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首页 » 经典英文小说 » The Cock and Anchor » CHAPTER XXIV
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Lord Aspenly walked forth1 among the trim hedges and secluded2 walks which surrounded the house, and by alternately taking enormous pinches of rappee, and humming a favourite air or two, he wonderfully assisted his philosophy in recovering his equanimity3.
"It matters but little how the affair ends," thought his lordship, "if in matrimony—the girl is, after all, a very fine girl: but if the matter is fairly off, in that case I shall—look very foolish," suggested his conscience faintly, but his lordship dismissed the thought precipitately—"in that case I shall make it a point to marry within a fortnight. I should like to know the girl who would refuse me"—"the only one you ever asked," suggested his conscience again, but with no better result—"I should like to see the girl of sense or discrimination who could refuse me. I shall marry the finest girl in the country, and then I presume very few will be inclined to call me fool."
"Not I for one, my lord," exclaimed a voice close by. Lord Aspenly started, for he was conscious that in his energy he had uttered the concluding words of his proud peroration5 with audible emphasis, and became instantly aware that the speaker was no other than Major O'Leary.
"Not I for one, my lord," repeated the major, with extreme gravity, "I take it for granted, my lord, that you are no fool."
"I am obliged to you, Major O'Leary, for your good opinion," replied his lordship, drily, with a surprised look and a stiff inclination6 of his person.
"Nothing to be grateful for in it," replied the major, returning the bow with grave politeness: "if years and discretion7 increase together, you and I ought to be models of wisdom by this time of day. I'm proud of my years, my lord, and I would be half as proud again if I could count as many as your lordship."
There was something singularly abrupt8 and uncalled for in all this, which Lord Aspenly did not very well understand; he therefore stopped short, and looked in the major's face; but reading in its staid and formal gravity nothing whatever to furnish a clue to his exact purpose, he made a kind of short bow, and continued his walk in dignified9 silence. There was something exceedingly disagreeable, he thought, in the manner of his companion—something very near approaching to cool impertinence—which he could not account for upon any other supposition than that the major had been prematurely10 indulging in the joys of Bacchus. If, however, he thought that by the assumption of the frigid11 and lofty dignity with which he met the advances of the major, he was likely to relieve himself of his company, he was never more lamentably12 mistaken. His military companion walked with a careless swagger by his side, exactly regulating his pace by that of the little nobleman, whose meditations13 he had so cruelly interrupted.
"What on earth is to be done with this brute14 beast?" muttered his lordship, taking care, however, that the query15 should not reach the subject of it. "I must get rid of him—I must speak with the girl privately—what the deuce is to be done?"
They walked on a little further in perfect silence. At length his lordship stopped short and exclaimed,—
"My dear major, I am a very dull companion—quite a bore; there are times when the mind—the—the—spirits require solitude16—and these walks are the very scene for a lonely ramble17. I dare venture to aver19 that you are courting solitude like myself—your silence betrays you—then pray do not stand on ceremony—that walk leads down toward the river—pray no ceremony."
"Upon my conscience, my lord, I never was less inclined to stand on ceremony than I am at this moment," replied the major; "so give yourself no trouble in the world about me. Nothing would annoy me so much as to have you think I was doing anything but precisely20 what I liked best myself."
Lord Aspenly bowed, took a violent pinch of snuff, and walked on, the major still keeping by his side. After a long silence his lordship began to lilt his own sweet verses in a careless sort of a way, which was intended to convey to his tormentor21 that he had totally forgotten his presence:—
"Tho' Chloe slight me when I woo,
And scorn the love of poor Philander22;
The shepherd's heart she scorns is true,
His heart is true, his passion tender."
"Passion tender," observed the major—"passion tender—it's a nurse-tender the like of you and me ought to be looking for—passion tender—upon my conscience, a good joke."
Lord Aspenly was strongly tempted23 to give vent18 to his feelings; but even at the imminent24 risk of bursting, he managed to suppress his fury. The major was certainly (however unaccountable and mysterious the fact might be) in a perfectly25 cut-throat frame of mind, and Lord Aspenly had no desire to present his weasand for the entertainment of his military friend.
"Tender—tender," continued the inexorable major, "allow me, my lord, to suggest the word tough as an improvement—tender, my lord, is a term which does not apply to chickens beyond a certain time of life, and it strikes me as too bold a license26 of poetry to apply it to a gentleman of such extreme and venerable old age as your lordship; for I take it for granted that Philander is another name for yourself."
As the major uttered this critical remark, Lord Aspenly felt his brain, as it were, fizz with downright fury; the instinct of self-preservation, however, triumphed; he mastered his generous indignation, and resumed his walk in a state of mind nothing short of awful.
