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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Sentimental Tommy多愁善感的汤米 » CHAPTER VII — COMIC OVERTURE TO A TRAGEDY
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 "Jean Myles bides1 in London" was the next remarkable3 news brought by Tommy from Thrums Street. "And that ain't all, Magerful Tam is her man; and that ain't all, she has a laddie called Tommy and that ain't all, Petey and the rest has never seen her in London, but she writes letters to Thrums folks and they writes to Petey and tells him what she said. That ain't all neither, they canna find out what street she bides in, but it's on the bonny side of London, and it's grand, and she wears silk clothes, and her Tommy has velvet4 trousers, and they have a servant as calls him 'sir.' Oh, I would just like to kick him! They often looks for her in the grand streets, but they're angry at her getting on so well, and Martha Scrymgeour said it were enough to make good women like her stop going reg'lar to the kirk."
"Martha said that!" exclaimed his mother, highly pleased. "Heard you anything of a woman called Esther Auld5? Her man does the orra work at the Tappit Hen public in Thrums."
"He's head man at the Tappit Hen public now," answered Tommy; "and she wishes she could find out where Jean Myles bides, so as she could write and tell her that she is grand too, and has six hair-bottomed chairs."
"She'll never get the satisfaction," said his mother triumphantly6. "Tell me more about her."
"She has a laddie called Francie, and he has yellow curls, and she nearly greets because she canna tell Jean Myles that he goes to a school for the children of gentlemen only. She is so mad when she gets a letter from Jean Myles that she takes to her bed."
"Yea, yea!" said Mrs. Sandys cheerily.
"But they think Jean Myles has been brought low at last," continued Tommy, "because she hasna wrote for a long time to Thrums, and Esther Auld said that if she knowed for certain as Jean Myles had been brought low, she would put a threepenny bit in the kirk plate."
"I'm glad you've telled me that, laddie," said Mrs. Sandys, and next day, unknown to her children, she wrote another letter. She knew she ran a risk of discovery, yet it was probable that Tommy would only hear her referred to in Thrums Street by her maiden7 name, which he had never heard from her, and as for her husband he had been Magerful Tam to everyone. The risk was great, but the pleasure—
Unsuspicious Tommy soon had news of another letter from Jean Myles, which had sent Esther Auld to bed again.
"Instead of being brought low," he announced, "Jean Myles is grander than ever. Her Tommy has a governess."
"That would be a doush of water in Esther's face?" his mother said, smiling.
"She wrote to Martha Scrymgeour," said Tommy, "that it ain't no pleasure to her now to boast as her laddie is at a school for gentlemen's children only. But what made her maddest was a bit in Jean Myles's letter about chairs. Jean Myles has give all her hair-bottomed chairs to a poor woman and buyed a new kind, because hair-bottomed ones ain't fashionable now. So Esther Auld can't not bear the sight of her chairs now, though she were windy of them till the letter went to Thrums."
"Poor Esther!" said Mrs. Sandys gaily8.
"Oh, and I forgot this, mother. Jean Myles's reason for not telling where she bides in London is that she's so grand that she thinks if auld Petey and the rest knowed where the place was they would visit her and boast as they was her friends. Auld Petey stamped wi' rage when he heard that, and Martha Scrymgeour said, 'Oh, the pridefu' limmer!'"
"Ay, Martha," muttered Mrs. Sandys, "you and Jean Myles is evens now."
But the passage that had made them all wince9 the most was one giving Jean's reasons for making no calls in Thrums Street. "You can break it to Martha Scrymgeour's father and mither," the letter said, "and to Petey Whamond's sisters and the rest as has friends in London, that I have seen no Thrums faces here, the low part where they bide2 not being for the like of me to file my feet in. Forby that, I could not let my son mix with their bairns for fear they should teach him the vulgar Thrums words and clarty his blue-velvet suit. I'm thinking you have to dress your laddie in corduroy, Esther, but you see that would not do for mine. So no more at present, and we all join in compliments, and my little velvets says he wishes I would send some of his toys to your little corduroys. And so maybe I will, Esther, if you'll tell Aaron Latta how rich and happy I am, and if you're feared to say it to his face, tell it to the roaring farmer of Double Dykes10, and he'll pass it on."
