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当前位置:主页 > 英国小说 > 德伯家的苔丝 > 第7章 团圆 The Fulfilment
第1节 第五十三章 【
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在爱敏寺牧师住宅里,那时的天色已经到了黄昏。牧师的书房里照规矩点着两支蜡烛,罩着绿色的灯罩,但是牧师却不在书房里。牧师偶尔走进来,拨一拨壁炉里不大的一堆火,然后又走出去,春天的天气已渐渐暖和,那一小堆火已经足够了。有时候他走到前门旁,在那儿站一会儿,又到客厅里去一趟,然后再回到前门旁。
前门的方向朝西,虽然屋内已经变得昏暗了,但是屋外仍然很明亮,可以看得清清楚楚的。克莱尔夫人一直坐在客厅里,这时也跟着丈夫来到门口。
“还早着呐,”牧师说。“即使火车能够准点,他不到六点钟也到不了粉新屯,到了粉新屯,还有十英里的乡村道路,其中有五英里走的是克里默尔克洛克篱路,走这段路我们那匹老马快不了的。”
“可是,亲爱的,它拉着我们一个小时也跑完了这段路啊。”
“那是好几年前的事了。”
他们就这样说了几分钟的话,每个人心里都知道,他们那番话是白费口舌,根本的办法只有耐心等待。
篱路上终于传来了一点儿声音,不错,他们那辆单马拉的旧双轮马车在栅栏门外出现了。他们看见有一个人下了车,心想他们认识那个人,其实这是因为他们知道有一个特殊的人物正要回来,他们在这个特殊的时刻刚好看见一个人从他们家的马车上走下来,所以他们知道这就是他们等候的人;不过真正说来,如果他们是在街上看见他,一定会失之交臂的。
克莱尔太太急忙从黑暗的过道走到门口,她的丈夫跟在她的后面,走得慢一些。
那个刚到的人正要进门来,看见了他们两个人焦虑的脸,也看见了他们的眼镜反射出来的亮光,因为他们当时正好面对着白天的最后一道夕阳;但是他们看见的只是他背对着阳光的身形。
“啊,我的孩子,我的孩子——你终于回家了!”克莱尔太太喊着说,在那个时刻,她对她这个儿子,关心的不再是引起这番离别留在他身上的异端学说的污点,而是他衣服上的尘土。其实,世界上的女人,即使是最坚持真理的女人,又有谁会不相信自己的孩子而只相信《圣经》里的允诺和恐吓呢?或者说,她的神学理论要是妨碍了孩子的幸福,难道她不会把她的神学理论当作耳边风吗?他们一起走进点着蜡烛的房间,克莱尔太太向儿子的脸上看去。
“啊,这不是安琪尔——不是我的儿子——不是离开家的那个安琪尔呀!”她满腹心酸地说着反话,转过身去。
他的父亲看见他也大吃一惊。克莱尔最初受到家庭变故的嘲弄,心生厌恶,急急忙忙地跑到异国的气候里去,在那儿遭受了烦恼和恶劣天气的折磨,和以前相比现在已经瘦得变了样子。你看见的只是他身上的一副骨架,几乎可以看见那副骨架后面的鬼魂。他简直可以和克里维利画的《死去的基督》那幅画相比了。他眼眶深陷,一脸病容,眼睛的昔日光彩也消失了。他的那些老祖宗们的瘦骨嶙峋和满脸的皱纹,已经提前二十年出现在他的脸上了。
“你们知道,我在那边生病了,”他说。“现在我已经好了。”
但是仿佛要证明他在说谎似的,他的两条腿支持不住了,为了防止跌倒,他只好一屁股坐下来。他只是感到有点儿轻微的晕眩,那是因为旅途的劳顿和回到家后的兴奋引起的。
“最近有没有我的信?”他问。“你上次转给我的信,在巴西的内地转来转去,耽误了许久,最后完全是碰巧收到的,不然我会回来得更早些。”
“我们认为那封信是你的妻子写的,是不是?”
“是的。”
最近寄来的只有一封。因为他们知道他很快就要回家,所以还没有把这封信给他转去。
他急忙打开递给他的那封信,从苔丝在急忙中用潦草的字迹写给他的那封信中,他读到苔丝向他表达的情意,心里十分激动。
啊,安琪尔呀,为什么你待我这样无情无义啊!这是我不应该受的呀。我已经前前后后仔细地想过了,我永远永远也不会宽恕你了!你知道我不是故意委屈你的,为什么你却要这样委屈我呢?你太狠心了,的确太狠心了!我只好尽力把你忘了。我在你手里,得到的都是委屈呀!

“说得完全对!”安棋尔把信扔下说。“她也许永远不会跟我和好了!”
“安琪尔,不要这样为一个乡下土孩子着急!”他的母亲说。
“一个乡下土孩子!哼,那我们都是乡下土孩子。我希望她就是你说的那种乡下土孩子;现在让我把以前没有给你们说明的事说一说吧;就父系的血统说,她的父亲是诺曼王朝世家的后人,有许许多多像他这样的人,都在我们村子里过着默默无闻的农民生活,都被人叫做‘乡下土孩子’哪。”
不久,他上床睡了;第二天早晨,他觉得非常不舒服,就留在自己的房间里,思考着。目前的情形是,当他还在赤道的南面和刚收到苔丝写给他的那封情意深长的书信的时候,他觉得他什么时候只要肯原谅她,他什么时候就可以回到她的怀抱里去,这似乎是世界上最容易不过的事;而现在他回来了,事情却似乎不像看起来的那么容易。她是一个感情热烈的人,现在他从读到的这封信可以看出,由于他没有理她,她对他的看法已经改变了——他悲伤地承认,这种改变也是应该的——他在心里问自己,不先写一封信给她,就到她父母的家里去见她,这是不是明智呢?假如在他们分离后最近这几个礼拜里,她对他的爱确实已经变成了对他的恨,突然见面也许只能引起让他难以忍受的话来。
因此克莱尔想,最好还是先给住在马洛特村的苔丝和她的父母写一封短信,把自己回来的事告诉他们,希望苔丝还是像他离开英格兰时对她的安排那样,仍然和她的父母住在一起。他在当天就把这封打听情况的信寄了出去,在一个礼拜快要结束的时候,他收到了德北菲尔德太太寄来的一封短信,但是这封信还是没有解决他想解决的问题,因为信上没有地址,而且他感到吃惊的是,信不是从马洛特村寄出的。
先生——我写这几句话是为了告诉你,我的女儿现在已经不在我这儿了,我也不知道她什么时候回来,只要她回来了,我就写信告诉你。她现在暂住在什么地方,我不便告诉你。我只能说,我和我们一家人已经离开马洛特村一些时候了。
 琼·德北菲尔德
克莱尔从信中看出,苔丝显然至少安然无恙,因此也就放心了;尽管苔丝的母亲态度生硬,也不愿意把苔丝的地址告诉他,但是这也没有让他没完没了地难过。很明显,他们都生他的气。他可以等待,直到德北菲尔德太太给他写信,告诉他苔丝回来了;从那封信的意思看,她不久就会回来的。他不配受到比这更好的待遇。因为他是这样一个人,“一有风吹草动,他也就跟着动摇”①。
 
①引自莎士比亚的十四行诗第一一六首第三行。

他这次出国,经历了一些奇怪的遭遇;他从字面上的柯勒丽亚身上,看到了实质上的芳丝蒂娜,从肉体上的佛瑞丽身上,看到了精神上的鲁克里娅②;他想到了那个被抓来站在众人之中的那个女人,那是一个应该被石头砸死的女人,他也想到了后来做了王后的乌利亚的妻子③。于是他问自己,他对苔丝作出评价的时候,为什么不用推论,只看历史?为什么只看行为,不管意向?
 
②柯勒丽亚(Cornelia),古罗马著名的贞洁女人,执政官庞培的妻子。芳丝蒂娜(Faustina),古罗马著名的淫女典型。佛瑞丽(Phryne),古罗马著名歌女,以美著称。鲁克里娅(Lucretia),古罗马的贞女,因遭奸污而自杀。
③应该被石头砸死的女人,指玛利·抹大拿。见《圣经·约翰福音》第八章第三至第十一节。

又过去了一两天,他一直呆在他父亲家里,等着德北菲尔德太太答应给他写的第二封信,问时他也间接地恢复了一点儿力气。他的体力有了恢复的迹象,但是却没有琼·德北菲尔德给他写信的迹象。从前他在巴西的时候,苔丝在燧石山农场给他写过信,于是他把他收到的信找出来,又读了一遍。他现在读这封信,和他第一次读这封信时一样深受感动。
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……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……请你,请你不要只是为了公正,给我一点儿慈悲吧!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!……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!……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。……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。……无论是天上,还是人间,或者是地狱,我只渴望一件事……到我身边来吧,把我从威胁中拯救出来吧!
克莱尔决心不再相信苔丝最近写的那封信中措辞严厉的话,并且决定立即就出门去找她。他问他的父亲,他不在英国期间,她是否来这儿要过钱。他的父亲回答说没有,这时候安琪尔才第一次想到这是她的自尊妨碍了她来要钱,才想到她因为没有钱用而受了苦了。他的父母这时候也从他的话里听出了他们分离的真正原因;他们的基督教是一种这样的宗教,即以拯救道德堕落的人为特殊的目的,苔丝的血统、纯朴、甚至她的贫穷,都没有引发他们的同情心,但是她的罪恶却使他们马上激动起来。
他在急急忙忙收拾几件旅行用的随身物品的时候,又瞥了一眼也是最近收到的一封简单的信——那是玛丽安和伊茨寄来的,信的开头这样写道——
“尊敬的先生……如果你像她爱你一样还爱着她的话,请来爱护你的妻子吧,”信后的签名是“两个好心人”。
 

It was evening at Emminster Vicarage. The two customary candles were burning under their green shades in the Vicar's study, but he had not been sitting there. Occasionally he came in, stirred the small fire which sufficed for the increasing mildness of the spring, and went out again; sometimes pausing at the front door, going on to the drawing-room, then returning again to the front door.

It faced westward, and though gloom prevailed inside, there was still light enough without to see with distinctness. Mrs Clare, who had been sitting in the drawing-room, followed him hither.

`Plenty of time yet,' said the Vicar. `He doesn't reach Chalk-Newton till six, even if the train should be punctual, and ten miles of country-road, five of them in Crimmercrock Lane, are not jogged over in a hurry by our old horse.'

`But he has done it in an hour with us, my dear.'

`Years ago.'

Thus they passed the minutes, each well knowing that this was only waste of breath, the one essential being simply to wait.

At length there was a slight noise in the lane, and the old pony-chaise appeared indeed outside the railings. They saw alight therefrom a form which they affected to recognize, but would actually have passed by in the street without identifying had he not got out of their carriage at the particular moment when a particular person was due.

Mrs Clare rushed through the dark passage to the door, and her husband came more slowly after her.

The new arrival, who was just about to enter, saw their anxious faces in the doorway and the gleam of the west in their spectacles because they confronted the last rays of day; but they could only see his shape against the light.

`O, my boy, my boy - home again at last!' cried Mrs Clare, who cared no more at that moment for the stains of heterodoxy which had caused all this separation than for the dust upon his clothes. What woman, indeed, among the most faithful adherents of the truth, believes the promises and threats of the Word in the sense in which she believes in her own children, or would not throw her theology to the wind if weighed against their happiness? As soon as they reached the room where the candies were lighted she looked at his face.

`O, it is not Angel - not my son - the Angel who went away!' she cried in all the irony of sorrow, as she turned herself aside.

His father, too, was shocked to see him, so reduced was that figure from its former contours by worry and the bad season that Clare had experienced, in the climate to which he had so rashly hurried in his first aversion to the mockery of events at home. You could see the skeleton behind the man, and almost the ghost behind the skeleton. He matched Crivelli's dead Christus. His sunken eye-pits were of morbid hue, and the light in his eyes had waned. The angular hollows and lines of his aged ancestors had succeeded to their reign in his face twenty years before their time.

`I was ill over there, you know,' he said. `I am all right now.'

As if, however, to falsify this assertion, his legs seemed to give way, and he suddenly sat down to save himself from falling. It was only a slight attack of faintness, resulting from the tedious day's journey, and the excitement of arrival.

`Has any letter come for me lately?' he asked. `I received the last you sent on by the merest chance, and after considerable delay through being inland; or I might have come sooner.'

`It was from your wife, we supposed?'

`It was.'

Only one other had recently come. They had not sent it on to him, knowing he would start for home so soon.

