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AMERICAN STORIES - The Californian's Tale

时间:2006-05-09 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:yeying0716   字体: [ ]
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AMERICAN STORIES - The Californian's Tale

By Mark Twain

Broadcast: Saturday, December 10, 2005

ANNOUNCER2: Now, the weekly Special English program, AMERICAN STORIES.

(MUSIC)

Our story today is called "The Californian's Tale." It was written by Mark Twain. Here is Shep O'Neal with the story.

STORYTELLER: When I was young, I went looking for gold in California1. I never found enough to make me rich. But I did discover a beautiful part of the country. It was called "the Stanislau." The Stanislau was like Heaven on Earth. It had bright green hills and deep forests where soft winds touched the trees.

Other men, also looking for gold, had reached the Stanislau hills of California many years before I did. They had built a town in the valley with sidewalks and stores, banks and schools. They had also built pretty little houses for their families.

At first, they found a lot of gold in the Stanislau hills. But their good luck did not last. After a few years, the gold disappeared. By the time I reached the Stanislau, all the people were gone, too.

Grass now grew in the streets. And the little houses were covered by wild rose bushes3. Only the sound of insects filled the air as I walked through the empty town that summer day so long ago. Then, I realized I was not alone after all.

A man was smiling at me as he stood in front of one of the little houses. This house was not covered by wild rose bushes. A nice little garden in front of the house was full of blue and yellow flowers. White curtains hung from the windows and floated in the soft summer wind.

Still smiling, the man opened the door of his house and motioned5 to me. I went inside and could not believe my eyes. I had been living for weeks in rough4 mining camps with other gold miners7. We slept on the hard ground, ate canned beans from cold metal plates and spent our days in the difficult search for gold.

Here in this little house, my spirit seemed to come to life again.

I saw a bright rug8 on the shining wooden floor. Pictures hung all around the room. And on little tables there were seashells9, books and china vases10 full of flowers. A woman had made this house into a home.

The pleasure I felt in my heart must have shown on my face. The man read my thoughts. "Yes," he smiled, "it is all her work. Everything in this room has felt the touch of her hand."

One of the pictures on the wall was not hanging straight. He noticed it and went to fix it. He stepped back several times to make sure the picture was really straight. Then he gave it a gentle touch with his hand.

"She always does that," he explained to me. "It is like the finishing pat11 a mother gives her child's hair after she has brushed it. I have seen her fix all these things so often that I can do it just the way she does. I don't know why I do it. I just do it."

As he talked, I realized there was something in this room that he wanted me to discover. I looked around. When my eyes reached a corner of the room near the fireplace12, he broke into a happy laugh and rubbed his hands together.

"That's it!" he cried out. "You have found it! I knew you would. It is her picture. I went to a little black shelf that held a small picture of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. There was a sweetness and softness in the woman's expression that I had never seen before.

The man took the picture from my hands and stared at it. "She was nineteen on her last birthday. That was the day we were married. When you see her…oh, just wait until you meet her!"

"Where is she now?" I asked.

"Oh, she is away," the man sighed, putting the picture back on the little black shelf. "She went to visit her parents. They live forty or fifty miles from here. She has been gone two weeks today."

"When will she be back?" I asked. "Well, this is Wednesday," he said slowly. "She will be back on Saturday, in the evening."

I felt a sharp sense of regret. "I am sorry, because I will be gone by then," I said.

"Gone? No! Why should you go? Don't go. She will be so sorry. You see, she likes to have people come and stay with us."

"No, I really must leave," I said firmly.

He picked up her picture and held it before my eyes. "Here," he said. "Now you tell her to her face that you could have stayed to meet her and you would not."

Something made me change my mind as I looked at the picture for a second time. I decided13 to stay.

The man told me his name was Henry.

That night, Henry and I talked about many different things, but mainly about her. The next day passed quietly.

Thursday evening we had a visitor. He was a big, grey-haired miner6 named Tom. "I just came for a few minutes to ask when she is coming home," he explained. "Is there any news?"

