"As a general thing Matthew gravitated between the kitchen and the little bedroom off the hall where he slept; once in a while he ventured uncomfortably into the parlor or sitting room when the minister came to tea. But he had never been upstairs in his own house since the spring he helped Marilla paper the spare bedroom, and that was four years ago."Matthew, having promised to stay out of Anne's upbringing, now finds himself interfering for the first time. Because, after all, he does know better.
What's more, he knows how to persuade, so that Anne, who had been steadfastly refusing to apologize to Mrs. Rachel, sees that maybe she's wrong.
"It would be true enough to say I am sorry, because I AM sorry now. I wasn't a bit sorry last night."And then Anne agrees to tell Marilla nothing of his "interference":
"Wild horses won't drag the secret from me," promised Anne solemnly. "How would wild horses drag a secret from a person anyhow?"I suppose that's a reference to the quartering portion of drawing and quartering -- but those are generally domesticated horses used for that purpose. So how did "wild horses" become part of the cliche? The idea of being trampled by them? Somehow dragged behind one?
You can see this is Miss Shirley's affect on everyone, not just her adoptive family.
So Anne tells Marilla that she's agreed to apologize, and they head over to the Lynde house. But Marilla's a smart lady, and she notices things:
"But the former under-stood in dismay that Anne was actually enjoying her valley of humiliation—was reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement. Where was the wholesome punishment upon which she, Marilla, had plumed herself? Anne had turned it into a species of positive pleasure."Complete with begging forgiveness on her knees.
"Good Mrs. Lynde, not being overburdened with perception, did not see this."Narrative snark FTW.
And then we get another look at how Marilla is the one changing here, learning what it means to have a child in her life and to unbend occasionally.
"Something warm and pleasant welled up in Marilla's heart at touch of that thin little hand in her own—a throb of the maternity she had missed, perhaps. Its very unaccustomedness and sweetness disturbed her. She hastened to restore her sensations to their normal calm by inculcating a moral."