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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26节 第三十八章 【
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苔丝坐车穿过黑荒原谷,幼年熟悉的景物开始展现在她的
四周,这时她才从麻木中醒来。她首先想到的问题是,她怎样面对自己的父母呢?
她走到了通向村子的那条大道的收税栅门。给她开门的是一个她不认识的人,而不是那个认识她和在这儿看门多年的老头儿;那个老头儿大概是在新年那一天离开的,因为那一天是轮换的时间。由于近来她没有收到家里的信,她就向那个看守收税栅门的人打听消息。
“啊——什么事也没有,小姐,”他回答说。“马洛特村还是原来的马洛特村。人也有死的,也有生的。在这个礼拜,琼·德北菲尔德嫁了一个女儿,女婿是一个体面的农场主;不过她不是在琼自己家里出嫁的;他们是在别的地方结的婚;那位绅士很有身分,嫌琼家里穷,没有邀请他们参加婚礼;新郎似乎并不知道,新近发现约翰的血统是一个古老的贵族,他们家族祖先的枯骨现在还埋在他们自家的大墓穴里,不过从罗马人的时代起,他们的祖先就开始变穷衰败了。但是约翰爵士,现在我们是这样称呼他,在结婚那天尽力操办了一下,把全教区的人都请到了;约翰的妻子还在纯酒酒店里唱了歌,一直唱到十一点多钟。”
苔丝听了这番话心里感到非常难受,再也下不了决心坐着马车拉着行李杂物公开回家了。她问看守收税栅门的人,她可不可以把她的东西在他的家里存放一会儿,得到了看守收税栅门的人的同意,她就把马车打发走了,独自一人从一条僻静的篱路向村子走去。
她一看见父亲屋顶的烟囱,她就在心里问自己,这个家门她怎能进去呢?在那间草屋里,她家里的人都一心为她和那个相当富有的人到远方作新婚旅行去了,以为那个人会让她过上阔绰的生活;可是她现在却在这儿,举目无亲,这样大的世界却无处可去,完全是独自一人偷偷地回到旧日的家门。
她还没有走进家门就被人见到。她刚好走到花园的树篱旁边,就碰上了熟悉她的一个姑娘——她是苔丝上小学时两三个好朋友中的一个。她问了苔丝一些怎么到这儿来了的话,并没有注意到苔丝脸上的悲伤神情,突然问——
“可是你那位先生呢,苔丝?”
苔丝急忙向她解释,说他出门办事去了,说完就离开那个问话的人,穿过花园树篱的门进屋去了。
在她走进花园小径的时候,她听见了她的母亲在后门边唱歌,接着就看见德北菲尔德太太站在门口,正在拧一床刚洗的床单。她拧完了床单,没有看见苔丝,就进门去了,她的女儿跟在她的后面。
洗衣桶还是放在老地方,放在以前那只旧的大酒桶上面,她的母亲把床单扔在一边,正要把胳膊伸进桶里继续洗。
“哎——苔丝呀!——我的孩子——我想你已经结婚了!—一这次可是千真万确结婚了——我们送去了葡萄酒——”
“是的,妈妈;我结婚了。”
“要结婚了吗?”
“不——我已经结婚了。”
“结婚了啊!那么你的丈夫呢?”
“啊,他暂时走了。”
“走了!那么你们是什么时候结的婚?是你告诉我们的那一天吗?”
“是的,是星期二这一天,妈妈。”
“今天是星期六,难道他就走了吗?”
“是的,他走了。”
“你的话是什么意思?没有哪个该死的把你的丈夫抢走吧,我问你。”
“妈妈!”苔丝走到琼·德北菲尔德跟前,把头伏在母亲的怀里,伤心地哭了起来。“我不知道怎样跟你说,妈妈呀!你对我说过,也给我写了信,要我不要告诉他。可是我告诉他了——我忍不住告诉她了——他就走了!”
“啊,你是个小傻瓜——你是个小傻瓜呀!”德北菲尔德太太也放声哭了起来,激动中把自己和苔丝身上都溅满了水。“我的天啊!我一直在告诉你,而且我还要说,你是个小傻瓜!”
苔丝哭得抖抖索索,这许多天来的紧张终于一起发泄出来了。
“我知道——我知道——我知道!”她呜咽着,喘着气。“可是,啊,我的妈妈呀,我忍不住呀!他是那样好——我觉得把过去发生的事瞒着他,那就是害了他呀!如果——如果——如果这件事再来一遍——我还是会同样告诉他。我不能——我不敢——骗他呀!”
“可是你先嫁给他再告诉他不也是骗了他吗!”
“是的,是的;那也是我伤心的地方呀!不过我想,他如果决心不能原谅我,他可以通过法律离开我。可是啊,要是你知道——要是你能知道一半我是多么地爱他——我是渴望嫁给他——我是那样喜欢他,希望不要委屈他,在这两者中间,我是多么为难呀!”
