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第二卷沉沦 第04章蓬塔利埃乳酪厂的详情

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CHAPTER IV DETAILS CONCERNING THE CHEESE-DAIRIES OF PONTARLIER.



Now, in order to convey an idea of what passed at that table, we cannot do better than to transcribe here a passage from one of Mademoiselle Baptistine's letters to Madame Boischevron, wherein the conversation between the convict and the Bishop is described with ingenious minuteness.

". . . This man paid no attention to any one. He ate with the voracity of a starving man. However, after supper he said:

"`Monsieur le Cure of the good God, all this is far too good for me; but I must say that the carters who would not allow me to eat with them keep a better table than you do.'

"Between ourselves, the remark rather shocked me. My brother replied:-

"`They are more fatigued than I.'

"`No,' returned the man, `they have more money. You are poor; I see that plainly. You cannot be even a curate. Are you really a cure? Ah, if the good God were but just, you certainly ought to be a cure!'

"`The good God is more than just,' said my brother.

"A moment later he added:--

"`Monsieur Jean Valjean, is it to Pontarlier that you are going?'

"`With my road marked out for me.'

"I think that is what the man said. Then he went on:--

"`I must be on my way by daybreak to-morrow. Travelling is hard. If the nights are cold, the days are hot.'

"`You are going to a good country,' said my brother. `During the Revolution my family was ruined. I took refuge in Franche-Comte at first, and there I lived for some time by the toil of my hands. My will was good. I found plenty to occupy me. One has only to choose. There are paper mills, tanneries, distilleries, oil factories, watch factories on a large scale, steel mills, copper works, twenty iron foundries at least, four of which, situated at Lods, at Chatillon, at Audincourt, and at Beure, are tolerably large.'

"I think I am not mistaken in saying that those are the names which my brother mentioned. Then he interrupted himself and addressed me:--

"`Have we not some relatives in those parts, my dear sister?'

"I replied,--

"`We did have some; among others, M. de Lucenet, who was captain of the gates at Pontarlier under the old regime.'

"`Yes,' resumed my brother; `but in '93, one had no longer any relatives, one had only one's arms. I worked. They have, in the country of Pontarlier, whither you are going, Monsieur Valjean, a truly patriarchal and truly charming industry, my sister. It is their cheese-dairies, which they call fruitieres.'

"Then my brother, while urging the man to eat, explained to him, with great minuteness, what these fruitieres of Pontarlier were; that they were divided into two classes: the big barns which belong to the rich, and where there are forty or fifty cows which produce from seven to eight thousand cheeses each summer, and the associated fruitieres, which belong to the poor; these are the peasants of mid-mountain, who hold their cows in common, and share the proceeds. `They engage the services of a cheese-maker, whom they call the grurin; the grurin receives the milk of the associates three times a day, and marks the quantity on a double tally. It is towards the end of April that the work of the cheese-dairies begins; it is towards the middle of June that the cheese-makers drive their cows to the mountains.'

"The man recovered his animation as he ate. My brother made him drink that good Mauves wine, which he does not drink himself, because he says that wine is expensive. My brother imparted all these details with that easy gayety of his with which you are acquainted, interspersing his words with graceful attentions to me. He recurred frequently to that comfortable trade of grurin, as though he wished the man to understand, without advising him directly and harshly, that this would afford him a refuge. One thing struck me. This man was what I have told you. Well, neither during supper, nor during the entire evening, did my brother utter a single word, with the exception of a few words about Jesus when he entered, which could remind the man of what he was, nor of what my brother was. To all appearances, it was an occasion for preaching him a little sermon, and of impressing the Bishop on the convict, so that a mark of the passage might remain behind. This might have appeared to any one else who had this, unfortunate man in his hands to afford a chance to nourish his soul as well as his body, and to bestow upon him some reproach, seasoned with moralizing and advice, or a little commiseration, with an exhortation to conduct himself better in the future. My brother did not even ask him from what country he came, nor what was his history. For in his history there is a fault, and my brother seemed to avoid everything which could remind him of it. To such a point did he carry it, that at one time, when my brother was speaking of the mountaineers of Pontarlier, who exercise a gentle labor near heaven, and who, he added, are happy because they are innocent, he stopped short, fearing lest in this remark there might have escaped him something which might wound the man. By dint of reflection, I think I have comprehended what was passing in my brother's heart. He was thinking, no doubt, that this man, whose name is Jean Valjean, had his misfortune only too vividly present in his mind; that the best thing was to divert him from it, and to make him believe, if only momentarily, that he was a person like any other, by treating him just in his ordinary way. Is not this indeed, to understand charity well? Is there not, dear Madame, something truly evangelical in this delicacy which abstains from sermon, from moralizing, from allusions? and is not the truest pity, when a man has a sore point, not to touch it at all? It has seemed to me that this might have been my brother's private thought. In any case, what I can say is that, if he entertained all these ideas, he gave no sign of them; from beginning to end, even to me he was the same as he is every evening, and he supped with this Jean Valjean with the same air and in the same manner in which he would have supped with M. Gedeon le Provost, or with the curate of the parish.

"Towards the end, when he had reached the figs, there came a knock at the door. It was Mother Gerbaud, with her little one in her arms. My brother kissed the child on the brow, and borrowed fifteen sous which I had about me to give to Mother Gerbaud. The man was not paying much heed to anything then. He was no longer talking, and he seemed very much fatigued. After poor old Gerbaud had taken her departure, my brother said grace; then he turned to the man and said to him, `You must be in great need of your bed.' Madame Magloire cleared the table very promptly. I understood that we must retire, in order to allow this traveller to go to sleep, and we both went up stairs. Nevertheless, I sent Madame Magloire down a moment later, to carry to the man's bed a goat skin from the Black Forest, which was in my room. The nights are frigid, and that keeps one warm. It is a pity that this skin is old; all the hair is falling out. My brother bought it while he was in Germany, at Tottlingen, near the sources of the Danube, as well as the little ivory-handled knife which I use at table.

"Madame Magloire returned immediately. We said our prayers in the drawing-room, where we hang up the linen, and then we each retired to our own chambers, without saying a word to each other."



四 蓬塔利埃乳酪厂的详情




现在,为了把那餐桌上经过的事大致地说一说,最好是把巴狄斯丁姑娘写给波瓦舍佛隆夫人的信中的一段抄下来,那苦役犯和主教的谈话,在那上面都有了坦率而细致的叙述。

“……那人对谁也不注意。他饿鬼似的贪婪地吃着。吃完汤以后,他说:

“‘慈悲上帝的神甫先生,这一切东西对我来说还确确实实是太好了,但是我得说,不肯和我一道吃饭的那些车夫比您还吃得好些呢。’

“说句私话,我觉得这种观察有些刺耳。我哥答道:

“‘他们要比我疲劳些。’

“‘不,’那人接着说,‘他们的钱多些。您穷。我看得出来。您也许连本堂神甫也还不是吧。您只是一个普通神甫吧?岂有此理,如果慈悲上帝是公平的话,您理应当个神甫。’

“‘公平两字远远不能全部表达慈悲上帝的好处。’我哥说。

“过了一会,他又说:

“‘冉阿让先生,您是要到蓬塔利埃去吗?’

“‘那是指定的路程。’

“我想他一定是那样说的。随后他接着说:

“‘明天一早我就得动身。这段路是很难走的。晚上冷,白天却很热。’

“‘您去的地方倒是个好地方,’我哥说,‘在革命时期我家破了产,起初我躲在法兰什·康地,靠自己的两条胳膊作工度日。我的毅力好。在那里我找到许多工作,只要我们肯选择。有造纸厂、制革广、蒸馏厂、榨油厂、大规模的钟表制造厂、炼钢厂、炼铜厂,铁工厂就至少有二十个,其中四个在洛兹、夏蒂荣、奥当库尔和白尔,这些厂都是很大的。’

“我想我没有搞错吧,我哥说的几个名字一定就是那几个了,随后他自己又把话打断,对我说:

“‘亲爱的妹子,我们有些亲戚住在那里吗?’

