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第3节 第三章 【
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第三章
   

她把我领上楼时,劝我把蜡烛藏起来,而且不要出声。因为她的主人对于她领我去住的那间卧房有一种古怪的看法,而且从来也不乐意让任何人在那儿睡。我问是什么原因,她回答说不知道。她在这里才住了一两年,他们又有这么多古怪事,她也就不去多问了。

我自己昏头昏脑,也问不了许多,插上了门,向四下里望着想找张床。全部家具只有一把椅子,一个衣橱,还有一个大橡木箱。靠近顶上挖了几个方洞,像是马车的窗子。我走近这个东西往里瞧,才看出是一种特别样子的老式卧榻,设计得非常方便,足可以省去家里每个人占一间屋的必要。事实上,它形成一个小小的套间。它里面的一个窗台刚好当张桌子用。我推开嵌板的门,拿着蜡烛进去,把嵌板门又合上,觉得安安稳稳,躲开了希刺克厉夫以及其他人的戒备。

在我放蜡烛的窗台上有几本发霉了的书堆在一个角落里,窗台上的油漆面也被字迹划得乱七八糟。但是那些字迹只是用各种字体写的一个名字,有大有小——凯瑟琳·恩萧,有的地方又改成凯瑟琳·希刺克厉夫,跟着又是凯瑟琳·林惇。

我无精打采地把头靠在窗子上,连续地拼着凯瑟琳·恩萧——希刺克厉夫——林惇,一直到我的眼睛合上为止。可是还没有五分钟,黑暗中就有一片亮得刺眼的白闪闪的字母,仿佛鬼怪活现——空中充满了许多凯瑟琳。我跳起来,想驱散这突然冒出的名字,发现我的烛芯靠在一本古老的书上,使那靠着的地方发出一种烤牛皮的气味。我剪掉烛芯,灭了它,在寒冷与持续的恶心交攻之下,很不舒服,便坐起来,把这本烤坏的书打开,放在膝上。那是一本圣经,印的是细长字体,有很浓的霉味。书前面的白纸写着——“凯瑟琳·恩萧,她的书”,还注了一个日期,那是在二十来年以前了。我阖上它,又拿起一本,又一本,直到我把它们都检查过一遍。凯瑟琳的藏书是经过选择的,而且这些书损坏的情况证明它们曾经被人一再地读过,虽然读得不完全得当,几乎没有一章躲过钢笔写的评注——至少,像是评注——凡是印刷者留下的每一块空白全涂满了。有的是不连贯的句子,其他的是正规日记的形式,出于小孩子那种字形未定的手笔,写得乱七八糟。在一张空余的书页上面(也许一发现它还把它当作宝贝呢)我看见了我的朋友约瑟夫的一幅绝妙的漫画像,大为高兴,——画得粗糙,可是有力。我对于这位素昧平生的凯瑟琳顿时发生兴趣,我便开始辨认她那已褪色的难认的怪字了。

“倒霉的礼拜天!”底下一段这样开头。“但愿我父亲还能再回来。辛德雷是个可恶的代理人——他对希刺克厉夫的态度太凶。——希和我要反抗了——今天晚上我们要进行第一步。

“整天下大雨,我们不能到教堂去,因此约瑟夫非要在阁楼里聚会不可。于是正当辛德雷和他的妻子在楼下舒舒服服地烤火——随便做什么,我敢说他们决不会读圣经,——而希刺克厉夫、我和那不幸的乡巴佬却受命拿着我们的祈祷书爬上楼。我们排成一排,坐在一口袋粮食上,又哼又哆嗦。希望约瑟夫也哆嗦,这样他为了他自己也会给我们少讲点道了。妄想!做礼拜整整拖了三个钟头。可是我的哥哥看见我们下楼的时候,居然还有脸喊叫,‘什么,已经完啦?’从前一到星期天晚上,还准许我们玩玩,只要我们不太吵,现在我们只要偷偷一笑,就得罚站墙角啦!

“‘你们忘记这儿有个主人啦,’这暴君说,‘谁先惹我发脾气,我就把他毁掉!我坚决要求完全的肃静。啊,孩子!是你么?弗兰西斯,亲爱的,你走过来时揪揪他的头发,我听见他捏手指头响呢。’弗兰西斯痛快地揪揪他的头发,然后走过来坐在她丈夫的膝上。他们就在那儿,像两个小孩似的,整个钟点地又接吻又胡扯——那种愚蠢的甜言蜜语连我们都应该感到羞耻。我们在柜子的圆拱里面尽量把自己弄得挺舒服。我刚把我们的餐巾结在一起,把它挂起来当作幕布,忽然约瑟夫有事正从马房进来。他把我的手工活扯下来,打我耳光,嘎嘎叫着——

“‘主人才入土,安息日还没有过完,福音的声音还在你们耳朵里响,你们居然敢玩!你们好不害臊!坐下来,坏孩子!只要你们肯看,有的是好书。坐下来,想想你们的灵魂吧!’

“说了这番话,他强迫我们坐好,使我们能从远处的炉火那边得来一线暗光,好让我们看他塞给我们的那没用的经文。我受不了这个差事。我提起我这本脏书的书皮哗啦一下,使劲地把它扔到狗窝里去,赌咒说我恨善书。希刺克厉夫把他那本也扔到同一个地方。跟着是一场大闹。

“‘辛德雷少爷!’我们的牧师大叫,‘少爷,快来呀!凯蒂小姐把《救世盔》的书皮子撕下来啦,希刺克厉夫使劲踩《走向毁灭的广阔道路》的第一部分!你让他们就这样下去可不得了。唉!换了老头子的话可要好好地抽他们一顿——可他不在啦!’

