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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Young Peggy McQueen » CHAPTER VII. Peggy Little Knew What Was Before Her.
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CHAPTER VII. Peggy Little Knew What Was Before Her.

AH, but a gipsy’s life is not all joys by any manner of means, although to those so young as Peggy and Johnnie, it is quite the life idyllic1.
Fitzroy, the captain of the show, had often enough, like most of us who are not born with silver spoons in our mouths, to scratch the elbow of troublesome care. He had to make his caravan2 tours pay, and the public is a most insatiable monster. The public, in fact, is the same with its amusements as it is with its food, the public want to get the biggest chunk3 of enjoyment4, as well as the biggest hunk of cheese it can possibly get for its penny, and it likes variety too.
Therefore Captain Fitzroy had to be for ever on the qui vive, and looking far ahead of him; and no sooner was one little play put upon the boards for probably a month’s run, than he had to be thinking and planning what he should start next. Some startling innovation, some play with a daring plot,{71} wild music, scenic5 effect and plenty of go and change, with a glorious finale. “That was the thing to draw ’em,” as Giant Gourmand6 used to remark.
It was the immortal7 Dickens who said that giants were all a trifle weak about the knees. Whether that be so or not we will not pause to consider, but one thing is certain—Gourmand was not weak about the head. He was possessed8 of gigantic intellect, and he generally carried it about with him.
Fitzroy and he used to have many and many a consultation9 as to ways and means.
“What we want, cap’n,” said the giant, “is to keep the pot a-boiling.”
This wise remark was made in the evening of the day after Johnnie had the grand wrestling match with Charlie Crockett.
“Pot a-boiling, Mr. Gourmand? Yes, and twenty pots, to say nothing of nosebags. And they must all be filled at the expense of the public, of course.”
“Well, sir, we give them the worth of their money. We give the beggars value.”
“That we do, and that we must, else the beggars will soon growl10 and may scatter11 the show.{72}”
“And hitherto,” he added, “we have never known what hunger is. Look how well filled out our horses are, and how contented12, and how their shins glitter like the back of a boatman beetle13. See how contented our dogs all are and how happy Ralph is. But, Gourmand, my boy, the day might come when things wouldn’t be so comfy with us all. We might be reduced to starvation and have to kill and eat our horses.”
Gourmand laughed his gruff “Ho! ho! ho!” and added his half-comical “Ha! ha! ha.” “Not,” he said, “cap’n, whilst you have that nut on you. ’Xcuse me for calling it a nut, sir, won’t you?”
Captain Fitzroy sighed a three-to-the-pound sigh and shook his head.
“The nut is maybe all right, friend, but it strikes me we need a change of——”
“A change of programme, cap’n?”
“No, that isn’t quite what I meant, but a change of audience, a change of public. This part of England seems getting played out as regards the—ahem!—legitimate drama, Mr. Gourmand.”
“Too near London, eh?”
“That’s it, I think, and London is a{73} jolly sight too near Paris. Ever been to Yorkshire?”
“They are rare fine animals up there, sir. But why shouldn’t we make a proper exodus14 when we’re about it. For I know that an exodus is in your noddle, and you’ll ’xcuse me for calling it a noddle, sir, won’t you?”
“Noddle or nut, Gourmand, it’s all the same to me. But what, my friend, would you think would be the best place to emigrate to?”
“Why not to Scotland, cap’n? It is the land of chivalry15 and romance, you know.
“Land of green heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood.”
“Land of fiddlesticks, Gourmie! Do you think it would pay?”
“Pay? Ay, all to pieces. Ours is just the sort of entertainment, cap’n, to draw bumper17 houses on the outskirts18 of Glasgow to begin with, and so on to Paisley and Greenock. The Scotch19 are naturally musical, and they adore a good play. Needn’t be so much blood and thunder in it either as for England here.{74}”
“We’d have to throw in the kilts though, wouldn’t we, and make our company learn Scotch.”
“Nonsense, sir. We’d make fools of ourselves if we did. Believe me, captain, Scotch spoken by English lips never ends but in one thing.”
“And that is?”
“Ridicule. But the Scotch will hold out the right hand of friendship and hospitality to their English brothers if we go as English, and nothing assume. Brave young Johnnie with his Saxon strength will be a favourite first night. Wee Willie too, with his fiddle16, and—well, and the rest of us.”
“Including Peggy, Gourmand?”
“Ah, there, sir. Peggy’s young English beauty, her sweet voice and winning ways, will completely take the Scottish heart by storm. There will be a furore, sir; she’ll win the day for the lot of us.”
There was positively21 a tear of pride in the honest giant’s eye as he spoke20.
Captain Fitzroy held out his hand.
“Gourmand, we’ll go,” he said, “we’ll start to-morrow morning right away for Southampton, ship the whole show there to{75} be next heard of in the second city of the Empire.”
They had been bearing up for the Midland counties, but now the course was altered, and the bows of the first great caravan were headed away for the west, or, as a sailor would say, west with a little bit of south in it.
“Wherever be we off to now, lovie?” said Molly Muldoon, when she met the giant next morning early. He looked full of business, his great shoulders well square back and strong enough apparently22 to have lifted Peggy’s caravan, wheels and all, hands a little begrimed, no hat, hair like heather, but a good-natured smile all over his broad and energetic face.
“Where be we off to? Eh? Why, my dear little roly-poly Molly, we’re going by sea to bonnie Scotland.”
“Lauk-a-mussy-me!” cried Molly. “Preserve us all from ’arm. To Scotland, where they all runs wild in short kilts, with red heads and red, bare legs. To Scotland, where they kills and eats babies, and serves old folks up in a stoo, where——”
“Ah, Molly, they’ll find you and me{76} pretty tough eating, I’m thinking, even if they do try us in a stoo.”
“But, lovie, dear, my pet Gourmie, try to perswade Mr. Fitzroy not to throw his life away, and the life of hall of us. Mussy-me, lovie, it’s terrible.”
But terrible or not terrible, that very day they had put five-and-twenty miles of east behind them, and pitched at night in a sweet green field not far from Midhurst.
There was no entertainment that night. But they did lots of billing, and, early next morning it was evident from the interest the rustics23 were showing round the gate and the fences that a bumper house might be counted upon.
Nor were they disappointed. “The Forest Maiden” was new to them here, and so successful was the entertainment, that, when, on the morning after, the rustics saw the tents being struck, they were very much disappointed indeed. Just as they were starting, a busy little clergyman bustled24 up, and saluting25 Fitzroy, told him the show was just the sort of thing he would like to see encouraged, as it kept the people away from the public houses, and he would like him to promise that if ever he was anywhere in{77} the neighbourhood again it would not be one night nor even one week he would stay, to give his (the parson’s) parishioners pleasure, but a month at the very least.
Fitzroy smiled and replied that he would certainly consider the matter.
It was getting on towards the end of leafy May, May with its glorious blue spring skies, its green fields and waving woods, its wealth of wild flowers in meadow-land, and on wayside sward; May with its music of wild birds, days of dreamy sunshine, and nights of stars. And Peggy sighed a little, as she looked her last on the rolling trees of England south, some miles before they rolled into busy bustling26, Southampton.
Peggy little knew what was before her.


1 idyllic lk1yv     
  • These scenes had an idyllic air.这种情景多少有点田园气氛。
  • Many people living in big cities yearn for an idyllic country life.现在的很多都市人向往那种田园化的生活。
2 caravan OrVzu     
  • The community adviser gave us a caravan to live in.社区顾问给了我们一间活动住房栖身。
  • Geoff connected the caravan to the car.杰弗把旅行用的住屋拖车挂在汽车上。
3 chunk Kqwzz     
  • They had to be careful of floating chunks of ice.他们必须当心大块浮冰。
  • The company owns a chunk of farmland near Gatwick Airport.该公司拥有盖特威克机场周边的大片农田。
4 enjoyment opaxV     
  • Your company adds to the enjoyment of our visit. 有您的陪同,我们这次访问更加愉快了。
  • After each joke the old man cackled his enjoyment.每逢讲完一个笑话,这老人就呵呵笑着表示他的高兴。
5 scenic aDbyP     
  • The scenic beauty of the place entranced the visitors.这里的美丽风光把游客们迷住了。
  • The scenic spot is on northwestern outskirts of Beijing.这个风景区位于北京的西北远郊。
6 gourmand Vezzc     
  • He was long famed as a gourmand and heavy smoker and drinker.长期以来,他一直以嗜好美食和烟酒闻名。
  • The food here satisfies gourmands rather than gourmets.这里的食物可以管饱却不讲究品质。
7 immortal 7kOyr     
  • The wild cocoa tree is effectively immortal.野生可可树实际上是不会死的。
  • The heroes of the people are immortal!人民英雄永垂不朽!