"Did you ever hear of such a woman?" Tommy said indignantly, when he had repeated as much of this insult to Thrums as he could remember.
But it was information his mother wanted.
"What said they to that bit?" she asked.
At first, it appears, they limited their comments to "Losh, losh," "keeps a'," "it cows," "my eertie," "ay, ay," "sal, tal," "dagont" (the meaning of which is obvious). But by and by they recovered their breath, and then Baker11 Lamsden said, wonderingly:
"Wha that was at her marriage could have thought it would turn out so weel? It was an eerie12 marriage that, Petey!"
"Ay, man, you may say so," old Petey answered. "I was there; I was one o' them as went in ahint Aaron Latta, and I'm no' likely to forget it."
"I wasna there," said the baker, "but I was standing13 at the door, and I saw the hearse drive up."
"What did they mean, mother?" Tommy asked, but she shuddered15 and replied, evasively, "Did Martha Scrymgeour say anything?"
"She said such a lot," he had to confess, "that I dinna mind none on it. But I mind what her father in Thrums wrote to her; he wrote to her that if she saw a carriage go by, she was to keep her eyes on the ground, for likely as not Jean Myles would be in it, and she thought as they was all dirt beneath her feet. But Kirsty Ross—who is she?"
"She's Martha's mother. What about her?"
"She wrote at the end of the letter that Martha was to hang on ahint the carriage and find out where Jean Myles bides."
"Laddie, that was like Kirsty! Heard you what the roaring farmer o' Double Dykes said?"
No, Tommy had not heard him mentioned. And indeed the roaring farmer of Double Dykes had said nothing. He was already lying very quiet on the south side of the cemetery16.
Tommy's mother's next question cost her a painful effort. "Did you hear," she asked, "whether they telled Aaron Latta about the letter?"
"Yes, they telled him," Tommy replied, "and he said a queer thing; he said, 'Jean Myles is dead, I was at her coffining17.' That's what he aye says when they tell him there's another letter. I wonder what he means, mother?"
"I wonder!" she echoed, faintly. The only pleasure left her was to raise the envy of those who had hooted18 her from Thrums, but she paid a price for it. Many a stab she had got from the unwitting Tommy as he repeated the gossip of his new friends, and she only won their envy at the cost of their increased ill-will. They thought she was lording it in London, and so they were merciless; had they known how poor she was and how ill, they would have forgotten everything save that she was a Thrummy like themselves, and there were few but would have shared their all with her. But she did not believe this, and therefore you may pity her, for the hour was drawing near, and she knew it, when she must appeal to some one for her children's sake, not for her own.
No, not for her own. When Tommy was wandering the pretty parts of London with James Gloag and other boys from Thrums Street in search of Jean Myles, whom they were to know by her carriage and her silk dress and her son in blue velvet, his mother was in bed with bronchitis in the wretched room we know of, or creeping to the dancing school, coughing all the way.
Some of the fits of coughing were very near being her last, but she wrestled19 with her trouble, seeming at times to stifle20 it, and then for weeks she managed to go to her work, which was still hers, because Shovel21's old girl did it for her when the bronchitis would not be defied. Shovel's old slattern gave this service unasked and without payment; if she was thanked it was ungraciously, but she continued to do all she could when there was need; she smelled of gin, but she continued to do all she could.
The wardrobe had been put upon its back on the floor, and so converted into a bed for Tommy and Elspeth, who were sometimes wakened in the night by a loud noise, which alarmed them until they learned that it was only the man in the next room knocking angrily on the wall because their mother's cough kept him from sleeping.
Tommy knew what death was now, and Elspeth knew its name, and both were vaguely22 aware that it was looking for their mother; but if she could only hold out till Hogmanay, Tommy said, they would fleg it out of the house. Hogmanay is the mighty23 winter festival of Thrums, and when it came round these two were to give their mother a present that would make her strong. It was not to be a porous24 plaster. Tommy knew now of something better than that.
