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pinnace/['pinis, -nəs]/ n. 舰载艇, 大舢板...

马丁·伊登(MARTIN EDEN)第四章

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Martin Eden, with blood still crawling from contact with his brother-in-law, felt his way along the unlighted back hall and entered his room, a tiny cubbyhole with space for a bed, a wash- stand, and one chair. Mr. Higginbotham was too thrifty to keep a servant when his wife could do the work. Besides, the servant's room enabled them to take in two boarders instead of one. Martin placed the Swinburne and Browning on the chair, took off his coat, and sat down on the bed. A screeching of asthmatic springs greeted the weight of his body, but he did not notice them. He started to take off his shoes, but fell to staring at the white plaster wall opposite him, broken by long streaks of dirty brown where rain had leaked through the roof. On this befouled background visions began to flow and burn. He forgot his shoes and stared long, till his lips began to move and he murmured, "Ruth."

"Ruth." He had not thought a simple sound could be so beautiful. It delighted his ear, and he grew intoxicated with the repetition of it. "Ruth." It was a talisman, a magic word to conjure with. Each time he murmured it, her face shimmered before him, suffusing the foul wall with a golden radiance. This radiance did not stop at the wall. It extended on into infinity, and through its golden depths his soul went questing after hers. The best that was in him was out in splendid flood. The very thought of her ennobled and purified him, made him better, and made him want to be better. This was new to him. He had never known women who had made him better. They had always had the counter effect of making him beastly. He did not know that many of them had done their best, bad as it was. Never having been conscious of himself, he did not know that he had that in his being that drew love from women and which had been the cause of their reaching out for his youth. Though they had often bothered him, he had never bothered about them; and he would never have dreamed that there were women who had been better because of him. Always in sublime carelessness had he lived, till now, and now it seemed to him that they had always reached out and dragged at him with vile hands. This was not just to them, nor to himself. But he, who for the first time was becoming conscious of himself, was in no condition to judge, and he burned with shame as he stared at the vision of his infamy.

He got up abruptly and tried to see himself in the dirty looking- glass over the wash-stand. He passed a towel over it and looked again, long and carefully. It was the first time he had ever really seen himself. His eyes were made for seeing, but up to that moment they had been filled with the ever changing panorama of the world, at which he had been too busy gazing, ever to gaze at himself. He saw the head and face of a young fellow of twenty, but, being unused to such appraisement, he did not know how to value it. Above a square-domed forehead he saw a mop of brown hair, nut-brown, with a wave to it and hints of curls that were a delight to any woman, making hands tingle to stroke it and fingers tingle to pass caresses through it. But he passed it by as without merit, in Her eyes, and dwelt long and thoughtfully on the high, square forehead, - striving to penetrate it and learn the quality of its content. What kind of a brain lay behind there? was his insistent interrogation. What was it capable of? How far would it take him? Would it take him to her?

He wondered if there was soul in those steel-gray eyes that were often quite blue of color and that were strong with the briny airs of the sun-washed deep. He wondered, also, how his eyes looked to her. He tried to imagine himself she, gazing into those eyes of his, but failed in the jugglery. He could successfully put himself inside other men's minds, but they had to be men whose ways of life he knew. He did not know her way of life. She was wonder and mystery, and how could he guess one thought of hers? Well, they were honest eyes, he concluded, and in them was neither smallness nor meanness. The brown sunburn of his face surprised him. He had not dreamed he was so black. He rolled up his shirt-sleeve and compared the white underside if the arm with his face. Yes, he was a white man, after all. But the arms were sunburned, too. He twisted his arm, rolled the biceps over with his other hand, and gazed underneath where he was least touched by the sun. It was very white. He laughed at his bronzed face in the glass at the thought that it was once as white as the underside of his arm; nor did he dream that in the world there were few pale spirits of women who could boast fairer or smoother skins than he - fairer than where he had escaped the ravages of the sun.

His might have been a cherub's mouth, had not the full, sensuous lips a trick, under stress, of drawing firmly across the teeth. At times, so tightly did they draw, the mouth became stern and harsh, even ascetic. They were the lips of a fighter and of a lover. They could taste the sweetness of life with relish, and they could put the sweetness aside and command life. The chin and jaw, strong and just hinting of square aggressiveness, helped the lips to command life. Strength balanced sensuousness and had upon it a tonic effect, compelling him to love beauty that was healthy and making him vibrate to sensations that were wholesome. And between the lips were teeth that had never known nor needed the dentist's care. They were white and strong and regular, he decided, as he looked at them. But as he looked, he began to be troubled. Somewhere, stored away in the recesses of his mind and vaguely remembered, was the impression that there were people who washed their teeth every day. They were the people from up above - people in her class. She must wash her teeth every day, too. What would she think if she learned that he had never washed his teeth in all the days of his life? He resolved to get a tooth-brush and form the habit. He would begin at once, to-morrow. It was not by mere achievement that he could hope to win to her. He must make a personal reform in all things, even to tooth-washing and neck-gear, though a starched collar affected him as a renunciation of freedom.

