Forty-three percent, respectively, voted that Roy Gardner was a Gilbert wannabe, or else, going to die if one of the voters met him; while the other twelve percent agree that Roy is a pouf. (Fortunately, the option "Anne's One True Love" was left blank.) The new poll inquires as to your top two favorites of the "Anne" books.

If you've seen the second movie, and have looked at the chapter title, you already know exactly why you'll enjoy this final installment!


Chapter Thirty: Pitching and Mooning

"I feel as if I had opened a book and found roses of yesterday, sweet and beloved, between its leaves."

-L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"How do you think a mother would feel if she found her child tattooed all over with a baking powder advertisement?" queried Anne. She sighed, a long, deep exhalation that blew over her entire being, ruffling the lace on her blouse and causing the petals of the flowers in her basket to quiver indignantly. "I love my story, and I wrote it out of the best that was in me." Anne's limpid, huge eyes searched Gilbert's face, eager for encouragement or at least solace.

Poor Anne, thought Gilbert sympathetically, as he led Braveheart patiently along behind them, it's no wonder she's so anxious. She's been tossed about by crowds and had pencils and pamphlets flung in her face all day, and I guess it must be embarrassing to know that people think the best you could get to publish your story was an advertisement for baking powder, of all the prosaic nonsense. "Ah, you're just tired," he reassured her, putting a friendly arm around her shoulders.

Anne stiffened and sped up, causing Gilbert's arm to fall limply back to his side.

Nothing daunted, Gilbert continued, "Besides, why should you care? A hundred dollars is more than either of us would make in two months' teaching, anyway!"

"Blood money," groaned Anne. "And Josie Pye and Tillie Boulter can't wait to pounce on it."

"They're spiteful old cats!" Gilbert scoffed. "You're just the first person in poky old Avonlea who's tried anything like that." To make his point…as he had done several years ago as Anne limped around the corner of the Spurgeon house…Gilbert squeezed her elbow…

And Anne moved away again! She knelt in the side of the road, heaping lilacs into her basket…which was very odd. Anne was not fond of lilacs.

Somewhat daunted this time, Gilbert was also less confident about his encouraging Anne. "All pioneers are considered to be afflicted with moonstruck madness," he said lamely.

"I'm mad," came a voice from somewhere in the middle of the lilacs' heady, cloying scent, "to think I can write anything better than a baking powder advertisement! This has dampened any spark of ambition…! I shall never write another story again!" Anne, who had risen and now stood with her back to Gilbert, sounded dangerously close to tears.

"Well, I wouldn't give up altogether," persisted Gilbert. "Maybe…if you just let your characters speak everyday English…instead of all that high-faluting mumbo-jumbo…?"

Anne turned to face him, looking like the muse of tragic poetry…if there was one. Wasn't there? Gilbert couldn't remember. "You think my story's full of faults, too, don't you?"

"'Wilt thou give up thy garter, o fairest of the fair?'" Gilbert quoted at Anne…who flushed, either from embarrassment or from surprise that Gilbert remembered the story well enough to quote. "Anne, nobody speaks that way."

Inspiration struck. "Look at that sap, Percival, who sits around mooning the entire time! He never even lets Averil get a word in edgewise." Gilbert shook his head over the vagaries of old-fashioned heroes, probably clothed in knee breeches and tights, and armed with blunt epées. "In real life she'd have pitched him."

"His poetry would win any girl's heart!" hissed Anne, stalking away in a manner that suggested Gilbert was having very bad luck with hers.

The deuce—not AGAIN! Gilbert was so mad he didn't even realize he had cursed, even mentally, for the first time where Anne was concerned. Striding quickly after her, he sputtered, "Well—if you want my opinion, Miss Shirley, I'd write about places I knew something of, and people who spoke everyday English—instead of these—these—silly schoolgirl romances!"

"I don't share your opinion!"

