長腿叔叔 (51)27th August
Where are you, I wonder?
I never know what part of the world you are in, but I hope you're not in New York during this awful weather. I hope you're on a mountain peak (but not in Switzerland; somewhere nearer) looking at the snow and thinking about me. Please be thinking about me. I'm quite lonely and I want to be thought about. Oh, Daddy, I wish I knew you! Then when we were unhappy we could cheer each other up.
I don't think I can stand much more of Lock Willow. I'm thinking of moving. Sallie is going to do settlement work in Boston next winter. Don't you think it would be nice for me to go with her, then we could have a studio together? I would write while she SETTLED and we could be together in the evenings. Evenings are very long when there's no one but the Semples and Carrie and Amasai to talk to. I know in advance that you won't like my studio idea. I can read your secretary's letter now:
'Miss Jerusha Abbott.
'Mr. Smith prefers that you remain at Lock Willow.
'ELMER H. GRIGGS.'
I hate your secretary. I am certain that a man named Elmer H. Griggs must be horrid. But truly, Daddy, I think I shall have to go to Boston. I can't stay here. If something doesn't happen soon, I shall throw myself into the silo pit out of sheer desperation.
Mercy! but it's hot. All the grass is burnt up and the brooks are dry and the roads are dusty. It hasn't rained for weeks and weeks.
This letter sounds as though I had hydrophobia, but I haven't. I just want some family.
Goodbye, my dearest Daddy.
I wish I knew you.
Something has happened and I need advice. I need it from you, and from nobody else in the world. Wouldn't it be possible for me to see you? It's so much easier to talk than to write; and I'm afraid your secretary might open the letter.
PS. I'm very unhappy.
LOCK WILLOW, 3rd October
Your note written in your own hand—and a pretty wobbly hand!—came this morning. I am so sorry that you have been ill; I wouldn't have bothered you with my affairs if I had known. Yes, I will tell you the trouble, but it's sort of complicated to write, and VERY PRIVATE. Please don't keep this letter, but burn it.
你親手寫的信 － 看得出來自顫抖的手 － 今早收到了．如果我知道你生病，我就不會寫信去煩你了．是的，我願意用寫的告訴你我遇到的問題．不過這事有點複雜，而且非常私人．讀完這封信後，請你把信燒了．
Before I begin—here's a cheque for one thousand dollars. It seems funny, doesn't it, for me to be sending a cheque to you? Where do you think I got it?
I've sold my story, Daddy. It's going to be published serially in seven parts, and then in a book! You might think I'd be wild with joy, but I'm not. I'm entirely apathetic. Of course I'm glad to begin paying you—I owe you over two thousand more. It's coming in instalments. Now don't be horrid, please, about taking it, because it makes me happy to return it. I owe you a great deal more than the mere money, and the rest I will continue to pay all my life in gratitude and affection.
我已經賣出我寫的故事了，Daddy．我的書會先分七次連載刊出，然後結集成冊出版．你可能會以為我一定欣喜若狂，但我並沒有．我完全無動於衷．當然我很開心可以開始把我的學費還給你 － 我還欠你超過兩千塊．我會開始分期償還．請不要害怕，請收下我的支票，因為可以還債讓我感到開心．我欠你的遠遠超過金錢所能衡量．這一部份我會在我的下半輩子中，用感激與誠意來償還．
And now, Daddy, about the other thing; please give me your most worldly advice, whether you think I'll like it or not.
You know that I've always had a very special feeling towards you; you sort of represented my whole family; but you won't mind, will you, if I tell you that I have a very much more special feeling for another man? You can probably guess without much trouble who he is. I suspect that my letters have been very full of Master Jervie for a very long time.
I wish I could make you understand what he is like and how entirely companionable we are. We think the same about everything—I am afraid I have a tendency to make over my ideas to match his! But he is almost always right; he ought to be, you know, for he has fourteen years' start of me. In other ways, though, he's just an overgrown boy, and he does need looking after—he hasn't any sense about wearing rubbers when it rains. He and I always think the same things are funny, and that is such a lot; it's dreadful when two people's senses of humour are antagonistic. I don't believe there's any bridging that gulf!
我希望我可以讓你瞭解他的為人，以及我們之間的相處是如何融洽．我們的想法幾乎一致 － 我想應該是我傾向於附和他的想法．但他幾乎都是對的，他應該是對的，你知道的，因為他大我十四歲．但是在其他方面，他像一個長不大的男孩，需要被照顧 － 他完全不知道下雨天該穿雨鞋．他和我對相同的事情感到有趣，而且不勝枚舉．如果兩個人的幽默感是敵對的話，那是很糟糕的．我不認為那是可以跨越的鴻溝．
And he is—Oh, well! He is just himself, and I miss him, and miss him, and miss him. The whole world seems empty and aching. I hate the moonlight because it's beautiful and he isn't here to see it with me. But maybe you've loved somebody, too, and you know? If you have, I don't need to explain; if you haven't, I can't explain.
而且他 － 喔，他只是他，而我想念他，想念他，想念他．世界是如此空洞且痛苦．我討厭月光，因為沒有他和我一起看月光．也許你曾經愛過某個人，所以瞭解這種感覺．如果你曾經，我無須解釋．如果你未曾，我無法解釋．
Anyway, that's the way I feel—and I've refused to marry him.
