“Can’t we be friends now? This childishness has gone on long enough, don’t you think? … Look, I’m sorry I ever said anything about your hair. You have no idea how sorry. But it was so long ago. Aren’t you ever going to forgive me? ”
“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 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 ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew. Anne of the Island - XXXVIII
Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps … perhaps … love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.