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第1节 第三十一章 【
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第三十一章
   
昨天晴朗,恬静而寒冷。我照我原来的打算到山庄去了:我的管家求我代她捎个短信给她的小姐,我没有拒绝,因为这个可尊敬的女人并不觉得她的请求有什么奇怪。前门开着,可是像我上次拜访一样,那专为提防外人的栅门是拴住的:我敲了门,把恩萧从花圃中引出来了;他解开了门链,我走进去。这个家伙作为一个乡下人是够漂亮的。这次我特别注意他,可是显然他却一点也不会利用他的优点。

我问希刺克厉夫先生是否在家?他回答说,不在;但他在吃饭时会在家的。那时是十一点钟了,我就宣称我打算进去等他;他听了就立刻丢下他的工具,陪我进去,并不是代表主人,而是执行看家狗的职务而已。

我们一同进去;凯瑟琳在那儿,正在预备蔬菜为午饭时吃,这样她也算是在出力了;她比我第一次见她时显得更阴郁些也更没精神。她简直没抬眼睛看我,像以前一样的不顾一般形式的礼貌,始终没稍微点下头来回答我的鞠躬和问候早安。

“她看来并不怎么讨人喜欢。”我想,“不像丁太太想使我相信的那样。她是个美人,的确,但不是个天使。”

恩萧执拗地叫她将蔬菜搬到厨房去。“你自己搬吧。”她说,她一弄完就把那些一推;而且在窗前的一张凳子上坐下来,在那儿她用她怀中的萝卜皮开始刻些鸟兽形。我走近她,假装想看看花园景致,而且,依我看来,很灵巧地把丁太太的短笺丢在她的膝盖上了,并没让哈里顿注意到——可是她大声问:“那是什么?”而冷笑着把它丢开了。

“你的老朋友,田庄管家,写来的信。”我回答,对于她揭穿我的好心的行为颇感烦恼,深怕她把这当作是我自己的信了。她听了这话本可以高兴地拾起它来,可是哈里顿胜过了她。他抓到手,塞在他的背心口袋里,说希刺克厉夫先生得先看看。于是,凯瑟琳默默地转过脸去,而且偷偷地掏出她的手绢,擦着她的眼睛;她的表哥,在为压下他的软心肠挣扎了一番之后,又把信抽出来,十分不客气地丢在她旁边的地板上。凯瑟琳拿到了,热切地读着;然后,她时而清楚时而糊涂地问我几句关于她从前的家的情况;并且呆望着那些小山,喃喃自语着:

“我多想骑着敏妮到那儿去!我多想爬上去!啊!我厌倦了——我给关起来啦,哈里顿!”她将她那漂亮的头仰靠在窗台上,一半是打哈欠,一半是叹息,沉入一种茫然的悲哀状态;不管,也不知道我们是否注意她。

“希刺克厉夫夫人,”我默坐了一会之后说,“你还不知道我是你的一个熟人吧?我对你很感亲切,我认为你不肯过来跟我说话是奇怪的。我的管家从不嫌烦的说起你,还称赞你;如果我回去没有带回一点关于你或是你给她的消息,只说你收到了她的信,而且没说什么,她将要非常失望的!”

她看来好像对这段话很惊讶,就问:

“艾伦喜欢你吗?”

“是的,很喜欢。”我毫不踌躇地回答。

“你一定要告诉她。”她接着说,“我想回她信,可是我没有写字用的东西:连一本可以撕下一张纸的书都没有。”

“没有书!”我叫着。“假如我有发问自由的话,你在这儿没有书怎么还过得下去的?虽然我有个很大的书房,我在田庄还往往很闷;要把我的书拿走,我就要拚命啦!”

“当我有书的时候,我总是看书,”凯瑟琳说,“而希刺克厉夫从来不看书;所以他就起了念头把我的书毁掉。好几个星期我没有看到一本书了。只有一次,我翻翻约瑟夫藏的宗教书,把他惹得大怒;还有一次,哈里顿,我在你屋里看到一堆秘密藏起来的书——有些拉丁文和希腊文,还有些故事和诗歌:全是老朋友。诗歌是我带来的——你把它们收起来,像喜鹊收集钥匙似的,只是爱偷而已——它们对你并没用;不然就是你恶意把它们藏起来,既然你不能享受,就叫别人也休想。或者是你出于嫉妒,给希刺克厉夫先生出主意把我的珍藏抢去吧?但是大多数的书写在我的脑子里,而且刻在我的心里,你就没法把那些从我这儿夺走!”

