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牛津书虫系列 大卫科波菲尔 Chapter 3 David the orphan

所属教程:牛津书虫系列 大卫·科波菲尔




  3 David the orphan

  3 孤儿大卫

  Life went on as normal for me at school,until my birthday two months later in March. I remember that day very well. It was cold,icy weather, and we boys had to blow on our fingers and rub our hands to keep warm in the freezing classrooms. When a message came for me to go and see Mr Creakle, I thought that Peggotty must have sent me a birthday present,and so I hurried gladly along to his room. But there I realized something unusual had happened,because it was Mr Creakle’ s wife who was waiting to speak to me.


  ‘David, my child, ’ she said kindly, holding my hand, ‘we all have to accept that our loved ones can die at any moment.’ I looked at her, trying to understand what she meant.

  “大卫,孩子,”她握住我的手温和地说道,“我们都必须有思想准备,我们的亲人会随时离开我们。” 我看着她,竭力想理解她的意思。

  ‘I'm sorry to tell you,’she continued, ‘that your mother is dangerously ill.’ There was a mist in front of my eyes, and suddenly burning tears ran down my face. I knew the truth.


  ‘Your mother is dead,’ she said. I was already sobbing loudly and I felt I was an orphan,quite alone in the world.


  Mrs Creakle packed my case herself, and sent me home on the coach for the funeral. I did not realize at the time that I would never return to Salem House.


  When I arrived home,Peggotty met me at the door, and we cried miserably in each other’ s arms. Mr Murdstone seemed very sad, and did not speak to me at all. Miss Murdstone, however,showed her usual firmness of character( which she and her brother were so proud of) by checking that I had brought all my clothes back from school. After that she showed no interest in me at all.There was a deathly stillness in the house. Peggotty took me up to the room where my dear mother's dead body lay,with my little brother, who had died a few hours after her. Everything was fresh and clean in the room, but I could not look at my mother's lovely face, which would never smile at me again, without crying.


  ‘How did it happen,Peggotty?’I asked, sobbing.“怎么会这样,辟果提?”我抽泣着问道。

  ‘She was ill for a long time, Master David. She got worse after the baby was born, you see. She was sometimes unhappy and forgetful, but she was always the same to me, her old Peggotty. Those two downstairs often spoke crossly to her and made her sad, but she still loved them, you know—she was so sweet and loving!I always sat beside her while she went to sleep. It made her feel better, she said. There was a short silence while Peggotty dried her eyes, then took both my hands in hers.‘On the last night,she asked me for some water, and then gave me such a patient smile!She looked so beautiful!The sun was beginning to rise, and she put her head on my arm, on her stupid cross old Peggotty's arm, and died like an innocent child going to sleep!’


  After my mother's funeral,I began to wonder what would happen to me. The Murdstones did not even seem to notice that I was in the house. They had told Peggotty to leave,as they did not what her as their servant any more,so Peggotty was going to her brother's in Yarmouth, until she decided what work to do next. She suggested taking me with her for a holiday, and to my surprise the Murdstones agreed.


  So next morning Mr Barkis appeared at the door with his cart, and Peggotty's cases were put on it. We climbed up and sat beside him. Peggotty was naturally a little sad to leave her old home, where she had been so happy with my mother and me, and at first she cried a little. But when Mr Barkis saw her drying her eyes and looking more cheerful, he too began to look happier, and he whispered to me, ‘Barkis is willing!You told her that!’ Aloud he said to Peggotty,‘Are you comfortable?’


  Peggotty laughed and said that she was.‘And are you comfortable,Master David?’be asked.


  I said that I was. Mr Barkis was so pleased with this conversation that he repeated it many times during the journey,and Peggotty and I both had to keep giving him the same answer.


  When we arrived in Yarmouth and got down from the cart,we said goodbye to Mr Barkis. Daniel and Ham Peggotty were waiting for us. Daniel and Ham were exactly the same as I remembered them,cheerful and generous as ever, but little Emily seemed different somehow She was taller and prettier, but she did not want to play with me, or spend her time with me. I was rather disappointed, because I still considered she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and I thought I was in love with her. Daniel and Ham were very proud of her intelligence and beauty, and just smiled when she laughingly refused to sit next to me. But they all listened with interest to my stories of school life at Salem House. I told them about the other boys, especially the handsome, clever Steerforth. I admired him so much that I could not stop myself telling them all about him. Suddenly I noticed that Emily was listening eagerly, her blue eyes shining and a smile on her lips. She blushed when she saw that we were all looking at her, and hid her face behind her hands.


  ‘Emily's like me,’said Peggotty kindly, ‘and would like to see David's friend Mr Steerforth.’


  The days passed happily,although Emily and I did not play together as we had done before. Mr Barkis was a frequent visitor,and soon Peggotty explained to me that she had decided to marry him.


  ‘I’ ll love you just as much, David, my dear, when I'm married!’ she told me, holding me close to her.‘And I'll be able to come and see you in the cart any time I like. Barkis is a good man and I'm sure I'll be happy with him. He’ s got a nice little house,and I'll keep a little bedroom there for you to use whenever you want. You'll always be welcome to come and stay!’


