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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第4章 The Consequence后果
第1节 第二十七章 【
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安琪尔骑着马,一路翻山越谷,在正午的太阳里走了二十多英里路,到了下午,走到了泰波塞斯西边一两英里地方的一个孤立的小山岗上,抬头望去,又看见了前面的低谷瓦尔谷,也就是佛卢姆谷,谷中水分充足,土地滋润,一片青绿。他立刻离开那块高地,向下面那片冲积而成的肥沃土壤走去,空气也变得浓重起来;夏天的果实、雾气、干草、野花散发出懒洋洋的芬芳,汇聚成一个巨大的芳香湖泊,在这个时候,似乎所有的鸟兽、蜜蜂、蝴蝶,受到香气的熏陶,都要一个个睡去了。对于这个地方,克莱尔现在已经非常熟悉了,所以他虽然从老远的地方望见点缀在草地上的牛群,也能够叫出每一头牛的名字来。他心里有一种享受的感觉,因为某些方面他现在和学生时代的他完全不一样了,认识到自己在这儿具有从内部观察生活的能力。虽然他深爱自己的父母,但是现在他也不禁深深感觉到,他回家住了几天,再回到这里,心里就有了一种摆脱羁绊束缚的感觉;泰波塞斯没有固定的地主,在这个地方,对英国农村社会的荒诞行为,甚至连通常的约束也没有。
奶牛场上,门外看不见一个人。奶牛场里的居民,都在像平常一样享受午后一个小时左右的小睡,夏天起床非常早,中午小睡一会儿是不可缺少的;门前有一棵用来挂牛奶桶的剥了树皮的橡树桩固定在地上,树权上挂着带箍的木桶,木桶经过不断的擦洗,已经让水泡透了,洗白了,挂在那儿就像一顶顶帽子;所有的木桶都洗静了,晒干了,准备晚上挤牛奶使用。安琪尔走进院子,穿过屋子里静静的走道,来到后面,站在那儿听了一会儿。房里睡着几个男工,可以听见从房内传出来的他们的鼾声;在更远一点儿的地方,有一些猪热得难受,发出哼哼唧唧的叫声。长着宽大叶子的大黄和卷心菜也都入睡了,它们宽阔的叶面在太阳下低垂着,就像是半开半合的阳伞。
他把马嚼松开,喂上马,再回到屋里的时候,时钟刚好敲响了三点。这是下午撇奶油的时候;钟声一响,克莱尔就听见了头上楼板的咯吱声,听见了有人从楼梯上下楼的脚步声。那正是苔丝走路的声音。又过了一会儿,苔丝下了楼,出现在他的面前。
克莱尔进屋时她没有听见,也没有想到他会在楼下。她正打着阿欠,克莱尔看见她嘴里面红红的,仿佛蛇的嘴一样。她把一只胳臂高高地举起来,伸在已经被盘起来的头发上面,看得见头上被太阳晒黑的皮肤的上面部分,像缎子一样光滑白嫩;她的脸睡得红红的,眼皮低垂着,遮住了瞳孔。她的浑身上下都散发出女性成熟的气息。正是在这种时刻,一个女人的灵魂才比任何时候更像女人;也正是在这种时候,超凡脱俗的美才显示出肉欲的一面;女性的特征才在外面表现出来。
