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  • Chapter I. The beginning of things.

    They were not railway children to begin with. I don't suppose they had ever thought about railways except as a means of getting to Maskelyne and Cook's, the Pantomime, Zoological Gardens, and Madame Tussaud's. They were just ordinary suburban1 children, and they lived with their Father and Mother in an ordinary red-brick-fronted villa2, with coloured glass in the front door, a tiled passage that was called a hall, a bath-room with hot and cold water, electric bells, French windows, and a good deal of white paint, and 'every modern convenience', as the house-agents say.

    There were three of them. Roberta was the eldest3. Of course, Mothers never have favourites, but if their Mother HAD had a favourite, it might have been Roberta. Next came Peter, who wished to be an Engineer when he grew up; and the youngest was Phyllis, who meant extremely well.

    Mother did not spend all her time in paying dull calls to dull ladies, and sitting dully at home waiting for dull ladies to pay calls to her. She was almost always there, ready to play with the children, and read to them, and help them to do their home-lessons. Besides this she used to write stories for them while they were at school, and read them aloud after tea, and she always made up funny pieces of poetry for their birthdays and for other great occasions, such as the christening of the new kittens, or the refurnishing of the doll's house, or the time when they were getting over the mumps4.

    These three lucky children always had everything they needed: pretty clothes, good fires, a lovely nursery with heaps of toys, and a Mother Goose wall-paper. They had a kind and merry nursemaid, and a dog who was called James, and who was their very own. They also had a Father who was just perfect—never cross, never unjust, and always ready for a game—at least, if at any time he was NOT ready, he always had an excellent reason for it, and explained the reason to the children so interestingly and funnily that they felt sure he couldn't help himself.

    You will think that they ought to have been very happy. And so they were, but they did not know HOW happy till the pretty life in the Red Villa was over and done with, and they had to live a very different life indeed.

    The dreadful change came quite suddenly.

    Peter had a birthday—his tenth. Among his other presents was a model engine more perfect than you could ever have dreamed of. The other presents were full of charm, but the Engine was fuller of charm than any of the others were.

    Its charm lasted in its full perfection for exactly three days. Then, owing either to Peter's inexperience or Phyllis's good intentions, which had been rather pressing, or to some other cause, the Engine suddenly went off with a bang. James was so frightened that he went out and did not come back all day. All the Noah's Ark people who were in the tender were broken to bits, but nothing else was hurt except the poor little engine and the feelings of Peter. The others said he cried over it—but of course boys of ten do not cry, however terrible the tragedies may be which darken their lot. He said that his eyes were red because he had a cold. This turned out to be true, though Peter did not know it was when he said it, the next day he had to go to bed and stay there. Mother began to be afraid that he might be sickening for measles5, when suddenly he sat up in bed and said:

    “I hate gruel—I hate barley6 water—I hate bread and milk. I want to get up and have something REAL to eat.”

    “What would you like?” Mother asked.

    “A pigeon-pie,” said Peter, eagerly, “a large pigeon-pie. A very large one.”

    So Mother asked the Cook to make a large pigeon-pie. The pie was made. And when the pie was made, it was cooked. And when it was cooked, Peter ate some of it. After that his cold was better. Mother made a piece of poetry to amuse him while the pie was being made. It began by saying what an unfortunate but worthy7 boy Peter was, then it went on:

    He had an engine that he loved

    With all his heart and soul,

    And if he had a wish on earth

    It was to keep it whole.

    One day—my friends, prepare your minds;

    I'm coming to the worst—

    Quite suddenly a screw went mad,

    And then the boiler8 burst!

    With gloomy face he picked it up

    And took it to his Mother,

    Though even he could not suppose

    That she could make another;

    For those who perished on the line

    He did not seem to care,

    His engine being more to him

    Than all the people there.

    And now you see the reason why

    Our Peter has been ill:

    He soothes9 his soul with pigeon-pie

    His gnawing10 grief to kill.

    He wraps himself in blankets warm

    And sleeps in bed till late,

    Determined11 thus to overcome

    His miserable12 fate.

    And if his eyes are rather red,

    His cold must just excuse it:

    Offer him pie; you may be sure

    He never will refuse it.

    Father had been away in the country for three or four days. All Peter's hopes for the curing of his afflicted13 Engine were now fixed14 on his Father, for Father was most wonderfully clever with his fingers. He could mend all sorts of things. He had often acted as veterinary surgeon to the wooden rocking-horse; once he had saved its life when all human aid was despaired of, and the poor creature was given up for lost, and even the carpenter said he didn't see his way to do anything. And it was Father who mended the doll's cradle when no one else could; and with a little glue and some bits of wood and a pen-knife made all the Noah's Ark beasts as strong on their pins as ever they were, if not stronger.

    Peter, with heroic unselfishness, did not say anything about his Engine till after Father had had his dinner and his after-dinner cigar. The unselfishness was Mother's idea—but it was Peter who carried it out. And needed a good deal of patience, too.

    At last Mother said to Father, “Now, dear, if you're quite rested, and quite comfy, we want to tell you about the great railway accident, and ask your advice.”

    “All right,” said Father, “fire away!”

    So then Peter told the sad tale, and fetched what was left of the Engine.

    “Hum,” said Father, when he had looked the Engine over very carefully.

    The children held their breaths.

    “Is there NO hope?” said Peter, in a low, unsteady voice.

    “Hope? Rather! Tons of it,” said Father, cheerfully; “but it'll want something besides hope—a bit of brazing say, or some solder15, and a new valve. I think we'd better keep it for a rainy day. In other words, I'll give up Saturday afternoon to it, and you shall all help me.”

    “CAN girls help to mend engines?” Peter asked doubtfully.

    “Of course they can. Girls are just as clever as boys, and don't you forget it! How would you like to be an engine-driver, Phil?”

    “My face would be always dirty, wouldn't it?” said Phyllis, in unenthusiastic tones, “and I expect I should break something.”

    “I should just love it,” said Roberta—“do you think I could when I'm grown up, Daddy? Or even a stoker?”

    “You mean a fireman,” said Daddy, pulling and twisting at the engine. “Well, if you still wish it, when you're grown up, we'll see about making you a fire-woman. I remember when I was a boy—”

    Just then there was a knock at the front door.

    “Who on earth!” said Father. “An Englishman's house is his castle, of course, but I do wish they built semi-detached villas16 with moats and drawbridges.”

    Ruth—she was the parlour-maid and had red hair—came in and said that two gentlemen wanted to see the master.

    “I've shown them into the Library, Sir,” said she.

    “I expect it's the subscription17 to the Vicar's testimonial,” said Mother, “or else it's the choir18 holiday fund. Get rid of them quickly, dear. It does break up an evening so, and it's nearly the children's bedtime.”

    But Father did not seem to be able to get rid of the gentlemen at all quickly.

    “I wish we HAD got a moat and drawbridge,” said Roberta; “then, when we didn't want people, we could just pull up the drawbridge and no one else could get in. I expect Father will have forgotten about when he was a boy if they stay much longer.”

    Mother tried to make the time pass by telling them a new fairy story about a Princess with green eyes, but it was difficult because they could hear the voices of Father and the gentlemen in the Library, and Father's voice sounded louder and different to the voice he generally used to people who came about testimonials and holiday funds.

    Then the Library bell rang, and everyone heaved a breath of relief.

    “They're going now,” said Phyllis; “he's rung to have them shown out.”

    But instead of showing anybody out, Ruth showed herself in, and she looked queer, the children thought.

    “Please'm,” she said, “the Master wants you to just step into the study. He looks like the dead, mum; I think he's had bad news. You'd best prepare yourself for the worst, 'm—p'raps it's a death in the family or a bank busted19 or—”

    “That'll do, Ruth,” said Mother gently; “you can go.”

    Then Mother went into the Library. There was more talking. Then the bell rang again, and Ruth fetched a cab. The children heard boots go out and down the steps. The cab drove away, and the front door shut. Then Mother came in. Her dear face was as white as her lace collar, and her eyes looked very big and shining. Her mouth looked like just a line of pale red—her lips were thin and not their proper shape at all.

    “It's bedtime,” she said. “Ruth will put you to bed.”

    “But you promised we should sit up late tonight because Father's come home,” said Phyllis.

    “Father's been called away—on business,” said Mother. “Come, darlings, go at once.”

    They kissed her and went. Roberta lingered to give Mother an extra hug and to whisper:

    “It wasn't bad news, Mammy, was it? Is anyone dead—or—”

    “Nobody's dead—no,” said Mother, and she almost seemed to push Roberta away. “I can't tell you anything tonight, my pet. Go, dear, go NOW.”

    So Roberta went.

    Ruth brushed the girls' hair and helped them to undress. (Mother almost always did this herself.) When she had turned down the gas and left them she found Peter, still dressed, waiting on the stairs.

