《双城记》有声名著第一部第04章(中英对照)

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2012-12-29 16:14

《双城记》有声名著第一部第04章(中英对照)

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双城记(A Tale of Two Cities)是英国作家查尔斯·狄更斯所著的描述法国大革命一部大时代长篇历史小说,“双城“分别指的是巴黎与伦敦。后来被改编拍摄了多个版本的电影,也有音乐专辑以此为名。

BOOK THE FIRST

RECALLED TO LIFE

CHAPTER IV The Preparation

WHEN the mail got successfully to Dover, in the course of the forenoon, the head drawer at the Royal George Hotel opened the coach-door as his custom was. He did it with some flourish of ceremony, for a mail journey from London in winter was an achievement to congratulate an adventurous traveller upon.

By that time, there was only one adventurous traveller left to be congratulated; for the two others had been set down at their respective roadside destinations. The mildewy inside of the coach, with its damp and dirty straw, its disagreeable smell, and its obscurity, was rather like a larger dog-kennel. Mr. Lorry, the passenger, shaking himself out of it in chains of straw, a tangle of shaggy wrapper, flapping hat, and muddy legs, was rather like a larger sort of dog.

`There will be a packet to Calais, to-morrow, drawer?'

`Yes, sir, if the weather holds and the wind sets tolerable fair. The tide will serve pretty nicely at about two in the afternoon, sir. Bed, sir?'

`I shall not go to bed till night; but I want a bedroom and a barber.'

`And then breakfast, sir? Yes, sir. That way, sir, if you please. Show Concord! Gentleman's valise and hot water to Concord. Pull off gentleman's boots in Concord. (You will find a fine sea-coal fire, sir.) Fetch barber to Concord. Stir about there, now, for Concord!'

The Concord bed-chamber being always assigned to passenger by the mail, and passengers by the mail being always heavily wrapped up from head to foot, the room ha' the odd interest for the establishment of the Royal George that although but one kind of man was seen to go into it, all kinds and varieties of men came out of it. Consequently another drawer, and two porters, and several maids and the landlady, were all loitering by accident at various points of the road between the Concord and the coffee-room, when a gentle-man of sixty, formally dressed in a brown suit of clothes, pretty well worn, but very well kept, with large square cuffs and large flaps to the pockets, passed along on his way to his breakfast.

The coffee-room had no other occupant, that forenoon, than the gentleman in brown. His breakfast-table was drawn before the fire, and as he sat, with its light shining on him, waiting for the meal, he sat so still, that he might have been sitting for his portrait.

Very orderly and methodical he looked, with a hand on each knee, and a loud watch ticking a sonorous sermon under his flapped waistcoat, as though it pitted its gravity and longevity against the levity and evanescence of the brisk fire. He had a good leg, and was a little vain of it, for his brown stockings fitted sleek and close, and were of a fine texture; his shoes and buckles, too, though plain, were trim. He wore an odd little sleek crisp flaxen wig, setting very close to his head: which wig, it is to be presumed, was made of hair, but which looked far more as though it were spun from filaments of silk or glass. His linen, though not of a fineness in accordance with his stockings, was as white as the tops of the waves that broke upon the neighbouring beach, or the specks of sail that glinted in the sunlight far at sea. A face habitually suppressed and quieted, was still lighted up under the quaint wig by a pair of moist bright eyes that it must have cost their owner, in years gone by, some pains to drill to the composed and reserved expression of Tellson's Bank. He had a healthy colour in his cheeks, and his face, though lined, bore few traces of anxiety. But, perhaps the confidential bachelor clerks in Tellson's Bank were principally occupied with the cares of other people; and perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on.

Completing his resemblance to a man who was sitting for his portrait, Mr. Lorry dropped off to sleep. The arrival of his breakfast roused him, and he said to the drawer, as he moved his chair to it:

`I wish accommodation prepared for a young lady who may come here at any time to-day. She may ask for Mr. Jarvis Lorry, or she may only ask for a gentleman from Tellson's Bank. Please to let me know.

`Yes, sir. Tellson's Bank in London, sir?'

`Yes.'

`Yes, sir. We have often times the honour to entertain your gentlemen in their travelling backwards and forwards betwixt London and Paris, sir. A vast deal of travelling, sir, in Tellson and Company's House.'

`Yes. We are quite a French House, as well as an English one.'

`Yes, sir. Not much in the habit of such travelling your-self, I think, sir?'

`Not of late years. It is fifteen years since we--since I--came last from France.'

`Indeed, sir? That was before my time here, sir. Before our people's time here, sir. The George was in other hands at that time, sir.'

`I believe so.'

`But I would hold a pretty wager, sir, that a House like Tellson and Company was flourishing, a matter of fifty, not to speak of fifteen years ago?'

`You might treble that, and say a hundred and fifty, yet not be far from the truth.'

`Indeed, sir!'

Rounding his mouth and both his eyes, as he stepped backward from the table, the waiter shifted his napkin from his-right arm to his left, dropped into a comfortable attitude, and stood surveying the guest while he ate and drank, as from an observatory or watch-tower. According to the immemorial usage of waiters in all ages.

