At Five O'Clock in the Morning by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Fate, in the guise of Mrs. Emory dropping a milk-can on the platform under his open window, awakened Murray that morning. Had not Mrs. Emory dropped that can, he would have slumbered peacefully until his usual hour for rising--a late one, be it admitted, for of all the boarders at Sweetbriar Cottage Murray was the most irregular in his habits.
"When a young man," Mrs. Emory was wont to remark sagely and a trifle severely, "prowls about that pond half of the night, a-chasing of things what he calls 'moonlight effecks,' it ain't to be wondered at that he's sleepy in the morning. And it ain't the convenientest thing, nuther and noways, to keep the breakfast table set till the farm folks are thinking of dinner. But them artist men are not like other people, say what you will, and allowance has to be made for them. And I must say that I likes him real well and approves of him every other way."
If Murray had slept late that morning--well, he shudders yet over that "if." But aforesaid Fate saw to it that he woke when the hour of destiny and the milk-can struck, and having awakened he found he could not go to sleep again. It suddenly occurred to him that he had never seen a sunrise on the pond. Doubtless it would be very lovely down there in those dewy meadows at such a primitive hour; he decided to get up and see what the world looked like in the young daylight.
He scowled at a letter lying on his dressing table and thrust it into his pocket that it might be out of sight. He had written it the night before and the writing of it was going to cost him several things--a prospective million among others. So it is hardly to be wondered at if the sight of it did not reconcile him to the joys of early rising.
"Dear life and heart!" exclaimed Mrs. Emory, pausing in the act of scalding a milk-can when Murray emerged from a side door. "What on earth is the matter, Mr. Murray? You ain't sick now, surely? I told you them pond fogs was p'isen after night! If you've gone and got--"
"Nothing is the matter, dear lady," interrupted Murray, "and I haven't gone and got anything except an acute attack of early rising which is not in the least likely to become chronic. But at what hour of the night do you get up, you wonderful woman? Or rather do you ever go to bed at all? Here is the sun only beginning to rise and--positively yes, you have all your cows milked."
Mrs. Emory purred with delight.
"Folks as has fourteen cows to milk has to rise betimes," she answered with proud humility. "Laws, I don't complain--I've lots of help with the milking. How Mrs. Palmer manages, I really cannot comperhend--or rather, how she has managed. I suppose she'll be all right now since her niece came last night. I saw her posting to the pond pasture not ten minutes ago. She'll have to milk all them seven cows herself. But dear life and heart! Here I be palavering away and not a bite of breakfast ready for you!"
"I don't want any breakfast until the regular time for it," assured Murray. "I'm going down to the pond to see the sun rise."
"Now don't you go and get caught in the ma'sh," anxiously called Mrs. Emory, as she never failed to do when she saw him starting for the pond. Nobody ever had got caught in the marsh, but Mrs. Emory lived in a chronic state of fear lest someone should.
"And if you once got stuck in that black mud you'd be sucked right down and never seen or heard tell of again till the day of judgment, like Adam Palmer's cow," she was wont to warn her boarders.
Murray sought his favourite spot for pond dreaming--a bloomy corner of the pasture that ran down into the blue water, with a dump of leafy maples on the left. He was very glad he had risen early. A miracle was being worked before his very eyes. The world was in a flush and tremor of maiden loveliness, instinct with all the marvellous fleeting charm of girlhood and spring and young morning. Overhead the sky was a vast high-sprung arch of unstained crystal. Down over the sand dunes, where the pond ran out into the sea, was a great arc of primrose smitten through with auroral crimsonings. Beneath it the pond waters shimmered with a hundred fairy hues, but just before him they were clear as a flawless mirror. The fields around him glistened with dews, and a little wandering wind, blowing lightly from some bourne in the hills, strayed down over the slopes, bringing with it an unimaginable odour and freshness, and fluttered over the pond, leaving a little path of dancing silver ripples across the mirror-glory of the water. Birds were singing in the beech woods over on Orchard Knob Farm, answering to each other from shore to shore, until the very air was tremulous with the elfin music of this wonderful midsummer dawn.
"I will get up at sunrise every morning of my life hereafter," exclaimed Murray rapturously, not meaning a syllable of it, but devoutly believing he did.
Just as the fiery disc of the sun peered over the sand dunes Murray heard music that was not of the birds. It was a girl's voice singing beyond the maples to his left--a clear sweet voice, blithely trilling out the old-fashioned song, "Five O'Clock in the Morning."
