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Towards the end of the Christmas vacation. Exact date unknown

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower is draped in white and the flakes are coming down as big as pop-corns. It's late afternoon--the sun is just setting (a cold yellow colour) behind some colder violet hills, and I am up in my window seat using the last light to write to you.

Your five gold pieces were a surprise! I'm not used to receiving Christmas presents. You have already given me such lots of things-- everything I have, you know--that I don't quite feel that I deserve extras. But I like them just the same. Do you want to know what I bought with my money?

I. A silver watch in a leather case to wear on my wrist and get me to recitations in time.

II. Matthew Arnold's poems.

III. A hot water bottle.

IV. A steamer rug. (My tower is cold.)

V. Five hundred sheets of yellow manuscript paper. (I'm going to commence being an author pretty soon.)

VI. A dictionary of synonyms. (To enlarge the author's vocabulary.)

VII. (I don't much like to confess this last item, but I will.) A pair of silk stockings.

And now, Daddy, never say I don't tell all!

It was a very low motive, if you must know it, that prompted the silk stockings. Julia Pendleton comes into my room to do geometry, and she sits cross-legged on the couch and wears silk stockings every night. But just wait--as soon as she gets back from vacation I shall go in and sit on her couch in my silk stockings. You see, Daddy, the miserable creature that I am but at least I'm honest; and you knew already, from my asylum record, that I wasn't perfect, didn't you?

To recapitulate (that's the way the English instructor begins every other sentence), I am very much obliged for my seven presents. I'm pretending to myself that they came in a box from my family in California. The watch is from father, the rug from mother, the hot water bottle from grandmother who is always worrying for fear I shall catch cold in this climate--and the yellow paper from my little brother Harry. My sister Isabel gave me the silk stockings, and Aunt Susan the Matthew Arnold poems; Uncle Harry (little Harry is named after him) gave me the dictionary. He wanted to send chocolates, but I insisted on synonyms.

You don't object, do you, to playing the part of a composite family?

And now, shall I tell you about my vacation, or are you only interested in my education as such? I hope you appreciate the delicate shade of meaning in 'as such'. It is the latest addition to my vocabulary.

The girl from Texas is named Leonora Fenton. (Almost as funny as Jerusha, isn't it?) I like her, but not so much as Sallie McBride; I shall never like any one so much as Sallie--except you. I must always like you the best of all, because you're my whole family rolled into one. Leonora and I and two Sophomores have walked 'cross country every pleasant day and explored the whole neighbourhood, dressed in short skirts and knit jackets and caps, and carrying shiny sticks to whack things with. Once we walked into town--four miles-- and stopped at a restaurant where the college girls go for dinner. Broiled lobster (35 cents), and for dessert, buckwheat cakes and maple syrup (15 cents). Nourishing and cheap.

It was such a lark! Especially for me, because it was so awfully different from the asylum--I feel like an escaped convict every time I leave the campus. Before I thought, I started to tell the others what an experience I was having. The cat was almost out of the bag when I grabbed it by its tail and pulled it back. It's awfully hard for me not to tell everything I know. I'm a very confiding soul by nature; if I didn't have you to tell things to, I'd burst.

We had a molasses candy pull last Friday evening, given by the house matron of Fergussen to the left-behinds in the other halls. There were twenty-two of us altogether, Freshmen and Sophomores and juniors and Seniors all united in amicable accord. The kitchen is huge, with copper pots and kettles hanging in rows on the stone wall-- the littlest casserole among them about the size of a wash boiler. Four hundred girls live in Fergussen. The chef, in a white cap and apron, fetched out twenty-two other white caps and aprons-- I can't imagine where he got so many--and we all turned ourselves into cooks.

It was great fun, though I have seen better candy. When it was finally finished, and ourselves and the kitchen and the door-knobs all thoroughly sticky, we organized a procession and still in our caps and aprons, each carrying a big fork or spoon or frying pan, we marched through the empty corridors to the officers' parlour, where half-a-dozen professors and instructors were passing a tranquil evening. We serenaded them with college songs and offered refreshments. They accepted politely but dubiously. We left them sucking chunks of molasses candy, sticky and speechless.

So you see, Daddy, my education progresses!

Don't you really think that I ought to be an artist instead of an author?

Vacation will be over in two days and I shall be glad to see the girls again. My tower is just a trifle lonely; when nine people occupy a house that was built for four hundred, they do rattle around a bit.

Eleven pages--poor Daddy, you must be tired! I meant this to be just a short little thank-you note--but when I get started I seem to have a ready pen.

Goodbye, and thank you for thinking of me--I should be perfectly happy except for one little threatening cloud on the horizon. Examinations come in February. Yours with love, Judy

PS. Maybe it isn't proper to send love? If it isn't, please excuse. But I must love somebody and there's only you and Mrs. Lippett to choose between, so you see--you'll HAVE to put up with it, Daddy dear, because I can't love her.

On the Eve Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

You should see the way this college is studying! We've forgotten we ever had a vacation. Fifty-seven irregular verbs have I introduced to my brain in the past four days--I'm only hoping they'll stay till after examinations.

Some of the girls sell their text-books when they're through with them, but I intend to keep mine. Then after I've graduated I shall have my whole education in a row in the bookcase, and when I need to use any detail, I can turn to it without the slightest hesitation. So much easier and more accurate than trying to keep it in your head.

Julia Pendleton dropped in this evening to pay a social call, and stayed a solid hour. She got started on the subject of family, and I COULDN'T switch her off. She wanted to know what my mother's maiden name was--did you ever hear such an impertinent question to ask of a person from a foundling asylum? I didn't have the courage to say I didn't know, so I just miserably plumped on the first name I could think of, and that was Montgomery. Then she wanted to know whether I belonged to the Massachusetts Montgomerys or the Virginia Montgomerys.

Her mother was a Rutherford. The family came over in the ark, and were connected by marriage with Henry the VIII. On her father's side they date back further than Adam. On the topmost branches of her family tree there's a superior breed of monkeys with very fine silky hair and extra long tails.

I meant to write you a nice, cheerful, entertaining letter tonight, but I'm too sleepy--and scared. The Freshman's lot is not a happy one. Yours, about to be examined, Judy Abbott

Sunday Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs,

I have some awful, awful, awful news to tell you, but I won't begin with it; I'll try to get you in a good humour first.

Jerusha Abbott has commenced to be an author. A poem entitled, 'From my Tower', appears in the February Monthly--on the first page, which is a very great honour for a Freshman. My English instructor stopped me on the way out from chapel last night, and said it was a charming piece of work except for the sixth line, which had too many feet. I will send you a copy in case you care to read it.

Let me see if I can't think of something else pleasant-- Oh, yes! I'm learning to skate, and can glide about quite respectably all by myself. Also I've learned how to slide down a rope from the roof of the gymnasium, and I can vault a bar three feet and six inches high--I hope shortly to pull up to four feet.

We had a very inspiring sermon this morning preached by the Bishop of Alabama. His text was: 'Judge not that ye be not judged.' It was about the necessity of overlooking mistakes in others, and not discouraging people by harsh judgments. I wish you might have heard it.

This is the sunniest, most blinding winter afternoon, with icicles dripping from the fir trees and all the world bending under a weight of snow--except me, and I'm bending under a weight of sorrow.

Now for the news--courage, Judy!--you must tell.

Are you SURELY in a good humour? I failed in mathematics and Latin prose. I am tutoring in them, and will take another examination next month. I'm sorry if you're disappointed, but otherwise I don't care a bit because I've learned such a lot of things not mentioned in the catalogue. I've read seventeen novels and bushels of poetry-- really necessary novels like Vanity Fair and Richard Feverel and Alice in Wonderland. Also Emerson's Essays and Lockhart's Life of Scott and the first volume of Gibbon's Roman Empire and half of Benvenuto Cellini's Life--wasn't he entertaining? He used to saunter out and casually kill a man before breakfast.

So you see, Daddy, I'm much more intelligent than if I'd just stuck to Latin. Will you forgive me this once if I promise never to fail again? Yours in sackcloth, Judy

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

This is an extra letter in the middle of the month because I'm rather lonely tonight. It's awfully stormy. All the lights are out on the campus, but I drank black coffee and I can't go to sleep.

I had a supper party this evening consisting of Sallie and Julia and Leonora Fenton--and sardines and toasted muffins and salad and fudge and coffee. Julia said she'd had a good time, but Sallie stayed to help wash the dishes.

I might, very usefully, put some time on Latin tonight but, there's no doubt about it, I'm a very languid Latin scholar. We've finished Livy and De Senectute and are now engaged with De Amicitia (pronounced Damn Icitia).

Should you mind, just for a little while, pretending you are my grandmother? Sallie has one and Julia and Leonora each two, and they were all comparing them tonight. I can't think of anything I'd rather have; it's such a respectable relationship. So, if you really don't object--When I went into town yesterday, I saw the sweetest cap of Cluny lace trimmed with lavender ribbon. I am going to make you a present of it on your eighty-third birthday.

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

That's the clock in the chapel tower striking twelve. I believe I am sleepy after all. Good night, Granny. I love you dearly. Judy

The Ides of March Dear D.-L.-L.,

I am studying Latin prose composition. I have been studying it. I shall be studying it. I shall be about to have been studying it. My re-examination comes the 7th hour next Tuesday, and I am going to pass or BUST. So you may expect to hear from me next, whole and happy and free from conditions, or in fragments.

