MARILLA CUTHBERT IS SURPRISED 37
smoking—a sure sign of perturbation of mind. He seldom smoked, for Marilla set her face against it as a filthy habit; but at certain times and seasons he felt driven to it and then Marilla winked at the practice, realizing that a mere man must have some vent for his emotions.
"Well, this is a pretty kettle of fish," she said wrath fully. "This is what comes 01 sending word instead of going ourselves. Robert Spencer's folks have twisted that message somehow. One of us will have to drive over and see Mrs. Spencer to-morrow, that's certain. This girl will- have to be sent back to the asylum."
"Yes, I suppose so," said Matthew reluctantly.
"You suppose so! Don't you know it ?"
"Well now, she's a real nice little thing, Marilla. It's kind of a pity to send her back when she's so set on staying here."
"Matthew Cuthbert, you don't mean to say you think we ought to keep her!"
Manila's astonishment could not have been greater if Matthew had expressed a predilection for standing on his head.
"Well now, no, I suppose not—not exactly," stammered Matthew, uncomfortably driven into a corner for his precise meaning. "I suppose—we could hardly be expected to keep her."
"I should say not. What good would she be to us?"
"We might be some good to her," said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.
"Matthew Cuthbert, I believe that child has be-