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CHAPTER 9: Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Properly Horrified (continued)
Anne was out in the orchard when Mrs. Rachel came, wandering at her own sweet will through the lush, tremulous grasses splashed with ruddy evening sunshine; so that good lady had an excellent chance to talk her illness fully over, describing every ache and pulse beat with such evident enjoyment that Marilla thought even grippe must bring its compensations. When details were exhausted Mrs. Rachel introduced the real reason of her call.
"I've been hearing some surprising things about you and Matthew."
"I don't suppose you are any more surprised than I am myself," said Marilla. "I'm getting over my surprise now."
"It was too bad there was such a mistake," said Mrs. Rachel sympathetically. "Couldn't you have sent her back?"
"I suppose we could, but we decided not to. Matthew took a fancy to her. And I must say I like her myself-- although I admit she has her faults. The house seems a different place already. She's a real bright little thing."
Marilla said more than she had intended to say when she began, for she read disapproval in Mrs. Rachel's expression.
"It's a great responsibility you've taken on yourself," said that lady gloomily, "especially when you've never had any experience with children. You don't know much about her or her real disposition, I suppose, and there's no guessing how a child like that will turn out. But I don't want to discourage you I'm sure, Marilla."
"I'm not feeling discouraged," was Marilla's dry response. "when I make up my mind to do a thing it stays made up. I suppose you'd like to see Anne. I'll call her in."
Anne came running in presently, her face sparkling with the delight of her orchard rovings; but, abashed at finding the delight herself in the unexpected presence of a stranger, she halted confusedly inside the door. She certainly was an odd-looking little creature in the short tight wincey dress she had worn from the asylum, below which her thin legs seemed ungracefully long. Her freckles were more numerous and obtrusive than ever; the wind had ruffled her hatless hair into over-brilliant disorder; it had never looked redder than at that moment.
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