Rilla of Ingleside HTML version

XVI. Realism And Romance
"Warsaw has fallen," said Dr. Blythe with a resigned air, as he brought the mail in one
warm August day.
Gertrude and Mrs. Blythe looked dismally at each other, and Rilla, who was feeding
Jims a Morganized diet from a carefully sterilized spoon, laid the said spoon down on
his tray, utterly regardless of germs, and said, "Oh, dear me," in as tragic a tone as if
the news had come as a thunderbolt instead of being a foregone conclusion from the
preceding week's dispatches. They had thought they were quite resigned to Warsaw's
fall but now they knew they had, as always, hoped against hope.
"Now, let us take a brace," said Susan. "It is not the terrible thing we have been
thinking. I read a dispatch three columns long in the Montreal Herald yesterday that
proved that Warsaw was not important from a military point of view at all. So let us take
the military point of view, doctor dear."
"I read that dispatch, too, and it has encouraged me immensely," said Gertrude. "I knew
then and I know now that it was a lie from beginning to end. But I am in that state of
mind where even a lie is a comfort, providing it is a cheerful lie."
"In that case, Miss Oliver dear, the German official reports ought to be all you need,"
said Susan sarcastically. "I never read them now because they make me so mad I
cannot put my thoughts properly on my work after a dose of them. Even this news about
Warsaw has taken the edge off my afternoon's plans. Misfortunes never come singly. I
spoiled my baking of bread today--and now Warsaw has fallen--and here is little
Kitchener bent on choking himself to death."
Jims was evidently trying to swallow his spoon, germs and all. Rilla rescued him
mechanically and was about to resume the operation of feeding him when a casual
remark of her father's sent such a shock and thrill over her that for the second time she
dropped that doomed spoon.
"Kenneth Ford is down at Martin West's over-harbour," the doctor was saying. "His
regiment was on its way to the front but was held up in Kingsport for some reason, and
Ken got leave of absence to come over to the Island."
"I hope he will come up to see us," exclaimed Mrs. Blythe.
"He only has a day or two off, I believe," said the doctor absently.