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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Sentimental Tommy多愁善感的汤米 » CHAPTER V — THE GIRL WITH TWO MOTHERS
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 Elspeth at last did something to win Tommy's respect; she fell ill of an ailment1 called in Thrums the croop. When Tommy first heard his mother call it croop, he thought she was merely humoring Elspeth, and that it was nothing more distinguished2 than London whooping-cough, but on learning that it was genuine croop, he began to survey the ambitious little creature with a new interest.
This was well for Elspeth, as she had now to spend most of the day at home with him, their mother, whose health was failing through frequent attacks of bronchitis, being no longer able to carry her through the streets. Of course Elspeth took to repaying his attentions by loving him, and he soon suspected it, and then gloomily admitted it to himself, but never to Shovel3. Being but an Englishman, Shovel saw no reason why relatives should conceal4 their affection for each other, but he played on this Scottish weakness of Tommy's with cruel enjoyment5.
"She's fond on yer!" he would say severely6.
"You's a liar7."
"Gar long! I believe as you're fond on her!"
"You jest take care, Shovel."
"Ain't yer?"
"Will yer swear?"
"So I will swear."
"Let's hear yer."
So for a time the truth was kept hidden, and Shovel retired8, casting aspersions, and offering to eat all the hair on Elspeth's head for a penny.
This hair was white at present, which made Tommy uneasy about her future, but on the whole he thought he might make something of her if she was only longer. Sometimes he stretched her on the floor, pulling her legs out straight, for she had a silly way of doubling them up, and then he measured her carefully with his mother's old boots. Her growth proved to be distressingly9 irregular, as one day she seemed to have grown an inch since last night, and then next day she had shrunk two inches.
After her day's work Mrs. Sandys was now so listless that, had not Tommy interfered10, Elspeth would have been a backward child. Reddy had been able to walk from the first day, and so of course had he, but this little slow-coach's legs wobbled at the joints11, like the blade of a knife without a spring. The question of questions was How to keep her on end?
Tommy sat on the fender revolving12 this problem, his head resting on his hand: that favorite position of mighty13 intellects when about to be photographed, Elspeth lay on her stomach on the floor, gazing earnestly at him, as if she knew she was in his thoughts for some stupendous purpose. Thus the apple may have looked at Newton before it fell.
Hankey, the postman, compelled the flowers in his window to stand erect14 by tying them to sticks, so Tommy took two sticks from a bundle of firewood, and splicing15 Elspeth's legs to them, held her upright against the door with one hand. All he asked of her to-day was to remain in this position after he said "One, two, three, four, picture!" and withdrew his hand, but down she flopped16 every time, and he said, with scorn,
"You ain't got no genius: you has just talent."
But he had her in bed with the scratches nicely covered up before his mother came home.
He tried another plan with more success. Lost dogs, it may be remembered, had a habit of following Shovel's father, and he not only took the wanderers in, but taught them how to beg and shake hands and walk on two legs. Tommy had sometimes been present at these agreeable exercises, and being an inventive boy he—But as Elspeth was a nice girl, let it suffice to pause here and add shyly, that in time she could walk.
He also taught her to speak, and if you need to be told with what luscious17 word he enticed18 her into language you are sentenced to re-read the first pages of his life.
"Thrums," he would say persuasively19, "Thrums, Thrums. You opens your mouth like this, and shuts it like this, and that's it." Yet when he had coaxed20 her thus for many days, what does she do but break her long silence with the word "Tommy!" The recoil21 knocked her over.
Soon afterward22 she brought down a bigger bird. No Londoner can say "Auld23 licht," and Tommy had often crowed over Shovel's "Ol likt." When the testing of Elspeth could be deferred24 no longer, he eyed her with the look a hen gives the green egg on which she has been sitting twenty days, but Elspeth triumphed, saying the words modestly even, as if nothing inside her told her she had that day done something which would have baffled Shakespeare, not to speak of most of the gentlemen who sit for Scotch25 constituencies.
"Reddy couldn't say it!" Tommy cried exultantly26, and from that great hour he had no more fears for Elspeth.
Next the alphabet knocked for admission; and entered first M and P, which had prominence27 in the only poster visible from the window. Mrs. Sandys had taught Tommy his letters, but he had got into words by studying posters.
