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Chapter 14 The Release
"By the way," said Dr. Ansell one evening when Morel was in Sheffield, "we've got a man in the fever hospital here who comes from Nottingham--Dawes. He doesn't seem to have many belongings1 in this world."

"Baxter Dawes!" Paul exclaimed.

"That's the man--has been a fine fellow, physically2, I should think. Been in a bit of a mess lately. You know him?"

"He used to work at the place where I am."

"Did he? Do you know anything about him? He's just sulking, or he'd be a lot better than he is by now."

"I don't know anything of his home circumstances, except that he's separated from his wife and has been a bit down, I believe. But tell him about me, will you? Tell him I'll come and see him."

The next time Morel saw the doctor he said:

"And what about Dawes?"

"I said to him," answered the other, "'Do you know a man from Nottingham named Morel?' and he looked at me as if he'd jump at my throat. So I said: 'I see you know the name; it's Paul Morel.' Then I told him about your saying you would go and see him. 'What does he want?' he said, as if you were a policeman."

"And did he say he would see me?" asked Paul.

"He wouldn't say anything--good, bad or indifferent," replied the doctor.

"Why not?"

"That's what I want to know. There he lies and sulks, day in, day out. Can't get a word of information out of him."

"Do you think I might go?" asked Paul.

"You might."

There was a feeling of connection between the rival men, more than ever since they had fought. In a way Morel felt guilty towards the other, and more or less responsible. And being in such a state of soul himself, he felt an almost painful nearness to Dawes, who was suffering and despairing, too. Besides, they had met in a naked extremity4 of hate, and it was a bond. At any rate, the elemental man in each had met.

He went down to the isolation5 hospital, with Dr. Ansell's card. This sister, a healthy young Irishwoman, led him down the ward3.

"A visitor to see you, Jim Crow," she said.

Dawes turned over suddenly with a startled grunt6.

"Eh?"

"Caw!" she mocked. "He can only say 'Caw!' I have brought you a gentleman to see you. Now say 'Thank you,' and show some manners."

Dawes looked swiftly with his dark, startled eyes beyond the sister at Paul. His look was full of fear, mistrust, hate, and misery7. Morel met the swift, dark eyes, and hesitated. The two men were afraid of the naked selves they had been.

"Dr. Ansell told me you were here," said Morel, holding out his hand.

Dawes mechanically shook hands.

"So I thought I'd come in," continued Paul.

There was no answer. Dawes lay staring at the opposite wall.

"Say 'Caw!"' mocked the nurse. "Say 'Caw!' Jim Crow."

"He is getting on all right?" said Paul to her.

"Oh yes! He lies and imagines he's going to die," said the nurse, "and it frightens every word out of his mouth."

"And you MUST have somebody to talk to," laughed Morel.

"That's it!" laughed the nurse. "Only two old men and a boy who always cries. It is hard lines! Here am I dying to hear Jim Crow's voice, and nothing but an odd 'Caw!' will he give!"

"So rough on you!" said Morel.

"Isn't it?" said the nurse.

"I suppose I am a godsend," he laughed.

"Oh, dropped straight from heaven!" laughed the nurse.

Presently she left the two men alone. Dawes was thinner, and handsome again, but life seemed low in him. As the doctor said, he was lying sulking, and would not move forward towards convalescence8. He seemed to grudge9 every beat of his heart.

"Have you had a bad time?" asked Paul.

Suddenly again Dawes looked at him.

"What are you doing in Sheffield?" he asked.

"My mother was taken ill at my sister's in Thurston Street. What are you doing here?"

There was no answer.

"How long have you been in?" Morel asked.

"I couldn't say for sure," Dawes answered grudgingly10.

He lay staring across at the wall opposite, as if trying to believe Morel was not there. Paul felt his heart go hard and angry.

"Dr. Ansell told me you were here," he said coldly.

The other man did not answer.

"Typhoid's pretty bad, I know," Morel persisted.

Suddenly Dawes said:

"What did you come for?"

"Because Dr. Ansell said you didn't know anybody here. Do you?"

"I know nobody nowhere," said Dawes.

"Well," said Paul, "it's because you don't choose to, then."

There was another silence.

"We s'll be taking my mother home as soon as we can," said Paul.

"What's a-matter with her?" asked Dawes, with a sick man's interest in illness.

"She's got a cancer."

There was another silence.

"But we want to get her home," said Paul. "We s'll have to get a motor-car."

Dawes lay thinking.

"Why don't you ask Thomas Jordan to lend you his?" said Dawes.

"It's not big enough," Morel answered.

Dawes blinked his dark eyes as he lay thinking.

"Then ask Jack11 Pilkington; he'd lend it you. You know him."

"I think I s'll hire one," said Paul.

"You're a fool if you do," said Dawes.

The sick man was gaunt and handsome again. Paul was sorry for him because his eyes looked so tired.

"Did you get a job here?" he asked.

"I was only here a day or two before I was taken bad," Dawes replied.

"You want to get in a convalescent home," said Paul.

The other's face clouded again.

"I'm goin' in no convalescent home," he said.

"My father's been in the one at Seathorpe, an' he liked it. Dr. Ansell would get you a recommend."

Dawes lay thinking. It was evident he dared not face the world again.

"The seaside would be all right just now," Morel said. "Sun on those sandhills, and the waves not far out."

The other did not answer.

"By Gad12!" Paul concluded, too miserable13 to bother much; "it's all right when you know you're going to walk again, and swim!"

Dawes glanced at him quickly. The man's dark eyes were afraid to meet any other eyes in the world. But the real misery and helplessness in Paul's tone gave him a feeling of relief.

"Is she far gone?" he asked.

"She's going like wax," Paul answered; "but cheerful--lively!"

He bit his lip. After a minute he rose.

"Well, I'll be going," he said. "I'll leave you this half-crown."

"I don't want it," Dawes muttered.

Morel did not answer, but left the coin on the table.

"Well," he said, "I'll try and run in when I'm back in Sheffield. Happen you might like to see my brother-in-law? He works in Pyecrofts."

"I don't know him," said Dawes.

"He's all right. Should I tell him to come? He might bring you some papers to look at."

The other man did not answer. Paul went. The strong emotion that Dawes aroused in him, repressed, made him shiver.

He did not tell his mother, but next day he spoke14 to Clara about this interview. It was in the dinner-hour. The two did not often go out together now, but this day he asked her to go with him to the Castle grounds. There they sat while the scarlet15 geraniums and the yellow calceolarias blazed in the sunlight. She was now always rather protective, and rather resentful towards him.

"Did you know Baxter was in Sheffield Hospital with typhoid?" he asked.

She looked at him with startled grey eyes, and her face went pale.

"No," she said, frightened.

"He's getting better. I went to see him yesterday--the doctor told me."

Clara seemed stricken by the news.

"Is he very bad?" she asked guiltily.

"He has been. He's mending now."

"What did he say to you?"

"Oh, nothing! He seems to be sulking."

There was a distance between the two of them. He gave her more information.

She went about shut up and silent. The next time they took a walk together, she disengaged herself from his arm, and walked at a distance from him. He was wanting her comfort badly.

"Won't you be nice with me?" he asked.

She did not answer.

"What's the matter?" he said, putting his arm across her shoulder.

"Don't!" she said, disengaging herself.

He left her alone, and returned to his own brooding.

"Is it Baxter that upsets you?" he asked at length.

"I HAVE been VILE16 to him!" she said.

"I've said many a time you haven't treated him well," he replied.

And there was a hostility17 between them. Each pursued his own train of thought.

"I've treated him--no, I've treated him badly," she said. "And now you treat ME badly. It serves me right."

"How do I treat you badly?" he said.

"It serves me right," she repeated. "I never considered him worth having, and now you don't consider ME. But it serves me right. He loved me a thousand times better than you ever did."

"He didn't!" protested Paul.

"He did! At any rate, he did respect me, and that's what you don't do."

"It looked as if he respected you!" he said.

"He did! And I MADE him horrid18--I know I did! You've taught me that. And he loved me a thousand times better than ever you do."

"All right," said Paul.

He only wanted to be left alone now. He had his own trouble, which was almost too much to bear. Clara only tormented19 him and made him tired. He was not sorry when he left her.

She went on the first opportunity to Sheffield to see her husband. The meeting was not a success. But she left him roses and fruit and money. She wanted to make restitution20. It was not that she loved him. As she looked at him lying there her heart did not warm with love. Only she wanted to humble21 herself to him, to kneel before him. She wanted now to be self-sacrificial. After all, she had failed to make Morel really love her. She was morally frightened. She wanted to do penance22. So she kneeled to Dawes, and it gave him a subtle pleasure. But the distance between them was still very great--too great. It frightened the man. It almost pleased the woman. She liked to feel she was serving him across an insuperable distance. She was proud now.

Morel went to see Dawes once or twice. There was a sort of friendship between the two men, who were all the while deadly rivals. But they never mentioned the woman who was between them.

Mrs. Morel got gradually worse. At first they used to carry her downstairs, sometimes even into the garden. She sat propped23 in her chair, smiling, and so pretty. The gold wedding-ring shone on her white hand; her hair was carefully brushed. And she watched the tangled24 sunflowers dying, the chrysanthemums25 coming out, and the dahlias.

Paul and she were afraid of each other. He knew, and she knew, that she was dying. But they kept up a pretence26 of cheerfulness. Every morning, when he got up, he went into her room in his pyjamas27.

"Did you sleep, my dear?" he asked.

"Yes," she answered.

"Not very well?"

"Well, yes! "

Then he knew she had lain awake. He saw her hand under the bedclothes, pressing the place on her side where the pain was.

"Has it been bad?" he asked.

"No. It hurt a bit, but nothing to mention."

And she sniffed28 in her old scornful way. As she lay she looked like a girl. And all the while her blue eyes watched him. But there were the dark pain-circles beneath that made him ache again.

"It's a sunny day," he said.

"It's a beautiful day."

"Do you think you'll be carried down?"

"I shall see."

Then he went away to get her breakfast. All day long he was conscious of nothing but her. It was a long ache that made him feverish29. Then, when he got home in the early evening, he glanced through the kitchen window. She was not there; she had not got up.

He ran straight upstairs and kissed her. He was almost afraid to ask:

"Didn't you get up, pigeon?"

"No," she said. "it was that morphia; it made me tired."

"I think he gives you too much," he said.

"I think he does," she answered.

He sat down by the bed, miserably30. She had a way of curling and lying on her side, like a child. The grey and brown hair was loose over her ear.

"Doesn't it tickle31 you?" he said, gently putting it back.

"It does," she replied.

His face was near hers. Her blue eyes smiled straight into his, like a girl's--warm, laughing with tender love. It made him pant with terror, agony, and love.

"You want your hair doing in a plait," he said. "Lie still."

And going behind her, he carefully loosened her hair, brushed it out. It was like fine long silk of brown and grey. Her head was snuggled between her shoulders. As he lightly brushed and plaited her hair, he bit his lip and felt dazed. It all seemed unreal, he could not understand it.

At night he often worked in her room, looking up from time to time. And so often he found her blue eyes fixed33 on him. And when their eyes met, she smiled. He worked away again mechanically, producing good stuff without knowing what he was doing.

Sometimes he came in, very pale and still, with watchful34, sudden eyes, like a man who is drunk almost to death. They were both afraid of the veils that were ripping between them.

Then she pretended to be better, chattered35 to him gaily36, made a great fuss over some scraps37 of news. For they had both come to the condition when they had to make much of the trifles, lest they should give in to the big thing, and their human independence would go smash. They were afraid, so they made light of things and were gay.

Sometimes as she lay he knew she was thinking of the past. Her mouth gradually shut hard in a line. She was holding herself rigid38, so that she might die without ever uttering the great cry that was tearing from her. He never forgot that hard, utterly39 lonely and stubborn clenching40 of her mouth, which persisted for weeks. Sometimes, when it was lighter41, she talked about her husband. Now she hated him. She did not forgive him. She could not bear him to be in the room. And a few things, the things that had been most bitter to her, came up again so strongly that they broke from her, and she told her son.

He felt as if his life were being destroyed, piece by piece, within him. Often the tears came suddenly. He ran to the station, the tear-drops falling on the pavement. Often he could not go on with his work. The pen stopped writing. He sat staring, quite unconscious. And when he came round again he felt sick, and trembled in his limbs. He never questioned what it was. His mind did not try to analyse or understand. He merely submitted, and kept his eyes shut; let the thing go over him.

His mother did the same. She thought of the pain, of the morphia, of the next day; hardly ever of the death. That was coming, she knew. She had to submit to it. But she would never entreat42 it or make friends with it. Blind, with her face shut hard and blind, she was pushed towards the door. The days passed, the weeks, the months.

Sometimes, in the sunny afternoons, she seemed almost happy.

"I try to think of the nice times--when we went to Mablethorpe, and Robin43 Hood's Bay, and Shanklin," she said. "After all, not everybody has seen those beautiful places. And wasn't it beautiful! I try to think of that, not of the other things."

Then, again, for a whole evening she spoke not a word; neither did he. They were together, rigid, stubborn, silent. He went into his room at last to go to bed, and leaned against the doorway44 as if paralysed, unable to go any farther. His consciousness went. A furious storm, he knew not what, seemed to ravage45 inside him. He stood leaning there, submitting, never questioning.

In the morning they were both normal again, though her face was grey with the morphia, and her body felt like ash. But they were bright again, nevertheless. Often, especially if Annie or Arthur were at home, he neglected her. He did not see much of Clara. Usually he was with men. He was quick and active and lively; but when his friends saw him go white to the gills, his eyes dark and glittering, they had a certain mistrust of him. Sometimes he went to Clara, but she was almost cold to him.

"Take me!" he said simply.

Occasionally she would. But she was afraid. When he had her then, there was something in it that made her shrink away from him--something unnatural46. She grew to dread47 him. He was so quiet, yet so strange. She was afraid of the man who was not there with her, whom she could feel behind this make-belief lover; somebody sinister48, that filled her with horror. She began to have a kind of horror of him. It was almost as if he were a criminal. He wanted her--he had her--and it made her feel as if death itself had her in its grip. She lay in horror. There was no man there loving her. She almost hated him. Then came little bouts49 of tenderness. But she dared not pity him.

Dawes had come to Colonel Seely's Home near Nottingham. There Paul visited him sometimes, Clara very occasionally. Between the two men the friendship developed peculiarly. Dawes, who mended very slowly and seemed very feeble, seemed to leave himself in the hands of Morel.

In the beginning of November Clara reminded Paul that it was her birthday.

"I'd nearly forgotten," he said.

"I'd thought quite," she replied.

"No. Shall we go to the seaside for the week-end?"

They went. It was cold and rather dismal50. She waited for him to be warm and tender with her, instead of which he seemed hardly aware of her. He sat in the railway-carriage, looking out, and was startled when she spoke to him. He was not definitely thinking. Things seemed as if they did not exist. She went across to him.

"What is it dear?" she asked.

"Nothing!" he said. "Don't those windmill sails look monotonous51?"

He sat holding her hand. He could not talk nor think. It was a comfort, however, to sit holding her hand. She was dissatisfied and miserable. He was not with her; she was nothing.

And in the evening they sat among the sandhills, looking at the black, heavy sea.

"She will never give in," he said quietly.

Clara's heart sank.

"No," she replied.

"There are different ways of dying. My father's people are frightened, and have to be hauled out of life into death like cattle into a slaughter-house, pulled by the neck; but my mother's people are pushed from behind, inch by inch. They are stubborn people, and won't die."

"Yes," said Clara.

"And she won't die. She can't. Mr. Renshaw, the parson, was in the other day. 'Think!' he said to her; 'you will have your mother and father, and your sisters, and your son, in the Other Land.' And she said: 'I have done without them for a long time, and CAN do without them now. It is the living I want, not the dead.' She wants to live even now."

"Oh, how horrible!" said Clara, too frightened to speak.

"And she looks at me, and she wants to stay with me," he went on monotonously52. "She's got such a will, it seems as if she would never go--never!"

"Don't think of it!" cried Clara.

"And she was religious--she is religious now--but it is no good. She simply won't give in. And do you know, I said to her on Thursday: 'Mother, if I had to die, I'd die. I'd WILL to die.' And she said to me, sharp: 'Do you think I haven't? Do you think you can die when you like?'"

His voice ceased. He did not cry, only went on speaking mo-notonously. Clara wanted to run. She looked round. There was the black, re-echoing shore, the dark sky down on her. She got up terrified. She wanted to be where there was light, where there were other people. She wanted to be away from him. He sat with his head dropped, not moving a muscle.

"And I don't want her to eat," he said, "and she knows it. When I ask her: 'Shall you have anything' she's almost afraid to say 'Yes.' 'I'll have a cup of Benger's,' she says. 'It'll only keep your strength up,' I said to her. 'Yes'--and she almost cried--'but there's such a gnawing53 when I eat nothing, I can't bear it.' So I went and made her the food. It's the cancer that gnaws54 like that at her. I wish she'd die!"

"Come!" said Clara roughly. "I'm going."

He followed her down the darkness of the sands. He did not come to her. He seemed scarcely aware of her existence. And she was afraid of him, and disliked him.

In the same acute daze32 they went back to Nottingham. He was always busy, always doing something, always going from one to the other of his friends.

On the Monday he went to see Baxter Dawes. Listless and pale, the man rose to greet the other, clinging to his chair as he held out his hand.

"You shouldn't get up," said Paul.

Dawes sat down heavily, eyeing Morel with a sort of suspicion.

"Don't you waste your time on me," he said, "if you've owt better to do."

"I wanted to come," said Paul. "Here! I brought you some sweets."

The invalid55 put them aside.

"It's not been much of a week-end," said Morel.

"How's your mother?" asked the other.

"Hardly any different."

"I thought she was perhaps worse, being as you didn't come on Sunday."

"I was at Skegness," said Paul. "I wanted a change."

The other looked at him with dark eyes. He seemed to be waiting, not quite daring to ask, trusting to be told.

"I went with Clara," said Paul.

"I knew as much," said Dawes quietly.

"It was an old promise," said Paul.

"You have it your own way," said Dawes.

This was the first time Clara had been definitely mentioned between them.

"Nay," said Morel slowly; "she's tired of me."

Again Dawes looked at him.

"Since August she's been getting tired of me," Morel repeated.

The two men were very quiet together. Paul suggested a game of draughts56. They played in silence.

"I s'll go abroad when my mother's dead," said Paul.

"Abroad!" repeated Dawes.

"Yes; I don't care what I do."

They continued the game. Dawes was winning.

"I s'll have to begin a new start of some sort," said Paul; "and you as well, I suppose."

He took one of Dawes's pieces.

"I dunno where," said the other.

"Things have to happen," Morel said. "It's no good doing anything--at least--no, I don't know. Give me some toffee."

The two men ate sweets, and began another game of draughts.

"What made that scar on your mouth?" asked Dawes.

Paul put his hand hastily to his lips, and looked over the garden.

"I had a bicycle accident," he said.

Dawes's hand trembled as he moved the piece.

"You shouldn't ha' laughed at me," he said, very low.

"When?"

"That night on Woodborough Road, when you and her passed me--you with your hand on her shoulder."

"I never laughed at you," said Paul.

Dawes kept his fingers on the draught57-piece.

"I never knew you were there till the very second when you passed," said Morel.

"It was that as did me," Dawes said, very low.

Paul took another sweet.

"I never laughed," he said, "except as I'm always laughing."

They finished the game.

That night Morel walked home from Nottingham, in order to have something to do. The furnaces flared58 in a red blotch59 over Bulwell; the black clouds were like a low ceiling. As he went along the ten miles of highroad, he felt as if he were walking out of life, between the black levels of the sky and the earth. But at the end was only the sick-room. If he walked and walked for ever, there was only that place to come to.

He was not tired when he got near home, or He did not know it. Across the field he could see the red firelight leaping in her bedroom window.

"When she's dead," he said to himself, "that fire will go out."

He took off his boots quietly and crept upstairs. His mothers door was wide open, because she slept alone still. The red firelight dashed its glow on the landing. Soft as a shadow, he peeped in her doorway.

