Anne of Avonlea
7. The Pointing of Duty
Anne leaned back in her chair one mild October evening and sighed. She was sitting at
a table covered with text books and exercises, but the closely written sheets of paper
before her had no apparent connection with studies or school work.
"What is the matter?" asked Gilbert, who had arrived at the open kitchen door just in
time to hear the sigh.
Anne colored, and thrust her writing out of sight under some school compositions.
"Nothing very dreadful. I was just trying to write out some of my thoughts, as Professor
Hamilton advised me, but I couldn't get them to please me. They seem so still and
foolish directly they're written down on white paper with black ink. Fancies are like
shadows . . . you can't cage them, they're such wayward, dancing things. But perhaps
I'll learn the secret some day if I keep on trying. I haven't a great many spare moments,
you know. By the time I finish correcting school exercises and compositions, I don't
always feel like writing any of my own."
"You are getting on splendidly in school, Anne. All the children like you," said Gilbert,
sitting down on the stone step.
"No, not all. Anthony Pye doesn't and WON'T like me. What is worse, he doesn't
respect me . . . no, he doesn't. He simply holds me in contempt and I don't mind
confessing to you that it worries me miserably. It isn't that he is so very bad . . . he is
only rather mischievous, but no worse than some of the others. He seldom disobeys
me; but he obeys with a scornful air of toleration as if it wasn't worthwhile disputing the
point or he would . . . and it has a bad effect on the others. I've tried every way to win
him but I'm beginning to fear I never shall. I want to, for he's rather a cute little lad, if he
IS a Pye, and I could like him if he'd let me."
"Probably it's merely the effect of what he hears at home."
"Not altogether. Anthony is an independent little chap and makes up his own mind about
things. He has always gone to men before and he says girl teachers are no good. Well,
we'll see what patience and kindness will do. I like overcoming difficulties and teaching
is really very interesting work. Paul Irving makes up for all that is lacking in the others.
That child is a perfect darling, Gilbert, and a genius into the bargain. I'm persuaded the
world will hear of him some day," concluded Anne in a tone of conviction.
"I like teaching, too," said Gilbert. "It's good training, for one thing. Why, Anne, I've
learned more in the weeks I've been teaching the young the ideas of White Sands than I
learned in all the years I went to school myself. We all seem to be getting on pretty well.
The Newbridge people like Jane, I hear; and I think White Sands is tolerably satisfied