Now Gilbert and Anne had both developed a habit, over the past few years of friendship, of whacking the other with whatever came to hand if they were being ridiculously irrational—or irrationally ridiculous, for that matter. At this moment Gilbert had his riding crop in his right hand; and, aiming for her shoulder, dealt Anne a whap upon her…er…Gilbert recoiled visibly as Anne screeched to a halt and whirled to face him, her eyes ablaze.

"I am not your horse, Mr. Blythe!" she shrieked indignantly.

"I was just trying to give you a bit of friendly advice!" Gilbert protested.

"Is that so?" asked Anne sarcastically.

Gilbert ignored her scathing query. "Take the hundred dollars, and write a real story—about the people you care about—right here in Avonlea!"

"Well, you certainly wouldn't be one of them!" cried Anne, flinging herself down upon a convenient tree stump and beginning to cry dismally.

Gilbert barely had time to stand around awkwardly—unsure of what to do—before Anne sat up abruptly and turned to survey him. "Pitching…? and mooning?!

"You know," she continued between sobs, "you're about as intellectual as Charlie—and Moody—and—and FRED!"

Gilbert was really alarmed now. He sat down next to Anne.

"—and all the rest of the boys, who only think of finding some silly girl to marry and keep house for them!" finished Anne tragically.

Gilbert lost his temper now. What kind of person did Anne think he was?!...Oh, that's right. Unintellectual. He certainly thought of a great deal more than winning Anne's hand in marriage…he had thought of her, up until now, as far above the ranks of a silly girl…or even of building a home of dreams with—not delegating the task solely to—Anne!

"Well, you can cry and feel sorry for yourself all you want," he snapped. "But it won't help you write a better novel."

And then Gilbert's eyes met Anne's tear-stained ones; and she was looking at him so sorrowfully that his heart melted despite himself.

He sighed. "Will you still come with me to Fred and Diana's engagement clambake next Tuesday?"

But the mention of Fred seemed to anger Anne again. She sniffled, stiffened and shook her head, a firm no.

"Listen, Anne…" Gilbert got off their perch and onto his knees on the dirt road, touching Anne's hand, a shamed knight beseeching pardon from his fair queen. "I'm sorry. Will you let me walk you back?" Receiving no reply, he flung the question out of his way and went on. "I was just trying to be helpful! You know you get my back up sometimes," he added, half-smiling.

Anne stared hard at him as if to say Me? Get your back up? Ha!, but remained silent.

Gilbert squeezed his best friend's hand. "Listen, I'm sorry! What else can I do?!"

It happened in a heartbeat: The next thing Gilbert knew, he had been hit very hard in the face with…something…his precarious position squatting on the ground caused him to fall over backwards into the dirt. Breaking his fall with the palms of his hands, Gilbert peered up at Anne, who had risen and was standing over him, empty basket in hand—her weapon? Well, the flowers were strewn half-way across the road—looking for all the world like an avenging angel who had misplaced its fiery sword, but certainly not its seething fury. "Let ME get a word in EDGEWISE once in a while before I PITCH YOU!!"

"Bit late for that," muttered Gilbert ruefully, gingerly inspecting his face for cuts, breaks or abrasions; finding none, he realized Anne was halfway to Green Gables.

He couldn't just let her go like that. Gilbert scrambled to his feet and charged off in the opposite direction to mount Braveheart.

Despite the assistance of his faithful steed, Gilbert galloped up to Green Gables yelling "Anne! I'm sorry! What about—" before she had stumbled, outraged, inside, slamming both doors behind her.

In his frustrated state it took Gilbert a moment to notice that, not only was Marilla sitting on the porch swing, peering alarmed after Anne's angry escape, but…Gilbert's own father was just before Gilbert at the gate, perched atop the wagon and looking from Gilbert to the still-quivering door in amused interest. Gilbert shrugged off his father's questioning look, feeling a surge of anger: How could his father laugh at a time like this?

And then, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I see," chuckled John Blythe. "G'day, Marilla."

