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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Wild Heather » CHAPTER XIV
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At that moment I had no thought of either right or wrong. I was determined1 to go straight forward and appeal to a very generous and chivalrous2 man to help me; I thought he could do it, and I believed that no one else in all the world would. I ran quickly upstairs—what a comfort it was to know that Morris was nowhere in sight, how delightful3 was the sensation of putting on my own hat and jacket, of tying a scarf round my neck and slipping my hands into my gloves. It was also perfectly4 delicious not to be obliged to look even once into the glass—little did I care at that moment how I looked!
I had a small sealskin purse; I slipped the purse inside my muff and went downstairs. Soon it would be too warm to wear muffs, for the fine summer weather was fast approaching, but I was glad of mine to-day. Perhaps my sorrow had chilled me, for I felt rather cold. A taxi-cab came slowly by; I motioned to the man to stop. I got in, telling the driver to take me to 24c, Green Street, "And go as quickly as you can," I said. I was all impatience5, and the possibility of Lord Hawtrey being out did not once occur to me.
We got to Green Street in a very few minutes and drew up at the right number. There was "24c," painted in most distinct lettering on the highly-enamelled door. The door was enamelled a very soft shade of green, and I thought it looked remarkably6 well. I also remarked the flower boxes in each of the windows and how fresh and smart the flowers looked, but somehow they did not please me. I supposed that Lord Hawtrey had a passion for flowers, otherwise he would never have given me those roses. I hated the memory of those roses now; this time yesterday how passionately7 I had loved them, but now I hated them. I had supposed that they had come from my own true love, and they had in reality been the gift of an old man who might have been my father, for so I considered Lord Hawtrey.
I stepped out of the cab, paid the driver his fare, saw him move away, and then ran up the low flight of steps and rang the bell.
"Is Lord Hawtrey in?" I asked of the man in livery who attended to my summons.
A reply in the negative was instantly given to me.
"His lordship is out, miss." The man gave me a cold stare. But I was far too excited to think about his manner.
"Will he be in soon?" I asked. "I have come to see Lord Hawtrey on very important business."
"If you will step inside, miss, I will make inquiries8. May I ask if his lordship is expecting you?"
"No," I answered. "This is Lady Helen Dalrymple's card; I have come from her house."
The man took the card and gave me a second glance, which now showed absolute respect. How magical was the effect of my stepmother's name! I wondered at it. I was glad that I had put a few of her cards in my purse.
In a very few minutes the servant returned to say that his lordship would be in almost immediately, and asking me if I would wish to wait in the white boudoir.
I said yes. Little did I care where I waited at that instant. The servant conducted me upstairs to a pretty room, which must have been arranged for a lady's comfort. It was furnished in white. The walls were white, so was the furniture. The only bit of colour anywhere was a very soft, very bright crimson9 carpet, into which one's feet sank. The effect of the crimson carpet on the white room was extremely effective. There were no pictures round the walls, but there were a great many mirrors, so that as I entered I caught the reflection of myself from many points of view. I sat down on a low chair and was glad to find that I could no longer look at my small, tired face.
The minutes passed; a little clock over the mantelpiece told me the time. Five minutes went by, ten, fifteen, then there was a sound downstairs, men's voices talking together, men laughing and chatting volubly, some ladies joining in their talk. Then there was a sudden kind of hush10. All the visitors entered a room a considerable way off, and a minute later there was a hurried ascending11 of the stairs, the door was opened with a sort of impetuosity, and Lord Hawtrey, looking slightly flushed, surprised, and not altogether pleased, entered the room.
"My dear Miss Dalrymple," he began, "I am amazed to see you here and—and charmed, of course—but is there anything wrong, is there anything I can do for you? What is it, my dear little girl?"
Lord Hawtrey dropped his society manners on the spot. With his quick, kind eyes he read the distress12 on my face.
"I want you to help me," I said, "I want to speak to you all alone—but you have brought visitors in. May I stay here until they go?"
"Oh, no, that won't do at all. Of course, I should be delighted to talk to you now; let me think. My sister, Lady Mary Percy, is downstairs—I will see her. She will come and talk with you."
"But it is you I want to see, Lord Hawtrey."
"Leave the matter in my hands, dear child, I'll attend to everything. By the way, where is your stepmother and where is your father to-day?"
"They have gone in the motor-car into the country."
"I will see my sister; she will be with you in a minute or two."
Lord Hawtrey left the room. I felt puzzled and distressed13. I wondered if I had done wrong. A very few moments passed and then the same servant who had admitted me appeared, bearing a charming little tray which held afternoon tea for two.
"Lady Mary Percy will be here in a moment, miss," he said, "she desires you not to wait for her."
I did wait. I did not want tea, nor did I want to see Lady Mary, but in a very few minutes, true to the servant's words, she appeared. She was a very pretty woman, and looked quite young beside her brother. She had a kind, thoughtful face, a high-bred face, the face of one who had never in the whole of her life thought of anything except what was good and noble. I was certain of that the moment I saw her. I was glad now that Lord Hawtrey had asked her to come to me. In my excitement I forgot that she must think my conduct strange, and must wonder what sort of a girl I, Heather Dalrymple, was. She came up to me and held out her hand, then she looked into my face.
"Lord Hawtrey has begged of me to come and see you. Shall we have some tea together?"
She sat down at once and poured out tea for us both. She offered me a cup, and I felt that I should be very rude if I refused it. It was with difficulty I could either eat or drink, but Lady Mary seemed to expect me to do so, and for her sake I made an effort. The tea did me good, for it was strong and fragrant14, the bread and butter was delicious, it did me good also. I felt more like a child and less like an anguished15, storm-tossed woman than I had done before that meal. When it came to an end Lady Mary touched a silver gong, and presently a woman, dressed beautifully all in white, and whom Lady Mary called Blanche, appeared.
"Take these things away, please, Blanche," she said, "and order my carriage to be at the door in half an hour."
"Yes, my lady," replied Blanche.
She removed the tea things, the door was shut behind her, and Lady Mary and I faced each other.
"Now," she said, "you had better tell me what you intended to say to my brother, Lord Hawtrey. I can see that you are in trouble, and I should very much like to help you."
"Oh, but it is impossible to tell you," I replied.
The colour rushed into my cheeks, then it receded16, leaving them very pale. I knew they were pale, for I felt so cold.
Lady Mary changed her seat. She came over, took a low chair, seated herself by my side, and stretching out her hand, clasped one of mine in hers.
"Dear," she said, in a gentle tone, "you are very young, are you not?"
"I suppose so," I answered, "but I do not feel so. I am eighteen."
"Ah! But eighteen is extremely young; I know that, who am twenty-eight; my brother Hawtrey is forty."
"I know," I said, "your brother is old, is he not? I thought I might come to see a kind old man. Have I done wrong?"
"No, child, you have not done wrong; nevertheless, you have done something that the world would not approve of. Now, I want you to come away to my house. I live in another part of London; in my house you can see my brother if you wish, but why do you not confide17 in me? I should like to be your friend."
I looked straight up at her. After all, she was nearer to my own age. Could I not tell her? I said impulsively18:
"I will go away to your house with you and I will tell you there, and you can advise me what I ought really to do."
"Yes, I am sure that will be much the wisest plan. And now let us talk of other matters."
She began to chat in a light, winsome19 voice. After a time she begged of me to excuse her and went downstairs. She came back again in a few minutes.
"I have told my brother that you would tell me what you intended to say to him, and he is quite pleased with the idea," she said, "and my carriage is now at the door, so shall we go?"
"Yes," I answered.
We went downstairs together. We entered a very luxurious20 carriage, which was drawn21 by a pair of spirited bay horses. In a few minutes we found ourselves in another part of fashionable London. I cannot even to this day recall the name of the street. The house was not at all unlike Lord Hawtrey's house; it was furnished with the same severity, and the same excellent taste. Lady Mary took me into a little boudoir, which was destitute22 of knick-knacks and bric-à-brac. But it had many flowers, and, what I greatly enjoyed, a comfortable sense of space. My hostess drew a cushioned chair forward and desired me to sit in it; I did so. Then she seated herself and took one of my hands.
"Your story, Miss Heather Dalrymple?" she said.
"I will tell you," I answered. "Perhaps you will be dreadfully angry, but I cannot help it, you must know. I am eighteen and Lord Hawtrey is forty. I think Lord Hawtrey one of the best men in all the world; he is so kind and he has such a beautiful way with him. Last night he dined at our house and afterwards he came to see me quite by myself, and he spoke23 as no other man ever spoke to me before, only you must understand, please, and not be angry, that I could not do what he wanted. He wanted a very young girl like me, a girl who knows nothing at all of life, to—to marry him. Do you think that was fair or right, Lady Mary Percy?"
Lady Mary's brown eyes seemed to dance in her head. It was with an effort she suppressed something which might have been a smile or might have been a frown. After a minute's silence she said gently:
"It altogether depends on the girl to whom such a speech is addressed."
"I know that," I answered, "but this girl, the girl who is now talking to you ... I cannot even try to explain to you what a simple life I have lived—just the very quietest, and with a dear, dear old lady, who is poor, and doesn't know anything about the luxuries of the rich people of London. She has brought me up, during all the years I have been with her, to think nothing whatsoever24 of riches; she has got that idea so firmly into my mind that I don't think it can be uprooted25. So whatever happens, I am not likely to care for Lord Hawtrey because he is rich, nor to care for him because he is a nobleman or has high rank, or anything of that sort. I said to him last night: 'You don't want to force me to be your wife,' and he answered, 'You must come to me of your own free will.' Well, it is just this, Lady Mary. I can never come to him of my own free will, never, never!"
"He told me, child," said Lady Mary, in a quiet, low, very level sort of voice, "that he had spoken to you. I was a good deal astonished; I thought the advantages were on your side. You must forgive me; you have spoken frankly26 to me, it is my turn to speak frankly to you—I thought the disadvantages were on his side. A very young, innocent, ignorant girl, I did not think a suitable wife for my brother, but he assured me that he loved you, he assured me also that there was something about you which wins hearts. That being the case, I—well, I said no more. Now you speak to me as though I earnestly desired this marriage. I do not earnestly desire it—I don't wish for it at all."
"Then you will prevent it? How splendid of you!" I said, and I bent27 forward as though I would kiss her hand.
She moved slightly away from me. She was in touch with me, but not altogether in touch at that moment.
"I will tell you what has really happened," I said. "I must. I admire your brother beyond words, I know how tremendously he has honoured me, and I think somehow, if things were different, that I might feel tempted28 to—just to do what he wants. But things are so circumstanced that I cannot possibly do what Lord Hawtrey wishes, for I love another man. He is quite young, he—he and I love each other tremendously. He asked me this morning to be his wife and I accepted him. I was in the Park when I met him, and he asked me there and then. We walked home together, my maid was with us, so I suppose it was all right. This is a very queer world, where there seems no freedom for any young girl. I brought Vernon Carbury——"
"Whom did you say?"
"Captain Carbury, I mean. I brought him into the room with my father and mother—or my stepmother—and—he told them what he wanted. They sent me away—I was rather frightened when they did that—and when they had him all alone they spoke to him and they told him that he was to go out of my life, because, Lady Mary, your brother, Lord Hawtrey, was to come in. They said that they wanted me to marry your brother, and I won't—I can't—and I much want you to help me in this matter."
"Upon my word!" said Lady Mary. She rose abruptly29 and began to pace the room. "You are the queerest girl I ever met! There must be some queer sort of witchery about you. On a certain night you are proposed to by my brother Hawtrey, the head of our house, one of the richest men in England, and certainly one of the most nobly born. You snub him, just as though he were a nobody. On the following morning you receive a proposal from Vernon Carbury, he who was engaged to Lady Dorothy Vinguard."
"Yes, but all that is at an end," I said.
"I know, I know. Dorothy is not a perfectly silly girl like you, and she is marrying a man older and richer and greater than Carbury. And so you have fallen in love with him? Yes, I know; those blue eyes of his would be certain to make havoc30 in more than one girl's heart. It is a pretty tale, upon my word it is, and out of the common. Now you have confided31 things to me, I don't think Hawtrey will trouble you any more; perhaps I can see to that. Would you like to go back home—and before you go, is there anything I can do for you?"
"No, oh, no," I said, "you have made me quite happy!"
"I am glad of that. You are a very strange girl; I suppose you will marry Captain Carbury some day. You are, of course, quite unaware32 of the fact that Hawtrey must have loved you beyond the ordinary when he made up his mind to take as a wife the daughter of Major Grayson?"
I sprang to my feet.
"What do you mean by those words?"
"Don't you know, child, don't you know?"
"I know nothing, except that my father is the best man in all the world."
Lady Mary looked at me, at first with scorn, then a strange, new, softened33, pitying expression flashed over her face.
