用户名: 密码: 验证码:    注册 | 忘记密码?
主页 |英文小说 |双语传记 |双语戏剧 |双语文史哲 |双语儿童文学 |双语科技 |经典英译 |其他双语名著
当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第4章 The Consequence后果
第25节 第三十七章 【
   已开启划词功能

午夜静静地来了,又悄悄地走了,因为在佛卢姆谷里没有报告时刻的教堂。
凌晨一点后不久,过去曾经是德贝维尔府邸的屋子,黑沉沉的一片,里面传出来一阵轻微的咯吱咯吱的声音。睡在楼上房间里的苔丝听见了,惊醒过来。声音是从楼梯拐角处传来的,因为那层楼梯像往常一样钉得很松。她看见她的房间门被打开了,她丈夫的形体迈着异常小心的脚步,穿过那一道月光走了进来。他只穿了衬衫和衬裤,所以她最初看见他的时候,心里头一阵欢喜,但是当她看见他奇异眼睛茫然地瞪着,她的欢喜也就消失了。他走到了房间的中间僵硬地站在那儿,用一种难以描述的悲伤语气嘟哝着说——
“死了!死了!死了!”
克莱尔只要受到强烈的刺激,偶尔就会出现梦游的现象,甚至还会做出一些奇怪的惊人之举,就在他们结婚之前从市镇上回来的那个夜晚,他在房间里同侮辱苔丝的那个男人打了起来,就属于这种情形。苔丝看出来,是克莱尔心中继续不断的痛苦,把他折磨得夜里起来梦游了。
她在心中,对他既非常忠实,又非常信任,所以无论克莱尔睡了还是醒着,都不会引起她的害怕。即使他手里拿着一把手枪进来,一点也不会减少她对他的信任,她相信他会保护她。
克莱尔走到她的跟前,弯下腰来。“死了!死了!死了!”他嘟哝着说。
他用同样无限哀伤的目光死死地把她注视了一会儿,然后把腰弯得更低了,把她抱在自己的怀里,用床单把她裹起来,就像是用裹尸布裹的一样。接着他把她从床上举起来,那种尊敬的神情就像是面对死者一样。他抱着她从房间里走出去,嘴里嘟哝着——
“我可怜的,可怜的苔丝——我最亲爱的宝贝苔丝!这样的甜蜜,这样的善良,这样的真诚!”
在他醒着的时候是绝对不肯说出口的这些甜言蜜语,在她那颗孤独渴望的心听来,真是甜蜜得无法形容。即使是拼着自己已经厌倦了的性命不要,她也不肯动一动,或挣扎一下,从而改变了她现在所处的情景。她就这样一动也不动地躺着,简直连大气也不敢出,心里不知道他要抱着她干什么。他就这样抱着她走到了楼梯口。
“我的妻子——死了,死了!”他说。
他累了,就抱着她靠在楼梯的栏杆上,歇了一会儿。他是要把她扔下去吗?她已经没有了自我关心的意识,她知道他已经计划明天就离开了,可能是永远离开了,她就这样躺在他的怀里,尽管危险,但是她不害怕,反而觉得是一种享受。要是他们能够一块儿摔下去,两个人都摔得粉身碎骨,那该多好啊,该多称她的心愿啊。
但是他没有把她扔下去,而是借助楼梯栏杆的支撑,在她的嘴唇上吻了一下——而那是他白天不屑吻的嘴唇。接着他又把她牢牢地抱起来,下了楼梯。楼梯的松散部分发出咯吱咯吱的声音,但是也没有把他惊醒过来,他们就这样安全地走到了楼下。有一会儿,他从抱着她的双手中松出一只手来,把门栓拉开,走了出去,他只穿着袜子,出门时脚趾头在门边轻轻地碰了一下。但是他似乎并不知道,到了门外,他有了充分活动的余地,就把苔丝扛在肩上,这样搬动起来他感到更加轻松些。身上没有穿多少衣服,这也为他减轻了不少的负担。他就这样扛着她离开了那所屋子,朝几码外的河边走去。
他的最终目的是什么,如果他有什么目的的话,但是她还没有猜出来;她还发现她就像第三个人一样,在那儿猜想着他可能要干什么。既然她已经把自己完全交给了他,所以她一动也不动,满怀高兴地想着他把她完全当成了他自己的财产,随他怎样处理好了。她心里萦绕着明天分离的恐怖,因此当她觉得他现在真正承认她是他的妻子了,并没有把她扔出去,即使他敢利用这种承认的权利伤害她,这也是对她的安慰。
啊!她现在知道他正在做什么梦了——在那个星期天的早晨,他把她和另外几个姑娘一起抱过了水塘,那几个姑娘也和她一样地爱他,如果那是可能的话,不过苔丝很难承认这一点。克莱尔现在并没有把她抱过桥去,而是抱着她在河的这一边走了几步,朝附近的磨坊走去,后来在河边站住不动了。
