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abash/[ə'bæʃ]/ vt. 使不安, 使羞愧, 使困窘...

德伯家的苔丝 Chapter 46

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Several days had passed since her futile journey, and Tess was afield. The dry winter wind still blew, but a screen of thatched hurdles erected in the eye of the blast kept its force away from her. On the sheltered side was a turnip-slicing machine, whose bright blue hue of new paint seemed almost vocal in the otherwise subdued scene. Opposite its front was a long mound or `grave', in which the roots had been preserved since early winter. Tess was standing at the uncovered end, chopping off with a bill-hook the fibres and earth from each root, and throwing it after the operation into the slicer. A man was turning the handle of the machine, and from its trough came the newly-cut swedes, the fresh smell of whose yellow chips was accompanied by the sounds of the snuffling wind, the smart swish of the slicing-blades, and the choppings of the hook in Tess's leather-gloved hand.

The wide acreage of blank agricultural brownness, apparent where the swedes had been pulled, was beginning to be striped in wales of darker brown, gradually broadening to ribands. Along the edge of each of these something crept upon ten legs, moving without haste and without rest up and down the whole length of the field; it was two horses and a man, the plough going between them, turning up the cleared ground for a spring sowing.

For hours nothing relieved the joyless monotony of things. Then, far beyond the ploughing-teams, a black speck was seen. It had come from the corner of a fence, where there was a gap, and its tendency was up the incline, towards the swede-cutters. From the proportions of a mere point it advanced to the shape of a ninepin, and was soon perceived to be a man in black, arriving from the direction of Flintcomb-Ash. The man at the slicer, having nothing else to do with his eyes, continually observed the comer, but Tess, who was occupied, did not perceive him till her companion directed her attention to his approach.

It was not her hard taskmaster, Farmer Groby; it was one in a semi-clerical costume, who now represented what had once been the free-and-easy Alec d'Urberville. Not being hot at his preaching there was less enthusiasm about him now, and the presence of the grinder seemed to embarrass him. A pale distress was already on Tess's face, and she pulled her curtained hood further over it.

D'Urberville came up and said quietly--

`I want to speak to you, Tess.'

`You have refused my last request, not to come near me!' said she.

`Yes, but I have a good reason.'

`Well, tell it.'

`It is more serious than you may think.'

He glanced round to see if he were overheard. They were at some distance from the man who turned the slicer, and the movement of the machine, too, sufficiently prevented Alec's words reaching other ears. D'Urberville placed himself so as to screen Tess from the labourer, turning his back to the latter.

`It is this,' he continued, with capricious compunction. `In thinking of your soul and mine when we last met, I neglected to inquire as to your worldly condition. You were well dressed, and I did not think of it. But I see now that it is hard - harder than it used to be when I - knew you - harder than you deserve. Perhaps a good deal of it is owing to me!'

She did not answer, and he watched her inquiringly, as, with bent head, her face completely screened by the hood, she resumed her trimming of the swedes. By going on with her work she felt better able to keep him outside her emotions.

`Tess,' he added, with a sigh of discontent,--'yours was the very worst case I ever was concerned in! I had no idea of what had resulted till you told me. Scamp that I was to foul that innocent life! The whole blame was mine - the whole unconventional business of our time at Trantridge. You, too, the real blood of which I am but the base imitation, what a blind young thing you were as to possibilities! I say in all earnestness that it is a shame for parents to bring up their girls in such dangerous ignorance of the gins and nets that the wicked may set for them, whether their motive be a good one or the result of simple indifference.'

Tess still did no more than listen, throwing down one globular root and taking up another with automatic regularity, the pensive contour of the mere fieldwoman alone marking her.

`But it is not that I came to say,' d'Urberville went on. `My circumstances are these. I have lost my mother since you were at Trantridge, and the place is my own. But I intend to sell it, and devote myself to missionary work in Africa. A devil of a poor hand I shall make at the trade, no doubt. However, what I want to ask you is, will you put it in my power to do my duty - to make the only reparation I can make for the trick played you: that is, will you be my wife, and go with me?... I have already obtained this precious document. It was my old mother's dying wish.' He drew a piece of parchment from his pocket, with a slight fumbling of embarrassment.

`What is it?' said she.

`A marriage licence.'

`O no, sir - no!' she said quickly, starting back.

`You will not? Why is that?'

And as he asked the question a disappointment which was not entirely the disappointment of thwarted duty crossed d'Urberville face. It was unmistakably a symptom that something of his old passion for her had been revived; duty and desire ran hand-in-hand.

`Surely,' he began again, in more impetuous tones, and then looked round at the labourer who turned the slicer.

Tess, too, felt that the argument could not be ended there. Informing the man that a gentleman had come to see her, with whom she wished to walk a little way, she moved off with d'Urberville across the zebra-striped field. When they reached the first newly-sloughed section he held out his hand to help her over it; but she stepped forward on the summits of the earth-rolls as if she did not see him.

`You will not marry me, Tess, and make me a self-respecting man?' he repeated, as soon as they were over the furrows.

`I cannot.'

`But why?'

`You know I have no affection for you.'

`But you would get to feel that in time, perhaps - as soon as you really could forgive me?'

`Never!'

`Why so positive?'

`I love somebody else.'

The words seemed to astonish him.

`You do?' he cried. `Somebody else? But has not a sense of what is morally right and proper any weight with you?'

`No, no, no - don't say that!'

`Anyhow, then, your love for this other man may be only a passing feeling which you will overcome------'

`No - no.'