"And I knows too!" Elspeth gurgled, "and I has threepence a'ready, I has."
"Whisht!" said Tommy, in an agony of dread25, "she hears you, and she'll guess. We ain't speaking of nothing to give to you at Hogmanay," he said to his mother with great cunning. Then he winked26 at Elspeth and said, with his hand over his mouth, "I hinna twopence!" and Elspeth, about to cry in fright, "Have you spended it?" saw the joke and crowed instead, "Nor yet has I threepence!"
They smirked27 together, until Tommy saw a change come over Elspeth's face, which made him run her outside the door.
"You was a-going to pray!" he said, severely28.
"'Cos it was a lie, Tommy. I does have threepence."
"Well, you ain't a-going to get praying about it. She would hear yer."
"I would do it low, Tommy."
"She would see yer."
"Oh, Tommy, let me. God is angry with me."
Tommy looked down the stair, and no one was in sight. "I'll let yer pray here," he whispered, "and you can say I have twopence. But be quick, and do it standing."
Perhaps Mrs. Sandys had been thinking that when Hogmanay came her children might have no mother to bring presents to, for on their return to the room her eyes followed them woefully, and a shudder14 of apprehension29 shook her torn frame. Tommy gave Elspeth a look that meant "I'm sure there's something queer about her."
There was also something queer about himself, which at this time had the strangest gallop30. It began one day with a series of morning calls from Shovel, who suddenly popped his head over the top of the door (he was standing on the handle), roared "Roastbeef!" in the manner of a railway porter announcing the name of a station, and then at once withdrew.
He returned presently to say that vain must be all attempts to wheedle31 his secret from him, and yet again to ask irritably32 why Tommy was not coming out to hear all about it. Then did Tommy desert Elspeth, and on the stair Shovel showed him a yellow card with this printed on it: "S.R.J.C.—Supper Ticket;" and written beneath, in a lady's hand: "Admit Joseph Salt." The letters, Shovel explained, meant Society for the somethink of Juvenile33 Criminals, and the toffs what ran it got hold of you when you came out of quod. Then if you was willing to repent34 they wrote down your name and the place what you lived at in a book, and one of them came to see yer and give yer a ticket for the blow-out night. This was blow-out night, and that were Shovel's ticket. He had bought it from Hump Salt for fourpence. What you get at the blow-out was roast-beef, plum-duff, and an orange; but when Hump saw the fourpence he could not wait.
A favor was asked of Tommy. Shovel had been told by Hump that it was the custom of the toffs to sit beside you and question you about your crimes, and lacking the imagination that made Tommy such an ornament35 to the house, the chances were that he would flounder in his answers and be ejected. Hump had pointed36 this out to him after pocketing the fourpence. Would Tommy, therefore, make up things for him to say; reward, the orange.
This was a proud moment for Tommy, as Shovel's knowledge of crime was much more extensive than his own, though they had both studied it in the pictures of a lively newspaper subscribed37 to by Shovel, senior. He became patronizing at once and rejected the orange as insufficient38.
Then suppose, after he got into the hall, Shovel dropped his ticket out at the window; Tommy could pick it up, and then it would admit him also.
Tommy liked this, but foresaw a danger: the ticket might be taken from Shovel at the door, just as they took them from you at that singing thing in the church he had attended with young Petey.
So help Shovel's davy, there was no fear of this. They were superior toffs, what trusted to your honor.
Would Shovel swear to this?
He would.
But would he swear dagont?
He swore dagont; and then Tommy had him. As he was so sure of it, he could not object to Tommy's being the one who dropped the ticket out at the window?
Shovel did object for a time, but after a wrangle39 he gave up the ticket, intending to take it from Tommy when primed with the necessary tale. So they parted until evening, and Tommy returned to Elspeth, secretive but elated. For the rest of the day he was in thought, now waggling his head smugly over some dark, unutterable design and again looking a little scared. In growing alarm she watched his face, and at last she slipped upon her knees, but he had her up at once and said, reproachfully:
"It were me as teached yer to pray, and now yer prays for me! That's fine treatment!"