"My lord," inquired the major, with tragic27 abruptness28, and with very stern emphasis—"I take the liberty of asking, have you made your soul?"
The precise nature of the major's next proceeding29, Lord Aspenly could not exactly predict; of one thing, however, he felt assured, and that was, that the designs of his companion were decidedly of a dangerous character, and as he gazed in mute horror upon the major, confused but terrific ideas of "homicidal monomania," and coroner's inquests floated dimly through his distracted brain.
"My soul?" faltered30 he, in undisguised trepidation31.
"Yes, my lord," repeated the major, with remarkable32 coolness, "have you made your soul?"
During this conference his lordship's complexion33 had shifted from its original lemon-colour to a lively orange, and thence faded gradually off into a pea-green; at which hue34 it remained fixed35 during the remainder of the interview.
"I protest—you cannot be serious—I am wholly in the dark. Positively36, Major O'Leary, this is very unaccountable conduct—you really ought—pray explain."
"Upon my conscience, I will explain," rejoined the major, "although the explanation won't make you much more in love with your present predicament, unless I am very much out. You made my niece, Mary Ashwoode, an offer of marriage to-day; well, she was much obliged to you, but she did not want to marry you, and she told you so civilly. Did you then, like a man and a gentleman, take your answer from her as you ought to have done, quietly and courteously37? No, you did not; you went to bully38 the poor girl, and to insult her; because she politely declined to marry a—a—an ugly bunch of wrinkles, like you; and you threatened to tell Sir Richard—ay, you did—to tell him your pitiful story, you—you—you—but wait awhile. You want to have the poor girl frightened and bullied39 into marrying you. Where's your spirit or your feeling, my lord? But you don't know what the words mean. If ever you did, you'd sooner have been racked to death, than have terrified and insulted a poor friendless girl, as you thought her. But she's not friendless. I'll teach you she's not. As long as this arm can lift a small-sword, and while the life is in my body, I'll never see any woman maltreated by a scoundrel—a scoundrel, my lord; but I'll bring him to his knees for it, or die in the attempt. And holding these opinions, did you think I'd let you offend my niece? No, sir, I'd be blown to atoms first."
"Major O'Leary," replied his lordship, as soon as he had collected his thoughts and recovered breath to speak, "your conduct is exceedingly violent—very, and, I will add, most hasty and indiscreet. You have entirely40 misconceived me, you have mistaken the whole affair. You will regret this violence—I protest—I know you will, when you understand the whole matter. At present, knowing the nature of your feelings, I protest, though I might naturally resent your observations, it is not in my nature, in my heart to be angry." This was spoken with a very audible quaver.
"You would, my lord, you would be angry," rejoined the major, "you'd dance with fury this moment, if you dared. You could find it in your heart to go into a passion with a girl; but talking with men is a different sort of thing. Now, my lord, we are both here, with our swords; no place can be more secluded, and, I presume, no two men more willing. Pray draw, my lord, or I'll be apt to spoil your velvet41 and gold lace."
"Major O'Leary, I will be heard!" exclaimed Lord Aspenly, with an earnestness which the imminent peril42 of his person inspired—"I must have a word or two with you, before we put this dispute to so deadly an arbitrament."
The major had foreseen and keenly enjoyed the reluctance43 and the evident tremors44 of his antagonist45. He returned his half-drawn sword to its scabbard with an impatient thrust, and, folding his arms, looked down with supreme46 contempt upon the little peer.
"Major O'Leary, you have been misinformed—Miss Ashwoode has mistaken me. I assure you, I meant no disrespect—none in the world, I protest. I may have spoken hastily—perhaps I did—but I never intended disrespect—never for a moment."
"Well, my lord, suppose that I admit that you did not mean any disrespect; and suppose that I distinctly assert that I have neither right nor inclination just now to call you to an account for anything you may have said, in your interview this morning, offensive to my niece; I give you leave to suppose it, and, what's more, in supposing it, I solemnly aver, you suppose neither more nor less than the exact truth," said the major.
"Well, then, Major O'Leary," replied Lord Aspenly, "I profess47 myself wholly at a loss to understand your conduct. I presume, at all events, that nothing further need pass between us about the matter."
"Not so fast, my lord, if you please," rejoined the major; "a great deal more must pass between us before I have done with your lordship; although I cannot punish you for the past, I have a perfect right to restrain you for the future. I have a proposal to make, to which I expect your lordship's assent—a proposal which, under the circumstances, I dare say, you will think, however unpleasant, by no means unreasonable48."
"Pray state it," said Lord Aspenly, considerably49 reassured50 on finding that the debate was beginning to take a diplomatic turn.
