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第5节 第五章 【
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第五章
   

日子过下去,恩萧先生开始垮下来了。他本来是活跃健康的,但是他的精力突然从他身上消失。当他只能待在壁炉的角落里时,就变得暴躁得令人难过。一点点小事就会使他心烦,而且疑心人家损伤了他的威信,就简直要气得发疯。如果有人企图为难或欺压他的宠儿,恩萧就特别生气;他很痛苦地猜忌着,唯恐有人对他说错一句话。好像他的脑子里有这么个想法:即因为自己喜欢希刺克厉夫,所有的人就都恨他,并且想暗算他。这对那孩子可不利,因为我们中间比较心慈的人并不愿惹主人生气,所以我们就迎合他的偏爱。那种迁就可大大滋长了孩子的骄傲和乖僻。可也非这样不可。有两三回,辛德雷当着他父亲的面,表现出瞧不起那孩子的神气,使老人家大为光火,他抓住手杖要打辛德雷,却由于打不动,只能气得直抖。

最后,我们的副牧师(那时候我们有两个副牧师,靠教林惇和恩萧两家的小孩子读书,以及自己种一块地为生)出主意说,该把这年轻人送到大学去了。恩萧先生同意了,虽然心情很不畅快,因为他说“辛德雷没出息,不管他荡到哪儿也永远不会发迹的”。

我衷心希望如今我们可以太平无事了。一想到主人自己作下善事,反而搞得别别扭扭,我就伤心。我猜想他晚年的不痛快而且多病,都是由于家庭不和而来。事实上他自己也那么想:真的,先生,你知道这日渐衰老的骨架里头就藏着这块心病。其实,要不是为了两个人,凯蒂小姐和那佣人约瑟夫,我们还可以凑合下去。我敢说,你在那边看见过他的。他过去是,现在八成还是,翻遍圣经都难找出来的,一个把恩赐都归于自己,把诅咒都丢给邻人的最讨厌的、自以为是的法利赛人。约瑟夫极力凭着花言巧语和虔诚的说教,给恩萧先生一个很好的印象。主人越衰弱,他的势力越大。他毫无怜悯地折磨主人,大谈他的灵魂,以及如何对孩子们要严加管束。他鼓励主人把辛德雷当作堕落的人,而且,还经常每天晚上编派事端去抱怨希刺克厉夫和凯瑟琳一番,总是忘不了把最重的过错放在后者身上,以迎合恩萧的弱点。

当然,凯瑟琳有些怪脾气,那是我在别的孩子身上从未见到过的。她在一天内能让我们所有的人失去耐心不止五十次,从她一下楼起直到上床睡觉为止,她总是在淘气,搅得我们没有一分钟的安宁。她总是兴高采烈,舌头动个不停——唱呀,笑呀,谁不附和着她,就纠缠不休,真是个又野又坏的小姑娘。可是在教区内就数她有双最漂亮的眼睛,最甜蜜的微笑,最轻巧的步子。话说回来,我相信她并没有恶意,因为她一旦把你真惹哭了,就很少不陪着你哭,而且使你不得不静下来再去安慰她。她非常喜欢希刺克厉夫。我们如果真要惩罚她,最厉害的一着就是把他俩分开,可是为了他,她比我们更多挨骂。在玩的时候,她特别喜欢当小主妇,任性地作这个那个,而且对同伴们发号施令。她对我也这样,可是我可受不了充当杂差和听任使唤,所以我也就叫她放明白点。

不过,恩萧先生不理解孩子们的嬉笑。他们在一起时,他总是严峻庄严的。在凯瑟琳这方面,她不明白父亲为什么在衰弱时,比在盛年时脾气要暴躁些,耐性少些。他那暴躁的责备反而唤起她想逗乐的情趣,故意地去激怒父亲。她顶高兴的是我们在一起骂她,她就露出大胆、无礼的神气,以机灵的话语对抗我们。她把约瑟夫的宗教上的诅咒编成笑料,捉弄我,干她父亲最恨的事——炫耀她那假装出来的(而他却信以为真的)傲慢如何比他的慈爱对希刺克厉夫更有力量;炫耀她能使这个男孩如何对自己唯命是从,而对他的命令,只有合自己心意时才肯玄干。在一整天干尽了坏事后,有时到晚上她又来撒娇想和解。“不,凯蒂,”老人家说,“我不能爱你。你比你哥哥还坏。去,祷告去吧,孩子,求上帝饶恕你。我想你母亲和我一定会悔恨生养了你哩!”起初这话还使她哭一场,后来,由于经常受申斥,心肠也就变硬了。要是我叫她说因为自己的错误而觉得羞愧,要求父亲原谅,她倒反而大笑起来。