"Mrs. Palmer's niece!"
Murray sprang to his feet and tiptoed cautiously through the maples. He had heard so much from Mrs. Palmer about her niece that he felt reasonably well acquainted with her. Moreover, Mrs. Palmer had assured him that Mollie was a very pretty girl. Now a pretty girl milking cows at sunrise in the meadows sounded well.
Mrs. Palmer had not over-rated her niece's beauty. Murray said so to himself with a little whistle of amazement as he leaned unseen on the pasture fence and looked at the girl who was milking a placid Jersey less than ten yards away from him. Murray's artistic instinct responded to the whole scene with a thrill of satisfaction.
He could see only her profile, but that was perfect, and the colouring of the oval cheek and the beautiful curve of the chin were something to adore. Her hair, ruffled into lovable little ringlets by the morning wind, was coiled in glistening chestnut masses high on her bare head, and her arms, bare to the elbow, were as white as marble. Presently she began to sing again, and this time Murray joined in. She half rose from her milking stool and cast a startled glance at the maples. Then she dropped back again and began to milk determinedly, but Murray could have sworn that he saw a demure smile hovering about her lips. That, and the revelation of her full face, decided him. He sprang over the fence and sauntered across the intervening space of lush clover blossoms.
"Good morning," he said coolly. He had forgotten her other name, and it did not matter; at five o'clock in the morning people who met in dewy clover fields might disregard the conventionalities. "Isn't it rather a large contract for you to be milking seven cows all alone? May I help you?"
Mollie looked up at him over her shoulder. She had glorious grey eyes. Her face was serene and undisturbed. "Can you milk?" she asked.
"Unlikely as it may seem, I can," said Murray. "I have never confessed it to Mrs. Emory, because I was afraid she would inveigle me into milking her fourteen cows. But I don't mind helping you. I learned to milk when I was a shaver on my vacations at a grandfatherly farm. May I have that extra pail?"
Murray captured a milking stool and rounded up another Jersey. Before sitting down he seemed struck with an idea.
"My name is Arnold Murray. I board at Sweetbriar Cottage, next farm to Orchard Knob. That makes us near neighbours."
"I suppose it does," said Mollie.
Murray mentally decided that her voice was the sweetest he had ever heard. He was glad he had arranged his cow at such an angle that he could study her profile. It was amazing that Mrs. Palmer's niece should have such a profile. It looked as if centuries of fine breeding were responsible for it.
"What a morning!" he said enthusiastically. "It harks back to the days when earth was young. They must have had just such mornings as this in Eden."
"Do you always get up so early?" asked Mollie practically.
"Always," said Murray without a blush. Then--"But no, that is a fib, and I cannot tell fibs to you. The truth is your tribute. I never get up early. It was fate that roused me and brought me here this morning. The morning is a miracle--and you, I might suppose you were born of the sunrise, if Mrs. Palmer hadn't told me all about you."
"What did she tell you about me?" asked Mollie, changing cows. Murray discovered that she was tall and that the big blue print apron shrouded a singularly graceful figure.
"She said you were the best-looking girl in Bruce county. I have seen very few of the girls in Bruce county, but I know she is right."
"That compliment is not nearly so pretty as the sunrise one," said Mollie reflectively. "Mrs. Palmer has told me things about you," she added.
"Curiosity knows no gender," hinted Murray.
"She said you were good-looking and lazy and different from other people."
"All compliments," said Murray in a gratified tone.
"Certainly. Laziness is a virtue in these strenuous days, I was not born with it, but I have painstakingly acquired it, and I am proud of my success. I have time to enjoy life."
"I think that I like you," said Mollie.
"You have the merit of being able to enter into a situation," he assured her.
When the last Jersey was milked they carried the pails down to the spring where the creamers were sunk and strained the milk into them. Murray washed the pails and Mollie wiped them and set them in a gleaming row on the shelf under a big maple.
"Thank you," she said.
"You are not going yet," said Murray resolutely. "The time I saved you in milking three cows belongs to me. We will spend it in a walk along the pond shore. I will show you a path I have discovered under the beeches. It is just wide enough for two. Come."
He took her hand and drew her through the copse into a green lane, where the ferns grew thickly on either side and the pond waters plashed dreamily below them. He kept her hand in his as they went down the path, and she did not try to withdraw it. About them was the great, pure silence of the morning, faintly threaded with caressing sounds--croon of birds, gurgle of waters, sough of wind. The spirit of youth and love hovered over them and they spoke no word.