"Oh yes," the man replied. "I got a letter. Would you like to hear it? He took a yellowed letter out of his shirt pocket and read it to us. It was full of loving messages to him and to other people – their close friends and neighbors. When the man finished reading it, he looked at his friend. "Oh no, you are doing it again, Tom! You always cry when I read a letter from her. I'm going to tell her this time!"

"No, you must not do that, Henry," the grey-haired miner said. "I am getting old. And any little sorrow14 makes me cry. I really was hoping she would be here tonight."

The next day, Friday, another old miner came to visit. He asked to hear the letter. The message in it made him cry, too. "We all miss her so much," he said.

Saturday finally came. I found I was looking at my watch very often. Henry noticed this. "You don't think something has happened to her, do you?" he asked me.

I smiled and said that I was sure she was just fine. But he did not seem satisfied15.

I was glad to see his two friends, Tom and Joe, coming down the road as the sun began to set. The old miners were carrying guitars. They also brought flowers and a bottle of whiskey. They put the flowers in vases and began to play some fast and lively songs on their guitars.

Henry's friends kept giving him glasses of whiskey, which they made him drink. When I reached for one of the two glasses left on the table, Tom stopped my arm. "Drop that glass and take the other one!" he whispered16. He gave the remaining glass of whiskey to Henry just as the clock began to strike midnight.

Henry emptied the glass. His face grew whiter and whiter. "Boys," he said, "I am feeling sick. I want to lie down."

Henry was asleep almost before the words were out of his mouth.

In a moment, his two friends had picked him up and carried him into the bedroom. They closed the door and came back. They seemed to be getting ready to leave. So I said, "Please don't go gentlemen. She will not know me. I am a stranger to her."

They looked at each other. "His wife has been dead for nineteen years," Tom said.

"Dead?" I whispered.

"Dead or worse," he said.

"She went to see her parents about six months after she got married. On her way back, on a Saturday evening in June, when she was almost here, the Indians captured17 her. No one ever saw her again. Henry lost his mind. He thinks she is still alive. When June comes, he thinks she has gone on her trip to see her parents. Then he begins to wait for her to come back. He gets out that old letter. And we come around to visit so he can read it to us.

"On the Saturday night she is supposed to come home, we come here to be with him. We put a sleeping drug in his drink so he will sleep through the night. Then he is all right for another year."

