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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第3章 新生 The Rally
第5节 第十六章 【
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五月的一个早晨,麝香草散发着香气,小鸟还在孵蛋,苔丝从特兰里奇回来大约两三年后——这几年她心灵的创伤悄悄地平复了——又第二次离开了家门。
她收拾好以后再给她送去的行李,就坐上一辆雇来的双轮轻便马车,动身去斯图尔堡的一座小镇。她途中必须从那个小镇经过,因为这次行程的方向同她第一次鲁莽离家的方向几乎完全相反。尽管她十分渴望远走他乡,但是走到最近那个山丘拐弯的地方,她又回过头去,满腹惆怅地望了望马洛特村和她父亲的房屋。
在那所房屋里住着她的家人,尽管她就要远离他们,他们再也看不到她的笑容了,但是大概他们的日常生活也许会依然同过去一样,在他们的意识中快乐也不会有太多的减少。几天以后,孩子们就会像往常一样玩起他们的游戏来,不会感到因为她的离开而缺少了什么。她决心离开是为了这些更小的孩子们能得到更大的好处;如果她留在家里不走,他们也许从她的管教中得不到丝毫好处,反而会因她的榜样受害。
她没有歇一歇就穿过斯图尔堡,向前一直走到几条大道的交叉路口,在那儿等候往西南去的搬运夫的大马车;因为铁路虽然包围了乡村内陆的广大区域,但是从来还没有穿过它的腹地。正当她在那儿等候马车的时候,路上有一个农夫坐着轻便的双轮马车走了过来,要去的地方大约同她要赶的路是一个方向。尽管她不认识这个陌生人,但还是接受了他的邀请,上车坐在农夫身边,而不管农夫邀请她的动机只是向她漂亮的脸蛋献上的一份殷勤。农夫是到韦瑟伯利去的,她坐车到了那儿,就不用再坐大马车绕道卡斯特桥,剩下的一段路靠步行就能走了。
苔丝坐车走了长长的一段路,中午到了韦瑟伯利也没有停下来,只是到赶车的农夫推荐的一户农家稍微吃了一顿说不上名目的饭。接着她就提起篮子开始步行,向一片广袤的荒原高地走去。荒原把韦瑟伯利同远处低谷的一片草场分隔开来,而坐落在山谷中的奶牛场才是她当日行程的目的地,也是她当日行程的终点。
苔丝以前从来没有到过乡间这块地方,不过她却感到同这儿的风景有着血亲关系。就在她左边不很远的地方,她看见风景中有一块深色的地方,一问别人,证明她的猜想果然不错,那是把金斯伯尔的近郊区别开来的树林——就在那个教区的教堂里,埋葬着她的祖先——她的那些毫无用处的祖先的枯骨。
现在她对他们毫无敬仰的心情了;甚至她还恨他们给她带来烦恼;他们除了给她留下来一方古印和一把羹匙而外,其它的东西一件也没有给她留下来。“呸——我本来就是我的父母两个人养的!”她说。“我的全部美貌也是我妈给的,而她只不过是一个挤牛奶的女工。”
她走完从爱敦荒原上的高地和低地中间穿过的路程,这段距离实际上只不过几英里远,但比她所期望的要难走得多。由于拐弯时多走了一些冤枉路,她走了两个小时才走到一个山顶上,望见她渴望已久的沟谷:大奶牛场的沟谷。在那个沟谷里,牛奶和黄油的增长十分迅速,虽然不如她家里的牛奶和黄油味美,但它们的生产要远比瓦尔河或佛卢姆河所灌溉的那块翠绿草原上生产的牛奶和黄油丰富。
她除了在特兰里奇住了一段不幸的日子外,到现在她所知道的地方只是布莱克莫尔谷的小奶牛场谷,而大奶牛场谷同它则根本不同。世界在这儿是按照更大的模式描绘的。圈起来的牧场不是十亩地,而是五十亩地,农场也更加广大,牛群在这儿组成的是一个个部落,而在那儿只是一个个家庭。放眼望去,无数的奶牛从远远的东边一直延伸到远远的西边,在数目上超过了她以前看见过的任何牛群。它们散布在绿色的草地上,挤“得密密麻麻的,就像凡·阿尔斯卢特或萨雷尔特在画布上画满了市民一样。红色和暗褐色母牛身上的成熟颜色,和傍晚落日的霞光融合在一起,而全身白色的奶牛把光线反射出去,几乎使人为之目炫,甚至苔丝站在远处的高地上也是如此。
俯瞰呈现在她面前的那片风景,虽然不如她无比熟悉的另一片风景绚烂华美,但它却更能使人欢快振奋。它缺少那个能和它媲美的沟谷所有的强烈的蓝色气氛,缺少它厚实的土壤和浓烈的香气;它的新鲜空气清新、凉爽、灵妙。滋养牧草和这些著名奶牛场里的奶牛的那条河流,也同布莱克莫尔的河流流动得不一样。布莱克莫尔的河流流得缓慢、沉静、常常是浑浊的;它们从积满泥淖的河床上流过去,不明情形而涉水过河的人,稍不注意就会陷进泥淖里。佛卢姆河的流水却是清澈的,就像那位福音教徒看见的那条生命河一样纯净,流得也快,就像一片浮云的阴影,流过铺满卵石的浅滩,还整天对着天空喃喃絮语。那儿水中长的是睡莲,这儿水里长的却是毛茛。
也许是空气的性质从沉闷到轻松的变化,也许是她觉得已经到了没有人用恶意的眼光看待她的新地方,于是她的精神奇妙地振作起来。迎着温柔的南风,她一路跳跃着向前走去,她的希望同阳光融合在一起,似乎幻化成了一道环绕着她的光环。在吹来的阵阵微风中,她听得出快乐的声音,在一声声鸟的啼鸣里,也似乎潜藏着欢愉。
她的面貌,近来随着她的心境的变化而发生了变化,由于她的心绪有时快乐,有时沉郁,因而她的面貌也在美丽和平常之间变幻不定。今天她的脸色红润、完美;明天就转为苍白、凄楚。当她的脸色变得红润时,她就不像脸色苍白时那样一脸的忧愁;她的更加完美的美丽同她的平静的心情显得和谐;她的紧张的心情也同她的不太完美的美丽显得般配。现在她迎向南风的脸,正是在形体上显得最美的脸。
那种寻找欢乐的趋向是不可抵抗的、普遍存在的、自然发生的,它渗透在所有从最低级到最高级的生命中,最后终于把苔丝控制住了。即使现在她也只是一个二十岁的青年女子,她的思想和情感还在发展变化,因此任何事件给她留下的印象,就不可能经久不变。
所以她的精神、她的感激、她的希望,就越来越高涨。她唱了好几首民歌,但是感到它们都不能把内心的情绪表达出来;后来,她回想起在吞吃智慧树的禁果之前,在礼拜的早晨她的眼睛浏览过多少次的圣诗,于是又开口唱起来:“哦,你这太阳,你这月亮……哦,你们这些星星……你们这些世间的绿色万物……你们这些空中的飞禽……野兽和家畜……你们世人……你们应当赞美主,颂扬主,永远尊崇主!”
她突然住口不唱了,嘴里嘟哝着说:“可是我也许还不完全知道我唱的主呢。”
这种半不自觉的吟唱圣诗,也许就是在一神教背景中的一种拜物狂吟;那些把户外大自然的形体和力量作为主要伙伴的女子们,她们在心灵中保有的多半是她们遥远祖先的异教幻想,而很少是后世教给她们的那种系统化了的宗教。但是,苔丝至少在她从摇篮时代就开始呀呀学唱的古老的万物颂中,找到大约可以表达她的感情的句子;因此这也就足够了。她已经朝着自食其力的方向开始走了,对这种细小的最初表现她感到高度满足,这种满足也正是德北菲尔德性情的一部分。苔丝的确希望行为正直地往前走,而她的父亲完全不是这样;但是对眼前一点点成就就感到满足,不肯付出艰苦的努力把低下的社会地位向前推动,她却像她的父亲。德北菲尔德家曾是辉煌一时的家族,现在却成了一个受到严重阻碍的家庭,影响到社会地位的发展。
