Anne of the Island HTML version

V. Letters from Home
For the next three weeks Anne and Priscilla continued to feel as strangers in a strange
land. Then, suddenly, everything seemed to fall into focus--Redmond, professors,
classes, students, studies, social doings. Life became homogeneous again, instead of
being made up of detached fragments. The Freshmen, instead of being a collection of
unrelated individuals, found themselves a class, with a class spirit, a class yell, class
interests, class antipathies and class ambitions. They won the day in the annual "Arts
Rush" against the Sophomores, and thereby gained the respect of all the classes, and
an enormous, confidence-giving opinion of themselves. For three years the
Sophomores had won in the "rush"; that the victory of this year perched upon the
Freshmen's banner was attributed to the strategic generalship of Gilbert Blythe, who
marshalled the campaign and originated certain new tactics, which demoralized the
Sophs and swept the Freshmen to triumph. As a reward of merit he was elected
president of the Freshman Class, a position of honor and responsibility--from a Fresh
point of view, at least--coveted by many. He was also invited to join the "Lambs"--
Redmondese for Lamba Theta--a compliment rarely paid to a Freshman. As a
preparatory initiation ordeal he had to parade the principal business streets of Kingsport
for a whole day wearing a sunbonnet and a voluminous kitchen apron of gaudily
flowered calico. This he did cheerfully, doffing his sunbonnet with courtly grace when he
met ladies of his acquaintance. Charlie Sloane, who had not been asked to join the
Lambs, told Anne he did not see how Blythe could do it, and HE, for his part, could
never humiliate himself so.
"Fancy Charlie Sloane in a 'caliker' apron and a 'sunbunnit,'" giggled Priscilla. "He'd look
exactly like his old Grandmother Sloane. Gilbert, now, looked as much like a man in
them as in his own proper habiliments."
Anne and Priscilla found themselves in the thick of the social life of Redmond. That this
came about so speedily was due in great measure to Philippa Gordon. Philippa was the
daughter of a rich and well-known man, and belonged to an old and exclusive
"Bluenose" family. This, combined with her beauty and charm--a charm acknowledged
by all who met her--promptly opened the gates of all cliques, clubs and classes in
Redmond to her; and where she went Anne and Priscilla went, too. Phil "adored" Anne
and Priscilla, especially Anne. She was a loyal little soul, crystal-free from any form of
snobbishness. "Love me, love my friends" seemed to be her unconscious motto.
Without effort, she took them with her into her ever widening circle of acquaintanceship,
and the two Avonlea girls found their social pathway at Redmond made very easy and
pleasant for them, to the envy and wonderment of the other freshettes, who, lacking
Philippa's sponsorship, were doomed to remain rather on the fringe of things during
their first college year.
To Anne and Priscilla, with their more serious views of life, Phil remained the amusing,
lovable baby she had seemed on their first meeting. Yet, as she said herself, she had
"heaps" of brains. When or where she found time to study was a mystery, for she