en-fr  Anne of Green Gables (1908) / CHAPTER XXXI
CHAPITRE XXXI

QUAND LE RUISSEAU ET LA RIVIÈRE SE REJOIGNENT.

Anne avait eu son merveilleux été et en avait goûté chaque instant. Diana et elle passèrent presque tout leur temps dehors, savourant les délices que le Chemin des amoureux, la source aux Driades, l'oseraie et l'île Victoria leur offraient. Marilla n'émit aucune critique quant à cette vie de bohème menée par Anne. Un après-midi au tout début des vacances, le médecin de Spencervale, celui qui était venu le soir où Minnie May avait eu le croup, croisa Anne dans la maison d'un patient, la regarda attentivement, fit une moue, secoua la tête et fit parvenir un message à Marilla Cuthbert par un intermédiaire. Il disait ceci : « Que votre petite rouquine soit au grand air tout l'été et interdisez-lui toute lecture avant que sa démarche ne soit devenue primesautière. »
Ce message donna une belle peur à Marilla. Elle y lisait la condamnation à mort d'Anne, à moins de s'y conformer scrupuleusement. En conséquence, Anne vécut le plus bel été de sa vie empli de cabrioles et de liberté. Elle fit des promenades à pied, en barque, se gava de baies et rêvassa à son aise, et, quand septembre arriva, elle avait les yeux vifs et brillants, une démarche qui aurait comblé le médecin de Spencervale et son cœur était rempli d’ambition et d'entrain plus encore.
— Je me sens l'envie d'étudier de toutes mes forces, déclara-t-elle en sortant ses livres du grenier. Oh, mes bons vieux amis, je suis heureuse de revoir vos sérieuses couvertures... oui, même toi, ma bonne géométrie. J'ai passé un été absolument magnifique, Marilla, et maintenant, je me sens pleine de fougue comme un athlète prêt pour la compétition, comme l'a dit M. Allan dimanche dernier. M. Allan ne prononce-t-il pas des sermons fantastiques ? Mme Lynde dit qu'il s'améliore de jour en jour ; bientôt, une église de la ville lui mettra la main dessus ; une fois délaissés, nous devrons nous tourner vers un nouveau prédicateur novice à former. Mais je ne vois pas l'intérêt de se faire du souci à l'avance, pas toi, Marilla ? Je pense qu'il vaut mieux apprécier M. Allan tant que nous l'avons parmi nous. Si j'étais un homme, je pense que je deviendrais pasteur. Ils peuvent avoir une telle influence positive, si leur théologie est solide ; cela doit être excitant de prêcher de splendides sermons et d'émouvoir les cœurs de son auditoire. Marilla, pourquoi les femmes ne peuvent-elles être pasteurs ? J'ai posé la question à madame Lynde, elle a été choquée et m'a répondu que ce serait scandaleux. Elle a dit qu'il y avait peut-être des femmes pasteurs aux États-Unis et elle croit bien que c'est le cas, mais que Dieu merci, nous n'avons pas encore atteint ce stade au Canada et elle a émis le vœu que nous n'y parvenions jamais. Mais je ne vois pas pourquoi. Je pense que les femmes pourraient être de parfaits pasteurs. Lorsque des relations sociales sont en jeu, qu'il s'agit d'organiser un thé ou tout autre chose qui nécessite de réunir des fonds, les femmes doivent se mobiliser et faire le travail. Je suis sûre que Mme Lynde peut prier tout aussi bien que le Surintendant Bell et je ne doute pas qu'elle pourrait prêcher aussi avec un peu de pratique.
– Oui, je suis sûre qu'elle pourrait, rétorqua Marilla sèchement. Elle fait déjà bien assez de prêches officieux comme ça. Personne n'a la moindre chance de commettre une erreur à Avonlea avec Rachel pour les chapeauter.
