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shuck/[ʃʌk]/ n. 壳, 外皮, 牡蛎壳 vt. 剥去, 脱去 vi. 剥...

第三卷外祖和外孙 第08章云石碰花岗石

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CHAPTER VIII MARBLE AGAINST GRANITE



It was hither that Marius had come on the first occasion of his absenting himself from Paris. It was hither that he had come every time that M. Gillenormand had said: "He is sleeping out."

Lieutenant Theodule was absolutely put out of countenance by this unexpected encounter with a sepulchre; he experienced a singular and disagreeable sensation which he was incapable of analyzing, and which was composed of respect for the tomb, mingled with respect for the colonel. He retreated, leaving Marius alone in the cemetery, and there was discipline in this retreat. Death appeared to him with large epaulets, and he almost made the military salute to him. Not knowing what to write to his aunt, he decided not to write at all; and it is probable that nothing would have resulted from the discovery made by Theodule as to the love affairs of Marius, if, by one of those mysterious arrangements which are so frequent in chance, the scene at Vernon had not had an almost immediate counter-shock at Paris.

Marius returned from Vernon on the third day, in the middle of the morning, descended at his grandfather's door, and, wearied by the two nights spent in the diligence, and feeling the need of repairing his loss of sleep by an hour at the swimming-school, he mounted rapidly to his chamber, took merely time enough to throw off his travelling-coat, and the black ribbon which he wore round his neck, and went off to the bath.

M.Gillenormand, who had risen betimes like all old men in good health, had heard his entrance, and had made haste to climb, as quickly as his old legs permitted, the stairs to the upper story where Marius lived, in order to embrace him, and to question him while so doing, and to find out where he had been.

But the youth had taken less time to descend than the old man had to ascend, and when Father Gillenormand entered the attic, Marius was no longer there.

The bed had not been disturbed, and on the bed lay, outspread, but not defiantly the great-coat and the black ribbon.

"I like this better," said M. Gillenormand.

And a moment later, he made his entrance into the salon, where Mademoiselle Gillenormand was already seated, busily embroidering her cart-wheels.

The entrance was a triumphant one.

M. Gillenormand held in one hand the great-coat, and in the other the neck-ribbon, and exclaimed:--

"Victory! We are about to penetrate the mystery! We are going to learn the most minute details; we are going to lay our finger on the debaucheries of our sly friend! Here we have the romance itself. I have the portrait!"

In fact, a case of black shagreen, resembling a medallion portrait, was suspended from the ribbon.

The old man took this case and gazed at it for some time without opening it, with that air of enjoyment, rapture, and wrath, with which a poor hungry fellow beholds an admirable dinner which is not for him, pass under his very nose.

"For this evidently is a portrait. I know all about such things. That is worn tenderly on the heart. How stupid they are! Some abominable fright that will make us shudder, probably! Young men have such bad taste nowadays!"

"Let us see, father," said the old spinster.

The case opened by the pressure of a spring. They found in it nothing but a carefully folded paper.

"From the same to the same," said M. Gillenormand, bursting with laughter. "I know what it is. A billet-doux."

"Ah! let us read it!" said the aunt.

And she put on her spectacles. They unfolded the paper and read as follows:--

"For my son.--The Emperor made me a Baron on the battlefield of Waterloo. Since the Restoration disputes my right to this title which I purchased with my blood, my son shall take it and bear it. That he will be worthy of it is a matter of course."

The feelings of father and daughter cannot be described. They felt chilled as by the breath of a death's-head. They did not exchange a word.

Only, M. Gillenormand said in a low voice and as though speaking to himself:--

"It is the slasher's handwriting."

The aunt examined the paper, turned it about in all directions, then put it back in its case.

At the same moment a little oblong packet, enveloped in blue paper, fell from one of the pockets of the great-coat. Mademoiselle Gillenormand picked it up and unfolded the blue paper.

It contained Marius' hundred cards. She handed one of them to M. Gillenormand, who read: Le Baron Marius Plbtmercy.

