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第三卷陷入泥泞,心却坚贞 第12章外祖父

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CHAPTER XII THE GRANDFATHER


Basque and the porter had carried Marius into the drawing-room, as he still lay stretched out, motionless, on the sofa upon which he had been placed on his arrival. The doctor who had been sent for had hastened thither. Aunt Gillenormand had risen.

Aunt Gillenormand went and came, in affright, wringing her hands and incapable of doing anything but saying: "Heavens! is it possible?" At times she added: "Everything will be covered with blood." When her first horror had passed off, a certain philosophy of the situation penetrated her mind, and took form in the exclamation: "It was bound to end in this way!" She did not go so far as: "I told you so!" which is customary on this sort of occasion. At the physician's orders, a camp bed had been prepared beside the sofa. The doctor examined Marius, and after having found that his pulse was still beating, that the wounded man had no very deep wound on his breast, and that the blood on the corners of his lips proceeded from his nostrils, he had him placed flat on the bed, without a pillow, with his head on the same level as his body, and even a trifle lower, and with his bust bare in order to facilitate respiration. Mademoiselle Gillenormand, on perceiving that they were undressing Marius, withdrew. She set herself to telling her beads in her own chamber.

The trunk had not suffered any internal injury; a bullet, deadened by the pocket-book, had turned aside and made the tour of his ribs with a hideous laceration, which was of no great depth, and consequently, not dangerous. The long, underground journey had completed the dislocation of the broken collar-bone, and the disorder there was serious. The arms had been slashed with sabre cuts. Not a single scar disfigured his face; but his head was fairly covered with cuts; what would be the result of these wounds on the head? Would they stop short at the hairy cuticle, or would they attack the brain? As yet, this could not be decided. A grave symptom was that they had caused a swoon, and that people do not always recover from such swoons. Moreover, the wounded man had been exhausted by hemorrhage. From the waist down, the barricade had protected the lower part of the body from injury.

Basque and Nicolette tore up linen and prepared bandages; Nicolette sewed them, Basque rolled them. As lint was lacking, the doctor, for the time being, arrested the bleeding with layers of wadding. Beside the bed, three candles burned on a table where the case of surgical instruments lay spread out. The doctor bathed Marius' face and hair with cold water. A full pail was reddened in an instant. The porter, candle in hand, lighted them.

The doctor seemed to be pondering sadly. From time to time, he made a negative sign with his head, as though replying to some question which he had inwardly addressed to himself.

A bad sign for the sick man are these mysterious dialogues of the doctor with himself.

At the moment when the doctor was wiping Marius' face, and lightly touching his still closed eyes with his finger, a door opened at the end of the drawing-room, and a long, pallid figure made its appearance.

This was the grandfather.

The revolt had, for the past two days, deeply agitated, enraged and engrossed the mind of M. Gillenormand. He had not been able to sleep on the previous night, and he had been in a fever all day long. In the evening, he had gone to bed very early, recommending that everything in the house should be well barred, and he had fallen into a doze through sheer fatigue.

Old men sleep lightly; M. Gillenormand's chamber adjoined the drawing-room, and in spite of all the precautions that had been taken, the noise had awakened him. Surprised at the rift of light which he saw under his door, he had risen from his bed, and had groped his way thither.

He stood astonished on the threshold, one hand on the handle of the half-open door, with his head bent a little forward and quivering, his body wrapped in a white dressing-gown, which was straight and as destitute of folds as a winding-sheet; and he had the air of a phantom who is gazing into a tomb.

He saw the bed, and on the mattress that young man, bleeding, white with a waxen whiteness, with closed eyes and gaping mouth, and pallid lips, stripped to the waist, slashed all over with crimson wounds, motionless and brilliantly lighted up.

The grandfather trembled from head to foot as powerfully as ossified limbs can tremble, his eyes, whose corneae were yellow on account of his great age, were veiled in a sort of vitreous glitter, his whole face assumed in an instant the earthy angles of a skull, his arms fell pendent, as though a spring had broken, and his amazement was betrayed by the outspreading of the fingers of his two aged hands, which quivered all over, his knees formed an angle in front, allowing, through the opening in his dressing-gown, a view of his poor bare legs, all bristling with white hairs, and he murmured:

"Marius!"

