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Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery

VIII. The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham's

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I did not. The hall below was empty and dusty. I opened the first door I came to and walked boldly in. A man was sitting by the window, looking moodily out. I should have known him for Alexander Abraham anywhere. He had just the same uncared-for, ragged appearance that the house had; and yet, like the house, it seemed that he would not be bad looking if he were trimmed up a little. His hair looked as if it had never been combed, and his whiskers were wild in the extreme.

He looked at me with blank amazement in his countenance.

"Where is Jimmy Spencer?" I demanded. "I have come to see him."

"How did he ever let you in?" asked the man, staring at me.

"He didn't let me in," I retorted. "He chased me all over the lawn, and I only saved myself from being torn piecemeal by scrambling up a tree. You ought to be prosecuted for keeping such a dog! Where is Jimmy?"

Instead of answering Alexander Abraham began to laugh in a most unpleasant fashion.

"Trust a woman for getting into a man's house if she has made up her mind to," he said disagreeably.

Seeing that it was his intention to vex me I remained cool and collected.

"Oh, I wasn't particular about getting into your house, Mr. Bennett," I said calmly. "I had but little choice in the matter. It was get in lest a worse fate befall me. It was not you or your house I wanted to see--although I admit that it is worth seeing if a person is anxious to find out how dirty a place CAN be. It was Jimmy. For the third and last time--where is Jimmy?"

"Jimmy is not here," said Mr. Bennett gruffly--but not quite so assuredly. "He left last week and hired with a man over at Newbridge."

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"In that case," I said, picking up William Adolphus, who had been exploring the room with a disdainful air, "I won't disturb you any longer. I shall go."

"Yes, I think it would be the wisest thing," said Alexander Abraham-- not disagreeably this time, but reflectively, as if there was some doubt about the matter. "I'll let you out by the back door. Then the--ahem!--the dog will not interfere with you. Please go away quietly and quickly."

I wondered if Alexander Abraham thought I would go away with a whoop. But I said nothing, thinking this the most dignified course of conduct, and I followed him out to the kitchen as quickly and quietly as he could have wished. Such a kitchen!

Alexander Abraham opened the door--which was locked--just as a buggy containing two men drove into the yard.

"Too late!" he exclaimed in a tragic tone. I understood that something dreadful must have happened, but I did not care, since, as I fondly supposed, it did not concern me. I pushed out past Alexander Abraham-- who was looking as guilty as if he had been caught burglarizing-- and came face to face with the man who had sprung from the buggy. It was old Dr. Blair, from Carmody, and he was looking at me as if he had found me shoplifting.

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Chronicles of Avonlea
Lucy Maud Montgomery

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