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Chapter 5 The Bath

An Aquarelle

It was December and a scorching1 afternoon: a north wind blew; and the pale wind-streaked2 sky, the little verandahed houses, the glaring roads, the very air itself, all were white with heat and dust. In comparison the bathroom struck cool, being windowless, and lit only by a raised skylight. A good-sized room, it was really made for bathing in, was made to get wet, a concrete floor sloping towards a drain in one corner. Except for a large hanging mirror and a wooden table, it held nothing but a huge old zinc3 bath, the sides of which were streaked rust-brown from the tide-marks of the many waters that had filled it. Over the broad end hung a shower-ring. This dripped without ceasing, drops forming continuously on its under-surface, gathering4 volume, depending perilously5, then falling on the zinc with a toneless thud. The water that oozed6 out when the large old-fashioned cock opened was not unlike muddied milk, and for the most part lukewarm. But it gushed7 freely, making up by abundance for its tepidness9 and want of clarity.

To-day it ran very red, for a storm overnight had churned up the mud bottom of the reservoir.

Four half-grown girls had come dancing into the room, and eight hands were busy; for all four had cried as one: “A bath! Let us have a bath!”

And while the water raced and sang, shoes were kicked off and clothes fell, a bit here, an oddment there, in their owners’ haste to be rid of encumbrances10.

First ready was a fattish little blonde; though, as the eldest11 of the party, she had set to work more sedately12 than the rest. But, in her hurry to reach the water, one of the four had pulled a knot, and a brown and a red head were bent13 over it.

Meanwhile, Blonde sat on the side of the bath, swinging one leg. Her skin was of a delicate transparency, through which the veins14 showed blue as forget-me-nots. A wonderful prong, running down the chest, forked and lost itself in the whiteness of the barely-hinted breasts. Round her throat were two lines that might have been scored by a thumb-nail in wet clay; and below the ribs15 were two more — the lines of sitting beauty — deeply indented16 and wavy17, like the lines carved by ripples18 on the sea-shore.

The knot unravelled19, Red Head was out of her clothes in a twinkling, and now advanced, shoulders hunched20, arms crossed and hugging their uppers. While she stood waiting for the tide to rise, rubbing the sole of one foot up and down the other leg, she made her brown-haired little companion, the youngest of the four, and still skinny and straight as a boy, look very dark; for, in Red Hair, the promise of a pale face powdered with freckles21 was fulfilled: her skin was white as milk from top to toe, and velvety22 as rose-petals to the touch.

Last came the knot-puller — a tall, slim, brown-eyed creature with a sallow face, flushed pink at the moment from heat and hurry, and a head of short golden curls. Against the others she stood out for the richness of her colouring; her skin was the shade of old, old ivory, tinting23 to amber24, to a dusky gold, in all crevices25: where the curls met her neck, and in the hollows of her armpits. Her young breasts — at this moment laid flat, for she was stretching with the abandon of a cat, both hands clasped tight behind her neck — ended in rings the colour of blue grapes dashed with sepia.

By now the bath was full to the brim. And while the four still lingered, chattering26, twittering, exulting27 in their freedom, there was the sound of a heavy foot in the passage outside. And the room had three doors, none of which locked. Whrr! Like a herd28 of startled wild things, all made for the water at once, a phalanx of cream, white, and dusky legs whisking over the side with incredible rapidity. Amber came off worst: she was too tall; crouching29 did not help her. So she lay at full length, the others half-leaning, half-sitting on her, to keep her down. But the threatened intrusion passed; and with a fresh run of giggles30 and trills the bathers rose to their feet.— The water that trickled31 down their skins left visible traces, like tears on a grimy face.

Then the shower was pulled. Amber and Brownie stood under it, holding their heads to the gush8 and hiss32, Amber raising an arm to screen her eyes, the little one pressing her face against her companion’s ribs. And, bristling33 and stinging, the shower flew off at right-angles, squirting madly out into the room. Blonde and Red Head dodged34 and scuttled35. Then it was their turn. Blonde would not wet her hair; she leant her head and shoulders far back, stretching her lined throat, meeting the brunt of the water on her chest; or, stooping forward, let it hammer down the ridgeway of her spine36.

Next, all tried to get under water at the same time. The result was wildest confusion; for the one below kicked, and splashed, and rolled over three slippery bodies, in her efforts to come to the surface. — Taking Blonde by the toes, the others floated her up and down.

An elderly woman looked in: the bathers gathered water in their joined palms and pelted37 her, in a perpendicular38 shower. Then they played at leaping. The game was: to go to the end of the room and take a running jump over the side, to see who could splash highest. Red Head was awkward, slipped and fell face downwards39, to be half-drowned by the one who came after. This led to a free fight. The weapons were a big and little sponge: inflated40 to their fullest, they were hurled41 against any portion of a body that offered; and tireless hands, which scooped42 and flung, tweaked and slapped. The walls ran water, the concrete floor was a-swim with it.

In the midst of these gambols43, a clock struck five. Like ghosts surprised by the dawn, the four were out of the bath in a trice and a-scramble for the towels that hung behind a door. There was a hasty rubbing down of sides and fronts; towels seesawed44 over backs, knees bent, curly toes wriggled45 dry. Grasped in two hands garments were poised46 for a moment high in air, then dropped into place, blotting47 out faces in the transit48. And soon, of all that had lain bare, no more was visible than four damp-ringed, motley-coloured heads.— Though the long glass had given back in full the madcap riot of the bath, none had troubled to cast so much as a look at her naked self. Clothed, it was otherwise: here a sodden49 mass of curls was twitched50 and fingered, there the sit of a frock stroked into place.

Now a voice was heard calling — an urgent voice, that brooked51 no delay. Without a further backward glance each in turn followed the summons, vanishing swiftly. Four times the door opened and shut; till the room was empty. The splashed walls and swimming floor drained dry; the bath-water gurgled off; and the mirror’s surface lay blank, no conjurer being at hand to call to life the lovely shapes that slumbered52 in its depth.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 scorching xjqzPr     
adj. 灼热的
参考例句:
  • a scorching, pitiless sun 灼热的骄阳
  • a scorching critique of the government's economic policy 对政府经济政策的严厉批评
2 streaked d67e6c987d5339547c7938f1950b8295     
adj.有条斑纹的,不安的v.快速移动( streak的过去式和过去分词 );使布满条纹
参考例句:
  • The children streaked off as fast as they could. 孩子们拔脚飞跑 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • His face was pale and streaked with dirt. 他脸色苍白,脸上有一道道的污痕。 来自辞典例句
3 zinc DfxwX     
n.锌;vt.在...上镀锌
参考例句:
  • Brass is formed by the fusion of copper and zinc.黄铜是通过铜和锌的熔合而成的。
  • Zinc is used to protect other metals from corrosion.锌被用来保护其他金属不受腐蚀。
4 gathering ChmxZ     
n.集会,聚会,聚集
参考例句:
  • He called on Mr. White to speak at the gathering.他请怀特先生在集会上讲话。
  • He is on the wing gathering material for his novels.他正忙于为他的小说收集资料。
5 perilously 215e5a0461b19248639b63df048e2328     
adv.充满危险地,危机四伏地
参考例句:
  • They were perilously close to the edge of the precipice. 他们离悬崖边很近,十分危险。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • It'seemed to me that we had come perilously close to failure already. 对我来说,好像失败和我只有一步之遥,岌岌可危。 来自互联网
6 oozed d11de42af8e0bb132bd10042ebefdf99     
v.(浓液等)慢慢地冒出,渗出( ooze的过去式和过去分词 );使(液体)缓缓流出;(浓液)渗出,慢慢流出
参考例句:
  • Blood oozed out of the wound. 血从伤口慢慢流出来。
  • Mud oozed from underground. 泥浆从地下冒出来。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
7 gushed de5babf66f69bac96b526188524783de     
v.喷,涌( gush的过去式和过去分词 );滔滔不绝地说话
参考例句:
  • Oil gushed from the well. 石油从井口喷了出来。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • Clear water gushed into the irrigational channel. 清澈的水涌进了灌溉渠道。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
8 gush TeOzO     
v.喷,涌;滔滔不绝(说话);n.喷,涌流;迸发
参考例句:
  • There was a gush of blood from the wound.血从伤口流出。
  • There was a gush of blood as the arrow was pulled out from the arm.当从手臂上拔出箭来时,一股鲜血涌了出来。
9 tepidness d034a6522c708c479f7c0148f006ce0c     
参考例句:
10 encumbrances 3d79fb1bd2f6cee8adfa5fece9c01c50     
n.负担( encumbrance的名词复数 );累赘;妨碍;阻碍
参考例句:
  • All encumbrances were cleared out for dancing. 为了跳舞,所有碍手碍脚的东西都被清理出去了。 来自辞典例句
  • If he wanted to get away, he had better leave these encumbrances behind. 他要打算逃命,还是得放弃这几个累赘。 来自汉英文学 - 骆驼祥子
11 eldest bqkx6     
adj.最年长的,最年老的
参考例句:
  • The King's eldest son is the heir to the throne.国王的长子是王位的继承人。
  • The castle and the land are entailed on the eldest son.城堡和土地限定由长子继承。
12 sedately 386884bbcb95ae680147d354e80cbcd9     
adv.镇静地,安详地
参考例句:
  • Life in the country's south-west glides along rather sedately. 中国西南部的生活就相对比较平静。 来自互联网
  • She conducts herself sedately. 她举止端庄。 来自互联网
13 bent QQ8yD     
n.爱好,癖好;adj.弯的;决心的,一心的
参考例句:
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
14 veins 65827206226d9e2d78ea2bfe697c6329     
n.纹理;矿脉( vein的名词复数 );静脉;叶脉;纹理
参考例句:
  • The blood flows from the capillaries back into the veins. 血从毛细血管流回静脉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I felt a pleasant glow in all my veins from the wine. 喝过酒后我浑身的血都热烘烘的,感到很舒服。 来自《简明英汉词典》
15 ribs 24fc137444401001077773555802b280     
n.肋骨( rib的名词复数 );(船或屋顶等的)肋拱;肋骨状的东西;(织物的)凸条花纹
参考例句:
  • He suffered cracked ribs and bruising. 他断了肋骨还有挫伤。
  • Make a small incision below the ribs. 在肋骨下方切开一个小口。
16 indented bqKz7f     
adj.锯齿状的,高低不平的;缩进排版
参考例句:
  • His voyage was down Chile's indented coastline.他的航行沿智利参差曲折的海岸线行进。
  • Each paragraph of the body is usually indented five blocks.正文每段开始,一般缩进五个英文字母。
17 wavy 7gFyX     
adj.有波浪的,多浪的,波浪状的,波动的,不稳定的
参考例句:
  • She drew a wavy line under the word.她在这个词的下面画了一条波纹线。
  • His wavy hair was too long and flopped just beneath his brow.他的波浪式头发太长了,正好垂在他的眉毛下。
18 ripples 10e54c54305aebf3deca20a1472f4b96     
逐渐扩散的感觉( ripple的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The moon danced on the ripples. 月亮在涟漪上舞动。
  • The sea leaves ripples on the sand. 海水在沙滩上留下了波痕。
19 unravelled 596c5e010a04f9867a027c09c744f685     
解开,拆散,散开( unravel的过去式和过去分词 ); 阐明; 澄清; 弄清楚
参考例句:
  • I unravelled the string and wound it into a ball. 我把绳子解开并绕成一个球。
  • The legal tangle was never really unravelled. 这起法律纠葛从来没有真正解决。
20 hunched 532924f1646c4c5850b7c607069be416     
(常指因寒冷、生病或愁苦)耸肩弓身的,伏首前倾的
参考例句:
  • He sat with his shoulders hunched up. 他耸起双肩坐着。
  • Stephen hunched down to light a cigarette. 斯蒂芬弓着身子点燃一支烟。
21 freckles MsNzcN     
n.雀斑,斑点( freckle的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • She had a wonderful clear skin with an attractive sprinkling of freckles. 她光滑的皮肤上有几处可爱的小雀斑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • When she lies in the sun, her face gets covered in freckles. 她躺在阳光下时,脸上布满了斑点。 来自《简明英汉词典》
22 velvety 5783c9b64c2c5d03bc234867b2d33493     
adj. 像天鹅绒的, 轻软光滑的, 柔软的
参考例句:
  • a velvety red wine 醇厚的红葡萄酒
  • Her skin was admired for its velvety softness. 她的皮肤如天鹅绒般柔软,令人赞叹。
23 tinting 79771696bdb91883714f9276966b7519     
着色,染色(的阶段或过程)
参考例句:
  • With paint film confecting envirogluvtm its gloss, transparency and tinting strength. 用颜料片配制的油不朱其平泽度、透明性及着色辛矮。
  • Applications: for tinting to oil paints, building materials, plastic and rubber products. 用途:用于油漆、建材、塑料、橡胶制品着色等。
24 amber LzazBn     
n.琥珀;琥珀色;adj.琥珀制的
参考例句:
  • Would you like an amber necklace for your birthday?你过生日想要一条琥珀项链吗?
  • This is a piece of little amber stones.这是一块小小的琥珀化石。
25 crevices 268603b2b5d88d8a9cc5258e16a1c2f8     
n.(尤指岩石的)裂缝,缺口( crevice的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • It has bedded into the deepest crevices of the store. 它已钻进了店里最隐避的隙缝。 来自辞典例句
  • The wind whistled through the crevices in the rock. 风呼啸着吹过岩石的缝隙。 来自辞典例句
26 chattering chattering     
n. (机器振动发出的)咔嗒声,(鸟等)鸣,啁啾 adj. 喋喋不休的,啾啾声的 动词chatter的现在分词形式
参考例句:
  • The teacher told the children to stop chattering in class. 老师叫孩子们在课堂上不要叽叽喳喳讲话。
  • I was so cold that my teeth were chattering. 我冷得牙齿直打战。
27 exulting 2f8f310798e5e8c1b9dd92ff6395ba84     
vi. 欢欣鼓舞,狂喜
参考例句:
  • He leaned back, exulting at the success of his plan. 他向后一靠,为自己计划成功而得意扬扬。
  • Jones was exulting in the consciousness of his integrity. 琼斯意识到自己的忠贞十分高兴。
28 herd Pd8zb     
n.兽群,牧群;vt.使集中,把…赶在一起
参考例句:
  • She drove the herd of cattle through the wilderness.她赶着牛群穿过荒野。
  • He had no opinions of his own but simply follow the herd.他从无主见,只是人云亦云。
29 crouching crouching     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • a hulking figure crouching in the darkness 黑暗中蹲伏着的一个庞大身影
  • A young man was crouching by the table, busily searching for something. 一个年轻人正蹲在桌边翻看什么。 来自汉英文学 - 散文英译
30 giggles 0aa08b5c91758a166d13e7cd3f455951     
n.咯咯的笑( giggle的名词复数 );傻笑;玩笑;the giggles 止不住的格格笑v.咯咯地笑( giggle的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
  • Her nervous giggles annoyed me. 她神经质的傻笑把我惹火了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I had to rush to the loo to avoid an attack of hysterical giggles. 我不得不冲向卫生间,以免遭到别人的疯狂嘲笑。 来自辞典例句
31 trickled 636e70f14e72db3fe208736cb0b4e651     
v.滴( trickle的过去式和过去分词 );淌;使)慢慢走;缓慢移动
参考例句:
  • Blood trickled down his face. 血从他脸上一滴滴流下来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The tears trickled down her cheeks. 热泪一滴滴从她脸颊上滚下来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
32 hiss 2yJy9     
v.发出嘶嘶声;发嘘声表示不满
参考例句:
  • We can hear the hiss of air escaping from a tire.我们能听到一只轮胎的嘶嘶漏气声。
  • Don't hiss at the speaker.不要嘘演讲人。
33 bristling tSqyl     
a.竖立的
参考例句:
  • "Don't you question Miz Wilkes' word,'said Archie, his beard bristling. "威尔克斯太太的话,你就不必怀疑了。 "阿尔奇说。他的胡子也翘了起来。
  • You were bristling just now. 你刚才在发毛。
34 dodged ae7efa6756c9d8f3b24f8e00db5e28ee     
v.闪躲( dodge的过去式和过去分词 );回避
参考例句:
  • He dodged cleverly when she threw her sabot at him. 她用木底鞋砸向他时,他机敏地闪开了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He dodged the book that I threw at him. 他躲开了我扔向他的书。 来自《简明英汉词典》
35 scuttled f5d33c8cedd0ebe9ef7a35f17a1cff7e     
v.使船沉没( scuttle的过去式和过去分词 );快跑,急走
参考例句:
  • She scuttled off when she heard the sound of his voice. 听到他的说话声,她赶紧跑开了。
  • The thief scuttled off when he saw the policeman. 小偷看见警察来了便急忙跑掉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
36 spine lFQzT     
n.脊柱,脊椎;(动植物的)刺;书脊
参考例句:
  • He broke his spine in a fall from a horse.他从马上跌下摔断了脊梁骨。
  • His spine developed a slight curve.他的脊柱有点弯曲。
37 pelted 06668f3db8b57fcc7cffd5559df5ec21     
(连续地)投掷( pelt的过去式和过去分词 ); 连续抨击; 攻击; 剥去…的皮
参考例句:
  • The children pelted him with snowballs. 孩子们向他投掷雪球。
  • The rain pelted down. 天下着大雨。