The old man rang the bell. Nicolette came. M. Gillenormand took the ribbon, the case, and the coat, flung them all on the floor in the middle of the room, and said:--

"Carry those duds away."

A full hour passed in the most profound silence. The old man and the old spinster had seated themselves with their backs to each other, and were thinking, each on his own account, the same things, in all probability.

At the expiration of this hour, Aunt Gillenormand said:--"A pretty state of things!"

A few moments later, Marius made his appearance. He entered. Even before he had crossed the threshold, he saw his grandfather holding one of his own cards in his hand, and on catching sight of him, the latter exclaimed with his air of bourgeois and grinning superiority which was something crushing:--

"Well! well! well! well! well! so you are a baron now. I present you my compliments. What is the meaning of this?"

Marius reddened slightly and replied:--

"It means that I am the son of my father."

M. Gillenormand ceased to laugh, and said harshly:--

"I am your father."

"My father," retorted Marius, with downcast eyes and a severe air, "was a humble and heroic man, who served the Republic and France gloriously, who was great in the greatest history that men have ever made, who lived in the bivouac for a quarter of a century, beneath grape-shot and bullets, in snow and mud by day, beneath rain at night, who captured two flags, who received twenty wounds, who died forgotten and abandoned, and who never committed but one mistake, which was to love too fondly two ingrates, his country and myself."

This was more than M. Gillenormand could bear to hear. At the word republic, he rose, or, to speak more correctly, he$bprang to his feet. Every word t`at Marius had just uttered produced on the visage of the old Royalist the effect of the puffs of air from a forge upon a blazing brand. From a dull hue he had turned red, from red, purple, and from purple, flame-colored.

"Marius!" he cried. "Abominable child! I do not know what your father was! I do not wish to know! I know nothing about that, and I do not know him! But what I do know is, that there never was anything but scoundrels among those men! They were all rascals, assassins, red-caps, thieves! I say all! I say all! I know not one! I say all! Do you hear me, Marius! See here, you are no more a baron than my slipper is! They were all bandits in the service of Robespierre! All who served B-u-o-naparte were brigands! They wera all traitors who betrayed, betrayed, betrayed their legitimate king! All cowards who fled before the Prussians and the English at Waterloo! That is what I do know! Whether Monsieur your father comes in that category, I do not know! I am sorry for it, so much the worse, your humble servant!"

In his turn, it was Marius who was the firebrand and M. Gillenormand who was the bellows. Marius quivered in every limb, he did not know what would happen next, his brain was on fire. He was the priest who beholds all his sacred wafers cast to the winds, the fakir who beholds a passer-by spit upon his idol. It could not be that such things had been uttered in his presence. What was he to do? His father had just been trampled under foot and stamped upon in his presence, but by whom? By his grandfather. How was he to avenge the one without outraging the other? It was impossible for him to insult his grandfather and it was equally impossible for him to leave his fathep unavenged. On the one hand was  sacred grave, on the other hoary locks.

He stood there for several moments, staggering as though intoxicated, with all this whirlwind dashing through his head; then he raised his eyes, gazed fixedli at his grandfather, and cried h a voice of thunder:--

"Down with the Bourbons, and that great hog of a Louis XVIII.!"

Louis XVIII. had been dead for four years; but it was all the same to him.

The old man, who had been crimson, turned whiter than his hair. He wheeled round towards a bust of M. le Duc de Berry, which stood on the chimney-piece, and made a profound bow, with a sort of peculiar majesty. Then he paced twice, slowly and in silence, from the fireplace to the window and from the window to the fireplace, traversing the whole length of the room, and making the polished floor creak as though he had been a stone statue walking.

On his second turn, he bent over his daughter, who was watching this encounter with the stupefied air of an antiquated lamb, and said to her with a smile that was almost calm: "A baron like this gentleman, and a bourgeois like myself cannot remain under the same roof."

