Read The Blythes Are Quoted Online

Authors: L. M. Montgomery

The Blythes Are Quoted

BOOK: The Blythes Are Quoted
13.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Edited and with an
Afterword by
Benjamin Lefebvre

Foreword by
Elizabeth Rollins Epperly


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Canada Inc.)

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi – 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published 2009

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (RRD)

Text by L.M. Montgomery and Afterword copyright © 2009 David Macdonald, trustee,
and Ruth Macdonald and Benjamin Lefebvre
Foreword copyright © 2009 Elizabeth Rollins Epperly

L.M. Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery’s signature and cat design
are trademarks of
Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.

Anne of Green Gables
and other indicia of “Anne” are trademarks and Canadian official marks of the
Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted inany form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Publisher’s note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Manufactured in the U.S.A.


Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud), 1874–1942

The Blythes are quoted / L.M. Montgomery ; edited
and with an afterword by Benjamin Lefebvre ;
foreword by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly.

ISBN 978-0-670-06391-8

I. Lefebvre, Benjamin, 1977– II. Title.

PS8526.O55B58 2009          C813’.52          C2009-903955-9

Visit the Penguin Group (Canada) website at

Special and corporate bulk purchase rates available; please see
or call 1-800-810-3104, ext. 477 or 474


Foreword by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly


“The Piper” ~

Some Fools and a Saint ~

Twilight at Ingleside ~

“I Wish You” ~

“The Old Path Round the Shore” ~

“Guest Room in the Country” ~

An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins ~

The Second Evening ~

“The New House” ~

“Robin Vespers” ~

“Night” ~

“Man and Woman” ~

Retribution ~

The Third Evening ~

“There Is a House I Love” ~

“Sea Song” ~

The Twins Pretend ~

The Fourth Evening ~

“To a Desired Friend” ~

Fancy’s Fool ~

The Fifth Evening ~

“Midsummer Day” ~

“Remembered” ~

A Dream Comes True ~

The Sixth Evening ~

“Farewell to an Old Room” ~

“The Haunted Room” ~

“Song of Winter” ~

Penelope Struts Her Theories ~

The Seventh Evening ~

“Success” ~

“The Gate of Dream” ~

“An Old Face” ~

The Reconciliation ~

The Cheated Child ~

Fool’s Errand ~

The Pot and the Kettle ~


Another Ingleside Twilight ~

“Interlude” ~

“Come, Let Us Go” ~

“A June Day” ~

“Wind of Autumn ~

“The Wild Places” ~

“For Its Own Sake” ~

“The Change” ~

“I Know” ~

Brother Beware ~

The Second Evening ~

“The Wind” ~

“The Bride Dreams” ~

“May Song” ~

Here Comes the Bride ~

The Third Evening ~

“The Parting Soul” ~

“My House” ~

“Memories” ~

A Commonplace Woman ~

The Fourth Evening ~

“Canadian Twilight” ~

“Oh, We Will Walk with Spring Today” ~

“Grief” ~

“The Room” ~

The Road to Yesterday ~

Au Revoir ~

“I Want” ~

“The Pilgrim” ~

“Spring Song” ~

“The Aftermath” ~

Afterword by Benjamin Lefebvre

A Note on the Text

s ~

Books by L.M. Montgomery


by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly

Even for those who know and love L.M. Montgomery’s twenty other novels, hundreds of short stories and poems, diaries, letters, and scrapbooks, this first-time publication of the full text of
The Blythes Are Quoted
will bring sharp surprises. It may be a fractured work, even full of splinters, but I am drawn through its parts and pieces by Montgomery’s power to make me care.

The Blythes Are Quoted
is the last work of fiction the world-famous author of
Anne of Green Gables
prepared for publication before her untimely death on April 24, 1942. It has never before been published in its entirety. Why? The publishing history of
The Blythes Are Quoted
involves mystery; the very appearance of the current volume is a triumph of several kinds.

