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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13节 第二十四章 【
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在佛卢姆谷里,土壤肥沃得冒油,气候温暖得发酵,在这种季节里,从万物滋生发育的咝咝声中,几乎连草木汁液的奔流都听得见,因此,那种最富有幻想的爱情就不可能不生出缠绵的情意来。生活在那儿的胸怀激情的两个人,也都受到了周围环境的感染。
七月已经从他们的身边过去了,随后而来的便是暑月①的气候,似乎自然这一方面也在作出努力,以便能够适合在泰波塞斯奶牛场谈情说爱的心境。这个地方的空气,在春天和初夏都非常清新,而现在却变得呆滞和使人困倦了。沉重的气息压在他们的身上,到了正午,似乎连景物也昏昏入睡了。像埃塞俄比亚的烈日一样灼热的太阳,晒黄了牧场斜坡顶上的青草,不过在流水潺潺的地方依然还是嫩绿的草地。克莱尔不仅外面受到热气的灼烤,而且内心里也为了温柔沉静的苔丝受到越来越强烈的激情的压迫。
 
①暑月(Thermindnrean),1789年法国大革命改变历法,其中从7月19日至8月17日的一个月被称为暑月。Thermindorean来自希腊文,热的意思,暑月也有被译为雾月和热月的。
雨已经下过了,高地也干了。奶牛场老板坐着带弹簧的双轮马车从市场回家,马车跑得飞快,车轮的后面带起一股白色的尘土,好像是点燃了的一条细长的火药引线一样。奶牛被牛虻咬得发了疯,有五道横木的栅栏门都被它们跳了过去;从星期一到星期六,奶牛场的克里克老板卷起来的衬衣袖子,从来就没有放下来过。只开窗户而不把门打开,风是透不进来的;在奶牛场的园子里,乌鸦和画盾在覆盆子树丛下跳来跳去,看它们的样子,与其说它们是长翅膀的飞鸟,还不如说它们是长四条腿的走兽。厨房里的蚊蝇懒洋洋的,一点儿也不伯人,在没有人的地方爬来爬去,比如地板上、柜子上以及挤奶女工的手背上。他们在一块儿谈话的内容总是与中暑有关;而做黄油,尤其是保存黄油都是没有办法做到的事了。
为了凉爽和方便,挤牛奶的工人们不把奶牛赶回家去,完全在草地上挤奶。白天,随着地球的转动,太阳也绕着树干移动,因此哪怕是最小的一棵树木,奶牛也要跟随着它的阴影转动;挤奶工人过来挤奶时,由于蚊蝇的叮咬,奶牛几乎都无法安静地站着。
这些天以来,有一天下午,有四五条还没有挤奶的奶牛碰巧离开了牛群,站在一个树篱的拐角后面,这几条牛中有矮胖子和老美人,同其他的女工比起来,它们最喜欢由苔丝来挤奶。苔丝挤完了一头奶牛的奶,从凳子上站起来,这时候已经把她注意了一会儿的安琪尔·克莱尔问她,愿不愿意去挤前面提到的两头奶牛。苔丝默不作声地同意了,把凳子拿在手里,提起牛奶桶,向那两头奶牛站的地方走过去。不久,从树篱那边传来了老美人的奶被挤进桶里的咝咝声,安琪尔·克莱尔这时候也想到拐角那儿去,以便把跑到那边的一头难挤的奶牛的奶挤完,因为他现在已能像奶牛场老板一样挤难挤的奶牛了。
所有挤奶的男工,还有一些女工,他们在挤奶的时候都把额头抵在牛的身上,眼睛盯着牛奶桶。但是也有几个人,主要是年轻的女工,都侧着头靠在牛的肚子上。苔丝·德北菲尔德就是这种挤奶的习惯,她把太阳穴靠在奶牛的肚子上,眼睛凝视着草场的远方,悄悄地聚精会神地想着心思。她就是用这样的姿势为老美人挤奶的,太阳刚好照在挤奶的这一边,太阳的光线一直射到她穿粉红裙子的身上,射到她戴的有帽檐的白色帽子上,照亮了她的侧面身影,使她看上去就像是从奶牛的黄褐色背景上雕刻出来的一尊玉石浮雕像。
她不知道克莱尔随后也来到了她的附近,也不知道他正坐在奶牛下面观察她。很明显,她的头和她的面目安详沉静:她似乎在那儿发怔出神,眼睛睁得大大的,但是却看不见。在这幅图画里,一切都是静止的,只有老美人的尾巴和苔丝粉红色的双手在活动着,那双手的活动是那样地轻柔,所以就变成了一种韵律的搏动,它们也仿佛正在按照反射的刺激活动,就像一颗跳动的心脏一样。
在他看来,她的脸非常可爱。但是,那张脸上又没有超凡入圣的神情,全部都是真正的青春活力,真正的温暖,真正的血肉之躯。而这一切又全都集中到了她的嘴上。她的一双眼睛和他过去看见的一样,一直是那样深沉,似乎能够说话,她的面颊,也许还是像他从前见过的那样美丽;她的眉毛还是像从前见过的那样弯弯如弓,她的下巴还是像从前见过的那样棱角分明,她的脖颈也还是像从前见过的那样端正;然而她的那张嘴从前却没有见到过,不知道天底下有没有能同它相比的。她的中部微微向上掀起的红色上唇,就连最没有激情的青年男子见了,也要神魂颠倒,痴迷如醉,为之疯狂。他从前从来没有看见过一个女人的嘴唇和牙齿如此美妙,让他在心中不断地想起玫瑰含雪①这个古老的伊丽莎白时代的比喻。在他用一个情人的眼光看来,她的嘴和牙齿简直是完美无缺了。但又个是完美无缺——它们并不是完美无缺的。也正是在似乎完美无缺中显露出来的一点儿不完美,这才生出甜蜜来,正因为有了这一点不完美,也才符合人之常情。
 
