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stringent/['strindʒənt]/ a. 迫切的, 严厉的, 银根紧的 ...

第四卷戈尔博老屋 第02章枭和秀眼鸟的窠

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CHAPTER II A NEST FOR OWL AND A WARBLER



It was in front of this Gorbeau house that Jean Valjean halted. Like wild birds, he had chosen this desert place to construct his nest.

He fumbled in his waistcoat pocket, drew out a sort of a pass-key, opened the door, entered, closed it again carefully, and ascended the staircase, still carrying Cosette.

At the top of the stairs he drew from his pocket another key, with which he opened another door. The chamber which he entered, and which he closed again instantly, was a kind of moderately spacious attic, furnished with a mattress laid on the floor, a table, and several chairs; a stove in which a fire was burning, and whose embers were visible, stood in one corner. A lantern on the boulevard cast a vague light into this poor room. At the extreme end there was a dressing-room with a folding bed; Jean Valjean carried the child to this bed and laid her down there without waking her.

He struck a match and lighted a candle. All this was prepared beforehand on the table, and, as he had done on the previous evening, he began to scrutinize Cosette's face with a gaze full of ecstasy, in which the expression of kindness and tenderness almost amounted to aberration. The little girl, with that tranquil confidence which belongs only to extreme strength and extreme weakness, had fallen asleep without knowing with whom she was, and continued to sleep without knowing where she was.

Jean Valjean bent down and kissed that child's hand.

Nine months before he had kissed the hand of the mother, who had also just fallen asleep.

The same sad, piercing, religious sentiment filled his heart.

He knelt beside Cosette's bed.

lt was broad daylight, and the child still slept. A wan ray of the December sun penetrated the window of the attic and lay upon the ceiling in long threads of light and shade. All at once a heavily laden carrier's cart, which was passing along the boulevard, shook the frail bed, like a clap of thunder, and made it quiver from top to bottom.

"Yes, madame!" cried Cosette, waking with a start, "here I am! here I am!"

And she sprang out of bed, her eyes still half shut with the heaviness of sleep, extending her arms towards the corner of the wall.

"Ah! mon Dieu, my broom!" said she.

She opened her eyes wide now, and beheld the smiling countenance of Jean Valjean.

"Ah! so it is true!" said the child. "Good morning, Monsieur."

Children accept joy and happiness instantly and familiarly, being themselves by nature joy and happiness.

Cosette caught sight of Catherine at the foot of her bed, and took possession of her, and, as she played, she put a hundred questions to Jean Valjean. Where was she? Was Paris very large? Was Madame Thenardier very far away? Was she to go back? etc., etc. All at once she exclaimed, "How pretty it is here!"

It was a frightful hole, but she felt free.

"Must I sweep?" she resumed at last.

"Play!" said Jean Valjean.

The day passed thus. Cosette, without troubling herself to understand anything, was inexpressibly happy with that doll and that kind man.




二 枭和秀眼鸟的窠




冉阿让便是在那戈尔博老屋门前停下来的。和野鸟一样,他选择了这个最荒僻的地方来做窠。

他从坎肩口袋里摸出一把路路通钥匙,开门进去以后,又仔细把门关好,走上楼梯,一直背着珂赛特。

到了楼梯顶上,他又从衣袋里取出另外一把钥匙,用来开另一扇门。他一进门便又把门关上。那是一间相当宽敞的破屋子,地上铺着一条褥子,还有一张桌子和几把椅子。屋角里有个火炉,烧得正旺。路旁的一盏回光灯微微照着这里的贫苦相。底里,有一小间,摆着一张帆布床。冉阿让把孩子抱去放在床上,仍让她睡着。

他擦火石,点燃了一支烛,这一切都是已准备好了摆在桌上的。正和昨晚一样,他呆呆地望着珂赛特,眼里充满了感叹的神态,一片仁慈怜爱的表情几乎达到了不可思议的程度。至于小姑娘那种无忧无虑的信心,是只有最强的人和极弱的人才会有的,她并不知道自己是和谁在一道,却已安然睡去,现在也不用知道自己到了什么地方,仍旧睡着。

冉阿让弯下腰去,吻了吻孩子的手。

他在九个月前吻过她母亲的手,当时她母亲也正刚刚入睡。

同样一种苦痛、虔敬、辛酸的情感充满了他的心。

他跪在珂赛特的床旁边。

天已经大亮了,孩子却还睡着。

岁末的一线惨白的阳光从窗口射到这破屋子的天花板上,拖着一长条一长条的光线和阴影。一辆满载着石块的重车忽然走过街心,象迅雷暴雨似的把房子震到上下摇晃:“是啦,太太!”珂赛特惊醒时连声喊道,“来了!来了!”

她连忙跳下床,眼睛在睡眠的重压下还半闭着,便伸着手摸向墙角。

“啊!我的天主!我的扫帚!”她说。

她完全睁开眼以后才看见冉阿让满面笑容。

“啊!对,是真的!”孩子说,“早安,先生。”

孩子们接受欢乐和幸福最为迅速,也最亲切,因为他们生来便是幸福和欢乐。

珂赛特看见卡特琳躺在床脚边,连忙抱住它,她一面玩,一面对着冉阿让唠唠叨叨问个没完。“她是在什么地方?巴黎是不是个大地方?德纳第太太是不是离得很远?她会不会再来?……”她忽然大声喊道:“这地方多漂亮!”

这是个丑陋不堪的破窑,但她感到自己自由了。

“我不用扫地吗?”她终于问出来。

“你玩吧。”冉阿让说。

这一天便是那样度过的。珂赛特,没有想到去了解什么,只在这娃娃和老人间,感到说不出的愉快。
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