用户名: 密码: 验证码:    注册 | 忘记密码?
主页 |英文小说 |双语传记 |双语戏剧 |双语文史哲 |双语儿童文学 |双语科技 |经典英译 |其他双语名著
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9节 第九章 【
   已开启划词功能

苔丝担负的工作就是当一大群鸡的监护人、食物供应商、护上、外科医生和朋友,这群鸡的大本营是矗立在一个场院中的一所旧茅屋,那个场院从前是一个花园,但是现在却被踩成了一块满是沙土的方形场地。茅屋上爬满了长春藤,屋顶上的烟囱也布满了这种寄生植物的枝蔓,因此变得粗大了,它的外形看上去就好像是一个废弃了的塔楼。下面的房间全都作了鸡舍,这一群鸡带着主人的神气在房间里走来走去,仿佛这些房子都是它们自己建造的,而不是由那些埋葬在教堂墓地中现在已化为尘土的地产保有人建造的。当这份产业根据法律一落到斯托克·德贝维尔夫人手里,她就满不在乎地把这所房子变成了鸡舍,这在往日房主的子孙们看来,简直就是对他们家的侮辱,因为在德贝维尔家来到这儿住下以前,他们对这所房子都怀有深厚的感情,花费了他们祖先大量的金钱,房子也一直是他们好几代人的财产。他们说:“在我们祖父的时候,有身分的人住这所房子也是够好的。”
在这所房子的房间里,曾经有几十个还在吃奶的婴儿大声哭叫过,而现在里面却回响着小鸡啄食的噗噗声。在从前摆放椅子的地方,现在却摆放着鸡笼,从前椅子上坐着安详的农夫,而现在鸡笼里却养着心神不宁的母鸡。在壁炉烟囱的墙角和曾经火光熊熊的壁炉旁边,现在堆满了倒扣过来的蜂窝,变成了母鸡下蛋的鸡窝;门外的一块块园畦,从前每一块都叫房主拿着铁鍬拾掇得整整齐齐,现在都让公鸡用最野蛮的方式刨得乱七八糟。
修建这所房子的花园四周有一道围墙,只有通过一道门才能进入园内。
第二天早上,苔丝整整忙了一个小时来收拾鸡舍,她本来就是以贩卖家禽为业的人家的女儿,所以就凭着自己的巧思对鸡场作了改动,重新布置了一番。就在这个时候,墙上的门被打开了,一个戴着白帽子系着白围裙的女仆走了进来。她是从庄园里来的。
“德贝维尔夫人又要鸡啦,”她说:不过她看见苔丝没有完全明白,就解释说,“夫人是一个老太太,眼睛瞎了。”
“眼睛瞎啦!”苔丝说。
听了女仆的话,苔丝疑虑丛生,但还没有等到她回过味来,就按照女仆的指点抱起两种最漂亮的汉堡鸡,跟在也同样抱着两只鸡的女仆后面,向附近的庄园走去;庄园虽然装饰华丽、雄伟壮观,但是种种迹象显示,住在庄园里的人喜爱不会说话的动物——庄园前面的空中鸡毛飘飞,草地上也摆满了鸡宠。
在楼下一间起居室里,庄园的主人和主妇背对着亮光舒适地坐在一把扶手椅上,她是一个白发苍苍的老妇人,戴一顶大便帽,年龄不过六十岁,甚至不到六十岁。她的视力已经逐渐衰退了,她对这一双眼睛也曾经作过巨大努力,后来才不大情愿地放弃了,这同那些失明多年或者生来就是瞎子的人明显不同,因此她的脸经常显得很生动。苔丝带着她的鸡走到老夫人的面前——她一只手上抱着一只鸡。
“啊,你就是那个来帮我照看鸡的姑娘吧?”德贝维尔夫人听见有一种新的脚步声,嘴里说。“我希望你能好好地照顾它们。我的管家告诉我说,你为我照看鸡是最合适的人。好啦,我的鸡在哪儿?哦,这是斯特拉特①!不过它今天不太活泼,是不是?我想因为是一个陌生人带它来,把它吓着啦。凤凰也一样——对。它们都有点害怕——你们是不是有点儿害怕,我的宝贝?不过它们很快就会熟悉你的。”
 