    “I say, Ruth, what's up?” he asked.

    “Don't ask me no questions and I won't tell you no lies,” the red-headed Ruth replied. “You'll know soon enough.”

    Late that night Mother came up and kissed all three children as they lay asleep. But Roberta was the only one whom the kiss woke, and she lay mousey-still, and said nothing.

    “If Mother doesn't want us to know she's been crying,” she said to herself as she heard through the dark the catching20 of her Mother's breath, “we WON'T know it. That's all.”

    When they came down to breakfast the next morning, Mother had already gone out.

    “To London,” Ruth said, and left them to their breakfast.

    “There's something awful the matter,” said Peter, breaking his egg. “Ruth told me last night we should know soon enough.”

    “Did you ASK her?” said Roberta, with scorn.

    “Yes, I did!” said Peter, angrily. “If you could go to bed without caring whether Mother was worried or not, I couldn't. So there.”

    “I don't think we ought to ask the servants things Mother doesn't tell us,” said Roberta.

    “That's right, Miss Goody-goody,” said Peter, “preach away.”

    “I'M not goody,” said Phyllis, “but I think Bobbie's right this time.”

    “Of course. She always is. In her own opinion,” said Peter.

    “Oh, DON'T!” cried Roberta, putting down her egg-spoon; “don't let's be horrid21 to each other. I'm sure some dire22 calamity23 is happening. Don't let's make it worse!”

    “Who began, I should like to know?” said Peter.

    Roberta made an effort, and answered:—

    “I did, I suppose, but—”

    “Well, then,” said Peter, triumphantly24. But before he went to school he thumped25 his sister between the shoulders and told her to cheer up.

    The children came home to one o'clock dinner, but Mother was not there. And she was not there at tea-time.

    It was nearly seven before she came in, looking so ill and tired that the children felt they could not ask her any questions. She sank into an arm-chair. Phyllis took the long pins out of her hat, while Roberta took off her gloves, and Peter unfastened her walking-shoes and fetched her soft velvety26 slippers27 for her.

    When she had had a cup of tea, and Roberta had put eau-de-Cologne on her poor head that ached, Mother said:—

    “Now, my darlings, I want to tell you something. Those men last night did bring very bad news, and Father will be away for some time. I am very worried about it, and I want you all to help me, and not to make things harder for me.”

    “As if we would!” said Roberta, holding Mother's hand against her face.

    “You can help me very much,” said Mother, “by being good and happy and not quarrelling when I'm away”—Roberta and Peter exchanged guilty glances—“for I shall have to be away a good deal.”

    “We won't quarrel. Indeed we won't,” said everybody. And meant it, too.

    “Then,” Mother went on, “I want you not to ask me any questions about this trouble; and not to ask anybody else any questions.”

    Peter cringed and shuffled28 his boots on the carpet.

    “You'll promise this, too, won't you?” said Mother.

    “I did ask Ruth,” said Peter, suddenly. “I'm very sorry, but I did.”

    “And what did she say?”

    “She said I should know soon enough.”

    “It isn't necessary for you to know anything about it,” said Mother; “it's about business, and you never do understand business, do you?”

    “No,” said Roberta; “is it something to do with Government?” For Father was in a Government Office.

    “Yes,” said Mother. “Now it's bed-time, my darlings. And don't YOU worry. It'll all come right in the end.”

    “Then don't YOU worry either, Mother,” said Phyllis, “and we'll all be as good as gold.”

    Mother sighed and kissed them.

    “We'll begin being good the first thing tomorrow morning,” said Peter, as they went upstairs.

    “Why not NOW?” said Roberta.

    “There's nothing to be good ABOUT now, silly,” said Peter.

    “We might begin to try to FEEL good,” said Phyllis, “and not call names.”

    “Who's calling names?” said Peter. “Bobbie knows right enough that when I say 'silly', it's just the same as if I said Bobbie.”

    “WELL,” said Roberta.

    “No, I don't mean what you mean. I mean it's just a—what is it Father calls it?—a germ of endearment29! Good night.”

    The girls folded up their clothes with more than usual neatness—which was the only way of being good that they could think of.

    “I say,” said Phyllis, smoothing out her pinafore, “you used to say it was so dull—nothing happening, like in books. Now something HAS happened.”

    “I never wanted things to happen to make Mother unhappy,” said Roberta. “Everything's perfectly30 horrid.”

    Everything continued to be perfectly horrid for some weeks.

