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Ruby Gillis

Ruby Gillis


Biographical data

Place of residence:

Avonlea and, for some time, Carmody

Occupation / activity:

“I want to live here. I'm still so young, Anne. I fought against death - but it's pointless - I'll die - and have to leave everything behind that means so much to me. "
- Ruby Gillis to Anne Shirley the evening before her death (Source)

Ruby Gillis was a girl from Avonlea and a friend of Anne Shirley, Diana Barry and Jane Andrews. After finishing school, she studied at Queen's College for a year and then worked as a teacher. She first taught in the West for a year, then at Carmody School. When she was 19 years old, she died of galloping consumption.

Biography Edit source]

Childhood Edit source]

Ruby was born in Avonlea in 1865 and had several older sisters. When she was six years old, she started school. There she befriended Diana Barry and Jane Andrews.

When she was eleven, after the summer vacation, a new girl named Anne Shirley attended school, which was adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Ruby gave Anne an apple. Gilbert Blythe was absent for the first three weeks of the school year because he came back from relatives only afterwards. When he got back, he tied Ruby's braids to her chair with a pin so that she couldn't get up when she wanted to go to teacher Mr. Phillips with an assignment and fell back on her chair with a little scream. Mr Phillips gave her such a devastating look that she began to cry.

In October 1876, Mary Joe gave her a magic stone. He got rid of all of her warts. Anne found out about this from her friend Diana Barry because she didn't go to school herself after Mr Phillips put her next to Gilbert, whom she hated, as punishment. Some time later, Anne went back to school, and Ruby gave her three juicy plums during the Bible study.

She said that when she grew up she would have a lot of admirers and make everyone fidget.

When Ruby was twelve, she was the first to cry at the farewell speech given by Mr. Phillips, who was leaving Avonlea School, even though she'd always said before that she couldn't stand him.

During the summer break, Rev. Mr. Bell retired and Mr. Allan became the new parish priest in Avonlea. Allan's wife taught Ruby, Anne, and other girls in Sunday School. During the first lesson with Mrs. Allan, Ruby asked if there would be another picnic in the summer. Mrs. Allan smiled and replied that there would definitely be one.

During the summer vacation, Ruby was given the test of courage by Carrie Sloane to climb the Barrys' old willow tree, which she did in no time, although she was afraid of the caterpillars in the tree and of her mother, who would scold her if she were hers new muslin dress something would happen. Josie Pye challenged Anne Shirley to balance on the Barry family's ridge, with Anne falling and sprained her ankle. As a result, she was unable to get up for seven weeks and also missed the start of the new school year.

After the summer vacation the students got a new teacher named Muriel Stacy. Ruby sat across the aisle from Anne. Miss Stacy often had her students recite poetry. After a poem by Anne, Ruby said her blood was frozen in her veins.

At Christmas, Miss Stacy hosted a lecture night where Ruby was supposed to show a living picture with Diana and Anne. In addition, Anne should play a fairy in one piece and borrow the white sandals from Ruby. Josephine Barry gave Anne sandals so she didn't need Ruby's sandals after all. In the play, Jane Andrews played the fairy queen after Josie Pye didn't get the role because she was fat.

“Now you don't have to wear Ruby's sandals anymore. They would have been two sizes too big for you anyway and it would only have been embarrassing if you had shuffled through the hall as a fairy. "
- Diana Barry to Anne Shirley about Ruby's sandals (Source)

She, Diana, Jane and Anne wanted to stage a poem when they were 13 years old. Anne was supposed to get into a boat for this and let herself drift on the lake, when the boat suddenly began to leak and sank in the middle of the lake. Diana, Jane, and Ruby ran to Orchard Slope for help, but no one was there. Ruby had to stay there because she was completely beside herself and the others ran on to Green Gables, but found no one there either. Fortunately, Anne was able to cling to a bridge and was saved by Gilbert Blythe.

At Queen's College Edit source]

Miss Stacy asked her parents if she could have extra classes to prepare for the Queen's College entrance exam. Ruby was allowed to attend class. She said that after graduating, she only wanted to teach for a year or two and then get married. Every student who took the class had a weakness, with Ruby it was algebra.

After a year and a half of additional tuition, she passed the exam and was in the middle of the exam results with Jane Andrews and Charlie Sloane, even though, like Jane and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, she said she had failed on timpani and trumpets. She said that she had made a big mistake in English and the others also said that they hadn't made it. As a consolation, everyone in town bought an ice cream.

At Queen's, she took the "Little Teacher's Exam" course together with Jane, Josie, Moody and Charlie. On the first evening she and Jane visited Anne, where they also met Josie. Ruby asked Anne if she wouldn't try to win the gold medal. Anne replied that she had already thought of it.

She and the others from Avonlea who were studying at Queen's came to Carmody by train over the weekend and from there, with the others who stayed in Avonlea, went to the little village. Ruby always ran with Gilbert Blythe, who carried her bag for her. But she had once confessed to Jane that she didn't understand half of what Gilbert was saying. Ruby planned on only teaching for a year or two after graduation and then getting married.