①斯特拉特(Strut),意为趾高气扬、神气活现。
老夫人一边说话,一边打着手势,苔丝就和另外那个女仆按照手势把鸡一个个放在老夫人的膝上。老夫人用手从头到尾地摸它们,检查它们的嘴、鸡冠、翅膀、爪子和公鸡的颈毛。她通过触摸能够立即认出这些鸡来,知道它们是不是有一根羽毛折断了,弄脏了。她用手摸摸它们的嗉子,就能知道它们是不是喂过食了,是吃得太多还是太少;她的脸表演的是一出生动的哑剧,内心流露的种种批评都从脸上显现出来。
两个姑娘把带来的鸡一只只送回院子,不断重复着带来送去的程序,一只又一只地把老夫人所宠爱的公鸡和母鸡送到她的面前——如汉堡鸡、短脚鸡、交趾鸡、印度大种鸡、多津鸡,还有其它一些当时流行的各种各样的鸡——当每只鸡放到老夫人的膝上时,她都能认出来,而且几乎没有认错的。
这使苔丝想起了一种坚信礼仪式②,在这种仪式里,德贝维尔夫人就是主教,那些鸡就是受礼的一群小孩子,而她自己和那个女仆就是把它们带去受礼的牧师和副牧师。仪式结束时,德贝维尔夫人把脸皱起来,扭动出一脸的折子,突然问苔丝:“你会吹口哨吧?”
 
②坚信礼(Confirmation),一种基督教仪式。根据基督教教义,孩子在一个月时受洗礼,十三岁时受坚信礼。孩子只有被施坚信礼后,才能成为教会正式教徒。

“吹口哨,夫人?”
“是的,吹口哨。”
苔丝同大多数乡下姑娘一样会吹口哨,虽然她在体面人面前不愿承认会这门技艺。但是,她还是满不在乎地承认了她是会吹口哨的。
“那么你每天都得吹口哨。从前我这儿有个小伙子口哨吹得好,不过他已经走了。我要你对着我的红腹灰雀吹口哨;因为我看不见鸟儿,所以我喜欢听鸟儿唱歌,我们就是用那种方法教鸟儿唱歌的。伊丽莎白,告诉她鸟笼子在什么地方。从明天开始你就要吹口哨,不然的话,它们会唱的就要忘啦。这几天来,已经没有人教它们了。”
“今天早晨德贝维尔先生向它们吹口哨来着,夫人,”伊丽莎白说。
“他!呸!”
老夫人的脸上堆起了许多皱纹,表示她的厌恶,不再说别的话了。
苔丝想象中的亲戚对她的接见就这样结束了,那些鸡也被送回到它们的院子里。对德贝维尔夫人的态度,苔丝并不怎样感到奇怪;因为自从见到了这座庄园的规模以后,她就没有抱什么奢望。但是她一点儿也不知道,关于所谓的亲戚的事,老夫人却没有听说过一个字。她猜想那个瞎眼的老妇人和她的儿子之间没有什么感情交流。不过关于这一点,她也猜猎了。天下带着怨恨爱孩子和带着伤心疼孩子的母亲,德贝维尔夫人并不是第一个。
尽管头一天一开始就叫人不痛快,但是既然她已经在这儿安置下来,所以当早晨太阳照耀时,她就爱上了她的新工作的自由和新奇;她想试试老夫人对她作的出人意料的吩咐,检验一下自己的能力,以便确定保不保得住她得到的这个工作机会。
当苔丝回到围墙的院子里只剩下一个人时,她就在一个鸡笼上坐下来,认真地把嘴巴撮起来,开始了她早已生疏了的练习。她发现她吹口哨的能力已经退化了,只能从撮起的嘴唇中吹出一阵阵空洞的风声,根本就吹不成清楚的音调。
她坐在那儿吹了又吹,总是吹不成音调,心想究竟是怎么回事,自己生来就会的本领怎么会忘记得这样干净;院子的围墙上爬满了长春藤,一点儿也不比屋子上的长春藤少,后来,她发现在长春藤中间有什么东西在动。她向那个方向看去,看见一个人影从墙头上跳到了地上。那个人影是阿历克·德贝维尔,自从前天他把她带进院子小屋里住下以后,她再也没有见过他。
“我用名誉担保!”他叫道,“无论在人间里还是在绘画里,从来也没有像你这样漂亮的人,‘苔丝’堂妹(在‘堂妹’的口气里,有一点儿嘲弄的味儿)。我已经在墙那边观察你好半天了——你坐在那儿,就像石碑上雕刻的急躁女神①,把你漂亮的红色嘴唇撮起来,做成吹口哨的形状,不停地吹着,悄悄地骂着,可就是吹不出一个音来。你因为吹不出口哨来,所以你很生气。”
 
