Anne of the Island HTML version

IX. An Unwelcome Lover and a Welcome Friend
The second term at Redmond sped as quickly as had the first--"actually whizzed away,"
Philippa said. Anne enjoyed it thoroughly in all its phases--the stimulating class rivalry,
the making and deepening of new and helpful friendships, the gay little social stunts, the
doings of the various societies of which she was a member, the widening of horizons
and interests. She studied hard, for she had made up her mind to win the Thorburn
Scholarship in English. This being won, meant that she could come back to Redmond
the next year without trenching on Marilla's small savings--something Anne was
determined she would not do.
Gilbert, too, was in full chase after a scholarship, but found plenty of time for frequent
calls at Thirty-eight, St. John's. He was Anne's escort at nearly all the college affairs,
and she knew that their names were coupled in Redmond gossip. Anne raged over this
but was helpless; she could not cast an old friend like Gilbert aside, especially when he
had grown suddenly wise and wary, as behooved him in the dangerous proximity of
more than one Redmond youth who would gladly have taken his place by the side of the
slender, red-haired coed, whose gray eyes were as alluring as stars of evening. Anne
was never attended by the crowd of willing victims who hovered around Philippa's
conquering march through her Freshman year; but there was a lanky, brainy Freshie, a
jolly, little, round Sophomore, and a tall, learned Junior who all liked to call at Thirty-
eight, St. John's, and talk over 'ologies and 'isms, as well as lighter subjects, with Anne,
in the becushioned parlor of that domicile. Gilbert did not love any of them, and he was
exceedingly careful to give none of them the advantage over him by any untimely
display of his real feelings Anne-ward. To her he had become again the boy-comrade of
Avonlea days, and as such could hold his own against any smitten swain who had so
far entered the lists against him. As a companion, Anne honestly acknowledged nobody
could be so satisfactory as Gilbert; she was very glad, so she told herself, that he had
evidently dropped all nonsensical ideas--though she spent considerable time secretly
wondering why.
Only one disagreeable incident marred that winter. Charlie Sloane, sitting bolt upright on
Miss Ada's most dearly beloved cushion, asked Anne one night if she would promise "to
become Mrs. Charlie Sloane some day." Coming after Billy Andrews' proxy effort, this
was not quite the shock to Anne's romantic sensibilities that it would otherwise have
been; but it was certainly another heart-rending disillusion. She was angry, too, for she
felt that she had never given Charlie the slightest encouragement to suppose such a
thing possible. But what could you expect of a Sloane, as Mrs. Rachel Lynde would ask
scornfully? Charlie's whole attitude, tone, air, words, fairly reeked with Sloanishness.
"He was conferring a great honor--no doubt whatever about that. And when Anne,
utterly insensible to the honor, refused him, as delicately and considerately as she
could--for even a Sloane had feelings which ought not to be unduly lacerated--
Sloanishness still further betrayed itself. Charlie certainly did not take his dismissal as
Anne's imaginary rejected suitors did. Instead, he became angry, and showed it; he said