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Chapter 1

About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward1, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby2 raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable3 claim to it. She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation4; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple5 to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev6. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible7: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal8 felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant9 of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly10. She could hardly have made a more untoward11 choice. Sir Thomas Bertram had interest, which, from principle as well as pride--from a general wish of doing right, and a desire of seeing all that were connected with him in situations of respectability, he would have been glad to exert for the advantage of Lady Bertram's sister; but her husband's profession was such as no interest could reach; and before he had time to devise any other method of assisting them, an absolute breach12 between the sisters had taken place. It was the natural result of the conduct of each party, and such as a very imprudent marriage almost always produces. To save herself from useless remonstrance13, Mrs. Price never wrote to her family on the subject till actually married. Lady Bertram, who was a woman of very tranquil14 feelings, and a temper remarkably15 easy and indolent, would have contented16 herself with merely giving up her sister, and thinking no more of the matter; but Mrs. Norris had a spirit of activity, which could not be satisfied till she had written a long and angry letter to Fanny, to point out the folly17 of her conduct, and threaten her with all its possible ill consequences. Mrs. Price, in her turn, was injured and angry; and an answer, which comprehended each sister in its bitterness, and bestowed19 such very disrespectful reflections on the pride of Sir Thomas as Mrs. Norris could not possibly keep to herself, put an end to all intercourse20 between them for a considerable period.

Their homes were so distant, and the circles in which they moved so distinct, as almost to preclude21 the means of ever hearing of each other's existence during the eleven following years, or, at least, to make it very wonderful to Sir Thomas that Mrs. Norris should ever have it in her power to tell them, as she now and then did, in an angry voice, that Fanny had got another child. By the end of eleven years, however, Mrs. Price could no longer afford to cherish pride or resentment22, or to lose one connexion that might possibly assist her. A large and still increasing family, an husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants, made her eager to regain23 the friends she had so carelessly sacrificed; and she addressed Lady Bertram in a letter which spoke24 so much contrition25 and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation26. She was preparing for her ninth lying-in; and after bewailing the circumstance, and imploring27 their countenance28 as sponsors to the expected child, she could not conceal29 how important she felt they might be to the future maintenance of the eight already in being. Her eldest30 was a boy of ten years old, a fine spirited fellow, who longed to be out in the world; but what could she do? Was there any chance of his being hereafter useful to Sir Thomas in the concerns of his West Indian property? No situation would be beneath him; or what did Sir Thomas think of Woolwich? or how could a boy be sent out to the East?

The letter was not unproductive. It re-established peace and kindness. Sir Thomas sent friendly advice and professions, Lady Bertram dispatched money and baby-linen, and Mrs. Norris wrote the letters.

Such were its immediate31 effects, and within a twelvemonth a more important advantage to Mrs. Price resulted from it. Mrs. Norris was often observing to the others that she could not get her poor sister and her family out of her head, and that, much as they had all done for her, she seemed to be wanting to do more; and at length she could not but own it to be her wish that poor Mrs. Price should be relieved from the charge and expense of one child entirely32 out of her great number. "What if they were among them to undertake the care of her eldest daughter, a girl now nine years old, of an age to require more attention than her poor mother could possibly give? The trouble and expense of it to them would be nothing, compared with the benevolence33 of the action." Lady Bertram agreed with her instantly. "I think we cannot do better," said she; "let us send for the child."

Sir Thomas could not give so instantaneous and unqualified a consent. He debated and hesitated;--it was a serious charge;-- a girl so brought up must be adequately provided for, or there would be cruelty instead of kindness in taking her from her family. He thought of his own four children, of his two sons, of cousins in love, etc.;--but no sooner had he deliberately34 begun to state his objections, than Mrs. Norris interrupted him with a reply to them all, whether stated or not.

"My dear Sir Thomas, I perfectly35 comprehend you, and do justice to the generosity36 and delicacy37 of your notions, which indeed are quite of a piece with your general conduct; and I entirely agree with you in the main as to the propriety38 of doing everything one could by way of providing for a child one had in a manner taken into one's own hands; and I am sure I should be the last person in the world to withhold39 my mite40 upon such an occasion. Having no children of my own, who should I look to in any little matter I may ever have to bestow18, but the children of my sisters?-- and I am sure Mr. Norris is too just--but you know I am a woman of few words and professions. Do not let us be frightened from a good deed by a trifle. Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without farther expense to anybody. A niece of ours, Sir Thomas, I may say, or at least of _yours_, would not grow up in this neighbourhood without many advantages. I don't say she would be so handsome as her cousins. I dare say she would not; but she would be introduced into the society of this country under such very favourable41 circumstances as, in all human probability, would get her a creditable establishment. You are thinking of your sons-- but do not you know that, of all things upon earth, _that_ is the least likely to happen, brought up as they would be, always together like brothers and sisters? It is morally impossible. I never knew an instance of it. It is, in fact, the only sure way of providing against the connexion. Suppose her a pretty girl, and seen by Tom or Edmund for the first time seven years hence, and I dare say there would be mischief42. The very idea of her having been suffered to grow up at a distance from us all in poverty and neglect, would be enough to make either of the dear, sweet-tempered boys in love with her. But breed her up with them from this time, and suppose her even to have the beauty of an angel, and she will never be more to either than a sister."

"There is a great deal of truth in what you say," replied Sir Thomas, "and far be it from me to throw any fanciful impediment in the way of a plan which would be so consistent with the relative situations of each. I only meant to observe that it ought not to be lightly engaged in, and that to make it really serviceable to Mrs. Price, and creditable to ourselves, we must secure to the child, or consider ourselves engaged to secure to her hereafter, as circumstances may arise, the provision of a gentlewoman, if no such establishment should offer as you are so sanguine43 in expecting."

"I thoroughly understand you," cried Mrs. Norris, "you are everything that is generous and considerate, and I am sure we shall never disagree on this point. Whatever I can do, as you well know, I am always ready enough to do for the good of those I love; and, though I could never feel for this little girl the hundredth part of the regard I bear your own dear children, nor consider her, in any respect, so much my own, I should hate myself if I were capable of neglecting her. Is not she a sister's child? and could I bear to see her want while I had a bit of bread to give her? My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults I have a warm heart; and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the necessaries of life than do an ungenerous thing. So, if you are not against it, I will write to my poor sister tomorrow, and make the proposal; and, as soon as matters are settled, _I_ will engage to get the child to Mansfield; _you_ shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never regard. I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed at her cousin the saddler's, and the child be appointed to meet her there. They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going. I dare say there is always some reputable tradesman's wife or other going up."

Except to the attack on Nanny's cousin, Sir Thomas no longer made any objection, and a more respectable, though less economical rendezvous44 being accordingly substituted, everything was considered as settled, and the pleasures of so benevolent45 a scheme were already enjoyed. The division of gratifying sensations ought not, in strict justice, to have been equal; for Sir Thomas was fully46 resolved to be the real and consistent patron of the selected child, and Mrs. Norris had not the least intention of being at any expense whatever in her maintenance. As far as walking, talking, and contriving47 reached, she was thoroughly benevolent, and nobody knew better how to dictate48 liberality to others; but her love of money was equal to her love of directing, and she knew quite as well how to save her own as to spend that of her friends. Having married on a narrower income than she had been used to look forward to, she had, from the first, fancied a very strict line of economy necessary; and what was begun as a matter of prudence49, soon grew into a matter of choice, as an object of that needful solicitude50 which there were no children to supply. Had there been a family to provide for, Mrs. Norris might never have saved her money; but having no care of that kind, there was nothing to impede51 her frugality52, or lessen53 the comfort of making a yearly addition to an income which they had never lived up to. Under this infatuating principle, counteracted54 by no real affection for her sister, it was impossible for her to aim at more than the credit of projecting and arranging so expensive a charity; though perhaps she might so little know herself as to walk home to the Parsonage, after this conversation, in the happy belief of being the most liberal-minded sister and aunt in the world.

When the subject was brought forward again, her views were more fully explained; and, in reply to Lady Bertram's calm inquiry55 of "Where shall the child come to first, sister, to you or to us?" Sir Thomas heard with some surprise that it would be totally out of Mrs. Norris's power to take any share in the personal charge of her. He had been considering her as a particularly welcome addition at the Parsonage, as a desirable companion to an aunt who had no children of her own; but he found himself wholly mistaken. Mrs. Norris was sorry to say that the little girl's staying with them, at least as things then were, was quite out of the question. Poor Mr. Norris's indifferent state of health made it an impossibility: he could no more bear the noise of a child than he could fly; if, indeed, he should ever get well of his gouty complaints, it would be a different matter: she should then be glad to take her turn, and think nothing of the inconvenience; but just now, poor Mr. Norris took up every moment of her time, and the very mention of such a thing she was sure would distract him.

"Then she had better come to us," said Lady Bertram, with the utmost composure. After a short pause Sir Thomas added with dignity, "Yes, let her home be in this house. We will endeavour to do our duty by her, and she will, at least, have the advantage of companions of her own age, and of a regular instructress."

"Very true," cried Mrs. Norris, "which are both very important considerations; and it will be just the same to Miss Lee whether she has three girls to teach, or only two--there can be no difference. I only wish I could be more useful; but you see I do all in my power. I am not one of those that spare their own trouble; and Nanny shall fetch her, however it may put me to inconvenience to have my chief counsellor away for three days. I suppose, sister, you will put the child in the little white attic56, near the old nurseries. It will be much the best place for her, so near Miss Lee, and not far from the girls, and close by the housemaids, who could either of them help to dress her, you know, and take care of her clothes, for I suppose you would not think it fair to expect Ellis to wait on her as well as the others. Indeed, I do not see that you could possibly place her anywhere else."

Lady Bertram made no opposition57.

"I hope she will prove a well-disposed girl," continued Mrs. Norris, "and be sensible of her uncommon58 good fortune in having such friends."

"Should her disposition59 be really bad," said Sir Thomas, "we must not, for our own children's sake, continue her in the family; but there is no reason to expect so great an evil. We shall probably see much to wish altered in her, and must prepare ourselves for gross ignorance, some meanness of opinions, and very distressing60 vulgarity of manner; but these are not incurable61 faults; nor, I trust, can they be dangerous for her associates. Had my daughters been _younger_ than herself, I should have considered the introduction of such a companion as a matter of very serious moment; but, as it is, I hope there can be nothing to fear for _them_, and everything to hope for _her_, from the association."

"That is exactly what I think," cried Mrs. Norris, "and what I was saying to my husband this morning. It will be an education for the child, said I, only being with her cousins; if Miss Lee taught her nothing, she would learn to be good and clever from _them_."

"I hope she will not tease my poor pug," said Lady Bertram; "I have but just got Julia to leave it alone."

"There will be some difficulty in our way, Mrs. Norris," observed Sir Thomas, "as to the distinction proper to be made between the girls as they grow up: how to preserve in the minds of my _daughters_ the consciousness of what they are, without making them think too lowly of their cousin; and how, without depressing her spirits too far, to make her remember that she is not a _Miss Bertram_. I should wish to see them very good friends, and would, on no account, authorise in my girls the smallest degree of arrogance62 towards their relation; but still they cannot be equals. Their rank, fortune, rights, and expectations will always be different. It is a point of great delicacy, and you must assist us in our endeavours to choose exactly the right line of conduct."

Mrs. Norris was quite at his service; and though she perfectly agreed with him as to its being a most difficult thing, encouraged him to hope that between them it would be easily managed.

It will be readily believed that Mrs. Norris did not write to her sister in vain. Mrs. Price seemed rather surprised that a girl should be fixed63 on, when she had so many fine boys, but accepted the offer most thankfully, assuring them of her daughter's being a very well-disposed, good-humoured girl, and trusting they would never have cause to throw her off. She spoke of her farther as somewhat delicate and puny64, but was sanguine in the hope of her being materially better for change of air. Poor woman! she probably thought change of air might agree with many of her children.

大约三十年前,亨廷登的玛丽亚·沃德小姐交了好运,仅凭七千英镑的陪嫁,就赢得了北安普敦郡曼斯菲尔德庄园托马斯·伯特伦爵士的倾心,一跃而成了准男爵夫人,既有漂亮的宅邸,又有大笔的进项,真是享不尽的荣华富贵。亨廷登的人无不惊叹这门亲事攀得好,连她那位当律师的舅舅都说,她名下至少再加三千英镑,才配嫁给这样的人家。她富贵起来,倒有两个姊妹好跟着沾光了。亲友中但凡觉得沃德小姐和弗朗西丝小姐①(译者注:①在这三姐妹中,玛丽亚·沃德为二小姐,婚后为伯特伦夫人;沃德小姐为大小姐,婚后为诺里斯太太;弗朗西丝(即弗朗西丝·沃德小姐)系三小姐,婚后为普莱斯太太。)长得像玛丽亚小姐一样漂亮的,都毫不犹豫地预言:她们两人也会嫁给同样高贵的人家。然而天下有钱的男人,肯定没有配嫁这种男人的漂亮女人来得那么多。沃德小姐蹉跎了五六年,最后只好许身于她妹夫的一位朋友,几乎没有什么财产的诺里斯牧师,而弗朗西丝小姐的情况还要糟糕。说实在的,沃德小姐的婚事还真算不得寒碜,托马斯爵士欣然地让他的朋友做曼斯菲尔德的牧师,给他提供了一份俸禄,因此诺里斯夫妇每年有差不多一千英镑的进项,过上了甜蜜的伉俪生活。可是弗朗西丝小姐的婚事,用句俗话来说,却没让家里人称心,她居然看上一个一没文化,二没家产,三没门第的海军陆战队中尉,真让家里人寒心透顶。她随便嫁个什么人,都比嫁给这个人强。托马斯·伯特伦爵士出于自尊心和为人之道,本着从善而为的愿望,加上总希望与他沾亲带故的人境况体面些,因此很愿意利用自己的情面为伯特伦夫人的妹妹帮帮忙。但是,在他妹夫所干的这个行当里,他却无人可托。还没等他想出别的法子来帮助他们,那姊妹俩已经彻底决裂了。这是双方行为的必然结果,但凡轻率的婚事几乎总会带来这种后果。为了免得听些无益的劝诫,普莱斯太太在结婚之前从未给家里人写信谈论此事。伯特伦夫人是个心境沉静的女人,性情异常随和、异常懒散,心想索性不再理睬妹妹,不再去想这件事算了。可诺里斯太太却是个多事之人,这时心犹未甘,便给范妮写了一封气势汹汹的长信,骂她行为愚蠢,并且威吓说这种行为可能招致种种恶果。普莱斯太太给惹火了,在回信中把两个姐姐都痛骂了一顿,并出言不逊地对托马斯爵士的虚荣也奚落了一番。诺里斯太太看了这些内容,自然不会闷在心里不说,于是他们两家与普莱斯太太家多年没再有任何交往。

他们的寓所彼此相距遥远,双方的活动圈子又大不相同,因而在以后的十一年里,他们甚至连对方是死是活几乎都无法知道,至少是托马斯爵士感到非常惊讶,诺里斯太太怎么能隔不多久就气冲冲地告诉他们一次:范妮又生了一个孩子。然而,十一年过后,普莱斯太太再也不能光顾自尊,怨恨不解,白白失去一门可能对她有所助益的亲戚。家里孩子一大帮,而且还在没完没了地生,丈夫落下了残疾,已不再能冲锋陷阵,却能照样以美酒招待宾朋,一家人吃的、穿的、用的,就靠那么一点微薄的收入。因此,她急切地想与过去轻率放弃的亲戚们恢复关系。她给伯特伦夫人写了一封信,言词凄凉,满纸悔恨,说家中除了儿女成群之外,其他东西几乎样样都缺,因此只能跟诸位亲戚重修旧好。她就要生第九胎了,在诉说了一番困境之后,就恳求他们给即将降生的孩子当教父、教母,帮助抚养这个孩子。然后她又不加掩饰地说,现有的八个孩子将来也要仰仗他们。老大是个十岁的男孩,既漂亮又活泼,一心想到海外去,可她有什么办法呢?托马斯爵士在西印度群岛上的产业将来有没有可能用得上他呢?叫他干什么都行——托马斯爵士觉得伍里奇陆军军官学校怎么样?还有,怎样把一个孩子送到东方去?

