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第三卷卜吕梅街的一所房子 第01章秘密房子

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BOOK THIRD.--THE HOUSE IN THE RUE PLUMET

CHAPTER I THE HOUSE WITH A SECRET

About the middle of the last century, a chief justice in the Parliament of Paris having a mistress and concealing the fact, for at that period the grand seignors displayed their mistresses, and the bourgeois concealed them, had "a little house" built in the Faubourg Saint-Germain, in the deserted Rue Blomet, which is now called Rue Plumet, not far from the spot which was then designated as Combat des Animaux.

This house was composed of a single-storied pavilion; two rooms on the ground floor, two chambers on the first floor, a kitchen down stairs, a boudoir up stairs, an attic under the roof, the whole preceded by a garden with a large gate opening on the street. This garden was about an acre and a half in extent. This was all that could be seen by passers-by; but behind the pavilion there was a narrow courtyard, and at the end of the courtyard a low building consisting of two rooms and a cellar, a sort of preparation destined to conceal a child and nurse in case of need. This building communicated in the rear by a masked door which opened by a secret spring, with a long, narrow, paved winding corridor, open to the sky, hemmed in with two lofty walls, which, hidden with wonderful art, and lost as it were between garden enclosures and cultivated land, all of whose angles and detours it followed, ended in another door, also with a secret lock which opened a quarter of a league away, almost in another quarter, at the solitary extremity of the Rue du Babylone.

Through this the chief justice entered, so that even those who were spying on him and following him would merely have observed that the justice betook himself every day in a mysterious way somewhere, and would never have suspected that to go to the Rue de Babylone was to go to the Rue Blomet. Thanks to clever purchasers of land, the magistrate had been able to make a secret, sewer-like passage on his own property, and consequently, without interference. Later on, he had sold in little parcels, for gardens and market gardens, the lots of ground adjoining the corridor, and the proprietors of these lots on both sides thought they had a party wall before their eyes, and did not even suspect the long, paved ribbon winding between two walls amid their flower-beds and their orchards. Only the birds beheld this curiosity. It is probable that the linnets and tomtits of the last century gossiped a great deal about the chief justice.

The pavilion, built of stone in the taste of Mansard, wainscoted and furnished in the Watteau style, rocaille on the inside, old-fashioned on the outside, walled in with a triple hedge of flowers, had something discreet, coquettish, and solemn about it, as befits a caprice of love and magistracy.

This house and corridor, which have now disappeared, were in existence fifteen years ago. In '93 a coppersmith had purchased the house with the idea of demolishing it, but had not been able to pay the price; the nation made him bankrupt. So that it was the house which demolished the coppersmith. After that, the house remained uninhabited, and fell slowly to ruin, as does every dwelling to which the presence of man does not communicate life. It had remained fitted with its old furniture, was always for sale or to let, and the ten or a dozen people who passed through the Rue Plumet were warned of the fact by a yellow and illegible bit of writing which had hung on the garden wall since 1819.

Towards the end of the Restoration, these same passers-by might have noticed that the bill had disappeared, and even that the shutters on the first floor were open. The house was occupied, in fact. The windows had short curtains, a sign that there was a woman about.

In the month of October, 1829, a man of a certain age had presented himself and had hired the house just as it stood, including, of course, the back building and the lane which ended in the Rue de Babylone. He had had the secret openings of the two doors to this passage repaired. The house, as we have just mentioned, was still very nearly furnished with the justice's old fitting; the new tenant had ordered some repairs, had added what was lacking here and there, had replaced the paving-stones in the yard, bricks in the floors, steps in the stairs, missing bits in the inlaid floors and the glass in the lattice windows, and had finally installed himself there with a young girl and an elderly maid-servant, without commotion, rather like a person who is slipping in than like a man who is entering his own house. The neighbors did not gossip about him,for the reason that there were no neighbors.

This unobtrusive tenant was Jean Valjean, the young girl was Cosette. The servant was a woman named Toussaint, whom Jean Valjean had saved from the hospital and from wretchedness, and who was elderly, a stammerer, and from the provinces, three qualities which had decided Jean Valjean to take her with him. He had hired the house under the name of M. Fauchelevent, independent gentleman.In all that has been related heretofore, the reader has, doubtless, been no less prompt than Thenardier to recognize Jean Valjean.