“辛德雷从他的炉边天堂赶了来,抓住我们俩,一个抓领子,另一个抓胳臂,把我们都丢到后厨房去。约瑟夫断言在那儿‘老尼克’①一定会把我们活捉的。我们受到如此帮助之后,便各自找个角落静等它降临。我从书架上伸手摸到了这本书和一瓶墨水,便把门推开一点,漏进点亮光,我就写字消遣了二十分钟。可是我的同伴不耐烦了,他建议我们可以披上挤牛奶女人的外套,到旷野上跑一跑。一个怪有意思的建议——那么,要是那个坏脾气的老头进来,他也会相信他的预言实现啦——在雨里我们也不会比在这儿更湿更冷的。”

①老尼克——Old Nick,即恶魔。

我猜想凯瑟琳实现了她的计划,因为下一句说的是另一件事,她伤心起来了。

“我做梦也没想到辛德雷会让我这么哭!”她写着,“我头痛,痛得我不能睡在枕头上。可是我还是不能不哭。可怜的希刺克厉夫!辛德雷骂他是流氓,再也不许他跟我们一起坐,一起吃啦。而且他说,不许他和我在一起玩,又吓唬说要是我们违背命令,就把他撵出去。还怪我们的父亲(他怎么敢呀?)待希太宽厚了,还发誓说要把他降到应有的地位去。”

我对着这字迹模糊的书页开始打盹了,眼睛从手稿转到印的字上。我看见一个红颜色的花字标题——“七十乘七,与第七十一的第一条。杰别斯·伯兰德罕牧师在吉默吞飕的教堂宣讲的一篇神学论文。”在我糊里糊涂地绞尽脑汁猜想杰别斯·伯兰德罕牧师将如何发挥他这个题目的时候,我却倒在床上睡着了。咳,这倒霉的茶和坏脾气的影响啊!还能有什么足以使我度过这么可怕的一夜呢?自从我学会吃苦以来,我记不起有哪一次是能和这一夜相比的。

我开始做梦,几乎在我还没忘记自己在哪里的时候就开始作梦了。我觉得是到早晨了,我往回家的路上走,有约瑟夫带路。一路上,雪有好几码深。在我们挣扎着向前走的时候,我的同伴不停地责备我,惹得我心烦。他骂我不带一根朝山进香的拐杖,告诉我不带拐杖就永远也进不了家,还得意地舞动着一根大头棍棒,我明白这就是所谓的拐杖了。当时我认为需要这么一个武器才能进自己的家,那是荒谬的。跟着一个新的念头一闪。我并不是去那儿,我们是在长途跋涉去听那有名的杰别斯·伯兰德罕讲“七十乘七”的经文,而不论约瑟夫,或是牧师,或是我要犯了这“第七十一的第一条”,就要被人当众揭发,而且被教会除名。

我们来到了教堂。我平日散步时真的走过那儿两三回。它在两山之间的一个山谷里:一个高出地面的山谷靠近一片沼泽,据说那儿泥炭的湿气对存放在那儿的几具死尸足以产生防腐作用。房顶至今尚完好,但是这儿教士的收入每年只有二十镑,外带一所有两间屋的屋子,而且眼看恐怕就要决定只给一间了,所以没有一个教士愿意担当牧羊人的责任,特别是传说他的“羊群”宁可饿死他,也不愿从他们自己腰包里多掏出一分钱来养活他。但是,在我的梦里,杰别斯有专心听讲的满会堂会众。他讲道了——老天爷呀!什么样的一篇讲道呀,共分四百九十节,每一节完全等于一篇普通的讲道,每一节讨论一种罪过!我不知道他从哪儿搜索出来这么些罪过。他对于讲解辞句有他独到的方法,仿佛教友必然时时刻刻会犯不同的种种罪过。这些罪过的性质极其古怪:是我以前从没想象过的一些古怪离奇的罪过。

啊,我是多么疲倦啊!我是怎样地翻腾,打呵欠,打盹,又清醒过来!我是怎样掐自己,扎自己,揉眼睛,站起来,又坐下,而且用胳膊肘碰约瑟夫,要他告诉我他有没有讲完的时候。我是注定要听完的了。最后,他讲到“第七十一的第一条”。正在这当口,我不由自主地站起来,痛责杰别斯·伯兰德罕是个犯了那种没有一个基督徒能够饶恕的罪过的罪人。

“先生,”我叫道,“坐在这四堵墙壁中间,我已经一连气儿忍受而且原谅了你这篇说教的四百九十个题目。有七十个七次我拿起我的帽子,打算离去。——有七十个七次你硬逼着我又坐下。这第四百九十一可叫人受不了啦。信教的难友们,揍他呀!把他拉下来,把他捣烂,让这个知道有他这个人的地方从此再也见不到他吧!”

“你就是罪人!”一阵严肃的静默之后,杰别斯从他的坐垫上欠身大叫。“七十个七次你张大嘴作怪相——七十个七次我和我的灵魂商量着——看啊,这是人类的弱点,这个也是可以赦免的!第七十一的第一条来啦。弟兄们,把写定的裁判在他身上执行吧。衪①所有的圣徒有这种光荣的!”

①衪——He,指“神”而言。对上帝(神)表示尊敬,故将第一个字母大写。在中国,教徒言及上帝往往写“衪”。

话才落音,全体会众举起他们的朝山拐杖,一起向我冲来。我没有武器用来自卫,便开始扭住约瑟夫,离我最近也最凶猛的行凶者,抢他的手杖。有人潮汇集之中,好多根棍子交叉起来,对我而来的打击却落在别人的脑袋上。马上整个教堂乒乒乓乓响成一片。每个人都对他邻近的人动起手来。而伯兰德罕也不甘心闲着,便在讲坛板壁上使劲来一阵猛敲,好发泄他的热心,声音好响,最后竟惊醒了我,使我说不出来的轻松。到底是什么东西令人联想那极大的骚扰呢?在这场吵闹中是谁扮演杰别斯的角色呢?只不过是在狂风悲叹而过时,一棵枞树的枝子触到了我的窗格,它的干果在玻璃窗面上碰得嘎嘎作响而已!我满怀疑虑地倾听了一会;查清骚扰得我不安的就是它,然后翻身又睡了,又作梦了:可能的话,这梦比先前的那个更不愉快。

