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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 22 : Anne Is Invited Out to Tea | Summary

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Summary

Once the Cuthberts have had the Allans to tea, it's time for the Allans to reciprocate. Mrs. Allan, who teaches the church's Sunday school, plans to invite every student to tea one or two at a time. It's hard to imagine any other member of the class could be as excited as Anne when her turn to visit the manse arrives.

Anne is full of nerves on the big day. She's diligently studied etiquette, but she's still afraid she'll make an embarrassing mistake. Marilla, "hitting for once in her life on a very sound and pithy piece of advice," suggests thinking about what would be most pleasant for Mrs. Allan rather than worrying about herself. Anne instantly sees the wisdom in this suggestion.

The tea turns out to be a great success. Anne gives Marilla a full report, sitting "with her tired curly head in Marilla's gingham lap." Mrs. Allan was beautifully dressed; the meal was elegant; the other little girl invited was "not exactly a kindred spirit, you know, but still very nice." Mrs. Allan praised Anne's voice, and Anne had a chance to pour out her heart to her hostess who, she informs Marilla, "was a dunce at geometry too."

While Anne is at the manse, Mrs. Lynde drops by with the news that the school trustees have just hired a new teacher: Miss Muriel Stacy. "Isn't that a romantic name?" says Anne, who can't imagine how she's going to get through the next two weeks before school starts again.

Analysis

Marilla's advice to Anne is excellent, and Montgomery's candor about Marilla's usual advice is noteworthy. It's rare for an author to criticize one of her characters this way. What Montgomery means is the "very sound and pithy piece of advice" is helpful for Anne, unlike many of the platitudes Marilla offers elsewhere. Marilla must have given good advice to other adults occasionally. But Montgomery is always loyal to Anne, even if it means poking fun at Anne's guardian.

When Anne comes home, she sits with her head in Marilla's lap. Obviously the two have become much closer over the months, even though Marilla never talks about it.

It's fitting for Anne learn about Miss Stacy from Mrs. Lynde at Mrs. Allan's house. Except for Marilla, these are the three women who most influence Anne.

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