Elspeth being able now to make the perilous28 descent of the stairs, Tommy guided her through the streets (letting go hurriedly if Shovel hove in sight), and here she bagged new letters daily. With Catlings something, which is the best, she got into capital Cs; ys are found easily when you know where to look for them (they hang on behind); Ns are never found singly, but often three at a time; Q is so aristocratic that even Tommy had only heard of it, doubtless it was there, but indistinguishable among the masses like a celebrity29 in a crowd; on the other hand, big A and little e were so dirt cheap, that these two scholars passed them with something very like a sneer30.
The printing-press is either the greatest blessing31 or the greatest curse of modern times, one sometimes forgets which. Elspeth's faith in it was absolute, and as it only spoke32 to her from placards, here was her religion, at the age of four:
Of religion, Tommy had said many fine things to her, embellishments on the simple doctrine34 taught him by his mother before the miseries35 of this world made her indifferent to the next. But the meaning of "Pray without ceasing," Elspeth, who was God's child always, seemed to find out for herself, and it cured all her troubles. She prayed promptly36 for every one she saw doing wrong, including Shovel, who occasionally had words with Tommy on the subject, and she not only prayed for her mother, but proposed to Tommy that they should buy her a porous plaster. Mrs. Sandys had been down with bronchitis again.
Tommy raised the monetary37 difficulty.
Elspeth knew where there was some money, and it was her very own.
Tommy knew where there was money, and it was his very own.
Elspeth would not tell how much she had, and it was twopence halfpenny.
Neither would Tommy tell, and it was twopence.
Tommy would get a surprise on his birthday.
So would Elspeth get a surprise on her birthday.
Elspeth would not tell what the surprise was to be, and it was to be a gun.
Tommy also must remain mute, and it was to be a box of dominoes.
Elspeth did not want dominoes.
Tommy knew that, but he wanted them.
Elspeth discovered that guns cost fourpence, and dominoes threepence halfpenny; it seemed to her, therefore, that Tommy was defrauding38 her of a halfpenny.
Tommy liked her cheek. You got the dominoes for threepence halfpenny, but the price on the box is fivepence, so that Elspeth would really owe him a penny.
This led to an agonizing39 scene in which Elspeth wept while Tommy told her sternly about Reddy. It had become his custom to tell the tale of Reddy when Elspeth was obstreperous40.
Then followed a scene in which Tommy called himself a scoundrel for frightening his dear Elspeth, and swore that he loved none but her. Result: reconciliation41, and agreed, that instead of a gun and dominoes, they should buy a porous plaster. You know the shops where the plasters are to be obtained by great colored bottles in their windows, and, as it was advisable to find the very best shop, Tommy and Elspeth in their wanderings came under the influence of the bottles, red, yellow, green, and blue, and color entered into their lives, giving them many delicious thrills. These bottles are the first poem known to the London child, and you chemists who are beginning to do without them in your windows should be told that it is a shame.
In the glamour42, then, of the romantic battles walked Tommy and Elspeth hand in hand, meeting so many novelties that they might have spared a tear for the unfortunate children who sit in nurseries surrounded by all they ask for, and if the adventures of these two frequently ended in the middle, they had probably begun another while the sailor-suit boy was still holding up his leg to let the nurse put on his little sock. While they wandered, they drew near unwittingly to the enchanted43 street, to which the bottles are a colored way, and at last they were in it, but Tommy recognized it not; he did not even feel that he was near it, for there were no outside stairs, no fairies strolling about, it was a short street as shabby as his own.
But someone had shouted "Dinna haver, lassie; you're blethering!"
Tommy whispered to Elspeth, "Be still; don't speak," and he gripped her hand tighter and stared at the speaker. He was a boy of ten, dressed like a Londoner, and his companion had disappeared. Tommy never doubting but that he was the sprite of long ago, gripped him by the sleeve. All the savings44 of Elspeth and himself were in his pocket, and yielding to impulse, as was his way, he thrust the fivepence halfpenny into James Gloag's hand. The new millionaire gaped45, but not at his patron, for the why and wherefore of this gift were trifles to James beside the tremendous fact that he had fivepence halfpenny. "Almichty me!" he cried and bolted. Presently he returned, having deposited his money in a safe place, and his first remark was perhaps the meanest on record. He held out his hand and said greedily, "Have you ony mair?"
This, you feel certain, must have been the most important event of that evening, but strange to say, it was not. Before Tommy could answer James's question, a woman in a shawl had pounced46 upon him and hurried him and Elspeth out of the street. She had been standing47 at a corner looking wistfully at the window blinds behind which folk from Thrums passed to and fro, hiding her face from people in the street, but gazing eagerly after them. It was Tommy's mother, whose first free act on coming to London had been to find out that street, and many a time since them site had skulked48 through it or watched it from dark places, never daring to disclose herself, but sometimes recognizing familiar faces, sometimes hearing a few words in the old tongue that is harsh and ungracious to you, but was so sweet to her, and bearing them away with her beneath her shawl as if they were something warm to lay over her cold heart.
