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Ne me refuse pas les enfants... (document en anglais)

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“We have to talk about the children,” I said.

“There’s nothing to talk about. I want them for a holiday. It’s not much to ask.

Did Tessa1 speak to you?”

“She did. But I don’t want you to take the children.”

“They’re mine as much as yours. Do you think I’m not human?

Do you think I don’t love them as much as you do?”

“How can I believe you love them the way I love them when you’ve left us?”

“Sometimes there are allegiances and aspirations that go beyond family.”

“Is that one of the things you are going to explain to little Billy when you take him round the

Moscow electric stations and show him the underground railway?”

“They’re my children,” she said.

“Can’t you see the danger of taking them with you? Can’t you see the way in which they’ll become

hostages to your good behaviour? Isn’t it obvious that once they’re there you’ll never again be

allowed to come West all together? They’ll keep the children there to be sure you do your duty as

a good communist and return East as every good Soviet citizen must.”

“Don’t deny me the children.”

“Don’t take them to a country which they won’t be able to leave. Fiona! Look at me, Fiona. I’m

saying it for your sake, for the children’s sake, for my sake too.”

“I have to see them. I have to.” Nervously she went to the window, looked at it and then came

back to me.

“See them in Holland or Sweden or some other neutral place. I implore you not to take them to

the East.”

“Is this another one of your tricks?’ she said harshly.

She wrung her hands and twisted the rings on her fingers.

“How are they?”. It was a different voice.

“Billy’s got a new magic trick and Sally is learning to write with her right hand.”

“How sweet they are. I got their letters and their drawings. Thank you.”

“It was Tessa’s idea.”

“What’s the trick?”

“What trick?”


“Oh! You cut a piece of rope into two halves and then make it whole again.”

“Is it convincing?”

“Nanny2 still can’t work it out.”

“It’s in the family, I suppose.”

“I suppose so,” I said, although I wasn’t sure what


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