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    IT is more than a hundred years ago! At the border of the
wood, near a large lake, stood the old mansion1: deep ditches
surrounded it on every side, in which reeds and bulrushes
grew. Close by the drawbridge, near the gate, there was an old
willow2 tree, which bent3 over the reeds.

    From the narrow pass came the sound of bugles4 and the
trampling of horses' feet; therefore a little girl who was
watching the geese hastened to drive them away from the
bridge, before the whole hunting party came galloping5 up; they
came, however, so quickly, that the girl, in order to avoid
being run over, placed herself on one of the high
corner-stones of the bridge. She was still half a child and
very delicately built; she had bright blue eyes, and a gentle,
sweet expression. But such things the baron6 did not notice;
while he was riding past the little goose-girl, he reversed
his hunting crop, and in rough play gave her such a push with
it that she fell backward into the ditch.

    "Everything in the right place!" he cried. "Into the ditch
with you."

    Then he burst out laughing, for that he called fun; the
others joined in- the whole party shouted and cried, while the
hounds barked.

    While the poor girl was falling she happily caught one of
the branches of the willow tree, by the help of which she held
herself over the water, and as soon as the baron with his
company and the dogs had disappeared through the gate, the
girl endeavoured to scramble7 up, but the branch broke off, and
she would have fallen backward among the rushes, had not a
strong hand from above seized her at this moment. It was the
hand of a pedlar; he had witnessed what had happened from a
short distance, and now hastened to assist her.

    "Everything in the right place," he said, imitating the
noble baron, and pulling the little maid up to the dry ground.
He wished to put the branch back in the place it had been
broken off, but it is not possible to put everything in the
right place;" therefore he stuck the branch into the soft

    "Grow and thrive if you can, and produce a good flute8 for
them yonder at the mansion," he said; it would have given him
great pleasure to see the noble baron and his companions well
thrashed. Then he entered the castle- but not the banqueting
hall; he was too humble10 for that. No; he went to the servants'
hall. The men-servants and maids looked over his stock of
articles and bargained with him; loud crying and screaming
were heard from the master's table above: they called it
singing- indeed, they did their best. Laughter and the howls
of dogs were heard through the open windows: there they were
feasting and revelling11; wine and strong old ale were foaming
in the glasses and jugs12; the favourite dogs ate with their
masters; now and then the squires13 kissed one of these animals,
after having wiped its mouth first with the tablecloth14. They
ordered the pedlar to come up, but only to make fun of him.
The wine had got into their heads, and reason had left them.
They poured beer into a stocking that he could drink with
them, but quick. That's what they called fun, and it made them
laugh. Then meadows, peasants, and farmyards were staked on
one card and lost.

    "Everything in the right place!" the pedlar said when he
had at last safely got out of Sodom and Gomorrah, as he called
it. "The open high road is my right place; up there I did not
feel at ease."

    The little maid, who was still watching the geese, nodded
kindly to him as he passed through the gate.

    Days and weeks passed, and it was seen that the broken
willow-branch which the peddlar had stuck into the ground near
the ditch remained fresh and green- nay15, it even put forth9
fresh twigs16; the little goose-girl saw that the branch had
taken root, and was very pleased; the tree, so she said, was
now her tree. While the tree was advancing, everything else at
the castle was going backward, through feasting and gambling,
for these are two rollers upon which nobody stands safely.
Less than six years afterwards the baron passed out of his
castle-gate a poor beggar, while the baronial seat had been
bought by a rich tradesman. He was the very pedlar they had
made fun of and poured beer into a stocking for him to drink;
but honesty and industry bring one forward, and now the pedlar
was the possessor of the baronial estate. From that time
forward no card-playing was permitted there.

    "That's a bad pastime," he said; "when the devil saw the
Bible for the first time he wanted to produce a caricature in
opposition to it, and invented card-playing."

    The new proprietor18 of the estate took a wife, and whom did
he take?- The little goose-girl, who had always remained good
and kind, and who looked as beautiful in her new clothes as if
she had been a lady of high birth. And how did all this come
about? That would be too long a tale to tell in our busy time,
but it really happened, and the most important events have yet
to be told.

    It was pleasant and cheerful to live in the old place now:
the mother superintended the household, and the father looked
after things out-of-doors, and they were indeed very

    Where honesty leads the way, prosperity is sure to follow.
The old mansion was repaired and painted, the ditches were
cleaned and fruit-trees planted; all was homely19 and pleasant,
and the floors were as white and shining as a pasteboard. In
the long winter evenings the mistress and her maids sat at the
spinning-wheel in the large hall; every Sunday the counsellor-
this title the pedlar had obtained, although only in his old
days- read aloud a portion from the Bible. The children (for
they had children) all received the best education, but they
were not all equally clever, as is the case in all families.

    In the meantime the willow tree near the drawbridge had
grown up into a splendid tree, and stood there, free, and was
never clipped. "It is our genealogical tree," said the old
people to their children, "and therefore it must be honoured."

    A hundred years had elapsed. It was in our own days; the
lake had been transformed into marsh20 land; the whole baronial
seat had, as it were, disappeared. A pool of water near some
ruined walls was the only remainder of the deep ditches; and
here stood a magnificent old tree with overhanging branches-
that was the genealogical tree. Here it stood, and showed how
beautiful a willow can look if one does not interfere21 with it.
The trunk, it is true, was cleft22 in the middle from the root
to the crown; the storms had bent it a little, but it still
stood there, and out of every crevice23 and cleft, in which wind
and weather had carried mould, blades of grass and flowers
sprang forth. Especially above, where the large boughs24 parted,
there was quite a hanging garden, in which wild raspberries
and hart's-tongue ferns throve, and even a little mistletoe
had taken root, and grew gracefully25 in the old willow
branches, which were reflected in the dark water beneath when
the wind blew the chickweed into the corner of the pool. A
footpath which led across the fields passed close by the old
tree. High up, on the woody hillside, stood the new mansion.
It had a splendid view, and was large and magnificent; its
window panes26 were so clear that one might have thought there
were none there at all. The large flight of steps which led to
the entrance looked like a bower27 covered with roses and
broad-leaved plants. The lawn was as green as if each blade of
grass was cleaned separately morning and evening. Inside, in
the hall, valuable oil paintings were hanging on the walls.
Here stood chairs and sofas covered with silk and velvet,
which could be easily rolled about on castors; there were
tables with polished marble tops, and books bound in morocco
with gilt28 edges. Indeed, well-to-do and distinguished29 people
lived here; it was the dwelling30 of the baron and his family.
Each article was in keeping with its surroundings. "Everything
in the right place" was the motto according to which they also
acted here, and therefore all the paintings which had once
been the honour and glory of the old mansion were now hung up
in the passage which led to the servants' rooms. It was all
old lumber31, especially two portraits- one representing a man
in a scarlet32 coat with a wig17, and the other a lady with
powdered and curled hair holding a rose in her hand, each of
them being surrounded by a large wreath of willow branches.
Both portraits had many holes in them, because the baron's
sons used the two old people as targets for their crossbows.
They represented the counsellor and his wife, from whom the
whole family descended33. "But they did not properly belong to
our family," said one of the boys; "he was a pedlar and she
kept the geese. They were not like papa and mamma." The
portraits were old lumber, and "everything in its right
place." That was why the great-grandparents had been hung up
in the passage leading to the servants' rooms.

    The son of the village pastor34 was tutor at the mansion.
One day he went for a walk across the fields with his young
pupils and their elder sister, who had lately been confirmed.
They walked along the road which passed by the old willow
tree, and while they were on the road she picked a bunch of
field-flowers. "Everything in the right place," and indeed the
bunch looked very beautiful. At the same time she listened to
all that was said, and she very much liked to hear the
pastor's son speak about the elements and of the great men and
women in history. She had a healthy mind, noble in thought and
deed, and with a heart full of love for everything that God
had created. They stopped at the old willow tree, as the
youngest of the baron's sons wished very much to have a flute
from it, such as had been cut for him from other willow trees;
the pastor's son broke a branch off. "Oh, pray do not do it!"
said the young lady; but it was already done. "That is our
famous old tree. I love it very much. They often laugh at me
at home about it, but that does not matter. There is a story
attached to this tree." And now she told him all that we
already know about the tree- the old mansion, the pedlar and
the goose-girl who had met there for the first time, and had
become the ancestors of the noble family to which the young
lady belonged.

    "They did not like to be knighted, the good old people,"
she said; "their motto was 'everything in the right place,'
and it would not be right, they thought, to purchase a title
for money. My grandfather, the first baron, was their son.
They say he was a very learned man, a great favourite with the
princes and princesses, and was invited to all court
festivities. The others at home love him best; but, I do not
know why, there seemed to me to be something about the old
couple that attracts my heart! How homely, how patriarchal, it
must have been in the old mansion, where the mistress sat at
the spinning-wheel with her maids, while her husband read
aloud out of the Bible!"

    "They must have been excellent, sensible people," said the
pastor's son. And with this the conversation turned naturally
to noblemen and commoners; from the manner in which the tutor
spoke35 about the significance of being noble, it seemed almost
as if he did not belong to a commoner's family.

    "It is good fortune to be of a family who have
distinguished themselves, and to possess as it were a spur in
oneself to advance to all that is good. It is a splendid thing
to belong to a noble family, whose name serves as a card of
admission to the highest circles. Nobility is a distinction;
it is a gold coin that bears the stamp of its own value. It is
the fallacy of the time, and many poets express it, to say
that all that is noble is bad and stupid, and that, on the
contrary, the lower one goes among the poor, the more
brilliant virtues36 one finds. I do not share this opinion, for
it is wrong. In the upper classes one sees many touchingly
beautiful traits; my own mother has told me of such, and I
could mention several. One day she was visiting a nobleman's
house in town; my grandmother, I believe, had been the lady's
nurse when she was a child. My mother and the nobleman were
alone in the room, when he suddenly noticed an old woman on
crutches come limping into the courtyard; she came every
Sunday to carry a gift away with her.

    "'There is the poor old woman,' said the nobleman; 'it is
so difficult for her to walk.'

    "My mother had hardly understood what he said before he
disappeared from the room, and went downstairs, in order to
save her the troublesome walk for the gift she came to fetch.
Of course this is only a little incident, but it has its good
sound like the poor widow's two mites37 in the Bible, the sound
which echoes in the depth of every human heart; and this is
what the poet ought to show and point out- more especially in
our own time he ought to sing of this; it does good, it
mitigates and reconciles! But when a man, simply because he is
of noble birth and possesses a genealogy38, stands on his hind
legs and neighs in the street like an Arabian horse, and says
when a commoner has been in a room: 'Some people from the
street have been here,' there nobility is decaying; it has
become a mask of the kind that Thespis created, and it is
amusing when such a person is exposed in satire39."

    Such was the tutor's speech; it was a little long, but
while he delivered it he had finished cutting the flute.

    There was a large party at the mansion; many guests from
the neighbourhood and from the capital had arrived. There were
ladies with tasteful and with tasteless dresses; the big hall
was quite crowded with people. The clergymen stood humbly
together in a corner, and looked as if they were preparing for
a funeral, but it was a festival- only the amusement had not
yet begun. A great concert was to take place, and that is why
the baron's young son had brought his willow flute with him;
but he could not make it sound, nor could his father, and
therefore the flute was good for nothing.

    There was music and songs of the kind which delight most
those that perform them; otherwise quite charming!

    "Are you an artist?" said a cavalier, the son of his
father; "you play on the flute, you have made it yourself; it
is genius that rules- the place of honour is due to you."

    "Certainly not! I only advance with the time, and that of
course one can't help."

    "I hope you will delight us all with the little
instrument- will you not?" Thus saying he handed to the tutor
the flute which had been cut from the willow tree by the pool;
and then announced in a loud voice that the tutor wished to
perform a solo on the flute. They wished to tease him- that
was evident, and therefore the tutor declined to play,
although he could do so very well. They urged and requested
him, however, so long, that at last he took up the flute and
placed it to his lips.

    That was a marvellous flute! Its sound was as thrilling as
the whistle of a steam engine; in fact it was much stronger,
for it sounded and was heard in the yard, in the garden, in
the wood, and many miles round in the country; at the same
time a storm rose and roared; "Everything in the right place."
And with this the baron, as if carried by the wind, flew out
of the hall straight into the shepherd's cottage, and the
shepherd flew- not into the hall, thither40 he could not come-
but into the servants' hall, among the smart footmen who were
striding about in silk stockings; these haughty41 menials looked
horror-struck that such a person ventured to sit at table with
them. But in the hall the baron's daughter flew to the place
of honour at the end of the table- she was worthy42 to sit
there; the pastor's son had the seat next to her; the two sat
there as if they were a bridal pair. An old Count, belonging
to one of the oldest families of the country, remained
untouched in his place of honour; the flute was just, and it
is one's duty to be so. The sharp-tongued cavalier who had
caused the flute to be played, and who was the child of his
parents, flew headlong into the fowl-house, but not he alone.

    The flute was heard at the distance of a mile, and strange
events took place. A rich banker's family, who were driving in
a coach and four, were blown out of it, and could not even
find room behind it with their footmen. Two rich farmers who
had in our days shot up higher than their own corn-fields,
were flung into the ditch; it was a dangerous flute.
Fortunately it burst at the first sound, and that was a good
thing, for then it was put back into its owner's pocket- "its
right place."

    The next day, nobody spoke a word about what had taken
place; thus originated the phrase, "to pocket the flute."
Everything was again in its usual order, except that the two
old pictures of the peddlar and the goose-girl were hanging in
the banqueting-hall. There they were on the wall as if blown
up there; and as a real expert said that they were painted by
a master's hand, they remained there and were restored.
"Everything in the right place," and to this it will come.
Eternity43 is long, much longer indeed than this story.

                            THE END


1 mansion 8BYxn     
  • 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。
2 willow bMFz6     
  • The river was sparsely lined with willow trees.河边疏疏落落有几棵柳树。
  • The willow's shadow falls on the lake.垂柳的影子倒映在湖面上。
3 bent QQ8yD     
  • He was fully bent upon the project.他一心扑在这项计划上。
  • We bent over backward to help them.我们尽了最大努力帮助他们。
4 bugles 67a03de6e21575ba3e57a73ed68d55d3     
妙脆角,一种类似薯片但做成尖角或喇叭状的零食; 号角( bugle的名词复数 ); 喇叭; 匍匐筋骨草; (装饰女服用的)柱状玻璃(或塑料)小珠
  • Blow, bugles, blow, set the wild echoes flying. "响起来,号角,响起来,让激昂的回声在空中震荡"。
  • We hear the silver voices of heroic bugles. 我们听到了那清亮的号角。
5 galloping galloping     
adj. 飞驰的, 急性的 动词gallop的现在分词形式
  • The horse started galloping the moment I gave it a good dig. 我猛戳了马一下,它就奔驰起来了。
  • Japan is galloping ahead in the race to develop new technology. 日本在发展新技术的竞争中进展迅速,日新月异。
6 baron XdSyp     
  • Henry Ford was an automobile baron.亨利·福特是一位汽车业巨头。
  • The baron lived in a strong castle.男爵住在一座坚固的城堡中。
7 scramble JDwzg     
  • He broke his leg in his scramble down the wall.他爬墙摔断了腿。
  • It was a long scramble to the top of the hill.到山顶须要爬登一段长路。
8 flute hj9xH     
  • He took out his flute, and blew at it.他拿出笛子吹了起来。
  • There is an extensive repertoire of music written for the flute.有很多供长笛演奏的曲目。
9 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
10 humble ddjzU     
  • In my humble opinion,he will win the election.依我拙见,他将在选举中获胜。
  • Defeat and failure make people humble.挫折与失败会使人谦卑。
11 revelling f436cffe47bcffa002ab230f219fb92c     
v.作乐( revel的现在分词 );狂欢;着迷;陶醉
  • I think he's secretly revelling in all the attention. 我觉得他对于能够引起广泛的注意心里感到飘飘然。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • They were drinking and revelling all night. 他们整夜喝酒作乐。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 jugs 10ebefab1f47ca33e582d349c161a29f     
(有柄及小口的)水壶( jug的名词复数 )
  • Two china jugs held steaming gravy. 两个瓷罐子装着热气腾腾的肉卤。
  • Jugs-Big wall lingo for Jumars or any other type of ascenders. 大岩壁术语,祝玛式上升器或其它种类的上升器。
13 squires e1ac9927c38cb55b9bb45b8ea91f1ef1     
n.地主,乡绅( squire的名词复数 )
  • The family history was typical of the Catholic squires of England. 这个家族的历史,在英格兰信天主教的乡绅中是很典型的。 来自辞典例句
  • By 1696, with Tory squires and Amsterdam burghers complaining about excessive taxes. 到1696年,托利党的乡绅们和阿姆斯特丹的市民都对苛捐杂税怨声载道。 来自辞典例句
14 tablecloth lqSwh     
  • He sat there ruminating and picking at the tablecloth.他坐在那儿沉思,轻轻地抚弄着桌布。
  • She smoothed down a wrinkled tablecloth.她把起皱的桌布熨平了。
15 nay unjzAQ     
  • He was grateful for and proud of his son's remarkable,nay,unique performance.他为儿子出色的,不,应该是独一无二的表演心怀感激和骄傲。
  • Long essays,nay,whole books have been written on this.许多长篇大论的文章,不,应该说是整部整部的书都是关于这件事的。
16 twigs 17ff1ed5da672aa443a4f6befce8e2cb     
细枝,嫩枝( twig的名词复数 )
  • Some birds build nests of twigs. 一些鸟用树枝筑巢。
  • Willow twigs are pliable. 柳条很软。
17 wig 1gRwR     
  • The actress wore a black wig over her blond hair.那个女演员戴一顶黑色假发罩住自己的金黄色头发。
  • He disguised himself with a wig and false beard.他用假发和假胡须来乔装。
18 proprietor zR2x5     
  • The proprietor was an old acquaintance of his.业主是他的一位旧相识。
  • The proprietor of the corner grocery was a strange thing in my life.拐角杂货店店主是我生活中的一个怪物。
19 homely Ecdxo     
  • We had a homely meal of bread and cheese.我们吃了一顿面包加乳酪的家常便餐。
  • Come and have a homely meal with us,will you?来和我们一起吃顿家常便饭,好吗?
20 marsh Y7Rzo     
  • There are a lot of frogs in the marsh.沼泽里有许多青蛙。
  • I made my way slowly out of the marsh.我缓慢地走出这片沼泽地。
21 interfere b5lx0     
  • 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。
22 cleft awEzGG     
  • I hid the message in a cleft in the rock.我把情报藏在石块的裂缝里。
  • He was cleft from his brother during the war.在战争期间,他与他的哥哥分离。
23 crevice pokzO     
  • I saw a plant growing out of a crevice in the wall.我看到墙缝里长出一棵草来。
  • He edged the tool into the crevice.他把刀具插进裂缝里。
24 boughs 95e9deca9a2fb4bbbe66832caa8e63e0     
大树枝( bough的名词复数 )
  • The green boughs glittered with all their pearls of dew. 绿枝上闪烁着露珠的光彩。
  • A breeze sighed in the higher boughs. 微风在高高的树枝上叹息着。
25 gracefully KfYxd     
  • She sank gracefully down onto a cushion at his feet. 她优雅地坐到他脚旁的垫子上。
  • The new coats blouse gracefully above the hip line. 新外套在臀围线上优美地打着褶皱。
26 panes c8bd1ed369fcd03fe15520d551ab1d48     
窗玻璃( pane的名词复数 )
  • The sun caught the panes and flashed back at him. 阳光照到窗玻璃上,又反射到他身上。
  • The window-panes are dim with steam. 玻璃窗上蒙上了一层蒸汽。
27 bower xRZyU     
  • They sat under the leafy bower at the end of the garden and watched the sun set.他们坐在花园尽头由叶子搭成的凉棚下观看落日。
  • Mrs. Quilp was pining in her bower.奎尔普太太正在她的闺房里度着愁苦的岁月。
28 gilt p6UyB     
  • The plates have a gilt edge.这些盘子的边是镀金的。
  • The rest of the money is invested in gilt.其余的钱投资于金边证券。
29 distinguished wu9z3v     
  • Elephants are distinguished from other animals by their long noses.大象以其长长的鼻子显示出与其他动物的不同。
  • A banquet was given in honor of the distinguished guests.宴会是为了向贵宾们致敬而举行的。
30 dwelling auzzQk     
  • Those two men are dwelling with us.那两个人跟我们住在一起。
  • He occupies a three-story dwelling place on the Park Street.他在派克街上有一幢3层楼的寓所。
31 lumber a8Jz6     
  • The truck was sent to carry lumber.卡车被派出去运木材。
  • They slapped together a cabin out of old lumber.他们利用旧木料草草地盖起了一间小屋。
32 scarlet zD8zv     
  • The scarlet leaves of the maples contrast well with the dark green of the pines.深红的枫叶和暗绿的松树形成了明显的对比。
  • The glowing clouds are growing slowly pale,scarlet,bright red,and then light red.天空的霞光渐渐地淡下去了,深红的颜色变成了绯红,绯红又变为浅红。
33 descended guQzoy     
  • A mood of melancholy descended on us. 一种悲伤的情绪袭上我们的心头。
  • The path descended the hill in a series of zigzags. 小路呈连续的之字形顺着山坡蜿蜒而下。
34 pastor h3Ozz     
  • He was the son of a poor pastor.他是一个穷牧师的儿子。
  • We have no pastor at present:the church is run by five deacons.我们目前没有牧师:教会的事是由五位执事管理的。
35 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
  • 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。
36 virtues cd5228c842b227ac02d36dd986c5cd53     
美德( virtue的名词复数 ); 德行; 优点; 长处
  • Doctors often extol the virtues of eating less fat. 医生常常宣扬少吃脂肪的好处。
  • She delivered a homily on the virtues of family life. 她进行了一场家庭生活美德方面的说教。
37 mites d5df57c25d6a534a9cab886a451cde43     
n.(尤指令人怜悯的)小孩( mite的名词复数 );一点点;一文钱;螨
  • The only discovered animals are water bears, mites, microscopic rotifers. 能够发现的动物只有海蜘蛛、螨和微小的轮虫。 来自辞典例句
  • Mites are frequently found on eggs. 螨会经常出现在蛋上。 来自辞典例句
38 genealogy p6Ay4     
  • He had sat and repeated his family's genealogy to her,twenty minutes of nonstop names.他坐下又给她细数了一遍他家族的家谱,20分钟内说出了一连串的名字。
  • He was proficient in all questions of genealogy.他非常精通所有家谱的问题。
39 satire BCtzM     
  • The movie is a clever satire on the advertising industry.那部影片是关于广告业的一部巧妙的讽刺作品。
  • Satire is often a form of protest against injustice.讽刺往往是一种对不公正的抗议形式。
40 thither cgRz1o     
  • He wandered hither and thither looking for a playmate.他逛来逛去找玩伴。
  • He tramped hither and thither.他到处流浪。
41 haughty 4dKzq     
  • He gave me a haughty look and walked away.他向我摆出傲慢的表情后走开。
  • They were displeased with her haughty airs.他们讨厌她高傲的派头。
42 worthy vftwB     
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • There occurred nothing that was worthy to be mentioned.没有值得一提的事发生。
43 eternity Aiwz7     
  • The dull play seemed to last an eternity.这场乏味的剧似乎演个没完没了。
  • Finally,Ying Tai and Shan Bo could be together for all of eternity.英台和山伯终能双宿双飞,永世相随。