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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 19 : A Concert a Catastrophe and a Confession | Summary

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Summary

It's February and Diana's birthday. To celebrate, she wants Anne to come to the Debating Club concert at the Avonlea Hall and then spend the night at her house. As a special treat the girls will get to sleep in the Barrys' spare room.

Marilla says no. She doesn't want Anne "gadding about to concerts and staying out all hours of the night." Predictably, Anne is crushed; surprisingly, Matthew intervenes on her behalf. He states, "It ain't interfering to have your own opinion." Finally Marilla relents.

Anne and Diana have a wonderful day and evening. There's a "perfectly elegant tea" at Diana's house, a primping session, and a sleigh ride to the concert, which is everything Anne could have dreamed about. Back at Diana's house, the girls get ready for bed in front of the parlor fire. Then Anne suggests a race to the spare room bed. The night-gowned girls run down the parlor through the spare-room door and jump onto the bed.

Suddenly "something—moved beneath them." "Merciful goodness!" says somebody "in muffled accents." It's Diana's wealthy Aunt Josephine. Unbeknownst to the girls, she arrived while they were at the concert and was given a bed in—where else?—the spare room.

Aunt Josephine is furious. She planned to stay a month but is now going to leave the next day. She planned to pay for music lessons for Diana, but now she has no wish to help such a tomboy. When she hears all this from Mrs. Lynde, Anne bravely heads over to the Barrys' house to apologize.

Aunt Josephine is "knitting fiercely by the fire, her wrath quite unappeased." Anne shrinkingly confesses the spare room adventure was her idea, not Diana's. "If you must be cross with anyone, be cross with me," Anne begs, adding Miss Barry should try to imagine how the girls felt when they realized someone was in the bed. "I suppose you are used to sleeping in spare rooms," Anne finishes, "but just imagine what you would feel like if you were a little orphan girl."

Aunt Josephine actually laughs, then invites Anne to sit down and talk to her. Anne politely declines—"But before I go I do wish you would tell me if you will forgive Diana." Aunt Josephine promises she will, as long as Anne comes to visit her at the Barrys'. And sometime, when she's home, she'll invite Anne to stay "in my very sparest spare-room bed."

Analysis

It is typical of Anne to lead a race to jump onto a bed where someone's cranky old aunt is sleeping. Diana shows her mettle by "gasping with laughter" as she explains what must have happened, rather than being horrified. And the scene is, indeed, appallingly funny.

Aunt Josephine is a formidable woman—but again, readers can trust Anne to stand up to her. Most likely, nothing but Anne's intervention would have calmed down the peppery old lady. But once she's won over, Aunt Josephine becomes one more member of the matriarchy concerned with Anne's welfare. Aunt Josephine has the advantage of being rich, and she will reward Anne's courage under fire in more ways than one.

In this chapter readers also see Matthew standing up to Marilla for the first time. One of the many benefits Anne brings him is an improved ability to express his feelings. Matthew doesn't have many words at his disposal, but he doesn't need them here. His repeating "I think you ought to let Anne go" finally wears Marilla out. It's a victory for Matthew as well as Anne.

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