I will write a respectable letter when it's over. Tonight I have a pressing engagement with the Ablative Absolute. Yours--in evident haste J. A.

26th March

Mr. D.-L.-L. Smith,

SIR: You never answer any questions; you never show the slightest interest in anything I do. You are probably the horridest one of all those horrid Trustees, and the reason you are educating me is, not because you care a bit about me, but from a sense of Duty.

I don't know a single thing about you. I don't even know your name. It is very uninspiring writing to a Thing. I haven't a doubt but that you throw my letters into the waste-basket without reading them. Hereafter I shall write only about work.

My re-examinations in Latin and geometry came last week. I passed them both and am now free from conditions. Yours truly, Jerusha Abbott

2nd April Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

I am a BEAST.

Please forget about that dreadful letter I sent you last week-- I was feeling terribly lonely and miserable and sore-throaty the night I wrote. I didn't know it, but I was just sickening for tonsillitis and grippe and lots of things mixed. I'm in the infirmary now, and have been here for six days; this is the first time they would let me sit up and have a pen and paper. The head nurse is very bossy. But I've been thinking about it all the time and I shan't get well until you forgive me.

Here is a picture of the way I look, with a bandage tied around my head in rabbit's ears.

Doesn't that arouse your sympathy? I am having sublingual gland swelling. And I've been studying physiology all the year without ever hearing of sublingual glands. How futile a thing is education!

I can't write any more; I get rather shaky when I sit up too long. Please forgive me for being impertinent and ungrateful. I was badly brought up. Yours with love, Judy Abbott

THE INFIRMARY 4th April Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs,

Yesterday evening just towards dark, when I was sitting up in bed looking out at the rain and feeling awfully bored with life in a great institution, the nurse appeared with a long white box addressed to me, and filled with the LOVELIEST pink rosebuds. And much nicer still, it contained a card with a very polite message written in a funny little uphill back hand (but one which shows a great deal of character). Thank you, Daddy, a thousand times. Your flowers make the first real, true present I ever received in my life. If you want to know what a baby I am I lay down and cried because I was so happy.

Now that I am sure you read my letters, I'll make them much more interesting, so they'll be worth keeping in a safe with red tape around them--only please take out that dreadful one and burn it up. I'd hate to think that you ever read it over.

Thank you for making a very sick, cross, miserable Freshman cheerful. Probably you have lots of loving family and friends, and you don't know what it feels like to be alone. But I do.

Goodbye--I'll promise never to be horrid again, because now I know you're a real person; also I'll promise never to bother you with any more questions.

Do you still hate girls? Yours for ever, Judy

8th hour, Monday Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

I hope you aren't the Trustee who sat on the toad? It went off-- I was told--with quite a pop, so probably he was a fatter Trustee.

Do you remember the little dugout places with gratings over them by the laundry windows in the John Grier Home? Every spring when the hoptoad season opened we used to form a collection of toads and keep them in those window holes; and occasionally they would spill over into the laundry, causing a very pleasurable commotion on wash days. We were severely punished for our activities in this direction, but in spite of all discouragement the toads would collect.

And one day--well, I won't bore you with particulars--but somehow, one of the fattest, biggest, JUCIEST toads got into one of those big leather arm chairs in the Trustees' room, and that afternoon at the Trustees' meeting--But I dare say you were there and recall the rest?

Looking back dispassionately after a period of time, I will say that punishment was merited, and--if I remember rightly--adequate.

I don't know why I am in such a reminiscent mood except that spring and the reappearance of toads always awakens the old acquisitive instinct. The only thing that keeps me from starting a collection is the fact that no rule exists against it.

After chapel, Thursday

What do you think is my favourite book? Just now, I mean; I change every three days. Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte was quite young when she wrote it, and had never been outside of Haworth churchyard. She had never known any men in her life; how COULD she imagine a man like Heathcliffe?

I couldn't do it, and I'm quite young and never outside the John Grier Asylum--I've had every chance in the world. Sometimes a dreadful fear comes over me that I'm not a genius. Will you be awfully disappointed, Daddy, if I don't turn out to be a great author? In the spring when everything is so beautiful and green and budding, I feel like turning my back on lessons, and running away to play with the weather. There are such lots of adventures out in the fields! It's much more entertaining to live books than to write them.

Ow ! ! ! ! ! !

That was a shriek which brought Sallie and Julia and (for a disgusted moment) the Senior from across the hall. It was caused by a centipede like this: only worse. Just as I had finished the last sentence and was thinking what to say next--plump!--it fell off the ceiling and landed at my side. I tipped two cups off the tea table in trying to get away. Sallie whacked it with the back of my hair brush--which I shall never be able to use again--and killed the front end, but the rear fifty feet ran under the bureau and escaped.

This dormitory, owing to its age and ivy-covered walls, is full of centipedes. They are dreadful creatures. I'd rather find a tiger under the bed.

Friday, 9.30 p.m.

Such a lot of troubles! I didn't hear the rising bell this morning, then I broke my shoestring while I was hurrying to dress and dropped my collar button down my neck. I was late for breakfast and also for first-hour recitation. I forgot to take any blotting paper and my fountain pen leaked. In trigonometry the Professor and I had a disagreement touching a little matter of logarithms. On looking it up, I find that she was right. We had mutton stew and pie-plant for lunch--hate 'em both; they taste like the asylum. The post brought me nothing but bills (though I must say that I never do get anything else; my family are not the kind that write). In English class this afternoon we had an unexpected written lesson. This was it:

I asked no other thing, No other was denied. I offered Being for it; The mighty merchant smiled.

Brazil? He twirled a button Without a glance my way: But, madam, is there nothing else That we can show today?

That is a poem. I don't know who wrote it or what it means. It was simply printed out on the blackboard when we arrived and we were ordered to comment upon it. When I read the first verse I thought I had an idea--The Mighty Merchant was a divinity who distributes blessings in return for virtuous deeds-- but when I got to the second verse and found him twirling a button, it seemed a blasphemous supposition, and I hastily changed my mind. The rest of the class was in the same predicament; and there we sat for three-quarters of an hour with blank paper and equally blank minds. Getting an education is an awfully wearing process!

But this didn't end the day. There's worse to come.

It rained so we couldn't play golf, but had to go to gymnasium instead. The girl next to me banged my elbow with an Indian club. I got home to find that the box with my new blue spring dress had come, and the skirt was so tight that I couldn't sit down. Friday is sweeping day, and the maid had mixed all the papers on my desk. We had tombstone for dessert (milk and gelatin flavoured with vanilla). We were kept in chapel twenty minutes later than usual to listen to a speech about womanly women. And then--just as I was settling down with a sigh of well-earned relief to The Portrait of a Lady, a girl named Ackerly, a dough-faced, deadly, unintermittently stupid girl, who sits next to me in Latin because her name begins with A (I wish Mrs. Lippett had named me Zabriski), came to ask if Monday's lesson commenced at paragraph 69 or 70, and stayed ONE HOUR. She has just gone.

Did you ever hear of such a discouraging series of events? It isn't the big troubles in life that require character. Anybody can rise to a crisis and face a crushing tragedy with courage, but to meet the petty hazards of the day with a laugh--I really think that requires SPIRIT.

It's the kind of character that I am going to develop. I am going to pretend that all life is just a game which I must play as skilfully and fairly as I can. If I lose, I am going to shrug my shoulders and laugh--also if I win.

Anyway, I am going to be a sport. You will never hear me complain again, Daddy dear, because Julia wears silk stockings and centipedes drop off the wall. Yours ever, Judy

Answer soon.

27th May Daddy-Long-Legs, Esq.

DEAR SIR: I am in receipt of a letter from Mrs. Lippett. She hopes that I am doing well in deportment and studies. Since I probably have no place to go this summer, she will let me come back to the asylum and work for my board until college opens.

I HATE THE JOHN GRIER HOME.

I'd rather die than go back. Yours most truthfully, Jerusha Abbott

Cher Daddy-Jambes-Longes,

Vous etes un brick!

Je suis tres heureuse about the farm, parceque je n'ai jamais been on a farm dans ma vie and I'd hate to retoumer chez John Grier, et wash dishes tout l'ete. There would be danger of quelque chose affreuse happening, parceque j'ai perdue ma humilite d'autre fois et j'ai peur that I would just break out quelque jour et smash every cup and saucer dans la maison.

Pardon brievete et paper. Je ne peux pas send des mes nouvelles parceque je suis dans French class et j'ai peur que Monsieur le Professeur is going to call on me tout de suite.

He did! Au revoir, je vous aime beaucoup. Judy

30th May Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

Did you ever see this campus? (That is merely a rhetorical question. Don't let it annoy you.) It is a heavenly spot in May. All the shrubs are in blossom and the trees are the loveliest young green-- even the old pines look fresh and new. The grass is dotted with yellow dandelions and hundreds of girls in blue and white and pink dresses. Everybody is joyous and carefree, for vacation's coming, and with that to look forward to, examinations don't count.

