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lodge/[lɔdʒ]/ n. 小屋, 门房, 支部, 旅舍, 分会 vi. 临时住宿...

第七卷商马第案件 第07章到了的旅人准备回程

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CHAPTER VII THE TRAVELLER ON HIS ARRIVAL TAKES PRECAUTIONS FOR DEPARTURE



It was nearly eight o'clock in the evening when the cart, which we left on the road, entered the porte-cochere of the Hotel de la Poste in Arras; the man whom we have been following up to this moment alighted from it, responded with an abstracted air to the attentions of the people of the inn, sent back the extra horse, and with his own hands led the little white horse to the stable; then he opened the door of a billiard-room which was situated on the ground floor, sat down there, and leaned his elbows on a table; he had taken fourteen hours for the journey which he had counted on making in six; he did himself the justice to acknowledge that it was not his fault, but at bottom, he was not sorry.

The landlady of the hotel entered.

"Does Monsieur wish a bed? Does Monsieur require supper?"

He made a sign of the head in the negative.

"The stableman says that Monsieur's horse is extremely fatigued."

Here he broke his silence.

"Will not the horse be in a condition to set out again to-morrow morning?"

"Oh, Monsieur! he must rest for two days at least."

He inquired:--

"Is not the posting-station located here?"

"Yes, sir."

The hostess conducted him to the office; he showed his passport, and inquired whether there was any way of returning that same night to M. sur M. by the mail-wagon; the seat beside the post-boy chanced to be vacant; he engaged it and paid for it. "Monsieur," said the clerk, "do not fail to be here ready to start at precisely one o'clock in the morning."

This done, he left the hotel and began to wander about the town.

He was not acquainted with Arras; the streets were dark, and he walked on at random; but he seemed bent upon not asking the way of the passers-by. He crossed the little river Crinchon, and found himself in a labyrinth of narrow alleys where he lost his way. A citizen was passing along with a lantern. After some hesitation, he decided to apply to this man, not without having first glanced behind and in front of him, as though he feared lest some one should hear the question which he was about to put.

"Monsieur," said he, "where is the court-house, if you please."

"You do not belong in town, sir?" replied the bourgeois, who was an oldish man; "well, follow me. I happen to be going in the direction of the court-house, that is to say, in the direction of the hotel of the prefecture; for the court-house is undergoing repairs just at this moment, and the courts are holding their sittings provisionally in the prefecture."

"Is it there that the Assizes are held?" he asked.

"Certainly, sir; you see, the prefecture of to-day was the bishop's palace before the Revolution. M. de Conzie, who was bishop in '82, built a grand hall there. It is in this grand hall that the court is held."

On the way, the bourgeois said to him:--

"If Monsieur desires to witness a case, it is rather late. The sittings generally close at six o'clock."

When they arrived on the grand square, however, the man pointed out to him four long windows all lighted up, in the front of a vast and gloomy building.

"Upon my word, sir, you are in luck; you have arrived in season. Do you see those four windows? That is the Court of Assizes. There is light there, so they are not through. The matter must have been greatly protracted, and they are holding an evening session. Do you take an interest in this affair? Is it a criminal case? Are you a witness?"

He replied:--

"I have not come on any business; I only wish to speak to one of the lawyers."

"That is different," said the bourgeois. "Stop, sir; here is the door where the sentry stands. You have only to ascend the grand staircase."

He conformed to the bourgeois's directions, and a few minutes later he was in a hall containing many people, and where groups, intermingled with lawyers in their gowns, were whispering together here and there.

It is always a heart-breaking thing to see these congregations of men robed in black, murmuring together in low voices, on the threshold of the halls of justice. It is rare that charity and pity are the outcome of these words. Condemnations pronounced in advance are more likely to be the result. All these groups seem to the passing and thoughtful observer so many sombre hives where buzzing spirits construct in concert all sorts of dark edifices.

This spacious hall, illuminated by a single lamp, was the old hall of the episcopal palace, and served as the large hall of the palace of justice. A double-leaved door, which was closed at that moment, separated it from the large apartment where the court was sitting.

The obscurity was such that he did not fear to accost the first lawyer whom he met.

"What stage have they reached, sir?" he asked.

"It is finished," said the lawyer.

"Finished!"

This word was repeated in such accents that the lawyer turned round.

"Excuse me sir; perhaps you are a relative?"

"No; I know no one here. Has judgment been pronounced?"

"Of course. Nothing else was possible."

"To penal servitude?"

"For life."

He continued, in a voice so weak that it was barely audible:--

"Then his identity was established?"

"What identity?" replied the lawyer."There was no identity to be established. The matter was very simple. The woman had murdered her child; the infanticide was proved; the jury threw out the question of premeditation, and she was condemned for life."

"So it was a woman?" said he.

"Why, certainly. The Limosin woman. Of what are you speaking?"

"Nothing. But since it is all over, how comes it that the hall is still lighted?"

"For another case, which was begun about two hours ago.

"What other case?"

"Oh! this one is a clear case also. It is about a sort of blackguard; a man arrested for a second offence; a convict who has been guilty of theft. I don't know his name exactly. There's a bandit's phiz for you! I'd send him to the galleys on the strength of his face alone."

"Is there any way of getting into the court-room, sir?" said he.

"I really think that there is not. There is a great crowd. However, the hearing has been suspended. Some people have gone out, and when the hearing is resumed, you might make an effort."

"Where is the entrance?"

"Through yonder large door."

The lawyer left him. In the course of a few moments he had experienced, almost simultaneously, almost intermingled with each other, all possible emotions. The words of this indifferent spectator had, in turn, pierced his heart like needles of ice and like blades of fire. When he saw that nothing was settled, he breathed freely once more; but he could not have told whether what he felt was pain or pleasure.

He drew near to many groups and listened to what they were saying. The docket of the session was very heavy; the president had appointed for the same day two short and simple cases. They had begun with the infanticide, and now they had reached the convict, the old offender, the "return horse." This man had stolen apples, but that did not appear to be entirely proved; what had been proved was, that he had already been in the galleys at Toulon. It was that which lent a bad aspect to his case. However, the man's examination and the depositions of the witnesses had been completed, but the lawyer's plea, and the speech of the public prosecutor were still to come; it could not be finished before midnight. The man would probably be condemned; the attorney-general was very clever, and never missed his culprits; he was a brilliant fellow who wrote verses.

An usher stood at the door communicating with the hall of the Assizes. He inquired of this usher:--

"Will the door be opened soon, sir?"

"It will not be opened at all," replied the usher.

"What! It will not be opened when the hearing is resumed? Is not the hearing suspended?"

"The hearing has just been begun again," replied the usher, "but the door will not be opened again."

"Why?"

"Because the hall is full."

"What! There is not room for one more?"

"Not another one. The door is closed. No one can enter now."

The usher added after a pause: "There are, to tell the truth, two or three extra places behind Monsieur le President, but Monsieur le President only admits public functionaries to them."

So saying, the usher turned his back.

He retired with bowed head, traversed the antechamber, and slowly descended the stairs, as though hesitating at every step. It is probable that he was holding counsel with himself. The violent conflict which had been going on within him since the preceding evening was not yet ended; and every moment he encountered some new phase of it. On reaching the landing-place, he leaned his back against the balusters and folded his arms. All at once he opened his coat, drew out his pocket-book, took from it a pencil, tore out a leaf, and upon that leaf he wrote rapidly, by the light of the street lantern, this line: M. Madeleine, Mayor of M. sur M.; then he ascended the stairs once more with great strides, made his way through the crowd, walked straight up to the usher, handed him the paper, and said in an authoritative manner:--

"Take this to Monsieur le President."

The usher took the paper, cast a glance upon it, and obeyed.




七 到了的旅人准备回程




我们在前面曾经谈到一辆车子和乘车人在路上的情形。当这车子走进阿拉斯邮政旅馆时,已快到晚上八点钟了。乘车人从车上下来,他漫不经心地回答旅馆中人的殷勤招呼,打发走了那匹新补充的马,又亲自把那匹小白马牵到马棚里去;随后他推开楼下弹子房的门,坐在屋子里,两肘支在桌子上。这段路程,他原想在六小时以内完成的,竟费去了十四小时。他扪心自问,这不是他的过错;然而究其实,他并没有因此而感到焦急。

旅馆的老板娘走进来。

“先生在这里过夜吗?先生用晚餐吗?”

他摇摇头。

“马夫来说先生的马很累了!”

这时他才开口说话。

“难道这匹马明天不能走吗?”

“呵!先生!它至少也得有两天的休息才能走。”

他又问道:

“这里不是邮局吗?”

“是的,先生。”

老板娘把他引到邮局去,他拿出他的身份证,问当天晚上可有方法乘邮箱车回滨海蒙特勒伊,邮差旁边的位子恰空着,他便定了这位子,并付了旅费。

“先生,”那局里的人说,“请准在早晨一点钟到这里来乘车出发。”

事情办妥以后,他便出了旅馆,向城里走去。

他从前没有到过阿拉斯,街上一片漆黑,他信步走去。同时他仿佛打定主意,不向过路人问路。他走过了那条克兰松小河,在一条小街的窄巷里迷失了方向。恰巧有个绅士提着大灯笼走过。他迟疑了一会,决计去问这绅士,在问之先,还向前后张望,好象怕人听见他将发出的问题。

“先生,”他说,“劳您驾,法院在什么地方?”

“您不是本地人吗,先生?”那个年纪相当老的绅士回答,“那么,跟我来吧。我正要到法院那边去,就是说,往省公署那边去。法院正在修理,因此暂时改在省公署里开审。”

“刑事案件也在那边开审吗?”他问。

“一定是的,先生。您知道今天的省公署便是革命以前的主教院。八二年的主教德·贡吉埃先生在那里面盖了一间大厅。就在那厅里开庭。”

绅士边走边向他说:

“假使先生您要看审案,时间少许迟了点。平常他们总是在六点钟退庭的。”

但是,当他们走到大广场,绅士把一幢黑黢黢的大厦指给他看时,正面的四扇长窗里却还有灯光。

“真的,先生。您正赶上,您运气好。您看见这四扇窗子吗?这便是刑庭。里面有灯光。这说明事情还没有办完。案子一定拖迟了,因此正开着晚庭。您关心这件案子吗?是一桩刑事案吗?您要出庭作证吗?”