Why had Jean Valjean quitted the convent of the Petit-Picpus? What had happened?

Nothing had happened.

It will be remembered that Jean Valjean was happy in the convent, so happy that his conscience finally took the alarm. He saw Cosette every day, he felt paternity spring up and develop within him more and more, he brooded over the soul of that child, he said to himself that she was his, that nothing could take her from him, that this would last indefinitely, that she would certainly become a nun, being thereto gently incited every day, that thus the convent was henceforth the universe for her as it was for him, that he should grow old there, and that she would grow up there, that she would grow old there, and that he should die there; that, in short, delightful hope, no separation was possible. On reflecting upon this, he fell into perplexity. He interrogated himself. He asked himself if all that happiness were really his, if it were not composed of the happiness of another, of the happiness of that child which he, an old man, was confiscating and stealing; if that were not theft? He said to himself, that this child had a right to know life before renouncing it, that to deprive her in advance, and in some sort without consulting her, of all joys, under the pretext of saving her from all trials, to take advantage of her ignorance of her isolation, in order to make an artificial vocation germinate in her, was to rob a human creature of its nature and to lie to God. And who knows if, when she came to be aware of all this some day, and found herself a nun to her sorrow, Cosette would not come to hate him? A last, almost selfish thought, and less heroic than the rest, but which was intolerable to him. He resolved to quit the convent.

He resolved on this; he recognized with anguish, the fact that it was necessary. As for objections, there were none. Five years' sojourn between these four walls and of disappearance had necessarily destroyed or dispersed the elements of fear. He could return tranquilly among men. He had grown old, and all had undergone a change. Who would recognize him now? And then, to face the worst, there was danger only for himself,and he had no right to condemn Cosette to the cloister for the reason that he had been condemned to the galleys. Besides, what is danger in comparison with the right? Finally, nothing prevented his being prudent and taking his precautions.

As for Cosette's education, it was almost finished and complete.

His determination once taken, he awaited an opportunity. It was not long in presenting itself. Old Fauchelevent died.

Jean Valjean demanded an audience with the revered prioress and told her that, having come into a little inheritance at the death of his brother, which permitted him henceforth to live without working, he should leave the service of the convent and take his daughter with him; but that, as it was not just that Cosette, since she had not taken the vows, should have received her education gratuitously, he humbly begged the Reverend Prioress to see fit that he should offer to the community, as indemnity, for the five years which Cosette had spent there, the sum of five thousand francs.

It was thus that Jean Valjean quitted the convent of the Perpetual Adoration.

On leaving the convent, he took in his own arms the little valise the key to which he still wore on his person, and would permit no porter to touch it. This puzzled Cosette, because of the odor of embalming which proceeded from it.

Let us state at once, that this trunk never quitted him more. He always had it in his chamber. It was the first and only thing sometimes, that he carried off in his moving when he moved about. Cosette laughed at it, and called this valise his inseparable, saying: "I am jealous of it."

Nevertheless, Jean Valjean did not reappear in the open air without profound anxiety.

He discovered the house in the Rue Plumet, and hid himself from sight there. Henceforth he was in the possession of the name: -- Ultime Fauchelevent.

At the same time he hired two other apartments in Paris, in order that he might attract less attention than if he were to remain always in the same quarter, and so that he could, at need, take himself off at the slightest disquietude which should assail him, and in short, so that he might not again be caught unprovided as on the night when he had so miraculously escaped from Javert. These two apartments were very pitiable, poor in appearance, and in two quarters which were far remote from each other, the one in the Rue de l'Ouest, the other in the Rue de l'Homme Arme.

He went from time to time, now to the Rue de l'Homme Arme, now to the Rue de l'Ouest, to pass a month or six weeks, without taking Toussaint. He had himself served by the porters,and gave himself out as a gentleman from the suburbs, living on his funds, and having a little temporary resting-place in town. This lofty virtue had three domiciles in Paris for the sake of escaping from the police.



