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15篇文章貫通大學英語四級(CET4)詞匯第2篇

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One Chance

  The tiny antique silver pin lay in my hand. I stared hard at the solemn face looking back at me from the oval frame. I was looking for some resemblance between my ancestor and myself. Her brow was broad and strong, the eyes kind and forgiving. She wore a stiff black bonnet(無邊小圓軟帽), a high white collar and a coarsely woven shawl(披肩) around her shoulders. In examining her face more closely, maybe I could identify some similarity around the eyes and the nose. An inner strength shone from the eyes of this diminutive lady who had helped lead her family from Ireland to the New World.

  The times, in Ireland during the 1770’s, were difficult for everyone. John and Lily Love and all the tenants(租地者,佃戶) of the Barren’s Court Estate were suffering after terrible floods destroyed their crops. The landlord was generous in allowing the land rent to fall into arrears(拖欠,還款), due to the difficult times. However, as weather conditions continued to worsen, the little family became pessimistic and felt desperate about the direction of their lives. Nearly every family at this time had at least one member of their family who had left for the New World. The ugly face of famine was lurking(潛藏,潛伏) everywhere. It was not possible with one acre of arable(可耕作的) land to make a living.

  Late one night, after the children were in bed, John and Lily discussed the possibility of making a reservation aboard a sailing ship bound for America. John had noticed a poster in the town square, that posted by a ship’s owner trying to recruit people for his ship. John knew that conditions aboard ship would not be ideal for Lily, her new infant son and the two elder boys; however, she acknowledged that settling in America would be the only way for the family to gain some independence and to earn a living. More importantly, it was rumored that land was free in the new country. Lily gave her consent to leave.

  In port, the sailing ship, Hannah, under the command of Captain Mitchell lay at anchor. The adventure of crossing the Atlantic Ocean bound for Philadelphia would take two to three months. Passengers were assured there would be the best provisions and plenty of barrels of fresh water. Storms could be fierce and living conditions below deck would be primitive. John joined the long queue and eventually after a lengthy wait, reached the revenue table. He affixed(簽署名字) his signature to the contract promising to pay five pounds per person for berths(臥鋪) aboard ship. The clerk returned the receipt to John indicating that the sum of money had been paid.

  Once under sail the three hundred passengers found themselves crowded into miserable conditions. The smell of so many people crowded together was offensive. The breadth of the vessel was narrow and the headroom(凈空,頭上空間) below deck minimal.

   As the tiny craft sailed out of Lough Foyle, and entered the Atlantic Ocean, it started to roll ominously(不吉利的) and those aboard wondered if they would survive the long voyage ahead or be swallowed up by the enormous waves. Seasickness(暈船) was everywhere and people had no appetite. The food, instead of being of high quality as promised, was too often rotten and the water was brackish(有咸味的).

  Eventually, the winds lessened and the Captain was able to set his sights towards America and become ably steering the ship on an even course(航線). Eight weeks later, plus on day, the Hannah made landfall(著陸) and the Love family disembarked(離船上岸) in America and became American newest immigrants. Gazing at the mainland after so many days of sailing was indeed a glorious sight. The difficult days aboard ship seemed worthwhile. Porters hurried along the docks pushing baggage. Little girls with ribbons in their hair scanned the ship’s decks hoping to get a first glimpse of their father arriving. It seemed to Lily that it took forever to register and to pass through immigration.

  John said that he would go ahead to scout out some land in the far west of the state. He would push on to the frontier with a bunch of other Irish chaps. Lily and the children could follow more slowly, harnessing the horse and cart to convey their scanty(貧乏的,少的) possessions. The stuff in the cart would include a kettle, dishes, blankets, a chair, a bucket and an axe.

  There was a perception by the government at this time that the feisty(易怒的,好斗的) Irish would resist any hostile natives refusing to retreat and thus maintaining the western boundary. The Irish, too, were pleased to settle as far away from the government as possible. Instead of purchasing land, they would “squat(占據)” on the property erecting only a temporary, humble shelter to stave off(遮擋) the weather. Once their families arrived, they would inspire the men to build proper cabins. Neither fancy nor elegant, these log structures would be their first real homes. Property boundaries at this time were not marked out with iron rods or stakes in a standard fashion, but rather designated(標明,標出) by natural objects such as rocks, trees and creeks. Confusion and disputes must often have followed later, when these survey points disappeared.

  After exploring the area around Shirley’s burg, John and his sons rode over Sandy Ridge to survey the property below Black Log Mountain. It was here in a long narrow valley they decided to settle. The valley became known then, and is still called Love’s valley today.

