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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

9/30/2021 c56 32Feux follet
The driver seems as tired as everyone else of Lieutenant Wilmington, when he replies that they'll see where they're going when they'll be there. And who can blame him? I laughed when Rilla complained about the polo, for Wilmington seems to be someone who loves to talk and hear himself talking. I wonder if he is conscious about that ... Maybe not, but sometimes he could stop and think a bit about what he is saying and doing.

Yes, Moustache! I was so glad to see him, even if it was short! It's good to know that he is still here, and as well as someone plunged in this can be. I loved how you slowly bring us to Ken. At first it's just a great moment, and then you think back that Rilla just went in a trench, and that Wilmington will surely be happy to tell him that. It was very thoughtful of Stowe to arrange this meeting, though. He couldn't know Wilmington would open his mouth like that - well, he could, but I think the main idea was to allow Rilla to be happy, and that was very kind of him. At first it's bit of both excitation and fear, then, and it doesn't help that Ken doesn't turn to see who's talking to him. It was quite a tense atmosphere, and it really matched well with how you built his character - more solid and more complex than in the books. And then he turns around ...

It must be strange to see each others like this. You don't really know what you can do or say, with everyone looking and listening, so it's very shy at first. And then there is Wilmington ... If you hadn't wrote about the groan from Irving, I still would have imagine it, for there was no way someone wouldn't groan at this interruption and what he said. Why, but why did he opened his mouth here? Of course Ken wouldn't react well! Of course, it wasn't very good to keep it either, but if they could have manage to tell him after the war, it wouldn't have hurt ... Poor Stowe, though. I feel sorry for him, for he seems to try to do his best and ends up scolded for something which isn't entirely his fault.

But the worst moment (not in your writing, it was great!) was when Ken talked to Rilla. The first moments, especially, when he asks her if Wilmington's opinion is now higher than his and forbade her to do something like this again. It was ... Yes, threatening, and frightening, and frankly revolting! Rilla was right to tell him that she's not a soldier under his orders, and that she can do what the hell she wants to do! I don't doubt that he was scared for her, but to speak to her like this, to forbid things and order others ... No, he can't, he just can't, and he really needs to write it in his mind as soon as possible! And while he is at it, he can put hit condescending tone away, too, and never pick it up! Again, I'm sure he was scared, but that's not an excuse to speak like this to Rilla. I'm glad she replied this way.

I'm a bit nervous after this scene. Even the ending didn't reassure me, for I don't think that "never speaking of it again" is a good idea. Of course, to let some time pass, for everyone to calm down, that's good, but "never" isn't a good thing. I wonder what will happen next ...
9/29/2021 c55 Feux follet
This chapter was impressive, and quite informative! I thank you for all the details you put there!

Again, Miller is quite a character! I like how she is, bold and not taking nonsense. Her friendship with Rilla is precious, and I love the fact that, even if all the fellow nurses Rilla met were strong and great women, you give each of them a tiny thing which makes it completely different. I wouldn't like to be on Miller's wrong side, though. The British nurses can prepare themselves! About that, I had hear about British nurses who were complicated to work with, but I didn't thought it could go this far. I laughed at Rilla's answer, but behind it's just strange and sad to see that there was wars behind the war, just like for Cooper.

Now I wonder how they passed to a visit of the trenches from a visit to a cathedral .. I'm not really sure it is a good idea, even if they are not used anymore, they're still pretty close to the danger ... The lieutenant seems to have a strange sense of humor, how can it be funny to go and visit this like a sort of attraction park. I know my comparison isn't chronologically right, but still, he seems to find this very funny, while it's just horrible. The way you described the tank, with the blood, and then the village which isn't a village anymore was so vivid, it felt like a monstrous thing to think that this lieutenant was laughing. It seemed as if he was organizing a picnic in a cemetery.

On another hand, the way you described Rilla's feelings about this was very powerful, especially when we have her thoughts about the trenches, and she says that she didn't imagine them to be living like this. It must be horrible to go there, and think that your husband, your brothers, your friends went through this and still are.

Again, I thank you for everything! I'm sorry, my reviews are a little shorter today, my keyboard is playing tricks to me and I can't write properly without several minutes of fight for some letters, I'm sorry!
9/29/2021 c54 Feux follet
This was hard. To be stuck with death, and not be able to do anything ... It's just awful ...

I was touched by how Rilla went to each patient. You can feel the urgency in her voice, in her thoughts, but when she is with her patients, she's really, deeply caring. You already showed it through other chapters, but here it is more important, maybe precisely because everything is so small, and there is no possibility to run away - not that she would do it, of course, but sometimes it is easier when you know you can get out, even if you don't.

