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Anne's House of Dreams

12. Leslie Comes Over
Leslie came over to the house of dreams one frosty October night, when moonlit mists
were hanging over the harbor and curling like silver ribbons along the seaward glens.
She looked as if she repented coming when Gilbert answered her knock; but Anne flew
past him, pounced on her, and drew her in.
"I'm so glad you picked tonight for a call," she said gaily. "I made up a lot of extra good
fudge this afternoon and we want someone to help us eat it--before the fire--while we
tell stories. Perhaps Captain Jim will drop in, too. This is his night."
"No. Captain Jim is over home," said Leslie. "He--he made me come here," she added,
half defiantly.
"I'll say a thank-you to him for that when I see him," said Anne, pulling easy chairs
before the fire.
"Oh, I don't mean that I didn't want to come," protested Leslie, flushing a little. "I--I've
been thinking of coming--but it isn't always easy for me to get away."
"Of course it must be hard for you to leave Mr. Moore," said Anne, in a matter-of-fact
tone. She had decided that it would be best to mention Dick Moore occasionally as an
accepted fact, and not give undue morbidness to the subject by avoiding it. She was
right, for Leslie's air of constraint suddenly vanished. Evidently she had been wondering
how much Anne knew of the conditions of her life and was relieved that no explanations
were needed. She allowed her cap and jacket to be taken, and sat down with a girlish
snuggle in the big armchair by Magog. She was dressed prettily and carefully, with the
customary touch of color in the scarlet geranium at her white throat. Her beautiful hair
gleamed like molten gold in the warm firelight. Her sea-blue eyes were full of soft
laughter and allurement. For the moment, under the influence of the little house of
dreams, she was a girl again--a girl forgetful of the past and its bitterness. The
atmosphere of the many loves that had sanctified the little house was all about her; the
companionship of two healthy, happy, young folks of her own generation encircled her;
she felt and yielded to the magic of her surroundings--Miss Cornelia and Captain Jim
would scarcely have recognized her; Anne found it hard to believe that this was the
cold, unresponsive woman she had met on the shore--this animated girl who talked and
listened with the eagerness of a starved soul. And how hungrily Leslie's eyes looked at
the bookcases between the windows!
"Our library isn't very extensive," said Anne, "but every book in it is a FRIEND. We've
picked our books up through the years, here and there, never buying one until we had
first read it and knew that it belonged to the race of Joseph."
 
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