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Chapter 17

  • ### I
  • The Murray clan had a really terrible time in the summer that followed Emily'_wenty-second birthday. Neither Teddy nor Ilse came home that summer. Ilse wa_ouring in the West and Teddy betook himself into some northern hinterlan_ith an Indian treaty party to make illustrations for a serial. But Emily ha_o many beaus that Blair Water gossip was in as bad a plight as the centiped_ho couldn't tell which foot came after which. So many beaus and not one o_hem such as the connection could approve of.
  • There was handsome, dashing Jack Bannister, the Derry Pond Don Juan—"_icturesque scoundrel," as Dr. Burnley called him. Certainly Jack wa_ntrammelled by any moral code. But who knew what effect his silver tongue an_ood looks might have on temperamental Emily? It worried the Murrays for thre_eeks and then it appeared that Emily had some sense, after all. Jac_annister faded out of the picture.
  • "Emily should never have even  _spoken_  to him," said Uncle Olive_ndignantly. "Why, they say he keeps a diary and writes down all his lov_ffairs in it and what the girls said to him."
  • "Don't worry. He won't write down what  _I_  said to him," said Emily, whe_unt Laura reported this to her anxiously.
  • Harold Conway was another anxiety. A Shrewsbury man in his thirties, wh_ooked like a poet gone to seed. With a shock of wavy dark auburn hair an_rilliant brown eyes. Who "fiddled for a living."
  • Emily went to a concert and a play with him and the New Moon aunts had som_leepless nights. But when in Blair Water parlance Rod Dunbar "cut him out"
  • things were even worse. The Dunbars were "nothing" when it came to religion.
  • Rod's mother, to be sure, was a Presbyterian, but his father was a Methodist,
  • his brother a Baptist and one sister a Christian Scientist. The other siste_as a Theosophist, which was worse than all the rest because they had no ide_what_  it was. In all this mixture what on earth was Rod? Certainly no matc_or an orthodox niece of New Moon.
  • "His great-uncle was a religious maniac," said Uncle Wallace gloomily. "He wa_ept chained in his bedroom for sixteen years.  _What_  has got into tha_irl? Is she idiot or demon?"
  • Yet the Dunbars were at least a respectable family; but what was to be said o_arry Dix—one of the "notorious Priest Pond Dixes"—whose father had onc_astured his cows in the graveyard and whose uncle was more than suspected o_aving thrown a dead cat down a neighbour's well for spite? To be sure, Larr_imself was doing well as a dentist and was such a deadly-serious, solemn-in-
  • earnest young man that nothing much could be urged against him, if one coul_nly swallow the fact that he was a Dix. Nevertheless, Aunt Elizabeth was muc_elieved when Emily turned him adrift.
  • "Such presumption," said Aunt Laura, meaning for a Dix to aspire to a Murray.
  • "It wasn't because of his presumption I packed him off," said Emily. "It wa_ecause of the way he made love. He made a thing ugly that should have bee_eautiful."
  • "I suppose you wouldn't have him because he didn't propose romantically," sai_unt Elizabeth contemptuously.
  • "No. I think my real reason was that I felt sure he was the kind of man wh_ould give his wife a vacuum cleaner for a Christmas present," vowed Emily.
  • "She will not take anything seriously," said Aunt Elizabeth in despair.
  • " _I_  think she is bewitched," said Uncle Wallace. "She hasn't had one decen_eau this summer. She's so temperamental decent fellows are scared of her."
  • "She's getting a terrible reputation as a flirt," mourned Aunt Ruth. "It's n_onder nobody worth while will have anything to do with her.
  • "Always with some fantastic love-affair on hand," snapped Uncle Wallace. Th_lan felt that Uncle Wallace had, with unusual felicity, hit on the very word.
  • Emily's "love-affairs" were never the conventional, decorous things Murra_ove-affairs should be. They were indeed fantastic.