Anne of Green Gables HTML version

Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little
hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had
its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an
intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark
secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet,
well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel
Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was
conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on
everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed
anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the
whys and wherefores thereof.
There are plenty of people in Avonlea and out of it, who can attend closely to their
neighbor's business by dint of neglecting their own; but Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one
of those capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and those of other
folks into the bargain. She was a notable housewife; her work was always done and
well done; she "ran" the Sewing Circle, helped run the Sunday-school, and was the
strongest prop of the Church Aid Society and Foreign Missions Auxiliary. Yet with all
this Mrs. Rachel found abundant time to sit for hours at her kitchen window,
knitting "cotton warp" quilts—she had knitted sixteen of them, as Avonlea
housekeepers were wont to tell in awed voices—and keeping a sharp eye on the
main road that crossed the hollow and wound up the steep red hill beyond. Since
Avonlea occupied a little triangular peninsula jutting out into the Gulf of St.
Lawrence with water on two sides of it, anybody who went out of it or into it had to
pass over that hill road and so run the unseen gauntlet of Mrs. Rachel's all-seeing
She was sitting there one afternoon in early June. The sun was coming in at the
window warm and bright; the orchard on the slope below the house was in a bridal
flush of pinky-white bloom, hummed over by a myriad of bees. Thomas Lynde—a
meek little man whom Avonlea people called "Rachel Lynde's husband"—was
sowing his late turnip seed on the hill field beyond the barn; and Matthew Cuthbert
ought to have been sowing his on the big red brook field away over by Green Gables.
Mrs. Rachel knew that he ought because she had heard him tell Peter Morrison the
evening before in William J. Blair's store over at Carmody that he meant to sow his
turnip seed the next afternoon. Peter had asked him, of course, for Matthew
Cuthbert had never been known to volunteer information about anything in his
whole life.
And yet here was Matthew Cuthbert, at half-past three on the afternoon of a busy
day, placidly driving over the hollow and up the hill; moreover, he wore a white
collar and his best suit of clothes, which was plain proof that he was going out of
Avonlea; and he had the buggy and the sorrel mare, which betokened that he was
going a considerable distance. Now, where was Matthew Cuthbert going and why
was he going there?
Had it been any other man in Avonlea, Mrs. Rachel, deftly putting this and that
together, might have given a pretty good guess as to both questions. But Matthew so
rarely went from home that it must be something pressing and unusual which was
taking him; he was the shyest man alive and hated to have to go among strangers or