Nevertheless, after his mother's return, just before he stole out to join Shovel, he took Elspeth aside and whispered to her, nervously40:
"You can pray for me if you like, for, oh, Elspeth; I'm thinking as I'll need it sore!" And sore he needed it before the night was out.


1 bides 132b5bb056cae738c455cb097b7a7eb2     
v.等待,停留( bide的第三人称单数 );居住;(过去式用bided)等待;面临
  • He is a man who bides by a bargain. 他是个守信用的人。 来自互联网
  • I cherish his because in me it bides. 我爱他的心,因为他在我体内安眠。 来自互联网
2 bide VWTzo     
  • We'll have to bide our time until the rain stops.我们必须等到雨停。
  • Bide here for a while. 请在这儿等一会儿。
3 remarkable 8Vbx6     
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
4 velvet 5gqyO     
  • This material feels like velvet.这料子摸起来像丝绒。
  • The new settlers wore the finest silk and velvet clothing.新来的移民穿着最华丽的丝绸和天鹅绒衣服。
5 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。
6 triumphantly 9fhzuv     
  • The lion was roaring triumphantly. 狮子正在发出胜利的吼叫。
  • Robert was looking at me triumphantly. 罗伯特正得意扬扬地看着我。
7 maiden yRpz7     
  • The prince fell in love with a fair young maiden.王子爱上了一位年轻美丽的少女。
  • The aircraft makes its maiden flight tomorrow.这架飞机明天首航。
8 gaily lfPzC     
  • The children sing gaily.孩子们欢唱着。
  • She waved goodbye very gaily.她欢快地挥手告别。
9 wince tgCwX     
  • The barb of his wit made us wince.他那锋芒毕露的机智使我们退避三舍。
  • His smile soon modified to a wince.他的微笑很快就成了脸部肌肉的抽搐。
10 dykes 47cc5ebe9e62cd1c065e797efec57dde     
abbr.diagonal wire cutters 斜线切割机n.堤( dyke的名词复数 );坝;堰;沟
  • They built dykes and dam to hold back the rising flood waters. 他们修筑了堤坝来阻挡上涨的洪水。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The dykes were built as a protection against the sea. 建筑堤坝是为了防止海水泛滥。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 baker wyTz62     
  • The baker bakes his bread in the bakery.面包师在面包房内烤面包。
  • The baker frosted the cake with a mixture of sugar and whites of eggs.面包师在蛋糕上撒了一层白糖和蛋清的混合料。
12 eerie N8gy0     
  • It's eerie to walk through a dark wood at night.夜晚在漆黑的森林中行走很是恐怖。
  • I walked down the eerie dark path.我走在那条漆黑恐怖的小路上。
13 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。
14 shudder JEqy8     
  • The sight of the coffin sent a shudder through him.看到那副棺材,他浑身一阵战栗。
  • We all shudder at the thought of the dreadful dirty place.我们一想到那可怕的肮脏地方就浑身战惊。
15 shuddered 70137c95ff493fbfede89987ee46ab86     
v.战栗( shudder的过去式和过去分词 );发抖;(机器、车辆等)突然震动;颤动
  • He slammed on the brakes and the car shuddered to a halt. 他猛踩刹车,车颤抖着停住了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I shuddered at the sight of the dead body. 我一看见那尸体就战栗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
16 cemetery ur9z7     
  • He was buried in the cemetery.他被葬在公墓。
  • His remains were interred in the cemetery.他的遗体葬在墓地。
17 coffining 77bba199b29e6275617d262aca447904     
18 hooted 8df924a716d9d67e78a021e69df38ba5     
(使)作汽笛声响,作汽车喇叭声( hoot的过去式和过去分词 )
  • An owl hooted nearby. 一只猫头鹰在附近啼叫。
  • The crowd hooted and jeered at the speaker. 群众向那演讲人发出轻蔑的叫嚣和嘲笑。
19 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》
20 stifle cF4y5     
  • She tried hard to stifle her laughter.她强忍住笑。
  • It was an uninteresting conversation and I had to stifle a yawn.那是一次枯燥无味的交谈,我不得不强忍住自己的呵欠。
