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Chapter 9

Captain Wentworth was come to Kellynch as to a home, to stay as long as he liked, being as thoroughly the object of the Admiral's fraternal kindness as of his wife's. He had intended, on first arriving, to proceed very soon into Shropshire, and visit the brother settled in that country, but the attractions of Uppercross induced him to put this off. There was so much of friendliness, and of flattery, and of everything most bewitching in his reception there; the old were so hospitable, the young so agreeable, that he could not but resolve to remain where he was, and take all the charms and perfections of Edward's wife upon credit a little longer.

It was soon Uppercross with him almost every day. The Musgroves could hardly be more ready to invite than he to come, particularly in the morning, when he had no companion at home, for the Admiral and Mrs Croft were generally out of doors together, interesting themselves in their new possessions, their grass, and their sheep, and dawdling about in a way not endurable to a third person, or driving out in a gig, lately added to their establishment.

Hitherto there had been but one opinion of Captain Wentworth among the Musgroves and their dependencies. It was unvarying, warm admiration everywhere; but this intimate footing was not more than established, when a certain Charles Hayter returned among them, to be a good deal disturbed by it, and to think Captain Wentworth very much in the way.

Charles Hayter was the eldest of all the cousins, and a very amiable, pleasing young man, between whom and Henrietta there had been a considerable appearance of attachment previous to Captain Wentworth's introduction. He was in orders; and having a curacy in the neighbourhood, where residence was not required, lived at his father's house, only two miles from Uppercross. A short absence from home had left his fair one unguarded by his attentions at this critical period, and when he came back he had the pain of finding very altered manners, and of seeing Captain Wentworth.

Mrs Musgrove and Mrs Hayter were sisters. They had each had money, but their marriages had made a material difference in their degree of consequence. Mr Hayter had some property of his own, but it was insignificant compared with Mr Musgrove's; and while the Musgroves were in the first class of society in the country, the young Hayters would, from their parents' inferior, retired, and unpolished way of living, and their own defective education, have been hardly in any class at all, but for their connexion with Uppercross, this eldest son of course excepted, who had chosen to be a scholar and a gentleman, and who was very superior in cultivation and manners to all the rest.

The two families had always been on excellent terms, there being no pride on one side, and no envy on the other, and only such a consciousness of superiority in the Miss Musgroves, as made them pleased to improve their cousins. Charles's attentions to Henrietta had been observed by her father and mother without any disapprobation. "It would not be a great match for her; but if Henrietta liked him, "-- and Henrietta did seem to like him.

Henrietta fully thought so herself, before Captain Wentworth came; but from that time Cousin Charles had been very much forgotten.

Which of the two sisters was preferred by Captain Wentworth was as yet quite doubtful, as far as Anne's observation reached. Henrietta was perhaps the prettiest, Louisa had the higher spirits; and she knew not now, whether the more gentle or the more lively character were most likely to attract him.

Mr and Mrs Musgrove, either from seeing little, or from an entire confidence in the discretion of both their daughters, and of all the young men who came near them, seemed to leave everything to take its chance. There was not the smallest appearance of solicitude or remark about them in the Mansion-house; but it was different at the Cottage: the young couple there were more disposed to speculate and wonder; and Captain Wentworth had not been above four or five times in the Miss Musgroves' company, and Charles Hayter had but just reappeared, when Anne had to listen to the opinions of her brother and sister, as to which was the one liked best. Charles gave it for Louisa, Mary for Henrietta, but quite agreeing that to have him marry either could be extremely delightful.

