Thursday, June 4, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Twenty-Nine and Thirty

In which the storybook romance has a happy ending, and Anne prepares for the next phase of her life; and in which your narrator can finally update his "currently reading" status on Goodreads.

Our final cover for this book is from a 2014 edition published by Sourcebooks Fire, the YA imprint of Sourcebooks. It's designed by Canadian illustrator Jacqui Oakley, who posted the in-progress rough designs of this cover on her site (scroll down a bit.) Oakley illustrated covers for the whole series, of course, and says that "as you can imagine, I got pretty good at painting red hair throughout this project. Each cover depicts Anne as she grows up, a specific building related to each story, as well as flowers and animals native to PEI." It's a lovely set of covers all together, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness that obviously went into each, and the fact that while none depict a specific scene from the book, they don't fall into the completely generic trap that so many of the others I've looked at do. A beautiful cover to bring our reading to a close.

But we're not going to get out of this without a whole bunch of notes! Even though this isn't as long as the last two installments we somehow managed to need even more annotation, so look for them behind the jump.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Twenty-Seven and Twenty-Eight

In which Miss Lavendar is sad and becomes increasingly attached to Paul, and the romantic ending to her story begins to come into focus, much to Anne's delight.

AAAH, look how cute this one is! Published by Sweet Cherry Publishing in 2018, with cover and illustrations by Elena Distefano. This is another oddly rare one to show an actual scene from the book, in this case Anne's embarrassing introduction to a famous author, when she was in kerchief and an old dress for cleaning and had just been changing the feathers in a mattress, oh and had accidentally turned her nose red. Ms. Distefano apparently decided to leave out the dyed nose, which admittedly would have looked rather odd and off-putting on a completely out-of-context cover. As it is, Anne just looks adorably flustered, and I love her.

Another extra-long one, so once again lots of notes coming your way!

5:50 - "fish days." Davy's talking about days where you "fast" by eating fish instead of meat, as Catholics used to do every Friday, and as several religions still do every Friday of Lent. It's established in the first book that the Cuthberts are Presbyterian and as near as I can tell they never had the "every Friday" rule, so he's likely just talking about various days of religious observation.

7:24 - "grow like pigweed in the night." "Pigweed" can apparently refer to any of a number of different weedy plants that have been used as pig feed, but I'm pretty sure this is probably referring to Amaranthus retroflexus

9:25 - "flourish like green bay trees." This is a reference to Psalm 37:35, which reads in the King James Bible as "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree." It's apparently more correctly translated as something like "a tree in its native soil." It didn't originally refer to any specific type of tree, but translations usually go with the bay laurel, an evergreen tree (thus, flourishing all year round) whose leaves were used to make the ancient Greek and Roman laurel wreaths and crowns and which, I am only just now learning, is the plant that the bay leaf comes from. Huh.

13:28 - "blue pills." This is vague enough that it could mean just about anything, but there's a good chance Miss Lavendar is referring to the medicine known as "blue mass," a — yikes — mercury-based medicine of the time that was prescribed for everything from syphilis to constipation to toothache to childbirth pains to tuberculosis. Miss Lavendar is probably talking about how it was also prescribed for melancholia (now known as "depression.") In fact, Abe Lincoln supposedly took it for just that reason, though of course he eventually died due to a different sort of heavy-metal poisoning altogether.

. . .too soon?

14:28 - "pelican of the wilderness." This is another Psalms reference, this one to Psalm 102:6, part of a prayer outlining how miserable and wretched the supplicant is: "I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert" (KJV, again.) Once again it's unclear what specific birds are being referred to here, with other translations going with some variety of owl. Regardless, it's some sort of solitary bird in the desert, or wilderness, or ruins, or wasteland. Basically the antithesis of Anne Shirley in a strawberry patch.

19:18 - "vine and fig tree." Another Biblical reference, though not Psalms this time. A version of the phrase is actually used three times: Micah 4:4, 1 Kings 4:25, and Zechariah 3:10, all of them basically referring to the simple joy of living on your own land.

26:20 - "subscribed to the salary." The salary of a local minister in towns like Avonlea were paid by the congregation themselves, who would all pledge to pay a certain amount to make the total promised. Mr Harrison has apparently agreed to pay a share as well.

