en-fr  Anne of Green Gables /Chapter III
CHAPITRE III.


MARILLA CUTHBERT EST SURPRISE.


Marilla s'avança vivement vers eux lorsque Matthew ouvrit la porte. Mais quand son regard tomba sur l’étrange petite silhouette aux longues nattes de cheveux roux et aux yeux lumineux et impatients dans une robe raide et laide, elle s'arrêta net de stupéfaction.

— Matthew Cuthbert, qui est-ce ? s'écria-t-elle. Où est le garçon ?

— Il n'y avait pas de garçon, dit misérablement Matthew. Il n'y avait qu'elle.

Il désigna l'enfant du menton, se rappelant qu'il ne lui avait même pas demandé son nom.

— Pas de garçon ! Mais il devait y avoir un garçon, insista Marilla. Nous avons envoyé un mot à Mme Spencer pour faire venir un garçon.

— Eh bien, elle n'a pas fait. Elle l'a envoyée elle. J'ai demandé au chef de gare. Et je devais la ramener à la maison. Elle ne pouvait pas rester là-bas, peu importe où l'erreur avait été commise.

— Eh bien, la belle affaire ! Pesta Marilla.

Pendant cet échange, l'enfant était demeurée silencieuse, ses yeux errant de l'un à l'autre, toute la vivacité disparaissant de son visage. Soudain elle sembla saisir pleinement le sens de ce qui avait été dit. Laissant tomber son précieux sac de voyage, elle s'avança d'un pas et joignit les mains.

— Vous ne voulez pas de moi ! s'exclama-t-elle. Vous ne voulez pas de moi parce que je ne suis pas un garçon ! J'aurais dû m'y attendre. Personne n'a jamais voulu de moi. J'aurais dû savoir que tout était trop beau pour durer. J'aurais dû savoir que personne ne voulait vraiment de moi. Oh, que vais-je faire ? Je vais fondre en larmes !

Et elle éclata en larmes. Elle s'assit sur une chaise devant la table, enfouit son visage au creux de ses bras et se mit à pleurer à gros sanglots. Par dessus le poêle, Marilla et Matthew se lançaient des regards désapprobateurs. Aucun d'eux ne savait quoi dire ou faire. Finalement Marilla tenta gauchement d'intervenir.

— Là, là, ce n'est pas la peine de pleurer pour ça !

— Si, ça vaut la peine ! L'enfant releva vivement la tête, découvrant un visage baigné de larmes et des lèvres frémissantes. — Vous pleureriez aussi si vous étiez orpheline et si en arrivant dans un lieu que vous pensiez être votre future maison, vous découvriez que l'on ne veut pas de vous parce que vous n'êtes pas un garçon. Oh, c'est la chose la plus tragique qui me soit jamais arrivée !

Quelque chose comme un discret sourire, comme rouillé par une longue période d'inaction, adoucit l'expression sévère de Marilla.

— Eh bien, ne pleure plus. On ne va pas te renvoyer cette nuit. Tu vas devoir rester ici jusqu'à ce qu'on débrouille cette affaire. Comment tu t'appelles ?

L'enfant hésita un instant.

— Pourriez-vous m'appeler Cordelia s'il vous plaît ? dit-elle avec passion.

— T'appeler Cordelia ! C'est ton nom ?

— Nooon, pas vraiment mon nom, mais j'adorerais qu'on m'appelle Cordelia. C'est un nom si parfaitement élégant.

Je ne comprends rien à ce que tu me dis. Si Cordélia n'est pas ton nom, quel est-il ?

— Anne Shirley, lâcha à regret la propriétaire de ce nom, mais oh, je vous en prie, appelez-moi Cordelia. Cela n'a pas beaucoup d'importance pour vous comment vous m'appelez si je ne dois rester ici que peu de temps, n'est-ce pas ? Et Anne est un prénom si peu romantique.

— Peu romantique, balivernes ! dit Marilla sans manifester la moindre compassion. — Anne est un joli prénom, simple et très raisonnable. — Tu n'as pas de raison d'en avoir honte.

— Oh, je n'en ai pas honte, expliqua Anne, seulement je préfère Cordélia. J'ai toujours imaginé que Cordélia était mon nom — du moins, depuis quelques années. Quand j'étais jeune, je m'imaginais que c'était Géraldine, mais je préfère Cordélia maintenant. Mais si vous m'appelez Anne, s'il vous plaît, appelez-moi Anne avec un e — Quelle différence cela fait-il épelé ainsi ? demanda Marilla avec un sourire forcé tout en reprenant la théière.