苔丝过于悲伤,再也说不下去了,就软弱无力地瘫倒在一把椅子上。
“唉,唉;事情到了这个份上还能怎么样呢!我真不知道为什么我养的孩子,和别人家的比起来都这样傻——一点儿也不知道这种事该说不该说,生米煮成了熟饭他能怎样了啊!”德北菲尔德太太觉得自己这个做母亲的可怜,就开始掉眼泪。“你的父亲知道了会怎样说,我不知道,”她接着说:“自从你结婚以来,他每天都在罗利弗酒店和纯酒酒店大肆张扬,说是你结了婚,他家就要恢复从前的地位了——可怜的傻男人!——现在你是把一切都弄糟了!天呐——我的老天呐!”
仿佛凑热闹似的,不一会就听见了苔丝父亲走进来的脚步声。但是他没有立即走进来,德北菲尔德太太说她自己可以把这个不幸的消息告诉他,要苔丝先不要见她父亲。在她最初感到的失望过去以后,她开始接受这件不幸的事了,就像她接受苔丝第一次的不幸一样;她只是把这件事看成阴雨天气,看成土豆的歉收,把它看成了与美德和罪恶无关的事;看成是无法避免的一种偶然的外部侵害,而不是看成一种教训。
苔丝躲到楼上去了,偶然发现楼上的床铺已经挪动了位置,重新作了安排。她原来的床已经给了两个小孩,这儿已经没有她的位置了。
楼下的房间没有天花板,所以下面的谈话大部分她都听得清楚。她的父亲很快就进了房间,显然手里还拎着一只活母鸡。自从他把他的第二匹马卖了以后,他就是一个步行的小贩了,做买卖时都把篮子挽在自己的胳膊上。今天早上他一直把那只鸡拿在手里,以此向别人表示他还在做买卖,其实这只鸡的腿已经绑上,在罗利弗酒店的桌子下面已经放了不只一个小时了。
“我们刚才正在议论着一件事呢——”德北菲尔德开始向他的妻子讲述在酒店里讨论牧师的详情,这场讨论是因为他的女儿嫁给了一个牧师家庭引起的。“从前他们和我们的祖先一样,人们称呼他们叫阁下,”他说,“但是现在他们的头衔,严格说起来只是牧师了。”关于结婚这件事,由于苔丝不希望太张扬,所以他没有详细地对大家说。他希望她很快就能把这个禁令取消了。他提议说,他们夫妇俩应该使用苔丝本来的名字德贝维尔,使用这个他的祖先还没有衰败时候的姓。这个姓比她丈夫的姓强多了。他又问那天苔丝是不是有信来。
德北菲尔德太太告诉他,信倒是没有,但是不幸的是苔丝自己回来了。
等她终于把这场变故解释清楚了,德北菲尔德感到这是令人伤心的耻辱,刚才喝酒鼓起的一番高兴也就烟消云散了。但是与其说使他感到敏感的是这件事情的内在性质,不如说是别人听说这件事后心里头的猜测。
“现在想想吧,竟闹成了这样一个结果!”约翰爵士说。“在金斯怕尔的教堂里,我们家的大墓穴就和约拉德老爷家的大酒窖一样大,里面埋的我们祖先的枯骨一点儿也不假,都和历史上作了记载的一样真实。现在可好啦,看罗利弗酒店和纯酒酒店的那些人怎样议论我吧!看他们怎样对我挤鼻子弄眼睛,说什么‘这真是你的一门好亲戚呀;你不是有罗马王时代的祖先吗?这就是光宗耀祖呀!’我怎么受得了这些,琼;我还不如死了的好,爵位什么的都不要了——我再也受不了啦!——既然他已经娶了她,她就能让他把她留在身边啊?”
“啊,是的。可是她不想那样做。”
“你认为他真的娶了她吗?——一或者还是像头一次一样——”
可怜的苔丝听到了这儿,再也听不下去了。她发现甚至在这儿,在她自己父母的家里,她说的话也遭到怀疑,这使她对这个地方比其它任何地方都要讨厌。命运的打击真是难以预料!如果连她的父亲都怀疑她,那么邻居和朋友不是更要怀疑她了吗?啊,她在家里也住不长久了!
因此她决定只在家里住几天,正要离开的时候,她收到了克莱尔写来的一封短信,告诉她到英格兰北部去了,到那儿去找一个农场。她也渴望表现一下她真是他的夫人,向她的父母掩饰一下他们两个人之间的疏远程度,就正好用这封信作为再次离家的理由,给他们留下她是出去找她丈夫的印象。为了进一步遮掩别人以为她丈夫对她不好的印象,她还从克莱尔给她的五十镑钱里拿出二十五镑,把这笔钱给了她的母亲,仿佛做克莱尔这种人的妻子是拿得出这笔钱的;她说这是对过去她的母亲含辛茹苦抚养她的一丁点儿补报,就这样维护了自己的尊严,告别他们离家走了。由于苔丝的慷慨,后来德北菲尔德家借助这笔钱火红了好一阵子,她的母亲说,而且也确实相信,这一对年轻夫妇之间出现的裂痕,由于他们的强烈感情已经修补好了,他们是不能互相分开生活的。

