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第五卷结尾不象开头 第02章珂赛特的恐惧

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CHAPTER II COSETTE'S APPREHENSIONS

During the first fortnight in April, Jean Valjean took a journey. This, as the reader knows, happened from time to time, at very long intervals. He remained absent a day or two days at the utmost. Where did he go? No one knew, not even Cosette. Once only, on the occasion of one of these departures, she had accompanied him in a hackney-coach as far as a little blind-alley at the corner of which she read: Impasse de la Planchette. There he alighted, and the coach took Cosette back to the Rue de Babylone. It was usually when money was lacking in the house that Jean Valjean took these little trips.

So Jean Valjean was absent. He had said: "I shall return in three days."

That evening, Cosette was alone in the drawing-room. In order to get rid of her ennui, she had opened her piano-organ, and had begun to sing, accompanying herself the while, the chorus from Euryanthe: "Hunters astray in the wood!" which is probably the most beautiful thing in all the sphere of music. When she had finished, she remained wrapped in thought.

All at once, it seemed to her that she heard the sound of footsteps in the garden.

It could not be her father, he was absent; it could not be Toussaint, she was in bed, and it was ten o'clock at night.

She stepped to the shutter of the drawing-room, which was closed, and laid her ear against it.

It seemed to her that it was the tread of a man, and that he was walking very softly.

She mounted rapidly to the first floor, to her own chamber, opened a small wicket in her shutter, and peeped into the garden. The moon was at the full. Everything could be seen as plainly as by day.

There was no one there.

She opened the window. The garden was absolutely calm, and all that was visible was that the street was deserted as usual.

Cosette thought that she had been mistaken. She thought that she had heard a noise. It was a hallucination produced by the melancholy and magnificent chorus of Weber, which lays open before the mind terrified depths, which trembles before the gaze like a dizzy forest, and in which one hears the crackling of dead branches beneath the uneasy tread of the huntsmen of whom one catches a glimpse through the twilight.

She thought no more about it.

Moreover, Cosette was not very timid by nature. There flowed in her veins some of the blood of the bohemian and the adventuress who runs barefoot. It will be remembered that she was more of a lark than a dove. There was a foundation of wildness and bravery in her.

On the following day, at an earlier hour, towards nightfall, she was strolling in the garden. In the midst of the confused thoughts which occupied her, she fancied that she caught for an instant a sound similar to that of the preceding evening, as though some one were walking beneath the trees in the dusk, and not very far from her; but she told herself that nothing so closely resembles a step on the grass as the friction of two branches which have moved from side to side, and she paid no heed to it. Besides, she could see nothing.

She emerged from "the thicket"; she had still to cross a small lawn to regain the steps.

The moon, which had just risen behind her, cast Cosette's shadow in front of her upon this lawn, as she came out from the shrubbery.

Cosette halted in alarm.

Beside her shadow, the moon outlined distinctly upon the turf another shadow, which was particularly startling and terrible, a shadow which had a round hat.

It was the shadow of a man, who must have been standing on the border of the clump of shrubbery, a few paces in the rear of Cosette.

She stood for a moment without the power to speak, or cry, or call, or stir, or turn her head.

Then she summoned up all her courage, and turned round resolutely.

There was no one there.

She glanced on the ground. The figure had disappeared.

She re-entered the thicket, searched the corners boldly, went as far as the gate, and found nothing.

She felt herself absolutely chilled with terror. Was this another hallucination? What! Two days in succession! One hallucination might pass, but two hallucinations? The disquieting point about it was, that the shadow had assuredly not been a phantom. Phantoms do not wear round hats.

On the following day Jean Valjean returned. Cosette told him what she thought she had heard and seen. She wanted to be reassured and to see her father shrug his shoulders and say to her: "You are a little goose."

Jean Valjean grew anxious.

"It cannot be anything," said he.

He left her under some pretext, and went into the garden, and she saw him examining the gate with great attention.

During the night she woke up; this time she was sure, and she distinctly heard some one walking close to the flight of steps beneath her window. She ran to her little wicket and opened it. In point of fact, there was a man in the garden, with a large club in his hand. Just as she was about to scream, the moon lighted up the man's profile. It was her father. She returned to her bed, saying to herself: "He is very uneasy!"

Jean Valjean passed that night and the two succeeding nights in the garden. Cosette saw him through the hole in her shutter.

On the third night, the moon was on the wane, and had begun to rise later; at one o'clock in the morning, possibly, she heard a loud burst of laughter and her father's voice calling her:--

"Cosette!"

She jumped out of bed, threw on her dressing-gown, and opened her window.

Her father was standing on the grass-plot below.

"I have waked you for the purpose of reassuring you," said he; "look, there is your shadow with the round hat."

And he pointed out to her on the turf a shadow cast by the moon, and which did indeed, bear considerable resemblance to the spectre of a man wearing a round hat. It was the shadow produced by a chimney-pipe of sheet iron, with a hood, which rose above a neighboring roof.

Cosette joined in his laughter, all her lugubrious suppositions were allayed, and the next morning, as she was at breakfast with her father, she made merry over the sinister garden haunted by the shadows of iron chimney-pots.

Jean Valjean became quite tranquil once more; as for Cosette, she did not pay much attention to the question whether the chimney-pot was really in the direction of the shadow which she had seen, or thought she had seen, and whether the moon had been in the same spot in the sky.

She did not question herself as to the peculiarity of a chimney-pot which is afraid of being caught in the act, and which retires when some one looks at its shadow, for the shadow had taken the alarm when Cosette had turned round, and Cosette had thought herself very sure of this. Cosette's serenity was fully restored. The proof appeared to her to be complete, and it quite vanished from her mind, whether there could possibly be any one walking in the garden during the evening or at night.

A few days later, however, a fresh incident occurred.



二 珂赛特的恐惧

在四月的上半月里,冉阿让作了一次旅行。我们知道,每隔一段很长的时间,他便要出一次门。每次离家一天或两天,至多三天。他去什么地方?没有人知道,连珂赛特也不知道。可是有一次,在他动身时,珂赛特坐着马车一直送他到一条小的死胡同口,她看见在那转角的地方有几个字:“小板巷”。到那地方以后他便下了车,原车又把珂赛特送回到巴比伦街。冉阿让作这种短期旅行,常常是在家用拮据的时候。

冉阿让因而不在家。他临走时说:“三天左右,我便回来。”

那天上灯以后,珂赛特独自待在客厅里。为了解闷,她揭开了她的钢琴盖,一面唱,一面弹伴奏,唱《欧利安特》①里的那支《迷失在森林中的猎人们》,这也许是所有音乐中最美的作品了。唱完以后,她便坐着发怔。

①《欧利安特》(Euryanthe),韦伯的歌剧。 

忽然,她仿佛听见园子里有人走路。

不会是她的父亲,他出门去了,也不会是杜桑,她已睡了。

当时是晚上十点钟。

客厅里的板窗已经关上,她过去把耳朵贴在板窗上面听。

仿佛是一个男人的脚步声,并且走得很慢。

她连忙上楼,回到她的卧室里,打开板窗头上的一扇小窗,朝园里望。那正是月圆的时候。能看得和白天一样清楚。

园子里却没有人。

她又打开大窗子。园里毫无动静,她望见街上也和平时一样荒凉。

珂赛特心里想,是她自己搞错了。她自以为听见了什么声音,其实是韦伯那首阴森神怪的合唱曲所引起的错觉,那曲子展示在人们意境中的原是一种深邃骇人的景色,山林震撼的形象,在那里,人们能听到猎人们在凄迷的暮色中彷徨踯躅时枯枝脆叶在他们脚下断裂的声音。

