凯特·道格拉斯·威金(Kate Douglas Wiggin, 1856～1923),美国著名儿童文学作家、著名教育家。1878年,威金和妹妹在旧金山创办了美国第一家免费幼儿园,从此一生致力于幼儿教育事业。为了给幼儿园筹备资金,威金开始了自己的写作生涯。1903年发表的小说《太阳溪农场的丽贝卡》(Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm)和1905年发表的小说《河上的玫瑰》(Rose O' the River)一度成为年度最畅销小说,位于美国经典儿童小说之列,风靡全球。2002年,《太阳溪农场的丽贝卡》被亚马逊书店评为“20世纪对人类心志有重大影响的50部图书”之一。
You might harness1) Rebecca to the heaviest plough2), and while she had youth on her side, she would always remember the green earth under her feet and the blue sky over her head. Her physical eye saw the cake she was stirring3) and the loaf she was kneading4); her physical ear heard the kitchen fire crackling and the teakettle singing, but ever and anon5) her fancy mounted6) on pinions7), rested itself, renewed its strength in the upper air. The bare little farmhouse was a fixed fact, but she had many a palace into which she now and then withdrew; palaces peopled8) with stirring9) and gallant10) figures belonging to the world of romance; palaces not without their heavenly apparitions11) too, breathing12) celestial13) counsel14). Every time she retired to her citadel15) of dreams she came forth16) radiant17) and refreshed, as one who has seen the evening star, or heard sweet music, or smelled the rose of joy.
It was a marvelous morning. The sun had climbed into a world that held in remembrance only a succession of18) golden days and starlit19) nights. The air was fragrant with ripening fruit, and there was a mad little bird on a tree outside the door nearly bursting his throat with joy of living. He had forgotten that summer was over, that winter must ever come; and who could think of cold winds, bare boughs, or frozen streams on such a day? A painted moth came in at the open window and settled on the tuft20) of brilliant leaves. Aurelia heard the bird and looked from the beauty of the glowing bush to her tall, splendid daughter, standing like young Spring with golden Autumn in her arms.
Then suddenly she covered her eyes and cried, "I can't bear it! Here I lie chained21) to this bed, interfering with everything you want to do. It's all wasted! All my saving and doing without22); all your hard study; all Mirandy's outlay23); everything that we thought was going to be the making24) of you!"
"Mother, mother, don't talk so, don't think so!" exclaimed Rebecca, sitting down impetuously25) on the floor by the bed and dropping the goldenrod26) by her side. "Why, mother, I'm only a little past seventeen! This person in a purple calico27) apron with flour on her nose is only the beginnings of me! Do you remember the young tree that John transplanted? We had a dry summer and a cold winter and it didn't grow a bit, nor show anything of all we did for it; then there was a good year and it made up for lost time. This is just my little 'rooting season', mother, but don't go and believe my day is over, because it hasn't begun! The old maple by the well that's in its hundredth year had new leaves this summer, so there must be hope for me at seventeen!"
"You can put a brave face on it," sobbed Aurelia, "but you can't deceive me. You've lost your place; you'll never see your friends here, and you're nothing but a drudge28)!"
"I look like a drudge," said Rebecca mysteriously, with laughing eyes, "but I really am a princess; you mustn't tell, but this is only a disguise29); I wear it for reasons of state. The king and queen who are at present occupying my throne are very old and tottering30), and are going to abdicate31) shortly in my favor. It's rather a small kingdom, I suppose, as kingdoms go, so there isn't much struggle for it in royal circles, and you mustn't expect to see a golden throne set with jewels. It will probably be only of ivory with a nice screen of peacock feathers for a background; but you shall have a comfortable chair very near it, with quantities of slaves to do what they call in novels your 'lightest bidding32)'."
Aurelia smiled in spite of herself33), and though not perhaps wholly deceived, she was comforted.
"I only hope you won't have to wait too long for your thrones and your kingdoms, Rebecca," she said, "and that I shall have a sight of them before I die; but life looks very hard and rough to me, what with34) your aunt Miranda a cripple at the brick house, me another here at the farm, you tied hand and foot, first with one and then with the other, to say nothing of Jenny and Fanny and Mark! You've got something of your father's happy disposition35), or it would weigh on36) you as it does on me."
"Why, mother!" cried Rebecca, clasping her knees with her hands; "why, mother, it's enough joy just to be here in the world on a day like this; to have the chance of seeing, feeling, doing, becoming! When you were seventeen, mother, wasn't it good just to be alive? You haven't forgotten?"
"No," said Aurelia, "but I wasn't so much alive as you are, never in the world."
"I often think," Rebecca continued, walking to the window and looking out at the trees, "I often think how dreadful it would be if I were not here at all. If Hannah had come, and then, instead of me, John; John and Jenny and Fanny and the others, but no Rebecca; never any Rebecca! To be alive makes up for everything; there ought to be fears in my heart, but there aren't; something stronger sweeps them out37), something like a wind."
1. harness [5hB:nIs] vt. 给……上挽具;系,栓
2. plough [plau] n. 犁
3. stir [st\:(r)] vt. 搅动,搅拌
4. knead [ni:d] vt. 揉,捏(湿面粉或陶土等)
5. ever and anon: 时而,不时地
6. mount [maunt] vt. 安放,安装
7. pinion [5pInjEn] n. <诗> 翼,翅
8. people [5pi:pl] vt. 居住于;构成……的人口
9. stirring [5st\:rIN] adj. 忙碌的,活跃的
10. gallant [5^AlEnt] adj. 英勇的;骑士风度的,豪侠的
11. apparition [7ApE5rIFEn] n. 幽灵,幻影
12. breathe [bri:T] vt. (尤指低声细气地)说出;吐露
13. celestial [sI5lestjEl] adj. 天国的,神圣的
14. counsel [5kaunsEl] n. 忠告;劝告
15. citadel [5sItEdEl] n. 堡垒,要塞
16. come forth: 出现
17. radiant [5reIdIEnt] adj. 容光焕发的,喜气洋洋的;(面容、目光)洋溢着幸福的;(美貌)光华照人的
18. a succession of: (前后相接的)一系列;一连串
19. starlit [5stB:lIt] adj. 星光照耀的
20. tuft [tQft] n. (头发、羽毛、草等的)一束,一簇
21. chain [tFeIn] vt. 束缚
22. do without: 没有……也行,没有……而设法对付过去
23. outlay [5autleI] n. (钱、精力等)的花费
24. making [5meIkIN] n. 成功因素(或基础)
25. impetuously [Im5petjuEslI] adv. 急躁地;冲动地
26. goldenrod [5^EuldEnrCd] n. 秋麒麟,一枝黄花属植物
27. calico [5kAlIkEu] n. 印花布
28. drudge [drQdV] n. 苦工
29. disguise [dIs5^aIz] n. 伪装
30. tottering [5tCtErIN] adj. 摇摇欲坠的;不稳的,动摇的
31. abdicate [5AbdIkeIt] vt. 退位
32. bidding [5bIdIN] n. 命令;请求;do the bidding of sb. (= do at sb.'s bidding): 服从某人,听命于某人,为某人效劳
33. in spite of oneself: 不由自主地
34. what with: 因为,由于
35. disposition [7dIspE5zIFEn] n. 性情;性格
36. weigh on: 重压;压垮;成为负担
37. sweep out: 彻底扫除,清扫(房间等)