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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Sentimental Tommy多愁善感的汤米 » CHAPTER XIII — SHOWS HOW TOMMY TOOK CARE OF ELSPETH
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 Thus the first day passed, and others followed in which women, who had known Jean Myles, did her children kindnesses, but could not do all they would have done, for Aaron forbade them to enter his home except on business though it was begging for a housewife all day. Had Elspeth at the age of six now settled down to domestic duties she would not have been the youngest housekeeper1 ever known in Thrums, but she was never very good at doing things, only at loving and being loved, and the observant neighbors thought her a backward girl; they forgot, like most people, that service is not necessarily a handicraft. Tommy discovered what they were saying, and to shield Elspeth he took to housewifery with the blind down; but Aaron, entering the kitchen unexpectedly, took the besom from, him, saying:
"It's an ill thing for men folk to ken2 ower muckle about women's work."
"You do it yoursel'," Tommy argued.
"I said men folk," replied Aaron, quietly.
The children knew that remarks of this sort had reference to their mother, of whom he never spoke3 more directly; indeed he seldom spoke to them at all, and save when he was cooking or giving the kitchen a slovenly4 cleaning they saw little of him. Monypenny had predicted that their presence must make a new man of him, but he was still unsociable and morose5 and sat as long as ever at the warping-mill, of which he seemed to have become the silent wheel. Tommy and Elspeth always dropped their voices when they spoke of him, and sometimes when his mill stopped he heard one of them say to the other, "Whisht, he's coming!" Though he seldom, spoke sharply to them, his face did not lose its loneliness at sight of them. Elspeth was his favorite (somewhat to the indignation of both); they found this out without his telling them or even showing it markedly, and when they wanted to ask anything of him she was deputed to do it, but she did it quavering, and after drawing farther away from him instead of going nearer. A dreary6 life would have lain before them had they not been sent to school.
There were at this time three schools in Thrums, the chief of them ruled over by the terrible Cathro (called Knuckly7 when you were a street away from him). It was a famous school, from which a band of three or four or even six marched every autumn to the universities as determined8 after bursaries as ever were Highlandmen to lift cattle, and for the same reason, that they could not do without.
A very different kind of dominie was Cursing Ballingall, who had been dropped at Thrums by a travelling circus, and first became familiar to the town as, carrying two carpet shoes, two books, a pillow, and a saucepan, which were all his belongings9, he wandered from manse to manse offering to write sermons for the ministers at circus prices. That scheme failing, he was next seen looking in at windows in search of a canny10 calling, and eventually he cut one of his braces12 into a pair of tawse, thus with a single stroke of the knife, making himself a school-master and lop-sided for life. His fee was but a penny a week, "with a bit o' the swine when your father kills," and sometimes there were so many pupils on a form that they could only rise as one. During the first half of the scholastic13 day Ballingall's shouts and pounces14 were for parents to listen to, but after his dinner of crowdy, which is raw meal and hot water, served in a cogie, or wooden bowl, languor15 overcame him and he would sleep, having first given out a sum in arithmetic and announced:
"The one as finds out the answer first, I'll give him his licks."
Last comes the Hanky School, which was for the genteel and for the common who contemplated16 soaring. You were not admitted to it in corduroys or bare-footed, nor did you pay weekly; no, your father called four times a year with the money in an envelope. He was shown into the blue-and-white room, and there, after business had been transacted17, very nervously18 on Miss Ailie's part, she offered him his choice between ginger19 wine and what she falteringly20 called wh-wh-whiskey. He partook in the polite national manner, which is thus:
"You will take something, Mr. Cortachy?"
"No, I thank you, ma'am."
"A little ginger wine?"
"It agrees ill with me."
"Then a little wh-wh-whiskey?"
"You are ower kind."
"Then may I?"
"I am not heeding21."
"Perhaps, though, you don't take?"
"I can take it or want it."
"Is that enough?"
"It will do perfectly22."
"Shall I fill it up?"
"As you please, ma'am."
Miss Ailie's relationship to the magerful man may be remembered; she shuddered23 to think of it herself, for in middle-age she retained the mind of a young girl, but when duty seemed to call, this school-mistress could be brave, and she offered to give Elspeth her schooling24 free of charge. Like the other two hers was a "mixed" school, but she did not want Tommy, because she had seen him in the square one day, and there was a leer on his face that reminded her of his father.
Another woman was less particular. This was Mrs. Crabb, of the Tappit Hen, the Esther Auld25 whom Jean Myles's letters had so frequently sent to bed. Her Francie was still a pupil of Miss Ailie, and still he wore the golden hair, which, despite all advice, she would not crop. It was so beautiful that no common boys could see it without wanting to give it a tug26 in passing, and partly to prevent this, partly to show how high she had risen in the social scale, Esther usually sent him to school under the charge of her servant lass. She now proposed to Aaron that this duty should devolve on Tommy, and for the service she would pay his fees at the Hanky School.
