Anne of Green Gables
Mr. Blythe's Spirit
Standard Disclaimers Apply
Please read my story The First Walk before reading this.
(NB. BIG :word: to Mr. Harrison, I was well and truly stuck until he suggested the quote; thanks my friend! Hope you all enjoy it.)
Diana Wright (nee Barry), looked out her front window down the road towards the Blythe Farm, and let out such a long, loud squeal at what she saw that her husband Fred came thundering down the stairs to investigate: “Diana! Whatever’s the matter? Are you alright?” Diana was jumping up down and clapping her hands just like her little sister Minnie-May did when she was excited: “Oh Fred, I’m much better than alright, I’m overjoyed! Take a look out the window and tell me what you see.” Totally bemused, but knowing he would get no sense out of his wife, Fred moved the lace curtain aside slightly and did so: “I see Gilbert Blythe opening our front gate for Anne Shirley. What’s so special about…Ahh. Well, it’s about BLESSED time!” (Gilbert being rewarded for his gallantry with a kiss had told Fred all he needed to know). “I’ll say!” cried Diana, pushing past him to get to the front door.
Diana was on the porch in the blink of an eye, but she pretended not to have seen anything. Instead she made out to be very cross:
“Anne Shirley! I’m surprised to see you I must say. There had just better be a very good explanation for your Scandalous treatment of me last night! Leaving me to the mercies of that awful Tilly Boulter, when you know quite well she is a perfect pill!” Anne laughed and hurried to greet her best friend:
“I am sorry Diana, truly I am. But I had no choice. I couldn’t sit with you last night or you would have known. I couldn’t tell anyone, not even you, before I told Marilla!” Diana bit the inside of her lip to keep from laughing: “Known what Anne, what is going on?”
By now Gilbert had made his way up the path and put a hand on Anne’s shoulder: “Hi Diana. Go on then ‘Carrots’, I think you’d better tell her before she explodes!” Anne laughed and turned to her best and longest standing friend: “Well…, Gil proposed yesterday and I accepted!”
Before she could say another word Anne found herself swept into Diana’s arms: “Oh Anne! That’s wonderful news! Fred! Fred, did you hear?”
Fred appeared behind his wife smiling broadly. He put out his hand out to Gilbert: “I heard alright. Well done Gilbert, marvelous news! Tell me, however did you get our stubborn ‘Miss Shirley’ here to finally see sense?” he teased, embracing Anne as Diana hugged Gilbert.
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly recommend almost dying of Scarlet Fever, but it did seem to do the trick!” he smiled.
Anne looked sad: “Please Gil, don’t!” “I’m sorry Darling.” He replied, kissing her on the top of the head; he had already learnt that doing that would get him out of almost anything. He was right; Anne smiled up at him.
Diana, too, saw Anne’s face change and wrongly thinking it was over-excitement and tiredness, started to bustle her up the steps: “Now Anne, you must come inside and tell me everything! Won’t you join us, Gil?”
Gil couldn’t help but smile at the look on Diana’s face: “Thanks Diana, but some other time. I hate to admit it, but by the time I get back to the Farm I’ll have done more than enough for one day!”
“Of course.” Diana smiled sympathetically, released Anne’s arm and diplomatically headed to the kitchen to put on the kettle. Fred took his wife’s not so subtle hint too: “Give me a minute Gil, and you can have a lift in the buggy. I have a parcel to post anyway. And the girls will want to gossip in peace!”
“I won’t say no Fred.” Gilbert replied gratefully. With that Fred to left the couple their farewells.
“Now, remember you promised to sleep. You look worn out!” Anne was concerned as she stroked Gilbert’s cheek. He took her hand down from his face and kissed it: “Don’t worry Anne-girl, I’ll keep my promise. How else would I get to dream of you?”
Anne giggled and blushed prettily: “True. Now, here’s Fred and Diana will be bursting for some details. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Then with a whispered “I love you” each, they parted.
“So tell me Anne, when did it happen?” Diana asked excitedly. Anne shook her head: “Not a word until I have a cuddle from my Godson!” she was leaning over baby Fred’s bassinet cooing at him.
Diana sighed dramatically and settled the child in Anne’s lap: “There, you have your cuddle; now tell me” she cried.
“He asked me yesterday afternoon before the bonfire, on the bridge. He asked, I said yes. Oh Diana! I’m so happy!”