`Yes, yes! Why not?'

`I cannot tell you.'

`You must in honour!'

`Well then - I have married him.'

`Ah!' he exclaimed; and he stopped dead and gazed at her.

`I did not wish to tell - I did not mean to!' she pleaded. `It is a secret here, or at any rate but dimly known. So will you, please will you, keep from questioning me? You must remember that we are now strangers.'

`Strangers - are we? Strangers!'

For a moment a flash of his old irony marked his face; but he determinedly chastened it down.

`Is that man your husband?' he asked mechanically, denoting by a sign the labourer who turned the machine.

`That man!' she said proudly. `I should think not!'

`Who, then?'

`Do not ask what I do not wish to tell!' she begged, and flashed her appeal to him from her upturned face and lash-shadowed eyes.

D'Urberville was disturbed.

`But I only asked for your sake!' he retorted hotly. `Angels of heaven! - God forgive me for such an expression - I came here, I swear, as I thought for your good. Tess - don't look at me so - I cannot stand your looks! There never were such eyes, surely, before Christianity or since! There - I won't lose my head; I dare not. I own that the sight of you has waked up my love for You, which, I believed, was extinguished with all such feelings. But I thought that our marriage might be a sanctification for us both. "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband," I said to myself. But my plan is dashed from me; and I must bear the disappointment!'

He moodily reflected with his eyes on the ground. `Married. Married! - Well, that being so,' he added, quite calmly, tearing the licence slowly into halves and putting them in his pocket; `that being prevented, I should like to do some good to you and your husband, whoever he may be. There are many questions that I am tempted to ask, but I will not do so, of course, in opposition to your wishes. Though, if I could know your husband, I might more easily benefit him and you. Is he on this farm?'

`No,' she murmured. `He is far away.'

`Far away? From you? What sort of husband can he be?'

`O, do not speak against him! It was through you! He found out------'

`Ah, is it so! - . That's sad, Tess!'

`Yes.'

`But to stay away from you - to leave you to work like this!'

`He does not leave me to work!' she cried, springing to the defence of the absent one with all her fervour. `He don't know it! It is by my own arrangement.'

`Then, does he write?'

`I - I cannot tell you. There are things which are private to ourselves.'

`Of course that means that he does not. You are a deserted wife, my fair Tess!'

In an impulse he turned suddenly to take her hand; the buff-glove was on it, and he seized only the rough leather fingers which did not express the life or shape of those within.

`You must not - you must not!' she cried fearfully, slipping her hand from the glove as from a pocket, and leaving it in his grasp. `O, will you go away - for the sake of me and my husband - go, in the name of your own Christianity!'

`Yes, yes; I will,' he said abruptly, and thrusting the glove back to her turned to leave. Facing round, however, he said, `Tess, as God is my judge, I meant no humbug in taking your hand!'

A pattering of hoofs on the soil of the field, which they had not noticed in their preoccupation, ceased close behind them; and a voice reached her ear:

`What the devil are you doing away from your work at this time o' day?'

Farmer Groby had espied the two figures from the distance, and had inquisitively ridden across, to learn what was their business in his field.

`Don't speak like that to her!' said d'Urberville, his face blackening with something that was not Christianity.

`Indeed, Mister! And what mid Methodist parsons have to do with she?'

`Who is the fellow?' asked d'Urberville, turning to Tess.

She went close up to him.

`Go - I do beg you!' she said.

`What! And leave you to that tyrant? I can see in his face what a churl he is.'

`He won't hurt me. He's not in love with me. I can leave at Lady-Day.'

`Well, I have no right but to obey, I suppose. But - well, good-bye!'

Her defender, whom she dreaded more than her assailant, having reluctantly disappeared, the farmer continued his reprimand, which Tess took with the greatest coolness, that sort of attack being independent of sex. To have as a master this man of stone, who would have cuffed her if he had dared, was almost a relief after her former experiences. She silently walked back towards the summit of the field that was the scene of her labour, so absorbed in the interview which had Just taken place that she was hardly aware that the nose of Groby's horse almost touched her shoulders.

`If so be you make an agreement to work for me till Lady-Day, I'll see that you carry it out,' he growled. `'Od rot the women - now 'tis one thing, and then 'tis another. But I'll put up with it no longer!'

Knowing very well that he did not harass the other women of the farm as he harassed her out of spite for the flooring he had once received, she did for one moment picture what might have been the result if she had been free to accept the offer just made her of being the monied Alec's wife. It would have lifted her completely out of subjection, not only to her present oppressive employer, but to a whole world who seemed to despise her. `But no, no!' she said breathlessly; `I could not have married him now! He is so unpleasant to me.'

That very night she began an appealing letter to Clare, concealing from him her hardships, and assuring him of her undying affection. Any one who had been in a position to read between the lines would have seen that at the back of her great love was some monstrous fear - almost a desperation - as to some secret contingencies which were not disclosed. But again she did not finish her effusion; he had asked Izz to go with him, and perhaps he did not care for her at all. She put the letter in her box, and wondered if it would ever reach Angel's hands.

After this her dally tasks were gone through heavily enough, and brought on the day which was of great import to agriculturists - the day of the Candlemas Fair. It was at this fair that new engagements were entered into for the twelve months following the ensuing Lady-Day, and those of the farming population who thought of changing their places duly attended at the county-town where the fair was held. Nearly all the labourers on Flintcomb-Ash Farm intended flight, and early in the morning there was a general exodus in the direction of the town, which lay at a distance of from ten to a dozen miles over hilly country. Though Tess also meant to leave at the quarter-day she was one of the few who did not go to the fair, having a vaguely-shaped hope that something would happen to render another outdoor engagement unnecessary.