I was touched by Paddy, how he asked Rilla if she would still love Ken if he came home blind. There was genuine fear, and you managed to show how young he was, through his words. It's heartbreaking to see how many lives have been broken by war, how youth have been cut when it was just the beginning of life for them ... I liked how Rilla took the time to speak with him, to reassure him about his sweetheart, and how she asked him to sing. There was something very powerful here, and yet very sweet and soft. You did an amazing thing here!

But now, about Pete and Olli, it's just awful. For Paddy, it was hard, even more hard when he tried to be brave, but there was still hope. Not for his eyes, but for his life. It was visible that it would be hard, but again there was still life, and therefore hope. Here ... Here it's just heartbreaking. The worst is for Ollie, but you managed to show Rilla's feelings perfectly, too! When she prays, then thinks that she's going to be sick, but still find the strength to take care of Ollie ..

The last question hit me the most. We're in August, the end of war is coming, and yet it sometimes seems just impossible to happen ...
9/29/2021 c53 Feux follet
The fact that you started with Rilla being already at work, and you only give us the memory of their goodbye was perfect. It really shows how precious it is for her, and it avoid a painful scene, though you wrote that everything have been said between them. I enjoyed how Rilla thought about who should worry the more, too. It must be hard for Ken to think that Rilla is still in danger while, if she wished too, she could go home and be sace until the end of war, while he have no choice, but Rilla is right too when she thinks that he is the one who faces more dangers, for "normally" (and I insist on the quote mark) she shouldn't be a target for the enemy.

Also, I was anxious about where she could be sent next, especially after what happened with the ship, but now that I know, I'm not very sure. First of all, I did know there were trains which were specially for the injured people, but I didn't know some of them had been created and arranged specially for their transport. It's strange to think that a little more than a century after this, trains were once again used to transport people for medical reasons, though it was for illness, not injuries.

You really gave this sensation that everything is small, too small, that there are not many room left and it is somehow suffocating. What's hard is that if they want to take a break, they can't just ask the train to stop and go outside to breathe and get out of the situation, even for a few minutes, they are just stuck with it. It must be hard to be there, and even if it is not underground, I wonder if Rilla will be okay with this position. Miller talking about the linen room is funny, at first, because of the smell's problem, but then it just shows how limited they are.

Speaking of whom, Miller seems to be quite a character! The poor American soldier seemed terrified by her. She's impressive, that's for sure, but I think she is kind, and I'm waiting to learn more about her. I looked for this cow's story, for at first I didn't understand what she was talking about, then I learnt about the American president's cow. What a story! And, moreover, what a name for a cow!

I enjoyed the Indian patient's part, and how you speak about all the nationalities being gathered in this war.

Thank you for this!
9/27/2021 c52 Feux follet
I wasn't expecting this at all... (not in a bad way!)

When I first saw that they were still in Bretagne, I was happy, even though you said that it was their last night here. At least, they were safe for one more night, one more chapter. At least, that's what I thought, then. I was impressed by how Diane helped them to keep this marriage a secret, too. I didn't know if she would really help them, but she did, and that was wonderful to know. Rilla not being a model housekeeper? Who would blame her for that? Then, the war starts its first round. There is the reminder that Rilla will go on the hospital ship, which means that, though she'll see her family again (which can also cause fear, because she haven't seen them since years, and even if they wrote to each other, I think it can be stressful to think about it, like wondering what will happen. They can't run into each others arms as if nothing had happen, and yet maybe there is this very need, to feel their arms around her and know that she is safe ...), it also means that she will leave Ken, that again both will be at risks, that the future is not promised to them until the last bell echoed the end of war. It's like being on the edge of something, like on the edge of the sea. You see the water under your feet and you don't know how it is going to end, and what lies under those waves.

But that's only the first round. Then, there is Ken coming back. The way you pictured his distress was frightening. It was particularly well written, especially how you used the short sentences and go back to the line so often. There is a sense of short-breathing, which only adds to the tension of the scene. What hit the most here, is how he reacts by making sure she's alive, then pushing her away - I think that in his mind, it's me "I need to keep her away so that she will be safe", but it is translated by him pushing her away - and looking for alcohol. It was terrifying to see how he reacted when he thought that there was only red wine. As if the world had turn upside down and there was no way to put it right.

I liked the way Rilla took the bottle but didn't give him, and asked for answers. The bottle of wine falling and breaking into pieces at their feet, with the wine spreading on the ground, was a strong picture - and I couldn't help but think about blood. I just hope that it doesn't mean Ken's blood and Ken's grave. The more I read chapters, the more I am getting close to the answer of who is in the grave - and the more I'm scared. It's just a few months left before the war is over, you wish they could all go home safe and sound, but it seems that months are years in war.

