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第二沉沦 第11章他干的事

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CHAPTER XI WHAT HE DOES



Jean Valjean listened. Not a sound.

He gave the door a push.

He pushed it gently with the tip of his finger, lightly, with the furtive and uneasy gentleness of a cat which is desirous of entering.

The door yielded to this pressure, and made an imperceptible and silent movement, which enlarged the opening a little.

He waited a moment; then gave the door a second and a bolder push.

It continued to yield in silence. The opening was now large enough to allow him to pass. But near the door there stood a little table, which formed an embarrassing angle with it, and barred the entrance.

Jean Valjean recognized the difficulty. It was necessary, at any cost, to enlarge the aperture still further.

He decided on his course of action, and gave the door a third push, more energetic than the two preceding. This time a badly oiled hinge suddenly emitted amid the silence a hoarse and prolonged cry.

Jean Valjean shuddered. The noise of the hinge rang in his ears with something of the piercing and formidable sound of the trump of the Day of Judgment.

In the fantastic exaggerations of the first moment he almost imagined that that hinge had just become animated, and had suddenly assumed a terrible life, and that it was barking like a dog to arouse every one, and warn and to wake those who were asleep. He halted, shuddering, bewildered, and fell back from the tips of his toes upon his heels. He heard the arteries in his temples beating like two forge hammers, and it seemed to him that his breath issued from his breast with the roar of the wind issuing from a cavern. It seemed impossible to him that the horrible clamor of that irritated hinge should not have disturbed the entire household, like the shock of an earthquake; the door, pushed by him, had taken the alarm, and had shouted; the old man would rise at once; the two old women would shriek out; people would come to their assistance; in less than a quarter of an hour the town would be in an uproar, and the gendarmerie on hand. For a moment he thought himself lost.

He remained where he was, petrified like the statue of salt, not daring to make a movement. Several minutes elapsed. The door had fallen wide open. He ventured to peep into the next room. Nothing had stirred there. He lent an ear. Nothing was moving in the house. The noise made by the rusty hinge had not awakened any one.

This first danger was past; but there still reigned a frightful tumult within him. Nevertheless, he did not retreat. Even when he had thought himself lost, he had not drawn back. His only thought now was to finish as soon as possible. He took a step and entered the room.

This room was in a state of perfect calm. Here and there vague and confused forms were distinguishable, which in the daylight were papers scattered on a table, open folios, volumes piled upon a stool, an arm-chair heaped with clothing, a prie-Dieu, and which at that hour were only shadowy corners and whitish spots. Jean Valjean advanced with precaution, taking care not to knock against the furniture. He could hear, at the extremity of the room, the even and tranquil breathing of the sleeping Bishop.

He suddenly came to a halt. He was near the bed. He had arrived there sooner than he had thought for.

Nature sometimes mingles her effects and her spectacles with our actions with sombre and intelligent appropriateness, as though she desired to make us reflect. For the last half-hour a large cloud had covered the heavens. At the moment when Jean Valjean paused in front of the bed, this cloud parted, as though on purpose, and a ray of light, traversing the long window, suddenly illuminated the Bishop's pale face. He was sleeping peacefully. He lay in his bed almost completely dressed, on account of the cold of the Basses-Alps, in a garment of brown wool, which covered his arms to the wrists. His head was thrown back on the pillow, in the careless attitude of repose; his hand, adorned with the pastoral ring, and whence had fallen so many good deeds and so many holy actions, was hanging over the edge of the bed. His whole face was illumined with a vague expression of satisfaction, of hope, and of felicity. It was more than a smile, and almost a radiance. He bore upon his brow the indescribable reflection of a light which was invisible. The soul of the just contemplates in sleep a mysterious heaven.

A reflection of that heaven rested on the Bishop.

It was, at the same time, a luminous transparency, for that heaven was within him. That heaven was his conscience.

At the moment when the ray of moonlight superposed itself, so to speak, upon that inward radiance, the sleeping Bishop seemed as in a glory. It remained, however, gentle and veiled in an ineffable half-light. That moon in the sky, that slumbering nature, that garden without a quiver, that house which was so calm, the hour, the moment, the silence, added some solemn and unspeakable quality to the venerable repose of this man, and enveloped in a sort of serene and majestic aureole that white hair, those closed eyes, that face in which all was hope and all was confidence, that head of an old man, and that slumber of an infant.

There was something almost divine in this man, who was thus august, without being himself aware of it.

