The Mending Wall

A literary blog.

Books

I think the reason I like books so much is because they’re a form of constancy in an unsure life. Not that I’m unsure, or that I live an unsure life, but I live an ever-changing one.

I move around often. People change. Places change. Friends change. You yourself change. But books don’t. Books are a comfort in that the characters always do exactly what you expect them to do. They may change over the course of the story, but if you read the story over again the characters change in ways you already know. In ways you expect. You know what choices they make, what they decide, and they’ll never change because it’s in print and the author never published another book by the same name where the character’s go haywire and make uncharacteristic decisions. Books are stable.

But one thing that always seems to stay the same is the constancy I find in a good book.

’”…I don’t know… I feel—flat. After all—perhaps I can never do anything worth while. A little knack of drawing—what does it amount to? Especially when you’re lying awake at three o’clock at night?”

"Oh, I know that feeling," agreed Emily. "Last night I mulled over a story for hours and concluded despairingly that I could never write—that it was no use to try—that I couldn’t do anything really worth while. I went to bed on that note and drenched my pillow with tears. Woke up at three and couldn’t even cry. Tears seemed as foolish as laughter—or ambition. I was quite bankrupt in hope and belief. And then I got up in the chilly grey dawn and began a new story. Don’t let a three-o’clock-at-night feeling fog your soul.”

"Unfortunately there’s a three o’clock every night," said Teddy.’

—Emily of New Moon

L. M. Montgomery

"Gilbert Blythe was trying to make Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly, because Anne was at that moment totally oblivious not only to the very existence of Gilbert Blythe, but of every other scholar in Avonlea school itself. With her chin propped on her hands and her eyes fixed on the blue glimpse of the Lake of Shining Waters that the west window afforded, she was far away in a gorgeous dreamland hearing and seeing nothing save her own wonderful visions.

Gilbert Blythe wasn’t used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure. She should look at him, that red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big eyes that weren’t like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.

Gilbert reached across the aisle, picked up the end of Anne’s long red braid, held it out at arm’s length and said in a piercing whisper:

"Carrots! Carrots!"

Then Anne looked at him with a vengeance!

She did more than look. She sprang to her feet, her bright fancies fallen into cureless ruin. She flashed one indignant glance at Gilbert from eyes whose angry sparkle was swiftly quenched in equally angry tears.

"You mean, hateful boy!" she exclaimed passionately. "How dare you!"

And then—thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert’s head and cracked it—slate not head—clear across.”

—Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery

When Mr. Phillips was in the back of the room hearing Prissy Andrews’s Latin, Diana whispered to Anne,

"That’s Gilbert Blythe sitting right across the aisle from you, Anne. Just look at him and see if you don’t think he’s handsome."

Anne looked accordingly. She had a good chance to do so, for the said Gilbert Blythe was absorbed in stealthily pinning the long yellow braid of Ruby Gillis, who sat in front of him, to the back of her seat. He was a tall boy, with curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes, and a mouth twisted into a teasing smile. Presently Ruby Gillis started up to take a sum to the master; she fell back into her seat with a little shriek, believing that her hair was pulled out by the roots. Everybody looked at her and Mr. Phillips glared so sternly that Ruby began to cry. Gilbert had whisked the pin out of sight and was studying his history with the soberest face in the world; but when the commotion subsided he looked at Anne and winked with inexpressible drollery.

"I think your Gilbert Blythe is handsome," confided Anne to Diana, "but I think he’s very bold. It isn’t good manners to wink at a strange girl.""


—Anne of Green Gables,

Lucy Maud Montgomery

"When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla."


—Anne of Green Gables

LM Montgomery

‘“I wonder why everybody seems to think I ought to marry Gilbert Blythe,” said Anne petulantly.

"Because you were made and meant for each other, Anne—that is why. You needn’t toss that young head of yours. It’s a fact."’

—Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of the Island

"Gilbert, to be sure, was still faithful, and waded up to Green Gables every possible evening. But Gilbert’s visits were not what they once were. Anne almost dreaded them. It was very disconcerting to look up in the midst of a sudden silence and find Gilbert’s hazel eyes fixed upon her with a quite unmistakable expression in their grave depths; and it was still more disconcerting to find herself blushing hotly and uncomfortably under his gaze, just as if—just as if—well, it was very embarrassing. Anne wished herself back at Patty’s Place, where there was always somebody else about to take the edge off a delicate situation. At Green Gables Marilla went promptly to Mrs. Lynde’s domain when Gilbert came and insisted on taking the twins with her. The significance of this was unmistakable and Anne was in a helpless fury over it."

—Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of the Island

"We are going to be the best of friends," said Gilbert, jubilantly. "We were born to be good friends, Anne. You’ve thwarted destiny enough. I know we can help each other in many ways. You are going to keep up your studies, aren’t you? So am I. Come, I’m going to walk home with you."

"Wasn’t the boys’ dialogue fine?" said Diana. "Gilbert Blythe was just splendid. Anne, I do think it’s awful mean the way you treat Gil. Wait till I tell you. When you ran off the platform after the fairy dialogue one of your roses fell out of your hair. I saw Gil pick it up and put it in his breast pocket. There now. You’re so romantic that I’m sure you ought to be pleased at that."

"It’s nothing to me what that person does," said Anne loftily. "I simply never waste a thought on him, Diana."

Gilbert Blythe wasn’t used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure. She SHOULD look at him, that red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big eyes that weren’t like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.

Gilbert reached across the aisle, picked up the end of Anne’s long red braid, held it out at arm’s length and said in a piercing whisper:

"Carrots! Carrots!"

Then Anne looked at him with a vengeance!

She did more than look. She sprang to her feet, her bright fancies fallen into cureless ruin. She flashed one indignant glance at Gilbert from eyes whose angry sparkle was swiftly quenched in equally angry tears.

"You mean, hateful boy!" she exclaimed passionately. "How dare you!"

And then—thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert’s head and cracked it—slate not head—clear across.


—Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables