Saturday, February 24, 2018

Keep It Short #8

I have read two more L.M. Montgomery stories this week. I am LOVING the quality of these later stories.

Akin To Love
First sentence: David Hartley had dropped in to pay a neighbourly call on Josephine Elliott. It was well along in the afternoon, and outside, in the clear crispness of a Canadian winter, the long blue shadows from the tall firs behind the house were falling over the snow.

Premise/plot: David has been in love with Josephine for decades. Every few years he conquers his fears and proposes. She has said no each and every time. Soon after this short story opens, he proposes yet again. It goes badly--again. But this time something is different. He promises her that this will be the absolute last time he'll ever propose. He tells her that if she changes her mind, she'll have to propose to him. Will she change her mind?

My thoughts: This one is an enjoyable read. The theme of the story is that 'pity is akin to love.'

Every time David proposed to her he had begun by reciting poetry. She twirled her towel around the last plate resignedly. If it had to come, the sooner it was over the better. Josephine knew by experience that there was no heading David off, despite his shyness, when he had once got along as far as the poetry. "But it's going to be for the last time," she said determinedly. "I'm going to settle this question so decidedly to-night that there'll never be a repetition."
"Josephine," he said huskily, "I s'pose you couldn't—could you now?—make up your mind to have me. I wish you would, Josephine—I wish you would. Don't you think you could, Josephine?" Josephine folded up her towel, crossed her hands on it, and looked her wooer squarely in the eyes.
Mrs. Tom Sentner did not say much to Josephine. To herself she said complacently: "She's sorry for David. Well, I've always heard that pity was akin to love. We'll see what comes of this."
Aunt Philippa and the Men
First sentence: I knew quite well why Father sent me to Prince Edward Island to visit Aunt Philippa that summer. He told me he was sending me there "to learn some sense"; and my stepmother, of whom I was very fond, told me she was sure the sea air would do me a world of good. I did not want to learn sense or be done a world of good; I wanted to stay in Montreal and go on being foolish—and make up my quarrel with Mark Fenwick.

Premise/plot: The heroine of this little story is being sent away to visit good old Aunt Philippa. Aunt Philippa has a strong opinion of MEN in general--and in specifics if truth be told. Her father is hoping that Aunt Philippa will be enough of a distraction that she forgets about her love, Mark Fenwick. Her father doesn't know Aunt Philippa as well as he thinks!

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. It's a hoot of a story.

"So you want to get married?" she said. "You'd better wait till you're grown up." "How old must a person be before she is grown up?" I asked gravely. "Humph! That depends. Some are grown up when they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're eighty.

"There's a man you don't want to have much to do with," she said portentously. "He's a Methodist minister." "Why, Auntie, the Methodists are a very nice denomination," I protested. "My stepmother is a Methodist, you know." "No, I didn't know, but I'd believe anything of a stepmother. I've no use for Methodists or their ministers. This fellow just came last spring, and it's my opinion he smokes. And he thinks every girl who looks at him falls in love with him—as if a Methodist minister was any prize! Don't you take much notice of him, Ursula."
Even being a minister can't prevent a man from being a crank.
"Don't you know any good husbands, Aunt Philippa?" I asked desperately. "Oh, yes, lots of 'em—over there," said Aunt Philippa sardonically, waving her whip in the direction of a little country graveyard on a distant hill. "Yes, but living—walking about in the flesh?"
"There's Joseph," said Aunt Philippa. "I call him that because his coat is of many colours. But I ain't no lover of cats. They're too much like the men to suit me." "Cats have always been supposed to be peculiarly feminine," I said, descending.
That Methodist man preaches a lot of things that ain't true, and what's worse they ain't sound doctrine. At least, that's what I've heard. I never was in a Methodist church, thank goodness."
"Don't you think Methodists go to heaven as well as Presbyterians, Aunt Philippa?" I asked gravely. "That ain't for us to decide," said Aunt Philippa solemnly. "It's in higher hands than ours. But I ain't going to associate with them on earth, whatever I may have to do in heaven. The folks round here mostly don't make much difference and go to the Methodist church quite often. But I say if you are a Presbyterian, be a Presbyterian. Of course, if you ain't, it don't matter much what you do. As for that minister man, he has a grand-uncle who was sent to the penitentiary for embezzlement. I found out that much."
"I'm not going to run away to be married," I answered sullenly. "Well, no, I wouldn't advise you to," said Aunt Philippa reflectively. "It's a kind of low-down thing to do, though there's been a terrible lot of romantic nonsense talked and writ about eloping. It may be a painful necessity sometimes, but it ain't in this case. You write to your young man and tell him to come here and be married respectable under my roof, same as a Goodwin ought to." I sat up and stared at Aunt Philippa. I was so amazed that it is useless to try to express my amazement. "Aunt—Philippa," I gasped. "I thought—I thought—"
The young Methodist minister married us the next day in the presence of many beaming guests. Aunt Philippa, splendid in black silk and point-lace collar, neither of which lost a whit of dignity or lustre by being made ten years before, was composure itself while the ceremony was going on. But no sooner had the minister pronounced us man and wife than she spoke up. "Now that's over I want someone to go right out and put out the fire on the kitchen roof. It's been on fire for the last ten minutes." Minister and bridegroom headed the emergency brigade, and Aunt Philippa pumped the water for them. In a short time the fire was out, all was safe, and we were receiving our deferred congratulations.
"Aunt Philippa," I said, "tell me this: why have you helped me to be married?" The train began to move. "I refused once to run away myself, and I've repented it ever since." Then, as the train gathered speed and the distance between us widened, she shouted after us, "But I s'pose if I had run away I'd have repented of that too."

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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