信没有白写。大家重归于好,又对她关心起来。托马斯爵士向她表示关切,替她出主意,伯特伦夫人给她寄钱和婴儿穿的衣服,诺里斯夫人则负责写信。

那封信当即产生了上述效果,过了不到一年,又给普莱斯太太带来一桩更大的好处。诺里斯太太常对别人说,她对她那可怜的妹妹和那帮孩子总是放心不下,虽说大家已为她们尽了不少力,她似乎觉得还想多帮点忙。后来她终于说出,她想让普莱斯太太少负担一个孩子,从那一大群孩子当中挑出一个,完全交给他们抚养。“她的大姑娘已经九岁了,她那可怜的妈妈不可能使她得到应有的关照,我们来照管她怎么样?这肯走会给我们带来些麻烦,增加些开销,但相比起行善来,这算不了什么。”伯特伦夫人当即表示赞同。“我看这样做再好不过了,”她说,“我们把那孩子叫来吧。”

托马斯爵士可没有这么痛痛快快地立即答应。他心里犹豫不决,踌躇不定。这件事可不是闹着玩的。在他们这样的家境里长大的姑娘,可得让她一辈子丰衣足食,不然的话,让她离开自家人,那不是行善,而是残酷。他想到了自己的四个孩子——想到了自己的两个儿子——想到了表兄妹之间会相爱等等。但他刚审言慎语地述说起自己的意见,诺里斯太太便打断了他,对他的理由,不管是说出的还是没说出的,都一一给以反驳。

“亲爱的托马斯爵士,我完全理解你的意思,也很赞赏你的想法,真是既慷慨又周全,完全符合你一贯的为人。总的说来,我完全同意你的看法,要是领养一个孩子,就得尽量把她抚养好。我敢说,在这件事情上,我决不会拒不竭尽我的微薄之力。我自己没有孩子,遇到我能帮点小忙的地方,我不帮助自己妹妹的孩子,还能帮助谁呢?我看诺里斯先生真是太——不过,你知道,我这个人话不多,不爱自我表白。我们不要因为一点小小的顾虑,就吓得不敢做好事了。让一个女孩受受教育,把她体面地引进社交界,十有八九她会有办法建立一个美满的家庭,用不着别人再来负担她。我敢说,托马斯爵士,我们的外甥女,至少是你的外甥女,在这个环境里长大肯定会有许多好处。我不是说她会出落得像两位表姐一样漂亮。我敢说她不会那么漂亮。不过,在这么有利的条件下,给引荐到这个地区的社交界,她完全有可能找到一个体面人家。你在顾虑你的两个儿子——可你难道不知道,他们会像兄妹一样在一起长大,而你顾虑的那种事决不会发生吗?从道德上来说,这是不可能的事情。我从没听说有这样的事。其实,这倒是预防他们之间结亲的唯一稳妥的办法。假使她是个漂亮姑娘,七年后让汤姆或埃德蒙第一次遇见,那说不定就麻烦了。一想到居然会让她住在那么远的地方,生活在贫困和无人疼爱的环境中,那两个天性敦厚的好孩子哪个都可能爱上她。可是,如果从现在起就让她跟他们生活在一起,哪怕她美如天仙,她对他们充其量不过是个妹妹而已。”

“你的话很有道理,”托马斯爵士答道,“我绝不是无端找些理由来阻挠一个非常适合双方境况的计划。我只是想说,不能轻率从事,而要把事情办得让普莱斯太太真正有所受益,我们自己也觉得问心无愧,一旦出现这样的情况,没有一个体面人家的子弟像你乐观估计的那样愿意娶她,我们就必须确保,或者认为我们有义务确保她过着一个有身份女人的生活。”

“我完全理解你,”诺里斯太太嚷道,“你真是慷慨大方,对人体贴入微,我想我们在这一点上决不会有什么分歧。你很清楚,只要对我爱的人有好处,凡是我办碍到的,我总是愿意尽力而为。虽然我对这孩子的感情达不到对你亲爱的孩子们的感情的百分之一,而且也绝没有像看待你的孩子们那样把她看做我自己的孩子,但是,我要是放手不去管她,我就会痛恨我自己。难道她不是我妹妹生的吗?只要我能给她一点面包吃,我怎么能忍心眼看着她挨饿呢?亲爱的托马斯爵士,我虽然有这样那样的缺点,但还有一副热心肠;我虽然家里穷,但宁肯自己省吃俭用,也不做那小气事。因此,如果你不反对,我明天就给我那可怜的妹妹写信,向她提出这个建议。等事情一谈妥,我就负责把那孩子接到曼斯菲尔德,你就不用操心啦。至于我自己操点心,你知道我是从不在乎的。我打发南妮①(译者注:①诺里斯太太家的女管家。)专程去一趟伦敦,她可以住在她堂哥的马具店里,叫那孩子去那儿找她。那孩子从朴次茅斯到伦敦并不难,只须把她送上驿车,托个信得过的同路人关照一下就行了。我想总会有个名声好的生意人的太太或别的什么人要到伦敦来。”

托马斯爵士没有发表什么反对意见,只是认为南妮的堂哥不是个可靠的人。因此,他们决定换一个较为体面,却不怎么省钱的迎接办法。就这样,一切算是安排妥当,大家已在为这大慈大悲的筹划而沾沾自喜了。严格说来,各人心满意足的程度是有所不同的,最后也就有了这样的区分:托马斯爵士完全打定了主意,要做这个挑选出来的孩子的真正而永久的抚养人,而诺里斯太太却丝毫不想为抚养孩子破费分文。就跑腿、卖嘴皮和出主意而言,她还真是大慈大悲,没人比她更会教别人大方。可是,她不光爱指挥别人,还同样爱钱;她懂得怎样花朋友的钱,也同样懂得怎样省自己的钱。她当初总盼望能找个有钱人家,不想嫁了个收入不怎么多的丈夫,因此,从一开始就觉得必须厉行节约。起初只是出于审慎的考虑,不久就成了自觉的行动,这都是为了满足一种需求,后来因为没有儿女,竞未曾出现这种需求。诺里斯太太若是有儿有女要抚养,可能就攒不下钱;但是,省了这份操心之后,她反倒可以无妨无碍地去攒钱,使那笔从未花完的收入年年有所增加,从中感受几分快慰。基于这种财迷心窍的原则,加上对妹妹没有真正的感情,她充其量只是给这么一笔费用不菲的善举出出主意,做做安排,再多她是决不会干的。不过她毫无自知之明,就在这次商谈之后,在回那牧师住宅的路上,她说不定还会沾沾自喜地认为自己是天下最宽厚的姐姐,最宽厚的姨妈。

等再次提起这件事时,她越发明确地表白了自己的观点。伯特伦夫人心平气和地问她:“姐姐,孩子来了先住哪里,你们家还是我们家?”诺里斯太太回答说,她丝毫没有能力跟着一起照料那孩子,伯特伦爵士听了颇为惊讶。他一直以为牧师住宅特别希望有个孩子,好给膝前没有儿女的姨妈做个伴,但他发现自己完全想错了。诺里斯太太抱歉地说,这个小姑娘要住她们家是根本不可能的,至少就当时的情形看是绝对不行的。可怜的诺里斯先生身体不好,因此不可能这样安排:他绝对不能忍受家里有个孩子吵吵闹闹。如果他的痛风病真能治好的话,那情况就不同了:她会高高兴兴地把孩子接到家,抚养一段时间,丝毫不在乎方便不方便。可是眼下,可怜的诺里斯先生无时无刻不要她照顾,一提这样的事,肯定会让他心烦意乱。

“那就让她来我们家吧,”伯特伦夫人极其坦然地说。过了一会,伯特伦爵士一本正经地说道:“好的,就让她以这座房子为家吧。我们将尽力履行我们对她的义务。她在这里至少有两个有利条件:一是可以跟她同年纪的孩子做伴;二是有个正规的教师教她。”

“一点不错,”诺里斯太太嚷道。“这两条都很重要。再说李小姐教三个姑娘和教两个都一样——不会有多大差别。我真巴不得能多帮点忙,不过你知道我也是尽了最大力量了。我可不是个怕麻烦图省事的人。我会让南妮去接她的,尽管我这位女管家一去就得三天,会给我带来不便。我想,妹妹,你可以把那孩子安置在靠近原来育儿室的那间白色的小阁楼里。那对她来说是个最好不过的地方,离李小姐那么近,离两个姑娘也不远,还靠近两个女仆,她们随便哪个都可以帮助她梳妆打扮,照料她的穿戴。我想你不会让埃丽丝除了伺候两个姑娘,还去伺候她吧。说真的,我看你不可能把她安置在别的地方。”

伯特伦夫人没有表示反对。

“我希望这姑娘性子好一些,”诺里斯太太接着说,“能为有这样的亲友而感到万分幸运。”

“要是她的性情实在不好的话,”托马斯爵士说道,“为我们自己的孩子着想,我们就不能让她继续住在家里。不过我们没有理由料定会有这么严重的问题。也许她身上会有不少东西我们希望她改掉,我们必须事先想到她什么都不懂,有些狭隘的想法,举止粗俗得让人受不了,不过,这些缺点都不是不可克服的——而且我想,对她的玩伴来说也不会有什么危险。假如我女儿比她还小,我就会觉得让她来和我们的孩子生活在一起,可是一件非同小可的事情。可实际上,让她们三个在一起,我想对她们俩来说没什么好担心的,对她来说只会有好处。”

“我就是这么想的,”诺里斯太太嚷道,“今天早上我对我丈夫就是这么说的。我说,只要和两个表姐在一起,那孩子就会受到教育;就是李小姐什么都不教她,她也能跟表姐学好,学聪明。”

“我希望她不会去逗我那可怜的哈巴狗。”伯特伦夫人说,“我才说服了朱莉娅不去逗它。”

“诺里斯太太,”托马斯爵士说道,“随着三个姑娘一天天长大,怎样在她们之间画个适当的界线,我们还会遇到些困难:怎样使我的两个女儿既能始终意识到自己的身份,又不至于过分看不起自己的表妹;怎样能让表妹记住她不是伯特伦家的小姐,而又不使她情绪太低沉。我希望她们成为很好的朋友,决不允许我女儿对自己的亲戚有半点傲气。不过,她们还不能完全是同等人。她们的身份、财产、权利和前程,永远是不同的。这是一个非常棘手的问题,你得帮助我们尽力选择一个不偏不倚的正确处理方式。”

诺里斯太太很乐意为他效力。尽管她完全同意他的看法,认为这是件十分棘手的事,但她还是让他觉得这件事由他们俩操办,不会有多大的困难。

诸位不难料想,诺里斯太太给妹妹的信没有白写。普莱斯太太似乎甚为惊讶,她明明有那么多漂亮男孩,他们却偏偏选中一个女孩。不过,她还是千恩万谢地接受了这番好意,向他们担保说:她女儿性情、脾气都很好,相信他们决没有理由不要她。接着,她又说这孩子有点单薄瘦小,但却乐观地认为,只要换个环境,孩子会大大改观。可怜的女人啊!她大概觉得她的好多孩子都该换换环境吧。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 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。
2 thereby Sokwv     
adv.因此,从而
参考例句:
  • I have never been to that city,,ereby I don't know much about it.我从未去过那座城市,因此对它不怎么熟悉。
  • He became a British citizen,thereby gaining the right to vote.他成了英国公民,因而得到了投票权。
3 equitable JobxJ     
adj.公平的;公正的
参考例句:
  • This is an equitable solution to the dispute. 这是对该项争议的公正解决。
  • Paying a person what he has earned is equitable. 酬其应得,乃公平之事。
4 elevation bqsxH     
n.高度;海拔;高地;上升;提高
参考例句:
  • The house is at an elevation of 2,000 metres.那幢房子位于海拔两千米的高处。
  • His elevation to the position of General Manager was announced yesterday.昨天宣布他晋升总经理职位。
5 scruple eDOz7     
n./v.顾忌,迟疑
参考例句:
  • It'seemed to her now that she could marry him without the remnant of a scruple.她觉得现在她可以跟他成婚而不需要有任何顾忌。
  • He makes no scruple to tell a lie.他说起谎来无所顾忌。
6 rev njvzwS     
v.发动机旋转,加快速度
参考例句:
  • It's his job to rev up the audience before the show starts.他要负责在表演开始前鼓动观众的热情。
  • Don't rev the engine so hard.别让发动机转得太快。
7 contemptible DpRzO     
adj.可鄙的,可轻视的,卑劣的
参考例句:
  • His personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.他气貌不扬,言语粗俗。
  • That was a contemptible trick to play on a friend.那是对朋友玩弄的一出可鄙的把戏。
8 conjugal Ravys     
adj.婚姻的,婚姻性的
参考例句:
  • Conjugal visits are banned,so marriages break down.配偶访问是禁止的,罪犯的婚姻也因此破裂。
  • Conjugal fate is something delicate.缘分,其实是一种微妙的东西。
9 lieutenant X3GyG     
n.陆军中尉,海军上尉;代理官员,副职官员
参考例句:
  • He was promoted to be a lieutenant in the army.他被提升为陆军中尉。
  • He prevailed on the lieutenant to send in a short note.他说动那个副官,递上了一张简短的便条进去。
10 thoroughly sgmz0J     
adv.完全地,彻底地,十足地
参考例句:
  • The soil must be thoroughly turned over before planting.一定要先把土地深翻一遍再下种。
  • The soldiers have been thoroughly instructed in the care of their weapons.士兵们都系统地接受过保护武器的训练。
11 untoward Hjvw1     
adj.不利的,不幸的,困难重重的
参考例句:
  • Untoward circumstances prevent me from being with you on this festive occasion.有些不幸的事件使我不能在这欢庆的时刻和你在一起。
  • I'll come if nothing untoward happens.我要是没有特殊情况一定来。
12 breach 2sgzw     
n.违反,不履行;破裂;vt.冲破,攻破
参考例句:
  • We won't have any breach of discipline.我们不允许任何破坏纪律的现象。
  • He was sued for breach of contract.他因不履行合同而被起诉。
13 remonstrance bVex0     
n抗议,抱怨
参考例句:
  • She had abandoned all attempts at remonstrance with Thomas.她已经放弃了一切劝戒托马斯的尝试。
  • Mrs. Peniston was at the moment inaccessible to remonstrance.目前彭尼斯顿太太没功夫听她告状。
14 tranquil UJGz0     
adj. 安静的, 宁静的, 稳定的, 不变的
参考例句:
  • The boy disturbed the tranquil surface of the pond with a stick. 那男孩用棍子打破了平静的池面。
  • The tranquil beauty of the village scenery is unique. 这乡村景色的宁静是绝无仅有的。
15 remarkably EkPzTW     
ad.不同寻常地,相当地
参考例句:
  • I thought she was remarkably restrained in the circumstances. 我认为她在那种情况下非常克制。
  • He made a remarkably swift recovery. 他康复得相当快。
16 contented Gvxzof     
adj.满意的,安心的,知足的
参考例句:
  • 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。
17 folly QgOzL     
n.愚笨,愚蠢,蠢事,蠢行,傻话
参考例句:
  • Learn wisdom by the folly of others.从别人的愚蠢行动中学到智慧。
  • Events proved the folly of such calculations.事情的进展证明了这种估计是愚蠢的。
18 bestow 9t3zo     
v.把…赠与,把…授予;花费
参考例句:
  • He wished to bestow great honors upon the hero.他希望将那些伟大的荣誉授予这位英雄。
  • What great inspiration wiII you bestow on me?你有什么伟大的灵感能馈赠给我?
19 bestowed 12e1d67c73811aa19bdfe3ae4a8c2c28     
赠给,授予( bestow的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • It was a title bestowed upon him by the king. 那是国王赐给他的头衔。
  • He considered himself unworthy of the honour they had bestowed on him. 他认为自己不配得到大家赋予他的荣誉。
20 intercourse NbMzU     
n.性交;交流,交往,交际
参考例句:
  • The magazine becomes a cultural medium of intercourse between the two peoples.该杂志成为两民族间文化交流的媒介。
