Mr. Harrison's house was an
old-fashioned, low-eaved, whitewashed
structure, set against a thick
Mr. Harrison himself was sitting
on his vineshaded veranda, in
his shirt sleeves, enjoying his
evening pipe. When he realized
who was coming up the path he
sprang suddenly to his feet,
bolted into the house, and shut
the door. This was merely the
uncomfortable result of his surprise,
mingled with a good deal of shame
over his outburst of temper the
day before. But it nearly swept
the remnant of her courage from
"If he's so cross now what
will he be when he hears what
I've done," she reflected miserably,
as she rapped at the door.
But Mr. Harrison opened it,
smiling sheepishly, and invited
her to enter in a tone quite
mild and friendly, if somewhat
nervous. He had laid aside his
pipe and donned his coat; he
offered Anne a very dusty chair
very politely, and her reception
would have passed off pleasantly
enough if it had not been for
the telltale of a parrot who
was peering through the bars
of his cage with wicked golden
eyes. No sooner had Anne seated
herself than Ginger exclaimed,
"Bless my soul,
what's that redheaded snippet
It would be hard to say whose
face was the redder, Mr. Harrison's
"Don't you mind that parrot," said
Mr. Harrison, casting a furious
glance at Ginger. "He's. . .he's
always talking nonsense. I got
him from my brother who was a
sailor. Sailors don't always
use the choicest language, and
parrots are very imitative birds."
"So I should think," said poor
Anne, the remembrance of her
errand quelling her resentment.
She couldn't afford to snub Mr.
Harrison under the circumstances,
that was certain. When you had
just sold a man's Jersey cow
offhand, without his knowledge
or consent you must not mind
if his parrot repeated uncomplimentary
things. Nevertheless, the "redheaded
snippet" was not quite so meek
as she might otherwise have been.
"I've come to confess something
to you, Mr. Harrison," she said
resolutely. "It's. . .it's about.
. .that Jersey cow"
"Bless my soul," exclaimed
Mr. Harrison nervously, "has
she gone and broken into my oats
again? Well, never mind. . .never
mind if she has. It's no difference.
. .none at all. I. . .I was too
hasty yesterday, that's a fact.
Never mind if she has."
"Oh, if it were only that," sighed
Anne. "But it's ten times worse.
"Bless my soul,
do you mean to say she's got
into my wheat?"
"No. . .no.
. .not the wheat. But. . ."
the cabbages! She's broken
into my cabbages that
I was raising for Exhibition,
"It's NOT the cabbages, Mr.
Harrison. I'll tell you everything.
. . that is what I came for --
but please don't interrupt me.
It makes me so nervous. Just
let me tell my story and don't
say anything till I get through
-- and then no doubt you'll say
plenty," Anne concluded, but
in thought only.
"I won't say another word," said
Mr. Harrison, and he didn't.
But Ginger was not bound by any
contract of silence and kept
ejaculating, "Redheaded snippet" at
intervals until Anne felt quite
"I shut my
Jersey cow up in our pen yesterday.
I went to Carmody and when I
came back I saw a Jersey cow
in your oats. Diana and I chased
her out and you can't imagine
what a hard time we had. I was
so dreadfully wet and tired and
vexed -- and Mr. Shearer came
by that very minute and offered
to buy the cow. I sold her to
him on the spot for twenty dollars.
It was wrong of me. I should
have waited and consulted Marilla,
of course. But I'm dreadfully
given to doing things without
thinking -- everybody who knows
me will tell you that. Mr. Shearer
took the cow right away to ship
her on the afternoon train."
"Redheaded snippet," quoted
Ginger in a tone of profound
At this point Mr. Harrison
arose and, with an expression
that would have struck terror
into any bird but a parrot, carried
Ginger's cage into an adjoining
room and shut the door. Ginger
shrieked, swore, and otherwise
conducted himself in keeping
with his reputation, but finding
himself left alone, relapsed
into sulky silence.
"Excuse me and go on," said
Mr. Harrison, sitting down again. "My
brother the sailor never taught
that bird any manners."
"I went home and after tea
I went out to the milking pen.
