Anne bent over the daffodils to hide a smile. She and Gilbert had laughed heartily and heartlessly over the front page of the Journal that day, but she knew that to dear Miss Cornelia it was almost a tragedy, and she must not wound her feelings by any display of levity.
“Isn’t it dreadful? What is to be done?” asked Miss Cornelia despairingly. Miss Cornelia had vowed that she was done with worrying over the pranks of the manse children, but she went on worrying just the same.
Anne led the way to the veranda, where Susan was knitting, with Shirley and Rilla conning their primers on either side. Susan was already on her second pair of stockings for Faith. Susan never worried over poor humanity. She did what in her lay for its betterment and serenely left the rest to the Higher Powers.
“Cornelia Elliott thinks she was born to run this world, Mrs. Dr. dear,” she had once said to Anne, “and so she is always in a stew over something. I have never thought I was, and so I go calmly along. Not but what it has sometimes occurred to me that things might be run a little better than they are. But it is not for us poor worms to nourish such thoughts. They only make us uncomfortable and do not get us anywhere.”
“I don’t see that anything can be done—now—” said Anne, pulling out a nice, cushiony chair for Miss Cornelia. “But how in the world did Mr. Vickers allow that letter to be printed? Surely he should have known better.”
“Why, he’s away, Anne dearie—he’s been away to New Brunswick for a week. And that young scalawag of a Joe Vickers is editing the Journal in his absence. Of course, Mr. Vickers would never have put it in, even if he is a Methodist, but Joe would just think it a good joke. As you say, I don’t suppose there is anything to be done now, only live it down. But if I ever get Joe Vickers cornered somewhere I’ll give him a talking to he won’t forget in a hurry. I wanted Marshall to stop our subscription to the Journal instantly, but he only laughed and said that to-day’s issue was the only one that had had anything readable in it for a year. Marshall never will take anything seriously—just like a man. Fortunately, Evan Boyd is like that, too. He takes it as a joke and is laughing all over the place about it. And he’s another Methodist! As for Mrs. Burr of Upper Glen, of course she will be furious and they will leave the church. Not that it will be a great loss from any point of view. The Methodists are quite welcome to them.”
“It serves Mrs. Burr right,” said Susan, who had an old feud with the lady in question and had been hugely tickled over the reference to her in Faith’s letter. “She will find that she will not be able to cheat the Methodist parson out of his salary with bad yarn.”
“The worst of it is, there’s not much hope of things getting any better,” said Miss Cornelia gloomily. “As long as Mr. Meredith was going to see Rosemary West I did hope the manse would soon have a proper mistress. But that is all off. I suppose she wouldn’t have him on account of the children—at least, everybody seems to think so.”