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duster/['dʌstə]/ n. 掸子, 打扫灰尘的人...

第八卷作恶的穷人 第09章容德雷特几乎哭出来

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CHAPTER IX JONDRETTE COMES NEAR WEEPING

The hovel was so dark, that people coming from without felt on entering it the effect produced on entering a cellar. The two new-comers advanced, therefore, with a certain hesitation, being hardly able to distinguish the vague forms surrounding them, while they could be clearly seen and scrutinized by the eyes of the inhabitants of the garret, who were accustomed to this twilight.  

M. Leblanc approached, with his sad but kindly look, and said to Jondrette the father:--

"Monsieur, in this package you will find some new clothes and some woollen stockings and blankets." 

"Our angelicligiously, sir. I did not want them to take to the theatre. Ah! the hussies! If I catch them tripping! I do not jest, that I don't! I read them lessons on honor, on morality, on virtue! Ask them! They have got to walk straight. They are none of your unhappy wretches who begin by having no family, and end by espousing the public. One is Mamselle Nobody, and one becomes Madame Everybody. Deuce take it! None of that in the Fabantou family! I mean to bring them up virtuously, and they shall be honest, and nice, and believe in God, by the sacred name! Well, sir, my worthy sir, do you know what is going to happen to-morrow? To-morrow is the fourth day of February, the fatal day, the last day of grace allowed me by my landlord; if by this evening I have not paid my rent, to-morrow my oldest daughter, my spouse with her fever, my child with her wound,-- we shall all four be turned out of here and thrown into the street, on t?姨?

"Monsieur Fabantou, yes, that is it. I remember."

"Dramatic artist, sir, and one who has had some success."

Here Jondrette evidently judged the moment propitious for capturing the "philanthropist." He exclaimed with an accent which smacked at the same time of the vainglory of the mountebank at fairs, and the humility of the mendicant on the highway:--

"A pupil of Talma! Sir! I am a pupil of Talma! Fortune formerly smiled on me--Alas! Now it is misfortune's turn. You see, my benefactor, no bread, no fire. My poor babes have no fire! My only chair has no seat! A broken pane! And in such weather! My spouse in bed! Ill!"

"Poor woman!" said M. Leblanc.  

"My child wounded!" added Jondrette.

The child, diverted by the arrival of the strangers, had fallen to contemplating "the young lady," and had ceased to sob.  

"Cry! bawl!" said Jondrette to her in a low voice.

At the same time he pinched her sore hand. All this was done with the talent of a juggler.

The little girl gave vent to loud shrieks.

The adorable young girl, whom Marius, in his heart, called "his Ursule," approached her hastily. 

"Poor, dear child!" said she.

"You see, my beautiful young lady," pursued Jondrette "her bleeding wrist! It came through an accident while working at a machine to earn six sous a day. It may be necessary to cut off her arm." 

"Really?" said the old gentleman, in alarm.

The little girl, taking this seriously, fell to sobbing more violently than ever.

"Alas! yes, my benefactor!" replied the father.  

For several minutes, Jondrette had been scrutinizing "the benefactor" in a singular fashion. As he spoke, he seemed to be examining the other attentively, as though seeking to summon up his recollections. All at once, profiting by a moment when the new-comers were questioning the child with interest as to her injured hand, he passed near his wife, who lay in her bed with a stupid and dejected air, and said to her in a rapid but very low tone:--  

"Take a look at that man!" 

Then, turning to M. Leblanc, and continuing his lamentations:--  

"You see, sir! All the clothing that I have is my wife's chemise! And all torn at that! In the depths of winter! I can't go out for lack of a coat. If I had a coat of any sort, I would go and see Mademoiselle Mars, who knows me and is very fond of me. Does she not still reside in the Rue de la Tour-des-Dames? Do you know, sir? We played together in the provinces. I shared her laurels. Celimene would come to my succor, sir! Elmire would bestow alms on Belisaire! But no, nothing! And not a sou in the house! My wife ill, and not a sou! My daughter dangerously injured, not a sou! My wife suffers from fits of suffocation. It comes from her age, and besides, her nervous system is affected. She ought to have assistance, and my daughter also! But the doctor! But the apothecary! How am I to pay them? I would kneel to a penny, sir! Such is the condition to which the arts are reduced. And do you know, my charming young lady, and you, my generous protector, do you know, you who breathe forth virtue and goodness, and who perfume that church where my daughter sees you every day when she says her prayers?--For I have brought up my children religiously, sir. I did not want them to take to the theatre. Ah! the hussies! If I catch them tripping! I do not jest, that I don't! I read them lessons on honor, on morality, on virtue! Ask them! They have got to walk straight. They are none of your unhappy wretches who begin by having no family, and end by espousing the public. One is Mamselle Nobody, and one becomes Madame Everybody. Deuce take it! None of that in the Fabantou family! I mean to bring them up virtuously, and they shall be honest, and nice, and believe in God, by the sacred name! Well, sir, my worthy sir, do you know what is going to happen to-morrow? To-morrow is the fourth day of February, the fatal day, the last day of grace allowed me by my landlord; if by this evening I have not paid my rent, to-morrow my oldest daughter, my spouse with her fever, my child with her wound,-- we shall all four be turned out of here and thrown into the street, on the boulevard, without shelter, in the rain, in the snow. There, sir. I owe for four quarters--a whole year! that is to say, sixty francs."

