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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第6章 皈依 The Woman Pays
第2节 第四十八章 【
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下午,农场主格罗比告诉大家,那一垛麦子要在当晚打完,因为晚上的月亮好,他们可以在月光下干活,而且管机器的技工明天也和另外的农场约好了。因此,机器的砰砰声、圆筒的嗡嗡声和麦草的沙沙声,继续不断地响着,工人也比平常更少有停下来的时候了。
大约在三点钟,还不到吃茶点的时候,苔丝抬起头来,往四周看了一眼。她看见阿历克·德贝维尔已经转回来了,站在栅栏门旁的篱树下面,不过她并没有感到吃惊。他看见她抬起头来,向她送过来一个飞吻,有礼貌地向她挥着手。这就是说,他们的争吵已经过去了。苔丝把头低下去,小心翼翼地不让自己往那个方向看。
下午的时光就这样慢慢过去了。麦垛越来越低,麦草堆越来越高,装满了麦子的袋子也被大车运走了。到了下午六点钟,麦垛的高度差不多只有从地面到人的肩头那样高了。由那个男工和苔丝喂进去的大量麦束,都被那个贪得无厌的机器吞食掉了,麦垛的大部分都经过这两个年轻人的手填进了机器,尽管如此,剩下来的还没有脱粒麦束似乎还是没有完的时候。早上那个地方什么也没有,现在堆起了庞大的一堆麦秆,仿佛是那个嗡嗡叫的红色大肚汉从肚子里排出来的东西。在西边的天上,有一道愤怒的闪光——那是在狂暴的三月才有的夕阳——它从云天里喷洒而出,倾泻在筋疲力尽的打麦人满是汗水的脸上,在他们的身上镀上了一层红铜的颜色,同时那些流光又像暗淡的火焰,照射在妇女们飘动的衣裙上。
打麦的人一个个都累得气喘吁吁、腰酸背痛了。喂料的男工人已经疲惫不堪,苔丝看见他红色的后颈上沾满了灰土和麦糠。苔丝仍然站在她的位置上,累得通红和满是汗水的脸上落了一层麦灰,白色的帽子也被麦灰染成了黄褐色。她是唯一一个还在机器旁边干活的女人,机器不停地转动,振动着她的身体,麦垛变矮了,从而把她同玛丽安和伊茨隔开了,因此她们也不能像从前那样互相替换一阵了。机器不停地颤抖着,她身体里的每一块肌肉也一起颤抖着,这使她麻木了,恍惚了,连胳膊的动作也好像感觉不到了。她几乎连自己在什么地方也不知道了,伊茨·休特在下面告诉她,说她的头发散开了,她也没有听见。
他们中间最有力气的人,也慢慢地变得面如土色,眼睛发黑了。苔丝每次抬头看见的,都是那个越堆越高的麦秆垛,看见站在垛顶上的那个只穿衬衣的男工,突现在北方的灰色天空里。麦垛的前面有一架长长的红色卷扬机,好像雅各梦见的梯子①一样,麦粒被脱掉了的麦草像流水一样顺着卷扬机源源而上,就像是一条黄色河流,流到了山上,喷洒在麦秆垛的顶上。
 
