Monday, September 5, 2011

Chapter 25: Matthew discovers fashion

"Matthew was having a bad ten minutes of it."
Poor man. Not just because he's hiding from a gaggle of girls who have taken over his house, but because of the adventure he's about to embark on.

As he sits there wondering how long he's going to have to wait before the giggling mass of hormones moves on, he figures out something that Marilla hasn't yet considered worthy of attention:
"The more Matthew thought about the matter the more he was convinced that Anne never had been dressed like the other girls—never since she had come to Green Gables. Marilla kept her clothed in plain, dark dresses, all made after the same unvarying pattern. If Matthew knew there was such a thing as fashion in dress it was as much as he did; but he was quite sure that Anne's sleeves did not look at all like the sleeves the other girls wore."
And he knows better than to talk to Marilla about it. So instead, he girds his loins and sets out on the difficult task of being a sixty-something bachelor buying a dress for the first time.

He's so uncomfortable with the idea that he doesn't even go to his usual store:
"To be sure, the Cuthberts always had gone to William Blair's; it was almost as much a matter of conscience with them as to attend the Presbyterian church and vote Conservative."
But he can't get away from the estrogen, since he's waited on by a female clerk.
"Matthew was covered with confusion at finding her there at all; and those bangles completely wrecked his wits at one fell swoop."
He ends up with no dress, and twenty pounds of brown sugar.
"It had been a gruesome experience, but it served him right, he thought, for committing the heresy of going to a strange store."
And of course, he's still not telling Marilla a thing, so she's left to rant about the brown sugar and show her disdain for the hired help once again:
"You know I never use it except for the hired man's porridge or black fruit cake. Jerry's gone and I've made my cake long ago."
Matthew finally solves the problem by going to Rachel Lynde, who thoroughly approves:
"That man is waking up after being asleep for over sixty years."
and secretly makes up a dress for Anne. Naturally, transports of delight follow.

Anne wears the dress to the school recital, to much acclaim -- and, Diana points out, some special attention:
"Wait till I tell you. When you ran off the platform after the fairy dialogue one of your roses fell out of your hair. I saw Gil pick it up and put it in his breast pocket. There now. You're so romantic that I'm sure you ought to be pleased at that."
Who wants to bet on that?


CLM said...

My niece finally finished AOGG but sobbed so hard when Matthew died that I think she wished she hadn't bothered. Were we tougher? More hard-hearted? Simply more accepting of life and death? (not that I didn't cry myself).

I did love how much Matthew's love of Anne forced him to contemplate fashion.

Sarah Rettger said...

This is another case where the movie did a great job dramatizing the text - they weren't entirely faithful to what LMM wrote, but totally got the scene across.

And I really don't remember mourning Matthew when I read and watched AOGG as a kid -- much more now!