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Chapter 12 In which Sophie becomes Howl’s old mother_哈尔的移动城堡 Howl’s Moving Castle_双语小说



Sophie did not see much point in blackening Howl’s name to the King, now that the Witch had caught up with him. But Howl said it was more important than ever. “I shall need everything I’ve got just to escape the Witch,” he said. “I can’t have the King after me as well.”
So the following afternoon Sophie put on her new clothes and sat feeling very fine, if rather stiff, waiting for Michael to get ready and for Howl to finish in the bathroom. While she waited, she told Calcifer about the strange country where Howl’s family lived. It took her mind off the King.
Calcifer was very interested. “I knew he came from foreign parts,” he said. “But this sounds like another world. Clever of the Witch to send the curse in from there. Very clever all round. That’s magic I admire, using something that exists anyway and turning it round into a curse. I did wonder about it when you and Michael were reading it the other day. That fool Howl told her too much about himself.”
Sophie gazed at Calcifer’s thin blue face. It did not surprise her to find Calcifer admired the curse, any more than it surprised her when he called Howl a fool. He was always insulting Howl. But she never could work out if Calcifer really hated Howl. Calcifer looked so evil anyway that it was hard to tell.
Calcifer moved his orange eyes to look into Sophie’s. “I’m scared too,” he said. “I shall suffer with Howl if the Witch catches him. If you don’t break the contract before she does, I won’t be able to help you at all.”
 Before Sophie could ask more, Howl came dashing out of the bathroom looking his very finest, scenting the room with roses and yelling for Michael. Michael clattered downstairs in his new blue velvet. Sophie stood up and collected her trusty stick. It was time to go.
“You look wonderfully rich and stately!” Michael said to her.
“She does me credit,” said Howl. “apart from that awful old stick.”
“Some people,” said Sophie, “are thoroughly self-centered. This stick goes with me. I need it for moral support.”
Howl looked at the ceiling, but he did not argue.
They took their stately way into the streets of Kingsbury. Sophie of course looked back to see what the castle was like here. She saw a big, arched gateway surrounding a small black door. The rest of the castle seemed to be a clank stretch of plastered wall between two carved stone houses.
“Before you ask,” said Howl, “it’s really just a disused stable. This way.”
They walked through the streets, looking at least as fine as any of the passerbys. Not that many people were about. Kingsbury was a long way south and it was a bakingly hot day there. The pavements shimmered. Sophie discovered another disadvantage to being old: you felt queer in hot weather. The elaborate buildings wavered in front of her eyes. She was annoyed, because she wanted to look at the place, but all she had was a dim impression of golden domes and tall houses.

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