資料提示：Louisa M. Alcott LOUISA MAY ALCOTT was born in 1832 and died in 1888. She was the daughter of A. Bronson Alcott, the “Sage o...|
Louisa M. Alcott |
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT was born in 1832 and died in 1888. She was the daughter of A. Bronson Alcott, the “Sage of Concord.” Her early surroundings were of a highly intellectual and literary character, and she naturally took to writing while still very young.
In her sketch “Transcendental Oats” she describes in an amusing way the experience of a year at Fruitlands, where an attempt was made to establish an ideal community.
Miss Alcott was obliged to be a wage-earner to help out the family income, and so taught school, served as a governess and at times worked as a seamstress. Wearying of this, she wrote for the papers stories of a sensational nature, which were remunerative financially, but unsatisfactory to her as a literary pursuit, and she abandoned this style of writing.
In a Washington hospital she served as a nurse for a time, but the work was so hard that she failed in health, and when she recovered she had to find new fields of work; then she traveled as attendant to an invalid, and with her visited Europe.
After several attempts at literature, Miss Alcott wrote “Little Women,” which was an immediate success, reaching a sale of 87,000 copies in three years. She wrote from the heart, and wove into the story incidents from the lives of herself and her three sisters at Concord. She afterward wrote “An Old-Fashioned Girl,” “Little Men,” “Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag,” “The Eight Cousins,” and “Rose in Bloom,” besides other stories and sketches.
In their old-fashioned New England home the little women lived with Mrs. March, their brisk and cheery mother, who always had a “can-I-help-you” look about her, and whom her four girls lovingly called “Marmee.”
Pretty Meg, the oldest, was sixteen, and already showed domestic tastes and talents, though she detested the drudgery of household work; and, a little vain of her white hands, longed at heart to be a fine lady. Jo, fifteen, was tall, thin, and coltish, and gloried in an unconcealed scorn of polite conventions. Beth, thirteen, was a loveable little thing, shy, fond of her dolls and devoted to music, which she tried hopefully to produce from the old, jingling tin pan of a piano. Amy, twelve, considered herself the flower of the family. An adorable blonde, she admitted that the trial of her life was her nose. For, when she was a baby Jo had accidentally dropped her into the coal-hod and permanently flattened that feature, and though poor Amy slept with a patent clothespin pinching it, she couldn't attain the Grecian effect she so much desired.
Father March was an army chaplain in the Civil War, and in his absence Jo declared herself to be the man of the family. To add to their slender income, she went every day to read to Aunt March, a peppery old lady; and Meg, too, earned a small salary as daily nursery governess to a neighbor's children.
In the big house next door to the Marches lived a rich old gentleman, Mr. Laurence, and his grandson, a jolly, chummy boy called Laurie.
The night Laurie took the two older girls to the theater, Amy, though not invited, insisted on going too. Jo crossly declared she wouldn't go if Amy did, and, furiously scolding her little sister, she slammed the door and went off, as Amy called out: “You'll be sorry for this, Jo March! See if you ain't!” The child made good her threat by burning up the manuscript of a precious book which Jo had written and on which she had spent three years of hard work. There was a terrible fracas, and, though at her mother's bidding Amy made contrite apology, Jo refused to be pacified. It was only when poor little Amy was nearly drowned by falling through the ice that consicence-stricken Jo forgave her sister and learned a much-needed lesson of self-control.
Meg, too, learned a salutary lesson when she went to visit some fashionable friends and had her first taste of “Vanity Fair.” Her sisters gladly lent her all their best things. Yet she soon saw that her wardrobe was sadly inadequate to the environment in which she found herself. Whereupon the rich friends lent her some of their own finery; and, after laughingly applying paint and powder, they laced her into a sky-blue silk dress, so low that modest Meg blushed at herself in the mirror, and Laurie, who was at the party, openly expressed his surprised disapproval. Chagrin and remorse followed, and it was not until after full confession to Marmee that Meg realized the trumpery value of fashionable rivalry and the real worth of simplicity and contentment.