Diana cheerful laugh filled the room, causing her three month old infant to gurgle with delight: “That much I can see for myself and, so, it seems can my son!”
Anne smiled wistfully and then sighed: “It will be five years; little Fred will old enough to be a page boy then.”
Diana put a comforting hand on Anne’s arm: “It’s bound to seem like forever sometimes Anne; especially when Gil’s away at medical school, I know that. But the thing to do is enjoy the times you have together and keep busy.”
“But how Diana?” Anne asked despairingly. Diana looked shocked: “What do you mean how? You can teach, you can write, you could be a companion (from what I hear you were all but that to old Mrs. Harris anyway). You can help run Green Gables and closer to the time they’ll be wedding plans to make. There are plenty of things for you to do!”
“Well…, the publisher’s were talking about a sequel.” Anne said cautiously.
Diana brightened: “There you are; that’s six months done before you can say ‘The Lady of Shallot’! You must have plenty of stories from your time in Kingsport to start with!”
“One or two!” Anne admitted, smiling at her memories: “And I could always write some stories for this little man.”
(By now Baby Fred was staring at Anne’s finger as though it were the most interesting thing in the whole world). “So you could; now who else must you tell? All of Avonlea will know by breakfast tomorrow, but there’s my Aunt Jo…”
“And Miss Stacey and Emmeline…” The rest of the evening was spent making an alarmingly long list of people Anne had to write to with the good news.
Two days later, having received more congratulatory visitors than she would have thought possible (including Josie Pye, who just about managed a feeble ‘I’m very happy for you both’ and almost choked on the lie), Anne was standing at the kitchen sink washing up whilst Katherine dried. Feeling a little guilty for neglecting Katherine since the proposal, Anne was careful to make conversation without sounding patronizing: “Katherine, I meant to thank you for helping me with the chores; I haven’t had time to turn around the last couple of days.”
“So I noticed; not that I mind!” Katherine added quickly, realizing she had sounded a little too like her old sharp self. Anne smiled: “I know but I’m grateful anyway. You’ve taken a weight from my shoulders, thank you. Do you have everything you need in your room?”
“For my room yes…”
“But?” Anne asked, hearing the doubt coming. “But I was wondering where I could get some new water colours and such. My old paints have been lying around so long they won’t mix properly and the hinge on the box is broken.”
Katherine sighed regretfully. “Well, we could order them from Lawson’s but that could take up to a week, why don’t we take the buggy in to Bright River tomorrow? I’m sure the stationers there would have everything you could need. You haven’t seen anywhere there other than the station and it’s a very pretty town.” A by now familiar combination of emotions crossed Katherine Brooke’s face, a brief glimpse of excitement followed by the clouds of doubt: “That does sound good Anne, but you’ll be wanting to see Gilbert surely.”
“I’m seeing him later and anyway, I’m sure as soon as Marilla and Rachel hear where we’re going I’ll have shopping lists as long as your arm!”
Anne laughed. “So how about it? They have a big new tea shop, we can have lunch and make a day of it.”
Katherine smiled: “Alright Anne. That would be nice.”
“That’s settled then. Now, Rachel’s been telling all about your sketch; very impressed she is to. May I see it please?”
“Alright, but you must promise not to laugh.”
“I promise.” Anne agreed solemnly. With that, Katherine dried her hands and went to fetch her picture.
Over at his family farm, Gilbert stood leaning on the paddock fence and watching his horse, Lancelot, eating the sweet summer grass. If someone had told him just the week before that it was possible to be both blissfully happy and deeply troubled all at once he would never have believed them, but yet here he was learning the lesson for himself. Gilbert had a problem, and try as he might, he just could not see the best way to overcome it. At the end of the summer when he left his beloved Avonlea for medical school, he desperately wanted Anne to have an engagement ring as a physical reminder of him, but most of his money would have to go on board, books and such like. For himself, he was resigned (pretty much), to spending the next five years as poor as a church mouse, but something about not being able to afford a ring for Anne really bothered him. He supposed in a way it was a possessive thing (not that he was exactly proud of that), a way of showing the world that he had FINALLY won his long, difficult fight for Anne Shirley’s exquisitely beautiful but utterly stubborn heart. It would also be not only a display of his deep abiding love for her, but also give Anne a measure of the continuing stability she still clung to almost desperately after such a rough start in life. In normal circumstances he’d have been able to earn the money somehow, but it was summer so school was out making teaching impossible and the doctors (and his mother), had strictly forbidden him to lift a finger around the farm. The two easy solutions that came to mind both stuck in his throat for different reasons. Asking his father to lend him the money would be easy, too easy. Whilst he doubted that his father would refuse him the loan, Gilbert felt that if he did that the ring wouldn’t belong to him when he gave it to Anne. The other option, his grandmother’s engagement ring, would solve that problem right enough, but he didn’t want Anne to feel as though he was flaunting his family history at her when Anne herself had been an orphan. No, any way you cared to look at, it Gilbert Blythe was rightly stuck! Sighing heavily, he called Lancelot over, fed him a couple of sugar lumps he brought down in his pocket, and turned back to the house.
