酷兔英语



FROM A BENCH IN OUR SQUARE

BY

Samuel Hopkins Adams

1922

_Contents_

_A Patroness of Art_

_The House of Silvery Voices_

_Home-Seekers' Goal_

_The Guardian of God's Acre_

_For Mayme, Read Mary_

_Barbran_

_Plooie of Our Square_

_Triumph_

FROM A BENCH IN OUR SQUARE

A PATRONESS OF ART

I

Peter (flourish-in-red) Quick (flourish-in-green) Banta (period-in-blue)

is the style whereby he is known to Our Square.

Summertimes he is a prop and ornament of Coney, that isle of the blest,

whose sands he models into gracious forms and noble sentiments, in

anticipation of the casual dime or the munificent quarter, wherewith, if

you have low, Philistine tastes or a kind heart, you have perhaps

aforetime rewarded him. In the off-season the thwarted passion of color

possesses him; and upon the flagstones before Thornsen's Elite

Restaurant, which constitutes his canvas, he will limn you a full-rigged

ship in two colors, a portrait of the heavyweight champion in three, or,

if financially encouraged, the Statue of Liberty in four. These be,

however, concessions to popular taste. His own predilection is for

chaste floral designs of a symbolic character borne out and expounded by

appropriate legends. Peter Quick Banta is a devotee of his art.

Giving full run to his loftier aspirations, he was engaged, one April

day, upon a carefully represented lilac with a butterfly about to light

on it, when he became cognizant of a ragged rogue of an urchin regarding

him with a grin. Peter Quick Banta misinterpreted this sign of interest.

"What d'ye think of _that_?" he said triumphantly, as he sketched in a

set of side-whiskers (presumably intended for antennae) upon the

butterfly.

"Rotten," was the prompt response.

"_What_!" said the astounded artist, rising from his knees.

"Punk."

Peter Quick Banta applied the higher criticism to the urchin's nearest

ear. It was now that connoisseur's turn to be affronted. Picking himself

out of the gutter, he placed his thumb to his nose, and wiggled his

finger in active and reprehensible symbolism, whilst enlarging upon his

original critique, in a series of shrill roars:

"Rotten! Punk! No good! Swash! Flubdub! Sacre tas de--de--piffle!"

Already his vocabulary was rich and plenteous, though, in those days,

tainted by his French origin.

He then, I regret to say, spat upon the purple whiskers of the butterfly

and took refuge in flight. The long stride of Peter Quick Banta soon

overtook him. Silently struggling he was haled back to the profaned

temple of Art.

"Now, young feller," said Peter Quick Banta. "Maybe you think you could

do it better." The world-old retort of the creative artist to

his critic!

"Any fool could," retorted the boy, which, in various forms, is almost

as time-honored as the challenge.

Suspecting that only tactful intervention would forestall possible

murder, I sauntered over from my bench. But the decorator of sidewalks

had himself under control.

"Try it," he said grimly.

The boy avidly seized the crayons extended to him.

"You want me to draw a picture? There?"

"If you don't, I'll break every bone in your body."

The threat left its object quite unmoved. He pointed a crayon at Peter

Quick Banta's creation.

"What is that? A bool-rush?"

"It's a laylock; that's what it is."

"And the little bird that goes to light--"

"That ain't a bird and you know it." Peter Quick Banta breathed hard.

"That's a butterfly."

"I see. But the lie-lawc, it drop--so!" The gesture was inimitable. "And

the butterfly, she do not come down, plop! She float--so!" The grimy

hands fluttered and sank.

"They do, do they? Well, you put it down on the sidewalk."

From that moment the outside world ceased to exist for the urchin. He

fell to with concentrated fervor, while Peter Quick Banta and I diverted

the traffic. Only once did he speak:

"Yellow," he said, reaching, but not looking up.

Silently the elder artist put the desired crayon in his hand. When the

last touches were done, the boy looked up at us, not boastfully, but

with supreme confidence.

"There!" said he.

It was crude. It was ill-proportioned. The colors were raw. The

arrangements were false.