但是,恩萧先生结束尘世烦恼的时辰终于来到。在十月的一个晚上,他坐在炉边椅上宁静地死去了。大风绕屋咆哮,并在烟囱里怒吼,听起来狂暴猛烈,天却不冷。我们都在一起——我离火炉稍远,忙着织毛线,约瑟夫凑着桌子在读他的圣经(因为那时候佣人们做完了事之后经常坐在屋里的)。凯蒂小姐病了,这使她安静下来。她靠在父亲的膝前,希刺克厉夫躺在地板上,头枕着她的腿。我记得主人在打盹之前,还抚摸着她那漂亮的头发——看她这么温顺,他难得的高兴,而且说着:

“你为什么不能永远做一个好姑娘呢,凯蒂?”她扬起脸来向他大笑着回答:“你为什么不能永远作一个好男人呢,父亲?”但是一看见他又恼了,凯蒂就去亲他的手,还说要唱支歌使他入睡。她开始低声唱着,直到父亲的手指从她手里滑落出来,头垂在胸前。这时我告诉她要住声,也别动弹,怕她吵醒了他。我们整整有半个钟头都像耗子似的不声不响。本来还可以呆得久些,只是约瑟夫读完了那一章,站起来说他得把主人唤醒,让他作了祷告去上床睡。他走上前去,叫唤主人,碰碰他的肩膀,可是他不动,于是,他拿支蜡烛看他。他放下蜡烛的时候,我感到出事了。他一手抓着一个孩子的胳臂,小声跟他们说快上楼去,别出声——这一晚他们可以自己祷告——他还有事。

“我要先跟父亲说声晚安,”凯瑟琳说。我们没来得及拦住她,她已一下子伸出胳臂,搂住了他的脖子。这可怜的东西马上发现了她的损失,就尖声大叫:“啊,他死啦,希刺克厉夫!他死啦!”他们两人就放声大哭,哭得令人心碎。

我也和他们一起恸哭,哭声又高又惨。可是约瑟夫向我们说,对一位已经升天的圣人,这样吼叫是什么意思。他叫我穿上外衣,赶紧跑到吉默吞去请医生和牧师。当时我猜不透请这两个人来有什么用。可是我还是冒着风雨去了,带回来个医生,另一个说他明天早上来。约瑟夫留在那里向医生解说一切,而我便跑到孩子们的房间里去。门半开着,虽然已经过半夜了,他们根本就没躺下来。只是已安静些了,不需要我来安慰了。这两个小灵魂正在用比我所能想到的更好的思想互相安慰着:世上没有一个牧师,能把天堂描画得像他们在自己天真的话语中所描画的那样美丽;当我一边抽泣,一边听着的时候,我不由得祝愿我们大家都平平安安地一块到天堂去。



Chapter 5
   

In the course of time, Mr Earnshaw began to fail. He had been active and healthy, yet his strength left him suddenly; and when he was confined to the chimney comer he grew grievously irritable. A nothing vexed him; and suspected slights of his authority nearly threw him into fits. This was especially to be remarked if anyone attempted to impose upon, or domineer over, his favourite: he was painfully jealous lest a word should be spoken amiss to him; seeming to have got into his head the notion that, because he liked Heathcliff, all hated, and longed to do him an ill turn. It was a disadvantage to the lad; for the kinder among us did not wish to fret the master, so we humoured his partiality; and that humouring was rich nourishment to the child's pride and black tempers. Still it became in a manner necessary; twice, or thrice, Hindley's manifestation of scorn, while his father was near, roused the old man to a fury: he seized his stick to strike him, and shook with rage that he could not do it.

At last, our curate (we had a curate then who made the living answer by teaching the little Lintons and Earnshaws, and farming his bit of land himself), he advised that the young man should be sent to college; and Mr Earnshaw agreed, though with a heavy spirit, for he said--`Hindley was nought, and would never thrive as where he wandered.'

