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雾都孤儿

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liujiangu_501je
2009-05-21上传 侵权/举报

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1  O liver’s early life


 


O liver Twist was born in a workhouse,and when he arrived in this hard world,it was very doubtful whether he would live beyond the first three minutes.He lay on a hard little bed and struggled to start breathing.


O liver fought his first battle without much assistance from the two people present at his birth.One was an old woman,who was nearly always drunk, and the other was a busy local doctor,who was not paid enough to be very interested in O liver’s survival. After all,death was a common event in the workhouse,where only the poor and homeless lived.


However,O liver managed to draw his first breath,and the n announced his arrival to the rest of the workhouse by crying loudly.His mother raised her pale young face from the pillow and whispered, ‘Let me see the child, and die.’


The doctor turned away from the fire, where he had been warming his hands. ‘You must not talk about dying yet,’he said to her kindly.He gave her the child to hold.Lovingly,she kissed the baby on its forehead with her cold white lips,the n stared wildly around the room,fell back-and died. ‘Poor dear!’said the nurse,hurriedly putting a green glass bottle back in the pocket of her long skirt.


The doctor began to put on his coat. ‘The baby is weak and will probably have difficulties,’ he said. ‘If so, give it a little milk to keep it quiet.’The n he looked at the dead woman.  ‘The mother was a good-looking girl.Where did she come from?’


 ‘She was brought here last  night,’replied the old woman. ‘She was found lying in the street. She’d walked some distance,judging by her shoes,which were worn to pieces.Where she came from,where she was going to,or what her name was,nobody knows.’


The  doctor lifted  the  girl’s  left  hand. ‘The old story,’he said sadly,shaking his  head. ‘No wedding ring, I see.Ah!Good night.’


And so O liver was left with only the drunken nurse.Without clothe s,under his first blanket, he could have been the child of a king or a beggar.But when the woman dressed him later in rough cotton clothe s, yellow with age,he looked

exactly what he was - an orphan in a workhouse, ready for a life of misery,hunger, and neglect.


O liver cried loudly.If he could have known that he was a workhouse orphan, perhaps he would have cried even more loudly.


The re was no one to look after the baby in the workhouse,so O liver was sent  to a special  ‘baby farm’ nearby. The re,he and thirty other children rolled around the floor all day,without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing. Mrs Mann,the old  woman who  ‘looked  after’ them, was very experienced.She knew what was good for children,and a full stomach was very dangerous to their health. She also knew what was good for herself, so she kept for her own use the money that she was given for the children’s food.The board responsible for the orphans sometimes checked on the health of the children, but They always sent the beadle,a kind of local policeman,to announce their visit the day before.So whenever the board arrived, of course,the children were always neat and clean.


This was the way O liver was brought up. Consequently, at the age of nine he was a pale,thin child and short for his age.But despite frequent beatings by Mrs Mann, his spirit was strong, which was probably the reason why he managed to reach the age of nine at all.


On O liver’s ninth birthday, Mr Bumble the beadle came to the house to see Mrs Mann.Through the front window Mrs Mann saw him at the gate, and turned quickly to the girl who worked with her.


 ‘Quick!Take O liver and those others upstairs to be washed!’she said.The n she ran out  to unlock the gate.(It was always kept locked to prevent official visitors walking in unexpectedly.)


 ‘I have business to talk about,’Mr Bumble told Mrs Mann as he entered the house.He was a big fat man, often bad-tempered, and was full of self-importance. He did not like to be kept waiting at a locked gate.


Mrs Mann took his hat and coat, placed a chair for him,and expressed great concern for his comfort. ‘You’ve had a long walk,Mr Bumble’ she said, ‘and you must be thirsty.’She took out a bottle from the cupboard.


 ‘No, thank you, Mrs Mann. Not a drop.’He waved the bottle away.


 ‘Just a little drop, Mr Bumble, with cold water,’ said Mrs Mann persuasively.



Mr Bumble coughed. ‘What is it?’ he asked, looking at the bottle with interest.


 ‘Gin.I keep it for the children’s medicine drink.’


 ‘You give the children gin,Mrs Mann?’asked Mr Bumble,watching as she mixed his drink.


 ‘Only with medicine, sir. I don’t like to see the m suffer.’


 ‘You’re a good woman, Mrs Mann.’ Mr Bumble drank half his glass immediately. ‘I’ll tell the board about you.Now - the reason why I’m here. O liver Twist is nine years old today. We’ve never been able to discover anything about his parents.’


 ‘The n how did he get his name?’


 ‘I gave it to him,’said Mr Bumble proudly. ‘We follow the  alphabet.The  last  one  was  an S-Swubble. The n it  was T, so this one is Twist. The next one will be Unwin.Anyway,Oliver Twist is now old enough to return to the workhouse. Bring him here, please.’ While Mrs Mann went to get him,  Mr Bumble finished the rest of his gin.


Oliver, his face and hands now almost clean, was led into the room.


 ‘Will you come along with me,Oliver?’asked Mr Bumble in a loud voice.


Oliver was very glad to be free of Mrs Mann’s violence, but he said nothing because she was angrily shaking her finger at him.However,as the gate closed behind O liver,he burst into tears. He was leaving behind the other children, the only friends he had,and he realized at that moment how lonely he was in the world.


Mr Bumble walked on with long steps,with O liver on his short little legs running beside him.The feeling of contentment produced by gin-and-water had now disappeared,and the beadle was in a bad mood once more.


Back at the workhouse, O liver was taken to see the board. He stood in front of ten fat men who were sitting around a table.


 ‘What’s your name, boy?’ asked a particularly fat man with a very round, red face.


O liver was frightened at the sight of so many people, and started to cry.



 ‘Why are you crying?’


The beadle hit him on the back,and so naturally O liver cried even more.


 ‘The boy is a fool,’one member of the board announced.


 ‘You know you have no father or mother,’said the first man, ‘and that you have been brought up with other orphans?’


 ‘Yes, sir,’replied O liver, crying bitterly.


 ‘Why is the boy crying?’repeated the other man, puzzled.


 ‘You have come here to be educated,’continued the fat man,  ‘so you will start working here tomorrow at six o’clock.’


O liver was led away to a large room, where,on a rough hard bed,he cried himself to sleep.


The room in the workhouse where the boys were fed was a large stone hall,and at one end the master and two women served the food.This consisted of a bowl of thin soup three times a day, with a piece of bread on Sundays.The boys ate everything and were always hungry.The bowls never needed washing.The boys polished the m with their spoons until They shone.After three months of this slow starvation,one of the boys told the others he was so hungry that one night he might eat the boy who slept next to him.He had a wild hungry eye,and  the  other  boys  believed  him.After a long  discussion,They decided that one of the m should ask for more food after supper that evening,and O liver was chosen.


The evening arrived;the soup was served,and the bowls were empty again in a few seconds.O liver went up to the master,with his bowl in his hand.He felt very frightened,but also desperate with hunger.


 ‘Please,sir,I want some more.’


The master was a fat,healthy man, but he turned very pale. He looked at the little boy in front of him with amazement.Nobody else spoke.


 ‘What?’ he asked at last, in a faint voice.


 ‘Please, sir,’ replied  O liver, ‘I want  some  more.’



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