我们也可以说,虽然苔丝以前的那番经历暂时把她完全压倒了,但是母亲的娘家没有消耗掉的力量,以及苔丝青春年代的自然力量,都在苔丝身上被重新激发出来。老实说,女子受了这样的耻辱还是要照旧活下去,恢复了精神,就又开始用兴致勃勃的眼睛在她们四周看来看去了。正如一些亲切的理论家们要我们相信的那样,这个“被诱的女人”并不是完全不知道一种信念:有生命就有希望。
然后,苔丝·德北菲尔德就怀着对生活的满腔热情,情绪高昂地走下爱敦荒原的山坡,越走越低,向她一心向往的奶牛场走去。
两个能互相媲美的山谷之间的显著差别,现在终于详细地显现出来了。布莱克莫尔的秘密从它四周的高地上就能看得一清二楚;而想把她面前的山谷弄个明白,就必须到下面山谷的中间去。苔丝作完比较,就已经走到了山谷中绿草如茵的平地上,这块平地从东到西伸展开来,远得眼睛看不见边。
河流从较高的地带悄悄地流下来,把泥土一点点带进山谷,堆积成这块平地;现在这条年代久远的河流消耗完了,变得细小了,就流过在它从前劫掠来的泥土中问。
苔丝不敢肯定朝哪个方向走,就静静地站在一片四周环山的绿色平地上,就像一只苍蝇停在一个大得无边的台球桌上,并且对于周围的环境一点也不比那只苍蝇显得重要。她出现在这个宁静山谷的唯一影响,至多是把一只孤独的苍鹭惊动得飞起来,然后落在离她站立的道路不远的地上,伸长了脖子站在那儿看着她。
突然,下面低地上从四面八方传来一阵长长的、反复的呼唤声——
“呜嗅!呜懊!呜噢!”
这种声音好像受到了感染,从东边最远的地方传到西边最远的地方,其中偶尔还掺杂着一只狗的叫声。它不是表示山谷里知道美丽的苔丝来了,而是四点半钟挤牛奶时间到了的惯常通知,这时候奶牛场的工人们就动手把奶牛赶回去。
早已在那儿等候呼唤的最近的一群红牛和白牛,这时候就成群结队地朝建在后面的田间牛舍里走去,它们一边走,装满了牛奶的奶袋子就在它们腹下摆来摆去。苔丝跟在它们的后面慢慢走着,从前面的牛群通过的敞开着的栅栏门里走进院子。院子的四周围着长长的草棚,草棚斜坡的表面长满了鲜艳的绿色青苔,用来支撑棚檐的木头柱子,在过去的岁月中被无数的奶牛和小牛的肚腹磨擦得又光又亮,而那些牛现在却在遗忘的深渊中不可想象地被人忘记得一干二净。要被挤奶的牛都被安排在柱子中间,此刻让一个异想天开的人从后面看来,排在那儿的每一头牛就像一个圆环拴在两根木桩上,中间的下方是一只来回摆动的钟摆;这时候向草棚后面落去的夕阳,把这群能够容忍的牛群的影子精确地投射到草棚的墙上。因为,每天傍晚,夕阳都要把这些朦胧的、简朴的形体的影子投射出去,仔细地勾画好每一个轮廓,就好像是宫廷美人映照在宫廷墙壁上的侧影;它用心用意地描画它们,就好像是很久以前把奥林匹斯的天神描画到大理石壁上,或者是描画亚尼山大·凯撒和埃及法老的轮廓。
被赶进棚子的奶牛都不大安分守己。在院子中间安安静静地站着的那些奶牛,都是挤奶的,还有许多表现得更加安静的奶牛等在那儿——它们都是上等的奶牛,这样的奶牛在谷外很少看得到,就是在谷内也不是常见;它们是由这一年中主要季节里的水草场生长的汁液丰富的草料喂养起来的。那些身上有白点的奶牛皮毛光亮,把阳光反射过来,使人日炫,它们的犄角上套着发亮的铜箍,就像是某种兵器闪耀着光辉。它们那些布满粗大脉管的奶房沉重地垂在下面,就像是一个个沙袋,上面乳头突起,好像吉普赛人使用的瓦罐的脚;每一头奶牛逗留在那儿,等着轮到自己挤奶,在它们等候的时候牛奶就从奶头渗出来,一点一滴地落到地上。