When Mr. Lorry had finished his breakfast, he went out for a stroll on the beach. The little narrow, crooked town of Dover hid itself away from the beach, and ran its head into the chalk cliffs, like a marine ostrich. The beach was a desert of heaps of sea and stones tumbling wildly about, and the sea did what it liked, and what it liked was destruction. It thundered at the town, and thundered at the cliffs, and brought the coast down, madly. The air among the houses was of so strong a piscatory flavour that one might have supposed sick fish went up to be dipped in it, as sick people went down to be dipped in the sea. A little fishing was done in the port, and a quantity of strolling about by night, and looking seaward: particularly at those times when the tide made, and was near flood. Small tradesmen, who did no business whatever, sometimes unaccountably realised large fortunes, and it was remarkable that nobody in the neighbourhood could endure a lamplighter.

As the day declined into the afternoon, and the air, which had been at intervals clear enough to allow the French coast to be seen, became again charged with mist and vapour, Mr. Lorry's thoughts seemed to cloud too. When dark, and he sat before the coffee-room fire, awaiting his dinner as he had awaited his breakfast, his mind was digging, digging, digging, in the live red coals.

A bottle of good claret after dinner does a digger in the red coals no harm, otherwise than as it has a tendency to throw him out of work. Mr. Lorry had been idle a lo and had just poured out his last glassful of wine complete an appearance of satisfaction as is ever to be found in an elderly gentleman of a fresh complexion who has got to the end of a bottle, when a rattling of wheels came up the narrow street, and rumbled into the inn-yard.

He set down his glass untouched. `This is Mam'selle!' said he.

In a very few minutes the waiter came in to announce that Miss Manette had arrived from London, and", happy to see the gentleman from Tellson's.

`So soon?'

Miss Manette had taken some refreshment on the road, and required none then, and was extremely anxious to see the gentleman from Tellson's immediately, if it suited his pleasure and convenience.

The gentleman from Tellson's had nothing left for it but to empty his glass with an air of stolid desperation, settle his odd little flaxen wig at the ears, and follow the waiter to Miss Manette's apartment. It was a large, dark room, furnished in a funereal manner with black horsehair, and loaded with heavy dark tables. These had been oiled, until the two tall candles on the table in the of the room were gloomily reflected on every leaf; were buried, in deep graves of black mahogany, and to speak of could be expected from them until the dug out.

The obscurity was so difficult to penetrate that Mr Lorry, picking his way over the well-worn Turkey carpet, supposed Miss Manette to be, for the moment, in some adjacent room, until, having got past the two tall candles, he saw to receive him by the table between them and the young lady of not more than seventeen, in a riding-cloak, and still holding her straw travelling-hat by its ribbon in her hand. As his eyes rested on a short, slight, pretty figure, a quantity of golden hair, a pair of blue eyes that met his own with an inquiring look, and a forehead with a singular capacity (remembering how young and smooth it was of lifting and knitting itself into an expression that was not quite one of perplexity, or wonder, or alarm or merely of a bright fixed attention, though is included all the four expressions--as his eyes rested on these things, a sudden vivid likeness passed before him, of a child whom he had held in his arms on the passage across that very Channel, one cold time, when the hail drifted heavily and the sea ran high. The likeness passed away, like a breath along the surface of the gaunt pier-glass behind her, on the frame of which, a hospital procession of negro cupids, several head-less and all cripples, were offering black baskets of Dead Sea fruit to black divinities of the feminine gender--and he made his formal bow to Miss Manette.

`Pray take a seat, sir.' In a very clear and pleasant young voice; a little foreign in its accent, but a very little indeed.

`I kiss your hand, miss,' said Mr. Lorry, with the manners of an earlier date, as he made his formal bow again, and took his seat.

`I received a letter from the Bank, sir, yesterday, informing me that some intelligence--or discovery---

`The word is not material, miss; either word will do.'

`--respecting the small property of my poor father, whom I never saw--so long dead---'

Mr. Lorry moved in his chair, and cast a troubled look towards the hospital procession of negro cupids. As if they had any help for anybody in their absurd baskets!

`--rendered it necessary that I should go to Paris, there to communicate with a gentleman of the Bank, so good as to be despatched to Paris for the purpose.'

`Myself'

`As I was prepared to hear, sir.'

She curtseyed to him (young ladies made curtseys in those days), with a pretty desire to convey to him that she felt how much older and wiser he was than she. He made her another bow.

`I replied to the Bank, sir, that as it was considered necessary, by those who know, and who are so kind as to advise me, that I should go to France, and that as I am an orphan and have no friend who could go with me, I should esteem it highly if I might be permitted to place myself, during the journey, under that worthy gentleman's protection. The gentleman had left London, but I think a messenger was sent after him to beg the favour of his waiting for me here.'

`I was happy,' said Mr. Lorry, `to be entrusted with the charge. I shall be more happy to execute it.'

`Sir, I thank you indeed. I thank you very gratefully. It was told me by the Bank that the gentleman would explain to me the details of the business, and that I must prepare myself to find them of a surprising nature. I have done my best to prepare myself, and I naturally have a strong and eager interest to know what they are.

`Naturally,' said Mr. Lorry. `Yes--I---'

Alter a pause, he added, again settling the crisp flaxen wig at the ears:

`It is very difficult to begin.'

He did not begin, but, in his indecision, met her glance.

The young forehead lifted itself into that singular expression--but it was pretty and characteristic, besides being singular--and she raised her hand, as if with an involuntary action she caught at, or stayed some passing shadow.

`Are you quite a stranger to me, sir?'

`Am I not?' Mr. Lorry opened his hands, and extended them outwards with an argumentative smile.

Between the eyebrows and just over the little feminine nose, the line of which was as delicate and fine as it was possible to be, the expression deepened itself as she took her seat thoughtfully in the chair by which she had hitherto remained standing. He watched her as she mused, and the moment she raised her eyes again, went on:

`In your adopted country, I presume, I cannot do better than address you as a young English lady, Miss Manette?'

`If you please, sir.'

`Miss Manette, I am a man of business. I have a business charge to acquit myself of. In your reception of it, don't heed me any more than if I was a speaking machine--truly, I am not much else. I will, with your leave, relate to you, miss, the story of one of our customers.'

`Story!'

He seemed wilfully to mistake the word she had repeated, when he added, in a hurry, `Yes, customers; in the banking business we usually call our connexion our customers. He was a French gentleman; a scientific gentleman; a man of great acquirements--a Doctor.'

`Not of Beauvais?'

`Why, yes, of Beauvais. Like Monsieur Manette, your father, the gentleman was of Beauvais. Like Monsieur Manette, your father, the gentleman was of repute in Paris. I had the honour of knowing him there. Our relations were business relations, but confidential. I was at that time in our French--House, and had been--oh! twenty years.'

`At that time--I may ask, at what time, sir?'

`I speak, miss, of twenty years ago. He married--an English lady--and I was one of the trustees. His affairs, like the affairs of many other French gentlemen and French families, were entirely in Tellson's hands. In a similar way I am, or I have been, trustee of one kind or other for scores of our customers. These are mere business relations, miss; there is no friendship in them, no particular interest, nothing like sentiment. I have passed from one to another, iii the course of my business life, just as I pass from one of our customers to another in the course of my business day; in short, I have no feelings; I am a mere machine. To go on---

`But this is my father's story, sir; and I begin to think'--the curiously roughened forehead was very intent upon him--'that when I was left an orphan through my mother's surviving my father only two years, it was you who brought me to England. I am almost sure it was you.

Mr. Lorry took the hesitating little hand that confidingly advanced to take his, and he put it with some ceremony to his lips. He then conducted the young lady straightaway to her chair again, and, holding the chair-back with his left hand, and using his right by turns to rub his chin, pull his wig at the ears, or point what lie said, stood looking down into her face while she sat looking up into his.

`Miss Manette, it was I. And you will see how truly I spoke of myself just now, in saying I had no feelings, and that all the relations I hold with my fellow-creatures are mere business relations, when you reflect that I have never seen you since. No; you have been the ward of Tellsons House since, and I have been busy with the other business of Tellsons House since. Feelings I have no time for them, no chance of them. I pass my whole life, miss, in turning an immense pecuniary Mangle.'

After this odd description of his daily routine of employment, Mr. Lorry flattened his flaxen wig upon his head with both hands (which was most unnecessary, for nothing could be flatter than its shining surface was before), and resumed his former attitude.

`So far, miss (as you have remarked), this is the story of your regretted father. Now comes the difference. If your father had not died when he did---Don't be frightened! How you start!'

She did, indeed, start. And she caught his wrist with both her hands.

`Pray,' said Mr. Lorry, in a soothing tone, bringing hi' left hand from the back of the chair to lay it on the supplicatory fingers that clasped him in so violent a tremble; `pray control your agitation--a matter of business. As I was saying---'

Her look so discomposed him that he stopped, wandered and began anew:

`As I was saying; if Monsieur Manette had not died; if he had suddenly and silently disappeared; if he had been spirited away; if it had not been difficult to guess to what dreadful place, though no art could trace him; if he had an enemy in some compatriot who could exercise a privilege that I in my own time have known the boldest people afraid to speak of in a whisper, across the water there; for instance the privilege of filling up blank forms for the consignment of any one to the oblivion of a prison for any length of time if his wife had implored the king, the queen, the court, the clergy, for any tidings of him, and all quite in vain ;--then the history of your father would have been the history of this unfortunate gentleman, the Doctor of Beauvais.

`I entreat you to tell me more, sir.'

`I will. I am going to. You can bear it?'

`I can bear anything but the uncertainty you leave me in at this moment.

`You speak collectedly, and you--are collected. `That good!' (Though his manner was less satisfied than hi words.) `A matter of business. Regard it as a matter o-business-business that must be done. Now if this doctor's wife, though a lady of great courage and spirit, had suffered so intensely from this cause before her little child was born---'

`The little child was a daughter, sir?'

`A daughter. A--a--matter of business--don't be distressed. Miss, if the poor lady had suffered so intensely before her little child was born, that she came to the determination of sparing the poor child the inheritance of any part of the agony she had known the pains of, by rearing her in the belief that her father was dead---No, don't kneel! In Heaven's name why should you kneel to me?'

`For the truth. O dear, good, compassionate sir, for the truth!'

`A--a matter of business. You confuse me, and how can I transact business if I am confused? Let us be clear-headed. If you could kindly mention now, for instance, what nine times ninepence are, or how many shillings in twenty guineas, it would be so encouraging. I should be so much more at my ease about your state of mind.'

Without directly answering to this appeal, she sat so still when he had very gently raised her, and the hands that had not ceased to clasp his wrists were so much more steady than they had been, that she communicated some reassurance to Mr. Jarvis Lorry.