Isn't that a happy frame of mind to be in? And oh, Daddy! I'm the happiest of all! Because I'm not in the asylum any more; and I'm not anybody's nursemaid or typewriter or bookkeeper (I should have been, you know, except for you).

I'm sorry now for all my past badnesses.

I'm sorry I was ever impertinent to Mrs. Lippett.

I'm sorry I ever slapped Freddie Perkins.

I'm sorry I ever filled the sugar bowl with salt.

I'm sorry I ever made faces behind the Trustees' backs.

I'm going to be good and sweet and kind to everybody because I'm so happy. And this summer I'm going to write and write and write and begin to be a great author. Isn't that an exalted stand to take? Oh, I'm developing a beautiful character! It droops a bit under cold and frost, but it does grow fast when the sun shines.

That's the way with everybody. I don't agree with the theory that adversity and sorrow and disappointment develop moral strength. The happy people are the ones who are bubbling over with kindliness. I have no faith in misanthropes. (Fine word! Just learned it.) You are not a misanthrope are you, Daddy?

I started to tell you about the campus. I wish you'd come for a little visit and let me walk you about and say:

'That is the library. This is the gas plant, Daddy dear. The Gothic building on your left is the gymnasium, and the Tudor Romanesque beside it is the new infirmary.'

Oh, I'm fine at showing people about. I've done it all my life at the asylum, and I've been doing it all day here. I have honestly.

And a Man, too!

That's a great experience. I never talked to a man before (except occasional Trustees, and they don't count). Pardon, Daddy, I don't mean to hurt your feelings when I abuse Trustees. I don't consider that you really belong among them. You just tumbled on to the Board by chance. The Trustee, as such, is fat and pompous and benevolent. He pats one on the head and wears a gold watch chain.

That looks like a June bug, but is meant to be a portrait of any Trustee except you.

However--to resume:

I have been walking and talking and having tea with a man. And with a very superior man--with Mr. Jervis Pendleton of the House of Julia; her uncle, in short (in long, perhaps I ought to say; he's as tall as you.) Being in town on business, he decided to run out to the college and call on his niece. He's her father's youngest brother, but she doesn't know him very intimately. It seems he glanced at her when she was a baby, decided he didn't like her, and has never noticed her since.

Anyway, there he was, sitting in the reception room very proper with his hat and stick and gloves beside him; and Julia and Sallie with seventh-hour recitations that they couldn't cut. So Julia dashed into my room and begged me to walk him about the campus and then deliver him to her when the seventh hour was over. I said I would, obligingly but unenthusiastically, because I don't care much for Pendletons.

But he turned out to be a sweet lamb. He's a real human being-- not a Pendleton at all. We had a beautiful time; I've longed for an uncle ever since. Do you mind pretending you're my uncle? I believe they're superior to grandmothers.

Mr. Pendleton reminded me a little of you, Daddy, as you were twenty years ago. You see I know you intimately, even if we haven't ever met!

He's tall and thinnish with a dark face all over lines, and the funniest underneath smile that never quite comes through but just wrinkles up the corners of his mouth. And he has a way of making you feel right off as though you'd known him a long time. He's very companionable.

We walked all over the campus from the quadrangle to the athletic grounds; then he said he felt weak and must have some tea. He proposed that we go to College Inn--it's just off the campus by the pine walk. I said we ought to go back for Julia and Sallie, but he said he didn't like to have his nieces drink too much tea; it made them nervous. So we just ran away and had tea and muffins and marmalade and ice-cream and cake at a nice little table out on the balcony. The inn was quite conveniently empty, this being the end of the month and allowances low.

We had the jolliest time! But he had to run for his train the minute he got back and he barely saw Julia at all. She was furious with me for taking him off; it seems he's an unusually rich and desirable uncle. It relieved my mind to find he was rich, for the tea and things cost sixty cents apiece.

This morning (it's Monday now) three boxes of chocolates came by express for Julia and Sallie and me. What do you think of that? To be getting candy from a man!

I begin to feel like a girl instead of a foundling.

I wish you'd come and have tea some day and let me see if I like you. But wouldn't it be dreadful if I didn't? However, I know I should.

Bien! I make you my compliments. 'Jamais je ne t'oublierai.' Judy

PS. I looked in the glass this morning and found a perfectly new dimple that I'd never seen before. It's very curious. Where do you suppose it came from?

9th June

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

Happy day! I've just finished my last examination Physiology. And now:

Three months on a farm!

I don't know what kind of a thing a farm is. I've never been on one in my life. I've never even looked at one (except from the car window), but I know I'm going to love it, and I'm going to love being FREE.

I am not used even yet to being outside the John Grier Home. Whenever I think of it excited little thrills chase up and down my back. I feel as though I must run faster and faster and keep looking over my shoulder to make sure that Mrs. Lippett isn't after me with her arm stretched out to grab me back.

I don't have to mind any one this summer, do I?

Your nominal authority doesn't annoy me in the least; you are too far away to do any harm. Mrs. Lippett is dead for ever, so far as I am concerned, and the Semples aren't expected to overlook my moral welfare, are they? No, I am sure not. I am entirely grown up. Hooray!

I leave you now to pack a trunk, and three boxes of teakettles and dishes and sofa cushions and books. Yours ever, Judy

PS. Here is my physiology exam. Do you think you could have passed?

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您那里下雪了吗?从我的小阁楼望去,大地茫茫的一片雪白,雪花如爆米花般纷纷扬扬飘落下来。此刻正是傍晚时分,太阳刚落到寒冷的紫色山头后面,我坐在高高的窗台上,在最后一点余辉中,写信给您。

意外地收到您寄来的5个金币!我还没有养成收圣诞礼物的习惯。您已经给我这么多东西了——我所拥有的一切,您知道的——我觉得自己已经拥有太多了。但是我还是很高兴。您想知道我用钱买了什么吗?

一、一只皮表带的银手表,使我能够准时复习功课。

二、马修•阿诺德的诗集。

三、一个热水壶。

四,一条轮船上用的小毯子(我的小阁楼很冷)。

五、500张黄色稿纸(我很快就要开始写作了)。

六、—本同义词字典(可以增加作家的词汇量)。

七、(我不太想告诉您最后一件,不过还是告诉您吧)一双丝袜。

瞧,长腿叔叔,我对您没有任何保留。

如果您一定要知道的话,是个很浅薄的动机促使我去买丝袜的。茱利亚•平莱顿每晚到我的房间里来做几何题练习,她穿着丝袜,盘腿坐在我床上。不过等着好了,等她一放假回来,我就要走进去,穿着丝袜坐在她的床上。您瞧,叔叔,我真是坏坯子,不过,至少我很诚实,您早就从约翰•格利尔孤儿院的记录里知道我不是完美的了,不是吗?

总而言之(英语教师每句话都会带上这个词),我对您送的这7件礼物都心存感激。我假装它们是装在一个大箱子里,从加州的家里寄来的。爸爸送表,妈妈送毯子,祖母送热水袋——她老怕我在这种季节着凉——稿纸是弟弟哈里送的,妹妹伊莎贝尔送我长统袜,苏珊姨妈送诗集,哈里舅舅(小哈里与他同名)送词典。他本想送巧克力,可我坚持要同义词词典。

您不会反对扮演所有这些家庭成员吧?

现在我该跟您谈谈我的假期了,或许您更关心的是我的学业本身。希望您能体会“本身”这一词的微妙含义,这是我掌握的最新词汇。

来自德州的女孩名叫蓝依拉•芬顿(这名字几乎和乔若莎一样可笑,不是吗?)。我喜欢她,不过比不上喜欢莎莉•麦克白,我可能不会喜欢其他人像我喜欢莎莉一样——除了您。我应该永远把您放在首位,因为您是我一大家子的化身。每当天气晴朗的日子,蓝侬拉跟我还有两个二年级的女孩子就散步到乡间,穿着短裙和针织外衣,戴上线缝的帽子,拿上光滑的棍子四下里敲敲打打。我们的足迹 遍布四周。有一回我们走到4英里外的镇上,停在一家大学里女孩子都在那里用餐的餐馆。要了红焖龙虾(3角5分),吃完后再吃煎饼(1角5分)。老天啊,有营养,又便宜!

这可真有趣!尤其对我而言,因为这跟孤儿院太不一样了——每回我离开学校,总觉得好像逃狱的犯人。我不假思索就谈起我的感受,几乎说破了自己的秘密。我赶紧收住话题,守口如瓶真非易事。我天性诚实坦率,要不是有您来倾诉一番,我非憋死不可。

上星期五我们吃麦芽糖,是由我们大楼的管理员提供的。还邀请了其他宿舍楼没有回家的同学参加。22名不同年级的同学友好地聚集在一起。厨房很宽敞,石头墙壁上挂着一排排铜锅铜壶,最小的双耳壶也和煮衣服的锅一般大校费高森楼住了400名女生呢。头顶白帽,围着围裙的厨师又找出22套白围裙和白帽子——想不出来他从哪里弄来的——于是我们全把自己装扮成厨师。

真的很有趣,虽然我吃过更好吃的麦芽糖。当一切终于结束时,我们每个人、整个厨房连同门板全都粘嗒嗒的,我们依然顶着白帽,围着围裙,每个人都带着一把大汤匙或平底锅,列队穿过空荡荡的大厅到了教师休息室,那里—有半打的教授和讲师正在打发宁静的夜晚。我们为他们唱校歌,然后送上麦芽糖。他们彬彬有礼却又犹犹豫豫地接了下来。我们离开了,留下他们吃着大片的麦芽糖,粘嗒嗒而且好吃的说不出话来。

所以您瞧瞧,叔叔,这就是我的求学过程!

