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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Sentimental Tommy多愁善感的汤米 » CHAPTER IX — AULD LANG SYNE
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 What to do with her ladyship's threepence? Tommy finally decided1 to drop it into the charity-box that had once contained his penny. They held it over the slit2 together, Elspeth almost in tears because it was such a large sum to give away, but Tommy looking noble he was so proud of himself; and when he said "Three!" they let go.
There followed days of excitement centred round their money-box. Shovel3 introduced Tommy to a boy what said as after a bit you forget how much money was in your box, and then when you opened it, oh, Lor'! there is more than you thought, so he and Elspeth gave this plan a week's trial, affecting not to know how much they had gathered, but when they unlocked it, the sum was still only eightpence; so then Tommy told the liar4 to come on, and they fought while the horrified5 Elspeth prayed, and Tommy licked him, a result due to one of the famous Thrums left-handers then on exhibition in that street for the first time, as taught the victor by Petey Whamond the younger, late of Tillyloss.
The money did come in, once in spate6 (twopence from Bob in twenty-four hours), but usually so slowly that they saw it resting on the way, and then, when they listened intently, they could hear the thud of Hogmanay. The last halfpenny was a special aggravation7, strolling about, just out of reach, with all the swagger of sixpence, but at last Elspeth had it, and after that, the sooner Hogmanay came the better.
They concealed8 their excitement under too many wrappings, but their mother suspected nothing. When she was dressing9 on the morning of Hogmanay, her stockings happened to be at the other side of the room, and they were such a long way off that she rested on the way to them. At the meagre breakfast she said what a heavy teapot that was, and Tommy thought this funny, but the salt had gone from the joke when he remembered it afterwards. And when she was ready to go off to her work she hesitated at the door, looking at her bed and from it to her children as if in two minds, and then went quietly downstairs.
The distance seems greater than ever to-day, poor woman, and you stop longer at the corners, where rude men jeer10 at you. Scarcely can you push open the door of the dancing-school or lift the pail; the fire has gone out, you must again go on your knees before it, and again the smoke makes you cough. Gaunt slattern, fighting to bring up the phlegm, was it really you for whom another woman gave her life, and thought it a rich reward to get dressing you once in your long clothes, when she called you her beautiful, and smiled, and smiling, died? Well, well; but take courage, Jean Myles. The long road still lies straight up hill, but your climbing is near an end. Shrink from the rude men no more, they are soon to forget you, so soon! It is a heavy door, but soon you will have pushed it open for the last time. The girls will babble11 still, but not to you, not of you. Cheer up, the work is nearly done. Her beautiful! Come, beautiful, strength for a few more days, and then you can leave the key of the leaden door behind you, and on your way home you may kiss your hand joyously12 to the weary streets, for you are going to die.
Tommy and Elspeth had been to the foot of the stair many times to look for her before their mother came back that evening, yet when she re-entered her home, behold13, they were sitting calmly on the fender as if this were a day like yesterday or to-morrow, as if Tommy had not been on a business visit to Thrums Street, as if the hump on the bed did not mean that a glorious something was hidden under the coverlet. True, Elspeth would look at Tommy imploringly14 every few minutes, meaning that she could not keep it in much longer, and then Tommy would mutter the one word "Bell" to remind her that it was against the rules to begin before the Thrums eight-o'clock bell rang. They also wiled15 away the time of waiting by inviting16 each other to conferences at the window where these whispers passed—
"She ain't got a notion, Tommy."
"Dinna look so often at the bed."
"If I could jest get one more peep at it!"
"No, no; but you can put your hand on the top of it as you go by."
The artfulness of Tommy lured17 his unsuspecting mother into telling how they would be holding Hogmanay in Thrums to-night, how cartloads of kebbock cheeses had been rolling into the town all the livelong day ("Do you hear them, Elspeth?"), and in dark closes the children were already gathering18, with smeared19 faces and in eccentric dress, to sally forth20 as guisers at the clap of eight, when the ringing of a bell lets Hogmanay loose. ("You see, Elspeth?") Inside the houses men and women were preparing (though not by fasting, which would have been such a good way that it is surprising no one ever thought of it) for a series of visits, at every one of which they would be offered a dram and kebbock and bannock, and in the grander houses "bridies," which are a sublime21 kind of pie.
