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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3节 第三章 【
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至于苔丝·德北菲尔德,她要把这件事从思虑中清除掉却没有那么容易。她好久都打不起精神来再去跳舞,虽然有许多人想做她的舞伴;可是,唉!他们谁说话都不像刚才那个陌生人说得叫人爱听。她一直站在那儿等着,直到山坡上那个年轻陌生人的身影在阳光中消失了,她才抛开一时的悲哀,接受了刚才想同她跳舞的人的邀请。
她在舞场和她的伙伴们一直呆到黄昏,跳舞时也有一些热情;到现在她还情窦未开,喜欢踩着节奏跳舞纯粹是为了跳舞的缘故;当她看见那些被人追求和被人娶走的姑娘都有她们“温柔的折磨、苦味的甜蜜、可爱的痛苦和愉快的烦恼”时,她心里很少想到要是自己身陷其中能够怎样。她看到小伙子们竞相争着要同她跳一曲吉格舞时,心里头只感到好笑,并没有想到别的;当他们闹得凶了,她就责骂他们一阵。
她本来可以在那儿玩得更久一些,但是心里又想起了父亲古怪的样子和神态,着急起来,不知道父亲怎么样了,于是她就离开舞伴,掉转脚步朝村头她家的小屋走去。
当她走到离家几十码的地方,她听见了另外一种跟她刚刚离开的舞场上的节奏声不同的节奏声;那是她熟悉的声音——非常熟悉的声音。它们是从屋里面传出来的一连串有规律的砰砰声,原来是摇篮的猛烈摇动碰撞石头地面而发出的声音。随着摇篮的摇动,一个女声正用一种快速舞曲的一节奏唱。一首流行小调《花斑母牛》:
我看见她躺——在那——边绿色的树——林里;
来吧,亲爱的!我要告诉你在哪儿!
摇篮的摇动和歌声一起暂时停了下来,一阵高声尖叫代替了原先的曲调:
“上帝保佑你那钻石样的眼睛!保信你那凝脂样的粉脸!保佑你那樱桃样的小嘴!保佑你那小爱神样的双腿!保佑你有福的身体的每一处地方!”
这阵祈祷过后,摇篮的摇动和歌唱又开始了,《花斑母牛》这首小调也像先前一样唱起来。苔丝推开门,站在垫子上观察到的情景是这样的。
屋内尽管有唱歌的声音,但是苔丝却感到有一种说不出的凄凉。从田野里节日的欢乐——白色的长袍,一束束鲜花,垂柳的枝条,草地上旋转的舞步,对陌生人生出来的柔情——到一支蜡烛的昏黄暗淡的景象,这是多么巨大的差异啊!除了对比之下引起的不愉快而外,她在心里头还产生了一阵严厉的自我责备,怪自己没有早点回来帮助母亲做些家务事情,而一直在外面贪恋玩乐。
她的母亲站在一群孩子中间,同苔丝离开她时一样,正在洗一盆星期一就该洗的衣服,这盆衣服现在同往常一样,一直拖到周末了。昨天就在那只洗衣盆里——苔丝感到一阵后悔的可怕刺痛——就是她身上现在穿的这件白色袍子,她因为粗心在湿漉漉的草地上把它的下摆染绿了——它是由母亲亲手拧干和熨平的。
德北菲尔德太太像往常一样,一只脚站在洗衣盆旁,另一只脚正忙着刚才说过的事,就是不停地摇着最小的孩子。那个摇篮的摇轴经历过无数孩子的重压,在石板铺成的地板上已经辛辛苦苦地摇动了许多年,都差不多快要磨平了,因为摇篮的每一次摆动而引起的剧烈震动,都要把摇篮中的孩子像织布的梭子一样从一边抛到另一边。德北菲尔德太太在洗衣盆的泡沫里已经劳累一整天了,在她的歌声的激励下,用她身上剩余的力气踩着摇篮。
摇篮砰吱砰吱地摇着;烛焰伸长了,开始上下摇曳起来;德北菲尔德太太仔细注视着她的女儿,洗衣水从她的胳膊肘上流下来,《花斑母牛》也很快唱到了一段的末尾。甚至现在,琼·德北菲尔德太太身上压着一群孩子的重担,她也十分喜欢唱歌。只要有小调从外面的世界传入黑荒原谷,苔丝的母亲就能在一星期里学会它的曲子。
在德北菲尔德太太的面目上,还依稀闪耀着一些她当年年轻时候的鲜艳甚至美丽的光辉;这表明也许苔丝可以引为自豪的她身上的美貌,主要是来自她母亲的恩赐,而不是她的骑士血统和历史渊源带来的。
“我来摇摇篮吧,妈妈,”女儿轻声说。“要不我把我身上这件最好的衣服脱下来,帮你把衣服拧干了吧?我还以为你早已经洗完了呢。”
苔丝把家务事留给母亲一个人做,在外面玩得这么久,但母亲并没有埋怨她。说实在的,琼从来都很少因为这个责怪女儿,她只是稍微感到没有苔丝帮忙,要是想让自己干活轻松些,就只能把活儿推到后面去。但是今天晚上,她好像比平常要快乐些。在母亲的脸上,有一种女儿不明白的朦胧恍馏、心不在焉和洋洋得意的神情。
“噢,你回来得正好,”她母亲刚把最后一个音唱完就开口说。“我正要出去找你的父亲;不过还有比这更重要的,我要告诉你刚才发生的事。我的小宝贝,你听了一定要高兴的!”德北菲尔德太太习惯于说土话;她的女儿在国立小学①里经过伦敦培养的女教师的教育,已经读完了第六年级,因而讲两种语言:在家里或多或少讲土话;在外面和对有教养的人讲普通英语。
 