I hoped heartily we should have peace now. It hurt me to think the master should be made uncomfortable by his own good deed. I fancied the discontent of age and disease arose from his family disagreements: as he would have it that it did: really, you know, sir, it was in his sinking frame. We might have got on tolerably, notwithstanding, but for two people, Miss Cathy and Joseph, the servant: you saw him, I dare say, up yonder. He was, and is yet most likely, the wearisomest self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself and fling the curses on his neighbours. By his knack of sermonizing and pious discoursing, he contrived to make a great impression on Mr Earnshaw; and the more feeble the master became, the more influence he gained. He was relentless in worrying him about his soul's concerns, and about ruling his children rigidly. He encouraged him to regard Hindley as a reprobate; and, night after night, he regularly grumbled out a long string of tales against Heathcliff and Catherine: always minding to flatter Earnshaw's weakness by heaping the heaviest blame on the last.

Certainly, she had ways with her such as I never saw a child take up before; and she put all of us past our patience fifty times and oftener in a day: from the hour she came downstairs till the hour she went to bed, we had not a minute's security that she wouldn't be in mischief. Her spirits were always at high-water mark, her tongue always going--singing, laughing, and plaguing everybody who would not do the same. A wild, wicked slip she was--but she had the bonniest eye, the sweetest smile, and lightest foot in the parish; and, after all, I believe she meant no harm; for when once she made you cry in good earnest, it seldom happened that she would not keep you company, and oblige you to be quiet that you might comfort her. She was much too fond of Heathcliff. The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him: yet she got chided more than any of us on his account. In play, she liked exceedingly to act the little mistress; using her hands freely, and commanding her companions: she did so to me, but I would not bear shopping and ordering; and so I let her know.

Now, Mr Earnshaw did not understand jokes from his children: he had always been strict and grave with them; and Catherine, on her part, had no idea why her father should be crosser and less patient in his ailing condition, than he was in his prime. His peevish reproofs wakened in her a naughty delight to provoke him: she was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words turning Joseph's religious curses into ridicule, baiting me, and doing just what her father hated most--showing how her pretended insolence, which he thought real, had more power over Heathcliff than his kindness: how the boy would do her bidding in anything, and his only when it suited his own inclination. After behaving as badly as possible all day, she sometimes came fondling to make it up at night. `Nay, Cathy,' the old man would say, `I cannot love thee; thou'rt worse than thy brother. Go, say thy prayers, child, and ask God's pardon. I doubt thy mother and I must rue that we ever reared thee!' That made her cry, at first: and then being repulsed continually hardened her, and she laughed if I told her to say she was sorry for her faults, and beg to be forgiven.

But the hour came, at last, that ended Mr Earnshaw's troubles on earth. He died quietly in his chair one October evening, seated by the fireside. A high wind blustered round the house, and roared in the chimney: it sounded wild and stormy, yet it was not cold, and we were all together--I, a little removed from the hearth, busy at my knitting, and Joseph reading his Bible near the table (for the servants generally sat in the house then, after their work was done). Miss Cathy had been sick, and that made her still; she leant against her father's knee, and Heathcliff was lying on the floor with his head in her lap. I remember the master, before he fell into a doze, stroking her bonny hair it pleased him rarely to see her gentle--and saying--`Why canst thou not always be a good lass, Cathy?' And she turned her face up to his, and laughed, and answered, `Why cannot you always be a good man, father?' But as soon as she saw him vexed again, she kissed his hand, and said she would sing him to sleep. She began singing very low, till his fingers dropped from hers, and his head sank on his breast. Then I told her to hush, and not stir, for fear she should wake him. We all kept as mute as mice a full half-hour, and should have done longer, only Joseph, having finished his chapter, got up and said that he must rouse the master for prayers and bed. He stepped forward, and called him by name, and touched his shoulder; but he would not move, so he took the candle and looked at him. I thought there was something wrong as he set down the light; and seizing the children each by an arm, whispered them to `frame upstairs, and make little din--they might pray alone that evening--he had summut to do'.

`I shall bid father good night first,' said Catherine, putting her arms round his neck, before we could hinder her. The poor thing discovered her loss directly--she screamed out--`Oh, he's dead, Heathcliff! he's dead!' And they both set up a heart-breaking cry.

I joined my wail to theirs, loud and bitter; but Joseph asked what we could be thinking of to roar in that way over a saint in heaven. He told me to put on my cloak and run to Gimmerton for the doctor and the parson. I could not guess the use that either would be of, then. However, I went, through wind and rain, and brought one, the doctor, back with me; the other said he would come in the morning. leaving Joseph to explain matters, I ran to the children's room: their door was ajar, I saw they had never laid down, though it was past midnight; but they were calmer, and did not need me to console them. The little souls were comforting each other with better thoughts than I could have hit on: no parson in the world ever pictured heaven so beautifully as they did, in their innocent talk: and, while I sobbed and listened, I could not help wishing we were all there safe together.