It was a peaceful February day, of wonderful softness for the time, and one would almost have thought that winter was over. She had hardly finished her dinner when d'Urberville's figure darkened the window of the cottage wherein she was a lodger, which she had all to herself to-day.

Tess jumped up, but her visitor had knocked at the door, and she could hardly in reason run away. D'Urberville's knock, his walk up to the door, had some indescribable quality of difference from his air when she last saw him. They seemed to be acts of which the doer was ashamed. She thought that she would not open the door; but, as there was no sense in that either, she arose, and having lifted the latch stepped back quickly. He came in, saw her, and flung himself down into a chair before speaking.

`Tess - I couldn't help it!' he began desperately, as he wiped his heated face, which had also a superimposed flush of excitement. `I felt that I must call at least to ask how you are. I assure you I had not been thinking of you at all till I saw you that Sunday; now I cannot get rid of your image, try how I may! It is hard that a good woman should do harm to a bad man; yet so it is. If you would only pray for me, Tess!'

The suppressed discontent of his manner was almost pitiable, and yet Tess did not pity him.

`How can I pray for you,' she said, `when I am forbidden to believe that the great Power who moves the world would alter His plans on my account?'

`You really think that?'

`Yes. I have been cured of the presumption of thinking otherwise.'

`Cured? By whom?'

`By my husband, if I must tell.'

`Ah - your husband - your husband! How strange it seems! I remember you hinted something of the sort the other day. What do you really believe in these matters, Tess?' he asked. `You seem to have no religion - perhaps owing to me.'

`But I have. Though I don't believe in anything supernatural.' D'Urberville looked at her with misgiving.

`Then do you think that the line I take is all wrong?'

`A good deal of it.'

`H'm - and yet I've felt so sure about it,' he said uneasily.

`I believe in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, and so did my dear husband... . But I don't believe------'

Here she gave her negations.

`The fact is,' said d'Urberville drily, `whatever your dear husband believed you accept, and whatever he rejected you reject, without the least inquiry or reasoning on your own part. That's just like you women. Your mind is enslaved to his.'

`Ah, because he knew everything!' said she, with a triumphant simplicity of faith in Angel Clare that the most perfect man could hardly have deserved, much less her husband.

`Yes, but you should not take negative opinions wholesale from another person like that. A pretty fellow he must be to teach you such scepticism!'

`He never forced my judgment! He would never argue on the subject with me! But I looked at it in this way; what he believed, after inquiring deep into doctrines, was much more likely to be right than what I might believe, who hadn't looked into doctrines at all.'

`What used he to say? He must have said something?'

She reflected; and with her acute memory for the letter of Angel Clare's remarks, even when she did not comprehend their spirit, she recalled a merciless polemical syllogism that she had heard him use when, as it occasionally happened, he indulged in a species of thinking aloud with her at his side. In delivering it she gave also Clare's accent and manner with reverential faithfulness.

`Say that again,' asked d'Urberville, who had listened with the greatest attention.

She repeated the argument, and d'Urberville thoughtfully murmured the words after her.

`Anything else?' he presently asked.

`He said at another time something like this'; and she gave another, which might possibly have been paralleled in many a work of the pedigree ranging from the Dictionnaire Philosophique to Huxley's Essays.

`Ah - ha! How do you remember them?'

`I wanted to believe what he believed, though he didn't wish me to; and I managed to coax him to tell me a few of his thoughts. I can't say I quite understand that one; but I know it is right.'

`H'm. Fancy your being able to teach me what you don't know yourself!'

He fell into thought.

`And so I threw in my spiritual lot with his,' she resumed. `I didn't wish it to be different. What's good enough for him is good enough for me.'

`Does he know that you are as big an infidel as he?'

`No - I never told him - if I am an infidel.'

`Well - you are better off to-day than I am, Tess, after all! You don't believe that you ought to preach my doctrine, and, therefore, do no despite to your conscience in abstaining. I do believe I ought to preach it, but like the devils I believe and tremble, for I suddenly leave off preaching it, and give way to my passion for you.'

`How?'

`Why,' he said aridly; `I have come all the way here to see you to-day! But I started from home to go to Casterbridge Fair, where I have undertaken to preach the Word from a waggon at half-past two this afternoon, and where all the brethren are expecting me this minute. Here's the announcement.'

He drew from his breast-pocket a poster whereon was printed the day, hour, and place of meeting, at which he, d'Urberville, would preach the Gospel as aforesaid.

`But how can you get there?' said Tess, looking at the clock.

`I cannot get there! I have come here.'

`What, you have really arranged to preach, and------'

`I have arranged to preach, and I shall not be there - by reason of my burning desire to see a woman whom I once despised! - No, by my word and truth, I never despised you; if I had I should not love you now! Why I did not despise you was on account of your being unsmirched in spite of all; you withdrew yourself from me so quickly and resolutely when you saw the situation; you did not remain at my pleasure; so there was one petticoat in the world for whom I had no contempt, and you are she. But you may well despise me now! I thought I worshipped on the mountains, but I find I still serve in the groves! Ha! ha!'

`O Alec d'Urberville! What does this mean? What have I done!'

`Done?' he said, with a soulless sneer in the word. `Nothing intentionally. But you have been the means - the innocent means - of my backsliding, as they call it. I ask myself, am I, indeed, one of those "servants of corruption" who, "after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, are again entangled therein and overcome" - whose latter end is worse than their beginning?' He laid his hand on her shoulder. `Tess, my girl, I was on the way to, at least, social salvation till I saw you again!' he said freakishly shaking her, as if she were a child. `And why then have you tempted me? I was firm as a man could be till I saw those eyes and that mouth again - surely there never was such a maddening mouth since Eve's!' His voice sank, and a hot archness shot from his own black eyes. `You temptress, Tess; you dear damned witch of Babylon, - I could not resist you as soon as I met you again!'

I couldn't help your seeing me again!' said Tess, recoiling.

`I know it - I repeat that I do not blame you. But the fact remains. When I saw you ill-used on the farm that day I was nearly mad to think that I had no legal right to protect you - that I could not have it; whilst he who has it seems to neglect you utterly!'

`Don't speak against him - he is absent!' she cried in much excitement. `Treat him honourably - he has never wronged you! O leave his wife before any scandal spreads that may do harm to bis honest name!'

`I will - I will,' he said, like a man awakening from a luring dream. `I have broken my engagement to preach to those poor drunken boobies at the fair - it is the first time I have played such a practical joke. A month ago I should have been horrified at such a possibility. I'll go away - to swear - and - ah, can I! to keep away.' Then, suddenly: `One clasp, Tessy - one! Only for old friendship------'

`I am without defence, Alec! A good man's honour is in my keeping - think - be ashamed!'

`Pooh! Well yes - yes!'

He clenched his lips, mortified with himself for his weakness. His eyes were equally barren of worldly and religious faith. The corpses of those old fitful passions which had lain inanimate amid the lines of his face ever since his reformation seemed to wake and come together as in a resurrection. He went out indeterminately.

Though d'Urberville had declared that this breach of his engagement to-day was the simple backsliding of a believer, Tess's words, as echoed from Angel Clare, had made a deep impression upon him, and continued to do so after he had left her. He moved on in silence, as if his energies were benumbed by the hitherto undreamt-of possibility that his position was untenable. Reason had had nothing to do with his whimsical conversion, which was perhaps the mere freak of a careless man in search of a new sensation, and temporarily impressed by his mother's death.

The drops of logic Tess had let fall into the sea of this enthusiasm served to chill its effervescence to stagnation. He said to himself, as he pondered again and again over the crystallized phrases that she had handed on to him, `That clever fellow little thought that, by telling her those things, he might be paving my way back to her!'

 自从苔丝上次无功而返以来,已经过去好几天了,她照常在地里干活。冬天的枯风依旧吹着,但是用草做成的篱笆围成的屏障,为她把吹来的风挡住了。在避风的一面,放着一架切萝卜的机器,机器上新漆了一层发亮的蓝色油漆,在周围的暗淡环境的对比下,似乎显得有声有色。在和机器正面相对的地方,有一个堆积如山的萝卜堆,那些萝卜从初冬就保存在那儿了。苔丝站在萝卜已经被掏开的那一头,用一把弯刀把一个个萝卜上的根须和泥土清理干净,再把萝卜扔进切萝卜片的机器里。有一个男工人摇动着机器的摇把,新切的萝卜片就从机器的槽口里不断地流出来,那些黄色萝卜片的新鲜气味,同外面的呼呼风声、切萝卜的刀片的嗖嗖声和苔丝戴着皮手套清理萝卜的声音混合在一起。

  在萝卜被拔走以后,那一大片土地上什么也没有了,只剩下褐色的土地,现在上面又开始出现了深褐色的带状条纹,这条长带慢慢地变得越来越宽了。沿着垅起的长带,有一种十条腿的东西在不紧不慢地从地的这一头到另一头爬行着,那是两匹马、一个人和一张犁在田地里移动着,正在把收获过后的土地耕好,准备春季里播种。

  好几个小时过去了,一切都还是那样单调,那样沉闷。后来,在被犁开的田地里出现了一个黑色的斑点。那个黑点是从树篱拐角处的空隙中出现的,正在向清理萝卜的人移去。随着那个黑点的移动,黑点逐渐变成了九柱戏的柱子般大小,不久就可以看得清楚了,原来是一个身穿黑衣的人,正在从长槐路上走来。摇萝卜切片机的男工眼睛无事可做,一直注意着那个走来的人,而清理萝卜的苔丝眼睛没有空闲,所以一直不知道这件事,后来她的同伴告诉了她,她才注意到那个人已经走过来了。

  走过来的那个人并不是刻薄的农场主格罗比,而是一个穿着半是教服半是俗装的人,他就是从前生活放荡的阿历克·德贝维尔。现在他的脸上没有讲道时的激动,也没有热烈的情绪,他站在摇机器的工人面前,似乎有些局促不安。苔丝一阵难受,脸顿时变得苍白了,就把头上的帽子向下拉了拉,把脸遮一遮。

  德贝维尔走了过来,静静地说——

  “我想跟你说几句话,苔丝。”

  “我最后请求过你,请你不要到我的身边来,你这是拒绝我的请求了!”苔丝说。

  “不错,但是我有充足的理由,苔丝。”

  “好吧,你说吧。”

  “这也许比你想象的要严重得多啊。”

  他扭过头去,看看播机器的人是不是在偷听。他们和那个摇机器的人隔有一段距离,加上机器转动的响声,这足可以防止摇机器的人把阿历克说的话听去。阿历克站在苔丝和摇机器的人之间,背朝着摇机器的人,把苔丝挡住。

  “事情是这样的,”他继续说,带有一种反复无常的悔恨样子。“我们上次分手的时候,我只想到你和我的灵魂,忘了问你现在的生活情况了。你的穿着很好,这是我没有想到的。但是我现在又看见你的生活这样苦——比我认识你的时候还要苦——你是不应该受这种苦的。也许你这样受苦大部分原因要归罪于我吧!”

