Rilla of Ingleside HTML version

VI. Susan, Rilla, And Dog Monday Make A Resolution
The big living-room at Ingleside was snowed over with drifts of white cotton. Word had
come from Red Cross headquarters that sheets and bandages would be required. Nan
and Di and Rilla were hard at work. Mrs. Blythe and Susan were upstairs in the boys'
room, engaged in a more personal task. With dry, anguished eyes they were packing up
Jem's belongings. He must leave for Valcartier the next morning. They had been
expecting the word but it was none the less dreadful when it came.
Rilla was basting the hem of a sheet for the first time in her life. When the word had
come that Jem must go she had her cry out among the pines in Rainbow Valley and
then she had gone to her mother.
"Mother, I want to do something. I'm only a girl--I can't do anything to win the war--but I
must do something to help at home."
"The cotton has come up for the sheets," said Mrs. Blythe. "You can help Nan and Di
make them up. And Rilla, don't you think you could organize a Junior Red Cross among
the young girls? I think they would like it better and do better work by themselves than if
mixed up with the older people."
"But, mother--I've never done anything like that."
"We will all have to do a great many things in the months ahead of us that we have
never done before, Rilla."
"Well"--Rilla took the plunge--"I'll try, mother--if you'll tell me how to begin. I have been
thinking it all over and I have decided that I must be as brave and heroic and unselfish
as I can possibly be."
Mrs. Blythe did not smile at Rilla's italics. Perhaps she did not feel like smiling or
perhaps she detected a real grain of serious purpose behind Rilla's romantic pose. So
here was Rilla hemming sheets and organizing a Junior Red Cross in her thoughts as
she hemmed; moreover, she was enjoying it--the organizing that is, not the hemming. It
was interesting and Rilla discovered a certain aptitude in herself for it that surprised her.
Who would be president? Not she. The older girls would not like that. Irene Howard?
No, somehow Irene was not quite as popular as she deserved to be. Marjorie Drew?
No, Marjorie hadn't enough backbone. She was too prone to agree with the last
speaker. Betty Mead-- calm, capable, tactful Betty--the very one! And Una Meredith for
treasurer; and, if they were very insistent, they might make her, Rilla, secretary. As for
the various committees, they must be chosen after the Juniors were organized, but Rilla