Anne’s growing up!
Anne had a glorious summer, largely thanks to the advice of the Spencervale doctor (the one that showed up for the incident with Minnie May).
“Keep that red-headed girl of yours in the open air all summer and don’t let her read books until she gets more spring in her step.“
This warning sufficiently frightens Marilla into letting Anne do just about whatever she likes (because what she likes is generally wholesome).
“Marilla,” said Anne in a burst of confidence, “I want to tell you something and ask you what you think about it. It has worried me terribly – on Sunday afternoons, that is, when I think especially about such matters. I do really want to be good; and when I’m with you or Mrs. Allen or Miss Stacy I want it more than ever and I want to please you and do what you would approve of. But mostly when I’m with Mrs. Lynde I feel desperately wicked and as if I wanted to do the very thing she tells me I oughtn’t to do. I feel irresistibly tempted to do it. Now, what do you think is the reason I feel like that? Do you think it’s because I’m really bad and unregenerate?”
Marilla looked dubious for a moment. Then she laughed.
“If you are I guess I am too, Anne, for Rachel often has that very effect on me. I sometimes think she’d have more of an influence for good, as you say yourself, if she didn’t keep nagging to do right. There should have been a special commandment against nagging. But there, I shouldn’t talk so. Rachel is a good Christian woman and she means well. There isn’t a kinder soul in Avonlea and she never shirks her share of work.”
I think Rachel’s main problem is that she comes at problems with an air of moral superiority – she thinks that she’s always in the right, and that can be maddening.
And then one day Marilla discovers that Anne has grown taller than her!
Marilla felt a queer regret over Anne’s inches. The child she had learned to love had vanished somehow and here was this tall, serious-eyed girl of fifteen, with the thoughtful brows and the proudly poised little head. in her place. And that night when Anne had gone to prayer-meeting with Diana, Marilla sat alone in the wintry twilight and indulged in the weakness of a cry. Matthew, coming in with the lantern, caught her at it and gazed at her in such consternation that Marilla had to laugh through her tears.
“I was thinking about Anne,” she explained. “She’s got to be such a big girl – and she’ll probably be away from us next winter. I’ll miss her terrible.“
She even comments that Anne doesn’t talk nearly as much anymore, to which she replies that she doesn’t feel like talking if she’ll just be laughed at or wondered over. I was similarly talkative when I was little, and grew into a much quieter adult – but Anne still has plenty of thoughts in her head, just waiting to find an appropriate outlet.
Until next time…