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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #90

[Jem Blythe suffers a crushing disillusionment about a birthday present he gave to his mother.]         “Jem dear, are you awake at this hour? You’re not sick?”      “No, but I’m very unhappy here, Mother dearwums,” said Jem, putting his hand on his stomach, fondly believing it to be his heart.      “What is the matter, dear?”      “I ... I ... there is something I must tell you, Mother. You’ll be awfully disappointed, Mother ... but I didn’t mean to deceive you, Mother ... truly I didn’t.”      “I’m sure you didn’t, dear. What is it? Don’t be afraid.”      “Oh, Mother dearwums, those pearls aren’t real pearls ... I thought they were ... I did think they were ... did ...”      Jem’s eyes were full of tears. He couldn’t go on.      If Anne wanted to smile there was no sign of it on her face. Shirley had bumped his head that day, Nan had sprained her ankle, Di had lost her voice with a cold. Anne had kissed and bandaged and soothed; but this was different ... this needed all the secret wisdom of mothers.      “Jem, I never thought you supposed they were real pearls. I knew they weren’t ... at least in one sense of real. In another, they’re the most real things I’ve ever had given me. Because there was love and work and self-sacrifice in them ... and that makes them more precious to me than all the gems that divers have fished up from the sea for queens to wear.  Darling, I wouldn’t exchange my pretty beads for the necklace I read of last night which some millionaire gave his bride and which cost half a million. So that shows you what your gift is worth to me, dearest of dear little sons. Do you feel better now?”      Jem was so happy he was ashamed of it. He was afraid it was babyish to be so happy. “Oh, life is bearable again,” he said cautiously.      The tears had vanished from his sparkling eyes. All was well. Mother’s arms were about him ... Mother did like her necklace ... nothing else mattered. Some day he  would give her one that would cost no mere half but a whole million.      -L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside (1939) pp. 114-115

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