28:52 - "capital of Afghanistan." Ooh, I know this one! It's Kabul!

28:54 - "dates of the Wars of the Roses." Ooh, I definitely do not know this one! They're apparently May 22, 1455 - June 16, 1487. The Wars of the Roses, incidentally, were a war between rival factions of the House of Plantagenet, the Yorks and the Lancasters, who both claimed the throne of England. They basically wiped each other out, ending with the Lancastrian Henry Tudor killing off Yorkie Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth, then taking the crown as Henry VII and marrying Elizabeth of York, uniting the houses (more or less) and creating the new House of Tudor. I'm sure there are some nuances I'm missing, but I got the dates and so am one up on Anne's students.

29:20 - "organdy." Organdy is a thin, semi-sheer, plain weave cotton fabric. It's best known as a stiff fabric used for curtains and petticoats, but there was also a soft version of it used for dresses.

29:49 - "Foreign Missions." Presumably, Miss Lavendar means she donated to the missionaries in the church who would go to foreign countries.

31:39 - "burst flower-like into rosy bloom." This is from the 1866 poem Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl, by John Greenleaf Whittier. Whittier was a Quaker, and best known for his work and writings as an abolitionist. Abolition thankfully and by necessity went out of favor after the Civil War, at which point he wrote Snow-Bound, his most successful work. It's a long narrative poem, framed as a series of stories told by a family while snowed in. The quote in question is describing how the "old, rude-fashioned room" they are in lights up when the hearth-fire is lit.

38:00 - "Prince Charming." Okay, obviously you all know what this means, the stock fairy-tale prince who exists solely to rescue the heroine and provide her with a happily-ever-after marriage. Most famously, the princes in Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella fit the bill. But it did get me to wondering where the specific term came from. Not Disney, of course, since Anne of Avonlea predates any of his works by decades. Arguably, it indirectly grew from two tales by Madame d'Aulnoy written in the 1600s: The Story of Pretty Goldilocks (no, not that Goldilocks) in which the hero's name was Avenant ("Fine" or "Beautiful" in French), and The Blue Bird, in which the hero was Le roi Charmant ("The Charming King.") When Andrew Lang published these stories in the 1890s in his Blue and Green Fairy Books, respectively, he translated the names to "Charming" and "King Charming."

Close, but those guys aren't princes! It seems that the first known use of the exact term "Prince Charming" is in, of all places, the 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. It's what the doomed actress Sibyl calls Dorian as he courts her. It's interesting that this first use of the term is already deconstructed and ironic, as (spoilers) Dorian is not exactly the hero of the tale, and certainly does not deliver a happily-ever-after to Sibyl.

41:23 - "nods and becks and wreathed smiles." This comes from the poem "L'Allegro" by John "Paradise Lost" Milton, published in 1645. "L'Allegro" means "The Happy Man," and it's a pastoral poem framed as a supplication to the Greek goddess Euphrosyne, the Grace of Mirth. The line is from a portion where he's asking her to appear:
Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and Wreathed Smiles...
The companion piece to this poem is "Il Penseroso," or "The Melancholy Man," a structurally identical poem where the writer dismisses all joy from his mind and hails an unnamed goddess of Melancholy. So. . . not so much Anne Shirley, except maybe in her more dramatic moments.

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six

In which Mr. Harrison's marital scandal rocks Avonlea, and Thomas Lynde's death really kind of works out well for everyone.

Oh my, this is quite possibly my favorite cover I've found so far. It's from a 2014 printing of the whole series by Tundra books, and is a paper-cut illustration by Elly MacKay, with cover design by Kelly Hill. You can see MacKay's covers for the rest of the series (along with an unused illustration and covers for several other Montgomery books) here. Beyond the fact that the illustrations themselves are lovely (look at the details! Anne's dirty hem from where she's stomping in the mud!), the fact that it's actually a photograph of physical paper cutouts adds a gorgeous depth of field and luminance to the image. Beautiful.

This was an extra-long installment — these end chapters are getting long, so it's either an extra-short installment with one chapter or an extra-long one with two — and thus has a goodly number of notes. Try to keep up!

