Oh, Marilla, you’d be excited, too, if you were going to meet a little girl you hoped would be your bosom friend and whose mother mightn’t like you.
Dianna Barry, the girl next door, has finally returned home after a visit with her aunt, and so Anne promptly determines that she should be her bosom friend.
“I guess Diana’ll like you well enough. It’s her mother you’ve got to reckon with. If she doesn’t like you it won’t matter how much Diana does. If she had heard about your outburst with Mrs. Lynde and going to church with buttercups round your hat I don’t know what she’ll think of you. You must be polite and well-behaved, and don’t make any of your startling speeches.”
Marilla finds an excuse for a visit to the Barry’s in order to introduce Anne and Diana.
“How are you?”
“I am well in body although I am considerably rumpled in spirit, thank you, ma’am,” said Anne gravely. Then aside to Marilla in an audible whisper, “There wasn’t anything startling in that, was there, Marilla?”
Yeah, it took me while to determine how much to divulge when asked how I am, too.
As it turns out, Mrs. Barry is glad to find a playmate for Diana, as she is concerned she’s spending too much time reading indoors.
But once they’re safely out in the garden, Anne doesn’t waste much time beating around the bush.
“Oh, Diana,” said Anne at last, clasping her hands and speaking almost in a whisper, “do you think – oh, do you think you can like me a little – enough to be my bosom friend?”
Diana laughed. Diana always laughed before she spoke.
“Why, I guess so,” she said frankly. “I’m awfully glad you’ve come to live at Green Gables. It will be jolly to have somebody to play with.”
And then Anne goes and makes it bit weird even for Diana.
“Will you swear to be my friend forever and ever?” demanded Anne eagerly.
Diana looked shocked.
“Why, it’s dreadfully wicked to swear,” she said rebukingly.
“Oh no, not that kind of swearing. There are two kinds, you know. […] There really is another. Oh, it isn’t wicked at all. It just means vowing and promising solemnly.”
It’s awfully forward of Anne to propose a vow of eternal friendship as soon as she meets her, but to be fair, Diana’s the first real friend she’s ever had.
“I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and moon shall endure. Now you say it and put my name in.”
Diana repeated the “oath” with a laugh fore and aft. Then she said:
“You’re a queer girl, Anne. I heard before that you were queer. But I believe I’m going to like you real well.”
I believe I modeled most of my own childhood friendships after Anne’s, probably since I read few other books which featured such prominent female friendships. You could certainly have worse models!
Then Matthew makes her happiness complete. Diana was going to give her a picture, and Anne was sad she didn’t have anything to give her friend in return. But Matthew comes home with some chocolate for her, and she immediately resolves to split them with Diana. I tend to take a similar view – sharing with a loved one is so much more satisfying than keeping goodies all to yourself!
“I will say this 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 here 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.”
Until next time…