这一回,我记得我是躺在那个橡木的套间里。我清清楚楚地听见风雪交加;我也听见那枞树枝子重复着那戏弄人的声音,而且也知道这是什么原因。可是它使我太烦了,因此我决定,如果可能的话,把这声音止住。我觉得我起了床,并且试着去打开那窗子。窗钩是焊在钩环里的——这情况是我在醒时就看见了的,可是又忘了。“不管怎么样,我非止住它不可!”我咕噜着,用拳头打穿了玻璃,伸出一个胳臂去抓那搅人的树。我的手指头没抓到它,却碰着了一只冰凉小手的手指头!梦魇的恐怖压倒了我,我极力把胳臂缩回来,可是那只手却拉住不放,一个极忧郁的声音抽泣着:“让我进去——让我进去!”“你是谁?”我问,同时拚命想把手挣脱。

“凯瑟琳·林惇,”那声音颤抖着回答(我为什么想到林惇?我有二十遍念到林惇时都念成恩萧了)。“我回家来啦,我在旷野上走迷路啦!”在她说话时,我模模糊糊地辨认出一张小孩的脸向窗里望。恐怖使我狠了心,发现想甩掉那个人是没有用的,就把她的手腕拉到那个破了的玻璃面上,来回地擦着,直到鲜血滴下来,沾湿了床单。可她还是哀哭着,“让我进去!”而且还是紧紧抓住我,简直要把我吓疯了。“我怎么能够呢?”我终于说。“如果你要我让你进来,先放开我!”手指松开了。我把自己的手从窗洞外抽回,赶忙把书堆得高高的抵住窗子,捂住耳朵不听那可怜的祈求,捂了有一刻钟以上。可是等到我再听,那悲惨的呼声还继续哀叫着!“走开!”我喊着,“就是你求我二十年,我也绝不让你进来。”“已经二十年啦,”这声音哭着说,“二十年啦。我已经作了二十年的流浪人啦!”接着,外面开始了一个轻微的刮擦声,那堆书也挪动了,仿佛有人把它推开似的。我想跳起来,可是四肢动弹不得,于是在惊骇中大声喊叫。使我狼狈的是我发现这声喊叫并非虚幻。一阵匆忙的脚步声走近我的卧房门口。有人使劲把门推开,一道光从床顶的方洞外微微照进来。我坐着还在哆嗦,并且在揩着我额上的汗。这闯进来的人好像迟疑不前,自己咕噜着。最后他轻轻地说:“有人在这儿吗?”显然并不期望有人答话。我想最好还是承认我在这儿吧,因为我听出希刺克厉夫的口音,唯恐如果我不声不响,他还要进一步搜索的。这样想着,我就翻身推开嵌板。我这行动所产生的影响将使我久久不能忘记。

希刺克厉夫站在门口,穿着衬衣衬裤,拿着一支蜡烛,烛油直滴到他的手指上,脸色苍白得像他身后的墙一样。那橡木门第一声轧的一响吓得他像是触电一样:手里的蜡烛跳出来有几尺远,他激动得这么厉害,以至于他连拾也拾不起来。

“只不过是你的客人在这儿罢了,先生。”我叫出声来,省得他更暴露出胆怯样子而使他丢掉面子。“我作了一个可怕的恶梦,不幸在睡着时叫起来了。我很抱歉我打搅了你。”

“啊,上帝惩罚你,洛克乌德先生!但愿你在——”我的主人开始说,把蜡烛放在一张椅子上,因为他发现不可能拿着它不晃。“谁把你带到这间屋子里来的?”他接着说,并把指甲掐进他的手心,磨着牙齿,为的是制止腭骨的颤动。“是谁带你来的?我真想把他们就在这会儿撵出门去!”

“是你的佣人,齐拉,”我回答,跳到地板上,急急忙忙穿衣服。“你撵,我也不管,希刺克厉夫先生。她活该,我猜想她是打算利用我来再证明一下这地方闹鬼罢了。咳,是闹鬼——满屋是妖魔鬼怪!我对你说,你是有理由把它关起来的。凡是在这么一个洞里睡过觉的人是不会感谢你的!”

“你是什么意思?”希刺克厉夫问道,“你在干吗?既然你已经在这儿了,就躺下,睡完这一夜!可是,看在老天的份上!别再发出那种可怕的叫声啦。那没法叫人原谅,除非你的喉咙正在给人切断!”

“要是那个小妖精从窗子进来了,她大概就会把我掐死的!”我回嘴说。“我不预备再受你那些好客的祖先们的迫害了。杰别斯·伯兰德罕牧师是不是你母亲的亲戚?还有那个疯丫头,凯瑟琳·林惇,或是恩萧,不管她姓什么吧——她一定是个容易变心的——恶毒的小灵魂!她告诉我这二十年来她就在地面上流浪——我不怀疑,她正是罪有应得啊!’

这些话还没落音,我立刻想起那本书上希刺克厉夫与凯瑟琳两个名字的联系,这点我完全忘了,这时才醒过来。我为我的粗心脸红,可是,为了表示我并不觉察到我的冒失,我赶紧加一句,“事实是,先生,前半夜我在——”说到这儿我又顿时停住了——我差点说出“阅读那些旧书”,那就表明我不但知道书中印刷的内容,也知道那些用笔写出的内容了。因此,我纠正自己,这样往下说——“在拼读刻在窗台上的名字。一种很单调的工作,打算使我睡着,像数数目似的,或是——”

“你这样对我滔滔不绝,到底是什么意思?”希刺克厉夫大吼一声,蛮性发作。“怎么——你怎么敢在我的家里?——天呀!他这样说话必是发疯啦!”他愤怒地敲着他的额头。

我不知道是跟他抬杠好,还是继续解释好。可是他仿佛大受震动,我都可怜他了,于是继续说我的梦,肯定说我以前绝没有听过“凯瑟琳·林惇”这名字,可是念得过多才产生了一个印象,当我不能再约束我的想象时,这印象就化为真人了。希刺克厉夫在我说话的时候,慢慢地往床后靠,最后坐下来差不多是在后面隐藏起来了。但是,听他那不规则的上气不接下气的呼吸,我猜想他是拚命克制过分强烈的情感。我不想让他看出我已觉察出了他处在矛盾中,就继续梳洗,发出很大的声响,又看看我的表,自言自语地抱怨夜长。

“还没到三点钟哪!我本来想发誓说已经六点了,时间在这儿停滞不动啦:我们一定是八点钟就睡了!”

“在冬天总是九点睡,总是四点起床,”我的主人说,压住一声呻吟。看他胳臂的影子的动作,我猜想他从眼里抹去一滴眼泪。“洛克乌德先生,”他又说,“你可以到我屋里去。你这么早下楼也妨碍别人,你这孩子气的大叫已经把我的睡魔赶掉了。”

“我也一样。”我回答。“我要在院子里走走,等到天亮我就走。你不必怕我再来打搅。我这想交友寻乐的毛病现在治好了,不管是在乡间或在城里。一个头脑清醒的人应该发现跟自己作伴就够了。”

“愉快的作伴!”希刺克厉夫咕噜着,“拿着蜡烛,你爱去哪儿就去吧。我就来找你。不过,别到院子里去,狗都没拴住。大厅里——朱诺在那儿站岗,还有——不,你只能在楼梯和过道那儿溜达。可是,你去吧!我过两分钟就来。”

我服从了,就离开了这间卧室。当时不知道那狭窄的小屋通到哪里,就只好还站在那儿,不料却无意亲眼看见我的房东做出一种迷信的动作,这很奇怪,看来他不过是表面上有头脑罢了。

他上了床,扭开窗子,一边开窗,一边涌出压抑不住的热泪。“进来吧!进来吧!”他抽泣着。“凯蒂,来吧!啊,来呀——再来一次!啊!我的心爱的!这回听我的话吧,凯蒂,最后一次!”幽灵显示出幽灵素有的反复无常,它偏偏不来!只有风雪猛烈地急速吹过,甚至吹到我站的地方,而且吹灭了蜡烛。

在这突然涌出的悲哀中,竟有这样的痛苦伴随着这段发狂的话,以致我对他的怜悯之情使我忽视了他举止的愚蠢。我避开了,一面由于自己听到了他这番话而暗自生气,一面又因自己诉说了我那荒唐的恶梦而烦躁不安,因为就是那梦产生了这种悲恸。至于为什么会产生,我就不懂了。我小心地下楼,到了后厨房,那儿有一星火苗,拨拢在一起,使我点着了蜡烛。没有一点动静,只有一只斑纹灰猫从灰烬里爬出来,怨声怨气地咪唔一声向我致敬。

两条长凳,摆成半圆形,几乎把炉火围起来了。我躺在一条凳子上,老母猫跳上了另一条。我们两个都在打盹,不料有人来捣乱,那就是约瑟夫放下一个木梯,它经过一个活门直通阁楼里:我猜想这就是他上升阁楼之路了。他向着我拨弄起来的火苗狠狠地望了一眼,把猫从它的高座下撵下来,自己安坐在空出的位子上,开始了把烟叶填进三寸长的烟斗里的动作。我在他的圣地出现,显然被他看作是羞于提及的莽撞事情。他默默地把烟管递到嘴里,胳臂交叉着,喷云吐雾。我让他享受安逸,不打搅他。他吸完最后一口,深深地吁出一口气,站起来,像走进来时那样庄严地又走出去了。

跟着有人踏着轻快的脚步进来了;现在我张开口正要说早安,可又闭上了,敬礼未能完成,因为哈里顿·恩萧正在SottoVoce①作他的早祷,也就是说他在屋角搜寻一把铲子或是铁锹去铲除积雪时,他碰到每样东西都要对它发出一串的咒骂。他向凳子后面溜了一眼,张大鼻孔,认为对我用不着客气,就像对我那猫伴一样。看他作的准备,我猜他允许我走了,我离开我的硬座,打算跟他走。他注意到这点,就用他的铲子头戳戳一扇黑门,不出声的表示如果我要改变住处,就非走这儿不可。

①意大利文,意为“偷偷地低声”。

那扇门通到大厅,女人们已经在那儿走动了:齐拉用一只巨大的风箱把火苗吹上烟囱;希刺克厉夫夫人,跪在炉边,借着火光读着一本书。她用手遮挡着火炉的热气,使它不伤她的眼睛,仿佛很专心地读着。只有在骂佣人不该把火星弄到她身上来,或者不时推开一只总是用鼻子向她脸上凑近的狗的时候才停止阅读。我很惊奇地看见希刺克厉夫也在那儿。他站在火边,背朝着我。由于刚刚对可怜的齐拉发过一场脾气,她时不时地放下工作,拉起围裙角,发出气愤的哼哼声。

“还有你,你这没出息的——”我进去时,他正转过来对他的儿媳妇发作,并且在形容词后面加个无伤的词儿,如鸭呀,羊呀,可是往往什么也不加,只用一个“——”来代表了。“你又在那儿,搞你那些无聊的把戏啦!人家都能挣饭吃——你就只靠我!把你那废物丢开,找点事做!你老是在我眼前使我烦,你要得报应的——你听见没有,该死的贱人!”

“我会把我的废物丢开,因为如果我拒绝,你还是可以强迫我丢的。”那少妇回答,合上她的书,把它丢在一张椅子上。

“可你就是咒掉了舌头,我也是除了我愿意作的事以外,别的什么我都不干!”