`That's right, that's right. Courage! Business! You have business before you; useful business. Miss Manette, your mother took this course with you. And when she died--I believe broken-hearted--having never slackened her unavailing search for your father, she left you, at two years old, to grow to be blooming, beautiful, and happy, without the dark cloud upon you of living in uncertainty whether your father soon wore his heart out in prison, or wasted there through many lingering years.'

As he said the words he looked down, with an admiring pity, on the flowing golden hair; as if he pictured to him-self that it might have been already tinged with grey.

`You know that your parents had no great possession, and that what they had was secured to your mother and to you. There has been no new discovery, of money, or of any other property; but---

He felt his wrist held closer, and he stopped. The expression in the forehead, which had so particularly attracted his notice, and which was now immovable, had deepened into one of pain and horror.

`But he has been-been found. He is alive. Greatly changed, it is too probable; almost a wreck, it is possible; though we will hope the best. Still, alive. Your father has been taken to the house of an old servant in Paris, and we are going there: I, to identify him if I can: you, to restore him to life, love, duty, rest, comfort.'

A shiver ran through her frame, and from it through his. She said, in a low, distinct, awe-stricken voice, as if she were saying it in a dream,

`I am going to see his Ghost! It will be his Ghost--not him!'

Mr. Lorry quietly chafed the hands that held his arm. `There, there, there! See now, see now! The best and the worst are known to you, now. You are well on your way to the poor wronged gentleman, and, with a fair sea voyage, and a fair land journey, you will be soon at his dear side.'

She repeated in the same tone, sunk to a whisper, `I have been free, I have been happy, yet his Ghost has never haunted me!'

`Only one thing more,' said Mr. Lorry, laying stress upon it as a wholesome means of enforcing her attention: `he has been found under another name; his own, long forgotten or long concealed. It would be worse than useless now to inquire which; worse than useless to seek to know whether he has been for years overlooked, or always designedly held prisoner. It would be worse than useless now to make any inquiries, because it would be dangerous. Better not to mention the subject, anywhere or in any way, and to remove him--for a while at all events--out of France. Even I, safe as an Englishman, and even Tellson's, important as they are to French credit, avoid all naming of the matter. I carry about me, not a scrap of writing openly referring to it. This is a secret service altogether. My credentials, entries, and memoranda, are all comprehended in the one line, "Recalled to Life;" which may mean anything. But what is the matter? She doesn't notice a word! Miss Manette!'

Perfectly still and silent, and not even fallen back in her chair, she sat under his hand, utterly insensible; with her eyes open and fixed upon him, and with that last expression looking as if it were carved or branded into her forehead. So close was her hold upon his arm, that he feared to detach himself lest he should hurt her; therefore he called out loudly for assistance without moving.

A wild-looking woman, whom even in his agitation, Mr. Lorry observed to be all of a red colour, and to have red hair, and to be dressed in some extraordinary tight fitting fashion, and to have on her head a most wonderful bonnet like a Grenadier wooden measure, and good measure too, or a great Stilton cheese, came running into the room in advance of the inn servants, and soon settled the question of his detachment from the poor young lady, by laying a brawny hand upon his chest, and sending him flying back against the nearest wall.

(`I really think this must be a man!' was Mr. Lorry's breathless reflection, simultaneously with his coming against the wall.)

`Why, look at you all!' bawled this figure, addressing the inn servants. `Why don't you go and fetch things, instead of standing there staring at me? I am not so much to look at, am I? Why don't you go and fetch things? I'll let you know, if you don't bring smelling-salts, cold water, and vinegar, quick, I will.'

There was an immediate dispersal for these restoratives, and she softly laid the patient on a sofa, and tended her with great skill and gentleness: calling her `my precious!' and `my bird!' and spreading her golden hair aside over her shoulders with great pride and care.

`And you in brown!' she said, indignantly turning to Mr. Lorry; `couldn't you tell her what you had to tell her, without frightening her to death? Look at her, with her pretty pale face and her cold hands. Do you call that being a Banker?'

Mr. Lorry was so exceedingly disconcerted by a question so hard to answer, that he could only look on, at a distance, with much feebler sympathy and humility, while the strong woman, having banished the inn servants under the mysterious penalty of `letting them know' something not mentioned if they stayed there, staring, recovered her charge by a regular series of gradations, and coaxed her to lay her drooping head upon her shoulder.

`I hope she will do well now,' said Mr. Lorry.

`No thanks to you in brown, if she does. My darling pretty!'

`I hope,' said Mr. Lorry, after another pause of feeble sympathy and humility, `that you accompany Miss Manette to France?'

`A likely thing, too!' replied the strong woman. `If it was ever intended that I should go across salt water, do you suppose Providence would have cast my lot in an island?'

This being another question hard to answer, Mr. Jarvis Lorry withdrew to consider it.

