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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30节 第四十二章 【
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现在天已经大亮,苔丝又动身了,小心翼翼地在大路上走着。不过现在她用不着小心,附近没有一个人影;她坚定地往前走着,心里头又回忆起昨天夜里那些山鸡默默忍受的痛苦,觉得痛苦有大有小,她自己的痛苦并非不能忍受,只要她站得高,不把别人的看法放在心上就行了。不过要是克莱尔也坚持这种看法,她是不能不放在心上的。
她走到粉新屯,在客栈里吃了早饭,客栈里有几个年轻人,叫人讨厌地恭维她,说她长得漂亮。这又让她感到了希望,因为她的丈夫是不是有一天也会对她说出相同的话来呢?为了这种可能的机会,她一定要照顾好自己,远离这些偶然碰到的向她调情的人。要达到这个目的,她决心不能再拿她的容貌冒险了。当她一走出村子,她就躲进一个矮树丛,从篮子里拿出一件旧得不能再旧的劳动长衫,这件衣服她在奶牛场里从来没有穿过——自从她在马洛特村割麦子时穿过以后就再也没有穿过它了。她又灵机一动,从包袱里拿出一块大手巾,把帽子下面的下巴、半个脸颊和半个太阳穴包裹起来,就仿佛她正在患牙痛一样。然后她拿出剪刀,对着一面小镜子,狠着心把自己的眉毛剪了。这样敢保再没有人垂涎她的美色了,她才又走上那条崎岖不平的路。
“那个姑娘怎么像个稻草人的样子呀!”同她相遇的人对她的同伴说。
她听见说话,眼泪不禁涌了出来,为自己感到可怜。
“不过我自己不在乎!”她说。“啊,我不在乎——我不在乎!我一直要打扮得丑些,因为安琪尔不在这儿,不会有人关心我。我的丈夫已经走了,他不会再爱我了;可是我还是照样地爱他,恨所有其他的男人,我情愿他们都看不起我!”
苔丝就这样朝前走着;她的身影只是大地景物的一部分;一个穿着冬衣的单纯素朴的农妇;她上身穿一件灰色的哗呢短斗篷,脖子上围一条红色的毛围巾,下面穿一条毛料裙子,外面罩一条穿得泛白的棕色罩裙,手上戴一双黄色手套。她那一身衣服,经过雨水的洗刷,阳光的照射,凄风的吹打,已经完全褪色了,磨薄了。现在从她的身上,一点也看不出年轻人的激情——
这个姑娘的嘴冰冷
一层又一层
简单地包在她的头上①
 
①见史文朋的《诗歌和民谣》中的“Fragoletta”一诗。

从她的外表看上去,她简直是一个毫无感觉的人,几乎就是一个无机体,但是在她的外表下,分明又有生命搏动的记录,就其岁月而论,她已经阅尽了世间的沧桑,深知肉欲的残酷,懂得了爱情的脆弱。
第二天天气不好,但是她仍然艰难地前进,大自然与她为敌,但是它诚实、坦率、毫无偏见,因此她不感到苦恼。她的门的既然是找一份冬天的了作,找一个冬天的栖身之所,因此就没有时间可以耽误了。她以前有过做短工的经历,所以决心不再做短工了。
她就这样朝着玛丽安写信告诉她的地方走去,经过一个农场,就打听有没有工作,她决心在无路可走时才去玛丽安让她去的那个农场,因为她听说那个地方的工作既艰苦又繁重。她起初是寻找一些比较轻松的工作,看到找这类工作渐渐没有希望,就转而找比较繁重的工作,她就这样从她最喜欢的奶牛场和养禽场的活儿问起,一直问到她最不喜欢的粗重的工作——农田上的工作:这种工作的确又粗又累,除非是迫不得已她是不会自愿干的。
接近第二天黄昏的时候,她走到了一片高低不平的白垩地高地,或者说高原,高原上有一些半圆形的古墓——仿佛是长了许多奶头的库柏勒女神①躺在那儿——这个高原伸展在她出生的那个山谷和她恋爱的山谷之问。
 
