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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Adventures of Joel Pepper27章节 » X MAMSIE'S SURPRISE
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 Polly cried herself to sleep that night, although Mother Pepper had comforted and cuddled her when the whole story had come out on their return; how in a minute the passion had died down when the two children thought of Mamsie as they stood there in the road. "Joel was the first to be sorry," Polly had said generously, when confessing it all.
"No, I wasn't," contradicted Joel, "Polly looked sorry first."
"Polly was older," Mother Pepper had said gravely.
"I know it," said Polly, and her head drooped1 lower yet.
"But Joey was very naughty indeed in Mr. Atkins' store and besides, he ought not to have gone there." And Mrs. Pepper's face looked very sad indeed.
The two children, not having a word to say to this, stood very mournfully in front of her. The bedroom door was shut fast, and Ben was doing his best out in the kitchen to keep the other two children amused, in this unwonted state of affairs.
"I wish you'd punish me, Mammy," said Polly, in a broken little voice, "real hard."
"And me, too," cried Joel, sniffling.
"I've never punished you children since you were big enough to know better," said Mother Pepper, slowly, "and I don't believe I can begin now. And it seems to me it's the best way for you to punish yourselves. So I'll leave you to think over it," and she went out and closed the door on them.
How long they sat there, Polly didn't know, and as for Joel, he was in such a state of mind, he couldn't tell anything, only that Polly and he finally crept out in the gathering2 dusk of the long afternoon. No one but Mother Pepper ever knew the reason for the many unwelcome little tasks that Joey did after that, and, strange to relate, without a single grumble3, while as Polly couldn't very well do more work than she did at present, and as there were no luxuries to give up in the way of eatables, the Peppers having butter and other nice things only when people were good enough to send them some, it is hard to think what she could do to punish herself. But that was Mother Pepper's and Joel's and her secret. And then Mamsie cuddled them and comforted them. Only Polly, when she went to bed that night, felt the tears drop quite fast on her pillow, and that was the last thing she remembered before she dropped to sleep.
Meantime, it was rather hard work rehearsing the little play. "We'd give that up, Mamsie," cried Polly, though Joel made a wry4 face as he agreed to it, "but the others want it so much."
"But that wouldn't be a very good way: to make other people suffer for your faults," Mrs. Pepper had replied. So the work over the little play went on, as if nothing sad had happened. But Polly carried a sorry little face about, until Phronsie would look at her wonderingly, or Davie would forget to smile; on such occasions Mrs. Pepper would look at her and raise her finger warningly, and Polly would exclaim, "Oh, I forgot," and then she would toss them a merry little bit of nonsense that made them happy at once. But down in her heart Polly had many sad thoughts. At last it was the great day. Nobody said "circus," but all the five little Peppers shouted it was the Play Day! And it really didn't rain, and the sky was as blue as could be, and Mamsie stayed home that day, and oh! Polly was quite sure she smelt5 something very nice, when she raced into the kitchen in the middle of the morning. Mother Pepper had sent them all out to rehearse the play in the orchard6, and in the midst of it Polly cried out that she had forgotten the wings she was to put on as fairy godmother, when she appeared in time to rescue the little white cat, and to change her into a small girl again. She had made them, with the greatest trouble, out of thin paper and some old wire, and for fear they would get broken in the woodshed, Mamsie had said she might put them in the lower drawer of the big bureau in the bedroom, where Phronsie's red-topped shoes were always kept wrapped up. So now Polly dashed suddenly into the kitchen to run after them.
"Oh, Mamsie!" she exclaimed suddenly, wrinkling up her nose at the unwonted smell of something baking.
Mother Pepper was stooping over the oven door, which was open. She closed it quickly, and stood straight. "Polly," she said, and there was a little laugh in her eyes, although her firm lips were closed, "you are not to say anything what you think to the other children."
"No, Mamsie, I won't," promised Polly, with a wild thought at her heart, "Could Mamsie possibly be making a cake?" as she rushed into the bedroom, got the wings, and raced out again. And all through the rehearsing she kept thinking how good it smelt when that little whiff from the oven flew out.