"Sir," said Basque, "Monsieur has just been brought back. He went to the barricade, and . . ."

"He is dead!" cried the old man in a terrible voice. "Ah! The rascal!"

Then a sort of sepulchral transformation straightened up this centenarian as erect as a young man.

"Sir," said he, "you are the doctor. Begin by telling me one thing. He is dead, is he not?"

The doctor, who was at the highest pitch of anxiety, remained silent.

M. Gillenormand wrung his hands with an outburst of terrible laughter.

"He is dead! He is dead! He is dead! He has got himself killed on the barricades! Out of hatred to me! He did that to spite me! Ah! You blood-drinker! This is the way he returns to me! Misery of my life, he is dead!"

He went to the window, threw it wide open as though he were stifling, and, erect before the darkness, he began to talk into the street, to the night:

"Pierced, sabred, exterminated, slashed, hacked in pieces! Just look at that, the villain! He knew well that I was waiting for him, and that I had had his room arranged, and that I had placed at the head of my bed his portrait taken when he was a little child! He knew well that he had only to come back, and that I had been recalling him for years, and that I remained by my fireside, with my hands on my knees, not knowing what to do, and that I was mad over it! You knew well, that you had but to return and to say:`It is I,' and you would have been the master of the house, and that I should have obeyed you, and that you could have done whatever you pleased with your old numskull of a grandfather! You knew that well, and you said:

"No, he is a Royalist, I will not go! And you went to the barricades, and you got yourself killed out of malice! To revenge yourself for what I said to you about Monsieur le Duc de Berry. It is infamous! Go to bed then and sleep tranquilly!He is dead, and this is my awakening."

The doctor, who was beginning to be uneasy in both quarters, quitted Marius for a moment, went to M. Gillenormand, and took his arm. The grandfather turned round, gazed at him with eyes which seemed exaggerated in size and bloodshot, and said to him calmly:

"I thank you, sir. I am composed, I am a man, I witnessed the death of Louis XVI. I know how to bear events. One thing is terrible and that is to think that it is your newspapers which do all the mischief. You will have scribblers, chatterers, lawyers, orators, tribunes, discussions, progress, enlightenment, the rights of man, the liberty of the press, and this is the way that your children will be brought home to you. Ah! Marius! It is abominable! Killed! Dead before me! A barricade! Ah, the scamp! Doctor, you live in this quarter, I believe? Oh! I know you well. I see your cabriolet pass my window. I am going to tell you. You are wrong to think that I am angry. One does not fly into a rage against a dead man. That would be stupid. This is a child whom I have reared. I was already old while he was very young. He played in the Tuileries garden with his little shovel and his little chair, and in order that the inspectors might not grumble, I stopped up the holes that he made in the earth with his shovel, with my cane. One day he exclaimed: Down with Louis XVIII. And off he went. It was no fault of mine. He was all rosy and blond. His mother is dead. Have you ever noticed that all little children are blond? Why is it so? He is the son of one of those brigands of the Loire, but children are innocent of their fathers' crimes. I remember when he was no higher than that. He could not manage to pronounce his Ds. He had a way of talking that was so sweet and indistinct that you would have thought it was a bird chirping. I remember that once, in front of the Hercules Farnese, people formed a circle to admire him and marvel at him, he was so handsome, was that child! He had a head such as you see in pictures. I talked in a deep voice, and I frightened him with my cane, but he knew very well that it was only to make him laugh. In the morning, when he entered my room, I grumbled, but he was like the sunlight to me, all the same. One cannot defend oneself against those brats. They take hold of you, they hold you fast, they never let you go again. The truth is, that there never was a cupid like that child. Now, what can you say for your Lafayettes, your Benjamin Constants, and your Tirecuir de Corcelles who have killed him? This cannot be allowed to pass in this fashion."

He approached Marius, who still lay livid and motionless, and towhom the physician had returned, and began once more to wring his hands. The old man's pallid lips moved as though mechanically, and permitted the passage of words that were barely audible, like breaths in the death agony:

"Ah! heartless lad! Ah! clubbist! Ah! wretch! Ah! Septembrist!"

Reproaches in the low voice of an agonizing man, addressed to a corpse.