①库柏勒女神,古代希腊、罗马神话中的大地女神,是众神及地上一切生物的母亲,她使自然界死而复生,并赐予丰收。

这儿的空气既干燥又寒冷,雨后没有几个小时,漫长的车路就被吹得白茫茫、灰蒙蒙的一片了。树木很少,或者说根本就没有,即使生长在树篱中间的那几棵树,也被种田的佃户无情地砍倒了,和树篱紧紧地绑在一起,这些佃户本来就是大树、灌木和荆棘的天然敌人。在她前面不远的地方,她看得见野牛坟和荨麻山的山顶,它们似乎对她是友好的。从这块高地看去,它们是一种低矮和卑谦的样子,但是在她小时候从黑荒原谷的另一边看去,它们却像是高耸入云的城堡。再往南好多英里,从海岸边的小山和山脊上望过去,她可以看见像磨光了的钢铁一样的水面:那就是远远地通向法国的英吉利海峡。
在她的面前,是一个破败不堪的村庄遗迹。事实上,她已经到了燧石山了,到了玛丽安做工的地方了。她似乎是非来这儿不可的,就像是命中注定的一样。她看见周围的土壤那样坚硬,这就明白无误地表明,这儿所需要的劳动是艰苦的一种;但是她已经到了非找到工作不可的时候了,尤其是天已经开始下雨,于是就决定留在这儿。在村口有一所小屋,小屋的山墙伸到了路面上,她在去寻找住处之前,就站在山墙下躲雨,同时也看见暮色越来越浓了。
“有谁还会以为我就是安琪尔·克莱尔夫人呢!”她说。
她的后背和肩膀感到山墙很温暖,于是她立即就知道了,山墙的里面就是这所小屋的壁炉,暖气是隔着墙砖传过来的。她把手放在墙上暖和着,她的脸在细雨中淋得又红又湿,她就把自己的脸靠在舒服的墙面上。那面墙似乎就是她唯一的朋友。她一点儿也不想离开那面墙,希望整个晚上都待在那儿。
苔丝能够听出小屋里住有人,听出他们在一天的劳动结束后聚集在一起,听见他们在屋子里互相谈着,还听见他们吃晚饭时盘子的响声。但是在那个村子的街道上,她一个人影也看不到。孤独终于被打破了,有一个女人模样的人走了过来,虽然傍晚的天气已经很冷了,但是她还穿着夏天穿的印花布夏装,头上戴着凉帽。苔丝凭直觉认为那个人是玛丽安,等那人走得近了,她在昏暗中能够认清了,果然是玛丽安。和从前相比,玛丽安的脸变得比以前更胖了,更红了,穿的衣服也比以前更寒酸了。要是在从前生活中的任何时候,苔丝看见她这个样子,也不敢上前去和她相认。但是她太寂寞了,所以玛丽安向她打招呼,她就立刻答应了。
玛丽安问了苔丝一些话,口气很恭敬,但是看到苔丝和当初比起来,情形并没有得到改善,于是大为感慨。当然,她隐约听说过她和丈夫分居的事。
“苔丝——克莱尔夫人——亲爱的他的亲爱的夫人啊!你真的倒霉到了这个地步吗,我的宝贝?你为什么把你漂亮的脸这样包起来?有谁打了你吗?不是他打了你吧?”
“没有,没有,没有!我这样包起来,只是为了不让别人来招惹我,玛丽安。”
她于是气愤地把裹脸的手绢扯了下来,免得让别人产生那样胡乱的猜想。
“你没有戴项圈啊!”(苔丝在奶牛场时习惯戴一个白色的小项圈)。
“我知道我没有戴项圈,玛丽安。”
“你在路途中把项圈丢了吗?”
“我没有丢。我实话告诉你吧,我一点也不在乎我的容貌了;所以我就不戴项圈了。”
