LOOKING AT WHAT GOES ON UNDER THE CLOTHES
‘I’ve a plan’ said Anne, with a cautious glance to make sure Mrs Gibson couldn’t hear her… “You know that silver-gray poplin of mine? I’m going to lend you that for the wedding. Saturday morning you'll put it on under your black taffeta. I know it will fit you. It's a little long, but I'll run some tucks in it tomorrow . . . tucks are fashionable now. It's collarless, with elbow sleeves so no one will suspect. As soon as you get to Gull Cove, take off the taffeta. When the day is over you can leave the poplin at Gull Cove and I can get it the next week-end I'm home."
"But wouldn't it be too young for me?"
"Not a bit of it. Any age can wear gray."
"Do you think it would be . . . right . . . to deceive Ma?" faltered Pauline.
"Put it on," said Anne in her best school-teacherish manner.
Pauline obeyed and emerged a transformed Pauline. The gray dress fitted her beautifully. It was collarless and had dainty lace ruffles in the elbow sleeves. When Anne had done her hair Pauline hardly knew herself.
"I hate to cover it up with that horrid old black taffeta, Miss Shirley."
But it had to be. The taffeta covered it very securely. The old hat went on . . . but it would be taken off, too, when she got to Louisa's . . . and Pauline had a new pair of shoes. Mrs. Gibson had actually allowed her to get a new pair of shoes, though she thought the heels "scandalous high."
commentary: For once, what someone is wearing under their clothes is a complete outfit of proper clothes…
Pauline is a slave to her mother: Anne is plotting to try to give her a day off, to go to her cousin’s silver wedding celebration. The mother, Mrs Gibson, a splendid monster says she is leaving it to Pauline’s conscience: “If I must die alone I must.” Anne busybodies around and enables Pauline to go, but Mrs Gibson isn’t giving in too easily:
With a long sigh. “If I ain’t here when you come back, remember that I want to be laid out in my lace shawl and my black satin slippers. And see that my hair is crimped.”Anne Shirley, heroine of the enchanting Anne of Green Gables, is I’m guessing in her early 20s in this book, and working as a teacher in a small town – see earlier entry. Blogfriend Lucy Fisher pointed this one out to me (ages ago) as being full of interesting clothes, and indeed it is. I have a low tolerance for the later Montgomery, and this one has the virtues and vices of all of them. It is very funny at times, and tells you what people wear. But Anne – whose attempts to get over her failings in the first book were so charming – is now annoyingly perfect, and the residents of Summerside line up to have her solve their problems with her knowledge of human nature. It gets very wearing.
A miserable fellow-teacher - she is described as an ‘iceberg and nutmeg grater combined’, a splendid phrase – really dislikes Anne, and I had a lot of sympathy for her, though she came round in the end. Miracles are performed, engagements are put right, missing fathers are found, photographs are taken. And Anne writes every week to her fiancé Gilbert.
This one is for the committed Anne-fans. LMM certainly kept the character going – this one was published fully 28 years after the first Anne book, although only a couple of years have passed in Anne’s world.
The picture is from the Library of Congress: an illustration from a 1900 book called The Lace Camisole by LB Walford – a book we should plainly be seeking out for Clothes in Books.