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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2节 第五十四章 【
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不到一刻钟,克莱尔就离开了牧师住宅,他的母亲在家里望着他,看见他瘦弱的身影慢慢地在街道上消失了。他谢绝了把父亲那匹老母马借给他的建议,因为他知道家里也需要它。他到客栈里去租了一辆小马车,急不可耐地等着把车套好。不一会儿,他就坐着马车上了山,出了小镇,就在今年三四个月以前,苔丝也曾满怀着希望从这条路上下山,后来又怀着破碎的心情从这条路上上山。
不久,本维尔篱路就出现在他的面前了,只见两旁的树篱和树木,都已经长出了紫色的新芽;但是克莱尔无心去观赏风景,他只是需要回忆这些景物,不要让自己把路走错了,在走了不到一个半钟头的时候,他就走到了王室新托克产业的南端,向山上手形十字柱那个孤独的地方走去。就在那根罪恶的石柱旁边,阿历克·德贝维尔曾经因为要改过自新的一种冲动,逼着苔丝发了一个奇怪的誓言,说她永远也不故意去诱惑他。去年剩下的灰白色的荨麻的残茬,现在还光秃秃地留在山坡上,今年春天新的绿色尊麻正在从它们的根部长出来。
因此他就沿着俯视另外那个新托克的高地的边缘走,然后向后转弯,进入空气凉爽的燧石山的石灰质地区,在苔丝写给他的信中,有一封就是从这儿寄出的,因此他认为这儿就是苔丝母亲提到的苔丝现在暂住的地方。他在这儿当然找不到苔丝;而且使他更为沮丧的是,他发现无论这儿的农户还是农场主自己,虽然都非常熟悉苔丝的教名苔丝,但是他们从来都没有听说过“克莱尔夫人”。自从他们分离以后,显然苔丝从来没有用过他的名字。苔丝是一个自尊的人,她认为他们的分离就是完全脱离关系,所以她就放弃了夫家的姓,宁肯选择受苦受难(他是第一次听说她受苦受难的事),也不愿去向他的父亲伸手要钱。
他们告诉他说,苔丝没有正式通知雇主就离开了这儿,已经回黑荒原谷她父母家去了,因此,他必须去找德北菲尔德太太。德北菲尔德太太在信中告诉他,现在她已经不住在马洛特村,但奇怪的是她对自己的真实地址避而不谈,现在唯一能做的事只有到马洛特村去打听了。那个曾经对苔丝粗暴无礼的农场主,对克莱尔不断说着好听的话,还借给他一匹马,派人驾车送他去马洛特村,他到这儿来的时候租的马车,走够了一天的路程,现在已经回爱敏寺去了。
克莱尔坐着农场主的车走到黑荒原谷的外面,他就下了车,打发送他的车夫把车赶回去,自己住进了一个客栈。第二天,他步行走进黑荒原谷,找到了他亲爱的苔丝出生的地点。当时的季节还早,花园和树叶不见浓郁的春色;所谓的春天只不过是冬天覆上了一层薄薄的青绿罢了。这儿正是他所期望的地方。
在这座屋子里,苔丝度过了她幼年的时代,但是里面现在住的是另一家人,一点儿也不知道苔丝。屋子里新住的人正在花园里,一心做自己的事,仿佛那家人从来就没有想过,这座屋子最重要的历史是同别人的历史联系在一起的,除了他们自己而外,那些历史只不过是一个痴人说的故事罢了。他们走在花园的小路上,想的完全是自己最关心的事情,他们每一时刻的活动,都同从前住在这儿的人的幻影没有和谐,只有冲突;他们说笑着,仿佛苔丝从的住在这儿的时光里,就没有发生过比现在更叫人激动的事情。即使在他们头上啼叫的春天飞鸟,也仿佛不曾觉得少了一个特别的人似的。
问过这些宝贵的一无所知的人,才知道他们甚至连以前这儿住户的名字也不记得了。克莱尔一打听,才知道约翰·德北菲尔德已经去世,他的遗孀和孩子们也离开马洛特村了,说是要到金斯伯尔去住,但是后来又没有到那儿去,而是去了另外一个地方;他们把那个地方的名字告诉了克莱尔。既然苔丝没有住在这座屋子里,克莱尔就痛恨起这座屋子来,急忙离开他现在开始讨厌的这个地方,头也不回地走了。
他要走的路从他第一次看见苔丝跳舞的那块地里经过。他像痛恨那座屋子一样痛恨那块地,甚至还要痛恨些。他从教堂的墓地里穿过去,在新竖立的一些墓碑中间,他看见一块比其它的墓碑设计得更加精美的墓碑。墓碑刻着的碑文如下:
故约翰·德北菲尔德,本姓德贝维尔,当年显赫世家,著名家系嫡传子孙,远祖始于征服者威廉王御前骑士帕根·德北菲尔德爵士。卒于一八一一年三月十日。
 
