外语教育网
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语文化视窗 > 文学与艺术 > 小说 正文
  • 站内搜索:

The Money Moon(Chapter21)

2006-08-28 23:17

  Chapter XXI. Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, and the third finger of the left hand

  So Bellew took up the paper. The house was very quiet, for Small Porges was deep in the vexatious rules of the Multiplication Table, and something he called "Jogafrey," Anthea was out, as usual, and Miss Priscilla was busied with her numerous household duties. Thus the brooding silence was unbroken save for the occasional murmur of a voice, the jingle of the housekeeping keys, and the quick, light tap, tap, of Miss Priscilla's stick.

  Therefore, Bellew read the paper, and let it be understood that he regarded the daily news-sheet as the last resource of the utterly bored.

  Now presently, as he glanced over the paper with a negative interest his eye was attracted by a long paragraph beginning:

  At St. George's, Hanover Square, by the Right Reverend the Bishop of——, Silvia Cecile Marchmont, to His Grace the Duke of Ryde, K.G., K.C.B.

  Below followed a full, true, and particular account of the ceremony which, it seemed, had been graced by Royalty. George Bellew read it half way through, and——yawned,——positively, and actually, yawned, and thereafter, laughed.

  "And so, I have been in Arcadia——only three weeks! I have known Anthea only twenty-one days! A ridiculously short time, as time goes,——in any other place but Arcadia,——and yet sufficient to lay for ever, the——er——Haunting Spectre of the Might Have Been. Lord! what a preposterous ass I was! Baxter was quite right,——utterly, and completely right! Now, let us suppose that this paragraph had read: 'To-day, at St. George's, Hanover Square, Anthea Devine to——' No no,——confound it!" and Bellew crumpled up the paper, and tossed it into a distant corner. "I wonder what Baxter would think of me now,——good old faithful John. The Haunting Spectre of the Might Have Been,——What a preposterous ass!——what a monumental idiot I was!"

  "Posterous ass, isn't a very pretty word, Uncle Porges,——or continental idiot!" said a voice behind him, and turning, he beheld Small Porges somewhat stained, and bespattered with ink, who shook a reproving head at him.

  "True, nephew," he answered, "but they are sometimes very apt, and in this instance, particularly so."

  Small Porges drew near, and, seating himself upon the arm of Bellew's chair, looked at his adopted uncle, long, and steadfastly.

  "Uncle Porges," said he, at last, "you never tell stories, do you?——I mean——lies, you know."

  "Indeed, I hope not, Porges,——why do you ask?"

  "Well,——'cause my Auntie Anthea's 'fraid you do."

  "Is she——hum!——Why?"

  "When she came to 'tuck me up,' last night, she sat down on my bed, an' talked to me a long time. An' she sighed a lot, an' said she was 'fraid I didn't care for her any more,——which was awful' silly, you know."

  "Yes, of course!" nodded Bellew.

  "An' then she asked me why I was so fond of you, an' I said 'cause you were my Uncle Porges that I found under a hedge. An' then she got more angrier than ever, an' said she wished I'd left you under the hedge——"

  "Did she, my Porges?"

  "Yes; she said she wished she'd never seen you, an' she'd be awful' glad when you'd gone away. So I told her you weren't ever going away, an' that we were waiting for the Money Moon to come, an' bring us the fortune. An' then she shook her head, an' said 'Oh! my dear,——you mustn't believe anything he says to you about the moon, or anything else, 'cause he tells lies,'——an' she said 'lies' twice!"

  "Ah!——and——did she stamp her foot, Porges?"

  "Yes, I think she did; an' then she said there wasn't such a thing as a Money Moon, an' she told me you were going away very soon, to get married, you know."

  "And what did you say?"

  "Oh! I told her that I was going too. An' then I thought she was going to cry, an' she said 'Oh Georgy! I didn't think you'd leave me——even for him.' So then I had to s'plain how we had arranged that she was going to marry you so that we could all live happy ever after,——I mean, that it was all settled, you know, an' that you were going to speak to her on the first——opportunity. An' then she looked at me a long time an' asked me——was I sure you had said so. An' then she got awful' angry indeed, an' said 'How dare he! Oh, how dare he!' So a course, I told her you'd dare anything——even a dragon,——'cause you are so big, an' brave, you know. So then she went an' stood at the window, an' she was so angry she cried,——an' I nearly cried too. But at last she kissed me 'Good night' an' said you were a man that never meant anything you said, an' that I must never believe you any more, an' that you were going away to marry a lady in London, an' that she was very glad, 'cause then we should all be happy again she s'posed. So she kissed me again, an' tucked me up, an' went away. But it was a long, long time before I could go to sleep, 'cause I kept on thinking, an' thinking s'posing there really wasn't any Money Moon, after all! s'posing you were going to marry another lady in London!——You see, it would all be so——frightfully awful, wouldn't it?"