On a thyme-scented, bird-hatching morning in May, between two and three years after the return from Trantridge - silent reconstructive years for Tess Durbeyfield - she left her home for the second time.

Having packed up her luggage so that it could be sent to her later, she started in a hired trap for the little town of Stourcastle, through which it was necessary to pass on her journey, now in a direction almost opposite to that of her first adventuring. On the curve of the nearest hill she looked back regretfully at Marlott and her father's house, although she had been so anxious to get away.

Her kindred dwelling there would probably continue their dally lives as heretofore, with no great diminution of pleasure in their consciousness, although she would be far off, and they deprived of her smile. In a few days the children would engage in their games as merrily as ever without the sense of any gap left by her departure. This leaving of the younger children she had decided to be for the best; were she to remain they would probably gain less good by her precepts than harm by her example.

She went through Stourcastle without pausing, and onward to a junction of highways, where she could await a carrier's van that ran to the south-west; for the railways which engirdled this interior tract of country had never yet struck across it. While waiting, however, there came along a farmer in his spring-cart, driving approximately in the direction that she wished to pursue. Though he was a stranger to her she accepted his offer of a seat beside him, ignoring that its motive was a mere tribute to her countenance. He was going to Weatherbury, and by accompanying him thither she could walk the remainder of the distance instead of travelling in the van by way of Casterbridge.

Tess did not stop at Weatherbury, after this long drive, further than to make a slight nondescript meal at noon at a cottage to which the farmer recommended her. Thence she started on foot, basket in hand, to reach the wide upland of heath dividing this district from the low-lying meads of a further valley in which the dairy stood that was the aim and end of her day's pilgrimage.

Tess had never before visited this part of the country, and yet she felt akin to the landscape. Not so very far to the left of her she could discern a dark patch in the scenery, which inquiry confirmed her in supposing to be trees marking the environs of Kingsbere - in the church of which parish the bones of her ancestors - her useless ancestors - lay entombed.

She had no admiration for them now; she almost hated them for the dance they had led her; not a thing of all that had been theirs did she retain but the old seal and spoon. `Pooh - I have as much of mother as father in me!' she said. `All my prettiness comes from her, and she was only a dairymaid.'

The journey over the intervening uplands and lowlands of Egdon, when she reached them, was a more troublesome walk than she had anticipated, the distance being actually but a few miles. It was two hours, owing to sundry wrong turnings, ere she found herself on a summit commanding the long-sought-for vale, the Valley of the Great Dairies, the valley in which milk and butter grew to rankness, and were produced more profusely, if less delicately, than at her home - the verdant plain so well watered by the river Var or Froom.

It was intrinsically different from the Vale of Little Dairies, Blackmoor Vale, which, save during her disastrous sojourn at Trantridge, she had exclusively known till now. The world was drawn to a larger pattern here. The enclosures numbered fifty acres instead of ten, the farmsteads were more extended, the groups of cattle formed tribes hereabout; there only families. These myriads of cows stretching under her eyes from the far east to the far west outnumbered any she had ever seen at one glance before. The green lea was speckled as thickly with them as a canvas by Van Alsloot or Sallaert with burghers. The ripe hues of the red and dun kine absorbed the evening sunlight, which the white-coated animals returned to the eye in rays almost dazzling, even at the distant elevation on which she stood.

The bird's-eye perspective before her was not so luxuriantly beautiful, perhaps, as that other one which she knew so well; yet it was more cheering. It lacked the intensely blue atmosphere of the rival vale, and its heavy soils and scents; the new air was clear, bracing, ethereal. The river itself, which nourished the grass and cows of these renowned dairies, flowed not like the streams in Blackmoor. Those were slow, silent, often turbid; flowing over beds of mud into which the incautious wader might sink and vanish unawares. The Froom waters were clear as the pure River of Life shown to the Evangelist, rapid as the shadow of a cloud, with pebbly shallows that prattled to the sky all day long. There the water-flower was the lily; the crowfoot here.

Either the change in the quality of the air from heavy to light, or the sense of being amid new scenes where there were no invidious eyes upon her, sent up her spirits wonderfully. Her hopes mingled with the sunshine in an ideal photosphere which surrounded her as she bounded along against the soft south wind. She heard a pleasant voice in every breeze, and in every bird's note seemed to lurk a joy.

Her face had latterly changed with changing states of mind, continually fluctuating between beauty and ordinariness, according as the thoughts were gay or grave. One day she was pink and flawless; another pale and tragical. When she was pink she was feeling less than when pale; her more perfect beauty accorded with her less elevated mood; her more intense mood with her less perfect beauty. It was her best face physically that was now set against the south wind.

The irresistible, universal, automatic tendency to find sweet pleasure somewhere, which pervades all life, from the meanest to the highest, had at length mastered Tess. Being even now only a young woman of twenty, one who mentally and sentimentally had not finished growing, it was impossible that any event should have left upon her an impression that was not in time capable of transmutation.

