en-fr  Anne of Green Gables /Chapter V
CHAPITRE V. L'HISTOIRE D'ANNE.


— Savez-vous, dit Anne sur un ton de confidence, que j'ai décidé de prendre plaisir à ce trajet. Selon mon expérience personnelle, il est possible d'apprécier à peu près tout si vous vous persuadez fermement que ce sera le cas. Évidemment, vous devez l'imaginer avec fermeté. Je ne vais pas penser à mon retour à l'orphelinat pendant la durée du trajet. Je vais juste penser au trajet. Oh, regardez, il y a une petite fleur d'églantine éclose en avance ! N'est-ce pas charmant ? Ne pensez-vous pas qu'on doit être heureuse d'être une rose ? Ne serait-ce pas bien si les roses pouvaient parler ? Je suis sûre qu'elles pourraient nous raconter de si jolies choses. Et le rose n'est-il pas la couleur la plus ensorcelante du monde ? Je l'adore, mais je ne peux pas le porter. Les roux ne peuvent pas porter de rose, même pas en imagination. Avez-vous jamais connu une personne dont les cheveux étaient roux quand elle était jeune, mais qui a changé de couleur en grandissant ?

— Non, je ne crois pas, dit Marilla sans aucune pitié, et je ne pense pas que ça risque de se produire en ce qui te concerne, non plus.

Anne soupira.

— Eh bien, voilà un autre espoir qui s'envole. Ma vie est un parfait cimetière d'espoirs ensevelis. C'est une phrase que j'ai lue dans un livre un jour, et je la répète pour me consoler chaque fois que je suis déçue de quelque chose.

— Je ne vois pas où le réconfort intervient personnellement, déclara Marilla.

— Voyons, parce que ça semble si beau et romantique, comme si j'étais une héroïne dans un livre, vous voyez. J'aime tant tout ce qui est romantique, et un cimetière rempli d'espérances enfouies n'est-ce pas aussi romantique qu'on puisse imaginer ? Je suis plutôt contente d'en avoir un. Allons-nous traverser le Lac des Eaux Étincelantes aujourd'hui ?

— Nous allons traverser l’étang des Barry, si c'est ce que tu veux dire avec ton Lac des Eaux Étincelantes. Nous allons prendre la route le long de la rive.

— La route le long de la rive, c’est joli, dit Anne songeuse. Cela ne sonne-t-il pas joliment ? Au moment où vous avez dit "route de la rive" je l'ai vue en image dans mon esprit, immédiatement ! Et White Sands est un joli nom, aussi ; mais je ne l'aime pas autant qu'Avonlea. Avonlea est un joli nom. Ça sonne comme de la musique. Sommes-nous loin de White Sands ?

— C'est à cinq milles ; et comme il semble évident que tu es décidée à discuter, tu ferais mieux de parler à bon escient en me disant ce que tu sais de toi.

— Oh, ce que je sais à mon sujet ne vaut pas vraiment la peine d'être raconté, dit Anne avec empressement. Si vous me laissiez seulement vous dire ce que j'imagine à mon sujet, vous trouveriez ça bien plus intéressant.

— Non, je ne veux pas de tes élucubrations. Tu t'en tiens seulement aux faits. Commence par le début. Où es-tu née et quel âge as-tu ?

— J'ai eu onze ans en mars dernier, dit Anne, se résignant aux faits avec un petit soupir. Et je suis née à Bolingbroke, en Nouvelle-Écosse. Le nom de mon père était Walter Shirley, et il était professeur au lycée de Bolingbroke. Le nom de ma mère était Bertha Shirley. Ne trouvez-vous pas que Walter et Bertha sont de jolis prénoms ? Je suis tellement contente que mes parents aient eu de beaux prénoms. Ce serait une véritable disgrâce d'avoir un père nommé — eh bien, disons Jedediah, n'est-ce pas ?

— Je suppose que peu importe le nom d'une personne tant qu'elle se comporte bien, déclara Marilla, se sentant amenée à inculquer une morale précieuse et utile.