她不再去想它了。

并且珂赛特生来就不怎么知道害怕。在她的血管里,生就了那种光着脚板跑江湖、担风险的女人的血液。我们记得,她是百灵鸟,不是白鸽。她有一种粗放勇敢的气质。

第二天,比较早,在天刚黑时,她在园里散步。她当时心里正想着一些烦杂的事情,又仿佛听到了昨晚的那种声音,好象有人在离她不远的那些树下的黑地里走路,走走停停,停停走走,但她对自己说,再没有什么比两根树枝互相磨擦更象人在草丛里走路的声音了,她也就不再注意。况且她并没有看见什么。

她从那“榛莽地”走出来,还得穿过一小片草坪才能走上台阶。月亮正从她背后升起,当地走出树丛时,月光把她的身影投射在她面前的草地上。

珂赛特突然站住,心里大吃一惊。

在她的影子旁边,月光把一个怪可怕、怪吓人的人影清清楚楚地投了在草地上,那影子还戴着一顶圆边帽。

那影子好象是立在树丛边,在珂赛特的背后,离她只有几步远。

她好一阵说不出话,不敢叫也不敢喊,不敢动也不敢回头。

她终于鼓足了全部勇气,突然把身子转过去。

什么人也没有。

她再望望地上。那影子也不见了。

她又回到树丛里,壮起胆子,到那些拐角里去找,一直找到铁栏门,什么也不曾找着。

她真觉得自己出了一身冷汗。难道这又是错觉不成?笑话!一连两天!一次错觉,还说得过去,但是两次错觉呢?最使人放心不下的,是那影子肯定不是个鬼影。鬼从不戴圆边帽子。

第三天,冉阿让回家了。珂赛特把她仿佛听到的和见到的都讲给他听。她原希望能得到一些宽慰,估计她父亲会耸耸肩头对她说:“你这小姑娘发神经了。”

冉阿让却显得有些不安。

“不能说这里面没有原因。”他对她说。

他支吾了几句,便离开她去园子里,珂赛特望见他在仔仔细细地检查那道铁栏门。

她半夜里醒来,这一回她可听真切了,清清楚楚,在她的窗子下面,紧靠着台阶的地方,有人在走路。她跑去把窗头上的小窗打开。园里果然有一个人,手里捏着一根粗木棒。她正要嚷出来,却又从月光中看清了那个人的侧影。原来是她父亲。

她又睡下了,心里想:“看来他很担了些心事!”

冉阿让在园里过了那一夜,接着又连守了两夜。珂赛特能从她的板窗洞里望见他。

第三天,月亮渐渐缺了,升得也比较迟了,约莫在午夜一点钟,她忽然听见有人大笑,随即又听见她父亲的声音在喊她。

“珂赛特!”

她连忙跳下床来,套上她的长睡衣,开了窗子。

她父亲站在下面的草地上。

“我把你喊醒,好让你放心,”他说,“瞧,这就是你那戴圆边帽的影子。”

同时,他把月光投射在草地上的一个影子指给她看,那确实象一个戴圆边帽的人的鬼影。但只是隔壁人家屋顶上一个带罩子的铁皮烟囱的影子。

珂赛特也笑了出来,她所有种种不祥的猜想打消了,第二天,和她父亲一同吃早点时,这个烟囱鬼盘桓的凶园子使她又说又笑。

冉阿让又完全安静下来了,至于珂赛特,她并没有十分注意那烟囱是否确实立在她所看见的或自以为看见过的那个人影的方向,也没有注意当时月亮是否在天上的同一方位。她没有追问自己:“那烟囱的影子怎么会那么古怪,当有人注意看它时,它居然怕被人当场捉住,赶忙缩了回去。”因为那天晚上,珂赛特一转身,影子便不见了,这原是珂赛特深信不疑的。现在珂赛特完全放心了。她认为她父亲的解说是圆满的,即使有人可能在天黑以后或半夜里在园里行走,也不至于再使她胡猜。

可是几天过后,又发生了一件新的怪事。
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