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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第2章 失贞 Maiden no More
第2节 第十三章 【
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 苔丝·德北菲尔德从她那个冒牌本家回来了这件事,已经四处传说开了,如果说在一英里方圆的地面上使用传说这个词不算太大的话。午后时分,马洛特村里有几个年轻的姑娘,从前是苔丝的小学同学和朋友,一起来看望她,她们来的时候身上穿的衣服,都是她们浆洗过熨平了的最好的衣服,因为她们认为,苔丝是一个胜利归来的卓越征服者,她们要做她的客人;她们在屋里坐成一圈,带着好奇的心情看着她。因为和她恋爱的正是那位据说隔了31代的堂兄德贝维尔先生,一个并不完全是本地的绅士,而他作为猎艳能手和负心汉子的名声已经四下传播开来,开始超越特兰里奇的本地边界,由于这种令人害怕的情形,这也使她们所认定的苔丝的地位,同在毫无危险中的地位相比,就具有了更大的吸引力。
她们对她抱有浓厚的兴趣,所以当苔丝一转过身去,一些年轻一些的姑娘就小声议论起来——
“她多么漂亮呀,那件漂亮的衣服穿在身上她显得更漂亮了!我相信它花了一大笔钱,并且还是他送的礼物。”
苔丝站在屋子的角落处,正在从碗橱里往外拿茶具,没有听见这些评论。
要是她听见了这些评论,她也许很快就会把她的朋友们对这件事的误会改正过来。但是她的母亲却听见了,琼简单的虚荣心在高攀一门婚事的希望落空以后,因此就到女儿被人追求这件事上去寻求感情上的满足。总的说来,她感觉到了满足,即使这种短暂和有限的胜利会影响到她女儿的名声;但是她最终也许还是要嫁给他的,她看见她们羡慕她的女儿,心里头高兴,就热情地请她们留下来吃茶。
她们的闲聊、她们的欢笑、她们的善意影射,尤其是她们闪烁其词的妒意,也使苔丝在精神上复活了;而且随着晚上时间的流逝,苔丝也渐渐地被她们的兴奋情趣感染了,差不多变得快活起来。她脸上像大理石一样僵硬的表情消失了,走路时的脚步也有些像往日那样蹦蹦跳跳了,她容光焕发,全身显现出青春的美丽风采。
有时候,尽管她满腹心事,但是她回答她们的问题时也会带上一种高人一等的神气,好像承认她在情场上的经验,的确是有些让人羡慕的。不过同罗伯特·骚斯①说的“同她自己的毁灭恋爱”这句话比起来,她还相差得很远,因此她的幻想也只是像一道闪电,一闪就消失了;冷静的理智恢复了,嘲笑她一阵阵出现的弱点;在她暂时出现的骄傲里,有一种可怕的东西谴责了她,于是她又变得没精打采起来。
 
①罗伯特·骚斯(Robert South,1634-1716),英国神学家。

第二天早晨的黎明是令人沮丧的,它已经不是礼拜天了,而是礼拜一了;漂亮的衣眼已经收藏起来,欢笑的客人已经离去,苔丝醒了,孤单地躺在她过去睡觉的床上,比她更年轻的几个天真的小孩子,躺在她的周围,轻轻地呼吸着。她回家带来的激动和引起的兴趣已经不见了,她只是看见她的面前有一条漫长的冷酷的大道,她在大道上独自跋涉,没有人帮助,也没有人同情。紧接着她的情绪就可怕地低落下来,恨不得让自己躲避到坟墓里去。
过了几个星期苔丝才恢复过来,有勇气抛头露面,敢在一个礼拜天早晨到教堂里去。她喜欢听唱圣歌——而且是过去的那种圣歌——还喜欢听那些古老的圣诗,喜欢跟着一起唱晨祷的颂歌。她生来就喜爱音乐,那是她那位喜欢唱民歌的母亲遗传给她的,她这种爱好使最简单的音乐也具有了一种力量,有时候差不多能把她的心从胸膛里给掏出来。
为了自己的缘故,她既要尽可能地避免引起别人的注意,也要避免年轻的男子向她献殷勤,所以她一直到了教堂的钟声开始敲响的时候才动身,并且在走廊下面找了一个后排座位坐下,那儿靠近杂物间,只有老头儿老太婆才在那儿坐,那儿还放有一堆挖掘坟墓的工具,里面还竖有一个棺材架子。
教区居民三三两两地走进教堂,一排排坐在她的前面,他们低着头在那儿坐了一刻钟的时间,似乎是在祈祷,但是他们并没有祈祷;后来他们又坐直了,四处张望起来。唱圣歌的时候,选的恰巧是她喜爱的一首——古老的“朗敦”二部合唱①——不过她不知道那首圣歌叫什么名字,虽然她心里很想知道。她心里想,虽然她无法用语言把心里想法准确地表达出来,但是觉得一个作曲家的力量有多么地神奇,像她这样一个姑娘,从来没有听到过他的名字,一点儿也不知道他的性格,而他被埋在坟墓中,却能够带领她在一组充满感情的圣歌里,体会到最初只有他自己才体会到的感情。
 
