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第八卷作恶的穷人 第21章捉贼总应先捉受害人

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CHAPTER XXI ONE SHOULD ALWAYS BEGIN BY ARRESTING THE VICTIMS

At nightfall, Javert had posted his men and had gone into ambush himself between the trees of the Rue de la Barrieredes-Gobelins which faced the Gorbeau house, on the other side of the boulevard. He had begun operations by opening "his pockets," and dropping into it the two young girls who were charged with keeping a watch on the approaches to the den. But he had only "caged" Azelma. As for Eponine, she was not at her post, she had disappeared,and he had not been able to seize her. Then Javert had made a point and had bent his ear to waiting for the signal agreed upon.The comings and goings of the fiacres had greatly agitated him. At last, he had grown impatient, and, sure that there was a nest there,sure of being in "luck," having recognized many of the ruffians who had entered, he had finally decided to go upstairs without waiting for the pistol-shot.

It will be remembered that he had Marius' pass-key.

He had arrived just in the nick of time.

The terrified ruffians flung themselves on the arms which they had abandoned in all the corners at the moment of flight. In less than a second, these seven men, horrible to behold, had grouped themselves in an attitude of defence, one with his meat-axe, another with his key, another with his bludgeon, the rest with shears, pincers, and hammers. Thenardier had his knife in his fist. The Thenardier woman snatched up an enormous paving-stone which lay in the angle of the window and served her daughters as an ottoman. 

Javert put on his hat again, and advanced a couple of paces into the room, with arms folded, his cane under one arm, his sword in its sheath.

"Halt there," said he. "You shall not go out by the window, you shall go through the door. It's less unhealthy. There are seven of you, there are fifteen of us. Don't let's fall to collaring each other like men of Auvergne."

Bigrenaille drew out a pistol which he had kept concealed under his blouse, and put it in Thenardier's hand, whispering in the latter's ear:-- 

"It's Javert. I don't dare fire at that man. Do you dare?"

"Parbleu!" replied Thenardier.

"Well, then, fire."

Thenardier took the pistol and aimed at Javert.

Javert, who was only three paces from him, stared intently at him and contented himself with saying:--

"Come now, don't fire. You'll miss fire."

Thenardier pulled the trigger. The pistol missed fire.

"Didn't I tell you so!" ejaculated Javert.

Bigrenaille flung his bludgeon at Javert's feet.

"You're the emperor of the fiends! I surrender."

"And you?" Javert asked the rest of the ruffians.

They replied:--

"So do we."

Javert began again calmly:--

"That's right, that's good, I said so, you are nice fellows.

"I only ask one thing," said Bigrenaille, "and that is, that I may not be denied tobacco while I am in confinement." 

"Granted," said Javert.  

And turning round and calling behind him:--  

"Come in now!" 

A squad of policemen, sword in hand, and agents armed with bludgeons and cudgels, rushed in at Javert's summons. They pinioned the ruffians.  

This throng of men, sparely lighted by the single candle, filled the den with shadows.

"Handcuff them all!" shouted Javert.  

"Come on!" cried a voice which was not the voice of a man, but of which no one would ever have said: "It is a woman's voice."  

The Thenardier woman had entrenched herself in one of the angles of the window, and it was she who had just given vent to this roar.

The policemen and agents recoiled. 

She had thrown off her shawl. but retained her bonnet; her husband, who was crouching behind her, was almost hidden under the discarded shawl, and she was shielding him with her body, as she elevated the paving-stone above her head with the gesture of a giantess on the point of hurling a rock. 

"Beware!" she shouted.

All crowded back towards the corridor. A broad open space was cleared in the middle of the garret.

The Thenardier woman cast a glance at the ruffians who had allowed themselves to be pinioned, and muttered in hoarse and guttural accents:-- 

"The cowards!"

Javert smiled, and advanced across the open space which the Thenardier was devouring with her eyes.

"Don't come near me," she cried, "or I'll crush you."

"What a grenadier!" ejaculated Javert; "you've got a beard like a man, mother, but I have claws like a woman." 

And he continued to advance.

The Thenardier, dishevelled and terrible, set her feet far apart, threw herself backwards, and hurled the paving-stone at Javert's head. Javert ducked, the stone passed over him, struck the wall behind,knocked off a huge piece of plastering, and, rebounding from angle to angle across the hovel, now luckily almost empty, rested at Javert's feet.