— Eh bien, je ne sais pas. Anne avait l'air pensif. — J'ai lu dans un livre une fois qu'une rose sous un autre nom sentirait aussi bon, mais je n'ai jamais été capable de le croire. Je ne crois pas qu'une rose serait aussi belle si on l'appelait chardon ou chou puant. Je suppose que mon père aurait pu être un homme bon même s'il s'était appelé Jedediah ; mais je suis certaine que ça aurait été un poids à porter. Eh bien, ma mère était enseignante au lycée, également, mais quand elle a épousé mon père, elle a arrêté d'enseigner, bien sûr. Un mari c'était suffisamment de responsabilité. Mme Thomas m'a dit que c'était un couple d'enfants, aussi pauvres que des souris d'église. Ils sont allés vivre dans une petite maison jaune à Bolingbroke Je n'ai jamais vu cette maison, mais je l'ai imaginée des milliers de fois. Je pense qu'elle devait avoir du chèvrefeuille au-dessus de la fenêtre du salon et des lilas dans le jardin devant et des lys de la vallée juste derrière la porte. Oui, et des rideaux de mousseline à toutes les fenêtres. Les rideaux de mousseline donnent à une maison une telle allure. Je suis née dans cette maison. Mme Thomas disait que j'étais le bébé le plus laid qu'elle ait jamais vu, j'étais si maigre et chétive et les yeux me mangeaient les visage, mais ma mère pensait que j'étais merveilleusement belle. J’aurais cru qu’une mère serait un meilleur juge qu’une pauvre femme qui était venue pour faire le ménage, non? Je suis heureuse qu’elle soit contente de moi en tout cas; je me serais sentie tellement triste de penser que j’étais un désagrément pour elle... parce qu’elle ne vivrait pas très longtemps après ça, voyez-vous. Elle est morte d'une fièvre quand j'avais seulement trois mois. J’aurais tellement souhaité qu’elle vive assez longtemps pour que je me souvienne de l’appeler maman. Je crois que cela aurait été tellement gentil de dire «  mère », n’est-ce pas, Et mon père est décédé quatre jours plus tard de la fièvre également. Je suis restée orpheline et la famille ne savait plus quoi faire. Alors Mme Thomas a dit : que faire de moi. Vous voyez, personne ne voulait de moi à l’époque. J’ai l’impression que c’est mon destin. Mon père et ma mère étaient tous deux venus de très loin et on savait bien qu’ils n’avaient aucun parent vivant. Finalement Mme Thomas a dit qu’elle allait me prendre, bien qu’elle fût pauvre et que son mari fût un ivrogne. Elle m’a élevée toute seule. Savez-vous s’il y quelque chose dans le fait d’être élevé par une seule personne qui devrait rendre les gens élevés de cette façon meilleurs que les autres? Parce que chaque fois que j'étais désobéissante Mme Thomas, sur un ton de reproche, me demandait comment je pouvais être une si vilaine fille puisque j'avais été élevée au biberon.

Mr et Mme Thomas ont déménagé de Bolingbroke à Marysville et j'ai vécu avec eux jusqu'à l'âge de huit ans. J'ai pris soin des enfants Thomas — ils étaient quatre, tous plus jeunes que moi — et je peux vous dire qu'ils ne m'ont pas laissé beaucoup de répit. Puis M. Thomas s'est tué en tombant sous un train, sa mère a proposé d'héberger Mme Thomas et ses enfants, mais elle ne voulait pas de moi. Mme Thomas désespérée, disait alors, ne pas savoir ce qu'on allait faire de moi. Puis Mme Hammond qui vivait plus haut sur la rivière est venue et, voyant que je savais y faire avec les enfants, elle a dit qu'elle me prendrait, alors j'ai remonté la rivière pour aller vivre avec eux dans une petite clairière au milieu des souches d'arbres. C'était un endroit très isolé. Je suis sûre que je n'aurais jamais réussi à vivre là sans le secours de mon imagination. M. Hammond y travaillait dans une petite scierie, et Mme Hammond avait huit enfants. Elle avait eu trois fois des jumeaux. J'aime modérément les bébés, mais des jumeaux trois fois de suite, c'est beaucoup trop. Je l'ai dit très fermement à Mme Hammond lorsque la dernière paire de jumeaux est venue au monde. J'avais l'habitude d'être tellement épuisée à force de les porter.

