarmed any suspicion.  For a moment Emily was happily anticipant
as she removed the cover.  Then with a shriek she flung the box
from her, and stood pale and trembling from head to foot.  There
was a snake in the box--whether dead or alive she did not know and
did not care.  For any snake Emily had a horror and repulsion she
could not overcome.  The very sight of one almost paralysed her.

A chorus of giggles ran around the porch.  "Who'd be so scared of
an old dead snake?" scoffed Black-eyes.

"Can you write poetry about THAT?" giggled Chestnut-curls.

"I HATE you--I hate you!" cried Emily.  "You are mean, hateful
girls!"

"Calling names isn't ladylike," said the Freckled-one.  "I thought
a Murray would be too grand for that."

"If you come to school to-morrow, MISS Starr," said Black-eyes
deliberately, "we are going to take that snake and put it around
your neck."

"Let me see you do it!" cried a clear, ringing voice.  Into their
midst with a bound came the girl with amber eyes and short hair.
"Just let me SEE you do it, Jennie Strang!"

"This isn't any of your business, Ilse Burnley," muttered Jennie,
sullenly.

"Oh, isn't it?  Don't you sass me, Piggy-eyes."  Ilse walked up to
the retreating Jennie and shook a sunburned fist in her face.  "If
I catch you teasing Emily Starr to-morrow with that snake again
I'll take IT by the tail and YOU by YOUR tail, and slash you across
the face with it.  Mind that, Piggy-eyes.  Now you go and pick up
that precious snake of yours and throw it down on the ash pile."

Jennie actually went and did it.  Ilse faced the others.

"Clear out, all of you, and leave the New Moon girl alone after
this," she said.  "If I hear of any more meddling and sneaking I'll
slit your throats, and rip out your hearts and tear your eyes out.
Yes, and I'll cut off your ears and wear them pinned on my dress!"

Cowed by these ferocious threats, or by something in Ilse's
personality, Emily's persecutors drifted away.  Ilse turned to
Emily.

"Don't mind them," she said contemptuously.  "They're jealous of
you, that's all--jealous because you live at New Moon and ride in a
fringed-top buggy and wear buttoned boots.  You smack their mugs if
they give you any more of their jaw."

Ilse vaulted the fence and tore off into the maple bush without
another glance at Emily.  Only Rhoda Stuart remained.

"Emily, I'm awful sorry," she said, rolling her big blue eyes
appealingly.  "I didn't know there was a snake in that box, cross
my heart I didn't.  The girls just told me it was a present for
you.  You're not mad at me, are you?  Because I like you."

Emily had been "mad" and hurt and outraged.  But this little bit of
friendliness melted her instantly.  In a moment she and Rhoda had
their arms around each other, parading across the playground.

"I'm going to ask Miss Brownell to let you sit with me," said
Rhoda.  "I used to sit with Annie Gregg but she's moved away.
You'd like to sit with me, wouldn't you?"

"I'd love it," said Emily warmly.  She was as happy as she had been
miserable.  Here was the friend of her dreams.  Already she
worshipped Rhoda.

"We OUGHT to sit together," said Rhoda importantly.  "We belong to
the two best families in Blair Water.  Do you know that if my
father had his rights he would be on the throne of England?"

"England!" said Emily, too amazed to be anything but an echo.

"Yes.  We are descended from the kings of Scotland," said Rhoda.
"So of course we don't 'sociate with everybody.  My father keeps
store and I'm taking music lessons.  Is your Aunt Elizabeth going
to give you music lessons?"

"I don't know."

"She ought to.  She is very rich, isn't she?"

"I don't know," said Emily again.  She wished Rhoda would not ask
such questions.  Emily thought it was hardly good manners.  But
surely a descendant of the Stuart kings ought to know the rules of
breeding, if anybody did.

"She's got an awful temper, hasn't she?" asked Rhoda.

"No, she hasn't!" cried Emily.

"Well, she nearly killed your Cousin Jimmy in one of her rages,"
said Rhoda.  "That's true--Mother told me.  Why doesn't your Aunt
Laura get married?  Has she got a beau?  What wages does your Aunt
Elizabeth pay your Cousin Jimmy?"

"I don't know."

"Well," said Rhoda, rather disappointedly.  "I suppose you haven't
been at New Moon long enough to find things out.  But it must be
very different from what you've been used to, I guess.  Your father
was as poor as a church mouse, wasn't he?"

"My father was a very, VERY rich man," said Emily deliberately.

Rhoda stared.

"I thought he hadn't a cent."

"Neither he had.  But people can be rich without money."

"I don't see how.  But anyhow, YOU'LL be rich some day--your Aunt
Elizabeth will likely leave you all her money, Mother says.  So I
don't care if you ARE living on charity--I love you and I'm going
to stick up for you.  Have you got a beau, Emily?"

"No," cried Emily, blushing violently and quite scandalized at the
idea.  "Why, I'm only eleven."

"Oh, everybody in our class has a beau.  Mine is Teddy Kent.  I
shook hands with him after I'd counted nine stars for nine nights
without missing a night.  If you do that the first boy you shake
hands with afterwards is to be your beau.  But it's awful hard to
do.  It took me all winter.  Teddy wasn't in school to-day--he's
been sick all June.  He's the best-looking boy in Blair Water.
You'll have to have a beau, too, Emily."

"I won't," declared Emily angrily.  "I don't know a thing about
beaux and I won't have one."

Rhoda tossed her head.

"Oh, I s'pose you think there's nobody good enough for you, living
at New Moon.  Well, you won't be able to play Clap-in-and-clap-out
if you haven't a beau."

Emily knew nothing of the mysteries of Clap-in-and-clap-out, and
didn't care.  Anyway, she wasn't going to have a beau and she
repeated this in such decided tones that Rhoda deemed it wise to
drop the subject.

Emily was rather glad when the bell rang.  Miss Brownell granted
Rhoda's request quite graciously and Emily transferred her goods
and chattels to Rhoda's seat.  Rhoda whispered a good deal during
the last hour and Emily got scolded for it but did not mind.

"I'm going to have a birthday party the first week in July, and I'm
going to invite you, if your aunts will let you come.  I'm not
going to have Ilse Burnley though."

"Don't you like her?"

"No.  She's an awful tomboy.  And then her father is an infidel.
And so's she.  She always spells 'God' with a little 'g' in her
dictation.  Miss Brownell scolds her for it, but she does it right
along.  Miss Brownell won't whip HER because she's setting her cap
for Dr Burnley.  But Ma says she won't get him because he hates
women.  _I_ don't think it's proper to 'sociate with such people.
Ilse is an awful wild queer girl and has an awful temper.  So has
her father.  She doesn't chum with anybody.  Isn't it ridic'lus the
way she wears her hair?  YOU ought to have a bang, Emily.  They're
all the rage and you'd look well with one because you've such a
high forehead.  It would make a real beauty of you.  My, but you
have lovely hair, and your hands are just lovely.  All the Murrays
have pretty hands.  And you have the SWEETEST eyes, Emily."

Emily had never received so many compliments in her life.  Rhoda
laid flattery on with a trowel.  Her head was quite turned and she
went home from school determined to ask Aunt Elizabeth to cut her
hair in a bang.  If it would make a beauty of her it must be
compassed somehow.  And she would also ask Aunt Elizabeth if she
might wear her Venetian beads to school next day.

"The other girls may RESPECT me more then," she thought.

She was alone from the crossroads, where she had parted company
with Rhoda, and she reviewed the events of the day with a feeling
that, after all, she had kept the Starr flag flying, except for a
temporary reverse in the matter of the snake.  School was very
different from what she had expected it to be, but that was the way
in life, she had heard Ellen Greene say, and you just had to make
the best of it.  Rhoda was a darling; and there was something about
Ilse Burnley that one liked; and as for the rest of the girls Emily
got square with them by pretending she saw them all being hanged in
a row for frightening her to death with a snake, and felt no more
resentment towards them, although some of the things that had been
said to her rankled bitterly in her heart for many a day.  She had
no father to tell them to, and no account-book to write them out
in, so she could not exorcise them.

She had no speedy chance to ask for a bang, for there was company
at New Moon and her aunts were busy getting ready an elaborate
supper.  But when the preserves were brought on Emily snatched the
opportunity of a lull in the older conversation.

"Aunt Elizabeth," she said, "can I have a bang?"

Aunt Elizabeth looked her disdain.

"No," she said, "I do not approve of bangs.  Of all the silly
fashions that have come in nowadays, bangs are the silliest."

"Oh, Aunt Elizabeth, DO let me have a bang.  It would make a beauty
of me--Rhoda says so."

"It would take a good deal more than a bang to do that, Emily.  We
will not have bangs at New Moon--except on the Molly cows.  THEY
are the only creatures that should wear bangs."

Aunt Elizabeth smiled triumphantly around the table--Aunt Elizabeth
DID smile sometimes when she thought she had silenced some small
person by exquisite ridicule.  Emily understood that it was no use
to hope for bangs.  Loveliness did not lie that way for her.  It
was mean of Aunt Elizabeth--mean.  She heaved a sigh of
disappointment and dismissed the idea for the present.  There was
something else she wanted to know.

"Why doesn't Ilse Burnley's father believe in God?" she asked.

"'Cause of the trick her mother played him," said Mr Slade, with a
chuckle.  Mr Slade was a fat, jolly-looking old man with bushy hair
and whiskers.  He had already said some things Emily could not
understand and which had seemed greatly to embarrass his very lady-
like wife.

"What trick did Ilse's mother play?" asked Emily, all agog with
interest.

Now Aunt Laura looked at Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Elizabeth looked
at Aunt Laura.  Then the latter said:  "Run out and feed the
chickens, Emily."

Emily rose with dignity.

"You might just as well tell me that Ilse's mother isn't to be
talked about and I will obey you.  I understand PERFECTLY what you
mean," she said as she left the table.



A SPECIAL PROVIDENCE


Emily was sure on that first day at school that she would never
like it.  She must go, she knew, in order to get an education and
be ready to earn her own living; but it would always be what Ellen
Greene solemnly called "a cross."  Consequently Emily felt quite
astonished when, after going to school a few days, it dawned upon
her that she was liking it.  To be sure, Miss Brownell did not
improve on acquaintance; but the other girls no longer tormented
her--indeed, to her amazement, they seemed suddenly to forget all
that had happened and hailed her as one of themselves.  She was
admitted to the fellowship of the pack and, although in some
occasional tiff she got a dig about baby aprons and Murray pride,
there was no more hostility, veiled or open.  Besides, Emily was
quite able to give "digs" herself, as she learned more about the
girls and their weak points, and she could give them with such
merciless lucidity and irony that the others soon learned not to
provoke them.  Chestnut-curls, whose name was Grace Wells, and the
Freckled-one, whose name was Carrie King, and Jennie Strang became
quite chummy with her, and Jennie sent chews of gum and tissue
thumb-papers across the aisle instead of giggles.  Emily allowed
them all to enter the outer court of her temple of friendship but
only Rhoda was admitted to the inner shrine.  As for Ilse Burnley,
she did not appear after that first day.  Ilse, so Rhoda said, came
to school or not, just as she liked.  Her father never bothered
about her.  Emily always felt a certain hankering to know more of
Ilse, but it did not seem likely to be gratified.

Emily was insensibly becoming happy again.  Already she felt as if
she belonged to this old cradle of her family.  She thought a great
deal about the old Murrays; she liked to picture them revisiting
the glimpses of New Moon--Great-grandmother rubbing up her
candlesticks and making cheeses; Great-aunt Miriam stealing about
looking for her lost treasure; homesick Great-great-aunt Elizabeth
stalking about in her bonnet; Captain George, the dashing, bronzed
sea-captain, coming home with the spotted shells of the Indies;
Stephen, the beloved of all, smiling from its windows; her own
mother dreaming of Father--they all seemed as real to her as if she
had known them in life.

She still had terrible hours when she was overwhelmed by grief for
her father and when all the splendours of New Moon could not stifle
the longing for the shabby little house in the hollow where they
had loved each other so.  Then Emily fled to some secret corner and
cried her heart out, emerging with red eyes that always seemed to
annoy Aunt Elizabeth.  Aunt Elizabeth had become used to having
Emily at New Moon but she had not drawn any nearer to the child.
This hurt Emily always; but Aunt Laura and Cousin Jimmy loved her
and she had Saucy Sal and Rhoda, fields creamy with clover, soft
dark trees against amber skies, and the madcap music the Wind Woman
made in the firs behind the barns when she blew straight up from
the gulf; her days became vivid and interesting, full of little
pleasures and delights, like tiny, opening, golden buds on the tree
of life.  If she could only have had her old yellow account-book,
or some equivalent, she could have been fully content.  She missed
it next to her father, and its enforced burning was something for
which she held Aunt Elizabeth responsible and for which she felt
she could never wholly forgive her.  It did not seem possible to
get any substitute.  As Cousin Jimmy had said, writing-paper of any
kind was scarce at New Moon.  Letters were seldom written, and when
they were a sheet of note-paper sufficed.  Emily dared not ask Aunt
Elizabeth for any.  There were times when she felt she would burst
if she couldn't write out some of the things that came to her.  She
found a certain safety valve in writing on her slate in school; but
these scribblings had to be rubbed off sooner or later--which left
Emily with a sense of loss--and there was always the danger that
Miss Brownell would see them.  That, Emily felt, would be
unendurable.  No stranger eyes must behold these sacred
productions.  Sometimes she let Rhoda read them, though Rhoda
rasped her by giggling over her finest flights.  Emily thought
Rhoda as near perfection as a human being could be, but giggling
was her fault.

But there is a destiny which shapes the ends of young misses who
are born with the itch for writing tingling in their baby
fingertips, and in the fullness of time this destiny gave to Emily
the desire of her heart--gave it to her, too, on the very day when
she most needed it.  That was the day, the ill-starred day, when
Miss Brownell elected to show the fifth class, by example as well
as precept, how the Bugle Song should be read.

Standing on the platform Miss Brownell, who was not devoid of a
superficial, elocutionary knack, read those three wonderful verses.
Emily, who should have been doing a sum in long division, dropped
her pencil and listened entranced.  She had never heard the Bugle
Song before--but now she heard it--and SAW it--the rose-red
splendour falling on those storied, snowy summits and ruined
castles--the lights that never were on land or sea streaming over
the lakes--she heard the wild echoes flying through the purple
valleys and the misty passes--the mere sound of the words seemed to
make an exquisite echo in her soul--and when Miss Brownell came to
"Horns of elf-land faintly blowing" Emily trembled with delight.
She was snatched out of herself.  She forgot everything but the
magic of that unequalled line--she sprang from her seat, knocking
her slate to the floor with a clatter, she rushed up the aisle, she
caught Miss Brownell's arm.

"Oh, teacher," she cried with passionate earnestness, "read that
line over again--oh, read that line over again!"

Miss Brownell, thus suddenly halted in her elocutionary display,
looked down into a rapt, uplifted face where great purplish-grey
eyes were shining with the radiance of a divine vision--and Miss
Brownell was angry.  Angry with this breach of her strict
discipline--angry with this unseemly display of interest in a
third-class atom whose attention should have been focused on long
division.  Miss Brownell shut her book and shut her lips and gave
Emily a resounding slap on her face.

"Go right back to your seat and mind your own business, Emily
Starr," said Miss Brownell, her cold eyes malignant with her fury.

Emily, thus dashed to earth, moved back to her seat in a daze.  Her
smitten cheek was crimson, but the wound was in her heart.  One
moment ago in the seventh heaven--and now THIS--pain, humiliation,
misunderstanding!  She could not bear it.  What had she done to
deserve it?  She had never been slapped in her life before.  The
degradation and the injustice ate into her soul.  She could not
cry--this was "a grief too deep for tears"--she went home from
school in a suppressed anguish of bitterness and shame and
resentment--an anguish that had no outlet, for she dared not tell
her story at New Moon.  Aunt Elizabeth, she felt sure, would say
that Miss Brownell had done quite right, and even Aunt Laura, kind
and sweet as she was, would not understand.  She would be grieved
because Emily had misbehaved in school and had had to be punished.

"Oh, if I could only tell Father all about it!" thought Emily.

She could not eat any supper--she did not think she would ever be
able to eat again.  And oh, how she hated that unjust, horrid Miss
Brownell!  She could never forgive her--never!  If there were only
some way in which she could get square with Miss Brownell!  Emily,
sitting small and pale and quiet at the New Moon supper-table, was
a seething volcano of wounded feeling and misery and pride--ay,
pride!  Worse even than the injustice was the sting of humiliation
over this thing that had happened.  She, Emily Byrd Starr, on whom
no hand had ever before been ungently laid, had been slapped like a
naughty baby before the whole school.  Who could endure this and
live?

Then destiny stepped in and drew Aunt Laura to the sitting-room
bookcase to look in its lower compartment for a certain letter she
wanted to see.  She took Emily with her to show her a curious old
snuff-box that had belonged to Hugh Murray, and in rummaging for it
lifted out a big, flat bundle of dusty paper--paper of a deep pink
colour in oddly long and narrow sheets.

"It's time these old letter-bills were burned," she said.  "What a
pile of them!  They've been here gathering dust for years and they
are no earthly good.  Father once kept the post-office here at New
Moon, you know, Emily.  The mail came only three times a week then,
and each day there was one of these long red 'letter-bills,' as
they were called.  Mother always kept them, though when once used
they were of no further use.  But I'm going to burn them right
away."

"Oh, Aunt Laura," gasped Emily, so torn between desire and fear
that she could hardly speak.  "Oh, don't do that--give them to me--
PLEASE give them to me."

"Why, child, what ever do you want of them?"

"Oh, Aunty, they have such lovely blank backs for writing on.
Please, Aunt Laura, it would be a SIN to burn those letter-bills."

"You can have them, dear.  Only you'd better not let Elizabeth see
them."

"I won't--I won't," breathed Emily.

She gathered her precious booty into her arms and fairly ran
upstairs--and then upstairs again into the garret, where she
already had her "favourite haunt," in which her uncomfortable habit
of thinking of things thousands of miles away could not vex Aunt
Elizabeth.  This was the quiet corner of the dormer-window, where
shadows always moved about, softly and swingingly, and beautiful
mosaics patterned the bare floor.  From it one could see over the
tree-tops right down to the Blair Water.  The walls were hung
around with great bundles of soft fluffy rolls, all ready for
spinning, and hanks of untwisted yarn.  Sometimes Aunt Laura spun
on the great wheel at the other end of the garret and Emily loved
the whir of it.

In the recess of the dormer-window she crouched--breathlessly she
selected a letter-bill and extracted a lead-pencil from her pocket.
An old sheet of cardboard served as a desk; she began to write
feverishly.

"Dear Father"--and then she poured out her tale of the day--of her
rapture and her pain--writing heedlessly and intently until the
sunset faded into dim, starlitten twilight.  The chickens went
unfed--Cousin Jimmy had to go himself for the cows--Saucy Sal got
no new milk--Aunt Laura had to wash the dishes--what mattered it?
Emily, in the delightful throes of literary composition, was lost
to all worldly things.

When she had covered the backs of four letter-bills she could see
to write no more.  But she had emptied out her soul and it was once
more free from evil passions.  She even felt curiously indifferent
to Miss Brownell.  Emily folded up her letter-bills and wrote
clearly across the packet.


     Mr Douglas Starr,
     On the Road to Heaven.


Then she stepped softly across to an old, worn-out sofa in a far
corner and knelt down, stowing away her letter and her "letter-
bills" snugly on a little shelf formed by a board nailed across it
underneath.  Emily had discovered this one day when playing in the
garret and had noted it as a lovely hiding-place for secret
documents.  Nobody would ever come across them there.  She had
writing-paper enough to last for months--there must be hundreds of
those jolly old letter-bills.

"Oh," cried Emily, dancing down the garret stairs, "I feel as if I
was made out of star-dust."

Thereafter few evenings passed on which Emily did not steal up to
the garret and write a letter, long or short, to her father.  The
bitterness died out of her grief.  Writing to him seemed to bring
him so near; and she told him everything, with a certain honesty of
confession that was characteristic of her--her triumphs, her
failures, her joys, her sorrows, everything went down on the
letter-bills of a Government which had not been so economical of
paper as it afterwards became.  There was fully half a yard of
paper in each bill and Emily wrote a small hand and made the most
of every inch.

"I like New Moon.  It's so STATELY and SPLENDID here," she told her
father.  "And it seems as if we must be very aristokratik when we
have a sun dyal.  I can't help feeling proud of it all.  I am
afraid I have too much pride and so I ask God every night to take
MOST of it away but not quite all.  It is very easy to get a
repputation for pride in Blair Water school.  If you walk straight
and hold your head up you are a proud one.  Rhoda is proud, too,
because her father ought to be King of England.  I wonder how Queen
Victoria would feel if she knew that.  It's very wonderful to have
a friend who would be a princess if every one had their rites.  I
love Rhoda with all my heart.  She is so sweet and kind.  But I
don't like her giggles.  And when I told her I could see the school
wallpaper small in the air she said You lie.  It hurt me awfully to
have my dearest friend say that to me.  And it hurt me worse when I
woke up in the night and thought about it.  I had to stay awake
ever so long, too, because I was tired lying on one side and I was
afraid to turn over because Aunt Elizabeth would think I was
figitting.

"I didn't dare tell Rhoda about the Wind Woman because I suppose
that really is a kind of lie, though she seems so real to me.  I
hear her now singing up on the roof around the big chimneys.  I
have no Emily-in-the-glass here.  The looking-glasses are all too
high up in the rooms I've been in.  I've never been in the look-
out.  It is always locked.  It was Mother's room and Cousin Jimmy
says her father locked it up after she ran away with you and Aunt
Elizabeth keeps it locked still out of respect to his memory,
though Cousin Jimmy says Aunt Elizabeth used to fight with her
father something scandalus when he was alive though no outsider
knew of it because of the Murray pride.  I feel that way myself.
When Rhoda asked me if Aunt Elizabeth burned candles because she
was old-fashioned I answered hawtily no, it was a Murray tradishun.
Cousin Jimmy has told me all the tradishuns of the Murrays.  Saucy
Sal is very well and bosses the barns but still she will not have
kittens and I can't understand it.  I asked Aunt Elizabeth about it
and she said nice little girls didn't talk about such things but I
cannot see why kittens are improper.  When Aunt Elizabeth is away
Aunt Laura and I smuggle Sal into the house but when Aunt Elizabeth
comes back I always feel gilty and wish I hadn't.  BUT THE NEXT
TIME I DO IT AGAIN.  I think that very strange.  I never hear about
dear Mike.  I wrote Ellen Greene and asked about him and she
replyed and never mentioned Mike but told me all about her
roomatism.  As if I cared about her roomatism.

"Rhoda is going to have a birthday party and she is going to invite
me.  I am so excited.  You know I never was to a party before.  I
think about it a great deal and picture it out.  Rhoda is not going
to invite all the girls but only a favered few.  I hope Aunt
Elizabeth will let me ware my white dress and good hat.  Oh,
Father, I pinned that lovely picture of the lace ball dress up on
the wall of Aunt Elizabeth's room, just like I had it at home and
Aunt Elizabeth took it down and burned it and skolded me for making
pin marks in the paper.  I said Aunt Elizabeth you should not have
burned that picture.  I wanted to have it when I grow up to have a
dress made like it for balls.  And Aunt Elizabeth said Do you
expect to attend many balls if I may ask and I said Yes when I am
rich and famus and Aunt Elizabeth said Yes when the moon is made of
green cheese.

"I saw Dr Burnley yesterday when he came over to buy some eggs from
Aunt Elizabeth.  I was disappointed because he looks just like
other people.  I thought a man who didn't believe in God would look
queer in some way.  He did not sware either and I was sorry for I
have never heard any one sware and I am very angshus to.  He has
big yellow eyes like Ilse and a loud voice and Rhoda says when he
gets mad you can hear him yelling all over Blair Water.  There is
some mystery about Ilse's mother which I cannot fathom.  Dr Burnley
and Ilse live alone.  Rhoda says Dr Burnley says he will have no
devils of women in that house.  That speech is wikked but striking.
Old Mrs Simms goes over and cooks dinner and supper for them and
then vamooses and they get their own breakfast.  The doctor sweeps
out the house now and then and Ilse never does anything but run
wild.  The doctor never smiles so Rhoda says.  He must be like King
Henry the Second.

"I would like to get akwanted with Ilse.  She isn't as sweet as
Rhoda but I like her looks, too.  But she doesn't come to school
much and Rhoda says I mustn't have any chum but her or she will cry
her eyes out.  Rhoda loves me as much as I love her.  We are both
going to pray that we may live together all our lives and die the
same day.

"Aunt Elizabeth always puts up my school dinner for me.  She won't
give me anything but plain bread and butter but she cuts good thick
slices and the butter is thick too and never has the horrid taste
Ellen Greene's butter used to have.  And Aunt Laura slips in a
cooky or an apple turnover when Aunt Elizabeth's back is turned.
Aunt Elizabeth says apple turnovers are not helthy for me.  Why is
it that the nicest things never are helthy, Father?  Ellen Greene
used to say that too.

"My teacher's name is Miss Brownell.  I don't like the cut of her
jib.  (That is a naughtical frays that Cousin Jimmy uses.  I know
frays is not spelled right but there is no dixonary at New Moon but
that is the sound of it.)  She is too sarkastik and she likes to
make you rediklus.  Then she laughs at you in a disagreeable,
snorting way.  But I forgave her for slapping me and I took a
bouquet to her to school next day to make up.  She receeved it very
coldly and let it fade on her desk.  In a story she would have
wepped on my neck.  I don't know whether it is any use forgiving
people or not.  Yes, it is, it makes you feel more comfortable
yourself.  You never had to ware baby aprons and sunbonnets because
you were a boy so you can't understand how I feel about it.  And
the aprons are made of such good stuff that they will never ware
out and it will be years before I grow out of them.  But I have a
white dress for church with a black silk sash and a white leghorn
hat with black bows and black kid slippers, and I feel very elegant
in them.  I wish I could have a bang but Aunt Elizabeth will not
hear of it.  Rhoda told me I had beautiful eyes.  I wish she
hadn't.  I have always suspekted my eyes were beautiful but I was
not sure.  Now that I know they are I'm afraid I'll always be
wondering if people notis it.  I have to go to bed at half past
eight and I don't like it but I sit up in bed and look out of the
window till it gets dark, so I get square with Aunt Elizabeth that
way, and I listen to the sound the sea makes.  I like it now though
it always makes me feel sorrowful, but it's a kind of a nice
sorrow.  I have to sleep with Aunt Elizabeth and I don't like that
either because if I move ever so little she says I figit but she
admits that I don't kick.  And she won't let me put the window up.
She doesn't like fresh air or light in the house.  The parlour is
dark as a toomb.  I went in one day and rolled up all the blinds
and Aunt Elizabeth was horrified and called me a little hussy and
gave me the Murray look.  You would suppose I had committed a
crime.  I felt so insulted that I came up to the garret and wrote a
deskription of myself being drowned on a letter-bill and then I
felt better.  Aunt Elizabeth said I was never to go into the
parlour again without permission but I don't want to.  I am afraid
of the parlour.  All the walls are hung over with pictures of our
ancestors and there is not one good-looking person among them
except Grand-father Murray who looks handsome but very cross.  The
spare-room is upstairs and is just as gloomy as the parlour.  Aunt
Elizabeth only lets distingwished people sleep there.  I like the
kitchen in daytime, and the garret and the cook-house and the
sitting-room and the hall because of the lovely red front door and
I love the dairy, but I don't like the other New Moon rooms.  Oh, I
forgot the cellar cubbord.  I love to go down there and look at the
beautiful rows of jam and jelly pots.  Cousin Jimmy says it is a
New Moon tradishun that the jam pots must never be empty.  What a
lot of tradishuns New Moon has.  It is a very spashus house, and
the trees are lovely.  I have named the three lombardys at the
garden gate the Three Princesses and I have named the old summer
house Emily's Bower, and the big apple-tree by the old orchard gate
the Praying Tree because it holds up its long boughs exactly as Mr
Dare holds up his arms in church when he prays.

"Aunt Elizabeth has given me the little right hand top burow drawer
to keep my things in.

"Oh, Father dear, I have made a great diskoverry.  I wish I had
made it when you were alive for I think you'd have liked to know.
I CAN WRITE POETRY.  Perhaps I could have written it long ago if
I'd tried.  But after that first day in school I felt I was bound
in honnour to try and it is so easy.  There is a little curly
black-covered book in Aunt Elizabeth's bookcase called Thompson's
Seasons and I decided I would write a poem on a season and the
first three lines are,


     Now Autumn comes ripe with the peech and pear,
     The sportsman's horn is heard throughout the land,
     And the poor partridge fluttering falls dead.


"Of course there are no peeches in P. E. Island and I never heard a
sportsman's horn here either, but you don't have to stick too close
to facts in poetry.  I filled a whole letter-bill with it and then
I ran and read it to Aunt Laura.  I thought she would be overjoyed
to find she had a niece who could write poetry but she took it very
coolly and said it didn't sound much like poetry.  It's blank verse
I cryed.  VERY blank said Aunt Elizabeth sarkastically though I
hadn't asked HER opinion.  But I think I will write ryming poetry
after this so that there will be no mistake about it and I intend
to be a poetess when I grow up and become famus.  I hope also that
I will be silph-like.  A poetess should be silph-like.  Cousin
Jimmy makes poetry too.  He has made over 1000 pieces but he never
writes any down but carries them in his head.  I offered to give
him some of my letter-bills--for he is very kind to me--but he said
he was too old to learn new habits.  I haven't heard any of his
poetry yet because the spirit hasn't moved him but I am very
angshus to and I am sorry they don't fatten the pigs till the fall.
I like Cousin Jimmy more and more all the time, except when he
takes his queer spells of looking and talking.  Then he fritens me
but they never last long.  I have read a good many of the books in
the New Moon bookcase.  A history of the reformation in France,
very relijus and sad.  A little fat book deskribing the months in
England and the afoursaid Thompson's Seasons.  I like to read them
because they have so many pretty words in them, but I don't like
the feel of them.  The paper is so rough and thick it makes me
creepy.  Travels in Spain, very fassinating, with lovely smooth
shiny paper, a missionary book on the Pacific Islands, pictures
very interesting because of the way the heathen chiefs arrange
their hair.  After they became Christians they cut it off which I
think was a pity.  Mrs Hemans Poems.  I am passhunately fond of
poetry, also of stories about desert islands.  Rob Roy, a novel,
but I only read a little of it when Aunt Elizabeth said I must stop
because I must not read novels.  Aunt Laura says to read it on the
sly.  I don't see why it wouldn't be all right to obey Aunt Laura
but I have a queer feeling about it and I haven't yet.  A lovely
Tiger-book, full of pictures and stories of tigers that make me
feel so nice and shivery.  The Royal Road, also relijus but some
fun in it so very good for Sundays.  Reuben and Grace, a story but
not a novel, because Reuben and Grace are brother and sister and
there is no getting married.  Little Katy and Jolly Jim, same as
above but not so exciting and traggic.  Nature's Mighty Wonders
which is good and improving.  Alice in Wonderland, which is
perfectly lovely, and the Memoirs of Anzonetta B. Peters who was
converted at seven and died at twelve.  When anybody asked for a
question she answered with a hym verse.  That is after she was
converted.  Before that she spoke English.  Aunt Elizabeth told me
I ought to try to be like Anzonetta.  I think I might be an Alice
under more faverable circumstances but I am sure I can never be as
good as Anzonetta was and I don't believe I want to be because she
never had any fun.  She got sick as soon as she was converted and
suffered aggonies for years.  Besides I am sure that if I talked
hyms to people it would exite ridicule.  I tried it once.  Aunt
Laura asked me the other day if I would like blue stripes better
than red in my next winter's stockings and I answered just as
Anzonetta did when asked a similar question, only different, about
a sack,


     Jesus Thy blood and rightchusness
     My beauty are, my glorious dress.


And Aunt Laura said was I crazy and Aunt Elizabeth said I was
irreverent.  So I know it wouldn't work.  Besides, Anzonetta
couldn't eat anything for years having ulsers in her stomach and I
am pretty fond of good eating.

"Old Mr Wales on the Derry Pond Road is dying of canser.  Jennie
Strang says his wife has her morning all ready.

"I wrote a biograffy of Saucy Sal to-day and a deskripshun of the
road in Lofty John's bush.  I will pin them to this letter so you
can read them too.  Good night my beloved Father.

"Yours most obedient humble servant,

"Emily B. Starr.

"P. S.  I think Aunt Laura loves me.  I like to be loved, Father
dear.

"E. B. S."



GROWING PAINS


There was a great deal of suppressed excitement in school during
the last week in June, the cause thereof being Rhoda Stuart's
birthday party, which was to take place early in July.  The amount
of heart-burning was incredible.  Who was to be invited?  That was
the great question.  There were some who knew they wouldn't and
some who knew they would; but there were more who were in truly
horrible suspense.  Everybody paid court to Emily because she was
Rhoda's dearest friend and might conceivably have some voice in the
selection of guests.  Jennie Strang even went as far as bluntly to
offer Emily a beautiful white box with a gorgeous picture of Queen
Victoria on the cover, to keep her pencils in, if she would procure
her an invitation.  Emily refused the bribe and said grandly that
she could not interfere in such a delicate matter.  Emily really
did put on some airs about it.  SHE was sure of her invitation.
Rhoda had told her about the party weeks before and had talked it
all over with her.  It was to be a very grand affair--a birthday
cake covered with pink icing and adorned with ten tall pink
candles--ice-cream and oranges--and written invitations on pink,
gilt-edged note-paper SENT THROUGH THE POST-OFFICE--this last being
an added touch of exclusiveness.  Emily dreamed about that party
day and night and had her present all ready for Rhoda--a pretty
hair-ribbon which Aunt Laura had brought from Shrewsbury.

On the first Sunday in July Emily found herself sitting beside
Jennie Strang in Sunday-school for the opening exercises.
Generally she and Rhoda sat together, but now Rhoda was sitting
three seats ahead with a strange little girl--a very gay and
gorgeous little girl, dressed in blue silk, with a large, flower-
wreathed leghorn hat on her elaborately curled hair, white lace-
work stockings on her pudgy legs and a bang that came clean down to
her eyes.  Not all her fine feathers could make a really fine bird
of her, however; she was not in the least pretty and her expression
was cross and contemptuous.

"Who is the girl sitting with Rhoda?" whispered Emily.

"Oh, she's Muriel Porter," answered Jennie.  "She's a towny, you
know.  She's come out to spend her vacation with her aunt, Jane
Beatty.  I hate her.  If I was her I'd never DREAM of wearing blue
with a skin as dark as hers.  But the Porters are rich and Muriel
thinks she's a wonder.  They say Rhoda and her have been AWFUL
THICK since she came out--Rhoda's always chasing after anybody she
thinks is up in the world."

Emily stiffened up.  She was not going to listen to disparaging
remarks about her friends.  Jennie felt the stiffening and changed
her note.

"Anway, I'm GLAD I'm not invited to Rhoda's old party.  I wouldn't
WANT to go when Muriel Porter will be there, putting on her airs."

"How do you know you are not invited?" wondered Emily.

"Why, the invitations went out yesterday.  Didn't you get yours?"

"No--o--o."

"Did you get your mail?"

"Yes--Cousin Jimmy got it."

"Well, maybe Mrs Beecher forgot to give it to him.  Likely you'll
get it to-morrow."

Emily agreed that it was likely.  But a queer cold sensation of
dismay had invaded her being, which was not removed by the fact
that after Sunday-school Rhoda strutted away with Muriel Porter
without a glance at any one else.  On Monday Emily herself went to
the post-office, but there was no pink envelope for her.  She cried
herself to sleep that night, but did not quite give up hope until
Tuesday had passed.  Then she faced the terrible truth--that she--
she, Emily Byrd Starr, of New Moon--had not been invited to Rhoda's
party.  The thing was incredible.  There MUST be a mistake
somewhere.  Had Cousin Jimmy lost the invitation on the road home?
Had Rhoda's grown-up sister who wrote the invitations overlooked
her name?  Had--Emily's unhappy doubts were for ever resolved into
bitter certainty by Jennie, who joined her as she left the post-
office.  There was a malicious light in Jennie's beady eyes.
Jennie liked Emily quite well by now, in spite of their passage-at-
arms on the day of their first meeting, but she liked to see her
pride humbled for all that.

"So you're not invited to Rhoda's party after all."

"No," admitted Emily.

It was a very bitter moment for her.  The Murray pride was sorely
wrung--and, beneath the Murray pride, something else had been
grievously wounded but was not yet quite dead.

"Well, I call it dirt mean," said Jennie, quite honestly
sympathetic in spite of her secret satisfaction.  "After all the
fuss she's made over you, too!  But that's Rhoda Stuart all over.
Deceitful is no name for HER."

"I don't think she's deceitful," said Emily, loyal to the last
ditch.  "I believe there's some mistake about my not being
invited."

Jennie stared.

"Then you don't know the reason?  Why, Beth Beatty told me the
whole story.  Muriel Porter hates you and she just up and told
Rhoda that she would not go to her party if you were invited.  And
Rhoda was so crazy to have a town girl there that she promised she
wouldn't invite you."

"Muriel Porter doesn't know me," gasped Emily.  "How can she hate
me?"

Jennie grinned impishly.

"_I_ can tell you.  She's DEAD STRUCK on Fred Stuart and Fred knows
it and he teased her by praising YOU up to her--told her you were
the sweetest girl in Blair Water and he meant to have you for HIS
GIRL when you were a little older.  And Muriel was so mad and
jealous she made Rhoda leave you out.  _I_ wouldn't care if I was
you.  A Murray of New Moon is away above such trash.  As for Rhoda
not being deceitful, I can tell you she IS.  Why, she told you that
she didn't know that snake was in the box, when it was her thought
of doing it in the first place."

Emily was too crushed to reply.  She was glad that Jennie had to
switch off down her own lane and leave her alone.  She hurried
home, afraid that she could not keep the tears back until she got
there.  Disappointment about the party--humiliation over the
insult--all were swallowed up in the anguish of a faith betrayed
and a trust outraged.  Her love of Rhoda was quite dead now and
Emily smarted to the core of her soul with the pain of the blow
that had killed it.  It was a child's tragedy--and all the more
bitter for that, since there was no one to understand.  Aunt
Elizabeth told her that birthday parties were all nonsense and that
the Stuarts were not a family that the Murrays had ever associated
with.  And even Aunt Laura, though she petted and comforted, did
not realize how deep and grievous the hurt had been--so deep and
grievous that Emily could not even write about it to her father,
and had no outlet for the violence of emotion that racked her
being.

The next Sunday Rhoda was alone in Sunday-school, Muriel Porter
having been suddenly summoned back to town by her father's illness;
and Rhoda looked sweetly towards Emily.  But Emily sailed past her
with a head held very high and scorn on every lineament.  She would
NEVER have anything to do with Rhoda Stuart again--she couldn't.
She despised Rhoda more than ever for trying to get back with her,
now that the town girl for whom she had sacrificed her was gone.
It was not for Rhoda she mourned--it was for the friendship that
had been so dear to her.  Rhoda HAD been dear and sweet on the
surface at least, and Emily had found intense happiness in their
companionship.  Now it was gone and she could never, NEVER love or
trust anybody again.  THERE lay the sting.

It poisoned everything.  Emily was of a nature which even as a
child, did not readily recover from or forget such a blow.  She
moped about New Moon, lost her appetite and grew thin.  She hated
to go to Sunday-school because she thought the other girls exulted
in her humiliation and her estrangement from Rhoda.  Some slight
feeling of the kind there was, perhaps, but Emily morbidly
exaggerated it.  If two girls whispered or giggled together she
thought she was being discussed and laughed at.  If one of them
walked home with her she thought it was out of condescending pity
because she was friendless.  For a month Emily was the most unhappy
little being in Blair Water.

"I think I must have been put under a curse at birth," she
reflected disconsolately.

Aunt Elizabeth had a more prosaic idea to account for Emily's
langour and lack of appetite.  She had come to the conclusion that
Emily's heavy masses of hair "took from her strength" and that she
would be much stronger and better if it were cut off.  With Aunt
Elizabeth to decide was to act.  One morning she coolly informed
Emily that her hair was to be "shingled."

Emily could not believe her ears.

"You don't mean that you are going to cut off my hair, Aunt
Elizabeth," she exclaimed.

"Yes, I mean exactly that," said Aunt Elizabeth firmly.  "You have
entirely too much hair especially for hot weather.  I feel sure
that is why you have been so miserable lately.  Now, I don't want
any crying."

But Emily could not keep the tears back.

"Don't cut it ALL off," she pleaded.  "Just cut a good big bang.
Lots of the girls have their hair banged clean from the crown of
their heads.  That would take half my hair off and the rest won't
take too much strength."

"There will be no bangs here," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "I've told you
so often enough.  I'm going to shingle your hair close all over
your head for the hot weather.  You'll be thankful to me some day
for it."

Emily felt anything but thankful just then.

"It's my one beauty," she sobbed, "it and my lashes.  I suppose you
want to cut off my lashes too."

Aunt Elizabeth DID distrust those long, upcurled fringes of
Emily's, which were an inheritance from the girlish stepmother, and
too un-Murray-like to be approved; but she had no designs against
them.  The hair must go, however, and she curtly bade Emily wait
there, without any fuss, until she got the scissors.

Emily waited--quite hopelessly.  She must lose her lovely hair--the
hair her father had been so proud of.  It might grow again in time--
if Aunt Elizabeth let it--but that would take years, and meanwhile
what a fright she would be!  Aunt Laura and Cousin Jimmy were out;
she had no one to back her up; this horrible thing must happen.

Aunt Elizabeth returned with the scissors; they clicked
suggestively as she opened them; that click, as if by magic, seemed
to loosen something--some strange formidable power in Emily's soul.
She turned deliberately around and faced her aunt.  She felt her
brows drawing together in an unaccustomed way--she felt an uprush
as from unknown depths of some irresistible surge of energy.

"Aunt Elizabeth," she said, looking straight at the lady with the
scissors, "MY HAIR IS NOT GOING TO BE CUT OFF.  Let me hear no more
of this."

An amazing thing happened to Aunt Elizabeth.  She turned pale--she
laid the scissors down--she looked aghast for one moment at the
transformed or possessed child before her--and then for the first
time in her life Elizabeth Murray turned tail and fled--literally
fled--to the kitchen.

"What is the matter, Elizabeth?" cried Laura, coming in from the
cook-house.

"I saw--Father--looking from her face," gasped Elizabeth,
trembling.  "And she said, 'Let me hear no more of this'--just as
HE always said it--his very words."

Emily overheard her and ran to the sideboard mirror.  She had had,
while she was speaking, an uncanny feeling of wearing somebody
else's face instead of her own.  It was vanishing now--but Emily
caught a glimpse of it as it left--the Murray look, she supposed.
No wonder it had frightened Aunt Elizabeth--it frightened herself--
she was glad that it had gone.  She shivered--she fled to her
garret retreat and cried; but somehow, she knew that her hair would
not be cut.

Nor was it; Aunt Elizabeth never referred to the matter again.  But
several days passed before she meddled much with Emily.

It was a rather curious fact that from that day Emily ceased to
grieve over her lost friend.  The matter had suddenly become of
small importance.  It was as if it had happened so long ago that
nothing, save the mere emotionless memory of it, remained.  Emily
speedily regained appetite and animation, resumed her letters to
her father and found that life tasted good again, marred only by a
mysterious prescience that Aunt Elizabeth had it in for her in
regard to her defeat in the matter of her hair and would get even
sooner or later.

Aunt Elizabeth "got even" within the week.  Emily was to go on an
errand to the shop.  It was a broiling day and she had been allowed
to go barefooted at home; but now she must put on boots and
stockings.  Emily rebelled--it was too hot--it was too dusty--she
couldn't walk that long half-mile in buttoned boots.  Aunt
Elizabeth was inexorable.  No Murray must be seen barefooted away
from home--and on they went.  But the minute Emily was outside the
New Moon gate she deliberately sat down, took them off, stowed them
in a hole in the dyke, and pranced away barefooted.

She did her errand and returned with an untroubled conscience.  How
beautiful the world was--how softly blue was the great, round Blair
Water--how glorious that miracle of buttercups in the wet field
below Lofty John's bush!  At sight of it Emily stood stock still
and composed a verse of poetry.


     Buttercup, flower of the yellow dye,
     I see thy cheerful face
     Greeting and nodding everywhere
     Careless of time and place.

     In boggy field or public road
     Or cultured garden's pale
     You sport your petals satin-soft,
     And down within the vale.


So far, so good.  But Emily wanted another verse to round the poem
off properly and the divine afflatus seemed gone.  She walked
dreamily home, and by the time she reached New Moon she had got her
verse and was reciting it to herself with an agreeable sense of
completion.


     You cast your loveliness around
     Where'er you chance to be,
     And you shall always, buttercup,
     Be a flower dear to me.


Emily felt very proud.  This was her third poem and undoubtedly her
best.  Nobody could say IT was very blank.  She must hurry up to
the garret and write it on a letter-bill.  But Aunt Elizabeth was
confronting her on the steps.

"Emily, where are your boots and stockings?"

Emily came back from cloudland with a disagreeable jolt.  She had
forgotten all about boots and stockings.

"In the hole by the gate," she said flatly.

"You went to the store barefooted?"

"Yes."

"After I had told you not to?"

This seemed to Emily a superfluous question and she did not answer
it.  But Aunt Elizabeth's turn had come.



ILSE


Emily was locked in the spare-room and told that she must stay
there until bedtime.  She had pleaded against such a punishment in
vain.  She had tried to give the Murray look but it seemed that--in
her case at any rate--it did not come at will.

"Oh, don't shut me up alone there, Aunt Elizabeth," she implored.
"I know I was naughty--but don't put me in the spare-room."

Aunt Elizabeth was inexorable.  She knew that it was a cruel thing
to shut an over-sensitive child like Emily in that gloomy room.
But she thought she was doing her duty.  She did not realize and
would not have for a moment believed that she was really wreaking
her own smothered resentment with Emily for her defeat and fright
on the day of the threatened hair-cutting.  Aunt Elizabeth believed
she had been stampeded on that occasion by a chance family
resemblance coming out under stress, and she was ashamed of it.
The Murray pride had smarted under that humbling, and the smart
ceased to annoy her only when she turned the key of the spare-room
on the white-faced culprit.

Emily, looking very small and lost and lonely, her eyes full of
such fear as should have no place in a child's eyes, shrank close
against the door of the spare-room.  It was better that way.  She
could not imagine things behind her then.  And the room was so big
and dim that a dreadful number of things could be imagined in it.
Its bigness and dimness filled her with a terror against which she
could not strive.  Ever since she could remember she had had a
horror of being shut up alone in semi-darkness.  She was not
frightened of twilight out-of-doors, but this shadowy, walled gloom
made of the spare-room a place of dread.

The window was hung with heavy, dark-green material, reinforced by
drawn slat blinds.  The big canopied bed, jutting out from the wall
into the middle of the floor, was high and rigid and curtained also
with dark draperies.  ANYTHING might jump at her out of such a bed.
What if some great black hand should suddenly reach out of it--
reach right across the floor--and pluck at her?  The walls, like
those of the parlour, were adorned with pictures of departed
relatives.  There WAS such a large connection of dead Murrays.  The
glasses of their frames gave out weird reflections of the spectral
threads of light struggling through the slat blinds.  Worst of all,
right across the room from her, high up on the top of the black
wardrobe, was a huge, stuffed white Arctic owl, staring at her with
uncanny eyes.  Emily shrieked aloud when she saw it, and then
cowered down in her corner aghast at the sound she had made in the
great, silent, echoing room.  She wished that something WOULD jump
out of the bed and put an end to her.

"I wonder what Aunt Elizabeth would feel like if I was found here
DEAD," she thought, vindictively.

In spite of her fright she began to dramatize it and felt Aunt
Elizabeth's remorse so keenly that she decided only to be
unconscious and come back to life when everybody was sufficiently
scared and penitent.  But people HAD died in this room--dozens of
them.  According to Cousin Jimmy it was a New Moon tradition that
when any member of the family was near death he or she was promptly
removed to the spare-room, to die amid surroundings of proper
grandeur.  Emily could SEE them dying, in that terrible bed.  She
felt that she was going to scream again, but she fought the impulse
down.  A Starr must not be a coward.  Oh, that owl!  Suppose, when
she looked away from it and then looked back she would find that it
had silently hopped down from the wardrobe and was coming towards
her.  Emily dared not look at it for fear that was just what had
happened.  DIDN'T the bed curtains stir and waver!  She felt beads
of cold perspiration on her forehead.

Then something did happen.  A beam of sunlight struck through a
small break in one of the slats of the blind and fell directly
athwart the picture of Grandfather Murray hanging over the
mantelpiece.  It was a crayon "enlargement" copied from an old
daguerreotype in the parlour below.  In that gleam of light his
face seemed veritably to leap out of the gloom at Emily with its
grim frown strangely exaggerated.  Emily's nerve gave way
completely.  In an ungovernable spasm of panic she rushed madly
across the room to the window, dashed the curtains aside, and
caught up the slat blind.  A blessed flood of sunshine burst in.
Outside was a wholesome, friendly, human world.  And, of all
wonders, there, leaning right against the window-sill was a ladder!
For a moment Emily almost believed that a miracle had been worked
for her escape.

Cousin Jimmy had tripped that morning over the ladder, lying lost
among the burdocks under the balm-of-gileads behind the dairy.  It
was very rotten and he decided it was time it was disposed of.  He
had shouldered it up against the house so that he would be sure to
see it on his return from the hayfield.

In less time than it takes to write of it Emily had got the window
up, climbed out on the sill, and backed down the ladder.  She was
too intent on escaping from that horrible room to be conscious of
the shakiness of the rotten rungs.  When she reached the ground she
bolted through the balm-of-gileads and over the fence into Lofty
John's bush, nor did she stop running till she reached the path by
the brook.

Then she paused for breath, exultant.  She was full of a fearful
joy with an elfin delight running through it.  Sweet was the wind
of freedom that was blowing over the ferns.  She had escaped from
the spare-room and its ghosts--she had got the better of mean old
Aunt Elizabeth.

"I feel as if I was a little bird that had just got out of a cage,"
she told herself; and then she danced with joy of it all along her
fairy path to the very end, where she found Ilse Burnley huddled up
on the top of a fence panel, her pale-gold head making a spot of
brilliance against the dark young firs that crowded around her.
Emily had not seen her since that first day of school and again she
thought she had never seen or pretended anybody just like Ilse.

"Well, Emily of New Moon," said Ilse, "where are you running to?"

"I'm running away," said Emily, frankly.  "I was bad--at least, I
was a little bad--and Aunt Elizabeth locked me in the spare-room.
I hadn't been bad enough for THAT--it wasn't fair--so I got out of
the window and down the ladder."

"You little cuss!  I didn't think you'd gimp enough for that," said
Ilse.

Emily gasped.  It seemed very dreadful to be called a little cuss.
But Ilse had said it quite admiringly.

"I don't think it was gimp," said Emily, too honest to take a
compliment she didn't deserve.  "I was too scared to stay in that
room."

"Well, where are you going now?" asked Ilse.  "You'll have to go
somewhere--you can't stay out-doors.  There's a thunderstorm coming
up."

So there was.  Emily did not like thunderstorms.  And her
conscience smote her.

"Oh," she said, "do you suppose God is bringing up that storm to
punish me because I've run away?"

"No," said Ilse scornfully.  "If there is any God He wouldn't make
such a fuss over nothing."

"Oh, Ilse, don't you believe there is a God?"

"I don't know.  Father says there isn't.  But in that case how did
things happen?  Some days I believe there's a God and some days I
don't.  You'd better come home with me.  There's nobody there.  I
was so dod-gastedly lonesome I took to the bush."

Ilse sprang down and held out her sunburned paw to Emily.  Emily
took it and they ran together over Lofty John's pasture to the old
Burnley house which looked like a huge grey cat basking in the warm
late sunshine, that had not yet been swallowed up by the menacing
thunder-heads.  Inside, it was full of furniture that must have
been quite splendid once; but the disorder was dreadful and the
dust lay thickly over everything.  Nothing was in the right place
apparently, and Aunt Laura would certainly have fainted with horror
if she had seen the kitchen.  But it was a good place to play.  You
didn't have to be careful not to mess things up.  Ilse and Emily
had a glorious game of hide and seek all over the house until the
thunder got so heavy and the lightning so bright that Emily felt
she must huddle on the sofa and nurse her courage.

"Aren't you ever afraid of thunder?" she asked Ilse.

"No, I ain't afraid of anything except the devil," said Ilse.

"I thought you didn't believe in the devil either--Rhoda said you
didn't."

"Oh, there's a devil all right, Father says.  It's only God he
doesn't believe in.  And if there IS a devil and no God to keep him
in order, is it any wonder I'm scared of him?  Look here, Emily
Byrd Starr, I like you--heaps.  I've always liked you.  I knew
you'd soon be good and sick of that little, white-livered lying
sneak of a Rhoda Stuart.  _I_ never tell lies.  Father told me once
he'd kill me if he ever caught me telling a lie.  I want you for MY
chum.  I'd go to school regular if I could sit with you."