  她没有回答,低着头,又继续清理萝卜,她的头上戴着帽子,把头完全遮住了。阿历克站在旁边,带着探询的神情看着她。苔丝感到只有继续清理萝卜,才能完全把阿历克排斥在她的感情之外。

  “苔丝,”他不满意地叹了一口气,又说,——“我见到过许多人的情形,你的情形是艰难的啊!在你告诉我以前,我真没有想到你是这样的结果啊。我真是一个混蛋,玷污了一个清白人的生活啊!这全是我的错——我们在特兰里奇时所有的越轨行为都是我的错。你才真正是德贝维尔家族的后人,我只是一个冒牌货。你真是一个年幼无知的人,一点儿也不知道人世间的诡诈啊!我真心实意地告诉你吧,做父母的把女儿抚养大了,却对险恶的人为她们设下的陷阱和罗网一无所知,无论他们是出于好心还是漠不关心的结果,这都是危险的,是做父母的耻辱。”

  苔丝仍然只是静静地听着,刚把清理好的萝卜放下,就又拿起另外一个,像一架机器一样有规律。她那种深思的模样,显然只是一个在地里干活的女佣。

  “不过我来这儿并不是为了说这些话!”德贝维尔继续说。“我的情况是这样的。你离开特兰里奇以后,我的母亲就死了,那儿的产业都成了我的产业。但是我想把产业卖了,一心一意到非洲去从事传教的事业。毫无疑问,这件事我肯定是做不好的。但是,我要问你的事是,你能不能让我尽一份责任——让我对我从前的荒唐事做一次唯一的补偿:也就是说,你能不能做我的妻子,和我一起到非洲去?——我已经把这份宝贵的文件弄到手了。这也是我母亲死时的唯一希望。”

  他有些不好意思地摸索了一阵,从口袋里掏出来一张羊皮纸。

  “那是什么?”她问。

  “一张结婚许可证。”

  “啊,不行,先生——不行!”她吓得只往后退,急急忙忙地说。

  “你不愿意吗?为什么呢?”

  他在问这句话的时候,一种失望的神情出现在他的脸上,不过那完全不是他想尽一份责任的愿望个能实现的失望。毫无疑问,那是他对她旧情复燃的一种征兆;责任和欲望结合在一起了。

  “不错,”他又开始说,语气变得更加暴躁了,接着回头看看那个摇切片机的人。

  苔丝也感觉到这场谈话不能到这儿就算完了。她对那个摇机器的人说,这个先生到这儿来看她,她想陪他走一会儿,说完就和德贝维尔穿过像斑马条斑的那块地走了。当他们走到地里最先翻耕的部分时,他把手伸过去,想扶扶苔丝;但是苔丝在犁垅上往前走着,仿佛没有看见她似的。

  “你不愿意嫁给我,苔丝,不想让我做一个自尊的人,是不是?”他们刚一走过犁沟他就重复说。

  “我不能嫁给你。”

  “可是为什么呢?”

  “你知道我对你没有感情。”

  “但是,只要你真正宽恕了我,也许时间长了,你就会对我生出感情来呀?”

  “永远也不会的。”

  “为什么要把话说得这样肯定呢?”

  “因为我爱着另外一个人。”

  这句话似乎使他大吃一惊。

  “真的吗?”他喊着说。“另外一个人?可是,难道你在道德上没有一点儿是非感吗?不感到心中不安吗?”

  “不,不,不——不要说了!”

  “那么无论怎样,你对你说的那个男人的爱只是暂时的感情,你会消除掉这种感情的——”

  “不——不是暂时的感情。”

  “是的,是的!为什么不是呢?”

  “我不能告诉你。”

  “你一定要对我说实话!”

  “那么好吧——我已经嫁给他了。”

  “啊!”他惊叫起来;盯着苔丝,嘴里说不出话来。

  “我本来不想告诉你——我本来也不想说!”她解释说。“这件事在这儿是一个秘密,即使有人知道,也只是模模糊糊地知道一点儿。因此,你不要,我请你不要再继续问我了,好吗?你必须记住,现在我们只是陌路人了。”

  “陌路人——我们是陌路人?陌路人!”

  有一会儿,他的脸上闪现出旧日的讽刺神情;但他还是坚强地把它压制下去了。

  “那个人就是你的丈夫吗?”他用手指着那个摇切片机器的工人,机械地问。

  “那个人吗!”她骄傲地说,“我想不是的吧!”

  “那么他是谁?”

  “请你不要问我不想告诉你的事!”她恳求他说,她说话的时候抬起头来,眼睫毛遮蔽下的眼睛中目光一闪。

  德贝维尔心神不定了。

  “可是我只是为了你的缘故才问你的啊!”他激烈地反驳说。“天上的天使啊!——上帝宽恕我这样说吧——我发誓,我是想到为了你好才来这儿的。苔丝——不要这样看着我——我受不了你的目光呀!我敢肯定,古往今来,世上从来没有你这样的眼睛啊!唉——我不能失去理智,我也不敢。我承认,你眼睛的目光已经把我心中对你的爱情唤醒了,而我本来相信这种感情已经和其它这样的感情一起熄灭了的。不过我想,我们结了婚就可以使我们两个人的感情得到净化。我对自己说,‘不信的丈夫就因着妻子成了圣洁;不信的妻子就因着丈夫而成了圣洁。’不过我现在的计划破灭了;我不得不忍受我的失望了!”

