英语原著双语阅读 :《夏洛特的网》 第十八章 夜之凉爽

      chapter 18 The cool of the evening

           In the cool of the evening,when shadows darkened the Fair Grounds, Templeton crept from the carte and looked around. Wilbur lay asleep in the straw. Charlotte was building a web. Templeton's keen nose detected many fine smells in the air. The rat was hungry and thirsty. He decided to go exploring. Without saying anything to anybody, he started off.

        "Bring me back a word!" Charlotte called after him. "I shall be writing tonight for the last time."The rat mumbled something to himself and disappeared into the shadows. He did not like being treated like a messenger boy.

        After the heat of the day, the evening came as a welcome relief to all. The Ferris wheel was lighted now. It went round and round in the sky and seemed twice as high as by day. There were lights on the midway, and you could hear the crackle of the gambling machines and the music of the merry-go-round and the voice of the man in the beano booth calling numbers.

        The children felt refreshed after their nap. Fern met her friend Henry Fussy, and he invited her to ride with him in the Ferris wheel. He even bought a ticket for her, so it didn't cost her anything. When Mrs. Arable happened to look up into the starry sky and saw here little daughter sitting with Henry Fussy and going higher and higher into the air, and saw how happy Fern looked, she just shook her head. "My, my!" she said. "Henry Fussy. Think of that!"Templeton kept out of sight. In the tall grass behind the cattle barn he found a folded newspaper. Inside it were leftleftovers from somebody's lunch: a deviled ham sandwich, a piece of Swiss cheese, part of a hard-boiled egg, and the core of a wormy apple. The rat crawled in and ate everything. Then he tore a word out of the paper, rolled it up, and started back to Wilbur's pen.

        Carlotte had her web almost finished when Templeton returned, carrying the newspaper clipping. She had left a space in the middle of the web. At this hour, no people were around the pigpen, so the rat and the spider and the pig were by themselves.

        "I hope you brought a good one," Charlotte said. "It's the last word I shall ever write.""Here," said Templeton, unrolling the paper.

        "What does it say?" asked Charlotte. "You'll have to read it for me.""It says 'Humble'" replied the rat.

        "Humble?" said Charlotte. "'Humble' has two meanings. It means 'not proud' and it means 'near the ground.' That's Wilbur all over. He's not proud and he's near the ground.""Well, I hope you're satisfied," sneered the rat. "I'm not going to spend all my time fetching and carrying. I came to this Fair to enjoy myself, not to deliver papers.""You've been very helpful," Charlotte said. "Run along, if you want to see more of the Fair."The rat grinned. "I'm going to make a night of it," he said. "The old sheep was right--this Fair is a rat's paradise. What eating! And what drinking! And everywhere good hiding and good hunting. Bye, bye, my humble Wilbur! Fare thee well, charlotte, you old schemer! This will be a night to remember in a rat's life."He vanished into the shadows.

        Charlotte went back to her work. It was quite dark now. In the distance, fireworks began going off--rockets, scattering fiery balls in the sky. By the time the Arables and the Zuckermans and Lurvy returned from the grandstand, Charlotte had finished her web. The word HUMBLE was woven neatly in the center. Nobody noticed it in the darkness. Everyone was tired and happy.

        Fern and Avery climbed into the truck and lay down. They pulled the Indian blanket over them. Lurvy gave Wilbur a forkful of fresh straw. Mr. Arable patted him. "Time for us to go home," he said to the pig. "See you tomorrow."The grownups climbed slowly into the truck and Wilbur heard the engine start and then heard the truck moving away in low speed. He would have felt lonely and homesick, had Charlotte not been with him. He never felt lonely when she was near. In the distance he could still hear the music of the merry-go-round.

        As he was dropping off to sleep he spoke to Charlotte.

        "Sing me that song again, about the dung and the dark," he begged.

        "Not tonight," she said in a low voice. "I'm too tired." Her voice didn't seem to come from her web.

        "Where are you?" asked Wilbur. "I can't see you. Are you on your web?""I'm back here," she answered."Up in this back corner.""Why aren't you on your web?" asked Wilbur. "You almost never leave your web.""I've left it tonight," she said.

