酷兔英语



The Story of Antony Grace

By George Manville Fenn

Illustrations by Gordon Browne

Published by D. Appleton and Company, New York.

This edition dated 1888.

The Story of Antony Grace, by George Manville Fenn.

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THE STORY OF ANTONY GRACE, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

THE MAN IN POSSESSION.

Mr Rowle came the day after the funeral, walking straight in, and,

nodding to cook, who opened the door, hung up his shabby hat in the

hall. Then, to my surprise, he took it down again, and after gazing

into it as Mr Blakeford used to do in his when he came over to our

church, he turned it round, made an offer as if about to put it on wrong

way first, reconsidered the matter, put it on in the regular way, and as

it seemed to me drew his sword.

But it was not his sword, only a very long clay pipe which he had been

carrying up his left sleeve, with the bowl in his hand. Then, thrusting

the said hand into his tail-pocket, he brought out a little roll of

tobacco, upon which was printed, as I afterwards saw, a small woodcut,

and the conundrum, "When is a door not a door?"

"Ho!" said cook; "I suppose you're the--"

"That's just what I am, my dear," said the stranger, interrupting her;

"and my name's Rowle. Introduced by Mr Blakeford; and just fetch me a

light."

"Which you'd best fetch this gentleman a light, Master Antony," said

cook; "for I ain't going to bemean myself."

As she spoke she made a sort of whirlwind in the hall, and whisked

herself out of the place, slamming the door at the end quite loudly.

"Waxey!" said Mr Rowle, looking hard at me, and shutting one eye in a

peculiar way. "Got a light, young un?"

"Yes," I said, feeling sorry that cook should have been so rude to the

visitor; and as I hurried into the study to get a match out of the

little bronze stand, and lit the curled-up wax taper that my father used

to seal his particular letters, I found that Mr Rowle had followed me,

tucking little bits of tobacco in the pipe-bowl as he came.

He then proceeded to look about, stooped down and punched the big

leather-covered chair, uttered a grunt, took the taper, lit his pipe,

and began to smoke.

"Now then, squire," he said, "suppose you and I have a look round."

There was such a calm at-homeness about him that the thought struck me

that he must somehow belong to the place now; and I gazed at him with a

feeling akin to awe.

He was a little man in a loose coat, and his face put me greatly in mind

of the cover of a new spelling-book. He was dressed in black, and his

tail-coat had an enormously high collar, which seemed to act as a screen

to the back of his half-bald head when he sat down, as he did

frequently, to try the different chairs or sofas. It never struck me

that the coat might have been made for another man, but that he had had

it shaped to come down to the tips of his fingers, and so keep him warm.

When he had taken off his hat I had noticed that his hair lay in

streaks across the top of his head, and the idea occurred to me that his

name might be Jacob, because he was in other respects so smooth.

I followed Mr Rowle as he proceeded to have what he called "a look

round," and this consisted in going from room to room, in every one of

which he kept his hat on, and stood smoking as he gradually turned his

eyes on everything it contained, ending with a grunt as of satisfaction

at what he saw.

Every room was taken in turn, even to the kitchen, where our entry

caused a sudden cessation of the conversation round the tea-table, and

the servants turned away their heads with a look of contempt.

"That'll do," said Mr Rowle quietly; then, "Mary, my dear, you can

bring me my tea in the study."

No one answered, and as we went back I remember thinking that if Mr

Rowle was to be the new master at Cedar Hill he would soon send our old

servants away. He walked back, smoking all the time, and seated himself

in my father's chair, staring hard at me the while.

"Shut the door, young un," he said at last, and when I had obeyed, "sit

down, and make your miserable life happy."

My face began to work, and I had to battle hard to keep back the tears,

as for a few minutes I could not speak, but sat there feeling sure Mr

Rowle must think me sulky and strange; and it troubled me, for the old

man seemed disposed to be kind.

"Poor boy!" he said all at once, and his voice seemed to me to come out

of a cloud of smoke; "so you've lost both your father and your mother?"

"Yes, sir!" I said piteously.

"Hah! so have I," said Mr Rowle, and he went on smoking.

I was thinking as I tried to stare at him through the smoke, that this

must have been a very long time ago, when he quite startled me by

seeming to read my thoughts, as he said suddenly:

"Yes; that's a long time ago."

"Yes, sir; I thought it must be," I ventured to say; and then there was

a long silence, during which I sat there wanting to go away, but not

daring to stir, lest Mr Rowle should think me rude, and still he smoked

on.

"I say, young un," he exclaimed, making me start out of a reverie, in

which I was thinking how vexed mamma would have been to see Mr Rowle

smoking in all the bedrooms, "s'pose you'd just come here to stop, which

room should you sleep in?"

"The blue room's the biggest and the best, sir," I said, "but I like the

little pink room the most."

