In Chapter 17, we find Anne still reeling over her forbidden friendship with Diana. They secretly meet and Diana shares that her mother will not forgive Anne for setting Diana drunk. 😉 Marilla is her funny self, not sharing too much sympathy for Anne’s outrageous sorrow over this injustice.
“I don’t think there is much fear of your dying of grief as long as you can talk, Anne,” said Marilla unsympathetically. p. 113
She decides to go back to school (I forgot that she wasn’t going? I don’t remember why. Maybe just the sadness over the lost friendship? They let you out of school for that?) and bury her sorrows in study. Everyone is glad that she is back, she is a lively and imaginative addition to the otherwise boring school day. She is very much rebuffing any overtures of friendship on Gilbert’s part, even an glorious apple left for her. Diana and her pass a few secretive notes, basically saying Diana is not allowed to talk or play with her at all.
Anne throws herself passionately into her studies trying to beat Gilbert at everything.
“She was as intense in her hatreds as in her loves.”
Geometry and Anne do not mix at all and she is in “the depths of despair” over it.
Chapter 18 finds Marilla off to see the Canadian Premier with Rachel Lynde, so Anne and Matthew are taking care of Green Gables.
A humorous and heartwarming conversation in the cheerful kitchen happens between them and as they are chatting, Diana bursts in, hysterically crying about Minnie Mae being ill.
Anne is as cool as a cucumber, bragging a bit about her knowledge of croup, believing now that she knows why she had to deal with Mrs. Hammond’s three sets of twins. For this moment of glory alone, it was all worth it.
Maud Montgomery’s nature descriptions shine here again:
“The night was clear and frosty, all ebony of shadow and silver of snowy slope; big stars were shining over the silent fields; here and there the dark pointed firs stood up with snow powdering their branches and the wind whistling through them. Anne thought it was truly delightful to go skimming through all this mystery and loveliness with your bosom friend who had been so long estranged.” p.142
Anne does help Minnie Mae and Matthew brings the doctor, who congratulates her on her quick thinking and for saving Minnie’s life.
Marilla comes back and in her cool, calm way shows Anne her pride in what she did by serving up a delicious meal, with the added treat of blue plum preserve. She calmly holds back that Mrs. Barry had been there, gushing in thankfulness and contrition. Anne finished the day in a rapture, as she is invited to dinner with the Barry family.