Our story today is called "The Californian's Tale." It was written by Mark Twain. Here is Shep O'Neal with the story. When I was young, I went looking for gold in California. I never found enough to make me rich. But I did discover a beautiful part of the country. It was called "the Stanislau." The Stanislau was like Heaven on Earth. It had bright green hills and deep forests where soft winds touched the trees. Other men, also looking for gold, had reached the Stanislau hills of California many years before I did. They had built a town in the valley with sidewalks and stores, banks and schools. They had also built pretty little houses for their families. At first, they found a lot of gold in the Stanislau hills. But their good luck did not last. After a few years, the gold disappeared. By the time I reached the Stanislau, all the people were gone, too. Grass now grew in the streets. And the little houses were covered by wild rose bushes. Only the sound of insects filled the air as I walked through the empty town that summer day so long ago. Then, I realized I was not alone after all. A man was smiling at me as he stood in front of one of the little houses. This house was not covered by wild rose bushes. A nice little garden in front of the house was full of blue and yellow flowers.
White curtains hung from the windows and floated in the soft summer wind. Still smiling, the man opened the door of his house and motioned to me. I went inside and could not believe my eyes. I had been living for weeks in rough mining camps with other gold miners. We slept on the hard ground, ate canned beans from cold metal plates and spent our days in the difficult search for gold. Here in this little house, my spirit seemed to come to life again. I saw a bright rug on the shining wooden floor. Pictures hung all around the room. And on little tables there were seashells, books and china vases full of flowers. A woman had made this house into a home. The pleasure I felt in my heart must have shown on my face. The man read my thoughts. "Yes," he smiled, "it is all her work. Everything in this room has felt the touch of her hand." One of the pictures on the wall was not hanging straight. He noticed it and went to fix it. He stepped back several times to make sure the picture was really straight. Then he gave it a gentle touch with his hand. "She always does that," he explained to me. "It is like the finishing pat a mother gives her child's hair after she has brushed it.
I have seen her fix all these things so often that I can do it just the way she does. I don't know why I do it. I just do it." As he talked, I realized there was something in this room that he wanted me to discover. I looked around. When my eyes reached a corner of the room near the fireplace, he broke into a happy laugh and rubbed his hands together. "That's it!" he cried out. "You have found it! I knew you would. It is her picture. I went to a little black shelf that held a small picture of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. There was a sweetness and softness in the woman's expression that I had never seen before. The man took the picture from my hands and stared at it. "She was nineteen on her last birthday. That was the day we were married. When you see her...oh, just wait until you meet her!" "Where is she now?" I asked. "Oh, she is away," the man sighed, putting the picture back on the little black shelf. "She went to visit her parents. They live forty or fifty miles from here. She has been gone two weeks today." "When will she be back?" I asked. "Well, this is Wednesday," he said slowly. "She will be back on Saturday, in the evening." I felt a sharp sense of regret. "I am sorry, because I will be gone by then," I said. "Gone? No! Why should you go? Don't go. She will be so sorry. You see, she likes to have people come and stay with us." "No, I really must leave," I said firmly.
He picked up her picture and held it before my eyes. "Here," he said. "Now you tell her to her face that you could have stayed to meet her and you would not." Something made me change my mind as I looked at the picture for a second time. I decided to stay. The man told me his name was Henry. That night, Henry and I talked about many different things, but mainly about her. The next day passed quietly. Thursday evening we had a visitor. He was a big, grey-haired miner named Tom. "I just came for a few minutes to ask when she is coming home," he explained. "Is there any news?" "Oh yes," the man replied. "I got a letter. Would you like to hear it? He took a yellowed letter out of his shirt pocket and read it to us. It was full of loving messages to him and to other people – their close friends and neighbors. When the man finished reading it, he looked at his friend. "Oh no, you are doing it again, Tom! You always cry when I read a letter from her. I'm going to tell her this time!" "No, you must not do that, Henry," the grey-haired miner said. "I am getting old. And any little sorrow makes me cry. I really was hoping she would be here tonight." The next day, Friday, another old miner came to visit. He asked to hear the letter. The message in it made him cry, too. "We all miss her so much," he said.
Saturday finally came. I found I was looking at my watch very often. Henry noticed this. "You don't think something has happened to her, do you?" he asked me. I smiled and said that I was sure she was just fine. But he did not seem satisfied. I was glad to see his two friends, Tom and Joe, coming down the road as the sun began to set. The old miners were carrying guitars. They also brought flowers and a bottle of whiskey. They put the flowers in vases and began to play some fast and lively songs on their guitars. Henry's friends kept giving him glasses of whiskey, which they made him drink. When I reached for one of the two glasses left on the table, Tom stopped my arm. "Drop that glass and take the other one!" he whispered. He gave the remaining glass of whiskey to Henry just as the clock began to strike midnight. Henry emptied the glass. His face grew whiter and whiter. "Boys," he said, "I am feeling sick. I want to lie down." Henry was asleep almost before the words were out of his mouth. In a moment, his two friends had picked him up and carried him into the bedroom. They closed the door and came back. They seemed to be getting ready to leave. So I said, "Please don't go gentlemen. She will not know me.
