Every Saturday night,Iused to take a rose to Miss Caroline. Every Saturday night, rain or shine, at exactly eight o＇clock.
It was always the best rose in the shop.Iwould watch Old Man Olsen nest it tenderly in green tissue paper and fern. ThenIwould take the narrow box and pedal furiously through the quiet streets and deliv er the rose to Miss Caroline.
From the beginning there was something a little strange about those roses－－or rather, about the circumstances under whichIdelivered them. The night the first one was sentIpointed out toMr. Olsen that he had forgotten the card.
He peered at me through his glasses like a benevolent gnome.″There isn＇t any card, James.″He never called me Jimmy.″And furthermore, the party sending this flower wants it done as quietly as possible. So keep it under your hat, willyou？″
他像一个仁慈的妖魔,从眼镜后面瞅着我说 没有名片,詹姆斯。 他从不叫我吉米。 而且,送花人希望尽可能悄悄地做这件事,因此你得保密,行吗？
I was glad Miss Caroline was getting a flower, because we all felt sorry for her. As everybody in our small town knew, the worst of all fates had befallen Miss Caroline. She had been jilted.
For years she had been as good as engaged to Jeffrey Penniman, one of the ablest young bachelors in town. She had waited while he got himself through medical school. She was still waiting when, halfway through his internship,Dr. Penniman fell in love with a younger, prettier girl and married her.
The girl Jeffrey Penniman married was a beauty, all right. Her name was Christine Marlowe, and she came from a big city. She must have had an uncomfortable time in our town, because naturally the women despised her and said unkind things about her.
As for poor Miss Caroline, the effect on her was disastrous. For six months she had shut herself up in her house, stopped leading her Girl Scout troop, given up all civic activities. She even refused to play the organ at church anymore.
M iss Caroline wasn＇t old or unhandsome, but she seemed determined to turn herself into an eccentric old maid. She looked like a ghost that night whenIdelivered the first rose.″Hello, Jimmy.″ she said listlessly. WhenIhanded her the box, she looked startled－－″Forme？″
卡洛琳小姐并不老,长得也不丑,但她似乎决心要把自己变成一个古怪的老处女。当我第一次给她送玫瑰花时,她看起来像个幽灵。 你好,吉米。 她无精打采地跟我打招呼。当我把盒子递给她时,她似乎很吃惊——— 给我的？
A gain the next Saturday, at exactly the same time,Ifound myself delivering another rose to Miss Caroline. And the next Saturday yet another. The third time she opened the door so quickly thatIknew she must have been waiting. There was a little color in her cheeks, now, and her hair no longer looked so straggly.
The morning after my fourth trip to her house, Miss Caroline played the organagain in church. The rose,Isaw, was pinned to her blouse. She held her head high； she did not glance once at the pew whereDr. Penniman sat with his beautiful bride.
The night came, eventually, whenImade my final trip to Miss Caroline＇s house.Isaid, asIhanded her the box,″This is the last time I＇ll bring this, Miss Caroline. We＇re moving away next week. ButMr. Olsen says he＇ll keep sending the flowers.″
B ack at the shop,Idid whatIhad never had the nerve todo.Ilooked in the file whereMr. Olsen kept his records.″Penniman,″ it said, inMr. Olsen＇s crabbed script.″Fifty －two American Beauties.Total 13.Paid in advance.″
The years wentby, and one dayIcame again to Olsen＇s flower shop. Nothing had changed. Old Man Olsen was making a corsage of gardenias, just as he used todo.
W e talked a while. ThenIsaid,″Whatever became of Miss Caroline？ You remember－－she got the roses.″
″Miss Caroline？″ He nodded.″She married George Halsey －－owns the drugstore. Fine fellow. They have twins.″
卡洛琳小姐？ 他点点头。 她嫁给了开药店的乔治·哈尔西。那可是个好人。他们都有了一对双胞胎了。
″Oh！″Isaid, a bit surprised. ThenIdecided to showMr. Olsen how smartIhad been.″Did you suppose,″Isaid,″that Mrs. Penniman ever knew her husband was sending flowers to his old flame？″
噢！ 我感到有点惊奇。我决定向奥尔森先生显示一下我是多么聪明。 你以为彭尼曼太太是否知道丈夫给老相好送花？
Mr.Olsen sighed.″James, you never were very bright. Jeffrey Penniman didn＇t send them. He never knew aboutthem.″
Istared at him.″Who did,then？″我盯着他 那是谁干的？ ″ Alady,″ saidMr. Olsen. He put the gardenias carefully into a box.″Alady who said she wasn＇t going to sit around watching Miss Caroline make a martyr of herself at her expense. Christine Penniman sent those roses.″
一位女士, 他说着,把栀子花小心地放进纸盒里。 一位女士,她说她不愿坐视卡洛琳小姐自暴自弃,使自己成为一个牺牲品。是克里斯廷·彭尼曼送的那些玫瑰。
″Now there,″ he said, closing the lid with finality,″was a woman foryou！″