“我回答说:

“‘我们从前有过的,在那些亲戚里有德·吕司内先生,革命以前,他是蓬塔利埃的卫戍司令。’

“‘对的,’我哥接着说,‘但到了九三年大家都没有亲戚了,都只靠自己的两只手。我做过工。在蓬塔利埃,您,冉阿让先生,将要去的那地方,有一种历史悠久而极有趣的实业,我的妹妹,这就是他们叫做果品厂的那些乳酪厂。’

“于是我哥一面劝那人吃,一面把篷塔利埃果品厂的内容非常详细地说给他听。厂分两种,‘大仓’是富人的,里面有四十或五十头母牛,每个夏季可以产七千到八千个酪饼;还有合作果品厂是穷人的,半山里的乡下人把他们的牛合起来大伙公养,产品也由大伙分享。他们雇用一个制酪工人,管他叫格鲁阑;格鲁阑把各会友的牛乳收下来,每天三次,同时把分量记在双合板上。四月末,乳酪厂的工作开始;六月中,那些制酪工人就把他们的牛牵到山里去了。

“那人一面吃,一面精神也振作起来了。我哥拿那种好的母福酒给他喝,他自己却不喝,因为他说那种酒贵。我哥带着您所知道的那种怡然自得的愉快神情,把那些琐事讲给他听,谈时还不时露出殷勤的态度。他再三重复说那些格鲁阑的情况良好,好象他既迫切希望那人能懂得那是个安身的好地方,而又感到不便直截了当开导他似的。有件事给了我强烈的印象。那人的来历我已向您说过了,可是,我的哥,在晚餐期间直到就寝前,除了在他刚进门时说了几句关于耶稣的话以外,再也没有说过一个字可以使那人回忆起他自己是谁,也没有一个字可以使那人看出我的哥是谁。在那种场合,似乎很可以告诫他几句,并且可以把主教压在罪犯的头上,暂时给他留下一个印象。如果是别人碰上了这样一个可怜人,他也许会认为,在给以物质食粮的同时,还应当给以精神食粮,不妨在谴责当中附带教训开导一番,或是说些怜惜的话勉励他以后好好做人。我哥却连他的籍贯和历史都没有问。因为在他的历史里,有他的过失,我哥仿佛要避免一切可以使他回忆起那些事的话。他谈到蓬塔利埃的山民,只说他们接近青天,工作舒适。他还说他们快乐,因为他们没有罪过,正说到这儿,他突然停了下来,唯恐他无心说出的那两个字含有可以触犯那人的意思。我仔细想过以后,自信领会了我哥的心思。他心里想,那个叫作冉阿让的人,脑子里苦恼太多了,最好是装出完全没有事的样子,使他感到轻松自在,使他认为他是和旁人一样的一个人。那样,即使只是片刻,也是好的。那岂不是对慈善的最深切的了解吗?我慈祥的夫人,他那样撇开告诫、教训、暗示,岂不是体贴入微,确实高明无比吗?人有痛处,最好的爱护,难道不是绝不去碰它吗?我想这或者就是我哥心里的想法了。无论怎样,我可以说,即使他有过那些心思,却对我也不曾流露过,自然至终,他完全是平时那个人,他那晚和冉阿让进餐,正和他陪着瑞德翁·勒普莱服先生或是总司铎管辖区的司铎进晚餐一样。

“晚餐快完,大家吃着无花果时,有个人来敲门。那是瑞波妈妈,手里抱着她的小孩。我哥吻了吻那孩子的额头,向我借去身上的十五个苏,给了瑞波妈妈。那人到了这时,已经不大留心,注意力已不怎么集中了。他不再说话,显得非常疲倦。可怜的老瑞波走了以后,我哥念了谢食文,随后又转过身去,向那人说:‘您大概很需要上床休息了。’马格洛大娘赶忙收拾桌子。我知道我们应当走开,让那旅客去休息,两个人便一同上了楼。过了一会,我又派马格洛大娘把我房里的那张黑森林麂子皮送到那人的床上。夜间冰冷,那东西可以御寒。可惜那张皮已经旧了,毛已落光。它是我哥从前住在德国多瑙河发源地附近的多德林根城时买的,我在餐桌上用的那把象牙柄的小刀也是在那地方同时买的。

“马格洛大娘几乎即刻就上楼来了,我们在晾洗衣服的屋子里祷告了上帝,随后,各自回到自己的房间,没有再谈什么。”
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