Anne of the Island
XX. Gilbert Speaks
"This has been a dull, prosy day," yawned Phil, stretching herself idly on the sofa,
having previously dispossessed two exceedingly indignant cats.
Anne looked up from Pickwick Papers. Now that spring examinations were over she
was treating herself to Dickens.
"It has been a prosy day for us," she said thoughtfully, "but to some people it has been a
wonderful day. Some one has been rapturously happy in it. Perhaps a great deed has
been done somewhere today--or a great poem written--or a great man born. And some
heart has been broken, Phil."
"Why did you spoil your pretty thought by tagging that last sentence on, honey?"
grumbled Phil. "I don't like to think of broken hearts--or anything unpleasant."
"Do you think you'll be able to shirk unpleasant things all your life, Phil?"
"Dear me, no. Am I not up against them now? You don't call Alec and Alonzo pleasant
things, do you, when they simply plague my life out?"
"You never take anything seriously, Phil."
"Why should I? There are enough folks who do. The world needs people like me, Anne,
just to amuse it. It would be a terrible place if EVERYBODY were intellectual and
serious and in deep, deadly earnest. MY mission is, as Josiah Allen says, 'to charm and
allure.' Confess now. Hasn't life at Patty's Place been really much brighter and
pleasanter this past winter because I've been here to leaven you?"
"Yes, it has," owned Anne.
"And you all love me--even Aunt Jamesina, who thinks I'm stark mad. So why should I
try to be different? Oh, dear, I'm so sleepy. I was awake until one last night, reading a
harrowing ghost story. I read it in bed, and after I had finished it do you suppose I could
get out of bed to put the light out? No! And if Stella had not fortunately come in late that
lamp would have burned good and bright till morning. When I heard Stella I called her
in, explained my predicament, and got her to put out the light. If I had got out myself to
do it I knew something would grab me by the feet when I was getting in again. By the
way, Anne, has Aunt Jamesina decided what to do this summer?"
"Yes, she's going to stay here. I know she's doing it for the sake of those blessed cats,
although she says it's too much trouble to open her own house, and she hates visiting."
"What are you reading?"