Charles "had never seen a pleasanter man in his life; and from what he had once heard Captain Wentworth himself say, was very sure that he had not made less than twenty thousand pounds by the war. Here was a fortune at once; besides which, there would be the chance of what might be done in any future war; and he was sure Captain Wentworth was as likely a man to distinguish himself as any officer in the navy. Oh! it would be a capital match for either of his sisters. "

"Upon my word it would, " replied Mary. "Dear me! If he should rise to any very great honours! If he should ever be made a baronet! `Lady Wentworth' sounds very well. That would be a noble thing, indeed, for Henrietta! She would take place of me then, and Henrietta would not dislike that. Sir Frederick and Lady Wentworth! It would be but a new creation, however, and I never think much of your new creations. "

It suited Mary best to think Henrietta the one preferred on the very account of Charles Hayter, whose pretensions she wished to see put an end to. She looked down very decidedly upon the Hayters, and thought it would be quite a misfortune to have the existing connection between the families renewed--very sad for herself and her children.

"You know, " said she, "I cannot think him at all a fit match for Henrietta; and considering the alliances which the Musgroves have made, she has no right to throw herself away. I do not think any young woman has a right to make a choice that may be disagreeable and inconvenient to the principal part of her family, and be giving bad connections to those who have not been used to them. And, pray, who is Charles Hayter? Nothing but a country curate. A most improper match for Miss Musgrove of Uppercross. "

Her husband, however, would not agree with her here; for besides having a regard for his cousin, Charles Hayter was an eldest son, and he saw things as an eldest son himself.

"Now you are taking nonsense, Mary, " was therefore his answer. "It would not be a great match for Henrietta, but Charles has a very fair chance, through the Spicers, of getting something from the Bishop in the course of a year or two; and you will please to remember, that he is the eldest son; whenever my uncle dies, he steps into very pretty property. The estate at Winthrop is not less than two hundred and fifty acres, besides the farm near Taunton, which is some of the best land in the country. I grant you, that any of them but Charles would be a very shocking match for Henrietta, and indeed it could not be; he is the only one that could be possible; but he is a very good-natured, good sort of a fellow; and whenever Winthrop comes into his hands, he will make a different sort of place of it, and live in a very different sort of way; and with that property, he will never be a contemptible man--good, freehold property. No, no; Henrietta might do worse than marry Charles Hayter; and if she has him, and Louisa can get Captain Wentworth, I shall be very well satisfied. "

"Charles may say what he pleases, " cried Mary to Anne, as soon as he was out of the room, "but it would be shocking to have Henrietta marry Charles Hayter; a very bad thing for her, and still worse for me; and therefore it is very much to be wished that Captain Wentworth may soon put him quite out of her head, and I have very little doubt that he has. She took hardly any notice of Charles Hayter yesterday. I wish you had been there to see her behaviour. And as to Captain Wentworth's liking Louisa as well as Henrietta, it is nonsense to say so; for he certainly does like Henrietta a great deal the best. But Charles is so positive! I wish you had been with us yesterday, for then you might have decided between us; and I am sure you would have thought as I did, unless you had been determined to give it against me. "

A dinner at Mr Musgrove's had been the occasion when all these things should have been seen by Anne; but she had staid at home, under the mixed plea of a headache of her own, and some return of indisposition in little Charles. She had thought only of avoiding Captain Wentworth; but an escape from being appealed to as umpire was now added to the advantages of a quiet evening.

As to Captain Wentworth's views, she deemed it of more consequence that he should know his own mind early enough not to be endangering the happiness of either sister, or impeaching his own honour, than that he should prefer Henrietta to Louisa, or Louisa to Henrietta. Either of them would, in all probability, make him an affectionate, good-humoured wife. With regard to Charles Hayter, she had delicacy which must be pained by any lightness of conduct in a well-meaning young woman, and a heart to sympathize in any of the sufferings it occasioned; but if Henrietta found herself mistaken in the nature of her feelings, the alternation could not be understood too soon.

Charles Hayter had met with much to disquiet and mortify him in his cousin's behaviour. She had too old a regard for him to be so wholly estranged as might in two meetings extinguish every past hope, and leave him nothing to do but to keep away from Uppercross: but there was such a change as became very alarming, when such a man as Captain Wentworth was to be regarded as the probable cause. He had been absent only two Sundays, and when they parted, had left her interested, even to the height of his wishes, in his prospect of soon quitting his present curacy, and obtaining that of Uppercross instead. It had then seemed the object nearest her heart, that Dr Shirley, the rector, who for more than forty years had been zealously discharging all the duties of his office, but was now growing too infirm for many of them, should be quite fixed on engaging a curate; should make his curacy quite as good as he could afford, and should give Charles Hayter the promise of it. The advantage of his having to come only to Uppercross, instead of going six miles another way; of his having, in every respect, a better curacy; of his belonging to their dear Dr Shirley, and of dear, good Dr Shirley's being relieved from the duty which he could no longer get through without most injurious fatigue, had been a great deal, even to Louisa, but had been almost everything to Henrietta. When he came back, alas! the zeal of the business was gone by. Louisa could not listen at all to his account of a conversation which he had just held with Dr Shirley: she was at a window, looking out for Captain Wentworth; and even Henrietta had at best only a divided attention to give, and seemed to have forgotten all the former doubt and solicitude of the negotiation.

"Well, I am very glad indeed: but I always thought you would have it; I always thought you sure. It did not appear to me that--in short, you know, Dr Shirley must have a curate, and you had secured his promise. Is he coming, Louisa?"

One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at which Anne had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the drawing-room at the Cottage, where were only herself and the little invalid Charles, who was lying on the sofa.

The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot, deprived his manners of their usual composure: he started, and could only say, "I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here: Mrs Musgrove told me I should find them here, " before he walked to the window to recollect himself, and feel how he ought to behave.

"They are up stairs with my sister: they will be down in a few moments, I dare say, " had been Anne's reply, in all the confusion that was natural; and if the child had not called her to come and do something for him, she would have been out of the room the next moment, and released Captain Wentworth as well as herself.

He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying, "I hope the little boy is better, " was silent.

She was obliged to kneel down by the sofa, and remain there to satisfy her patient; and thus they continued a few minutes, when, to her very great satisfaction, she heard some other person crossing the little vestibule. She hoped, on turning her head, to see the master of the house; but it proved to be one much less calculated for making matters easy--Charles Hayter, probably not at all better pleased by the sight of Captain Wentworth than Captain Wentworth had been by the sight of Anne.

She only attempted to say, "How do you do? Will you not sit down? The others will be here presently. "

Captain Wentworth, however, came from his window, apparently not ill-disposed for conversation; but Charles Hayter soon put an end to his attempts by seating himself near the table, and taking up the newspaper; and Captain Wentworth returned to his window.

Another minute brought another addition. The younger boy, a remarkable stout, forward child, of two years old, having got the door opened for him by some one without, made his determined appearance among them, and went straight to the sofa to see what was going on, and put in his claim to anything good that might be giving away.

There being nothing to eat, he could only have some play; and as his aunt would not let him tease his sick brother, he began to fasten himself upon her, as she knelt, in such a way that, busy as she was about Charles, she could not shake him off. She spoke to him, ordered, entreated, and insisted in vain. Once she did contrive to push him away, but the boy had the greater pleasure in getting upon her back again directly.

"Walter, " said she, "get down this moment. You are extremely troublesome. I am very angry with you. "

"Walter, " cried Charles Hayter, "why do you not do as you are bid? Do not you hear your aunt speak? Come to me, Walter, come to cousin Charles. "

But not a bit did Walter stir.

In another moment, however, she found herself in the state of being released from him; some one was taking him from her, though he had bent down her head so much, that his little sturdy hands were unfastened from around her neck, and he was resolutely borne away, before she knew that Captain Wentworth had done it.

Her sensations on the discovery made her perfectly speechless. She could not even thank him. She could only hang over little Charles, with most disordered feelings. His kindness in stepping forward to her relief, the manner, the silence in which it had passed, the little particulars of the circumstance, with the conviction soon forced on her by the noise he was studiously making with the child, that he meant to avoid hearing her thanks, and rather sought to testify that her conversation was the last of his wants, produced such a confusion of varying, but very painful agitation, as she could not recover from, till enabled by the entrance of Mary and the Miss Musgroves to make over her little patient to their cares, and leave the room. She could not stay. It might have been an opportunity of watching the loves and jealousies of the four-- they were now altogether; but she could stay for none of it. It was evident that Charles Hayter was not well inclined towards Captain Wentworth. She had a strong impression of his having said, in a vext tone of voice, after Captain Wentworth's interference, "You ought to have minded me, Walter; I told you not to teaze your aunt;" and could comprehend his regretting that Captain Wentworth should do what he ought to have done himself. But neither Charles Hayter's feelings, nor anybody's feelings, could interest her, till she had a little better arranged her own. She was ashamed of herself, quite ashamed of being so nervous, so overcome by such a trifle; but so it was, and it required a long application of solitude and reflection to recover her.

温特沃思上校来到凯林奇像回到了家里,真是愿住多久就住多久,受到了姐姐和将军充满手足之精的友好接待。他刚到的时候还打算马上就去希罗普郡,拜访一下住在那里的哥哥,谁想厄泼克劳斯对他的吸引力太大了,这事只好往后推一推。这里的人们待他那么友好,那么恭维,一切都使他感到心醉神迷。年长者是那样热情好客,年轻人是那样情投意合,他只好决定待在原地不走,稍晚一点再去领受爱德华夫人的妩媚多姿和多才多艺。

过了不久,他几乎天天跑到厄泼克劳斯。默斯格罗夫府上愿意邀请,他更愿意上门,特别是早上他在家里无人作伴的时候;因为克罗夫特夫妇通常要一道出门,去欣赏他们的新庄园、牧草和羊群,以一个第三者不堪忍受的方式游荡一番,或是乘着他们最新添置的一辆轻便双轮马车兜兜风。

迄今为止,默斯格罗夫一家及其亲属对温特沃思上校只有一个看法。这就是说,他随时随地都受到人们的交口称誉。但是这种亲密关系刚建立起不久,就又出现了个查尔斯·海特,他见到这个情况深感不安,觉得温特沃思上校严重妨碍了他。

查尔斯·海特是默斯格罗夫小姐的大表兄,也是个和悦可爱的青年。温特沃思上校到来之前,他似乎同亨丽埃塔有过深厚的感情。他身负圣职,在附近当副牧师,因为不需要住宿,便住到他父亲家里,离厄泼克劳斯不过两英里。在这关键时刻,他外出了一段不长的时间,致使女友受不到他的殷勤关照,等他回来以后,痛苦地发现她完全改变了态度,真感到伤心至极;同时,一见到温特沃思上校,也感到十分痛苦。

默斯格罗夫太太和海特太太是姊妹俩。她们本来都很有钱,但是出嫁以后,她们的社会地位发生了天壤之别。海特先生有一点家产,可是同默斯格罗夫先生的家产比起来实在微不足道。默斯格罗夫家属于乡下的头等人家,而海特家却好,做父母的地位低下,过着退隐粗俗的生活,几个兄妹本身又受教育不足,若不是幸亏同厄泼克劳斯沾了点亲,岂不成了等外人(这是封建阶级的等级观念,所谓“等外人”系指还在自耕农之下)?当然,那位长子应该除外,因为他喜欢做个学者、绅士,他的修养和举止比其他几个人卜强得多。

这两家人的关系素来很好,一方不傲慢,另一方不嫉妒,只是两位默斯格罗夫小姐有点优越感,因此她们很愿意帮助表兄妹提高提高。查尔斯向亨丽埃塔献殷勤一事早被她父母注意到了,不过他们没有表示异议。“这门亲事对她不十分匹配,不过只要亨丽埃塔喜欢他就行,”而亨丽埃塔看上去的确喜欢他。

温特沃思上校没来之前,亨丽埃塔本人完全是这么想的。谁想打那之后,查尔斯表兄便被忘了个一干二净。

两位默斯格罗夫小姐中,温特沃思上校究竟更喜欢哪一位?据安妮观察,这个问题尚难预料。也许亨丽埃塔长得更漂亮些,路易莎生性更活泼些。眼下,她不晓得哪种性情可能对他更有吸引力,是温柔,还是活泼。

默斯格罗夫夫妇或者因为见得太少,或者因为绝对相信他们的两个女儿以及接近她们的所有小伙子都能谨慎从事,似乎一切听其自然。大宅里见不到一丝半点担心的迹象,听不到一丝半点的闲言冷语。可是乡舍里情况就不同了。那对小夫妻就喜欢大惊小怪地猜来猜去。温特沃思上校同两位默斯格罗夫小姐在一起还没呆上四五次,查尔斯·海特不过刚刚再次出现,安妮便听到妹妹妹夫谈论起她们哪一位更受喜爱。查尔斯说是路易莎,玛丽说是亨丽

埃塔,不过双方一致认为:不管让他娶哪一位,都会令人无比高兴。

查尔斯说:“我生平从未见过比他更和悦的人。我有一次听温特沃思上校亲口说过,确信他在战争中发的财不小于两万镑。一下子就发了这么一大笔财。除此之外,将来再打起仗来,他还会有机会发财。我深信,温特沃思上校比海军里的哪个军官都更能出类拔萃。唔!这不论对我的哪个妹妹都将是一门极好的亲事。”

“我担保是这样的,”玛丽答道。“天哪!但愿他能得到最高的荣誉!但愿他能当上个准男爵!‘温特沃思爵士夫人,’听上去多悦耳。对亨丽埃塔来说,这的确将是一门极好的亲事!到时候她将取代我的位置,亨丽埃塔对此不会不喜欢的。弗雷德里克爵士和温特沃思夫人!可是,这只不过是一个新加封的爵位,我对新加封的爵位从来就看不起。”

玛丽之所以偏要认为温特沃思上校看中了亨丽埃塔,完全是冲着查尔斯·海特来的。那家伙想得倒美,她就是要看着他死了这条心。她顶瞧不起海特这家人,觉得她们两家要是再结起亲来,将是极大的不幸——对她和她的孩子都很不幸。

“你知道,”她说,“我认为他压根儿配不上亨丽埃塔。考虑到默斯格罗夫家已有的姻缘,亨丽埃塔没有权利把自己葬送掉。我认为一个年轻女子没有权利做出这样的抉择,以至于给她家庭的主要成员带来不快和不便,给某些成员带来些他们不喜欢的低贱的社会关系。请问,查尔斯·海特是何许人?不过是个乡下副牧师。他根本配不上厄泼克劳斯的默斯格罗夫小姐。”

不过,她丈夫断然不能赞成她的这个看法,因为他除了对他的表弟比较器重之外,查尔斯·海特还是个长子,他自己正是以长子的目光来看待事物的。

因此他回答说:“玛丽,你这是胡说八道。这门亲事对亨丽埃塔是不很体面,不过查尔斯很有希望通过斯派塞一家人的推举,在一两年内从主教那里捞到点好处(意指将查尔斯从副牧师提为牧师)。我还请你不要忘记,他是个长子,等我姨父一死,他就会继承一大笔财产。温思罗普的那块庄地足有二百五十英亩,再加上汤顿附近的那个农场,那可是乡下的上好宝地。我可以对你这么说,除了查尔斯以外,谁都配不上亨丽埃塔,的确不行。只有他可以。他是个十分忠厚的好小伙子,温思罗普一旦传到他的手里,他就会让它变个样,生活也会大大改观。有了这宗地产,他决不会再是个卑贱的小人——那可真是一宗完全保有的地产(即完全为主人所占有,不必交租继税)。不行,不行,亨丽埃塔要是不嫁给查尔斯·海特,也许更糟糕。她要是嫁给他,路易莎再嫁给温特沃思上校,那我就心满意足了。”