Joe picked up his hat and his guitar. "We have done this every June for nineteen years," he said. "The first year there were twenty-seven of us. Now just the two of us are left." He opened the door of the pretty little house. And the two old men disappeared into the darkness of the Stanislau.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: You have just heard the story "The Californian's Tale." It was written by Mark Twain and adapted for Special English by Donna de Sanctis. Your storyteller was Shep O'Neal. For VOA Special English, this is Shirley Griffith. 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 California FxizMX     
n.加利福尼亚(美国)
参考例句:
  • He was elected governor of the state of California.他当选为加州州长。
  • We were driving on a California freeway.我们正沿着加利福尼亚的一条快车道驾车行驶。
2 announcer FVqzB     
n.宣布者;电(视)台播音员,报幕员
参考例句:
  • The radio announcer said it was nine o'clock.电台播音员报时9点整。
  • The announcer tells the listeners what programme comes next.广播员告诉听众下一个是什么节目。
3 bushes 34aa67dd9b2ec411c4fcb7109a0f5922     
n.灌木(丛)( bush的名词复数 );[机械学](金属)衬套;[电学](绝缘)套管;类似灌木的东西(尤指浓密的毛发或皮毛)
参考例句:
  • There was someone skulking behind the bushes. 有人藏在灌木后面。
  • The boy chased his sister in and out among the bushes. 那个男孩在灌木丛里跟着他姐姐追过来追过去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 rough BXRxI     
adj.粗糙的;粗略的,大致的;粗野的,粗暴的
参考例句:
  • It's just a very rough translation.这只是一篇非常粗糙的译稿。
  • His reply was a bit rough.他的答复过于粗鲁了一点。
5 motioned fc6cd66a5526f19cd714c2bcd23563a0     
vt.打手势(motion的过去式与过去分词形式)
参考例句:
  • When the doorman motioned them away, they took no notice. 当门卫示意让他们离开时,他们没注意。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He motioned me to a seat. 他示意我坐下。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 miner FoWzXv     
n.矿工
参考例句:
  • He was a miner all his working life.他一辈子都是矿工。
  • I think it is dangerous to be a miner.我认为当矿工是很危险的。
7 miners ab724571593ef029832491cee13a1e44     
矿工( miner的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The coal miners have come out for about two weeks. 煤矿工人已罢工约两周了。
  • The roof of the cave dropped in on the miners, trapping them. 洞穴的顶部坍了下来,砸在矿工身上。
8 rug nSfzY     
n.毯子,地毯,旅行毯
参考例句:
  • The rug can double up.这条地毯能卷起来。
  • It will be more beautiful if you work some blue into the rug.如果你再织些蓝色的图案,这毯子会更好看。
9 seashells f5ba1b4ae3f54909b7d746c23df2a073     
贝壳,海洋贝类(seashell的复数形式); 海中软体动物的壳,贝壳( seashell的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • My children love collecting seashells. 我的孩子们喜欢收集贝壳。
  • Dance the night away to the music of the Seashells. 听着远方海贝壳的音乐跳舞。 来自超越目标英语 第1册
10 vases a9dbe28cd69c2761242054f3b2ac936b     
n.装饰瓶,花瓶( vase的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • There were lilies everywhere in tall white porcelain vases. 高高的白色瓷瓶上绘满了百合花。 来自辞典例句
  • Bases of some broken vases show signs of long use. 从一些破碎的花瓶的瓶底可以看得出有长久使用过的痕迹。 来自辞典例句
11 pat 8vhyZ     
n.轻拍,拍打声;vt.轻拍,拍打;vi.轻跑,轻击;adv.适时,彻底;adj.油腔滑调的,恰好的,合适的
参考例句:
  • Could you hear the pat?你能听到轻轻的拍击声吗?
  • He gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. 他轻拍了一下她的肩膀让她放心。
12 fireplace YjUxz     
n.壁炉,炉灶
参考例句:
  • The fireplace smokes badly.这壁炉冒烟太多。
  • I think we should wall up the fireplace.我想应该封住壁炉。
13 decided lvqzZd     
adj.决定了的,坚决的;明显的,明确的
参考例句:
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
14 sorrow owBwI     
n.悲哀;悲痛
参考例句:
  • It helps to share your sorrow with someone else.向他人诉说你的痛苦对你是有益的。
  • I think she did it more in sorrow than in anger.我觉得她这样做更多是出于悲哀而不是愤恨。
15 satisfied YjLzFT     
adj.满意的,满足的;清偿过的;确信的,毫无疑问的v.使满意( satisfy的过去式和过去分词)
参考例句:
  • She's never satisfied with what she's got. 她对自己的所得从不感到满足。
  • He had a self-satisfied smirk on his face. 他脸上挂着得意扬扬的笑容。
16 whispered ac3eda029cd72fefda0d32abc42aa001     
adj.耳语的,低语的v.低声说( whisper的过去式和过去分词 );私语;小声说;私下说
参考例句:
  • She sidled up to me and whispered something in my ear. 她悄悄走上前来,对我耳语了几句。
  • His ill luck has been whispered about the neighborhood. 他的不幸遭遇已在邻居中传开。 来自《简明英汉词典》
17 captured 2f77656f4c6180990cee5ce65bdefe74     
俘获( capture的过去式和过去分词 ); 夺取; 夺得; 引起(注意、想像、兴趣)
参考例句:
  • Allied troops captured over 300 enemy soldiers. 盟军俘虏了300多名敌方士兵。
  • Most of the rebels were captured and disarmed. 大部分叛乱分子被俘获并解除了武装。
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TAG标签:   american story  californian  tal
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