    Mother was nearly always out. Meals were dull and dirty. The between-maid was sent away, and Aunt Emma came on a visit. Aunt Emma was much older than Mother. She was going abroad to be a governess. She was very busy getting her clothes ready, and they were very ugly, dingy31 clothes, and she had them always littering about, and the sewing-machine seemed to whir—on and on all day and most of the night. Aunt Emma believed in keeping children in their proper places. And they more than returned the compliment. Their idea of Aunt Emma's proper place was anywhere where they were not. So they saw very little of her. They preferred the company of the servants, who were more amusing. Cook, if in a good temper, could sing comic songs, and the housemaid, if she happened not to be offended with you, could imitate a hen that has laid an egg, a bottle of champagne32 being opened, and could mew like two cats fighting. The servants never told the children what the bad news was that the gentlemen had brought to Father. But they kept hinting that they could tell a great deal if they chose—and this was not comfortable.

    One day when Peter had made a booby trap over the bath-room door, and it had acted beautifully as Ruth passed through, that red-haired parlour-maid caught him and boxed his ears.

    “You'll come to a bad end,” she said furiously, “you nasty little limb, you! If you don't mend your ways, you'll go where your precious Father's gone, so I tell you straight!”

    Roberta repeated this to her Mother, and next day Ruth was sent away.

    Then came the time when Mother came home and went to bed and stayed there two days and the Doctor came, and the children crept wretchedly about the house and wondered if the world was coming to an end.

    Mother came down one morning to breakfast, very pale and with lines on her face that used not to be there. And she smiled, as well as she could, and said:—

    “Now, my pets, everything is settled. We're going to leave this house, and go and live in the country. Such a ducky dear little white house. I know you'll love it.”

    A whirling week of packing followed—not just packing clothes, like when you go to the seaside, but packing chairs and tables, covering their tops with sacking and their legs with straw.

    All sorts of things were packed that you don't pack when you go to the seaside. Crockery, blankets, candlesticks, carpets, bedsteads, saucepans, and even fenders and fire-irons.

    The house was like a furniture warehouse33. I think the children enjoyed it very much. Mother was very busy, but not too busy now to talk to them, and read to them, and even to make a bit of poetry for Phyllis to cheer her up when she fell down with a screwdriver34 and ran it into her hand.

    “Aren't you going to pack this, Mother?” Roberta asked, pointing to the beautiful cabinet inlaid with red turtleshell and brass35.

    “We can't take everything,” said Mother.

    “But we seem to be taking all the ugly things,” said Roberta.

    “We're taking the useful ones,” said Mother; “we've got to play at being Poor for a bit, my chickabiddy.”

    When all the ugly useful things had been packed up and taken away in a van by men in green-baize aprons36, the two girls and Mother and Aunt Emma slept in the two spare rooms where the furniture was all pretty. All their beds had gone. A bed was made up for Peter on the drawing-room sofa.

    “I say, this is larks,” he said, wriggling37 joyously38, as Mother tucked him up. “I do like moving! I wish we moved once a month.”

    Mother laughed.

    “I don't!” she said. “Good night, Peterkin.”

    As she turned away Roberta saw her face. She never forgot it.

    “Oh, Mother,” she whispered all to herself as she got into bed, “how brave you are! How I love you! Fancy being brave enough to laugh when you're feeling like THAT!”

    Next day boxes were filled, and boxes and more boxes; and then late in the afternoon a cab came to take them to the station.

    Aunt Emma saw them off. They felt that THEY were seeing HER off, and they were glad of it.

    “But, oh, those poor little foreign children that she's going to governess!” whispered Phyllis. “I wouldn't be them for anything!”

    At first they enjoyed looking out of the window, but when it grew dusk they grew sleepier and sleepier, and no one knew how long they had been in the train when they were roused by Mother's shaking them gently and saying:—

    “Wake up, dears. We're there.”

    They woke up, cold and melancholy39, and stood shivering on the draughty platform while the baggage was taken out of the train. Then the engine, puffing41 and blowing, set to work again, and dragged the train away. The children watched the tail-lights of the guard's van disappear into the darkness.

    This was the first train the children saw on that railway which was in time to become so very dear to them. They did not guess then how they would grow to love the railway, and how soon it would become the centre of their new life, nor what wonders and changes it would bring to them. They only shivered and sneezed and hoped the walk to the new house would not be long. Peter's nose was colder than he ever remembered it to have been before. Roberta's hat was crooked42, and the elastic43 seemed tighter than usual. Phyllis's shoe-laces had come undone44.

