en-fr  Anne of Green Gables /Chapter VI
CHAPITRE VI.


MARILLA SE DÉCIDE. .


Elles arrivèrent enfin là-bas, comme prévu. Mme Spencer vivait dans une grande maison jaune à White Sands Cove, et elle vint jusqu'à la porte avec un mélange de surprise et de réjouissement sur le visage.

— Mon Dieu, mon dieu, s'exclama-t-elle, vous êtes les dernières personnes que j'attendais ici aujourd'hui, mais je suis vraiment contente de vous voir. Vous voulez rentrer votre cheval ? Comment vas-tu Anne ?

— Je vais aussi bien que possible, merci, dit Anne, sans un sourire. Un fléau semblait s'être répandu sur elle.

— Je pense que nous allons rester un peu pour que la jument se repose, dit Marilla, mais j'ai promis à Matthew que je rentrerai tôt. Le fait est, Mme Spencer, qu'une curieuse erreur a eu lieu quelque part, et je suis venue voir d'où elle provient. Nous avons donné comme instruction, Matthew et moi-même, que vous nous rameniez un garçon de l'orphelinat. Nous avons dit à votre frère Robert de vous indiquer que nous voulions un garçon de dix ou onze ans.

— Marilla Cuthbert, ne me dites pas une chose pareille ! dit Mme Spencer désemparée. — Mais, Robert a transmis un message par l'intermédiaire de sa fille Nancy, celle-ci disant que vous vouliez une fille — n'est-ce pas, Flora Jane ? dit-elle, en sollicitant sa fille qui venait de descendre l'escalier.

— Certainement, c'est ce qu'elle a dit, Mademoiselle Cuthbert, confirma Flora Jane avec fermeté.

— Je suis terriblement désolée, déclara Mme Spencer. — C'est vraiment dommage, mais ce n'est certainement pas de ma faute, voyez-vous, Mademoiselle Cuthbert. J'ai fait du mieux que j'ai pu et je crois que j'ai suivi vos instructions. Nancy a un petit pois dans la tête. J'ai souvent dû la gronder pour son insouciance.

— C'est entièrement de notre faute, dit Marilla résignée. "Nous aurions dû venir vous voir nous-mêmes et ne pas confier ainsi, de bouche à oreille, un message aussi important Quoi qu'il en soit, l'erreur a été commise et la seule chose à faire maintenant est de régler cela correctement. Pouvons-nous renvoyer la fillette à l'orphelinat ? Je suppose qu'ils la reprendront, non ?

— Je le suppose, dit Mme Spencer après mûre réflexion, mais je ne pense pas qu'il sera nécessaire de la renvoyer. Mme Peter Blewett était ici hier et elle me disait à quel point elle souhaitait, grâce à moi, obtenir une petite fille pour l'aider. Mme Peter a une grande famille, vous savez, et elle a bien du mal à trouver de l'aide. Anne serait la jeune fille parfaite pour elle. Je considère cela comme une véritable providence.

Marilla n'eut pas l'air de penser que la Providence eût beaucoup à voir avec le problème. C'était une chance inespérée de se débarrasser de cette orpheline, et elle n'en éprouvait même pas de satisfaction.

Elle ne connaissait Mme Blewett que de vue : une petite femme au visage rusé, sans une once de chair superflue sur les os. Mais elle avait entendu parler d'elle. « Une travailleuse acharnée et dure avec le personnel » voilà ce qu'on disait de Mme Peter ; et les servantes congédiées racontaient des histoires terrifiantes à propos de son humeur, de son avarice et de ses enfants querelleurs et impertinents.. Marilla éprouva un scrupule à l'idée de remettre Anne aux « tendres miséricordes » de Mme Peter.

— Bon, je vais y aller et nous en reparlerons, dit-elle.