“你也没有戴结婚戒指呀?”
“不,戒指我戴着;不过我没有戴在外面。我戴在脖子上的一根带子上。我不想让别人知道我结了婚,知道我已经嫁人了;我现在过的生活让人知道了多叫人难过啊。”
玛丽安不做声了。
“可是你是一个绅士的妻子呀,你这样过日子太不公平了啊!”
“啊,不,公平,非常公平;虽然我很不幸。”
“唉,唉。他娶了你——你还感到不幸啊!”
“做妻子的有时候是会感到不幸的;这并不是因为她们丈夫的过错,而是因为她们自己的过错。”
“你没有过错啊,亲爱的;我相信你没有过错。而他也没有过错。所以这只能是外来的某种过错了。”
“玛丽安,亲爱的玛丽安,你给我做点儿好事吧,不要再问我了好不好?我的丈夫已经到国外去了,我又把钱差不多用完了,所以才不得不暂时出来做一点儿过去做过的工作。不要喊我克莱尔夫人,就像以前一样喊我苔丝吧。他们这儿需要干活的人吗?”
“啊,需要;他们一直需要干活的人,因为很少有人愿意到这儿来。这儿是一片饥饿的土地,只能种麦子和瑞典萝卜。虽然我自己来了这儿,但是像你这样的人也来这儿,的确太可怜了。”
“可是,以前你不也和我一样是一个奶牛场的女工吗?”
“不;自从我沾上酒以后,我就不做那种工作了。天啦,喝酒现在就是我唯一的安慰了。如果他们雇用了你,你就得去挖那些瑞典萝卜。现在我干的就是挖萝卜的活儿,我想你不会喜欢干那种活儿。”
“啊——什么活儿我都愿意干!你去为我说一说好吗?”
“最好你还是自己去说吧。”
“那好吧。喂,玛丽安,请你记住——要是我在这儿找到了活儿,千万不要提到他呀。我不愿意后没了他的名声。”
玛丽安虽然不及苔丝细心,但她是一个值得信赖的朋友,苔丝对她的要求她都答应了。
“今天晚上发工资,”她说,“如果你和我一起去,他们雇不雇你,你当时就知道了。我真为你的不幸难过;但是我知道,这都是因为他离开了你的缘故。你要是在这儿,即使他不给钱你用,把你当苦力使唤,你也不会不愉快的。”
“那倒是真的;我不会不愉快的!”
她们一块儿走着,很快就走到了农舍的跟前,那儿的荒凉而直到了无以复加的地步。在眼睛看得见的地方,一棵树也没有;在这个季节里,也没有一块绿色的草地——那儿除了休闲地和萝卜而外,什么也没有。那儿的土地都被盘结在一起的树篱分割成一大块一大块的,一点儿变化也没有。
苔丝站在宿舍的外面等着,等到那一群工人领了工资以后,玛丽安把她叫了进去。这天晚上农场主似乎不在家里,只有农场主的妻子在家,代他处理事情,苔丝同意工作到旧历圣母节,她也就同意雇用苔丝了。现在很少有肯到地里干活的女工,而且女工的工资低,义能和男工一样十活,所以雇用女工是有利可图的。
苔丝签订了合同以后,除了找一个住的地方外,就没有其它的事了。她在山墙那儿取暖的屋子里,找了一个住宿的地方。她在那儿的生活条件很差,但无论如何为她这个冬天提供了一个栖身之处。
她在那天晚上写了一封信,把新的地址告诉她的父母,怕万一她的丈夫写的信寄到了马洛特村。但是她没有告诉他们她目前的艰难处境:这样也许会引起他们责备她的丈夫。
 

