It was a beautiful pearly morning, just after a storm. The Island looked "as though God had washed the world," as Anne Shirley often liked to say. On this particular morning, however, she was not admiring the iridescent clouds tinged just slightly with lemon at the edges, but in bed, fast asleep. Her auburn hair tumbled out across the pillow, having somehow come out of its braid during the night, and one leg stuck out from under the duvet. Anne Shirley was dead to the world.

Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she sat up, looking around her. WIthout even casting a glance out the window to greet the morning as she usually did, she flung herself out of bed, pulling on her various articles of clothing and appearing downstairs in Green Gables' kitchen in near-record time. Marilla, it seemed, had not been infected with the same urgency Anne had, and barely looked up from the batch of biscuits she was cutting out.

"Good morning, Anne," she said, "today's the day, then?"

"Day?" Anne said rather wildly, "Day? What day?" She bit her left index nail, a nervous habit she had given up long ago, but came back to haunt her when she was under stress.

"If I didn't know better, Anne Shirley, I'd say you was nervous," Rachel Lynde offered from her end of the table, patently ignoring the glare Marilla shot her.

"But I am nervous!" Anne buried her face in her hands. "I've never been this nervous before taking a teaching post!"

"It's your age catching up to you," Mrs. Lynde nodded sagely, "Twenty-seven years and not a husband in sight is terrible for the nerves. That and your red hair."

Under usual circumstances, Anne would have taken tremendous offense at being called both a spinster and red-haired in the same breath, but she barely stirred. "What's happening to me?" she nearly wailed, her grey eyes looking up at Marilla.

"Well, this posting's different," she said, cutting out another biscuit before sliding her pan into the oven. "You've never been a principal before."

"But you'll be a good one," Mrs. Lynde finally added her first helpful contribution to the conversation. "Glen St. Mary will be lucky to have you. Now eat up," she pushed a plate of oatmeal at her, "your train leaves at ten."

"Now, mind you remember how you were raised. Go to church regular."

"Remember your warm underthings when it gets cold."

"Don't forget to find reputable boarding house."

"Write as often as you can."

"Try to get a husband."

"Don't listen to her."

These were the admonishments and reminders, well-wishes and benedictions, that were given to Anne on the Green Gables veranda at eight-thirty. Anne had hugged both of the old ladies, and received a prim, ladylike little hug from Dora, who at sixteen had none of the impulsivity Anne had had at that age.

Davy, on the other hand, made up for it in spades. While not nearly as bad as he had been when Anne had gone to college, he was still far more demonstrative than his twin. He manfully tried to contain a sniffle, but wrapped Anne in a bear hug before leaving her at the station. The latter reached up to ruffle his hair.

"Don't worry, Davy-boy," she smiled, using her nickname for him, "I'll be back soon enough. It's not so far to the Glen, you know. I might even be able to visit a weekend or two."

The conductor began his walk down the side of the train, slamming the doors shut. "All aboard! Train departing Avonlea for Charlottetown, making stops in Riverdale, Braeside, New Glasgow, Glen St. Mary, Dalvay, and Brackley. All aboard!"

Anne gave Davy one last hug. "I'll see you soon, Davy. Mind you don't get into too many scrapes, now." With that, she stepped onto the train, leaving a forlorn-looking boy behind on the platform.

Back at Green Gables, Marilla and Rachel sat on the veranda, waiting for Davy to return from the station. To pass the time, and also to keep their minds off of Anne's leaving them again, they reminisced. To be more precise: Marilla reminisced. Rachel gossipped.

"It's a shame, is what it is, that Anne didn't marry that Gilbert Blythe." Rachel Lynde sipped her tea. Almost ten years later, she still could not understand how Providence had kept apart those two whom it had so obviously joined together.

"Whatever happened to John Blythe's son?" Marilla asked. If anyone knew, it had to be Rachel.

"You would think of him that way, wouldn't you? I do seem to recall that John Blythe was sweet on you at one point. And it was mutual, if you ask me," Rachel threaded her needle to begin piecing a new quilt. Marilla's poor eyesight kept her from doing such detailed work, and her endeavors were mainly knitting-related now.

Rachel gave a sigh, remembering the rarely-repeated story of Marilla Cuthbert and John Blythe. "And then you quarreled, no one remembers why anymore. You always did have a temper, Marilla Cuthbert. John Blythe left the Island and came back two years later with a wife."

"That's enough, Rachel," interjected Marilla. "I was asking about the son, not the father."

"Oh, well that's easy enough to tell you. Gilbert went to medical school right after Redmond," Rachel settled in for her account, "really threw himself into his studies. He did so well that he graduated early, in two years instead of three. He married a society girl, Christine something-or-other, but she died when they had a child. Those fancy girls never did have strong constitutions, I always did say. But Gilbert never remarried, and moved his practice out of the city. He's apparently devoted to his daughter-and if she's anything like him, she'll be a right handful. He should remarry, really. I wonder…"

Marilla started another row on her afghan. "And where did you say he was living?"

"Oh, didn't I tell you? He lives in the Glen."

Anne watched the countryside slowly roll by as her train wound its way through it, towards Glen St. Mary. She remembered the excitement she had felt-could it already have been sixteen years ago? when the train had taken her to Avonlea. She had barely been able to sit still, nearly driving poor Mrs. Spencer to distraction. Then, when Matthew picked her up, she had barely been able to contain her awe at the beauty of her surroundings.

"Pretty? Oh, PRETTY doesn't seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don't go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful-wonderful. It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination. It just satisfies me here," she put one hand on her breast "it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache. Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr. Cuthbert?"*

Good days, she thought, looking at her reflection in the window, remembering Katie in the mirror, her imaginary friend when she had lived with various families. Now, Katie had tiny lines in the corners of her eyes-and a far better wardrobe, Anne thought with no small amount of satisfaction.

The conductor made his way down the aisle, announcing the next stop. "Glen St. Mary. All passengers for Glen St. Mary, get off at the next station!" His voice got fainter as he crossed into the next car, his bellows of "Glen St. Mary!" being replaced with the sounds of the train.

Anne gathered up her bags and stood, preparing to leave the train and greet whatever lay ahead.

Well, Katie, she thought, here's to our next great adventure.

* From Anne of Green Gables. Anne's reaction to the Avenue. Sorry, not the Avenue-the White Way of Delight.