①国立小学(National School),英国国教贫民教育促进会创办并受到英国政府补贴的普及六年教育的小学。

“我不在家里时发生了什么事吧?”苔丝问。
“是的。”
“今天下午,我看见父亲坐在大马车里装模作样的,是为我父亲这件事吗?为什么他要那样?我羞得恨不得地上有个地洞钻进去。”
“那只是这场轰动的一部分呐!已经有人考证过,说我们家是全郡最大的世家——一直可以往上追溯到奥利弗·格朗布尔时代——追溯到土耳其异教徒的时候——有墓碑,有地下墓室,有盔饰,有盾徽,天知道还有些什么。在圣·查理斯的时候,我们家被封为王家橡树骑士,我们本来的名字叫德贝维尔!……难道这还不使你心里头激动吗?就是因为这个你父亲才坐着马车回家的;倒不是因为他喝酒喝醉了,别人倒说他喝醉酒了。”
“我自然高兴。这对我们有什么好处吧,母亲?”
“啊,有呀!照想大大的好处就要跟着来了。用不着怀疑,这消息一传出去,和我们一样的贵族人家就要成群结队地坐着马车来拜访我们了。你父亲是在从夏斯顿回家的路上听说这件事的,他把整个事情的来龙去脉都告诉我了。”
“父亲去哪儿啦?”苔丝突然问。
她的母亲答话时说了一些不相干的事:“他今天去夏斯顿看病。他的病本来就不像是痨病。医生说是他的心脏周围长了脂肪。你看,就是这个样子。”琼·德北菲尔德一边说着,一边用被水泡得肿胀的拇指和食指圈出一个字母C的形状,用另一只手的食指指着。“‘就在眼下这时候’,医生对你父亲说,‘你的心脏在那儿被脂肪包住了,在那儿也全是脂肪;这块地方还空着,’医生说。‘等到脂肪长满了,成了这个样子,’”——德北菲尔德太太把她的手指合拢来,圈成一个圆圈——“‘你就会像影子一样地消失了,德北菲尔德先生,’医生说。‘你也许还能活十年;你也许不到十个月甚至十天就送了命。’”
苔丝脸上露出惊慌的神情。尽管她们家突然尊贵起来,但是她父亲可能很快就要到天上永恒的世界中去了。
“可是父亲去哪儿啦?”她又问道。
她母亲的脸上显露出来一种反对的神情。“你不要发脾气啊!可怜的老头子——听了牧师的话,他觉得身价高了,就沉不住气了——半个钟点前他到罗利弗酒店喝酒去了。他是想恢复点儿力气,好装上蜂箱明天赶路,不管我们是不是世家,蜂箱明天一定要送走的。这段路远得很,因此一过半夜他就得动身。”
“是去恢复力气吗!”苔丝气冲冲地说,眼睛里充满了泪水。“噢,老天!到酒店里去恢复力气!母亲,你竟然也同意让他去!”
她的神情和责备似乎充满了整个屋子,一种使人害怕的气氛似乎传给了家具、蜡烛和四周玩耍的孩子们,也似乎传到了她母亲的脸上。
“不是的,”她母亲生气地说,“我没有同意他去喝酒。我一直在等着你回来照看屋子,好让我出去找他。”
“我去找。”
“不,苔丝。你明白的,你去找他没有用。”
苔丝不再争辩了。她明白母亲反对她去的意思。德北菲尔德太太的衣服和帽子挂在她身边的一把椅子上,已经为这趟计划中的外出准备好了,这位家庭主妇感到伤心的理由并不是她必须出这趟门。
