en-fr  The Last Leaf by O. Henry Medium
La dernière feuille par O. Henry
Dans un petit quartier à l'ouest de Washington Square les rues étaient devenues folles et s'étaient brisées en petites bandes appelées "lieux". Ces "lieux" décrivent des angles et des courbes étranges. Une rue se croise elle-même une ou deux fois. Un artiste découvrit une fois une intéressante éventualité dans cette rue. Imaginez qu'un collectionneur avec une facture pour des peintures, du papier et des toiles puisse, en traversant cette route, se rencontrer soudain lui-même en train de revenir, sans qu'un cent ait été versé à titre d'acompte!

Ainsi, bientôt les artistes arrivèrent au vieux et pittoresque Greenwich Village traquant et chassant les fenêtres au nord, les pignons du 18e siècle, les greniers hollandais et les faibles loyers. Puis ils importèrent quelques tasses en étain et un ou deux réchauds de table de la 6e Avenue et devinrent une "colonie".

En haut d'un solide immeuble de trois étages, Sue et Johnsy avaient leur studio. "Johnsy" était le nom familier de Joanna. L'une venait du Maine, l'autre de Californie. Elles s'étaient rencontrées à la "table d'hôte" d'un Delmonico's sur la 8e Rue et avaient trouvé si compatibles leurs goûts en matière d'art, de salade d'endives et de manches d'évêque que le studio commun en résulta.

C'était en mai. En novembre, un étranger invisible et froid que les médecins appelaient Pneumonie, s'en vint chasser dans la colonie, touchant l'un ou l'autre de ses doigts glacés. Jusqu'au east side ce ravageur marcha fièrement à grands pas, frappant ses victimes par vingtaines, mais ses pas progressèrent lentement à travers le labyrinthe des "lieux" étroits et moussus.

M. Pneumonia n'était pas ce qu'on pourrait appeler un vieux monsieur chevaleresque. Une pauvre petite femme au sang dilué par les zéphyrs de Californie était une proie facile pour le vieux colporteur aux mains rouges et à la respiration courte. Il ne frappa que Johnsy et elle gisait, bougeant à peine, sur son châlit de fer peint, regardant par les petites vitres hollandaises le mur vide de la maison de briques voisine.

Un matin le docteur affairé entraîna Sue dans le vestibule en fronçant son sourcil gris et poilu.

— Elle a, disons, une chance sur dix, dit-il en secouant son thermomètre pour faire descendre le mercure. Et cette chance dépend de son envie de vivre. Cette façon dont les entrepreneurs de pompes funèbres vous entraînent à part rend toute la pharmacopée ridicule. — Votre petite dame s'est faite à l'idée qu'elle ne va pas se rétablir. As-t-elle quelque chose en tête?

— Elle... elle voulait peindre la baie de Naples un de ces jours dit Sue.

— Peindre? — N'importe quoi! A-t-elle quelque chose en tête qui vaudrait d'y réfléchir à deux fois... un homme par exemple?

— Un homme? dit Sue, la voix vibrant comme une guimbarde. — Est-ce qu'un homme vaut la peine.... mais, non docteur, il n'y a rien de ce genre.

— Eh bien, c'est le point faible, alors, dit le docteur. — Je vais faire tout ce que la science peut accomplir, pour autant que mes efforts puissent y contribuer. Mais chaque fois que mon malade commence à compter les voitures de son cortège funèbre je diminue de moitié le pouvoir curatif des médicaments. Si vous parvenez à la faire poser une seule question au sujet de la mode d'hiver des manches de manteau, je vous promettrai une chance sur cinq pour elle au lieu d'une sur dix.

Après le départ du médecin, Sue vint dans l'atelier et transforma de ses pleurs une serviette japonaise en marmelade. Puis elle entra en fanfaronnant dans la chambre de Johnsy avec sa planche à dessin, en sifflant un air de ragtime.