21 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。
22 vaguely BfuzOy     
  • He had talked vaguely of going to work abroad.他含糊其词地说了到国外工作的事。
  • He looked vaguely before him with unseeing eyes.他迷迷糊糊的望着前面,对一切都视而不见。
23 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。
24 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。
25 dread Ekpz8     
  • We all dread to think what will happen if the company closes.我们都不敢去想一旦公司关门我们该怎么办。
  • Her heart was relieved of its blankest dread.她极度恐惧的心理消除了。
26 winked af6ada503978fa80fce7e5d109333278     
v.使眼色( wink的过去式和过去分词 );递眼色(表示友好或高兴等);(指光)闪烁;闪亮
  • He winked at her and she knew he was thinking the same thing that she was. 他冲她眨了眨眼,她便知道他的想法和她一样。
  • He winked his eyes at her and left the classroom. 他向她眨巴一下眼睛走出了教室。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
27 smirked e3dfaba83cd6d2a557bf188c3fc000e9     
v.傻笑( smirk的过去分词 )
  • He smirked at Tu Wei-yueh. 他对屠维岳狞笑。 来自子夜部分
  • He smirked in acknowledgement of their uncouth greetings, and sat down. 他皮笑肉不笑地接受了他的粗鲁的招呼,坐了下来。 来自辞典例句
28 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。
29 apprehension bNayw     
  • There were still areas of doubt and her apprehension grew.有些地方仍然存疑,于是她越来越担心。
  • She is a girl of weak apprehension.她是一个理解力很差的女孩。
30 gallop MQdzn     
  • They are coming at a gallop towards us.他们正朝着我们飞跑过来。
  • The horse slowed to a walk after its long gallop.那匹马跑了一大阵后慢下来缓步而行。
31 wheedle kpuyX     
  • I knew he was trying to wheedle me into being at his beck and call.我知道这是他拉拢我,好让我俯首贴耳地为他效劳。
  • They tried to wheedle her into leaving the house.他们想哄骗她离开这屋子。
32 irritably e3uxw     
  • He lost his temper and snapped irritably at the children. 他发火了,暴躁地斥责孩子们。
  • On this account the silence was irritably broken by a reproof. 为了这件事,他妻子大声斥责,令人恼火地打破了宁静。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
33 juvenile OkEy2     
  • For a grown man he acted in a very juvenile manner.身为成年人,他的行为举止显得十分幼稚。
  • Juvenile crime is increasing at a terrifying rate.青少年犯罪正在以惊人的速度增长。
34 repent 1CIyT     
  • He has nothing to repent of.他没有什么要懊悔的。
  • Remission of sins is promised to those who repent.悔罪者可得到赦免。
35 ornament u4czn     
  • The flowers were put on the table for ornament.花放在桌子上做装饰用。
  • She wears a crystal ornament on her chest.她的前胸戴了一个水晶饰品。
36 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
37 subscribed cb9825426eb2cb8cbaf6a72027f5508a     
v.捐助( subscribe的过去式和过去分词 );签署,题词;订阅;同意
  • It is not a theory that is commonly subscribed to. 一般人并不赞成这个理论。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I subscribed my name to the document. 我在文件上签了字。 来自《简明英汉词典》
38 insufficient L5vxu     
  • There was insufficient evidence to convict him.没有足够证据给他定罪。
  • In their day scientific knowledge was insufficient to settle the matter.在他们的时代,科学知识还不能足以解决这些问题。
39 wrangle Fogyt     
  • I don't want to get into a wrangle with the committee.我不想同委员会发生争执。
  • The two countries fell out in a bitter wrangle over imports.这两个国家在有关进口问题的激烈争吵中闹翻了。
40 nervously tn6zFp     
  • He bit his lip nervously,trying not to cry.他紧张地咬着唇,努力忍着不哭出来。
  • He paced nervously up and down on the platform.他在站台上情绪不安地走来走去。


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