接着,她的一双眼睛从惺松朦胧中睁开了,闪着明亮的光,不过她脸上其它的部分还没有完全清醒过来。她脸上的表情是奇特的、复杂的,有高兴,有羞怯,也有意外,她喊着说:
“啊,克莱尔先生!你把我吓了一跳——我——”
最初她还没有来得及想到,克莱尔已经向她表明了心迹,他们的关系已经发生变化了;克莱尔向楼梯跟前走去,苔丝看见他一脸的温情,这才完全意识到这件事情,这种意识随着又在她的脸上表现出来。
“亲爱的,亲爱的苔丝呀!”他低声说,一边伸出胳臂搂着她,一边把脸朝着苔丝羞红了的脸。“千万不要再叫我先生了。我这样早赶回来,全是为了你呀!”
苔丝那颗容易激动的心紧靠着克莱尔跳动着,作为对他的回答;他们就站在门厅的红地砖上,克莱尔紧紧地把苔丝搂在怀里,太阳从窗户里斜射进来,照在他的背上;也照在苔丝低垂着的脸上,照在她太阳穴上的蓝色血管上,照在她裸露的胳膊和脖颈上,照进了她又浓又密的头发里。她是和衣而卧的,所以身上暖暖的,像一只晒过太阳的猫。她起初不肯抬头看他,但是不久就抬起头看着他,大概就是夏娃第二次醒来时看亚当的样子,克莱尔也看着她的眼睛,一直看到了她那变幻不定的瞳仁的深处,只见里面闪耀着蓝色、黑色和紫色的光彩。
“我得去撇奶油了,”她解释说,“今天只有老德贝拉一个人帮我。克里克太太和克里克先生一起上市场去了,莱蒂不舒服,别的人也有事出了门,不到挤牛奶的时候不会回来。”
他们在往牛奶房走的时候,德贝拉·费安德从楼梯上露面了。
“我已经回来了,德贝拉,”克莱尔抬起头来说。“我来帮苔丝撇奶油吧;我想你肯定很累,挤牛奶的时候你再下来吧。”
当天下午,泰波塞斯的奶油可能没有完全撇干净。苔丝宛如在梦里一样,平常熟悉的物体,看起来只是一些明暗不清、变幻不定的影子,没有特别的形体和清楚的轮廓。她每次把撇奶油的勺子拿到冷水管下面冷却时,手直发颤,她也可以感觉到他的感情是那样炽热,而她就像是猛烈燃烧着的太阳底下的一棵植物,似乎想避开逃走。
接着他又把她紧紧的拥抱在自己的身边,当苔丝伸出食指沿着铅桶把奶油的边缘切断时,他就用天然的办法把她的食指吸吮干净;因为泰波塞斯毫无拘束的生活方式,现在倒给了他们方便。
“我早晚是要对你说的,不如现在就对你说了吧,最亲爱的,”他继续温情地说。“我想问你一件非常实际的事情,从上星期草场上那一天开始,我一直在考虑这件事。我打算不久就结婚,既然做一个农场主,你明白,我就应该选择一个懂得管理农场的女人做妻子。你愿意做那个女人吗,苔丝?”
他提出这件事的时候,他的表情不会让她产生误解,以为他是一时屈服于感情冲动而理智并不赞成。
苔丝的脸上立刻愁云密布。他们相互接近,她必然会爱上他,她对这个不可避免的结果已经屈服了;但是她没有想到这个突然而来的结果,这件事克莱尔确实在她面前提出过,但是他完全没有说过会这样快就结婚。她是一个高尚的女子,嘟哝着说了一些不可避免的和发誓的话作为回答,说的时候带着痛苦,就像一个将死的人所遭受的苦难一样。