_But_--the lilac bloomed. _And_--the butterfly hovered. The artist had

spoken through his ordained medium and the presentment of life stood

forth. I hardly dared look at Peter Quick Banta. But beneath his uncouth

exterior there lay a great and magnanimous soul.

"Son," said he, "you're a wonder. Wanta keep them crayons?"

Unable to speak for the moment, the boy took off his ragged cap in one

of the most gracious gestures I have ever witnessed, raising dog-like

eyes of gratitude to his benefactor. Tactfully, Peter Quick Banta

proceeded to expound for my benefit the technique of the drawing, giving

the youngster time to recover before the inevitable questioning began.

"Where did you learn that?"

"Nowhere. Had a few drawing lessons at No. 19."

"Would you like to work for me?"

"How?"

Peter Quick Banta pointed to the sidewalk.

"That?" The boy laughed happily. "That ain't work. That's fun."

So the partnership was begun, the boy, whose name was Julien Tennier

(soon simplified into Tenney for local use), sharing Peter Quick Banta's

roomy garret. Success, modest but unfailing, attended it from the first

appearance of the junior member of the firm at Coney Island, where, as

the local cognoscenti still maintain, he revolutionized the art and

practice of the "sand-dabs." Out of the joint takings grew a bank

account. Eventually Peter Quick Banta came to me about the boy's

education.

"He's a swell," said Peter Quick Banta. "Look at that face! I don't care

if he did crawl outa the gutter. I'm an artist and I reco'nize

aristocracy when I see it. And I want him brung up accordin'."

So I inducted the youngster into such modest groves of learning as an

old, half-shelved pedagogue has access to, and when the Bonnie Lassie

came to Our Square to make herself and us famous with her tiny bronzes

(this was before she had captured, reformed, and married Cyrus the

Gaunt), I took him to her and he fell boyishly and violently in love

with her beauty and her genius alike, all of which was good for his

developing soul. She arranged for his art training.

"But you know, Dominie," she used to say, wagging her head like a

profound and thoughtful bird; "this is all very foolish and shortsighted

on my part. Five years from now that gutter-godling of yours will be

doing work that will make people forget poor little me and my poor

little figurines."

To which I replied that even if it were true, instead of the veriest

nonsense, about Julien Tenney or any one else ever eclipsing her, she

would help him just the same!

But five years from then Julien had gone over to the Philistines.

II

Justly catalogued, Roberta Holland belonged to the idle rich. She would

have objected to the latter classification, averring that, with the

rising cost of furs and automobile upkeep, she had barely enough to keep

her head above the high tide of Fifth Avenue prices. As to idleness, she

scorned the charge. Had she not, throughout the war, performed

prodigious feats of committee work, all of it meritorious and some of it

useful? She had. It had left her with a dangerous and destructive

appetite for doing good to people. Aside from this, Miss Roberta was a

distracting young person. Few looked at her once without wanting to look

again, and not a few looked again to their undoing.

Being-done-good-to is, I understand, much in vogue in the purlieus of

Fifth Avenue where it is practiced with skill and persistence by a large

and needy cult of grateful recipients. Our Square doesn't take to it. As

recipients we are, I fear, grudgingly grateful. So when Miss Holland

transferred her enthusiasms and activities to our far-away corner of the

world she met with a lack of response which might have discouraged one

with a less new and superior sense of duty to the lower orders. She came

to us through the Bonnie Lassie, guardian of the gateway from the upper

strata to our humbler domain, who--Pagan that she is!--indiscriminately

accepts all things beautiful simply for their beauty. Having arrived,

Miss Holland proceeded to organize us with all the energy of

high-blooded sweet-and-twenty and all the imperiousness of confident

wealth and beauty. She organized an evening sewing-circle for women

whose eyelids would not stay open after their long day's work. She

formed culturalimprovement classes for such as Leon Coventry, the

printer, who knows half the literatures of the world, and MacLachan, the

tailor, to whom Carlyle is by way of being light reading. She delivered

some edifying exhortations upon the subject of Americanism to Polyglot

Elsa, of the Elite Restaurant (who had taken upon her sturdy young

shoulders the support of an old mother and a paralytic sister, so that

her two brothers might enlist for the war--a detail of patriotism which

the dispenser of platitudes might have learned by judicious inquiry).