希刺克厉夫举起他的手,说话的人显然熟悉那只手的份量,马上跳到一个较安全的远点的地方。我无心观赏一场猫和狗的打架,便轻快地走向前去,好像是很想在炉边取暖,完全没理会这场中断了的争吵似的。双方都还有足够的礼貌,总算暂时停止了进一步的敌对行为。希刺克厉夫不知不觉地把拳头放在他的口袋里。希刺克厉夫夫人噘着嘴,坐到远远的一张椅子那儿,在我待在那儿的一段时间里,她果然依照她的话,扮演一座石像。我没有待多久。我谢绝与他们进早餐。等到曙光初放,我就抓紧机会,逃到外面的自由的空气里,它现在已是清爽、宁静而又寒冷得像块无形的冰一样了。

我还没有走到花园的尽头,我的房东就喊住了我,他要陪我走过旷野。幸亏他陪我,因为整个山脊仿佛一片波涛滚滚的白色海洋。它的起伏并不指示出地面的凸凹不平:至少,许多坑是被填平了;而且整个蜿蜒的丘陵——石矿的残迹——都从我昨天走过时在我心上所留下的地图中抹掉了。我曾注意到在路的一边,每隔六七码就有一排直立的石头,一直延续到荒原的尽头。这些石头都竖立着,涂上石灰,是为了在黑暗中标志方向的;也是为了碰上像现在这样的一场大雪把两边的深沿和较坚实的小路弄得混淆不清时而设的。但是,除了零零落落看得见这儿那儿有个泥点以外,这些石头存在的痕迹全消失了。当我以为我是正确地沿着蜿蜒的道路向前走时,我的同伴却时不时地需要警告我向左或向右转。

我们很少交谈,他在画眉园林门口站住,说我到这儿就不会走错了。我们的告别仅限于匆忙一鞠躬,然后我就径向前去。相信我自己有本事,因为守门人的住处还没赁出去。从大门到田庄是两英里,我相信我给走成四英里了。由于在树林里迷了路,又陷在雪坑里被雪埋到齐脖子:那种困难景况只有经历过的人才能领会。总之,不论我怎么样的乱荡,在我进家时,钟正敲十二下。这指出从呼啸山庄循着通常的道路回来,每一英里都花了整整一个钟头。

我那坐在家里不动的管家和她的随从蜂拥而出来欢迎我,七嘴八舌地嚷着说她们都以为我是没指望的了。人人都猜想我昨晚已死掉了。她们不知道该怎么出发去找我的尸体。现在她们既然看见我回来了,我就叫她们安静些,我也快要冻僵了。我吃力地上楼去,换上干衣服以后,踱来踱去走了三四十分钟,好恢复元气。我又到我的书房里,软弱得像一只小猫,几乎没法享受仆人为恢复我的精神而准备下的一炉旺火和热气腾腾的咖啡了。

 


Chapter 3
   

While leading the way upstairs, she recommended that I should hide the candle, and not make a noise; for her master had an odd notion about the chamber she would put me in, and never let anybody lodge there willingly. I asked the reason. She did not know, she answered: she had only lived there a year or two; and they had so many queer goings on, she could not begin to be curious.

Too stupefied to be curious myself, I fastened my door and glanced round for the bed. The whole furniture consisted of a chair, a clothes-press, and a large oak case, with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows. Having approached this structure I looked inside, and perceived it to be a singular sort of old-fashioned couch, very conveniently designed to obviate the necessity for every member of the family having a room to himself. In fact it formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the panelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again, and felt secure against the vigilance of Heathcliff, and everyone else.

The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small--Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and again to Catherine Linton.

In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw--Heathcliff--Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark as vivid as spectres--the air swarmed with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calfskin. I snuffed it off, and, very ill at ease under the influence of cold and lingering nausea, sat up and spread open the injured tome on my knee. It was a Testament, in lean type, and smelling dreadfully musty: a fly-leaf bore the inscription --`Catherine Earnshaw, her book', and a date some quarter of a century back. I shut it, and took up another, and another, till I had examined all. Catherine's library was select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have been well used; though not altogether for a legitimate purpose: scarcely one chapter had escaped a pen-and-ink commentary--at least, the appearance of one--covering every morsel of blank that the printer had left. Some were detached sentences; other parts took the form of a regular diary, scrawled in an unformed childish hand. At the top of an extra page (quite a treasure, probably, when first lighted on) I was greatly amused to behold an excellent caricature of my friend Joseph,--rudely, yet powerfully sketched. An immediate interest kindled within me for the unknown Catherine, and I began forthwith to decipher her faded hieroglyphics.

`An awful Sunday!' commenced the paragraph beneath. `I wish my father were back again. Hindley is a detestable substitute his conduct to Heathcliff is atrocious--H. and I are going to rebel--we took our initiatory step this evening.

`All day had been flooding with rain; we could not go to church, so Joseph must needs get up a congregation in the garret; and, while Hindley and his wife basked downstairs before a comfortable fire--doing anything but reading their Bibles, I'll answer for it--Heathcliff, myself, and the unhappy plough-boy, were commanded to take our prayer books, and mount: we were ranged in a row, on a sack of corn, groaning and shivering, and hoping that Joseph would shiver too, so that he might give us a short homily for his own sake. A vain idea! The service lasted precisely three hours; and yet my brother had the face to exclaim, when he saw us descending, "What, done already?" On Sunday evenings we used to be permitted to play, if we did not make much noise; now a mere titter is sufficient to send us into comers!