"All right," said Emily off-handedly.  No more sentimental Rhodian
vows of eternal devotion for her.  THAT phase was over.

"And you'll tell me things--nobody ever tells me things.  And let
ME tell YOU things--I haven't anybody to tell things to," said
Ilse.  "And you won't be ashamed of me because my clothes are
always queer and because I don't believe in God?"

"No.  But if you knew Father's God you'd believe in HIM."

"I wouldn't.  Besides, there's only one God if there is any at
all."

"I don't know," said Emily perplexedly.  "No, it can't be like
that.  Ellen Greene's God isn't a bit like Father's, and neither is
Aunt Elizabeth's.  I don't think I'd LIKE Aunt Elizabeth's, but He
is a DIGNIFIED God at least, and Ellen's isn't.  And I'm sure Aunt
Laura's is another one still--nice and kind but not wonderful like
Father's."

"Well never mind--I don't like talking about God," said Ilse
uncomfortably.

"_I_ do," said Emily.  "I think God is a very interesting subject,
and I'm going to pray for you, Ilse, that you can believe in
Father's God."

"Don't you dast!" shouted Ilse, who for some mysterious reason did
not like the idea.  "I won't be prayed for!"

"Don't you ever pray yourself, Ilse?"

"Oh, now and then--when I feel lonesome at night--or when I'm in a
scrape.  But I don't want any one else to pray for me.  If I catch
you doing it, Emily Starr, I'll tear your eyes out.  And don't you
go sneaking and praying for me behind my back either."

"All right, I won't," said Emily sharply, mortified at the failure
of her well-meant offer.  "I'll pray for every single soul I know,
but I'll leave you out."

For a moment Ilse looked as if she didn't like this either.  Then
she laughed and gave Emily a volcanic hug.

"Well, anyway, please like me.  Nobody likes me, you know."

"Your father MUST like you, Ilse."

"He doesn't," said Ilse positively.  "Father doesn't care a hoot
about me.  I think there's times when he hates the sight of me.  I
wish he DID like me because he can be awful nice when he likes any
one.  Do you know what I'm going to be when I grow up?  I'm going
to be an elo-cu-tion-ist."

"What's that?"

"A woman who recites at concerts.  I can do it dandy.  What are you
going to be?"

"A poetess."

"Golly!" said Ilse, apparently overcome.  "I don't believe YOU can
write poetry," she added.

"I can so, true," cried Emily.  "I've written three pieces--
'Autumn' and 'Lines to Rhoda'--only I burned THAT--and 'An Address
to a Buttercup.'  I composed it to-day and it is my--my
masterpiece."

"Let's hear it," ordered Ilse.

Nothing loath, Emily proudly repeated her lines.  Somehow she did
not mind letting Ilse hear them.

"Emily Byrd Starr, you DIDN'T make that out of your own head?"

"I did."

"Cross your heart?"

"Cross my heart."

"Well"--Ilse drew a long breath--"I guess you ARE a poetess all
right."

It was a very proud moment for Emily--one of the great moments of
life, in fact.  Her world had conceded her standing.  But now other
things had to be thought of.  The storm was over and the sun had
set.  It was twilight--it would soon be dark.  She must get home
and back into the spare-room before her absence was discovered.  It
was dreadful to think of going back but she must do it lest a worse
thing come upon her at Aunt Elizabeth's hands.  Just now, under the
inspiration of Ilse's personality, she was full of Dutch courage.
Besides, it would soon be her bedtime and she would be let out.
She trotted home through Lofty John's bush, that was full of the
wandering, mysterious lamps of the fireflies, dodged cautiously
through the balm-of-gileads--and stopped short in dismay.  The
ladder was gone!

Emily went around to the kitchen door, feeling that she was going
straight to her doom.  But for once the way of the transgressor was
made sinfully easy.  Aunt Laura was alone in the kitchen.

"Emily dear, where on earth did you come from?" she exclaimed.  "I
was just going up to let you out.  Elizabeth said I might--she's
gone to prayer-meeting."

Aunt Laura did not say that she had tiptoed several times to the
spare-room door and had been racked with anxiety over the silence
behind it.  Was the child unconscious from fright?  Not even while
the thunderstorm was going on would relentless Elizabeth allow that
door to be opened.  And here was Miss Emily walking unconcernedly
in out of the twilight after all this agony.  For a moment even
Aunt Laura was annoyed.  But when she heard Emily's tale her only
feeling was thankfulness that Juliet's child had not broken her
neck on that rotten ladder.

Emily felt that she had got off better than she deserved.  She knew
Aunt Laura would keep the secret; and Aunt Laura let her give Saucy
Sal a whole cupful of strippings, and gave her a big plummy cooky
and put her to bed with kisses.

"You oughtn't to be so good to me because I WAS bad to-day," Emily
said, between delicious mouthfuls.  "I suppose I disgraced the
Murrays going barefoot."

"If I were you I'd hide my boots every time I went out of the
gate," said Aunt Laura.  "But I wouldn't forget to put them on
before I came back.  What Elizabeth doesn't know will never hurt
her."

Emily reflected over this until she had finished her cooky.  Then
she said,

"That would be nice, but I don't mean to do it any more.  I guess I
must obey Aunt Elizabeth because she's the head of the family."

"Where do you get such notions?" said Aunt Laura.

"Out of my head.  Aunt Laura, Ilse Burnley and I are going to be
chums.  I like her--I've always felt I'd like her if I had the
chance.  I don't believe I can ever LOVE any girl again, but I LIKE
her."

"Poor Ilse!" said Aunt Laura, sighing.

"Yes, her father doesn't like her.  Isn't it dreadful?" said Emily.
"Why doesn't he?"

"He does--really.  He only thinks he doesn't."

"But WHY does he think it?"

"You are too young to understand, Emily."

Emily hated to be told she was too young to understand.  She felt
that she could understand perfectly well if only people would take
the trouble to explain things to her and not be so mysterious.

"I wish I could pray for her.  It wouldn't be fair, though, when I
know how she feels about it.  But I've always asked God to bless
all my friends so she'll be in THAT and maybe some good will come
of it.  Is 'golly' a proper word to say, Aunt Laura?"

"No--no!"

"I'm sorry for that," said Emily, seriously, "because it's very
striking."



THE TANSY PATCH


Emily and Ilse had a splendid fortnight of fun before their first
fight.  It was really quite a terrible fight, arising out of a
simple argument as to whether they would or would not have a
parlour in the playhouse they were building in Lofty John's bush.
Emily wanted a parlour and Ilse didn't.  Ilse lost her temper at
once, and went into a true Burnley tantrum.  She was very fluent in
her rages and the volley of abusive "dictionary words" which she
hurled at Emily would have staggered most of the Blair Water girls.
But Emily was too much at home with words to be floored so easily;
she grew angry too, but in the cool, dignified, Murray way which
was more exasperating than violence.  When Ilse had to pause for
breath in her diatribes, Emily, sitting on a big stone with her
knees crossed, her eyes black and her cheeks crimson, interjected
little sarcastic retorts that infuriated Ilse still further.  Ilse
was crimson, too, and her eyes were pools of scintillating, tawny
fire.  They were both so pretty in their fury that it was almost a
pity they couldn't have been angry all the time.

"You needn't suppose, you little puling, snivelling chit, that you
are going to boss ME, just because you live at New Moon," shrieked
Ilse, as an ultimatum, stamping her foot.

"I'm not going to boss you--I'm not going to associate with you
ever again," retorted Emily, disdainfully.

"I'm glad to be rid of you--you proud, stuck-up, conceited, top-
lofty BIPED," cried Ilse.  "Never you speak to me again.  And don't
you go about Blair Water saying things about me, either."

This was unbearable to a girl who NEVER "said things" about her
friends or once-friends.

"I'm not going to SAY things about you," said Emily deliberately.
"I'm just going to THINK them."

This was far more aggravating than speech and Emily knew it.  Ilse
was driven quite frantic by it.  Who knew what unearthly things
Emily might be thinking about her any time she took the notion to?
Ilse had already discovered what a fertile imagination Emily had.

"Do you suppose I care what you think, you insignificant serpent?
Why, you haven't ANY sense."

"I've got something then that's far better," said Emily, with a
maddening superior smile.  "Something that YOU can NEVER have, Ilse
Burnley."

Ilse doubled her fists as if she would like to demolish Emily by
physical force.

"If I couldn't write better poetry than you, I'd hang myself," she
derided.

"I'll lend you a dime to buy a rope," said Emily.

Ilse glared at her, vanquished.

"You can go to the devil!" she said.

Emily got up and went, not to the devil, but back to New Moon.
Ilse relieved HER feelings by knocking the boards of their china
closet down, and kicking their "moss gardens" to pieces, and
departed also.

Emily felt exceedingly badly.  Here was another friendship
destroyed--a friendship, too, that had been very delightful and
satisfying.  Ilse HAD been a splendid chum--there was no doubt
about that.  After Emily had cooled down she went to the dormer-
window and cried.

"Wretched, wretched me!" she sobbed, dramatically, but very
sincerely.

Yet the bitterness of her break with Rhoda was not present.  THIS
quarrel was fair and open and above-board.  She had not been
stabbed in the back.  But of course she and Ilse would never be
chums again.  You couldn't be chums with a person who called you a
chit and a biped, and a serpent, and told you to go to the devil.
The thing was impossible.  And besides, Ilse could NEVER forgive
HER--for Emily was honest enough to admit to herself that she had
been very aggravating, too.

Yet, when Emily went to the playhouse next morning, bent on
retrieving her share of broken dishes and boards, there was Ilse,
skipping around, hard at work, with all the shelves back in place,
the moss garden re-made, and a beautiful parlour laid out and
connected with the living-room by a spruce arch.

"Hello, you.  Here's your parlour and I hope you'll be satisfied
now," she said gaily.  "What's kept you so long?  I thought you
were never coming."

This rather posed Emily after her tragic night, wherein she had
buried her second friendship and wept over its grave.  She was not
prepared for so speedy a resurrection.  As far as Ilse was
concerned it seemed as if no quarrel had ever taken place.

"Why, that was YESTERDAY," she said in amazement, when Emily,
rather distantly, referred to it.  Yesterday and to-day were two
entirely different things in Ilse's philosophy.  Emily accepted it--
she found she had to.  Ilse, it transpired, could no more help
flying into tantrums now and then than she could help being jolly
and affectionate between them.  What amazed Emily, in whom things
were bound to rankle for a time, was the way in which Ilse appeared
to forget a quarrel the moment it was over.  To be called a serpent
and a crocodile one minute and hugged and darling-ed the next was
somewhat disconcerting until time and experience took the edge off
it.

"Aren't I nice enough between times to make up for it?" demanded
Ilse.  "Dot Payne never flies into tempers, but would you like HER
for a chum?"

"No, she's too stupid," admitted Emily.

"And Rhoda Stuart is never out of temper, but you got enough of
HER.  Do you think I'd ever treat you as she did?"

No, Emily had no doubt on this point.  Whatever Ilse was or was
not, she was loyal and true.

And certainly Rhoda Stuart and Dot Payne compared to Ilse were "as
moonlight unto sunlight and as water unto wine"--or would have been
if Emily had as yet known anything more of her Tennyson than the
Bugle Song.

"You can't have everything," said Ilse.  "I've got Dad's temper and
that's all there is to it.  Wait till you see HIM in one of his
rages."

Emily had not seen this so far.  She had often been down in the
Burnley's house but on the few occasions when Dr Burnley had been
home he had ignored her save for a curt nod.  He was a busy man,
for, whatever his shortcomings were, his skill was unquestioned and
the bounds of his practice extended far.  By the sick-bed he was as
gentle and sympathetic as he was brusque and sarcastic away from
it.  As long as you were ill there was nothing Dr Burnley would not
do for you; once you were well he had apparently no further use for
you.  He had been absorbed all through July trying to save Teddy
Kent's life up at the Tansy Patch.  Teddy was out of danger now and
able to be up, but his improvement was not speedy enough to satisfy
Dr Burnley.  One day he held up Emily and Ilse, who were heading
through the lawn to the pond, with fishing-hooks and a can of fat,
abominable worms--the latter manipulated solely by Ilse--and
ordered them to betake themselves up to the Tansy Patch and play
with Teddy Kent.

"He's lonesome and moping.  Go and cheer him up," said the doctor.

Ilse was rather loath to go.  She liked Teddy, but it seemed she
did not like his mother.  Emily was secretly not averse.  She had
seen Teddy Kent but once, at Sunday-school the day before he was
taken seriously ill, and she had liked his looks.  It had seemed
that he liked hers, too, for she caught him staring shyly at her
over the intervening pews several times.  He was very handsome,
Emily decided.  She liked his thick, dark-brown hair and his black-
browed blue eyes, and for the first time it occurred to her that it
might be rather nice to have a boy playmate, too.  Not a "beau" of
course.  Emily hated the school jargon that called a boy your
"beau" if he happened to give you a pencil or an apple and picked
you out frequently for his partner in the games.

"Teddy's nice but his mother is queer," Ilse told her on their way
to the Tansy Patch.  "She never goes out anywhere--not even to
church--but I guess it's because of the scar on her face.  They're
not Blair Water people--they've only been living at the Tansy Patch
since last fall.  They're poor and proud and not many people visit
them.  But Teddy is awfully nice, so if his mother gives us some
black looks we needn't mind."

Mrs Kent gave them no black looks, though her reception was rather
distant.  Perhaps she, too, had received some orders from the
doctor.  She was a tiny creature, with enormous masses of dull,
soft, silky, fawn hair, dark, mournful eyes, and a broad scar
running slantwise across her pale face.  Without the scar she must
have been pretty, and she had a voice as soft and uncertain as the
wind in the tansy.  Emily, with her instinctive faculty of sizing
up people she met, felt that Mrs Kent was not a happy woman.

The Tansy Patch was east of the Disappointed House, between the
Blair Water and the sand-dunes.  Most people considered it a bare,
lonely, neglected place, but Emily thought it was fascinating.  The
little clap-boarded house topped a small hill, over which tansy
grew in a hard, flaunting, aromatic luxuriance, rising steeply and
abruptly from a main road.  A straggling rail fence, almost
smothered in wild rosebushes, bounded the domain, and a sagging,
ill-used little gate gave ingress from the road.  Stones were let
into the side of the hill for steps up to the front door.  Behind
the house was a tumbledown little barn, and a field of flowering
buckwheat, creamy green, sloping down to the Blair Water.  In front
was a crazy veranda around which a brilliant band of red poppies
held up their enchanted cups.

Teddy was unfeignedly glad to see them, and they had a happy
afternoon together.  There was some colour in Teddy's clear olive
skin when it ended and his dark-blue eyes were brighter.  Mrs Kent
took in these signs greedily and asked the girls to come back, with
an eagerness that was yet not cordiality.  But they had found the
Tansy Patch a charming place and were glad to go again.  For the
rest of the vacation there was hardly a day when they did not go up
to it--preferably in the long, smoky, delicious August evenings
when the white moths sailed over the tansy plantation and the
golden twilight faded into dusk and purple over the green slopes
beyond and fireflies lighted their goblin torches by the pond.
Sometimes they played games in the tansy patch, when Teddy and
Emily somehow generally found themselves on the same side and then
no more than a match for agile, quick-witted Ilse; sometimes Teddy
took them to the barn loft and showed them his little collection of
drawings.  Both girls thought them very wonderful without knowing
in the least how wonderful they really were.  It seemed like magic
to see Teddy take a pencil and bit of paper and with a few quick
strokes of his slim brown fingers bring out a sketch of Ilse or
Emily or Smoke or Buttercup, that looked ready to speak--or meow.

Smoke and Buttercup were the Tansy Patch cats.  Buttercup was a
chubby, yellow, delightful creature hardly out of kitten-hood.
Smoke was a big Maltese and an aristocrat from the tip of his nose
to the tip of his tail.  There was no doubt whatever that he
belonged to the cat caste of Vere de Vere.  He had emerald eyes and
a coat of plush.  The only white thing about him was an adorable
dicky.

Emily thought of all the pleasant hours spent at the Tansy Patch
the pleasantest were those, when, tired with play, they all three
sat on the crazy veranda steps in the mystery and enchantment of
the borderland 'tween light and dark when the little clump of
spruce behind the barn looked like beautiful, dark, phantom trees.
The clouds of the west faded into grey and a great round yellow
moon rose over the fields to be reflected brokenly in the pond,
where the Wind Woman was making wonderful, woven lights and
shadows.

Mrs Kent never joined them, though Emily had a creepy conviction
that she was watching them stealthily from behind the kitchen
blind.  Teddy and Ilse sang school ditties, and Ilse recited, and
Emily told stories; or they sat in happy silence, each anchored in
some secret port of dreams, while the cats chased each other madly
over the hill and through the tansy, tearing round and round the
house like possessed creatures.  They would spring up at the
children with sudden pounces and spring as suddenly away.  Their
eyes gleamed like jewels, their tails swayed like plumes.  They
were palpitating with nervous, stealthy life.

"Oh, isn't it good to be alive--like this?" Emily said once.
"Wouldn't it be dreadful if one had never lived?"

Still, existence was not wholly unclouded--Aunt Elizabeth took care
of that.  Aunt Elizabeth only permitted the visits to the Tansy
Patch under protest, and because Dr Burnley had ordered them.

"Aunt Elizabeth does not approve of Teddy," Emily wrote in one of
her letters to her father--which epistles were steadily multiplying
on the old garret sofa shelf.  "The first time I asked her if I
might go and play with Teddy she looked at me SEVERELY and said,
Who is this Teddy person.  We do not know anything about these
Kents.  Remember, Emily, the Murrays do not associate with every
one.  I said I am a Starr--I am not a Murray, you said so yourself.
Dear Father I did not mean to be impertnent but Aunt Elizabeth said
I was and would not speak to me the rest of the day.  She seemed to
think that was a very bad punishment but I did not mind it much
only it is rather unpleasant to have your own family preserve a
disdaneful silence towards you.  But since then she lets me go to
the Tansy Patch because Dr Burnley came and told her to.  Dr
Burnley has a STRANGE INFLEWENCE over Aunt Elizabeth.  I do not
understand it.  Rhoda said once that Aunt Elizabeth hoped Dr
Burnley and Aunt Laura would make a match of it--which, you know
means get married--but that is not so.  Mrs Thomas Anderson was
here one afternoon to tea.  (Mrs Thomas Anderson is a big fat woman
and her grandmother was a Murray and there is nothing else to say
about HER.)  She asked Aunt Elizabeth if she thought Dr Burnley
would marry again and Aunt Elizabeth said no, he would not and she
did not think it right for people to marry a second time.  Mrs
Anderson said Sometimes I have thought he would take Laura.  Aunt
Elizabeth just swept her a hawty glance.  There is no use in
denying it, there are times when I am very proud of Aunt Elizabeth,
even if I do not like her.

"Teddy is a very nice boy, Father.  I think you would aprove of
him.  Should there be two p's in aprove?  He can make splendid
pictures and he is going to be a famus artist some day, and then he
is going to paint my portrate.  He keeps his pictures in the barn
loft because his mother doesn't like to see them.  He can whistle
just like a bird.  The Tansy Patch is a VERY QUANTE place--
espesially at night.  I love the twilight there.  We always have
such fun in the twilight.  The Wind Woman makes herself small in
the tansy just like a tiny, tiny fairy and the cats are so queer
and creepy and delightful then.  They belong to Mrs Kent and Teddy
is afraid to pet them much for fear she will drown them.  She
drowned a kitten once because she thought he liked it better than
her.  But he didn't because Teddy is VERY MUCH ATTATCHED to his
mother.  He washes the dishes for her and helps her in all the
house work.  Ilse says the boys in school call him sissy for that
but I think it is noble and manley of him.  Teddy wishes she would
let him have a dog but she wont.  I have thought Aunt Elizabeth was
tirannical but Mrs Kent is far worse in some ways.  But then she
loves Teddy and Aunt Elizabeth does not love me.

"But Mrs Kent doesn't like Ilse or me.  She never says so but we
feel it.  She NEVER asks us to stay to tea--and we've always been
so polite to her.  I believe she is jellus of us because Teddy
likes us.  Teddy gave me the sweetest picture of the Blair Water he
had painted on a big white cowhawk shell but he said I mustn't let
his mother know about it because she would cry.  Mrs Kent is a very
misterious person, very like some people you read of in books.  I
like misterious people but not too close.  Her eyes always look
hungry though she has plenty to eat.  She never goes anywhere
because she has a scar on her face where she was burned with a lamp
exploding.  It made my blood run cold, dear Father.  How thankful I
am that Aunt Elizabeth only burns candles.  Some of the Murray
tradishuns are very sensible.  Mrs Kent is very relijus--what she
calls relijus.  She prays even in the middle of the day.  Teddy
says that before he was born into this world he lived in another
one where there were two suns, one red and one blue.  The days were
red and the nights blue.  I don't know where he got the idea but it
sounds attractive to me.  And he says the brooks run honey instead
of water.  But what did you do when you were thirsty, I said.  Oh,
we were never thirsty there.  But I think I would LIKE to be
thirsty because then cold water tastes so good.  _I_ would like to
live in the moon.  It must be such a nice silvery place.

"Ilse says Teddy ought to like her best because there is more fun
in her than in me but that is not true.  There is just as much fun
in me when my conshence doesn't bother me.  I guess Ilse wants
Teddy to like her best but she is not a jellus girl.

"I am glad to say that Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura both aprove of
my friendship with Ilse.  It is so seldom they aprove of the same
thing.  I am getting used to fighting with Ilse now and don't mind
it much.  Besides I can fight pretty well myself when my blood is
up.  We fight about once a week but we make up right away and Ilse
says things would be dull if there was never a row.  I would like
it better without rows but you can never tell what will make Ilse
mad.  She never gets mad twice over the same thing.  She calls me
dreadful names.  Yesterday she called me a lousy lizard and a
toothless viper.  But somehow I didn't mind it much because I knew
I wasn't lousy or toothless and she knew it too.  I don't call her
names because that is unladylike but I smile and that makes Ilse
far madder than if I skowled and stamped as she does, and that is
why I do it.  Aunt Laura says I must be careful not to pick up the
words Ilse uses and try to set her a good example because the poor
child has no one to look after her propperly.  I wish I could use
some of her words because they are so striking.  She gets them from
her father.  I think my aunts are too perticular.  One night when
the Rev. Mr Dare was here to tea I used the word bull in my
conversashun.  I said Ilse and I were afraid to go through Mr James
Lee's pasture where the old well was because he had a cross bull
there.  After Mr Dare had gone Aunt Elizabeth gave me an awful
skolding and told me I was never to use THAT WORD again.  But she
had been talking of tigers at tea--in connexshun with missionaries--
and I can't understand why it is more disgraceful to talk about
bulls than tigers.  Of course bulls are feroshus animals but so are
tigers.  But Aunt Elizabeth says I am always disgracing them when
they have company.  When Mrs Lockwood was here from Shrewsbury last
week they were talking about Mrs Foster Beck, who is a bride, and I
said Dr Burnley thought she was devilishly pretty.  Aunt Elizabeth
said EMILY in an awful tone.  She was pale with rath.  Dr Burnley
said it, I cryed, I am only kwoting.  And Dr Burnley did say it the
day I stayed to dinner with Ilse and Dr Jameson was there from
Shrewsbury.  I saw Dr Burnley in one of his rages that afternoon
over something Mrs Simms had done in his office.  It was a groosome
sight.  His big yellow eyes blazed and he tore about and kicked
over a chair and threw a mat at the wall and fired a vase out of
the window and said TERRIBLE THINGS.  I sat on the sofa and stared
at him like one fassinated.  It was so interesting I was sorry when
he cooled down which he soon did because he is like Ilse and never
stays mad long.  He never gets mad at Ilse though.  Ilse says she
wishes he would--it would be better than being taken no notis of.
She is as much of an orfan as I am, poor child.  Last Sunday she
went to church with her old faded blue dress on.  There was a tare
right in front of it.  Aunt Laura wepped when she came home and
then spoke to Mrs Simms about it because she did not dare speak to
Dr Burnley.  Mrs Simms was cross and said it was not her place to
look after Ilses close but she said she had got Dr Burnley to get
Ilse a nice sprigged muslin dress and Ilse had got egg stane on it,
and when Mrs Simms skolded her for being so careless Ilse flew into
a rage and went upstairs and tore the muslin dress to pieces, and
Mrs Simms said she wasn't going to bother her head again about a
child like that and there was nothing for her to ware but her old
blue but Mrs Simms didn't know it was tore.  So I sneaked Ilses
dress over to New Moon and Aunt Laura mended it neetly and hid the
tare with a pocket.  Ilse said she tore up her muslin dress one of
the days she didn't believe in God and didn't care what she did.
Ilse found a mouse in her bed one night and she just shook it out
and jumped in.  Oh, how brave.  I could never be as brave as that.
It is not true that Dr Burnley never smiles.  I have seen him do it
but not often.  He just smiles with his lips but not his eyes and
it makes me feel uncomfortable.  Mostly he laughs in a horrid
sarkastic way like Jolly Jim's uncle.

"We had barley soup for dinner that day--very watery.

"Aunt Laura is giving me five cents a week for washing the dishes.
I can only spend one cent of it and the other four have to be put
in the toad bank in the sitting-room on the mantel.  The toad is
made of brass and sits on top of the bank and you put the cents in
his mouth one at a time.  He swallows them and they drop into the
bank.  It's very fassinating (I should not write fassinating again
because you told me I must not use the same word too often but I
cant think of any other that deskribes my feelings so well).  The
toad bank is Aunt Laura's but she said I could use it.  I just
hugged her.  Of course I never hug Aunt Elizabeth.  She is too
rijid and bony.  She does not aprove of Aunt Laura paying me for
washing dishes.  I tremble to think what she would say if she knew
Cousin Jimmy gave me a whole dollar on the sly last week.

"I wish he had not given me so much.  It worrys me.  It is an awful
responsibility.  It will be so diffikult to spend it wisely also
without Aunt Elizabeth finding out about it.  I hope I shall never
have a million dollars.  I am sure it would crush me utterly.  I
keep my dollar hid on the shelf with my letters and I put it in an
old envelope and wrote on it Cousin Jimmy Murray gave me this so
that if I died suddenly and Aunt Elizabeth found it she would know
I came by it honestly.

"Now that the days are getting cool Aunt Elizabeth makes me wear my
thick flannel petticoat.  I hate it.  It makes me so bunchy.  But
Aunt Elizabeth says I must wear it because you died of consumption.
I wish close could be both graceful and helthy.  I read the story
of Red Riding Hood to-day.  I think the wolf was the most
intresting caracter in it.  Red Riding Hood was a stupid little
thing so easily fooled.

"I wrote two poems yesterday.  One was short and entitelled Lines
Addressed to a blue-eyed-grass flower gathered in the Old Orchard.
Here it is,


     Sweet little flower thy modest face
     Is ever lifted tords the sky
     And a reflexshun of its face
     Is caught within thine own blue eye.
     The meadow queens are tall and fair
     The columbines are lovely too.
     But the poor talent I possess
     Shall laurel thee my flower of blue.


"The other poem was long and I wrote it on a letterbill.  It is
called The Monark of the Forest.  The Monark is the big birch in
Lofty John's bush.  I love that bush so much it hurts.  Do you
understand that kind of hurting.  Ilse likes it too and we play
there most of the time when we are not at the Tansy Patch.  We have
three paths in it.  We call them the To-day Road, the Yesterday
Road and the To-morrow Road.  The To-day Road is by the brook and
we call it that because it is lovely now.  The Yesterday Road is
out in the stumps where Lofty John cut some trees down and we call
it that because it used to be lovely.  The To-morrow Road is just a
tiny path in the maple clearing and we call it that because it is
going to be lovely some day, when the maples grow bigger.  But oh
Father dear I haven't forgotten the dear old trees down home.  I
always think of them after I go to bed.  But I am happy here.  It
isn't wrong to be happy, is it Father.  Aunt Elizabeth says I got
over being homesick very quick but I am often homesick INSIDE.  I
have got akwanted with Lofty John.  Ilse is a great friend of his
and often goes there to watch him working in his carpenter shop.
He says he has made enough ladders to get to heaven without the
priest but that is just his joke.  He is really a very devowt
Catholic and goes to the chapel at White Cross every Sunday.  I go
with Ilse though perhaps I ought not to when he is an enemy of my
family.  He is of stately baring and refined manners--very sivil to
me but I don't always like him.  When I ask him a serius question
he always winks over my head when he ansers.  That is insulting.
Of course I never ask any questions on relijus subjects but Ilse
does.  She likes him but she says he would burn us all at the stake
if he had the power.  She asked him right out if he wouldn't and he
winked at me and said Oh, we wouldn't burn nice pretty little
Protestants like you.  We would only burn the old ugly ones.  That
was a frivellus reply.  Mrs Lofty John is a nice woman and not at
all proud.  She looks just like a little rosy rinkled apple.

"On rainy days we play at Ilses.  We can slide down the bannisters
and do what we like.  Nobody cares only when the doctor is home we
have to be quiet because he cant bear any noise in the house except
what he makes himself.  The roof is flat and we can get out on it
through a door in the garret ceiling.  It is very exciting to be up
on the roof of a house.  We had a yelling contest there the other
night to see which could yell the loudest.  To my surprise I found
I could.  You never can tell what you can do till you try.  But too
many people heard us and Aunt Elizabeth was very angry.  She asked
me what made me do such a thing.  That is an okward question
because often I cant tell what makes me do things.  Sometimes I do
them just to find out what I feel like doing them.  And sometimes I
do them because I want to have some exciting things to tell my
grandchildren.  Is it impropper to talk about haveing grandchildren.
I have discovered that it is impropper to talk about haveing
children.  One evening when people were here Aunt Laura said to me
quite kindly What are you thinking so ernestly about, Emily, and I
said I am picking names for my children.  I mean to have ten.  And
after the company had gone Aunt Elizabeth said to Aunt Laura ICILLY
I think it will be better in the future Laura if you do NOT ask that
child what she is thinking of.  If Aunt Laura doesn't I shall be
sorry because when I have an intresting thought I like to tell it.

"School begins again next week.  Ilse is going to ask Miss Brownell
if I can sit with her.  I intend to act as if Rhoda was not there
at all.  Teddy is going too.  Dr Burnley says he is well enough to
go though his mother doesnt like the idea.  Teddy says she never
likes to have him go to school but she is glad that he hates Miss
Brownell.  Aunt Laura says the right way to end a letter to a dear
friend is yours affeckshunately.

"So I am yours very affeckshunately.

"Emily Byrd Starr.

"P. S.  Because YOU are my VERY DEAREST FRIEND STILL, Father.  Ilse
says she loves me best of anything in the world and her red leather
boots that Mrs Simms gave her next."



A DAUGHTER OF EVE


New moon was noted for its apples and on that first autumn of
Emily's life there both the "old" and the "new" orchards bore a
bumper crop.  In the new were the titled and pedigreed apples; and
in the old the seedlings, unknown to catalogues, that yet had a
flavour wildly sweet and all their own.  There was no taboo on any
apple and Emily was free to eat all she wanted of each and every
kind--the only prohibition being that she must not take any to bed
with her.  Aunt Elizabeth, very properly, did not want her bed
messed up with apple seeds; and Aunt Laura had a horror of anyone
eating apples in the dark lest they might eat an apple worm into
the bargain.  Emily, therefore, should have been able fully to
satisfy her appetite for apples at home; but there is a certain odd
kink in human nature by reason of which the flavour of the apples
belonging to somebody else is always vastly superior to our own--as
the crafty serpent of Eden very well knew.  Emily, like most
people, possessed this kink, and consequently thought that nowhere
were there such delicious apples as those belonging to Lofty John.
He was in the habit of keeping a long row of apples on one of the
beams in his workshop and it was understood that she and Ilse might
help themselves freely whenever they visited that charming, dusty,
shaving-carpeted spot.  Three varieties of Lofty John's apples were
their especial favourites--the "scabby apples," that looked as if
they had leprosy but were of unsurpassed deliciousness under their
queerly blotched skins; the "little red apples," scarcely bigger
than a crab, deep crimson all over and glossy as satin, that had
such a sweet, nutty flavour; and the big green "sweet apples" that
children usually thought the best of all.  Emily considered that
day wasted whose low descending sun had not beheld her munching one
of Lofty John's big green sweets.

In the back of her mind Emily knew quite well that she should not
be going to Lofty John's at all.  To be sure, she had never been
forbidden to go--simply because it had never occurred to her aunts
that an inmate of New Moon could so forget the beloved old family
feud between the houses of Murray and Sullivan belonging to two
generations back.  It was an inheritance that any proper Murray
would live up to as a matter of course.  But when Emily was off
with that wild little Ishmaelite of an Ilse, traditions lost their
power under the allurement of Lofty John's "reds" and "scabs."

She wandered rather lonesomely into his workshop one September
evening at twilight.  She had been alone since she came from
school; her aunts and Cousin Jimmy had gone to Shrewsbury,
promising to be back by sunset.  Ilse was away also, her father,
prodded thereto by Mrs Simms, having taken her to Charlottetown to
get her a winter coat.  Emily liked being alone very well at first.
She felt quite important over being in charge of New Moon.  She ate
the supper Aunt Laura had left on the cook-house dresser for her
and she went into the dairy and skimmed six lovely big pans of
milk.  She had no business at all to do this but she had always
hankered to do it and this was too good a chance to be missed.  She
did it beautifully and nobody ever knew--each aunt supposing the
other had done it--and so she was never scolded for it.  This does
not point any particular moral, of course; in a proper yarn Emily
should either have been found out and punished for disobedience or
been driven by an uneasy conscience to confess; but I am sorry--or
ought to be--to have to state that Emily's conscience never worried
her about the matter at all.  Still, she was doomed to suffer
enough that night from an entirely different cause, to balance all
her little peccadillos.

By the time the cream was skimmed and poured into the big stone
crock and well stirred--Emily didn't forget THAT, either--it was
after sunset and still nobody had come home.  Emily didn't like the
idea of going alone into the big, dusky, echoing house; so she hied
her to Lofty John's shop, which she found unoccupied, though the
plane halted midway on a board indicated that Lofty John had been
working there quite recently and would probably return.  Emily sat
down on a round section of a huge log and looked around to see what
she could get to eat.  There was a row of "reds" and "scabs" clean
across the side of the shop but no "sweet" among them; and Emily
felt that what she needed just then was a "sweet" and nothing else.

Then she spied one--a huge one--the biggest "sweet" Emily had ever
seen, all by itself on one of the steps of the stair leading up to
the loft.  She climbed up, possessed herself of it and ate it out
of hand.  She was gnawing happily at the core when Lofty John came
in.  He nodded to her with a seemingly careless glance around.

"Just been in to get my supper," he said.  "The wife's away so I
had to get it myself."

He fell to planing in silence.  Emily sat on the stairs, counting
the seeds of the big "sweet"--you told your fortunes by the seeds--
listening to the Wind Woman whistling elfishly through a knot hole
in the loft, and composing a "Deskripshun of Lofty John's Carpenter
Shop By Lantern Light," to be written later on a letter-bill.  She
was lost in a mental hunt for an accurate phrase to picture the
absurd elongated shadow of Lofty John's nose on the opposite wall
when Lofty John whirled about, so suddenly that the shadow of his
nose shot upward like a huge spear to the ceiling, and demanded in
a startled voice,

"What's become av that big sweet apple that was on that stair?"

"Why--I--I et it," stammered Emily.

Lofty John dropped his plane, threw up his hands and looked at
Emily with a horrified face.

"The saints preserve us, child.  Ye never et that apple--don't tell
me ye've gone and et THAT apple!"

"Yes, I did," said Emily uncomfortably.  "I didn't think it was any
harm--I--"

"Harm!  Listen to her, will you?  That apple was poisoned for the
rats!  They've been plaguing me life out here and I had me mind
made up to finish their fun.  And now you've et the apple--it would
kill a dozen av ye in a brace of shakes."

Lofty John saw a white face and a gingham apron flash through the
workshop and out into the dark.  Emily's first wild impulse was to
get home at once--before she dropped dead.  She tore across the
field through the bush and the garden and dashed into the house.
It was still silent and dark--nobody was home yet.  Emily gave a
bitter little shriek of despair--when they came they would find her
stiff and cold, black in the face likely, everything in this dear
world ended for her for ever, all because she had eaten an apple
which she thought she was perfectly welcome to eat.  It wasn't
fair--she didn't want to die.

But she must.  She only hoped desperately that some one would come
before she was dead.  It would be so terrible to die there all
alone in that great, big, empty New Moon.  She dared not try to go
anywhere for help.  It was too dark now and she would likely drop
dead on the way.  To die out there--alone--in the dark--oh, that
would be too dreadful.  It did not occur to her that anything could
be done for her; she thought if you once swallowed poison that was
the end of you.

With hands shaking in panic she got a candle lighted.  It wasn't
quite so bad then--you COULD face things in the light.  And Emily,
pale, terrified, alone, was already deciding that this must be
faced bravely.  She must not shame the Starrs and the Murrays.  She
clenched her cold hands and tried to stop trembling.  How long
would it be before she died, she wondered.  Lofty John had said the
apple would kill her in a "brace of shakes."  What did that mean?
How long was a brace of shakes?  Would it hurt her to die?  She had
a vague idea that poison did hurt you awfully.  Oh; and just a
little while ago she had been so happy!  She had thought she was
going to live for years and write great poems and be famous like
Mrs Hemans.  She had had a fight with Ilse the night before and
hadn't made it up yet--never could make it up now.  And Ilse would
feel so terribly.  She must write her a note and forgive her.  Was
there time for that much?  Oh, how cold her hands were!  Perhaps
that meant she was dying already.  She had heard or read that your
hands turned cold when you were dying.  She wondered if her face
was turning black.  She grasped her candle and hurried up the
stairs to the spare-room.  There was a looking-glass there--the
only one in the house hung low enough for her to see her reflection
if she tipped the bottom of it back.  Ordinarily Emily would have
been frightened to death at the mere thought of going into that
spare-room by dim, flickering candlelight.  But the one great
terror had swallowed up all lesser ones.  She looked at her
reflection, amid the sleek, black flow of her hair, in the upward-
striking light on the dark background of the shadowy room.  Oh, she
was pale as the dead already.  Yes, that was a dying face--there
could be no doubt of it.

Something rose up in Emily and took possession of her--some
inheritance from the good old stock behind her.  She ceased to
tremble--she accepted her fate--with bitter regret, but calmly.

"I don't want to die but since I have to I'll die as becomes a
Murray," she said.  She had read a similar sentence in a book and
it came pat to the moment.  And now she must hurry.  That letter to
Ilse must be written.  Emily went to Aunt Elizabeth's room first,
to assure herself that her right-hand top bureau drawer was quite
tidy; then she flitted up the garret stairs to her dormer corner.
The great place was full of lurking, pouncing shadows that crowded
about the little island of faint candlelight, but they had no
terrors for Emily now.

"And to think I was feeling so bad to-day because my petticoat was
bunchy," she thought, as she got one of her dear letter-bills--the
last she would ever write on.  There was no need to write to
Father--she would see him soon--but Ilse must have her letter--
dear, loving, jolly, hot-tempered Ilse, who, just the day before
had shrieked insulting epithets after her and who would be haunted
by remorse all her life for it.


"Dearest Ilse," wrote Emily, her hand shaking a little but her lips
firmly set.  "I am going to die.  I have been poisoned by an apple
Lofty John had put for rats.  I will never see you again, but I am
writing this to tell you I love you and you are not to feel bad
because you called me a skunk and a bloodthirsty mink yesterday.  I
forgive you, so do not worry over it.  And I am sorry I told you
that you were beneath contemt because I didn't mean a word of it.
I leave you all my share of the broken dishes in our playhouse and
please tell Teddy good-bye for me.  He will never be able to teach
me how to put worms on a fish-hook now.  I promised him I would
learn because I did not want him to think I was a coward but I am
glad I did not for I know what the worm feels like now.  I do not
feel sick yet but I don't know what the simptoms of poisoning are
and Lofty John said there was enough to kill a dozen of me so I
cant have long to live.  If Aunt Elizabeth is willing you can have
my necklace of Venetian beads.  It is the only valuable possession
I have.  Don't let anybody do anything to Lofty John because he did
not mean to poison me and it was all my own fault for being so
greedy.  Perhaps people will think he did it on purpose because I
am a Protestant but I feel sure he did not and please tell him not
to be hawnted by remorse.  I think I feel a pain in my stomach now
so I guess that the end draws ni.  Fare well and remember her who
died so young.

"Your own devoted,

"Emily."


As Emily folded up her letter-bill she heard the sound of wheels in
the yard below.  A moment later Elizabeth and Laura Murray were
confronted in the kitchen by a tragic-faced little creature,
grasping a guttering candle in one hand and a red letter-bill in
the other.

"Emily, what is the matter?" cried Aunt Laura.

"I'm dying," said Emily solemnly.  "I et an apple Lofty John had
poisoned for rats.  I have only a few minutes to live, Aunt Laura."

Laura Murray dropped down on the black bench with her hand at her
heart.  Elizabeth turned as pale as Emily herself.

"Emily, is this some play-acting of yours?" she demanded sternly.

"No," cried Emily, quite indignantly.  "It's the truth.  Do you
suppose a dying person would be play-acting?  And oh, Aunt
Elizabeth, please will you give this letter to Ilse--and please
forgive me for being naughty--though I wasn't always naughty when
you thought I was--and don't let any one see after I'm dead if I
turn black--especially Rhoda Stuart."

By this time Aunt Elizabeth was herself again.

"How long ago is it since you ate that apple, Emily?"

"About an hour."

"If you'd eaten a poisoned apple an hour ago you'd be dead or sick
by now--"

"Oh," cried Emily transformed in a second.  A wild, sweet hope
sprang up in her heart--was there a chance for her after all?  Then
she added despairingly, "But I felt another pain in my stomach just
as I came downstairs."

"Laura," said Aunt Elizabeth, "take this child out to the cook-
house and give her a good dose of mustard and water at once.  It
will do no harm and MAY do some good, if there's anything in this
yarn of hers.  I'm going down to the doctor's--he may be back--but
I'll see Lofty John on the way."

Aunt Elizabeth went out---and Aunt Elizabeth went out very quickly--
if it had been any one else it might have been said she ran.  As
for Emily--well, Aunt Laura gave her that emetic in short order and
two minutes later Emily had no doubt at all that she was dying then
and there--and the sooner the better.  When Aunt Elizabeth returned
Emily was lying on the sofa in the kitchen, as white as the pillow
under her head, and as limp as a faded lily.

"Wasn't the doctor home?" cried Aunt Laura desperately.

"I don't know--there's no need of the doctor.  I didn't think there
was from the first.  It was just one of Lofty John's jokes.  He
thought he'd give Emily a fright--just for fun--HIS idea of fun.
March you off to bed, Miss Emily.  You deserve all you've got for
going over there to Lofty John's at all and I don't pity you a
particle.  I haven't had such a turn for years."

"I DID have a pain in my stomach," wailed Emily, in whom fright and
mustard-and-water combined had temporarily extinguished all spirit.

"Any one who eats apples from dawn to dark must expect a few pains
in her stomach.  You won't have any more tonight, I reckon--the
mustard will remedy that.  Take your candle and go."

"Well," said Emily, getting unsteadily to her feet.  "I HATE that
dod-gasted Lofty John."

"Emily!" said both aunts together.

"He DESERVES it," said Emily vindictively.

"Oh, Emily--that dreadful word you used!"  Aunt Laura seemed
curiously upset about something.

"Why, what's the matter with dod-gasted?" said Emily, quite
mystified.  "Cousin Jimmy uses it often, when things vex him.  He
used it to-day--he said that dod-gasted heifer had broken out of
the graveyard pasture again."

"Emily," said Aunt Elizabeth, with the air of one impaling herself
on the easiest horn of a dilemma, "your Cousin Jimmy is a man--and
men sometimes use expressions, in the heat of anger, that are not
proper for little girls."

"But what IS the matter with dod-gasted?" persisted Emily.  "It
isn't a swear word, is it?  And if it isn't, why can't I use it?"

"It isn't a--a ladylike word," said Aunt Laura.

"Well, then, I won't use it any more," said Emily resignedly, "but
Lofty John IS dod-gasted."

Aunt Laura laughed so much after Emily had gone upstairs that Aunt
Elizabeth told her a woman of her age should have more sense.

"Elizabeth, you KNOW it was funny," protested Laura.

Emily being safely out of sight, Elizabeth permitted herself a
somewhat grim smile.

"I told Lofty John a few plain truths--he'll not go telling
children they're poisoned again in a hurry.  I left him fairly
dancing with rage."

Worn out, Emily fell asleep as soon as she was in bed; but an hour
later she awakened.  Aunt Elizabeth had not yet come to bed so the
blind was still up and Emily saw a dear, friendly star winking down
at her.  Far away the sea moaned alluringly.  Oh, it was nice just
to be alone and to be alive.  Life tasted good to her again--
"tasted like more," as Cousin Jimmy said.  She could have a chance
to write more letter-bills, and poetry--Emily already saw a yard of
verses entitled "Thoughts of One Doomed to Sudden Death"--and play
with Ilse and Teddy--scour the barns with Saucy Sal, watch Aunt
Laura skim cream in the dairy and help Cousin Jimmy garden--read
books in Emily's Bower and trot along the To-day Road--but NOT
visit Lofty John's workshop.  She determined that she would never
have anything to do with Lofty John again after his diabolical
cruelty.  She felt so indignant with him for frightening her--after
they had been such good friends, too--that she could not go to
sleep until she had composed an account of her death by poison, of
Lofty John being tried for her murder and condemned to death, and
of his being hanged on a gibbet as lofty as himself, Emily being
present at the dreadful scene, in spite of the fact that she was
dead by his act.  When she had finally cut him down and buried him
with obloquy--the tears streaming down her face out of sympathy for
Mrs Lofty John--she forgave him.  Very likely he was not dod-gasted
after all.

She wrote it all down on a letter-bill in the garret the next day.



FANCY FED


In October Cousin Jimmy began to boil the pigs' potatoes--
unromantic name for a most romantic occupation--or so it appeared
to Emily, whose love of the beautiful and picturesque was satisfied
as it had never yet been on those long, cool, starry twilights of
the waning year at New Moon.

There was a clump of spruce-trees in a corner of the old orchard,
and under them an immense iron pot was hung over a circle of large
stones--a pot so big that an ox could have been comfortably stewed
in it.  Emily thought it must have come down from the days of fairy
tales and been some giant's porridge pot; but Cousin Jimmy told her
that it was only a hundred years old and old Hugh Murray had had it
sent out from England.

"We've used it ever since to boil the potatoes for the New Moon
pigs," he said.  "Blair Water folks think it old-fashioned; they've
all got boiler-houses now, with built-in boilers; but as long as
Elizabeth's boss at New Moon we'll use this."

Emily was sure no built-in boiler could have the charm of the big
pot.  She helped Cousin Jimmy fill it full of potatoes, after she
came from school; then, when supper was over, Cousin Jimmy lighted
the fire under it and pottered about it all the evening.  Sometimes
he poked the fire--Emily loved that part of the performance--
sending glorious streams of rosy sparks upward into the darkness;
sometimes he stirred the potatoes with a long pole, looking, with
his queer, forked grey beard and belted "jumper," just like some
old gnome or troll of northland story mixing the contents of a
magical cauldron; and sometimes he sat beside Emily on the grey
granite boulder near the pot and recited his poetry for her.  Emily
liked this best of all, for Cousin Jimmy's poetry was surprisingly
good--at least in spots--and Cousin Jimmy had "fit audience though
few" in this slender little maiden with her pale eager face and
rapt eyes.

They were an odd couple and they were perfectly happy together.
Blair Water people thought Cousin Jimmy a failure and a mental
weakling.  But he dwelt in an ideal world of which none of them
knew anything.  He had recited his poems a hundred times thus, as
he boiled the pigs' potatoes; the ghosts of a score of autumns
haunted the clump of spruces for him.  He was an odd, ridiculous
figure enough, bent and wrinkled and unkempt, gesticulating
awkwardly as he recited.  But it was his hour; he was no longer
"simple Jimmy Murray" but a prince in his own realm.  For a little
while he was strong and young and splendid and beautiful,
accredited master of song to a listening, enraptured world.  None
of his prosperous, sensible Blair Water neighbours ever lived
through such an hour.  He would not have exchanged places with one
of them.  Emily, listening to him, felt vaguely that if it had not
been for that unlucky push into the New Moon well, this queer
little man beside her might have stood in the presence of kings.

But Elizabeth HAD pushed him into the New Moon well and as a
consequence he boiled pigs' potatoes and recited poetry to Emily--
Emily, who wrote poetry too, and loved these evenings so much that
she could not sleep after she went to bed until she had composed a
minute description of them.  The flash came almost every evening
over something or other.  The Wind Woman swooped or purred in the
tossing boughs above them--Emily had never been so near to seeing
her; the sharp air was full of the pleasant tang of the burning
spruce cones Cousin Jimmy shovelled under the pot; Emily's furry
kitten, Mike II, frisked and scampered about like a small, charming
demon of the night; the fire glowed with beautiful redness and
allure through the gloom; there were nice whispery sounds
everywhere; the "great big dark" lay spread around them full of
mysteries that daylight never revealed; and over all a purple sky
powdered with stars.

Ilse and Teddy came, too, on some evenings.  Emily always knew when
Teddy was coming, for when he reached the old orchard he whistled
his "call"--the one he used just for her--a funny, dear little
call, like three clear bird notes, the first just medium pitch, the
second higher, the third dropping away into lowness and sweetness
long-drawn out--like the echoes in the Bugle Song that went clearer
and further in their dying.  That call always had an odd effect on
Emily; it seemed to her that it fairly drew the heart out of her
body--and she HAD to follow it.  She thought Teddy could have
whistled her clear across the world with those three magic notes.
Whenever she heard it she ran quickly through the orchard and told
Teddy whether Cousin Jimmy wanted him or not, because it was only
on certain nights that Cousin Jimmy wanted anybody but her.  He
would never recite his poetry to Ilse or Teddy; but he told them
fairy stories, and tales about the old dead-and-gone Murrays in the
pond graveyard that were as queer, sometimes, as the fairy stories;
and Ilse would recite too, doing better there than she ever did
anywhere else; and sometimes Teddy lay sprawled out on the ground
beside the big pot and drew pictures by the light of the fire--
pictures of Cousin Jimmy stirring the potatoes--pictures of Ilse
and Emily dancing hand in hand around it like two small witches,
pictures of Mike's cunning, little, whiskered face peering around
the old boulder, pictures of weird, vague faces crowding in the
darkness outside their enchanted circle.  They had very wonderful
evenings there, those four children.

"Oh, don't you like the world at night, Ilse?" Emily once said
rapturously.

Ilse glanced happily around her--poor little neglected Ilse, who
found in Emily's companionship what she had hungered for all her
short life and who was, even now, being led by love into something
of her rightful heritage.

"Yes," she said.  "And I always believe there IS a God when I'm
here like this."

Then the potatoes were done--and Cousin Jimmy gave each of them one
before he mixed in the bran; they broke them in pieces on plates of
birch-bark, sprinkled them with salt which Emily had cached in a
small box under the roots of the biggest spruce, and ate them with
gusto.  No banquet of gods was ever as delicious as those potatoes.
Then finally came Aunt Laura's kind, silvery voice calling through
the frosty dark; Ilse and Teddy scampered homewards; and Emily
captured Mike II and shut him up safely for the night in the New
Moon dog-house which had held no dog for years, but was still
carefully preserved and whitewashed every spring.  Emily's heart
would have broken if anything had happened to Mike II.

"Old Kelly," the tin pedlar, had given him to her.  Old Kelly had
come round through Blair Water every fortnight from May to November
for thirty years, perched on the seat of a bright red pedlar's
waggon and behind a dusty, ambling, red pony of that peculiar gait
and appearance pertaining to the ponies of country pedlars--a
certain placid, unhasting leanness as of a nag that has encountered
troubles of his own and has lived them down by sheer patience and
staying power.  From the bright red waggon proceeded a certain
metallic rumbling and clinking as it bowled along, and two huge
nests of tin pans on its flat, rope-encircled roof, flashed back
the sunlight so dazzlingly that Old Kelly seemed the beaming sun of
a little planetary system all his own.  A new broom, sticking up
aggressively at each of the four corners gave the waggon a
resemblance to a triumphal chariot.  Emily hankered secretly for a
ride in Old Kelly's waggon.  She thought it must be very
delightful.

Old Kelly and she were great friends.  She liked his red, clean-
shaven face under his plug hat, his nice, twinkly, blue eyes, his
brush of upstanding, sandy hair, and his comical pursed-up mouth,
the shape of which was partly due to nature and partly to much
whistling.  He always had a little three-cornered paper bag of
"lemon drops" for her, or a candy stick of many colours, which he
smuggled into her pocket when Aunt Elizabeth wasn't looking.  And
he never forgot to tell her that he supposed she'd soon be thinking
of getting married--for Old Kelly thought that the surest way to
please a female creature of any age was to tease her about getting
married.

