This story was first published on The Reading Room.
Over the course of her life, Canadian author L.M. Montgomery published over 20 novels, 500 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. But it was her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, which is best remembered over 100 years after its publication. In celebration of her birthday, and because her work contains some of the best lines of wisdom known to literature, we thought we’d compile a list of our 10 favorite quotes from her seminal novel.
1. I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.
2. I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return.
3. I’m always sorry when pleasant things end. Something still pleasanter may come after, but you can never be sure.
4. It makes you feel very virtuous when your forgive people, doesn’t it?
5. But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.
6. All things great are wound up with all things little.
7. It’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them—that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.
8. Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.
9. Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.
10. There’s such a difference between saying a thing yourself and hearing other people say it. You may know a thing is so, but you can’t help hoping other people don’t quite think it is.