But the broken bottle is also the breaking point - sorry for the game of words. The moment where Ken's shell breaks, where the truth comes, where answers are possible. And what answers ... It's frightening to think that sometimes, our life is only retained by one faint "if". To think that this word only composed by two letters can mean death or life ... The worst is that, in those moments, you just want more answers, like knowing where Rilla is going to be sent, and you can't even know that.

I was moved by how they talked, after that. How Ken tried to prevent her from going back, though he knew she would say no, and how he spoke about the guardian angel. But I wished every character involved had one. I know it is silly, selfish, unrealistic, but with your story, it's like being there with them, and you just want everyone to be safe. But what moved me the most was when Rilla said that she had given him answers about her experience, but not him. On one hand, I think she's right, because even if she isn't fighting, Rilla could have keep the silence, too, for she's going back there too. But there is something else, and on another hand, you already shown us how Ken had been affected by this. Everyone manages the traumas as they can, and at that time, as psychology was very young, I don't think anybody knew what could really help. The censorship of the letters and of the press was massive, too, and I can't help but think that it was so strong that it just transposed to their thoughts about war, and how they think they could handle it, and talk about it. There is also the first natural (I'm writing this word, and now I'm wondering if it is truly natural or if it is a mechanism we learnt to have) reaction of not telling, because if ones tells what happened, they'll just break into pieces - or so we think we will, at least. I'm just wondering where it will lead them...

Now, I must thank you for the last scene. How he bought the house to Gallou, to make sure that Rilla will have a shelter if anything happens. And what a shelter! It's just ... It's just so wonderful for them to have this house! The house of dreams is great, too, but it also belongs to others, and keeps other memories, untainted by war and from another time, while this little house belongs to no one else than to them, it keeps their memories, their hopes and fears, and it really seems like a shelter against which no tempest can win. And I liked the fact that they talked about the tea and Rilla's possible pregnancy. I can't say I blame Ken for wondering if she would leave her job if she discovered that she was pregnant. But I can't help wondering what will happen next!

Thank you for this chapter!
9/26/2021 c51 Feux follet
I just loved this chapter! I think it's just after Gallou's first appearance's chapter, in the rank of my favorite chapters! There is just so much kindness and caring here ...

I'm glad they stayed in Bretagne, and I thank you for letting us have another chapter here! It was just magical to be there with them, and I think that the way you opened this chapter with Rilla slowly waking up and thinking about her mother's word, with the fairies was just perfect!

There is also such an evolution here with Rilla. I'm not speaking about whether she wants children or not, though there is a big step here too, but about her position. She starts this chapter alone, even though Ken is going back soon to her - I wonder, is it a way to tell us that he will come back from the last months of war unhurt, or is it just me? Then, she is like a sister to Nolwenn, guessing what's on her mind, listening at her hopes and fears, then giving her this advice - I wish someone had given it to me! There was something very sweet there, between Rilla who grew up and saw things during war no one should have, and learnt from this, and Nolwenn, who is like her younger-self (just like Ken said in the previous chapter), still full of hopes and fearing that she will never escape from this place. There is something beautiful here, and even if war leaves a shadow on all of that - Josselyn's husband, Rilla's experience, her father's - it's still beautiful to see that she's going forward, not letting war having it all. I enjoyed the way Rilla talked to her, and encouraged her though telling her to be careful. Really, it was like seeing an older sister talking to her younger sister. Maybe Nolwenn could come to the House of Dreams, after the war? (I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you about this in the previous review, but I'm so glad that, even it it's not for long, they will stay there!)

After Nolwenn's departure, Rilla's position change again, and she become a daughter again. I just loved how Berthe arranged this, sending Nolwenn outside, and then, at the end of their talk, said she needed to go and separate her sons and gave her little Berthe to watch over. But what touched me the most was the scene in between. First of all, I didn't know about Queen Anne's lace properties, but I was touched by how you introduced it, with Berthe knowing them too. It's like a witch's secret, which passes generation by generation. I would maybe say mother to daughter, but Anne is not there, though Berthe takes her place here (not in a bad way). Even if there are the letters, Anne is away, and I think that it is great someone is here, near Rilla, helping her even if it is only temporary. I loved how Berthe talked with Rilla here, even if Rilla was a bit angry, but as someone once told me, behind anger there is often, if not always, fear, and you showed it perfectly.

Then there is the scene with little Bertha, and she become, for a few minutes, like a mother figure. It reminded me about the scene with Jims, where Ken can't help but look at her and be amazed. But it is something even more powerful here, because it comes from Rilla. We see Ken's reaction, of course, but the main part is on Rilla and her thoughts. Her last gesture have me wondering what will happen, though. In those situations, there doesn't seem to have a good or a bad path, you just do what you can with what is given to you. I'm curious to know what you are preparing there!

But again, thank you so much for this chapter, which deeply touched me! Thank you!
9/25/2021 c50 Feux follet
(My computer decided to cut my enthusiasm, I'm sorry!)

I was saying that there is such a feeling of safety there. Of course, it's not for long, and war is still not far away, but for a few moments, it's reassuring, and relieving to feel safe.

I enjoyed the way you described Gallou's family. You really took the time to give everyone a real temper, between Katell who runs everywhere and Loïc who would surely love to be away from them and reassured. Katell reminded me a bit of Izzie, too, and it was funny to see her running into Rilla's arms, but turning her head away from Ken. On another hand, I was touched when you talked about Elouann and how war stole his youth, even if it hadn't take him on its battlefield yet. I think every family watched over their sons like hot milk on fire .. Normally he won't go, but like I said on an earlier chapter, it's different when you are in the middle of the events, it's harder to think that in just a few months this war will be over.

The end ... It is always an emotional chapter when Gallou is there, but here ... It was already moving to see how kind and caring he was around Rilla and Ken - the "sister Bertha" touched me, there was such kindness and quiet assurance in those words -, but when he came back with his youngest daughter ... When he said "it's quite right this way" ... the scene was so powerful in emotions ... So powerful that it seems I'm loosing my words, I'm terribly sorry for that. This scene reminded me of something and it was just perfect to read, lovely to witness. There is something so sweet, so lovely here, which doesn't pass by words. It just is.

The "I won't doubt" was perfect, too.

Thank you for everything!
9/25/2021 c50 Feux follet
You can't imagine just how happy and relieved this chapter made me feel! When I first read "Brittany", it was just a rising of hope, which didn't went down. I was waiting for this chapter but didn't know when it would happen. I hadn't even thought about it for the honeymoon! And now ... Now, thank you so much for this! Thank you!

You know, it was both funny and strange to read the comparison of the Manche and the Atlantic when I have the first one in sight if I look up from my computer's screen and keeps longing for the second, near which I spent my childhood (well, it wasn't enough for me to lift my head and look out the window, then, but silly as it may sound I'm willing to drive more to go to the sea if it is for the Atlantic!). I totally understand Rilla when she says the Atlantic is the best, and you perfectly resumed their temper! I laughed when she said to Ken that he was a city boy, for there IS a difference! (I think that, like Rilla, the Atlantic will always whispers "home" to me). I'm just so glad she was able to decide him to come with her in Bretagne, and I was touched when he said that he understood how important it was for her.

Gallou is the same kind, calm man. His presence in this chapter is truly visible. As if to say that in his kingdom, no war could happen. Of course, war keeps trying to enter, and there are many knocks on the door, but it wasn't as oppressing as it could have been in Paris or elsewhere. There is such a feeling
9/25/2021 c49 Feux follet
I like the way you start this chapter after the wedding, and how you present it in a moment which only belongs to her. It was also funny to see how everyone left to leave them alone. It must be strange, though, after all these months, not to say years, spent in the mud, mostly under tents, to have a flat for yourself, with hot water at command, proper beds, proper food and no worries about the weather nor about the bombs. Yes, it must be strange to come from Etaples and see a place where there is no blood, no cries, no injuries, not too much worries ...

The wedding seemed to be lovely, and I particularly enjoyed how Walter replied to the minister! And the fact that they stood there as equals was an amazing thing. She didn't belong to anyone but herself since the day she was born, but I liked how you linked her realization of this to the war. They all went through so much, and like Ken said when Selina broke up with him, they are not the same persons, war changed them. I think your chapter here is a full realization of this, especially when it comes to Rilla. It's the same when she thinks about what Nan would think about her small and simple wedding, and how the "new" Nan would surely approve.

At the same time, you show how strange it is for them, at least for Rilla. In a way, it will also be strange for their family who did not assist to the wedding! But it was great to see how Ken distracted her from that - and from his leg - with the dance. Again, you do a great thing by making this moment belong to them, and only them.

But what touched me the most is how effectively equals they consider each other, something which we wouldn't have seen with Dr. Murray! Both takes time to admit the news, but both accepts the situation, too. With Ken, there wasn't much to accept, as it is the army which decided it, and in a way it is the same for Rilla being posted on the hospital ships, but it's not the same about her decision of staying a nurse. It felt right to see Ken taking a minute to realize, but I'm glad he didn't cut her wings and came around with her decision to stay - it would have been terribly unfair if he had say otherwise, but it could have happen. I'm glad he supported her!

Now, I'm looking forward for Rilla to see her family. I wonder what it can be, to see your family again after so much time spent away, in the middle of war. It must be strange, and maybe even awkward, as nobody is the same than when Rilla left ... I just hope that Rilla will be safe, and Ken too! I'm looking up at the dates at the beginning of the chapters, crossing everything I can so that the months left will be alright, but again the prologue haunts me and it's getting hard not to stress more and more about it!
9/24/2021 c48 Feux follet
I didn't dare to think that they would dare to do that, but this is marvelous! I think that what made me laugh the most here is that Walter is the one to voice this solution, and the first to support it. From a priest as he is, I would have never expect such a thing - apart from Mr. Meredith, maybe, but it's not the same religion (well, it is, and it is the same God, just not the same way to think about him and pray and follow the faith). Walter quoting another source to support Rilla in this was just perfect!

But I'm starting to mix up everything, so I'll try to follow the chronological order. Firstly, so, I'm terribly glad to see Colette again! She have a way to appear when you least expect her - to silently come and wake up Rilla this way was amazing -, and it is always a good surprise to see her. She does have a way to shake things which is absolutely unique, and I laughed when she turned to Rilla and asked her if she was thinking about marrying in her uniform. To be honest, I thought she would, but I didn't know that the nurses couldn't take their uniforms to get married like the others do. It's quite unfair! Just like this stupid rule that expects them to marry and then gently go back behind the lines, waiting and doing something like embroidery. If it is so, why the men who married can't go back behind the lines, too? (I know it would never happen, it is silly, but it is just as absurd as their rule to send home women who are doing an amazing job with the argument that now they are married. Well, they should be happy! Before, they were fearing that women who were not married would fall in love with the patients, now the question is settled, isn't it? It seems that they really are ready to do anything, even contradictory things, to control women's fate. Just like for the torture thing, it's frightening to see that they are consciously making those decisions.)

I'm sorry, I mixed up things again. I was glad to hear Colette deciding that she and Persis would get along - I hope we'll get to see them together at least once! What I particularly enjoy in your story, which isn't often shown in others, though things are starting to change, is the strong and fierce friendship between them all. We more often see them supporting each other than be angry and trying to rivalize between them, like some people would make us think we do often. It was refreshing and empowering to see that, and I'm glad you wrote it that way! I was also glad to have news from Dr. McIver, too! It's amazing to know that he stepped in so that Colette would be able to go to the wedding - and the advice he asked Colette to tell Rilla was an amazing one!

Now, let's get back to the idea of staying in the army. I wasn't really surprised to hear that Rilla hadn't resign yet. The way you built her character made it impossible to see her gladly handing her resignation then getting married. And of course it wasn't just the superstition. But I enjoyed the way you described the scene, with Colette asking about how it went, Rilla not answering, and Walter seeing it all and already guessing, who asked her again what happened. The relationship you recreated between them, leaving more space to Rilla for expressing herself facing her brother, is again amazing to watch!

Which is why I absolutely loved it when Walter said that maybe she could let things as they were, get married and then get back to work without saying anything. What touched me the most here is that it is him and Colette who keeps suggesting that she could do it. It's not Ken. It's them, and it makes it even more important and precious to read. The dynamic you created between Walter, who though encouraging his sister to lie, remains a priest, and Colette who don't really know about religion (and probably even doesn't care) was also funny to watch, especially when he tried to explain the differences between the types of lies which are tolerated in the different religions. In a way, for a few minutes, they were not the young people war had traumatized, they all looked like schoolgirls and boy preparing some mischief, and it was lovely to watch.

Colette interrupting this moment with a "Oh, so you're the goddam Kenneth Ford" made me laugh! He won't say he wasn't introduced properly! I enjoyed how, suddenly, everything felt silent and Rilla ran to him.
Also, wouldn't it be terribly unfair if they were to be sent in hell for this, if it exists? Hell is what they tried to survive since the start of this war. Not what they are intending to do. Isn't there something in religion about helping one another? Wouldn't it be a sin to prevent Rilla, who's very good at her work and at saving people, to prevent her from doing that? (My knowledge on these matters is restricted, I'm sorry, but honestly the army's rules are already absurd, so ...)

I really enjoyed this chapter, thank you for sharing it! And, as always, thank you for this amazing story! :)
(Ps. I'm just sorry if my reviews are getting a bit of a mess, and my remarks a bit non-logical, I'm lacking of sleep since a few days and I'm afraid my reviews are showing it, I'm terribly sorry if it is the case!)
9/24/2021 c47 Feux follet
This chapter was quite emotional! But it felt right, and good, to have this talk between Walter (who was a great surprise) and Rilla.

But firstly, I liked the way you described Rilla's perception of Paris, and the comparison to the nose made me laugh. What hit me though was the reasons she didn't take the driver, or to be precise, the first one, with the economy of petrol. I hadn't thought about that at all, but it was great to see how you put it here! I also enjoyed how you linked Rilla's walk with a reminder of what happened before, with the troops near Paris. You always manage to put the details and the historical lines in an interesting way, and I absolutely enjoyed it! When Rilla arrived and told her name, I had a little second of incomprehension, before remembering that "Marilla" is her name, and "Rilla" just a nickname. It reminds me of Carlotta, in the books, who wasn't married under the nickname Miss Lavendar (or Lavender?) used to give her, and went back with the impression that she wasn't really married.

Diane seems to be a impressive woman! There is something about her which seems a bit threatening at first, which was confirmed by Rilla thinking that she doesn't want to be on the wrong side with her. I was particularly interested by the first things she said, whether about being a pretty wife or nurse's work and what it could imply. I think she wants to see young girls and women taking their independence and be firm about that, and doesn't tolerate otherwise - I'm sorry, she's really intriguing, and I think she hides many things behind her polite but sometimes cold expression.

Walter! Like I said earlier, it was a great surprise to see him there, and it was even more when they started talking. I was touched by how Rilla started defining herself: As a girl she was Rilla of Ingleside, then growing up she felt Rilla of Nowhere. he way she says that Walter's presence helps her a bit to be grounded again somewhere was also moving. I was even more touched when she said that she used to live in something close to paradise, but didn't know it then, only trying to see what was lying behind, while now it seems / is to late to go back there like before. You put the right words on this feeling, and it really moved me, thank you for that!

Walter is amazing at how he helps her see that she's not as lonely as she thinks. It was heartwarming to read the way he quotes everyone's reactions about her and the work she does, and how everyone is there to support her, how everyone is proud of her. I hadn't thought back about Irene, but I can perfectly imagine Nan hearing her and getting angry, just like Jem would, apparently. But what moved me the most was when Walter said that maybe she could start letting everyone in, instead of pushing them away - not with bad intentions, but to protect them and somehow protect herself. And when she tells him about their childhood and how impossible it is for her to go back to what feels now like a paradise ... I think you got me there. I couldn't stop the tears rolling after this.

It was great to see Rilla talking about what she felt to Walter. In the books, it's too often the other side, and we never hear her telling him about what she feels. She always try to cheer him up, but never tells about her own pains. While here, you really give her an equal place, and it was amazing to see her allowing herself to let go of the armor and to let herself feel again. To tell about her fears, about how much she miss her old life, how afraid she is with the war and the future that lies ahead. When she started talking, there was a real sense of liberation, and it only increased when she let go and cried in Walter's arms. It was as if something that was preventing her to breathe had just loosen up, to allow breathing again. What frightens me a bit, on the other hand, is that I just don't know if it will carry on like this - I think I'm getting unsure, and superstitious too.

You did a wonderful job here with their conversation, and it was deeply moving and heartwarming to read about it. Thank you for this! I think it's one of the best chapters :)
9/23/2021 c46 Feux follet
At first, I didn't understand why Persis was telling Rilla she had no right to die like this. I checked the place where they were, and was reassured that it was not Villa Tino. I kept reading, but something wasn't right. Then you spoke about the bombings. I didn't thought they would start again, especially not so soon. But again there is Rilla's reticence to say what happened. It's like walking on a unstable ground. And then there is the outburst, and the news about Betty.

I had to stop when she said what happened to her. I only started recently, and could remember precisely how the three of them came on this boat, teasing and watching over each others. And now ... Now it hurts, because Betty was an amazing character, and though we didn't see nor hear often about her since Rilla went away to France, she remained an amazing character, full of kindness and ... They started together. Now she's dead, Polly is married - I can't imagine her own pain, though - and there is only Rilla left ... Again, you can't help but wish you could help them, save them all, take their hands through the pages and take them out of this before it's too late ...

On another hand, I liked the way Tim came in and help them talk - and I'm so glad that he and Persis are getting closer, even if it's just for friendship, it's great to watch them together! - but what touched me more was how Persis replied that they may disagree on certain things, and have quarrels like this one, but it never changes their friendship. It's always great to see those bonds being tightened more like this.

Now, I wonder about Ken's letter ... Did he just told her that they were getting married on that date and that everything was already planned, or did he let her some space and commands? I understand that he's glad to be cured, to go back to the front. I also understand that he was scared to death for Rilla, when he heard about the bombing. But did he thought that what he experienced there will be what Rilla will experience if they get married? That not only she will be prevented from doing her work, but she will also be far away too, even if it's only England, and therefore not able to come if something happened, because a soldier even in permission they can let pass, but I don't think they would let Rilla pass too. I know he wants her to be safe, but there is something a bit smothering about it, but maybe that's just me.

There is something in Rilla's doubts which frightens me a little bit. Also, the funeral from the prologue have not happened yet, and she was still a nurse at this time if I recall well, so either it will happen very soon, or there will be something which will make the wedding postponed ... Also, I wonder what will happen if Rilla effectively gets married at the end of the month. I can't imagine her waiting in England and do nothing about it, only waiting. I can't wait to discover what is going to happen there!

And again, thank you for your wonderful chapters, and also for the footnotes!
9/23/2021 c45 Feux follet
Yes, Shirley! What a great surprise to see him! I enjoyed how he came in and called Rilla his "little sister". Behind the quietness of these words, there was something deep and touching there, which really goes with how you built there relationship in this story, and the year they spent away from their family together. I enjoyed the way Rilla described him, too, paying attention to every detail which could tell her if her brother is safe or not - like when she hugs him, before acknowledging that he isn't comfortable with this. There is something a bit strange, though. I can't really put words on it, but Shirley doesn't seem totally alright. Of course, he already fought years in war, and that doesn't help, but still, I can't help but wonder if everything is as fine as he wants his sister to believe.

Maybe it's just me, but the fact that he used this free time before his train to come and see Rilla touched me, there was like a fear that she wouldn't be there, that he needed to go and see by himself if she was unhurt and alright. And soon after this moment, there is this attempt to go away, catch an earlier train, as if to hide how afraid he have been for her, and in the same time, whe Rilla hesitates to tell him that she needs to go to see Persis, there is a sort of jump of fear again. But again, maybe that's just me.

About Persis, I wonder, is this flu the start of The Flu? I don't know the dates really well, when it comes to this event, just that it started near the end of war, but what is "near the end of war" when you're in the middle of it and it seems it won't stop? For us, it's four years. For those who lived there, it's months, weeks, days of hell.

I enjoyed how Rilla settled the problem with the horses - and the name which didn't match the temper of her horse. I was surprised Shirley followed, but then if felt natural. And I'm glad it allowed them to talk like they did. It was a quick moment, but very powerful!

Shirley telling her about the rail tracks, for example. I didn't know that the hospital's place was a strategical one, but it's infuriating to see that they played with lives that way! Like you said, it's not the German pilot who should have the main part of the guilt! It's the ones who built this hospital with the purpose of using it as a shield! No wonder Rilla's feeling sick after that, and no wonder Persis would scream if she heard about it! This is one of the cruelest joke they made! (After sending thousands and thousands of young men sacrifice themselves for silly things).

On another hand, the moment where Rilla don't know if she can tell her brother that she's going to marry Ken, but he complete her sentence, made me smile. And I laughed when he said that Jem told him. It really matches with his character indeed! But I understand Rilla about what she call a "superstition". It's just hard to think that he will probably go back to the battlefield soon. Couldn't he wait a little? I know it's silly, but a few months and he would have pass through without another thing happening to him, while here, the uncertainty comes back ... I just hope that he will be safe. That they will all be safe until the end of war - yes, I know, here again it is silly, especially since the funeral from the prologue keeps haunting me. What touched me the most, though, was Shirley not saying anything but taking Rilla's hand in his and squeeze it. I think it worth all the words she needs, even if it is quick. The way you show just how close they are is amazing!

The last scene, with Persis sitting in her bed and accusing Rilla of being late made me laugh, and I was glad to see that Rilla could laugh again, too. It was very strong, for it is as if she's mourning for what happened -and who can blame her for that? - and this first laugh have something liberating.

Thank you for this chapter!
9/22/2021 c44 Feux follet
It's just a disaster ... And it isn't fair.

This chapter was harder to read than the previous one. Not necessarily because the things you describe are harder, because I think they are equals in their horror, but because in the previous chapter, there was a sort of shock. Rilla was in shock, something you translated in your writing in the best way possible, and for me it was like someone had put something on my ears. There was no sound. I could only witness with my eyes, and even this vision seemed blurred. And as Rilla carried on, we followed her. While here, the first stage of shock slowly faints and there is no silence anymore, and everything is getting very much visible again. I don't know how Barker did to remain like this. In a way, it's a good thing if the bombs didn't troubled him, though it is a bit disturbing when you're next to him and scared about what might still happen. I admire how Rilla carried on, trying desperately to not show how afraid she was. I talked about people being inhumane in this war. Here, she's superhuman (or "surhumaine", in French). She doesn't stop, not until everyone is safe, whether their pulse is still beating or not. And she does it all alone! I just admire her for her strength.

However, the worst seemed to be after, when she went out of the ward. Because even if what happened in the ward is horrible, there was - at least for me, and as strange as it may seems - a sense of protection. It only appeared when she went out, though. I didn't know it was there until she left the ward. But when she did, there was such a strong feeling of vulnerability. She wasn't the nurse in charge of the moribund ward who saved as many patients as she could and did it extremely well. She was a young woman, looking at a devastated place, after going through a ghostly experience, not knowing if the ones she knew and cared for were still alive, but knowing that it was a disaster and there was a chance of people she knew being dead. It really burst when Maud came and took her in her arms, letting her cry. You really marked well the moment where she allowed herself to realize fully what happened, and cried about it. Again, Maud is amazing, and I'm glad she was sent there after they closed the previous place. As always, her words are so sweet, and so helpful ... Like Rilla says, of course nobody knows if it will be alright, but just to hear her say it can help put a foot in front of the other.

Persis! In the middle of this mess I hadn't thought about her, but when Rilla said her name I just panicked. I was glad that she was alive and unhurt, at least physically. She's still under the shock, and after what happened, who can blame her? But I was touched by her confession to Rilla. The fact that she believed the propaganda saying that it was all glamorous and everything. It's a strong move, coming from her, to acknowledge that, and to recognize that she was so stuck with this idea that she wouldn't let anyone show her what it was before she came. Now I just wonder how she'll carry on. How THEY will carry on. Rilla's answers, at the end, were even more strong, and I think they were both helpful and inspiring, not only for Persis. The last words of this chapter particularly hit.

Also, thank you for the footnotes. You just wish you could save them all.
9/22/2021 c43 Feux follet
This chapter touched me in the way you described each atmosphere.

The first one seemed peaceful at the surface, between the silence and the reassuring glow of the lamp Rilla had. It's strange to say it that way, and I apologize for it, but there was some sort of peace, there. They all fought for so long, that knowing Death is coming is, in a way, reassuring. There is no fight, no incertitude, no false hope here. But it isn't cold either. I liked the way you described it like a warm blanket, because it was how I felt it. I was also touched about the thought of not letting them die alone, and how it was one of the main fears of the families. That and the pain they might endure. It was like seeing a bunch of boys trying to sleep under a night light and a mother's gaze. Once again, the fact that Rilla was older here helped to create this atmosphere. Not that she is old enough to be their mother, she could be more of a sister, but there is also her experience, the way she gently cares for them, help them be at ease ... It was very soft, and you made Death appear like an old friend, in some ways. An old friend who's helping them and take their hand when they can't walk alone anymore.

I said it was on the surface, because if we dig into these scenes, if we look closer, there are still some fights here. Evans, fighting against the fluids which are drowning him. Rilla, fighting against the feeling each death brings back to her - though, and I'm sorry for the strange thing I'm going to say, in a way, even if it's hard to witness her distress, there is something very soft there. It's like a wave, that wash over before letting go. There was also the families, fighting against the death of their loved ones, screaming and crying - I didn't know they were allowed to come there! I can imagine how much distress it can brings, along with the joy of seeing the ones you love for the last time. There was the explanations about the gas, too, and the revolt it brings. There is no ally nor ennemy there. Just a group of stupid people who think they can prove their power by sending men fight in their names and sending them to death while they are hidden somewhere, enjoying the spectacle. Just a group of people who spend time and enthusiasm on creating deadly weapons, and ways to torture others. There is no honor in this, and like Red Eye said in a previous chapter, there is no victory there, and there will be none. War will end, but each side will have lost. They all lost at the first injured soldier. I already knew it, but it hurts to see that men will never learn and that it keeps going. Can't we learn and find other ways? Like talking, for example? Is it so much to ask? We often hear about civilization, but how can we claim we are civilized when things like that happens?
(I'm sorry for this, I let myself be carried away a little bit, sorry)

And then, there is the bombing. I had to re-read it twice, from the moment Barker asked Rilla if they were getting bombed, sometimes. The tone of his voice, which seemed so calm, and Rilla's vain reassurances contrasted directly with the cruel answer they got. It's frightening to see how the situation changed so quickly. It's as if someone had flipped it, like one would flip a board game, with all the pawns down (I don't know if it is the right word to say "pion" in English, but I didn't find anything better, I'm sorry). And I think it is visible in your writing, too, for if before we had short paragraphs, after the explosions we have short sentences, not taking all the place of the line, but being put one below the other, as if it was a puzzle with all the pieces mixed up and waiting to be put back together (sorry for the comparison). In my mind, it expressed perfectly just how the situation fell into pieces, and how the panic make Rilla thinks by pieces, but also how she tries to link it back. And if in the first scenes there was the sensation that the soldiers weren't alone to die, here it's the oppressing thought that if Rilla was there for them, there is no one here for her. She's alone. And maybe that is the worst here. A few sentences particularly hit me there, like when you say that no one will go and help her, for she's guarding the deads - or deads-to-be. There was also the last sentence: "There's nothing else in this night which started out so peacefully and is now painted in all the colours of hell". It was the end of the chapter but it made me stop and look at my screen, unable to move, for a few minutes.

Thank you for your work!
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