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锘挎澀宸炴礂娴翠腑蹇冨ぇ鍏?
by the name of the Scholar bewitched. Bertha herself grew uneasy. She became jealous and peevish, and at length she began to question me. We had no children; we were all in all to each other; and though, as she grew older, her vivacious spirit became a little allied to ill-temper, and her beauty sadly diminished, I cherished her in my heart as the mistress 鏉窞绾﹀彛spa I had idolized, the wife I had sought and won with such perfect love.

At last our situation became intolerable: Bertha was fifty鈥擨 twenty years of age. I had, in very shame, in some measure adopted the habits of a more advanced age; I no longer mingled in the dance among the young and gay, but my heart bounded along with them while I restrained my feet; and a sorry figure I cut among the Nestors of our village. But before the time I mention, things were altered鈥攚e were universally shunned; we were鈥攁t least, I was鈥攔eported to have kept up an iniquitous acquaintance with some of my former master鈥檚 supposed friends. Poor Bertha was pitied, but deserted. I was regarded with horror and detestation.

What was to be done? we sat by our winter fire鈥攑overty had made itself felt, for none would buy the produce of my farm; and often I had 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇涓婇棬 been forced to journey twenty miles, to some place where I was not known, to dispose of our property. It is true, we had saved something for an evil day鈥攖hat day was come.

We sat by our lone fireside鈥攖he old-hearted youth and his antiquated wife. Again Bertha insisted on knowing the truth; she recapitulated all she had ever heard said about me, and added her own observations. She conjured me to cast off the spell; she described how much more comely grey hairs were than my chestnut locks; she descanted on the reverence and respect due to age鈥攈ow 鏉窞鎸夋懇搴楀湪鍝噷 preferable to the slight regard paid to mere children: could I imagine that the despicable gifts of youth and good looks outweighed disgrace, hatred, and scorn? Nay, in the end I should be burnt as a dealer in the black art, while she, to whom I had not deigned to communicate any portion of 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇璁哄潧 my good fortune, might be stoned as my accomplice. At length she insinuated that I must share my secret with her, and bestow on her like benefits to those I myself enjoyed, or she would denounce me鈥攁nd then she burst into tears.

Thus beset, methought it was the best way to tell the truth. I revealed it as tenderly as I could, and spoke only of a very long life, not

鏉窞妗戞嬁浣撻獙鎶ュ憡

of immortality鈥攚hich representation, indeed, coincided best with my own ideas. When I ended, I rose and said,鈥?

鈥淎nd now, my Bertha, will you denounce the lover of your youth?鈥擸ou 鏉窞姘寸(鍧婅冻娴?will not, I know. But it is too hard, my poor wife, that you should suffer from my ill-luck and the accursed arts of Cornelius. I will leave you鈥攜ou have wealth enough, and friends will return in my absence. I will go; young as I seem, and strong as I am, I can work and gain my bread among 鏉窞娲楁荡涓績鎸夋懇 strangers, unsuspected and unknown. I loved you in youth; God is my witness that I would not desert you in age, but that your safety and happiness require it.鈥?

I took my cap and moved towa