— Mais ce ne serait pas Mme Peter qui monterait l'allée à l'instant même ! s'exclama Mme Spencer, poussant énergiquement ses invités du vestibule vers le salon, où un froid meurtrier les saisit comme si l'air avait été comprimé si longtemps à travers les stores vert foncé étroitement tirés qu'il avait perdu la moindre particule de chaleur qu'il eût jamais possédé. — Ça, c'est vraiment de la chance car nous allons pouvoir régler le problème tout de suite. Prenez le fauteuil, Mademoiselle Cuthbert. Anne, assieds-toi ici sur le canapé et ne te tortille pas. Laissez-moi prendre vos chapeaux. Flora Jane, sors d'ici et mets la bouilloire sur le feu. Bonjour, Madame Blewett. Nous étions justement en train de dire combien c'était heureux que vous passiez précisément maintenant. Laissez-moi vous présenter deux dames. Madame Blewett, Mademoiselle Cuthbert. Veuillez m'excuser un instant. J'ai oublié de dire à Flora Jane de sortir les petits pains du four.

Mme Spencer s'éclipsa après avoir remonté les stores. Anne, assise sur le divan, silencieuse, les mains fermement jointes sur les genoux, fixait Mme Blewett avec une sorte de fascination. Allait-elle être confiée à la garde de cette femme au visage ingrat et au regard tranchant ? Elle sentit une boule monter dans sa gorge et ses yeux se mirent douloureusement à brûler. Elle commençait à avoir peur de ne pas pouvoir retenir ses larmes quand Mme Spencer fit son retour, rougissante et rayonnante, tout à fait apte à prendre en considération toutes les difficultés physiques, mentales ou spirituelles existantes et les aplanir.

— Il semble qu'il y ait eu une erreur à propos de cette jeune fille, Mme Blewett, dit-elle. J'ai cru que M. et Mlle Cuthbert voulaient adopter une fillette. C'est, avec certitude, ce qu'on m'avait dit. Mais, apparemment, ils voulaient un garçon. Alors, si vous êtes dans les mêmes dispositions que celles dans lesquelles vous vous trouviez hier, je pense qu'elle s'avèrera être exactement la personne que vous cherchez.

Mme Blewett inspecta Anne du regard des pieds à la tête.

— Quel âge as-tu et quel est ton nom ? demanda-t-elle.

— Anne Shirley, dit, d'une voix entrecoupée, l'enfant recroquevillée sans oser donner la moindre stipulation quant à la manière de l’épeler, et j'ai onze ans.

— Hmm ! Tu ne m'as pas l'air très solide. Mais tu es mince comme un fil. Je pense que les minces sont les meilleures en définitive. Eh bien, si je te prends tu devras être une bonne fille, tu sais... sage, intelligente et respectueuse. J'attends de toi que tu mérites ta subsistance, ça, tu peux en être assurée. Très bien, je suppose qu'il est préférable que je vous en débarrasse, Mlle Cuthbert. Le bébé est horriblement grincheux et je suis purement épuisée à force de m'occuper de lui. Si vous voulez, je peux l'emmener chez moi immédiatement.

Marilla regarda Anne et son cœur se serra à la vue du visage blême de l'enfant qui reflétait une misère silencieuse... la misère d'une petite créature sans défense qui se retrouve, une fois encore, prise dans le piège dont elle s'était échappée. Marilla eut la conviction inconfortable que si elle ne prenait pas en considération la détresse de cette expression, celle-ci la poursuivrait pour le reste de ses jours. De plus, elle n'appréciait pas Mme Blewett. Confier une enfant sensible et délicate à une telle femme ! Non, elle ne pouvait prendre la responsabilité d'agir de la sorte !

— Eh bien, je ne sais pas, dit-elle lentement. Je n'ai pas dit que Matthew et moi étions absolument décidés à ne pas la garder. En fait, je puis même dire que Matthew est disposé à la garder. Je suis simplement venue ici pour découvrir comment l'erreur s'était produite. Je crois que je ferais mieux de la ramener à la maison et d'en discuter avec Matthew. Il me semble que je ne devrais rien décider sans le consulter. Si nous décidons de ne pas la garder, nous la ramènerons ou vous la renverrons demain soir. Si nous ne le faisons pas, vous saurez alors qu'elle va rester chez nous. Cela vous convient-il, Mme Blewett ?

— Je suppose qu'il faudra bien, dit déplaisamment Mme Blewett.

