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A few minutes later we went into another room to lunch. It was a very small room, smaller than many of the state cabins on board the good ship Pleiades. There was a little table in the centre of the room, and there were places for three laid at the table. Opposite to me was a milk pudding, and opposite to Aunt Penelope was a tureen of soup, and opposite to Daddy I really forget what. The boy in buttons came up and helped me to a portion of pudding.
"I don't like it," I said at once. "Take it away, please, boy."
Aunt Penelope said: "Leave the pudding where it is, Jonas. Heather, my dear, you must invariably eat what is put before you. I consider milk pudding proper food for little girls, and had this made on purpose for you."
"But I hate milk puddings, Aunt Penelope," I answered, "and I never, never eat them."
"The child is accustomed to feed as I do," said my father, speaking in a harsh, grating sort of voice, and avoiding my eyes.
"Well, in future," said Aunt Penelope, "she will eat as I want her to eat. I must bring her up in my way or not at all, Gordon."
"Eat your pudding like a darling," said my father, and as Aunt Penelope had really made a most silly speech, for father and I were leaving for London almost immediately, I ate the horrid1 pudding just to please him.
When lunch was finished, Aunt Penelope went up to father and spoke2 to him. He nodded, and I noticed that his face was very pale. Then he said:
"Perhaps so; perhaps it is the best thing." Then, all of a sudden, he stooped and took me in his arms and pressed me very, very close to his heart, and let me down on the floor rather suddenly. The next minute he had taken half-a-crown out of his pocket.
"Your Aunt Penelope and I want to have a little private talk," he said, "and I was thinking that you might—or rather your aunt was thinking that you might—go out for a walk with Buttons."
"His name is Jonas," said Aunt Penelope.
"I beg his pardon—with Jonas—and he will take you to a toy shop. You have never seen any English toys, and you might buy a new doll with this."
"I'd like to buy some sort of toy," I answered, "but I don't want dolls—I hate them. Can I buy a parrot, do you think, and would he talk to me? I'd rather like that, and it would be great, great fun to have him when we are sailing back with gentle gales3 and a prosperous sail to darling India."
"Well, go and buy something, darling," said father, and I nodded to him brightly and went out of the room.
Buttons, as I continued to call him in my own heart, for I could not get round his other name of Jonas, was really quite agreeable. He took me away to a high part of the town and very far from the shops, and on to a wild stretch of moor4; here he told me all kinds of extraordinary stories about rats and cats and mice and caterpillars5. He confided6 the fact to me that he kept white mice in his attic7 bedroom, but that if Miss Despard found it out he would be sent about his business on the spot. He implored8 me to be extremely secret with regard to the matter, and I naturally promised that I would.
"You need not fear, Buttons," I said. "Ladies, who are true ladies, never repeat things when they are asked not."
"And you are a real, true lady, missy," was his answer.
He further promised to enlighten me with regard to the method of producing silk from silk-worms, and told me what fun it was to wind the silk off the big yellow cocoons9.
"I think," I said, "I should like that very much, for if I got a big lot I should have enough silk to make a yellow silk dress for Anastasia."
"Whoever's she?" asked Buttons.
"I believe, Buttons," I said, dropping my voice, "that Aunt Penelope is really aunt to her, too, and she is coming on by the next train. She is very nice when she is not a cry-baby, and when she doesn't stick pins into you. She has a somewhat yellow complexion10, so, of course, the yellow silk dress would suit her."
"Yes, miss, I am sure of that," said Buttons.
He took me so far that I began to get tired, and the sun was going down behind the hills when we returned to the town. We had very nearly reached the little house of Hill View when I remembered Daddy's half-crown, and that I had never bought a toy.
"It's too late to-day, miss," said Buttons, "but you can come out walking with me to-morrow and we can get it then."
I laughed.
"I can get it in London, I expect," I said. "London's a great big place. Oh, I do hope," I continued, "that I haven't been keeping darling Daddy waiting!"
