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第八卷波及 第04章司法者再度行使法权

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CHAPTER IV AUTHORITY REASSERTS ITS RIGHTS



Fantine had not seen Javert since the day on which the mayor had torn her from the man. Her ailing brain comprehended nothing, but the only thing which she did not doubt was that he had come to get her. She could not endure that terrible face; she felt her life quitting her; she hid her face in both hands, and shrieked in her anguish:--

"Monsieur Madeleine, save me!"

Jean Valjean--we shall henceforth not speak of him otherwise-- had risen. He said to Fantine in the gentlest and calmest of voices:--

"Be at ease; it is not for you that he is come."

Then he addressed Javert, and said:--

"I know what you want."

Javert replied:--

"Be quick about it!"

There lay in the inflection of voice which accompanied these words something indescribably fierce and frenzied. Javert did not say, "Be quick about it!" he said "Bequiabouit."

No orthography can do justice to the accent with which it was uttered: it was no longer a human word: it was a roar.

He did not proceed according to his custom, he did not enter into the matter, he exhibited no warrant of arrest. In his eyes, Jean Valjean was a sort of mysterious combatant, who was not to be laid hands upon, a wrestler in the dark whom he had had in his grasp for the last five years, without being able to throw him. This arrest was not a beginning, but an end. He confined himself to saying, "Be quick about it!"

As he spoke thus, he did not advance a single step; he hurled at Jean Valjean a glance which he threw out like a grappling-hook, and with which he was accustomed to draw wretches violently to him.

It was this glance which Fantine had felt penetrating to the very marrow of her bones two months previously.

At Javert's exclamation, Fantine opened her eyes once more. But the mayor was there; what had she to fear?

Javert advanced to the middle of the room, and cried:--

"See here now! Art thou coming?"

The unhappy woman glanced about her. No one was present excepting the nun and the mayor. To whom could that abject use of "thou" be addressed? To her only. She shuddered.

Then she beheld a most unprecedented thing, a thing so unprecedented that nothing equal to it had appeared to her even in the blackest deliriums of fever.

She beheld Javert, the police spy, seize the mayor by the collar; she saw the mayor bow his head. It seemed to her that the world was coming to an end.

Javert had, in fact, grasped Jean Valjean by the collar.

"Monsieur le Maire!" shrieked Fantine.

Javert burst out laughing with that frightful laugh which displayed all his gums.

"There is no longer any Monsieur le Maire here!"

Jean Valjean made no attempt to disengage the hand which grasped the collar of his coat. He said:--

"Javert--"

Javert interrupted him: "Call me Mr. Inspector."

"Monsieur," said Jean Valjean, "I should like to say a word to you in private."

"Aloud! Say it aloud!" replied Javert; "people are in the habit of talking aloud to me."

Jean Valjean went on in a lower tone:--

"I have a request to make of you--"

"I tell you to speak loud."

"But you alone should hear it--"

"What difference does that make to me? I shall not listen."

Jean Valjean turned towards him and said very rapidly and in a very low voice:--

"Grant me three days' grace! three days in which to go and fetch the child of this unhappy woman. I will pay whatever is necessary. You shall accompany me if you choose."

"You are making sport of me!" cried Javert. "Come now, I did not think you such a fool! You ask me to give you three days in which to run away! You say that it is for the purpose of fetching that creature's child! Ah! Ah! That's good! That's really capital!"

Fantine was seized with a fit of trembling.

"My child!" she cried, "to go and fetch my child! She is not here, then! Answer me, sister; where is Cosette? I want my child! Monsieur Madeleine! Monsieur le Maire!"

Javert stamped his foot.

"And now there's the other one! Will you hold your tongue, you hussy? It's a pretty sort of a place where convicts are magistrates, and where women of the town are cared for like countesses! Ah! But we are going to change all that; it is high time!"

He stared intently at Fantine, and added, once more taking into his grasp Jean Valjean's cravat, shirt and collar:--

"I tell you that there is no Monsieur Madeleine and that there is no Monsieur le Maire. There is a thief, a brigand, a convict named Jean Valjean! And I have him in my grasp! That's what there is!"

Fantine raised herself in bed with a bound, supporting herself on her stiffened arms and on both hands: she gazed at Jean Valjean, she gazed at Javert, she gazed at the nun, she opened her mouth as though to speak; a rattle proceeded from the depths of her throat, her teeth chattered; she stretched out her arms in her agony, opening her hands convulsively, and fumbling about her like a drowning person; then suddenly fell back on her pillow.

Her head struck the head-board of the bed and fell forwards on her breast, with gaping mouth and staring, sightless eyes.

She was dead.

Jean Valjean laid his hand upon the detaining hand of Javert, and opened it as he would have opened the hand of a baby; then he said to Javert:--

"You have murdered that woman."

"Let's have an end of this!" shouted Javert, in a fury; "I am not here to listen to argument. Let us economize all that; the guard is below; march on instantly, or you'll get the thumb-screws!"

In the corner of the room stood an old iron bedstead, which was in a decidedly decrepit state, and which served the sisters as a camp-bed when they were watching with the sick. Jean Valjean stepped up to this bed, in a twinkling wrenched off the head-piece, which was already in a dilapidated condition, an easy matter to muscles like his, grasped the principal rod like a bludgeon, and glanced at Javert. Javert retreated towards the door. Jean Valjean, armed with his bar of iron, walked slowly up to Fantine's couch. When he arrived there he turned and said to Javert, in a voice that was barely audible:--

"I advise you not to disturb me at this moment."

One thing is certain, and that is, that Javert trembled.

It did occur to him to summon the guard, but Jean Valjean might avail himself of that moment to effect his escape; so he remained, grasped his cane by the small end, and leaned against the door-post, without removing his eyes from Jean Valjean.

Jean Valjean rested his elbow on the knob at the head of the bed, and his brow on his hand, and began to contemplate the motionless body of Fantine, which lay extended there. He remained thus, mute, absorbed, evidently with no further thought of anything connected with this life. Upon his face and in his attitude there was nothing but inexpressible pity. After a few moments of this meditation he bent towards Fantine, and spoke to her in a low voice.

What did he say to her? What could this man, who was reproved, say to that woman, who was dead? What words were those? No one on earth heard them. Did the dead woman hear them? There are some touching illusions which are, perhaps, sublime realities. The point as to which there exists no doubt is, that Sister Simplice, the sole witness of the incident, often said that at the moment that Jean Valjean whispered in Fantine's ear, she distinctly beheld an ineffable smile dawn on those pale lips, and in those dim eyes, filled with the amazement of the tomb.

Jean Valjean took Fantine's head in both his hands, and arranged it on the pillow as a mother might have done for her child; then he tied the string of her chemise, and smoothed her hair back under her cap. That done, he closed her eyes.

Fantine's face seemed strangely illuminated at that moment.

Death, that signifies entrance into the great light.

Fantine's hand was hanging over the side of the bed. Jean Valjean knelt down before that hand, lifted it gently, and kissed it.

Then he rose, and turned to Javert.

"Now," said he, "I am at your disposal."




四 司法者再度行使法权




芳汀,自从市长先生把她从沙威手中救出来以后,还没有看见过沙威。她的病脑完全不能了解当时的事,她以为他是为了她来的,她受不了那副凶相。她觉得自己的气要断了。她两手掩住自己的脸,哀号着:

“马德兰先生,救我!”

冉阿让(我们以后不再用旁的名字称呼他了)立起来,用最柔和最平静的声音向芳汀说:

“您放心。他不是来找您的。”

随后他又向沙威说:

“我知道您来干什么。”

沙威回答说:

“快走!”

在他说那两个字的口气里有一种说不出的、蛮横和狂妄的意味。他说的不是“快走!”而是一种象“快走”两字那样的声音,因此没有文字可以表示这种声音,那已经不是人的言语,而是野兽的吼叫了。

他绝不照惯例行事,他绝不说明来意,也不拿出逮捕状。对他来说,冉阿让是一种神秘的、无从捉摸的对手,黑暗中的角力者,他掐住冉阿让已经五年了,却没有能够摔翻他。这次的逮捕不是起始,而是终局。因此他只说了句:

“快走!”

他这么说,身体却没有移动一步,他用那种铁钩似的目光钩着冉阿让,他平日对颠连无告的人们也正是用这种神气硬把他们钩到他身边去的。

两个月前,芳汀感到深入她骨髓的,也正是这种目光。

沙威一声吼,芳汀又睁开了眼睛。但是市长先生在这里。

她有什么可怕的呢?

沙威走到屋子中间,叫道:

“你到底走不走?”

这个不幸的妇人四面张望。屋子里只有修女和市长先生。对谁会这样下贱地用“你”字来称呼呢?只可能是对她说的了。

她浑身发抖。

同时她看见了一桩破天荒的怪事,怪到无以复加,即使是在她发热期间最可怕的恶梦里,这样的怪事也不曾有过。

她看见暗探沙威抓住了市长先生的衣领,她又看见市长先生低着头。她仿佛觉得天翻地覆了。

沙威确实抓住了冉阿让的衣领。

“市长先生!”芳汀喊着说。

沙威放声大笑,把他满口的牙齿全突了出来。

“这儿已没有市长先生了!”