Little by little, as it is always indispensable that internal eruptions should come to the light, the sequence of words returned, but the grandfather appeared no longer to have the strength to utter them, his voice was so weak, and extinct, that it seemed to come from the other side of an abyss:

"It is all the same to me, I am going to die too, that I am. And to think that there is not a hussy in Paris who would not have been delighted to make this wretch happy! A scamp who, instead of amusing himself and enjoying life, went off to fight and get himself shot down like a brute! And for whom? Why? For the Republic! Instead of going to dance at the Chaumiere, as it is the duty of young folks to do! What's the use of being twenty years old? The Republic, a cursed pretty folly! Poor mothers, beget fine boys, do! Come, he is dead. That will make two funerals under the same carriage gate. So you have got yourself arranged like this for the sake of General Lamarque's handsome eyes! What had that General Lamarque done to you? A slasher! A chatter-box! To get oneself killed for a dead man! If that isn't enough to drive any one mad! Just think of it! At twenty! And without so much as turning his head to see whether he was not leaving something behind him! That's the way poor, good old fellows are forced to die alone, now-adays. Perish in your corner, owl! Well, after all, so much the better, that is what I was hoping for, this will kill me on the spot. I am too old,I am a hundred years old, I am a hundred thousand years old, I ought, by rights, to have been dead long ago. This blow puts an end to it. So all is over, what happiness! What is the good of making him inhale ammonia and all that parcel of drugs? You are wasting your trouble, you fool of a doctor! Come, he's dead, completely dead. I know all about it, I am dead myself too. He hasn't done things by half. Yes, this age is infamous, infamous and that's what I think of you, of your ideas, of your systems, of your masters, of your oracles, of your doctors, of your scape-graces of writers, of your rascally philosophers, and of all the revolutions which, for the last sixty years, have been frightening the flocks of crows in the Tuileries! But you were pitiless in getting yourself killed like this, I shall not even grieve over your death, do you understand, you assassin?"

At that moment, Marius slowly opened his eyes, and his glance, still dimmed by lethargic wonder, rested on M. Gillenormand.

"Marius!" cried the old man. "Marius! My little Marius! My child!My well-beloved son! You open your eyes, you gaze upon me, you are alive, thanks!"

And he fell fainting.


十二 外祖父


巴斯克和看门人把初到时安放在长沙发上躺着一动不动的马吕斯抬到客厅里。医生,在他们去叫后,也已经赶到,吉诺曼姨妈也已起床了。

吉诺曼姨妈来回走动,慌里慌张,握着自己的双手,做不了什么事,只会说:“上帝呀!这怎么可能呀!”有时,她添上一句:“到处都会沾上血了!”开始时的恐惧过后,对待现实的某种哲学就出现在她的脑海里,她用这样的叫喊来表达:“结果一定是这样的!”她还算没有加上一句:“我早就这样说过!”这是人们在这种场合惯用的一句话。

遵照医生的吩咐,在长沙发旁支起一张帆布床。医生检查了马吕斯,当他知道受伤者的脉搏还在跳,胸部没有重伤,唇角的血来自鼻腔后,医生就让他在床上平卧,不用枕头,头和身体一样平,甚至比身体还稍低一点,上身赤裸,为使呼吸通畅。吉诺曼小姐,看到在脱马吕斯的衣服时就退了出去。她到寝室里去念经。

马吕斯上身没有一点内伤,有颗子弹被皮夹挡住,顺着肋骨偏斜了,造成一个可怕的裂口,但伤口不深,因此没有危险。在地下的长途跋涉使打碎了的锁骨脱了臼,这才是严重的伤。他的两臂有刀伤。脸上没有破相的伤口,可是头上好象布满了刀痕,头上的伤口会产生什么后果呢?伤只停留在头皮的表面吗?还是伤及了头盖骨呢?目前还无法断定。一个严重的症状就是伤口引起了昏迷,这种昏迷不是所有的人都能苏醒过来的。此外,流血已使受伤者极度衰弱。从腰部以下,下半身受到街垒的防护。

巴斯克和妮珂莱特在撕床单和衣衫作绷带,妮珂莱特把布条缝起来,巴斯克把布条卷起来。由于缺少裹伤用的旧布纱团,医生暂用棉花卷止住伤口的血。卧榻旁,三支点燃的蜡烛放在陈列着外科手术用具的桌上。医生用凉水洗净马吕斯的脸和头发。一桶水一会儿就成了红色。看门人手里拿着蜡烛照着亮。