    “Come,” said Mother, “we've got to walk. There aren't any cabs here.”

    The walk was dark and muddy. The children stumbled a little on the rough road, and once Phyllis absently fell into a puddle45, and was picked up damp and unhappy. There were no gas-lamps on the road, and the road was uphill. The cart went at a foot's pace, and they followed the gritty crunch46 of its wheels. As their eyes got used to the darkness, they could see the mound47 of boxes swaying dimly in front of them.

    A long gate had to be opened for the cart to pass through, and after that the road seemed to go across fields—and now it went down hill. Presently a great dark lumpish thing showed over to the right.

    “There's the house,” said Mother. “I wonder why she's shut the shutters48.”

    “Who's SHE?” asked Roberta.

    “The woman I engaged to clean the place, and put the furniture straight and get supper.”

    There was a low wall, and trees inside.

    “That's the garden,” said Mother.

    “It looks more like a dripping-pan full of black cabbages,” said Peter.

    The cart went on along by the garden wall, and round to the back of the house, and here it clattered49 into a cobble-stoned yard and stopped at the back door.

    There was no light in any of the windows.

    Everyone hammered at the door, but no one came.

    The man who drove the cart said he expected Mrs. Viney had gone home.

    “You see your train was that late,” said he.

    “But she's got the key,” said Mother. “What are we to do?”

    “Oh, she'll have left that under the doorstep,” said the cart man; “folks do hereabouts.” He took the lantern off his cart and stooped.

    “Ay, here it is, right enough,” he said.

    He unlocked the door and went in and set his lantern on the table.

    “Got e'er a candle?” said he.

    “I don't know where anything is.” Mother spoke50 rather less cheerfully than usual.

    He struck a match. There was a candle on the table, and he lighted it. By its thin little glimmer51 the children saw a large bare kitchen with a stone floor. There were no curtains, no hearth-rug. The kitchen table from home stood in the middle of the room. The chairs were in one corner, and the pots, pans, brooms, and crockery in another. There was no fire, and the black grate showed cold, dead ashes.

    As the cart man turned to go out after he had brought in the boxes, there was a rustling52, scampering53 sound that seemed to come from inside the walls of the house.

    “Oh, what's that?” cried the girls.

    “It's only the rats,” said the cart man. And he went away and shut the door, and the sudden draught40 of it blew out the candle.

    “Oh, dear,” said Phyllis, “I wish we hadn't come!” and she knocked a chair over.

    “ONLY the rats!” said Peter, in the dark.