他回答:

“我并不是为了什么案子来的,不过我有句话要和一个律师谈谈。”

“这当然有所不同。您看,先生,这边便是大门。有卫兵的那地方。您沿着大楼梯上去就是了。”

他按照绅士的指点做去,几分钟以后,便走进了一间大厅,厅里有许多人,有些人三五成群,围着穿长袍的律师们在低声谈话。

看见这些成群的黑衣人立在公堂门前低声耳语,那总是件令人寒心的事。从这些人的嘴里说出来的话,是很少有善意和恻隐之心的,他们口中吐出的多半是早已拟好的判决词。一堆堆的人,使这心神不定的观察者联想到许多蜂窠,窠里全是些嗡嗡作响的妖魔,正在共同营造着各式各样的黑暗的楼阁。

在这间广阔的厅堂里,只点着一盏灯,这厅,从前是主教院的外客厅,现在作为法庭的前厅。一扇双合门正关着,门里便是刑庭所在的大斤。

前厅异常阴暗,因此他放胆随便找了个律师,便问:

“先生,”他说,“案子进行到什么程度了?”

“已经审完了。”律师说。

“审完了!”

他这句话说得非常重,律师听了,转身过来。

“对不起,先生,您也许是家属吧?”

“不是的。我在这里没有熟人。判了罪吗?”

“当然。非这样不可。”

“判了强迫劳役吗?”

“终身强迫劳役。”

他又用一种旁人几乎听不见的微弱声音说:

“那么,已经证实了罪人的正身吗?”

“什么正身?并没有正身问题需要证实。这案子很简单,这妇人害死了自己的孩子,杀害婴孩罪被证明了,陪审团没有追查是否蓄意谋害,判了她无期徒刑。”

“那么是个妇人吗?”他说。

“当然是个妇人。莉莫赞姑娘。那么,您和我谈的是什么案子?”

“没有什么。但是既然完结了,大厅里怎样还是亮的呢?”

“这是为了另外一件案子,开审已经快两个钟头了。”

“另外一件什么案子?”

“呵!这一件也简单明了。一个无赖,一个累犯,一个苦役犯,又犯了盗窃案。我已记不大清楚他的名字了。他那面孔,真象土匪。仅仅那副面孔已够使我把他送进监狱了。”

“先生,”他问道,“有方法到大厅里去吗?”

“我想实在没有法子了。听众非常拥挤。现在正是休息,有些人出来了。等到继续开审时,您可以去试一试。”

“从什么地方进去?”

“从这扇大门。”

律师离开了他。他一时烦乱达于极点,万千思绪,几乎一齐涌上心头。这个不相干的人所说的话象冰针火舌似的轮番刺进他的心里。当他见到事情还没有结束就吐了一口气,但是他不明白,他感受到的是满足还是悲哀。

他走近几处人群,听他们谈话。由于这一时期案件非常多,庭长便在这一天里排了两件简短的案子。起初是那件杀害婴孩案,现在则正在审讯这个苦役犯,这个累犯,这“回头马”。这个人偷了些苹果,但是没有确实证据,被证实了的,只是他曾在土伦坐过牢。这便使他的案情严重了。此外,对他本人的讯问和证人们的陈述都已完毕,但律师还没有进行辩护,检察官也还没有提起公诉。这些事总得到后半夜才能完结。这个人很可能被判刑,检察官很行,他控告的人,从无“幸免”,他还是个寻诗觅句的才子。

有个执达吏立在进入刑庭的门旁。他问那执达吏:

“先生,快开门了吗?”

“不会开门。”执达吏说。

“怎么!继续开审时不开门吗?现在不是休息吗?”

“现在已继续开审了一些时候了,”执达吏回答,“但是门不会开。”

“为什么?”

“因为已经坐满了。”

“怎么!一个位子也没有了吗?”

“一个也没有了。门已经关上。不再让人进去了。”

执达吏停了一会又说:

“在庭长先生的背后还有两三个位子,但是庭长先生只允许公家的官员进去坐。”

执达吏说了这句话,便转过背去了。

他低着头退回去,穿过前厅,慢慢走下楼梯,好象步步迟疑。也许他在独自思量吧。前一天夜里在他心里发动的那场激烈斗争还没有结束,还随时要起一些新变化。他走到楼梯转角,依着栏杆,叉起两臂。忽然,他解开衣襟,取出皮夹,抽出一支铅笔,撕了一张纸,在回光灯的微光下急忙写了这样一行字:“滨海蒙特勒伊市长马德兰先生”。他又迈着大步跨上楼梯,挤过人堆,直向那执达吏走去,把那张纸交给他,慎重地向他说:“请把这送给庭长先生。”

执达吏接了那张纸,瞟了一眼,便遵命照办了。
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