And Mother Pepper smiled away to herself, and the voices from the orchard, with its one scraggy apple tree, came pealing7 in through the open window, as the rehearsal8 for the grand play was in progress. And then the whole bunch of little Peppers hurried off to get some wild flowers, "for it won't be much," Polly had said, "without some posies to put on the table" (the big stone Ben had tugged9 home from Deacon Brown's meadow).
"I'm glad Polly'll have her posies," said Mrs. Pepper, hearing that, and seeing them go on the flower-hunt, as she paused a moment at the window. "Now they'll be good to trim the ca--"
And it almost popped out, and she didn't mean to whisper the secret, even to herself!
When the children came back from roaming the fields and woods, with the blossoms and green vines gathered in their aprons10 and arms, and they were all nicely set in the cracked teacup with the handle gone that Mamsie had given them some time before, and some other dishes that Mrs. Pepper had handed out with strict charges to be careful of 'em, they all stood off in a row from the stone table, in delighted admiration11.
"Isn't it perfectly12 beautiful!" exclaimed Polly, in a rapture13, and clasping her hands.
"Perfectly beautiful!" breathed little David.
"Be-yew-ful!" echoed Phronsie, hopping14 up and down with very pink cheeks, and her hair flying.
"It looks very well, Polly," said Ben, in a practical way.
"I wish we had somethin' to eat," began Joel.
"Oh, Joey!" cried Polly, reproachfully. But her heart jumped at the recollection of the lovely smell that came from the oven, and Mamsie's face. "Now, children," she said, "we've got everything all done," with a quick glance around, "and Phronsie must have her nap, so's to be a nice little wide-awake white cat. Oh, Ben, leave the fur rug and the other things out under the table," as Ben began piling them up to carry back to the woodshed.
"Mamsie said, Always put everything back when we'd got through playing," said Ben.
"Well, she'll let us put them there, we're going to use them so soon, I know," said Polly, "if you tuck 'em in neatly15. Won't you, Mamsie?" she cried, running to the window to thrust her brown head in.
"Yes," said Mrs. Pepper.
"And may we all come in now?" asked Polly.
"Yes," said Mother Pepper again.
"Don't forget your wings, Polly," cried Joel, picking them up where Polly had carefully laid them against the tree, and rushing to her, waving them aloft.
"Take care, Joel" warned Ben, but too late. One wing flopped16 over, and caught in a knobby old branch of the apple tree, and in a minute there was a big hole right in the middle!
"Oh, you--" began Polly, passionately17, when she turned and saw what was done. In a minute she dashed over to Joel and threw her arms around him. "You couldn't help it," she finished, "and I can paste a piece of paper over it, and it will be most as good as new," while the children stood aghast at the mischief18, and Ben exclaimed, "How could you, Joe! Why didn't you let it alone?"
"I didn't mean to. And now it won't fly--fly," screamed Joel, in a gust19.
"Oh, yes, it will," declared Polly, merrily; "you'll see. And when I get it on, Joey Pepper, look out and look if you don't see me sailing up to the sky."
Joel came out of his sobs20 and looked up to the blue sky, and smiled through his tears, and when David and Phronsie saw Polly so merry, they smiled too, and Ben caught Polly's eye and didn't say any more. So they all marched into the house, and Phronsie was tucked up on Mamsie's bed, for her nap, and Polly sat down to mend her broken wing.
Mrs. Pepper, going on with her work, sent her a smile and loving look, that said just as plainly as words could speak it, "You're trying hard, Polly, my girl, and Mother knows it." So Polly began to hum at her task, and presently the kitchen became the very cheeriest place possible. What they would have done if any of them had happened to spy out what was on the upper shelf of the cupboard, covered carefully with a clean old towel, cannot possibly be told.
At last it came to be three o'clock, the hour of the grand play. Mrs. Pepper, as audience, was seated in her big rocking chair that Ben had brought out from the kitchen and placed in the best spot on the grass to see it all, and Polly and Ben and Joel and David and Phronsie were in the depths of excitement, and flitting here and there, Polly, as chief director, having a perfectly awful time to get them into their parts, particularly as Phronsie would keep rushing up, the old white fur rug nearly tripping her up every step, to lay her soft face against Mother Pepper's, and cry out, "I'm to be a white cat, Mamsie. I truly am!" And Joel would insist on roaring like a bear, and prancing21 and waving his arms, around which Polly had tied a lot of black hair that Mamsie had let her take out of her cushion.
