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ability/[ə'biliti]/ n.能, 能力(特别如体力、 脑力或法律能力等) n.能...

第八卷黄昏月亏时 第01章地下室

本文属阅读资料
BOOK EIGHTH.--FADING AWAY OF THE TWILIGHT

CHAPTER I THE LOWER CHAMBER


On the following day, at nightfall, Jean Valjean knocked at the carriage gate of the Gillenormand house. It was Basque who received him. Basque was in the courtyard at the appointed hour, as though he had received his orders. It sometimes happens that one says to a servant: "You will watch for Mr. So and so, when he arrives."

Basque addressed Jean Valjean without waiting for the latter to approach him:

"Monsieur le Baron has charged me to inquire whether monsieur desires to go upstairs or to remain below?"

"I will remain below," replied Jean Valjean.

Basque, who was perfectly respectful, opened the door of the waiting-room and said:

"I will go and inform Madame."

The room which Jean Valjean entered was a damp, vaulted room on the ground floor, which served as a cellar on occasion, which opened on the street, was paved with red squares and was badly lighted by a grated window.

This chamber was not one of those which are harassed by the feather-duster, the pope's head brush, and the broom. The dust rested tranquilly there. Persecution of the spiders was not organized there. A fine web, which spread far and wide, and was very black and ornamented with dead flies, formed a wheel on one of the window-panes. The room, which was small and low-ceiled, was furnished with a heap of empty bottles piled up in one corner.

The wall, which was daubed with an ochre yellow wash, was scaling off in large flakes. At one end there was a chimney-piece painted in black with a narrow shelf. A fire was burning there; which indicated that Jean Valjean's reply: "I will remain below," had been foreseen.

Two arm-chairs were placed at the two corners of the fireplace. Between the chairs an old bedside rug, which displayed more foundation thread than wool, had been spread by way of a carpet.

The chamber was lighted by the fire on the hearth and the twilight falling through the window.

Jean Valjean was fatigued. For days he had neither eaten nor slept. He threw himself into one of the arm-chairs.

Basque returned, set a lighted candle on the chimney-piece and retired. Jean Valjean, his head drooping and his chin resting on his breast, perceived neither Basque nor the candle.

All at once, he drew himself up with a start. Cosette was standing beside him.

He had not seen her enter, but he had felt that she was there.

He turned round. He gazed at her. She was adorably lovely. But what he was contemplating with that profound gaze was not her beauty but her soul.

"Well," exclaimed Cosette, "father, I knew that you were peculiar, but I never should have expected this. What an idea! Marius told me that you wish me to receive you here."

"Yes, it is my wish."

"I expected that reply. Good. I warn you that I am going to make a scene for you. Let us begin at the beginning. Embrace me, father."

And she offered him her cheek.

Jean Valjean remained motionless.

"You do not stir. I take note of it. Attitude of guilt. But never mind, I pardon you. Jesus Christ said: Offer the other cheek. Here it is."

And she presented her other cheek.

Jean Valjean did not move. It seemed as though his feet were nailed to the pavement.

"This is becoming serious," said Cosette. "What have I done to you? I declare that I am perplexed. You owe me reparation. You will dine with us."

"I have dined."

"That is not true. I will get M. Gillenormand to scold you. Grandfathers are made to reprimand fathers. Come. Go upstairs with me to the drawing-room. Immediately."

"Impossible."

Here Cosette lost ground a little. She ceased to command and passed to questioning.

"But why? and you choose the ugliest chamber in the house in which to see me. It's horrible here."

"Thou knowest . . ."

Jean Valjean caught himself up.

"You know, madame, that I am peculiar, I have my freaks."

Cosette struck her tiny hands together.

"Madame! . . . You know! . . . more novelties! What is the meaning of this?"

Jean Valjean directed upon her that heartrending smile to which he occasionally had recourse:

"You wished to be Madame. You are so."

"Not for you, father."

"Do not call me father."

"What?"

"Call me `Monsieur Jean.' `Jean,' if you like."

"You are no longer my father? I am no longer Cosette?`Monsieur Jean'? What does this mean? Why, these are revolutions, aren't they? What has taken place? Come, look me in the face. And you won't live with us! And you won't have my chamber! What have I done to you? Has anything happened?"

"Nothing."

"Well then?"

"Everything is as usual."

"Why do you change your name?"

"You have changed yours, surely."

He smiled again with the same smile as before and added:

"Since you are Madame Pontmercy, I certainly can be Monsieur Jean."

"I don't understand anything about it. All this is idiotic. I shall ask permission of my husband for you to be `Monsieur Jean.' I hope that he will not consent to it. You cause me a great deal of pain. One does have freaks, but one does not cause one's little Cosette grief. That is wrong. You have no right to be wicked, you who are so good."

He made no reply.

She seized his hands with vivacity, and raising them to her face with an irresistible movement, she pressed them against her neck beneath her chin, which is a gesture of profound tenderness.

"Oh!" she said to him, "be good!"

And she went on:

"This is what I call being good: being nice and coming and living here,-- there are birds here as there are in the Rue Plumet,--living with us, quitting that hole of a Rue de l'Homme Arme, not giving us riddles to guess, being like all the rest of the world, dining with us, breakfasting with us, being my father."

He loosed her hands.

"You no longer need a father, you have a husband."

Cosette became angry.

"I no longer need a father! One really does not know what to say to things like that, which are not common sense!"

"If Toussaint were here," resumed Jean Valjean, like a person who is driven to seek authorities, and who clutches at every branch, "she would be the first to agree that it is true that I have always had ways of my own. There is nothing new in this. I always have loved my black corner."

"But it is cold here. One cannot see distinctly. It is abominable, that it is, to wish to be Monsieur Jean! I will not have you say `you' to me.

"Just now, as I was coming hither," replied Jean Valjean, "I saw a piece of furniture in the Rue Saint Louis. It was at a cabinet-maker's. If I were a pretty woman, I would treat myself to that bit of furniture. A very neat toilet table in the reigning style. What you call rosewood, I think. It is inlaid. The mirror is quite large. There are drawers. It is pretty."

"Hou! The villainous bear!" replied Cosette.

And with supreme grace, setting her teeth and drawing back her lips, she blew at Jean Valjean. She was a Grace copying a cat.

"I am furious," she resumed. "Ever since yesterday, you have made me rage, all of you. I am greatly vexed. I don't understand. You do not defend me against Marius. Marius will not uphold me against you. I am all alone. I arrange a chamber prettily. If I could have put the good God there I would have done it. My chamber is left on my hands. My lodger sends me into bankruptcy. I order a nice little dinner of Nicolette. We will have nothing to do with your dinner, Madame. And my father Fauchelevent wants me to call him `Monsieur Jean,' and to receive him in a frightful, old, ugly cellar, where the walls have beards, and where the crystal consists of empty bottles, and the curtains are of spiders' webs! You are singular, I admit, that is your style, but people who get married are granted a truce. You ought not to have begun being singular again instantly. So you are going to be perfectly contented in your abominable Rue de l'Homme Arme. I was very desperate indeed there, that I was. What have you against me? You cause me a great deal of grief. Fi!"

And, becoming suddenly serious, she gazed intently at Jean Valjean and added:

"Are you angry with me because I am happy?"

Ingenuousness sometimes unconsciously penetrates deep. This question, which was simple for Cosette, was profound for Jean Valjean. Cosette had meant to scratch, and she lacerated.

Jean Valjean turned pale.

He remained for a moment without replying, then, with an inexpressible intonation, and speaking to himself, he murmured:"Her happiness was the object of my life. Now God may sign my dismissal. Cosette, thou art happy; my day is over."

"Ah, you have said thou to me!" exclaimed Cosette.

And she sprang to his neck.

Jean Valjean, in bewilderment, strained her wildly to his breast. It almost seemed to him as though he were taking her back.

"Thanks, father!" said Cosette.

This enthusiastic impulse was on the point of becoming poignant for Jean Valjean. He gently removed Cosette's arms, and took his hat.

"Well?" said Cosette.

"I leave you, Madame, they are waiting for you."

And, from the threshold, he added:

"I have said thou to you. Tell your husband that this shall not happen again. Pardon me."

