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第九卷最后的黑暗,崇高的黎明 第03章他能抬起割风的马车,但现在连一支钢笔

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CHAPTER III A PEN IS HEAVY TO THE MAN WHO LIFTED THE FAUCHELEVENT'S CART


One evening Jean Valjean found difficulty in raising himself on his elbow; he felt of his wrist and could not find his pulse; his breath was short and halted at times; he recognized the fact that he was weaker than he had ever been before. Then, no doubt under the pressure of some supreme preoccupation, he made an effort, drew himself up into a sitting posture and dressed himself. He put on his old workingman's clothes. As he no longer went out, he had returned to them and preferred them. He was obliged to pause many times while dressing himself; merely putting his arms through his waistcoat made the perspiration trickle from his forehead.

Since he had been alone, he had placed his bed in the antechamber, in order to inhabit that deserted apartment as little as possible.

He opened the valise and drew from it Cosette's outfit.

He spread it out on his bed.

The Bishop's candlesticks were in their place on the chimney-piece. He took from a drawer two wax candles and put them in the candlesticks. Then, although it was still broad daylight,--it was summer,-- he lighted them. In the same way candles are to be seen lighted in broad daylight in chambers where there is a corpse.

Every step that he took in going from one piece of furniture to another exhausted him, and he was obliged to sit down. It was not ordinary fatigue which expends the strength only to renew it; it was the remnant of all movement possible to him, it was life drained which flows away drop by drop in overwhelming efforts and which will never be renewed.

The chair into which he allowed himself to fall was placed in front of that mirror, so fatal for him, so providential for Marius, in which he had read Cosette's reversed writing on the blotting book. He caught sight of himself in this mirror, and did not recognize himself. He was eighty years old; before Marius' marriage, he would have hardly been taken for fifty; that year had counted for thirty. What he bore on his brow was no longer the wrinkles of age, it was the mysterious mark of death. The hollowing of that pitiless nail could be felt there. His cheeks were pendulous; the skin of his face had the color which would lead one to think that it already had earth upon it; the corners of his mouth drooped as in the mask which the ancients sculptured on tombs. He gazed into space with an air of reproach; one would have said that he was one of those grand tragic beings who have cause to complain of some one.

He was in that condition, the last phase of dejection, in which sorrow no longer flows; it is coagulated, so to speak; there is something on the soul like a clot of despair.

Night had come. He laboriously dragged a table and the old arm-chair to the fireside, and placed upon the table a pen, some ink and some paper.

That done, he had a fainting fit. When he recovered consciousness, he was thirsty. As he could not lift the jug, he tipped it over painfully towards his mouth, and swallowed a draught.

As neither the pen nor the ink had been used for a long time, the point of the pen had curled up, the ink had dried away, he was forced to rise and put a few drops of water in the ink, which he did not accomplish without pausing and sitting down two or three times, and he was compelled to write with the back of the pen. He wiped his brow from time to time.

Then he turned towards the bed, and, still seated, for he could not stand, he gazed at the little black gown and all those beloved objects.

These contemplations lasted for hours which seemed minutes.

All at once he shivered, he felt that a child was taking possession of him; he rested his elbows on the table, which was illuminated by the Bishop's candles and took up the pen. His hand trembled. He wrote slowly the few following lines:

"Cosette, I bless thee. I am going to explain to thee. Thy husband was right in giving me to understand that I ought to go away; but there is a little error in what he believed, though he was in the right. He is excellent. Love him well even after I am dead. Monsieur Pontmercy, love my darling child well. Cosette, this paper will be found; this is what I wish to say to thee, thou wilt see the figures, if I have the strength to recall them, listen well, this money is really thine. Here is the whole matter: White jet comes from Norway, black jet comes from England, black glass jewellery comes from Germany. Jet is the lightest, the most precious, the most costly. Imitations can be made in France as well as in Germany. What is needed is a little anvil two inches square, and a lamp burning spirits of wine to soften the wax. The wax was formerly made with resin and lampblack, and cost four livres the pound. I invented a way of making it with gum shellac and turpentine. It does not cost more than thirty sous, and is much better. Buckles are made with a violet glass which is stuck fast, by means of this wax, to a little framework of black iron. The glass must be violet for iron jewellery, and black for gold jewellery. Spain buys a great deal of it. It is the country of jet . . "

Here he paused, the pen fell from his fingers, he was seized by one of those sobs which at times welled up from the very depths of his being; the poor man clasped his head in both hands, and meditated.

"Oh!" he exclaimed within himself [lamentable cries, heard by God

alone], "all is over. I shall never see her more. She is a smile

which passed over me. I am about to plunge into the night without

even seeing her again. Oh! one minute, one instant, to hear her voice,

to touch her dress, to gaze upon her, upon her, the angel! And then

to die! It is nothing to die, what is frightful is to die without

seeing her. She would smile on me, she would say a word to me,

would that do any harm to any one? No, all is over, and forever.

Here I am all alone.My God! My God! I shall never see her again!"

