It’s a great day for literary birthdays today. Charles Dickens was born on this day in and 1812 and Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on this day in 1867. Two authors who certainly deserve a party for their work and who have had a great literary effect on my life.
It isn’t Anne of Green Gables‘ birthday today but Moira and I did finish the last two chapters this morning. I mostly cried my way through the second to last chapter which always makes it hard to read aloud. Moira stared at me with big tear-filled eyes while I read, phthisiatrician death always being a little too close to home these days. Still, these aren’t topics we can shy away from and the conversations brought about between my oldest girl and I while reading this book are something I will treasure always.
However, now that the book is done my girl is torn between starting Anne of Avonlea right away (“she is finally friends with Gilbert!”) and continuing with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I understand her pain as I want to read both of them right away too.
My biggest hope is that she reads Anne of Green Gables again and again through her life and finds comfort on how Anne deals with her grief.
It seems like disloyalty to Matthew, somehow, to find pleasure in these things now that he has gone,” she said wistfully to Mrs. Allan one evening when they were together in the manse garden. “I miss him so much – all the time – and yet, Mrs. Allan, the world and life seem very beautiful and interesting to me for all that. Today Diana said something funny and I found myself laughing. I thought when it happened I could never laugh again. And it somehow seems as if I oughtn’t to.”
“When Matthew was here he liked to hear you laugh and he liked to know that you found pleasure in the pleasant things around you,” said Mrs. Allan gently. “He is just away now, and he likes to know it just the same. I am sure we should not shut our hearts against the healing influences that nature offers us. But I understand your feeling. I think we all experience the same thing.
Moira was rather horrified that Anne would give up her scholarship to stay with Marilla. When Anne talked about the ‘bend in the road’ all Moira could think of was that there were going to be only bad things around the bend. However that has never been Anne’s attitude (it is an attitude I am trying to break my sweet sensitive girl out of). Of course, it is hard to fathom all of this when you are only seven and don’t have all the weight of experience on your shoulders. This is why a book like this needs to be read again and again. (Later on I found Moira re-reading the last chapter to herself and my heart was filled with hope.)
When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I am going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes – what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows – what new landscapes – what new beauties – what new curves and hills and valleys further on.
Anne’s words are a lesson for us all – whether we are seven, forty, or seventy. How very lucky am I that I have two more daughters with which to read these books?