①古老的“朗敦”二部合唱(the old double chat“Longdon”),理查德·朗敦(1730-1803)是英国风琴家和作曲家,曾为《旧约·诗篇》作曲。

在礼拜进行的过程中,先前扭头张望的那些人又把头扭了过来;后来他们看见她在那儿,就互相窃窃私语起来。她知道他们低声谈论的是什么,就开始伤心起来,觉得她再也不能到教堂里来了。
同过去相比,她和几个弟妹们一起共用的寝室,就成了她常常避难的地方了。就在这间寝室里,就在茅屋再下几平方英尺的地方,她看见窗外没有尽头的凄风、苦雨、飞雪,看见无数的灿烂夕阳,看见一个又一个圆月。她就这样把自己禁锢在寝室里,到了后来,差不多所有的人都以为她已经离开这里了。
在这期间,苔丝唯一的活动是在天色黄昏以后;她走出屋外,来到树林里,那时候她似乎才不感到孤独。她知道怎样抓住傍晚时分极短的那个时刻,那时候,光明和黑暗恰到好处地得到平衡,白昼的拘束和黑夜的紧张相互得到中和,留下来的只是心灵上的绝对自由。只是在那个时候,活着的苦恼才被减少到最小的可能程度。她并不害怕黑夜;她唯一的念头就是避开人类——或者不如说是被称作世界的冷酷的生命群体,它作为整体是如此令人可怕,而作为个体却又不那样令人害怕,甚至是可怜的。
她在这些孤寂的山上和小谷里悄悄走着,每走到一地,她就同周围的环境融为了一体。她那躲躲闪闪的柔弱身体,也变成了那片景物中不可分割的一个部分。有时候,她的离奇幻想会强化周围的自然程序,直到它们似乎变成她的历史中的一部分。它们岂止是变成了她的历史的一部分,简直就是她自己的历史;因为世界只是一种心理现象,表面看起来像什么,它实际上就是什么。午夜的冷风和寒气,在冬天树枝上还紧紧包裹着的苞芽和树皮中间呜咽着,变成了苦苦责备苔丝的言语。下雨的天气,就是她心灵中模糊的道德神灵对她的软弱所表达的不可挽救的悲伤,对于这个道德神灵,她既不能明确地把它归入她在童年时代信仰的上帝那一类里去,也弄不清楚它是其它的什么东西。
苔丝在一堆混乱不堪的传统习俗上建立起自己的性格,头脑里充满了对她毫不同情的形体和声音,把自己紧紧包围起来,但是,这只不过是她幻想中的可怜的错误的创造而已——是她无故感到害怕的道德魔怪的迷雾。和实际世界格格不入的正是这些道德魔怪,不是苔丝自己。她在鸟儿熟睡的树篱中漫游的时候,看见野兔在月光下的草地上蹦来跳去,或者,她在野鸡栖息的树枝下站着的时候,她都把自己看成是一个罪恶的化身,被人侵犯了清白的领域。所有的时候,她一直要在没有不同的地方区分出不同来。她自己感到矛盾的地方,其实十分和谐。她被动地破坏了的只是一条已经被人接受了的社会律条,而不是为环境所认同的社会律条,可是她却把自己想象成这个环境中的一个不伦不类的人。
 

The event of Tess Durbeyfield's return from the manor of her bogus kinsfolk was rumoured abroad, if rumour be not too large a word for a space of a square mile. In the afternoon several young girls of Marlott, former schoolfellows and acquaintances of Tess, called to see her, arriving dressed in their best starched and ironed, as became visitors to a person who had made a transcendent conquest (as they supposed), and sat round the room looking at her with great curiosity. For the fact that it was this said thirty-first cousin, Mr d'Urberville, who had fallen in love with her, a gentleman not altogether local, whose reputation as a reckless gallant and heart-breaker was beginning to spread beyond the immediate boundaries of Trantridge, lent Tess's supposed position, by its fearsomeness, a far higher fascination than it would have exercised if unhazardous.

Their interest was so deep that the younger ones whispered when her back was turned--

`How pretty she is; and how that best frock do set her off! I believe it cost an immense deal, and that it was a gift from him.'

