Sneak peak at Chapter 11 of Rilla-my-Rilla!

The server at is down, so I'm posting here first.

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An out-of-season evening is a balm on the spirit. On that beloved isle of Abegweit, late March was often a time of cool days and drizzly evenings – but that particular late March was as warm and lovely as June. Rilla decided to take advantage of it, for their might be snow in May, and, for old times’ sake, wended her way to Rainbow Valley.

She had a glad half-hour of dabbling her feet in the brook and looking for the first mayflowers to take to her mother – Jem, who had always done it before except for those long, hard war-years, had written to her to ask her to do it especially. That was not all he had written – it seemed there would be two new additions to the family come Christmas time!

It was not the starry pink mayflowers that Rilla stumbled across, but rather, Nan. Lying among the rushes she looked like a young naiad – although a very troubled naiad. Rilla thought with a pang how it was to be Nan’s wedding this weekend – to Jerry – but she showed no signs of relenting to whatever it was that had perturbed her in the first place. Jerry’s moustache was gone, even! But still, Nan would not relent. All of them had near given up hope except for Susan, who baked on. These things, she said, had a way of working out.

Nan had tucked a daffodil in her hair and Rilla gloated over the pretty picture she made, even with her stormy eyes and wrinkled brow. Had she ever been jealous of Nan’s beauty? Rilla couldn’t remember now. She must have been very silly if she had been. A little, loved, contented wife with a burgeoning family is hard pressed to be envious of anyone, even an especially lovely sister. If you find one, just ask her. You’ll see.

“It is a pity that Di can’t be here for the daffodils,” sighed Rilla, when it became apparent that Nan would not speak. “Of course Green Gables is lovely in the spring – the White Way of Delight all abloom – and Di is good to go to Uncle Davy when he needs her – but she must be homesick for our daffodils.”

Quick as lightning, Nan tore the yellow blossom from her hair and threw it to the ground where it was crushed under the heel of her little boot.

“Nan!” cried Rilla, aghast and desperate, “What is the matter? Won’t you tell me? We are all so worried.”

“I won’t – I can’t,” said Nan in a dead voice.

“What has Jerry done?” Once Rilla had started she found it hard to stop. “It can’t be so horrible as that, Nan – Jerry is – Jerry – Jerry is a minister.”

“It isn’t anything that Jerry has done,” cried Nan. “How could you think anything – bad – of him? He is the best – he is the very best.”

“You love him!” Rilla accused.

“Love him!” Nan gave a bitter laugh. “Of course I do – of course – and that is what has fouled everything up.”

Rilla took her sister’s cold white hands in her own and sat, easing Nan down with her.

“Won’t you tell me what is wrong, then?” she pleaded. “Oh, Nan – we are all worried – I believe Mother will make herself sick with worry. Please – darling – tell me. I can help you! If you love Jerry – and he loves you, he does – what can the matter be? Everything is perfect.”

Nan’s lip trembled – her eyes welled – she tore her hands furiously away.

“It is perfect,” she spat. “That is the problem – it will never stay perfect – our happiness is bound to decay. Something will go wrong – we were all so happy before – and look where that has gotten us. I cannot marry Jerry – though I love him so. I – don’t want – our perfect happiness – to be spoiled. I can’t risk it. I can’t lose it.”

Something dawned in Rilla’s heart – a truth, an understanding – and she again reached for the little – trembling now – white hands.

“There are long years of happiness for you by-and-by,” she said, in a voice that would echo down the ages. “And you will tell your children of the Idea we fought and died for--teach them it must be lived for as well as died for, else the price paid for it will have been given for naught. And if you--all you girls back in the homeland--do it, then we who don't come back will know that you have not 'broken faith' with us.”

They sat for a long time after she had finished speaking. The brook spoke for them – babbling and talking over itself.

“Walter?” asked Nan, in a little choked voice.

“Yes,” said Rilla. “You see, don’t you, Nan, why you must marry Jerry – and ‘keep faith’ – and risk everything. Don’t you? I did it – Faith did it – Di will, one day, as well. And you will, too. Because you love Jerry – and because there are some women who will not have the chance to take that risk.”

“I am so – afraid,” said Nan quaveringly. “Anything could happen – anything could take him from me.”

“It is the price we pay for loving,” said Rilla, wise beyond her scant years. Something had taught her the truth in what she spoke – Walter – or the great Something that puts truth and joy in all of us.

“My dress isn’t anywhere near finished,” said Nan finally.

“I’ll sew every hour of the day between now and Saturday,” said Rilla.

“The invitations were rescinded – ”

“No!” Rilla shook her head, a smile beginning to play at the corners of her mouth. “Mother didn’t – she thought she’d wait and see, like all of us.”

“The food,” said Nan, in horror.

“Dear little brown-haired sister, have you been too preoccupied to notice that Susan has been cooking up a storm these past weeks?”

Nan smiled, and it was like a sunset beam over the harbor.

“Well,” she said. “I suppose I’ll have to marry Jerry on Saturday, then. Since you all seem so dead set on it.”

Rilla was so pleased that she actually clapped her hands with glee. “Oh, Walter! Walter! See what you can do, even now?”

“I can keep the faith as good as you,” said Nan, her eyes aglow.

“If we keep faith with those who die
They shall not sleep,” quoth Rilla. “Let’s go up to the house and tell everyone your news! Ingleside loves a wedding.”

“Won’t Susan gloat over this?” Nan wrapped her arms around Rilla’s still-slim waist.

“Of course,” said Rilla, happily. “But we won’t mind. She’s earned it.”
5 Responses
  1. I LOVE the way you fixed everything between Nan and Jerry. I also love what went wrong so much better here than in your Diana story(not that that's not a great story). Another beautiful chapter.

  2. I love the way that Walter's words bring Nan to her senses! Excellent chapter.

  3. iffie21 Says:

    I love this new chapter!! It is so lovely! I hope that you update it soon! It makes so much more sense now why Nan was hesistant. Keep up the good work

  4. Great Work! I loved the way you patched up the little story. Update soon!

  5. Rachel Says:

    Oh I am so glad that Nan can go on with her marriage, and I'm glad it wasn't anything too serious that was wrong. It is human nature to think that because we have something so perfect it is bound to be messed up. I like how you portray Rilla to be wise beyond her years, what a comfort she has become to her family. Beautiful chapter, and of course I look forward to more.