He held up his hand, rubbing the ball of the thumb over the calloused palm and gazing at the dirt that was ingrained in the flesh itself and which no brush could scrub away. How different was her palm! He thrilled deliciously at the remembrance. Like a rose-petal, he thought; cool and soft as a snowflake. He had never thought that a mere woman's hand could be so sweetly soft. He caught himself imagining the wonder of a caress from such a hand, and flushed guiltily. It was too gross a thought for her. In ways it seemed to impugn her high spirituality. She was a pale, slender spirit, exalted far beyond the flesh; but nevertheless the softness of her palm persisted in his thoughts. He was used to the harsh callousness of factory girls and working women. Well he knew why their hands were rough; but this hand of hers . . . It was soft because she had never used it to work with. The gulf yawned between her and him at the awesome thought of a person who did not have to work for a living. He suddenly saw the aristocracy of the people who did not labor. It towered before him on the wall, a figure in brass, arrogant and powerful. He had worked himself; his first memories seemed connected with work, and all his family had worked. There was Gertrude. When her hands were not hard from the endless housework, they were swollen and red like boiled beef, what of the washing. And there was his sister Marian. She had worked in the cannery the preceding summer, and her slim, pretty hands were all scarred with the tomato-knives. Besides, the tips of two of her fingers had been left in the cutting machine at the paper- box factory the preceding winter. He remembered the hard palms of his mother as she lay in her coffin. And his father had worked to the last fading gasp; the horned growth on his hands must have been half an inch thick when he died. But Her hands were soft, and her mother's hands, and her brothers'. This last came to him as a surprise; it was tremendously indicative of the highness of their caste, of the enormous distance that stretched between her and him.

He sat back on the bed with a bitter laugh, and finished taking off his shoes. He was a fool; he had been made drunken by a woman's face and by a woman's soft, white hands. And then, suddenly, before his eyes, on the foul plaster-wall appeared a vision. He stood in front of a gloomy tenement house. It was night-time, in the East End of London, and before him stood Margey, a little factory girl of fifteen. He had seen her home after the bean- feast. She lived in that gloomy tenement, a place not fit for swine. His hand was going out to hers as he said good night. She had put her lips up to be kissed, but he wasn't going to kiss her. Somehow he was afraid of her. And then her hand closed on his and pressed feverishly. He felt her callouses grind and grate on his, and a great wave of pity welled over him. He saw her yearning, hungry eyes, and her ill-fed female form which had been rushed from childhood into a frightened and ferocious maturity; then he put his arms about her in large tolerance and stooped and kissed her on the lips. Her glad little cry rang in his ears, and he felt her clinging to him like a cat. Poor little starveling! He continued to stare at the vision of what had happened in the long ago. His flesh was crawling as it had crawled that night when she clung to him, and his heart was warm with pity. It was a gray scene, greasy gray, and the rain drizzled greasily on the pavement stones. And then a radiant glory shone on the wall, and up through the other vision, displacing it, glimmered Her pale face under its crown of golden hair, remote and inaccessible as a star.

He took the Browning and the Swinburne from the chair and kissed them. Just the same, she told me to call again, he thought. He took another look at himself in the glass, and said aloud, with great solemnity:-

"Martin Eden, the first thing to-morrow you go to the free library an' read up on etiquette. Understand!"

He turned off the gas, and the springs shrieked under his body.

"But you've got to quit cussin', Martin, old boy; you've got to quit cussin'," he said aloud.

Then he dozed off to sleep and to dream dreams that for madness and audacity rivalled those of poppy-eaters.

因为跟姐夫的接触,马丁·伊登还窝了一肚子气。他摸索着穿过没有灯光的后厅,进了自己的屋——一间小屋,只放得了一张床、一个盥洗台和一把椅子。希金波坦先生太节省,有了老婆干活他是不会雇用人的。何况佣人住房还可以出租——租给两个人而不是一个人。马丁把史文朋和勃朗宁的书放在椅子上,脱掉外衣,在床上坐了下来,著喘病的弹簧被他身体一压便吱吱地喘气,他都没注意。他正汗始脱鞋,却忽然望着对面的墙壁呆看起来。那墙上的白色涂料被屋顶漏下的雨画上了许多肮脏的黄褐色斑纹。幻影开始在这个肮脏的背景上流荡、燃烧起来。他忘了脱鞋,呆望了许久,最后嘴唇才开始蠕动,喃喃地说出“露丝”两个字。

“露丝,”他没想到这么简单的声音竟有这么动听。他听了感到快乐,便又重复,而且激动。“露丝,”那是一道能召唤心灵的符(上竹下录)、咒语。他每次低诵那名字,她的脸便在地面前出现,金光灿烂,照亮了那肮脏的墙壁。那金光并不在墙壁上停留,而是往无限处延伸。他的灵魂在那金光的深处探索着露丝的灵魂。他胸中最精粹的部分便化作了美妙的洪流奔泻。对她的思念使他高贵、纯洁、上进,也使他更求上进。这于他是全新的感受。他还从来没有遇见过使他上进的女人。女人总产生相反的效果,使他更像野兽。他并不知道许多女人也曾因地力求上进,虽然后果不佳。因为他从无自我意识,所以并不知道自己身上育种能招引女人疼爱的魅力,能引得她们向他的青春伸出手来。她们虽常来烦恼他,他却从不曾为她们烦恼过,也不曾梦想到会有女人能因他而上进。迄今为止,他一向过着洒脱的无忧无虑的生活,现在他却似乎觉得她们总是向他伸出邪恶的手要把他往下拽。这种想法对她问是不公平的,对他自己也不公平。但是,初次有自我意识的他却还不具备判断的条件,他呆望着自己耻辱的幻影羞愧得无地自容。