4:16 - "as neat as if she had just stepped out of the proverbial bandbox." A bandbox is another term for a hatbox, and this was indeed an idiom of the time for when someone looked especially fresh and neat.

4:56 - "Fair Unknown." Mrs. Harrison here is being compared to a figure from Arthurian legend, and unknown young man of questionable lineage who just shows up in court one day demanding to be knighted. He's usually knighted quickly, but then has to prove his worth, and it's also usually discovered that he's actually a relative of Gawain's and thus of Arthur himself.

6:34 - "such stuff as dreams are made of." While at this point this quote might be better known from its famous use in the 1941 movie of The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade is quoting Prospero from Shakespeare's The Tempest (Act 4, scene 1). Prospero's speech follows him ending a play-within-a-play, but it's okay because none of it was real anyway, the actors "were all spirits, and are melted into air, into thin air" — oh yes, this is where "into thin air" comes from — but the real world is "like the baseless fabric of this vision," everything ends, life is insubstantial. "We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with sleep." I won't blame Anne too badly for getting the last word wrong ("of" instead of "on"); it feels more natural so it's a common change, and she had just had quite a shock after all. 

7:58 - "Mrs. Lynde rushed in where Anne had feared to tread." This is of course a reference to the well-known idiom "fools rush in where angels fear to tread," but I was unaware that this is yet another from our friend Alexander Pope, this time from his Essay on Criticism, which also supplied us with "to err is human, to forgive divine" and, if you cast your memory back to our reading of Anne of Green Gables chapter 31, "a little learning is a dangerous thing."

14:23 - "pattern housekeeper." This was kind of a hard one to track down, as the phrase is just specific enough to make it seem like it's an actual reference, but vague enough that searches pull up all sort of other unrelated stuff. It seems to be using the word "pattern" in the sense of a model, or something to be imitated, as context clearly shows that it means a very scrupulous housekeeper. I did find a semi-satirical article on the concept by Mrs. N. T. Munroe in "The Ladies Repository," volume 19, from 1851. It definitely makes it clear that "pattern housekeeping" was A Thing that existed, but still have no idea where the term came from, if indeed anyone knows.

23:46 - Roses red and vi'lets blue, / Sugar's sweet, and so are you." Okay, Davy, you're following up Alexander Pope and Shakespeare, you need to step up your game. This was trite even for a seven-year-old in the 1870s(?) I know everyone here knows it, but you may not know that it goes back at least to a 1784 collection of nursery rhymes, and arguably as far back as Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queene from 1590 with the lines:

She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew. 

35:26 - "airy silver." This description of moonlight comes from Anne's old friend, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who we just ran into a few chapters ago. It's from his poem "Audley Court," published in the same 1842 collection of poetry that contained "The Lady of Shalott," which you surely remember from when it stranded Anne in the middle of a river. Anyway, the pertinent bit goes like this:

...but ere the night we rose
and saunter'd home beneath a moon, that, just
In crescent, dimly rain'd about the leaf
Twilights of airy silver, till we reach'd
The limits of the hills...

38:37 - "sitting Turk-fashion." According to the Wikipedia article on "Sitting," which is a real thing that exists, this is just an slightly old-fashioned and primarily European term for "sitting cross-legged on the floor;" what Americans of my generation and older usually called "Indian style," and which is now generally called "criss-cross applesauce" in the schools I go to.

44:04 - "mash." Ruby Gillis's new "mash" probably means a new crush she has (indeed, the two words are both used in this context for similar reasons, though only "crush" has really survived to present), but could potentially go the other direction, meaning a new admirer. For those who, like me, love old movies from the '30s-'50s, it's related to the terms "masher," or a guy constantly trying to pick up women, and "mash note," or love letter.

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four

In which are learned the details of Miss Lavendar's backstory with Mr. Irving and Paul explicitly compares her to his "little mother," and Gilbert and Anne's predictions of a major storm are unfortunately accurate.

Today's cover comes from Dover Publications in 2002, through their Dover Evergreen Classics line. It's another "Anne standing in front of the schoolhouse" cover, but I've got an odd fondness for this one. Maybe it's the combination of the sepia tones with the red highlights, or the actual spark of personality in her face and pencil behind her ear, but I think it's mostly that she looks like she's dressed for a community theater production of The Pirates of Penzance, which has absolutely no basis in the text but is 100% something Anne would take part in. And it's period appropriate!

