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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第1章 第一阶段 处女 Phase the First. The Maiden
第1节 第一章 【
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五月下旬的一个傍晚,一个中年男子正从沙斯顿向靠近布莱克莫尔谷(也叫黑荒原谷)的马洛特村里的家中走去。他走路的一双腿摇摇晃晃的,走路的姿态不能保持一条直线,老是朝左边歪着。他偶尔还轻快地点一下头,仿佛对某个意见表示同意,其实他心里一点儿也没有想到什么特别的事。他的胳膊上挎着一只装鸡蛋的空篮子,头上戴的帽子的绒面皱皱巴巴的,摘帽子时大拇指接触帽沿的地方也被磨旧了一大块。不一会儿,一个骑着一匹灰色母马一边随口哼着小调的老牧师迎面走来—— 

“您好。”挎着篮子的男子说。 

“您好,约翰爵士。”牧师说。
步行的男子又向前走了一两步,站住了,转过身来。
“喂,对不起,先生;大约上个集市日的这个时候,我们在这条路上遇见了,我说‘您好’,你也回答说‘您好,约翰爵士’,就像刚才说的一样。”
“我是这样说的。”牧师说。
“在那以前还有一次——大约一个月以前。”
“我也许说过。”
“我只不过是一个普通的流动小贩,名叫杰克·德北菲尔德,那你反复叫我‘约翰爵士’是什么意思?”
牧师骑着马向他走近一两步。
“那只是我的一时兴致,”他说;然后又稍稍迟疑了一会儿:“那是因为不久前我为了编写新的郡史在查考家谱时的一个发现。我是鹿脚路的考古学家特林汉姆牧师。德北菲尔德,你真的不知道你是德贝维尔这个古老骑士世家的嫡传子孙吗?德贝维尔家是从著名的骑士帕根·德贝维尔爵士传下来的,据纪功寺文档①记载,他是跟随征服者威廉王从诺曼底来的。”
 
①纪功寺文档(Battle Abbey Roll),记载跟随威廉王征战英国的诺曼贵族的一份名单,现保存于纪功寺。

“过去我从没听说过,先生!”
“啊,不错。你把下巴抬起来一点点,让我好好看看你的脸的侧面。不错,这正是德贝维尔家族的鼻子和下巴——但有一点儿衰落。辅佐诺曼底的埃斯彻玛维拉勋爵征服格拉摩甘郡的骑士一共有十二个,你的祖先是他们中间的一个。在英格兰这一带地方,到处都有你们家族分支的采地;在斯蒂芬王时代,派普名册②记载着他们的名字。在约翰王时代,他们的分支中有一支很富有,曾给救护骑士团赠送了一份采地;在爱德华二世时代,你的祖先布里恩也应召到威斯敏斯特参加过大议会。你们家族在奥利弗·克伦威尔时代就有点儿开始衰落,不过没有到严重的程度,在查理斯二世时期,你们家族又因为对王室忠心,被封为皇家橡树爵士。唉,你们家族的约翰爵士已经有好几代了,如果骑士称号也像从男爵一样可以世袭的话,你现在就应该是约翰爵士了,其实在过去的时代里都是世袭的,骑士称号由父亲传给儿子。”
 
