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第三卷卜吕梅街的一所房子 第05章玫瑰发现自己是战斗的武器

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CHAPTER V THE ROSE PERCEIVES THAT IT IS AN ENGINE OF WAR

One day, Cosette chanced to look at herself in her mirror,and she said to herself: "Really!" It seemed to her almost that she was pretty. This threw her in a singularly troubled state of mind. Up to that moment she had never thought of her face. She saw herself in her mirror, but she did not look at herself. And then, she had so often been told that she was homely; Jean Valjean alone said gently: "No indeed! no indeed!" At all events, Cosette had always thought herself homely, and had grown up in that belief with the easy resignation of childhood. And here, all at once, was her mirror saying to her, as Jean Valjean had said: "No indeed!" That night, she did not sleep. "What if I were pretty!" she thought. "How odd it would be if I were pretty!" And she recalled those of her companions whose beauty had produced a sensation in the convent, and she said to herself: "What! Am I to be like Mademoiselle So-and-So?"

The next morning she looked at herself again, not by accident this time, and she was assailed with doubts: "Where did I get such an idea?" said she; "no, I am ugly." She had not slept well, that was all, her eyes were sunken and she was pale. She had not felt very joyous on the preceding evening in the belief that she was beautiful, but it made her very sad not to be able to believe in it any longer. She did not look at herself again, and for more than a fortnight she tried to dress her hair with her back turned to the mirror.

In the evening, after dinner, she generally embroidered in wool or did some convent needlework in the drawing-room, and Jean Valjean read beside her. Once she raised her eyes from her work, and was rendered quite uneasy by the manner in which her father was gazing at her.

On another occasion, she was passing along the street, and it seemed to her that some one behind her, whom she did not see, said: "A pretty woman! but badly dressed." "Bah!" she thought, "he does not mean me. I am well dressed and ugly." She was then wearing a plush hat and her merino gown.

At last, one day when she was in the garden, she heard poor old Toussaint saying: "Do you notice how pretty Cosette is growing, sir?" Cosette did not hear her father's reply, but Toussaint's words caused a sort of commotion within her. She fled from the garden, ran up to her room, flew to the looking-glass,--it was three months since she had looked at herself,--and gave vent to a cry. She had just dazzled herself.

She was beautiful and lovely; she could not help agreeing with Toussaint and her mirror. Her figure was formed, her skin had grown white, her hair was lustrous, an unaccustomed splendor had been lighted in her blue eyes. The consciousness of her beauty burst upon her in an instant, like the sudden advent of daylight; other people noticed it also, Toussaint had said so, it was evidently she of whom the passer-by had spoken, there could no longer be any doubt of that; she descended to the garden again, thinking herself a queen, imagining that she heard the birds singing, though it was winter, seeing the sky gilded, the sun among the trees, flowers in the thickets, distracted, wild, in inexpressible delight.

Jean Valjean, on his side, experienced a deep and undefinable oppression at heart.

In fact, he had, for some time past, been contemplating with terror that beauty which seemed to grow more radiant every day on Cosette's sweet face. The dawn that was smiling for all was gloomy for him.

Cosette had been beautiful for a tolerably long time before she became aware of it herself. But, from the very first day, that unexpected light which was rising slowly and enveloping the whole of the young girl's person, wounded Jean Valjean's sombre eye. He felt that it was a change in a happy life, a life so happy that he did not dare to move for fear of disarranging something. This man, who had passed through all manner of distresses, who was still all bleeding from the bruises of fate, who had been almost wicked and who had become almost a saint, who, after having dragged the chain of the galleys, was now dragging the invisible but heavy chain of indefinite misery, this man whom the law had not released from its grasp and who could be seized at any moment and brought back from the obscurity of his virtue to the broad daylight of public opprobrium, this man accepted all, excused all, pardoned all, and merely asked of Providence, of man, of the law, of society, of nature, of the world, one thing, that Cosette might love him!

That Cosette might continue to love him! That God would not prevent the heart of the child from coming to him, and from remaining with him! Beloved by Cosette, he felt that he was healed, rested, appeased, loaded with benefits, recompensed, crowned. Beloved by Cosette, it was well with him! He asked nothing more! Had any one said to him: "Do you want anything better?" he would have answered: "No." God might have said to him: "Do you desire heaven?" and he would have replied: "I should lose by it."

Everything which could affect this situation, if only on the surface, made him shudder like the beginning of something new. He had never known very distinctly himself what the beauty of a woman means; but he understood instinctively, that it was something terrible.

He gazed with terror on this beauty, which was blossoming out ever more triumphant and superb beside him, beneath his very eyes, on the innocent and formidable brow of that child, from the depths of her homeliness, of his old age, of his misery, of his reprobation.

He said to himself: "How beautiful she is! What is to become of me?"

There, moreover, lay the difference between his tenderness and the tenderness of a mother. What he beheld with anguish, a mother would have gazed upon with joy.

The first symptoms were not long in making their appearance.

On the very morrow of the day on which she had said to herself: "Decidedly I am beautiful!" Cosette began to pay attention to her toilet. She recalled the remark of that passer-by: "Pretty, but badly dressed," the breath of an oracle which had passed beside her and had vanished, after depositing in her heart one of the two germs which are destined, later on, to fill the whole life of woman, coquetry. Love is the other.

With faith in her beauty, the whole feminine soul expanded within her. She conceived a horror for her merinos, and shame for her plush hat. Her father had never refused her anything. She at once acquired the whole science of the bonnet, the gown, the mantle, the boot, the cuff, the stuff which is in fashion, the color which is becoming, that science which makes of the Parisian woman something so charming, so deep, and so dangerous. The words heady woman were invented for the Parisienne.

In less than a month, little Cosette, in that Thebaid of the Rue de Babylone, was not only one of the prettiest, but one of the "best dressed" women in Paris, which means a great deal more.

She would have liked to encounter her "passer-by," to see what he would say, and to "teach him a lesson!" The truth is,that she was ravishing in every respect, and that she distinguished the difference between a bonnet from Gerard and one from Herbaut in the most marvellous way.

Jean Valjean watched these ravages with anxiety. He who felt that he could never do anything but crawl, walk at the most, beheld wings sprouting on Cosette.

Moreover, from the mere inspection of Cosette's toilet, a woman would have recognized the fact that she had no mother. Certain little proprieties, certain special conventionalities, were not observed by Cosette. A mother, for instance, would have told her that a young girl does not dress in damask.

The first day that Cosette went out in her black damask gown and mantle, and her white crape bonnet, she took Jean Valjean's arm, gay, radiant, rosy, proud, dazzling. "Father," she said, "how do you like me in this guise?" Jean Valjean replied in a voice which resembled the bitter voice of an envious man: "Charming!" He was the same as usual during their walk. On their return home, he asked Cosette:--

"Won't you put on that other gown and bonnet again,--you know the ones I mean?"

This took place in Cosette's chamber. Cosette turned towards the wardrobe where her cast-off schoolgirl's clothes were hanging.

"That disguise!" said she. "Father, what do you want me to do with it? Oh no, the idea! I shall never put on those horrors again. With that machine on my head, I have the air of Madame Mad-dog."

Jean Valjean heaved a deep sigh.

From that moment forth, he noticed that Cosette, who had always heretofore asked to remain at home, saying: "Father, I enjoy myself more here with you," now was always asking to go out. In fact, what is the use of having a handsome face and a delicious costume if one does not display them?

He also noticed that Cosette had no longer the same taste for the back garden. Now she preferred the garden, and did not dislike to promenade back and forth in front of the railed fence. Jean Valjean, who was shy, never set foot in the garden. He kept to his back yard, like a dog.

Cosette, in gaining the knowledge that she was beautiful, lost the grace of ignoring it. An exquisite grace, for beauty enhanced by ingenuousness is ineffable, and nothing is so adorable as a dazzling and innocent creature who walks along, holding in her hand the key to paradise without being conscious of it. But what she had lost in ingenuous grace, she gained in pensive and serious charm. Her whole person, permeated with the joy of youth, of innocence, and of beauty, breathed forth a splendid melancholy.

It was at this epoch that Marius, after the lapse of six months, saw her once more at the Luxembourg.



五 玫瑰发现自己是战斗的武器

一天,珂赛特偶然拿起一面镜子来照她自己,独自说了一声:“怪!”她几乎感到自己是漂亮的。这使她心里产生了一种说不出的烦恼。她直到现在,还从来没有想到过自己脸蛋儿的模样。她常照镜子,但从来不望自己。况且她常听到别人说她生得丑,只有冉阿让一人细声说过:“一点也不!一点也不!”不管怎样,珂赛特一向认为自己丑,并且从小就带着这种思想长大,孩子们对这些原是满不在乎的。而现在,她的那面镜子,正和冉阿让一样,突然对她说:“一点也不!”她那一夜便没有睡好。“我漂亮又怎样呢?”她心里想,“真滑稽,我也会漂亮!”同时,她回忆起在她的同学中有过一些长得美的,在那修院里怎样引起大家的羡慕,于是她心里想道:“怎么!难道我也会象某某小姐那样!”

