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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16节 第二十八章 【
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苔丝的拒绝虽然出乎意外,但是这也不会长期让克莱尔气馁。他对女人已经有了经验,这已经足以使他懂得,否定常常只是肯定的开端;但是他的经验毕竟有限,还不足以知道目前这种否定完全是一个例外,和那种忸怩作态的调情不同。既然苔丝已经允许他向她求爱了,他认为这就是一种额外的保证,但是他并没有完全认识到,发生在田野里和牧场上的那些“免费的叹息”①,也决不是浪费了;在这种地方,恋爱常常是没有多加考虑就被接受了,这种恋爱只是为了恋爱自身的甜蜜,它和充满野心的忧虑焦躁的家庭不一样,在那种家庭里,女孩子渴望的只是为了建立家业,这样就损害了以感情为目的的健康思想。
 
①免费的叹息(sigh gratis),引自莎士比亚的悲剧《哈姆雷特》,见该剧第二幕第二场。

“苔丝,为什么你用这种坚决的态度说‘不’呢?”过了几天他问苔丝。
她吃了一惊。
“不要问我。我已经告诉过你了——部分地告诉过你了。我配不上你——我不值得你爱。”
“怎么配不上?因为你不是一位千金小姐吗?”
“不错——和那差不多,”她低声说。“你家里的人会瞧不起我的。”
“你实在是把他们看错了——把我的父亲和母亲看错了。至于说到我的哥哥,我并不在乎——”他从后面用双手抱住苔丝,害怕她逃走了。“喂——你说的不是真话吧,亲爱的?——我敢肯定你不是说的真话!你已经弄得我坐立不安了,不能读书、无心玩耍,什么事也没法做。我不着急,苔丝,但是我想知道——想从你温暖的嘴里亲自听到——有一天你会是我的人——什么时间你可以选择;但是总有一天吧?”
她只是摇了摇头,扭转了脸不去看他。
克莱尔仔细地打量着她,把目光集中在她的脸上,仿佛上面刻有象形文字似的。看上去她的拒绝好像是真的。
“要是这样的话,我就不应该这样搂着你了——是不是?我没有权利搂着你——没有权利约你出去,没有权利一块儿和你散步了!老实说,苔丝,你是不是爱上了别的人?”
“你怎能这样问我呢?”她继续自我克制着说。
“我一直知道你没有爱上其他别的人。但是为什么你又要拒绝我呢?”
“我不是拒绝你呀。我喜欢听——听你说你爱我;当你和我在一起的时候,你都可以这样说——这不会惹我生气的。”
“可是你没有接受我做你的丈夫啊?”
“啊——那又不同了——那是为你好呀,的确是为你好啊,最亲爱的!啊,相信我吧,这只是为了你的缘故!我不愿意把自己这样交给你,享受无限的幸福——因为——因为我肯定不应该这样做。”
“但是你会使我幸福的!”
“啊——你以为是这样,其实你不明白!”
