en-fr  Anne of Green Gables /Chapter XX Medium
CHAPITRE XX.


UNE IMAGINATION FERTILE MAL EMPLOYÉE.


Une fois encore, le printemps était revenu aux Pignons Verts — le beau printemps canadien, capricieux et tant désiré, qui s'étendait d'avril à mai dans une succession de jours doux, frais, ou froids, accompagnés de couchers de soleil rosés et de miracles de résurrection et d'éveil. Les érables, dans L'allée des Amoureux, étaient couverts de bourgeons rouges et de petites fougères frisées se pressaient autour du Bain des Dryades. Au loin plus haut dans la lande, derrière chez M. Silas Sloane, les aubépines étaient en fleurs, douces étoiles roses et blanches sous leurs feuilles brunes. Tous les écoliers, filles et garçons étaient réunis dans un après-midi doré, le crépuscule clair résonnant de leurs échos, les bras et les paniers chargés de fleurs coupées.

— Je suis triste pour les gens qui vivent dans des contrées où il n'y a pas d'aubépines, dit Anne. Diana dit qu'il y a peut-être des choses mieux, mais il ne devrait pas y avoir mieux que les aubépines, n'est-ce pas, Marilla ? Et Diana dit que s'ils ne savent pas ce que c'est, ça ne leur manque pas. Mais je crois que c'est pire que tout. Je crois que ce serait tragique, Marilla , de ne pas savoir à quoi ressemblent les aubépines, et que ça ne manque pas. Sais-tu ce que je pense au sujet des aubépines, Marilla ? Je pense qu'elles doivent être les âmes des fleurs mortes l'été dernier et qu'ici c'est leur paradis. Mais quelle magnifique journée nous avons eue, Marilla. Nous avons déjeuné dans un vallon moussu près d'un vieux puits... un endroit tellement romantique. Charlie Sloane a mis Arty Gillis au défi de sauter par-dessus le puits, et Arty l'a fait car il ne voulait pas perdre. Personne à l'école n'aurait voulu le faire. C'est très chouette d'oser le faire. M. Phillips a donné toutes les aubépines à Prissy Andrews, et je l'ai entendu dire " des fleurs pour la plus jolie des fleurs ". Il l'a trouvé dans un livre, je sais, mais ça montre qu'il a de l'imagination. On m'a aussi offert des aubépines, mais je les ai refusées avec mépris. Je ne peux pas te dire le nom de cette personne parce que j'ai juré que son nom ne franchirait jamais mes lèvres. Nous avons fait des couronnes d'aubépines et les avons mises sur nos chapeaux ; et quand ça a été l'heure de rentrer à la maison nous avons marché en procession en descendant la route, deux par deux, avec nos bouquets et nos couronnes, en chantant " Ma maison sur la colline ". Oh, c'était si excitant, Marilla. Tous les gens de M.Silas Sloane sont sortis pour nous voir, et tous ceux que nous rencontrions sur la route s'arrêtaient pour nous regarder. Nous avons vraiment fait sensation.

— Pas étonnant ! Avec de telles stupidités ! fut la réponse de Marilla.

Après les aubépines vint le tour des violettes, et le Vallon des violettes en était empourpré. Anne le traversait sur le chemin de l'école d'un pas précautionneux et le regard émerveillé, comme si elle marchait sur un sol sacré.

— De toute façon, dit-elle à Diana, quand je passe par ici, je me fiche de savoir si Gil... ou qui que ce soit d'autre me devance ou pas en classe. Mais quand j'arrive à l'école, c'est tout autre, et je m'en soucie tant et plus. Il y a une telle variété d'Anne en moi. Je me demande parfois si ce n'est pas pour cela que je suis une enfant si difficile. S'il n'y avait qu'une seule Anne ce serait bien plus confortable, mais ce ne serait pas du tout aussi passionnant.

