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Harriet Smith is delighted by the idea that Robert Martin’s birthday is just two weeks and a day before her own. In Chapter 4 of Jane Austen’s Emma, she tells Emma that “He was four-and-twenty the 8th of last June, and my birth-day is the 23d – just a fortnight and a day’s difference! which is very odd!”

Emma was published on December 25, 1815, and I’m rereading it in honour of the 200th anniversary. Soon I’ll be able to tell you more about the exciting series of guest blog posts I’m planning – kind of like “An Invitation to Mansfield Park,” the series I hosted in 2014, but shorter. The new series will begin in December of this year.

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

For now, I want tell you about something that occurred to me when I read about the “coincidence” that both Harriet Smith and Robert Martin were born in June.

In Anne of Green Gables, when Anne Shirley meets Diana Barry for the first time, Marilla asks if she found Diana a “kindred spirit,” and Anne launches into a rapturous monologue about her new friend. Among the many delightful things she has discovered is the fact that “Diana’s birthday is in February and mine is in March. Don’t you think that is a very strange coincidence?”

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

So here’s my question for you – do you think L.M. Montgomery is consciously echoing Austen here? I love the idea that having birthdays in the same month, or in consecutive months, is a meaningful coincidence.

I visited Prince Edward Island again last week and I have some new photos to share with you. What a difference a few weeks can make! (Scroll down to the bottom of this post on “Anne and Gilbert After the Happy Ending” to see photos of snow and grey skies, from my visit at the end of April).

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery’s birthplace, New London

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

In the distance you can just see the famous sand dunes of New London Bay.

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

Dalvay Beach

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

French River. One of the most photographed places in PEI.

Birthday “Coincidences” in Emma and Anne of Green Gables

Springbrook

Happy birthday to Harriet Smith today, and happy birthday to anyone else who happens to have a birthday in June (or May, or July, or February, or March).