Jean Valjean was in the shadow, and stood motionless, with his iron candlestick in his hand, frightened by this luminous old man. Never had he beheld anything like this. This confidence terrified him. The moral world has no grander spectacle than this: a troubled and uneasy conscience, which has arrived on the brink of an evil action, contemplating the slumber of the just.

That slumber in that isolation, and with a neighbor like himself, had about it something sublime, of which he was vaguely but imperiously conscious.

No one could have told what was passing within him, not even himself. In order to attempt to form an idea of it, it is necessary to think of the most violent of things in the presence of the most gentle. Even on his visage it would have been impossible to distinguish anything with certainty. It was a sort of haggard astonishment. He gazed at it, and that was all. But what was his thought? It would have been impossible to divine it. What was evident was, that he was touched and astounded. But what was the nature of this emotion?

His eye never quitted the old man. The only thing which was clearly to be inferred from his attitude and his physiognomy was a strange indecision. One would have said that he was hesitating between the two abysses,-- the one in which one loses one's self and that in which one saves one's self. He seemed prepared to crush that skull or to kiss that hand.

At the expiration of a few minutes his left arm rose slowly towards his brow, and he took off his cap; then his arm fell back with the same deliberation, and Jean Valjean fell to meditating once more, his cap in his left hand, his club in his right hand, his hair bristling all over his savage head.

The Bishop continued to sleep in profound peace beneath that terrifying gaze.

The gleam of the moon rendered confusedly visible the crucifix over the chimney-piece, which seemed to be extending its arms to both of them, with a benediction for one and pardon for the other.

Suddenly Jean Valjean replaced his cap on his brow; then stepped rapidly past the bed, without glancing at the Bishop, straight to the cupboard, which he saw near the head; he raised his iron candlestick as though to force the lock; the key was there; he opened it; the first thing which presented itself to him was the basket of silverware; he seized it, traversed the chamber with long strides, without taking any precautions and without troubling himself about the noise, gained the door, re-entered the oratory, opened the window, seized his cudgel, bestrode the window-sill of the ground-floor, put the silver into his knapsack, threw away the basket, crossed the garden, leaped over the wall like a tiger, and fled.



十一 他干的事




冉阿让张耳细听。绝没有一点声响。

他推门。

他用指尖推着,轻轻地、缓缓地、正象一只胆怯心细、想要进门的猫。

门被推以后,静悄悄地移动了几乎不能察觉的那么一点点,缝也稍微宽了一丝。

他等待了一会,再推,这次使力比较大。

门悄然逐渐开大了。现在那条缝已能容他身体过去。但是门旁有一张小桌子,那角度堵住了路,妨碍他通过门缝。

冉阿让知道那种困难。无论如何,他非得把门推得更开一些不可。

他打定主意,再推,比先头两次更使劲一些。这一次,却有个门臼,由于润滑油干了,在黑暗里突然发出一种嘶哑延续的声音。

冉阿让大吃一惊。在他耳里门臼的响声就和末日审判的号角那样洪亮骇人。

在开始行动的那一刹那间,由于幻想的扩大,他几乎认为那个门臼活起来了,并且具有一种非常的活力,就象一头狂叫的狗要向全家告警,要叫醒那些睡着的人。

他停下来,浑身哆嗦,不知所措,他原是踮着脚尖走路,现在连脚跟也落地了。他听见他的动脉在两边太阳穴里象两个铁锤那样敲打着,胸中出来的气也好象来自山洞的风声。他认为那个发怒的门臼所发出的那种震耳欲聋的声响,如果不是天崩地裂似的把全家惊醒,那是不可能的。他推的那扇门已有所警惕,并且已经叫喊;那个老人就要起来了,两个老姑娘也要大叫了,还有旁人都会前来搭救;不到一刻钟,满城都会骚乱,警察也会出动。他一下子认为自己完了。

他立在原处发慌,好象一尊石人,一动也不敢动。

几分钟过去了。门大大地开着。他冒险把那房间瞧了一遍。丝毫没有动静,他伸出耳朵听,整所房子里没有一点声音。

那个锈门臼的响声并不曾惊醒任何人。

这第一次的危险已经过了,但是他心里仍旧惊恐难受。不过他并不后退。即使是在他以为一切没有希望时,他也没有后退。他心里只想到要干就得赶快。他向前一步,便跨进了那房间。

