Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chapter 24: Miss Stacy

It's time to welcome one of the most awesome adult characters in Anne of Green Gables: Miss Stacy. (Points to Kevin Sullivan for giving her a more expanded role in the movies!)

Avonlea's new teacher scores points with Anne straight off:
"When she pronounces my name I feel INSTINCTIVELY that she's spelling it with an E."
But Miss Stacy's not held in quite such high esteem by the senior residents of Avonlea, who look somewhat askance at all the new innovations she introduces into the curriculum. Nature studies, "physical culture exercises," and concerts step a bit outside the 3 R's, y'know?

The concert is given "for the laudable purpose of helping to pay for a schoolhouse flag," and The Annotated Anne speculates that this might be a brand new Canadian flag, since the Dominion of Canada had only recently been formed.

Marilla has nothing against inculcating a spirit of patriotism in young Canadians, but she's pretty sure that's just an excuse for dressing up and staying out late.
"All I hope is that you'll behave yourself. I'll be heartily glad when all this fuss is over and you'll be able to settle down. You are simply good for nothing just now with your head stuffed full of dialogues and groans and tableaus. As for your tongue, it's a marvel it's not clean worn out."
Matthew, of course, thinks it's great. Because anything that makes Anne happy is great. Which prompts a lovely narrative aside:
"Those two were the best of friends and Matthew thanked his stars many a time and oft that he had nothing to do with bringing her up. That was Marilla's exclusive duty; if it had been his he would have been worried over frequent conflicts between inclination and said duty."
Poor Marilla, always having to be the grownup!

(Post pic borrowed from here, as the most likely one displayed at the school. I plead guilty to being a dumb American; I didn't realize the maple leaf was a quite recent invention.)

[Update: So close! book lovin' Ontarian pointed out that the original pic was a later iteration of the red ensign.]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chapter 23: Balance skills

Montgomery sets up this chapter by letting us know that it's time for Anne to get into some mischief again:
"Almost a month having elapsed since the liniment cake episode, it was high time for her to get into fresh trouble of some sort, little mistakes, such as absentmindedly emptying a pan of skim milk into a basket of yarn balls in the pantry instead of into the pigs' bucket, and walking clean over the edge of the log bridge into the brook while wrapped in imaginative reverie, not really being worth counting."
Yeah, not much happening there.

But, just like in The Christmas Story, that whole holding-your-head-up thing makes life complicated. Especially when Josie Pye is the one making the dare -- in this case, daring Anne to walk the ridgepole.

Only it turns out Anne's ability to balance is not quite on the level of her ability to taunt Josie, and she ends up falling off the roof.

Now it might be tempting to make fun of Diana's reaction to Anne's fall:
"Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell me if you're killed."
But just consider the response:
"No, Diana, I am not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious."
Which obviously is not the case. So they gather Anne up and carry her back to Green Gables, provoking one of Marilla's pivotal moments in the book:
"At that moment Marilla had a revelation. In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne—nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything else on earth."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chapter 22: What's better than asking a friend to tea?

Being asked to tea by the new minister's wife.

Among other things, it signals that all has been forgiven after the anodyne cake incident. Phew.

Also, no one gets drunk when Mrs. Allan is the hostess.

This is another vignette/not-much-plot chapter. What we get to see is a snippet of Anne growing up -- a little bit.
"That is the first time I was ever called 'Miss.' Such a thrill as it gave me!"
"For Anne to take things calmly would have been to change her nature."
"Marilla had almost begun to despair of ever fashioning this waif of the world into her model little girl of demure manners and prim deportment. Neither would she have believed that she really liked Anne much better as she was."
By the way, the two poetic allusions in this chapter show both how effectively Anne has spread through the world, and also how well Montgomery knew her stuff. A quick Google search for "spirit and fire and dew" (Robert Browning) and "deeps of affliction" (John Owen) turn up just as many pages about the book as references to the originals.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chapter 21: Ew

Avonlea acquires a new minister, and it's quite the small-town event:
"If Marilla, in going down to Mrs. Lynde's that evening, was actuated by any motive save her avowed one of returning the quilting frames she had borrowed the preceding winter, it was an amiable weakness shared by most of the Avonlea people. Many a thing Mrs. Lynde had lent, sometimes never expecting to see it again, came home that night in charge of the borrowers thereof. A new minister, and moreover a minister with a wife, was a lawful object of curiosity in a quiet little country settlement where sensations were few and far between."
I love it when Montgomery goes all dry-humor on us.

Anne, of course, was not left out of the process while the church decided which minister to call:
"These stood or fell by the judgment of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a certain small, red-haired girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert pew also had her opinions about them and discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to criticize ministers in any shape or form."
Part of the event nature of the minister's arrival is the obligation of every respectable family to invite him and his wife to their homes. Naturally, Anne is the one to feel the pressure.
"It's such a responsibility having a minister's family to tea."
And she subtly adds her own tweaks to Marilla's tea:
"'Mrs. Barry had HER table decorated,' said Anne, who was not entirely guiltless of the wisdom of the serpent, 'and the minister paid her an elegant compliment. He said it was a feast for the eye as well as the palate.'"
And not so subtly:
"Mercy on us, Anne, you've flavored that cake with ANODYNE LINIMENT. I broke the liniment bottle last week and poured what was left into an old empty vanilla bottle. I suppose it's partly my fault—I should have warned you—but for pity's sake why couldn't you have smelled it?"
No one was injured, of course.
"It's meant to be taken internally—although not in cakes."
Which doesn't mean the cake was a successful part of the meal.
"'Well, you'd better go and give that cake to the pigs,' said Marilla. 'It isn't fit for any human to eat, not even Jerry Boute.'"
Yup, couldn't let another chapter pass without getting in a dig at the help. Ah, well. Onward, Marilla!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chapter 20: In which imagination gets out of control

Not much happens in this chapter; it's more of a vignette that demonstrates that Anne is still Anne -- in this case, because she totally lets her imagination get the better of her in the matter of the Haunted Wood.

Besides that, we get a look at Avonlea childhood customs:
"Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did because he wouldn't take a dare. Nobody would in school. It is very FASHIONABLE to dare."
And the use of questionable verbs:
"After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them."
And a look at how Anne's bedroom has changed:
"In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged. The walls were as white, the pincushion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly upright as ever. Yet the whole character of the room was altered. It was full of a new vital, pulsing personality that seemed to pervade it and to be quite independent of schoolgirl books and dresses and ribbons, and even of the cracked blue jug full of apple blossoms on the table. It was as if all the dreams, sleeping and waking, of its vivid occupant had taken a visible although unmaterial form and had tapestried the bare room with splendid filmy tissues of rainbow and moonshine."
And a sign of how Marilla has changed:
"'No, I can't say I'm sorry,' said Marilla, who sometimes wondered how she could have lived before Anne came to Green Gables, 'no, not exactly sorry. If you've finished your lessons, Anne, I want you to run over and ask Mrs. Barry if she'll lend me Diana's apron pattern.'"
(Post pic: Obviously, live oaks and Spanish moss are not among the flora of Prince Edward Island. But can you think of anything that is more mood-setting in a picture of woods?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chapter 19: Lessons are learned

Lesson 1: It doesn't matter how careful you are with your special communication system, grownups are going to object.
"We have arranged a way to signal with our candles and cardboard. We set the candle on the window sill and make flashes by passing the cardboard back and forth. So many flashes mean a certain thing. It was my idea, Marilla."
Lesson 2: When designing said communication system, make sure the code meshes well with logic.
"Two flashes mean, 'Are you there?' Three mean 'yes' and four 'no.'"
Lesson 3: When begging to go to a concert, muster your arguments.
"Prissy Andrews is going to recite 'Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight.' That is such a good moral piece, Marilla, I'm sure it would do me lots of good to hear it."
Lesson 4: When that fails, Matthew will always succeed.
"Argument was not his strong point, but holding fast to his opinion certainly was."
Lesson 5: Reminding Marilla how much worse you might be is generally a win.
"But then just think of all the mistakes I don't make, although I might."
Lesson 6: Show your lack of interest in a way that leaves no doubts.
"Only one number on the program failed to interest her. When Gilbert Blythe recited "Bingen on the Rhine" Anne picked up Rhoda Murray's library book and read it until he had finished, when she sat rigidly stiff and motionless while Diana clapped her hands until they tingled."
Lesson 7: Look before you leap.
"The two little white-clad figures flew down the long room, through the spare-room door, and bounded on the bed at the same moment. And then—something—moved beneath them, there was a gasp and a cry—and somebody said in muffled accents: 'Merciful goodness!'"
Lesson 8: Rachel Lynde knows everything. Don't even try to fight it.
"Old Miss Barry is rich and they'd like to keep on the good side of her. Of course, Mrs. Barry didn't say just that to me, but I'm a pretty good judge of human nature, that's what."
Lesson 9: Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
"I've been so used in my early days to having people cross at me that I can endure it much better than Diana can."
Lesson 10: Even crotchety old people can surprise you.
"I'm afraid my imagination is a little rusty—it's so long since I used it"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chapter 18: Anne saves the day