        Wilbur closed his eyes. "Charlotte," he said, after a while," do you really think Zuckerman will let me live and not kill me when the cold weather comes? Do you really think so?""Of course," said Charlotte. "You are a famous pig and you are a good pig. Tomorrow you will probably win a prize. The whole world will hear about you. Zuckerman will be proud and happy to own such a pig. You have nothing to fear, Wilbur--nothing to worry about. Maybe you'll live forever--who knows? and now, go to sleep."For a while there was no sound. Then Wilbur's voice:

        "What are you doing up there, Charlotte?""Oh, making something," she said. "Making something, as usual.""Is it something for me?" asked Wilbur.

        "No," said Charlotte. "It's something for me, for a change.""Please tell me what it is," begged Wilbur.

        "I'll tell you in the morning," she said. "When the first light comes into the sky and the sparrows stir and the cows rattle their chains, when the rooster crows and the stars fade, when early cars whisper along the highway, you look up here and I'll show you something. I will show you my masterpiece."Before she finished the sentence, Wilbur was asleep. She could tell by the sound of his breathing that he was sleeping peacefully, deep in the straw.

        Miles away, at the Arables' house, the men sat around the kitchen table eating a dish of canned peaches and talking over the events of the day. Upstairs, Avery was already in bed and asleep. Mrs. Arable was tucking Fern into bed.

        "Did you have a good time at the Fair?" she asked as she kissed her daughter.

        Fern nodded. "I had the best time I have ever had anywhere or any time in all of my whole life.""Well!" said Mrs. Arable. "Isn't that nice!"

        第十八章  夜之凉爽

            黑暗模糊了展览会场后,凉爽的傍晚来临了。坦普尔曼从板条箱里爬出来,开始四处观望。威伯还在稻草中间睡着。夏洛正在织一张网。坦普尔曼那敏锐的鼻子在空气中嗅到很多好闻的味道。老鼠又饿又渴,决定出去探险了。他没和任何人打招呼,就往外溜去。

        “给我带一个字回来!”夏洛在他的身后喊,“今晚我要最后一次往网里织字!”

        老鼠嘴里嘟囔了一句什么,消失在黑暗里了。他一点儿也不愿意被看成一个小搬运工。

        忙碌的白天过去后,夜晚对所有人来说,都是放松的好时候。费里斯大转轮上现在轻松多了。它一圈圈地在空中转着,好像比白天时转得还要高两倍。游乐场里灯火通明,能听到从里面传出的游戏机的响声,还有旋转木马旁的音乐声,电话亭里的男人呼叫电话号码的声音。

        孩子们在小睡之后又恢复了活力。芬遇到了她的朋友亨利·富塞。他邀请她一同去坐费里斯大转轮,还送了她一张票,这样她就不必花钱去买了。阿拉贝尔太太偶然望向繁星点点的夜空,看到她的小女儿正和亨利·富塞坐在一起,往天上转得越来越高。当看到芬那幸福的样子,她不相信地摇了摇头。“看,看呐!”她说,“那不是亨利·富塞吗?真没想到!”

        坦普尔曼始终躲避着灯光。在牲口棚后面的高草丛里,他发现了一张折叠起来的报纸。里面包着某个人吃剩的午餐:油煎火腿三明治,一块瑞士奶酪,一点儿煮鸡蛋,一个有蛀虫的苹果核。老鼠爬进去把这些全吃光了。然后他从报纸上撕下一个字,卷起来,往威伯的猪圈叼去。

        当老鼠带着那片报纸回来时,夏洛的网几乎快织成了。她事先在网中间留了一个空。这时,猪圈四周并没有人,只除了老鼠,蜘蛛和那头猪。

        “我希望你给我带来一个好词儿,”夏洛说,“那将是我织的最后一个词了。”

        “这就是。”坦普尔曼说着,打开了纸卷儿。

        “上面说什么?”夏洛问,“你最好读给我听。”

        “上面写的是‘谦恭’。”老鼠回答。

        “谦恭?”①夏洛说,“‘谦恭’有两个意思。一个意思是‘不骄傲’,一个意思是‘贴近大地’,这词对威伯太合适了。他不骄傲,而且他也和土壤非常亲近。”

        “很好,我希望你能满意,”老鼠讽刺,“我要去把我所有的时间都用到拿和搬上了。我到展览会来是为了使自己开心的,而不是为了送报纸的。”

        “你帮了很大的忙,”夏洛说,“快去吧,如果你想在展览会上找到更多的好东西的话。”

        老鼠咧开嘴笑了。“我要去狂吃一整夜,”他说,“老羊说得对——这个展览会是老鼠的天堂。那么多吃的!那么多喝的!到处都有可以攫取的好东西。再见,再见,我谦恭的威伯!也对你说声再见吧,夏洛,你这个老阴谋家!这将是一只老鼠一生中最难忘的夜晚。”

        他在黑暗中消失了。

        夏洛回到她的工作上来。现在,天已经很黑了。不远处,焰火开始升空了——无数灿烂的火球笔直地喷洒进夜空中。等阿拉贝尔一家与祖克曼夫妇,还有鲁维从大看台那里回来时,夏洛已经织完了她的网,“谦恭”这个词被整齐地织在网中央。在黑暗中,没有人注意到它。每个人都玩得又累又尽兴。

        芬和埃弗里爬进卡车躺下来,把那条印第安毛毯盖到身上。鲁维给威伯加了一叉新鲜的稻草。阿拉贝尔先生拍了拍他。“我们该回家了,”他对那头猪说,“明天见。”

        大人们悄悄地进了卡车。威伯先听到了引擎开动的声音,继而又听到了卡车慢慢离去的声音。如果夏洛此刻不陪在身边的话,他一定会孤独和想家的。只要有夏洛在身边,他就永远不会感到孤独。不远处传来旋转木马旁的音乐声。

        就在快要入睡时,他对夏洛说了起来。

        “再给我唱一遍那支歌吧,就是关于粪堆和黑夜的那支。”他央求道。

        “今晚不能了,”她用一种微弱的声音说,“我太累了。”她的声音好像不是从她的网里传出来的。

        “你在哪儿?”威伯问,“我看不到你。你在网里吗?”

        “我在后面,”她回答,“猪圈后的一个角落上面。”

        “你为什么不在你的网里?”威伯问,“你可是从不离开你的网的。”

        “我今晚得离开了。”她说。

        威伯闭上眼。“夏洛,”他过了一会儿说,“你真的认为祖克曼会让我活下去,冬天来时也不杀我吗?你真的这么认为吗?”

        “当然,”夏洛说,“你是头名猪,也是头好猪。明天你可能会得大奖的。整个世界将会知道你的名字的。祖克曼会为拥有你这样一头猪而骄傲、幸福的,你不要害怕,威伯——什么也不必担心。你大概会永远活下去的——谁知道呢?现在去睡吧。”

        静了一会儿,又听到了威伯的声音:

        “你在那上面做什么呢,夏洛?”

        “哦,造一样东西,”她说,“造一样东西,像往常那样。”

        “那是给我造的吗?”威伯问。

        “不,”夏洛说,“这次不同,这次是为我自己造的。”

        “请告诉我那是什么吧。”威伯请求。

        “我会在明天早晨告诉你,”她说,“等到天空中出现第一道晨光,麻雀们开始喳喳叫,母牛把他们的身上的链子弄得嘎嘎作响的时候;等到公鸡啼叫,星光黯淡的时候;等到早起的汽车在高速公路上奔跑的时候,你再抬头看我要你看的东西。我将给你看我的一件杰作。”

        在她说完之前,威伯已经睡着了。威伯从稻草里传出的呼噜声告诉了她这一点。

        数里外的阿拉贝尔家,父亲正围坐在厨房的餐桌旁,吃着桃子罐头,想着白天发生的事情。埃弗里已经在楼上睡着了。阿拉贝尔太太正在给芬掖被子。

        “你在展览会上玩得开心吗?”她问着,吻了女儿一下。

        芬点点头。“在我一生中,不管在哪里,在什么时候,都没有在那里时玩得开心。”

        “好极了!”阿拉贝尔太太说,“那真是太好了!”

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