“Katherine; Rachel was right, this is lovely!” Anne exclaimed.
Katherine retrieved the sketch from Anne’s lap before it fell to the floor: “Thank you Anne. I’m not so sure but Miss Cuthbert says it’s just like the real thing.”
“Praise indeed!” Anne was impressed. “Take it from me Katherine, if Marilla says she likes something then she means it. Marilla was never one for giving out praise as though it were candy.”
“Well, in that case, I’m truly flattered.” Katherine blushed. “I thought, once I have the right things, I might try and paint the view from my bedroom window.”
Anne nodded eagerly: “Give it a go; I envy you your talent, I can barely draw a straight line. Ask Miss Stacey, she’ll tell you, I was worse than useless at geometry, still am to tell the truth!” (Miss Muriel Stacey, Anne’s old teacher, mentor and friend now served on the board of Kingsport Ladies College and had recommended Anne to them as an English mistress. Katherine was Headmistress there. This was where they had met and spent most of the past year butting heads until Anne’s triumphant fundraising school production of ‘Mary, Queen of Scots. This roaring success had been swiftly followed by the blow-up to end all blow-ups culminating in the invite for Katherine to spend the summer at Green Gables, and the heart to heart which led to their new-found, if still slightly uncertain, friendship).
Katherine bit back the spiteful retort that still came as almost second nature to her tongue and tried to smile: “We all have our weaknesses Miss… Anne.”
“Yes, and letting my tongue run away with me is very near the top of my list.” Anne laughed looking at the watch she nearly always wore pinned to the front of her dress, “It’s well past time for Dolly to be milked; she’ll be uncomfortable and that blessed Jersey cow has her ways of ‘letting you know’ when she’s uncomfortable!” Anne was gratified to hear Katherine laugh quietly, almost cautiously (as though trying the new emotion out for size), as she scurried out of the door.
Gilbert sat down on the opposite side of the fire to his father who was listening to the gramophone. His mother sat between them doing some mending. After a few minutes of staring absentmindedly into the flames, Gilbert turned to his father: “Are you done with the paper?” he asked. “Yes I am.” answered John Blythe. “Good, I need to use the advertisement section.” Gil said.
His mother looked up surprised: “Gilbert, you’re not worrying about school-books yet, surely?”
Gil smiled: “No mother, though it wouldn’t hurt to look suppose. I have something else in mind.”
Mrs. Blythe was very curious, but by now she knew the light in her only son’s eyes. That was the light she had first seen in Gilbert’s eyes the day he had met Anne Shirley. That light had never left him, even when he was squabbling with the headstrong girl. It was a light that was only for him, and even if she was a little jealous of Anne for being able to give her son that light when she could not, Martha Blythe loved that light because she had always known that someday it would make Gilbert happy. And then just four days ago, she had seen that light burn more brightly than ever before, and she had known. She had needed no words to break the news (although she would eventually get them), just like Martha Cuthbert, she had known the instant she saw the two young people together. Martha got up, fetched the newspaper from the kitchen table, handed it to Gil and kissed him on the cheek. With that Gilbert left the room and his mother watched him go; each somehow knowing what had just happened, even though it looked like nothing out of the ordinary had happened at all.
John Blythe got up and put an arm around his wife: “Come on Martha, they have to find their own ways now.” Martha sighed and turned towards her husband’s comforting embrace: “I know John, I know.”
