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首页 » 经典英文小说 » Lord Dolphin » CHAPTER V. MY GARDENS
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 Long as I have talked of shells, I must say a word or two more about shells that are used as stones.
When I was on land a little while, I noticed in front of a few houses, walks, that I knew at a glance were made from clam-shells. So I knew that Folks must have machines for pounding up shells. Such a beautiful, clean, white walk as they make!
Then, before some fine-looking houses were great conch-shells, oblong and twisted in shape, but pink and smooth inside. Many of them were placed around lovely fountains, or urns1 of flowers.
But I want to tell of one very beautiful and costly2 kind of ornament3 that is made from some conch-shells, pronounced "konk."
Romans and Greeks, but especially the Greeks, used to cut "cameos" from the onyx-stone. And men skilled in cutting fine stones and jewels have cut most exquisite4 cameos, or faces, from the kind of conch-shell that has two layers, one dark, the other light.
The word "cameo" is said to mean one stone upon another. The "queen conch" is a splendid shell, with two distinct layers, one white, the other pink. Out of the white layer is carved perhaps the face of a woman, with a crown of flowers on her head, or it may be the head of a knight5, with a helmet on.
But think of the fineness of the tools that must be used, the tiny files and chisels6 in carving7 the lovely, delicate shells. The shell cameos with the pink lower stone and white upper figure, are most expensive of all; other shells have brown or black lower layers, and these are not as choice.
But when you see your grandma or great-auntie wearing a lovely old-fashioned breastpin, bound around with gold, and holding a pink stone, shining like crystal, with a white carved head or other figure standing8 out from the lower stone, you may know it is a very valuable ornament, and was probably made from one of the finest shells found in the sea. Imitations are made from porcelain9, but very likely grandma's or great-auntie's will be the real conch-shell.
Perhaps you did not know that there are fair and beautiful gardens in my watery10 home. You may have picked up sprays or bunches of seaweed when running along the beach, and some were perhaps quite pretty, while others had turned brown and looked much like leather.
Would you like to come with Lord Dolphin and take a swim through an ocean garden? You would doubtless see such a sight as you had never dreamed could be seen down in the blue water.
All right, I'll turn into a fairy godfather, clap you on to my back, give you the lungs of a mermaid11, to prevent your choking in the water, and then, come on! Or, rather, I should say, come down!
"Why, why! A fairylike scene indeed!" you cry.
Now you have not taken on "the evil eye" in coming to the bottom of the sea, but you have taken a "fish eye." Folks usually hate fishy12 eyes, but no matter, you couldn't see the first thing down here with your own natural peepers, so be thankful that for a time you can see with eyes like mine.
Now, this is not a coral grove13, it is a garden of flowers, and when you exclaim again, "Oh, but I had no idea of this!" I should have to reply, "Of course you hadn't; no more had I of the strange and beautiful things on the land, until I had to live there a little while."
Folks call these flowers, such as they have seen of them, weeds, seaweeds. And I suppose they have to come under that name, as they are not planted from seeds, but are a wild growth. Ah, but some great Planter or Gardener surely put all these wonderful shapes and splendid tints14 in the soft earth of a sea-garden. And it is all so blithe15 and gay!
Here are nearly all the shapes in bushes and almost trees that you have in your garden on land. And as to flowers, there are leaves, spires16, cups, bells, tassels17, very much such as you see in your garden at home.
See these beautiful crimson18 leaves, as large as the top of a small table, and cut in such fine, even scallops around the edges, and here is one with a great pad of yellow right on the crimson. My! My! is it not colored richly?
Here are leaves shooting out like rafts, thick, like the leaves of a rubber-tree, but larger and of a deep red. You might take a sail on one of them. And here is a bush, shooting upright from its muddy bed, all covered with pink sprays, on which are pink blossoms. Doesn't it make you think of a syringa bush? Only these flowers are pink.
Next comes this plant with a large olive green stem covered thickly with branches, bearing flowers resembling pink roses. Were this plant taken to the church some Sunday morning and placed on the pulpit-stand, you may believe that after the service Folks would go crowding about the altar, eager to find out its name and whence it came.