①雅各梦见的梯子,见《圣经·创世纪》第二十八章第十一节。

她知道阿历克·德贝维尔还没有走开,正在从某个地点观察她,尽管她说不上来他躲藏的那个地点。他也有他想留下来的借口,因为麦束最后只剩下不多几捆的时候,总要打一次小老鼠,那些与打麦子无关的人,有时候就来做这件事——他们是各种各样喜欢打猎的人,有带着小猎狗和奇怪烟斗的乡绅,也有拿着棍棒和石块的粗汉。
但是还要再干一个小时的活儿,才能到达躲着活老鼠的麦垛底层;这时候,黄昏前的夕照从阿波特·森奈尔附近的巨人山方向消失了,这个季节的灰白色月亮,也从另一面同米得尔顿寺和沙茨福特相对的地平线上升起来了。在最后一两个小时里,玛丽安就为苔丝感到不安,她也无法接近苔丝,问问她;其他的女人喝着淡啤酒,借此来维持她们的体力,而苔丝自幼就因为酒给家里带来的后果而害怕酒,因此清酒不沾。不过苔丝还在坚持干着:要是她不能填补她的位置,她就得离开这儿;要是在一两个月以前,她一定会泰然处之,甚至还会感到是一种解脱,但是自从德贝维尔追随在她的身前左右以来,离开这儿就变成她的一种恐惧了。
拆麦垛的人和给机器喂料的人,已经把麦垛消耗得很低了,地上的人也可以同麦垛上的人说话了。使苔丝感到吃惊的是,农场主格罗比上了机器,走到她的身边说,如果她想去见朋友,他同意她现在就去,他可以让别人替换她。她知道,这个“朋友”就是德贝维尔,也知道格罗比的举动是对她的朋友或者敌人的请求作出的让步。但是她摇了摇头,继续干着。
逮老鼠的时刻终于来到了,猎鼠活动开始。随着麦垛的降低,老鼠就向下逃跑,最后都集中到了麦垛的底下;这时它们最后避难的麦束被搬走了,老鼠就在那块空地上四下逃窜。这时喝得半醉的玛丽安发出了一声尖叫,她的同伴们听了,知道这是因为有一只老鼠侵犯了她——这种恐怖使其他的女工想出种种办法保护自己,有的把裙子掖起来,有的站到了高处。那只老鼠终于被赶走了,那时狗在叫,男人在喊,女人在嚷,有的咒骂,有的跺脚,混乱得就像魔鬼的宫殿一样,就在这一片混乱声中,苔丝把最后一捆麦束解开了;脱粒机的圆筒慢下来,机器的叫声停止了,苔丝也从机器的台子上走到了地上。
她的情人原来只是在一旁看着抓老鼠,现在立即来到她的身边。
“你究竟怎么哪——打耳光羞屏你也不走吗?”苔丝有气无力地说。她已经筋疲力尽了,连大声说话的力气也没有了。
“我要是因为你说什么话、做什么事就生气,那我就真是太傻了,”他回答说,用的是他在特兰里奇用过的诱惑口气。“你娇嫩的手脚抖得多厉害呀!你现在衰弱得就像一只流血的小牛犊,我想你自己也是知道的;可是,自从我来这儿以后,你是不必做什么事的。你怎么能够这样固执呢?我已经告诉那个农场主了,要他知道他没有权利雇用女工用机器打麦子。女人做这种工作是不合适的;条件好一点儿的农场,都没有女人干活用机器的,这一点他知道得很清楚。让我送你回家,我们边走边谈吧。”
“啊,好吧。”她迈着精疲力竭的步伐说。“你要愿意就和我一起走吧!我心里知道,你是不知道我的情况才来求我嫁给你的。也许——也许你比我一直认为的那样要好一些,善良一些。你的用意凡是善良的,我都感激;要是你别有用心,我就生气。我有时候也弄不清你的用意。”
“即使我们不能使我们过去的关系合法化,我至少也能帮助你。我这次帮助你一定要顾及你的感情,不能像从前那样。我的宗教狂热,无论你叫它什么,它已经成为过去了。但是我还保留了一点儿善良的本性,我也希望我保留了那点儿善良的本性。唉,苔丝,让我用男女之间的善良和强烈的感情起誓,相信我吧!我的钱足够你摆脱苦恼,足够你、你的父母和弟妹生活用的,而且还绰绰有余。只要你信任我,我就能让他们都过得舒舒服服的。”
“你是不是最近见到了他们?”她急忙问。
“见到了。他们也不知道你在哪儿。我也是碰巧在这儿见到你的。”
苔丝站在她暂以为家的小屋门外,德贝维尔站在她的身边,清冷的月光从园内篱树的树枝间斜照进来,落在苔丝疲惫不堪的脸上。
“不要提我的小弟弟和妹妹——不要让我彻底垮了!”她说。“如果你想帮助他们——上帝知道他们是需要帮助的——你就去帮助他们,用不着告诉我。但是,不要你帮助,不要你帮助!”她大声说。“我不会要你任何东西,无论是为了他们还是我自己!”