“你把这本《算命大全》拿到屋外去,”琼接着说,很快就把手擦干净了,穿上了衣服。
《算命大全》是一本厚厚的古书,就摆在她手边的一张桌子上,因为经常装在口袋里,它已经十分破旧了,边儿都磨到了文字的边上。苔丝拿起书,她母亲也就动身了。
到酒店里走一趟,寻找她的没有出息的丈夫,仍然是德北菲尔德太太在抚养孩子的又脏又累的生活中的一件乐事。在罗利弗酒店里把丈夫找到,在酒店里同丈夫一起坐一两个钟头,暂时把带孩子的烦恼丢在一边,这是使她感到愉快的一件事。这时候,她的生活中显现出一种光明,一种玫瑰色的夕照。一切烦恼和现实中的事情都化作了抽象的虚无缥缈的东西,变成了仅仅供人沉思默想的精神现象,再也不是折磨肉体和灵魂的紧迫的具体的东西。她生的一群小孩子,一旦不在眼前,就似乎不是叫人讨厌,而是叫人感到聪明可爱;坐在那儿,日常生活中的琐事也就有了幽默和欢乐。在她现在嫁的这个丈夫当年向她求婚的同一地点,她坐在他的身边,对他身上的缺点视而不见,只是把他看成一个理想化了的情人,她又多少感觉到了当时有过的感情。
苔丝一个人留下来,同弟弟和妹妹呆在一起,就先拿着那本算命的书走到屋外,把它塞进茅草屋顶里。对这本恐怖的书,她的母亲有一种奇怪的物神崇拜的恐惧,从来不敢整夜把它放在屋内,所以每次用完以后,都要把它送回原处。母亲身上还带着正在迅速消亡的迷信、传说、土话和口头相传的民谣,而女儿则按照不断修订的新教育法规接受过国民教育和学习过标准知识,因此在母亲和女儿之间,依照通常的理解就有一条两百年的鸿沟。当她们母女俩在一起的时候,就是雅各宾时代和维多利亚时代放在一起加以对照。
当苔丝沿着花园的小道回屋时,心里默默地想,母亲在今天这个特别的日子里是想从书中查找什么。她猜想这本书同最近她们家祖先的发现有关,但是她却不曾预料到同它有关的只是她自己。但是她不去猜想了,又忙着往白天晾干的衣服上喷了一些水。这时同苔丝在一起的,是已经上床睡觉的九岁的弟弟亚伯拉罕,十二岁的妹妹伊丽萨·露易莎,她又叫丽莎·露,还有一个婴孩。苔丝同挨近她的妹妹相差四岁多,在这段时间空白里,还有两个孩子在襁褓中死了,因此当她单独同弟弟妹妹相处时,她身上的态度就像一个代理母亲。比亚伯拉罕小的是两个女孩子盼盼和素素;然后是一个三岁的男孩,最后是一个刚刚满一周岁的婴孩。
所有这些生灵都是德北菲尔德家族船上的乘客——他们的欢乐、他们的需要、他们的健康、甚至他们的生存,都完全取决于德北菲尔德两口子。假如德北菲尔德家的两个家长选择一条航线,要把这条船开进困苦、灾难、饥饿、疾病、屈辱、死亡中去,那么这些关在船舱里的半打小俘虏也只好被迫同他们一起进去——六个无依无靠的小生命,从来没有人问过他们对生活有什么要求,更没有人问过他们是否愿意生活在艰苦的环境里,就像他们生活在无能为力的德北菲尔德的家中一样。有些人也许想知道,那个说“大自然的神圣计划”的诗人①是不是有他的根据,因为近些年来,他的哲学被认为像他的清新纯洁的诗一样,也是深刻和值得相信的。
 