En entendant parler Marilla, le visage d'Anne s'était peu à peu éclairé. Tout d'abord, l'expression de désespoir s'estompa ; puis vint une légère rougeur d'espoir ; ses yeux s'agrandirent et brillèrent comme des étoiles du matin. L'enfant était toute transfigurée ; et, l'instant d'après, lorsque Mme Spencer et Mme Blewett sortirent à la recherche d'une recette que celle-ci était venue emprunter, elle se leva d'un bond et traversa la pièce en direction de Marilla.

— Oh, Mlle Cuthbert, venez-vous réellement de dire que peut-être vous me laisseriez rester à Green Gables ? chuchota-t-elle dans un souffle, comme si parler à voix haute aurait pu anéantir cette merveilleuse éventualité. L'avez-vous vraiment dit ? Ou n'était-ce que mon imagination ?

— Je pense que tu ferais mieux d'apprendre à contrôler ton imagination, Anne, si tu ne peux pas faire la différence entre ce qui est réel et ce qui ne l'est pas, dit Marilla irritée. Oui, tu m'as bien entendu dire cela mais rien de plus. Ce n'est pas encore décidé et peut-être que nous finirons par laisser Mme Blewett t'emmener après tout. Elle a certainement besoin de toi beaucoup plus que moi.

— Plutôt retourner à l'orphelinat qu'aller vivre avec elle, déclara Anne fougueusement. Elle ressemble vraiment à une... on dirait une vrille.

Marilla réfréna un sourire convaincue qu'Anne devait être réprimandée pour ce type de propos.

— Une petite fille comme toi devrait avoir honte de parler ainsi d'une dame et d'une étrangère, dit-elle sévèrement. Retourne t'asseoir en silence, tiens ta langue et comporte toi comme une bonne petite fille bien élevée.

— Je vais essayer de faire et d'être tout ce que vous me demandez pourvu seulement que vous me gardiez avec vous, dit Anne en retournant docilement vers son canapé.

Quand elles rentrèrent à Green Gables ce soir-là, Matthew les attendait dans l'allée. Marilla l'avait aperçu de loin en train de rôder le long de celle-ci et elle devinait sa motivation. Elle s'attendait à lire le soulagement sur son visage quand il vit qu'elle avait finalement ramené Anne avec elle. Mais elle garda le silence, à ce sujet, jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient tous les deux dans la cour derrière la grange pour traire les vaches. Alors, elle lui raconta brièvement l'histoire d'Anne et le résultat de l'entrevue avec Mme Spencer.

je ne donnerais pas un chien que j'aimerais à cette dame Blewett, déclara Matthew avec une véhémence inhabituelle.

— Je n'aime guère son genre non plus, reconnut Marilla, mais c'est ça ou la garder chez nous, Matthew. Et comme il me semble que tu souhaites la garder, je suppose que moi aussi je le souhaite ou que je le devrais. J'ai réfléchi à cette idée jusqu'à ce que je m'y fasse. C'est comme un devoir. Je n'ai jamais élevé d'enfant, particulièrement une fille, et je crois pouvoir dire que je ferais un beau gâchis. Mais je vais faire de mon mieux. En ce qui me concerne, Matthew, elle peut rester.

L'expression timide de Matthew se mua en une joie resplendissante.

— Eh bien, Marilla, je pensais que tu finirais par voir les choses de cette manière, dit-il. Cette petite est tellement intéressante.

— Ce serait plus pertinent si tu pouvais dire que c'est une petite serviable, rétorqua Marilla, mais je me ferai un devoir de lui enseigner cela. Et gare, Matthew, tu ne dois pas venir interférer dans ma manière de m'y prendre.. Peut-être qu'une vieille fille ne sait pas grand chose dans l'art d'éduquer un enfant, mais je suppose qu'elle en sait plus qu'un vieux garçon. Alors laisse-moi juste m'occuper d'elle. Quand je ferai des erreurs, il sera temps que tu viennes fourrer ton grain de sel.

— Allons,allons, Marilla, tu peux faire comme tu l'entends, dit Matthew en se voulant rassurant. Sois seulement aussi bonne et gentille avec elle que tu peux l'être sans la gâter. J'ai l'impression qu'elle est du genre dont on peut tout obtenir si on parvient à s'en faire aimer.

