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4

  • "Windy Poplars,
  • "Spook's Lane,
  • "S'side,
  • "November 10th.
  • "DEAREST:
  • "It used to be that the person I hated most in the world was the person who
  • spoiled my pen-nib. But I can't hate Rebecca Dew in spite of her habit of
  • using my pen to copy recipes when I'm in school. She's been doing it again and
  • as a result you won't get a long or a loving letter this time. (Belovedest.)
  • "The last cricket song has been sung. The evenings are so chilly now that I
  • have a small chubby, oblong wood-stove in my room. Rebecca Dew put it up … I
  • forgive her the pen for it. There's nothing that woman can't do; and she
  • always has a fire lighted for me in it when I come home from school. It is the
  • tiniest of stoves … I could pick it up in my hands. It looks just like a pert
  • little black dog on its four bandy iron legs. But when you fill it with
  • hardwood sticks it blooms rosy red and throws a wonderful heat and you can't
  • think how cozy it is. I'm sitting before it now, with my feet on its tiny
  • hearth, scribbling to you on my knee.
  • "Every one else in S'side … more or less … is at the Hardy Pringles' dance.
  • _I_ was not invited. And Rebecca Dew is so cross about it that I'd hate to be
  • Dusty Miller. But when I think of Hardy's daughter Myra, beautiful and
  • brainless, trying to prove in an examination paper that the _angels_ at the
  • base of an isosceles triangle are equal, I forgive the entire Pringle clan.
  • And last week she included 'gallows tree' quite seriously in a list of trees!
  • But, to be just, all the howlers don't originate with the Pringles. Blake
  • Fenton defined an alligator recently as 'a large kind of insect.' Such are the
  • high lights of a teacher's life!
  • "It feels like snow tonight. I like an evening when it feels like snow. The
  • wind is blowing 'in turret and tree' and making my cozy room seem even cozier.
  • The last golden leaf will be blown from the aspens tonight.
  • "I think I've been invited to supper everywhere by now … I mean to the homes
  • of all my pupils, both in town and country. And oh, Gilbert darling, I am _so_
  • sick of pumpkin preserves! Never, never let us have pumpkin preserves in our
  • house of dreams.
  • "Almost everywhere I've gone for the last month I've had P. P. for supper. The
  • first time I had it I loved it … it was so golden that I felt I was eating
  • preserved sunshine … and I incautiously raved about it. It got bruited about
  • that I was very fond of P. P. and people had it on purpose for me. Last night
  • I was going to Mr. Hamilton's and Rebecca Dew assured me that I wouldn't have
  • to eat P. P. there because none of the Hamiltons liked it. But when we sat
  • down to supper, there on the sideboard was the inevitable cut-glass bowl full
  • of P. P.
  • "'I hadn't any punkin preserves of my own,' said Mrs. Hamilton, ladling me out
  • a generous dishful, 'but I heard you was terrible partial to it, so when I was
  • to my cousin's in Lowvale last Sunday I sez to her, "I'm having Miss Shirley
  • to supper this week and she's terrible partial to punkin preserves. I wish
  • you'd lend me a jar for her." So she did and here it is and you can take home
  • what's left.'
  • "You should have seen Rebecca Dew's face when I arrived home from the
  • Hamiltons' bearing a glass jar two-thirds full of P. P.! Nobody likes it here
  • so we buried it darkly at dead of night in the garden.
  • "'You won't put this in a story, will you?' she asked anxiously. Ever since
  • Rebecca Dew discovered that I do an occasional bit of fiction for the
  • magazines she has lived in the fear … or hope, I don't know which … that I'll
  • put everything that happens at Windy Poplars into a story. She wants me to
  • 'write up the Pringles and blister them.' But alas, it's the Pringles that are
  • doing the blistering and between them and my work in school I have scant time
  • for writing fiction.
  • "There are only withered leaves and frosted stems in the garden now. Rebecca
  • Dew has done the standard roses up in straw and potato bags, and in the
  • twilight they look exactly like a group of humped-back old men leaning on
  • staffs.
  • "I got a post-card from Davy today with ten kisses crossed on it and a letter
  • from Priscilla written on some paper that 'a friend of hers in Japan' sent her
  • … silky thin paper with dim cherry blossoms on it like ghosts. I'm beginning
  • to have my suspicions about that friend of hers. But your big fat letter was
  • the purple gift the day gave me. I read it four times over to get every bit of
  • its savor … like a dog polishing off a plate! _That_ certainly isn't a
  • romantic simile, but it's the one that just popped into my head. Still,
  • letters, even the nicest, aren't _satisfactory._ I want to see _you._ I'm glad
  • it's only five weeks to Christmas holidays."