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Anne of Avonlea

21.
Sweet Miss Lavendar
School opened and Anne returned to her work, with fewer theories but considerably
more experience. She had several new pupils, six- and seven-year-olds just venturing,
round-eyed, into a world of wonder. Among them were Davy and Dora. Davy sat with
Milty Boulter, who had been going to school for a year and was therefore quite a man of
the world. Dora had made a compact at Sunday School the previous Sunday to sit with
Lily Sloane; but Lily Sloane not coming the first day, she was temporarily assigned to
Mirabel Cotton, who was ten years old and therefore, in Dora's eyes, one of the "big
girls."
"I think school is great fun," Davy told Marilla when he got home that night. "You said I'd
find it hard to sit still and I did . . . you mostly do tell the truth, I notice . . . but you can
wriggle your legs about under the desk and that helps a lot. It's splendid to have so
many boys to play with. I sit with Milty Boulter and he's fine. He's longer than me but I'm
wider. It's nicer to sit in the back seats but you can't sit there till your legs grow long
enough to touch the floor. Milty drawed a picture of Anne on his slate and it was awful
ugly and I told him if he made pictures of Anne like that I'd lick him at recess. I thought
first I'd draw one of him and put horns and a tail on it, but I was afraid it would hurt his
feelings, and Anne says you should never hurt anyone's feelings. It seems it's dreadful
to have your feelings hurt. It's better to knock a boy down than hurt his feelings if you
MUST do something. Milty said he wasn't scared of me but he'd just as soon call it
somebody else to 'blige me, so he rubbed out Anne's name and printed Barbara Shaw's
under it. Milty doesn't like Barbara 'cause she calls him a sweet little boy and once she
patted him on his head."
Dora said primly that she liked school; but she was very quiet, even for her; and when at
twilight Marilla bade her go upstairs to bed she hesitated and began to cry.
"I'm . . . I'm frightened," she sobbed. "I . . . I don't want to go upstairs alone in the dark."
"What notion have you got into your head now?" demanded Marilla. "I'm sure you've
gone to bed alone all summer and never been frightened before."
Dora still continued to cry, so Anne picked her up, cuddled her sympathetically, and
whispered,
"Tell Anne all about it, sweetheart. What are you frightened of?"
"Of . . . of Mirabel Cotton's uncle," sobbed Dora. "Mirabel Cotton told me all about her
family today in school. Nearly everybody in her family has died . . . all her grandfathers
and grandmothers and ever so many uncles and aunts. They have a habit of dying,
Mirabel says. Mirabel's awful proud of having so many dead relations, and she told me
what they all died of, and what they said, and how they looked in their coffins. And
 
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