Un soir de juin, quand les vergers étaient à nouveau roses de fleurs, quand les grenouilles poussaient leur chant métallique dans les marécages du bout du lac des Eaux étincelantes, et que l'air était empli des effluves des champs de trèfle, et de l'odeur balsamique des bois de sapins, Anne était assise à la fenêtre de son pignon. Elle avait appris ses leçons, mais c'était devenu trop sombre pour lire le livre, alors elle était entrée dans un rêve éveillé regardant dehors à travers les buissons de reine des neiges comme des étoiles de fleurs en buisson.

À tous les égards la petite chambre du pignon n'avait pas changé. Les murs étaient aussi blancs, la pelote d'épingle aussi piquante, les chaises aussi raides et jaunies que jamais. Mais l'ambiance générale de la pièce avait changé. Elle s'emplissait d'une nouvelle personnalité pleine de vie, impulsive qui paraissait s'y répandre tout à fait indépendamment des livres scolaires, des robes, des rubans, et même de la cruche bleue fêlée pleine de fleurs de pommiers posée sur la table. C'était comme si tous les rêves, endormis et éveillés, de son occupante pleine de vie avaient pris une forme visible bien qu'immatérielle, et avait revêtu la pièce nue d'un film de tissus fait d'arc en ciel et de clair de lune. Bientôt, Marilla entra brusquement avec quelques tabliers d'école d'Anne fraîchement repassés. Elle les étendit sur un dossier de chaise et s'assit en poussant un bref soupir. Elle avait eu une de ses migraines cet après-midi, et bien que la douleur soit passée, elle se sentait lasse et "lessivée" selon sa propre expression. Anne la regarda, les yeux brillants de sympathie.

— J'aurais vraiment voulu avoir la migraine à ta place, Marilla. Je l'aurais supportée avec joie pour toi.

— Je suppose que tu l'as un peu fait en faisant ton travail et en me laissant me reposer, dit Marilla. Tu as l'air de t'être bien débrouillée, et fait moins de bêtises que d'habitude. Bien sûr, ce n'était pas indispensable d'amidonner les mouchoirs de Mathew ! Et la plupart des gens quand ils mettent une tarte au four pour la réchauffer pour le diner, la retirent et la mangent quand elle est chaude, plutôt que de la laisser carboniser. Mais bien sûr, ça ne semble pas être ton genre.

Les migraines rendaient toujours Marilla quelque peu sarcastique.

— Oh, je suis désolée, répondit Anne, sur un ton de repentance. Je n'ai plus pensé à cette tourte après l'avoir enfournée et jusqu'à maintenant, quoique je sentais bien qu'il manquait quelque chose pour le dîner. J'avais pris la ferme résolution, quand ce matin tu m'as confié une tâche, de ne pas rêvasser et de me concentrer sur mon ouvrage. J'y parvenais plutôt bien jusqu'à ce que j'enfourne la tourte, alors une irrésistible tentation m'a conduite à imaginer que j'étais une princesse enchantée, enfermée dans une tour isolée avec un beau chevalier volant à ma rescousse sur un coursier noir comme l'ébène. C'est ainsi que j'ai oublié la tourte. J'ignorais que j'avais amidonné les mouchoirs. Pendant que je les repassais, j'essayais de trouver un nom pour une nouvelle île que Diana et moi avons découverte au-delà du ruisseau. C'est l'endroit le plus ravissant qui soit, Marilla. Deux érables s'y dressent et le ruisseau serpente entre eux. Finalement, il m'a semblé évident que ce serait magnifique de l'appeler l'île Victoria parce que nous l'avions découverte le jour de l'anniversaire de la Reine. Diana et moi sommes toutes deux très patriotes. Mais je suis vraiment désolée pour la tourte et les mouchoirs. Je voulais être particulièrement sage aujourd'hui parce que c'est un jour d'anniversaire. Te souviens-tu de ce qui s'est passé il y a exactement un an, Marilla ?

— Non, je ne vois rien de spécial.