"We maun all lend a hand to poor Jean's bairns," she said, with a gleam in her eye. "It would have been well for her, Aaron, if she had married you."
"Is that all you have to say?" asked the warper27, who had let her enter no farther than the hallan.
"I would expect him to lift Francie ower the pools in wet weather; and it might be as well if he called him Master Francie."
"Is that all?"
"Ay, I ask no more, for we maun all help Jean's bairns. If she could only look down, Aaron, and see her little velvets, as she called him, lifting my little corduroys ower the pools!"
Aaron flung open the door. "Munt!" he said, and he looked so dangerous that she retired28 at once. He sent Tommy to Ballingall's, and accepted Miss Ailie's offer for Elspeth, but this was an impossible arrangement, for it was known to the two persons primarily concerned that Elspeth would die if she was not where Tommy was. The few boys he had already begun to know were at Cathro's or Ballingall's, and as they called Miss Ailie's a lassie school he had no desire to attend it, but where he was there also must Elspeth be. Daily he escaped from Ballingall's and hid near the Dovecot, as Miss Ailie's house was called, and every little while he gave vent11 to Shovel's whistle, so that Elspeth might know of his proximity29 and be cheered. Thrice was he carried back, kicking, to Ballingall's by urchins30 sent in pursuit, stern ministers of justice on the first two occasions; but on the third they made him an offer: if he would hide in Couthie's hen-house they were willing to look for him everywhere else for two hours.
Tommy's behavior seemed beautiful to the impressionable Miss Ailie, but it infuriated Aaron, and on the fourth day he set off for the parish school, meaning to put the truant31 in the hands of Cathro, from whom there was no escape. Vainly had Elspeth implored32 him to let Tommy come to the Dovecot, and vainly apparently33 was she trotting34 at his side now, looking up appealingly in his face. But when they reached the gate of the parish school-yard he walked past it because she was tugging35 him, and always when he seemed about to turn she took his hand again, and he seemed to have lost the power to resist Jean Myles's bairn. So they came to the Dovecot, and Miss Ailie gained a pupil who had been meant for Cathro. Tommy's arms were stronger than Elspeth's, but they could not hare done as much for him that day.
Thus did the two children enter upon the genteel career, to the indignation of the other boys and girls of Monypenny, all of whom were commoners.


1 housekeeper 6q2zxl     
  • A spotless stove told us that his mother is a diligent housekeeper.炉子清洁无瑕就表明他母亲是个勤劳的主妇。
  • She is an economical housekeeper and feeds her family cheaply.她节约持家,一家人吃得很省。
2 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.
3 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。
4 slovenly ZEqzQ     
  • People were scandalized at the slovenly management of the company.人们对该公司草率的经营感到愤慨。
  • Such slovenly work habits will never produce good products.这样马马虎虎的工作习惯决不能生产出优质产品来。
5 morose qjByA     
  • He was silent and morose.他沉默寡言、郁郁寡欢。
  • The publicity didn't make him morose or unhappy?公开以后,没有让他郁闷或者不开心吗?
6 dreary sk1z6     
  • They live such dreary lives.他们的生活如此乏味。
  • She was tired of hearing the same dreary tale of drunkenness and violence.她听够了那些关于酗酒和暴力的乏味故事。
7 knuckly 9ca0410c0be5d8b32df7da4ac6fd2171     
  • Wainwright rubbed a knuckle along the surface of his chin. 温赖特的一个手指关节在下巴上搓来搓去。 来自辞典例句
  • They refused to knuckle under to any pressure. 他们拒不屈从任何压力。 来自辞典例句
8 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。
9 belongings oy6zMv     
  • I put a few personal belongings in a bag.我把几件私人物品装进包中。
  • Your personal belongings are not dutiable.个人物品不用纳税。
10 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。
11 vent yiPwE     
  • He gave vent to his anger by swearing loudly.他高声咒骂以发泄他的愤怒。
  • When the vent became plugged,the engine would stop.当通风口被堵塞时,发动机就会停转。
12 braces ca4b7fc327bd02465aeaf6e4ce63bfcd     
n.吊带,背带;托架( brace的名词复数 );箍子;括弧;(儿童)牙箍v.支住( brace的第三人称单数 );撑牢;使自己站稳;振作起来
  • The table is shaky because the braces are loose. 这张桌子摇摇晃晃,因为支架全松了。
  • You don't need braces if you're wearing a belt! 要系腰带,就用不着吊带了。
