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#rilla of ingleside

  Okay, we know Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, but it obviously takes place earlier than that. Just reading the book itself, 1908 makes sense, except for some tiny clues modern readers might not notice - the huge puffed sleeves were no longer in style, for example, and in the chapter “A Good Imagination Gone Wrong,” it is hinted that Queen Victoria (who died in 1901) is still alive. But the main reason is that in one of the sequels, Rilla of Ingleside, Anne’s sons leave to fight in World War One (1914 - 1918.) So I thought to myself, “say Anne was forty in 1914, that would mean she was born in 1874.” I looked at the author’s bio in my book, and that’s when Lucy Maud Montgomery was born! So if Anne was born the same year as her creator, the first book opens in June of 1885.

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Genre: Children’s Literature/Classic Literature

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Review:

I liked this one more than the last one. But I still didn’t love it as much as some of the others. But let me explain my thoughts.

I liked Rilla and I enjoyed her storyline. I thought she was interesting and different, and I wanted to get to know her a little bit. It was cool to see another young woman as the main character.

However, I didn’t like how Anne and Gilbert were mentioned (they had very little scenes together), and when they were, they were referenced so… distantly to even their children. Most of the time, they were mentioned as Dr. Blythe and Mrs. Blythe, instead of by their names. I thought that was a little strange, and I would have liked to have seen more with them.

The setting of World War I in this story was intriguing and I thought it was well done. There’s not many stories, especially from this time, written from the POV of the home front, and I liked reading about their experiences. I have always thought this time period is so interesting, so I thought it was a good place to set the story.

Walter dying was devastating though. I felt so heartbroken that they lost another child.

Another good Anne of Green Gables book! I know the main storylines are done, and I am a bit sad. But now I shall dive into the short stories collection, The Blythes Are Quoted!

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I’m not interested in the chronicles of avonlea, but I do want to check out the Blythe are quoted. I just have to find it. I had bought the box set of 8 books at Costco months ago, though I had read Anne of Green Gables previously, and didn’t know about the other stories until recently. I definitely want to find the Blythe are quoted. I really want more Anne and Gilbert. I wish we got to see Rilla and Kenneth’s wedding in the last book.

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Gertrude rallied and carried on. Lord Kitchener went to Greece, whereat Susan foretold that Constantine would soon experience a change of heart. Lloyd George began to heckle the Allies regarding equipment and guns and Susan said you would hear more of Lloyd George yet. The gallant Anzacs withdrew from Gallipoli and Susan approved the step, with reservations. The siege of Kut-El-Amara began and Susan pored over maps of Mesopotamia and abused the Turks. Henry Ford started for Europe and Susan flayed him with sarcasm. Sir John French was superseded by Sir Douglas Haig and Susan dubiously opined that it was poor policy to swap horses crossing a stream, “though, to be sure, Haig was a good name and French had a foreign sound, say what you might.” Not a move on the great chess-board of king or bishop or pawn escaped Susan, who had once read only Glen St. Mary notes. “There was a time,” she said sorrowfully, “when I did not care what happened outside of P.E. Island, and now a king cannot have a toothache in Russia or China but it worries me. It may be broadening to the mind, as the doctor said, but it is very painful to the feelings.
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Rilla of Ingleside - Chapter XV - THE VALLEY OF DECISION

There was no crowd at the Glen Station the next morning to see Walter off. It was becoming a commonplace for a khaki-clad boy to board that early morning train after his last leave. Besides his own, only the Manse folk were there, and Mary Vance. Mary had sent her Miller off the week before, with a determined grin, and now considered herself entitled to give an expert opinion on how such partings should be conducted.

“The main thing is to smile and act as if nothing was happening,” she informed the Ingleside group. “The boys all hate the sob act like poison. Miller told me I wasn’t to come near the station if I couldn’t keep from bawling. So I got through with my crying beforehand, and at the last, I said to him, ‘Good luck, Miller, and if you come back you’ll find I haven’t changed any, and if you don’t come back I’ll always be proud you went, and in any case don’t fall in love with a French girl.’ Miller swore he wouldn’t, but you never can tell about those fascinating foreign hussies. Anyhow, the last sight he had of me I was smiling to my limit. Gee, all the rest of the day my face felt as if it had been starched and ironed into a smile.”

In spite of Mary’s advice and example Mrs. Blythe, who had sent Jem off with a smile, could not quite manage one for Walter. But at least no one cried. Dog Monday came out of his lair in the shipping-shed and sat down close to Walter, thumping his tail vigorously on the boards of the platform whenever Walter spoke to him, and looking up with confident eyes, as if to say, “I know you’ll find Jem and bring him back to me.”

“So long, old fellow,” said Carl Meredith cheerfully, when the good-byes had to be said. “Tell them over there to keep their spirits up—I am coming along presently.”

“Me too,” said Shirley laconically, proffering a brown paw. Susan heard him and her face turned very grey.

Una shook hands quietly, looking at him with wistful, sorrowful, dark-blue eyes. But then Una’s eyes had always been wistful. Walter bent his handsome blackhead in its khaki cap and kissed her with the warm, comradely kiss of a brother. He had never kissed her before, and for a fleeting moment, Una’s face betrayed her, if anyone had noticed. But nobody did; the conductor was shouting “all aboard”; everybody was trying to look very cheerful. Walter turned to Rilla; she held his hands and looked up at him. She would not see him again until the day broke and the shadows vanished—and she knew not if that daybreak would be on this side of the grave or beyond it.

“Good-bye,” she said.

On her lips it lost all the bitterness it had won through the ages of parting and bore instead all the sweetness of the old loves of all the women who had ever loved and prayed for the beloved.

“Write me often and bring Jims up faithfully, according to the gospel of Morgan,” Walter said lightly, having said all his serious things the night before in Rainbow Valley. But at the last moment, he took her face between his hands and looked deep into her gallant eyes. “God bless you, Rilla-my-Rilla,” he said softly and tenderly. After all, it was not a hard thing to fight for a land that bore daughters like this.

He stood on the rear platform and waved to them as the train pulled out. Rilla was standing by herself, but Una Meredith came to her and the two girls who loved him most stood together and held each other’s cold hands as the train rounded the curve of the wooded hill.

Rilla spent an hour in Rainbow Valley that morning about which she never said a word to anyone; she did not even write in her diary about it; when it was over she went home and made rompers for Jims. In the evening she went to a Junior Red Cross committee meeting and was severely businesslike.

“You would never suppose,” said Irene Howard to Olive Kirk afterwards, “that Walter had left for the front only this morning. But some people really have no depth of feeling. I often wish I could take things as lightly as Rilla Blythe.”

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“‘Comes he slow or comes he fast
It is but death who comes at last.’”
quoted Walter. “It’s not death I fear—I told you that long ago. One can pay too high a price for mere life, little sister. There’s so much hideousness in this war—I’ve got to go and help wipe it out of the world. I’m going to fight for the beauty of life, Rilla-my-Rilla—that is my duty. There may be a higher duty, perhaps—but that is mine. I owe life and Canada that, and I’ve got to pay it. Rilla, tonight for the first time since Jem left I’ve got back my self-respect. I could write poetry,” Walter laughed. “I’ve never been able to write a line since last August. Tonight I’m full of it. Little sister, be brave—you were so plucky when Jem went.”

“This—is—different,” Rilla had to stop after every word to fight down a wild outburst of sobs. “I loved—Jem—of course—but—when—he went—away—we thought—the war—would soon—be over—and you are—everything to me, Walter.”

“You must be brave to help me, Rilla-my-Rilla. I’m exalted tonight—drunk with the excitement of victory over myself—but there will be other times when it won’t be like this—I’ll need your help then.”

“When—do—you—go?” She must know the worst at once.

“Not for a week—then we go to Kingsport for training. I suppose we’ll go overseas about the middle of July—we don’t know.”

One week—only one week more with Walter! The eyes of youth did not see how she was to go on living.

When they turned in at the Ingleside gate Walter stopped in the shadows of the old pines and drew Rilla close to him.

