Welcome Dear Reader,
You are half way through this adventure now, thank you so much for coming along with me
With love and gratitude to Maud ~ everything is hers, only this idea is mine
REDMOND DIARIES: THE THIRD YEAR
The main characters are ~
Anne Shirley who comes from Green Gables, Avonlea and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Gilbert Blythe who comes from Allwinds, Avonlea and lives at Spinelli Street, Kingsport
Priscilla Grant who comes from New Line Road, West Grafton and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Philippa Gordon who comes from Mount Holly, Bolingbroke and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Stella Maynard who lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport
Royal Gardner who comes from Alderley, Kingsport
Christine Stuart who had been studying in London, and boards at Lady Yardley Halls of Residence, Redmond, Kingsport
Diana Barry who comes from Orchard Slope, Avonlea
Fred Wright who comes from Maples, Avonlea
Wednesday, 5th May, 1885 ~ Mount Holly, Bolingbroke
Don't think badly of me. I can't bear to add you to that growing list, and long for a soft place to fall. You'll be that for me, won't you? I suppose you've been waiting, pages outstretched, to do just that. It's only that I haven't felt like writing lately, and even if I had Phil won't let me have a moment to myself. She's afraid to let me brood, little understanding that a person needs a good brood now and then. It's those who won't, those who go on as though nothing has happened who become stretched thin with the effort of it all. Well, I will brood. I will dive into your rose scented pages and envelope myself in deepest melancholy. Though I suspect I shall only have an hour to do so before I am pulled away for another escapade.
Mount Holly is magical. The perfect dwelling to produce a child that would one day become the Phil-o-the-wisp I love so well. Like her own nonsensical self this place feels divided in two. Her father's part of the house smells of old leather and fresh tobacco, and is lined with the most remarkable library. Not only his rooms but along endless hallways. And they are endless, Ady. I believe I could fit two Green Gables within this old pile and still find space for Patty's Place! Where there are no nooks to house books there are photographs and portraits smothering the dark-tendrilled wallpaper. You sense such history here. Phil could float through any portion of this part of the house and see her own dimples and curls memorialised in the image of an auspicious ancestor.
I try to imagine what it would be like to see my own face staring back at me, through the eyes of my granny or my great aunt. But I can't. All I ever see is plain Anne Shirley. Not that I mind being me, Ady. It is only that I have the sensation of coming to the end of a sentence and finding there is nothing left to write.
You see, I told you I was in a brooding mood. Phil's mother is the brooding sort, not that you would know that by wandering through her part of the house. Such a dazzling display of the latest and best; the newest textiles, the most modish of furnishings, and such unconventional music. Each morning I awake to the sound of her beating down upon her grand piano (Mrs. Gordon's is white. Imagine, Ady, a white piano!) Then I listen for the sound of Mr. Gordon thumping down the stairs to demand she "cease that discordant racket!" I wonder what the man would do if he woke one morning and didn't hear it. He would miss it ~ I know he would.
The role Phil has defined for herself, as youngest child and only daughter, is to mix up these two worlds as thoroughly as possible. Leaving Mrs. Gordon's sheet music in the library, abandoning one of Mr. Gordon's first editions in the gazebo. Yesterday I saw Phil carrying a malevolent looking orchid into the smoking room. I think she wants to leave her parents reminders of each other. It doesn't occur to the little goose that she is also causing extra work for the servants who get called to put everything back.
There is one maidservant, Cora, that I like very much. Phil is mad for her and frequently laments that we cannot squeeze her into Patty's Place. Where everyone else in Mount Holly seems eternally on ~ like so much electric light ~ Cora appears like a flickery sprite. I find myself lingering in corners with her whenever the house is crammed with guests. And that is more often than not. Phil has orchestrated what she calls as a 'jamboree' and is determined to show me such a time. Oh, and I could have adored it, could have drunk it all down greedily, if only…
I left Phil's address with Jimsie, who is staying on at Patty's Place (for the cats' sake, of course) in case anyone should want to write to me. But now I'm leaving in three days I suspect any mail will be sent straight to Green Gables. How I miss that little house, miss Avonlea, the Island. I cannot believe I thought I had outgrown her. What a self-important little prig I was, when all anyone did was feel proud of me.
I suppose I am well thought of in Bolingbroke, too. Phil and her 'Island Rose' have become the sensation she always said we would be. All her chums ~ and all her victims ~ are attentive and charming and fun. The infamous Alec and Alonzo especially. You know Ady, I have caught myself wondering more than once what it is they do when they are not wooing Phil. They don't seem to have any obligations to pull them away, no demands made of their time. They don't want to do anything else but dance attendance upon Philippa Gordon. I can't help think of other people who are not one tenth as rich and yet manage to cram their lives with so much more. Who burn with ambition, and dedicate themselves to sucking the marrow out of life! Isn't that a delicious phrase? I found it in a little tome tucked under Mrs. Gordon's crystal ashtray. The author seems to know how much beauty lives in the world ~ if we only have eyes to see.