Jean Valjean quitted the room, leaving Cosette stupefied at this enigmatical farewell.


一 地下室


第二天,黄昏时刻,冉阿让去敲吉诺曼家的大门。迎接他的是巴斯克。巴斯克恰好在院子里,好象他已接到命令。有时候我们会关照仆人:“你在这儿守着某某人,他就要来了。”

巴斯克未等冉阿让来到跟前就问他:

“男爵先生叫我问先生,要上楼还是待在楼下?”

“在楼下。”冉阿让回答。

巴斯克确是十分恭敬的,他把地下室的门打开了说,“我去通知夫人。”

冉阿让走进了一间有拱顶的潮湿的地下室,有时这是当作酒窖用的。昏暗的光线从一扇有铁栏杆的开向街心的红格玻璃窗里射进来。

这不是一间象其他被拂尘、打扫天花板的掸子以及扫帚经常清理过的房间,灰尘在里面安安静静地堆积着。对蜘蛛的消灭计划还没有建立。一个精致的黑黑的大蛛网张挂着,上面缀满死苍蝇,装腔作势地铺呈在一块窗玻璃上。房间既小又矮,墙角有着一堆空酒瓶。墙壁刷成赭黄色,石灰大片大片剥落。靠里有一个木质的壁炉漆成黑色,炉架窄小,炉中生了火,很明显,这说明他们估计冉阿让的回答是“在下面”。

两把扶手椅放在火炉两旁,在扶手椅之间铺了一块床前小垫,代替地毯,小垫只剩下粗绳,几乎没有羊毛了。

房间利用火炉的光和从窗子透进来的黄昏天色来照明。

冉阿让疲乏不堪。好几天来他不吃也不睡,他倒在一张扶手椅里。

巴斯克进来,把一支燃着的蜡烛放在炉架上又走了。冉阿让低着头,下巴垂在胸口上,没有看见巴斯克,也没看见蜡烛。

忽然他兴奋地站了起来,珂赛特已在他后面。

他没有见她进来,但他感到她进来了。

他转过身来,他打量她,她美丽得令人仰慕。但他用深邃的目光观望的不是美丽的容貌,而是灵魂。

“啊,不错,”珂赛特大声说,“好一种想法!父亲,我知道您有怪癖,但我再也想不到会有这一着。马吕斯告诉我您要我在这里接待您。”

“是的,是我。”

“我已猜到您的回答,好吧,我警告您,我要和您大闹一场。从头开始,父亲,先来吻我。”

她把面颊凑过去。

冉阿让呆呆地不动。

“您动也不动,我看清楚了,这是有罪的表现。算了,我原谅您。耶稣说:‘把另一边面颊转向他①。’在这里。”

①耶稣曾说过有人打了你右边的面颊,你把左边的也送上去。

她把另一边脸凑过去。

冉阿让一动也不动,好象他的脚已被钉在地上了。

“这可严重了,”珂赛特说,“我怎么得罪您了?我声明要翻脸了,你得和我言归于好。您来和我们一起吃饭。”

“我吃过了。”

“不是真话,我找吉诺曼外祖父来责备您,祖父可以训父亲。快快和我一同上客厅去吧,立刻走。”

“不行。”

到此,珂赛特感到有点拿不住了,她不再命令而转为提问。

“为什么?您挑选家里最简陋的房间来看我,这里真待不住。”

“你知道……”

冉阿让又改口说:

“您知道,夫人,我很特别,我有我的怪癖。”

珂赛特拍着小手。

“夫人!……您知道!……又是件新鲜事!这是什么意思?”

冉阿让向她苦笑,有时他就这样笑着。

“您要当夫人,您是夫人了。”

“但对您可不是,父亲。”

“别再叫我父亲。”

“为什么?”

“叫我让先生,或者让,随您的便。”

“您不是父亲了?我也不是珂赛特了?让先生?这是什么意思?这是革命,这些!发生了什么事?请您看着我。您也不愿来和我们同住!您又不要我的房间!我怎么得罪了您?我怎么得罪您啦?难道发生了什么事?”

“没有。”

“那又为什么呢?”

“一切仍象过去一样。”

“您为什么要改变姓名?”