那房间是完全寂静的。这儿那儿,他看见一些模糊紊乱的形体,如果在白天便看得出来,那只是桌上一些零乱的纸张、展开的表册、圆凳上堆着的书本、一把堆着衣服的安乐椅、一把祈祷椅,可是在这时,这些东西却一齐变为黑黝黝的空穴和迷蒙难辨的地域。冉阿让仍朝前走,谨慎小心,唯恐撞了家具。

他听到主教熟睡在那房间的尽头,发出均匀安静的呼吸。

他忽然停下来。他已到了床边。他自己并没有料到会那样快就到了主教的床边。

上天有时会在适当时刻使万物的景象和人的行动发生巧妙的配合,从而产生出深刻的效果,仿佛有意要我们多多思考似的。大致在半个钟点以前,就已有一大片乌云遮着天空。正当冉阿让停在床前,那片乌云忽然散开了,好象是故意要那样做似的,一线月光也随即穿过长窗,正正照在主教的那张苍老的脸上。主教正安安稳稳地睡着。他几乎是和衣睡在床上的,因为下阿尔卑斯一带的夜晚很冷,一件棕色的羊毛衫盖住他的胳膊,直到腕边。他的头仰在枕头上,那正是恣意休息的姿态,一只手垂在床外,指上戴着主教的指环,多少功德都是由这只手圆满了的。他的面容隐隐显出满足、乐观和安详的神情。那不仅仅是微笑,还几乎是容光的焕发。他额上反映出灵光,那是我们看不见的。心地正直的人在睡眠中也在景仰那神秘的天空。

来自天空的一线彩光正射在主教的身上。

同时他本身也是光明剔透的,因为那片天就在他的心里。

那片天就是他的信仰。

正当月光射来重叠(不妨这样说)在他心光上的时候,熟睡着的主教好象是包围在一圈灵光里。那种光却是柔和的,涵容在一种无可言喻的半明半暗的光里。天空的那片月光,地上的这种沉寂,这个了无声息的园子,这个静谧的人家,此时此刻,万籁俱寂,这一切,都使那慈祥老人酣畅的睡眠有着一种说不出的奇妙庄严的神态,并且还以一种端详肃静的圆光环绕着那些白发和那双合着的眼睛,那种充满了希望和赤忱的容颜,老人的面目和赤子的睡眠。

这个人不自觉的无比尊严几乎可以和神明媲美。冉阿让,他,却待在黑影里,手中拿着他的铁烛钎,立着不动,望着这位全身光亮的老人,有些胆寒。他从来没有见过那样的人。他那种待人的赤忱使他惊骇。一个心怀叵测、濒于犯罪的人在景仰一个睡乡中的至人,精神领域中没有比这更宏伟的场面了。

他孤零零独自一人,却酣然睡在那样一个陌生人的旁边,他那种卓绝的心怀冉阿让多少也感觉到了,不过他不为所动。

谁也说不出他的心情,连他自己也说不出。如果我们真要领会,就必须设想一种极端强暴的力和一种极端温和的力的并立。即使是从他的面色上,我们肯定不能分辨出什么来。那只是一副凶顽而又惊骇的面孔。他望着,如是而已。但是他的心境是怎样的呢?那是无从揣测的。不过,他受到了感动,受到了困扰,那是很显明的。但是那种感动究竟属于什么性质的呢?

他的眼睛没有离开老人。从他的姿势和面容上显露出来的,仅仅是一种奇特的犹豫神情。我们可以说,他正面对着两种关口而踟蹰不前,一种是自绝的关口,一种是自救的关口。

他仿佛已准备要击碎那头颅或吻那只手。

过了一会,他缓缓地举起他的左手,直到额边,脱下他的小帽,随后他的手又同样缓缓地落下去。冉阿让重又堕入冥想中了,左手拿着小帽,右手拿着铁钎,头发乱竖在他那粗野的头上。

尽管他用怎样可怕的目光望着主教,但主教仍安然酣睡。

月光依稀照着壁炉上的那个耶稣受难像,他仿佛把两只手同时伸向他们两个人,为一个降福,为另一个赦宥。忽然,冉阿让拿起他的小帽,戴在头上,不望那主教,连忙沿着床边,向他从床头可以隐隐望见的那个壁橱走去,他想起那根铁烛钎,好象要撬锁似的,但是钥匙已在那上面,他打开橱,他最先见到的东西,便是那篮银器,他提着那篮银器,大踏步穿过那间屋子,也不管声响了,走到门边,进入祈祷室,推开窗子,拿起木棍,跨过窗台,把银器放进布袋,丢下篮子,穿过园子,老虎似的跳过墙头逃了。
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