Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 8, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 8

For reasons best known to herself, Marilla did not tell
Anne that she was to stay at Green Gables until the next
afternoon. During the forenoon she kept the child busy
with various tasks and watched over her with a keen eye
while she did them. By noon she had concluded that Anne
was smart and obedient, willing to work and quick to learn;
her most serious shortcoming seemed to be a tendency to fall
into daydreams in the middle of a task and forget all about
it until such time as she was sharply recalled to earth by a
reprimand or a catastrophe.

When Anne had finished washing the dinner dishes she
suddenly confronted Marilla with the air and expression of
one desperately determined to learn the worst. Her thin
little body trembled from head to foot; her face flushed and
her eyes dilated until they were almost black; she clasped
her hands tightly and said in an imploring voice: "Oh, please, Miss Cuthbert, won't you tell me if you are going to
send me away or not?" I've tried to be patient all the morning,
but I really feel that I cannot bear not knowing any longer.
It's a dreadful feeling. Please tell me."

"You haven't scalded the dishcloth in clean hot water as I
told you to do," said Marilla immovably. "Just go and do
it before you ask any more questions, Anne."

Anne went and attended to the dishcloth. Then she returned
to Marilla and fastened imploring eyes of the latter's face.
"Well," said Marilla, unable to find any excuse for deferring
her explanation longer, "I suppose I might as well tell you.
Matthew and I have decided to keep you--that is, if you will
try to be a good little girl and show yourself grateful.
Why, child, whatever is the matter?"

"I'm crying," said Anne in a tone of bewilderment. "I can't
think why. I'm glad as glad can be. Oh, GLAD doesn't seem
the right word at all. I was glad about the White Way and
the cherry blossoms--but this! Oh, it's something more than
glad. I'm so happy. I'll try to be so good. It will be
uphill work, I expect, for Mrs. Thomas often told me I was
desperately wicked. However, I'll do my very best. But can
you tell me why I'm crying?"

"I suppose it's because you're all excited and worked up,"
said Marilla disapprovingly. "Sit down on that chair and
try to calm yourself. I'm afraid you both cry and laugh
far too easily. Yes, you can stay here and we will try to
do right by you. You must go to school; but it's only a
fortnight till vacation so it isn't worth while for you to
start before it opens again in September."

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