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新视野大学英语Unit6-A Text-The Widow

(2008-10-17 02:38:01)
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教育

分类: 新视野大学英语教程

The Widow

 

    Alone now, the widow reads considerably. She used to underline favorite passages to share with her husband. Now, in a notebook, she stores quotations like this one from Elizabeth Jolley's Cabin Fever: "I experience again the deep-felt wish to be part of a married couple, to sit by the fire in winter with the man who is my husband. So intense is this wish that if I write the word husband on a piece of paper, my eyes fill with tears."

    Why are these lines so painful?

    We begin with a worn wedding album. In the first picture, the bride and groom are facing, with uncertain smiles, a church filled with relatives and friends. The bride did not wear glasses that day, so everything was a blur of candlelight and faces.

    They walked to the back of the church and stood at the door as their guests filed past. From colleagues and old schoolmates came cheerful good wishes clothed in friendly jokes. Some relatives, however, were not pleased. One sat in a car, crying; another stood surrounded by sympathizers offering pity. Both these women — mothers of the bride and groom — would have insisted they wanted only the best for their children but they defined "the best" as staying home to help support the family.

    The last person to approach the couple was a short, elderly woman who smiled as she congratulated them — not by name but as "wife" and "husband".

    "I'm Aunt Esther Gubbins," she said. "I'm here to tell you you are going to live a good life and be happy. You will work hard and love each other."

    Then quickly, for such a short, portly, elderly person, she disappeared.

    Soon they departed, in a borrowed car. With money loaned by the groom's brother, they could afford a honeymoon at a state-park lodge. Sitting before a great oak fire, they recalled the events of the day, especially the strange message conveyed by Aunt Esther Gubbins.

    "Is she your mother's sister or your father's?" asked the wife.

    "Isn't she your aunt?" the husband responded. "I never saw her before."

    They wondered. Had she come to the wrong church or at the wrong time, mistaking them for another couple? Or was she just an old woman who liked weddings and scanned for announcements in church bulletins?

    With the passage of time and the birth of grandchildren, their mothers accepted their marriage. One made piles of clothes for the children; the other knitted hats, sweaters and gloves.

    The couple's life together was very ordinary. Peculiarly, neither ever asked "Whose job is this?" or asserted "That is not my responsibility!" Both acted to fill their needs as time and opportunity allowed.

    Arriving from work, he might announce, "Wife, I am home!" And she, restraining the desire to complain about housework, would respond, "Husband, I am glad!"

    Occasionally, usually around their anniversary, they would bring up the old curiosity regarding Aunt Esther Gubbins. He would insist the elderly woman did attend their wedding accidentally. But she knew "Aunt Esther" was on some heavenly mission.

    Widowed now, the wife wonders what she would save from their old home if it were to catch fire: Her mother's ring? Pictures of her husband? The $47 hidden in the sugar bowl?

    No, it would be the worn, fading envelope she kept for so long. She knows exactly where it can be found: under a pile of napkins.

    One evening her husband had fallen asleep while reading a spy novel. She wrote a note on the envelope and left it on his book: "Husband, I have gone next door to help Mrs. Norton with her sick children."

    The next morning she saw he had written below her message: "Wife, I missed you. You thought I was asleep, but I was just resting my eyes and thinking about that peculiar woman who talked to us in church a long time ago. It has always seemed to me that she was the wrong shape for a heavenly messenger. Anyway, it's time to stop wondering whether she came from heaven or a nearby town. What matters is this: whoever she was, Aunt Esther Gubbins was right."

    Words: 700

 

寡妇


   
这位寡妇如今一个人生活,所以读了很多书。 过去,她常常在她喜欢的段落下面划上横线,以便让丈夫一道欣赏。 如今,她在笔记本里摘录了许多东西,比如像伊丽莎白·乔利的《小屋的狂热》中的这段文字: “我又感觉到了那为人之妻的强烈愿望,渴望着冬天里和是自己丈夫的男人一道坐在炉火边。 这愿望如此强烈,以至若将‘丈夫’二字写到纸上,我就会热泪盈眶。”
   
为什么这几行字如此让人感怀?
   
