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Anne of Avonlea

2. Selling in Haste and Repenting at Leisure
Anne drove over to Carmody on a shopping expedition the next afternoon and took
Diana Barry with her. Diana was, of course, a pledged member of the Improvement
Society, and the two girls talked about little else all the way to Carmody and back.
"The very first thing we ought to do when we get started is to have that hall painted,"
said Diana, as they drove past the Avonlea hall, a rather shabby building set down in a
wooded hollow, with spruce trees hooding it about on all sides. "It's a disgraceful looking
place and we must attend to it even before we try to get Mr. Levi Boulder to pull his
house down. Father says we'll never succeed in DOING that. Levi Boulter is too mean
to spend the time it would take."
"Perhaps he'll let the boys take it down if they promise to haul the boards and split them
up for him for kindling wood," said Anne hopefully. "We must do our best and be content
to go slowly at first. We can't expect to improve everything all at once. We'll have to
educate public sentiment first, of course."
Diana wasn't exactly sure what educating public sentiment meant; but it sounded fine
and she felt rather proud that she was going to belong to a society with such an aim in
view.
"I thought of something last night that we could do, Anne. You know that three-cornered
piece of ground where the roads from Carmody and Newbridge and White Sands meet?
It's all grown over with young spruce; but wouldn't it be nice to have them all cleared
out, and just leave the two or three birch trees that are on it?"
"Splendid," agreed Anne gaily. "And have a rustic seat put under the birches. And when
spring comes we'll have a flower-bed made in the middle of it and plant geraniums."
"Yes; only we'll have to devise some way of getting old Mrs. Hiram Sloane to keep her
cow off the road, or she'll eat our geraniums up," laughed Diana. "I begin to see what
you mean by educating public sentiment, Anne. There's the old Boulter house now. Did
you ever see such a rookery? And perched right close to the road too. An old house
with its windows gone always makes me think of something dead with its eyes picked
out."
"I think an old, deserted house is such a sad sight," said Anne dreamily. "It always
seems to me to be thinking about its past and mourning for its old-time joys. Marilla
says that a large family was raised in that old house long ago, and that it was a real
pretty place, with a lovely garden and roses climbing all over it. It was full of little
children and laughter and songs; and now it is empty, and nothing ever wanders
through it but the wind. How lonely and sorrowful it must feel! Perhaps they all come
back on moonlit nights . . . the ghosts of the little children of long ago and the roses and
 
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