Le Temps des secrets ("The Time of Secrets")

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Third volume of "SOUVENIRS D'ENFANCE" ("CHILDHOOD MEMORIES"), comprising three other parts ("LA GLOIRE DE MON PÈRE" / "MY FATHER'S GLORY", "LE CHÂTEAU DE MA MÈRE / "MY MOTHER'S CASTLE", "LE TEMPS DES AMOURS" / "THE TIME OF LOVE").

First Edition

Monte-Carlo, Pastorelly, 1960.

Summary

Marcel will soon enter the time of adolescence, it is the time of his first love with Isabelle. He shows himself absolutely ridiculous, satisfying every whim of that treacherous little girl. It is also high school time when friendships take shape and will last until death.

- You did not find the path?"
She answered, outraged:
"You perfectly know that it is blocked with huge spider webs! There are at least four or five of them, and the bigger one tried to jump at my face!
- You just have to walk round the webs. The glen is large enough!
- Indeed, but I would have to walk in that tall grass (she was pointing at the fennels) and that would be even more dangerous! I saw an enormous animal running there, it was long and green!"
She was looking at me reproachfully, as if I was responsible for security on those territories. I understood that she had seen a green lizard but, because I found her annoying, I said, perfectly naturally:
"That must have been a snake. We are here in the snake glen. They eat rats and, as there are many rats, there are many snakes;"
Suspiciously, she concluded:
"That is not true! You are trying to frighten me!"
But she was looking everywhere in the grass around her.
I went on:
"There is nothing to be afraid of, for they are grass snakes. They are cold blooded but hold no poison. All you have to do is make some noise and they will be more scared than you will."
Without taking one step, I pretended to scrutinize my wine grape, as if I considered the discussion was over. After a long silence, she said sarcastically:
"When you are a gentleman, you do not leave a lady alone in such a dangerous place.