“Rilla-my-Rilla, there were girls as sweet and pure as you in Belgium and Flanders. You—even you—know what their fate was. We must make it impossible for such things to happen again while the world lasts. You’ll help me, won’t you?”

“I’ll try, Walter,” she said. “Oh, I will try.”

As she clung to him with her face pressed against his shoulder she knew that it had to be. She accepted the fact then and there. He must go—her beautiful Walter with his beautiful soul and dreams and ideals. And she had known all along that it would come sooner or later. She had seen it coming to her—coming—coming—as one sees the shadow of a cloud drawing near over a sunny field, swiftly and inescapably. Amid all her pain she was conscious of an odd feeling of relief in some hidden part of her soul, where a little dull, unacknowledged soreness had been lurking all winter. No one—no one could ever call Walter a slacker now.

Rilla did not sleep that night. Perhaps no one at Ingleside did except Jims. The body grows slowly and steadily, but the soul grows by leaps and bounds. It may come to its full stature in an hour. From that night Rilla Blythe’s soul was the soul of a woman in its capacity for suffering, for strength, for endurance.

When the bitter dawn came she rose and went to her window. Below her was a big apple-tree, a great swelling cone of rosy blossom. Walter had planted it years ago when he was a little boy. Beyond Rainbow Valley there was a cloudy shore of morning with little ripples of sunrise breaking over it. The far, cold beauty of a lingering star shone above it. Why, in this world of springtime loveliness, must hearts break?

Rilla felt arms go about her lovingly, protectingly. It was mother—pale, large-eyed mother.

“Oh, mother, how can you bear it?” she cried wildly. “Rilla, dear, I’ve known for several days that Walter meant to go. I’ve had time to—to rebel and grow reconciled. We must give him up. There is a Call greater and more insistent than the call of our love—he has listened to it. We must not add to the bitterness of his sacrifice.”

“Our sacrifice is greater than his,” cried Rilla passionately. “Our boys give only themselves. We give them.”

Before Mrs. Blythe could reply Susan stuck her head in at the door, never troubling over such frills of etiquette as knocking. Her eyes were suspiciously red but all she said was,

“Will I bring up your breakfast, Mrs. Dr. dear.”

“No, no, Susan. We will all be down presently. Do you know—that Walter has joined up.”

“Yes, Mrs. Dr. dear. The doctor told me last night. I suppose the Almighty has His own reasons for allowing such things. We must submit and endeavour to look on the bright side. It may cure him of being a poet, at least"—Susan still persisted in thinking that poets and tramps were tarred with the same brush—"and that would be something. But thank God,” she muttered in a lower tone, “that Shirley is not old enough to go.”

“Isn’t that the same thing as thanking Him that some other woman’s son has to go in Shirley’s place?” asked the doctor, pausing on the threshold.

“No, it is not, doctor dear,” said Susan defiantly, as she picked up Jims, who was opening his big dark eyes and stretching up his dimpled paws. “Do not you put words in my mouth that I would never dream of uttering. I am a plain woman and cannot argue with you, but I do not thank God that anybody has to go. I only know that it seems they do have to go, unless we all want to be Kaiserised—for I can assure you that the Monroe doctrine, whatever it is, is nothing to tie to, with Woodrow Wilson behind it. The Huns, Dr. dear, will never be brought to book by notes. And now,” concluded Susan, tucking Jims in the crook of her gaunt arms and marching downstairs, “having cried my cry and said my say I shall take a brace, and if I cannot look pleasant I will look as pleasant as I can.”

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(Rilla of Ingleside spoilers ahead)

Walter Blythe’s death in the First World War symbolizes the death of the old, “romantic” world (which he himself treasured) through the ravaging of Europe and the creation of a Lost Generation of writers traumatized by the war and unable to experience the hope and joy of a young person in another time, whose writing reflects these influences (unlike Walter’s before and even during the war). In this essay I will

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was good, sure, but who’s going to have the balls to produce Rilla of Ingleside, the story of Anne’s daughter that’s set during WWI? It has romance, history, a very faithful little dog that always makes me cry, heartbreak, clairvoyance, Anne’s sarcastic housekeeper, and a jerk everyone calls Whisker On The Moon. 

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