`"You forget you have a master here," says the tyrant. "I'll demolish the first who puts me out of temper! I insist on perfect sobriety and silence. Oh, boy! was that you? Frances, darling, pull his hair as you go by: I heard him snap his fingers." Frances pulled his hair heartily, and then went and seated herself on her husband's knee; and there they were, like two babies, kissing and talking nonsense by the hour--foolish palaver that we should be ashamed of. We made ourselves as snug as our means allowed in the arch of the dresser. I had just fastened our pinafores together, and hung them up for a curtain, when in comes Joseph on an errand from the stables. He tears down my handiwork, boxes my ears, and croaks--

`"T' maister nobbut just buried, and Sabbath nut o'ered, und t' sahnd uh t' gospel still i' yer lugs, and yah darr be laiking! Shame on ye! sit ye dahn, ill childer! they's good books eneugh if ye'll read 'em! sit ye dahn, and think uh yer sowls!"

`Saying this, he compelled us so to square our positions that we might receive from the far-off fire a dull ray to show us the text of the lumber thrust upon us. I could not bear the employment. I took my dingy volume by the scroop, and hurled it into the dog kennel, vowing I hated a good book. Heathcliff kicked his to the same place. Then there was a hubbub!

`"Maister Hindley!" shouted our chaplain. "Maister, coom hither! Miss Cathy's riven th' back off `Th' Helmet uh Salvation, un' Heathcliff's pawsed his fit intuh t' first part uh `T' Brooad Way to Destruction!' It's fair flaysome ut yah let 'em goa on this gait. Ech! th' owd man ud uh laced 'em properly--but he's goan!"

`Hindley hurried up from his paradise on the hearth, and seizing one of us by the collar, and the other by the arm, hurled both into the back kitchen; where, Joseph asseverated, "owd Nick" would fetch us as sure as we were living: and, so comforted, we each sought a separate nook to await his advent. I reached this book, and a pot of ink from a shelf, and pushed the house door ajar to give me light, and I have got the time on with writing for twenty minutes; but my companion is impatient, and proposes that we should appropriate the dairywoman's cloak, and have a scamper on the moors, under its shelter. A pleasant suggestion--and then, if the surly old man come in, he may believe his prophecy verified--we cannot be damper, or colder, in the rain than we are here.'



***

I suppose Catherine fulfilled her project, for the next sentence took up another subject: she waxed lachrymose.

`How little did I dream that Hindley would ever make me cry so!' she wrote. `My head aches, till I cannot keep it on the pillow; and still I can't give over. Poor Heathcliff! Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won't let him sit with us, nor eat with us any more; and, he says, he and I must not play together, and threatens to turn him out of the house if we break his orders. He has been blaming our father (how dared he?) for treating H. too liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place--'



***

I began to nod drowsily over the dim page: my eye wandered from manuscript to print, I saw a red ornamented title--`Seventy Times Seven, and the First of the Seventy-First. A Pious Discourse delivered by the Reverend Jabes Branderham, in the Chapel of Gimmerden Sough.' And while I was, half consciously, worrying my brain to guess what Jabes Branderham would make of his subject, I sank back in bed, and fell asleep. Alas, for the effects of bad tea and bad temper! what else could it be that made me pass such a terrible night? I don't remember another that I can at all compare with it since I was capable of suffering.

I began to dream, almost before I ceased to be sensible of my locality. I thought it was morning; and I had set out on my way home, with Joseph for a guide. The snow lay yards deep in our road; and, as we floundered on, my companion wearied me with constant reproaches that I had not brought a pilgrim's staff: telling me that I could never get into the house without one, and boastfully flourishing a heavy-headed cudgel, which I understood to be so denominated. For a moment I considered it absurd that I should need such a weapon to gain admittance into my own residence. Then a new idea flashed across me. I was not going there: we were journeying to hear the famous Jabes Branderham preach from the text--`Seventy Times Seven'; and either Joseph, the preacher, or I had committed the `First of the Seventy-First', and were to be publicly exposed and excommunicated.

We came to the chapel. I have passed it really in my walks, twice or thrice; it lies in a hollow, between two hills; an elevated hollow, near a swamp, whose peaty moisture is said to answer all the purposes of embalming on the few corpses deposited there. The roof has been kept whole hitherto; but as the clergyman's stipend is only twenty pounds per annum, and a house with two rooms, threatening speedily to determine into one, no clergyman will undertake the duties of pastor: especially as it is currently reported that his flock would rather let him starve than increase the living by one penny from their own pockets. However, in my dream, Jabes had a full and attentive congregation; and he preached--good God! what a sermon'. divided into four hundred and ninety parts, each fully equal to an ordinary address from the pulpit, and each discussing a separate sin! Where he searched for them, I cannot tell. He had his private manner of interpreting the phrase, and it seemed necessary the brother should sin different sins on every occasion. They were of the most curious character: odd transgressions that I never imagined previously.

Oh, how weary I grew. How I writhed, and yawned, and nodded, and revived! How I pinched and pricked myself, and rubbed my eyes, and stood up, and sat down again, and nudged Joseph to inform me if he would ever have done. I was condemned 10 hear all out: finally, he reached the `First of the Seventy-First'. At that crisis, a sudden inspiration descended on me; I was moved to rise and denounce Jabes Branderham as the sinner of the sin that no Christian need pardon.

`Sir,' I exclaimed, `sitting here within these four walls, at one stretch, I have endured and forgiven the four hundred and ninety heads of your discourse. Seventy times seven times have I plucked up my hat and been about to depart--seventy times seven times have you preposterously forced me to resume my seat. The four hundred and ninety-first is too much. Fellow-martyrs, have at him! Drag him down, and crush him to atoms, that the place which knows him may know him no more!'

`Thou art the Man!' cries Jabes, after a solemn pause, leaning over his cushion. `Seventy times seven times didst thou gapingly contort thy visage--seventy times seven did I take counsel with my soul--Lo, this is human weakness: this also may be absolved! The First of the Seventy-First is come. Brethren, execute upon him the judgment written. Such honour have all His saints!'

