Diana, now locally famous for her fashion sense, helps Anne dress for a performance at the upscale White Sands Hotel. Diana suggests a dress of white organdy for Anne’s slim figure; Anne can adorn the dress with the string of pearls Matthew recently gave her as a gift. Anne, accustomed to public speaking, is levelheaded about the affair until she enters the hotel dressing room by herself and is swallowed up in the bustle of elegantly dressed city women. Suddenly, she feels out of place in her simple dress and pearls, which looked lovely in her room at Green Gables but now seem plain next to the other ladies’ silks, laces, and diamonds. Onstage, Anne sits between a stout lady who occasionally turns to scrutinize her and a girl in white lace who laughs loudly about the country bumpkins at the affair. The show of wealth and culture intimidates Anne, and stage fright assails her. For several moments, she feels she must run off the stage. Then she sees Gilbert’s face in the audience, and the unbearable thought of failing in front of him spurs her on. She delivers a recitation so accomplished that it impresses even the girl in white lace. Afterward, the stout lady, who is the wife of an American millionaire, introduces her to everybody, and she receives many compliments.
On the ride home, Diana tells Anne she overheard a rich American man comment on Anne’s hair and face, saying he wanted to paint her. Later, in response to Jane Andrews’s wistful observations about all the jewels and riches that were on display, Anne says that she already feels rich in her own skin, with her imagination and the gift of Matthew’s string of pearls.
It won’t make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I shall always be your little Anne.
Anne’s departure for Queen’s Academy is imminent, and everyone at Green Gables helps with the preparations. Marilla changes her ideas about fashion and buys Anne fabric for a fancy evening dress. When Anne tries the dress on and recites a poem for Matthew and Marilla, Marilla begins to cry. At first proud that her poem has moved Marilla, Anne realizes her departure is what makes Marilla sad and reassures her that though she has grown up, she is still the same person, saying, “It won’t make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I will always be your little Anne.” They embrace, and Matthew reflects that it was Providence (God’s will), not luck, that sent Anne to them in the first place.
On the first day at Queen’s Academy, Gilbert’s presence in the advanced class comforts Anne. Although Anne and Gilbert never speak to each other, his presence reminds her of the rivalry that has motivated her for so many years. Anne is lonely in the classroom full of unfamiliar people and miserable later that night in her room at the boardinghouse. Just as Anne starts crying, Josie Pye shows up, and Anne is delighted to see a familiar face, even though she dislikes Josie. Jane and Ruby visit, and Jane admits that she has been crying too. Josie announces the news of the Avery Scholarship, which provides money for the best student in English to attend a four-year college after his or her one-year program at Queen’s Academy. Anne immediately imagines Matthew’s pride if she were to earn a bachelor’s degree.
All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years—each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet.
Anne’s homesickness wears off as the school year progresses. Midway through the year, the scholars at Queen’s Academy stop their weekend visits to Avonlea and prepare for exams in the spring. Anne finds that though she is as ambitious as ever, her rivalry with Gilbert has lost some of its power. The thought of defeating him academically still excites her because he is a worthy opponent, but she no longer cares about beating him just to humiliate him. In fact, she secretly wishes to be friends with him. Seeing him walking with Ruby Gillis all the time makes her wonder what Gilbert sees in Ruby, since Ruby has none of the ambition or thoughtfulness that Anne and Gilbert share.
Anne’s circle of friends expands as she meets other girls in her class. She also continues her friendship with Aunt Josephine. At the end of the term, while all the other girls are nervous about exams, Anne forgets about the pressure of school and enjoys the beautiful sights of spring.