每次到了这种时候,他总是把她的拒绝理解成是她的卑谦,理解成是她认为自己在交际和教养方面缺乏能力,因此他就称赞她知识多么地丰富,多么地多才多艺——其实这一点儿不假,她天性聪颖,加上又崇拜他,这就促使她学习他使用的词汇,学习他说话的音调,她零零碎碎向他学到的知识,达到了令人惊奇的程度。他们每次都是这样多情地争论,最后又总是她取得胜利,然后再独自离开,如果是挤牛奶的时候,她就会跑到最远的一头奶牛那儿去挤奶,如果是闲暇的时候,她就会跑到苇塘里去,或者跑回自己的房间,独自在那儿悲伤,而在不到一分钟前,她还在假装冷淡地表示拒绝。
她内心的这种斗争非常可怕;她自己那颗心系在克莱尔的身上,非常强烈——两颗热烈的心一起反抗一点儿可怜的良知——她尽其所能地使用了一切方法,使自己的决心得到坚定。她是下定了决心到泰波塞斯来的。她决不能同意迈出这一步,免得以后导致丈夫后悔,说是瞎了眼睛才娶了她。她坚持认为,她在心智健全时候作出的决定,现在不应该把它推翻。
“为什么没有人把我所有的事都告诉他呢?”她说。“那儿离这儿只不过四十英里——为什么还没有传到这儿来呢?肯定有人知道的!”
可是又似乎没有人知道;还没有人告诉他。
有两三天的时间,她什么话也没有说。但是她从同宿舍女伴伤心的脸色上猜测出来,她们不仅把她看成他喜欢的人,而且也把她看成被他选中的人;但是她们自己也看得出来,她在回避他。
苔丝从来都不曾知道,她的生命线明显是由两股线拧在一起的,一股是绝对的快乐,一股是绝对的痛苦。第二次作奶酪的时候,他们两个人又一起被单独地留在那儿了。奶牛场老板过来帮忙;但是克里克先生,还有克里克太太,近来开始怀疑在这两个人中间出现的相互之间的兴趣;不过他们的恋爱进行得非常小心,所以那种怀疑也是非常模糊的。不论是真是假,那天老板还是躲开了。
他们正在那儿把一大块凝乳切开,准备放进大桶里去。他们的做法和把大量的面包切碎有些相同;苔丝·德北菲尔德的双手拾掇着凝乳,在洁白凝乳的衬托下,显现出一种粉红的玫瑰色。安琪尔正在用手一捧一捧地帮着往大木桶里装,但他又突然停下来,把自己的一双手放在苔丝的手上。苔丝衣服的袖子卷到了胳膊肘以上,他就低下头去,在苔丝娇嫩胳膊靠里的血管上吻了一下。
虽然九月初的气候还很闷热,但是苔丝的胳膊因为放在凝乳里,所以他的嘴感到又湿润又冰冷,就像刚采的蘑菇一样,还带有奶清的味道。不过她是一个非常敏感的人,给他一吻,她的脉搏就加速跳动起来,血液流到了指尖,冰凉的胳膊也热得发红了。后来,她心里似乎在说,“还有必要再羞答答的吗?真情是男女之间的真情,它和男人同男人之间的真情是一样的。”她把她的眼睛抬起来,双眼的真诚目光同他的目光交织在一起,轻轻地张开嘴,温柔的微笑了一下。
“你知道我为什么要那样做吗,苔丝?”他问。
“因为你非常爱我呀!”
“说得对,我准备再向你求婚。”
“别再提这件事了!”
她显得突然害怕起来,她怕的是在自己愿望的压力下,自己的抵抗有可能崩溃。
“啊,苔丝!”他继续说,“我不该以为你在逗着我玩吧。你为什么要让我这样失望呢?你都差不多挺像一个卖弄风情的女人了,老实说,你都差不多那样了——真像城市里一个最好品质的卖弄风情的女人了!她们时冷时热的,就像你现在一样;在泰波塞斯这个偏僻的地方,你别想能找到这类人物……可是,最亲爱的,”他看见自己说的话刺伤了她,又急忙补充说,“我知道你是世界上最诚实、最纯洁的姑娘。所以我怎么会认为你是一个卖弄风情的女子呢?苔丝,假如你像我爱你一样爱我,那你又为什么不愿意做我的妻子呢?”
