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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9节 第二十章 【
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季节向前发展了,成熟了。在新的一年里,鲜花、树叶、夜莺、画眉、金翅雀,以及诸如此类的生命短暂的生物,都出现在它们各自的岗位上了,仅仅在一年以前,这些位置都被其它的生物占据着,而它们不过只是一些胚芽和无机体的分子。在朝阳的光照下,苞芽滋生了,长出了长条,汁液在无声的溪流中奔涌,花瓣绽开了,在无形的喷吐和呼吸中把香气散发出去。
奶牛场老板克里克奶牛场里挤奶的男女工人们,生活得舒舒适适的,平平静静的,甚至是快快活活的。在整个社会的所有工作岗位中,他们的岗位也许是最快乐的,因为同结束了贫困的人相比,他们还在其上,但是他们又不如另外那个阶层的人,而那个阶层的人因为要遵守社会礼仪而开始压抑天然感情,为了追赶时髦又弄得入不敷出,不得不承受捉襟见肘的压力。
当树木似乎变成户外最集中的事物时,树叶生长的季节就这样过去了。苔丝和克莱尔都在无意中相互捉摸,一直处在一种激情的边缘之上,但是他们显然又在压制着自己的感情,不让它迸发出来。他们受到不可抗拒的自然法则的支配,一直在向一起聚合,非常像一个山谷中流在一起的两条溪流。
近几年来,苔丝的生活从来没有像现在这样快乐过,也可能再也不会像现在这样快乐了。在新的环境里,她在身心两个方面都感到很融洽。她像一棵幼树,在原先栽种的地方,已经把根扎进了有毒的土层里,而现在已经被移植到深厚的土壤里了。另外,她和克莱尔也还处在好感和爱恋之间的不稳固的土壤上;还没有达到一定的深度;也没有什么难以解决的思虑和让人烦恼的问题,“这股新的爱潮要把我带到哪里去?它对我未来的前途意味着什么?它对我的过去又是怎样的?”
到目前为止,在安琪尔·克莱尔看来,苔丝只不过是一种偶然的现象——一个让人感到温暖的玫瑰色幻影,在他的意识里,这个幻影也只是刚刚具有了驱赶不开的性质。因此他只好容许她在他的思想中存在,认为自己这种专注的心情,只不过是一个哲学家对一个极其新颖、艳丽和有趣的妇女典型的关注而已。
他们继续不断地见面;他们无法克制自己。他们每天都在那个新奇庄严的时刻里见面,也就是在朦胧的晨光里、在紫色的或粉红色的黎明里见面;因为在这儿必须早起,要起得非常早。牛奶是要准时挤完的,在挤牛奶之前还要撇奶油,这都是在三点刚过就要开始的。他们通常是通过抽签在他们中间选好一个人,这第一个人先由一架闹钟叫醒,然后再由他叫醒其他的人。由于苔丝是最近才来的,不久他们又发现她不像其他的人那样,要依靠闹钟才能睡觉,因此这项把人叫醒的任务大多就托付给她。三点钟刚刚敲响,苔丝就走出房间,先跑到老板的房门前叫醒老板,然后从楼梯上楼来到安琪尔的房门前,低声把他叫醒,最后才叫醒她的女伙伴们。在苔丝穿好衣服的时候,克莱尔已经下了楼,走进了屋外的潮湿空气里。其他的挤奶女工和老板自己,通常都要在床上多躺一会儿,要过了一刻钟才会露面。
在破晓的时刻和黄昏的时刻,虽然它们明暗的程度都是一样的,但是它们半灰的色调却不尽相同。在清早的晨羲里,亮光活跃,黑暗消极;在黄昏的暮霭电,活跃的不断增强的却是黑暗,昏倦沉寂的反而是亮光。
由于他们经常是奶牛场里起得最早的两个人——可能从来就不是偶然——因此他们觉得自己就是全世界起得最早的两个人。在苔丝刚在这儿住下的最初的日子里,她不撇奶油,但是她起床后就立即走出门外,安琪尔总是在外面等着她。空旷的草地上弥漫着半明半暗的、明暗混合的和带着水汽的光线,给他们留下的印象是一种孤独的感觉,似乎他们就是亚当和夏娃。在一天中这个朦胧的最初的阶段,克莱尔觉得苔丝似乎在性格和形体两个方面都表现出一种尊贵和庄严,那几乎就是一种女王的力量,也可能是因为他知道,在外貌上像苔丝那样天赋丽质的女子,都不大会在这个奇异的时刻里走进露天里来,走进他的视线的范围以内;这在全英国是非常少的。在仲夏的黎明里,漂亮的女人总是还沉睡在睡梦里。她就在自己的身边,而别的女子他不知道哪儿才有。
在这种明暗混合的奇异的朦胧曙光里,他们一起走到奶牛伏卧的地方,这常常使安琪尔想到了耶稣复活的时刻。他很少想到走在他身边的也许是个抹大拉女人。当所有的景物都沐浴在明暗相宜的色调中的时候,他的同伴的脸就成了他眼睛注意的中心,那张脸从层层雾霭中显露出来,脸上似乎染上了一层磷光。她看上去像一个幽灵,仿佛只是一个自由的灵魂。实际上是来自东北方向的白天清冷的光线照到了她的脸上,不过不太明显而已;而他自己的脸,虽然他自己并没有想到,但在苔丝看来也是同样的光景。
正如先前说过的那样,从那个时候开始,苔丝才给了他最为深刻的印象。她不再是一个挤牛奶的女工了,而是一种空幻玲珑的女性精华——是全部女性凝聚而成的一个典型形象。他用半开玩笑的口气叫她阿耳忒弥斯和德墨忒耳①,还叫她其他一些幻想中的名字,但是苔丝不喜欢,因为她听不懂。
 
