September 29th, 1899
Dear Mr. and Miss Cuthbert,
I know that this letter may, in many ways, startle you. But I hope that you are both well in health and spirit as you are reading this.
You know me as John Blythe’s boy—the son of a neighbour. But to your daughter, I might have initially been her tormentor.
I met your fiery-haired daughter three years ago, on a grey autumn morning. What I first noticed about her were her hair and her eyes. There was something about them that spoke to me. However, I did not make a very good impression on her as on the very same day I met her, I tugged on one of her braids and called her after a certain vegetable in a bid to get her attention.
Yes, a carrot.
And then she smashed her slate on my head.
I honestly had no idea the colour of said vegetable offended her. But I knew that on that very day, Anne, for all intents and purposes changed my life.
It took a long time to win Anne’s friendship, but it was well-won. I enjoy talking to her about a variety of things; we do admit to liking a good argument, but we can also discuss a few things that we have in common. Things like a passion for learning and changing the world to make it a better place. Talking about these passions made me see what kind of person she is: passionate, kind, adventurous, and tender-hearted—I doubt that I shall run out of words to describe Anne.
I know that through a series of misunderstandings, we—that is, myself and Anne—have hurt each other. Anne may have had her reasons, and on my part, I only have my own pride to blame. But through a recent turn of events, these misunderstandings have been cleared. It made me see who truly has a claim on my heart, and I can tell you with joy that your daughter—yes, ANNE SHIRLEY-CUTHBERT, has my heart.
And I can safely say that I have hers, too.
I know that may have sounded too bold, too forward but please, let me explain.
I am not engaged to Miss Winifred Rose, nor will I ever be. Yes, it may have appeared to be the case a few weeks ago. Although the thought of studying at the Sorbonne may have been a very attractive prospect, I couldn’t do it without the support of the woman I love, and that is not Miss Rose. I know I have acted ungentlemanly towards her, and to Anne as well, and I will always regret that.
The reason that I am telling you and Miss Cuthbert this only now is that Miss Rose had requested that I wouldn’t tell anyone that there had been no engagement, in order to give her time to get her affairs in order. To atone for my ungentlemanliness towards her, I gave her that. It was the very least I can do for her. Winifred Rose is a lovely person. She and Anne share the same traits, and had circumstances been different, they could have been good friends.
But she is not Anne, for Anne is unique; for she is like a wildflower, beautiful and resilient at the same time.
Only Anne Shirley-Cuthbert will have my heart, and no one else will do.
I would gladly spend the rest of my life earning Anne’s forgiveness and showing her how much I love her. I love your daughter, Mr. and Miss Cuthbert. These words may sound so bald and plain on paper, but they are from my heart. Every single beat of my heart beats for her.
This is why I am writing to you, and I shall be direct.
I would like to ask for your blessing to court your precious daughter. I know that she holds you both in high esteem, you are both her beloved parents, and I understand that love one has for a parent. Anne may have already written to you about how she and I are on the same page regarding our feelings toward each other, and how it came about, and this letter is my way of letting you know my intentions.
Before I close this letter, please let me assure you that I will take care of the precious gift that is Anne. I will always, always show her that she is loved and cherished, and I will do my best to never cause her grief or pain.