Welcome to the concluding episode of our final L M Montgomery Tale for Our Time - an excerpt from Anne of Windy Poplars. Kate Smyth writes:
'I knew I had to live up to those puffed sleeves!'
Along with the selection from Little Women, this is a perfect Christmas tale. And the animated reading is brought to life by the introduction: It's sad to think that L M Montgomery lived vicariously through Anne's much happier life with Matthew and Marilla.
True, Kate. But a lot of writers overcome autobiography by "living vicariously", as you put it. In this excerpt from Anne of Windy Poplars, L M Montgomery gives us side by side the idealized version of her own childhood - Anne of Green Gables - and something closer to reality: Katherine Brooke:
"You haven't the least idea what it is like not to be wanted by any one . . . any one!"
"Oh, haven't I?" cried Anne.
In a few poignant sentences she sketched her childhood before coming to Green Gables.
"I wish I'd known that," said Katherine. "It would have made a difference. To me you seemed one of the favorites of fortune. I've been eating my heart out with envy of you. You got the position I wanted . . . oh, I know you're better qualified than I am, but there it was. You're pretty . . . at least you make people believe you're pretty. My earliest recollection is of some one saying, 'What an ugly child!' You come into a room delightfully . . . oh, I remember how you came into school that first morning. But I think the real reason I've hated you so is that you always seemed to have some secret delight . . . as if every day of life was an adventure."
...because Anne Shirley made lemonade, and Katherine Brooke let the lemons sour her. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read the conclusion of our Christmas at Green Gables series simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
Thank you for your kind words about this latest audio serialization. Tomorrow evening, Sunday, I'll be back with a very different author for these last nights before Christmas Day. Hope you'll join me for that. For those who hanker for me on camera (a small but brave band), do check out this year's Mark Steyn Christmas Show.
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking something for a fellow fan of classic fiction this holiday season, don't forget our Christmas Gift Membership.