– Marilla, s'exclama Anne dans un élan de confiance, je voudrais te dire quelque chose et te demander ce que tu en penses. Cela m'a terriblement préoccupée les dimanches après-midi, enfin particulièrement lorsque je pensais à ces questions. Je désire vraiment être bonne et quand je suis avec toi, avec Mme Allan ou Mlle Stacy, je le souhaite plus que tout, et je veux simplement agir de manière à vous plaire et à vous satisfaire. Mais la plupart du temps quand je suis avec Mme Lynde, je me sens terriblement méchante, comme si j'avais l'envie irrésistible de faire exactement le contraire de ce qu'elle me dit. Impossible de résister à cette tentation. Dis-moi, pour quelle raison je réagis de la sorte ? Tu crois que c'est parce que je suis vraiment mauvaise et irrécupérable ?
Marilla resta un moment dubitative. Puis elle se mit à rire.
— Je suppose, Anne, que si tu l'es je le suis aussi car souvent Rachel me fait exactement le même effet. J'ai parfois l'impression qu'elle aurait plus d'influence pour pousser à faire le bien, si comme tu le dis toi-même, elle ne tannait pas les gens à toujours faire le bien. Il devrait y avoir un commandement spécial qui interdise de tanner les gens. Mais ici, on ne peut pas dire que ce soit le cas. Rachel est une bonne chrétienne et elle pense bien faire. Il n'y a pas plus gentille à Avonlea et elle ne rechigne pas à la tâche.
— Je suis vraiment très contente que tu penses la même chose, dit Anne d'un air résolu. C'est vraiment réconfortant. Ça ne me tracassera plus autant après ça. Mais je crois pouvoir dire qu'il y aura bien d'autres choses pour me donner du souci. Il y en a toujours de nouvelles... des choses pour te perturber, tu sais. Tu règles à peine un problème qu'il y en a toujours un autre qui surgit. Il y a tant de choses auxquelles réfléchir et décider quand on commence à grandir. Je suis en permanence occupée à y réfléchir pour trouver ce qui est bien. C'est vraiment quelque chose de sérieux que de grandir, hein, Marilla ? Mais en ayant d'aussi bons amis que Matthew et toi, que M. Allan et Mlle Stacy je devrais grandir comme il faut, je suis sûre que ce serait de ma faute si je n'y arrivais pas. Je comprends que c'est une responsabilité importante parce que je n'aurai qu'une seule chance. Si je ne grandis pas comme il le faut, je ne peux pas revenir en arrière et recommencer. J'ai grandi de deux pouces cet été, Marilla. M. Gillis a pris mes mesures à l'occasion de la fête de Ruby. Je suis si contente que tu aies allongé mes nouvelles robes. Celle en vert foncé est si jolie et c'était gentil de ta part d'y ajouter un volant. Bien évidemment, je sais que ce n'était vraiment pas nécessaire, mais les volants sont si élégants cet automne et Josie Pie en a sur toutes ses robes. Je suis persuadée de mieux étudier grâce au mien. Je me sentirais si sûre de moi en mon for intérieur avec ce volant.
— Ça vaut le coup de l'avoir, finit par admettre Marilla.
Mlle Stacy revint à l'école d'Avonlea pour trouver tous ses élèves impatients de travailler à nouveau. La classe de Queen se prépara particulièrement pour entrer en lice, car à la fin de la prochaine année scolaire, une ombre déjà se profilait à l'horizon et annonçait cette fatidique épreuve nommée «examen d'entrée», à cette pensée chacun d'eux était pris de panique. Imaginons qu'ils ne soient pas admis ! Cette pensée allait obséder Anne toutes les soirées d'hiver, même le dimanche après-midi, au point presque de l'empêcher de se concentrer sur les questions morales ou théologiques. Quand Anne faisait de mauvais rêves, elle se sentait désespérée face aux listes des Epreuves d'admission, sur lesquelles trônait en bonne position le nom de Gilbert Blythe tandis que le sien n'y apparaissait pas.
Cependant, ce fut un hiver joyeux, occupé, heureux, passé en coup de vent. Le travail scolaire était captivant, les rivalités de classe étaient passionnantes, comme jadis. Sous les yeux d'Anne enthousiaste, semblaient s'ouvrir de nouveaux mondes de pensées, de sentiments et d'ambitions ainsi que de nouveaux domaines fascinants de connaissances inexplorées.
