“Who lives in that house away up there?” asked Jerry.
“The Miss Wests—Rosemary and Ellen,” answered Nan. “Di and I are going to take music lessons from Miss Rosemary this summer.”
Una gazed at the lucky twins with eyes whose longing was too gentle for envy. Oh, if she could only have music lessons! It was one of the dreams of her little hidden life. But nobody ever thought of such a thing.
“Miss Rosemary is so sweet and she always dresses so pretty,” said Di. “Her hair is just the colour of new molasses taffy,” she added wistfully—for Di, like her mother before her, was not resigned to her own ruddy tresses.
“I like Miss Ellen, too,” said Nan. “She always used to give me candies when she came to church. But Di is afraid of her.”
“Her brows are so black and she has such a great deep voice,” said Di. “Oh, how scared of her Kenneth Ford used to be when he was little! Mother says the first Sunday Mrs. Ford brought him to church Miss Ellen happened to be there, sitting right behind them. And the minute Kenneth saw her he just screamed and screamed until Mrs. Ford had to carry him out.”
“Who is Mrs. Ford?” asked Una wonderingly.
“Oh, the Fords don’t live here. They only come here in the summer. And they’re not coming this summer. They live in that little house ’way, ’way down on the harbour shore where father and mother used to lie. I wish you could see Persis Ford. She is just like a picture.”
“I’ve heard of Mrs. Ford,” broke in Faith. “Bertie Shakespeare Drew told me about her. She was married fourteen years to a dead man and then he came to life.”
“Nonsense,” said Nan. “That isn’t the way it goes at all. Bertie Shakespeare can never get anything straight. I know the whole story and I’ll tell it to you some time, but not now, for it’s too long and it’s time for us to go home. Mother doesn’t like us to be out late these damp evenings.”
Nobody cared whether the manse children were out in the damp or not. Aunt Martha was already in bed and the minister was still too deeply lost in speculations concerning the immortality of the soul to remember the mortality of the body. But they went home, too, with visions of good times coming in their heads.
“I think Rainbow Valley is even nicer than the graveyard,” said Una. “And I just love those dear Blythes. It’s so nice when you can love people because so often you can’t. Father said in his sermon last Sunday that we should love everybody. But how can we? How could we love Mrs. Alec Davis?”
“Oh, father only said that in the pulpit,” said Faith airily. “He has more sense than to really think it outside.”
The Blythe children went up to Ingleside, except Jem, who slipped away for a few moments on a solitary expedition to a remote corner of Rainbow Valley. Mayflowers grew there and Jem never forgot to take his mother a bouquet as long as they lasted.