第四章 准备

邮车上午顺利到达多佛。乔治王旅馆的帐房先生按照他的习惯打开了邮车车门,动作略带几分礼仪性的花哨,因为能在冬天从伦敦乘邮车到达这里是一项值得向具有冒险精神的旅客道贺的成就。

这时值得道贺的具有冒险精神的旅客只剩下了一个,另外两位早已在途中的目的地下了车。邮车那长了霉的车厢里满是潮湿肮脏的干草和难闻的气味,而且光线暗淡,真有点像个狗窝;而踏着链条样的干草钻出车来的旅客罗瑞先生却也哆哆嗦嗦、一身臃肿褴褛、满腿泥泞、耷拉着帽檐,颇有点像个大种的狗。

“明天有去加莱的邮船么,帐房?“

“有的,先生,若是天气不变,而且风向有利的话。下午两点左右海潮一起,就好航行了,先生。要个铺位么,先生?“

“我要到晚上才睡,不过我还是要个房间,还要个理发匠。“

“然后,就吃早饭么,先生?是,先生,照您的吩咐办。领这位先生到协和轩去!把先生的箱子、还有热水送去。进了屋先给先生脱掉靴子--里面有舒服的泥炭火。还要个理发匠。都到协和轩办事去。“

协和轩客房总是安排给邮车旅客,而邮车旅客通常是浑身上下裹得严严实实。因此在乔治王旅馆的协和轩便出现了一种别有情趣的现象:进屋时一律一个模样,出门时却有千差万别。于是另一个帐房先生、两个看门的、几个女仆和老板娘都仿佛偶然似地停留在协和轩和咖啡室之间的通道上,迟迟不去。不久,一位六十岁左右的绅士便走出门来,去用早餐。此人身穿一套出入交际场所穿的褐色礼服,那礼服有大而方的袖口,巨大的荷包盖,颇有些旧,却洗烫得很考究。

那天上午咖啡室里除了这位穿褐色礼服的先生再也没有客人。他的餐桌已拉到壁炉前面,他坐在那儿等待着早餐时,炉火照在他身上,他却一动不动,仿佛在让人给他画像。

他看上去十分整饬,十分拘谨。两手放在膝盖上,有盖的背心口袋里一只怀表大声滴答着,响亮地讲着道,仿佛要拿它的庄重与长寿跟欢乐的火焰的轻佻与易逝作对比。这人长着一双漂亮的腿,也多少以此自豪,因为他那质地上乘的褐色长袜穿在腿上裹得紧紧的,闪着光,鞋和鞋扣虽不花哨,却也精巧。他戴了一个亚麻色的小假发,式样别致,鬈曲光泽,紧紧扣在头上。据说是用头发做的,可看上去更像是甩真丝或玻璃丝纺出来的。他的衬衫虽不如长袜精美,却也白得耀眼,像拍打着附近海滩的浪尖,或是阳光中闪耀在遥远的海上的白帆。那张脸习惯性地绷着,一点表情也没有。可在那奇妙的假发之下那对光泽明亮的眼睛却闪着光辉。看来这人在训练成为台尔森银行的那种胸有城府、不动声色的表情的过程中确曾饱经磨练。他的双颊泛着健康的红晕,险上虽有皱纹,却无多少忧患的痕迹。这大约是因为台尔森银行处理秘密业务的单身行员主要是为别人的忧患奔忙,而转手的忧患也如转手的服装,来得便宜去得也容易吧!

罗瑞先生仿佛在完成请人画像的动作时睡着了,是送来的早餐惊醒了他。他拉拉椅子靠近了餐桌,对管帐的说:

“请你们安排一位小姐的食宿。她今天任何时候都可能到达。她可能来打听贾维斯.罗瑞,也可能只打听台尔森银行的人。到时请通知我。“

“是的,先生。伦敦的台尔森银行么,先生?“

“是的。“

“是的,先生。贵行人员在伦敦和巴黎之间公干时我们常有幸接待,先生。台尔森银行的出差人员不少呢。“

“不错。我们是英国银行,却有颇大的法国成份。“

“是的,先生。我看您不大亲自出差,先生?“

“近几年不大出差了。我们--我--上次去法国回来到现在已是十五个年头了。“

“真的,先生?那时候我还没来这儿呢,先生。那是在我们这批人之前,先生。乔治王旅馆那时还在别人手上,先生。“

“我相信是的。“

“可是我愿打一个不小的赌,先生,像台尔森银行这样的企业在--不说十五年--在五十年前怕就已经挺兴旺了吧?“

“你可以翻三倍,说是一百五十年前,也差不多。“

“真的,先生!“

侍者张大了嘴,瞪大了眼,从餐桌边退后了几步,把餐巾从右臂转到左臂上,然后便悠然站着,仿佛是站在天文台或是了望台上,观赏着客人吃喝,那是侍者们世代相传不知已多少年的习惯做法。

罗瑞先生吃完了早饭便到海滩上去散步。多佛小城窄窄的,弯弯的,似是一只海上的鸵鸟为了逃避海滩,一头扎进了白垩质的峭壁里。海滩是大海与石头疯狂搏战的遗迹。大海已经干完了他想干的事,而它想干的事就是破坏。它曾疯狂地袭击过城市,袭击过峭壁,也曾摧毁过海岸。街舍间流荡着浓浓的鱼腥味,使人觉得是鱼生了病便到这儿来洗淡水浴,就像生病的人到海里去洗海水浴一样。海港里有少量渔船,晚上有不少人散步,眺望海景,在海潮渐渐升起快要涨满时游人更多。这有时叫某些并不做生意的小贩莫名其妙地发了财,可奇怪的是,这附近却没有人乐意承担一个点灯夫的费用。

已是下午时分,有时清明得可以看见法国海岸的空气又蒙上了雾霭与水气。罗瑞先生的思想也似乎蒙上了雾霭。黄昏时他坐到了咖啡室的壁炉前,像早上等待早餐一样等着晚餐,这时他心里又在匆匆忙忙地挖呀,挖呀,挖呀,在燃烧得通红的煤块里挖。