  At the time, drums were used to forewarn(預先警告) that the natives were going to capture the forts(城堡), which guarded the western frontier. Daily life in this new land, for the early settlers, was harsh and difficult. First they needed to tame the land, chopping down trees, in order to be able to plant crops. At times they needed to defend their land and be wary(機警的) of attacks from wild animals, such as wolves and bears. Mosquito bites caused severe reactions of swelling and itchiness(癢癢). Once the work was done, neighbors would gather for an occasional social function. The children would play for hours chasing butterflies and looking for birds’ nests. The boys would catch frogs and then tease(戲弄) the girls with them. There would be a delicious picnic lunch spread on the grass. John asked Lily to bring some freshly squeezed lemon juice for the picnic. He found the sour taste of lemonade(檸檬汽水) was refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Some of the men would have a drink of homemade(自制的) in the moonshine before striking up a tune on the fiddle(小提琴). Square dancing was popular among the young people and the young lads would leap up to dance with the eligible(中意的,合格的) young ladies. Rivals for a young lady’s hand in marriage would tend to compete to walk her home at the end of an evening. The romantic times were few and contrasted sharply with the stern reality of everyday life.

   Neighbors were also few and Lily found she was very lonely. She looked forward to the occasional visits of the minister, Robert Ayers, who was a Methodist circuit rider. Meetings would be held in fields or small barns, three to four times a year. At other times neighbor women from over the mountain would meet to make quilts(被子), blankets and cushions and to gossip(聊天) about their respective lives. They would share their secret fears regarding their new lives, their hopes for their children’s future and enjoy each other’s companionship(友誼,伴侶關系).

  Twenty years slipped by and John Love died at the early age of 47. Several years later, son James and his family, as well as widow Lily, his Mother, made the decision to leave Pennsylvania and settle in Canada. They made the arduous(困難的,艱巨的) trek(旅行) over Indian trails, crossing the Niagara River to settle in what we now call Ontario.

  I am a Canadian. Having traced my roots and followed in the footsteps of these early settlers, I feel a sense of gratitude to my ancestors who faced extreme difficulties and severe hardship to settle in a new land. Liberty, then and in today’s world, is a priceless inheritance(遺產).

  Once more, I glanced at the silver pin before returning it to the velvet(絲絨的) box. Once again, I questioned, “What did I inherit from my Love ancestors?” I realize the answer has been revealed while writing this story. I have determination, strength, loyalty and a love of adventure. This is my inheritance.

一次機會

  那枚小小的舊銀別針就放在我的手上。我緊盯著那張從橢圓形鏡框里反過來看著我的嚴肅面孔。我在尋找我的祖先和我自己之間的某些相似之處。她的眉毛寬大濃密,眼睛里溫和慈祥。她戴著一頂繃緊的黑色軟帽,高白領,肩上披著一條做工粗糙的披肩。再近點觀察她的臉孔,或許我能在眼睛和鼻子周圍辨認出一些相似的地方。從這位身材矮小的女士的眼里,透射出一種內在的力量,她曾幫助和帶領她的家庭,從愛爾蘭來到了新世界。

  那時候,在18世紀70年代的愛爾蘭,人人處境艱難。一場特大洪水毀掉了他們的莊稼之后,約翰和莉莉·洛夫一家像其他所有的巴倫斯宮廷莊園的佃戶一樣痛苦不堪。莊園主還算慷慨,鑒于這個艱難時期,允許佃戶們拖欠租金。然而,天氣狀況持續惡化,這個小家庭變得悲觀起來,對他們的生活前途感到絕望。那個時候,幾乎每個家庭至少有一名家庭成員出走前往新世界。飽受饑荒之苦的憔悴面容到處都是,要靠一英畝耕地生活是不可能的。

  一天夜里,孩子們入睡以后,約翰和莉莉討論起預定船只前往美國的可能性。就在當天,約翰在市鎮廣場上看到一張海報,是船主張貼出來招攬乘客的。約翰知道船上的條件對莉莉不大合適,她有一個剛出生的嬰兒和兩個大點的男孩。但是,她認為在美國定居將是這個家庭取得獨立和謀生的唯一出路。更重要的是,據說在那個新國家土地是免費的。莉莉也贊成出去。

  在港口,那艘帆船“漢納”號,在米切爾船長的指揮下,正拋錨停泊?缭酱笪餮笄巴M城的冒險要花兩到三個月。乘客們被許諾有最好的食品供應和充足的淡水。暴風雨可能很猛烈,甲板下面的生活條件將是很單調的。約翰加入到了那長長的隊列里,等了很久以后,終于來到付款臺前。他在合同上簽了字,按要求為乘坐那艘船的每個人付5英鎊。辦事員為約翰開了收據,表示錢已付清。

