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sybaritic/[ˌsɪbəˋrɪtɪk]/ a. 奢侈享乐的, 耽于奢侈逸乐的, 骄奢淫逸的...

第二卷沉沦 第12章主教工作

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CHAPTER XII THE BISHOP WORKS



The next morning at sunrise Monseigneur Bienvenu was strolling in his garden. Madame Magloire ran up to him in utter consternation.

"Monseigneur, Monseigneur!" she exclaimed, "does your Grace know where the basket of silver is?"

"Yes," replied the Bishop.

"Jesus the Lord be blessed!" she resumed; "I did not know what had become of it."

The Bishop had just picked up the basket in a flower-bed. He presented it to Madame Magloire.

"Here it is."

"Well!" said she. "Nothing in it! And the silver?"

"Ah," returned the Bishop, "so it is the silver which troubles you? I don't know where it is."

"Great, good God! It is stolen! That man who was here last night has stolen it."

In a twinkling, with all the vivacity of an alert old woman, Madame Magloire had rushed to the oratory, entered the alcove, and returned to the Bishop. The Bishop had just bent down, and was sighing as he examined a plant of cochlearia des Guillons, which the basket had broken as it fell across the bed. He rose up at Madame Magloire's cry.

"Monseigneur, the man is gone! The silver has been stolen!" As she uttered this exclamation, her eyes fell upon a corner of the garden, where traces of the wall having been scaled were visible. The coping of the wall had been torn away.

"Stay! yonder is the way he went. He jumped over into Cochefilet Lane. Ah, the abomination! He has stolen our silver!"

The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he raised his grave eyes, and said gently to Madame Magloire:--

"And, in the first place, was that silver ours?"

Madame Magloire was speechless. Another silence ensued; then the Bishop went on:--

"Madame Magloire, I have for a long time detained that silver wrongfully. It belonged to the poor. Who was that man? A poor man, evidently."

"Alas! Jesus!" returned Madame Magloire. "It is not for my sake, nor for Mademoiselle's. It makes no difference to us. But it is for the sake of Monseigneur. What is Monseigneur to eat with now?"

The Bishop gazed at her with an air of amazement.

"Ah, come! Are there no such things as pewter forks and spoons?"

Madame Magloire shrugged her shoulders.

"Pewter has an odor."

"Iron forks and spoons, then."

Madame Magloire made an expressive grimace.

"Iron has a taste."

"Very well," said the Bishop; "wooden ones then."

A few moments later he was breakfasting at the very table at which Jean Valjean had sat on the previous evening. As he ate his breakfast, Monseigneur Welcome remarked gayly to his sister, who said nothing, and to Madame Magloire, who was grumbling under her breath, that one really does not need either fork or spoon, even of wood, in order to dip a bit of bread in a cup of milk.

"A pretty idea, truly," said Madame Magloire to herself, as she went and came, "to take in a man like that! and to lodge him close to one's self! And how fortunate that he did nothing but steal! Ah, mon Dieu! it makes one shudder to think of it!"

As the brother and sister were about to rise from the table, there came a knock at the door.

"Come in," said the Bishop.

The door opened. A singular and violent group made its appearance on the threshold. Three men were holding a fourth man by the collar. The three men were gendarmes; the other was Jean Valjean.

A brigadier of gendarmes, who seemed to be in command of the group, was standing near the door. He entered and advanced to the Bishop, making a military salute.

"Monseigneur--" said he.

At this word, Jean Valjean, who was dejected and seemed overwhelmed, raised his head with an air of stupefaction.

"Monseigneur!" he murmured. "So he is not the cure?"

"Silence!" said the gendarme. "He is Monseigneur the Bishop."

In the meantime, Monseigneur Bienvenu had advanced as quickly as his great age permitted.