— J'ai vécu en haut de la rivière avec Mme Hammond pendant deux ans, puis M. Hammond est mort et Mme Hammond a dispersé sa famille. Elle a réparti ses enfants chez ses proches et elle s'en est allée aux États-Unis. J'ai dû aller à l'orphelinat de Hopeton, parce que personne ne m'aurait prise. Ils n'ont pas voulu de moi non plus à l'orphelinat. Ils ont dit qu'ils étaient surpeuplés, ce qui était vrai. Mais ils ont été forcés de me prendre et j'étais là depuis quatre mois lorsque Mme Spencer est arrivée.

Anne se tut en poussant un nouveau soupir, de soulagement cette fois. À l'évidence, elle n'aimait pas parler de ses expériences dans un monde qui n'avait pas voulu d'elle.

— Es-tu allée à l'école ? demanda Marilla, en faisant prendre la route de la rive à la jument alezane.

— Pas beaucoup. J'y suis allée un peu l'année dernière quand j'étais chez Mme Thomas. Quand je vivais en haut de la rivière, nous étions si loin d'une école que je ne pouvais pas m'y rendre à pied en hiver, et, en été, c'étaient les vacances, je ne pouvais donc y aller qu'au printemps et à l'automne. Mais bien sûr, j'y suis allée quand j'étais à l'orphelinat. Je lis assez bien et je connais par cœur des tas de poèmes : « The Battle of Hohenlinden, Édimbourg after Florence, Bingen on the Rhine, une grande partie de Lady of the Lake et l'essentiel de The Seasons » de James Thompson. N'aimez-vous pas la poésie qui vous donne des frissons dans le dos ? Il y a un passage dans le manuel de lecture de cinquième — « The Downfall of Poland » — qui est plein d'émotions. Bien sûr, je n'étais pas en cinquième année — j'étais seulement en quatrième — mais les filles plus agées me prêtaient leur livre de lecture à lire.

— Est-ce que ces femmes ... Mme Thomas et Mme Hammond, ont été bonnes avec toi ? demanda Marilla en observant Anne du coin de l'œil.

— O-o-o-h, hésita Anne. Son petit visage sensible rougit soudainement et la gêne s'installa sur son front. Oh, elles voulaient l'être — je sais qu'elles voulaient être aussi bonnes et gentilles que possible. Et quand les gens veulent être bons avec vous, vous ne leur en voulez pas quand ils ne le sont pas vraiment ... toujours. Elles avaient beaucoup de soucis, vous savez. C'est extrêmement difficile d'avoir un mari alcoolique, vous savez ; et ça doit être éreintant d'avoir trois fois de suite des jumeaux, ne pensez-vous pas ? Mais je reste convaincue qu'elles voulaient être bonnes avec moi.

Marilla ne posa plus de questions. Anne se laissa envahir par un recueillement silencieux sur la route côtière et Marilla guidait distraitement l'alezane pendant qu'elle méditait profondément. Brusquement, la pitié pour cette enfant envahit son cœur. Quelle vie de dénuement et de manque d'amour elle avait eue... une vie de corvée, de pauvreté et d'abandon, car Marilla était assez perspicace pour lire entre les lignes de l'histoire d'Anne et déceler la vérité. Pas étonnant qu'elle ait été si réjouie à l'idée d'un vrai foyer. Quel dommage de devoir la renvoyer. Et si elle, Marilla, cédait au caprice insensé de Matthew et lui permettait de rester ? Il y tenait, et l'enfant semblait être une jolie petite créature intelligente.

Elle parle trop, pensa Marilla, mais elle pourrait apprendre à ne plus le faire. Et il n'y avait rien de grossier ou d'argotique dans ce qu'elle disait. Elle est gracieuse. Ses parents devaient être de gentilles personnes.