  可是一上船,三百名乘客發現船上非常擁擠,條件很惡劣。這么多人擠在一起,氣味簡直讓人受不了。船艙狹窄又很低矮。

  小船駛離洛夫福伊進入大西洋的時候,就開始不祥地搖晃起來,船上的人擔心他們是否能夠安全完成航程還是會被巨浪吞噬。到處都是暈船的,人們沒有食欲;锸硾]有承諾的那么好,還常常是腐爛的,水也有咸味。

  終于風浪減弱了,船長能夠看準美國的方向,成功地駕船工行駛在平靜的航線上。八個星期零一天之后, “漢納”號靠岸,洛夫一家在美國登陸,成為美國最早的移民。經過這么多天的航行,凝視著這片大地,的確令人心曠神怡?磥碓诖线^的那些艱苦的日子還是值得的。碼頭上的搬運工在忙著搬運行李。頭發上帶著絲帶的小姑娘們環視著甲板,希望第一眼看到他們到來的父親。對于莉莉來說,登記和辦理移民手續好像沒完沒了。

  約翰說他要先出發,在這個州遙遠的西部找一些土地。他和一幫愛爾蘭小伙子一起趕往邊疆。莉莉和孩子們可以在后面慢慢地跟,坐馬車把他們僅有的一點家產運來。車上的那些東西包括一個壺、一個盤子、毯子、一把椅子、一個提桶和一把斧頭。

  那時候,政府認為,好斗的愛爾蘭人會抵抗那些有敵意的當地人,拒絕妥協讓步,以保住西部邊疆。而愛爾蘭人也樂得盡量遠離政府定居。不需要購買,他們只要支起一個能遮蔽風雨的臨時簡陋住所,就算占用了這片土地。一旦家人到達,他們會鼓勵男人們建造合適的房屋。既不奇特也不優雅,這些原木結構的建筑物將是他們第一個真正的家。那時,地產邊界不是用標準的鐵棍或木樁來做標志,而是用象巖石、樹木和小溪等自然物來界定。后來因為這些測量點消失了,混亂和爭執時常發生。

  在探究了歇里斯伯格周圍的地區之后,約翰和他的兒子們翻過桑迪山脈,在布萊克拉格山下面勘察了土地,他們決定就在這條狹長的山谷里定居下來。因此這個山谷被稱為洛夫山谷,直到今天還這樣叫。

  那時候,當土著人來奪取防護西部邊界的那些城堡時,他們就使用鼓聲作為預先的示警。在這塊新土地上的日常生活對于早期的定居者來說是非常艱辛和困苦的。首先,他們需要開墾土地,砍倒樹木,以便能夠種上莊稼。有時,他們需要保衛他們的土地,提防狼和熊等野獸的攻擊以及蚊子叮咬造成的腫痛和奇癢。干完活后,鄰居們偶爾會聚在一起舉行社交活動。孩子們會玩上好幾個小時,去捕蝴蝶,掏鳥窩,男孩子們會逮青蛙去捉弄女孩們,還有布置在草地上的美味午餐。約翰叫莉莉為野餐帶去一些鮮榨檸檬汁,他發現檸檬的酸味在炎熱的夏天令人清爽,使人振奮。月光下,有的人還會來一杯自家釀的酒,然后便趁興用小提琴拉上一曲。青年人中很流行方塊舞,年輕的小伙子們就會跳出來與中意的姑娘們一起跳舞。晚上,向姑娘們求婚的競爭對手們往往會競相來到她們的家里。浪漫的時候雖然很少,但卻和每天嚴酷的現實生活形成鮮明的對照。

  鄰居也很少,莉莉覺得孤獨。她盼望著衛理公會教派騎馬巡回的羅伯特·埃亞牧師的偶然造訪。一年有三、四次在田地里或小庫房進行集會。另外,有時候,翻山過來的鄰家婦女會聚在一起做被子,織地毯和墊子,聊聊各自生活中的瑣事。他們分擔著對新生活的暗自擔心,對孩子前程的殷切期望,并為相互間的友誼高興不已。

  20年過去了,約翰洛夫在47 歲時就過早地去世了。幾年后,兒子詹姆斯和他的家庭,還有他的母親——寡婦莉莉,決定離開賓夕法尼亞到加拿大定居。他們經過艱難跋涉,沿著印第安人的足跡,渡過尼亞加拉河,在今天我們稱之為安大略的地方定居下來。

  我是加拿大人。追根溯源,沿著這些早期移民的足跡,一種感激之情油然而生。我的祖先們面對艱難困苦,克服重重困難才在這片土地上定居下來。不論那時還是現在,自由都是寶貴的遺產。

  在把那枚銀別針放回絲絨盒之前,我又看了它一眼。我再次問到:“我從洛夫祖先那里繼承了什么呢?”在寫這個故事的時候,我知道我有了答案。我所擁有的決心、力量、忠誠和對冒險的熱愛就是我繼承到的遺產。


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