大卫·科波菲尔
David Copperfield


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    1 David Copperfield's childhood
    1 David Copperfield's childhood
    
    I was born at Blunderstone,in Suffolk, in the east of England,and was given my poor father's name,David Copperfield. Sadly, he never saw me He was much older than my mother when they married, and died six months before I was born. My father's death made my beautiful young mother very unhappy, and she knew she would find life extremely difficult with a new baby and no husband The richest and most important person in our family was my father's aunt,Miss Betsey Trotwood. She had in fact been married once, to a handsome young husband. But because he demanded money from her, and sometimes beat her, she decided they should separate He went abroad, and soon news came of his death.
    Miss Trotwood bought a small house by the sea, and lived there alone, with only one servant. She had not spoken to my father since his marriage, because she considered he had made a mistake in marrying a very young girl But just before I was born, when she heard that my mother was expecting a baby, she came to visit Blunder- stone.
    It was a cold, windy Friday afternoon in March. My mother was sitting by the fire, feeling very lonely and unhappy, and crying a little. Suddenly a stern, strange-looking face appeared at the window.
    ‘Open the door!’ ordered the sternfaced lady. My mother was shocked,but obeyed at once. ‘You must be David Copper field's wife,’said the lady as she entered.‘I'm Betsey Trotwood. You've heard of me?’
    ‘Yes,’whispered mother,trembling. ‘How young you are!’ cried Miss Betsey.‘Just a baby!’ My mother started sobbing again.‘I know I look like a child! I know I was young to be a wife, and I'm young to be a mother! But perhaps I'll die before I become a mother!’ ‘Come, come! answered Miss Betsey.‘Have some tea.Then you'll feel better.What do you call your girl?’ ‘My girl? I don't know yet that it will be a girl,’replied my mother miserably. ‘No,I don't mean the baby,I mean your servant!’
    ‘Her name's Peggotty. Her first name's Clara,the same as mine, so I call her by her family name,you see.’ ‘What a terrible name! However, never mind. Peggotty!’she called, going to the door.‘Bring Mrs Copperfield some tea at once!’ She sat down again and continued speaking.‘You were talking about the baby. I'm sure it'll be a girl. Now, as soon as she’ s born…’ ‘He, perhaps,’ said my mother bravely. ‘Don’ t be stupid, of course it’ ll be a she.I'm going to send her to school,and educate her well. I want to prevent her from making the mistakes I've made in life.’ Miss Betsey looked quite angry as she said this. My mother said nothing,as she was not feeling at all well.‘But tell me, were you and your husband happy?’asked Miss Betsey.
    This made my poor mother feel worse than ever.‘I know I wasn't very sensible—about money—or cooking—or things like that!’ she sobbed.‘But we loved each other—and he was helping me to learn—and then he died!Oh!Oh!’And she fell back in her chair, completely unconscious.
    Peggotty, who came in just then with the tea,realized how serious the situation was, and took my mother upstairs to bed. The doctor arrived soon afterwards, and stayed all evening to take care of his patient.
    At about midnight he came downstairs to the sitting-room where Miss Betsey was waiting impatiently.
    ‘Well,doctor, what's the news? How is she?’
    ‘The young mother is quite comfortable, madam,’ replied the doctor politely.
    ‘But she, the baby, how is she?’ cried Miss Betsey.
    The doctor looked strangely at Miss Betsey.‘It's a boy,madam,’ he replied.
    Miss Betsey said nothing,but walked straight out of the house, and never came back.
    That was how I was born. My early childhood was extremely happy, as my beautiful mother and kind Peggotty took care of me. But when I was about eight, a shadow passed over my happiness. My mother often went out walking,in her best clothes, with a gentleman called Mr Murdstone. He had black hair, a big black moustache and an unpleasant smile, and seemed to be very fond of my mother. But I knew that Peggotty did not like him.
    A few months later Peggotty told me that my mother was going to have a short holiday with some friends. Meanwhile Peggotty and I would go to stay with her brother Daniel in Yarmouth,on the east coast, for two weeks.I was very excited when we climbed into the cart, although it was sad saying goodbye to my mother. Mr Murdstone was at her shoulder,waving goodbye, as the driver called to his horse, and we drove out of the village.
    When we got down from the cart in Yarmouth,after our journey,Peggotty said, ‘That's the house,Master David!’
    I looked all round, but could only see an old ship on the sand.‘Is that—that your brother's house?’I asked in delight. And when we reached it,I saw it had doors and windows and a chimney,just like a real house. I could not imagine a nicer place to live. Everything was clean and tidy, and smelt of fish. Now I was introduced to the Peggotty family.There was Daniel Peggotty, a kind old sailor. Although he was not married, he had adopted two orphans, who lived with him and called him Uncle. Ham Peggotty was a large young man with a gentle smile,and Emily was a beautiful,blue-eyed little girl. They all welcomed Peggotty and me warmly.
    I spent a wonderfully happy two weeks there, playing all day on the beach with Emily,and sleeping in my own little bed on the ship. I am sure I was in love with little Emily in my childish way, and I cried bitterly when we had to say goodbye at the end of the holiday.
    But on the way home to Blunderstone, Peggotty looked at me very worriedly.‘Master David,my dear,’she said suddenly in a trembling voice.‘I must tell you—you'll have to know now… While we've been away, your dear mother—has married Mr Murdstone!He's your stepfather now!’
    I was deeply shocked. I could not understand how my mother could have married that man.And when we arrived home, I could not help showing my mother how very miserable I was. I went straight to my room and lay sobbing on my bed,which made my poor mother very unhappy too. As she sat beside me, holding my hand, Mr Murdstone suddenly came in.
    ‘What's this, Chara, my love?’ he asked sternly.‘Remember,you must be firm with the boy!I've told you before,you're too weak with him!’
    ‘ Oh yes,Edward,I'm afraid you're right,’ my mother replied quickly.‘I'm very sorry. I'll try to be firmer with him.’ And when she left the room, Mr Murdstone whispered angrily to me,‘David,do you know what I'll do if you don't obey me? I'll beat you like a dog!’ I was still very young,and I was very frightened of him. If he had said one kind word to me, perhaps I would have liked and trusted him,and my life would have been different. Instead, I hated him for the influence he had over my dear mother,who wanted to be kind to me, but also wanted to please her new husband.
    That evening Mr Murdstone's sister arrived to ‘help’my mother in the house. A tall dark lady, with a stern, frowning face,she looked and sounded very much like her brother.I thought she was planning to stay with us for a long time, and I was right.In fact,she intended to stay for ever. She started work the next morning.
    ‘Now, Clara,’ she said firmly to my mother at breakfast,‘I am here to help you. You’ re much too pretty and thoughtless to worry about the servants, the food and so on. So just hand me your keys to all the cupboards, and I'll take care of everything for you.’ My poor mother just blushed,looked a little ashamed,and obeyed. From then on, Miss Murdstone took complete control of the house, keeping the keys hanging from her waist as she hurried through the house,checking that everything was being done just as she wished.
     