他没有继续陪着她往前走,因为她和屋子里的一家人住在一起,在屋内一切都是公开的。苔丝一走进门,就在洗手的盆子里洗了手,和那一家人吃了晚饭,接着就深思起来,她走到墙边那张桌子跟着,就在她自己的小灯下面,用激动的心情写起来——
我自己的丈夫,——让我这样称呼你吧——我一定要这样称呼你——即使这会使你想起我这个不值得做你妻子的人而生气,我也要这样称呼你。我必须向你哭诉我的不幸——我没有别的人可以向他哭诉了啊!我现在正遭受着诱惑啊,安琪尔,我不敢说他是谁,我也实在不想写信告诉你这件事。可是我是依靠你的,我依靠你的程度你是想象不出来的呀!为什么在还没有可怕的事情发生以前,你还不到我身边来呢?啊,我知道你不会来的,因为你离得太远了啊!要是你还不快点儿到我这儿来,或者写信让我去你那儿,我想我一定要死了。你按罪惩罚我,那是我应该受的惩罚——我完全明白——你给我的惩罚是我应该受的——你对我生气也是应该的,公正的。可是啊,安琪尔,请你,请你不要只是为了公正——给我一点儿慈悲吧,即使我不该得到你的慈悲,你也给我一点儿吧,到我身边来吧!只要你来了,我情愿死在你的怀里!只要你宽恕了我,我死了也感到满足呀!
安琪尔,我活着完全是为了你呀。我太爱你了,所以你离开了我,我也不会责备你,我知道你必须找到一个农场。不要以为我会对你说一个刻薄的字,说一句愤恨的话。我只是求你回到我身边来。我亲爱的,没有你,我感到孤苦,啊,多么孤苦啊!我不在乎我必须去干活儿:但是你只要写一句话给我寄来,说,“我很快就来了,”我就等着你,安琪尔——啊,我会高高兴兴地等着你的呀!
自从我们结婚以来,我的宗教就是在思想上和外表上都要忠实于你,即使有个男人对我说了一句奉承的话,我也似乎觉得对不起你。我们在奶牛场曾经有过的感情,难道你现在一点儿也没有了吗?要是你还有一点那种感情,难道你还能继续远离我吗?安琪尔,我还是你爱我时的同一个女人呀;不错,完全是同一个女人呀!——并不是你讨厌的而且从没见过的女人。在我遇见你以后,我的过去还算什么呢?我的过去已经完全死去了。我变成了另外一个女人,为你注满了全新的生命。我怎么还会是从前的那个女人呢?你为什么看不到这一点呢?亲爱的,只要你还有一点儿自负,相信你自己,相信你有足够的力量使我发生变化,你也许就会想到回到我身边了,回到你可怜的妻子的身边了。
当我沉浸在幸福里时,我相信你会永远爱我,那时候我多么傻啊!我早就应该知道,那种幸福不属于我这个可怜的人。可是我很伤心,不是为过去伤心,而是为现在伤心。想想吧——想想吧,我总是见不到你,我心里该是多么痛苦啊!啊,我每天都在遭受痛苦,我整天都在遭受痛苦,要是我能够让你那颗亲爱的心每天把我的痛苦经受一分钟,也许就会使你对你可怜的孤独的妻子表示同情了。
安琪尔呀,有人还在说我漂亮啦(他们用的是美貌这个词,我希望说得准确些)。也许我还像他们说的那样漂亮。但是我并不重视我的容貌,我还愿意拥有我的容貌,只是因为这容貌属于你,我亲爱的,只是因为我也许至少还有一样东西值得你拥有。我自己也有这种强烈的感觉,所以当我因为我的脸而遇到麻烦的时候,我就把我的脸包裹起来,只要别人认为我的脸漂亮,我就包着它。啊,安琪尔,我告诉你这些不是因为虚荣——你肯定知道我不是一个虚荣的人——我只是想到你也许要回到我身边来!
要是你真的不能到我这儿来,那你也要让我到你那儿去呀!我已经说过,我担心我被迫做我不想做的事。我是绝不会屈服的,但是我害怕出现什么特殊的事让我屈服了,因为我第一次犯错就是我没有防护的能力。这些我也不想多说了——说起来我就肝肠欲断。要是这次我又掉进某个可怕的陷阱,那么这一次就会仍第一次更加可怕。啊,天呐,我简直不敢想啊!让我立刻到你那儿去吧,或者你立刻到我这儿来!
只要能和你在一起,即使我不能做你的妻子,而只做你的奴仆,我也感到满足,感到高兴;所以,我只要能在你身边,能看见你,能想着你,我也就甘心了。
因为你不在我这儿,所以光明已经不再吸引我了,田野里出现的白嘴鸦和椋鸟,我也不喜欢看了,这都是因为和我一起看它们的你不在我的身边而使我感到悲伤难过的缘故。我只渴望一件事——到我身边来吧,把我从威胁中拯救出来吧!——你的忠实的肝肠寸断的。
 

