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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7节 第七章 【
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在约好动身的那天早上,天还没亮苔丝就醒了——那时候正是黑夜即将天亮的时刻,树林里静悄悄的,只有一只先知先觉的鸟儿在用清脆嘹亮的声音歌唱着,坚信至少自己知道一天的正确时辰,但是其它的鸟儿却保持着沉默,仿佛也同样坚信那只唱歌的鸟儿把时辰叫错了。苔丝一直在楼上收拾行李,到了吃早饭的时候,她才穿着日常穿的衣服走下楼,而她那套最好的服装却仔仔细细地叠好了放在箱子里。
她的母亲劝她说:“你出门去走亲戚,从来都不会比你身上那套衣服穿得漂亮些吗?”
“可我是去工作的呀!”苔丝说。
“不错,是去工作,”德北菲尔德太太说;她用说悄悄话的口气补充说,“开头也许要假装点儿去工作……不过我觉得你还是把最好的衣服穿在外面好些。”
“好啦,好啦;我想你知道得最清楚,”苔丝不再反对了,冷淡地回答说。
为了让母亲高兴,姑娘只好把自己完全交到琼的手里,平静地说——“你爱怎样就怎样吧,妈妈。”
看见苔丝这样听话,德北菲尔德太太不由得心中大喜。她先去拿来一个大脸盆,彻底地把苔丝的头发洗了一遍,等到头发干了,梳理好了,看起来头发好像比平时多了一倍。她用一根比通常宽得多的粉红色带子把头发扎起来,然后再给苔丝穿上那件在会社游行时穿的白色袍子。苔丝一头蓬松的头发,配上身上穿的宽大袍子,使她正在发育的身体透露出一种成熟来,让人看不出她的实际年龄,也许会错误地把她当成一个成熟的妇人,而其实她比一个孩子大不了多少。
“我告诉你,我的袜子后跟上有一个洞,”苔丝说。
“袜子上有洞不要紧——它们又不会说话!我当姑娘的时候,只要有一顶漂亮的帽子戴,鬼才知道袜子上有洞呢。”
看见女儿漂亮的形体,母亲心里感到骄傲,往后退了几步,就像一个画家从画架前面走开,从整体上仔细打量自己的杰作。
“你一定要看一看你自己!”她嚷着说。“你比平时漂亮多了。”
由于镜子太小,一次只能照出苔丝身体的很小一部分,德北菲尔德太太就在窗玻璃的外面挂上一件黑色的外套,用这种办法把窗玻璃变成了一面大镜子,这也是乡下村民梳妆时常用的办法。然后,她就下楼找她的丈夫去了,那时候她丈夫坐在楼下的房间里。
“我要告诉你,德北菲尔德,”她兴高采烈地说:“他决不会不爱上她的。不过无论你说什么话,都不要对苔丝多说他喜欢苔丝的话,也不要提她得到的这个机会。她是一个脾气古怪的姑娘,说多了也许她就讨厌他了,甚至于她马上就不愿到那儿去了。如果一切顺利,我一定要对鹿脚巷的那个牧师有所报答,感谢他告诉我们那些事——他真是个好人。”
不过,姑娘动身的时刻越来越近了,当初梳妆打扮的兴奋一消失,琼·德北菲尔德太太的心里就出现了一阵担忧。因此这位家庭主妇说,她要送姑娘一程——要把姑娘送到山谷斜坡上的那个地点,那个斜坡是通向外部世界的第一个制高点。苔丝就在坡顶上等候斯托克·德贝维尔家派来的轻便马车,而她的行李已经由一个小伙子运到了坡顶上,做好了准备。
看见妈妈戴上了帽子,小孩子们就一起叫嚷起来,要跟她一起去。
“我也要去送姐姐,现在姐姐要嫁给绅士堂哥啦,要穿漂亮衣服啦!”
“唉,”苔丝叹了口气,满脸通红,连忙转过身去,“我再也不要听那些话了!妈妈,你干吗要把那些东西塞到他们头脑里去?”
“我的孩子们,姐姐是去为我们有钱的亲戚工作去的,是去帮着挣一笔钱,好再给家里买一匹马。”德北菲尔德太太安抚孩子们说。
“我走啦,爸爸。”苔丝哽咽着说。
“你去吧,我的孩子。”约翰爵士抬起头来说,为了庆祝苔丝出门的这个早晨,他又去喝了酒,垂着头在那儿打瞌睡。“好吧,但愿我那位年轻的朋友会喜欢上和他同宗的一位漂亮姑娘。还有,告诉他,苔丝,我们家从前是大户人家,现在完全败落了,我要把我们家的名号卖给他——对,卖给他——也不要大价钱。”
“决不能少了一千镑。”德北菲尔德太太大声说。
