I say far too much, yet if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t, you’d give me some credit for it.
The chapter opens with a brief reminder Marilla’s failing eyesight, but promptly switches gears to Anne.
Marilla looked as her with a tenderness that would never have been suffered to reveal itself in any clearer light than that soft mingling of fireshine and shadow. The lesson of a love that should display itself easily in spoken word and open look was one Marilla could never learn. But she had learned to love this slim, gray-eyed girl with an affection all the deeper and stronger for its very undemonstrativeness. Her love made her afraid of being unduly indulgent, indeed. She had an uneasy feeling that it was rather sinful to set one’s heart so intensely on any human creature as she had set hers on Anne, and perhaps she performed a sort of unconscious penance for this by being stricter and more critical than if the girl had been less dear to her. Certainly Anne herself had no idea how Marilla loved her.
Marilla mentions that Miss Stacy came to call while Anne was busy with Diana, but that’s she gets to say before Anne interrupts with a speech of her own, and when Marilla says that she way discussing Anne, she interrupts again with a small confession (she was reading Ben-Hur when she was supposed to be studying history), but that wasn’t actually what she came to discuss, but she goes off on another rabbit trail or two before she finally listens to Marilla.
“Well, Miss Stacy wants to organize a class among her advanced students who mean to study for the entrance examination into Queen’s. She intends to give them extra lessons for an hour after school. And she came to ask Matthew and me if we would like to have you join it. What do you think about it yourself, Anne? Would you like to go to Queen’s and pass for a teacher?”
It happens that this is just what Anne had in mind, and Marilla fully supports the endeavor because she’s of the mind that girls should be prepared to earn their own livings, even if they don’t end up having to.
The only downside is that Diana won’t be studying with her, as evidently she lacks the means and/or grades to pursue such a career. Ruby and Jane join, but so does Josie Pye and, of course, Gilbert.
Since the day by the pond when she had refused to listen to his plea for forgiveness, Gilbert, save for the aforesaid determined rivalry, had evinced no recognition whatever of the existence of Anne Shirley. […] Anne Shirley he simply ignored, and Anne found out that it was not pleasant to be ignored. It was in vain that she told herself with a toss of her head that she did not care. Deep down in her wayward, feminine little heart she knew that she did care, and that if she had that chance at the Lake of Shining Waters again she would answer very differently. All at once, as it seemed, and to her secret dismay, she found that the old resentment she had cherished against him was gone – gone just when she most needed its sustaining power. It was in vain that she recalled every incident and emotion of that memorable occasion and tried to feel the old satisfying anger. That day by the pond had witnessed its last spasmodic flicker. Anne realized that she had forgiven and forgotten without knowing it. But it was too late.
Summer vacation comes around again, and a sharp reminder of Anne’s aging guardians, as Matthew has a scare with his heart, and Mrs. Lynde pays a visit to show her concern (and have tea).
“I must say, Anne has turned out a real smart girl,” admitted Mrs. Rachel, as Marilla accompanied her to the end of the lane at sunset. “She must be a great help to you. […] I did make a mistake in judging Anne, but it weren’t no wonder, for an odder, unexpecteder witch of a child there never was in the world, that’s what. There was no ciphering her out by the rules that worked with other children.”
Until next time…