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15篇文章贯通大学英语四级(CET4)词汇第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(无边小圆软帽), 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,佃户) 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,还款), 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(潜藏,潜伏) 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(签署名字) his signature to the contract promising to pay five pounds per person for berths(卧铺) 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(净空,头上空间) 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(晕船) 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(航线). Eight weeks later, plus on day, the Hannah made landfall(着陆) and the Love family disembarked(离船上岸) 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(贫乏的,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(占据)” on the property erecting only a temporary, humble shelter to stave off(遮挡) 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(标明,标出) 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(预先警告) 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(机警的) of attacks from wild animals, such as wolves and bears. Mosquito bites caused severe reactions of swelling and itchiness(痒痒). 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(戏弄) 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(柠檬汽水) 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(友谊,伴侣关系).

  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(困难的,艰巨的) 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(遗产).

  Once more, I glanced at the silver pin before returning it to the velvet(丝绒的) 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.

一次机会

  那枚小小的旧银别针就放在我的手上。我紧盯着那张从椭圆形镜框里反过来看着我的严肃面孔。我在寻找我的祖先和我自己之间的某些相似之处。她的眉毛宽大浓密,眼睛里温和慈祥。她戴着一顶绷紧的黑色软帽,高白领,肩上披着一条做工粗糙的披肩。再近点观察她的脸孔,或许我能在眼睛和鼻子周围辨认出一些相似的地方。从这位身材矮小的女士的眼里,透射出一种内在的力量,她曾帮助和带领她的家庭,从爱尔兰来到了新世界。

  那时候,在18世纪70年代的爱尔兰,人人处境艰难。一场特大洪水毁掉了他们的庄稼之后,约翰和莉莉·洛夫一家像其他所有的巴伦斯宫廷庄园的佃户一样痛苦不堪。庄园主还算慷慨,鉴于这个艰难时期,允许佃户们拖欠租金。然而,天气状况持续恶化,这个小家庭变得悲观起来,对他们的生活前途感到绝望。那个时候,几乎每个家庭至少有一名家庭成员出走前往新世界。饱受饥荒之苦的憔悴面容到处都是,要靠一英亩耕地生活是不可能的。

  一天夜里,孩子们入睡以后,约翰和莉莉讨论起预定船只前往美国的可能性。就在当天,约翰在市镇广场上看到一张海报,是船主张贴出来招揽乘客的。约翰知道船上的条件对莉莉不大合适,她有一个刚出生的婴儿和两个大点的男孩。但是,她认为在美国定居将是这个家庭取得独立和谋生的唯一出路。更重要的是,据说在那个新国家土地是免费的。莉莉也赞成出去。

  在港口,那艘帆船“汉纳”号,在米切尔船长的指挥下,正抛锚停泊。跨越大西洋前往费城的冒险要花两到三个月。乘客们被许诺有最好的食品供应和充足的淡水。暴风雨可能很猛烈,甲板下面的生活条件将是很单调的。约翰加入到了那长长的队列里,等了很久以后,终于来到付款台前。他在合同上签了字,按要求为乘坐那艘船的每个人付5英镑。办事员为约翰开了收据,表示钱已付清。

  可是一上船,三百名乘客发现船上非常拥挤,条件很恶劣。这么多人挤在一起,气味简直让人受不了。船舱狭窄又很低矮。

  小船驶离洛夫福伊进入大西洋的时候,就开始不祥地摇晃起来,船上的人担心他们是否能够安全完成航程还是会被巨浪吞噬。到处都是晕船的,人们没有食欲。伙食没有承诺的那么好,还常常是腐烂的,水也有咸味。

  终于风浪减弱了,船长能够看准美国的方向,成功地驾船工行驶在平静的航线上。八个星期零一天之后, “汉纳”号靠岸,洛夫一家在美国登陆,成为美国最早的移民。经过这么多天的航行,凝视着这片大地,的确令人心旷神怡。看来在船上过的那些艰苦的日子还是值得的。码头上的搬运工在忙着搬运行李。头发上带着丝带的小姑娘们环视着甲板,希望第一眼看到他们到来的父亲。对于莉莉来说,登记和办理移民手续好像没完没了。