英雄千古

有一个显然是教堂执事的人看见克莱尔站在那儿,就走到他的跟前说:“啊,先生,死的这个人本来不想埋在这儿,而是想埋在金斯伯尔,因为他的祖坟在那儿。”
“那么他们为什么不尊重他的意愿呢?”
“啊——他们没有钱啊。上帝保佑你,先生,唉——跟你说了吧,在别处我是不会说——是这块墓碑,别看它上面写得冠冕堂皇,刻墓碑的钱都还没有付呢。”
“是谁刻的墓碑?”
教堂执事把村子里那个石匠的名字告诉了克莱尔,克莱尔就离开教堂墓地,到了石匠的家里。他一问,教堂执事说的话果然是真的,就把钱付了,他办完了这件事,就转身朝苔丝一家新搬的地方走去。
那个地方太远,不能走到那儿去,但是克莱尔很想一个人走,所以起初没有雇马车,也没有坐火车,尽管坐火车要绕道儿,但是最终也可以到达那个地方。不过他走到沙斯屯后就走不动了,觉得非雇车不可了;他雇了车,路上不好走,一直到晚上七点钟到达琼住的地方,从马洛特村到这儿,他已经走了二十多英里了。
村子很小,他毫无困难就找到了德北菲尔德太太租住的房子,只见那房子在一个带围墙的园子中间,离开大路很远,德北菲尔德太太把她那些笨重的家具都尽量塞在房子里。很明显,她不想见他一定是有原因的,因此他觉得他这次拜访实在有些唐突。德北菲尔德太太到门口来见他,傍晚的夕阳落在她的脸上。
这是克莱尔第一次见到她,不过他心事重重,没有细加注意,只见她是一个漂亮女人,穿着很体面的寡妇长袍。他只好向她解释说,他是苔丝的丈夫,又说明了他到这儿来的目的,他说话的时候感到非常难堪。“我希望能立即见到她,”他又说。“你说你再给我写信,可是你没有写。”
“因为她没有回家呀!”琼说。
“你知道她还好吧?”
“我不知道。可是你应该知道呀,先生!”她说。
“你说得对。她现在住在哪儿呢?”
从开始谈话的时候起,琼就露出难为情的神色,用一只手扶着自己的脸。
“我——她住什么地方,我也不太清楚。”她回答说。“她从前——不过——”
“她从前住在哪儿?”
“啊,她不在那儿住了。”
她说话闪烁其词,又住口不说了;这时候,有几个小孩子走到门口,用手拉看母亲的裙子,其中最小的一个嘟哝着说——
“要和苔丝结婚的是不是这位先生呀?”
“他已经和苔丝结婚了!”琼小声说。“进屋去。”
克莱尔看见她尽力不想告诉他,就问——
“你认为苔丝希望不希望我去找她?如果她不希望我去找她,当然——”
“我想她不希望你去找她。”
“你敢肯定吗?”
“我敢肯定她不希望你去找她。”
他转身正要走开,又想起苔丝写给他的那封深情的信来。
“我敢肯定她希望我去找她!”他激动地反驳说。“我比你还要了解她。”
“那是很有可能的,先生;因为我从来就没有把事情弄清楚呢。”
“请你告诉我她住的地方吧,德北菲尔德太太,可怜一个孤苦的伤心的人吧!”
苔丝的母亲看见他难过的样子,又开始心神不安地用一只手一上一下地摸她的脸,终于小声地告诉他说——
“她住在桑德波恩。”
“啊——桑德波恩在哪儿?他们说桑德波恩已经变成了一个大地方了。”
“除了我说的桑德波恩外,更详细的我就不知道了。因为我自己从来也没有去过那儿。”
很明显,琼说的话是真的,所以他也就没有再追问她。
“你们现在缺少什么吗?”他关心地问。
“不缺什么,先生,”她回答说,“我们过得还是相当不错的。”
克莱尔没有进门就转身走了。前面三英里的地方有一个火车站,他就把坐马车的钱付了,步行着向火车站走去。开向桑德波恩的火车不久就开了,克莱尔就坐在火车上。
 

