英语沙龙:The 175-dollar Bill 175 美元的帐单

The 175-dollar Bill

I stretched my legs under the living-room desk,picked up a letter and cut it open.It came from Martel’s Department Store.I was shocked when I saw the amount we owed them:175 dollars.It was a mistake,of course.Janet and I had not spent that kind of money,certainly not with the way we had been counting every penny and saving for the first payment on the house we planned to buy.I looked at the amount again.Of course,they had meant 17dollars 50cents.They had added an extra zero,and misplaced the decimal1) point.I rubbed my hand across my face.The shock was gone.I looked up across the living room into the bedroom beyond.I saw Janet curled up2) under the covers reading a magazine.I often looked at her lying that way,as I sat working late at night.To me it represented every thing.Janet was my wife,my partner.We had great plans ahead.“Janet,” I called to her,“I think that Martel’s made a mistake.They sent us a bill for175dollars.I’m sure it should be17dollars50cents.Will you call about it tomorrow,so I can send the cheque?”Janet did not answer.“Janet,” I called again,“did you hear?I said Martel’s made a mistake.”She lowered the magazine slowly,lying it across her chest.I could tell she was trying to be calm.“I did not want you to see that,”she said slowly.“I thought I had hidden it from the other letters.”

I flushed3) when I realized that Janet had spent the money.She had not even asked me about it.I went from the living room to sit on the edge of the bed,watching her closely.We might as well get it all out in the open,I felt.“Do you mean,”I began,“that you spent 175dollars without discussing it with me?And why not?”Janet tried to smile.“I am working,too.I’m going to pay for it.”

“That’s what I want to know,Janet.Pay for what?I haven’t seen anything new around here.”Janet lowered her eyes.“I--I don’t want to tell you,Barney.It’s--just something I wanted to buy.”I kept looking at her.It was hard to believe what I had heard.Janet had spent the money,admitted it,and now didn’t even want to tell me what it was for.I just could not understand that at all.There was no money in the checking account to pay this bill.It would have to be taken from our savings account.That meant another month’ s delay in buying the house.It was not fair.It violated3) our plans and agreement,and worst of all,I would never be able to trust her again.Why had she done this to me?I was becoming angrier,and I decided I was going to get to the bottoms of it all.“Look,Janet,” I said sharply.“Let’s not play games.I want to know what that bill is for?I have a right to know.”Janet touched my arm.“Don’t be angry with me,Barney?You’ve been working much too hard these last few months.You’re so jumpy4) and nervous.”She was trying to escape from the situation and I knew it.That made me angrier.I pulled away roughly,displeased.“Look,” I repeated,“I asked you a question.Do you refuse to give me an answer?”Janet looked up at me,puzzled,as if she was struggling with a problem.When she finally answered,I did not like w hat she said.“You’ll just have to accept the matter as it is,” she said quickly.“Just because I married you does not mean I have no right to a few private affairs.Yes,I refuse to answer.”With that,she looked me in the eyes again.That turned the devil loose in my brain.I stood up and started to walk back and forth,unable to control my boiling anger.All at once,I stopped dead still.I knew everything.She did not have to tell me.She had bought a damned mink fur scarf5).Her friend Carol had just gotten one a month before,and I had seen that look in Janet’s eyes,that look of green-eye envy.Just like a woman.What to put on her back came first.

“You little cheat.”I said,looking down,the words coming slow and burning.“I know what you bought,a home really doesn’t mean anything to you.All you want is a pile of fancy clothes.I thought you were the kind of wife I wanted,but you had me fooled.You’re like a lot of others,a loose spender,that’s what you are.A spendthrift.”Janet’s eyes narrowed to slits and her face showed horror and amazement,and I enjoyed seeing it.It was exactly what I wanted,to see her suffer a little,too.She got out of bed and stood before me.“Is that what you think of me?”Her own anger sent mine up higher.“You’re damned right,it is.”I exploded.“I just wish I had known in time.”Now her anger was as hot as mine.We stood on equal ground.

“You poor fool.” she said.“You don’t even know what you’re talking about.You don’t even know what marriage is.You’ll find out.You have a nice long time to find out,alone.I’m going to take a cab to mother’s,and don’t trouble calling me.I never want to see you again.”I knew the situation was really serious now,but I had no thought of giving in.Let her go.She’ll soon realize I was right and come crawling6) back.

The next morning at the office,I kept to myself,burying myself in work.No one seemed to notice my quiet manner.When I returned from lunch,I found Bill beside my desk,showing a new set of golf clubs to the other fellows.“Best buy in town.”he said proudly.He turned to me with a smile.“Say,Barney,you used to play,didn’t you?”I forced a smile and said“ Sure did,”That gave me an idea,to start playing again.If I bought some golf clubs,that would even things up with Janet.That afternoon,I bought the clubs I wanted and started to swing them on the floor.One ball,I hit harder that I meant to,and the ball rolled across the living room,through the bedroom and into Janet’s half-opened closet.

The closet was a big one,and dark.A lot of Janet’s things were still hanging there.I got down on my knees and felt around in a dark corner way at the back.My hands rubbed against a heavy box.I lifted t he top of the box and looked inside,I was not prepared for what I saw.It was the best-looking set of golf clubs I had ever seen,better than the ones I had chosen.There was also a golf bag,a dozen balls and a pair of golf shoes.The box was marked.It came from Martel’s Department Store.It was then that I remembered our wedding anniversary would be Tuesday.All this for me.There was nothing for Janet.Janet,with her love for surprises an d her unselfish love for me.How crazy I had been.Janet was right.I was a poor,stupid fool.There was only one thing to do now,I thought.Go crawling and begging for her to return.And I was man enough to do it.And tomorrow I’d do something else.I would hide a mink scarf in my closet.

175 美 元 的 帐 单









1. decimal [5desimEl] adj. 小数的,十进制

2. curl [kE:l] vi. 卷缩, 绻在一起

3. flush [flQF] vi. (脸)发红, 奔涌

4. jumpy [5dVQmpi] adj. 跳跃的, 神经质的

5. mink pur scarf [mink pE: skB:f] 貂皮围巾

6. crawl [krC:l] vi. 爬行




《英语沙龙:The 175-dollar Bill 175 美元的帐单》




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