It’s hard to think of a writer for whom place is MORE important than it is for L.M. Montgomery. As Jane Urquhart writes: “Places became almost characters in her books and in her life: in fiction, Green Gables, Silver Bush, New Moon, and Windy Poplars; in the actual world, Park / Corner, Sea View, and Journey’s End.”*
I went across the snowy fields to Lover’s Lane. I love that place idolatrously – I am happier there than anywhere else. What is the power of that silent shadowy wood lane, even in its white winter solitude? Why can it always steal away the sting of life and pour the oil of gladness into my heart?
From her journal, Monday, March 11, 1904
We Prince Edward Islanders are a loyal race. In our secret soul we believe that there is no place like the little Province that gave us birth. We may suspect that it isn’t quite perfect, any more than any other spot on the planet, but you will not catch us admitting it. And how furiously we hate any one who does say it!
The Alpine Path
For lands have personalities just as well as human beings; and to know that personality you must live in the land and companion it, and draw sustenance of body and spirit from it; so only can you really know a land and be known of it.
The Alpine Path
I am writing here by the window of my dear old room. It is a veritable little haven of rest and dreams to me, and the window opens on a world of wonder and beauty. Winds drift by with clover scent in their breath; the rustle of leaves comes up from the poplars, and birds flit low in joyous vagrance. Below is a bosky old apple orchard and a row of cherry trees along the dyke where the old tamarack stands guard. Beyond it green meadows slope down to a star-dusted valley of buttercups and past that wide fields stretch up again to the purple rim of wooded hills in the background.
From her journal, Sunday July 10, 1898
But in the woods I like to be alone for every tree is a true old friend and every tiptoeing wind a merry comrade. If I believed seriously in the doctrine of transmigration I should think I had been a tree in some previous stage of existence.
From a letter to G.B. Macmillan, September 16, 1906
The first Sunday evening we slipped down in the dusk to see the manse – for I was eager to see my new home. As I have said, it is quite prettily situated – though … [w]e are far too close to the road for my liking – I love solitude and remoteness. We have a rather pretty little lawn. I wish it were eight times as large but we must make the best of it.
About Leaskdale, from her journal, Sunday September 24, 1911
And there was the sea. I was not prepared for the flood of emotion which swept over me when I saw it. I was stirred to the very deeps of my being – tears filled my eyes – I trembled! For a moment it seemed passionately to me that I could never leave it again.
About missing PEI, from a letter to G.B. Macmillan, September 13, 1913
* Jane Urquhart, L.M. Montgomery. (TO: Penguin, 2009): 18-9.