en-fr  Anne of Green Gables (1908)/Chapter II Medium
CHAPITRE II. MATTHEW CUTHBERT EST SURPRIS Matthew Cuthbert et la jument alezane galopèrent agréablement durant les huit milles jusqu'à Bright River. C'était une jolie route, qui sinuait entre des fermes confortables, et de temps en temps un petit bois de sapin baumier pour traverser ou un vallon où des prunes sauvages suspendaient leur efflorescence délicate. L'air était doux dans les senteurs des vergers remplis de pommiers, et les prairies disparaissaient à l'horizon derrière une brume nacrée et pourpre, tandis que les jeunes oiseaux chantaient comme si c'était le seul jour de l'été dans toute l'année.

Matthew appréciait cette promenade à sa façon, sauf dans les moments où il croisait des femmes et devait les saluer, car sur l'île Prince Edouard, vous étiez censés saluer tous ceux que vous rencontriez, que vous les connaissiez ou pas.

Matthew redoutait toutes les femmes sauf Marilla et Mme Rachel, il avait le sentiment désagréable que ces créatures mystérieuses se moquaient sournoisement de lui. Il avait sans doute raison de penser de la sorte car il avait une allure particulière avec des traits disgracieux et de longs cheveux gris acier qui touchaient ses épaules tombantes et une barbe châtain fournie qu'il portait depuis ses vingt ans. En fait, si ce n'était ses cheveux grisonnants, il avait plus l'air d'avoir vingt ans que soixante.

Quand il atteignit Bright River, aucun train n'était en vue; il pensa qu'il était en avance, il alla donc attacher son cheval dans la cour du petit hôtel Bright River et retourna à la gare. Le long quai était pratiquement désert, l'unique créature visible était une fille assise sur un tas de tuiles tout au bout du quai. Matthieu, remarqua à peine qu'il s'agissait d'une fille, la depassa le plus rapidement possible sans la regarder. S'il l'avait regardée il aurait eu du mal à ne pas percevoir la raideur nerveuse et l'impatience de son attitude et de son expression. Elle était assise là en attente de quelque chose ou de quelqu'un et puisqu'elle était assise et que l'attente était la seule chose à faire alors, elle était assise et attendait corps et âme.

Matthew se heurta au chef de gare qui fermait le guichet et se préparait à rentrer chez lui pour souper, et il lui demanda si le train de cinq heures trente serait bientôt à quai.

— Le train de cinq heures trente est arrivé et reparti il y a une demi-heure, répondit l'employé avec animation. Mais une passagère a été déposée à votre attention... une petite fille. Elle est assise là-bas dehors sur les tuiles. Je lui ai demandé d'aller dans la salle d'attente des dames, mais elle m'a affirmé d'un ton sérieux qu'elle préférait rester dehors. « Il y a plus de place pour l'imagination », a-t-elle dit. Elle est spéciale, dirais-je.

— Je n'attends pas une fille, dit Matthew, interdit. — Je suis venu pour un garçon. Il devrait être là. Mme Alexander Spencer devait l’amener pour moi, ici, depuis la Nouvelle Écosse.

Le chef de gare émit un sifflement.

— J'imagine qu'il doit y avoir une erreur, dit-il. Mme Spencer est descendue du train avec cette jeune fille et me l'a confiée. Me disant que votre sœur et vous l'aviez adoptée à l’orphelinat et que vous l'alliez pas tarder à arriver. C'est tout ce que je sais à ce sujet... et je n'ai pas d'autres orphelins cachés dans le coin.

— Je ne comprends pas, dit Matthew avec impuissance, regrettant l'absence de Marilla pour gérer la situation.

— Eh bien, vous devriez questionner la fille, dit le chef de gare avec désinvolture. Je suis sûr qu'elle sera capable de fournir une explication... elle a la langue bien pendue, ça c'est certain. Peut-être qu'ils n'avaient plus de garçons du genre que vous vouliez.

Il s'en alla avec désinvolture, il avait faim, et le malheureux Matthieu se retrouva à devoir faire ce qui était plus difficile pour lui que d'affronter un lion dans sa tanière... marcher vers une fille... une fille étrange... une orpheline... et lui demander pourquoi elle n'était pas un garçon. Matthew gémit en lui-même alors qu'il se retournait et remontait le quai vers elle en trainant doucement des pieds.

Elle l'avait observé quand il était passé à côté d'elle et, maintenant, elle ne le quittait pas des yeux. Matthew ne la regardait pas et, même s'il l'avait fait, il n'aurait pas vu à quoi elle ressemblait, mais un observateur lambda aurait vu ceci : une enfant d'environ onze ans, vêtue d'une robe, très courte, très serrée et très laide de tiretaine gris jaunâtre. Elle portait un chapeau de marin d'un brun fané et de sous le chapeau, deux épaisses tresses d'un roux éclatant lui cascadaient dans le dos. Son petit visage, maigre et pâle était constellé de taches de rousseur ; sa bouche était grande, ses yeux, qui paraissaient verts selon l'éclairage ou son humeur et gris à d'autres moments, l'étaient également.

Ainsi aurait parlé l'observateur lambda. Mais un observateur avisé aurait pu voir que le menton était très pointu et prononcé, que les grands yeux étaient pleins d'esprit et de vivacité, que la bouche était douce et expressive, que le front était large et plein. En bref, notre observateur avisé et remarquable aurait pu conclure qu'aucune âme banale n'habitait le corps de cette femme-enfant égarée dont le timide Matthew Cuthbert était si grotesquement effrayé.

Cependant, Matthew échappa à l'épreuve d'avoir à parler en premier, car dès qu'elle comprit qu'il venait vers elle, elle se leva, agrippa d'une petite main hâlée la poignée d'un misérable sac en toile démodé, et lui tendit l'autre main.

— Je suppose que vous êtes M. Matthew Cuthbert des Green Gables ? dit-elle d'une voix particulièrement claire et douce. — Je suis très heureuse de vous voir. Je commençais à craindre que vous ne puissiez venir me chercher et imaginais toutes les choses qui auraient pu se produire pour vous en empêcher. J'avais décidé que si vous n'étiez pas venu me chercher ce soir, je serais allée le long de la voie jusqu'à ce grand cerisier sauvage dans le virage, et j'y aurais grimpé afin d'y passer la nuit. Je n'aurais pas eu peur du tout, et il aurait été agréable de dormir dans un cerisier sauvage tout blanc de fleurs au clair de lune, n'est-ce pas? On pourrait imaginer loger dans un manoir de marbre, n'est-ce pas? Et j'étais presque sure que vous seriez venu pour moi dans la matinée, si vous n'aviez pu le faire ce soir.

Matthew avait maladroitement pris la petite main menue dans la sienne ; et alors là il décida quoi faire. Il ne pouvait pas dire à cet enfant aux yeux brillants qu'il y avait eu une erreur ; il la ramènerait à la maison et laisserait Marilla s'en charger. Elle ne pouvait pas être laissée à Bright River, peu importe l'erreur qui avait été commise, alors toutes les questions et toutes les explications pourraient tout aussi bien attendre jusqu'à ce qu'il soit en sécurité à Green Gables.

— Je suis désolée j'étais en retard, dit-il timidement. Viens. Le cheval est là-bas dans la cour. Donne-moi ton sac.