Until now, the full text of
The Blythes Are Quoted
has remained something of a secret, and largely enigmatic. The typescript was delivered to Montgomery’s publisher on the day she died—by whom we do not know; Montgomery evidently intended it for publication, since it is amended in her hand-writing. The collection is mentioned in her obituary in the
Globe and Mail
newspaper (see Afterword for details), but for many years it never appeared. The frame story takes Anne Shirley Blythe and her family a full two decades beyond anything else Montgomery published about them. Surely her publishers would have been delighted to issue a book that took Anne right up to the current day? It wasn’t until 1974 that another publisher decided to bring the book out, but not before changing the title and recasting the work completely. The typescript they used lacked the longest story, “Some Fools and a Saint,” and they stripped out all but one of the original forty-one poems and all the interconnecting vignettes featuring Anne and family, and then rearranged the remaining stories as though the book had been intended to be merely another volume of short fiction. Editors in 1942 and 1974 were evidently troubled by aspects of the book; what disturbed them may be precisely what will intrigue readers today.

Was the book deliberately suppressed as too volatile? The world was aflame with war at the time of Montgomery’s death. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the Americans had joined the Allies, and by the spring of 1942, the whole globe must have seemed locked in a death grapple, the very kind Montgomery had perceived in the First World War. She had described the Great War with patriotic ardour in
Rilla of Ingleside
(1921), the last of the original Anne series. The two Anne novels written during the war itself,
Anne’s House of Dreams
(1917) and
Rainbow Valley
(1919), were meant to hearten the home front and the trenches with images of the sacred beauty of home, a home imperilled by war.
The Blythes Are Quoted
does not applaud war; its poetry and interludes—the very shape of the book—call war and its rhetoric into question.

Perhaps her publishers in 1942 were unwilling to tamper with Montgomery’s text but could also not countenance publishing a work framed to address war. Montgomery introduced and ended the book with war pieces, and she divided the collection into two parts, with the First World War as its pivotal point. She linked the two world wars at the very outset of the book by leading with her poem “The Piper.” Probably inspired at the time Montgomery wrote
Rilla of Ingleside
by John McRae’s “In Flanders Fields,” Walter’s “Piper” became famous overnight and symbolized the war effort within the story but was never produced in the novel itself. Montgomery explains in an authorial note in
The Blythes
that she had only recently written the poem, believing it even more appropriate for “now” (the Second World War) than earlier (in the First World War). A lacklustre lyric, Montgomery’s “Piper” is also a tepid endorsement of war. Its weakness is underscored by the fact that the volume ends with another war poem, also by Walter, but “The Aftermath” is a gripping, agonizing piece in the manner of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon. Walter’s last poem is followed by a final dialogue between Anne and her son Jem, now himself the father of sons ready to go to war. In one line, Anne delivers a scorching indictment of the First World War, if not the Second.

In 1974, whether or not the editors were perturbed by the war references, they were certainly disturbed by the book’s shape. Their solution was to cut out the frame story entirely and to eliminate many of the remaining stories’ references to war. Montgomery had created a two-part text, with Part One set before the First World War and Part Two beginning after that war and concluding after the start of the Second World War. Interspersed through each part were short vignettes or dialogues, evenings where Anne reads poetry aloud to various family members and they briefly comment. Between the vignettes, and sometimes in provocative relationship to them, Montgomery placed the short stories, singly or in groups. Each story contains references to, quotations from, or even brief appearances by one or more of the Blythe family members. The poems and dialogues capture intimate moments with the Blythe family, and the stories offer glimpses of them within a larger surrounding community. The 1974 editors retained the internal story references to the Blythes but removed the context in which the use of the Blythes as a touchstone makes sense. Instead, the 1974 editors hoped for shock value. They made their collection of stories begin and end with themes they hoped might startle readers who may have come to accept as true the modernist debunking of Montgomery as a sunny, one-song warbler. Beginning the book with “An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins,” about a man newly released from prison and his encounter with a son who does not know him, and ending with “A Commonplace Woman,” involving a dying woman’s satisfied recollection of an undetected murder, the 1974 editors replaced Montgomery’s controversial war framework with a controversial arrangement of their own.

BOOK: The Blythes Are Quoted
13.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

kate storm 04 - witches dont back down by conner, meredith allen
Power Play by Sophia Henry
Rogelia's House of Magic by Jamie Martinez Wood
Once Upon a Valentine by Stephanie Bond
The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
The Reaper by Saul, Jonas
The Wolfman by Jonathan Maberry
Amplified by Tara Kelly
Mortal Lock by Andrew Vachss