One day, instead of candy, he produced a plump grey kitten from the
back drawer of his waggon and told her it was for her.  Emily
received the gift rapturously, but after Old Kelly had rattled and
clattered away Aunt Elizabeth told her they did not want any more
cats at New Moon.

"Oh, please let me keep it, Aunt Elizabeth," Emily begged.  "It
won't be a bit of bother to you.  _I_ have had experience in
bringing up cats.  And I'm so lonesome for a kitten.  Saucy Sal is
getting so wild running with the barn cats that I can't 'sociate
with her like I used to do--and she never was nice to cuddle.
PLEASE, Aunt Elizabeth."

Aunt Elizabeth would not and did not please.  She was in a very bad
humour that day, anyhow--nobody knew just why.  In such a mood she
was entirely unreasonable.  She would not listen to anybody--Laura
and Cousin Jimmy had to hold their tongues, and Cousin Jimmy was
bidden to take the grey kitten down to the Blair Water and drown
it.  Emily burst into tears over this cruel command, and this
aggravated Aunt Elizabeth still further.  She was so cross that
Cousin Jimmy dared not smuggle the kitten up to the barn as he had
at first planned to do.

"Take that beast down to the pond and throw it in and come back and
tell me you've done it," said Elizabeth angrily.  "I mean to be
obeyed--New Moon is not going to be made a dumping-ground for Old
Jock Kelly's superfluous cats."

Cousin Jimmy did as he was told and Emily would not eat any dinner.
After dinner she stole mournfully away through the old orchard down
the pasture to the pond.  Just why she went she could not have
told, but she felt that go she must.  When she reached the bank of
the little creek where Lofty John's brook ran into Blair Water, she
heard piteous shrieks; and there, marooned on a tiny islet of sere
marsh grass in the creek, was an unhappy, little beast, its soaking
fur plastered against, its sides, shivering and trembling in the
wind of the sharp autumnal day.  The old oat-bag in which Cousin
Jimmy had imprisoned it was floating out into the pond.

Emily did not stop to think, or look for a board, or count the
consequences.  She plunged in the creek up to her knees, she waded
out to the clump of grass and caught the kitten up.  She was so hot
with indignation that she did not feel the cold of the water or the
chill of the wind as she ran back to New Moon.  A suffering or
tortured animal always filled her with such a surge of sympathy
that it lifted her clean out of herself.  She burst into the cook-
house where Aunt Elizabeth was frying doughnuts.

"Aunt Elizabeth," she cried, "the kitten wasn't drowned after all--
and I AM going to keep it."

"You're not," said Aunt Elizabeth.

Emily looked her aunt in the face.  Again she felt that odd
sensation that had come when Aunt Elizabeth brought the scissors to
cut her hair.

"Aunt Elizabeth, this poor little kitten is cold and starving, and
oh, so miserable.  It has been suffering for hours.  It shall NOT
be drowned again."

Archibald Murray's look was on her face and Archibald Murray's tone
was in her voice.  This happened only when the deeps of her being
were stirred by some peculiarly poignant emotion.  Just now she was
in an agony of pity and anger.

When Elizabeth Murray saw her father looking at her out of Emily's
little white face, she surrendered without a struggle, rage at
herself as she might afterwards for her weakness.  It was her one
vulnerable point.  The thing might not have been so uncanny if
Emily had resembled the Murrays.  But to see the Murray look
suddenly superimposed like a mask over alien features, was such a
shock to her nerves that she could not stand up against it.  A
ghost from the grave could not have cowed her more speedily.

She turned her back on Emily in silence but Emily knew that she had
won her second victory.  The grey kitten stayed at New Moon and
waxed fat and lovable, and Aunt Elizabeth never took the slightest
notice of its existence, save to sweep it out of the house when
Emily was not about.  But it was weeks before Emily was really
forgiven and she felt uncomfortable enough over it.  Aunt Elizabeth
could be a not ungenerous conqueror but she was very disagreeable
in defeat.  It was really just as well that Emily could not summon
the Murray look at will.



VARIOUS TRAGEDIES


Emily, obedient to Aunt Elizabeth's command, had eliminated the
word "bull" from her vocabulary.  But to ignore the existence of
bulls was not to do away with them--and specifically with Mr James
Lee's English bull, who inhabited the big windy pasture west of
Blair Water and who bore a dreadful reputation.  He was certainly
an awesome looking creature and Emily sometimes had fearful dreams
of being chased by him and being unable to move.  And one sharp
November day these dreams came true.

There was a certain well at the far end of the pasture concerning
which Emily felt a curiosity, because Cousin Jimmy had told her a
dreadful tale about it.  The well had been dug sixty years ago by
two brothers who lived in a little house which was built down near
the shore.  It was a very deep well, which was considered a curious
thing in that low-lying land near pond and sea; the brothers had
gone ninety feet before they found a spring.  Then the sides of the
well had been stoned up--but the work never went farther.  Thomas
and Silas Lee had quarrelled over some trivial difference of
opinion as to what kind of a hood should be put over it; and in the
heat of his anger Silas had struck Thomas on the head with his
hammer and killed him.

The well-house was never built.  Silas Lee was sent to prison for
manslaughter and died there.  The farm passed to another brother--
Mr James Lee's father--who moved the house to the other end of it
and planked the well over.  Cousin Jimmy added that Tom Lee's ghost
was supposed to haunt the scene of his tragic death but he couldn't
vouch for that, though he had written a poem on it.  A very eerie
poem it was, too, and made Emily's blood run cold with a fearful
joy when he recited it to her one misty night by the big potato
pot.  Ever since she had wanted to see the old well.

Her chance came one Saturday when she was prowling alone in the old
graveyard.  Beyond it lay the Lee pasture and there was apparently
not a sign of a bull in or about it.  Emily decided to pay a visit
to the old well and went skimming down the field against the sweep
of the north wind racing across the gulf.  The Wind Woman was a
giantess that day and a mighty swirl she was stirring up along the
shore; but as Emily drew near the big sand-dunes they made a little
harbour of calmness around the old well.

Emily coolly lifted up one of the planks, knelt on the others and
peered down.  Fortunately the planks were strong and comparatively
new--otherwise the small maiden of New Moon might have explored the
well more thoroughly than she desired to do.  As it was, she could
see little of it; huge ferns grew thickly out of the crevices among
the stones of its sides and reached across it, shutting out the
view of its gloomy depths.  Rather disappointed, Emily replaced the
plank and started homeward.  She had not gone ten steps before she
stopped.  Mr James Lee's bull was coming straight towards her and
was less than twenty yards away.

The shore fence was not far behind Emily, and she might possibly
have reached it in time had she run.  But she was incapable of
running; as she wrote that night in her letter to her father she
was "parralised" with terror and could no more move than she could
in her dreams of this very occurrence.  It is quite conceivable
that a dreadful thing might have happened then and there had not a
certain boy been sitting on the shore fence.  He had been sitting
there unnoticed all the time Emily had been peering into the well,
now he sprang down.

Emily saw, or sensed, a sturdy body dashing past her.  The owner
thereof ran to within ten feet of the bull, hurled a stone squarely
into the monster's hairy face, then sped off at right angles
towards the side fence.  The bull, thus insulted, turned with a
menacing rumble and lumbered off after this intruder.

"Run now!" screamed the boy over his shoulder to Emily.

Emily did not run.  Terrified as she was, there was something in
her that would not let her run until she saw whether her gallant
rescuer made good his escape.  He reached his fence in the nick of
time.  Then and not till then Emily ran too, and scrambled over the
shore fence just as the bull started back across the pasture,
evidently determined to catch somebody.  Trembling, she made her
way through the spiky grass of the sand-hills and met the boy at
the corner.  They stood and looked at each other for a moment.

The boy was a stranger to Emily.  He had a cheery, impudent, clean-
cut face, with keen, grey eyes and plenty of tawny curls.  He wore
as few clothes as decency permitted and had only the pretence of a
hat.  Emily liked him; there was nothing of Teddy's subtle charm in
him but he had a certain forceful attraction of his own and he had
just saved her from a terrible death.

"Thank you," said Emily shyly, looking up at him with great grey
eyes that looked blue under her long lashes.  It was a very
effective look which lost nothing of effectiveness from being
wholly unconscious.  Nobody had as yet told Emily how very winsome
that shy, sudden, up-glance of hers was.

"Isn't he a rip-snorter?" said the boy easily.  He thrust his hands
into his ragged pockets and stared at Emily so fixedly that she
dropped her eyes in confusion--thereby doing further damage with
those demure lids and silken fringes.

"He's dreadful," she said with a shudder.  "And I was so scared."

"Were you now?  And me thinking you were full of grit to be
standing there like that looking at him cool as a cucumber.  What's
it like to be afraid?"

"Weren't YOU ever afraid?" asked Emily.

"No--don't know what it's like," said the boy carelessly, and a bit
boastfully.  "What's your name?"

"Emily Byrd Starr."

"Live round here?"

"I live at New Moon."

"Where Simple Jimmy Murray lives?"

"He ISN'T simple," cried Emily indignantly.

"Oh, all right.  I don't know him.  But I'm going to.  I'm going to
hire with him for chore boy for the winter."

"I didn't know," said Emily, surprised.  "Are you really?"

"Yep.  I didn't know it myself till just this minute.  He was
asking Aunt Tom about me last week but I didn't mean to hire out
then.  Now I guess I will.  Want to know my name?"

"Of course."

"Perry Miller.  I live with my old beast of an Aunt Tom down at
Stovepipe Town.  Dad was a sea captain and I uster sail with him
when he was alive--sailed everywhere.  Go to school?"

"Yes."

"I don't--never did.  Aunt Tom lives so far away.  Anyhow, I didn't
think I'd like it.  Guess I'll go now, though."

"Can't you read?" asked Emily wonderingly.

"Yes--some--and figger.  Dad learned me some when he was alive.  I
hain't bothered with it since--I'd ruther be down round the
harbour.  Great fun there.  But if I make up my mind to go to
school I'll learn like thunder.  I s'pose you're awful clever."

"No--not very.  Father said I was a genius, but Aunt Elizabeth says
I'm just queer."

"What's a genius?"

"I'm not sure.  Sometimes it's a person who writes poetry.  _I_
write poetry."

Perry stared at her.

"Golly.  I'll write poetry too, then."

"I don't believe YOU could write poetry," said Emily--a little
disdainfully, it must be admitted.  "Teddy can't--and he's VERY
clever."

"Who's Teddy?"

"A friend of mine."  There was just a trace of stiffness in Emily's
voice.

"Then," said Perry, folding his arms across his breast and
scowling, "I'm going to punch this friend of yours' head for him."

"You're not," cried Emily.  She was very indignant and quite forgot
for the moment that Perry had rescued her from the bull.  She
tossed her own head and started homeward.  Perry turned too.

"May as well go up and see Jimmy Murray about hiring 'fore I go
home," he said.  "Don't be mad, now.  If you don't want anybody's
head punched I won't punch it.  Only you've gotter like me, too."

"Why, of course I'll like you," said Emily, as if there could be no
question about it.  She smiled her slow, blossoming smile at Perry
and thereby reduced him to hopeless bondage.

Two days later Perry Miller was installed as chore boy at New Moon
and in a fortnight's time Emily felt as if he must have been there
always.

"Aunt Elizabeth didn't want Cousin Jimmy to hire him," she wrote to
her father, "because he was one of the boys who did a dreadful
thing one night last fall.  They changed all the horses that were
tied to the fence one Sunday night when preaching was going on and
when folks came out the confushun was awful.  Aunt Elizabeth said
it wouldn't be safe to have him round the place.  But Cousin Jimmy
said it was awful hard to get a chore boy and that we ode Perry
something for saving my life from the bull.  So Aunt Elizabeth gave
in and lets him sit at the table with us but he has to stay in the
kitchen in the evenings.  The rest of us are in the sitting-room,
but I am allowed to go out and help Perry with his lessons.  He can
only have one candle and the light is very dim.  It keeps us
snuffing it all the time.  It is great fun to snuff candles.  Perry
is head of his class in school already.  He is only in the third
book allthough he is nearly twelve.  Miss Brownell said something
sarkastik to him the first day in school and he just threw back his
head and laughed loud and long.  Miss Brownell gave him a whipping
for it but she has never been sarkastik to him again.  She does not
like to be laughed at I can see.  Perry isn't afraid of anything.
I thought he might not go to school any more when she whipped him
but he says a little thing like that isn't going to keep him from
getting an educashun since he has made up his mind to it.  He is
very determined.

"Aunt Elizabeth is determined too.  But she says Perry is stubborn.
I am teaching Perry grammar.  He says he wants to learn to speak
properly.  I told him he should not call his Aunt Tom an old beast
but he said he had to because she wasn't a young beast.  He says
the place he lives in is called Stovepipe Town because the houses
have no chimneys, only pipes sticking out of the roof, but he would
live in a manshun some day.  Aunt Elizabeth says I ought not to be
so friendly with a hired boy.  But he is a nice boy though his
manners are crood.  Aunt Laura says they are crood.  I don't know
what it means but I guess it means he always says what he thinks
right out and eats beans with his knife.  I like Perry but in a
different way from Teddy.  Isn't it funny, dear Father, how many
kinds of ways of liking there are?  I don't think Ilse likes him.
She makes fun of his ignerance and turns up her nose at him because
his close are patched though her own close are queer enough.  Teddy
doesn't like him much and he drew such a funny picture of Perry
hanging by his heels from a gallos.  The face looked like Perrys
and still it didn't.  Cousin Jimmy said it was a carrycachure and
laughed at it but I dared not show it to Perry for fear he would
punch Teddys head.  I showed it to Ilse and she got mad and tore it
in two.  I cant imagine why.

"Perry says he can recite as well as Ilse and could draw pictures
too if he put his mind to it.  I can see he doesnt like to think
anybody can do anything he cant.  But he cant see the wallpaper in
the air like I can though he tries until I fear he will strane his
eyes.  He can make better speeches than any of us.  He says he used
to mean to be a sailer like his father but now he thinks he will be
a lawyer when he grows up and go to parlament.  Teddy is going to
be an artist if his mother will let him, and Ilse is going to be a
concert reciter--there is another name but I don't know how it is
spelled--and I am going to be a poetess.  I think we are a
tallented crowd.  Perhaps that is a vane thing to say, dear Father.

"A very terrible thing happened the day before yesterday.  On
Saturday morning we were at family prayers, all kneeling quite
solemn around the kitchen.  I just looked at Perry once and he made
such a funny face at me that I laughed right out loud before I
could help it.  (THAT was not the terrible thing.)  Aunt Elizabeth
was VERY angry.  I would not tell that it was Perry made me laugh
because I was afraid he might be sent away if I did.  So Aunt
Elizabeth said I was to be punished and I was not let go to Jennie
Strangs party in the afternoon.  (It was a dreadful disappointment
but IT was not the terrible thing either.)  Perry was away with
Cousin Jimmy all day and when he came home at night he said to me,
very feerce, Who has been making you cry.  I said I had been
crying--a little but not much--because I was not let go to the
party because I had laughed at prayers.  And Perry marched right up
to Aunt Elizabeth and told her it was all his fault that I laughed.
Aunt Elizabeth said I should not have laughed anyhow, but Aunt
Laura was GREEVOUSLY upset and said my punishment had been far too
severe; and she said that she would let me ware her pearl ring to
school Monday to make up for it.  I was enraptured for it is a
lovely ring and no other girl has one.  As soon as roll call was
over Monday morning I put up my hand to ask Miss Brownell a
question but really to show off my ring.  That was wikked pride and
I was punished.  At recess Cora Lee, one of the big girls in the
sixth class came and asked me to let her ware the ring for a while.
I didnt want to but she said if I didnt she would get all the girls
in my class to send me to Coventry (which is a dreadful thing, dear
Father, and makes you feel like an outcast).  So I let her and she
kept it on till the afternoon recess and then she came and told me
she had lost it in the brook.  (This was the terrible thing.)  Oh,
Father dear, I was nearly wild.  I dared not go home and face Aunt
Laura.  I had promised her I would be so careful with the ring.  I
thought I might earn money to get her another ring but when I
figgered it out on my slate I knew I would have to wash dishes for
twenty years to do it.  I wepped in my despare.  Perry saw me and
after school he marched up to Cora Lee and said You fork over that
ring or I'll tell Miss Brownell about it.  And Cora Lee forked it
over, very meek and said I was going to give it to her anyhow.  I
was just playing a joke and Perry said, Dont you play any more
jokes on Emily or I'll joke you.  It is very comforting to have
such a champeen!  I tremble to think what it would have been like
if I had had to go home and tell Aunt Laura I had lost her ring.
But it was crewel of Cora Lee to tell me she had lost it when she
had not and harrow up my mind so.  I could not be so crewel to an
orfan girl.

"When I got home I looked in the glass to see if my hair had turned
white.  I am told that sometimes happens.  But it hadnt.

"Perry knows more geograffy than any of us because he has been
nearly everywhere in the world with his father.  He tells me such
fassinating stories after his lessons are done.  He talks till the
candle is burned to the last inch and then he uses that to go to
bed with up the black hole into the kitchen loft because Aunt
Elizabeth will not let him have more than one candle a night.

"Ilse and I had a fight yesterday about which we'd rather be Joan
of Arc or Frances Willard.  We didn't begin it as a fight but just
as an argewment but it ended that way.  _I_ would rather be Frances
Willard because she is alive.

"We had the first snow yesterday.  I made a poem on it.  This is
it.


     Along the snow the sunbeams glide,
     Earth is a peerless, gleaming bride,
     Dripping with diamonds, clad in traling white,
     No bride was ever half so fair and bright.


"I read it to Perry and he said he could make poetry just as good
and he said right off,


     Mike has made a long row
     of tracks across the snow.


Now isnt that as good as yours.  I didnt think it was because you
could say it just as well in prose.  But when you talk of peerless
gleaming brides in prose it sounds funny.  Mike DID make a row of
little tracks right across the barn field and they looked so
pretty, but not so pretty as the mice tracks in some flour Cousin
Jimmy spilled on the granary floor.  They are the dearest little
things.  They LOOK like poetry.

"I am sorry winter has come because Ilse and I cant play in our
house in Lofty Johns bush any more till spring or outside at the
Tansy Patch.  Sometimes we play indoors at the Tansy Patch but Mrs
Kent makes us feel queer.  She sits and watches us all the time.
So we dont go only when Teddy coaxes very hard.  And the pigs have
been killed, poor things, so Cousin Jimmy doesnt boil for them any
more.  But there is one consolashun I do not have to ware a
sunbonnet to school now.  Aunt Laura made me such a pretty red hood
with ribbons on it at which Aunt Elizabeth looked skornfully saying
it was extravagant.  I like school here better every day but I cant
like Miss Brownell.  She isnt fair.  She told us she would give the
one who wrote the best conposishun a pink ribbon to wear from
Friday night to Monday.  I wrote The Brooks Story about the brook
in Lofty John's bush--all its advenshures and thoughts--and Miss
Brownell said I must have copyed it and Rhoda Stuart got the
ribbon.  Aunt Elizabeth said You waste enough time writing trash I
think you might have won that ribbon.  She was mortifyed (I think)
because I had disgraced New Moon by not getting it but I did not
tell her what had happened.  Teddy says a GOOD SPORT never whines
over losing.  I want to be a good sport.  Rhoda is so hateful to me
now.  She says she is surprised that a New Moon girl should have a
hired boy for a bow.  That is very silly because Perry is not my
bow.  Perry told her she had more gab than sense.  That was not
polite but it is true.  One day in class Rhoda said the moon was
situated east of Canada.  Perry laughed right out and Miss Brownell
made him stay in at recess but she never said anything to Rhoda for
saying such a ridiklus thing.  But the meanest thing Rhoda said was
that she had forgiven me for the way I had used her.  That made my
blood boil when I hadnt done anything to be forgiven for.  The
idea.

"We have begun to eat the big beef ham that hung in the south-west
corner of the kitchen.

"The other Wednesday night Perry and I helped Cousin Jimmy pick a
road through the turnips in the first cellar.  We have to go
through it to the second cellar because the outside hatch is banked
up now.  It was great fun.  We had a candle stuck up in a hole in
the wall and it made such lovely shadows and we coud eat all the
apples we wanted from the big barrel in the corner and the spirit
moved Cousin Jimmy to recite some of his poetry as he threw the
turnips.

"I am reading The Alhambra.  It belongs to our book case.  Aunt
Elizabeth does not like to say it isnt fit for me to read because
it was one of her fathers books, but I dont believe she aproves
because she knits very furiously and looks black at me over her
glasses.  Teddy lent me Hans Andersons stories.  I love them--only
I always think of a different end for the Ice Maiden and save Rudy.

"They say Mrs John Killegrew has swallowed her wedding-ring.  I
wonder what she did that for.

"Cousin Jimmy says there is to be an eklips of the sun in December.
I hope it wont interfear with Chrismas.

"My hands are chapped.  Aunt Laura rubs mutton tallow on them every
night when I go to bed.  It is hard to write poetry with chapped
hands.  I wonder if Mrs Hemans ever had chapped hands.  It does not
mention anything like that in her biograffy.

"Jimmy Ball has to be a minister when he grows up.  His mother told
Aunt Laura that she consekrated him to it in his cradle.  I wonder
how she did it.

"We have brekfast by candlelight now and I like it.

"Ilse was up here Sunday afternoon and we went up in the garret and
talked about God, because that is propper on Sundays.  We have to
be very careful what we do on Sundays.  It is a traddishun of New
Moon to keep Sundays very holy.  Grandfather Murray was very
strikt.  Cousin Jimmy told me a story about him.  They always cut
the wood for Sunday on Saturday night, but one time they forgot and
there was no wood on Sunday to cook the dinner, so Grandfather
Murray said you must not cut wood on Sundays, boys, but just break
a little with the back of the axe.  Ilse is very curious about God
although she doesnt believe in Him most of the time and doesnt like
to talk about Him but still wants to find out about Him.  She says
she thinks she might like Him if she knew Him.  She spells his name
with a Capital G now because it is best to be on the safe side.
_I_ think God is just like my flash, only IT lasts only a second
and He lasts always.  We talked so long we got hungry and I went
down to the sitting-room cubbord and got two donuts.  I forgot Aunt
Elizabeth had told me I could not have donuts between meals.  It
was not stealing it was just forgetting.  But Ilse got mad at the
last and said I was a she jakobite (whatever that is) and a thief
and that no Christian would steal donuts from her poor old aunt.
So I went and confessed to Aunt Elizabeth and she said I was not to
have a donut at supper.  It was hard to see the others eating them.
I thought Perry et his very quick but after supper he bekoned me
out doors and gave me half his donut which he had kept for me.  He
had rapped it in his hangkerchief which was not very clean but I et
it because I did not want to hurt his feelings.

"Aunt Laura says Ilse has a nice smile.  I wonder if I have a nice
smile.  I looked at the glass in Ilse's room and smiled but it did
not seem to me very nice.

"Now the nights have got cold Aunt Elizabeth always puts a gin jar
full of hot water in the bed.  I like to put my toes against it.
That is all we use the gin jar for nowadays.  But Grandfather
Murray used to keep real gin in it.

"Now that the snow has come Cousin Jimmy cant work in his garden
any more and he is very lonesome.  I think the garden is just as
pretty in winter as in summer.  There are such pretty dimples and
baby hills where the snow has covered up the flower beds.  And in
the evenings it is all pink and rosy at sunset and by moonlight it
is like dreamland.  I like to look out of the sitting-room window
at it and watch the rabbits candles floting in the air above it and
wonder what all the little roots and seeds are thinking of down
under the snow.  And it gives me a lovely creepy feeling to look at
it through the red glass in the front door.

"There is a beautiful fringe of isikles along the cook-house roof.
But there will be much more beautiful things in heaven.  I was
reading about Anzonetta to-day and it made me feel relijus.  Good
night, my dearest of fathers.

"Emily.

"P. S.  That doesnt mean that I have any other Father.  It is just
a way of saying VERY VERY dear.

"E. B. S."



CHECK FOR MISS BROWNELL


Emily and Ilse were sitting out on the side bench of Blair Water
school writing poetry on their slates--at least, Emily was writing
poetry and Ilse was reading it as she wrote and occasionally
suggesting a rhyme when Emily was momentarily stuck for one.  It
may as well be admitted here and now that they had no business
whatever to be doing this.  They should have been "doing sums," as
Miss Brownell supposed they were.  But Emily never did sums when
she took it into her black head to write poetry, and Ilse hated
arithmetic on general principles.  Miss Brownell was hearing the
geography class at the other side of the room, the pleasant
sunshine was showering in over them through the big window, and
everything seemed propitious for a flight with the muses.  Emily
began to write a poem about the view from the school window.

It was quite a long time since she had been allowed to sit out on
the side bench.  This was a boon reserved for those pupils who had
found favour in Miss Brownell's cold eyes--and Emily had never been
one of those.  But this afternoon Ilse had asked for both herself
and Emily, and Miss Brownell had let both go, not being able to
think of any valid reason for permitting Ilse and refusing Emily--
as she would have liked to do, for she had one of those petty
natures which never forget or forgive any offence.  Emily, on her
first day of school, had, so Miss Brownell believed, been guilty of
impertinence and defiance--and successful defiance at that.  This
rankled in Miss Brownell's mind still and Emily felt its venom in a
score of subtle ways.  She never received any commendation--she was
a target for Miss Brownell's sarcasm continually--and the small
favours that other girls received never came her way.  So this
opportunity to sit on the side bench was a pleasing novelty.

There were points about sitting on the side bench.  You could see
all over the school without turning your head--and Miss Brownell
could not sneak up behind you and look over your shoulder to see
what you were up to; but in Emily's eyes the finest thing about it
was that you could look right down into the "school bush," and
watch the old spruces where the Wind Woman played, the long, grey-
green trails of moss hanging from the branches, like banners of
Elfland, the little red squirrels running along the fence, and the
wonderful white aisles of snow where splashes of sunlight fell like
pools of golden wine; and there was one little opening in the trees
through which you could see right over the Blair Water valley to
the sand-hills and the gulf beyond.  To-day the sand-hills were
softly rounded and gleaming white under the snow, but beyond them
the gulf was darkly, deeply blue with dazzling white masses of ice
like baby icebergs, floating about in it.  Just to look at it
thrilled Emily with a delight that was unutterable but which she
yet must try to utter.  She began her poem.  Fractions were utterly
forgotten--what had numerators and denominators to do with those
curving bosoms of white snow--that heavenly blue--those crossed
dark fir tips against the pearly skies--those ethereal woodland
aisles of pearl and gold?  Emily was lost to her world--so lost
that she did not know the geography class had scattered to their
respective seats and that Miss Brownell, catching sight of Emily's
entranced gaze sky-wards as she searched for a rhyme, was stepping
softly towards her.  Ilse was drawing a picture on her slate and
did not see her or she would have warned Emily.  The latter
suddenly felt her slate drawn out of her hand and heard Miss
Brownell saying:

"I suppose you have finished those sums, Emily?"

Emily had not finished even one sum--she had only covered her slate
with verses--verses that Miss Brownell must not see--MUST NOT see!
Emily sprang to her feet and clutched wildly after her slate.  But
Miss Brownell, with a smile of malicious enjoyment on her thin
lips, held it beyond her reach.

"What is this?  It does not look--exactly--like fractions.  'Lines
on the View--v-e-w--from the Window of Blair Water School.'
Really, children, we seem to have a budding poet among us."

The words were harmless enough, but--oh, the hateful sneer that ran
through the tone--the contempt, the mockery that was in it!  It
seared Emily's soul like a whip-lash.  Nothing was more terrible to
her than the thought of having her beloved "poems" read by stranger
eyes--cold, unsympathetic, derisive, stranger eyes.

"Please--please, Miss Brownell," she stammered miserably, "don't
read it--I'll rub it off--I'll do my sums right away.  Only please
don't read it.  It--it isn't anything."

Miss Brownell laughed cruelly.

"You are too modest, Emily.  It is a whole slateful of--POETRY--
think of that, children--POETRY.  We have a pupil in this school
who can write--POETRY.  And she does not want us to read this--
POETRY.  I am afraid Emily is selfish.  I am sure we should all
enjoy this--POETRY."

Emily cringed every time Miss Brownell said "POETRY" with that
jeering emphasis and that hateful pause before it.  Many of the
children giggled, partly because they enjoyed seeing a "Murray of
New Moon" grilled, partly because they realized that Miss Brownell
expected them to giggle.  Rhoda Stuart giggled louder than any one
else; but Jennie Strang, who had tormented Emily on her first day
at school, refused to giggle and scowled blackly at Miss Brownell
instead.

Miss Brownell held up the slate and read Emily's poem aloud, in a
sing-song nasal voice, with absurd intonations and gestures that
made it seem a very ridiculous thing.  The lines Emily had thought
the finest seemed the most ridiculous.  The other pupils laughed
more than ever and Emily felt that the bitterness of the moment
could never go out of her heart.  The little fancies that had been
so beautiful when they came to her as she wrote were shattered and
bruised now, like torn and mangled butterflies--"vistas in some
fairy dream," chanted Miss Brownell, shutting her eyes and wagging
her head from side to side.  The giggles became shouts of laughter.

"Oh," thought Emily, clenching her hands, "I wish--I wish the bears
that ate the naughty children in the Bible would come and eat YOU."

There were no nice, retributive bears in the school bush, however,
and Miss Brownell read the whole "poem" through.  She was enjoying
herself hugely.  To ridicule a pupil always gave her pleasure and
when that pupil was Emily of New Moon, in whose heart and soul she
had always sensed something fundamentally different from her own,
the pleasure was exquisite.

When she reached the end she handed the slate back to the crimson-
cheeked Emily.

"Take your--POETRY, Emily," she said.

Emily snatched the slate.  No slate "rag" was handy but Emily gave
the palm of her hand a fierce lick and one side of the slate was
wiped off.  Another lick--and the rest of the poem went.  It had
been disgraced--degraded--it must be blotted out of existence.  To
the end of her life Emily never forgot the pain and humiliation of
that experience.

Miss Brownell laughed again.

"What a pity to obliterate such--POETRY, Emily," she said.
"Suppose you do those sums now.  They are not--POETRY, but I am in
this school to teach arithmetic and I am not here to teach the art
of writing--POETRY.  Go to your own seat.  Yes, Rhoda?"

For Rhoda Stuart was holding up her hand and snapping her fingers.

"Please, Miss Brownell," she said, with distinct triumph in her
tones, "Emily Starr has a whole bunch of poetry in her desk.  She
was reading it to Ilse Burnley this morning while you thought they
were learning history."

Perry Miller turned around and a delightful missile, compounded of
chewed paper and known as a "spit pill," flew across the room and
struck Rhoda squarely in the face.  But Miss Brownell was already
at Emily's desk, having reached it one jump before Emily herself.

"Don't touch them--you have no RIGHT!" gasped Emily frantically.

But Miss Brownell had the "bunch of poetry" in her hands.  She
turned and walked up to the platform.  Emily followed.  Those poems
were very dear to her.  She had composed them during the various
stormy recesses when it had been impossible to play out of doors
and written them down on disreputable scraps of paper borrowed from
her mates.  She had meant to take them home that very evening and
copy them on letter-bills.  And now this horrible woman was going
to read them to the whole jeering, giggling school.

But Miss Brownell realized that the time was too short for that.
She had to content herself with reading over the titles, with some
appropriate comments.

Meanwhile Perry Miller was relieving his feelings by bombarding
Rhoda Stuart with spit pills, so craftily timed that Rhoda had no
idea from what quarter of the room they were coming and so could
not "tell" on any one.  They greatly interfered with her enjoyment
of Emily's scrape, however.  As for Teddy Kent, who did not wage
war with spit pills but preferred subtler methods of revenge, he
was busy drawing something on a sheet of paper.  Rhoda found the
sheet on her desk the next morning; on it was depicted a small,
scrawny monkey, hanging by its tail from a branch; and the face of
the monkey was as the face of Rhoda Stuart.  Whereat Rhoda Stuart
waxed wrath, but for the sake of her own vanity tore the sketch to
tatters and kept silence regarding it.  She did not know that Teddy
had made a similar sketch, with Miss Brownell figuring as a
vampirish-looking bat, and thrust it into Emily's hand as they left
school.

"'The Lost Dimond--a Romantic Tale,'" read Miss Brownell.  "'Lines
on a Birch Tree'--looks to me more like lines on a very dirty piece
of paper, Emily--'Lines Written on a Sundial in our Garden'--ditto--
'Lines to my Favourite Cat"--another romantic TAIL, I presume--
'Ode to Ilse'--'Thy neck is of a wondrous pearly sheen'--hardly
that, I should say.  Ilse's neck is very sunburned--'A Deskripshun
of Our Parlour,' 'The Violets Spell'--I hope the violet SPELLS
better than you do, Emily--'The Disappointed House'--


     "Lilies lifted up white cups
      For the bees to DR--R--I--I--NK."


"I didn't write it that way!" cried tortured Emily.

"'Lines to a Piece of Brokade in Aunt Laura's Burow Drawer,'
'Farewell on Leaving Home,' 'Lines to a Spruce Tree'--'It keeps off
heat and sun and glare, Tis a goodly tree I ween'--are you quite
sure that you know what 'ween' means, Emily?--'Poem on Mr Tom
Bennet's Field'--'Poem on the Vew from Aunt Elizabeth's Window'--
you are strong on 'v-e-w-s,' Emily--'Epitaff on a Drowned Kitten,'
'Meditashuns at the tomb of my great great grandmother'--poor lady--
'To my Northern Birds'--'Lines composed on the bank of Blair Water
gazing at the stars'--h'm--h'm--


     "Crusted with uncounted gems,
      Those stars so distant, cold and true,


Don't try to pass those lines off as your own, Emily.  You couldn't
have written them."

"I did--I did!"  Emily was white with sense of outrage.  "And I've
written lots far better."

Miss Brownell suddenly crumpled the ragged little papers up in her
hand.

"We have wasted enough time over this trash," she said.  "Go to
your seat, Emily."

She moved towards the stove.  For a moment Emily did not realize
her purpose.  Then, as Miss Brownell opened the stove door, Emily
understood and bounded forward.  She caught at the papers and tore
them from Miss Brownell's hand before the latter could tighten her
grasp.

"You SHALL NOT burn them--you shall not have them," gasped Emily.
She crammed the poems into the pocket of her "baby apron" and faced
Miss Brownell in a kind of calm rage.  The Murray look was on her
face--and although Miss Brownell was not so violently affected by
it as Aunt Elizabeth had been, it nevertheless gave her an
unpleasant sensation, as of having roused forces with which she
dared not tamper further.  This tormented child looked quite
capable of flying at her, tooth and claw.

"Give me those papers, Emily,"--but she said it rather uncertainly.

"I will not," said Emily stormily.  "They are mine.  You have no
right to them.  I wrote them at recesses--I didn't break any rules.
You"--Emily looked defiantly into Miss Brownell's cold eyes--"You
are an unjust, tyrannical PERSON."

Miss Brownell turned to her desk.

"I am coming up to New Moon to-night to tell your Aunt Elizabeth of
this," she said.

Emily was at first too much excited over saving her precious poetry
to pay much heed to this threat.  But as her excitement ebbed cold
dread flowed in.  She knew she had an unpleasant time ahead of her.
But at all events they should not get her poems--not one of them,
no matter what they did to HER.  As soon as she got home from
school she flew to the garret and secreted them on the shelf of the
old sofa.

She wanted terribly to cry but she would not.  Miss Brownell was
coming and Miss Brownell should NOT see her with red eyes.  But her
heart burned within her.  Some sacred temple of her being had been
desecrated and shamed.  And more was yet to come, she felt
wretchedly sure.  Aunt Elizabeth was certain to side with Miss
Brownell.  Emily shrank from the impending ordeal with all the
dread of a sensitive, fine strung nature facing humiliation.  She
would not have been afraid of justice; but she knew at the bar of
Aunt Elizabeth and Miss Brownell she would not have justice.

"And I can't write Father about it," she thought, her little breast
heaving.  The shame of it all was too deep and intimate to be
written out, and so she could find no relief for her pain.

They did not have supper at New Moon in winter time until Cousin
Jimmy had finished his chores and was ready to stay in for the
night.  So Emily was left undisturbed in the garret.

From the dormer-window she looked down on a dreamland scene that
would ordinarily have delighted her.  There was a red sunset behind
the white, distant hills, shining through the dark trees like a
great fire; there was a delicate blue tracery of bare branch
shadows all over the crusted garden; there was a pale, ethereal
alpen-glow all over the south-eastern sky; and presently there was
a little, lovely new moon in the silvery arch over Lofty John's
bush.  But Emily found no pleasure in any of them.

Presently she saw Miss Brownell coming up the lane, under the white
arms of the birches, with her mannish stride.

"If my father was alive," said Emily, looking down at her, "you
would go away from this place with a flea in your ear."

The minutes passed, each seeming very long to Emily.  At last Aunt
Laura came up.

"Your Aunt Elizabeth wants you to come down to the kitchen, Emily."

Aunt Laura's voice was kind and sad.  Emily fought down a sob.  She
hated to have Aunt Laura think she had been naughty, but she could
not trust herself to explain.  Aunt Laura would sympathize and
sympathy would break her down.  She went silently down the two long
flights of stairs before Aunt Laura and out to the kitchen.

The supper-table was set and the candles were lighted.  The big
black-raftered kitchen looked spookish and weird, as it always did
by candlelight.  Aunt Elizabeth sat rigidly by the table and her
face was very hard.  Miss Brownell sat in the rocking-chair, her
pale eyes glittering with triumphant malice.  There seemed
something baleful and poisonous in her very glance.  Also her nose
was very red--which did not add to her charm.

Cousin Jimmy, in his grey jumper, was perched on the edge of the
wood-box, whistling at the ceiling, and looking more gnome-like
than ever.  Perry was nowhere to be seen.  Emily was sorry for
this.  The presence of Perry, who was on her side, would have been
a great moral support.

"I am sorry to say, Emily, that I have been hearing some very bad
things about your behaviour in school to-day," said Aunt Elizabeth.

"No, I don't think you are sorry," said Emily, gravely.

Now that the crisis had come she found herself able to confront it
coolly--nay, more, to take a curious interest in it under all her
secret fear and shame, as if some part of her had detached itself
from the rest and was interestedly absorbing impressions and
analysing motives and describing settings.  She felt that when she
wrote about this scene later on she must not forget to describe the
odd shadows the candle under Aunt Elizabeth's nose cast upward on
her face, producing a rather skeletonic effect.  As for Miss
Brownell, could SHE ever have been a baby--a dimpled, fat, laughing
baby?  The thing was unbelievable.

"Don't speak impertinently to ME," said Aunt Elizabeth.

"You see," said Miss Brownell, significantly.

"I don't mean to be impertinent, but you are NOT sorry," persisted
Emily.  "You are angry because you think I have disgraced New Moon,
but you are a little glad that you have got someone to agree with
you that I'm bad."

"What a GRATEFUL child," said Miss Brownell--flashing her eyes up
at the ceiling--where they encountered a surprising sight.  Perry
Miller's head--and no more of him--was stuck down out of the "black
hole" and on Perry Miller's upside-down face was a most
disrespectful and impish grimace.  Face and head disappeared in a
flash, leaving Miss Brownell staring foolishly at the ceiling.

"You have been behaving disgracefully in school," said Aunt
Elizabeth, who had not seen this by-play.  "I am ashamed of you."

"It was not as bad as that, Aunt Elizabeth," said Emily steadily.
"You see it was this way--"

"I don't want to hear anything more about it," said Aunt Elizabeth.

"But you must," cried Emily.  "It isn't fair to listen only to HER
side.  I was a little bad--but not so bad as she says--"

"Not another word!  I have heard the whole story," said Aunt
Elizabeth grimly.

"You heard a pack of lies," said Perry, suddenly sticking his head
down through the black hole again.

Everybody jumped--even Aunt Elizabeth, who at once became angrier
than ever because she HAD jumped.

"Perry Miller, come down out of that loft instantly!" she
commanded.

"Can't," said Perry laconically.

"At once, I say!"

"Can't," repeated Perry, winking audaciously at Miss Brownell.

"Perry Miller, come down!  I WILL be obeyed.  I am mistress here
YET."

"Oh, all right," said Perry cheerfully.  "If I must."

He swung himself down until his toes touched the ladder.  Aunt
Laura gave a little shriek.  Everybody also seemed to be stricken
dumb.

"I've just got my wet duds off," Perry was saying cheerfully,
waving his legs about to get a foothold on the ladder while he hung
to the sides of the black hole with his elbows.  "Fell into the
brook when I was watering the cows.  Was going to put on dry ones--
but just as you say--"

"Jimmy," implored poor Elizabeth Murray, surrendering at
discretion.  SHE could not cope with the situation.

"Perry, get back into that loft and get your clothes on this
minute!" ordered Cousin Jimmy.

The bare legs shot up and disappeared.  There was a chuckle as
mirthful and malicious as an owl's beyond the black hole.  Aunt
Elizabeth gave a convulsive gasp of relief and turned to Emily.
She was determined to regain ascendancy and Emily must be
thoroughly humbled.

"Emily, kneel down here before Miss Brownell and ask her pardon for
your conduct to-day," she said.

Into Emily's pale cheek came a scarlet protest.  She could not do
this--she would ask pardon of Miss Brownell but not on her knees.
To kneel to this cruel woman who had hurt her so--she could not--
would not do it.  Her whole nature rose up in protest against such
a humiliation.

"Kneel down," repeated Aunt Elizabeth.

Miss Brownell looked pleased and expectant.  It would be very
satisfying to see this child who had defied her kneeling before her
as a penitent.  Never again, Miss Brownell felt, would Emily be
able to look levelly at her with those dauntless eyes that bespoke
a soul untamable and free, no matter what punishment might be
inflicted upon body or mind.  The memory of this moment would
always be with Emily--she could never forget that she had knelt in
abasement.  Emily felt this as clearly as Miss Brownell did and
remained stubbornly on her feet.

"Aunt Elizabeth, PLEASE let me tell my side of the story," she
pleaded.

"I have heard all I wish to hear of the matter.  You will do as I
say, Emily, or you will be outcast in this house until you do.  No
one will talk to you--play with you--eat with you--have anything to
do with you until you have obeyed me."

Emily shuddered.  THAT was a punishment she could not face.  To be
cut off from her world--she knew it would bring her to terms before
long.  She might as well yield at once--but, ah, the bitterness,
the shame of it!

"A human being should not kneel to any one but God," said Cousin
Jimmy, unexpectedly, still staring at the ceiling.

A sudden strange change came over Elizabeth Murray's proud, angry
face.  She stood very still, looking at Cousin Jimmy--stood so long
that Miss Brownell made a motion of petulant impatience.

"Emily," said Aunt Elizabeth in a different tone.  "I was wrong--I
shall not ask you to kneel.  But you must apologize to your
teacher--and I shall punish you later on."

Emily put her hands behind her and looked straight into Miss
Brownell's eyes again.

"I am sorry for anything I did to-day that was wrong," she said,
"and I ask your pardon for it."

Miss Brownell got on her feet.  She felt herself cheated of a
legitimate triumph.  Whatever Emily's punishment would be she would
not have the satisfaction of seeing it.  She could have shaken
"Simple Jimmy Murray" with a right good will.  But it would hardly
do to show all she felt.  Elizabeth Murray was not a trustee but
she was the heaviest ratepayer in New Moon and had great influence
with the School Board.

"I shall excuse your conduct if you behave yourself in future,
Emily," she said coldly.  "_I_ feel that I have only done my duty
in putting the matter before your Aunt.  No, thank you, Miss
Murray, I cannot stay to supper--I want to get home before it is
too dark."

"God speed all travellers," said Perry cheerfully, climbing down
his ladder--this time with his clothes on.

Aunt Elizabeth ignored him--she was not going to have a scene with
a hired boy before Miss Brownell.  The latter switched herself out
and Aunt Elizabeth looked at Emily.

"You will eat your supper alone to-night, Emily, in the pantry--you
will have bread and milk only.  And you will not speak one word to
any one until to-morrow morning."

"But you won't forbid me to think?" said Emily anxiously.

Aunt Elizabeth made no reply but sat haughtily down at the supper-
table.  Emily went into the pantry and ate her bread and milk, with
the odour of delicious sausages the others were eating for savour.
Emily liked sausages, and New Moon sausages were the last word in
sausages.  Elizabeth Burnley had brought the recipe out from the
Old Country and its secret was carefully guarded.  And Emily was
hungry.  But she had escaped the unbearable, and things might be
worse.  It suddenly occurred to her that she would write an epic
poem in imitation of The Lay of the Last Minstrel.  Cousin Jimmy
had read The Lay to her last Saturday.  She would begin the first
canto right off.  When Laura Murray came into the pantry, Emily,
her bread and milk only half eaten, was leaning her elbows on the
dresser, gazing into space, with faintly moving lips and the light
that never was on land or sea in her young eyes.  Even the aroma of
sausages was forgotten--was she not drinking from a fount of
Castaly?

"Emily," said Aunt Laura, shutting the door, and looking very
lovingly upon Emily out of her kind blue eyes, "you can talk to ME
all you want to.  I don't like Miss Brownell and I don't think you
were altogether in the wrong--although of course you shouldn't be
writing poetry when you have sums to do.  And there are some ginger
cookies in that box."

"I don't want to talk to any one, dear Aunt Laura--I'm too happy,"
said Emily dreamily.  "I'm composing an epic--it is to be called
The White Lady, and I've got twenty lines of it made already--and
two of them are thrilling.  The heroine wants to go into a convent
and her father warns her that if she does she will never be able to


     Come back to the life you gave
     With all its pleasures to the grave.


Oh, Aunt Laura, when I composed those lines the flash came to me.
And ginger cookies are nothing to me any more."

Aunt Laura smiled again.

"Not just now perhaps, dear.  But when the moment of inspiration
has passed it will do no harm to remember that the cookies in the
box have not been counted and that they are as much mine as
Elizabeth's."



LIVING EPISTLES


"DEAR FATHER:

"Oh, I have such an exiting thing to tell you.  I have been the
heroin of an adventure.  One day last week Ilse asked me if I would
go and stay all night with her because her father was away and
wouldn't be home till very late and Ilse said she wasn't fritened
but very lonesome.  So I asked Aunt Elizabeth if I could.  I hardly
dared hope, dear Father, that she would let me, for she doesn't
aprove of little girls being away from home at night but to my
surprise she said I could go very kindly.  And then I heard her say
in the pantry to Aunt Laura It is a shame the way the doctor leaves
that poor child so much alone at nights.  It is WIKKED of him.  And
Aunt Laura said The poor man is warped.  You know he was not a bit
like that before his wife--and then just as it was getting
intresting Aunt Elizabeth gave Aunt Laura a nudge and said s-s-s-h,
little pitchers have big ears.  I knew she meant me though my ears
are not big, only pointed.  I do wish I could find out what Ilse's
mother did.  It worrys me after I go to bed.  I lie awake for ever
so long thinking about it.  Ilse has no idea.  Once she asked her
father and he told her (in a VOICE OF THUNDER) never to mention
THAT WOMAN to him again.  And there is something else that worrys
me too.  I keep thinking of Silas Lee who killed his brother at the
old well.  How dreadful the poor man must have felt.  And what is
it to be warped.

"I went over to Ilses and we played in the garret.  I like playing
there because we dont have to be careful and tidy like we do in our
garret.  Ilses garret is very untidy and cant have been dusted for
years.  The rag room is worse than the rest.  It is boarded off at
one end of the garret and it is full of old close and bags of rags
and broken furniture.  I dont like the smell of it.  The kitchen
chimney goes up through it and things hang round it (or did).  For
all this is in the past now, dear Father.

"When we got tired playing we sat down on an old chest and talked.
This is splendid in daytime I said but it must be awful queer at
night.  Mice, said Ilse--and spiders and gosts.  I dont believe in
gosts I said skornfully.  There isnt any such thing.  (But maybe
there is for all that, dear Father.)  I believe this garret is
hawnted, said Ilse.  They say garrets always are.  Nonsense I said.
You know dear Father it would not do for a New Moon person to
believe in gosts.  But I felt very queer.  Its easy to talk said
Ilse beginning to be mad (though I wasnt trying to run down her
garret) but you wouldnt stay here alone at night.  I wouldnt mind
it a bit I said.  Then I dare you to do it said Ilse.  I dare you
to come up here at bedtime and sleep here all night.  Then I saw I
was in an awful skrape Father dear.  It is a foolish thing to bost.
I knew not what to do.  It was dreadful to think of sleeping alone
in that garret but if I didn't Ilse would always cast it up to me
whenever we fought and worse than that she would tell Teddy and he
would think me a coward.  So I said proudly Ill do it Ilse Burnley
and Im not afraid either.  (But oh I was--inside.)  The mice will
run over you said Ilse.  O I wouldnt be you for the world.  It was
mean of Ilse to make things worse than they were.  But I could feel
she admired me too and that helped me a great deal.  We dragged an
old feather bed out of the rag room and Ilse gave me a pillow and
half her close.  It was dark by this time and Ilse wouldnt go up
into the garret again.  So I said my prayers very carefully and
then I took a lamp and started up.  I am so used to candles now
that the lamp made me nervus.  Ilse said I looked scared to death.
My knees shook dear Father but for the honnor of the Starrs (and
the Murrays too) I went on.  I had undressed in Ilses room, so I
got right into bed and blew out the lamp.  But I couldnt go to
sleep for a long time.  The moonlight made the garret look weerd.
I don't know exactly what weerd means but I feel the garret was it.
The bags and old close hanging from the beams looked like
creatures.  I thought I need not be fritened.  The angels are here.
But then I felt as if I would be as much fritened of angels as of
anything else.  And I could hear rats and mice scrambling over
things.  I thought What if a rat was to run over me, and then I
thought that next day I would write out a descripshon of the garret
by moonlight and my feelings.  At last I heard the doctor driving
in and then I heard him knocking round in the kitchen and I felt
better and before very long I went to sleep and dreamed a dreadful
dream.  I dreamed the door of the rag room opened and a big
newspaper came out and chased me all around the garret.  And then
it went on fire and I could smell the smoke plain as plain and it
was just on me when I skreamed and woke up.  I was sitting right up
in bed and the newspaper was gone but I could smell smoke still.  I
looked at the rag room door and smoke was coming out under it and I
saw firelight through the cracks of the boards.  I just yelled at
the top of my voice and tore down to Ilses room and she rushed
across the hall and woke her father.  He said dam but he got right
up and then all three of us kept running up and down the garret
stairs with pails of water and we made an awful mess but we got the
fire out.  It was just the bags of wool that had been hanging close
to the chimney that had caught fire.  When all was over the doctor
wiped the persperation from his manly brow and said That was a
close call.  A few minutes later would have been too late.  I put
on a fire when I came in to make a cup of tea and I suppose those
bags must have caught fire from a spark.  I see theres a hole here
where the plaster has tumbled out.  I must have this whole place
cleaned out.  How in the world did you come to diskover the fire,
Emily.  I was sleeping in the garret I said.  Sleeping in the
garret said the doctor, what in--what the--WHAT were you doing
there.  Ilse dared me I said.  She said Id be too scared to stay
there and I said I wouldnt.  I fell asleep and woke up and smelled
smoke.  You little devil, said the doctor.  I suppose it was a
dreadful thing to be called a devil but the doctor looked at me so
admiringly that I felt as if he was paying me a compelment.  He has
queer ways of talking.  Ilse says the only time he ever said a kind
thing to her was once when she had a sore throat he called her "a
poor little animal" and looked as if he was sorry for her.  I feel
sure Ilse feels dreadfully bad because her father doesnt like her
though she pretends she doesnt care.  But oh dear Father there is
more to tell.  Yesterday the Shrewsbury Weekly Times came and in
the Blair Notes it told all about the fire at the doctors and said
it had been fortunately diskovered in time by Miss Emily Starr.  I
cant tell you what I felt like when I saw my name in the paper.  I
felt FAMUS.  And I never was called Miss in ernest before.

"Last Saturday Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura went to Shrewsbury for
the day and left Cousin Jimmy and me to keep house.  We had such
fun and Cousin Jimmy let me skim all the milk pans.  But after
dinner unexpekted company came and there was no cake in the house.
That was a dreadful thing.  It never happened before in the annels
of New Moon.  Aunt Elizabeth had toothache all day yesterday and
Aunt Laura was away at Priest Pond visiting Great Aunt Nancy, so no
cake was made.  I prayed about it and then I went to work and made
a cake by Aunt Laura's receet and it turned out all right.  Cousin
Jimmy helped me set the table and get supper, and I poured the tea
and never slopped any over in the saucers.  You would have been
proud of me Father.  Mrs Lewis took a second piece of cake and said
I would know Elizabeth Murray's cake if I found it in central
Africa.  I said not a word for the honour of the family.  But I
felt very proud.  I had saved the Murrays from disgrace.  When Aunt
Elizabeth came home and heard the tale she looked grim and tasted a
piece that was left and then she said Well, you have got SOME
Murray in you anyway.  That is the first time Aunt Elizabeth has
ever praised me.  She had three teeth out so they will not ache any
more.  I am glad for her sake.  Before I went to bed I got the
cook-book and picked out all the things Id like to make.  Queen
Pudding, Sea-foam Sauce, Blackeyed Susans, Pigs In Blankets.  They
sound just lovely.