饭后一瓶优质红葡萄酒对于在通红的煤块里挖掘的人除了有可能使他挖不下去之外,别无妨碍。罗瑞先生已经悠闲了许久,刚带着心满意足的神情斟上最后一杯。这位因喝完了足足一瓶酒而容光焕发的老年绅士露出了完全满足的神态。此时那狭窄的街道上却响起了辚辚的车轮声,然后隆隆的车声便响进了院子。

他放下了那一杯尚未沾唇的酒。“小姐到了!“他说。

一会儿工夫,侍者已经进来报告,曼内特小姐已从伦敦到达,很乐意跟台尔森银行的先生见面。

“这么快?“

曼内特小姐在途中已经用过点心,不想再吃什么,只是非常急于跟台尔森银行的先生见面--若是他乐意而又方便的话。

台尔森银行的先生无可奈何,只好带着麻木的豁出去了的神情灌下最后一杯酒,整了整耳边那奇怪的淡黄色小假发,跟着侍者来到了曼内特小姐的屋子。那是一间阴暗的大屋,像丧礼一样摆着黑色马毛呢面的家具和沉重的黑色桌子。几张桌子曾上过多次油漆。摆在大屋正中桌面上的两枝高高的蜡烛只能模糊地反映在一张张桌面上,仿佛是埋葬在那黑色的桃花心木坟墓的深处,若是不挖掘,就别想它们发出光来。

那黑暗很难穿透,在罗瑞先生踩着破旧的土耳其地毯小心翼翼走去时,一时竟以为曼内特小姐是在隔壁的屋里,直到他走过那两枝蜡烛之后,才发现这一位不到十七岁的小姐正站在他和壁炉之间的桌边迎接他。那小姐披了一件骑马披风,旅行草帽的带子还捏在手里。他的目光落在了一个娇小美丽的身躯,一大堆金色的秀发,一双用询问的神色迎接着他的蓝色眼睛,还有一个那么年轻光洁、却具有那么独特的能力、可以时而抬起时而攒聚的前额上。那额头所露出的表情不完全是困惑、迷惘或是惊觉,也不仅仅是一种聪明集中的专注,不过它也包括了这四种表情。他一看到这一切,眼前便突然闪过一种强烈的似曾相识之感。那是一个孩子,他在跨越那海峡时曾抱在怀里的孩子。那天很冷,空中冰雹闪掠,海里浊浪排空。那印象消失了,可以说像呵在她身后那窄而高的穿衣镜上的一口气一样消失了。镜框上是像到医院探视病人的一群黑种小爱神,全都缺胳膊少腿,有的还没有脑袋,都在向黑皮肤的女神奉献盛满死海水果的黑色花篮--他向曼内特小姐郑重地鞠躬致敬。

“请坐,先生。“年轻的声音十分清脆动听,带几分外国腔调,不过不算重。

“我吻你的手,小姐。“罗瑞先生说着又用早年的仪式正式鞠了一躬,才坐下来。

“我昨天收到银行一封信,先生。通知我说有一个消息--或是一种发现--“

“用词无关紧要,两个叫法都是可以的。“

“是关于我可怜的父亲的一小笔财产的,我从来没见过他一-他已死去多年--“

罗瑞先生在椅子上动了动,带着为难的神色望了望黑色小爱神的探病队伍,仿佛他们那荒唐的篮子里会有什么对别人有用的东西。

“因此我必须去一趟巴黎。我要跟银行的一位先生接头。那先生很好,他为了这件事要专程去一趟巴黎。“

“那人就是我。“

“我估计你会这么说,先生。“

她向他行了个屈膝礼(那时年轻的妇女还行屈膝礼),同时温婉可爱地表示,她认为他比她要年长许多。他再次向她鞠了一躬。

“我回答银行说,既然了解此事而且好意向我提出建议的人认为我必须去一趟法国,而我却是个孤儿,没有亲友能与我同行,因此我若是能在旅途中得到那位可敬的先生的保护,我将十分感激。那位先生已经离开了伦敦,可我认为已经派了信使通知他,请他在这儿等我。“

“我很乐意接受这项任务,“罗瑞先生说,“更高兴执行。“

“先生,我的确要感谢你,发自内心地感谢你。银行告诉我说,那位先生会向我详细说明情况,让我作好思想准备,因为那事很令人吃惊。我已作好了思想准备。我当然产生了一种强烈的、急切的兴趣,要想知道真象。“

“当然,“罗瑞先生说。“是的--我--“

他略作停顿,整了整耳边蓬松的假发。

“这事真有些不知从何说起。“

他并没有立即说起,却在犹豫时迎接了她的目光。那年轻的眉头抬了起来,流露出一种独特的表情--独特而美丽,也颇有性格--她举起手来,好像想以一个无意识的动作抓住或制止某种一闪而过的影子。

“你从来没见过我么,先生?“

“难道我见过你么?“罗瑞张开两臂,摊开了双手,带着争辩的微笑。

在她那双眉之间、在她小巧的女性鼻子的上方出现了一道淡到不能再淡的纤细的皱纹。她一直站在一张椅子旁边,这时便若有所思地在椅子上坐了下来。他望着她在思索,她一抬起眼睛,他又说了下去:

“我看,在你所寄居的国家我只好称呼你英国小姐曼内特了。“

“随您的便,先生。“

“曼内特小姐,我是个生意人,我在执行一项业务工作。你在跟我来往中就把我当作一部会说话的机器好了--我实在也不过如此。你若是同意,小姐,我就把我们一个客户的故事告诉你。“

“故事!“

他似乎有意要曲解她所重复的那个词,匆匆补充道,“是的,客户;在银行业务中我们把跟我们有往来的人都叫做客户。他是个法国绅士;搞科学的,很有成就,是个医生。“

“不是波维人吧?“

“当然是,是波维人。跟令尊大人曼内特先生一样是波维人。这人跟令尊曼内特先生一样在巴黎也颇有名气。我在那儿有幸结识了他。我们之间是业务关系,但是彼此信任。那时我还在法国分行工作,那已是--啊!三十年前的事了。“

“那时--我可以问问是什么时候么,先生?“

“我说的是二十年前,小姐。他跟一个--英国小姐结了婚,我是他婚礼的经办人之一。他跟许多法国人和法国家庭一样把他的事务全部委托给了台尔森银行。同样,我是,或者说曾经是,数十上百个客户的经办人。都不过是业务关系,小姐;没有友谊,也无特别的兴趣和感情之类的东西。在我的业务生涯中我曾换过许多客户--现在我在业务工作中也不断换客户。简而言之,我没有感情;我只是一部机器。我再说--“

“可你讲的是我父亲的故事;我开始觉得--“她奇怪地皱紧了眉头仔细打量着他--“我父亲在我母亲去世后两年也去世了。把我带到英国来的就是你--我差不多可以肯定。“

罗瑞先生抓住那信赖地走来、却带几分犹豫想跟他握手的人的小手,礼貌地放到唇上,随即把那年轻姑娘送回了座位。然后便左手扶住椅背,右手时而擦擦面颊,时而整整耳边的假发,时而俯望着她的脸,打着手势说了下去--她坐在椅子上望着他。

“曼内特小姐,带你回来的是我。你会明白我刚才说过的话有多么真实:我没有感情,我跟别人的关系都只是业务关系。你刚才是在暗示我从那以后从来没有去看过你吧!不,从那以后你就一直受到台尔森银行的保护,我也忙于台尔森银行的其它业务。感情!我没有时间讲感情,也没有机会,小姐,我这一辈子就是在转动着一个硕大无朋的金钱机器。“

做完了这篇关于他日常工作的奇怪描述之后,罗瑞先生用双手压平了头上的亚麻色假发(那其实全无必要,因为它那带有光泽的表面已经平顺到不能再平顺了),又恢复了他原来的姿势。

“到目前为止,小姐,这只是你那不幸的父亲的故事--这你已经意识到了,现在我要讲的是跟以前不同的部分。如果令尊大人并没有在他死去时死去--别害怕,你吓得震了一下呢!“

她的确吓得震了一下。她用双手抓住了他的手腕。

“请你,“罗瑞先生安慰她说,把放在椅背上的左手放到紧抓住他的求援的手指上,那手指剧烈地颤抖着,“控制自己,不要激动--这只是业务工作。我刚才说过--“

姑娘的神色今他十分不安,他只好停下了话头,走了几步,再说下去:

“我刚才说:假定曼内特先生并没有死,而是突然无声无息地消失了;假定他是被绑架了,而那时猜出他被弄到了什么可怕的地方并不困难,难的只是找到他;如果他的某个同胞成了他的敌人,而那人却能运用某种在海的那边就连胆大包天的人也不敢悄悄谈起的特权,比如签署一张空白拘捕证就可以把任何人送进监牢,让他在任何规定的时间内被世人忘记。假定他的妻子向国王、王后、宫廷和教会请求调查他的下落,却都杳无音讯--那么,你父亲的历史也就成了这个不幸的人的历史,那波维城医生的历史。“

“我求你告诉我更多一些情况,先生。“

“我愿意。我马上就告诉你。可你能受得了么?“

“除了你现在让我感到的不安之外,我什么都受得了。“

“你这话倒还有自制力,而你--也确实镇静。好!“(虽然他的态度并不如他的话所表示的那么满意)“这是业务工作,就把它当业务工作看吧!--一种非办不可的业务。好,假定那医生的妻子虽然很有勇气,很有魄力,在孩子生下来之前遭到过严重的伤害-一“

“那孩子是女的吧,先生?“

“是女的。那是业--业务工作--你别难过。小姐,若是那可怜的太太在她的孩子出生之前遭到过极大的伤害,而她却下定了决心不让孩子承受她所承受过的任何痛若,只愿让孩子相信她的父亲已经死去,让孩子就像这样长大--不,别跪下!天啦!你为什么要向我跪下?“

“我要知道真象。啊,亲爱的,善良慈悲的先生,我要知道真象。“

“那是--是业务。你把我的心弄乱了。心弄乱了怎么能搞业务呢?咱们得要头脑清醒。如果你现在能告诉我九个九便士是多少,或是二十个畿尼合多少个先令,我就很高兴了。那我对你的心理状态也就放心了。“