— Oh, cela fait une sacré différence. Ça a beaucoup plus d'allure. Quand vous entendez la prononciation d'un nom, ne le voyez-vous pas toujours dans votre tête, exactement comme s'il y était imprimé ? Moi, oui, et A-n-n a une apparence horrible mais A-n-n-e fait beaucoup plus distingué. S'il seulement vous pouviez m'appeler Anne épelé avec un e, j'essaierai de m'habituer à ne pas être appelée Cordelia.

— Très bien, alors, Anne épelé avec un e, peux-tu nous dire comment cette erreur est arrivée ? Nous avons dit à Mme Spencer de nous amener un garçon. N'y avait-il pas de garçons à l'orphelinat ?

— Mais oui, il y en avait en abondance. Mais Mme Spencer a dit distinctement que vous vouliez une fille d'environ onze ans. Et la directrice a dit qu'elle pensait que je conviendrais. Vous ne pouvez pas savoir à quel point j'étais ravie. Je n'ai pas pu dormir toute la nuit à cause de la joie. Oh, "ajouta-elle avec un ton de reproche, en se tournant vers Matthew, "Pourquoi ne m'avais-tu pas dit à la gare que tu ne voulais pas de moi et que tu me laissais là-bas? Si je n'avais pas vu la Voie Blanche des Delices et le Lac des Eaux Étincelantes, ce ne serait pas si difficile.

— Doux Jésus, que veut-elle dire ? interrogea Marilla, en dévisageant Matthew.

— Elle ... elle fait allusion à une conversation que nous avons eue sur la route, s'empressa de dire Matthew. Je vais rentrer la jument, Marilla. Prépare le thé pour mon retour.

— Mme Spencer a-t-elle amené quelqu'un d'autre que toi ? poursuivit Marilla quand Matthew fut sorti.

Elle a ramené Lily Jones pour elle-même. Lily n'a que cinq ans et elle est très belle. Elle a les cheveux châtains. Si j'étais très belle et que j'avais les cheveux châtains, me garderiez-vous ?

— Non. Nous voulons un garçon pour aider Matthew à la ferme. Une fille ne nous servirait à rien. Enlève ton chapeau. Je vais le mettre avec ton sac sur la table du couloir.

Anne ôta son chapeau sans broncher. Matthew revint à ce moment et ils s'installèrent pour souper. Mais Anne ne pouvait rien avaler. Sans résultat elle grignota le pain et le beurre et picora la confiture de pommes sauvages dans le petit plat en verre ciselé près de son assiette. Mais rien ne passait.

— Tu ne manges rien du tout, dit Marilla sèchement, la toisant comme si c'était une faute grave.

Anne soupira.

Je ne peux pas. Je touche le fond du désespoir. Pouvez-vous manger quand vous êtes au fond du désespoir ?

- Je n'ai jamais été au fond du désespoir, aussi je ne peux pas dire, répondit Marilla.

- Jamais ? Bon, n'avez-vous jamais essayé d'imaginer que vous étiez au fond du désespoir ?

- Non, jamais.

- Alors je ne pense pas que vous pouvez comprendre ce que c'est. C'est une sensation vraiment très pénible. Lorsque vous essayez de manger une boule se forme dans votre gorge et vous ne pouvez rien avaler, pas même un caramel au chocolat. J'ai mangé un caramel au chocolat une fois, il y a deux ans, et c'était tout simplement délicieux. Depuis lors, je rêve souvent que j'ai plein de caramels au chocolat, mais je me réveille toujours juste au moment de les manger. J'espère que vous ne serez pas vexée parce que je ne mange pas. Tout est extrêmement bon, mais je n'arrive toujours pas à manger.

— Je pense qu'elle est fatiguée, dit Matthew, qui n'avait pas prononcé un mot depuis son retour de la grange. Le mieux est de la mettre au lit, Marilla.