— Oh, Marilla, c'était le jour de mon arrivée aux Pignons verts. Je ne pourrai jamais l'oublier. Ça a été le tournant de ma vie. Bien sûr, ça ne t'a pas semblé si important. Un an que je suis ici et que je suis si heureuse. Bien sûr, j'ai eu quelques problèmes, mais on peut oublier les ennuis. Regrettes-tu de m'avoir gardé, Marilla ?

— Non, je ne peux pas dire que je regrette, dit Marilla, qui se demandait parfois comment elle avait pu vivre avant l'arrivée d'Anne aux Pignons Verts, non, je ne regrette pas vraiment. Si tu as terminé tes leçons, Anne, je voudrais que tu ailles demander à Mme Barry si elle me prêterait le patron du tablier de Diana.

— Oh... il... il fait trop noir, s'écria Anne.

— Trop noir ? Mais voyons, c'est seulement le crépuscule. Et Dieu sait que tu y es allée suffisamment souvent après la nuit tombée.

— J'y passerai tôt demain matin, dit vivement Anne. Je me lèverai à l'aube pour y aller, Marilla.

— Qu'est-ce qui te passe par la tête à présent, Anne Shirley ? Je veux ce patron ce soir pour découper ton nouveau tablier. Vas-y tout de suite et, en plus, file.

— Je devrai faire le tour par la route, alors, dit Anne, attrapant à contrecœur son chapeau.

— Y aller par la route et perdre une demi-heure ! Que je t'y prenne !

— Je ne peux pas passer par le Bois Hanté, Marilla, s'écria Anne avec désespoir.

Marilla la fixa du regard.

— Le Bois Hanté ! Es-tu folle ? Dieu du ciel, qu'est-ce que le Bois Hanté ?

— La forêt d'épicéas de l'autre côté du ruisseau, dit Anne dans un murmure.

— Balivernes ! Il n'y aucun bois hanté nulle part. Qui t'a raconté de telles choses ?

—Personne, avoua Anne. Diana et moi avons simplement imaginé que le bois était hanté. Tous les endroits aux alentours sont si... si... banals. Nous avons inventé cela pour nous amuser. Nous avons commencé depuis avril. Un bois hanté est si follement romantique, Marilla. Nous avons choisi la forêt d'épicéas parce qu'elle est tellement lugubre. Oh, nous avons imaginé les choses les plus atroces. Une dame blanche longe le ruisseau à ce moment de la nuit en se tordant les mains et en poussant des gémissements. Elle apparaît pour annoncer un décès dans la famille. Et le fantôme d'un petit enfant assassiné hante le coin des Terres Sauvages ; il se glisse derrière vous et pose ses doigts glacés sur votre main. Oh, Marilla, ça me donne des frissons rien que d'y penser. Et il y a un homme sans tête qui monte et descend le chemin et des squelettes qui vous lancent des regards noirs entre les branches. Oh, Marilla, je ne veux pas traverser le Bois Hanté après la tombée de la nuit pour rien au monde. Je suis sûre que des créatures blanches cachées derrière les arbres m'attraperaient.

— A-t-on jamais entendu quelqu'un dire des choses pareilles ? s'exclama Marilla, qui avait écouté tout cela avec une stupeur hébétée. Anne Shirley, est-ce que tu veux me dire que tu crois à toutes ces bêtises sorties de ta propre imagination ?

— Pas exactement, hésita Anne. Enfin, je n'y crois pas quand il fait jour. Mais quand la nuit est tombée, Marilla, c'est différent. C'est l'heure où les fantômes sortent.

— Il n'y a rien qui ressemble à des fantômes, Anne.

