Welcome to Part 3 of The Complete Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery, The PEI Years, 1889-1900.
Maud is eighteen at the start of 1893 and home for the summer in Cavendish where Nate is rumoured to be coming home for a visit. Speculation flies that he is here to see Maud, but shall anything come of it?
Maud continued to have stories published in her college’s paper, founded by Tal MacMillan (one of her schoolmates) and some of the other college boys, and in The Ladies’ World (1886), a New York magazine.
Amongst her college years, Maud doesn’t grow out of her antics — leading on a nosy landlord to believe a young man is calling for her friend instead of for her, going out for walks/rides with multiple young men over the course of the year and caring not a serious whit for any, and even passing notes during an exam!
Amongst the ephemera are several photos of Lover’s Lane, Maud’s bedroom, the college where she attended, and photos of her male and female friends. I am desperately trying not to cheat by looking ahead to see whom Maud ends up marrying but it is so hard when there’s more than one boy who likes her very much and it comes as no surprise to her (or the reader) when there are words spoken. But whom will she eventually marry? The end of 1895 holds no answers and Maud, now 20, is teaching at a small school in Bideford, P.E.I.
I am amused that Maud is fond of cats (as I am) and there are two or three that merit mentioning in her diaries, including Mephistopheles “a demoniacal-looking animal, black as a coal, with long sharp ears and goblin-like green eyes” (225) and Cariss, a female cat who on at least one occasion embarrasses Maud and one of her gentleman callers with some cat calls (literally!) to some of HER admirers!
The descriptive nature of Montgomery’s writing is something I am particularly fond of and sup from like a dry wine, savoring each sip. She has an artist’s eye and the way she views the world and describes it is just magical and breathtaking.
The sky is a faintly-flushed heliotrope, the rivers and creeks are calm as glass, and the little purple points, the fringing spruces and the far-off islands are mirrored perfectly in the pale azure and rose waters, over whose surface several sailboats are gliding as gracefully as gulls. A soft lemon-hued light falls over hill and creek and island, and it seems as if tired old Nature had fallen into a chance nap at eventide. (238)
Is that not marvelous? Small wonder that I didn’t grow up with a love for purple prose and poetry, but then, nature is so changing and lovely to write about.
If you’re reading along, or following along with these blog entries, what do you make of Maud’s antics? Will she find true love? Will she become something of a spinster schoolmarm until she’s past her prime? With the close of 1894, we’ve crossed the halfway point of volume 1 (hurrah!). Much more to come.
The Complete Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery, The PEI Years, 1889-1900, edited by Mary Hensley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, Oxford University Press (published in Canada), 2012, hardcover, 484 pages.