“告诉他——我要一千镑。算啦,我又想起来啦,我就少要点儿吧。这个名号加在他的身上,比加在像我这样一个没有本事的可怜人身上好多啦。告诉他,我只要他出一百镑。不过我不是个斤斤计较的人,——告诉他出五十镑就成——就出二十镑吧!行,就要二十镑——这是最低的价了。他妈的,祖宗的名誉总是祖宗的名誉,一个便士我也不能少啦!”
苔丝眼睛里充满了泪水,喉咙哽咽着,心里头百感交集,但足一句话也说不出来。她急忙转过身,走出门去了。
母女俩就这样上路一起走着,苔丝的两边各有一个孩子牵着她的手,心里似乎想着什么,不时地把苔丝看上一眼,就像在看一个正要去干一番大事业的人一样;她母亲同最小的一个孩子走在后面;这一群人构成了一幅图画,中间走着诚实的美丽,两边伴随着无邪的天真,后面跟随着头脑简单的虚荣。她们就一起这样走着,一直走到山坡的底下,从特兰里奇派来的马车就在坡顶上接她,先前的这种安排,是为了免得马车爬这段坡路。在远方第一层山峦的后面,沙斯顿峭壁一样的房舍打乱了山脊的轮廓。在蜿蜒而上的大路上,除了他们派来接苔丝的小伙子而外,看不见一个人影。小伙子坐在车把上,车里装着苔丝在这世界上所有的物品。
“在这儿等一会儿吧,马车很快就要来了,这是用不着怀疑的,”德北菲尔德太太说。“好啦,我已经看见那边的马车啦!”
马车已经来了——它似乎是突然从最近那片高地后面出现的,就停在推小车的小伙子旁边。因此苔丝的母亲和孩子们决定不再往前走了,苔丝在匆忙中向他们道别以后,就弯腰向山坡上走去。
他们看见苔丝的身影离马车越来越近,她的箱子也已经放到了马车上。但是就在她还没有完全走到马车跟前时,又有一辆马车从山顶上的一片树丛中飞快地驶了出来,它绕过路上的一段弯路,从行李车旁驶过来,停在苔丝的面前,苔丝抬头一看,似乎大吃一惊。
她的母亲最先看出来,第二辆车和第一辆车不一样,它不是一辆简陋寒酸的马车,而是一辆漂亮整洁的单马双轮马车,又叫狗车,漆光发亮,设备齐全。赶车的是一个二十三四岁的青年男子,嘴里叼着一根雪茄烟,头上戴一顶花哨的小帽,穿一件色彩灰暗的上衣和颜色相同的马裤,围着白色的围巾,戴着硬高领,手上戴着褐色的驾车手套——简而言之,他是一个漂亮的长着一张长脸的年轻人,就在一两个星期前,曾经拜访过琼,向她打听过苔丝的回话。
德北菲尔德太太像一个孩子似地鼓起掌来。鼓完掌后她看看下面,然后再看看上面。那意思还会骗了她吗?
“要让姐姐做贵夫人的就是那个绅士亲戚吗?”最小的那个孩子问。
就在那个时候,看得见穿细纱布衣服的苔丝形体在马车旁边静静地站着,神情上犹犹豫豫的,马车的主人正在同她说话。事实上,她那种看上去的犹豫远远不是犹豫,而是疑惑。她似乎宁肯坐那辆简陋寒酸的马车。那个年轻人下了车,似乎在劝说她上车。她转过脸去,对着山下她的亲人们,注视着那个小小的群体。似乎有一件事促使她下了决心;很可能,是她想到了王子是在她手里死的。她突然间上了车;他也上车坐在她的旁边,立即向拉车的马抽了一鞭。他们很快就驶过了运送箱子的慢车,消失在山头后面看不见了。
苔丝从视线里消失了,这件有趣的事情好像一幕戏剧,也就到了终场,小孩子的眼睛里都是热泪盈眶。最小的那个孩子说:“我真希望可怜的、可怜的苔丝没有离开家,没有去做贵夫人!”说完了,他把嘴角一咧,就大哭起来。这个新观点是有传染性的,第二个孩子也同样哭起来,接着又是一个,后来三个孩子都一起嚎啕大哭起来。
琼在转身回家的时候,眼睛里也同样充满了泪水。不过当她走回村子的时候,就只好被动地一切听天由命了。但是,当天晚上她睡在床上老是唉声叹气的,她丈夫问她有什么不舒服。
“唉,我也说不清楚,”她说。“我心里一直在想,要是苔丝没有离家,也许会更好些。”
“你先前为什么没有想到?”
“唉,那是姑娘的一个机会呀——不过,要是这件事再重新来过,我就要等到打听清楚了,弄明白了那个绅士是不是一个真的好心人,是不是把苔丝当他的堂妹对待,不然我就不会放苔丝走。”
“不错,你也许应该先打听打听的,”约翰爵士打着鼾声说。
琼·德北菲尔德总是能够从什么地方找到安慰:“好啦,作为真正的嫡亲后裔,只要她的王牌出得好,她应该把他吸引住的。如果他今天不娶她,明天还是要娶她的。因为任何人都看得出来,他已经深深地爱上苔丝啦。”
“什么是她的王牌呀?你是指她的德贝维尔血统?”
“不,真笨;她的脸——就和我从前的脸一个样。”