Our last couple of installments were pretty light on notes, but we're making up for it with a goodly number this time around:

2:38 - "the world forgetting, by the world forgot." This is another from our old friend Alexander Pope, whom we last saw only three chapters ago. This one is from "Eloisa to Abelard," another of his Latin imitations. This one is not a translation with satire like his "Imitations of Horace," though, but an original poem down in the style of the epistolary poems of Ovid. It retells the well-known medieval story of nun and scholar Héloïse and her tragic affair with her teacher, Peter Abelard. The quote in question come from a portion where Eloisa is talking about how happy vestal virgins must be, having no sins, regrets, or worldly expectations to weigh them down. The passage is also the source of another phrase you may be more familiar with:
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!The world forgetting, by the world forgot.Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
7:13 - "Some are born old maids, some achieve old maidenhood, and some have maidenhood thrust upon them." This is a parody of the well-known Shakespearean quote from Twelfth Night: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." It's said by the character Malvolio, pompous steward to the wealthy countess Olivia. He reads it from a letter that he believes to be from her but is actually from several of the secondary characters, who wrote the letter as a prank to make him think Olivia was in love with him. This specific portion is where "Olivia" is assuring him that he need not worry that she so outranks him, and not to be afraid of the greatness that is most definitely now coming his way. In fact, he should start acting like he's already a nobleman and no longer a servant! (Spoilers: it does not go well for Malvolio.)

15:35 - "A Prophet in His Own Country." The title of Chapter 24 is a reference to a Biblical quote that appears in all four Gospels. The wording is different depending on the Gospel and the translation, but he basically says that a prophet may be accepted anywhere other than his own country. No one is going to accept that you're the Son of God (or can accurately predict the weather) when they know your parents, and your siblings, and remember you as a snot-nosed kid, and bought their furniture from you last week.

16:32 - "hymeneal altar." "Hymeneal" is an archaic word that means "having to do with weddings." It comes from the Greek god of weddings, Hymen, and is apparently unrelated to the anatomical word "hymen," despite its socially-constructed associations with "purity" on the wedding night. Seriously, people with hymens are not "sealed for freshness" like vacuum-packed lunchmeat. That's not a real thing.

26:07 - "how potent [the currant wine] was Anne, in her earlier days, had had all too good reason to know." In case you forgot when Anne accidentally got Diana drunk on "raspberry cordial."

28:15 - "Ginger’s gay dead body." I honestly thought this was a typo and supposed to be "gray dead body," because I suppose I had it in my head that Ginger was an African grey parrot. But no, it's like that on Gutenberg as well, so presumably it means that Ginger was a brightly-colored parrot like a macaw, and not that his dead body was especially happy or festive.

30:57 - "there was yet balm in Gilead." Another Biblical reference. The Balm of Gilead was a perfume/resin from a region that is now part of the country of Jordan. It was used medicinally and is mentioned in that context several times in the Bible. Most famously (and pertinently for Davy here) is in Jeremiah 8:22, where the prophet laments the fate of his people:
Is there no balm in Gilead,
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Twenty-One and Twenty-Two

In which Anne and Diana accidentally stumble upon an eccentric "old maid" in the woods who, to no one's surprise, turns out to be a kindred spirit, Anne and Marilla discuss said lady while chastising Davy, and the twins' final fate is settled, also to no one's surprise.

Greetings, quarantinos! Today we meet Miss Lavendar Lewis, who was mentioned by Rachel Lynde waaaaaaay back in Chapter One (which I read to you almost, uh, five years ago) when she told Anne about Paul Irving coming to the school, and how his father (now widowed) had been engaged to Miss Lavendar but they split up for reasons unknown. I'm sure none of this will be important at all!

Oh, and I fully realize that I am misspelling "lavender" here, but that's how it's spelled in the book, both for her name and when talking about the actual plant. It's like this in both my paperback and in the Project Gutenberg version, so it doesn't appear to just be an issue with the typesetting of my edition, nor can I find any evidence that this is some sort of "old-fashioned" spelling that Montgomery might have been using, so I guess maybe it's just a mistake that has somehow been carried through for over a century? And no one has wanted to fix it because, like me, they don't want to just change the spelling of a character's name? And they kept the spelling for the plant to, I don't know, make it less obvious? Anyway, I'll spell it correctly if I talk about the plant, but I'll retain the spelling for her name because. . . well, it's her name.

Our cover this time is from an Australian edition from 1955, published by Angus & Robertson (the same folks who did that fourth-wall-breaking cover from the '80s), and I am once again unable to find the artist's name. This one is interesting because it is, I think, the only one I've found that specifically features Paul Irving, despite the rather large part he plays in this particular volume. At least, I assume it's him. I can't think what other young boy might be walking alongside Anne, both carrying school items, while holding a small bouquet and staring up with a dreamy (one might almost say "vacant") expression.) Anyway, it's pretty enough, not wildly inaccurate, and applies to this specific book, so well done!

Just a couple of notes:

19:25 - "horns of elfland." This comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who you may remember from when Anne and her friends reenacted his telling of the story of the Lady of Shalott back in Anne of Green Gables, with hilarious results. This particular one comes from his poem "The Splendor Falls," which describes a sunset he saw over a waterfall in the mountains of Ireland. Go and read it; it's lovely and quite short.

24:51 - "Kerrenhappuch." Keren-happuch was an exceedingly minor character in the Bible. Remember the delightful story of Job? Where Job was a pious and righteous man, and Satan bet God that he was only so righteous because he had a comfy life and enjoyed God's protection, so God let Satan ruin Job's life by killing off his wife and children, financially ruining him, and stealing his health? And Job refused to get angry at God for his misfortunes, just accepting that it was all God's will while despairing that he did not know why? And God rewards his faith by healing him, giving him even more wealth than he had before, a brand-new wife,  and seven new sons and three new daughters who were said to be the most beautiful women in the land? Yeah, Keren-happuch was the youngest of those daughters. Her name means "horn of kohl," so a container of eyeliner, I guess? It's unclear whether Diana was referencing her directly or just picked a weird name that happened to have a Biblical origin, as other people have indeed been called that, and it seems as though it would have been an egregiously old-fashioned name even then.

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Nineteen and Twenty

In which Anne has a very nice day with three boys of varying levels of tediousness, then is surprised with hosting duties while at her least presentable; and in which your narrator is once again unable to restrain himself from complaining about Paul Irving.

Hi-ho, everyone! I hope you're all holding up well, staying home as much as possible and being careful if and when you must leave. Let's escape back into Avonlea for a bit, shall we?

Today's cover comes from the very edition I'm reading from, a Bantam Classics paperback from 1992 with cover art by Ben Stahl. It's a rather lovely painting, though it does fall a bit into that "generic" category I mentioned last time. We've got a pretty well-put-together Anne amidst a bunch of pretty flowers with what I assume is the schoolhouse in the background. Nothing really to tie it to this specific book so much.

Only a couple of mostly-simple notes this time around:

25:38 - "help Mr. Harrison haul dulse." I really expected this to be some sort of grain, but apparently it's a type of red seaweed that's been harvested for food for centuries in Ireland, Iceland, the northeastern US, and the Atlantic coast of Canada (which is, of course, where Prince Edward Island is.) Oh, and fun fact in case you didn't know: seaweed is not a plant, but is actually a type of algae.

35:22 - "forced to content herself with her black lawn." Lawn in this context is a type of plain weave linen, simple and fairly hard-wearing, but not as coarse and cheap as (say) wincey.

37:54 - "feast of reason and flow of soul." Anne here is quoting the great 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope, from his Imitations of Horace. Horace, in turn, was a 1st century CE Roman lyric poet whose works were very popular with Neoclassical writers like Pope. A popular thing for many of these writers to do was to translate classical works like Horaces Satires but update the cultural references, thus satirizing things in the present day in an imitation of the satires of 1800 years prior. Anyway, that's what Pope was doing here, and he used the phrase Anne quoted to describe congenial conversation.

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Anne of Avonlea, Chapters Seventeen and Eighteen

In which hijinks predictably ensue when Anne tries to host a dinner for a famous author; more ensuing happens when she tries to fix one of the results of said dinner; and in which all it took was a global pandemic to get your narrator to start recording again.

Yes, yes, I know it's been a long, LONG time since my last recording, and even long since I started this book (coming up on five years!), but right now I feel we could all use a little something to keep ourselves occupied, and that's as good an excuse as any.

Anyway, cover! We've got this 1997 edition published by Penguin Classics. This is a nice one because it's one of the very few that depicts an actual scene from the novel, instead of some generic, baffling, or vaguely terrifying picture of a girl who could conceivably be Anne (or not). This artist (whose name was not listed in the copyright info inside the book, boo, credit your artists) clearly read the book, or was at least given very clear instruction from someone who did.

And now, your notes!

4:22 - "antimacassars." I could swear I'd covered this one at some point already, but search is coming up empty. Anyway, the cloths (often lacy, frilly, and/or embroidered) which are draped over the headrests and sometimes arms of chairs? Those are antimacassars. Macassar hair oil (so called because its ingredients were supposedly purchased at the port city of Makassar in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia) was extremely popular among Western Europeans throughout pretty much the entire 19th century, but it had a tendency to transfer to and stain fabric, so antimacassars were put on chairs to prevent that from happening. You still see them on chairs that get high usage, like on buses, trains, and planes.

4:46 - "a great blue bowlful of snowballs." This most likely refers to Hydrangea aborescens, alternatively known as the smooth hydrangea, wild hydrangea, sevenbark, or snowball bush.

4:55 - "Every shelf of the what-not. . ." You know those spindly little freestanding shelves? They're like end tables, but with multiple levels, and each shelf is maybe six inches across, and it's only really good for holding knick-knacky little crap? That's a what-not.

6:26 - "bread sauce." Maybe this is a common thing in some areas and I just haven't heard about it, but in case you're in the same boat: this is basically what you would think, a type of milk-based sauce/gravy that is thickened with bread crumbs, typically served with fowl.

8:42 - "her namesake in the Bluebeard story peered from the tower casement." This is, obviously, a reference to the story of Bluebeard, in which a young wife disobeys her new husband's orders not to look in a specific locked room, even though he gives her a key, and finds the remains of all his previous wives. In the Charles Perrault version of the story, the unnamed bride sends her sister, Anne, up to the top of the tower to keep a lookout for their brothers coming to save her.

9:22 - "twenty dollars." I can't find US-Canada exchange rates past 1913, but it seems to have held roughly steady at 1-1 for pretty much that whole time, so I'll go ahead and say that it was probably equal to about 20 US dollars at the time. Using various inflation calculators for roughly the time the story takes place (1880s?) and the time it was written (early 1900s), it looks like that's somewhere between $500 and $600 today, and the $25 that Anne eventually shells out for it is more like $700, which, WOW, sounds about right for rich old Aunt Josephine, but sounds a bit much for Anne to have been able to actually cover, so maybe my calculations are off somehow.

23:04 - "over the mountains of the moon / down the valley of the shadow." These lines come from the 1849 poem "Eldorado," by Edgar Allan Poe. It's about a knight looking for and failing to find the famous city of gold. It was one of Poe's last poems before he died, and written at least in part about the 1849 gold rush. And, if I am interpreting these specific lines right, Anne is basically telling young Davy that "sleep" is in the land of the dead. Dark.

26:36 - "jumping on the spare room bed. . . I must refer them to Anne's earlier history." This of course refers to the events of Chapter 19 of Anne of Green Gables, where Anne and Diana accidentally jump on old Miss Barry, thinking the bed she was in was empty.

36:12 - "Do send it to the Canadian Woman." This sounds like a magazine or periodical of some sort, but I can't find any that were ever called that, so perhaps it's made up?

38:25 - "cowcumbers." This is a very old name for cucumbers, apparently considered hopelessly old-fashioned even back in the 1830s. Its use here -- and the scare quotes around it when it's repeated in the narration -- is presumably to mark Miss Copp as a particularly rustic and uneducated person (as does her saying that "I didn't know men were so skurse."

And that's it! I'll see you next time, hopefully in increments of days rather than years.

If you would like to read along, the text can be found at Project Gutenberg. No reading ahead, though!