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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

9/25/2021 c49 32Feux 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!
9/21/2021 c42 Feux follet
Your writing is amazing. You know why? Because I hadn't read the title, and I was so plunged in the reading of this chapter that when Rilla said softly that the Americans were there, and the way you wrote it just expressed her relief, that I just let go and cried. Maybe those were the tears I couldn't let fall in the previous chapter. Maybe because I needed hope, as it was getting hard to believe that in November 1918, it would be the end of this war, but right now, it seems easier to believe it. It was like breathing again after a long time spent in apnea. Thank you for this!

I was touched by how you described Rilla and Persis' dynamic here, with Persis being exhausted, on the edge of breaking down, and Rilla trying to calm her, and tell her to rest, while being tired just like her. I enjoyed the scene spent with Middleton! If Persis didn't hear a word about Rilla's explanations, at least he did, and I was particularly interested in his questions. I'm glad that he will be able to walk again, and it was moving to see him looking everywhere to find the tools to write to his Betty - and the reminding of the other Betty was deeply moving too. After the previous chapter, and all the horror and suffering, it was like a sun ray in the scene.

The way you described how everyone reacted differently to the news and to Haig's words was perfect, too. I enjoyed the way you shown that everyone was participating - nurses, patients, etc. - and how each of them had a view on this - even a silent one, which you made audible. Though, I can't imagine how hard it must be to go through everything like this and receive those words after it. It must be frustrating, in many ways, because they sacrificed their lives, and sometimes words aren't enough anymore, especially when they tells you to hold on even if you're tired, that the victory will go to the one who old on longer than the others. In some ways, you could even hear "if you don't hold on, we lose and it will be your fault".

I'm relieved to hear that Rilla won't go back to operating theater, and the way she stand up to say no was amazing! I'm glad Miss Talbot didn't forced her to go there, though I'm not really sure about the exchange, but if it can prevent Rilla from having worse panic attacks, then it will be a first good step, and we'll walk with her a step at a time. I just hope that she will be alright!

And again, the end was perfect. There was so much relief in Rilla's reaction, and it brings such hopes! Thank you for everything!
9/21/2021 c41 Feux follet
This chapter was one of those which makes you sit and watch - it's strange, but with these ones you don't feel you're reading, you just watch, witness - the horror all around. Tears are there, but not rollings down, because it's just too hard that you don't even let them roll. You just wait until the chapter is finished, and then you wait for a minute, to see if it is truly over, and then you grasp all the air you didn't take while reading.

I admire you for writing chapters like this one, which must have been very hard to write, too. We are so close to Rilla, to her thoughts, to her fears and sometimes moments of despair, and she's so genuine and lucid about them ... It's truly realistic, which seems horrible to think and to say, because behind this story, you can only imagine the real men and women who faced those situations and had to carry on

The fact that you started with Rilla not being able to see something, and being surrounded by blackness all around her, making her feel blind, was truly powerful, especially as you carry on with this thematic during all the chapter, with the question should she look at the soldiers and ask them their names, and therefore see them, recognize them, or should she just carry on without doing it, and therefore go blind about what is happening. Both paths are explored, and it only empowers the scene, its horror and Rilla's description.

There is also this movement between carrying on or letting go, which deeply moved me. No other word could have describe this scene and Rilla's feeling that the ones you used here. They felt right. Painfully, horribly, terribly right (the words, not the situation!). It was well accompanied by this feeling of being overwhelmed, even crushed by the waves of injured soldiers, which doesn't seem to stop - I was particularly moved by the moment where you say that the night is too short, and the soldiers too many.

There is also the reminding of "Not-Dead" which only increase the stress of the situation for Rilla. And all those nameless and faceless soldiers, coming in waves ... I don't really know how to explain this, but when I pictured the scene in my mind, I had this feeling that the screams, the cries, the howls were audible in the background of a silence that no word could replace or silence (to silence the silence...).

I was touched when she talked with Red Eye. They didn't know each other, but as they walked through hell the same way, in the same places, they seemed to understand each other completely. They could talk honestly, without hiding anything, and tried to hold on together, to reassure themselves that they are still alive and human by talking - especially when they say that God is German. This moment particularly hit me, and so did the last sentence, which was particularly true. I just wish more people could read this ...

Thank you, as always, for your work, which is admirable, and for everything, really!
9/20/2021 c40 Feux follet
The transition between the happy, sunny time spent away from the hospital, and the brusque, cold moment when they discover what happened was perfect! I perfectly worked, and I could feel the cold coming as we discover the scene with Rilla and Persis.

But first things first. I'm reassured that Persis likes Rilla - even before she discovers about the engagement (and after too, but I'm getting tangled in my words). She reminds me a bit about Colette, especially as both seems to often wait for Rilla out of the tents! Both seems eager to have some fun, even in the middle of this mess, and both take Rilla's hand to not leave her behind. The only difference that could be make is that Rilla and Colette seemed to have the same age, so Rilla was playing the sensible friend, whereas here, she's more like an older sister to Persis. It's amusing to see both dynamics, and I wonder if Colette and Persis will meet one day.

I enjoyed the moment they spent together at the Touquet, there was something very strong, you managed to offer them a real window out of war for a short moment, and it was amazing. I liked to read Persis' memories. Even if they are both strong opinionated, both her and Ken seems very close, and it is always a great thing! I particularly enjoyed the Champagne's story, and how she managed to have Champagne there. But even if she seems very happy about it, the taste is different. Even for Rilla, there is something different, as you create another parallel with her younger self, and what happened between her arrival and now - something which I always enjoy.

But like I said, when Rilla thought that this was too perfect, that something was wrong, a small cold started and only grew bigger as we discover with them what happened. It's pure horror when she describes the scene, and it only increases when we see Persis' reaction, and then Rilla's fear for her brothers ...

As always, your chapters are not only realistic, they are amazingly written. Thank you for all of your work, and for sharing this story with us!

Ps. Also, thank you for the information about Princess Louise. I went to read more about her life, and she seemed to be quite someone! I particularly enjoyed to discover her through your story, so thank you again!
9/20/2021 c39 Feux follet
What?! Of all places, Etaples? Is it me, or the army does have a dark sense of humor? I wonder what happened, if they just didn't want her to go back to England, or if some informations really didn't pass, and there was a mistake. About that, I'm very glad to see Miss Talbot again! It must be strange to meet again, after all that happened. It makes me think about what Ken said when Selina broke up with him. War changed everyone, and no one can be the same after it. It's certain that Rilla isn't the same girl who arrived more than a year ago in England, after all she went through ...

I was glad to meet Tim, for he seems to be a great character! He reminds me about Cooper, in some ways, and I enjoyed how he took Rilla with him to the village, helping her to go without a chaperone. I find it hard, though, that the nurses had so few liberties. I once heard that it could help them ensure their authorities, the fact that they were officers and had to stay with officers, but I can't believe it's the only reason, for since when the army care about men respecting women's authorities? Anyway, I'm glad he took her with him. He seems a lot more confident than Cooper was, but there is the same caring for the others.

Thank you for all the informations about mutiny! I remember discovering a bit about this in Private Peaceful, by Morpugo, but I didn't know it had gone so far that they shot the mutineers - well, they do the same to Charlie, in Private Peaceful, but it's not only about something which happened in the camp. Australia seemed to be the most human army, not killing its own soldiers. It seems so absurd to think that those poor men, to whom nobody asked if they wanted to be there, were under the threat of their own army if they did one step out of the line - a line mostly drawn by people who never put a foot in the battlefield, for sure.

There is something very powerful when Rilla sees the V.A.D. who just arrived and think about the girl she was when she arrived. It was already there with Miss Talbot, but here it's even more moving, and I think it just tells how much was taken from her by this war, things she will never have fully back.

Persis! I wasn't expecting her here at all, but I'm looking forward to know more about this! In theory, I'm glad she could follow what she wanted to do, despite what her brother or others could say and think. However, in practice, I just wish that no new nurses, nor new soldiers, would put a foot in France for this war. I just hope she'll be safe! And I wonder what will happen with Rilla
9/19/2021 c38 Feux follet
This chapter was great, and I enjoyed all the informations you gave us about the illnesses which could be seen by the nurses at this time. I particularly liked to read that Rilla was finding her work there interesting, and that it was a kind of relief after what she went through in operating theater. The young soldier who joked about the thermometer made me laugh. It will pursue her until the end of war I think! Maybe that, when it will be over, someone will offer a thermometer to Rilla. Speaking of which, I didn't know that there were books with photographs, words (or hair) like the ones you described!

The way you described the hungriness for the letters touched me, too. You've already shown it, but it still hit every time, to think that sometimes families didn't heard each other's voices during years - sometimes never again ... I was glad to read that she and Gilbert can talk about the illnesses. In chirurgical ward, she was alone, and no one could really understand what she was going through (and again I apologize for what I said about her being in her element. I was truly thinking about her work, not about how it was making her feel. It wasn't the right way to put it, and I'm sorry!). Jem had seen some bits, with the soldiers he saw after they went there, but Gilbert couldn't imagine it with this conditions, while for the illnesses, the treatments are mostly the sames, though again, the conditions aren't the same. But it can still be something they share together, and in this situation, it seems great to have something like this!

Also, I'm curious about Mildred, and wonder if we will meet her one day. She seems nice, and very interesting, though I can't really forget what happened with Nan ... But it's great to see that she's writing to Rilla! I was also glad to hear that Miss Inglish was writing to Rilla. She seemed to be someone who could disappear, and I'm glad that she doesn't. It says a lot about the bond which grew between them since their scene in the cemetery, and how, even if there is still a bit of distance - the fact that she doesn't call her by her name but by her surname - there is still something :)

I was also particularly touched about Maud, and how Rilla perceives her as a mother-figure, feeling sometimes closer to her than to her own mother. Maybe because Maud shared this war experience with Rilla, while Anne remained at home, or because at peace, we think our parents will remain there forever, that we have time, while in the middle of this mess, everyone is in the same boat, and maybe it makes people go closer, have stronger friendships after the experiences and traumas they went through together? I don't really know, but I was moved by how you described their bond. I hope that, though Rilla is going away, Rilla will have some news about her, like with Miss Inglish!

About that, I was glad to see that Dr Murray and Rilla could talk like this. He was honest with her, and the fact that he was able to see how his attitude affected Rilla, both professionally and personally, and that he apologized reassured me. I'm also so glad he was the one to tell Rilla she had her transfer! It would have been great to have Maud telling her, too, but here, in a way, I feel that it really participates to the apologize and end of their "story" on better basis. He won't try again, will he?

Again, thank you for all your work! It's always amazing to discover your chapters!
9/18/2021 c37 Feux follet
I enjoyed the atmosphere of this chapter! With Jem's questions and remarks from the previous chapter, I was wondering how you would bring them between Rilla and Ken, though I admit that I wasn't expecting it so soon. What's funny is that Jem was the first to ask questions, when they were just going along with the idea of getting married one day after the war.

The way they talk about what the future could bring to them, and the uncertainty of everything, touched me. It surely isn't an easy conversation to have, and while wedding's talks should be happy, this one, despite the darkness around, is honest, and that's the most important. They look at everything with open eyes, both knowing that everything is conditioned to one thing: If war will let them get out of this alive. And once again, I can't help but fear that Ken is the one from the prologue. I can't help but feel scared at the idea that, like Vera, Rilla will lose him.

I was also touched by how you show Ken's attempts to establish his shell again, with the squeaky humor (about how she salutes him when she arrives, or when he says that Persis' departure when she received the letter was all Rilla wanted), but then reveals again to Rilla his fears, and it was moving to read his words about his injury, and how he woke up with Rilla next to him, as he kept wondering if it was hell or heaven. And when they talked about Jerry! This war took already so much from them ...

Also, I'm glad to hear that Persis is not against Rilla - though the idea of her being against Selina isn't much better. Ken said that the letter Rilla sent touched her, but I wonder if she replied to it. I don't think she did, otherwise Rilla wouldn't have go away when Persis was there, they would have know each other, so now I wonder if their first exchange will be through letters or if they will meet each others. It was great to learn me about her, and see that Ken had come around with the idea of his sister being in England.
(ps. You know what's funny? Since your other story, I can't help but look for Teddy!)

Now, I hope Rilla will get her transfer to England - and I hope that Ken will have many months of recuperation. I know, it's not very kind, and even selfish, because all he wants is to go back to war, and months of recuperation aren't a funny perspective, but it's less dangerous than a life-risking return to the front. Please, can't he be on the safe side?
9/17/2021 c36 Feux follet
There are many things here, but first of all, thank you for this chapter. It wasn't an easy one to read, but you did a marvelous thing in writing how Rilla felt. Now that my hands aren't shaking anymore, maybe I'll be able to review it properly:

I was happy to see Jem again. There is always something both riotous and calming when he is around. I know it's a contradiction, but I can't help it. He'll always remain the joker, the young boy full of life, and at the same time, the doctor who can be calm and reassuring. I enjoyed the way you show him and Rilla having a meal at this hotel, and I thank you for explaining why nurses were having this treatment when they were on holidays. In a way, it looks like a golden cage. Beautiful until you want to go out and hurt yourself against the barrels.

About Halifax, I must say that like Vimy, I didn't know about it since a long time. After that, I was a bit surprised to see that it hadn't appeared in the books, as Lucy Maud Montgomery seemed to have recorded many things of war - and an impressive chronology. I'm relieved that, in the characters we know, no one was hurt!

You talked about the Museum, the Selfridge, and I can't help but wonder about the impressions they could have to go there, while knowing - carrying in themselves - what war is like and what is happening to the others at the very minute ... It's strange to think that war can cohabit with museums ... it made me think about what they did during the second world war, with the paintings - one coming to London each months, if I remember correctly. How can there be this destruction and this creation coexisting?

Now, about what happened to Rilla ... Like I said, I was particularly touched by how you shown the memories hitting her back, how the panic rises in her, and how she froze until Jem leads her to a silent and not crowded place ... There is also the moment she realizes where she is, what happened, and she talks about the piano. It was all so vivid, I couldn't help but feel the panic rising too. You did a marvelous job here, showing how war affected her, and again I wonder if there are any research about nurses' trauma after the war, for like everyone involved, they saw and lived things that no one should have. They fought on their own battlefield, and did with what the authorities accepted to give them to save so many lives, but the cost ... I just can't imagine how much it costed each of them ...

Now, Jem is amazing here! The way he helped her to make her way to a safe place, the way he reassured her, telling her that maybe she had a better hearing than him. But what touched me the most was how they talked after this. Like equals. It seemed that Jem was discovering his sister, and it was shown in a great way. Also, I don't think we ever saw Rilla confessing what she went through like this. Even with Ken, there are some moments like this, but sometimes it doesn't even pass by words, whereas here, she puts words on everything, telling how awful her last experience in operating theater was, how close she was to break ... I just enjoyed the way she said everything, how Jem respected her voice, and only asked questions here and there, while offering her his full support. It was heartwarming to see that she wasn't alone in this

The last moment of their talk, about Ken, made me think about Jerry and Nan, who waited a year while they could have marry each other before and enjoy a happy married life before this. It also made me think about Vera Brittain, who wanted to marry Roland during the war, and was ready to, when he died just a few days before. I don't think there is a right answer here. They just have to do what's best for them, and like Rilla said, it's not that easy.

Again, thank you for this chapter! Every new one (well, new to me) seems better than the ones before, and it is always great to discover them. This one really touched me, and I can only thank you for it! Thank you for everything!
9/17/2021 c35 Feux follet
I couldn't believe it when you revealed that Jem was here. Apart from the memories and the letters, we hadn't properly meet him until now, and for Rilla, it certainly represented a big amount of time - more than three years ... I was also glad to see Walter, to see that both of them had recuperate and were now safe from their sickness! The atmosphere you created here was perfect, especially with Jem's jokes, or Walter's comments. What a lovely and funny reunion it was!

You really gave them all their attitude back, between Jem and his jokes - always accompanied by a lot of observations around him, and genuine care - and Walter, who still tries to preserve a bit of the world as it was before all this mess. I like how you make him feel connected and touched deeply by everything he sees, and how it really matches his function here with what religion is officially - though I think he's better. I stand with him for Eliane Cossey - though I wonder how he learnt her name. Did he asked her? I can see him being the only one to care for her wellbeing, and treating her as a human person, and not as a sort of mermaid at the front of a ship. About that, I wanted to thank you for the biography under the chapter! It's strange to think that she survived the first war but not the second because of an air raid ...

On another hand, his comments about Rilla's work, and the way she nurses Ken made me smile. Of course, Jem jumps on this occasion to joke again, but there is also a wish to defend his sister's work. Being in the medical team, and having work with nurses like Miss Inglish, of course he knows what they see, but I like how he respects his sister's work and don't push her away from it like Walter do, or Ken did with Persis. I liked to see how it made them feel closer, with this shared experience.

Also, I particularly enjoyed the way you shown that Rilla grew up without them for a part of her life, and that even if they are all glad to see each other, there is a small gap - like when they speak about wedding, or what she saw during her nursing time. It's small, but there is also the old habit to attempt to protect her, to see her as a young girl, rather than a young woman. I also enjoyed to see Jem's suspicions growing about what was really going on between Rilla and Ken - I particularly enjoyed when he doesn't see the problem of smoking, even if Rilla doesn't like the smell. Fortunately, he didn't see them holding hands, or they would have to endure a fire of jokes. But what touched me the most was when Jerry's name wasn't pronounced but everyone thought about him.

Thank you for this chapter, which really was a great moment, which seemed to come from before the war. I really enjoyed it! Thank you :)
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