Johnsy était étendue, ne créant qu'une légère ondulation sous les couvertures, le visage tourné vers la fenêtre. Sue cessa de siffler, pensant qu'elle était endormie.

Elle rangea sa planche et commença un dessin à la plume pour illustrer une histoire de magazine. Les jeunes artistes doivent faire leur chemin vers l’Art en faisant des dessins pour les histoires de magazines que les jeunes auteurs écrivent pour faire leur chemin vers la Littérature.

Tandis que Sue esquissait une paire d’élégants pantalons de cheval et un monocle sur l’illustration du héro, un cowboy de l’Idaho, elle entendit un faible bruit, plusieurs fois répété. Elle accourut vite au chevet du lit.

Les yeux de Johnsy étaient grand ouverts. Elle regardait par la fenêtre et comptait... comptait à rebours.

— Douze, dit-elle, puis peu après, onze, puis dix et neuf, et puis huit et sept presque en même temps.

Sue regardait par la fenêtre d’un air soucieux. Qu’est qu’il y avait là à compter? Il n’y avait à voir qu’une cour grise et nue et le pignon vierge de la maison de briques à vingt pieds de là. Un vieux, vieux lierre, noueux et pourri à la racine, grimpait à mi-hauteur sur le mur de briques. Le souffle froid de l’automne avait arraché ses feuilles au lierre jusqu’à ce que ses branches squelettiques s’accrochent, presque nues, aux briques qui s’effritaient.

— Qu’y a-t-il, chérie ? demanda Sue.

— Six, dit Johnsy presque dans un murmure. Elles tombent plus vite maintenant. Il y a trois jours il y en avait presqu’une centaine. Ça m’a donné mal à la tête de les compter. Mais maintenant c’est facile. En voilà une autre qui s’en va. Il n’en reste plus que cinq maintenant.

— Cinq quoi, chérie ? Dis-le à ta Susie.

— Des feuilles. Sur le lierre. Quand la dernière partira, je devrai m’en aller aussi. Je le sais depuis trois jours. Le docteur ne te l’a pas dit?

— Oh, jamais je n'ai entendu une telle bêtise, se lamenta Sue, sur un ton magnifiquement dédaigneux. Qu'est-ce que de vieilles feuilles de lierre ont à voir avec ta guérison? Et tu adorais vraiment cette plante grimpante, vilaine fille. Ne sois pas stupide. Allons, le docteur m'a dit ce matin que tes chances de guérir vraiment vite étaient - voyons exactement ce qu'il a dit - il a dit que les chances étaient de dix contre un! Dame, c'est presque aussi bien que la chance que nous avons à New York quand nous prenons le tramway ou que nous passons devant un nouvel immeuble. Essaie de boire un peu de bouillon maintenant et laisse Sudie revenir à son dessin, pour qu'elle puisse le proposer à l'éditeur et acheter du porto pour sa petite malade et des côtes de porc pour elle-même qui en raffole.

— Inutile d'acheter encore du vin, dit Johnsy, continuant à regarder par la fenêtre. En voilà une autre qui s'envole. Non, je ne veux pas de bouillon. Il n'en reste plus que quatre. Je veux voir la dernière tomber avant la nuit. Alors je m'en irai aussi.

— Johnsy ma chérie, dit Sue, se penchant sur elle, veux-tu me promettre de garder les yeux fermés et de ne pas regarder par la fenêtre jsuqu'à ce que j'ai fini mon travail? Je dois remettre ces dessins avant demain. Il me faut de la lumière, sinon je baisserais le volet.

— Ne pourrais-tu pas dessiner dans l'autre pièce? demanda Johnsy séchement.

— Je préfère être ici avec toi, dit Sue. De plus, je ne veux pas que tu continue à regarder ces stupides feuilles de lierre.

— Dis-moi dès que tu auras fini, dit Johnsy en fermant les yeux, allongée, blanche et inerte comme une statue renversée, parce que je veux voir tomber la dernière. Je suis fatiguée d'attendre. J'en ai assez de penser. Je veux lâcher prise et me laisser descendre, descendre en flottant comme une de ces pauvres feuilles fatiguées.

