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When Marilla and Matthew decide to adopt a boy from an orphanage they are not sure what to expect. But it's certainly not the imaginative, red-haired little girl who arrives at Green Gables instead. Join Anne on her many adventures on Prince Edward Island in this much-loved story from Lucy Maud Montgomery. This classic tale of mischief, romance, and friendship is sure to delight readers of all ages.
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About the Author
Luisa Uribe is an illustrator who lives in Bogotá, Colombia. Her primary passion is children's books, especially picture books. Her work was selected in 2015 to be part of the Iberoamerica Ilustra catalog, which showcases some of the best illustration work by Spanish-speaking artists.
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Anne of Green Gables
By L M. Montgomery, Barbara Steadman
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Surprises in Avonlea
Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, and was crossed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods.
There are plenty of people, in Avonlea and out of it, who can attend closely to their neighbor's business by neglecting their own; but Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of those capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and those of other folks at the same time. Mrs. Rachel found plenty of time to sit for hours at her kitchen window, knitting cotton quilts and keeping a sharp eye on the main road that crossed the hollow and wound up the steep red hill beyond. Since Avonlea was a peninsula jutting out into Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence, with water on two sides of it, anybody who went out of it or into it had to pass over the hill road and pass by Mrs. Rachel's all-seeing eye.
She was sitting there one afternoon in early June when Matthew Cuthbert, the shyest man alive and who hated to have to go among strangers or to any place where he might have to talk, came calmly driving his horse and buggy over the hollow and up the hill.
She said to herself, "I'll just step over to Green Gables and find out from Marilla where he's gone and why. He doesn't generally go to town this time of year and he never visits."
The Cuthberts, brother and sister, lived up the road from Lynde's Hollow. Green Gables was built at the furthest edge of Matthew's father's cleared land and there it was to this day, barely visible from the main road along which all the other Avonlea houses were situated.
Mrs. Rachel stepped out of the lane and into the backyard of Green Gables. She rapped at the kitchen door and stepped in when called out to do so. There sat Marilla Cuthbert knitting, and the table behind her was laid for supper—for three people.
Mrs. Rachel was almost dizzy with this mystery about quiet, unmysterious Green Gables. Marilla was a tall, thin woman; her dark hair showed some gray streaks and was always twisted up in a hard little knot behind with two hairpins stuck through it. "Matthew went to Bright River," explained Marilla to her friend. "We're getting a little boy from an orphan asylum in Nova Scotia and he's coming on the train tonight." If Marilla had said that Matthew had gone to Bright River to meet a kangaroo from Australia, Mrs. Rachel could not have been more astonished.
"Are you serious?" she demanded.
"Yes, of course," said Marilla, as if getting boys from orphan asylums in Nova Scotia were part of the usual spring work on any Avonlea farm.
"What on earth put such a notion into your head?"
"Well, we've been thinking about it for some time—all winter, in fact," said Marilla. "Mrs. Alexander Spencer was up here one day before Christmas and she said she was going to get a little girl from the asylum over in Hopetown in the spring. So Matthew and I have talked it over off and on ever since. Matthew is getting up in years, you know—he's sixty—and he isn't so spry as he once was. His heart troubles him a good deal. And you know how desperate hard it's got to be to get hired help. So in the end we decided to ask Mrs. Spencer to pick us out one when she went over to get her little girl. We sent word by Richard Spencer's folks to bring us a smart boy of about ten or eleven—old enough to be of some use in doing chores right off and young enough to be trained up proper. We mean to give him a good home and schooling."
"Well, Marilla," said Mrs. Rachel, "I'll just tell you plain that I think you're doing a mighty foolish thing—a risky thing, that's what. You're bringing a strange child into your house and home and you don't know a single thing about him nor how he's likely to turn out. If you had asked my advice in the matter—which you didn't do, Marilla—I'd have said for mercy's sake not to think of such a thing, that's what."
"I don't deny there's something in what you say, Rachel," returned Marilla. "I've had some doubts myself. But Matthew was terribly set on it, so I gave in. As for the risk, there's risks in pretty near everything a body does in this world. I'd never dream of taking a girl to bring up. I wonder at Mrs. Alexander for doing it."