Tess, who was reaching up to get the tea-things from the corner-cupboard, did not hear these commentaries. If she had heard them, she might soon have set her friends right on the matter. But her mother heard, and Joan's simple vanity, having been denied the hope of a dashing marriage, fed itself as well as it could upon the sensation of a dashing flirtation. Upon the whole she felt gratified, even though such a limited and evanescent triumph should involve her daughter's reputation; it might end in marriage yet, and in the warmth of her responsiveness to their admiration she invited her visitors to stay to tea.

Their chatter, their laughter, their good-humoured innuendoes, above all, their flashes and flickerings of envy, revived Tess's spirits also; and, as the evening wore on, she caught the infection of their excitement, and grew almost gay. The marble hardness left her face, she moved with something of her old bounding step, and flushed in all her young beauty.

At moments, in spite of thought, she would reply to their inquiries with a manner of superiority, as if recognizing that her experiences in the field of courtship had, indeed, been slightly enviable. But so far was she from being, in the words of Robert South, `in love with her own ruin', that the illusion was transient as lightning; cold reason came back to mock her spasmodic weakness; the ghastliness of her momentary pride would convict her, and recall her to reserved listlessness again.

And the despondency of the next morning's dawn, when it was no longer Sunday, but Monday; and no best clothes; and the laughing visitors were gone, and she awoke alone in her old bed, the innocent younger children breathing softly around her. In place of the excitement of her return, and the interest it had inspired, she saw before her a long and stony highway which she had to tread, without aid, and with little sympathy. Her depression was then terrible, and she could have hidden herself in a tomb.

In the course of a few weeks Tess revived sufficiently to show herself so far as was necessary to get to church one Sunday morning. She liked to hear the chanting - such as it was - and the old Psalms, and to join in the Morning Hymn. That innate love of melody, which she had inherited from her ballad-singing mother, gave the simplest music a power over her which could well-nigh drag her heart out of her bosom at times.

To be as much out of observation as possible for reasons of her own, and to escape the gallantries of the young men, she set out before the chiming began, and took a back seat under the gallery, close to the lumber, where only old men and women came, and where the bier stood on end among the churchyard tools.

Parishioners dropped in by twos and threes, deposited themselves in rows before her, rested three-quarters of a minute on their foreheads as if they were praying, though they were not; then sat up, and looked around. When the chants came on one of her favourites happened to be chosen among the rest - the old double chant `Langdon' - but she did not know what it was called, though she would much have liked to know. She thought, without exactly wording the thought, how strange and godlike was a composer's power, who from the grave could lead through sequences of emotion, which he alone had felt at first, a girl like her who had never heard of his name, and never would have a clue to his personality.

The people who had turned their heads turned them again as the service proceeded; and at last observing her they whispered to each other. She knew what their whispers were about, grew sick at heart, and felt that she could come to church no more.

The bedroom which she shared with some of the children formed her retreat more continually than ever. Here, under her few square yards of thatch, she watched winds, and snows, and rains, gorgeous sunsets, and successive moons at their full. So close kept she that at length almost everybody thought she had gone away.

The only exercise that Tess took at this time was after dark; and it was then, when out in the woods, that she seemed least solitary. She knew how to hit to a hair's-breadth that moment of evening when the light and the darkness are so evenly balanced that the constraint of day and the suspense of night neutralize each other, leaving absolute mental liberty. It is then that the plight of being alive becomes attenuated to its least possible dimensions. She had no fear of the shadows; her sole idea seemed to be to shun mankind - or rather that cold accretion called the world, which, so terrible in the mass, is so unformidable, even pitiable, in its units.

On these lonely hills and dales her quiescent glide was of a piece with the element she moved in. Her flexuous and stealthy figure became an integral part of the scene. At times her whimsical fancy would intensify natural processes around her till they seemed a part of her own story. Rather they became a part of it; for the world is only a psychological phenomenon, and what they seemed they were. The midnight airs and gusts, moaning amongst the tightly-wrapped buds and bark of the winter twigs, were formulae of bitter reproach. A wet day was the expression of irremediable grief at her weakness in the mind of some vague ethical being whom she could not class definitely as the God of her childhood, and could not comprehend as any other.

But this encompassment of her own characterization, based on shreds of convention, peopled by phantoms and voices antipathetic to her, was a sorry and mistaken creation of Tess's fancy - a cloud of moral hobgoblins by which she was terrified without reason. It was they that were out of harmony with the actual world, not she. Walking among the sleeping birds in the hedges, watching the skipping rabbits on a moonlit warren, or standing under a pheasant-laden bough, she looked upon herself as a figure of Guilt intruding into the haunts of Innocence. But all the while she was making a distinction where there was no difference. Feeling herself in antagonism she was quite in accord. She had been made to break an accepted social law, but no law known to the environment in which she fancied herself such an anomaly.