Anne's House of Dreams HTML version

16. New Year's Eve At The Light
The Green Gables folk went home after Christmas, Marilla under solemn covenant to
return for a month in the spring. More snow came before New Year's, and the harbor
froze over, but the gulf still was free, beyond the white, imprisoned fields. The last day
of the old year was one of those bright, cold, dazzling winter days, which bombard us
with their brilliancy, and command our admiration but never our love. The sky was sharp
and blue; the snow diamonds sparkled insistently; the stark trees were bare and
shameless, with a kind of brazen beauty; the hills shot assaulting lances of crystal. Even
the shadows were sharp and stiff and clear-cut, as no proper shadows should be.
Everything that was handsome seemed ten times handsomer and less attractive in the
glaring splendor; and everything that was ugly seemed ten times uglier, and everything
was either handsome or ugly. There was no soft blending, or kind obscurity, or elusive
mistiness in that searching glitter. The only things that held their own individuality were
the firs--for the fir is the tree of mystery and shadow, and yields never to the
encroachments of crude radiance.
But finally the day began to realise that she was growing old. Then a certain
pensiveness fell over her beauty which dimmed yet intensified it; sharp angles, glittering
points, melted away into curves and enticing gleams. The white harbor put on soft grays
and pinks; the far-away hills turned amethyst.
"The old year is going away beautifully," said Anne.
She and Leslie and Gilbert were on their way to the Four Winds Point, having plotted
with Captain Jim to watch the New Year in at the light. The sun had set and in the
southwestern sky hung Venus, glorious and golden, having drawn as near to her earth-
sister as is possible for her. For the first time Anne and Gilbert saw the shadow cast by
that brilliant star of evening, that faint, mysterious shadow, never seen save when there
is white snow to reveal it, and then only with averted vision, vanishing when you gaze at
it directly.
"It's like the spirit of a shadow, isn't it?" whispered Anne. "You can see it so plainly
haunting your side when you look ahead; but when you turn and look at it--it's gone."
"I have heard that you can see the shadow of Venus only once in a lifetime, and that
within a year of seeing it your life's most wonderful gift will come to you," said Leslie. But
she spoke rather hardly; perhaps she thought that even the shadow of Venus could
bring her no gift of life. Anne smiled in the soft twilight; she felt quite sure what the
mystic shadow promised her.
They found Marshall Elliott at the lighthouse. At first Anne felt inclined to resent the
intrusion of this long-haired, long-bearded eccentric into the familiar little circle. But
Marshall Elliott soon proved his legitimate claim to membership in the household of