When they finally came out on a little green nook swimming in early sunshine and arched over by maples, with the wide shimmer of the pond before it and the gold dust of blossoms over the grass, the girl drew a long breath of delight.
"It is a morning left over from Eden, isn't it?" said Murray.
"Yes," said Mollie softly.
Murray bent toward her. "You are Eve," he said. "You are the only woman in the world--for me. Adam must have told Eve just what he thought about her the first time he saw her. There were no conventionalities in Eden--and people could not have taken long to make up their minds. We are in Eden just now. One can say what he thinks in Eden without being ridiculous. You are divinely fair, Eve. Your eyes are stars of the morning--your cheek has the flush it stole from the sunrise-your lips are redder than the roses of paradise. And I love you, Eve."
Mollie lowered her eyes and the long fringe of her lashes lay in a burnished semi-circle on her cheek.
"I think," she said slowly, "that it must have been very delightful in Eden. But we are not really there, you know--we are only playing that we are. And it is time for me to go back. I must get the breakfast--that sounds too prosaic for paradise."
Murray bent still closer.
"Before we remember that we are only playing at paradise, will you kiss me, dear Eve?"
"You are very audacious," said Mollie coldly.
"We are in Eden yet," he urged. "That makes all the difference."
"Well," said Mollie. And Murray kissed her.
They had passed back over the fern path and were in the pasture before either spoke again. Then Murray said, "We have left Eden behind--but we can always return there when we will. And although we were only playing at paradise, I was not playing at love. I meant all I said, Mollie."
"Have you meant it often?" asked Mollie significantly.
"I never meant it--or even played at it--before," he answered. "I did--at one time--contemplate the possibility of playing at it. But that was long ago--as long ago as last night. I am glad to the core of my soul that I decided against it before I met you, dear Eve. I have the letter of decision in my coat pocket this moment. I mean to mail it this afternoon."
"'Curiosity knows no gender,'" quoted Mollie.
"Then, to satisfy your curiosity, I must bore you with some personal history. My parents died when I was a little chap, and my uncle brought me up. He has been immensely good to me, but he is a bit of a tyrant. Recently he picked out a wife for me--the daughter of an old sweetheart of his. I have never even seen her. But she has arrived in town on a visit to some relatives there. Uncle Dick wrote to me to return home at once and pay my court to the lady; I protested. He wrote again--a letter, short and the reverse of sweet. If I refused to do my best to win Miss Mannering he would disown me--never speak to me again--cut me off with a quarter. Uncle always means what he says--that is one of our family traits, you understand. I spent some miserable, undecided days. It was not the threat of disinheritance that worried me, although when you have been brought up to regard yourself as a prospective millionaire it is rather difficult to adjust your vision to a pauper focus. But it was the thought of alienating Uncle Dick. I love the dear, determined old chap like a father. But last night my guardian angel was with me and I decided to remain my own man. So I wrote to Uncle Dick, respectfully but firmly declining to become a candidate for Miss Mannering's hand."
"But you have never seen her," said Mollie. "She may be--almost--charming."
"'If she be not fair to me, what care I how fair she be?'" quoted Murray. "As you say, she may be--almost charming; but she is not Eve. She is merely one of a million other women, as far as I am concerned. Don't let's talk of her. Let us talk only of ourselves--there is nothing else that is half so interesting."
"And will your uncle really cast you off?" asked Mollie.
"Not a doubt of it."
"What will you do?"
"Work, dear Eve. My carefully acquired laziness must be thrown to the winds and I shall work. That is the rule outside of Eden. Don't worry. I've painted pictures that have actually been sold. I'll make a living for us somehow."
"Of course. You are engaged to me."
"I am not," said Mollie indignantly.
"Mollie! Mollie! After that kiss! Fie, fie!"
"You are very absurd," said Mollie, "But your absurdity has been amusing. I have--yes, positively--I have enjoyed your Eden comedy. But now you must not come any further with me. My aunt might not approve. Here is my path to Orchard Knob farmhouse. There, I presume, is yours to Sweetbriar Cottage. Good morning."
"I am coming over to see you this afternoon," said Murray coolly. "But you needn't be afraid. I will not tell tales out of Eden. I will be a hypocrite and pretend to Mrs. Palmer that we have never met before. But you and I will know and remember. Now, you may go. I reserve to myself the privilege of standing here and watching you out of sight."