Mr. Harrison,". . .Anne leaned
forward, clasping her hands with
her old childish gesture, while
her big gray eyes gazed imploringly
into Mr. Harrison's embarrassed
face. . ."I found my cow still
shut up in the pen. It was YOUR
cow I had sold to Mr. Shearer."
"Bless my soul," exclaimed
Mr. Harrison, in blank amazement
at this unlooked-for conclusion. "What
a VERY extraordinary thing!"
"Oh, it isn't in the least
extraordinary that I should be
getting myself and other people
into scrapes," said Anne mournfully. "I'm
noted for that. You might suppose
I'd have grown out of it by this
time. . .I'll be seventeen next
March. . .but it seems that I
haven't. Mr. Harrison, is it
too much to hope that you'll
forgive me? I'm afraid it's too
late to get your cow back, but
here is the money for her. .
.or you can have mine in exchange
if you'd rather. She's a very
good cow. And I can't express
how sorry I am for it all."
"Tut, tut," said Mr. Harrison
briskly, "don't say another word
about it, miss. It's of no consequence.
. .no consequence whatever. Accidents
will happen. I'm too hasty myself
sometimes, miss. . . far too
hasty. But I can't help speaking
out just what I think and folks
must take me as they find me.
If that cow had been in my cabbages
now. . .but never mind, she wasn't,
so it's all right. I think I'd
rather have your cow in exchange,
since you want to be rid of her."
you, Mr. Harrison. I'm so glad
you are not vexed.
I was afraid you would be."
"And I suppose
you were scared to death to
come here and tell
me, after the fuss I made yesterday,
hey? But you mustn't mind me,
I'm a terrible outspoken old
fellow, that's all. . .awful
apt to tell the truth, no matter
if it is a bit plain."
"So is Mrs. Lynde," said
Anne, before she could prevent
"Who? Mrs. Lynde? Don't you
tell me I'm like that old gossip," said
Mr. Harrison irritably. "I'm
not. . .not a bit. What have
you got in that box?"
"A cake," said Anne archly.
In her relief at Mr. Harrison's
unexpected amiability her spirits
soared upward feather-light. "I
brought it over for you. . .I
thought perhaps you didn't have
cake very often."
"I don't, that's
a fact, and I'm mighty fond
of it, too. I'm
much obliged to you. It looks
good on top. I hope it's good
all the way through."
"It is," said Anne, gaily confident. "I
have made cakes in my time that
were NOT, as Mrs. Allan could
tell you, but this one is all
right. I made it for the Improvement
Society, but I can make another
tell you what, miss, you must
help me eat it.
I'll put the kettle on and we'll
have a cup of tea. How will that
"Will you let me make the tea?" said
Mr. Harrison chuckled.
"I see you
haven't much confidence in
my ability to make tea. You're
wrong. . .I can brew up as good
a jorum of tea as you ever drank.
But go ahead yourself. Fortunately
it rained last Sunday, so there's
plenty of clean dishes."
Anne hopped briskly up and
went to work. She washed the
teapot in several waters before
she put the tea to steep. Then
she swept the stove and set the
table, bringing the dishes out
of the pantry. The state of that
pantry horrified Anne, but she
wisely said nothing. Mr. Harrison
told her where to find the bread
and butter and a can of peaches.
Anne adorned the table with a
bouquet from the garden and shut
her eyes to the stains on the
tablecloth. Soon the tea was
ready and Anne found herself
sitting opposite Mr. Harrison
at his own table, pouring his
tea for him, and chatting freely
to him about her school and friends
and plans. She could hardly believe
the evidence of her senses.
Mr. Harrison had brought Ginger
back, averring that the poor
bird would be lonesome; and Anne,
feeling that she could forgive
everybody and everything, offered
him a walnut. But Ginger's feelings
had been grievously hurt and
he rejected all overtures of
friendship. He sat moodily on
his perch and ruffled his feathers
up until he looked like a mere
ball of green and gold.
"Why do you call him Ginger?" asked
Anne, who liked appropriate names
and thought Ginger accorded not
at all with such gorgeous plumage.
the sailor named him. Maybe
it had some reference
to his temper. I think a lot
of that bird though. . .you'd
be surprised if you knew how
much. He has his faults of course.
