September 3rd , 1899
Dear Gilbert ,
I look like my mother… one of two astonishing revelations presented to me today, the other being you.
I am still having trouble accepting that today was not some wondrous dream, that you truly have feelings for me as I do you. I am so marvellously happy that I can feel it radiating out of me, and am already anxious for the next time we may meet. Be that as it may, we first have some things to clear up. I was left with many questions for you, as I’m sure you were for me.
I spoke with Diana, and she informed me that you never received my letter. I can’t fathom what happened to it, but I must offer my own explanations in admitting that I did not read the letter you wrote me either. A letter you chose to leave in my bedroom, no less... Marilla might have been scandalized had she realized you’d been up there, knowing as she does the way I feel about you.
I’m afraid I was rather incensed with you at the time. I believed that you were engaged, or about to be, and that you had chosen deliberately to ignore the letter I wrote you, and my confession within, after the night at the bonfire. I thought the letter was your way of rejecting me and saying goodbye without having to speak with me directly. I’m embarrassed to say that I tore it up. I thought better of myself afterwards, but unfortunately, in attempting to piece together the remaining scraps of paper, I severely misconstrued the meaning of your words.
It seems we have been plagued by a series of miscommunications and poor timing. For this reason, let me speak plainly:
I love you.
I am sorry I was confused that night. I am not confused anymore. I know my heart now, and I love you. I LOVE YOU. I think I have loved you for quite a long time and have only recently allowed myself to see it. Perhaps I’ve loved you from that first time you offered to slay any dragons that came my way. I regret that your unfortunate choice in nickname and my temper derailed us for a while—but we were young. I wasn’t ready then and neither were you. I didn’t even really understand what love felt like until after I came to Avonlea. I doubt as well that Ruby would have let me anywhere near you, infatuated as she was at the time.
Today, when you appeared in front of my boarding house as I was racing back to you in Avonlea, I thought for a small moment that I’d conjured you out of my imagination. Only my old habit of pinching my wrist grounded me in the truth that you were actually there, standing in front of me.
I know these facts: I know that you and I have been dancing around each other for a long time, long before Mrs. Lynde’s dance practice. I know that you and Winifred are not engaged or courting—I learned this from Winifred herself earlier this morning. I know that, as I said, you never saw my letter and that I never read yours. I know that I love you. And I know that at approximately 12 o’clock this afternoon you came running through Charlottetown from the train station, all the way to my front door, and you kissed me. You kissed me, and changed my world in the span of only a few minutes. Those minutes were not enough, and so many questions were left unanswered.
Please help me fill in the gaps of what I don’t know, Gil. When did you come to realize your feelings for me? What did you write in your own letter? What happened with Winifred? And since when are you attending the University of Toronto? It is awfully far from our little island, though not so far as the Sorbonne. Do you no longer wish to attend there? Lastly (for now), will you be able to visit before Christmas at all? Maybe I can come to you; I’ve always wanted to see more of Canada. I just want to be where you are.
It feels both strange and not to be writing to you in this way. It is strange because the openness of it is so new. I am so used to us arguing and stumbling around one another, never entirely sure of what to say. But it also feels… right. The fact that I love you, and have been loving you, is so obvious and indisputable to me now that I find myself astonished it’s only been a short time since I’ve come to understand these feelings.
Diana said to me recently how life can be momentous, in that with one thing, so much can change in a single day. I’m sure you can tell that your visit—it being the most romantic moment of my life thus far—was certainly one such momentous occasion today (you were, in fact, the topic of that very conversation between Diana and me). But as I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, it wasn’t the only one.
Right after you left for Toronto, Matthew and Marilla arrived. They had gone over to Nova Scotia on a whim to visit the woman who first took me in after my parents died. She had been our neighbour. While they were there, they found the most wonderful book, The Language of Flowers—a book that my father gifted my mother and is now one of my most treasured possessions. It actually reminds me a bit of the little dictionary you once gave me, do you remember? I have it still, and brought it with me from Green Gables.
Inside the book I found a portrait of my mother, drawn by my father… and she looks like me. It feels so odd to say that, to have that certainty for the first time. One more piece of what I came from.
She had red hair, Gilbert. My once most-detested feature has now become a cherished connection to a mother I’ll never be able to fully know… and Gilbert, she was a teacher. I believe now that my chosen vocation seems to have been destined for me all along. To think that she had just the same passion for education and learning as I do, and as you do, brings me such joy. So does the discovery that my father was an artist, with the same creative ambition that I feel when I write, and the same appreciation for beauty, imagination, and nature that I have always had.
This entire day has brought such happiness, Gilbert, more than I know what to do with. I feel as though I could never feel sorry or angry again. I can almost hear you laughing, knowing just as well as I do how unlikely it would be for Anne Shirley-Cuthbert to never be passionately angry again.
I was so overwhelmed by the whirlwind of it all—by you and by this revelation of my parents—that I didn’t even say anything to Matthew and Marilla about… well, us. I wasn’t quite sure I was ready to say anything to them or to anyone other than Diana until we were able to speak about it. The other girls probably thought my elation at supper this evening was solely due to the book and to Diana’s arrival. Diana said that my face was shining throughout the entire meal.
So… what happens now? Does this mean we are officially courting? If so, how and when should we tell people, specifically our families? We may want to figure it out soon; I’m not positive Mr. Barry won’t say anything to anyone in Avonlea, even though Diana asked him to keep quiet for now. Mrs. Lynde would have a field day.
I could write for pages and pages more and it wouldn’t be enough to contain all I’d like to tell you. But it is late and I must at least try to sleep if I am to be well-rested for the start of classes tomorrow. Hopefully I can get this letter mailed out to you in the morning. I sent Ms. Stacy a telegram earlier asking for the address of her friend Dr. Oak, so that I may have this letter delivered to you through her. With any luck she will be able to get back to me quickly.
I await your response earnestly, and am already looking forward to when I am in your arms again. Being there felt like home, and I am already missing the warmth of its hearth. I once asked you, standing in front of a pub as you were about to embark on a great adventure, to come home someday. It is my intention to come home to you someday soon, so that we may embark on one of our own.