①石碑上雕刻的急躁女神(like Impatience on a monument),可参考莎士比亚《第十二夜》第二幕第四场第113页“她坐在那儿,就像石碑上雕刻的忍耐女神”(She sat like a Patience on a monument)一句。

“我也许生气来着,但是我没有骂。”
“啊!我知道你为什么吹口哨——是为了那些小鸟儿!我母亲要你给它们上音乐课。她多么自私呀!好像照看这些公鸡和母鸡还不够一个女孩子忙的。我要是你,我就干脆不干。”
“可是她特别要我吹口哨啊,而且要我明天早晨就开始吹。”
“真的吗?那好吧——让我先教你一两课吧。”
“哦,不用,你不用教我!”苔丝说,一边向门口退去。
“废话;我又不想碰你。瞧好啦——我站在铁丝网的这边,你可以站在铁丝网的另一边;这样你就可以完全放心了。好啦,现在看我这儿;你把嘴唇撮得太厉害了。要像这个样子——就是这个样子。”
他一边讲解,一边示范,吹出的一句调子是:“挪开,啊,把你的两片嘴唇挪开。”①不过苔丝对调子的含义完全不懂。
 
①挪开,啊,把你的两片嘴唇挪开(Take,O take take those lips away),源于莎士比亚《一报还一报》第四幕第一场中男侍所唱歌词的第一句。