您真的不认为我应该当个艺术家,而不是作家?

再过两天假期就要结束,我又可以高兴地见到同学们了。我已经感到有些寂寞不安了。9个人住着400人的房子,确实有些坐立不安。

可怜的叔叔,您一定累了!我本来打算要写封简短的感谢函——不过我一提起笔,就写了11页了。

晚安,谢谢您会惦记着我——我本应该是无比快乐的,可惜心头有一小朵的乌云笼罩着----2月份要考试了。

您充满爱的茱蒂

接近圣诞假期的尾声(确切的日期不知道)

又及:

致上对您的爱意可能不太适当吧!如果这样,请您原谅。我总得爱个什么人吧,而可以选择的只有您和李皮太太,所以您瞧,您得忍耐—下,亲爱的叔叔,我实在无法爱她呀!

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

同学们都投入到紧张的复习中,把刚刚过完的假期忘得一干二净。4天以来,我背诵了57个不规则动词,保佑我考试前不要全都忘记了。

许多同学都把读过的课本卖掉,而我则计划全部留下来,毕业后还可以把自己学习过的东西展示在书架上,不懂的细节处,还可以随时查询,这比一咕噜记在脑海里要简单方便得多,当然也会更为准确了。

茱莉亚•平莱顿今晚来我的宿舍做礼节性拜访,一坐就是一个小时。她谈到自己的家族,而我却无法打断这个话题。她问起我外婆家的姓氏——您听说过有什么人如此冒昧地向一个孤儿提这样的问题吗?我没有勇气说自己不知道,只好信口胡编乱造了一个蒙哥马利。她又追问是马萨诸塞州的蒙哥马利家族还是弗吉尼亚州的蒙哥马利家族。

她的母亲姓路德福特,这一姓氏甚至可以追溯到方舟时代,还曾同亨利八世联姻。她父系则始于亚当之前,最早的一支是一群毛色滋润、尾巴奇长的良种猿猴。

今晚本想愉快地给您写一封亲切而有趣的信,可我觉得自己太悠闲了,而心中却充满了忧虑。唉!新生可真苦呀!

正准备复习的茱蒂

考试前夕

最亲爱的长腿叔叔:

我有个很不好很不好的消息要告诉您。不过我不会从这里开始写起,我要先让您心情高兴起来。

乔若莎•艾伯特已经开始要成为作家了。一首名叫《在我的阁楼》的诗,在第二期《月刊》上刊载了,并且是在首页。这对一名新生来说是莫大的荣耀。昨天晚上,我从教堂出来,英语老师叫住我,说诗写得很动人,只是第6行的音节太复杂了。我会寄一份给您,让您好读它。

让我想想还有什么其他的趣事——喔,对了!我正悄悄地学溜冰,已经可以自由自在地滑来滑去。还有,我也学会了如何从体育馆的屋顶用绳索爬下来,我会跨越3尺6高的栏杆——希望不久后可以跳过4尺。

今天早晨,阿拉巴马主教的讲道十分精彩。他的题目是“不要论断人,免得被论断”。意思是说要原谅别人的缺点,而不要求全责备。真希望您能听到这一节。

下午阳光灿烂,让人眼花缭乱,冰花挂在松树枝头,大地白雪皑皑。惟有我除外,我的内心被悲伤压着了。

现在要告诉您那坏消息了——勇敢些,茱蒂!你一定要讲出来。

您“确定”您的心情愉快吗?我的几何学跟拉丁文两门课都不及格,我正在补习,准备下个月补考。如果让您生气了,我很抱歉,不过,我却不是很在意,因为我学了这么多课外读物。我读了17本小说和一堆诗歌,包括《名利撤、《理查•费福罗》、《爱丽丝漫游记》等必读书,还有爱默生的《随笔集》,罗克哈特的《司各脱生平》,吉蓬的《罗马帝国》第一卷和半本塞利尼的《生平》——他真有意思!他常在清晨外出闲逛,杀一两个人再回去吃早餐。

所以您瞧,叔叔,我比死读拉丁文收获得更多。如果我保证以后绝不会再考不及格,您能原谅我吗?

您悲伤的茱蒂

星期日

最亲爱的长腿叔叔:

这是本月中旬额外写的一封信,因为今晚我感到十分寂寞。窗外狂风暴雨雪花敲击着我的阁楼。校园里漆黑一片,我喝了黑咖啡,彻夜难眠。

今晚我参加了一个晚餐派对,成员有莎莉、茱利亚和蓝侬拉•芬顿,备有蛋糕,糖果跟咖啡。茱利亚说她玩得很愉快,不过只有莎莉留下来帮忙洗盘子。

我本可以利用今晚的时间学拉丁文。但是,说实在的,我对拉丁文总是漫不经心。我们学习了利维的《论老年》,正在学习《论友谊》(读作该死的依西西亚)。

您介不介意先充当我的祖母一下?莎莉有祖母,茱利亚跟蓝侬拉不但有祖母,而且还有外祖母,而她们今晚都将她们提出来比一比。我真想有这样一位亲戚,一位和蔼可亲的老人。所以如果您真的不反对,我想在您83岁生日时送一件礼物给您——一顶缀着紫色缎带的最可爱的蕾丝无边帽——昨天在城里的商店里看到的。

教堂的钟正敲着12下。我想我终究有点困了。

晚安,祖母

我好爱您

茱蒂

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

我正在开始尝试写拉丁语作文。我一直在学,并且将继续学下去。我快要结束这场学习了。下星期二第7节课补考。我努力争取及格,否则就要留级。下次写信,我要么安然无恙,愉快地摆脱了不及格,要么已经支离破碎了。

考完试后我会写封像模像样的信给您。今晚我要认真学习拉丁文的夺格绝对句。匆匆。

茱蒂

3月5日

长腿叔叔史密斯先生:

先生,您从不回答任何问题,对我的所作所为没有表示出一点点兴趣。您可能是那些理事里最可恶的一个,您让我受教育,完全是出于一种道义和责任,而毫无半点关怀和爱意。

我对您一无所知,甚至不知道您的名字;写信给“一个东西”没有丝毫的意义。我丝毫不怀疑您读都不读我的信,就将它们扔进废纸篓。今后,除了学业之外,我再也不写其他任何事情了。

我的几何学跟拉丁文上星期补考都通过了。我一点问题都没有就过关了。

您最真实的乔若莎•艾伯特

3月26日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

我是个坏孩子。

请原谅我上星期寄给您的那封蛮横无礼的信——写信那晚,我感觉到非常 孤独,浑身不舒服,喉咙还隐隐作痛。现在我住进了大学病房已经6天了,今天他们第一次让我坐起来,还给我纸笔。护士长凶极了。我总是心神不安,也许得不到您的原谅,我永远都好不起来了。

这就是我现在的模样,绷带绕过我的头,绑了个大结,像兔子的耳朵。

这样您会有点同情吗?我的淋巴结肿了。学了一年的生理课都不知道淋巴结在哪里,教育是多么无用呀。

我不能写了,坐久了感觉有点虚弱。请原谅我的粗鲁和忘恩负义。我从小就缺乏教养。

您充满爱的

茱蒂•艾伯特

4月2日

最亲爱的长腿叔叔:

昨天傍晚,我坐在病床上,望着窗外的雨景,有一种强烈的感觉,觉得人生真是无聊烦恼透了。护士送了一个大的白色盒子给我,里面装满了鲜艳的玫瑰花。更令人愉快的是,上面还附有一张措辞优雅的便笺,一笔颇有性格的的左斜体,一点点爬升上去。叔叔,谢谢您,一千个谢谢。您的花让我第一次感觉如此真实,在我生命中第一次如此清晰的呈现。我高兴极了,像个孩子似的,躺下来大哭一场,现在我确定您读了我的信了。我以后会写得更有趣些,这样才值得用红缎带扎起来放在保险柜里——不过请找出那封糟糕透顶的信烧掉它。真不愿意您再重新读起它。

谢谢您使一个生病的,神经兮兮,又悲伤的新生高兴起来。也许您有很多亲爱的家人与朋友,无法明白孤独是什么样的滋味,可我的体会太深刻了。

晚安。我保证以后决不再胡闹了,因为我现在知道您是一个活生生的真人,而且我也保证以后不再拿问题来烦您了。

您还讨厌女孩子吗?