"I can see such beautiful fluffy white clouds over Lofty Johns
bush.  I wish I could sore up and drop right into them.  I cant
believe they would be wet and messy like Teddy says.  Teddy cut my
initials and his together on the Monark of The Forest but somebody
has cut them out.  I don't know whether it was Perry or Ilse.

"Miss Brownell hardly ever gives me good deportment marks now and
Aunt Elizabeth is much displeased on Friday nights but Aunt Laura
understands.  I wrote an account of the afternoon when Miss
Brownell made fun of my poems and put it in an old envelope and
wrote Aunt Elizabeths name on it and put it among my papers.  If I
die of consumption Aunt Elizabeth will find it and know the rites
of it and mourn that she was so unjust to me.  But I dont think I
will die because Im getting much fatter and Ilse told me she heard
her father tell Aunt Laura I would be handsome if I had more color.
Is it wrong to want to be handsome, dearest Father.  Aunt Elizabeth
says it is and when I said to her Wouldnt YOU like to be handsome,
Aunt Elizabeth, she seemed anoyed about something.

"Miss Brownell has had a spite at Perry ever since that evening and
treats him very mean but he is meek and says he wont kick up any
fuss in school because he wants to learn and get ahead.  He keeps
saying his rymes are as good as mine and I know they are not and it
exassperates me.  If I do not pay attention all the time in school
Miss Brownell says I suppose you are composing--poetry Emily and
then everybody laughs.  No not everybody.  I must not exagerate.
Teddy and Perry and Ilse and Jennie never laugh.  It is funny that
I like Jennie so well now and I hated her so that first day in
school.  Her eyes are not piggy after all.  They are small but they
are jolly and twinkly.  She is quite poplar in school.  I do hate
Frank Barker.  He took my new reader and wrote in a big sprawly way
all over the front page


     Steal not this book for fear of shame
     For on it is the owners name
     And when you die the Lord will say
     Where is the book you stole away
     And when you say you do not know
     The Lord will say go down below.


"That is not a refined poem and besides it is not the rite way to
speak about God.  I tore out the leaf and burned it and Aunt
Elizabeth was angry and even when I explained why her rath was not
apeased.  Ilse says she is going to call God Alla after this.  I
think it is a nicer name myself.  It is so soft and doesn't sound
so stern.  But I fear its not relijus enough.


MAY 20.

"Yesterday was my birthday dear Father.  It will soon be a year
since I came to New Moon.  I feel as if I had always lived here.  I
have grown two inches.  Cousin Jimmy measured me by a mark on the
dairy door.  My birthday was very nice.  Aunt Laura made a lovely
cake and gave me a beautiful new white pettycoat with an
embroidered flounce.  She had run a blue ribbon through it but Aunt
Elizabeth made her pull it out.  Aunt Laura also gave me that piece
of pink satin brokade in her burow drawer.  I have longed for it
ever since I saw it but never hoped to possess it.  Ilse asked me
what I meant to do with it but I dont mean to do anything with it.
Only keep it up here in the garret with my treasures and look at it
because it is beautiful.  Aunt Elizabeth gave me a dixonary.  That
was a useful present.  I feel I ought to like it.  You will soon
notice an improovement in my spelling, I hope.  The only trouble is
when I am writing something interesting I get so exited it is just
awful to have to stop and hunt up a word to see how it is spelled.
I looked up ween in it and Miss Brownell was right.  I did not know
what it really meant.  It rymed so well with sheen and I thought it
meant to behold or see but it means to think.  Cousin Jimmy gave me
a big thick blank book.  I am so proud of it.  It will be so nice
to write pieces in.  But I will still use the letter-bills to write
to you, dear Father, because I can fold each one up by itself and
adress it like a real letter.  Teddy gave me a picture of myself.
He painted it in water colors and called it The Smiling Girl.  I
look as if I was listening to something that made me very happy.
Ilse says it flatters me.  It does make me better looking than I am
but not any better than I would be if I could have a bang.  Teddy
says he is going to paint a real big picture of me when he grows
up.  Perry walked all the way to Shrewsbury to get me a necklace of
pearl beads and lost it.  He had no more money so he went home to
Stovepipe Town and got a young hen from his Aunt Tom and gave me
that.  He is a very persistent boy.  I am to have all the eggs the
hen lays to sell the pedler for myself.  Ilse gave me a box of
candy.  I am only going to eat one piece a day to make it last a
long time.  I wanted Ilse to eat some but she said she wouldnt
because it would be mean to help eat a present you had given and I
insisted and then we fought over it and Ilse said I was a
caterwawling quadruped (which was ridiklus) and didn't know enough
to come in when it rained.  And I said I knew enough to have some
manners at least.  Ilse got so mad she went home but she cooled off
soon and came back for supper.

"It is raining to-night and it sounds like fairies feet dancing
over the garret roof.  If it had not rained Teddy was going to come
down and help me look for the Lost Dimond.  Wouldnt it be splendid
if we could find it.

"Cousin Jimmy is fixing up the garden.  He lets me help him and I
have a little flower bed of my own.  I always run out first thing
every morning to see how much the things have grown since
yesterday.  Spring is such a happyfying time isnt it, Father.  The
little Blue People are all out round the summer-house.  That is
what Cousin Jimmy calls the violets and I think it is lovely.  He
has names like that for all the flowers.  The roses are the Queens
and the June lilies are the Snow Ladies and the tulips are the Gay
Folk and the daffodils are the Golden Ones and the China Asters are
My Pink Friends.

"Mike II is here with me, sitting on the window-sill.  Mike is a
smee cat.  Smee is not in the dictionary.  It is a word I invented
myself.  I could not think of any English word which just describes
Mike II so I made this up.  It means sleek and glossy and soft and
fluffy all in one and something else besides that I cant express.

"Aunt Laura is teaching me to sew.  She says I must learn to make a
hem on muslin that cant be seen (tradishun).  I hope she will teach
me how to make point lace some day.  All the Murrays of New Moon
have been noted for making point lace (I mean all the women
Murrays).  None of the girls in school can make point lace.  Aunt
Laura says she will make me a point lace hangkerchief when I get
married.  All the New Moon brides had point lace hangkerchiefs
except my mother who ran away.  But you didnt mind her not having
one did you Father.  Aunt Laura talks a good bit about my mother to
me but not when Aunt Elizabeth is around.  Aunt Elizabeth never
mentions her name.  Aunt Laura wants to show me Mothers room but
she has never been able to find the key yet because Aunt Elizabeth
keeps it hid.  Aunt Laura says Aunt Elizabeth loved my mother very
much.  You would think she would love her daughter some wouldnt
you.  But she doesnt.  She is just bringing me up as a duty.


"JUNE 1.

"DEAR FATHER:

"This has been a very important day.  I wrote my first letter.  I
mean the first letter that was really to go in the mail.  It was to
Great-Aunt Nancy who lives at Priest Pond and is very old.  She
wrote Aunt Elizabeth and said I might write now and then to a poor
old woman.  My heart was touched and I wanted to.  Aunt Elizabeth
said We might as well let her.  And she said to me You must be
careful to write a nice letter and I will read it over when it is
written.  If you make a good impression on Aunt Nancy she may do
something for you.  I wrote the letter very carefully but it didnt
sound a bit like me when it was finished.  I couldn't write a good
letter when I knew Aunt Elizabeth was going to read it.  I felt
paralized.


"JUNE 7.

"Dear Father, my letter did not make a good impression on Great-
Aunt Nancy.  She did not answer it but she wrote Aunt Elizabeth
that I must be a very stupid child to write such a stupid letter.
I feel insulted because I am not stupid.  Perry says he feels like
going to Priest Pond and knocking the daylights out of Great-Aunt
Nancy.  I told him he must not talk like that about my family, and
anyhow I dont see how knocking the daylights out of Great-Aunt
Nancy would make her change her opinion about me being stupid.  (I
wonder what daylights are and how you knock them out of people.)

"I have three cantos of The White Lady finished.  I have the heroin
imured in a convent and I don't know how to get her out because I
am not a Catholic.  I suppose it would have been better if I had a
Protestant heroin but there were no Protestants in the days of
shivalry.  I might have asked Lofty John last year but this year I
cant because I've never spoken to him since he played that horrid
joke on me about the apple.

"When I meet him on the road I lok straight ahead just as lofty as
he does.  I have called my pig after him to get square.  Cousin
Jimmy has given me a little pig for my own.  When it is sold I am
to have the money.  I mean to give some for missionaries and put
the rest in the bank to go to my educashun.  And I thought if I
ever had a pig I would call it Uncle Wallace.  But now it does not
seem to me proper to call pigs after your uncles even if you dont
like them.

"Teddy and Perry and Ilse and I play we are living in the days of
shivalry and Ilse and I are distressed damsels reskued by galant
knites.  Teddy made a splendid suit of armour out of old barrel
staves and then Perry made a better one out of old tin boilers
hammered flat with a broken saucepan for a helmit.  Sometimes we
play at the Tansy Patch.  I have a queer feeling that Teddy's
mother hates me this summer.  Last summer she just didnt like me.
Smoke and Buttercup are not there now.  They disappeared
misteriously in the winter.  Teddy says he feels sure his mother
poisoned them because she thought he was getting too fond of them.
Teddy is teaching me to whistle but Aunt Laura says it is
unladylike.  So many jolly things seem to be unladylike.  Sometimes
I almost wish my aunts were infidels like Dr Burnley.  HE never
bothers whether Ilse is unladylike or not.  But no, it would not be
good manners to be an infidel.  It would not be a New Moon
tradishun.

"To-day I taught Perry that he must not eat with his knife.  He
wants to learn all the RULES OF ETIKET.  And I am helping him learn
a recitation for school examination day.  I wanted Ilse to do it
but she was mad because he asked me first and she wouldnt.  But she
should because she is a far better reciter than I am.  I am too
nervus.


"JUNE 14.

"Dear Father, we have composition in school now and I learned to-
day that you put things in like this ' ' when you write anything
anybody has said.  I didnt know that before.  I must go over all my
letters to you and put them in.  And after a question you must put
a mark like this ? and when a letter is left out a postroffe which
is a comma up in the air.  Miss Brownell is sarkastic but she DOES
teach you things.  I am putting that down because I want to be fair
even if I do hate her.  And she is interesting although she is not
nice.  I have written a descripshun of her on a letter-bill.  I
like writing about people I don't like better than about those I do
like.  Aunt Laura is nicer to live with than Aunt Elizabeth, but
Aunt Elizabeth is nicer to write about.  I can deskribe HER fawlts
but I feel wikked and ungrateful if I say anything that is not
compelmentary about dear Aunt Laura.  Aunt Elizabeth has locked
your books away and says I'm not to have them till I'm grown up.
Just as if I wouldn't be careful of them, dear Father.  She says I
wouldn't because she found that when I was reading one of them I
put a tiny pencil dot under every beautiful word.  It didn't hurt
the book a bit, dear Father.  Some of the words were dingles,
pearled, musk, dappled, intervales, glen, bosky, piping, shimmer,
crisp, beechen, ivory.  I think those are all lovely words, Father.

"Aunt Laura lets me read her copy of A Pilgrims Progress on
Sundays.  I call the big hill on the road to White Cross the
Delectable Mountain because it is such a beautiful one.

"Teddy lent me 3 books of poetry.  One of them was Tennyson and I
have learned The Bugle Song off by heart so I will always have it.
One was Mrs Browning.  She is lovely.  I would like to meet her.  I
suppose I will when I die but that may be a long time away.  The
other was just one poem called Sohrab and Rustum.  After I went to
bed I cried over it.  Aunt Elizabeth said "what are you sniffling
about?"  I wasn't sniffling--I was weeping sore.  She made me tell
her and then she said "You must be crazy."  But I couldn't go to
sleep until I had thought out a different end for it--a happy one.


"JUNE 25.

DEAR FATHER:

"There has been a dark shadow over this day.  I dropped my cent in
church.  It made a dreadful noise.  I felt as if everybody looked
at me.  Aunt Elizabeth was much annoyed.  Perry dropped his too
soon after.  He told me after church he did it on purpose because
he thought it would make me feel better but it didn't because I was
afraid the people would think it was me dropping mine again.  Boys
do such queer things.  I hope the minister did not hear because I
am beginning to like him.  I never liked him much before last
Tuesday.  His family are all boys and I suppose he doesn't
understand little girls very well.  Then he called at New Moon.
Aunt Laura and Aunt Elizabeth were both away and I was in the
kitchen alone.  Mr Dare came in and sat down on Saucy Sal who was
asleep in the rocking-chair.  He was comfortable but Saucy Sal
wasn't.  He didn't sit on her stomach.  If he had I suppose he
would have killed her.  He just sat on her legs and tail.  Sal
yowled but Mr Dare is a little deaf and didn't hear her and I was
too shy to tell him.  But Cousin Jimmy came in just as he was
asking me if I knew my catechism and said "Catechism, is it?
Lawful heart, man, listen to that poor dum beast.  Get up if you're
a Christian."  So Mr Dare got up and said, "Dear me, this is very
remarkable.  I thought I felt something moving."

"I thought I would write this to you, dear Father, because it
struck me as humerus.

"When Mr Dare finished asking me questions I thought it was my turn
and I would ask him some about some things I've wanted to know for
years.  I asked him if he thought God was very perticular about
every little thing I did and if he thought my cats would go to
heaven.  He said he hoped I never did wrong things and that animals
had no souls.  And I asked him why we shouldn't put new wine in old
bottles.  Aunt Elizabeth does with her dandelion wine and the old
bottles do just as well as new ones.  He explained quite kindly
that the Bible bottles were made of skins and got rotten when they
were old.  It made it quite clear to me.  Then I told him I was
worried because I knew I ought to love God better than anything but
there were things I loved better than God.  He said "What things?"
and I said flowers and stars and the Wind Woman and the Three
Princesses and things like that.  And he smiled and said "But they
are just a part of God, Emily--every beautiful thing is."  And all
at once I liked him ever so much and didn't feel shy with him any
more.  He preeched a sermon on heaven last Sunday.  It seemed like
a dull place.  I think it must be more exciting than that.  I
wonder what I will do when I go to heaven since I cant sing.  I
wonder if they will let me write poetry.  But I think church is
interesting.  Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura always read their
Bibles before the servis begins but I like to stare around and see
everybody and wonder what they are thinking of.  It's so nice to
hear the silk dresses swishing up the isles.  Bustles are very
fashunable now but Aunt Elizabeth will not wear them.  I think Aunt
Elizabeth WOULD look funny with a bustle.  Aunt Laura wears a very
little one.

"Your lovingest daughter,

"Emily B. Starr.

"P. S.  Dear Father, it is lovely to write to you.  But O, I never
get an answer back.

"E. B. S."



FATHER CASSIDY


Consternation reigned at New Moon.  Everybody was desperately
unhappy.  Aunt Laura cried.  Aunt Elizabeth was so cantankerous
that there was no living with her.  Cousin Jimmy went about as one
distracted and Emily gave up worrying about Ilse's mother and Silas
Lee's remorseful ghost after she went to bed, and worried over this
new trouble.  For it had all originated in her disregard of New
Moon tradition in making calls on Lofty John, and Aunt Elizabeth
did not mince matters in telling her so.  If she, Emily Byrd Starr,
had never gone to Lofty John's she would never have eaten the Big
Sweet apple, and if she had never eaten the Big Sweet apple Lofty
John would not have played a joke on her and if he had not played a
joke on her Aunt Elizabeth would never have gone and said bitter,
Murray-like things to him; and if Aunt Elizabeth had never said
bitter Murray-like things to him Lofty John would not have become
offended and revengeful; and if Lofty John had not become offended
and revengeful he would never have taken it into his lofty head to
cut down the beautiful grove to the north of New Moon.

For this was exactly where this house-that-jack-built progression
had landed them all.  Lofty John had announced publicly in the
Blair Water blacksmith shop that he was going to cut down the bush
as soon as harvest was over--every last tree and sapling was to be
laid low.  The news was promptly carried to New Moon and upset the
inhabitants thereof as they had not been upset for years.  In their
eyes it was nothing short of a catastrophe.

Elizabeth and Laura could hardly bring themselves to believe it.
The thing was incredible.  That big, thick, protecting bush of
spruce and hardwood had ALWAYS been there; it belonged to New Moon
MORALLY; even Lofty John Sullivan would not DARE to cut it down.
But Lofty John had an uncomfortable reputation for doing what he
said he would do; that was a part of his loftiness; and if he did--
if he did--

"New Moon will be ruined," wailed poor Aunt Laura.  "It will look
DREADFUL--ALL its beauty will go--and we will be left open to the
north wind and the sea storms--we have always been so warm and
sheltered here.  And Jimmy's garden will be ruined too."

"This is what comes of bringing Emily here," said Aunt Elizabeth.

It was a cruel thing to say, even when all allowances were made--
cruel and unjust, since her own sharp tongue and Murray sarcasm had
had quite as much to do with it as Emily.  But she said it and it
pierced Emily to the heart with a pang that left a scar for years.
Poor Emily did not feel as if she needed any additional anguish.
She was already feeling so wretched that she could not eat or
sleep.  Elizabeth Murray, angry and unhappy as she was, slept
soundly at nights; but beside her in the darkness, afraid to move
or turn, lay a slender little creature whose tears, stealing
silently down her cheeks, could not ease her breaking heart.  For
Emily thought her heart WAS breaking; she couldn't go on living and
suffering like this.  Nobody could.

Emily had lived long enough at New Moon for it to get pretty
thoroughly into her blood.  Perhaps it had even been born there.
At any rate, when she came to it she fitted into its atmosphere as
a hand into a glove.  She loved it as well as if she had lived
there all her short life--loved every stick and stone and tree and
blade of grass about it--every nail in the old, kitchen floor,
every cushion of green moss on the dairy roof, every pink and white
columbine that grew in the old orchard, every "tradition" of its
history.  To think of its beauty being in a large measure reft from
it was agony to her.  And to think of Cousin Jimmy's garden being
ruined!  Emily loved that garden almost as much as he did; why, it
was the pride of Cousin Jimmy's life that he could grow there
plants and shrubs that would winter nowhere else in P. E. Island;
if the northern shelter were removed they would die.  And to think
of that beautiful bush itself being cut down--the To-day Road and
the Yesterday Road and the To-morrow Road being swept out of
existence--the stately Monarch of the Forest discrowned--the little
playhouse where she and Ilse had such glorious hours destroyed--the
whole lovely, ferny, intimate place torn out of her life at one
fell swoop.

Oh, Lofty John had chosen and timed his vengeance well!

When would the blow fall?  Every morning Emily listened miserably
as she stood on the sandstone doorstep of the kitchen, for the
sound of axe blows on the clear September air.  Every evening when
she returned from school she dreaded to see that the work of
destruction had begun.  She pined and fretted.  There were times
when it seemed to her she couldn't bear her life any longer.  Every
day Aunt Elizabeth said something imputing the whole blame to her
and the child grew morbidly sensitive about it.  Almost she wished
Lofty John would begin and be done with it.  If Emily had ever
heard the classic story of Damocles she would have heartily
sympathized with him.  If she had had any hope that it would do any
good she would have swallowed Murray pride and Starr pride and
every other kind of pride and gone on her knees to Lofty John to
entreat him to hold his revengeful hand.  But she believed it would
not.  Lofty John had left no doubt in anybody's mind as to his
bitter determination in the matter.  There was much talk about it
in Blair Water and some were very well pleased at this blow to New
Moon pride and prestige, and some held that it was low and unclean
behaviour on Lofty John's part, and all agreed that this was what
they had prophesied all along as bound to happen some day when the
old Murray-Sullivan feud of three generations should have come to
its inevitable head.  The only surprising thing was that Lofty John
hadn't done it long ago.  He had always hated Elizabeth Murray
since their school-days, when her tongue had not spared him.

One day by the banks of Blair Water Emily sat down and wept.  She
had been sent to trim the dead blossoms off the rosebushes on
Grandmother Murray's grave; having finished her task she had not
the heart to go back to the house where Aunt Elizabeth was making
everybody miserable because she was herself so unhappy.  Perry had
reported that Lofty John had stated the day before at the
blacksmith's that he was going to begin cutting down the big bush
on Monday morning.

"I CAN'T bear it," sobbed Emily to the rose-bushes.

A few late roses nodded at her; the Wind Woman combed and waved and
stirred the long green grasses on the graves where proud Murrays,
men and women, slept calmly, unstirred by old feuds and passions;
the September sunlight shone beyond on old harvest fields mellowly
bright and serene, and very softly against its green, shrub-hung
bank, purred and lapped the blue Blair Water.

"I don't see why God doesn't STOP Lofty John," said Emily
passionately.  Surely the New Moon Murrays had a right to expect
that much from Providence.

Teddy came whistling down the pasture, the notes of his tune
blowing across the Blair Water like elfin drops of sound, vaulted
the graveyard fence and perched his lean, graceful body
irreverently on the "Here I stay" of Great-Grandrnother Murray's
flat tombstone.

"What's the matter?" he said.

"Everything's the matter," said Emily, a little crossly.  Teddy had
no business to be looking so cheerful.  She was used to more
sympathy from Teddy and it aggravated her not to find it.  "Don't
you know Lofty John is going to begin cutting down the bush
Monday?"

Teddy nodded.

"Yep.  Ilse told me.  But look here, Emily, I've thought of
something.  Lofty John wouldn't dare cut down that bush if the
priest told him not to, would he?"

"Why?"

"Because the Catholics have to do just what their priests tell them
to, haven't they?"

"I don't know--I don't know anything about them.  WE are
Presbyterians."

Emily gave her head a little toss.  Mrs Kent was known to be an
"English Church" woman and though Teddy went to the Presbyterian
Sunday-school, that fact gave him scanty standing among bred-in-
the-bone Presbyterian circles.

"If your Aunt Elizabeth went to Father Cassidy at White Cross and
asked him to stop Lofty John, maybe he'd do it," persisted Teddy.

"Aunt Elizabeth would never do that," said Emily positively.  "I'm
sure of it.  She's too proud."

"Not even to save the bush?"

"Not even for that."

"Then I guess nothing can be done," said Teddy rather crestfallen.
"Look here--see what I've made.  This is a picture of Lofty John in
purgatory, with three little devils sticking red-hot pitchforks
into him.  I copied some of it out of one of Mother's books--
Dante's Infernal, I think it was--but I put Lofty John in place of
the man in the book.  You can have it."

"I don't want it."  Emily uncoiled her legs and got up.  She was
past the stage when inflicting imaginary torments on Lofty John
could comfort her.  She had already slain him in several agonizing
ways during her night vigils.  But an idea had come to her--a
daring, breathless idea.  "I must go home now, Teddy--it's supper-
time."

Teddy pocketed his despised sketch--which was really a wonderful
bit of work if either of them had had the sense to know it: the
expression of anguish in Lofty John's face as a merry little devil
touched him up with a pitchfork would have been the despair of many
a trained artist.  He went home wishing he could help Emily; it was
all wrong that a creature like Emily--with soft purple-gray eyes
and a smile that made you think of all sorts of wonderful things
you couldn't put into words--should be unhappy.  Teddy felt so
worried about it that he added a few more devils to his sketch of
Lofty John in purgatory and lengthened the prongs of their
pitchforks quite considerably.

Emily went home with a determined twist to her mouth.  She ate as
much supper as she could--which wasn't much, for Aunt Elizabeth's
face would have destroyed her appetite if she had had any--and then
sneaked out of the house by the front door.  Cousin Jimmy was
working in his garden but he did not call her.  Cousin Jimmy was
always very sorrowful now.  Emily stood a moment on the Grecian
porch and looked at Lofty John's bush--green-bosomed, waving, all
lovely.  Would it be a desecrated waste of stumps by Monday night?
Goaded by the thought Emily cast fear and hesitation to the winds
and started briskly off down the lane.  When she reached the gate
she turned to the left on the long red road of mystery that ran up
the Delectable Mountain.  She had never been on that road before;
it ran straight to White Cross; Emily was going to the parish house
there to interview Father Cassidy.  It was two miles to White Cross
and Emily walked it all too soon--not because it was a beautiful
road of wind and wild fern, haunted by little rabbits--but because
she dreaded what awaited her at the end.  She had been trying to
think what she should say--how she should say it; but her invention
failed her.  She had no acquaintance with Catholic priests, and
couldn't imagine how you should talk to them at all.  They were
even more mysterious and unknowable than ministers.  Suppose Father
Cassidy should be dreadfully angry at her daring to come there and
ask a favour.  Perhaps it WAS a dreadful thing to do from every
point of view.  And very likely it would do no good.  Very likely
Father Cassidy would refuse to interfere with Lofty John, who was a
good Catholic, while she was, in his opinion, a heretic.  But for
any chance, even the faintest, of averting the calamity impending
over New Moon, Emily would have faced the entire Sacred College.
Horribly frightened, miserably nervous as she was, the idea of
turning back never occurred to her.  She was only sorry that she
hadn't put on her Venetian beads.  They might have impressed Father
Cassidy.

Although Emily had never been to White Cross she knew the parish
house when she saw it--a fine, tree-embowered residence near the
big white chapel with the flashing gilt cross on its spire and the
four gilt angels, one on each of the little spires at the corners.
Emily thought them very beautiful as they gleamed in the light of
the lowering sun, and wished they could have some on the plain
white church at Blair Water.  She couldn't understand why Catholics
should have all the angels.  But there was not time to puzzle over
this, for the door was opening and the trim little maid was looking
a question.

"Is--Father Cassidy--at--home?" asked Emily, rather jerkily.

"Yes."

"Can--I--see--him?"

"Come in," said the little maid.  Evidently there was no difficulty
about seeing Father Cassidy--no mysterious ceremonies such as Emily
had half expected, even if she were allowed to see him at all.  She
was shown into a book-lined room and left there, while the maid
went to call Father Cassidy, who, she said, was working in the
garden.  THAT sounded quite natural and encouraging.  If Father
Cassidy worked in a garden, he could not be so very terrible.

Emily looked about her curiously.  She was in a very pretty room--
with cosy chairs, and pictures and flowers.  Nothing alarming or
uncanny about it--except a huge black cat who was sitting on the
top of one of the bookcases.  It was really an enormous creature.
Emily adored cats and had always felt at home with any of them.
But she had never seen such a cat as this.  What with its size and
its insolent, gold-hued eyes, set like living jewels in its black
velvet face, it did not seem to belong to the same species as nice,
cuddly, respectable kittens at all.  Mr Dare would never have had
such a beast about his manse.  All Emily's dread of Father Cassidy
returned.

And then in came Father Cassidy, with the friendliest smile in the
world.  Emily took him in with her level glance as was her habit--
or gift--and never again in the world was she the least bit afraid
of Father Cassidy.  He was big and broad-shouldered, with brown
eyes and brown hair; and his very face was so deeply tanned from
his inveterate habit of going about bareheaded in merciless
sunshine, that it was brown, too.  Emily thought he looked just
like a big nut--a big, brown, wholesome nut.

Father Cassidy looked at her as he shook hands; Emily had one of
her visitations of beauty just then.  Excitement had brought a
wildrose hue to her face, the sunlight brought out the watered-silk
gloss of her black hair; her eyes were softly dark and limpid; but
it was at her ears Father Cassidy suddenly bent to look.  Emily had
a moment of agonized wonder if they were clean.

"She's got pointed ears," said Father Cassidy, in a thrilling
whisper.  "Pointed ears!  I KNEW she came straight from fairyland
the minute I saw her.  Sit down, Elf--if elves do sit--sit down and
give me the latest news av Titania's court."

Emily's foot was now on her native heath.  Father Cassidy talked
her language, and he talked it in such a mellow, throaty voice,
slurring his "ofs" ever so softly as became a proper Irishman.  But
she shook her head a little sadly.  With the burden of her errand
on her soul she could not play the part of ambassadress from
Elfland.

"I'm only Emily Starr of New Moon," she said; and then gasped
hurriedly, because there must be no deception--no sailing under
false colours, "and I'm a Protestant."

"And a very nice little Protestant you are," said Father Cassidy.
"But for sure I'm a bit disappointed.  I'm used to Protestants--the
woods hereabouts being full av them--but it's a hundred years since
the last elf called on me."

Emily stared.  Surely Father Cassidy wasn't a hundred years old.
He didn't look more than fifty.  Perhaps, though, Catholic priests
did live longer than other people.  She didn't know exactly what to
say so she said, a bit lamely,

"I see you have a cat."

"Wrong."  Father Cassidy shook his head and groaned dismally.  "A
cat has me."

Emily gave up trying to understand Father Cassidy.  He was nice but
ununderstandable.  She let it go at that.  And she must get on with
her errand.

"You are a kind of minister, aren't you?" she asked timidly.  She
didn't know whether Father Cassidy would like being called a
minister.

"Kind av," he agreed amiably.  "And you see ministers and priests
can't do their own swearing.  They have to keep cats to do it for
them.  I never knew any cat that could sware as genteelly and
effectively as the B'y."

"Is that what you call him?" asked Emily, looking at the black cat
in some awe.  It seemed hardly safe to discuss him right before his
face.

"That's what he calls himself.  My mother doesn't like him because
he steals the cream.  Now, _I_ don't mind his doing that; no, it's
his way av licking his jaws after it that I can't stand.  Oh, B'y,
we've a fairy calling on us.  Be excited for once, I implore you--
there's a duck av a cat."

The B'y refused to be excited.  He winked an insolent eye at Emily.

"Have you any idea what goes on in the head av a cat, elf?"

What queer questions Father Cassidy asked.  Yet Emily thought she
would like his questions if she were not so worried.  Suddenly
Father Cassidy leaned across the table and said,

"Now, just what's bothering you?"

"I'm so unhappy," said Emily piteously.

"So are lots av other people.  Everybody is unhappy by spells, But
creatures who have pointed ears shouldn't be unhappy.  It's only
mortals who should be that."

"Oh, please--please--"  Emily wondered what she should call him.
Would it offend him if a Protestant called him "Father"?  But she
had to risk it--"please, Father Cassidy, I'm in such trouble and
I've come to ask a GREAT FAVOUR of you."

Emily told him the whole tale from beginning to end--the old
Murray-Sullivan feud, her erstwhile friendship with Lofty John, the
Big Sweet apple, the unhappy consequence, and Lofty John's
threatened revenge.  The B'y and Father Cassidy listened with equal
gravity until she had finished.  Then the B'y winked at her, but
Father Cassidy put his long brown fingers together.

"Humph," he said.

("That's the first time," reflected Emily, "that I've ever heard
anyone outside of a book say 'Humph.'")

"Humph," said Father Cassidy again.  "And you want me to put a stop
to this nefarious deed?"

"If you can," said Emily.  "Oh, it would be so splendid if you
could.  Will you--will you?"

Father Cassidy fitted his fingers still more carefully together.

"I'm afraid I can hardly invoke the power av the keys to prevent
Lofty John from disposing as he wishes av his own lawful property,
you know, elf."

Emily didn't understand the allusion to the keys but she did
understand that Father Cassidy was declining to bring the lever of
the Church to bear on Lofty John.  There was no hope, then.  She
could not keep the tears of disappointment out of her eyes.

"Oh, come now, darling, don't cry," implored Father Cassidy.
"Elves never cry--they can't.  It would break my heart to discover
you weren't av the Green Folk.  You may call yourself av New Moon
and av any religion you like, but the fact remains that you belong
to the Golden Age and the old gods.  That's why I must save your
precious bit av greenwood for you."

Emily stared.

"I think it can be done," Father Cassidy went on.  "I think if I go
to Lofty John and have a heart-to-heart talk with him I can make
him see reason.  Lofty John and I are very good friends.  He's a
reasonable creature, if you know how to take him--which means to
flatter his vanity judiciously.  I'll put it to him, not as priest
to parishioner, but as man to man, that no decent Irishman carries
on a feud with women and that no sensible person is going to
destroy for nothing but a grudge those fine old trees that have
taken half a century to grow and can never be replaced.  Why the
man who cuts down such a tree except when it is really necessary
should be hanged as high as Haman on a gallows made from the wood
av it."

(Emily thought she would write that last sentence of Father
Cassidy's down in Cousin Jimmy's blank book when she got home.)

"But I won't say THAT to Lofty John," concluded Father Cassidy.
"Yes, Emily av New Moon, I think we can consider it a settled thing
that your bush will not be cut down."

Suddenly Emily felt very happy.  Somehow she had entire confidence
in Father Cassidy.  She was sure he would twist Lofty John around
his little finger.

"Oh, I can never thank you enough!" she said earnestly.

"That's true, so don't waste breath trying.  And now tell me
things.  Are there any more av you?  And how long have you been
yourself?"

"I'm twelve years old--I haven't any brothers or sisters.  And I
THINK I'd better be going home."

"Not till you've had a bite av lunch."

"Oh, thank you, I've had my supper."

"Two hours ago and a two-mile walk since.  Don't tell me.  I'm
sorry I haven't any nectar and ambrosia on hand--such food as elves
eat--and not even a saucer av moonshine--but my mother makes the
best plum cake av any woman in P. E. Island.  And we keep a cream
cow.  Wait here a bit.  Don't be afraid av the B'y.  He eats tender
little Protestants sometimes, but he never meddles with
leprechauns."

When Father Cassidy came back his mother came with him, carrying a
tray.  Emily had expected to see her big and brown too, but she was
the tiniest woman imaginable, with snow-white, silky hair, mild
blue eyes, and pink cheeks.

"Isn't she the sweetest thing in the way av mothers?" asked Father
Cassidy.  "I keep her to look at.  Av course--" Father Cassidy
dropped his voice to a pig's whisper--"there's something odd about
her.  I've known that woman to stop right in the middle av
housecleaning, and go off and spend an afternoon in the woods.
Like yourself, I'm thinking she has some truck with fairies."

Mrs Cassidy smiled, kissed Emily, said she must go out and finish
her preserving, and trotted off.

"Now you sit right down here, Elf, and be human for ten minutes and
we'll have a friendly snack."

Emily WAS hungry--a nice comfortable feeling she hadn't experienced
for a fortnight.  Mrs Cassidy's plum cake was all her reverend son
claimed, and the cream cow seemed to be no myth.

"What do you think av me now?" asked Father Cassidy suddenly,
finding Emily's eyes fixed on him speculatively.

Emily blushed.  She had been wondering if she dared ask another
favour of Father Cassidy.

"I think you are awfully good," she said.

"I AM awfully good," agreed Father Cassidy.  "I'm so good that I'll
do what you want me to do--for I feel there's something else you
want me to do."

"I'm in a scrape and I've been in it all summer.  You see"--Emily
was very sober--"I am a poetess."

"Holy Mike!  That IS serious.  I don't know if I can do much for
you.  How long have you been that way?"

"Are you making fun of me?" asked Emily gravely.

Father Cassidy swallowed something besides plum cake.

"The saints forbid!  It's only that I'm rather overcome.  To be
after entertaining a lady av New Moon--and an elf--and a poetess
all in one is a bit too much for a humble praste like meself.  Have
another slice av cake and tell me all about it."

"It's like this--I'm writing an epic."

Father Cassidy suddenly leaned over and gave Emily's wrist a little
pinch.

"I just wanted to see if you were real," he explained.  "Yes--yes,
you're writing an epic--go on.  I think I've got my second wind
now."

"I began it last spring.  I called it The White Lady first but now
I've changed it to The Child of the Sea.  Don't you think that's a
better title?"

"Much better."

"I've got three cantos done, and I can't get any further because
there's something I don't know and can't find out.  I've been so
worried about it."

"What is it?"

"My epic," said Emily, diligently devouring plum cake, "is about a
very beautiful high-born girl who was stolen away from her real
parents when she was a baby and brought up in a woodcutter's hut."

"One av the seven original plots in the world," murmured Father
Cassidy.

"What?"

"Nothing.  Just a bad habit av thinking aloud.  Go on."

"She had a lover of high degree but his family did not want him to
marry her because she was only a woodcutter's daughter--"

"Another of the seven plots--excuse me."

"--so they sent him away to the Holy Land on a crusade and word
came back that he was killed and then Editha--her name was Editha--
went into a convent--"

Emily paused for a bite of plum cake and Father Cassidy took up the
strain.

"And now her lover comes back very much alive, though covered with
Paynim scars, and the secret av her birth is discovered through the
dying confession av the old nurse and the birthmark on her arm."

"How did you know?" gasped Emily in amazement.

"Oh, I guessed it--I'm a good guesser.  But where's your bother in
all this?"

"I don't know how to get her out of the convent," confessed Emily.
"I thought perhaps you would know how it could be done."

Again Father Cassidy fitted his fingers.

"Let us see, now.  It's no light matter you've undertaken, young
lady.  How stands the case?  EDITHA has taken the veil, not because
she has a religious vocation but because she imagines her heart is
broken.  The Catholic Church does not release its nuns from their
vows because they happen to think they've made a little mistake av
that sort.  No, no--we must have a better reason.  Is this Editha
the sole child av her real parents?"

"Yes."

"Oh, then the way is clear.  If she had had any brothers or sisters
you would have had to kill them off, which is a messy thing to do.
Well, then, she is the sole daughter and heiress av a noble family
who have for years been at deadly feud with another noble family--
the family av the lover.  Do you know what a feud is?"

"Of course," said Emily disdainfully.  "And I've got all that in
the poem already."

"So much the better.  This feud has rent the kingdom in twain and
can only be healed by an alliance between Capulet and Montague."

"Those aren't their names."

"No matter.  This, then, is a national affair, with far-reaching
issues, therefore an appeal to the Supreme Pontiff is quite in
order.  What you want," Father Cassidy nodded solemnly, "is a
dispensation from Rome."

"Dispensation is a hard word to work into a poem," said Emily.

"Undoubtedly.  But young ladies who WILL write epic poems and who
WILL lay the scenes thereof amid times and manners av hundreds av
years ago, and WILL choose heroines of a religion quite unknown to
them, MUST expect to run up against a few snags."

"Oh, I think I'll be able to work it in," said Emily cheerfully.
"And I'm so much obliged to you.  You don't know what a relief it
is to my mind.  I'll finish the poem right up now in a few weeks.
I haven't done a thing at it all summer.  But then of course I've
been busy.  Ilse Burnley and I have been making a new language."

"Making a--new--excuse me.  DID you say LANGUAGE?"

"Yes."

"What's the matter with English?  Isn't it good enough for you, you
incomprehensible little being?"

"Oh, yes.  THAT isn't why we're making a new one.  You see in the
spring, Cousin Jimmy got a lot of French boys to help plant the
potatoes.  I had to help too, and Ilse came to keep me company.
And it was so annoying to hear those boys talking French when we
couldn't understand a word of it.  They did it just to make us mad.
Such jabbering!  So Ilse and I just made up our minds we'd invent a
new language that THEY couldn't understand.  We're getting on fine
and when the potato picking time comes we'll be able to talk to
each other and those boys won't be able to understand a word we're
saying.  Oh, it will be great fun!"

"I haven't a doubt.  But two girls who will go to all the trouble
av inventing a new language just to get square with some poor
little French boys--you're beyond me," said Father Cassidy,
helplessly.  "Goodness knows what you'll be doing when you grow up.
You'll be Red Revolutionists.  I tremble for Canada."

"Oh, it isn't a trouble--it's fun.  And all the girls in school are
just wild because they hear us talking in it and can't make it out.
We can talk secrets right before them."

"Human nature being what it is, I can see where the fun comes in
all right.  Let's hear a sample av your language."

"Nat millan O ste dolman bote ta Shrewsbury fernas ta poo litanos,"
said Emily glibly.  "That means, 'Next summer I am going to
Shrewsbury woods to pick strawberries.'  I yelled that across the
playground to Ilse the other day at recess and oh, how everybody
stared."

"Staring, is it?  I should say so.  My own poor old eyes are all
but dropping out av me head.  Let's hear a bit more av it."

"Mo tral li dead seb ad li mo trene.  Mo bertral seb mo bertrene
das sten dead e ting setra.  THAT means 'My father is dead and so
is my mother.  My grandfather and grandmother have been dead a long
time."  We haven't invented a word for 'dead' yet.  I think I will
soon be able to write my poems in our language and then Aunt
Elizabeth will not be able to read them if she finds them."

"Have you written any other poetry besides your epic?"

"Oh, yes--but just short pieces--dozens of them."

"H'm.  Would you be so kind as to let me hear one av them?"

Emily was greatly flattered.  And she did not mind letting Father
Cassidy hear her precious stuff.

"I'll recite my last poem," she said, clearing her throat
importantly.  "It's called Evening Dreams."

Father Cassidy listened attentively.  After the first verse a
change came over his big brown face, and he began patting his
finger tips together.  When Emily finished she hung down her lashes
and waited tremblingly.  What if Father Cassidy said it was no
good?  No, he wouldn't be so impolite--but if he bantered her as he
had done about her epic--she would know what THAT meant.

Father Cassidy did not speak all at once.  The prolonged suspense
was terrible to Emily.  She was afraid he could not praise and did
not want to hurt her feelings by dispraise.  All at once her
"Evening Dreams" seemed trash and she wondered how she could ever
have been silly enough to repeat it to Father Cassidy.

Of course, it WAS trash.  Father Cassidy knew that well enough.
All the same, for a child like this--and rhyme and rhythm were
flawless--and there was one line--just one line--"the light of
faintly golden stars"--for the sake of that line Father Cassidy
suddenly said,

"Keep on--keep on writing poetry."

"You mean--?"  Emily was breathless.

"I mean you'll be able to do something by and by.  Something--I
don't know how much--but keep on--keep on."

Emily was so happy she wanted to cry.  It was the first word of
commendation she had ever received except from her father--and a
father might have too high an opinion of one.  THIS was different.
To the end of her struggle for recognition Emily never forgot
Father Cassidy's "Keep on" and the tone in which he said it.

"Aunt Elizabeth scolds me for writing poetry," she said wistfully.
"She says people will think I'm as simple as Cousin Jimmy."

"The path of genius never did run smooth.  But have another piece
av cake--do, just to show there's something human about you."

"Ve, merry ti.  O del re dolman cosey aman ri sen ritter.  THAT
means, 'No, thank you.  I must be going home before it gets dark.'"

"I'll drive you home."

"Oh, no, no.  It's very kind of you"--the English language was
quite good enough for Emily now, "but I'd rather WALK.  "It's--
it's--such good exercise."

"Meaning," said Father Cassidy with a twinkle in his eye, "that we
must keep it from the old lady?  Good-bye, and may you always see a
happy face in your looking-glass!"

Emily was too happy to be tired on the way home.  There seemed to
be a bubble of joy in her heart--a shimmering, prismatic bubble.
When she came to the top of the big hill and looked across to New
Moon, her eyes were satisfied and loving.  How beautiful it was,
lying embowered in the twilight of the old trees; the tips of the
loftiest spruces came out in purple silhouette against the north-
western sky of rose and amber; down behind it the Blair Water
dreamed in silver; the Wind Woman had folded her misty bat-wings in
a valley of sunset and stillness lay over the world like a
blessing.  Emily felt sure everything would be all right.  Father
Cassidy would manage it in some way.

And he had told her to "keep on."



FRIENDS AGAIN


Emily listened very anxiously on Monday morning, but "no sound of
axe, no ponderous hammer rang" in Lofty John's bush.  That evening
on her way home from school, Lofty John himself overtook her in his
buggy and for the first time since the night of the apple stopped
and accosted her.

"Will ye take a lift, Miss Emily av New Moon?" he asked affably.

Emily climbed in, feeling a little bit foolish.  But Lofty John
looked quite friendly as he clucked to his horse.

"So you've clean wiled the heart out av Father Cassidy's body, 'The
sweetest scrap av a girl I've iver seen,' says he to me.  Sure an'
ye might lave the poor prastes alone."

Emily looked at Lofty John out of the corner of her eye.  He did
not seem angry.

"Ye've put ME in a nice tight fix av it," he went on.  "I'm as
proud as any New Moon Murray av ye all and your Aunt Elizabeth said
a number av things that got under my skin.  I've many an old score
to settle with her.  So I thought I'd get square by cutting av the
bush down.  And you had to go and quare me wid me praste bekase av
it and now I make no doubt I'll not be after daring to cut a stick
av kindling to warm me shivering carcase without asking lave av the
Pope."

"Oh, Mr Sullivan, are you going to leave the bush alone?" said
Emily breathlessly.

"It all rests with yourself, Miss Emily av New Moon.  Ye can't be
after expecting a Lofty John to be too humble.  I didn't come by
the name bekase av me makeness."

"What do you want me to do?"

"First, then, I'm wanting you to let bygones be bygones in that
matter av the apple.  And be token av the same come over and talk
to me now and then as ye did last summer.  Sure now, and I've
missed ye--ye and that spit-fire av an Ilse who's never come aither
bekase she thinks I mistrated you."

"I'll come of course," said Emily doubtfully, "if only Aunt
Elizabeth will let me."

"Tell her if she don't the bush'll be cut down--ivery last stick av
it.  That'll fetch her.  And there's wan more thing.  Ye must ask
me rale make and polite to do ye the favour av not cutting down the
bush.  If ye do it pretty enough sure niver a tree will I touch.
But if ye don't down they go, praste or no praste," concluded Lofty
John.

Emily summoned all her wiles to her aid.  She clasped her hands,
she looked up through her lashes at Lofty John, she smiled as
slowly and seductively as she knew how--and Emily had considerable
native knowledge of that sort.  "Please, Mr Lofty John," she
coaxed, "won't you leave me the dear bush I love?"

Lofty John swept off his crumpled old felt hat.  "To be sure an' I
will.  A proper Irishman always does what a lady asks him.  Sure
an' it's been the ruin av us.  We're at the mercy av the
petticoats.  If ye'd come and said that to me afore ye'd have had
no need av your walk to White Cross.  But mind ye keep the rest av
the bargain.  The reds are ripe and the scabs soon will be--and all
the rats have gone to glory."

Emily flew into the New Moon kitchen like a slim whirlwind.

"Aunt Elizabeth, Lofty John isn't going to cut down the bush--he
told me he wouldn't--but I have to go and see him sometimes--if you
don't object."

"I suppose it wouldn't make much difference to you if I did," said
Aunt Elizabeth.  But her voice was not so sharp as usual.  She
would not confess how much Emily's announcement relieved her; but
it mellowed her attitude considerably.  "There's a letter here for
you.  I want to know what it means."

Emily took the letter.  It was the first time she had ever received
a real letter through the mail and she tingled with the delight of
it.  It was addressed in a heavy black hand to "Miss Emily Starr,
New Moon, Blair Water."  But--

"You opened it!" she cried indignantly.

"Of course I did.  You are not going to receive letters I am not to
see, Miss.  What I want to know is--how comes Father Cassidy to be
writing to you--and writing such nonsense?"

"I went to see him Saturday," confessed Emily, realizing that the
cat was out of the bag.  "And I asked him if he couldn't prevent
Lofty John from cutting down the bush."

"Emily--Byrd--Starr!"

"I TOLD him I was a Protestant," cried Emily.  "He understands all
about it.  And he was just like anybody else.  I like him BETTER
than Mr Dare."

Aunt Elizabeth did not say much more.  There did not seem to be
much she COULD say.  Besides the bush wasn't going to be cut down.
The bringer of good news is forgiven much.  She contented herself
with glaring at Emily--who was too happy and excited to mind
glares.  She carried her letter off to the garret dormer and
gloated over the stamp and the superscription a bit before she took
out the enclosure.


"Dear Pearl of Emilys," wrote Father Cassidy.  "I've seen our lofty
friend and I feel sure your green outpost of fairyland will be
saved for your moonlit revels.  I know you DO dance there by light
o' moon when mortals are snoring.  I think you'll have to go
through the form of asking Mr Sullivan to spare those trees, but
you'll find him quite reasonable.  It's all in the knowing how and
the time of the moon.  How goes the epic and the language?  I hope
you'll have no trouble in freeing the Child of the Sea from her
vows.  Continue to be the friend of all good elves, and of

"Your admiring friend,

"James Cassidy.

"P.S.  The B'y sends respects.  What word have you for 'cat' in
your language?  Sure and you can't get anything cattier than 'cat'
can you, now?"


Lofty John spread the story of Emily's appeal to Father Cassidy far
and wide, enjoying it as a good joke on himself.  Rhoda Stuart said
she always knew Emily Starr was a bold thing and Miss Brownell said
she would be surprised at NOTHING Emily Starr would do, and Dr
Burnley called her a Little Devil more admiringly than ever, and
Perry said she had pluck and Teddy took credit for suggesting it,
and Aunt Elizabeth endured, and Aunt Laura thought it might have
been worse.  But Cousin Jimmy made Emily feel very happy.

"It would have spoiled the garden and broken my heart, Emily," he
told her.  "You're a little darling girl to have prevented it."

One day a month later, when Aunt Elizabeth had taken Emily to
Shrewsbury to fit her out with a winter coat, they met Father
Cassidy in a store.  Aunt Elizabeth bowed with great stateliness,
but Emily put out a slender paw.

"What about the dispensation from Rome?" whispered Father Cassidy.

One Emily was quite horrified lest Aunt Elizabeth should overhear
and think she was having sly dealings with the Pope, such as no
good Presbyterian half-Murray of New Moon should have.  The other
Emily thrilled to her toes with the dramatic delight of a secret
understanding of mystery and intrigue.  She nodded gravely, her
eyes eloquent with satisfaction.

"I got it without any trouble," she whispered back.

"Fine," said Father Cassidy.  "I wish you good luck, and I wish it
hard.  Good-bye."

"Farewell," said Emily, thinking it a word more in keeping with
dark secrets than good-bye.  She tasted the flavour of that half-
stolen interview all the way home, and felt quite as if she were
living in an epic herself.  She did not see Father Cassidy again
for years--he was soon afterwards removed to another parish; but
she always thought of him as a very agreeable and understanding
person.



BY AERIAL POST


"DEAREST FATHER:

"My heart is very sore to-night.  Mike died this morning.  Cousin
Jimmy says he must have been poisoned.  Oh, Father dear, I felt so
bad.  He was such a lovely cat.  I cried and cried and cried.  Aunt
Elizabeth was disgusted.  She said, 'You did not make half so much
fuss when your father died.'  What a crewel speech.  Aunt Laura was
nicer but when she said, 'Don't cry, dear.  I will get you another
kitten,' I saw she didn't understand either.  I don't want another
kitten.  If I had MILLIONS of kittens they wouldn't make up for
Mike.

"Ilse and I buried him in Lofty John's bush.  I am so thankful the
ground wasn't frozen yet.  Aunt Laura gave me a shoe box for a
coffin, and some pink tissue paper to wrap his poor little body in.
And we put a stone over the grave and I said 'Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord.'  When I told Aunt Laura about it she was
horrified and said, 'Oh, Emily, that was a dreadful thing.  You
should not have said that over a cat.'  And Cousin Jimmy said,
'Don't you think, Laura, that an innocent little dum creature has a
share in God?  Emily loved him and all love is part of God.'  And
Aunt Laura said, 'Maybe you are right, Jimmy.  But I am thankful
Elizabeth did not hear her.'

"Cousin Jimmy may not be all there, but what is there is very nice.

"But oh, Father, I am so lonesome for Mike to-night.  Last night he
was here playing with me, so cunning and pretty and SMEE, and now
he is cold and dead in Lofty John's bush.


"December 18.

"DEAR FATHER:

"I am here in the garret.  The Wind Woman is very sorry about
something to-night.  She is sying so sadly around the window.  And
yet the first time I heard her to-night the flash came--I felt as
if I had just seen something that happened long, long ago--
something so lovely that it hurt me.

"Cousin Jimmy says there will be a snow storm to-night.  I am glad.
I like to hear a storm at night.  It's so cosy to snuggle down
among the blankets and feel it can't get at you.  Only when I
snuggle Aunt Elizabeth says I skwirm.  The idea of any one not
knowing the difference between snuggling and skwirming.

"I am glad we will have snow for Christmas.  The Murray dinner is
to be at New Moon this year.  It is our turn.  Last year it was at
Uncle Oliver's but Cousin Jimmy had grippe and couldn't go so I
stayed home with him.  I will be right in the thick of it this year
and it excites me.  I will write you all about it after it is over,
dearest.