With that concluding word, the whole assembly, exalting their pilgrim's staves, rushed round me in a body; and I, having no weapon to raise in self-defence, commenced grappling with Joseph, my nearest and most ferocious assailant, for his. In the confluence of the multitude, several clubs crossed; blows, aimed at me, fell on other sconces. Presently the whole chapel resounded with rappings and counter-rappings: every man's hand was against his neighbour; and Branderham, unwilling to remain idle, poured forth his zeal in a shower of loud taps on the boards of the pulpit, which responded so smartly that, at last, to my unspeakable relief, they woke me. And what was it that had suggested the tremendous tumult? What had played Jabes's part in the row? Merely, the branch of a fir tree that touched my lattice, as the blast wailed by, and rattled its dry cones against the panes! I listened doubtingly an instant; detected the disturber, then turned and dozed, and dreamt again: if possible, still more disagreeably than before.

This time, I remembered I was lying in the oak closet, and I heard distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to--silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp the casement. The hook was soldered into the staple: a circumstance observed by me when awake, but forgotten. `I must stop it, nevertheless!' I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, `Let me in--let me in!' `Who are you?' I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. `Catherine Linton,' it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton); `I'm come home: I'd lost my way on the moor!' As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, `Let me in!' and maintained its tenacious grip, almost maddening me with fear. `How can I?' I said at length. `Let me go, if you want me to let you in!' The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour; yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on! `Begone!' I shouted, `I'll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.' `It is twenty years,' mourned the voice: `twenty years. I've been a waif for twenty years!' Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up; but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. To my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal: hasty footsteps approached my chamber door; somebody pushed it open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the squares at the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead: the intruder appeared to hesitate, and muttered to himself. At last, he said in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer, `Is any one here?' I considered it best to confess my presence, for I knew Heathcliff's accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept quiet. With this intention, I turned and opened the panels. I shall not soon forget the effect my action produced.

Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers: with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white as the wall behind him. The first creak of the oak startled him like an electric shock! the light leaped from his hold to a distance of some feet, and his agitation was so extreme, that he could hardly pick it up.

`It is only your guest, sir,' I called out, desirous to spare him the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further. `I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful nightmare. I'm sorry I disturbed you.

`Oh God confound you, Mr Lockwood! I wish you were at the--` commenced my host, setting the candle on a chair, because he found it impossible to hold it steady. `And who showed you up into this room?' he continued, crushing his nails into his palms, and grinding his teeth to subdue the maxillary convulsions. `Who was it? I've a good mind to turn them out of the house this moment!'

`It was your servant, Zillah,' I replied, flinging myself on to the floor, and rapidly resuming my garments. `I should not care if you did, Mr Heathcliff; she richly deserves it. I suppose that she wanted to get another proof that the place was haunted, at my expense. Well, it is--swarming with ghosts and goblins! You have reason in shutting it up, I assure you. No one will thank you for a doze in such a den!'

`What do you mean?' asked Heathcliff, `and what are you doing? Lie down and finish out the night, since you are here; but, for heaven's sake! don't repeat that horrid noise; nothing could excuse it, unless you were having your throat cut!'

`If the little fiend had got in at the window, she probably would have strangled me!' I returned. `I'm not going to endure the persecutions of your hospitable ancestors again. Was not the Reverend Jabes Branderham akin to you on the mother's side? And that minx, Catherine Linton, or Earnshaw, or however she was called--she must have been a changeling--wicked little soul! She told me she had been walking the earth these twenty years: a just punishment for her mortal transgressions, I've no doubt!'

Scarcely were these words uttered, when I recollected the association of Heathcliff's with Catherine's name in the book,--which had completely slipped from my memory, till thus awakened. I blushed at my inconsideration; but, without showing further consciousness of the offence, I hastened to add--`The truth is, sir, I passed the first part of the night in'--Here I stopped afresh--I was about to say perusing those old volumes', then it would have revealed my knowledge of their written, as well as their printed, contents: so, correcting myself, I went on, `in spelling over the name scratched on that window-ledge. A monotonous occupation, calculated to set me asleep, like counting, or--'

`What can you mean by talking in this way to me?' thundered Heathcliff with savage vehemence. `How--how dare you, under my roof?--God! he's mad to speak so!' And he struck his forehead with rage.

I did not know whether to resent this language or pursue my explanation; but he seemed so powerfully affected that I took pity and proceeded with my dreams; affirming I had never heard the appellation of `Catherine Linton' before, but reading it often over produced an impression which personified itself when I had no longer my imagination under control. Heathcliff gradually fell back into the shelter of the bed, as I spoke; finally sitting down almost concealed behind it. I guessed, however, by his irregular and intercepted breathing, that he struggled to vanquish an excess of violent emotion. Not liking to show him that I had heard the conflict, I continued my toilette rather noisily, looking at my watch, and soliloquized on the length of the night: `Not three o'clock yet! I could have taken oath it had been six. Time stagnates here: we must surely have retired to rest at eight!'

`Always at nine in winter, and always rise at four,' said my host, suppressing a groan: and, as I fancied, by the motion of his shadow's arm, dashing a tear from his eyes. `Mr Lockwood,' he added, `you may go into my room: you'll only be in the way, coming downstairs so early; and your childish outcry has sent sleep to the devil for me.'

`And for me, too,' I replied. `I'll walk in the yard till daylight, and then I'll be off; and you need not dread a repetition of my intrusion. I'm now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.'

`Delightful company!' muttered Heathcliff. `Take the candle, and go where you please. I shall join you directly. Keep out of the yard, though, the dogs are unchained; and the house--Juno mounts sentinel there, and--nay, you can only ramble about the steps and passages. But, away with you! I'll come in two minutes!'

I obeyed, so far as to quit the chamber; when, ignorant where the narrow lobbies led, I stood still, and was witness, involuntarily, to a piece of superstition on the part of my landlord, which belied, oddly, his apparent sense. He got on to the bed, and wrenched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable passion of tears. `Come in! come in!' he sobbed. `Cathy, do come. Oh do--once more! Oh! my heart's darling! hear me this time, Catherine, at last!' The spectre showed a spectre's ordinary caprice: it gave no sign of being; but the snow and wind whirled wildly through, even reaching my station, and blowing out the light.