"Joel, you spoil everything!" cried Ben at him. "See here, now all your hair is tumbling off from your arms."
"They ain't arms. They're paws," said Joel, stopping suddenly to look with dismay at the damage he was making. "Polly didn't tie it on good," he said, trying to stuff back the loose hair.
"Yes, she did, too, real good," retorted Ben, "only you are flourishing round so, nothing would keep on you. Keep still, can't you!"
"And I'll tie it on again," said Polly, "if you'll wait till I fix Davie--just a minute--there, Davie, you're all right. Now, says I, Mr. Bear," and she flew over to Joel again.
Once more Mother Pepper sent her a swift approving smile, and Polly's heart was so warm that a little sunbeam seemed suddenly to have hopped22 right down there. And the little play went on from first to last perfectly splendidly, and Mrs. Pepper, feeling very strange indeed to be sitting there in the middle of the afternoon with nothing in her hands to work over, clapped them together and applauded enough for a big audience. And there never was such a good time in all this world--no, not even under the big white circus tent over in Hillsbury!
"I'm glad you like it!" cried Polly, tumbling over in a heap on the grass when it was all over, and the audience got out of the big rocking chair.
"It was very nice indeed, Polly," said Mother Pepper, with shining eyes.
"Indeed it was!" declared Ben with enthusiasm, which meant a great deal from him.
"And now, children," said Mrs. Pepper, "you rest on the grass and talk it over, and I will call you into the house by and by."
"I don't ever want to go in," declared Joel, positively23, and rolling over on the grass to wave his legs in the air, while little Davie lay quite still. "It was good to be in the play, Polly," he said, "but it's nice to rest here."
"I was a white cat, Polly," said Phronsie, sitting down on the grass as close to Polly as she could get, and tucking up her feet under her.
"So you were, Pet," cried Polly, "the loveliest, sweetest white cat in all the world, Phronsie dear," giving her a little hug. "O dear me, I'm glad it's done, and that it was nice."
"It was the nicest thing you've ever done, Polly," declared Ben, with emphasis.
"Chil-dren!" Mamsie's voice, and it had a new sound.
But Joel gave his sturdy legs another wave. "I wish we could stay out here longer," he said. So it happened that he was last in the procession filing into the little brown house, instead of first, as was usually the case.
"Oh, Mamsie!" cried Polly, and, "Oh, Mamsie!" exclaimed every one of the others, while Joel pushed in between them as fast as he could, anxious to see what it all was.
There was the table drawn24 out in the middle of the kitchen and spread with a clean white cloth. And on it stood a cake, yes, a big one, and there was--yes, there actually was white on top! When Polly saw that, she sat right down in the first chair. As for Ben, he was just as much astonished, and couldn't stop the children from reaching out to pick at the cake.
"I took some of your flowers, Polly, to trim it with," said Mother Pepper, pointing to the wreath running around the big cake. "Now, children, all of you sit down, and Polly shall cut it, for she made the play." She handed Polly the big knife, sharpened up till it shone as bright as could be.
"Let me--let me!" screamed Joel, with no eyes now for anything but the sharp knife "I've never cut a cake. Mammy, let me!"
"Neither has Polly," said Mrs. Pepper, quietly. "No, Joe, Polly made the play, else you couldn't any of you have had this nice time."
"And she's worked herself most to death to get us through it," said Ben.
Polly had seized the big knife, and taken one step toward the wonderful cake. Now she stopped, and looked over at Joel. "You may," she said, smiling brightly.
"Oh, goody!" cried Joel, plunging25 forward. Then he stopped suddenly, on meeting his mother's eye. "I'd rather not," he said.
"Go on, Polly, Joel's right," said Mrs. Pepper, in satisfaction. So the slices were cut very slowly, Polly breathing hard with anxiety. But the white frosting didn't fall off a bit, and each piece was soon laid on a plate by Mother Pepper, and passed, first to Ben and then to the others, and to Phronsie last of all, of course, because she was the youngest.
When it was all over, this delightful26 surprise of Mamsie's, and Polly and Mrs. Pepper were clearing up, Joel nudged David. "Come on, Dave," he whispered, and the two boys ran out to the orchard again.