"Paul!" she murmured.

His heart seemed to break again. He went in and sat by the bed.

"How late you are!" she murmured.

"Not very," he said.

"Why, what time is it?" The murmur60 came plaintive61 and helpless.

"It's only just gone eleven."

That was not true; it was nearly one o'clock.

"Oh!" she said; "I thought it was later."

And he knew the unutterable misery of her nights that would not go.

"Can't you sleep, my pigeon?" he said.

"No, I can't," she wailed62.

"Never mind, Little!" He said crooning. "Never mind, my love. I'll stop with you half an hour, my pigeon; then perhaps it will be better."

And he sat by the bedside, slowly, rhythmically63 stroking her brows with his finger-tips, stroking her eyes shut, soothing64 her, holding her fingers in his free hand. They could hear the sleepers65' breathing in the other rooms.

"Now go to bed," she murmured, lying quite still under his fingers and his love.

"Will you sleep?" he asked.

"Yes, I think so."

"You feel better, my Little, don't you?"

"Yes," she said, like a fretful, half-soothed66 child.

Still the days and the weeks went by. He hardly ever went to see Clara now. But he wandered restlessly from one person to another for some help, and there was none anywhere. Miriam had written to him tenderly. He went to see her. Her heart was very sore when she saw him, white, gaunt, with his eyes dark and bewildered. Her pity came up, hurting her till she could not bear it.

"How is she?" she asked.

"The same--the same!" he said. "The doctor says she can't last, but I know she will. She'll be here at Christmas."

Miriam shuddered67. She drew him to her; she pressed him to her bosom68; she kissed him and kissed him. He submitted, but it was torture. She could not kiss his agony. That remained alone and apart. She kissed his face, and roused his blood, while his soul was apart writhing69 with the agony of death. And she kissed him and fingered his body, till at last, feeling he would go mad, he got away from her. It was not what he wanted just then--not that. And she thought she had soothed him and done him good.

December came, and some snow. He stayed at home all the while now. They could not afford a nurse. Annie came to look after her mother; the parish nurse, whom they loved, came in morning and evening. Paul shared the nursing with Annie. Often, in the evenings, when friends were in the kitchen with them, they all laughed together and shook with laughter. It was reaction. Paul was so comical, Annie was so quaint70. The whole party laughed till they cried, trying to subdue71 the sound. And Mrs. Morel, lying alone in the darkness heard them, and among her bitterness was a feeling of relief.

Then Paul would go upstairs gingerly, guiltily, to see if she had heard.

"Shall I give you some milk?" he asked.

"A little," she replied plaintively72.

And he would put some water with it, so that it should not nourish her. Yet he loved her more than his own life.

She had morphia every night, and her heart got fitful. Annie slept beside her. Paul would go in in the early morning, when his sister got up. His mother was wasted and almost ashen73 in the morning with the morphia. Darker and darker grew her eyes, all pupil, with the torture. In the mornings the weariness and ache were too much to bear. Yet she could not--would not--weep, or even complain much.

"You slept a bit later this morning, little one," he would say to her.

"Did I?" she answered, with fretful weariness.

"Yes; it's nearly eight o'clock."

He stood looking out of the window. The whole country was bleak74 and pallid75 under the snow. Then he felt her pulse. There was a strong stroke and a weak one, like a sound and its echo. That was supposed to betoken76 the end. She let him feel her wrist, knowing what he wanted.

Sometimes they looked in each other's eyes. Then they almost seemed to make an agreement. It was almost as if he were agreeing to die also. But she did not consent to die; she would not. Her body was wasted to a fragment of ash. Her eyes were dark and full of torture.

"Can't you give her something to put an end to it?" he asked the doctor at last.

But the doctor shook his head.

"She can't last many days now, Mr. Morel," he said.

Paul went indoors.

"I can't bear it much longer; we shall all go mad," said Annie.

The two sat down to breakfast.

"Go and sit with her while we have breakfast, Minnie," said Annie. But the girl was frightened.

Paul went through the country, through the woods, over the snow. He saw the marks of rabbits and birds in the white snow. He wandered miles and miles. A smoky red sunset came on slowly, painfully, lingering. He thought she would die that day. There was a donkey that came up to him over the snow by the wood's edge, and put its head against him, and walked with him alongside. He put his arms round the donkey's neck, and stroked his cheeks against his ears.

His mother, silent, was still alive, with her hard mouth gripped grimly, her eyes of dark torture only living.

It was nearing Christmas; there was more snow. Annie and he felt as if they could go on no more. Still her dark eyes were alive. Morel, silent and frightened, obliterated77 himself. Sometimes he would go into the sick-room and look at her. Then he backed out, bewildered.

She kept her hold on life still. The miners had been out on strike, and returned a fortnight or so before Christmas. Minnie went upstairs with the feeding-cup. It was two days after the men had been in.

"Have the men been saying their hands are sore, Minnie?" she asked, in the faint, querulous voice that would not give in. Minnie stood surprised.

"Not as I know of, Mrs. Morel," she answered.

"But I'll bet they are sore," said the dying woman, as she moved her head with a sigh of weariness. "But, at any rate, there'll be something to buy in with this week."

Not a thing did she let slip.

"Your father's pit things will want well airing, Annie," she said, when the men were going back to work.

"Don't you bother about that, my dear," said Annie.

One night Annie and Paul were alone. Nurse was upstairs.

"She'll live over Christmas," said Annie. They were both full of horror. "She won't," he replied grimly. "I s'll give her morphia."

"Which?" said Annie.

"All that came from Sheffield," said Paul.

"Ay--do!" said Annie.

The next day he was painting in the bedroom. She seemed to be asleep. He stepped softly backwards78 and forwards at his painting. Suddenly her small voice wailed:

"Don't walk about, Paul."

He looked round. Her eyes, like dark bubbles in her face, were looking at him.

"No, my dear," he said gently. Another fibre seemed to snap in his heart.

That evening he got all the morphia pills there were, and took them downstairs. Carefully he crushed them to powder.

"What are you doing?" said Annie.

"I s'll put 'em in her night milk."

Then they both laughed together like two conspiring79 children. On top of all their horror flicked80 this little sanity81.

Nurse did not come that night to settle Mrs. Morel down. Paul went up with the hot milk in a feeding-cup. It was nine o'clock.

She was reared up in bed, and he put the feeding-cup between her lips that he would have died to save from any hurt. She took a sip82, then put the spout83 of the cup away and looked at him with her dark, wondering eyes. He looked at her.

"Oh, it IS bitter, Paul!" she said, making a little grimace84.

"It's a new sleeping draught the doctor gave me for you," he said. "He thought it would leave you in such a state in the morning."

"And I hope it won't," she said, like a child.

She drank some more of the milk.

"But it IS horrid!" she said.

He saw her frail85 fingers over the cup, her lips making a little move.

"I know--I tasted it," he said. "But I'll give you some clean milk afterwards."

"I think so," she said, and she went on with the draught. She was obedient to him like a child. He wondered if she knew. He saw her poor wasted throat moving as she drank with difficulty. Then he ran downstairs for more milk. There were no grains in the bottom of the cup.

"Has she had it?" whispered Annie.

"Yes--and she said it was bitter."

"Oh!" laughed Annie, putting her under lip between her teeth.

"And I told her it was a new draught. Where's that milk?"

They both went upstairs.

"I wonder why nurse didn't come to settle me down?" complained the mother, like a child, wistfully.

"She said she was going to a concert, my love," replied Annie.

"Did she?"

They were silent a minute. Mrs. Morel gulped86 the little clean milk.

"Annie, that draught WAS horrid!" she said plaintively.

"Was it, my love? Well, never mind."

The mother sighed again with weariness. Her pulse was very irregular.

"Let US settle you down," said Annie. "Perhaps nurse will be so late."

"Ay," said the mother--"try."

They turned the clothes back. Paul saw his mother LIke a girl curled up in her flannel87 nightdress. Quickly they made one half of the bed, moved her, made the other, straightened her nightgown over her small feet, and covered her up.

"There," said Paul, stroking her softly. "There!--now you'll sleep."

"Yes," she said. "I didn't think you could do the bed so nicely," she added, almost gaily. Then she curled up, with her cheek on her hand, her head snugged88 between her shoulders. Paul put the long thin plait of grey hair over her shoulder and kissed her.

"You'll sleep, my love," he said.

"Yes," she answered trustfully. "Good-night."

They put out the light, and it was still.

Morel was in bed. Nurse did not come. Annie and Paul came to look at her at about eleven. She seemed to be sleeping as usual after her draught. Her mouth had come a bit open.

"Shall we sit up?" said Paul.

"I s'll lie with her as I always do," said Annie. "She might wake up."

"All right. And call me if you see any difference."

"Yes."

They lingered before the bedroom fire, feeling the night big and black and snowy outside, their two selves alone in the world. At last he went into the next room and went to bed.

He slept almost immediately, but kept waking every now and again. Then he went sound asleep. He started awake at Annie's whispered, "Paul, Paul!" He saw his sister in her white nightdress, with her long plait of hair down her back, standing89 in the darkness.

"Yes?" he whispered, sitting up.

"Come and look at her."

He slipped out of bed. A bud of gas was burning in the sick chamber90. His mother lay with her cheek on her hand, curled up as she had gone to sleep. But her mouth had fallen open, and she breathed with great, hoarse91 breaths, like snoring, and there were long intervals92 between.

"She's going!" he whispered.

"Yes," said Annie.

"How long has she been like it?"

"I only just woke up."

Annie huddled93 into the dressing-gown, Paul wrapped himself in a brown blanket. It was three o'clock. He mended the fire. Then the two sat waiting. The great, snoring breath was taken--held awhile--then given back. There was a space--a long space. Then they started. The great, snoring breath was taken again. He bent94 close down and looked at her.

"Isn't it awful!" whispered Annie.

He nodded. They sat down again helplessly. Again came the great, snoring breath. Again they hung suspended. Again it was given back, long and harsh. The sound, so irregular, at such wide intervals, sounded through the house. Morel, in his room, slept on. Paul and Annie sat crouched95, huddled, motionless. The great snoring sound began again--there was a painful pause while the breath was held--back came the rasping breath. Minute after minute passed. Paul looked at her again, bending low over her.

"She may last like this," he said.

They were both silent. He looked out of the window, and could faintly discern the snow on the garden.

"You go to my bed," he said to Annie. "I'll sit up."

"No," she said, "I'll stop with you."

"I'd rather you didn't," he said.

At last Annie crept out of the room, and he was alone. He hugged himself in his brown blanket, crouched in front of his mother, watching. She looked dreadful, with the bottom jaw96 fallen back. He watched. Sometimes he thought the great breath would never begin again. He could not bear it--the waiting. Then suddenly, startling him, came the great harsh sound. He mended the fire again, noiselessly. She must not be disturbed. The minutes went by. The night was going, breath by breath. Each time the sound came he felt it wring97 him, till at last he could not feel so much.

His father got up. Paul heard the miner drawing his stockings on, yawning. Then Morel, in shirt and stockings, entered.

"Hush98!" said Paul.

Morel stood watching. Then he looked at his son, helplessly, and in horror.

"Had I better stop a-whoam?" he whispered.

"No. Go to work. She'll last through to-morrow."

"I don't think so."

"Yes. Go to work."

The miner looked at her again, in fear, and went obediently out of the room. Paul saw the tape of his garters swinging against his legs.

After another half-hour Paul went downstairs and drank a cup of tea, then returned. Morel, dressed for the pit, came upstairs again.

"Am I to go?" he said.

"Yes."

And in a few minutes Paul heard his father's heavy steps go thudding over the deadening snow. Miners called in the streets as they tramped in gangs to work. The terrible, long-drawn99 breaths continued--heave--heave--heave; then a long pause--then--ah-h-h-h-h! as it came back. Far away over the snow sounded the hooters of the ironworks. One after another they crowed and boomed, some small and far away, some near, the blowers of the collieries and the other works. Then there was silence. He mended the fire. The great breaths broke the silence--she looked just the same. He put back the blind and peered out. Still it was dark. Perhaps there was a lighter tinge100. Perhaps the snow was bluer. He drew up the blind and got dressed. Then, shuddering101, he drank brandy from the bottle on the wash-stand. The snow WAS growing blue. He heard a cart clanking down the street. Yes, it was seven o'clock, and it was coming a little bit light. He heard some people calling. The world was waking. A grey, deathly dawn crept over the snow. Yes, he could see the houses. He put out the gas. It seemed very dark. The breathing came still, but he was almost used to it. He could see her. She was just the same. He wondered if he piled heavy clothes on top of her it would stop. He looked at her. That was not her--not her a bit. If he piled the blanket and heavy coats on her-

Suddenly the door opened, and Annie entered. She looked at him questioningly.

"Just the same," he said calmly.

They whispered together a minute, then he went downstairs to get breakfast. It was twenty to eight. Soon Annie came down.

"Isn't it awful! Doesn't she look awful!" she whispered, dazed with horror.

He nodded.

"If she looks like that!" said Annie.

"Drink some tea," he said.

They went upstairs again. Soon the neighbours came with their frightened question:

"How is she?"

It went on just the same. She lay with her cheek in her hand, her mouth fallen open, and the great, ghastly snores came and went.

At ten o'clock nurse came. She looked strange and woebegone.

"Nurse," cried Paul, "she'll last like this for days?"

"She can't, Mr. Morel," said nurse. "She can't."

There was a silence.

"Isn't it dreadful!" wailed the nurse. "Who would have thought she could stand it? Go down now, Mr. Morel, go down."

At last, at about eleven o'clock, he went downstairs and sat in the neighbour's house. Annie was downstairs also. Nurse and Arthur were upstairs. Paul sat with his head in his hand. Suddenly Annie came flying across the yard crying, half mad:

"Paul--Paul--she's gone!"

In a second he was back in his own house and upstairs. She lay curled up and still, with her face on her hand, and nurse was wiping her mouth. They all stood back. He kneeled down, and put his face to hers and his arms round her:

"My love--my love--oh, my love!" he whispered again and again. "My love--oh, my love!"

Then he heard the nurse behind him, crying, saying:

"She's better, Mr. Morel, she's better."

When he took his face up from his warm, dead mother he went straight downstairs and began blacking his boots.

There was a good deal to do, letters to write, and so on. The doctor came and glanced at her, and sighed.

"Ay--poor thing!" he said, then turned away. "Well, call at the surgery about six for the certificate."

The father came home from work at about four o'clock. He dragged silently into the house and sat down. Minnie bustled102 to give him his dinner. Tired, he laid his black arms on the table. There were swede turnips103 for his dinner, which he liked. Paul wondered if he knew. It was some time, and nobody had spoken. At last the son said:

"You noticed the blinds were down?"

Morel looked up.

"No," he said. "Why--has she gone?"

"Yes."

"When wor that?"

"About twelve this morning."

"H'm!"

The miner sat still for a moment, then began his dinner. It was as if nothing had happened. He ate his turnips in silence. Afterwards he washed and went upstairs to dress. The door of her room was shut.

"Have you seen her?" Annie asked of him when he came down.

"No," he said.

In a little while he went out. Annie went away, and Paul called on the undertaker, the clergyman, the doctor, the registrar104. It was a long business. He got back at nearly eight o'clock. The undertaker was coming soon to measure for the coffin105. The house was empty except for her. He took a candle and went upstairs.

The room was cold, that had been warm for so long. Flowers, bottles, plates, all sick-room litter was taken away; everything was harsh and austere106. She lay raised on the bed, the sweep of the sheet from the raised feet was like a clean curve of snow, so silent. She lay like a maiden107 asleep. With his candle in his hand, he bent over her. She lay like a girl asleep and dreaming of her love. The mouth was a little open as if wondering from the suffering, but her face was young, her brow clear and white as if life had never touched it. He looked again at the eyebrows108, at the small, winsome109 nose a bit on one side. She was young again. Only the hair as it arched so beautifully from her temples was mixed with silver, and the two simple plaits that lay on her shoulders were filigree110 of silver and brown. She would wake up. She would lift her eyelids111. She was with him still. He bent and kissed her passionately112. But there was coldness against his mouth. He bit his lips with horror. Looking at her, he felt he could never, never let her go. No! He stroked the hair from her temples. That, too, was cold. He saw the mouth so dumb and wondering at the hurt. Then he crouched on the floor, whispering to her:

"Mother, mother!"

He was still with her when the undertakers came, young men who had been to school with him. They touched her reverently114, and in a quiet, businesslike fashion. They did not look at her. He watched jealously. He and Annie guarded her fiercely. They would not let anybody come to see her, and the neighbours were offended.

After a while Paul went out of the house, and played cards at a friend's. It was midnight when he got back. His father rose from the couch as he entered, saying in a plaintive way:

"I thought tha wor niver comin', lad."

"I didn't think you'd sit up," said Paul.

His father looked so forlorn. Morel had been a man without fear--simply nothing frightened him. Paul realised with a start that he had been afraid to go to bed, alone in the house with his dead. He was sorry.

"I forgot you'd be alone, father," he said.

"Dost want owt to eat?" asked Morel.

"No."

"Sithee--I made thee a drop o' hot milk. Get it down thee; it's cold enough for owt."

Paul drank it.

After a while Morel went to bed. He hurried past the closed door, and left his own door open. Soon the son came upstairs also. He went in to kiss her good-night, as usual. It was cold and dark. He wished they had kept her fire burning. Still she dreamed her young dream. But she would be cold.

"My dear!" he whispered. "My dear!"

And he did not kiss her, for fear she should be cold and strange to him. It eased him she slept so beautifully. He shut her door softly, not to wake her, and went to bed.

In the morning Morel summoned his courage, hearing Annie downstairs and Paul coughing in the room across the landing. He opened her door, and went into the darkened room. He saw the white uplifted form in the twilight115, but her he dared not see. Bewildered, too frightened to possess any of his faculties116, he got out of the room again and left her. He never looked at her again. He had not seen her for months, because he had not dared to look. And she looked like his young wife again.

"Have you seen her?" Annie asked of him sharply after breakfast.

"Yes," he said.

"And don't you think she looks nice?"

"Yes."

He went out of the house soon after. And all the time He seemed to be creeping aside to avoid it.

Paul went about from place to place, doing the business of the death. He met Clara in Nottingham, and they had tea together in a cafe, when they were quite jolly again. She was infinitely117 relieved to find he did not take it tragically118.

Later, when the relatives began to come for the funeral, the affair became public, and the children became social beings. They put themselves aside. They buried her in a furious storm of rain and wind. The wet clay glistened119, all the white flowers were soaked. Annie gripped his arm and leaned forward. Down below she saw a dark corner of William's coffin. The oak box sank steadily120. She was gone. The rain poured in the grave. The procession of black, with its umbrellas glistening121, turned away. The cemetery122 was deserted123 under the drenching124 cold rain.

Paul went home and busied himself supplying the guests with drinks. His father sat in the kitchen with Mrs. Morel's relatives, "superior" people, and wept, and said what a good lass she'd been, and how he'd tried to do everything he could for her--everything. He had striven all his life to do what he could for her, and he'd nothing to reproach himself with. She was gone, but he'd done his best for her. He wiped his eyes with his white handkerchief. He'd nothing to reproach himself for, he repeated. All his life he'd done his best for her.

And that was how he tried to dismiss her. He never thought of her personally. Everything deep in him he denied. Paul hated his father for sitting sentimentalising over her. He knew he would do it in the public-houses. For the real tragedy went on in Morel in spite of himself. Sometimes, later, he came down from his afternoon sleep, white and cowering125.

"I HAVE been dreaming of thy mother," he said in a small voice.

"Have you, father? When I dream of her it's always just as she was when she was well. I dream of her often, but it seems quite nice and natural, as if nothing had altered."

But Morel crouched in front of the fire in terror.

The weeks passed half-real, not much pain, not much of anything, perhaps a little relief, mostly a nuit blanche. Paul went restless from place to place. For some months, since his mother had been worse, he had not made love to Clara. She was, as it were, dumb to him, rather distant. Dawes saw her very occasionally, but the two could not get an inch across the great distance between them. The three of them were drifting forward.

Dawes mended very slowly. He was in the convalescent home at Skegness at Christmas, nearly well again. Paul went to the seaside for a few days. His father was with Annie in Sheffield. Dawes came to Paul's lodgings127. His time in the home was up. The two men, between whom was such a big reserve, seemed faithful to each other. Dawes depended on Morel now. He knew Paul and Clara had practically separated.

Two days after Christmas Paul was to go back to Nottingham. The evening before he sat with Dawes smoking before the fire.

"You know Clara's coming down for the day to-morrow?" he said.

The other man glanced at him.

"Yes, you told me," he replied.

Paul drank the remainder of his glass of whisky.

"I told the landlady128 your wife was coming," he said.

"Did you?" said Dawes, shrinking, but almost leaving himself in the other's hands. He got up rather stiffly, and reached for Morel's glass.

"Let me fill you up," he said.

Paul jumped up.

"You sit still," he said.

But Dawes, with rather shaky hand, continued to mix the drink.

"Say when," he said.

"Thanks!" replied the other. "But you've no business to get up."

"It does me good, lad," replied Dawes. "I begin to think I'm right again, then."

"You are about right, you know."

"I am, certainly I am," said Dawes, nodding to him.

"And Len says he can get you on in Sheffield."

Dawes glanced at him again, with dark eyes that agreed with everything the other would say, perhaps a trifle dominated by him.

"It's funny," said Paul, "starting again. I feel in a lot bigger mess than you."

"In what way, lad?"

"I don't know. I don't know. It's as if I was in a tangled sort of hole, rather dark and dreary129, and no road anywhere."

"I know--I understand it," Dawes said, nodding. "But you'll find it'll come all right."

He spoke caressingly130.

"I suppose so," said Paul.

Dawes knocked his pipe in a hopeless fashion.

"You've not done for yourself like I have," he said.

Morel saw the wrist and the white hand of the other man gripping the stem of the pipe and knocking out the ash, as if he had given up.

"How old are you?" Paul asked.

"Thirty-nine," replied Dawes, glancing at him.

Those brown eyes, full of the consciousness of failure, almost pleading for reassurance131, for someone to re-establish the man in himself, to warm him, to set him up firm again, troubled Paul.

"You'll just be in your prime," said Morel. "You don't look as if much life had gone out of you."

The brown eyes of the other flashed suddenly.

"It hasn't," he said. "The go is there."

Paul looked up and laughed.

"We've both got plenty of life in us yet to make things fly," he said.

The eyes of the two men met. They exchanged one look. Having recognised the stress of passion each in the other, they both drank their whisky.

"Yes, begod!" said Dawes, breathless.

There was a pause.

"And I don't see," said Paul, "why you shouldn't go on where you left off."

"What---" said Dawes, suggestively.

"Yes--fit your old home together again."

Dawes hid his face and shook his head.

"Couldn't be done," he said, and looked up with an ironic132 smile.

"Why? Because you don't want?"

"Perhaps."

They smoked in silence. Dawes showed his teeth as he bit his pipe stem.

"You mean you don't want her?" asked Paul.

Dawes stared up at the picture with a caustic133 expression on his face.

"I hardly know," he said.

The smoke floated softly up.

"I believe she wants you," said Paul.

"Do you?" replied the other, soft, satirical, abstract.

"Yes. She never really hitched134 on to me--you were always there in the background. That's why she wouldn't get a divorce."

Dawes continued to stare in a satirical fashion at the picture over the mantelpiece.

"That's how women are with me," said Paul. "They want me like mad, but they don't want to belong to me. And she BELONGED to you all the time. I knew."

The triumphant135 male came up in Dawes. He showed his teeth more distinctly.

"Perhaps I was a fool," he said.

"You were a big fool," said Morel.

"But perhaps even THEN you were a bigger fool," said Dawes.

There was a touch of triumph and malice136 in it.

"Do you think so?" said Paul.

They were silent for some time.

"At any rate, I'm clearing out to-morrow," said Morel.

"I see," answered Dawes.

Then they did not talk any more. The instinct to murder each other had returned. They almost avoided each other.

They shared the same bedroom. When they retired137 Dawes seemed abstract, thinking of something. He sat on the side of the bed in his shirt, looking at his legs.

"Aren't you getting cold?" asked Morel.

"I was lookin' at these legs," replied the other.

"What's up with 'em? They look all right," replied Paul, from his bed.

"They look all right. But there's some water in 'em yet."

"And what about it?"

"Come and look."

Paul reluctantly got out of bed and went to look at the rather handsome legs of the other man that were covered with glistening, dark gold hair.

"Look here," said Dawes, pointing to his shin. "Look at the water under here."

"Where?" said Paul.

The man pressed in his finger-tips. They left little dents138 that filled up slowly.

"It's nothing," said Paul.

"You feel," said Dawes.

Paul tried with his fingers. It made little dents.

"H'm!" he said.

"Rotten, isn't it?" said Dawes.

"Why? It's nothing much."

"You're not much of a man with water in your legs."

"I can't see as it makes any difference," said Morel. "I've got a weak chest."

He returned to his own bed.

"I suppose the rest of me's all right," said Dawes, and he put out the light.

In the morning it was raining. Morel packed his bag. The sea was grey and shaggy and dismal. He seemed to be cutting himself off from life more and more. It gave him a wicked pleasure to do it.

The two men were at the station. Clara stepped out of the train, and came along the platform, very erect139 and coldly composed. She wore a long coat and a tweed hat. Both men hated her for her composure. Paul shook hands with her at the barrier. Dawes was leaning against the bookstall, watching. His black overcoat was buttoned up to the chin because of the rain. He was pale, with almost a touch of nobility in his quietness. He came forward, limping slightly.

"You ought to look better than this," she said.

"Oh, I'm all right now."

The three stood at a loss. She kept the two men hesitating near her.

"Shall we go to the lodging126 straight off," said Paul, "or somewhere else?"

"We may as well go home," said Dawes.

Paul walked on the outside of the pavement, then Dawes, then Clara. They made polite conversation. The sitting-room140 faced the sea, whose tide, grey and shaggy, hissed141 not far off.

Morel swung up the big arm-chair.

"Sit down, Jack," he said.

"I don't want that chair," said Dawes.

"Sit down!" Morel repeated.

Clara took off her things and laid them on the couch. She had a slight air of resentment142. Lifting her hair with her fingers, she sat down, rather aloof143 and composed. Paul ran downstairs to speak to the landlady.

"I should think you're cold," said Dawes to his wife. "Come nearer to the fire."

"Thank you, I'm quite warm," she answered.

She looked out of the window at the rain and at the sea.

"When are you going back?" she asked.

"Well, the rooms are taken until to-morrow, so he wants me to stop. He's going back to-night."

"And then you're thinking of going to Sheffield?"

"Yes."

"Are you fit to start work?"

"I'm going to start."

"You've really got a place?"

"Yes--begin on Monday."

"You don't look fit."

"Why don't I?"

She looked again out of the window instead of answering.

"And have you got lodgings in Sheffield?"

"Yes."

Again she looked away out of the window. The panes144 were blurred145 with streaming rain.

"And can you manage all right?" she asked.

"I s'd think so. I s'll have to!"

They were silent when Morel returned.

"I shall go by the four-twenty," he said as he entered.

Nobody answered.

"I wish you'd take your boots off," he said to Clara.

"There's a pair of slippers146 of mine."

"Thank you," she said. "They aren't wet."

He put the slippers near her feet. She left them there.

Morel sat down. Both the men seemed helpless, and each of them had a rather hunted look. But Dawes now carried himself quietly, seemed to yield himself, while Paul seemed to screw himself up. Clara thought she had never seen him look so small and mean. He was as if trying to get himself into the smallest possible compass. And as he went about arranging, and as he sat talking, there seemed something false about him and out of tune147. Watching him unknown, she said to herself there was no stability about him. He was fine in his way, passionate113, and able to give her drinks of pure life when he was in one mood. And now he looked paltry148 and insignificant149. There was nothing stable about him. Her husband had more manly150 dignity. At any rate HE did not waft151 about with any wind. There was something evanescent about Morel, she thought, something shifting and false. He would never make sure ground for any woman to stand on. She despised him rather for his shrinking together, getting smaller. Her husband at least was manly, and when he was beaten gave in. But this other would never own to being beaten. He would shift round and round, prowl, get smaller. She despised him. And yet she watched him rather than Dawes, and it seemed as if their three fates lay in his hands. She hated him for it.

She seemed to understand better now about men, and what they could or would do. She was less afraid of them, more sure of herself. That they were not the small egoists she had imagined them made her more comfortable. She had learned a good deal--almost as much as she wanted to learn. Her cup had been full. It was still as full as she could carry. On the whole, she would not be sorry when he was gone.

They had dinner, and sat eating nuts and drinking by the fire. Not a serious word had been spoken. Yet Clara realised that Morel was withdrawing from the circle, leaving her the option to stay with her husband. It angered her. He was a mean fellow, after all, to take what he wanted and then give her back. She did not remember that she herself had had what she wanted, and really, at the bottom of her heart, wished to be given back.

Paul felt crumpled152 up and lonely. His mother had really supported his life. He had loved her; they two had, in fact, faced the world together. Now she was gone, and for ever behind him was the gap in life, the tear in the veil, through which his life seemed to drift slowly, as if he were drawn towards death. He wanted someone of their own free initiative to help him. The lesser153 things he began to let go from him, for fear of this big thing, the lapse154 towards death, following in the wake of his beloved. Clara could not stand for him to hold on to. She wanted him, but not to understand him. He felt she wanted the man on top, not the real him that was in trouble. That would be too much trouble to her; he dared not give it her. She could not cope with him. It made him ashamed. So, secretly ashamed because he was in such a mess, because his own hold on life was so unsure, because nobody held him, feeling unsubstantial, shadowy, as if he did not count for much in this concrete world, he drew himself together smaller and smaller. He did not want to die; he would not give in. But he was not afraid of death. If nobody would help, he would go on alone.

Dawes had been driven to the extremity of life, until he was afraid. He could go to the brink155 of death, he could lie on the edge and look in. Then, cowed, afraid, he had to crawl back, and like a beggar take what offered. There was a certain nobility in it. As Clara saw, he owned himself beaten, and he wanted to be taken back whether or not. That she could do for him. It was three o'clock.

"I am going by the four-twenty," said Paul again to Clara. "Are you coming then or later?"

"I don't know," she said.

"I'm meeting my father in Nottingham at seven-fifteen," he said.

"Then," she answered, "I'll come later."

Dawes jerked suddenly, as if he had been held on a strain. He looked out over the sea, but he saw nothing.

"There are one or two books in the corner," said Morel. "I've done with 'em."

At about four o'clock he went.

"I shall see you both later," he said, as he shook hands.

"I suppose so," said Dawes. "An' perhaps--one day--I s'll be able to pay you back the money as---"

"I shall come for it, you'll see," laughed Paul. "I s'll be on the rocks before I'm very much older."

"Ay--well---" said Dawes.

"Good-bye," he said to Clara.

"Good-bye," she said, giving him her hand. Then she glanced at him for the last time, dumb and humble.

He was gone. Dawes and his wife sat down again.

"It's a nasty day for travelling," said the man.

"Yes," she answered.

They talked in a desultory156 fashion until it grew dark. The landlady brought in the tea. Dawes drew up his chair to the table without being invited, like a husband. Then he sat humbly157 waiting for his cup. She served him as she would, like a wife, not consulting his wish.

After tea, as it drew near to six o'clock, he went to the window. All was dark outside. The sea was roaring.

"It's raining yet," he said.

"Is it?" she answered.

"You won't go to-night, shall you?" he said, hesitating.

She did not answer. He waited.

"I shouldn't go in this rain," he said.

"Do you WANT me to stay?" she asked.

His hand as he held the dark curtain trembled.

"Yes," he said.

He remained with his back to her. She rose and went slowly to him. He let go the curtain, turned, hesitating, towards her. She stood with her hands behind her back, looking up at him in a heavy, inscrutable fashion.

"Do you want me, Baxter?" she asked.

His voice was hoarse as he answered:

"Do you want to come back to me?"

She made a moaning noise, lifted her arms, and put them round his neck, drawing him to her. He hid his face on her shoulder, holding her clasped.

"Take me back!" she whispered, ecstatic. "Take me back, take me back!" And she put her fingers through his fine, thin dark hair, as if she were only semi-conscious. He tightened158 his grasp on her.

"Do you want me again?" he murmured, broken.

一天晚上,保罗去了雪菲尔德。安塞尔医生说:“顺便告诉你一声,我们这儿的传染病医院收了一个来自诺丁汉姆的病人——他叫道伍斯。他在这世上好像再没有亲人似的。”

“巴克斯特·道伍斯!”保罗惊叫了一声。

“是他——依我看,他体质还不错,不过,最近有点小问题,你认识他吗?”

“他原来和我在一起干活。”

“真的吗?你了解他的情况吗?他就是情绪不好,闷闷不乐,要不然,他的病会比现在好得多。”

“我不太清楚他的家庭情况,只知道他跟妻子分居了。我想他可能因此而有些消沉。请你跟他谈谈我,好吗?就说我要去看他。”

第二次保罗见到安塞尔医生时,问:

“道伍斯怎么样了?”

安塞尔医生答道:“我对他说,‘你认识诺丁汉姆的一个叫莫瑞尔的人吗?’而他看了我一眼,仿佛想扑过来掐我的脖子似的。于是我说:‘看来你知道这个姓,他叫保罗·莫瑞尔。’接着我又告诉他,你说你要去看他。他说,他想干什么,仿佛你是个警察。”

“那他说他愿意见我吗?”保罗问。

“他什么也不肯说——是好,是坏,或无所谓,都没有说。”医生回答道。

“为什么呢?”

“这正是我想知道的。他一天到晚地郁郁不乐地躺在那儿,一句话都不说。”

“你觉得我可以去吗?”保罗问。

“去吧!”

自从打了那一架之后,这两个对手之间似乎越来越有些纠缠不清了。保罗对他总觉得有些内疚,他认为自己多少应该对他负点责任。处于眼下这种精神状态,他对灰心丧气、痛苦不堪的道伍斯怀有一种很深的亲切感。除此之外,这两个人是在赤裸裸的仇恨中相遇的,这本身就是一种结合力。不管怎么说,他们带着原始的本能已经较量过了。

他拿着安塞尔医生的名片去了隔离病房,护士是一个健壮的爱尔兰妇女,领着他去了病房。

“吉姆·克罗,有人来看你啦。”她说。

道伍斯大吃了一惊,咕哝着一下子翻转身来。

“呃?”

“呱呱!”护士嘲弄地说,“他只会说‘呱呱!’我带了一位先生来看你。现在说声‘谢谢你’,讲点礼貌。”

道伍斯抬起那对惊惶的黑眼睛,看着护士身边的保罗。他的眼神中充满了恐惧、怀疑、仇恨和痛苦。保罗在这双不停的转溜的黑眼睛面前,一时不知道该怎么办才好。两人都怕再看到双方当初曾显露出的那副赤裸裸的本性。

“安塞尔医生告诉我你在这儿。”保罗伸出手说。

道伍斯呆板地握了握他的手。

“因此,我想我应该来一趟。”保罗继续说。

道伍斯没有回答。他躺在那里瞪着两眼望着对面的墙壁。

“说‘呱呱’呀。”护士嘲弄地说,“说‘呱呱’呀,吉姆·克罗。”

“他在这儿过得好吗?”保罗问她。

“哦,是的!他整天躺在那儿以为自己要死了。”护士说,“吓得他一句话也说不出来。”

“你一定得跟人说说话才行。”保罗笑着说。”

“就应该这样!”护士也笑起来,“这儿只有两个老头和一个老是哭哭啼啼的小孩,真讨厌!我倒真的很想听听吉姆·克罗的声音,可他却只会说‘呱呱’!”

“你可真够惨的!”保罗说道。

“可不是吗?”护士说。

“我觉得我来得太巧了!”他笑道。

“哦,就像是从天上掉下来的!”护士笑嘻嘻地说。

一会儿,她就走开了,好让这两人单独在一起。道伍斯比以前瘦了,又和以前一样英俊了,但却缺少一点生气,就像医生说的那样,他郁郁寡欢地躺在那里,一点也不积极地争取康复。他似乎连心脏都懒得跳动一下。

“你过得不太好吧?”保罗问。

道伍斯突然看着他。

“你在雪菲尔德干什么?”他问。

“我母亲在物斯顿街我姐姐家里病倒。你来这儿干什么?”

对方没有回答。

“你在医院住了多久了?”

“我也记不清了。”道伍斯勉强答道。

他躺在那儿,直楞楞地盯着对面的墙壁,似乎竭力想使自己相信这不是保罗。保罗感到心里又痛苦又愤怒。

“安塞尔医生告诉我你在这儿。”他冷冷地说。

道伍斯还是没有搭腔。

“我知道伤寒症是很厉害的。”保罗·莫瑞尔坚持说。

忽然道伍斯问:

“你来这儿干什么?”

“因为安塞尔医生说你在这儿一个人都不认识,是不是?”

“我在哪儿都没有认识的人。”道伍斯说。

“可是,”保罗说,“那是因为你不愿意结交。”

又是一阵沉默。

“我们打算尽快地把我母亲接回家去。”保罗说。

“她怎么啦?”道伍斯带着病人对病情特有的关切问道。

“她得了癌症。”

又是一阵沉默。

“不过我们还是想要把她接回家去。”保罗说,“我们得想法弄一辆汽车。”

道伍斯躺在那儿想着什么。

“你为什么不向托马斯·乔丹借呢?”道伍斯问。

“他那辆车不够大。”保罗答道。

道伍斯躺在那里琢磨着,眼睛眨呀眨的。

“那你可以问问杰克·皮金顿,他会借给你的。你认识他。”

“我想去租一辆。”保罗说。

“傻瓜才去租车呢。”道伍斯说。

这个病人由于瘦了,又恢复了原有的英俊。他的眼神看起来很疲惫,保罗心里深为他感到难过。

“你在这儿找到工作了吗?”他问。

“我来到这儿刚刚一两天就病了。”道伍斯回答。

“你应该进疗养院。”保罗说。

对方的脸色阴沉下来了。

“我不打算进疗养院。”他说。

“我父亲在西素浦住过一所疗养院,他很喜欢那个地方。安塞尔医生会给你作介绍的。”道伍斯躺在床上沉思着,很显然他已不敢再面对这个世界了。

“现在的海滨想必很美了,”莫瑞尔说,“阳光照射在沙丘上,不远处翻滚着海浪。”

对方没有吭声。

“天哪!”保罗叹道。他心里很痛苦,不愿意再劳神费舌,“等你知道你又能行走和游泳时,一切就好啦。”

道伍斯飞快地瞥了他一眼。这双黑眼睛害怕碰到世间上任何人的眼神。但是保罗语调中那种真正的痛苦和绝望给他一阵解脱感。

“她病得很重吗?”他问。

“她像一盏油灯快熬干了,”保罗回答,”不过精神很愉快——很有生气!”

保罗咬住嘴唇。过了一会,他站了起来。

“好啦,我要走了,”他说,“留给你这半个克朗。”

“我不要。”道伍斯喃喃地说。

莫瑞尔没有回答,只是把钱放在桌子上。

“好啦。”他说,“等我再回雪菲尔德时我会抽空来看你。说不定你愿意见见我的姐夫?他在派伊克罗夫斯特斯工作。”

“我不认识他。”道伍斯说。

“他人很好。让我叫他来好吗?他也许会带些报纸给你看。”

对方没有回答。保罗走了。道伍斯在他的心中激起了一股强

莫瑞尔太太的病情渐渐恶化。起初他们还常常把她抱到楼下,有时甚至还抱到花园里去。她坐在背后用东西撑着的椅子上。她面带笑容,显得相当漂亮。金质的婚戒在她白皙的手上闪闪发光,头发也梳得十分光亮。她望着技缠叶绕的向日葵逐渐凋谢,迎来了盛放的菊花和大丽花。

保罗和她彼此都感到害怕。他知道,她也自知,她快要死了。但是他们都竭力装出愉悦轻松的样子。每天早上,一起床他就穿着睡衣走进她的房间。

“你睡着了吗?亲爱的?”他问。

“睡着了。”她回答说。

“睡得不很好吧?”

“嗯,不太好。”

于是他知道了她一夜没有合眼。他看见被子下的手按着肋边的痛处。

“很痛吗?”他问。

“不,稍微有点痛,没事。”

她习惯性地用鼻子轻蔑地哼了一声。她躺着的时候,看上去就像个姑娘,那双蓝眼睛一直望着他。但是她眼睛下面的黑眼圈让他看了心痛。

“今天天气很好。”他说。

“不错。”

“你想要到楼下去吗?”

“我考虑一下再说。”

说着,他就下楼给她端早餐去了。整整一天他都在惦记她。这漫长的痛楚使他忧烦欲狂。黄昏时赶回了家里,他先透过厨房的窗户往里看,她不在那儿;她没有下床。他径自跑到楼上,吻了吻她。他怀着恐惧的心情问:

“你没有下床吗?亲爱的?”

“没有,”她说,吃了那吗啡,弄得我困死了。”

“可能他给你吃得太多了些。”他说。

“也许是的。”她回答。

他痛苦地坐在床边,她像小孩那样蜷缩着身子侧着躺着。夹杂着银丝的棕色头发技散在耳边。

“头发弄成这样,你痒吗?”他说着轻轻地把她的头发撩开。

“很痒。”她答道。

他的脸离她很近,她那双蓝眼睛对着他微笑着,就像姑娘的一样,让人感到温暖。笑容里充满了柔性,他看了不由得心悸,充满了恐惧、痛苦和爱怜。

“你想把头发梳成小辫子吧?”他说,“躺着别动。”

他走到她身旁,仔细地梳松着她的头发,把它梳理开来。头发好像是棕灰色的细长的柔丝。她的头发靠在肩膀上。他一边轻柔地给她梳理头发,编成辫子,一边咬着嘴唇,感到一阵晕眩。一切看上去好像不是真的,令他无法理解。

晚间,他常常在她的房间里工作,不时抬眼望望她,看到那双蓝眼睛总是盯着他。他俩目光相遇时,母亲就微微一笑。他又机械地继续工作,设计出一些不错的东西,可不知道自己到底在做什么。

有时,他默默走进来,面色苍白,目光警觉灵敏,好似一个人事不知的醉鬼。他们都害怕彼此之间的那道纱幕被撕破。

于是,她装作病情好转的模样,和他有说有笑,如果听到一些琐碎的新闻,就有意装作大惊小怪的样子。处于这种境地,在琐碎的小事上大做文章,就可以避免涉及这件大事。否则他们生命的支柱就会垮掉。他们对此感到害怕,因此他们才装出快快乐乐的、若无其事的样子。

有时她躺着,他知道她正在回忆过去的一切。她的嘴逐渐地抿成一条缝,她的身体绷得直直的,以便她可以不发出任何痛苦的哭诉声静静地死去。他永远也忘不掉她那孤独顽强地咬紧牙关的样子。这种情况持续了好几周。有时,感觉好一点,她就谈论自己的丈夫,她现在还恨他,不肯原谅他,她不能忍受他在这个屋子里。一些最令她心酸的往事又涌上心头,它如此强烈,使她无法抑制,于是就讲给儿子听。

保罗感觉自己的生命正一步步走向毁灭。泪水常常突然夺眶而出。他奔向火车站,泪水洒在人行道上。他常常无法工作下去,手握笔却写不成字,只是坐着发愣。等他清醒过来,他感到阵阵恶心,四肢发抖。他从未问过这是什么原因,也从未努力去分析理解,只是闭着双眼一味地忍受着,任凭一切自然发展。

他的母亲也是如此。她想着疼痛,想着吗啡,想到明天,可从未想到过死亡。知道自己的死期近了,她不得不屈从于死神,但是她绝不会向死神哀求,也不会和它称朋道友。她被盲目地捱到了死神的门口。日子一天天消逝,一阵好几个月过去了。

阳光普照的下午,她有时好像很高兴。

“我尽力去想那些好时光——我们去马伯素浦,罗宾汉海滩及香克村的时候,”她说,“毕竟,不是每个人都看过那些美丽的地方,它们多美啊!我尽量去想那些事,不想别的。”

后来,有一次她整晚一句话也不说,他也一样。他们倔强地僵持着,一语不发。最后他走回自己的房间去睡觉。靠在门口,他好像瘫痪似的,不能再走一步。他的意识丧失了,一股莫名其妙的感情狂潮在他心里翻滚着。他靠在那儿,默默承受着一切,脑子里一片空白。

早晨,他们又都恢复了正常。尽管她的脸和身体在吗啡的作用下如同死灰,但是,无论如何,他们重又喜气洋洋了。不过他常常不理睬她,尤其是安妮和亚瑟在家的时候。他不常与克莱拉见面,常常只是和男人们在一起。他敏锐活跃又可爱有生气,但是朋友们看到他面色苍白,眼睛里流露出黯淡的光泽,就对他产生了不信任感。有时他也去找克莱拉,但是她总是对他冷若冰霜。

“我要你!”他简单地说。

有时她会顺从,但是她心里非常害怕。每次他占有她时,总有种不自然的感觉,使她渴望从他身边逃开。她害怕这个男人,这个不再是她情人的男人,她感到在她这个认定的情人后面隐藏着一个人,这个人是一个恶魔,使她充满了恐惧。她开始对他怀有一种恐惧感,仿佛他是个罪犯,他需要她——占有她——这使她感到好像被死神抓在手里一般。她心惊胆战地躺着,可是除了死神没有人在身边爱抚她。她甚至恨他,随即心中又产生了阵阵的柔情,但是她不敢对他表示怜悯。

道伍斯已经去了诺丁汉姆附近的西利上校疗养院。保罗有时去看望他,克莱拉倒很少去。两个男人之间的友谊竟奇怪地与日俱增。道伍斯身体恢复得很慢,看上去还很虚弱。他几乎完全听任莫瑞尔来料理自己的一切。

十一月初的一天,克莱拉提醒保罗这一天是她的生日。

“我差点忘记了。”他说。

“我想你全忘了。”她回答。

“没忘,我们去海滨度周末好吗?”

他们出发了。那天天气又阴又冷,她等待着他对自己的温存及柔情,但他好像丝毫没有意识到她的存在。他坐在火车车厢里,命的支柱就会垮掉。他们对此感到害怕,因此他们才装出快快乐乐的、若无其事的样子。

有时她躺着,他知道她正在回忆过去的一切。她的嘴逐渐地抿成一条缝,她的身体绷得直直的,以便她可以不发出任何痛苦的哭诉声静静地死去。他永远也忘不掉她那孤独顽强地咬紧牙关的样子。这种情况持续了好几周。有时,感觉好一点,她就谈论自己的丈夫,她现在还恨他,不肯原谅他,她不能忍受他在这个屋子里。一些最令她心酸的往事又涌上心头,它如此强烈,使她无法抑制,于是就讲给儿子听。

保罗感觉自己的生命正一步步走向毁灭。泪水常常突然夺眶而出。他奔向火车站,泪水洒在人行道上。他常常无法工作下去,手握笔却写不成字,只是坐着发愣。等他清醒过来,他感到阵阵恶心,四肢发抖。他从未间过这是什么原因,也从未努力去分析理解,只是闭着双眼一味地忍受着,任凭一切自然发展。

他的母亲也是如此。她想着疼痛,想着吗啡,想到明天,可从未想到过死亡。知道自己的死期近了,她不得不屈从于死神,但是她绝不会向死神哀求,也不会和它称朋道友。她被盲目地捱到了死神的门口。日子一天天消逝,一阵好几个月过去了。

阳光普照的下午,她有时好像很高兴。

“我尽力去想那些好时光——我们去马伯素浦,罗宾汉海滩及香克村的时候,”她说,“毕竟,不是每个人都看过那些美丽的地方,它们多美啊!我尽量去想那些事,不想别的。”

后来,有一次她整晚一句话也不说,他也一样。他们倔强地僵持着,一语不发。最后他走回自己的房间去睡觉。靠在门口,他好像瘫痪似的,不能再走一步。他的意识丧失了,一股莫名其妙的感情狂潮在他心里翻滚着。他靠在那儿,默默承受着一切,脑子里一片空白。

早晨,他们又都恢复了正常。尽管她的脸和身体在吗啡的作用下如同死灰,但是,无论如何,他们重又喜气洋洋了。不过他常常不理睬她,尤其是安妮和亚瑟在家的时候。他不常与克莱拉见面,常常只是和男人们在一起。他敏锐活跃又可爱有生气,但是朋友们看到他面色苍白,眼睛里流露出黯淡的光泽,就对他产生了不信任感。有时他也去找克莱拉,但是她总是对他冷若冰霜。

“我要你!”他简单地说。

有时她会顺从,但是她心里非常害怕。每次他占有她时,总有种不自然的感觉,使她渴望从他身边逃开。她害怕这个男人,这个不再是她情人的男人,她感到在她这个认定的情人后面隐藏着一个人,这个人是一个恶魔,使她充满了恐惧。她开始对他怀有一种恐惧感,仿佛他是个罪犯,他需要她——占有她——这使她感到好像被死神抓在手里一般。她心惊胆战地躺着,可是除了死神没有人在身边爱抚她。她甚至恨他,随即心中又产生了阵阵的柔情,但是她不敢对他表示怜悯。

道伍斯已经去了诺丁汉姆附近的西利上校疗养院。保罗有时去看望他,克莱拉倒很少去。两个男人之间的友谊竟奇怪地与日俱增。道伍斯身体恢复得很慢,看上去还很虚弱。他几乎完全听任莫瑞尔来料理自己的一切。

十一月初的一天,克莱拉提醒保罗这一天是她的生日。

“我差点忘记了。”他说。

“我想你全忘了。”她回答。

“没忘,我们去海滨度周末好吗?”

他们出发了。那天天气又阴又冷,她等待着他对自己的温存及柔情,但他好像丝毫没有意识到她的存在。他坐在火车车厢里,向外呆望着。当她对他讲话时,他竟吃了一惊。他其实什么也没有想,周围的一切看上去好像都不存在似的。她走到他身边。

“亲爱的,怎么啦?”她问。

“没什么!”他说,“这些风车叶片看上去有多单调啊!”

他坐着,握住她的手,既不说话也不思考。然而,握着她的手坐着倒是一种安慰。对此她感到失望和痛苦:他的心没和她在一起,她对他无足轻重。

晚上,他们坐在沙丘上,望着黑沉沉的大海。

“她绝不会屈服的。”他轻轻地说。

克莱拉的心一沉。

“噢。”克莱拉回答。

“死有好多不同的情况。我父亲家里的人都很怕死,就像被人牵着脖子要送进屠宰场的牛,但是我母亲家的人却是被推着一寸寸走向死亡的。他们都是顽强的人,而且不应该死的。”

“噢。”克莱拉说。

“她不会死,也不能死。那天牧师伦肖先生到我们家。‘想想!’他对她说,‘你就要在另一个世界见到你的父母,姐妹和你的儿子了。’可是她说:‘没有他们,我生活了好久了,现在没有他们我也能过下去,我要的是活人,不是死者。’甚至现在她还是想活下去。”

“噢,多可怕!”克莱拉说着,她害怕得再也说不出话来。

“她看着我,她是想和我呆在一起。”他呆板地继续说,“她有这样的心愿,集体永远不会死去——永远!”

“别想它了!”克莱拉感道。

“她很虔诚——现在很虔诚——但是这没有好处。她就简简单单地永不放弃。你知道吗,星期四我对她说,‘妈妈,如果我不得不死,我就去死。我宁愿死去。’她厉声对我说:‘你认为我不是如此吗?你以为你愿意死时你就能死吗?”

他的声音哽咽了,但他没有哭,只是呆板地继续说下去。克莱拉很想逃走。她环顾四周,漆黑一片,潮声回响的海岸,黑沉沉地和天空一起朝她压了下来。她听得站起身来,想从他身旁离开,到有光亮和人影的地方去。他低垂着头坐着,一动不动。

“我不想让她吃东西,”他说,“她知道这点。每当我问她,‘你想吃什么吗?’她简直不敢说‘是的’。她常说‘我想喝一杯本吉尔汤,’‘汤只会使你更精神,’我对她说。‘不错,’——她简直是在大喊——‘但是我不吃东西就怫得发慌,我受不了。’于是我就去给她弄吃的。那是癌在咬她,让她受不了。我真希望她死去。”

“来吧!”克莱拉生硬地说,“我走了。”

他跟着她走下漆黑的海滩。他没有向她求欢。似乎没有意识到她的存在。而她也害怕他,厌恶他。

他们在同样的恍惚中回到诺丁汉姆。他总是在忙,总是不停地做事,不停地奔走于朋友之间。

星期一他去看了巴克斯特·道伍斯。道伍斯没精打采,面色苍白地站起身来,靠着一把椅子向保罗伸手问好。

“你不应该站起来。”保罗说。

道伍斯重重地坐下,有些怀疑地打量着保罗。

“你不要在我身上浪费时间了,”他说,“如果你有更要紧的事要做的话。”

“我想来。”保罗说,“给你,我带来一些糖果。”

病人把糖果放在一边。

“这个周末没有过好。”莫瑞尔说。

“你母亲怎么样了?”另一个问道。

“几乎没有什么变化。”

“我以为她也许病情恶化了,因为你星期天没有来。”

“我去了斯基格涅斯,”保罗说,“我想换换环境。”

对方黑黑的双眼望着他,仿佛在等待。他不敢问,只好等待着保罗的信任,等待他讲出心里话。

“我和克莱拉一起去的。”保罗说。

“我已经知道了。”道伍斯轻轻地说。

“那是以前就约好的。”保罗说。

“去就去了吧。”道伍斯说。

这是他们之间第一次明确地提及克莱拉。

“哎,”莫瑞尔慢慢地说,“她讨厌我。”

道伍斯又看了他一眼。

“从八月以来她就对我厌倦了。”保罗重复了一遍。

两个人默默无语地呆在一起。保罗建议下一盘跳棋。他们就默默地玩着。

“我妈死了以后我要到国外去。”保罗说。

“出国?”道伍斯重复道。

“是的,我不在乎干什么工作。”

他们继续玩着,道伍斯渐渐占了上风。

“我必须开始一种新的生活,”保罗说,“我觉得你也一样。”

他吃掉了道伍斯的一颗棋子。

“我不知道该从哪儿做起。”另一位说。

“听其自然吧。”莫瑞尔说,“努力没有用处——至少——不,我不知道。给我奶糖吧。”

两个男人吃着糖又开始了另一盘棋赛。

“你嘴上的伤疤怎么弄的?”道伍斯问道。

保罗赶紧用手掩住双唇,眼睛望着花园。

“我骑自行车时摔了一跤。”他说。

道伍斯移动棋子的手指不由得哆嗦着。

“你那次不该嘲笑我。”他说,声音很小。

“什么时候?”

“那天在伍德波罗路上,当你和她走过我身边时——你用手搂着她的肩膀。”

“我压根儿没嘲笑你。”保罗说。

道伍斯的手一直捏着棋子。

“你已经走过去的那一刻我才知道你在那儿。”莫瑞尔说。

“我也是这样。”他声音低低地说。

保罗又拿了一块糖。

“我平时嘻嘻哈哈,但我那天没嘲笑你。”他说。

两个人下完了棋。

那天晚上,莫瑞尔为了找点事做,就从诺丁汉姆步行回家。布威尔矿上空被高炉火焰映得通红一片。乌云低低地像天花板似的笼罩着。当他走在这10公里的公路上时,感觉好像从黑沉沉的天地间一直走出了生活,但是路的尽头却总是母亲的那间病房。如果他就这样永远走下去,他最终可去的也只有那个去处。

他快到家了,他竟不觉得累,或者说他不知道累是什么。当他穿过田野时,他看见她卧室窗口里红通通的火光在跳动。

“她一死,”他心里想,“火也就熄灭了。”

他轻轻地脱下靴子,悄悄地爬上楼去。母亲的房门大开着。因为她依旧一个人睡。红通通的炉火照着楼梯口,他轻柔得像个影子偷偷地向门里张望。

“保罗!”她轻声唤着。

他的心好像又砰了。他走进去,坐在床边。

“你回来得太晚了!”她咕哝着。

“不算很晚。”他说。

“什么,现在几点了?”喃喃中流露出哀怨和无助。

“十一点刚过。”

他撒谎。此时已经快一点了。

“哦!”她说,“我以为已经很晚了。”

他知道在这漫长的黑夜中,她那无法言语的痛苦是不会消失的。

“你睡不着吗,亲爱的?”他说。

“是的,睡不着啊。”她呜咽着说。

“不要紧,小宝宝!”他低声说,“不要紧,我的爱。我在这儿陪你半个小时,亲爱的。这样也许会好一些。”

他坐在床边,用指头慢慢地有节奏地抚摸着她的眉心,合上她的眼睛,安抚着她,他用另一只手握着她的手指。他们能听到别的房间里传来的呼噜声。

“现在去睡吧。”她喃喃地说,她在他手指的抚摸和爱护下,静静地躺着。

“你要睡了吗?”他问。

“是的,我想是的。”

“你感觉好多了,是吗?我的小宝宝。”

“是的,好些了。”她说,象个焦躁不安的孩子得到抚慰一样。

日子依旧一天天、一周周过去了。他现在几乎不去克莱拉那儿了。但是他焦躁不安地到处寻求帮助,可是没有人能帮得了他。米丽亚姆温存地给他来一封信,于是他去看她。她看见他面色苍白憔悴,黑色的眼睛透着忧郁哀愁,茫然的神情,心里不由得十分辛酸。怜悯之心顿生,她无法忍受这种感伤的折磨。

“她怎么样了?”她问。

“依旧那样——依然是老样子!”他说,“医生说她支持不了多久。可是我觉得她还挺得住。她能在家里过圣诞节的。”

米丽亚姆耸了耸肩,她把他拉向自己,紧紧地搂在胸前,她一遍遍地吻着他。他任她吻着,可是对他来说这是一种折磨。她吻不去他的痛苦啊。它依然不受影响地继续存在着。她吻着他的脸,这激起了他的情火,可他的灵魂仍然在别处带着死的痛苦挣扎着。她不停地吻着他,抚摸着他的身体。最后他觉得自己简直要发病了,于是他挣脱了她的怀抱。这不是他目前所需要的——他不要这个。而她却以为自己安抚了他,对他很有好处。

十二月来临了。下了一点雪。现在他成天留在家中。他们家雇不起护士,只好让安妮回来照顾母亲,他们一直很喜欢的那个教区护士早晚各来一次。保罗和安妮承担了护理工作。晚上,当有朋友和他们在厨房里时,他们常常一块儿哈哈大笑,笑得浑身发抖,以此减轻内心的压力。保罗那么滑稽可笑,安妮又那么古里古怪,大家一直笑得流出了眼泪,还努力想压低声音。莫瑞尔太太独自一个人躺在黑暗中,听着他们的笑声,痛苦中不由得多了些轻松感。

随后保罗总是十分内疚,他忐忑不安地上了楼,来看看她是否听到了底下的笑声。

“你想要喝点牛奶吗?”他问。

“来一点儿吧。”她可怜兮兮地回答。

他决定在牛奶里掺点水,不让她得到太多的营养,尽管他仍然爱她胜过爱自己的生命。

她每天晚上用吗啡,她的心脏病不断发作。安妮睡在她的身边。清早姐姐一起床,保罗就进了屋。母亲在吗啡的作用下逐渐衰竭。一到清晨就面如死灰。她的眼神越来越阴郁,流露出痛苦的神情。早上醒来疲惫、疼痛往往加剧,她实在受不了。但是她不能——也不愿意——哭泣甚至没有抱怨。

