Anne's House of Dreams
17. A Four Winds Winter
Winter set in vigorously after New Year's. Big, white drifts heaped themselves about the
little house, and palms of frost covered its windows. The harbor ice grew harder and
thicker, until the Four Winds people began their usual winter travelling over it. The safe
ways were "bushed" by a benevolent Government, and night and day the gay tinkle of
the sleigh-bells sounded on it. On moonlit nights Anne heard them in her house of
dreams like fairy chimes. The gulf froze over, and the Four Winds light flashed no more.
During the months when navigation was closed Captain Jim's office was a sinecure.
"The First Mate and I will have nothing to do till spring except keep warm and amuse
ourselves. The last lighthouse keeper used always to move up to the Glen in winter; but
I'd rather stay at the Point. The First Mate might get poisoned or chewed up by dogs at
the Glen. It's a mite lonely, to be sure, with neither the light nor the water for company,
but if our friends come to see us often we'll weather it through."
Captain Jim had an ice boat, and many a wild, glorious spin Gilbert and Anne and Leslie
had over the glib harbor ice with him. Anne and Leslie took long snowshoe tramps
together, too, over the fields, or across the harbor after storms, or through the woods
beyond the Glen. They were very good comrades in their rambles and their fireside
communings. Each had something to give the other--each felt life the richer for friendly
exchange of thought and friendly silence; each looked across the white fields between
their homes with a pleasant consciousness of a friend beyond. But, in spite of all this,
Anne felt that there was always a barrier between Leslie and herself--a constraint that
never wholly vanished.
"I don't know why I can't get closer to her," Anne said one evening to Captain Jim. "I like
her so much--I admire her so much--I WANT to take her right into my heart and creep
right into hers. But I can never cross the barrier."
"You've been too happy all your life, Mistress Blythe," said Captain Jim thoughtfully. "I
reckon that's why you and Leslie can't get real close together in your souls. The barrier
between you is her experience of sorrow and trouble. She ain't responsible for it and
you ain't; but it's there and neither of you can cross it."
"My childhood wasn't very happy before I came to Green Gables," said Anne, gazing
soberly out of the window at the still, sad, dead beauty of the leafless tree-shadows on
the moonlit snow.
"Mebbe not--but it was just the usual unhappiness of a child who hasn't anyone to look
after it properly. There hasn't been any TRAGEDY in your life, Mistress Blythe. And
poor Leslie's has been almost ALL tragedy. She feels, I reckon, though mebbe she
hardly knows she feels it, that there's a vast deal in her life you can't enter nor
understand--and so she has to keep you back from it--hold you off, so to speak, from