②派普名册(Pipe Rolls),记录皇家每年收支情况的文件,始于1131年,止于1842年。

“可你没有这样说过呀!”
“简而言之,”牧师态度坚决地用马鞭抽了一下自己的腿,下结论说,“在英格兰,你们这样的家族简直找不出第二家。”
“真令我吃惊,在英格兰找不出第二家吗?”德北菲尔德说,“可是我一直在这一带四处漂泊,一年又一年的,糟糕透顶了,好像我同这个教区里的最普通的人没有什么两样……特林汉姆牧师,关于我们家族的这件事,大家知道得有多久了?”牧师解释说,据他所知,这件事早让人忘光了,很难说有什么人知道。他对家系的调查,是从去年春天开始的。他一直在对德贝维尔家族的盛衰史进行研究,在马车上看见了德北菲尔德的名字,因而才引起他展开对德北菲尔德的父亲和祖父的调查,最后才确定了这件事。
“起初我决心不拿这种毫无用处的消息打扰你,”他说,“可是,我们的冲动有时候太强烈,控制不住我们的理智。我还一直以为你也许对这件事已经知道一些了。”
“啊,是的,我也听说过一两次,说我这家人在搬到黑荒原谷以前,也经历过富裕的日子。可是我却没有在意,心想只是说我们现在只有一匹马,而过去我们曾经有过两匹马。我家里还保存着一把古老的银匙和一方刻有纹章的古印;可是,天啦,一把银匙和一方古印算得了什么?……想想吧,我一直同这些高贵的德贝维尔血肉相连。听别人说,我的曾祖父有些不肯告人的秘密,不肯谈论他的来历……噢,牧师,我想冒昧地问一句,现在我们家族的炊烟又升起在哪儿呢?我是说,我们德贝维尔家族住在哪儿?”
“哪儿也没有你们家族了。作为一个郡的家族,你们家族是已经灭绝了。”
“真是遗憾。”
“是的——那些虚假的家谱所说的男系灭绝,就是说衰败了,没落了。”
“那么,我们的祖先又埋在哪儿呢?”
“埋在青山下的金斯比尔:一排一排地埋在你们家族的地下墓室里,在用佩比克大理石做成的华盖下面,还刻有你们祖先的雕像。”
“还有,我们家族的宅第和房产在哪儿呢?”
“你们没有宅第和房产了。”
“啊?土地也没有了?”
“也没有了;虽然像我说的那样,你们曾经拥有过大量的宅第和房产,因为你们的家族是由众多的支系组成的。在这个郡,过去在金斯比尔有一处你们的房产,在希尔屯还有一处,在磨房池有一处,在拉尔斯德有一处,在井桥还有一处。”
“我们还会恢复我们自己的家族吗?”
“噢——不行了,不行了;‘大英雄何竟死亡’,你除了用这句话责罚你自己外,别无它法。这件事对本地的历史学家和家谱学家还有些兴趣,但没有其它什么了。在本郡居住的农户里,有差不多同样光荣历史的还有好几家。再见。”
“可是,特林汉姆牧师,为了这件事,你转回来和我去喝一夸脱啤酒好不好?在纯酒酒店,正好开了一桶上好的佳酿——虽然我敢说它还是不如罗利弗酒店的酒好。”
“不喝了,谢谢你——德北菲尔德,今天晚上不喝了。你已经喝得够多了。”牧师这样把话说完以后,就骑着马走了,心里有些怀疑,该不该把这个多少有点奇怪的传说告诉他。
牧师走了,德北菲尔德陷入沉思,走了几步路,就把篮子放在面前,然后在路边的草坡上坐下来。不一会儿,远方出现了一个年轻人,正朝先前德北菲尔德走路的方向走着。德北菲尔德一看见他,就把手举起来,小伙子紧走几步,来到他的跟前。
“小伙子,把那个篮子拿起来!我要你为我走一趟。”
那个像板条一样瘦长的小伙子有点不高兴:“你是什么人,约翰·德北菲尔德,你竟要使唤我,叫我‘小伙子’?我们谁不认识谁呀!”
“你认识我,认识我?这是秘密——这是秘密!现在你就听我的吩咐,把我让你送的信送走……好吧,弗里德,我不在乎把这个秘密告诉你,我是一家贵族的后裔,——我也是午后,今天这个下午才知道的。”德北菲尔德一边宣布这则消息,一边从坐着的姿势向后倒下去,舒舒服服地仰卧在草坡上的雏菊中了。
小伙子站在德北菲尔德的面前,把他从头到脚仔细地打量了一番。
“约翰·德贝尔菲尔爵士——这才是我的名字。”躺着的人接着说。“我是说,如果骑士是从男爵的话——它们本来就是一样的呀。我的一切都记录在历史中。小伙子,你知道不知道青山下的金斯伯尔这个地方?”
“知道。我去过那儿的青山市场。”
“好了,就在那个城市的教堂下面,埋着——”
“那儿哪是一个城市,我是说那儿只是一块地方;至少我去那儿的时候不是一个城市——那儿只不过是像一只眼睛般大小的讨厌的地方。”
“你不必管那个地方了,小伙子,那不是我们要说的事。在那个教区的下面,埋着我的祖先——有好几百个——穿着铠甲,满身珠宝,睡的用铅做成的大棺材就有好几吨重。在南威塞克斯这个郡里,没有谁家有比我更显赫更高贵的祖先了。”
“是吗?”
“好了,你把篮子拿上,到马洛特村去,走到纯酒酒店的时候,告诉他们立刻给我叫一辆马车,把我接回家去。马车里叫他们放上一小瓶甜酒,记在我的帐上。你把这件事办完了,就把篮子送到我家里去,告诉我老婆把正在洗的衣服放下来,用不着把衣服洗完,等着我回家,因为我有话要告诉她。”
小伙子半信半疑,站着没有动身,德北菲尔德就把手伸进口袋,摸出来一个先令,长期以来,那是他口袋中少有的先令中的一个。
“辛苦你了,小伙子,这个给你。”
有了这个先令,小伙子对形势的估计就有了不同。
“好吧,约翰爵士。谢谢你。还有别的事要我为你效劳吗,约翰爵士?”
“告诉我家里人,晚饭我想吃——好吧,要是有羊杂碎,我就吃油煎羊杂碎;要是没有羊杂碎,我就吃血肠;要是没有血肠,好吧,我就将就着吃小肠吧。”
“是,约翰爵士。”
小伙子拿起篮子,就在他要动身离开的时候,听见一阵铜管乐队的音乐声从村子的方向传过来。
“什么声音?”德北菲尔德说。“不是为了欢迎我吧?”
“那是妇女俱乐部正在游行,约翰爵士。唔,你女儿就是俱乐部的一个会员呀。”
“真是的——我想的都是大事情,把这件事全给忘了。好吧,你去马洛特村吧,给我把马车叫来,说不定我要坐车转一圈,好看看俱乐部的游行。”
小伙子走了,德北菲尔德躺在草地的雏菊中,沐浴着午后的夕照等候着。很久很久,那条路上没有一个人走过,在绿色山峦的四周以内,能够听到的人类声音只有那隐约传来的铜管乐队的音乐声。
 