①阿耳忒弥斯(Artemis)和德墨忒耳(Demeter)。希腊女神。阿耳忒弥斯为狩猎女神;德墨忒耳为丰产和农业女神。

“叫我苔丝吧,”她说,斜了他一眼;而他也就照办了。
后来天渐渐亮了,她的面容就变得只是一个女子的面容了;从给人福佑的女神的面容转而变成了渴望福佑的人的面容了。
在这些非人世间的时刻里,他们才能走到离那些水鸟很近的地方。一群苍鹭高声大叫着飞来,那叫声就像开门开窗户的声音,它们是从草地旁边它们常常栖身的树林中间飞来的;或者,如果它们已经飞到了这儿,它们就坚决地停在水里,像一些安装有机械装置的木偶转动一样,缓慢的、水平的和不动感情地转动着它们的脖子,看着这一对情人从它们旁边走过。
后来,他们看见稀薄的夏雾,一层层一片片地飘浮在草地上,还没有消散,薄雾像羊毛似的,平展地铺在地面上,显然还没有床罩厚。在布满白露的草地上,有晚上奶牛躺卧后留下的印迹——在露珠构成的汪洋大海里,它们就是由于草形成的一些深绿色岛屿,和奶牛的身体一般大小、在小岛和小岛之间,有一条蜿蜒曲折的小路把它们连接起来,那是奶牛起来后走出去吃草留下来的,在小路的尽头一定可以找到一头奶牛;当奶牛认出他们时,鼻子里就发一声哼,喷出一股热气,在那一大片薄雾中间,又形成了一小块更浓的雾气。接着他们就根据当时的情形,把牛赶回院子,或者坐在那儿为它们挤奶。
有时候,夏雾弥漫了全谷,草地就变成了白茫茫的大海,里面露出来几棵稀稀落落的树木,就像海中危险的礁石。小鸟也会从雾气中飞出来,一直飞到高空中发光的地方,停在半空中晒太阳,或者,它们降落在把草地隔离起来的湿栏杆上,这时的栏杆闪闪发亮,像玻璃棒一样。苔丝的眼睫毛上,也挂满了由漂浮的雾气凝结而成的细小钻石,她的头发上的水珠,也好像一颗颗珍珠一样。天越来越亮,阳光越来越普遍,苔丝身上的露珠被晒干了;而且,苔丝也失去了她身上那种奇异缥缈的美;她的牙齿、嘴唇和眼睛,都在阳光里闪烁,她又只不过是一个光艳照人的挤奶女工了,不得不自己坚持着去同世界上其他的女人竞争。
大约在这个时候,他们听到了奶牛场老板克里克说话的声音,责备那些不住在奶牛场里的工人来晚了,又骂年老的德波娜·费安德尔没有洗手。
“我的老天啦,把你的双手放在水龙头下洗洗吧,德布!我敢肯定,要是伦敦人知道了你,知道了你那种肮脏样子,他们喝牛奶、吃黄油一定比现在更加细心了;我已经说得够多了。”
挤牛奶进行着,挤到快结束的时候,苔丝、克莱尔和其余的人,听见了克里克太太把吃早饭的沉重桌子从厨房的墙边拖出来的声音,这是每次吃饭一成不变的例行公事;吃完了饭,收拾好桌子,随着桌子被拖回原处,又听到了同样难听的刺耳声。
 