    1 suburban [səˈbɜ:bən] Usywk   第9级
    • Suburban shopping centers were springing up all over America. 郊区的商业中心在美国如雨后春笋般地兴起。
    • There's a lot of good things about suburban living. 郊区生活是有许多优点。
    2 villa [ˈvɪlə] xHayI   第8级
    • We rented a villa in France for the summer holidays. 我们在法国租了一幢别墅消夏。
    • We are quartered in a beautiful villa. 我们住在一栋漂亮的别墅里。
    3 eldest [ˈeldɪst] bqkx6   第8级
    • The King's eldest son is the heir to the throne. 国王的长子是王位的继承人。
    • The castle and the land are entailed on the eldest son. 城堡和土地限定由长子继承。
    4 mumps [mʌmps] 6n4zbS   第10级
    • Sarah got mumps from her brother. 萨拉的弟弟患腮腺炎,传染给她了。
    • I was told not go near Charles. He is sickening for mumps. 别人告诉我不要走近查尔斯,他染上了流行性腮腺炎。
    5 measles [ˈmi:zlz] Bw8y9   第9级
    • The doctor is quite definite about Tom having measles. 医生十分肯定汤姆得了麻疹。
    • The doctor told her to watch out for symptoms of measles. 医生让她注意麻疹出现的症状。
    6 barley [ˈbɑ:li] 2dQyq   第7级
    • They looked out across the fields of waving barley. 他们朝田里望去,只见大麦随风摇摆。
    • He cropped several acres with barley. 他种了几英亩大麦。
    7 worthy [ˈwɜ:ði] vftwB   第7级
    • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust. 我认为他不值得信赖。
    • There occurred nothing that was worthy to be mentioned. 没有值得一提的事发生。
    8 boiler [ˈbɔɪlə(r)] OtNzI   第7级
    • That boiler will not hold up under pressure. 那种锅炉受不住压力。
    • This new boiler generates more heat than the old one. 这个新锅炉产生的热量比旧锅炉多。
    9 soothes [su:ðz] 525545df1477f31c55d31f4c04ec6531   第7级
    v.安慰( soothe的第三人称单数 );抚慰;使舒服;减轻痛苦
    • Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes. 恐惧使人痛心,爱使痛苦减轻。 来自互联网
    • His loe celebrates her victories and soothes her wounds. 他的爱庆祝她的胜利,也抚平她的创伤。 来自互联网
    10 gnawing ['nɔ:iŋ] GsWzWk   第9级
    • The dog was gnawing a bone. 那狗在啃骨头。
    • These doubts had been gnawing at him for some time. 这些疑虑已经折磨他一段时间了。
    11 determined [dɪˈtɜ:mɪnd] duszmP   第7级
    • I have determined on going to Tibet after graduation. 我已决定毕业后去西藏。
    • He determined to view the rooms behind the office. 他决定查看一下办公室后面的房间。
    12 miserable [ˈmɪzrəbl] g18yk   第7级
    • It was miserable of you to make fun of him. 你取笑他,这是可耻的。
    • Her past life was miserable. 她过去的生活很苦。
    13 afflicted [əˈfliktid] aaf4adfe86f9ab55b4275dae2a2e305a   第7级
    使受痛苦,折磨( afflict的过去式和过去分词 )
    • About 40% of the country's population is afflicted with the disease. 全国40%左右的人口患有这种疾病。
    • A terrible restlessness that was like to hunger afflicted Martin Eden. 一阵可怕的、跟饥饿差不多的不安情绪折磨着马丁·伊登。
    14 fixed [fɪkst] JsKzzj   第8级
    • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet? 你们俩选定婚期了吗?
    • Once the aim is fixed, we should not change it arbitrarily. 目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
    15 solder [ˈsəʊldə(r)] 1TczH   第11级
    • Fewer workers are needed to solder circuit boards. 焊接电路板需要的工人更少了。
    • He cuts the pieces and solders them together. 他把那些断片切碎,然后把它们焊在一起。
    16 villas [ˈvɪləz] 00c79f9e4b7b15e308dee09215cc0427   第8级
    别墅,公馆( villa的名词复数 ); (城郊)住宅
    • Magnificent villas are found throughout Italy. 在意大利到处可看到豪华的别墅。
    • Rich men came down from wealthy Rome to build sea-side villas. 有钱人从富有的罗马来到这儿建造海滨别墅。
    17 subscription [səbˈskrɪpʃn] qH8zt   第8级
    • We paid a subscription of 5 pounds yearly. 我们按年度缴纳5英镑的订阅费。
    • Subscription selling bloomed splendidly. 订阅销售量激增。
    18 choir [ˈkwaɪə(r)] sX0z5   第8级
    • The choir sang the words out with great vigor. 合唱团以极大的热情唱出了歌词。
    • The church choir is singing tonight. 今晚教堂歌唱队要唱诗。
    19 busted [ˈbʌstɪd] busted   第9级
    adj. 破产了的,失败了的,被降级的,被逮捕的,被抓到的 动词bust的过去式和过去分词
    • You are so busted! 你被当场逮住了!
    • It was money troubles that busted up their marriage. 是金钱纠纷使他们的婚姻破裂了。
