'Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves' from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Novel Excerpt (1908)
Matthew Cuthbert finds the courage to buy Anne the fashionable dress she craves, despite his sister Marilla's disapproval and his own fear of the deed.
This is one of my very favourite books, and it seems time to include another really great classic in the collection. It holds a similar charm to the likes of Little Women and What Katy Did, but it does come from another time and place (20th-century Canada), and is different in many ways. For me the humour is more accessible, the plot less sentimental and the characters more rounded. In this novel, as with Harry Potter and White Boots, Christmas comes with a massive dose of character development. Again it is shown to be the most special time of year, and if we're getting a bit sick of waiting then perhaps this will remind us that Christmas is about our loved ones, and that receiving is merely a necessary part of giving. Of course, the dress isn't just a dress; it is a symbol of everything that Matthew and Anne have done for each other.
'There were some things Matthew could buy and prove himself no mean bargainer; but he knew he would be at the mercy of shopkeepers when it came to buying a girl's dress.'
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (Wordsworth, 1993), p.181.