In a quarter of an hour Clare was leaving the house, whence his mother watched his thin figure as it disappeared into the street. He had declined to borrow his father's old mare, well knowing of its necessity to the household. He went to the inn, where he hired a trap, and could hardly wait during the harnessing. In a very few minutes after he was driving up the hill out of the town which, three or four months earlier in the year, Tess had descended with such hopes and ascended with such shattered purposes.

Benvill Lane soon stretched before him, its hedges and trees purple with buds; but he was looking at other things, and only recalled himself to the scene sufficiently to enable him to keep the way. In something less than an hour-and-a-half he had skirted the south of the King's Hintock estates and ascended to the untoward solitude of Cross-in-Hand, the unholy stone whereon Tess had been compelled by Alec d'Urberville, in his whim of reformation, to swear the strange oath that she would never wilfully tempt him again. The pale and blasted nettle-stems of the preceding year even now lingered nakedly in the banks, young green nettles of the present spring growing from their roots.

Thence he went along the verge of the upland overhanging the other Hintocks, and, turning to the right, plunged into the bracing calcareous region of Flintcomb-Ash, the address from which she had written to him in one of the letters, and which he supposed to be the place of sojourn referred to by her mother. Here, of course, he did not find her; and what added to his depression was the discovery that no `Mrs Clare' had ever been heard of by the cottagers or by the farmer himself, though Tess was remembered well enough by her Christian name. His name she had obviously never used during their separation, and her dignified sense of their total severance was shown not much less by this abstention than by the hardships she had chosen to undergo (of which he now learnt for the first time) rather than apply to his father for more funds.

From this place they told him Tess Durbeyfield had gone, without due notice, to the home of her parents on the other side of Blackmoor, and it therefore became necessary to find Mrs Durbeyfield. She had told him she was not now at Marlott, but had been curiously reticent as to her actual address, and the only course was to go to Marlott and inquire for it. The farmer who had been so churlish with Tess was quite smooth-tongued to Clare, and lent him a horse and man to drive him towards Marlott, the gig he had arrived in being sent back to Emminster; for the limit of a day's journey with that horse was reached.

Clare would not accept the loan of the farmer's vehicle for a further distance than to the outskirts of the Vale, and, sending it back with the man who had driven him, he put up at an inn, and next day entered on foot the region wherein was the spot of his dear Tess's birth. It was as yet too early in the year for much colour to appear in the gardens and foliage; the so-called spring was but winter overlaid with a thin coat of greenness, and it was of a parcel with his expectations.

The house in which Tess had passed the years of her childhood was now inhabited by another family who had never known her. The new residents were in the garden, taking as much interest in their own doings as if the homestead had never passed its primal time in conjunction with the histories of others, beside which the histories of these were but as a tale told by an idiot. They walked about the garden paths with thoughts of their own concerns entirely uppermost, bringing their actions at every moment into jarring collision with the dim ghosts behind them, talking as though the time when Tess lived there were not one whit intenser in story than now. Even the spring birds sang over their heads as if they thought there was nobody missing in particular.