Marilla renifla, exprimant son mépris pour les opinions de Matthew concernant tout ce qui était féminin, et alla à la laiterie avec les seaux.

— Je ne lui dirai pas ce soir qu'elle peut rester, songea-t-elle en versant le lait dans l'écrémeuse. Elle serait tellement excitée qu'elle ne fermerait pas l'œil. Marilla Cuthbert, te voilà complètement embarquée. Avais-tu jamais imaginé qu'un jour tu adopterais une orpheline ? C'est assez surprenant. mais pas aussi étonnant que Matthew soit à l'origine de tout ça, lui qui a toujours semblé avoir une telle peur panique des petites filles. De toute façon, nous avons décidé d'essayer et seul le ciel sait ce qu'il adviendra.
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CHAPTER VI.
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MARILLA MAKES UP HER MIND.
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Get there they did, however, in due season.
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You'll put your horse in?
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And how are you, Anne?"
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"I'm as well as can be expected, thank you," said Anne smilelessly.
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A blight seemed to have descended on her.
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We sent word, Matthew and I, for you to bring us a boy from the asylum.
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We told your brother Robert to tell you we wanted a boy ten or eleven years old."
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"Marilla Cuthbert, you don't say so!"
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said Mrs. Spencer in distress.
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appealing to her daughter who had come out to the steps.
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"She certainly did, Miss Cuthbert," corroborated Flora Jane earnestly.
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"I'm dreadful sorry," said Mrs. Spencer.
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"It is too bad; but it certainly wasn't my fault, you see, Miss Cuthbert.
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I did the best I could and I thought I was following your instructions.
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Nancy is terrible flighty thing.
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I've often had to scold her well for her heedlessness."
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"It was our own fault," said Marilla resignedly.
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Anyhow, the mistake has been made and the only thing to do now is to set it right.
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Can we send the child back to the asylum?
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I suppose they'll take her back, won't they?"
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Mrs. Peter has a large family, you know, and she finds it hard to get help.
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Anne will be the very girl for her.
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I call it positively providential."
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Marilla did not look as if she thought Providence had much to do with the matter.
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But she had heard of her.
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Marilla felt a qualm of conscience at the thought of handing Anne over to her tender mercies.
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"Well, I'll go in and we'll talk the matter over," she said.
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"And if there isn't Mrs. Peter coming up the lane this blessed minute!"
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"That is real lucky, for we can settle the matter right away.
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Take the armchair.
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Miss Cuthbert.
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Anne, you sit here on the ottoman and don't wriggle.
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Let me take your hats.
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Flora Jane, go out and put the kettle on.
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Good afternoon, Mrs. Blewett.
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We were just saying how fortunate it was you happened along.
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Let me introduce you two ladies.
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Mrs. Blewett, Miss Cuthbert.
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Please excuse me for just a moment.
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I forgot to tell Flora Jane to take the buns out of the oven."
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Mrs. Spencer whisked away, after pulling up the blinds.
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Was she to be given into the keeping of this sharp-faced, sharp-eyed woman?
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She felt a lump coming up in her throat and her eyes smarted painfully.
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"It seems there's been a mistake about this little girl, Mrs. Blewett," she said.
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"I was under the impression that Mr. and Miss Cuthbert wanted a little girl to adopt.
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I was certainly told so.
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But it seems it was a boy they wanted.
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So if you're still of the same mind you were yesterday, I think she'll be just the thing for you."
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Mrs. Blewett darted her eyes over Anne from head to foot.
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"How old are you and what's your name?"
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she demanded.
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"Humph!
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You don't look as if there was much to you.
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But you're wiry.
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I don't know but the wiry ones are the best after all.
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Well, if I take you you'll have to be a good girl, you know—good and smart and respectful.
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I'll expect you to earn your keep, and no mistake about that.
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Yes, I suppose I might as well take her off your hands, Miss Cuthbert.
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The baby's awful fractious, and I'm clean worn out attending to him.
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If you like I can take her right home now."
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Moreover, she did not fancy Mrs. Blewett.
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To hand a sensitive, "high-strung" child over to such a woman!
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No, she could not take the responsibility of doing that!
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"Well, I don't know," she said slowly.
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"I didn't say that Matthew and I had absolutely decided that we wouldn't keep her.
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In fact, I may say that Matthew is disposed to keep her.
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I just came over to find out how the mistake had occurred.
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I think I'd better take her home again and talk it over with Matthew.
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I feel that I oughtn't to decide on anything without consulting him.
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If we make up our mind not to keep her we'll bring or send her over to you to-morrow night.
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If we don't you may know that she is going to stay with us.
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Will that suit you, Mrs.
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Blewett?"
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"I suppose it'll have to," said Mrs. Blewett ungraciously.
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During Marilla's speech a sunrise had been dawning on Anne's face.
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"Oh, Miss Cuthbert, did you really say that perhaps you would let me stay at Green Gables?"
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she said, in a breathless whisper, as if speaking aloud might shatter the glorious possibility.
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"Did you really say it?
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Or did I only imagine that you did?"
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It isn't decided yet and perhaps we will conclude to let Mrs. Blewett take you after all.
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She certainly needs you much more than I do."
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"I'd rather go back to the asylum than go to live with her," said Anne passionately.
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"She looks exactly like a—like a gimlet."
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Marilla smothered a smile under the conviction that Anne must be reproved for such a speech.
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"Go back and sit down quietly and hold your tongue and behave as a good girl should."
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When they arrived back at Green Gables that evening Matthew met them in the lane.
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Marilla from afar had noted him prowling along it and guessed his motive.
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Then she briefly told him Anne's history and the result of the interview with Mrs. Spencer.
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"I wouldn't give a dog I liked to that Blewett woman," said Matthew with unusual vim.
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"I don't fancy her style myself," admitted Marilla, "but it's that or keeping her ourselves, Matthew.
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And, since you seem to want her, I suppose I'm willing—or have to be.
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I've been thinking over the idea until I've got kind of used to it.
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It seems a sort of duty.
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I've never brought up a child, especially a girl, and I dare say I'll make a terrible mess of it.
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But I'll do my best.
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So far as I'm concerned, Matthew, she may stay."
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Matthew's shy face was a glow of delight.
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"Well now, I reckoned you'd come to see it in that light, Marilla," he said.
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"She's such an interesting little thing."
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And mind, Matthew, you're not to go interfering with my methods.
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So you just leave me to manage her.
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When I fail it'll be time enough to put your oar in."
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unit 131
"There, there, Marilla, you can have your own way," said Matthew reassuringly.
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unit 132
"Only be as good and kind to her as you can be without spoiling her.
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unit 133
I kind of think she's one of the sort you can do anything with if you only get her to love you."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 135
unit 136
"She'd be so excited that she wouldn't sleep a wink.
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unit 137
Marilla Cuthbert, you're fairly in for it.
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unit 138
Did you ever suppose you'd see the day when you'd be adopting an orphan girl?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 140
Anyhow, we've decided on the experiment and goodness only knows what will come of it."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
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Anne of Green Gables (1908)