Upstairs Gilbert sat at his desk, spread the paper out and began looking down the various columns of adverts. Fifteen minutes later he leant back in his chair and sighed. Sure, he had seen adverts with a couple of second-hand medical books and he would investigate those (Doctor Wallis had told him that as long as he was careful and checked his purchases out thoroughly, notes in the margin could be invaluable), but unfortunately nobody local needed a tutor. The obvious answer was once again impossible; if he put an advert in himself for a student, he was bound to blow the surprise. He was just about to give up and go back downstairs when he saw something entirely different. It wasn’t what he had in mind, but he might just get away with it, he could remain anonymous, and besides it looked like fun. Newly enthusiastic, Gilbert got himself a pen and paper and got to work.
Green Gables was quiet and peaceful as the sun set and after two hectic but fun days, Marilla was glad of it. She sat on the porch and pretended to concentrate on her mending, for fond as she was Rachel, she did not feel like talking just now. So many memories (some good, some bad), had coming flooding back over the past couple of days, that Marilla was glad to have a chance to sort through them all. The times that seemed to come to the surface where the many times that Anne had melted her heart despite herself. There were two stories in particular that always made her smile. The first (and most well known to the folks of Avonlea), was the hair-dying incident; the second was a more personal one.
It had been the second Christmas that Anne had spent at Green Gables. Marilla had known for weeks that Matthew and Anne had been up to some kind of mischief. They had been doing even more whispering together in corners than usual & even more telling, Anne had come straight home from school every night for a week, run up to her room in the gable and only come out for supper. On Christmas morning, Anne had come scurrying down the stairs at the very break of dawn and set the breakfast table (one of her chores). When Marilla finally appeared, it was to find the child sitting by the fire, reading, the gifts she had been pestering her elders about for days still untouched.
As soon as she had seen Marilla, Anne jumped to her feet: “Good morning Marilla, Merry Christmas! Did you sleep well? I’ll change later, my good dress is laid out on my bed. The range is on, all my chores are done and I’ve swept the floor and brought in the eggs besides. I…”
Marilla raised her hand to stop the verbal onslaught but smiled: “Good gracious, child, words are meant for using, not choking on! Merry Christmas to you as well. Where is Matthew?”
“Cleaning out the stable; he shouldn’t be long. Can I get you a hot drink?”
“No, thank you. Come and have some porridge.” Marilla smiled to herself as she turned her back on Anne, who was now sitting at the table, and began to heat the milk: “Anne, your gifts are untouched, don’t you want them?” she asked with a hint of laughter in her voice.
Anne however, was oblivious to this. “Oh yes Marilla, of course I do, and I’m sure they will be just wonderful…” she gasped, “It’s just that Matthew and I wanted to give you your present first.”
She explained. “I hope you two haven’t been throwing away good money on me!” Marilla said as her elderly brother walked through the door. “Good morning Marilla, Merry Christmas. Your gift is home-made, Anne thought you would like that better.”
“Merry Christmas Matthew. That I would.”
Marilla smiled. “Come, eat.”
Matthew smiled: “Marilla, relax a little, the porridge will need to cool anyway. Anne, you know where Marilla’s present is, now would be a good time to fetch it.” Before he had even finished speaking, the child had asked permission to leave the table (which was granted with a nod of Marilla’s head), and fled to the desk in the parlour. Matthew turned to his sister, both of them now sitting in their usual places at the table: “This was all Anne’s idea and she has worked real hard on it.”
Marilla nodded. She knew exactly what Matthew wasn’t saying, and Matthew knew that she would try.
Less than a minute later Anne came back, her cheeks flushed, a small, flat, square parcel in her hands. She set it careful on the table in front of Marilla and then went to stand by Matthew’s side, trying hard to keep her boundless excitement in check. Then she cleared her throat: “Marilla, thank you for looking after me this year. I really hope you like your gift.”
Marilla smiled slightly in thanks for the words, carefully unwrapped the parcel and for a moment was choked up as she looked at the nicest present she had ever been given. It was a sampler, on which was sewn a house that was clearly meant to be Green Gables, and the biblical verse: “And over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:14.”
It took Miss Cuthbert a second to realize that Anne was speaking again: “I hope you like it Marilla, I had lots of help though; Matthew made and glazed the frame, the Reverend’s wife helped me pick the quote and Mrs. Barry taught me how to sew like that. I made sure to say thank you to everyone for their help.”
Anne assured her. Marilla smiled broadly, her eyes shining: “I’m glad to hear that child, I must thank them to, but thank you, both. It is very nice, the quote is one of my favourites (as I’m sure the Reverend’s wife must have told you Anne). I know just the place for this to.”
