By this period in her life, Maud regarded her journals as something larger than herself. They were documents of literary and historical merit she hoped would be shared with the public at a future date.
This journal is a faithful record of one human being’s life and should have a certain literary value. My heirs might publish and abridged volume after my death, if I do not myself do it before…
I desire that these journals never be destroyed but kept as long as the leaves hold together. I leave this to my descendants or my literary heirs as a sacred charge and invoke a Shakespearean curse on them if they disregard it. There is so much of myself in these volumes that I cannot bear the thought of their ever being destroyed. It would seem to me like a sort of murder…
Maud was 46 in 1921, well established as an author and viewed by many as Canada’s most beloved writer. Yet the first page opens with the sale of a poem she’d written twenty years before, a “verse called ‘Premonitions.'” These little details — glimpses into the working author’s world — are just one reason I feel at home in these journals. There is something very satisfying in digging into another’s life, examining it in a way we can’t possibly see our own. When that life is recorded by someone with the wit and bite of Maud Montgomery, it makes the reading all the richer.
Much of the third volume focuses on Maud’s relationship with her husband, Ewan. His mental illness, religious melancholia, becomes more of a permanent fixture, and Maud wrestles with who he is in this state and even questions her decision to marry and have children with him. For the first time, she discloses Ewan’s disgust when she is praised for her success in any way. For those interested, there was a great discussion on Maud and Ewan’s relationship in the comments section of the Volume II discussion post.
Readers of Volume II will remember several lawsuits involving Maud’s first publisher, L. C. Page and Company. The Pages are still at it in Volume III, with one case going all the way to the US Supreme Court. And then there is the minor car accident that leads to a legal battle and full-blown small-town drama for the MacDonald family* and a man named Marshall Pickering.
During this time, Maud wrote her Emily Starr books, my personal favorites, which will soon be re-released by Sourcebooks (along with six of the Anne books — I’m thinking RAINBOW VALLEY and RILLA are the excluded titles? — as well as two Pat books and other stand alone titles).
For those of you reading, I look forward to hearing your impressions when we meet for our discussion post on 28 June. If you’re finding yourself behind schedule, it’s no big deal. Read in a way you can enjoy, and if you feel so inclined, come back at a later date to read posts you’ve missed.
For those of you not reading, it has been wonderful to hear your enthusiasm for and interest in these posts in person, via email, and in comments left on the blog. I’m glad you’re able to get a sense of Maud’s life through what’s being shared here.