在他温和地把她扶起后,她静静地坐着,虽没有回答他的请求,但抓住他的手腕的手反倒比刚才平静了许多,于是贾维斯.罗瑞先生才略微放心了些。

“说得对,说得对。鼓起勇气!这是业务工作!你面前有你的业务,你能起作用的业务,曼内特小姐,你的母亲跟你一起办过这事。而在她去世之前--我相信她的心已经碎了--一直坚持寻找你的父亲,尽管全无结果。她在你两岁时离开了你。她希望你像花朵一样开放,美丽、幸福,无论你的父亲是不久后安然出狱,还是长期在牢里消磨憔悴,你头上都没有乌云,不用提心吊胆过日子。“

他说此话时怀着赞许和怜惜的心情低头望着她那满头金色的飘洒的秀发,似乎在设想着它会立即染上灰白。

“你知道你的父母并无巨大的家产,他们的财产是由你母亲继承过来留给你的。此后再也没有发现过金钱或其它的财富,可是--“

他感到手腕捏得更紧了,便住了嘴。刚才特别引起他注意的额头上的表情已变得深沉固定,表现出了痛苦和恐惧。

“可是我们已经--已经找到了他。他还活着。只是大变了--这几乎是势所必然的。差不多成了废人--难免如此,虽然我们还可以往最好的方面希望。毕竟还,活着,你的父亲已经被接到一个他过去的仆人家里,在巴黎。我们就要到那儿去:我要去确认他,如果还认得出来的话;你呢,你要去恢复他的生命、爱、责任心,给他休息和安慰。“

她全身一阵震颤,那震颤也传遍了他的全身。她带着惶恐,仿佛梦呓一样低低地却清晰地说道:

“我要去看他的鬼魂!那将是他的鬼魂!--而不是他。“

罗瑞先生默默地摩挲着那只抓住他手臂的手,“好了,好了,好了。听我说,听我说,现在最好的和最坏的消息你都已经知道了。你马上就要去看这个蒙冤受屈的可怜人了。只要海上和陆上的旅行顺利,你很快就会到达他亲爱的身边了。“

她用同样的调子说,只是声音低得近似耳语,“我一直自由自在、无忧无虑,可他的灵魂却从没来纠缠过我。“

“还有一件事,“罗瑞先生为了引起她的注意,说时语气很重,“我们找到他时他用的是另外一个名字,他自己的名字早就被忘掉了,或是被抹掉了。现在去追究他用的是哪个名字只能是有害无益;去追究他这么多年来究竟只是遭到忽视或是有意被囚禁,也会是有害无益;现在再去追究任何问题都是有害无益的,因为很危险。这个问题以后就别再提了--无论在什么地方,无论用什么方式都别提了。只要千方百计把他弄出法国就行了。我是英国人,是安全的,台尔森银行在法国声望也很高。可就连我和银行也都要避免提起此事。我身上没有片纸只字正面提到这个问题。这完全是桩秘密业务。我的委任状、通行证和备忘录都包括在一句话里:‘死人复活了。’这适可以作任何解释。可是,怎么了?她一句话也没有听到!曼内特小姐!“

她在他的手下一动不动,一言不发,甚至没有靠到椅背上,却已完全失去了知觉。她瞪着眼睛凝望着他,还带着那最后的仿佛是雕刻在或是烙在眉梢的表情。她的手还紧紧地抓住他。他怕伤害了她,简直不敢把手抽开,只好一动不动,大声叫人来帮忙。

一个满面怒容的妇女抢在旅馆仆役之前跑进屋里。罗瑞尽管很激动,却也注意到她全身一片红色。红头发,特别的裹身红衣服。非常奇妙的女帽,像是王室卫队掷弹兵用的大容量的木质取酒器,或是一大块斯梯尔顿奶酪。这女人立即把他跟那可怜的小姐分开了--她把一只结实的手伸到他胸前一搡,便让他倒退回去,撞在靠近的墙上。

(“我简直以为她是个男人呢!“罗瑞先生撞到墙上喘不过气来时心里想道。)

“怎么,你看看你们这些人!“这个女人对旅馆仆役大叫,“你们站在这儿瞪着我干什么?我有什么好看的?为什么不去拿东西?你们若是不把嗅盐、冷水和醋拿来,我会叫你们好看的。我会的,快去!“

大家立刻走散,去取上述的解救剂了。那妇女把病人轻轻放到沙发上,很内行很体贴地照顾她,叫她作“我的宝贝“,“我的鸟儿“,而且很骄傲很小心地把她一头金发摊开披到肩上。

“你这个穿棕色衣服的,“她怒气冲冲地转向罗瑞先生,“你为什么把不该告诉她的东西告诉她,把她吓坏了?你看看她,漂亮的小脸儿一片煞白,手也冰凉。你认为这样做像个干银行的么?“

这问题很难回答,弄得罗瑞先生狼狈不堪,只好远远站着,同情之心和羞惭之感反倒受到削弱。这个健壮的女人用“若是你们再瞪着眼睛望着,我会叫你们好看的“这种没有明说的神秘惩罚轰走了旅馆仆役之后,又一步步恢复了她的工作。她哄着姑娘把她软垂的头靠在她的肩上。

“希望她现在会好些了,“罗瑞先生说。

“就是好了也不会感谢你这个穿棕色衣服的--我可爱的小美人儿!“

“我希望,“罗瑞先生带着微弱的同情与羞傀沉默了一会儿,“是你陪曼内特小姐到法国去?“

“很有可能!“那结实的妇女说。“如果有人让我过海去,你以为上帝还会把我的命运放在一个小岛上么?“

这又是一个很难回答的问题。贾维斯.罗瑞先生退到一旁思考去了。