Des collines surplombèrent une colline et sur des Alpes, des Alpes surgirent.
Une grande part de tout cela était due aux conseils pleins de tact, attentionnés et tolérants de Miss Stacy. Elle poussait ses élèves à penser, à explorer et à découvrir par eux-mêmes, à s'éloigner des bons vieux sentiers battus à un tel point qu'elle en avait presque choqué Mme Lynde et les administrateurs de l'école qui regardaient toute innovation dans les méthodes éprouvées d'un œil plutôt critique.
Au-delà de ses études, Anne s'épanouit socialement car Marilla, se souvenant des conseils du médecin de Spencervale, ne s'opposait plus à des sorties occasionnelles. Le Club des Débats prospérait et donna plusieurs concerts ; il y eut une ou deux fêtes qui valaient presque celles des adultes ; il y eut des promenades en traineau, des jeux de patinage à profusion.
Pendant ce temps Anne grandissait, s'épanouissant si vite qu'un jour Marilla s'étonna, alors qu'elles se tenaient l'une à côté de l'autre, de s'apercevoir que la jeune fille était plus grande qu'elle.
– Ce n'est pas possible, Anne, comme tu as grandi ! s'exclama-t-elle, stupéfaite. Un soupir suivit ces mots. Marilla ressentit un étrange regret pour les centimètres d'Anne. L'enfant qu'elle avait appris à aimer avait en quelque sorte disparu, laissant place à cette grande jeune fille de quinze ans, à l'air sérieux, aux sourcils pensifs et à la petite tête fièrement plantée. Marilla aimait la jeune fille tout autant qu'elle avait aimé l'enfant, mais elle ressentait l'étrange sentiment de voir Anne lui échapper. Et ce soir-là, tandis qu'Anne était partie à la réunion de prière avec Diana, Marilla resta assise seule dans le crépuscule d'hiver et ne put s'empêcher de pleurer. En arrivant, Matthew, une lanterne à la main, la surprit et lui jeta un tel regard consterné que Marilla se mit à rire à travers ses larmes.
— Je réfléchissais à Anne, s'excusa-t-elle. Elle est en train de grandir si vite... elle va sans doute nous quitter l'hiver prochain. Elle va terriblement me manquer.
— Elle reviendra sans doute nous voir souvent, la réconforta Matthew, pour qui Anne était et resterait toujours la petite fille enthousiaste qu'il avait ramenée ce soir de juin il y a quatre ans de Bright River. La ligne de chemin de fer de Carmody sera construite d'ici-là.
— Ce ne sera pas pareil que de l'avoir ici tout le temps, soupira Marilla d'un air sombre, se complaisant dans une peine inconsolable. Mais ça, les hommes ne peuvent pas le comprendre !
Il y eut chez Anne d'autres changements tout aussi réels que la transformation physique. D'une part, elle devint plus calme. Peut-être réfléchissait-elle autant et rêvassait plus que jamais, mais pour sûr, elle jacassait moins. Marilla s'en rendait compte et s'en faisait la réflexion.
— Tu ne bavardes pas la moitié de ce que tu faisais, Anne, et tu n'utilises pas autant de grands mots. Que t'est-il arrivé ?
Anne rougit et eut un petit rire, tout en posant son livre en regardant rêveusement par la fenêtre, où de gros bourgeons étaient en train d'éclore sur la treille à l'appel du soleil printanier.
— Je ne sais pas, je n'ai plus autant envie de parler dit-elle en se caressant d'un air pensif le menton de l'index. C'est plus agréable de penser à ce qui est beau, qu'on aime, et de le garder dans son cœur comme un trésor. Je n'aime pas qu'on s'en moque ou qu'on s'en étonne. Et au fond je n'ai plus envie d'utiliser de grands mots. C'est presque dommage, ne penses-tu pas, maintenant que j'ai suffisamment grandi pour les dire si je le souhaitais ? C'est amusant d'être presque adulte à certains égards, mais ce n'est pas vraiment ce à quoi je m'attendais, Marilla. Il y a tant à apprendre, à faire et à penser qu'on a plus le temps pour les grands mots. D'ailleurs, Mlle Stacy dit que les plus courts sont meilleurs et plus efficaces. Elle nous fait rédiger toutes nos rédactions le plus simplement possible. C'était difficile au début. J'étais tellement accoutumée à y mettre tous les grands mots auxquels je pouvais penser — et j'en avais un certain nombre en réserve. Mais maintenant je m'y suis habituée et je constate que c'est bien mieux ainsi.