  约翰说他要先出发,在这个州遥远的西部找一些土地。他和一帮爱尔兰小伙子一起赶往边疆。莉莉和孩子们可以在后面慢慢地跟,坐马车把他们仅有的一点家产运来。车上的那些东西包括一个壶、一个盘子、毯子、一把椅子、一个提桶和一把斧头。

  那时候,政府认为,好斗的爱尔兰人会抵抗那些有敌意的当地人,拒绝妥协让步,以保住西部边疆。而爱尔兰人也乐得尽量远离政府定居。不需要购买,他们只要支起一个能遮蔽风雨的临时简陋住所,就算占用了这片土地。一旦家人到达,他们会鼓励男人们建造合适的房屋。既不奇特也不优雅,这些原木结构的建筑物将是他们第一个真正的家。那时,地产边界不是用标准的铁棍或木桩来做标志,而是用象岩石、树木和小溪等自然物来界定。后来因为这些测量点消失了,混乱和争执时常发生。

  在探究了歇里斯伯格周围的地区之后,约翰和他的儿子们翻过桑迪山脉,在布莱克拉格山下面勘察了土地,他们决定就在这条狭长的山谷里定居下来。因此这个山谷被称为洛夫山谷,直到今天还这样叫。

  那时候,当土著人来夺取防护西部边界的那些城堡时,他们就使用鼓声作为预先的示警。在这块新土地上的日常生活对于早期的定居者来说是非常艰辛和困苦的。首先,他们需要开垦土地,砍倒树木,以便能够种上庄稼。有时,他们需要保卫他们的土地,提防狼和熊等野兽的攻击以及蚊子叮咬造成的肿痛和奇痒。干完活后,邻居们偶尔会聚在一起举行社交活动。孩子们会玩上好几个小时,去捕蝴蝶,掏鸟窝,男孩子们会逮青蛙去捉弄女孩们,还有布置在草地上的美味午餐。约翰叫莉莉为野餐带去一些鲜榨柠檬汁,他发现柠檬的酸味在炎热的夏天令人清爽,使人振奋。月光下,有的人还会来一杯自家酿的酒,然后便趁兴用小提琴拉上一曲。青年人中很流行方块舞,年轻的小伙子们就会跳出来与中意的姑娘们一起跳舞。晚上,向姑娘们求婚的竞争对手们往往会竞相来到她们的家里。浪漫的时候虽然很少,但却和每天严酷的现实生活形成鲜明的对照。

  邻居也很少,莉莉觉得孤独。她盼望着卫理公会教派骑马巡回的罗伯特·埃亚牧师的偶然造访。一年有三、四次在田地里或小库房进行集会。另外,有时候,翻山过来的邻家妇女会聚在一起做被子,织地毯和垫子,聊聊各自生活中的琐事。他们分担着对新生活的暗自担心,对孩子前程的殷切期望,并为相互间的友谊高兴不已。

  20年过去了,约翰洛夫在47 岁时就过早地去世了。几年后,儿子詹姆斯和他的家庭,还有他的母亲——寡妇莉莉,决定离开宾夕法尼亚到加拿大定居。他们经过艰难跋涉,沿着印第安人的足迹,渡过尼亚加拉河,在今天我们称之为安大略的地方定居下来。

  我是加拿大人。追根溯源,沿着这些早期移民的足迹,一种感激之情油然而生。我的祖先们面对艰难困苦,克服重重困难才在这片土地上定居下来。不论那时还是现在,自由都是宝贵的遗产。

  在把那枚银别针放回丝绒盒之前,我又看了它一眼。我再次问到:“我从洛夫祖先那里继承了什么呢?”在写这个故事的时候,我知道我有了答案。我所拥有的决心、力量、忠诚和对冒险的热爱就是我继承到的遗产。


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