At the same moment, Javert reached the Thenardier couple. One of his big hands descended on the woman's shoulder; the other on the husband's head.

"The handcuffs!" he shouted.

The policemen trooped in in force, and in a few seconds Javert's order had been executed.

The Thenardier female, overwhelmed, stared at her pinioned hands, and at those of her husband, who had dropped to the floor, and exclaimed, weeping:--

"My daughters!"

"They are in the jug," said Javert.

In the meanwhile, the agents had caught sight of the drunken man asleep behind the door, and were shaking him:-- 

He awoke, stammering:--

"Is it all over, Jondrette?"

"Yes," replied Javert.

The six pinioned ruffians were standing, and still preserved their spectral mien; all three besmeared with black, all three masked.  

"Keep on your masks," said Javert. 

And passing them in review with a glance of a Frederick II. at a Potsdam parade, he said to the three "chimney-builders":-- 

"Good day, Bigrenaille! good day, Brujon! good day, Deuxmilliards!"

Then turning to the three masked men, he said to the man with the meat-axe:--

"Good day, Gueulemer!"

And to the man with the cudgel:--

"Good day, Babet!"

And to the ventriloquist:--

"Your health, Claquesous."

At that moment, he caught sight of the ruffians' prisoner. who, ever since the entrance of the police, had not uttered a word, and had held his head down.

"Untie the gentleman!" said Javert, "and let no one go out!"  

That said, he seated himself with sovereign dignity before the table, where the candle and the writing-materials still remained, drew a stamped paper from his pocket, and began to prepare his report.

When he had written the first lines, which are formulas that never vary, he raised his eyes:--

"Let the gentleman whom these gentlemen bound step forward." 

The policemen glanced round them.

"Well," said Javert, "where is he?" 

The prisoner of the ruffians, M. Leblanc, M. Urbain Fabre,the father of Ursule or the Lark, had disappeared.

The door was guarded, but the window was not. As soon as he had found himself released from his bonds, and while Javert was drawing up his report, he had taken advantage of confusion, the crowd, the darkness, and of a moment when the general attention was diverted from him, to dash out of the window.  

An agent sprang to the opening and looked out. He saw no one outside.  

The rope ladder was still shaking. 

"The devil!" ejaculated Javert between his teeth, "he must have been the most valuable of the lot." 



二十一 捉贼总应先捉受害人

傍晚,沙威便已把人手布置好了,他自己躲在戈尔博老屋门前大路对面的那条哥白兰便门街的树后面。他一上来便“敞开了口袋”,要把那两个在穷窟附近把风的姑娘装进去。但他只“筐”住了阿兹玛。至于爱潘妮,她不在她的岗位上,她开了小差,因此他没有能逮住她。沙威随即埋伏下来,竖着耳朵等候那约定的信号。那辆马车的忽来忽往早已使他心烦意乱。到后来,他耐不住了,并且,看准了那里面有一个“窠”,看准了那里面有一笔“好买卖”,也认清了走进去的某些匪徒的面孔,他决定不再等待枪声,径直上楼去了。

我们记得他拿着马吕斯的那把路路通钥匙。

他到得正是时候。

那些吓慌了的匪徒全又把先头准备逃跑时扔在屋角里的凶器捡起来。不到一秒钟,七个人都龇牙咧嘴地相互靠在一起,摆出了抗拒的阵势,一个拿着他的棍棒,一个拿着他的钥匙,一个拿着他的板斧,其余的拿着凿子、钳子和锤子,德纳第捏着他的尖刀。德纳第大娘从窗旁的屋角里拿起她女儿平日当凳子坐的一块奇大的石磴抱在手里。

沙威戴上帽子,朝屋里走了两步,叉着胳膊,腋下夹根棍子,剑在鞘中。

“不许动!”他说。“你们不用打窗口出去,从房门走。这样安全些。你们是七个,我们是十五个。你们不用拼老命,大家客客气气才好。”

比格纳耶从布衫下抽出一支手枪,放在德纳第手里,对着他的耳朵说:

“他是沙威。我不敢对他开枪。你敢吗,你?”