Tommy had the audacity22 to ask what bridies were like. And he could not dress up and be a guiser, could he, mother, for the guisers sang a song, and he did not know the words? What a pity they could not get bridies to buy in London, and learn the song and sing it. But of course they could not! ("Elspeth, if you tumble off the fender again, she'll guess.")
Such is a sample of Tommy, but Elspeth was sly also, if in a smaller way, and it was she who said: "There ain't nothin' in the bed, is there, Tommy!" This duplicity made her uneasy, and she added, behind her teeth, "Maybe there is," and then, "O God, I knows as there is."
But as the great moment drew near there were no more questions; two children were staring at the clock and listening intently for the peal23 of a bell nearly five hundred miles away.
The clock struck. "Whisht! It's time, Elspeth! They've begun! Come on!"
A few minutes afterwards Mrs. Sandys was roused by a knock at the door, followed by the entrance of two mysterious figures. The female wore a boy's jacket turned outside in, the male a woman's bonnet24 and a shawl, and to make his disguise the more impenetrable he carried a poker25 in his right hand. They stopped in the middle of the floor and began to recite, rather tremulously,
Get up, good wife, and binna sweir, And deal your bread to them that's here. For the time will come when you'll be dead, And then you'll need neither ale nor bread.
Mrs. Sandys had started, and then turned piteously from them; but when they were done she tried to smile, and said, with forced gayety, that she saw they were guisers, and it was a fine night, and would they take a chair. The male stranger did so at once, but the female said, rather anxiously: "You are sure as you don't know who we is?" Their hostess shook her head, and then he of the poker offered her three guesses, a daring thing to do, but all went well, for her first guess was Shovel and his old girl; second guess, Before and After; third guess, Napoleon Buonaparte and the Auld26 Licht minister. At each guess the smaller of the intruders clapped her hands gleefully, but when, with the third, she was unmuzzled, she putted with her head at Mrs. Sandys and hugged her, screaming, "It ain't none on them; it's jest me, mother, it's Elspeth!" and even while their astounded27 hostess was asking could it be true, the male conspirator28 dropped his poker noisily (to draw attention to himself) and stood revealed as Thomas Sandys.
Wasn't it just like Thrums, wasn't it just the very, very same? Ah, it was wonderful, their mother said, but, alas29, there was one thing wanting: she had no Hogmanay to give the guisers.
Had she not? What a pity, Elspeth! What a pity, Tommy! What might that be in the bed, Elspeth? It couldn't not be their Hogmanay, could it, Tommy? If Tommy was his mother he would look and see. If Elspeth was her mother she would look and see.
Her curiosity thus cunningly aroused, Mrs. Sandys raised the coverlet of the bed and—there were three bridies, an oatmeal cake, and a hunk of kebbock. "And they comed from Thrums!" cried Elspeth, while Tommy cried, "Petey and the others got a lot sent from Thrums, and I bought the bridies from them, and they gave me the bannock and the kebbock for nuthin'!" Their mother did not utter the cry of rapture30 which Tommy expected so confidently that he could have done it for her; instead, she pulled her two children toward her, and the great moment was like to be a tearful rather than an ecstatic one, for Elspeth had begun to whimper, and even Tommy—but by a supreme31 effort he shouldered reality to the door.
"Is this my Hogmanay, guidwife?" he asked in the nick of time, and the situation thus being saved, the luscious32 feast was partaken of, the guisers listening solemnly as each bite went down. They also took care to address their hostess as "guidwife" or "mistress," affecting not to have met her lately, and inquiring genially33 after the health of herself and family. "How many have you?" was Tommy's masterpiece, and she answered in the proper spirit, but all the time she was hiding great part of her bridie beneath her apron34, Hogmanay having come too late for her.
Everything was to be done exactly as they were doing it in Thrums Street, and so presently Tommy made a speech; it was the speech of old Petey, who had rehearsed it several times before him. "Here's a toast," said Tommy, standing35 up and waving his arms, "here's a toast that we'll drink in silence, one that maun have sad thoughts at the back o't to some of us, but one, my friends, that keeps the hearts of Thrums folk green and ties us all thegither, like as it were wi' twine36. It's to all them, wherever they may be the night, wha' have sat as lads and lasses at the Cuttle Well."
To one of the listeners it was such an unexpected ending that a faint cry broke from her, which startled the children, and they sat in silence looking at her. She had turned her face from them, but her arm was extended as if entreating37 Tommy to stop.