Who else grew up on the American Girl books? Each girl's series included a Saves the Day book -- Kirsten Saves the Day, Samantha Saves the Day, and so on. Well, this is Anne's version.

Anne and Matthew are left home while Marilla, Rachel Lynde, and various other Avonlea adults go off to play politics.
"It was a January the Premier came, to address his loyal supporters and such of his nonsupporters as chose to be present at the monster mass meeting held in Charlottetown."
At the time Montgomery was writing, the Premier in question was Sir John MacDonald.
"Mrs. Rachel Lynde was a red-hot politician and couldn't have believed that the political rally could be carried through without her, although she was on the opposite side of politics. So she went to town and took her husband—Thomas would be useful in looking after the horse—and Marilla Cuthbert with her. Marilla had a sneaking interest in politics herself, and as she thought it might be her only chance to see a real live Premier, she promptly took it, leaving Anne and Matthew to keep house until her return the following day."
Anne and Matthew are enjoying a cozy afternoon at Green Gables (which in this case means Anne's doing just about all the talking):
"I learn the proposition off by heart and then he draws it on the blackboard and puts different letters from what are in the book and I get all mixed up."

"Ruby Gillis says when she grows up she's going to have ever so many beaus on the string and have them all crazy about her; but I think that would be too exciting. I'd rather have just one in his right mind."
... when Diana bursts in. Little sister Minnie May has come down with a bad case of croup, and the senior Barrys have also gone to see the Premier. As has the doctor. This gives Anne an opportunity to draw on the experience of taking care of "twins three times" -- she knows what to do, and she does it.
"Anne, although sincerely sorry for Minnie May, was far from being insensible to the romance of the situation and to the sweetness of once more sharing that romance with a kindred spirit."
Also, it provides Montgomery with another opportunity to disdain French Canadians.
"Young Mary Joe, a buxom, broad-faced French girl from the creek, whom Mrs. Barry had engaged to stay with the children during her absence, was helpless and bewildered, quite incapable of thinking what to do, or doing it if she thought of it."
Anne's nursing gets Minnie May turned around by the time the doctor arrives, and she's the hero of the day.

But aside from the drama and romance of it all, the best part, as far as Anne's concerned, is that Mrs. Barry decides this is a decent reason to forgive her for letting Diana intoxicate herself, so the girls are allowed to be friends again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chapter 17: Life goes on

Okay, I jumped the gun a bit in Chapter 16. This is where Anne and Diana make their meldramatic farewells.
"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell in"
Anne is devastated, though Marilla reminds her she's still got her wits:
"'I don't think there is much fear of your dying of grief as long as you can talk, Anne,' said Marilla unsympathetically."
Now that she's forcibly lost her best friend, Anne decides she might as well go back to school, where she can at least see Diana, even if they're not allowed to speak. And she's determined to be at the top of her class -- especially since that means she'll get to beat Gilbert Blythe.
"it was entirely good natured on Gilbert's side; but it is much to be feared that the same thing cannot be said of Anne, who had certainly an unpraiseworthy tenacity for holding grudges"
Also, one noteworthy allusion in this chapter:
"The Caesar's pageant shorn of Brutus' bust
Did but of Rome's best son remind her more."
That would be Anne (or at least the narrator) quoting from Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" to describe her post-Diana emotions. Thematically appropriate, if perhaps a little implausible for an 11-year-old girl.