“啊,克莱尔先生——我不能做你的妻子——我不能!”
苔丝把自己的决定说了出来,从她的声音可以听出来,她似乎是肝肠寸断,痛苦地把头低着。
“可是,苔丝!”克莱尔听了,对她的回答觉得奇怪,就把她拥抱得比先前更紧了。“你不答应吗?你肯定不爱我吗?”
“啊,爱你,爱你的!我愿意做你的妻子,而不愿意做这个世界上其他人的妻子,”痛苦不堪的姑娘用甜蜜的诚实的声音回答说。“可是我不能嫁给你!”
“苔丝,”他伸出胳膊抓住她说,“你该不是和别人订婚了吧!”
“没有,没有!”
“那么你为什么要拒绝我?”
“我不想结婚!我没有想到结婚。我不能结婚!我只是愿意爱你。”
“可是为什么呢?”
她被逼得无话可说了,就结结巴巴地说——
“你的父亲是一个牧师,你的母亲是不会同意你娶我这样的人的。她会让你娶一位小姐的。”
“没有的话——我已经对他们两个人都说过了。这就是我回家的部分原因呀。”
“我觉得我不能嫁给你——永远,永远不能!”她回答说。
“是不是我这样向你求婚太突然了,我的美人儿?”
“是的——我一点儿也没有想到。”
“如果你想把这件事拖一拖,也行,苔丝,我会给你时间的,”他说。“我一回来就立刻向你提这件事,的确是太唐突了。隔一阵儿我再提这件事吧。”
她又拿起了撇奶油的勺子,把勺子伸到水管子下面,重新开始工作起来。可是她无法像在其它时候那样,能够用所需要的灵巧手法,把勺子精确地伸到奶油的底层下面。她尽力而为,但是有时候她把勺子撇到了牛奶里,有时候什么也撇不着。她的眼睛几乎看不见了,悲伤给她的一双眼睛注满了泪水,模糊了她的视线;对于她这位最好的朋友,她亲爱的辩护人,她是永远无法向他解释的。
“我撇不着奶油了——我撇不着了!”她转过身去说。
为了不让她激动,不妨碍她的工作,细心体贴的克莱尔开始用一种更加轻松的方式同她说话:
“你完全误解了我的父母。他们都是最朴实的人,也是完全没有野心的人。福音派的教徒所剩无几了,他们就是其中的两个。苔丝,你是一个福音教徒吗?”
“我不知道。”
“你是定期上教堂的,他们告诉我,我们这儿的牧师并不是什么高教派。”
苔丝每个星期都去教堂听教区的牧师讲道,但是她对那个牧师的印象却十分模糊,甚至比从来都没有见过那个牧师的克莱尔还要模糊。
“我希望能专心致志地听他讲道,但是我在那儿又老是不能专下心来。”她说着不会让人多心的普通话题。“对这件事我常常感到非常难过。”
她说得那样坦诚自然,安琪尔心里相信他的父亲是不能用宗教方面的理由反对苔丝了,即使她弄不清楚自己是高教派、低教派还是广教派,这也没有什么关系。但是安琪尔知道,她心中混乱的宗教信仰,明显是在儿童时代受到熏陶的结果,真正说来,就使用的词句而论,是特拉克特主义的①,就精神实质而论,是泛神论的。混乱也罢,不混乱也罢,他绝没有想到要去纠正它们:
 
