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第三卷卜吕梅街的一所房子 第02章冉阿让参加了国民自卫军

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CHAPTER II JEAN VALJEAN AS A NATIONAL GUARD

However, properly speaking, he lived in the Rue Plumet, and he had arranged his existence there in the following fashion: --

Cosette and the servant occupied the pavilion; she had the big sleeping-room with the painted pier-glasses, the boudoir with the gilded fillets, the justice's drawing-room furnished with tapestries and vast arm-chairs; she had the garden. Jean Valjean had a canopied bed of antique damask in three colors and a beautiful Persian rug purchased in the Rue du Figuier-Saint-Paul at Mother Gaucher's, put into Cosette's chamber, and, in order to redeem the severity of these magnificent old things, he had amalgamated with this bric-a-brac all the gay and graceful little pieces of furniture suitable to young girls, an etagere, a bookcase filled with gilt-edged books, an inkstand, a blotting-book, paper, a work-table incrusted with mother of pearl, a silver-gilt dressing-case, a toilet service in Japanese porcelain. Long damask curtains with a red foundation and three colors, like those on the bed, hung at the windows of the first floor. On the ground floor, the curtains were of tapestry. All winter long, Cosette's little house was heated from top to bottom. Jean Valjean inhabited the sort of porter's lodge which was situated at the end of the back courtyard, with a mattress on a folding-bed, a white wood table, two straw chairs, an earthenware water-jug, a few old volumes on a shelf, his beloved valise in one corner, and never any fire. He dined with Cosette, and he had a loaf of black bread on the table for his own use.

When Toussaint came, he had said to her: "It is the young lady who is the mistress of this house."--"And you, monsieur?" Toussaint replied in amazement.--"I am a much better thing than the master, I am the father."

Cosette had been taught housekeeping in the convent, and she regulated their expenditure, which was very modest. Every day, Jean Valjean put his arm through Cosette's and took her for a walk. He led her to the Luxembourg, to the least frequented walk,and every Sunday he took her to mass at Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, because that was a long way off. As it was a very poor quarter, he bestowed alms largely there, and the poor people surrounded him in church, which had drawn down upon him Thenardier's epistle: "To the benevolent gentleman of the church of Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas." He was fond of taking Cosette to visit the poor and the sick. No stranger ever entered the house in the Rue Plumet. Toussaint brought their provisions, and Jean Valjean went himself for water to a fountain near by on the boulevard. Their wood and wine were put into a half-subterranean hollow lined with rock-work which lay near the Rue de Babylone and which had formerly served the chief-justice as a grotto; for at the epoch of follies and "Little Houses" no love was without a grotto.

In the door opening on the Rue de Babylone, there was a box destined for the reception of letters and papers; only, as the three inhabitants of the pavilion in the Rue Plumet received neither papers nor letters, the entire usefulness of that box, formerly the go-between of a love affair, and the confidant of a love-lorn lawyer, was now limited to the tax-collector's notices, and the summons of the guard. For M. Fauchelevent, independent gentleman, belonged to the national guard; he had not been able to escape through the fine meshes of the census of 1831. The municipal information collected at that time had even reached the convent of the Petit-Picpus, a sort of impenetrable and holy cloud, whence Jean Valjean had emerged in venerable guise, and, consequently, worthy of mounting guard in the eyes of the townhall.

Three or four times a year, Jean Valjean donned his uniform and mounted guard; he did this willingly, however; it was a correct disguise which mixed him with every one, and yet left him solitary. Jean Valjean had just attained his sixtieth birthday, the age of legal exemption; but he did not appear to be over fifty; moreover, he had no desire to escape his sergeant-major nor to quibble with Comte de Lobau; he possessed no civil status, he was concealing his name, he was concealing his identity,so he concealed his age, he concealed everything; and, as we have just said, he willingly did his duty as a national guard; the sum of his ambition lay in resembling any other man who paid his taxes. This man had for his ideal, within, the angel, without, the bourgeois.

Let us note one detail, however; when Jean Valjean went out with Cosette, he dressed as the reader has already seen, and had the air of a retired officer. When he went out alone, which was generally at night, he was always dressed in a workingman's trousers and blouse, and wore a cap which concealed his face. Was this precaution or humility? Both. Cosette was accustomed to the enigmatical side of her destiny, and hardly noticed her father's peculiarities. As for Toussaint, she venerated Jean Valjean, and thought everything he did right.

One day, her butcher, who had caught a glimpse of Jean Valjean, said to her: "That's a queer fish." She replied: "He's a saint." Neither Jean Valjean nor Cosette nor Toussaint ever entered or emerged except by the door on the Rue de Babylone. Unless seen through the garden gate it would have been difficult to guess that they lived in the Rue Plumet. That gate was always closed. Jean Valjean had left the garden uncultivated, in order not to attract attention.

In this, possibly, he made a mistake.



