Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 8, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 8

"What am I to call you?" asked Anne. "Shall I always say
Miss Cuthbert? Can I call you Aunt Marilla?"

"No; you'll call me just plain Marilla. I'm not used to
being called Miss Cuthbert and it would make me nervous."

"It sounds awfully disrespectful to just say Marilla,"
protested Anne.

"I guess there'll be nothing disrespectful in it if you're
careful to speak respectfully. Everybody, young and old,
in Avonlea calls me Marilla except the minister. He says
Miss Cuthbert--when he thinks of it."

"I'd love to call you Aunt Marilla," said Anne wistfully.
"I've never had an aunt or any relation at all--not even a
grandmother. It would make me feel as if I really belonged
to you. Can't I call you Aunt Marilla?"

"No. I'm not your aunt and I don't believe in calling
people names that don't belong to them."

"But we could imagine you were my aunt."

"I couldn't," said Marilla grimly.

"Do you never imagine things different from what they
really are?" asked Anne wide-eyed.


"Oh!" Anne drew a long breath. "Oh, Miss--Marilla,
how much you miss!"

"I don't believe in imagining things different from what
they really are," retorted Marilla. "When the Lord puts us
in certain circumstances He doesn't mean for us to imagine
them away. And that reminds me. Go into the sitting
room, Anne--be sure your feet are clean and don't let any
flies in--and bring me out the illustrated card that's on
the mantelpiece. The Lord's Prayer is on it and you'll
devote your spare time this afternoon to learning it off by
heart. There's to be no more of such praying as I heard
last night."

"I suppose I was very awkward," said Anne apologetically,
"but then, you see, I'd never had any practice. You
couldn't really expect a person to pray very well the first
time she tried, could you? I thought out a splendid prayer
after I went to bed, just as I promised you I would. It was
nearly as long as a minister's and so poetical. But would
you believe it? I couldn't remember one word when I woke
up this morning. And I'm afraid I'll never be able to think
out another one as good. Somehow, things never are so good
when they're thought out a second time. Have you ever
noticed that?"

"Here is something for you to notice, Anne. When I tell
you to do a thing I want you to obey me at once and not
stand stock-still and discourse about it. Just you go and
do as I bid you."

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