"I'm goin' to be bear again," cried Joel. "O dear me! Ben's taken in all the black hair," he cried, in great disappointment.
"He had to put it back in Mamsie's cushion again," said David. "You know he promised."
"He might have left it a little bit of a while," grumbled27 Joel.
"He said he'd do it right away," persisted David, "so he had to, Joel."
"Well, anyway, I'll be bear again without the black hair, then," declared Joel. "Now, look out, Dave, 'cause I'm goin' to climb up th' apple tree."
"Bears don't climb up trees," observed little David, critically, watching Joel's progress, quite content to sit down on the grass meanwhile.
"Well, I'm goin' to, when I'm a bear," cried Joel, now well up in the midst of the gnarled branches. "I'm goin' to climb trees, and do everything I want to, so there, Dave Pepper!"
Little David said nothing, and turned his gaze downward, and a big green worm, that had somehow lost his way in the tall grass, meandered28 past him, trying to get home. So he put forth29 a gentle finger, bending down the biggest spears accommodatingly, and was so absorbed in the matter that he forgot Joel, until he heard a voice, "Hi, there; look, Dave, look!"
"O dear me, Joe!" exclaimed David, letting the green spears swing back abruptly30, and viewing Joel in alarm, "you'll fall. Do come down."
"Pooh! I can bend way out. See, Dave! See!" cried Joel, twisting his legs around the branch on which he sat, almost at the very tip of the apple tree, and he swung both arms exultingly31. There was a crack, a swish, and something came tumbling through the air, and before David could utter a sound, there lay Joel on the grass at his feet.
Five Little Peppers And How They Grew


1 drooped ebf637c3f860adcaaf9c11089a322fa5     
弯曲或下垂,发蔫( droop的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Her eyelids drooped as if she were on the verge of sleep. 她眼睑低垂好像快要睡着的样子。
  • The flowers drooped in the heat of the sun. 花儿晒蔫了。
2 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。
3 grumble 6emzH     
  • I don't want to hear another grumble from you.我不愿再听到你的抱怨。
  • He could do nothing but grumble over the situation.他除了埋怨局势之外别无他法。
4 wry hMQzK     
  • He made a wry face and attempted to wash the taste away with coffee.他做了个鬼脸,打算用咖啡把那怪味地冲下去。
  • Bethune released Tung's horse and made a wry mouth.白求恩放开了董的马,噘了噘嘴。
5 smelt tiuzKF     
  • Tin is a comparatively easy metal to smelt.锡是比较容易熔化的金属。
  • Darby was looking for a way to improve iron when he hit upon the idea of smelting it with coke instead of charcoal.达比一直在寻找改善铁质的方法,他猛然想到可以不用木炭熔炼,而改用焦炭。
6 orchard UJzxu     
  • My orchard is bearing well this year.今年我的果园果实累累。
  • Each bamboo house was surrounded by a thriving orchard.每座竹楼周围都是茂密的果园。
7 pealing a30c30e9cb056cec10397fd3f7069c71     
v.(使)(钟等)鸣响,(雷等)发出隆隆声( peal的现在分词 )
  • The bell began pealing. 钟声开始鸣响了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • The church bells are pealing the message of Christmas joy. 教堂的钟声洪亮地传颂着圣诞快乐的信息。 来自辞典例句
8 rehearsal AVaxu     
  • I want to play you a recording of the rehearsal.我想给你放一下彩排的录像。
  • You can sharpen your skills with rehearsal.排练可以让技巧更加纯熟。
9 tugged 8a37eb349f3c6615c56706726966d38e     
v.用力拉,使劲拉,猛扯( tug的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She tugged at his sleeve to get his attention. 她拽了拽他的袖子引起他的注意。
  • A wry smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. 他的嘴角带一丝苦笑。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 aprons d381ffae98ab7cbe3e686c9db618abe1     