河水在这片草地上向下流去,延伸了好几英里,它以毫无规则地曲线蜿蜒前进,不断地分割着草地,环抱着许多无名的小岛,然后又流回来,汇聚成一条宽阔的河流。他把苔丝抱到这个地方的对面,是这片河水的总汇,和其它地方比起来,这儿的河水既宽又深。河上只有一座很窄的便桥;但是现在河水已经把桥上的栏杆冲走了,只留下光秃秃的桥板,桥面离湍急的河水只有几英寸,即使头脑清醒的人走在这座桥上,也不免。要感到头昏眼花;苔丝在白天曾经从窗户里看见,有一个年轻人从桥上走过去,就好像在表演走钢丝的技巧。她的丈夫可能也看见过同样的表演;不管怎样,他现在已经走上了桥板,迈开脚步沿着桥向前走了。
他是要把她扔到河里去吗?他大概是的。那个地方偏僻无人,河水又深又宽,足可以轻易地就达到把她扔到河里去的目的。如果他愿意,他就可以把她淹死;这总比明天劳燕分飞要好些。
激流在他们的下面奔腾,打着漩涡,月亮倒映在河水里,被河水抛掷着,扭曲着,撕裂着。一簇簇水沫从桥下漂过,水草受到推动而在木桩的后面摇摆。如果他们现在一起跌到激流中去,由于他们的胳膊互相紧紧地搂在一起,因此他们是谁也活不了的;他们都可以毫无痛苦地离开这个世界,也不会有人因为他娶了她而责备她或者他了。他同她在一起的最后半个小时,将是爱她的半个小时。而他们要是仍然活着,等到他醒了,他就要恢复白天对她的厌恶态度了,这个时候的情形,就只是一个转瞬即逝的梦幻了。
她突然心血来潮,想动一下,让他们两个人一齐掉进河里,但是她不敢那样做。她怎样评价她的生命,前面已经有了证明;但是他的——她却没有权力支配。他终于抱着她安全地走到了河的对岸。
他们进入一块人造的林地,这儿是寺庙的遗址,他把苔丝换了一个抱的姿势,又向前走了几步,走到了寺庙教堂里圣坛所在的旧址那儿。靠北墙的地方,放着一口修道院长用过的石头棺材,凡是来这儿旅行的人,如果想在阴森中寻找开心,都到棺材里去躺一躺。克莱尔小心谨慎地把苔丝放进了这口棺材里。他又在苔丝的嘴唇上吻了一下,深深地吸了一口气,仿佛一桩重大的心愿完成了似的。接着他也挨着石头棺材躺到地上,立刻就睡着了,因为累得很,他睡在那儿一动也不动,像一截木头一样。他由于精神上的激动才产生出这个结果,现在他的亢奋过去了。
苔丝在棺材里坐起来。这个夜晚在这个季节里虽然算是干燥温暖的,但是也够冷的了,要是他穿着半遮半露的衣服在这儿躺得太久,肯定是危险的。如果把他留在那儿,他完全可能一直躺到早晨,从而被冷死的。她曾经听说过这种梦游被冻死的事。但是她怎敢把他叫醒呢,要是让他知道了他作过的事,让他知道了他对她的一番痴情,他不是要追悔莫及吗?苔丝从她的石头棺材里走出来,轻轻地摇了摇他,由于没有用劲,因此摇不醒他。她必须采取什么行动了,因为她已经开始发抖了,身上那床床单根本就挡不了寒气。刚才那段时间里,她因为心里兴奋,感觉不到冷,而现在那种幸福的时刻已经过去了。
她突然想,何不劝劝他呢;于是她就用最大的决心和坚忍在他的耳边悄悄说——
“让我们继续走吧,亲爱的,”她说着就暗示性地拉着他的胳膊。看到克莱尔顺从了她,一点儿也没有拒绝,她才放下心来;显然他又重新回到了梦境,似乎又进入了一个新的境界,在他幻想的那个境界里,苔丝的灵魂复活了,正带着他升入天堂。她就这样拉着他的胳膊,走过他们屋前的石桥,只要走过桥他们就到了家门口了。苔丝完全光着脚,路上的石子把脚刺伤了,也感到刺骨地冷;而克莱尔穿着毛袜子,似乎没有感到有什么不舒服。
后来再也没有什么困难了。她又诱导他躺在自己的沙发床上,把他盖暖和了,用木柴生了一堆火,驱赶他身上的寒气。她以为她做的这些事情会把他惊醒的,她内心里也希望他能够醒来。但是他在身心两方面已经筋疲力尽了,所以躺在那儿一动也不动。
第二天早晨他们一见面,苔丝就凭直觉猜测,克莱尔不大知道,或许根本就不知道在昨天夜卫的行走中,她是一个非常重要的角色,虽然他也许觉得晚上睡得并不安稳。实在说来,那天早晨他是从熟睡中醒来的,就像是从灵魂和肉体的毁灭①中醒来一样。在他刚醒来的几分钟里,他的脑子就像力士参孙活动身体一样,聚集起力量,对夜间的活动还有一些模糊的印象。但是现实环境中的其它问题,不久就把他对昨天夜里的猜测取代了。
 