And Mr. Blythe motioned the wagon-horse on, leaving Gilbert on Braveheart no choice but to catch up, Braveheart trotting a little to keep level with the wagon.

"…Dad?" queried Gilbert quietly, after they were out of sight of Green Gables.

"Yes, Gilbert?"

"What did you mean…back there? About apples and trees?" Gilbert asked hesitantly. He knew what the saying meant—like mother, like daughter.

But Anne and Marilla weren't related.

Mr. Blythe took a long time to answer. "Well, you see, Gilbert…when I was a little older'n you are now, Marilla Cuthbert and I were best friends—had been best friends since school. We went everywhere and did everything together." He sighed. "Everyone thought we were bound to end up married."

"And you?" asked Gilbert, quietly, but surprised. Marilla and his father! "What did you think?"

"I thought so, too." Gilbert's father frowned, removed his hat and ran a hand through his hair. "I was in love with her, and I wanted to marry her."

"Was…was Marilla in love with you, too?"

His father smiled ruefully. "I never found out.

"One day we were quarreling over something—something so trivial, so silly, I can't remember what it was about, nor even who started the fight. Next thing I knew she'd fled the scene, so I went home, furious.

"The next week found me in a more penitent mood, and I returned to Green Gables, desperate, not only to apologize, but to tell her how much I really cared. Her mother told me Marilla'd locked herself in her room and never wanted to speak to me again, and to please come back, because Marilla was just being headstrong, we both knew how she could get, etc.

"And I was going to go back to Green Gables someday soon. But first I took Jennifer Pearce for a buggy ride, in the hopes it would get round to Marilla and make her jealous. One ride became two, three, ten…and I eventually married Jennifer instead."


Gilbert was having a bad night of it.

At dinner, he had sat, not hungry, at his place at table, furtively scrutinizing Jennifer Pearce Blythe, his mother.

It was not that he did no love his mother any more. Of course he did. He had always loved his mother; she was a very kind, friendly, warm, motherly person.

But he could not help but imagine what if Marilla Cuthbert was my mother?

Marilla isn't a very motherly person. But mightn't she have been—once—before my father…forgot about her…?

No wonder she is all angles and lines.

Would we have needed a hired boy, with me around? If we did, and Anne came by mistake—which was what the story was about Anne's precipitate arrival in Avonlea—wouldn't we have lived under the same roof?

Gilbert chuckled a little over that last revelation. If he and Anne had been thrown into the same household, it was doubtful that he would still be alive at this moment in time!

"Gil?" Someone touched his hand.

Gilbert jumped, staring wildly at his mother. Of course it would be his mother, wouldn't it?

"Gil, you're not paying attention to what I was saying—"

"I'm sorry," Gilbert interrupted, rising and pushing back his chair, "but I feel ill. I think I'll go to bed. Forgive me."


At seven o' clock in the evening, he had retired early, under pretence of illness—well, it was true, just not in the way his mother assumed, not physically.

The small clock on Gilbert's bedside table ticked quietly away, its ink-black hands now indicating a quarter to midnight; he had lain gazing at the ceiling for close to five hours.

Gilbert sat up in bed, pushing his tousled hair back from his forehead, and stared at his reflection in the mirror. The curls were a little longer and easier tamed these days; the cheeks still maintained the vestige of baby fat which had taunted him ever since he was too old to have it; the eyes were become more discerning and serious; the mouth more thoughtful and less cocky, and still with the uneven quirk on one side that suggested the eyes did not believe what they saw.

Six years ago, Gilbert had trotted off to Avonlea School for the first time in a long time, unknowing that that day he would have a slate cracked clear across his head by the new girl in town…never dreaming that he would spend the nest few years hopelessly in love with her…oblivious that the girl he fell in love with would evade even his advances of friendship for a long time…never thinking that their friendship would be so turbulent.

Gilbert stuck a hand under his mattress and drew out his old copy of Pride and Prejudice. Opening it at the bumpy place, he lifted from the book a dry, yellowing, white rose, which he had once rescued after it had fallen from Anne's coiffure; her dance card, from the Christmas dance; and a pink tissue rose, the most important one, which Gilbert had taken from Anne's hair…at her consent…at Miss Lavendar's wedding.

As he settled back into bed, Gilbert's face and pride still stung from the blow Anne had dealt him earlier.

"You mean, hateful Boy—how DARE you!"

"Oh, why don't you get off your high horse?!"

"These flowers are indeed lovely, but I am afraid I cannot accept them. Good day, Mr Blythe."

"Well, it's kind of risky, don't you think, Anne?"

"Gilbert Blythe would stand on his head for me if I asked him to."

"Well then, the fact is, I've rescued you."

"Why don't you figure it out, if you're so clever?"

"It was never about you, Josie Pye—if that's what you're implying!"

"Aren't you afraid? I'm liable to break another slate over your head…"

"I was thinking about how despite the years that have come and gone since you came here you are as much of a little girl—dreaming and playing and imagining—as you were before."

The snatches of dialogue, born of Gilbert's more poignant memories to do with Anne, danced about his head like frenzied leaves in an autumn wind. So did questions, arranged in a list like a test:

How do you feel about Anne Shirley?


What will you do if she does not return your love?


What do you need to do right now?

And suddenly Gilbert remembered sitting in Miss Lavendar's garden, beside the yellow roses, as Anne and Charlotta the Fourth went berrying:

"I mean I have seen Anne's temper—occasional flashes of it—and I know that she is just like I was in that respect. Don't give up on Anne. No matter if she gets very mad at you, no matter if she refuses your proposal the first time…"

Gilbert rolled over onto his side and smiled a little. In a very few minutes his eyelids dropped and his breathing came slow and even. And across the Avonlea main road the white curtains of the east gable window with the green roof quivered in the breeze.


FanFiction presents

My stupid mouth
Has got me in trouble.
I said too much again
To a date over dinner yesterday

an L.M. Montgomery fanfiction

And I could see

She was offended.
She said "W
ell anyway..."
Just dying for a subject change.


Oh, it's another social casualty
Score one more for me
How could I forget?
Mama said "think before speaking".
No filter in my head.
Oh, what's a boy to do?
I guess he better find one


Story by Morte Rouge

We bit our lips. She looked out the window
Rolling tiny balls of napkin paper
I played a quick game of chess with the
Salt and pepper shaker.

Illustrations by White-Lily-Blossom

And I could see clearly
An indelible line was drawn
Between what was good, what just
Slipped out and what went wrong.

and based upon Lucy Maud Montgomery's novels

Oh, the way she feels about me has changed.
Thanks for playing, try again.

How could I forget?
Mama said "think before speaking".
No filter in my head.
Oh, what's a boy to do?
I guess he better find one…

Anne of Green Gables (1908)


Anne of Avonlea (1909)

I'm never speaking up again. It only hurts me.
I'd rather be a mystery than she desert me.

Oh I'm never speaking up again.
Starting now…

in conjunction with

One more thing.
Why is it my fault?
So maybe I try too hard
But it's all because of this desire

Kevin Sullivan's movie adaptations

I just wanna be liked, I just wanna be funny.
Looks like the joke's on me
So call me captain backfire

"Anne of Green Gables" (1985)


"Anne of Green Gables: the Sequel" (1987)

I'm never speaking
up again. It only hurts me.
I'd rather be a mystery than she desert me.

Oh I'm never speaking up again

I'm never speaking up again!

I'm never speaking up again…

Starting now…

Credit Song: "My Stupid Mouth" by John Mayer

Thank you, everyone, for reading my story, and for reviewing, but let's not go into that. I know you lurkers!

Blythe Spirit was published on a whim back in February, but has grown into a real project for me.

The illustrations, plus a sneak peek at Unromantic Ideal, can be found at blytheauthoress . livejournal . com

See you on 31 August!