Chapter 8 Summary
Marilla decides to test Anne a little further the next morning. She gives Anne kitchen chores, and Anne performs them very well without any complaints. Marilla concludes that Anne is intelligent and obedient, is willing to help out, and is quick to learn. Anne’s only drawback is that she tends to get lost in daydreams, which sometimes causes her to be careless and forgetful of the task at hand until she is reprimanded or causes an accident.
After her chores are completed to Marilla’s satisfaction, Anne pleads with Marilla to tell her of her fate. She can no longer bear not knowing if she is going to stay at Green Gables or be sent back to the orphanage. Marilla finally gives in and tells Anne that if she promises to try to be a good girl and demonstrate her gratitude, she can stay at Green Gables. Anne bursts into tears, which surprises Marilla almost as much as they surprise Anne. When Anne attempts to explain her tears, she enters into a long discussion of choosing the correct word to express her feelings. She tries to say that she is crying because she is glad, but the word glad sounds too trifling for the emotions she is feeling. Anne then tells Marilla that she will try her best to be good, but Marilla should understand that this will be a great challenge for her because she has previously been told that she was “desperately wicked.” Then she asks Marilla to explain why she might be crying. It makes no sense to Anne that she should have so many tears at a time when she feels very happy.
Marilla attempts to calm Anne, telling her that her emotions are all mixed up because of her excitement. Marilla adds that Anne needs to learn to control her feelings; she tends to cry and laugh far too easily. Marilla then discusses the terms under which Anne will be staying at Green Gables. She will begin school in the fall, and they have a lot to do before then, including making proper clothes for her.
When Anne asks what she should call her, Marilla says Anne should merely call her Marilla. Anne wants to call her Aunt Marilla, but Marilla is too rational for this. She reminds Anne that she is not her aunt, so that would be a lie. Anne, however, desires a stronger sense of family connection between them. She suggests that they could pretend they are blood relations, but Marilla refuses to do this. This leads Anne to ask if Marilla has ever imagined that things are different from how they actually were. Marilla says she has not. Anne feels sorry for Marilla and tells her how much she has missed.