In the spring, she asked the other girls what they would wear to graduation. She studied for a year, passed the final exams and then worked as a teacher. After her year at Queen's College, she was voted the prettiest girl of the year.

Work as a teacher Edit source]

At first Ruby taught somewhere in the west for a year. She then succeeded Priscilla Grant at the Carmody School. Anne once told Gilbert about it. While she was a teacher in Carmody, Ruby came home on Saturdays.

She got a marriage proposal from Nelson Atkins, which she refused after she found a book at his house that literally contained the marriage proposal he had given her. The people in Carmody were crazy about her. When Ruby met Diana Barry in William Blair's store, she told her that she had a new flame. She also said Wilbur Blair was literally missing out on her, but she really couldn't help that.

"And she says Wilbur Blair literally passed away after her, but she really couldn't help that."
- Diana Barry to Anne Shirley via Ruby (Source)

Before Anne went to Redmond College, the Village Beautification Society held a farewell party for her and Gilbert Blythe. Ruby attended the party, wearing a cream silk blouse and a red geranium in her hair, which made her look more beautiful than ever. Because Anne saw Gilbert with Ruby, she had Charlie Sloane accompany her home. Gilbert went with Ruby, but took Anne for a walk in the woods the next day.

When Anne was a student, she always welcomed letters from Avonlea. Once she got a letter from Ruby in which she told her how sad it was that Anne was no longer in Avonlea and that she was terribly missed in every nook and cranny. She asked how the boys were at Redmond and told them about their experiences with her many friends. Ruby also wrote that Gilbert had written to her, which made Anne jealous. Little did Anne know that Ruby had written first and that Gilbert's letter was just a polite reply.

In December 1883, Ruby had a severe seizure and has not been able to teach since then.

The galloping consumption [edit | Edit source]

“It won't be long, Anne, and I'll be lying there. You and Diana and all the others will live - and I'll lie there - in the cemetery - dead. "
- Ruby Gillis to Anne Shirley(Source)

When Ruby was 19 years old, she got galloping consumption, which she and her parents refused to admit,

which is why they pretended everything was fine. Ruby planned to marry Herb Spencer, live with him at White Sands, and teach at the White Sands school. During the summer holidays, her friend Anne spent many evenings with her, when Ruby talked about her many friends about what stressed Anne. Two days before her death, her ex-girlfriend, Em White, visited her and they reconciled. Em had wanted to talk to Ruby before, but had thought that Ruby no longer wanted to talk to her, while Ruby had assumed that Em wanted nothing more to do with her.

Before she died, she threw a small party attended by Morgan Bell from Carmody and Leonard Kimball from Spencervale. The evening before her death, Anne came to her and took away her fear of dying. Before the summer vacation ended, she died of galloping consumption while the rest of Avonlea's residents threw a farewell party for Jane Andrews because Jane was going to the States. She was in no pain when she died and fell asleep peacefully.

She was buried in Avonlea Cemetery, with Anne and Diana present at her funeral. Rachel Lynde said of Ruby that she looked the most peaceful of any dead she had ever seen. One of Ruby's sisters had a fit of tears at the funeral. Ruby's mother gave Anne an embroidered heart as a keepsake that Ruby had embroidered for Anne before she died, but was no longer able to completely finish it.

Personality [edit | Edit source]

As a child Edit source]

"Ruby Gillis says that once she grows up, she's sure to have a lot of admirers on her hook and she'll make them all fidget."
- Anne Shirley to Matthew Cuthbert(Source)

When Mr. Phillips was teaching at Avonlea, Ruby said that when she grew up she wanted to have a lot of suitors and make everyone fidget. Besides, she hated Mr. Phillips. She was afraid of caterpillars.

As adolescents Edit source]

During her studies at Queen's College she had a lot of imagination about her appearance, was always cheerful and exuberant and enjoyed life to the fullest. She wore her skirts as high as her mother would allow her and pinned her hair up. She once asked Anne, Jane, and Josie what they were going to wear to graduation. Ruby's weakness at school was algebra. She didn't care about books and only understood half of what Gilbert Blythe was saying. Anne Shirley and Jane Andrews didn't think Gilbert really liked girls like her.

In Anne with an E, she is very tearful when she doesn't get what she wants.

As an adult Edit source]

“I want to live like you. I ... I want to have children, Anne ... You know how much I like children, Anne. "
- Ruby Gillis to Anne Shirley(Source)

As an adult, she always told her friends about her many admirers, why they couldn't stand Ruby anymore and what irritated Priscilla Grant. When she talked about her admirers, it seemed as if she wanted to rub under your nose that you didn't have half as many admirers yourself, unlike Philippa Gordon, who looked like she was talking about good friends.

When she was sick, she stopped using hair clips because she said it would give her a headache. She didn't want to admit that she was dying and was almost angry when someone spoke to her about it, even though everyone knew it. In truth, she was just terrified of death. She believed she was going to heaven, but was afraid of being homesick in heaven because it was different there from what she was used to. But she was always happy and full of hope. Ruby wanted to live and have children. She was very fond of fine embroidery and embroidered even during her illness, but she often fell out of hand embroidery from exhaustion. She was attached to Anne and often refused to let her go.