— Essaie de dormir, dit Sue. Il faut que j'appelle Behrman pour qu'il me serve de modèle pour le vieux mineur solitaire. Je ne serai partie qu'une minute même pas. N'essaie pas de bouger avant que je revienne.

Le vieux Behrman était un peintre qui habitait au rez-de-chaussée de leur immeuble. Il avait plus de soixante ans et portait une barbe de Moïse à la Michel Ange qui frisait depuis sa tête de satyre sur un corps de lutin. Berhman était un raté de l'art. Pendant quarante ans il avait manié le pinceau sans s'approcher assez près pour toucher l'ourlet de la robe de sa maîtresse. Il avait toujours été sur le point de peindre un chef d'œuvre mais ne l'avait encore jamais commencé. Pendant plusieurs années, il n'avait rien réalisé d'autre que, de temps à autre, une croûte dans le domaine du commerce ou de la publicité. Il gagnait quelque argent en servant de modèle à ces jeunes artistes de la colonie qui ne pouvaient pas se payer un professionnel. Il buvait du gin sans modération et parlait constamment de son futur chef d'œuvre. Pour le reste, c'était un petit homme vieux et acharné, qui se moquait affreusement de la faiblesse des autres et qui se considérait comme le chien de garde particulier des deux jeunes artistes du studio du dessus.

Sue trouva Behrman, puant les baies de genévrier, dans sa tanière faiblement éclairée du dessous. Dans un coin, sur un chevalet, se trouvait une toile vierge qui attendait là depuis vingt-cinq ans de recevoir le premier coup de pinceau du chef d'œuvre. Elle lui parla du caprice de Johnsy et de sa crainte que, légère et fragile comme une feuille, elle ne s'envole vraiment, quand sa faible prise sur le monde s'affaiblirait encore.

Le vieux Behrman, ses yeux rouges pleurant manifestement, hurla son mépris et son dédain à l'énoncé de ces si stupides élucubrations.

— Vass! cria-t-il. Est-ce qu'il y a des chens tans le monde assez stupites pour mourir parce que les feuilles elles tompent d'une maudite plante grimpante? Chamais ch'ai entendu une chosse pareille. Non, che ne posserai pas gomme motel pour ton stupide ermite. Pourgoi laisses-tu zette stupide idée fenir dans sa tête? Ach, paufre pedite matemoisselle Yohnsy.

— Elle est très malade et très faible, dit Sue, et la fièvre a laissé son esprit plein d'idées morbides et étranges. Très bien, M. Behrman, si ça ne vous plait pas de poser pour moi, tant pis. Mais je pense que vous êtes un affreux vieux... vieux bavard.

— Tu es bien une femme! hurla Behrman. Qui a dit que je foulais pas boser? On y va. Che fiens avec fous. Depuis une temi-heure, ch'essaie te dire que che suis prêt à boser. Crands Tieux! Une si ponne personne que Miss Yohnsy n'a rien à faire malade tans un tel endroit. Un chour, che peintrai un chef d'œuvre et nous partirons tous. Bon Tieu! oui.

Johnsy dormait quand ils montèrent. Sue descendit le store jusqu'au rebord de la fenêtre et fit signe à Behrman de passer dans l'autre pièce. De là, ils scrutèrent par la fenêtre, les lianes de lierre, avec une certaine crainte. Puis, ils s'échangèrent un regard, un instant, sans prononcer un mot. Une pluie persistante et glaciale tombait, mêlée de neige. Behrman, vêtu de sa vieille chemise bleue, prit place en tant que mineur solitaire sur une marmite retournée qui tenait lieu de rocher.

Quand Sue s'éveilla d'un sommeil d'une heure le lendemain, elle trouva Johnsy, les yeux sans éclat grands ouverts fixant le store vert fermé.