  • There was close intercourse between them.他们过往很密。
21 preclude cBDy6     
vt.阻止,排除,防止;妨碍
参考例句:
  • We try to preclude any possibility of misunderstanding.我们努力排除任何误解的可能性。
  • My present finances preclude the possibility of buying a car.按我目前的财务状况我是不可能买车的。
22 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。
23 regain YkYzPd     
vt.重新获得,收复,恢复
参考例句:
  • He is making a bid to regain his World No.1 ranking.他正为重登世界排名第一位而努力。
  • The government is desperate to regain credibility with the public.政府急于重新获取公众的信任。
24 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。
25 contrition uZGy3     
n.悔罪,痛悔
参考例句:
  • The next day he'd be full of contrition,weeping and begging forgiveness.第二天,他就会懊悔不已,哭着乞求原谅。
  • She forgave him because his contrition was real.她原谅了他是由于他的懊悔是真心的。
26 reconciliation DUhxh     
n.和解,和谐,一致
参考例句:
  • He was taken up with the reconciliation of husband and wife.他忙于做夫妻间的调解工作。
  • Their handshake appeared to be a gesture of reconciliation.他们的握手似乎是和解的表示。
27 imploring cb6050ff3ff45d346ac0579ea33cbfd6     
恳求的,哀求的
参考例句:
  • Those calm, strange eyes could see her imploring face. 那平静的,没有表情的眼睛还能看得到她的乞怜求情的面容。
  • She gave him an imploring look. 她以哀求的眼神看着他。
28 countenance iztxc     
n.脸色,面容;面部表情;vt.支持,赞同
参考例句:
  • At the sight of this photograph he changed his countenance.他一看见这张照片脸色就变了。
  • I made a fierce countenance as if I would eat him alive.我脸色恶狠狠地,仿佛要把他活生生地吞下去。
29 conceal DpYzt     
v.隐藏,隐瞒,隐蔽
参考例句:
  • 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。
30 eldest bqkx6     
adj.最年长的,最年老的
参考例句:
  • The King's eldest son is the heir to the throne.国王的长子是王位的继承人。
  • The castle and the land are entailed on the eldest son.城堡和土地限定由长子继承。
31 immediate aapxh     
adj.立即的;直接的,最接近的;紧靠的
参考例句:
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
32 entirely entirely     
ad.全部地,完整地;完全地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
33 benevolence gt8zx     
n.慈悲,捐助
参考例句:
  • We definitely do not apply a policy of benevolence to the reactionaries.我们对反动派决不施仁政。
  • He did it out of pure benevolence. 他做那件事完全出于善意。
34 deliberately Gulzvq     
adv.审慎地;蓄意地;故意地
参考例句:
  • The girl gave the show away deliberately.女孩故意泄露秘密。
  • They deliberately shifted off the argument.他们故意回避这个论点。
35 perfectly 8Mzxb     
adv.完美地,无可非议地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • 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。
36 generosity Jf8zS     
n.大度,慷慨,慷慨的行为
参考例句:
  • We should match their generosity with our own.我们应该像他们一样慷慨大方。
  • We adore them for their generosity.我们钦佩他们的慷慨。
37 delicacy mxuxS     
n.精致,细微,微妙,精良;美味,佳肴
参考例句:
  • We admired the delicacy of the craftsmanship.我们佩服工艺师精巧的手艺。
  • He sensed the delicacy of the situation.他感觉到了形势的微妙。
38 propriety oRjx4     
n.正当行为;正当;适当
参考例句:
  • We hesitated at the propriety of the method.我们对这种办法是否适用拿不定主意。
  • The sensitive matter was handled with great propriety.这件机密的事处理得极为适当。
39 withhold KMEz1     
v.拒绝,不给;使停止,阻挡
参考例句:
  • It was unscrupulous of their lawyer to withhold evidence.他们的律师隐瞒证据是不道德的。
  • I couldn't withhold giving some loose to my indignation.我忍不住要发泄一点我的愤怒。
40 mite 4Epxw     
n.极小的东西;小铜币
参考例句:
  • The poor mite was so ill.可怜的孩子病得这么重。
  • He is a mite taller than I.他比我高一点点。
41 favourable favourable     
adj.赞成的,称赞的,有利的,良好的,顺利的
参考例句:
  • The company will lend you money on very favourable terms.这家公司将以非常优惠的条件借钱给你。
  • We found that most people are favourable to the idea.我们发现大多数人同意这个意见。
42 mischief jDgxH     
n.损害,伤害,危害;恶作剧,捣蛋,胡闹
参考例句:
  • Nobody took notice of the mischief of the matter. 没有人注意到这件事情所带来的危害。
  • He seems to intend mischief.看来他想捣蛋。
43 sanguine dCOzF     
adj.充满希望的,乐观的,血红色的
参考例句:
  • He has a sanguine attitude to life.他对于人生有乐观的看法。
  • He is not very sanguine about our chances of success.他对我们成功的机会不太乐观。
44 rendezvous XBfzj     
n.约会,约会地点,汇合点;vi.汇合,集合;vt.使汇合,使在汇合地点相遇
参考例句:
