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愛的長腿叔叔:

 

    你對我的問題置之不理,可是它非常重要。

 

     你禿頭嗎?

 

     我給你畫了一副確實的畫像,很不錯的,可是到了頭頂我就被難到了,你的頭髮是白的、黑的、灰的,還是幹脆禿頭?我拿不定主意。

 

    這是你的畫像:

 

    問題是,我該加上一些頭髮嗎?

    你想知道你的眼睛是什麼顏色嗎?是灰色的,眉毛突出像廊檐(小說中稱為懸崖)。嘴巴像兩角下垂的一條直線。哦,你看,我知道!你一定是個精神飽滿、脾氣暴躁的老傢伙。

 

    (做禮拜的鐘響了。)

 

1219,晚上945

 

    我訂了一條雷打不動的新規則:不管第二天大清早起來有多少測驗,晚上決不啃書,只看小說。我不得不這樣,你知道,因為過去十八年來,我的生活一片空白。長腿叔叔,你難以想像我有多麼無知,我剛剛才明白自己的膚淺。有正常的家庭和家人,

有朋友和大量書籍的女孩,她們自然而然吸引到的很多常識,我卻聽都沒聽過的。

 

      我從未讀過《鵝媽媽》、《塊肉餘生記》、《劫後英雄傳》、《灰姑娘》、《藍鬍子》、《魯賓遜漂流記》、《簡愛》、《愛麗絲夢遊奇境》,或是吉卜林[(1865-1936)吉卜林,英國小說家、詩人。]的隻字片語。我不知道亨利八世曾經再婚;雪萊[(1792-1822)雪萊,英國十九世紀上半期與拜倫齊名的偉大浪漫主義詩人。]是詩人;人的祖先是猴子;也沒聽說伊甸園是個美麗的神話。我不知道R.L.S.是羅伯特˙路易斯˙史蒂文生[(1850-1894)羅伯特˙路易斯˙史蒂文生,蘇格蘭詩人、小小家。]的縮寫;更不知道喬治˙艾略特[(1819-1880) 喬治˙艾略特,英國女小說家。]是女性。我從未看過《蒙娜麗莎》畫像;也從未聽說過(或許你不信,但是真的)福爾摩斯。

 

    如今,我不但知道這些,還知道很多別的事情,不過你明白我還要多加努力。哦,但這實在太有趣了。我每天都在盼望夜晚早點來臨,好在門上掛個「請勿打擾」的牌子,穿上我的舒適的紅浴衣和皮拖鞋,背靠著靠墊,坐在長椅上,打開身邊的黃銅台燈,埋頭讀呀,讀呀. . . . . . 一本不夠,找來四本書同時進行。此刻,我在讀丁尼生[Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) 丁尼生,英國著名詩人。]的詩、《浮華世界》[《浮華世界》,英國作家薩克雷的代表作。]、吉卜林的《平凡的故事》,還有你別笑《小婦人》。我發現在大學裹,我是唯一沒有受過《小婦人》一書陶冶的女郎。我對此緘口不言(以免被視為怪人)。我悄悄話地買了一本,把上個月的零用錢花掉了1.12元。以後要是再有人提起醃酸橙,我就知道她在講什麼了!

 

    (十點鐘的鈴響了,這封信被打斷了好幾次。)

 

先生:

 

    我很榮幸向你報告我對幾何學的新探索。上星期五我們放棄了平行六面體的功課,轉而學習截頭棱柱體。學習的道路崎嶇艱難。

 

星期六

 

   下星期是聖誕節假期,走廊堆滿了行李,幾乎焦法通行。大家喜氣洋洋,把功課拋到了九霄雲外。假期中我會有一段美妙的時光,另一位家住在德州的大一學生也準備留下。我們計劃出外遠足,如果有冰的話,就練習溜冰。還有整整一圖書館的書,我們有三個星期的空閒時間來看這些書呢!

 

    再見,長腿叔叔,我希望你和我一樣高興。

 

你的朱蒂

星期日

 

附註:別忘了答覆我的問題。你若不願提筆,可請你的祕書長打個電報。他只要說:

史密斯先生禿頭。

史密斯先生沒有禿頭。

史密斯先生滿頭白髮。

    你可以從我的零用錢裹扣掉二角五分錢。明年一月再見。祝你聖誕快樂!