“您不是也改了,您。”

他仍带着那种微笑对着她并且还说:

“既然您是彭眉胥夫人,我也可以是让先生。”

“我一点也不明白,这一切都是愚蠢的。我要问我的丈夫是否允许我称您让先生,我希望他不同意。您使我多么难受,您有怪癖,但也不必使您的小珂赛特难过呀!这不好。您没有权利变得厉害,您原来是善良的!”

他不回答。

她很快地抓住他的双手,用无法抵抗的举动,把手靠近自己的脸,她又紧紧地把手挨着她的脖子,放在下巴下面,这是一种极温柔的动作。

“啊,”她向他说,“请您仁慈点吧!”

她又继续说:

“我说仁慈是指和气,来住在这里,恢复我们那有益的短时间的散步,这里和卜吕梅街一样也有小鸟,来和我们一起生活,离开武人街那个洞,别让我们来猜谜,和其他人一样,来和我们一起吃饭,和我们一起吃早餐,做我的父亲。”

他把手缩回去。

“您不需要父亲了,您已有了丈夫。”

珂赛特冒火了。

“我不需要父亲了!这种话太不近人情,真令人不知说什么好!”

“如果杜桑在的话,”冉阿让说时好象一个在找靠山、抓住任何树枝就不放的人,“她会第一个承认我真是有我自己的一套习惯。什么事也没有发生,我一直喜欢我的黑暗的角落。”

“这里冷得很,看也看不清。要当让先生,这真糟透了,我不要您对我用‘您’称呼。”

“刚才来的时候,”冉阿让回答,“在圣路易街乌木器店里我看见一件木器,如果我是个漂亮的妇女,我就要把这件木器买到手。一个很好的梳妆台,式样新,我想就是你们所说的香木,上面嵌了花,一面相当大的镜子,有抽屉,很好看。”

“哼!怪人!”珂赛特回答。

于是她用十分可爱的神气,咬紧牙咧开嘴向冉阿让吹气。

这是一个美神在学小猫的动作。

“我气愤得很,”她又说,“从昨天起你们全都在使我发怒,我心里很恼火,我不懂。您不帮我对付马吕斯,马吕斯不支持我对付您。我是孤单的。我布置得很好的一间卧室。如果我能把上帝请来,我也都想请进去。你们把房间甩给我。我的房客跑掉了。我叫妮珂莱特准备一顿美味的晚餐。‘人家不要吃您的晚餐,夫人。’还有我的父亲割风要我叫他让先生,还要我在这个可怕的陈旧简陋的发霉的地窖里接待他,这儿墙上长了胡子,空瓶代替水晶器皿,蛛网代替窗帘!您性情古怪,这我承认,这是您的个性,但对刚结婚的人总得暂时休战。您不该立刻就变得很古怪。您居然能在那可恨的武人街住得很安逸。在那里我本人倒是悲观失望的!您对我有什么不满?您使我十分难过。呸!”

然后,忽而又一本正经,她盯住冉阿让又说:

“您不高兴是因为我幸福了?”

天真的话,有时不自觉地点得十分透。这个问题,对珂赛特来说是简单的,对冉阿让则是严酷的。珂赛特要让他痛一下,结果使他心肝俱裂了。

冉阿让脸色惨白。他停了一下不回答,然后用一种无法形容的声音好象自言自语地轻轻说:

“她的幸福,是我生活的目的。现在上帝可以召唤我去了。

珂赛特,你幸福了,我没有用了。”

“啊!您对我称‘你’了!”珂赛特叫起来。

于是她跳过去抱住他的脖子。

象失去了理智那样冉阿让热烈地把她紧抱在胸前,他好象觉得他又把她找回来了。

“谢谢,父亲!”珂赛特说。

这种激动的感情正要使冉阿让变得非常伤心,他慢慢地离开珂赛特的手臂并且拿起他的帽子。

“怎么啦?”珂赛特说。

冉阿让回答:

“我走了,夫人,别人在等您。”

在到门口时,又加了一句:

“我对您称了‘你’,请告诉您的丈夫,以后我不再这样称呼您了,请原谅我。”

冉阿让出去了。留下珂赛特在为这莫名其妙的告别而发呆。
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