Now John Brooke, the tutor of Laurie, was a secret admirer of pretty Meg. Discovering this, the mischievous boy wrote Meg a passionate love-letter, purporting to be from Brooke. This prank caused a terrible upset in both houses, but later on Brooke put the momentous question, and Meg meekly whispered, “Yes, John,” and hid her face on his waistcoat. Jo, blundering in, was transfixed with astonishment and dismay, and exclaimed, “Oh, do somebody come quick! John Brooke is acting dreadfully, and Meg likes it!”
At Christmas, Father March came home from the war. Later came the first ;break in their restored home circle. The Dovecote was the name of the little brown house that John Brooke had prepared for his bride. The wedding, beneath the June roses, was a simple, homey one, and the bridal journey was only the walk from the March home to the dear little new house. “I'm too happy to care what any one says --- I'm going to have my wedding just as I want it!” Meg had declared; and so, leaning on her husband's arm, her hands full of flowers, she went away, saying: “Thank you all for my happy wedding-day. Good-by, good-by!”
Jo developed into a writer of sensational stories. This, however, was because she found a profitable market for such work and she wanted the money for herself and the other. For little Beth was ailing, and a summer stay at the seashore might, they all hoped, bring back the roses to her cheeks. But it didn't, and after a time the dark days came when gentle Beth, like a tired but trustful child, clung to the hands that had led her all through life, as her father and mother guided her tenderly through the Valley of the Shadow and gave her up to God.
Then came a day when Laurie was invited to the Dovecote to see Meg's new baby. Jo appeared, a proud aunt, bearing a bundle on a pillow. “Shut your eyes and hold out your arms,” she ordered, and Laurie, obeying, opened his eyes again, to see --- two babies! “Twins, by Jupiter!” he cried; “take 'em, quick, somebody! I'm going to laugh, and I shall drop 'em!”
Laurie had loved Jo for years, but Jo, though truly sorry, couldn't respond. As she said, “It's impossible for people to make themselves love other people if they don't!” And so, after a time, Laurie decided that Amy was the only woman in the world who could fill Jo's place and make him happy. And the two were very happy together, Amy taking great pride in her handsome husband. “Don't laugh,” she said to him, “but your nose is such a comfort to me!” and she caressed the well-cut feature with artistic satisfaction.
Jo found her fate in an elderly professor, wise and kind, but too poor to think of marriage. For a year the pair worked and waited and hoped and loved, and then Aunt March died and left Jo her fine old country place. Here Jo and her professor set up their home, and established a boy's school which became a great success. Jo lived a very happy life, and, as the years went on, two little lads of her own came to increase her happiness. Amy, too, had a dear child named Beth, but she was a frail little creature and the dread of losing her was the shadow over Amy's sunshine.
But the little women and all their dear ones formed a happy, united family, of whom Jo truly wrote:
Lives whose brave music long shall ring
小 婦 人
有一天晚上，勞里帶著兩個大姑娘去看戲，雖然沒有請艾米，她卻堅持要去。喬發脾氣說如果艾米去那她就不去了，并且把她的小妹妹大罵了一頓，然后把門砰地一聲關上走了。艾米朝外喊道：“你會后悔的，喬•馬奇! 瞧你會不會后悔!” 這孩子把威脅付諸行動，她把喬所寫的一本珍貴的書的手稿全部燒掉了，這本書足足花了喬三年艱苦勞動才寫下的。接著是一場大吵大鬧，盡管在母親的嚴命下，艾米作了懺悔性的道歉，喬卻不肯罷休。只是一直等到有一天，可憐的小艾米掉進冰窟窿幾乎淹死，喬才良心發現原諒了她的妹妹，并且由此得到了一個非常需要的自我克制的教訓。
接著有一天，勞里被邀請到鴿棚來看看梅格的新生嬰兒。喬出現了，一個自豪的姨媽，抱著躺在枕頭上的一個包包。“閉上眼睛把胳臂伸出來”，她命令道，勞里遵命照辦，再睜開眼睛時，他看見了——兩個嬰兒! “天哪，雙胞胎!” 他喊了起來；“快，誰來抱一抱他們! 我要大笑了，我會把他們摔壞的!”