"Hah! then the pink room it must be," he said, sending out such a long

puff of smoke that I wondered how his mouth could have held it all. "I

say, young un, ain't it time Mary brought up my tea?"

"It's past tea-time ever so much," I said, "and her name's Jane."

He took hold of an old brass key hanging at the end of a thin steel

chain, and dragged out a very big old silver watch, looked at it, shook

it, and held it to his ear, and then lowered it down once more into its

particular pocket.

"Then Mary--Jane won't bring it," said Mr Rowle.

As he spoke the door opened, and Jane, our housemaid, exclaimed sharply,

"Now, Master Antony, I want you;" and I rose and followed her into the

dining-room, where my solitary tea was spread out for me. I stood

gazing at it when she left me in a miserabledejected way, for I felt as

if I could not eat, and as if the tea when I poured it out would be

bitter and salt as my tears; and then I began to think about Mr Rowle,

and stole to the door, opened it, and stood listening to the laughing

and talking in the kitchen.

"I wonder whether they will take Mr Rowle his tea," I thought; and I

leaned against the door, listening still, but there was no sign of any

preparation. The strong smoke crept out into the hall, and in

imagination I could see the little yellow man sitting back and smoking

in the chair always used by my father.

At last I summoned up my courage and went to the study door, opened it,

and asked Mr Rowle if he would come and have some tea.

"I will that!" he said with alacrity; "I never despise my beer, but a

cup o' tea's my reglar drink."

He followed me into the dining-room, and we sat down, I feeling very

awkward, especially as Mr Rowle leaned across, lifted the pot, and gave

me his peculiar wink.

"Silver?" he said.

"Yes, sir; and the coffee-pot and basin and jug too," I replied.

"Hah! yes."

It was very awkward, for there was only one teacup and saucer, and I did

not like to ring for another; so I filled that and passed it to Mr

Rowle, who sat smoking all the while.

"Thankye!" he said, nodding, and he was about to pour it into the saucer

when he stopped short. "Hallo!" he said, "where's your'n?"

"I--I have not got another cup," I stammered.

"Worse disasters at sea!" he said. "Never mind; look ye here, I'll have

the saucer and you have the cup," and pouring out the tea, he passed me

back the cup, and the meal went on.

For the first time since his arrival Mr Rowle laid down his pipe, and

after hewing off a great piece of bread, he proceeded to cut it up in

little cubes, all six sides of which he buttered before he ate them,

while I contented myself with a modest slice or two, for my appetite was

gone.

It was a doleful meal, but he seemed to enjoy it, and after partaking of

five or six saucerfuls he nodded at me again, took up and refilled his

pipe, and then walked back to the study, where he sat smoking till ten

o'clock, when he went up to bed.

I'm afraid that I was a very ignorant boy. Perhaps not so in the

ordinary sense of the word ignorant, for I had been fairly educated, and

besides being pretty forward with my Latin, I could have written a

letter or carried on a decent conversation in French; but, living in a

secluded part of the country, I was very ignorant about the matters of

ordinary every-day life, and I found it hard to understand how it was

that Mr Blakeford, the lawyer, should be allowed to do just as he

pleased in our old house.

The terrible misfortunes that had come, one after the other, had seemed

to stun me and take away my breath. One day we seemed to be all so

happy together, and I was sitting reading to my invalid mother in the

pleasant old room opening on to the lawn. And the next day I was

holding my throbbing head in my bedroom, after crying till it ached as

if about to split, while I tried again and again to believe that it was

all some dreadful dream, that my father had been carried home dead,

killed in an instant by a fall from his horse, and that my mother lay

beside him in the darkened room, silent too in death, for the shock had

been too great for her delicate frame.

All that followed seemed to me dreamlike and strange--the darkened house

and the rustling sounds of the black dresses that were made for the

servants; my own new black things and stiff black hat; the terrible

stillness of the place, and the awe with which I used to gaze at the

closed room upstairs; and lastly that dreadful darkest day when I was

the companion of Mr Blakeford and an old uncle in the mourning coach

which followed the hearse with its nodding plumes to the grave.

I wanted to be alone and sit and think, but those about me seemed to

consider that it was their duty to try and comfort and cheer me in my

affliction, when all they did was to worry me and make me more wretched

than before. It troubled me, too, terribly, that people should think me

callous and indifferent to my loss, when all the time my heart was

throbbing, and I felt a sensation of desolation and misery that I tried

my best to conceal.

I remember going on tiptoe towards the dining-room on the day of the

funeral, dreading lest my new boots should make a noise, when, as I

reached the mat at the door, I stopped short, for my uncle was saying

roughly--

"Don't seem to trouble _him_ much."

"No, of course not," Mr Blakeford replied. "What can you expect? I

dare say he's thinking more of his new black clothes."