And so forth and so on. Miss Roberta Holland meant well, but she had

many things to learn and no master to teach her.

Yet when the flu epidemic returned upon us, she stood by, efficient,

deft, and gallant, though still imperious, until the day when she

clashed her lath-and-tinsel sword of theory against the tempered steel

of the Little Red Doctor's experience. Said the Little Red Doctor (who

was pressed for time at the moment): "Take orders. Or get out. Which?"

She straightened like a soldier. "Tell me what you want done."

At the end of the onset, when he gave her her release from volunteer

service, she turned shining eyes upon him. "I've never been so treated

in my life! You're a bully and a brute."

"You're a brick," retorted the Little Red Doctor. "I'll send for you

next time Our Square needs help."

"I'll come," said she, and they shook hands solemnly.

Thereafter Our Square felt a little more lenient toward her

ministrations, and even those of us who least approved her activities

felt the stir of radiance and color which she brought with her.

On a day when the local philanthropy market was slack, and Miss Holland,

seated in the Bonnie Lassie's front window, was maturing some new and

benign outrage upon our sensibilities, she called out to the sculptress

at work on a group:

"There's a queer man making queer marks on your sidewalk."

"That's Peter Quick Banta. He's a fellow artist."

"And another man, young, with a big, maney head like an amiable lion;

quite a beautiful lion. He's making more marks."

"Let him make all he wants."

"They're waving their arms at each other. At least the queer man is. I

think they're going to fight."

"They won't. It's only an academicdiscussion on technique."

"Who is the young one?"

"He's the ruin of what might have been a big artist."

"No! Is he? What did it? Drink?"

"Does he look it?"

The window-gazer peered more intently at the debaters below. "It's a

peculiar face. Awfully interesting, though. He's quite poorly dressed.

Does he need money? Is that what's wrong?"

"That's it, Bobbie," returned the Bonnie Lassie with a half-smile. "He

needs the money."

The rampant philanthropist stirred within Miss Roberta Holland's fatally

well-meaning soul. "Would it be a case where I could help? I'd love to

put a real artist back on his feet. Are you sure he's real?"

On the subject of Art, the Bonnie Lassie is never anything but sincere

and direct, however much she may play her trickeries with lesser

interests, such as life and love and human fate.

"No; I'm not. If he were, I doubt whether he'd have let himself go so

wrong."

"Perhaps it isn't too late," said the amateurmissionary hopefully. "Is

he a man to whom one could offer money?"

The Bonnie Lassie's smile broadened without change in its subtle

quality. "Julien Tenney isn't exactly a pauper. He just thinks he can't

afford to do the kind of thing he wants and ought to."

"What ought he to do?"

"Paint--paint--paint!" said the Bonnie Lassie vehemently. "Five years

ago I believe he had the makings of a great painter in him. And now look

what he's doing!"

"Making marks on sidewalks, you mean?"

"Worse. Commercial art."

"Designs and that sort of thing?"

"Do you ever look at the unearthly beautiful, graceful and gloriously

dressed young super-Americans who appear in the advertisements, riding

in super-cars or wearing super-clothes or brushing super-teeth with

super-toothbrushes?"

"I suppose so," said the girl vaguely.

"He draws those."

"Is that what you call pot-boiling?"

"One kind."

"And I suppose it pays just a pittance."

"Well," replied the Bonnie Lassie evasively, "he sticks to it, so it

must support him."

"Then I'm going to help him."

"'To fulfill his destiny,' is the accepted phrase," said the Bonnie

Lassie wickedly. "I'll call him in for you to look over. But you'd best

leave the arrangements for a later meeting."

Being summoned, Julien Tenney entered the house as one quite at home

despite his smeary garb of the working artist. His presentation to Miss

Holland was as brief as it was formal, for she took her departure

at once.

"Who is she?" asked Julien, staring after her.

"Bobbie Holland, a gilded butterfly from uptown."

"What's she doing here?"

"Good."

"O Lord!" said he in pained tones. "Has she got a Cause?"

"Naturally."

"Philanthropist?"

"Worse."

"There ain't no sich a animile."

"There is. She's a patron of art."

"Wow!"


生词表:
  • ornament [´ɔ:nəmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.装饰(物) vt.装饰   (初中英语单词)
  • gracious [´greiʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.和蔼可亲的;任慈的   (初中英语单词)
  • passion [´pæʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.激情;激怒;恋爱   (初中英语单词)
  • canvas [´kænvəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.帆布;油画(布)   (初中英语单词)
  • champion [´tʃæmpiən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.冠军 vt.拥护   (初中英语单词)
  • statue [´stætʃu:] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.塑像,雕像   (初中英语单词)
  • character [´kæriktə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.特性;性质;人物;字   (初中英语单词)
  • butterfly [´bʌtəflai] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.蝴蝶;蝶式   (初中英语单词)
  • criticism [´kritisizəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.批评;评论(文)   (初中英语单词)
  • series [´siəri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.连续;系列;丛书   (初中英语单词)
  • vocabulary [və´kæbjuləri, vəu-] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.词汇;词汇量   (初中英语单词)
  • purple [´pə:pl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.紫色 a.紫(红)的   (初中英语单词)
  • refuge [´refju:dʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.避难(所);庇护   (初中英语单词)
  • flight [flait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.逃走;飞行;班机   (初中英语单词)
  • silently [´sailəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.寂静地;沉默地   (初中英语单词)
  • pointed [´pɔintid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尖(锐)的;中肯的   (初中英语单词)
  • gesture [´dʒestʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.手势 v.打手势   (初中英语单词)
  • traffic [´træfik] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.交通,运输   (初中英语单词)
  • supreme [su:´pri:m, sju:-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.最高的,无上的   (初中英语单词)
  • medium [´mi:diəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.中间;平均 a.中等的   (初中英语单词)
  • gratitude [´grætitju:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感激,感谢   (初中英语单词)
  • youngster [´jʌŋstə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.年轻人;小伙子;少年   (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)
  • junior [´dʒu:niə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.年少的 n.年少者   (初中英语单词)
  • maintain [mein´tein] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.维持;保持;继续   (初中英语单词)
  • learning [´lə:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.学习;学问;知识   (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)
  • holland [´hɔlənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.荷兰   (初中英语单词)
  • barely [´beəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.公开地;仅仅   (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)
  • grateful [´greitful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感谢的;令人愉快的   (初中英语单词)
  • organize [´ɔ:gənaiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.组织;编组;建立   (初中英语单词)
  • energy [´enədʒi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.活力,精力;能力   (初中英语单词)
  • cultural [´kʌltʃərəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.文化(上)的;教养的   (初中英语单词)
  • improvement [im´pru:vmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.改进,改善,进步   (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)
  • restaurant [´restərɔnt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.饭店,菜馆   (初中英语单词)
  • gallant [´gælənt, gə´lænt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.英勇的;华丽的   (初中英语单词)
  • release [ri´li:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt&n.释放;放松;赦免   (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)
  • amateur [´æmətə, ,æmə´tə:] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.业余爱好者   (初中英语单词)
  • painter [´peintə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.画家;(油)漆工   (初中英语单词)
  • commercial [kə´mə:ʃəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.商业的 n.广告节目   (初中英语单词)
  • graceful [´greisfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.优美的,流畅的   (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)
  • formal [´fɔ:məl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.正式的;外表的   (初中英语单词)
  • guardian [´gɑ:diən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.监护人;保护人   (高中英语单词)
  • casual [´kæʒuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.偶然的;临时的   (高中英语单词)
  • portrait [´pɔ:trit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.肖像;相片;雕像   (高中英语单词)
  • ragged [´rægid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.衣服破烂的   (高中英语单词)
  • prompt [prɔmpt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.敏捷的 vt.促使   (高中英语单词)
