Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 3, page 1 of 5)

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Chapter 3

Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door.
But when her eyes fell of the odd little figure in the
stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the
eager, luminous eyes, she stopped short in amazement.

"Matthew Cuthbert, who's that?" she ejaculated. "Where is
the boy?"

"There wasn't any boy," said Matthew wretchedly. "There was
only HER."

He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even
asked her name.

"No boy! But there MUST have been a boy," insisted Marilla.
"We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy."

"Well, she didn't. She brought HER. I asked the station-
master. And I had to bring her home. She couldn't be left
there, no matter where the mistake had come in."

"Well, this is a pretty piece of business!" ejaculated Marilla.

During this dialogue the child had remained silent, her eyes
roving from one to the other, all the animation fading out
of her face. Suddenly she seemed to grasp the full meaning
of what had been said. Dropping her precious carpet-bag she
sprang forward a step and clasped her hands.

"You don't want me!" she cried. "You don't want me because
I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did
want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last.
I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall
I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"

Burst into tears she did. Sitting down on a chair by the
table, flinging her arms out upon it, and burying her face
in them, she proceeded to cry stormily. Marilla and Matthew
looked at each other deprecatingly across the stove.
Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla
stepped lamely into the breach.

"Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."

"Yes, there IS need!" The child raised her head quickly,
revealing a tear-stained face and trembling lips. "YOU
would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a
place you thought was going to be home and found that they
didn't want you because you weren't a boy. Oh, this is the
most TRAGICAL thing that ever happened to me!"

Something like a reluctant smile, rather rusty from long
disuse, mellowed Marilla's grim expression.

"Well, don't cry any more. We're not going to turn you out-
of-doors to-night. You'll have to stay here until we
investigate this affair. What's your name?"

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