您永远的茱蒂

住院中4月4日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

但愿您不是坐在癞蛤蟆上的那位理事。听说当时“嘭”的一声很响,可能是一位比您胖的理事。

您记得约翰•格利尔孤儿院洗衣房窗外那些覆盖着蓖条的空洞吗?每逢春季蛤蟆鼓噪时,我们常常捕捉蛤蟆藏在窗外的洞中。有时它们爬进洗衣房,引起一阵快活的欢呼。为此我们会受到严厉的惩罚,但是捕捉蛤蟆的行为并未因此停止。

有一天——对了,我不拿细节来烦您了——一只又肥又大粘粘糊糊的蛤蟆不知怎的蹿进了理事休息室的大皮椅子里。结果,下午开会时——您一定在场并记得当时的情景。

现在冷静地回想起来,我受到的惩罚是罪有应得的,如果我没有记错的话,也还恰如其分。

不知道为什么我竟如此怀旧,莫非是春天和蛤蟆触动了我贪玩的天性?这里没有不许捕蛙的禁令,而我也就没有了捕蛙的愿望了。

星期一第八节课

您知道我最喜欢哪本书吗?我指的是现在。我的爱好三天一变。我最喜欢《呼啸山庄》。艾米丽•勃朗特年轻时写了这本书的时候,从未到哈渥教区之外的地方去过。她一生也从未接触过男性,如何能创出希斯•克利夫这样一个人来?

而我却不能,可我也年轻,没出过孤儿院的门——具备成功的种种条件。我有时很气馁,觉得自己不是天才。长腿叔叔,如果我成不了伟大作家,您会失望吗?春天里,一切都那么美好、青翠、欣欣向荣,我真想丢下功课,跑去同大自然玩耍。野外有无数新鲜事物。经历书中的故事要比写书有趣多了。

哎呀!!!!!!!

我这一声叫喊把莎莉、茱莉亚还有(真倒霉)楼道那头的大四生都招来了。因为我见到一条蜈蚣,就像下面的一样:

比这还可怕。我刚写完上句正在斟酌下句,噗哒!从天而降,落在我身旁。我一跃而起,打翻了桌上两只杯子。莎莉用我的梳子,弄死了前半截(这把梳子我再也无法用了),后面的50双脚跑到镜台下不见了。

古旧的宿舍爬满了长春藤,隐藏着无数蜈蚣,简直比老虎蹲在床下还可怕。

星期四作礼拜后

倒霉的事接二连三。今天早晨,我没听见起床铃,急忙穿衣,又扯断了鞋带,还把领口的扣子拉掉在脖子里。早饭吃晚了,第一节自习课也迟到了,钢笔漏水又没带吸墨水纸。上三角几何课时,教授与我在对数方面的一个小问题上出现分歧。查了书,还是她对了。中午吃焖羊肉和大黄茎,都是我不爱吃的,和孤儿院的伙食一个味。邮差什么也没送来,只有账单(不过说真的,除了账单我也没有收到过别的东西,我的那个家从来就不写信)。下午的英语课意外地改成了写作课,摆在面前的是:

我别无他求,

也不复遭到拒绝。

我为此献上我的生命,

那位无所不能的商人笑了。

巴西?他摆弄着钮扣,

对我看也不看,

但是,夫人,难道我们今天

就没有别个可以呈献?

这是一首诗,我不知它的作者,也不知它的含义。到教室时,只见它工整地抄在黑板上,要求我们加以评论。读完第一段,似乎有些懂了。无所不能的商人是指赐福给行善者的神祗,可是看到他的第二段中摆弄钮扣,这推测似乎有些亵渎神明,我又慌忙改变了主意。班上其他同学与我处境相同,整整三刻钟我们坐对一张白纸,脑子里空空如也。受教育真是个极其磨人的过程。

这还没完,更倒霉的事还在后面。

雨天不能打高尔夫球,只好到健身房去。我旁边那个姑娘的体操棒“梆”的一下捣在了我的肘上。回到宿舍,我的天蓝色的新春装送来了。可裙子太小,坐都坐不下来。星期五是打扫宿舍的日子。清洁女工把我桌上的纸弄得乱七八糟。饭后甜食吃“墓碑”(一种香草牛奶冻)。做礼拜又延长了20分钟,为的是宣讲为妇之道。还有,当我好容易松了口气坐下来看《贵妇人的画像》时,阿克莉,一个笨手笨脚,模样活气,面孔长得像生面团的姑娘跑来问我,星期一的课是从第69段还是从第70段开始。这个姑娘上拉丁语课坐在我的旁边,因为她的姓和我一样都是A字开头(我真希望李皮太太给我起了个Z字母开头的姓,比如扎布里斯基)。她坐了整整一个钟头,刚刚才走。

有谁听说过这么一连串叫人丧气的事吗?生活中,并非仅在大难临头时,才要显现英雄本色,人人都能勇于面对危险或不幸。但要能对日常的烦扰付诸一笑,真得有点精神才行。

今后,我要培养这种精神。我要把生活视为一场竞技,尽可能熟巧和公平地投入进去。胜也罢,败也罢,我都耸肩一笑置之。

不管怎样,我要做一个堂堂正正的人。亲爱的长腿叔叔,您再不会听到我因为茱莉亚穿长统丝袜和蜈蚣从天而降发出怨言了。

请速复信。

永远是您的茱蒂

星期五晚9时30分

长腿叔叔:

亲爱的先生,今天收到李皮太太的来信。她希望我品学兼优,表现良好。如果我这个夏天可能无处可去,她愿意让我回孤儿院去工作,来赚取我自己的食宿,直到大学开学为止。

我恨约翰•格利尔孤儿院。

我宁死也不愿回去!

您最诚实的

乔若莎•艾伯特

5月27日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您真好!

能到农庄去,我实在是太高兴了,因为我这辈子还没去过农庄,而且我也恨死了要回约翰•格利尔孤儿院去,洗一整个夏天的盘子。

请原谅匆匆止笔,不能继续谈我近期的情况了。我正在上法文课,我担心老师很快就会叫我了。

他果然叫我了!

AUrevior

(再见)

Jevousaimebeaucoup

(我好爱您)

茱蒂

5月27日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您曾看到过我们的学校吗?(这只是一句客套话,请别在意。)5月时节,这里的景致美妙极了。 灌木丛中花团烂漫,树枝上泛起一片清绿色——连最苍老的松树也焕然一新。草皮上点缀着黄色蒲公英,还有几百个穿着蓝的白的和粉红衣裳的女孩们。每个人都欢欣快乐,无忧无虑。因为假期即将来临,还有伴随而来令人期待的一切,考试的忧虑也就抛在九霄云外了。

真令人心旷神怡,而我,叔叔,是里面最快乐的一个!因为我再也不是在约翰•格利尔孤儿院了,不再是谁的保姆、打字员,或会计(可您知道,如果没有您,我只能是其中的一个)。

对过去我所做的一切坏事,我很抱歉

我曾经可恶地对李皮太太,我很抱歉

我曾经打弗莱迪•平顿,我很抱歉

我曾经把盐倒到糖罐里,我很抱歉

我曾经在理事们的背后扮鬼脸,我很抱歉

我以后要听话、温柔、又善良地对待大家,因为我太快乐了。而这个夏天我要开始写作,开始成为一个伟大的作家。这还算不得一个崇高的目标吗?我在培养一种美好的气质!尽管寒冷和冰霜会使它低落下去,但灿烂的阳光又会使它迅速高涨起来。

这是每个人的必由之路。我不相信所谓逆境、忧伤或失意会造就道德力量的理论。幸福的人才会热情洋溢。我也不相信厌世者(好字眼,刚刚学的)。长腿叔叔,您不是一个厌世者吧!

我一开始就告诉您学校风景。我希望您能来稍微参观一下,我可以陪您到处走走,告诉您:

“亲爱的叔叔,那是图书馆,这是煤气厂。您左手边的哥特式建筑物是体育馆,而它旁边都铎式建筑是新的医院。”

哦!我很会带人参观喔。 过去在约翰•格利尔孤儿院,我常常带人参观。今天还领人走了一整天。真的,不骗您。

而且是一位男士!

真是一个不同寻常的经历。我从未跟男人说过话(除了个别理事,但他们不算),对不起,叔叔,当我那样谈理事们的时候,并不是故意要冒犯您。我并没有把您看着是他们中的一员。所谓理事,应当是肥胖、傲慢、一副慈善模样,喜欢摸人脑袋,还挂了一个金怀表。

那样看起来像一只金甲虫,可这是除您以外的其他所有理事的画像。

不过——言归正传:

我同一名男土散步、聊天、喝茶。他是一个很了不起的人物——茱莉亚家族的杰维•平莱顿先生。简单地说,是她叔叔(详细说来,我应该告诉您,他的身材和您一样高)。他到城里办事,顺便来学校里看看侄女。他是茱莉亚爸爸最小的弟弟,但茱莉亚和他并不亲密。好像在她的童年时代,他看了她一眼,没有太多的好感,就再也不关注她了。

无论如何,他来了,端坐在接待室里,帽子、手杖、手套放在一边。莎莉和茱莉亚第7节是朗读课,不能缺席。所以茱莉亚冲进我的房间,求我陪他到处走走,等她上完第7堂课再领他去找她。出于礼貌,我勉强答应了,因为我对平莱顿家族没有多大的好感。

不过他是一个温文尔雅、情感丰富的人——一点也不像平莱顿家族的人。我们度过了一段美好的时光,从那时起我就渴望有个叔叔。您来作我的叔叔好吗?我觉得叔叔比祖母还好。

平莱顿先生让我想起您,叔叔,像20年前的您。您瞧,我对您多么熟悉,尽管我们还没有见面。

他高高瘦瘦,脸色黝黑,轮廓很深,虽然没有开怀大笑,只把嘴角一咧,就能让您觉得很舒服。尽管认识不久,却一见如故。

我们走遍了中央广场到游乐场的每个角落。他说他走累了,要喝杯茶,提议我们去学院小吃店。小吃店不远,就在校门外的小路旁。我说该喊茱莉亚和莎莉一起去。他说他不愿自己的侄女喝茶太多,这会使她变得神经质。所以我们就径直去了,坐在走廊上一张雅致小桌子旁用茶、蛋糕、冰淇淋和饼干。因为是月底了,大家的零用钱也都快花光了,店里正好没人。

我们玩得很开心!可一回到学校,他就得去赶火车,只匆匆见了茱莉亚一面。茱莉亚对于我把他带出去很恼火。看来他是一位非比寻常的富有又值得人家羡慕的叔叔。知道了他很富有,让我感觉好过一些,因为茶和点心很贵,每样要6角钱呢。

今天早上(今天是星期一)快递送来3盒巧克力,给茱莉亚、莎莉和我。您觉得如何?一个男人送来巧克力!

