It’s been a little while since I posted favorite quotes from the Anne of Green Gables series. It’s not that I haven’t been reading them…I actually have another one after this finished – but I thought I’d give my readers a break to talk about other things.
So here goes Anne of the Island, where Anne goes off to school in Kingsport, experiences the usual new-friend-making, academic excellence and everyday mishaps…and even gets “engaged” to someone who’s not Gilbert Blythe! But don’t you worry, she comes to her senses in the end. I love this one because it is so right-on with how scary and exciting, sad and hopeful it is to leave home for the first time:
“Harvest is ended and summer is gone,” quoted Anne Shirley, gazing across the shorn fields dreamily. She and Diana Barry had been picking apples in the Green Gables orchard, but were now resting from their labors in a sunny corner, where airy fleets of thistledown drifted by on the wings of a wind that was still summer-sweet with the incense of ferns in the Haunted Wood.But everything in the landscape around them spoke of autumn. The sea was roaring hollowly in the distance, the fields were bare and sere, scarfed with golden road, the brook valley below Green Gables overflowed with asters of ethereal purple, and the Lake of Shining Waters was blue–blue–blue; not the changeful blue of spring, nor the pale azure of summer, but a clear, steadfast, serene blue, as if the water were past all moods and tenses of emotion and had settled down to a tranquility unbroken by fickle dreams.
I wonder if it will be–can be–any more beautiful than this,” murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom “home” must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.
Gilbert and Anne, happily unconscious that their future was thus being settled by Mrs. Rachel, were sauntering through the Haunted Wood. Beyond, the harvest hills were basking in an amber sunset radiance, under a pale, aerial sky of rose and blue. The distance spruce groves were burnished bronze, and their long shadows barred the upland meadows. But around them a little wind sang among the fir tassels, and in it there was a note of autumn. “This wood really is haunted now–by old memories,” said Anne, stooping to gather a spray of ferns, bleached to waxen whiteness by frost.
“I believe I’ve put forth a tiny soul-root into Kingsport soil this afternoon. I hope so. I hate to feel transplanted.”
“The silence here is like a prayer, isn’t it?” said Anne, her face upturned to the shining sky. “How I love the pines! They seem to strike their roots deep into the romance of all the ages. It is comforting to creep away now and then for a good talk with them. I always feel so happy out here…I think, if every any great sorrow came to me, I would come to the pines for comfort,” said Anne dreamily.
“I hope no great sorrow ever will come to you, Anne,” said Gilbert, who could not connect the idea of sorrow with the vivid, joyous creature beside him, unwitting that those who can soar to the highest heights can also plunge to the deepest depths, and that the natures which enjoy most keenly are those which also suffer most sharply.”
There had been no snow up to this time, but as Diana crossed the old log bridge on her homeward way the white flakes were beginning to flutter down over the fields and woods, russet and gray in their dreamless sleep. Soon the far-away slopes and hills were dim and wraith-like through their gauzy scarfing, as if pale autumn had flung a misty bridal veil over her hair and was waiting for her wintery bridegroom.
“Spring is singing in my blood today, and the lure of April is abroad in the air… Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”
“What a beautiful sunset,” said Diana. “Look, Anne, it’s just like a land in itself, isn’t it? That long, low bank of purple cloud is the shore, and the clear sky further on is like a golden sea.”
The two girls were loitering one evening in a fairy hollow of the brook. Ferns nodded in it, and little grasses were green, and wild pears hung finely-scented, white curtains around it.
“It’s beginning to snow, girls,” said Phil, coming in one November evening, “and there are the loveliest little stars and crosses all over the garden walk. I never noticed before what exquisite things snowflakes really are. One has time to notice things like that in the simple life.”
“The year is a book, isn’t it, Marilla? Spring’s pages are written in Mayflowers and violets, summer’s in roses, autumn’s in red maple leaves, and winter in holly and evergreen.”
“I think I will go to the park,” said Anne restlessly. “I don’t feel like tame, domestic joys today. I want to feel alone and free and wild.” …It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.
“Can’t we take a ramble up Lover’s Lane before you go in?” asked Gilbert as they crossed the bridge over the Lake of Shining Waters, in which the moon lay like a great, drowned blossom of gold.
Anne assented readily. Lover’s Lane was a veritable path in a fairyland that night–a shimmering, mysterious place, full of wizardry in the white-woven enchantment of moonlight.
“I shall leave here my fancies and dreams to bless the next comer,” said Anne, looking around the blue room wistfully–her pretty blue room where she had spent three such happy years. She had knelt at its window to pray and had bent from it to watch the sunset behind the pines. She had heard the autumn raindrops beating against it and had welcomed the spring robins at its sill. She wondered if old dreams could haunt rooms–if, when one left forever the room where she had joyed and suffered and laughed and wept, something of her, intangible and invisible, yet nonetheless real, did not remain behind like a voiceful memory.
The storm raged all night, but when the dawn came it was spent. Anne saw a fairy fringe of light on the skirts of darkness. Soon the eastern hilltops had a fire-shot ruby rim. The clouds rolled themselves away into great, soft, white masses on the horizon; the sky gleamed blue and silvery. A hush fell over the world.
Anne laughed. “I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you… Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more “scope for the imagination’ without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn’t matter. We’ll just be happy, waiting and working for each other–and dreaming. Oh, dreams will be very sweet now.”
Gilbert drew her close to him and kissed her. Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew.