"Have you any unfulfilled dreams, Anne?" asked Gilbert.
Something in his tone- something she has not heard since that miserable evening in the orchard at Patty's Place- made Anne's heart beat wildly. But she made answer lightly.
"Of course. Everybody has. It wouldn't do for us to have all our dreams fulfilled. We would be as good as dead if we had nothing left to dream about. What a delicious aroma that low-descending sun is extracting from the asters and ferns. I wish we could see perfumes as well as smell them. I'm sure they would be very beautiful."
Gilbert was not to be this sidetracked.
"I have a dream," he said slowly. "I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends- and you!"
Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.
"I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today will you give me a different answer?"
Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked inot his for a moment. He wanted no other answer.
They lingered in the old garden until twilight, sweet as dusk in Eden must have been, crept over it. There was so much to talk over and recall- things said and done and heard and thought and felt and misunderstood.
"Nothing much mattered to me for a time there, after you told me you could never love me, Anne. There was nobody else- there never could be anybody else for me but you. I've loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school."
"I don't see how you could keep on loving me when I was such a little fool," said Anne.
"Well, I tried to stop," said Gilbert frankly, "not because I thought you what you call yourself, but because I felt sure there was no chance for me after Gardner came on the scene. But I couldn't- and I can't tell you, either, what it's meant to me these two years to believe you were going to marry him, and be told every week by some busybody that your engagement was on the point of being announced. I believed it until one blessed day when I was sitting up after the fever. I got a letter from Phil Gordon- Phil Blake, rather- in which she told me there was really nothing between you and Roy, and advised me to 'try again.' Well, the doctor was amazed at my rapid recovery after that."
Anne laughed- then shivered.
"I can never forget the night I thought you were dying, Gilbert. Oh, I knew- I knew then- and I thought it was too late."
"But it wasn't, sweetheart. Oh, Anne, this makes up for everything, doesn't it? Let's resolve to keep this day sacred to perfect beauty all our lives for the gift it has given us."
"It's the birthday of our happiness," said Anne softly. "I've always loved this old garden of Hester Gray's, and now it will be dearer than ever."
"But I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne," said Gilbert sadly. "It will be three years before I'll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls."
"I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you. You see I'm quite as shameless as Phil about it. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more 'scope for the imagination' without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn't matter. We'll just be happy, waiting and working for each other- and dreaming. Oh, dreams will be very sweet now.
Gilbert drew her close to him and kissed her. Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that every bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew.
The perfect ending. I hardly want to keep on in the series for I know what is to come and it is almost too horrible to bear. But I shall, for what is love without a little heartache as well? This is the ending everyone was waiting for. The perfect ending.
What I like about books such as Anne of the Island (and all the other Anne Shirley books) are the smiles. When in the theatre watching Pride and Prejudice when it first came out, my friend turned to me and said, "Scan the crowd. All the girls are smiling!" There's just something about certain books/ movies/ happenings that force a smile onto one's face. I hadn't realized it, but I had been smiling as well. It warms the heart. That's how this book was. As Gilbert waited patiently, as he became closer and closer to Anne, as he proposed and was refused, as he watched her from afar, as he lay on his deathbed, and as he finally found his queen once again... it was all so magical. There's no other way to describe it. For I really feel that is all love is. Think of all the people on the earth. That two people out of all those millions decide to love each other is amazing. It seems like it would always be hit and miss. But people are getting married (and staying married until death do them part) all the time. It is quite incredible actually. Magical. And that brings a smile to my face.
Once again, I close saying that I hope you all find your Anne Shirley or your Gilbert Blythe someday. I have found mine. I hope his fate is not the same as Gilbert's and I hope none of you have to suffer the loss of the one most beloved to you. I am dreading picking up that tale and turning the pages to his death. But for now, read the narrative above and take heart. True love does exist and is well worth waiting for.