Here Marilla stood up and went over to the dresser placing her gift right next to the Lord’s Prayer that Anne had learnt on her first morning at Green Gables, where it sits from that day to this. Then Anne had run up to Marilla & thrown her arms around her guardian’s waist. Marilla had stood frozen for a second, caught her brother’s encouraging eye and then a little awkwardly stroked the child’s hair once or twice before pulling gently away: “Now Anne, eat your breakfast. I’ll be a long day. Eat at a civilized speed and you may choose a gift to open before church.” That had one of Marilla’s favourite Christmas Days. She was however, brought back to the present by the growing evening chill, and both she and Rachel retreated inside, Miss Cuthbert’s thoughts full of gifts to come and in the distant future, wedding plans.
Meantime Anne and Katherine were in Katherine’s room, making out their shopping list for the next day. As Anne had predicted, what with other people’s messages as well as their own, the list had soon become ‘as long as your arm’. So much so, in fact, that they had decided to plan their route around the town. “Well, the haberdasher’s is closest to the station (if it’s dry we can leave the buggy there and walk), then the book store, then the stationers, then the tea shop. How does that sound?” Anne asked brightly.
Katherine smiled: “Fine, but is there a jewelers too? My watch is running slow and needs checking over.”
Anne nodded: “Not a problem; that can go right between the stationers and the book store, alright; now is that everything?”
“I think so.” Katherine mumbled through a stifled yawn. “Now, if you don’t mind Anne, I think I’d like to get some sleep. I still can’t seem to get used to all this relaxation and fresh air!” Anne smiled: “Of course. We’ll both need all our strength for tomorrow. Good night Katherine.”
“Good night Anne.”
The next morning, Marilla had breakfast ready and waiting for the intrepid shoppers when they came downstairs. Although she would never admit it, she was keen to hear all about their plans for the day. Mrs. Lynde, however, upon hearing their plans was not so impressed. Over the years though she had learnt better than to scold Anne directly and so addressed her remarks to Marilla: “Well now, I don’t know Marilla. Two young women driving a buggy into to a big town alone, who knows what could happen? It’s not right, that’s what!”
Here Marilla saw the look of panic that crossed Katherine’s face and leveled a stare at Rachel that doubtless would have gone straight through a lesser mortal.
“Rachel, you know better than well that Anne and Diana have done the journey more than enough times for Anne to know just what she’s doing; they’ll be fine. Now hurry on, or we won’t be ready when Rev. Thomas gets here!” Having been politely but firmly put in her place, Mrs. Lynde just muttered something about ‘New Fangled Amusements’ and bit into her slice of toast with slightly more gusto than usual.
“Are you sure you won’t need the buggy Marilla?” Anne asked, concerned now.
“No Anne, it’s fine; the Reverend offered to bring us to the Quilting Drive last week, long before your outing was arranged. You two go and have fun, just don’t forget my list!”
Anne would later remember Mrs. Lynde looking somewhat puzzled during this speech, but at the time she was far too preoccupied with shopping plans to think anything of it. “I won’t, it’s already in my purse. Ready Katherine?”
Katherine was ready, so with that they put on their outside things, Anne got the buggy out, and they made a start for Bright River.
Someone else with plans for that day was Gilbert. He too was out and about early, but he took the Charlottetown fork in the road. He had just one stop to make but to him it was a very important one. He was headed right for the offices of the Charlottetown Bugle to answer in person the advertisement that had caught his eye. What with all the upheaval surrounding his and Anne’s engagement, he had not been able to get away unnoticed any sooner, and so was fervently hoping he would not be too late. He was however, unhindered by a buggy (since he had chosen to ride his bicycle), and he therefore made reasonably good time. He reached the edge of Charlottetown at about half past eight, and after a short stop to regain his strength and have a cup of coffee, he made it to the Bugle just as the offices opened for the day.
Just as Marilla had said he would the Rev. Thomas arrived at Green Gables about twenty minutes after Anne and Katherine had left. Having declined Marilla’s offer of tea or coffee, he helped both ladies into his buggy (Marilla sitting beside him and Rachel in back), and set off for Avonlea. Marilla chatted as they drove along:
“Thank you for this Reverend. I really appreciate it. We will be back to the Quilting Drive as soon as we are done with our business.” The Reverend smiled: “Not at all Miss Cuthbert, it’s my pleasure; you take your time ordering. There aren’t many folks round here who wouldn’t do a good turn for your Anne and the whole town is abuzz with the good news.”