— Oh, je peux le porter, répondit l'enfant avec entrain. Il n'est pas lourd. J'ai tous mes biens matériels dedans, mais il n'est pas lourd. Et s'il n'est pas porté d'une certaine façon, la poignée s'enlève, alors je ferais mieux de le garder parce que je connais le tour de main exact pour ça. C'est un sac de voyage extrêmement vieux. Oh, je suis très heureuse que vous soyez venu, même si ça aurait été agréable de dormir dans un cerisier sauvage. Nous allons faire une longue route, n'est-ce pas ? Madame Spencer a dit qu'elle était de huit milles. Je suis contente parce que j'adore voyager. Oh, Ça me semble tellement merveilleux de penser que je vais vivre avec vous et vous appartenir. Je n'ai jamais appartenu à personne — pas vraiment. Mais l'orphelinat était le pire. Je n'y suis restée que quatre mois, mais ça m'a suffit. Je suppose que vous n'avez jamais été orphelin dans un hospice, aussi vous ne pouvez pas comprendre ce que c'est. C'est pire que tout ce que vous pourriez imaginer. Madame Spencer m'a dit que c'était méchant de ma part de parler comme ça, mais je ne veux pas être méchante. Il est si facile d'être méchante sans le vouloir, vous ne croyez pas ? Ils étaient bons, vous savez... les gens de l'orphelinat. Mais il y a tellement peu de place pour l'imagination dans un orphelinat... rien que les autres orphelins. C'était très intéressant d'imaginer des choses à propos d'eux... d'imaginer que, peut-être, la fille qui était assise à côté de vous était en réalité la fille d'un noble de vieille lignée, qui, dans son enfance, avait été enlevée et retenue loin de ses parents par une cruelle nourrice morte avant qu'elle n'ait pu se confesser. J'avais l'habitude de rester éveillée la nuit et d'imaginer des choses comme celle-ci, parce que je n'en avais pas le temps au cours de la journée. Je pense que c'est pourquoi je suis si maigre... je suis affreusement maigre, non ? J'ai la peau sur les os. J'aime me figurer que je suis jolie et grassouillette, avec des bras potelés.

Sur ce, la compagne de Matthew cessa de bavarder, d'une part car elle était essoufflée et d'une autre parce qu'ils avaient atteint le buggy. Elle ne prononça plus un mot jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient quitté le village et aient descendu une petite colline abrupte, une partie de la route avait été creusée si profondément dans le sol meuble que les talus, frangés de cerisiers sauvages en fleurs et de minces bouleaux blancs, dominaient leur tête de plusieurs pieds.

L'enfant tendit la main et rompit une branche de prunier sauvage qui frottait contre le flanc du buggy.

— N'est-ce pas pas magnifique ? A quoi cet arbre, penché sur le côté, tout blanc et fin comme de la dentelle, vous fait-il penser ? demanda-t-elle.

— Eh bien, euh... j'sais pas, dit Matthew.

— Mais, une jeune mariée, voyons... une jeune mariée tout en blanc dans un joli voile vaporeux. Je n'en ai jamais vu, mais je peux imaginer à quoi elle ressemblerait. Moi, je ne crois pas pouvoir me marier un jour. Je suis si laide que personne ne voudra jamais m'épouser... à moins qu'il ne s'agisse d'un missionnaire étranger. Je suppose qu'un missionnaire étranger pourrait ne pas se montrer trop exigeant. Mais je veux espérer qu'un jour je porterai une robe blanche. C'est mon plus grand idéal du bonheur sur terre. J'adore les jolis vêtements. Et je n'ai jamais eu une jolie robe dans ma vie que je me souviens...mais bien sûr, c'est quelque chose à attendre, n'est-ce pas ? Et alors, j'imagine que je suis habillée magnifiquement. Ce matin, au moment de quitter l'orphelinat, je me sentais si honteuse d'avoir à porter cette horrible robe de tiretaine. Tous les orphelins ont dû les porter, vous savez. L'hiver dernier, un marchand de Hopeton a donné trois cents mètres de tiretaine à l’orphelinat. Certains ont dit que c'était parce qu'il n'arrivait pas à les vendre, mais je préfère croire que c'est par générosité, pas vous ? Quand nous sommes montées dans le train, je me suis sentie comme si tout le monde me regardait et avait pitié de moi. Mais je me suis juste mise à l'ouvrage et j'ai imaginé que je portais la plus belle robe bleue pâle en soie qu'il existe, parce tant qu'à imaginer, autant imaginer quelque chose qui vaille la peine, et un grand chapeau tout en fleurs et en plumes inclinées, et une montre en or, et des gants blancs et des bottes. Je me suis sentie aussitôt réconfortée et j'ai pris plaisir de tout mon cœur au voyage vers l'Ile. Je n'ai pas été malade le moins du monde sur le bateau. Mme Spencer, non plus, quoiqu'elle le soit généralement d'habitude. Elle a dit qu'elle n'avait pas le temps d'avoir des nausées, occupée à regarder pour surveiller si je ne passais pas par dessus bord. Elle a dit qu'elle n'avait jamais vu une énergie comme la mienne à rôder partout comme ça. Mais si ça lui a épargné le mal de mer, c'est une chance, j'ai bien fait de mettre mon nez partout, n'est-ce pas ? Et j'ai tenu à voir tout ce qu'il y avait à voir sur ce bateau, parce que je ne sais pas si une autre occasion se présentera. Oh, il y a beaucoup d'autres cerisiers tous en fleurs ! Cette île est le paradis des fleurs. Je l'aime déjà, et je suis si heureuse à l'idée de vivre ici. J'avais toujours entendu dire que l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard était le plus bel endroit au monde, et j'avais pris l'habitude d'imaginer que j'y vivrais, mais je ne m'étais jamais vraiment attendue à ce que je puisse le faire. C'est merveilleux, vous ne trouvez pas, quand votre imagination devient la réalité ? Mais ces routes rouges sont si drôles. Lorsque nous sommes montées dans le train, à Charlottetown, et que les routes rouges ont commencé à apparaître, j'ai demandé à Mme Spencer ce qui les avait rendues rouges et elle a dit qu'elle ne savait pas et, par pitié, de ne plus lui poser de questions. Elle a dit que je lui en avais déjà posé mille. Je suppose que c'est ce que j'avais fait, mais aussi, comment voulez-vous connaître les choses si vous ne posez pas de questions ? Et ce qui rend les routes rouges ?

— Et bien, euh...j'sais pas, dit Matthew.

— Eh bien, ce sera une des choses à découvrir un jour ou l'autre. N'est-ce pas formidable de penser à toutes ces choses qu'il y a à découvrir ? Ça me rend si heureuse de vivre... le monde est si intéressant. Il ne serait pas aussi intéressant, de beaucoup, si nous connaissions tout sur tout, croyez-vous ? Il n'y aurait pas de place pour l'imagination, non ? Mais, est-ce que je parle trop ? Les gens me disent toujours que c'est le cas. Préférez-vous que je me taise ? Si c'est ce que vous voulez, j'arrête. Je peux m'arrêter quand je l'ai décidé, même si c'est difficile.

Matthew, à sa grande surprise, s'amusait plutôt. Comme la plupart des personnes silencieuses, il aimait les gens bavards quand ils étaient disposés à faire la conversation eux-mêmes et ne s'attendaient pas à ce qu'il leur donne la replique. Mais il n'avait jamais escompté apprécier la compagnie d'une petite fille. À vrai dire, les femmes étaient assez déplaisantes, mais les petites filles étaient pires. Il détestait la manière dont elles s'empressaient de passer devant lui timidement, avec des regards en coin, comme si elles s'attendaient à ce qu'il les engloutisse en une bouchée si elles osaient dire un mot. C'était le genre de personnalité de petite fille bien élevée d'Avonlea. Mais cette sorcière aux taches de rousseur était très différente, et bien qu'il trouvât assez difficile pour son intelligence plus lente de suivre le cours de ses pensées, il constatait qu'il « aimait bien l'entendre jacasser ». Ainsi, timide comme à son habitude, il dit : — Oh, tu peux parler autant que tu voudras. Ça ne me dérange pas.

— Oh, je suis tellement contente. Je sais que nous allons bien nous entendre tous les deux. C'est un tel soulagement de parler quand on veut et ne pas s'entendre dire que les enfants doivent être tranquilles et silencieux. Je me le suis répété des millions de fois plutôt qu'une. Et les gens rient de moi parce que j'utilise de grands mots. Mais si vous avez de grandes idées, vous devez utiliser de grands mots pour les exprimer, n'est-ce pas ?

— Ma foi, ça parait sensé, dit Matthew.

— Mme Spencer dit que j'ai la langue trop pendue. Mais ce n'est pas le cas... elle est fermement accrochée au fond. Mme Spencer a dit que l'endroit où vous habitez s’appelle Green Gables. Je lui ai posée des tas de questions à son propos. Et elle a dit qu'il y avait des arbres tout autour. J'étais plus ravie que jamais. Vraiment, j'adore les arbres. Et il n'y en avait pas du tout près de l'orphelinat, juste quelques petites choses chétives et minuscules devant l'entrée avec des petits machins clairsemés, cachés de-ci de-là. Ils ressemblaient eux aussi à des orphelins, ces arbres. Les regarder me donnait envie de pleurer. J'avais l'habitude de leur dire : « Oh, pauvres petites choses ! » Si vous étiez dans un grand bois, parmi d'autres arbres aux alentours et que de petites mousses et des campanules poussaient autour de vos racines avec un ruisseau pas très loin et que des oiseaux chantaient sur vos branches, vous pourriez vous développer, n'est-ce pas ? Mais vous ne pouvez pas là où vous êtes. Je sais exactement ce que vous ressentez, petits arbres. J'ai été navrée de les abandonner ce matin. On s'attache à des choses comme celles-là, pas vous ? Y a-t-il un ruisseau quelque part près de Green Gables ? J'ai oublié de demander ça à Mme Spencer

— Euh, ouais, il y en a un juste en bas de la maison.

— Fantastique ! J'ai toujours rêvé de vivre près d'un ruisseau. Je n'aurais cru que cela fût possible. Les rêves deviennent rarement réalité, non ? Ne serait-ce pas merveilleux si c'était toujours le cas ? Mais, en ce moment, je me sens presque totalement heureuse. Je ne peux pas me sentir tout à fait heureuse parce que... oh ! comment appelleriez-vous cette couleur-ci ?

Elle agita vivement l'une de ses longues et brillantes tresses par dessus sa mince épaule et la mit sous les yeux de Matthew. Matthew n'avait pas l'habitude de donner son avis sur la couleur des tresses des dames, mais, dans le cas présent, il n'y avait guère de doute.

— Roux, non ? dit-il.

La fillette laissa retomber sa tresse avec un soupir qui semblait provenir du bout de ses orteils et exhaler tous l'afflicition du monde.

— Oui, roux ! dit-elle, résignée. — Maintenant, vous savez pourquoi je ne puis être totalement heureuse. Personne ne peut l'être avec des cheveux roux. Le reste ne me dérange pas trop : les taches de rousseurs, les yeux verts et ma maigreur. Je peux imaginer qu'ils n'existent pas. Je peux imaginer que j'ai un magnifique teint de rose et de jolis yeux violets et rêveurs. Mais je n'arrive pas à oublier ces cheveux roux. Je m’efforce de mon mieux. Je me dis : maintenant mes cheveux sont d'un noir brillant, aussi noirs que l'aile d'un corbeau. Mais à chaque fois, je sais qu'ils sont juste complètement roux, et ça me brise le cœur. Ce sera mon chagrin toute ma vie durant. Une fois, j'ai lu dans un roman l'histoire d'une fille qui avait été malheureuse toute sa vie, mais ce n'était pas à cause de ses cheveux roux. Ses cheveux étaient comme un ruisseau d'or pur qui serpentait autour de son front d'albâtre. Qu'est-ce qu'un front d'albâtre ? Je n'ai jamais trouvé ce que c'était. Pouvez-vous me le dire ?

— Eh ben ça, j'ai bien peur que non, répondit Matthew dont la tête commençait à tourner. Il éprouvait ce qu'il avait déjà ressenti dans sa téméraire jeunesse quand un autre garçon l'avait attiré sur un manège au cours d'un pique-nique.

Eh bien, quoi qu'il en soit, c'était quelque chose de gentil parce qu'elle était divinement belle. Avez-vous jamais imaginé ce que l'on doit ressentir d'être divinement beau ?

Eh bien, à dire vrai, non jamais, confessa Matthew naïvement.

Moi oui, souvent. Que préfèreriez-vous obtenir si vous aviez le choix — une beauté divine, une intelligence fulgurante ou la bonté ?

— Eh bien là, tout de suite, je... je ne sais pas vraiment.

— Moi non plus. Je n'arrive pas à me décider. Mais cela ne fait pas de vraie différence car il y a peu de chances que j'arrive jamais à l'un ou l'autre. Une chose est sûre, je ne serai jamais d'une bonté angélique. Mme Spencer a dit — oh, M. Cuthbert ! Oh, M. Cuthbert !! Oh, M. Cuthbert !!!

Ce n'était pas ce que Mme Spencer avait dit ; ni l'enfant n'avait chuté du chariot, ni Matthieu fait quelque chose qui sorte de l'ordinaire. Ils avaient simplement passé un virage sur la route et se trouvaient sur « l'Avenue ».

« L'Avenue », ainsi nommée par les gens de Newbridge, était une tronçon de route de quatre à cinq cents mètres de long, entièrement recouvert d'une immense arche formée par la ramure d'énormes et époustouflants pommiers, plantés des années plus tôt par un vieux fermier excentrique. Au-dessus de leurs têtes, une immense canopée de fleurs neigeuses embaumait. Sous les branches, l'air était empli par le violet du crépuscule et, loin devant eux, se laissait entrevoir un coucher du soleil, comme un tableau sur le ciel, éclatant comme une grande rosace à l'extrémité de la nef d'une cathédrale.

Cette beauté semblait priver la petite de la parole. Elle se laissa aller dans le buggy ; joignit ses petites mains devant elle ; son visage se tendit avec extase vers la splendeur blanche au-dessus d'eux. Même lorsqu'ils en furent sortis et descendirent la longue côte qui les menait vers Newbridge, elle ne bougea ou ne parla plus. Le visage toujours en extase, elle regardait au loin le coucher de soleil à l'ouest, les yeux émerveillés des images se déplaçant magnifiquement dans cet arrière-plan rayonnant. Atteignant Newbridge, un petit village animé où les chiens les aboyaient, les petits garçons sifflaient et les visages curieux regardaient par les fenêtres, ils conduisaient, toujours en silence. Quand ils dépassèrent trois miles de plus, l'enfant n'avait pas parlé. Elle pouvait se taire, c'était évident, aussi énergiquement qu'elle pouvait parler.

Je suppose que vous vous sentez assez fatiguée et affamée, Matthew s'aventurait enfin, seule raison qu'il pût trouver, compte tenu de sa longue période de mutisme. Mais, nous n'avons plus très loin à aller maintenant — seulement un autre mile.

Avec un profond soupir, elle sortit de sa rêverie et le regarda d'un regard rêveur d'une âme revenant des étoiles.

— Oh, M. Cuthbert, murmura-t-elle, ce lieu que nous avons traversé cet endoit blanc, qu'est-ce que c'était ?

— Ah, tu dois parler de l'Avenue, déclara Matthew après quelques instants de profonde réflexion. C'est un joli p'tit coin.

— Joli ? Oh, joli ne semble pas être le bon mot à utiliser. Ni beau, non plus. Ils ne sont pas assez forts. Oh, c'était magnifique... magnifique. C'est la première chose que j'ai jamais vue que l'imagination ne pouvait pas s'améliorer. Je suis simplement comblée ici — elle posa une main sur sa poitrine — ça faisait une étrange douleur et pourtant c'était une douleur agréable. Avez-vous déjà eu un douleur comme ça, monsieur Cuthbert ?

— Eh bien maintenant, je ne peux pas me rappeler que j'avais jamais eu.

Je l'ai beaucoup de fois, chaque fois que je vois quelque chose de vraiment magnifique. Mais on ne devrait pas nommer cet endroit charmant l'« Avenue » ! Ça n'a aucun sens un nom comme celui-là ! Ils devraient l'appeler... voyons voir... la Voie Blanche de la Félicité. N'est-ce pas un joli nom fictif ? Lorsque je n'aime pas le nom d'un endroit ou d'une personne, je lui en crée toujours un nouveau et je pense à eux en tant que tel. Il y avait une fille à l'orphelinat qui s'appelait Hepzibah Jenkins mais je l'imaginais toujours comme étant Rosalia DeVere. Les autres gens peuvent appeler cet endroit l'Avenue mais je l'appellerai toujours la Voie Blanche de la Félicité. Nous reste-t-il vraiment encore un mile avant d'arriver à la maison ? Je suis heureuse et j'ai de la peine. J'ai de la peine parce que ce trajet s'est montré si agréable et j'ai toujours de la peine quand les choses agréables s'achèvent. Quelque chose de plus agréable peut arriver ensuite, mais vous ne pouvez jamais en être certaine. Et que se soit désagréable est si souvent le cas. De toutes façons, c'est comme cela que je l'ai toujours vécu.. Mais je suis heureuse de penser que je vais arriver chez vous. Vous savez, d'aussi loin que je me souvienne, je n'ai jamais eu un vrai chez moi. Rien qu'imaginer un vrai chez moi me procure ce doux pincement au cœur. Oh, n'est-ce pas magnifique ?

Ils avaient atteint le sommet d'une colline. Sous leurs yeux, un étang qui avait plutôt l'air d'une rivière tant il était long et sinueux. Un pont l’enjambait en sa partie médiane et à son extrémité inférieure, une ceinture ambrée de dunes de sable le séparait d'un golfe bleu profond. L'eau offrait un miroitement merveilleux de teintes changeantes : les nuances les plus délicates du crocus, de la rose et de vert éthéré, mêlées à d'autres coloris insaisissables pour lesquels aucun nom n'avait jamais été trouvé. En amont du pont, l'étang longeait des bosquets bordés de sapins et d'érables et s'étalait dans l’obscurité translucide de leurs ombres vacillantes. Ici et là, un prunier sauvage se penchait par dessus la rive comme une jeune fille vêtue de blanc effleurant de la pointe du pied son reflet. Depuis le marais, sur le côté de l'étang, montait le chœur clair, paisible et triste des grenouilles. Il y avait une petite maison grise surplombant une pommeraie blanche sur une pente en contrebas et, bien qu'il ne fît pas encore assez sombre, une lumière filtrait d'une de ses fenêtres.

— C'est l'étang des Barry, dit Matthew.

— Oh, je n'aime pas non plus ce nom-là. Je l'appellerai — Voyons voir — le Lac des Eaux Étincelantes. Oui, c'est le bon nom pour lui. Je le sais à cause du frisson. Quand je trouve un nom qui convient parfaitement, je ressens un frisson. Des choses vous donnent-elles un frisson parfois ?

Matthew cogita.

— Eh bien, oui. Cela me donne toujours la chair de poule de voir ces affreux asticots blancs qui se nichent dans les plants de concombres. Je déteste leur apparence.

— Oh, je ne pense pas que ce soit exactement le même genre de frisson. Ne croyez-vous pas ? Il ne semble pas y avoir beaucoup de similitudes entre les asticots et les lacs des eaux étincelantes, n'est-ce pas ? Mais pourquoi les autres l'appellent-ils l'étang des Barry ?

— J'imagine que M. Barry vit là-haut dans cette maison. Cet endroit s'appelle Orchard Slope. D'ici, sans ce gros buisson en arrière, vous pourriez voir Green Gables. Mais on doit traverser le pont et prendre le virage, alors on en a encore pour presque un demi-mille.

— Monsieur Barry a-t-il des petites filles ? Enfin, pas trop petites non plus... de mon âge.

— Il en a une d'environ onze ans. Elle s'appelle Diana.

— Oh ! laissa-t-elle échapper dans un long soupir. Quel si joli prénom !

— Ben, je sais pas. Il me semble qu'il existe une horrible histoire païenne autour de ce prénom. Je préfèrerais Jane ou Mary ou un nom sensé comme ça. Mais quand Diana est née, ils hébergeaient un maître d'école ; ils lui ont demandé de choisir le prénom et il l'a appelée Diana.

— Comme j'aurais aimé qu'il y ait eu un maître d'école comme ça quand je suis née. Oh, nous arrivons au pont. Je vais fermer les yeux. J'ai toujours peur de traverser les ponts. Je ne peux m'empêcher d'imaginer que, peut-être, au moment où nous serions au milieu, ils se replieraient comme la lame d'un couteau de poche et se refermeraient sur nous. Alors je ferme les yeux. Mais je ne peux jamais m'empêcher de les rouvrir quand je crois que nous sommes presque arrivés au milieu. Parce que, voyez-vous, si le pont s'effondrait, je voudrais le voir s'effondrer. Quel joli grondement il fait ! J'aime toujours le grondement que cela fait. N'est-ce pas merveilleux qu’il y ait dans ce monde tant de choses à aimer ? Voilà, nous l'avons franchi. Maintenant, je peux regarder derrière moi. Bonne nuit, cher Lac des Eaux Étincelantes. Je dis toujours bonsoir aux choses que j'aime, comme je le ferais pour des personnes. Je pense qu'elles apprécient cela. On dirait que cette eau me sourit.

Lorsqu'ils eurent grimpé la colline et tourné à l'angle, Matthew dit : « Nous sommes pratiquement arrivés. Voici Green Gables ... » — Oh, ne me dites pas, l'interrompit-elle impatiemment, saisissant son bras en partie levé et fermant les yeux pour ne pas voir son mouvement. Laissez-moi deviner. Je suis sûre que je vais deviner juste.

Elle ouvrit les yeux et examina les alentours. Ils étaient sur la crête d'une colline. Le soleil était couché depuis quelques minutes, mais le paysage était encore éclairé par la suave lumière du jour. À l'ouest, un clochet d'église sombre s'élevait contre un ciel d'œillets d'Inde. Au-dessous se nichait une petite vallée et plus loin s'élevait une longue pente qui montait doucement ; des fermes douillettes étaient disséminées le long de la rivière. Les yeux de l'enfant couraient d'un endroit à l'autre, envieux et rêveurs. Enfin, ils s'attardèrent sur un point, à gauche, loin de la route, faiblement souligné par la blancheur laiteuse d'arbres en fleurs dans le crépuscule des bois environnants. Au-dessus, dans le ciel uniforme du sud-ouest, une grande étoile d'un blanc cristallin brillait telle un repère lumineux débordant de promesses.

— C'est celle-là, n'est-ce pas ? dit-elle, montrant du doigt.

Matthew cingla avec satisfaction les guides sur le dos de la jument.

— Ma foi, tu as deviné ! Mais je suppose que Mme Spencer en a fait la description pour que tu le saches.

— Non, elle ne l'a pas fait... vraiment, elle ne l'a pas fait. Tout ce qu'elle a dit aurait aussi bien pu concerner n'importe lequel de ces autres endroits. Je n'avais aucune idée de ce à quoi elle ressemblait. Mais aussitôt que je l'ai vue, j'ai senti que c'était la maison. Oh, c'est comme si j'étais dans un rêve. Vous savez, mon bras doit être noir de bleus, car je me suis pincée tellement de fois aujourd'hui. A chaque instant, une horrible sensation de nausée montait en moi. J'ai eu si peur que tout cela ne soit qu'un rêve. Alors je me suis pincée pour voir si c'était vrai... jusqu'à ce que je me rappelle soudain que même en supposant que ce n'était qu'un rêve, je ferais mieux de rêver aussi longtemps que possible, et donc, j'ai cessé de me pincer. Mais c'est la réalité et nous sommes presque à la maison.

Avec un soupir ravi, elle redevint silencieuse. Matthew s'agita, mal à l'aise. Il se sentait heureux que ce soit Marilla et pas lui qui aurait à dire à cette enfant abandonnée du monde que le foyer auquel elle aspirait ne serait pas le sien en fin de compte. Ils dépassèrent Lynde Hollow, où il faisait déjà assez sombre, mais pas tant que Mme Rachel ne pût les voir de sa fenêtre, grimpèrent la colline et s'engagèrent dans la longue voie de Green Gables. Au moment où ils arrivaient à la maison, Matthew reculait devant la révélation imminente avec une énergie qu'il ne comprenait pas. Ce n'était pas à Marilla, ou à lui-même qu'il pensait, ou aux problèmes que cette erreur allait probablement leur causer, mais au désappointement de l'enfant. Lorsqu'il pensait à la façon avec laquelle cette lueur ravie allait être anéantie dans ses yeux, il avait le sentiment inconfortable qu'il était sur le point d'assister un meurtre ; le même sentiment, pratiquement, qui s'emparait de lui lorsqu'il devait tuer un agneau, ou un veau, ou n'importe quelle créature innocente.

Le jardin était entièrement dans la pénombre lorsqu'ils y débouchèrent et, sur son pourtour, les feuilles des peupliers répandaient un bruissement soyeux.

— Écoutez les arbres parlent dans leur sommeil, murmura-t-elle, alors qu'il la soulevait pour la poser sur le sol. Quels rêves magnifiques ils doivent faire !

Puis, serrant fermement le sac de voyage qui contenait « tous ses biens », elle le suivit dans la maison.
unit 1
CHAPTER II.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 8
unit 15
"The five-thirty train has been in and gone half an hour ago," answered that brisk official.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 16
"But there was a passenger dropped off for you—a little girl.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 17
She's sitting out there on the shingles.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 19
'There was more scope for imagination,' she said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 20
She's a case, I should say."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 21
"I'm not expecting a girl," said Matthew blankly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 22
"It's a boy I've come for.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 23
He should be here.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 24
Mrs. Alexander Spencer was to bring him over from Nova Scotia for me."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 25
The station-master whistled.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 26
"Guess there's some mistake," he said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 27
"Mrs. Spencer came off the train with that girl and gave her into my charge.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 29
That's all I know about it—and I haven't got any more orphans concealed hereabouts."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 31
"Well, you'd better question the girl," said the station-master carelessly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 32
"I dare say she'll be able to explain—she's got a tongue of her own, that's certain.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 33
Maybe they were out of boys of the brand you wanted."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 35
Matthew groaned in spirit as he turned about and shuffled gently own the platform towards her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 36
She had been watching him ever since he had passed her and she had her eyes on him now.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 42
"I suppose you are Mr. Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 43
she said in a peculiarly clear, sweet voice.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 44
"I'm very glad to see you.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 48
You could imagine you were dwelling in marble halls, couldn't you?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 49
And I was quite sure you would come for me in the morning, if you didn't to-night."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 50
Matthew had taken the scrawny little hand awkwardly in his; then and there he decided what to do.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 53
"I'm sorry I was late," he said shyly.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 54
"Come along.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 55
The horse is over in the yard.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 56
Give me your bag."
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 57
"Oh, I can carry it," the child responded cheerfully.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 58
"It isn't heavy.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 59
I've got all my worldly goods in it, but it isn't heavy.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 61
It's an extremely old carpet-bag.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 62
Oh, I'm very glad you've come, even if it would have been nice to sleep in a wild cherry-tree.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 63
We've got to drive a long piece, haven't we?
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 64
Mrs. Spencer said it was eight miles.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 65
I'm glad because I love driving.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 66
Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 67
I've never belonged to anybody—not really.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 68
But the asylum was the worst.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 69
I've only been in it four months, but that was enough.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 71
It's worse than anything you could imagine.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 72
Mrs. Spencer said it was wicked of me to talk like that, but I didn't mean to be wicked.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 73
It's so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn't it?
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 74
They were good, you know—the asylum people.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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But there is so little scope for the imagination in an asylum—only just in the other orphans.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 77
unit 78
I guess that's why I'm so thin—I am dreadful thin, ain't I?
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 79
There isn't a pick on my bones.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 80
I do love to imagine I'm nice and plump, with dimples in my elbows."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 84
"Isn't that beautiful?
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 85
What did that tree, leaning out from the bank, all white and lacy, make you think of?"
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 86
she asked.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 87
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 88
"Why, a bride, of course—a bride all in white with a lovely misty veil.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 89
I've never seen one, but I can imagine what she would look like.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 90
I don't ever expect to be a bride myself.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 91
I'm so homely nobody will ever want to marry me—unless it might be a foreign missionary.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 92
I suppose a foreign missionary mightn't be very particular.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 93
But I do hope that some day I shall have a white dress.
3 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 94
That is my highest ideal of earthly bliss.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 95
I just love pretty clothes.
2 Translations, 8 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 97
And then I can imagine that I'm dressed gorgeously.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 99
All the orphans had to wear them, you know.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 100
A merchant in Hopeton last winter donated three hundred yards of wincey to the asylum.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 102
When we got on the train I felt as if everybody must be looking at me and pitying me.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 104
I felt cheered up right away and I enjoyed my trip to the Island with all my might.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 105
I wasn't a bit sick coming over in the boat.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 106
Neither was Mrs. Spencer, although she generally is.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 107
She said she hadn't time to get sick, watching to see that I didn't fall overboard.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 108
She said she never saw the beat of me for prowling about.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 109
But if it kept her from being sea-sick it's a mercy I did prowl, isn't it?
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 111
Oh, there are a lot more cherry-trees all in bloom!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 112
This Island is the bloomiest place.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 113
I just love it already, and I'm so glad I'm going to live here.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 115
It's delightful when your imaginations come true, isn't it?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 116
But those red roads are so funny.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 118
She said I must have asked her a thousand already.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 119
I suppose I had, too, but how are you going to find out about things if you don't ask questions?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 120
And what does make the roads red?"
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 121
"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 122
"Well, that is one of the things to find out sometime.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 123
Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 124
It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it's such an interesting world.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 125
It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 126
There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 127
But am I talking too much?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 128
People are always telling me I do.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 129
Would you rather I didn't talk?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 130
If you say so I'll stop.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 131
I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 132
Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 134
But he had never expected to enjoy the society of a little girl.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 135
Women were bad enough in all conscience, but little girls were worse.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 137
This was the Avonlea type of well-bred little girl.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 139
So he said as shyly as usual: "Oh, you can talk as much as you like.
2 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 140
I don't mind."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 141
"Oh, I'm so glad.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 142
I know you and I are going to get along together fine.
2 Translations, 7 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 144
I've had that said to me a million times if I have once.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 145
And people laugh at me because I use big words.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 146
But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?"
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 147
"Well now, that seems reasonable," said Matthew.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 148
"Mrs. Spencer said that my tongue must be hung in the middle.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 149
But it isn't—it's firmly fastened at one end.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 150
Mrs. Spencer said your place was named Green Gables.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 151
I asked her all about it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 152
And she said there were trees all around it.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 153
I was gladder than ever.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 154
I just love trees.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 156
They just looked like orphans themselves, those trees did.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 157
It used to make me want to cry to look at them.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 158
I used to say to them, 'Oh, you poor little things!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 160
But you can't where you are.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 161
I know just exactly how you feel, little trees.'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 162
I felt sorry to leave them behind this morning.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 163
You do get so attached to things like that, don't you?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 164
Is there a brook anywhere near Green Gables?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 165
I forgot to ask Mrs. Spencer that."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 166
"Well now, yes, there's one right below the house."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 167
"Fancy!
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 168
It's always been one of my dreams to live near a brook.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 169
I never expected I would, though.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 170
Dreams don't often come true, do they?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 171
Wouldn't it be nice if they did?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 172
But just now I feel pretty nearly perfectly happy.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 173
I can't feel exactly perfectly happy because—well, what colour would you call this?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 174
unit 176
"It's red, ain't it?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 177
he said.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 179
"Yes, it's red," she said resignedly.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 180
"Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 181
Nobody could who had red hair.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 182
I don't mind the other things so much—the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 183
I can imagine them away.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 184
I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 185
But I cannot imagine that red hair away.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 186
I do my best.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 187
I think to myself, 'Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing.'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 188
But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 189
It will be my lifelong sorrow.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 190
I read of a girl once in a novel who had a lifelong sorrow, but it wasn't red hair.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 191
Her hair was pure gold rippling back from her alabaster brow.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 192
What is an alabaster brow?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 193
I never could find out.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 194
Can you tell me?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 195
"Well now, I'm afraid I can't," said Matthew, who was getting a little dizzy.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 197
"Well, whatever it was it must have been something nice because she was divinely beautiful.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 198
Have you ever imagined what it must feel like to be divinely beautiful?"
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 199
"Well now, no, I haven't," confessed Matthew ingenuously.
3 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 200
"I have, often.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 202
"Well now, I—I don't know exactly."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 203
"Neither do I. I can never decide.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 204
But it doesn't make much real difference for it isn't likely I'll ever be either.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 205
It's certain I'll never be angelically good.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Mrs. Spencer says—oh, Mr. Cuthbert!
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Oh, Mr.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 208
Cuthbert!!
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 209
Oh, Mr.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 210
Cuthbert!!!"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 212
They had simply rounded a curve in the road and found themselves in the "Avenue."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Its beauty seemed to strike the child dumb.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 221
When three more miles had dropped away behind them the child had not spoken.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 222
She could keep silence, it was evident, as energetically as she could talk.
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 224
"But we haven't very far to go now—only another mile."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 226
"Oh, Mr. Cuthbert," she whispered, "that place we came through—that white place—what was it?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 227
"Well now, you must mean the Avenue," said Matthew after a few moments' profound reflection.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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"It is a kind of pretty place."
3 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 229
"Pretty?
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 230
Oh, pretty doesn't seem the right word to use.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 231
Nor beautiful, either.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 232
They don't go far enough.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 233
Oh, it was wonderful—wonderful.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 234
It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 236
Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Cuthbert?"
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 238
"Well now, I just can't recollect that I ever had."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 239
"I have it lots of times—whenever I see anything royally beautiful.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 240
But they shouldn't call that lovely place the Avenue.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 241
There is no meaning in a name like that.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 242
They should call it—let me see—the White Way of Delight.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 243
Isn't that a nice imaginative name?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 246
Other people may call that place the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Have we really only another mile to go before we get home?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 248
I'm glad and I'm sorry.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 249
I'm sorry because this drive has been so pleasant and I'm always sorry when pleasant things end.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 250
Something still pleasanter may come after, but you can never be sure.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 251
And it's so often the case that it isn't pleasanter.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 252
That has been my experience anyhow.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 253
But I'm glad to think of getting home.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 254
You see, I've never had a real home since I can remember.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 255
It gives me that pleasant ache again just to think of coming to a really truly home.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 256
Oh, isn't that pretty!"
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 257
They had driven over the crest of a hill.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 258
Below them was a pond, looking almost like a river so long and winding was it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 262
From the marsh at the head of the pond came the clear, mournfully-sweet chorus of the frogs.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 264
"That's Barry's pond," said Matthew.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 265
"Oh, I don't like that name, either.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 266
I shall call it—let me see—the Lake of Shining Waters.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 267
Yes, that is the right name for it.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 268
I know because of the thrill.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 269
When I hit on a name that suits exactly it gives me a thrill.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 270
Do things ever give you a thrill?"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Matthew ruminated.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 272
"Well now, yes.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 273
unit 274
I hate the look of them."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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"Oh, I don't think that can be exactly the same kind of a thrill.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 276
Do you think it can?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 277
There doesn't seem to be much connection between grubs and lakes of shining waters, does there?
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 278
But why do other people call it Barry's pond?"
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 279
"I reckon because Mr. Barry lives up there in that house.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 280
Orchard Slope's the name of his place.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 281
If it wasn't for that big bush behind it you could see Green Gables from here.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 282
But we have to go over the bridge and round by the road, so it's near half a mile further."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 283
"Has Mr. Barry any little girls?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 284
Well, not so very little either—about my size."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 285
"He's got one about eleven.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 286
Her name is Diana."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 287
"Oh!"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 288
with a long indrawing of breath.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 289
"What a perfectly lovely name!"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 290
"Well now, I dunno.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 291
There's something dreadful heathenish about it, seems to me.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 292
I'd ruther Jane or Mary or some sensible name like that.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 294
"I wish there had been a schoolmaster like that around when I was born, then.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 295
Oh, here we are at the bridge.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 296
I'm going to shut my eyes tight.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 297
I'm always afraid going over bridges.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 299
So I shut my eyes.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 300
But I always have to open them for all when I think we're getting near the middle.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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Because, you see, if the bridge did crumple up I'd want to see it crumple.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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What a jolly rumble it makes!
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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I always like the rumble part of it.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 304
Isn't it splendid there are so many things to like in this world?
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 305
There, we're over.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 306
Now I'll look back.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 307
Good night, dear Lake of Shining Waters.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 308
I always say good night to the things I love, just as I would to people.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 309
I think they like it.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 310
That water looks as if it was smiling at me."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 311
unit 313
"Let me guess.
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unit 314
I'm sure I'll guess right."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 315
She opened her eyes and looked about her.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 316
They were on the crest of a hill.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 317
The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the mellow afterlight.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 318
To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 320
From one to another the child's eyes darted, eager and wistful.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 323
"That's it, isn't it?"
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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she said, pointing.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 325
Matthew slapped the reins on the sorrel's back delightedly.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 326
"Well now, you've guessed it!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 327
But I reckon Mrs. Spencer described it so's you could tell."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 328
"No, she didn't—really she didn't.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 329
All she said might just as well have been about most of those other places.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 330
I hadn't any real idea what it looked like.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 331
But just as soon as I saw it I felt it was home.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 332
Oh, it seems as if I must be in a dream.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 336
But it is real and we're nearly home."
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 337
With a sigh of rapture she relapsed into silence.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 338
Matthew stirred uneasily.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 345
"Listen to the trees talking in their sleep," she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 346
"What nice dreams they must have!"
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
Bouchka • 3709  commented on  unit 200  1 year, 1 month ago
Oplusse • 14029  translated  unit 177  1 year, 1 month ago
Oplusse • 14029  commented on  unit 99  1 year, 1 month ago
Gabrielle • 13975  translated  unit 54  1 year, 1 month ago
gaelle044 • 5157  commented  1 year, 1 month ago

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.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Anne_of_Green_Gables_(1908)

by gaelle044 1 year, 1 month ago

CHAPTER II. MATTHEW CUTHBERT IS SURPRISED

Matthew Cuthbert and the sorrel mare jogged comfortably over the eight miles to Bright River. It was a pretty road, running along between snug farmsteads, with now and again a bit of balsamy fir wood to drive through or a hollow where wild plums hung out their filmy bloom. The air was sweet with the breath of many apple orchards and the meadows sloped away in the distance to horizon mists of pearl and purple; while

"The little birds sang as if it were
The one day of summer in all the year.

Matthew enjoyed the drive after his own fashion, except during the moments when he met women and had to nod to them—for in Prince Edward Island you are supposed to nod to all and sundry you meet on the road whether you know them or not.

Matthew dreaded all women except Marilla and Mrs. Rachel; he had an uncomfortable feeling that the mysterious creatures were secretly laughing at him. He may have been quite right in thinking so, for he was an odd-looking personage, with an ungainly figure and long iron-gray hair that touched his stooping shoulders, and a full, soft brown beard which he had worn ever since he was twenty. In fact, he had looked at twenty very much as he looked at sixty, lacking a little of the grayness.

When he reached Bright River there was no sign of any train; he thought he was too early, so he tied his horse in the yard of the small Bright River hotel and went over to the station-house. The long platform was almost deserted; the only living creature in sight being a girl who was sitting on a pile of shingles at the extreme end. Matthew, barely noting that it was a girl, sidled past her as quickly as possible without looking at her. Had he looked he could hardly have failed to notice the tense rigidity and expectation of her attitude and expression. She was sitting there waiting for something or somebody and, since sitting and waiting was the only thing to do just then, she sat and waited with all her might and main.

Matthew encountered the station-master locking up the ticket-office preparatory to going home for supper, and asked him if the five-thirty train would soon be along.

"The five-thirty train has been in and gone half an hour ago," answered that brisk official. "But there was a passenger dropped off for you—a little girl. She's sitting out there on the shingles. I asked her to go into the ladies' waiting-room, but she informed me gravely that she preferred to stay outside. 'There was more scope for imagination,' she said. She's a case, I should say."

"I'm not expecting a girl," said Matthew blankly. "It's a boy I've come for. He should be here. Mrs. Alexander Spencer was to bring him over from Nova Scotia for me."

The station-master whistled.

"Guess there's some mistake," he said. "Mrs. Spencer came off the train with that girl and gave her into my charge. Said you and your sister were adopting her from an orphan asylum and that you would be along for her presently. That's all I know about it—and I haven't got any more orphans concealed hereabouts."

"I don't understand," said Matthew helplessly, wishing that Marilla was at hand to cope with the situation.

"Well, you'd better question the girl," said the station-master carelessly. "I dare say she'll be able to explain—she's got a tongue of her own, that's certain. Maybe they were out of boys of the brand you wanted."

He walked jauntily away, being hungry, and the unfortunate Matthew was left to do that which was harder for him than bearding a lion in its den—walk up to a girl—a strange girl—an orphan girl—and demand of her why she wasn't a boy. Matthew groaned in spirit as he turned about and shuffled gently own the platform towards her.

She had been watching him ever since he had passed her and she had her eyes on him now. Matthew was not looking at her and would not have seen what she was really like if he had been, but an ordinary observer would have seen this:

A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish gray wincey. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, that looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others.

So far, the ordinary observer; an extraordinary observer might have seen that the chin was very pointed and pronounced; that the big eyes were full of spirit and vivacity; that the mouth was sweet-lipped and expressive; that the forehead was broad and full; in short, our discerning extraordinary observer might have concluded that no commonplace soul inhabited the body of this stray woman-child of whom shy Matthew Cuthbert was so ludicrously afraid.

Matthew, however, was spared the ordeal of speaking first, for as soon as she concluded that he was coming to her she stood up, grasping with one thin brown hand the handle of a shabby, old-fashioned carpet-bag; the other she held out to him.

"I suppose you are Mr. Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables?" she said in a peculiarly clear, sweet voice. "I'm very glad to see you. I was beginning to be afraid you weren't coming for me and I was imagining all the things that might have happened to prevent you. I had made up my mind that if you didn't come for me to-night I'd go down the track to that big wild cherry-tree at the bend, and climb up into it to stay all night. I wouldn't be a bit afraid, and it would be lovely to sleep in a wild cherry-tree all white with bloom in the moonshine, don't you think? You could imagine you were dwelling in marble halls, couldn't you? And I was quite sure you would come for me in the morning, if you didn't to-night."

Matthew had taken the scrawny little hand awkwardly in his; then and there he decided what to do. He could not tell this child with the glowing eyes that there had been a mistake; he would take her home and let Marilla do that. She couldn't be left at Bright River anyhow, no matter what mistake had been made, so all questions and explanations might as well be deferred until he was safely back at Green Gables.

"I'm sorry I was late," he said shyly. "Come along. The horse is over in the yard. Give me your bag."

"Oh, I can carry it," the child responded cheerfully. "It isn't heavy. I've got all my worldly goods in it, but it isn't heavy. And if it isn't carried in just a certain way the handle pulls out—so I'd better keep it because I know the exact knack of it. It's an extremely old carpet-bag. Oh, I'm very glad you've come, even if it would have been nice to sleep in a wild cherry-tree. We've got to drive a long piece, haven't we? Mrs. Spencer said it was eight miles. I'm glad because I love driving. Oh, it seems so wonderful that I'm going to live with you and belong to you. I've never belonged to anybody—not really. But the asylum was the worst. I've only been in it four months, but that was enough. I don't suppose you ever were an orphan in an asylum, so you can't possibly understand what it is like. It's worse than anything you could imagine. Mrs. Spencer said it was wicked of me to talk like that, but I didn't mean to be wicked. It's so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn't it? They were good, you know—the asylum people. But there is so little scope for the imagination in an asylum—only just in the other orphans. It was pretty interesting to imagine things about them—to imagine that perhaps the girl who sat next to you was really the daughter of a belted earl, who had been stolen away from her parents in her infancy by a cruel nurse who died before she could confess. I used to lie awake at nights and imagine things like that, because I didn't have time in the day. I guess that's why I'm so thin—I am dreadful thin, ain't I? There isn't a pick on my bones. I do love to imagine I'm nice and plump, with dimples in my elbows."

With this Matthew's companion stopped talking, partly because she was out of breath and partly because they had reached the buggy. Not another word did she say until they had left the village and were driving down a steep little hill, the road part of which had been cut so deeply into the soft soil that the banks, fringed with blooming wild cherry-trees and slim white birches, were several feet above their heads.

The child put out her hand and broke off a branch of wild plum that brushed against the side of the buggy.

"Isn't that beautiful? What did that tree, leaning out from the bank, all white and lacy, make you think of?" she asked.

"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.

"Why, a bride, of course—a bride all in white with a lovely misty veil. I've never seen one, but I can imagine what she would look like. I don't ever expect to be a bride myself. I'm so homely nobody will ever want to marry me—unless it might be a foreign missionary. I suppose a foreign missionary mightn't be very particular. But I do hope that some day I shall have a white dress. That is my highest ideal of earthly bliss. I just love pretty clothes. And I've never had a pretty dress in my life that I can remember—but of course it's all the more to look forward to, isn't it? And then I can imagine that I'm dressed gorgeously. This morning when I left the asylum I felt so ashamed because I had to wear this horrid old wincey dress. All the orphans had to wear them, you know. A merchant in Hopeton last winter donated three hundred yards of wincey to the asylum. Some people said it was because he couldn't sell it, but I'd rather believe that it was out of the kindness of his heart, wouldn't you? When we got on the train I felt as if everybody must be looking at me and pitying me. But I just went to work and imagined that I had on the most beautiful pale blue silk dress—because when you are imagining you might as well imagine something worth while—and a big hat all flowers and nodding plumes, and a gold watch, and kid gloves and boots. I felt cheered up right away and I enjoyed my trip to the Island with all my might. I wasn't a bit sick coming over in the boat. Neither was Mrs. Spencer, although she generally is. She said she hadn't time to get sick, watching to see that I didn't fall overboard. She said she never saw the beat of me for prowling about. But if it kept her from being sea-sick it's a mercy I did prowl, isn't it? And I wanted to see everything that was to be seen on that boat, because I didn't know whether I'd ever have another opportunity. Oh, there are a lot more cherry-trees all in bloom! This Island is the bloomiest place. I just love it already, and I'm so glad I'm going to live here. I've always heard that Prince Edward Island was the prettiest place in the world, and I used to imagine I was living here, but I never really expected I would. It's delightful when your imaginations come true, isn't it? But those red roads are so funny. When we got into the train at Charlottetown and the red roads began to flash past I asked Mrs. Spencer what made them red and she said she didn't know and for pity's sake not to ask her any more questions. She said I must have asked her a thousand already. I suppose I had, too, but how are you going to find out about things if you don't ask questions? And what does make the roads red?"

"Well now, I dunno," said Matthew.

"Well, that is one of the things to find out sometime. Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there? But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn't talk? If you say so I'll stop. I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult."

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it. But he had never expected to enjoy the society of a little girl. Women were bad enough in all conscience, but little girls were worse. He detested the way they had of sidling past him timidly, with side-wise glances, as if they expected him to gobble them up at a mouthful if they ventured to say a word. This was the Avonlea type of well-bred little girl. But this freckled witch was very different, and although he found it rather difficult for his slower intelligence to keep up with her brisk mental processes he thought that he "kind of liked her chatter." So he said as shyly as usual:

"Oh, you can talk as much as you like. I don't mind."

"Oh, I'm so glad. I know you and I are going to get along together fine. It's such a relief to talk when one wants to and not be told that children should be seen and not heard. I've had that said to me a million times if I have once. And people laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?"

"Well now, that seems reasonable," said Matthew.

"Mrs. Spencer said that my tongue must be hung in the middle. But it isn't—it's firmly fastened at one end. Mrs. Spencer said your place was named Green Gables. I asked her all about it. And she said there were trees all around it. I was gladder than ever. I just love trees. And there weren't any at all about the asylum, only a few poor weeny-teeny things out in front with little whitewashed cagey things about them. They just looked like orphans themselves, those trees did. It used to make me want to cry to look at them. I used to say to them, 'Oh, you poor little things! If you were out in a great big woods with other trees all around you and little mosses and Junebells growing over your roots and a brook not far away and birds singing in your branches, you could grow, couldn't you? But you can't where you are. I know just exactly how you feel, little trees.' I felt sorry to leave them behind this morning. You do get so attached to things like that, don't you? Is there a brook anywhere near Green Gables? I forgot to ask Mrs. Spencer that."

"Well now, yes, there's one right below the house."

"Fancy! It's always been one of my dreams to live near a brook. I never expected I would, though. Dreams don't often come true, do they? Wouldn't it be nice if they did? But just now I feel pretty nearly perfectly happy. I can't feel exactly perfectly happy because—well, what colour would you call this?"

She twitched one of her long glossy braids over her thin shoulder and held it up before Matthew's eyes. Matthew was not used to deciding on the tints of ladies' tresses, but in this case there couldn't be much doubt.

"It's red, ain't it?" he said.

The girl let the braid drop back with a sigh that seemed to come from her very toes and to exhale forth all the sorrows of the ages.

"Yes, it's red," she said resignedly. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don't mind the other things so much—the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, 'Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven's wing.' But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow. I read of a girl once in a novel who had a lifelong sorrow, but it wasn't red hair. Her hair was pure gold rippling back from her alabaster brow. What is an alabaster brow? I never could find out. Can you tell me?"

"Well now, I'm afraid I can't," said Matthew, who was getting a little dizzy. He felt as he had once felt in his rash youth when another boy had enticed him on the merry-go-round at a picnic.

"Well, whatever it was it must have been something nice because she was divinely beautiful. Have you ever imagined what it must feel like to be divinely beautiful?"

"Well now, no, I haven't," confessed Matthew ingenuously.

"I have, often. Which would you rather be if you had the choice—divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?"

"Well now, I—I don't know exactly."

"Neither do I. I can never decide. But it doesn't make much real difference for it isn't likely I'll ever be either. It's certain I'll never be angelically good. Mrs. Spencer says—oh, Mr. Cuthbert! Oh, Mr. Cuthbert!! Oh, Mr. Cuthbert!!!"

That was not what Mrs. Spencer had said; neither had the child tumbled out of the buggy nor had Matthew done anything astonishing. They had simply rounded a curve in the road and found themselves in the "Avenue."

The "Avenue," so called by the Newbridge people, was a stretch of road four or five hundred yards long, completely arched over with huge, wide-spreading apple-trees, planted years ago by an eccentric old farmer. Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom. Below the boughs the air as full of a purple twilight and far ahead a glimpse of painted sunset sky shone like a great rose window at the end of a cathedral aisle.

Its beauty seemed to strike the child dumb. She leaned back in the buggy, her thin hands clasped before her, her face lifted rapturously to the white splendour above. Even when they had passed out and were driving down the long slope to Newbridge she never moved or spoke. Still with rapt face she gazed afar into the sunset west, with eyes that saw visions trooping splendidly across that glowing background. Through Newbridge, a bustling little village where dogs barked at them and small boys hooted and curious faces peered from the windows, they drove, still in silence. When three more miles had dropped away behind them the child had not spoken. She could keep silence, it was evident, as energetically as she could talk.

"I guess you're feeling pretty tired and hungry," Matthew ventured at last, accounting for her long visitation of dumbness with the only reason he could think of. "But we haven't very far to go now—only another mile."

She came out of her reverie with a deep sigh and looked at him with the dreamy gaze of a soul that had been wondering afar, star-led.

"Oh, Mr. Cuthbert," she whispered, "that place we came through—that white place—what was it?"

"Well now, you must mean the Avenue," said Matthew after a few moments' profound reflection. "It is a kind of pretty place."

"Pretty? Oh, pretty doesn't seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don't go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful—wonderful. It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination. It just satisfied me here"—she put one hand on her breast—"it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache. Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr. Cuthbert?"

"Well now, I just can't recollect that I ever had."

"I have it lots of times—whenever I see anything royally beautiful. But they shouldn't call that lovely place the Avenue. There is no meaning in a name like that. They should call it—let me see—the White Way of Delight. Isn't that a nice imaginative name? When I don't like the name of a place or a person I always imagine a new one and always think of them so. There was a girl at the asylum whose name was Hepzibah Jenkins, but I always imagined her as Rosalia DeVere. Other people may call that place the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight. Have we really only another mile to go before we get home? I'm glad and I'm sorry. I'm sorry because this drive has been so pleasant and I'm always sorry when pleasant things end. Something still pleasanter may come after, but you can never be sure. And it's so often the case that it isn't pleasanter. That has been my experience anyhow. But I'm glad to think of getting home. You see, I've never had a real home since I can remember. It gives me that pleasant ache again just to think of coming to a really truly home. Oh, isn't that pretty!"

They had driven over the crest of a hill. Below them was a pond, looking almost like a river so long and winding was it. A bridge spanned it midway and from there to its lower end, where an amber-hued belt of sand-hills shut it in from the dark blue gulf beyond, the water was a glory of many shifting hues—the most spiritual shadings of crocus and rose and ethereal green, with other elusive tintings for which no name has ever been found. Above the bridge the pond ran up into fringing groves of fir and maple and lay all darkly translucent in their wavering shadows. Here and there a wild plum leaned out from the bank like a white-clad girl tip-toeing to her own reflection. From the marsh at the head of the pond came the clear, mournfully-sweet chorus of the frogs. There was a little gray house peering around a white apple orchard on a slope beyond and, although it was not yet quite dark, a light was shining from one of its windows.

"That's Barry's pond," said Matthew.

"Oh, I don't like that name, either. I shall call it—let me see—the Lake of Shining Waters. Yes, that is the right name for it. I know because of the thrill. When I hit on a name that suits exactly it gives me a thrill. Do things ever give you a thrill?"

Matthew ruminated.

"Well now, yes. It always kind of gives me a thrill to see them ugly white grubs that spade up in the cucumber beds. I hate the look of them."

"Oh, I don't think that can be exactly the same kind of a thrill. Do you think it can? There doesn't seem to be much connection between grubs and lakes of shining waters, does there? But why do other people call it Barry's pond?"

"I reckon because Mr. Barry lives up there in that house. Orchard Slope's the name of his place. If it wasn't for that big bush behind it you could see Green Gables from here. But we have to go over the bridge and round by the road, so it's near half a mile further."

"Has Mr. Barry any little girls? Well, not so very little either—about my size."

"He's got one about eleven. Her name is Diana."

"Oh!" with a long indrawing of breath. "What a perfectly lovely name!"

"Well now, I dunno. There's something dreadful heathenish about it, seems to me. I'd ruther Jane or Mary or some sensible name like that. But when Diana was born there was a schoolmaster boarding there and they gave him the naming of her and he called her Diana."

"I wish there had been a schoolmaster like that around when I was born, then. Oh, here we are at the bridge. I'm going to shut my eyes tight. I'm always afraid going over bridges. I can't help imagining that perhaps, just as we get to the middle, they'll crumple up like a jack-knife and nip us. So I shut my eyes. But I always have to open them for all when I think we're getting near the middle. Because, you see, if the bridge did crumple up I'd want to see it crumple. What a jolly rumble it makes! I always like the rumble part of it. Isn't it splendid there are so many things to like in this world? There, we're over. Now I'll look back. Good night, dear Lake of Shining Waters. I always say good night to the things I love, just as I would to people. I think they like it. That water looks as if it was smiling at me."

When they had driven up the further hill and around a corner Matthew said:

"We're pretty near home now. That's Green Gables over—"

"Oh, don't tell me," she interrupted breathlessly, catching at his partially raised arm and shutting her eyes that she might not see his gesture. "Let me guess. I'm sure I'll guess right."

She opened her eyes and looked about her. They were on the crest of a hill. The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the mellow afterlight. To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it. From one to another the child's eyes darted, eager and wistful. At last they lingered on one away to the left, far back from the road, dimly white with blossoming trees in the twilight of the surrounding woods. Over it, in the stainless southwest sky, a great crystal-white star was shining like a lamp of guidance and promise.

"That's it, isn't it?" she said, pointing.

Matthew slapped the reins on the sorrel's back delightedly.

"Well now, you've guessed it! But I reckon Mrs. Spencer described it so's you could tell."

"No, she didn't—really she didn't. All she said might just as well have been about most of those other places. I hadn't any real idea what it looked like. But just as soon as I saw it I felt it was home. Oh, it seems as if I must be in a dream. Do you know, my arm must be black and blue from the elbow up, for I've pinched myself so many times to-day. Every little while a horrible sickening feeling would come over me and I'd be so afraid it was all a dream. Then I'd pinch myself to see if it was real—until suddenly I remembered that even supposing it was only a dream I'd better go on dreaming as long as I could; so I stopped pinching. But it is real and we're nearly home."

With a sigh of rapture she relapsed into silence. Matthew stirred uneasily. He felt glad that it would be Marilla and not he who would have to tell this waif of the world that the home she longed for was not to be hers after all. They drove over Lynde's Hollow, where it was already quite dark, but not so dark that Mrs. Rachel could not see them from her window vantage, and up the hill and into the long lane of Green Gables. By the time they arrived at the house Matthew was shrinking from the approaching revelation with an energy he did not understand. It was not of Marilla or himself he was thinking or of the trouble this mistake was probably going to make for them, but of the child's disappointment. When he thought of that rapt light being quenched in her eyes he had an uncomfortable feeling that he was going to assist at murdering something—much the same feeling that came over him when he had to kill a lamb or calf or any other innocent little creature.

The yard was quite dark as they turned into it and the poplar leaves were rustling silkily all round it.

"Listen to the trees talking in their sleep," she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground. "What nice dreams they must have!"

Then, holding tightly to the carpet-bag which contained "all her worldly goods," she followed him into the house.