让我们从一本陈旧的婚礼相册开始吧。 在第一张照片上,新娘和新郎面对着挤满亲朋好友的教堂,脸上挂着几丝不定的微笑。 那天新娘未戴眼镜,看到的只是朦胧的烛光和模糊的脸庞。
   
他们走到教堂的后面,站在门口,客人们鱼贯而入。 同事和同窗旧友们向她们致以令人愉快的美好祝愿,并开着友好的玩笑。 但是有些亲属却并不高兴。一个坐在车子里哭,另一个站在一群同情者当中,听他们说着女儿出嫁母难舍之类的话。 这两个女人就是新娘和新郎的母亲,她们本该说些希望自己的孩子生活美满的话,可她们心中的“美满”,却是让孩子们留在家里帮助维持全家生计。
   
最后一个走到新婚夫妇跟前的,是一位矮矮的、上了年纪的妇人。她笑着祝贺他们,不是直呼其名,而是称他们为 “妻子”和“丈夫”。
   
“我是埃丝特·格宾斯阿姨,”她说,“我来这里是想告诉你们,你们的生活会美满、幸福,只要你们勤劳、相爱。”
   
接着,这个又矮又胖的老太太蓦地不见了。
   
没过多久,新娘新郎坐上借来的汽车离开了家。拿着从新郎的哥哥那里借来的钱,他们可以在国家公园的小旅馆里度蜜月了。 坐在那燃烧着橡木的旺旺炉火前,他们回想起婚礼那天发生的事情,尤其是埃丝特·格宾斯阿姨那句话的奇怪含义。
   
“她是你妈妈的姐妹还是你爸爸的姐妹?”妻子问。
   
“她不是你的姑姑么?”丈夫反问妻子。“我从未见过她。”
   
他们都感到迷惑不解。她是不是走错了教堂,记错了时间,错把他们当作了另一对新婚夫妇了? 或者她本是个喜欢婚礼的老太太,常在教堂的布告栏上打听婚礼的消息?
   
随着时间的流逝,随着孙子和外孙的出世,他们的母亲都认可了他们的婚姻。 她们一个为孩子做了很多衣服,另一个用手编织了帽子、毛衣和手套。
   
夫妻俩的生活很平常。但很特别的一点是,他们俩都从来不问“这活该谁干?”也不说“这不是我的责任!”只要有时间、有机会,两人都会主动去帮助对方。
   
丈夫下班回家会说,“老婆,我回来了。”而妻子呢,也会克制自己,从不因家务辛苦而向丈夫发牢骚,只说“我真高兴,老公!”
   
有时候,通常是在他们的结婚纪念日,他们会重温对埃丝特·格宾斯阿姨的好奇心。 他会说这老太太准是碰巧撞上了他们的婚礼。可她明白,埃丝特阿姨是在执行上帝的使命。
   
如今妻子已成了寡妇,可她依然在想,如果房子着了火,她该从这旧房子里抢些什么出来呢? 是母亲留给她的戒指?是丈夫的照片?还是藏在糖缸里的47美元?
   
都不是,要抢出来的该是那个已经保存很久并已破旧、发黄了的信封。 她清楚地知道放在什么地方:就在一堆餐巾下面。
   
一天晚上,她丈夫读侦探小说时睡着了。 她在信封上写了一行留言,放在他的书上:“老公,我去隔壁帮诺顿太太照顾她的几个生病的孩子了。”
   
第二天早晨,她看到他在她的留言下面写道:“老婆,我想念你。你以为我睡着了,可是我只是合合眼,心里却还在想那位很久以前在教堂对我们说了一番话的怪老太太呢。 我总觉得,她的模样似乎不像是上帝的信使。 可不管怎么说,我们不该再去猜测她是来自上天还是来自附近的城镇了。重要的是:无论这位埃丝特阿姨是谁,她的话是对的。”

 

 

   

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