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Further Chronicles of Avonlea

II. The Materalizing Of Cecil
It had never worried me in the least that I wasn't married, although everybody in
Avonlea pitied old maids; but it DID worry me, and I frankly confess it, that I had never
had a chance to be. Even Nancy, my old nurse and servant, knew that, and pitied me
for it. Nancy is an old maid herself, but she has had two proposals. She did not accept
either of them because one was a widower with seven children, and the other a very
shiftless, good-for-nothing fellow; but, if anybody twitted Nancy on her single condition,
she could point triumphantly to those two as evidence that "she could an she would." If I
had not lived all my life in Avonlea I might have had the benefit of the doubt; but I had,
and everybody knew everything about me--or thought they did.
I had really often wondered why nobody had ever fallen in love with me. I was not at all
homely; indeed, years ago, George Adoniram Maybrick had written a poem addressed
to me, in which he praised my beauty quite extravagantly; that didn't mean anything
because George Adoniram wrote poetry to all the good-looking girls and never went
with anybody but Flora King, who was cross-eyed and red-haired, but it proves that it
was not my appearance that put me out of the running. Neither was it the fact that I
wrote poetry myself--although not of George Adoniram's kind--because nobody ever
knew that. When I felt it coming on I shut myself up in my room and wrote it out in a little
blank book I kept locked up. It is nearly full now, because I have been writing poetry all
my life. It is the only thing I have ever been able to keep a secret from Nancy. Nancy, in
any case, has not a very high opinion of my ability to take care of myself; but I tremble
to imagine what she would think if she ever found out about that little book. I am
convinced she would send for the doctor post-haste and insist on mustard plasters while
waiting for him.
Nevertheless, I kept on at it, and what with my flowers and my cats and my magazines
and my little book, I was really very happy and contented. But it DID sting that Adella
Gilbert, across the road, who has a drunken husband, should pity "poor Charlotte"
because nobody had ever wanted her. Poor Charlotte indeed! If I had thrown myself at
a man's head the way Adella Gilbert did at-- but there, there, I must refrain from such
thoughts. I must not be uncharitable.
The Sewing Circle met at Mary Gillespie's on my fortieth birthday. I have given up
talking about my birthdays, although that little scheme is not much good in Avonlea
where everybody knows your age--or if they make a mistake it is never on the side of
youth. But Nancy, who grew accustomed to celebrating my birthdays when I was a little
girl, never gets over the habit, and I don't try to cure her, because, after all, it's nice to
have some one make a fuss over you. She brought me up my breakfast before I got up
out of bed--a concession to my laziness that Nancy would scorn to make on any other
day of the year. She had cooked everything I like best, and had decorated the tray with
roses from the garden and ferns from the woods behind the house. I enjoyed every bit
of that breakfast, and then I got up and dressed, putting on my second best muslin
gown. I would have put on my really best if I had not had the fear of Nancy before my
 
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