A Child of the Revolution

A Child of the Revolution

by Emmuska Orczy

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"In Heaven's name, what has happened to the child?"

This exclaimed Marianne Vallon when, turning from her wash-tub, she
suddenly caught sight of Andr� at the narrow garden gate.

"In Heaven's name!" she reiterated, but only to herself, for Marianne
was not one to give vent to her feelings before anyone, not even
before her own son.

She raised her apron and wiped her large, ruddy face first and then
her big, capable hands, all dripping with soapsuds; after which she
stumped across the yard to the gate: her sabots clacked loudly against
the stones, for Marianne Vallon was a good weight and a fair bulk; her
footsteps were heavy, and her movements slow.

No wonder that the good soul was, inwardly, invoking the name of
Heaven, for never in all his turbulent life had Andr� come home
looking such a terrible object. His shirt and his breeches were
hanging in strips; his feet, his legs, the whole of his body, and even
his face, were plastered with mud and blood. Yes, blood! Right across
his forehead, just missing his right eye, fortunately, there was a
deep gash from which the blood was still oozing and dripping down his
nose. His lip was cut and his mouth swollen out of all recognition.

"In Heaven's name!" she reiterated once more, and aloud this time,
"thou little good-for-nothing, what mischief hast thou been in in

Marianne waited for no explanation; obviously the boy was not in a fit
state to give her any. She just seized him by the wrist and dragged
him to her washtub. It was not much Marianne Vallon knew of nursing or
dressing of wounds, but her instinct of cleanliness probably saved
Andr� life this day, as it had done many a time before. Despite his
protests, she stripped him to the skin; then she started scrubbing.

Soap and water stung horribly, and Andr� yelled as much with
impatience as with pain; he fought like a young demon, but his mother,
puffing like a fat pug dog, imperturbable and energetic, scrubbed away
until she was satisfied that no mud or dirt threatened the festering
of wounds. She ended by holding the tousled young head under the pump,
swilling it and the lithe, muscular body down with plenty of cold

"Now dry thyself over there in the sun," she commanded finally,
satisfied that in his present state of dripping nudity he couldn't
very well get into mischief again. Then, apparently quite unruffled by
the incident, she went back to her washtub. This sort of thing
happened often enough; sometimes with less, once or twice with even
more disastrous results. Marianne Vallon never asked questions,
knowing well enough that the boy would blurt out the whole story all
in good time: she didn't even glance round at him as he law stretched
out full length, arms and legs outspread, as perfect a specimen of the
young male as had ever stirred a mother's pride, the warm July sun
baking his skin to a deeper shade of brown and glinting on the ruddy

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013769120
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/05/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 191 KB

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Child of the Revolution (Paperback) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost forty years ago my wife escaped from Cuba as a young child, with her parents and younger brother. Since then, she has often recounted the trauma of this escape, and the struggles her family faced in rebuilding their lives in Spain - and subsequently here in Australia. As she read this book she was astonished at the uncanny similarity between the author's experiences and those of her own family. Luis's story rekindled many distant, yet defining, memories, sights, smells, and feelings. To learn that her own story has been 'shared' and now 'told' (almost exactly!) was both a surprise, and perhaps more importantly, a visible comfort. There seems to be a growing amount of misinformation about the Cuban people today, but as someone who has heard this true story (for over twenty years now) I recommend this narrative as a clear and accurate part of the "true story" of Cuba. The horrors, fears and terrible emotional abuse revealed here may shock some readers, but they are NOT exaggerated. (My wife's father almost died in the Cuban labour camps after seeking permission to leave.) People who experience REAL trauma rarely embellish 'their story' - because sympathy without understanding does not bring true healing. (There's a big difference between emotion and community.) A glipse into the author's own sense of community is seen in moving dedication of the book - "to those who choose to live in exile." Luis's style is warm and engaging; he has a sharp eye for those little details that "set the trees swaying" in a narrative. He is also a shrewd observer and recorder of human nature - with an almost 'Dickensian' ability to highlight those easily-overlooked character traits that define individuals. I remember my wife laughing as she read his vivid account of that delightfully Cuban "nothing is impossible" attitude. She read the passage, smiled with recognition, and said, "That's EXACTLY how they are."