  他心情阴郁,眼睛看着地上,思索着。

  “嫁给他了。嫁给他了!——既是这样,也罢。”他接着说,十分镇静,把结婚许可证慢慢地撕成两半,装进自己的口袋;“我既然不能娶你,但是我愿意为你和你的丈夫做些好事,而不管你的丈夫是谁。我还有许多问题想问你,当然,我也不会违背你的意思再问你了。不过,如果我认识你的丈夫,我帮助你和你的丈夫就更加容易了。他也在这个农场里吗?”

  “不在!”苔丝小声说。“他离这儿很远。”

  “很远?他不在你的身边?那是一个什么样的丈夫啊?”

  “啊,不要说他的坏话!那是因为你呀!他知道了——”

  “哦,原来是这样!——真是不幸,苔丝!”

  “是不幸。”

  “难道他就这样离开你——把你留在这儿,像这个样子干活!”

  “他没有把我留在这儿干活!”她喊道,满腔热情地为不在她跟前的那个人辩护。“他并不知道我干活的事!这是我自己的安排!”

  “那他给你写信吗?”

  “我——我不能告诉你。这都是我们自己的私事。”

  “当然,这就是说他没有给你写信。你是一个被人遗弃了的妻子啊,我漂亮的苔丝!”

  他由于一时的冲动,突然转过身来,握住苔丝的手;苔丝戴着褐色手套,他只是抓住了她戴着手套的手指,感觉不到里面有血有肉的形体。

  “你不能这样——你不能这样!”她害怕得叫起来,一面把她的手从手套里抽出来,就像从口袋里抽出来一样,只是把手套留在他的手里。“啊,你能不能走开——为了我和我的丈夫——为了你的基督教,请你走开吧!”

  “好吧,好吧;我走开,”他突然说,一边把手套扔到苔丝手里,转身离开。但是他又回过头说,“苔丝,上帝可以为我作证,刚才我握住你的手,并不是想欺骗你啊!”

  田地里响起了一阵马蹄声,有人骑马来到了他们的身后,而他们因为一心想着自己的事,没有注意到;苔丝听见耳边响起了说话声:

  “你他妈的今天这时候怎么不干活儿,跑到了这儿?”

  农场主格罗比老远就看见了两个人影,就骑着马走过来看看清楚,要了解他们在地里搞什么名堂。

  “不要对她那样说话!”德贝维尔把脸色一沉说,这种脸色不是一个基督徒的脸色。

  “不错,先生!一个卫理公会和她会有什么勾当呢?”

  “这个家伙是谁?”德贝维尔转身问苔丝。

  她走到德贝维尔的身边。

  “走吧——我求你了!”她说。

  “什么!把你留在那个暴君手里吗?我从他的脸上就可以看出来,他不是一个好东西。”

  “他不会伤害我的。他也不是在和我谈情说爱。我在圣母节就可以离开了。”

  “好吧,我想我只好听你的吩咐了。不过——好吧,再见!”

  她对这个保护她的人,比对攻击她的那个人还要害怕,德贝维尔不情愿地走了以后,农场主还在继续谴责苔丝,苔丝用最大的冷静忍受着,因为她知道这种攻击和性爱是没有关系的。这个男人作为主人,真是冷酷无情,如果他有胆量的话,他早就把她打了,不过苔丝有了上次的经验,心里反而放心了。她悄悄地向地里原先干活的那块高地走去,深思着刚才和德贝维尔会面的情景,几乎没有意识到格罗比的马的鼻子都触到她的肩头了。

  “你既然已经跟我签订了合同,要为我干到圣母节,我就得让你按照合同办!”他咆哮着说。“该死的女人——今天这个样,明天那个样。我再也不能容忍这个样子了!”

  苔丝知道得很清楚,他没有这样骚扰这个农场上的其他女人,他这样对她进行骚扰,完全是因为要报他挨的克莱尔那一拳。有一会儿她想,要是她接受了阿历克的求婚,做了他的妻子,那么这种结果又会是什么样的情景呢?那么她就会彻底摆脱这种屈辱的地位,不仅可以摆脱眼前这个气势汹汹地欺压她的人,而且还可以在似乎瞧不起她的整个世界面前抬起头来。“可是不,不!”她喘着气说,“我现在不能嫁给他!他在我眼里太讨厌了。”

  就在那天晚上,苔丝开始给克莱尔写一封言词恳切的信,把自己的苦难隐瞒起来,只是向他述说自己忠贞不渝的爱情。任何人读了这封信,都能从字里行间看见,在苔丝伟大爱情的背后,也隐藏着某种巨大的恐惧——差不多是一种绝望——某些还没有公开暴露出来的秘密事件。不过这一次她又没有把信写完;他既然曾经要求伊茨和他同往巴西,也许他心里根本就不关心她了。她把这封信放进她的箱子里,心里想,这封信是不是永远也不会到安琪尔的手上了。

  自此以后,苔丝每天的劳动越来越沉重,时间也就到了对于种地工人具有重大意义的日子,即圣烛节①集市的日子。就是在这个集市上,要签订到下一个圣母节的十二个月的新雇工合同,凡是那些想变换工作地点的种地工人,都要到举行集市的乡村小镇去。燧石山农场的工人差不多都想离开那儿,所以一大早大批的工人就离开农场,朝小镇的方向涌去,从燧石山农场到小镇去,大约有十到十二英里的山路要走。虽然苔丝也想在结账的日子离开,但是她是那几个没有到集市上去的人中的一个,因为她抱有一种模模糊糊的希望,到时候会有凑巧的事情发生,使她不必再去签订一个新的户外劳动合同。