38 perpendicular GApy0     
adj.垂直的,直立的;n.垂直线,垂直的位置
参考例句:
  • The two lines of bones are set perpendicular to one another.这两排骨头相互垂直。
  • The wall is out of the perpendicular.这墙有些倾斜。
39 downwards MsDxU     
adj./adv.向下的(地),下行的(地)
参考例句:
  • He lay face downwards on his bed.他脸向下伏在床上。
  • As the river flows downwards,it widens.这条河愈到下游愈宽。
40 inflated Mqwz2K     
adj.(价格)飞涨的;(通货)膨胀的;言过其实的;充了气的v.使充气(于轮胎、气球等)( inflate的过去式和过去分词 );(使)膨胀;(使)通货膨胀;物价上涨
参考例句:
  • He has an inflated sense of his own importance. 他自视过高。
  • They all seem to take an inflated view of their collective identity. 他们对自己的集体身份似乎都持有一种夸大的看法。 来自《简明英汉词典》
41 hurled 16e3a6ba35b6465e1376a4335ae25cd2     
v.猛投,用力掷( hurl的过去式和过去分词 );大声叫骂
参考例句:
  • He hurled a brick through the window. 他往窗户里扔了块砖。
  • The strong wind hurled down bits of the roof. 大风把屋顶的瓦片刮了下来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
42 scooped a4cb36a9a46ab2830b09e95772d85c96     
v.抢先报道( scoop的过去式和过去分词 );(敏捷地)抱起;抢先获得;用铲[勺]等挖(洞等)
参考例句:
  • They scooped the other newspapers by revealing the matter. 他们抢先报道了这件事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The wheels scooped up stones which hammered ominously under the car. 车轮搅起的石块,在车身下发出不吉祥的锤击声。 来自《简明英汉词典》
43 gambols bf5971389a9cea0d5b426fe67e7e9ce4     
v.蹦跳,跳跃,嬉戏( gambol的第三人称单数 )
参考例句:
44 seesawed ba7f677393bc195840ac008b9c633b13     
v.使上下(来回)摇动( seesaw的过去式和过去分词 );玩跷跷板,上下(来回)摇动
参考例句:
  • The boat seesawed in the heavy sea. 小舟在波涛汹涌的海中颠簸不已。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • He seesawed between two opinions. 他在两种意见之间举棋不定。 来自互联网
45 wriggled cd018a1c3280e9fe7b0169cdb5687c29     
v.扭动,蠕动,蜿蜒行进( wriggle的过去式和过去分词 );(使身体某一部位)扭动;耍滑不做,逃避(应做的事等)
参考例句:
  • He wriggled uncomfortably on the chair. 他坐在椅子上不舒服地扭动着身体。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • A snake wriggled across the road. 一条蛇蜿蜒爬过道路。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
46 poised SlhzBU     
a.摆好姿势不动的
参考例句:
  • The hawk poised in mid-air ready to swoop. 老鹰在半空中盘旋,准备俯冲。
  • Tina was tense, her hand poised over the telephone. 蒂娜心情紧张,手悬在电话机上。
47 blotting 82f88882eee24a4d34af56be69fee506     
吸墨水纸
参考例句:
  • Water will permeate blotting paper. 水能渗透吸水纸。
  • One dab with blotting-paper and the ink was dry. 用吸墨纸轻轻按了一下,墨水就乾了。
48 transit MglzVT     
n.经过,运输;vt.穿越,旋转;vi.越过
参考例句:
  • His luggage was lost in transit.他的行李在运送中丢失。
  • The canal can transit a total of 50 ships daily.这条运河每天能通过50条船。
49 sodden FwPwm     
adj.浑身湿透的;v.使浸透;使呆头呆脑
参考例句:
  • We stripped off our sodden clothes.我们扒下了湿透的衣服。
  • The cardboard was sodden and fell apart in his hands.纸板潮得都发酥了,手一捏就碎。
50 twitched bb3f705fc01629dc121d198d54fa0904     
vt.& vi.(使)抽动,(使)颤动(twitch的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • Her lips twitched with amusement. 她忍俊不禁地颤动着嘴唇。
  • The child's mouth twitched as if she were about to cry. 这小孩的嘴抽动着,像是要哭。 来自《简明英汉词典》
51 brooked d58d1d1fa48433e3228c2500020624be     
容忍,忍受(brook的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • The tone in his voice brooked no argument. 他的声音里透露着一种不容争辩的语调。
  • He gave her a look that brooked no further arguments. 他看了她一眼,表示不容再争论。
52 slumbered 90bc7b1e5a8ccd9fdc68d12edbd1f200     
微睡,睡眠(slumber的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • The baby slumbered in his cradle. 婴儿安睡在摇篮中。
  • At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition. 就在那时,我的善的一面睡着了,我的邪恶面因野心勃勃而清醒着。


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