These back-of-page seemingly random, out-of-order scrap pieces are drafts of Montgomery’s early short stories and poems. Some were already published when she drafted Anne in 1905 and 1906, and others were probably typed up and kept elsewhere. Some verso scrap sheets show early experiments: “A Baking of Gingersnaps” (1895) was her first published short story; she tests the pen names Maud Cavendish and Maud Eglinton. After Chapter 15, she started writing Anne front-to-back. Why did she switch from scrap pages to fresh sheets?
View an index of the verso contents here, or explore the full collection of Verso pages below:
because I am Lesley Gray’s daughter, isn’t it? I know that father loved you – his brother, Uncle Willis, told me all about it.”
“I spoiled my own life because of my wicked pride,” said the Old Lady sadly. “But you will love me in spite of it all, won’t you, Sylvia? And you will come to see me sometimes? And write me after you go away?”
“I am coming to see you every day,” said Sylvia. “I am going to stay in Spencervale for a whole year yet, just to be near you. And next year when I go to Europe – thanks to you, fairy godmother – I’ll write you every day. We are going to be the best of chums chums, and we are going to have a most beautiful year of comradeship.”
[afrai]d of Emmeline. Prissy’s beauty soon faded. She was always kind of sweet-looking, but her bloom went, and she got shyer and limper every year of her life. She wouldn’t have dared put on her second best dress without asking Emmeline’s permission. She was real fond of cats, and Emmeline wouldn’t let her keep one. Emmeline even cut the serial out of the religious weekly she took before she would give it to Prissy, because she didn’t believe in reading novels. It used to make me furious to see it all. They were my next door neighbors after I married Thomas, and I was often in and out. Sometimes I’d feel real vexed at Prissy for giving in the way she did; but after all she couldn’t help it – she was born that way.
“Oh, I feel sure Mrs that Mrs. Moore was the fairy godmother,” said Sylvia. “There is nobody else who would. It was dear of her – she knew my heart. I wished so much to go to the party with Janet. I wish Aunty could see me now.” There wa Sylvia gave a little sigh in spite of her joy.
There’s nobody “There’s nobody else to care very much.”
Ah, Sylvia, you were wrong! There was somebody else – somebody who cared very much – an Old Lady, with eager, devouring eyes, who was standing under the lilac bush and who presently stole away through the moonlit
I feel as eternally young as Nature herself. And oh, it’s so nice not to having to fuss with thermometers and temperatures and other peoples’ whims. Let me indulge my own whims, Louisa dear, and punish me with a cold bite when I come in late for meals. I’m not even going to church again. It was horrible there yesterday. The church is so offensively spick-and-span brand new and modern.”
“It’s thought to be the prettiest church in these parts,” protested Louisa, a little sorely.
“Churches shouldn’t be pretty – they should be at least fifty years old and mellowed into beauty. New churches are an abomination.”
There was a note of boyishness in the laughter.
“So it is,” he said, “but I had to get rid of the accumulated malice and spite of twenty years somehow. It’s all gone now, and I’ll be as amiable amiable as I know how. But since you have gone to the trouble of getting my supper for me, Nancy, you must stay and help me eat it. These strawberries look good. I haven’t had any this summer – been too busy to pick them.”
Nancy stayed. She sat at the head of Peter’s table and poured his tea for him. She talked to him wittily of the Avonlea people and the changes in their old set. Peter followed her lead with an apparent absence of
“You look well at the head of the table, Nancy,” he said critically. “How is it that you haven’t been presiding at one of your own long before this? I thought you’d meet with lots of men out in the world that you’d like – even who talked good grammar.”
“Peter, don’t!” said Nancy wincing. “I was a goose.”
“No, you were quite right. I was a tetchy fool. If I’d had any sense I’d have felt thankful you thought enough of me to want to improve me, and I’d have tried to kerrect my mistakes instead of getting mad. It’s too late now — I suppose.”
“Too late for what?” said Nancy, plucking up heart of grace at something in Peter’s tone and look.
“Did you see Peter in ch Wright in church?” asked Louisa. She had been bursting to ask it.
“Verily, yes. He sat right across from me in the corner pew. I didn’t think him painfully changed. Iron-gray hair becomes him. But I was horribly disappointed in myself. I had expected to feel at least a romantic thrill, but all I felt was a comfortable interest, such as I might have taken in any old friend. Do my utmost, Louisa, I couldn’t compass a thrill.”
“Did he come to speak to you?” asked Louisa, who hadn’t any idea what Nancy meant by her thrills.
“Alas, no. It wasn’t my fault. I
stood at the door outside with the most amiable expression I could assume, but Peter merely sauntered away without a glance in my direction. It would be some comfort to my vanity pride vanity if I could believe it was on account of rankling spite or pride. But the honest truth, dear Weezy, is that it looked to me exactly as if he never thought of it. He was more interested in talking about the hay crop with Oliver Sloane–who, by the way, is more Oliver Sloaneish than ever.”
“If you feel as you said you did the other night, why didn’t you go and speak to him?” Louisa wanted to know.
“But I don’t feel that way
now. That was just a mood. You don’t know anything about moods, dearie. You don’t know what it is to yearn desperately one hour for something you wouldn’t take if it were offered you the next.”
“But that is foolishness,” for protested Louisa.