“查尔斯爱怎么说就怎么说,”等查尔斯一走出屋,玛丽便对安妮说道,“可是要让亨丽埃塔嫁给查尔斯·海特,那可糟糕了:不仅对她自己是件非常糟糕的事情,对我来说更糟糕。所以我就盼着温特沃思上校能赶快让她把查尔斯·海特忘掉。我不怀疑他已经做到了这一点。昨天,亨丽埃塔简直连理都不理查尔斯·海特。可惜你不在场,没有见到她的那个态度。至于说温特沃思上校对亨丽埃

塔和路易莎都喜欢,那简直是瞎说八道,因为他当然对亨丽埃塔更为喜欢。可是查尔斯太自信了!你昨天要是同我们在一起就好了,那样你就可以给我们做个仲裁。找想你一定会同意我的看法,除非你存心跟我过不去。”

安妮假若到默斯格罗夫府上赴一次晚宴,这一切情况都能见到。谁想她找了个借口,说她头痛,小查尔斯又旧病复发,硬是呆在家里没有去。她本来考虑的只是想避开温特沃思上校,可是现在看来,她晚上安安静静地呆在家里还多了一项好处,没有人会请她作仲裁了。至于谈到温特沃思上校的想法,安妮认为重要的不在于他喜欢亨丽埃塔还是喜欢路易莎,而在于他应该趁早打定主意,不要损害两位小姐中任何一位的幸福,也不要败坏自己的声誉。几乎可以肯定,她们哪个都能给他做个温柔多情的好妻子。可说到查尔斯·海特,她既对一个好心姑娘的轻桃行为感到痛心,又对这可能引起的痛苦感到同情。不过,如果亨丽埃塔发现自己的感情不对头的话,那她应该尽快让人知道这种变化。

查尔斯·海特受尽了表妹的冷落,搞得心神不定,屈辱不堪。亨丽埃塔对他的情意由来已久,不可能完全疏远下来,以至于经过最近两次见面,就使过去的希望统统化为乌有;查尔斯·海特也不至于无可奈何地要避开厄泼克劳斯。不过,如今出现这番变化,温特沃思上校这样一个人被视为可能的根源所在,这不能不令人惊愕。海特只不过离开了两个星期日,他们分手的时候,亨丽埃塔还十分关心他的前途,而且使他十分称心的是,她希望他很快就能放弃现在的副牧师职位,而获得厄泼克劳斯的同一职位。看来,她当时一心巴望:教区长谢利博士四十多年来一直在满腔热情地履行自己的职责,可是如今越来越年迈体弱,很多事情力不从心了,应该下决心设个副牧师;他最好尽量把这副牧师的职位搞得体面些,而且应该许诺给查尔斯·海特。这样一来,他只要来厄泼克劳斯就行了,用不着跑六英里到别处去。无论从哪个方面来看,他都将得到一个更好的副牧师职位;他将充当她们亲爱的谢利博士的助手;亲爱、善良的谢利博士可以从那些最劳累、最伤身体的事务中解脱出来。这些优点即使在路易莎看来也是十分了不起的,而在亨丽埃塔看来简直是性命交关。等海特回来后,天哪!她们对这桩事的热忱已经化为泡影。当他介绍他刚同谢利博士进行的一次谈话内容时,路易莎压根儿听不进去:她立在窗口,眼望着外面寻找温特沃思上校;就连亨丽埃塔充其量也不过是半听不听的,仿佛把过去商洽中的疑念忧虑早就忘了个一干二净。

“唔,我的确很高兴。不过我一向认为你能得到这个职位,我一向认为你肯定能得到。据我看来,似乎——总而言之,你知道,谢利博士一定要有个副牧师,而你又得到了他的许诺。温特沃思上校要来吗,路易莎?”