“你来试试,”德贝维尔说。
她尽量表现出冷淡的样子;脸部的表情像一座雕像的脸那样严肃。不过他非要她试着吹吹,后来为了摆脱他的纠缠,她只好按照他说的怎样才能发出清晰音调的方法,把她的嘴唇撮起来;但是她也很难过地笑了起来,后来又因为自己笑了,心里恼怒,脸又变红了。
他用“再试试”的话鼓励她。
这一次苔丝做得十分认真。认真得叫人感到痛苦;她试着吹——吹到后来,没想到竟吹出了一个真正圆润的哨音来。成功暂时给她带来欢乐,使她的心情变得好起来;她的眼睛也变大了,不知不觉地在他的面前笑起来。
“这就对了!现在我已经教会你开始吹了——你会吹得很好的。你看——我说过我不会接近你的;尽管世界上从来没有一个男人能经受这种诱惑,我还是要信守我的诺言……苔丝,你觉得我的母亲是不是一个古怪的老太婆?”
“对她我知道得还不多呢,先生。”
“你会发现她是一个古怪的老太婆;她肯定是一个古怪的人,所以才要你学习吹口哨,教她的红腹灰雀。现在我是很不讨她喜欢的,但是如果你把她的那些鸡照顾好了,你就一定能讨她的喜欢。再见。如果你遇到什么困难,在这儿需要什么帮助,就来找我好啦,不要去找管家。”
苔丝就是在这种组织里答应去填补一个位置。她头一天的生活体验相当典型地代表着在后来许多日子里她所经历的生活。对于阿历克·德贝维尔同她见面,她也习以为常了——这是这个青年小心翼翼地在她身上培养起来的感情,是他通过说一些俏皮话、通过当他们单独在一起开玩笑时叫他堂妹培养起来的——苔丝同他熟悉起来,当初她对他的羞怯也消除了不少,不过,她也没有被注入某种新的感情,以至于产生一种新的和更加温柔的羞怯。但是,她做什么事都顺从着他,已经超出了一个伙伴的程度,这是因为她不得不依靠他的母亲,而他的母亲又对她没有什么帮助,所以她只好依靠他了。
当她恢复了吹口哨的技艺的时候,不久她就发现,在德贝维尔夫人的屋子里,对着红腹灰雀吹口哨并不是十分繁重的事,因为她从她的善于唱歌的母亲那儿学会的大量曲调,对那些歌喉婉转的鸟儿非常合适。同当初在院子里练习吹口哨相比,现在每天早晨站在鸟笼子旁边吹这种口哨,的确是叫人满意快乐的了。那个青年不在身边,她感到无拘无束,就撅起嘴巴,靠近鸟笼子,对着那些留神细听的小鸟儿轻松优美地吹起来。
德贝维尔夫人睡在一张大四柱床上,床上挂着厚实的锦缎帐子,红腹灰雀也养在同一间房里,在一定的时间里它们可以在房里自由自在地飞来飞去,把家具和垫子上弄得到处都是白色的小点。有一次,苔丝站在挂着一排鸟笼子的窗户像往常一样教小鸟儿唱歌时,她觉得她听见床后有一种细小的摩擦声。那个老太太当时不在,姑娘转过身去,在她的印象中好像看见帐沿下有一双靴子的尖头。因此,她吹的口哨立刻就乱了调子,如果真的有人的话,那么那个人也肯定发现苔丝怀疑到他的存在了。自此以后,她每天早晨都要搜查一遍帐子,但是从来没有发现有人在那儿。显然阿历克·德贝维尔已经完全想到了他的怪诞行为,如果他用那种埋伏的把戏,肯定要把苔丝吓坏的。
 

The community of fowls to which Tess had been appointed as supervisor, purveyor, nurse, surgeon, and friend, made its head quarters in an old thatched cottage standing in an enclosure that had once been a garden, but was now a trampled and sanded square. The house was overrun with ivy, its chimney being enlarged by the boughs of the parasite to the aspect of a ruined tower. The lower rooms were entirely given over to the birds, who walked about them with a proprietary air, as though the place had been built by themselves, and not by certain dusty copy holders who now lay east and west in the churchyard. The descendants of these bygone owners felt it almost as a slight to their family when the house which had so much of their affection, had cost so much of their forefathers' money, and had been in their possession for several generations before the d'Urbervilles came and built here, was indifferently turned into a fowl house by Mrs Stoke-d'Urberville as soon as the property fell into hand according to law. `'Twas good enough for Christians in grandfather's time,' they said.

The rooms wherein dozens of infants had wailed at their nursing now resounded with the tapping of nascent chicks. Distracted hens in coops occupied spots where formerly stood chairs supporting sedate agriculturists. The chimney-corner and once blazing hearth was now filled with inverted beehives, in which the hens laid their eggs; while out of doors the plots that each succeeding householder had carefully shaped with his spade were torn by the cocks in wildest fashion.

The garden in which the cottage stood was surrounded by a wall, and could only be entered through a door.

When Tess had occupied herself about an hour the next morning in altering and improving the arrangements, according to her skilled ideas as the daughter of a professed poulterer, the door in the wall opened and a servant in white cap and apron entered. She had come from the manor-house.

`Mrs d'Urberville wants the fowls as usual,' she said; but perceiving that Tess did not quite understand, she explained, `Mis'ess is a old lady, and blind.'

`Blind!' said Tess.

