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for Through the Dark Clouds shining (English version)

1/6/2018 c15 19Alinya Alethia
This is delightful. Rilla and Colette are positively easy in each other’s company hue, even when surprised and caught out at midnight trysts.

Rilla has my utmost sympathy, by the by. I don’t know how much advice I’ve doled out over the years about ‘these things’ but I’m confident in the knowledge I was underqualified in giving it. It’s always like that, I think. But with that in mind, Rilla does admirably here. She speaks the truth as she knows and has grappled with it, and Colette can’t help but set Shore in that. It says much about the friendship that that should be the case. Colette isn’t Anne, she doesn’t find friends at every bend in the road. That she listens to Rilla speaks to the depth of that bond.
I can’t help but notice the throughbeat of the pillow here too. Rilla reaches compulsively for, and is protective of, comfortable things while speaking about hard ones. That was lovely. But home comfort -or familiar comfort here, I suppose -comes at a cost. Routine is uprooted and while I’m sorry for the loss of Rilla’s team, I do want to see what her nights look like now. And surely Colette’s won’t be completely void? She goes thrive on people to tease, it seems.
1/6/2018 c15 5McFishie 7759380
A bit of fun and joy in wartime, with Rilla catching Colette in the act and Colette and Maurice starting a romance. Then the conversation got serious. What a difficult letter to write. Poor Nan receiving it. Will we get her reaction? What Rilla said about not changing anything even if you knew the outcome is some of the bravery and courage you expect from LMM. It inspires me in my own decisions and helps make sense of the hopelessness that one initially feels. Night duty will be interesting (I wonder what Colette will do with her evenings), as will visiting Dr Malvern, will they become good friends I wonder.
1/5/2018 c15 42oz diva
I really liked the Rilla recounting Nan’s experience of love, how it was worth it, even if Jerry may never be the same again, leading back to reminding Collette that it’s better to risk love even if you may lose them, than to evade the hurt and any subsequent joy.

Poor Rilla having to write that letter to Nan though, that must have been just plain awful.

Night duty will be interesting, you’re really putting this girl through the wringer.

I’m sure your beta reader is a very nice person, but you barely need them. You make fewer mistakes than I do.
1/5/2018 c15 14elizasky
Rilla! What are you doing interrupting people's kissing time? Rude!

It's lovely to see that Rilla and Colette know one another well enough now that they can tell one another difficult things (Colette's loneliness, Rilla's painful letter to Nan) and give nicknames and be playful with one another. I'm glad Rilla had Walter there to help her write that letter, though. It is a lot of responsibility, even though I suspect that she is right that clever Nan would have figured out that something was seriously wrong by now.

Rilla is uncannily perceptive here, knowing that Colette is afraid that Maurice will mean too much to her, and having some eloquent speeches on the subject of love and devotion. I'm not so sure that I agree with her about bad times never erasing the good — that seems like a romantic notion that isn't really coming from someone who has lived day-to-day with how bad the bad times can be. But I'll have to think on that more. Would you do things differently, knowing how they might turn out? Maybe.

But in the end, she makes the essential point, which is that you have to be brave enough to try. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. "Nothing ventured, nothing lost" is not quite so inspiring a sentiment, even if it is perhaps easier on the heart.

In any case, I hope Colette and Maurice have a lovely fling, even if it doesn't turn into eternal love. If only a nosey roommate would let them have some peace! (I hope I am not being outrageously wicked in hoping that you have given Rilla the night shift to allow Colette and Maurice some other alone time together — it will be very cold in a lonely bed!)

And now, I am off to bed myself, wholly in sympathy with Rilla and her frozen uniform. It's been positively arctic here in the eastern US for weeks now. At my house right now, we have knee-deep snow and a windchill of -8 F (-22 C).
1/5/2018 c15 10Excel Aunt
I was really jazzed to see an update when I got home from work on your story. I'm in awe of you, master of two languages, although, I would not be surprised if turning a German phrase into English might be difficult or if things are lost in translation. But the phrase that jumped out at me today was, "curiosity being one of my more pronounced vices." It just says so much about Rilla right there. She so smart to take being "nosey" and make it into something of an exploration.

"Yay!" said I when I realized that Maurice was the fellow kissing Colette. I missed on the first reading that Colette's coat neede to be buttoned and her hair was a tad disheveled. So, things moved pretty quickly between those two. Fantastic!