— Qu'est devenu votre club d'écriture ? Je ne t'ai pas entendue en parler depuis un bon moment.
— Le club d'écriture n'existe plus. Nous n'avions pas de temps à lui consacrer... et de toute façon je pense que nous nous en étions lassées. C'était idiot d'écrire sur l'amour, les meurtres, les fugues et les mystères. Mademoiselle Stacy nous fait parfois rédiger une histoire pour nous entraîner à la composition, mais elle ne nous laisse écrire que ce qui pourrait nous arriver à Avonlea, dans nos propres vies, elle critique très vivement nos devoirs et nous fait faire également notre auto-critique. Je n'aurais jamais pensé que mes compositions aient contenu autant de fautes avant que je ne commence à les chercher par moi-même. J'ai éprouvé tellement de honte que j'ai souhaité tout abandonner, mais mademoiselle Stacy a dit que je pourrais apprendre à bien écrire si je m'entraînais à être la critique la plus sévère de mon propre travail. C'est ce que j'essaie de faire.
— Il ne te reste que deux mois avant l'examen d'Entrée, précisa Marilla. — Penses-tu pouvoir l'obtenir ?
Anne frissonna.
— Je ne sais pas. Parfois, je pense que tout ira bien ... et ensuite je suis prise de panique. Nous avons beaucoup étudié et Mlle Stacy nous a consciencieusement fait travailler, mais nous ne réussirons peut-être pas pour autant. Nous avons chacun nos propres difficultés. La mienne est la géométrie bien sûr, pour Jane, c'est le latin, pour Ruy et Charlie, l'algèbre, et pour Josie, l'arithmétique. Moody Spurgeon dit qu'il croit fermement qu'il va rater son histoire anglaise. En juin, Mlle Stacy va organiser pour nous des interrogations aussi difficiles que celles que nous aurons pour l'examen d'admission et nous noter aussi sévèrement, afin que nous puissions nous rendre compte. J'aimerais que tout ça soit terminé, Marilla. Cela me hante. Parfois, je me réveille pendant la nuit et je me demande ce que je ferais si je ne réussissais pas.
— Eh bien, tu reprendras l'école l'année prochaine pour réessayer, dit Marilla avec détachement.
— Oh, je ne crois pas que j'en aurais le courage. Ce serait une telle disgrâce d'échouer, tout particulièrement si Gil... si les autres y parviennent. Et les examens me rendent tellement nerveuse qu'il est fort possible que je fasse un beau gâchis. Je souhaiterais avoir les mêmes nerfs de Jane Andrews. Rien ne peut l'ébranler.
Anne poussa un soupir ; elle détourna les yeux des enchantements de l'atmosphère printanière, de l'invitante journée de brise et de bleu, et de la flore du jardin en éveil, et plongea résolument le nez dans son livre. D'autres printemps viendraient, mais Anne était convaincue qu'elle ne s'en remettrait jamais suffisamment pour pouvoir les apprécier si elle ne parvenait pas à réussir l'Admission.
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CHAPTER XXXI.
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WHERE THE BROOK AND RIVER MEET.
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ANNE had her "good" summer and enjoyed it whole-heartedly.
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Marilla offered no objections to Anne's gipsyings.
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This message frightened Marilla wholesomely.
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She read Anne's death warrant by consumption in it unless it was scrupulously obeyed.
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As a result, Anne had the golden summer of her life as far as freedom and frolic went.
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"Oh, you good old friends, I'm glad to see your honest faces once more—yes, even you, geometry.
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Doesn't Mr. Allan preach magnificent sermons?
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But I don't see the use of meeting trouble half-way, do you, Marilla?
