III. The Ingleside Children
In daytime the Blythe children liked very well to play in the rich, soft greens and
glooms of the big maple grove between Ingleside and the Glen St. Mary pond;
but for evening revels there was no place like the little valley behind the maple
grove. It was a fairy realm of romance to them. Once, looking from the attic
windows of Ingleside, through the mist and aftermath of a summer thunderstorm,
they had seen the beloved spot arched by a glorious rainbow, one end of which
seemed to dip straight down to where a corner of the pond ran up into the lower
end of the valley.
"Let us call it Rainbow Valley," said Walter delightedly, and Rainbow Valley
thenceforth it was.
Outside of Rainbow Valley the wind might be rollicking and boisterous. Here it
always went gently. Little, winding, fairy paths ran here and there over spruce
roots cushioned with moss. Wild cherry trees, that in blossom time would be
misty white, were scattered all over the valley, mingling with the dark spruces. A
little brook with amber waters ran through it from the Glen village. The houses of
the village were comfortably far away; only at the upper end of the valley was a
little tumble-down, deserted cottage, referred to as "the old Bailey house." It had
not been occupied for many years, but a grass-grown dyke surrounded it and
inside was an ancient garden where the Ingleside children could find violets and
daisies and June lilies still blooming in season. For the rest, the garden was
overgrown with caraway that swayed and foamed in the moonshine of summer
eves like seas of silver.
To the sought lay the pond and beyond it the ripened distance lost itself in purple
woods, save where, on a high hill, a solitary old gray homestead looked down on
glen and harbour. There was a certain wild woodsiness and solitude about
Rainbow Valley, in spite of its nearness to the village, which endeared it to the
children of Ingleside.
The valley was full of dear, friendly hollows and the largest of these was their
favourite stamping ground. Here they were assembled on this particular evening.
There was a grove of young spruces in this hollow, with a tiny, grassy glade in its
heart, opening on the bank of the brook. By the brook grew a silver birch-tree, a
young, incredibly straight thing which Walter had named the "White Lady." In this
glade, too, were the "Tree Lovers," as Walter called a spruce and maple which
grew so closely together that their boughs were inextricably intertwined. Jem had
hung an old string of sleigh-bells, given him by the Glen blacksmith, on the Tree
Lovers, and every visitant breeze called out sudden fairy tinkles from it.
"How nice it is to be back!" said Nan. "After all, none of the Avonlea places are
quite as nice as Rainbow Valley."
But they were very fond of the Avonlea places for all that. A visit to Green Gables
was always considered a great treat. Aunt Marilla was very good to them, and so
was Mrs. Rachel Lynde, who was spending the leisure of her old age in knitting
cotton-warp quilts against the day when Anne's daughters should need a