围裙( apron的名词复数 ); 停机坪,台口(舞台幕前的部份)
  • Many people like to wear aprons while they are cooking. 许多人做饭时喜欢系一条围裙。
  • The chambermaid in our corridor wears blue checked gingham aprons. 给我们扫走廊的清洁女工围蓝格围裙。
11 admiration afpyA     
  • He was lost in admiration of the beauty of the scene.他对风景之美赞不绝口。
  • We have a great admiration for the gold medalists.我们对金牌获得者极为敬佩。
12 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。
13 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。
14 hopping hopping     
n. 跳跃 动词hop的现在分词形式
  • The clubs in town are really hopping. 城里的俱乐部真够热闹的。
  • I'm hopping over to Paris for the weekend. 我要去巴黎度周末。
15 neatly ynZzBp     
  • Sailors know how to wind up a long rope neatly.水手们知道怎样把一条大绳利落地缠好。
  • The child's dress is neatly gathered at the neck.那孩子的衣服在领口处打着整齐的皱褶。
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 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。
18 mischief jDgxH     
  • Nobody took notice of the mischief of the matter. 没有人注意到这件事情所带来的危害。
  • He seems to intend mischief.看来他想捣蛋。
19 gust q5Zyu     
  • A gust of wind blew the front door shut.一阵大风吹来,把前门关上了。
  • A gust of happiness swept through her.一股幸福的暖流流遍她的全身。
20 sobs d4349f86cad43cb1a5579b1ef269d0cb     
啜泣(声),呜咽(声)( sob的名词复数 )
  • She was struggling to suppress her sobs. 她拼命不让自己哭出来。
  • She burst into a convulsive sobs. 她突然抽泣起来。
21 prancing 9906a4f0d8b1d61913c1d44e88e901b8     
v.(马)腾跃( prance的现在分词 )
  • The lead singer was prancing around with the microphone. 首席歌手手执麦克风,神气地走来走去。
  • The King lifted Gretel on to his prancing horse and they rode to his palace. 国王把格雷特尔扶上腾跃着的马,他们骑马向天宫走去。 来自辞典例句
22 hopped 91b136feb9c3ae690a1c2672986faa1c     
跳上[下]( hop的过去式和过去分词 ); 单足蹦跳; 齐足(或双足)跳行; 摘葎草花
  • He hopped onto a car and wanted to drive to town. 他跳上汽车想开向市区。
  • He hopped into a car and drove to town. 他跳进汽车,向市区开去。
23 positively vPTxw     
  • She was positively glowing with happiness.她满脸幸福。
  • The weather was positively poisonous.这天气着实讨厌。
24 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
25 plunging 5fe12477bea00d74cd494313d62da074     
adj.跳进的,突进的v.颠簸( plunge的现在分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
  • War broke out again, plunging the people into misery and suffering. 战祸复发,生灵涂炭。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
  • He is plunging into an abyss of despair. 他陷入了绝望的深渊。 来自《简明英汉词典》
26 delightful 6xzxT     
  • We had a delightful time by the seashore last Sunday.上星期天我们在海滨玩得真痛快。
  • Peter played a delightful melody on his flute.彼得用笛子吹奏了一支欢快的曲子。
27 grumbled ed735a7f7af37489d7db1a9ef3b64f91     
抱怨( grumble的过去式和过去分词 ); 发牢骚; 咕哝; 发哼声
  • He grumbled at the low pay offered to him. 他抱怨给他的工资低。
  • The heat was sweltering, and the men grumbled fiercely over their work. 天热得让人发昏,水手们边干活边发着牢骚。
28 meandered 5dfab2b9284d93e5bf8dd3e7c2bd3b6b     
(指溪流、河流等)蜿蜒而流( meander的过去式和过去分词 )
  • A stream meandered towards the sea. 一条小河蜿蜒地流向大海。
  • The small river meandered in lazy curves down the centre. 小河缓缓地绕着中心地区迤逦流过。
29 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。
30 abruptly iINyJ     
  • He gestured abruptly for Virginia to get in the car.他粗鲁地示意弗吉尼亚上车。
  • I was abruptly notified that a half-hour speech was expected of me.我突然被通知要讲半个小时的话。
31 exultingly d8336e88f697a028c18f72beef5fc083     
  • It was exultingly easy. 这容易得让人雀跃。
  • I gave him a cup of tea while the rest exultingly drinking aquavit. 当别人继续兴高采烈地喝着白兰地的时候,我随手为那位朋友端去了一杯热茶。


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