— Oh, mais bien sûr que si, Marilla, s'écria Anne avec exaltation. Je connais des gens qui les ont vus. Et ce sont des gens très honorables. Charlie Sloane dit que sa grand-mère a vu, une nuit, son grand-père rentrer les vaches un an après qu'il avait été enterré. Tu sais, la grand-mère de Charlie Sloane ne raconterait des histoires pour rien au monde. C'est une femme très pieuse. Et le père de Mme Thomas a été poursuivi, une nuit, jusque chez lui par un agneau de feu dont la tête coupée n'était suspendue que par une lanière de peau. Il a dit qu'il savait que c'était l'esprit de son frère et que c'était pour l'avertir qu'il mourrait dans les neuf jours. Ça ne s'est pas réalisé, mais il est mort deux ans plus tard, alors tu vois que c'était vraiment pour de vrai. Et Ruby Gillis dit... — Anne Shirley, interrompit fermement Marilla, je ne veux plus jamais t'entendre parler de cette manière. J'ai eu des doutes à propos de ton imagination, mais si c'est cela qui doit en être le résultat, je ne tolèrerai plus de tels faits et gestes. Tu vas aller directement chez les Barry, et tu vas traverser ce bois d'épinettes, ne serait-ce que pour te donner une leçon et un avertissement. Et que plus jamais un mot, issu de ton imagination délirante, sur de prétendus bois hantés, ne parvienne à mes oreilles.

Anne eut beau supplier et pleurer autant qu'elle le souhaita - et elle le fit, car sa terreur était bien réelle. Son imagination l'avait emportée et, à la nuit tombée, la pinède lui inspirait un effroi mortel. Mais Marilla demeura inflexible. Elle conduisit la voyante apeurée jusqu'au ruisseau et lui ordonna de continuer tout droit sur le pont et au-delà vers les sombres retraites des dames plaintives et des spectres sans tête.

— Oh, Marilla, comment peux-tu être si cruelle ? dit Anne en sanglotant. Que ressentirais-tu si une créature blanche m'attrapait et m'emportait ?

— J'en prends le risque, déclara Marilla froidement. Tu sais que je ne parle jamais en l'air. Je vais te guérir de tes endroits fantomatiques imaginaires. En avant, maintenant.

Anne se mit en route.. Ou plutôt, elle trébucha sur le pont et avança tremblante dans la pénombre terrifiante du chemin qui s'étendait au-delà. Anne n'oublia jamais ce trajet. Elle regretttait amèrement la liberté qu'elle avait donnée à son imagination. Des farfadets imaginaires rôdaient dans chaque ombre autour d'elle, tendant leurs mains froides et decharnées pour saisir la petite fille terrifiée qui les avait engendrés. Devant un lambeau blanc d'écorce de bouleau surgissant des profondeurs au-dessus du sol brunâtre du bosquet, son cœur cessa de battre. Le long gémissement de deux vieilles branches qui se frottaient l'une contre l'autre lui couvrit le front de perles de sueur. Le vol rasant des chauve-souris dans l'obscurité et au-dessus de sa tête lui semblait comme venir de créatures ailées surnaturelles. Quand elle parvint au champ de M. William Bell, elle le traversa comme si elle était poursuivie par une armée de créatures blanches, et elle arriva à la porte de la cuisine des Barry à bout de souffle, à peine capable d'articuler un mot au sujet du patron pour le tablier. Diana était partie, elle n'avait donc aucune excuse pour s'attarder. Il fallait bien qu'elle envisage de faire le terrible trajet de retour. Anne fit ce trajet de retour les yeux fermés, préférant courir le risque de se faire gifler le visage par des branches plutôt que celui d'apercevoir une créature blanche. Quand finalement elle échoua sur le pont de bois, elle poussa un long soupir de soulagement.

— Eh bien alors, rien ne t'a attrapé ? dit Marilla sans manifester la moindre empathie.

