more on terms of respect

I was re-reading an old favorite, Anne of Green Gables, and came across this exchange:

“What am I to call you?” asked Anne. “Shall I always say Miss Cuthbert? Can I call you Aunt Marilla?”
“No; you’ll call me just plain Marilla. I’m not used to being called Miss Cuthbert and it would make me nervous.”
“It sounds awfully disrespectful to just say Marilla,” protested Anne.
“I guess there’ll be nothing disrespectful in it if you’re careful to speak respectfully. Everybody, young and old, in Avonlea calls me Marilla except the minister. He says Miss Cuthbert—when he thinks of it.”
“I’d love to call you Aunt Marilla,” said Anne wistfully. “I’ve never had an aunt or any relation at all—not even a grandmother. It would make me feel as if I really belonged to you. Can’t I call you Aunt Marilla?”
“No. I’m not your aunt and I don’t believe in calling people names that don’t belong to them.”
“But we could imagine you were my aunt.”
“I couldn’t,” said Marilla grimly.

I’m not going to try to parse this. I just like it. Especially this, “I guess there’ll be nothing disrespectful in it if you’re careful to speak respectfully.”

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One Response to more on terms of respect

  1. Deb says:

    You’ve got the same edition of AOGG that I have!

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