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马克吐温 百万英镑 12

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The 1,000,000 Bank-Note          Mark Twain


     We had a lovely time; certainly two of us had, Miss Langham and I. I was so bewitched with her that I couldn't count my hands if they went above a double sequence; and when I struck home I never discovered it, and started up the outside row again, and would have lost the game every time, only the girl did the same, she being in just my condition, you see; and consequently neither of us ever got out, or cared to wonder why we didn't; we only just knew we were happy, and didn't wish to know anything else, and didn't want to be interrupted. And I told her - I did, indeed - told her I loved her; and she - well, she blushed till her hair turned red, but she liked it; she said she did. Oh, there was never such an evening! Every time I pegged I put on a postscript; every time she pegged she acknowledged receipt of it, counting the hands the same. Why, I couldn't even say "Two for his heels" without adding, "My, how sweet you do look!" and she would say, "Fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, and a pair are eight, and eight are sixteen - do you think so?" - peeping out aslant from under her lashes, you know, so sweet and cunning. Oh, it was just too-too!

我们度过了一段美妙的时光;当然说的是我们——朗姆小姐和我。我让她闹得魂不守舍,只要手里的牌超过两顺,我就数不清楚了,自己的分已经到了顶也看不出来,又接着从旁边的一排插起,这样打下去本来是把把必输,幸好那姑娘彼此彼此,和我的情况一模一样,你明白吗?于是我们两个人的得分总是到不了顶,分不出个输赢来,俩人都不在乎、也不想想这到底是怎么回事;我们只觉得彼此都很快活,其余的我们统统不闻不问,也不愿意让人搅了兴头。于是我告诉她——我真那样做了——告诉她我爱她;她呢——嘿,她臊得连头发根都红了,不过她喜欢着呢;她是说了,她喜欢。啊,我何曾经历过如此美妙的夜晚!每打完一把,我算分的时候,总要添油加醋,要是她算分,也心照不宣地和我一样数牌。喏,就算我说“跟两张牌”这句话,也得加上一句“哇,你真好看!”她呢,一边说“十五得两分,十五得四分,十五得六分,还有一对得八分,八分就算十六分,”一边问:“你算算对不对?”——她的眼睛在睫毛后头瞟着我,你是不知道:那么温柔,那么可爱。哎呀,真是太妙了!

     Well, I was perfectly honest and square with her; told her I hadn't a cent in the world but just the million-pound note she'd heard so much talk about, and it didn't belong to me, and that started her curiosity; and then I talked low, and told her the whole history right from the start, and it nearly killed her laughing. What in the nation she could find to laugh about I couldn't see, but there it was; every half-minute some new detail would fetch her, and I would have to stop as much as a minute and a half to give her a chance to settle down again. Why, she laughed herself lame - she did, indeed; I never saw anything like it. I mean I never saw a painful story - a story of a person's troubles and worries and fears - produce just that kind of effect before. So I loved her all the more, seeing she could be so cheerful when there wasn't anything to be cheerful about; for I might soon need that kind of wife, you know, the way things looked. Of course, I told her we should have to wait a couple of years, till I could catch up on my salary; but she didn't mind that, only she hoped I would be as careful as possible in the matter of expenses, and not let them run the least risk of trenching on our third year's pay. Then she began to get a little worried, and wondered if we were making any mistake, and starting the salary on a higher figure for the first year than I would get. This was good sense, and it made me feel a little less confident than I had been feeling before; but it gave me a good business idea, and I brought it frankly out.

不过,我对她可是襟怀坦白,光明正大。我告诉她,我连一个小钱都没有,就有一张她听说过的、被炒得沸沸扬扬的百万大钞,而且,那张大钞还不是我的,这让她非常好奇;我就悄悄地把前因后果统统给她说了一遍,把她笑了个半死。我搞不清楚她到底笑的是什么,反正她就是一个劲儿地咯咯咯直笑;隔半分钟,就有什么新的情节让她觉得可乐,于是我只好住嘴,给她平静下来的机会。嘿,她都快把自己笑傻了——她真是这样;我还从来没见过这样笑的。我是说从来没见过一个痛苦的故事——一个人的烦恼、焦急和担心——竟然制造出这样的效果。看到她在没什么高兴事的时候居然还能这么高兴,我对她的爱就愈发不可收拾了;你瞧,按那时的情况来看,也许我马上就用得着这么一位太太哪。当然我也告诉她,我们还得等两年,等到我用自己的薪水补上亏空的时候;不过她倒不在乎这些,只盼着我能在开支问题上尽量当心,别让我们第三年的花销有哪怕是一星半点的风险。接着,她开始有点担心了,她想知道我有没有搞错,把头一年起薪估计过高,高出我实得的数目。这话言之有理,让我把原来十足的自信略减了半成;同时,也启发我想出了一个好主意,我就直说了。

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