"This is my proposal, then," replied the major: "you shall write a letter to Sir Richard, renouncing51 all pretensions52 to his daughter's hand, and taking upon yourself the whole responsibility of the measure, without implicating53 her directly or indirectly54; do you mind: and you shall leave this place, and go wherever you please, before supper-time to-night. These are the conditions on which I will consent to spare you, my lord, and upon no other shall you escape."
"Why, what can you mean, Major O'Leary?" exclaimed the little coxcomb55, distractedly. "If I did any such thing, I should be run through by Sir Richard or his rakehelly son; besides, I came here for a wife—my friends know it; I cannot consent to make a fool of myself. How dare you presume to propose such conditions to me?"
The little gentleman as he wound up, had warmed so much, that he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. Without one word of commentary, the major drew his, and with a nod of invitation, threw himself into an attitude of defence, and resting the point of his weapon upon the ground, awaited the attack of his adversary56. Perhaps Lord Aspenly regretted the precipitate4 valour which had prompted him to place his hand on his sword-hilt, as much as he had ever regretted any act of his whole life; it was, however, too late to recede57, and with the hurried manner of one who has made up his mind to a disagreeable thing, and wishes it soon over, he drew his also, and their blades were instantly crossed in mortal opposition58.


1 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。
2 secluded wj8zWX     
adj.与世隔绝的;隐退的;偏僻的v.使隔开,使隐退( seclude的过去式和过去分词)
  • Some people like to strip themselves naked while they have a swim in a secluded place. 一些人当他们在隐蔽的地方游泳时,喜欢把衣服脱光。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • This charming cottage dates back to the 15th century and is as pretty as a picture, with its thatched roof and secluded garden. 这所美丽的村舍是15世纪时的建筑,有茅草房顶和宁静的花园,漂亮极了,简直和画上一样。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 equanimity Z7Vyz     
  • She went again,and in so doing temporarily recovered her equanimity.她又去看了戏,而且这样一来又暂时恢复了她的平静。
  • The defeat was taken with equanimity by the leadership.领导层坦然地接受了失败。
4 precipitate 1Sfz6     
  • I don't think we should make precipitate decisions.我认为我们不应该贸然作出决定。
  • The king was too precipitate in declaring war.国王在宣战一事上过于轻率。
5 peroration qMuxD     
  • As he worked his way from ethos and logos to the pathos of peroration,he bade us think of the connection between deprivation and belligerence,and to do something about it.当他在演讲中从道义和理念,转到结尾处的感伤时,他请我们考虑贫困与好战的关系,并为此做些什么。
  • He summarized his main points in his peroration.他在结束语中总结了他的演讲要点。
6 inclination Gkwyj     
  • She greeted us with a slight inclination of the head.她微微点头向我们致意。
  • I did not feel the slightest inclination to hurry.我没有丝毫着急的意思。
7 discretion FZQzm     
  • You must show discretion in choosing your friend.你择友时必须慎重。
  • Please use your best discretion to handle the matter.请慎重处理此事。
8 abrupt 2fdyh     
  • The river takes an abrupt bend to the west.这河突然向西转弯。
  • His abrupt reply hurt our feelings.他粗鲁的回答伤了我们的感情。
9 dignified NuZzfb     
  • Throughout his trial he maintained a dignified silence. 在整个审讯过程中,他始终沉默以保持尊严。
  • He always strikes such a dignified pose before his girlfriend. 他总是在女友面前摆出这种庄严的姿态。
10 prematurely nlMzW4     
  • She was born prematurely with poorly developed lungs. 她早产,肺部未发育健全。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • His hair was prematurely white, but his busy eyebrows were still jet-black. 他的头发已经白了,不过两道浓眉还是乌黑乌黑的。 来自辞典例句
11 frigid TfBzl     
  • The water was too frigid to allow him to remain submerged for long.水冰冷彻骨,他在下面呆不了太长时间。
  • She returned his smile with a frigid glance.对他的微笑她报以冷冷的一瞥。