La route de la rive était boisée, sauvage et solitaire. À droite, des sapins broussailleux, dont l'âme avait résisté à de longues années de lutte contre les vents du golfe, poussaient en fourrés denses." Sur la gauche, se trouvaient des falaises abruptes de grès rouge, si près de la piste par endroits qu'une jument au sabot moins sûr que l'alezane aurait pu éprouver les nerfs des passagers qu'elle tractait. Au pied des falaises se trouvaient des amas rocheux érodés par la marée et de petites criques sablonneuses incrustées de galets comme s'ils étaient des bijoux de l'océan ; au-delà s'étendait la mer, scintillante et bleue, et au-dessus d'elle, les mouettes glissaient, leurs plumes étincelant d'argent au soleil.

— La mer n'est-elle pas merveilleuse ? dit Anne en émergeant d'un long silence hébété. Autrefois, alors que je vivais à Marysville, M. Thomas a loué un wagon express et nous a tous emmenés passer la journée à la plage, à dix milles de là. J'ai savouré chaque instant de cette journée, même si je me suis occupée des enfants tout le temps. Je l'ai revécu dans mes rêves joyeux pendant des années. Mais cette plage est plus belle que celle de Marysville. Ces mouettes ne sont-elles pas splendides ? Aimeriez-vous être une mouette ? Je pense que j'aimerais, si je ne pouvais pas être une humaine. Ne pensez-vous pas que ce serait agréable de se lever avec le soleil, de planer au-dessus de l'eau, de tournoyer sur cette jolie bleue toute la journée ; et puis le soir retourner dans son nid ? Oh, je peux seulement m'imaginer le faire. Qu'est-ce que c'est que cette grande maison, s'il vous plaît ?

— C'est l'hôtel White Sands. M. Kirke le dirige, mais la saison n'a pas encore commencé. Il y a beaucoup d'Américains qui viennent ici en l'été. Ils trouvent cette plage est à leur goût.