"I want to tell you something, Father.  I am ashamed of it, but I
think I'll feel better if I tell you all about it.  Last Saturday
Ella Lee had a birthday party and I was invited.  Aunt Elizabeth
let me put on my new blue cashmere dress.  It is a very pretty
dress.  Aunt Elizabeth wanted to get a dark brown but Aunt Laura
insisted on blue.  I looked at myself in my glass and I remembered
that Ilse had told me her father told her I would be handsome if I
had more colour.  So I pinched my cheeks to make them red.  I
looked ever so much nicer but it didn't last.  Then I took an old
red velvet flower that had once been in Aunt Laura's bonnet and wet
it and then rubbed the red on my cheeks.  I went to the party and
the girls all LOOKED at me but nobody said anything, only Rhoda
Stuart giggled and giggled.  I meant to come home and wash the red
off before Aunt Elizabeth saw me.  But she took a notion to call
for me on her way home from the store.  She did not say anything
there but when we got home she said, 'What have you been doing to
your face, Emily?'  I told her and I expected an awful scolding,
but all she said was, 'Don't you know that you have made yourself
CHEAP?'  I did know it, too.  I had felt that all along although I
couldn't think of the right word for it before.  'I will never do
such a thing again, Aunt Elizabeth,' I said.  'You'd better not,'
she said.  'Go and wash your face this instant.'  I did and I was
not half so pretty but I felt ever so much better.  Strange to
relate, dear Father, I heard Aunt Elizabeth laughing about it in
the pantry to Aunt Laura afterwards.  You never can tell what will
make Aunt Elizabeth laugh.  I am sure it was ever so much funnier
when Saucy Sal followed me to prayer-meeting last Wednesday night,
but Aunt Elizabeth never laughed a bit then.  I don't often go to
prayer-meeting but Aunt Laura couldn't go that night so Aunt
Elizabeth took me because she doesn't like to go alone.  I didn't
know Sal was following us till just as we got to the church I saw
her.  I shooed her away but after we went in I suppose Sal sneaked
in when some one opened the door and got upstairs into the galery.
And just as soon as Mr Dare began to pray Sal began to yowl.  It
sounded awful up in that big empty galery.  I felt so gilty and
miserable.  I did not need to paint my face.  It was just burning
red and Aunt Elizabeth's eyes glittered feendishly.  Mr Dare prayed
a long time.  He is deaf, so he did not hear Sal any more than when
he sat on her.  But every one else did and the boys giggled.  After
the prayer Mr Morris went up to the galery and chased Sal out.  We
could hear her skrambling over the seats and Mr Morris after her.
I was wild for fear he'd hurt her.  I ment to spank her myself with
a shingle next day but I did not want her to be kicked.  After a
long time he got her out of the galery and she tore down the stairs
and into the church, up one isle and down the other two or three
times, as fast as she could go and Mr Morris after her with a
broom.  It is awfully funny to think of it now but I did not think
it so funny at the time I was so ashamed and so afraid Sal would be
hurt.

"Mr Morris chased her out at last.  When he sat down I made a face
at him behind my hymn-book.  Coming home Aunt Elizabeth said, 'I
hope you have disgraced us enough to-night, Emily Starr.  I shall
never take you to prayer-meeting again.'  I am sorry I disgraced
the Murrays but I don't see how I was to blame and anyway I don't
like prayer-meeting because it is dull.

"But it wasn't dull that night, dear Father.

"Do you notice how my spelling is improved?  I have thought of such
a good plan.  I write my letter first and then I look up all the
words I'm not sure of and correct them.  Sometimes though I think a
word is all right when it isn't.

"Ilse and I have given up our language.  We fought over the verbs.
Ilse didn't want to have any tenses for the verbs.  She just wanted
to have a different word altogether for every tense.  I said if I
was going to make a language it was going to be a proper one and
Ilse got mad and said she had enough bother with grammer in English
and I could go and make my old language by myself.  But that is no
fun so I let it go too.  I was sorry because it was very interesting
and it was such fun to puzzle the other girls in school.  We weren't
able to get square with the French boys after all for Ilse had sore
throat all through potato-picking time and couldn't come over.  It
seems to me that life is full of disappointments.

"We had examinations in school this week.  I did pretty well in all
except arithmetic.  Miss Brownell explained something about the
questions but I was busy composing a story in my mind and did not
hear her so I got poor marks.  The story is called Madge
MacPherson's Secret.  I am going to buy four sheets of foolscap
with my egg money and sew them into a book and write the story in
it.  I can do what I like with my egg money.  I think maybe I'll
write novels when I grow up as well as poetry.  But Aunt Elizabeth
won't let me read any novels so how can I find out how to write
them?  Another thing that worries me, if I do grow up and write a
wonderful poem, perhaps people won't see how wonderful it is.

"Cousin Jimmy says that a man in Priest Pond says the end of the
world is coming soon.  I hope it won't come till I've seen
everything in it.

"Poor Elder MacKay has the mumps.

"I was over sleeping with Ilse the other night because her father
was away.  Ilse says her prayers now and she said she'd bet me
anything she could pray longer than me.  I said she couldn't and I
prayed ever so long about everything I could think of and when I
couldn't think of anything more I thought at first I'd begin over
again.  Then I thought, 'No, that would not be honerable.  A Starr
must be honerable.'  So I got up and said 'You win' and Ilse never
answered.  I went around the bed and there she was asleep on her
knees.  When I woke her up she said we'd have to call the bet off
because she could have gone on praying for ever so long if she
hadn't fell asleep.

"After we got into bed I told her a lot of things I wished
afterwards I hadn't.  Secrets.

"The other day in history class Miss Brownell read that Sir Walter
Raleigh had to lie in the Tower for fourteen years.  Perry said,
'Wouldn't they let him get up sometimes?'  Then Miss Brownell
punished him for impertinence, but Perry was in earnest.  Ilse was
mad at Miss Brownell for whipping Perry and mad at Perry for asking
such a fool question as if he didn't know anything.  But Perry says
he is going to write a history book some day that won't have such
puzzling things in it."

"I am finishing the Disappointed House in my mind.  I'm furnishing
the rooms like flowers.  I'll have a rose room all pink and a lily
room all white and silver and a pansy room, blue and gold.  I wish
the Disappointed House could have a Christmas.  It never has any
Christmases.

"Oh, Father, I've just thought of something nice.  When I grow up
and write a great novel and make lots of money, I will buy the
Disappointed House and finish it.  Then it won't be Disappointed
any more.

"Ilse's Sunday-school teacher, Miss Willeson, gave her a Bible for
learnig 200 verses.  But when she took it home her father laid it
on the floor and kicked it out in the yard.  Mrs Simms says a
judgment will come on him but nothing has happened yet.  The poor
man is warped.  That is why he did such a wicked thing.

"Aunt Laura took me to old Mrs Mason's funeral last Wednesday.  I
like funerals.  They are so dramatic.

"My pig died last week.  It was a GREAT FINANSHUL LOSS to me.  Aunt
Elizabeth says Cousin Jimmy fed it too well.  I suppose I should
not have called it after Lofty John.

"We have maps to draw in school now.  Rhoda Stuart always gets the
most marks.  Miss Brownell doesn't know that Rhoda just puts the
map up against a window pane and the paper over it and copies it
off.  I like drawing maps.  Norway and Sweden look like a tiger
with mountains for stripes and Ireland looks like a little dog with
its back turned on England, and its paws held up against its
breast, and Africa looks like a big pork ham.  Australia is a
lovely map to draw.

"Ilse is getting on real well in school now.  She says she isn't
going to have me beating her.  She can learn like the dickens as
Perry says, when she tries, and she has won the silver medal for
Queen's County.  The W.C.T.U. in Charlottetown gave it for the best
reciter.  They had the contest in Shrewsbury and Aunt Laura took
Ilse because Dr Burnley wouldn't and Ilse won it.  Aunt Laura told
Dr Burnley when he was here one day that he ought to give Ilse a
good education.  He said, 'I'm not going to waste money educating
any she-thing.'  And he looked black as a thunder cloud.  Oh, I
wish Dr Burnley would love Ilse.  I'm so glad YOU loved ME, Father.


"DEC. 22.

"Dear Father:  We had our school examination to-day.  It was a
great occasion.  Almost everybody was there except Dr Burnley and
Aunt Elizabeth.  All the girls wore their best dresses but me.  I
knew Ilse had nothing to wear but her shabby old last winter's
plaid that is too short for her, so to keep her from feeling bad, I
put on my old brown dress, too.  Aunt Elizabeth did not want to let
me do it at first because New Moon Murrays should be well dressed
but when I explained about Ilse she looked at Aunt Laura and then
said I might.

"Rhoda Stuart made fun of Ilse and me but I heaped coals of fire on
her head.  (That is what is called a figure of speech.)  She got
stuck in her recitation.  She had left the book home and nobody
else knew the piece but me.  At first I looked at her triumphantly.
But then a queer feeling came into me and I thought 'What would I
feel like if I was stuck before a big crowd of people like this?
And besides the honour of the school is at stake,' so I whispered
it to her because I was quite close.  She got through the rest all
right.  The strange thing is, dear Father, that now I don't feel
any more as if I hated her.  I feel quite kindly to her and it is
much nicer.  It is uncomfortable to hate people.


"DEC. 28.

"DEAR FATHER:

"Christmas is over.  It was pretty nice.  I never saw so many good
things cooked all at once.  Uncle Wallace and Aunt Eva and Uncle
Oliver and Aunt Addie and Aunt Ruth were here.  Uncle Oliver didn't
bring any of his children and I was much disappointed.  We had Dr
Burnley and Ilse too.  Every one was dressed up.  Aunt Elizabeth
wore her black satin dress with a pointed lace collar and cap.  She
looked quite handsome and I was proud of her.  You like your
relations to look well even if you don't like THEM.  Aunt Laura
wore her brown silk and Aunt Ruth had on a grey dress.  Aunt Eva
was VERY elegant.  Her dress had a train.  But it smelled of moth
balls.

"I had on my blue cashmere and wore my hair tied with blue ribbons,
and Aunt Laura let me wear mother's blue silk sash with the pink
daisies on it that she had when she was a little girl at New Moon.
Aunt Ruth sniffed when she saw me.  She said, 'You have grown a
good deal, Em'ly.  I hope you are a better girl.'

"But she DIDN'T hope it (really).  I saw that quite plain.  Then
she told me my bootlace was untyed.

"'She looks better,' said Uncle Oliver.  'I wouldn't wonder if she
grew up into a strong, healthy girl after all.'

"Aunt Eva sighed and shook her head.  Uncle Wallace didn't say
anything but shook hands with me.  His hand was as cold as a fish.
When we went out to the sitting-room for dinner I stepped on Aunt
Eva's train and I could hear some stitches rip somewhere.  Aunt Eva
pushed me away and Aunt Ruth said, 'What a very awkward child you
are, Em'ly.'  I stepped behind Aunt Ruth and stuck out my tongue at
her.  Uncle Oliver makes a noise eating his soup.  We had all the
good silver spoons out.  Cousin Jimmy carved the turkeys and he
gave me two slices of the breast because he knows I like the white
meat best.  Aunt Ruth said 'When I was a little girl the wing was
good enough for me,' and Cousin Jimmy put ANOTHER white slice on my
plate.  Aunt Ruth didn't say anything more then till the carving
was done, and then she said, 'I saw your school teacher in
Shrewsbury last Saturday, Em'ly, and she did not give me a very
good account of you.  If you were MY daughter I would expect a
different report.'

"'I am very glad I am not your daughter,' I said in my mind.  I
didn't say it out loud of course but Aunt Ruth said, 'Please do not
look so sulky when I speak to you, Em'ly.'  And Uncle Wallace said,
'It is a pity she has such an unattractive expression.'

"'YOU are conceited and domineering and stingy,' I said, still in
my mind.  'I heard Dr Burnley say you were.'

"'I see there is an ink-stain on her finger,' said Aunt Ruth.  (I
had been writing a poem before dinner.)

"And then a most surprising thing happened.  Relations are always
surprising you.  Aunt Elizabeth spoke up and said, 'I do wish,
Ruth, that you and Wallace would leave that child alone.'  I could
hardly believe my ears.  Aunt Ruth looked annoyed but she DID leave
me alone after that and only sniffed when Cousin Jimmy slipped a
bit more white meat on my plate.

"After that the dinner was nice.  And when they got as far as the
pudding they all began to talk and it was splendid to listen to.
They told stories and jokes about the Murrays.  Even Uncle Wallace
laughed and Aunt Ruth told some things about Great-Aunt Nancy.
They were sarcastic but they were interesting.  Aunt Elizabeth
opened Grandfather Murray's desk and took out an old poem that had
been written to Aunt Nancy BY A LOVER when she was young and Uncle
Oliver read it.  Great-Aunt Nancy must have been very beautiful.  I
wonder if anyone will ever write a poem to me.  If I could have a
bang somebody might.  I said, 'Was Great-Aunt Nancy really as
pretty as that?' and Uncle Oliver said, 'They say she was seventy
years ago' and Uncle Wallace said, 'She hangs on well--she'll see
the century mark yet,' and Uncle Oliver said, 'Oh, she's got so in
the habit of living she'll never die.'

"Dr Burnley told a story I didn't understand.  Uncle Wallace
hawhawed right out and Uncle Oliver put his napkin up to his face.
Aunt Addie and Aunt Eva looked at each other sidewise and then at
their plates and smiled a little bit.  Aunt Ruth seemed offended
and Aunt Elizabeth looked COLDLY at Dr Burnley and said, 'I think
you forget that there are children present.'  Dr Burnley said, 'I
beg your pardon, Elizabeth,' VERY politely.  He can speak with a
GRAND AIR when he likes.  He is very handsome when he is dressed up
and shaved.  Ilse says she is proud of him even if he hates her.

"After dinner was over the presents were given.  That is a Murray
tradishun.  We never have stockings or trees but a big bran pie is
passed all around with the presents buried in it and ribbons
hanging out with names on them.  It was fun.  My relations all give
me useful presents except Aunt Laura.  She gave me a bottle of
perfume.  I love it.  I love nice smells.  Aunt Elizabeth does not
approve of perfumes.  She gave me a new apron but I am thankful to
say not a baby one.  Aunt Ruth gave me a New Testament and said
'Em'ly, I hope you will read a portion of that every day until you
have read it through,' and I said, 'Why, Aunt Ruth, I've read the
whole New Testament a dozen times (and so I have.)  I LOVE
Revelations.'  (And I DO.  When I read the verse 'and the twelve
gates were twelve pearls,' I just SAW them and the flash came.)
'The Bible is not to be read as a story-book,' Aunt Ruth said
coldly.  Uncle Wallace and Aunt Eva gave me a pair of black mits
and Uncle Oliver and Aunt Addie gave me a whole dollar in nice new
silver dimes and Cousin Jimmy gave me a hair-ribbon.  Perry had
left a silk bookmark for me.  He had to go home to spend Christmas
day with his Aunt Tom at Stovepipe Town but I saved a lot of nuts
and raisins for him.  I gave him and Teddy handkerchiefs (Teddy's
was a LITTLE the nicest) and I gave Ilse a hair-ribbon.  I bought
them myself out of my egg money.  (I will not have any more egg
money for a long time because my hen has stopped laying.)
Everybody was happy and once Uncle Wallace smiled right at me.  I
did not think him so ugly when he smiled.

"After dinner Ilse and I played games in the kitchen and Cousin
Jimmy helped us make taffy.  We had a big supper but nobody could
eat much because they had had such a dinner.  Aunt Eva's head ached
and Aunt Ruth said she didn't see why Elizabeth made the sausages
so rich.  But the rest were good humoured and Aunt Laura kept
things pleasant.  She is good at making things pleasant.  And after
it was all over Uncle Wallace said (this is another Murray
tradishun) 'Let us think for a few moments of those who have gone
before.'  I liked the way he said it--very solemnly and kind.  It
was one of the times when I am glad the blood of the Murrays flows
in my vains.  And I thought of YOU, darling Father, and Mother and
poor little Mike and Great-great-Grandmother Murray, and of my old
account-book that Aunt Elizabeth burned, because it seemed just
like a person to me.  And then we all joined hands and sung 'For
Auld Lang Syne' before they went home.  I didn't feel like a
stranger among the Murrays any more.  Aunt Laura and I stood out on
the porch to watch them go.  Aunt Laura put her arm around me and
said, 'Your mother and I used to stand like this long ago, Emily,
to watch the Christmas guests go away.'  The snow creaked and the
bells rang back through the trees and the frost on the pighouse
roof sparkled in the moonlight.  And it was all so lovely (the
bells and the frost and the big shining white night) that the FLASH
came and that was best of all."



"ROMANTIC BUT NOT COMFORTABLE"


A certain thing happened at New Moon because Teddy Kent paid Ilse
Burnley a compliment one day and Emily Starr didn't altogether like
it.  Empires have been overturned for the same reason.

Teddy was skating on Blair Water and taking Ilse and Emily out in
turns for "slides."  Neither Ilse nor Emily had skates.  Nobody was
sufficiently interested in Ilse to buy skates for her, and as for
Emily, Aunt Elizabeth did not approve of girls skating.  New Moon
girls had never skated.  Aunt Laura had a revolutionary idea that
skating would be good exercise for Emily and would, moreover,
prevent her from wearing out the soles of her boots sliding.  But
neither of these arguments was sufficient to convince Aunt
Elizabeth, in spite of the thrifty streak that came to her from the
Burnleys.  The latter, however, caused her to issue an edict that
Emily was not to "slide."  Emily took this very hardly.  She moped
about in a woe-begone fashion and she wrote to her father, "I HATE
Aunt Elizabeth.  She is so unjust.  She never plays fair."  But one
day Dr Burnley stuck his head in at the door of the New Moon
kitchen and said gruffly, "What's this I hear about you not letting
Emily slide, Elizabeth?"

"She wears out the soles of her boots," said Elizabeth.

"Boots be ------" the doctor remembered that ladies were present
just in time.  "Let the creature slide all she wants to.  She ought
to be in the open air all the time.  She ought"--the doctor stared
at Elizabeth ferociously--"she ought to sleep out of doors."

Elizabeth trembled lest the doctor should go on to insist on this
unheard-of proceeding.  She knew he had absurd ideas about the
proper treatment of consumptives and those who might become such.
She was glad to appease him by letting Emily stay out of doors in
daytime and do what seemed good to her, if only he would say no
more about staying out all night too.

"He is much more concerned about Emily than he is about his own
child," she said bitterly to Laura.

"Ilse is too healthy," said Aunt Laura with a smile.  "If she were
a delicate child Allan might forgive her for--for being her
mother's daughter."

"S--s--h," said Aunt Elizabeth.  But she "s--s--s--h'd" too late.
Emily, coming into the kitchen, had heard Aunt Laura and puzzled
over what she had said all day in school.  Why had Ilse to be
forgiven for being her mother's daughter?  Everybody was her
mother's daughter, wasn't she?  Wherein did the crime consist?
Emily worried over it so much that she was inattentive to her
lessons and Miss Brownell raked her fore and aft with sarcasm.

It is time we got back to Blair Water where Teddy was just bringing
Emily in from a glorious spin clear round the great circle of ice.
Ilse was waiting for her turn, on the bank.  Her golden cloud of
hair aureoled her face and fell in a shimmering wave over her
forehead under the faded, little red tam she wore.  Ilse's clothes
were always faded.  The stinging kiss of the wind had crimsoned her
cheeks and her eyes were glowing like amber pools with fire in
their hearts.  Teddy's artistic perception saw her beauty and
rejoiced in it.

"Isn't Ilse handsome?" he said.

Emily was not jealous.  It never hurt her to hear Ilse praised.
But somehow she did not like this.  Teddy was looking at Ilse
altogether TOO admiringly.  It was all, Emily believed, due to that
shimmering fringe on Ilse's white brows.

"If _I_ had a bang Teddy might think me handsome too," she thought
resentfully.  "Of course, black hair isn't as pretty as gold.  But
my forehead is too high--everybody says so.  And I DID look nice in
Teddy's picture because he drew some curls over it."

The matter rankled.  Emily thought of it as she went home over the
sheen of the crusted snow-field slanting to the light of the winter
sunset, and she could not eat her supper because she did not have a
bang.  All her long hidden yearning for a bang seemed to come to a
head at once.  She knew there was no use in coaxing Aunt Elizabeth
for one.  But when she was getting ready for bed that night she
stood on a chair so that she could see little Emily-in-the-glass,
then lifted the curling ends of her long braid and laid them over
her forehead.  The effect, in Emily's eyes at least, was very
alluring.  She suddenly thought--what if she cut a bang herself?
It would take only a minute.  And once done what could Aunt
Elizabeth do?  She would be very angry and doubtless inflict some
kind of punishment.  But the bang would be there--at least until it
grew out long.

Emily, her lips set, went for the scissors.  She unbraided her hair
and parted the front tresses.  Snip--snip--went the scissors.
Glistening locks fell at her feet.  In a minute Emily had her long-
desired bang.  Straight across her brows fell the lustrous, softly
curving fringe.  It changed the whole character of her face.  It
made it arch, provocative, elusive.  For one brief moment Emily
gazed at her reflection in triumph.

And then--sheer terror seized her.  Oh, what had she done?  How
angry Aunt Elizabeth would be!  Conscience suddenly awoke and added
its pang also.  She had been wicked.  It was wicked to cut a bang
when Aunt Elizabeth had forbidden it.  Aunt Elizabeth had given her
a home at New Moon--hadn't Rhoda Stuart that very day in school
twitted her again with "living on charity?"  And she was repaying
her by disobedience and ingratitude.  A Starr should not have done
that.  In a panic of fear and remorse Emily snatched the scissors
and cut the bang off--cut it close against the hair-line.  Worse
and worse!  Emily beheld the result in dismay.  Any one could see
that a bang HAD been cut, so Aunt Elizabeth's anger was still to
face.  And she had made a terrible fright of herself.  Emily burst
into tears, snatched up the fallen locks and crammed them into the
waste-basket, blew out her candle and sprang into bed, just as Aunt
Elizabeth came in.

Emily burrowed face downward in the pillows, and pretended to be
asleep.  She was afraid Aunt Elizabeth would ask her some question
and insist on her looking up while she answered it.  That was a
Murray tradition--you looked people in the face when you spoke to
them.  But Aunt Elizabeth undressed in silence and came to bed.
The room was in darkness--thick darkness.  Emily sighed and turned
over.  There was a hot gin-jar in the bed, she knew, and her feet
were cold.  But she did not think she ought to have the privilege
of the gin-jar.  She was too wicked--too ungrateful.

"DO stop squirming," said Aunt Elizabeth.

Emily squirmed no more--physically at least.  Mentally she
continued to squirm.  She could not sleep.  Her feet or her
conscience--or both--kept her awake.  And fear, also.  She dreaded
the morning.  Aunt Elizabeth would see then what had happened.  If
it were only over--if the revelation were only over.  Emily forgot
and squirmed.

"What makes you so restless to-night?" demanded Aunt Elizabeth, in
high displeasure.  "Are you taking a cold?"

"No, ma'am."

"Then go to sleep.  I can't bear such wriggling.  One might as well
have an eel in bed--O--W!"

Aunt Elizabeth, in squirming a bit herself, had put her own foot
against Emily's icy ones.

"Goodness, child, your feet are like snow.  Here, put them on the
gin-jar."

Aunt Elizabeth pushed the gin-jar over against Emily's feet.  How
lovely and warm and comforting it was!

Emily worked her toes against it like a cat.  But she suddenly knew
she could not wait for morning.

"Aunt Elizabeth, I've got something to confess."

Aunt Elizabeth was tired and sleepy and did not want confessions
just then.  In no very gracious tone she said:

"What have you been doing?"

"I--I cut a bang, Aunt Elizabeth."

"A bang?"

Aunt Elizabeth sat up in bed.

"But I cut it off again," cried Emily hurriedly.  "Right off--close
to my head."

Aunt Elizabeth got out of bed, lit a candle, and looked Emily over.

"Well you HAVE made a sight of yourself," she said grimly.  "I
never saw any one as ugly as you are this minute.  And you have
behaved in a most underhanded fashion."

This was one of the times Emily felt compelled to agree with Aunt
Elizabeth.

"I'm sorry," she said, lifting pleading eyes.

"You will eat your supper in the pantry for a week," said Aunt
Elizabeth.  "And you will not go to Uncle Oliver's next week when I
go.  I had promised to take you.  But I shall take no one who looks
as you do anywhere with me."

This was hard.  Emily had looked forward to that visit to Uncle
Oliver's.  But on the whole she was relieved.  The worst was over
and her feet were getting warm.  But there was one thing yet.  She
might as well unburden her heart completely while she was at it.

"There's another thing I feel I ought to tell you."

Aunt Elizabeth got into bed again with a grunt.  Emily took it for
permission.

"Aunt Elizabeth, you remember that book I found in Dr Burnley's
bookcase and brought home and asked you if I could read it?  It was
called The History of Henry Esmond.  You looked at it and said you
had no objections to my reading history.  So I read it.  But, Aunt
Elizabeth, it wasn't history--it was a novel.  And I KNEW IT WHEN I
BROUGHT IT HOME."

"You know that I have forbidden you to read novels, Emily Starr.
They are wicked books and have ruined many souls."

"It was very dull," pleaded Emily, as if dullness and wickedness
were quite incompatible.  "And it made me feel unhappy.  Everybody
seemed to be in love with the wrong person.  I have made up my
mind, Aunt Elizabeth, that I will never fall in love.  It makes too
much trouble."

"Don't talk of things you can't understand, and that are not fit
for children to think about.  This is the result of reading novels.
I shall tell Dr Burnley to lock his bookcase up."

"Oh, don't do that, Aunt Elizabeth," exclaimed Emily.  "There are
no more novels in it.  But I'm reading such an interesting book
over there.  It tells about everything that's inside of you.  I've
got as far along as the liver and its diseases.  The pictures are
so interesting.  Please let me finish it."  This was worse than
novels.  Aunt Elizabeth was truly horrified.  Things that were
inside of you were not to be read about.

"Have you no shame, Emily Starr?  If you have not I am ashamed for
you.  Little girls do not read books like that."

"But, Aunt Elizabeth, why not?  I HAVE a liver, haven't I--and
heart and lungs--and stomach--and--"

"That will do, Emily.  Not another word."

Emily went to sleep unhappily.  She wished she had never said a
word about "Esmond."  And she knew she would never have a chance to
finish that other fascinating book.  Nor had she.  Dr Burnley's
bookcase was locked thereafter and the doctor gruffly ordered her
and Ilse to keep out of his office.  He was in a very bad humour
about it for he had words with Elizabeth Murray over the matter.

Emily was not allowed to forget her bang.  She was twitted and
teased in school about it and Aunt Elizabeth looked at it whenever
she looked at Emily and the contempt in her eyes burned Emily like
a flame.  Nevertheless, as the mistreated hair grew out and began
to curl in soft little ringlets, Emily found consolation.  The bang
was tacitly permitted, and she felt that her looks were greatly
improved thereby.  Of course, as soon as it grew long enough she
knew Aunt Elizabeth would make her brush it back.  But for the time
being she took comfort in her added beauty.

The bang was just about at its best when the letter came from
Great-Aunt Nancy.

It was written to Aunt Laura--Great-Aunt Nancy and Aunt Elizabeth
were not over-fond of each other--and in it Great-Aunt Nancy said,
"If you have a photograph of that child Emily send it along.  I
don't want to see HER; she's stupid--I know she's stupid.  But I
want to see what Juliet's child looks like.  Also the child of that
fascinating young man, Douglas Starr.  He WAS fascinating.  What
fools you all were to make such a fuss about Juliet running away
with him.  If you and Elizabeth had BOTH run away with somebody in
your running days it would have been better for you."

This letter was not shown to Emily.  Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura
had a long secret consultation and then Emily was told that she was
to be taken to Shrewsbury to have her picture taken for Aunt Nancy.
Emily was much excited over this.  She was dressed in her blue
cashmere and Aunt Laura put a point lace collar on it and hung her
Venetian beads over it.  And new buttoned boots were got for the
occasion.

"I'm so glad this has happened while I still have my bang," thought
Emily happily.

But in the photographer's dressing-room, Aunt Elizabeth grimly
proceeded to brush back her bang and pin it with hairpins.

"Oh, please, Aunt Elizabeth, let me have it down," Emily begged.
"Just for the picture.  After this I'll brush it back."

Aunt Elizabeth was inexorable.  The bang was brushed back and the
photograph taken.  When Aunt Elizabeth saw the finished result she
was satisfied.

"She looks sulky; but she is neat; and there is a resemblance to
the Murrays I never noticed before," she told Aunt Laura.  "That
will please Aunt Nancy.  She is very clannish under all her
oddness."

Emily would have liked to throw every one of the photographs in the
fire.  She hated them.  They made her look hideous.  Her face
seemed to be ALL forehead.  If they sent Aunt Nancy that Aunt Nancy
would think her stupider than ever.  When Aunt Elizabeth did the
photograph up in cardboard and told Emily to take it to the office
Emily already knew what she meant to do.  She went straight to the
garret and took out of her box the water-colour Teddy had made of
her.  It was just the same size as the photograph.  Emily removed
the latter from its wrappings, spurning it aside with her foot.

"That isn't ME," she said.  "I looked sulky because I felt sulky
about the bang.  But I hardly ever look sulky, so it isn't fair."

She wrapped Teddy's sketch up in the cardboard and then sat down
and wrote a letter.


"DEAR GREAT-AUNT NANCY:

"Aunt Elizabeth had my picture taken to send you but I don't like
it because it makes me look too ugly and I am putting another
picture in instead.  An ARTIST FRIEND made it for me.  It is just
like me when I am smiling and have a bang.  I am only LENDING it to
you, not GIVING it, because I valew it very highly.

"Your obedient grand niece,

"EMILY BYRD STARR.

"P.S.  I am not so stupid as you think.

"E. B. S.

"P. S. No. 2.  I am not stupid AT ALL."


Emily put her letter in with the picture--thereby unconsciously
cheating the post-office--and slipped out of the house to mail it.
Once it was safely in the post-office she drew a breath of relief.
She found the walk home very enjoyable.  It was a bland day in
early April and spring was looking at you round the corners.  The
Wind Woman was laughing and whistling over the wet sweet fields;
freebooting crows held conferences in the tree-tops; little pools
of sunshine lay in the mossy hollows; the sea was a blaze of
sapphire beyond the golden dunes; the maples in Lofty John's bush
were talking about red buds.  Everything Emily had ever read of
dream and myth and legend seemed a part of the charm of that bush.
She was filled to her finger-tips with a rapture of living.

"Oh, I smell spring!" she cried as she danced along the brook path.

Then she began to compose a poem on it.  Everybody who has ever
lived in the world and could string two rhymes together has written
a poem on spring.  It is the most be-rhymed subject in the world--
and always will be, because it is poetry incarnate itself.  You can
never be a real poet if you haven't made at least one poem about
spring.

Emily was wondering whether she would have elves dancing on the
brookside by moonlight, or pixies sleeping in a bed of ferns in her
poem, when something confronted her at a bend in the path which was
neither elf nor pixy, but seemed odd and weird enough to belong to
some of the tribes of Little People.  Was it a witch?  Or an
elderly fay of evil intentions--the bad fairy of all christening
tales?

"I'm the b'y's Aunt Tom," said the appearance, seeing that Emily
was too amazed to do anything but stand and stare.

"Oh!"  Emily gasped in relief.  She was no longer frightened.  But
what a VERY peculiar looking lady Perry's Aunt Tom was.  Old--so
old that it seemed quite impossible that she could ever have been
young; a bright red hood over crone-like, fluttering grey locks; a
little face seamed by a thousand fine, criss-cross wrinkles; a long
nose with a knob on the end of it; little twinkling, eager, grey
eyes under bristly brows; a ragged man's coat covering her from
neck to feet; a basket in one hand and a black knobby stick in the
other.

"Staring wasn't thought good breeding in my time," said Aunt Tom.

"Oh!" said Emily again.  "Excuse me--How do you do!" she added,
with a vague grasp after her manners.

"Polite--and not too proud," said Aunt Tom, peering curiously at
her.  "I've been up to the big house with a pair of socks for the
b'y but 'twas yourself I wanted to see."

"Me?" said Emily blankly.

"Yis.  The b'y has been talking a bit of you and a plan kem into my
head.  Thinks I to myself it's no bad notion.  But I'll make sure
before I waste my bit o' money.  Emily Byrd Starr is your name and
Murray is your nature.  If I give the b'y an eddication will ye
marry him when ye grow up?"

"Me!" said Emily again.  It seemed to be all she could say.  Was
she dreaming?  She MUST be.

"Yis--you.  You're half Murray and it'll be a great step up f'r the
b'y.  He's smart and he'll be a rich man some day and boss the
country.  But divil a cent will I spend on him unless you promise."

"Aunt Elizabeth wouldn't let me," cried Emily, too frightened of
this odd old body to refuse on her own account.

"If you've got any Murray in you you'll do your own choosing," said
Aunt Tom, thrusting her face so close to Emily's that her bushy
eyebrows tickled Emily's nose.  "Say you'll marry the b'y and to
college he goes."

Emily seemed to be rendered speechless.  She could think of nothing
to say--oh, if she could ONLY wake up!  She could not even run.

"Say it!" insisted Aunt Tom, thumping her stick sharply on a stone
in the path.

Emily was so horrified that she might have said something--
anything--to escape.  But at this moment Perry bounded out of the
spruce copse, his face white with rage, and seized his Aunt Tom
most disrespectfully by the shoulder.

"You go home!" he said furiously.

"Now, b'y dear," quavered Aunt Tom deprecatingly.  "I was only
trying to do you a good turn.  I was asking her to marry ye after a
bit an--"

"I'll do my own asking!"  Perry was angrier than ever.  "You've
likely spoiled everything.  Go home--go home, I say!"

Aunt Tom hobbled off muttering, "Then I'll know better than to
waste me bit o' money.  No Murray, no money, me b'y."

When she had disappeared down the brook path Perry turned to Emily.
From white he had gone very red.

"Don't mind her--she's cracked," he said.  "Of course, when I grow
up I mean to ask you to marry me but--"

"I couldn't--Aunt Elizabeth--"

"Oh, she will then.  I'm going to be premier of Canada some day."

"But I wouldn't want--I'm sure I wouldn't--"

"You will when you grow up.  Ilse is better looking of course, and
I don't know why I like you best but I do."

"Don't you ever talk to me like this again!" commanded Emily,
beginning to recover her dignity.

"Oh, I won't--not till we grow up.  I'm as ashamed of it as you
are," said Perry with a sheepish grin.  "Only I had to say
something after Aunt Tom butted in like that.  I ain't to blame for
it so don't you hold it against me.  But just you remember that I'm
going to ask you some day.  And I believe Teddy Kent is too."

Emily was walking haughtily away but she turned at this to say
coolly over her shoulder.

"If he does I'll marry him."

"If you do I'll knock his head off," shouted Perry in a prompt
rage.

But Emily walked steadily on home and went to the garret to think
things over.

"It has been romantic but not comfortable," was her conclusion.
And that particular poem on spring was never finished.



WYTHER GRANGE


No reply or acknowledgment came from Great-Aunt-Nancy Priest
regarding Emily's picture.  Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura, knowing
Great-Aunt Nancy's ways tolerably well, were not surprised at this,
but Emily felt rather worried over it.  Perhaps Great-Aunt Nancy
did not approve of what she had done; or perhaps she still thought
her too stupid to bother with.

Emily did not like to lie under the imputation of stupidity.  She
wrote a scathing epistle to Great-Aunt Nancy on a letter-bill in
which she did not mince her opinions as to that ancient lady's
knowledge of the rules of epistolary etiquette; the letter was
folded up and stowed away on the little shelf under the sofa but it
served its purpose in blowing off steam and Emily had ceased to
think about the matter when a letter came from Great-Aunt Nancy in
July.

Elizabeth and Laura talked the matter over in the cookhouse,
forgetful or ignorant of the fact that Emily was sitting on the
kitchen doorstep just outside.  Emily was imagining herself
attending a drawing-room of Queen Victoria.  Robed in white, with
ostrich plumes, veil, and court train, she had just bent to kiss
the Queen's hand when Aunt Elizabeth's voice shattered her dream as
a pebble thrown into a pool scatters the fairy reflection.

"What is your opinion, Laura," Aunt Elizabeth was saying, "of
letting Emily visit Aunt Nancy?"

Emily pricked up her ears.  What was in the wind now?

"From her letter she seems very anxious to have the child," said
Laura.

Elizabeth sniffed.

"A whim--a whim.  You know what her whims are.  Likely by the time
Emily got there she'd be quite over it and have no use for her."

"Yes, but on the other hand if we don't let her go she will be
dreadfully offended and never forgive us--or Emily.  Emily should
have her chance."

"I don't know that her chance is worth much.  If Aunt Nancy really
has any money beyond her annuity--and that's what neither you nor I
nor any living soul knows, unless it's Caroline--she'll likely
leave it all to some of the Priests--Leslie Priest's a favourite of
hers, I understand.  Aunt Nancy always liked her husband's family
better than her own, even though she's always slurring at them.
Still--she MIGHT take a fancy to Emily--they're both so odd they
might suit each other--but you know the way she talks--she and that
abominable old Caroline."

"Emily is too young to understand," said Aunt Laura.

"I understand more than you think," cried Emily indignantly.

Aunt Elizabeth jerked open the cook-house door.

"Emily Starr, haven't you learned by this time not to listen?"

"I wasn't listening.  I thought you knew I was sitting here--I
can't help my ears HEARING.  Why didn't you WHISPER?  When you
whisper I know you're talking secrets and I don't try to hear them.
Am I going to Great-Aunt Nancy's for a visit?"

"We haven't decided," said Aunt Elizabeth coldly, and that was all
the satisfaction Emily got for a week.  She hardly knew herself
whether she wanted to go or not.  Aunt Elizabeth had begun making
cheese--New Moon was noted for its cheeses--and Emily found the
whole process absorbing, from the time the rennet was put in the
warm new milk till the white curds were packed away in the hoop and
put under the press in the old orchard, with the big, round, grey
"cheese" stone to weight it down as it had weighed down New Moon
cheeses for a hundred years.  And then she and Ilse and Teddy and
Perry were absorbed heart and soul in "playing out" the Midsummer
Night's Dream in Lofty John's bush and it was very fascinating.
When they entered Lofty John's bush they went out of the realm of
daylight and things known into the realm of twilight and mystery
and enchantment.  Teddy had painted wonderful scenery on old boards
and pieces of sails, which Perry had got at the Harbour.  Ilse had
fashioned delightful fairy wings from tissue paper and tinsel, and
Perry had made an ass's head for Bottom out of an old calfskin that
was very realistic.  Emily had toiled happily for many weeks
copying out the different parts and adapting them to circumstances.
She had "cut" the play after a fashion that would have harrowed
Shakespeare's soul, but after all the result was quite pretty and
coherent.  It did not worry them that four small actors had to take
six times as many parts.  Emily was Titania and Hermia and a job
lot of fairies besides, Ilse was Hippolyta and Helena, plus some
more fairies, and the boys were anything that the dialogue
required.  Aunt Elizabeth knew nothing of it all; she would
promptly have put a stop to the whole thing, for she thought play-
acting exceedingly wicked; but Aunt Laura was privy to the plot,
and Cousin Jimmy and Lofty John had already attended a moonlight
rehearsal.

To go away and leave all this, even for a time, would be a hard
wrench, but on the other hand Emily had a burning curiosity to see
Great-Aunt Nancy and Wyther Grange, her quaint, old house at Priest
Pond with the famous stone dogs on the gate-posts.  On the whole,
she thought she would like to go; and when she saw Aunt Laura doing
up her starched white petticoats and Aunt Elizabeth grimly dusting
off a small, black, nail-studded trunk in the garret she knew,
before she was told, that the visit to Priest Pond was going to
come off; so she took out the letter she had written to Aunt Nancy
and added an apologetic postscript.

Ilse chose to be disgruntled because Emily was going for a visit.
In reality Ilse felt appalled at the lonely prospects of a month or
more without her inseparable chum.  No more jolly evenings of play-
acting in Lofty John's bush, no more pungent quarrels.  Besides,
Ilse herself had never been anywhere for a visit in her whole life
and she felt sore over this fact.

"_I_ wouldn't go to Wyther Grange for anything," said Ilse.  "It's
haunted."

"'Tisn't."

"Yes!  It's haunted by a ghost you can FEEL and HEAR but never SEE.
Oh, I wouldn't be YOU for the world!  Your Great-Aunt Nancy is an
AWFUL CRANK, and the old woman who lives with her is a WITCH.
She'll put a spell on you.  You'll pine away and die."

"I won't--she isn't!"

"IS!  Why, she makes the stone dogs on the gate-posts howl every
night if any one comes near the place.  They go, 'WO-OR-OO-OO.'"

Ilse was not a born elocutionist for nothing.  Her "wo-or-oo-oo"
was extremely gruesome.  But it was daylight, and Emily was as
brave as a lion in daylight.

"You're jealous," she said, and walked off.

"I'm not, you blithering centipede," Ilse yelled after her.
"Putting on airs because your aunt has stone dogs on her gateposts!
Why, I know a woman in Shrewsbury who has dogs on her posts that
are ten times stonier than your aunt's!"

But next morning Ilse was over to bid Emily good-bye and entreat
her to write every week.  Emily was going to drive to Priest Pond
with Old Kelly.  Aunt Elizabeth was to have driven her but Aunt
Elizabeth was not feeling well that day and Aunt Laura could not
leave her.  Cousin Jimmy had to work at the hay.  It looked as if
she could not go, and this was rather serious, for Aunt Nancy had
been told to expect her that day and Aunt Nancy did not like to be
disappointed.  If Emily did not turn up at Priest Pond on the day
set Great-Aunt Nancy was quite capable of shutting the door in her
face when she did appear and telling her to go back home.  Nothing
less than this conviction would have induced Aunt Elizabeth to fall
in with Old Kelly's suggestion that Emily should ride to Priest
Pond with him.  His home was on the other side of it and he was
going straight there.

Emily was quite delighted.  She liked Old Kelly and thought that a
drive on his fine red waggon would be quite an adventure.  Her
little black box was hoisted to the roof and tied there and they
went clinking and glittering down the New Moon lane in fine style.
The tins in the bowels of the waggon behind them rumbled like a
young earthquake.

"Get up, my nag, get up," said Old Kelly.  "Sure, an' I always like
to drive the pretty gurrls.  An' when is the wedding to be?"

"Whose wedding?"

"The slyness av her?  Your own, av coorse."

"I have no intention of being married--immediately," said Emily, in
a very good imitation of Aunt Elizabeth's tone and manner.

"Sure, and ye're a chip av the ould block.  Miss Elizabeth herself
couldn't have said it better.  Get up, my nag, get up."

"I only meant," said Emily, fearing that she had insulted Old
Kelly, "that I am too young to be married."

"The younger the better--the less mischief ye'll be after working
with them come-hither eyes.  Get up, my nag, get up.  The baste is
tired.  So we'll let him go at his own swate will.  Here's a bag av
swaties for ye.  Ould Kelly always trates the ladies.  Come now,
tell me all about him."

"About whom?"--but Emily knew quite well.

"Your beau, av coorse."

"I haven't ANY beau.  Mr Kelly, I wish you wouldn't talk to me
about such things."

"Sure, and I won't if 'tis a sore subject.  Don't ye be minding if
ye haven't got one--there'll be scads av them after a while.  And
if the right one doesn't know what's good for him, just ye come to
Ould Kelly and get some toad ointment."

Toad ointment!  It sounded horrible.  Emily shivered.  But she
would rather talk about toad ointment than beaux.

"What is that for?"

"It's a love charm," said Old Kelly mysteriously.  "Put a li'l
smootch on his eyelids and he's yourn for life with never a squint
at any other gurrl."

"It doesn't SOUND very nice," said Emily.  "How do you make it?"

"You bile four toads alive till they're good and soft and then
mash--"

"Oh, stop, stop!" implored Emily, putting her hands to her ears.
"I don't want to hear any more--you couldn't be so cruel!"

"Cruel is it?  You were after eating lobsters this day that were
biled alive--"

"I don't believe it.  I don't.  If it's true I'll never, never eat
one again.  Oh, Mr Kelly, I thought you were a nice kind man--but
those poor toads!"

"Gurrl dear, it was only me joke.  An' you won't be nading toad
ointment to win your lad's love.  Wait you now--I've something in
the till behind me for a prisent for you."

Old Kelly fished out a box which he put into Emily's lap.  She
found a dainty little hair-brush in it.

"Look at the back av it," said Old Kelly.  "You'll see something
handsome--all the love charm ye'll ever nade."

Emily turned it over.  Her own face looked back at her from a
little inset mirror surrounded by a scroll of painted roses.

"Oh, Mr Kelly--how pretty--I mean the roses and the glass," she
cried.  "Is it really for me?  Oh, thank you, thank you!  Now, I
can have Emily-in-the-glass whenever I want her.  Why, I can carry
her round with me.  And you were really only in fun about the
toads!"

"Av coorse.  Get up, my nag, get up.  An' so ye're going to visit
the ould lady over at Praste Pond?  Ever been there?"

"No."

"It's full of Prastes.  Ye can't throw a stone but ye hit one.  And
hit one--hit all.  They're as proud and lofty as the Murrays
themselves.  The only wan I know is Adam Praste--the others hold
too high.  He's the black shape and quite sociable.  But if ye want
to see how the world looked on the morning after the flood, go into
his barnyard on a rainy day.  Look a-here, gurrl dear"--Old Kelly
lowered his voice mysteriously--"don't ye ever marry a Praste."

"Why not?" asked Emily, who had never thought of marrying a Priest
but was immediately curious as to why she shouldn't.

"They're ill to marry--ill to live with.  The wives die young.  The
ould lady of the Grange fought her man out and buried him but she
had the Murray luck.  I wouldn't trust it too far.  The only dacent
Praste among them is the wan they call Jarback Praste and he's too
auld for you."

"Why do they call him Jarback?"

"Wan av his shoulders is a l'il bit higher than the other.  He's
got a bit of money and doesn't be after having to work.  A book
worrum, I'm belaving.  Have ye got a bit av cold iron about you?"

"No; why?"

"Ye should have.  Old Caroline Praste at the Grange is a witch if
ever there was one."

"Why, that's what Ilse said.  But there are no such thing as
witches really, Mr Kelly."

"Maybe that's thrue but it's better to be on the safe side.  Here,
put this horseshoe-nail in your pocket and don't cross her if ye
can help it.  Ye don't mind if I have a bit av a smoke, do ye?"

Emily did not mind at all.  It left her free to follow her own
thoughts, which were more agreeable than Old Kelly's talk of toads
and witches.  The road from Blair Water to, Priest Pond was a very
lovely one, winding along the gulf shore, crossing fir-fringed
rivers and inlets, and coming ever and anon on one of the ponds for
which that part of the north shore was noted--Blair Water, Derry
Pond, Long Pond, Three Ponds where three blue lakelets were strung
together like three great sapphires held by a silver thread; and
then Priest Pond, the largest of all, almost as round as Blair
Water.  As they drove down towards it Emily drank the scene in with
avid eyes--as soon as possible she must write a description of it;
she had packed the Jimmy blank book in her box for just such
purposes.

The air seemed to be filled with opal dust over the great pond and
the bowery summer homesteads around it.  A western sky of smoky red
was arched over the big Malvern Bay beyond.  Little grey sails were
drifting along by the fir-fringed shores.  A sequestered side road,
fringed thickly with young maples and birches, led down to Wyther
Grange.  How damp and cool the air was in the hollows!  And how the
ferns did smell!  Emily was sorry when they reached Wyther Grange
and climbed in between the gate-posts whereon the big stone dogs
sat very stonily, looking grim enough in the twilight.

The wide hall door was open and a flood of light streamed out over
the lawn.  A little old woman was standing in it.  Old Kelly seemed
suddenly in something of a hurry.  He swung Emily and her box to
the ground, shook hands hastily and whispered, "Don't lose that bit
av a nail.  Good-bye.  I wish ye a cool head and a warm heart," and
was off before the little old woman could reach them.

"So this is Emily of New Moon!" Emily heard a rather shrill,
cracked voice saying.  She felt a thin, claw-like hand grasp hers
and draw her towards the door.  There were no witches, Emily knew--
but she thrust her hand into her pocket and touched the horseshoe-
nail.



DEALS WITH GHOSTS


"Your aunt is in the back parlour," said Caroline Priest.  "Come
this way.  Are you tired?"

"No," said Emily, following Caroline and taking her in thoroughly.
If Caroline were a witch she was a very small one.  She was really
no taller than Emily herself.  She wore a black silk dress and a
little string cap of black net edged with black ruching on her
yellowish white hair.  Her face was more wrinkled than Emily had
ever supposed a face could be and she had the peculiar grey-green
eyes which, as Emily afterwards discovered, "ran" in the Priest
clan.

"You may be a witch," thought Emily, "but I think I can manage
YOU."

They went through the spacious hall, catching glimpses on either
side of large, dim, splendid rooms, then through the kitchen end
out of it into an odd little back hall.  It was long and narrow and
dark.  On one side was a row of four, square, small-paned windows,
on the other were cupboards, reaching from floor to ceiling, with
doors of black shining wood.  Emily felt like one of the heroines
in Gothic romance, wandering at midnight through a subterranean
dungeon, with some unholy guide.  She had read The Mysteries of
Udolpho and The Romance of the Forest before the taboo had fallen
on Dr Burnley's bookcase.  She shivered.  It was awful but
interesting.

At the end of the hall a flight of four steps led up to a door.
Beside the steps was an immense black grandfather's clock reaching
almost to the ceiling.

"We shut little girls up in that when they're bad," whispered
Caroline, nodding at Emily, as she opened the door that led into
the back parlour.

"I'll take good care you won't shut ME up in it," thought Emily.

The back parlour was a pretty, quaint old room where a table was
laid for supper.  Caroline led Emily through it and knocked at
another door, using a quaint old brass knocker that was fashioned
like a chessy-cat, with such an irresistible grin that you wanted
to grin, too, when you saw it.  Somebody said, "Come in," and they
went down another four steps--was there ever such a funny house?--
into a bedroom.  And here at last was Great-Aunt Nancy Priest,
sitting in her arm-chair, with her black stick leaning against her
knee, and her tiny white hands, still pretty, and sparkling with
fine rings, lying on her purple silk apron.

Emily felt a distinct shock of disappointment.  After hearing that
poem in which Nancy Murray's beauty of nut-brown hair and starry
brown eyes and cheek of satin rose had been be-rhymed she had
somehow expected Great-Aunt Nancy, in spite of her ninety years, to
be beautiful still.  But Aunt Nancy was white-haired and yellow-
skinned and wrinkled and shrunken, though her brown eyes were still
bright and shrewd.  Somehow, she looked like an old fairy--an
impish, tolerant old fairy, who might turn suddenly malevolent if
you rubbed her the wrong way--only fairies never wore long, gold-
tasselled ear-rings that almost touched their shoulders, or white
lace caps with purple pansies in them.

"So this is Juliet's girl!" she said, giving Emily one of her
sparkling hands.  "Don't look so startled, child.  I'm not going to
kiss you.  I never held with inflicting kisses on defenceless
creatures simply because they were so unlucky as to be my relatives.
Now, who does she look like, Caroline?"

Emily made a mental grimace.  Now for another ordeal of
comparisons, wherein dead-and-gone noses and eyes and foreheads
would be dragged out and fitted on her.  She was thoroughly tired
of having her looks talked over in every gathering of the clans.

"Not much like the Murrays," said Caroline, peering so closely into
her face that Emily involuntarily drew back.  "Not so handsome as
the Murrays."

"Nor the Starrs either.  Her father was a handsome man--so handsome
that I'd have run away with him myself if I'd been fifty years
younger.  There's nothing of Juliet in her that I can see.  Juliet
was pretty.  You are not as good-looking as that picture made you
out but I didn't expect you would be.  Pictures and epitaphs are
never to be trusted.  Where's your bang gone, Emily?"

"Aunt Elizabeth combed it back."

"Well, you comb it down again while you're in my house.  There's
something of your Grandfather Murray about your eyebrows.  Your
grandfather was a handsome man--and a darned bad-tempered one--
almost as bad-tempered as the Priests--hey, Caroline?"

"If you please, Great-Aunt Nancy," said Emily deliberately, "I
don't like to be told I look like other people.  I look just like
myself."

Aunt Nancy chuckled.

"Spunk, I see.  Good.  I never cared for meek youngsters.  So
you're not stupid, eh?"

"No, I'm not."

Great-Aunt Nancy grinned this time.  Her false teeth looked
uncannily white and young in her old, brown face.

"Good.  If you've brains it's better than beauty--brains last,
beauty doesn't.  Me, for example.  Caroline here, now, never had
either brains nor beauty, had you, Caroline?  Come, let's go to
supper.  Thank goodness, my stomach has stood by me if my good
looks haven't."

Great-Aunt Nancy hobbled, by the aid of her stick, up the steps and
over to the table.  She sat at one end, Caroline at the other,
Emily between, feeling rather uncomfortable.  But the ruling
passion was still strong in her and she was already composing a
description of them for the blank book.

"I wonder if anybody will be sorry when you die," she thought,
looking intently at Caroline's wizened old face.

"Come now, tell me," said Aunt Nancy.  "If you're not stupid, why
did you write me such a stupid letter that first time.  Lord, but
it was stupid!  I read it over to Caroline to punish her whenever
she is naughty."

"I couldn't write any other kind of a letter because Aunt Elizabeth
said she was going to read it."

"Trust Elizabeth for that.  Well, you can write what you like here--
and say what you like--and do what you like.  Nobody will
interfere with you or try to bring you up.  I asked you for a
visit, not for discipline.  Thought likely you'd have enough of
that at New Moon.  You can have the run of the house and pick a
beau to your liking from the Priest boys--not that the young fry
are what they were in my time."

