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:
brother out in Manitoba? Well, we shall just write to him and tell him he’s got to look out for his nephew.”
“But how can you do that, Ma, when nobody knows his address?” objected Pa, with a wistful look at that delicious, laughing baby.
“I’ll find out his address if I have to advertise in the papers for him,” retorted Ma. “As for you, Pa Sloane, you’re not fit to be out of a lunatic asylum. The next auction you’ll be buying a wife, I s’pose?”
Pa, quite crushed by Ma’s sarcasm, pulled his chair in to
chairs so that he couldn’t fall off, and given him a molasses cooky.
“Now, Pa Sloane, you can explain,” she said.
Pa explained. Ma listened in grim silence until he had finished. Then she said sternly,
“Do you reckon we’re going to keep this baby?”
“I—I—dunno,” said Pa. And he didn’t.
“Well, we’re not. I brought up one boy and that’s enough. I don’t calculate to be pestered with any more. I never was much struck on children as children, anyhow. You say that Mary Garland had a
drove into the yard at sunset. Her face, when she saw the baby, expressed the last degree of amazement.
“Pa Sloane,” she demanded, “whose is that young one, and where did you get it?”
“I—I—bought it at the auction, Ma,” said Pa feebly. Then he waited for the explosion. None came. This last exploit of Pa’s was too much for Ma.
With a gasp she snatched the baby from Pa’s arms, and ordered him to go out and put the mare in. When Pa returned to the kitchen, Ma had set the baby on the sofa, fenced him around with
“Not a bit of it,” said Robert Lawson. “All the money won’t be too much to pay the debts. There’s a doctor’s bill, and this will just about pay it.”
Pa Sloane drove back home, with the sorrel mare still unshod, the baby, and the baby’s meagre bundle of clothes. The baby did not trouble him much; it had become well used to strangers in the past two months, and promptly fell asleep on his arm; but Pa Sloane did not enjoy that drive; at the end of it he mentally saw Ma Sloane.
Ma was there, too, waiting for him on the back doorstep as he
not having the fear of his wife before his eyes. Pa’s fighting blood was up in a moment; he forgot Ma Sloane; he forgot what he was bidding for; he forgot everything except a determination that John Clarke should not be victor again.
“Ten,” he called shrilly.
“Fifteen,” shouted Clarke.
“Twenty,” vociferated Pa.
“Twenty-five,” bellowed Clarke.
“Thirty,” shrieked Pa. He nearly bust a blood-vessel in his shrieking, but he had won. Clarke turned off with a laugh and a shrug, and the baby was knocked down
laughed out at the men before him and waved his hands in delight. Pa Sloane thought he had never seen so pretty a baby.
“Here’s a baby for sale,” shouted the auctioneer. “A genuine article, pretty near as good as brand-new. A real live baby, warranted to walk and talk a little. Who bids? A dollar? Did I hear anyone mean enough to bid a dollar? No, sir, babies don’t come as cheap as that, especially the curly-headed brand.”
The crowd laughed again. Pa Sloane, by way of keeping on the joke, cried, “Four dollars!”
Everybody looked at him. The impression flashed through the
Day was very warm for October.
“There’s nothing more, unless we sell the baby.”
A laugh went through the crowd. The sale had been a dull affair, and they were ready for some fun. Someone called out, “Put him up, Jacob.” The joke found favor and the call was repeated hilariously.
Jacob Blair took little Teddy Garland out of Martha’s arms and stood him up on the table by the door, steadying the small chap with one big brown hand. The baby had a mop of yellow curls, and a pink and white face, and big, blue eyes. He
other, one of consumption and one of pneumonia, they left nothing but debts and a little furniture. The house had been a rented one.
The bidding on the various poor articles of household gear put up for sale was not brisk, but had an element of resigned determination. Carmody people knew that these things had to be sold to pay ^the debts, and they could not be sold unless they were bought. Still, it was a very tame affair.
A woman came out of the house, carrying a baby of about eighteen months in her arms, and
of the Garland place below the hill was already full of people. The auction had evidently begun; so, not to miss any more of it, Pa hurried down. The sorrel mare could wait for her shoes until afterwards.
Ma had been within bounds when she called the Garland auction a “one-horse affair.” It certainly was very paltry, especially when compared to the big Donaldson auction of a month ago, which Pa still lived over in happy dreams.
Horace Garland and his wife had been poor. When they died within six weeks of each
entire face. She wondered if this third failure would squelch Pa. But Pa was not to be squelched.
“Well, anyway,” he said, brightening up under the influence of a sudden saving inspiration, “I’ll have to go up to get the sorrel mare shod. So, if you’ve any little errands you want done at the store, Ma, just make a memo of them while I hitch up.”
The matter of shoeing the sorrel mare was beyond Ma’s province, although she had her own suspicions about the sorrel mare’s need of shoes.