一天早上,默斯格罗夫府上刚请过客不久(安妮没有出席),温恃沃思上校走进了乡舍的客厅,不料客厅里只有安妮和正在生病的小查尔斯两个人,小查尔斯躺在沙发上。

温特沃思上校发现自己几乎是单独和安妮·埃利奥特碰到了一起,仪态举止不禁失去了往常的镇静,惊惶中只能说道:“我原以为两位默斯格罗夫小姐在这儿,默斯格罗夫太太告诉我可以在这里找到她们。”说罢他走到窗口,好让自己镇定下来,同时想想他该怎么办。

安妮自然也很慌张,她回答说:“她俩和我妹妹一起呆在楼上,我想一会儿就会下来的。”若不是孩子喊她过来做件什么事,她马上就会走出屋去,解除她自己和温特沃思上校的困窘。

上校仍然立在窗口,镇静而客气地说了声:“我希望小家伙好些了。”便又沉默不语了。

安妮只好跪在沙发旁,尽心服侍她的病人。他们就这祥持续了几分钟,接着,使她大为欣慰的是,她听见有人穿过小门厅。她扭过头,指望见到房主人,谁料想来者却是个完全无补于事的人——查尔斯·海特。就像温特沃思上校不愿见到安妮一样,海特也不愿见到温特沃思上校。

安妮只勉强说了声:“你好!请坐吧,其他人马上就下来。”

不过,温特沃思上校倒从窗口走了过来,显然想搭搭腔。不料查尔斯·海特连忙坐到桌子旁边,拾起一张报纸,当即让他吃了个闭门羹。温特沃思上校只好再回到窗口。

过了一会,又来了一个人,原来是玛丽的二小子。他今年两岁,长得矮墩墩、胖乎乎的,愣头愣脑,刚才有人在外面帮他打开门,他便噔噔噔地闯了进来,直冲冲地走到沙发跟前,瞧瞧那里有什么好玩的,见到可以分送的好东西就伸手要。

没有什么好吃的,他只能闹着玩。因为姨妈不肯让他捉弄生病的哥哥,他便开始缠住姨妈不放。安妮正跪在地上,忙着服侍小查尔斯,怎么也摆脱不了他。她劝说他,命令他,恳求他,说来说去都无济于事。有一次,她设法把他推开,可这小家伙觉得越发开心,当即又爬回到姨妈背上。

“沃尔特,”安妮说道,“马上下来。你烦死人啦,真惹我生气。”

可沃尔特却赖着不动。

转瞬间,她觉得那小家伙正在慢慢地松开胳臂;原来有人从她背上把他拉开。虽说他紧紧地趴在她头上,他那强劲的小手还是被从她脖子上拉开了,人也给果断地抱走了。这时她才知道,做好事的竟是温特沃思上校。

这一发现使她激动得一句话也说不出来。她甚至都不能谢他一声,只能附在小查尔斯面前,心乱如麻。他好心好意地上前帮她解围,他的这番举动,自始至终一声不响,详情细节都很奇特,随后他又故意把孩子逗得傲嗽直叫,使安妮立即认识到,他并不想听她道谢,或者干脆想证明他最不愿意同她说话;这些情况使她心里乱作一团,既感到激动不安,又觉着痛苦不堪,始终镇定不下来。后来

见玛丽和两位默斯格罗夫小姐进来了,她才得以把孩子交给她们照料,自己走出了屋子。她不能留下来。这本是个观察他们四个人表露钟情和拈酸吃醋的好机会,因为他们现在都凑到一起来了;可是她却不能留下来观察。显而易见,查尔斯·海特并不喜欢温特沃思上校。就在温特沃思上校出面干预之后,他说了句话给安妮留下了很深的印象,他说:“你早该听我的话,沃尔特。我告诉过你不要跟姨妈捣乱。”安妮可以理解,温特沃思上校做了他应该做而没有做的事情,一定使他感到很懊恼。不过,无论是查尔斯·海特的心情,还是别的什么人的心情,她都不感兴趣,除非她先让自己的心情平静下来。她为自己感到害躁,为自己碰到这么件小事便如此慌张、如此束手无策,而感到极为惭愧。不过,情况就是如此,她需要经过长时间的独自思索,才能恢复镇定。



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