Jondrette lied. Four quarters would have amounted to only forty francs, and he could not owe four, because six months had not elapsed since Marius had paid for two.

M. Leblanc drew five francs from his pocket and threw them on the table.

Jondrette found time to mutter in the ear of his eldest daughter:-- 

"The scoundrel! What does he think I can do with his five francs? That won't pay me for my chair and pane of glass! That's what comes of incurring expenses!"

In the meanwhile, M. Leblanc had removed the large brown great-coat which he wore over his blue coat, and had thrown it over the back of the chair.

"Monsieur Fabantou," he said, "these five francs are all that I have about me, but I shall now take my daughter home, and I will return this evening,--it is this evening that you must pay, is it not?" 

Jondrette's face lighted up with a strange expression. He replied vivaciously:--

"Yes, respected sir. At eight o'clock, I must be at my landlord's."

"I will be here at six, and I will fetch you the sixty francs."

"My benefactor!" exclaimed Jondrette, overwhelmed. And he added, in a low tone: "Take a good look at him, wife!" 

M. Leblanc had taken the arm of the young girl, once more, and had turned towards the door. 

"Farewell until this evening, my friends!" said he."Six o'clock?" said Jondrette.

"Six o'clock precisely."

At that moment, the overcoat lying on the chair caught the eye of the elder Jondrette girl.

"You are forgetting your coat, sir," said she.

Jondrette darted an annihilating look at his daughter, accompanied by a formidable shrug of the shoulders.

M. Leblanc turned back and said, with a smile:--

"I have not forgotten it, I am leaving it."

"O my protector!" said Jondrette, "my august benefactor, I melt into tears! Permit me to accompany you to your carriage." 

"If you come out," answered M. Leblanc, "put on this coat. It really is very cold."

Jondrette did not need to be told twice. He hastily donned the brown great-coat. And all three went out, Jondrette preceding the two strangers.



九 容德雷特几乎哭出来


这穷窟是那么阴暗,从外面刚走进去的人会以为是进了地窖。因此那两个新到的客人对四周人物的模样看去有点模糊不清,前进时不免有些迟疑,而他们自己却被那些住在这破屋里、早已习惯于微弱光线的人看得清清楚楚,并被这些人仔细观察。

白先生慈祥而抑郁地笑着走向家长容德雷特,对他说:“先生,这包里是几件家常衣服,新的,还有几双袜子和几条毛毯,请您收下。”

“我们天使般的恩人对我们太仁慈了。”容德雷特说,一面深深鞠躬,直到地面。随即又趁那两个客人打量室内惨状的机会,弯下腰去对着他大女儿的耳朵匆匆忙忙地细声说:

“没有错吧?我早料到了吧?破衣烂衫!没有钱!他们全是这样的!还有,我写给这老饭桶的信上,签的是什么名字?”

“法邦杜。”他女儿回答。

“戏剧艺术家,对!”

算是容德雷特的运气好,因为正在这时,白先生转身过来和他谈话,那说话的神气仿佛是一时想不起他的名字:

“看来您的情况确实是不称心的……先生。”

“法邦杜。”容德雷特连忙回答说。

“法邦杜先生,对,是呀,我想起来了。”

“戏剧艺术家,先生,并且还有过一些成就。”

说到这里,容德雷特显然认为抓住这“慈善家”的时机已经到了。他大声谈了起来,那嗓子的声音兼有市集上卖技人的大言不惭的气派和路旁乞丐的那种苦苦哀求的味儿:“塔尔马的学生,先生!我是塔尔马的学生!从前,我有过一帆风顺的时候。唉!可是现在,倒了运。您瞧吧,我的恩人,没有面包,没有火。两个闺女没有火!唯一的一张椅子也坐通了!碎了一块玻璃!特别是在这种天气!内人又躺下了!害着病!”

“可邻的妇人!”白先生说。

“还有个孩子受了伤!”容德雷特又补上一句。那孩子,由于客人们到来,分了心去细看“那小姐”,早已不哭了。

“哭嘛!叫呀!”容德雷特偷偷地对她说。

同时他在她那只受了伤的手上掐了一把。所有这一切都是用魔术师般巧妙手法完成的。

小姑娘果然高声叫喊。

马吕斯心中私自称为“他的玉秀儿”的那个年轻姑娘赶忙走过去:

“可怜的亲爱的孩子!”她说。

“您瞧,我的美丽的小姐,”容德雷特紧接着说,“她这淌血的手腕!为了每天挣六个苏,她便在机器下碰到这种意外的事故。这手臂也许非锯掉不成呢!”

“真的?”那位吃惊的老先生说。

小姑娘以为这是真话,又开始伤心地哭起来。

“可不是,我的恩人!”那父亲回答。

在这以前,容德雷特早已鬼鬼祟祟地在留意观察这“慈善家”了。他一面谈着话,一面仔细端详他,仿佛想要回忆起什么旧事。突然,趁那两个新来客人对小姑娘就她的伤势亲切慰问的那一会儿,他走向躺着他那个颓丧痴癔的女人的床边,以极低的声音对她急促地说:

“留心看那老头儿!”