On the morning appointed for her departure Tess was awake before dawn at the marginal minute of the dark when the grove is still mute, save for one prophetic bird who sings with a clear voiced conviction that he at least knows the correct time of day, the rest preserving silence as if equally convinced that he is mistaken. She remained upstairs packing till breakfast-time, and then came down in her ordinary weekday clothes, her Sunday apparel being carefully folded in her box.

Her mother expostulated. `You will never set out to see your folks without dressing up more the dand than that?'

`But I am going to work!'said Tess.

`Well, yes,'said Mrs Durbeyfield, and in a private tone, `at first there mid be a little pretence o't... But I think it will be wiser of lee to put your best side outward,'she added.

`Very well; I suppose you know best,'replied Tess with calm abandonment.

And to please her parent the girl put herself quite in Joan's hands, saying serenely `Do what you like with me, mother.'Mrs Durbeyfield was only too delighted at this tractability. First she fetched a great basin, and washed Tess's hair with such thoroughness that when dried and brushed it looked twice as much as at other times. She tied it with a broader pink ribbon than usual. Then she put upon her the white frock that Tess had worn at the clubwalking, the airy fullness of which, supplementing her enlarged coiffure, imparted to her developing figure an amplitude which belied her age, and might cause her to be estimated as woman when she was not much more than a child.

`I declare there's a holes in your stockings-heel!'said Tess.

`Never mind holes in your stockings - they don't speak! When I was a maid, so long as I had a pretty bonnet the devil might ha'found me in heels.

Her mother's pride in the girl's appearance led her to step back, like a painter from his easel, and survey her work as a whole.

`You must zee yourself!'she cried. `It is much better than you was t'other day.'

As the looking-glass was only large enough to reflect a very small portion of Tess's person at one time, Mrs Durbeyfield hung a black cloak outside the casement, and so made a large reflector of the panes, as it is the wont of bedecking cottagers to do. After this she went downstairs to her husband, who was sitting in the lower room.

`I'll tell 'ee what 'tis, Durbeyfield,'said she exultingly; `he'll never have the heart not to love her. But whatever you do, don't zay too much to Tess of his fancy for her, and this chance she has got. She is such an odd maid that it mid zet her against him, or against going there, even now. If all goes well, I shall certainly be for making some return to that pa'son at Stagfoot Lane for telling us - dear, good man!'

However, as the moment for the girl's setting out drew nigh, when the first excitement of the dressing had passed off, a slight misgiving found place in Joan Durbeyfield's mind. It prompted the matron to say that she would walk a little way - as far as to the point where the acclivity from the valley began its first steep ascent to the outer world. At the top Tess was going to be met with the spring-cart sent by the Stoke-d'Urbervilles, and her box had already been wheeled ahead towards this summit by a lad with trucks, to be in readiness.

Seeing their mother put on her bonnet the younger children clamoured to go with her.

`I do want to walk a little ways wi'Sissy, now she's going to marry our gentleman-cousin, and wear fine cloze!'

`Now,'said Tess, flushing and turning quickly, `I'll hear no more o'that! Mother, how could you ever put such stuff into their heads?'

`Going to work, my dears, for our rich relation, and help get enough money for a new horse,'said Mrs Durbeyfield pacifically.

`Good-bye, father,'said Tess, with a lumpy throat.

`Good-bye, my maid,'said Sir John, raising his head from his breast as he suspended his nap, induced by a slight excess this morning in honour of the occasion. `Well, I hope my young friend will like such a comely sample of his own blood. And tell'n, Tess, that being sunk, quite, from our former grandeur, I'll sell him the title - yes, sell it - and at no onreasonable figure.'

