"Mrs. Darwin?" I called. "Did you drink the left-over margaritas today?"
"Because someone did."
"Did any of the kids seem odd today?"
"Oh my gosh, the neighbor kids!"
At this point, it is necessary that the reader understand that we have acquired neighbor kids. The family had actually lived in the neighborhood for some time, for for whatever reason the three youngest children (not counting the baby) have suddenly begun to spend an hour or two of every day in our back yard. On days when the house is clean, they play with the young Darwins inside as well. On most days when the two-year-old has stood astride the table throwing food to the four corners of the earth, they're advised to remain outside. However, even on these latter and more frequent sort of days, there is, it seems, an unavoidable magnetism to The Stranger's House, and so they let themselves in every few minutes to get drinks of water or go to the bathroom. This particular afternoon, MrsDarwin had several times had to expel these young foragers from the fridge. And here we were with a mysteriously empty margarita pitcher. Readers of children's literature will know what we thought first:
"Mrs. Lynde was up to see Mrs. Barry today and Mrs. Barry was in an awful state," she wailed. "She says that I set Diana DRUNK Saturday and sent her home in a disgraceful condition. And she says I must be a thoroughly bad, wicked little girl and she's never, never going to let Diana play with me again. Oh, Marilla, I'm just overcome with woe."
Marilla stared in blank amazement.
"Set Diana drunk!" she said when she found her voice. "Anne are you or Mrs. Barry crazy? What on earth did you give her?"
"Not a thing but raspberry cordial," sobbed Anne. "I never thought raspberry cordial would set people drunk, Marilla--not even if they drank three big tumblerfuls as Diana did. Oh, it sounds so--so--like Mrs. Thomas's husband! But I didn't mean to set her drunk."
"Drunk fiddlesticks!" said Marilla, marching to the sitting room pantry. There on the shelf was a bottle which she at once recognized as one containing some of her three-year-old homemade currant wine for which she was celebrated in Avonlea, although certain of the stricter sort, Mrs. Barry among them, disapproved strongly of it. And at the same time Marilla recollected that she had put the bottle of raspberry cordial down in the cellar instead of in the pantry as she had told Anne.
She went back to the kitchen with the wine bottle in her hand. Her face was twitching in spite of herself.
"Anne, you certainly have a genius for getting into trouble. You went and gave Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial. Didn't you know the difference yourself?"
"I never tasted it," said Anne. "I thought it was the cordial. I meant to be so--so--hospitable. Diana got awfully sick and had to go home. Mrs. Barry told Mrs. Lynde she was simply dead drunk. She just laughed silly-like when her mother asked her what was the matter and went to sleep and slept for hours. Her mother smelled her breath and knew she was drunk. She had a fearful headache all day yesterday. Mrs. Barry is so indignant. She will never believe but what I did it on purpose."
Anne of Green Gables, CH16
Sad to say, interviews this morning revealed a rather less exciting story. Our own three-year-old had poured herself a cup of "lemonaid" from the fridge, but on tasting it concluded that "it tasted like wine" and so for the general welfare she had poured the cup and indeed all the rest of the pitcher down the sink.
I must admit that, while I'm glad no one was made sick, I am a little disappointed at the true story.