The season developed and matured. Another year's instalment of flowers, leaves, nightingales, thrushes, finches, and such ephemeral creatures, took up their positions where only a year ago others had stood in their place when these were nothing more than germs and inorganic particles. Rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks, lifted up sap in noiseless streams, opened petals, and sucked out scents in invisible jets and breathings.

Dairyman Crick's household of maids and men lived on comfortably, placidly, even merrily. Their position was perhaps the happiest of all positions in the social scale, being above the line at which neediness ends, and below the line at which the convenances begin to cramp natural feeling, and the stress of threadbare modishness makes too little of enough.

Thus passed the leafy time when arborescence seems to be the one thing aimed at out of doors. Tess and Clare unconsciously studied each other, ever balanced on the edge of a passion, yet apparently keeping out of it. All the while they were converging, under an irresistible law, as surely as two streams in one vale.

Tess had never in her recent life been so happy as she was now, possibly never would be so happy again. She was, for one thing, physically and mentally suited among these new surroundings. The sapling which had rooted down to a poisonous stratum on the spot of its sowing had been transplanted to a deeper soil. Moreover she, and Clare also, stood as yet on the debatable land between predilection and love; where no profundities have been reached; no reflections have set in, awkwardly inquiring, `Whither does this new current tend to carry me? What does it mean to my future? How does it stand towards my past?'

Tess was the merest stray phenomenon to Angel Clare as yet - a rosy warming apparition which had only just acquired the attribute of persistence in his consciousness. So he allowed his mind to be occupied with her, deeming his preoccupation to be no more than a philosopher's regard of an exceedingly novel, fresh, and interesting specimen of womankind.

They met continually; they could not help it. They met dally in that strange and solemn interval, the twilight of the morning, in the violet or pink dawn; for it was necessary to rise early, so very early, here. Milking was done betimes; and before the milking came the skimming, which began at a little past three. It usually fell to the lot of some one or other of them to wake the rest, the first being aroused by an alarm-clock; and, as Tess was the latest arrival, and they soon discovered that she could be depended upon not to sleep through the alarm as the others did, this task was thrust most frequently upon her. No sooner had the hour of three struck and whizzed, than she left her room and ran to the dairyman's door; then up the ladder to Angel's, calling him in a loud whisper; then woke her fellow-milkmaids. By the time that Tess was dressed Clare was downstairs and out in the humid air. The remaining maids and the dairyman usually gave themselves another turn on the pillow, and did not appear till a quarter of an hour later.

The gray half-tones of daybreak are not the gray half-tones of the day's close, though the degree of their shade may be the same. In the twilight of the morning light seems active, darkness passive; in the twilight of evening it is the darkness which is active and crescent, and the light which is the drowsy reverse.