At that moment there came a knock at the door.



三 他能抬起割风的马车,但现在连一支钢笔也嫌重


有一天傍晚、冉阿让很困难地用手臂把自己撑起来;他自己把脉,但已摸不到脉搏;他的呼吸已很短促,而且还不时停顿;他承认自己从来没有这样衰弱过。于是,大概某种特别重的心事使他拚命使劲,坐了起来,穿上衣服。他穿他的工人服,既不再出门,他就又恢复穿这种服装,这是他比较喜欢的。他在穿衣时不得不停了几次,仅仅为了穿短上衣的袖子,他额头的汗珠就不停地往下流。

自从他一个人生活以来,他已把床放在前厅里了,为的是尽量少占这一套空荡荡的房间。

他把手提箱打开,又把珂赛特的服装拿出来。

他把这些衣服摊开在床上。

主教的蜡烛台仍放在壁炉架上。他在一个抽屉里取出两支蜡烛插在烛台上,于是,虽然天还亮着,当时是夏天,他把蜡烛点起来,在有死人的房里有时大白天就这样点着蜡烛的。

每走一步,从一件家具走到另一件,都使他极度衰竭,他必须坐下来。这完全不是普通的疲乏,消耗了的体力可以再恢复,但这只是剩下的一丁点能动的余力了;这是耗尽了的生命,正在一滴一滴地消失在最后的难以支持的努力中。

他倒在镜子前面的一把椅子上,这镜子对他是种不幸,但对马吕斯却是一种天赐,在镜中他见到了珂赛特吸墨纸上的反面字迹。他对着镜子已不再认识自己。他已八十岁了;在马吕斯婚前,人们觉得他还不到五十岁,这一年抵得上三十年。他的额头上,已经不是年龄的皱纹,而是死亡神秘的痕迹。已经可以感到那无情指甲的掐印。他两腮下垂,面如土色,嘴角朝下。好象从前刻在墓上的人脸装饰;他带着抱怨的神情望着空中;好象悲剧里的一个主角正在埋怨某一个人。

他停留在这种状态,沮丧的最后阶段,这时痛苦已不再发生变化,可以说它已经凝固了;就象灵魂上凝聚着失望一样。

夜已来临,他很吃力地把一张桌子和一把旧扶手椅拖到壁炉边,在桌上放下笔、墨水和纸张。

做完这些,他昏过去了。神志恢复后,他感到口渴。他提不起水罐,他很困难地把它侧过来靠近嘴,喝了一口水。

后来他转向床铺,仍旧坐着,因为他已站不住,他望着这套黑色的小孝服和所有这些心爱的东西。

这种沉思静观可以延续数小时,但好象只过了几分钟,忽然他一阵寒颤,感到寒冷已向他袭来,他撑在主教的烛台光照耀着的桌上,拿起了笔。

但笔和墨水因很久不用,笔尖弯了,墨水也干了,他不得不站起来放几滴水在墨水中,这样做又不得不停下坐下两三次,他只能用笔尖背面来写字,而且还不时拭着额头。

他的手哆嗦着,慢慢写下了以下几行字:

珂赛特!我祝福你,我要向你解释。你的丈夫有理由向我表示我该离去;不过在他的猜想里也有些误会,不过他这样猜测是有道理的。他是个好人。我死后你要永远爱他。彭眉胥先生,您也要永远爱我亲爱的孩子。珂赛特,你会找到这张纸的,下面就是我要向你说的话,你将看到这些数字,如果我还能记得清的话,听我说,这笔钱完全是属于你的。一切情节如下:白玉是挪威的产品,黑玉是英国的产品,黑玻璃是德国的产品。玉石较轻,较珍贵,价值较高。在法国我们可以象德国那样仿造这些饰物。只需一个两英寸见方的铁砧和一盏酒精灯来熔化蜂蜡。过去蜂蜡是用树脂和黑烟灰制成的,要四法郎一市斤。我发明用树上的虫胶和松节油来制造,这就只需一个半法郎了,并且质量还高得多。扣子是用这种胶把紫色玻璃粘在黑铁的底托上。铁托的饰物用紫玻璃,金底的饰物用黑玻璃,西班牙买进很多这类饰物,那是个玉的国家……

写到这里他停下了,笔从手中跌落,他又一次和过去有时发生过的那样,从心底里发出失望的嚎啕大哭,这可怜的人两手捧着头沉思着。

“唉!”他内心在叫喊(可怜的哀嚎,只有上帝听见),“这一下完了,我再也见不到她了。她是一个在我身旁经过的微笑。在我进入黑暗之前,不能再见她一面了。唉!一分钟也罢,一刹那也罢!能听到她的声音,摸摸她的裙边,看她一眼,她,就是天使!然后再死去!死是无所谓的,可怕的是,死而见不到她。她会对我微笑,她会向我说几句话。难道这样会有损于人吗?不,完了,永远完了。我形单影只,我的上帝呀!我的上帝!

我再也见不到她了。”

正在这时,有人敲门了。
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