Things moving around is a theme for this update. Rilla comes back to a new assignment. Nothing is as stationary as it should be anymore. It's wartime. Things are fluid and changing. I do feel bad that Rilla has the graveyard shift. I once worked overnight hours and it was fun for about 2 weeks and then got really difficult. But, Rilla is going to get so many different experiences as a nurse, she'll really be versatile more so than others. I think this might work in her favor.

I appreciated Rilla being able to articulate the point of accepting the bad times for the good ones, especially when she mentions Nan and Jerry. I hope Colette allows Maurice more time. He's really a nice man and I think that Colette could use some of his affections.
1/2/2018 c14 elizasky again
I forgot to mention that "had he not become a priest, he would have been unbearable" was a great line.
1/2/2018 c14 14elizasky
I was so excited at first. Rilla is on leave with Walter! Oh, how nice for Walter to get some quieter duty in England. And now they're going . . . . oh nooooooo . . .

It was a nice touch that Rilla relaxes around the smells and sounds of a hospital, feeling at home there. She's an excellent person to have on a hospital visit, if that is the case.

But oh, Jerry! Honestly, this is sadder for me than Walter. Walter has been marked for death in every line LMM ever wrote for him. Even back when he was a little kid, sleeping in his bed under a cross-shadow in Anne of Ingleside, or the parable version of his WWI experience we get in Rainbow Valley, where he's afraid to get his tooth pulled and afraid to fight Dan Reese, but then just sails in and does it and isn't afraid anymore. He's marked for death with his premonitions and his "hop out of kin" looks and his poetry and just everything.

But Jerry! I feel like I didn't know Jerry very well from canon, but then I started writing him and he's wonderful! I think your portrayal of him here taps into some of the things that make him loveable — his sense of responsibility for his batman, his being a quiet patient even in his distress. And is distress is *awful.* You write it vividly, but it is very hard to take. Poor Jerry. Poor Nan. I guess we can be thankful that he's in a hospital that is at least treating him gently. And that maybe Walter can visit from time to time and share some of those peaceful memories with him. Because he is in bad shape and it sounds like "calm" might be the best they can hope for in the foreseeable future. Which is not good.
1/2/2018 c14 19Alinya Alethia
I did not put those dotes together when you gave us the date. It was good to see Walter so well, and Rilla in England again, and then Rilla began musing on the kind of hospital and my heart sank.

You’ve written this beautifully. Achingly, painfully, but with a beautiful touch and sensitivity both to Jerry and the discombobulated Rilla and Walter. Though I like seeing how steady Rilla becomes back on her own ground, as it were. The smell of the place is enough and she goes right into Crisis Rilla mode, managing the suruation, thinking about it by largely not thinking about it, and then by asking questions and stockpiling knowledge. But not about Jerry, until the end. This is more like her anaesthesia study. She wants to know all she possibly can, just in case.

Walter makes her an interesting mirror. He has that same modelled personality, as it were, thecself that the profession dictates he present to the world, and between them, dealing with body and soul, there’s a feeling they should be able to claw Jerry back from that precipice. But he’s so deep in the pain of that story that it’s hardly surprising they can’t, and I wonder, have either of them seen grief quite like that in their work before?

I’m glad you thought to give the batmen a mention, even if this one was doomed. That bond always strikes me as a powerful one when I read about it, and Jerry’s shock here is it’s own kind of tribute. As for whether he’ll get better -I’ll be watching. But the bulk of my attention is really for that letter Rilla had better write to Nan. Are there words to articulate quite what she’s seen?

I’m going to carry with me ‘That’s not to mean lying in bed in a nondescript guesthouse I won’t cry for him. But tears are for the darkness and loneliness if night’ with me for a while. It captures perfectly Rilla’s particular kind of compartmentalisation and is beautiful writing. But then, as I said, you’ve crafted a beautiful chapter here.
1/2/2018 c14 10Excel Aunt
Wow, this is really sad and telling about what Jerry lived through. He was incredibly brave to have processed so much stress. I know it would have broken me worst than him. The doctor does seem to be a good physician that truly sees Jerry's problems more of a medical puzzle than of a character issue. And God, wouldn't Nan be crushed to see Jerry like this, but I have a feeling Jerry needs his family more than he's ever had before. Despite the bleakness of his current condition, I do feel hopeful for him. Walter as an ordained priest can certainly keep Jerry in his prayers and Rilla will be a good resource to the family on how to care for his current state of mind.

Now, I was wondering if Fr. Blythe was wearing his collar when he took Rilla's hand? In my area our priest almost are required to wear their clerics around town, except when it would be silly, like exercising or changing the oil in their car, but the picture of a priest holding a ladies hand would not fly around here. Although, perhaps the early 20th century allows this latitude.
1/2/2018 c14 42oz diva
Oh Jerry, sad to say he is one of the lucky ones because at least he is being treated, so many men were accused of cowardice and sent back as you’ve stated. Though what good a warm bath is clinically I can’t say? I’m pleased Rilla didn’t have to visit on her own. Better to have Walter with her through this. Her moment of shock at hearing about the boredom of being on the front was interesting.
As has been noted, this isn’t the sort of chapter you enjoy but it is important.
1/2/2018 c14 5McFishie 7759380
This is deeply, deeply sad. It was lovely seeing Rilla with Walter, though that's always tinged with sadness as we know where Walter's story goes (or may go, this being an AU). Your writing of Jerry/Jerry's story is sensitive, compassionate and raw. You don't hide how he is suffering, how hard it is to reach him, and how difficult it is for Walter and Rilla to visit with him. When you first introduced the Jerry storyline I thought of how little they knew of mental health in those times, and how many men with shell shock weren't effectively treated or were sent back to the hell they'd come from. But rather than footnoting that this is an exception, or ignoring it, you cover it beautifully with the doctor's comments. I can't say I enjoyed this chapter, there is such a sadness about it, but it's well written and tells an important part of this war. I like how you don't avoid all the horror of what this conflict was. Its too easy to write of the battle or the romance of war, but what you've written is poignant, and real and brave. You should be proud of this chapter. I still can't believe English isn't your first language.
12/31/2017 c13 10Excel Aunt
“Had I known that I’d end up having a large papier-mache nose tied to my face for the entire evening, maybe I would have put more effort into thinking of an alternative costume. Snake, maybe.”

Might I suggest eel for Rilla?

I’m glad that Colette is finding happiness or at least making the happiness of her own by winning the costume party. She mourns for Aimée as if they are lovers, where they? Did I miss that? That sort of makes Colette a disappointing prospect for Maurice, another reason for his heartbreak.

And I love how you remind us of the front not so far away with the sounds of the never-ending guns!
12/31/2017 c13 19Alinya Alethia
If nothing else, the nose will have made a good nose-warmer. Rilla ought to be grateful for it. I continue to enjoy the playful spark she and Colette share, and the way Colette rushes all guns blazing into whatever the plan of the moment, managing Rilla, her patients, probably the universe, with terrifying efficiency. The continued nods to Aimee are lovely, and remind us of that first meeting, just as the repeated hints of cold and the need for blanket-mountains keep us in touch with not only winter but the chill dread of war and it’s cost.

In spite of that though, you give us a bit of brightness with the New Year’s Eve party. I’m glad we got to see it -it more than exceeded expectations. The soppy music, and the girls dancing together, and then with strangers, even as they lose their strangeness, paints a beautiful picture of snatched happiness as the years change hands.
12/31/2017 c13 5McFishie 7759380
It's nice to see them having some fun among the horror. I suspect 1917 has more horror to impart
12/31/2017 c13 14elizasky
Well, I certainly have the title for MY next story :) And good planning with the date!

For the first time, Rilla feels like she belongs at this hospital. A big part of that is Colette opening up to her, allowing herself to be young and silly and friendly, sharing mundane complaints and costume ideas (and little bits of her grief over Aimée). And then to have a moment of respite at the dance — feeling a sense of connection with the French captain, being warm and well-fed (no eels!) and even a little happy for once — that goes a long way.

Thank you as ever for the details — the convalescent uniforms, the music, the medals. (Give the boy back his medal, Colette!) Could they really hear the guns in Taplow? That's amazing. I know sound travels in strange ways.

I loved "almost more corny than I think I can bear." It was a little bit of old Rilla rolling her eyes and a little bit of new Rilla suspending her standards in order to just relax and allow everyone to enjoy themselves a little bit. And I also loved that Rilla is still a menace around thermometers and everyone knows it!
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