Chapter 16: A sad day at Green Gables

On one level, this chapter is about the rupture that occurs in the bosom friendship when Diana manages to get herself drunk.

At the same time, we get more insight into Marilla, and see how she subtly rebels against community norms.

Anne invites Diana over for tea while Marilla is out, giving them both a chance to play sophisticated grownup. Anne ("There are so many responsibilities on a person's mind when they're keeping house, isn't there?") plans the meal in exquisite detail, Diana ("looking exactly as it is proper to look when asked out to tea") very politely inquires after Marilla and Matthew -- and then they remember that they're little girls who don't have to act like that all the time.

Oh, and we get to hear about some of Anne's cooking disasters! "The last time I made a cake I forgot to put the flour in.... Flour is so essential to cakes, you know."

And then Diana starts to feel off, and decides to go home -- where her mother discovers that she's not sick, she's drunk. Because the three cups of raspberry cordial she had turned out to be currant wine.

Which was a total accident. Not a precursor to the Avonlea equivalent of beer pong. But Mrs. Barry totally doesn't care. Remember how Montgomery gave us a signal that Mrs. Barry was not entirely to be trusted when she was first introduced? There was a reason.
"Mrs. Barry was a woman of strong prejudices and dislikes, and her anger was of the cold, sullen sort which is always hardest to overcome. To do her justice, she really believed Anne had made Diana drunk out of sheer malice prepense, and she was honestly anxious to preserve her little daughter from the contamination of further intimacy with such a child."

"She was suspicious of Anne's big words and dramatic gestures and imagined that the child was making fun of her."
Result: Diana is banned from all contact with Anne. Both girls are devastated. Melodramatically so.Link
But back to the currant wine for a minute: It turns out that Avonlea residents are of the teetotalling strain of Calvinism, so Marilla's actually been rebelling against her neighbors by making it. (Although she doesn't go so far as to rebel against an official authority figure.)
"Well, this story will be a nice handle for those folks who are so down on me for making currant wine, although I haven't made any for three years ever since I found out that the minister didn't approve."
At least Marilla (in Lydia Pinkham mode) is able to laugh (discreetly) at the situation. Anne doesn't seem to believe she'll ever laugh again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chapter 15: A Tempest in the School Teapot

The post title for this chapter is the same as the actual chapter title, because it made such an impression on my when I first read the book. I hadn't yet come across the phrase "tempest in a teapot," so I didn't understand the play on words, but there was something about the rhythm or the imagery of it that stuck with me.


There are a lot of great lines in this chapter, so let's do a quick summary and then get into those.

Anne puts in her first appearance at Avonlea school -- coincidentally, on the same day that Gilbert Blythe gets back to town. Gilbert decides that the best way to get the attention of a redhead is to call her "Carrots," and is informed otherwise by means of a slate connecting with his skull. The situation is not improved by an incompetent teacher who singles Anne out for punishment -- and even worse, misspells her name -- and the chapter ends with Anne deciding that she's not going back there any time soon.

And the good bits:
  • "The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them only with one's best chum would have forever and ever branded as 'awful mean' the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you."
  • "'Not that lovers ever really walk there,' she explained to Marilla, 'but Diana and I are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there's a Lover's Lane in it. So we want to have one, too.'"
  • "if you were quiet—which, with Anne and Diana, happened about once in a blue moon"
  • "'I guess Gilbert Blythe will be in school today,' said Diana. 'He's been visiting his cousins over in New Brunswick all summer and he only came home Saturday night. He's AW'FLY handsome, Anne. And he teases the girls something terrible. He just torments our lives out.'... Diana's voice indicated that she rather liked having her life tormented out than not."
  • "Gilbert Blythe wasn't used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure."
  • "And then—thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it—slate not head—clear across."
  • "'Oh how could you, Anne?' breathed Diana as they went down the road half reproachfully, half admiringly. Diana felt that SHE could never have resisted Gilbert's plea."
  • "Diana hadn't the least idea what Anne meant but she understood it was something terrible."
  • "Mr. Phillips's brief reforming energy was over; he didn't want the bother of punishing a dozen pupils; but it was necessary to do something to save his word, so he looked about for a scapegoat and found it in Anne"
  • "Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, "You are sweet," and slipped it under the curve of Anne's arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert."
  • "Marilla saw something remarkably like unyielding stubbornness looking out of Anne's small face. She understood that she would have trouble in overcoming it; but she re-solved wisely to say nothing more just then."
  • "'Well, since you've asked my advice, Marilla,' said Mrs. Lynde amiably—Mrs. Lynde dearly loved to be asked for advice"
  • "'I love Diana so, Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband—I just hate him furiously. I've been imagining it all out—the wedding and everything—Diana dressed in snowy garments, with a veil, and looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the bridesmaid, with a lovely dress too, and puffed sleeves, but with a breaking heart hid beneath my smiling face.'"
  • "Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face; but it was no use; she collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into such a hearty and unusual peal of laughter that Matthew, crossing the yard outside, halted in amazement. When had he heard Marilla laugh like that before?"