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I think it would be better just to enjoy Mr. Allan while we have him.
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If I were a man I think I'd be a minister.
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Why can't women be ministers, Marilla?
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I asked Mrs. Lynde that and she was shocked and said it would be a scandalous thing.
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But I don't see why.
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I think women would make splendid ministers.
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"Yes, I believe she could," said Marilla drily.
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"She does plenty of unofficial preaching as it is.
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Nobody has much of a chance to go wrong in Avonlea with Rachel to oversee them".
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I feel irresistibly tempted to do it.
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Now, what do you think is the reason I feel like that?
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Do you think it's because I'm really bad and unregenerate?
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Marilla looked dubious for a moment.
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Then she laughed.
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"If you are I guess I am too, Anne, for Rachel often has that very effect on me.
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There should have been a special commandment against nagging.
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But there, I shouldn't talk so.
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Rachel is a good Christian woman and she means well.
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There isn't a kinder soul in Avonlea and she never shirks her share of work".
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"I'm very glad you feel the same," said Anne decidedly.
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"It's so encouraging.
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I sha'n't worry so much over that after this.
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But I dare say there'll be other things to worry me.
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They keep coming up new all the time—things to perplex you, you know.
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You settle one question and there's another right after.
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There are so many things to be thought over and decided when you're beginning to grow up.
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It keeps me busy all the time thinking them over and deciding what is right.
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It's a serious thing to grow up, isn't it, Marilla?
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I feel it's a great responsibility because I have only the one chance.
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If I don't grow up right I can't go back and begin over again.
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I've grown two inches this summer, Marilla.
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Mr. Gillis measured me at Ruby's party.
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I'm so glad you made my new dresses longer.
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That dark green one is so pretty and it was sweet of you to put on the flounce.
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I know I'll be able to study better because of mine.
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I shall have such a comfortable feeling deep down in my mind about that flounce".
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"It's worth something to have that," admitted Marilla.
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Miss Stacy came back to Avonlea school and found all her pupils eager for work once more.
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Suppose they did not pass!
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But it was a jolly, busy, happy swift-flying winter.
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School work was as interesting, class rivalry as absorbing, as of yore.
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Hills peeped o'er hill and Alps on Alps arose.
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Much of all this was due to Miss Stacy's tactful, careful, broad-minded guidance.
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"Why, Anne, how you've grown!"
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she said, almost unbelievingly.
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A sigh followed on the words.
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Marilla felt a queer regret over Anne's inches.
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"I was thinking about Anne," she explained.
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"She's got to be such a big girl—and she'll probably be away from us next winter.
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I'll miss her terrible".
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"The branch railroad will be built to Carmody by that time".
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"But there—men can't understand these things!
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There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change.
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For one thing, she became much quieter.
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Perhaps she thought all the more and dreamed as much as ever, but she certainly talked less.
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Marilla noticed and commented on this also.
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"You don't chatter half as much as you used to, Anne, nor use half as many big words.
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What has come over you?
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"It's nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one's heart, like treasures.
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I don't like to have them laughed at or wondered over.
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And somehow I don't want to use big words any more.
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It's fun to be almost grown up in some ways, but it's not the kind of fun I expected, Marilla.
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There's so much to learn and do and think that there isn't time for big words.
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Besides, Miss Stacy says the short ones are much stronger and better.
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She makes us write all our essays as simply as possible.
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It was hard at first.
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But I've got used to it now and I see it's so much better".
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"What has become of your story club?
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I haven't heard you speak of it for a long time".
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"The story club isn't in existence any longer.
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We hadn't time for it—and anyhow I think we had got tired of it.
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It was silly to be writing about love and murder and elopements and mysteries.
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I never thought my compositions had so many faults until I began to look for them myself.
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And so I am trying to".
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"You've only two more months before the Entrance," said Marilla.
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"Do you think you'll be able to get through?
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unit 125
Anne shivered.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 2 days ago
unit 126
"I don't know.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 2 days ago
unit 127
Sometimes I think I'll be all right—and then I get horribly afraid.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 2 days ago
unit 128
unit 129
We've each got a stumbling-block.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 1 day ago
unit 131
Moody Spurgeon says he feels it in his bones that he is going to fail in English history.