“To be sure it is – rank foolishness. But oh, it is so delightful to be foolish after being compelled to be sen unbrokenly sensible for twenty years. Well, I’m going picking strawberries this afternoon, Lou. Don’t wait tea for me. I probably won’t be back till dark. I’ve only four more days to stay and I want to make the most of them.”
Nancy wandered far and wide in her rambles that
afternoon. When she had filled her jug, she still roamed about with delicious aimlessness. Once she found herself in a wood lane skirting a field wherein a man was mowing hay. The man was Peter Wright. Nancy walked faster when she discovered this, with never a roving glance, and presently the green, ferny depths of the maple woods swallowed her up.
From old recollections, she knew that she was on Peter Morrison’s land, and calculated that if she kept straight on she would come out where the old Morrison house used to be. Her calculations proved correct, with a trifling variation. She came out fifty yards south of the old deserted Morrison house,
a finishing touch, Nancy ravaged the old neglected garden and set a huge bowl of crimson roses in the centre of the table.
“Now I must go,” she said aloud. “Wouldn’t it be fun to see Peter’s face when he comes in, though? Ha-hum! I’ve enjoyed doing this – but why? Nancy Rogerson, don’t be asking yourself conundrums. Put on your hat and proceed homeward, constructing on your way some reliable fib to account to Louisa for the absence of your strawberries.”
Nancy paused a moment and looked around wistfully. She had made the place look cheery and neat and home-like. She felt that queer tugging at her heartstrings again.
of an old-fashioned sideboard, confiscating a towel she found there. As she worked, she hummed a song; her steps were light and her eyes bright with excitement. Nancy was enjoying herself thoroughly, there was no doubt of that. The spice of mischief in the adventure pleased her mightily.
The dishes washed, she hunted up a clean, but yellow and evidently long unused tablecloth out of the sideboard, and proceeded to set the table and get Peter’s tea. She found bread and butter in the pantry, a trip to the cellar furnished a pitcher of cream, and Nancy recklessly heaped the contents of her strawberry jug on Peter’s plate. The tea was made and set back to keep warm. And, as
nobody can see me here.”
Nancy went in, threw off her hat, and seized a broom. The first thing she did was to give the kitchen a thorough sweeping. Then she kindled a fire, put a kettle full of water on to heat, and attacked the dishes. From the number of them, she rightly concluded that Peter hadn’t washed any for at least a week.
“I suppose he just uses the clean ones as long as they hold out, and then has a grand wash-up,” she laughed. “I wonder where he keeps his dish-towels, if he has any.”
Evidently Peter hadn’t any. At least, Nancy couldn’t find any. She marched boldly into the dusty sitting-room and explored the drawers
“What a miserable place for a human being to live in!” groaned Nancy. “Look at the ashes on that stove! And that table! Is it any wonder wonder that Peter has got gray? He’ll work hard haymaking all the afternoon–and then come home to this ! this!”
An idea suddenly darted into Nancy’s brain. At first she looked aghast. Then she laughed and glanced at her watch.
“I’ll do it–just for fun and a little pity. It’s half-past two, and Peter won’t be home till four at the earliest. I’ll have a good hour to do it in, and still make my escape in good time. Nobody will ever know;
Suppose she belonged here and was waiting for Peter to come home to tea. Suppose–Nancy whirled around with a sudden horrible prescience of what she was going to see! Peter Wright was standing in the doorway.
Nancy’s face went crimson. For the first time in her life she had not a word to say for herself. Peter looked at her and then at the table, with its fruit and flowers.
“Thank you,” he said politely.
Nancy recovered herself. With a shame-faced laugh, she held out her hand.
“Don’t have me arrested for trespass, Peter. I came and looked in at your kitchen out of impertinent curiosity, and just for fun, I thought I’d come in and get your tea. I thought
you’d be so surprised – and I meant to go before you came home, of course.”
“I wouldn’t have been surprised,” said Peter, shaking hands. “I saw you go past the field and I tied the horses and followed you down through the woods. I’ve been sitting on the fence back yonder, watching your comings and goings.”
“Why didn’t you come and speak to me at church yesterday, Peter?” demanded Nancy boldly.
“I was afraid I would say something ungrammatical,” answered Peter, drily.
The crimson flamed over Nancy’s face again. She pulled her hand away.
“That’s cruel of you, Peter.”
Peter suddenly laughed.
him to think of hurrying Ludovic Speed, and he knew that Theodora Dix could be depended on to do her part. The comedy would not be dull, whatever its outcome.
The curtain rose on the first act after prayer meeting on the next Thursday night. It was bright moonlight when the people came out of church, and everyone everybody saw it plainly. Arnold Sherman stood upon the steps close to the door, and Ludovic Speed leaned up against a corner of the graveyard fence, as he had done for years. The boys said he had worn the paint off that particular place. Ludovic knew of no reason why he
walking blithely down the wood lane. It was a beautiful autumn morning, clear and crisp and sunny; the frosted ferns, drenched and battered with the rain of yesterday gave out a delicious fragrance; here and there in the woods a maple waved a gay crimson banner, or a branch of birch showed pale golden against the dark, unchanging spruces. The air was very pure and exhilarating. Sylvia walked with a joyous lightness of step and uplift of brow.
At the beech in the hollow she paused for an expectant moment, but there was nothing among the gray old roots for her. She was just turning away when little Teddy Kimball, who lived next door to the