Almost before her misgiving at the news could find time to shape itself she took, under her companion's direction, two of the most beautiful of the Hamburghs in her arms, and followed the maid-servant, who had likewise taken two, to the adjacent mansion, which, though ornate and imposing, showed traces everywhere on this side that some occupant of its chambers could bend to the love of dumb creatures - feathers floating within view of the front, and hen-coops standing on the grass.

In a sitting-room on the ground-floor, ensconced in an armchair with her back to the light, was the owner and mistress of the estate, a white haired woman of not more than sixty, or even less, wearing a large cap. She had the mobile face frequent in those whose sight has decayed by stages, has been laboriously striven after, and reluctantly let go, rather than the stagnant mien apparent in persons long sightless or born blind. Tess walked up to this lady with her feathered charges - one sitting on each arm.

`Ah, you are the young woman come to look after my birds?' said Mrs d'Urberville, recognizing a new footstep. `I hope you will be kind to them. My bailiff tells me you are quite the proper person. Well, where are they? Ah, this is Strut! But he is hardly so lively today, is he? He is alarmed at being handled by a stranger, I suppose. And Phena too - yes, they are a little frightened - aren't you, dears? But they will soon get used to you.'

While the old lady had been speaking Tess and the other maid, in obedience to her gestures, had placed the fowls severally in her lap, and she had felt them over from head to tail, examining their beaks, their combs, the manes of the cocks, their wings, and their claws. Her touch enabled her to recognize them in a moment, and to discover if a single feather were crippled or dragged. She handled their crops, and knew what they had eaten, and if too little or too much; her face enacting a vivid pantomime of the criticisms passing in her mind.

The birds that the two girls had brought in were duly returned to the yard, and the process was repeated till all the pet cocks and hens had been submitted to the old woman - Hamburghs, Bantams, Cochins, Brahmas, Dorkings, and such other sorts as were in fashion just then - her perception of each visitor being seldom at fault as she received the bird upon her knees.

It reminded Tess of a Confirmation, in which Mrs d'Urberville was the bishop, the fowls the young people presented, and herself and the maidservant the parson and curate of the parish bringing them up. At the end of the ceremony Mrs d'Urberville abruptly asked Tess, wrinkling and twitching her face into undulations, `Can you whistle?'

`Whistle, Ma'am?'

`Yes, whistle tunes.'

Tess could whistle like most other country girls, though the accomplishment was one which she did not care to profess in genteel company. However, she blandly admitted that such was the fact.

`Then you will have to practise it every day. I had a lad who did it very well, but he has left. I want you to whistle to my bullfinches; as I cannot see them I like to hear them, and we teach `em airs that way. Tell her where the cages are, Elizabeth. You must begin tomorrow, or they will go back in their piping. They have been neglected these several days.'

`Mr d'Urberville whistled to 'em this morning, ma'am,' said Elizabeth.

`He! Pooh!'

The old lady's face creased into furrows of repugnance, and she made no further reply.

Thus the reception of Tess by her fancied kinswoman terminated, and the birds were taken back to their quarters. The girl's surprise at Mrs d'Urberville's manner was not great; for since seeing the size of the house she had expected no more. But she was far from being aware that the old lady had never heard a word of the so-called kinship. She gathered that no great affection flowed between the blind woman and her son. But in that, too, she was mistaken. Mrs d'Urberville was not the first mother compelled to love her offspring resentfully, and to be bitterly fond.

In spite of the unpleasant initiation of the day before, Tess inclined to the freedom and novelty of her new position in the morning when the sun shone, now that she was once installed there; and she was curious to test her powers in the unexpected direction asked of her, so as to ascertain her chance of retaining her post. As soon as she was alone within the walled garden she sat herself down on a coop, and seriously screwed up her mouth for the long neglected practice. She found her former ability to have degenerated to the production of a hollow rush of wind through the lips, and no clear note at all.