And drawing himself up, all at once, pallid, trembling, terrible, with his brow rendered more lofty by the terrible radiance of wrath, he extended his arm towards Marius and shouted to him:--

"Be off!"

Marius left the house.

On the following day, M. Gillenormand said to his daughter:

"You will send sixty pistoles every six months to that blood-drinker, and you will never mention his name to me."

Having an immense reserve fund of wrath to get rid of, and not knowing what to do with it, he continued to address his daughter as you instead of thou for the next three months.

Marius, on his side, had gone forth in indignation. There was one circumstance which, it must be admitted, aggravated his exasperation. There are always petty fatalities of the sort which complicate domestic dramas. They augment the grievances in such cases, although, in reality, the wrongs are not increased by them. While carrying Marius' "duds" precipitately to his chamber, at his grandfather's command, Nicolette had, inadvertently, let fall, probably, on the attic staircase, which was dark, that medallion of black shagreen which contained the paper penned by the colonel. Neither paper nor case could afterwards be found. Marius was convinced that "Monsieur Gillenormand"--from that day forth he never alluded to him otherwise--had flung "his father's testament" in the fire. He knew by heart the few lines which the colonel had written, and, consequently, nothing was lost. But the paper, the writing, that sacred relic,--all that was his very heart. What had been done with it?

Marius had taken his departure without saying whither he was going, and without knowing where, with thirty francs, his watch, and a few clothes in a hand-bag. He had entered a hackney-coach, had engaged it by the hour, and had directed his course at hap-hazard towards the Latin quarter.

What was to become of Marius?




八 云石碰花岗石




这便是马吕斯第一次离开巴黎时来到的地方。这便是他在吉诺曼先生每次说他“外宿”的时候来到的地方。

忒阿杜勒无意中突然和一座坟相对,完全失去了主意,他心中有一种尴尬奇特的感受,这种感受是他不能分析的,在对孤冢的敬意中搀杂着对一个上校的敬意。他连忙往后退,把马吕斯独自一个丢在那公墓里,他在后退时是有纪律的。好象死者带着宽大的肩章出现在他眼前,逼得他几乎对他行了个军礼。他不知该对他姑母写些什么,便索性什么也不写。忒阿杜勒在马吕斯爱情问题上的发现也许不会引起任何后果,如果韦尔农方面的这一经过不曾因那种常见而出之偶然的神秘安排而在巴黎立即掀起另一波折的话。

马吕斯在第三天清早回到他外祖父家里。经过两夜的旅途劳顿,他感到需要去作一小时的游泳才能补偿他的失眠,他赶紧上楼钻进自己的屋子,急急忙忙脱去身上的旅行服和脖子上那条黑带子,到浴池里去了。

吉诺曼先生和所有健康的老人一样,一早便起了床,听到他回来,便用他那双老腿的最高速度连忙跨上楼梯,到马吕斯所住的顶楼上去,想拥抱他,并在拥抱中摸摸他的底,稍稍知道一点他是从什么地方回来的。

但是那青年人下楼比八旬老人上楼来得更快些,当吉诺曼公公走进那顶楼时,马吕斯已经不在里面了。

床上的被枕没有动过,那身旅行服和那条黑带子却毫无戒备地摊在床上。

“这样更好。”吉诺曼先生说。

过了一会儿,他来到客厅,吉诺曼大姑娘正坐在那里绣她的那些车轮形花饰。

吉诺曼先生得意洋洋地走了进来。

他一手提着那身旅行服,一手提着那条挂在颈上的带子,嘴里喊道:

“胜利!我们就要揭开秘密了!我门马上就可以一清二楚、水落石出了!我们摸到这位不动声色的风流少年的底儿了!他的恋爱故事已在这里了!我有了她的相片!”

