Ann of Green Gables : Chapters 19-20

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Chapter 19, pp. 138-149

On an evening in February, Diana signals to Anne from her bedroom window, and when Anne goes to Orchard Slope, she finds out that Anne has been invited to spend the night the next evening and attend a Debating Club concert with Diana and her cousins who are coming from Newbridge in their sleigh. Marilla, however, denies her permission. She does not approve of girls gallivanting around at night.

Anne proceeds to convince Marilla, telling her how it is Diana’s birthday, and besides, the minister is attending the evening’s festivities. She adds that Mrs. Barry has told Diana that she and Anne may sleep in the spare room bed, an honor indeed. Marilla still says no, and Anne goes to bed in tears.

Matthew, who has overheard the conversation, proceeds to persuade Marilla to let Anne go, and she finally relents. Anne, in thanking Marilla, says she could not have possibly known how left out Anne would have felt at not going to the concert, when all her schoolmates were going. Matthew, on the other hand, completely understood, and “‘it’s so nice to be understood, Marilla.’”

All day long, the children are excited about the concert and its other entertainments. At Orchard Slope, Anne and Diana have tea, then dress for the concert. Anne feels a pang that Diana has a lovely coat and fur cap, when she only has a homemade gray coat and black tam. But her self-consciousness is overcome when the cousins arrive. “Anne reveled in the drive to the hall, slipping over the satin-smooth roads with the snow crisping under the runners” and “tinkles of sleigh-bells and distant laughter, that seemed like the mirth of wood elves, came from every quarter.” Anne feels like it is all a dream.

At the concert, she pays rapt attention to all of the presenters, except Gilbert. She pretends to read a book during his recitation of a poem.

The girls arrive back at Orchard Slope very late and undress by the fire, chatting quietly about the evening. They decide to race into the spare room and fling themselves into the bed. However, when they hit the bed, someone is in it. Diana, mortified, realizes that it is her father’s old Aunt Josephine, unexpectedly visiting from Charlottetown. Diana tells Anne that she is a very difficult woman.

The next morning, Mrs. Barry seems unaware of the disturbance during the night, but when Anne sees Mrs. Lynde later that day, she finds out that Josephine Barry made her displeasure known at Orchard House and has revoked her offer to pay for music lessons for Diana. Anne frets that she is always getting into scrapes, and this time she had dragged Diana into one. Mrs. Lynde comments that she is too flighty, but Anne defensively replies that “‘Something just flashed into your mind, so exciting, and you must come out with it. If you stop to think it over you spoil it. Haven’t you ever felt that yourself, Mrs. Lynde?’” Mrs. Lynde acknowledges that she has not, and she gently urges Anne to be a bit more thoughtful before acting.

Anne is not willing to let Diana lose her music lessons because of something she instigated, so she gets up her courage to tell Miss Barry that the episode was all her fault. Anne appears before the imperious Miss Barry and, pleading for her to focus her anger on Anne, tells her “‘I’ve been so used in my early days to having people cross at me that I can endure it much better than Diana.’” She also implores her to “‘imagine what you would feel like if you were a little orphan girl who had never had such an honor’” of sleeping in a guest bedroom.

Miss Barry is enchanted by Anne, and her anger softens considerably. She decides to prolong her stay at Orchard Slope, and she invites Anne to stay in her spare room if she ever comes to Charlottetown. Anne believes she has found yet another kindred spirit in Miss Barry.


Once again, Anne’s full-speed-ahead approach to life lands her in hot water, but her unique charm and dramatic ability pull her out of trouble. Anne’s apology to Miss Barry is not really for herself, but for the sake of Diana, but her manner wins her yet another “kindred spirit,” a person who sees how one-of-a-kind Anne is in her determined honesty.

Chapter 20, pp. 149-155

Nature has burst into springtime bloom, and at Avonlea School, the boys are offering bouquets of mayflowers to their favorite girls. Anne tells Marilla that she refused one offer with “‘scorn’” because it came from a person whose name she had sworn never to utter.

One June evening, Anne sits gazing out her bedroom window when Marilla, suffering from one of her headaches, comments sarcastically on Anne’s execution of certain chores, like her burning a pie (she was daydreaming, of course, about being a princess), and applying a stiff starch to Matthew’s handkerchiefs. Anne announces that she is trying to be extra helpful on this day because it is thefirst anniversary of her arrival at Green Gables. She asks Marilla if she is sorry Anne came, and Marilla says she is not; secretly, she wonders how she ever lived without Anne there.

Seeing that Anne wishes to be helpful, Marilla asks her to go to the Barrys to fetch an apron pattern. Anne, however, says she cannot do that because it would require her to walk through “The Haunted Wood.” She explains that she and Diana have imagined that a spruce wood on their walk is haunted with all sorts of tragic ghosts. And although she is not scared of the wood during daylight, she cannot possibly walk there at night.

Marilla puts her foot down on this bit of fancifulness. She makes Anne walk to Orchard Slope through the wood as she watches her, even when Anne cries that she is cruel. Anne’s imagination conjures up all sorts of spirits on the journey, but she returns unscathed from her errand, and she admits to Marilla that “‘I’ll b-b-be cont-t-tented with c-c-commonplace places after this.’”

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