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CHAPTER 36: The Glory and the Dream (continued)
"Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery!"
"Oh, Anne," gasped Jane, as they fled to the girls' dressing room amid hearty cheers. "Oh, Anne I'm so proud! Isn't it splendid?"
And then the girls were around them and Anne was the center of a laughing, congratulating group. Her shoulders were thumped and her hands shaken vigorously. She was pushed and pulled and hugged and among it all she managed to whisper to Jane:
"Oh, won't Matthew and Marilla be pleased! I must write the news home right away."
Commencement was the next important happening. The exercises were held in the big assembly hall of the Academy. Addresses were given, essays read, songs sung, the public award of diplomas, prizes and medals made.
Matthew and Marilla were there, with eyes and ears for only one student on the platform--a tall girl in pale green, with faintly flushed cheeks and starry eyes, who read the best essay and was pointed out and whispered about as the Avery winner.
"Reckon you're glad we kept her, Marilla?" whispered Matthew, speaking for the first time since he had entered the hall, when Anne had finished her essay.
"It's not the first time I've been glad," retorted Marilla. "You do like to rub things in, Matthew Cuthbert."
Miss Barry, who was sitting behind them, leaned forward and poked Marilla in the back with her parasol.
"Aren't you proud of that Anne-girl? I am," she said.
Anne went home to Avonlea with Matthew and Marilla that evening. She had not been home since April and she felt that she could not wait another day. The apple blossoms were out and the world was fresh and young. Diana was at Green Gables to meet her. In her own white room, where Marilla had set a flowering house rose on the window sill, Anne looked about her and drew a long breath of happiness.
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