苔丝

In the afternoon the farmer made it known that the rick was to be finished that night, since there was a moon by which they could see to work, and the man with the engine was engaged for another farm on the morrow. Hence the twanging and humming and rustling proceeded with even less intermission than usual.

It was not till `nammet'-time, about three o'clock, that Tess raised her eyes and gave a momentary glance round. She felt but little surprise at seeing that Alec d'Urberville had come back, and was standing under the hedge by the gate. He had seen her lift her eyes, and waved his hand urbanely to her, while he blew her a kiss. It meant that their quarrel was over. Tess looked down again, and carefully abstained from gazing in that direction.

Thus the afternoon dragged on. The wheat-rick shrank lower, and the straw-rick grew higher, and the corn-sacks were carted away. At six o'clock the wheat-rick was about shoulder-high from the ground. But the unthreshed sheaves remaining untouched seemed countless still, notwithstanding the enormous numbers that had been gulped down by the insatiable swallower, fed by the man and Tess, through whose two young hands the greater part of them had passed. And the immense stack of straw where in the morning there had been nothing, appeared as the faeces of the same buzzing red glutton. From the west sky a wrathful shine - all that wild March could afford in the way of sunset - had burst forth after the cloudy day, flooding the tired and sticky faces of the threshers, and dyeing them with a coppery light, as also the flapping garments of the women, which clung to them like dull flames.

A panting ache ran through the rick. The man who fed was weary, and Tess could see that the red nape of his neck was encrusted with dirt and husks. She still stood at her post, her flushed and perspiring face coated with the corn-dust, and her white bonnet embrowned by it. She was the only woman whose place was upon the machine so as to be shaken bodily by its spinning, and the decrease of the stack now separated her from Marian and Izz, and prevented their changing duties with her as they had done. The incessant quivering, in which every fibre of her frame participated, had thrown her into a stupefied reverie in which her arms worked on independently of her consciousness. She hardy knew where she was, and did not hear Izz Huett tell her from below that her hair was tumbling down.

By degrees the freshest among them began to grow cadaverous and saucer-eyed. Whenever Tess lifted her head she beheld always the great upgrown straw-stack, with the men in shirt-sleeves upon it, against the gray north sky; in front of it the long red elevator like a Jacob's ladder, on which a perpetual stream of threshed straw ascended, a yellow river running up-hill, and spouting out on the top of the rick.

She knew that Alec d'Urberville was still on the scene, observing her from some point or other, though she could not say where. There was an excuse for his remaining, for when the threshed rick drew near its final sheaves a little ratting was always done, and men unconnected with the threshing sometimes dropped in for that performance - sporting characters of all descriptions, gents with terriers and facetious pipes, roughs with sticks and stones.

But there was another hour's work before the layer of live rats at the base of the stack would be reached; and as the evening right in the direction of the Giant's Hill by Abbot's-Cernel dissolved away, the white-faced moon of the season arose from the horizon that lay towards Middleton Abbey and Shottsford on the other side. For the last hour or two Marian had felt uneasy about Tess, whom she could not get near enough to speak to, the other women having kept up their strength by drinking ale, and Tess having done without it through traditionary dread, owing to its results at her home in childhood. But Tess still kept going: if she could not fill her part she would have to leave; and this contingency, which she would have regarded with equanimity and even with relief a month or two earlier, had become a terror since d'Urberville had begun to hover round her.

The sheaf-pitchers and feeders had now worked the rick so low that people on the ground could talk to them. To Tess's surprise Farmer Groby came up on the machine to her, and said that if she desired to join her friend he did not wish her to keep on any longer, and would send somebody else to take her place. The `friend' was d'Urberville, she knew, and also that this concession had been granted in obedience to the request of that friend, or enemy. She shook her head and toiled on.

The time for the rat-catching arrived at last, and the hunt began. The creatures had crept downwards with the subsidence of the rick till they were all together at the bottom, and being now uncovered from their last refuge they ran across the open ground in all directions, a loud shriek from the by-this-time half-tipsy Marian informing her companions that one of the rats had invaded her person - a terror which the rest of the women had guarded against by various schemes of skirt-tucking and self-elevation. The rat was at last dislodged, and, amid the barking of dogs, masculine shouts, feminine screams, oaths, stampings, and confusion as of Pandemonium, Tess untied her last sheaf; the drum slowed, the whizzing ceased, and she stepped from the machine to the ground.

Her lover, who had only looked on at the rat-catching, was promptly at her side.

`What - after all - my insulting slap, too!' said she in an underbreath. She was so utterly exhausted that she had not strength to speak louder.

`I should indeed be foolish to feel offended at anything you say or do,' he answered, in the seductive voice of the Trantridge time. `How the little limbs tremble! You are as weak as a bled calf, you know you are; and yet you need have done nothing since I arrived. How could you be so obstinate? However, I have told the farmer that he has no right to employ women at steam-threshing. It is not proper work for them; and on all the better class of farms it has been given up, as he knows very well. I will walk with you as far as your home.'