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unit 133
I wish it was all over, Marilla.
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unit 134
It haunts me.
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unit 135
Sometimes I wake up in the night and wonder what I'll do if I don't pass".
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 1 day ago
unit 136
"Why, go to school next year and try again," said Marilla unconcernedly.
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unit 137
"Oh, I don't believe I'd have the heart for it.
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unit 138
It would be such a disgrace to fail, especially if Gil— if the others passed.
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unit 139
And I get so nervous in an examination that I'm likely to make a mess of it.
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unit 140
I wish I had nerves like Jane Andrews.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 1 day ago
unit 141
Nothing rattles her".
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 2 weeks, 1 day ago
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francevw • 14015  commented  2 weeks, 5 days ago

Update: Thank to Gaby and her watching the movie, we now know that:
1. Anne only use the formal form ("vous") at the start, but later (we agreed for Chapter XI) she will say "tu" to Marilla and Matthew, and the formal form with everybody else but her classmates. Marilla and Rachel are friends and they use "tu".
2. She likes overstatements and superlatives.
3. We need to translate "green gables" by "les pignons verts" as it is done in the movie.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anne_of_Green_Gables_(1908)Voici la liste des lieux (et leurs traductions) fréquemment utilisés dans cet ouvrage.
The Idlewild = le Havre Sauvage
The White Sands = les Dunes Blanches
The Birch Path = le Sentier/Chemin des Bouleaux
The Haunted Wood = le Bois hanté
Orchard Slope = la Colline au Verger
Lover’s Lane = le Chemin des Amoureux

Anne of Green Gables (1908)

Written for all ages, it has been considered a children's novel since the mid-twentieth century. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town. Since publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. It has been adapted as film, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. — Excerpted from Anne of Green Gables (1908) on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

by francevw 2 weeks, 5 days ago

CHAPTER XXXI.

WHERE THE BROOK AND RIVER MEET.

ANNE had her "good" summer and enjoyed it whole-heartedly. She and Diana fairly lived outdoors, revelling in all the delights that Lovers' Lane and the Dryad's Bubble and Willowmere and Victoria Island afforded. Marilla offered no objections to Anne's gipsyings. The Spencervale doctor who had come the night Minnie May had the croup met Anne at the house of a patient one afternoon early in vacation, looked her over sharply, screwed up his mouth, shook his head, and sent a message to Marilla Cuthbert by another person. It was:
"Keep that red-headed girl of yours in the open air all summer and don't let her read books until she gets more spring into her step".
This message frightened Marilla wholesomely. She read Anne's death warrant by consumption in it unless it was scrupulously obeyed. As a result, Anne had the golden summer of her life as far as freedom and frolic went. She walked, rowed, berried and dreamed to her heart's content; and when September came she was bright-eyed and alert, with a step that would have satisfied the Spencervale doctor and a heart full of ambition and zest once more.
"I feel just like studying with might and main," she declared as she brought her books down from the attic. "Oh, you good old friends, I'm glad to see your honest faces once more—yes, even you, geometry. I've had a perfectly beautiful summer, Marilla, and now I'm rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, as Mr. Allan said last Sunday. Doesn't Mr. Allan preach magnificent sermons? Mrs. Lynde says he is improving every day and the first thing we know some city church will gobble him up and then we'll be left and have to turn to and break in another green preacher. But I don't see the use of meeting trouble half-way, do you, Marilla? I think it would be better just to enjoy Mr. Allan while we have him. If I were a man I think I'd be a minister. They can have such an influence for good, if their theology is sound; and it must be thrilling to preach splendid sermons and stir your hearers' hearts. Why can't women be ministers, Marilla? I asked Mrs. Lynde that and she was shocked and said it would be a scandalous thing. She said there might be female ministers in the States and she believed there was, but thank goodness we hadn't got to that stage in Canada yet and she hoped we never would. But I don't see why. I think women would make splendid ministers. When there is a social to be got up or a church tea or anything else to raise money the women have to turn to and do the work. I'm sure Mrs. Lynde can pray every bit as well as Superintendent Bell and I've no doubt she could preach too with a little practice".