On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line. He occasionally gave a smart nod, as if in confirmation of some opinion, though he was not thinking of anything in particular. An empty egg-basket was slung upon his arm, the nap of his hat was ruffled, a patch being quite worn away at its brim where his thumb came in taking it off. Presently he was met by an elderly parson astride on a gray mare, who, as he rode, hummed a wandering tune. `Good night t'ee,' said the man with the basket.

`Good night, Sir John,' said the parson.

The pedestrian, after another pace or two, halted, and turned round.

`Now, sir, begging your pardon; we met last market-day on this road about this time, and I zaid "Good-night", and you made reply "Good night, Sir John", as now.'

`I did,' said the parson.

`And once before that - near a month ago.'

`I may have.'

`Then what might your meaning be in calling me "Sir John" these different times, when I be plain Jack Durbeyfield, the haggler?'

The parson rode a step or two nearer.

`It was only my whim,' he said; and, after a moment's hesitation: 'It was on account of a discovery I made some little time ago, whilst I was hunting up pedigrees for the new county history. I am Parson Tringham, the antiquary, of Stagfoot Lane. Don't you really know, Durbeyfield, that you are the lineal representative of the ancient and knightly family of the d'Urbervilles, who derived their descent from Sir Pagan d'Urberville, that renowned knight who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, as appears by Battle Abbey Roll?'

`Never heard it before, sir!'

`Well it's true. Throw up your chin a moment, so that I may catch the profile of your face better. Yes, that's the d'Urberville nose and chin - a little debased. Your ancestor was one of the twelve knights who assisted the Lord of Estremavilla in Normandy in his conquest of Glamorganshire. Branches of your family held manors over all this part of England; their names appear in the Pipe Rolls in the time of King Stephen. In the reign of King John one of them was rich enough to give a manor to the Knights Hospitallers; and in Edward the Second's time your forefather Brian was summoned to Westminster to attend the great Council there. You declined a little in Oliver Cromwell's time, but to no serious extent, and in Charles the Second's reign you were made Knights of the Royal Oak for your loyalty. Aye, there have been generations of Sir Johns among you, and if knighthood were hereditary, like a baronetcy, as it practically was in old times, when men were knighted from father to son, you would be Sir, John now.'

`Ye don't say so!'

`In short,' concluded the parson, decisively smacking his leg with his switch, `there's hardly such another family in England.'

`Daze my eyes, and isn't there?' said Durbeyfield. 'And here have I been knocking about, year after year, from pillar to post, as if I was no more than the commonest feller in the parish... And how long hev this news about me been knowed, Pa'son Tringham?'

The clergyman explained that, as far as he was aware, it had quite died out of knowledge, and could hardly bc said to be known at all. His own investigations had begun on a day in the preceding spring when, having been engaged in tracing the vicissitudes of the d'Urberville family, he had observed Durbeyfield's name on his waggon, and had thereupon been led to make inquiries about his father and grandfather till he had no doubt on the subject.

`At first I resolved not to disturb you with such a useless piece of information,' said he. `However, our impulses are too strong for our judgment sometimes. I thought you might perhaps know something of it all the while.'

`Well, I have heard once or twice, `tis true, that my family had seen better days afore they came to Blackmoor. But I took no notice o't, thinking it to mean that we had once kept two horses where we now keep only one. I've got a wold silver spoon, and a wold graven seal at home, too; but, Lord, what's a spoon and seal?... And to think that I and these noble d'Urbervilles were one flesh all the time. 'Twas said that my gr't-grandfer had secrets, and didn't care to talk of where he came from... And where do we raise our smoke, now, parson, if I may make so bold; I mean, where do we d'Urbervilles live?'

