Read an Excerpt
Anne of the Island Book and Charm
By L. M. Montgomery
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2005 L. M. Montgomery
All right reserved.
The Shadow of Change
"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 goldenrod, 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.
"It has been a nice summer," said Diana, twisting the new ring on her left hand with a smile. "And Miss Lavendar's wedding seemed to come as a sort of crown to it. I suppose Mr. and Mrs. Irving are on the Pacific coast now."
"It seems to me they have been gone long enough to go around the world," sighed Anne. "I can't believe it is only a week since they were married. Everything has changed. Miss Lavendar and Mr. and Mrs. Allan gone -- how lonely the manse looks with the shutters all closed! I went past it last night, and it made me feel as if everybody in it had died."
"We'll never get another minister as nice as Mr. Allan," said Diana, with gloomy conviction. "I suppose we'll have all kinds of supplies this winter, and half the Sundays no preaching at all. And you and Gilbert gone -- it will be awfully dull."
"Fred will be here," insinuated Anne slyly.
"When is Mrs. Lynde going to move up?" asked Diana, as if she had not heard Anne's remark.
"Tomorrow. I'm glad she's coming -- but it will be another change. Marilla and I cleared everything out of the spare room yesterday. Do you know, I hated to do it? Of course, it was silly -- but it did seem as if we were committing sacrilege. That old spare room has always seemed like a shrine to me. When I was a child I thought it the most wonderful apartment in the world. You remember what a consuming desire I had to sleep in a spare room bed -- but not the Green Gables spare room. Oh, no, never there! It would have been too terrible -- I couldn't have slept a wink from awe. I never walked through that room when Marilla sent me in on an errand -- no, indeed, I tiptoed through it and held my breath, as if I were in church, and felt relieved when I got out of it. The pictures of George Whitefield and the Duke of Wellington hung there, one on each side of the mirror, and frowned so sternly at me all the time I was in, especially if I dared peep in the mirror, which was the only one in the house that didn't twist my face a little. I always wondered how Marilla dared houseclean that room. And now it's not only cleaned but stripped bare. George Whitefield and the Duke have been relegated to the upstairs hall. 'So passes the glory of this world,'" concluded Anne, with a laugh in which there was a little note of regret. It is never pleasant to have our old shrines desecrated, even when we have outgrown them.
"I'll be so lonesome when you go," moaned Diana for the hundredth time. "And to think you go next week!"
"But we're together still," said Anne cheerily. "We mustn't let next week rob us of this week's joy. I hate the thought of going myself -- home and I are such good friends. Talk of being lonesome! It's I who should groan. You'll be here with any number of your old friends -- and Fred! While I shall be alone among strangers, not knowing a soul!"
"Except Gilbert -- and Charlie Sloane," said Diana, imitating Anne's italics and slyness.
"Charlie Sloane will be a great comfort, of course," agreed Anne sarcastically; whereupon both those irresponsible damsels laughed. Diana knew exactly what Anne thought of Charlie Sloane; but, despite sundry confidential talks, she did not know just what Anne thought of Gilbert Blythe. To be sure, Anne herself did not know that.
"The boys may be boarding at the other end of Kingsport, for all I know," Anne went on. "I am glad I'm going to Redmond, and I am sure I shall like it after a while. But for the first few weeks I know I won't. I shan't even have the comfort of looking forward to the weekend visit home, as I had when I went to Queen's. Christmas will seem like a thousand years away."
Everything is changing -- or going to change," said Diana sadly. "I have a feeling that things will never be the same again, Anne."
"We have come to a parting of the ways, I suppose," said Anne thoughtfully. "We had to come to it. Do you think, Diana, that being grown-up is really as nice as we used to imagine it would be when we were children?"
"I don't know -- there are some nice things about it," answered Diana, again caressing her ring with that little smile which always had the effect of making Anne feel suddenly left out and inexperienced. "But there are so many puzzling things, too. Sometimes I feel as if being grown-up just frightened me -- and then I would give anything to be a little girl again."
"I suppose we'll get used to being grown-up in time," said Anne cheerfully. "There won't be so many unexpected things about it by and by -- though, after all, I fancy it's the unexpected things that give spice to life. We're eighteen, Diana. In two more years we'll be twenty. . . .
Excerpted from Anne of the Island Book and Charm by L. M. Montgomery Copyright © 2005 by L. M. Montgomery.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.