When Mrs. Rachel set out then to spread the news, she said to herself, "It seems odd to think of a child at Green Gables. There's never been one there."
Matthew Cuthbert enjoyed the drive to Bright River except during the moments when he met women and had to nod to them—on Prince Edward Island you are supposed to nod to everyone you meet on the road whether you know them or not.
Matthew dreaded all women except Marilla and Mrs. Rachel; he had an uncomfortable feeling that women were secretly laughing at him. He may have been right; he was an odd-looking man, with a clumsy manner and long, gray hair that touched his stooping shoulders, and a full, soft brown beard which he had worn ever since he was twenty.
When he reached Bright River there was no sign of any train; he thought he was too early. The long platform at the station was almost deserted; the only living creature in sight was a girl who was sitting on a pile of shingles at the far end.
Matthew found the stationmaster locking up the ticket office before going home to supper, and asked him if the five-thirty train would soon be along.
"The five-thirty train has been in and gone half an hour ago," said the man. "But there was a passenger dropped off for you—a little girl. She's sitting out there on the shingles."
"I'm not expecting a girl," said Matthew. "It's a boy I've come for. He should be here."
"Guess there's some mistake," said the stationmaster. "Mrs. Spencer came off the train with that girl and gave her into my care. She said you and your sister were adopting her from an orphan asylum."
Poor Matthew was left to do that which was harder for him than pulling a lion's beard—walk up to a girl—a strange girl—an orphan girl—and demand of her why she wasn't a boy.
She was a child of about eleven, clothed in a very short, very tight, very ugly yellowish dress. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also quite freckled; her mouth was large and so were her gray eyes, which looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others. Those big eyes were full of spirit and liveliness.
Shy Matthew Cuthbert was ridiculously afraid of this stray woman-child.
As soon as the girl was sure that he was coming to her she stood up, grasping with one thin hand the handle of a shabby, old-fashioned bag; the other hand she held out to him.
"I suppose you are Mr. Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables?" she said in a sweet voice. "I'm very glad to see you. I was beginning to be afraid you weren't coming for me and I was imagining all the things that might have happened to prevent you. I had made up my mind that if you didn't come for me tonight I'd go down the track to that big wild cherry tree at the bend, and climb up into it to stay all night. I wouldn't be a bit afraid, and it would be lovely to sleep in a wild cherry tree all white with bloom in the moonshine, don't you think? And I was quite sure you would come for me in the morning, if you didn't tonight."
Matthew had taken her scrawny little hand in his; then and there he decided what to do. He could not tell this child with the glowing eyes that there had been a mistake; he would take her home and let Marilla do that.
"I'm sorry I was late," he said. "Come along. The horse is over in the yard. Give me your bag."
"Oh, I can carry it," said the child. "It isn't heavy. I've got all my worldly goods in it, but it isn't heavy. And if it isn't carried in just a certain way the handle pulls out—so I'd better keep it because I know the exact knack of it. We've got to drive a long piece, haven't we? I'm glad because I love driving. Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you. I've never belonged to anybody—not really. But the asylum was the worst. I don't suppose you ever were an orphan in an asylum, so you can't possibly understand what it is like. It's worse than anything you can imagine. They were good, you know—the asylum people. But there is so little scope for the imagination in an asylum— only just in the other orphans. It was pretty interesting to imagine things about them—to imagine that perhaps the girl who sat next to you was really the daughter of a rich man, who had been stolen away from her parents as a baby by a cruel nurse. I used to lie awake at nights and imagine things like that, because I didn't have time in the day. I guess that's why I'm so thin—I am dreadful thin, ain't I? I do love to imagine I'm nice and plump, with dimples in my elbows."
With this Matthew's companion stopped talking, partly because she was out of breath and partly because they had reached the buggy. Not another word did she say until they had left the village and were driving down a steep little hill. She put out her hand and broke off a branch of wild plum that brushed against the side of the buggy.
"What did that tree make you think of?" she asked.
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.
