Quinzo confiné « Mort et résurrection dans un jardin anglais »
En lien avec les recherches d’Isabelle GUILLAUME au sein du groupe FabLiJes
L’Inde où Frances Hodgson Burnett situe en 1909 le premier chapitre de The Secret Garden est le lieu, non pas de l’épopée coloniale, mais du choléra. La romancière anglo-américaine poursuivra dans le Yorkshire l’histoire du deuil et de la renaissance de son héroïne dans un récit qui est un classique de la littérature de jeunesse et un texte à thèse qui délivre un message éducatif novateur en son temps.
"At that very moment such a loud sound of wailing broke out from the servants’ quarters that she clutched the young man’s arm, and Mary stood shivering from head to foot. The wailing grew wilder and wilder. “What is it ? What is it ?” Mrs. Lennox gasped.
“Some one has died,” answered the boy officer. “You did not say it had broken out among your servants.”
“I did not know !” the Mem Sahib cried. “Come with me ! Come with me !” and she turned and ran into the house.
After that, appalling things happened, and the mysteriousness of the morning was explained to Mary. The cholera had broken out in its most fatal form and people were dying like flies. The Ayah had been taken ill in the night, and it was because she had just died that the servants had wailed in the huts. Before the next day three other servants were dead and others had run away in terror. There was panic on every side, and dying people in all the bungalows.
During the confusion and bewilderment of the second day Mary hid herself in the nursery and was forgotten by everyone. Nobody thought of her, nobody wanted her, and strange things happened of which she knew nothing. Mary alternately cried and slept through the hours. She only knew that people were ill and that she heard mysterious and frightening sounds. Once she crept into the dining-room and found it empty, though a partly finished meal was on the table and chairs and plates looked as if they had been hastily pushed back when the diners rose suddenly for some reason. The child ate some fruit and biscuits, and being thirsty she drank a glass of wine which stood nearly filled. It was sweet, and she did not know how strong it was. Very soon it made her intensely drowsy, and she went back to her nursery and shut herself in again, frightened by cries she heard in the huts and by the hurrying sound of feet. The wine made her so sleepy that she could scarcely keep her eyes open and she lay down on her bed and knew nothing more for a long time.
[…] but when he saw her he was so startled that he almost jumped back.
“Barney !” he cried out. “There is a child here ! A child alone ! In a place like this ! Mercy on us, who is she !”
“I am Mary Lennox,” the little girl said, drawing herself up stiffly
[…] “It is the child no one ever saw !” exclaimed the man, turning to his companions. “She has actually been forgotten !”
“Poor little kid !” he said. “There is nobody left to come.”
It was in that strange and sudden way that Mary found out that she had neither father nor mother left ; that they had died and been carried away in the night, and that the few native servants who had not died also had left the house as quickly as they could get out of it, none of them even remembering that there was a Missie Sahib. That was why the place was so quiet. It was true that there was no one in the bungalow but herself and the little rustling snake.
Source : France Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, London, England : F. H. Burnett, 1909, chap. I . Illustration : gravure de Charles Robinson pour l’édition originale en volume de William Heinemann, 1911
Le saviez-vous ?
La première publication s’est faite sous forme de feuilletons dans The American Magazine.
Le roman est publié en Suisse par Mme Jean Valette pour la première fois en français en 1921 sous le titre Le Jardin mystérieux, puis en France en 1934 sous le titre Le Jardin secret.