“今天早晨你多睡了一会儿,小宝贝。”他会对她说。

“是吗?”她心神烦燥,疲惫不堪地回答。

“真的,现在已经快八点了。”

他站在那儿望着窗外。大地被白雪覆盖着,白茫茫的一片,满目凄凉。随即他为她把脉,脉搏忽强忽弱的。就像声音和它的回声一样。这是死神的预兆了。她知道了他的用意,就任他去把脉。

有时他们互相看对方一眼,于是他们好像是达成了一项协定。他似乎也同意她去死了。但是她偏偏不愿死去,她不愿意。她的身体熬得只剩下一把骨头了。她的眼神更加忧郁,充满了痛苦。

“你难道不能给她用点药让她结束这一切吗?”他终于问医生。

但是医生却摇了摇头。

“她剩下的日子不多了,莫瑞尔先生。”他说。

保罗走回屋里。

“我实在受不了啦,我们全都要疯了。”安妮说。

他们坐下来吃早餐。

“我们吃早饭的功夫,你上楼去陪她一会儿吧,米妮。”安妮说,可是米妮心里害怕。

保罗踩着雪穿过田野和树林漫步而去。他看见白皑皑的雪地上留着兔子、小鸟的踪迹。他走了好几英里。袅袅如烟的晚霞中血红的夕阳正痛苦地缓缓沉落,似乎留恋着不肯离去。他心里想今天她大约要死去了。树林边有头驴子踏着雪朝着他走过来,脑袋挨着他,和他并排走着。他伸出胳膊搂住驴的脖子,用脸颊擦着驴耳朵。

母亲默默不语,仍旧活着,嘴唇紧紧地闭着,只有她那对忧郁的眼睛还透出些生气。

圣诞节快到了。雪下得更大了。保罗和安妮感到不能再这样拖下去了。可是她那对阴郁的眼睛依然有一点生气。莫瑞尔默默不语,心惊肉跳,尽量让别人不要记起他的存在。他有时走进病房,看看她,然后就茫然若失地退出来。

她依然顽强地活着。出去闹罢工的矿工们已在圣诞节前的两星期陆续回来了。米妮端了杯牛奶上了楼。那已是矿工复工后第三天的事了。

“工人们是不是一直在说手痒啊,米妮?”她用微弱烦躁又倔强的声音问。米妮吃惊地站在那儿。“

“我不知道,莫瑞尔太太。”她回答道。

“可是我敢打赌,他们肯定手痒了。”奄奄一息的老妇女疲惫地叹了口气,动了一下头说,“但是不管怎么说,这星期可以有钱买些东西了。”

她一点儿小事也不放过。

当男人们要回去上班时,她说:“你父亲下井用的东西要好好晒一晒,安妮。”

“你不用为这些费心了,亲爱的。”安妮说。

一天晚上,保罗和安妮在楼下独自呆着。护士在楼上。

“她能活过圣诞节。”安妮说。他们俩心里都充满了恐惧。

“她活不过去的,”他冷酷地回答,“我要给她服吗啡。”

“哪种?”安妮说。

“从雪菲尔德带来的那种全部都用上。”保罗说。

“唉——好吧!”安妮说。

第二天,保罗在卧室里画画。母亲好像睡着了。他在画前轻轻地走来走去。突然她小声地哀求道:

“保罗,别走来走去的。”

他回头一看,她脸上两只像黑气泡般的眼睛,正望着自己。

“不走了,亲爱的。”他温柔地说,心里好像又有一根弦啪地挣断了。

那天晚上,他把所存的吗啡全都拿下了楼,小心翼翼地全都研成了粉末。

“你在干什么?”安妮说。

“我要把药放在她晚上喝的牛奶里。”

随后两人一起笑了起来,像是两个串通好搞恶作剧的孩子。尽管他们十分害怕,但头脑依旧是清醒的。

那天晚上护士没有安顿莫瑞尔太太。保罗端着盛着热牛奶的杯子上了楼。那正好是九点钟。

他把她从床上扶起来,把牛奶杯放在她的唇边,他真想以一死来解救她的痛苦。她呷了一口,就把杯子推开了。那乌黑疑虑的眼睛望着他。他也看着她。

“噢,这奶真苦,保罗!”她说着,做了个小小的苦相。

“这是医生让我给你服用的一种新安眠药。”

他说。“他认为吃了这种药,早上就会精神些。”

“但愿如此。”她说,样子像个孩子。

她又喝了一些牛奶。

“可是,这奶的味道真可怕!”

他看到她纤弱的手指握着杯子,嘴唇微微翕动。

“我知道——我尝过了。”他说,“等会儿我再给你拿点儿纯牛奶喝。”

“我也这样想。”她说完继续喝着药。她对他像个小孩似的十分温顺,他怀疑她也许知道了是怎么回事。她吃力地咽着牛奶,他看到她那瘦得可怜的脖子在蠕动。接着他跑下楼再取些纯牛奶。此时她已把药喝了个底朝天。

“她喝了吗?”安妮轻声说。

“喝了——她说味道很苦。”

“噢!”安妮笑着,咬住了下唇。

“我告诉她这是种新药,牛奶在哪儿?”

他们一起上了楼。

“我很纳闷为什么护士没有来安顿我?”母亲抱怨着,像个孩子似的闷闷不乐。

“她说要去听音乐会,亲爱的。”安妮回答。

“是吗?”

他们沉默了一会儿。莫瑞尔太太大口喝着那纯牛奶。

“安妮,刚才那药真苦!”她埋怨道。

“是吗?亲爱的?噢,没关系。”

母亲又疲惫地叹了一口气。她的脉搏跳动得很不规律。

“让我们来安顿你入睡吧,”安妮说,“也许护士会来得很晚。”

“唉,”母亲说——“那你们试试吧。”

他们翻开被子,保罗看见母亲穿着绒布睡衣象个小姑娘似的蜷成一团。他们很快铺好了半边床,把她移过去,又铺好另外半边,把她的睡衣拉直。盖住她那双小巧的脚,最后替她盖上被子。

“睡吧,”保罗轻柔地抚摸着她说,“睡吧——现在你睡觉吧。”

“好啊,”她说,“我没有想到你们把床铺得这么好。”她几乎是高兴地加了一句。接着她蜷起身子,脸贴在手上,脑袋靠在肩膀上睡了。保罗把她那细长的灰发辫子放在她的肩上,吻了吻她。

“你一会儿就睡着了,亲爱的。”他说。

“是的。”她相信地回答,“晚安。”

他们熄了灯,一切静悄悄的。

莫瑞尔已经上床睡觉。护士没有来,安妮和保罗十一点左右上楼来看了看她。她看上去跟平时吃了药一样睡着了,嘴唇半启。

“我们要守夜吗?”保罗说。

“我还是像平时那样躺在她身边睡吧。”安妮说,“她可能会醒过来的。”

“好吧,如果有什么变化就叫我一声。”

“好的。”

他们在卧室的炉火前徘徊,感觉夜黑沉沉地,外面又是雪的世界,世上好像只有他们两人孤单地活着。最后,保罗走进隔壁房间睡觉去了。

他几乎马上就睡着了,不过常常醒来,随之又酣睡过去。突然,安妮的轻叫声把他惊醒了:“保罗,保罗!”他看见姐姐穿着睡衣站在黑暗中,一条长长的辫子拖在背后。

“怎么啦?”他悄声问,随之坐了起来。

“来看看她。”

他悄悄地下了床,病房里点着一盏煤油灯。母亲把脸枕在手上躺在那儿,蜷缩着身子睡着觉。但是她的嘴巴张着,呼吸声又响又嘶哑,像是在打鼾,呼吸间的间隔时间很大。

“她要去了!”他悄声说。

“是的。”安妮说。

“她像这样有多久了?”

“我刚醒来。”

安妮的身体缩在睡衣里,保罗用一条棕色的毛毯裹着身子。这里刚凌晨三点,他把火拨旺,然后,两人坐着等待着。她又吸了一口气,声响如打鼾——停了一会儿——然后才吐了出来。呼吸中间停了停,——停的时间很长。他们感到害怕了。随之打鼾般的声音又起了。保罗弯下腰凑近她看了看。

“太吓人了。”安妮低低地说。

他点了点头,他们又无助地坐了下来。又传来打鼾般的大声的喘息声。他们的心在担惊害怕。又呼了出来,气又粗又长,呼吸声很不规律,中间隔不好久,声音响遍全屋。莫瑞尔在自己房间里沉睡着。保罗和安妮蜷缩着身体,纹丝不动地坐着。那声音又响了起来——屏气的时间特别长,让人难以忍受——之后又发出粗粗的呼气声。时间一分一分地过去了。保罗又弯下身子看了看她。

“她会像这样持续下去的。”他说。

他们都沉默了。他望了望窗外,花园里的积雪依稀可见。

“你到我床上去睡吧,”他对安妮说,“我来守夜。”

“不,”她说,“我陪你呆着。”

“我倒情愿你走开。”他说。

最后安妮悄悄地走出房间,他独自一人呆着。他用棕色的毛毯紧紧地裹着身子,蹲在母亲面前看着她。她下面的一排牙床骨凹陷着,看上去很吓人。他看着她,有时,他感觉这巨大的喘息声永远不会再响了,因为他实在不能忍受了——忍受不了这种等待。忽然那巨大的喘息声又响了起来,吓了他一跳。他轻手轻脚地添了火。一定不能惊醒她。时间一分一秒地消逝,黑夜慢慢在阵阵喘息声中过去了。每当这声音响起,他就感到自己的心在绞痛,最后他的感觉几乎麻木了。

父亲起床了。保罗听见老矿工一边穿着袜子,一边打着呵欠。然后莫瑞尔穿着衬衣和袜子进了屋。

“嘘!”保罗说。

莫瑞尔站在那儿望了望,然后无助、恐惧地看了看儿子。

“我是不是最好呆在家里?”他轻声说。

“不用,上班去吧,她能熬到明天。”

“我看恐怕不行。”

“能行,上班去吧。”

莫瑞尔恐惧地看了看他,乖巧地走出房间。保罗看见他的袜带在腿边晃荡着。

半个小时之后,保罗下楼。喝了杯茶,又上了楼。莫瑞尔穿着矿井上的工作服,又上来了。

“我要去了。”他说。

“去吧。”

几分钟后,保罗听见父亲沉重的脚步声踩着坚实的雪地走远了。街上的矿工三三两两地迈着沉重的步子去上班,他们互相打着招呼。那恐怖的长长的喘息声还在持续着——啼——啼——啼,过了好半天——才呵——呵——呵地呼了出来。远处的雪地里传来了炼铁厂的汽笛声,汽笛一声连一声,一会儿呜呜地响,一会儿嗡嗡地叫,声音有时又远又轻,有时很近,其中还夹杂着煤矿和其他工厂的鼓风机的响声。后来一切声音都沉寂了。他添上火,粗重的喘息声打破了沉寂——看上去她还是老样子。

他推开百叶窗,向外张望着。天依旧是漆黑一片,或许有一丝光亮,也许那是雪地泛光的缘故。他合上百叶窗,穿好衣服,他的身体一直抖着,他拿起放在漱洗台上的那瓶白兰地喝了好几口。雪地渐渐地变蓝。他听见一辆轻便马车铛啷啷地沿街驶过来。是啊,已经七点钟了,天色已经蒙蒙亮。他听见有人在互相打招呼,一切都在苏醒。阴暗的曙光死气沉沉的、悄无声音地笼罩了雪地。不错,他能看见房屋了。他熄灭了煤气灯,屋里看上去依旧很黑,喘息声依然不停,不过他已经听惯。他看得见她了,她还是老样子,他不知道给她盖上厚被子是不是会使她的呼吸更困难些,以致那可怕的喘息能从此停止。他望了她一眼,那不是她——一点也不像她。如果给她盖了毛毯、厚衣服的话……

房门蓦地被推开了,安妮走了进来,询问地望着她。

“她还是那个样子。”他镇定地说。

他们悄悄地低语了一阵,随后他就下楼去吃早餐。此刻是七点四十分。没多大功夫安妮也下来了。

“多吓人!她看上去实在太可怕了!”她惊恐地悄悄说道。

保罗点点头。

“她怎么会变成这样!”安妮说。

“喝点茶吧!”他说。

他们又走上楼来,一会儿邻居们来了,害怕地问:

“她怎么样了?”

情形还是依旧。她躺在那儿,脸颊枕在手上,嘴巴张着,巨大恐怖的鼾声时有时无。

十点钟,护士来了。她神情古怪、愁眉苦脸的。

“护士,”保罗大叫,“她这样要拖多久呀?”

“不会了,莫瑞尔先生,”护士说,“没几天了。”

一阵沉默。

“多可怕呀!”护士哭泣着说,“谁能想到她这么能挺?现在下楼去吧,莫瑞尔先生,先下楼去吧。”

最后,大约十一点钟,他下了楼坐在邻居家里。安妮也在楼下,护士和亚瑟在楼上。保罗手捧着头坐着。突然,安妮奔过院子,发疯似的大喊:

“保罗——保罗——她去了!”

一眨眼工夫,他就回到自己家跑上楼去。她蜷缩着身子躺着,静静地一动也不动,脸枕在手上,护士在擦她的嘴巴。他们全都退开了,他跪下,脸贴着她的脸,双臂搂住她。

“亲爱的——亲爱的——噢亲爱的!”他一遍又一遍地喃喃低语,“亲爱的——噢,亲爱的!”

随后他听到护士在身后边哭边说:

“她这样更好,莫瑞尔先生,她这样更好。”

他从他母亲温暖的尸体上抬起头来,径直下了楼,开始擦靴子。有很多事要做,有信要写等等诸如此类的事。医生来了,瞥了他一眼,叹息了一声。

“唉——可怜的人儿啊!”他说完转身走开。“好嗳,六点钟左右到诊所里来取死亡证明。”

父亲四点钟左右下班回了家。他沉默地拖着步子走进屋里坐下。米妮忙着给他准备晚餐。他疲惫地把黑黑的胳膊放在桌子上。饭菜有他喜欢吃的青萝卜。保罗不知道他是否已知道了这噩耗,好长时间没有人说话。最后儿子说:

“你注意到百叶窗放下了吗?”

莫瑞尔抬头看了看。

“没有,”他说,“怎么啦——她已经走了吗?”

“是的。”

“什么时候?”

“中午十二点左右。”

“!”

矿工静静地坐了一会儿,然后开始吃饭,就好像什么事也没发生过似的。他默默地吃着他的萝卜。吃完饭他洗了洗,上楼来换衣服。她的房门关闭着。

“你看见她了吗?”他下楼时,安妮问他。

“没有。”他说。

一会儿工夫他出去了。安妮也走了。保罗找了殡仪馆、牧师、医生,还去了死亡登记处。

要做的事很多,他回家时已快八点了。殡仪馆的人很快就来量了做棺材所需的尺寸。房间里除了她空无一人,保罗拿了一支蜡烛上了楼。

原本暖暖和和了好久的房间,现在已经变得很冷。鲜花、瓶子、盘子、病房里的全部杂乱东西都给收拾走了,一切都显得那么庄严肃穆。她躺在床上,床单从脚尖向上延伸,就像是一片洁白起伏的雪原。她的躯体在床单下高高隆起,一切是那么宁静,她躺着像一个熟睡的少女。他拿着蜡烛,向她弯下腰。她躺着,像一位熟睡中的少女梦到了自己的心上人似的,嘴巴微微张开着,好像在思虑着所受的痛苦。但是她的脸很年轻,她的额洁白明净,好像生活从未在上面留下痕迹似的。他又看了看她的眉毛和微微偏向一边的迷人的小鼻子。她又变得年轻了,只是梳理得很雅致的头发两侧夹杂着银发,她两条垂在肩旁的发辫里夹杂着银发和棕色的头发。她会醒过来,睁开眼睛的,她依然和他在一起。他弯下身子、热烈地吻着她,然而嘴唇感到的却是一片冰凉。他恐惧地咬了咬嘴唇,两眼望着她,感到他不能、绝不能让她离开。绝不!他把头发从她的鬓角捋开,那儿也是冰凉的。他看见她嘴唇紧闭,像是在纳闷自己所受的痛苦,于是他蹲在地板上,悄声对她说:

“妈妈,妈妈!”

殡仪馆的人来的时候,他仍然和她在一起。来的年轻人是他以前的同学,他们恭恭敬敬地有条不紊地默默搬动她。他们没有能看她一眼,他在一旁小心翼翼地看护着。他和安妮拼命地守护着她,不允许任何人来看她,因此把邻居都给得罪了。

过了一会儿保罗出了门,在一个朋友家玩牌,直到半夜才回来。当他进屋时,父亲从沙发上站起来,悲哀地说:

“我认为你从此不再回来了,儿子。”

“我没有想到你会坐着等我。”保罗说。

父亲看起来很孤独。莫瑞尔原本是个无所畏惧的人——什么事都吓不倒他。保罗猛然意识到他害怕去睡觉,害怕一个人在屋里守着死者。他感到很难过。

“我忘了只有你一个人在家,爸爸。”他说。

“你想吃点东西吗?”莫瑞尔问道。

“不了。”

“坐在这儿——我给你煮了点儿热牛奶,喝下去吧,天可是够冷的。”

保罗喝了牛奶。

过了一会儿,莫瑞尔上床睡觉去了。他匆匆地走过那紧闭着的房门,并让自己的房门敞开着。很快儿子也上了楼。他像往常一样进屋吻吻母亲并说声晚安,屋子里又冷又黑,保罗真希望他们能继续给她点着炉火。她依然做着年轻时的梦,她会感到冷的。

“我亲爱的!”他悄声说,“我亲爱的妈妈!”

他没有吻她,生怕她变得冰冷陌生。她睡得那么甜美,他感到欣慰。他轻轻关上她的房门,没有吵醒她,上床睡觉了。

早晨,莫瑞尔听见安妮在楼下,保罗在楼梯口对面的屋里咳嗽,才鼓足了勇气。他打开她的房门,走进黑洞洞的房间,黎明中他看到那隆起的白色身影。但是他不敢看她,又惊又伯的,他根本无法镇定下来,因此他又一次走出房间,离开了她,此后再也没看她一眼。他原本几个月没有看见过她了,因为他不敢去看。现在她看上去又像当年正值青春年华的妻子了。

“你看到她了吗?”早饭后安妮突然问他。

“是的。”他说。

“你不觉得她看上去很漂亮吗?”

“不错。”

一眨眼他就又出门去了。他似乎一直躲在一边逃避责任Q

为了丧事,保罗四处奔波。在诺丁汉姆遇到了克莱拉,他们在一家咖啡馆里一起喝了茶,此时他们又十分兴奋了。看到他没有把这件事当作伤心事,她感到如释重负。

不久,亲戚们陆续前来参加葬礼,丧事变成了公众事情,儿女们都忙于应酬,也顾不上考虑个人的事情。在一个狂风暴雨的天气里,他们安葬了她。湿漉漉的泥土闪着亮光,白花都被淋湿了。安妮抓着保罗的胳膊,向前探着身子,她看见墓穴下威廉的棺材露出了乌黑的一角。橡木棺材被稳稳地放下去了。她去了。大雨倾泻在墓穴里。身着丧服的送葬的人们撑着雨水闪亮的伞纷纷离去了。冰冷的雨水倾泻着,墓地上空无一人。

保罗回到家,忙着为客人端饮料。父亲同莫瑞尔太太娘家的亲戚,那些上等人坐在厨房里,一边哭着,一边说她是个多好的媳妇,他又怎样尽力为她做一切——一切事情。他拼命去为她奋斗,做了他能做的一切,他没有什么可以责备自己的。她走了,但是他为她尽了自己最大的努力。他用白手绢擦着眼睛,他重复着自己为她尽了最大的努力,没有什么可责备自己的。

他就是这样想方设法忘掉她。就他个人来讲,他从未想到过她。他否认自己内心的一切真情实感。保罗恨他的父亲坐在那儿这样表达他的哀思,他知道他在公共场合准保也这样,因为莫瑞尔内心正进行着一场真正的悲剧。原来,他有时午睡醒后下楼来,面色苍白,浑身直打哆嗦。

“我梦见了你妈妈。”他轻声说。

“是吗,爸爸?每次我梦见她,她总是和健壮时一样。我常常梦到她。这样似乎挺好,也挺自然,就像什么都没有改变一样。”

但是莫瑞尔却害怕地蹲在炉火前。

好几个星期过去了,一切好像都在虚幻中,没有多大痛苦。其实也没有什么,也许还有一点轻松,简直像一个白夜。保罗焦躁地到处奔波。自从母亲病重以来,他有好几个月没有与克莱拉作爱了,事实上她对他十分淡漠。道伍斯难得见到她几面,但是两人依旧没有跨过横在两人中间的那段距离。这三人随波逐流,听天由命。

道伍斯的身体在慢慢恢复。圣诞节时他在斯基格涅斯的疗养院里,身体差不多快复原了。保罗到海滨去了几天,父亲在雪菲尔德和安妮住在一起。道伍斯住院期满,这天来到了保罗的寓所。两个男人,虽然他们之间还各有所保留,但看起来却像一对忠诚的朋友。道伍斯现在依赖莫瑞尔,他知道保罗和克莱拉实际上已经分手了。

圣诞节后两天,保罗要回到诺丁汉姆去。临走前的那天晚上,他和道伍斯坐在炉火前抽烟。

“你知道克莱拉明天要来吗?”他说。

另一位瞥了他一眼。

“是的,你告诉过我了。”他回答。

保罗喝尽了杯子里剩下的威士忌。

“我告诉房东太太你妻子要来了。”他说。

“真的?”道伍斯说,颤抖着,但是他几乎完全服从了保罗。他不太灵便地站起身来,伸手来拿保罗的酒杯。

“让我给你倒满。”他说。

保罗忙站起身:

“你安静地坐着吧。”他说。

但是道伍斯继续调着酒,尽管那只手不停地哆嗦着。

“你觉得行了就告诉我。”

“谢谢。”另一位回答,“可是没有必要站起来啊。”

“活动一下对我有好处,小伙子。”道伍斯回答。“现在我感到自己恢复健康了。”

“你差不多康复了,你知道的呀。”

“不,当然啦。”道伍斯说着冲他点点头。

“莱恩说他能在雪菲尔德给你找个工作。”

道伍斯又瞅了他一眼,那双黑眼睛似乎对另一位所说的一切事情都表示同意。也许有点儿受他控制了。

“很滑稽,”保罗说,“又重新开始了,我感觉比你还要麻烦呢。”

“怎么回事,小伙子?”

“我不知道,我不知道。好像我在一个乱糟糟的洞里,又黑又可怕,没有任何出路。”

“我知道——我理解这种处境,”道伍斯点点头说,“不过你会发现一切都会好的。”

他疼爱地说。

“我也这样想。”保罗说。

道伍斯无助似的磕了磕烟斗。

“你没有像我那样作践自己吧。”他说。

保罗看着那个男人的手腕,那只苍白的握着烟斗杆的手正在磕着烟灰,好像他已经失去自信心。

“你多人了?”保罗问。

“三十九岁。”道伍斯瞥了他一眼回答。

那双棕色的眼睛里面充满了失败的感觉,几乎在恳求安全,求别人重新建造他这个人,给他以温暖,让他重新振作起来,这引起保罗深深的不安。

“你正值好年华,”保罗说,“看上去不像是失去了多少生气。”

另一位的棕色双眼突然发亮了。

“元气没有伤,”他说,“还有精力。”

保罗抬起了头,哈哈大笑。

“我们都还有很多精力足够让我们干一番事业的。”他说。

两个男人的目光相遇了,他们交换了一下眼色,每个人都看出了对方眼神里的那种迫切的热情。他们又喝起了自己杯里的威士忌。

“不错,千真万确!”道伍斯气喘吁吁地说。

一阵沉默。

“我不明白,”保罗说,“你为什么不回到原来你离开的地方去呢?”

“什么……”道伍斯示意地说。

“是的——重新组合起你原来的家庭。”

道伍斯遮住脸,摇了摇头。

“行不通啊。”他说着抬起头来,脸上带着讽刺似的微笑。

“为什么?因为你不想要了吗?”

“也许是的。”

他们沉默地抽着烟。道伍斯叼着烟斗时露出了他的牙齿。

“你的意思是你不想要她了?”保罗问。

道伍斯脸上现出嘲弄的神色,凝视着一幅画。

“我也不知道。”他说。

烟雾袅袅腾起。

“我相信她需要你。”保罗说。

“是真的?”另一位回答,口气轻柔而讥讽,有点不着边际。

“真的,她从来没有真心和我好过——你总是在幕后作怪,这就是她不愿意离婚的原因。”

道伍斯继续嘲弄似的凝视着壁炉架上的那幅画。

“女人们总是这样对待我,”保罗说,“她们拼命想得到我,可是她们不想属于我。而她一直是属于你的,我知道。”

男子汉的洋洋自得的气概又回到了道伍斯身上,他的牙齿露得更明显了。

“也许我以前是个傻瓜吧。”他说。

“是个大傻瓜。”保罗说。

“但是,你那时比我这个大傻瓜更傻。”道伍斯说。

口气有点得意又有点恶意。

“你这样认为吗?”保罗说。

沉默了好长时间。

“无论怎样,明天我就要走了。”莫瑞尔说。

“我明白了。”道伍斯回答道。

于是他们不再说话了。互相残杀的本性又回到了他们身上。他们尽量回避着对方。

他们同住一个卧室,临睡时,道伍斯有些奇怪,似乎在考虑着什么。他穿着衬衣坐在床边,看着自己的双腿。

“你难道不冷吗?”莫瑞尔问道。

“我在看这双腿。”另一位回答。

“腿怎么啦?看上去很好嘛!”保罗在床上回答。

“看上去很好,可是它们有些水肿。”

“怎么回事?”

“过来看看。”

保罗不情愿地下了床走过去,只见那个男人相当漂亮的腿上长满了亮晶晶的暗金色的汗毛。

“看这儿,”道伍斯指着自己的腿肚子说,“看下面的水。”

“哪儿?”保罗说。

那个男人用手指尖按了按,腿上出现了好些小小的凹痕,慢慢地才复了原。

“这没有什么了不起的。”保罗说。

“你摸摸。”道伍斯说。

保罗用手指摁了摁,果然又出现了些小小的凹痕。

“姆!”他说。

“很糟糕,不是吗?”道伍斯说。

“为什么呀?这没有关系的。”

“腿上水肿,你就不能算一个男子汉。”

“我看不出有多大差别。”莫瑞尔说,“我心脏还不太好。”

他回到自己的床上。

“我想我其他的部位都还很好。”道伍斯说着关上了灯。

第二天早晨,天下着雨。保罗收拾好了行李。大海灰蒙蒙、阴沉沉的,波涛汹涌。他似乎越来越想离开人世间了,这给他一种恶作剧的快乐感。

两个男人来到车站。克莱拉下车后正顺着月台走了过来,她身体笔直,神态自若,身穿一件长大衣、戴着顶花呢帽。两个男人都恨她怎会如此镇静坦然。保罗在检票口和她握了握手。道伍斯斜靠在书摊上,冷冷地看着。因为下雨,他把黑大衣扣一直扣到下巴那儿,面色苍白,沉默中几乎带着一丝高贵的神色。他微微破着腿走上前来。

“你的气色看起来还不太好。”他说。

“噢,我现在很好。”

三个人茫然地站着。她使两个男人犹豫着不敢接近她。

“我们直接回寓所去呢,”保罗说,“还是去别的地方?”

“我们还是回寓所去吧。”道伍斯说。

保罗走在人行道的外侧,中间是道伍斯,最里面是克莱拉。他们彬彬有礼地交谈着。起居室面对着大海,海上灰蒙蒙的,波涛在不远处哗哗响着。

莫瑞尔搬来一张大扶手椅。

“坐下,老兄。”他说。

“我不想坐椅子。”

“坐下。”莫瑞尔重复着。

克莱拉脱下衣帽,放在长沙发上,表情带着一丝怨恨。她用手指理着头发,坐了下来,神情冷漠、镇静。保罗跑下楼去和房东太太讲话。

“我想你冷了吧,”道伍斯对妻子说,“再靠近火边一些。”

“谢谢你,我很暖和。”她回答。

她望着窗外的雨和大海。

“你什么时候回去?”她问。

“唉,房间明天到期,因此他想让我留下。他今晚回去。”

“那么你打算去雪菲尔德吗?”

“是的。”

“身子这样能干活吗?”

“我要开始工作了。”

“你真的找到工作了?”

“不错——星期一开始。”

“看起来你还不行。”

“为什么我不行?”

她又向窗外望了望,没有回答他的问题。

“你在雪菲尔德有寓所吗?”

“有”

她又把目光移向窗外。窗玻璃让淌下的雨水弄得模糊不清。

“你能应付得了吗?”她问。

“我想能行。我总得工作呀!”

保罗回来时,他们正好都沉默着。

“我四点二十分就走。”他进来时说。

没有人回答。

“你最好还是把靴子脱了,”他对克莱拉说,“那儿有我的一双拖鞋。”

“谢谢你。”她说,“我的脚没湿。”

他把拖鞋放在她脚边,她理也没理。

保罗坐下。两个男人都有些手足无措,脸上带着绝望的神情。不过,道伍斯这时倒显得比较安心,仿佛一切都由天定。保罗则在强打精神。克莱拉心里暗暗想,她从来没有意识到他这么渺小卑鄙。他仿佛尽量想把自己缩小到最小的范围内。当他忙来忙去安排着和坐在那儿谈话的时候,总让人觉得他有点虚伪和很不自然。她悄悄地观察着他,心里暗说:这个人反复无常。他有他的好处,他热情洋溢,当心情好时可以让她饱尝到浓厚的生命的乐趣。但现在他却渺小而卑鄙,他毫无稳定性可言。她的丈夫呢,则比他更有男性的自尊心。不管怎么样,她的丈夫总不会随波逐流的。她觉得保罗身上有种转瞬即逝的、飘飘忽忽的虚伪造作的东西,他永远不会为任何一个女人提供一个坚实可靠的立脚之地。尤其让她瞧不起的是他那竭力畏缩,使自己变得渺小的神情。她丈夫至少还有一点男子汉的气概,被打败了就屈服。可是保罗却绝不会承认自己被打败。他会东躲西藏、徘徊不定,让人越来越觉得他渺小。她瞧不起他,然而她却看着他而不是道伍斯。看起来,他们三个人的命运都系在他手里。她因此而恨他。

她现在似乎对男人有了更进一步的了解,知道他们能做什么,要做什么。她不再像以前那样怕他们了,自信心增强了。他们并不像她过去想象中的那种卑劣的自大狂,了解到这一点使她顿感欣慰。她明白了很多——她想要明白的几乎全都明白了。她的生活一直很不幸,现在也依然不幸,不过她还能忍受。总之,如果他走了,她也并不感到难过。

他们吃了晚饭,一起围着炉火喝着酒吃着果仁。大家都嘻嘻哈哈地闲聊着。可克莱拉却意识到保罗正在退出这个三角关系,好让她仍旧自由地跟丈夫一起过日子,这让她很恼火。说到底,他是个卑鄙小人,他得到了他需要的东西就把她打发回去。她记不得自己是否也曾得到过她想要的,而且在内心深处,也确实希望被打发回去。

保罗觉得孤单而精疲力竭。过去,他母亲曾给他真正的做人的力量。他爱过她,实际上,过去是母子俩合力对付这个世界。现在她上了天堂,永远地给他留下一段人生的空白,他的生命正透过这撕破的面纱裂缝慢慢地飘走,仿佛是在被拖向死神。他希望有人能主动帮帮他,他害怕随着他那慈爱的母亲的死,自己也会靠近死神。面对这件大事,他对其他不太重要的东西都采取听之任之的态度。克莱拉是无法替代他去支撑这些的,她需要他,可是却并不理解他。他感觉她需要的是那种有成就的男人,而不是内心充满苦恼的真正的他。要接纳真正的他,她受不了,他也不敢给她。她对付不了他,这让他感到羞愧,一方面因为自己陷于困境,没有活下去的信心而感到羞愧,另一方面则因为没有人能收留他。他总觉得心里不踏实,觉得自己在这个世界里微不足道,于是他把自己越缩越小。他不想死,也不甘心屈服,可他也不怕死。如果没有人帮助他,他就一个人生活下去。

道伍斯本来已经被迫走上了绝路,直到他害怕为止。他可以一直走到死亡边缘,躺在死亡线上,往死亡的深谷里张望。后来,他害怕了、胆怯了,不得不往回爬,像个接受施舍的乞丐。依克莱拉看来,这里面多少有几分崇高,至少他承认自己被打败了,不管怎么说,他希望自己被收回。为了他,她可以这样做。

三点钟了。

“我要乘四点二十那趟车。”保罗又对克莱拉说,“你也那个时候走还是再晚一点?”

“我不知道。”她说。

“七点一刻时我要跟父亲在诺丁汉姆见面。”他说。

“那我晚点再去吧。”她答道。

道伍斯突然抽搐了起来,好像被人扭伤了一般。他望着大海,却仿佛什么都没有看见。

“角落里有几本书,”保罗说,“我已经看完了。”

大约四点钟时,他起身走了。

“不久,我会再见你们的。”他边握手边说。

“希望这样。”道伍斯说,“也许——有一天——我能把钱还给你,只要……”

“你等着瞧吧,我会来找你要的。”保罗大笑起来,“要不了多久我就会身无分文的。”

“哎——好吧……”道伍斯说。

“再见。”他对克莱拉说。

“再见!”她说,朝他伸出手去。接着他又看了他最后一眼,默默不语,觉得有些羞愧。

他走了。道伍斯和妻子重新坐了下来。

“这种天气出门真糟糕。”道伍斯说。

“是的。”她应了一声。

他们东拉西扯地聊了一通,一直聊到了天黑。房东太太端来了菜。道伍斯像丈夫那样不等人说就把椅子拖到桌前。然后他谦恭地坐在那里等着,她则像妻子一样,理所当然地侍候起他来。

喝完茶,已经快六点了。他走到窗前,外面漆黑一片,大海在咆哮着。

“还在下雨。”他说。

“是吗?”她应道。

“今天晚上你不走了吧?”他有些吞吞吐吐地问。

她没有回答。他等待着。

“这么大的雨,我是走不了。”他说。

“你想让我留下吗?”

她问。

他那抓着深色窗帘的手抖个不停。

“是的。”他说。

他还是背对着她。她站起身,慢慢地走到他跟前。他松开窗帘,转过身来,犹犹豫豫地面对着她。她背着双手站在那儿,脸上带着那种忧郁而又迷茫的神情望着他。

“你要我吗?巴克斯特?”

他嘶哑地答道:

“你想回到我身边吗?”

她呜咽了一声,举起双臂搂住了他的脖子,把他拥到身边。他把脸俯在她肩上,紧紧地抱住了她。

“让我回来吧。”她心醉神迷地低声说:“让我回来吧!”她用手指理着他那细密的黑发,仿佛还在半梦半醒之间。他把她楼得更紧了。

“你还要我吗?”他语不成声地喃喃地说。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 belongings oy6zMv     
n.私人物品,私人财物
参考例句:
  • I put a few personal belongings in a bag.我把几件私人物品装进包中。
  • Your personal belongings are not dutiable.个人物品不用纳税。
2 physically iNix5     
adj.物质上,体格上,身体上,按自然规律
参考例句:
  • He was out of sorts physically,as well as disordered mentally.他浑身不舒服,心绪也很乱。
  • Every time I think about it I feel physically sick.一想起那件事我就感到极恶心。
3 ward LhbwY     
n.守卫,监护,病房,行政区,由监护人或法院保护的人(尤指儿童);vt.守护,躲开
参考例句:
  • The hospital has a medical ward and a surgical ward.这家医院有内科病房和外科病房。
  • During the evening picnic,I'll carry a torch to ward off the bugs.傍晚野餐时,我要点根火把,抵挡蚊虫。
4 extremity tlgxq     
n.末端,尽头;尽力;终极;极度
参考例句:
  • I hope you will help them in their extremity.我希望你能帮助在穷途末路的他们。
  • What shall we do in this extremity?在这种极其困难的情况下我们该怎么办呢?
5 isolation 7qMzTS     
n.隔离,孤立,分解,分离
参考例句:
  • The millionaire lived in complete isolation from the outside world.这位富翁过着与世隔绝的生活。
  • He retired and lived in relative isolation.他退休后,生活比较孤寂。
6 grunt eeazI     
v.嘟哝;作呼噜声;n.呼噜声,嘟哝
参考例句:
  • He lifted the heavy suitcase with a grunt.他咕噜着把沉重的提箱拎了起来。
  • I ask him what he think,but he just grunt.我问他在想什麽,他只哼了一声。
7 misery G10yi     
n.痛苦,苦恼,苦难;悲惨的境遇,贫苦
参考例句:
  • Business depression usually causes misery among the working class.商业不景气常使工薪阶层受苦。
  • He has rescued me from the mire of misery.他把我从苦海里救了出来。
8 convalescence 8Y6ze     
n.病后康复期
参考例句:
  • She bore up well during her convalescence.她在病后恢复期间始终有信心。
  • After convalescence he had a relapse.他于痊愈之后,病又发作了一次。
9 grudge hedzG     
n.不满,怨恨,妒嫉;vt.勉强给,不情愿做
参考例句:
  • I grudge paying so much for such inferior goods.我不愿花这么多钱买次品。
  • I do not grudge him his success.我不嫉妒他的成功。
10 grudgingly grudgingly     
参考例句:
  • He grudgingly acknowledged having made a mistake. 他勉强承认他做错了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Their parents unwillingly [grudgingly] consented to the marriage. 他们的父母无可奈何地应允了这门亲事。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
11 jack 53Hxp     
n.插座,千斤顶,男人;v.抬起,提醒,扛举;n.(Jake)杰克
参考例句:
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
12 gad E6dyd     
n.闲逛;v.闲逛
参考例句:
  • He is always on the gad.他老是闲荡作乐。
  • Let it go back into the gloaming and gad with a lot of longing.就让它回到暮色中,满怀憧憬地游荡吧。
13 miserable g18yk     
adj.悲惨的,痛苦的;可怜的,糟糕的
参考例句:
  • It was miserable of you to make fun of him.你取笑他,这是可耻的。
  • Her past life was miserable.她过去的生活很苦。
14 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
15 scarlet zD8zv     
n.深红色,绯红色,红衣;adj.绯红色的
参考例句:
  • The scarlet leaves of the maples contrast well with the dark green of the pines.深红的枫叶和暗绿的松树形成了明显的对比。
  • The glowing clouds are growing slowly pale,scarlet,bright red,and then light red.天空的霞光渐渐地淡下去了,深红的颜色变成了绯红,绯红又变为浅红。
16 vile YLWz0     
adj.卑鄙的,可耻的,邪恶的;坏透的
参考例句:
  • Who could have carried out such a vile attack?会是谁发起这么卑鄙的攻击呢?
  • Her talk was full of vile curses.她的话里充满着恶毒的咒骂。
17 hostility hdyzQ     
n.敌对,敌意;抵制[pl.]交战,战争
参考例句:
  • There is open hostility between the two leaders.两位领导人表现出公开的敌意。
  • His hostility to your plan is well known.他对你的计划所持的敌意是众所周知的。
18 horrid arozZj     
adj.可怕的;令人惊恐的;恐怖的;极讨厌的
参考例句:
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
19 tormented b017cc8a8957c07bc6b20230800888d0     
饱受折磨的
参考例句:
  • The knowledge of his guilt tormented him. 知道了自己的罪责使他非常痛苦。
  • He had lain awake all night, tormented by jealousy. 他彻夜未眠,深受嫉妒的折磨。
20 restitution cDHyz     
n.赔偿;恢复原状
参考例句:
  • It's only fair that those who do the damage should make restitution.损坏东西的人应负责赔偿,这是再公平不过的了。
  • The victims are demanding full restitution.受害人要求全额赔偿。
21 humble ddjzU     
adj.谦卑的,恭顺的;地位低下的;v.降低,贬低
参考例句:
  • In my humble opinion,he will win the election.依我拙见,他将在选举中获胜。
  • Defeat and failure make people humble.挫折与失败会使人谦卑。
22 penance Uulyx     
n.(赎罪的)惩罪
参考例句:
  • They had confessed their sins and done their penance.他们已经告罪并做了补赎。
  • She knelt at her mother's feet in penance.她忏悔地跪在母亲脚下。
23 propped 557c00b5b2517b407d1d2ef6ba321b0e     
支撑,支持,维持( prop的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He sat propped up in the bed by pillows. 他靠着枕头坐在床上。
  • This fence should be propped up. 这栅栏该用东西支一支。
24 tangled e487ee1bc1477d6c2828d91e94c01c6e     
adj. 纠缠的,紊乱的 动词tangle的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • Your hair's so tangled that I can't comb it. 你的头发太乱了,我梳不动。
  • A movement caught his eye in the tangled undergrowth. 乱灌木丛里的晃动引起了他的注意。
25 chrysanthemums 1ded1ec345ac322f70619ba28233b570     
n.菊花( chrysanthemum的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The cold weather had most deleterious consequences among the chrysanthemums. 寒冷的天气对菊花产生了极有害的影响。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The chrysanthemums are in bloom; some are red and some yellow. 菊花开了, 有红的,有黄的。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
26 pretence pretence     
n.假装,作假;借口,口实;虚伪;虚饰
参考例句:
  • The government abandoned any pretence of reform. 政府不再装模作样地进行改革。
  • He made a pretence of being happy at the party.晚会上他假装很高兴。
27 pyjamas 5SSx4     
n.(宽大的)睡衣裤
参考例句:
  • This pyjamas has many repairs.这件睡衣有许多修补过的地方。
  • Martin was in his pyjamas.马丁穿着睡衣。
28 sniffed ccb6bd83c4e9592715e6230a90f76b72     
v.以鼻吸气,嗅,闻( sniff的过去式和过去分词 );抽鼻子(尤指哭泣、患感冒等时出声地用鼻子吸气);抱怨,不以为然地说
参考例句:
  • When Jenney had stopped crying she sniffed and dried her eyes. 珍妮停止了哭泣,吸了吸鼻子,擦干了眼泪。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The dog sniffed suspiciously at the stranger. 狗疑惑地嗅着那个陌生人。 来自《简明英汉词典》
29 feverish gzsye     
adj.发烧的,狂热的,兴奋的
参考例句:
  • He is too feverish to rest.他兴奋得安静不下来。
  • They worked with feverish haste to finish the job.为了完成此事他们以狂热的速度工作着。
30 miserably zDtxL     
adv.痛苦地;悲惨地;糟糕地;极度地
参考例句:
  • The little girl was wailing miserably. 那小女孩难过得号啕大哭。
  • It was drizzling, and miserably cold and damp. 外面下着毛毛细雨,天气又冷又湿,令人难受。 来自《简明英汉词典》
31 tickle 2Jkzz     
v.搔痒,胳肢;使高兴;发痒;n.搔痒,发痒
参考例句:
  • Wilson was feeling restless. There was a tickle in his throat.威尔逊只觉得心神不定。嗓子眼里有些发痒。
  • I am tickle pink at the news.听到这消息我高兴得要命。
32 daze vnyzH     
v.(使)茫然,(使)发昏
参考例句:
  • The blow on the head dazed him for a moment.他头上受了一击后就昏眩了片刻。
  • I like dazing to sit in the cafe by myself on Sunday.星期日爱独坐人少的咖啡室发呆。
33 fixed JsKzzj     
adj.固定的,不变的,准备好的;(计算机)固定的
参考例句:
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
34 watchful tH9yX     
adj.注意的,警惕的
参考例句:
  • The children played under the watchful eye of their father.孩子们在父亲的小心照看下玩耍。
  • It is important that health organizations remain watchful.卫生组织保持警惕是极为重要的。
35 chattered 0230d885b9f6d176177681b6eaf4b86f     
(人)喋喋不休( chatter的过去式 ); 唠叨; (牙齿)打战; (机器)震颤
参考例句:
  • They chattered away happily for a while. 他们高兴地闲扯了一会儿。
  • We chattered like two teenagers. 我们聊着天,像两个十多岁的孩子。
36 gaily lfPzC     
adv.欢乐地,高兴地
参考例句:
  • The children sing gaily.孩子们欢唱着。
  • She waved goodbye very gaily.她欢快地挥手告别。
37 scraps 737e4017931b7285cdd1fa3eb9dd77a3     
油渣
参考例句:
  • Don't litter up the floor with scraps of paper. 不要在地板上乱扔纸屑。
  • A patchwork quilt is a good way of using up scraps of material. 做杂拼花布棉被是利用零碎布料的好办法。
38 rigid jDPyf     
adj.严格的,死板的;刚硬的,僵硬的
参考例句:
  • She became as rigid as adamant.她变得如顽石般的固执。
  • The examination was so rigid that nearly all aspirants were ruled out.考试很严,几乎所有的考生都被淘汰了。
39 utterly ZfpzM1     
adv.完全地,绝对地
参考例句:
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把毕生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
40 clenching 1c3528c558c94eba89a6c21e9ee245e6     
v.紧握,抓紧,咬紧( clench的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • I'll never get used to them, she thought, clenching her fists. 我永远也看不惯这些家伙,她握紧双拳,心里想。 来自飘(部分)
  • Clenching her lips, she nodded. 她紧闭着嘴唇,点点头。 来自辞典例句
41 lighter 5pPzPR     
n.打火机,点火器;驳船;v.用驳船运送;light的比较级
参考例句:
  • The portrait was touched up so as to make it lighter.这张画经过润色,色调明朗了一些。
  • The lighter works off the car battery.引燃器利用汽车蓄电池打火。
42 entreat soexj     
v.恳求,恳请
参考例句:
  • Charles Darnay felt it hopeless entreat him further,and his pride was touched besides.查尔斯-达尔内感到再恳求他已是枉然,自尊心也受到了伤害。
  • I entreat you to contribute generously to the building fund.我恳求您慷慨捐助建设基金。
43 robin Oj7zme     
n.知更鸟,红襟鸟
参考例句:
  • The robin is the messenger of spring.知更鸟是报春的使者。
  • We knew spring was coming as we had seen a robin.我们看见了一只知更鸟,知道春天要到了。
44 doorway 2s0xK     
n.门口,(喻)入门;门路,途径
参考例句:
  • They huddled in the shop doorway to shelter from the rain.他们挤在商店门口躲雨。
  • Mary suddenly appeared in the doorway.玛丽突然出现在门口。
45 ravage iAYz9     
vt.使...荒废,破坏...;n.破坏,掠夺,荒废
参考例句:
  • Just in time to watch a plague ravage his village.恰好目睹了瘟疫毁灭了他的村庄。
  • For two decades the country has been ravaged by civil war and foreign intervention.20年来,这个国家一直被内战外侵所蹂躏。
46 unnatural 5f2zAc     
adj.不自然的;反常的
参考例句:
  • Did her behaviour seem unnatural in any way?她有任何反常表现吗?
  • She has an unnatural smile on her face.她脸上挂着做作的微笑。
47 dread Ekpz8     
vt.担忧,忧虑;惧怕,不敢;n.担忧,畏惧
参考例句:
  • We all dread to think what will happen if the company closes.我们都不敢去想一旦公司关门我们该怎么办。
  • Her heart was relieved of its blankest dread.她极度恐惧的心理消除了。
48 sinister 6ETz6     
adj.不吉利的,凶恶的,左边的
参考例句:
  • There is something sinister at the back of that series of crimes.在这一系列罪行背后有险恶的阴谋。
  • Their proposals are all worthless and designed out of sinister motives.他们的建议不仅一钱不值,而且包藏祸心。
49 bouts 2abe9936190c45115a3f6a38efb27c43     
n.拳击(或摔跤)比赛( bout的名词复数 );一段(工作);(尤指坏事的)一通;(疾病的)发作
参考例句:
  • For much of his life he suffered from recurrent bouts of depression. 他的大半辈子反复发作抑郁症。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • It was one of fistiana's most famous championship bouts. 这是拳击界最有名的冠军赛之一。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
50 dismal wtwxa     
adj.阴沉的,凄凉的,令人忧郁的,差劲的
参考例句:
  • That is a rather dismal melody.那是一支相当忧郁的歌曲。
  • My prospects of returning to a suitable job are dismal.我重新找到一个合适的工作岗位的希望很渺茫。
51 monotonous FwQyJ     
adj.单调的,一成不变的,使人厌倦的
参考例句:
  • She thought life in the small town was monotonous.她觉得小镇上的生活单调而乏味。
  • His articles are fixed in form and monotonous in content.他的文章千篇一律,一个调调儿。
52 monotonously 36b124a78cd491b4b8ee41ea07438df3     
adv.单调地,无变化地
参考例句:
  • The lecturer phrased monotonously. 这位讲师用词单调。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The maid, still in tears, sniffed monotonously. 侍女还在哭,发出单调的抽泣声。 来自辞典例句
53 gnawing GsWzWk     
a.痛苦的,折磨人的
参考例句:
  • The dog was gnawing a bone. 那狗在啃骨头。
  • These doubts had been gnawing at him for some time. 这些疑虑已经折磨他一段时间了。
54 gnaws 04e1b90666fd26b87dd1f890c734a7bb     
咬( gnaw的第三人称单数 ); (长时间) 折磨某人; (使)苦恼; (长时间)危害某事物
参考例句:
  • Time, whose tooth gnaws away everything else, is powerless against truth. 时间,它的利齿可咬碎万物,但对真理却无能为力。
  • The water gnaws at the shoreline. 海水侵蚀海岸线。
55 invalid V4Oxh     
n.病人,伤残人;adj.有病的,伤残的;无效的
参考例句:
  • He will visit an invalid.他将要去看望一个病人。
  • A passport that is out of date is invalid.护照过期是无效的。
56 draughts 154c3dda2291d52a1622995b252b5ac8     
n. <英>国际跳棋
参考例句:
  • Seal (up) the window to prevent draughts. 把窗户封起来以防风。
  • I will play at draughts with him. 我跟他下一盘棋吧!
57 draught 7uyzIH     
n.拉,牵引,拖;一网(饮,吸,阵);顿服药量,通风;v.起草,设计
参考例句:
  • He emptied his glass at one draught.他将杯中物一饮而尽。
  • It's a pity the room has no north window and you don't get a draught.可惜这房间没北窗,没有过堂风。
58 Flared Flared     
adj. 端部张开的, 爆发的, 加宽的, 漏斗式的 动词flare的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • The match flared and went out. 火柴闪亮了一下就熄了。
  • The fire flared up when we thought it was out. 我们以为火已经熄灭,但它突然又燃烧起来。
59 blotch qoSyY     
n.大斑点;红斑点;v.使沾上污渍,弄脏
参考例句:
  • He pointed to a dark blotch upon the starry sky some miles astern of us.他指着我们身后几英里处繁星点点的天空中的一朵乌云。
  • His face was covered in ugly red blotches.他脸上有许多难看的红色大斑点。
60 murmur EjtyD     
n.低语,低声的怨言;v.低语,低声而言
参考例句:
  • They paid the extra taxes without a murmur.他们毫无怨言地交了附加税。
  • There was a low murmur of conversation in the hall.大厅里有窃窃私语声。
61 plaintive z2Xz1     
adj.可怜的,伤心的
参考例句:
  • Her voice was small and plaintive.她的声音微弱而哀伤。
  • Somewhere in the audience an old woman's voice began plaintive wail.观众席里,一位老太太伤心地哭起来。
62 wailed e27902fd534535a9f82ffa06a5b6937a     
v.哭叫,哀号( wail的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • She wailed over her father's remains. 她对着父亲的遗体嚎啕大哭。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The women of the town wailed over the war victims. 城里的妇女为战争的死难者们痛哭。 来自辞典例句
63 rhythmically 4f33fe14f09ad5d6e6f5caf7b15440cf     
adv.有节奏地
参考例句:
  • A pigeon strutted along the roof, cooing rhythmically. 一只鸽子沿着屋顶大摇大摆地走,有节奏地咕咕叫。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Exposures of rhythmically banded protore are common in the workings. 在工作面中常见有韵律条带“原矿石”。 来自辞典例句
64 soothing soothing     
adj.慰藉的;使人宽心的;镇静的
参考例句:
  • Put on some nice soothing music.播放一些柔和舒缓的音乐。
  • His casual, relaxed manner was very soothing.他随意而放松的举动让人很快便平静下来。
65 sleepers 1d076aa8d5bfd0daecb3ca5f5c17a425     
n.卧铺(通常以复数形式出现);卧车( sleeper的名词复数 );轨枕;睡觉(呈某种状态)的人;小耳环
参考例句:
  • He trod quietly so as not to disturb the sleepers. 他轻移脚步,以免吵醒睡着的人。 来自辞典例句
  • The nurse was out, and we two sleepers were alone. 保姆出去了,只剩下我们两个瞌睡虫。 来自辞典例句
66 soothed 509169542d21da19b0b0bd232848b963     
v.安慰( soothe的过去式和过去分词 );抚慰;使舒服;减轻痛苦
参考例句:
  • The music soothed her for a while. 音乐让她稍微安静了一会儿。
  • The soft modulation of her voice soothed the infant. 她柔和的声调使婴儿安静了。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
67 shuddered 70137c95ff493fbfede89987ee46ab86     
v.战栗( shudder的过去式和过去分词 );发抖;(机器、车辆等)突然震动;颤动
参考例句:
  • He slammed on the brakes and the car shuddered to a halt. 他猛踩刹车,车颤抖着停住了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I shuddered at the sight of the dead body. 我一看见那尸体就战栗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
68 bosom Lt9zW     
n.胸,胸部;胸怀;内心;adj.亲密的
参考例句:
  • She drew a little book from her bosom.她从怀里取出一本小册子。
  • A dark jealousy stirred in his bosom.他内心生出一阵恶毒的嫉妒。
69 writhing 8e4d2653b7af038722d3f7503ad7849c     
(因极度痛苦而)扭动或翻滚( writhe的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • She was writhing around on the floor in agony. 她痛得在地板上直打滚。
  • He was writhing on the ground in agony. 他痛苦地在地上打滚。
70 quaint 7tqy2     
adj.古雅的,离奇有趣的,奇怪的
参考例句:
  • There were many small lanes in the quaint village.在这古香古色的村庄里,有很多小巷。
  • They still keep some quaint old customs.他们仍然保留着一些稀奇古怪的旧风俗。
71 subdue ltTwO     
vt.制服,使顺从,征服;抑制,克制
参考例句:
  • She tried to subdue her anger.她尽力压制自己的怒火。
  • He forced himself to subdue and overcome his fears.他强迫自己克制并战胜恐惧心理。
72 plaintively 46a8d419c0b5a38a2bee07501e57df53     
adv.悲哀地,哀怨地
参考例句:
  • The last note of the song rang out plaintively. 歌曲最后道出了离别的哀怨。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Birds cry plaintively before they die, men speak kindly in the presence of death. 鸟之将死,其鸣也哀;人之将死,其言也善。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
73 ashen JNsyS     
adj.灰的
参考例句:
  • His face was ashen and wet with sweat.他面如土色,汗如雨下。
  • Her ashen face showed how much the news had shocked her.她灰白的脸显示出那消息使她多么震惊。
74 bleak gtWz5     
adj.(天气)阴冷的;凄凉的;暗淡的
参考例句:
  • They showed me into a bleak waiting room.他们引我来到一间阴冷的会客室。
  • The company's prospects look pretty bleak.这家公司的前景异常暗淡。
75 pallid qSFzw     
adj.苍白的,呆板的
参考例句:
  • The moon drifted from behind the clouds and exposed the pallid face.月亮从云朵后面钻出来,照着尸体那张苍白的脸。
  • His dry pallid face often looked gaunt.他那张干瘪苍白的脸常常显得憔悴。
76 betoken 3QhyL     
v.预示
参考例句:
  • He gave her a gift to betoken his gratitude.他送她一件礼物表示感谢。
  • Dark clouds betoken a storm.乌云予示着暴风雨的来临。
77 obliterated 5b21c854b61847047948152f774a0c94     
v.除去( obliterate的过去式和过去分词 );涂去;擦掉;彻底破坏或毁灭
参考例句:
  • The building was completely obliterated by the bomb. 炸弹把那座建筑物彻底摧毁了。
  • He began to drink, drank himself to intoxication, till he slept obliterated. 他一直喝,喝到他快要迷糊地睡着了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
78 backwards BP9ya     
adv.往回地,向原处,倒,相反,前后倒置地
参考例句:
  • He turned on the light and began to pace backwards and forwards.他打开电灯并开始走来走去。
  • All the girls fell over backwards to get the party ready.姑娘们迫不及待地为聚会做准备。