①灵魂和肉体的毁灭(annihilation),神学术语。

他怀着期待的心情等待着,想看看自己心里会不会发生什么变化;他知道要是他昨天晚上就打定了的主意,到今天早上还没有打消的话,即使它的起因是由于感情的冲动,那大概也是以纯粹的理性为基础的了;所以他的主意到目前还是值得相信的。他就是这样在灰色的晨光里看待他同苔丝分离的决心;它不是炽烈和愤怒的本能,而是经过感情烈火的炙烤烧灼,已经变得没有感情了;它只剩下了骨骼;只不过是一具骷髅,但是又分明存在着。克莱尔不再犹豫了。
在吃早饭和收拾剩下的几件东西的时候,他表现得很疲倦,这明显是昨天劳累的结果,这使得苔丝都差不多要把昨天发生的事告诉他了;但是再一想,他要是知道了他在本能上表现出了他的理智不会承认的对她的爱,知道了他在理性睡着了的时候他的尊严遭到了损害,他一定会生气,会痛苦,会认为自己精神错乱;于是她就没有开口。这太像一个人喝醉了酒做了一些古怪事清醒后遭到嘲笑一样。
苔丝忽然想到,安琪尔也许对昨天晚上温情的古怪行为还有一些模糊的记忆,因此她更不愿意提到这件事,免得让他以为她会利用这种情意的机会,重新要求他不要离开她。
他已经写信从最近的镇上预订了一部马车,早饭后不久马车就到了。她从马车看出他们的分离已经开始了——至少是暂时的分离,因为昨天晚上发生的事又让她生出来将来可能和他一起生活的希望。行李装到了车顶上,赶车的车夫就把他们载走了,磨坊主和伺候他们的那个女人看见他们突然离去,都感到很惊奇,克莱尔就说他发现磨坊太古老,不是他希望研究的那种现代的磨坊,他的这种说法,就其本身而论也没有什么不对。除此而外,他们离开的时候,一点儿也没有什么破绽,不会让他们看出来他们婚姻的不幸,或者不是一起去看望亲友。
他们赶车的路线要从奶牛场附近经过,就在几天以前,他们两个人就是带着庄严的喜悦从那儿离开的。由于克莱尔希望借这次机会去和克里克先生把一些事情处理一下,苔丝也就不能不同时去拜访克里克太太,不然会引起他们对他们幸福婚姻的怀疑。
为了使他们的拜访不惊动太多的人,他们走到便门的旁边就下了车,在那个便门那儿,有一条路从大路通向奶牛场,他们就并排着走去。那片柳树林子已经修剪过了,从柳树树干的顶上看去,可以望见克莱尔当初逼着苔丝答应做他妻子的地方;在左边那个院落,就是她被安琪尔的琴声吸引住的地方;在奶牛的牛栏后面更远的地方,是他们第一次拥抱的那块草地。夏季的金色图画现在变成了灰色,肥沃的土壤变得泥泞了,河水也变得清冷了。
奶牛场老板隔着院子看见了他们,急忙迎上前去,对这一对新婚夫妇的再次来临做出一脸友好的滑稽样子,在泰波塞斯和附近一带这样对待他们才是合适的。接着克里克太太也从屋里迎了出来,还有他们过去几个同伴也出来欢迎他们,不过玛丽安和莱蒂似乎不在那儿。
苔丝对于他们巧妙的打趣,友好的戏言,都勇敢地接着了,可是这一切对她的影响却完全同他们以为的相反。在这一对夫妻之间有一种默契,要对他们破裂的关系保持沉默,尽量表现得像普通的夫妇一样。后来,苔丝又不得不听了一遍有关玛丽安和莱蒂故事的细节,虽然她当时一点儿也不想听他们说这件事。莱蒂已经回到了父亲家里,玛丽安则到另外的地方找工作去了。他们都担心她不会有什么好结果。
