A Tangled Web

A Tangled Web

4.5 2
by L M Montgomery
     
 

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A dozen stories have been told about the old Dark jug. This is the
true one.

Several things happened in the Dark and Penhallow clan because of
it. Several other things did NOT happen. As Uncle Pippin said,
this may have been Providence or it may have been the devil that
certainly possessed the jug. At any rate, had it not been for

Overview

A dozen stories have been told about the old Dark jug. This is the
true one.

Several things happened in the Dark and Penhallow clan because of
it. Several other things did NOT happen. As Uncle Pippin said,
this may have been Providence or it may have been the devil that
certainly possessed the jug. At any rate, had it not been for the
jug, Peter Penhallow might to-day have been photographing lions
alone in African jungles, and Big Sam Dark would, in all
probability, never have learned to appreciate the beauty of the
unclothed female form. As for Dandy Dark and Penny Dark, they have
never ceased to congratulate themselves that they got out of the
affair with whole hides.

Legally, the jug was the property of Aunt Becky Dark, née Rebecca
Penhallow. For that matter, most of the Darks had been née
Penhallow, and most of the Penhallows had been née Dark, save a
goodly minority who had been Darks née Dark or Penhallows née
Penhallow. In three generations sixty Darks had been married to
sixty Penhallows. The resultant genealogical tangle baffled
everybody except Uncle Pippin. There was really nobody for a Dark
to marry except a Penhallow and nobody for a Penhallow to marry
except a Dark. Once, it had been said, they wouldn't take anybody
else. Now, nobody else would take them. At least, so Uncle Pippin
said. But it was necessary to take Uncle Pippin's speeches with a
large pinch of salt. Neither the Darks nor the Penhallows were
gone to seed as far as that. They were still a proud, vigorous,
and virile clan who hacked and hewed among themselves but presented
an unbroken front to any alien or hostile force.

In a sense, Aunt Becky was the head of the clan. In point of
seniority Crosby Penhallow, who was eighty-seven when she was
eighty-five, might have contested her supremacy had he cared to do
so. But at eighty-seven Crosby Penhallow cared only about one
thing. As long as he could foregather every evening with his old
crony, Erasmus Dark, to play duets on their flutes and violins,
Aunt Becky might hold the sceptre of the clan if she wanted to.

It must be admitted frankly that Aunt Becky was not particularly
beloved by her clan. She was too fond of telling them what she
called the plain truth. And, as Uncle Pippin said, while the truth
was all right, IN ITS PLACE, there was no sense in pouring out
great gobs of it around where it wasn't wanted. To Aunt Becky,
however, tact and diplomacy and discretion, never to mention any
consideration for any one's feelings, were things unknown. When
she wanted to say a thing she said it. Consequently Aunt Becky's
company was never dull whatever else it might be. One endured the
digs and slams one got oneself for the fun of seeing other people
writhing under THEIR digs and slams. As Aunt Becky knew from A to
Z all the sad or fantastic or terrible little histories of the
clan, no one had armour which her shafts could not penetrate.
Little Uncle Pippin said that he wouldn't miss one of Aunt Becky's
"levees" for a dog-fight. "She's a personality," Dr Harry
Penhallow had once remarked condescendingly, on one of his visits
home to attend some clan funeral.

"She's a crank," growled Drowned John Penhallow, who, being a
notorious crank himself, tolerated no rivals.

"It's the same thing," chuckled Uncle Pippin. "You're all afraid
of her because she knows too much about you. I tell you, boys,
it's only Aunt Becky and the likes of her that keeps us all from
dry-rotting."

Aunt Becky had been "Aunt Becky" to everybody for twenty years.
Once when a letter came to the Indian Spring post-office addressed
to "Mrs Theodore Dark" the new postmaster returned it marked
"Person unknown." Legally, it was Aunt Becky's name. Once she had
had a husband and two children. They were all dead long ago--so
long ago that even Aunt Becky herself had practically forgotten
them. For years she had lived in her two rented rooms in The
Pinery--otherwise the house of her old friend, Camilla Jackson, at
Indian Spring. Many Dark and Penhallow homes would have been open
to her, for the clan were never unmindful of their obligations, but
Aunt Becky would have none of them. She had a tiny income of her
own and Camilla, being neither a Dark nor a Penhallow, was easily
bossed.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013768789
Publisher:
WDS Publishing
Publication date:
01/07/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
254 KB

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A Tangled Web 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way different than one would expect from the author of the tame & sweet "Anne" series. Much more cynical and grown-up. Still, a really great story with some seriously good messages (but not in the "beat you over the head with my morality" sort of way).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago