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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Wild Heather » CHAPTER XV
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I think God gave me great courage that day, for I really acted like a girl who was accustomed to going about by herself, who knew her way about London, and who was saving with regard to money matters. I had come out of one of the richest houses in London; I had left a house where I was attended all day and practically half the night, where my slightest wish was considered, where the most beautiful clothes were given to me, and the most lovely things—that is, to all appearance—happened to me. I went out of that awful house, which I hated, which I loathed1, just because it was so rich, so stifling2 with luxury, and felt that each minute I was becoming a woman, and that soon, very soon, I should be quite grown up.
I got to Paddington Station and took the first train to Cherton. Cherton is not far from a great centre, and, as a rule, you have to change trains and get into a "local" before you can arrive at the little old-world place. I travelled third, of course, and had quite an interesting journey. My compartment3 was full and I enjoyed looking at my companions. They were the sort of people who do travel third—I mean they were the sort of people who have a right to travel third. A great many ladies now go third-class when they ought to go second or first, but these people had a right to their third-class compartment, and thoroughly4 they seemed to enjoy themselves. They brought parcels innumerable; some of them brought birds in cages. There was a small, sharp-looking boy who had a pet weasel in his pocket. The weasel thrust out his head now and then and looked at us with his cunning bright eyes, and then darted5 back once more into his place of shelter. The boy looked intensely happy with his weasel; in fact, the creature seemed to comprise all his world. I managed to enter into conversation with the boy, and he told me that he was going to Cherton to be apprenticed7 to an old uncle of his; he was to learn the boot and shoe business and was to make a good thing of it, so that he might be rich enough to help his father and mother by and by. He had nice, honest, brown eyes, and when I asked him his name he said that he was called Jack8 Martin, but that most of his friends called him Jack Tar9. They all thought he would fail—all except Sam—but Sam prognosticated his success. I asked the boy who "Sam" was, and he answered in his simple, direct way:
"Why, he's my best pal10, lydy."
I liked the little fellow when he answered in that fashion, and told him in a low voice that I was also going to Cherton, that I had spent many years in that little, out-of-the-world village, and that I was going to seek my aunt. He was much interested, and we became so chummy that he offered me the loan of "Frisky11," as he called the weasel, for a short time, if I'd be very kind to it. I thanked him much for the honour he meant to confer on me, but explained that I was not in the habit of carrying weasels about with me, and perhaps would not understand "Frisky's" manners.
"He's a rare 'un for giving you a nip," said the boy in reply, "but Lor' bless yer, that don't matter. There's nothing wicious about he."
The other people in the carriage were also interested in the boy, and even more so in "Frisky," who by and by extended his peregrinations from one person to another, nibbling12 up a few crumbs13 of cake, and putting away with disdain14 morsels15 of orange peel, and altogether behaving like a well-behaved weasel of independent mind. The boy said he hoped "Frisky" would be allowed to sleep in his bed at his uncle's place, and the women sympathised, the men also expressing their hearty16 wishes on the subject.
"And why not?" said one very burly-looking farmer. "I'd a whole nest of 'em once, and purtier little dears I never handled."
The third-class carriage was, indeed, packed full; the endless luggage, the boxes little and big, boxes that went on the rack and boxes that would not go on the rack, but stuck out all over the narrow passage and got into everyone's way. There were shawls, and a pretty bird in a cage, and a white rabbit in another cage, and bundles innumerable. But everyone talked and laughed and became chatty and agreeable. The boy was the first to tell his story. It was a very simple one. He was poor; his father and mother had just saved up money enough to apprentice6 him to Uncle Ben Rogers. He was going to him; he was off his parents now, and would never trouble them again, God helping17 him.
By and by the people in the carriage turned their attention full on me. They had confided18 their histories each to the other, their simple stories of love and of hate, of ill-nature and of good-nature, of stormy days of privation and full days of plenty. Now it was my turn. I was assailed19 by innumerable questions. "Why did I wear such smart clothes? Where did I get the feather that was in my hat? Why did I, being a lydy, travel with the likes of them?"
I told these good, kind creatures that I loved to travel with them, and that I hated wealth and grand people. I said also that I was going back to a kind aunt of mine, who hated fine clothes as much as I was beginning to hate them, and that I earnestly hoped she would let me stay with her. I said that I was a very miserable20 girl, and then they all pitied me, and one woman said, "Poor thing, poor, pretty young thing!" and another took my hand and squeezed it, and said, "Bear up, my deary, God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." I did not exactly know what she meant, but I took comfort from her kindly21 words and kindly face. And so at last we got out at the big junction22 and then I took the little train to Cherton. One or two of my fellow-travellers, amongst others the boy with the weasel, accompanied me. He was looking a little nervous, and when I said:
"I'll come and see you some day," his little woebegone face brightened up considerably23, and he answered:
"Don't forget, lydy, as I'm mostly known as Jack Tar, although I was never at sea in the whole course of my life; but my father makes tar, and I was christened Jack, so what could be more likely than that I should be called Jack Tar?" He then added again that his real name was Martin; but that was no use to him at all, he was always "Jack Tar," and he would not like to be anything else.
I smiled at the boy and we parted the best of friends. Cherton looked perfectly24 lovely. It was just the crown of the year, that time in early May when, if the weather is fine, the whole world seems to put out her brightest and sweetest fragrance25. The may trees were not yet in bloom, it is true, but the blackthorn was abundant, and as to the primroses26 and violets, they seemed to carpet the place. My heart beat faster and faster. Oh, the old streets, and the little town, and the happy, peaceful life I had led here! Would Aunt Penelope be glad to see me? Of course she would. She was not a demonstrative old woman, but she was good to me; she, of course, had been very good to me. From the time she had taken me—a tiny, motherless girl—from my father, she had done her best in her own fashion for me. After all, I had not been so long away from her, only a few months; but so much had been crowded into those months that the time seemed years.
I had—I knew quite well—stepped from childhood into womanhood. My eyes had been opened to discern good from evil, but I was glad of that; I was glad, more than glad, that Cherton meant good to me, and that London meant evil. I recalled the first time I had come to Cherton and what a miserable little child I had been, and how I had rushed away, all by myself, to the railway station to meet the train by which Anastasia was to come. Things were different now. Now Cherton meant home, and I had, I will own it, almost forgotten Anastasia.
At last I mounted the little hill which led to Hill View, Aunt Penelope's house. I wondered if the same Jonas would open the door for me who had parted with me with many tears on the morning when I had gone with such a light heart to join my father in London. I reached the little brown house. It looked exactly the same as ever, only that, of course, the spring flowers were coming out. There were a great many ranunculuses in the garden, and the irises27 were coming out of their sheaths and putting on their purple bloom, and there were heaps and heaps of tulips of different shades and colour. These were real flowers; these were the sort that I loved, the sort that Vernon Carbury would love if he saw them. These were very different from the hothouse roses and the flowers of rare beauty which decorated Lord Hawtrey's house.
I walked up the path which led to the front door with the confident step of a girl who is returning home; I rang the door bell. At first there was silence, no one replied to my summons; then a head was pushed out of a door down the area, there was a muffled28 exclamation29, and somebody came scampering30 up the stairs, and there—yes, there—was the old Jonas waiting for me!
"Jonas," I said, "don't you know me?"
"Miss Heather," he answered. His face grew scarlet31, and then turned very white; the next minute, forgetting altogether his position, he took both my hands and dragged me into the house.
"Was it in answer to the big prayer that you've come?" he said. "Speak, and speak at once. I'm a Methody, I be. I had a big prayer last night; I wrestled32 with the Lord for you to come back. Was it in answer to that you come?"
"Perhaps so, I don't know—who can tell? Oh, Jonas! is anything wrong?"
"Stop knocking at the door!" shouted a familiar voice, and then I gave a scream, half of pleasure, half of pain, and dashed into the parlour and went up to Polly. I could not be afraid of her any longer, and although she was not at all a friendly bird to me, and never had been during all the years I had lived with her, yet she was so far subdued33 at present that she allowed me to ruffle34 the feathers on the top of her grey head.
"Where's Aunt Penelope?" I said then, turning to Jonas.
"Upstairs in bed. The doctor he come and the doctor he goes and I do what I can, but 'tain't much. She's off her feed and she's off her luck, and she's in bed. She's got me in to tidy up this morning, she did so. She said, 'Jonas, it ain't correct, but it must be done; you bring in your broom and tea leaves and sweep up,' she said, 'and then dust,' she said, 'and I will lie buried under the clothes, so that you won't see a bit of my head. It's quite a decent thing to do when it's done like that, Jonas; and don't make any bones about it, for it's to be done.' So I done her up as best I could, and oh, my word! the room did want it badly. There now, that's her bell. Doctor says she should stay in bed and not stir, but she hears voices, and she's that mad with curiosity. Doctor thinks maybe she's going; doctor don't like her state, but I does the best I can. I'm getting her beef-tea ready for her now, Miss Heather, and maybe you'll take it up to her. It's you she's been fretting36 for; she's never held up her head since you went, but don't you go to suppose she spoke37 of you. No, she never once did. But her head—she never kept it up. Don't you fret35 about her, Miss Heather; you have come back, and it's in answer to prayer. Now then, come along with me into the kitchen. I'll shout at her to let her know I'm here, but I'll not mention your name. Coming, ma'am—heating up the beef-tea—coming in a twink! There, Miss Heather, she'll know now I'm coming, and you—you get along to the kitchen as fast as you can and watch me, to see as I does it right."
I went with Jonas to the little old-world kitchen. He really was not a bad boy, this present Jonas, for the kitchen, seeing that its mistress was so long out of it, was fairly clean, and his attempt at making beef-tea was fairly good, after all. While Jonas was warming the beef-tea and making a tiny piece of toast, I removed my hat and jacket and smoothed my hair, and when the refreshment38 was ready I took it upstairs with me, up and up the narrow, short flight of creaking stairs. I passed my own tiny bedroom, and there was Aunt Penelope's room, facing the stairs. I opened the door very softly and stood for a second on the threshold.
"Now, what is it?" said a cantankerous39 voice. "Jonas, you're off your head. It's just because I admitted you to my bedroom to-day to sweep and dust. But come in, don't be shy. There is nothing against your coming into the room with an old lady. You can lay the tray on the table and walk out again without looking at me."
"It isn't Jonas," I said, standing40 half-hidden by the door, "it's—it's—Heather. I have come back, auntie."
The moment I said the words I went right in. Aunt Penelope drew herself bolt upright in bed. She did look a very withered41, very ill, and very neglected old lady. Her face was hard and stern, but in her eyes that moment there burnt the light of love. Those eyes looked straight into mine.
"Heather, you're back?"
"Yes, of course I am, auntie, and now you must take your beef-tea and tell me all about everything. How are you, darling, and why did you get ill, and why did you never write or send for your own child, Heather?—and, oh! you have been naughty! But I have come back, and I mean to stay for just as long as you want me."
"Then that will be for ever and ever, Amen," said Aunt Penelope. She laid her hot, dry old hand in mine, and she raised her face for me to kiss her. I stooped and did so, and then I said, almost sternly, for it was my turn now to take the upper hand—
"You will have to allow me to wait on you; and you're not to talk at all, nor to expect any news from me whatsoever42, until you have had your beef-tea, and until I have made you comfortable. Dear, dear, you do want your child Heather, very badly, auntie."
"Badly," said Aunt Penelope. "I wanted you, Heather, unto death—unto death, but he said that you were to come when the season was over. I counted that perhaps you'd come in August. It's only May now, and the season has just begun. I counted for August, although I scarcely expected to live."
"No more talking," I said, trying to be stern, although it was very difficult, and then I sat on the edge of the bed and watched Aunt Penelope as she sipped43 her beef-tea and ate some morsels of toast.
I forgot myself as I watched her. My own sufferings seemed to be far away and of no consequence. My tired heart settled down suddenly into a great peace. I was home once more.


1 loathed dbdbbc9cf5c853a4f358a2cd10c12ff2     
v.憎恨,厌恶( loathe的过去式和过去分词 );极不喜欢
  • Baker loathed going to this red-haired young pup for supplies. 面包师傅不喜欢去这个红头发的自负的傻小子那里拿原料。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Therefore, above all things else, he loathed his miserable self! 因此,他厌恶不幸的自我尤胜其它! 来自英汉文学 - 红字
2 stifling dhxz7C     
  • The weather is stifling. It looks like rain. 今天太闷热,光景是要下雨。
  • We were stifling in that hot room with all the windows closed. 我们在那间关着窗户的热屋子里,简直透不过气来。
3 compartment dOFz6     
  • We were glad to have the whole compartment to ourselves.真高兴,整个客车隔间由我们独享。
  • The batteries are safely enclosed in a watertight compartment.电池被安全地置于一个防水的隔间里。
4 thoroughly sgmz0J     
  • 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。
5 darted d83f9716cd75da6af48046d29f4dd248     
v.投掷,投射( dart的过去式和过去分词 );向前冲,飞奔
  • The lizard darted out its tongue at the insect. 蜥蜴伸出舌头去吃小昆虫。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The old man was displeased and darted an angry look at me. 老人不高兴了,瞪了我一眼。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 apprentice 0vFzq     
  • My son is an apprentice in a furniture maker's workshop.我的儿子在一家家具厂做学徒。
  • The apprentice is not yet out of his time.这徒工还没有出徒。
7 apprenticed f2996f4d2796086e2fb6a3620103813c     
学徒,徒弟( apprentice的过去式和过去分词 )
  • I was apprenticed to a builder when I was fourteen. 14岁时,我拜一个建筑工人为师当学徒。
  • Lucius got apprenticed to a stonemason. 卢修斯成了石匠的学徒。
8 jack 53Hxp     
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
9 tar 1qOwD     
  • The roof was covered with tar.屋顶涂抹了一层沥青。
  • We use tar to make roads.我们用沥青铺路。
10 pal j4Fz4     
  • He is a pal of mine.他是我的一个朋友。
  • Listen,pal,I don't want you talking to my sister any more.听着,小子,我不让你再和我妹妹说话了。
11 frisky LfNzk     
  • I felt frisky,as if I might break into a dance.我感到很欢快,似乎要跳起舞来。
  • His horse was feeling frisky,and he had to hold the reins tightly.马儿欢蹦乱跳,他不得不紧勒缰绳。
12 nibbling 610754a55335f7412ddcddaf447d7d54     
v.啃,一点一点地咬(吃)( nibble的现在分词 );啃出(洞),一点一点咬出(洞);慢慢减少;小口咬
  • We sat drinking wine and nibbling olives. 我们坐在那儿,喝着葡萄酒嚼着橄榄。
  • He was nibbling on the apple. 他在啃苹果。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
13 crumbs crumbs     
int. (表示惊讶)哎呀 n. 碎屑 名词crumb的复数形式
  • She stood up and brushed the crumbs from her sweater. 她站起身掸掉了毛衣上的面包屑。
  • Oh crumbs! Is that the time? 啊,天哪!都这会儿啦?
14 disdain KltzA     
  • Some people disdain labour.有些人轻视劳动。
  • A great man should disdain flatterers.伟大的人物应鄙视献媚者。
15 morsels ed5ad10d588acb33c8b839328ca6c41c     
n.一口( morsel的名词复数 );(尤指食物)小块,碎屑
  • They are the most delicate morsels. 这些确是最好吃的部分。 来自辞典例句
  • Foxes will scratch up grass to find tasty bug and beetle morsels. 狐狸会挖草地,寻找美味的虫子和甲壳虫。 来自互联网
16 hearty Od1zn     
  • After work they made a hearty meal in the worker's canteen.工作完了,他们在工人食堂饱餐了一顿。
  • We accorded him a hearty welcome.我们给他热忱的欢迎。
17 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
18 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》
19 assailed cca18e858868e1e5479e8746bfb818d6     
v.攻击( assail的过去式和过去分词 );困扰;质问;毅然应对
  • He was assailed with fierce blows to the head. 他的头遭到猛烈殴打。
  • He has been assailed by bad breaks all these years. 这些年来他接二连三地倒霉。 来自《用法词典》
20 miserable g18yk     
  • It was miserable of you to make fun of him.你取笑他,这是可耻的。
  • Her past life was miserable.她过去的生活很苦。
21 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。
22 junction N34xH     
  • There's a bridge at the junction of the two rivers.两河的汇合处有座桥。
  • You must give way when you come to this junction.你到了这个路口必须让路。
23 considerably 0YWyQ     
  • The economic situation has changed considerably.经济形势已发生了相当大的变化。
  • The gap has narrowed considerably.分歧大大缩小了。
24 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。
25 fragrance 66ryn     
  • The apple blossoms filled the air with their fragrance.苹果花使空气充满香味。
  • The fragrance of lavender filled the room.房间里充满了薰衣草的香味。
26 primroses a7da9b79dd9b14ec42ee0bf83bfe8982     
n.报春花( primrose的名词复数 );淡黄色;追求享乐(招至恶果)
  • Wild flowers such as orchids and primroses are becoming rare. 兰花和报春花这类野花越来越稀少了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The primroses were bollming; spring was in evidence. 迎春花开了,春天显然已经到了。 来自互联网
27 irises 02b35ccfca195572fa75a384bbcf196a     
n.虹( iris的名词复数 );虹膜;虹彩;鸢尾(花)
  • The cottage gardens blaze with irises, lilies and peonies. 村舍花园万紫千红,鸢尾、百合花和牡丹竞相争艳。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The irises were of flecked grey. 虹膜呈斑驳的灰色。 来自《简明英汉词典》
28 muffled fnmzel     
adj.(声音)被隔的;听不太清的;(衣服)裹严的;蒙住的v.压抑,捂住( muffle的过去式和过去分词 );用厚厚的衣帽包着(自己)
  • muffled voices from the next room 从隔壁房间里传来的沉闷声音
  • There was a muffled explosion somewhere on their right. 在他们的右面什么地方有一声沉闷的爆炸声。 来自《简明英汉词典》
29 exclamation onBxZ     
  • He could not restrain an exclamation of approval.他禁不住喝一声采。
  • The author used three exclamation marks at the end of the last sentence to wake up the readers.作者在文章的最后一句连用了三个惊叹号,以引起读者的注意。
30 scampering 5c15380619b12657635e8413f54db650     
v.蹦蹦跳跳地跑,惊惶奔跑( scamper的现在分词 )
  • A cat miaowed, then was heard scampering away. 马上起了猫叫,接着又听见猫逃走的声音。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
  • A grey squirrel is scampering from limb to limb. 一只灰色的松鼠在树枝间跳来跳去。 来自辞典例句
31 scarlet zD8zv     
  • The scarlet leaves of the maples contrast well with the dark green of the pines.深红的枫叶和暗绿的松树形成了明显的对比。
  • The glowing clouds are growing slowly pale,scarlet,bright red,and then light red.天空的霞光渐渐地淡下去了,深红的颜色变成了绯红,绯红又变为浅红。
32 wrestled c9ba15a0ecfd0f23f9150f9c8be3b994     
v.(与某人)搏斗( wrestle的过去式和过去分词 );扭成一团;扭打;(与…)摔跤
  • As a boy he had boxed and wrestled. 他小的时候又是打拳又是摔跤。
  • Armed guards wrestled with the intruder. 武装警卫和闯入者扭打起来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
33 subdued 76419335ce506a486af8913f13b8981d     
adj. 屈服的,柔和的,减弱的 动词subdue的过去式和过去分词
  • He seemed a bit subdued to me. 我觉得他当时有点闷闷不乐。
  • I felt strangely subdued when it was all over. 一切都结束的时候,我却有一种奇怪的压抑感。
34 ruffle oX9xW     
  • Don't ruffle my hair.I've just combed it.别把我的头发弄乱了。我刚刚梳好了的。
  • You shouldn't ruffle so easily.你不该那么容易发脾气。
35 fret wftzl     
  • Don't fret.We'll get there on time.别着急,我们能准时到那里。
  • She'll fret herself to death one of these days.她总有一天会愁死的.
36 fretting fretting     
n. 微振磨损 adj. 烦躁的, 焦虑的
  • Fretting about it won't help. 苦恼于事无补。
  • The old lady is always fretting over something unimportant. 那位老妇人总是为一些小事焦虑不安。
37 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。
38 refreshment RUIxP     
  • He needs to stop fairly often for refreshment.他须时不时地停下来喘口气。
  • A hot bath is a great refreshment after a day's work.在一天工作之后洗个热水澡真是舒畅。
39 cantankerous TTuyb     
  • He met a crabbed,cantankerous director.他碰上了一位坏脾气、爱争吵的主管。
  • The cantankerous bus driver rouse on the children for singing.那个坏脾气的公共汽车司机因为孩子们唱歌而骂他们。
40 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
41 withered 342a99154d999c47f1fc69d900097df9     
adj. 枯萎的,干瘪的,(人身体的部分器官)因病萎缩的或未发育良好的 动词wither的过去式和过去分词形式
  • The grass had withered in the warm sun. 这些草在温暖的阳光下枯死了。
  • The leaves of this tree have become dry and withered. 这棵树下的叶子干枯了。
42 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。
43 sipped 22d1585d494ccee63c7bff47191289f6     
v.小口喝,呷,抿( sip的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sipped his coffee pleasurably. 他怡然地品味着咖啡。
  • I sipped the hot chocolate she had made. 我小口喝着她调制的巧克力热饮。 来自辞典例句


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