我开始感到自己像个女孩子,而不是个孤儿。

我希望您哪天来吃茶点,让我看看喜不喜欢您。可是如果我不喜欢,那岂不太糟糕了?不过,我相信自己应该要喜欢您的。

好了,向您致意!

我永远不会忘记您

茱蒂

5月30日

又及:

今天早晨照镜子,发现我长了个酒窝,以前我可没有看到过。真奇怪,从哪里来的?

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

今天真高兴!我刚考完最后一科——生物学。接下来呢,到农庄去住3个月!

对于农庄,我一点概念也没有,我这辈子都还没去过。我连看都没看过(除了从火车的窗户看到的),不过,我想我会喜欢的。我也会开始喜欢自由自在。

我现在还不太习惯在约翰•格利孤儿院之外的地方。每当我想到这一点,就感到阵阵心神不定。觉得好像应该跑快点,再快点,边跑边回头张望,看看李皮太太是不是在我背后伸手要将我抓回去。

这个夏天我对谁都不用顾忌了,对吗?

您徒有其名的权威吓唬不了我,您离我太远了,对我没有伤害。对我来说,李皮太太已经永远去世了。森普尔夫妇不会监督我的品行吧?我想不会。我已经长大成人了!万岁!

就写这里吧,现在我要离开您去收拾自己的行李了,还有3个装有茶壶、盘子、枕头和书籍的大盒子。

您永远的茱蒂

6月9日

又及:

这是我的生物学试卷,您想您会通过吗?

最亲爱的长腿叔叔:

我刚到,还没整理行李,不过我已经迫不及待想告诉您我是多么喜欢农庄。这真是好棒,好棒的地方!房子是方形的,如下图:

而且老旧,大约有100年历史了。我无法画出的那一面有一个门廊。画画得很不好,不能展现出它的真面目——那些像鸡毛掸子似的东西是枫树,在车道旁带刺的是松树和铁杉。房子坐落在山顶上,放眼远眺,绿色的草地一直延伸到远处一溜小山。

康涅狄格州的地形就像头发上烫出的波浪,洛克威洛农场坐落在浪尖上。 谷仓原先在道路的那边,正好挡住了视线。幸好上天一道闪电把它夷为平地。

这里的人有山普先生和山普太太,还有一个雇来的女工和两个男工。 工人都在厨房用餐,而山普家跟茱蒂则在用餐厅里。晚饭有火腿、蛋、土司、蜂蜜、蛋糕、泡菜、奶酪,还有饭后茶和一大堆的谈话。我这辈子从来没讲过这么多话,不管我说什么都很好笑。我猜是因为我从没到过乡间,而我的问题来自于我对所有事物都不太了解。

那个打了叉叉的房间,不是凶案现场,而是我住的房间。它又大又方正,很宽敞。老式家具令人喜爱,窗户得用棍子撑开,还挂着镶着金边的绿色帘子,一触就能放下来。还有一张方形大木桌——我打算整个夏天趴在上面写小说。

喔!叔叔,我实在太兴奋了!我盼望着天亮,好去四处探寻。现在是晚上8点半,我就要吹熄蜡烛,想法入睡。我们5点起床。您曾经这么好玩过吗?我不敢相信我真的是茱蒂。您和仁慈的上帝给我的太多了,我一定要做一个非常、非常、非常、非常好的人来报答您。我会这么做的,您等着瞧吧。

晚安!

茱蒂

洛克威洛农庄

星期六晚上

又及:

您要是能听到青蛙的鼓噪和猪仔的尖叫该有多好呀,还有那一轮弯月!从我的右臂看上去就能看到月亮。

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您的秘书怎么会知道洛克威洛农庄的呢?(这不是客套话,我确实很好奇。)因为,过去这个农庄曾为杰维•平莱顿先生所拥有。现在,他把农场送给了他的保姆——山普太太了。多么有意思的巧合啊!她到现在还称他“杰维少爷”,讲他小时候是多么可爱。她将一小撮他小时候的卷发珍藏在盒中,它是红色——至少是微红色的!

打从她知道我认识他,就对我另眼相待了。认识平莱顿家族的一员,可算是在洛克威洛最好的引见词。而平莱顿家族的骄傲是杰维少爷——我很高兴茱莉亚属于底层的一枝。

农庄越来越好玩了。昨天我坐了运草的马车。我们有3只大猪和9只猪崽,您应该看看它们的吃像。他们真是猪!我们有无数雏鸡、小鸭、火鸡和珍珠鸡。您本可住在农场,可您偏要住在城市里,真是不可思议。

我每天的工作就是拣鸡蛋。昨天在谷仓里,我想爬着去摸一个鸟窝(黑鸡偷偷在那里下了蛋),不小心从梁上摔了下来。回去后,山普太太看见了我摔破的膝盖,一边给我包扎,一边自言自语地说“天呀!杰维少爷也从那里摔下来过,就像是昨天的事情。他也是摔破了这个膝盖!”

这里的景致优美无比。山谷、河流、浓郁的山丘和远处莽莽苍苍的大山,令人喜爱不已。

每个星期我们做两次奶油,并且把奶油放置在石头彻成的冷藏室里,一道小河从下面潺潺流过。邻近的农民有脱脂器。而我们则不喜欢这种新鲜玩意儿。依然用锅来搅拌,尽管麻烦些,但质量更好,也值得这么干。我们有6头牛,我替它们取好名字了:

1.西尔维亚,因为她出生在林中。

2.莱兹比亚,以卡图勒斯作品中命名。

3.莎莉。

4.茱莉亚,一只花斑的无趣动物。

5.茱蒂,以我来命名。

6.长腿叔叔。您不会介意口巴,叔叔?牛是纯泽西血统而且很可爱。牛看起来像这样——您瞧他真是名符其实。

我还没有时间开始我的巨作,农庄让我忙个不停。

您永远的茱蒂

洛克威洛农庄

7月12日

又及:

一、我学会做面包圈了。

二、您如果想养鸡的话,我推荐奥尔平顿种,它们腿上不长毛。

三、我真想送给您一块我昨天做的新鲜奶油,我成了一个不错的挤奶姑娘。

四、这是未来的大作家——乔若莎•艾伯特赶牛回家图:

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

这不是很有趣吗?昨天下午我开始写信给您,不过我刚起笔写下了“亲爱的长腿叔叔”,忽然想起我答应山普太太采些黑莓当作晚餐甜点,把信

纸留在桌上就出去了。今天回来时,您知道我发现什么坐在信纸的中央?一位真正的“长腿叔叔”——大蜘蛛!

我轻轻拈起它的一只脚,放到窗外。我绝对不会伤害它。因为它总让我想到您。

在教堂催人人眠的布道声中,众人懒洋洋地摇着芭蕉扇。除了牧师的声音外,只有窗外树丛中蟋蟀的一片唧唧声。我一直睡到大家起立唱赞美诗。突然,我为刚才没有听布道感到内疚,真想知道选择这首赞美诗的人的心理,请听:

来吧,丢下你的玩物和尘世的消遣,与我在天国携手欢腾。要不,朋友,你我从此永别,任你沦入地狱受尽磨难。

我发现同山普夫妇讨论宗教很不妥当。他们的上帝(那是他们从清教徒的祖先那里完整无缺地继承下来的)狭隘、吝啬、不讲理、不公正、报复心强而又顽固不化。谢天谢地,我的上帝不是什么人遗传下来的。我可以自由地创造自己的上帝!他善良、富有同情心,有想像力,宽宏大量而又通情达理——还富有幽默感。

我非常喜欢山普夫妇。他们的行动超越了他们的信仰,他们胜过他们的上帝。听我这么一说,他们吓坏了,认为我亵渎了上帝,我却认为是他们亵渎了上帝。以后我们不再辩论了。

现在是星期日的下午。阿马萨(男雇工)和嘉丽(女雇工)刚刚驾马车走了。阿马萨精神抖擞,胡子刮得干干净净的,系着紫色领带,戴着鹅黄色鹿皮手套。嘉丽戴着一顶缀有红玫瑰的大帽子,穿一身蓝色裙子,头发卷成紧紧的小卷。阿马萨花了整整一上午洗刷那辆轻便马车。嘉丽没有去教堂,装着留下来做饭,实际上在烫那身细布衣服。

过两分钟,等我写完这封信,我就要去沉醉在一本在楼上发现的书里了。书名是《在小径上》,扉页上,有一个稚拙的小男孩笔迹写道:

杰维•平莱顿

如果这本书迷了路,

请揪着它的耳朵,送它回家。

他11岁时生了一场病,曾来这里疗养,把《在小径上》留在这里了。看来他读得很认真——到处都有他肮脏的小手留下的污迹。阁楼的一个角落里还有一辆水车、一个风车和一些弹弓。山普太太常常谈起他,以致于让我觉得他还是一个可爱的、头发蓬乱的肮脏的孩子,并没有长成一个戴着丝帽,拿着手杖的绅士。他在楼梯上爬上爬下,从不记得关纱门,老是吵着要饼干吃(我知道山普太太对他有求必应,他一张口准会给他)。他似乎非常富有冒险精神,勇敢而正直。可惜他是平莱顿家族的人,他应该可以比这更好一点。

先生

我向您致意!

