Anne of Avonlea
9. A Question of Color
"That old nuisance of a Rachel Lynde was here again today, pestering me for a
subscription towards buying a carpet for the vestry room," said Mr. Harrison wrathfully.
"I detest that woman more than anybody I know. She can put a whole sermon, text,
comment, and application, into six words, and throw it at you like a brick."
Anne, who was perched on the edge of the veranda, enjoying the charm of a mild west
wind blowing across a newly ploughed field on a gray November twilight and piping a
quaint little melody among the twisted firs below the garden, turned her dreamy face
over her shoulder.
"The trouble is, you and Mrs. Lynde don't understand one another," she explained.
"That is always what is wrong when people don't like each other. I didn't like Mrs. Lynde
at first either; but as soon as I came to understand her I learned to."
"Mrs. Lynde may be an acquired taste with some folks; but I didn't keep on eating
bananas because I was told I'd learn to like them if I did," growled Mr. Harrison. "And as
for understanding her, I understand that she is a confirmed busybody and I told her so."
"Oh, that must have hurt her feelings very much," said Anne reproachfully. "How could
you say such a thing? I said some dreadful things to Mrs. Lynde long ago but it was
when I had lost my temper. I couldn't say them DELIBERATELY."
"It was the truth and I believe in telling the truth to everybody."
"But you don't tell the whole truth," objected Anne. "You only tell the disagreeable part
of the truth. Now, you've told me a dozen times that my hair was red, but you've never
once told me that I had a nice nose."
"I daresay you know it without any telling," chuckled Mr. Harrison.
"I know I have red hair too . . . although it's MUCH darker than it used to be . . . so
there's no need of telling me that either."
"Well, well, I'll try and not mention it again since you're so sensitive. You must excuse
me, Anne. I've got a habit of being outspoken and folks mustn't mind it."
"But they can't help minding it. And I don't think it's any help that it's your habit. What
would you think of a person who went about sticking pins and needles into people and
saying, 'Excuse me, you mustn't mind it . . . it's just a habit I've got.' You'd think he was
crazy, wouldn't you? And as for Mrs. Lynde being a busybody, perhaps she is. But did
you tell her she had a very kind heart and always helped the poor, and never said a
word when Timothy Cotton stole a crock of butter out of her dairy and told his wife he'd