    20 catching [ˈkætʃɪŋ] cwVztY   第8级
    • There are those who think eczema is catching. 有人就是认为湿疹会传染。
    • Enthusiasm is very catching. 热情非常富有感染力。
    21 horrid [ˈhɒrɪd] arozZj   第10级
    • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party. 我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
    • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down. 这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
    22 dire [ˈdaɪə(r)] llUz9   第10级
    • There were dire warnings about the dangers of watching too much TV. 曾经有人就看电视太多的危害性提出严重警告。
    • We were indeed in dire straits. But we pulled through. 那时我们的困难真是大极了,但是我们渡过了困难。
    23 calamity [kəˈlæməti] nsizM   第7级
    • Even a greater natural calamity cannot daunt us. 再大的自然灾害也压不垮我们。
    • The attack on Pearl Harbor was a crushing calamity. 偷袭珍珠港(对美军来说)是一场毁灭性的灾难。
    24 triumphantly [trai'ʌmfəntli] 9fhzuv   第9级
    • The lion was roaring triumphantly. 狮子正在发出胜利的吼叫。
    • Robert was looking at me triumphantly. 罗伯特正得意扬扬地看着我。
    25 thumped [θʌmpt] 0a7f1b69ec9ae1663cb5ed15c0a62795   第8级
    v.重击, (指心脏)急速跳动( thump的过去式和过去分词 )
    • Dave thumped the table in frustration . 戴夫懊恼得捶打桌子。
    • He thumped the table angrily. 他愤怒地用拳捶击桌子。
    26 velvety [ˈvelvəti] 5783c9b64c2c5d03bc234867b2d33493   第7级
    adj. 像天鹅绒的, 轻软光滑的, 柔软的
    • a velvety red wine 醇厚的红葡萄酒
    • Her skin was admired for its velvety softness. 她的皮肤如天鹅绒般柔软,令人赞叹。
    27 slippers ['slɪpəz] oiPzHV   第7级
    n. 拖鞋
    • a pair of slippers 一双拖鞋
    • He kicked his slippers off and dropped on to the bed. 他踢掉了拖鞋,倒在床上。
    28 shuffled [ˈʃʌfəld] cee46c30b0d1f2d0c136c830230fe75a   第8级
    v.洗(纸牌)( shuffle的过去式和过去分词 );拖着脚步走;粗心地做;摆脱尘世的烦恼
    • He shuffled across the room to the window. 他拖着脚走到房间那头的窗户跟前。
    • Simon shuffled awkwardly towards them. 西蒙笨拙地拖着脚朝他们走去。 来自《简明英汉词典》
    29 endearment [ɪnˈdɪəmənt] tpmxH   第12级
    • This endearment indicated the highest degree of delight in the old cooper. 这个称呼是老箍桶匠快乐到了极点的表示。
    • To every endearment and attention he continued listless. 对于每一种亲爱的表示和每一种的照顾,他一直漫不在意。
    30 perfectly [ˈpɜ:fɪktli] 8Mzxb   第8级
    • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said. 证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
    • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board. 我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
    31 dingy [ˈdɪndʒi] iu8xq   第10级
    • It was a street of dingy houses huddled together. 这是一条挤满了破旧房子的街巷。
    • The dingy cottage was converted into a neat tasteful residence. 那间脏黑的小屋已变成一个整洁雅致的住宅。
    32 champagne [ʃæmˈpeɪn] iwBzh3   第7级
    • There were two glasses of champagne on the tray. 托盘里有两杯香槟酒。
    • They sat there swilling champagne. 他们坐在那里大喝香槟酒。
    33 warehouse [ˈweəhaʊs] 6h7wZ   第7级
    • We freighted the goods to the warehouse by truck. 我们用卡车把货物运到仓库。
    • The manager wants to clear off the old stocks in the warehouse. 经理想把仓库里积压的存货处理掉。
    34 screwdriver [ˈskru:draɪvə(r)] rDpza   第9级
    • He took a screwdriver and teased out the remaining screws. 他拿出螺丝刀把其余的螺丝卸了下来。
    • The electric drill can also be used as a screwdriver. 这把电钻也可用作螺丝刀。
    35 brass [brɑ:s] DWbzI   第7级
    • Many of the workers play in the factory's brass band. 许多工人都在工厂铜管乐队中演奏。
    • Brass is formed by the fusion of copper and zinc. 黄铜是通过铜和锌的熔合而成的。
    36 aprons [ˈeiprənz] d381ffae98ab7cbe3e686c9db618abe1   第7级
    围裙( apron的名词复数 ); 停机坪,台口(舞台幕前的部份)
    • Many people like to wear aprons while they are cooking. 许多人做饭时喜欢系一条围裙。
    • The chambermaid in our corridor wears blue checked gingham aprons. 给我们扫走廊的清洁女工围蓝格围裙。
    37 wriggling [ˈrɪgəlɪŋ] d9a36b6d679a4708e0599fd231eb9e20   第10级
