Emily's Quest

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Chapter 5 i

Only three dynamic things happened that year to vary the noiseless tenor of Emily's way. In the autumn she had a love affair—as Aunt Laura Victorianly phrased it. Rev. James Wallace, the new, well-meaning, ladylike young minister at Derry Pond, began making excuses for visiting Blair Water Manse quite often and from there drifted over to New Moon. Soon everybody in Blair Water and Derry Pond knew that Emily Starr had a ministerial beau. Gossip was very rife. It was a foregone conclusion that Emily would jump at him. A minister! Heads were shaken over it. She would never make a suitable minister's wife. Never in the world. But wasn't it always the way? A minister picking on the very last girl he should have.

At New Moon opinion was divided. Aunt Laura, who owned to a Dr. Fell feeling about Mr. Wallace, hoped Emily wouldn't "take" him. Aunt Elizabeth, in her secret soul, was not overfond of him either, but she was dazzled by the idea of a minister. And such a safe lover. A minister would never think of eloping. She thought Emily would be a very lucky girl if she could "get" him.

When it became sadly evident that Mr. Wallace's calls at New Moon had ceased, Aunt Elizabeth gloomily asked Emily the reason and was horrified to hear that the ungrateful minx had told Mr. Wallace she could not marry him.

"Why?" demanded Aunt Elizabeth in icy disapproval.

"His ears, Aunt Elizabeth, his ears," said Emily flippantly. "I really couldn't risk having my children inherit ears like that."

The indelicacy of such a reply staggered Aunt Elizabeth—which was probably why Emily had made it. She knew Aunt Elizabeth would be afraid to refer to the subject again.

The Rev. James Wallace thought it was "his duty" to go West the next spring. And that was that.

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