I don’t want to ever hear the word romantic again.
Diana, Jane, Ruby, and Anne are playing the Lady of Shalott, but there’s some debate over who’s going to play Elaine. The main issue is that Anne is the only one brave enough to play dead and drift down the current, but she insists that a red-headed Elaine would be absurd. But Diana insists that her hair is really much darker after she cut it all off, so she relents.
“Oh, she does look really dead,” whispered Ruby Gillis nervously, watching the still, white little face under the flickering shadows of the birches. “It makes me feel frightened, girls. Do you suppose it’s really right to act like this? Mrs. Lynde says that all play-acting is abominably wicked.”
“Ruby, you shouldn’t talk about Mrs. Lynde,” said Anne severely. “It spoils the effect because this is hundreds of years before Mrs. Lynde was born. Jane, you arrange this. It’s silly for Elaine to be talking when she’s dead.”
They send her off in a sufficiently romantic manner, but then the boat starts to leak, and she doesn’t notice until the others have run off to the landing spot where they can’t see her. She does, however, have the presence of mind to climb up a pile beneath the bridge. It’s all she can do to hang on, so the others are left to fear the worst when they see the boat sink.
Then the most unromantic thing imaginable befalls her: Being rescued by Gilbert Blythe!
She offers a terse and frigid explanation, but he’s not giving up that easily.
“Anne,” he said hurriedly, “look here. Can’t we be good friends? I’m awfully sorry I made fun of your hair that time. I didn’t mean to vex you and I only meant it for a joke. Besides, it’s so long ago. I think your hair is awful pretty now – honest I do. Let’s be friends.”
For a moment Anne hesitated. She had an odd, newly awakened consciousness under all her outraged dignity that the half-shy, half-eager expression in Gilbert’s hazel eyes was something that was very good to see. Her heart gave a quick, queer little beat. But the bitterness of her old grievance promptly stiffened up her wavering determination. […]
“No,” she said coldly, “I shall never be friends with you, Gilbert Blythe; and I don’t want to be!”
Needless to say, he leaves in a huff, and between the shock of the life-threatening situation and the emotional shock of Gilbert’s proposal, she wants nothing so much as a good cry at the moment, when the others finally return (minus Ruby, who is purportedly in hysterics).
But when Jane exclaims about what a romantic rescue it must have been, Anne just swears off romance.
When she talks it all out with Marilla, she explains that she’s slowly getting better, and at this rate she might just become a sensible woman yet.
“Today’s mistake is going to cure me of being too romantic. I have come to the conclusion that it is no use trying to be romantic in Avonlea. It was probably easy enough in towered Camelot hundreds of years ago, but romance is not appreciated now.”
[…] “Don’t give up all your romance, Anne.” [Matthew] whispered shyly, “a little of it is a good thing – not too much, of course – but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it.”
Until next time…