"Why, a bride, of course—a bride all in white with a lovely misty veil. I don't ever expect to be a bride myself. I'm so homely nobody will ever want to marry me. But I do hope that some day I shall have a white dress. That is my highest ideal of earthly bliss. I just love pretty clothes. And I've never had a pretty dress in my life that I can remember. But then I can imagine that I'm dressed gorgeously. This morning when I left the asylum I felt so ashamed because I had to wear this horrid old dress. When we got on the train I felt as if everybody must be looking at me and pitying me. But I just went to work and imagined that I had on the most beautiful pale blue silk dress and a big hat with nodding plumes, and a gold watch, and fine gloves and boots. I felt cheered up right away and I enjoyed my trip to Prince Edward Island with all my might. Oh, there are a lot more cherry trees all in bloom! This island is the bloomiest place. I just love it already, and I'm so glad I'm going to live here. I've always heard that Prince Edward Island was the prettiest place in the world, and I used to imagine I was living here, but I never really expected I would. It's delightful when your imaginations come true, isn't it?—What makes the roads here so red?"
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.
"Well, that is one of the things to find out sometime. Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there? But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn't talk? If you say so, I'll stop. I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult."
Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Although he found it rather difficult to keep up with her he thought that he "kind of liked her chatter." So he said, "Oh, you can talk as much as you like. I don't mind."
"Oh, I'm so glad. I know you and I are going to get along together fine. It's such a relief to talk when one wants to and not be told that children should be seen and not heard. People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?"
"Well now, that seems reasonable," said Matthew.
"Mrs. Spencer said your place was named Green Gables. I asked her all about it. And she said there were trees all around it. I was gladder than ever. I just love trees. Is there a brook near Green Gables? I forgot to ask Mrs. Spencer that."
"Well now, yes, there's one right below the house."
"Fancy! It's always been one of my dreams to live near a brook. I never expected I would though. Dreams don't often come true, do they? Wouldn't it be nice if they did? But just now I feel pretty nearly perfectly happy. I can't feel exactly perfectly happy because—well, what color would you call this?"
She twitched one of her long braids over her thin shoulder and held it before Matthew's eyes.
"It's red, ain't it?" he said.
"Yes, it's red," she said. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much— the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away, but I cannot imagine that red hair away. It will be my lifetime sorrow. Have you ever imagined what it must feel like to be divinely beautiful?"
"Well now, no, I haven't," confessed Matthew.
"I have, often. Which would you rather be if you had the choice—divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?"
"Well now, I—I don't know exactly."
"Neither do I. I can never decide. But it doesn't make much real difference for it isn't likely I'll ever be either."
After they passed through Newbridge the girl fell into silence as she gazed at the beautiful trees and at the sunset.
"I guess you're feeling pretty tired and hungry," said Matthew at last. "But we haven't very far to go now—only another mile."
"I'm glad and I'm sorry. I'm sorry because this drive has been so pleasant and I'm always sorry when pleasant things end. But I'm glad to think of getting home. You see, I've never had a real home since I can remember."
"We're pretty near home now," said Matthew. "That's Green Gables over"
"Oh, don't tell me. Let me guess. I'm sure I'll guess right."
They were on the crest of a hill. The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the afterlight. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently rising slope with farmsteads scattered along it. From one to another the girl's eyes darted. At last she fixed on a farmstead away to the left, far back from the road.
"That's it, isn't it?" she said, pointing.
"Well now, you've guessed it!"
"Just as soon as I saw it I felt I was home. Oh, it seems I must be in a dream." With a sigh she fell back into silence. Matthew felt glad that it would be Marilla and not he who would have to tell this orphan that the home she longed for was not to be hers after all. By the time they arrived at the house Matthew was shrinking from the approaching revelation. It was not of Marilla or himself he was thinking or of the trouble this mistake was probably going to make for them, but of the child's disappointment.
The yard was quite dark as they turned into it.
"Listen to the trees talking in their sleep," she whispered, as he lifted her down from the buggy to the ground. "What nice dreams they must have!"
Then, holding tightly to the bag which contained "all her worldly goods," she followed him into the house.
Marilla came forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell on the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the eager, bright eyes, she stopped short in amazement. "Matthew Cuthbert," she exclaimed. "Where is the boy?"
"There wasn't any boy," said Matthew. "There was only her."
He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even asked her name.
