Little Women - Chapter 44
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"Please, Madam Mother, could you lend me my wife for half an hour? The luggage has come, and I've been making hay of Amy's Paris finery, trying to find some things I want," said Laurie, coming in the next day to find Mrs. Laurence sitting in her mother's lap, as if being made 'the baby' again.
 
"Certainly. Go, dear, I forgot that you have any home but this," and Mrs. March pressed the white hand that wore the wedding ring, as if asking pardon for her maternal1 covetousness2.
 
"I shouldn't have come over if I could have helped it, but I can't get on without my little woman any more than a . . ."
 
"Weathercock can without the wind," suggested Jo, as he paused for a simile3. Jo had grown quite her own saucy4 self again since Teddy came home.
 
"Exactly, for Amy keeps me pointing due west most of the time, with only an occasional whiffle round to the south, and I haven't had an easterly spell since I was married. Don't know anything about the north, but am altogether salubrious and balmy, hey, my lady?"
 
"Lovely weather so far. I don't know how long it will last, but I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship. Come home, dear, and I'll find your bootjack. I suppose that's what you are rummaging5 after among my things. Men are so helpless, Mother," said Amy, with a matronly air, which delighted her husband.
 
"What are you going to do with yourselves after you get settled?" asked Jo, buttoning Amy's cloak as she used to button her pinafores.
 
"We have our plans. We don't mean to say much about them yet, because we are such very new brooms, but we don't intend to be idle. I'm going into business with a devotion that shall delight Grandfather, and prove to him that I'm not spoiled. I need something of the sort to keep me steady. I'm tired of dawdling6, and mean to work like a man."
 
"And Amy, what is she going to do?" asked Mrs. March, well pleased at Laurie's decision and the energy with which he spoke7.
 
"After doing the civil all round, and airing our best bonnet8, we shall astonish you by the elegant hospitalities of our mansion9, the brilliant society we shall draw about us, and the beneficial influence we shall exert over the world at large. That's about it, isn't it, Madame Recamier?" asked Laurie with a quizzical look at Amy.
 
"Time will show. Come away, Impertinence, and don't shock my family by calling me names before their faces," answered Amy, resolving that there should be a home with a good wife in it before she set up a salon10 as a queen of society.
 
"How happy those children seem together!" observed Mr. March, finding it difficult to become absorbed in his Aristotle after the young couple had gone.
 
"Yes, and I think it will last," added Mrs. March, with the restful expression of a pilot who has brought a ship safely into port.
 
"I know it will. Happy Amy!" and Jo sighed, then smiled brightly as Professor Bhaer opened the gate with an impatient push.
 
Later in the evening, when his mind had been set at rest about the bootjack, Laurie said suddenly to his wife, "Mrs. Laurence."
 
"My Lord!"
 
"That man intends to marry our Jo!"
 
"I hope so, don't you, dear?"
 
"Well, my love, I consider him a trump11, in the fullest sense of that expressive12 word, but I do wish he was a little younger and a good deal richer."
 
"Now, Laurie, don't be too fastidious and worldly-minded. If they love one another it doesn't matter a particle how old they are nor how poor. Women never should marry for money . . ." Amy caught herself up short as the words escaped her, and looked at her husband, who replied, with malicious13 gravity . . .
 
"Certainly not, though you do hear charming girls say that they intend to do it sometimes. If my memory serves me, you once thought it your duty to make a rich match. That accounts, perhaps, for your marrying a good-for-nothing like me."
 
"Oh, my dearest boy, don't, don't say that! I forgot you were rich when I said 'Yes'. I'd have married you if you hadn't a penny, and I sometimes wish you were poor that I might show how much I love you." And Amy, who was very dignified14 in public and very fond in private, gave convincing proofs of the truth of her words.
 
"You don't really think I am such a mercenary creature as I tried to be once, do you? It would break my heart if you didn't believe that I'd gladly pull in the same boat with you, even if you had to get your living by rowing on the lake."
 
"Am I an idiot and a brute15? How could I think so, when you refused a richer man for me, and won't let me give you half I want to now, when I have the right? Girls do it every day, poor things, and are taught to think it is their only salvation16, but you had better lessons, and though I trembled for you at one time, I was not disappointed, for the daughter was true to the mother's teaching. I told Mamma so yesterday, and she looked as glad and grateful as if I'd given her a check for a million, to be spent in charity. You are not listening to my moral remarks, Mrs. Laurence," and Laurie paused, for Amy's eyes had an absent look, though fixed17 upon his face.
 
