Last year, in April, I had the privilege of reading The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery for the first time. (Shoutout to my friend Rachel McMillan for hosting the readalong!) While this novel is much less well-known than Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables series, it deserves ALL the love for its brilliance and wit. Barney and Valancy are the ultimate couple, making The Blue Castle one of my all-time favorite books now.
Today I want to share some of my favorite quotes from The Blue Castle. I have highlighted my Kindle book and seriously underlined and written notes in the margin of my paperback copy (which I rarely do!), so I have a ton of beautiful lines to choose from. A few of these are more significant in context, but I couldn’t resist including them here. I’ll let Barney and Valancy and John Foster speak for themselves…
‘”The woods are so human,” wrote John Foster, “that to know them one must live with them. An occasional saunter through them, keeping to the well-trodden paths, will never admit us to their intimacy. If we wish to be friends we must seek them out and win them by frequent, reverent visits at all hours; by morning, by noon, and by night; and at all seasons, in spring, in summer, in autumn, in winter.’
‘”Do you want to catch your death of cold again?” Her voice implied that Valancy had died of a cold several times already.’
‘”The greatest happiness,” said Valancy suddenly and distinctly, “is to sneeze when you want to.”‘
‘”Good-evening, Miss Stirling.” Nothing could be more commonplace and conventional. Any one might have said it. But Barney Snaith had a way of saying things that gave them poignancy. When he said good-evening you felt that it was a good evening and that it was partly his doing that it was. Also, you felt that some of the credit was yours.’
‘”John Foster says,” quoted Valancy, “If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you’ll never be and you need not waste time in trying.'”
‘Once in a thousand years, you know, one cat is allowed to speak. My cats are philosophers—neither of them ever cries over spilt milk.’
‘”Isn’t it better to have your heart broken than to have it wither up?” queried Valancy. “Before it could be broken it must have felt something splendid. That would be worth the pain.”‘
‘After the meal was over they would sit there and talk for hours—or sit and say nothing, in all the languages of the world…’
‘Barney knew the woods as a book and he taught their lore and craft to Valancy. He could always find trail and haunt of the shy wood people. Valancy learned the different fairy-likenesses of the mosses—the charm and exquisiteness of woodland blossoms. She learned to know every bird at sight and mimic its call—though never so perfectly as Barney. She made friends with every kind of tree.’
‘Or they just prowled and explored through woods that always seemed to be expecting something wonderful to happen. At least, that was the way Valancy felt about them. Down the next hollow—over the next hill—you would find it. “We don’t know where we’re going, but isn’t it fun to go?” Barney used to say.’
‘Once they stood in a hesitation of ecstasy at the entrance of a narrow path between ranks of birches. Every twig and spray was outlined in snow. The undergrowth along its sides was a little fairy forest cut out of marble. The shadows cast by the pale sunshine were fine and spiritual. “Come away,” said Barney, turning. “We must not commit the desecration of tramping through there.”‘
‘There are so many kinds of loveliness. Valancy, before this year you’ve spent all your life in ugliness. You know nothing of the beauty of the world. We’ll climb mountains—hunt for treasures in the bazaars of Samarcand—search out the magic of east and west—run hand in hand to the rim of the world. I want to show you it all—see it again through your eyes. Girl, there are a million things I want to show you—do with you—say to you. It will take a lifetime.’
All quotes attributed to Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Blue Castle, Feedbooks. Kindle Edition.
Have you read The Blue Castle? Are you