“我从来没有说过我不愿意呀,我从来都不会说我不愿意;因为——那不是我的真心话!”
当时她的克制已经超过了她能忍受的程度,她的嘴唇颤抖起来,急忙走开了。克莱尔既非常痛苦,又非常困惑,只好从后面追过去,在走道里捉住她。
“告诉我,告诉我!”他说,一面感情激动地搂住她,忘记了自己两手沾满了凝乳:“你一定要告诉我,你不会属于别人,只是属于我!”
“我告诉你,我告诉你!”她大声说。“而且我还会给你一个完全的答复,要是你现在放开我。我会告诉你我的经历——关于我自己的一切——一切。”
“你的经历,亲爱的;是的,当然;有多少经历我都听。”他看着苔丝的脸,用爱她的方式逗着她说。“我的苔丝,没有疑问,经历可多啦,多得差不多和外面花园树篱上的野牵牛花一样多,还是今天早上第一次开花呢。把什么都告诉我吧,但是不许你再说你配不上我的讨厌话。”
“我尽力而为——不说吧!我明天就把理由告诉你吧——不,下个星期吧。”
“你是说在礼拜天?”
“对,在礼拜天。”
她终于离开走了,一直走进院子尽头的柳树丛中,柳树被削去了树梢,长得密密麻麻的,她躲在那儿看不见了。她在那儿一下子就扑倒在树下沙沙作响的金枪草上,就像躲在床上一样,她蜷曲着躺在那儿,心里怦怦直跳,苦恼中又涌出来一阵阵快乐。直到后来,她的担心也没能把欢乐压制下去。
实际上,她的态度正在发展为默认。她的呼吸和呼吸的每一次变化,她的血液的每一次涨落,她的脉搏在她耳边的每一次跳动,就同她的天性一起发出一种声音,反对她的种种顾虑。不要畏惧,不要顾虑,接受他的爱情;到神坛前去同他结合,什么也不要说,试试看他会不会发现她的过去;在痛苦的铁嘴还没有来得及把她咬住之前,享受已经成熟的快乐:这就是爱情对她的劝说;她几乎带着惊喜的恐惧猜到,尽管好几个月来,她孤独地进行自我惩戒,自我思索,自我对话,制定出许多将来过独身生活的严肃计划,但是爱情却要战胜一切了。
下午在慢慢地过去,她仍然呆在柳树丛中。她听到了有人把牛奶桶从树杈上取下来发出的响声;也听见了把奶牛赶到一块儿的“呜噢呜噢”的喊声。但是她没有过去挤牛奶。他们会看见她的激动样子的;奶牛场老板只会把她的激动看成是恋爱的结果,因此也要善意地取笑她;决不能让这种戏谑出现。
她的情人也一定猜测到了她过分激动的情形,就为她编造了一个借口,解释她不能来挤牛奶的原因,所以也就没有人再打听或者去喊她。六点半钟的时候,太阳落到了地平线上,那样子就像天上的一个巨大的炼铁炉,同时,一个像南瓜一样的大月亮从另一边升了起来。
那天是星期三。星期四又到了,安琪尔从远处心事重重地看着她,但是决不去打搅她。屋内的挤奶姑娘们,还有玛丽安和其他的人,她们猜测肯定正在发生什么事情,因此在房间里就没有议论她。星期五过去了;星期六也过去了。明天就是那一天了。
“我要让步了——我要答应了——我要同意嫁给他了——我没有办法了!”那天夜晚,她把发烧的脸贴在枕头上,听见有一个姑娘在睡梦中呼唤着安琪尔的名字,就满怀妒意地说:“我要自己嫁给他,我不能让别人嫁给他!可是委屈他了,他知道后会气死的啊!啊,我的心啊——啊——啊——啊!”
 

