Hello dear readers,

So now we come to the finale. I was so excited about all the love (reciprocated and everything) that I had to write about, forgetting it only really happens at the end of the book. I knew this final part would prove tricky and so have decided not to follow the story chapter for chapter anymore. There will still be ten chapters (actually eleven, as Anne of the Island has forty-one) but as I am in loose-end tying mode I need to be a little looser with the structure. Needless to say Anne's getting published, lilies v violets, news of Gilbert's engagement, Roy's proposal, and the whole typhoid misery will all feature.

I am sad there is only one chapter to play with when Anne and Gilbert finally reunite, so I have decided to treat myself (and you hopefully) and write a sequel to the Diaries in the form of the love letters those two wrote to each other in Anne of Windy Willows. I hope it will be joy, joy and more joy!

But until then it's time to find out what have the other characters been up to...

with love and gratitude to Maud ~ everything is hers, only this idea is mine

love, kwak

...

REDMOND DIARIES: THE FOURTH 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 boards at Sharpe's Lane, Kingsport, and later Mayberry Avenue, Kingsport

Charlie Sloane who comes from Sloane House, Avonlea, and boards at Mayberry Avenue, Kingsport

Priscilla Grant who comes from New Line Road, West Grafton, and lives at Patty's Place, Spofford Avenue, Kingsport

Stella Maynard who 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

Royal Gardner who comes from Alderley, Kingsport

Christine Stuart who boards at Lady Yardley Halls of Residence

Diana Barry who lives at The Pines, Avonlea

Josie Pye who comes from The Palisades, Avonlea

...

CHAPTER XXXI

The Rose Notebook

30th July, Mount Holly, Bolingbroke, 1886

It's done. Two months later than anticipated – I had forgotten how horribly indecisive I could be. Whenever I'm with Jo I feel as though I could happily elope to some remote Mission in deepest, darkest Saskatoon and never set foot in Mount Holly again. That is until I return to this magnificent pile with its hot and cold running water, and hot and cold running servants. Cora is decidedly cold, and didn't manage more than a thin little smile when I told her my magnificent news.

Since I last flitted off (Papa's words not mine) Mother took it upon herself to fashion my favourite into a lady's maid. I actually miss the cheap little apron Cora used to wear. These days she is decked out in the starchiest, whitest get up – it almost hurts my eyes! She used to light the room like a little candle (those aren't my words either, they're Anne's) now she cracks and glares with a fearsome efficiency. But then I suppose one has to wear some sort of armour when waiting on Mother from morning till night.

Oh, my Ochre self is never far away. But what she said about Jo! She hasn't even met him yet – and aren't I glad about that. Not only because I would loathe for Jo to hear Mother's opinion, but because he is my last resort! If the goodness that is Jonas Blake is not enough to convince the Bolingbroke Gordons he is worthy of their daughter, then not even angels will persuade them.

Jo's been such a honey about the whole thing, and wanted to go to Mount Holly the moment I accepted him. Really it was he who accepted me, and once he meets the Gordons he'll may very well change his mind. Which is why the news had to come from my lips alone. Of course, that lead to the problem of exactly when to announce my engagement. I never was able to decide from one hour to the next. Not in the morning because Papa is always so liverish after Mother attacks the piano. Not in the afternoon because Mother makes a point of stalking the halls with her pot potpourri after Papa come home from the Gentlemen's Club. I tried my hand at being Anne-ish and ventured I rather enjoyed the smell of a good cigar. But Papa looked almost as alarmed as Mother did!

They just will not be pleased. And when I saw that I suddenly knew – the way I know my nose will turn traitor on me and turn out like my mother's – that my parents' permission, though nice to have, was not in the least way essential. To think there was a time I never knew what that was. I never wanted for anything – well, I was never allowed to. Then came Jo. Then I found out all about want. And what I wanted was for him to see beyond my faults and marry me anyway. Now I have that miracle in my mitts everything else seems small potatoes.

We had an indecent heap of them go cold last night. Don't I wish I'd thought to tell my parents during the last course instead of the first. Father had a coughing fit, Mother sent the servants away, and I had to sit there watching everything congeal. And it was venison! We are lucky to be able to get more than a leg of mutton at Patty's Place. Even that will seem extravagant when I marry. But I shall be content with a dinner of herbs – at least they shouldn't prove hard to cook.

Finally, Papa got going again and huffed in usual locomotive style, "So ho, little Filly, you mean to take a husband after all!"