①特拉克特主义(Tractarian),一种英国宗教运动,又称牛津运动,因这一派自1832年到1841年发表九十本小册子,主张英国国教归于天主教,反对新教,后因遭人反对而逐渐消亡。

你的妹妹在祈祷,不要去打搅
她儿时的天堂,幸福的观念;
也不要用晦涩的暗示搅乱
她在美妙岁月里过的生活。①
 
①该诗引自丁尼生(Alfted Lord Tennyson)的诗《纪念阿塞·哈莱姆》(In Memorian)第三十三节。

他曾经认为,这首诗的主旨不如它的韵律可靠;但是他现在却乐意遵从它了。
他继续谈他回家后的种种琐事,谈他父亲的生活方式,谈他父亲追求生活原则的热情;苔丝也慢慢安静下来,撇奶油时手也不发颤了;他陪着她一桶一桶地撇着奶油,又帮她把塞子拔掉,把牛奶放出来。
“你刚进来的时候,我觉得你情绪不太好似的。”她冒昧地问,尽量绕开与自己有关的话题。
“是的——哦,我父亲跟我谈了许多的话,谈他的烦恼,谈他的困难,他谈的话对我总是有一种压抑的感觉。他是一个热情认真的人,遇到同他的想法不同的人,他们不仅冷淡他,甚至还动手打他,像他这样大年纪的一个人,我不愿意他遭受侮辱,尤其是一个人热心到那种程度,我认为并没有什么用处。他还告诉过我新近他遭遇的一件叫人非常不痛快的事。有一次他当一个讲道团的代表,到附近的特兰里奇去讲道,那是离这儿四十英里的一个地方,在那儿遇见了一个地主的儿子,妈妈是个瞎子。儿子是一个放荡狂妄的青年,我父亲就担负起教导他的责任,直截了当地教导他,结果竟引出了一场麻烦。我一定要说,我父亲太傻了,既然劝说明显是没有用的,何必去对一个素不相识的人费口舌呢。但是不管什么事,他只要认为是他的职责,他就不管什么时候,都要去做;当然,他结下了不少的仇人,其中不仅有绝对的坏人,也有一些容易相处的人,他们恨父亲多管闲事。他说,他的光荣就在发生的这些事情里,说善是在间接中实现的;可是我希望他不要老是这样自找苦吃,他已经渐渐老了,就让那些猪猡在污泥中打滚好了。”
苔丝的脸色变得呆滞憔悴了,红润的嘴唇露出凄惨的情态;但是再也没有看见她有颤栗的表现。克莱尔又想起了他的父亲,因此没有注意到苔丝的特别表现;他们就这样继续撇那一长排方形盆子里的牛奶,直到都撇完了,牛奶都放掉了才歇手。其他的挤奶女工也来了,拎起了她们的牛奶桶,德贝拉也下来刷洗铅桶,预备装新的牛奶。在首丝到草场上去挤牛奶的时候,克莱尔温柔地问她——
“我问的问题你还没有回答呢,苔丝?”
“啊,不行——不行!”苔丝郑重和绝望地说,因为她刚才听见克莱尔说的德贝维尔的故事,又引发了她过去的痛苦。“我不可能嫁给你。”
她出了门,向草场走去,一步就跨进了挤奶女工的队伍中,仿佛要利用户外的新鲜空气,来赶走心中的不快。所有的女工们都向在远处草场上吃草的奶牛走去,这一群勇敢的姑娘身上带着野性的美,她们是一群已经习惯了不受任何拘束的姑娘,迈着自由随便的步子,在空旷的野外走着,就好像游泳的人去追逐波浪一样。克莱尔又看见了苔丝,现在他觉得,从无拘无束的自然中选择一个伴侣,而不是从艺术的宫殿里去选择伴侣,这都是再自然不过的。
 

An up-hill and down-dale ride of twenty-odd miles through a garish mid-day atmosphere brought him in the afternoon to a detached knoll a mile or two west of Talbothays, whence he again looked into that green trough of sappiness and humidity, the valley of the Var or Froom. mmediately he began to descend from the upland to the fat alluvial soil below, the atmosphere grew heavier; the languid perfume of the summer fruits, the mists, the hay, the flowers, formed therein a vast pool of odour which at this hour seemed to make the animals, the very bees and butterflies, drowsy. Clare was now so familiar with the spot that he knew the individual cows by their names when, a long distance off, he saw them dotted about the meads. It was with a sense of luxury that he recognized his power of viewing life here from its inner side, in a way that had been quite foreign to him in his student-days; and, much as he loved his parents, he could not help being aware that to come here, as now, after an experience of home-life, affected him like throwing off splints and bandages; even the one customary curb on the humours of English rural societies being absent in this place, Talbothays having no resident landlord.

Not a human being was out of doors at the dairy. The denizens were all enjoying the usual afternoon nap of an hour or so which the exceedingly early hours kept in summer-time rendered a necessity. At the door the wood-hooped pails, sodden and bleached by infinite scrubbings, hung like hats on a stand upon the forked and peeled limb of an oak fixed there for that purpose; all of them ready and dry for the evening milking. Angel entered, and went through the silent passages of the house to the back quarters, where he listened for a moment. Sustained snores came from the cart-house, where some of the men were lying down; the grunt and squeal of sweltering pigs arose from the still further distance. The large-leaved rhubarb and cabbage plants slept too, their broad limp surfaces hanging in the sun like half-closed umbrellas.

He unbridled and fed his horse, and as he re-entered the house the clock struck three. Three was the afternoon skimming-hour; and, with the stroke, Clare heard the creaking of the floor-boards above, and then the touch of a descending foot on the stairs. It was Tess's, who in another moment came down before his eyes.

She had not heard him enter, and hardly realized his presence there. She was yawning, and he saw the red interior of her mouth as if it had been a snake's. She had stretched one arm so high as above her coiled-up cable of hair that he could see its satin delicacy above the sunburn; her face was flushed with sleep, and her eyelids hung heavy over their pupils. The brimfulness of her nature breathed from her. It was a moment when a woman's soul is more incarnate than at any other time; when the most spiritual beauty bespeaks itself flesh; and sex takes the outside place in the presentation.