"I don't want a beau," retorted Emily.  She felt rather disgusted.
Old Kelly had ranted about beaux half the way over and here was
Aunt Nancy beginning on the same unnecessary subject.

"Don't you tell me," said Aunt Nancy, laughing till her gold
tassels shook.  "There never was a Murray of New Moon that didn't
like a beau.  When I was your age I had half a dozen.  All the
little boys in Blair Water were fighting about me.  Caroline here
now never had a beau in her life, had you, Caroline?"

"Never wanted one," snapped Caroline.

"Eighty and twelve say the same thing and both lie," said Aunt
Nancy.  "What's the use of being hypocrites among ourselves?  I
don't say it isn't well enough when men are about.  Caroline, do
you notice what a pretty hand Emily has?  As pretty as mine when I
was young.  And an elbow like a cat's.  Cousin Susan Murray had an
elbow like that.  It's odd--she has more Murray points than Starr
points and yet she looks like the Starrs and not like the Murrays.
What odd sums in addition we all are--the answer is never what
you'd expect.  Caroline, what a pity Jarback isn't home.  He'd like
Emily--I have a feeling he'd like Emily.  Jarback's the only Priest
that'll ever go to heaven, Emily.  Let's have a look at your
ankles, puss."

Emily rather unwillingly put out her foot.  Aunt Nancy nodded her
satisfaction.

"Mary Shipley's ankle.  Only one in a generation has it.  I had it.
The Murray ankles are thick.  Even your mother's ankles were thick.
Look at that instep, Caroline.  Emily, you're not a beauty but if
you learn to use your eyes and hands and feet properly you'll pass
for one.  The men are easily fooled and if the women say you're not
'twill be held for jealousy."

Emily decided that this was a good opportunity to find out
something that had puzzled her.

"Old Mr Kelly said I had come-hither eyes, Aunt Nancy.  Have I?
And WHAT are come-hither eyes?"

"Jock Kelly's an old ass.  You haven't come-hither eyes--it
wouldn't be a Murray tradish."  Aunt Nancy laughed.  "The Murrays
have keep-your-distance eyes--and so have you--though your lashes
contradict them a bit.  But sometimes eyes like that--combined with
certain other points--are quite as effective as come-hither eyes.
Men go by contraries oftener than not--if you tell them to keep off
they'll come on.  My own Nathaniel now--the only way to get him to
do anything was to coax him to do the opposite.  Remember,
Caroline?  Have another cooky, Emily?"

"I haven't had one yet," said Emily, rather resentfully.

Those cookies looked very tempting and she had been wishing they
might be passed.  She didn't know why Aunt Nancy and Caroline both
laughed.  Caroline's laugh was unpleasant--a dry, rusty sort of
laugh--"no juice in it," Emily decided.  She thought she would
write in her description that Caroline had a "thin, rattling
laugh."

"What do you think of us?" demanded Aunt Nancy.  "Come now, what DO
you think of us?"

Emily was dreadfully embarrassed.  She had just been thinking of
writing that Aunt Nancy looked "withered and shrivelled;" but one
couldn't say that--one COULDN'T.

"Tell the truth and shame the devil," said Aunt Nancy.

"That isn't a fair question," cried Emily.

"You think," said Aunt Nancy, grinning, "that I'm a hideous old hag
and that Caroline isn't quite human.  She isn't.  She never was--
but you should have seen ME seventy years ago.  I was handsomest of
all the handsome Murrays.  The men were mad about me.  When I
married Nat Priest his three brothers could have cut his throat.
One cut his own.  Oh, I played havoc in my time.  All I regret is I
can't live it over.  'Twas a grand life while it lasted.  I queened
it over them.  The women hated me, of course--all but Caroline
here.  You worshipped me, didn't you, Caroline?  And you worship me
yet, don't you, Caroline?  Caroline, I WISH you didn't have a wart
on your nose."

"I wish you had one on your tongue," said Caroline waspishly.

Emily was beginning to feel tired and bewildered.  It was
interesting--and Aunt Nancy was kind enough in her queer way; but
at home Ilse and Perry and Teddy would be foregathering in Lofty
John's bush for their evening revel, and Saucy Sal would be sitting
on the dairy steps, waiting for Cousin Jimmy to give her the froth.
Emily suddenly realized that she was as homesick for New Moon as
she had been for Maywood her first night at New Moon.

"The child's tired," said Aunt Nancy.  "Take her to bed, Caroline.
Put her in the Pink Room."

Emily followed Caroline through the back hall, through the kitchen,
through the front hall, up the stairs, down a long hall, through a
long side hall.  Where on earth was she being taken?  Finally they
reached a large room.  Caroline set down the lamp, and asked Emily
if she had a nightgown.

"Of course I have.  Do you suppose Aunt Elizabeth would have let me
come without one?"

Emily was quite indignant.

"Nancy says you can sleep as long as you like in the morning," said
Caroline.  "Good night.  Nancy and I sleep in the old wing, of
course, and the rest of us sleep well in our graves."

With this cryptic remark Caroline trotted out and shut the door.

Emily sat down on an embroidered ottoman and looked about her.  The
window curtains were of faded pink brocade and the walls were hung
with pink paper decorated with diamonds of rose chains.  It made a
very pretty fairy paper, as Emily found by cocking her eyes at it.
There was a green carpet on the floor, so lavishly splashed with
big pink roses that Emily was almost afraid to walk on it.  She
decided that the room was a very splendid one.

"But I have to sleep here alone, so I must say my prayers very
carefully," she reflected.

She undressed rather hastily, blew out the light and got into bed.
She covered herself up to her chin and lay there, staring at the
high, white ceiling.  She had grown so used to Aunt Elizabeth's
curtained bed that she felt curiously unsheltered in this low,
modern one.  But at least the window was wide open--evidently Aunt
Nancy did not share Aunt Elizabeth's horror of night air.  Through
it Emily could see summer fields lying in the magic of a rising
yellow moon.  But the room was big and ghostly.  She felt horribly
far away from everybody.  She was lonesome--homesick.  She thought
of Old Kelly and his toad ointment.  Perhaps he DID boil the toads
alive after all.  This hideous thought tormented her.  It was AWFUL
to think of toads--or anything--being boiled alive.  She had never
slept alone before.  Suddenly she was frightened.  How the window
rattled.  It sounded terribly as if somebody--or SOMETHING--were
trying to get in.  She thought of Ilse's ghost--a ghost you
couldn't SEE but could HEAR and FEEL was something especially
spooky in the way of ghosts--she thought of the stone dogs that
went "Wo--or--oo--oo" at midnight.  A dog DID begin to howl
somewhere.  Emily felt a cold perspiration on her brow.  WHAT had
Caroline meant about the rest of them sleeping well in their
graves?  The floor creaked.  Wasn't there somebody--or SOMETHING--
tiptoeing round outside the door?  Did something move in the
corner?  There were mysterious sounds in the long hall.

"I WON'T be scared," said Emily.  "I WON'T think of those things,
and to-morrow I'll write down all about how I feel now."

And then--she DID hear something--right behind the wall at the
head of her bed.  There was no mistake about it.  It was not
imagination.  She heard distinctly strange uncanny rustles--as if
stiff silk dresses were rubbing against each other--as if
fluttering wings fanned the air--and there were soft, low, muffled
sounds like tiny children's cries or moans.  They lasted--they kept
on.  Now and then they would die away--then start up again.

Emily cowered under the bedclothes, cold with real terror.  Before,
her fright had been only on the surface--she had KNOWN there was
nothing to fear, even while she feared.  Something in her braced
her to endure.  But THIS was no mistake--no imagination.  The
rustles and flutterings and cries and moans were all too real.
Wyther Grange suddenly became a dreadful, uncanny place.  Ilse was
right--it WAS haunted.  And she was all alone here, with miles of
rooms and halls between her and any human being.  It was cruel of
Aunt Nancy to put her in a haunted room.  Aunt Nancy must have
known it was haunted--cruel old Aunt Nancy with her ghoulish pride
in men who had killed themselves for her.  Oh, if she were back in
dear New Moon, with Aunt Elizabeth beside her.  Aunt Elizabeth was
not an ideal bedfellow but she was flesh-and-blood.  And if the
windows were hermetically sealed they kept out spooks as well as
night air.

"Perhaps it won't be so bad if I say my prayers over again,"
thought Emily.

But even this didn't help much.

To the end of her life Emily never forgot that first horrible night
at Wyther Grange.  She was so tired that sometimes she dozed
fitfully off only to be awakened in a few minutes in panic horror,
by the rustling and muffled moans behind her bed.  Every ghost and
groan, every tortured spirit and bleeding nun of the books she had
read came into her mind.

"Aunt Elizabeth was right--novels aren't fit to read," she thought.
"Oh, I will die here--of fright--I know I will.  I know I'm a
coward--I can't be brave."

When morning came the room was bright with sunshine and free from
mysterious sounds.  Emily got up, dressed and found her way to the
old wing.  She was pale, with black-ringed eyes, but resolute.

"Well, and how did you sleep?" asked Aunt Nancy graciously.

Emily ignored the question.

"I want to go home to-day," she said.

Aunt Nancy stared.

"Home?  Nonsense!  Are you such a homesick baby as that?"

"I'm not homesick--not VERY--but I must go home."

"You can't--there's no one here to take you.  You don't expect
Caroline can drive you to Blair Water, do you?"

"Then I will walk."

Aunt Nancy thumped her stick angrily on the floor.

"You will stay right here until I'm ready for you to go, Miss Puss.
I never tolerate any whims but my own.  Caroline knows that, don't
you, Caroline?  Sit down to your breakfast--and eat--EAT."

Aunt Nancy glared at Emily.

"I won't stay here," said Emily.  "I won't stay another night in
that horrible haunted room.  It was cruel of you to put me there.
If--"  Emily gave Aunt Nancy glare for glare--"if I was Salome I'd
ask for YOUR head on a charger."

"Hoity-toity!  What nonsense is this about a haunted room?  We've
no ghosts at Wyther Grange.  Have we, Caroline?  We don't consider
them hygienic."

"You have something DREADFUL in that room--it rustled and moaned
and cried all night long right in the wall behind my bed.  I won't
stay--I won't--"

Emily's tears came in spite of her efforts to repress them.  She
was so unstrung nervously that she couldn't help crying.  It lacked
but little of hysterics with her already.

Aunt Nancy looked at Caroline and Caroline looked back at Aunt
Nancy.

"We should have told her, Caroline.  It's all our fault.  I clean
forgot--it's so long since any one slept in the Pink Room.  No
wonder she was frightened.  Emily, you poor child, it was a shame.
It would serve me right to have my head on a charger, you
vindictive scrap.  We should have told you."

"Told me--what?"

"About the swallows in the chimney.  That was what you heard.  The
big central chimney goes right up through the walls behind your
bed.  It is never used now since the fireplaces were built in.  The
swallows nest there--hundreds of them.  They do make an uncanny
noise--fluttering and quarrelling as they do."

Emily felt foolish and ashamed--much more ashamed than she needed
to feel, for her experience had really been a very trying one, and
older folk than she had been woefully frightened o' nights in the
Pink Room at Wyther Grange.  Nancy Priest HAD put people into that
room sometimes expressly to scare them.  But to do her justice she
really had forgotten in Emily's case and was sorry.

Emily said no more about going home; Caroline and Aunt Nancy were
both very kind to her that day; she had a good nap in the
afternoon; and when the second night came she went straight to the
Pink Room and slept soundly the night through.  The rustles and
cries were as distinct as ever but swallows and spectres were two
entirely different things.

"After all, I think I'll like Wyther Grange," said Emily.



A DIFFERENT KIND OF HAPPINESS


"JULY 20TH.

"DEAR FATHER:

"I have been a fortnight at Wyther Grange and I have not written to
you once.  But I thought of you every day.  I had to write to Aunt
Laura and Ilse and Teddy and Cousin Jimmy and Perry and between
times I am having such fun.  The first night I was here I did not
think I was going to be happy.  But I am--only it's a different
kind from New Moon happiness.

"Aunt Nancy and Caroline are very good to me and let me do exactly
as I like.  This is very agreeable.  They are very sarcastic to
each other.  But I think they are a good bit like Ilse and me--they
fight quite frequently but love each other very hard between times.
I am sure Caroline isn't a witch but I would like to know what she
thinks of when she is all alone by herself.  Aunt Nancy is not
pretty any longer but she is very ARISTOCRATIC LOOKING.  She
doesn't walk much because of her roomatism, so she sits mostly in
her back parlour and reads and knits lace or plays cards with
Caroline.  I talk to her a great deal because she says it amuses
her and I have told her a great many things but I have never told
her that I write poetry.  If I did I know she would make me recite
it to her and I feel she is not the right person to recite your
poetry to.  And I do not talk about you or Mother to her, though
she tries to make me.  I told her all about Lofty John and his bush
and going to Father Cassidy.  She chuckled over that and said she
always liked to talk to the Catholic Priests because they were the
only men in the world a woman could talk to for more than ten
minutes without other women saying she was throwing herself at
their heads.

"Aunt Nancy says a great many things like that.  She and Caroline
talk a great deal to each other about things that happened in the
Priest and Murray families.  I like to sit and listen.  They don't
stop just as things are getting interesting the way Aunt Elizabeth
and Aunt Laura do.  A good many things I don't understand but I
will remember them and will find out about them sometime.  I have
written descriptions of Aunt Nancy and Caroline in my Jimmy-book.
I keep the book hid behind the wardrobe in my room because I found
Caroline rummidging in my trunk one day.  I must not call Aunt
Nancy Great-Aunt.  She says it makes her feel like Methoosaleh.
She tells me all about the men who were in love with her.  It seems
to me they all behaved pretty much the same.  I don't think that
was exciting but she says it was.  She tells me about all the
parties and dances they used to have here long ago.  Wyther Grange
is bigger than New Moon and the furniture is much handsomer but it
is harder to feel acquainted with it.

"There are many interesting things in this house.  I love to look
at them.  There is a Jakobite glass on a stand in the parlour.  It
was a glass AN OLD ANCESTER of the Priests had long ago in Scotland
and it has a thistle and a rose on it and they used it to drink
Prince Charlie's health with and for NO OTHER PURPOSE.  It is a
very VALEWABLE AIRLOOM and Aunt Nancy prizes it highly.  And she
has a pickled snake in a big glass jar in the china cabinet.  It is
hideous but fascinating.  I shiver when I see it but yet I go to
look at it every day.  Something seems to drag me to it.  Aunt
Nancy has a bureau in her room with GLASS KNOBS and a vase shaped
like a green fish sitting up on end and a Chinese draggon with a
curly tail, and a case of sweet little stuffed humming-birds and a
sand-glass for boiling eggs by and a framed wreath made out of the
hair of all the dead Priests and lots of old dagerrotipes.  But the
thing I like the best of all is a great silvery shining ball
hanging from the lamp in the parlour.  It reflects everything like
a little fairy world.  Aunt Nancy calls it a gazing-ball, and says
that when she is dead I am to have it.  I wish she hadn't said that
because I want the ball so much that I can't help wondering when
she will die and that makes me feel wicked.  I am to have the
chessy-cat door knocker and her gold ear-rings, too.  These are
Murray airlooms.  Aunt Nancy says the Priest airlooms must go to
the Priests.  I will like the chessy-cat but I don't want the ear-
rings.  I'd rather not have people notice my ears.

"I have to sleep alone.  I feel frightened but I think if I could
get over being frightened I'd like it.  I don't mind the swallows
now.  It's just being alone so far away from any one.  But it is
lovely to be able to stretch out your legs just as you like and not
have anybody scold you for skwirming.  And when I wake up in the
night and think of a splendid line of poetry (because the things
that you think of like that always seem the best) I can get right
out of bed and write it down in my Jimmy-book.  I couldn't do that
at home and then by morning I'd likely forget it.  I thought of
such a nice line last night.  "Lilies lifted pearly chaluses (a
chalus is a kind of cup only more poetical) where bees were drowned
in sweetness" and I felt happy because I was sure they were two
better lines than any I had composed yet.

"I am allowed to go into the kitchen and help Caroline cook.
Caroline is a good cook but sometimes she makes a mistake and this
vexes Aunt Nancy because she likes nice things to eat.  The other
day Caroline made the barley soup far too thick and when Aunt Nancy
looked at her plate she said 'Lord, is this a dinner or a poltis?'
Caroline said 'It is good enough for a Priest and what is good
enough for a Priest is good enough for a Murray,' and Aunt Nancy
said 'Woman, the Priests eat of the crumbs that fall from the
Murrays' tables,' and Caroline was so mad she cried.  And Aunt
Nancy said to me 'Emily, never marry a Priest'--just like Old
Kelly, when I have no notion of marrying one of them.  I don't like
any of them I've seen very much but they seem to me a good deal
like other people.  Jim is the best of them but impident.

"I like the Wyther Grange breakfasts better than the New Moon
breakfasts.  We have toast and bacon and marmalade--nicer than
porridge.

"Sunday is more amusing here than at New Moon but not so holy.
Nice for a change.  Aunt Nancy can't go to church or knit lace so
she and Caroline play cards all day but she says I must never do
it--that she is just a bad example.  I love to look at Aunt Nancy's
big parlour Bible because there are so many interesting things in
it--pieces of dresses and hair and poetry and old tintipes and
accounts of deaths and weddings.  I found a piece about my own
birth and it gave me a queer feeling.

"In the afternoon some of the Priests come to see Aunt Nancy and to
stay to supper.  Leslie Priest always comes.  He is Aunt Nancy's
favourite neffew, so Jim says.  I think that is because he pays her
compliments.  But I saw him wink at Isaac Priest once when he paid
her one.  I don't like him.  He treats me as if I were a meer
child.  Aunt Nancy says terrible things to them all but they just
laugh.  When they go away Aunt Nancy makes fun of them to Caroline.
Caroline doesn't like it, because she is a Priest and so she and
Aunt Nancy always quarrel Sunday evening and don't speak again till
Monday morning.

"I can read all the books in Aunt Nancy's bookcase except the row
on the top shelf.  I wonder why I can't read them.  Aunt Nancy said
they were French novels but I just peeped into one and it was
English.  I wonder if Aunt Nancy tells lies.

"The place I love best is down at bay shore.  Some parts of the
shore are very steep and there are such nice, woodsy, UNEXPECTED
places all along it.  I wander there and compose poetry.  I miss
Ilse and Teddy and Perry and Saucy Sal a great deal.  I had a
letter from Ilse to-day.  She wrote me that they couldn't do
anything more about the Midsummer Night's Dream till I got back.
It is nice to feel so necessary.

"Aunt Nancy doesn't like Aunt Elizabeth.  She called her a 'tyrant'
one day and then she said 'Jimmy Murray was a very clever boy.
Elizabeth Murray killed his intellect in her temper--and nothing
was done to her.  If she had killed his body she would have been a
murderess.  The other was worse, if you ask me.'  I do not like
Aunt Elizabeth at times myself but I felt, dear Father, that I must
stand up for MY FAMILY and I said 'I do not want to hear such
things said of my Aunt Elizabeth.'

"And I just gave Aunt Nancy a LOOK.  She said 'Well, Saucebox, my
brother Archibald will never be dead as long as you're alive.  If
you don't want to hear things don't hang around when Caroline and I
are talking.  I notice there are plenty of things you like to
hear.'

"This was sarcasm, dear Father, but still I feel Aunt Nancy likes
me but perhaps she will not like me very long.  Jim Priest says she
is fickle and never liked any one, even her husband, very long.
But after she had been sarcastic to me she always tells Caroline to
give me a piece of pie so I don't mind the sarcasm.  She lets me
have real tea, too.  I like it.  At New Moon Aunt Elizabeth won't
give me anything but cambric tea because it is best for my health.
Aunt Nancy says the way to be healthy is to eat just what you want
and never think about your stomach.  But then she was never
threttened with consumption.  She says I needn't be a bit
frightened of dying of consumption because I have too much ginger
in me.  That is a comfortable thought.  The only time I don't like
Aunt Nancy is when she begins talking about the different parts of
me and the effect they will have on the men.  It makes me feel so
silly.

"I will write you oftener after this, dear Father.  I feel I have
been neglecting you.

"P. S.  I am afraid there are some mistakes in spelling in this
letter.  I forgot to bring my dictionary with me.


"JULY 22.

"Oh, dear Father, I am in a dreadful scrape.  I don't know what I
am to do.  Oh, Father, I have broken Aunt Nancy's Jakobite glass.
It seems to me like a dreadful dream.

"I went into the parlour to-day to look at the pickled snake and
just as I was turning away my sleeve caught the Jakobite glass and
over it went on the harth and SHIVERED INTO FRAGMENTS.  At first I
rushed out and left them there but afterwards I went back and
carefully gathered them up and hid them in a box behind the sofa.
Aunt Nancy never goes into the parlour now and Caroline not very
often and perhaps they may not miss the glass until I go home.  But
it HAUNTS me.  I keep thinking of it all the time and I cannot
enjoy anything.  I know Aunt Nancy will be furious and never
forgive me if she finds out.  I could not sleep all night for
worrying about it.  Jim Priest came down to play with me today but
he said there was no fun in me and went home.  The Priests mostly
say what they think.  Of course there was no fun in me.  How could
there be?  I wonder if it would do any good to pray about it.  I
don't feel as if it would be right to pray because I am deceiving
Aunt Nancy.


"JULY 24.

"Dear Father, this is a very strange world.  Nothing ever turns out
just like what you expect.  Last night I couldn't sleep again.  I
was so worried.  I thought I was a coward, and doing an underhanded
thing and not living up to my tradishuns.  At last it got so bad I
couldn't stand it.  I can bear it when other people have a bad
opinion of me but it hurts too much when I have a bad opinion of
myself.  So I got out of bed and went right back through all those
halls to the back parlour.  Aunt Nancy was still there all alone
playing Solitare.  She said what on earth was I out of bed for at
such an hour.  I just said, short and quick to get the worst over,
'I broke your Jakobite glass yesterday and hid the pieces behind
the sofa.'  Then I waited for the STORM TO BURST.  Aunt Nancy said
'What a blessing.  I've often wanted to smash it but never had the
courage.  All the Priest clan are waiting for me to die to get that
glass and quarrel over it and I'm tickled to think none of them can
have it now and yet can't pick a fuss with me over smashing it.
Get off to bed and get your beauty sleep.'  I said 'And you aren't
mad at all, Aunt Nancy?'  'If it had been a Murray airloom I'd have
torn up the turf' Aunt Nancy said.  'But I don't care a hoot about
the Priest things.'

"So I went back to bed, dear Father, and felt very much releeved,
but not so heroyik.

"I had a letter from Ilse to-day.  She says Saucy Sal has had
kittens at last.  I feel that I ought to be home to see about them.
Likely Aunt Elizabeth will have them all drowned before I get back.
I had a letter from Teddy too, not much of a letter but all filled
with dear little pictures of Ilse and Perry and the Tansy Patch and
Lofty John's bush.  They made me feel homesick.


"JULY 28.

"Oh, Father dear, I have found out all about the mistery of Ilse's
mother.  It is so terrible I can't write it down even to you.  I
cannot believe it but Aunt Nancy says it is true.  I did not think
there could be such terrible things in the world.  No, I can't
believe it and I won't believe it no matter who says it is true.  I
KNOW Ilse's mother COULDN'T have done anything like that.  There
must have been a fearful mistake somewhere.  I am so unhappy and
feel as if I could never be happy any more.  Last night I wept on
my pilllow, like the heroins in Aunt Nancy's books do."



"SHE COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT"


Great-aunt Nancy and Caroline Priest were wont to colour their grey
days with the remembered crimsons of old, long-past delights and
merry-makings, but they went further than this and talked over any
number of old family histories before Emily with a total disregard
of her youth.  Loves, births, deaths, scandals, tragedies--anything
that came into their old heads.  Nor did they spare details.  Aunt
Nancy revelled in details.  She forgot nothing, and sins and
weaknesses that death had covered and time shown mercy to were
ruthlessly dragged out and dissected by this ghoulish old lady.

Emily was not quite certain whether she really liked it or not.  It
WAS fascinating--it fed some dramatic hunger in her--but it made
her feel unhappy somehow, as if something very ugly were concealed
in the darkness of the pit they opened before her innocent eyes.
As Aunt Laura had said, her youth protected her to some extent, but
it could not save her from a dreadful understanding of the pitiful
story of Ilse's mother on the afternoon when it seemed good to Aunt
Nancy to resurrect that tale of anguish and shame.

Emily was curled up on the sofa in the back parlour, reading The
Scottish Chiefs because it was a breathlessly hot July afternoon--
too hot to haunt the bay shore.  Emily was feeling very happy.  The
Wind Woman was ruffling over the big maple grove behind the Grange,
turning the leaves until every tree seemed to be covered with
strange, pale, silvery blossoms; fragrances drifted in from the
garden; the world was lovely; she had had a letter from Aunt Laura
saying that one of Saucy Sal's kittens had been saved for her.
Emily had felt when Mike II died that she would never want another
cat.  But now she found she did.  Everything suited her very well;
she was so happy that she should have sacrificed her dearest
possession to the jealous gods if she had known anything about the
old pagan belief.

Aunt Nancy was tired of playing solitaire.  She pushed the cards
away and took up her knitting.

"Emily," she said, "has your Aunt Laura any notion of marrying Dr
Burnley?"

Emily, recalled thus abruptly from the field of Bannockburn, looked
bored.  Blair Water gossip had often asked or hinted this question;
and now it met her in Priest Pond.

"No, I'm sure she hasn't," she said.  "Why, Aunt Nancy, Dr Burnley
HATES women."

Aunt Nancy chuckled.

"Thought perhaps he'd got over that.  It's eleven years now since
his wife ran away.  Few men hold to one idea for anything like
eleven years.  But Allan Burnley always was stubborn in anything--
love or hate.  He still loves his wife--and that is why he hates
her memory and all other women."

"I never heard the rights of that story," said Caroline.  "Who was
his wife?"

"Beatrice Mitchell--one of the Shrewsbury Mitchells.  She was only
eighteen when Allan married her.  He was thirty-five.  Emily, never
you be fool enough to marry a man much older than yourself."

Emily said nothing.  The Scottish Chiefs was forgotten.  Her
finger-tips were growing cold as they always did in excitement, her
eyes turning black.  She felt that she was on the verge of solving
the mystery that had so long worried and puzzled her.  She was
desperately afraid that Aunt Nancy would branch off to something
else.

"I've heard she was a great beauty," said Caroline.

Aunt Nancy sniffed.

"Depends on your taste in style.  Oh, she was pretty--one of your
golden-haired dolls.  She had a little birthmark over her left
eyebrow--just like a tiny red heart--I never could see anything but
that mark when I looked at her.  But her flatterers told her it was
a beauty spot--'the Ace of Hearts' they called her.  Allan was mad
about her.  She had been a flirt before her marriage.  But I WILL
say--for justice among women is a rare thing, Caroline--YOU, for
instance, are an unjust old hag--that she didn't flirt after
marrying--openly, at least.  She was a sly puss--always laughing
and singing and dancing--no wife for Allan Burnley if you ask me.
And he could have had Laura Murray.  But between a fool and a
sensible woman did a man ever hesitate?  The fool wins every time,
Caroline.  That's why YOU never got a husband.  You were too
sensible.  I got mine by pretending to be a fool.  Emily, you
remember that.  You have brains--hide them.  Your ankles will do
more for you than your brains ever will."

"Never mind Emily's ankles," said Caroline, keen on a scandal hunt.
"Go on about the Burnleys."

"Well, there was a cousin of hers--Leo Mitchell from Shrewsbury.
You remember the Mitchells, don't you, Caroline?  This Leo was a
handsome fellow--a sea-captain.  He had been in love with Beatrice,
so gossip ran.  Some said Beatrice wanted him but that her people
made her marry Allan Burnley because he was the better match.  Who
knows?  Gossip lies nine times and tells a half truth the tenth.
She pretended to be in love with Allan anyhow, and he believed it.
When Leo came home from a voyage and found Beatrice married he took
it coolly enough.  But he was always over at Blair Water.  Beatrice
had plenty of excuses.  Leo was her cousin--they had been brought
up together--they were like brother and sister--she was so lonesome
in Blair Water after living in a town--he had no home except with a
brother.  Allan took it all down--he was so infatuated with her she
could have made him believe anything.  She and Leo were always
together there when Allan was away seeing his patients.  Then came
the night Leo's vessel--The Lady of Winds--was to sail from Blair
Harbour for South America.  He went--and my Lady Beatrice went with
him."

A queer little strangled sound came from Emily's corner.  If Aunt
Nancy or Caroline had looked at her they would have seen that the
child was white as the dead, with wide, horror-filled eyes.  But
they did not look.  They knitted and gossiped on, enjoying
themselves hugely.

"How did the doctor take it?" asked Caroline.

"Take it--take it--nobody knows.  Everybody knows what kind of a
man he's been ever since, though.  He came home that night at dusk.
The baby was asleep in its crib and the servant girl was watching
it.  She told Allan that Mrs Burnley had gone to the harbour with
her cousin for a good-bye walk and would be back at ten.  Allan
waited for her easily enough--he never doubted her--but she didn't
come back.  She had never intended to come back.  In the morning
the Lady of Winds was gone--had sailed out of the harbour at dark
the night before.  Beatrice had gone on board with him--that was
all anybody knew.  Allan Burnley SAID nothing, beyond forbidding
her name ever to be mentioned in his hearing again.  But The Lady
of Winds was lost with all on board off Hatteras and that was the
end of that elopement, and the end of Beatrice with her beauty and
her laughter and her Ace of Hearts."

"But not the end of the shame and wretchedness she brought to her
home," said Caroline shrewishly.  "I'd tar and feather such a
woman."

"Nonsense--if a man can't look after his wife--if he blinds his own
eyes--Mercy on us, child, what is the matter?"

For Emily was standing up, holding out her hands as if pushing some
loathly thing from her.

"I don't believe it," she cried, in a high, unnatural voice.  "I
don't believe Ilse's mother did THAT.  She didn't--she couldn't
have--not Ilse's MOTHER."

"Catch her, Caroline!" cried Aunt Nancy.

But Emily, though the back parlour had whirled about her for a
second, had recovered herself.

"Don't touch me!" she cried passionately.  "Don't touch me!  You--
you--you LIKED hearing that story!"

She rushed out of the room.  Aunt Nancy looked ashamed for a
moment.  For the first time it occurred to her that her scandal-
loving old tongue had done a black thing.  Then she shrugged her
shoulders.

"She can't go through life in cotton-wool.  Might as well learn
spades are spades now as ever.  I would have thought she'd have
heard it all long ago if Blair Water gossip is what it used to be.
If she goes home and tells this I'll have the indignant virgins of
New Moon coming down on me in holy horror as a corrupter of youth.
Caroline, don't you ask me to tell you any more family horrors
before my niece, you scandalous old woman.  At your age!  I'm
surprised at you!"

Aunt Nancy and Caroline returned to their knitting and their spicy
reminiscences, and upstairs in the Pink Room Emily lay face
downwards on her bed and cried for hours.  It was so horrible--
Ilse's mother had run away and left her little baby.  To Emily that
was the awful thing--the strange, cruel, heartless thing that
Ilse's mother had done.  She could not bring herself to believe it--
there was some mistake somewhere--there WAS.

"Perhaps she was kidnapped," said Emily, trying desperately to
explain it.  "She just went on board to look around--and he weighed
anchor and carried her off.  She COULDN'T have gone away of her own
accord and left her dear little baby."

The story haunted Emily in good earnest.  She could think of
nothing else for days.  It took possession of her and worried and
gnawed at her with an almost physical pain.  She dreaded going back
to New Moon and meeting Ilse with this consciousness of a dark
secret which she must hide from her.  Ilse knew nothing.  She had
asked Ilse once where her mother was buried and Ilse had said, "Oh,
I don't know.  At Shrewsbury, I guess--that's where all the
Mitchells are buried."

Emily wrung her slim hands together.  She was as sensitive to
ugliness and pain as she was to beauty and pleasure, and this thing
was both hideous and agonizing.  Yet she could not keep from
thinking about it, day and night.  Life at Wyther Grange suddenly
went stale.  Aunt Nancy and Caroline all at once gave up talking
family history, even harmless history, before her.  And as it was
painful repression for them, they did not encourage her hanging
round.  Emily began to feel that they were glad when she was out of
hearing, so she kept away and spent most of her days wandering on
the bay shore.  She could not compose any poetry--she could not
write in her Jimmy-book--she could not even write to her father.
Something seemed to hang between her and her old delights.  There
was a drop of poison in every cup.  Even the filmy shadows on the
great bay, the charm of its fir-hung cliffs and its little purple
islets that looked like outposts of fairyland, could not bring to
her the old "fine, careless rapture."  She was afraid she could
never be happy again--so intense had been her reaction to her first
revelation of the world's sin and sorrow.  And under it all,
persisted the same incredulity--Ilse's mother COULDN'T have done
it--and the same helpless longing to prove she couldn't have done
it.  But how could it be proved?  It couldn't.  She had solved one
"mystery" but she had stumbled into a darker one--the reason why
Beatrice Burnley had never come back on that summer twilight of
long ago.  For, all the evidence of facts to the contrary
notwithstanding, Emily persisted in her secret belief that whatever
the reason WAS, it was NOT that she had gone away in The Lady of
Winds when that doomed ship sailed out into the starlit wonder of
the gulf beyond Blair Harbour.



ON THE BAY SHORE


"I wonder," thought Emily, "how much longer I have to live."

She had prowled that evening farther down the bay shore than she
had ever gone before.  It was a warm, windy evening, the air was
resinous and sweet; the bay a misty turquoise.  That part of the
shore whereon she found herself seemed as lonely and virgin as if
no human foot had ever trodden it, save for a tiny, tricksy path,
slender as red thread and bordered by great, green, velvety sheets
of moss, that wound in and out of the big firs and scrub spruces.
The banks grew steeper and rockier as she went on and finally the
little path vanished altogether in a plot of bracken.  Emily was
just turning to go back when she caught sight of a magnificent
spray of farewell-summer, growing far out on the edge of the bank.
She must get it--she had never seen farewell-summers of so dark and
rich a purple.  She stepped out to reach them--the treacherous
mossy soil gave way under her feet and slid down the steep slope.
Emily made a frantic attempt to scramble back but the harder she
tried, the faster went the landslide, carrying her with it.  In a
moment it would pass the slope and go over the brink of the rocks,
straight to the boulder-strewn shore thirty feet below.  Emily had
one dreadful moment of terror and despair; and then she found that
the clump of mossy earth which had broken away had held on a narrow
ledge of rock, half hanging over it; and she was lying on the
clump.  It seemed to her that the slightest movement on her part
would send it over, straight to the cruel boulders underneath.

She lay very still, trying to think--trying not to be afraid.  She
was far, far away from any house--nobody could hear her if she
screamed.  And she did not even dare to scream lest the motion of
her body dislodge the fragment on which she lay.  How long could
she lie there motionless?  Night was coming on.  Aunt Nancy would
grow anxious when the dark fell and would send Caroline to look for
her.  But Caroline would never find her here.  Nobody would ever
think of looking here for her, so far away from the Grange, in the
spruce barrens of the Lower Bay.  To lie there alone all night--to
fancy the earth was slipping over--waiting for help that would
never come--Emily could hardly restrain a shudder that might have
been ruinous.

She had faced death once before, or thought she had, on the night
when Lofty John had told her she had eaten a poisoned apple--but
this was even harder.  To die here, all alone, far away from home!
They might never know what had become of her--never find her.  The
crows or the gulls would pick her eyes out.  She dramatized the
thing so vividly that she almost screamed with the horror of it.
She would just disappear from the world as Ilse's mother had
disappeared.

What had become of Ilse's mother?  Even in her own desperate plight
Emily asked herself that question.  And she would never see dear
New Moon again and Teddy and the dairy and the Tansy Patch and
Lofty John's bush and the mossy old sundial and her precious little
heap of manuscripts on the sofa shelf in the garret.

"I must be very brave and patient," she thought.  "My only chance
is to lie still.  And I can pray in my mind--I'm sure God can hear
thoughts as well as words.  It is nice to think He can hear me if
nobody else can.  O God--Father's God--please work a miracle and
save my life, because I don't think I'm fit to die yet.  Excuse my
not being on my knees--You see I can't move.  And if I die please
don't let Aunt Elizabeth find my letter-bills ever.  Please let
Aunt Laura find them.  And please don't let Caroline move out the
wardrobe when she house-cleans because then she would find my
Jimmy-book and read what I wrote about her.  Please forgive all my
sins, especially not being grateful enough and cutting a bang, and
please don't let Father be very far away.  Amen."

Then, characteristically she thought of a postscript.  "And oh,
PLEASE let somebody find out that Ilse's mother didn't do THAT."

She lay very still.  The light on the water began to turn warm gold
and rose.  A great pine on a bluff in front of her overflowed in a
crest of dark boughs against the amber splendour behind it--a part
of the beauty of the beautiful world that was slipping away from
her.  The chill of the evening gulf breeze began to creep over her.
Once a bit of earth broke off at her side and went down--Emily
heard the thud of the little pebbles in it on the boulders below.
The portion upon which one of her legs lay was quite loose and
pendent also.  She knew it might break off, too, at any moment.  It
would be very dreadful to be there when it got dark.  She could see
the big spray of farewell-summer that had lured her to her doom,
waving unplucked above her, wonderfully purple and lovely.

Then, beside it, she saw a man's face looking down at her!

She heard him say, "My God!" softly to himself.  She saw that he
was slight and that one shoulder was a trifle higher than the
other.  This must be Dean Priest--Jarback Priest.  Emily dared not
call to him.  She lay still and her great, grey-purple eyes said,
"Save me."

"How can I help you?" said Dean Priest hoarsely, as if to himself.
"I cannot reach you--and it looks as if the slightest touch or jar
would send that broken earth over the brink.  I must go for a rope--
and to leave you here alone--like this.  Can you wait, child?"

"Yes," breathed Emily.  She smiled at him to encourage him--the
little soft smile that began at the corners of her mouth and spread
over her face.  Dean Priest never forgot that smile--and the
steadfast child-eyes looking out through it from the little face
that seemed so perilously near the brink.

"I'll be as quick as I can," he said.  "I can't go very fast--I'm a
bit lame, you see.  But don't be frightened--I'll save you.  I'll
leave my dog to keep you company.  Here, Tweed."

He whistled--a great, tawny-gold dog came in sight.

"Sit right there, Tweed, till I come back.  Don't stir a paw--don't
wag a tail--talk to her only with your eyes."

Tweed sat down obediently and Dean Priest disappeared.

Emily lay there and dramatized the whole incident for her Jimmy-
book.  She was a little frightened still, but not too frightened to
see herself writing it all out the next day.  It would be quite a
thrilling bit.

She liked to know the big dog was there.  She was not so learned in
lore of dogs as in lore of cats.  But he looked very human and
trusty watching her with great kindly eyes.  A grey kitten was an
adorable thing--but a grey kitten would not have sat there and
encouraged her.  "I believe," thought Emily, "that a dog is better
than a cat when you're in trouble."

It was half an hour before Dean Priest returned.

"Thank God you haven't gone over," he muttered.  "I hadn't to go as
far as I feared--I found a rope in an empty boat up-shore and took
it.  And now--if I drop the rope down to you, are you strong enough
to hold it while the earth goes and then hang on while I pull you
up?"

"I'll try," said Emily.

Dean Priest knotted a loop at the end and slid it down to her.
Then he wound the rope around the trunk of a heavy fir.

"Now," he said.

Emily said inwardly, "Dear God, PLEASE--" and caught the swaying
loop.  The next moment the full weight of her body swung from it,
for at her first movement the broken soil beneath her slipped down--
slipped over.  Dean Priest sickened and shivered.  Could she cling
to the rope while he drew her up?

Then he saw she had got a little knee-hold on the narrow shelf.
Carefully he drew on the rope.  Emily, full of pluck, helped him by
digging her toes into the crumbling bank.  In a moment she was
within his reach.  He grasped her arms and pulled her up beside him
into safety.  As he lifted her past the farewell-summer Emily
reached out her hand and broke off the spray.

"I've got it, anyhow," she said jubilantly.  Then she remembered
her manners.  "I'm much obliged to you.  You saved my life.  And--
and--I think I'll sit down a moment.  My legs feel funny and
trembly."

Emily sat down, all at once more shaky than she had been through
all the danger.  Dean Priest leaned against the gnarled old fir.
He seemed "trembly" too.  He wiped his forehead with his
handkerchief.  Emily looked curiously at him.  She had learned a
good deal about him from Aunt Nancy's casual remarks--not always
good-natured remarks, for Aunt Nancy did not wholly like him, it
seemed.  She always called him "Jarback" rather contemptuously,
while Caroline scrupulously called him Dean.  Emily knew he had
been to college, that he was thirty-six years old--which to Emily
seemed a venerable age--and well-off; that he had a malformed
shoulder and limped slightly; that he cared for nothing save books
nor ever had; that he lived with an older brother and travelled a
great deal; and that the whole Priest clan stood somewhat in awe of
his ironic tongue.  Aunt Nancy had called him a "cynic."  Emily did
not know what a cynic was but it sounded interesting.  She looked
him over carefully and saw that he had delicate, pale features and
tawny-brown hair.  His lips were thin and sensitive, with a
whimsical curve.  She liked his mouth.  Had she been older she
would have known why--because it connoted strength and tenderness
and humour.

In spite of his twisted shoulder there was about him a certain
aloof dignity of presence which was characteristic of many of the
Priests and which was often mistaken for pride.  The green Priest
eyes, that were peering and uncanny in Caroline's face and impudent
in Jim Priest's, were remarkably dreamy and attractive in his.

"Well, do you think me handsome?" he said, sitting down on another
stone and smiling at her.  His voice was beautiful--musical and
caressing.

Emily blushed.  She knew staring was not etiquette, and she did not
think him at all handsome, so she was very thankful that he did not
press his question, but asked another.

"Do you know who your knightly rescuer is?"

"I think you must be Jar--Mr Dean Priest."  Emily flushed again
with vexation.  She had come so near to making another terrible
hole in her manners.

"Yes, Jarback Priest.  You needn't mind the nickname.  I've heard
it often enough.  It's a Priest idea of humour."  He laughed rather
unpleasantly.  "The reason for it is obvious enough, isn't it?  I
never got anything else at school.  How came you to slide over that
cliff?"

"I wanted this," said Emily, waving her farewell-summer.

"And you have it!  Do you always get what you go after, even with
death slipping a thin wedge between?  I think you're born lucky.  I
see the signs.  If that big aster lured you into danger it saved
you as well, for it was through stepping over to investigate it
that I saw you.  Its size and colour caught my eye.  Otherwise I
should have gone on and you--what would have become of you?  Whom
do you belong to that you are let risk your life on these dangerous
banks?  What is your name--if you have a name!  I begin to doubt
you--I see you have pointed ears.  Have I been tricked into
meddling with fairies, and will I discover presently that twenty
years have passed and that I am an old man long since lost to the
living world with nothing but the skeleton of my dog for company?"

"I am Emily Byrd Starr of New Moon," said Emily, rather coldly.
She was beginning to be sensitive about her ears.  Father Cassidy
had remarked on them--and now Jarback Priest.  Was there really
something uncanny about them?

And yet there was a flavour about the said Jarback that she liked--
liked decidedly.  Emily never was long in doubt about anyone she
met.  In a few minutes she always knew whether she liked, disliked,
or was indifferent to them.  She had a queer feeling that she had
known Jarback Priest for years--perhaps because it seemed so long
when she was lying on that crumbling earth waiting for him to
return.  He was not handsome but she liked that lean, clever face
of his with its magnetic green eyes.

"So you're the young lady visitor at the Grange!" said Dean Priest,
in some astonishment.  "Then my dear Aunt Nancy should look after
you better--my VERY dear Aunt Nancy."

"You don't like Aunt Nancy, I see," said Emily coolly.

"What is the use of liking a lady who won't like me?  You have
probably discovered by this time that my Lady Aunt detests me."

"Oh, I don't think it's as bad as that," said Emily.  "She must
have some good opinions about you--she says you're the only Priest
who will ever go to heaven."

"She doesn't mean that as a compliment, whatever you in your
innocence believe it to be.  And you are Douglas Starr's daughter?
I knew your father.  We were boys together at Queen's Academy--we
drifted apart after we left it--he went into journalism, I to
McGill.  But he was the only friend I had at school--the only boy
who would bother himself about Jarback Priest, who was lame and
hunchbacked and couldn't play football or hockey.  Emily Byrd
Starr--Starr should be your first name.  You look like a star--you
have a radiant sort of personality shining through you--your proper
habitat should be the evening sky just after sunset--or the morning
sky just before sunrise.  Yes.  You'd be more at home in the
morning sky.  I think I shall call you Star."

"Do you mean that you think me pretty?" asked Emily directly.

"Why, it hadn't occurred to me to wonder whether you were pretty or
not.  Do you think a star should be pretty?"

Emily reflected.

"No," she said finally, "the word doesn't suit a star."

"I perceive you are an artist in words.  Of course it doesn't.
Stars are prismatic--palpitating--elusive.  It is not often we find
one made of flesh and blood.  I think I'll wait for you."

"Oh, I'm ready to go now," said Emily, standing up.

"H'm.  That wasn't what I meant.  Never mind.  Come along, Star--if
you don't mind walking a bit slowly.  I'll take you back from the
wilderness at least--I don't know that I'll venture to Wyther
Grange to-night.  I don't want Aunt Nancy to take the edge off you.
And so you don't think me handsome?"

"I didn't say so," cried Emily.

"Not in words.  But I can read your thoughts, Star--it won't ever
do to think anything you don't want me to know.  The gods gave me
that gift--when they kept back everything else I wanted.  You don't
think me handsome but you think me nice.  Do you think you are
pretty yourself?"

"A little--since Aunt Nancy lets me wear my bang," said Emily
frankly.

Jarback Priest made a grimace.

"Don't call it by such a name.  It's a worse name even than bustle.
Bangs and bustles--they hurt me.  I like that black wave breaking
on your white brows--but don't call it a bang--ever again."

"It IS a very ugly word.  I never use it in my poetry, of course."

Whereby Dean Priest discovered that Emily wrote poetry.  He also
discovered pretty nearly everything else about her in that charming
walk back to Priest Pond in the fir-scented dusk, with Tweed
walking between them, his nose touching his master's hand softly
every now and then, while the robins in the trees above them
whistled blithely in the afterlight.

With nine out of ten people Emily was secretive and reserved, but
Dean Priest was sealed of her tribe and she divined it instantly.
He had a right to the inner sanctuary and she yielded it
unquestionably.  She talked to him freely.

Besides, she felt ALIVE again--she felt the wonderful thrill of
living again, after that dreadful space when she had seemed to hang
between life and death.  She felt, as she wrote to her father
afterwards, "as if a little bird was singing in my heart."  And oh,
how good the green sod felt under her feet!

She told him all about herself and her doings and beings.  Only one
thing she did not tell him--her worry over Ilse's mother.  THAT she
could not speak of to any one.  Aunt Nancy need not have been
frightened that she would carry tales to New Moon.

"I wrote a whole poem yesterday when it rained and I couldn't get
out," she said.  "It began,


     I sit by the western window
     That looks on Malvern Bay--"


"Am I not to hear the whole of it?" asked Dean, who knew perfectly
well that Emily was hoping that he would ask it.

Emily delightedly repeated the whole poem.  When she came to the
two lines she liked best in it,


     Perhaps in those wooded islands
     That gem the proud bay's breast--


she looked up sidewise at him to see if he admired them.  But he
was walking with eyes cast down and an absent expression on his
face.  She felt a little disappointed.

"H'm," he said when she had finished.  "You're twelve, didn't you
say?  When you're ten years older I shouldn't wonder--but let's not
think of it."

"Father Cassidy told me to keep on," cried Emily.

"There was no need of it.  You WOULD keep on anyhow--you have the
itch for writing born in you.  It's quite incurable.  What are you
going to do with it?"

"I think I shall be either a great poetess or a distinguished
novelist," said Emily reflectively.

"Having only to choose," remarked Dean dryly.  "Better be a
novelist--I hear it pays better."

"What worries me about writing novels," confided Emily "is the love
talk in them.  I'm sure I'll never be able to write it.  I've
tried," she concluded candidly, "and I can't think of ANYTHING to
say."

"Don't worry about that.  I'LL teach you some day," said Dean.

"Will you--will you really?"  Emily was very eager.  "I'll be so
obliged if you will.  I THINK I could manage EVERYTHING else very
nicely."

"It's a bargain then--don't forget it.  And don't go looking for
another teacher, mind.  What do you find to do at the Grange
besides writing poetry?  Are you never lonesome with only those two
old survivals?"

"No.  I enjoy my own company," said Emily gravely.

"You would.  Stars are said to dwell apart, anyhow, sufficient unto
themselves--ensphered in their own light.  Do you really like Aunt
Nancy?"

"Yes, indeed.  She is very kind to me.  She doesn't make me wear
sunbonnets and she lets me go barefooted in the forenoons.  But I
have to wear my buttoned boots in the afternoons, and I hate
buttoned boots."

"Naturally.  You should be shod with sandals of moonshine and wear
a scarf of sea-mist with a few fire-flies caught in it over your
hair.  Star, you don't look like your father, but you suggest him
in several ways.  Do you look like your mother?  I never saw her."

All at once Emily smiled demurely.  A real sense of humour was born
in her at that moment.  Never again was she to feel quite so
unmixedly tragic over anything.

"No," she said, "it's only my eyelashes and smile that are like
Mother's.  But I've got Father's forehead, and Grandma Starr's hair
and eyes, and Great-Uncle George's nose, and Aunt Nancy's hands,
and Cousin Susan's elbows, and Great-great-Grandmother Murray's
ankles, and Grandfather Murray's eyebrows."

Dean Priest laughed.

"A rag-bag--as we all are," he said.  "But your soul is your own,
and fire-new, I'll swear to that."

"Oh, I'm so glad I like you," said Emily impulsively.  "It would be
HATEFUL to think any one I didn't like had saved my life.  I don't
mind YOUR saving it a bit."

"That's good.  Because you see your life belongs to me henceforth.
Since I saved it it's mine.  Never forget that."

Emily felt an odd sensation of rebellion.  She didn't fancy the
idea of her life belonging to anybody but herself--not even to
anybody she liked as much as she liked Dean Priest.  Dean, watching
her, saw it and smiled his whimsical smile that always seemed to
have so much more in it than mere smiling.

"That doesn't quite suit you?  Ah, you see one pays a penalty when
one reaches out for something beyond the ordinary.  One pays for it
in bondage of some kind or other.  Take your wonderful aster home
and keep it as long as you can.  It has cost you your freedom."

He was laughing--he was only joking, of course--yet Emily felt as
if a cobweb fetter had been flung round her.  Yielding to a sudden
impulse she flung the big aster on the ground and set her foot on
it.

Dean Priest looked on amusedly.  His strange eyes were very kindly
as he met hers.

"You rare thing--you vivid thing--you starry thing!  We are going
to be good friends--we ARE good friends.  I'm coming up to Wyther
Grange to-morrow to see those descriptions you've written of
Caroline and my venerable Aunt in your Jimmy-book.  I feel sure
they're delicious.  Here's your path--don't go roaming again so far
from civilization.  Goodnight, My Star of the Morning."

He stood at the cross-road and watched her out of sight.

"What a child!" he muttered.  "I'll never forget her eyes as she
lay there on the edge of death--the dauntless little soul--and I've
never seen a creature who seemed so full of sheer joy in existence.
She is Douglas Starr's child--HE never called me Jarback."

He stooped and picked up the broken aster.  Emily's heel had met it
squarely and it was badly crushed.  But he put it away that night
between the leaves of an old volume of Jane Eyre, where he had
marked a verse,


     All glorious rose upon my sight
     That child of shower and gleam.



THE VOW OF EMILY


In Dean Priest Emily found, for the first time since her father had
died, a companion who could fully sympathize.  She was always at
her best with him, with a delightful feeling of being understood.
To love is easy and therefore common--but to UNDERSTAND--how rare
it is!  They roamed wonderlands of fancy together in the magic
August days that followed upon Emily's adventure on the bay shore,
talked together of exquisite, immortal things, and were at home
with "nature's old felicities" of which Wordsworth so happily
speaks.

Emily showed him all the poetry and "descriptions" in her "Jimmy-
book" and he read them gravely, and, exactly as Father had done,
made little criticisms that did not hurt her because she knew they
were just.  As for Dean Priest, a certain secret well-spring of
fancy that had long seemed dry bubbled up in him sparklingly again.

"You make me believe in fairies, whether I will or no," he told
her, "and that means youth.  As long as you believe in fairies you
can't grow old."

"But I can't believe in fairies myself," protested Emily
sorrowfully.  "I wish I could."

"But YOU are a fairy yourself--or you wouldn't be able to find
fairyland.  You can't buy a ticket there, you know.  Either the
fairies themselves give you your passport at your christening--or
they don't.  That is all there is to it."

"Isn't 'Fairyland' the LOVELIEST word?" said Emily dreamily.

"Because it means everything the human heart desires," said Dean.

