Anne of Avonlea
3. Mr. Harrison at Home
Mr. Harrison's house was an old-fashioned, low-eaved, whitewashed structure, set
against a thick spruce grove.
Mr. Harrison himself was sitting on his vineshaded veranda, in his shirt sleeves,
enjoying his evening pipe. When he realized who was coming up the path he sprang
suddenly to his feet, bolted into the house, and shut the door. This was merely the
uncomfortable result of his surprise, mingled with a good deal of shame over his
outburst of temper the day before. But it nearly swept the remnant of her courage from
"If he's so cross now what will he be when he hears what I've done," she reflected
miserably, as she rapped at the door.
But Mr. Harrison opened it, smiling sheepishly, and invited her to enter in a tone quite
mild and friendly, if somewhat nervous. He had laid aside his pipe and donned his coat;
he offered Anne a very dusty chair very politely, and her reception would have passed
off pleasantly enough if it had not been for the telltale of a parrot who was peering
through the bars of his cage with wicked golden eyes. No sooner had Anne seated
herself than Ginger exclaimed,
"Bless my soul, what's that redheaded snippet coming here for?"
It would be hard to say whose face was the redder, Mr. Harrison's or Anne's.
"Don't you mind that parrot," said Mr. Harrison, casting a furious glance at Ginger. "He's
. . . he's always talking nonsense. I got him from my brother who was a sailor. Sailors
don't always use the choicest language, and parrots are very imitative birds."
"So I should think," said poor Anne, the remembrance of her errand quelling her
resentment. She couldn't afford to snub Mr. Harrison under the circumstances, that was
certain. When you had just sold a man's Jersey cow offhand, without his knowledge or
consent you must not mind if his parrot repeated uncomplimentary things. Nevertheless,
the "redheaded snippet" was not quite so meek as she might otherwise have been.
"I've come to confess something to you, Mr. Harrison," she said resolutely. "It's . . . it's
about . . . that Jersey cow."
"Bless my soul," exclaimed Mr. Harrison nervously, "has she gone and broken into my
oats again? Well, never mind . . . never mind if she has. It's no difference . . . none at
all, I . . . I was too hasty yesterday, that's a fact. Never mind if she has."
"Oh, if it were only that," sighed Anne. "But it's ten times worse. I don't . . ."