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  • CHAPTER XI. Anne's Impressions of Sunday-School

  • "Well, how do you like them?" said Marilla. Anne was standing in the gable room,

  • looking solemnly at three new dresses spread out on the bed.

  • One was of snuffy colored gingham which Marilla had been tempted to buy from a

  • peddler the preceding summer because it looked so serviceable; one was of black-

  • and-white checkered sateen which she had

  • picked up at a bargain counter in the winter; and one was a stiff print of an

  • ugly blue shade which she had purchased that week at a Carmody store.

  • She had made them up herself, and they were all made alike--plain skirts fulled tightly

  • to plain waists, with sleeves as plain as waist and skirt and tight as sleeves could

  • be.

  • "I'll imagine that I like them," said Anne soberly.

  • "I don't want you to imagine it," said Marilla, offended.

  • "Oh, I can see you don't like the dresses!

  • What is the matter with them? Aren't they neat and clean and new?"

  • "Yes." "Then why don't you like them?"

  • "They're--they're not--pretty," said Anne reluctantly.

  • "Pretty!" Marilla sniffed.

  • "I didn't trouble my head about getting pretty dresses for you.

  • I don't believe in pampering vanity, Anne, I'll tell you that right off.

  • Those dresses are good, sensible, serviceable dresses, without any frills or

  • furbelows about them, and they're all you'll get this summer.

  • The brown gingham and the blue print will do you for school when you begin to go.

  • The sateen is for church and Sunday school. I'll expect you to keep them neat and clean

  • and not to tear them.

  • I should think you'd be grateful to get most anything after those skimpy wincey

  • things you've been wearing." "Oh, I AM grateful," protested Anne.

  • "But I'd be ever so much gratefuller if--if you'd made just one of them with puffed

  • sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now.

  • It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves."

  • "Well, you'll have to do without your thrill.

  • I hadn't any material to waste on puffed sleeves.

  • I think they are ridiculous-looking things anyhow.

  • I prefer the plain, sensible ones."

  • "But I'd rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible

  • all by myself," persisted Anne mournfully. "Trust you for that!

  • Well, hang those dresses carefully up in your closet, and then sit down and learn

  • the Sunday school lesson.

  • I got a quarterly from Mr. Bell for you and you'll go to Sunday school tomorrow," said

  • Marilla, disappearing downstairs in high dudgeon.

  • Anne clasped her hands and looked at the dresses.

  • "I did hope there would be a white one with puffed sleeves," she whispered

  • disconsolately.

  • "I prayed for one, but I didn't much expect it on that account.

  • I didn't suppose God would have time to bother about a little orphan girl's dress.

  • I knew I'd just have to depend on Marilla for it.

  • Well, fortunately I can imagine that one of them is of snow-white muslin with lovely

  • lace frills and three-puffed sleeves."

  • The next morning warnings of a sick headache prevented Marilla from going to

  • Sunday-school with Anne. "You'll have to go down and call for Mrs.

  • Lynde, Anne." she said.

  • "She'll see that you get into the right class.

  • Now, mind you behave yourself properly. Stay to preaching afterwards and ask Mrs.

  • Lynde to show you our pew.

  • Here's a cent for collection. Don't stare at people and don't fidget.

  • I shall expect you to tell me the text when you come home."

  • Anne started off irreproachable, arrayed in the stiff black-and-white sateen, which,

  • while decent as regards length and certainly not open to the charge of

  • skimpiness, contrived to emphasize every corner and angle of her thin figure.

  • Her hat was a little, flat, glossy, new sailor, the extreme plainness of which had

  • likewise much disappointed Anne, who had permitted herself secret visions of ribbon

  • and flowers.

  • The latter, however, were supplied before Anne reached the main road, for being

  • confronted halfway down the lane with a golden frenzy of wind-stirred buttercups

  • and a glory of wild roses, Anne promptly

  • and liberally garlanded her hat with a heavy wreath of them.

  • Whatever other people might have thought of the result it satisfied Anne, and she

  • tripped gaily down the road, holding her ruddy head with its decoration of pink and

  • yellow very proudly.

  • When she had reached Mrs. Lynde's house she found that lady gone.

  • Nothing daunted, Anne proceeded onward to the church alone.

  • In the porch she found a crowd of little girls, all more or less gaily attired in

  • whites and blues and pinks, and all staring with curious eyes at this stranger in their

  • midst, with her extraordinary head adornment.

  • Avonlea little girls had already heard queer stories about Anne.

