Cousin Phillis


Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)

Philip Hermongenes Calderon (1833-98)

Broken Vows (1856)


It is a great thing for a lad when he is first turned into the

independence of lodgings. I do not think I ever was so satisfied and

proud in my life as when, at seventeen, I sate down in a little

three-cornered room above a pastry-cook's shop in the county town of

Eltham. My father had left me that afternoon, after delivering himself

of a few plain precepts, strongly expressed, for my guidance in the new

course of life on which I was entering. I was to be a clerk under the

engineer who had undertaken to make the little branch line from Eltham

to Hornby. My father had got me this situation, which was in a position

rather above his own in life; or perhaps I should say, above the

station in which he was born and bred; for he was raising himself every

year in men's consideration and respect. He was a mechanic by trade,

but he had some inventive genius, and a great deal of perseverance, and

had devised several valuable improvements in railway machinery. He did

not do this for profit, though, as was reasonable, what came in the

natural course of things was acceptable; he worked out his ideas,

because, as he said, 'until he could put them into shape, they plagued

him by night and by day.' But this is enough about my dear father; it

is a good thing for a country where there are many like him. He was a

sturdy Independent by descent and conviction; and this it was, I

believe, which made him place me in the lodgings at the pastry-cook's.

The shop was kept by the two sisters of our minister at home; and this

was considered as a sort of safeguard to my morals, when I was turned

loose upon the temptations of the county town, with a salary of thirty

pounds a year.

My father had given up two precious days, and put on his Sunday

clothes, in order to bring me to Eltham, and accompany me first to the

office, to introduce me to my new master (who was under some

obligations to my father for a suggestion), and next to take me to call

on the Independent minister of the little congregation at Eltham. And

then he left me; and though sorry to part with him, I now began to

taste with relish the pleasure of being my own master. I unpacked the

hamper that my mother had provided me with, and smelt the pots of

preserve with all the delight of a possessor who might break into their

contents at any time he pleased. I handled and weighed in my fancy the

home-cured ham, which seemed to promise me interminable feasts; and,

above all, there was the fine savour of knowing that I might eat of

these dainties when I liked, at my sole will, not dependent on the

pleasure of any one else, however indulgent. I stowed my eatables away

in the little corner cupboard--that room was all corners, and

everything was placed in a corner, the fire-place, the window, the

cupboard; I myself seemed to be the only thing in the middle, and there

was hardly room for me. The table was made of a folding leaf under the

window, and the window looked out upon the market-place; so the studies

for the prosecution of which my father had brought himself to pay extra

for a sitting-room for me, ran a considerable chance of being diverted

from books to men and women. I was to have my meals with the two

elderly Miss Dawsons in the little parlour behind the three-cornered

shop downstairs; my breakfasts and dinners at least, for, as my hours

in an evening were likely to be uncertain, my tea or supper was to be

an independent meal.

Then, after this pride and satisfaction, came a sense of desolation. I

had never been from home before, and I was an only child; and though my

father's spoken maxim had been, 'Spare the rod, and spoil the child',

yet, unconsciously, his heart had yearned after me, and his ways

towards me were more tender than he knew, or would have approved of in

himself could he have known. My mother, who never professed sternness,

was far more severe than my father: perhaps my boyish faults annoyed

her more; for I remember, now that I have written the above words, how

she pleaded for me once in my riper years, when I had really offended

against my father's sense of right.

But I have nothing to do with that now. It is about cousin Phillis that

I am going to write, and as yet I am far enough from even saying who

cousin Phillis was.

For some months after I was settled in Eltham, the new employment in

which I was engaged--the new independence of my life--occupied all my

thoughts. I was at my desk by eight o'clock, home to dinner at one,

back at the office by two. The afternoon work was more uncertain than

the morning's; it might be the same, or it might be that I had to

accompany Mr Holdsworth, the managing engineer, to some point on the

line between Eltham and Hornby. This I always enjoyed, because of the

variety, and because of the country we traversed (which was very wild

and pretty), and because I was thrown into companionship with Mr

Holdsworth, who held the position of hero in my boyish mind. He was a

young man of five-and-twenty or so, and was in a station above mine,

both by birth and education; and he had travelled on the Continent, and

wore mustachios and whiskers of a somewhat foreign fashion. I was proud

of being seen with him. He was really a fine fellow in a good number of

ways, and I might have fallen into much worse hands.

