You have given me a hope.
Anne stubbornly refuses to apologize to Mrs. Lynde, a state of affairs that affects the whole household due to her absence, and even Marilla is starting fear that Anne will choose solitary confinement rather than apologize. So Matthew finally “puts in his oar” and (secretly) sneaks into Anne’s room for a little chat.
“Do it right off, I say, and have it over.”
“Do you mean apologize to Mrs. Lynde?”
“Yes – apologize – that’s the very word,” said Matthew eagerly. “Just smooth it over so to speak. That’s what I was trying to get at.”
“I suppose I could do it to oblige you,” said Anne thoughtfully. “It would be true enough to say I am sorry, because I am sorry now. I wasn’t a bit sorry last night. I was mad clear through and I stayed mad all night. I know I did because I woke up three times and I was just furious every time. But this morning it was all over. I wasn’t in a temper any more – and it left a dreadful sort of goneness, too. I felt so ashamed of myself. But I just couldn’t think of going and telling Mrs. Lynde so. It would be so humiliating. […] But still – I’d do anything for you – if you really want me to -“
Matthew is a sweetheart. I would do anything for him, too.
When she calls Marilla to say that she’ll apologize, Anne is sufficiently penitent, but as they walk down to Mrs. Lynde’s house, she gets to looking positively radiant as she plans out her apology – until she’s actually face to face with Mrs. Lynde, at which point she gets on her knees to beg forgiveness.
“Oh, Mrs. Lynde, I am so extremely sorry,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I could never express my sorrow, no, not if I used up a whole dictionary. You must just imagine it. I behaved terribly to you – and I’ve disgraced the dear friends, Matthew and Marilla, who have let me stay at Green Gables although I am not a boy. I’m a dreadfully wicked and ungrateful girl, and I deserve to be punished and cast out by respectable people for ever. It was very wicked of me to fly into a temper because you told me the truth. It was the truth; every word you said was true. My hair is red and I’m freckled and skinny and ugly. What I said to you was true, too but I shouldn’t have said it. Oh, Mrs. Lynde, please, please, forgive me. If you refuse it will be a lifelong sorrow for me. You wouldn’t like to inflict a lifelong sorrow on a poor little orphan girl, would you, even if she had a dreadful temper? Oh, I am sure you wouldn’t. Please say you forgive me, Mrs. Lynde.”
Both Marilla and Rachel recognize her sincerity, but Marilla also senses a concerning aspect of pleasure in Anne’s complete debasement. She’s enjoying the performance of the pathetic orphan in some fashion – but she still presents a thorough apology, and Mrs. Lynde can’t help but respond with sympathy.
“There, there, get up child,” she said heartily. “Of course I forgive you. I guess I was a little too hard on you, anyway. But I’m such an outspoken person. You mustn’t mind me, that’s what. It can’t be denied your hair is terrible red; but I knew a girl once – went to school with her, in fact – whose hair was every mite as red as yours when she was young, but when she grew up it darkened to a real handsome auburn. I wouldn’t be a mite surprised if yours did, too – not a mite.”
“Oh, Mrs. Lynde!” Anne drew a long breath as she rose to her feet. “You have given me a hope. I shall always feel that you are a benefactor. Oh, I could endure anything if I only thought my hair would be a handsome auburn when I grew up.”
That hope is enough to endear her to Anne, and Rachel proceeds to walk back her criticisms of Marilla, declaring that a child with such a temper is at least bound not to be sly and secretive.
“I apologized pretty well, didn’t I?” she said proudly as she went down the lane. “I thought since I had to do it I might as well do it thoroughly.”
“You did it thoroughly, all right enough,” was Marilla’s comment. Marilla was dismayed at finding herself inclined to laugh over the recollection. She had also an uneasy feeling that she ought to scold Anne for apologizing so well; but then that was ridiculous!
She’ll find her sense of humor yet.
“It’s lovely to be going home and know it’s home,” she said. “I love Green Gables already, and I never loved a place before. No place ever seemed like home. Oh, Marilla, I’m so happy. I could pray right now and not find it a bit hard.”
Until next time…