When he talked to her Emily felt as if she were looking into some
enchanted mirror where her own dreams and secret hopes were
reflected back to her with added charm.  If Dean Priest were a
cynic he showed no cynicism to Emily.  But in her company he was
not a cynic; he had shed his years and became a boy again with a
boy's untainted visions.  She loved him for the world he opened to
her view.

There was such fun in him, too--such sly, surprising fun.  He told
her jokes--he made her laugh.  He told her strange old tales of
forgotten gods who were very beautiful--of court festivals and the
bridals of kings.  He seemed to have the history of the whole world
at his fingers' ends.  He described things to her in unforgettable
phrases as they walked by the bay shore or sat in the overgrown,
shadowy old garden of Wyther Grange.  When he spoke of Athens as
"the City of the Violet Crown" Emily realized afresh what magic is
made when the right words are wedded; and she loved to think of
Rome as "the City of the Seven Hills."  Dean had been in Rome and
Athens--and almost everywhere else.

"I didn't know any one ever talked as you do except in books," she
told him.

Dean laughed--with a little note of bitterness that was so often
present in his laughter--though less often with Emily than with
other people.  It was really his laughter that had won Dean his
reputation for cynicism.  People so often felt that he was laughing
AT them instead of WITH them.

"I've had only books for companions most of my life," he said.  "Is
it any wonder I talk like them?"

"I'm sure I'll like studying history after this," said Emily;
"except Canadian History.  I'll never like IT--it's so dull.  Not
just at the first, when we belonged to France and there was plenty
of fighting, but after that it's nothing but politics."

"The happiest countries, like the happiest women, have no history,"
said Dean.

"I hope I'll have a history," cried Emily.  "I want a THRILLING
career."

"We all do, foolish one.  Do you know what makes history?  Pain--
and shame--and rebellion--and bloodshed and heartache.  Star, ask
yourself how many hearts ached--and broke--to make those crimson
and purple pages in history that you find so enthralling.  I told
you the story of Leonidas and his Spartans the other day.  They had
mothers, sisters and sweethearts.  If they could have fought a
bloodless battle at the polls wouldn't it have been better--if not
so dramatic."

"I--can't--FEEL--that way," said Emily confusedly.  She was not old
enough to think or say, as she would say ten years later, "The
heroes of Thermopylae have been an inspiration to humanity for
centuries.  What squabble around a ballot-box will ever be that?"

"And, like all female creatures, you form your opinions by your
feelings.  Well, hope for your thrilling career--but remember that
if there is to be drama in your life SOMEBODY must pay the piper in
the coin of suffering.  If not you--then someone else."

"Oh, no, I wouldn't like THAT."

"Then be content with fewer thrills.  What about your tumble over
the bank down there?  That came near being a tragedy.  What if I
hadn't found you?"

"But you DID find me," cried Emily.  "I like near escapes--after
they're over," she added.  "If everybody had always been happy
there'd be nothing to read about."

Tweed made a third in their rambles and Emily grew very fond of
him, without losing any of her loyalty to the pussy folk.

"I like cats with one part of my mind and dogs with another part,"
she said.

"I like cats but I never keep one," Dean said.  "They're too
exacting--they ask too much.  Dogs want only love but cats demand
worship.  They have never got over the Bubastis habit of godship."

Emily understood this--he had told her all about old Egypt and the
goddess Pasht--but she did not quite agree with him.

"Kittens don't want to be worshipped," she said.  "They just want
to be cuddled."

"By their priestesses--yes.  If you had been born on the banks of
the Nile five thousand years ago, Emily, you would have been a
priestess of Pasht--an adorable, slim, brown creature with a fillet
of gold around your black hair and bands of silver on those ankles
Aunt Nancy admires, with dozens of sacred little godlings frisking
around you under the palms of the temple court."

"Oh," gasped Emily rapturously, "that gave me THE FLASH.  And," she
added wonderingly, "just for a moment it made me HOMESICK, too.
Why?"

"Why?  Because I haven't a doubt you WERE just such a priestess in
a former incarnation and my words reminded your soul of it.  Do you
believe in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, Star?  But
of course not--brought up by the true-blue Calvinists of New Moon."

"What does it mean?" asked Emily, and when Dean explained it to her
she thought it a very delightful belief but was quite sure Aunt
Elizabeth would not approve of it.

"So I won't believe it--yet," she said gravely.

Then it all came to an end quite suddenly.  It had been taken for
granted by all concerned that Emily was to stay at Wyther Grange
until the end of August.  But in mid-August Aunt Nancy said
suddenly to her one day:

"Go home, Emily.  I'm tired of you.  I like you very well--you're
not stupid and you're passably pretty and you've behaved
exceedingly well--tell Elizabeth you do the Murrays credit--but I'm
tired of you.  Go home."

Emily's feelings were mixed.  It hurt her to be told Aunt Nancy was
tired of her--it would hurt any one.  It rankled in her for several
days until she thought of a sharp answer she might have made Aunt
Nancy and wrote it down in her Jimmy-book.  She felt quite as
relieved then as if she had really said it.

And she was sorry to leave Wyther Grange; she had grown to love the
old beautiful house, with its flavour of hidden secrets--a flavour
that was wholly a trick of its architecture, for there had never
been anything in it but the simple tale of births and deaths and
marriages and everyday living that most houses have.  She was sorry
to leave the bay shore and the quaint garden and the gazing-ball
and the chessy-cat and the Pink Room bed of freedom; and most of
all she was sorry to leave Dean Priest.  But on the other hand it
was delightful to think of going back to New Moon and all the loved
ones there--Teddy and his dear whistle, Ilse and her stimulating
comradeship, Perry with his determined reaching up for higher
things, Saucy Sal and the new kitten that must be needing proper
training now, and the fairy world of the Midsummer Night's Dream.
Cousin Jimmy's garden would be in its prime of splendour, the
August apples would be ripe.  Suddenly, Emily was very ready to go.
She packed her little black box jubilantly and found it an
excellent chance to work in neatly a certain line from a poem Dean
had recently read to her which had captured her fancy.

"'Good-bye, proud world, I'm going home,'" she declaimed feelingly,
standing at the top of the long, dark, shining staircase and
apostrophizing the row of grim Priest photographs hanging on the
wall.

But she was much annoyed over one thing.  Aunt Nancy would not give
her back the picture Teddy had painted.

"I'm going to keep it," Aunt Nancy said, grinning and shaking her
gold tassels.  "Some day that picture will be worth something as
the early effort of a famous artist."

"I only lent it to you--I told you I only lent it to you," said
Emily indignantly.

"I'm an unscrupulous old demon," said Aunt Nancy coolly.  "That is
what the Priests all call me behind my back.  Don't they, Caroline?
May as well have the game as the name.  I happen to have a fancy
for that picture, that's all.  I'm going to frame it and hang it
here in my parlour.  But I'll leave it to you in my will--that and
the chessy-cat and the gazing-ball and my gold ear-rings.  Nothing
else--I'm not going to leave you a cent of my money--never count on
that."

"I don't want it," said Emily loftily.  "I'm going to earn heaps of
money for myself.  But it isn't fair of you to keep my picture.  It
was given to me."

"I never was fair," said Aunt Nancy.  "Was I, Caroline?"

"No," said Caroline shrewishly.

"You see.  Now don't make a fuss, Emily.  You've been a very good
child but I feel that I've done my duty by you for this year.  Go
back to New Moon and when Elizabeth won't let you do things tell
her _I_ always let you.  I don't know if it will do any good but
try it.  Elizabeth, like every one else related to me, is always
wondering what I'm going to do with my money."

Cousin Jimmy came over for Emily.  How glad she was to see his kind
face with its gentle, elfish eyes and forked beard again!  But she
felt very badly when she turned to Dean.

"If you like I'll kiss you good-bye," she said chokily.

Emily did not like kissing people.  She did not really want to kiss
Dean but she liked him so much she thought she ought to extend all
the courtesies to him.

Dean looked down smiling into her face, so young, so pure, so
softly curved.

"No, I don't want you to kiss me--yet.  And our first kiss mustn't
have the flavour of good-bye.  It would be a bad omen.  Star o'
Morning, I'm sorry you're going.  But I'll see you again before
long.  My oldest sister lives in Blair Water, you know, and I feel
a sudden access of brotherly affection towards her.  I seem to
see myself visiting her very often henceforth.  In the meantime
remember you have promised to write me every week.  And I'll write
you."

"Nice fat letters," coaxed Emily.  "I love fat letters."

"Fat!  They'll be positively corpulent, Star.  Now, I'm not even
going to SAY good-bye.  Let's make a pact, Star.  We'll never SAY
good-bye to each other.  We'll just smile and go."

Emily made a gallant effort--smiled--and went.  Aunt Nancy and
Caroline returned to the back parlour and their cribbage.  Dean
Priest whistled for Tweed and went to the bay shore.  He was so
lonely that he laughed at himself.

Emily and Cousin Jimmy had so much to talk of that the drive home
seemed very short.

New Moon was white in the evening sunshine which also lay with
exceeding mellowness on the grey old barns.  The Three Princesses,
shooting up against the silvery sky, were as remote and princessly
as ever.  The old gulf was singing away down over the fields.

Aunt Laura came running out to meet them, her lovely blue eyes
shining with pleasure.  Aunt Elizabeth was in the cookhouse
preparing supper and only shook hands with Emily, but looked a
trifle less grim and stately than usual, and she had made Emily's
favourite cream-puffs for supper.  Perry was hanging about
barefooted and sunburned, to tell her all the gossip of kittens and
calves and little pigs and the new foal.  Ilse came swooping over,
and Emily discovered she had forgotten how vivid Ilse was--how
brilliant her amber eyes, how golden her mane of spun-silk hair,
looking more golden than ever under the bright blue silk tam Mrs
Simms had bought her in Shrewsbury.  As an article of dress, that
loud tam made Laura Murray's eyes and sensibilities ache, but its
colour certainly did set off Ilse's wonderful hair.  She engulfed
Emily in a rapturous embrace and quarrelled bitterly with her ten
minutes later over the fact that Emily refused to give her Saucy
Sal's sole surviving kitten.

"I ought to have it, you doddering hyena," stormed Ilse.  "It's as
much mine as yours, pig!  Our old barn cat is its father."

"Such talk is not decent," said Aunt Elizabeth, pale with horror.
"And if you two children are going to quarrel over that kitten I'll
have it drowned--remember that."

Ilse was finally appeased by Emily's offering to let her name the
kitten and have a half-interest in it.  Ilse named it Daffodil.
Emily did not think this suitable, since, from the fact of Cousin
Jimmy referring to it as Little Tommy, she suspected it was of the
sterner sex.  But rather than again provoke Aunt Elizabeth's wrath
by discussing tabooed subjects, she agreed.

"I can call it Daff," she thought.  "That sounds more MASCULINE."

The kitten was a delicate bit of striped greyness that reminded
Emily of her dear lost Mikes.  And it smelled so nice--of warmth
and clean furriness, with whiffs of the clover hay where Saucy Sal
had made her mother-nest.

After supper she heard Teddy's whistle in the old orchard--the same
enchanting call.  Emily flew out to greet him--after all, there was
nobody just like Teddy in the world.  They had an ecstatic scamper
up to the Tansy Patch to see a new puppy that Dr Burnley had given
Teddy.  Mrs Kent did not seem very glad to see Emily--she was
colder and more remote than ever, and she sat and watched the two
children playing with the chubby little pup with a smouldering fire
in her dark eyes that made Emily vaguely uncomfortable whenever she
happened to glance up and encounter it.  Never before had she
sensed Mrs Kent's dislike for her so keenly as that night.

"Why doesn't your mother like me?" she asked Teddy bluntly, when
they carried little Leo to the barn for the night.

"Because _I_ do," said Teddy briefly.  "She doesn't like ANYTHING I
like.  I'm afraid she'll poison Leo very soon.  I--I wish she
wasn't so fond of me," he burst out, in the beginning of a revolt
against this abnormal jealousy of love, which he felt rather than
understood to be a fetter that was becoming galling.  "She says she
won't let me take up Latin and Algebra this year--you know Miss
Brownell said I might--because I'm not to go to college.  She says
she can't bear to part from me--ever.  I don't care about the Latin
and stuff--but I want to learn to be an artist--I want to go away
some day to the schools where they teach that.  She won't let me--
she hates my pictures now because she thinks I like them better
than her.  I DON'T--I love Mother--she's awful sweet and good to me
every other way.  But she thinks I do--and she's burned some of
them.  I know she has.  They're missing from the barn wall and I
can't find them anywhere.  If she does anything to Leo--I'll--I'll
HATE her."

"Tell her that," said Emily coolly, with some of the Murray
shrewdness coming uppermost in her.  "She doesn't know that YOU
know she poisoned Smoke and Buttercup.  Tell her you do know it and
that if she does anything to Leo you won't love her any more.
She'll be so frightened of your NOT loving her that she won't
meddle with Leo--I KNOW.  Tell her gently--don't hurt her feelings--
but TELL her.  It will," concluded Emily, with a killing imitation
of Aunt Elizabeth delivering an ultimatum, "be better for all
concerned."

"I believe I will," said Teddy, much impressed.  "I CAN'T have Leo
disappear like my cats did--he's the only dog I've ever had and
I've always wanted a dog.  Oh, Emily, I'm glad you're back!"

It was very nice to be told this--especially by Teddy.  Emily went
home to New Moon happily.  In the old kitchen the candles were
lighted and their flames were dancing in the winds of the August
night blowing through door and window.

"I suppose you'll not like candles very well, Emily, after being
used to lamps at Wyther Grange," said Aunt Laura with a little
sigh.  It was one of the bitter, small things in Laura Murray's
life that Elizabeth's tyranny extended to candles.

Emily looked around her thoughtfully.  One candle sputtered and
bobbed at her as if greeting her.  One, with a long wick, glowed
and smouldered like a sulky little demon.  One had a tiny flame--a
sly, meditative candle.  One swayed with a queer fiery grace in the
draught from the door.  One burned with a steady upright flame like
a faithful soul.

"I--don't know--Aunt Laura," she answered slowly.  "You can be--
friends--with candles.  I believe I like the candles best after
all."

Aunt Elizabeth, coming in from the cook-house, heard her.
Something like pleasure gleamed in her gulf-blue eyes.

"You have some sense in you," she said.

"That's the second compliment she has paid me," thought Emily.

"I think Emily has grown taller since she went to Wyther Grange,"
Aunt Laura said, looking at her rather wistfully.

Aunt Elizabeth, snuffing the candles, glanced sharply over her
glasses.

"I can't see it," she said.  "Her dress is just the same length on
her."

"I'm sure she has," persisted Laura.

Cousin Jimmy, to settle the dispute, measured Emily by the sitting-
room door.  She just touched the former mark.

"You see," said Aunt Elizabeth triumphantly, liking to be right
even in this small matter.

"She looks--different," said Laura with a sigh.

Laura, after all, was right.  Emily HAD grown, taller and older, in
soul, if not in body.  It was this change which Laura felt, as
close and tender affection swiftly feels.  The Emily who returned
from Wyther Grange was not the Emily who had gone there.  She was
no longer wholly the child.  Aunt Nancy's family histories over
which she had pondered, her enduring anguish over the story of
Ilse's mother, that terrible hour when she had lain cheek by jowl
with death on the cliffs of the bay shore, her association with
Dean Priest, all had combined to mature her intelligence and her
emotions.  When she went to the garret next morning and pulled out
her precious little bundle of manuscripts to read them lovingly
over she was amazed and rather grieved to find that they were not
half so good as she had believed they were.  Some of them were
positively silly, she thought; she was ashamed of them--so ashamed
that she smuggled them down to the cook-house stove and burned
them, much to Aunt Elizabeth's annoyance when she came to prepare
dinner and found the fire-box all choked up with charred paper.

Emily no longer wondered that Miss Brownell had made fun of them--
though this did not mellow her bitterness of remembrance in regard
to that lady in any degree.  The rest she put back on the sofa
shelf, including "The Child of the Sea," which still impressed her
as fairly good, though not just the wonderful composition she had
once deemed it.  She felt that many passages could be re-written to
their advantage.  Then she immediately began writing a new poem,
"On Returning Home After Weeks' Absence."  As everything and
everybody connected with New Moon had to be mentioned in this poem
it promised to be quite long and to furnish agreeable occupation
for spare minutes in many weeks to come.  It was very good to be
home again.

"There is no place just like dear New Moon," thought Emily.

One thing that marked her return--one of those little household
"epochs" that make a keener impression on the memory and
imagination than perhaps their real importance warrants--was the
fact that she was given a room of her own.  Aunt Elizabeth had
found her unshared slumber too sweet a thing to be again
surrendered.  She decided that she could not put up any longer with
a squirming bedfellow who asked unearthly questions at any hour of
the night she took it into her head to do so.

So, after a long conference with Laura, it was settled that Emily
was to have her mother's room--the "lookout" as it was called,
though it was not really a lookout.  But it occupied the place in
New Moon, looking over the front door to the garden, that the real
lookouts did in other Blair Water houses, so it went by that name.
It had been prepared for Emily's occupancy in her absence and when
bedtime came on the first evening of her return Aunt Elizabeth
curtly told her that henceforth she was to have her mother's room.

"All to myself?" exclaimed Emily.

"Yes.  We will expect you to take care of it yourself and keep it
very tidy."

"It has never been slept in since the night before your mother--
went away," said Aunt Laura, with a queer sound in her voice--a
sound of which Aunt Elizabeth disapproved.

"Your mother," she said, looking coldly at Emily over the flame of
the candle--an attitude that gave a rather gruesome effect to her
aquiline features--"RAN away--flouted her family and broke her
father's heart.  She was a silly, ungrateful, disobedient girl.  I
hope YOU will never disgrace your family by such conduct."

"Oh, Aunt Elizabeth," said Emily breathlessly, "when you hold the
candle down like that it makes your face look just like a corpse!
Oh, it's so interesting."

Aunt Elizabeth turned and led the way upstairs in grim silence.
There was no use in wasting perfectly good admonitions on a child
like this.

Left alone in her lookout, lighted dimly by the one small candle,
Emily gazed about her with keen and thrilling interest.  She could
not get into bed until she had explored every bit of it.  The room
was very old-fashioned, like all New Moon rooms.  The walls were
papered with a design of slender gilt diamonds enclosing golden
stars and hung with worked woollen mottoes and pictures that had
been "supplements" in the girlhood of her aunts.  One of them,
hanging over the head of the bed, represented two guardian angels.
In its day this had been much admired but Emily looked at it with
distaste.

"I don't like feather wings on angels," she said decidedly.
"Angels should have rainbowy wings."

On the floor was a pretty homespun carpet and round braided rugs.
There was a high black bedstead with carved posts, a fat feather-
bed, and an Irish chain quilt, but, as Emily was glad to see, no
curtains.  A little table, with funny claw-feet and brass-knobbed
drawers, stood by the window, which was curtained with muslin
frills; one of the window-panes contorted the landscape funnily,
making a hill where no hill was.  Emily liked this--she couldn't
have told why, but it was really because it gave the pane an
individuality of its own.  An oval mirror in a tarnished gilt frame
hung above the table; Emily was delighted to find she could see
herself in it--"all but my boots"--without craning or tipping it.
"And it doesn't twist my face or turn my complexion green," she
thought happily.  Two high-backed, black chairs with horsehair
seats, a little washstand with a blue basin and pitcher, and a
faded ottoman with woollen roses cross-stitched on it, completed
the furnishing.  On the little mantel were vases full of dried and
coloured grasses and a fascinating pot-bellied bottle filled with
West Indian shells.  On either side were lovable little cupboards
with leaded-glass doors like those in the sitting-room.  Underneath
was a small fireplace.

"I wonder if Aunt Elizabeth will ever let me have a little fire
here," thought Emily.

The room was full of that indefinable charm found in all rooms
where the pieces of furniture, whether old or new, are well
acquainted with each other and the walls and floors are on good
terms.  Emily felt it all over her as she flitted about examining
everything.  This was her room--she loved it already--she felt
perfectly at home.

"I belong here," she breathed happily.

She felt deliciously NEAR to her mother--as if Juliet Starr had
suddenly become real to her.  It thrilled her to think that her
mother had probably crocheted the lace cover on the round
pincushion on the table.  And that flat, black jar of pot-pourri on
the mantel--her mother must have compounded it.  When Emily lifted
the lid a faint spicy odour floated out.  The souls of all the
roses that had bloomed through many olden summers at New Moon
seemed to be prisoned there in a sort of flower purgatory.
Something in the haunting, mystical, elusive odour gave Emily THE
FLASH--and her room had received its consecration.

There was a picture of her mother hanging over the mantel--a large
daguerreotype taken when she was a little girl.  Emily looked at it
lovingly.  She had the picture of her mother which her father had
left, taken after their marriage.  But when Aunt Elizabeth had
brought that from Maywood to New Moon she had hung it in the
parlour where Emily seldom saw it.  This picture, in her bedroom,
of the golden-haired, rose-cheeked girl, was all her own.  She
could look at it--talk to it at will.

"Oh, Mother," she said, "what did you think of when you were a
little girl here like me?  I wish I could have known you THEN.  And
to think nobody has ever slept here since that last night you did
before you ran away with Father.  Aunt Elizabeth says you were
wicked to do it but _I_ don't think you were.  It wasn't as if you
were running away with a STRANGER.  Anyway, I'm glad you DID,
because if you hadn't there wouldn't have been any ME."

Emily, very glad that there was an Emily, opened her lookout window
as high as it would go, got into bed and drifted off to sleep,
feeling a happiness that was so deep as to be almost pain as she
listened to the sonorous sweep of the night wind among the great
trees in Lofty John's bush.  When she wrote to her father a few
days later she began the letter, "Dear Father and Mother."

"And I'll always write the letter to YOU as well as Father after
this, Mother.  I'm sorry I left you out so long.  But you didn't
seem REAL till that night I came home.  I made the bed beautifully
next morning--Aunt Elizabeth didn't find a bit of fault with it--
and I dusted EVERYTHING--and when I went out I knelt down and
kissed the doorstep.  I didn't think Aunt Elizabeth saw me but she
did and said had I gone crazy.  Why does Aunt Elizabeth think any
one is crazy who does something she never does?  I said 'No, it's
only because I love my room so much' and she sniffed and said
'You'd better love your God.'  But so I do, dear Father--and
Mother--and I love Him better than ever since I have my dear room.
I can see all over the garden from it and into Lofty John's bush
and one little bit of the Blair Water through the gap in the trees
where the Yesterday Road runs.  I like to go to bed early now.  I
love to lie all alone in my own room and make poetry and think out
descriptions of things while I look through the open window at the
stars and the nice, big, kind, quiet trees in Lofty John's bush.

"Oh, Father dear and Mother, we are going to have a new teacher.
Miss Brownell is not coming back.  She is going to be married and
Ilse says that when her father heard it he said 'God help the man.'
And the new teacher is a Mr Carpenter.  Ilse saw him when he came
to see her father about the school--because Dr Burnley is a trustee
this year--and she says he has bushy grey hair and whiskers.  He is
married, too, and is going to live in that little old house down in
the hollow below the school.  It seems so funny to think of a
teacher having a wife and whiskers.

"I am glad to be home.  But I miss Dean and the gazing-ball.  Aunt
Elizabeth looked very cross when she saw my bang but didn't say
anything.  Aunt Laura says just to keep quiet and go on wearing it.
But I don't feel comfortable going against Aunt Elizabeth so I have
combed it all back except a LITTLE fringe.  I don't feel QUITE
comfortable about it even yet, but I have to put up with being a
little uncomfortable for the sake of my looks.  Aunt Laura says
bustles are going out of style so I'll never be able to have one
but I don't care because I think they're ugly.  Rhoda Stuart will
be cross because she was just longing to be old enough to wear a
bustle.  I hope I'll be able to have a gin-jar all to myself when
the weather gets cold.  There is a row of gin-jars on the high
shelf in the cook-house.

"Teddy and I had the nicest ADVENTURE yesterday evening.  We are
going to keep it a secret from everybody--partly because it was so
nice, and partly because we think we'd get a fearful scolding for
one thing we did.

"We went up to the Disappointed House, and we found one of the
boards on the windows loose.  So we pried it off and crawled in and
went all over the house.  It is lathed but not plastered, and the
shavings are lying all over the floors just as the carpenters left
them years ago.  It seemed more disappointed than ever.  I just
felt like crying.  There was a dear little fireplace in one room so
we went to work and kindled a fire in it with shavings and pieces
of boards (this is the thing we would be scolded for, likely) and
then sat before it on an old carpenter's bench and talked.  We
decided that when we grew up we would buy the Disappointed House
and live here together.  Teddy said he supposed we'd have to get
married, but I thought maybe we could find a way to manage without
going to all that bother.  Teddy will paint pictures and I will
write poetry and we will have toast and bacon and marmalade EVERY
morning for breakfast--just like Wyther Grange--but NEVER porridge.
And we'll always have lots of nice things to eat in the pantry and
I'll make lots of jam and Teddy is always going to help me wash the
dishes and we'll hang the gazing-ball from the middle of the
ceiling in the fireplace room--because likely Aunt Nancy will be
dead by then.

"When the fire burned out we jammed the board into place in the
window and came away.  Every now and then to-day Teddy would say to
me "Toast and bacon and marmalade" in the MOST mysterious tones and
Ilse and Perry are wild because they can't find out what he means.

"Cousin Jimmy has got Jimmy Joe Belle to help with the harvest.
Jimmy Joe Belle comes from over Derry Pond way.  There are a great
many French there and when a French girl marries they call her
mostly by her husband's first name instead of Mrs like the English
do.  If a girl named Mary marries a man named Leon she will always
be called Mary Leon after that.  But in Jimmy Joe Belle's case, it
is the other way and he is called by his wife's names.  I asked
Cousin Jimmy why, and he said it was because Jimmy Joe was a poor
stick of a creature and Belle wore the britches.  But still I don't
understand.  Jimmy Joe wears britches himself--that means trousers--
and why should he be called Jimmy Joe Bell instead of her being
called Belle Jimmy Joe just because she wears them too!  I won't
rest till I find out.

"Cousin Jimmy's garden is splendid now.  The tiger lilies are out.
I am trying to love them because nobody seems to like them at all
but deep down in my heart I know I love the late roses best.  You
just can't help loving the roses best.

"Ilse and I hunted all over the old orchard to-day for a four-
leaved clover and couldn't find one.  Then I found one in a clump
of clover by the dairy steps to-night when I was straining the milk
and never thinking of clovers.  Cousin Jimmy says that is the way
luck always comes, and it is no use to look for it.

"It is lovely to be with Ilse again.  We have only fought twice
since I came home.  I am going to try not to fight with Ilse any
more because I don't think it is dignified, although quite
interesting.  But it is hard not to because even when I keep quiet
and don't say a word Ilse thinks that's a way of fighting and gets
madder and says worse things than ever.  Aunt Elizabeth says it
always takes two to make a quarrel but she doesn't know Ilse as I
do.  Ilse called me a sneaking albatross to-day.  I wonder how many
animals are left to call me.  She never repeats the same one twice.
I wish she wouldn't clapper-claw Perry so much.  (Clapper-claw is a
word I learnt from Aunt Nancy.  Very striking, I think.)  It seems
as if she couldn't bear him.  He dared Teddy to jump from the
henhouse roof across to the pighouse roof.  Teddy wouldn't.  He
said he would try it if it had to be done or would do anybody any
good but he wasn't going to do it just to show off.  Perry did it
and landed safe.  If he hadn't he might have broken his neck.  Then
he bragged about it and said Teddy was afraid and Ilse turned red
as a beet and told him to shut up or she would bite his snout off.
She can't bear to have anything said against Teddy, but I guess he
can take care of himself.

"Ilse can't study for the Entrance either.  Her father won't let
her.  But she says she doesn't care.  She says she's going to run
away when she gets a little older and study for the stage.  That
sounds wicked, but interesting.

"I felt very queer and guilty when I saw Ilse first, because I knew
about her mother.  I don't know why I felt guilty because I had
nothing to do with it.  The feeling is wearing away a little now
but I am so unhappy by spells over it.  I wish I could either
forget it altogether or find out the rights of it.  Because I am
sure nobody knows them.

"I had a letter from Dean to-day.  He writes lovely letters--just
as if I was grown up.  He sent me a little poem he had cut out of a
paper called The Fringed Gentian.  He said it made him think of me.
It is all lovely but I like the last verse best of all.  This is
it:


     Then whisper, blossom, in thy sleep
     How I may upward climb
     The Alpine Path, so hard, so steep,
     That leads to heights sublime.
     How I may reach that far-off goal
     Of true and honoured fame
     And write upon its shining scroll
     A woman's humble name.


"When I read that THE FLASH came, and I took a sheet of paper--I
forgot to tell you Cousin Jimmy gave me a little box of paper and
envelopes--ON THE SLY--and I wrote on it:


I, Emily Byrd Starr, do solemnly vow this day that I will climb the
Alpine Path and write my name on the scroll of fame.


"Then I put it in the envelope and sealed it up and wrote on it The
Vow of Emily Byrd Starr, aged 12 years and 3 months, and put it
away on the sofa shelf in the garret.

"I am writing a murder story now and I am trying to feel how a man
would feel who was a murderer.  It is creepy, but thrilling.  I
almost feel as if I HAD murdered somebody.

"Good night, dear Father and Mother.

"Your lovingest daughter, Emily,

"P.S.  I have been wondering how I'll sign my name when I grow up
and print my pieces.  I don't know which would be best--Emily Byrd
Starr in full or Emily B. Starr, or E. B. Starr, or E. Byrd Starr.
Sometimes I think I'll have a nom-de-plume--that is, another name
you pick for yourself.  It's in my dictionary among the "French
phrases" at the back.  If I did that then I could hear people
talking of my pieces right before me, never suspecting, and say
just what they really thought of them.  That would be interesting
but perhaps not always comfortable.  I think I'll be,

"E. Byrd Starr."



A WEAVER OF DREAMS


It took Emily several weeks to make up her mind whether she liked
Mr Carpenter or not.  She knew she did not DIS-like him, not even
though his first greeting, shot at her on the opening day of school
in a gruff voice, accompanied by a startling lift of his spiky grey
brows was, "So you're the girl that writes poetry, eh?  Better
stick to your needle and duster.  Too many fools in the world
trying to write poetry and failing.  I tried it myself once.  Got
better sense now."

"You don't keep your nails clean," thought Emily.

But he upset every kind of school tradition so speedily and
thoroughly that Ilse, who gloried in upsetting things and hated
routine, was the only scholar that liked him from the start.  Some
never liked him--the Rhoda Stuart type for example--but most of
them came to it after they got used to never being used to
anything.  And Emily finally decided that she liked him
tremendously.

Mr Carpenter was somewhere between forty and fifty--a tall man,
with an upstanding shock of bushy grey hair, bristling grey
moustache and eyebrows, a truculent beard, bright blue eyes out of
which all his wild life had not yet burned the fire, and a long,
lean, greyish face, deeply lined.  He lived in a little two-roomed
house below the school with a shy mouse of a wife.  He never talked
of his past or offered any explanation of the fact that at his age
he had no better profession than teaching a district school for a
pittance of salary, but the truth leaked out after a while; for
Prince Edward Island is a small province and everybody in it knows
something about everybody else.  So eventually Blair Water people,
and even the school children, understood that Mr Carpenter had been
a brilliant student in his youth and had had his eye on the
ministry.  But at college he had got in with a "fast set"--Blair
Water people nodded heads slowly and whispered the dreadful phrase
portentously--and the fast set had ruined him.  He "took to drink"
and went to the dogs generally.  And the upshot of it all was that
Francis Carpenter, who had led his class in his first and second
years at McGill, and for whom his teachers had predicted a great
career, was a country school-teacher at forty-five with no prospect
of ever being anything else.  Perhaps he was resigned to it--
perhaps not.  Nobody ever knew, not even the brown mouse of a wife.
Nobody in Blair Water cared--he was a good teacher, and that was
all that mattered.  Even if he did go on occasional "sprees" he
always took Saturday for them and was sober enough by Monday.
Sober, and especially dignified, wearing a rusty black frock-coat
which he never put on any other day of the week.  He did not invite
pity and he did not pose as a tragedy.  But sometimes, when Emily
looked at his face, bent over the arithmetic problems of Blair
Water School, she felt horribly sorry for him without in the least
understanding why.

He had an explosive temper which generally burst into flame at
least once a day, and then he would storm about wildly for a few
minutes, tugging at his beard, imploring heaven to grant him
patience, abusing everybody in general and the luckless object of
his wrath in particular.  But these tempers never lasted long.  In
a few minutes Mr Carpenter would be smiling as graciously as a sun
bursting through a storm-cloud on the very pupil he had been
rating.  Nobody seemed to cherish any grudge because of his
scoldings.  He never said any of the biting things Miss Brownell
was wont to say, which rankled and festered for weeks; his hail of
words fell alike on just and unjust and rolled off harmlessly.

He could take a joke on himself in perfect good nature.  "Do you
hear me?  Do you hear me, sirrah?" he bellowed to Perry Miller one
day.  "Of course I hear you," retorted Perry coolly, "they could
hear you in Charlottetown."  Mr Carpenter stared for a moment, then
broke into a great, jolly laugh.

His methods of teaching were so different from Miss Brownell's that
the Blair Water pupils at first felt as if he had stood them on
their heads.  Miss Brownell had been a martinet for order.  Mr
Carpenter never tried to keep order apparently.  But somehow he
kept the children so busy that they had no time to do mischief.  He
taught history tempestuously for a month, making his pupils play
the different characters and enact the incidents.  He never
bothered any one to learn dates--but the dates stuck in the memory
just the same.  If, as Mary Queen of Scots, you were beheaded by
the school axe, kneeling blindfolded at the doorstep, with Perry
Miller, wearing a mask made out of a piece of Aunt Laura's old
black silk, for executioner, wondering what would happen if he
brought the axe down TOO hard, you did not forget the year it
happened; and if you fought the battle of Waterloo all over the
school playground, and heard Teddy Kent shouting, "Up, Guards and
at 'em!" as he led the last furious charge you remembered 1815
without half trying to.

Next month history would be thrust aside altogether and geography
would take its place, when school and playground were mapped out
into countries and you dressed up as the animals inhabiting them or
traded in various commodities over their rivers and cities.  When
Rhoda Stuart had cheated you in a bargain in hides, you remembered
that she had bought the cargo from the Argentine Republic, and when
Perry Miller would not drink any water for a whole hot summer day
because he was crossing the Arabian Desert with a caravan of camels
and could not find an oasis, and then drank so much that he took
terrible cramps and Aunt Laura had to be up all night with him--you
did not forget where the said desert was.  The trustees were quite
scandalized over some of the goings on and felt sure that the
children were having too good a time to be really learning
anything.

If you wanted to learn Latin and French you had to do it by talking
your exercises, not writing them, and on Friday afternoons all
lessons were put aside and Mr Carpenter made the children recite
poems, make speeches and declaim passages from Shakespeare and the
Bible.  This was the day Ilse loved.  Mr Carpenter pounced on her
gift like a starving dog on a bone and drilled her without mercy.
They had endless fights and Ilse stamped her foot and called him
names while the other pupils wondered why she was not punished for
it but at last had to give in and do as he willed.  Ilse went to
school regularly--something she had never done before.  Mr
Carpenter had told her that if she were absent for a day without
good excuse she could take no part in the Friday "exercises" and
this would have killed her.

One day Mr Carpenter had picked up Teddy's slate and found a sketch
of himself on it, in one of his favourite if not exactly beautiful
attitudes.  Teddy had labelled it "The Black Death"--half of the
pupils of the school having died that day of the Great Plague, and
having been carried out on stretchers to the Potter's Field by the
terrified survivors.

Teddy expected a roar of denunciation, for the day before Garrett
Marshall had been ground into figurative pulp on being discovered
with the picture of a harmless cow on his slate--at least, Garrett
said he meant it for a cow.  But now this amazing Mr Carpenter only
drew his beetling brows together, looked earnestly at Teddy's
slate, put it down on the desk, looked at Teddy, and said,

"I don't know anything about drawing--I can't help you, but, by
gad, I think hereafter you'd better give up those extra arithmetic
problems in the afternoon and draw pictures."

Whereupon Garrett Marshall went home and told his father that "old
Carpenter" wasn't fair and "made favourites" over Teddy Kent.

Mr Carpenter went up to the Tansy Patch that evening and saw the
sketches in Teddy's old barn-loft studio.  Then he went into the
house and talked to Mrs Kent.  What he said and what she said
nobody ever knew.  But Mr Carpenter went away looking grim, as if
he had met an unexpected match.  He took great pains with Teddy's
general school work after that and procured from somewhere certain
elementary textbooks on drawing which he gave him, telling him not
to take them home--a caution Teddy did not require.  He knew quite
well that if he did they would disappear as mysteriously as his
cats had done.  He had taken Emily's advice and told his mother he
would not love HER if anything happened to Leo, and Leo flourished
and waxed fat and doggy.  But Teddy was too gentle at heart and too
fond of his mother to make such a threat more than once.  He knew
she had cried all that night after Mr Carpenter had been there, and
prayed on her knees in her little bedroom most of the next day, and
looked at him with bitter, haunting eyes for a week.  He wished she
was more like other fellows' mothers but they loved each other very
much and had dear hours together in the little grey house on the
tansy hill.  It was only when other people were about that Mrs Kent
was queer and jealous.

"She's always lovely when we're alone," Teddy had told Emily.

As for the other boys, Perry Miller was the only one Mr Carpenter
bothered much with in the way of speeches--and he was as merciless
with him as with Ilse.  Perry worked hard to please him and
practised his speeches in barn and field--and even by nights in the
kitchen loft--until Aunt Elizabeth put a stop to THAT.  Emily could
not understand why Mr Carpenter would smile amiably and say, "Very
good," when Neddy Gray rattled off a speech glibly, without any
expression whatever, and then rage at Perry and denounce him as a
dunce and a nincompoop, by gad, because he had failed to give just
the proper emphasis on a certain word, or had timed his gesture a
fraction of a second too soon.

Neither could she understand why he made red pencil corrections all
over her compositions and rated her for split infinitives and too
lavish adjectives and strode up and down the aisle and hurled
objurgations at her because she didn't know "a good place to stop
when she saw it, by gad," and then told Rhoda Stuart and Nan Lee
that their compositions were very pretty and gave them back without
so much as a mark on them.  Yet, in spite of it all, she liked him
more and more as time went on and autumn passed and winter came
with its beautiful bare-limbed trees, and soft pearl-grey skies
that were slashed with rifts of gold in the afternoons, and cleared
to a jewelled pageantry of stars over the wide white hills and
valleys around New Moon.

Emily shot up so that winter that Aunt Laura had to let down the
tucks of her dresses.  Aunt Ruth, who had come for a week's visit,
said she was outgrowing her strength--consumptive children always
did.

"I am NOT consumptive," Emily said.  "The Starrs are tall," she
added, with a touch of subtle malice hardly to be looked for in
near-thirteen.

Aunt Ruth, who was sensitive in regard to her dumpiness, sniffed.

"It would be well if THAT were the only thing in which you resemble
them," she said.  "How are you getting on in school?"

"Very well.  I am the smartest scholar in my class," answered Emily
composedly.

"You conceited child!" said Aunt Ruth.

"I'm NOT conceited."  Emily looked scornful indignation.  "Mr
Carpenter said it and HE doesn't flatter.  Besides, I can't help
seeing it myself."

"Well, it is to be hoped you have some brains, because you haven't
much in the way of looks," said Aunt Ruth.  "You've no complexion
to speak of--and that inky hair around your white face is
startling.  I see you're going to be a plain girl."

"You wouldn't say that to a grown-up person's face," said Emily
with a deliberate gravity which always exasperated Aunt Ruth
because she could not understand it in a child.  "I don't think it
would hurt you to be as polite to me as you are to other people."

"I'm telling you your faults so you may correct them," said Aunt
Ruth frigidly.

"It ISN'T my fault that my face is pale and my hair black,"
protested Emily.  "I can't correct that."

"If you were a different girl," said Aunt Ruth, "I would--"

"But I don't WANT to be a different girl," said Emily decidedly.
She had no intention of lowering the Starr flag to Aunt Ruth.  "I
wouldn't want to be anybody but myself even if I am plain.
Besides," she added impressively as she turned to go out of the
room, "though I may not be very good-looking now, when I go to
heaven I believe I'll be very beautiful."

"Some people think Emily quite pretty," said Aunt Laura, but she
did not say it until Emily was out of hearing.  She was Murray
enough for that.

"I don't know where they see it," said Aunt Ruth.  "She's vain and
pert and says things to be thought smart.  You heard her just now.
But the thing I dislike most in her is that she is unchildlike--and
deep as the sea.  Yes, she is, Laura--deep as the sea.  You'll find
it out to your cost one day if you disregard my warning.  She's
capable of anything.  Sly is no word for it.  You and Elizabeth
don't keep a tight enough rein over her."

"I've done my best," said Elizabeth stiffly.  She herself did think
she had been much too lenient with Emily--Laura and Jimmy were two
to one--but it nettled her to have Ruth say so.

Uncle Wallace also had an attack of worrying over Emily that
winter.

He looked at her one day when he was at New Moon and remarked that
she was getting to be a big girl.

"How old are you, Emily?"  He asked her that every time he came to
New Moon.

"Thirteen in May."

"H'm.  What are you going to do with her, Elizabeth?"

"I don't know what you mean," said Aunt Elizabeth coldly--or as
coldly as is possible to speak when one is pouring melted tallow
into candle-moulds.

"Why, she'll soon be grown up.  She can't expect you to provide for
her indefinitely--"

"I don't," Emily whispered resentfully under her breath.

"--and it's time we decided what is best to be done for her."

"The Murray women have never had to work out for a living," said
Aunt Elizabeth, as if that disposed of the matter.

"Emily is only half Murray," said Wallace.  "Besides, times are
changing.  You and Laura will not live for ever, Elizabeth, and
when you are gone New Moon goes to Oliver's Andrew.  In my opinion
Emily should be fitted to support herself if necessary."

Emily did not like Uncle Wallace but she was very grateful to him
at that moment.  Whatever his motives were he was proposing the
very thing she secretly yearned for.

"I would suggest," said Uncle Wallace, "that she be sent to Queen's
Academy to get a teacher's licence.  Teaching is a genteel,
ladylike occupation.  _I_ will do my share in providing for the
expense of it."

A blind person might have seen that Uncle Wallace thought this very
splendid of himself.

"If you do," thought Emily, "I'll pay every cent back to you as
soon as I'm able to earn it."

But Aunt Elizabeth was adamant.

"I do not believe in girls going out into the world," she said.  "I
don't mean Emily to go to Queen's.  I told Mr Carpenter so when he
came to see me about her taking up the Entrance work.  He was very
rude--schoolteachers knew their place better in my father's time.
But I made him understand, I think.  I'm rather surprised at YOU,
Wallace.  You did not send your own daughter out to work."

"MY daughter had parents to provide for her," retorted Uncle
Wallace pompously.  "Emily is an orphan.  I imagined from what I
had heard about her that she would prefer earning her own living to
living on charity."

"So I would," cried out Emily.  "So I would, Uncle Wallace.  Oh,
Aunt Elizabeth, please let me study for the Entrance.  Please!
I'll pay you back every cent you spend on it--I will indeed.  I
pledge you my word of honour."

"It does not happen to be a question of money," said Aunt Elizabeth
in her stateliest manner.  "I undertook to provide for you, Emily,
and I will do it.  When you are older I may send you to the High
School in Shrewsbury for a couple of years.  I am not decrying
education.  But you are not going to be a slave to the public--no
Murray girl ever was THAT."

Emily realizing the uselessness of pleading, went out in the same
bitter disappointment she had felt after Mr Carpenter's visit.
Then Aunt Elizabeth looked at Wallace.

"Have you forgotten what came of sending Juliet to Queen's?" she
asked significantly.

If Emily was not allowed to take up the Entrance classes, Perry had
no one to say him nay and he went at them with the same dogged
determination he showed in all other matters.  Perry's status at
New Moon had changed subtly and steadily.  Aunt Elizabeth had
ceased to refer scornfully to him as "a hired boy."  Even she
recognized that though he was still undubitably a hired boy he was
not going to remain one, and she no longer objected to Laura's
patching up his ragged bits of clothing, or to Emily's helping him
with his lessons in the kitchen after supper, nor did she growl
when Cousin Jimmy began to pay him a certain small wage--though
older boys than Perry were still glad to put in the winter months
choring for board and lodging in some comfortable home.  If a
future premier was in the making at New Moon Aunt Elizabeth wanted
to have some small share in the making.  It was credible and
commendable that a boy should have ambitions.  A girl was an
entirely different matter.  A girl's place was at home.

Emily helped Perry work out algebra problems and heard his lessons
in French and Latin.  She picked up more thus than Aunt Elizabeth
would have approved and more still when the Entrance pupils talked
those languages in school.  It was quite an easy matter for a girl
who had once upon a time invented a language of her own.  When
George Bates, by way of showing off, asked her one day in French--
HIS French, of which Mr Carpenter had once said doubtfully that
perhaps God might understand it--"Have you the ink of my
grandmother and the shoebrush of my cousin and the umbrella of my
aunt's HUSBAND in your desk?" Emily retorted quite as glibly and
QUITE as Frenchily, "No, but I have the pen of your father and the
cheese of the innkeeper and the towel of your uncle's maidservant
in my basket."

To console herself for her disappointment in regard to the Entrance
class Emily wrote more poetry than ever.  It was especially
delightful to write poetry on a winter evening when the storm winds
howled without and heaped the garden and orchard with big ghostly
drifts, starred over with rabbits' candles.  She also wrote several
stories--desperate love affairs wherein she struggled heroically
against the difficulties of affectionate dialogue; tales of bandits
and pirates--Emily liked these because there was no necessity for
bandits and pirates to converse lovingly; tragedies of earls and
countesses whose conversation she dearly loved to pepper with
scraps of French; and a dozen other subjects she didn't know
anything about.  She also meditated beginning a novel but decided
it would be too hard to get enough paper for it.  The letter-bills
were all done now and the Jimmy-books were not big enough, though a
new one always appeared mysteriously in her school basket when the
old one was almost full.  Cousin Jimmy seemed to have an uncanny
prescience of the proper time--that was part of his Jimmyness.

Then one night, as she lay in her lookout bed and watched a full
moon gleaming lustrously from a cloudless sky across the valley,
she had a sudden dazzling idea.

She would send her latest poem to the Charlottetown Enterprise.

The Enterprise had a Poet's Corner where "original" verses were
frequently printed.  Privately Emily thought her own were quite as
good--as probably they were, for most of the Enterprise "poems"
were sad trash.

Emily was so excited over the idea that she could not sleep for the
greater part of the night--and didn't want to.  It was glorious to
lie there, thrilling in the darkness, and picture the whole thing
out.  She saw her verses in print signed E. Byrd Starr--she saw
Aunt Laura's eyes shining with pride--she saw Mr Carpenter pointing
them out to strangers--"the work of a pupil of mine, by gad"--she
saw all her schoolmates envying her or admiring, according to type--
she saw herself with one foot at least firmly planted on the
ladder of fame--one hill at least of the Alpine Path crested, with
a new and glorious prospect opening therefrom.

Morning came.  Emily went to school, so absent-minded because of
her secret that she did badly in everything and was raged at by Mr
Carpenter.  But it all slipped off her like the proverbial water
off a duck's back.  Her body was in Blair Water school but her
spirit was in kingdoms empyreal.

As soon as school was out she betook herself to the garret with
half a sheet of blue-lined notepaper.  Very painstakingly she
copied down the poem, being especially careful to dot every i and
cross every t.  She wrote it on both sides of the paper, being in
blissful ignorance of any taboo thereon.  Then she read it aloud
delightedly, not omitting the title Evening Dreams.  There was one
line in it she tasted two or three times:


     The haunting elfin music of the air.


"I think that line is VERY good," said Emily.  "I wonder now how I
happened to think of it."

She mailed her poem the next day and lived in a delicious mystic
rapture until the following Saturday.  When the Enterprise came she
opened it with tremulous eagerness and ice-cold fingers, and turned
to the Poet's Corner.  Now for her great moment!

There was not a sign of an Evening Dream about it!

Emily threw down the Enterprise and fled to the garret dormer
where, face downward on the old hair-cloth sofa, she wept out her
bitterness of disappointment.  She drained the draught of failure
to the very dregs.  It was horribly real and tragic to her.  She
felt exactly as if she had been slapped in the face.  She was
crushed in the very dust of humiliation and was sure she could
never rise again.

How thankful she was that she hadn't told Teddy anything about it--
she had been so strongly tempted to, and only refrained because she
didn't want to spoil the dramatic surprise of the moment when she
would show him the verses with her name signed to them.  She HAD
told Perry, and Perry was furious when he saw her tear-stained face
later on in the dairy, as they strained the milk together.
Ordinarily Emily loved this, but to-night the savour had gone out
of the world.  Even the milky splendour of the still, mild winter
evening and the purple bloom over the hillside woods that presaged
a thaw could not give her the accustomed soul-thrill.

"I'm going to Charlottetown if I have to walk and I'll bust that
Enterprise editor's head," said Perry, with the expression which,
thirty years later, warned the members of his party to scatter for
cover.

"That wouldn't be any use," said Emily drearily.  "He didn't think
it good enough to print--that is what hurts me so, Perry--he didn't
think it any good.  Busting his head wouldn't change THAT."

It took her a week to recover from the blow.  Then she wrote a
story in which the editor of the Enterprise played the part of a
dark and desperate villain who found lodging eventually behind
prison bars.  This got the venom out of her system and she forgot
all about him in the delight of writing a poem addressed to "Sweet
Lady April."  But I question if she ever really forgave him--even
when she discovered eventually that you must NOT write on both
sides of the paper--even when she read over Evening Dreams a year
later and wondered how she could ever have thought it any good.

This sort of thing was happening frequently now.  Every time she
read her little hoard of manuscripts over she found some of which
the fairy gold had unaccountably turned to withered leaves, fit
only for the burning.  Emily burned them--but it hurt her a little.
Outgrowing things we love is never a pleasant process.



SACRILEGE


There had been several clashes between Aunt Elizabeth and Emily
that winter and spring.  Generally Aunt Elizabeth came out
victorious; there was that in her that would not be denied the
satisfaction of having her own way even in trifling matters.  But
once in a while she came up against that curious streak of granite
in Emily's composition which was unyielding and unbendable and
unbreakable.  Mary Murray, of a hundred years agone, had been, so
family chronicle ran, a gentle and submissive creature generally;
but she had that same streak in her, as her "Here I Stay"
abundantly testified.  When Aunt Elizabeth tried conclusions with
that element in Emily she always got the worst of it.  Yet she did
not learn wisdom therefrom but pursued her policy of repression all
the more rigorously; for it occasionally came home to her, as Laura
let down tucks, that Emily was on the verge of beginning to grow up
and that various breakers and reefs loomed ahead, ominously
magnified in the mist of unseen years, Emily must not be allowed to
get out of hand now, lest later on she make shipwreck as her mother
had done--or as Elizabeth Murray firmly believed she had done.
There were, in short, to be no more elopements from New Moon.

One of the things they fell out about was the fact that Emily, as
Aunt Elizabeth discovered one day, was in the habit of using more
of her egg money to buy paper than Aunt Elizabeth approved of.
What did Emily do with so much paper?  They had a fuss over this
and eventually Aunt Elizabeth discovered that Emily was writing
stories.  Emily had been writing stories all winter under Aunt
Elizabeth's very nose and Aunt Elizabeth had never suspected it.
She had fondly supposed that Emily was writing school compositions.
Aunt Elizabeth knew in a vague way that Emily wrote silly rhymes
which she called "poetry" but this did not worry her especially.
Jimmy made up a lot of similar trash.  It was foolish but harmless
and Emily would doubtless outgrow it.  Jimmy had not outgrown it,
to be sure, but then his accident--Elizabeth always went a little
sick in soul when she remembered it--had made him more or less a
child for life.

But writing stories was a very different thing and Aunt Elizabeth
was horrified.  Fiction of any kind was an abominable thing.
Elizabeth Murray had been trained up in this belief in her youth
and in her age she had not departed from it.  She honestly thought
that it was a wicked and sinful thing in any one to play cards,
dance, or go to the theatre, read or write novels, and in Emily's
case there was a worse feature--it was the Starr coming out in her--
Douglas Starr especially.  No Murray of New Moon had ever been
guilty of writing "stories" or of ever wanting to write them.  It
was an alien growth that must be pruned off ruthlessly.  Aunt
Elizabeth applied the pruning shears; and found no pliant,
snippable root but that same underlying streak of granite.  Emily
was respectful and reasonable and above-board; she bought no more
paper with egg money; but she told Aunt Elizabeth that she could
not give up writing stories and she went right on writing them, on
pieces of brown wrapping paper and the blank backs of circulars
which agricultural machinery firms sent Cousin Jimmy.

"Don't you know that it is wicked to write novels?" demanded Aunt
Elizabeth.

"Oh, I'm not writing novels--yet," said Emily.  "I can't get enough
paper.  These are just short stories.  And it isn't wicked--Father
liked novels."

