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    Chapter XXII

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    Chapter 22
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    CHAPTER XXII

    Anne is Invited Out to Tea

    "And what are your eyes popping out of your head about. Now?"
    asked Marilla, when Anne had just come in from a run to the
    post office. "Have you discovered another kindred spirit?"
    Excitement hung around Anne like a garment, shone in her eyes,
    kindled in every feature. She had come dancing up the lane, like
    a wind-blown sprite, through the mellow sunshine and lazy shadows
    of the August evening.

    "No, Marilla, but oh, what do you think? I am invited to tea at
    the manse tomorrow afternoon! Mrs. Allan left the letter for me
    at the post office. Just look at it, Marilla. 'Miss Anne Shirley,
    Green Gables.' That is the first time I was ever called 'Miss.'
    Such a thrill as it gave me! I shall cherish it forever among
    my choicest treasures."

    "Mrs. Allan told me she meant to have all the members of her
    Sunday-school class to tea in turn," said Marilla, regarding the
    wonderful event very coolly. "You needn't get in such a fever
    over it. Do learn to take things calmly, child."

    For Anne to take things calmly would have been to change her
    nature. All "spirit and fire and dew," as she was, the pleasures
    and pains of life came to her with trebled intensity. Marilla
    felt this and was vaguely troubled over it, realizing that the
    ups and downs of existence would probably bear hardly on this
    impulsive soul and not sufficiently understanding that the
    equally great capacity for delight might more than compensate.
    Therefore Marilla conceived it to be her duty to drill Anne into
    a tranquil uniformity of disposition as impossible and alien to
    her as to a dancing sunbeam in one of the brook shallows. She
    did not make much headway, as she sorrowfully admitted to herself.
    The downfall of some dear hope or plan plunged Anne into "deeps
    of affliction." The fulfillment thereof exalted her to dizzy realms
    of delight. Marilla had almost begun to despair of ever fashioning
    this waif of the world into her model little girl of demure manners
    and prim deportment. Neither would she have believed that she really
    liked Anne much better as she was.

    Anne went to bed that night speechless with misery because
    Matthew had said the wind was round northeast and he feared it
    would be a rainy day tomorrow. The rustle of the poplar leaves
    about the house worried her, it sounded so like pattering
    raindrops, and the full, faraway roar of the gulf, to which she
    listened delightedly at other times, loving its strange,
    sonorous, haunting rhythm, now seemed like a prophecy of storm
    and disaster to a small maiden who particularly wanted a fine
    day. Anne thought that the morning would never come.

    But all things have an end, even nights before the day on which you are
    invited to take tea at the manse. The morning, in spite of Matthew's
    predictions, was fine and Anne's spirits soared to their highest.
    "Oh, Marilla, there is something in me today that makes me just
    love everybody I see," she exclaimed as she washed the breakfast
    dishes. "You don't know how good I feel! Wouldn't it be nice if
    it could last? I believe I could be a model child if I were just
    invited out to tea every day. But oh, Marilla, it's a solemn
    occasion too. I feel so anxious. What if I shouldn't behave
    properly? You know I never had tea at a manse before, and I'm
    not sure that I know all the rules of etiquette, although I've
    been studying the rules given in the Etiquette Department of the
    Family Herald ever since I came here. I'm so afraid I'll do
    something silly or forget to do something I should do. Would it
    be good manners to take a second helping of anything if you
    wanted to VERY much?"

    "The trouble with you, Anne, is that you're thinking too much
    about yourself. You should just think of Mrs. Allan and what
    would be nicest and most agreeable to her," said Marilla, hitting
    for once in her life on a very sound and pithy piece of advice.
    Anne instantly realized this.

    "You are right, Marilla. I'll try not to think about myself at all."

    Anne evidently got through her visit without any serious breach
    of "etiquette," for she came home through the twilight, under a
    great, high-sprung sky gloried over with trails of saffron and
    rosy cloud, in a beatified state of mind and told Marilla all
    about it happily, sitting on the big red-sandstone slab at the
    kitchen door with her tired curly head in Marilla's gingham lap.

    A cool wind was blowing down over the long harvest fields from
    the rims of firry western hills and whistling through the
    poplars. One clear star hung over the orchard and the fireflies
    were flitting over in Lover's Lane, in and out among the ferns
    and rustling boughs. Anne watched them as she talked and somehow
    felt that wind and stars and fireflies were all tangled up
    together into something unutterably sweet and enchanting.

    "Oh, Marilla, I've had a most FASCINATING time. I feel that I
    have not lived in vain and I shall always feel like that even if
    I should never be invited to tea at a manse again. When I got
    there Mrs. Allan met me at the door. She was dressed in the
    sweetest dress of pale-pink organdy, with dozens of frills and
    elbow sleeves, and she looked just like a seraph. I really think
    I'd like to be a minister's wife when I grow up, Marilla. A
    minister mightn't mind my red hair because he wouldn't be
    thinking of such worldly things. But then of course one would
    have to be naturally good and I'll never be that, so I suppose
    there's no use in thinking about it. Some people are naturally
    good, you know, and others are not. I'm one of the others. Mrs.
    Lynde says I'm full of original sin. No matter how hard I try to
    be good I can never make such a success of it as those who are
    naturally good. It's a good deal like geometry, I expect. But
    don't you think the trying so hard ought to count for something?
    Mrs. Allan is one of the naturally good people. I love her
    passionately. You know there are some people, like Matthew and
    Mrs. Allan that you can love right off without any trouble. And
    there are others, like Mrs. Lynde, that you have to try very
    hard to love. You know you OUGHT to love them because they know
    so much and are such active workers in the church, but you have
    to keep reminding yourself of it all the time or else you forget.
    There was another little girl at the manse to tea, from the White
    Sands Sunday school. Her name was Laurette Bradley, and she was
    a very nice little girl. Not exactly a kindred spirit, you know,
    but still very nice. We had an elegant tea, and I think I kept
    all the rules of etiquette pretty well. After tea Mrs. Allan
    played and sang and she got Lauretta and me to sing too. Mrs.
    Allan says I have a good voice and she says I must sing in the
    Sunday-school choir after this. You can't think how I was
    thrilled at the mere thought. I've longed so to sing in the
    Sunday-school choir, as Diana does, but I feared it was an honor
    I could never aspire to. Lauretta had to go home early because
    there is a big concert in the White Sands Hotel tonight and her
    sister is to recite at it. Lauretta says that the Americans at
    the hotel give a concert every fortnight in aid of the
    Charlottetown hospital, and they ask lots of the White Sands
    people to recite. Lauretta said she expected to be asked
    herself someday. I just gazed at her in awe. After she had
    gone Mrs. Allan and I had a heart-to-heart talk. I told her
    everything--about Mrs. Thomas and the twins and Katie Maurice
    and Violetta and coming to Green Gables and my troubles over
    geometry. And would you believe it, Marilla? Mrs. Allan told me
    she was a dunce at geometry too. You don't know how that
    encouraged me. Mrs. Lynde came to the manse just before I left,
    and what do you think, Marilla? The trustees have hired a new
    teacher and it's a lady. Her name is Miss Muriel Stacy. Isn't
    that a romantic name? Mrs. Lynde says they've never had a female
    teacher in Avonlea before and she thinks it is a dangerous
    innovation. But I think it will be splendid to have a lady
    teacher, and I really don't see how I'm going to live through the
    two weeks before school begins. I'm so impatient to see her."
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