苔丝为了消除听了这段故事后的悲伤,就走过去同她喜欢的那些奶牛告别,用手一头一头地抚摸它们。他们在告别的时候并排站在一起,就好像是灵肉合为一体的恩爱夫妻一样,要是别人知道了他们的真实情况,一定会觉得他们的情形有些特别可怜。从他们的表面看,他们就像一棵树上的两根树枝,他的胳膊和她的挨在一起,她的衣裾也摩擦着他的身体,并排站在一起面对奶牛场告别的人,奶牛场所有的人也面对着他们。他们在说话的时候总是把“我们”两个字连在一起,实际上他们远得就像地球的两极。也许在他们的态度里有一些不正常的僵硬和别扭,也许在装作和谐样子的时候表现得有些笨拙,和年轻夫妇的自然羞涩有所不同,所以在他们走后克里克太太对她的丈夫说——
“苔丝眼睛的亮光有多么不自然呀,他们站在那儿多像一对蜡人呀,说话时也忽忽悠悠的!你没有看出来吗?苔丝总是有点怪的,但现在完全不像一个嫁给有钱人的新娘呀。”
他们又重新上了车,驾着车往韦瑟伯利和鹿脚路走了,到了篱路酒店,克莱尔就把马车和车夫打发走了。他们在酒店里休息了一会儿,又换了一个不知道他们关系的车夫,赶车进入谷里,继续向苔丝的家里走去。他们走到半路,经过了纳特堡,到了十字路口,克莱尔就停住车对苔丝说,如果她想回她母亲家去,他就得让她在这儿下车。由于在车夫的面前他们不好随便说话,他就要求苔丝陪着他沿着一条岔路走几步;她同意了。他们吩咐车夫在那儿等一会儿,接着就走开了。
“唉,让我们互相理解吧,”他温和地说。“我们谁也没有生谁的气,尽管我现在还不能忍受那件事,但是我会尽量让自己忍受的。只要我知道我要去哪儿,我就会让你知道的。如果我觉得我可以忍受了——如果这办得到和可能的话——我会回来找你的。不过除非是我去找你,最好你不要想法去找我。”
这种严厉的命令,在苔丝听未就是绝情了;她已经把他对她的看法完全弄清楚了;他对她没有别的看法,完全把她看成了一个骗了他的卑鄙女人了。可是一个女人即使做了那件事,难道就要受到所有这些惩罚吗?但是她不能再就这个问题同他争辩了。她只简单地把他说的话重复了一遍。
“除非你来找我,我一定不要想法去找你?”
“就是这样。”
“我可以写信给你吗?”
“啊,可以——如果你病了,或者你需要什么,你都可以写信给我。我希望不会有这种事;因此可能还是我先写信给你。”
“我都同意你的条件,安琪尔;因为你知道得最清楚,我的惩罚都是我应该受的;只是——只是——不要再增加了,不要让我承受不了!”
关于这件事她就说了这样多。要是苔丝是个有心机的女人,在那条偏僻的篱路上吵闹一番,晕倒一次,歇斯底里地大哭一场,尽管安琪尔当时的态度是那样难以取悦,大概他也很难招架得住。但是她长久忍受的态度倒是为他开了方便之门,做了一个最好的为他辩护的人。在她的顺从中,她也有她的自尊——这也许是整个德贝维尔家族不计利害和听天由命的明显特征——本来她有许多有效的办法哀求他,让他回心转意,但是一样方法她也没有使用。
他们后来的谈话就只是一些实际的问题。这时候他递给她一个小包,里面装着一笔数目不小的钱,那是他专门从银行里取出来的。那些首饰似乎只是限于苔丝在有生之年使用(如果他理解了遗嘱的措辞的话),他劝她由他存到银行里去,认为这样安全些;这个建议苔丝也立即接受了。
所有的事情都安排好了,他就和苔丝一起回到马车的跟前,扶苔丝上了车。他当时把车钱付了,把送她去的地方也告诉了车夫。然后他拿上自己的包裹和雨伞——这些是他带到这儿的所有东西——他就对苔丝说再见;然后就在那儿同她分别了。
马车慢慢地向山上爬去,克莱尔望着马车,心里突然产生了一个愿望,希望苔丝也从马车的窗户里看看他。但是她没有想到要看看他,也不敢去看他,而是躺在车里半晕过去了。他就这样望着马车渐渐地远去了,用十分痛苦的心情引用了一位诗人的诗句,又按照自己的心思作了一些修改——
天堂上没有了上帝:世界上一片混乱!①
 