`You don't live anywhere. You are extinct - as a county family.'

`That's bad.'

`Yes - what the mendacious family chronicles call extinct in the male line - that is, gone down - gone under.'

`Then where do we lie?'

`At Kingsbere-sub-Greenhill: rows and rows of you in your vaults, with your effigies under Purbeck-marble canopies.'

`And where be our family mansions and estates?'

`You haven't any.'

`Oh? No lands neither?'

`None; though you once had 'em in abundance, as I said, for your family consisted of numerous branches. In this county there was a seat of yours at Kingsbere, and another at Sherton, and another at Milipond, and another at Lullstead, and another at Wellbridge.'

`And shall we ever come into our own again?'

`Ah - that I can't tell!'

`And what had I better do about it, sir?' asked Durbeyfield, after a pause.

`Oh - nothing, nothing; except chasten yourself with the thought of "how are the mighty fallen". It is a fact of some interest to the local historian and genealogist, nothing more. There are several families among the cottagers of this county of almost equal lustre. Good night.'

`But you'll turn back and have a quart of beer wi' me on the strength o't, Pa'son Tringham? There's a very pretty brew in tap at The Pure Drop - though, to be sure, not so good as at Rolliver's.'

`No, thank you - not this evening, Durbeyfield. You've had enough already.' Concluding thus the parson rode on his way, with doubts as to his discretion in retailing this curious bit of lore.

When he was gone Durbeyfield walked a few steps in a profound reverie, and then sat down upon the grassy bank by the roadside, depositing his basket before him. In a few minutes a youth appeared in the distance, walking in the same direction as that which had been pursued by Durbeyfield. The latter, on seeing him, held up his hand, and the lad quickened his pace and came near.

`Boy, take up that basket! I want'ee to go on an errand for me.'

The lath-like stripling frowned. 'Who be you, then, John Durbeyfield, to order me about and call me "boy"? You know my name as well as I know yours!'

`Do you, do you? That's the secret - that's the secret! Now obey my orders, and take the message I'm going to charge 'ee wi'... .Well, Fred, I don't mind telling you that the secret is that I'm one of a noble race - it has been just found out by me this present afternoon P.M.' And as he made the announcement, Durbeyfield, declining from his sitting position, luxuriously stretched himself out upon the bank among the daisies.

The lad stood before Durbeyfield, and contemplated his length from crown to toe.

`Sir John d'Urberville - that's who I am,' continued the prostrate man. 'That is if knights were baronets - which they be. 'Tis recorded in history all about me. Dost know of such a place, lad, as Kingsbere-sub-Greenhill?'

`Ees. I've been there to Greenhill Fair.'

`Well, under the church of that city there lie--'

`'Tisn't a city, the place I mean; leastwise 'twaddn' when I was there--'twas a little one-eyed, blinking sort o' place.'

`Never you mind the place, boy, that's not the question before us. Under the church of that there parish lie my ancestors - hundreds of 'em - in coats of mail and Jewels, in gr't lead coffins weighing tons and tons. There's not a man in the county o' South-Wessex that's got grander and nobler skillentons in his family than I.'

`Oh?'

`Now take up that basket, and goo on to Marlott, and when you've come to The Pure Drop Inn, tell 'em to send a horse and carriage to me immediately, to carry me hwome. And in the bottom o' the carriage they be to put a noggin o' rum in a small bottle, and chalk it up to my account. And when you've done that goo on to my house with the basket, and tell my wife to put away that washing, because she needn't finish it, and wait till I come hwome, as I've news to tell her.'

As the lad stood in a dubious attitude, Durbeyfield put his hand in his pocket, and produced a shilling, one of the chronically few that he possessed.

`Here's for your labour, lad.'

This made a difference in the young man's estimate of the position.

`Yes, Sir John. Thank 'ee. Anything else I can do for 'ee, Sir John?'

`Tell 'em at hwome that I should like for supper, - well, lamb's fry if they can get it; and if they can't, black-pot; and if they can't get that, well, chitterlings will do.'

`Yes, Sir John.'

The boy took up the basket, and as he set out the notes of a brass band were heard from the direction of the village.

`What's that?' said Durbeyfield. `Not on account o' I?'

`'Tis the women's club-walking, Sir John. Why, your dater is one o' the members.'

`To be sure - I'd quite forgot it in my thoughts of greater things! Well, vamp on to Marlott, will ye, and order that carriage, and maybe I'll drive round and inspect the club.'

The lad departed, and Durbeyfield lay waiting on the grass and daisies in the evening sun. Not a soul passed that way for a long while, and the faint notes of the band were the only human sounds audible within the rim of blue hills.