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Una was born in Maywater, Prince Edward Island, in 1896 to John and Cecilia Meredith. She inherited Cecilia's own dark-blue eyes. She had two older siblings - Jerry, who was two years older than her, and Faith, who was only a year older than Una. A year later, Carl was born.
In 1902, when Una was six years old, her mother became ill. Una was the child whom her dying mother had clasped to her heart after the other children had been led weeping from the room. Cecilia had clung to her child until she died.
- "Take good care of her, John. She is so small - and sensitive. The others can fight their way - but the world will hurt her. Oh, John, I don't know what you and she are going to do. You both need me so much. But keep her close to you - keep her close to you."
- —Cecilia's last words before death to her husband.
Life in Glen St. Mary
Una Meredith's life in Glen St. Mary is described in Rainbow Valley. The second youngest of the irrepressible Meredith clan, Una was a sweet, gentle girl, not given to the mischievous ways of Jerry, riotous habits of Faith, or the insect fascinations of Carl. As the Meredith children wormed their way into everyone's hearts and nestled close, Una worried that 'something wasn't right' in their home. Oftentimes she would try to sew on buttons lost by the reverend, or dust the house... providing, of course, she could find the duster.
When Mary Vance came to stay, Una looked askance and even slightly doubtful at her language. Mary frightened Una badly by saying that 'stepmothers change men, badly', so that when John Meredith began considering going courting, she feared the changes that, in her opinion, were about to come.
But when John was turned down by Rosemary, and Una caught word of it, (in perfect timing with Norman and Ellen, too), the poor girl actually thought it was because they children were so notorious for mischief! Even while she thought Rosemary would turn her father against the four children, she went to Rosemary, and asked her to marry John. Happily, Rosemary did not turn the children's father against them, and was a wonderful mother to them all.
World War I
Una was clearly in love with Walter prior to the World War I and was devastated when he died. She confided her secret affection only with one of Walter's closest sisters, Rilla Blythe. She never married, even after the war.
- "Una took the letter and when Rilla had gone she pressed it against her lonely lips. Una knew that love would never come into her life now—it was buried for ever under the blood-stained soil 'Somewhere in France.' No one but herself—and perhaps Rilla—knew it—would ever know it. She had no right in the eyes of her world to grieve. She must hide and bear her long pain as best she could—alone. But she, too, would keep faith."
- —Rilla of Ingleside[src]
- "Her braids of straight, dead-black hair betrayed no lawless kinks, and her almond-shaped, dark-blue eyes had something wistful and sorrowful in them. Her mouth had a trick of falling open over her tiny white teeth, and a shy, meditative smile occasionally crept over her small face."
- —Rainbow Valley, Chapter 4
Una is a female given name of Latin origin and means one. Also a phonetic spelling of Irish name Unah means hunger or lamb.
Behind the scenes
- In Rainbow Valley, it states that Una had her mother's eyes. However, in the chapter Carl Is — Not — Whipped, it is said that Carl was the only one of the Meredith children to inherit Cecilia's eyes.
Short story appearances