It was now broad day, and she started again, emerging cautiously upon the highway. But there was no need for caution; not a soul was at hand, and Tess went onward with fortitude, her recollection of the birds' silent endurance of their night of agony impressing upon her the relativity of sorrows and the tolerable nature of her own, if she could once rise high enough to despise opinion. But that she could not do so long as it was held by Clare.

She reached Chalk-Newton, and breakfasted at an inn, where several young men were troublesomely complimentary to her good looks. Somehow she felt hopeful, for was it not possible that her husband also might say these same things to her even yet? She was bound to take care of herself on the chance of it, and keep off these casual lovers. To this end Tess resolved to run no further risks from her appearance. As soon as she got out of the village she entered a thicket and took from her basket one of the oldest field-gowns, which she had never put on even at the dairy - never since she had worked among the stubble at Marlott. She also, by a felicitous thought, took a handkerchief from her bundle and tied it round her face under her bonnet, covering her chin and half her cheeks and temples, as if she were suffering from toothache. Then with her little scissors, by the aid of a pocket looking-glass, she mercilessly nipped her eyebrows off, and thus insured against aggressive admiration she went on her uneven way.

`What a mommet of a maid!' said the next man who met her to a companion.

Tears came into her eyes for very pity of herself as she heard him.

`But I don't care!' she said. `O no - I don't care! I'll always be ugly now, because Angel is not here, and I have nobody to take care of me. My husband that was is gone away, and never will love me any more; but I love him `just the same, and hate all other men, and like to make 'em think scornfully of me!'

Thus Tess walks on; a figure which is part of the landscape; a fieldwoman pure and simple, in winter guise; a gray serge cape, a red woollen cravat, a stuff skirt covered by a whitey-brown rough wrapper; and buff-leather gloves. Every thread of that old attire has become faded and thin under the stroke of raindrops, the burn of sunbeams, and the stress of winds. There is no sign of young passion in her now--

The maiden's mouth is cold

Fold over simple fold
Binding her head.

Inside this exterior, over which the eye might have roved as over a thing scarcely percipient, almost inorganic, there was the record of a pulsing life which had learnt too well, for its years, of the dust and ashes of things, of the cruelty of lust and the fragility of love.
Next day the weather was bad, but she trudged on, the honesty, directness, and impartiality of elemental enmity disconcerting her but little. Her object being a winter's occupation and a winter's home, there was no time to lose. Her experience of short hirings had been such that she was determined to accept no more.

Thus she went forward from farm to farm in the direction of the place whence Marian had written to her, which she determined to make use of as a last shift only, its rumoured stringencies being the reverse of tempting. First she inquired for the lighter kinds of employment, and, as acceptance in any variety of these grew hopeless, applied next for the less light, till, beginning with the dairy and poultry tendance that she liked best, she ended with the heavy and coarse pursuits which she liked least - work on arable land: work of such roughness, indeed, as she would never have deliberately volunteered for.

Towards the second evening she reached the irregular chalk table-land or plateau, bosomed with semi-globular tumuli - as if Cybele the Many-breasted were supinely extended there - which stretched between the valley of her birth and the valley of her love.

Here the air was dry and cold, and the long cart-roads were blown white and dusty within a few hours after rain. There were few trees, or none, those that would have grown in the hedges being mercilessly plashed down with the quickset by the tenant-farmers, the natural enemies of tree, bush, and brake. In the middle distance ahead of her she could see the summits of Bulbarrow and of Nettlecombe Tout, and they seemed friendly. They had a low and unassuming aspect from this upland, though as approached on the other side from Blackmoor in her childhood they were as lofty bastions against the sky. Southerly, at many miles' distance, and over the hills and ridges coastward, she could discern a surface like polished steel: it was the English Channel at a point far out towards France.

Before her, in a slight depression, were the remains of a village. She had, in fact, reached Flintcomb-Ash, the place of Marian's sojourn. There seemed to be no help for it; hither she was doomed to come. The stubborn soil around her showed plainly enough that the kind of labour in demand here was of the roughest kind; but it was time to rest from searching, and she resolved to stay, particularly as it began to rain. At the entrance to the village was a cottage whose gable jutted into the road, and before applying for a lodging she stood under its shelter, and watched the evening close in.

`Who would think I was Mrs Angel Clare!' she said.

The wall felt warm to her back and shoulders, and she found that immediately within the gable was the cottage fireplace, the heat of which came through the bricks. She warmed her hands upon them, and also put her cheek - red and moist with the drizzle - against their comforting surface. The wall seemed to be the only friend she had. She had so little wish to leave it that she could have stayed there all night.