"Mean to take a husband?" Mother sniffed, "She could have had any man in Bolingbroke. Or Kingsport for that matter."

Papa went even redder than usual and said he had wondered, what with my interest in mathematics, proclivity for cigars, and hunkering down in a rustic cottage with country girls, whether perhaps I meant to – here he went positively purple – "make a professional scholar."

I assume by 'professional' he means like Aunt Helen and 'Aunty' Libby. I never did get the chance to inquire because Mother began striking her spoon in her soup as though she meant to uproot the blue willow from the Royal Worcester dinner service.

"Yes Papa," I told him, "we wish to marry next summer. If you agree, of course."

If it wasn't for the ding ding ding of that silver spoon I might have chosen my words more carefully. Instead I had made the calamitous mistake of putting Mother in her sarcastic mood.

"If we agree?" she snapped. "Why ever would we not agree? Of course we agree! Of course I want to see my only daughter, my baby, my Bolingbroke beauty, marrying some penniless clergyman. One who hasn't even the decency to introduce himself to us, let alone ask our permission. Do you truly think he believes you are capable of stitching and stirring and mothering twenty brats? Mark me, he'll be assuming Philippa Gordon comes with a fat little fortune!"

I had about lost my appetite for venison then, though Cook really had outdone herself. But to have to sit there as my Jo was talked about like that! I would rather endure my own cooking – soon I will have no choice. Papa attempted to rescue me by wading in on my behalf (though I wonder if Mother had been agreeable, whether he would have disapproved) and declared how much he wanted to meet the man who had won my fickle affections.

"He has won more than that," I said. "I love him. What's more he loves me. And even if you don't agree we are to be married in June."

"So decisive, little Filly. Better and better," Papa chuffed and raised his glass to the portrait of Grandpapa glowering over the credenza.

Grandpapa was also a man of the cloth, so of course Papa likes the idea of my marrying Jo: it reflects so well upon him! Excuse my Ochre-ishness, but as much as I love my father he really does remind me of all the things I detest about men. So condescending, so above it all, so nothing like my Jo. Jo couldn't be condescending to an ant, and would never place himself above anything when he could leap right in.

I shall write to my darling now and tell him the worst. And the best. That it is done and he is expected on the 4 o'clock train to Bolingbroke this Saturday. I suppose I should feel romantic and giddy and say I shan't sleep a wink till then. But my bed at Mount Holly has a goose-down mattress that is twelve inches thick, and I mean to make the most of it.

L'Hermitage Gstaad, Switzerland ~ lost in a tempest of thoughts unkind

August 6th, 1886

I defy you stars!

Uncle Jolliffe has just had stern words with me! Stern? A dagger to the heart could not have hurt me more. All because of a 'growing concern' (ugly phrase) about my attachment to a certain Miss Shirley.

Ignorant, narrow minded snobs! That their blood should run through my veins. Well Uncle Joliffe's doesn't, thank Heaven (him being Aunt Orlanda's third husband.) But he and Mother have cut me to the core. And Aline! A very viper in the nest. Showing Mother the harmless sketch Anne wrote for a bakeware conglomerate. How is it Mother never asked why Aline had been reading that pamphlet in the first place? Surely that's more shameful than doing what one can to keep one's dreams alive. When I think of all the times Aline has swooned over destitute heroes like Gabriel Oak and Heathcliff. But if her brother should fall in love with an orphan girl? That is not to be borne!

Well, I shall take a leaf from those heroes and show a fortitude that would inspire Hardy himself; a determination that would fire Miss Brontë to write about me! Royal Gardner will not be dissuaded. Do they think spiriting me away to some hermitage in the Alps will be enough to break the bonds of love? Fools! Anne and I are not so easily unmade. Though her circumstances and my position seem too great a barrier, I pride myself in overcoming their prejudice.

Say what they will, Anne has been impeccably brought up and no one could fault her in that. I am certain Avondale must be every bit as genteel as Charlottetown whatever Mother may infer. In fact, I will insist upon summering there next year. None of this gadding about like the leaf on the breeze, like the ship in a tempest. Not everything of beauty resides on the Continent. How easily I can picture Anne here among the edelweiss and mountain streams. See her incandescent joy as we take le Grand Tour. Yet for all the wonders I would lay at her feet, I shall always ensure we keep an abode on the Isle of Prince Edward. Perhaps not in the villages. But Summerside I understand has some very fine residences.