冉阿让让那只手抓住他礼服的领,并不动,他说:

“沙威……”

沙威不待他说完,便吼道:

“叫我做侦察员先生。”

“先生,”冉阿让接着说,“我想和您个人谈句话。”

“大声说!你得大声说!”沙威回答,“人家对我谈话总是大声的!”

冉阿让低声下气地继续说:

“我求您一件事……”

“我叫你大声说。”

“但是这件事只有您一个人可以听……”

“这和我有什么相干?我不听!”

冉阿让转身朝着他,急急忙忙低声向他说:

“请您暂缓三天!三天,我可以去领这个可怜的女人的小孩!应当付多少钱我都付。假使您要跟着我走也可以。”

“笑话!”沙威叫着说。“哈!我以前还没有想到你竟是一个这么蠢的东西!你要我缓三天,你好逃!你说要去领这婊子的孩子!哈!哈!真妙!好极了!”

芳汀战抖了一下。

“我的孩子!”她喊道,“去领我的孩子!她原来不在这里!我的姆姆,回答我,珂赛特在什么地方?我要我的孩子!马德兰先生!市长先生!”

沙威提起脚来一顿。

“现在这一个也来纠缠不清了!你到底闭嘴不闭嘴,骚货!这个可耻的地方,囚犯做长官,公娼享着伯爵夫人的清福!不用忙!一切都会扭转过来的,正是时候了!”

他瞧着芳汀不动,再一把抓住冉阿让的领带、衬衫和衣领说道:

“我告诉你,这儿没有马德兰先生,也没有市长先生。只有一个贼,一个土匪,一个苦役犯,叫冉阿让!我现在抓的就是他!就是这么一回事!”

芳汀直跳起来,支在她那两只僵硬的胳膊和手上面,她望望冉阿让,望望沙威,望望修女,张开口,仿佛要说话,一口痰从她喉咙底里涌上来,她的牙齿格格发抖,她悲伤地伸出两条胳膊,张开两只痉拳的手,同时四面摸索,好象一个惨遭灭顶的人,随后她忽然一下倒在枕头上。她的头撞在床头,弹回来,落在胸上,口张着,眼睛睁着,但已黯然无光了。

她死了。

冉阿让把他的手放在沙威的那只抓住他的手上,好象掰婴孩的手,一下便掰开了它,随后他向沙威说:

“您把这妇人害死了。”

“不许多话,”怒气冲天的沙威吼叫起来,“我不是到这里来听你讲道理的。不要浪费时间。队伍在楼下。马上走,不然我就要用镣铐了!

在屋子的一个壁角里,有一张坏了的旧铁床,是平日给守夜的姆姆们做临时床用的。冉阿让走到这张床的前面,一转眼便把这张业已破损的床头拆了下来,有他那样的力气,这原不是件难事,他紧紧握着这根大铁条,眼睛望着沙威。

沙威向门边退去。

冉阿让手里握着铁条,慢慢地向着芳汀的床走去,走到以后,他转过身,用一种旁人几乎听不见的声音向沙威说:

“我劝您不要在这时来打搅我。”

一桩十分确实的事,便是沙威吓得发抖。

他原想去叫警察,但又怕冉阿让乘机逃走。他只好守住不动,抓着他手杖的尖端,背靠着门框,眼睛不离冉阿让。

冉阿让的肘倚在床头的圆球上,手托着额头,望着那躺着不动的芳汀。他这样待着,凝神,静默,他所想的自然不是这人世间的事了。在他的面容和体态上仅仅有一种说不出的痛惜的颜色,这样默念了一会过后,他俯身到芳汀的耳边,细声向她说话。

他向她说些什么呢?这个待死的汉子,对这已死的妇人有什么可说的呢?这究竟是些什么话?世上没有人听到过他这些话。死者是否听到了呢?有些动人的幻想也许真是最神圣的现实。毫无疑问的是,当时唯一的证人散普丽斯姆姆时常谈到当日冉阿让在芳汀耳边说话时,她看得清清楚楚,死者的灰色嘴唇,曾微微一笑,她那双惊魂未定的眸子,也略有喜色。

冉阿让两手捧着芳汀的头,好象慈母对待自己的孩子那样,把它端正安放在枕头上,又把她衬衣的带子结好,把她的头发塞进帽子。做完了这些事,他又闭上了他的眼睛。

芳汀的面庞在这时仿佛亮得出奇。

死,便是跨进伟大光明境界的第一步。

芳汀的手还垂在床沿外。冉阿让跪在这只手的前面,轻轻地拿起来,吻了一下。

他立起来,转身向着沙威:

“现在,”他说,“我跟您走。”
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