— Oh, Mar... Marilla, bredouilla Anne, je m-m-me contenterai des endroits normaux dorénavant.
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CHAPTER XX.
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A GOOD IMAGINATION GONE WRONG.
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"I'm so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers," said Anne.
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And Diana says if they don't know what they are like they don't miss them.
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But I think that is the saddest thing of all.
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I think it would be tragic, Marilla, not to know what Mayflowers are like and not to miss them.
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Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla?
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I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer and this is their heaven.
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But we had a splendid time to-day, Marilla.
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We had our lunch down in a big mossy hollow by an old well—such a romantic spot.
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Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did because he wouldn't take a dare.
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Nobody would in school.
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It is very fashionable to dare.
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He got that out of a book, I know; but it shows he has some imagination.
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I was offered some Mayflowers too, but I rejected them with scorn.
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I can't tell you the person's name because I have vowed never to let it cross my lips.
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Oh, it was so thrilling, Marilla.
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We made a real sensation."
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"Not much wonder!
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Such silly doings!"
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was Manila's response.
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After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them.
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But when I'm up in school it's all different and I care as much as ever.
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There's such a lot of different Annes in me.
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I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person.
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In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged.
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The walls were as white, the pincushion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly upright as ever.
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Yet the whole character of the room was altered.
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Presently Marilla came briskly in with some of Anne's freshly ironed school aprons.
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She hung them over a chair and sat down with a short sigh.
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Anne looked at her with eyes limpid with sympathy.
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"I do truly wish I could have had the headache in your place, Marilla.
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I would have endured it joyfully for your sake."
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"I guess you did your part in attending to the work and letting me rest," said Marilla.
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"You seem to have got on fairly well and made fewer mistakes than usual.
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Of course it wasn't exactly necessary to starch Matthew's handkerchiefs!
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But that doesn't seem to be your way evidently."
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Headaches always left Marilla somewhat sarcastic.
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"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Anne penitently.
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So that is how I came to forget the pie.
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I didn't know I starched the handkerchiefs.
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It's the most ravishing spot, Marilla.
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There are two maple-trees on it and the brook flows right around it.
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Both Diana and I are very loyal.
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But I'm very sorry about that pie and the handkerchiefs.
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I wanted to be extra good to-day because it's an anniversary.
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Do you remember what happened this day last year, Marilla?"
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"No, I can't think of anything special."
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"Oh, Marilla, it was the day I came to Green Gables.
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I shall never forget it.
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It was the turning-point in my life.
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Of course it wouldn't seem so important to you.
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I've been here for a year and I've been so happy.
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Of course, I've had my troubles, but one can live down troubles.
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Are you sorry you kept me, Marilla?"
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"Oh—it's—it's too dark," cried Anne.
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"Too dark?
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Why, it's only twilight.
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And goodness knows you've gone over often enough after dark."
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"I'll go over early in the morning," said Anne eagerly.
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"I'll get up at sunrise and go over, Marilla."
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"What has got into your head now, Anne Shirley?
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I want that pattern to cut out your new apron this evening.
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Go at once and be smart, too."
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"I'lll have to go around by the road, then," said Anne, taking up her hat reluctantly.
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"Go by the road and waste half an hour!
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I'd like to catch you!"
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"I can't go through the Haunted Wood, Marilla," cried Anne desperately.
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Marilla stared.
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"The Haunted Wood!
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Are you crazy?
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What under the canopy is the Haunted Wood?"
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"The spruce wood over the brook," said Anne in a whisper.
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"Fiddlesticks!
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There is no such thing as a haunted wood anywhere.
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Who has been telling you such stuff?"
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"Nobody," confessed Anne.
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"Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted.
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All the places around here are so—so—commonplace.
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We just got this up for our own amusement.
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We began it in April.
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A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla.
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We chose the spruce grove because it's so gloomy.
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Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things.
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She appears when there is to be a death in the family.
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Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it.
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Oh, Marilla, I wouldn't go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything.
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I'd be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me."
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"Did ever any one hear the like!"
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ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb amazement.
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"Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your own imagination?"
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"Not believe exactly," faltered Anne.
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"At least, I don't believe it in daylight.
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But after dark, Marilla, it's different.
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That is when ghosts walk."
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unit 123
"There are no such things as ghosts, Anne."
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"Oh, but there are, Marilla," cried Anne eagerly.
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"I know people who have seen them.
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And they are respectable people.
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You know Charlie Sloane's grandmother wouldn't tell a story for anything.
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She's a very religious woman.
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unit 132
He didn't, but he died two years after, so you see it was really true.
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And never let me hear a word out of your head about haunted woods again."
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Anne might plead and cry as she liked—and did, for her terror was very real.
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Her imagination had run away with her and she held the spruce grove in mortal dread after nightfall.
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But Marilla was inexorable.
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"Oh, Marilla, how can you be so cruel?"
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unit 142
sobbed Anne.
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"What would you feel like if a white thing did snatch me up and carry me off?"
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"I'll risk it," said Marilla unfeelingly.
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"You know I always mean what I say.
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I'll cure you of imagining ghosts into places.
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March, now."
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Anne marched.
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That is, she stumbled over the bridge and went shuddering up the horrible dim path beyond.
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Anne never forgot that walk.
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Bitterly did she repent the license she had given to her imagination.
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The swoop of bats in the darkness over her was as the wings of unearthly creatures.
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Diana was away so that she had no excuse to linger.
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The dreadful return journey had to be faced.
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When she finally stumbled over the log bridge she drew one long shivering breath of relief.
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"Well, so nothing caught you?"
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said Marilla unsympathetically.
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Gabrielle • 13957  commented on  unit 151  6 months, 3 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13957  commented on  unit 132  6 months, 3 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13957  commented on  unit 120  6 months, 3 weeks ago
francevw • 14094  commented on  unit 77  6 months, 3 weeks ago

Update: Thank to Gaby and her watching the movie, we now know that:
1. Anne only use the formal form ("vous") at the start, but later (we agreed for Chapter XI) she will say "tu" to Marilla and Matthew, and the formal form with everybody else but her classmates. Marilla and Rachel are friends and they use "tu".
2. She likes overstatements and superlatives.
3. We need to translate "green gables" by "les pignons verts" as it is done in the movie.
by gaelle044 2 weeks 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 7 months ago

CHAPTER XX.

A GOOD IMAGINATION GONE WRONG.

Spring had come once more to Green Gables—the beautiful, capricious, reluctant Canadian spring, lingering along through April and May in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth. The maples in Lovers' Lane were red-budded and little curly ferns pushed up around the Dryad's Bubble. Away up in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Sloane's place, the Mayflowers blossomed out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves. All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming home in the clear, echoing twilight with arms and baskets full of flowery spoil.

"I'm so sorry for people who live in lands where there are no Mayflowers," said Anne. "Diana says perhaps they have something better, but there couldn't be anything better than Mayflowers, could there, Marilla? And Diana says if they don't know what they are like they don't miss them. But I think that is the saddest thing of all. I think it would be tragic, Marilla, not to know what Mayflowers are like and not to miss them. Do you know what I think Mayflowers are, Marilla? I think they must be the souls of the flowers that died last summer and this is their heaven. But we had a splendid time to-day, Marilla. We had our lunch down in a big mossy hollow by an old well—such a romantic spot. Charlie Sloane dared Arty Gillis to jump over it, and Arty did because he wouldn't take a dare. Nobody would in school. It is very fashionable to dare. Mr. Phillips gave all the Mayflowers he found to Prissy Andrews and I heard him say 'sweets to the sweet.' He got that out of a book, I know; but it shows he has some imagination. I was offered some Mayflowers too, but I rejected them with scorn. I can't tell you the person's name because I have vowed never to let it cross my lips. We made wreaths of the Mayflowers and put them on our hats; and when the time came to go home we marched in procession down the road, two by two, with our bouquets and wreaths, singing 'My Home on the Hill.' Oh, it was so thrilling, Marilla. All Mr. Silas Sloane's folks rushed out to see us and everybody we met on the road stopped and stared after us. We made a real sensation."

"Not much wonder! Such silly doings!" was Manila's response.

After the Mayflowers came the violets, and Violet Vale was empurpled with them. Anne walked through it on her way to school with reverent steps and worshipping eyes, as if she trod on holy ground.

"Somehow," she told Diana, "when I'm going through here I don't really care whether Gil— whether anybody gets ahead of me in class or not. But when I'm up in school it's all different and I care as much as ever. There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."

One June evening, when the orchards were pink-blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savour of clover fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window. She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.

In all essential respects the little gable chamber was unchanged. The walls were as white, the pincushion as hard, the chairs as stiffly and yellowly upright as ever. Yet the whole character of the room was altered. It was full of a new vital, pulsing personality that seemed to pervade it and to be quite independent of schoolgirl books and dresses and ribbons, and even of the cracked blue jug full of apple blossoms on the table. It was as if all the dreams, sleeping and waking, of its vivid occupant had taken a visible although immaterial form and had tapestried the bare room with splendid filmy tissues of rainbow and moonshine. Presently Marilla came briskly in with some of Anne's freshly ironed school aprons. She hung them over a chair and sat down with a short sigh. She had had one of her headaches that afternoon, and although the pain had gone she felt weak and "tuckered out," as she expressed it. Anne looked at her with eyes limpid with sympathy.

"I do truly wish I could have had the headache in your place, Marilla. I would have endured it joyfully for your sake."

"I guess you did your part in attending to the work and letting me rest," said Marilla. "You seem to have got on fairly well and made fewer mistakes than usual. Of course it wasn't exactly necessary to starch Matthew's handkerchiefs! And most people when they put a pie in the oven to warm up for dinner take it out and eat it when it gets hot instead of leaving it to be burned to a crisp. But that doesn't seem to be your way evidently."

Headaches always left Marilla somewhat sarcastic.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said Anne penitently. "I never thought about that pie from the moment I put it in the oven till now, although I felt instinctively that there was something missing on the dinner table. I was firmly resolved, when you left me in charge this morning, not to imagine anything, but keep my thoughts on facts. I did pretty well until I put the pie in, and then an irresistible temptation came to me to imagine I was an enchanted princess shut up in a lonely tower with a handsome knight riding to my rescue on a coal-black steed. So that is how I came to forget the pie. I didn't know I starched the handkerchiefs. All the time I was ironing I was trying to think of a name for a new island Diana and I have discovered up the brook. It's the most ravishing spot, Marilla. There are two maple-trees on it and the brook flows right around it. At last it struck me that it would be splendid to call it Victoria Island because we found it on the Queen's birthday. Both Diana and I are very loyal. But I'm very sorry about that pie and the handkerchiefs. I wanted to be extra good to-day because it's an anniversary. Do you remember what happened this day last year, Marilla?"

"No, I can't think of anything special."

"Oh, Marilla, it was the day I came to Green Gables. I shall never forget it. It was the turning-point in my life. Of course it wouldn't seem so important to you. I've been here for a year and I've been so happy. Of course, I've had my troubles, but one can live down troubles. Are you sorry you kept me, Marilla?"

"No, I can't say I'm sorry," said Marilla, who sometimes wondered how she could have lived before Anne came to Green Gables, "no, not exactly sorry. If you've finished your lessons, Anne, I want you to run over and ask Mrs. Barry if she'll lend me Diana's apron pattern."

"Oh—it's—it's too dark," cried Anne.

"Too dark? Why, it's only twilight. And goodness knows you've gone over often enough after dark."

"I'll go over early in the morning," said Anne eagerly. "I'll get up at sunrise and go over, Marilla."

"What has got into your head now, Anne Shirley? I want that pattern to cut out your new apron this evening. Go at once and be smart, too."

"I'lll have to go around by the road, then," said Anne, taking up her hat reluctantly.

"Go by the road and waste half an hour! I'd like to catch you!"

"I can't go through the Haunted Wood, Marilla," cried Anne desperately.

Marilla stared.

"The Haunted Wood! Are you crazy? What under the canopy is the Haunted Wood?"

"The spruce wood over the brook," said Anne in a whisper.

