Anne of Green Gables HTML version
I. Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Surprised
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 eye.
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