13 scholastic 3DLzs     
  • There was a careful avoidance of the sensitive topic in the scholastic circles.学术界小心地避开那个敏感的话题。
  • This would do harm to students' scholastic performance in the long run.这将对学生未来的学习成绩有害。
14 pounces 1c31b96a619c33a776721f5cb9501060     
v.突然袭击( pounce的第三人称单数 );猛扑;一眼看出;抓住机会(进行抨击)
  • The attacker thinks it's still part of the lizard and pounces on it. 攻击者认为那仍然是蜥蜴身体的一部分,向它猛扑过去。 来自互联网
15 languor V3wyb     
  • It was hot,yet with a sweet languor about it.天气是炎热的,然而却有一种惬意的懒洋洋的感觉。
  • She,in her languor,had not troubled to eat much.她懒懒的,没吃多少东西。
16 contemplated d22c67116b8d5696b30f6705862b0688     
adj. 预期的 动词contemplate的过去分词形式
  • The doctor contemplated the difficult operation he had to perform. 医生仔细地考虑他所要做的棘手的手术。
  • The government has contemplated reforming the entire tax system. 政府打算改革整个税收体制。
17 transacted 94d902fd02a93fefd0cc771cd66077bc     
v.办理(业务等)( transact的过去式和过去分词 );交易,谈判
  • We transacted business with the firm. 我们和这家公司交易。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Major Pendennis transacted his benevolence by deputy and by post. 潘登尼斯少校依靠代理人和邮局,实施着他的仁爱之心。 来自辞典例句
18 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。
19 ginger bzryX     
  • There is no ginger in the young man.这个年轻人没有精神。
  • Ginger shall be hot in the mouth.生姜吃到嘴里总是辣的。
20 falteringly c4efbc9543dafe43a97916fc6bf0a802     
  • The German war machine had lumbered falteringly over the frontier and come to a standstill Linz. 德国的战争机器摇摇晃晃,声音隆隆地越过了边界,快到林茨时却走不动了。
21 heeding e57191803bfd489e6afea326171fe444     
v.听某人的劝告,听从( heed的现在分词 )
  • This come of heeding people who say one thing and mean another! 有些人嘴里一回事,心里又是一回事,今天这个下场都是听信了这种人的话的结果。 来自辞典例句
  • Her dwarfish spouse still smoked his cigar and drank his rum without heeding her. 她那矮老公还在吸他的雪茄,喝他的蔗酒,睬也不睬她。 来自辞典例句
22 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。
23 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》
24 schooling AjAzM6     
  • A child's access to schooling varies greatly from area to area.孩子获得学校教育的机会因地区不同而大相径庭。
  • Backward children need a special kind of schooling.天赋差的孩子需要特殊的教育。
25 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。
26 tug 5KBzo     
  • We need to tug the car round to the front.我们需要把那辆车拉到前面。
  • The tug is towing three barges.那只拖船正拖着三只驳船。
27 warper e83552dd3883e89966ea559ef932484e     
  • This paper emphatically introduced the reformation scheme of cone angle setting mechanism on warper. 重点介绍了整经机上圆锥角调节机构的改进方案。 来自互联网
  • The section warper and batch warper have 15 poctent technical and core technical. 公司具有40多年的机械制造经验,属省高新技术企业,产品通过国家级鉴定验收。 来自互联网
28 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。
29 proximity 5RsxM     
  • Marriages in proximity of blood are forbidden by the law.法律规定禁止近亲结婚。
  • Their house is in close proximity to ours.他们的房子很接近我们的。
30 urchins d5a7ff1b13569cf85a979bfc58c50045     
n.顽童( urchin的名词复数 );淘气鬼;猬;海胆
  • Some dozen barefooted urchins ganged in from the riverside. 几十个赤足的顽童从河边成群结队而来。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • People said that he had jaundice and urchins nicknamed him "Yellow Fellow." 别人说他是黄胆病,孩子们也就叫他“黄胖”了。 来自汉英文学 - 中国现代小说
31 truant zG4yW     
  • I found the truant throwing stones in the river.我发现那个逃课的学生在往河里扔石子。
  • Children who play truant from school are unimaginative.逃学的孩子们都缺乏想像力。
32 implored 0b089ebf3591e554caa381773b194ff1     
恳求或乞求(某人)( implore的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She implored him to stay. 她恳求他留下。
  • She implored him with tears in her eyes to forgive her. 她含泪哀求他原谅她。
33 apparently tMmyQ     
  • An apparently blind alley leads suddenly into an open space.山穷水尽,豁然开朗。
  • He was apparently much surprised at the news.他对那个消息显然感到十分惊异。
34 trotting cbfe4f2086fbf0d567ffdf135320f26a     
小跑,急走( trot的现在分词 ); 匆匆忙忙地走
  • The riders came trotting down the lane. 这骑手骑着马在小路上慢跑。
  • Alan took the reins and the small horse started trotting. 艾伦抓住缰绳,小马开始慢跑起来。
35 tugging 1b03c4e07db34ec7462f2931af418753     
n.牵引感v.用力拉,使劲拉,猛扯( tug的现在分词 )
  • Tom was tugging at a button-hole and looking sheepish. 汤姆捏住一个钮扣眼使劲地拉,样子显得很害羞。 来自英汉文学 - 汤姆历险
  • She kicked him, tugging his thick hair. 她一边踢他,一边扯着他那浓密的头发。 来自辞典例句


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