当他的表妹宣布了他私下收集文学书时,恩萧的脸通红,结结巴巴地,恼怒地否认对他的指控。

“哈里顿先生热望着增长他的知识。”我说,为他解围。

“他不是嫉妒你的学识,而是想与你的学识竞争。①几年内他会成为一个有才智的学者的。”

①原文是故意用这两个字,因为“嫉妒”是用“envious”,“竞争”是用“emu-lous”(见贤思齐之意),这里用来求其音近。

“同时他却要我变成一个呆瓜。”凯瑟琳回答。“是的,我听他自己试着拼音朗读,他搞出多少错来呀!但愿你再念一遍猎歌,像昨天念的那样:那是太可笑了。我听见你念的,我听见你翻字典查生字,然后咒骂着,因为你读不懂那些解释!”

这个年轻人显然觉得太糟了,他先是因为愚昧无知而被人人嘲笑,而后为了努力改掉它却又被人嘲笑。我也有类似的看法;我记起丁太太所说的关于他最初曾打算冲破他从小养成的蒙昧的轶事,我就说:

“可是,希刺克厉夫夫人,我们每人都有个开始,每个人都在门槛上跌跌爬爬。要是我们的老师只会嘲弄而不帮助我们,我们还要跌跌爬爬哩。”

“啊。”她回答,“我并不愿意限制他的成就:可是,他没有权利来把我的东西占为己有,而且用他那些讨厌的错误和不正确的读音使我觉得可笑!这些书,包括散文和诗,都由于一些别的联想,因此对于我是神圣不可侵犯的;我极不愿意这些书在他的口里被败坏亵渎!况且,他恰恰从所有的书中,选些我最爱背诵的几篇,好像是故意捣乱似的。”

哈里顿的胸膛默默地起伏了一下:他是在一种严重的屈辱与愤怒的感觉下苦斗,要压制下去是不容易的事。我站起来,出于一种想解除他的困窘的高尚念头,便站在门口,浏览外面的风景。他随着我的榜样,也离开了这间屋子;但是马上又出现了,手中捧着半打的书,他将它们扔到凯瑟琳的怀里,叫着:“拿去!我永远再不要听,不要念,也再不要想到它们啦!”

“我现在也不要了,”她回答。“我看见这些书就会联想到你,我就恨它们。”

她打开一本显然常常被翻阅的书,用一个初学者的拖长的声调念了一段,然后大笑,把书丢开。“听着。”她挑衅地说,开始用同样的腔调念一节古歌谣。

但是他的自爱使他不会再忍受更多的折磨了。我听见了,而且也不是完全不赞成,一种用手来制止她那傲慢的舌头的方法。这个小坏蛋尽力去伤害她表哥的感情,这感情虽然未经陶冶,却很敏感,体罚是他唯一向加害者清算和报复的方法。哈里顿随后就把这些书收集起来全扔到火里。我从他脸上看出来是怎样的痛苦心情,才能使他在愤怒中献上这个祭品。我猜想,在这些书焚化时,他回味着它们所给过他的欢乐,以及他从这些书中预感到一种得胜的和无止尽的欢乐的感觉。我想我也猜到了是什么在鼓励他秘密研读。他原是满足于日常劳作与粗野的牲口一样的享受的,直到凯瑟琳来到他的生活道路上才改变。因她的轻蔑而感到的羞耻,又希望得到她的赞许,这就是他力求上进的最初动机了,而他那上进的努力,既不能保护他避开轻蔑,也不能使他得到赞许,却产生了恰恰相反的结果。

“是的,那就是像你这样的一个畜生,从那些书里所能得到的一切益处!”凯瑟琳叫着,吮着她那受伤的嘴唇,用愤怒的眼睛瞅着这场火灾。

“现在你最好住嘴吧!”他凶猛地回答。

他的激动使他说不下去了。他急忙走到大门口,我让开路让他走过去。但是在他迈过门阶之前,希刺克厉夫先生走上砌道正碰见他,便抓着他的肩膀问:“这会儿干吗去,我的孩子?”