Her refusal, though unexpected, did not permanently daunt Clare. His experience of women was great enough for him to be aware that the negative often meant nothing more than the preface to the affirmative; and it was little enough for him not to know that in the manner of the present negative there lay a great exception to the dallyings of coyness. That she had already permitted him to make love to her he read as an additional assurance, not fully trowing that in the fields and pastures to `sigh gratis' is by no means deemed waste; love-making being here more often accepted inconsiderately and for its own sweet sake than in the carking anxious homes of the ambitious, where a girl's craving for an establishment paralyzes her healthy thought of a passion as an end.

`Tess, why did you say "no" in such a positive way?' he asked her in the course of a few days.

She started.

`Don't ask me. I told you why - partly. I am not good enough not worthy enough.'

`How? Not fine lady enough?'

`Yes - something like that,' murmured she. `Your friends would scorn me.'

`Indeed, you mistake them - my father and mother. As for my brothers, I don't care--' He clasped his fingers behind her back to keep her from slipping away. `Now - you did not mean it, sweet? - I am sure you did not! You have made me so restless that I cannot read, or play, or do anything. I am in no hurry, Tess, but I want to know - to hear from your own warm lips - that you will some day be mine - any time you may choose; but some day?' She could only shake her head and look away from him.

Clare regarded her attentively, conned the characters of her face as if they had been hieroglyphics. The denial seemed real.

`Then I ought not to hold you in this way - ought I? I have no right to you - no right to seek out where you are, or to walk with you! Honestly, Tess, do you love any other man?'

`How can you ask?' she said, with continued self-suppression.

`I almost know that you do not. But then, why do you repulse me?'

`I don't repulse you. I like you to - tell me you love me; and you may always tell me so as you go about with me - and never offend me.'

`But you will not accept me as a husband?'

`Ah - hat's different - it is for your good, indeed my dearest! O, believe me, it is only for your sake! I don't like to give myself the great happiness o' promising to be yours in that way - because - because I am sure I ought not to do it.'

`But you will make me happy!'

`Ah - you think so, but you don't know!'

At such times as this, apprehending the grounds of her refusal to be her modest sense of incompetence in matters social and polite, he was wonderfully well-informed and versatile - which was certainly true, her natural quickness, and her admiration for him, having led her to pick up his vocabulary, his accent, and fragments of his knowledge, to a surprising extent. After these tender contests and her victory she would go away by herself under the remotest cow, if at milking-time, or into the sedge, or into her room, if at a leisure interval, and mourn silently, not a minute after an apparently phlegmatic negative.

The struggle was so fearful; her own heart was so strongly on the side of his - two ardent hearts against one poor little conscience - that she tried to fortify her resolution by every means in her power. She had come to Talbothays with a made-up mind. On no account could she agree to a step which might afterwards cause bitter rueing to her husband for his blindness in wedding her. And she held that what her conscience had decided for her when her mind was unbiased ought not to be overruled now.

`Why don't somebody tell him all about me?' she said. `It was only forty miles off - why hasn't it reached here? Somebody must know!'

Yet nobody seemed to know; nobody told him.

For two or three days no more was said. She guessed from the sad countenances of her chamber companions that they regarded her not only as the favourite, but as the chosen; but they could see for themselves that she did not put herself in his way.

Tess had never before known a time in which the thread of her life was so distinctly twisted of two strands, positive pleasure and positive pain. At the next cheese-making the pair were again left alone together. The dairyman himself had been lending a hand; but Mr Crick, as well as his wife, seemed latterly to have acquired a suspicion of mutual interest between these two; though they walked so circumspectly that suspicion was but of the faintest. Anyhow, the dairyman left them to themselves.

They were breaking up the masses of curd before putting them into the vats. The operation resembled the act of crumbling bread on a large scale; and amid the immaculate whiteness of the curds Tess Durbeyfield's hands showed themselves of the pinkness of the rose. Angel, who was filling the vats with his handfuls, suddenly ceased, and laid his hands flat upon hers. Her sleeves were rolled far above the elbow, and bending lower he kissed the inside vein of her soft arm.

Although the early September weather was sultry, her arm, from her dabbling in the curds, was as cold and damp to his mouth as a new-gathered mushroom, and tasted of the whey. But she was such a sheaf of susceptibilities that her pulse was accelerated by the touch, her blood driven to her finger-ends, and the cool arms flushed hot. Then, as though her heart had said, `Is coyness longer necessary? Truth is truth between man and woman, as between man and man, ` she lifted her eyes, and they beamed devotedly into his, as her lip rose in a tender half-smile.

