Anne of Green Gables
Chapter one—Sweet Dreams
They had just left Hester Gray’s garden where hopes and dreams came together—a place where sacred memories would forever be. Along the winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed they strolled. Soon all of Avonlea would know. But, for now, their future was theirs to hold. The moment was theirs to keep.
They reached the gate of Green Gables with a hint of regret. They must shortly part ways for the night.
“I am afraid,” said Anne with a slight chuckle, “that no one will be surprised by our news—certainly not Marilla or Mrs. Lynde. They probably had some secret plot to get us together—if not, they have been trying to figure out how to do it. Miss Lavendar was convinced that something had gone horribly wrong when I wouldn’t marry you. I asked her ‘why everybody seems to think I ought to marry Gilbert Blythe’ and she said, ‘you were made and meant for each other, Anne.’ Even your own mother suddenly stopped speaking to me when she found out I had turned you down.
As much as I had wanted to ignore them they were right. I thought that friendship was all I could offer you. I was so wrong.”
Gilbert took both her hands in his and said, “Remember when we talked about what we wanted to do with our lives? I told you I wanted to be a doctor that I wanted to fight disease and pain and ignorance. For me, that is still in the future.
“You said that you wanted to add beauty to life—to make them have a pleasanter time because of you—to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if you hadn’t been born. I am so glad you came into my life. There were times, I admit, I didn’t feel that way. But you have more than made up for that. You have made me the happier than anyone in the whole world. What’s the matter, Anne? Why are you crying? Did I do something wrong?” He asked, softly.
“Oh, Gilbert, I’m not sad. You have done nothing wrong. You have only done everything right. I am just completely overcome.” She said looking at up him with her adoring eyes.
Gilbert smiled, squeezing his sweetheart’s hand. Holding her close and whispering in her ear he said, “I love you, my Anne-girl.” He gazed into her eyes for a moment longer, drew her close and kissed her.
They, reluctantly, pulled apart. He turned and walked away. He had ventured just a few steps, there fingers still touching, “I love you, Gilbert,” Anne called out to him.
“Oh, Anne,”—tears were in his eyes now. “I love you more than life itself,” he said as he pulled closer again. He kissed her once again then continued, “I have longed to hear you say that. Good night, my Anne-girl.” He turned and headed home.
Anne stood there watching as he walked from her sight. She could not put her thoughts into words. At that moment she was entirely at a loss. All the romantic, flowery thoughts that she could so easily call to mind seemed suddenly so—plain and ordinary.
As Anne entered the house she saw Marilla coming from the kitchen. She had just finished cleaning up after supper and was heading up the stairs to go bed. “Anne, you look like you have been crying. Are you alright? I was beginning to wonder when you would get back. These September evenings are getting a bit nippy. You should have taken a sweater. Did you and Gilbert have an enjoyable time?”
“Oh, Marilla,” Anne said. “I had the most splendid time. I have so much to tell you, but I am very tired. I will tell you in the morning.”
Marilla watched as Anne went to her room. “Anne had grown to be quite a lady. What a difference eleven years had made.” She recalled the first night Anne had stayed at Green Gables. She had seemed like such a heathen child.
Anne, having retired to her room, sat at the window looking out at the stars in the sky and the moonlit landscape below. She sat there in speechless happiness for a long time that night. She could not sleep for dreaming would pale to her reality.
Gilbert, meanwhile, was nearly home. He reflected on the path he had taken—not a path through trees and village, but a path through trial and adversity. A path that lead to a sweetheart won.
When he arrived home he found his mother and father sitting together at the dining room table. He could not imagine a lovelier, kinder mother or a wiser father. His father had said to him just a few days before, ‘Son, don’t ever let pride get in your way. Sometimes you just have to swallow it and do what you have to do.’ Gilbert had taken his advice and now was reaping the rewards of a promised hand—the hand of Anne Shirley.
“Hi, Gilbert,” his mother said. “We wanted to make sure you got in alright. How was your evening?”
Gilbert let out a dreamy sigh and sat down with them. He started to tell them what had transpired only to find that words were failing him. “Oh, mother, father,” he finally managed “—I have longed for this day. Anne Shirley has promised to be my wife.”
The dining room erupted into a hail of congratulations and hugs. It was some time before the excitement level tapered off and everyone went to bed.
In his room, Gilbert took, from a box in his closet, a pink tissue rose. It once adorned his sweetheart’s hair—so long ago—it had fallen. As of late, it had been kept in a box, but now he welcomed the memory it brought to mind—of a young red-headed orphan girl, who walked into his heart one day—and never left.