12 lamentably d2f1ae2229e3356deba891ab6ee219ca     
  • Aviation was lamentably weak and primitive. 航空设施极其薄弱简陋。 来自辞典例句
  • Poor Tom lamentably disgraced himself at Sir Charles Mirable's table, by premature inebriation. 可怜的汤姆在查尔斯·米拉贝尔爵士的宴会上,终于入席不久就酩酊大醉,弄得出丑露乖,丢尽了脸皮。 来自辞典例句
13 meditations f4b300324e129a004479aa8f4c41e44a     
默想( meditation的名词复数 ); 默念; 沉思; 冥想
  • Each sentence seems a quarry of rich meditations. 每一句话似乎都给人以许多冥思默想。
  • I'm sorry to interrupt your meditations. 我很抱歉,打断你思考问题了。
14 brute GSjya     
  • The aggressor troops are not many degrees removed from the brute.侵略军简直象一群野兽。
  • That dog is a dangerous brute.It bites people.那条狗是危险的畜牲,它咬人。
15 query iS4xJ     
  • I query very much whether it is wise to act so hastily.我真怀疑如此操之过急地行动是否明智。
  • They raised a query on his sincerity.他们对他是否真诚提出质疑。
16 solitude xF9yw     
n. 孤独; 独居,荒僻之地,幽静的地方
  • People need a chance to reflect on spiritual matters in solitude. 人们需要独处的机会来反思精神上的事情。
  • They searched for a place where they could live in solitude. 他们寻找一个可以过隐居生活的地方。
17 ramble DAszo     
  • This is the best season for a ramble in the suburbs.这是去郊区漫游的最好季节。
  • I like to ramble about the street after work.我下班后在街上漫步。
18 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。
19 aver gP1yr     
  • I aver it will not rain tomorrow.我断言明天不会下雨。
  • In spite of all you say,I still aver that his report is true.不管你怎么说,我还是断言他的报告是真实的。
20 precisely zlWzUb     
  • It's precisely that sort of slick sales-talk that I mistrust.我不相信的正是那种油腔滑调的推销宣传。
  • The man adjusted very precisely.那个人调得很准。
21 tormentor tormentor     
n. 使苦痛之人, 使苦恼之物, 侧幕 =tormenter
  • He was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend. 他既是拷打者,又是保护者;既是审问者,又是朋友。 来自英汉文学
  • The tormentor enlarged the engagement garment. 折磨者加大了订婚服装。
22 philander zAHyG     
  • He spent his time philander with the girls in the village.他把时间花在和村子里的姑娘们调情上了。
  • I had no time or inclination to philander.我是没有时间拈花惹草的,也不喜欢。
23 tempted b0182e969d369add1b9ce2353d3c6ad6     
  • I was sorely tempted to complain, but I didn't. 我极想发牢骚,但还是没开口。
  • I was tempted by the dessert menu. 甜食菜单馋得我垂涎欲滴。
24 imminent zc9z2     
  • The black clounds show that a storm is imminent.乌云预示暴风雨即将来临。
  • The country is in imminent danger.国难当头。
25 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。
26 license B9TzU     
  • The foreign guest has a license on the person.这个外国客人随身携带执照。
  • The driver was arrested for having false license plates on his car.司机由于使用假车牌而被捕。
27 tragic inaw2     
  • The effect of the pollution on the beaches is absolutely tragic.污染海滩后果可悲。
  • Charles was a man doomed to tragic issues.查理是个注定不得善终的人。
28 abruptness abruptness     
n. 突然,唐突
  • He hid his feelings behind a gruff abruptness. 他把自己的感情隐藏在生硬鲁莽之中。
  • Suddenly Vanamee returned to himself with the abruptness of a blow. 伐那米猛地清醒过来,象挨到了当头一拳似的。
29 proceeding Vktzvu     
  • This train is now proceeding from Paris to London.这次列车从巴黎开往伦敦。
  • The work is proceeding briskly.工作很有生气地进展着。
30 faltered d034d50ce5a8004ff403ab402f79ec8d     
(嗓音)颤抖( falter的过去式和过去分词 ); 支吾其词; 蹒跚; 摇晃
  • He faltered out a few words. 他支吾地说出了几句。
  • "Er - but he has such a longhead!" the man faltered. 他不好意思似的嚅嗫着:“这孩子脑袋真长。”
31 trepidation igDy3     
  • The men set off in fear and trepidation.这群人惊慌失措地出发了。
  • The threat of an epidemic caused great alarm and trepidation.流行病猖獗因而人心惶惶。
32 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。
33 complexion IOsz4     
  • Red does not suit with her complexion.红色与她的肤色不协调。
  • Her resignation puts a different complexion on things.她一辞职局面就全变了。
34 hue qdszS     
  • The diamond shone with every hue under the sun.金刚石在阳光下放出五颜六色的光芒。
  • The same hue will look different in different light.同一颜色在不同的光线下看起来会有所不同。
35 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
36 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。