For a time she upbraided49 Tommy passionately50 for not keeping away from this street, but soon her hunger for news of Thrums overcame her prudence51, and she consented to let him go back if he promised never to tell that his mother came from Thrums. "And if ony-body wants to ken52 your name, say it's Tommy, but dinna let on that it's Tommy Sandys."
"Elspeth," Tommy whispered that night, "I'm near sure there's something queer about my mother and me and you." But he did not trouble himself with wondering what the something queer might be, so engrossed53 was he in the new and exciting life that had suddenly opened to him.


1 ailment IV8zf     
  • I don't have even the slightest ailment.我什么毛病也没有。
  • He got timely treatment for his ailment.他的病得到了及时治疗。
2 distinguished wu9z3v     
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其长长的鼻子显示出与其他动物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴会是为了向贵宾们致敬而举行的。
3 shovel cELzg     
  • He was working with a pick and shovel.他在用镐和铲干活。
  • He seized a shovel and set to.他拿起一把铲就干上了。
4 conceal DpYzt     
  • 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。
5 enjoyment opaxV     
  • Your company adds to the enjoyment of our visit. 有您的陪同,我们这次访问更加愉快了。
  • After each joke the old man cackled his enjoyment.每逢讲完一个笑话,这老人就呵呵笑着表示他的高兴。
6 severely SiCzmk     
  • He was severely criticized and removed from his post.他受到了严厉的批评并且被撤了职。
  • He is severely put down for his careless work.他因工作上的粗心大意而受到了严厉的批评。
7 liar V1ixD     
  • I know you for a thief and a liar!我算认识你了,一个又偷又骗的家伙!
  • She was wrongly labelled a liar.她被错误地扣上说谎者的帽子。
8 retired Njhzyv     
  • The old man retired to the country for rest.这位老人下乡休息去了。
  • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby.许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。
9 distressingly 92c357565a0595d2b6ae7f78dd387cc3     
adv. 令人苦恼地;悲惨地
  • He died distressingly by the sword. 他惨死于剑下。
  • At the moment, the world's pandemic-alert system is distressingly secretive. 出于对全人类根本利益的考虑,印尼政府宣布将禽流感病毒的基因数据向所有人开放。
10 interfered 71b7e795becf1adbddfab2cd6c5f0cff     
v.干预( interfere的过去式和过去分词 );调停;妨碍;干涉
  • Complete absorption in sports interfered with his studies. 专注于运动妨碍了他的学业。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I am not going to be interfered with. 我不想别人干扰我的事情。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 joints d97dcffd67eca7255ca514e4084b746e     
接头( joint的名词复数 ); 关节; 公共场所(尤指价格低廉的饮食和娱乐场所) (非正式); 一块烤肉 (英式英语)
  • Expansion joints of various kinds are fitted on gas mains. 各种各样的伸缩接头被安装在煤气的总管道上了。
  • Expansion joints of various kinds are fitted on steam pipes. 各种各样的伸缩接头被安装在蒸气管道上了。
12 revolving 3jbzvd     
adj.旋转的,轮转式的;循环的v.(使)旋转( revolve的现在分词 );细想
  • The theatre has a revolving stage. 剧院有一个旋转舞台。
  • The company became a revolving-door workplace. 这家公司成了工作的中转站。
13 mighty YDWxl     
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
14 erect 4iLzm     
  • She held her head erect and her back straight.她昂着头,把背挺得笔直。
  • Soldiers are trained to stand erect.士兵们训练站得笔直。
15 splicing 5fd12d0a77638550eaad200de3a0fc4a     
n.编接(绳);插接;捻接;叠接v.绞接( splice的现在分词 );捻接(两段绳子);胶接;粘接(胶片、磁带等)
  • An ultra_low _loss splicing without conventional power monitoring could be achieved. 焊接最低损耗在非常规能源运作下将可能做到。 来自互联网
  • Film, tissue backing. For splicing, holding in shoe and general purpose use. 具有薄膜、棉纸基材,适用于铭版、皮革及一般性双面贴合。 来自互联网
16 flopped e5b342a0b376036c32e5cd7aa560c15e     
v.(指书、戏剧等)彻底失败( flop的过去式和过去分词 );(因疲惫而)猛然坐下;(笨拙地、不由自主地或松弛地)移动或落下;砸锅
  • Exhausted, he flopped down into a chair. 他筋疲力尽,一屁股坐到椅子上。
  • It was a surprise to us when his play flopped. 他那出戏一败涂地,出乎我们的预料。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 luscious 927yw     
  • The watermelon was very luscious.Everyone wanted another slice.西瓜很可口,每个人都想再来一片。
  • What I like most about Gabby is her luscious lips!我最喜欢的是盖比那性感饱满的双唇!