"Fiddlesticks! There is no such thing as a haunted wood anywhere. Who has been telling you such stuff?"

"Nobody," confessed Anne. "Diana and I just imagined the wood was haunted. All the places around here are so—so—commonplace. We just got this up for our own amusement. We began it in April. A haunted wood is so very romantic, Marilla. We chose the spruce grove because it's so gloomy. Oh, we have imagined the most harrowing things. There's a white lady walks along the brook just about this time of the night and wrings her hands and utters wailing cries. She appears when there is to be a death in the family. And the ghost of a little murdered child haunts the corner up by Idlewild; it creeps up behind you and lays its cold fingers on your hand—so. Oh, Marilla, it gives me a shudder to think of it. And there's a headless man stalks up and down the path and skeletons glower at you between the boughs. Oh, Marilla, I wouldn't go through the Haunted Wood after dark now for anything. I'd be sure that white things would reach out from behind the trees and grab me."

"Did ever any one hear the like!" ejaculated Marilla, who had listened in dumb amazement. "Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked nonsense of your own imagination?"

"Not believe exactly," faltered Anne. "At least, I don't believe it in daylight. But after dark, Marilla, it's different. That is when ghosts walk."

"There are no such things as ghosts, Anne."

"Oh, but there are, Marilla," cried Anne eagerly. "I know people who have seen them. And they are respectable people. Charlie Sloane says that his grandmother saw his grandfather driving home the cows one night after he'd been buried for a year. You know Charlie Sloane's grandmother wouldn't tell a story for anything. She's a very religious woman. And Mrs. Thomas' father was pursued home one night by a lamb of fire with its head cut off hanging by a strip of skin. He said he knew it was the spirit of his brother and that it was a warning he would die within nine days. He didn't, but he died two years after, so you see it was really true. And Ruby Gillis says—"

"Anne Shirley," interrupted Marilla firmly, "I never want to hear you talking in this fashion again. I've had my doubts about that imagination of yours right along, and if this is going to be the outcome of it, I won't countenance any such doings. You'll go right over to Barry's, and you'll go through that spruce grove, just for a lesson and a warning to you. And never let me hear a word out of your head about haunted woods again."

Anne might plead and cry as she liked—and did, for her terror was very real. Her imagination had run away with her and she held the spruce grove in mortal dread after nightfall. But Marilla was inexorable. She marched the shrinking ghostseer down to the spring and ordered her to proceed straightway over the bridge and into the dusky retreats of wailing ladies and headless spectres beyond.

"Oh, Marilla, how can you be so cruel?" sobbed Anne. "What would you feel like if a white thing did snatch me up and carry me off?"

"I'll risk it," said Marilla unfeelingly. "You know I always mean what I say. I'll cure you of imagining ghosts into places. March, now."

Anne marched. That is, she stumbled over the bridge and went shuddering up the horrible dim path beyond. Anne never forgot that walk. Bitterly did she repent the license she had given to her imagination. The goblins of her fancy lurked in every shadow about her, reaching out their cold, fleshless hands to grasp the terrified small girl who had called them into being. A white strip of birch bark blowing up from the hollow over the brown floor of the grove made her heart stand still. The long-drawn wail of two old boughs rubbing against each other brought out the perspiration in beads on her forehead. The swoop of bats in the darkness over her was as the wings of unearthly creatures. When she reached Mr. William Bell's field she fled across it as if pursued by an army of white things, and arrived at the Barry kitchen door so out of breath that she could hardly gasp out her request for the apron pattern. Diana was away so that she had no excuse to linger. The dreadful return journey had to be faced. Anne went back over it with shut eyes, preferring to take the risk of dashing her brains out among the boughs to that of seeing a white thing. When she finally stumbled over the log bridge she drew one long shivering breath of relief.

"Well, so nothing caught you?" said Marilla unsympathetically.

"Oh, Mar—Marilla," chattered Anne, "I'll b-b-be cont-t-tented with c-c-commonplace places after this."