Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chapter 29: A Visit

Anne, accompanied by Diana, makes a brief visit to Miss Josephine Barry's house. The narrator makes sure we understand that this is not exactly a moment of altruism.
"Miss Barry was a rather selfish old lady, if the truth must be told, and had never cared much for anybody but herself. She valued people only as they were of service to her or amused her. Anne had amused her, and consequently stood high in the old lady's good graces. But Miss Barry found herself thinking less about Anne's quaint speeches than of her fresh enthusiasms, her transparent emotions, her little winning ways, and the sweetness of her eyes and lips."
This is a growing-up chapter for Anne. It's not plot-heavy, and she's not learning any important lessons here; she's just demonstrating the maturity she's already accumulated. For instance:
"Josie Pye took first prize for knitted lace. I was real glad she did. And I was glad that I felt glad, for it shows I'm improving, don't you think, Marilla, when I can rejoice in Josie's success?"
"It was an elegant room, Marilla, but somehow sleeping in a spare room isn't what I used to think it was. That's the worst of growing up, and I'm beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don't seem half so wonderful to you when you get them."
Even city life isn't tempting to Anne:
"It's nice to be eating ice cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o'clock at night once in a while; but as a regular thing I'd rather be in the east gable at eleven, sound asleep, but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and that the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook."
Which Marilla is glad to hear. This is the closest she comes to admitting that she misses Anne when Anne's away.
"I'm glad you've got back, I must say. It's been fearful lonesome here without you, and I never put in four longer days."
Coming from Marilla, those are some pretty emotional words.

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