— Lève le store, je veux voir, ordonna-t-elle, dans un souffle.

Lasse, Sue obéit.

Mais, regardez! après la pluie battante et les féroces rafales de vent qui avaient perduré toute la nuit, il restait pourtant une feuille de lierre contre le mur de briques. C'était la toute dernière sur le lierre. Encore vert sombre près de sa tige, les bords dentelés teintés de jaune par la décomposition et la pourriture, elle pendait bravement de la branche à quelques vingt pieds au-dessus du sol.

— C'est la dernière, dit Johnsy. J'étais sûre qu'elle tomberait durant la nuit. J'ai entendu le vent. Elle tombera aujourd'hui et je mourrai au même instant.

— Ma chérie, ma chérie! dit Sue, penchant son visage épuisé vers l'oreiller, pense à moi, si tu ne veux pas penser à toi. Que vais-je faire?

Mais Johnsy ne répondit pas. Il n'y a rien de plus seul au monde qu'une âme qui se prépare à son mystérieux et long voyage. L’imagination semblait s’emparer d’elle plus fortement tandis que les liens qui l’attachaient à l’amitié et au monde se relâchaient un par un.

Le jour s’effaçait et malgré la pénombre ils pouvaient voir la feuille de lierre solitaire se cramponner à sa tige contre le mur. Alors, avec la tombée de la nuit le vent du Nord se déchaîna à nouveau, tandis que la pluie battait encore sur les fenêtres et tombait des avant-toits hollandais en crépitant.

Quand il fit suffisamment jour, Johnsy, l’implacable, ordonna qu’on lève le store.

La feuille de lierre était toujours là.

Longtemps Johnsy, allongée l’observa. Puis elle s’adressa à Sue qui remuait son bouillon de poulet sur la cuisinière à gaz.

— J’ai été méchante, Sudie, dit Johnsy. Quelque chose à fait que cette dernière feuille soit restée là pour montrer à quel point j’ai été détestable. C’est un péché de vouloir mourir. Tu peux maintenant m’apporter un pu de bouillon et du lait avec un peu de Porto dedans et... non... apporte-moi d’abord un miroir et puis entasse quelques coussins autour de moi pour que je puisse m’asseoir et te regarder cuisiner.

Et une heure plus tard, elle dit : — Sudie, un de ces jours, j’espère peindre la baie de Naples.

Le médecin vint dans l’après-midi et Sue eut une excuse pour l’accompagner dans l’entrée quand il partit.

— Une chance sur deux, dit le docteur en serrant la petite main de Sue dans la sienne. en prenant bien soin d’elle, vous y arriverez. Et maintenant j’ai un autre patient à voir au rez-de-chaussée. Son nom, c’est Behrman... un genre d’artiste, je crois. Encore une pneumonie. C’est un vieil homme fragile et il est très atteint. Aucun espoir pour lui, mais aujourd’hui il s’en va à l’hôpital pour avoir plus de confort.

Le lendemain, le docteur dit à Sue: — Elle est hors de danger. Vous avez gagné. Nourriture et précautions maintenant... c’est tout.

Et cet après-midi-là, Sue vint près du lit de Johnsy qui tricotait, toute heureuse, un châle de laine très bleu et très inutile, et posa un bras sur ses épaules et sur les coussins.