And thus her spirits, and her thankfulness, and her hopes, rose higher and higher. She tried several ballads, but found them inadequate; till, recollecting the psalter that her eyes had so often wandered over of a Sunday morning before she had eaten of the tree of knowledge, she chanted: `O ye Sun and Moon... O ye Stars... ye Green Things upon the Earth... ye Fowls of the Air Beasts and Cattle... Children of Men... bless ye the Lord, praise Him and magnify Him for ever!'

She suddenly stopped and murmured: `But perhaps I don't quite know the Lord as yet.'

And probably the half-unconscious rhapsody was a Fetichistic utterance in a Monotheistic setting; women whose chief companions are the forms and forces of outdoor Nature retain in their souls far more of the Pagan fantasy of their remote forefathers than of the systematized religion taught their race at later date. However, Tess found at least approximate expression for her feelings in the old Benedicite that she had lisped from infancy; and it was enough. Such high contentment with such a slight initial performance as that of having started towards a means of independent living was a part of the Durbeyfield temperament. Tess really wished to walk uprightly, while her father did nothing of the kind; but she resembled him in being content with immediate and small achievements, and in having no mind for laborious effort towards such petty social advancement as could alone be effected by a family so heavily handicapped as the once powerful d'Urbervilles were now.

There was, it might be said, the energy of her mother's unexpended family, as well as the natural energy of Tess's years, rekindled after the experience which had so overwhelmed her for the time. Let the truth be told - women do as a rule live through such humiliations, and regain their spirits, and again look about them with an interested eye. While there's life there's hope is a conviction not so entirely unknown to the `betrayed' as some amiable theorists would have us believe.

Tess Durbeyfield, then, in good heart, and full of zest for life, descended the Egdon slopes lower and lower towards the dairy of her pilgrimage.

The marked difference, in the final particular, between the rival vales now showed itself. The secret of Blackmoor was best discovered from the heights around; to read aright the valley before her it was necessary to descend into its midst. When Tess had accomplished this feat she found herself to be standing on a carpeted level, which stretched to the east and west as far as the eye could reach.

The river had stolen from the higher tracts and brought in particles to the vale all this horizontal land; and now, exhausted, aged, and attenuated, lay serpentining along through the midst of its former spoils.

Not quite sure of her direction Tess stood still upon the hemmed expanse of verdant flatness, like a fly on a billiard-table of indefinite length, and of no more consequence to the surroundings than that fly. The sole effect of her presence upon the placid valley so far has been to excite the mind of a solitary heron, which, after descending to the ground not far from her path, stood with neck erect, looking at her.

Suddenly there arose from all parts of the lowland a prolonged and repeated call--

`Waow! waow! waow!'

From the furthest east to the furthest west the cries spread as if by contagion, accompanied in some cases by the barking of a dog. It was not the expression of the valley's consciousness that beautiful Tess had arrived, but the ordinary announcement of milking-time - half-past four o'clock, when the dairymen set about getting in the cows.

The red and white herd nearest at hand, which had been phlegmatically waiting for the call, now trooped towards the steading in the background, their great bags of milk swinging under them as they walked. Tess followed slowly in their rear, and entered the barton by the open gate through which they had entered before her. Long thatched sheds stretched round the enclosure, their slopes encrusted with vivid green moss, and their eaves supported by wooden posts rubbed to a glossy smoothness by the flanks of infinite cows and calves of bygone years, now passed to an oblivion almost inconceivable in its profundity. Between the posts were ranged the milchers, each exhibiting herself at the present moment to a whimsical eye in the rear as a circle on two stalks, down the centre of which a switch moved pendulum-wise; while the sun, lowering itself behind this patient row, threw their shadows accurately inwards upon the wall. Thus it threw shadows of these obscure and homely figures every evening with as much care over each contour as if it had been the profile of a Court beauty on a palace wall; copied them as diligently as it had copied Olympian shapes on marble fa?ades long ago, or the outline of Alexander, Caesar, and the Pharaohs.

They were the less restful cows that were stalled. Those that would stand still of their own will were milked in the middle of the yard, where many of such better behaved ones stood waiting now - all prime milchers, such as were seldom seen out of this valley, and not always within it; nourished by the succulent feed which the water-meads supplied at this prime season of the year. Those of them that were spotted with white reflected the sunshine in dazzling brilliancy, and the polished brass knobs on their horns glittered with something of military display. Their large-veined udders hung ponderous as sandbags, the teats sticking out like the legs of a gipsy's crock; and as each animal lingered for her turn to arrive the milk oozed forth and fell in drops to the ground.