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[American Story] 【整理】2008-03-08 The Californian's Tale (4)

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When I was young. I went looking for gold in Californian. I never found enough to make me rich. But I did discover a very beautiful part of country.It was called The Stanislau. The Stanislau was like heaven on earth.
It has bright green hills and deep forests with soft winds touching the trees. Other man, also looking for gold, and reached The Stanislau hills in Californian many years  before I did. They had built a town in the valley. with sidewalks, thing stores, banks and schools. They had also built pretty little houses for the families. At first, they found a lot of gold at The Stanislau hills. But there could be enough at last. After a few years, the gold disappears. by the time I reached The Stanislau. all the people were gone too.
Grass now grown in the streets, And little houses were covered by wild rose bushes. Only the sounded insects flew in air as I walked through the empty town at some days so long ago. Then I realized I was not alone after through. 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 were floated in the soft summer winds. Still smiling, a man open the door of his house and motions to me. I went inside. and could not believe my eyes. I have 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 difficult searching for gold. staring this little house. My spirit sense is coming to life again.  I saw a bright  rug with shining wooden floor. pictures hung all around the room. and a little table, there were seashells, books, and china vases full of flowers, a woman has made this house into a home. The pleasure that I felt must show on my face. The man read my thoughts. "Yes," he smiles. "There is all her works.everything in this room are full of the touch of her hands."
One of the pictures on the wall was not hung straight. he noticed it and went to fix it. he stepped back several times to make sure the picture is ready straight. Then he give it a gentle touch with his hand.
"She always does that. " He explain to me. "It is like a finishing pat a mother give his child's hair after she brushed it. I have seen her fix all of the things here so often. and I can do it just the way she does.I don't know that I do it. I just do it. " as he talked. I realized that there is something is this room that he want me to discover. I looked around. When my eyes  reaches a corner of the room near the fire place.  He broken into a happy laugh and drummed his hands together. "That's it" he cried out. "You have found it. and I know it. It is her picture." I went to the little black shelf and hold the small picture of the most beautiful picture that I had even seen. There were the 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 when we married. when you see her, oh. just wait until you see her"
"Where is she now?" I asked.
"Oh, she is away." the man said. put the picture back on the little back 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, She will be back on Saturday in the evening. "
I felt a sharp sense of regret. "I am so sorry, because I will be gone by then" I said.
"Gone? No. Why should you go? don't go. you see, she will be sorry. she like people to come and stay with us.  "
"No, I really must go" I said firmly.
He picked up her picture and held before my eyes."Here" he said "now, you tell her to her face that you could have stayed here to met her but you wouldn't "
Something made me change my mind as I look the picture the second time. I decided to stay. The men told me his name is henry. That night, henry and I talked about many different things. but meant about her.
The next day passed quietly. Thursday evening, we had a visitor. He was a big grown miler who named Tom. "I just came for a few minutes. tell us, when will she come home?  " he explained. "Is any news?"
"Yes," The man replied "I got a letter. would you like to hear it?" He took a yellow letter out of his suit pocket. and read it to us. It was full of love and 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 am going to tell her this time."
"No, you must not do that, Henry.  " The green hair miler said. I am getting old. any little sorrow makes me cry. I was really hoping she would return tonight.
The next day, Friday. another old miler came to visit. he asked to hear the letter. the message is made he cry too. "We all miss her so much. " he said.
Saturday finally came. I found that I was looking my watch very often. Henry noticed this. You do think something has happen to her. do you? He asked me.
I smiled and said "I am sure, she was just fine." But he did not seem satisfied. I was glad to see his friends Tom and Joe. come down the road and the song began to sing. The old milers were carrying guitars. they also brought flowers and a bottle of whisky. They put the flowers in vases and began to play some fast lively songs on the guitar. Henry's friends get him a glass of whisky and they made him drink. When I reached one of the two glasses left on the table. Tom stopped my arm. drop the glass and take the other one  he split. he give the remaining glass of  whisky to Henry just the clock beginning to strike midnight. Henry empty the glass, His face grown whiter and whiter. "Boys," he said. "I am feeling sick.I want to lay down" Henry was asleep even before the words out of his mouth. in a moment.  His friends picked up him and carried him to the live room. they close the door and came back. They seems to be getting ready to leave. so I said."Please don't go, gentle men. she will not know me, I am a strange to her."
They looked at each other. "His wife was dead for ninety years." Tom said.
"Dead?" I asked.
"Dead or worse." he said, "She went to visit her parents after they get married, when she was back, on the Saturday evening, in June. when she was almost here. The Indians caught her. no one even saw her again."
Henry lost his mind. he thinks she is still alive. When June comes. he think she is on the trip of seeing her parents.then he begin to wait for her to come back.he gets out the old letter and we come around to visit. so he can ready it to us. on Saturday night, she is going to come home. we come here to be with him.we put sleep drugs in his drink. so he will sleep through night. then he is alright for another year."
Joe picked up his hat and his guitar."we have done this every June for 19 years" he said." the first year, there are 27 of us. now just the two of us left. " He open the door of the pretty little house, and two old men disappeared in to the darkness of The Stanislau.
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