`O yes,' she answered with a jaded gait. `Walk wi' me if you will! I do bear in mind that you came to marry me before you knew o' my state. Perhaps - perhaps you are a little better and kinder than I have been thinking you were. Whatever is meant as kindness I am grateful for; whatever is meant in any other way I am angered at. I cannot sense your meaning sometimes.'

`If I cannot legitimize our former relations at least I can assist you. And I will do it with much more regard for your feelings than I formerly showed. My religious mania, or whatever it was, is over. But I retain a little good nature; I hope I do. Now Tess, by all that's tender and strong between man and woman, trust me! I have enough and more than enough to put you out of anxiety, both for yourself and your parents and sisters. I can make them all comfortable if you will only show confidence in me.'

`Have you seen 'em lately?' she quickly inquired.

`Yes. They didn't know where you were. It was only by chance that I found you here.'

The cold moon looked aslant upon Tess's fagged face between the twigs of the garden-hedge as she paused outside the cottage which was her temporary home, d'Urberville pausing beside her.

`Don't mention my little brothers and sisters - don't make me break down quite!' she said. `If you want to help them - God knows they need it - do it without telling me. But no, no!' she cried. `I will take nothing from you, either for them or for me!'

He did not accompany her further, since, as she lived with the household, all was public indoors. No sooner had she herself entered, laved herself in a washing-tub, and shared supper with the family than she fell into thought, and withdrawing to the table under the wall, by the light of her own little lamp wrote in a passionate mood--

MY OWN HUSBAND, - Let me call you so - I must - even if it makes you angry to think of such an unworthy wife as I. I must cry to you in my trouble - I have no one else! I am so exposed to temptation, Angel. I fear to say who it is, and I do not like to write about it at all. But I cling to you in a way you cannot think! Can you not come to me now, at once, before anything terrible happens? O, I know you cannot, because you are so far away! I think I must die if you do not come soon, or tell me to come to you. The punishment you have measured out to me is deserved - I do know that - well deserved - and you are right and just to be angry with me. But, Angel, please, please, not to be just - only a little kind to me even if I do not deserve it, and come to me! If you would me, come, I could die in your arms! I would be well content to do that if so be you had forgiven me!
Angel, I live entirely for you. I love you too much to blame you for going away, and I know it was necessary you should find a farm. Do not think I shall say a word of sting or bitterness. Only come back to me. I am desolate without you, my darling, O, so desolate! I do not mind having to work: but if you will send me one little line, and say, `I am coming soon', I will bide on, Angel - O, so cheerfully!

It has been so much my religion ever since we were married to be faithful to you in every thought and look, that even when a man speaks a compliment to me before I am aware, it seems wronging you. Have you never felt one little bit of what you used to feel when we were at the dairy? If you have, how can you keep away from me? I am the same woman, Angel, as you fell in love with; yes, the very same! - not the one you disliked but never saw. What was the past to me as soon as I met you? It was a dead thing altogether. I became another woman, filled full of new life from you. How could I be the early one? Why do you not see this? Dear, if you would only be a little more conceited, and believe in yourself so far as to see that you were strong enough to work this change in me, you would perhaps be in a mind to come to me, your poor wife.

How silly I was in my happiness when I thought I could trust you always to love me! I ought to have known that such as that was not for poor me. But I am sick at heart, not only for old times, but for the present. Think - think how it do hurt my heart not to see you ever - ever! Ah, if I could only make your dear heart ache one little minute of each day as mine does every day and all day long, it might lead you to show pity to your poor lonely one.

People still say that I am rather pretty, Angel (handsome is the word they use, since I wish to be truthful). Perhaps I am what they say. But I do not value my good looks; I only like to have them because they belong to you, my dear, and that there may be at least one thing about me worth your having. So much have I felt this, that when I met with annoyance on account of the same I tied up my face in a bandage as long as people would believe in it. O Angel, I tell you all this not from vanity - you will certainly know I do not - but only that you may come to me!

If you really cannot come to me will you let me come to you! I am, as I say, worried, pressed to do what I will not do. It cannot be that I shall yield one inch, yet I am in terror as to what an accident might lead to, and I so defenceless on account of my first error. I cannot say more about this - it makes me too miserable. But if I break down by falling into some fearful snare, my last state will be worse than my first. O God, I cannot think of it! Let me come at once, or at once come to me!

I would be content, ay, glad, to live with you as your servant, if I may not as your wife; so that I could only be near you, and get glimpses of you, and think of you as mine.

The daylight has nothing to show me, since you are not here, and I don't like to see the rooks and starlings in the fields, because I grieve and grieve to miss you who used to see them with me. I long for only one thing in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you, my own dear! Come to me - come to me, and save me from what threatens me! - Your faithful heartbroken

TESS