"You poor little girl!" she said. "Have you never suspected, have you never guessed, why he married Lady Helen Dalrymple, and why he took her name, and why——"
"Don't tell me any more," I said, "please don't, I would rather not know. Good-bye—you have been kind, you have meant to be very kind, but you are hinting at something quite awful—all the same, I will find out—yes, I will find out! My father do a mean thing! Indeed, you little know him. Good-bye, Lady Mary."
"Stay, child; the carriage must take you home."
"No, I will walk," I said.
My heart was burning within me. I really thought that I should break down, but although I heard Lady Mary ring her bell, and passed an astonished servant coming up the stairs in answer to her summons, I managed to get into the street before she could interfere34. I was glad of this. I must walk, I must get away from myself, I must find out once for all what terrible thing was the matter—what secret there was in my father's life.
I walked and walked, and was so absorbed in myself and my own reflections, that I was quite oblivious35 of the fact that people glanced at me from time to time. I had not the manner of a London girl, and did not wear the dress of the sort of girl who walks about London unattended. At last I came to a big park—I think now it must have been Regent's Park, but I am by no means sure. The trees looked cool and inviting36, the grass was green, there were broad paths and, of course, there were flowers everywhere. It occurred to me then, as I entered the park and sat down on a low seat not far from the water, that I could not possibly do better in existing circumstances than go back to Aunt Penelope. If I could only see Aunt Penelope once more I should know what to do, and I should force her to tell me my father's story.
"It is positively37 wrong to keep it from me," I thought; "I cannot act in the dark, I cannot endure this suspense38; whatever has happened, he is right, he is good, he is splendid and noble. Nothing would induce me to believe anything against him."
I took my purse out of my pocket, and opening it, spread its contents on the palm of my hand. I had three pounds in my purse, plenty of money, therefore, to go back to the dear little village where I had been brought up.


1 determined duszmP     
  • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation.我已决定毕业后去西藏。
  • He determined to view the rooms behind the office.他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
2 chivalrous 0Xsz7     
  • Men are so little chivalrous now.现在的男人几乎没有什么骑士风度了。
  • Toward women he was nobly restrained and chivalrous.对于妇女,他表现得高尚拘谨,尊敬三分。
3 delightful 6xzxT     
  • We had a delightful time by the seashore last Sunday.上星期天我们在海滨玩得真痛快。
  • Peter played a delightful melody on his flute.彼得用笛子吹奏了一支欢快的曲子。
4 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。
5 impatience OaOxC     
  • He expressed impatience at the slow rate of progress.进展缓慢,他显得不耐烦。
  • He gave a stamp of impatience.他不耐烦地跺脚。
6 remarkably EkPzTW     
  • 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。
7 passionately YmDzQ4     
  • She could hate as passionately as she could love. 她能恨得咬牙切齿,也能爱得一往情深。
  • He was passionately addicted to pop music. 他酷爱流行音乐。
8 inquiries 86a54c7f2b27c02acf9fcb16a31c4b57     
n.调查( inquiry的名词复数 );疑问;探究;打听
  • He was released on bail pending further inquiries. 他获得保释,等候进一步调查。
  • I have failed to reach them by postal inquiries. 我未能通过邮政查询与他们取得联系。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
9 crimson AYwzH     
  • She went crimson with embarrassment.她羞得满脸通红。
  • Maple leaves have turned crimson.枫叶已经红了。
10 hush ecMzv     
  • A hush fell over the onlookers.旁观者们突然静了下来。
  • Do hush up the scandal!不要把这丑事声张出去!