①这是克莱尔对R·勃朗宁的诗剧《Pippa Passes》中最后两句著名的诗作的修改。

在苔丝的马车翻过了山顶,他就转身走自己的路,几乎不知道他仍然还爱着她。
 

Midnight came and passed silently, for there was nothing to announce it in the Valley of the Froom.

Not long after one o'clock there was a slight creak in the darkened farmhouse once the mansion of the d'Urbervilles. Tess, who used the upper chamber, heard it and awoke. It had come from the corner step of the staircase, which, as usual, was loosely nailed. She saw the door of her bedroom open, and the figure of her husband crossed the stream of moonlight with a curiously careful tread. He was in his shirt and trousers only, and her first flush of `joy died when she perceived that his eyes were fixed in an unnatural stare on vacancy. When he reached the middle of the room he stood still and murmured, in tones of indescribable sadness--

`Dead! dead! dead!'

Under the influence of any strongly-disturbing force Clare would occasionally walk in his sleep, and even perform strange feats, such as he had done on the night of their return from market just before their marriage, when he re-enacted in his bedroom his combat with the man who had insulted her. Tess saw that continued mental distress had wrought him into that somnambulistic state now.

Her loyal confidence in him lay so deep down in her heart that, awake or asleep, he inspired her with no sort of personal fear. If he had entered with a pistol in his hand he would scarcely have disturbed her trust in his protectiveness.

Clare came close, and bent over her. `Dead, dead, dead!' he murmured.

After fixedly regarding her for some moments with the same gaze of unmeasurable woe he bent lower, enclosed her in his arms, and rolled her in the sheet as in a shroud. Then lifting her from the bed with as much respect as one would show to a dead body, he carried her across the room, murmuring--

`My poor, poor Tess - my dearest, darling Tess! So sweet, so good, so true!'

The words of endearment, withheld so severely in his waking hours, were inexpressibly sweet to her forlorn and hungry heart. If it had been to save her weary life she would not, by moving or struggling, have put an end to the position she found herself in. Thus she lay in absolute stillness, scarcely venturing to breathe, and, wondering what he was going to do with her, suffered herself to be borne out upon the landing.

`My wife - dead, dead!' he said.

