Chapter 23, pp. 169-175
A week after the tea with Mrs. Allan, Anne is invited to a party at Diana’s house for all the girls. After the girls have had tea, they gravitate outdoors to play a game of “daring,” a game that is all the fashion among the kids just then. After Josie Pye, a girl who thinks much of herself, skillfully completes Anne’s dare to walk the fence, Anne tries to put her in her place by saying she once knew a girl who could walk the ridgepole (at the top center) of a roof. When Josie then dares Anne to do the same, she feels she will lose face if she does not do it.
She therefore climbs up on the Barrys’ roof and begins to balance across the ridgepole. She goes a few steps and then, losing her balance, falls. Luckily, her fall is cushioned by some vines, but she is injured. Diana and the other girls rush to see if she is “killed,” but Anne manages to say that she is “‘not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious.’” Mrs. Barry appears, and Anne tells her she will need Mr. Barry to carry her home, for her ankle is injured.
Marilla is alarmed when, from her spot in the orchard, she spies Anne being carried home by Mr. Barry, and all of the others trailing along after them. In this moment she realizes that Anne means more to her than anything, and losing her would be the worst thing that could ever happen to her. She hides her emotion, however, by chiding Anne for acting foolishly—again.
Anne faints from the pain, and a doctor brought by Matthew pronounces her ankle to be broken. Anne is to be bedridden for six to seven weeks, and she will miss the start of school. Anne asks Marilla is she feels sorry for her, but Marilla brusquely replies that it is her own fault and that she would never have done something so foolish on a mere dare. Anne further bemoans that “‘Gil—everybody will get ahead of me in class. Oh, I am an afflicted mortal. But I’ll try to bear it all bravely if only you won’t be cross with me, Marilla.’”
Anne has no shortage of visitors, almost daily, from school, and Mrs. Lynde and Mrs. Allan come to see her as well. Anne remarks to Marilla that Mrs. Allan “never tells you it’s your own fault and she hopes you’ll be a better girl on account of it’” as Mrs. Lynde made a point of doing. Even Josie Pye comes, relieved that she was not the cause of Anne’s death, but still arrogant. Anne particularly feasts on the descriptions of the new teacher. Miss Stacy, who wears puffed sleeves, has introduced recitations and woodland explorations into the curriculum, and although Mrs. Lynde thinks these innovations are radical, Anne thinks they show that the teacher will be her kindred spirit.
Once again, the outcome of Anne’s acting on her feelings, rather than on sense, results in a catastrophe. This catastrophe, however, brings home to Marilla how important Anne is to her. She acts sternly, but inside she feels great tenderness for Anne.
Anne looks forward to the new teacher, who sounds as if she might actually teach Anne something and challenge her.
Chapter 24, pp. 175-179
Anne goes back to school in October and is delighted with Miss Stacy, whose youth and enthusiasm have enchanted all of the students. She has introduced recitations, nature explorations, and physical exercise, all of which Anne loves but Marilla thinks is nonsense. Marilla especially disapproves of Miss Stacy’s plan to have the students put on an evening of entertainment in order to raise money for a flag for the school. Anne chatters about her various parts for the evening, from several recitations to taking part in a tableau and being dressed as a fairy. Marilla is not very interested, so Anne finds Matthew outside and tells him about the planned concert. Matthew, unlike Marilla, listens kindly. He is secretly glad that he has not been the one to have to discipline Anne; he is perfectly happy to spoil her.