Written for all ages, it has been considered a children's novel since the mid-twentieth century. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town. Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. It has been adapted as film, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. — Excerpted from Anne of Green Gables (1908) on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anne_of_Green_Gables_(1908)

by gaelle044 11 months, 3 weeks ago

CHAPTER VI.

MARILLA MAKES UP HER MIND.

Get there they did, however, in due season. Mrs. Spencer lived in a big yellow house at White Sands Cove, and she came to the door with surprise and welcome mingled on her benevolent face.

"Dear, dear," she exclaimed, "you're the last folks I was looking for to-day, but I'm real glad to see you. You'll put your horse in? And how are you, Anne?"

"I'm as well as can be expected, thank you," said Anne smilelessly. A blight seemed to have descended on her.

"I suppose we'll stay a little while to rest the mare," said Marilla, "but I promised Matthew I'd be home early. The fact is, Mrs. Spencer, there's been a queer mistake somewhere, and I've come over to see where it is. We sent word, Matthew and I, for you to bring us a boy from the asylum. We told your brother Robert to tell you we wanted a boy ten or eleven years old."

"Marilla Cuthbert, you don't say so!" said Mrs. Spencer in distress. "Why, Robert sent the word down by his daughter Nancy and she said you wanted a girl—didn't she, Flora Jane?" appealing to her daughter who had come out to the steps.

