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Anne of the Island

X. Patty's Place
The next evening found them treading resolutely the herring-bone walk through the tiny
garden. The April wind was filling the pine trees with its roundelay, and the grove was
alive with robins--great, plump, saucy fellows, strutting along the paths. The girls rang
rather timidly, and were admitted by a grim and ancient handmaiden. The door opened
directly into a large living-room, where by a cheery little fire sat two other ladies, both of
whom were also grim and ancient. Except that one looked to be about seventy and the
other fifty, there seemed little difference between them. Each had amazingly big, light-
blue eyes behind steel-rimmed spectacles; each wore a cap and a gray shawl; each
was knitting without haste and without rest; each rocked placidly and looked at the girls
without speaking; and just behind each sat a large white china dog, with round green
spots all over it, a green nose and green ears. Those dogs captured Anne's fancy on
the spot; they seemed like the twin guardian deities of Patty's Place.
For a few minutes nobody spoke. The girls were too nervous to find words, and neither
the ancient ladies nor the china dogs seemed conversationally inclined. Anne glanced
about the room. What a dear place it was! Another door opened out of it directly into the
pine grove and the robins came boldly up on the very step. The floor was spotted with
round, braided mats, such as Marilla made at Green Gables, but which were considered
out of date everywhere else, even in Avonlea. And yet here they were on Spofford
Avenue! A big, polished grandfather's clock ticked loudly and solemnly in a corner.
There were delightful little cupboards over the mantelpiece, behind whose glass doors
gleamed quaint bits of china. The walls were hung with old prints and silhouettes. In one
corner the stairs went up, and at the first low turn was a long window with an inviting
seat. It was all just as Anne had known it must be.
By this time the silence had grown too dreadful, and Priscilla nudged Anne to intimate
that she must speak.
"We--we--saw by your sign that this house is to let," said Anne faintly, addressing the
older lady, who was evidently Miss Patty Spofford.
"Oh, yes," said Miss Patty. "I intended to take that sign down today."
"Then--then we are too late," said Anne sorrowfully. "You've let it to some one else?"
"No, but we have decided not to let it at all."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," exclaimed Anne impulsively. "I love this place so. I did hope we could
have got it."
Then did Miss Patty lay down her knitting, take off her specs, rub them, put them on
again, and for the first time look at Anne as at a human being. The other lady followed
her example so perfectly that she might as well have been a reflection in a mirror.
 
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