淑女现形记
Lady Drusilla's Road to Ruin

  • 作   者:

    克里斯汀·美林
    Christine Merrill

  • 译   者:

    刘雨萌,王海云

  • 出版社:

    禾林图书股份公司

  • 版   本:

    双语

  • 支   持:

  • 电子书:

    ¥5.90

  • 8(2人评过)
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  •   读后感(1)

老小姐德鲁茜拉不顾一切出远门要寻回私奔的妹妹。她能否挽救自己与妹妹的名声,还是遇人不淑从此……

德鲁茜拉·鲁德尼小姐是一位老小姐,她生来主要的任务就是守护妹妹,做她的女伴。不幸的是她不安分的妹妹跟一位风流浪子私奔了,德鲁深知她必须不顾一切找回妹妹,阻止她私奔。与此同时,退役的陆军上尉约翰·亨德里克斯却因为一个败露的秘密感到羞耻,辞掉了工作,告别了故人,准备重新开始。

在这种境况下,两人相遇了。一个在疯狂寻人,一个在逃离之旅。阴差阳错,德鲁雇佣了看似老实的约翰作为帮手。在这段跨越英格兰的大搜捕中,约翰也渐渐发现这位老小姐并非一副陈腐做派,这让他逐渐忘记了自己绅士的身份……

第一章

邮车一路向北行驶,约翰·亨德里克斯掏出小酒壶,喝了一口酒,然后又缩回到角落里。此时还没有别人来侵占他的地盘,他便舒展使劲努力以霸占尽可能多的空间。经历过上周的事之后,他已没有心情跟陌生人挤靠在一起了,而且他的状态也不允许。

亨德里克斯先生,如果对于我的未来您还寄以希望,还有什么话必须要一吐为快,那请您谨记,从我第一眼见到阿德里安·朗格斯莱起,我便心意已决。任谁都改变不了我的想法。

即使过了三天,这些话仍在他耳边嗡嗡作响。每次想起那些话,他内心的难堪之火又会熊熊燃烧。老天啊,那个女人不仅结婚了,地位还比他高。她已明确表示自己对他不感兴趣。要是像过去三年那样,能够默默忍受煎熬,他就可以保住饭碗和自尊。但与之相反,他的迷恋太过张扬,这让她不得不大声实言相告。

他又喝了一大口酒。要是他脸上的红晕在黑暗中也能看到,那最好让大家认为那只是醉酒的缘故,而不是因为单相思生出来的羞愧。

当然,阿德里安一直都知道这件事。要是约翰没干这蠢事,他会一直把约翰当自己人。可一旦事情暴露,约翰别无选择,只能辞掉工作,偷偷离开伦敦。

鉴于对自己的所作所为,约翰对老朋友感觉复杂:嫉妒、同情和愧疚几种感情纠结在一起。不论发生过什么事,他还是喜欢并且尊重阿德里安,也一直非常乐意为他效力。可这事显出来他自己的德行又是怎样呢?这个男人正逐渐丧失仅有的那点视力,正需要妻子的支持和坚贞不渝的爱,而他竟然想夺走这个男人的妻子。

他怎会有如此愚蠢的想法,认为埃米莉会为了他这么一个不被承认的私生子离开盲眼的伯爵。或许他的外貌和气度不逊色于福尔布罗克勋爵,可他既无财又无势。尽管视力比阿德里安好,可也没好到哪儿去。

约翰把酒壶塞进口袋里,取下眼镜用力擦拭。世上不会有女人,愿意为了一个只是视力稍微好点却身无分文的男人而离开自己的丈夫。

透过擦拭干净的镜片,他阴沉地盯着对面的两个人,似乎在故意挑衅,谅他们也不敢议论他之前的酗酒行为。买票时,他就隐约觉着去苏格兰的旅途会像荒野探险一般。那个地方寂寥幽静,能让人放松神经,心灵得以抚慰。可是他忽略了一个事实,来到这个避世者的乐土,就像被塞进一个小小的围城,到处都是他所鄙夷的那种人。他们已经在车里颠簸好几个小时了,就像在空瓶里转的三颗豆子一样叽里咕噜地响个不停。他觉得每一次颠簸都在折磨着自己的骨头和牙齿,还有疼痛的大脑。呼呼作响的狂风让车厢摇晃得更加剧烈,雨水使劲拍打着车厢,拼命想钻进约翰右侧密封不严的窗户。他刚要靠在窗帘上休息一下,外套的袖子就被打湿了。

他想起遗忘在口袋里的邮车时刻表。表上说要三十多个小时才能到爱丁堡,可路面积水、暮色渐浓,他推测这回要比平时花上更长时间。他对此毫不在意。现在他自己说了算,不用服从任何安排。

他希望借此想法来自我安慰。感谢老天,他的酒还没完全醒。一旦身体里最后一股酒劲也离他而去,取而代之的将是惊慌失措——他亲手毁掉了自己过去的生活!