— J’ai quelque chose à te dire, ma souris blanche, dit-elle. M. Behrman est mort de pneumonie à l’hôpital aujourd’hui. Il n’a été malade que deux jours. Le concierge l’a trouvé le matin du premier jour impuissant de douleur dans sa chambre du rez-de-chaussée. Ses chaussures et ses vêtements étaient trempés et glacés. Il ne comprenait pas où il était allé par cette nuit affreuse. Alors, il a trouvé une lanterne, encore allumée, et une échelle tirée hors de son rangement, et quelques pinceaux en désordre, et une palette avec du jaune et du vert mélangés, et... regarde par la fenêtre chérie, regarde la dernière feuille de lierre sur le mur. Tu ne te demandes pas pourquoi elle ne voletait pas ni ne bougeait quand le vent soufflait? Ah, chérie, c’est le chef-d’œuvre de Behrman... il l’a peinte à cet endroit la nuit où la dernière feuille est tombée.
unit 1
The Last Leaf by O. Henry.
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These "places" make strange angles and curves.
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One Street crosses itself a time or two.
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An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in this street.
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At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio.
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"Johnsy" was familiar for Joanna.
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One was from Maine; the other from California.
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That was in May.
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Mr.
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Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman.
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One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the hallway with a shaggy, grey eyebrow.
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And that chance is for her to want to live.
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Your little lady has made up her mind that she's not going to get well.
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Has she anything on her mind?"
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"She - she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day."
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said Sue.
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"Paint?
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- bosh!
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Has she anything on her mind worth thinking twice - a man for instance?"
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"A man?"
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said Sue, with a jew's-harp twang in her voice.
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"Is a man worth - but, no, doctor; there is nothing of the kind."
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"Well, it is the weakness, then," said the doctor.
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"I will do all that science, so far as it may filter through my efforts, can accomplish.
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After the doctor had gone Sue went into the workroom and cried a Japanese napkin to a pulp.
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Then she swaggered into Johnsy's room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime.
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Johnsy lay, scarcely making a ripple under the bedclothes, with her face toward the window.
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Sue stopped whistling, thinking she was asleep.
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She arranged her board and began a pen-and-ink drawing to illustrate a magazine story.
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She went quickly to the bedside.
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Johnsy's eyes were open wide.
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She was looking out the window and counting - counting backward.
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Sue look solicitously out of the window.
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What was there to count?
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There was only a bare, dreary yard to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house twenty feet away.
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An old, old ivy vine, gnarled and decayed at the roots, climbed half way up the brick wall.
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"What is it, dear?"
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asked Sue.
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"Six," said Johnsy, in almost a whisper.
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"They're falling faster now.
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Three days ago there were almost a hundred.
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It made my head ache to count them.
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But now it's easy.
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There goes another one.
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There are only five left now."
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"Five what, dear?
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Tell your Sudie."
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"Leaves.
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On the ivy vine.
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When the last one falls I must go, too.
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I've known that for three days.
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Didn't the doctor tell you?"
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"Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," complained Sue, with magnificent scorn.
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"What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well?
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And you used to love that vine so, you naughty girl.
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Don't be a goosey.
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"You needn't get any more wine," said Johnsy, keeping her eyes fixed out the window.
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"There goes another.
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No, I don't want any broth.
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That leaves just four.
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I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark.
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Then I'll go, too."
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I must hand those drawings in by to-morrow.
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I need the light, or I would draw the shade down."
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"Couldn't you draw in the other room?"
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asked Johnsy, coldly.
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"I'd rather be here by you," said Sue.
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"Beside, I don't want you to keep looking at those silly ivy leaves."
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I'm tired of waiting.
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I'm tired of thinking.
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"Try to sleep," said Sue.
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"I must call Behrman up to be my model for the old hermit miner.
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I'll not be gone a minute.
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Don't try to move 'til I come back."
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Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them.
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Behrman was a failure in art.
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He had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it.
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He drank gin to excess, and still talked of his coming masterpiece.
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Sue found Behrman smelling strongly of juniper berries in his dimly lighted den below.
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"Vass!"
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he cried.
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I haf not heard of such a thing.
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No, I will not bose as a model for your fool hermit-dunderhead.
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Vy do you allow dot silly pusiness to come in der brain of her?
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Ach, dot poor leetle Miss Yohnsy."
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unit 118
unit 119
Very well, Mr. Behrman, if you do not care to pose for me, you needn't.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 120
But I think you are a horrid old - old flibbertigibbet."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 121
"You are just like a woman!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 122
yelled Behrman.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 123
"Who said I will not bose?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 124
Go on.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 125
I come mit you.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 126
For half an hour I haf peen trying to say dot I am ready to bose.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 127
Gott!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 128
dis is not any blace in which one so goot as Miss Yohnsy shall lie sick.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 129
Some day I vill baint a masterpiece, and ve shall all go away.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 130
Gott!
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 131
yes."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 132
Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 133
Sue pulled the shade down to the window-sill, and motioned Behrman into the other room.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 134
In there they peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 135
Then they looked at each other for a moment without speaking.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 136
A persistent, cold rain was falling, mingled with snow.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 137
Behrman, in his old blue shirt, took his seat as the hermit miner on an upturned kettle for a rock.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 139
"Pull it up; I want to see," she ordered, in a whisper.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 140
Wearily Sue obeyed.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 141
But, lo!
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 143
It was the last one on the vine.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 145
"It is the last one," said Johnsy.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 146
"I thought it would surely fall during the night.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 147
I heard the wind.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 148
It will fall to-day, and I shall die at the same time."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 149
"Dear, dear!"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 150
said Sue, leaning her worn face down to the pillow, "think of me, if you won't think of yourself.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 151
What would I do?"
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 152
But Johnsy did not answer.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 11 months, 1 week ago
unit 157
When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, commanded that the shade be raised.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 158
The ivy leaf was still there.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 159
Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 160
And then she called to Sue, who was stirring her chicken broth over the gas stove.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 161
"I've been a bad girl, Sudie," said Johnsy.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 162
"Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how wicked I was.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 163
It is a sin to want to die.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 165
And hour later she said: "Sudie, some day I hope to paint the Bay of Naples."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 166
The doctor came in the afternoon, and Sue had an excuse to go into the hallway as he left.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 167
"Even chances," said the doctor, taking Sue's thin, shaking hand in his.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 168
"With good nursing you'll win."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 169
And now I must see another case I have downstairs.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 170
Behrman, his name is - some kind of an artist, I believe.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 171
Pneumonia, too.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 172
He is an old, weak man, and the attack is acute.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 173
There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital to-day to be made more comfortable."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 174
The next day the doctor said to Sue: "She's out of danger.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 175
You won.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 176
Nutrition and care now - that's all."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 178
"I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 179
"Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 180
He was ill only two days.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 181
The janitor found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 182
His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 183
They couldn't imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night.
3 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 185
Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew?
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 186
Ah, darling, it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 131  11 months, 1 week ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 130  11 months, 1 week ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 124  11 months, 2 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 112  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 111  11 months, 3 weeks ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 55  11 months, 3 weeks ago

