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Aunts and uncles
Leslie Ford (nee West), also known as Leslie Moore, was the daughter of Rose and Frank West, the wife of Dick Moore and later of Owen Ford, the mother of Kenneth and Persis Ford and a friend of Anne Shirley.
- "Leslie had her mother's looks and her father's brains, and something she didn't get from either of them. She took after her Grandmother West--a splendid old lady. She was the brightest, friendliest, merriest thing when she was a child."
- —Cornelia Bryant about little Leslie.
She was Frank's favourite and she was awful fond of him. They were chums, as she used to say. Leslie couldn't see any of his faults.
In 1866, Kenneth was born. She worshipped little Kenneth - he was four years younger than her, and he was a dear little chap. Eight years later he died. Kenneth fell off a big load of hay just as it was going into the barn, and the wheel went right over his little body and crushed the life out of it. Leslie saw it - she was looking down from the loft.
- "She gave one screech - the hired man said he never heard such a sound in all his life - he said it would ring in his ears till Gabriel's trump drove it out."
- —Miss Cornelia about Kenneth's death.
Leslie jumped from the loft onto the load and from the load to the floor, and caught up the little bleeding, warm, dead body. Wests buried little Kenneth at the graveyard over the harbour, and after a while Leslie went back to her school and her studies.
Leslie's father began to go down after Kenneth's death. Two years later, in 1876, he hung himself in the middle of the parlour from the lamp hook in the ceiling - it was anniversary of his wedding day.
- "Poor Leslie had to be the one to find him. She went into the parlour that morning, singing, with some fresh flowers for the vases, and there she saw her father hanging from the ceiling, his face as black as a coal."
- —Miss Cornelia about Frank's death.
Leslie didn't cry at her father's funeral any more then she had cried at Kenneth's. Rose whooped and howled for two and Leslie had all she could do trying to calm and comfort her mother. She loved her mother. They buried Frank next to Kenneth, and Rose put up a great big monument to him. It was bigger than Rose could afford, for the farm was mortgaged for more than its value.
Not long after Frank's death, Leslie's gradmother West died and left her a little money - enough to give her a year at Queen's Academy.
Leslie attended Queen's in September 1877 and took two years' work in one year and got her First. When she came home she got the Glen school. Leslie was so happy and hopeful and full of life and eagerness. She wanted to put herself through Redmond College.
Marriage with Dick Moore
Abner Moore, Dick's father, held the mortgage on the West farm, and the interest was overdue some years, and Dick just went and told Rose that if Leslie wouldn't marry him he'd get his father to foreclose the mortgage. Rose put her foot down. Having lived on that land for all of her life, Rose did not want to give up where she had come as a bride.
Leslie loved Rose dearly. Thus, Leslie married Dick in 1878 and settled down on the West place - Rose couldn't bear to part with her dear daughter - and lived there for the winter. In the spring 1879 Rose took pneumonia and died. Leslie was heart-broken enough over it.
He went over to Nova Scotia to visit his relations and he wrote back to Leslie that his cousin, George Moore was going on a voyage to Havana and he was going too. They sailed on Four Sisters and they were to be gone about nine weeks. The summer went by and the Four Sisters didn't come back.
For a time, Leslie lived in some peace. But then, Captain Jim was sailing, and found Dick in Cuba. Jim returned him home, and it was discovered that there must have been an accident, which Dick was involved in.
He was obese, where before he had not, he was extremely good-natured, where before he had not been, and it was obvious that there was something wrong with his brain. Leslie then felt like an animal chained.
Anne's first sight of Leslie was mysterious, and what she would have called in earlier days, a 'thrill'. Leslie's beauty, even to the cold look in her eyes, enthralled her. Anne inquired after her to Gilbert, but he did not know who she was. He suggested that she was a girl on vacation... but Anne thought otherwise.
In the days that followed, Anne wondered who the girl was. Likely, she would not be able to see the girl again... or so Anne thought. But one stormy night, when Doctor Gilbert was away, Anne went down to the sandbar. Thinking no one else was there, she started to dance. And then it was that she saw Leslie... she, the dignified doctor's wife!
At first, Leslie appeared cold to Anne, shunning her from the dark secrets of her life. But as their friendship progressed, Leslie opened up to Anne and confessed, which removed the cold barrier that held between them and allowed Anne to shine light into her life.
Meeting Owen Ford
In desperate need of money, Leslie took Owen Ford in as a boarder, thinking he would be like the boarders that she usually encountered. However, he was much different, and very soon, when it came time for Owen to leave, she found that she was in love with him and that she didn't want him to go.
- "I was so happy all this summer, Anne--happier than I ever was in my life. I thought it was because everything had been made clear between you and me, and that it was our friendship which made life seem so beautiful and full once more. And it was, in part--but not all--oh, not nearly all. I know now why everything was so different. And now it's all over--and he has gone. How can I live, Anne? When I turned back into the house this morning after he had gone the solitude struck me like a blow in the face."
- —Leslie to Anne Shirley about her feelings for Owen.[src]
She confessed this to Anne, who, unbeknownst to her, knew that Owen reciprocated Leslie's feelings. Believing that Owen would never come back, Leslie felt heartbroken and could not be cheered up by anyone for a time, even by Anne. One day, however, Anne received news that Owen would be boarding at Four Winds to see Leslie again.
Knowing that Leslie would run away if told in advance of Owen's visit, Anne and Cornelia Bryant decided to keep the date of Owen's visit to Four Winds a secret from her. When he finally did, it was a complete surprise to Leslie.
However, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and Leslie and Owen were reunited. They eventually got engaged and later married on Christmas 1892.
Marriage with Owen Ford
Leslie married Owen at Christmas 1892 and they moved to Toronto. Their first child, Kenneth, was born one year later. Leslie named him after her dead brother. In 1895, she gave birth to Persis, who Owen likely named after his grandmother, the schoolmaster's bride, Persis Leigh.
In 1914 World War I began. Next year her only son enlisted. He became a Captain and came home healthy in March 1919.
Leslie was intelligent, clever, and rather mysterious, with a warmth and vitality that emerges as her friendship with Anne develops. She is at times cool and inscrutable, at other times very open and affectionate. Her life story is a tragical one, and this is reflected in her shifting moods. She is hauntingly beautiful, with hair of rich gold and arresting blue eyes. At one point in the story, Anne tells Leslie that she considers her a friend like no other, since they bonded as women and not as children; therefore, their relationship is deeper.
Leslie hoped to attend Redmond College - until circumstances proved otherwise.
It was a horrible pair, even from the start. Leslie held neutral feelings towards Dick, until the two were living together. Then she hated him with her whole heart.
Leslie had floor-length golden hair in a braid around her head, pink lips, and bright blue eyes. She had a fair complexion and was tall and slender. She wore a simple printed dress when Anne first saw her.
Leslie is a given name of Scottish and Gaelic origin and means holly garden.
Behind the scenes
- Melanie Puckaß provided the voice of Leslie in the German audio drama Anne's House of Dreams (2010).
- Both West girls, Rosemary and Leslie, had golden hair and named their sons after their dead brothers who died as young children. Rosemary named her son Bruce Meredith after her brother Bruce West and Leslie named her son Kenneth Ford after her little brother Kenneth. In the Victorian era, it was common for people to "recycle" names when naming children. When new parents thought of names, they would usually think of anyone in their family that had died and would honour them by naming their child after them.
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Short story appearances
Audio drama appearances