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VII. A Fishy Episode
Rilla Blythe walked proudly, and perhaps a little primly, through the main "street"
of the Glen and up the manse hill, carefully carrying a small basketful of early
strawberries, which Susan had coaxed into lusciousness in one of the sunny
nooks of Ingleside. Susan had charged Rilla to give the basket to nobody except
Aunt Martha or Mr. Meredith, and Rilla, very proud of being entrusted with such
an errand, was resolved to carry out her instructions to the letter.
Susan had dressed her daintily in a white, starched, and embroidered dress, with
sash of blue and beaded slippers. Her long ruddy curls were sleek and round,
and Susan had let her put on her best hat, out of compliment to the manse. It
was a somewhat elaborate affair, wherein Susan's taste had had more to say
than Anne's, and Rilla's small soul gloried in its splendours of silk and lace and
flowers. She was very conscious of her hat, and I am afraid she strutted up the
manse hill. The strut, or the hat, or both, got on the nerves of Mary Vance, who
was swinging on the lawn gate. Mary's temper was somewhat ruffled just then,
into the bargain. Aunt Martha had refused to let her peel the potatoes and had
ordered her out of the kitchen.
"Yah! You'll bring the potatoes to the table with strips of skin hanging to them and
half boiled as usual! My, but it'll be nice to go to your funeral," shrieked Mary.
She went out of the kitchen, giving the door such a bang that even Aunt Martha
heard it, and Mr. Meredith in his study felt the vibration and thought absently that
there must have been a slight earthquake shock. Then he went on with his
Mary slipped from the gate and confronted the spick-and-span damsel of
"What you got there?" she demanded, trying to take the basket.
Rilla resisted. "It'th for Mithter Meredith," she lisped.
"Give it to me. I'LL give it to him," said Mary.
"No. Thuthan thaid that I wathn't to give it to anybody but Mithter Mer'dith or Aunt
Martha," insisted Rilla.
Mary eyed her sourly.
"You think you're something, don't you, all dressed up like a doll! Look at me. My
dress is all rags and _I_ don't care! I'd rather be ragged than a doll baby. Go
home and tell them to put you in a glass case. Look at me--look at me--look at
Mary executed a wild dance around the dismayed and bewildered Rilla, flirting
her ragged skirt and vociferating "Look at me--look at me" until poor Rilla was
dizzy. But as the latter tried to edge away towards the gate Mary pounced on her
"You give me that basket," she ordered with a grimace. Mary was past mistress
in the art of "making faces." She could give her countenance a most grotesque
and unearthly appearance out of which her strange, brilliant, white eyes gleamed
with weird effect.