  So when I returned to Blunderstone, Peggotty had become Mrs Barkis, and I was glad to think of her in her own house,with a husband to take care of her. At home, my stepfather and his sister did not seem pleased to see me, and were clearly trying to find a way of getting rid of me. As they considered school too expensive, they finally arranged for me to start work, although I was still only ten years old, and very small for my age. I was sent to London,to work in a warehouse in the east of the city, near the river.


  My job was to wash bottles, which would then be filled with wine, or to pack the filled bottles in cases. I was paid only six shillings a week. There were several other boys who worked with me,but I was the only one who had been to school. All the warehouse workers were coarse, rough people, who were used to working in dirty conditions for long hours. No words can describe the horror I felt, when I realized what my life was going to be like from now on. I was deeply ashamed at having such a job and I was also afraid that I would forget everything I had learnt from my mother and my teachers. I would never find friends like Traddles or Steerforth, or be able to get a better position in life. It was an extremely unhappy time for me.


  My stepfather had asked Mr Quinion, the manager, to find me somewhere to stay in London,so at the end of my first day I was called to Mr Quinion's office and introduced to an important-looking, rather fat, middle-aged man with a head as bald as an egg. His name was Mr Micawber,and he offered me a spare room in the house he was renting with his family.


  I agreed to take it, and Mr Micawber and I walked home together. The Micawbers were obviously very poor, but tried hard not to let this show. The house had several floors of rather dirty,empty rooms with very little furniture. Mrs Micawber was a thin,tired-looking woman with a baby in her arms. The baby was one of twins,and in all my experience of the family, I never saw Mrs Micawber without at least one of the twins. They also had a four-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. Their only servant was a young orphan girl.


  ‘ I never thought, ’Mrs Micawber told me sadly as she showed me my room,‘ when I lived with Mother and Father, before I was married,that I would ever be as poor as this. But as Mr Micawber is for the moment in difficulties,I must of course accept the situation. I'm afraid he owes a lot of money,but his creditors will just have to wait! You can't get blood out of a stone, nor can anyone get any money at all out of Mr Micawber at present!’


  I soon realized that neither Mr nor Mrs Micawger had ever been able to manage money.The little that Mr Micawber earned was not enough, either to keep his creditors happy, or to pay for the needs of his growing family. So his creditors were constantly at the door, demanding payment, and meals were rather irregular in the Micawber house. Mr and Mrs Micawber's moods varied according to the situation. One moment Mr Micawber looked extremely miserable and depressed,the next he was brushing his shoes and singing a song before going out. Mrs Micawber's character was similar to her hus band's. Sometimes I came home to find her lying on the floor,with her hair undone, looking wild and desperate, but an hour later she was cheerfully eating a good supper.


  I lived with these kind people for several months, and became very fond of them. I bought my own food out of my wages,because I knew the Micawbers hardly ever had enough for themselves,and I lived mostly on bread and cheese. As they were so short of money, once or twice I offered to lend them a few shillings,which they refused to accept.But at last Mr Micawber's creditors became tired of waiting for their money,and went to the police, who arrested him for debt. He was taken to the King's Prison, and asked me to visit him there. When I arrived,I was shown to his room, where he was waiting for me. He seemed quite brokenhearted, and even cried a little.


  ‘This is a black day for me,Copperfield!’ he sobbed.‘I hope my mistakes will be a warning to young people like you!Remember,if a man earns twenty pounds a year, and spends nineteen pounds and nineteen shillings, the result is happiness. But if he spends twenty pounds and one shilling,the result is misery! By the way, Copperfield,could you lend me a shilling for some beer? Mrs Micawber will pay you back as soon as you arrive home. ’ And when the beer arrived, he appeared much more cheerful. We had a pleasant evening,telling stories and jokes.


  He stayed in prison for several weeks, and I visited him regularly.I was delighted to hear on one of my visits that he would soon be free, as his creditors had unwillingly accepted the fact that he had no way of paying his debts. I gave the news to Mrs Micawber when I returned home. We celebrated by sharing our supper and a glass of wine together.


  ‘May I ask what you will do, madam, when Mr Micawber is free?’I asked politely.


  ‘My family,’ said Mrs Micawber grandly, ‘believe that Mr Micawber should move to the country, to Devon, and carry on his business interests there. Mr Micawber is a very clever man, Master Copperfield.’


  ‘I'm sure he is,’ I agreed.


  ‘Although they haven't found anything exactly right for him yet,my family think he should be ready, in Devon, in case something turns up.’She put down her empty glass.


  ‘And will you be going with him, madam?’ I asked.


  ‘I must!I will!’Mrs Micawber's voice rose to a scream.‘He is my life! My love!My husband! The father of my children! I will never desert Mr Micawber! You can't ask me to desert him!’


  I felt very uncomfortable,as I had not asked her to desert him at all, but she soon became calm again and finished her supper.I was becoming used to the Micawbers’ changes of mood.


  I now realized that when the Micawbers left London, as they were planning to do, I would be very lonely in the city. I still hated my work in the warehouse, and wanted to make a better life for myself.I thought about it for a long time, and decided there was only one thing I could do. I would try to find my one surviving relation,my father's aunt, Miss Betsey Trotwood, and ask her to help me. I knew she lived somewhere near Dover,in Kent.I could go there by coach, be-cause Peggotty had once sent me ten shillings to keep,in case I ever needed it.The time had come to use that money.


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