第二天,她又去照顾自己,这已不是偶然的举动,可她又怀疑:“我的眼力到哪里去了?”她说,“不,我生得丑。”很简单,她没有睡好,眼皮垂下来了,脸也是苍白的。前一天,她还以为自己漂亮,当时并没有感到非常快乐,现在她不那么想了,反而感到伤心。她不再去照镜子了,一连两个多星期,她老是试着背对镜子梳头。

晚饭过后,天黑了,她多半是在客厅里编织,或做一点从修院学来的其他手工,冉阿让在她旁边看书。一次,她在埋头工作时,偶然抬起眼睛,看见她父亲正望着她,露出忧虑的神气,她不禁大吃一惊。

另一次,她在街上走,仿佛听到有个人??她没有看见??在她后面说:“一个漂亮女人!可惜穿得不好。”她心里想:“管他的!他说的不是我。我穿得好,生得丑。”当时她戴的是一顶棉绒帽,穿的是一件粗毛呢裙袍。

还有一天,她在园子里,听见可怜的杜桑老妈妈这样说:“先生,您注意到小姐现在长得多漂亮了吗?”珂赛特没有听清她父亲的回答。杜桑的那句话已在她心里引起一阵惊慌。她立即离开园子,逃到楼上自己的卧房里,跑到镜子前面??她已三个月不照镜子了??叫了一声。这一下,她把自己的眼睛也看花了。

她是既漂亮又秀丽,她不能不对杜桑和镜子的意见表示同意。她的身躯长成了,皮肤白净了,头发润泽了,蓝眼睛的瞳孔里燃起了一种不曾见过的光采。她对自己的美,一转瞬间,正如突然遇到耀眼的阳光,已完全深信无疑,况且别人早已注意到,杜桑说过,街上那个人指的也明明是她了,已没有什么可怀疑的。她又下楼来,走到园子里,自以为当了王后,听着鸟儿歌唱,虽是在冬天,望着金黄色的天空、树枝间的阳光、草丛里的花朵,她疯了似的晕头转向,心里是说不出的欢畅。

在另一方面,冉阿让却感到心情无比沉重,一颗心好象被什么揪住了似的。

那是因为,许久以来,他确是一直怀着恐惧的心情,注视那美丽的容光在珂赛特的小脸蛋上一天比一天更光辉夺目。对所有的人来说这是清新可喜的晓色,而对他,却是阴沉暗淡的。

在珂赛特觉察到自己的美以前,她早已是美丽的了。可是这种逐渐上升的、一步步把这年轻姑娘浑身缠绕着的阳光,从第一天起,便刺伤了冉阿让忧郁的眼睛。他感到这是他幸福生活中的一种变化,他的生活过得那么幸福,以至使他一动也不敢动,唯恐打乱了他生活中的什么。这个人,经历过一切灾难,一生受到的创伤都还在不断流血,从前几乎是恶棍,现在几乎是圣人,在拖过苦役牢里的铁链以后,现在仍拖着一种无形而有分量的铁链??受着说不出的罪名的责罚,对这个人,法律并没有松手,随时可以把他抓回去,从美德的黑暗中丢到光天化日下的公开羞辱里。这个人,能接受一切,原谅一切,饶恕一切,为一切祝福,愿一切都好,向天,向人,向法律,向社会,向大自然,向世界,但也只有一个要求:让珂赛特爱他!

让珂赛特继续爱他!愿上帝不禁止这孩子的心向着他,永远向着他!得到珂赛特的爱,他便觉得伤口愈合了,身心舒坦了,平静了,圆满了,得到酬报了,戴上王冕了。得到珂赛特的爱,他便心满意足!除此以外,他毫无所求。即使有人问他:“你还有什么奢望没有?”他一定会回答:“没有。”即使上帝问他:“你要不要天?”他也会回答:“那会得不偿失的。”

凡是可以触及这种现状的,哪怕只触及表皮,都会使他胆战心惊,以为这是另一种东西的开始。他从来不太知道什么是女性的美,但是,通过本能,他也懂得这是一种极可怕的东西。这种青春焕发的美,在他身旁,眼前,在这孩子天真开朗、使人心惊的脸蛋上,从他的丑,他的老,他的窘困、抵触、苦恼的土壤中开放出来,日益辉煌光艳,使他瞪眼望着,心慌意乱。

他对自己说:“她多么美!我将怎么办呢,我?”