79 conspiring 6ea0abd4b4aba2784a9aa29dd5b24fa0     
密谋( conspire的现在分词 ); 搞阴谋; (事件等)巧合; 共同导致
参考例句:
  • They were accused of conspiring against the king. 他们被指控阴谋反对国王。
  • John Brown and his associates were tried for conspiring to overthrow the slave states. 约翰·布朗和他的合伙者们由于密谋推翻实行奴隶制度的美国各州而被审讯。
80 flicked 7c535fef6da8b8c191b1d1548e9e790a     
(尤指用手指或手快速地)轻击( flick的过去式和过去分词 ); (用…)轻挥; (快速地)按开关; 向…笑了一下(或瞥了一眼等)
参考例句:
  • She flicked the dust off her collar. 她轻轻弹掉了衣领上的灰尘。
  • I idly picked up a magazine and flicked through it. 我漫不经心地拿起一本杂志翻看着。
81 sanity sCwzH     
n.心智健全,神智正常,判断正确
参考例句:
  • I doubt the sanity of such a plan.我怀疑这个计划是否明智。
  • She managed to keep her sanity throughout the ordeal.在那场磨难中她始终保持神志正常。
82 sip Oxawv     
v.小口地喝,抿,呷;n.一小口的量
参考例句:
  • She took a sip of the cocktail.她啜饮一口鸡尾酒。
  • Elizabeth took a sip of the hot coffee.伊丽莎白呷了一口热咖啡。
83 spout uGmzx     
v.喷出,涌出;滔滔不绝地讲;n.喷管;水柱
参考例句:
  • Implication in folk wealth creativity and undertaking vigor spout.蕴藏于民间的财富创造力和创业活力喷涌而出。
  • This acts as a spout to drain off water during a rainstorm.在暴风雨季,这东西被用作喷管来排水。
84 grimace XQVza     
v.做鬼脸,面部歪扭
参考例句:
  • The boy stole a look at his father with grimace.那男孩扮着鬼脸偷看了他父亲一眼。
  • Thomas made a grimace after he had tasted the wine.托马斯尝了那葡萄酒后做了个鬼脸。
85 frail yz3yD     
adj.身体虚弱的;易损坏的
参考例句:
  • Mrs. Warner is already 96 and too frail to live by herself.华纳太太已经九十六岁了,身体虚弱,不便独居。
  • She lay in bed looking particularly frail.她躺在床上,看上去特别虚弱。
86 gulped 4873fe497201edc23bc8dcb50aa6eb2c     
v.狼吞虎咽地吃,吞咽( gulp的过去式和过去分词 );大口地吸(气);哽住
参考例句:
  • He gulped down the rest of his tea and went out. 他把剩下的茶一饮而尽便出去了。
  • She gulped nervously, as if the question bothered her. 她紧张地咽了一下,似乎那问题把她难住了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
87 flannel S7dyQ     
n.法兰绒;法兰绒衣服
参考例句:
  • She always wears a grey flannel trousers.她总是穿一条灰色法兰绒长裤。
  • She was looking luscious in a flannel shirt.她穿着法兰绒裙子,看上去楚楚动人。
88 snugged 12a285b68400a4868b9d098a3f679c48     
v.整洁的( snug的过去式和过去分词 );温暖而舒适的;非常舒适的;紧身的
参考例句:
89 standing 2hCzgo     
n.持续,地位;adj.永久的,不动的,直立的,不流动的
参考例句:
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
90 chamber wnky9     
n.房间,寝室;会议厅;议院;会所
参考例句:
  • For many,the dentist's surgery remains a torture chamber.对许多人来说,牙医的治疗室一直是间受刑室。
  • The chamber was ablaze with light.会议厅里灯火辉煌。
91 hoarse 5dqzA     
adj.嘶哑的,沙哑的
参考例句:
  • He asked me a question in a hoarse voice.他用嘶哑的声音问了我一个问题。
  • He was too excited and roared himself hoarse.他过于激动,嗓子都喊哑了。
92 intervals f46c9d8b430e8c86dea610ec56b7cbef     
n.[军事]间隔( interval的名词复数 );间隔时间;[数学]区间;(戏剧、电影或音乐会的)幕间休息
参考例句:
  • The forecast said there would be sunny intervals and showers. 预报间晴,有阵雨。
  • Meetings take place at fortnightly intervals. 每两周开一次会。
93 huddled 39b87f9ca342d61fe478b5034beb4139     
挤在一起(huddle的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • We huddled together for warmth. 我们挤在一块取暖。
  • We huddled together to keep warm. 我们挤在一起来保暖。
94 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。
95 crouched 62634c7e8c15b8a61068e36aaed563ab     
v.屈膝,蹲伏( crouch的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • He crouched down beside her. 他在她的旁边蹲了下来。
  • The lion crouched ready to pounce. 狮子蹲下身,准备猛扑。
96 jaw 5xgy9     
n.颚,颌,说教,流言蜚语;v.喋喋不休,教训
参考例句:
  • He delivered a right hook to his opponent's jaw.他给了对方下巴一记右钩拳。
  • A strong square jaw is a sign of firm character.强健的方下巴是刚毅性格的标志。
97 wring 4oOys     
n.扭绞;v.拧,绞出,扭
参考例句:
  • My socks were so wet that I had to wring them.我的袜子很湿,我不得不拧干它们。
  • I'll wring your neck if you don't behave!你要是不规矩,我就拧断你的脖子。
98 hush ecMzv     
int.嘘,别出声;n.沉默,静寂;v.使安静
参考例句:
  • A hush fell over the onlookers.旁观者们突然静了下来。
  • Do hush up the scandal!不要把这丑事声张出去!
99 drawn MuXzIi     
v.拖,拉,拔出;adj.憔悴的,紧张的
参考例句:
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
100 tinge 8q9yO     
vt.(较淡)着色于,染色;使带有…气息;n.淡淡色彩,些微的气息
参考例句:
  • The maple leaves are tinge with autumn red.枫叶染上了秋天的红色。
  • There was a tinge of sadness in her voice.她声音中流露出一丝忧伤。
101 shuddering 7cc81262357e0332a505af2c19a03b06     
v.战栗( shudder的现在分词 );发抖;(机器、车辆等)突然震动;颤动
参考例句:
  • 'I am afraid of it,'she answered, shuddering. “我害怕,”她发着抖,说。 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
  • She drew a deep shuddering breath. 她不由得打了个寒噤,深深吸了口气。 来自飘(部分)
102 bustled 9467abd9ace0cff070d56f0196327c70     
闹哄哄地忙乱,奔忙( bustle的过去式和过去分词 ); 催促
参考例句:
  • She bustled around in the kitchen. 她在厨房里忙得团团转。
  • The hostress bustled about with an assumption of authority. 女主人摆出一副权威的样子忙来忙去。
103 turnips 0a5b5892a51b9bd77b247285ad0b3f77     
芜青( turnip的名词复数 ); 芜菁块根; 芜菁甘蓝块根; 怀表
参考例句:
  • Well, I like turnips, tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflowers, onions and carrots. 噢,我喜欢大萝卜、西红柿、茄子、菜花、洋葱和胡萝卜。 来自魔法英语-口语突破(高中)
  • This is turnip soup, made from real turnips. 这是大头菜汤,用真正的大头菜做的。
104 registrar xSUzO     
n.记录员,登记员;(大学的)注册主任
参考例句:
  • You can obtain the application from the registrar.你可以向注册人员索取申请书。
  • The manager fired a young registrar.经理昨天解雇了一名年轻的记录员。
105 coffin XWRy7     
n.棺材,灵柩
参考例句:
  • When one's coffin is covered,all discussion about him can be settled.盖棺论定。
  • The coffin was placed in the grave.那口棺材已安放到坟墓里去了。
106 austere GeIyW     
adj.艰苦的;朴素的,朴实无华的;严峻的
参考例句:
  • His way of life is rather austere.他的生活方式相当简朴。
  • The room was furnished in austere style.这间屋子的陈设都很简单朴素。
107 maiden yRpz7     
n.少女,处女;adj.未婚的,纯洁的,无经验的
参考例句:
  • The prince fell in love with a fair young maiden.王子爱上了一位年轻美丽的少女。
  • The aircraft makes its maiden flight tomorrow.这架飞机明天首航。
108 eyebrows a0e6fb1330e9cfecfd1c7a4d00030ed5     
眉毛( eyebrow的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Eyebrows stop sweat from coming down into the eyes. 眉毛挡住汗水使其不能流进眼睛。
  • His eyebrows project noticeably. 他的眉毛特别突出。
109 winsome HfTwx     
n.迷人的,漂亮的
参考例句:
  • She gave him her best winsome smile.她给了他一个最为迷人的微笑。
  • She was a winsome creature.她十分可爱。
110 filigree 47SyK     
n.金银丝做的工艺品;v.用金银细丝饰品装饰;用华而不实的饰品装饰;adj.金银细丝工艺的
参考例句:
  • The frost made beautiful filigree on the window pane.寒霜在玻璃窗上形成了美丽的花纹。
  • The art filigree tapestry is elegant and magnificent.嵌金银丝艺术挂毯,绚丽雅典。
111 eyelids 86ece0ca18a95664f58bda5de252f4e7     
n.眼睑( eyelid的名词复数 );眼睛也不眨一下;不露声色;面不改色
参考例句:
  • She was so tired, her eyelids were beginning to droop. 她太疲倦了,眼睑开始往下垂。
  • Her eyelids drooped as if she were on the verge of sleep. 她眼睑低垂好像快要睡着的样子。 来自《简明英汉词典》
112 passionately YmDzQ4     
ad.热烈地,激烈地
参考例句:
  • She could hate as passionately as she could love. 她能恨得咬牙切齿,也能爱得一往情深。
  • He was passionately addicted to pop music. 他酷爱流行音乐。
113 passionate rLDxd     
adj.热情的,热烈的,激昂的,易动情的,易怒的,性情暴躁的
参考例句:
  • He is said to be the most passionate man.据说他是最有激情的人。
  • He is very passionate about the project.他对那个项目非常热心。
114 reverently FjPzwr     
adv.虔诚地
参考例句:
  • He gazed reverently at the handiwork. 他满怀敬意地凝视着这件手工艺品。
  • Pork gazed at it reverently and slowly delight spread over his face. 波克怀着愉快的心情看着这只表,脸上慢慢显出十分崇敬的神色。
115 twilight gKizf     
n.暮光,黄昏;暮年,晚期,衰落时期
参考例句:
  • Twilight merged into darkness.夕阳的光辉融于黑暗中。
  • Twilight was sweet with the smell of lilac and freshly turned earth.薄暮充满紫丁香和新翻耕的泥土的香味。
116 faculties 066198190456ba4e2b0a2bda2034dfc5     
n.能力( faculty的名词复数 );全体教职员;技巧;院
参考例句:
  • Although he's ninety, his mental faculties remain unimpaired. 他虽年届九旬,但头脑仍然清晰。
  • All your faculties have come into play in your work. 在你的工作中,你的全部才能已起到了作用。 来自《简明英汉词典》
117 infinitely 0qhz2I     
adv.无限地,无穷地
参考例句:
  • There is an infinitely bright future ahead of us.我们有无限光明的前途。
  • The universe is infinitely large.宇宙是无限大的。
118 tragically 7bc94e82e1e513c38f4a9dea83dc8681     
adv. 悲剧地,悲惨地
参考例句:
  • Their daughter was tragically killed in a road accident. 他们的女儿不幸死于车祸。
  • Her father died tragically in a car crash. 她父亲在一场车祸中惨死。
119 glistened 17ff939f38e2a303f5df0353cf21b300     
v.湿物闪耀,闪亮( glisten的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • Pearls of dew glistened on the grass. 草地上珠露晶莹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • Her eyes glistened with tears. 她的眼里闪着泪花。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
120 steadily Qukw6     
adv.稳定地;不变地;持续地
参考例句:
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
121 glistening glistening     
adj.闪耀的,反光的v.湿物闪耀,闪亮( glisten的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • Her eyes were glistening with tears. 她眼里闪着晶莹的泪花。
  • Her eyes were glistening with tears. 她眼睛中的泪水闪着柔和的光。 来自《用法词典》
122 cemetery ur9z7     
n.坟墓,墓地,坟场
参考例句:
  • He was buried in the cemetery.他被葬在公墓。
  • His remains were interred in the cemetery.他的遗体葬在墓地。
123 deserted GukzoL     
adj.荒芜的,荒废的,无人的,被遗弃的
参考例句:
  • The deserted village was filled with a deathly silence.这个荒废的村庄死一般的寂静。
  • The enemy chieftain was opposed and deserted by his followers.敌人头目众叛亲离。
124 drenching c2b2e9313060683bb0b65137674fc144     
n.湿透v.使湿透( drench的现在分词 );在某人(某物)上大量使用(某液体)
参考例句:
  • A black cloudburst was drenching Siena at midday. 中午,一场天昏地暗的暴风雨在锡耶纳上空倒下来。 来自辞典例句
  • A drenching rain poured down and the rising hurricane drove it in sheets along the ground. 一阵倾盆大雨泼下来了,越来越大的狂风把它顺着地面刮成了一片一片的雨幕。 来自辞典例句
125 cowering 48e9ec459e33cd232bc581fbd6a3f22d     
v.畏缩,抖缩( cower的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • He turned his baleful glare on the cowering suspect. 他恶毒地盯着那个蜷缩成一团的嫌疑犯。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He stood over the cowering Herb with fists of fury. 他紧握着两个拳头怒气冲天地站在惊魂未定的赫伯面前。 来自辞典例句
126 lodging wRgz9     
n.寄宿,住所;(大学生的)校外宿舍
参考例句:
  • The bill is inclusive of the food and lodging. 账单包括吃、住费用。
  • Where can you find lodging for the night? 你今晚在哪里借宿?
127 lodgings f12f6c99e9a4f01e5e08b1197f095e6e     
n. 出租的房舍, 寄宿舍
参考例句:
  • When he reached his lodgings the sun had set. 他到达公寓房间时,太阳已下山了。
  • I'm on the hunt for lodgings. 我正在寻找住所。
128 landlady t2ZxE     
n.女房东,女地主
参考例句:
  • I heard my landlady creeping stealthily up to my door.我听到我的女房东偷偷地来到我的门前。
  • The landlady came over to serve me.女店主过来接待我。
129 dreary sk1z6     
adj.令人沮丧的,沉闷的,单调乏味的
参考例句:
  • They live such dreary lives.他们的生活如此乏味。
  • She was tired of hearing the same dreary tale of drunkenness and violence.她听够了那些关于酗酒和暴力的乏味故事。
130 caressingly 77d15bfb91cdfea4de0eee54a581136b     
爱抚地,亲切地
参考例句:
  • His voice was caressingly sweet. 他的嗓音亲切而又甜美。
131 reassurance LTJxV     
n.使放心,使消除疑虑
参考例句:
  • He drew reassurance from the enthusiastic applause.热烈的掌声使他获得了信心。
  • Reassurance is especially critical when it comes to military activities.消除疑虑在军事活动方面尤为关键。
132 ironic 1atzm     
adj.讽刺的,有讽刺意味的,出乎意料的
参考例句:
  • That is a summary and ironic end.那是一个具有概括性和讽刺意味的结局。
  • People used to call me Mr Popularity at high school,but they were being ironic.人们中学时常把我称作“万人迷先生”,但他们是在挖苦我。
133 caustic 9rGzb     
adj.刻薄的,腐蚀性的
参考例句:
  • He opened his mouth to make a caustic retort.他张嘴开始进行刻薄的反击。
  • He enjoys making caustic remarks about other people.他喜欢挖苦别人。
134 hitched fc65ed4d8ef2e272cfe190bf8919d2d2     
(免费)搭乘他人之车( hitch的过去式和过去分词 ); 搭便车; 攀上; 跃上
参考例句:
  • They hitched a ride in a truck. 他们搭乘了一辆路过的货车。
  • We hitched a ride in a truck yesterday. 我们昨天顺便搭乘了一辆卡车。
135 triumphant JpQys     
adj.胜利的,成功的;狂欢的,喜悦的
参考例句:
  • The army made a triumphant entry into the enemy's capital.部队胜利地进入了敌方首都。
  • There was a positively triumphant note in her voice.她的声音里带有一种极为得意的语气。
136 malice P8LzW     
n.恶意,怨恨,蓄意;[律]预谋
参考例句:
  • I detected a suggestion of malice in his remarks.我觉察出他说的话略带恶意。
  • There was a strong current of malice in many of his portraits.他的许多肖像画中都透着一股强烈的怨恨。
137 retired Njhzyv     
adj.隐退的,退休的,退役的
参考例句:
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.这位老人下乡休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。
138 dents dents     
n.花边边饰;凹痕( dent的名词复数 );凹部;减少;削弱v.使产生凹痕( dent的第三人称单数 );损害;伤害;挫伤(信心、名誉等)
参考例句:
  • He hammered out the dents in the metal sheet. 他把金属板上的一些凹痕敲掉了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Tin dents more easily than steel. 锡比钢容易变瘪。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
139 erect 4iLzm     
n./v.树立,建立,使竖立;adj.直立的,垂直的
参考例句:
  • She held her head erect and her back straight.她昂着头,把背挺得笔直。
  • Soldiers are trained to stand erect.士兵们训练站得笔直。
140 sitting-room sitting-room     
n.(BrE)客厅,起居室
参考例句:
  • The sitting-room is clean.起居室很清洁。
  • Each villa has a separate sitting-room.每栋别墅都有一间独立的起居室。
141 hissed 2299e1729bbc7f56fc2559e409d6e8a7     
发嘶嘶声( hiss的过去式和过去分词 ); 发嘘声表示反对
参考例句:
  • Have you ever been hissed at in the middle of a speech? 你在演讲中有没有被嘘过?
  • The iron hissed as it pressed the wet cloth. 熨斗压在湿布上时发出了嘶嘶声。
142 resentment 4sgyv     
n.怨愤,忿恨
参考例句:
  • All her feelings of resentment just came pouring out.她一股脑儿倾吐出所有的怨恨。
  • She cherished a deep resentment under the rose towards her employer.她暗中对她的雇主怀恨在心。
143 aloof wxpzN     
adj.远离的;冷淡的,漠不关心的
参考例句:
  • Never stand aloof from the masses.千万不可脱离群众。
  • On the evening the girl kept herself timidly aloof from the crowd.这小女孩在晚会上一直胆怯地远离人群。
144 panes c8bd1ed369fcd03fe15520d551ab1d48     
窗玻璃( pane的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The sun caught the panes and flashed back at him. 阳光照到窗玻璃上,又反射到他身上。
  • The window-panes are dim with steam. 玻璃窗上蒙上了一层蒸汽。
145 blurred blurred     
v.(使)变模糊( blur的过去式和过去分词 );(使)难以区分;模模糊糊;迷离
参考例句:
  • She suffered from dizziness and blurred vision. 她饱受头晕目眩之苦。
  • Their lazy, blurred voices fell pleasantly on his ears. 他们那种慢吞吞、含糊不清的声音在他听起来却很悦耳。 来自《简明英汉词典》
146 slippers oiPzHV     
n. 拖鞋
参考例句:
  • a pair of slippers 一双拖鞋
  • He kicked his slippers off and dropped on to the bed. 他踢掉了拖鞋,倒在床上。
147 tune NmnwW     
n.调子;和谐,协调;v.调音,调节,调整
参考例句:
  • He'd written a tune,and played it to us on the piano.他写了一段曲子,并在钢琴上弹给我们听。
  • The boy beat out a tune on a tin can.那男孩在易拉罐上敲出一首曲子。
148 paltry 34Cz0     
adj.无价值的,微不足道的
参考例句:
  • The parents had little interest in paltry domestic concerns.那些家长对家里鸡毛蒜皮的小事没什么兴趣。
  • I'm getting angry;and if you don't command that paltry spirit of yours.我要生气了,如果你不能振作你那点元气。
149 insignificant k6Mx1     
adj.无关紧要的,可忽略的,无意义的
参考例句:
  • In winter the effect was found to be insignificant.在冬季,这种作用是不明显的。
  • This problem was insignificant compared to others she faced.这一问题与她面临的其他问题比较起来算不得什么。
150 manly fBexr     
adj.有男子气概的;adv.男子般地,果断地
参考例句:
  • The boy walked with a confident manly stride.这男孩以自信的男人步伐行走。
  • He set himself manly tasks and expected others to follow his example.他给自己定下了男子汉的任务,并希望别人效之。
151 waft XUbzV     
v.飘浮,飘荡;n.一股;一阵微风;飘荡
参考例句:
  • The bubble maker is like a sword that you waft in the air.吹出泡泡的东西就像你在空中挥舞的一把剑。
  • When she just about fall over,a waft of fragrance makes her stop.在她差点跌倒时,一股幽香让她停下脚步。
152 crumpled crumpled     
adj. 弯扭的, 变皱的 动词crumple的过去式和过去分词形式
参考例句:
  • She crumpled the letter up into a ball and threw it on the fire. 她把那封信揉成一团扔进了火里。
  • She flattened out the crumpled letter on the desk. 她在写字台上把皱巴巴的信展平。
153 lesser UpxzJL     
adj.次要的,较小的;adv.较小地,较少地
参考例句:
  • Kept some of the lesser players out.不让那些次要的球员参加联赛。
  • She has also been affected,but to a lesser degree.她也受到波及,但程度较轻。
154 lapse t2lxL     
n.过失,流逝,失效,抛弃信仰,间隔;vi.堕落,停止,失效,流逝;vt.使失效
参考例句:
  • The incident was being seen as a serious security lapse.这一事故被看作是一次严重的安全疏忽。
  • I had a lapse of memory.我记错了。
155 brink OWazM     
n.(悬崖、河流等的)边缘,边沿
参考例句:
  • The tree grew on the brink of the cliff.那棵树生长在峭壁的边缘。
  • The two countries were poised on the brink of war.这两个国家处于交战的边缘。
156 desultory BvZxp     
adj.散漫的,无方法的
参考例句:
  • Do not let the discussion fragment into a desultory conversation with no clear direction.不要让讨论变得支离破碎,成为没有明确方向的漫谈。
  • The constables made a desultory attempt to keep them away from the barn.警察漫不经心地拦着不让他们靠近谷仓。
157 humbly humbly     
adv. 恭顺地,谦卑地
参考例句:
  • We humbly beg Your Majesty to show mercy. 我们恳请陛下发发慈悲。
  • "You must be right, Sir,'said John humbly. “你一定是对的,先生,”约翰恭顺地说道。
158 tightened bd3d8363419d9ff838bae0ba51722ee9     
收紧( tighten的过去式和过去分词 ); (使)变紧; (使)绷紧; 加紧
参考例句:
  • The rope holding the boat suddenly tightened and broke. 系船的绳子突然绷断了。
  • His index finger tightened on the trigger but then relaxed again. 他的食指扣住扳机,然后又松开了。


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