MRS. RACHEL LYNDE IS SURPRISED 7
sight of Matthew jaunting off so unaccountably would be too much for her neighbour'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 to-night."
If Marilla had said that Matthew had gone to Bright River to meet a kangaroo trom 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 Avon-lea 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 time —all winter in fact," returned Marilla. "Mrs. Alexander Spencer was up here one day before