Oh Anne, your very absence thrills my soul. Your epistles are as tender caresses. Your words like the softest embrace. Never have I known such a woman, my Anne, my sweet, my all…

I believe I have the beginnings of a new poem!

L.Y.H.R. Kingsport, September 5th

My dear Mrs. Drury,

How goes it in the blessed land of Motherhood? Is it all you were promised, and more importantly have you been allowed to return to the violin yet? You simply must get hold of Bruckner's 7th. An undoubted masterwork. Though perhaps you should delay until little sticky fingers has been sent off to boarding school. Exactly how old would Cavendish have to be before he could attend? How old were you, Phoebs? I was as old as eleven! A late starter – though one could say I have done my all to catch up.

One such as my old conductor for instance. Do you know I actually prefer him when he ignores me. Perhaps you should make it known around the R.C.M. that Miss Stuart's engagement ring is now returned to her third finger. It isn't of course, it lies where it always has, on a chain nestled close to my broken heart. My fiancé's heart is so broken he has had to extend his walking tour of the Rockies all the way to Wyoming! He seems to think the further away he goes the more likely I am to go through with this ridiculous farce. And as he won't release me from our engagement and Papa will cut me off if I renege, we are simply unable to find a way through this impasse. Do you suppose that is why he has taken to clambering up hillsides? Well, I have worked through many a difficult passage myself. Oh Phoebe, do procure the Bruckner. The allegro moderato is a sensation that hasn't been equalled since my last visit to Dr Darby!

Mr. Blythe scoffs at my going every week. "Like employing someone to brush your teeth", he said – this after several corn liquors. Did you know the September Moon is also known as the Corn Moon, Mrs. Drury? Well Mr. Blythe does. He told me all about it; the waxing and waning, the planting and reaping. He's a veritable Almanac! There was the most glorious Harvest Ball at Redmond last evening, welcoming Seniors for their final year. Everyone was encouraged to dress up farmer-style. I thought seeing the likes of MacDonalds and Gardners decked out in straw hats and dungarees a most compelling sight, but Mr. Blythe was unimpressed. There was none of the saint about him then, he downed two Bourbons in quick succession and asked if I wouldn't mind leaving again. I agreed readily enough, one never knows what adventure might unfold with him on my arm. Sadly, it was not to be last night. Instead we sat by Dawson Lawrence bridge and proceeded to get dangerously frank.

By now you'll have ascertained that I did everything in my power to get a kiss from the man. If you could see his lips – in fact I believe we should make a visit to a photographer, then you will know what I have resisted all these months. We were lying on the damp lawns of the south bank and he began telling me about some young girl (Rosie? Ruby?) who had gone consumptive and died. Well nothing so tragic has come within a mile of me, but I did want to make him feel better. So, I leaned on my elbow – not unaware of how my bosom would be pressed together to direst effect – drew myself close, when he said:

"Oh I want to, don't think I don't. But my feelings aren't the ones to consult on the matter."

Then he reached over, plucked out my engagement ring from inside the collar of my gown (I had it made especially, Phoebs, red and white gingham!) and held it up until that great big Corn moon shone right through the diamond.

I said, "Mr. Blythe, why do I sense you have refused more girls than you have enjoyed."

And he said, "Because it's true, Miss Stuart. How could I refuse you now unless I'd had a lot of practice."

Oh, Phoebe, isn't he killing? He hasn't had anyone in his hometown, you know. Not a one. A strapping farm-boy like him! Apparently, the first girl he kissed lived in Alberta of all places. Then there were the usual school flirtations, flings in N.B. during visits to his cousins, and of course the doomed pash for that clever little redhead I think I mentioned once or twice. (Who, incidentally, is putting it about that she is soon to become Mrs. Royal Gardner. Well they all think that, don't they, Phoebs? Until they meet his mother.)

I didn't care to reveal my own exploits, obviously. But in that moment Mr. Blythe's opinion mattered very little. Perhaps it was due to the light of that infernal moon, or the name of the bridge that glowed beneath it, but my thoughts were bizarrely overtaken by memories of Andrew Dawson. Of how romantic a thing it might seem if I attempted to convey the infuriating way the man refuses to let me go. It has that sonata sentimentality, does it not, to think of my fiancé like that?

If only I loved the man as much as I love Beethoven. Ah well, dear Phoebes, as Mr. Blythe likes to say-

"So wags the world."

Kisses, Christine

...