“有什么不敢!”德纳第回答。

“那么,你开。”

德纳第接过手枪,指着沙威。

沙威离他才三步,定定地望着他,没有把他放在眼里,只说:

“还是不开枪的好,我说!你瞄不准的。”

德纳第扳动枪机。没有射中。

“我早已说过了!”沙威说。

比格纳耶把手里的大头棒丢在沙威的脚前。

“您是魔鬼的皇帝!我投降。”

“你们呢?”沙威问其余的匪徒。

他们回答说:

“我们也投降。”

沙威冷静地说:

“对了,这样才好,我早说过,大家应当客客气气。”

“我只要求一件事,”比格纳耶接着说,“在牢里,一定要给我烟抽。”

“一定做到。”沙威回答。

他回过头来向后面喊道:

“现在你们进来。”

一个排的持剑的宪兵和拿着大头捧、短棍的警察,听到沙威喊,一齐涌进来了。他们把那些匪徒全绑了起来。这一大群人,在那微弱的烛光照映下,把那兽穴黑压压地挤得水泄不通。

“把他们全铐起来!”沙威喊着说。

“你们敢动我!”有个人吼着说,那声音不象是男人的,但谁也不能说是女人的声音。

德纳第大娘守在靠窗口的一个屋角里,刚才的吼声正是她发出的。

宪兵和警察都往后退。

她已丢掉了围巾,却还戴着帽子,她的丈夫,蹲在她后面,几乎被那掉下来的围巾盖住了,她用自己的身体遮着他,两手把石磴举过头顶,狠巴巴象个准备抛掷岩石的女山魈。

“小心!”她吼道。

人人都向过道里退去。破屋子的中间顿时空了一大片。

德纳第大娘向束手就缚的匪徒们望了一眼,用她那沙哑的嗓子咒骂道:

“全是胆小鬼。”

沙威笑眯眯地走到那空处,德纳第大娘睁圆双眼盯着他。

“不要过来,滚开些,”她喊道,“要不我就砸扁你。”

“好一个榴弹兵!”沙威说,“老妈妈!你有男人的胡子,我可有女人的爪子。”

他继续朝前走。

蓬头散发、杀气腾腾的德纳第大娘叉开两腿,身体向后仰,使出全身力气把石磴对准沙威的脑袋抛去。沙威一弯腰,石磴打他头顶上过去了,碰在对面墙上,砸下了一大块石灰,继又弹回来,从一个屋角滚到另一屋角,幸而屋里几乎全是空的,最后在沙威的脚跟前不动了。

这时沙威已走到德纳第夫妇面前。他那双宽大的手,一只抓住了妇人的肩膀,一只贴在她丈夫的头皮上。

“手铐拿来。”他喊着说。

那些警探又涌进来 几秒钟过后,沙威的命令便执行好了。

德纳第大娘完全泄了气,望着自己和她丈夫的手全被铐住了,便倒在地上,嚎啕大哭,嘴里喊着:

“我的闺女!”

“都已看管好了。”沙威说。

这时警察去料理睡在门背后的那个醉汉,使劲摇他。他醒来了,迷迷糊糊地问道:

“完事了吧,容德雷特?”

“完了。”沙威回答说。

接着,他以弗雷德里克二世在波茨坦检阅部队的神气,挨个儿对那三个“通烟囱的”说:

“您好,比格纳耶。您好,普吕戎。您好,二十亿。”

继又转向那三个面罩,对拿板斧的人说:

“您好,海嘴。”

对拿粗木棒的人说:

“您好,巴伯。”

又对着用肚子说话的人:

“敬礼,铁牙。”

这时,他发现了被匪徒俘虏的人,自从警察进来以后,还没有说过一句话,他老低着头。

“替这位先生解开绳子!”沙威说,“谁也不许出去。”

说过后,他大模大样地坐在桌子跟前,桌上还摆着烛台和写字用具,他从衣袋里抽出一张公文纸,开始写他的报告。

当他写完最初几行套语以后,他抬起眼睛说:

“把刚才被这些先生们捆住的那位先生带上来。”

警察们朝四面望。

“怎么了,”沙威问道,“他在哪儿?”

匪徒们的俘虏,白先生,玉尔邦·法白尔先生,玉秀儿或百灵鸟的父亲,不见了。

门是有人守着的,窗子却没人守着。他看见自己已经松了绑,当沙威正在写报告时,他便利用大家还在哄乱,喧哗,你推我挤,烛光昏暗,人们的注意力都不在他身上的一刹那间,跳出窗口了。

一个警察跑到窗口去望。外面也不见人。

那软梯却还在颤动。

“见鬼!”沙威咬牙切齿地说,“也许这正是最肥的一个!”
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