`Do you know why I did that, Tess?' he said.

`Because you love me very much!'

`Yes, and as a preliminary to a new entreaty.'

`Not again!'

She looked a sudden fear that her resistance might break down under her own desire.

`O, Tessy!' he went on, `I cannot think why you are so tantalizing. Why do you disappoint me so? You seem almost like a coquette, upon my life you do - a coquette of the first urban water! They blow hot and blow cold, just as you do; and it is the very last sort of thing to expect to find in a retreat like Talbothays... . And yet, dearest, `he quickly added, observing how the remark had cut her, `I know you to be the most honest, spotless creature that ever lived. So how can I suppose you a flirt? Tess, why don't you like the idea of being my wife, if you love me as you seem to do?'

`I have never said I don't like the idea, and I never could say it; because - it isn't true!'

The stress now getting beyond endurance her lip quivered, and she was obliged to go away. Clare was so pained and perplexed that he ran after and caught her in the passage.

`Tell me, tell me!' he said, passionately clasping her, in forgetfulness of his curdy hands: `do tell me that you won't belong to anybody but me!'

`I will, I will tell you!' she exclaimed. `And I will give you a complete answer, if you will let me go now. I will tell you my experiences - all about myself - all!'

`Your experiences, dear; yes, certainly; any number.' He expressed assent in loving satire, looking into her face. `My Tess has, no doubt, almost as many experiences as that wild convolvulus out there on the garden hedge, that opened itself this morning for the first time. Tell me anything, but don't use that wretched expression any more about not being worthy of me.'

`I will try - not! And I'll give you my reasons to-morrow - next week.'

`Say on Sunday?'

`Yes, on Sunday.'

At last she got away, and did not stop in her retreat till she was in the thicket of pollard willows at the lower side of the barton, where she could be quite unseen. Here Tess flung herself down upon the rustling undergrowth of spear-grass, as upon a bed, and remained crouching in palpitating misery broken by momentary shoots of joy, which her fears about the ending could not altogether suppress.

In reality, she was drifting into acquiescence. Every see-saw of her breath, every wave of her blood, every pulse singing in her ears, was a voice that joined with nature in revolt against her scrupulousness. Reckless, inconsiderate acceptance of him; to close with him at the altar, revealing nothing, and chancing discovery; to snatch ripe pleasure before the iron teeth of pain could have time to shut upon her: that was what love counselled; and in almost a terror of ecstasy Tess divined that, despite her many months of lonely self-chastisement, wrestlings, communings, schemes to lead a future of austere isolation, love's counsel would prevail.

The afternoon advanced, and still she remained among the willows. She heard the rattle of taking down the palls from the forked stands; the `waow-waow!' which accompanied the getting together of the cows. But she did not go to the milking. They would see her agitation; and the dairyman, thinking the cause to be love alone, would good-naturedly tease her; and that harassment could not be borne.

Her lover must have guessed her overwrought state, and invented some excuse for her non-appearance, for no inquiries were made or calls given. At half-past six the sun settled down upon the levels, with the aspect of a great forge in the heavens, and presently a monstrous pumpkin-like moon arose on the other hand. The pollard willows, tortured out of their natural shape by incessant choppings, became spiny-haired monsters as they stood up against it. She went in, and upstairs without a light.

It was now Wednesday. Thursday came, and Angel looked thoughtfully at her from a distance, but intruded in no way upon her. The indoor milkmaids, Marian and the rest, seemed to guess that something definite was afoot, for they did not force any remarks upon her in the bedchamber. Friday passed; Saturday. To-morrow was the day.

`I shall give way - I shall say yes - I shall let myself marry him - I cannot help it!' she jealously panted, with her hot face to the pillow that night, on hearing one of the other girls sigh his name in her sleep. `I can't bear to let anybody have him but me! Yet it is a wrong to him, and may kill him when he knows! O my heart - O - O!'