Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 9, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 9

Anne had been a fortnight at Green Gables before Mrs.
Lynde arrived to inspect her. Mrs. Rachel, to do her
justice, was not to blame for this. A severe and unseason
-able attack of grippe had confined that good lady to her
house ever since the occasion of her last visit to Green
Gables. Mrs. Rachel was not often sick and had a well-
defined contempt for people who were; but grippe, she
asserted, was like no other illness on earth and could
only be interpreted as one of the special visitations of
Providence. As soon as her doctor allowed her to put her
foot out-of-doors she hurried up to Green Gables, bursting
with curiosity to see Matthew and Marilla's orphan,
concerning whom all sorts of stories and suppositions had
gone abroad in Avonlea.

Anne had made good use of every waking moment of that fortnight.
Already she was acquainted with every tree and shrub about the
place. She had discovered that a lane opened out below the apple
orchard and ran up through a belt of woodland; and she had
explored it to its furthest end in all its delicious vagaries of
brook and bridge, fir coppice and wild cherry arch, corners thick
with fern, and branching byways of maple and mountain ash.

She had made friends with the spring down in the hollow--
that wonderful deep, clear icy-cold spring; it was set
about with smooth red sandstones and rimmed in by great
palm-like clumps of water fern; and beyond it was a log
bridge over the brook.

That bridge led Anne's dancing feet up over a wooded
hill beyond, where perpetual twilight reigned under the
straight, thick-growing firs and spruces; the only flowers
there were myriads of delicate "June bells," those shyest
and sweetest of woodland blooms, and a few pale, aerial
starflowers, like the spirits of last year's blossoms.
Gossamers glimmered like threads of silver among the trees
and the fir boughs and tassels seemed to utter friendly speech.

All these raptured voyages of exploration were made in the
odd half hours which she was allowed for play, and Anne
talked Matthew and Marilla halfdeaf over her discoveries.
Not that Matthew complained, to be sure; he listened to
it all with a wordless smile of enjoyment on his face;
Marilla permitted the "chatter" until she found herself
becoming too interested in it, whereupon she always promptly
quenched Anne by a curt command to hold her tongue.

Anne was out in the orchard when Mrs. Rachel came,
wandering at her own sweet will through the lush, tremu-
lous grasses splashed with ruddy evening sunshine; so that
good lady had an excellent chance to talk her illness fully
over, describing every ache and pulse beat with such
evident enjoyment that Marilla thought even grippe must
bring its compensations. When details were exhausted
Mrs. Rachel introduced the real reason of her call.

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