  • She made the rendezvous with only minutes to spare.她还差几分钟时才来赴约。
  • I have a rendezvous with Peter at a restaurant on the harbour.我和彼得在海港的一个餐馆有个约会。
45 benevolent Wtfzx     
adj.仁慈的,乐善好施的
参考例句:
  • His benevolent nature prevented him from refusing any beggar who accosted him.他乐善好施的本性使他不会拒绝走上前向他行乞的任何一个乞丐。
  • He was a benevolent old man and he wouldn't hurt a fly.他是一个仁慈的老人,连只苍蝇都不愿伤害。
46 fully Gfuzd     
adv.完全地,全部地,彻底地;充分地
参考例句:
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
47 contriving 104341ff394294c813643a9fe96a99cb     
(不顾困难地)促成某事( contrive的现在分词 ); 巧妙地策划,精巧地制造(如机器); 设法做到
参考例句:
  • Why may not several Deities combine in contriving and framing a world? 为什么不可能是数个神联合起来,设计和构造世界呢? 来自哲学部分
  • The notorious drug-pusher has been contriving an escape from the prison. 臭名昭著的大毒枭一直都在图谋越狱。
48 dictate fvGxN     
v.口授;(使)听写;指令,指示,命令
参考例句:
  • It took him a long time to dictate this letter.口述这封信花了他很长时间。
  • What right have you to dictate to others?你有什么资格向别人发号施令?
49 prudence 9isyI     
n.谨慎,精明,节俭
参考例句:
  • A lack of prudence may lead to financial problems.不够谨慎可能会导致财政上出现问题。
  • The happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.幸运者都把他们的成功归因于谨慎或功德。
50 solicitude mFEza     
n.焦虑
参考例句:
  • Your solicitude was a great consolation to me.你对我的关怀给了我莫大的安慰。
  • He is full of tender solicitude towards my sister.他对我妹妹满心牵挂。
51 impede FcozA     
v.妨碍,阻碍,阻止
参考例句:
  • One shouldn't impede other's progress.一个人不应该妨碍他人进步。
  • The muddy roads impede our journey.我们的旅游被泥泞的道路阻挠了。
52 frugality XhMxn     
n.节约,节俭
参考例句:
  • We must build up our country with industry and frugality.我们必须勤俭建国。
  • By frugality she managed to get along on her small salary.凭着节俭,她设法以自己微薄的薪水生活。
53 lessen 01gx4     
vt.减少,减轻;缩小
参考例句:
  • Regular exercise can help to lessen the pain.经常运动有助于减轻痛感。
  • They've made great effort to lessen the noise of planes.他们尽力减小飞机的噪音。
54 counteracted 73400d69af35e4420879e17c972937fb     
对抗,抵消( counteract的过去式 )
参考例句:
  • This can be counteracted only by very effective insulation. 这只能用非常有效的绝缘来防止。
  • The effect of his preaching was counteracted by the looseness of his behavior. 他讲道的效果被他放荡的生活所抵消了。
55 inquiry nbgzF     
n.打听,询问,调查,查问
参考例句:
  • Many parents have been pressing for an inquiry into the problem.许多家长迫切要求调查这个问题。
  • The field of inquiry has narrowed down to five persons.调查的范围已经缩小到只剩5个人了。
56 attic Hv4zZ     
n.顶楼,屋顶室
参考例句:
  • Leakiness in the roof caused a damp attic.屋漏使顶楼潮湿。
  • What's to be done with all this stuff in the attic?顶楼上的材料怎么处理?
57 opposition eIUxU     
n.反对,敌对
参考例句:
  • The party leader is facing opposition in his own backyard.该党领袖在自己的党內遇到了反对。
  • The police tried to break down the prisoner's opposition.警察设法制住了那个囚犯的反抗。
58 uncommon AlPwO     
adj.罕见的,非凡的,不平常的
参考例句:
  • Such attitudes were not at all uncommon thirty years ago.这些看法在30年前很常见。
  • Phil has uncommon intelligence.菲尔智力超群。
59 disposition GljzO     
n.性情,性格;意向,倾向;排列,部署
参考例句:
  • He has made a good disposition of his property.他已对财产作了妥善处理。
  • He has a cheerful disposition.他性情开朗。
60 distressing cuTz30     
a.使人痛苦的
参考例句:
  • All who saw the distressing scene revolted against it. 所有看到这种悲惨景象的人都对此感到难过。
  • It is distressing to see food being wasted like this. 这样浪费粮食令人痛心。
61 incurable incurable     
adj.不能医治的,不能矫正的,无救的;n.不治的病人,无救的人
参考例句:
  • All three babies were born with an incurable heart condition.三个婴儿都有不可治瘉的先天性心脏病。
  • He has an incurable and widespread nepotism.他们有不可救药的,到处蔓延的裙带主义。
62 arrogance pNpyD     
n.傲慢,自大
参考例句:
  • His arrogance comes out in every speech he makes.他每次讲话都表现得骄傲自大。
  • Arrogance arrested his progress.骄傲阻碍了他的进步。
63 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。
64 puny Bt5y6     
adj.微不足道的,弱小的
参考例句:
  • The resources at the central banks' disposal are simply too puny.中央银行掌握的资金实在太少了。
  • Antonio was a puny lad,and not strong enough to work.安东尼奥是个瘦小的小家伙,身体还不壮,还不能干活。


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