  • whilst [wailst] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.当…时候;虽然   (高中英语单词)
  • shrill [ʃril] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.(声音)尖锐的   (高中英语单词)
  • stride [straid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.进展 v.跨过;骑   (高中英语单词)
  • retort [ri´tɔ:t] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.报复;反击;反驳   (高中英语单词)
  • threat [θret] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.恐吓,威胁   (高中英语单词)
  • inevitable [i´nevitəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不可避免的   (高中英语单词)
  • partnership [´pɑ:tnəʃip] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.合伙关系   (高中英语单词)
  • access [´ækses] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.接近;通路;进入   (高中英语单词)
  • violently [´vaiələntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.强暴地;猛烈地   (高中英语单词)
  • thoughtful [´θɔ:tfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.深思的;体贴的   (高中英语单词)
  • classification [,klæsifi´keiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.分类(法);等级   (高中英语单词)
  • response [ri´spɔns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.回答;响应   (高中英语单词)
  • gateway [´geit-wei] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.入口;通道;途径   (高中英语单词)
  • sturdy [´stə:di] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.坚强的;坚定的   (高中英语单词)
  • enlist [in´list] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.征募;赞助   (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)
  • outrage [´aut,reidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.残暴 vt.虐待;伤害   (高中英语单词)
  • awfully [´ɔ:fuli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.令人畏惧地   (高中英语单词)
  • missionary [´miʃənəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.传教(士)的 n.传教士   (高中英语单词)
  • patron [´peitrən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.庇护人,保护人;赞助人   (高中英语单词)
  • silvery [´silvəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.银一般的   (英语四级单词)
  • whereby [weə´bai] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.凭什么;靠那个   (英语四级单词)
  • triumphantly [trai´ʌmfəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.胜利地;洋洋得意地   (英语四级单词)
  • gutter [´gʌtə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(檐)槽;排水沟   (英语四级单词)
  • creative [kri:´eitiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有创造力的;创作的   (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)
  • garret [´gærit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.阁楼,顶楼   (英语四级单词)
  • eventually [i´ventʃuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.最后,终于   (英语四级单词)
  • idleness [´aidlnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.懒;闲着不干事   (英语四级单词)
  • domain [də´mein,dəu-] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.领土;版图;范围   (英语四级单词)
  • epidemic [,epi´demik] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.流行病(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • radiance [´reidjəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发光;光彩;辐射   (英语四级单词)
  • amiable [´eimiəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.亲切的,温和的   (英语四级单词)
  • academic [,ækə´demik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.学术的 n.大学学生   (英语四级单词)
  • intently [in´tentli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.专心地   (英语四级单词)
  • poorly [´puəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不舒服的 ad.贫穷地   (英语四级单词)
  • presentation [,prezən´teiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.介绍;赠送;提出   (英语四级单词)
  • wherewith [wɛə´wiθ] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.用什么;用以   (英语六级单词)
  • philistine [´filistain] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.腓力斯人 a.市侩的   (英语六级单词)
  • financially [fi´nænʃəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.在金融方面   (英语六级单词)
  • urchin [´ə:tʃin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.顽童   (英语六级单词)
  • applied [ə´plaid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.实用的,应用的   (英语六级单词)
  • intervention [,intə´venʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.干涉;调停;插入   (英语六级单词)
  • extended [iks´tendid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.伸长的;广大的   (英语六级单词)
  • unmoved [ʌn´mu:vd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无动于衷的;坚定的   (英语六级单词)
  • benefactor [´beni,fæktə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.捐助人;恩人   (英语六级单词)
  • technique [tek´ni:k] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.技术;技巧;方法   (英语六级单词)
  • 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)
  • practiced [´præktist] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.经验丰富的;熟练的   (英语六级单词)
  • judicious [dʒu:´diʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.明智的;贤明的   (英语六级单词)
  • imperious [im´piəriəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.傲慢的;紧急的   (英语六级单词)
  • hopefully [´həupfəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.抱着希望地   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:50:32
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