Marilla se demandait où l'on pourrait coucher Anne. Elle avait préparé un divan dans la pièce attenante à la cuisine pour le garçon désiré et attendu. Mais, bien qu'il fût propre et convenable, le lieu ne semblait pas vraiment adapté pour une fille. Mais il était hors de question d'attribuer la chambre d'amis à cette orpheline égarée, ainsi, il ne restait donc que la chambre du pignon est. Marilla alluma une bougie et demanda à Anne de la suivre, ce que fit Anne sans enthousiasme, prenant au passage son chapeau et son sac de voyage posés sur la table du vestibule. Le vestibule était terriblement propre ; la petite chambre du pignon dans laquelle elle se trouvait actuellement semblait plus reluisante encore.

Marilla posa le bougeoir sur une table triangulaire à trois pieds et repoussa les draps.

— Je suppose que tu as une chemise de nuit ? demanda-t-elle.

Anne acquiesça.

— Oui, j'en ai deux. La directrice de l'orphelinat les a cousues pour moi. Elles sont terriblement étriquées. Il n'y en a jamais assez pour tout le monde dans un orphelinat, donc les affaires sont toujours étriquées ... du moins dans un orphelinat pauvre comme le nôtre. Je déteste les chemises de nuit trop étroites. Mais on peut rêver aussi bien dans celles-ci, que dans les longues ravissantes avec des fanfreluches autour du cou, c'est une consolation.

— Bien, déshabille-toi aussi vite que possible et mets-toi au lit. Je reviendrai chercher la bougie dans quelques minutes. Je n'ose te faire confiance pour l'éteindre toi-même. Tu serais capable de mettre le feu à la maison.

Lorsque Marilla fut partie, Anne regarda mélancoliquement autour d'elle. Les murs blanchis à la chaux étaient si désespérément vides et nus qu'elle pensa qu'ils devaient souffrir de leur propre dépouillement. Le sol était nu, lui aussi, à l'exception d'un tapis rond tressé comme Anne n'en avait jamais vu auparavant en son centre. Dans l'un des coins, se trouvait le lit, haut et d’ancienne facture, avec quatre montants sombres et courts. Dans l'autre coin se trouvait la table triangulaire mentionnée, ornée d'une grosse pelote à épingles en velours rouge, assez dure pour tordre la pointe de la plus aventureuse des épingles. Au-dessus était accroché un petit miroir de six sur huit. A mi-chemin entre la table et le lit, se trouvait la fenêtre habillée d'un volant de mousseline blanc glacé, et à l'opposé il y avait le meuble de toilette. Toute la pièce était empreinte d'une austérité difficile à décrire, mais qui glaça Anne jusqu'à la moelle. Dans un sanglot, elle retira rapidement ses vêtements, enfila la chemise de nuit étriquée et sauta dans le lit où elle enfouit son visage dans l'oreiller et rabattit les draps par-dessus sa tête. Quand Marilla vint pour souffler la bougie, quelques petits vêtements éparpillés sur le sol et l'apparence du lit un peu en désordre furent les seuls signes d'une présence autre que la sienne.

Résolument, elle ramassa les vêtements d'Anne, les posa soigneusement sur une chaise jaune guindée, puis prit la chandelle et se dirigea vers le lit.

— Bonne nuit, dit-elle, un peu maladroitement, mais pas désagréable.

Tout à coup le visage blanc et les grands yeux d'Anne apparurent au-dessus des draps.

— Comment pouvez-vous appeler ça une bonne nuit quand vous savez qu'elle doit être la pire nuit que j'aie jamais eue ? dit-elle avec reproche.

Puis elle plongea de nouveau sous les draps.

Marilla redescendit lentement à la cuisine et commença à faire la vaisselle. Matthew fumait - le signe certain de son esprit troublé. ll fumait rarement, car Marilla s'élevait contre cette mauvaise habitude; mais à certains moments et saisons, il se sentait poussé à cela et puis Marilla faisait un clin d'œil à la pratique, se rendant compte qu'un homme tout simple devrait pouvoir donner libre court à ses émotions.

— Alors, c'est une belle affaire, dit-elle furieuse. — Voilà ce qui arrive quand on envoie un courrier plutôt que de se déplacer. La famille de Robert Spencer a déformé ce message d'une façon ou d'une autre. L'un de nous devra aller voir Mme Spencer demain, c'est sûr. Cette fille devra être renvoyée à l'orphelinat.

— Oui, je suppose que oui, dit Matthew le cœur lourd.

— Tu supposes ! Tu ne le sais pas ?

— Eh bien, Marilla, cette gamine est une petite chose très mignonne. Cela me fait pitié de devoir la renvoyer alors qu'elle a tant envie de rester ici.