I am a stranger to her." They looked at each other. "His wife has been dead for nineteen years," Tom said. "Dead?" I whispered. "Dead or worse," he said. "She went to see her parents about six months after she got married. On her way back, on a Saturday evening in June, when she was almost here, the Indians captured her. No one ever saw her again. Henry lost his mind. He thinks she is still alive. When June comes, he thinks she has gone on her trip to see her parents. Then he begins to wait for her to come back. He gets out that old letter. And we come around to visit so he can read it to us. "On the Saturday night she is supposed to come home, we come here to be with him. We put a sleeping drug in his drink so he will sleep through the night. Then he is all right for another year." Joe picked up his hat and his guitar. "We have done this every June for nineteen years," he said. "The first year there were twenty-seven of us. Now just the two of us are left." He opened the door of the pretty little house. And the two old men disappeared into the darkness of the Stanislau.
1.full of 装满；全神贯注于…的
He packed the boxes full of books.
2.supposed to 应该，猜想会
I'm supposed to do something. Yes. My fifth birthday... someone was there, and I'm about to be that someone...
3.it's your turn 该你了
Now it's your turn to weigh in.
4.stepped back 向后退几步
It is clear we have stepped back from the brink.
5.reached for 伸手拿
She reached for the book, but it was too high on the shelf.
我们今天的故事叫做《加利福尼亚人的故事》。作者马克·吐温 。谢普·奥尼尔为您讲述 。在我年轻的时候，我到加州淘金，然而，我从来就没有淘到足够的金子而让自己富裕起来，不过，我却发现了一处非常美丽的地方，这个地方叫“斯坦斯劳（Stanislau）” 。斯坦斯劳简直就是一个人间仙境，这里群山葱笼，树木茂盛，轻风徐徐，松涛阵阵 。在我到达此地的很多年前，就已经有人来到了斯坦斯劳，他们也是为了来淘金 。他们在山谷里建起了一座小镇，这里有人行道、有商店、有银行，还有学校，他们还修建了许多漂亮的小屋供自己居住 。起初，这些人在斯坦斯劳山区挖到了很多黄金，但他们的黄金运并没有持续多久，几年后，这里的黄金挖没了 。到我来到这里时，这里已是人去楼空了 。那是很久以前夏季的某一天，当我走进这空旷的小镇时，此时的斯坦斯劳镇的人行道上长满了荒草，那些漂亮的小屋也已经爬满了野蔷薇，只有昆虫的鸣叫声在空中飘荡 。然而，我很快就意识到，在这个小镇里，我并非只身一人 。有一个人站在一座小屋前面微笑地看着我，这座小屋并没有爬满野蔷薇 。小屋前面有一个漂亮的精致的小花园，这个小花园里长满了各种蓝花和黄花 。洁白的窗帘悬挂在窗户上，在夏日的微风中飘曳 。
这个人仍然微笑地把门打开，让我进去。我走进了小屋，我简直不敢相信自己的眼睛，几个星期来，我一直和其他挖金的矿工一起住在粗陋的矿工帐篷里，我们睡在坚硬的地上，吃着冰冷的豆类罐头，还要整天寻找金子 。而这里，在这座小屋里，我的精神似乎再次回到我的生命中 。我看到木地板上铺着漂亮的地毯，房间四周挂满各种画，在一张小桌上还摆放着一些海贝壳、书和盛满鲜花的瓷器花瓶 。是一位女士使这间小屋变成了一个家 。我内心感觉到的快乐浮现在我的脸上，这个人读懂了我的内心 。“是的”他微笑地说，“这一切都是她的功劳，这房间里的一切都是她打理的 。”墙上有一幅画没有挂好，他注意到了，他过去把这幅画挂好 。他来回看看，以确认这幅画已经挂好了 。然后，他轻轻地抚摸了一下这幅画 。“她总是这样，”他向我解释说，“就像母亲在给孩子洗完头后轻轻地拍一下一样，我总是看她这样做，所以我也就学会了 。我不知道为什么要这么做，但我就这样做 。”就在他说话的时候，我注意到，他想让我在房间里找到些什么 。
这个人告诉我他叫亨利。当天晚上，亨利和我谈起了很多事，但主要是关于她的 。第二天平静地过去了 。在星期四晚上，我们接待了一位来访者，他是一位高个子、头发花白的老矿工，他叫汤姆 。“我只呆几分钟，想问问她什么时候回来，”汤姆说，“有什么消息吗？”“噢，是的，”亨利回答到，“我收到了一封信，你想听听吗？”他从上衣袋里拿出一封发黄的信，并向我们朗读了这封信 。这封信充满着爱意，包括对亨利的爱、对他们最亲近的朋友的爱和对邻居们的爱 。当亨利朗读完信的后，他对他的朋友说：“噢，不，你又哭了，汤姆，每当我读她的来信时，你总是哭，这次我可要告诉她了 。”“不，你不能告诉她，亨利，”汤姆说，“我老了，任何一点悲伤都会使我流泪，我希望她今晚就回来 。”第二天，星期五，另一位矿工来访，他请求听她的来信，这封信同样使他流泪，“我们都非常相念她，”他说到 。星期六终于到了 。我发现我不停地看我的手表，亨利注意到了这点，他问：“你是不是认为她会发生什么事，是吗？”我微笑地说，我相信她一切都很好，但他似乎并不满意 。在日落时分，我很高兴地看到他的两位朋友汤姆和乔从那边走来，这两位老矿工都带着吉它，他们带来了鲜花和一瓶威士忌 。他们把鲜花放在花瓶里，开始弹唱一些节奏很快很有激情的歌曲 。亨利的朋友不停地给他倒威士忌，非得让他喝，当我想拿一杯酒想喝的时候，汤姆挡住了我，他小声地对我说：“这杯放下，拿那一杯！”他把这杯有威士忌的酒杯递给亨利，此时已经是午夜，天已经凉了 。