From behind him the Reverend heard a small snort as Rachel added her inevitable tuppance worth: “It sure took Gilbert Blythe long enough to get around to proposing; I thought we were all going to have to wait until forever!”
The Reverend chuckled: “The Lord moves in mysterious ways Mrs. Lynde; though I must admit, even I was beginning to wonder just how mysterious he was going to be this time! Here we are ladies, ‘Lawson’s General Store.”
The Reverend helped Rachel and Marilla from the buggy, but then remembered something and called Marilla back just as she was about to enter the store. “Miss Cuthbert?!”
“I just remembered, my wife insists that you have the delivery notice sent to the Manse so as not to spoil the surprise; she’ll bring your parcel to Green Gables when it arrives.”
“Thank you Reverend, this is very kind of you both. We shouldn’t be too long.” And then, with a cheery wave from the Reverend, Marilla headed inside.
Gilbert shuffled nervously from foot to foot outside the Editor’s office. It had taken twenty-five minutes of very fast talking to get even this far, and now his stomach was really churning. What in heck were you supposed to say in an interview like this anyway? He knew he should have gone with his first instinct and written to Miss Stacey about this, she would have known what he should say for sure, but he had just been too impatient to get started and now it was too late. For the umpteenth time in the past couple of days, he carefully took the pieces of paper from his pocket and looked at them. He shook his head, this had seemed like such a good idea the other night, but right now, if he hadn't needed the money so badly… “Mr Blythe? Mr. Harrison will see you now.” Having reached ‘The Point Of No Return’, Gilbert gulped, straightened his tie and let himself into ‘The Lion’s Den’.
Having completed their earlier stops reasonably quickly Anne and Katherine were feeling quite pleased with themselves by the time they reached the stationers. Growing in confidence now, Katherine was happy to ask a lady assistant about the water colour sets, whilst Anne went off to find the notepaper Rachel had added to her list. She soon found it and was heading back to how Katherine was getting on, when something stopped her dead in her tracks. There, in the shop window, was what she knew to be a Smithson Mark II typewriter. She couldn’t believe she had missed it at first glance! Anne hurried outside to get a better look. It was beautiful! The buttons were clearly marked, the carriage return was made of what looked like brass and note beside it in the window said it even came with its own carry case. Owning one of those would make writing so much easier! The hitch however, was the cost, the princely sum of $25. Sure, she had the advance from her book, but most of that was already ear-marked for jobs around Green Gables, and she would need the rest to see her through until (hopefully), some royalty cheques came through. Anne sighed wistfully; maybe next year, for now a strong paddock fence was more important. She was still standing there staring several minutes later, when suddenly a man came and lifted the typewriter out of the window and away. Disappointed, Anne went inside to ask about it for future reference, only to find that it was the last one and it had just been ordered. Sighing, once more, she shook herself out of her nice daydream and went to see how Katherine was getting on.
“It’s just like we said in advertisement Mr. Blythe, $3 a week for the adult crossword and $2 for the children’s one. The deadline is 4pm Tuesday, in time for Thursday’s edition. Deadline’s are sacred, miss one and you’re out. Been through three men in the last five months with that, and I’ll give you fair warning, I’m sick of it. If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have the darn things, but the owner’s wife is rather partial to them…Anyway, how does all that sound to you Mr. Blythe?” The older man stopped pacing up and down behind his desk and stared at Gilbert, almost as though daring him to object to something.
Gilbert flinched a little but quickly managed to school his features and sound reasonably normal: “That all sounds fine Sir, but…”
The Editor cut him off sharply in mid-sentence: “Good, the job is yours. You start next week. You get paid by cheque once a month. I know, I know, you don’t want to use your own name; no-one ever does. Afraid you’ll be driven mad for the answers I suppose. What should we call you?”
Gilbert grinned, he already had that worked out: “Thank you Mr. Harrison, very much. I won’t let you down I swear.”
The Editor snorted derisively, he’d heard that one before: “You better not, Mr…?” Gilbert had to fight not to laugh as he answered: “Mr. Slate, I think you ought to call me Mr. Slate.”
With that, the two men shook on the deal, Gilbert signed the papers, left, and spent most of the ride home trying not to fall off his bike from the giggles!