總之，那是我的感覺 － 而且我拒絕了他的求婚．
I didn't tell him why; I was just dumb and miserable. I couldn't think of anything to say. And now he has gone away imagining that I want to marry Jimmie McBride—I don't in the least, I wouldn't think of marrying Jimmie; he isn't grown up enough. But Master Jervie and I got into a dreadful muddle of misunderstanding and we both hurt each other's feelings. The reason I sent him away was not because I didn't care for him, but because I cared for him so much. I was afraid he would regret it in the future—and I couldn't stand that! It didn't seem right for a person of my lack of antecedents to marry into any such family as his. I never told him about the orphan asylum, and I hated to explain that I didn't know who I was. I may be DREADFUL, you know. And his family are proud—and I'm proud, too!
我沒有告訴他原因；我又笨又沮喪，完全想不出要說什麼．現在他走了，以為我想要嫁的人是吉米麥克白 － 我一點也不想嫁給吉米，他根本還沒長大．但是哲維少爺和我誤解彼此的感覺，互相傷害了對方．我拒絕的原因並不是因為我不在乎他，而是因為太在乎他．我怕他將來會後悔 － 我無法忍受這個想法．像我這樣一個出身不明的人，嫁入如此一戶人家是不恰當的．我從沒跟他提過孤兒院的事，我討厭去解釋不知道自己是誰．也許我很糟糕．他的家人很驕傲 － 但我也有我的驕傲．
Also, I felt sort of bound to you. After having been educated to be a writer, I must at least try to be one; it would scarcely be fair to accept your education and then go off and not use it. But now that I am going to be able to pay back the money, I feel that I have partially discharged that debt—besides, I suppose I could keep on being a writer even if I did marry. The two professions are not necessarily exclusive.
再者，我覺得對你有所虧欠．在你教育我作為一個作家之後，我至少要朝那個方向努力．接受你的教育後，卻完全不派上用場，那是不對的．現在我可以開始還錢，我覺得我已經開始清償付債 － 而且我覺得就算我結了婚，我還是可以繼續寫作的．這兩種職業並不互相抵觸．
I've been thinking very hard about it. Of course he is a Socialist, and he has unconventional ideas; maybe he wouldn't mind marrying into the proletariat so much as some men might. Perhaps when two people are exactly in accord, and always happy when together and lonely when apart, they ought not to let anything in the world stand between them. Of course I WANT to believe that! But I'd like to get your unemotional opinion. You probably belong to a Family also, and will look at it from a worldly point of view and not just a sympathetic, human point of view—so you see how brave I am to lay it before you.
我一直在認真思考這件事．當然他是個社會主義者，有著反傳統的想法；也許他並不介意和無產階級結婚，有些男人是這樣的．也許如果兩人是契合的，在一起時總是很開心，分開時很孤單，他們不應該讓世俗成見阻擋其中．當然我想這麼相信．但是我需要你理性的意見．或許你也來自一個顯赫的家族，可以用實際的，不帶感情的，人性的觀點來看這件事 － 你瞧，我是鼓起多大的勇氣告訴你這件事．
Suppose I go to him and explain that the trouble isn't Jimmie, but is the John Grier Home—would that be a dreadful thing for me to do? It would take a great deal of courage. I'd almost rather be miserable for the rest of my life.
如果我去找他，跟他說原因不是吉米而是孤兒院 － 那會是一件很糟糕的事嗎？那需要很大的勇氣．我幾乎寧願選擇悲慘的度過餘生了．
This happened nearly two months ago; I haven't heard a word from him since he was here. I was just getting sort of acclimated to the feeling of a broken heart, when a letter came from Julia that stirred me all up again. She said—very casually—that 'Uncle Jervis' had been caught out all night in a storm when he was hunting in Canada, and had been ill ever since with pneumonia. And I never knew it. I was feeling hurt because he had just disappeared into blankness without a word. I think he's pretty unhappy, and I know I am!
What seems to you the right thing for me to do?
這已經是近兩個月前的事了；到現在為止我沒有收到他的隻字片語．在我幾乎要習慣擁有一顆破碎的心時，茱莉亞捎來一封信，再度打亂我的心．她說 － 非常若無其事的 － “哲維叔叔”在加拿大打獵時，有一晚被暴風雨困住，結果得了肺炎，到現在都還沒好．我覺得好傷心，因為他就這麼不發一言的消失無踪．他可能很不開心，至少我確定我是不開心的．
Yes, certainly I'll come—at half-past four next Wednesday afternoon. Of COURSE I can find the way. I've been in New York three times and am not quite a baby. I can't believe that I am really going to see you—I've been just THINKING you so long that it hardly seems as though you are a tangible flesh-and-blood person.
You are awfully good, Daddy, to bother yourself with me, when you're not strong. Take care and don't catch cold. These fall rains are very damp.
PS. I've just had an awful thought. Have you a butler? I'm afraid of butlers, and if one opens the door I shall faint upon the step. What can I say to him? You didn't tell me your name. Shall I ask for Mr. Smith?
是的，我當然可以去 － 下週三下午四點半．當然我找得到路．我去過紐約三次，而且我不是小孩子了．我無法相信我真的要見到你了 － 長久以來你只存在我的想像中，都快忘了其實你是一個有血有肉的人．