二 冉阿让参加了国民自卫军


其实,严格说来,他是住在卜吕梅街的,他把他的生活作了如下的安排:

珂赛特带着女仆住楼房,她有那间墙壁刷过漆的大卧房,那间装了金漆直线浮雕的起坐间,当年院长用的那间有地毯、壁衣和大圈椅的客厅,她还有那个花园。冉阿让在珂赛特的卧房里放了一张带一顶古式三色花缎帐幔的床和一条从圣保罗无花果树街戈什妈妈铺子里买来的古老而华丽的波斯地毯,并且,为了冲淡这些精美的古老陈设所引起的严肃气氛,在那些古物之外,他又配置了一整套适合少女的灵巧雅致的小用具:多宝??、书柜和金边书籍、文具、吸墨纸、嵌螺钿的工作台、银质镀金的针线盒、日本瓷梳妆用具。楼上窗子上,挂的是和帐幔一致的三色深红花缎长窗帘,底层屋子里是毛织窗帘。整个冬季,珂赛特的房子里从上到下都是生了火的。他呢,住在后院的那种下房里,帆布榻上放一条草褥、一张白木桌、两张麦秸椅、一个陶瓷水罐,一块木板上放着几本旧书,他那宝贝提箱放在屋角里,从来不生火。他和珂赛特同桌进餐,桌上有一块为他准备的陈面包。杜桑进家时他对她说:“我们家里的主人是小姐。”杜桑感到有些诧异,她反问道:“那么,您呢,先??生?”“我嘛,我比主人高多了,我是父亲。”

珂赛特在修院里学会了管理家务,现在的家用,为数不多,全归她调度。冉阿让每天都挽着珂赛特的臂膀,带她去散步。他领她到卢森堡公园里那条游人最少的小路上去走走,每星期日去做弥撒,老是在圣雅克·德·奥·巴教堂,因为那地方相当远。这是个很穷的地段,他在那里常常布施,在教堂里,他的四周总围满了穷人,因此德纳第在信里称他为“圣雅克·德·奥·巴教堂的行善的先生”。他喜欢带珂赛特去访贫问苦。卜吕梅街的那所房子从没有陌生人进去过。杜桑采购食物,冉阿让亲自到门外附近大路边的一个水龙头上去取水。木柴和酒,放在巴比伦街那扇门内附近的一个不怎么深的地窨子里,地窨子的壁上,铺了一层鹅卵石和贝壳之类的东西,是当年院长先生当作石窟用的,因为在外室和小房子盛行一时的那些年代里,没有石窟是不能想象爱情的。

在巴比伦街的那独扇的大门上,有个扑满式的箱子,是用来放信件和报刊的,不过住在卜吕梅街楼房里的这三位房客,从没有收到过报纸,也没有收到过信,这个曾为人传达风情并听取过脂粉贵人倾诉衷肠的箱子,到现在,它的唯一作用已只限于收受税吏的收款单和自卫军的通知了。因为,割风先生,固定年息领取者,参加了国民自卫军;他没能漏过一八三一年那次人口调查的密网。当时市府的调查一直追溯到小比克布斯修院,在那里遇到了无法穿透的神圣云雾,冉阿让既是从那面出来的,并经区政府证明为人正派,当然也就够得上参加兵役。

冉阿让每年总有三次或四次,穿上军服去站岗,而且他很乐意,因为,对他来说,这是一种正当的障眼法,既能和大家混在一起,又能单独值勤。冉阿让刚满六十岁,合法的免役年龄,但是他那模样还只象个五十以下的人,他完全没有意思要逃避他的连长,也不想去和罗博伯爵①抬杠,他没有公民地位,他隐瞒自己的姓名,他隐瞒自己的身份,他隐瞒自己的年龄,他隐瞒一切,但是,我们刚才已经说过,这是个意志坚定的国民自卫军。能和所有的人一样交付他的税款,这便是他的整个人生志趣。这个理想人物,在内心,是天使,在外表,是资产阶级。

①罗博(Lobau,1770?838),想是当时国民自卫军的长官。

然而有个细节我们得留意一下。冉阿让带着珂赛特一道出门时,他的衣着,正如我们所看到的,相当象一个退役军官。当他独自出门时,并且那总是在天黑以后,便经常穿一身工人的短上衣和长裤,戴一顶鸭舌帽,把脸遮起来。这是出于谨慎还是出于谦卑呢?两样都是。珂赛特已习惯于自己的离奇费解的命运,几乎没有注意她父亲的独特之处。至于杜桑,她对冉阿让是极其敬服的,觉得他的一举一动都无可非议。一天,那个经常卖肉给她的屠夫望见了冉阿让,对她说:“这是个古怪的家伙。”她回答说:“这是个圣人。”

冉阿让、珂赛特和杜桑从来都只从巴比伦街上的那扇门进出。如果不是他们偶然也在花园铁栏门内露露面,别人便难于猜想他们住在卜吕梅街。那道铁栏门是从来不开的。冉阿让也不修整那园子,免得惹人注意。

在这一点上他也许错了。
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