“没什么,没什么,”他说,便挣脱身子,独自去咀嚼他的悲哀和愤怒了。

希刺克厉夫在他背后凝视着他,叹了口气。

“要是我妨碍了我自己,那才古怪哩,”他咕噜着,不知道我在他背后,“但是当我在他的脸上寻找他父亲时,却一天天找到了她!见鬼!哈里顿怎么这样像她?我简直不能看他。”

他眼睛看着地面,郁郁不欢地走进去。他脸上有一种不安的、焦虑的表情,这是我以前从来没有看过的;他本人也望着消瘦些。他的儿媳妇,从窗里一看见他,马上就逃到厨房去了,所以只剩下我一个人。

“我很高兴看见你又出门了,洛克乌德先生,”他说,回答我的招呼。“一部分是出于自私的动机:我不以为我能弥补你在这荒凉地方的损失。我不止一次地纳闷奇怪,是什么缘故让你到这儿来的。”

“恐怕是一种无聊的奇想,先生,”这是我的回答,“不然就是一种无聊的奇想又要诱使我走开。下星期我要到伦敦去,我必须预先通知你,我在我约定的租期十二个月以后,无意再保留画眉田庄了。我相信我不会再在那儿住下去了。”

“啊,真的;你已经不乐意流放在尘世之外了,是吧?”他说。“可是如果你来是请求停付你所不再住的地方的租金的话,你这趟旅行是自费的:我在催讨任何人该付给我的费用的时候是从来不讲情面的。”

“我来不是请求停付什么的,”我叫起来,大为恼火了。

“如果你愿意的话我现在就跟你算,”我从口袋中取出记事簿。

“不,不,”他冷淡地回答,“如果你回不来,你要留下足够的钱来补偿你欠下的债。我不忙。坐下来,跟我们一块吃午饭吧;一个保险不再来访的客人经常是被欢迎的。凯瑟琳!开饭来,你在哪儿?”

凯琴琳又出现了,端着一盘刀叉。

你可以跟约瑟夫一块吃饭,”希刺克厉夫暗地小声说,“在厨房待着,等他走了再出来。”

她很敏捷地服从他的指示:也许她没有想违法犯规的心思。生活在蠢人和厌世者中间,她即使遇见较好的一类人,大概也不能欣赏了。

在我的一边坐的是希刺克厉夫先生,冷酷而阴沉,另一边是哈里顿,一声也不吭,我吃了一顿多少有点不愉快的饭,就早早的辞去了。我本想从后门走,以便最后看凯瑟琳一眼,还可以惹惹那老约瑟夫;可是哈里顿奉命牵了我的马来,而我的主人自己陪我到门口,因此我未能如愿。

“这家人的生活多闷人哪!”我骑着马在大路上走的时候想着。“如果林惇·希刺克厉夫夫人和我恋爱起来,正如她的好保姆所期望的,而且一块搬到城里的热闹环境中去,那对于她将是实现了一种比神话还更浪漫的事情了!”
 


Chapter 31

Yesterday was bright, calm, and frosty. I went to the Heights as I proposed; my housekeeper entreated me to bear a little note from her to her young lady, and I did not refuse, for the worthy woman was not conscious of anything odd in her request. The front door stood open, but the jealous gate was fastened, as at my last visit; I knocked, and invoked Earnshaw from among the garden beds; he unchained it, and I entered. The fellow is as handsome a rustic as need be seen. I took particular notice of him this time; but then he does his best, apparently, to make the least of his advantages.

I asked if Mr Heathcliff were at home? He answered, No; but he would be in at dinner time. It was eleven o'clock, and I announced my intention of going in and waiting for him, at which he immediately flung down his tools and accompanied me, in the office of watchdog, not as a substitute for the host.

We entered together; Catherine was there, making herself useful in preparing some vegetables for the approaching meal; she looked more sulky and less spirited than when I had seen her first. She hardly raised her eyes to notice me, and continued her employment with the same disregard to common forms of politeness as before; never returning my bow and good morning by the slightest acknowledgment.

`She does not seem so amiable', I thought, `as Mrs Dean would persuade me to believe. She's a beauty, it is true; but not an angel.'

Earnshaw surlily bid her remove her things to the kitchen. `Remove them yourself,' she said, pushing them from her as soon as she had done; and retiring to a stool by the window, where she began to carve figures of birds and beasts out of the turnip parings in her lap. I approached her, pretending to desire a view of the garden; and, as I fancied, adroitly dropped Mrs Dean's note on to her knee, unnoticed by Hareton--but she asked aloud, `What is that?' and chucked it off.