您充满感,隋的孤儿

茱蒂•艾伯特

星期日

又及:

第一章讲印地安人,第二章讲绿林好汉。我屏住呼吸。第三章讲什么呢?卷首上写着“印地安人跃到半空,落地身亡”。茱蒂和杰维怎么能不开心呢?

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

昨天在转角的杂货店的面粉秤上量体重,我胖了9磅。让我向您推荐洛克威洛为最佳的健康疗养所。

您永远的

茱蒂

9月15日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您瞧——我已经是大学二年级的学生了。上星期五返校。离开洛克威洛虽然心里很难过,不过,很高兴又开学了。回到熟悉的地方感觉真好。我

开始习惯于大学生活,能应付自如了,实际上,我开始觉得自己是一个社会人了——就好像我真的是属于它,而不是被人勉强收留的。

我所说的这些,您或许根本就不能理解。一位可以当理事的大人物怎么能够理解一个卑微的孤儿的想法呢?

现在,叔叔,您听听这个。您猜我跟谁同住?莎莉•麦克白与茱莉亚•平莱顿。这是真的。我们有3个卧室和一间书房!请看下图:

从去年春天,莎莉跟我就决定住在一起,不知道为什么,茱莉亚打定主意要跟莎莉住一起。我猜不出来,因为她们俩一点共同之处也没有。也许

平莱顿家族的人生性谨慎,因循守旧(好字眼!)。总之,我们住到了一起。想想看,约翰•格利尔孤儿院的孤儿乔诺莎•艾伯特与平莱顿家族家族的一员住在一起。真是一个民主国家。

莎莉要竞选班代表,除非一切征兆都是假像,否则她会当选的。这是一种神秘的气氛——我们像一个个政治家。喔!我告诉您,叔叔,当我们妇女争取到我们权利后,你们男人最好倍加小心。下星期六投票,不管谁当选,晚上都将举行火炬游行。

我开始修化学,一个不寻常的学科。我从没有听说过这种学科。现在讲到了分子和原子,下个月我能告诉您更多具体的东西。我也开始学习辩论和逻辑,还有世界史,还有莎士比亚戏剧,还有法文。

像这样持续几年,我会变得学识渊博的。

我宁愿选经济而不是法文,不过我不敢,因为我担心自己若不继续修法文,教授可能不会让我通过,6月份的考试我勉强才通过。应该说,我高中的基础太薄弱了。

班上有一个同学法文说得和英文一样流利。她小时候随父母出国在修道院学校读了3年。您可以想像她是如何鹤立鸡群的,那些不规则动词对她来说就像游戏一样。我多么希望小时候父母把我丢到法国修道院而不是什么孤儿院。唉,不对,我不是这个意思。因为如果真是那样的话,我又怎么能认识您呢?我宁愿认识您,哪怕不会法语。

晚安,叔叔,我现在要去拜访哈莉•马丁了,谈谈化学反应,顺便谈谈我对下一届班代表的看法。

您积极参政的

J•艾伯特

9月25日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

假如体育馆的游泳池都装满了柠檬果冻,一个人是上浮还是下沉?

晚餐后我们在吃柠檬果冻时,有人提出这个问题。我们激烈地争论了半个小时,还是没有结论。莎莉认为她可以在里面游,而我则断定即使是世界最顶尖的游泳好手也会沉下去了。能死在柠檬果冻中不也很有趣吗?

我们还讨论了其他问题。

第一,八角形房子里的房间是什么形状?有的同学非说房间是方形的,我想它们一定像馅饼一样,您说呢?

第二,如果坐在一个四周全是镜子的巨大空心球里,镜子在何处才不照脸而照背?我越想越糊涂。您看我们用多么深奥的哲学概念来打发我们的

闲暇!

我有跟您提过选举的事吗?3个星期前选完了,不过时光飞逝,3个星期好像已经是远古的历史了。莎莉当选了,我们当晚带着“麦克白万岁”的标语游行,还有一个14人的乐队(3个口琴和11把梳子假装的口琴)。

现在,我们258室的人都成了重要人物了。茱莉亚和我也沾了不少的光——跟一个领袖住在同一个屋檐下也很有社会压力。

晚安,亲爱的叔叔。

我是您的

茱蒂

10月17日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

昨天与大一班篮球赛我们赢了。我们欢欣雀跃。喔!要是能打赢三年级就好了。那样的话,我们宁可打得全身青一块紫一块,包上绷带在床上躺一个星期。

莎莉邀我去她家过寒假。她住在马萨诸塞州的乌斯特。她真好,不是吗?我很想去。除了洛克威洛外,我从没去过别人家,而山普家都是大人跟老人,所以不算。但是麦克白家有一屋子小孩,有妈妈、爸爸和祖母,还有一只安哥拉犬。真是一个完完全全的家庭!我一想起就好兴奋!

第7节课就要结束了,我得赶紧去排练。我参加了感恩节的演出。我出演一位阁楼王子,身着紫色上衣,头上有金黄色的卷发,多有意思!

您的J•A

11月12日

您想知道我长得什么样吗?附上我们3人的照片,是里奥诺拉•芬顿拍的。面带笑容的是莎莉;目空一切的高个子是茱莉亚。头发被风吹到睑上的小个子是茱蒂。实际上她比照片上漂亮,可是太阳刺得她睁不开眼睛。

星期六

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

早想写信给您,谢谢您圣诞节寄给我的支票,不过麦克白家的生活实在太充实了,我似乎找不出片刻可坐在桌子边。

我买了一件并非必要,只是想要的衣服。今年我的圣诞礼物是长腿叔叔寄来的,家人只送来了爱。

在莎莉家,我度过了最美好的一个假期。她住在一栋大的旧式房子里,漆成白色,背靠着街道——完全就是那种我在约翰•格利尔孤儿院时常看到的,很好奇住在里面是什么感觉的房子,我从不敢奢望能亲眼看见到——而现在,我就在这里啊!一切都如此惬意、舒适、自在而美好。我在房间里走来走去,仔细观赏他们的陈设,沉醉其中。

这是养儿育女最理想的所在。有阴暗的角落可以捉迷藏,有壁炉可以爆玉米花,下雨的时候可以在阁楼上玩耍和嬉戏。楼梯扶手滑溜溜的,下端有个舒适平坦的扶手。厨房宽阔明亮,有一个胖胖、性格开朗活波的厨子,他在这个家里已经有13年了,常常留一小块面包让孩子们烤着玩。看到这样的情景,我真想重返童年。

至于家人们!我做梦都想不到他们会是这般友好。莎莉有爸爸、妈妈和祖母,还有一个满头卷发可爱的3岁小妹妹,还有一个进门老是忘记擦脚,不大不小的弟弟,还有一个高大英俊的哥哥叫吉米,他现在是普林斯顿大三的学生。

饭桌上是最美妙的时刻——每个人又说又笑,谁也不让谁。饭前也不用祈祷。不用为到嘴的每口食物而感恩,这真是一种解脱。(我确实对神明不够尊敬,如果您像我一样对一切都要千恩万谢,想必也会有同感。)

我们做了如此多的事情,都不知该如何着手告诉您。麦克白先生有一家工厂,圣诞夜前夕他为员工的孩子们准备了一株圣诞树。放任为了圣诞节装饰得很漂亮的包装车间里。吉米扮成圣诞老人,而莎莉跟我则帮忙分发礼物。

天啊,叔叔,真带劲。我觉得自己像约翰•格利尔孤儿院的理事一样善良。我亲吻了一个个可爱又粘答答的小男孩——不过,我好像没有摸他们的脑袋!

圣诞节的第二天,他们在家里为我开了一场舞会。

这是我第一次参加名副其实的舞会——大学的舞会不算,因为我只能和女生跳舞。我穿了一件崭新的白色晚礼服(您的圣诞礼物——多谢了),戴着白色的长手套,还有可爱的白色鞋子。我沉浸在完全、彻底、绝对的幸福中,惟一令人遗憾的是李皮太太没能看到我跟吉米•麦克白领跳交际舞。拜托您,下次去约翰•格利尔孤儿院时,告诉她一下。

您永远的

茱蒂•艾伯特

“芝麻开门”

马萨诸塞州,伍斯特

又及:

如果我没成为伟大的作家,而变成一个平凡的女孩子,叔叔,您会不会大失所望?