  

  ①圣烛节(Canddlenas),纪念圣母玛利亚的宗教节日,时间为每年的二月二日。

  这是二月里暖和的一天,那时候天气出奇暖和,差不多都要让人觉得冬天已经过去了。她刚把晚饭吃完,德贝维尔的影子就出现在她住的小屋的窗户上了,那时候,屋子里就只剩下她一个人。

  苔丝急忙跳起来,可是来人已经敲响了她的房门,她几乎是没有理由逃跑了。德贝维尔走到门前和敲门的神态,和苔丝上次见到的他相比有了一种说不出来的大不相同的特点。他似乎对自己的所作所为感到羞愧。她本来不想去开门,但是好像又没有不去开门的道理,她就站起来,把门栓打开,接着又急忙退了回去。德贝维尔走了进来,看着她,然后一屁股坐在一把椅子上,这才开始说话。

  “苔丝——我已经受不了啦!”他开始用绝望的口气说,一面用手擦着冒汗的脸,脸上泛着激动的红色。“我感到我至少要到这儿来看看你,问问你情况怎么样。老实告诉你吧,自从上个礼拜天见到你以后,我一直没有想起你来;可是现在,我无论怎样努力,我也无法把你的影子从我心里赶走了啊!一个善良的女人要伤害一个罪恶的男人是不容易的,可是现在她却把他伤害了。除非你为我祈祷,苔丝!”

  看到他压抑着内心痛苦的样子,谁都会同情他,但是苔丝没有同情他。

  “我怎样才能为你祈祷呢?”苔丝说,“现在还不允许我相信主宰世界的伟大的神会因为我的祈祷而改变它的计划呢!”

  “你真的是那样想的吗?”

  “是的。我本来不是那样想的,但是原来的想法已经被彻底改变了。”

  “改变了?是谁改变了你的?”

  “是我的丈夫,如果你一定要我告诉你的话。”

  “啊——你的丈夫——你的丈夫!听起来真是奇怪!我记得有一天你说过这个话。你真的相信这些事情吗,苔丝?”他问。“你似乎是不相信宗教的——这也许是因为我的缘故。”

  “但是我信。不过我不相信任何超自然的东西罢了。”

  德贝维尔满腹疑虑地看着她。

  “那么你认为我走的路是不是完全错了?”

  “大半是错了。”

  “哼——可是我自己不会错!”他有些不安地说。

  “我相信登山训示①的那番讲道的精神,我丈夫也是如此——但是我不相信——”

  

  ①指耶稣基督在山上对他的教众讲的一次道,主要内容为爱。

  他给了否定的回答。

  “事实是,”德贝维尔冷冷地说,“你丈夫信的你都信,你丈夫反对的你都反对,而你自己,没有一点儿思考,没有一点儿判断。你们女人就是这样。你在思想上成了他的奴隶了。”

  “啊,那是因为他什么都知道啊!”她得意洋洋地说,她只是单纯地相信安琪尔·克莱尔,其实最完美的人也不配受到她那样的信任,她的丈夫更是不配了。

  “不错,可是你不应该像那样把别人的消极意见全盘照搬过来啊。他能教给你这种怀疑主义,一定是一个有趣的人。”

  “他从来不把他的判断强加于人!他也从来不和我争论!但是,我是这样看的,他在对他的理论进行了一番深入的研究以后,他相信的可能就要比我相信的更加正确了,因为我根本就没有深入到理论中去。”

  “他曾经说过什么?他一定说过什么吧?”

  她回忆着;她有敏锐的记忆力,安琪尔·克莱尔平时说的话,即使她还不能理解那些话的精神,她也把它们记住了,她回想起她听见他使用过的一个犀利无情的三段论法,那是有一次他们在一起的时候,他像平时那样一面思索一面说出来的。她就把他说的话复述了一遍,甚至连他的音调和神态也模仿得惟妙惟肖。

  “你再说一遍,”德贝维尔一直在聚精会神地听着,要求苔丝说。

  苔丝又重复了一遍,德贝维尔也若有所思地小声跟着她念。

  “没有别的话了吗?”他立刻又问。

  “他在其它时候还说过一些这样的话!”于是她又说了另外一段,在上至《哲学辞典》下至赫胥黎的《论文集》①里,都可以找出许多同这段话相似的话来。

  

  ①哲学辞典(Dictionary Philosophique),十八世纪法国作家伏尔泰所作,出版于一六六四年。赫胥黎的《论文集》(Huxley's Essays),赫胥黎(1825-1895)为英国生物学家和哲学家,他的《论文集》出版于1884年。

  “啊——哈!你是怎样把它们记住的?”

  “他相信什么,我就要相信什么,尽管他不希望我这样;我想办法劝说他,要他告诉我一些他的思想。我不能说我完全理解了他的思想;但是我知道他的思想是对的。”

  “哼。想想吧,你自己什么都不知道,还能教训我吗!”

  他陷入了沉思。

  “我就这样在精神方面和他保持一致,”她又接着说。“我不希望自己和他有什么不同。对他好的,对我肯定也好。”

  “他知不知道你和他一样是一个大异教徒?”