There was such anguish in the gust of grief that accompanied this raving, that my compassion made me overlook its folly, and I drew off, half angry to have listened at all, and vexed at having related my ridiculous nightmare, since it produced that agony; though why, was beyond my comprehension. I descended cautiously to the lower regions, and landed in the back kitchen, where a gleam of fire, raked compactly together, enabled me to rekindle my candle. Nothing was stirring except a bridled, grey cat, which crept from the ashes, and saluted me with a querulous mew.

Two benches, shaped in sections of a circle, nearly enclosed the hearth; on one of these I stretched myself, and Grimalkin mounted the other. We were both of us nodding, ere anyone invaded our retreat, and then it was Joseph, shuffling down a wooden ladder that vanished in the roof, through a trap: the ascent to his garret, I suppose. He cast a sinister look at the little flame which I had enticed to play between the ribs, swept the cat from its elevation, and bestowing himself in the vacancy, commenced the operation of stuffing a three-inch pipe with tobacco. My presence in his sanctum was evidently esteemed a piece of impudence too shameful for remark: he silently applied the tube to his lips, folded his arms, and puffed away. I let him enjoy the luxury unannoyed; and after sucking out his last wreath, and heaving a profound sigh, he got up, and departed as solemnly as he came.

A more elastic footstep entered next; and now I opened my mouth for a `good morning', but closed it again, the salutation unachieved; for Hareton Earnshaw was performing his orisons sotto voce, in a series of curses directed against every object he touched, while he rummaged a corner for a spade or shovel to dig through the drifts. He glanced over the back of the bench, dilating his nostrils, and thought as little of exchanging civilities with me as with my companion the cat. I guessed, by his preparations, that egress was allowed, and, leaving my hard couch, made a movement to follow him. He noticed this, and thrust at an inner door with the end of his spade, intimating by an inarticulate sound that there was the place where I must go, if I changed my locality;

It opened into the house, where the females were already astir, Zillah urging flakes of flame up the chimney with a colossal bellows; and Mrs Heathcliff, kneeling on the hearth, reading a book by the aid of the blaze. She held her hand interposed between the furnace heat and her eyes, and seemed absorbed in her occupation; desisting from it only to chide the servant for covering her with sparks, or to push away a dog, now and then, that snoozled its nose over-forwardly into her face. I was surprised to see Heathcliff there also. He stood by the fire, his back towards me, just finishing a stormy scene to poor Zillah; who ever and anon interrupted her labour to pluck up the corner of her apron, and heave an indignant groan.

`And you, you worthless'--he broke out as I entered, turning to his daughter-in-law, and employing an epithet as harmless as duck, or sheep, but generally represented by a dash--. `There you are, at your idle tricks again! The rest of them do earn their bread--you live on my charity! Put your trash away, and find something to do. You shall pay me for the plague of having you eternally in my sight--do you hear, damnable jade?'

`I'll put my trash away, because you can make me, if I refuse,' answered the young lady, closing her book, and throwing it on a chair. `But I'll not do anything, though you should swear your tongue out, except what I please!'

Heathcliff lifted his hand, and the speaker sprang to a safer distance, obviously acquainted with its weight. Having no desire to be entertained by a cat-and-dog combat; I stepped forward briskly, as if eager to partake the warmth of the hearth, and innocent of any knowledge of the interrupted dispute. Each had enough decorum to suspend further hostilities: Heathcliff placed his fist, out of temptation, in his pockets; Mrs Heathcliff curled her lip, and walked to a seat far off, where she kept her word by playing the part of a statue during the remainder of my stay. That was not long. I declined joining their breakfast, and, at the first gleam of dawn, took an opportunity of escaping into the free air, now clear, and still, and cold as impalpable ice.

My landlord hallooed for me to stop, ere I reached the bottom of the garden, and offered to accompany me across the moor. It was well he did, for the whole hill-back was one billowy, white ocean; the swells and falls not indicating corresponding rises and depressions in the ground: many pits, at least, were filled to a level; and entire ranges of mounds, the refuse of the quarries, blotted from the chart which my yesterday's walk left pictured in my mind. I had remarked on one side of the road, at intervals of six or seven yards, a line of upright stones, continued through the whole length of the barren: these were erected, and daubed with lime on purpose to serve as guides in the dark; and also when a fall, like the present, confounded the deep swamps on either hand with the firmer path: but, excepting a dirty dot pointing up here and there, all traces of their existence had vanished: and my companion found it necessary to warn me frequently to steer to the right or left, when I imagined I was following, correctly, the windings of the road. We exchanged little conversation, and he halted at the entrance of Thrushcross Park, saying, I could make no error there. Our adieux were limited to a hasty bow, and then I pushed forward, trusting to my own resources; for the porter's lodge is untenanted as yet. The distance from the gate to the Grange is two miles: I believe I managed to make it four; what with losing myself among the trees, and sinking up to the neck in snow: a predicament which only those who have experienced it can appreciate. At any rate, whatever were my wanderings, the clock chimed twelve as I entered the house; and that gave exactly an hour for every mile of the usual way from Wuthering Heights.

My human fixture and her satellites rushed to welcome me; exclaiming, tumultuously, they had completely given me up; everybody conjectured that I perished last night; and they were wondering how they must set about the search for my remains. I bid them be quiet, now that they saw me returned, and, benumbed to my very heart, I dragged upstairs; whence, after putting on dry clothes, and pacing to and fro thirty or forty minutes, to restore the animal heat, I am adjourned to my study, feeble as a kitten: almost too much so to enjoy the cheerful fire and smoking coffee which the servant has prepared for my refreshment.