I am about to see a place that has little beauty for anyone but me. A simple yellow cottage that has lived in my heart my whole life. Tomorrow that house and I will finally renew our acquaintance once more ~
Oh, the coach has arrived, I can see one, two, three... six horses attached to it! I must go, Ady, but I promise I shan't be such a stranger to you anymore.
Thursday 6th May, Mount Holly
The Ochre Notebook
Well if it isn't love, pray tell what is it? Thank goodness Anne is more than one girl, because frankly some of them visiting here have been a bit of a bore. Thankfully the livelier sort make an appearance sooner or later – but really, some days Anne is not half as much fun as I hoped she would be. I am beginning to suspect she made up her mind not to enjoy herself just to prove a point: that nothing in Bolingbroke could ever compare to her Island! Or should I say, those of the Island?
Wretched little cat rescuer. Gilbert Blythe will likely be pining himself to nothing over her. Yet Anne would have it that it's only Gilbert's friendship she misses. Friendship! If I felt a smidge of what Anne feels I should marry the very next day. I suppose being growed-up on P.E.I. Anne can't help but do things on a grand scale. All that rich, red earth must make for great big fools as well great big potatoes!
Well, it's all about to become very small, very quickly. We are off to some unheard of part of Bolingbroke this afternoon to visit the little burrow where Anne was orphaned. I can't say I am looking forward to the prospect. Not only because the roads are dreadful in that part of town, but because it will make Anne even more wistful. Those big grey eyes of hers, so limpid and starry. The handkerchiefs that have been thrust her way – who knew broken hearts were so becoming? If only she would cry. Instead she is on her very best behaviour, and I am beginning to hate her for it. No, that is perhaps too Ochre-ish even for this notebook. The person I really detest is Mr. Blythe. Not only for souring the sweetest honey in all the world, but for souring my jamboree.
Why did he have to propose now? Then again is not the real mystery how he waited as long as did. The word 'besotted' has been fairly well etched onto his forehead since the first day I met him. I think I will demand that Alec and Alonzo do the same. It would save me the trouble of having to choose either of them then. Well, I could hardly marry someone with a tattooed face!
The Rose Notebook
Do you know all I really want is to love someone the way Anne does.
Thursday, 6th May ~ Mount Holly, Bolingbroke
I'm not an orphan anymore, Ady. I said goodbye to that girl today.
I am found.
I am found.
I am found.
So why do still feel lost? Living at Mount Holly must be turning me into Phil. Not that I mind, leastways not today. Today Phil was a perfect little lamb. I knew she had a thousand things she would rather be doing. Instead she drove me ~ by herself, too ~ all the way to a little dusty street to find a little dusty house, and it was... Oh, it was a dream made real.
A sunny clapboard cottage with gauzy white curtains and lilacs round the gate. I could see Mother standing there. See her hand raised over her eyes, looking out through empurpled blooms waiting for Father to return each evening. See Father jump the picket fence, sweep her up in his arms and lay kisses on her pregnant belly. I saw them both, I know I did. And I know I always shall because I have been given a miraculous gift.
LETTERS! A dozen of them! Written to each other! I could barely speak on the return journey. After twenty years, to have such a treasure still waiting for me! I feel beyond rich, Ady. I feel blessed.
You won't scold me, Walter, not you, when I tell you I am writing this by a crimson sun that pours in through our window. How I love the feel of red light on my skin, how it makes me think of you.
Only four more days, my darling, till I can take you in my arms again. I imagine your belly has become so much bigger. Was there ever a more satisfying embrace than when I hold you and our child all at once?
I decided on the green sprig muslin after all ~ when I was so sure I would choose the blue. But as I walked into the haberdashers I suddenly knew our baby was meant for green things.
Of course, you may have the choosing of the name if we have a girl ~ but I must insist on the e.
Yours till forever, Bertha
Forever yours, Walter
I went to the graveyard soon after and placed my flowers on their grave. Nothing showy or strained, just some mayflowers, but how right they looked by the headstone.
"These are from Anne," I told them, "your Anne with an e."
I thought I would say more, Phil had tiptoed to the carriage to wait for me, but the words wouldn't come. Instead I imagined living in that dusty little house on that dusty little street. Imagined brothers and sisters just as freckled and red haired as I was. Imagined my parents growing me on dreams they once had for themselves and finding myself at Redmond, just as determined, ambitious and foolish as ever. Imagining... imagining... until I couldn't help wonder if I had lived this other life I would better understand the mystery of love.
I sat in the long grass watching the sun cut shadows into their names. The smell of mayflowers and the memory of lilacs playing inside me like a song… When they spoke to me. Mother and Father. As though they sat by my side.
You have always known love, they whispered. You were borne of it, you are made of it, and you will go on discovering it.
Suddenly, I knew I couldn't wait. I had to go home. Not in two days but the very next morning. I ached for home. For the Island and Green Gables and Marilla. For Rachel and the twins and Diana and ~ everyone else. Ached for it as I never had before.
Home. Home like a heartbeat, like a road.
How I love the feel of red earth under my feet, how it makes me think of you all.