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indiscriminate/[͵indis'kriminit]/ a. 无差别的, 任意的, 杂乱的 ...

第六卷小比克布斯 第03章严厉

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CHAPTER III AUSTERITIES



One is a postulant for two years at least, often for four; a novice for four. It is rare that the definitive vows can be pronounced earlier than the age of twenty-three or twenty-four years. The Bernardines-Benedictines of Martin Verga do not admit widows to their order.

In their cells, they deliver themselves up to many unknown macerations, of which they must never speak.

On the day when a novice makes her profession, she is dressed in her handsomest attire, she is crowned with white roses, her hair is brushed until it shines, and curled. Then she prostrates herself; a great black veil is thrown over her, and the office for the dead is sung. Then the nuns separate into two files; one file passes close to her, saying in plaintive accents, "Our sister is dead"; and the other file responds in a voice of ecstasy, "Our sister is alive in Jesus Christ!"

At the epoch when this story takes place, a boarding-school was attached to the convent--a boarding-school for young girls of noble and mostly wealthy families, among whom could be remarked Mademoiselle de Saint-Aulaire and de Belissen, and an English girl bearing the illustrious Catholic name of Talbot. These young girls, reared by these nuns between four walls, grew up with a horror of the world and of the age. One of them said to us one day, "The sight of the street pavement made me shudder from head to foot." They were dressed in blue, with a white cap and a Holy Spirit of silver gilt or of copper on their breast. On certain grand festival days, particularly Saint Martha's day, they were permitted, as a high favor and a supreme happiness, to dress themselves as nuns and to carry out the offices and practice of Saint-Benoit for a whole day. In the early days the nuns were in the habit of lending them their black garments. This seemed profane, and the prioress forbade it. Only the novices were permitted to lend. It is remarkable that these performances, tolerated and encouraged, no doubt, in the convent out of a secret spirit of proselytism and in order to give these children a foretaste of the holy habit, were a genuine happiness and a real recreation for the scholars. They simply amused themselves with it. It was new; it gave them a change. Candid reasons of childhood, which do not, however, succeed in making us worldlings comprehend the felicity of holding a holy water sprinkler in one's hand and standing for hours together singing hard enough for four in front of a reading-desk.

The pupils conformed, with the exception of the austerities, to all the practices of the convent. There was a certain young woman who entered the world, and who after many years of married life had not succeeded in breaking herself of the habit of saying in great haste whenever any one knocked at her door, "forever!" Like the nuns, the pupils saw their relatives only in the parlor. Their very mothers did not obtain permission to embrace them. The following illustrates to what a degree severity on that point was carried. One day a young girl received a visit from her mother, who was accompanied by a little sister three years of age. The young girl wept, for she wished greatly to embrace her sister. Impossible. She begged that, at least, the child might be permitted to pass her little hand through the bars so that she could kiss it. This was almost indignantly refused.



三 严 厉




备修生至少得当上两年,经常是四年,初学生四年。能在二十三岁或二十四岁以前正式发愿①那是少有的事。玛尔丹·维尔加支系的伯尔纳-本笃会的修女们绝不容许寡妇参加她们的修会。

①发愿是当众宣誓出家修道,永不还俗的仪式。

她们在自己的斗室里忍受着多种多样的折磨,那是外人无从知道并且她们自己也永远不该说出的。

初学生到了发愿的日子,大家尽量把她打扮得整整齐齐,替她戴上白蔷薇,润泽并蜷曲她的头发,接着她伏在地上,大家替她盖上一大幅黑布,唱起悼亡的诗歌,举行度亡的祭礼。同时,所有的修女分列两行,一行打她跟前绕过,用一种悲伤的声音说“我们的姐姐死了”,另一行却用洪亮的声音回答说“她活在耶稣基督的心中”。

在本书所述故事发生的时代,这个修院里还附设一个寄读学校。是一所为大家闺秀设立的寄读学校,那些闺秀大部分是有钱人,其中有德·圣奥莱尔小姐和德·贝利桑小姐,还有一个英国姑娘,姓德·塔尔波,也是天主教里赫赫有名的大族。这些年轻的姑娘在那四堵围墙里受着修女的教育,在敌视这世界和这世纪的仇恨中成长。一天,她们中的一个曾对我们说过这样一句话:“我见了街上的石块路面便会头晕脚软。”她们都穿蓝衣,戴白帽,胸前佩带一个银质镀金或铜质的圣灵。在某些重大的节日里,特别是在圣玛尔泰节,她们可以整天穿上修女的服装,按照圣伯努瓦规定的仪式做日课,这对她们来说,是一种隆恩和无上的幸福。最初,修女们常把自己的黑衣借给她们穿。后来院长禁止借用,认为有渎圣衣。只有初学生还可借用。那种扮演原是修院中一种通融办法,含有让孩子们预尝圣衣滋味、吸引她们走上出家道路的秘密意图,值得注意的是,寄读生竟会以此为真正的幸福和真正的快乐。她们只不过是感到好玩而已。“这是新鲜花样,可以改变她们。”我们这些俗人却无法从那些天真幼稚的想法中去体会她们何以会那样自得其乐地捏着一根洒圣水的枝条,四个人一排地站在一个谱架前面,毫无间歇地一连唱上好几个钟头。

那些女弟子,除了苦修这点外,也同样遵守修院里所有的教规。有个少妇,还俗以后,结婚也好几年了,却还不能改变习惯,每逢有人敲她房门时,她总还要赶忙回答:“永远如此!”寄读生和修女一样,只能在会客室里接见她们的亲人。连她们的母亲也不能拥抱她们。让我们看看在这方面究竟严到什么程度。一天,有个年轻的姑娘接待她母亲的访问,她母亲还带着一个三岁的小妹妹。那年轻姑娘,很想拥抱她的小妹,于是哭了起来。不可能。她恳求至少让她的小妹把小手从铁栅栏缝里伸过去给她吻一下,这也被拒绝了,这件事几乎还惹起了一场风波。
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