"Ah! here you are!" he exclaimed, looking at Jean Valjean. "I am glad to see you. Well, but how is this? I gave you the candlesticks too, which are of silver like the rest, and for which you can certainly get two hundred francs. Why did you not carry them away with your forks and spoons?"

Jean Valjean opened his eyes wide, and stared at the venerable Bishop with an expression which no human tongue can render any account of.

"Monseigneur," said the brigadier of gendarmes, "so what this man said is true, then? We came across him. He was walking like a man who is running away. We stopped him to look into the matter. He had this silver--"

"And he told you," interposed the Bishop with a smile, "that it had been given to him by a kind old fellow of a priest with whom he had passed the night? I see how the matter stands. And you have brought him back here? It is a mistake."

"In that case," replied the brigadier, "we can let him go?"

"Certainly," replied the Bishop.

The gendarmes released Jean Valjean, who recoiled.

"Is it true that I am to be released?" he said, in an almost inarticulate voice, and as though he were talking in his sleep.

"Yes, thou art released; dost thou not understand?" said one of the gendarmes.

"My friend," resumed the Bishop, "before you go, here are your candlesticks. Take them."

He stepped to the chimney-piece, took the two silver candlesticks, and brought them to Jean Valjean. The two women looked on without uttering a word, without a gesture, without a look which could disconcert the Bishop.

Jean Valjean was trembling in every limb. He took the two candlesticks mechanically, and with a bewildered air.

"Now," said the Bishop, "go in peace. By the way, when you return, my friend, it is not necessary to pass through the garden. You can always enter and depart through the street door. It is never fastened with anything but a latch, either by day or by night."

Then, turning to the gendarmes:--

"You may retire, gentlemen."

The gendarmes retired.

Jean Valjean was like a man on the point of fainting.

The Bishop drew near to him, and said in a low voice:--

"Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man."

Jean Valjean, who had no recollection of ever having promised anything, remained speechless. The Bishop had emphasized the words when he uttered them. He resumed with solemnity:--

"Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to evil, but to good. It is your soul that I buy from you; I withdraw it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God."



十二 主教工作




次日破晓,卞福汝主教在他的园中散步。马格洛大娘慌慌张张地向他跑来。

“我的主教,我的主教,”她喊着说,“大人可知道那只银器篮子在什么地方吗?”

“知道的。”主教说。

“耶稣上帝有灵!”她说。“我刚才还说它到什么地方去了呢。”

主教刚在花坛脚下拾起了那篮子,把它交给马格洛大娘。

“篮子在这儿。”

“怎样?”她说。“里面一点东西也没有!那些银器呢?”

“呀,”主教回答说,“您原来是问银器吗?我不知道在什么地方。”

“大哉好上帝!给人偷去了!是昨天晚上那个人偷了的!”

一转瞬间,马格洛大娘已用急躁老太婆的全部敏捷劲儿跑进祈祷室,穿进壁厢,又回到主教那儿。

主教正弯下腰去,悼惜一株被那篮子压折的秋海棠,那是篮子从花坛落到地下把它压折了的。主教听到马格洛大娘的叫声,又立起立。

“我的主教,那个人已经走了!银器也偷去了。”

她一面嚷,眼睛却落在园子的一角上,那儿还看得出越墙的痕迹。墙上的垛子也弄掉了一个。

“您瞧!他是从那儿逃走的。他跳进了车网巷!呀!可耻的东西!他偷了我们的银器!”

主教沉默了一会,随后他张开那双严肃的眼睛,柔声向马格洛大娘说:

“首先,那些银器难道真是我们的吗?”

马格洛大娘不敢说下去了。又是一阵沉寂。随后,主教继续说:

“马格洛大娘,我占用那些银器已经很久了。那是属于穷人的。那个人是什么人呢?当然是个穷人了。”

“耶稣,”马格洛大娘又说,“不是为了我,也不是为了姑娘,我们是没有关系的。但是我是为了我的主教着想。我的主教现在用什么东西盛饭菜呢?”