On inquiry of these precious innocents, to whom even the name of their predecessors was a failing memory, Clare learned that John Durbeyfield was dead; that his widow and children had left Marlott, declaring that they were going to live at Kingsbere, but instead of doing so had gone on to another place they mentioned. By this time Clare abhorred the house for ceasing to contain Tess, and hastened away from its hated presence without once looking back.

His way was by the field in which he had first beheld her at the dance. It was as bad as the house - even worse. He passed on through the churchyard, where, amongst the new headstones, he saw one of a somewhat superior design to the rest. The inscription ran thus:

In memory of John Durbeyfield, rightly d'Urberville, of the once powerful family of that Name, and Direct Descendant through an Illustrious Line from Sir Pagan d'Urberville, one of the Knights of the Conqueror. Died March 10th, 18
HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN.

Some man, apparently the sexton, had observed Clare standing there, and drew nigh. `Ah, sir, now that's a man who didn't want to lie here, but wished to be carried to Kingsbere, where his ancestors be.'
`And why didn't they respect his wish?'

`Oh - no money. Bless your soul, sir, why - there, I wouldn't wish to say it everywhere, but - even this headstone, for all the flourish wrote upon en, is not paid for.'

`Ah, who put it up?'

The man told the name of a mason in the village, and, on leaving the churchyard, Clare called at the mason's house. He found that the statement was true, and paid the bill. This done he turned in the direction of the migrants.

The distance was too long for a walk, but Clare felt such a strong desire for isolation that at first he would neither hire a conveyance nor go to a circuitous line of railway by which he might eventually reach the place. At Shaston, however, he found he must hire; but the way was such that he did not enter Joan's till about seven o'clock in the evening, leaving traversed a place distance of over twenty miles since leaving Marlott.

The village being small he had little difficulty in finding Mrs Durbeyfield's tenement, which was a house in a walled garden, remote from the main road, where she had stowed away her clumsy old furniture as best she could. It was plain that for some reason or other she had not wished him to visit her, and he felt his call to be somewhat of an intrusion. She came to the door herself, and the light from the evening sky fell upon her face.

This was the first time that Clare had ever met her, but he was too preoccupied to observe more than that she was still a handsome woman, in the garb of a respectable widow. He was obliged to explain that he was Tess's husband, and his object in coming there, and he did it awkwardly enough. `I want to see her at once,' he added. `You said you would write to me again, but you have not done so.'

`Because she've not come home,' said Joan.

`Do you know if she is well?'

`I don't. But you ought to, sir,' said she.

`I admit it. Where is she staying?'

From the beginning of the interview Joan had disclosed her embarrassment by keeping her hand to the side of her cheek.

`I don't know exactly where she is staying,' she answered.' She was - but--'

`Where was she?'

`Well, she is not there now.'

In her evasiveness she paused again, and the younger children had by this time crept to the door, where, pulling at his mother's skirts, the youngest murmured--

`Is this the gentleman who is going to marry Tess?'

`He has married her,' Joan whispered. `Go inside.'

Clare saw her efforts for reticence, and asked `Do you think Tess would wish me to try and find her? If not, of course------'

`I don't think she would.'

`Are you sure?'

`I am sure she wouldn't.'

He was turning away; and then he thought of Tess's tender letter.

`I am sure she would!' he retorted passionately. `I know her better than you do.'

`That's very likely, sir; for I have never really known her.'

`Please tell me her address, Mrs Durbeyfield, in kindness to a lonely wretched man!'

Tess's mother again restlessly swept her cheek with her vertical hand, and seeing that he suffered, she at last said, in a low voice `She is at Sandbourne.'

`Ah - where there? Sandbourne has become a large place, they say.

`I don't know more particularly than I have said - Sandbourne. For myself, I was never there.'

It was apparent that Joan spoke the truth in this, and he pressed her no further.

`Are you in want of anything?' he said gently.

`No, sir,' she replied. `We are fairly well provided for.'

Without entering the house Clare turned away. There was a station three miles ahead, and paying off his coachman, he walked thither. The last train to Sandbourne left shortly after, and it bore Clare on its wheels.