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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Wild Heather » CHAPTER VII
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Father did not come to see me on Saturday night, although I hoped against hope that he would do so, but, to my great surprise, on Sunday evening he walked in, just as Lady Carrington was preparing to go out to evening service. I had refused to accompany her—I am afraid I made myself unpleasant to my kind friend on that occasion. I was overcome by the shock I had received, and this fresh and most unexpected parting from father, so that I could only centre my thoughts on myself.
Father bustled1 into the house, and I heard his cheerful voice in the hall.
"Hallo!" he said. "And how is the little woman?"
Lady Carrington dropped her voice to a whisper, and father began to talk in low tones. Then they both approached the room where I was lying on a sofa by the fire. I was feeling cold and chilled, and the little colour I had ever boasted of in my face had completely left me. Now, as I heard steps coming nearer and nearer, my heart beat in a most tumultuous fashion. Then father and Lady Carrington entered the room.
"Heather, here's your father," said my kindest friend. "Sir John and I are going to church, so you will have him quite to yourself. Now, cheer up, dear. By the way, Major Grayson, won't you stay and have supper with us afterwards?"
"Will Carbury be here?" asked my father suddenly.
"Yes, I think so. We asked him to come."
"Then I'd better not—better not, you know." He exchanged glances with Lady Carrington, and I noticed a delicate wave of colour filling her smooth and still girlish cheeks. She went away the next moment, and left father and me alone.
"Well, pussy2 cat," he said, looking down at me, "what is the meaning of all this rebellion? I didn't know you were such a queer little girl."
"Oh, father!" I said.
"Well, here is father. What does the little one want him to do?"
"Pet me, pet me, pet me," I said, and I gave a great sob3 between each word.
"Why, Heather, you are as great a baby as ever! Lady Helen says you are the most babyish creature she has ever come across in her life. My word, Heather, if you but knew it, you are in luck to have such a stepmother. I tell you, my child, you are in wonderful luck, for she is downright splendid!"
"Please—please—may I say something?" My voice shook violently.
"Of course you may, little mite4."
"Don't let us talk of her to-night. I'll try very hard to be good to-morrow, if you will promise not to speak of her once to-night."
"It's hard on me, for my thoughts are full of her, but I'll endeavour to obey your small Majesty5."
Then I sprang into his arms, and cuddled him round the neck, and kissed his cheek over and over again.
"Oh, I am so hungry for your love!" I said.
"Poor mite! You will have two people to love instead—oh! I forgot—'mum's' the word. Now then, Heather, let's look at you. Why, you're a washed-out little ghost of a girl! Even Aunt Penelope would be shocked if she saw you now."
"Never mind Aunt Penelope just for the present," I said. "I have so much to say to you, and this is the very last evening."
"Not a bit of it; there are hundreds of other evenings to follow."
"Oh, no," I said; "this is the very last between you and me, quite to ourselves, Daddy."
"I like to hear you say 'Daddy'—you have such a quaint6 little voice. Do you know, Heather, that when I was—when I was—"
"When you were what, Daddy?"
"Never mind; I was forgetting myself. I have lived through a great deal since you last saw me, child, since that time when you were so ill at Penelope Despard's."
"Weren't you enjoying yourself during those long years in India, Daddy?"
"Enjoying myself? Bless you, the discipline was too severe." Here my father burst out laughing, and then he unfastened my arms from his neck and put me gently down on the sofa and began to pace the room.
"As a wild beast enjoys himself in a cage, so did I, little Heather; but it's over, thank Heaven, it's over; and—oh, dash it!—I can't speak of it! Heather, how do you like your new clothes?"
"I haven't any new clothes," I answered demurely7, "except the little black frock you gave me the night I came to you at the Westminster hotel. I put that on every evening because Lady Carrington wears something pretty at dinner-time."
"But what have you done with all your other clothes?"
"I told you, Daddy, I wouldn't wear them. She gave them to me."
"Now, look here, Heather, once and for all you must stop this folly8. I presume you don't want me to cease to love you. Well, you've got to be good to your stepmother, and you have got to accept the clothes she gives you. She and I are taking a beautiful house in a fashionable part of London and you are to live with us, and she will be nice to you if you will be nice to her—not otherwise, you understand—by no means otherwise. And if I see you nasty to her, or putting on airs, why, I'll give you up. You'll have to take her if you want to keep me, and that's the long and short of it."
I trembled all over; my hero of heroes—was he tumbling from his place in my gallery?
"Promise, child, promise," said my father, brusquely.
"Will it make you happy if I do?" I said.
"Yes. I'll call you my little duck of all girls—I'll love you like anything, but we three must be harmonious9. You will stay here until we come back, and on the day we come back you are to be in the new house to meet us, and you are to wear one of your pretty frocks, and you are to do just what she says. It's your own fault, Heather, that I have to bring in her name so often. Bless her, though, the jewel she is! My little love, we'll be as happy as the day is long. It's terribly old-fashioned, it's low down, to abuse stepmothers now—don't you understand that, Heather?"
"I don't," I answered. "I suppose I must do what you wish, for I cannot live without you, but if—if—I find it quite past bearing—may I go back to Aunt Penelope?"
"Bless me, you won't find it past bearing! We need not contemplate10 such an emergency."
"But, promise me, Daddy darling—if I do find it past bearing, may I go back to Aunt Penelope?"
"Oh, yes, yes, yes—anything to quiet you, child. You are just the most fractious and selfish creature I ever came across. You don't seem to realise for a single minute what anybody else is feeling."
"It's settled, and I will try to be happy," I said.
"That's right. Now, let's talk of all sorts of funny things. I haven't half heard about your different Jonases, nor about the parrot, who would only say, 'Stop knocking at the door!'"
"Daddy," I said, with great earnestness, "may I have Anastasia back? It would give me great, great help if she came back."
"Bless me!" said my father, rubbing his red face, "I must ask her ladyship. I'll see about it; I'll see about it, little woman. Now, then, stand up and let me look at you."
I stood up. I was wearing my snuff-coloured dress, and the electric light and the firelight mingled11, fell over a desolate12, forlorn, little figure.
"Run upstairs this minute, Heather, and put on one of your pretty frocks. I know for a certainty they haven't gone back, because I told Lady Carrington she was to keep them. Find a servant who can tell you where they are, and put one on, and come down and let me see you in it."
He smiled at me. Surely there never was anyone with such a bewitching smile. You felt that you would cut your heart out to help him when he gave you that smile, that you would lie down at his feet to be trampled13 on when he looked at you with that expression in his bright blue eyes.
I went upstairs very slowly. Lady Carrington's maid happened to be in, and I said to her, in a forlorn voice:
"I want one of my pretty new frocks. May I have it?"
The woman gave me a lightning glance of approval, and presently I was dressed in softest, palest, shimmering14 grey, which fell in long folds around my young person. I held it up daintily, and ran downstairs.
"There's my rose in June!" said father, and he came and took me in his arms. He chatted in his old fashion after that, but he went away before Lady Carrington returned from church. She came back, accompanied by Captain Carbury. I was in the drawing-room then, and there was plenty of colour in my cheeks, for father's visit had excited me a great deal. Captain Carbury gave me a wistful glance and drew a chair near mine.
"Do you know what I was thinking of?" he said, suddenly.
"What?" I asked.
"That it would be very nice after the wedding to-morrow——"
I shivered, and clutched my chair to keep myself from falling. I felt his dark eyes fixed15 on my face.
"After the ceremony to-morrow," he continued, "if you and Lady Carrington and I went to Hampton Court to spend the day. We will go down in my motor-car, come back afterwards and dine in town, and then go to the theatre. What do you think? I know Lady Carrington is quite agreeable."
"Do you want me to go, Captain Carbury?"
"Yes, I want you very much."
"Well, I will do it, if it pleases you," I said.
He looked steadily16 at me, then he bent17 forward—he dropped his voice.
"I, too, have a gallery," he said, "in which I place, not my famous heroes, but my famous heroines, and just at this moment, when you gave up your real will to mine and—forgot yourself—I put you in."
"Oh, thank you," I said, and my eyes brimmed with tears.
Captain Carbury went away early, and after he had gone Lady Carrington sat down by my side and began to talk to me.
"You and he are famous friends," she said, "and I am so glad. Perhaps I ought to tell you, however, that Vernon is engaged to a most charming girl. I know he will want you to meet her—they are to be married next summer."
"Oh, I hope she is good enough for him."