"Your father--" began Aunt Elizabeth, and stopped.  She remembered
that Emily had "acted up" before now when anything derogatory was
said of her father.  But the very fact that she felt mysteriously
compelled to stop annoyed Elizabeth, who had said what seemed good
to her all her life at New Moon without much regard for other
people's feelings.

"You will not write any more of THIS STUFF," Aunt Elizabeth
contemptuously flourished "The Secret of the Castle" under Emily's
nose, "I forbid you--remember, I forbid you."

"Oh, I must write, Aunt Elizabeth," said Emily gravely, folding her
slender, beautiful hands on the table and looking straight into
Aunt Elizabeth's angry face with the steady, unblinking gaze which
Aunt Ruth called unchildlike.  "You see, it's this way.  It is IN
me.  I can't help it.  And Father said I was ALWAYS to keep on
writing.  He said I would be famous some day.  Wouldn't you like to
have a famous niece, Aunt Elizabeth?"

"I am not going to argue the matter," said Aunt Elizabeth.

"I'm not arguing--only explaining."  Emily was exasperatingly
respectful.  "I just want you to understand how it is that I HAVE
to go on writing stories, even though I am so very sorry you don't
approve."

"If you don't give up this--this worse than nonsense, Emily, I'll--
I'll--"

Aunt Elizabeth stopped, not knowing what to say she would do.
Emily was too big now to be slapped or shut up; and it was no use
to say, as she was tempted to, "I'll send you away from New Moon,"
because Elizabeth Murray knew perfectly well she would not send
Emily away from New Moon--COULD not send her away, indeed, though
this knowledge was as yet only in her feelings and had not been
translated into her intellect.  She only felt that she was helpless
and it angered her; but Emily was mistress of the situation and
calmly went on writing stories.  If Aunt Elizabeth had asked her to
give up crocheting lace or making molasses taffy, or eating Aunt
Laura's delicious drop cookies, Emily would have done so wholly and
cheerfully, though she loved these things.  But to give up writing
stories--why, Aunt Elizabeth might as well have asked her to give
up breathing.  WHY couldn't she understand?  It seemed so simple
and indisputable to Emily.

"Teddy can't help making pictures and Ilse can't help reciting, and
I can't help writing.  DON'T you see, Aunt Elizabeth?"

"I see that you are an ungrateful and disobedient child," said Aunt
Elizabeth.

This hurt Emily horribly, but she could not give in; and there
continued to be a sense of soreness and disapproval between her and
Aunt Elizabeth in all the little details of daily life that
poisoned existence more or less for the child, who was so keenly
sensitive to her environment and to the feelings with which her
kindred regarded her.  Emily felt it all the time--except when she
was writing her stories.  THEN she forgot everything, roaming in
some enchanted country between the sun and moon, where she saw
wonderful beings whom she tried to describe and wonderful deeds
which she tried to record, coming back to the candle-lit kitchen
with a somewhat dazed sense of having been years in No-Man's Land.

She did not even have Aunt Laura to back her up in the matter.
Aunt Laura thought Emily ought to yield in such an unimportant
matter and please Aunt Elizabeth.

"But it's not unimportant," said Emily despairingly.  "It's the
most important thing in the world to me, Aunt Laura.  Oh, I thought
YOU would understand."

"I understand that you like to do it, dear, and I think it's a
harmless enough amusement.  But it seems to annoy Elizabeth some
way and I do think you might give it up on that account.  It is not
as if it was anything that mattered much--it IS really a waste of
time."

"No--no," said distressed Emily.  "Why, some day, Aunt Laura, I'll
write real books--and make lots of money," she added, sensing that
the businesslike Murrays measured the nature of most things on a
cash basis.

Aunt Laura smiled indulgently.

"I'm afraid you'll never grow rich that way, dear.  It would be
wiser to employ your time preparing yourself for some useful work."

It was maddening to be condescended to like this--maddening that
nobody could see that she HAD to write--maddening to have Aunt
Laura so sweet and loving and stupid about it.

"Oh," thought Emily bitterly, "if that hateful Enterprise editor
had printed my piece they'd have believed THEN."

"At any rate," advised Aunt Laura, "don't let Elizabeth SEE you
writing them."

But somehow Emily could not take this prudent advice.  There HAD
been occasions when she had connived with Aunt Laura to hoodwink
Aunt Elizabeth on some little matter, but she found she could not
do it in this.  THIS had to be open and above-board.  She MUST
write stories--and Aunt Elizabeth MUST know it--that was the way it
had to be.  She could not be false to herself in this--she could
not PRETEND to be false.

She wrote her father all about it--poured out her bitterness and
perplexity to him in what, though she did not suspect it at the
time, was the last letter she was to write him.  There was a large
bundle of letters by now on the old sofa shelf in the garret--for
Emily had written many letters to her father besides those which
have been chronicled in this history.  There were a great many
paragraphs about Aunt Elizabeth in them, most of them very
uncomplimentary and some of them, as Emily herself would have owned
when her first bitterness was past, overdrawn and exaggerated.
They had been written in moments when her hurt and angry soul
demanded some outlet for its emotion and barbed her pen with venom.
Emily was mistress of a subtly malicious style when she chose to
be.  After she had written them the hurt had ceased and she thought
no more about them.  But they remained.

And one spring day, Aunt Elizabeth, house-cleaning in the garret
while Emily played happily with Teddy at the Tansy Patch, found the
bundle of letters on the sofa shelf, sat down, and read them all.

Elizabeth Murray would never have read any writing belonging to a
grown person.  But it never occurred to her that there was anything
dishonourable in reading the letters wherein Emily, lonely and--
sometimes--misunderstood, had poured out her heart to the father
she had loved and been loved by, so passionately and understandingly.
Aunt Elizabeth thought she had a right to know everything that this
pensioner on her bounty did, said, or thought. She read the letters
and she found out what Emily thought of her--of her, Elizabeth
Murray, autocrat unchallenged, to whom no one had ever dared to say
anything uncomplimentary.  Such an experience is no pleasanter at
sixty than at sixteen.  As Elizabeth Murray folded up the last
letter her hands trembled--with anger, and something underneath it
that was not anger.

"Emily, your Aunt Elizabeth wants to see you in the parlour," said
Aunt Laura, when Emily returned from the Tansy Patch, driven home
by the thin grey rain that had begun to drift over the greening
fields.  Her tone--her sorrowful look--warned Emily that mischief
was in the wind.  Emily had no idea what mischief--she could not
recall anything she had done recently that should bring her up
before the tribunal Aunt Elizabeth occasionally held in the
parlour.  It must be serious when it was in the parlour.  For
reasons best known to herself Aunt Elizabeth held super-serious
interviews like this in the parlour.  Possibly it was because she
felt obscurely that the photographs of the Murrays on the walls
gave her a backing she needed when dealing with this hop-out-of-
kin; for the same reason Emily detested a trial in the parlour.
She always felt on such occasions like a very small mouse
surrounded by a circle of grim cats.

Emily skipped across the big hall, pausing, in spite of her alarm,
to glance at the charming red world through the crimson glass; then
pushed open the parlour door.  The room was dim, for only one of
the slat blinds was partially raised.  Aunt Elizabeth was sitting
bolt upright in Grandfather Murray's black horsehair chair.  Emily
looked at her stern, angry face first--and then at her lap.

Emily understood.

The first thing she did was to retrieve her precious letters.  With
the quickness of light she sprang to Aunt Elizabeth, snatched up
the bundle and retreated to the door; there she faced Aunt
Elizabeth, her face blazing with indignation and outrage.
Sacrilege had been committed--the most sacred shrine of her soul
had been profaned.

"How dare you?" she said.  "How dare you touch MY PRIVATE PAPERS,
Aunt Elizabeth?"

Aunt Elizabeth had not expected THIS.  She had looked for
confusion--dismay--shame--fear--for anything but this righteous
indignation, as if SHE, forsooth, were the guilty one.  She rose.

"Give me those letters, Emily."

"No, I will not," said Emily, white with anger, as she clasped her
hands around the bundle.  "They are mine and Father's--not yours.
You had no right to touch them.  I will NEVER forgive you!"

This was turning the tables with a vengeance.  Aunt Elizabeth was
so dumbfounded that she hardly knew what to say or do.  Worst of
all, a most unpleasant doubt of her own conduct suddenly assailed
her--driven home perhaps by the intensity and earnestness of
Emily's accusation.  For the first time in her life it occurred to
Elizabeth Murray to wonder if she had done rightly.  For the first
time in her life she felt ashamed; and the shame made her furious.
It was intolerable that SHE should be made to feel ashamed.

For the moment they faced each other, not as aunt and niece, not as
child and adult, but as two human beings each with hatred for the
other in her heart--Elizabeth Murray, tall and austere and thin-
lipped; Emily Starr, white of face, her eyes pools of black flame,
her trembling arms hugging her letters.

"So THIS is your gratitude," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "You were a
penniless orphan--I took you to my home--I have given you shelter
and food and education and kindness--and THIS is my thanks."

As yet Emily's tempest of anger and resentment prevented her from
feeling the sting of this.

"You did not WANT to take me," she said.  "You made me draw lots
and you took me because the lot fell to you.  You knew some of you
had to take me because you were the proud Murrays and couldn't let
a relation go to an orphan asylum.  Aunt Laura loves me now but you
don't.  So why should I love you?"

"Ungrateful, thankless child!"

"I'm NOT thankless.  I've tried to be good--I've tried to obey you
and please you--I do all the chores I can to help pay for my keep.
And you had NO BUSINESS to read my letters to Father."

"They are disgraceful letters--and must be destroyed," said Aunt
Elizabeth.

"No," Emily clasped them tighter.  "I'd sooner burn myself.  You
shall not have them, Aunt Elizabeth."

She felt her brows drawing together--she felt the Murray look on
her face--she knew she was conquering.

Elizabeth Murray turned paler, if that were possible.  There were
times when she could give the Murray look herself; it was not that
which dismayed her--it was the uncanny something which seemed to
peer out behind the Murray look that always broke her will.  She
trembled--faltered--yielded.

"Keep your letters," she said bitterly, "and scorn the old woman
who opened her home to you."

She went out of the parlour.  Emily was left mistress of the field.
And all at once her victory turned to dust and ashes in her mouth.

She went up to her own room, hid her letters in the cupboard over
the mantel, and then crept up on her bed, huddling down in a little
heap with her face buried in her pillow.  She was still sore with a
sense of outrage--but underneath another pain was beginning to ache
terribly.

Something in her was hurt because she had hurt Aunt Elizabeth--for
she felt that Aunt Elizabeth, under all her anger, was HURT.  This
surprised Emily.  She would have expected Aunt Elizabeth to be
angry, of course, but she would never have supposed it would affect
her in any other way.  Yet she had seen something in Aunt
Elizabeth's eyes when she had flung that last stinging sentence at
her--something that spoke of bitter hurt.

"Oh!  Oh!" gasped Emily.  She began to cry chokingly into her
pillow.  She was so wretched that she could not get out of herself
and watch her own suffering with a sort of enjoyment in its drama--
set her mind to analyse her feelings--and when Emily was as
wretched as that she was very wretched indeed and wholly
comfortless.  Aunt Elizabeth would not keep her at New Moon after a
poisonous quarrel like this.  She would send her away, of course.
Emily believed this.  Nothing was too horrible to believe just
then.  How could she live away from dear New Moon?

"And I may have to live eighty years," Emily moaned.

But worse even than this was the remembrance of that look in Aunt
Elizabeth's eyes.

Her own sense of outrage and sacrilege ebbed away under the
remembrance.  She thought of all the things she had written her
father about Aunt Elizabeth--sharp, bitter things, some of them
just, some of them unjust.  She began to feel that she should not
have written them.  It was true enough that Aunt Elizabeth had not
loved her--had not wanted to take her to New Moon.  But she HAD
taken her and though it had been done in duty, not in love, the
fact remained.  It was no use for her to tell herself that it
wasn't as if the letters were written to any one living, to be seen
and read by others.  While she was under Aunt Elizabeth's roof--
while she owed the food she ate and the clothes she wore to Aunt
Elizabeth--she should not say, even to her father, harsh things of
her.  A Starr should not have done it.

"I must go and ask Aunt Elizabeth to forgive me," thought Emily at
last, all the passion gone out of her and only regret and
repentance left.  "I suppose she never will--she'll hate me always
now.  But I must go."

She turned herself about--and then the door opened and Aunt
Elizabeth entered.  She came across the room and stood at the side
of the bed, looking down at the grieved little face on the pillow--
a face that in the dim, rainy twilight, with its tear-stains and
black shadowed eyes, looked strangely mature and chiselled.

Elizabeth Murray was still austere and cold.  Her voice sounded
stern; but she said an amazing thing:

"Emily, I had no right to read your letters.  I admit I was wrong.
Will you forgive me?"

"Oh!"  The word was almost a cry.  Aunt Elizabeth had at last
discerned the way to conquer Emily.  The latter lifted herself up,
flung her arms about Aunt Elizabeth, and said chokingly:

"Oh--Aunt Elizabeth--I'm sorry--I'm sorry--I shouldn't have written
those things--but I wrote them when I was vexed--and I didn't mean
them ALL--truly, I didn't mean the worst of them.  Oh, you'll
believe THAT, won't you, Aunt Elizabeth?"

"I'd like to believe it, Emily."  An odd quiver passed through the
tall, rigid form.  "I--don't like to think you--HATE ME--my
sister's child--little Juliet's child."

"I don't--oh, I don't," sobbed Emily.  "And I'll LOVE you, Aunt
Elizabeth, if you'll let me--if you WANT me to.  I didn't think you
cared.  DEAR Aunt Elizabeth."

Emily gave Aunt Elizabeth a fierce hug and a passionate kiss on the
white, fine-wrinkled cheek.  Aunt Elizabeth kissed her gravely on
the brow in return and then said, as if closing the door on the
whole incident,

"You'd better wash your face and come down to supper."

But there was yet something to be cleared up.

"Aunt Elizabeth," whispered Emily.  "I CAN'T burn those letters,
you know--they belong to Father.  But I'll tell you what I will do.
I'll go over them all and put a star by anything I said about you
and then I'll add an explanatory footnote saying that I was
mistaken."

Emily spent her spare time for several days putting in her
"explanatory footnotes," and then her conscience had rest.  But
when she again tried to write a letter to her father she found that
it no longer meant anything to her.  The sense of reality--
nearness--of close communion had gone.  Perhaps she had been
outgrowing it gradually, as childhood began to merge into girlhood--
perhaps the bitter scene with Aunt Elizabeth had only shaken into
dust something out of which the spirit had already departed.  But,
whatever the explanation, it was not possible to write such letters
any more.  She missed them terribly but she could not go back to
them.  A certain door of life was shut behind her and could not be
reopened.



WHEN THE CURTAIN LIFTED


It would be pleasant to be able to record that after the
reconciliation in the lookout Emily and Aunt Elizabeth lived in
entire amity and harmony.  But the truth was that things went on
pretty much the same as before.  Emily went softly, and tried to
mingle serpent's wisdom and dove's harmlessness in practical
proportions, but their points of view were so different that there
were bound to be clashes; they did not speak the same language, so
there was bound to be misunderstanding.

And yet there was a difference--a very vital difference.  Elizabeth
Murray had learned an important lesson--that there was not one law
of fairness for children and another for grown-ups.  She continued
to be as autocratic as ever--but she did not do or say to Emily
anything she would not have done or said to Laura had occasion
called for it.

Emily, on her side, had discovered the fact that, under all her
surface coldness and sternness, Aunt Elizabeth really had an
affection for her; and it was wonderful what a difference this
made.  It took the sting out of Aunt Elizabeth's "ways" and words
and healed entirely a certain little half-conscious sore spot that
had been in Emily's heart ever since the incident of the drawn
slips at Maywood.

"I don't believe I'm a duty to Aunt Elizabeth any more," she
thought exultantly.

Emily grew rapidly that summer in body, mind and soul.  Life was
delightful, growing richer every hour, like an unfolding rose.
Forms of beauty filled her imagination and were transferred as best
she could to paper, though they were never so lovely there, and
Emily had the heartbreaking moments of the true artist who
discovers that


     Never on painter's canvas lives
     The charm of his fancy's dream.


Much of her "old stuff" she burned; even the Child of the Sea was
reduced to ashes.  But the little pile of manuscripts in the mantel
cupboard of the lookout was growing steadily larger.  Emily kept
her scribblings there now; the sofa shelf in the garret was
desecrated; and, besides, she felt somehow that Aunt Elizabeth
would never meddle with her "private papers" again, no matter where
they were kept.  She did not go now to the garret to read or write
or dream; her own dear lookout was the best place for that.  She
loved that quaint, little old room intensely; it was almost like a
living thing to her--a sharer in gladness--a comforter in sorrow.

Ilse was growing, too, blossoming out into strange beauty and
brilliance, knowing no law but her own pleasure, recognizing no
authority but her own whim.  Aunt Laura worried over her.

"She will be a woman so soon--and WHO will look after her?  Allan
won't."

"I've no patience with Allan," said Aunt Elizabeth grimly.  "He is
always ready to hector and advise other people.  He'd better look
at home.  He'll come over here and order me to do this or that, or
NOT to do it, for Emily; but if I say one word to him about Ilse he
blows the roof off.  The idea of a man turning against his daughter
and neglecting her as he has neglected Ilse simply because her
mother wasn't all she ought to be--as if the poor child was to
blame for THAT."

"S-s-sh," said Aunt Laura, as Emily crossed the sitting-room on her
way upstairs.

Emily smiled sadly to herself.  Aunt Laura needn't be "s-s-sh'ing."
There was nothing left for her to find out about Ilse's mother--
nothing, except the most important thing of all, which neither she
nor anybody else living knew.  For Emily had never surrendered her
conviction that the whole truth about Beatrice Burnley was not
known.  She often worried about it when she lay curled up in her
black walnut bed o'nights, listening to the moan of the gulf and
the Wind Woman singing in the trees, and drifted into sleep wishing
intensely that she could solve the dark old mystery and dissolve
its legend of shame and bitterness.

Emily went rather languidly upstairs to the lookout.  She meant to
write some more of her story, The Ghost of the Well, wherein she
was weaving the old legend of the well in the Lee field; but
somehow interest was lacking; she put the manuscript back into the
mantel cupboard; she read over a letter from Dean Priest which had
come that day, one of his fat, jolly, whimsical, delightful letters
wherein he had told her that he was coming to stay a month with his
sister at Blair Water.  She wondered why this announcement did not
excite her more.  She was tired--her head was aching.  Emily
couldn't remember ever having had a headache before.  Since she
could not write she decided to lie down and be Lady Trevanion for
awhile.  Emily was Lady Trevanion very often that summer, in one of
the dream lives she had begun to build up for herself.  Lady
Trevanion was the wife of an English earl and, besides being a
famous novelist, was a member of the British House of Commons--
where she always appeared in black velvet with a stately coronet of
pearls on her dark hair.  She was the only woman in the House and,
as this was before the days of the suffragettes, she had to endure
many sneers and innuendoes and insults from the ungallant males
around her.  Emily's favourite dream scene was where she rose to
make her first speech--a wonderfully thrilling event.  As Emily
found it difficult to do justice to the scene in any ideas of her
own, she always fell back on "Pitt's reply to Walpole," which she
had found in her Royal Reader, and declaimed it, with suitable
variations.  The insolent speaker who had provoked Lady Trevanion
into speech had sneered at her as a WOMAN, and Lady Trevanion, a
magnificent creature in her velvet and pearls, rose to her feet,
amid hushed and dramatic silence, and said,

"The atrocious crime of being a WOMAN which the honourable member
has, with such spirit and decency, charged upon me, I shall attempt
neither to palliate nor deny, but shall content myself with wishing
that I may be one of those whose follies cease with their SEX and
NOT one of that number who are ignorant in spite of MANHOOD and
experience."

(Here she was always interrupted by thunders of applause.)

But the savour was entirely lacking in this scene to-day and by the
time Emily had reached the line, "But WOMANHOOD, Sir, is not my
only crime"--she gave up in disgust and fell to worrying over
Ilse's mother again, mixed up with some uneasy speculations
regarding the climax of her story about the ghost of the well,
mingled with her unpleasant physical sensations.

Her eyes hurt her when she moved them.  She was chilly, although
the July day was hot.  She was still lying there when Aunt
Elizabeth came up to ask why she hadn't gone to bring the cows home
from the pasture.

"I--I didn't know it was so late," said Emily confusedly.  "I--my
head aches, Aunt Elizabeth."

Aunt Elizabeth rolled up the white cotton blind and looked at
Emily.  She noted her flushed face--she felt her pulse.  Then she
bade her shortly to stay where she was, went down, and sent Perry
for Dr Burnley.

"Probably she's got the measles," said the doctor as gruffly as
usual.  Emily was not yet sick enough to be gentle over.  "There's
an outbreak of them at Derry Pond.  Has she had any chance to catch
them?"

"Jimmy Joe Belle's two children were here one afternoon, about ten
days ago.  She played with them--she's always playing round with
people she's no business to associate with.  I haven't heard that
they were or have been sick though."

Jimmy Joe Belle, when asked plainly, confessed that his "young
ones" had come out with measles the very day after they had been at
New Moon.  There was therefore not much doubt as to Emily's malady.

"It's a bad kind of measles apparently," the doctor said.  "Quite a
number of the Derry Pond children have died of it.  Mostly French
though--the kids would be out of bed when they had no business to
be and caught cold.  I don't think you need worry about Emily.  She
might as well have measles and be done with it.  Keep her warm and
keep the room dark.  I'll run over in the morning."

For three or four days nobody was much alarmed.  Measles was a
disease everybody had to have.  Aunt Elizabeth looked after Emily
well and slept on a sofa which had been moved into the lookout.
She even left the window open at night.  In spite of this--perhaps
Aunt Elizabeth thought because of it--Emily grew steadily sicker,
and on the fifth day a sharp change for the worse took place.  Her
fever went up rapidly, delirium set in; Dr Burnley came, looked
anxious, scowled, changed the medicine.

"I'm sent for to a bad case of pneumonia at White Cross," he said,
"and I have to go to Charlottetown in the morning to be present at
Mrs Jackwell's operation.  I promised her I would go.  I'll be back
in the evening.  Emily is very restless--that high-strung system of
hers is evidently very sensitive to fever.  What's that nonsense
she's talking about the Wind Woman?"

"Oh, I don't know," said Aunt Elizabeth worriedly.  "She's always
talking nonsense like that, even when she's well.  Allan, tell me
plainly--is there any danger?"

"There's always danger in this type of measles.  I don't like these
symptoms--the eruption should be out by now and there's no sign of
it.  Her fever is very high--but I don't think we need be alarmed
yet.  If I thought otherwise I wouldn't go to town.  Keep her as
quiet as possible--humour her whims if you can--I don't like that
mental disturbance.  She looks terribly distressed--seems to be
worrying over something.  Has she had anything on her mind of
late?"

"Not that I know of," said Aunt Elizabeth.  She had a sudden bitter
realization that she really did not know much about the child's
mind.  Emily would never have come to her with any of her little
troubles and worries.

"Emily, what is bothering you?" asked Dr Burnley softly--very
softly.  He took the hot, tossing, little hand gently, oh, so
gently, in his big one.

Emily looked up with wild, fever-bright eyes.

"She couldn't have done it--she COULDN'T have done it."

"Of course she couldn't," said the doctor cheerily.  "Don't worry--
she didn't do it."

His eyes telegraphed, "What does she mean?" to Elizabeth, but
Elizabeth shook her head.

"Who are you talking about--dear?" she asked Emily.  It was the
first time she had called Emily "dear."

But Emily was off on another track.  The well in Mr Lee's field was
open, she declared.  Some one would be sure to fall into it.  Why
didn't Mr Lee shut it up?  Dr Burnley left Aunt Elizabeth trying to
reassure Emily on that point and hurried away to White Cross.

At the door he nearly fell over Perry who was curled up on the
sandstone slab, hugging his sunburned legs desperately.  "How is
Emily?" he demanded, grasping the skirt of the doctor's coat.

"Don't bother me--I'm in a hurry," growled the doctor.

"You tell me how Emily is or I'll hang on to your coat till the
seams go," said Perry stubbornly.  "I can't get one word of sense
out of them old maids.  YOU tell me."

"She's a sick child but I'm not seriously alarmed about her yet."
The doctor gave his coat another tug--but Perry held on for a last
word.

"You've GOT to cure her," he said.  "If anything happens to Emily
I'll drown myself in the pond--mind that."

He let go so suddenly that Dr Burnley nearly went headlong on the
ground.  Then Perry curled up on the doorstep again.  He watched
there until Laura and Cousin Jimmy had gone to bed and then he
sneaked through the house and sat on the stairs, where he could
hear any sound in Emily's room.  He sat there all night, with his
fists clenched, as if keeping guard against an unseen foe.

Elizabeth Murray watched by Emily until two o'clock and then Laura
took her place.

"She has raved a great deal," said Aunt Elizabeth.  "I wish I knew
what is worrying her--there IS something, I feel sure.  It isn't
all mere delirium.  She keeps repeating 'She couldn't have done it'
in such imploring tones.  I wonder oh, Laura, you remember the time
I read her letters?  Do you think she means me?"

Laura shook her head.  She had never seen Elizabeth so moved.

"If the child--doesn't get--better--" said Aunt Elizabeth.

She said no more but went quickly out of the room.

Laura sat down by the bed.  She was pale and drawn with her own
worry and fatigue--for she had not been able to sleep.  She loved
Emily as her own child and the awful dread that had possessed her
heart would not lift for an instant.  She sat there and prayed
mutely.  Emily fell into a troubled slumber which lasted until the
grey dawn crept into the lookout.  Then she opened her eyes and
looked at Aunt Laura--looked through her--looked beyond her.

"I see her coming over the fields," she said in a high, clear
voice.  "She is coming so gladly--she is singing--she is thinking
of her baby--oh, keep her back--keep her back--she doesn't see the
well--it's so dark she doesn't see it--oh, she's gone into it--
she's gone into it!"

Emily's voice rose in a piercing shriek which penetrated to Aunt
Elizabeth's room and brought her flying across the hall in her
flannel nightgown.

"What is wrong, Laura?" she gasped.

Laura was trying to soothe Emily, who was struggling to sit up in
bed.  Her cheeks were crimson and her eyes had still the same far,
wild look.

"Emily--Emily, darling, you've just had a bad dream.  The old Lee
well isn't open--nobody has fallen into it."

"Yes, somebody has," said Emily shrilly.  "SHE has--I saw her--I
saw her--with the ace of hearts on her forehead.  Do you think I
don't know her?"

She fell back on her pillow, moaned, and tossed the hands which
Laura Murray had loosened in her surprise.

The two ladies of New Moon looked at each other across her bed in
dismay--and something like terror.

"Who did you see, Emily?" asked Aunt Elizabeth.

"Ilse's mother--of course.  I always knew she didn't do that
dreadful thing.  She fell into the old well--she's there now--go--
go and get her out, Aunt Laura.  PLEASE."

"Yes--yes, of course we'll get her out, darling," said Aunt Laura,
soothingly.

Emily sat up in bed and looked at Aunt Laura again.  This time she
did not look through her--she looked into her.  Laura Murray felt
that those burning eyes read her soul.

"You are lying to me," cried Emily.  "You don't mean to try to get
her out.  You are only saying it to put me off.  Aunt Elizabeth,"
she suddenly turned and caught Aunt Elizabeth's hand, "you'll do it
for me, won't you?  You'll go and get her out of the old well,
won't you?"

Elizabeth remembered that Dr Burnley had said that Emily's whims
must be humoured.  She was terrified by the child's condition.

"Yes, I'll get her out if she is in there," she said.

Emily released her hand and sank down.  The wild glare left her
eyes.  A great sudden calm fell over her anguished little face.

"I know YOU'LL keep your word," she said.  "You are very hard--but
YOU never lie, Aunt Elizabeth."

Elizabeth Murray went back to her own room and dressed herself with
her shaking fingers.  A little later, when Emily had fallen into a
quiet sleep, Laura went downstairs and heard Elizabeth giving
Cousin Jimmy some orders in the kitchen.

"Elizabeth, you don't really mean to have that old well searched?"

"I do," said Elizabeth resolutely.  "I know it's nonsense as well
as you do.  But I had to promise it to quiet her down--and I'll
keep my promise.  You heard what she said--she believed I wouldn't
lie to her.  Nor will I.  Jimmy, you will go over to James Lee's
after breakfast and ask him to come here."

"How has she heard the story?" said Laura.

"I don't know--oh, some one has told her, of course--perhaps that
old demon of a Nancy Priest.  It doesn't matter who.  She HAS heard
it and the thing is to keep her quiet.  It isn't so much of a job
to put ladders in the well and get some one to go down it.  The
thing that matters is the absurdity of it."

"We'll be laughed at for a pair of fools," protested Laura, whose
share of Murray pride was in hot revolt.  "And besides, it will
open up all the old scandal again."

"No matter.  I'll keep my word to the child," said Elizabeth
stubbornly.

Allan Burnley came to New Moon at sunset, on his way home from
town.  He was tired, for he had been going night and day for over a
week; he was more worried than he had admitted over Emily; he
looked old and rather desolate as he stepped into the New Moon
kitchen.

Only Cousin Jimmy was there.  Cousin Jimmy did not seem to have
much to do, although it was a good hay-day and Jimmy Joe Belle and
Perry were hauling in the great fragrant, sun-dried loads.  He sat
by the western window with a strange expression on his face.

"Hello, Jimmy, where are the girls?  And how is Emily?"

"Emily is better," said Cousin Jimmy.  "The rash is out and her
fever has gone down.  I think she's asleep."

"Good.  We couldn't afford to lose that little girl, could we,
Jimmy?"

"No," said Jimmy.  But he did not seem to want to talk about it.
"Laura and Elizabeth are in the sitting-room.  They want to see
you."  He paused a minute and then added in an eerie way.  "There
is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed."

It occurred to Allan Burnley that Jimmy was acting mysteriously.
And if Laura and Elizabeth wanted to see him why didn't they come
out?  It wasn't like them to stand on ceremony in this fashion.  He
pushed open the sitting-room door impatiently.

Laura Murray was sitting on the sofa, leaning her head on its arm.
He could not see her face but he felt that she was crying.
Elizabeth was sitting bolt upright on a chair.  She wore her
second-best black silk and her second-best lace cap.  And she, too,
had been crying.  Dr Burnley never attached much importance to
Laura's tears, easy as those of most women, but that Elizabeth
Murray should cry--had he ever seen her cry before?

The thought of Ilse flashed into his mind--his little neglected
daughter.  Had anything happened to Ilse?  In one dreadful moment
Allan Burnley paid the price of his treatment of his child.

"What is wrong?" he exclaimed in his gruffest manner.

"Oh, Allan," said Elizabeth Murray.  "God forgive us--God forgive
us all!"

"It--is--Ilse," said Dr Burnley, dully.

"No--no--not Ilse."

Then she told him--she told him what had been found at the bottom
of the old Lee well--she told him what had been the real fate of
the lovely, laughing young wife whose name for twelve bitter years
had never crossed his lips.

It was not until the next evening that Emily saw the doctor.  She
was lying in bed, weak and limp, red as a beet with the measles
rash, but quite herself again.  Allan Burnley stood by the bed and
looked down at her.

"Emily--dear little child--do you know what you have done for me?
God knows how you did it."

"I thought you didn't believe in God," said Emily, wonderingly.

"You have given me back my faith in Him, Emily."

"Why, what have I done?"

Dr Burnley saw that she had no remembrance of her delirium.  Laura
had told him that she had slept long and soundly after Elizabeth's
promise and had awakened with fever gone and the eruption fast
coming out.  She had asked nothing and they had said nothing.

"When you are better we will tell you all," he said, smiling down
at her.  There was something very sorrowful in the smile--and yet
something very sweet.

"He is smiling with his eyes as well as his mouth now," thought
Emily.

"How--how did she know?" whispered Laura Murray to him when he went
down.  "I--can't understand it, Allan."

"Nor I.  These things are beyond us, Laura," he answered gravely.
"I only know this child has given Beatrice back to me, stainless
and beloved.  It can be explained rationally enough perhaps.  Emily
has evidently been told about Beatrice and worried over it--her
repeated 'she couldn't have done it' shows that.  And the tales of
the old Lee well naturally made a deep impression on the mind of a
sensitive child keenly alive to dramatic values.  In her delirium
she mixed this all up with the well-known fact of Jimmy's tumble
into the New Moon well--and the rest was coincidence.  I would have
explained it all so myself once--but now--now, Laura, I only say
humbly, 'A little child shall lead them.'"

"Our stepmother's mother was a Highland Scotchwoman.  They said she
had the second sight," said Elizabeth.  "I never believed in it--
before."

The excitement of Blair Water had died away before Emily was deemed
strong enough to hear the story.  That which had been found in the
old Lee well had been buried in the Mitchell plot at Shrewsbury and
a white marble shaft, "Sacred to the memory of Beatrice Burnley,
beloved wife of Allan Burnley," had been erected.  The sensation
caused by Dr Burnley's presence every Sunday in the old Burnley pew
had died away.  On the first evening that Emily was allowed to sit
up Aunt Laura told her the whole story.  Her manner of telling
stripped it for ever of the taint and innuendo left by Aunt Nancy.

"I KNEW Ilse's mother couldn't have done it," said Emily
triumphantly.

"We blame ourselves now for our lack of faith," said Aunt Laura.
"We should have known too--but it DID seem black against her at the
time, Emily.  She was a bright, beautiful, merry creature--we
thought her close friendship with her cousin natural and harmless.
We know now it was so--but all these years since her disappearance
we have believed differently.  Mr James Lee remembers clearly that
the well was open the night of Beatrice's disappearance.  His hired
man had taken the old rotten planks off it that evening, intending
to put the new ones on at once.  Then Robert Greerson's house
caught fire and he ran with everybody else to help save it.  By the
time it was out it was too dark to finish the well, and the man
said nothing about it until the morning.  Mr Lee was angry with
him--he said it was a scandalous thing to leave a well uncovered
like that.  He went right down and put the new planks in place
himself.  He did not look down in the well--had he looked he could
have seen nothing, for the ferns growing out from the sides
screened the depths.  It was just after harvest.  No one was in the
field again before the next spring.  He never connected Beatrice's
disappearance with the open well--he wonders now that he didn't.
But you see--dear--there had been much malicious gossip--and
Beatrice was KNOWN to have gone on board The Lady of Winds.  It was
taken for granted she never came off again.  But she did--and went
to her death in the old Lee field.  It was a dreadful ending to her
bright young life--but not so dreadful, after all, as what we
believed.  For twelve years we have wronged the dead.  But--Emily--
how could you KNOW?"

"I--don't--know.  When the doctor came in that day I couldn't
remember anything--but now it seems to me that I remember
something--just as if I'd dreamed it--of SEEING Ilse's mother
coming over the fields, singing.  It was dark--and yet I could see
the ace of hearts--oh, Aunty, I don't know--I don't like to think
of it, some way."

"We won't talk of it again," said Aunt Laura gently.  "It is one of
the things best not talked of--one of God's secrets."

"And Ilse--does her father love her now?" asked Emily eagerly.

"Love her!  He can't love her enough.  It seems as if he were
pouring out on her at once all the shut-up love of those twelve
years."

"He'll likely spoil her now as much with indulgence as he did
before with neglect," said Elizabeth, coming in with Emily's supper
in time to hear Laura's reply.

"It will take a lot of love to spoil Ilse," laughed Laura.  "She's
drinking it up like a thirsty sponge.  And she loves him wildly in
return.  There isn't a trace of grudge in her over his long
neglect."

"All the same," said Elizabeth grimly, tucking pillows behind
Emily's back with a very gentle hand, oddly in contrast with her
severe expression, "he won't get off so easily.  Ilse has run wild
for twelve years.  He won't find it so easy to make her behave
properly now--if he ever does."

"Love will do wonders," said Aunt Laura softly.  "Of course, Ilse
is dying to come and see you, Emily.  But she must wait until there
is no danger of infection.  I told her she might write--but when
she found I would have to read it because of your eyes she said
she'd wait till you could read it yourself.  Evidently"--Laura
laughed again--"evidently Ilse has much of importance to tell you."

"I didn't know anybody could be so happy as I am now," said Emily.
"And oh, Aunt Elizabeth, it is SO nice to feel hungry again and to
have something to CHEW."



EMILY'S GREAT MOMENT


Emily's convalescence was rather slow.  Physically she recovered
with normal celerity but a certain spiritual and emotional langour
persisted for a time.  One cannot go down to the depths of hidden
things and escape the penalty.  Aunt Elizabeth said she "moped."
But Emily was too happy and contented to mope.  It was just that
life seemed to have lost its savour for a time, as if some spring
of vital energy had been drained out of it and refilled slowly.

She had, just then, no one to play with.  Perry, Ilse and Teddy had
all come down with measles the same day.  Mrs Kent at first
declared bitterly that Teddy had caught them at New Moon, but all
three had contracted them at a Sunday-school picnic where Derry
Pond children had been.  That picnic infected all Blair Water.
There was a perfect orgy of measles.  Teddy and Ilse were only
moderately ill, but Perry, who had insisted on going home to Aunt
Tom at the first symptoms, nearly died.  Emily was not allowed to
know his danger until it had passed, lest it worry her too much.
Even Aunt Elizabeth worried over it.  She was surprised to discover
how much they missed Perry round the place.

It was fortunate for Emily that Dean Priest was in Blair Water
during this forlorn time.  His companionship was just what she
needed and helped her wonderfully on the road to complete recovery.
They went for long walks together all over Blair Water, with Tweed
woofing around them, and explored places and roads Emily had never
seen before.  They watched a young moon grow old, night by night;
they talked in dim scented chambers of twilight over long red roads
of mystery; they followed the lure of hill winds; they saw the
stars rise and Dean told her all about them--the great constellations
of the old myths.  It was a wonderful month; but on the first day
of Teddy's convalescence Emily was off to the Tansy Patch for the
afternoon and Jarback Priest walked--if he walked at all--alone.

Aunt Elizabeth was extremely polite to him, though she did not like
the Priests of Priest Pond overmuch, and never felt quite
comfortable under the mocking gleam of "Jarback's" green eyes and
the faint derision of his smile, which seemed to make Murray pride
and Murray traditions seem much less important than they really
were.

"He has the Priest flavour," she told Laura, "though it isn't as
strong in him as in most of them.  And he's certainly helping
Emily--she has begun to spunk up since he came."

Emily continued to "spunk up" and by September, when the measles
epidemic was spent and Dean Priest had gone on one of his sudden
swoops over to Europe for the autumn, she was ready for school
again--a little taller, a little thinner, a little less childlike,
with great grey shadowy eyes that had looked into death and read
the riddle of a buried thing, and henceforth would hold in them
some haunting, elusive remembrance of that world behind the veil.
Dean Priest had seen it--Mr Carpenter saw it when she smiled at him
across her desk at school.

"She's left the childhood of her soul behind, though she is still a
child in body," he muttered.

One afternoon amid the golden days and hazes of October he asked
her gruffly to let him see some of her verses.

"I never meant to encourage you in it," he said.  "I don't mean it
now.  Probably you can't write a line of real poetry and never
will.  But let me see your stuff.  If it's hopelessly bad I'll tell
you so.  I won't have you wasting years striving for the
unattainable--at least I won't have it on my conscience if you do.
If there's any promise in it, I'll tell you so just as honestly.
And bring some of your stories, too--THEY'RE trash yet, that's
certain, but I'll see if they show just and sufficient cause for
going on."

Emily spent a very solemn hour that evening, weighing, choosing,
rejecting.  To the little bundle of verse she added one of her
Jimmy-books which contained, as she thought, her best stories.  She
went to school next day, so secret and mysterious that Ilse took
offence, started in to call her names--and then stopped.  Ilse had
promised her father that she would try to break herself of the
habit of calling names.  She was making fairly good headway and her
conversation, if less vivid, was beginning to approximate to New
Moon standards.

Emily made a sad mess of her lessons that day.  She was nervous and
frightened.  She had a tremendous respect for Mr Carpenter's
opinion.  Father Cassidy had told her to keep on--Dean Priest had
told her that some day she might really write--but perhaps they
were only trying to be encouraging because they liked her and
didn't want to hurt her feelings.  Emily knew Mr Carpenter would
not do this.  No matter if he did like her he would nip her
aspirations mercilessly if he thought the root of the matter was
not in her.  If, on the contrary, he bade her God-speed, she would
rest content with that against the world and never lose heart in
the face of any future criticism.  No wonder the day seemed fraught
with tremendous issues to Emily.

When school was out Mr Carpenter asked her to remain.  She was so
white and tense that the other pupils thought she must have been
found out by Mr Carpenter in some especially dreadful behaviour and
knew she was going to "catch it."  Rhoda Stuart flung her a
significantly malicious smile from the porch--which Emily never
even saw.  She was, indeed, at a momentous bar, with Mr Carpenter
as supreme judge, and her whole future career--so she believed--
hanging on his verdict.

The pupils disappeared and a mellow, sunshiny stillness settled
over the old schoolroom.  Mr Carpenter took the little packet she
had given him in the morning out of his desk, came down the aisle
and sat in the seat before her, facing her.  Very deliberately he
settled his glasses astride his hooked nose, took out her
manuscripts and began to read--or rather to glance over them,
flinging scraps of comments, mingled with grunts, sniffs and hoots,
at her as he glanced.  Emily folded her cold hands on her desk and
braced her feet against the legs of it to keep her knees from
trembling.  This was a very terrible experience.  She wished she
had never given her verses to Mr Carpenter.  They were no good--of
course they were no good.  Remember the editor of the Enterprise.

"Humph!" said Mr Carpenter.  "Sunset--Lord, how many poems have
been written on 'Sunset'--


     The clouds are massed in splendid state
     At heaven's unbarred western gate
     Where troops of star-eyed spirits wait--


By gad, what does that mean?"

"I--I--don't know," faltered startled Emily, whose wits had been
scattered by the sudden swoop of his spiked glance.

Mr Carpenter snorted.

"For heaven's sake, girl, don't write what you can't understand
yourself.  And this--To Life--'Life, as thy gift I ask no rainbow
joy'--is that sincere?  Is it, girl?  Stop and think.  DO you ask
'no rainbow joy' of life?"

He transfixed her with another glare.  But Emily was beginning to
pick herself up a bit.  Nevertheless, she suddenly felt oddly
ashamed of the very elevated and unselfish desires expressed in
that sonnet.

"No--o," she answered reluctantly, "I DO want rainbow joy--lots of
it."

"Of course you do.  We all do.  We don't get it--you won't get it--
but don't be hypocrite enough to pretend you don't want it, even in
a sonnet.  Lines to a Mountain Cascade--'On its dark rocks like the
whiteness of a veil around a bride'--Where did you see a mountain
cascade in Prince Edward Island?"

"Nowhere--there's a picture of one in Dr Burnley's library."

"A Wood Stream--


     The threading sunbeams quiver,
     The bending bushes shiver,
     O'er the little shadowy river--


There's only one more rhyme that occurs to me and that's 'liver.'
Why did you leave it out?"

Emily writhed.

"Wind Song--


     I have shaken the dew in the meadows
     From the clover's creamy gown--


Pretty, but weak.  June--June, for heaven's sake, girl, don't write
poetry on June.  It's the sickliest subject in the world.  It's
been written to death."

"No, June is immortal," cried Emily suddenly, a mutinous sparkle
replacing the strained look in her eyes.  She was not going to let
Mr Carpenter have it all his own way.

But Mr Carpenter had tossed June aside without reading a line of
it.

"'I weary of the hungry world'--what do you know of the hungry
world?--you in your New Moon seclusion of old trees and old maids--
but it IS hungry.  Ode to Winter--the seasons are a sort of disease
all young poets must have, it seems--ha!  'Spring will not forget'--
THAT'S a good line--the only good line in it.  H'm'm--Wanderings--


     I've heard the secret of the rune
     That the somber pines on the hillside croon--


Have you--HAVE you learned that secret?"

"I think I've always known it," said Emily dreamily.  That flash of
unimaginable sweetness that sometimes surprised her had just come
and gone.  "Aim and Endeavour--too didactic--too didactic.  You've
no right to try to teach until you're old--and then you won't want
to--


     Her face was like a star all pale and fair--


Were you looking in the glass when you composed that line?"

"No--" indignantly.

"'When the morning light is shaken like a banner on the hill'--a
good line--a good line--


     Oh, on such a golden morning
     To be living is delight--


Too much like a faint echo of Wordsworth.  The Sea in September--
'blue and austerely bright'--'austerely bright'--child, how can you
marry the right adjectives like that?  Morning--'all the secret
fears that haunt the night'--what do YOU know of the fears that
haunt the night?"

"I know something," said Emily decidedly, remembering her first
night at Wyther Grange.

"To a Dead Day--


     With the chilly calm on her brow
     That only the dead may wear--


Have you even SEEN the chilly calm on the brow of the dead, Emily?"

"Yes," said Emily softly, recalling that grey dawn in the old house
in the hollow.

"I thought so--otherwise you couldn't have written THAT--and even
as it is--how old are you, jade?"

"Thirteen, last May."

"Humph!  Lines to Mrs George Irving's Infant Son--you should study
the art of titles, Emily--there's a fashion in them as in
everything else.  Your titles are as out of date as the candles of
New Moon--


     Soundly he sleeps with his red lips pressed
     Like a beautiful blossom close to her breast--


The rest isn't worth reading.  September--is there a month you've
missed?--'Windy meadows harvest-deep'--good line.  Blair Water by
Moonlight--gossamer, Emily, nothing but gossamer.  The Garden of
New Moon--


     Beguiling laughter and old song
     Of merry maids and men--


Good line--I suppose New Moon IS full of ghosts.  'Death's fell
minion well fulfilled its part'--that might have passed in
Addison's day but not now--not now, Emily--


     Your azure dimples are the graves
     Where million buried sunbeams play--


Atrocious, girl--atrocious.  Graves aren't playgrounds.  How much
would YOU play if you were buried?"

Emily writhed and blushed again.  WHY couldn't she have seen that
herself?  ANY goose could have seen it.


     "Sail onward, ships--white wings, sail on,
      Till past the horizon's purple bar
      You drift from sight.--In flush of dawn
      Sail on, and 'neath the evening star--


Trash--trash--and yet there's a picture in it--


     Lap softly, purple waves.  I dream,
     And dreams are sweet--I'll wake no more--


Ah, but you'll have to wake if you want to accomplish anything.
Girl, you've used PURPLE twice in the same poem.


     Buttercups in a golden frenzy--


'a golden frenzy'--girl, I SEE the wind shaking the buttercups,


     From the purple gates of the west I come--


You're too fond of purple, Emily."

"It's such a lovely word," said Emily.


     "Dreams that seem too bright to die--


SEEM but never ARE, Emily--


     The luring voice of the echo, fame--


So you've heard it, too?  It IS a lure and for most of us only an
echo.  And that's the last of the lot."

Mr Carpenter swept the little sheets aside, folded his arms on the
desk, and looked over his glasses at Emily.

Emily looked back at him mutely, nervelessly.  All the life seemed
to have been drained out of her body and concentrated in her eyes.

"Ten good lines out of four hundred, Emily--comparatively good,
that is--and all the rest balderdash--balderdash, Emily."

"I--suppose so," said Emily faintly.

Her eyes brimmed with tears--her lips quivered.  She could not help
it.  Pride was hopelessly submerged in the bitterness of her
disappointment.  She felt exactly like a candle that somebody had
blown out.

"What are you crying for?" demanded Mr Carpenter.

Emily blinked away the tears and tried to laugh.

"I--I'm sorry--you think it's no good--" she said.

Mr Carpenter gave the desk a mighty thump.

"No good!  Didn't I tell you there were ten good lines?  Jade, for
ten righteous men Sodom had been spared."

"Do you mean--that--after all--"  The candle was being relighted
again.

"Of course, I mean.  If at thirteen you can write ten good lines,
at twenty you'll write ten times ten--if the gods are kind.  Stop
messing over months, though--and don't imagine you're a genius
either, if you HAVE written ten decent lines.  I think there's
SOMETHING trying to speak through you--but you'll have to make
yourself a fit instrument for it.  You've got to work hard and
sacrifice--by gad, girl, you've chosen a jealous goddess.  And she
never lets her votaries go--even when she shuts her ears for ever
to their plea.  What have you there?"

Emily, her heart thrilling, handed him her Jimmy-book.  She was so
happy that it shone through her whole being with a positive
radiance.  She saw her future, wonderful, brilliant--oh, her
goddess would listen to HER--"Emily B. Starr, the distinguished
poet"--"E. Byrd Starr, the rising young novelist."

She was recalled from her enchanting reverie by a chuckle from Mr
Carpenter.  Emily wondered a little uneasily what he was laughing
at.  She didn't think there was anything funny in THAT book.  It
contained only three or four of her latest stories--The Butterfly
Queen, a little fairy tale; The Disappointed House, wherein she had
woven a pretty dream of hopes come true after long years; The
Secret of the Glen, which, in spite of its title, was a fanciful
little dialogue between the Spirit of the Snow, the Spirit of the
Grey Rain, the Spirit of Mist, and the Spirit of Moonshine.

"So you think I am not beautiful when I say my prayers?" said Mr
Carpenter.

Emily gasped--realized what had happened--made a frantic grab at
her Jimmy-book--missed it.  Mr Carpenter held it up beyond her
reach and mocked at her.

She had given him the wrong Jimmy-book!  And this one, oh, horrors,
what was in it?  Or rather, what wasn't in it?  Sketches of every
one in Blair Water--and a full--a very full--description of Mr
Carpenter himself.  Intent on describing him exactly, she had been
as mercilessly lucid as she always was, especially in regard to the
odd faces he made on mornings when he opened the school day with a
prayer.  Thanks to her dramatic knack of word painting, Mr
Carpenter LIVED in that sketch.  Emily did not know it, but HE did--
he saw himself as in a glass and the artistry of it pleased him so
that he cared for nothing else.  Besides, she had drawn his good
points quite as clearly as his bad ones.  And there were some
sentences in it--"He looks as if he knew a great deal that can
never be any use to him"--"I think he wears the black coat Mondays
because it makes him feel that he hasn't been drunk at all."  Who
or what had taught the little jade these things?  Oh, her goddess
would not pass Emily by!

"I'm--sorry," said Emily, crimson with shame all over her dainty
paleness.

"Why, I wouldn't have missed this for all the poetry you've written
or ever will write!  By gad, its literature--LITERATURE--and you're
only thirteen.  But you don't know what's ahead of you--the stony
hills--the steep ascents--the buffets--the discouragements.  Stay
in the valley if you're wise.  Emily, WHY do you want to write?
Give me your reason."

"I want to be famous and rich," said Emily coolly.

"Everybody does.  Is that all?"

"No.  I just LOVE to write."

"A better reason--but not enough--not enough.  Tell me this--if you
knew you would be poor as a church mouse all your life--if you knew
you'd never have a line published--would you still go on writing--
WOULD you?"

"Of course I would," said Emily disdainfully.  "Why, I HAVE to
write--I can't help it at times--I've just GOT to."

"Oh--then I'd waste my breath giving advice at all.  If it's IN you
to climb you must--there are those who MUST lift their eyes to the
hills--they can't breathe properly in the valleys.  God help them
if there's some weakness in them that prevents their climbing.  You
don't understand a word I'm saying--yet.  But go on--climb!  There,
take your book and go home.  Thirty years from now I will have a
claim to distinction in the fact that Emily Byrd Starr was once a
pupil of mine.  Go--go--before I remember what a disrespectful
baggage you are to write such stuff about me and be properly
enraged."

Emily went, still a bit scared but oddly exultant behind her
fright.  She was so happy that her happiness seemed to irradiate
the world with its own splendour.  All the sweet sounds of nature
around her seemed like the broken words of her own delight.  Mr
Carpenter watched her out of sight from the old worn threshold.

"Wind--and flame--and sea!" he muttered.  "Nature is always taking
us by surprise.  This child has--what I have never had and would
have made any sacrifice to have.  But 'the gods don't allow us to
be in their debt'--she will pay for it--she will pay."

At sunset Emily sat in the lookout room.  It was flooded with soft
splendour.  Outside, in sky and trees, were delicate tintings and
aerial sounds.  Down in the garden Daffy was chasing dead leaves
along the red walks.  The sight of his sleek, striped sides, the
grace of his movements, gave her pleasure--as did the beautiful,
even, glossy furrows of the ploughed fields beyond the lane, and
the first faint white star in the crystal-green sky.

The wind of the autumn night was blowing trumpets of fairyland on
the hills; and over in Lofty John's bush was laughter--like the
laughter of fauns.  Ilse and Perry and Teddy were waiting there for
her--they had made a tryst for a twilight romp.  She would go to
them--presently--not yet.  She was so full of rapture that she must
write it out before she went back from her world of dreams to the
world of reality.  Once she would have poured it into a letter to
her father.  She could no longer do that.  But on the table before
her lay a brand-new Jimmy-book.  She pulled it towards her, took up
her pen, and on its first virgin page she wrote,


     New moon,
     Blair water,
     P. E. island.

     October 8th.


     I am going to write a diary, that it may be published
     when I die.



THE END





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