He paused in his labours for a moment to lean with her against the banister. Was he going to throw her down? Self-solicitude was near extinction in her, and in the knowledge that he had planned to depart on the morrow, possibly for always, she lay in his arms in this precarious position with a sense rather of luxury than of terror. If they could only fall together, and both be dashed to pieces, how fit, how desirable.

However, he did not let her fall, but took advantage of the support of the handrail to imprint a kiss upon her lips - lips in the daytime scorned. Then he clasped her with a renewed firmness of hold, and descended the staircase. The creak of the loose stair did not awaken him, and they reached the ground-floor safely. Freeing one of his hands from his grasp of her for a moment, he slid back the door-bar and passed out, slightly striking his stockinged toe against the edge of the door. But this he seemed not to mind, and, having room for extension in the open air, he lifted her against his shoulder, so that he could carry her with ease, the absence of clothes taking much from his burden. Thus he bore her off the premises in the direction of the river a few yards distant.

His ultimate intention, if he had any, she had not yet divined; and she found herself conjecturing on the matter as a third person might have done. So easefully had she delivered her whole being up to him that it pleased her to think he was regarding her as his absolute possession, to dispose of as he should choose. It was consoling, under the hovering terror of to-morrow's separation, to feel that he really recognized her now as his wife Tess, and did not cast her off, even if in that recognition he went so far as to arrogate to himself the right of harming her.

Ah! now she knew what he was dreaming of - that Sunday morning when he had borne her along through the water with the other dairymaids, who had loved him nearly as much as she, if that were possible, which Tess could hardly admit. Clare did not cross the bridge with her, but proceeding several paces on the same side towards the adjoining mill, at length stood still on the brink of the river.

Its waters, in creeping down these miles of meadow-land, frequently divided, serpentining in purposeless curves, looping themselves around little islands that had no name, returning and re-embodying themselves as a broad main stream further on. Opposite the spot to which he had brought her was such a general confluence, and the river was proportionately voluminous and deep. Across it was a narrow foot-bridge; but now the autumn flood had washed the handrail away, leaving the bare plank only, which, lying a few inches above the speeding current, formed a giddy pathway for even steady heads; and Tess had noticed from the window of the house in the daytime young men walking across upon it as a feat in balancing. Her husband had possibly observed the same performance; anyhow, he now mounted the plank, and, sliding one foot forward, advanced along it.

Was he going to drown her? Probably he was. The spot was lonely, the river deep and wide enough to make such a purpose easy of accomplishment. He might drown her if he would; It would be better than parting to-morrow to lead severed lives.

The swift stream raced and gyrated under them, tossing, distorting, and splitting the moon's reflected face. Spots of froth travelled past, and intercepted weeds waved behind the piles. If they could both fall together into the current now, their arms would be so tightly clasped together that they could not be saved; they would go out of the world almost painlessly, and there would be no more reproach to her, or to him for marrying her. His last half-hour with her would have been a loving one, while if they lived till he awoke his daytime aversion would return, and this hour would remain to be contemplated only as a transient dream.

The impulse stirred in her, yet she dared not indulge it, to make a movement that would have precipitated them both into the gulf. How she valued her own life had been proved; but his - she had no right to tamper with it. He reached the other side with her in safety.

Here they were within a plantation which formed the Abbey grounds, and taking a new hold of her he went onward a few steps till they reached the ruined choir of the Abbey-church. Against the north wall was the empty stone coffin of an abbot, in which every tourist with a turn for grim humour was accustomed to stretch himself. In this Clare carefully laid Tess. Having kissed her lips a second time he breathed deeply, as if a greatly desired end were attained. Clare then lay down on the ground alongside, when he immediately fell into the deep dead slumber of exhaustion, and remained motionless as a log. The spurt of mental excitement which had produced the effort was now over.

Tess sat up in the coffin. The night, though dry and mild for the season, was more than sufficiently cold to make it dangerous for him to remain here long, in his half-clothed state. If he were left to himself he would in all probability stay there till the morning, and be chilled to certain death. She had heard of such deaths after sleep-walking. But how could she dare to awaken him, and let him know what he had been doing, when it would mortify him to discover his folly in respect of her? Tess, however, stepping out of her stone confine, shook him slightly, but was unable to arouse him without being violent. It was indispensable to do something, for she was beginning to shiver, the sheet being but a poor protection. Her excitement had in a measure kept her warm during the few minutes' adventure; but that beatific interval was over.

