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Anne of Avonlea

15.
The Beginning of Vacation
Anne locked the schoolhouse door on a still, yellow evening, when the winds were
purring in the spruces around the playground, and the shadows were long and lazy by
the edge of the woods. She dropped the key into her pocket with a sigh of satisfaction.
The school year was ended, she had been reengaged for the next, with many
expressions of satisfaction. . . . only Mr. Harmon Andrews told her she ought to use the
strap oftener . . . and two delightful months of a well-earned vacation beckoned her
invitingly. Anne felt at peace with the world and herself as she walked down the hill with
her basket of flowers in her hand. Since the earliest mayflowers Anne had never missed
her weekly pilgrimage to Matthew's grave. Everyone else in Avonlea, except Marilla,
had already forgotten quiet, shy, unimportant Matthew Cuthbert; but his memory was
still green in Anne's heart and always would be. She could never forget the kind old man
who had been the first to give her the love and sympathy her starved childhood had
craved.
At the foot of the hill a boy was sitting on the fence in the shadow of the spruces . . . a
boy with big, dreamy eyes and a beautiful, sensitive face. He swung down and joined
Anne, smiling; but there were traces of tears on his cheeks.
"I thought I'd wait for you, teacher, because I knew you were going to the graveyard," he
said, slipping his hand into hers. "I'm going there, too . . . I'm taking this bouquet of
geraniums to put on Grandpa Irving's grave for grandma. And look, teacher, I'm going to
put this bunch of white roses beside Grandpa's grave in memory of my little mother. . .
because I can't go to her grave to put it there. But don't you think she'll know all about it,
just the same?"
"Yes, I am sure she will, Paul."
"You see, teacher, it's just three years today since my little mother died. It's such a long,
long time but it hurts just as much as ever . . . and I miss her just as much as ever.
Sometimes it seems to me that I just can't bear it, it hurts so."
Paul's voice quivered and his lip trembled. He looked down at his roses, hoping that his
teacher would not notice the tears in his eyes.
"And yet," said Anne, very softly, "you wouldn't want it to stop hurting . . . you wouldn't
want to forget your little mother even if you could."
"No, indeed, I wouldn't . . . that's just the way I feel. You're so good at understanding,
teacher. Nobody else understands so well . . . not even grandma, although she's so
good to me. Father understood pretty well, but still I couldn't talk much to him about
mother, because it made him feel so bad. When he put his hand over his face I always
knew it was time to stop. Poor father, he must be dreadfully lonesome without me; but
 
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