The Last Leaf by O. Henry.
In a little district west of Washington Square the streets have run crazy and broken themselves into small strips called "places." These "places" make strange angles and curves. One Street crosses itself a time or two. An artist once discovered a valuable possibility in this street. Suppose a collector with a bill for paints, paper and canvas should, in traversing this route, suddenly meet himself coming back, without a cent having been paid on account!

So, to quaint old Greenwich Village the art people soon came prowling, hunting for north windows and eighteenth-century gables and Dutch attics and low rents. Then they imported some pewter mugs and a chafing dish or two from Sixth Avenue, and became a "colony."

At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio. "Johnsy" was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at the table d'h�te of an Eighth Street "Delmonico's," and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.

That was in May. In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the east side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores, but his feet trod slowly through the maze of the narrow and moss-grown "places."

Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman. A mite of a little woman with blood thinned by California zephyrs was hardly fair game for the red-fisted, short-breathed old duffer. But Johnsy he smote; and she lay, scarcely moving, on her painted iron bedstead, looking through the small Dutch window-panes at the blank side of the next brick house.

One morning the busy doctor invited Sue into the hallway with a shaggy, grey eyebrow.

"She has one chance in - let us say, ten," he said, as he shook down the mercury in his clinical thermometer. " And that chance is for her to want to live. This way people have of lining-u on the side of the undertaker makes the entire pharmacopoeia look silly. Your little lady has made up her mind that she's not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?"