* * * * *
That afternoon Murray strolled over to Orchard Knob, going into the kitchen without knocking as was the habit in that free and easy world. Mrs. Palmer was lying on the lounge with a pungent handkerchief bound about her head, but keeping a vigilant eye on a very pretty, very plump brown-eyed girl who was stirring a kettleful of cherry preserve on the range.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Palmer," said Murray, wondering where Mollie was. "I'm sorry to see that you look something like an invalid."
"I've a raging, ramping headache," said Mrs. Palmer solemnly. "I had it all night and I'm good for nothing. Mollie, you'd better take them cherries off. Mr. Murray, this is my niece, Mollie Booth."
"What?" said Murray explosively.
"Miss Mollie Booth," repeated Mrs. Palmer in a louder tone.
Murray regained outward self-control and bowed to the blushing Mollie.
"And what about Eve?" he thought helplessly. "Who--what was she? Did I dream her? Was she a phantom of delight? No, no, phantoms don't milk cows. She was flesh and blood. No chilly nymph exhaling from the mists of the marsh could have given a kiss like that."
"Mollie has come to stay the rest of the summer with me," said Mrs. Palmer. "I hope to goodness my tribulations with hired girls is over at last. They have made a wreck of me."
Murray rapidly reflected. This development, he decided, released him from his promise to tell no tales. "I met a young lady down in the pond pasture this morning," he said deliberately. "I talked with her for a few minutes. I supposed her to be your niece. Who was she?"
"Oh, that was Miss Mannering," said Mrs. Palmer.
"What?" said Murray again.
"Mannering--Dora Mannering," said Mrs. Palmer loudly, wondering if Mr. Murray were losing his hearing. "She came here last night just to see me. I haven't seen her since she was a child of twelve. I used to be her nurse before I was married. I was that proud to think she thought it worth her while to look me up. And, mind you, this morning, when she found me crippled with headache and not able to do a hand's turn, that girl, Mr. Murray, went and milked seven cows"--"only four," murmured Murray, but Mrs. Palmer did not hear him--"for me. Couldn't prevent her. She said she had learned to milk for fun one summer when she was in the country, and she did it. And then she got breakfast for the men--Mollie didn't come till the ten o'clock train. Miss Mannering is as capable as if she had been riz on a farm."
"Where is she now?" demanded Murray.
"Oh, she's gone."
"Gone," shouted Mrs. Palmer, "gone. She left on the train Mollie come on. Gracious me, has the man gone crazy? He hasn't seemed like himself at all this afternoon."
Murray had bolted madly out of the house and was striding down the lane.
Blind fool--unspeakable idiot that he had been! To take her for Mrs. Palmer's niece--that peerless creature with the calm acceptance of any situation, which marked the woman of the world, with the fine appreciation and quickness of repartee that spoke of generations of culture--to imagine that she could be Mollie Booth! He had been blind, besottedly blind. And now he had lost her! She would never forgive him; she had gone without a word or sign.
As he reached the last curve of the lane where it looped about the apple trees, a plump figure came flying down the orchard slope.
"Mr. Murray, Mr. Murray," Mollie Booth called breathlessly. "Will you please come here just a minute?"
Murray crossed over to the paling rather grumpily. He did not want to talk with Mollie Booth just then. Confound it, what did the girl want? Why was she looking so mysterious?
Mollie produced a little square grey envelope from some feminine hiding place and handed it over the paling.
"She give me this at the station--Miss Mannering did," she gasped, "and asked me to give it to you without letting Aunt Emily Jane see. I couldn't get a chanst when you was in, but as soon as you went I slipped out by the porch door and followed you. You went so fast I near died trying to head you off."
"You dear little soul," said Murray, suddenly radiant. "It is too bad you have had to put yourself so out of breath on my account. But I am immensely obliged to you. The next time your young man wants a trusty private messenger just refer him to me."
"Git away with you," giggled Mollie. "I must hurry back 'fore Aunt Emily Jane gits wind I'm gone. I hope there's good news in your girl's letter. My, but didn't you look flat when Aunt said she'd went!"
Murray beamed at her idiotically. When she had vanished among the trees he opened his letter.
Murray kissed the grey letter and put it tenderly away in his pocket. Then he took his letter to his uncle and tore it into tiny fragments. Finally he looked at his watch.
