Anne of Green Gables | Study Guide

L. M. Montgomery

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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 25 : Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves | Summary



One December evening some of Anne's classmates come to Green Gables to rehearse for the concert. Matthew tries to stay out of the way, but when the girls are leaving, he watches from the shadows as they put on their coats and caps. Anne chatters away as happily as the rest of the girls, but Matthew is worried about something he can't explain. Anne stands out from her friends—and not in a good way. What could be the matter?

After thinking hard for a couple of hours, he figures it out. Anne is not dressed like the others. Her clothes are much plainer and soberer than theirs. He recalls even Anne's sleeves are different from the sleeves on the other girls' dresses.

Matthew has promised to leave Marilla in charge of Anne's upbringing, but Christmas is almost here. Even Marilla can't fault him for giving Anne a pretty dress as a Christmas present. The problem is he has no idea how to obtain a dress for Anne.

Next morning he heads into town bent on getting the dress search out of the way quickly, not realizing a country store won't have what he wants. After a failed attempt in which he buys a rake and 20 pounds of brown sugar Marilla doesn't need, he decides to ask Mrs. Lynde for help. Delighted to make a dress for Anne, Mrs. Lynde will pick out the fabric herself, and she'll make the sleeves as puffy as they can be. The finished result is beautiful, and tears of joy fill Anne's eyes when she opens it on Christmas morning.

She gets a second unexpected present: Diana's Aunt Josephine sends her a pair of "the daintiest little kid slippers, with beaded toes and satin bows and glistening buckles." They fit perfectly, and Anne wears them when she performs at the concert—which is a splendid success.


Chapter 25 takes place on December 25—a nice bit of planning on Montgomery's part.

There's something unforgettable about Anne's Christmas dress, which Montgomery describes in luscious detail. After all, it's the first time the author has had a chance to indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: describing beautiful clothes. Clearly she takes as much delight in this dress as Anne does. The longed-for puffed sleeves have two puffs each! Gloria, the fabric from which the dress is made, is a silk-wool or silk-cotton blend with a satiny finish. Mrs. Lynde may not be the subtlest person, but she understands what girls like.

Anne gets a second present from Aunt Josephine, and of course the concert that evening is a huge event in her life. Still, this Christmas Day seems plainer than some. This is because the Cuthberts and their friends are Presbyterian. From the 16th century through the end of the 19th, the Presbyterian Church did not treat Christmas as a holiday, although other Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church did. Only in the 19th century did Christmas begin to tiptoe into Presbyterian homes—and it's typical of Marilla hers is not one of those homes.

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