一 秘密房子

在前一世纪①的中叶,巴黎法院的一位乳钵②院长私下养着一个情妇,因为当时大贵族们显示他们的情妇,而资产阶级却要把她们藏起来。他在圣日耳曼郊区,荒僻的卜洛梅街??就是今天的卜吕梅街??所谓“斗兽场”的地方,起建了一所“小房子”。

①指十八世纪。

②乳钵是古代法国高级官员所戴的一种礼帽的名称,上宽下窄,圆筒无边,形如倒立的乳钵。

这房子是一座上下两层的楼房,下面两间大厅,上面两间正房,另外,下面有间厨房,上面有间起坐间,屋顶下面有间阁楼,整栋房子面对一个花园,临街一道铁栏门。那园子大约占地一公顷,这便是过路的人所能望见的一切了。可是在楼房后面,还有一个小院子,院子底里,又有两间带地窖的平房,这是个在必要时可以藏一个孩子和一个乳母的地方。平房后面有扇伪装了的暗门,通向一条长而窄的小巷:下面铺了石板,上面露天,弯弯曲曲,夹在两道高墙的中间;这小巷经过极巧妙的设计,顺着墙外两旁一些园子和菜地的藩篱,转弯抹角,向前延伸,一路都有掩蔽,从外面看去,绝无痕迹可寻,就这样直通半个四分之一法里以外的另一扇暗门,开门出去,便是巴比伦街上行人绝少的一端,那已几乎属于另一市区了。

院长先生便经常打这道门进去,即使有人察觉他每天都鬼鬼祟祟地去到一个什么地方,要跟踪侦察,也决想不到去巴比伦街便是去卜洛梅街。这个才智过人的官员,通过巧妙的土地收购,便能无拘无束地在私有的土地上修造起这条通道。过后,他又把巷子两旁的土地,分段分块,零零碎碎地卖了出去,而买了这些地的业主们,分在巷子两旁,总以为竖在他们眼前的是一道公用的单墙,决想不到还存在那么一长条石板路蜿蜒伸展在他们的菜畦和果园中的夹墙里。只有飞鸟才能望见这一奇景。上一世纪的黄鸟和兰花雀一定叽叽喳喳谈了不少关于这位院长先生的事。

那栋楼房是照芒萨尔①的格调用条石砌成的,并按照华托的格调嵌镶了壁饰,陈设了家具,里面是自然景色,外面是古老形式,总的一共植了三道花篱,显得既雅致,又俏丽,又庄严,这对男女私情和达官豪兴的一时发泄来说,都是恰当的。

这房子和小巷,今天都已不在了,十五年前却还存在。九三年,有个锅炉厂的厂主买了这所房子,准备拆毁,但因付不出房价,国家便宣告他破产。因此,反而是房子拆毁了厂主。从这以后,那房子便空着没人住,也就和所有一切得不到人间温暖的住宅一样,逐渐颓废了。它仍旧陈设着那一套老家具,随时准备出卖或出租,每年在卜吕梅街走过的那十个或十二个人,自从一八一○年以来,都看见一块字迹模糊的黄广告牌挂在花园外面的铁栏门上。

①芒萨尔(Mansard,1646?708),法国建筑师。 

到了王朝复辟的末年,从前的那几个过路人忽然发现广告牌不见了,甚至楼上的板窗也开了。那房子确已有人住进去。窗子上都挂了小窗帘,说明那里有个女人。

一八二九年十月,有个年岁相当大的男人出面把那房子原封不动地,当然包括后院的平房和通向巴比伦街的小巷在内,一总租了下来。他又雇人把那巷子两头的两扇暗门修理好。陈设在房子里的,我们刚才已经说过,大致仍是那院长的一些旧家具,这位新房客稍加修葺了一下,各处添补了一些缺少的东西,院子里铺了石板,屋子里铺了方砖,修理了楼梯上的踏级、地板上的木条、窗上的玻璃,这才带着一个年轻姑娘和一个老女仆悄悄地搬来住下,好象是溜着进去的,说不上迁入新居。邻居们也绝没有议论什么,原因是那地方没有邻居。

这个无声无息的房客便是冉阿让,年轻姑娘便是珂赛特。那女仆是个老姑娘,名叫杜桑,是冉阿让从医院和穷苦中救出来的,她年老,外省人,口吃,有这三个优点,冉阿让才决定把她带在身边。他以割风先生之名,固定年息领取者的身分,把这房子租下来的。有了以上种种叙述,关于冉阿让,读者想必知道得比德纳第要更早一点。

冉阿让为什么要离开小比克布斯修院呢?出了什么事?

什么事也没有出。

我们记得,冉阿让在修院里是幸福的,甚至幸福到了心里不安的程度。他能每天和珂赛特见面,他感到自己的心里产生了父爱,并且日益发展,他以整个灵魂护卫着这孩子,他常对自己说:“她是属于他的,任何东西都不能从他那里把她夺去,生活将这样无尽期地过下去,在这里她处在日常的启诱下,一定会成为修女,因此这修院从今以后就是他和她的宇宙了,他将在这地方衰老,她将在这地方成长,她将在这地方衰老,他将在这地方死去,总之,美妙的希望,任何分离都是不可能的。”他在细想这些事时,感到自己坠在困惑中了。他反躬自问。他问自己这幸福是否完全是他的,这里面是否也搀有被他这样一个老人所侵占诱带得来的这个孩子的幸福,这究竟是不是一种盗窃行为?他常对自己说:“这孩子在放弃人生以前,有认识人生的权利,如果在取得她的同意以前,便借口要为她挡开一切不幸而断绝她的一切欢乐,利用她的蒙昧无知和无亲无故而人为地强要她发出一种遁世的誓愿,那将是违反自然,戕贼人心,也是向上帝撒谎。”并且谁能断言,将来有朝一日,珂赛特懂得了这一切,悔当修女,她不会转过来恨他吗?最后这一念,几乎是自私的,不如其他思想那样光明磊落,但这一念使他不能忍受。他便决计离开那修院。

他决定这样做,他苦闷地意识到他非这样做不可。至于阻力,却没有。他在那四堵墙里,销声匿迹,住了五年,这已够清除或驱散那些可虑的因素了。他已能安安稳稳地回到人群中去。他也老了,全都变了。现在谁还能认出他来呢?何况,即使从最坏的情况设想,有危险的也只可能是他本人,总不能因自己曾被判处坐苦役牢,便可用这作理由,认为有权利判处珂赛特去进修院。并且,危险在责任面前又算得了什么?总之,并没有什么妨碍他谨慎行事,处处小心。

至于珂赛特的教育,它已经告一段落,大致完成。

决心下了以后,他便等待机会。机会不久便出现了。老割风死了。

冉阿让请求院长接见,对她说由于哥哥去世,他得到一笔小小的遗产,从今以后,他不工作也能过活了,他打算辞掉修院里的职务,并把他的女儿带走,但是珂赛特受到教养照顾,却一直没有发愿,如果不偿付费用,那是不合理的。他小心翼翼地请求院长允许他向修院捐献五千法郎,作为珂赛特五年留院的费用。

冉阿让便这样离开了那永敬会修院。

他离开修院的时候,亲自把那小提箱夹在腋下,不让任何办事人替他代拿,钥匙他也是一直揣在身上的。这提箱老发出一股香料味,常使珂赛特困惑不解。

我们现在便说清楚,这只箱子,从此以后,不会再离开他了。他总是把它放在自己的屋子里。在他每次搬家时,也总是他要携带的第一件东西,有时并且是唯一的东西。珂赛特常为这事笑话他,称这箱子为“难分难舍的朋友”,又说:“我要吃醋啦。”

冉阿让回到了自由的空气里,其实他心里仍怀着深重的忧虑。

他发现卜吕梅街的那所房子,便蜷伏在那里。从此他成了于尔迪姆·割风这名字的占有人。

他在巴黎还同时租了另外两个住处,免得别人注意他老待在一个市区里,在感到危险初露苗头时,他也可以有个迁移的地方,不至再象上次险遭沙威毒手的那个晚上,自己走投无路。那两个住处是两套相当简陋、外貌寒碜的公寓房子,分在两个相隔很远的市区,一处在西街,另一处在武人街。

他常带着珂赛特,时而在武人街,时而在西街,住上一个月或六个星期,让杜桑留在家里。住公寓时,他让门房替他料理杂务,只说自己是郊区的一个有固定年息的人,在城里要有个歇脚点。这年高德劭的人在巴黎有三处寓所,为的是躲避警察。
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