Matthew Cuthbert Adopted Father of the Year
Have I ever mentioned how much I absolutely adore Matthew Cuthbert? He’s just the best character ever written. His quiet love and insistence is just admirable.
On a cold December evening, Matthew enters the kitchen and realizes too late that Anne and her friends are already there conducting a rehearsal of “The Fairy Queen” in preparation for the Christmas concert. Shy of all the little girls, he stays silently in the corner until they leave. While observing the group, Matthew notices that Anne is dressed differently from her friends. He becomes convinced that she needs more fashionable clothing and goes into the town of Carmody to find a bright dress with puffed sleeves. Shopping is not an easy task for such a shy man, but Matthew summons his courage and goes to Samuel Lawson’s store, which he thinks will not have a female clerk at the desk. Much to Matthew’s dismay, he finds that Samuel Lawson has hired a female clerk, Miss Lucilla Harris.
Matthew is too scared to ask Miss Harris for fashion advice, and asks for twenty pounds of brown sugar and a garden rake before making his escape. Matthew eventually asks Mrs. Rachel for help, and she picks out a rich brown fabric and uses a fashionable pattern to make Anne’s dress. Mrs. Rachel has often wondered why Marilla dresses Anne so plainly and is happy to have a part in updating Anne’s wardrobe. On Christmas Day, Matthew unveils the dress, complete with puffed sleeves. Diana comes over with a present from Aunt Josephine for Anne: delicate slippers. Anne is delighted by her beautiful new garments.
Anne’s Christmas concert is the first one Matthew and Marilla have been to in twenty years. Anne, wearing her new dress and shoes, is the star of the show. Both Cuthberts are swollen with pride. Matthew immediately tells Anne how proud he is of her, but Marilla decides not to compliment Anne.
The scene just got me all choked up because he faced down a serious fear for his little Anne. Not to mention the humor when Marilla saw the 20 lbs of brown sugar. It’s just absolutely great, the whole chapter!