  “不知道——我从来没有告诉过他——即使我是一个异教徒的话。”

  “好啦——你今天毕竟要比我好得多,苔丝!你不相信你应该去宣传我的主义,因此你放弃了主义并不感到有什么良心上的不安。我相信我应该去宣传我的主义,可是又像魔鬼一样,既相信,又哆嗦,因为我突然放弃了我应该宣传的主义,而让位于对你的感情了。”

  “这是怎么啦?”

  “唉,”他枯燥无味地说:“我今天一路来到这儿,就是为了看你的!其实我从家里动身是去卡斯特桥集市的,今天下午两点半钟,我要站在那儿的一辆大车上讲道,那儿的教众现在这时候正在等着我呢。你看这份通知。”

  他从胸前的口袋里掏出来一张告示,上面印着集会的日子、时间和地点,通知说在这个集会上,他,也就是德贝维尔,将在那儿宣讲福音。

  “可是你怎样才能去那儿呢?”苔丝看着钟说。

  “我不能去那儿啦!因为我到这儿来啦。”

  “什么,你是不是真的答应了到那儿去讲道,还有——”

  “我已经准备好了到那儿去讲道,但是我不去那儿了——因为我心中产生了一种渴望,要去看望一个被我轻视过的女人!——不,实话实说吧,我从来就没有轻视过你;要是我轻视过你的话,现在我就不会爱你了呀!为什么我没有轻视你,因为你能出污泥而不染。你遇见了我,你就能看清形势,那样迅速和坚决地从我身边离开;你没有留在我的身边任我摆布;因此,如果说这个世界上还有一个我不轻视的女人的话,那个女人就是你。不过你现在完全可以轻视我!我原来以为我在山上顶礼膜拜,现在才发现自己依然在林中供奉①!哈!哈!”

  

  ①见《圣经·列王纪下》第十七至二十三章。

  “啊,阿历克·德贝维尔!你这话是什么意思?我又怎么啦!”

  “怎么啦?”他带着卑鄙的冷笑说。“你的本意是没有做什么。按照他们的说法,你可是让我堕落的原因啊——一个无心的原因。我自己问自己,我确实是那些‘败坏的奴仆’中的一个吗?是那种‘得以脱离世上的污秽后来又在其中被缠住制服,末后的境况比先前更不好’的人中的一个吗?”他把他的手放在苔丝的肩上。“苔丝,我的姑娘,在我见到你之前,我至少是走在社会得救的路上啊!”他一面说一面摇着苔丝,仿佛苔丝是一个小孩子。“那么你后来为什么又要来诱惑我呢?在我又看到你这双眼睛和你这张嘴之前,我还像一个男人一样坚强——我敢肯定,人类自从夏娃以来,从来就没有一张嘴像你这张嘴一样叫人神魂颠倒的!”他放低了说话声,眼睛里射出一种要无赖的神情。“苔丝,你这个狐狸精;你这个可爱的该死的巴比伦巫婆①——我一见到你,我就抵抗不住了。”

  

  ①见《圣经·启示录》第十七章。

  “是你再到这儿看我的,我又有什么办法呀!”苔丝一边说一边后退。

  “这我知道——我再说一遍,我不埋怨你。不过事实却是如此。那天我看见你在农场受到欺负,又想到我没有保护你的法律上的权利,想到我无法得到那种权利,我都快要疯了;而有那个权利的人又似乎完全把你忘了。”

  “不要说他的坏话——他因为不在这儿啊!”苔丝激动地大声说。“公正地对待他吧——他没有做过对不起你的事呀!啊,离开他的妻子吧,免得有什么丑闻传出去,坏了他的好名声啊!”

  “我离开——我离开,”他说,好像一个人刚从迷人的梦中醒来一样。“我已经失约了,没有到集市上去为那些喝得醉醺醺的傻瓜们讲道——我这是第一次真正闹了这样一场笑话。一个月前,我会被这种事情吓坏的。我要离开你——我发誓——还要——呃,不再到你身边来。”他后来又突然说:“拥抱一次吧,苔丝——就一次!为了我们过去的友谊,拥抱一次——”

  “我是没有人保护的,阿历克!另一个人的荣誉就在我的手里——想一想吧——可羞呀!”

  “呸!好,说得对——说得对!”

  他抿着嘴唇,为自己的软弱感到难堪。在他的眼睛里,既缺乏世俗的信念,也同样缺乏宗教的信仰。在他悔过自新以来,他过去那些不时发作的激情变成了僵尸,蛰伏在他脸上的曲线中间,但现在似乎醒了,复活了,又聚集到一起了。他有些犹豫不决地走了。

  尽管德贝维尔宣称他今天的失约只是一个信徒的倒退堕落,其实苔丝说的从安琪尔·克莱尔嘴里学来的那些话,已经深深地影响了他,而且他离开以后还在影响他。他默默地走着,仿佛从来没有梦想到自己的信仰有可能坚持不住,想到这一点,他就变得麻木了。从前他皈依宗教,只是一种心血来潮,本来和理智就没有关系,也许只能看作是一个不检点的人因为母亲死了,一时受到感动,在追寻一种新的感觉过程中出现的怪诞举动吧。

  苔丝把几滴逻辑的推理,投进了德贝维尔的热情的海洋,这就使他心中的澎湃激动冷却下来,变成静止不动了。他反复思考着苔丝刚才对他说的那些明明白白的话,自言自语地说:“那个聪明的家伙一点儿也想不到,他把那些话告诉她了,也许正好为我回到她的身边铺平了道路呢!”
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