Tess could hear the occupants of the cottage - gathered together after their day's labour - talking to each other within, and the rattle of their supper-plates was also audible. But ill the village-street she had seen no soul as yet. The solitude was at last broken by the approach of one feminine figure, who, though the evening was cold, wore the print gown and the tilt-bonnet of summer time. Tess instinctively thought it might be Marian, and when she came near enough to be distinguishable in the gloom surely enough it was she. Marian was even stouter and redder in the face than formerly, and decidedly shabbier in attire. At any previous period of her existence Tess would hardly have cared to renew the acquaintance in such conditions; but her loneliness was excessive, and she responded readily to Marian's greeting.

Marian was quite respectful in her inquiries, but seemed much moved by the fact that Tess should still continue in no better condition than at first; though she had dimly heard of the separation.

`Tess - Mrs Clare - the dear wife of dear he! And is it really so bad as this, my child? Why is your cwomely face tied up in such a way? Anybody been beating 'ee? Not he?'

`No, no, no! I merely did it not to be clipsed or colled, Marian.'

She pulled off in disgust a bandage which could suggest such wild thoughts.

`And you've got no collar on' (Tess had been accustomed to wear a little white collar at the dairy).

`I know it, Marian.'

`You've lost it travelling.'

`I've not lost it. The truth is, I don't care anything about my looks; and so I didn't put it on.'

`And you don't wear your wedding-ring?'

`Yes, I do; but not in public. I wear it round my neck on a ribbon. I don't wish people to think who I am by marriage, or that I am married at all; it would be so awkward while I lead my present life.' Marian paused.

`But you be a gentleman's wife; and it seems hardly fair that you should live like this!'

`O yes it is, quite fair; though I am very unhappy.'

`Well, well. He married you - and you can be unhappy!'

`Wives are unhappy sometimes; from no fault of their husbands - from their own.'

`You've no faults, deary; that I'm sure of. And he's none. So it must be something outside ye both.'

`Marian, dear Marian, will you do me a good turn without asking questions? My husband has gone abroad, and somehow I have overrun my allowance, so that I have to fall back upon my old work for a time. Do not call me Mrs Clare, but Tess, as before. Do they want a hand here?'

`O yes; they'll take one always, because few care to come. 'Tis a starve-acre place. Corn and swedes are all they grow. Though I be here myself, I feel 'tis a pity for such as you to come.'

`But you used to be as good a dairy-woman as I.'

`Yes; but I've got out o' that since I took to drink. Lord, that's the only comfort I've got now! If you engage, you'll be set swedehacking. That's what I be doing; but you won't like it.'

`O - anything! Will you speak for me?'

`You will do better by speaking for yourself.'

`Very well. Now, Marian, remember - nothing about him, if I get the place. I don't wish to bring his name down to the dirt.'

Marian, who was really a trustworthy girl though of coarser grain than Tess, promised anything she asked.

`This is pay-night,' she said, `and if you were to come with me you would know at once. I be real sorry that you are not happy; but 'tis because he's away, I know. You couldn't be unhappy if he were here, even if he gie'd ye no money - even if he used you like a drudge.'

`That's true; I could not!'

They walked on together, and soon reached the farmhouse, which was almost sublime in its dreariness. There was not a tree within sight; there was not, at this season, a green pasture nothing but fallow and turnips everywhere; in large fields divided by hedges plashed to unrelieved levels.

Tess waited outside the door of the farmhouse till the group of work-folk had received their wages, and then Marian introduced her. The farmer himself, it appeared, was not at home, but his wife, who represented him this evening, made no objection to hiring Tess, on her agreeing to remain till Old Lady-Day. Female field-labour was seldom offered now, and its cheapness made it profitable for tasks which women could perform as readily as men.

Having signed the agreement, there was nothing more for Tess to do at present than to get a lodging, and she found one in the house at whose gable-wall she had warmed herself. It was a poor subsistence that she had ensured, but it would afford a shelter for the winter at any rate.

That night she wrote to inform her parents of her new address, in case a letter should arrive at Marlott from her husband. But she did not tell them of the sorriness of her situation: it might have brought reproach upon him.