"I hope so also. Her name is Lady Dorothy Vinguard. She is beautiful and—and rich—and her people live in a lovely place in Surrey."
Suddenly a memory flashed through my mind.
I asked a question:
"Why did father say he would not meet Captain Carbury to-night at supper?" I said.
Lady Carrington coloured. She got up and poked18 the fire quite vigorously.
"Why are you getting so red?" I said. "Why would not father meet him?"
"You see, he is an army man," answered Lady Carrington.
"But that has nothing to do with it," I replied. "Father's in the army, too."
"Don't ask so many questions, Heather."
"Has father a reason for not wanting to see him?"
"He may have, dear, but if he has I cannot tell you."
"That means you won't," I replied.
"Very well—I won't."


1 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。
2 pussy x0dzA     
  • Why can't they leave my pussy alone?为什么他们就不能离我小猫咪远一点?
  • The baby was playing with his pussy.孩子正和他的猫嬉戏。
3 sob HwMwx     
  • The child started to sob when he couldn't find his mother.孩子因找不到他妈妈哭了起来。
  • The girl didn't answer,but continued to sob with her head on the table.那个女孩不回答,也不抬起头来。她只顾低声哭着。
4 mite 4Epxw     
  • 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。
5 majesty MAExL     
  • The king had unspeakable majesty.国王有无法形容的威严。
  • Your Majesty must make up your mind quickly!尊贵的陛下,您必须赶快做出决定!
6 quaint 7tqy2     
  • There were many small lanes in the quaint village.在这古香古色的村庄里,有很多小巷。
  • They still keep some quaint old customs.他们仍然保留着一些稀奇古怪的旧风俗。
7 demurely demurely     
  • "On the forehead, like a good brother,'she answered demurely. "吻前额,像个好哥哥那样,"她故作正经地回答说。 来自飘(部分)
  • Punctuation is the way one bats one's eyes, lowers one's voice or blushes demurely. 标点就像人眨眨眼睛,低声细语,或伍犯作态。 来自名作英译部分
8 folly QgOzL     
  • 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。
9 harmonious EdWzx     
  • Their harmonious relationship resulted in part from their similar goals.他们关系融洽的部分原因是他们有着相似的目标。
  • The room was painted in harmonious colors.房间油漆得色彩调和。
10 contemplate PaXyl     
  • The possibility of war is too horrifying to contemplate.战争的可能性太可怕了,真不堪细想。
  • The consequences would be too ghastly to contemplate.后果不堪设想。
11 mingled fdf34efd22095ed7e00f43ccc823abdf     
混合,混入( mingle的过去式和过去分词 ); 混进,与…交往[联系]
  • The sounds of laughter and singing mingled in the evening air. 笑声和歌声交织在夜空中。
  • The man and the woman mingled as everyone started to relax. 当大家开始放松的时候,这一男一女就开始交往了。
12 desolate vmizO     
  • The city was burned into a desolate waste.那座城市被烧成一片废墟。
  • We all felt absolutely desolate when she left.她走后,我们都觉得万分孤寂。
13 trampled 8c4f546db10d3d9e64a5bba8494912e6     
踩( trample的过去式和过去分词 ); 践踏; 无视; 侵犯
  • He gripped his brother's arm lest he be trampled by the mob. 他紧抓着他兄弟的胳膊,怕他让暴民踩着。
  • People were trampled underfoot in the rush for the exit. 有人在拼命涌向出口时被踩在脚下。
14 shimmering 0a3bf9e89a4f6639d4583ea76519339e     
v.闪闪发光,发微光( shimmer的现在分词 )
  • The sea was shimmering in the sunlight. 阳光下海水波光闪烁。
  • The colours are delicate and shimmering. 这些颜色柔和且闪烁微光。 来自辞典例句
15 fixed JsKzzj     
  • 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。
16 steadily Qukw6     
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
17 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
18 poked 87f534f05a838d18eb50660766da4122     
v.伸出( poke的过去式和过去分词 );戳出;拨弄;与(某人)性交
  • She poked him in the ribs with her elbow. 她用胳膊肘顶他的肋部。
  • His elbow poked out through his torn shirt sleeve. 他的胳膊从衬衫的破袖子中露了出来。 来自《简明英汉词典》


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