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by Chris
Rated: ASR · Fiction · Children's · #2263145
French-to-English translation of the tenth chapter of Les Malheurs de Sophie
Les Malheurs de Sophie(in English, Sophie's Misfortunes) is a children's book, written in 1858 by the Countess of Ségur. The original, in French, can be read here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15058
The following is an English translation of the 10th chapter, by Christopher Peck, Jr.





X - Cream and Warm Bread

Sophie loved to eat, as we've already said, so she didn't forget what her maid told her. One day, she didn’t eat a lot because she had learned that the farmer was supposed to bring her maid something good. She told her she was hungry.

“Well!” the maid answered. “That’s wonderful. The farmer just brought me a big jar of cream and some fresh brown bread. I’ll let you eat some. You’ll see how good it is!”

She put some warm bread and a large jar full of excellent, thick cream on the table. Sophie threw herself upon them as if she were starving. While the maid was telling her not to eat too much, she heard the mother calling for her: “Lucie! Lucie!” (That was the maid’s name.)

Lucie ran right away to Mrs. de Réan to find out what she wanted. She wanted to tell her to prepare and start some work for Sophie.

“She’ll be four years old soon,” Mrs. de Réan said. “It’s time for her to learn how to work.”

“What kind of work would Madame like such a young child to do?”

“Prepare a napkin for her to hem or a handkerchief.”

The maid didn’t answer and left the room in a rather bad mood.

Coming to her room, she saw Sophie was still eating. The jar of cream was almost empty, and a massive piece of bread was missing.

“Oh, my god!” she was crying out while preparing a hem for Sophie. “You’ll make yourself sick! Is it possible you swallowed all that? What will your mother say if she sees you sick? You’re going to get me in trouble!”

“Calm down, Lucie! I was really hungry, and I won’t be sick. It’s so good, the cream and warm bread!”

“Yes, but it’ll sit heavy on your stomach. My god! What a huge piece of bread you’ve eaten! I’m afraid- I’m terrified you’re going to be sick.”

Sophie kissed her. “No, my dear Lucie, calm down. I promise you I’m feeling fine.”

The maid gave her a little handkerchief to hem and told her to bring it to her mother, who wanted her to work.

Sophie ran to the room where her mother was waiting and gave her the handkerchief. Sophie’s mother showed her how to insert and pull the needle. It didn’t go well in the beginning. But, after some stitches, she did well enough and found it fun to work.

“Mother,” she said, “may I show my work to my maid?”

“Yes, you may. Then, come back to clean up all your things and play in my room.”

Sophie ran to her maid, who was quite astonished to see the hem almost done and stitched so well. She asked her out of concern if she didn’t have a stomachache.

“No, not at all,” Sophie said. “I’m just not hungry.”

“I believe that after everything you ate! But hurry back to your mother. You don’t want her scolding you.”

Sophie went back to the sitting room, took care of all her things and started to play. While playing, she felt uncomfortable. The cream and warm bread were weighing heavily on her stomach. She had a headache. She sat on her little chair, didn’t move and closed her eyes.

Her mother, not hearing any noise, turned around and saw Sophie pale and looking sick.

“What’s wrong, Sophie?” she said. “Are you sick?”

“I’m not feeling good, mother,” she answered. “I have a headache.”

“Since when?”

“Since I finished cleaning up my work.”

“Did you eat something?”

Sophie hesitated and answered quietly:

“No, mother, nothing at all.”

“I can tell you’re lying. I'm going to ask your maid, she’ll tell me.”

The mother left and was gone for a few minutes. When she came back, she looked furious.

“You lied to me, young lady. Your maid told me she gave you some warm bread and cream, and you gobbled it up like a glutton. Unfortunately, because you’re going to be sick, you won’t be able to go to dinner tomorrow at your aunt d’Aubert’s place to see your cousin Paul. You would’ve seen Camille and Madeleine de Fleurville there. But, instead of having fun, running in the woods to look for strawberries, you’ll be staying home alone and eating nothing but soup.”

Mrs. de Réan took Sophie’s hand, felt it burning up and led her away to put her in bed.

“I forbid you,” she told the maid, “to give Sophie anything to eat until tomorrow. Have her drink water or orange leaf tea. If you ever do what you did this morning again, I’ll fire you immediately.”

The maid felt guilty. She didn’t answer. Sophie, who was really sick, let her mother put her in bed without saying anything. She had a terrible, restless night. Her head and her stomach hurt. She fell asleep around morning. When she woke up, she still had a bit of a headache, but fresh air did her some good. She was sad the whole day because she had to miss out on her aunt’s dinner.

For two more days, she felt sick. Ever since then, she was disgusted by cream and warm bread, which she never ate.

Sometimes, she went with her cousin and her friends to the neighborhood farmers. Everyone around her would happily eat cream and brown bread. Sophie alone wouldn’t eat anything. The sight of thick, foamy cream and of farm bread reminded her of when she was sick from eating too much. It made her feel queasy. Since then, she didn’t listen to her maid’s advice anymore, either. The maid did not stay much longer. Mrs. de Réan, having lost confidence in her, hired another maid, who was good but never allowed Sophie to do what her mother forbade her to do.
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