Being so often - possibly not always by chance - the first two persons to get up at the dairy-house, they seemed to themselves the first persons up of all the world. In these early days of her residence here Tess did not skim, but went out of doors at once after rising, where he was generally awaiting her. The spectral, half-compounded, aqueous light which pervaded the open mead, impressed them with a feeling of isolation, as if they were Adam and Eve. At this dim inceptive stage of the day Tess seemed to Clare to exhibit a dignified largeness both of disposition and physique, an almost regnant power, possibly because he knew that at that preternatural time hardly any woman so well endowed in person as she was likely to be walking in the open air within the boundaries of his horizon; very few in all England. Fair women are usually asleep at midsummer dawns. She was close at hand, and the rest were nowhere.

The mixed, singular, luminous gloom in which they walked along together to the spot where the cows lay, often made him think of the Resurrection hour. He little thought that the Magdalen might be at his side. Whilst all the landscape was in neutral shade his companion's face, which was the focus of his eyes, rising above the mist stratum, seemed to have a sort of phosphorescence upon it. She looked ghostly, as if she were merely a soul at large. In reality her face, without appearing to do so, had caught the cold gleam of day from the north-east; his own face, though he did not think of it, wore the same aspect to her.

It was then, as has been said, that she impressed him most deeply. She was no longer the milkmaid, but a visionary essence of woman - a whole sex condensed into one typical form. He called her Artemis, Demeter, and other fanciful names half teasingly, which she did not like because she did not understand them.

`Call me Tess,' she would say askance; and he did.

Then it would grow lighter, and her features would become simply feminine; they had changed from those of a divinity who could confer bliss to those of a being who craved it.

At these non-human hours they could get quite close to the waterfowl. Herons came, with a great bold noise as of opening doors and shutters, out of the boughs of a plantation which they frequented at the side of the mead; or, if already on the spot, hardily maintained their standing in the water as the pair walked by, watching them by moving their heads round in a slow, horizontal, passionless wheel, like the turn of puppets by clockwork.

They could then see the faint summer fogs in layers, woolly, level, and apparently no thicker than counterpanes, spread about the meadows in detached remnants of small extent. On the gray moisture of the grass were marks where the cows had lain through the night - dark-green islands of dry herbage the size of their carcases, in the general sea of dew. From each island proceeded a serpentine trail, by which the cow had rambled away to feed after getting up, at the end of which trail they found her; the snoring puff from her nostrils, when she recognized them, making an intenser little fog of her own amid the prevailing one. Then they drove the animals back to the barton, or sat down to milk them on the spot, as the case might require.

Or perhaps the summer fog was more general, and the meadows lay like a white sea, out of which the scattered trees rose like dangerous rocks. Birds would soar through it into the upper radiance, and hang on the wing sunning themselves, or alight on the wet rails subdividing the mead, which now shone like glass rods. Minute diamonds of moisture from the mist hung, too, upon Tess's eyelashes, and drops upon her hair, like seed pearls. When the day grew quite strong and commonplace these dried off her; moreover, Tess then lost her strange and ethereal beauty; her teeth, lips, and eyes scintillated in the sunbeams, and she was again the dazzlingly fair dairymaid only, who had to hold her own against the other women of the world.

About this time they would hear Dairyman Crick's voice, lecturing the non-resident milkers for arriving late, and speaking sharply to old Deborah Fyander for not washing her hands.

`For Heaven's sake, pop thy hands under the pump, Deb! Upon my soul if the London folk only knowed of thee and thy slovenly my ways, they'd swaller their milk and butter more mincing, than they do a'ready; and that's saying a good deal.'

The milking progressed, till towards the end Tess and Clare, in common with the rest, could hear the heavy breakfast table dragged out from the wall in the kitchen by Mrs Crick, this being the invariable preliminary to each meal; the same horrible scrape accompanying its return journey when the table had been cleared.