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قراءة كتاب The Annals of Ann

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‏اللغة: English
The Annals of Ann

The Annals of Ann

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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The Annals of Ann


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With Four Illustrations


Publishers           New York

Copyright 1910
The Bobbs-Merrill Company



My Cousin Eunice is a grown young lady and she keeps a diary, which put the notion into my head of keeping one too.

There are two kinds of people that keep diaries, married ones and single ones. The single ones fill theirs full of poetry; the married ones tell how much it costs to keep house.

Not being extra good in grammar and spelling, I thought I'd copy a few pages out of Cousin Eunice's diary this morning as a pattern to keep mine by, but I was disappointed. Nearly every page I turned to in hers was filled full of poetry, which stuff never did make good sense to me, besides the trouble it puts you to by having to start every line with a fresh capital.

Cousin Eunice says nearly all famous people keep a diary for folks to read after they're dead. I always did admire famous people, especially Lord Byron and Columbus. And I've often thought I should like to be a famous person myself when I get grown. I don't care so much about graduating in white mull, trimmed in lace, as some girls do, for the really famous never graduate. They get expelled from college for writing little books saying there ain't any devil. But I should love to be a beautiful opera singer, with a jasmine flower at my throat, and a fresh duke standing at the side door of the theater every night, begging me to marry him. Or I'd like to rescue a ship full of drowning people, then swim back to shore and calmly squeeze the salt water out of my bathing suit, so the papers would all be full of it the next morning.

Things don't turn out the way you expect them to, though, and I needn't count too much on these things. I might catch cold in my voice, or cramps in the sea and never get famous; but I'm going to keep this diary anyhow, and just hand it down to my grandchildren, for nearly every lady can count on them, whether she's famous or infamous.

Maybe some rainy day, a hundred years from now, a little girl will find this book in the attic, all covered with dust, and will sit down and read it, while the rain sounds soft and pattery on the outside, and her mother calls and calls without getting an answer. This is not at all the right way to do, but what can they expect of you when your attic is such a very delicious place? Ours is high enough not to bump your head, even if you are as tall as my friend, Rufe Clayborne, and where a part of the window-pane is broken out an apple-tree sends in a perky little branch. Just before Easter every year I spend nearly all my time up here at this window, for the apple blossoms seem to have so many things to say to me; lovely things, that I can feel, but can not hear, and if I could write them down this would be the most beautiful book in the world. And great sheets of rain come sometimes; you can see them coming from the hills back of Mr. Clayborne's house, but the apple blossoms don't mind the wetting.

When I wrote "Mr. Clayborne" just then it reminded me of Cousin Eunice's diary. That was one sensible word which was on every page. Sometimes it was mixed up close along with the poetry, but I always knew who she meant, for he is my best friend and the grandest young man I've ever seen out of a book. His other name is Rufe, and he's an editor when he's in the city. But before he got to be an editor he was born across the creek from our farm, and we've always been great friends. His father and mine are also friends, always quarreling about whose bird-dogs and hotbeds are the best; and our mothers talk a heap about "original sin" and chow-chow pickle.

Maybe my grandchildren would like to know a few little things about me at the time I started keeping this diary for their sakes, so I'll stop now and tell them as quickly as I can, for I never did think just my own self was so interesting. If they have any imagination they can tell pretty well what kind of a person I was anyhow from the grand portrait I'm going to have painted for them in the gown I wear when I'm presented at court.

Well, I was born in the year—but if I tell that you will know exactly how old I am, that is if you can count things better than I can. Anyhow, when I read a thing I'd rather they didn't tell just how old the heroine is. Then you can have her any age you like best. Maybe if I were to tell exactly how many birthdays I've had you would always be saying, like mother and Mammy Lou, "You're a mighty big girl to be doing such silly things." Or like Rufe says sometimes, "Ann, you're entirely too young to be interested in such subjects as that." So you will have to be satisfied when I tell you that I'm at the "gawky age." And a person is never surprised at anything that a girl at the "gawky age" does.

I am little enough still to love puppies and big enough to love Washington Irving. You might think these don't mix well, but they do. On rainy mornings I like to take a puppy under one arm and The Alhambra under the other, with eight or ten apples in my lap, and climb up in the loft to enjoy the greatest pleasure of my life. I sling The Alhambra up on the hay first, then ease the puppy up and take the hem of my skirt between my teeth so the apples won't spill out while I go up after them. But I never even look at hay when there's a pile of cottonseed to wallow in.

As to my ways, I'm sorry to say that I'm what mother calls a "peculiar child." Mammy says I'm "the curiousest mixtry she ever seen." That's because I ask "Why?" very often and then lots of times don't exactly believe that things are that way when they're told to me. One day at Sunday-school, when I was about four, the teacher was telling about Jonah. Mother often told me tales, some that I called "make-believe," and others that I called "so tales." When the teacher got through I spoke up and asked her if that was a "so tale." She said yes, it was, but I horrified every other child in the class by speaking up again and saying, "Well, me don't believe it!"

Old as I am now, I don't see how Jonah's constitution could have stood it, but I've got sense enough to believe many a thing that I can't see nor smell nor feel. An old man out in the mountains that had never been anywhere might say he didn't believe in electricity, but that wouldn't keep your electric light bill from being more than you thought it ought to be at the end of the month.

Speaking of bills reminds me of father. Father is not a rich man, but his folks used to be before the war. That's the way with so many people around here, they have more ancestry than anything else. Still, we have perfectly lovely smelling old leather books in our