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My l4-year-old son, John, and I spotted the coat simultaneously. It was hanging on a rack at a secondhand clothing store in Northampton Mass, crammed in with shoddy trench coats and an assortment of sad, woolen overcoats -- a rose among thorns.
在马萨诸塞州北安普顿市的一家出售二手服装的店里,我和我14岁的儿子约翰同时盯上了那件大衣。它就挂在衣架上,夹在劣质的军用风雨衣和各式各样寒酸的羊毛大衣当中,然而它却像荆棘丛中的一朵玫瑰。

While the other coats drooped, this one looked as if it were holding itself up. The thick, black wool of the double-breasted chesterfield was soft and unworn, as though it had been preserved in mothballs for years in dead old Uncle Henry's steamer trunk. The coat had a black velvet collar, beautiful tailoring, a Fifth Avenue label and an unbelievable price of $28. We looked at each other, saying nothing, but John's eyes gleamed. Dark, woolen topcoats were popular just then with teenage boys, but could cost several hundred dollars new. This coat was even better, bearing that touch of classic elegance from a bygone era.
其他的大衣都显得没精打采,惟独这件衣服趾高气扬。厚厚的黑色羊绒柔软而蓬松,这件双排扣暗钮长大衣显然还没上过身,看样子,就像用樟脑球在老亨利叔叔的扁平旅行箱里保存了多年。其做工精细:领子是黑天鹅绒的,商标是第五大街的,价钱让人难以置信,只卖28美元。我们彼此看着对方,一言不发,可约翰的眼里却闪着欣喜的光。黑色的羊绒轻便大衣那时在小伙子们中很流行,买一件新的要花好几百美元,而这一件质地更好一些,还带有一种逝去年代的古典美。

John slid his arms down into the heavy satin lining of the sleeves and buttoned the coat. He turned from side to side, eyeing himself in the mirror with a serious, studied expression that soon changed into a smile. The fit was perfect.
约翰将胳膊伸进了袖管里——衬里是厚厚的缎子,系上了扣子。他在镜子面前转过来调过去地打量着自己,脸上的严肃表情不一会儿就变成了微笑。衣服合身极了。

John wore the coat to school the next day and came home wearing a big grin. "Ho. did the kids like your coat?" I asked. "They loved it," he said, carefully folding it over the back of a chair and smoothing it flat. I started calling him "Lord Chesterfield" and "The Great Gatsby."
第二天约翰就穿着它去上学了。放学回来他笑逐颜开。我问他:“那些孩子觉得你的大衣怎么样?”“他们非常喜欢。”他一边说,一边在椅子背儿上把衣服仔细地叠起来,并甩手把它展平。我于是就开始叫他“切斯特菲尔德大人”和“了不起的盖茨比”。

Over the next few weeks, a change came over John. Agreement replaced contrariness, quiet, reasoned discussion replaced argument. He became more judicious, more mannerly, more thoughtful, eager to please. “Good dinner, Mom," he would say every evening.
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