Ann of Green Gables : Chapters 21-22
Chapter 21, pp. 155-165
On the last day of school, Mr. Phillips’s last day, Anne cries along with all the other girls who got emotional over his departure, even though he was not well liked. All the sadness is quickly forgotten, however, as a summer vacation stretches before Anne. News of a new minister and his wife also chase away thoughts of school.
The new minister, Mr. Allan, and his wife have sparked intense interest and gossip in Avonlea, and Marilla has been as curious as any of the residents. The community has auditioned minister candidates, and even Anne has expressed an opinion about them, liking Mr. Allan best because he prays like he means it. When Mrs. Allan takes over Anne’s class at Sunday School, Anne professes her to be a kindred spirit. In addition, she wears puffed sleeves, a definite plus in Anne’s book.
Marilla decides to have the Allans to tea on Wednesday, and she and Anne spend two days cleaning and preparing for the visit. Anne has been charged with making a layer cake, and she confesses to Diana that she is worried about botching it, as she does so many attempts at cooking. When, during their discussion, Anne sees a rainbow and asks Diana if she thinks a dryad might wear it as a scarf, Diana says she does not believe in dryads anymore. After she, like Anne, was scolded about the haunted wood, Diana does not partake in fantasy anymore, much to Anne’s chagrin.
On Wednesday, Anne awakes with a cold, but she is determined to make her cake. She worries to Marilla that the baking powder was not good, although it was a new can, and her cake will not rise. Marilla assures her that they have plenty serve for tea, even without the cake. But to Anne’s surprise, the cake comes out of the oven fluffy and perfect. Anne asks if she may decorate the table with a floral arrangement she gathers, and when Marilla says that is such nonsense, Anne slyly mentions that the minister complimented Mrs. Barry on her floral décor. Marilla’s competitive spirit compels her to let Anne decorate with roses and ferns, which the minister and his wife comment favorably upon their arrival, thrilling Anne.
Matthew is present, too, and Anne has made sure he looks presentable and is not too nervous.
When Anne’s cake is served, Mrs. Allan professes to be too full to have any, greatly disappointing Anne, so Marilla coaxes her to have some. However, when Mrs. Allan takes a bite, her face contorts strangely, so Marilla tastes it, too. She immediately asks Anne what she put in it, because it is terrible. She asks Anne to bring her the bottle of vanilla she used, which turns out to be anodyne liniment that had been poured into an old vanilla bottle. Anne had no idea, and she apparently could not smell the difference because of her cold. Anne runs to her room in embarrassment.
Sobbing into her pillow, she hears Marilla step into the room, and she wails about how mortified she is and how “‘Gil—the boys in school will never get over laughing at it.’” She implores Marilla to assure Mrs. Allan that the liniment is not poisonous. Mrs. Allan, however, is the one who has stepped into the room, not Marilla, and she comforts Anne by asking to see her flower garden. Anne feels, as she gives Mrs. Allan a tour of it, that the minister’s wife is indeed a kindred spirit.
Later, when Marilla comments on Anne’s propensity for mistakes, Anne moans that there has to be a limit, surely, on the number of mistakes one person can make, “‘and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.’”
Anne’s propensity for mistakes, although vexing for Marilla, only makes her more endearing to her. Anne may be troublesome and overly expressive, but she has a firm place at Green Gables and in Marilla’s heart.
Chapter 22, pp. 165-168
One day, Anne goes to the post office in Avonlea and comes home with an invitation to tea from Mrs. Allan, who is having each Sunday School student to tea, one by one. Anne is thrilled by the address on the envelope: Miss Anne Shirley, Green Gables. Marilla, as she has before, worries at how exuberant Anne can be over even small pleasures—and how low she can be brought by small disappointments—and she fears she has failed at teaching Anne a more sedate comportment.
Before she leaves for tea, Anne worries that she will say or do something wrong, but Marilla counsels her that she ought not to be thinking of herself but of her hostess and what she would like. Anne is struck by this sensible advice and determines to follow it.
She returns from the tea perfectly happy, reporting that one other little girl, from the White Sands, was there as well. This girl, Lauretta, talked about how students are often asked to recite at the frequent concert evenings at the White Sands Hotel. After Lauretta departed, Anne and Mrs. Allan had a very satisfying conversation that further convinced Anne that the two of them are kindred spirits. Anne is especially excited because Mrs. Allan told her Avonlea will have a new school teacher, Miss Muriel Stacy, when school begins in two weeks. Anne cannot wait to meet her.
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