随即又转向白先生,继续诉他的苦:

“您瞧,先生,我只有这么一件衬衫,我,还是我内人的,除此以外,便再没有什么衣服了!并且已破得不成样子!又是在这冬季里最冷的时候。我不能出门,因为没有外面的衣服。要是有一件不管什么样的外衣,我便可以去看看马尔斯小姐了,她认得我,并且对我很够交情。她不是一直住在圣母院塔街吗?您知道吗,先生?我们曾在外省合演过戏。我分享了她的桂冠。我原想色里曼纳①会来援助我,先生!以为艾耳密尔②会救济维利萨里③的!但是没有,什么也没有。并且家里一个苏也没有!内人病了,一个苏也没有!小女受了重伤,很危险,一个苏也没有!我老婆常犯气结病。这是由于她的年龄,这里也有神经系统的问题。她非得有人帮助不成,小女也是这样!可是医生!可是药剂师!用什么来支付呢?一文小钱也没有!我愿对一个大钱下跪,先生!您瞧艺术的价值低到什么程度!并且,您知道吗,我的标致的小姐,还有您,我的慷慨的保护人,您知道吗,您二位都呼吸着美德和仁慈,礼拜堂也因您二位而有了芬芳,您二位每天都去那礼拜堂,我这可怜的女儿也每天要去那里祷告,她天天都看见您二位……因为我是在宗教信仰中培养我这两个女儿的,先生。我不愿她们去演戏。啊!贱丫头!只要她们敢胡来!我决不开玩笑,我!我经常把荣誉、道德、操行的观念灌输给她们!您问问她们便知道。她们应当走正路。她们是有父亲的人。她们不是那种以无家可归开始、以人尽可夫收场的苦命人。确有一些人是从没人管的姑娘变成大众的太太的。谢天谢地!法邦杜的家里幸而没有这种丑事!我要把她们教育成贞洁的人,她们应当是诚实的,并且应当是温雅的,并且应当信仰天主!信仰这神圣的称号!……可是,先生,我的尊贵的先生,您知道明天会发生什么事吗?明天,二月四日,是个要命的日子,是我的房东给我的最后期限,假使今晚我不把钱付给他,那么,明天我的大女儿、我自己、我这发高烧的妻子、受了伤的孩子,全会从这里被驱逐出去,丢到外面去,丢在街上、大路上、雨里、雪里,没有安身的地方。就这样,先生。我欠了四个季度的租金,整整一年!就是说,六十法郎。”

①色里曼纳(Célimène),莫里哀戏剧《厌世者》里的人物,常用以泛指一般演重头戏的女演员。

②艾耳密尔(Elmire),莫里哀戏剧《伪君子》里的人物,常用以泛指一般诚实而不拘小节的妇女。

③维利萨里(Bélisaire,约494?65),东罗马帝国的名将,为皇帝所忌,被黜,相传两眼被挖,行乞以终。 

容德雷特在撒谎。四个季度也只是四十法郎,他也不可能欠上四个季度,马吕斯在六个月以前便替他付了两个季度。

白先生从自己的衣袋里掏出五个法郎,放在桌上。

容德雷特觑个空,对着他大女儿的耳朵抱怨:

“坏蛋!他要我拿他这五个法郎去干什么?还不够赔偿我的椅子和玻璃!我得有钱花呀!”

这时白先生已把他套在那身蓝色骑马服上的一件栗壳色大衣从身上脱了下来,放在椅背上。

“法邦杜先生,”他说,“我身边只有这五个法郎,但是我把我的女儿送回家以后,今晚再来一趟,您不是今晚要付款吗?”

容德雷特的脸上出现了一种奇特的表情。他兴冲冲地回答说:

“是呀,我的尊贵的先生。八点钟,我得到达我房东家。”

“我六点钟来此地,把那六十法郎带来给您。”

“我的恩人!”疯了似的容德雷特喊着说。

他又极低声地说:

“注意看他,我的妻!”

白先生挽着那年轻貌美的姑娘的胳臂,转向房门,一面说:

“今晚再见,我的朋友们。”

“六点吗?”容德雷特问。

“六点正。”

这时,留在那椅背上的外套引起了容德雷特大姑娘的注意。

“先生,”她说,“别忘了您的大衣。”

容德雷特对他女儿狠巴巴地瞪了一眼,同时怪怕人地耸了一下肩头。

白先生转过来笑眯眯地回答:

“我不是把它忘了,是留下的。”

“哦,我的保护人,”容德雷特说,“我的崇高的恩主,我真的泪下如雨了!请不要嫌弃,允许我来领路,一直送您上车吧。”

“假使您一定要出去,”白先生接着说,“您就穿上这件外套吧。天气确是很冷呢。”

容德雷特不用别人请两次,他连忙套上那件栗壳色大衣。

他们三个人一同出去了,容德雷特走在两个客人的前面。
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