Stage 1 (Novice): Anne of Green Gables, chapter 1

CHAPTER 1: THE NEW GIRL 

Mrs. Rachel Lynde found out that the quiet Cuthberts were adopting a boy to help out on the Green Gables. She was shocked.  The Cuthberts knew nothing about raising a child.  

While at the train station, Matthew Cuthbert was in for much bigger surprise. He arrived to find not a boy, but a thin girl with red hair and big gray eyes. He  couldn’t tell the child that she wasn’t wanted, so they rode back home to his sister, Marilla. On the ride, he grew quite fond of the girl’s chatter. 

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Marilla, however, was not happy. She exchanged a few words with Matthew. The bright child understood the situation and burst into uncontrollable tears. With a smile, Marilla tried to comfort her.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Anne Shirley’ she answered ‘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 smile.

‘Oh, it makes SUCH a difference. It LOOKS so much nicer.’ explained Anne.

As she put the child to bed, Marilla wished her goodnight.

‘How can you call it a GOOD night when you know it must be the very worst night I’ve ever had?’ answered Anne. 

Downstairs, she found Matthew smoking, deep in thought.

‘Matthew Cuthbert, you don’t mean to say you think we ought to keep her!’ she exclaimed. ‘What good would she be to us?’

‘We might be some good to her.’ said Matthew unexpectedly.

Upstairs in the east wing(1), a lonely, heart-hungry, friendless child cried herself to sleep.

‘I’ll have to drive over to White Sands in the afternoon and see Mrs. Spencer. You’ll come with me and we’ll settle what’s to be done with you.’ said Marilla after breakfast the next day.

After washing the dishes, Anne flew to the door, about to go play in the bright garden. Suddenly however, she returned to the table. 

‘If I can’t stay here there is no use in my loving Green Gables.’ explained Anne. Still she was happy to tell Marilla about her imaginings(2). Marilla was surprised at how endearing(3) it was.

That afternoon, as they rode on the shore road, Anne told Marilla her life story. She was born in a tiny yellow house. Her parents died from fever when she was 3-month-old, and ever since she was passed from one person to another, always a burden(4). They fell silent, Marilla felt pity for the young castaway(5). It wasn’t until they reached White Sands did Anne admit: ‘I don’t want to get there. Somehow, it will seem like the end of everything’

They found out that there had been a miscommunication(6) of some sort, since Mrs. Spencer was told that the Cuthberts wanted a girl, not a boy. Luckily, there was another woman who wanted a girl, and if Marilla wanted, Anne could be taken to her right away. Yet Marilla felt uneasy(7), and as she looked at Anne, she knew she couldn’t give the child away.

‘I think I’d better take her home again and talk it over with Matthew’ she said.

‘Oh, Miss Cuthbert, did you really say that perhaps you would let me stay at Green Gables?’ asked Anne, glowing with happiness.

‘Yes, you did hear me say just that and no more.’ replied Marilla. She told Matthew back at the farm when they got back: 

‘As far as I’m concerned, she may stay.’ He too, glowed with happiness.

 

Anne worked hard to finish chores the next day, under Marilla’s supervision. She turned out to be a bright, quick child with only one flaw: her inability to not drift(8) into daydreams. When she was done, Marilla promptly told her she and Matthew had decided to let her stay. Anne finally had a home.

 

Mrs. Rachel came to see the girl the Cuthberts had adopted, and as expected, she didn’t hold back any thoughts: ‘Well, they didn’t pick you for your looks, that’s sure and certain,’ Anne, who’d always hated her freckles and red hair, felt much pain and anger. She stomped(9) angrily at Mrs. Rachel:  ‘You are a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman!’

Needless to say, Mrs. Rachel was properly horrified, and before she left, she suggested a whip might be the only thing compatible with Anne’s temper.

Marilla knew she could never whip a child, and she too, understood Anne’s pain. But discipline(10) was needed:  Anne had to apologize to Mrs. Rachel. Anne, however, firmly refused, and Marilla said she’d have to stay in her room until she agreed.

‘I shall have to stay here forever then,’ said Anne mournfully.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were eaten in silence, Matthew growing worried over the untouched plates Marilla brought down from Anne’s room.

That evening, he sneaked upstairs, telling her to go apologize to Mrs. Rachel:

‘It’s terrible lonesome downstairs without you.’

Anne agreed, mostly because she didn’t want to upset Matthew. 

That evening, they walked to Mrs. Rachel’s house, where Anne delivered a heartfelt apology that melted the lady’s soft heart.

‘She’s a real odd little thing. On the whole, Marilla, I kind of like her.’ Mrs. Rachel said.

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After Marilla found out about Anne’s strange flower-wreathed hat had caused much gossip at Sunday school, she called Anne to account.
Anne’s sensitive heart felt so sad about upsetting Marilla that she burst into tears, until Marilla, trying to cheer her up, said they were going to visit Mrs. Barry and Anne could meet with their daughter, Diana.

What if she didn’t like me! It would be the most tragical disappointment of my life.’ exclaimed Anne.

The two girls bonded immediately, and Anne even saved some chocolate for her new best friend. Things were finally looking brighter for Anne, and she couldn’t help but plant kisses all over Marilla’s face when she agreed for Anne to go to the Sunday school picnic, warming the woman’s heart, who’d never been acquainted with a child’s love.


+ GLOSSARY:

  1. wing (n): part of a house
  2. imaginings: Ideas, stories, etc. that are thought of in your mind but that are not true or real
  3. endearing (Adj): lovable
  4. burden (n): a load that is carried with difficulty
  5. castaway(n): a person who is excluded from society 
  6. miscommunication(n): confusing information that causes misunderstanding
  7. uneasy (adj): uncomfortable
  8. drift (v): move without direction
  9. stomp(v): to strike the foot forcibly on the floor
  10. discipline(n): a set or system of rules and regulations

 

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