Every Saturday I wrote home, telling of my weekly doings--my father had

insisted upon this; but there was so little variety in my life that I

often found it hard work to fill a letter. On Sundays I went twice to

chapel, up a dark narrow entry, to hear droning hymns, and long

prayers, and a still longer sermon, preached to a small congregation,

of which I was, by nearly a score of years, the youngest member.

Occasionally, Mr Peters, the minister, would ask me home to tea after

the second service. I dreaded the honour, for I usually sate on the

edge of my chair all the evening, and answered solemn questions, put in

a deep bass voice, until household prayer-time came, at eight o'clock,

when Mrs Peters came in, smoothing down her apron, and the

maid-of-all-work followed, and first a sermon, and then a chapter was

read, and a long impromptu prayer followed, till some instinct told Mr

Peters that supper-time had come, and we rose from our knees with

hunger for our predominant feeling. Over supper the minister did unbend

a little into one or two ponderous jokes, as if to show me that

ministers were men, after all. And then at ten o'clock I went home, and

enjoyed my long-repressed yawns in the three-cornered room before going

to bed. Dinah and Hannah Dawson, so their names were put on the board

above the shop-door--I always called them Miss Dawson and Miss

Hannah--considered these visits of mine to Mr Peters as the greatest

honour a young man could have; and evidently thought that if after such

privileges, I did not work out my salvation, I was a sort of modern

Judas Iscariot. On the contrary, they shook their heads over my

intercourse with Mr Holdsworth. He had been so kind to me in many ways,

that when I cut into my ham, I hovered over the thought of asking him

to tea in my room, more especially as the annual fair was being held in

Eltham market-place, and the sight of the booths, the merry-go-rounds,

the wild-beast shows, and such country pomps, was (as I thought at

seventeen) very attractive. But when I ventured to allude to my wish in

even distant terms, Miss Hannah caught me up, and spoke of the

sinfulness of such sights, and something about wallowing in the mire,

and then vaulted into France, and spoke evil of the nation, and all who

had ever set foot therein, till, seeing that her anger was

concentrating itself into a point, and that that point was Mr

Holdsworth, I thought it would be better to finish my breakfast, and

make what haste I could out of the sound of her voice. I rather

wondered afterwards to hear her and Miss Dawson counting up their

weekly profits with glee, and saying that a pastry-cook's shop in the

corner of the market-place, in Eltham fair week, was no such bad thing.

However, I never ventured to ask Mr Holdsworth to my lodgings.

There is not much to tell about this first year of mine at Eltham. But

when I was nearly nineteen, and beginning to think of whiskers on my

own account, I came to know cousin Phillis, whose very existence had

been unknown to me till then. Mr Holdsworth and I had been out to

Heathbridge for a day, working hard. Heathbridge was near Hornby, for

our line of railway was above half finished. Of course, a day's outing

was a great thing to tell about in my weekly letters; and I fell to

describing the country--a fault I was not often guilty of. I told my

father of the bogs, all over wild myrtle and soft moss, and shaking

ground over which we had to carry our line; and how Mr Holdsworth and I

had gone for our mid-day meals--for we had to stay here for two days

and a night--to a pretty village hard by, Heathbridge proper; and how I

hoped we should often have to go there, for the shaking, uncertain

ground was puzzling our engineers--one end of the line going up as soon

as the other was weighted down. (I had no thought for the shareholders'

interests, as may be seen; we had to make a new line on firmer ground

before the junction railway was completed.) I told all this at great

length, thankful to fill up my paper. By return letter, I heard that a

second-cousin of my mother's was married to the Independent minister of

Hornby, Ebenezer Holman by name, and lived at Heathbridge proper; the

very Heathbridge I had described, or so my mother believed, for she had

never seen her cousin Phillis Green, who was something of an heiress

(my father believed), being her father's only child, and old Thomas

Green had owned an estate of near upon fifty acres, which must have

come to his daughter. My mother's feeling of kinship seemed to have

been strongly stirred by the mention of Heathbridge; for my father said

she desired me, if ever I went thither again, to make inquiry for the

Reverend Ebenezer Holman; and if indeed he lived there, I was further

to ask if he had not married one Phillis Green; and if both these

questions were answered in the affirmative, I was to go and introduce

myself as the only child of Margaret Manning, born Moneypenny. I was

enraged at myself for having named Heathbridge at all, when I found

what it was drawing down upon me. One Independent minister, as I said

to myself, was enough for any man; and here I knew (that is to say, I

had been catechized on Sabbath mornings by) Mr Dawson, our minister at

home; and I had had to be civil to old Peters at Eltham, and behave

myself for five hours runningwhenever he asked me to tea at his house;

and now, just as I felt the free air blowing about me up at

Heathbridge, I was to ferret out another minister, and I should perhaps

have to be catechized by him, or else asked to tea at his house.

Besides, I did not like pushing myself upon strangers, who perhaps had

never heard of my mother's name, and such an odd name as it

was--Moneypenny; and if they had, had never cared more for her than she

had for them, apparently, until this unlucky mention of Heathbridge.

Still, I would not disobey my parents in such a trifle, however irksome

it might be. So the next time our business took me to Heathbridge, and

we were dining in the little sanded inn-parlour, I took the opportunity

of Mr Holdsworth's being out of the room, and asked the questions which

I was bidden to ask of the rosy-cheeked maid. I was either

unintelligible or she was stupid; for she said she did not know, but

would ask master; and of course the landlord came in to understand what

it was I wanted to know; and I had to bring out all my stammering

inquiries before Mr Holdsworth, who would never have attended to them,

I dare say, if I had not blushed, and blundered, and made such a fool

of myself.

'Yes,' the landlord said, 'the Hope Farm was in Heathbridge proper, and

the owner's name was Holman, and he was an Independent minister, and,

as far as the landlord could tell, his wife's Christian name was

Phillis, anyhow her maiden name was Green.'

'Relations of yours?' asked Mr Holdsworth.

'No, sir--only my mother's second-cousins. Yes, I suppose they are

relations. But I never saw them in my life.'

'The Hope Farm is not a stone's throw from here,' said the officious

landlord, going to the window. 'If you carry your eye over yon bed of

hollyhocks, over the damson-trees in the orchard yonder, you may see a

stack of queer-like stone chimneys. Them is the Hope Farm chimneys;

it's an old place, though Holman keeps it in good order.'

Mr Holdsworth had risen from the table with more promptitude than I

had, and was standing by the window, looking. At the landlord's last

words, he turned round, smiling,--'It is not often that parsons know

how to keep land in order, is it?'

'Beg pardon, sir, but I must speak as I find; and Minister Holman--we

call the Church clergyman here "parson," sir; he would be a bit jealous

if he heard a Dissenter called parson--Minister Holman knows what he's

about as well as e'er a farmer in the neighbourhood. He gives up five

days a week to his own work, and two to the Lord's; and it is difficult

to say which he works hardest at. He spends Saturday and Sunday

a-writing sermons and a-visiting his flock at Hornby; and at five

o'clock on Monday morning he'll be guiding his plough in the Hope Farm

yonder just as well as if he could neither read nor write. But your

dinner will be getting cold, gentlemen.'

So we went back to table. After a while, Mr Holdsworth broke the

silence:--'If I were you, Manning, I'd look up these relations of

yours. You can go and see what they're like while we're waiting for

Dobson's estimates, and I'll smoke a cigar in the garden meanwhile.'

'Thank you, sir. But I don't know them, and I don't think I want to

know them.'

'What did you ask all those questions for, then?' said he, looking

quickly up at me. He had no notion of doing or saying things without a

purpose. I did not answer, so he continued,--'Make up your mind, and go

off and see what this farmer-minister is like, and come back and tell

me--I should like to hear.'

