Warning: If you have a visual impairment, use the manuscript transcript version including the Lucy Maud Montgomery’s foot notes and contextual annotation references.

Chapter 1


is getting up in years, you know (begin subscript)^(end subscript)(begin superscript)— he’s sixty —(end superscript) and he isn’t so spry as he once was. His heart troubles him a good deal. And you know how desperate hard it’s got to be to get hired help. There’s never anybody to be had but those stupid half-grown little French boys; and as soon as you do get one broke into your ways and taught something he’s up and off to the live lobster canneries or the States. At first Matthew suggested getting a Barnardo boy. But I said “no” flat to that. ‘They may be all right – I’m not saying they’re not — but no London street Arabs for me,’ I said. ‘Give me a native born at least. There’ll be a risk, no matter who we get. But I’ll feel easier in my mind (begin subscript)^(end subscript)(begin superscript)alr (end superscript)and sleep sounder at night if we get a (begin subscript)^(end subscript)(begin superscript)born(end superscript) Canadian.’ So in the end we decided to ask Mrs.




postcard with four men and a small boy next to a low boat

"French boys": The characters' rather dismissive attitude to the French was a wide-spread prejudice in Montgomery's day, rooted in the long-standing struggles between Britain and France. The harsh expulsion of the French from British-won soil was popularized in Longfellow's romantic narrative poem Evangeline (1847), but the local treatment of the French who returned or survived by hiding in inhospitable land was anything but romantic. Montgomery knew Evangeline well, and, between 1906 and 1910, she sent her Scottish pen-pal seven postcards featuring the land of Evangeline. On December 3, 1906, she wrote: "These are French Canadian descendants of the exiled Acadians of Longfellow's famous poem ‘Evangeline.' There are many of them here." The post card is titled, "Five Generations All Pullers Together."
The George Boyd MacMillan Family Papers in the LMMI's Ryrie-Campbell Collection


"Barnardo boy": Thomas John Barnardo (1845–1905) opened "Ragged Schools" and then orphanages in England, in the 1860s, for children who were living on the streets (and often forced to engage in crime to survive). The orphanages were meant to train children to be useful workers; thousands of children were sent to Canada and other "colonies" where they were often treated as servants or worse. Marilla's comment about preferring a "born Canadian" shows remarkable patriotism, since Prince Edward Island joined Confederation only in 1873, one year before Montgomery was born.


"(begin strikethrough)alr(end strikethrough)": It was rare for Montgomery to use an X through a word in the manuscript; she typically ran horizontal lines through text she wanted to strike out. Zooming in on this edit shows the X and the letters "alr," perhaps the beginning of the word "alright."