— Matthew Cuthbert, tu n'es pas en train de dire que tu crois qu'on devrait la garder !

La stupéfaction de Marilla n'aurait pu être plus grande si Matthew lui avait exprimé l'envie de se tenir debout sur la tête.

— Eh bien maintenant, non, je suppose que non - pas exactement, bégaya Matthew, mal à l'aise dans un coin pour s'expliquer. — Je suppose... que nous pourrions difficilement espérer la garder.

— Je pense bien que non. Que peut-elle nous apporter de bon ?

— Nous pourrions lui apporter quelque chose de bon, dit subitement Matthew de manière inattendue.

— Matthew Cuthbert, je pense que cette enfant t'a envoûté ! Je vois clairement que tu veux la garder.

— Ma foi, c'est une petite gamine très intéressante, insista Matthew. Tu aurais dû l'entendre parler, sur le chemin du retour de la gare.

— Oh, elle a la parole facile, oui. J'ai vu ça tout de suite. Ce n'est pas non plus en sa faveur. Je n'aime pas les enfants qui ont toujours quelque chose à dire. Je ne veux pas d'orpheline et si j'en voulais une ce n'est pas le genre que je choisirais Il y a quelque chose en elle que je ne comprends pas. Non, elle doit être réexpédiée sur-le-champ d'où elle vient.

— Je pourrais engager un jeune Français pour m'aider, dit Matthew, et la petite serait une compagnie pour toi

— Je n'ai pas besoin de compagnie, répliqua sèchement Marilla. Et je ne vais pas la garder.

— Eh bien, Marilla, ce sera comme tu dis, dit Matthew en se levant et en reposant sa pipe. Je vais me coucher.

Matthew alla se coucher. Et Marilla, quand elle eut rangé sa vaisselle, alla se coucher, le visage résolument fermé. Et à l'étage, dans le pignon est, une enfant seule, assoiffée d'amour, sans amis, pleurait sur son sort sans trouver le sommeil..
unit 1
CHAPTER III.
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MARILLA CUTHBERT IS SURPRISED.
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Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door.
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"Matthew Cuthbert, who's that?"
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she ejaculated.
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"Where is the boy?"
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"There wasn't any boy," said Matthew wretchedly.
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"There was only her."
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He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even asked her name.
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"No boy!
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But there must have been a boy," insisted Marilla.
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"We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy."
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"Well, she didn't.
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She brought her.
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I asked the station-master.
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And I had to bring her home.
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She couldn't be left there, no matter where the mistake had come in."
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"Well, this is a pretty piece of business!"
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ejaculated Marilla.
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Suddenly she seemed tograsp the full meaning of what had been said.
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Dropping her precious carpet-bag she sprang forward a step and clasped her hands.
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"You don't want me!"
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she cried.
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"You don't want me because I'm not a boy!
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I might have expected it.
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Nobody ever did want me.
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I might have known it was all too beautiful to last.
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I might have known nobody really did want me.
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Oh, what shall I do?
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I'm going to burst into tears!"
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Burst into tears she did.
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Marilla and Matthew looked at each other deprecatingly across the stove.
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Neither of them knew what to say or do.
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Finally Marilla stepped lamely into the breach.
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"Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."
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"Yes, there is need!"
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Oh, this is the most tragical thing that ever happened to me!"
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"Well, don't cry any more.
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We're not going to turn you out-of-doors to-night.
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You'll have to stay here until we investigate this affair.
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What's your name?"
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The child hesitated for a moment.
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"Will you please call me Cordelia?"
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she said eagerly.
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"Call you Cordelia!
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Is that your name?"
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"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia.
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It's such a perfectly elegant name."
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"I don't know what on earth you mean.
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If Cordelia isn't your name, what is?"
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And Anne is such an unromantic name."
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"Unromantic fiddlesticks!"
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unit 61
said the unsympathetic Marilla.
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"Anne is a real good plain sensible name.
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You've no need to be ashamed of it."
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"Oh, I'm not ashamed of it," explained Anne, "only I like Cordelia better.
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asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.
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"Oh, it makes such a difference.
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It looks so much nicer.
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I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished.
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We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring us a boy.
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Were there no boys at the asylum?"
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"Oh, yes, there was an abundance of them.
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But Mrs. Spencer said distinctly that you wanted a girl about eleven years old.
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And the matron said she thought I would do.
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You don't know how delighted I was.
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I couldn't sleep all last night for joy.
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"What on earth does she mean?"
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demanded Marilla, staring at Matthew.
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"I'm going out to put the mare in, Marilla.
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Have tea ready when I come back."
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"Did Mrs. Spencer bring anybody over besides you?"
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continued Marilla when Matthew had gone out.
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unit 91
"She brought Lily Jones for herself.
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Lily is only five years old and she is very beautiful.
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She has nut-brown hair.
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If I was very beautiful and had nut-brown hair would you keep me?"
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"No.
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We want a boy to help Matthew on the farm.
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A girl would be of no use to us.
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Take off your hat.
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I'll lay it and your bag on the hall table."
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Anne took off her hat meekly.
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Matthew came back presently and they sat down to supper.
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But Anne could not eat.
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She did not really make any headway at all.
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Anne sighed.
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"I can't.
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I'm in the depths of despair.
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Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?"
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"I've never been in the depths of despair, so I can't say," responded Marilla.
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"Weren't you?
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Well, did you ever try to imagine you were in the depths of despair?"
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"No, I didn't."
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"Then I don't think you can understand what it's like.
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unit 115
It's a very uncomfortable feeling indeed.
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I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious.
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I do hope you won't be offended because I can't eat.
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Everything is extremely nice, but still I cannot eat."
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"Best put her to bed, Marilla."
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Marilla had been wondering where Anne should be put to bed.
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She had prepared a couch in the kitchen chamber for the desired and expected boy.
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"I suppose you have a nightgown?"
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she questioned.
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Anne nodded.
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"Yes, I have two.
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The matron of the asylum made them for me.
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They're fearfully skimpy.
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I hate skimpy night-dresses.
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"Well, undress as quick as you can and go to bed.
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I'll come back in a few minutes for the candle.
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unit 141
I daren't trust you to put it out yourself.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 142
You'd likely set the place on fire."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 143
When Marilla had gone Anne looked around her wistfully.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 146
unit 148
Above it hung a little six by eight mirror.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 154
"Good night," she said, a little awkwardly, but not unkindly.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 155
unit 157
she said reproachfully.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 158
Then she dived down into invisibility again.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 159
Marilla went slowly down to the kitchen and proceeded to wash the supper dishes.
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 160
Matthew was smoking—a sure sign of perturbation of mind.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 162
"Well, this is a pretty kettle of fish," she said wrathfully.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 163
"This is what comes of sending word instead of going ourselves.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 164
Robert Spencer's folks have twisted that message somehow.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 165
One of us will have to drive over and see Mrs. Spencer to-morrow, that's certain.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 166
This girl will have to be sent back to the asylum."
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 167
"Yes, I suppose so," said Matthew reluctantly.
2 Translations, 8 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 168
"You suppose so!
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 169
Don't you know it?"
1 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 170
"Well now, she's a real nice little thing, Marilla.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 171
It's kind of a pity to send her back when she's so set on staying here."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 172
"Matthew Cuthbert, you don't mean to say you think we ought to keep her!"
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 175
"I suppose—we could hardly be expected to keep her."
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 176
"I should say not.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 177
What good would she be to us?"
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unit 178
"We might be some good to her," said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 179
"Matthew Cuthbert, I believe that child has bewitched you!
2 Translations, 6 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 180
I can see as plain as plain that you want to keep her."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
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"Well now, she's a real interesting little thing," persisted Matthew.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 182
"You should have heard her talk coming from the station."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 183
"Oh, she can talk fast enough.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 184
I saw that at once.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 185
It's nothing in her favour, either.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 186
I don't like children who have so much to say.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 187
I don't want an orphan girl and if I did she isn't the style I'd pick out.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 188
There's something I don't understand about her.
2 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 189
No, she's got to be despatched straightway back to where she came from."
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
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"I'm not suffering for company," said Marilla shortly.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
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"And I'm not going to keep her."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 194
"I'm going to bed."
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 195
To bed went Matthew.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year ago
unit 196

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 ago

CHAPTER III.

MARILLA CUTHBERT IS SURPRISED.

Marilla came briskly forward as Matthew opened the door. But when her eyes fell on the odd little figure in the stiff, ugly dress, with the long braids of red hair and the eager, luminous eyes, she stopped short in amazement.

"Matthew Cuthbert, who's that?" she ejaculated. "Where is the boy?"

"There wasn't any boy," said Matthew wretchedly. "There was only her."

He nodded at the child, remembering that he had never even asked her name.

"No boy! But there must have been a boy," insisted Marilla. "We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring a boy."

"Well, she didn't. She brought her. I asked the station-master. And I had to bring her home. She couldn't be left there, no matter where the mistake had come in."

"Well, this is a pretty piece of business!" ejaculated Marilla.

During this dialogue the child had remained silent, her eyes roving from one to the other, all the animation fading out of her face. Suddenly she seemed tograsp the full meaning of what had been said. Dropping her precious carpet-bag she sprang forward a step and clasped her hands.

"You don't want me!" she cried. "You don't want me because I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"

Burst into tears she did. Sitting down on a chair by the table, flinging her arms out upon it, and burying her face in them, she proceeded to cry stormily. Marilla and Matthew looked at each other deprecatingly across the stove. Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla stepped lamely into the breach.

"Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."

"Yes, there is need!" The child raised her head quickly, revealing a tear-stained face and trembling lips. "You would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a place you thought was going to be home and found that they didn't want you because you weren't a boy. Oh, this is the most tragical thing that ever happened to me!"

Something like a reluctant smile, rather rusty from long disuse, mellowed Marilla's grim expression.

"Well, don't cry any more. We're not going to turn you out-of-doors to-night. You'll have to stay here until we investigate this affair. What's your name?"

The child hesitated for a moment.

"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said eagerly.

"Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?"

"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name."

"I don't know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn't your name, what is?"

"Anne Shirley," reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, "but oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can't matter much to you what you call me if I'm only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name."

"Unromantic fiddlesticks!" said the unsympathetic Marilla. "Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You've no need to be ashamed of it."

"Oh, I'm not ashamed of it," explained Anne, "only I like Cordelia better. I've always imagined that my name was Cordelia—at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an e"

"What difference does it make how it's spelled?" asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

"Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can't you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you'll only call me Anne spelled with an e I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia."

"Very well, then, Anne spelled with an e, can you tell us how this mistake came to be made? We sent word to Mrs. Spencer to bring us a boy. Were there no boys at the asylum?"

"Oh, yes, there was an abundance of them. But Mrs. Spencer said distinctly that you wanted a girl about eleven years old. And the matron said she thought I would do. You don't know how delighted I was. I couldn't sleep all last night for joy. Oh," she added reproachfully, turning to Matthew, "why didn't you tell me at the station that you didn't want me and leave me there? If I hadn't seen the White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters it wouldn't be so hard."

"What on earth does she mean?" demanded Marilla, staring at Matthew.

"She—she's just referring to some conversation we had on the road," said Matthew hastily. "I'm going out to put the mare in, Marilla. Have tea ready when I come back."

"Did Mrs. Spencer bring anybody over besides you?" continued Marilla when Matthew had gone out.

"She brought Lily Jones for herself. Lily is only five years old and she is very beautiful. She has nut-brown hair. If I was very beautiful and had nut-brown hair would you keep me?"

"No. We want a boy to help Matthew on the farm. A girl would be of no use to us. Take off your hat. I'll lay it and your bag on the hall table."

Anne took off her hat meekly. Matthew came back presently and they sat down to supper. But Anne could not eat. In vain she nibbled at the bread and butter and pecked at the crab-apple preserve out of the little scalloped glass dish by her plate. She did not really make any headway at all.

"You're not eating anything," said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming.

Anne sighed.

"I can't. I'm in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?"

"I've never been in the depths of despair, so I can't say," responded Marilla.

"Weren't you? Well, did you ever try to imagine you were in the depths of despair?"

"No, I didn't."

"Then I don't think you can understand what it's like. It's a very uncomfortable feeling indeed. When you try to eat a lump comes right up in your throat and you can't swallow anything, not even if it was a chocolate caramel. I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I've often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always wake up just when I'm going to eat them. I do hope you won't be offended because I can't eat. Everything is extremely nice, but still I cannot eat."

"I guess she's tired," said Matthew, who hadn't spoken since his return from the barn. "Best put her to bed, Marilla."

Marilla had been wondering where Anne should be put to bed. She had prepared a couch in the kitchen chamber for the desired and expected boy. But, although it was neat and clean, it did not seem quite the thing to put a girl there somehow. But the spare room was out of the question for such a stray waif, so there remained only the east gable room. Marilla lighted a candle and told Anne to follow her, which Anne spiritlessly did, taking her hat and carpet-bag from the hall table as she passed. The hall was fearsomely clean; the little gable chamber in which she presently found herself seemed still cleaner.

