It’s good to be alive and to be going home.

Anne was bringing the cows home from the back pasture by way of Lovers’ Lane. It was a September evening and all the gaps and clearings in the woods were brimmed up with ruby sunset light. Here and there the lane was splashed with it, but for the most part it was already quite shadowy beneath the maples, and the spaces under the firs were filled with a clear violet dusk like airy wine. The winds were out in their tops, and there is no sweeter music on earth than that which the wind makes in the fir-trees at evening.

These are just the sort of ambient passages I keep coming back for.

But Anne is soon caught up in thought of more worldly delights: Diana comes bearing news that her Aunt Josephine has invited the two of them to stay with her in town for a day or two. They plan for Mrs. Barry to present the idea to Marilla, and she subsequently consents.

Through the gap in the trees a light was shining in the western gable of Orchard Slope, a token that Diana was also up.

This just strikes me as weirdly relatable – the lights are on in one room as you prepare for a long journey.

“So you’ve come to see me at last, you Anne-girl,” she said. “Mercy, child, how you have grown! You’re taller than I am, I declare. And you’re ever so much better-looking than you used to be, too. But I dare say you know that without being told.”

“Indeed I didn’t,” said Anne radiantly. “I know I’m not so freckled as I used to be, so I’ve much to be thankful for, but I really hadn’t dared to hope there was any other improvement. I’m so glad you think there is, Miss Barry.”

She and Diana sleep in the sparest spare room, as promised, but the main attraction of this visit is a regional “Exhibition.” From what I can see, this was basically a county fair, but on a larger scale – there are horses and other animals showcased, as well as various food and handicraft contests.

Then Miss Barry takes them to a concert with a famous opera singer, and afterward treats them to ice cream.

“The ice cream was so delicious, Marilla, and it was so lovely and dissipated to be sitting there eating it at eleven o’ clock at night. Diana said she believed she was born for city life. Miss Barry asked me what my opinion was, but I said I would have to think it over very seriously before I could tell her what I really thought. So I thought it over after I went to bed. That is the best time to think things out. And I came to the conclusion, Marilla, that I wasn’t born for city life and that I was glad of it. It’s nice to be eating ice-cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o’ clock at night once in a while; but as a regular thing I’d rather be in the east gable at eleven, sound asleep, but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and that the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook. I told Miss Barry so at breakfast the next morning and she laughed.”

I’m generally in agreement with Anne here – a night on the town every once in a while is a treat, but I’m more of a homebody at heart.

“I thought Marilla Cuthbert was an old fool when I heard she’d adopted a girl out of an orphan asylum,” [Miss Barry] said to herself, “but I guess she didn’t make much of a mistake after all. If I’d a child like Anne in the house all the time I’d be a better and happier woman.”

Then they’re homeward bound.

“I’ve had a splendid time,” she concluded happily, “and I feel that it marks an epoch in my life. But the best of all was the coming home.”

Until next time…

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