What a clucking of surprise there would be when it was told that not from any hothouse whatever, but from the depths of the ocean came the full, lovely sea-roses.
Are these sprays of pink coral? No, they are sea-rods and branches. If you pinch the thick stems, water will ooze19 out, for they are partly hollow, like the pond-lily stem.
I do not wonder you look with questioning surprise at that next plant. It is like a mass of purple bushes, a very sweet growth rather hard to describe. All through the delicate branches are what look like small dark berries, seen through a mist of pinkish, hairy spires.
Don't start. These merry fishes darting20 through the next clump21 of bushes have only come to smell of the carnation22 pinks the bushes bear. Are they not strangely like your garden carnations23?
See the fishes nip at those singular pink flowers with a thick fringe hanging from the edges. It is a shame to spoil them, but some fishes always seem to think that graceful24 fringe droops25 down on purpose for them to peck at.
Now if the baby were only here, you could seat him on these broad, flat leaves, with delicate spires all along the edges, and all of so deep a crimson they surely would attract any child.
What a queer flower! like the backbone26 of a fish with all the little bones at the side standing out stiff and pointed27, and all in pinks and purples.
Right in the midst of another plot of thick, flat leaves rises a mass of pink sea-lilies, and they are beautiful; but do examine the next bed of leaves. Are they not curious? A thick, hollow-looking stem goes through the middle of them, and on one side of the stem they are a deep pink, on the other side, yellow.
Here are flowers shaped like horns and trumpets28. What a forest of pinks, greens, and yellows! And here are the greens. Such greens as you have never seen before.
Now suppose you were going to have a party. What decorations you could have if only the ocean blooms would keep fresh for you to use. There would be masses of fine furze that would be perfectly29 beautiful to crowd over the pictures; silky threads that, placed on creeping green plants, would look lovely carried along the table; yellow flowers in the midst of masses of fine sea-mosses, and sea-ferns would make your little mates wonder where the fresh, strange things grew.
And there could he yards and yards of ribbons. Ribbons? Yes, long, long sprays of yellowish green sea-ribbon, four or five inches wide, going down to narrower ones not more than an inch in width.
Perhaps you would like some sea-thistles. Here they are, in thick bunches, fine and hairy, in faint, fair shades of green. And what can this be that looks so much like a sponge? Ah, it is a tuft of moss30 with green spires shooting up in the middle.
Take care! Here are bunches of cactus31 with prickly leaves. Look out! don't catch your toe in those sea-ferns. Even that sweet green maiden-hair fern might pin down your foot so firmly that it would take a fish's sharp tooth to set you free.
You may ask, why are not these beautifully colored and curiously32 shaped things brought on shore and sold, as they might be, for much money? And why are they not at least put where Folks can see, learn about them, and admire them?
But wait a moment; what would be the effect if any one took a bunch of your garden roses, pinks, or lilies, put them under water, and kept them there? They would very soon be a drooping33, shapeless mass. They are formed for a different element, and could not nourish under water, especially salt water.
Just so ocean-flowers, and sea-tints can only live in their own element, which is not air, but water. And the faces on our water-pansies—for we have them—would soon fade in what to them would be lifeless air, just as the garden pansies would lose their bright faces in the salt sea.
Great quantities of seaweeds float ashore34 and are often dried and used as fuel, or perhaps are put around garden plants to make them grow.
But nothing that grows on the land, or in the water, can exchange places one with the other and keep alive. It is all very curious, and more than I can understand. Yet every creature and every plant is fitted to the place it grows in, and is natural to it. The food, the flowers, and the land for the use of Folks, and the food, the plants, and the water for the use of fishes, are just what the nature of each requires. What wisdom!