①指华兹华斯。

天色渐渐晚了,但是父亲和母亲谁也没有回来。苔丝向门外看去,心里把马洛特村想象了一番。村子正在闭上眼睛。所有地方的烛光和灯火都熄灭了:她在心里头能够看见熄灭灯火的人和伸出去的手。
她的母亲出去找人,简直是又多了一个要找的人。苔丝开始想到,一个身体不大好的人,又要在第二天早上一点钟前上路,就不应该这么晚还呆在酒店里庆祝他的古老的血统。
“亚伯拉罕,”她对她的小弟弟说,“把帽子戴上,害不害怕?——到罗利弗酒店去,看看父亲和母亲是怎么回事。”
孩子立即从床铺上跳下来,把门打开,身影就在黑夜里消失了。又过去了半个小时;男的、女的、老的、小的,谁都没有回来。亚伯拉罕和他的父母一样,似乎也让那个陷阱酒店给同住了、粘住了。
“我必须自己去了,”她说。
那时丽莎·露已经睡觉,苔丝就把他们都锁在屋里,开始走上那条漆黑弯曲的和修来不是用来走急路的小路或者小街;修那条小街的时候,还没有到寸土寸金的程度,而且那时候还是用一根针的时钟指示时间的。
 

As for Tess Durbeyfield, she did not so easily dislodge the incident from her consideration. She had no spirit to dance again for a long time, though she might have had plenty of partners; but, ah! they did not speak so nicely as the strange young man had done. It was not till the rays of the sun had absorbed the young stranger's retreating figure on the hill that she shook off her temporary sadness and answered her would-be partner in the affirmative.

She remained with her comrades till dusk, and participated with a certain zest in the dancing; though, being heart-whole as yet, she enjoyed treading a measure purely for its own sake; little divining when she saw `the soft torments, the bitter sweets, the pleasing pains, and the agreeable distresses' of those girls who had been wooed and won, what she herself was capable of in that kind. The struggles and wrangles of the lads for her hand in a jig were an amusement to her - no more; and when they became fierce she rebuked them.

She might have stayed even later, but the incident of her father's odd appearance and manner returned upon the girl's mind to make her anxious, and wondering what had become of him she dropped away from the dancers and bent her steps towards the end of the village at which the parental cottage lay.

While yet many score yards off, other rhythmic sounds than those she had quitted became audible to her; sounds that she knew well - so well. They were a regular series of thumpings from the interior of the house, occasioned by the violent rocking of a cradle upon a stone floor, to which movement a feminine voice kept time by singing, in a vigorous gallopade, the favourite ditty of `The Spotted Cow'--

I saw her lie do' - own in yon' - der green gro' - ove; Come, love!' and I'll tell' you where!'

The cradle-rocking and the song would cease simultaneously for a moment, and an exclamation at highest vocal pitch would take the place of the melody.
`God bless thy diment eyes! And thy waxen cheeks! And thy cherry mouth! And thy Cubit's thighs! And every bit o'thy blessed body!'

After this invocation the rocking and the singing would recommence, and the `Spotted Cow' proceed as before. So matters stood when Tess opened the door, and paused upon the mat within it surveying the scene.

The interior, in spite of the melody, struck upon the girl's senses with an unspeakable dreariness. From the holiday gaieties of the field - the white gowns, the nosegays, the willow-wands, the whirling movements on the green, the flash of gentle sentiment towards the stranger - to the yellow melancholy of this one-candled spectacle, what a step! Besides the jar of contrast there came to her a chill self-reproach that she had not returned sooner, to help her mother in these domesticities, instead of indulging herself out-of-doors.

There stood her mother amid the group of children, as Tess had left her, hanging over the Monday washing-tub, which had now, as always, lingered on to the end of the week. Out of that tub had come the day before - Tess felt it with a dreadful sting of remorse - the very white frock upon her back which she had so carelessly greened about the skirt on the damping grass - which had been wrung up and ironed by her mother's own hands.

As usual, Mrs Durbeyfield was balanced on one foot beside the tub, the other being engaged in the aforesaid business of rocking her youngest child. The cradle-rockers had done hard duty for so many years, under the weight of so many children, on that flagstone floor, that they were worn nearly flat, in consequence of which a huge jerk accompanied each swing of the cot, flinging the baby from side to side like a weaver's shuttle, as Mrs Durbeyfield, excited by her song, trod the rocker with all the spring that was left in her after a long day's seething in the suds.