喝得烂醉绝不是开始新生活的方式。在他来到双颈天鹅酒吧打算买张车票离开伦敦的时候,他已经数杯杜松子酒下肚,无法做出那样的判断。现在他不得不承担一切后果。

“天气真糟糕!”他对面的那个男人似乎自以为拿这些显而易见的事情作开场白很聪明。

约翰没理他。就因为对自己的雇主说了太多不该说的话,他现在才不得不离开伦敦。但那并不意味着,他愿意向陌生人敞开心扉。

和他们同车的女人似乎兴致也不高。听了那个男人的话,她动了一下裙子,发出沙沙的响声,随后便握紧一直在看的经书,拿到离脸更近的地方,以便借着角落忽明忽暗的台灯光线继续阅读。

那个男人开始注意她:“小姐,一个人旅行吗?”约翰发现她一点儿都没有躲闪的意思。

她抬头盯着身边的男人,盯了很久,眼神冰冷,这种眼神表明她不会搭理任何没正式介绍自己就冒昧打扰她的人。接着她又继续看她的书。

可这个向她搭讪的人毫不气馁。“因为我很乐意陪你到目的地!”尽管车内空间宽敞,可他偏要挨着她坐。每当车子突然转向,车上的人摇来晃去的时候,他就借机挤向她。现在,他更是频送秋波。

约翰曾一时担心这个姑娘会天真到当场接受那个男人的示好。可不久他就毫不在意了,因为这完全与他无关。

她把裙子紧紧地拉到腿边,又发出一阵沙沙声,好像她想让自己尽量缩起来,避免和那个陌生人接触。但那几乎不可能,因为她比一般女子身材高大。她似乎还没意识到用裙子紧紧裹着大腿,使她身体的曲线更加凸显,让不断勾引她的男人更加兴致勃勃。

约翰注意到这一点。她的双腿修长,和身材恰成比例。他还瞥到裙下纤细的脚踝,要是她的双腿也能与之匹配,就非常完美了。让人遗憾的是这个女孩一脸凝重。要是她能笑笑,肯定无比美丽。

尽管她的表情显示她要参加一场葬礼,可从她的衣着却看不出来。明亮的衣色衬托着她白皙的肌肤,深蓝色的外衣使她棕色的眼睛显得更加深邃。布料虽昂贵,剪裁却十分保守,好像时尚有碍举止行动,辱没斯文,她便将其摒弃了。那头乌黑的长发一丝不苟地藏在阔边女帽里,丝毫没有碰到脸颊。

要是约翰没猜错,她一定是个“老姑娘”。很明显,这姑娘虽富有,却前景惨淡。这是少见的组合,因为有钱往往意味着前途光明。在公共场合阅读经书暗示她遵守礼节,因而更让人敬而远之,但她要是能屈尊开口说话该多好。

就那么一瞬间,她深色的眼睛与他四目相对。在昏暗的灯光下,她的明眸仿佛在闪烁,眼神锐利深邃,就像是鹰的眼睛。

帮帮我!

Chapter One

John Hendricks took a sip from his flask and leaned back into his corner of the northbound mail coach, stretching his legs in an effort to take up as much space as he could before another passenger encroached on his person. After the week he'd had, he was in no mood or condition to be packed cheek to jowl with strangers.

Mr Hendricks, if there is something else you have to say on your hopes for my future, know that I decided on the matter from the first moment I laid eyes on Adrian Longesley. Nothing said by another is likely to change me on the subject.

The words were still ringing in his ears, three days later. And with each repetition of them the heat of his embarrassment flared anew. The woman was married, for God's sake, and above his station. She'd made her uninterest in him plain enough. If he'd suffered in silence, as he had for three years, he could have kept his job and his pride. Instead, he'd been so obvious in his infatuation that he'd forced her to speak the truth aloud.

He took another swig from the flask. If the blush on his cheeks was visible in the darkness, better to let the others think it was from drunkenness and not the shame of unrequited love.

Adrian had known all along, of course. And would have allowed him to continue as a part of the household, if he'd not made such an ass of himself. But once it was out in the open, there was nothing to do but give up his position and slink away from London.

John's feelings for his old friend rose in a tangle of jealousy, pity and embarrassment at his own behaviour. Despite all that had happened, he liked and respected Adrian, and had enjoyed working for him. But what did it say of his own character that he'd even consider stealing the wife of a man who would need her support and unwavering love as the last of his vision faded?

And how foolish did it make him to think that Emily would leave a blind earl for an unacknowledged natural son? He might have been an equal to Lord Folbroke in looks and temperament, but he had no rank, no fortune. And though his sight was better than Adrian's, he could hardly call it perfect.