  "Terribly dreadfully awful, my Porges."

  "But you never do tell lies,——do you, Uncle Porges?"

  "No!"

  "An'——there is a Money Moon, isn't there?"

  "Why of course there is."

  "An' you are going to marry my Auntie Anthea in the full o' the moon, aren't you?"

  "Yes, my Porges."

  "Why then——everything's all right again,——so let's go an' sit under the hay-stack, an' talk 'bout ships."

  "But why of ships?" enquired Bellew, rising.

  "'Cause I made up my mind, this morning, that I'd be a sailor when I grow up,——a mariner, you know, like Peterday, only I'd prefer to have both my legs."

  "You'd find it more convenient, perhaps."

  "You know all 'bout oceans, an' waves, and billows, don't you Uncle Porges?"

  "Well, I know a little."

  "An' are you ever sea-sick,——like a 'landlubber?'"

  "I used to be, but I got over it."

  "Was it a very big ship that you came over in?"

  "No,——not so very big, but she's about as fast as anything in her class, and a corking sea-boat."

  "What's her name?"

  "Her name?" repeated Bellew, "well, she was called the——er 'Silvia.'"

  "That's an awful' pretty name for a ship."

  "Hum!——so so,——but I have learned a prettier, and next time she puts out to sea we'll change her name, eh, my Porges?"

  "We?" cried Small Porges, looking up with eager eyes, "do you mean you'd take me to sea with you,——an' my Auntie Anthea, of course?"

  "You don't suppose I'd leave either of you behind, if I could help it, do you? We'd all sail away together——wherever you wished."

  "Do you mean," said Small Porges, in a suddenly awed voice, "that it is——your ship,——your very own?"

  "Oh yes-"

  "But,——do you know, Uncle Porges, you don't look as though you had a ship——for your very own, somehow."

  "Don't I?"

  "You see, a ship is such a very big thing for one man to have for his very own self. An' has it got masts, an' funnels, an' anchors?"

  "Lots of 'em."

  "Then, please, when will you take me an' Auntie Anthea sailing all over the oceans?"

  "Just so soon as she is ready to come."

  "Then I think I'd like to go to Nova Zembla first,——I found it in my jogafrey to-day, an' it sounds nice an' far off, doesn't it?"

  "It does, Shipmate!" nodded Bellew.

  "Oh! that's fine!" exclaimed Small Porges rapturously, "you shall be the captain, an' I'll be the shipmate, an' we'll say Aye Aye, to each other——like the real sailors do in books,——shall we?"

  "Aye, aye Shipmate!" nodded Bellew again.

  "Then please, Uncle Por——I mean Captain,——what shall we name our ship,——I mean the new name?"

  "Well, my Porges,——I mean, of course, shipmate,——I rather thought of calling her——Hallo!——why here's the Sergeant."

  Sure enough, there was Sergeant Appleby sitting under the shade of "King Arthur"——but who rose, and stood at attention as they came up.

  "Why Sergeant, how are you?" said Bellew, gripping the veteran's hand. "You are half an hour before your usual time, to-day,——nothing wrong, I hope?"

  "Nothing wrong, Mr. Bellew, sir——I thank you. No, nothing wrong, but this——is a——memorable occasion, sir. May I trouble you to——step behind the tree with me——for half a moment, sir?"

  Suiting the action to the word, the Sergeant led Bellew to the other side of the tree, and there, screened from view of the house, he, with a sudden, jerky movement, produced a very small leather case from his pocket, which he handed to Bellew.

  "Not good enough——for such a woman——I know, but the best I could afford, sir!" said the Sergeant appearing profoundly interested in the leaves overhead, while Bellew opened the very small box.

  "Why——it's very handsome, Sergeant!" said Bellew, making the jewels sparkle in the sun,——"anyone might be proud of such a ring."

  "Why, it did look pretty tidy——in the shop, sir,——to me, and Peterday. My comrade has a sharp eye, and a sound judgment in most things, sir——and we took——a deal of trouble in selecting it. But now——when it comes to——giving it to Her,——why it looks——uncommon small, and mean, sir."

