THE REAPER WHOSE NAME IS DEATH
"Matthew—Matthew—what is the matter? Matthew, are you sick?"
It was Marilla who spoke, alarm in every jerky word. Anne came through the hall, her hands full of white narcissus,—it was long before Anne could love the sight or odour of white narcissus again,— in time to hear her and to see Matthew standing in the porch doorway, a folded paper in his hand, and his face strangely drawn and gray. Anne dropped her flowers and sprang across the kitchen to him at the same moment as Marilla. They were both too late; before they could reach him Matthew had fallen across the threshold.
"He's fainted," gasped Marilla. "Anne, run for Martin—quick, quick! He's at the barn."
Martin, the hired man, who had just driven home from the post-office, started at once for the doctor, calling at Orchard Slope on his way to send Mr. and Mrs. Barry over. Mrs. Lynde, who was there on an errand, came too. They found Anne and Marilla distractedly trying to restore Matthew to consciousness.
Mrs. Lynde pushed them gently aside, tried his pulse, and then laid her ear over his heart. She