“Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them.”
This chapter opens with the prospect of a Sunday-school picnic, a prime attraction of which is homemade ice cream (which Anne naturally has never tasted). But of course Marilla is more concerned with getting Anne to do her chores.
“[…] I told you to come at two o’ clock. And it’s a quarter to three. I’d like to know why you didn’t obey me, Anne.”
“Why, I meant to, Marilla, as much as could be. But you have no idea how fascinating Idlewild is. And then, of course, I had to tell Matthew about the picnic. Matthew is such a sympathetic listener. Please can I go?”
Marilla gives her permission (and promises to bake her a basket of goodies as required), then sets Anne to work at her chores.
“I do not like patchwork,” said Anne dolefully, hunting out her workbasket and sitting down before a little heap of red and white diamonds with a sigh. “I think some kinds of a sewing would be nice, but there’s no scope for imagination in patchwork. It’s just one little seam after another and you never seem to be getting anywhere. But of course I’d rather be Anne of Green Gables sewing patchwork than Anne of any other place with nothing to do but play.”
Anne’s experienced enough hardship in life to appreciate when she has a good home, even if she finds some of her chores disagreeable. But she has ample scope for imagination in the form of the upcoming picnic (not to mention the usual adventures playing with Diana), so she at least has plenty to talk about.
“You set your heart too much on things, Anne,” said Marilla with a sigh. “I’m afraid there’ll be a great many disappointments in store for you through life.”
“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.”
Anne had few enough things to look forward to when she was younger, so it’s pardonable if she goes overboard now. She’ll have plenty of time to be disappointed later.
Then at the end of the chapter, our attention is conspicuously drawn to a beloved amethyst brooch that Marilla wears on Sundays, and which Anne is understandably fascinated by.
“Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?”
Next time: Anne’s confession…