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

我们今天步行去城里,不过,老天啊!遇上了倾盆大雨。冬天得像冬天,应该下雪而不是雨啊!

茱莉亚讨人喜欢的叔叔今天下午又来造访——带来一盒5磅重的巧克力。您瞧,和茱莉亚同屋还是大有好处的。

他似乎觉得听女孩们的谈话很有趣,而故意错过一班火车,好跟我们在书房喝茶。为了得到校方的许可,我们可花了好大的功夫。让爸爸或祖父来访已经够难的,叔叔更难一些,至于哥哥或表兄弟则几乎是不可能的。茱莉亚必须在所有的学校当局面前发誓他是她的叔叔,再把公证处的证明带回来(我还知道点法律吧),尽管如此,我依然怀疑一旦舍监看到杰维叔叔那么年轻英俊,我们的茶还喝不喝得成还是问题。

无论如何,我们还是一起喝了茶,还有黑面包和瑞土奶酪做的三明治。他帮我们做的三明治,自己吃了4块。我告诉他我去年夏天是在洛克威洛度过的。我们高兴地聊起山普夫妇、马儿还有牛跟小鸡。以往他知道的牛都已经死了,除了葛洛佛,上回他去时它还是只小牛——而可怜的葛洛佛现在已经非常老了。

他问我们是不是还把花生放在黄色的锅子,用蓝色的盘子盖着,放在餐橱的底下。确实,一点不错!他还问我是不是在夜间牧场的一堆石头下有个土拨鼠洞——真的有!夏天,阿马萨抓到一只又大又肥的灰色土拨鼠,应该是杰维少爷在小时候抓到那只的第25代孙子。

我当面称他杰维少爷,他显得一点也不在意。茱莉亚说她从没看到过他这么友善——他通常是很难以亲近的。不过我想是茱莉亚不懂得策略,而我发现跟男人相处一定要聪明。只能顺毛摸,不然就该咬你了。

我们正在读玛丽•巴斯格谢夫的日记,让人震惊不已。您看:“昨天,失望笼罩了我整个身心,使我发出痛苦的申吟。我已经无法控制自己了,以致于将餐厅的挂钟丢到大海里。”

我希望自己不要成为一个天才。天才一定都很令人讨厌,他们只会损坏家具。

老天啊!这样的倾盆大雨怎么一直下个不停!我们今晚恐怕要游到教堂里去了。

您永远的

茱蒂

星期六6:30

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

您曾经有一个在襁褓中被人偷抱走的小女孩吗?

也许我就是她!如果我们是在小说里,情节转折就可能是这样收尾的,不是吗?

对自己的身世一无所知,实在太奇怪了——也令人有点激动,甚至有些浪漫。有这么多的可能性。可能我不是美国人,有很多人不是。可能我的祖先是古罗马人,或许是个北欧海盗的女儿,或者我是俄罗斯流放者的孩子,理应关在西伯利亚的监狱里,或者我是吉普赛人——我想可能是的,我喜欢到处流浪,尽管至今我仍没有机会好好发挥一下。

您知道我过去的一大污点吗?我曾从约翰•格利尔孤儿院逃跑过,因为我偷饼干吃,他们要处罚我。这件事记录在案,任何理事都可以自由的翻阅。不过,叔叔,这怎么能怪我呢?当您把一个饥饿的小女孩放在餐厨室,一罐饼干就在她手边,然后留下她一个人就离开了;然后突然闯进来,当然会发现她嘴边有饼干屑了。然后把她一手提起来,扇上两个耳光,然后又在饭桌上,当蛋糕送上来时,命令她走开,还告诉所有孩子那是因为她偷东西,您能期望她不逃走吗?

我只跑了几里路就被他们抓回来了。整整一个星期,当其他的孩子在外面玩时,我像一只淘气的小狗一样被拴在后院的柱子上。

天啊!下课钟响了,下课后,我要开一个会。我很抱歉,我今天本来打算写一封有趣的信给您。

再见,亲爱的叔叔!

茱蒂

1月20日

又及:

有一点我是肯定的,我不是中国人。

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

吉米送给我一面普林斯顿的校旗,和我房间的墙壁一样大。我感谢他还记得我,却不知道如何使用这面旗子。莎莉和茱莉亚不同意我挂起来。今年我们的房间以红色为基调,如果我加上橙色和黑色,可想而知会成为什么模样。旗子是用暖和厚实的毯子做成的,丢掉了实在太可惜。做成浴衣不至于太不像样吧,正好我的那件缩水不能穿了。

最近,我丝毫没有谈到我的学业。虽然从信上看不出来,实际上我的全部时间几乎都放在学习上了。同时学习5门功课,让人晕头转向。

化学老师会说:“真正的学者从不忽视任何细节。”

历史教授则说:“不要过分注意细节,高瞻远瞩才能把握整体。”

您瞧!在化学课和历史课之间,我们需要多么小心翼翼地调整转换啊!相比较而言,我更喜欢历史,威廉一世于1492年征服英国,而哥伦布则是在1100或1066年或者其他什么年代发现美洲大陆,历史课教授全然不计较这些细枝末叶的。历史课轻松愉快,化学课则不然。

第6节课铃声响了——我又要去实验室研究一下酸、盐和碱。盐酸把我做化学实验的围裙烧了一个大洞。从理论上讲,我可以用强氨把洞中和,对吗?

下星期考试,我可不在乎!

永远是您的茱蒂

2月4日

亲爱的长腿叔叔:

阵阵3月的春风吹拂,而天空满是沉甸甸的乌云移动着。松树上的小鸟正呀呀地叫个不停!似乎在召唤着我。我真想合上书本,起身到山顶去同云朵追逐。

上个星期六,同学们玩追逐游戏,在湿漉漉的野外草地上跑了5英里。由3个女孩装作狐狸,带上一筐五彩纸屑,27名猎人则在半个小时后出发。我扮作猎人。路程一半,就有8名猎人掉队了,只剩下我们19个人穷追不舍。我们沿着纸屑翻山越岭,进入沼泽地后只得轻轻地从一块高地跳到另一块高地,半数以上的人都踩入水中。我们常常失去了她们的踪迹,在沼泽地里浪费了25分钟。又顺着丛林翻越过一座山丘,到达一个仓库的门口。仓库的门上了锁,窗户又高又校她们真赖皮,不是吗?

我们并没有爬进窗户里,而是绕到仓库的后边,找到了一些纸屑,爬过一个低矮的小棚子,又越过一道篱笆。狐狸们以为能在这里难倒我们,但是没有得逞。再穿过两英里绵延的草地,纸屑越来越少,跟踪越来越困难。原定两堆纸屑的距离不得超过6英尺。可我没有见过6英尺会有那么长。最后,我们足足跋涉了两个小时,终于在水晶泉的厨房里找到了狐狸们(水晶泉是个农场,姑娘们常滑着双连雪橇或坐着运草马车到那里去吃晚餐,那里有鸡和华夫饼干)。我们发现那3只狐狸正在那里安静地喝牛奶,吃蜂蜜和饼干,她们还以为我们卡在仓库窗户里追不到她们呢!

双方都认为自己胜利了。我认为是我们获胜,您说呢?她们还没有回到校园就被我们抓获了。我们19个人一坐下来,就像蝗虫一样吵着要吃蜂蜜。蜂蜜不够了,水晶泉太太(这是我们对她的爱称,她本姓约翰逊)拿出一罐草莓酱和一罐糖浆(上星期刚做的),还有3个黑面包。

6点钟我们才回到学校。晚饭已开过了半小时,我们没有换衣服就直奔餐厅,丝毫没有因为吃过点心就没有胃口。晚上做礼拜时都请假了,理由很充分,我们的靴子沾满了泥巴。

我没跟您提过考试的事。每科都轻而易举地通过了——我现在知道诀窍了,再也不会不及格了。尽管如此,我也不可能成为优等生,就因为我大一时那可恶的拉丁文和几何学。不过我不在乎。当您心情好时,不会有什么事不顺心的(这是从书上抄来的,我正在读英国文学)。

说到古典文学,您曾读过《哈姆雷特》吗?如果不曾,现在开始吧!它绝对是一部旷世巨作。我很早就听人说起过莎士比亚,却不知他的文笔如此之美妙,我还以为他徒有虚名呢!

很久以前,我刚开始识字就自己玩一种游戏,每晚入睡前我都把自己想像成手头上正在阅读的那本书中的一个人物,一个最重要的人物!

目前我是奥菲莉亚——而且是这样聪明的奥菲莉亚!我要让哈姆雷特随时都很开心,并且指引他,当他感冒时我要他戴上围巾,我会将他的哀伤都赶跑,国王跟皇后会死于一场海难,连葬礼都不用,我跟哈姆雷特统治着丹麦王国,毫无阻碍。我们会把国家治理得井井有条。他管理政府,我主持慈善事业。我会成立一些第一流的孤儿院。如果您或其他理事想参观的话,我会很乐意当个导游。我想您会发现很多有用的启迪。

我向您致意,先生。

您最充满敬意的

奥菲莉亚

丹麦皇后

3月5日