作者：(英)查尔斯·狄更斯(Charles Dickens),(英)韦斯特(Clare West)
格式: AZW3, DOCX, EPUB, MOBI, PDF, TXT
大卫·科波菲尔 David Copperfield试读：
查尔斯·狄更斯（1812—1870）是英国最伟大的小说家之一。他出身于贫苦家庭（父亲曾因负债被捕入狱），经过不懈努力，获得了财富和荣誉。1David Copperfield's childhood was born at Blunderstone, in Suffolk, in the east of England, and was given my poor father's name, David Copperfield. Sadly, he Inever 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 Blunderstone.
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 stern-faced lady.
My mother was shocked, but obeyed at once.
'You must be David Copperfield's wife,' said the lady as she entered. 'I'm Betsey Trotwood. You've heard of me?'
'Yes,' whispered my 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, Clara, 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.
extremely adv. highly 非常，极为。 The weather is extremely cold. 天气非常冷。
handsome a. good-looking 好看的，漂亮的。
demand v. ask for 要，要求。
go abroad go to a foreign country 出国。
lonely a. alone 独自一个，孤独的。
shocked a. disturbed 震惊，惊吓。
reply v. answer 回答。
terrible a. bad, dreadful 不好的，可怕的。
at once right now 马上，立即。
prevent v. stop 阻止，制止。
sensible a. aware 知道的，觉察的。
completely adv. fully 完全地。
arrive v. reach 到达。
take care of be responsible for 照顾，负责。
be fond of like, love 喜欢，爱。
wave goodbye depart 告别，挥手告别。
adopt v. take (sb.) into one's family as a relation 收养。
orphan n. a parentless child 孤儿。
childish a. like a child 儿童的，幼稚的。
miserable a. wretched, very unhappy 可怜的，不幸的。
firm a. hard, strict 严厉，严格。
reply v. answer 回答。
trust v. believe 相信。
ashamed a. feeling shame 感到羞耻，惭愧。
check v. examine 检查。1大卫·科波菲尔的童年
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。2David is sent away to school was very unhappy during this time. Mr Murdstone insisted on my studying, and so my mother gave me lessons. In the past she and I Ihad enjoyed our studies together, and she had taught me a lot in her gentle way. But now both Mr and Miss Murdstone were present during my lessons, and somehow I could not concentrate or remember what I had learnt. My poor mother was very sympathetic, and tried to encourage me, sometimes even whispering the answer to me. But the Murdstones had sharp ears.
'Clara, my love!' Mr Murdstone used to say crossly. 'Remember! Be firm! You're making the boy's character worse by helping him like that!'
'Oh, Edward, I'm sorry,' my mother replied, looking embarrassed and hanging her head like a guilty child.
One morning when I arrived in the sitting-room as usual for my lesson, I saw that Mr Murdstone had a thin stick in his hand. I could not take my eyes off it.
'You must be very careful today, David,' he said with his unpleasant smile, holding the stick in both hands.
I knew what would happen then. A terrible fear took hold of me, and all that I had learnt disappeared immediately from my memory, so that I could not answer any of my mother's questions. Mr Murdstone got up from his chair.
'Well David,' he said heavily, 'I think you've worried your mother enough today. We'll go upstairs, boy. Come,' and he picked up the stick. I heard my mother crying as we went upstairs.
'Please, Mr Murdstone!' I cried. 'Don't beat me! I've tried to learn, really I have, sir!'
But he did not listen to me. In my bedroom, he held my arms and started hitting me with the stick. I managed to get hold of his hand, and bit deep into it. He cried out angrily, and began to hit me as hard as he could. Above the noise of my screams, I could hear my mother and Peggotty crying outside the door. Then the next moment, he was gone. I heard him lock the door. And I was lying, sore and bleeding, on the floor. The whole house seemed suddenly very quiet.
I stayed there for a time, without moving. In the evening Miss Murdstone brought me some bread and milk, which she left on the floor beside me, frowning angrily at me as she went out. I was kept locked in that room for five days and nights, and saw nobody except Miss Murdstone, who brought me food but never spoke to me. To a small boy, the five days seemed like years, and I can still remember how frightened and guilty I felt.
But during the fifth night I heard a strange noise at the keyhole. It was Peggotty, trying to give me a message.
'Master David, my dear,' she whispered, sobbing, 'they are going to send you away to boarding school! Tomorrow!'
'Oh Peggotty!' I cried. 'Then I won't see you and mother very often!'
'No, my love. But don't forget, I'll take care of your mother. She needs her cross old Peggotty! I'll stay with her, although I hate these Murdstones. And remember, David, I love you as much as I love your mother, and more. And I'll write to you.'
'Thank you, dear Peggotty!' I whispered back, tears rolling down my face. 'Will you write to your brother too, and Ham, and little Emily, and tell them I'm not as bad as the Murdstones think? And send my love to them, especially little Emily?'
Peggotty promised to do what I asked. The next morning Miss Murdstone told me that because of my wickedness I was going away to school. She had already packed my case for me. My mother was only allowed to say a very quick goodbye to me, when the horse and cart arrived. The driver put my case on the cart, and we drove slowly out of Blunderstone.
I was still sobbing loudly when suddenly I saw Peggotty running after us on the road. The driver stopped and waited for her. With difficulty she climbed up onto the cart.
'Here, Master David!' she cried breathlessly. 'A little present from me and your dear mother! Take care of yourself, my dear!' She put a small purse and a paper bag into my hands, and held me so close to her fat body that I thought I would never breathe again. Then she jumped down and ran back along the road to the village.
As we continued our journey, I dried my tears and looked at what she had given me. The bag was full of Peggotty's special cakes, and in the purse were eight bright shilling coins. Thinking of my mother and Peggotty made me start crying again, but just then the driver, Mr Barkis, began to talk to me. He was a large, red-faced man, who clearly found conversation difficult.
