Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 2, page 1 of 11)


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Chapter 2

Matthew Cuthbert and the sorrel mare jogged comfortably
over the eight miles to Bright River. It was a pretty road,
running along between snug farmsteads, with now and again a
bit of balsamy fir wood to drive through or a hollow where
wild plums hung out their filmy bloom. The air was sweet
with the breath of many apple orchards and the meadows
sloped away in the distance to horizon mists of pearl and
purple; while "The little birds sang as if it were
The one day of summer in all the year."

Matthew enjoyed the drive after his own fashion, except
during the moments when he met women and had to nod to them--
for in Prince Edward island you are supposed to nod to all
and sundry you meet on the road whether you know them or not.

Matthew dreaded all women except Marilla and Mrs.
Rachel; he had an uncomfortable feeling that the mysterious
creatures were secretly laughing at him. He may have been
quite right in thinking so, for he was an odd-looking
personage, with an ungainly figure and long iron-gray hair
that touched his stooping shoulders, and a full, soft brown
beard which he had worn ever since he was twenty. In fact,
he had looked at twenty very much as he looked at sixty,
lacking a little of the grayness.

When he reached Bright River there was no sign of any
train; he thought he was too early, so he tied his horse in
the yard of the small Bright River hotel and went over to
the station house. The long platform was almost deserted;
the only living creature in sight being a girl who was
sitting on a pile of shingles at the extreme end. Matthew,
barely noting that it WAS a girl, sidled past her as quickly
as possible without looking at her. Had he looked he could
hardly have failed to notice the tense rigidity and
expectation of her attitude and expression. She was sitting
there waiting for something or somebody and, since sitting
and waiting was the only thing to do just then, she sat and
waited with all her might and main.

Matthew encountered the stationmaster locking up the
ticket office preparatory to going home for supper, and
asked him if the five-thirty train would soon be along.

"The five-thirty train has been in and gone half an
hour ago," answered that brisk official. "But there was a
passenger dropped off for you--a little girl. She's sitting
out there on the shingles. I asked her to go into the
ladies' waiting room, but she informed me gravely that she
preferred to stay outside. `There was more scope for
imagination,' she said. She's a case, I should say."

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