Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery
published 1908 chapter 25
[following on from yesterday's entry]
"...Matthew had sheepishly unfolded the dress from its paper swathings and held it out with a deprecatory glance at Marilla, who feigned to be contemptuously filling the teapot, but nevertheless watched the scene out of the corner of her eye with a rather interested air.
Anne took the dress and looked at it in reverent silence. Oh, how pretty it was--a lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most fashionable way, with a little ruffle of filmy lace at the neck. But the sleeves--they were the crowning glory! Long elbow cuffs, and above them two beautiful puffs divided by rows of shirring and bows of brown-silk ribbon.
"That's a Christmas present for you, Anne," said Matthew shyly. "Why--why--Anne, don't you like it? Well now--well now."
For Anne's eyes had suddenly filled with tears.
"Like it! Oh, Matthew!" Anne laid the dress over a chair and clasped her hands. "Matthew, it's perfectly exquisite. Oh, I can never thank you enough. Look at those sleeves! Oh, it seems to me this must be a happy dream."
"Well, well, let us have breakfast," interrupted Marilla. "I must say, Anne, I don't think you needed the dress; but since Matthew has got it for you, see that you take good care of it. There's a hair ribbon Mrs. Lynde left for you. It's brown, to match the dress. Come now, sit in…"
Well!! The dress was brown??? Not in my memory it wasn’t, and not in most people’s I’d guess, though it must have gone nicely with Anne’s red hair. ‘Gloria’ turns out to be a tiny bit of a disappointment for a fabric with such a splendid name: it is defined in Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary as ‘a mixture of wool and silk or similar material, used as a substitute for silk in covering umbrellas and dressmaking.’ Hmmm.
Anne is a brilliant creation, because it is perfectly clear to readers of any age how annoying she must have been, with her self-dramatization, her over-reactions, and her non-stop talking. And yet, she is our kindred spirit, our bosom friend. The books, the author, and Anne herself are seen by Canadians as national treasures, and who can blame them? Well done Canada!
See also yesterday's entry.
The photo with its gigantic puffed sleeves is from the UK’s National Media Museum in Bradford, and is on Flickr.
Thanks again to Riona…