  • Mrs. Lynde said she had an awful temper; Jerry Buote, the hired boy at Green Gables,

  • said she talked all the time to herself or to the trees and flowers like a crazy girl.

  • They looked at her and whispered to each other behind their quarterlies.

  • Nobody made any friendly advances, then or later on when the opening exercises were

  • over and Anne found herself in Miss Rogerson's class.

  • Miss Rogerson was a middle-aged lady who had taught a Sunday-school class for twenty

  • years.

  • Her method of teaching was to ask the printed questions from the quarterly and

  • look sternly over its edge at the particular little girl she thought ought to

  • answer the question.

  • She looked very often at Anne, and Anne, thanks to Marilla's drilling, answered

  • promptly; but it may be questioned if she understood very much about either question

  • or answer.

  • She did not think she liked Miss Rogerson, and she felt very miserable; every other

  • little girl in the class had puffed sleeves.

  • Anne felt that life was really not worth living without puffed sleeves.

  • "Well, how did you like Sunday school?" Marilla wanted to know when Anne came home.

  • Her wreath having faded, Anne had discarded it in the lane, so Marilla was spared the

  • knowledge of that for a time. "I didn't like it a bit.

  • It was horrid."

  • "Anne Shirley!" said Marilla rebukingly. Anne sat down on the rocker with a long

  • sigh, kissed one of Bonny's leaves, and waved her hand to a blossoming fuchsia.

  • "They might have been lonesome while I was away," she explained.

  • "And now about the Sunday school. I behaved well, just as you told me.

  • Mrs. Lynde was gone, but I went right on myself.

  • I went into the church, with a lot of other little girls, and I sat in the corner of a

  • pew by the window while the opening exercises went on.

  • Mr. Bell made an awfully long prayer.

  • I would have been dreadfully tired before he got through if I hadn't been sitting by

  • that window.

  • But it looked right out on the Lake of Shining Waters, so I just gazed at that and

  • imagined all sorts of splendid things." "You shouldn't have done anything of the

  • sort.

  • You should have listened to Mr. Bell." "But he wasn't talking to me," protested

  • Anne. "He was talking to God and he didn't seem

  • to be very much inter-ested in it, either.

  • I think he thought God was too far off though.

  • There was a long row of white birches hanging over the lake and the sunshine fell

  • down through them, 'way, 'way down, deep into the water.

  • Oh, Marilla, it was like a beautiful dream!

  • It gave me a thrill and I just said, 'Thank you for it, God,' two or three times."

  • "Not out loud, I hope," said Marilla anxiously.

  • "Oh, no, just under my breath.

  • Well, Mr. Bell did get through at last and they told me to go into the classroom with

  • Miss Rogerson's class. There were nine other girls in it.

  • They all had puffed sleeves.

  • I tried to imagine mine were puffed, too, but I couldn't.

  • Why couldn't I?

  • It was as easy as could be to imagine they were puffed when I was alone in the east

  • gable, but it was awfully hard there among the others who had really truly puffs."

  • "You shouldn't have been thinking about your sleeves in Sunday school.

  • You should have been attending to the lesson.

  • I hope you knew it."

  • "Oh, yes; and I answered a lot of questions.

  • Miss Rogerson asked ever so many. I don't think it was fair for her to do all

  • the asking.

  • There were lots I wanted to ask her, but I didn't like to because I didn't think she

  • was a kindred spirit. Then all the other little girls recited a

  • paraphrase.

  • She asked me if I knew any. I told her I didn't, but I could recite,

  • 'The Dog at His Master's Grave' if she liked.

  • That's in the Third Royal Reader.

  • It isn't a really truly religious piece of poetry, but it's so sad and melancholy that

  • it might as well be.

  • She said it wouldn't do and she told me to learn the nineteenth paraphrase for next

  • Sunday. I read it over in church afterwards and

  • it's splendid.

  • There are two lines in particular that just thrill me.

  • "'Quick as the slaughtered squadrons fell In Midian's evil day.'

  • "I don't know what 'squadrons' means nor 'Midian,' either, but it sounds SO

  • tragical. I can hardly wait until next Sunday to

  • recite it.

  • I'll practice it all the week. After Sunday school I asked Miss Rogerson--

  • because Mrs. Lynde was too far away--to show me your pew.

  • I sat just as still as I could and the text was Revelations, third chapter, second and

  • third verses. It was a very long text.

  • If I was a minister I'd pick the short, snappy ones.

  • The sermon was awfully long, too. I suppose the minister had to match it to

  • the text.

  • I didn't think he was a bit interesting. The trouble with him seems to be that he

  • hasn't enough imagination. I didn't listen to him very much.