Monday, August 8, 2011

What I do

(When I'm not blogging about old books, of course.)

I know I sound like a pretentious twit when I say this, but I kind of don't get people who aren't news junkies.

This is not new. But I was reminded of it tonight courtesy of a tweet from a friend who had been unaware that riots are currently happening in London and other English cities.

No matter how much I say I'm not judging her for that, you're free to start the name-calling now.

That's why I can't imagine having the experience my parents did two summers in a row:

We went on August road trips, to the Four Corners area in 1990 and Yosemite Lake Tahoe in 1991. Both lovely places, remote in parts, but hardly cut off from the world.

And both times, my parents (and the rest of us, but as I was still in the single digits I can't take too much credit) figured out that something big had happened during those trips when they stopped at a gas station and found the prices much higher than the last time they'd filled up.

Something big, August 1990: Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Something big, August 1991: A Soviet coup briefly deposed Gorbachev.

And somehow, when those events happened, we didn't have a newspaper. We hadn't turned on NPR. (I didn't grow up with TV news, so that one's not surprising. And yes, y'all, this was pre-Internet. I'm old.)

We were on vacation, and it didn't occur to my parents that some kind of news consumption was an essential part of our day. That's a choice I just don't see myself making.

I check news sites first thing in the morning. On a day like today, I had the NYT front page up in a tab all day. And let's not even talk about how often I check Twitter.

This isn't just a generational thing; the Internet is just the most current mode of information transfer. What I do -- what I want to do -- is know what's going on and tell other people about it.

It was, to some extent, what I did when I was at ABA. (That was the external side. The internal side involved a lot of me popping into my boss' office to share the latest industry nonsense developments, and it was a hit.)

If Andy Carvin didn't exist, I'd want his job. (Unfortunately, I was not hired when I said that, more elegantly, when I interviewed at NPR.)

This is what I do. In some form, it's what I will always do, whether or not it's part of my job description.

But if someone wants to pay me to do it, I wouldn't say no.

(Post pics are -- assuming I labeled them correctly -- from the 1991 Yosemite trip. Taken with a magenta flip-flash camera, baby!)

[Update, 8/9: So much for my steel-trap memory. A conversation with my mom tonight led to us determining that the August 1991 trip was, in fact, to Lake Tahoe. We spent a long weekend or something like that at Yosemite in the spring of that year. No breaking news during that vacation; it was mostly memorable for my first-ever coyote sighting. In addition to name-calling, you are also now free to mock.]

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chapter 14: Accused, confessed, and vindicated

Marilla's brooch (go back to Chapter 13 if you're confused) has gone missing.

Anne saw it. In fact, she picked it up and played with it, even though she wasn't supposed to. Which makes her, in Marilla's eyes, the guilty party.