18 enticed e343c8812ee0e250a29e7b0ccd6b8a2c     
诱惑,怂恿( entice的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He enticed his former employer into another dice game. 他挑逗他原来的老板再赌一次掷骰子。
  • Consumers are courted, enticed, and implored by sellers of goods and services. 消费者受到商品和劳务出售者奉承,劝诱和央求。
19 persuasively 24849db8bac7f92da542baa5598b1248     
  • Students find that all historians argue reasonably and persuasively. 学生们发现所有的历史学家都争论得有条有理,并且很有说服力。 来自辞典例句
  • He spoke a very persuasively but I smelled a rat and refused his offer. 他说得头头是道,但我觉得有些可疑,于是拒绝了他的建议。 来自辞典例句
20 coaxed dc0a6eeb597861b0ed72e34e52490cd1     
v.哄,用好话劝说( coax的过去式和过去分词 );巧言骗取;哄劝,劝诱
  • She coaxed the horse into coming a little closer. 她哄着那匹马让它再靠近了一点。
  • I coaxed my sister into taking me to the theatre. 我用好话哄姐姐带我去看戏。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
21 recoil GA4zL     
  • Most people would recoil at the sight of the snake.许多人看见蛇都会向后退缩。
  • Revenge may recoil upon the person who takes it.报复者常会受到报应。
22 afterward fK6y3     
  • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 让我们先去看戏,然后吃饭。
  • Afterward,the boy became a very famous artist.后来,这男孩成为一个很有名的艺术家。
23 auld Fuxzt     
  • Should auld acquaintance be forgot,and never brought to mind?怎能忘记旧日朋友,心中能不怀念?
  • The party ended up with the singing of Auld Lang Sync.宴会以《友谊地久天长》的歌声而告终。
24 deferred 43fff3df3fc0b3417c86dc3040fb2d86     
adj.延期的,缓召的v.拖延,延缓,推迟( defer的过去式和过去分词 );服从某人的意愿,遵从
  • The department deferred the decision for six months. 这个部门推迟了六个月才作决定。
  • a tax-deferred savings plan 延税储蓄计划
25 scotch ZZ3x8     
  • Facts will eventually scotch these rumours.这种谣言在事实面前将不攻自破。
  • Italy was full of fine views and virtually empty of Scotch whiskey.意大利多的是美景,真正缺的是苏格兰威士忌。
26 exultantly 9cbf83813434799a9ce89021def7ac29     
  • They listened exultantly to the sounds from outside. 她们欢欣鼓舞地倾听着外面的声音。 来自辞典例句
  • He rose exultantly from their profane surprise. 他得意非凡地站起身来,也不管众人怎样惊奇诅咒。 来自辞典例句
27 prominence a0Mzw     
  • He came to prominence during the World Cup in Italy.他在意大利的世界杯赛中声名鹊起。
  • This young fashion designer is rising to prominence.这位年轻的时装设计师的声望越来越高。
28 perilous E3xz6     
  • The journey through the jungle was perilous.穿过丛林的旅行充满了危险。
  • We have been carried in safety through a perilous crisis.历经一连串危机,我们如今已安然无恙。
29 celebrity xcRyQ     
  • Tom found himself something of a celebrity. 汤姆意识到自己已小有名气了。
  • He haunted famous men, hoping to get celebrity for himself. 他常和名人在一起, 希望借此使自己获得名气。
30 sneer YFdzu     
  • He said with a sneer.他的话中带有嘲笑之意。
  • You may sneer,but a lot of people like this kind of music.你可以嗤之以鼻,但很多人喜欢这种音乐。
31 blessing UxDztJ     
  • The blessing was said in Hebrew.祷告用了希伯来语。
  • A double blessing has descended upon the house.双喜临门。
32 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。
33 porous 91szq     
  • He added sand to the soil to make it more porous.他往土里掺沙子以提高渗水性能。
  • The shell has to be slightly porous to enable oxygen to pass in.外壳不得不有些细小的孔以便能使氧气通过。
34 doctrine Pkszt     
  • He was impelled to proclaim his doctrine.他不得不宣扬他的教义。
  • The council met to consider changes to doctrine.宗教议会开会考虑更改教义。
35 miseries c95fd996533633d2e276d3dd66941888     
n.痛苦( misery的名词复数 );痛苦的事;穷困;常发牢骚的人
  • They forgot all their fears and all their miseries in an instant. 他们马上忘记了一切恐惧和痛苦。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • I'm suffering the miseries of unemployment. 我正为失业而痛苦。 来自《简明英汉词典》
