Rilla of Ingleside HTML version

II. Dew Of Morning
Outside, the Ingleside lawn was full of golden pools of sunshine and plots of alluring
shadows. Rilla Blythe was swinging in the hammock under the big Scotch pine,
Gertrude Oliver sat at its roots beside her, and Walter was stretched at full length on the
grass, lost in a romance of chivalry wherein old heroes and beauties of dead and gone
centuries lived vividly again for him.
Rilla was the "baby" of the Blythe family and was in a chronic state of secret indignation
because nobody believed she was grown up. She was so nearly fifteen that she called
herself that, and she was quite as tall as Di and Nan; also, she was nearly as pretty as
Susan believed her to be. She had great, dreamy, hazel eyes, a milky skin dappled with
little golden freckles, and delicately arched eyebrows, giving her a demure, questioning
look which made people, especially lads in their teens, want to answer it. Her hair was
ripely, ruddily brown and a little dent in her upper lip looked as if some good fairy had
pressed it in with her finger at Rilla's christening. Rilla, whose best friends could not
deny her share of vanity, thought her face would do very well, but worried over her
figure, and wished her mother could be prevailed upon to let her wear longer dresses.
She, who had been so plump and roly-poly in the old Rainbow Valley days, was
incredibly slim now, in the arms-and-legs period. Jem and Shirley harrowed her soul by
calling her "Spider." Yet she somehow escaped awkwardness. There was something in
her movements that made you think she never walked but always danced. She had
been much petted and was a wee bit spoiled, but still the general opinion was that Rilla
Blythe was a very sweet girl, even if she were not so clever as Nan and Di.
Miss Oliver, who was going home that night for vacation, had boarded for a year at
Ingleside. The Blythes had taken her to please Rilla who was fathoms deep in love with
her teacher and was even willing to share her room, since no other was available.
Gertrude Oliver was twenty-eight and life had been a struggle for her. She was a
striking-looking girl, with rather sad, almond-shaped brown eyes, a clever, rather
mocking mouth, and enormous masses of black hair twisted about her head. She was
not pretty but there was a certain charm of interest and mystery in her face, and Rilla
found her fascinating. Even her occasional moods of gloom and cynicism had
allurement for Rilla. These moods came only when Miss Oliver was tired. At all other
times she was a stimulating companion, and the gay set at Ingleside never remembered
that she was so much older than themselves. Walter and Rilla were her favourites and
she was the confidante of the secret wishes and aspirations of both. She knew that Rilla
longed to be "out"--to go to parties as Nan and Di did, and to have dainty evening
dresses and--yes, there is no mincing matters--beaux! In the plural, at that! As for