Mrs rachel lynde is surpris

Words: 1000+

Skills: Character Traits Summary

Grades: 4th 5th 6th

Topics: Realistic Fiction

Genres: Prose

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CCSS: Reading: Literature

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Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Surprised


by Lucy Maud Montgomery from Anne of Green Gables

Chapter I passage: "Anne of Green Gables" is a well-loved classic by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne is an orphan girl who is taken in by aging siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. In this passage, Marilla explains to their neighbor the decision to take in a boy from the orphanage. Surprises are in store for the whole group. Student's will read the passage and respond to questions on character traits and the plot.

Reading Comprehension Passage

Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Surprised

by Lucy Maud Montgomery from Anne of Green Gables
Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew Cuthbert are getting old, and they have decided to have an orphan boy from a nearby orphanage come live with them and help them on their farm. In this passage, Marilla is telling their neighbor, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, about their decision.

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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 time—all 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 know—he’s sixty—and 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 not—but no London street boys 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 age—old 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 today—the mail-man brought it from the station—saying 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 night—set it on purpose, Marilla—and nearly burnt them to a crisp in their beds. And I know another case where an adopted boy used to suck the eggs—they couldn’t break him of it. If you had asked my advice in the matter—which 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 that—they 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.”

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1. What are three adjectives you would use to describe Mrs. Rachel Lynde's personality?



2. What are three adjectives you would use to describe Marilla Cuthbert's personality?



3. Why does Marilla say they want a 10 or 11 year old boy?



4. What is Marilla's opinion about adopting a girl?