8 possessed xuyyQ     
  • He flew out of the room like a man possessed.他像着了魔似地猛然冲出房门。
  • He behaved like someone possessed.他行为举止像是魔怔了。
9 consultation VZAyq     
  • The company has promised wide consultation on its expansion plans.该公司允诺就其扩展计划广泛征求意见。
  • The scheme was developed in close consultation with the local community.该计划是在同当地社区密切磋商中逐渐形成的。
10 growl VeHzE     
  • The dog was biting,growling and wagging its tail.那条狗在一边撕咬一边低声吼叫,尾巴也跟着摇摆。
  • The car growls along rutted streets.汽车在车辙纵横的街上一路轰鸣。
11 scatter uDwzt     
  • You pile everything up and scatter things around.你把东西乱堆乱放。
  • Small villages scatter at the foot of the mountain.村庄零零落落地散布在山脚下。
12 contented Gvxzof     
  • He won't be contented until he's upset everyone in the office.不把办公室里的每个人弄得心烦意乱他就不会满足。
  • The people are making a good living and are contented,each in his station.人民安居乐业。
13 beetle QudzV     
  • A firefly is a type of beetle.萤火虫是一种甲虫。
  • He saw a shiny green beetle on a leaf.我看见树叶上有一只闪闪发光的绿色甲虫。
14 exodus khnzj     
  • The medical system is facing collapse because of an exodus of doctors.由于医生大批离去,医疗系统面临崩溃。
  • Man's great challenge at this moment is to prevent his exodus from this planet.人在当前所遇到的最大挑战,就是要防止人从这个星球上消失。
15 chivalry wXAz6     
  • The Middle Ages were also the great age of chivalry.中世纪也是骑士制度盛行的时代。
  • He looked up at them with great chivalry.他非常有礼貌地抬头瞧她们。
16 fiddle GgYzm     
  • She plays the fiddle well.她小提琴拉得好。
  • Don't fiddle with the typewriter.不要摆弄那架打字机了。
17 bumper jssz8     
  • The painting represents the scene of a bumper harvest.这幅画描绘了丰收的景象。
  • This year we have a bumper harvest in grain.今年我们谷物丰收。
18 outskirts gmDz7W     
  • Our car broke down on the outskirts of the city.我们的汽车在市郊出了故障。
  • They mostly live on the outskirts of a town.他们大多住在近郊。
19 scotch ZZ3x8     
  • Facts will eventually scotch these rumours.这种谣言在事实面前将不攻自破。
  • Italy was full of fine views and virtually empty of Scotch whiskey.意大利多的是美景,真正缺的是苏格兰威士忌。
20 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
  • 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。
21 positively vPTxw     
  • She was positively glowing with happiness.她满脸幸福。
  • The weather was positively poisonous.这天气着实讨厌。
22 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。
23 rustics f1e7511b114ac3f40d8971c142b51a43     
n.有农村或村民特色的( rustic的名词复数 );粗野的;不雅的;用粗糙的木材或树枝制作的
  • These rustics are utilized for the rough work of devoton. 那样的乡村气质可以替宗教做些粗重的工作。 来自互联网
24 bustled 9467abd9ace0cff070d56f0196327c70     
闹哄哄地忙乱,奔忙( bustle的过去式和过去分词 ); 催促
  • 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。
25 saluting 2161687306b8f25bfcd37731907dd5eb     
v.欢迎,致敬( salute的现在分词 );赞扬,赞颂
  • 'Thank you kindly, sir,' replied Long John, again saluting. “万分感谢,先生。”高个子约翰说着又行了个礼。 来自英汉文学 - 金银岛
  • He approached the young woman and, without saluting, began at once to converse with her. 他走近那年青女郎,马上就和她攀谈起来了,连招呼都不打。 来自辞典例句
26 bustling LxgzEl     
  • The market was bustling with life. 市场上生机勃勃。
  • This district is getting more and more prosperous and bustling. 这一带越来越繁华了。


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