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CHAPTER 5: Anne's History (continued)
"Not a great deal. I went a little the last year I stayed with Mrs. Thomas. When I went up river we were so far from a school that I couldn't walk it in winter and there was a vacation in summer, so I could only go in the spring and fall. But of course I went while I was at the asylum. I can read pretty well and I know ever so many pieces of poetry off by heart--`The Battle of Hohenlinden' and `Edinburgh after Flodden,' and `Bingen of the Rhine,' and lost of the `Lady of the Lake' and most of `The Seasons' by James Thompson. Don't you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back? There is a piece in the Fifth Reader--`The Downfall of Poland'--that is just full of thrills. Of course, I wasn't in the Fifth Reader--I was only in the Fourth--but the big girls used to lend me theirs to read."
"Were those women--Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond--good to you?" asked Marilla, looking at Anne out of the corner of her eye.
"O-o-o-h," faltered Anne. Her sensitive little face suddenly flushed scarlet and embarrassment sat on her brow. "Oh, they MEANT to be--I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be good to you, you don't mind very much when they're not quite--always. They had a good deal to worry them, you know. It's very trying to have a drunken husband, you see; and it must be very trying to have twins three times in succession, don't you think? But I feel sure they meant to be good to me."
Marilla asked no more questions. Anne gave herself up to a silent rapture over the shore road and Marilla guided the sorrel abstractedly while she pondered deeply. Pity was suddenly stirring in her heart for the child. What a starved, unloved life she had had--a life of drudgery and poverty and neglect; for Marilla was shrewd enough to read between the lines of Anne's history and divine the truth. No wonder she had been so delighted at the prospect of a real home. It was a pity she had to be sent back. What if she, Marilla, should indulge Matthew's unaccountable whim and let her stay? He was set on it; and the child seemed a nice, teachable little thing.
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