"She - she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day." said Sue.

"Paint? - bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking twice - a man for instance?"

"A man?" said Sue, with a jew's-harp twang in her voice. "Is a man worth - but, no, doctor; there is nothing of the kind."

"Well, it is the weakness, then," said the doctor. "I will do all that science, so far as it may filter through my efforts, can accomplish. But whenever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines. If you will get her to ask one question about the new winter styles in cloak sleeves I will promise you a one-in-five chance for her, instead of one in ten."

After the doctor had gone Sue went into the workroom and cried a Japanese napkin to a pulp. Then she swaggered into Johnsy's room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime.

Johnsy lay, scarcely making a ripple under the bedclothes, with her face toward the window. Sue stopped whistling, thinking she was asleep.

She arranged her board and began a pen-and-ink drawing to illustrate a magazine story. Young artists must pave their way to Art by drawing pictures for magazine stories that young authors write to pave their way to Literature.

As Sue was sketching a pair of elegant horseshow riding trousers and a monocle of the figure of the hero, an Idaho cowboy, she heard a low sound, several times repeated. She went quickly to the bedside.

Johnsy's eyes were open wide. She was looking out the window and counting - counting backward.

"Twelve," she said, and little later "eleven"; and then "ten," and "nine"; and then "eight" and "seven", almost together.

Sue look solicitously out of the window. What was there to count? There was only a bare, dreary yard to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house twenty feet away. An old, old ivy vine, gnarled and decayed at the roots, climbed half way up the brick wall. The cold breath of autumn had stricken its leaves from the vine until its skeleton branches clung, almost bare, to the crumbling bricks.

"What is it, dear?" asked Sue.

"Six," said Johnsy, in almost a whisper. "They're falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. It made my head ache to count them. But now it's easy. There goes another one. There are only five left now."

"Five what, dear? Tell your Sudie."

"Leaves. On the ivy vine. When the last one falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?"

"Oh, I never heard of such nonsense," complained Sue, with magnificent scorn. "What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? And you used to love that vine so, you naughty girl. Don't be a goosey. Why, the doctor told me this morning that your chances for getting well real soon were - let's see exactly what he said - he said the chances were ten to one! Why, that's almost as good a chance as we have in New York when we ride on the street cars or walk past a new building. Try to take some broth now, and let Sudie go back to her drawing, so she can sell the editor man with it, and buy port wine for her sick child, and pork chops for her greedy self."

"You needn't get any more wine," said Johnsy, keeping her eyes fixed out the window. "There goes another. No, I don't want any broth. That leaves just four. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too."

"Johnsy, dear," said Sue, bending over her, "will you promise me to keep your eyes closed, and not look out the window until I am done working? I must hand those drawings in by to-morrow. I need the light, or I would draw the shade down."

"Couldn't you draw in the other room?" asked Johnsy, coldly.

"I'd rather be here by you," said Sue. "Beside, I don't want you to keep looking at those silly ivy leaves."

"Tell me as soon as you have finished," said Johnsy, closing her eyes, and lying white and still as fallen statue, "because I want to see the last one fall. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of thinking. I want to turn loose my hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves."

"Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Behrman up to be my model for the old hermit miner. I'll not be gone a minute. Don't try to move 'til I come back."

Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was past sixty and had a Michael Angelo's Moses beard curling down from the head of a satyr along with the body of an imp. Behrman was a failure in art. Forty years he had wielded the brush without getting near enough to touch the hem of his Mistress's robe. He had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it. For several years he had painted nothing except now and then a daub in the line of commerce or advertising. He earned a little by serving as a model to those young artists in the colony who could not pay the price of a professional. He drank gin to excess, and still talked of his coming masterpiece. For the rest he was a fierce little old man, who scoffed terribly at softness in any one, and who regarded himself as especial mastiff-in-waiting to protect the two young artists in the studio above.