'Did she make those cakes?' he asked slowly, having finished the one that I had offered him.
'You mean Peggotty, sir? Yes, she does all our cooking.'
'Does she?' replied Mr Barkis with great interest. There was a long silence while he considered his next question.
'Does she have a young man?' he asked. 'You know, someone who wants to marry her?'
'Peggotty? A young man?' I repeated, surprised. 'Oh no, she's never had any young men.'
'Ah!' replied Mr Barkis, looking very pleased. Again he thought for a long time before speaking.
'Well,' he said at last, 'perhaps if you write to her—will you be writing to her? You could give her a message from me. You could say “Barkis is willing”. Would you do that?'
'“Barkis is willing”,' I repeated innocently, wondering what the message meant. 'Yes, of course. But you could tell her yourself, Mr Barkis, when you return to Blunderstone tomorrow.'
'No, no' he said, 'no, you just give her the message. Remember, “Barkis is willing”.'
After this conversation Mr Barkis was completely silent for the rest of the journey. When we arrived in Yarmouth, I bought paper at the hotel and wrote this letter to Peggotty:
My dear Peggotty,
I have arrived safely in Yarmouth. Barkis is willing.
Please give my love to mother.
P.S. He says it's important—Barkis is willing.
In Yarmouth I was put on the long-distance coach to London, and travelled all through the night. At the coach station in London I was collected by a teacher, Mr Mell, and taken to Salem House, the school which the Murdstones had chosen for me.
The school was a large old building with a dusty playground, surrounded by a high brick wall. It looked strangely deserted. I was very surprised to find that none of the boys were there, and was told that they were all on holiday, and that I had been sent there during the holidays as a punishment for my wickedness. The headmaster and teachers were on holiday too, all except for Mr Mell, who had to look after me.
I spent a whole month in that miserable place, doing my lessons in the dirty, empty classroom, which smelt of old food and unwashed boys. Every evening I had to eat my supper with Mr Mell, and then go straight to bed. The worst thing was the sign I had to wear round my neck. It said: BE CAREFUL! HE BITES. I was only allowed to take it off when I went to bed.
Although I was extremely lonely and unhappy at this time, I was not looking forward to meeting all the other boys. I felt sure they would laugh at me and especially at the sign I was forced to wear. But one day Mr Mell told me that the headmaster, Mr Creakle, had returned, and wanted to see me. So I went, trembling, to his part of the house.
I realized at once that Mr Creakle lived much more comfortably than the boys or the teachers. He was a small, fat man with a purple nose, who was sitting in an armchair with a bottle and a glass in front of him.
'So, this is the boy who bites, is it?' he asked unpleasantly. 'I know your stepfather, boy. He's a man of strong character, he is. He knows me, and I know him. Do you know me? Answer me, boy!' He pulled violently at my ear.
'Not yet, sir,' I answered, tears of pain in my eyes.
'Ah, but you soon will! Oh yes, I have a strong character too, you'll see!' He banged his hand hard on the table.
I was very frightened, but I made myself ask the question I had been considering for a whole month. 'Please, sir, I'm very sorry for what I did to Mr Murdstone. Could—could I take this sign off, before the other boys see it...'
Mr Creakle gave a sudden, terrible shout and jumped out of his chair. I did not wait to see whether he was going to hit me, but ran out of his room and hid in my bed for the next hour.
However, the boys were not as cruel to me as I had feared. I made a friend almost immediately, a boy called Tommy Traddles, who was known to be the unluckiest boy in the school. I was also noticed, and even smiled on, by the great James Steerforth, one of the oldest boys, at least six years older than me. He was a handsome, intelligent, curly-haired young man, who had become an important figure at the school, with great influence over the younger boys.
'How much money have you got, Copperfield?' he asked me.
'Eight shillings, Steerforth,' I answered, remembering the present my mother and Peggotty had given me.
'You'd better give it to me. I'll take care of it for you,' he offered in a friendly way.
I opened Peggotty's purse and turned it upside-down into his hand.
'Perhaps you'd like to spend some of it now?' he suggested, smiling. 'A bottle of wine, a tin of biscuits, a few cakes, that sort of thing? I can go out whenever I like, so I can buy it for you.'
'Ye-es, that's very kind of you,' I said, although I was a little worried that all my money would disappear.
When we went upstairs to bed, I realized that all my money had been spent, as eight shillings' worth of food and drink was laid out on my bed in the moonlight. Of course I did not want to eat and drink it all by myself, so I invited Steerforth and the others to help themselves. The boys were very willing, and we spent a pleasant evening, sitting on our beds, whispering to each other. I discovered that the boys all hated Salem House, which they considered one of the worst schools in the country. They especially hated Mr Creakle, who was in the habit of beating them regularly with a heavy stick which he carried with him at all times. The only boy he dared not beat was Steerforth. I admired Steerforth even more when I heard this.
When we were all too tired to stay awake, Steerforth got up to go. 'Goodnight, young Copperfield,' he said, putting a hand on my head. 'I'll take care of you.'
'It's very kind of you,' I replied gratefully.
'You haven't got a sister, have you?' he asked sleepily.
'No, I haven't,' I answered.
'What a pity! If you had one, I'm sure she'd be a pretty, bright-eyed little girl. I would have liked to meet her.'
I thought of him a lot that night, with his laughing, handsome face, and his careless, confident manner. I could never have imagined what a dark shadow he would throw over the lives of people who were dear to me.
I stayed at Salem House for three more months. Although one or two of the teachers, like Mr Mell, were kind to us boys, and tried to teach us properly, we were too afraid of Mr Creakle and his stick to