"Yes, I believe she could," said Marilla drily. "She does plenty of unofficial preaching as it is. Nobody has much of a chance to go wrong in Avonlea with Rachel to oversee them".
"Marilla," said Anne in a burst of confidence, "I want to tell you something and ask you what you think about it. It has worried me terribly—on Sunday afternoons, that is, when I think specially about such matters. I do really want to be good; and when I'm with you or Mrs. Allan or Miss Stacy I want it more than ever and I want to do just what would please you and what you would approve of. But mostly when I'm with Mrs. Lynde I feel desperately wicked and as if I wanted to go and do the very thing she tells me I oughtn't to do. I feel irresistibly tempted to do it. Now, what do you think is the reason I feel like that? Do you think it's because I'm really bad and unregenerate?
Marilla looked dubious for a moment. Then she laughed.
"If you are I guess I am too, Anne, for Rachel often has that very effect on me. I sometimes think she'd have more of an influence for good, as you say yourself, if she didn't keep nagging people to do right. There should have been a special commandment against nagging. But there, I shouldn't talk so. Rachel is a good Christian woman and she means well. There isn't a kinder soul in Avonlea and she never shirks her share of work".
"I'm very glad you feel the same," said Anne decidedly. "It's so encouraging. I sha'n't worry so much over that after this. But I dare say there'll be other things to worry me. They keep coming up new all the time—things to perplex you, you know. You settle one question and there's another right after. There are so many things to be thought over and decided when you're beginning to grow up. It keeps me busy all the time thinking them over and deciding what is right. It's a serious thing to grow up, isn't it, Marilla? But when I have such good friends as you and Matthew and Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy I ought to grow up successfully, and I'm sure it will be my own fault if I don't. I feel it's a great responsibility because I have only the one chance. If I don't grow up right I can't go back and begin over again. I've grown two inches this summer, Marilla. Mr. Gillis measured me at Ruby's party. I'm so glad you made my new dresses longer. That dark green one is so pretty and it was sweet of you to put on the flounce. Of course I know it wasn't really necessary, but flounces are so stylish this fall and Josie Pye has flounces on all her dresses. I know I'll be able to study better because of mine. I shall have such a comfortable feeling deep down in my mind about that flounce".
"It's worth something to have that," admitted Marilla.
Miss Stacy came back to Avonlea school and found all her pupils eager for work once more. Especially did the Queen's class gird up their loins for the fray, for at the end of the coming year, dimly shadowing their pathway already, loomed up that fateful thing known as "the Entrance," at the thought of which one and all felt their hearts sink into their very shoes. Suppose they did not pass! That thought was doomed to haunt Anne through the waking hours of that winter, Sunday afternoons inclusive, to the almost entire exclusion of moral and theological problems. When Anne had bad dreams she found herself staring miserably at pass lists of the Entrance exams, where Gilbert Blythe's name was blazoned at the top and in which hers did not appear at all.
But it was a jolly, busy, happy swift-flying winter. School work was as interesting, class rivalry as absorbing, as of yore. New worlds of thought, feeling, and ambition, fresh, fascinating fields of unexplored knowledge seemed to be opening out before Anne's eager eyes.
Hills peeped o'er hill and Alps on Alps arose.
Much of all this was due to Miss Stacy's tactful, careful, broad-minded guidance. She led her class to think and explore and discover for themselves and encouraged straying from the old beaten paths to a degree that quite shocked Mrs. Lynde and the school trustees, who viewed all innovations on established methods rather dubiously.
Apart from her studies Anne expanded socially, for Marilla, mindful of the Spencervale doctor's dictum, no longer vetoed occasional outings. The Debating Club flourished and gave several concerts; there were one or two parties almost verging on grown-up affairs; there were sleigh drives and skating frolics galore.
Between times Anne grew, shooting up so rapidly that Marilla was astonished one day, when they were standing side by side, to find the girl was taller than herself.
"Why, Anne, how you've grown!" she said, almost unbelievingly. A sigh followed on the words. Marilla felt a queer regret over Anne's inches. The child she had learned to love had vanished somehow and here was this tall, serious-eyed girl of fifteen, with the thoughtful brows and the proudly poised little head, in her place. Marilla loved the girl as much as she had loved the child, but she was conscious of a queer sorrowful sense of loss. And that night when Anne had gone to prayer-meeting with Diana Marilla sat alone in the wintry twilight and indulged in the weakness of a cry. Matthew, coming in with a lantern, caught her at it and gazed at her in such consternation that Marilla had to laugh through her tears.
"I was thinking about Anne," she explained. "She's got to be such a big girl—and she'll probably be away from us next winter. I'll miss her terrible".
"She'll be able to come home often," comforted Matthew, to whom Anne was as yet and always would be the little, eager girl he had brought home from Bright River on that June evening four years before. "The branch railroad will be built to Carmody by that time".
"It won't be the same thing as having her here all the time," sighed Marilla gloomily, determined to enjoy her luxury of grief uncomforted. "But there—men can't understand these things!
There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change. For one thing, she became much quieter. Perhaps she thought all the more and dreamed as much as ever, but she certainly talked less. Marilla noticed and commented on this also.
"You don't chatter half as much as you used to, Anne, nor use half as many big words. What has come over you?
Anne coloured and laughed a little, as she dropped her book and looked dreamily out of the window, where big fat red buds were bursting out on the creeper in response to the lure of the spring sunshine.
"I don't know—I don't want to talk as much," she said, denting her chin thoughtfully with her forefinger. "It's nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one's heart, like treasures. I don't like to have them laughed at or wondered over. And somehow I don't want to use big words any more. It's almost a pity, isn't it, now that I'm really growing big enough to say them if I did want to. It's fun to be almost grown up in some ways, but it's not the kind of fun I expected, Marilla. There's so much to learn and do and think that there isn't time for big words. Besides, Miss Stacy says the short ones are much stronger and better. She makes us write all our essays as simply as possible. It was hard at first. I was so used to crowding in all the fine big words I could think of—and I thought of any number of them. But I've got used to it now and I see it's so much better".
"What has become of your story club? I haven't heard you speak of it for a long time".
"The story club isn't in existence any longer. We hadn't time for it—and anyhow I think we had got tired of it. It was silly to be writing about love and murder and elopements and mysteries. Miss Stacy sometimes has us write a story for training in composition, but she won't let us write anything but what might happen in Avonlea in our own lives, and she criticizes it very sharply and makes us criticize our own too. I never thought my compositions had so many faults until I began to look for them myself. I felt so ashamed I wanted to give up altogether, but Miss Stacy said I could learn to write well if I only trained myself to be my own severest critic. And so I am trying to".
"You've only two more months before the Entrance," said Marilla. "Do you think you'll be able to get through?
Anne shivered.
"I don't know. Sometimes I think I'll be all right—and then I get horribly afraid. We've studied hard and Miss Stacy has drilled us thoroughly, but we mayn't get through for all that. We've each got a stumbling-block. Mine is geometry of course, and Jane's is Latin and Ruby's and Charlie's is algebra and Josie's is arithmetic. Moody Spurgeon says he feels it in his bones that he is going to fail in English history. Miss Stacy is going to give us examinations in June just as hard as we'll have at the Entrance and mark us just as strictly, so we'll have some idea. I wish it was all over, Marilla. It haunts me. Sometimes I wake up in the night and wonder what I'll do if I don't pass".
"Why, go to school next year and try again," said Marilla unconcernedly.
"Oh, I don't believe I'd have the heart for it. It would be such a disgrace to fail, especially if Gil— if the others passed. And I get so nervous in an examination that I'm likely to make a mess of it. I wish I had nerves like Jane Andrews. Nothing rattles her".
Anne sighed and, dragging her eyes from the witcheries of the spring world, the beckoning day of breeze and blue, and the green things upspringing in the
garden, buried herself resolutely in her book. There would be other springs, but if she did not succeed in passing the Entrance Anne felt convinced that she would never recover sufficiently to enjoy them.