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親愛的長腿叔叔:

 

    本想寫信謝謝你聖誕節寄來給我的一張支票,可是麥克布萊德家的生活非常有趣,我似乎找不出一黠時間坐下來寫信。

 

    我買了一件新的禮服―並非必需,只是想要。我今年的聖誕禮物是長腿叔叔送的,家裹只表達了愛意。

 

    這幾天,我在莎莉家度過了最美好的假期。她住在一座很大的老式鑲白磚房裹,離街道不遠―正是我在格利爾之家時好奇張望,而又不知其中究竟的那種房子。從沒有想過能夠親眼目睹―而現在我卻在這裹!一切都是那樣的舒適、安謐,像在家裹一樣。我從一個房間走到另一個房間,細細品嘗他們的陳設,不由陶醉了。

 

    這是兒童成長最理想的地方。有陰暗的角落可以捉迷藏,有壁爐可以爆米花,雨天可以在閤樓嬉戲,樓梯扶手很滑,終端有舒適平坦的握柄。廚房寬敞,明亮,還有一個胖胖的,個性開朗的廚子,在他們家已十三年了,經常留一塊麵糰讓小孩子烤著玩。看到這樣的家,讓人真想重返童年。

 

   而那些家庭成員!真想不到他們會有這麼好。莎莉有爸爸、媽媽、祖母、一個三歲的小妹妹,滿頭捲髮,可愛極了。還有一個半大不小的弟弟,進門老是忘記擦腳,還有一個漂亮的哥哥,他叫吉美,在普林斯頓大學唸三年級。

 

    飯桌上的時光最美妙,大家說呀,笑呀,誰也不讓誰。飯前還不用禱告,不用為到嘴的每口食物感恩,讓我寬慰不少。(我的確不是敬神明,可是如果你像我那樣對一切都要千恩萬謝,想必也會深有同感。)

 

    我們做了那麼多事―我都不知道怎麼跟伙描述。麥克布萊德先生開了家工廠。聖誕節前夕,他為員工的孩子們準備了一棵聖誕樹,放在長長的包裝間裹,屋裹還裝綴著長青樹和冬青樹的葉子。吉美˙麥克布萊德扮成聖誕老人,莎莉和我則幫他發禮物。

 

    哦,攻哪,真奇怪的感覺!我感覺自己就像格利爾之家仁慈的理事一樣。我吻了一個可愛的、粘粘的小男孩―不過,我好像沒有摸他們的頭。

 

    聖誕節後兩天,他們在家裹為我舉行了一場舞會。

 

    這是我第一次參加的真正舞會―大學的舞會不算,因為我們只能和女生跳舞。我穿了一件白色晚禮服(你的聖誕禮物,多謝了)戴著白色長手套,腳下是白緞鞋。我沉浸在完全、徹底、絕對的幸福中,唯一美中不足的,就是李培太太沒有看到我和吉美˙麥克布萊德帶領跳交詛舞。下次你去格利爾之家時,一定要告訴她哦。

 

 

永遠是你的朱蒂˙艾博特

1231日於「石門」

痳薩諸塞州伍斯特市

 

 

附記:如果我將來不能成為一位偉大的作家,而只是個平凡的女孩,叔叔,你會大失所望嗎?

  

 

“Stone Gate,”

Worcester, Mass.,

 

December 31st

 

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

 

     I meant to write to you before and thank you for your Christmas check, but life in the MeBride household is very absorbing, and I don’t seem able to find two consecutive minutes to spend at a desk.

     I bought a new gown―one that I didn’t need, but just wanted.  My Christmas present this year is from Daddy-Long _legs; my family just sent love. 

     I’ve been having the most beautiful vacation visiting Sallie.  She lives in a big old-fashioned brick house with white trimmings set back from the street―exactly the kind of house that I used to look at so curiously when I was in the John Grier Home, and wonder what it could be like inside.  I never expected to see with my own eyes―but here I am!  Everything is so comfortable and restful and homelike; I walk from room to room and drink in[吸收,陶醉在,例:Drink in the scenery陶醉花美景中。] the furnishings.

     It is the most perfect house for children to be brought up in; with shadowy nooks for hide and seek[捉迷藏。], and open fireplaces for popcorn, and an attic to romp in[做頑皮的遊戲。] on rainy days, and slippery banisters with a comfortable flat knob at the bottom, and a great big sunny kitchen, and a nice, fat, sunny[此處用同一個字表達不同的意思,第一個sunny 是陽光燦爛,第二個 sunny 是性格開朗。] cook, who has lived in the family thirteen years and always saves out a piece of dough for the children to bake.  Just the sight of such a house makes you want to be a child all over again.

     And as for families!  I never dreamed they could grandmother, and the sweetest three-year-old baby sister all over curls, and a medium-sized brother who always forgets to wipe his feet, and a big, good-looking brother named Jimmie, who is a junior at Princeton.

     We have the jolliest times at the table―everybody laughs and jokes and talks at once, and we don’t have to say grace[飯前或飯後的感恩禱告。] beforehand.  It’s a relief not having to thank somebody for every mouthful you eat.  (I dare say I’m blasphemous; but you’d be, too, if you’d offered as much obligatory thanks as I have.)

     Such a lot of things we’ve done―I can’t begin to tell you about them.  Mr. McBride owns a factory, and Christmas eve he had a tree for the employees’ children.  It was in the long packing room, which was decorated with evergreens and holly.  Jimmie McBride was dressed as Santa Claus, and Sallie and I helped him distribute the presents.

     Dear me, Daddy, but it was a funny sensation!  I felt as benevolent as a trusted of the John Grier Home.  I kissed one sweet, sticky little boy―but I don’t think I patted any of them on the head!

     And two days after Christmas, they gave a dance at their own house for ME.

     It was the first really true ball I ever attended―college doesn’t count where we dance with girls.  I had a new white evening gown (you Christmas present―many thanks) and long white gloves and white satin slippers.  The only drawback to my perfect, utter, absolute happiness was the fact that Mrs. Lippett couldn’t see me leading the cotillion with Jimmie McBride.  Tell her about it, please, the next time you visit the J.G.H.

 

 

Yours ever,

Judy Abbott

 

P.S.  Would you be terribly displeased, Daddy, if I didn’t turn out to be a great author after all, but just a plain girl?