  • I just let my thoughts run and I thought of the most surprising things."

  • Marilla felt helplessly that all this should be sternly reproved, but she was

  • hampered by the undeniable fact that some of the things Anne had said, especially

  • about the minister's sermons and Mr. Bell's

  • prayers, were what she herself had really thought deep down in her heart for years,

  • but had never given expression to.

  • It almost seemed to her that those secret, unuttered, critical thoughts had suddenly

  • taken visible and accusing shape and form in the person of this outspoken morsel of

  • neglected humanity.

  • >

  • CHAPTER XII. A Solemn Vow and Promise

  • It was not until the next Friday that Marilla heard the story of the flower-

  • wreathed hat. She came home from Mrs. Lynde's and called

  • Anne to account.

  • "Anne, Mrs. Rachel says you went to church last Sunday with your hat rigged out

  • ridiculous with roses and buttercups. What on earth put you up to such a caper?

  • A pretty-looking object you must have been!"

  • "Oh. I know pink and yellow aren't becoming to

  • me," began Anne.

  • "Becoming fiddlesticks! It was putting flowers on your hat at all,

  • no matter what color they were, that was ridiculous.

  • You are the most aggravating child!"

  • "I don't see why it's any more ridiculous to wear flowers on your hat than on your

  • dress," protested Anne. "Lots of little girls there had bouquets

  • pinned on their dresses.

  • What's the difference?" Marilla was not to be drawn from the safe

  • concrete into dubious paths of the abstract.

  • "Don't answer me back like that, Anne.

  • It was very silly of you to do such a thing.

  • Never let me catch you at such a trick again.

  • Mrs. Rachel says she thought she would sink through the floor when she saw you come in

  • all rigged out like that. She couldn't get near enough to tell you to

  • take them off till it was too late.

  • She says people talked about it something dreadful.

  • Of course they would think I had no better sense than to let you go decked out like

  • that."

  • "Oh, I'm so sorry," said Anne, tears welling into her eyes.

  • "I never thought you'd mind.

  • The roses and buttercups were so sweet and pretty I thought they'd look lovely on my

  • hat. Lots of the little girls had artificial

  • flowers on their hats.

  • I'm afraid I'm going to be a dreadful trial to you.

  • Maybe you'd better send me back to the asylum.

  • That would be terrible; I don't think I could endure it; most likely I would go

  • into consumption; I'm so thin as it is, you see.

  • But that would be better than being a trial to you."

  • "Nonsense," said Marilla, vexed at herself for having made the child cry.

  • "I don't want to send you back to the asylum, I'm sure.

  • All I want is that you should behave like other little girls and not make yourself

  • ridiculous.

  • Don't cry any more. I've got some news for you.

  • Diana Barry came home this afternoon.

  • I'm going up to see if I can borrow a skirt pattern from Mrs. Barry, and if you like

  • you can come with me and get acquainted with Diana."

  • Anne rose to her feet, with clasped hands, the tears still glistening on her cheeks;

  • the dish towel she had been hemming slipped unheeded to the floor.

  • "Oh, Marilla, I'm frightened--now that it has come I'm actually frightened.

  • What if she shouldn't like me! It would be the most tragical

  • disappointment of my life."

  • "Now, don't get into a fluster. And I do wish you wouldn't use such long

  • words. It sounds so funny in a little girl.

  • I guess Diana'll like you well enough.

  • It's her mother you've got to reckon with. If she doesn't like you it won't matter how

  • much Diana does.

  • If she has heard about your outburst to Mrs. Lynde and going to church with

  • buttercups round your hat I don't know what she'll think of you.

  • You must be polite and well behaved, and don't make any of your startling speeches.

  • For pity's sake, if the child isn't actually trembling!"

  • Anne WAS trembling.

  • Her face was pale and tense.

  • "Oh, Marilla, you'd be excited, too, if you were going to meet a little girl you hoped

  • to be your bosom friend and whose mother mightn't like you," she said as she

  • hastened to get her hat.

  • They went over to Orchard Slope by the short cut across the brook and up the firry

  • hill grove. Mrs. Barry came to the kitchen door in

  • answer to Marilla's knock.

  • She was a tall black-eyed, black-haired woman, with a very resolute mouth.

  • She had the reputation of being very strict with her children.

  • "How do you do, Marilla?" she said cordially.

  • "Come in. And this is the little girl you have

  • adopted, I suppose?"

  • "Yes, this is Anne Shirley," said Marilla. "Spelled with an E," gasped Anne, who,

  • tremulous and excited as she was, was determined there should be no