①玫瑰含雪(roses filled with snow),出自托玛斯·坎皮恩的诗《樱桃熟了》:“看上去它们就像含雪的玫瑰蓓蕾。”

克莱尔已经把她的两片嘴唇的曲线研究过许多次了,因此他在心里很容易就能够把它们再现出来;此刻它们就出现在他的面前,红红的嘴唇充满了生气,它们送过来一阵清风,吹过他的身体,这阵清风吹进了他的神经,几乎使他颤栗起来;实在的情形是,由于某种神秘的生理过程,这阵清风让他打了一个毫无诗意的喷嚏。
接着苔丝意识到他正在看她;不过她表面上没有表现出来,坐着的姿势一点儿也没有动,但是她那种梦幻一样的沉思却消失了,只要仔细一看,很容易就能发现她脸上的玫瑰红色正在加深,后来又慢慢消褪了,上面只剩下一点淡淡的红色。
克莱尔心中出现的那种好像从天而降的激动情绪,还没有消失。决心、沉默、谨慎、恐惧,好像一支打了败仗的军队,往后直退。他从座位上跳起来,把牛奶桶扔在那儿,也不管会不会被奶牛踢翻,三步并作两步地跑到他一心渴望的人跟前,跪在她的旁边,把她拥抱在自己怀里。
苔丝冷不防地被吓了一跳,但是她想也没想,就不由自主地让他拥抱着自己。她看清了来到她面前的不是别人,确实是她所爱的人,就张开嘴发出一种近似狂喜的呼喊,带着暂时的欢愉倒在他的怀里。
他正要去吻那张迷人的小嘴,但是由于他温柔的良知而克制住了自己。
“原谅我,亲爱的苔丝!”他小声说。“我应该先问问你的。我——我真不知道我正在干什么。我不是有意冒犯你的。我是真心爱你的,最亲爱的苔丝,我完全是一片真心啊!”
这时候老美人回过头来看着他们,感到莫名其妙;它看见在它的肚子下面蜷伏着两个人,从它记事以来,那儿应该只有一个人的,于是发了脾气,抬了抬后腿。
“她生气了——她不懂我们在干什么——她会把牛奶桶踢翻的!”苔丝嘴里嚷着,一边轻轻地从克莱尔怀里挣脱出来,她的眼睛注意的是牛的动作,她的心里想的却是克莱尔和她自己。
她从凳子上站起来,两人站在一起,克莱尔的胳膊仍然搂着她。苔丝的眼睛注视着远方,眼泪开始流了出来。
“你为什么哭了,亲爱的?”他问。
“啊——我不知道呀!”她嘟哝着说。
等到她把自己的地位看清楚了,弄明白了,她就开始变得焦虑不安了,想从克莱尔的搂抱中挣脱出来。
“啊,苔丝,我的真情终于流露出来了,”他说,奇怪地叹了一口气,这就在不知不觉中表明他的理智已经无法控制自己的感情了。“我——我真心地爱你,真正地爱你,这是不用说的。可是我——现在不能再往前走了——这让你难过了——我也和你一样感到吃惊呢。你不会以为我在你没有防备时太鲁莽吧?——我来得太快,也没有想一想,你会不会?”
“不——我也说不清。”
他让她从他的搂抱中挣脱出去;没有一会儿,各人又都开始挤奶了。没有人看见他们刚才因为互相吸引合而为一的事;几分钟以后,奶牛场的老板来到了被树篱挡住的拐角地方,那时候,这一对情侣显然已经分开了,一点儿也看不出他们的关系有什么不同寻常的地方。可是自从克里克老板上次看见他们已来的一段时间里,发生了一件事,因为他们的天性而把宇宙的中心改变了。这件事就它的性质而论,要是让那个讲究实际的老板知道了,一定会瞧不起的;但是那件事却不是以一大堆所谓的实际为基础的,而是以更加顽强和不可抗拒的趋向为基础的。一道面纱被掀在了一边;从此以后,展现在他们前面道路上的,将是一种新的天地——既可能短暂,也可能长久。
 