I was so in the habit of yielding to his authority, or influence, that

I never thought of resisting, but went on my errand, though I remember

feeling as if I would rather have had my head cut off. The landlord,

who had evidently taken an interest in the event of our discussion in a

way that country landlords have, accompanied me to the house-door, and

gave me repeated directions, as if I was likely to miss my way in two

hundred yards. But I listened to him, for I was glad of the delay, to

screw up my courage for the effort of facing unknown people and

introducing myself. I went along the lane, I recollect, switching at

all the taller roadside weeds, till, after a turn or two, I found

myself close in front of the Hope Farm. There was a garden between the

house and the shady, grassy lane; I afterwards found that this garden

was called the court; perhaps because there was a low wall round it,

with an iron railing on the top of the wall, and two great gates

between pillars crowned with stone balls for a state entrance to the

flagged path leading up to the front door. It was not the habit of the

place to go in either by these great gates or by the front door; the

gates, indeed, were locked, as I found, though the door stood wide

open. I had to go round by a side-path lightly worn on a broad grassy

way, which led past the court-wall, past a horse-mount, half covered

with stone-crop and the little wild yellow fumitory, to another

door--'the curate', as I found it was termed by the master of the

house, while the front door, 'handsome and all for show', was termed

the 'rector'. I knocked with my hand upon the 'curate' door; a tall

girl, about my own age, as I thought, came and opened it, and stood

there silent, waiting to know my errand. I see her now--cousin Phillis.

The westering sun shone full upon her, and made a slanting stream of

light into the room within. She was dressed in dark blue cotton of some

kind; up to her throat, down to her wrists, with a little frill of the

same wherever it touched her white skin. And such a white skin as it

was! I have never seen the like. She had light hair, nearer yellow than

  • strongly [´strɔŋli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.强烈地;强有力地   (初中英语单词)
  • consideration [kən,sidə´reiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.考虑;原因;体谅   (初中英语单词)
  • mechanic [mi´kænik] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.技工 a.手工的   (初中英语单词)
  • genius [´dʒi:niəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.天才(人物);天赋   (初中英语单词)
  • valuable [´væljuəbəl, -jubəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有价值的,贵重的   (初中英语单词)
  • reasonable [´rizənəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合理的;有理智的   (初中英语单词)
  • conviction [kən´vikʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.定罪;确信,信服   (初中英语单词)
  • minister [´ministə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.部长;大臣 v.伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • knowing [´nəuiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.会意的,心照不宣的   (初中英语单词)
  • considerable [kən´sidərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.重要的;值得重视   (初中英语单词)
  • downstairs [,daun´steəz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在楼下 a.楼下的   (初中英语单词)
  • uncertain [ʌn´sə:tn] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不定的;不可靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • satisfaction [,sætis´fækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.满意;满足   (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)
  • severe [si´viə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.严厉的;苛刻的   (初中英语单词)
  • employment [im´plɔimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.工作;职业;雇用   (初中英语单词)
  • independence [,indi´pendəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.独立,自主,自立   (初中英语单词)
  • continent [´kɔntinənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大陆,陆地   (初中英语单词)
  • weekly [´wi:kli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&ad.每周一次(的)   (初中英语单词)
  • variety [və´raiəti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.变化;多样(性);种类   (初中英语单词)
  • solemn [´sɔləm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.严肃的;隆重的   (初中英语单词)
  • instinct [´instiŋkt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.本能;直觉;天资   (初中英语单词)
  • evidently [´evidəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.明显地   (初中英语单词)
  • contrary [´kɔntrəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.相反的 n.相反   (初中英语单词)
  • annual [´ænjuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.每年的 n.年刊   (初中英语单词)
  • attractive [ə´træktiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有吸引力;诱人的   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • existence [ig´zistəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.存在;生存;生活   (初中英语单词)
  • working [´wə:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.工人的;劳动的   (初中英语单词)
  • guilty [´gilti] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有罪的;心虚的   (初中英语单词)
  • estate [i´steit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.财产;庄园;等级   (初中英语单词)
  • thither [´ðiðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.到那里 a.那边的   (初中英语单词)
  • inquiry [in´kwaiəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.询问;质询;调查   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • whenever [wen´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.&ad.无论何时   (初中英语单词)
  • trifle [´traifəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.琐事,小事;少量   (初中英语单词)
  • stupid [´stju:pid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.愚蠢的;糊涂的   (初中英语单词)
  • landlord [´lændlɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地主;房东;店主   (初中英语单词)
  • maiden [´meidn] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.少女 a.未婚的   (初中英语单词)
  • orchard [´ɔ:tʃəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.果园   (初中英语单词)
  • standing [´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.持续 a.直立的   (初中英语单词)
  • pardon [´pɑ:dən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vt.原谅;饶恕;赦免   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • errand [´erənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.差使,使命   (初中英语单词)
  • discussion [di´skʌʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.讨论;辩论   (初中英语单词)
  • lightly [´laitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.轻微地,稍微   (初中英语单词)
  • stream [stri:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.河 vi.流出;飘扬   (初中英语单词)
  • throat [θrəut] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.咽喉;嗓子;出入口   (初中英语单词)
  • wherever [weər´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.无论在哪里   (初中英语单词)
  • descent [di´sent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.出身,家世   (高中英语单词)
  • safeguard [´seifgɑ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.保护措施;护送者   (高中英语单词)
  • relish [´reliʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.滋味;风味 v.品尝   (高中英语单词)
  • dependent [di´pendənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.依赖的;从属的   (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)
  • companionship [kəm´pæniənʃip] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.伴侣关系;友谊   (高中英语单词)
  • sermon [´sə:mən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说教;训诫;讲道   (高中英语单词)
  • salvation [sæl´veiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.救助;拯救   (高中英语单词)
  • therein [ðeə´rin] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在那里,在其中   (高中英语单词)
  • seeing [si:iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  see的现在分词 n.视觉   (高中英语单词)
  • thankful [´θæŋkfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感激的;欣慰的   (高中英语单词)
  • apparently [ə´pærəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显然,表面上地   (高中英语单词)
  • clergyman [´klə:dʒimən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.牧师;教士   (高中英语单词)
  • plough [plau] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.耕地 v.犁   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • guidance [´gaidəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.向导,指导,领导   (英语四级单词)
  • acceptable [ək´septəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可接受的;合意的   (英语四级单词)
  • congregation [,kɔŋgri´geiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.集合;团体   (英语四级单词)
  • savour [´seivə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.味道;风味 v.尝到   (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)
  • unconsciously [ʌn´kɔʃəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.无意识地;不觉察地   (英语四级单词)
  • boyish [´bɔiiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.少年的;幼稚的   (英语四级单词)
  • allude [ə´lu:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.暗指;侧面提到   (英语四级单词)
  • junction [´dʒʌŋkʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.连接;交叉点   (英语四级单词)
  • drawing [´drɔ:iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.画图;制图;图样   (英语四级单词)
  • sabbath [´sæbəθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.安息日   (英语四级单词)
  • unlucky [ʌn´lʌki] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.倒霉的,不幸的   (英语四级单词)
  • disobey [,disə´bei] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.不服从;不听命令   (英语四级单词)
  • recollect [rekə´lekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.重新集合;恢复   (英语四级单词)
  • roadside [´rəudsaid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.路边(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • grassy [´grɑ:si] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.多草的;青草味的   (英语四级单词)
  • railing [´reiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.栏杆   (英语四级单词)
  • perseverance [,pə:si´viərəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.毅力;坚持   (英语六级单词)
  • interminable [in´tə:minəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无终止的;冗长的   (英语六级单词)
  • prosecution [,prɔsi´kju:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.彻底实行;检举   (英语六级单词)
  • ponderous [´pɔndərəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.沉重的;冗长的   (英语六级单词)
  • myrtle [´mə:tl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.桃金娘科   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:32:32
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