It suddenly occurred to her to try persuasion; and accordingly she whispered in his ear, with as much firmness and decision as she could summon--

`Let us walk on, darling,' at the same time taking him suggestively by the arm. To her relief, he unresistingly acquiesced; her words had apparently thrown him back into his dream, which thenceforward seemed to enter on a new phase, wherein he fancied she had risen as a spirit, and was leading him to Heaven. Thus she conducted him by the arm to the stone bridge in front of their residence, crossing which they stood at the manor-house door. Tess's feet were quite bare, and the stones hurt her, and chilled her to the bone; but Clare was in his woollen stockings, and appeared to feel no discomfort.

There was no further difficulty. She induced him to lie down on his own sofa bed, and covered him up warmly, lighting a temporary fire of wood, to dry any dampness out of him. The noise of these attentions she thought might awaken him, and secretly wished that they might. But the exhaustion of his mind and body was such that he remained undisturbed.

As soon as they met the next morning Tess divined that Angel knew little or nothing of how far she had been concerned in the night's excursion, though, as regarded himself he may have been aware that he had not lain still. In truth, he had awakened that morning from a sleep deep as annihilation; and during those first few moments in which the brain, like a Samson shaking himself, is trying its strength, he had some dim notion of an unusual nocturnal proceeding. But the realities of his situation soon displaced conjecture on the other subject.

He waited in expectancy to discern some mental pointing; he knew that if any intention of his, concluded over-night, did not vanish in the light of morning, it stood on a basis approximating to one of pure reason, even if initiated by impulse of feeling; that it was so far, therefore, to be trusted. He thus beheld in the pale morning light the resolve to separate from her; not as a hot and indignant instinct, but denuded of the passionateness which had made it scorch and burn; standing in its bones; nothing but a skeleton, but none the less there. Clare no longer hesitated.

At breakfast, and while they were packing the few remaining articles, he showed his weariness from the night's efforts so unmistakably that Tess was on the point of revealing all that had happened; but the reflection that it would anger him, grieve him, stultify him, to know that he had instinctively manifested a fondness for her of which his common-sense did not approve; that his inclination had compromised his dignity when reason slept, again deterred her. It was too much like laughing at a man when sober for his erratic deeds during intoxication.

It just crossed her mind, too, that he might have a faint recollection of his tender vagary, and was disinclined to allude to it from a conviction that she would take amatory advantage of the opportunity it gave her of appealing to him anew not to go.

He had ordered by letter a vehicle from the nearest town, and soon after breakfast it arrived. She saw in it the beginning of the end - the temporary end, at least, for the revelation of his tenderness by the incident of the night raised dreams of a possible future with him. The luggage was put on the top, and the man drove them off, the miller and the old waiting-woman expressing some surprise at their precipitate departure, which Clare attributed to his discovery that the mill-work was not of the modern kind which he wished to investigate, a statement that was true so far as it went. Beyond this there was nothing in the manner of their leaving to suggest a fiasco, or that they were not going together to visit friends.

Their route lay near the dairy from which they had started with such solemn joy in each other a few days back, and, as Clare wished to wind up his business with Mr Crick, Tess could hardly avoid paying Mrs Crick a call at the same time, unless she would excite suspicion of their unhappy state.

To make the call as unobtrusive as possible they left the carriage by the wicket leading down from the high road to the dairy-house, and descended the track on foot, side by side. The withy-bed had been cut, and they could see over the stumps the spot to which Clare had followed her when he pressed her to be his wife; to the left the enclosure in which she had been fascinated by his harp; and far away behind the cowstalls the mead which had been the scene of their first embrace. The gold of the summer picture was now gray, the colours mean, the rich soil mud, and the river cold.

Over the barton-gate the dairyman saw them, and came forward, throwing into his face the kind of jocularity deemed appropriate in Talbothays and its vicinity on the re-appearance of the newly-married. Then Mrs Crick emerged from the house, and several others of their old acquaintance, though Marian and Retty did not seem to be there.