"She certainly did, Miss Cuthbert," corroborated Flora Jane earnestly.

"I'm dreadful sorry," said Mrs. Spencer. "It is too bad; but it certainly wasn't my fault, you see, Miss Cuthbert. I did the best I could and I thought I was following your instructions. Nancy is terrible flighty thing. I've often had to scold her well for her heedlessness."

"It was our own fault," said Marilla resignedly. "We should have come to you ourselves and not left an important message to be passed along by word of mouth in that fashion. Anyhow, the mistake has been made and the only thing to do now is to set it right. Can we send the child back to the asylum? I suppose they'll take her back, won't they?"

"I suppose so," said Mrs. Spencer thoughtfully, "but I don't think it will be necessary to send her back. Mrs. Peter Blewett was up here yesterday, and she was saying to me how much she wished she'd sent by me for a little girl to help her. Mrs. Peter has a large family, you know, and she finds it hard to get help. Anne will be the very girl for her. I call it positively providential."

Marilla did not look as if she thought Providence had much to do with the matter. Here was an unexpectedly good chance to get this unwelcome orphan off her hands, and she did not even feel grateful for it.

She knew Mrs. Peter Blewett only by sight as a small, shrewish-faced woman without an ounce of superfluous flesh on her bones. But she had heard of her. "A terrible worker and driver," Mrs. Peter was said to be; and discharged servant girls told fearsome tales of her temper and stinginess, and her family of pert, quarrelsome children. Marilla felt a qualm of conscience at the thought of handing Anne over to her tender mercies.

"Well, I'll go in and we'll talk the matter over," she said.

"And if there isn't Mrs. Peter coming up the lane this blessed minute!" exclaimed Mrs. Spencer, bustling her guests through the hall into the parlour, where a deadly chill struck on them as if the air had been strained so long through dark green, closely drawn blinds that it had lost every particle of warmth it had ever possessed. "That is real lucky, for we can settle the matter right away. Take the armchair. Miss Cuthbert. Anne, you sit here on the ottoman and don't wriggle. Let me take your hats. Flora Jane, go out and put the kettle on. Good afternoon, Mrs. Blewett. We were just saying how fortunate it was you happened along. Let me introduce you two ladies. Mrs. Blewett, Miss Cuthbert. Please excuse me for just a moment. I forgot to tell Flora Jane to take the buns out of the oven."

Mrs. Spencer whisked away, after pulling up the blinds. Anne, sitting mutely on the ottoman, with her hands clasped tightly in her lap, stared at Mrs. Blewett as one fascinated. Was she to be given into the keeping of this sharp-faced, sharp-eyed woman? She felt a lump coming up in her throat and her eyes smarted painfully. She was beginning to be afraid she couldn't keep the tears back when Mrs. Spencer returned, flushed and beaming, quite capable of taking any and every difficulty, physical, mental or spiritual, into consideration and settling it out of hand.

"It seems there's been a mistake about this little girl, Mrs. Blewett," she said. "I was under the impression that Mr. and Miss Cuthbert wanted a little girl to adopt. I was certainly told so. But it seems it was a boy they wanted. So if you're still of the same mind you were yesterday, I think she'll be just the thing for you."

Mrs. Blewett darted her eyes over Anne from head to foot.

"How old are you and what's your name?" she demanded.

"Anne Shirley," faltered the shrinking child, not daring to make any stipulations regarding the spelling thereof, "and I'm eleven years old."

"Humph! You don't look as if there was much to you. But you're wiry. I don't know but the wiry ones are the best after all. Well, if I take you you'll have to be a good girl, you know—good and smart and respectful. I'll expect you to earn your keep, and no mistake about that. Yes, I suppose I might as well take her off your hands, Miss Cuthbert. The baby's awful fractious, and I'm clean worn out attending to him. If you like I can take her right home now."

Marilla looked at Anne and softened at sight of the child's pale face with its look of mute misery—the misery of a helpless little creature who finds itself once more caught in the trap from which it had escaped. Marilla felt an uncomfortable conviction that, if she denied the appeal of that look, it would haunt her to her dying day. Moreover, she did not fancy Mrs. Blewett. To hand a sensitive, "high-strung" child over to such a woman! No, she could not take the responsibility of doing that!