主教显出一副惊奇的神气瞧着她。

“呀!这话怎讲!我们不是有锡器吗?”

马格洛大娘耸了耸肩。

“锡器有一股臭气。”

“那么,铁器也可以。”

马格洛大娘做出一副怪样子:

“铁器有一股怪味。”

“那么,”主教说,“用木器就是了。”

过了一会,他坐在昨晚冉阿让坐过的那张桌子边用早餐。卞福汝主教一面吃,一面欢欢喜喜地叫他那哑口无言的妹子和叽哩咕噜的马格洛大娘注意,他把一块面包浸在牛奶里,连木匙和木叉也都不用。

“真想不到!”马格洛大娘一面走来走去,一面自言自语,“招待这样一个人,并且让他睡在自己的旁边!幸而他只偷了一点东西!我的上帝!想想都使人寒毛直竖。”

正在兄妹俩要离开桌子时,有人敲门。

“请进。”主教说。

门开了,一群狠巴巴的陌生人出现在门边。三个人拿着另一个人的衣领。那三个人是警察,另一个就是冉阿让。

一个警察队长,仿佛是率领那群人的,起先立在门边。他进来,行了个军礼,向主教走去。

“我的主教……”他说。

冉阿让先头好象是垂头丧气的,听了这称呼,忽然抬起头来,露出大吃一惊的神气。

“我的主教,”他低声说,“那么,他不是本堂神甫了……”

“不准开口!”一个警察说,“这是主教先生。”

但是卞福汝主教尽他的高年所允许的速度迎上去。

“呀!您来了!”他望着冉阿让大声说,“我真高兴看见您。怎么!那一对烛台,我也送给您了,那和其余的东西一样,都是银的,您可以变卖二百法郎。您为什么没有把那对烛台和餐具一同带去呢?”

冉阿让睁圆了眼睛,瞧着那位年高可敬的主教。他的面色,绝没有一种人类文字可以表达得出来。

“我的主教,”警察队长说,“难道这人说的话是真的吗?我们碰到了他。他走路的样子好象是个想逃跑的人。我们就把他拦下来看看。他拿着这些银器……”

“他还向你们说过,”主教笑容可掬地岔着说,“这些银器是一个神甫老头儿给他的,他还在他家里宿了一夜。我知道这是怎么回事。你们又把他带回到此地。对吗?你们误会了。”

“既是这样,”队长说,“我们可以把他放走吗?”

“当然。”主教回答说。

警察释放了冉阿让,他向后退了几步。

“你们真让我走吗?”他说,仿佛是在梦中,字音也几乎没有吐清楚。

“是的,我们让你走,你耳朵聋了吗?”一个警察说。

“我的朋友,”主教又说,“您在走之先,不妨把您的那对烛台拿去。”

他走到壁炉边,拿了那两个银烛台,送给冉阿让。那两个妇人没有说一个字、做一个手势或露一点神气去阻扰主教,她们瞧着他行动。

冉阿让全身发抖。他机械地接了那两个烛台,不知道怎样才好。

“现在,”主教说,“您可以放心走了。呀!还有一件事,我的朋友,您再来时,不必走园里。您随时都可以由街上的那扇门进出。白天和夜里,它都只上一个活闩。”

他转过去朝着那些警察:

“先生们,你们可以回去了。”

那些警察走了。

这时冉阿让象是个要昏倒的人。

主教走到他身边,低声向他说:

“不要忘记,永远不要忘记您允诺过我,您用这些银子是为了成为一个诚实的人。”

冉阿让绝对回忆不起他曾允诺过什么话,他呆着不能开口。主教说那些话是一字一字叮嘱的,他又郑重地说:“冉阿让,我的兄弟,您现在已不是恶一方面的人了,您是在善的一面了。我赎的是您的灵魂,我把它从黑暗的思想和自暴自弃的精神里救出来,交还给上帝。”
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