John slipped the flask into his pocket and removed his spectacles to give them a vigorous wipe. There was not a woman alive who would leave her husband for a man whose only asset was marginally better vision.

He stared sullenly through the cleared lenses at the two people on the seat opposite as though daring them to comment about his earlier drinking. When he had bought the ticket, he'd had some hazy idea that travelling to Scotland would be like venturing into the wilderness. It would be a place to heal the soul and the nerves in quiet and solitude. He had not allowed for the fact that, to arrive at this hermit's paradise, he would be crammed into a small enclosure with the very humanity he despised. They had been rattling about the interior of the conveyance like three beans in a bottle for hours already. He felt the impact of each bump and rut in his bones, his teeth and his aching brain. The swaying of the coach was made even worse by the gusting winds and the rain that hammered the sides and tried to creep in at the poorly sealed window on his right, wetting the sleeve of his coat when he tried to relax against the curtain.

He thought of the coaching schedule, forgotten in his pocket. It was over thirty hours to Edinburgh and he suspected that, with the wet roads and the gathering darkness, it would take even longer than normal. Not that it mattered to him. He was his own man now, with no schedule to keep.

He wished that the thought cheered him. Thank God that he was still half-drunk. When the last effects of the alcohol had gone from his system, they would be replaced by the panic of a man who had destroyed his old life.

Hung over was no way to start a new one. But when he'd gone to the Swan with Two Necks, trying to buy a ticket out of London, he had been several gins past the point of making that decision and would now have to live with the consequences.

'Beastly weather we are having.' The man across from him seemed to think that stating the obvious was a witty opening gambit.

John ignored him. He'd been forced to leave London because he had said far too much to his employer. That did not mean he wished to blurt every thought to strangers.

The woman that shared the coach with them seemed to have similar sentiments. At the sound of the man's voice, her skirts rustled and she clutched the book of sermons she had been reading, bringing it closer to her face to catch the flickering light of the reading lamp in her corner.

John saw her give the slightest flinch as the other man turned his attention to her. 'Travelling alone, miss?'

She looked up long enough to give the man next to her the frosty glare of someone who did not answer to those to whom she had not been properly introduced. Then she returned to her book.

But the man who addressed her was undeterred. 'Because I would be happy to escort you to your destination.' Although there was plenty of room in the body of the coach, he'd made a point of choosing the seat next to the young lady and tended to use each swerve and jostle as an excuse to crowd her. Now, he was definitely leering.

John had a moment's concern that she might be na?ve enough to accept the man's offer out of hand. Then he dismissed it as none of his business.

Her skirts gave another rustle as she drew them tightly to her legs, as though trying to shrink herself enough to minimise contact with the stranger. But that would be near to impossible, for she was of an uncommon height. She did not seem to realise that the movement of the cloth over her legs outlined areas of her body that the man accosting her found most interesting.

As did John, come to that. They were long legs, to match the length of her body. If they matched the small amount of ankle he glimpsed beneath her skirts, they were well shaped. A pity the girl was so Friday-faced. If she'd smiled, she might have been quite pretty.

Though her expression hinted that she was travelling to a funeral, her clothing did not. Bright colours suited her fair skin and the deep blue of her gown made her brown eyes seem even darker. The fabric was expensive, but the cut was conservative, as though she renounced fashion when it impinged on movement or modesty. Her long, black hair was dressed severely away from her face and hidden under a poke bonnet.

If John had to guess, he'd have said spinster. Clearly, this was a girl with money, but no prospects. It was a very unusual combination, for the former often created the latter. But reading sermons in public hinted at a moral propriety that would make her unpleasant company, should she deign to open her mouth.

Her dark eyes caught his, just for a moment. In the dim light they seemed to glitter sharp and dark, like the eyes of a hawk.

Do something.

  • 第一章

  • 第二章

  • 第三章

  • 第四章

  • 第五章

  • 第六章

  • 第七章

  • 第八章

  • 第九章

  • 第十章

  • 第十一章

  • 第十二章

  • 第十三章

  • 第十四章

  • 第十五章

  • 第十六章

  • 第十七章

  • 第十八章

  • 第十九章

  • 第二十章

  • 第二十一章

  • 第二十二章

  • 第二十三章

  • Chapter One

  • Chapter Two

  • Chapter Three

  • Chapter Four

  • Chapter Five

  • Chapter Six

  • Chapter Seven

  • Chapter Eight

  • Chapter Nine

  • Chapter Ten

  • Chapter Eleven

  • Chapter Twelve

  • Chapter Thirteen

  • Chapter Fourteen

  • Chapter Fifteen

  • Chapter Sixteen

  • Chapter Seventeen

  • Chapter Eighteen

  • Chapter Nineteen

  • Chapter Twenty

  • Chapter Twenty-One

  • Chapter Twenty-Two

  • Chapter Twenty-Three

  • 浅谈“淑女”二字

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