36 promptly LRMxm     
  • He paid the money back promptly.他立即还了钱。
  • She promptly seized the opportunity his absence gave her.她立即抓住了因他不在场给她创造的机会。
37 monetary pEkxb     
  • The monetary system of some countries used to be based on gold.过去有些国家的货币制度是金本位制的。
  • Education in the wilderness is not a matter of monetary means.荒凉地区的教育不是钱财问题。
38 defrauding f903d3f73034a10d2561b5f23b7b6bde     
v.诈取,骗取( defraud的现在分词 )
  • Second is the actor regards defrauding of the wealth as object. 第二,行为人以骗取钱财为目的。 来自互联网
  • Therefore, DELL has the motive and economic purpose of intentionally defrauding the Chinese consumers. 因此,戴尔公司存在故意欺诈中国消费者的动机和经济目的。 来自互联网
39 agonizing PzXzcC     
  • I spent days agonizing over whether to take the job or not. 我用了好些天苦苦思考是否接受这个工作。
  • his father's agonizing death 他父亲极度痛苦的死
40 obstreperous VvDy8     
  • He becomes obstreperous when he's had a few drinks.他喝了些酒就爱撒酒疯。
  • You know I have no intention of being awkward and obstreperous.你知道我无意存心作对。
41 reconciliation DUhxh     
  • 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。
42 glamour Keizv     
  • Foreign travel has lost its glamour for her.到国外旅行对她已失去吸引力了。
  • The moonlight cast a glamour over the scene.月光给景色增添了魅力。
43 enchanted enchanted     
adj. 被施魔法的,陶醉的,入迷的 动词enchant的过去式和过去分词
  • She was enchanted by the flowers you sent her. 她非常喜欢你送给她的花。
  • He was enchanted by the idea. 他为这个主意而欣喜若狂。
44 savings ZjbzGu     
  • I can't afford the vacation,for it would eat up my savings.我度不起假,那样会把我的积蓄用光的。
  • By this time he had used up all his savings.到这时,他的存款已全部用完。
45 gaped 11328bb13d82388ec2c0b2bf7af6f272     
v.目瞪口呆地凝视( gape的过去式和过去分词 );张开,张大
  • A huge chasm gaped before them. 他们面前有个巨大的裂痕。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The front door was missing. A hole gaped in the roof. 前门不翼而飞,屋顶豁开了一个洞。 来自辞典例句
46 pounced 431de836b7c19167052c79f53bdf3b61     
v.突然袭击( pounce的过去式和过去分词 );猛扑;一眼看出;抓住机会(进行抨击)
  • As soon as I opened my mouth, the teacher pounced on me. 我一张嘴就被老师抓住呵斥了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The police pounced upon the thief. 警察向小偷扑了过去。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
47 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。
48 skulked e141a7947687027923a59bfad6fb5a6e     
v.潜伏,偷偷摸摸地走动,鬼鬼祟祟地活动( skulk的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Sir Francis Clavering made his appearance, and skulked for a while about the magnificent rooms. 弗朗西斯·克拉弗林爵士也出席了,他在那些金碧辉煌的屋子里遛了一会。 来自辞典例句
  • He skulked around outside until the police had gone. 他窥探着四周,直至见到警察走开。 来自互联网
49 upbraided 20b92c31e3c04d3e03c94c2920baf66a     
v.责备,申斥,谴责( upbraid的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The captain upbraided his men for falling asleep. 上尉因他的部下睡着了而斥责他们。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • My wife upbraided me for not earning more money. 我的太太为了我没有赚更多的钱而责备我。 来自辞典例句
50 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。
51 prudence 9isyI     
  • 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。
52 ken k3WxV     
  • Such things are beyond my ken.我可不懂这些事。
  • Abstract words are beyond the ken of children.抽象的言辞超出小孩所理解的范围.
53 engrossed 3t0zmb     
  • The student is engrossed in his book.这名学生正在专心致志地看书。
  • No one had ever been quite so engrossed in an evening paper.没人会对一份晚报如此全神贯注。


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