11 ascending CyCzrc     
  • Now draw or trace ten dinosaurs in ascending order of size.现在按照体型由小到大的顺序画出或是临摹出10只恐龙。
12 distress 3llzX     
  • Nothing could alleviate his distress.什么都不能减轻他的痛苦。
  • Please don't distress yourself.请你不要忧愁了。
13 distressed du1z3y     
  • He was too distressed and confused to answer their questions. 他非常苦恼而困惑,无法回答他们的问题。
  • The news of his death distressed us greatly. 他逝世的消息使我们极为悲痛。
14 fragrant z6Yym     
  • The Fragrant Hills are exceptionally beautiful in late autumn.深秋的香山格外美丽。
  • The air was fragrant with lavender.空气中弥漫薰衣草香。
15 anguished WzezLl     
  • Desmond eyed her anguished face with sympathy. 看着她痛苦的脸,德斯蒙德觉得理解。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The loss of her husband anguished her deeply. 她丈夫的死亡使她悲痛万分。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
16 receded a802b3a97de1e72adfeda323ad5e0023     
v.逐渐远离( recede的过去式和过去分词 );向后倾斜;自原处后退或避开别人的注视;尤指问题
  • The floodwaters have now receded. 洪水现已消退。
  • The sound of the truck receded into the distance. 卡车的声音渐渐在远处消失了。
17 confide WYbyd     
  • I would never readily confide in anybody.我从不轻易向人吐露秘密。
  • He is going to confide the secrets of his heart to us.他将向我们吐露他心里的秘密。
18 impulsively 0596bdde6dedf8c46a693e7e1da5984c     
  • She leant forward and kissed him impulsively. 她倾身向前,感情冲动地吻了他。
  • Every good, true, vigorous feeling I had gathered came impulsively round him. 我的一切良好、真诚而又强烈的感情都紧紧围绕着他涌现出来。
19 winsome HfTwx     
  • She gave him her best winsome smile.她给了他一个最为迷人的微笑。
  • She was a winsome creature.她十分可爱。
20 luxurious S2pyv     
  • This is a luxurious car complete with air conditioning and telephone.这是一辆附有空调设备和电话的豪华轿车。
  • The rich man lives in luxurious surroundings.这位富人生活在奢侈的环境中。
21 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
22 destitute 4vOxu     
  • They were destitute of necessaries of life.他们缺少生活必需品。
  • They are destitute of common sense.他们缺乏常识。
23 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。
24 whatsoever Beqz8i     
  • There's no reason whatsoever to turn down this suggestion.没有任何理由拒绝这个建议。
  • All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,do ye even so to them.你想别人对你怎样,你就怎样对人。
25 uprooted e0d29adea5aedb3a1fcedf8605a30128     
v.把(某物)连根拔起( uproot的过去式和过去分词 );根除;赶走;把…赶出家园
  • Many people were uprooted from their homes by the flood. 水灾令许多人背井离乡。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The hurricane blew with such force that trees were uprooted. 飓风强烈地刮着,树都被连根拔起了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
26 frankly fsXzcf     
  • To speak frankly, I don't like the idea at all.老实说,我一点也不赞成这个主意。
  • Frankly speaking, I'm not opposed to reform.坦率地说,我不反对改革。
27 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。
28 tempted b0182e969d369add1b9ce2353d3c6ad6     
  • I was sorely tempted to complain, but I didn't. 我极想发牢骚,但还是没开口。
  • I was tempted by the dessert menu. 甜食菜单馋得我垂涎欲滴。
29 abruptly iINyJ     
  • He gestured abruptly for Virginia to get in the car.他粗鲁地示意弗吉尼亚上车。
  • I was abruptly notified that a half-hour speech was expected of me.我突然被通知要讲半个小时的话。
30 havoc 9eyxY     
  • The earthquake wreaked havoc on the city.地震对这个城市造成了大破坏。
  • This concentration of airborne firepower wrought havoc with the enemy forces.这次机载火力的集中攻击给敌军造成很大破坏。
31 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》
32 unaware Pl6w0     
  • They were unaware that war was near. 他们不知道战争即将爆发。
  • I was unaware of the man's presence. 我没有察觉到那人在场。
33 softened 19151c4e3297eb1618bed6a05d92b4fe     
(使)变软( soften的过去式和过去分词 ); 缓解打击; 缓和; 安慰
  • His smile softened slightly. 他的微笑稍柔和了些。
  • The ice cream softened and began to melt. 冰淇淋开始变软并开始融化。
34 interfere b5lx0     
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
35 oblivious Y0Byc     
  • Mother has become quite oblivious after the illness.这次病后,妈妈变得特别健忘。
  • He was quite oblivious of the danger.他完全没有察觉到危险。
36 inviting CqIzNp     
  • An inviting smell of coffee wafted into the room.一股诱人的咖啡香味飘进了房间。
  • The kitchen smelled warm and inviting and blessedly familiar.这间厨房的味道温暖诱人,使人感到亲切温馨。
37 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。
38 suspense 9rJw3     
  • The suspense was unbearable.这样提心吊胆的状况实在叫人受不了。
  • The director used ingenious devices to keep the audience in suspense.导演用巧妙手法引起观众的悬念。


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