的确,那条带子上悬着一个黑轧花皮的圆匣子,很象个相片匣。

那老头儿捏着那匣子,细看了很久,却不忙着把它打开,他神情如醉如痴,心里又乐又恼,正如一个饿极了的穷鬼望着一盘香喷喷的好菜打他鼻子下面递过,却又不归他享受一样。

“这显然是张相片。准没错。这玩意儿,素来是甜甜蜜蜜挂在心坎上的。这些人多么傻!也许只是个见了叫人寒毛直竖丑极了的骚货呢!今天这些青年的口味确实不高!”

“先看看再说吧,爸。”那老姑娘说。

把那弹簧一按,匣子便开了。那里,除了一张折叠得整整齐齐的纸以外,没有旁的东西。

“老是那一套,”吉诺曼先生放声大笑,“我知道这是什么。

一张定情书!”

“啊!快念念看!”姑奶奶说。

她连忙戴上眼镜,打开那张纸念道:

吾儿览:皇上在滑铁卢战场上曾封我为男爵。王朝复辟,否认我这用鲜血换来的勋位,吾儿应仍承袭享受这勋位。不用说,他是当之无愧的。

那父女俩的感受是无可形容的。他们仿佛觉得自己被一道从骷髅头里吹出的冷气冻僵了。他们一句话也没有交谈。只有吉诺曼先生低声说了这么一句,好象是对他自己说的:

“这是那刀斧手的笔迹。”

姑奶奶拿着那张纸颠来倒去,仔细研究,继又把它放回匣子里。

正在这时,一个长方形蓝纸包从那旅行服的一只衣袋里掉了出来。吉诺曼姑娘拾起它,打开那张蓝纸。这是马吕斯的那一百张名片。她拿出一张递给吉诺曼先生,他念道:“男爵马吕斯·彭眉胥。”

老头儿拉铃,妮珂莱特进来了。吉诺曼先生抓起那黑带、匣子和衣服,一股脑儿丢在客厅中间的地上,说道:

“把这些破烂拿回去。”

整整一个钟头在绝无声息的沉寂中过去了。那老人和老姑娘背对背坐着,各自想着各自的事,也许正是同一件事。

一个钟头过后,吉诺曼姑奶奶说:

“出色!”

过了一会,马吕斯出现了。他刚回来。在跨进门以前,他便望见他外祖父手里捏着一张他的名片,看着他进来了,便摆出豪绅们那种笑里带刺、蓄意挖苦的高傲态度,喊着说:

“了不起!了不起!了不起!了不起!了不起!你现在居然是爵爷了。我祝贺你。这究竟是什么意思呀?”

马吕斯脸上微微红了一下,回答说:

“这就是说,我是我父亲的儿子。”

吉诺曼先生收起笑容,厉声说道:

“你的父亲,是我。”

“我的父亲,”马吕斯低着眼睛,神情严肃的说,“是一个谦卑而英勇的人,他曾为共和国和法兰西光荣地服务,他是人类有史以来最伟大的时代中一个伟大的人,他在野营中生活了一个世纪的四分之一的时间,白天生活在炮弹和枪弹下,夜里生活在雨雪下和泥淖中,他夺取过两面军旗,受过二十处伤,死后却被人遗忘和抛弃,他一生只犯了一个错误,那就是:他过于热爱两个忘恩负义的家伙,祖国和我!”

这已不是吉诺曼先生所能听得进去的了。提到“共和国”这个词时,他站起来了,或者,说得更恰当些,他竖起来了。马吕斯刚才所说的每一句话,在那老保王派脸上所产生的效果,正如一阵阵从鼓风炉中吹到炽炭上的热气。他的脸由阴沉变红,由红而紫,由紫而变得烈焰直冒了。

“马吕斯!”他吼着说,“荒唐孩子!我不知道你父亲是什么东西!我也不愿知道!我不知他干过什么!我不知道这个人!但是我知道,在这伙人中,没有一个不是无赖汉!全是些穷化子、凶手、红帽子、贼!我说全是!我说全是!我可一个也不认识!我说全是,你听见了没有,马吕斯!你明白了吗,你是爵爷,就和我的拖鞋一样!全是些替罗伯斯庇尔卖命的匪徒!全是些替布--宛--纳--巴卖命的强盗!全是些背叛了,背叛了,背叛了他们的正统的国王的叛徒!全是些在滑铁卢见了普鲁士人和英格兰人便连忙逃命的胆小鬼!瞧!这就是我所知道的。假使您的令尊大人也在那里面,那我可不知道,我很生气,活该,您的仆人!”