As she drove on through Blackmoor Vale, and the landscape of her youth began to open around her, Tess aroused herself from her stupor. Her first thought was how would she be able to face her parents?

She reached a turnpike-gate which stood upon the highway to the village. It was thrown open by a stranger, not by the old man who had kept it for many years, and to whom she had been known; he had probably left on New Year's Day, the date when such changes were made. Having received no intelligence lately from her home, she asked the turnpike-keeper for news.

`Oh - nothing, miss,' he answered. Marlott is Marlott still. Folks have died and that. John Durbeyfield, too, hev had a daughter married this week to a gentleman-farmer; not from John's own house, you know; they was married elsewhere; the gentleman being of that high standing that John's own folk was not considered well-be-doing enough to have any part in it, the bridegroom seeming not to know how't have been discovered that John is a old and ancient nobleman himself by blood, with family skillentons in their own vaults to this day, but done out of his property in the time o' the Romans. However, Sir John, as we call 'n now, kept up the wedding-day as well as he could, and stood treat to everybody in the parish; and John's wife sung songs at the Pure Drop till past eleven o'clock.'

Hearing this, Tess felt so sick at heart that she could not decide to go home publicly in the fly with her luggage and belongings. She asked the turnpike-keeper if she might deposit her things at his house for a while, and, on his offering no objection, she dismissed her carriage, and went on to the village alone by a back lane.

At sight of her father's chimney she asked herself how she could possibly enter the house? Inside that cottage her relations were calmly supposing her far away on a wedding-tour with a comparatively rich man, who was to conduct her to bouncing prosperity; while here she was, friendless, creeping up to the old door quite by herself, with no better place to go to in the world.

She did not reach the house unobserved. just by the garden hedge she was met by a girl who knew her - one of the two or three with whom she had been intimate at school. After making a few inquiries as to how Tess came there, her friend, unheeding her tragic look, interrupted with--

`But where's thy gentleman, Tess?'

Tess hastily explained that he had been called away on business, and, leaving her interlocutor, clambered over the garden-hedge, and thus made her way to the house.

As she went up the garden-path she heard her mother singing by the back door, coming in sight of which she perceived Mrs Durbeyfield on the doorstep in the act of wringing a sheet. Having performed this without observing Tess, she went indoors, and her daughter followed her.

The washing-tub stood in the same old place on the same old quarter-hogshead, and her mother, having thrown the sheet aside, was about to plunge her arms in anew.

`Why - Tess! - my chil' - I thought you was married! - married really and truly this time - we sent the cider--'

`Yes, mother; so I am.'

`Going to be?'

`No - I am married.'

`Married! Then where's thy husband?'

`Oh, he's gone away for a time.'

`Gone away! When was you married, then? The day you said?'

`Yes, Tuesday, mother.'

`And now 'tis on'y Saturday, and he gone away?'

`Yes; he's gone.'

`What's the meaning o' that? `Nation seize such husbands as you seem to get, say I!'

`Mother!' Tess went across to Joan Durbeyfield, laid her face upon the matron's bosom, and burst into sobs. `I don't know how to tell 'ee, mother! You said to me, and wrote to me, that I was not to tell him. But I did tell him - I couldn't help it - and he went away!'

`O you little fool - you little fool!' burst out Mrs Durbeyfield, splashing Tess and herself in her agitation. `My good God! that ever I should ha' lived to say it, but I say it again, you little fool!'

Tess was convulsed with weeping, the tension of so many days having relaxed at last.

`I know it - I know - I know!' she gasped through her sobs. `But, O my mother, I could not help it! He was so good - and I felt the wickedness of trying to blind him as to what had happened! If - if - it were to be done again - I should do the same. I could not - I dared not - so sin - against him!'