Amid the oozing fatness and warm ferments of the Var Vale, at a season when the rush of juices could almost be heard below the hiss of fertilization, it was impossible that the most fanciful love should not grow passionate. The ready bosoms existing there were impregnated by their surroundings.

July passed over their beads, and the Thermidorean weather which came in its wake seemed an effort on the part of Nature to match the state of hearts at Talbothays Dairy. The air of the place, so fresh in the spring and early summer, was stagnant and enervating now. Its heavy scents weighed upon them, and at mid-day the landscape seemed lying in a swoon. Ethiopic scorchings browned the upper slopes of the pastures, but there was still bright green herbage here where the watercourses purled. And as Clare was oppressed by the outward heats, so was he burdened inwardly by waxing fervour of passion for the soft and silent Tess.

The rains having passed the uplands were dry. The wheels of the dairyman's spring-cart, as he sped home from market, licked up the pulverized surface of the highway, and were followed by white ribands of dust, as if they had set a thin powder-train on fire. The cows jumped wildly over the five-barred barton-gate, maddened by the gad-fly; Dairyman Crick kept his shirt-sleeves permanently rolled up from Monday to Saturday: open windows had no effect in ventilation without open doors, and in the dairy-garden the blackbirds and thrushes crept about under the currant-bushes, rather in the manner of quadrupeds than of winged creatures. The flies in the kitchen were lazy, teasing, and familiar, crawling about in unwonted places, on the floor, into drawers, and over the backs of the milkmaids' hands. Conversations were concerning sunstroke; while butter-making, and still more butterkeeping, was a despair.

They milked entirely in the meads for coolness and convenience, without driving in the cows. During the day the animals obsequiously followed the shadow of the smallest tree as it moved round the stem with the diurnal roll; and when the milkers came they could hardly stand still for the flies.

On one of these afternoons four or five unmilked cows chanced to stand apart from the general herd, behind the corner of a hedge, among them being Dumpling and Old Pretty, who loved Tess's hands above those of any other maid. When she rose from her stool under a finished cow Angel Clare, who had been observing her for some time, asked her if she would take the aforesaid creatures next. She silently assented, and with her stool at arm's length, and the pall against her knee, went round to where they stood. Soon the sound of Old Pretty's milk fizzing into the pail came through the hedge, and then Angel felt inclined to go round the corner also, to finish off a hard-yielding milcher who had strayed there, he being now as capable of this as the dairyman himself.