"That was the end," he said, at length, in a tone of expostulation; "it's auld Petey's speech."
"Are you sure," his mother asked wistfully, "that Petey was to say all them as have sat at the Cuttle Well? He made no exception, did he?"
Tommy did not know what exception was, but he assured her that he had repeated the speech, word for word. For the remainder of the evening she sat apart by the fire, while her children gambled for crack-nuts, young Petey having made a teetotum for Tommy and taught him what the letters on it meant. Their mirth rang faintly in her ear, and they scarcely heard her fits of coughing; she was as much engrossed38 in her own thoughts as they in theirs, but hers were sad and theirs were jocund—Hogmanay, like all festivals, being but a bank from which we can only draw what we put in. So an hour or more passed, after which Tommy whispered to Elspeth: "Now's the time; they're at it now," and each took a hand of their mother, and she woke from her reverie to find that they had pulled her from her chair and were jumping up and down, shouting, excitedly, "For Auld Lang Syne39, my dear, for Auld Lang Syne, Auld Lang Syne, my dear, Auld Lang Syne." She tried to sing the words with her children, tried to dance round with them, tried to smile, but—
It was Tommy who dropped her hand first. "Mother," he cried, "your face is wet, you're greeting sair, and you said you had forgot the way."
"I mind it now, man, I mind it now," she said, standing helplessly in the middle of the room.
Elspeth nestled against her, crying, "My mother was thinking about Thrums, wasn't she, Tommy?"
"I was thinking about the part o't I'm most awid to be in," the poor woman said, sinking back into her chair.
"It's the Den," Tommy told Elspeth.
"It's the Square," Elspeth told Tommy.
"No, it's Monypenny."
"No, it's the Commonty."
But it was none of these places. "It's the cemetery40," the woman said, "it's the hamely, quiet cemetery on the hillside. Oh, there's mony a bonny place in my nain bonny toon, but there's nain so hamely like as the cemetery." She sat shaking in the chair, and they thought she was to say no more, but presently she rose excitedly, and with a vehemence41 that made them shrink from her she cried: "I winna lie in London! tell Aaron Latta that; I winna lie in London!"
For a few more days she trudged42 to her work, and after that she seldom left her bed. She had no longer strength to coax43 up the phlegm, and a doctor brought in by Shovel's mother warned her that her days were near an end. Then she wrote her last letter to Thrums, Tommy and Elspeth standing by to pick up the pen when it fell from her feeble hand, and in the intervals44 she told them that she was Jean Myles.
"And if I die and Aaron hasna come," she said, "you maun just gang to auld Petey and tell him wha you are."
"But how can you be Jean Myles?" asked astounded Tommy. "You ain't a grand lady and—"
His mother looked at Elspeth. "No' afore her," she besought45 him; but before he set off to post the letter she said: "Come canny46 into my bed the night, when Elspeth 's sleeping, and syne I'll tell you all there is to tell about Jean Myles."
"Tell me now whether the letter is to Aaron Latta?"
"It's for him," she said, "but it's no' to him. I'm feared he might burn it without opening it if he saw my write on the cover, so I've wrote it to a friend of his wha will read it to him."
"And what's inside, mother?" the boy begged, inquisitively47. "It must be queer things if they'll bring Aaron Latta all the way from Thrums."
"There's but little in it, man," she said, pressing her hand hard upon her chest. "It's no muckle mair than 'Auld Lang Syne, my dear, for Auld Lang Syne.'"