    v.扭动,蠕动,蜿蜒行进( wriggle的现在分词 );(使身体某一部位)扭动;耍滑不做,逃避(应做的事等);蠕蠕
    • The baby was wriggling around on my lap. 婴儿在我大腿上扭来扭去。
    • Something that looks like a gray snake is wriggling out. 有一种看来象是灰蛇的东西蠕动着出来了。 来自辞典例句
    38 joyously ['dʒɔiəsli] 1p4zu0   第10级
    ad.快乐地, 高兴地
    • She opened the door for me and threw herself in my arms, screaming joyously and demanding that we decorate the tree immediately. 她打开门,直扑我的怀抱,欣喜地喊叫着要马上装饰圣诞树。
    • They came running, crying out joyously in trilling girlish voices. 她们边跑边喊,那少女的颤音好不欢快。 来自名作英译部分
    39 melancholy [ˈmelənkəli] t7rz8   第8级
    • All at once he fell into a state of profound melancholy. 他立即陷入无尽的忧思之中。
    • He felt melancholy after he failed the exam. 这次考试没通过,他感到很郁闷。
    40 draught [drɑ:ft] 7uyzIH   第10级
    • He emptied his glass at one draught. 他将杯中物一饮而尽。
    • It's a pity the room has no north window and you don't get a draught. 可惜这房间没北窗,没有过堂风。
    41 puffing [pʊfɪŋ] b3a737211571a681caa80669a39d25d3   第7级
    v.使喷出( puff的现在分词 );喷着汽(或烟)移动;吹嘘;吹捧
    • He was puffing hard when he jumped on to the bus. 他跳上公共汽车时喘息不已。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
    • My father sat puffing contentedly on his pipe. 父亲坐着心满意足地抽着烟斗。 来自《简明英汉词典》
    42 crooked [ˈkrʊkɪd] xvazAv   第7级
    • He crooked a finger to tell us to go over to him. 他弯了弯手指,示意我们到他那儿去。
    • You have to drive slowly on these crooked country roads. 在这些弯弯曲曲的乡间小路上你得慢慢开车。
    43 elastic [ɪˈlæstɪk] Tjbzq   第7级
    • Rubber is an elastic material. 橡胶是一种弹性材料。
    • These regulations are elastic. 这些规定是有弹性的。
    44 undone [ˌʌn'dʌn] JfJz6l   第7级
    • He left nothing undone that needed attention.所有需要注意的事他都注意到了。
    45 puddle [ˈpʌdl] otNy9   第10级
    • The boy hopped the mud puddle and ran down the walk. 这个男孩跳过泥坑,沿着人行道跑了。
    • She tripped over and landed in a puddle. 她绊了一下,跌在水坑里。
    46 crunch [krʌntʃ] uOgzM   第9级
    • If it comes to the crunch they'll support us. 关键时刻他们是会支持我们的。
    • People who crunch nuts at the movies can be very annoying. 看电影时嘎吱作声地嚼干果的人会使人十分讨厌。
    47 mound [maʊnd] unCzhy   第9级
    • The explorers climbed a mound to survey the land around them. 勘探者爬上土丘去勘测周围的土地。
    • The mound can be used as our screen. 这个土丘可做我们的掩蔽物。
    48 shutters ['ʃʌtəz] 74d48a88b636ca064333022eb3458e1f   第7级
    百叶窗( shutter的名词复数 ); (照相机的)快门
    • The shop-front is fitted with rolling shutters. 那商店的店门装有卷门。
    • The shutters thumped the wall in the wind. 在风中百叶窗砰砰地碰在墙上。
    49 clattered [] 84556c54ff175194afe62f5473519d5a   第7级
    • He dropped the knife and it clattered on the stone floor. 他一失手,刀子当啷一声掉到石头地面上。
    • His hand went limp and the knife clattered to the ground. 他的手一软,刀子当啷一声掉到地上。
    50 spoke [spəʊk] XryyC   第11级
    n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
    • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company. 他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
    • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre. 辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
    51 glimmer [ˈglɪmə(r)] 5gTxU   第8级
    • I looked at her and felt a glimmer of hope. 我注视她,感到了一线希望。
    • A glimmer of amusement showed in her eyes. 她的眼中露出一丝笑意。
    52 rustling [ˈrʌslɪŋ] c6f5c8086fbaf68296f60e8adb292798   第9级
    n. 瑟瑟声,沙沙声 adj. 发沙沙声的
    • the sound of the trees rustling in the breeze 树木在微风中发出的沙沙声
    • the soft rustling of leaves 树叶柔和的沙沙声
    53 scampering [ˈskæmpərɪŋ] 5c15380619b12657635e8413f54db650   第11级
    v.蹦蹦跳跳地跑,惊惶奔跑( scamper的现在分词 )
    • A cat miaowed, then was heard scampering away. 马上起了猫叫,接着又听见猫逃走的声音。 来自汉英文学 - 家(1-26) - 家(1-26)
    • A grey squirrel is scampering from limb to limb. 一只灰色的松鼠在树枝间跳来跳去。 来自辞典例句

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