"If I hurry, I can catch the afternoon train to town," he said.
Aunt Susanna's Birthday Celebration
Good afternoon, Nora May. I'm real glad to see you. I've been watching you coming down the hill and I hoping you'd turn in at our gate. Going to visit with me this afternoon? That's good. I'm feeling so happy and delighted and I've been hankering for someone to tell it all to.
Tell you about it? Well, I guess I might as well. It ain't any breach of confidence.
You didn't know Anne Douglas? She taught school here three years ago, afore your folks moved over from Talcott. She belonged up Montrose way and she was only eighteen when she came here to teach. She boarded with us and her and me were the greatest chums. She was just a sweet girl.
She was the prettiest teacher we ever had, and that's saying a good deal, for Springdale has always been noted for getting good-looking schoolmarms, just as Miller's Road is noted for its humly ones.
Anne had yards of brown wavy hair and big, dark blue eyes. Her face was kind o' pale, but when she smiled you would have to smile too, if you'd been chief mourner at your own funeral. She was a well-spring of joy in the house, and we all loved her.
Gilbert Martin began to drive her the very first week she was here. Gilbert is my sister Julia's son, and a fine young fellow he is. It ain't good manners to brag of your own relations, but I'm always forgetting and doing it. Gil was a great pet of mine. He was so bright and nice-mannered everybody liked him. Him and Anne were a fine-looking couple, Nora May. Not but what they had their shortcomings. Anne's nose was a mite too long and Gil had a crooked mouth. Besides, they was both pretty proud and sperrited and high-strung.
But they thought an awful lot of each other. It made me feel young again to see 'em. Anne wasn't a mossel vain, but nights she expected Gil she'd prink for hours afore her glass, fixing her hair this way and that, and trying on all her good clothes to see which become her most. I used to love her for it. And I used to love to see the way Gil's face would light up when she came into a room or place where he was. Amanda Perkins, she says to me once, "Anne Douglas and Gil Martin are most terrible struck on each other." And she said it in a tone that indicated that it was a dreadful disgraceful and unbecoming state of affairs. Amanda had a disappointment once and it soured her. I immediately responded, "Yes, they are most terrible struck on each other," and I said it in a tone that indicated I thought it a most beautiful and lovely thing that they should be so.
And so it was. You're rather too young to be thinking of such things, Nora May, but you'll remember my words when the time comes.
Another nephew of mine, James Ebenezer Lawson--he calls himself James E. back there in town, and I don't blame him, for I never could stand Ebenezer for a name myself; but that's neither here nor there. Well, he said their love was idyllic, I ain't very sure what that means. I looked it up in the dictionary after James Ebenezer left--I wouldn't display my ignorance afore him--but I can't say that I was much the wiser for it. Anyway, it meant something real nice; I was sure of that by the way James Ebenezer spoke and the wistful look in his eyes. James Ebenezer isn't married; he was to have been, and she died a month afore the wedding day. He was never the same man again.
Well, to get back to Gilbert and Anne. When Anne's school year ended in June she resigned and went home to get ready to be married. The wedding was to be in September, and I promised Anne faithful I'd go over to Montrose in August for two weeks and help her to get her quilts ready. Anne thought that nobody could quilt like me. I was as tickled as a girl at the thought of visiting with Anne for two weeks, but I never went; things happened before August.
I don't know rightly how the trouble began. Other folks--jealous folks--made mischief. Anne was thirty miles away and Gilbert couldn't see her every day to keep matters clear and fair. Besides, as I've said, they were both proud and high-sperrited. The upshot of it was they had a terrible quarrel and the engagement was broken.
When two people don't care overly much for each other, Nora May, a quarrel never amounts to much between them, and it's soon made up. But when they love each other better than life it cuts so deep and hurts so much that nine times out of ten they won't ever forgive each other. The more you love anybody, Nora May, the more he can hurt you. To be sure, you're too young to be thinking of such things.
It all came like a thunderclap on Gil's friends here at Greendale, because we hadn't ever suspected things were going wrong. The first thing we knew was that Anne had gone up west to teach school again at St. Mary's, eighty miles away, and Gilbert, he went out to Manitoba on a harvest excursion and stayed there. It just about broke his parents' hearts. He was their only child and they just worshipped him.
