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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Celestial Omnibus and other Stories » CHAPTER II
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 It was breakfast time, but the gas was alight, owing to the fog. Mr. Lucas was in the middle of an account of a bad night he had spent, Ethel, who was to be married in a few weeks, had her arms on the table, listening.
"First the door bell rang, then you came back from the theatre. Then the dog started, and after the dog the cat. And at three in the morning a young hooligan passed by singing. Oh yes: then there was the water gurgling in the pipe above my head."
"I think that was only the bath water running away," said Ethel, looking rather worn.
"Well, there's nothing I dislike more than running water. It's perfectly1 impossible to sleep in the house. I shall give it up. I shall give notice next quarter. I shall tell the landlord plainly, 'The reason I am giving up the house is this: it is perfectly impossible to sleep in it.' If he says—says—well, what has he got to say?"
"Some more toast, father?"
"Thank you, my dear." He took it, and there was an interval2 of peace.
But he soon recommenced. "I'm not going to submit to the practising next door as tamely as they think. I wrote and told them so—didn't I?"
"Yes," said Ethel, who had taken care that the letter should not reach. "I have seen the governess, and she has promised to arrange it differently. And Aunt Julia hates noise. It will sure to be all right."
Her aunt, being the only unattached member of the family, was coming to keep house for her father when she left him. The reference was not a happy one, and Mr. Lucas commenced a series of half articulate sighs, which was only stopped by the arrival of the post.
"Oh, what a parcel!" cried Ethel. "For me! What can it be! Greek stamps. This is most exciting!"
It proved to be some asphodel bulbs, sent by Mrs. Forman from Athens for planting in the conservatory3.
"Doesn't it bring it all back! You remember the asphodels, father. And all wrapped up in Greek newspapers. I wonder if I can read them still. I used to be able to, you know."
She rattled4 on, hoping to conceal5 the laughter of the children next door—a favourite source of querulousness at breakfast time.
"Listen to me! 'A rural disaster.' Oh, I've hit on something sad. But never mind. 'Last Tuesday at Plataniste, in the province of messenia, a shocking tragedy occurred. A large tree'—aren't I getting on well?—'blew down in the night and'—wait a minute—oh, dear! 'crushed to death the five occupants of the little Khan there, who had apparently7 been sitting in the balcony. The bodies of Maria Rhomaides, the aged6 proprietress, and of her daughter, aged forty-six, were easily recognizable, whereas that of her grandson'—oh, the rest is really too horrid8; I wish I had never tried it, and what's more I feel to have heard the name Plataniste before. We didn't stop there, did we, in the spring?"
"We had lunch," said Mr. Lucas, with a faint expression of trouble on his vacant face. "Perhaps it was where the dragoman bought the pig."
"Of course," said Ethel in a nervous voice. "Where the dragoman bought the little pig. How terrible!"
"Very terrible!" said her father, whose attention was wandering to the noisy children next door. Ethel suddenly started to her feet with genuine interest.
"Good gracious!" she exclaimed. "This is an old paper. It happened not lately but in April—the night of Tuesday the eighteenth—and we—we must have been there in the afternoon."
"So we were," said Mr. Lucas. She put her hand to her heart, scarcely able to speak.
"Father, dear father, I must say it: you wanted to stop there. All those people, those poor half savage9 people, tried, to keep you, and they're dead. The whole place, it says, is in ruins, and even the stream has changed its course. Father, dear, if it had not been for me, and if Arthur had not helped me, you must have been killed."
Mr. Lucas waved his hand irritably10. "It is not a bit of good speaking to the governess, I shall write to the landlord and say, 'The reason I am giving up the house is this: the dog barks, the children next door are intolerable, and I cannot stand the noise of running water.'"
Ethel did not check his babbling11. She was aghast at the narrowness of the escape, and for a long time kept silence. At last she said: "Such a marvellous deliverance does make one believe in Providence12."
Mr. Lucas, who was still composing his letter to the landlord, did not reply.


1 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
2 interval 85kxY     
  • The interval between the two trees measures 40 feet.这两棵树的间隔是40英尺。
  • There was a long interval before he anwsered the telephone.隔了好久他才回了电话。
3 conservatory 4YeyO     
  • At the conservatory,he learned how to score a musical composition.在音乐学校里,他学会了怎样谱曲。
  • The modern conservatory is not an environment for nurturing plants.这个现代化温室的环境不适合培育植物。
4 rattled b4606e4247aadf3467575ffedf66305b     
  • The truck jolted and rattled over the rough ground. 卡车嘎吱嘎吱地在凹凸不平的地面上颠簸而行。
  • Every time a bus went past, the windows rattled. 每逢公共汽车经过这里,窗户都格格作响。
5 conceal DpYzt     
  • He had to conceal his identity to escape the police.为了躲避警方,他只好隐瞒身份。
  • He could hardly conceal his joy at his departure.他几乎掩饰不住临行时的喜悦。
6 aged 6zWzdI     
  • He had put on weight and aged a little.他胖了,也老点了。
  • He is aged,but his memory is still good.他已年老,然而记忆力还好。
7 apparently tMmyQ     
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
8 horrid arozZj     
  • 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。
9 savage ECxzR     
  • The poor man received a savage beating from the thugs.那可怜的人遭到暴徒的痛打。
  • He has a savage temper.他脾气粗暴。
10 irritably e3uxw     
  • He lost his temper and snapped irritably at the children. 他发火了,暴躁地斥责孩子们。
  • On this account the silence was irritably broken by a reproof. 为了这件事,他妻子大声斥责,令人恼火地打破了宁静。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
11 babbling babbling     
n.胡说,婴儿发出的咿哑声adj.胡说的v.喋喋不休( babble的现在分词 );作潺潺声(如流水);含糊不清地说话;泄漏秘密
  • I could hear the sound of a babbling brook. 我听得见小溪潺潺的流水声。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Infamy was babbling around her in the public market-place. 在公共市场上,她周围泛滥着对她丑行的种种议论。 来自英汉文学 - 红字
12 providence 8tdyh     
  • It is tempting Providence to go in that old boat.乘那艘旧船前往是冒大险。
  • To act as you have done is to fly in the face of Providence.照你的所作所为那样去行事,是违背上帝的意志的。


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