— Je craignais que ce ne soit la maison de Mme Spencer, dit Anne lugubrement. Je ne veux pas y arriver. D'une certaine façon, ce sera la fin de tout.
unit 1
CHAPTER V. ANNE'S HISTORY.
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"Do you know," said Anne confidentially, "I've made up my mind to enjoy this drive.
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Of course, you must make it up firmly.
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I am not going to think about going back to the asylum while we're having our drive.
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I'm just going to think about the drive.
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Oh, look, there's one little early wild rose out!
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Isn't it lovely?
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Don't you think it must be glad to be a rose?
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Wouldn't it be nice if roses could talk?
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I'm sure they could tell us such lovely things.
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And isn't pink the most bewitching colour in the world?
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I love it, but I can't wear it.
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Red-headed people can't wear pink, not even in imagination.
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Anne sighed.
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"Well, that is another hope gone.
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My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.
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"I don't see where the comforting comes in myself," said Marilla.
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I'm rather glad I have one.
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Are we going across the Lake of Shining Waters to-day?"
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We're going by the shore road."
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"Shore road sounds nice," said Anne dreamily.
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"Is it as nice as it sounds?
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Just when you said 'shore road' I saw it in a picture in my mind, as quick as that!
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And White Sands is a pretty name, too; but I don't like it as well as Avonlea.
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Avonlea is a lovely name.
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It just sounds like music.
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How far is it to White Sands?"
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"Oh, what I know about myself isn't really worth telling," said Anne eagerly.
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"No, I don't want any of your imaginings.
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Just you stick to bald facts.
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Begin at the beginning.
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Where were you born and how old are you?"
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"And I was born in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia.
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My mother’s name was Bertha Shirley.
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Aren't Walter and Bertha lovely names?
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I'm so glad my parents had nice names.
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It would be a real disgrace to have a father named—well, say Jedediah, wouldn't it?"
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"Well, I don't know."
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Anne looked thoughtful.
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I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.
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A husband was enough responsibility.
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Mrs. Thomas said that they were a pair of babies and as poor as church mice.
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They went to live in a weeny-teeny little yellow house in Bolingbroke.
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I've never seen that house, but I've imagined it thousands of times.
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Yes, and muslin curtains in all the windows.
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Muslin curtains give a house such an air.
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I was born in that house.
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She died of fever when I was just three months old.
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I do wish she'd lived long enough for me to remember calling her mother.
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I think it would be so sweet to say 'mother,' don't you?
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And father died four days afterwards from fever, too.
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You see, nobody wanted me even then.
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It seems to be my fate.
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Finally Mrs. Thomas said she'd take me, though she was poor and had a drunken husband.
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She brought me up by hand.
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Mrs. Thomas was at her wits' end, so she said, what to do with me.
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It was a very lonesome place.
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I'm sure I could never have lived there if I hadn't had an imagination.
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Mr. Hammond worked a little saw-mill up there, and Mrs. Hammond had eight children.
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She had twins three times.
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I like babies in moderation, but twins three times in succession is too much.
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I told Mrs. Hammond so firmly, when the last pair came.
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I used to get so dreadfully tired carrying them about.
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She divided her children among her relatives and went to the States.
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I had to go to the asylum at Hopeton, because nobody would take me.
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They didn't want me at the asylum, either; they said they were overcrowded as it was.
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But they had to take me and I was there four months until Mrs. Spencer came."
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Anne finished up with another sigh, of relief this time.
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"Did you ever go to school?"
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demanded Marilla, turning the sorrel mare down the shore road.
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"Not a great deal.
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I went a little the last year I stayed with Mrs. Thomas.
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But of course I went while I was at the asylum.
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Don't you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back?
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There is a piece in the Fifth Reader—'The Downfall of Poland'—that is just full of thrills.
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"Were those women—Mrs.
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Thomas and Mrs. Hammond—good to you?"
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asked Marilla, looking at Anne out of the corner of her eye.
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"O-o-o-h," faltered Anne.
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Her sensitive little face suddenly flushed scarlet and embarrassment sat on her brow.
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"Oh, they meant to be—I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible.
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And when people mean to be good to you, you don't mind very much when they're not quite—always.
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They had a good deal to worry them, you know.
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But I feel sure they meant to be good to me."
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Marilla asked no more questions.
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Pity was suddenly stirring in her heart for the child.
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No wonder she had been so delighted at the prospect of a real home.
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It was a pity she had to be sent back.
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What if she, Marilla, should indulge Matthew's unaccountable whim and let her stay?
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He was set on it; and the child seemed a nice, teachable little thing.
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"She's got too much to say," thought Marilla, "but she might be trained out of that.
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And there's nothing rude or slangy in what she does say.
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She's ladylike.
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It's likely her people were nice folks."
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The shore road was "woodsy and wild and lonesome."
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"Isn't the sea wonderful?"
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said Anne, rousing from a long, wide-eyed silence.
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I enjoyed every moment of that day, even if I had to look after the children all the time.
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I lived it over in happy dreams for years.
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But this shore is nicer than the Marysville shore.
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Aren't those gulls splendid?
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Would you like to be a gull?
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I think I would—that is, if I couldn't be a human girl.
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Oh, I can just imagine myself doing it.
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unit 145
What big house is that just ahead, please?"
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 146
"That's the White Sands Hotel.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 147
Mr. Kirke runs it, but the season hasn't begun yet.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 148
There are heaps of Americans come there for the summer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 149
They think this shore is just about right."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 150
"I was afraid it might be Mrs. Spencer's place," said Anne mournfully.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 151
"I don't want to get there.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
unit 152
Somehow, it will seem like the end of everything."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13930  commented on  unit 138  11 months, 4 weeks ago
Oplusse • 13924  commented on  unit 129  11 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13930  commented on  unit 119  11 months, 4 weeks ago
gaelle044 • 5134  commented  12 months 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 12 months ago

CHAPTER V.

ANNE'S HISTORY.

"Do you know," said Anne confidentially, "I've made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly. I am not going to think about going back to the asylum while we're having our drive. I'm just going to think about the drive. Oh, look, there's one little early wild rose out! Isn't it lovely? Don't you think it must be glad to be a rose? Wouldn't it be nice if roses could talk? I'm sure they could tell us such lovely things. And isn't pink the most bewitching colour in the world? I love it, but I can't wear it. Red-headed people can't wear pink, not even in imagination. Did you ever know of anybody whose hair was red when she was young, but got to be another colour when she grew up?"

"No, I don't know as I ever did," said Marilla mercilessly, "and I shouldn't think it likely to happen in your case, either."

Anne sighed.

"Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That's a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I'm disappointed in anything."