`Not for less than a thousand pound!'cried Lady Durbeyfield.

`Tell'n - I'll take a thousand pound. Well, I'll take less, when I come to think o't. He'll adorn it better than a poor lammicken feller like myself can. Tell'n he shall hae it for a hundred. But I won't stand upon trifles - tell'n he shall hae it for fifty-for twenty pound! Yes, twenty pound - that's the lowest. Dammy, family honour is family honour, and I won't take a penny less!'

Tess's eyes were too full and her voice too choked to utter the sentiments that were in her. She turned quickly, and went out.

So the girls and their mother all walked together, a child on each side of Tess, holding her hand, and looking at her meditatively from time to time, as at one who was about to do great things; her mother just behind with the smallest; the group forming a picture of honest beauty flanked by innocence, and backed by simple souled vanity. They followed the way till they reached the beginning of the ascent, on the crest of which the vehicle from Trantridge was to receive her, this limit having been fixed to save the horse the labour of the last slope. Far away behind the first hills the cliff-like dwellings of Shaston broke the line of the ridge. Nobody was visible in the elevated road which skirted the ascent save the lad whom they had sent on before them, sitting on the handle of the barrow that contained all Tess's worldly possessions.

`Bide here a bit, and the cart will soon come, no doubt,'said Mrs Durbeyfield. `Yes, I see it yonder!'

It had come - appearing suddenly from behind the forehead of the nearest upland, and stopping beside the boy with the barrow. Her mother and the children thereupon decided to go no farther, and bidding them a hasty goodbye Tess bent her steps up the hill.

They saw her white shape draw near to the spring-cart, on which her box was already placed. But before she had quite reached it another vehicle shot out from a clump of trees on the summit, came round the bend of the road there, passed the luggage-cart, and halted beside Tess, who looked up as if in great surprise.

Her mother perceived, for the first time, that the second vehicle was not a humble conveyance like the first, but a spick-and-span gig or dogcart, highly varnished and equipped. The driver was a young man of three or four-and-twenty, with a cigar between his teeth; wearing a dandy cap, drab Jacket, breeches of the same hue, white 'neckcloth, stickup collar, and brown driving - gloves - in short, he was the handsome, horsey young buck who had visited Joan a week or two before to get her answer about Tess.

Mrs Durbeyfield clapped her hands like a child. Then she looked down, then stared again. Could she be deceived as to the meaning of this?

`Is dat the gentleman-kinsman who'll make Sissy a lady?'asked the youngest child.

Meanwhile the muslined form of Tess could be seen standing still, undecided, beside this turnout, whose owner was talking to her. Her seeming indecision was, in fact, more than indecision: it was misgiving. She would have preferred the humble cart. The young man dismounted, and appeared to urge her to ascend. She turned her face down the hill to her relatives, and regarded the little group. Something seemed to quicken her to a determination; possibly the thought that she had killed Prince. She suddenly stepped up; he mounted beside her, and immediately whipped on the horse. In a moment they had passed the slow cart with the box, and disappeared behind the shoulder of the hill.

Directly Tess was out of sight, and the interest of the matter as a drama was at an end, the little ones'eyes filled with tears. The youngest child said, `I wish poor, poor Tess wasn't gone away to be a lady!'and, lowering the corners of his lips, burst out crying. The new point of view was infectious, and the next child did likewise, and then the next, till the whole three of them wailed loud.

There were tears also in Joan Durbeyfield's eyes as she turned to go home. But by the time she had got back to the village she was passively trusting to the favour of accident. However, in bed that night she sighed, and her husband asked her what was the matter.

`Oh, I dont know exactly,'she said. `I was thinking that perhaps it would ha'been better if Tess had not gone.'

`Oughtn't ye to have thought of that before?'

`Well, 'tis a chance for the maid------Still, if 'twere the doing again, I wouldn't let her go till I had found out whether the gentleman is really a good hearted young man and choice over her as his kinswoman.'

`Yes, you ought, perhaps, to ha'done that,'snored Sir John.

Joan Durbeyfield always managed to find consolation somewhere: `Well, as one of the genuine stock, she ought to make her way with 'en, if she plays her trump card aright. And if he don't marry her afore he will after. For that he's all afire wi'love for her any eye can see.'

`What's her trump card? Her d'Urberville blood, you mean?'

`No, stupid; her face - as 'twas mine.'