"Well, I don't know," she said slowly. "I didn't say that Matthew and I had absolutely decided that we wouldn't keep her. In fact, I may say that Matthew is disposed to keep her. I just came over to find out how the mistake had occurred. I think I'd better take her home again and talk it over with Matthew. I feel that I oughtn't to decide on anything without consulting him. If we make up our mind not to keep her we'll bring or send her over to you to-morrow night. If we don't you may know that she is going to stay with us. Will that suit you, Mrs. Blewett?"

"I suppose it'll have to," said Mrs. Blewett ungraciously.

During Marilla's speech a sunrise had been dawning on Anne's face. First the look of despair faded out; then came a faint flush of hope; her eyes grew deep and bright as morning stars. The child was quite transfigured; and, a moment later, when Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Blewett went out in quest of a recipe the latter had come to borrow, she sprang up and flew across the room to Marilla.

"Oh, Miss Cuthbert, did you really say that perhaps you would let me stay at Green Gables?" she said, in a breathless whisper, as if speaking aloud might shatter the glorious possibility. "Did you really say it? Or did I only imagine that you did?"

"I think you'd better learn to control that imagination of yours, Anne, if you can't distinguish between what is real and what isn't," said Marilla crossly, "Yes, you did hear me say just that and no more. It isn't decided yet and perhaps we will conclude to let Mrs. Blewett take you after all. She certainly needs you much more than I do."

"I'd rather go back to the asylum than go to live with her," said Anne passionately. "She looks exactly like a—like a gimlet."

Marilla smothered a smile under the conviction that Anne must be reproved for such a speech.

"A little girl like you should be ashamed of talking so about a lady and a stranger," she said severely. "Go back and sit down quietly and hold your tongue and behave as a good girl should."

"I'll try to do and be anything you want me, if you'll only keep me," said Anne, returning meekly to her ottoman.

When they arrived back at Green Gables that evening Matthew met them in the lane. Marilla from afar had noted him prowling along it and guessed his motive. She was prepared for the relief she read in his face when he saw that she had at least brought Anne back with her. But she said nothing to him, relative to the affair, until they were both out in the yard behind the barn milking the cows. Then she briefly told him Anne's history and the result of the interview with Mrs. Spencer.

"I wouldn't give a dog I liked to that Blewett woman," said Matthew with unusual vim.

"I don't fancy her style myself," admitted Marilla, "but it's that or keeping her ourselves, Matthew. And, since you seem to want her, I suppose I'm willing—or have to be. I've been thinking over the idea until I've got kind of used to it. It seems a sort of duty. I've never brought up a child, especially a girl, and I dare say I'll make a terrible mess of it. But I'll do my best. So far as I'm concerned, Matthew, she may stay."

Matthew's shy face was a glow of delight.

"Well now, I reckoned you'd come to see it in that light, Marilla," he said. "She's such an interesting little thing."

"It'd be more to the point if you could say she was a useful little thing," retorted Marilla, "but I'll make it my business to see she's trained to be that. And mind, Matthew, you're not to go interfering with my methods. Perhaps an old maid doesn't know much about bringing up a child, but I guess she knows more than an old bachelor. So you just leave me to manage her. When I fail it'll be time enough to put your oar in."

"There, there, Marilla, you can have your own way," said Matthew reassuringly. "Only be as good and kind to her as you can be without spoiling her. I kind of think she's one of the sort you can do anything with if you only get her to love you."

Marilla sniffed, to express her contempt for Matthew's opinions concerning anything feminine, and walked off to the dairy with the pails.

"I won't tell her to-night that she can stay," she reflected, as she strained the milk into the creamers. "She'd be so excited that she wouldn't sleep a wink. Marilla Cuthbert, you're fairly in for it. Did you ever suppose you'd see the day when you'd be adopting an orphan girl? It's surprising enough; but not so surprising as that Matthew should be at the bottom of it, him that always seemed to have such a mortal dread of little girls. Anyhow, we've decided on the experiment and goodness only knows what will come of it."