    1 大卫·科波菲尔的童年
    
    我出生在英国东部萨福克郡的布兰德斯通,并沿用了我不幸的父亲之名——大卫·科波菲尔。可悲的是,他从未见过我的面。他同我母亲结婚时比我母亲大许多,在我出生前6个月就谢世了。他的死使我年轻美貌的母亲感到极为痛苦,因为她知道没有丈夫独自带婴儿的日子将会异常艰难。在我们家族中最富有、最重要的人物要数我父亲的姨妈——贝茜·特拉伍德小姐。其实她结过一次婚,嫁的是一个英俊的青年。但是,由于这位丈夫总找她要钱,有时还动手打她,她便决定与他分手。他出了国,不久就有消息说他已去世了。
    特拉伍德小姐在海边买了一所小房子,独自生活在那里,身边只随了一位用人。自从我父亲结婚后她就不理睬我父亲了,因为她认为我父亲娶这么年轻的小姐做妻子是个错误。然而,在我出生前,当她听说我母亲临产时,就来到布兰德斯通拜访我们。
    那是在三月份的一个寒冷、多风的星期五下午,我母亲正独自坐在火炉旁,因感到孤单和不幸而轻声抽泣着。突然一张严肃、陌生的脸出现在窗外。
    “开门!”这位满脸严肃的女人命令道。我母亲吓了一跳,但还是很快开了门。“你就是大卫·科波菲尔的妻子吧,”她边进门边说,“我叫贝茜·特拉伍德,你听说过吧?”“听说过,”母亲轻声答道,声音发颤。“你真年轻呀,”贝茜小姐叫道,“简直还是个孩子!”
    母亲开始抽泣,“我知道我看着像个孩子!我知道我年纪还小,不该为人妻,不该为人母!但也许我会在成为一个母亲之前死去!”“行了,行了!”贝茜小姐回答说,“喝口茶水吧,这样你会好受些。你叫你的女孩什么?”“我的女孩?我还不知道是不是女孩,”我母亲疑惑地答道。“不,我不是指小孩,我是说你的女用人!”
    “她叫辟果提。她的教名是克拉拉,因为和我同名,所以我就以她的姓称呼她,就这样!”“多难听的名字!不过没关系,辟果提!”她走到门边叫道。“马上给科波菲尔太太上点茶水!”她又坐下来,继续说道:“你刚才说到孩子,我肯定她会是个女孩。那么,只要她一出生,……”“他,或许是,”母亲勇敢地更正道。“别犯傻,当然应该是她,我会送她上学,让她接受良好的教育。我要让我生活中所犯的错误避免在她身上重演。”贝茜小姐说此话时显得很愤怒。母亲没吭声,因为她感觉不太舒服。“好吧,告诉我,你和你丈夫过得幸福吗?”贝茜小姐问道。
    这个问题让我母亲更感难受。“我知道我很不开窍——在钱方面,做饭方面,等等!”她抽泣着说,“但我们彼此相爱——他帮助我慢慢学——可他死了,唉!唉!”她倒在椅子上,失去了知觉。
    辟果提正巧端着茶进来,意识到情况的严重性,把我母亲扶到楼上。医生随即叫到,并彻夜守护着病人。
    大约午夜时分,医生下楼来到客厅,贝茜小姐已经等得很不耐烦了。
    “大夫,有什么消息吗?她怎么样了?”
    “年轻的母亲情况很好,小姐,”大夫很礼貌地回答。
    “她,孩子,她怎么样?”贝茜小姐追问。
    大夫很纳闷地看着贝茜小姐,“是个男孩,小姐。”他回答道。
    贝茜小姐二话没说,径直走出屋子,从此不再登门。
    就这样我来到了世上。孩提时的我非常幸福,因为有我美丽的母亲和善良的辟果提照顾我。然而,在我8岁左右,我的幸福生活开始蒙上了阴影。我母亲经常穿着最好的衣服,和一位叫摩德斯通的先生出去散步。那人有一头黑发,留一大撇黑胡子,笑容阴沉,似乎很喜欢我母亲。但我知道辟果提不喜欢他。
    几个月后,辟果提告诉我,母亲要和几位朋友出去度短假。辟果提可以趁此机会带我去东海岸的雅茅斯镇和她兄弟丹尼尔生活两个星期。登上马车时我兴奋不已,虽然与母亲分手有些伤感。摩德斯通先生和我母亲并肩站着,向我们挥手道别。这时,马车夫吆喝一声,把我们拉出村去。
    当我们结束旅程,在雅茅斯下车时,辟果提说:“到家了,大卫少爷。”
    我环顾四周,只看见沙滩上的一艘旧船,便高兴地问道:“那个——那个就是你兄弟的家?”我们走到近处一看,船上有门,有窗,有烟囱,俨然是一所名符其实的住房。我再也想像不出比这更好的住处了。屋内一切陈设干净、整齐,散发着鱼味。这时,我被介绍给辟果提一家。家里有丹尼尔·辟果提,一位善良的老水手,他没有结婚,但收养了两个孤儿。孩子们和他生活在一起,管他叫叔叔。哈姆·辟果提是一位壮小伙子,脸上总是现出亲切的笑容,埃米莉是一位美丽的姑娘,长着一对蓝眼睛。他们都热情地欢迎我和辟果提的到来。
    在这儿的两个星期我过得相当愉快,整天和埃米莉在海滩上玩,夜里就睡在船屋里我的小床上。我相信当时我的确以孩童的方式爱上了小埃米莉。当假日结束我俩不得不道别时我哭得很伤心。
    在我们回布兰德斯通的路上,辟果提很忧郁地看着我。“大卫少爷,亲爱的,”她突然说道,声音颤抖,“我必须告诉你——你现在该知道了……在我们离家的这段时间,你亲爱的母亲嫁给了摩德斯通先生!他如今已是你的继父了!”
    我非常震惊,不明白母亲怎么会嫁给那个人。我们回到家后,我控制不住自己,让母亲看出了我有多痛苦。我径直走进我的卧室,倒在床上哭泣,弄得我可怜的母亲也伤心起来。正当她坐在我床边,拉着我的手时,摩德斯通先生突然走了进来。
    “怎么了,克拉拉,我亲爱的?”他严肃地说道,“记住,对孩子应该严厉点!我已经跟你说过,你太娇惯他了!”
    “哦,是的,爱德华,恐怕你是对的,”母亲赶紧答道,“我很抱歉,我会尽量对他严厉些。”她离开房间后,摩德斯通先生压低声音,愤愤地说道,“大卫,你知道你要是不听话我会怎么对待你吗?我会像揍一条狗一样揍你!”我当时还小,很怕他。当时他要是跟我说上一句和蔼的话,或许我会喜欢他,信任他,我后来的生活也就会完全不同。然而,我恨他给我亲爱的母亲施加压力,她总想好好待我,可还得讨好她的新丈夫。
    当天晚上,摩德斯通先生的姐姐来到家中“帮助”我母亲料理家务。她又高又黑,眉头紧锁,板着面孔,神态和说话声音和她兄弟别无两样。我想她可能要长期和我们呆在一起了,果不出所料,她准备永远住下去。第二天一早她就开始行动起来了。
    “现在,克拉拉,”早餐时她严肃地告诉我母亲,“我到这儿是来帮助你的。你在安排用人、食品等方面显得太幼稚,太没主意。所以你把所有橱子、柜子的钥匙交给我,我来为你照料一切。”可怜的母亲只是一阵阵脸红,显得很羞愧,最终还是同意了。从那以后,摩德斯通小姐完全掌管了家事,她把钥匙挂在手腕上,来回地穿梭在屋里屋外,检查着每一件事是否照她的意思办了。
    

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