Then those eyes flashed brightly through their filmy heaviness, before the remainder of her face was well awake. With an oddly compounded look of gladness, shyness, and surprise, she exclaimed--

`O Mr Clare! How you frightened me - I--'

There had not at first been time for her to think of the changed relations which his declaration had introduced; but the full sense of the matter rose up in her face when she encountered Clare's tender look as he stepped forward to the bottom stair.

`Dear, darling Tessy!' he whispered, putting his arm round her, and his face to her flushed cheek. `Don't, for Heaven's sake, Mister me any more. I have hastened back so soon because of you!'

Tess's excitable heart beat against bis by way of reply; and there they stood upon the red-brick floor of the entry, the sun slanting in by the window upon his back, as he held her tightly to his breast; upon her inclining face, upon the blue veins of her temple, upon her naked arm, and her neck, and into the depths of her hair. Having been lying down in her clothes she was warm as a sunned cat. At first she would not look straight up at him, but her eyes soon lifted, and his plumbed the deepness of the ever-varying pupils, with their radiating fibrils of blue, and black, and gray, and violet, while she regarded him as Eve at her second waking might have regarded Adam.

`I've got to go a-skimming,' she pleaded, `and I have on'y old Deb to help me to-day. Mrs Crick is gone to market with Mr Crick, and Retty is not well, and the others are gone out somewhere, and won't be home till milking.'

As they retreated to the milk-house Deborah Fyander appeared on the stairs.

`I have come back, Deborah,' said Mr Clare, upwards.'So I can help Tess with the skimming; and, as you are very tired, I am sure, you needn't come down till milking-time.'

Possibly the Talbothays milk was not very thoroughly skimmed that afternoon. Tess was in a dream wherein familiar objects appeared as having light and shade and position, but no particular outline. Every time she held the skimmer under the pump to cool it for the work her hand trembled, the ardour of his affection being so palpable that she seemed to flinch under it like a plant in too burning a sun.

Then he pressed her again to his side, and when she had done running her forefinger round the leads to cut off the cream-edge, he cleaned it in nature's way; for the unconstrained manners of Talbothays dairy came convenient now.

`I may as well say it now as later, dearest,' he resumed gently. `I wish to ask you something of a very practical nature, which I have been thinking of ever since that day last week in the meads. I shall soon want to marry, and, being a farmer, you see I shall require for my wife a woman who knows all about the management of farms. Will you be that woman, Tessy?'

He put it in that way that she might not think he had yielded to an impulse of which his head would disapprove.

She turned quite careworn. She had bowed to the inevitable result of proximity, the necessity of loving him; but she had not calculated upon this sudden corollary, which, indeed, Clare had put before her without quite meaning himself to do it so soon. With pain that was like the bitterness of dissolution she murmured the words of her indispensable and sworn answer as an honourable woman.

`O Mr Clare - I cannot be your wife - I cannot be!'

The sound of her own decision seemed to break Tess's very heart, and she bowed her face in her grief.

`But, Tess!' he said, amazed at her reply, and holding her still more greedily close. `Do you say no? Surely you love me?'

`O yes, yes! And I would rather be yours than anybody's in the world,' returned the sweet and honest voice of the distressed girl. `But I cannot marry you!'

`Tess,' he said, holding her at arm's length, `you are engaged to marry some one else!'

`No, no!'

`Then why do you refuse me?'

`I don't want to marry! I have not thought o'doing it. I cannot! I only want to love you.'

`But why?'

Driven to subterfuge, she stammered--

`Your father is a parson, and your mother wouldn' like you to marry such as me. She will want you to marry a lady.'

`Nonsense - I have spoken to them both. That was partly why I went home.'

`I feel I cannot - never, never!' she echoed.

`Is it too sudden to be asked thus, my Pretty?'

`Yes - I did not expect it.'

`If you will let it pass, please, Tessy, I will give you time,' he said. `It was very abrupt to come home and speak to you all at once. I'll not allude to it again for a while.'