Nick-knock, nick-knock, went the cradle; the candle-flame stretched itself tall, and began jigging up and down; the water dribbled from the matron's elbows, and the song galloped on to the end of the verse, Mrs Durbeyfield regarding her daughter the while. Even now, when burdened with a young family, Joan Durbeyfield was a passionate lover of tune. No ditty floated into Blackmoor Vale from the outer world but Tess's mother caught up its notation in a week.

There still faintly beamed from the woman's features something of the freshness, and even the prettiness, of her youth; rendering it probable that the personal charms which Tess could boast of were in main part her mother's gift, and therefore unknightly, unhistorical.

`I'll rock the cradle for 'ee, mother,' said the daughter gently.

`Or I'll take off my best frock and help you wring up? I thought you had finished long ago.'

Her mother bore Tess no ill-will for leaving the house-work to her single-handed efforts for so long; indeed, Joan seldom up-braided her thereon at any time, feeling but slightly the lack of Tess's assistance whilst her instinctive plan for relieving herself of her labours lay in postponing them. To-night, however, she wis even in a blither mood than usual. There was a dreaminess, a preoccupation, an exaltation, in the maternal look which the girl could not understand.

`Well, I'm glad you've come,' her mother said, as soon as the last note had passed out of her. `I want to go and fetch your father; but what's more'n that, I want to tell 'ee what have happened. Y'll be fess enough, my poppet, when th'st know!' (Mrs Durbeyfield habitually spoke the dialect; her daughter, who had passed the Sixth Standard in the National School under a London-trained mistress, spoke two languages; the dialect at home, more or less; ordinary English abroad and to persons of quality.)

`Since I've been away?' Tess asked.

`Ay!'

`Had it anything to do with father's making such a mommet of himself in thik carriage this afternoon? Why did 'er? I felt inclined to sink into the ground with shame!'

`That wer all a part of the larry! We've been found to be the greatest gentlefolk in the whole county - reaching all back long before Oliver Grumble's time - to the days of the Pagan Turks - with monuments, and vaults, and crests, and `scutcheons, and the Lord knows what all. In Saint Charles's days we was made Knights o' the Royal Oak, our real name being d'Urberville!... Don't that make your bosom plim? 'Twas on this account that your father rode home in the vlee; not because he'd been drinking, as people supposed.'

`I'm glad of that. Will it do us any good, mother?'

`O yes! 'Tis thoughted that great things may come o't. No doubt a mampus of volk of our own rank will be down here in their carriages as soon as 'tis known. Your father learnt it on his way hwome from Shaston, and he has been telling me the whole pedigree of the matter.'

`Where is father now?' asked Tess suddenly.

Her mother gave irrelevant information by way of answer: `He called to see the doctor to-day in Shaston. It is not consumption at all, it seems. It is fat round his heart, 'a says. There, it is like this.' Joan Durbeyfield, as she spoke, curved a sodden thumb and forefinger to the shape of the letter C, and used the other forefinger as a pointer. ` "At the present moment," he says to your father, "your heart is enclosed all round there, and all round there; this space is still open," 'a says. "As soon as it do meet, so," ` - Mrs Durbeyfield closed her fingers into a circle complete"off you will go like a shadder, Mr Durbeyfield," 'a says. "You mid last ten years; you mid go off in ten months, or ten days." '

Tess looked alarmed. Her father possibly to go behind the eternal cloud so soon, notwithstanding this sudden greatness!

`But where is father?' she asked again.

Her mother put on a deprecating look. `Now don't you be bursting out angry! The poor man - he felt so rafted after his uplifting by the pa'son's news - that he went up to Rolliver's half an hour ago. He do want to get up his strength for his journey to-morrow with that load of beehives, which must be delivered, family or no. He'll have to start shortly after twelve to-night, as the distance is so long.'

`Get up his strength!' said Tess impetuously, the tears welling to her eyes. `O my God! Go to a public-house to get up his strength! And you as well agreed as he, mother!'

Her rebuke and her mood seemed to fill the whole room, and to impart a cowed look to the furniture, and candle, and children playing about, and to her mother's face.

`No,' said the latter touchily, `I be not agreed. I have been waiting for 'ee to bide and keep house while I go to fetch him.'

`I'll go.'