"I don't see where the comforting comes in myself," said Marilla.

"Why, because it sounds so nice and romantic, just as if I were a heroine in a book, you know. I am so fond of romantic things, and a graveyard full of buried hopes is about as romantic a thing as one can imagine, isn't it? I'm rather glad I have one. Are we going across the Lake of Shining Waters to-day?"

"We're not going over Barry's pond, if that's what you mean by your Lake of Shining Waters. We're going by the shore road."

"Shore road sounds nice," said Anne dreamily. "Is it as nice as it sounds? Just when you said 'shore road' I saw it in a picture in my mind, as quick as that! And White Sands is a pretty name, too; but I don't like it as well as Avonlea. Avonlea is a lovely name. It just sounds like music. How far is it to White Sands?"

"It's five miles; and as you're evidently bent on talking you might as well talk to some purpose by telling me what you know about yourself."

"Oh, what I know about myself isn't really worth telling," said Anne eagerly. "If you'll only let me tell you what I imagine about myself you'll think it ever so much more interesting."

"No, I don't want any of your imaginings. Just you stick to bald facts. Begin at the beginning. Where were you born and how old are you?"

"I was eleven last March," said Anne, resigning herself to bald facts with a little sigh. "And I was born in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. My father's name was Walter Shirley, and he was a teacher in the Bolingbroke High School. My mother’s name was Bertha Shirley. Aren't Walter and Bertha lovely names? I'm so glad my parents had nice names. It would be a real disgrace to have a father named—well, say Jedediah, wouldn't it?"

"I guess it doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as he behaves himself," said Marilla, feeling herself called upon to inculcate a good and useful moral.

"Well, I don't know." Anne looked thoughtful. "I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage. I suppose my father could have been a good man even if he had been called Jedediah; but I'm sure it would have been a cross. Well, my mother was a teacher in the High School, too, but when she married father she gave up teaching, of course. A husband was enough responsibility. Mrs. Thomas said that they were a pair of babies and as poor as church mice. They went to live in a weeny-teeny little yellow house in Bolingbroke. I've never seen that house, but I've imagined it thousands of times. I think it must have had honeysuckle over the parlour window and lilacs in the front yard and lilies of the valley just inside the gate. Yes, and muslin curtains in all the windows. Muslin curtains give a house such an air. I was born in that house. Mrs. Thomas said I was the homeliest baby she ever saw, I was so scrawny and tiny and nothing but eyes, but that mother thought I was perfectly beautiful. I should think a mother would be a better judge than a poor woman who came in to scrub, wouldn't you? I'm glad she was satisfied with me anyhow; I would feel so sad if I thought I was a disappointment to her—because she didn't live very long after that, you see. She died of fever when I was just three months old. I do wish she'd lived long enough for me to remember calling her mother. I think it would be so sweet to say 'mother,' don't you? And father died four days afterwards from fever, too. That left me an orphan and folks were at their wits' end, so Mrs. Thomas said, what to do with me. You see, nobody wanted me even then. It seems to be my fate. Father and mother had both come from places far away and it was well known they hadn't any relatives living. Finally Mrs. Thomas said she'd take me, though she was poor and had a drunken husband. She brought me up by hand. Do you know if there is anything in being brought up by hand that ought to make people who are brought up that way better than other people? Because whenever I was naughty Mrs. Thomas would ask me how I could be such a bad girl when she had brought me up by hand—reproachful-like.

"Mr. and Mrs. Thomas moved away from Bolingbroke to Marysville, and I lived with them until I was eight years old. I helped look after the Thomas children—there were four of them younger than me—and I can tell you they took a lot of looking after. Then Mr. Thomas was killed falling under a train and his mother offered to take Mrs. Thomas and the children, but she didn't want me. Mrs. Thomas was at her wits' end, so she said, what to do with me. Then Mrs. Hammond from up the river came down and said she'd take me, seeing I was handy with children, and I went up the river to live with her in a little clearing among the stumps. It was a very lonesome place. I'm sure I could never have lived there if I hadn't had an imagination. Mr. Hammond worked a little saw-mill up there, and Mrs. Hammond had eight children. She had twins three times. I like babies in moderation, but twins three times in succession is too much. I told Mrs. Hammond so firmly, when the last pair came. I used to get so dreadfully tired carrying them about.

