Chronicles of Avonlea HTML version

I. The Hurrying of Ludovic
Anne Shirley was curled up on the window-seat of Theodora Dix's sitting-room one
Saturday evening, looking dreamily afar at some fair starland beyond the hills of sunset.
Anne was visiting for a fortnight of her vacation at Echo Lodge, where Mr. and Mrs.
Stephen Irving were spending the summer, and she often ran over to the old Dix
homestead to chat for awhile with Theodora. They had had their chat out, on this
particular evening, and Anne was giving herself over to the delight of building an air-
castle. She leaned her shapely head, with its braided coronet of dark red hair, against
the window-casing, and her gray eyes were like the moonlight gleam of shadowy pools.
Then she saw Ludovic Speed coming down the lane. He was yet far from the house, for
the Dix lane was a long one, but Ludovic could be recognized as far as he could be
seen. No one else in Middle Grafton had such a tall, gently-stooping, placidly-moving
figure. In every kink and turn of it there was an individuality all Ludovic's own.
Anne roused herself from her dreams, thinking it would only be tactful to take her
departure. Ludovic was courting Theodora. Everyone in Grafton knew that, or, if anyone
were in ignorance of the fact, it was not because he had not had time to find out.
Ludovic had been coming down that lane to see Theodora, in the same ruminating,
unhastening fashion, for fifteen years!
When Anne, who was slim and girlish and romantic, rose to go, Theodora, who was
plump and middle-aged and practical, said, with a twinkle in her eye:
"There isn't any hurry, child. Sit down and have your call out. You've seen Ludovic
coming down the lane, and, I suppose, you think you'll be a crowd. But you won't.
Ludovic rather likes a third person around, and so do I. It spurs up the conversation as it
were. When a man has been coming to see you straight along, twice a week for fifteen
years, you get rather talked out by spells."
Theodora never pretended to bashfulness where Ludovic was concerned. She was not
at all shy of referring to him and his dilatory courtship. Indeed, it seemed to amuse her.
Anne sat down again and together they watched Ludovic coming down the lane, gazing
calmly about him at the lush clover fields and the blue loops of the river winding in and
out of the misty valley below.
Anne looked at Theodora's placid, finely-moulded face and tried to imagine what she
herself would feel like if she were sitting there, waiting for an elderly lover who had,
seemingly, taken so long to make up his mind. But even Anne's imagination failed her
for this.