`A letter from your old acquaintance, the housekeeper at the Grange,' I answered; annoyed at her exposing my kind deed, and fearful lest it should be imagined a missive of my own. She would gladly have gathered it up at this information, but Hareton beat her; he seized and put it in his waistcoat, saying Mr Heathcliff should look at it first. Thereat, Catherine silently turned her face from us, and, very stealthily, drew out her pocket handkerchief and applied it to her eyes; and her cousin, after struggling a while to keep down his softer feelings, pulled out the letter and flung it on the floor beside her, as ungraciously as he could. Catherine caught and perused it eagerly; then she but a few questions to me concerning the inmates, rational and irrational, of her former home; and gazing towards the hills, murmured in soliloquy:

`I should like to be riding Minny down there! I should like to be climbing up there! Oh! I'm tired--I'm stalled, Hareton!' And she leant her pretty head back against the sill, with half a yawn and half a sigh, and lapsed into an aspect of abstracted sadness: neither caring nor knowing whether we remarked her.

`Mrs Heathcliff,' I said, after sitting some time mute, `you are not aware that I am an acquaintance of yours? so intimate that I think it strange you won't come and speak to me. My housekeeper never wearies of talking about and praising you; and she'll be greatly disappointed if I return with no news of or from you, except that you received her letter and said nothing!'

She appeared to wonder at this speech, and asked:

`Does Ellen like you?'

`Yes, very well,' I replied unhesitatingly.

`You must tell her,' she continued, `that I would answer her letter, but l have no materials for writing: not even a book from which I might tear a leaf.'

`No books!' I exclaimed. `How do you contrive to live here without them? if l may take the liberty to inquire. Though provided with a large library, I'm frequently very dull at the Grange; take my books away, and I should be desperate!'

`I was always reading, when I had them,' said Catherine; `and Mr Heathcliff never reads; so he took it into his head to destroy my books. I have not had a glimpse of one for weeks. Only once, I searched through Joseph's store of theology, to his great irritation; and once, Hareton, I came upon a secret stock in your room--some Latin and Greek, and some tales and poetry: all old friends. I brought the last here--and you gathered them, as a magpie gathers silver spoons, for the mere love of stealing! They are of no use to you; or else you concealed them in the bad spirit that as you cannot enjoy them nobody else shall. Perhaps your envy counselled Mr Heathcliff to rob me of my treasures? But I've most of them written on my brain and printed in my heart, and you cannot deprive me of those!'

Earnshaw blushed crimson when his cousin made this revelation of his private literary accumulations, and stammered an indignant denial of her accusations.'

`Mr Hareton is desirous of increasing his amount of knowledge,' I said, coming to his rescue. `He is not envious but emulous of your attainments. He'll be a clever scholar in a few years.'

`And he wants me to sink into a dunce, meantime,' answered Catherine. `Yes, I hear him trying to spell and read to himself, and pretty blunders he makes! I wish you would repeat Chevy Chase as you did yesterday: it was extremely funny. I heard you; and I heard you turning over the dictionary to seek out the hard words, and then cursing because you couldn't read their explanations!'

The young man evidently thought it too bad that he should be laughed at for his ignorance, and then laughed at for trying to remove it. I had a similar notion; and, remembering Mrs Dean's anecdote of his first attempt at enlightening the darkness in which he had been reared, I observed:

`But, Mrs Heathcliff, we have each had a commencement, and each stumbled and tottered on the threshold; had our teachers scorned instead of aiding us, we should stumble and totter yet.'

`Oh!' she replied, `I don't wish to limit his acquirements: still, he has no right to appropriate what is mine, and make it ridiculous to me with his vile mistakes and mispronunciations! Those books, both prose and verse, were consecrated to me by other associations; and I hate to have them debased and profaned in his mouth! Besides, of all, he has selected my favourite pieces that I love the most to repeat, as if out of deliberate malice.'

Hareton's chest heaved in silence a minute: he laboured under a severe sense of mortification and wrath, which it was no easy task to suppress. I rose, and, from a gentlemanly idea of relieving his embarrassment, took up my station in the doorway, surveying the external prospect as I stood. He followed my example, and left the room; but presently reappeared, bearing half a dozen volumes in his hands, which he threw into Catherine's lap, exclaiming:

`Take them! I never want to hear, or read, or think of them again!'