1 urns 6df9129bd5aa442c382b5bd8a5a61135     
n.壶( urn的名词复数 );瓮;缸;骨灰瓮
  • Wine utensils unearthed include jars, urns, pots, bowls and cups. 发掘出的酒器皿有瓶、瓮、罐、壶、碗和杯子。 来自互联网
  • Ernie yearned to learn to turn urns. 呕尼渴望学会转咖啡壶。 来自互联网
2 costly 7zXxh     
  • It must be very costly to keep up a house like this.维修这么一幢房子一定很昂贵。
  • This dictionary is very useful,only it is a bit costly.这本词典很有用,左不过贵了些。
3 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。
4 exquisite zhez1     
  • I was admiring the exquisite workmanship in the mosaic.我当时正在欣赏镶嵌画的精致做工。
  • I still remember the exquisite pleasure I experienced in Bali.我依然记得在巴厘岛所经历的那种剧烈的快感。
5 knight W2Hxk     
  • He was made an honourary knight.他被授予荣誉爵士称号。
  • A knight rode on his richly caparisoned steed.一个骑士骑在装饰华丽的马上。
6 chisels 7e9f2c7de1c1759448991244cf7d7610     
n.凿子,錾子( chisel的名词复数 );口凿
  • Chisels, brushes, paints-all are the products of technology. 凿子、刷子、颜料―这些都是工艺技术的产物。 来自辞典例句
  • He selected the right chisels from a pile laid out beside him. 他从摊在身边的一堆凿子中挑出适用的几把。 来自互联网
7 carving 5wezxw     
  • All the furniture in the room had much carving.房间里所有的家具上都有许多雕刻。
  • He acquired the craft of wood carving in his native town.他在老家学会了木雕手艺。
8 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。
9 porcelain USvz9     
  • These porcelain plates have rather original designs on them.这些瓷盘的花纹很别致。
  • The porcelain vase is enveloped in cotton.瓷花瓶用棉花裹着。
10 watery bU5zW     
  • In his watery eyes there is an expression of distrust.他那含泪的眼睛流露出惊惶失措的神情。
  • Her eyes became watery because of the smoke.因为烟熏,她的双眼变得泪汪汪的。
11 mermaid pCbxH     
  • How popular would that girl be with the only mermaid mom!和人鱼妈妈在一起,那个女孩会有多受欢迎!
  • The little mermaid wasn't happy because she didn't want to wait.小美人鱼不太高兴,因为她等不及了。
12 fishy ysgzzF     
adj. 值得怀疑的
  • It all sounds very fishy to me.所有这些在我听起来都很可疑。
  • There was definitely something fishy going on.肯定当时有可疑的事情在进行中。
13 grove v5wyy     
  • On top of the hill was a grove of tall trees.山顶上一片高大的树林。
  • The scent of lemons filled the grove.柠檬香味充满了小树林。
14 tints 41fd51b51cf127789864a36f50ef24bf     
色彩( tint的名词复数 ); 带白的颜色; (淡色)染发剂; 痕迹
  • leaves with red and gold autumn tints 金秋时节略呈红黄色的树叶
  • The whole countryside glowed with autumn tints. 乡间处处呈现出灿烂的秋色。
15 blithe 8Wfzd     
  • Tonight,however,she was even in a blithe mood than usual.但是,今天晚上她比往常还要高兴。
  • He showed a blithe indifference to her feelings.他显得毫不顾及她的感情。
16 spires 89c7a5b33df162052a427ff0c7ab3cc6     
n.(教堂的) 塔尖,尖顶( spire的名词复数 )
  • Her masts leveled with the spires of churches. 船的桅杆和教堂的塔尖一样高。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • White church spires lift above green valleys. 教堂的白色尖顶耸立在绿色山谷中。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 tassels a9e64ad39d545bfcfdae60b76be7b35f     
n.穗( tassel的名词复数 );流苏状物;(植物的)穗;玉蜀黍的穗状雄花v.抽穗, (玉米)长穗须( tassel的第三人称单数 );使抽穗, (为了使作物茁壮生长)摘去穗状雄花;用流苏装饰
  • Tassels and Trimmings, Pillows, Wall Hangings, Table Runners, Bell. 采购产品垂饰,枕头,壁挂,表亚军,钟。 来自互联网