“Why can’t you give up beating
most barefaced fashion, and all her former primness and reserve were swept away completely. She kissed him a dozen times or more and told him she loved him—and I did not even smile, nor did I want to. Somehow, it did not seem in the least funny to me then, nor does it now, although it doubtless will to others. There was too much real intensity of feeling in it all to leave any room for the ridiculous. So wrapt up in each other were they that I did not even feel superfluous.
I set them safely down in Aunt Olivia’s yard and turned homeward, completely forgotten by the pair. But in the moonlight, which flooded the front of the house, I
little. Mr. MacPherson put his arm about her and drew her back into the shadows.
“There, there,” he soothed. “Of course I won’t be going. Don’t cry, Nillie-girl.”
“And you’ll come right back with me now?” implored Aunt Olivia, clinging to him as if she feared he would be whisked away from her yet if she let go for a moment.
“Of course, of course,” he said.
Peggy got a chance home with a friend, and Aunt Olivia and Mr. Malcolm MacPherson and I drove back in the buggy. Mr. MacPherson held Aunt Olivia on his knee because there was no room, but she would have sat there, I think, had there been a dozen vacant seats. She clung to him in
are harrowing her very soul up—she can’t get out of her little, narrow groove, and it is killing her to be pulled out.”
“Nonsense!” said Peggy. Then she added with a laugh,
“Mary, did you ever see anything so funny as Aunt Olivia sitting on ‘Mr. Malcolm MacPherson’s’ knee”?
It was funny. Aunt Olivia thought it un very unbecoming to sit there before us, but he made her do it. He would say, with his big, jolly laugh, “Don’t be minding the little girls,” and pull her down on his knee and hold her there. To my dying day I shall never forget the expression on the poor little woman’s face.
But, as the days went by and Mr. Malcolm MacPherson began to insist on a date being set for the wedding, Aunt Olivia grew to have a strangely disturbed look. She became very quiet, and never laughed except under protest. Also, she showed signs of petulance when any of us, but especially father, teased her about her beau. I pitied her, for I think I understood better than the others what her feelings really were. But even I was not prepared for what did happen. I would not have believed that Aunt Olivia could do it. I thought that her desire for marriage in the abstract would
outweigh the disadvantages of the concrete. But one can never reckon with real, bred-in-the-bone old-maidism.
One morning Mr. Malcolm MacPherson told us all that he was coming up that evening to make Aunt Olivia set the day. Peggy and I laughingly approved, telling him that it was high time for him to assert his authority, and he went off in high great good humor across the river field, whistling a Highland strathspey. But Aunt Olivia looked like a martyr. She had a fierce attack of housecleaning that day, and put everything in flawless order, even to the corners.
“Peg, there’s trouble brewing,” I said. “I’m sure of it by Aunt Olivia’s face – it was gray. And she has gone down alone—and shut the door.”
“I am going to hear what she says to him,” said Peggy resolutely. “It is her own fault—she has spoiled us by always insisting that we should be present at their interviews. That poor man has had to do his courting under our very eyes. Come on, Mary.”
The south-west room was directly over the parlor and there was an open stovepipe-hole leading up therefrom. Peggy removed the hatbox that was on it, and we both
deliberately and shamelessly crouched down and listened with all our might.
It was easy enough to hear what Mr. Malcolm MacPherson was saying.
“I’ve come up to get the date settled, Nillie, as I told you. Come now, little woman, name the day.”
“Don’t, Mr. Malc MacPherson,” said Aunt Olivia. She spoke as a woman who has keyed herself up to the doing of some very distasteful task and is anxious to have it over and done with as soon as possible. “There is something I must say to you. I cannot marry you, Mr. Mac
There was a pause. I would have given much to have seen the pair of them. When Mr. Malcolm MacPherson spoke his voice was that of blank, uncomprehending amazement.
“Nillie, what is it you are meaning?” he said.
“I cannot marry you, Mr. MacPherson,” repeated Aunt Olivia.
“Why not?” Surprise was giving way to dismay.
“I don’t think you will understand, Mr. MacPherson,” said Aunt Olivia, faintly. “You don’t realize what it means for a woman to give up everything—her own home and friends and all her past life, so to
the shadows, Aunt Olivia made a flying leap from the buggy and ran along the platform, with her cape streaming behind her and all her brooches and chains glittering in the lights. I tossed the reins to a boy standing near and we followed. Just under the glare of the station lamp we saw Mr. Malcolm MacPherson, grip in hand. Fortunately no one else was very near, but it would have been all the same had they been the centre of a crowd. Aunt Olivia fairly flung herself against him.
“Malcolm,” she cried, “don’t go—don’t go—I’ll marry you—I’ll go anywhere—and I don’t care how much mud you bring in!”
That truly Aunt Olivian touch relieved the tension of the situation a