Items that would now be otherwise unidentifiable
are explained in the diary. For example, for days in the diary Maud and
Nora play back and forth with the idea that Nora has stolen--perhaps even
eaten!--Maud's yellow garter. Maud accuses her, and Nora in mock indignation,
defends herself. Maud ends the 22 January 1903 entry with this spoof of
a Scottish poem:
The garter is finally found in Maud's trunk though she insists Nora has planted it there. In the scrapbooks, a tab from the garter is glued onto a card that outlines a small drama of loss and recovery.
On the same page of the scrapbook that Maud pasted the yellow garter there is a cyanotype of a woman in the snow. The identity of the woman in the picture would be a mystery were it not for the Maud/Nora diary. In the 21 March entry Maud said: "There's something queer about Nora anyway. I've come to that conclusion. One day I took a photograph of four respectable elderly gentlemen sitting in a parlor. And when I developed the plate there was a picture of Nora on snowshoes standing out in the woods!!!" (UD, 131)
Most surprising in the diary, perhaps, is the explanation of the way Maud and Nora collected some of their souvenirs. They joked about "swiping stuff" at parties such as and flowers. On 18 February Maud said: "Nora kept on swiping things. I tried to but had no luck. Irene Simpson watched me every time. I did manage to secrete a brown paper heart but lost it later on. In the end my only spoils consisted of a piece of string, a green rose worn by Jerry, and a piece of Fred's whip." (UD, 126). In the scrapbook, the flattened green rose and the inch of wooden switch appear with comic quotations inside a card that says on its cover "inquire within".
The two long-running jokes of the diary are the loss of the yellow garter and the wishful intentions of "James," nicknamed the "Soulful" for his beseeching eyes. For days, even months, they laugh over his coming to call, pretending that they are in rivalry for his affections. In one such entry, Nora interrupts herself on 6 February to ask a "widdle": "Why is James like Maude's [sic] cat?" (UD, 122). On 10 February Maud answers: "I am not going to have my dearly beloved cat compared to James Alec! The idea! I suppose Nora thought that connundrum funny. The answer is simple enough . . . it's because he always comes back of course." (UD, 124) The allusion to the cat (Bobs) and the "Soulful" shows up in the scrapbooks in a .
In the very last entry of the diary, Nora teased Maud about her interest in Ewan Macdonald. On 25 June Nora said: "On Monday night Maude had to make an 'ice-cream' call (you know she has taken up church work since the young ministers have struck the place)" (UD, 147). The unpublished comic diary offers a most wonderfully light-hearted view of what the published journals describe as a rather trying time with Maud's aging grandmother. The scrapbooks too give us a glimpse of Maud Montgomery's love of jokes, fun, and friendship.