"Yes, I am, and admiring the mole18 in your chin at the same time. I don't wish to make you vain, but I must confess that I'm prouder of my handsome husband than of all his money. Don't laugh, but your nose is such a comfort to me," and Amy softly caressed19 the well-cut feature with artistic20 satisfaction.
 
Laurie had received many compliments in his life, but never one that suited him better, as he plainly showed though he did laugh at his wife's peculiar21 taste, while she said slowly, "May I ask you a question, dear?"
 
"Of course, you may."
 
"Shall you care if Jo does marry Mr. Bhaer?"
 
"Oh, that's the trouble is it? I thought there was something in the dimple that didn't quite suit you. Not being a dog in the manger, but the happiest fellow alive, I assure you I can dance at Jo's wedding with a heart as light as my heels. Do you doubt it, my darling?"
 
Amy looked up at him, and was satisfied. Her little jealous fear vanished forever, and she thanked him, with a face full of love and confidence.
 
"I wish we could do something for that capital old Professor. Couldn't we invent a rich relation, who shall obligingly die out there in Germany, and leave him a tidy little fortune?" said Laurie, when they began to pace up and down the long drawing room, arm in arm, as they were fond of doing, in memory of the chateau22 garden.
 
"Jo would find us out, and spoil it all. She is very proud of him, just as he is, and said yesterday that she thought poverty was a beautiful thing."
 
"Bless her dear heart! She won't think so when she has a literary husband, and a dozen little professors and professorins to support. We won't interfere23 now, but watch our chance, and do them a good turn in spite of themselves. I owe Jo for a part of my education, and she believes in people's paying their honest debts, so I'll get round her in that way."
 
"How delightful24 it is to be able to help others, isn't it? That was always one of my dreams, to have the power of giving freely, and thanks to you, the dream has come true."
 
"Ah, we'll do quantities of good, won't we? There's one sort of poverty that I particularly like to help. Out-and-out beggars get taken care of, but poor gentle folks fare badly, because they won't ask, and people don't dare to offer charity. Yet there are a thousand ways of helping25 them, if one only knows how to do it so delicately that it does not offend. I must say, I like to serve a decayed gentleman better than a blarnerying beggar. I suppose it's wrong, but I do, though it is harder."
 
"Because it takes a gentleman to do it," added the other member of the domestic admiration26 society.
 
"Thank you, I'm afraid I don't deserve that pretty compliment. But I was going to say that while I was dawdling about abroad, I saw a good many talented young fellows making all sorts of sacrifices, and enduring real hardships, that they might realize their dreams. Splendid fellows, some of them, working like heros, poor and friendless, but so full of courage, patience, and ambition that I was ashamed of myself, and longed to give them a right good lift. Those are people whom it's a satisfaction to help, for if they've got genius, it's an honor to be allowed to serve them, and not let it be lost or delayed for want of fuel to keep the pot boiling. If they haven't, it's a pleasure to comfort the poor souls, and keep them from despair when they find it out."
 
"Yes, indeed, and there's another class who can't ask, and who suffer in silence. I know something of it, for I belonged to it before you made a princess of me, as the king does the beggarmaid in the old story. Ambitious girls have a hard time, Laurie, and often have to see youth, health, and precious opportunities go by, just for want of a little help at the right minute. People have been very kind to me, and whenever I see girls struggling along, as we used to do, I want to put out my hand and help them, as I was helped."
 
"And so you shall, like an angel as you are!" cried Laurie, resolving, with a glow of philanthropic zeal27, to found and endow an institution for the express benefit of young women with artistic tendencies. "Rich people have no right to sit down and enjoy themselves, or let their money accumulate for others to waste. It's not half so sensible to leave legacies28 when one dies as it is to use the money wisely while alive, and enjoy making one's fellow creatures happy with it. We'll have a good time ourselves, and add an extra relish29 to our own pleasure by giving other people a generous taste. Will you be a little Dorcas, going about emptying a big basket of comforts, and filling it up with good deeds?"
 
"With all my heart, if you will be a brave St. Martin, stopping as you ride gallantly30 through the world to share your cloak with the beggar."
 
"It's a bargain, and we shall get the best of it!"
 
So the young pair shook hands upon it, and then paced happily on again, feeling that their pleasant home was more homelike because they hoped to brighten other homes, believing that their own feet would walk more uprightly along the flowery path before them, if they smoothed rough ways for other feet, and feeling that their hearts were more closely knit together by a love which could tenderly remember those less blest than they.


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1 maternal 57Azi     
adj.母亲的,母亲般的,母系的,母方的
参考例句:
  • He is my maternal uncle.他是我舅舅。
  • The sight of the hopeless little boy aroused her maternal instincts.那个绝望的小男孩的模样唤起了她的母性。
2 covetousness 9d9bcb4e80eaa86d0435c91cd0d87e1f     
参考例句:
  • As covetousness is the root of all evil, so poverty is the worst of all snares. 正如贪婪是万恶之源一样,贫穷是最坏的陷阱。 来自辞典例句
  • Poverty want many thing, but covetousness all. 贫穷可满足;欲望却难填。 来自互联网
3 simile zE0yB     
n.直喻,明喻
参考例句:
  • I believe this simile largely speaks the truth.我相信这种比拟在很大程度上道出了真实。
  • It is a trite simile to compare her teeth to pearls.把她的牙齿比做珍珠是陈腐的比喻。
4 saucy wDMyK     
adj.无礼的;俊俏的;活泼的
参考例句:
  • He was saucy and mischievous when he was working.他工作时总爱调皮捣蛋。
  • It was saucy of you to contradict your father.你顶撞父亲,真是无礼。
5 rummaging e9756cfbffcc07d7dc85f4b9eea73897     
翻找,搜寻( rummage的现在分词 ); 海关检查
参考例句:
  • She was rummaging around in her bag for her keys. 她在自己的包里翻来翻去找钥匙。
  • Who's been rummaging through my papers? 谁乱翻我的文件来着?
6 dawdling 9685b05ad25caee5c16a092f6e575992     
adj.闲逛的,懒散的v.混(时间)( dawdle的现在分词 )
参考例句:
  • Stop dawdling! We're going to be late! 别磨蹭了,咱们快迟到了!
  • It was all because of your dawdling that we were late. 都是你老磨蹭,害得我们迟到了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
7 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
8 bonnet AtSzQ     
n.无边女帽;童帽
参考例句:
  • The baby's bonnet keeps the sun out of her eyes.婴孩的帽子遮住阳光,使之不刺眼。
  • She wore a faded black bonnet garnished with faded artificial flowers.她戴着一顶褪了色的黑色无边帽,帽上缀着褪了色的假花。
9 mansion 8BYxn     
n.大厦,大楼;宅第
参考例句:
  • The old mansion was built in 1850.这座古宅建于1850年。
  • The mansion has extensive grounds.这大厦四周的庭园广阔。
10 salon VjTz2Z     
n.[法]沙龙;客厅;营业性的高级服务室
参考例句:
  • Do you go to the hairdresser or beauty salon more than twice a week?你每周去美容院或美容沙龙多过两次吗?
  • You can hear a lot of dirt at a salon.你在沙龙上会听到很多流言蜚语。
11 trump LU1zK     
n.王牌,法宝;v.打出王牌,吹喇叭
参考例句:
  • He was never able to trump up the courage to have a showdown.他始终鼓不起勇气摊牌。
  • The coach saved his star player for a trump card.教练保留他的明星选手,作为他的王牌。
12 expressive shwz4     
adj.表现的,表达…的,富于表情的
参考例句:
  • Black English can be more expressive than standard English.黑人所使用的英语可能比正式英语更有表现力。
  • He had a mobile,expressive,animated face.他有一张多变的,富于表情的,生动活泼的脸。
13 malicious e8UzX     
adj.有恶意的,心怀恶意的
参考例句:
  • You ought to kick back at such malicious slander. 你应当反击这种恶毒的污蔑。
  • Their talk was slightly malicious.他们的谈话有点儿心怀不轨。
14 dignified NuZzfb     
a.可敬的,高贵的
参考例句:
  • Throughout his trial he maintained a dignified silence. 在整个审讯过程中,他始终沉默以保持尊严。
  • He always strikes such a dignified pose before his girlfriend. 他总是在女友面前摆出这种庄严的姿态。
15 brute GSjya     
n.野兽,兽性
参考例句:
  • The aggressor troops are not many degrees removed from the brute.侵略军简直象一群野兽。
  • That dog is a dangerous brute.It bites people.那条狗是危险的畜牲,它咬人。
16 salvation nC2zC     
n.(尤指基督)救世,超度,拯救,解困
参考例句:
  • Salvation lay in political reform.解救办法在于政治改革。
  • Christians hope and pray for salvation.基督教徒希望并祈祷灵魂得救。
17 fixed JsKzzj     
adj.固定的,不变的,准备好的;(计算机)固定的
参考例句:
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
18 mole 26Nzn     
n.胎块;痣;克分子
参考例句:
  • She had a tiny mole on her cheek.她的面颊上有一颗小黑痣。
  • The young girl felt very self- conscious about the large mole on her chin.那位年轻姑娘对自己下巴上的一颗大痣感到很不自在。
19 caressed de08c4fb4b79b775b2f897e6e8db9aad     
爱抚或抚摸…( caress的过去式和过去分词 )
参考例句:
  • His fingers caressed the back of her neck. 他的手指抚摩着她的后颈。
  • He caressed his wife lovingly. 他怜爱万分地抚摸着妻子。
20 artistic IeWyG     
adj.艺术(家)的,美术(家)的;善于艺术创作的
参考例句:
  • The picture on this screen is a good artistic work.这屏风上的画是件很好的艺术品。
  • These artistic handicrafts are very popular with foreign friends.外国朋友很喜欢这些美术工艺品。
21 peculiar cinyo     
adj.古怪的,异常的;特殊的,特有的
参考例句:
  • He walks in a peculiar fashion.他走路的样子很奇特。
  • He looked at me with a very peculiar expression.他用一种很奇怪的表情看着我。
22 chateau lwozeH     
n.城堡,别墅
参考例句:
  • The house was modelled on a French chateau.这房子是模仿一座法国大别墅建造的。
  • The chateau was left to itself to flame and burn.那府第便径自腾起大火燃烧下去。
23 interfere b5lx0     
v.(in)干涉,干预;(with)妨碍,打扰
参考例句:
  • If we interfere, it may do more harm than good.如果我们干预的话,可能弊多利少。
  • When others interfere in the affair,it always makes troubles. 别人一卷入这一事件,棘手的事情就来了。
24 delightful 6xzxT     
adj.令人高兴的,使人快乐的
参考例句:
  • We had a delightful time by the seashore last Sunday.上星期天我们在海滨玩得真痛快。
  • Peter played a delightful melody on his flute.彼得用笛子吹奏了一支欢快的曲子。
25 helping 2rGzDc     
n.食物的一份&adj.帮助人的,辅助的
参考例句:
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
26 admiration afpyA     
n.钦佩,赞美,羡慕
参考例句:
  • He was lost in admiration of the beauty of the scene.他对风景之美赞不绝口。
  • We have a great admiration for the gold medalists.我们对金牌获得者极为敬佩。
27 zeal mMqzR     
n.热心,热情,热忱
参考例句:
  • Revolutionary zeal caught them up,and they joined the army.革命热情激励他们,于是他们从军了。
  • They worked with great zeal to finish the project.他们热情高涨地工作,以期完成这个项目。
28 legacies 68e66995cc32392cf8c573d17a3233aa     
n.遗产( legacy的名词复数 );遗留之物;遗留问题;后遗症
参考例句:
  • Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind. 书是伟大的天才留给人类的精神财富。 来自辞典例句
  • General legacies are subject to the same principles as demonstrative legacies. 一般的遗赠要与指定数目的遗赠遵循同样的原则。 来自辞典例句
29 relish wBkzs     
n.滋味,享受,爱好,调味品;vt.加调味料,享受,品味;vi.有滋味
参考例句:
  • I have no relish for pop music.我对流行音乐不感兴趣。
  • I relish the challenge of doing jobs that others turn down.我喜欢挑战别人拒绝做的工作。
30 gallantly gallantly     
adv. 漂亮地,勇敢地,献殷勤地
参考例句:
  • He gallantly offered to carry her cases to the car. 他殷勤地要帮她把箱子拎到车子里去。
  • The new fighters behave gallantly under fire. 新战士在炮火下表现得很勇敢。
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