`O no, Tess. You see, it would be no use.'

Tess did not expostulate. She knew what her mother's objection meant. Mrs Durbeyfield's jacket and bonnet were already hanging slily upon a chair by her side, in readiness for this contemplated jaunt, the reason for which the matron deplored more than its necessity.

`And take the Compleat Fortune-Teller to the outhouse,' Joan continued, rapidly wiping her hands, and donning the garments.

The Compleat Fortune-Teller was an old thick volume, which lay on a table at her elbow, so worn by pocketing that the margins had reached the edge of the type. Tess took it up, and her mother started.

This going to hunt up her shiftless husband at the inn was one of Mrs Durbeyfield's still extant enjoyments in the muck and muddle of rearing children. To discover him at Rolliver's, to sit there for an hour or two by his side and dismiss all thought and care of the children during the interval, made her happy. A sort of halo, an occidental glow, came over life then. Troubles and other realities took on themselves a metaphysical impalpability, sinking to mere mental phenomena for serene contemplation, and no longer stood as pressing concretions which chafed body and soul. The youngsters, not immediately within sight, seemed rather bright and desirable appurtenances than otherwise; the incidents of daily life were not without humorousness and jollity in their aspect there. She felt a little as she had used to feel when she sat by her now wedded husband in the same spot during his wooing, shutting her eyes to his defects of character, and regarding him only in his ideal presentation as lover.

Tess, being left alone with the younger children, went first to the outhouse with the fortune-telling book, and stuffed it into the thatch. A curious fetichistic fear of this grimy volume on the part of her mother prevented her ever allowing it to stay in the house all night, and hither it was brought back whenever it had been consulted. Between the mother, with her fast-perishing lumber of superstitions, folk-lore, dialect, and orally transmitted ballads, and the daughter, with her trained National teachings and Standard knowledge under an infinitely Revised Code, there was a gap of two hundred years as ordinarily understood. When they were together the Jacobean and the Victorian ages were juxtaposed.

Returning along the garden path Tess mused on what the mother could have wished to ascertain from the book on this particular day. She guessed the recent ancestral discovery to bear upon it, but did not divine that it solely concerned herself. Dismissing this, however, she busied herself with sprinkling the linen dried during the daytime, in company with her nine-year-old brother Abraham, and her sister Eliza-Louisa of twelve and a half, called `'Liza-Lu', the youngest ones being put to bed. There was an interval of four years and more between Tess and the next of the family, the two who had filled the gap having died in their infancy, and this lent her a deputy-maternal attitude when she was alone with her Juniors. Next in juvenility to Abraham came two more girls, Hope and Modesty; then a boy of three, and then the baby, who had just completed his first year.

All these young souls were passengers in the Durbeyfield ship - entirely dependent on the judgment of the two Durbeyfield adults for their pleasures, their necessities, their health, even their existence. If the heads of the Durbeyfield household chose to sail into difficulty, disaster, starvation, disease, degradation, death, thither were these half-dozen little captives under hatches compelled to sail with them - six helpless creatures, who had never been asked if they wished for life on any terms, much less if they wished for it on such hard conditions as were involved in being of the shiftless house of Durbeyfield. Some people would like to know whence the poet whose philosophy is in these days deemed as profound and trustworthy as his song is breezy and pure, gets his authority for speaking of `Nature's holy plan'.

It grew later, and neither father nor mother reappeared. Tess looked out of the door, and took a mental journey through Marlott. The village was shutting its eves. Candles and lamps were being put out everywhere: she could inwardly behold the extinguisher and the extended hand.

Her mother's fetching simply meant one more to fetch. Tess began to perceive that a man in indifferent health, who proposed to start on a journey before one in the morning, ought not to be at an inn at this late hour celebrating his ancient blood.

`Abraham,' she said to her little brother, `do you put on your hat - you bain't afraid? - and go up to Rolliver's, and see what has gone wi' father and mother.'

The boy jumped promptly from his seat, and opened the door, and the night swallowed him up. Half an hour passed yet again; neither man, woman, nor child returned. Abraham, like his parents, seemed to have been limed and caught by the ensnaring inn.

`I must go myself,' she said.

'Liza-Lu then went to bed, and Tess, locking them all in, started on her way up the dark and crooked lane or street not made for hasty progress; a street laid out before inches of land had value, and when one-handed clocks sufficiently subdivided the day.