"No boy! But there must have been a boy," insisted Marilla. "We sent word for Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy."
"Well, she didn't. She brought her. I asked the stationmaster. And I had to bring her home. She couldn't be left there."
"Well, this is a pretty piece of business!" said Marilla.
During this talk the child remained silent, her eyes going from one to the other. Suddenly she seemed to grasp the full meaning of what had been said.
"You don't want me!" she cried. "You don't want me because I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"
Burst into tears she did. Marilla and Matthew looked at each other. Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla said, "Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."
"Yes, there is need! You would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a place you thought was going to be home and found that they didn't want you because you weren't a boy. Oh, this is the most tragical thing that ever happened to me!"
Marilla smiled a little and said, "Well, don't cry any more. We're not going to turn you out-of-doors tonight. You'll have to stay here until we find out what happened. What's your name?"
The child hesitated for a moment.
"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said.
"Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?"
"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name."
"I don't know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn't your name, what is?"
"Anne Shirley," the child said, "but oh, do call me Cordelia. Anne is such an unromantic name."
"Unromantic fiddlesticks!" said Marilla. "Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You've no need to be ashamed of it."
"Oh, I'm not ashamed of it," explained Anne, "only I like Cordelia better. But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne spelled with an e."
"What difference does it make how it's spelled?" asked Marilla with another little smile as she picked up the teapot.
"Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear your name pronounced can't you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you'll only call me Anne spelled with an e I shall try to reconcile myself to not being Cordelia."
"Very well, Anne spelled with an e, can you tell us how this mistake came to be made? Were there no boys at the asylum?"
"Oh, yes, there was an abundance. But Mrs. Spencer said distinctly that you wanted a girl about eleven years old. You don't know how delighted I was. I couldn't sleep all last night for joy."
When Matthew had gone out to put the horse away, Marilla asked, "Did Mrs. Spencer bring anybody over besides you?"
"She brought Lily Jones for herself. Lily is only five years old and she is very beautiful. If I was beautiful and had nut-brown hair would you keep me?"
"No, we want a boy to help Matthew on the farm. A girl would be of no use to us."
Excerpted from Anne of Green Gables by L M. Montgomery, Barbara Steadman. Copyright © 1994 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Surprised,
Chapter 2 - Matthew Cuthbert Is Surprised,
Chapter 3 - Marilla Cuthbert Is Surprised,
Chapter 4 - Morning at Green Gables,
Chapter 5 - Anne's History,
Chapter 6 - Marilla Makes Up Her Mind,
Chapter 7 - Anne Says Her Prayers,
Chapter 8 - Anne's Bringing-up Is Begun,
Chapter 9 - Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Properly Horrified,
Chapter 10 - Anne's Apology,
Chapter 11 - Anne's Impressions of Sunday School,
Chapter 12 - A Solemn Vow and Promise,
Chapter 13 - The Delights of Anticipation,
Chapter 14 - Anne's Confession,
Chapter 15 - A Tempest in the School Teapot,
Chapter 16 - Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results,
Chapter 17 - A New Interest in Life,
Chapter 18 - Anne to the Rescue,
Chapter 19 - A Concert, a Catastrophe, and a Confession,
Chapter 20 - A Good Imagination Gone Wrong,
Chapter 21 - A New Departure in Flavorings,
Chapter 22 - Anne Is Invited Out to Tea,
Chapter 23 - Anne Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor,
Chapter 24 - Miss Stacy and Her Pupils Get Up a Concert,
Chapter 25 - Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves,
Chapter 26 - The Story Club Is Formed,
Chapter 27 - Vanity and Vexation of Spirit,
Chapter 28 - An Unfortunate Lily Maid,
Chapter 29 - An Epoch in Anne's Life,
Chapter 30 - The Queen's Class Is Organized,
Chapter 31 - Where the Brook and River Meet,
Chapter 32 - The Pass List Is Out,
Chapter 33 - The Hotel Concert,
Chapter 34 - A Queen's Girl,
Chapter 35 - The Winter at Queen's,
Chapter 36 - The Glory and the Dream,
Chapter 37 - The Reaper Whose Name Is Death,
Chapter 38 - The Bend in the Road,