"I lived up river with Mrs. Hammond over two years, and then Mr. Hammond died and Mrs. Hammond broke up housekeeping. She divided her children among her relatives and went to the States. I had to go to the asylum at Hopeton, because nobody would take me. They didn't want me at the asylum, either; they said they were overcrowded as it was. But they had to take me and I was there four months until Mrs. Spencer came."

Anne finished up with another sigh, of relief this time. Evidently she did not like talking about her experiences in a world that had not wanted her.

"Did you ever go to school?" demanded Marilla, turning the sorrel mare down the shore road.

"Not a great deal. I went a little the last year I stayed with Mrs. Thomas. When I went up river we were so far from a school that I couldn't walk it in winter and there was vacation in summer, so I could only go in the spring and fall. But of course I went while I was at the asylum. I can read pretty well and I know ever so many pieces of poetry off by heart—'The Battle of Hohenlinden' and 'Edinburgh after Flodden,' and 'Bingen on the Rhine,' and lots of the 'Lady of the Lake' and most of 'The Seasons,' by James Thompson. Don't you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back? There is a piece in the Fifth Reader—'The Downfall of Poland'—that is just full of thrills. Of course, I wasn't in the Fifth Reader—I was only in the Fourth—but the big girls used to lend me theirs to read."

"Were those women—Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond—good to you?" asked Marilla, looking at Anne out of the corner of her eye.

"O-o-o-h," faltered Anne. Her sensitive little face suddenly flushed scarlet and embarrassment sat on her brow. "Oh, they meant to be—I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be good to you, you don't mind very much when they're not quite—always. They had a good deal to worry them, you know. It's very trying to have a drunken husband, you see; and it must be very trying to have twins three times in succession, don't you think? But I feel sure they meant to be good to me."

Marilla asked no more questions. Anne gave herself up to a silent rapture over the shore road and Marilla guided the sorrel abstractedly while she pondered deeply. Pity was suddenly stirring in her heart for the child. What a starved, unloved life she had had—a life of drudgery and poverty and neglect; for Marilla was shrewd enough to read between the lines of Anne's history and divine the truth. No wonder she had been so delighted at the prospect of a real home. It was a pity she had to be sent back. What if she, Marilla, should indulge Matthew's unaccountable whim and let her stay? He was set on it; and the child seemed a nice, teachable little thing.

"She's got too much to say," thought Marilla, "but she might be trained out of that. And there's nothing rude or slangy in what she does say. She's ladylike. It's likely her people were nice folks."

The shore road was "woodsy and wild and lonesome." On the right hand, scrub firs, their spirits quite unbroken by long years of tussle with the gulf winds, grew thickly. On the left were the steep red sandstone cliffs, so near the track in places that a mare of less steadiness than the sorrel might have tried the nerves of the people behind her. Down at the base of the cliffs were heaps of surf-worn rocks or little sandy coves inlaid with pebbles as with ocean jewels; beyond lay the sea, shimmering and blue, and over it soared the gulls, their pinions flashing silvery in the sunlight.

"Isn't the sea wonderful?" said Anne, rousing from a long, wide-eyed silence. "Once, when I lived in Marysville, Mr. Thomas hired an express-wagon and took us all to spend the day at the shore ten miles away. I enjoyed every moment of that day, even if I had to look after the children all the time. I lived it over in happy dreams for years. But this shore is nicer than the Marysville shore. Aren't those gulls splendid? Would you like to be a gull? I think I would—that is, if I couldn't be a human girl. Don't you think it would be nice to wake up at sunrise and swoop down over the water and away out over that lovely blue all day; and then at night to fly back to one's nest? Oh, I can just imagine myself doing it. What big house is that just ahead, please?"

"That's the White Sands Hotel. Mr. Kirke runs it, but the season hasn't begun yet. There are heaps of Americans come there for the summer. They think this shore is just about right."

"I was afraid it might be Mrs. Spencer's place," said Anne mournfully. "I don't want to get there. Somehow, it will seem like the end of everything."