7:33 pm - Saturday May 26, 2018

Ann’s Own Way-by Anni Fellow Johston-Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name:Ann’s Own Way

Written by:Annei Fellow Johnston

Category:Fiction, Classics,Authors

 

Page 1:

 

(1899)

 

~

“Ann! Ann! Have you been home yet to feed the chickens?” The call came from the doorway of a big old farmhouse, where a pleasant-faced woman stood looking out over the October fields.

The answer floated down from an apple-tree near by, where a ten-year-old girl sat perched among its gnarled branches. She had a dog-eared book of fairy tales on her knee, and was poring over it in such blissful absorption that she had forgotten there were such things in all the world as chickens to be fed.

“No’m, Aunt Sally, I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll go in a minute,” and she was deep into the story again.

“But, Ann,” came the voice after a moment’s waiting, “it is nearly sundown, and you ought to go right away, dear. Lottie says that you have been reading ever since you came home from school, and I am afraid that your mother wouldn’t like it.”

“Oh, bother!” exclaimed Ann under her breath, shutting the book with an impatient slap; but she obediently swung herself down from the limb, and went into the house for the key. The little cottage where Ann Fowler lived stood just across the lane from her Uncle John’s big brown house, where she was staying while her mother was away from home. Mrs. Fowler, who had been called to the city by her sister’s illness, had taken little Betty with her, but Ann could not afford to miss school and had been left in her Aunt Sally’s care. The arrangement was very agreeable to the child, for it meant no dish-wiping, no dusting, no running of errands while she was a guest. Her only task was to go across the lane twice a day and feed the chickens.

As Ann came out of the house swinging the key, her aunt called her again: “Mrs. Grayson was here to-day. She came to invite you and Lottie to a Saturday afternoon romp with her little girls to-morrow. She’s asked a dozen boys and girls to come and play all afternoon and stay to tea. Her oldest daughter, Jennie, is going to give a Hallowe’en party at night, but she’ll send you home in the carryall after tea, before the foolishness begins.”

“Didn’t she invite us to the party too?” asked Ann, who had heard it discussed at school all week by the older girls and boys of the neighbourhood, until her head was full of the charms and mysteries of Hallowe’en.

“Why, of course not,” was the answer. “Jennie Grayson is fully eighteen years old and wouldn’t want you children tagging around.”

“But we can’t work any charms in the afternoon,” said Ann, “They won’t come true unless you wait till midnight to do ’em. I found a long list of ’em in an old book at home and gave them to Jennie. I think she might have asked me. I’d love to try my fate walking down cellar backwards with a looking-glass in one hand and a candle in the other. They say that you can see the reflection of the man you’re going to marry looking over your shoulder into the glass.”

“Why, Ann Fowler!” exclaimed her aunt in a horrified tone, lifting up both hands in her astonishment. “I didn’t think it of a little girl like you! Don’t you go to putting any foolish notions like that into Lottie’s head. Fate indeed! It would be more like your fate to fall down cellar and break the looking-glass and set yourself on fire. No, indeed! Lottie shouldn’t go to such a party if she had a dozen invitations.”

Ann hurried away wishing that she had not spoken. She had an uncomfortable feeling that her aunt considered her almost wicked, because she had made that wish. As for her aunt, she was saying to her husband, who had just come in, “Well, well! that child has the queerest notions. Her mother lets her read entirely too much, and anything she happens to get her hands on. And she sets such store by her clothes, too. I believe if she had her own way she’d be rigged out in her Sunday best the whole week long. I’m glad that Lucy isn’t like her.”

No one, judging by the appearance of the resolute little figure trudging across the lane, would have imagined that Ann’s besetting sin was a love of dress. She was such a plain old-fashioned little body, with her short brown hair combed smoothly back behind her ears. But the checked sunbonnet, the long-sleeved gingham apron, and the stout calfskin shoes were no index of Ann’s taste. They were of her mother’s choosing, and Ann’s mother was not a woman whose decisions could be lightly set aside.

In a bureau drawer in the guest-chamber of the little cottage was a dress that Ann had been longing to put on for six months. It was of dainty white organdy, made to wear over a slip of the palest green silk, with ribbons to match. And carefully wrapped in a box, with many coverings of tissue paper, was a pair of beautiful pale green kid shoes. Ann had worn them only once, and that was in the early spring, when she had gone to a cousin’s wedding in the city. Many a Sunday morning since, she had wept bitter tears into that drawer, at not being allowed to wear the costume to church.

“Just see how beautiful they are, mother,” she would say tearfully, touching the beribboned dress with admiring fingers and caressing the shoes. “By the time I have another chance to wear them in the city they will be too small for me, and I shall have to give them to Betty. I don’t see why I can’t wear them out here.”

“Because they are not suitable, Ann,” her mother would answer. “You would look ridiculous going through the fields and along the dusty roads in such finery, and among all these plainly attired country people you would appear overdressed. I hope that my little daughter is too much of a lady in her tastes to ever want to call attention to herself in that way, especially at church.”

“But, mother,” the little girl would sob protestingly, and then Mrs. Fowler’s decided voice would silence her.

“Hush, Ann! Close the drawer at once. You cannot wear them.” That would settle the matter for awhile, but the scene had been repeated several times during the summer. Now it was next to the last day of October, and no suitable occasion had arrived for Ann to wear them.

Filed in: Authors, Classics, Essays

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply