Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Dramatis Personae of Anne of Green Gables. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

  • Dramatis Personae: Anne/Narrator: read by Arielle Lipshaw

  • Marilla Cuthbert: read by Elizabeth Klett Matthew Cuthbert: read by Bruce Pirie

  • Mrs. Rachel Lynde: read by Amy Gramour Diana Barry: read by Sally McConnell

  • Gilbert Blythe: read by mb Stationmaster: read by Phil Chenevert

  • Mrs. Spencer: read by Sally McConnell Flora Jane Spencer: read by sherlock85

  • Mrs. Blewett: read by Tricia G Mrs. Barry: read by Linette Geisel

  • Mr. Phillips: read by David Lawrence Jimmy Glover/Boys: read by Peter Bishop

  • Ruby Gillis: read by ESFJ Girl Doctor: read by Phil Chenevert

  • Miss Josephine Barry: read by ashleyspence Mrs. Allan: read by Sarah Jennings

  • Josie Pye: read by rashada Carrie Sloane: read by Laura Payne

  • Miss Lucilla Harris: read by Sally McConnell Jane Andrews: read by Elizabeth Barr

  • Miss Stacy: read by Amy Gramour Moody Spurgeon McPherson: read by Peter Bishop

  • Lady: read by Availle CHAPTER I. Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Surprised

  • MRS. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow,

  • fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source

  • away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate,

  • headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and

  • cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little

  • stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard

  • for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window,

  • keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she

  • noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the

  • whys and wherefores thereof.

  • There are plenty of people in Avonlea and out of it, who can attend closely to their

  • neighbor's business by dint of neglecting their own; but Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of

  • those capable creatures who can manage their own concerns and those of other folks into

  • the bargain. She was a notable housewife; her work was always done and well done; she

  • ranthe Sewing Circle, helped run the Sunday-school, and was the strongest prop

  • of the Church Aid Society and Foreign Missions Auxiliary. Yet with all this Mrs. Rachel found

  • abundant time to sit for hours at her kitchen window, knittingcotton warpquiltsshe

  • had knitted sixteen of them, as Avonlea housekeepers were wont to tell in awed voicesand keeping

  • a sharp eye on the main road that crossed the hollow and wound up the steep red hill

  • beyond. Since Avonlea occupied a little triangular peninsula jutting out into the Gulf of St.

  • Lawrence with water on two sides of it, anybody who went out of it or into it had to pass

  • over that hill road and so run the unseen gauntlet of Mrs. Rachel's all-seeing eye.

  • She was sitting there one afternoon in early June. The sun was coming in at the window

  • warm and bright; the orchard on the slope below the house was in a bridal flush of pinky-white

  • bloom, hummed over by a myriad of bees. Thomas Lynde—a meek little man whom Avonlea people

  • calledRachel Lynde's husband”—was sowing his late turnip seed on the hill field

  • beyond the barn; and Matthew Cuthbert ought to have been sowing his on the big red brook

  • field away over by Green Gables. Mrs. Rachel knew that he ought because she had heard him

  • tell Peter Morrison the evening before in William J. Blair's store over at Carmody

  • that he meant to sow his turnip seed the next afternoon. Peter had asked him, of course,

  • for Matthew Cuthbert had never been known to volunteer information about anything in

  • his whole life.

  • And yet here was Matthew Cuthbert, at half-past three on the afternoon of a busy day, placidly

  • driving over the hollow and up the hill; moreover, he wore a white collar and his best suit of

  • clothes, which was plain proof that he was going out of Avonlea; and he had the buggy

  • and the sorrel mare, which betokened that he was going a considerable distance. Now,

  • where was Matthew Cuthbert going and why was he going there?

  • Had it been any other man in Avonlea, Mrs. Rachel, deftly putting this and that together,

  • might have given a pretty good guess as to both questions. But Matthew so rarely went

  • from home that it must be something pressing and unusual which was taking him; he was the

  • shyest man alive and hated to have to go among strangers or to any place where he might have

  • to talk. Matthew, dressed up with a white collar and driving in a buggy, was something

  • that didn't happen often. Mrs. Rachel, ponder as she might, could make nothing of it and

  • her afternoon's enjoyment was spoiled.

  • “I'll just step over to Green Gables after tea and find out from Marilla where he's

  • gone and why,” the worthy woman finally concluded. “He doesn't generally go to

  • town this time of year and he never visits; if he'd run out of turnip seed he wouldn't

  • dress up and take the buggy to go for more; he wasn't driving fast enough to be going

  • for a doctor. Yet something must have happened since last night to start him off. I'm clean

  • puzzled, that's what, and I won't know a minute's peace of mind or conscience until

  • I know what has taken Matthew Cuthbert out of Avonlea today.”

  • Accordingly after tea Mrs. Rachel set out; she had not far to go; the big, rambling,

  • orchard-embowered house where the Cuthberts lived was a scant quarter of a mile up the

  • road from Lynde's Hollow. To be sure, the long lane made it a good deal further. Matthew

  • Cuthbert's father, as shy and silent as his son after him, had got as far away as

  • he possibly could from his fellow men without actually retreating into the woods when he

  • founded his homestead. Green Gables was built at the furthest edge of his cleared land and

  • there it was to this day, barely visible from the main road along which all the other Avonlea

  • houses were so sociably situated. Mrs. Rachel Lynde did not call living in such a place

  • living at all.

  • It's just staying, that's what,” she said as she stepped along the deep-rutted,

  • grassy lane bordered with wild rose bushes. “It's no wonder Matthew and Marilla are

  • both a little odd, living away back here by themselves. Trees aren't much company, though

  • dear knows if they were there'd be enough of them. I'd ruther look at people. To be

  • sure, they seem contented enough; but then, I suppose, they're used to it. A body can

  • get used to anything, even to being hanged, as the Irishman said.”

  • With this Mrs. Rachel stepped out of the lane into the backyard of Green Gables. Very green

  • and neat and precise was that yard, set about on one side with great patriarchal willows

  • and the other with prim Lombardies. Not a stray stick nor stone was to be seen, for

  • Mrs. Rachel would have seen it if there had been. Privately she was of the opinion that

  • Marilla Cuthbert swept that yard over as often as she swept her house. One could have eaten

  • a meal off the ground without over-brimming the proverbial peck of dirt.

  • Mrs. Rachel rapped smartly at the kitchen door and stepped in when bidden to do so.

  • The kitchen at Green Gables was a cheerful apartmentor would have been cheerful if

  • it had not been so painfully clean as to give it something of the appearance of an unused

  • parlor. Its windows looked east and west; through the west one, looking out on the back

  • yard, came a flood of mellow June sunlight; but the east one, whence you got a glimpse

  • of the bloom white cherry-trees in the left orchard and nodding, slender birches down

  • in the hollow by the brook, was greened over by a tangle of vines. Here sat Marilla Cuthbert,

  • when she sat at all, always slightly distrustful of sunshine, which seemed to her too dancing

  • and irresponsible a thing for a world which was meant to be taken seriously; and here

  • she sat now, knitting, and the table behind her was laid for supper.

  • Mrs. Rachel, before she had fairly closed the door, had taken a mental note of everything

  • that was on that table. There were three plates laid, so that Marilla must be expecting some

  • one home with Matthew to tea; but the dishes were everyday dishes and there was only crab-apple

  • preserves and one kind of cake, so that the expected company could not be any particular

  • company. Yet what of Matthew's white collar and the sorrel mare? Mrs. Rachel was getting

  • fairly dizzy with this unusual mystery about quiet, unmysterious Green Gables.

  • Good evening, Rachel,” Marilla said briskly. “This is a real fine evening, isn't it?

  • Won't you sit down? How are all your folks?”

  • Something that for lack of any other name might be called friendship existed and always

  • had existed between Marilla Cuthbert and Mrs. Rachel, in spite ofor perhaps because oftheir

  • dissimilarity.

  • Marilla was a tall, thin woman, with angles and without curves; her dark hair showed some

  • gray streaks and was always twisted up in a hard little knot behind with two wire hairpins

  • stuck aggressively through it. She looked like a woman of narrow experience and rigid

  • conscience, which she was; but there was a saving something about her mouth which, if

  • it had been ever so slightly developed, might have been considered indicative of a sense

  • of humor.

  • We're all pretty well,” said Mrs. Rachel. “I was kind of afraid you weren't, though,

  • when I saw Matthew starting off today. I thought maybe he was going to the doctor's.”

  • Marilla's lips twitched understandingly. She had expected Mrs. Rachel up; she had known

  • that the sight of Matthew jaunting off so unaccountably would be too much for her neighbor's

  • curiosity.

  • Oh, no, I'm quite well although I had a bad headache yesterday,” she said. “Matthew

  • went to Bright River. 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. She was actually stricken dumb for five seconds.

  • It was unsupposable that Marilla was making fun of her, but Mrs. Rachel was almost forced

  • to suppose it.

  • Are you in earnest, Marilla?” she demanded when voice returned to her.

  • Yes, of course,” said Marilla, as if getting boys from orphan asylums in Nova Scotia

  • were part of the usual spring work on any well-regulated Avonlea farm instead of being

  • an unheard of innovation.

  • Mrs. Rachel felt that she had received a severe mental jolt. She thought in exclamation points.

  • A boy! Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of all people adopting a boy! From an orphan asylum!

  • Well, the world was certainly turning upside down! She would be surprised at nothing after

  • this! Nothing!

  • What on earth put such a notion into your head?” she demanded disapprovingly.

  • This had been done without her advice being asked, and must perforce be disapproved.

  • Well, we've been thinking about it for some timeall winter in fact,” returned

  • 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 Hopeton in the spring. Her

  • cousin lives there and Mrs. Spencer has visited here and knows all about it. So Matthew and

  • I have talked it over off and on ever since. We thought we'd get a boy. Matthew is getting

  • up in years, you knowhe's sixtyand 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. There's never anybody to be had but those stupid, half-grown little French boys;

  • and as soon as you do get one broke into your ways and taught something he's up and off

  • to the lobster canneries or the States. At first Matthew suggested getting a Home boy.

  • But I said 'no' flat to that. 'They may be all right—I'm not saying they're

  • notbut no London street Arabs for me,' I said. 'Give me a native born at least.

  • There'll be a risk, no matter who we get. But I'll feel easier in my mind and sleep

  • sounder at nights if we get a born Canadian.' 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 heard last week she was

  • going, so we sent her word by Richard Spencer's folks at Carmody to bring us a smart, likely

  • boy of about ten or eleven. We decided that would be the best ageold 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. We had a telegram from Mrs. Alexander Spencer todaythe

  • mail-man brought it from the stationsaying they were coming on the five-thirty train

  • tonight. So Matthew went to Bright River to meet him. Mrs. Spencer will drop him off there.

  • Of course she goes on to White Sands station herself.”

  • Mrs. Rachel prided herself on always speaking her mind; she proceeded to speak it now, having

  • adjusted her mental attitude to this amazing piece of news.

  • Well, Marilla, I'll just tell you plain that I think you're doing a mighty foolish

  • thing—a risky thing, that's what. You don't know what you're getting. You're

  • bringing a strange child into your house and home and you don't know a single thing about

  • him nor what his disposition is like nor what sort of parents he had nor how he's likely

  • to turn out. Why, it was only last week I read in the paper how a man and his wife up

  • west of the Island took a boy out of an orphan asylum and he set fire to the house at nightset

  • it on purpose, Marillaand nearly burnt them to a crisp in their beds. And I know

  • another case where an adopted boy used to suck the eggsthey couldn't break him

  • of it. If you had asked my advice in the matterwhich you didn't do, Marilla—I'd have said

  • for mercy's sake not to think of such a thing, that's what.”

  • This Job's comforting seemed neither to offend nor to alarm Marilla. She knitted steadily

  • on.

  • “I don't deny there's something in what you say, Rachel. I've had some qualms myself.

  • But Matthew was terrible set on it. I could see that, so I gave in. It's so seldom Matthew

  • sets his mind on anything that when he does I always feel it's my duty to give in. And

  • as for the risk, there's risks in pretty near everything a body does in this world.

  • There's risks in people's having children of their own if it comes to thatthey don't

  • always turn out well. And then Nova Scotia is right close to the Island. It isn't as

  • if we were getting him from England or the States. He can't be much different from

  • ourselves.”

  • Well, I hope it will turn out all right,” said Mrs. Rachel in a tone that plainly indicated

  • her painful doubts. “Only don't say I didn't warn you if he burns Green Gables

  • down or puts strychnine in the well—I heard of a case over in New Brunswick where an orphan

  • asylum child did that and the whole family died in fearful agonies. Only, it was a girl

  • in that instance.”

  • Well, we're not getting a girl,” said Marilla, as if poisoning wells were a purely

  • feminine accomplishment and not to be dreaded in the case of a boy. “I'd never dream

  • of taking a girl to bring up. I wonder at Mrs. Alexander Spencer for doing it. But there,

  • she wouldn't shrink from adopting a whole orphan asylum if she took it into her head.”

  • Mrs. Rachel would have liked to stay until Matthew came home with his imported orphan.

  • But reflecting that it would be a good two hours at least before his arrival she concluded

  • to go up the road to Robert Bell's and tell the news. It would certainly make a sensation

  • second to none, and Mrs. Rachel dearly loved to make a sensation. So she took herself away,

  • somewhat to Marilla's relief, for the latter felt her doubts and fears reviving under the

  • influence of Mrs. Rachel's pessimism.

  • Well, of all things that ever were or will be!” ejaculated Mrs. Rachel when she was

  • safely out in the lane. “It does really seem as if I must be dreaming. Well, I'm

  • sorry for that poor young one and no mistake. Matthew and Marilla don't know anything

  • about children and they'll expect him to be wiser and steadier that his own grandfather,

  • if so be's he ever had a grandfather, which is doubtful. It seems uncanny to think of

  • a child at Green Gables somehow; there's never been one there, for Matthew and Marilla

  • were grown up when the new house was builtif they ever were children, which is hard to

  • believe when one looks at them. I wouldn't be in that orphan's shoes for anything.

  • My, but I pity him, that's what.”

  • So said Mrs. Rachel to the wild rose bushes out of the fulness of her heart; but if she

  • could have seen the child who was waiting patiently at the Bright River station at that

  • very moment her pity would have been still deeper and

  • more profound.

  • CHAPTER II. Matthew Cuthbert is surprised MATTHEW Cuthbert and the sorrel mare jogged

  • comfortably over the eight miles to Bright River. It was a pretty road, running along

  • between snug farmsteads, with now and again a bit of balsamy fir wood to drive through

  • or a hollow where wild plums hung out their filmy bloom. The air was sweet with the breath

  • of many apple orchards and the meadows sloped away in the distance to horizon mists of pearl

  • and purple; while

  • The little birds sang as if it were The one day of summer in all the year.”

  • Matthew enjoyed the drive after his own fashion, except during the moments when he met women

  • and had to nod to themfor in Prince Edward island you are supposed to nod to all and

  • sundry 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 the mysterious creatures were secretly laughing at him. He may have been quite right

  • in thinking so, for he was an odd-looking personage, with an ungainly figure and long

  • iron-gray hair that touched his stooping shoulders, and a full, soft brown beard which he had