She again took up the shining skimmer, held it beneath the pump, and began anew. But she could not, as at other times, hit the exact under-surface of the cream with the delicate dexterity required, try as she might: sometimes she was cutting down into the milk, sometimes in the air. She could hardly see, her eyes having filled with two blurring tears drawn forth by a grief which, to this her best friend and dear advocate, she could never explain.

`I can't skim - I can't!' she said, turning away from him.

Not to agitate and hinder her longer the considerate Clare began talking in a more general way:

`You quite misapprehend my parents. They are the most simple-mannered people alive, and quite unambitious. They are two of the few remaining Evangelical school. Tessy, are you an Evangelical?'

`I don't know.'

`You go to church very regularly, and our parson here is not very High, they tell me.'

Tess's ideas on the views of the parish clergyman, whom she heard every week, seemed to be rather more vague than Clare's, who had never heard him at all.

`I wish I could fix my mind on what I hear there more firmly than I do,' she remarked as a safe generality. `It is often a great sorrow to me.'

She spoke so unaffectedly that Angel was sure in his heart that his father could not object to her on religious grounds, even though she did not know whether her principles were High, Low, or Broad. He himself knew that, in reality, the confused beliefs which she held, apparently imbibed in childhood, were, if any thing, Tractarian as to phraseology, and Pantheistic as to essence. Confused or otherwise, to disturb them was his last desire:

Leave thou thy sister, when she prays,
Her early Heaven, her happy views;
Nor thou with shadow'd hint confuse
A life that leads melodious days.

He had occasionally thought the counsel less honest than musical; but he gladly conformed to it now.
He spoke further of the incidents of his visit, of his father's mode of life, of his zeal for his principles; she grew serener, and the undulations disappeared from her skimming; as she finished one lead after another he followed her, and drew the plugs for letting down the milk.

`I fancied you looked a little downcast when you came in,' she ventured to observe, anxious to keep away from the subject of herself.

`Yes - well, my father has been talking a good deal to me of his troubles and difficulties, and the subject always tends to depress me. He is so zealous that he gets many snubs and buffetings from people of a different way of thinking from himself, and I don't like to hear of such humiliations to a man of his age, the more particularly as I don't think earnestness does any good when carried so far. He has been telling me of a very unpleasant scene in which he took part quite recently. He went as the deputy of some missionary society to preach in the neighbourhood of Trantridge, a place forty miles from here, and made it his business to expostulate with a lax young cynic he met with somewhere about there - son of some landowner up that way - and who has a mother afflicted with blindness. My father addressed himself to the gentleman point-blank, and there was quite a disturbance. It was very foolish of my father, I must say, to intrude his conversation upon a stranger when the probabilities were so obvious that it would be useless. But whatever he thinks to be his duty, that he'll do, in season or out of season; and, of course, he makes many enemies, not only among the absolutely vicious, but among the easy-going, who hate being bothered. He says he glories in what happened, and that good may be done indirectly; but I wish he would not so wear himself out now he is getting old, and would leave such pigs to their wallowing.'

Tess's look had grown hard and worn, and her ripe mouth tragical; but she no longer showed any tremulousness. Clare's revived thoughts of his father prevented his noticing her particularly; and so they went on down the white row of liquid rectangles till they had finished and drained them off, when the other maids returned, and took their pails, and Deb came to scald out the leads for the new milk. As Tess withdrew to go afield to the cows he said to her softly--

`And my question, Tessy?'

`O no - no!' replied she with grave hopelessness, as one who had heard anew the turmoil of her own past in the allusion to Alec d'Urberville. `It can't be!'

She went out towards the mead, joining the other milkmaids with a bound, as if trying to make the open air drive away her sad constraint. All the girls drew onward to the spot where the cows were grazing in the farther mead, the bevy advancing with the bold grace of wild animals - the reckless unchastened motion of women accustomed to unlimited space - in which they abandoned themselves to the air as a swimmer to the wave. It seemed natural enough to him now that Tess was again in sight to choose a mate from unconstrained Nature, and not from the abodes of Art.