星期日

 

December 19th

Dear Daddy-Long-Legs,

     You never answered my question and it was very important.

     ARE YOU BALD?

     I have it planned exactly what you look likevery satisfactorilyuntil I reach the top of your head, and then I am stuck.  I can’t decide whether you have white hair or black hair or sort of sprinkle gray hair or maybe none at all.

     Here is you like to know what color your eyes are?  They’re gray and your eyebrows stick out like a porch roof (beetling, they’re called in novels) and your mouth is a straight line with a tendency to turn down at the corners.  Oh, you see, I know!  You’re a snappy old thing with a temper.

     (Chapel[學校的附屬禮拜堂。] bell.)

9:45P.M.

 

     I have a new unbreakable rule: never, never to study at night no matter how many written reviews are coming in the morning .  Instead,, I read just plain booksI have to, you know, because there are eighteen blank years behind me.  You wouldn’t believe, Daddy, what an abyss of ignorance my mind is; I am just realizing the depths assorted family and a home and friends and a library know by absorption, I have never heard of.  For example:

 

     I never read Mother Goose or David Copperfield or Ivanhoe or Cinderella or Bluebeard or Robinson Crusoe or Fane Eyre or Alice in Wonderland or a word of Rudyard Kipling[(1865-1936)吉卜林,英國小說家、詩人。].  I didn’t know that Henry the Eighth was married more than once or that Shelley[(1792-1822)雪萊,英國十九世紀上半期與拜倫齊名的偉大浪漫主義詩人。] was a poet.  I didn’t know that people used to be monkeys and that the Garden of Eden was a beautiful myth.  I didn’t know that R.L.S.  stood for Robert Louis Stevenson[(1850-1894)羅伯特˙路易斯˙史蒂文生,蘇格蘭詩人、小小家。] or that Geroge Eliot[(1819-1880) 喬治˙艾略特,英國女小說家。]was a lady.  I had never seen a picture of the “ Mona Lisa” and ( it’s true but you won’t believe it) I had never heard of Sherlock Holmes. 

     Now, I know all of these things and a lot of others besides, but you can see how much I need to catch up.  And oh, but it’s fun!  I look forward all day to evening, and then I put an “ engaged” on the door and get into my nice red bathrobe and furry slippers and pile all the cushions behind me on the couch and light the brass student lamp at my elbow, and read and read and read.  One book isn’t enough.  I have four going at once.  Just now, they’re Tennyson’s[Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) 丁尼生,英國著名詩人。] poems and Vanity Fair[《浮華世界》,英國作家薩克雷的代表作。] and Kipling’s Plain Tales anddon’t laughLittle Women.  I find that I am the only girl in college who wasn’t brought up on Little Women[《小婦人》,美國女作家路易莎梅˙奧爾科特(1832-1888)的作品。].  I haven’t told anybody though (that would stamp me as queer).  I just quietly went and bought it with $1.12 of my last month’s allowance; and the next time somebody mentions pickled limes, I’ll know what she is talking about!

     (Ten o’clock bell.  This is a very interrupted letter.)

 

Saturday

     I have the honor to report fresh explorations in the field of geometry.  On Friday last we abandoned our former words in parallelepipeds and proceeded to truncated prisms.  We are finding the road rough and very uphill.

 

Sunday

     The Christmas holidays begin next week and the trunks are up.  The corridors are so cluttered that you can hardly get through, and everybody is so bubbling over with excitement that studying is getting left out.  I’m going to have a beautiful time on  vacation; there’s another freshman who lives in Texas staying behind, and we are planning to take long walks and if there’s any icelearn to skate.  Then there is still the whole library to be readand three empty weeks to do it in!

     Good-bye, Daddy, I hope that you are feeling as happy as I am.

 

Yours ever,

Judy

 

P.S.  Don’t forget to answer my question.  If you don’t want the trouble of writing, have your secretary telegraph.  He can just say:

Mr. Smith is quite bald,

Or

Mr. Smith is not bald,

Or

Mr. Smith has white hair.

     And you can deduct the twenty-five cents out of my allowance.

     Good-bye till Januaryand a merry Christmas!