  "A ruby, and two diamonds, and very fine stones, too, Sergeant!"

  "So I made so bold as to——come here sir," pursued the Sergeant still interested in the foliage above, "half an hour afore my usual time——to ask you, sir——if you would so far oblige me——as to——hand it to her——when I'm gone, sir."

  "Lord, no!" said Bellew, smiling and shaking his head, "not on your life, Sergeant! Why man it would lose half its value in her eyes if any other than you gave it to her. No Sergeant, you must hand it to her yourself, and, what's more, you must slip it upon her finger."

  "Good Lord! sir!" exclaimed the Sergeant, "I could never do that!"

  "Oh yes you could!"

  "Not unless you——stood by me——a force in reserve, as it were, sir."

  "I'll do that willingly, Sergeant."

  "Then——p 'raps sir——you might happen to know——which finger?"

  "The third finger of the left hand, I believe Sergeant."

  "Here's Aunt Priscilla now," said Small Porges, at this juncture.

  "Lord!" exclaimed the Sergeant, "and sixteen minutes afore her usual time!"

  Yes,——there was Miss Priscilla, her basket of sewing upon her arm, as gentle, as unruffled, as placid as usual. And yet it is probable that she divined something from their very attitudes, for there was a light in her eyes, and her cheeks seemed more delicately pink than was their wont. Thus, as she came toward them, under the ancient apple-trees, despite her stick, and her white hair, she looked even younger, and more girlish than ever.

  At least, the Sergeant seemed to think so, for, as he met her look, his face grew suddenly radiant, while a slow flush crept up under the tan of his cheek, and the solitary hand he held out to her, trembled a little, for all its size, and strength.

  "Miss Priscilla, mam——" he said, and stopped. "Miss Priscilla," he began again, and paused once more.

  "Why——Sergeant!" she exclaimed, though it was a very soft little exclamation indeed,——for her hand still rested in his, and so she could feel the quiver of the strong fingers, "why——Sergeant!"

  "Miss Priscilla,——" said he, beginning all over again, but with no better success.

  "Goodness me!" exclaimed Miss Priscilla, "I do believe he is going to forget to enquire about the peaches!"

  "Peaches!" repeated the Sergeant, "Yes, Priscilla."

  "And——why?"

  "'Cause he's brought you a ring," Small Porges broke in, "a very handsome ring, you know, Aunt Priscilla,——all diamonds an' jewels, an' he wants you to please let him put it on your finger——if you don't mind."

  "And——here it is!" said the Sergeant, and gave it into her hand.

  Miss Priscilla stood very silent, and very still, looking down at the glittering gems, then, all at once, her eyes filled, and a slow wave of colour dyed her cheeks:

  "Oh Sergeant!" she said, very softly, "Oh Sergeant, I am only a poor, old woman——with a lame foot!"

  "And I am a poor, old soldier——with only one arm, Priscilla."

  "You are the strongest, and gentlest, and bravest soldier in all the world, I think!" she answered.

  "And you, Priscilla, are the sweetest, and most beautiful woman in the world, I know! And so——I've loved you all these years, and——never dared to tell you so, because of my——one arm."

  "Why then," said Miss Priscilla, smiling up at him through her tears, "if you do——really——think that,——why,——it's this finger, Sergeant!"

  So the Sergeant, very clumsily, perhaps, because he had but the one hand, slipped the ring upon the finger in question. And Porges, Big, and Small, turning to glance back, as they went upon their way saw that he still held that small white hand pressed close to his lips.

相关热词:小说
栏目相关课程表
科目名称 主讲老师 课时 免费试听 优惠价 购买课程
英语零起点 郭俊霞 30课时 试听 150元/门 购买
综艺乐园 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
边玩边学 ------ 10课时 试听 60元/门 购买
情景喜剧 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
欢乐课堂 ------ 35课时 试听 150元/门 购买
趣味英语速成 钟 平 18课时 试听 179元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语预备级 (Pre-Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语一级 (Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语二级 (Movers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语三级 (Flyers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
初级英语口语 ------ 55课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
中级英语口语 ------ 83课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
高级英语口语 ------ 122课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
基础英语辅导课程
郭俊霞 北京语言大学毕业,国内某知名中学英语教研组长,教学标兵……详情>>
郭俊霞:零基础英语网上辅导名师
钟平 北大才俊,英语辅导专家,累计从事英语教学八年,机械化翻译公式发明人……详情>>
钟平:趣味英语速成网上辅导名师

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、联系方式
  编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
  电话:010-82319999-2371