医生好象很忧愁地在思考着。不时摇一下头,仿佛在回答自己心里的问题。医生这种秘密的自问自答对病人来说是不利的表现。

当医生拭着他的面部并用手指轻轻碰碰他一直合着的眼皮时,客厅那头的一扇门打开了,一个苍白的长脸出现了。

这是外祖父。

两天以来,暴动使吉诺曼先生很紧张,他是又气愤又发愁,前晚不能入睡,昨天整天有热度。晚上,他很早就上了床,吩咐家人把屋子都插上插销,他因疲惫而??睡去。

老年人的睡眠,容易惊醒;吉诺曼先生的卧室紧连着客厅,尽管大家很小心,仍有声音把他惊醒了。他看见门缝里漏出烛光,感到很惊奇,他就起床摸着黑出来。

他站在门口,一只手抓住半开的门的把手,头稍向前倾斜而摇晃着,身子裹在一件白晨衣中,直挺挺没有褶子,象件殓衣,他神情惊讶,象一个幽灵在窥视着坟墓。

他看见了床,褥子上鲜血淋淋的年轻人,象白蜡那样惨白,双目紧闭,口张着,嘴唇没有血色,上身赤露着,到处是紫红色的伤口,一动也不动,这一切都被照得清清楚楚。

外祖父骨瘦如柴的躯体从头到脚哆嗦起来,他那因高年而角膜发黄的眼睛,蒙上了一种透明的闪光,整张脸霎时间显出了骷髅般土灰色的棱角,两臂挂下来,好象里面的发条断了似的,他的惊愕表现在两只老而颤抖的手的手指的叉开上。他的膝盖向前弯曲,从打开的晨衣里可以见到他那可怜的白毛耸起的双腿,他低声说:

“马吕斯!”

“老爷,”巴斯克说,“有人把少爷送回来了,他到街垒里去了,而且……”

“他死了!”老人用可怕的声音叫道,“咳!这无赖!”

这时一种阴森森的变态使这个百岁老人象年轻人一样竖直了身子。

“先生,”他说,“您就是医生,先告诉我一件事,他死了,是吗?”

医生,焦急万分,没有回答。

吉诺曼先生扭绞着双手,同时骇人地放声大笑:

“他死了!他死了!他到街垒去让人杀了!为了恨我!为了对付我他才这样干!啊!吸血鬼!这样回来见我!我真是命中遭灾,他死了!”

他走到一扇窗前,把窗打开,好象他感到憋气,面对黑暗站着,向着街对黑夜讲起话来:

“被子弹打穿,被刀刺,割断喉头,毁灭,被撕碎,切成碎块!你们看,这无赖!他明知我在等他,我叫人把他的寝室布置好,我把他小时候的相片放在我床头;他明知他随时都可以回家,他明知多少年来我都在叫他回来,每晚我坐在火炉旁两手放在膝上,不知干什么好,他明知我因而变瘦了!这你全知道,你知道你只要回来,只要说一声‘是我’,你便立刻是家中之主,我就会依从你;你就可以随便摆布你的傻瓜爷爷!这你很清楚,但你说‘不,他是个保王派,我就是不回家!’你就上街垒去,怀着恶意去找死!为了对我曾向你说过的有关德·贝里公爵先生的话进行报复!这是何等的卑鄙!您睡吧,静静地安眠吧!他死了。我醒过来发现的就是这么回事。”

医生开始为这祖孙俩担心了,他离开马吕斯一会儿,走到了吉诺曼先生跟前,挽着他的手臂。外祖父转过身来,用好象睁大而且冲血的眼睛望着他,并且镇静地向他说:

