This book is a joy to read! Especially if your a Montgomery fan. It might not be one you sit down and read cover to cover, just pick up off and on and visit Lucy’s life. She began journal-ling just shy of her 15th birthday and wrote until shortly before her death. Her son Dr. E. Stuart Macdonald gave them to the University of Guelph in 1981, not to be published until 1992. There are 5 volumes.
Volume I takes us from the age of almost 15 to one year before her marriage. Her mother died when she was just 21 months old; shortly afterwards her father went west, where he remarried and stayed. Lucy was raised by her maternal grandparents in Cavendish. This volume recounts her school days, her romantic ‘crushes’ that found their way into her fiction, a year in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with her father and stepmother, a year of study at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown and another at Dalhousie University. Also her teaching years, a powerful infatuation with the son of a family she lived with, a long and mostly unhappy period of keeping house for her grandmother and the publication of Anne of Green Gables at the age of 34.
Any devotee of Anne will be fascinated with this journal. The writing style is the same and we get a glimpse into the mind of Anne as so many of the incidents in the book are typical Anne! There are lots of pictures, several maps, a family chart and a wonderful introduction. We get a unique social history, personal look at the history of Canada and a wonderful view into a most delightful and remarkable woman. I am looking forward to reading the other 4 journals too!
Sunday, Sept. 22, 1889
Cavendish, P.E. Island, Can.
From sheer force of habit I was just going to write ‘a dark cold day with frequent sowers of rain.’
But I won’t!
Last night Pensie came up and asked me to go down and stay all night with her. Pensie Macneill – almost everybody in Cavendish who isn’t a Simpson is a Macneill and mostly they are both – is a girl who lives about a mile from here and is my second cousin. She is a good bit older than me-she is nearly eighteen-but we have always been great chums. It is fine fun to go down there to stay all night. We’ve had some dandy old times together-coasting and berrying and picking gum and going to the shore and playing with the cats in the barns.
Today we came up to church together and after dinner we went to Miss Clemmie Macneill’s funeral.
Friday, June 26, 1891
After dinner I took a jug and went away out to the east flats to pick berries. I was away two hours and had such a lovely time. It was clear and cool and I was all alone among the sweet grasses and leaves, with the birds singing in the poplars. At such time the charm of this north land comes home to me and I felt that I could have loved it and been contented here if Mrs. Montgomery (her step mom) had been a different woman.
Mustard did another of his queer things today. He called in the afternoon and asked for me. I squirmed darkly into the parlor and he gave me my set of bookkeeping books he had brought from the high school. then, as he rose to go, he asked me if I’d be in tonight. As I was expecting to go up to Mrs. McTaggart’s I said ‘no’.
“Tomorrow night then?” he insisted.
As I had unfortunately no engagement on hand I had to say yes.
“May I come and see you? he asked.
Now, considering the fact that he has been coming here two and three times a week all winter, to see me-or papa?- without troubling himself about the formality of asking if he might, this question struck me as unique.
“If you wish to, Mr. Mustard,” I said ungraciously. He turned a shade or two redder and showed himself out. I felt like a perfect fool. Oh, I’m mortally afraid he’s going to say something yet.
Saturday, June 20, 1908
Today has been, as Anne herself would say ‘an epoch in my life’. My book came today, fresh from the publishers. I candidly confess that it was for me a proud, wonderful, thrilling moment! There in my hand lay the material realization of all the dreams and hopes and ambitions and struggles of my whole conscious existence-my first book! Not a great book at all-but mine, mine, mine,- something to which I had given birth-something which, but for me, would never have existed. As far as appearance goes the book is all I could desire – lovely cover design, well bound, well printed. Anne will not fail for lack of suitable garbing at all events.
On the dedication page was the inscription ‘To the Memory of my father and mother’. Oh, if they were but living to be glad and proud. When I think of how father’s eyes would have shone!
and one more…
Thursday, Jan. 6, 1910
…I finished and sent off the MS of Kilmeny last week. I miss it for I cannot settle down to any work which requires concentrated thought. Kilmeny did not. I had merely to copy and amplify existing thoughts. I am making very poor progress with The Story Girl. The hours are rare when I am in a mood for creative work and I do not wish to spoil it by working at it when I cannot do my conception of it justice.
Tonight I feel that life is too hard that I cannot endure it any longer.
At the end of the book there are notes broken down by year to explain many persons, places and things such as…
September 1 MR. MUSTARD. John Alexander Mustard, from Scott Township, Ontario, a former schoolmate of LMM’s stepmother, had graduated from the University of Toronto (B.A.) in 1889
Just search The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery to find them.
This book counts toward the 6th Annual Canadian Book Challenge @ The Book Mine Set