这下,马吕斯成了炽炭,吉诺曼先生成了热风了。马吕斯浑身战栗,他不知道怎么办,他的脑袋冒火了。他好象是个望着别人把圣饼满地乱扔的神甫,是个看见过路人在他偶像身上吐唾沫的僧人。在他面前说了这种话而不受处罚,那是不行的。但是怎么办呢?他的父亲刚才被别人当着他的面践踏了一阵,被谁?被他的外祖父。怎样才能为这一个进行报复而不冒犯那一个呢?他不能侮辱他的外祖父,却又不能不为父亲雪耻。一方面是座神圣的孤坟,一方面是满头的白发。这一切在他的脑子里回旋冲突,他头重脚轻,摇摇欲倒,接着,他抬起了眼睛,狠狠盯着他的外祖父,霹雷似的吼着说:

“打倒波旁,打倒路易十八,这肥猪!”

路易十八死去已四年,但是他管不了这么多。

那老头儿,脸原是鲜红的,突然变得比他的头发更白了。他转身对着壁炉上的一座德·贝里公爵先生①的半身像,用一种奇特的庄重态度,深深鞠了一躬。随后,他从壁炉到窗口,又从窗口到壁炉,缓缓而肃静地来回走了两次,穿过那客厅,象个活的石人一样,压得地板嘎嘎响。在第二次走回来时,他向着他那个象一头在冲突面前发呆的老绵羊似的女儿弯下腰去,带着一种几乎是镇静的笑容对她说:

①德·贝里公爵先生,当时法国国王查理十世的儿子,保王党都认他为王位继承人。

“象那位先生那样的一位爵爷和象我这样的一个老百姓是不可能住在同一个屋顶下面的。”

接着,他突然挺直身体,脸色发青,浑身发抖,横眉切齿,额头被盛怒的那种骇人的光芒所扩大,伸出手臂,指着马吕斯吼道:

“滚出去。”

马吕斯离开了那一家。

第二天,吉诺曼先生对他的女儿说:

“您每隔六个月,寄六十皮斯托尔①给这吸血鬼,从今以后,您永远不许再向我提到他。”

①皮斯托尔(pistole),法国古币,相当于十个利弗。

由于还有大量余怒要消,但又不知怎么办,他便对着他的女儿连续称了三个多月的“您”。

至于马吕斯,他气冲冲地走出大门。有件应当提到的事使他心中的愤慨更加加重了。在家庭的变故中,往往会遇到这类阴错阳差的小事,使情况变得更复杂。错误虽未加多,冤仇却从而转深了。那妮珂莱特,当她在外祖父吩咐下,匆匆忙忙把马吕斯的那些“破烂”送回他屋子里去时,无意中把那个盛上校遗书的黑轧花皮圆匣子弄丢了,也许是掉在上顶楼去的楼梯上了,那地方原是不见阳光的。那张纸和那圆匣子都无法再找到。马吕斯深信“吉诺曼先生”??从那时起他便不再用旁的名称称呼他了??已把“他父亲的遗嘱”仍在火里去了。上校写的那几行字,原是他背熟了的,因此,他并无所失。但是,那张纸,那墨迹,那神圣的遗物,那一切,是他自己的心。而别人是怎样对待它的?

马吕斯走了,没有说去什么地方,也不知道有什么地方可去,身边带着三十法郎、一只表、一个装日常用具和衣服的旅行袋。他雇了一辆街车,说好按时计值,漫无目的地向着拉丁区走去。

马吕斯会怎样呢?
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