She remained fruitlessly blowing and blowing, wondering how she could have so grown out of the art which had come by nature, till she became aware of a movement among the ivy-boughs which cloaked the garden-wall no less than the cottage. Looking that way she beheld a form springing from the coping to the plot. It was Alec d'Urberville, whom she had not set eves on since he had conducted her the day before to the door of the gardener's cottage where she had lodgings.

`Upon my honour!' cried he, `there was never before such a beautiful thing in Nature or Art as you look, "Cousin" Tess ["Cousin" had a faint ring of mockery]. I have been watching you from over the wall sitting - like Im-patience on a monument, and pouting up that pretty red mouth to whistling shape, and `whoaing and whoaing, and privately swearing, and never being able to produce a note. Why, you are quite cross because you can't do it.'

`I may be cross, but I didn't swear.'

`Ah! I understand why you are trying - those bullies! My mother wants you to carry on their musical education. How selfish of her! As if attending to these curst cocks and hens here were not enough work for any girl. I would flatly refuse, if I were you.'

`But she wants me particularly to do it, and to be ready by to-morrow morning.'

`Does she? Well then - I'll give you a lesson or two.'

`Oh no, you won't!' said Tess, withdrawing towards the door.

`Nonsense; I don't want to touch you. See - I'll stand on this side of the wire netting, and you can keep on the other; so you may feel quite safe. Now, look here; you screw up your lips too harshly. There 'tis - so.'

He suited the action to the word, and whistled a line of `Take, O take those lips away'. But the allusion was lost upon Tess.

`Now try,' said d'Urberville.

She attempted to look reserved; her face put on a sculptural severity. But he persisted in his demand, and at last, to get rid of him, she did put up her lips as directed for producing a clear note; laughing distressfully, however, and then blushing with vexation that she had laughed.

He encouraged her with `Try again!'

Tess was quite serious, painfully serious by this time; and she tried - ultimately and unexpectedly emitting a real round sound. The momentary pleasure of success got the better of her; her eyes enlarged, and she involuntarily smiled in his face.

`That's it! Now I have started you - you'll go on beautifully. There - I said I would not come near you; and, in spite of such temptation as never before fell to mortal man, I'll keep my word... Tess, do you think my mother a queer old soul?'

`I don't know much of her yet, sir.'

`You'll find her so; she must be, to make you learn to whistle to her bullfinches. I am rather out of her books just now, but you will be quite in favour if you treat her live-stock well. Good morning. If you meet with any difficulties and want help here, don't go to the bailiff, come to me.'

It was in the economy of this régime that Tess Durbeyfield had undertaken to fill a place. Her first day's experiences were fairly typical of those which followed through many succeeding days. A familiarity with Alec d'Urberville's presence - which that young man carefully cultivated in her by playful dialogue, and by lastingly calling her his cousin when they were alone - removed much of her original shyness of him, without, however, implanting any feeling which could engender shyness of a new and tenderer kind. But she was more pliable under his hands than a mere companionship would have made her, owing to her unavoidable dependence upon his mother, and, through that lady's comparative helplessness, upon him.

She soon found that whistling to the bullfinches in Mrs d'Urberville's room was no such onerous business when she had regained the art, for she had caught from her musical mother numerous airs that suited those songsters admirably. A far more satisfactory time than when she practised in the garden was this whistling by the cages each morning. Unrestrained by the young man's presence she threw up her mouth, put her lips near the bars, and piped away in easeful grace to the attentive listeners.

Mrs d'Urberville slept in a large four-post bedstead hung with heavy damask curtains, and the bullfinches occupied the same apartment, where they flitted about freely at certain hours, and made little white spots on the furniture and upholstery. Once while Tess was at the window where the cages were ranged, giving her lesson as usual, she thought she heard a rustling behind the bed. The old lady was not present, and turning round the girl had an impression that the toes of a pair of boots were visible below the fringe of the curtains. Thereupon her whistling became so disjointed that the listener, if such there were, must have discovered her suspicion of his presence. She searched the curtains every morning after that, but never found anybody within them. Alec d'Urberville had evidently thought better of his freak to terrify her by an ambush of that kind.