“先生,我谢谢您,我很安静,我是男子汉,我见过路易十六的死,我能忍受事变,有桩事很可怕,就是想到你们的报纸使一切都变坏了,你们可以有拙劣的作家、能说会道的人、律师、演说家、法庭、辩论、进步、光明、人权、出版自由,而结果是别人就这样把你们的孩子送回家来!咳!马吕斯!太惨了!他被杀了!死在我前面!一个街垒!咳!这强盗!医生,我想您是住在这区的吧?啊!我认得您。我从我窗口看见您的车子走过。我告诉您,假如您认为我在发怒,那您就错了。一个人不能对死人发怒。这未免太愚蠢了。他是我抚养大的孩子。那时我已老了,他还很小。他带着他的小椅子和小铲子在杜伊勒里宫花园里玩耍,为了不受看守人员的责备,他一边用小铲在地上挖洞,我就跟着用我的手杖填洞。有一天他叫道‘打倒路易十八!’就走了。这不是我的错呀。他脸色红润,头发金黄。他的母亲已经去世。您有没有注意到所有的小孩都是金黄色的头发?这是什么原因?他是卢瓦尔省一个强盗的孩子。对父辈的罪行孩子是无罪的。我记得当他只有这么一点高的时候,他说不清d字。他说话的声音又温柔又含糊,使人感到象一只小雀。我记得有一次在法尔内斯的《赫拉克勒斯》像前,好些人围着他,大家都在赞叹,都爱慕他,因为这孩子确实很漂亮!他的容貌就象油画里那样。我对他大声嚷嚷,用拐杖吓唬他,但他知道这是闹着玩的。清早,他到我寝室里来,我叱责他,但他使我感到好象被阳光照暖着一样。对这样的孩子大家毫无办法。他们抓住你,缠住你,再也不放你了。确实,再没有比这个孩子更可爱的了。现在,你们认为你们的拉斐德,你们的班加曼·贡斯当,还有你们的狄尔居尔·德·高塞勒①怎么样?是他们杀了我的孩子!这样是不行的。”

①狄尔居尔·德·高塞勒(Tirecuir de Corcelles,1802-1892),法国政治家,曾任驻梵蒂冈大使。

他走近面色惨白仍然一动不动的马吕斯。医生也回到了病人的身边,外祖父又开始扭绞他的手臂。老人家苍白的嘴唇机械地颤动着,吐出一种难以听清的象临终咽气时的话:“咳!没良心的东西!啊!政治集团分子!哼!无赖汉!九月虐杀王党的人!”他用一种临终的人的轻声在责备一个死人。

渐渐地,正如内心的火山总是要爆发一样,外祖父长串的话又开始了,但他好象已无力说出,他的声音已低沉微弱得象来自深渊的底里:

“不管了,我也要死了。你们想想,在巴黎没有一个女人不乐意向这个家伙委身的。这坏蛋不去寻欢作乐,不去尽情享受生活,偏要去打仗,象畜生一样被机枪扫射!究竟是为了谁?为了什么原因?为了共和政府!宁愿不到旭米耶去跳舞,这本该是年轻人的事!二十青春枉然虚度。共和国,好听的卑鄙谬论!可怜的母亲们,你们何苦生下这些美丽的孩子!得了,他死了。大门堂下将会有两起丧事。你被人害成这个模样就是为了博得拉马克将军的欢心!这个拉马克将军给了你什么!一个残暴无知的军人!胡说八道的人!为了一个死人去拼命!怎么不叫人发疯!想想看!才二十岁!也不回头看看身后是否还留下什么!这一下,可怜的老头们只好独自死去。倒毙在你的角落里吧!孤僻鬼!这一下,说实在话,再好没有,正是我所盼望的,也就会把我整死。我已太老了,我已一百岁,我已十万岁。我早就有权死去了。这一下子,成了。一切都完了,好不痛快!何必还要给他闻阿摩尼亚,还有这一大堆药?您是白费力气,傻医生!算了吧,他已死了,完全死了。我是内行,我自己也死了。他于这事倒没有半途而废。说真话,目前这个时代是丑恶的,丑恶的,丑恶的,这是我对你们的看法,对你们的思想,对你们的制度,对你们的主子,对你们的神谕,对你们的医生,对你们的无赖作家,对你们的乞丐哲学家,并对六十年来使杜伊勒里宫的大群乌鸦惊飞四散的所有那些革命的看法。你既毫无怜悯之心,就这样去送死,那我对你的死也毫不感到遗憾,听见了没有,凶手!”

这时,马吕斯慢慢地睁开了眼睛,他的目光仍被昏睡后醒来的惊讶所笼罩,停在吉诺曼先生的脸上。

“马吕斯,”老人大叫,“马吕斯!我的小马吕斯!我的孩子!我亲爱的儿子!你睁开眼了,你望着我,你活回来了,谢谢!”

于是他昏倒了。
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