Chapter 20: By Aerial Post
By, Amanda Sanders
While "Chapter 20: By Aerial Post" spans the Christmas season, it is not all holiday cheer. Emily reveals that her cat, Mike, has died from suspected poisoning. Emily cries and cries--much to the disgust of her Aunt Elizabeth. After burying the poor cat in Lofty John’s bush, Emily is "so thankful the ground [isn't] frozen yet” and then says a prayer, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,” which her Aunt Laura isn’t happy about hearing about after the fact (208). In response, Cousin Jimmy says, “Don’t you think, Laura, that an innocent little dum creature has a share of God? Emily loved him and all love is part of God”(208-209), to which Laura agrees.
On December 18th, Emily tells Father than Cousin Jimmy says there is a snowstorm coming, which she is very pleased about because there will be snow at Christmas. She then goes on to talk about Christmas plans, how the Murray dinner will be at New Moon this year, as it is their turn to host.
Next, Emily tells Father a story she is ashamed of – Ella Lee’s party the previous Saturday. Emily got to wear her new blue cashmere dress that her Aunt Laura had insisted on, even though Aunt Elizabeth had insisted on brown. Remembering that Ilse had mentioned how her father had said she would look better with a bit of colour, she tried pinching her cheeks, but the colour doesn't last long. Instead, Emily decides to take an old red velvet flower that had once been on Aunt Laura’s bonnet and rubs it on her face to give herself bright red cheeks! Unfortunately, the look doesn't turn out quite the way she had planned. “When I went to the party and the girls all looked at me but no one said anything, only Rhoda Stuart giggled and giggled” (210). Afterwards, Aunt Elizabeth chastises Emily, telling her that she's made herself look “cheap." ( Although, Emily hears her laughing about it in the pantry later.)
Emily tells Father about the additions she’s made to the Disappointing House, and how one day she will be a famous author and the house won’t be disappointing anymore. I wonder if L.M. Montgomery is putting a bit of herself into this particular passage of the book, as we know of her own struggles, maybe she was in a ‘disappointing house’ herself?
On December 28th, Emily recaps Christmas to Father, describing everyone’s holiday outfits and, when describing how handsome Aunt Elizabeth looked in the black satin dress writes, “You like your relations to look well even if you don’t like them" (215). Emily enjoys Christmas well enough, even if all of her relatives gave her useful gifts, with the exception of Laura, who gives her a bottle of perfume. Emily admits that she does not feel like a stranger among the Murrays anymore.
This is a wonderful chapter, I personally love Christmas stories, so it was nice to get this chapter in Emily of New Moon.
Bio: Amanda Sanders has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Francis Xavier University and is a former Library Assistant from Thompson Public Library in Thompson, Manitoba. She is currently a Stay at Home Mom in Central Alberta.