`I won't have them now,' she answered. `I shall connect them with you, and hate them.'

She opened one that had obviously been often turned over, and read a portion in the drawling tone of a beginner; then laughed, and threw it from her. `And listen,' she continued provokingly, commencing a verse of an old ballad in the same fashion.

But his self-love would endure no further torment: I heard, and not altogether disapprovingly, a manual check given to her saucy tongue. The little wretch had done her utmost to hurt her cousin s sensitive though uncultivated feelings, and a physical argument was the only mode he had of balancing the account, and repaying its effects on the inflicter. He afterwards gathered the books and hurled them on the fire. I read in his countenance what anguish it was to offer that sacrifice to spleen. I fancied that as they consumed, he recalled the pleasure they had already imparted, and the triumph and ever-increasing pleasure he had anticipated from them; and I fancied I guessed the incitement to his secret studies also. He had been content with daily labour and rough animal enjoyments, till Catherine crossed his path. Shame at her scorn, and hope of her approval, were his first prompters to higher pursuits; and, instead of guarding him from one and winning him to the other, his endeavours to rise himself had produced just the contrary result.

`Yes; that's all the good that such a brute as you can get from them!' cried Catherine, sucking her damaged lip, and watching the conflagration with indignant eyes.

`You'd better hold your tongue, now,' he answered fiercely.

And his agitation precluding further speech, he advanced hastily to the entrance, where I made way for him to pass. But ere he had crossed the doorstones, Mr Heathcliff, coming up the causeway, encountered him, and laying hold of his shoulder, asked:

"What's to do now, my lad?'

`Naught, naught,' he said, and broke away to enjoy his grief and anger in solitude.

Heathcliff gazed after him, and sighed.

`It will be odd if I thwart myself,' he muttered, unconscious that I was behind him. `But when I look for his father in his face, I find her every day more. How the devil is he so like? I can hardly bear to see him.'

He bent his eyes to the ground, and walked moodily in. There was a restless, anxious expression in his countenance I had never remarked there before; and he looked sparer in person. His daughter-in-law, on perceiving him through the window, immediately escaped to the kitchen, so that I remained alone.

`I'm glad to see you out of doors again, Mr Lockwood,' he said, in reply to my greeting; `from selfish motives partly: I don't think I could readily supply your loss in this desolation. I've wondered more than once what brought you here.

`An idle whim, I fear, sir,' was my answer; `or else an idle whim is going to spirit me away. I shall set out for London, next week; and I must give you warning that I feel no disposition to retain Thrushcross Grange beyond the twelve months I agreed to rent it. 1 believe I shall not live there any more.'

`Oh, indeed; you're tired of being banished from the world, are you?' he said. `But if you be coming to plead off paying for a place you won't occupy, your journey is useless: I never relent in exacting my due from anyone.'

`I'm coming to plead off nothing about it,' I exclaimed, considerably irritated. `Should you wish it, I'll settle with you now,' and I drew my notebook from my pocket.

`No, no,' he replied coolly; `you'll leave sufficient behind to cover your debts, if you fail to return: I'm not in such a hurry. Sit down and take your dinner with us; a guest that is safe from repeating his visit can generally be made welcome. Catherine, bring the things in: where are you?'

Catherine reappeared, bearing a tray of knives and forks.

`You may get your dinner with Joseph,' muttered Heathcliff aside, `and remain in the kitchen till he is gone.'

She obeyed his directions very punctually: perhaps she had no temptation to transgress. Living among clowns and misanthropists, she probably cannot appreciate a better class of people when she meets them.

With Mr Heathcliff, grim and saturnine, on the one hand, and Hareton, absolutely dumb, on the other, I made a somewhat cheerless meal, and bid adieu early. I would have departed by the back way, to get a last glimpse of Catherine and annoy old Joseph; but Hareton received orders to lead up my horse, and my host himself escorted me to the door, so I could not fulfil my wish.

`How dreary life gets over in that house!' l reflected, while riding down the road. `What a realization of something more romantic than a fairy tale it would have been for Mrs Linton Heathcliff, had she and I struck up an attachment, as her good nurse desired, and migrated together into the stirring atmosphere of the town!'