I had to clench my hands and bite my lips to keep from bursting out into

a passionate fit of weeping, and I stood there for some minutes, unable

to move, as I heard all that was said.

"Well, it's no business of mine," said my uncle. "It was his own

money."

"Yes," said Mr Blakeford, with a sigh. "I was his legal adviser, but

he would not be advised."

"Never would," said my uncle. "All he thought of was catching

butterflies and drying weeds in blotting-paper."

"But he was a good man," said Mr Blakeford.

"Bah! good? What, to plunge into speculation and ruin himself?"

"We are none of us perfect," said Mr Blakeford.

"Who wants to be?" said my uncle. "Well, I wash my hands of the whole

affair. You know where I am if you want me. He was never like a

brother to me. I will do as you said."

"Yes," said Mr Blakeford, "of course. You may trust me, Mr Grace."

"I don't trust anybody," said my uncle, just as one of the servants,

coming along the passage, said kindly--

"Why don't you go in, Master Tony?"

There was a sudden movement of a chair, and I saw Mr Blakeford come

forward and look at me curiously as I entered in a shamefaced way. Then

he exchanged glances with my uncle, and my heart sank as I felt that

they both suspected me of having been listening on the mat.

It was only at nights when I was alone in my own room that I could cry

as a half heart-broken boy of eleven can cry in the desolation of his

heart. My uncle had gone away the day after the funeral, telling me

shortly that I must be a man now, and mind what Mr Blakeford said; and

Mr Blakeford had looked at me in his peculiar way, tightening his thin

lips, and smiling strangely, but saying nothing.

I knew that some arrangements had been made about my future, but though

I was the person most concerned, every one seemed to consider that I was

only a boy, and no explanation was vouchsafed. So it was, then, that I

rambled about the house and grounds almost alone, growing more and more

thoughtful and wretched as the change oppressed me like a weight of

lead.

As the days went on, though, and the first passionate feelings of grief

gave way to a strange sense of despair, I began to take notice of what

was passing around me. It seemed as if the servants in their new black

dresses looked upon the change as a holiday. They had frequent

visitors; there seemed to be always a kind of lunch in progress, and as

I sat alone of an evening I could often hear laughter from the kitchen;

and at last, unable to bear the solitude, I used to go into the study

and sit down and stare at Mr Rowle.

It was not cheerful, even there, for Mr Rowle used to sit and stare at

me. We rarely spoke. Still, it was company, and the old man did

sometimes give me a nod, and say, in allusion to a burst of mirth from

the kitchen--

"They're keeping the game alive, young un?"

CHAPTER TWO.

MR ROWLE AND I BECOME FRIENDS.

As I have said, in the days that followed, I used, when feeling very

lonely, to go and sit and stare at Mr Rowle and he at me. Few words

were spoken, but quite a friendship sprang up between us, and by degrees

I learned what his position really was--that of man in possession,

placed there by Mr Blakeford.

Mr Rowle was not an active busy man, but somehow he had a way with him

that seemed to take charge of everything in the house. I verily believe

that in a few moments he made a mental inventory of the contents of the

room, and he quite offended Jane one morning by ringing the blue-room

bell.

I was with him at the time, and after the ring had been twice repeated,

Jane came bouncing upstairs, and, quite ignoring the presence of Mr

Rowle, addressed herself sharply to me.

"I'm surprised at you, Master Antony, ringing the bells like that,

knowing how busy I am. Whatever do you want?"

"It was me as rung, Jane, my dear," said Mr Rowle. "What's gone of

those two little chayney candlesticks off this table?"


