Anne of Green Gables HTML version

VIII. Anne's Bringing-up Is Begun
For reasons best known to herself, Marilla did not tell Anne that she was to stay at
Green Gables until the next afternoon. During the forenoon she kept the child busy with
various tasks and watched over her with a keen eye while she did them. By noon she
had concluded that Anne was smart and obedient, willing to work and quick to learn; her
most serious shortcoming seemed to be a tendency to fall into daydreams in the middle
of a task and forget all about it until such time as she was sharply recalled to earth by a
reprimand or a catastrophe.
When Anne had finished washing the dinner dishes she suddenly confronted Marilla
with the air and expression of one desperately determined to learn the worst. Her thin
little body trembled from head to foot; her face flushed and her eyes dilated until they
were almost black; she clasped her hands tightly and said in an imploring voice:
"Oh, please, Miss Cuthbert, won't you tell me if you are going to send me away or not?
I've tried to be patient all the morning, but I really feel that I cannot bear not knowing any
longer. It's a dreadful feeling. Please tell me."
"You haven't scalded the dishcloth in clean hot water as I told you to do," said Marilla
immovably. "Just go and do it before you ask any more questions, Anne."
Anne went and attended to the dishcloth. Then she returned to Marilla and fastened
imploring eyes of the latter's face. "Well," said Marilla, unable to find any excuse for
deferring her explanation longer, "I suppose I might as well tell you. Matthew and I have
decided to keep you--that is, if you will try to be a good little girl and show yourself
grateful. Why, child, whatever is the matter?"
"I'm crying," said Anne in a tone of bewilderment. "I can't think why. I'm glad as glad can
be. Oh, GLAD doesn't seem the right word at all. I was glad about the White Way and
the cherry blossoms--but this! Oh, it's something more than glad. I'm so happy. I'll try to
be so good. It will be uphill work, I expect, for Mrs. Thomas often told me I was
desperately wicked. However, I'll do my very best. But can you tell me why I'm crying?"
"I suppose it's because you're all excited and worked up," said Marilla disapprovingly.
"Sit down on that chair and try to calm yourself. I'm afraid you both cry and laugh far too
easily. Yes, you can stay here and we will try to do right by you. You must go to school;
but it's only a fortnight till vacation so it isn't worth while for you to start before it opens
again in September."
"What am I to call you?" asked Anne. "Shall I always say Miss Cuthbert? Can I call you
Aunt Marilla?"