Which Anne steadfastly denies.
"I never took the brooch out of your room and that is the truth, if I was to be led to the block for it—although I'm not very certain what a block is. So there, Marilla."
Result: Anne is confined to her bedroom until she confesses -- which means, if she doesn't, missing the Sunday School picnic. (Again, Chapter 13.) Which means she's in the depths of despair -- oh, and refusing
"Boiled pork and greens are so unromantic when one is in affliction."
Matthew, incidentally, is the person who listens to this particular plaint, which sticks with him when he goes down to his own dinner:
"mournfully surveying his plateful of unromantic pork and greens as if he, like Anne, thought it a food unsuited to crises of feeling"
Marilla has her doubts, but she's not willing to share them. She reminds Matthew that the whole child-raising thing is her business, thank you very much.
"The retort silenced Matthew if it did not convince him. That dinner was a very dismal meal. The only cheerful thing about it was Jerry Buote, the hired boy, and Marilla resented his cheerfulness as a personal insult."
Result: Since she's not allowed out of her room until she confesses, and she desperately wants to go to the picnic, Anne decides to make up an elaborate confession, the upshot of which is dropping the brooch into the pond during a romantic reverie.

Which, understandably, displeases Marilla. As punishment, Anne's not allowed to go to the picnic after all, prompting moans of unfairness.

Until Marilla discovers that the brooch has, in fact, gotten caught in her shawl, and has been hiding in the closet for the past two days. Much apologizing ensues, Anne goes to the picnic, and all is well again.

Chapter 13: Marilla's first kiss

This chapter is mostly a setup for Chapter 14. The salient details are this: Anne's excited about the Sunday School picnic, and Marilla has a brooch that's her one nice piece of jewelry.

That said, there's still some good stuff here.
  • Good idiom: nineteen to the dozen, as in Marilla's "now she's perched out there on the woodpile talking to Matthew, nineteen to the dozen, when she knows perfectly well she ought to be at her work." The Annotated Anne claims that this means "for every dozen words a normal person can speak, Anne can cram in nineteen." That seems a bit too specific for a common phrase, and other etymology sources just say it means doing something fast (and may have come out of the mechanization of coal mining -- your trivia tidbit for the evening).
  • Good Anne-phrase: "just little young rainbows that haven't grown big yet." Don't you want to pick them up and cuddle them?
  • Good bonding:"It was the first time in her whole life that childish lips had voluntarily touched Marilla's face. Again that sudden sensation of startling sweetness thrilled her. She was secretly vastly pleased at Anne's impulsive caress, which was probably the reason why she said brusquely..."
  • Good description: Even if you had no idea what an amethyst looked like, you'd understand what Anne's on about: "They are what I used to think diamonds were like. Long ago, before I had ever seen a diamond, I read about them and I tried to imagine what they would be like. I thought they would be lovely glimmering purple stones. When I saw a real diamond in a lady's ring one day I was so disappointed I cried."
So: picnic and brooch. Remember those.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter 12: Bosom friends

I had such lofty dreams of illustrating this post with images of all the flowers Montgomery lists in Mrs. Barry's garden:
"There were rosy bleeding-hearts and great splendid crimson peonies; white, fragrant narcissi and thorny, sweet Scotch roses; pink and blue and white columbines and lilac-tinted Bouncing Bets; clumps of southernwood and ribbon grass and mint; purple Adam-and-Eve, daffodils, and masses of sweet clover white with its delicate, fragrant, feathery sprays; scarlet lightning that shot its fiery lances over prim white musk-flowers"
Which would be lovely. But I also thought it might be nice to get this post published before Christmas.

So. This is the chapter in which we meet one of the other key players in Anne's life. It takes about two minutes for Anne and Diana Barry to become fast friends.

But first we meet Mrs. Barry, and if you know what comes later, you'll see that she's very deliberately being set up as an unsympathetic character here.
"She reads entirely too much—" this to Marilla as the little girls went out—"and I can't prevent her, for her father aids and abets her."
So things are good in Avonlea, on many levels. Which is something Marilla comes very close to admitting herself:
"I will say it for the child," said Marilla when Anne had gone to her gable, "she isn't stingy. I'm glad, for of all faults I detest stinginess in a child. Dear me, it's only three weeks since she came, and it seems as if she'd been here always. I can't imagine the place without her. Now, don't be looking I told-you-so, Matthew. That's bad enough in a woman, but it isn't to be endured in a man. I'm perfectly willing to own up that I'm glad I consented to keep the child and that I'm getting fond of her, but don't you rub it in, Matthew Cuthbert."