That bird has cost me a good
deal one way and another. Some
people object to his swearing
habits but he can't be broken
of them. I've tried. . .other
people have tried. Some folks
have prejudices against parrots.
Silly, ain't it? I like them
myself. Ginger's a lot of company
to me. Nothing would induce me
to give that bird up. . .nothing
in the world, miss."
Mr. Harrison flung the last
sentence at Anne as explosively
as if he suspected her of some
latent design of persuading him
to give Ginger up. Anne, however,
was beginning to like the queer,
fussy, fidgety little man, and
before the meal was over they
were quite good friends. Mr.
Harrison found out about the
Improvement Society and was disposed
to approve of it.
Go ahead. There's lots of room
in this settlement. . .and in
the people too."
"Oh, I don't know," flashed
Anne. To herself, or to her particular
cronies, she might admit that
there were some small imperfections,
easily removable, in Avonlea
and its inhabitants. But to hear
a practical outsider like Mr.
Harrison saying it was an entirely
different thing. "I think Avonlea
is a lovely place; and the people
in it are very nice, too."
"I guess you've got a spice
of temper," commented Mr. Harrison,
surveying the flushed cheeks
and indignant eyes opposite him. "It
goes with hair like yours, I
reckon. Avonlea is a pretty decent
place or I wouldn't have located
here; but I suppose even you
will admit that it has SOME faults?"
"I like it all the better for
them," said loyal Anne. "I don't
like places or people either
that haven't any faults. I think
a truly perfect person would
be very uninteresting. Mrs. Milton
White says she never met a perfect
person, but she's heard enough
about one . . .her husband's
first wife. Don't you think it
must be very uncomfortable to
be married to a man whose first
wife was perfect?"
"It would be more uncomfortable
to be married to the perfect
wife," declared Mr. Harrison,
with a sudden and inexplicable
When tea was over Anne insisted
on washing the dishes, although
Mr. Harrison assured her that
there were enough in the house
to do for weeks yet. She would
dearly have loved to sweep the
floor also, but no broom was
visible and she did not like
to ask where it was for fear
there wasn't one at all.
"You might run across and talk
to me once in a while," suggested
Mr. Harrison when she was leaving. "'Tisn't
far and folks ought to be neighborly.
I'm kind of interested in that
society of yours. Seems to me
there'll be some fun in it. Who
are you going to tackle first?"
"We are not going to meddle
with PEOPLE. . .it is only PLACES
we mean to improve," said Anne,
in a dignified tone. She rather
suspected that Mr. Harrison was
making fun of the project.
When she had gone Mr. Harrison
watched her from the window.
. .a lithe, girlish shape, tripping
lightheartedly across the fields
in the sunset afterglow.
"I'm a crusty, lonesome, crabbed
old chap," he said aloud, "but
there's something about that
little girl makes me feel young
again. . .and it's such a pleasant
sensation I'd like to have it
repeated once in a while."
"Redheaded snippet," croaked
Mr. Harrison shook his fist
at the parrot.
"You ornery bird," he muttered, "I
almost wish I'd wrung your neck
when my brother the sailor brought
you home. Will you never be done
getting me into trouble?"
Anne ran home blithely and
recounted her adventures to Marilla,
who had been not a little alarmed
by her long absence and was on
the point of starting out to
look for her.
"It's a pretty good world,
after all, isn't it, Marilla?" concluded
Anne happily. "Mrs. Lynde was
complaining the other day that
it wasn't much of a world. She
said whenever you looked forward
to anything pleasant you were
sure to be more or less disappointed
. . .perhaps that is true. But
there is a good side to it too.
The bad things don't always come
up to your expectations either
. . .they nearly always turn
out ever so much better than
you think. I looked forward to
a dreadfully unpleasant experience
when I went over to Mr. Harrison's
tonight; and instead he was quite
kind and I had almost a nice
time. I think we're going to
be real good friends if we make
plenty of allowances for each
other, and everything has turned
out for the best. But all the
same, Marilla, I shall certainly
never again sell a cow before
making sure to whom she belongs.
And I do NOT like parrots!"