`But you sinned enough to marry him first!'

`Yes, yes; that's where my misery do lie! But I thought he could get rid o' me by law if he were determined not to overlook it. And O, if you knew - if you could only half know how I loved him how anxious I was to have him - and how wrung I was between caring so much for him and my wish to be fair to him!'

Tess was so shaken that she could get no further, and sank a helpless thing into a chair.

`Well, well; what's done can't be undone! I'm sure I don't know why children o' my bringing forth should all be bigger simpletons than other people's - not to know better than to blab such a thing as that, when he couldn't ha' found it out till too late!' Here Mrs Durbeyfield began shedding tears on her own account as a mother to be pitied. `What your father will say I don't know,' she continued: `for he's been talking about the wedding up at Roliver's and The Pure Drop every day since, and about his family getting back to their rightful position through you - poor silly man! - and now you've made this mess of it! The Lord-a-Lord!'

As if to bring matters to a focus, Tess's father was heard approaching at that moment. He did not however, enter immediately, and Mrs Durbeyfield said that she would break the bad news to him herself, Tess keeping out of sight for the present. After her first burst of disappointment Joan began to take the mishap as she had taken Tess's original trouble, as she would have taken a wet holiday or failure in the potato-crop; as a thing which had come upon them irrespective of desert or folly; a chance external impingement to be borne with; not a lesson.

Tess retreated upstairs, and beheld casually that the beds had been shifted, and new arrangements made. Her old bed had been adapted for two younger children. There was no place here for her now.

The room below being unceiled she could hear most of what went on there. Presently her father entered, apparently carrying a live hen. He was a foot-haggler now, having been obliged to sell his second horse, and he travelled with his basket on his arm. The hen had been carried about this morning as it was often carried, to show people that he was in his work, though it had lain, with its legs tied, under the table at Rolliver's for more than an hour.

`We've just had up a story about--' Durbeyfield began, and thereupon related in detail to his wife a discussion which had arisen at the inn about the clergy, originated by the fact of his daughter having married into a clerical family. `They was formerly styled "sir", like my own ancestry,' he said, `though nowadays their true style, strictly speaking, is "clerk" only.' As Tess had wished that no great publicity should be given to the event, he had mentioned no particulars. He hoped she would remove that prohibition soon. He proposed that the couple should take Tess's own name, d'Urberville, as uncorrupted. It was better than her husband's. He asked if any letter had come from her that day.

Then Mrs Durbeyfield informed him that no letter had come, but Tess unfortunately had come herself.

When at length the collapse was explained to him a sullen mortification, not usual with Durbeyfield, overpowered the influence of the cheering glass. Yet the intrinsic quality of the event moved his touchy sensitiveness less than its conjectured effect upon the minds of others.

`To think, now, that this was to be the end o't!' said Sir John. `And I with a family vault under that there church of Kingsbere as big as Squire Jollard's ale-cellar, and my folk lying there in sixes and sevens, as genuine county bones and marrow as any recorded in history. And now to be sure what they fellers at Rolliver's and The Pure Drop will say to me! How they'll squint and glane, and say, "This is yer mighty match is it; this is yer getting back to the true level of yer forefathers in King Norman's time!" I feel this is too much, Joan; I shall put an end to myself, title and all - I can bear it no longer!... . But she can make him keep her if he's married her?'

`Why, yes. But she won't think o' doing that.'

`D'ye think he really have married her? - or is it like the first--'

Poor Tess, who had heard as far as this, could not bear to hear more. The perception that her word could be doubted even here, in her own parental house, set her mind against the spot as nothing else could have done. How unexpected were the attacks of destiny! And if her father doubted her a little, would not neighbours and acquaintance doubt her much? O, she could not live long at home!

A few days, accordingly, were all that she allowed herself here, at the end of which time she received a short note from Clare, informing her that he had gone to the North of England to look at a farm. In her craving for the lustre of her true position as his wife, and to hide from her parents the vast extent of the division between them, she made use of this letter as her reason for again departing, leaving them under the impression that she was setting out to join him. Still further to screen her husband from any imputation of unkindness to her, she took twenty-five of the fifty pounds Clare had given her, and handed the sum over to her mother, as if the wife of a man like Angel Clare could well afford it, saying that it was a slight return for the trouble and humiliation she had brought upon them in years past. With this assertion of her dignity she bade them farewell; and after that there were lively doings in the Durbeyfield household for some time on the strength of Tess's bounty, her mother saying, and, indeed, believing, that the rupture which had arisen between the young husband and wife had adjusted itself under their strong feeling that they could not live apart from each other.