1 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
2 slit tE0yW     
  • The coat has been slit in two places.这件外衣有两处裂开了。
  • He began to slit open each envelope.他开始裁开每个信封。
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 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。
5 horrified 8rUzZU     
  • The whole country was horrified by the killings. 全国都对这些凶杀案感到大为震惊。
  • We were horrified at the conditions prevailing in local prisons. 地方监狱的普遍状况让我们震惊。
6 spate BF7zJ     
  • Police are investigating a spate of burglaries in the area.警察正在调查这一地区发生的大量盗窃案。
  • Refugees crossed the border in full spate.难民大量地越过了边境。
7 aggravation PKYyD     
  • She stirred in aggravation as she said this. 她说这句话,激动得过分。
  • Can't stand the aggravation, all day I get aggravation. You know how it is." 我整天都碰到令人发火的事,你可想而知这是什么滋味。” 来自教父部分
8 concealed 0v3zxG     
  • The paintings were concealed beneath a thick layer of plaster. 那些画被隐藏在厚厚的灰泥层下面。
  • I think he had a gun concealed about his person. 我认为他当时身上藏有一支枪。
9 dressing 1uOzJG     
  • Don't spend such a lot of time in dressing yourself.别花那么多时间来打扮自己。
  • The children enjoy dressing up in mother's old clothes.孩子们喜欢穿上妈妈旧时的衣服玩。
10 jeer caXz5     
  • Do not jeer at the mistakes or misfortunes of others.不要嘲笑别人的错误或不幸。
  • The children liked to jeer at the awkward students.孩子们喜欢嘲笑笨拙的学生。
11 babble 9osyJ     
  • No one could understand the little baby's babble. 没人能听懂这个小婴孩的话。
  • The babble of voices in the next compartment annoyed all of us.隔壁的车厢隔间里不间歇的嘈杂谈话声让我们都很气恼。
12 joyously 1p4zu0     
ad.快乐地, 高兴地
  • She opened the door for me and threw herself in my arms, screaming joyously and demanding that we decorate the tree immediately. 她打开门,直扑我的怀抱,欣喜地喊叫着要马上装饰圣诞树。
  • They came running, crying out joyously in trilling girlish voices. 她们边跑边喊,那少女的颤音好不欢快。 来自名作英译部分
13 behold jQKy9     
  • The industry of these little ants is wonderful to behold.这些小蚂蚁辛勤劳动的样子看上去真令人惊叹。
  • The sunrise at the seaside was quite a sight to behold.海滨日出真是个奇景。
14 imploringly imploringly     
adv. 恳求地, 哀求地
  • He moved his lips and looked at her imploringly. 他嘴唇动着,哀求地看着她。
  • He broke in imploringly. 他用恳求的口吻插了话。
15 wiled 92d1ef847c63e44eb4321f58e0c696f9     
v.引诱( wile的过去式和过去分词 );诱惑;消遣;消磨
  • The music wiled him from his study. 诱人的音乐使他无心学习下去。 来自辞典例句
  • The sunshine wiled me from my work. 阳光引诱我放下了工作。 来自辞典例句
16 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。
17 lured 77df5632bf83c9c64fb09403ae21e649     
  • The child was lured into a car but managed to escape. 那小孩被诱骗上了车,但又设法逃掉了。
  • Lured by the lust of gold,the pioneers pushed onward. 开拓者在黄金的诱惑下,继续奋力向前。
18 gathering ChmxZ     
  • He called on Mr. White to speak at the gathering.他请怀特先生在集会上讲话。
  • He is on the wing gathering material for his novels.他正忙于为他的小说收集资料。
19 smeared c767e97773b70cc726f08526efd20e83     
弄脏; 玷污; 涂抹; 擦上
  • The children had smeared mud on the walls. 那几个孩子往墙上抹了泥巴。
  • A few words were smeared. 有写字被涂模糊了。
20 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
21 sublime xhVyW     
  • We should take some time to enjoy the sublime beauty of nature.我们应该花些时间去欣赏大自然的壮丽景象。
  • Olympic games play as an important arena to exhibit the sublime idea.奥运会,就是展示此崇高理念的重要舞台。
22 audacity LepyV     
  • He had the audacity to ask for an increase in salary.他竟然厚着脸皮要求增加薪水。
  • He had the audacity to pick pockets in broad daylight.他竟敢在光天化日之下掏包。
23 peal Hm0zVO     
  • The bells of the cathedral rang out their loud peal.大教堂响起了响亮的钟声。
  • A sudden peal of thunder leaves no time to cover the ears.迅雷不及掩耳。
24 bonnet AtSzQ     
  • The baby's bonnet keeps the sun out of her eyes.婴孩的帽子遮住阳光,使之不刺眼。
  • She wore a faded black bonnet garnished with faded artificial flowers.她戴着一顶褪了色的黑色无边帽,帽上缀着褪了色的假花。
25 poker ilozCG     
  • He was cleared out in the poker game.他打扑克牌,把钱都输光了。
  • I'm old enough to play poker and do something with it.我打扑克是老手了,可以玩些花样。
26 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。
27 astounded 7541fb163e816944b5753491cad6f61a     
  • His arrogance astounded her. 他的傲慢使她震惊。
  • How can you say that? I'm absolutely astounded. 你怎么能说出那种话?我感到大为震惊。
28 conspirator OZayz     
  • We started abusing him,one conspirator after another adding his bitter words.我们这几个预谋者一个接一个地咒骂他,恶狠狠地骂个不停。
  • A conspirator is not of the stuff to bear surprises.谋反者是经不起惊吓的。
29 alas Rx8z1     
  • Alas!The window is broken!哎呀!窗子破了!
