Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 5, page 4 of 5)


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Chapter 5

"Were those women--Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond--good to
you?" asked Marilla, looking at Anne out of the corner
of her eye.

"O-o-o-h," faltered Anne. Her sensitive little face
suddenly flushed scarlet and embarrassment sat on her brow.
"Oh, they MEANT to be--I know they meant to be just as
good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be
good to you, you don't mind very much when they're not
quite--always. They had a good deal to worry them, you
know. It's very trying to have a drunken husband, you see;
and it must be very trying to have twins three times in
succession, don't you think? But I feel sure they meant
to be good to me."

Marilla asked no more questions. Anne gave herself up
to a silent rapture over the shore road and Marilla guided
the sorrel abstractedly while she pondered deeply. Pity
was suddenly stirring in her heart for the child. What a
starved, unloved life she had had--a life of drudgery and
poverty and neglect; for Marilla was shrewd enough to
read between the lines of Anne's history and divine the
truth. No wonder she had been so delighted at the prospect
of a real home. It was a pity she had to be sent back.
What if she, Marilla, should indulge Matthew's unaccountable
whim and let her stay? He was set on it; and the child
seemed a nice, teachable little thing.

"She's got too much to say," thought Marilla, "but she
might be trained out of that. And there's nothing rude or
slangy in what she does say. She's ladylike. It's likely
her people were nice folks."

The shore road was "woodsy and wild and lonesome."
On the right hand, scrub firs, their spirits quite unbroken
by long years of tussle with the gulf winds, grew thickly.
On the left were the steep red sandstone cliffs, so near the
track in places that a mare of less steadiness than the
sorrel might have tried the nerves of the people behind
her. Down at the base of the cliffs were heaps of surf-worn
rocks or little sandy coves inlaid with pebbles as with
ocean jewels; beyond lay the sea, shimmering and blue,
and over it soared the gulls, their pinions flashing silvery
in the sunlight.

"Isn't the sea wonderful?" said Anne, rousing from a
long, wide-eyed silence. "Once, when I lived in Marysville,
Mr. Thomas hired an express wagon and took us all to
spend the day at the shore ten miles away. I enjoyed
every moment of that day, even if I had to look after the
children all the time. I lived it over in happy dreams for
years. But this shore is nicer than the Marysville shore.
Aren't those gulls splendid? Would you like to be a gull?
I think I would--that is, if I couldn't be a human girl.
Don't you think it would be nice to wake up at sunrise and
swoop down over the water and away out over that lovely
blue all day; and then at night to fly back to one's nest?
Oh, I can just imagine myself doing it. What big house is
that just ahead, please?"

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