Anne of Green Gables
III. Marilla Cuthbert is Surprised
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
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