生词表:
  • funeral [´fju:nərəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.葬礼,丧葬;困难   (初中英语单词)
  • sleeve [sli:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.袖子;袖套   (初中英语单词)
  • tobacco [tə´bækəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.烟草(叶);卷烟   (初中英语单词)
  • collar [´kɔlə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.衣领;(狗等的)项圈   (初中英语单词)
  • miserable [´mizərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.悲惨的;可怜的   (初中英语单词)
  • despise [di´spaiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.轻视,藐视   (初中英语单词)
  • peculiar [pi´kju:liə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.特有的;奇异的   (初中英语单词)
  • arrival [ə´raivəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.到达;到达的人(物)   (初中英语单词)
  • modest [´mɔdist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.谦虚的;朴素的   (初中英语单词)
  • appetite [´æpitait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.欲望;食欲   (初中英语单词)
  • ignorant [´ignərənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无知的,愚昧的   (初中英语单词)
  • lawyer [´lɔ:jə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.律师;法学家   (初中英语单词)
  • breath [breθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.呼吸;气息   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • dreadful [´dredful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;讨厌的   (初中英语单词)
  • instant [´instənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.立即的 n.紧迫;瞬间   (初中英语单词)
  • delicate [´delikət] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精美的;微妙的   (初中英语单词)
  • companion [kəm´pæniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.同伴;同事;伴侣   (初中英语单词)
  • mourning [´mɔ:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.悲伤;治丧;戴孝   (初中英语单词)
  • terribly [´terəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.可怕地   (初中英语单词)
  • sensation [sen´seiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感觉;轰动;轰动一时   (初中英语单词)
  • misery [´mizəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.痛苦;悲惨;穷困   (初中英语单词)
  • clench [klentʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.握(拳头);捏紧   (初中英语单词)
  • plunge [plʌndʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.插进 n.投入;冲击   (初中英语单词)
  • movement [´mu:vmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.活动;运动;动作   (初中英语单词)
  • curiously [´kjuəriəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.好奇地;稀奇古怪地   (初中英语单词)
  • strangely [´streindʒli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.奇怪地;陌生地   (初中英语单词)
  • explanation [,eksplə´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.解释;说明;辩解   (初中英语单词)
  • wretched [´retʃid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怜的;倒霉的   (初中英语单词)
  • despair [di´speə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.&n.绝望   (初中英语单词)
  • holiday [´hɔlidi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.假日,假期,节日   (初中英语单词)
  • laughter [´lɑ:ftə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.笑,笑声   (初中英语单词)
  • unable [ʌn´eibəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不能的;无能为力的   (初中英语单词)
  • cheerful [´tʃiəful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.快乐的;高兴的   (初中英语单词)
  • rarely [´reəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.难得;非凡地   (初中英语单词)
  • spoken [´spəukən] 移动到这儿单词发声  speak的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • sprang [spræŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  spring 的过去式   (初中英语单词)
  • charge [tʃɑ:dʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.收费;冲锋 n.费用   (初中英语单词)
  • mental [´mentl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.精神的;心理的   (初中英语单词)
  • contents [´kɔ:ntents] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.容纳物;要旨   (初中英语单词)
  • sharply [´ʃɑ:pli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.锋利地;剧烈地   (初中英语单词)
  • whatever [wɔt´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  pron.&a.无论什么   (初中英语单词)
  • edition [i´diʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.版本;很相似的   (高中英语单词)
  • shabby [´ʃæbi] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.(衣服)破旧的   (高中英语单词)
  • hurried [´hʌrid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.仓促的,慌忙的   (高中英语单词)
  • bronze [brɔnz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.青铜(器)   (高中英语单词)
  • ending [´endiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.结尾,结局   (高中英语单词)
  • hanging [´hæŋiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.绞刑 a.悬挂着的   (高中英语单词)
  • solitary [´sɔlitəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.独居的;孤独的   (高中英语单词)
  • awkward [´ɔ:kwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.笨拙的;为难的   (高中英语单词)
  • contented [kən´tentid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.满足的;心满意足的   (高中英语单词)
  • decent [´di:sənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.体面的,正派的   (高中英语单词)
  • indifferent [in´difrənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不关心的;中立的   (高中英语单词)
  • passionate [´pæʃənit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.易动情的;易怒的   (高中英语单词)
  • adviser [əd´vaizə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.顾问 =advisor   (高中英语单词)
  • speculation [,spekju´leiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.思索,推测;投机   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • concerned [kən´sə:nd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有关的;担心的   (高中英语单词)
  • solitude [´sɔlitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.孤独;寂寞;荒凉   (高中英语单词)
  • learned [´lə:nid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有学问的,博学的   (高中英语单词)
  • whirlwind [´wə:l,wind] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.旋风;猛烈的势力   (英语四级单词)
  • enormously [i´nɔ:məsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.巨大的,庞大的   (英语四级单词)
  • saucer [´sɔ:sə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.茶托;浅碟   (英语四级单词)
  • invalid [in´vælid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.病人 a.无效的   (英语四级单词)
  • upstairs [,ʌp´steəz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在楼上 a.楼上的   (英语四级单词)
  • lastly [´lɑ:stli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.最后,终于   (英语四级单词)
  • desolation [desə´leiʃ(ə)n] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.荒凉   (英语四级单词)
  • tiptoe [´tiptəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.脚尖 vi.踮着脚走   (英语四级单词)
  • allusion [ə´lu:ʒən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.暗指;提及;引喻   (英语四级单词)
  • verily [´verili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.真实的;肯定地   (英语四级单词)
  • wanting [´wɔntiŋ, wɑ:n-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.短缺的;不足的   (英语六级单词)
  • dejected [di´dʒektid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.垂头丧气的   (英语六级单词)
  • doleful [´dəulful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.悲哀的;忧郁的   (英语六级单词)
  • weeping [´wi:piŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.哭泣(的)   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:47:23
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