Chronicles of Avonlea HTML version

VIII. The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham's
I refused to take that class in Sunday School the first time I was asked. It was not that I
objected to teaching in the Sunday School. On the contrary I rather liked the idea; but it
was the Rev. Mr. Allan who asked me, and it had always been a matter of principle with
me never to do anything a man asked me to do if I could help it. I was noted for that. It
saves a great deal of trouble and it simplifies everything beautifully. I had always
disliked men. It must have been born in me, because, as far back as I can remember,
an antipathy to men and dogs was one of my strongest characteristics. I was noted for
that. My experiences through life only served to deepen it. The more I saw of men, the
more I liked cats.
So, of course, when the Rev. Allan asked me if I would consent to take a class in
Sunday School, I said no in a fashion calculated to chasten him wholesomely. If he had
sent his wife the first time, as he did the second, it would have been wiser. People
generally do what Mrs. Allan asks them to do because they know it saves time.
Mrs. Allan talked smoothly for half an hour before she mentioned the Sunday School,
and paid me several compliments. Mrs. Allan is famous for her tact. Tact is a faculty for
meandering around to a given point instead of making a bee- line. I have no tact. I am
noted for that. As soon as Mrs. Allan's conversation came in sight of the Sunday School,
I, who knew all along whither it was tending, said, straight out,
"What class do you want me to teach?"
Mrs. Allan was so surprised that she forgot to be tactful, and answered plainly for once
in her life,
"There are two classes--one of boys and one of girls--needing a teacher. I have been
teaching the girls' class, but I shall have to give it up for a little time on account of the
baby's health. You may have your choice, Miss MacPherson."
"Then I shall take the boys," I said decidedly. I am noted for my decision. "Since they
have to grow up to be men it's well to train them properly betimes. Nuisances they are
bound to become under any circumstances; but if they are taken in hand young enough
they may not grow up to be such nuisances as they otherwise would and that will be
some unfortunate woman's gain." Mrs. Allan looked dubious. I knew she had expected
me to choose the girls.
"They are a very wild set of boys," she said.
"I never knew boys who weren't," I retorted.