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双语对照 | 书虫二级《长池村的故事》:4.教堂乐队

所属教程: 牛津书虫系列 长池村的故事




The Church Band


It was on the Sunday after Christmas. That was the last time the band played in Longpuddle church, but they didn't know it at the time, of course.


They were a very good band, the best of all the villages around. There was Nicholas Puddingcome, who played the first fiddle. There was Timothy Thomas and John Biles on the other fiddles; and Dan Hornhead and Robert Dowdle played the oboes.


They didn't just play church music; they could play all kinds of dance music too. They often went out to play at dancing parties in people's homes or in the village inn. So one night they were in the squire's big house, playing nice Christmas songs, and drinking tea with all the squire's fine friends. And the next night they were down at the Dog and Fox, playing noisy dance music for twenty dancers, and drinking hot brandy-and-water.


Well, that Christmas week was a busy time for them. They were out at dance parties every night, and got very little sleep. Then came the Sunday after Christmas. It was cold that winter — oh my word, it was cold! And upstairs in the church gallery, it was even colder.


So when the band was playing on that Sunday morning, Nicholas Puddingcome said to the others:


'I can't feel my fingers, it's so cold. How can a man play the fiddle when he can't feel his fingers? This afternoon we'll have something to make us warm.'


So he brought a big jar of hot brandy-and-water to church in the afternoon. They put the jar inside Timothy Thomas's fiddle bag, which kept it nice and warm. And during that long afternoon in church, they all had a little glass now and then, so when the parson began his sermon, they were all feeling comfortable and warm. Unluckily for them, the sermon that day was a long one, and the parson went on and on and on. And every man in the band fell asleep, and they slept like babies all through the sermon.


It was a very dark afternoon, and by the end of the sermon you couldn't see very much inside the church. When the parson finished, he called for the last piece of music. But the band did not start playing, and people began to turn round and look up at the gallery. Then Levi Limpet, a boy who sat in the gallery, whispered to Nicholas, 'Begin! Begin!'


'Hey? What?' said Nicholas, and nearly fell out of his chair.


Then, because the church was dark and he was still half-asleep, he thought that he was at a party. The night before, you see, the band was playing all night at a party at the Dog and Fox, and Nicholas thought he was still there! So he took his fiddle and immediately began to play The Laughing Sailor — that was the favourite dance tune in our village that winter.


The rest of the band woke up suddenly, and hearing The Laughing Sailor, of course they just followed Nicholas. And away they all went, fiddles and oboes, as loudly as they could. They played that dance tune until the church walls shook with the sound.


Then Nicholas saw that nobody was moving. If people didn't know the dances, he often called out the moves to help them. And so he did that now.


'Up to the top, change hands, then back down the other side!' he shouted. 'Then turn around, once, twice, take hands, and back to the top again!'


The boy Levi was very frightened. He ran down the gallery stairs and out of the church as fast as his little legs could carry him. The parson's hair stood on end when he heard that wicked dance tune in his church. He held up his hand and cried, 'Stop, stop, stop! Stop, stop!'


But the band didn't hear him because of the noise of the music. The parson went on calling 'Stop, stop!' and the band went on playing.


Then people in the church began to stand up and talk. 'What's happening? Why are they playing this wicked music? Is it the Devil himself up there in the gallery?'


And the squire, too, stood up. He was there with all his fine friends, and he was very angry. He went and stood in front of the gallery, and shouted at the band.


'Stop this wicked noise! At once! D'you hear?'


The squire had a good, loud voice, and at last the band heard him, and stopped playing.


'Playing the Devil's music in church — in God's house!' said the squire. 'I have never heard anything so disgraceful in all my life — never!' Oh, he was so angry!


The parson came down and stood beside the squire. 'Never!' he said. 'Never!'


'The Devil is in you men!' said the squire. (He was a wicked man himself, the squire was, but that day he was all on God's side, of course.) 'And you will never,' the squire went on, 'never, never play your fiddles in this church again! You have done a wicked thing today, and it must never happen again.'


By now the unhappy players knew that they were in church, and not in the Dog and Fox. They put their fiddles and their oboes under their arms, and very quietly they went down the gallery stairs and out of the back door of the church.


The parson was a kind man, and when he heard the true story later, he wasn't angry any more. He knew that Nicholas, Timothy and the rest weren't wicked men. But the squire — that was a different matter. He was a hard man, and when he said 'no more fiddles', he meant 'no more fiddles'. He sent away for an organ, and the next week, there it was in the church. He found a young man from a good family to play it, and the old band played no more in Longpuddle church.


* * *

* * *

After this story John Lackland's son asks about the young women of the village. 'Or those who were young when I left, all those years ago,' he says. 'They're all married now, I'm sure.'


'Let's see,' says the carrier. 'Do you remember Netty Sargent, sir?'


'Netty Sargent...Yes, I do. When I left, she was living with her uncle, wasn't she?'


'That's right. She was a bright young thing, Netty was. Nothing bad about her, you understand, just a little bit clever. She was very clever about the leasehold of her house, I remember.' The carrier looks round at his passengers. 'Who'll tell Mr Lackland that story, then?'


'My wife knew Netty when they were girls,' says the farmer, Mr Pawle. 'She can tell you.'


Nancy Pawle is a big, comfortable-looking woman. She laughs, and says, 'Oh yes, I can tell you all about Netty Sargent.'


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