All the men, and some of the women, when milking, dug their foreheads into the cows and gazed into the pail. But a few mainly the younger ones - rested their heads sideways. This was Tess Durbeyfield's habit, her temple pressing the milcher's flank, her eyes fixed on the far end of the meadow with the quiet of one lost in meditation. She was milking Old Pretty thus, and the sun chancing to be on the milking-side it shone flat upon her pink-gowned form and her white curtain-bonnet, and upon her profile, rendering it keen as a cameo cut from the dun background of the cow.

She did not know that Clare had followed her round, and that he sat under his cow watching her. The stillness of her head and features was remarkable: she might have been in a trance, her eyes open, yet unseeing. Nothing in the picture moved but Old Pretty's tail and Tess's pink hands, the latter so gently as to be a rhythmic pulsation only, as if they were obeying a reflex stimulus, like a beating heart.

How very lovable her face was to him. Yet there was nothing ethereal about it; all was real vitality, real warmth, real incarnation. And it was in her mouth that this culminated. Eyes almost as deep and speaking he had seen before, and cheeks perhaps as fair; brows as arched, a chin and throat almost as shapely; her mouth he had seen nothing to equal on the face of the earth. To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening. He had never before seen a woman's lips and teeth which forced upon his mind with such persistent iteration the old Elizabethan simile of roses filled with snow. Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no - they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.

Clare had studied the curves of those lips so many times that he could reproduce them mentally with ease: and now, as they again confronted him, clothed with colour and life, they sent an aura over his flesh, a breeze through his nerves, which wellnigh produced a qualm; and actually produced, by some mysterious physiological process, a prosaic sneeze.

She then became conscious that he was observing her; but she would not show it by any change of position, though the curious dream-like fixity disappeared, and a close eye might easily have discerned that the rosiness of her face deepened, and then faded till only a tinge of it was left.

The influence that had passed into Clare like an excitation from the sky did not die down. Resolutions, reticences, prudences, fears, fell back like a defeated battalion. He lumped up from his seat, and, leaving his pail to be kicked over if the milcher had such a mind, went quickly towards the desire of his eyes, and, kneeling down beside her, clasped her in his arms.

Tess was taken completely by surprise, and she yielded to his embrace with unreflecting inevitableness. Having seen that it was really her lover who had advanced, and no one else, her lips parted, and she sank upon him in her momentary joy, with something very like an ecstatic cry.

He had been on the point of kissing that too tempting mouth, but he checked himself, for tender conscience' sake.

`Forgive me, Tess dear!' he whispered. `I ought to have asked. I - did not know what I was doing. I do not mean it as a liberty. I am devoted to you, Tessy, dearest, in all sincerity!'

Old Pretty by this time had looked round, puzzled; and seeing two people crouching under her where, by immemorial custom, there should have been only one, lifted her hind leg crossly.

`She is angry - she doesn't know what we mean - she'll kick over the milk!' exclaimed Tess, gently striving to free herself, her eyes concerned with the quadruped's actions, her heart more deeply concerned with herself and Clare.

She slipped up from her seat, and they stood together, his arm still encircling her. Tess's eyes, fixed on distance, began to fill.

`Why do you cry, my darling?' he said.

`O - I don't know!' she murmured.

As she saw and felt more clearly the position she was in she became agitated and tried to withdraw.

`Well, I have betrayed my feeling, Tess, at last,' said he, with a curious sigh of desperation, signifying unconsciously that his heart had outrun his judgment. `That I - love you dearly and truly I need not say. But I - it shall go no further now - it distresses you - I am as surprised as you are. You will not think I have presumed upon your defencelessness - been too quick and unreflecting, will you?'

`N' - I can't tell.'

He had allowed her to free herself; and in a minute or two the milking of each was resumed. Nobody had beheld the gravitation of the two into one; and when the dairyman came round by that screened nook a few minutes later there was not a sign to reveal that the markedly sundered pair were more to each other than mere acquaintance. Yet in the interval since Crick's last view of them something had occurred which changed the pivot of the universe for their two natures; something which, had he known its quality, the dairyman would have despised, as a practical man; yet which was based upon a more stubborn and resistless tendency than a whole heap of so-called practicalities. A veil had been whisked aside; the tract of each one's outlook was to have a new horizon thenceforward - for a short time or for a long.