Well, I begin my third volume. I am going to try to strike a better balance in it — to write out my happiness as well as my pain. And I mean to try, as far as in me lies, to paint my life and deeds — ay, and my thoughts — truthfully, no matter how unflattering such truth may be to me. No life document has any real value otherwise; the worst as well as the best must be written out —
The work for which we are fitted — which we are sent into this world to do — what a blessing it is and what fulness of joy it holds!
I had finished my book “The Story Girl.” I was sorry to finish it. Never, not even when I finished with Anne, had I laid down my pen and taken farewell of my characters with more regret. I consider “The Story Girl” the best piece of work I have yet done. It may not be as popular as Anne — somehow I don’t fancy it will. But from a literary point of view it is far ahead of it. It is an idyl of childhood on an old PE Island farm during one summer. I have written it from sheer love of it and revised it painstakingly — up there by the window of my dear white room. It may be the last book I shall ever write there.
It took us both to hold up one umbrella against the wind, and then our arms ached woefully. I don’t think I should have thought it worth while to live through such a nightmare had it not been for the thought of some sausages I was carrying home with me. I have quite a weakness for sausages and the picture of myself at home, eating sausages for supper, gave me enough grit to worry through that fearful drive. I thought it was worth while to keep on living until I had eaten those sausages!
On visiting her publisher in Boston:
I was met at the door by a maid and taken straight to my room. It was a nice one — well-furnished, rather stiff, but with every convenience. I think the convenience I found “convenientest” was the mirror door of the closet. It really was scrumptious — to see yourself from top to toe in full regalia — to know just how your skirt hung and how the different parts of you harmonized.
On visiting her publisher in Boston:
The Americans are a noisy nation. I had heard and read this and now I found it out for myself. They do not seem able to enjoy themselves unless there is a tremendous noise going on about them all the time. Even in the restaurants there is such a crash of music that you have to shriek to be heard. No wonder “The American Voice” is notorious. I cannot but think such a constant racket most injurious. One may “get used to it” but the bad effect on nerves must remain.
I should like to write some good short stories. I consider it a very high form of art. It is easier to write a good novel than a good short story.
When I am asked if Anne herself is a “real person” I always answer “no” with an odd reluctance and an uncomfortable feeling of not telling the truth. For she is and always has been, from the moment I first thought of her, so real to me that I feel I am doing violence to something when I deny her an existence anywhere save Dreamland. Does she not stand at my elbow even now — if I turned my head quickly should I not see her — with her eager, starry eyes and her long braids of red hair and her little pointed chin? To tell that haunting elf that she is not real, because, forsooth, I never met her in the flesh! No, I cannot do it! She is so real that, although I’ve never met her, I feel quite sure I shall do so some day — perhaps on a stroll through Lover’s Lane in the twilight — or in the moonlit Birch Path — I shall lift my eyes and find her, child or maiden, by my side. And I shall not be in the least surprised because I have always known she was somewhere.
And above all is the wonder of it. I cannot get used to it. The thought that within me I carry life — a soul — a human being who will live and love and suffer and enjoy and struggle — is so amazing that I am lost before the marvel of it.
I am indeed a most happy and thankful woman. Motherhood is heaven. It pays for all.
I am always haunted by the fear that I shall find myself “written out.”
…These undiluted “hen parties” are rather cloying affairs — especially when they are formal. Oh, for one agreeable, sociable rooster!
On ANNE’S HOUSE OF DREAMS:
Myself, I think the book is the best I have ever written not even excepting Green Gables or my own favorite “The Story Girl.”
It is all very wonderful. But will humanity be any the happier because of aeroplanes? It seems to me that the sum of human happiness remains much the same from age to age, however it may vary in distribution, and that all the “many inventions” neither lessen nor increase it.
The end of WWI:
In a few minutes our small burg was athrill with the excitement that was agitating the whole world. The telephone rang constantly. Men ran up and down the street. I got out the flag and ran it up. Then I walked up and down the parlor in my excitement. It was impossible to sit still.
“Sit down, child,” said Aunt Annie — who never gets excited over anything and so has missed a tremendous amount of trouble and delight in her journey through life.
Having trouble leaving a comment? Click on Caroline by line and try again.
Faith E. Hough says
I love the comment about work–so true. Why do so many people spend their lives pursuing careers in work they are NOT meant or fitted to do??
And the noisy Americans…yep. Though my few visits to Canadian cities didn’t prove them much better….perhaps she shouldn’t have judged by Boston alone. 😉
Caroline Starr Rose says
I love both of those, too. I totally relate to the noisy American business, especially in restaurants, and knew a fellow introvert could relate. The observation about the airplane and the impact of inventions in general was very interesting.
Melissa Sarno says
Love all of these. Especially the noisy Americans. And poor Aunt Annie…love this idea, which sounds so simple but is actually quite complicated, about allowing life in, the trouble and delight of that.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Yes! Maud wrote often of Aunt Annie’s staid ways (and Grandmother McNeill, oh my), but this scene truly shows how guarded, old fashioned, respectable behavior can leave life a bit flavorless.