Tess valiantly bore their sly attacks and friendly humours, which affected her far otherwise than they supposed. In the tacit agreement of husband and wife to keep their estrangement a secret they behaved as would have been ordinary. And then, although she would rather there had been no word spoken on the subject, Tess had to hear in detail the story of Marian and Retty.

The latter had gone home to her father's, and Marian had left to look for employment elsewhere. They feared she would come to no good.

To dissipate the sadness of this recital Tess went and bade all her favourite cows good-bye, touching each of them with her hand, and as she and Clare stood side by side at leaving, as if united body and soul, there would have been something peculiarly sorry in their aspect to one who should have seen it truly; two limbs of one life, as they outwardly were, his arm touching hers, her skirts touching him, facing one way, as against all the dairy facing the other, speaking in their adieux as `we', and yet sundered like the poles. Perhaps something unusually stiff and embarrassed in their attitude, some awkwardness in acting up to their profession of unity, different from the natural shyness of young couples, may have been apparent, for when they were gone Mrs Crick said to her husband--

`How onnatural the brightness of her eyes did seem, and how they stood like waxen images and talked as if they were in a dream! Didn't it strike 'ee that 'twas so? Tess had always sommat strange in her, and she's not now quite like the proud young bride of a well-be-doing man.'

They re-entered the vehicle, and were driven along the roads towards Weatherbury and Stagfoot Lane, till they reached the Lane inn, where Clare dismissed the fly and man. They rested here a while, and entering the Vale were next driven onward towards her home by a stranger who did not know their relations. At a midway point, when Nuttlebury had been passed, and where there were cross-roads, Clare stopped the conveyance and said to Tess that if she meant to return to her mother's house it was here that he would leave her. As they could not talk with freedom in the driver's presence he asked her to accompany him for a few steps on foot along one of the branch roads; she assented, and directing the man to wait a few minutes they strolled away.

`Now, let us understand each other,' he said gently. `There is no anger between us, though there is that which I cannot endure at present. I will try to bring myself to endure it. I will let you know where I go to as soon as I know myself. And if I can bring myself to bear it - if it is desirable, possible - I will come to you. But until I come to you it will be better that you should not try to come to me.'

The severity of the decree seemed deadly to Tess; she saw his view of her clearly enough; he could regard her in no other light than that of one who had practised gross deceit upon him. Yet could a woman who had done even what she had done deserve all this? But she could contest the point with him no further. She simply repeated after him his own words.

`Until you come to me I must not try to come to you?'

`Just so.'

`May I write to you?'

`O yes - if you are ill, or want anything at all. I hope that will not be the case; so that it may happen that I write first to you.'

`I agree to the conditions, Angel; because you know best what my punishment ought to be; only - only - don't make it more than I can bear!'

That was all she said on the matter. If Tess had been artful, had she made a scene, fainted, wept hysterically, in that lonely lane, notwithstanding the fury of fastidiousness with which he was possessed, he would probably not have withstood her. But her mood of long-suffering made his way easy for him, and she herself was his best advocate. Pride, too, entered into her submission which perhaps was a symptom of that reckless acquiescence in chance too apparent in the whole d'Urberville family - and the many effective chords which she could have stirred by an appeal were left untouched.

The remainder of their discourse was on practical matters only. He now handed her a packet containing a fairly good sum of money, which he had obtained from his bankers for the purpose. The brilliants, the interest in which seemed to be Tess's for her life only (if he understood the wording of the will), he advised her to let him send to a bank for safety; and to this she readily agreed.

These things arranged he walked with Tess back to the carriage, and handed her in. The coachman was paid and told where to drive her. Taking next his own bag and umbrella - the sole articles he had brought with him hitherwards - he bade her good-bye; and they parted there and then.

The fly moved creepingly up a hill, and Clare watched it go with an unpremeditated hope that Tess would look out of the window for one moment. But that she never thought of doing, would not have ventured to do, lying in a half-dead faint inside. Thus he beheld her recede, and in the anguish of his heart quoted a line from a poet, with peculiar emendations of his own--

God's not in his heaven: all's wrong with the world!
When Tess had passed over the crest of the hill he turned to go his own way, and hardly knew that he loved her still.