When Buttons opened the little gate of Hill View I ran up the neatly-kept avenue and pounded with my hands on the glass panels of the door. It was Aunt Penelope herself who opened it.
"Where's Daddy?" I said. "Am I late? Oh, I hope I am not! And has Anastasia come?"
Aunt Penelope looked quite gentle. She took my hand and led me into the drawing-room. The drawing-room was bigger than the dining-room, but was still a very tiny room.
"Now, Heather," she said, "I have something to say to you."
"Where's Daddy? I want Daddy," I said. "Where is he?"
I began to tremble for fear of I did not know what. The terror of something hitherto unknown came over me.
"He sent you his best love and his good-bye, and he will come and see you again before he sails."
Aunt Penelope tried to speak kindly11, although she had not by nature a kind voice. I stared at her with all my might and main.
"He went away without me?" I said.
"He had to, dear. Now, Heather, I can quite understand that this is a trial for you, but you've got to bear it. Your father will come and see you again before he returns to India, and meanwhile you are my little girl and will live with me."
I stood perfectly12 still, as though I were turned into stone. Aunt Penelope put out her hand to touch me, and just at that moment the parrot cried, "Stop knocking at the door!" Aunt Penelope tried to draw me towards her, she tried to lift me on to her knee.
"Come," she said, "come—be a good little girl. I shall try to be good to you."
I raised my hand and slapped her with extreme violence on the face.
"I hate you and all aunts, and I will never, never be good to you or to anyone!"
And then, somehow or other, I think I lost consciousness, for I cannot remember, even after this lapse13 of years, what immediately followed.


1 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。
2 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。
3 gales c6a9115ba102941811c2e9f42af3fc0a     
  • I could hear gales of laughter coming from downstairs. 我能听到来自楼下的阵阵笑声。
  • This was greeted with gales of laughter from the audience. 观众对此报以阵阵笑声。
4 moor T6yzd     
  • I decided to moor near some tourist boats.我决定在一些观光船附近停泊。
  • There were hundreds of the old huts on the moor.沼地上有成百上千的古老的石屋。
5 caterpillars 7673bc2d84c4c7cba4a0eaec866310f4     
n.毛虫( caterpillar的名词复数 );履带
  • Caterpillars eat the young leaves of this plant. 毛毛虫吃这种植物的嫩叶。
  • Caterpillars change into butterflies or moths. 毛虫能变成蝴蝶或蛾子。 来自辞典例句
6 confided 724f3f12e93e38bec4dda1e47c06c3b1     
v.吐露(秘密,心事等)( confide的过去式和过去分词 );(向某人)吐露(隐私、秘密等)
  • She confided all her secrets to her best friend. 她向她最要好的朋友倾吐了自己所有的秘密。
  • He confided to me that he had spent five years in prison. 他私下向我透露,他蹲过五年监狱。 来自《简明英汉词典》
7 attic Hv4zZ     
  • 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?
8 implored 0b089ebf3591e554caa381773b194ff1     
恳求或乞求(某人)( implore的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She implored him to stay. 她恳求他留下。
  • She implored him with tears in her eyes to forgive her. 她含泪哀求他原谅她。
9 cocoons 5dceb05da0afff0d0dbbf29f10373b59     
n.茧,蚕茧( cocoon的名词复数 )v.茧,蚕茧( cocoon的第三人称单数 )
  • The silkworms have gone into the bushes to spin their cocoons. 蚕上山了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • In two more days the " little darlings" would spin their cocoons. 再得两天,“宝宝”可以上山。 来自汉英文学 - 春蚕
10 complexion IOsz4     
  • Red does not suit with her complexion.红色与她的肤色不协调。
  • Her resignation puts a different complexion on things.她一辞职局面就全变了。
11 kindly tpUzhQ     
  • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable.她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
  • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman.一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
12 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。
13 lapse t2lxL     
  • 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。


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