37 courteously 4v2z8O     
  • He courteously opened the door for me.他谦恭有礼地为我开门。
  • Presently he rose courteously and released her.过了一会,他就很客气地站起来,让她走开。
38 bully bully     
  • A bully is always a coward.暴汉常是懦夫。
  • The boy gave the bully a pelt on the back with a pebble.那男孩用石子掷击小流氓的背脊。
39 bullied 2225065183ebf4326f236cf6e2003ccc     
adj.被欺负了v.恐吓,威逼( bully的过去式和过去分词 )
  • My son is being bullied at school. 我儿子在学校里受欺负。
  • The boy bullied the small girl into giving him all her money. 那男孩威逼那个小女孩把所有的钱都给他。 来自《简明英汉词典》
40 entirely entirely     
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
41 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。
42 peril l3Dz6     
  • The refugees were in peril of death from hunger.难民有饿死的危险。
  • The embankment is in great peril.河堤岌岌可危。
43 reluctance 8VRx8     
  • The police released Andrew with reluctance.警方勉强把安德鲁放走了。
  • He showed the greatest reluctance to make a reply.他表示很不愿意答复。
44 tremors 266b933e7f9df8a51b0b0795733d1e93     
震颤( tremor的名词复数 ); 战栗; 震颤声; 大地的轻微震动
  • The story was so terrible that It'sent tremors down my spine. 这故事太可怕,它使我不寒而栗。
  • The story was so terrible that it sent tremors down my spine. 这故事太可怕,它使我不寒而栗。
45 antagonist vwXzM     
  • His antagonist in the debate was quicker than he.在辩论中他的对手比他反应快。
  • The thing is to know the nature of your antagonist.要紧的是要了解你的对手的特性。
46 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。
47 profess iQHxU     
  • I profess that I was surprised at the news.我承认这消息使我惊讶。
  • What religion does he profess?他信仰哪种宗教?
48 unreasonable tjLwm     
  • I know that they made the most unreasonable demands on you.我知道他们对你提出了最不合理的要求。
  • They spend an unreasonable amount of money on clothes.他们花在衣服上的钱太多了。
49 considerably 0YWyQ     
  • The economic situation has changed considerably.经济形势已发生了相当大的变化。
  • The gap has narrowed considerably.分歧大大缩小了。
50 reassured ff7466d942d18e727fb4d5473e62a235     
adj.使消除疑虑的;使放心的v.再保证,恢复信心( reassure的过去式和过去分词)
  • The captain's confidence during the storm reassured the passengers. 在风暴中船长的信念使旅客们恢复了信心。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • The doctor reassured the old lady. 医生叫那位老妇人放心。 来自《简明英汉词典》
51 renouncing 377770b8c6f521d1e519852f601d42f7     
v.声明放弃( renounce的现在分词 );宣布放弃;宣布与…决裂;宣布摒弃
  • He enraged the government by renouncing the agreement. 他否认那项协议,从而激怒了政府。 来自辞典例句
  • What do you get for renouncing Taiwan and embracing Beijing instead? 抛弃台湾,并转而拥抱北京之后,你会得到什么? 来自互联网
52 pretensions 9f7f7ffa120fac56a99a9be28790514a     
自称( pretension的名词复数 ); 自命不凡; 要求; 权力
  • The play mocks the pretensions of the new middle class. 这出戏讽刺了新中产阶级的装模作样。
  • The city has unrealistic pretensions to world-class status. 这个城市不切实际地标榜自己为国际都市。
53 implicating d73e0c5da8db9fdf8682551d9fa4e26b     
  • He was in the public dock, confessing everything, implicating everybody. 他站在被告席上,什么都招认,什么人都咬。 来自英汉文学
  • No one would have had me get out of the scrape by implicating an old friend. 无论什么人都不能叫我为了自己摆脱困难便把一个老朋友牵累到这案子里去。 来自辞典例句
54 indirectly a8UxR     
  • I heard the news indirectly.这消息我是间接听来的。
  • They were approached indirectly through an intermediary.通过一位中间人,他们进行了间接接触。
55 coxcomb kvqz6L     
  • Jones was not so vain and senseless a coxcomb as to expect.琼斯并不是那么一个不自量,没头没脑的浪荡哥儿。
  • He is a plausible coxcomb.他是个巧言令色的花花公子。
56 adversary mxrzt     
  • He saw her as his main adversary within the company.他将她视为公司中主要的对手。
  • They will do anything to undermine their adversary's reputation.他们会不择手段地去损害对手的名誉。
57 recede sAKzB     
  • The colleges would recede in importance.大学的重要性会降低。
  • He saw that the dirty water had begun to recede.他发现那污浊的水开始往下退了。
58 opposition eIUxU     
  • The party leader is facing opposition in his own backyard.该党领袖在自己的党內遇到了反对。
  • The police tried to break down the prisoner's opposition.警察设法制住了那个囚犯的反抗。


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