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Anne of Green Gables Read-a-long: Chapter II: Matthew Cuthbert is Surprised

Welcome to Week 2 of the Anne of Green Gables Read-a-long. Today's post is by Jana Tayfour, a post-graduate student from the University of Toronto. 

Chapter II: Matthew Cuthbert is Surprised

 “The little birds sang as if it were the one day of summer in all the year.”

Heartwarming lines I keep re-reading again and again, and each time they leave a beautiful mark on my heart. The encounter between Anne and Mathew is like a fairytale of innocence, where the world is a canvas of possibilities. I feel that imagination, innocence, hope, and beautiful nature has added a romantic and cozy mood to the conversation between Anne and Mathew.

The line, ‘’Little birds sang,” is like the bird sings a tender tune with the hope that the sun will come out after the darkness. Birds are chirping in the summer sun, as if this day is one to cherish and remember as a day of love and peace for all. It melts my heart to know that the encounter between Anne and Mathew would be the beginning of a symphony, a symphony of kindred spirits.

’Matthew Cuthbert and the sorrel mare jogged comfortably over the eight miles to Bright River.’’ 

Observe the peace Matthew is feeling now. His mare means a lot to him, so it is like he’s taking her on a date. With his own thoughts wandering to the beautiful path, Matthew feels that nothing and no one could disrupt this melody of apple orchards in the morning mist, and the trotting of his mare through the beautiful purple and blue horizon. The apple orchards are breathing with heartwarming aromas in the early morning. Who could ask for more?

‘’The air was sweet with the breath of many apple orchards and the meadows sloped away in the distance to horizon mists of pearl and purple.’’

The romance I feel reading this part warmed my heart like chocolate fudge. For a moment, I could pretend I’m in this carriage ride with Matthew and even imagine that it's the most romantic ride I’ve ever had. I even ate the lovely apples from the orchard.

 

‘’Matthew enjoyed the drive after his own fashion, except during the moments when he met women and had to nod to them.”

Man, how this made me laugh. I’m quite sure he was a charmer back when he was young. However, perhaps the girls terrified him.

The only women he never dreaded where Marilla and Rachel Lynde, and he was sure they were laughing at him right now. However, he isn’t shocked because he knew that his looks aren’t so charming and his grey hair shows he has grown old. His features haven’t changed since he was twenty, so he is cool about it.

My favourite part is the conversation between Anne and Matthew as they are driving to Green Gables. Matthew arrives at the station, but it is deserted, except for a little girl who is waiting for someone. Although Mathew looks past her, because SHE is a girl. A SHE? It’s a BOY I came for!

To his surprise, he asks the station master about the 5:30 train. However, Matthew is shocked because the conductor also mentions a GIRL! I almost hear Matthew say everything using his facial expression (I didn't sign up for this).

As an assurance, the conductor said: “’Well, you’d better question the girl,’ said the stationmaster carelessly. ‘I dare say she’ll be able to explain— she’s got a tongue of her own, that’s certain. Maybe they were out of boys of the brand you wanted.’”

Matthew wishes for Marilla to solve the situation, but he walks over to the orphaned girl with freckles and red hair to ask her why is she not a BOY. As soon as he greets her, and before he has a chance to ask who she is, Anne walks up to him and says my favorite line of all time:

“I had made up my mind that if you didn’t come for me to-night I’d go down the track to that big wild cherry-tree at the bend, and climb up into it to stay all night.’’

She has a sweet voice and eyes wide open because for Anne, sleeping in a cherry tree in the moonshine is really romantic. Matthew doesn’t know what to do! This GIRL has just greeted him and didn't leave him a chance to say anything at all! She simply talks to him about cherry trees and says, “I’m Anne with an E.’’ When Anne introduces herself, Mathew is confused and worries what Marilla will say when he brings her a girl instead of a boy.

On the other hand, Anne is so happy Matthew has come, that she says: ‘’Oh, I’m very glad you’ve come, even if it would have been nice to sleep in a wild cherry-tree.”

Reading this line again, I’ve come to realize that the cherry tree is Anne’s first home and that Green Gables will be her second. Matthew is so touched by what she says, that he takes her home. And, when Anne says, ‘’I’m going to belong to you,’’ he knows this GIRL he just picked up has entered his heart.

For me, this chapter is the epoch in Anne of Green Gables. The carriage ride in the White Way of Delight, the Lake of Shining Waters and Green Gables are all warm thoughts in Anne’s heart and mind. When Anne clings to Matthew’s arm, it is the first love she has ever encountered.

Everything is too good to be true! A dream that seems so real that she doesn't know dream from reality now. Usually, we pinch ourselves to realize we aren’t dreaming. Dear Anne, you are a kindred spirit who can dream, imagine and soar! It's real Anne! This time it’s real!

“I’d be so afraid it was all a dream. Then I’d pinch myself to see if it was real—until suddenly I remembered that even supposing it was only a dream I’d better go on dreaming as long as I could; so I stopped pinching. But it IS real and we’re nearly home.’’

Here starts a new home for Anne. With mixed feelings, two kindred spirits arrive at Green Gables. Afraid? Anxious? Dreaming? Anne feels this is the home she imagined! I call it: The House of Dreams! 

 

Jana Tayfour is a post graduate at the University of Toronto. Writing and reading has been her lifelong passion, and whenever she gets a chance to fly into her imagination, she soars up until the world seems limitless. Anne is like a soul character she identifies with, simply because she exists to be different and shows the world what can she really do. She is unexpected and way ahead of her time. In addition, Jana did a self-inquiry project in one of her grad courses where she mentions how Anne, as a fictional character, resonates with her. When Jana heard about this read-a-long, she wanted to take part because she thinks Anne is so much like her.