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:
the door, but I caught her back with a sudden mind-vision of Aunt Olivia flying bareheaded and distraught across the fields.
“Wait a moment, Aunt Olivia. Peggy, run home and get father to harness Dick in the buggy as quickly as he can. We’ll drive Aunt Olivia to the station. We’ll get you there in time, Aunty.”
Peggy flew, and Aunt Olivia dashed upstairs. I lingered behind to pick up her sewing, and when I got to her room she had her hat and cape on. And Spread out on the bed were all the boxes of gifts which Mr. Malcolm MacPherson had brought her, and Aunt Olivia was stringing their
lips with primitive emotion and pain.
“What shall I do?” she cried in a terrible voice. “Mary—Peggy—what shall I do?”
It was almost a shriek. Peggy turned pale.
“Do you care?” she said stupidly.
“Care! Girls, I shall die if Malcolm MacPherson goes away! I have been mad—I must have been mad. I have almost died of loneliness since I sent him away. But I thought he would come back! I mu must see him—there is time to reach the station before the train goes if I go by the fields.”
She took a wild step towards
sewing as for dear life, and her face was primmer and colder than ever. I wondered if she knew of Mr. Malcolm MacPherson’s departure. Delicacy forbade me to mention it but Peggy had no such scruples.
“Well, Aunt Olivia, your beau is off,” she announced cheerfully. “You won’t be bothered with him again. He is leaving on the mail train for the west.”
Aunt Olivia dropped her sewing and stood up. I have never seen anything like the transformation that came over her. It was so thorough and sudden as to be almost uncanny. The old maid vanished completely, and in her place was a woman, full to the
swept up the mud Mr. Malcolm MacPherson had tracked over the steps.
Peggy and I went home and told father. We felt very flat, but there was nothing to be done or said. Father laughed at the whole thing, but I could not laugh. I was sorry for Mr. Malcolm MacPherson and, though I was angry with her, I was sorry for Aunt Olivia, too. Plainly she felt badly enough over her vanished hopes and plans, but she had developed a strange and baffling reserve which nothing could pierce.
“It’s nothing but a chronic case of old-maidism,” said father
don’t be going back on me like this.”
“I cannot marry you, Mr. MacPherson,” said Aunt Olivia for the fourth time.
“Nillie!” exclaimed Mr. Malcolm MacPherson. There was such real agony in his tone that Peggy and I were suddenly stricken with contrition. What were we doing? We had no right to be listening to this pitiful interview. The pain and protest in his voice had suddenly banished all the hum humor from it, and left naught but the bare, stark tragedy. We rose and tiptoed out of the room, wholesomely ashamed of ourselves.
“Nillie, you must be joking. It’s careless enough I am—the west isn’t a good place to learn finicky ways—but you can teach me. You’re not going to throw me over because I track mud in!”
“I cannot marry you, Mr. MacPherson,” said Aunt Olivia again.
“You can’t be meaning it!” he exclaimed, because he was beginning to understand that she did mean it, although it was impossible for his man-mind to understand anything else about the puzzle. “Nillie, it’s breaking my heart you are! I’ll do anything—go anywhere—be anything you want—only
“No, Mr. MacPherson,” said Aunt Olivia firmly, “that doesn’t cover the difficulty. I knew you would not understand. My ways are not your ways and I cannot make them over. For—you track mud in—and—and—you don’t care whether things are tidy or not.”
Poor Aunt Olivia had to be Aunt Olivia; if she were being burned at the stake I verily believe she would have dragged some grotesqueness into the tragedy of the moment.
“The devil!” said Mr. Malcolm MacPherson—not profanely or angrily, but as in sheer bewilderment. Then he added,
told, such a breezy, unconventional atmosphere as he brought into that prim little house, where stagnant dullness had reigned for years! He worshipped Aunt Olivia, and his worship took the concrete form of presents galore. He brought her a present almost every visit—generally some article of jewellry jewelry. Bracelets, rings, chains, ear-drops, lockets, bangles, were showered upon our precise little aunt; she accepted them deprecatingly, but never wore them. This hurt him a little, but she assured him she would wear them all sometime.
“I am not used to jewelry, Mr. MacPherson,” she would tell him.
unconsciousness of doing anything out of the way. He never noticed Aunt Olivia’s fluttering nervousness at all. Peggy and I laughed more than was good for us those days. It was so funny to see Aunt Olivia hovering anxiously around, picking up flower stems, and smoothing out tidies, and generally following him about to straighten out things. Once she even got a wing and dust-pan and swept the cigar ashes under his very eyes.
“Don’t be worrying yourself over that, Nillie,” he protested. “Why, I don’t mind a litter, bless you
How good and jolly he was, that Mr. Malcolm MacPherson! Such songs as he sang, such stories as he
never be trained to old-maidishness, and even Aunt Olivia seemed to realize this. He never stopped to clean his boots when he came in, although she had ostentatiously an ostentatiously new scraper put at each door for his benefit. He seldom moved in the house without knocking some of Aunt Olivia’s treasures over. He smoked cigars in her parlor and scattered the ashes over her the floor. He brought her flowers every day and stuck them into whatever receptacle came handiest. He sat on her cushions and rolled her antimacassars up into balls. He pu put his feet on her chair-rungs—and all with the most distracting
hear such kisses? Fancy Aunt Olivia!”
It did not take us long to get well acquainted with Mr. Malcolm MacPherson. He almost haunted Aunt Olivia’s house, and Aunt Olivia insisted on our staying with her most of the time. She seemed to be very shy of finding herself alone with him. He horrified her a dozen times in an hour; nevertheless, she was very proud of him, and liked to be teased about him, too. She was delighted that we admired him.
“Though, to be sure, he is very different in his looks from what he used to be,” she said. “He is so dreadfully big! And I do not like
his big paws and looked her over. I saw Aunt Olivia’s eyes roam over his arm to the inverted table and the litter of asters and goldenrod. Her sleek crimps were all tousled ruffled up, and her lace fichu twisted half around her neck. She looked distressed.
“It’s not a bit changed you are, Nillie,” said Mr. Malcolm MacPherson admiringly. “And it’s good I’m feeling to see you again. Are you glad to see me, Nillie?”
“Oh, of course,” said Aunt Olivia.
She twisted herself free and went to set up the table. Then she turned to the flowers, but Mr. Malcolm MacPherson had already gathered them up, leaving a goodly sprinkling of leaves and flowers stalks on the
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Aunt Olivia arose and advanced primly, with outstretched hand.
“Mr. MacPherson, I am very glad to see you,” she remarked said formally.
“It’s yourself, Nillie!” Mr. Malcolm MacPherson gave two strides. He dropped his flowers on the floor, knocked over a small table, and sent the ottoman spinning against the wall. Then he had caught Aunt Olivia in his arms and—smack, smack, smack! Peggy sank back upon the stair-step with her handkerchief stuffed in her mouth. Aunt Olivia was being kissed!
Presently Mr. Malcolm MacPherson held her back at arms’ length in