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- "Ruby was a very handsome young lady, now thinking herself quite as grown up as she really was; she wore her skirts as long as her mother would let her and did her hair up in town, though she had to take it down when she went home. She had large, bright-blue eyes, a brilliant complexion, and a plump showy figure. She laughed a great deal, was cheerful and good-tempered, and enjoyed the pleasant things of life frankly."
- —Anne Shirley[src]
Ruby attended Avonlea school in September 1871 along with her best friend Jane, Diana Barry and Josie Pye. Anne and Diana invited her, along with Jane, to join their Story Club. According to Anne, Ruby's stories apparently had too much love-making in them.
Studies at Queen's Academy
Ruby joined a special class for students who wanted to become a teacher. She successfully passed the test and in September 1880, she attended Queen's Academy. Ruby studied there for one year and graduated in June 1881 with a Second Class teacher's licence, along with her friend Jane Andrews. Her fellow Avonlea classmates Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe, however, took up Second Year work and obtained First Class licences in one year. The last of their little group, Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, all studied at Queen's for two years.
Ruby wasn't able to teach since she had that attack of congestion in the winter 1883. She said that she wanted to teach in White Sands in the fall and marry with Herb Spencer. Ruby and her family did not want to give up on her, so they went on with their lives as if she was perfectly fine. Sadly, her inevitable death came in August 1884.
- "She laughed a great deal, was cheerful and good-tempered, and enjoyed the pleasant things of life frankly."
- —Ruby at Queen's[src]
Ruby was kind, positive and charming, but "frivolous" and "shallow". When Priscilla Grant noted that she found Ruby's tendency to talk constantly of boys to be very irritating especially compared to Philippa Gordon's similar habit, Anne comments that "Ruby is really so CONSCIOUS of boys. She plays at love and love-making. ...when she is boasting of her beaux that she is doing it to rub it well into you that you haven't half so many." Ruby made friends easily, but did not form deep relationships, which she regretted when she neared her early death.
- "She had large, bright-blue eyes, a brilliant complexion, and a plump showy figure. ... Ruby Gillis was the handsomest girl of the year at the Academy."
- —Ruby's appearance at Queen's[src]
Ruby had pale skin, silky blonde hair and "bright, beautiful blue eyes". She was a renowned Avonlea beauty and many girls and young women were jealous of her appearance.
Ruby is a female given name of English origin and means red gemstone. It was very popular name in late 19th century.
Behind the scenes
- Ruby's death is thematically significant in that she has not lived well in Anne's estimation but she dies well, reaching out to her estranged friends and repairing her damaged relationships. In the end, Ruby's death is pitiable but also brave and honest. One of the core themes of Anne of the Island is Anne's philosophical journey and Ruby's death is important in this context.
|Anne of Green Gables Wiki has 63 images of Ruby Gillis (view gallery).|