Marilla set the candle on a three-legged, three-cornered table and turned down the bedclothes.

"I suppose you have a nightgown?" she questioned.

Anne nodded.

"Yes, I have two. The matron of the asylum made them for me. They're fearfully skimpy. There is never enough to go around in an asylum, so things are always skimpy—at least in a poor asylum like ours. I hate skimpy night-dresses. But one can dream just as well in them as in lovely trailing ones, with frills around the neck, that's one consolation."

"Well, undress as quick as you can and go to bed. I'll come back in a few minutes for the candle. I daren't trust you to put it out yourself. You'd likely set the place on fire."

When Marilla had gone Anne looked around her wistfully. The whitewashed walls were so painfully bare and staring that she thought they must ache over their own bareness. The floor was bare, too, except for a round braided mat in the middle such as Anne had never seen before. In one corner was the bed, a high, old-fashioned one, with four dark, low-turned posts. In the other corner was the aforesaid three-cornered table adorned with a fat, red velvet pincushion hard enough to turn the point of the most adventurous pin. Above it hung a little six by eight mirror. Midway between table and bed was the window, with an icy white muslin frill over it, and opposite it was the wash-stand. The whole apartment was of a rigidity not to be described in words, but which sent a shiver to the very marrow of Anne's bones. With a sob she hastily discarded her garments, put on the skimpy nightgown and sprang into bed where she burrowed face downward into the pillow and pulled the clothes over her head. When Marilla came up for the light various skimpy articles of raiment scattered most untidily over the floor and a certain tempestuous appearance of the bed were the only indications of any presence save her own.

She deliberately picked up Anne's clothes, placed them neatly on a prim yellow chair, and then, taking up the candle, went over to the bed.

"Good night," she said, a little awkwardly, but not unkindly.

Anne's white face and big eyes appeared over the bedclothes with a startling suddenness.

"How can you call it a good night when you know it must be the very worst night I've ever had?" she said reproachfully.

Then she dived down into invisibility again.

Marilla went slowly down to the kitchen and proceeded to wash the supper dishes. Matthew was smoking—a sure sign of perturbation of mind. He seldom smoked, for Marilla set her face against it as a filthy habit; but at certain times and seasons he felt driven to it and then Marilla winked at the practice, realizing that a mere man must have some vent for his emotions.

"Well, this is a pretty kettle of fish," she said wrathfully. "This is what comes of sending word instead of going ourselves. Robert Spencer's folks have twisted that message somehow. One of us will have to drive over and see Mrs. Spencer to-morrow, that's certain. This girl will have to be sent back to the asylum."

"Yes, I suppose so," said Matthew reluctantly.

"You suppose so! Don't you know it?"

"Well now, she's a real nice little thing, Marilla. It's kind of a pity to send her back when she's so set on staying here."

"Matthew Cuthbert, you don't mean to say you think we ought to keep her!"

Marilla's astonishment could not have been greater if Matthew had expressed a predilection for standing on his head.

"Well now, no, I suppose not—not exactly," stammered Matthew, uncomfortably driven into a corner for his precise meaning. "I suppose—we could hardly be expected to keep her."

"I should say not. What good would she be to us?"

"We might be some good to her," said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.

"Matthew Cuthbert, I believe that child has bewitched you! I can see as plain as plain that you want to keep her."

"Well now, she's a real interesting little thing," persisted Matthew. "You should have heard her talk coming from the station."

"Oh, she can talk fast enough. I saw that at once. It's nothing in her favour, either. I don't like children who have so much to say. I don't want an orphan girl and if I did she isn't the style I'd pick out. There's something I don't understand about her. No, she's got to be despatched straightway back to where she came from."

"I could hire a French boy to help me," said Matthew, and she'd be company for you."

"I'm not suffering for company," said Marilla shortly. "And I'm not going to keep her."

"Well now, it's just as you say, of course, Marilla," said Matthew rising and putting his pipe away. "I'm going to bed."

To bed went Matthew. And to bed, when she had put her dishes away, went Marilla, frowning most resolutely. And up-stairs, in the east gable, a lonely, heart-hungry, friendless child cried herself to sleep.