Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 9, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 9

"I've been hearing some surprising things about you and Matthew."

"I don't suppose you are any more surprised than I am myself,"
said Marilla. "I'm getting over my surprise now."

"It was too bad there was such a mistake," said Mrs.
Rachel sympathetically. "Couldn't you have sent her back?"

"I suppose we could, but we decided not to. Matthew
took a fancy to her. And I must say I like her myself--
although I admit she has her faults. The house seems a
different place already. She's a real bright little thing."

Marilla said more than she had intended to say when she began,
for she read disapproval in Mrs. Rachel's expression.

"It's a great responsibility you've taken on yourself,"
said that lady gloomily, "especially when you've never had
any experience with children. You don't know much about
her or her real disposition, I suppose, and there's no
guessing how a child like that will turn out. But I don't
want to discourage you I'm sure, Marilla."

"I'm not feeling discouraged," was Marilla's dry response.
"when I make up my mind to do a thing it stays made up.
I suppose you'd like to see Anne. I'll call her in."

Anne came running in presently, her face sparkling with
the delight of her orchard rovings; but, abashed at finding
the delight herself in the unexpected presence of a stranger,
she halted confusedly inside the door. She certainly was an
odd-looking little creature in the short tight wincey dress
she had worn from the asylum, below which her thin legs
seemed ungracefully long. Her freckles were more numerous
and obtrusive than ever; the wind had ruffled her hatless
hair into over-brilliant disorder; it had never looked
redder than at that moment.

"Well, they didn't pick you for your looks, that's sure
and certain," was Mrs. Rachel Lynde's emphatic comment.
Mrs. Rachel was one of those delightful and popular
people who pride themselves on speaking their mind without
fear or favor. "She's terrible skinny and homely, Marilla.
Come here, child, and let me have a look at you. Lawful
heart, did any one ever see such freckles? And hair as red
as carrots! Come here, child, I say."

Anne "came there," but not exactly as Mrs. Rachel
expected. With one bound she crossed the kitchen floor
and stood before Mrs. Rachel, her face scarlet with anger,
her lips quivering, and her whole slender form trembling
from head to foot.

"I hate you," she cried in a choked voice, stamping her
foot on the floor. "I hate you--I hate you--I hate you--"
a louder stamp with each assertion of hatred. "How dare
you call me skinny and ugly? How dare you say I'm freckled
and redheaded? You are a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman!"

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