  • Alas,the truth is less romantic.然而,真理很少带有浪漫色彩。
30 rapture 9STzG     
  • His speech was received with rapture by his supporters.他的演说受到支持者们的热烈欢迎。
  • In the midst of his rapture,he was interrupted by his father.他正欢天喜地,被他父亲打断了。
31 supreme PHqzc     
  • It was the supreme moment in his life.那是他一生中最重要的时刻。
  • He handed up the indictment to the supreme court.他把起诉书送交最高法院。
32 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!
33 genially 0de02d6e0c84f16556e90c0852555eab     
  • The white church peeps out genially from behind the huts scattered on the river bank. 一座白色教堂从散布在岸上的那些小木房后面殷勤地探出头来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • "Well, It'seems strange to see you way up here,'said Mr. Kenny genially. “咳,真没想到会在这么远的地方见到你,"肯尼先生亲切地说。 来自英汉文学 - 嘉莉妹妹
34 apron Lvzzo     
  • We were waited on by a pretty girl in a pink apron.招待我们的是一位穿粉红色围裙的漂亮姑娘。
  • She stitched a pocket on the new apron.她在新围裙上缝上一只口袋。
35 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。
36 twine vg6yC     
  • He tied the parcel with twine.他用细绳捆包裹。
  • Their cardboard boxes were wrapped and tied neatly with waxed twine.他们的纸板盒用蜡线扎得整整齐齐。
37 entreating 8c1a0bd5109c6bc77bc8e612f8bff4a0     
恳求,乞求( entreat的现在分词 )
  • We have not bound your feet with our entreating arms. 我们不曾用恳求的手臂来抱住你的双足。
  • The evening has come. Weariness clings round me like the arms of entreating love. 夜来到了,困乏像爱的恳求用双臂围抱住我。
38 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。
39 syne wFRyY     
  • The meeting ended up with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.大会以唱《友谊地久天长》结束。
  • We will take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.让我们为了过去的好时光干一杯友谊的酒。
40 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。
41 vehemence 2ihw1     
  • The attack increased in vehemence.进攻越来越猛烈。
  • She was astonished at his vehemence.她对他的激昂感到惊讶。
42 trudged e830eb9ac9fd5a70bf67387e070a9616     
vt.& vi.跋涉,吃力地走(trudge的过去式与过去分词形式)
  • He trudged the last two miles to the town. 他步履艰难地走完最后两英里到了城里。
  • He trudged wearily along the path. 他沿着小路疲惫地走去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
43 coax Fqmz5     
  • I had to coax the information out of him.我得用好话套出他掌握的情况。
  • He tried to coax the secret from me.他试图哄骗我说出秘方。
44 intervals f46c9d8b430e8c86dea610ec56b7cbef     
n.[军事]间隔( interval的名词复数 );间隔时间;[数学]区间;(戏剧、电影或音乐会的)幕间休息
  • The forecast said there would be sunny intervals and showers. 预报间晴,有阵雨。
  • Meetings take place at fortnightly intervals. 每两周开一次会。
45 besought b61a343cc64721a83167d144c7c708de     
v.恳求,乞求(某事物)( beseech的过去式和过去分词 );(beseech的过去式与过去分词)
  • The prisoner besought the judge for mercy/to be merciful. 囚犯恳求法官宽恕[乞求宽大]。 来自辞典例句
  • They besought him to speak the truth. 他们恳求他说实话. 来自辞典例句
46 canny nsLzV     
  • He was far too canny to risk giving himself away.他非常谨慎,不会冒险暴露自己。
  • But I'm trying to be a little canny about it.但是我想对此谨慎一些。
47 inquisitively d803d87bf3e11b0f2e68073d10c7b5b7     
过分好奇地; 好问地
  • The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but It'said nothing. 这老鼠狐疑地看着她,好像还把一只小眼睛向她眨了眨,但没说话。
  • The mouse looked at her rather inquisitively. 那只耗子用疑问的眼光看看她。


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