Sue found Behrman smelling strongly of juniper berries in his dimly lighted den below. In one corner was a blank canvas on an easel that had been waiting there for twenty-five years to receive the first line of the masterpiece. She told him of Johnsy's fancy, and how she feared she would, indeed, light and fragile as a leaf herself, float away, when her slight hold upon the world grew weaker.

Old Behrman, with his red eyes plainly streaming, shouted his contempt and derision for such idiotic imaginings.

"Vass!" he cried. "Is dere people in de world mit der foolishness to die because leafs dey drop off from a confounded vine? I haf not heard of such a thing. No, I will not bose as a model for your fool hermit-dunderhead. Vy do you allow dot silly pusiness to come in der brain of her? Ach, dot poor leetle Miss Yohnsy."

"She is very ill and weak," said Sue, "and the fever has left her mind morbid and full of strange fancies. Very well, Mr. Behrman, if you do not care to pose for me, you needn't. But I think you are a horrid old - old flibbertigibbet."

"You are just like a woman!" yelled Behrman. "Who said I will not bose? Go on. I come mit you. For half an hour I haf peen trying to say dot I am ready to bose. Gott! dis is not any blace in which one so goot as Miss Yohnsy shall lie sick. Some day I vill baint a masterpiece, and ve shall all go away. Gott! yes."

Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue pulled the shade down to the window-sill, and motioned Behrman into the other room. In there they peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine. Then they looked at each other for a moment without speaking. A persistent, cold rain was falling, mingled with snow. Behrman, in his old blue shirt, took his seat as the hermit miner on an upturned kettle for a rock.

When Sue awoke from an hour's sleep the next morning she found Johnsy with dull, wide-open eyes staring at the drawn green shade.

"Pull it up; I want to see," she ordered, in a whisper.

Wearily Sue obeyed.

But, lo! after the beating rain and fierce gusts of wind that had endured through the livelong night, there yet stood out against the brick wall one ivy leaf. It was the last one on the vine. Still dark green near its stem, with its serrated edges tinted with the yellow of dissolution and decay, it hung bravely from the branch some twenty feet above the ground.

"It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would surely fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall to-day, and I shall die at the same time."

"Dear, dear!" said Sue, leaning her worn face down to the pillow, "think of me, if you won't think of yourself. What would I do?"

But Johnsy did not answer. The lonesomest thing in all the world is a soul when it is making ready to go on its mysterious, far journey. The fancy seemed to possess her more strongly as one by one the ties that bound her to friendship and to earth were loosed.

The day wore away, and even through the twilight they could see the lone ivy leaf clinging to its stem against the wall. And then, with the coming of the night the north wind was again loosed, while the rain still beat against the windows and pattered down from the low Dutch eaves.

When it was light enough Johnsy, the merciless, commanded that the shade be raised.

The ivy leaf was still there.

Johnsy lay for a long time looking at it. And then she called to Sue, who was stirring her chicken broth over the gas stove.

"I've been a bad girl, Sudie," said Johnsy. "Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how wicked I was. It is a sin to want to die. You may bring a me a little broth now, and some milk with a little port in it, and - no; bring me a hand-mirror first, and then pack some pillows about me, and I will sit up and watch you cook."

And hour later she said:

"Sudie, some day I hope to paint the Bay of Naples."

The doctor came in the afternoon, and Sue had an excuse to go into the hallway as he left.

"Even chances," said the doctor, taking Sue's thin, shaking hand in his. "With good nursing you'll win." And now I must see another case I have downstairs. Behrman, his name is - some kind of an artist, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He is an old, weak man, and the attack is acute. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital to-day to be made more comfortable."

The next day the doctor said to Sue: "She's out of danger. You won. Nutrition and care now - that's all."

And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay, contentedly knitting a very blue and very useless woollen shoulder scarf, and put one arm around her, pillows and all.

"I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said. "Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn't imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colours mixed on it, and - look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it's Behrman's masterpiece - he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell."