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儿童英语读物 The Mystery of the Star Ruby CHAPTER 1 The Contest

时间:2017-10-20 02:02来源:互联网 提供网友:qing   字体: [ ]

“I wish we didn’t have to go back to Greenfield,” said six-year-old Benny Alden.

Violet turned from the front seat of the car. “Don’t you miss our house?” she asked her little brother.

“And our boxcar?” put in Henry, sitting next to Benny.

Jessie, who was twelve, knew how Benny felt.

“The boxcar is important,” she said. “It’s where we lived before Grandfather found us. Benny just doesn’t want this vacation to end.”

“We did have a great time camping in the mountains,” their grandfather, James Alden, agreed. “It seems a shame to leave the area so soon.”

Benny became excited. “Does that mean we can stay longer?”

Grandfather smiled at him in the rearview mirror.

“We’ll see.”

The Alden children looked at one another. They knew “we’ll see” often meant “okay.”

As they drove along the Blue Ridge1 Parkway, Henry spotted2 a sign.

“‘Ruby3 Hollow Gem4 Mine and Resort,’” he read aloud. “‘Rock Hounds Welcome.’”

“A gem mine!” ten-year-old Violet exclaimed. “That sounds great! Can we go there?”

“It does sound interesting,” said Grandfather. “We’ll check it out.”

“Oh, boy!” Benny bounced in his seat. Then he asked, “What’s a rock hound? Is it a dog made of rocks?”

Henry laughed. “A rock hound is someone who collects rocks and minerals.” At fourteen, Henry was used to answering Benny’s questions.

They turned off the main highway, following signs that led them from one twisting road to another. Jessie worried they would never find the gem mine—or their way out again!

At last the thick woods parted to reveal a clearing. A large sign with a giant painted red jewel proclaimed they had arrived at Ruby Hollow.

Grandfather followed the driveway into a crowded parking lot. They got out of the car and walked up a flower-lined path to a series of wooden buildings. At the main building, a man in a cowboy hat opened the entrance door and waved them inside.

“Come in,” he said. “I’m Cecil Knight5, the owner of Ruby Hollow. I hope you plan to stay because we have lots to do here. Besides the mine, we have hiking trails, a restaurant, a museum, and a gem-cutting shop. I’ve got two cabins and a room left in the main building.”

“I didn’t realize so many people would be here,” said James Alden.

Cecil Knight tapped a poster on the wall in the lobby. “They come for the annual gem contest. It lasts a week. The person who finds the largest ruby by the end of the week wins first place. You’re just in time to take part!”

The children were looking at the framed photographs and newspaper clippings that hung on the wall. The pictures showed people holding red or blue stones. Some of the stones were pretty big.

“What do you win in the contest?” asked Henry.

“First place is a cash prize of one thousand dollars,” Mr. Knight replied. “Winners get their picture in the local paper. And our on-site jeweler will set the stone in the mounting of their choice. Solid gold, of course.”

Benny pointed6 to a photograph of a boy holding what looked like a big blue marble.

“Violet, will you take a picture of me with my marbles?” he said.

Mr. Knight chuckled7. “That’s not a marble, son. The boy in that photo was twelve years old. He found a 1,497-carat sapphire8 worth eleven thousand dollars.”

The children gasped9.

“Grandfather, can we stay?” Benny asked eagerly. He wanted to start digging for gems10 right away.

“I guess we’ll need those cabins and that room,” Grandfather told Mr. Knight. “The children will take the cabins. I’ll stay in the main building.”

“Come back to my office.” Mr. Knight led the way down a short hall.

Knotty-pine paneled walls were crowded with more photographs. But these pictures were older, in black and white instead of color.

While Grandfather registered, Benny studied a photo of two boys standing11 by a big wooden wheel. One boy grinned into the camera, but the other slouched with his hands in his pockets, frowning.

Once they were checked in, Mr. Knight explained some of the procedures.

“There’s a five-dollar entry fee for each person, every day you work on the flume line,” he said. “Buckets range in price from five dollars each up to fifty dollars for a family-sized bucket. All our specialty12 buckets are guaranteed to produce gemstones.”

Violet didn’t understand. “Don’t we go dig in the mine?”

“Ruby Hollow Mine closed fifty years ago,” Mr. Knight told her. “What we do is bulldoze ore from the creek13 and around the mine. There are plenty of stones in this region! If you look carefully, you can actually find rubies14 along the roads.”

“Wow!” said Benny. “Let’s go!”

“When you’re ready, go down to the flume,” said Cecil Knight. “Someone down there will get you started.”

“Let’s settle in first,” Grandfather said, taking the keys Mr. Knight handed him.

As they walked back to the car, Grandfather pointed out the two empty cabins. “There’s Garnet. And the one two doors down is Mica15.”

“What funny names for cabins,” commented Jessie.

“A garnet is a semiprecious gem,” said Henry, reading from a brochure. “And mica is a mineral. Why don’t Benny and I take Mica, and you girls can stay in Garnet.”

After retrieving16 their luggage from the trunk, the children went to their cabins.

Benny liked the one he was sharing with Henry. It had pine bunk17 beds and old-fashioned mining lamps hanging on the walls.

“Top bunk is mine!” he claimed.

“Okay,” said Henry. “I hope the girls aren’t unpacking18. I want to start looking for rubies.”

The girls did, too. They were waiting outside the boys’ cabin.

“Here comes Grandfather,” said Jessie. “Can we hunt for rubies now?”

James Alden glanced at the sun sinking behind the pines. “Well, it’s pretty late. But I’m just as eager as you are. Let’s go!”

They walked down a trail marked FLUME. At the end was a booth. Grandfather paid the entry fees to the girl inside.

“You get a complimentary19 bucket your first day,” she said, handing over a large bucket filled with dirt. “Good luck!”

The flume was directly ahead of them. A waterwheel turned wooden paddles, supplying a steady stream of fresh creek water that flowed through a long, V-shaped wooden trough. People lined both sides of the trough, sifting20 dirt in mesh-screened trays.

Near one end of the flume was a stack of mesh-bottomed trays.

Grandfather scanned the brochure. “We each take one of these trays. Then we’ll go work on the flume.”

“What’s a flume?” asked Benny.

“That long wooden thing with water going through it,” answered Grandfather. “The waterwheel keeps the water moving so you can rinse21 the dirt.”

Benny recognized the waterwheel as the wooden wheel in the photograph in Mr. Knight’s office.

The Aldens found places along the flume. People shifted to make room for them.

A young man with sandy hair and glasses smiled at Benny.

“Your first try at panning?” he asked.

Benny nodded, holding up his tray. “I want to find the biggest ruby in the world.”

The young man laughed. “Don’t we all. My name is Jonathan Merrill. I’ve been coming to Ruby Hollow every summer since I was in high school. I’m nearly out of college now, but I still like to come here.”

Grandfather introduced himself. “These are my grandchildren—Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. I’m afraid we’re all beginners.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Jonathan. “I’ll give you some pointers. First, don’t put too much ore on your tray.” He scooped22 some dirt from the bucket and dumped it onto each tray.

Benny wrinkled his nose. “How am I going to find a ruby in that mess?”

“Here comes the fun part,” Jonathan told him. “Dip your tray into the water, then rinse. See? Some of the mud washes down the flume.”

“But my tray is still muddy,” said Jessie.

“You have to keep rinsing23,” Jonathan instructed. “Rinse and then shift the rocks around. You have to do this until the water runs clear. Then you’ll be able to see the rocks that are left.”

The Aldens rinsed24 and tilted25 their trays, letting the muddy dirt wash away.

“Is this good enough?” Benny asked Jonathan.

“Not yet. Keep rinsing.”

After a while, Jonathan checked their trays. “Great! Now let’s see what you’ve got.” He sorted through the small stones in Violet’s tray first.

“I don’t see any rubies,” she said. “All I see are a bunch of rocks.”

“Rubies and sapphires26 don’t come out of the ground polished and cut like you see in jewelry27 stores,” Jonathan said. “They’re embedded28 in matrix, a rocky material. So they look like rocks at first.”

Jessie peered into her own tray. “If they look like rocks, how will we ever know we found a ruby?”

“There are clues to help you identify gems in the rough,” said Jonathan. “Visit the Ruby Hollow Gem Museum. There are displays to help you see what rubies and other gems look like with and without matrix.”

“I can see there’s more to this than we thought,” Grandfather said with a laugh.

“You’ll catch on fast.” Jonathan leaned over Grandfather’s tray and sorted swiftly through the stones. He held up a black rock. “This is obsidian29.”

“What do I have?” Benny asked.

Jonathan examined the stones in Benny’s tray. He dropped a tiny stone into Benny’s palm.

“Here’s a sapphire,” he said. “Nice going!”

“A sapphire!” Benny cried.

Jessie’s and Violet’s trays contained pretty chunks30 of pink quartz31. Henry’s tray yielded a nice-sized garnet.

“Not bad for your first day,” Jonathan pronounced.

Benny put his sapphire in his pocket. “Rock-hunting makes me hungry!”

Grandfather laughed. “Everything makes you hungry. But it is dinnertime.”

“I’ll walk with you up to the restaurant,” said Jonathan. They all turned in their trays and washed up at the old-fashioned outdoor pump.

The restaurant was inside the main building. Outside the entrance, the menu was written on a chalkboard. Guests dined family-style at the big pine tables.

Jonathan and the Aldens sat down.

They were soon joined by a woman around Grandfather’s age and a dark-haired man wearing sunglasses and a white cotton shirt.

“I’m Sybil Finley,” the elderly woman at the table said. She wore a white oversized man’s shirt and carried a straw hat. “I saw Jonathan helping32 you on the flume.”

“Is this your first day, too?” Benny wanted to know. He popped a hush33 puppy in his mouth, enjoying the crunchy sweetness of fried cornmeal and onion.

Sybil grinned at him. “Not hardly. I’ve been a rock hound my whole life. I’ve been to every gem mine around. But I keep coming back to Ruby Hollow.”

“What brings you back?” Grandfather asked.

“Well, it’s the only mine that has star rubies,” replied Sybil. “And I also enjoy the contest.”

“You might as well go home, Sybil,” the dark-haired man spoke34 up, pulling off his sunglasses. “I’m going to win that contest.”


1 ridge KDvyh     
  • We clambered up the hillside to the ridge above.我们沿着山坡费力地爬上了山脊。
  • The infantry were advancing to attack the ridge.步兵部队正在向前挺进攻打山脊。
2 spotted 7FEyj     
  • The milkman selected the spotted cows,from among a herd of two hundred.牛奶商从一群200头牛中选出有斑点的牛。
  • Sam's shop stocks short spotted socks.山姆的商店屯积了有斑点的短袜。
3 ruby iXixS     
  • She is wearing a small ruby earring.她戴着一枚红宝石小耳环。
  • On the handle of his sword sat the biggest ruby in the world.他的剑柄上镶有一颗世上最大的红宝石。
4 gem Ug8xy     
n.宝石,珠宝;受爱戴的人 [同]jewel
  • The gem is beyond my pocket.这颗宝石我可买不起。
  • The little gem is worth two thousand dollars.这块小宝石价值两千美元。
5 knight W2Hxk     
  • He was made an honourary knight.他被授予荣誉爵士称号。
  • A knight rode on his richly caparisoned steed.一个骑士骑在装饰华丽的马上。
6 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
7 chuckled 8ce1383c838073977a08258a1f3e30f8     
轻声地笑( chuckle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She chuckled at the memory. 想起这件事她就暗自发笑。
  • She chuckled softly to herself as she remembered his astonished look. 想起他那惊讶的表情,她就轻轻地暗自发笑。
8 sapphire ETFzw     
  • Now let us consider crystals such as diamond or sapphire.现在让我们考虑象钻石和蓝宝石这样的晶体。
  • He left a sapphire ring to her.他留给她一枚蓝宝石戒指。
9 gasped e6af294d8a7477229d6749fa9e8f5b80     
v.喘气( gasp的过去式和过去分词 );喘息;倒抽气;很想要
  • She gasped at the wonderful view. 如此美景使她惊讶得屏住了呼吸。
  • People gasped with admiration at the superb skill of the gymnasts. 体操运动员的高超技艺令人赞叹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
10 gems 74ab5c34f71372016f1770a5a0bf4419     
growth; economy; management; and customer satisfaction 增长
  • a crown studded with gems 镶有宝石的皇冠
  • The apt citations and poetic gems have adorned his speeches. 贴切的引语和珠玑般的诗句为他的演说词增添文采。
11 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
12 specialty SrGy7     
  • Shell carvings are a specialty of the town.贝雕是该城的特产。
  • His specialty is English literature.他的专业是英国文学。
13 creek 3orzL     
  • He sprang through the creek.他跳过小河。
  • People sunbathe in the nude on the rocks above the creek.人们在露出小溪的岩石上裸体晒日光浴。
14 rubies 534be3a5d4dab7c1e30149143213b88f     
红宝石( ruby的名词复数 ); 红宝石色,深红色
  • a necklace of rubies intertwined with pearls 缠着珍珠的红宝石项链
  • The crown was set with precious jewels—diamonds, rubies and emeralds. 王冠上镶嵌着稀世珍宝—有钻石、红宝石、绿宝石。
15 mica gjZyj     
  • It could not pass through material impervious to water such as mica.它不能通过云母这样的不透水的物质。
  • Because of its layered structure,mica is fissile.因为是层状结构,云母很容易分成片。
16 retrieving 4eccedb9b112cd8927306f44cb2dd257     
n.检索(过程),取还v.取回( retrieve的现在分词 );恢复;寻回;检索(储存的信息)
  • Ignoring all, he searches the ground carefully for any cigarette-end worth retrieving. 没管打锣的说了什么,他留神的在地上找,看有没有值得拾起来的烟头儿。 来自汉英文学 - 骆驼祥子
  • Retrieving the nodules from these great depths is no easy task. 从这样的海底深渊中取回结核可不是容易的事情。 来自辞典例句
17 bunk zWyzS     
  • He left his bunk and went up on deck again.他离开自己的铺位再次走到甲板上。
  • Most economists think his theories are sheer bunk.大多数经济学家认为他的理论纯属胡说。
18 unpacking 4cd1f3e1b7db9c6a932889b5839cdd25     
n.取出货物,拆包[箱]v.从(包裹等)中取出(所装的东西),打开行李取出( unpack的现在分词 );拆包;解除…的负担;吐露(心事等)
  • Joe sat on the bed while Martin was unpacking. 马丁打开箱子取东西的时候,乔坐在床上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • They are unpacking a trunk. 他们正在打开衣箱。 来自《简明英汉词典》
19 complimentary opqzw     
  • She made some highly complimentary remarks about their school.她对他们的学校给予高度的评价。
  • The supermarket operates a complimentary shuttle service.这家超市提供免费购物班车。
20 sifting 6c53b58bc891cb3e1536d7f574e1996f     
n.筛,过滤v.筛( sift的现在分词 );筛滤;细查;详审
  • He lay on the beach, sifting the sand through his fingers. 他躺在沙滩上用手筛砂子玩。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I was sifting the cinders when she came in. 她进来时,我正在筛煤渣。 来自辞典例句
21 rinse BCozs     
  • Give the cup a rinse.冲洗一下杯子。
  • Don't just rinse the bottles. Wash them out carefully.别只涮涮瓶子,要仔细地洗洗里面。
22 scooped a4cb36a9a46ab2830b09e95772d85c96     
v.抢先报道( scoop的过去式和过去分词 );(敏捷地)抱起;抢先获得;用铲[勺]等挖(洞等)
  • They scooped the other newspapers by revealing the matter. 他们抢先报道了这件事。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The wheels scooped up stones which hammered ominously under the car. 车轮搅起的石块,在车身下发出不吉祥的锤击声。 来自《简明英汉词典》
23 rinsing cc80e70477186de83e96464130c222ba     
n.清水,残渣v.漂洗( rinse的现在分词 );冲洗;用清水漂洗掉(肥皂泡等);(用清水)冲掉
  • Pablo made a swishing noise rinsing wine in his mouth. 巴勃罗用酒漱着口,发出咕噜噜噜的声音。 来自辞典例句
  • The absorption of many molecular layers could be reestablished by rinsing the foils with tap water. 多分子层的吸附作用可用自来水淋洗金属箔而重新实现。 来自辞典例句
24 rinsed 637d6ed17a5c20097c9dbfb69621fd20     
v.漂洗( rinse的过去式和过去分词 );冲洗;用清水漂洗掉(肥皂泡等);(用清水)冲掉
  • She rinsed out the sea water from her swimming-costume. 她把游泳衣里的海水冲洗掉。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The clothes have been rinsed three times. 衣服已经洗了三和。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
25 tilted 3gtzE5     
v. 倾斜的
  • Suddenly the boat tilted to one side. 小船突然倾向一侧。
  • She tilted her chin at him defiantly. 她向他翘起下巴表示挑衅。
26 sapphires 1ef1ba0a30d3a449deb9835f6fd3c316     
n.蓝宝石,钢玉宝石( sapphire的名词复数 );蔚蓝色
  • Again there was that moment of splintered sapphires before the lids, dropping like scales, extinguished it. 她眼眶中又闪烁出蓝宝石的光彩,接着眼睑象鱼鳞般地垂落下来,双目又黯然失色了。 来自辞典例句
  • She also sported a somewhat gawdy gold watch set with diamonds and sapphires. 她还收到一块镶着钻石和蓝宝石的金表。 来自辞典例句
27 jewelry 0auz1     
  • The burglars walked off with all my jewelry.夜盗偷走了我的全部珠宝。
  • Jewelry and lace are mostly feminine belongings.珠宝和花边多数是女性用品。
28 embedded lt9ztS     
  • an operation to remove glass that was embedded in his leg 取出扎入他腿部玻璃的手术
  • He has embedded his name in the minds of millions of people. 他的名字铭刻在数百万人民心中。
29 obsidian SIsxs     
  • Obsidian is sacred to the Maoris.黑曜石是毛利人的神圣之物。
  • Once you have enough obsidian,activate the idols.一旦你有足够的黑曜石,激活神像。
30 chunks a0e6aa3f5109dc15b489f628b2f01028     
厚厚的一块( chunk的名词复数 ); (某物)相当大的数量或部分
  • a tin of pineapple chunks 一罐菠萝块
  • Those chunks of meat are rather large—could you chop them up a bIt'smaller? 这些肉块相当大,还能再切小一点吗?
31 quartz gCoye     
  • There is a great deal quartz in those mountains.那些山里蕴藏着大量石英。
  • The quartz watch keeps good time.石英表走时准。
32 helping 2rGzDc     
  • 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。
33 hush ecMzv     
  • A hush fell over the onlookers.旁观者们突然静了下来。
  • Do hush up the scandal!不要把这丑事声张出去!
34 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。
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