这正是他的爱和母爱之间的不同处。使他见了便痛苦的,也正是一个母亲见了便快乐的东西。

初期症状很快就出现了。

从她对自己说“毫无疑问,我美!”的那一日的第二天起,珂赛特便留意她的服饰。她想起了她在街上听到的那句话:“漂亮,可惜穿得不好。”这话好象是从她身边吹过的一阵神风,虽然一去无踪影,却已把那两粒将要在日后支配女性生活方式的种子中的一粒??爱俏癖??播在她心里了。另一粒是爱情的种子。

对她自己的美貌有了信心以后,女性的灵魂便在她心中整个儿开了花。她见了粗毛呢便厌恶,见了棉绒也感到羞人。她父亲对她素来是有求必应的。她一下子便掌握了关于帽子、裙袍、短外套、缎靴、袖口花边、时式衣料、流行颜色这方面的一整套学问,也就是把巴黎女人搞得那么动人、那么深奥、那么危险的那套学问。“勾魂女人”这个词儿便是为巴黎妇女创造的。

不到一个月,珂赛特在巴比伦街附近的荒凉地段里,已不只是巴黎最漂亮的女人之一,这样就已经很了不起了,而且还是“穿得最好的”女人之一,做到这点就更了不起了。她希望能遇见从前在街上遇到的那个人,看他还有什么可说的,并“教训教训他”。事实是:她在任何方面都是楚楚动人的,并且能万无一失地分辨出哪顶帽子是热拉尔铺子的产品,哪顶帽子是埃尔博铺子的产品。

冉阿让看着她胡闹,干着急。他觉得他自己只能是个在地上爬的人,至多也只能在地上走,现在却看见珂赛特要生翅膀。

其实,只要对珂赛特的衣着随便看一眼,一个女人便能看出她是没有母亲的。某些细微的习俗,某些特殊的风尚,珂赛特都没有注意到。比方说,她如果有母亲,她母亲便会对她说年轻姑娘是不穿花缎衣服的。

珂赛特第一次穿上她的黑花缎短披风,戴着白绉纱帽出门的那天,她靠近冉阿让,挽着他的臂膀,愉快,欢乐,红润,大方,光艳夺目。她问道:“爹,您觉得我这个样子怎么样?”冉阿让带着一种自叹不如的愁苦声音回答说:“真漂亮!”他和平时一样??了一阵子。回到家里时,他问珂赛特:

“你不打算再穿你那件裙袍,戴你那顶帽子了吗?你知道我指的是……”

这话是在珂赛特的卧房里问的,珂赛特转身对着挂在衣柜里的那身寄读生服装。

“这种怪服装!”她说,“爹,您要我拿它怎么办?呵!简直笑话,不,我不再穿这些怪难看的东西了。把那玩意儿顶在头上,我成了个疯狗太太。”

冉阿让长叹一声。

从这时候起,他发现珂赛特已不象往日那样老爱待在家里,说着“参,我和您一道在这儿玩玩还开心些”,她现在总想到外面去走走。确实,假使不到人前去露露面,又何必生一张漂亮的脸,穿一身入时出众的衣服呢?

他还发现珂赛特对那个后院已不怎么感兴趣了。她现在比较喜欢待在花园里,并不厌烦常到铁栏门边去走走。冉阿让一肚子闷气,不再涉足花园。他待在他那后院里,象条老狗。

珂赛特在知道自己美的同时,失去了那种不自以为美的神态??美不可言的神态,因为由天真稚气烘托着的美是无法形容的,没有什么能象那种容光焕发、信步向前、手里握着天堂的钥匙而不知的天真少女一样可爱。但是,她虽然失去了憨稚无知的神态,却赢回了端庄凝重的魅力。她整个被青春的欢乐、天真和美貌所渗透,散发着一种光辉灿烂的淡淡的哀愁。

正是在这时候,马吕斯过了六个月以后,又在卢森堡公园里遇见了她。
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