  • Cotton Fabrics, Embroidery and Embroiders, Silk, Silk Fabric, Pillows, Tassels and Trimmings. 采购产品棉花织物,刺绣品而且刺绣,丝,丝织物,枕头,流行和装饰品。 来自互联网
18 crimson AYwzH     
  • She went crimson with embarrassment.她羞得满脸通红。
  • Maple leaves have turned crimson.枫叶已经红了。
19 ooze 7v2y3     
  • Soon layer of oceanic ooze began to accumulate above the old hard layer.不久后海洋软泥层开始在老的硬地层上堆积。
  • Drip or ooze systems are common for pot watering.滴灌和渗灌系统一般也用于盆栽灌水。
20 darting darting     
v.投掷,投射( dart的现在分词 );向前冲,飞奔
  • Swallows were darting through the clouds. 燕子穿云急飞。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • Swallows were darting through the air. 燕子在空中掠过。 来自辞典例句
21 clump xXfzH     
  • A stream meandered gently through a clump of trees.一条小溪从树丛中蜿蜒穿过。
  • It was as if he had hacked with his thick boots at a clump of bluebells.仿佛他用自己的厚靴子无情地践踏了一丛野风信子。
22 carnation kT9yI     
  • He had a white carnation in his buttonhole.他在纽扣孔上佩了朵白色康乃馨。
  • He was wearing a carnation in his lapel.他的翻领里别着一枝康乃馨。
23 carnations 4fde4d136e97cb7bead4d352ae4578ed     
n.麝香石竹,康乃馨( carnation的名词复数 )
  • You should also include some carnations to emphasize your underlying meaning.\" 另外要配上石竹花来加重这涵意的力量。” 来自汉英文学 - 围城
  • Five men per ha. were required for rose production, 6 or 7 men for carnations. 种植玫瑰每公顷需5个男劳力,香石竹需6、7个男劳力。 来自辞典例句
24 graceful deHza     
  • His movements on the parallel bars were very graceful.他的双杠动作可帅了!
  • The ballet dancer is so graceful.芭蕾舞演员的姿态是如此的优美。
25 droops 7aee2bb8cacc8e82a8602804f1da246e     
弯曲或下垂,发蔫( droop的名词复数 )
  • If your abdomen droops or sticks out, the high BMI is correct. 如果你的腹部下垂或伸出,高BMI是正确的。
  • Now droops the milk white peacock like a ghost. 乳白色的孔雀幽灵般消沉。
26 backbone ty0z9B     
  • The Chinese people have backbone.中国人民有骨气。
  • The backbone is an articulate structure.脊椎骨是一种关节相连的结构。
27 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。
28 trumpets 1d27569a4f995c4961694565bd144f85     
喇叭( trumpet的名词复数 ); 小号; 喇叭形物; (尤指)绽开的水仙花
  • A wreath was laid on the monument to a fanfare of trumpets. 在响亮的号角声中花圈被献在纪念碑前。
  • A fanfare of trumpets heralded the arrival of the King. 嘹亮的小号声宣告了国王驾到。
29 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。
30 moss X6QzA     
  • Moss grows on a rock.苔藓生在石头上。
  • He was found asleep on a pillow of leaves and moss.有人看见他枕着树叶和苔藓睡着了。
31 cactus Cs1zF     
  • It was the first year that the cactus had produced flowers.这是这棵仙人掌第一年开花。
  • The giant cactus is the vegetable skycraper.高大的仙人掌是植物界巨人。
32 curiously 3v0zIc     
  • He looked curiously at the people.他好奇地看着那些人。
  • He took long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold.他迈着悄没声息的大步。他的双手出奇地冷。
33 drooping drooping     
adj. 下垂的,无力的 动词droop的现在分词
  • The drooping willows are waving gently in the morning breeze. 晨风中垂柳袅袅。
  • The branches of the drooping willows were swaying lightly. 垂柳轻飘飘地摆动。
34 ashore tNQyT     
  • The children got ashore before the tide came in.涨潮前,孩子们就上岸了。
  • He laid hold of the rope and pulled the boat ashore.他抓住绳子拉船靠岸。


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