Gil and Anne both wrote to me off and on, but never a word, not so much as a name, did they say of each other. I'd 'a' writ and asked 'em the rights of the fuss if I could, in hopes of patching it up, but I can't write now--my hand is too shaky--and mebbe it was just as well, for meddling is terribly risky work in a love trouble, Nora May. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred the last state of a meddler and them she meddles with is worse than the first.
So I just set tight and said nothing, while everybody else in the clan was talking Anne and Gil sixty words to the minute.
Well, last birthday morning I was feeling terrible disperrited. I had made up my mind that my birthday was always to be a good thing for other people, and there didn't seem one blessed thing I could do to make anybody glad. Emma Matilda and George and the children were all well and happy and wanted for nothing that I could give them. I begun to be afraid I'd lived long enough, Nora May. When a woman gets to the point where she can't give a gift of joy to anyone, there ain't much use in her living. I felt real old and worn out and useless.
I was sitting here under these very trees--they was just budding out in leaf then, as young and cheerful as if they wasn't a hundred years old. And I sighed right out loud and said, "Oh, Grandpa Holland, it's time I was put away up on the hill there with you." And with that the gate banged and there was Nancy Jane Whitmore's boy, Sam, with two letters for me.
One was from Anne up at St. Mary's and the other was from Gil out in Manitoba.
I read Anne's first. She just struck right into things in the first paragraph. She said her year at St. Mary's was nearly up, and when it was she meant to quit teaching and go away to New York and learn to be a trained nurse. She said she was just broken-hearted about Gilbert, and would always love him to the day of her death. But she knew he didn't care anything more about her after the way he had acted, and there was nothing left for her in life but to do something for other people, and so on and so on, for twelve mortal pages. Anne is a fine writer, and I just cried like a babe over that letter, it was so touching, although I was enjoying myself hugely all the time, I was so delighted to find out that Anne loved Gilbert still. I was getting skeered she didn't, her letters all winter had been so kind of jokey and frivolous, all about the good times she was having, and the parties she went to, and the new dresses she got. New dresses! When I read that letter of Anne's, I knew that all the purple and fine linen in the world was just like so much sackcloth and ashes to her as long as Gilbert was sulking out on a prairie farm.
Well, I wiped my eyes and polished up my specs, but I might have spared myself the trouble, for in five minutes, Nora May, there was I sobbing again; over Gilbert's letter. By the most curious coincidence he had opened his heart to me too. Being a man, he wasn't so discursive as Anne; he said his say in four pages, but I could read the heartache between the lines. He wrote that he was going to Klondike and would start in a month's time. He was sick of living now that he'd lost Anne. He said he loved her better than his life and always would, and could never forget her, but he knew she didn't care anything about him now after the way she'd acted, and he wanted to get as far away from her and the torturing thought of her as he could. So he was going to Klondike--going to Klondike, Nora May, when his mother was writing to him to come home every week and Anne was breaking her heart for him at St. Mary's.
Well, I folded up them letters and, says I, "Grandpa Holland, I guess my birthday celebration is here ready to hand." I thought real hard. I couldn't write myself to explain to those two people that they each thought the world of each other still--my hands are too stiff; and I couldn't get anyone else to write because I couldn't let out what they'd told me in confidence. So I did a mean, dishonourable thing, Nora May. I sent Anne's letter to Gilbert and Gilbert's to Anne. I asked Emma Matilda to address them, and Emma Matilda did it and asked no questions. I brought her up that way.
Then I settled down to wait. In less than a month Gilbert's mother had a letter from him saying that he was coming home to settle down and marry Anne. He arrived home yesterday and last night Anne came to Springdale on her way home from St. Mary's. They came to see me this morning and said things to me I ain't going to repeat because they would sound fearful vain. They were so happy that they made me feel as if it was a good thing to have lived eighty years in a world where folks could be so happy. They said their new joy was my birthday gift to them. The wedding is to be in September and I'm going to Montrose in August to help Anne with her quilts. I don't think anything will happen to prevent this time--no quarrelling, anyhow. Those two young creatures have learned their lesson. You'd better take it to heart too, Nora May. It's less trouble to learn it at second hand. Don't you ever quarrel with your real beau--it don't matter about the sham ones, of course. Don't take offence at trifles or listen to what other people tell you about him--outsiders, that is, that want to make mischief. What you think about him is of more importance than what they do. To be sure, you're too young yet to be thinking of such things at all. But just mind what old Aunt Susanna told you when your time comes.