He hastily opened the letter produced, and was much disturbed to read in Tess's handwriting the sentiments expressed in her last hurried scrawl to him.

O why have you treated me so monstrously, Angel! I do not deserve it. I have thought it all over carefully, and I can never, never forgive you! You know that I did not intend to wrong you - why have you so wronged me? You are cruel, cruel indeed! I will try to forget you. It is all injustice I have received at your hands. T.
`It is quite true!' said Angel, throwing down the letter. `Perhaps she will never be reconciled to me!'
`Don't, Angel, be so anxious about a mere child of the soil!' said his mother.

Child of the soil! Well, we all are children of the soil. I wish she were so in the sense you mean; but let me now explain to you what I have never explained before, that her father is a descendant in the male line of one of the oldest Norman houses, like a good many others who lead obscure agricultural lives in our villages, and are dubbed "sons of the soil".'

He soon retired to bed; and the next morning, feeling exceedingly unwell, he remained in his room pondering. The circumstances amid which he had left Tess were such that though, while on the south of the Equator and just in receipt of her loving epistle, it had seemed the easiest thing in the world to rush back into her arms the moment he chose to forgive her, now that he had arrived it was not so easy as it had seemed. She was passionate, and her present letter, showing that her estimate of him had changed under his delay - too justly changed, he sadly owned, - made him ask himself if it would be wise to confront her unannounced in the presence of her parents. Supposing that her love had indeed turned to dislike during the last weeks of separation, a sudden meeting might lead to bitter words.

Clare therefore thought it would be best to prepare Tess and her family by sending a line to Marlott announcing his return, and his hope that she was still living with them there, as he had arranged for her to do when he left England. He despatched the inquiry that very day, and before the week was out there came a short reply from Mrs Durbeyfield which did not remove his embarrassment, for it bore no address, though to his surprise it was not written from Marlott.

SIR I write these few lines to say that my Daughter is away from me at present, and I am not sure when she will return, but I will let you know as Soon as she do. I do not feel at liberty to tell you Where she is temperly biding. I should say that me and my Family have left Marlott for some Time.
Yours, J. DURBEYFIELD.

It was such a relief to Clare to learn that Tess was at least apparently well that her mother's stiff reticence as to her whereabouts did not long distress him. They were all angry with him, evidently. He would wait till Mrs Durbeyfield could inform him of Tess's return, which her letter implied to be soon. He deserved no more. His had been a love `which alters when it alteration finds'. He had undergone some strange experiences in his absence; he had seen the virtual Faustina in the literal Cornelia, a spiritual Lucretia in a corporeal Phryne; he had thought of the woman taken and set in the midst as one deserving to be stoned, and of the wife of Uriah being made a queen; and he had asked himself why he had not judged Tess constructively rather than biographically, by the will rather than by the deed?
A day or two passed while he waited at his father's house for the promised second note from Joan Durbeyfield, and indirectly to recover a little more strength. The strength showed signs of coming back, but there was no sign of Joan's letter. Then he hunted up the old letter sent on to him in Brazil, which Tess had written from Flintcomb-Ash, and re-read it. The sentences touched him now as much as when he had first perused them.

I must cry to you in my trouble - I have no one else... . I think I must die if you do not come soon, or tell me to come to you... . Please, please not to be just; only a little kind to me!... If you would come I could die in your arms! I would be well content to do that if so be you had forgiven me!... If you will send me one little line and say, I am coming soon, I will bide on, Angel, O so cheerfully!... 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... . 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... . 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.
Clare determined that he would no longer believe in her more recent and severer regard of him; but would go and find her immediately. He asked his father if she had applied for any money during his absence. His father returned a negative, and then for the first time it occurred to Angel that her pride had stood in her way, and that she had suffered privation. From his remarks his parents now gathered the real reason of the separation; and their Christianity was such that, reprobates being their especial care, the tenderness towards Tess which her blood, her simplicity, even her poverty, had not engendered, was instantly excited by her sin.
Whilst he was hastily packing together a few articles for his journey he glanced over a poor plain missive also lately come to hand - the one from Marian and Izz Huett, beginning--

`HONOUR'D SIR - Look to your Wife if you do love her as much as she do love you', and signed, `FROM TWO WELL-WISHERS'.