L.M. Montgomery was one of my first favorite authors. The long row of her books that line the shelves of my overflowing bookcase are a testament to that fact. Each spine is well-creased and the pages of each novel are worn and mellowed from use.
This excerpt from Rilla of Ingleside--the eighth from the beloved "Anne" series--has always been a favorite of mine.
For the first time in her life Rilla Blythe touched a baby--lifted it--rolled it in a blanket, trembling with nervousness lest she drop it or--or--break it. Then she put it in the soup tureen.
"Is there any fear of it smothering?" she asked anxiously.
"Not much odds if it do," said Mrs. Conover.
Horrified Rilla loosened the blanket round the baby's face a little. The mite had stopped crying and was blinking up at her. It had big dark eyes in its ugly little face.
"Better not let the wind blow on it," admonished Mrs. Conover. "Take its breath if it do."
And so it was that Rilla Blythe, who had driven to the Anderson house a self-confessed hater of babies, drove away from it carrying one in a soup tureen on her lap!
Rilla thought she would never get to Ingleside. In the soup tureen there was an uncanny silence. In one way she was thankful the baby did not cry but she wished it would give an occasional squeak to prove that it was alive. Suppose it were smothered! Rilla dared not unwrap it to see, lest the wind, which was now blowing a hurricane, should "take its breath," whatever dreadful thing that might be. She was a thankful girl when at last she reached harbour at Ingleside.
Rilla carried the soup tureen to the kitchen, and set it on the table under Susan's eyes. Susan looked into the tureen and for once in her life was so completely floored that she had not a word to say...