他猛然站起身来,想在盟洗台的肮脏镜子里看看自己。他用毛巾擦擦镜子,仔细端详了许久。那是他第一次真正地看见自己。他天生一副善于观察的眼睛,但在那以前他眼里只充满了广袤的人世千变万化的形象,只顾着世界,便看不见自己了,现在他看见了一个二十岁的小伙子的头和脸。因为不习惯于品头论足,他不知道对自己该如何衡量。方正的前额上是一堆棕色的头发,像板栗一样的棕色,卷起一个大花,还连着几个能讨女人欢喜的小波浪。那头发能叫女人手发痒,想摸一摸;能叫她们指头不安分,想插进去揉一揉。但对这头发他却置之不理,认为那在露丝眼里算不上什么。他对那方正而高的前额思考了许久,要想看透它,知道它的内涵。他不断地问:那里面的脑子如何?它能做什么?能给他带来什么?能使他接近她么?

他那双钢灰色的眼睛常常变成湛蓝,在阳光灿烂的海上经得起带咸味的海风吹打。他不知道自己这对眼睛有没有灵魂,也不知道露丝竹他的眼睛观感如何。他努力把自己想作是她,凝望着那一双眼睛,可是玩这个杂技他却失败了。他可以设身处地猜测其他男子汉的思想,但那得是他知道他们生活方式的人。而他却不知道露丝的生活方式。露丝是神秘的,是个奇迹,他能猜得出她的念头吗?哪怕是一个?好了,他的结论是自己这对眼睛是诚恳的,其中没有小气和卑劣。他那张被太阳晒黑的脸令他吃惊。他做梦也没有想到自己会这么黑。他卷起袖子把胳膊白色的内侧和脸作比较。是的,他毕竟是个白人。但是他的胳膊也是晒黑了的。他又侧过手臂,用另一只手扭起二头肌,看着太阳最难照到的地方。那地方很白。他一想起自己的脸当初也像胳膊下那么白便对着镜子巴那张晒成青铜色的脸笑了起来。他不能想像世界卜会有什么白皙的美女能夸口说她的皮肤比他没被阳光蹂躏的部分更白皙更光滑。

他那丰满敏感的双唇若不是在有压力时会紧紧地抿起来,倒像是个婴儿的嘴。有时那嘴抿得很紧,便显得严厉、凶狠!甚至带禁欲主义的苛刻。那是一个战斗者的嘴,也是个情入的嘴。它可以欢畅地品味入生的甜蜜,也可以抛开甜蜜去指挥生活。他那刚什始露出威严棱角的下巴和跨骨也帮助着嘴唇指挥生活。在这里力量和敏感刚柔相济,相得益彰,促使他喜爱有益身心的美,也因无伤健康的感受而震颤。他那双唇之间的牙从没见过牙医也不需要牙医照顾。他认为那牙洁白、结实、整齐。可是再一看,又开始着急,在他心里的某个角落不知怎么存有一个模糊的印象:有些人每天要洗牙,那是上层的人,露丝阶级的人。她也一定每天洗牙的。若是她发现他一辈子没有洗过牙,会作何感想?他决心买把牙刷,养成刷牙的习惯。他决心马上开始,明天就办。他既想接近她就不能光靠本领,还得在各方面改进自己,甚至要洗牙齿、打领带、尽行他觉得套上硬领像是放弃了自由。

他抬起手用拇指肚揉揉长满老茧的手掌。细看着嵌入肌理的连刷子也刷不掉的污垢。露丝的手掌是多么不同啊!一回忆起来他就欣喜震颤。像玫瑰花瓣,他想;消凉。柔软,像雪花他没想到文人的手党能这么柔嫩可爱;他忽然发觉自己在想像着一个奇迹:接受一又像这样的手的抚摸,不禁羞惭得满脸通红。对她怀这样的念头未免太粗野,可以说是对她高洁性灵的亵读。她是个苍白、苗条的精灵,是远远超越于肉体之外的,可她那手心的柔嫩仍在他心里萦绕不去。他习惯于工厂女工和劳动妇女的硬茧,洞悉她们的手粗糙的原因,但露丝的手却……因为从不劳动而栗嫩细腻一想到有人竟可以不劳动而生活。露丝跟他的鸿沟便加宽了。他突然明白了不劳动者的高贵身分。那身分在地面前的墙上巍然屹立,如一尊傲慢专横的青铜雕像,他自己一向都是干活的,他最早的记忆就似乎限于活分不开。他一家人都干活。格特露于活;在她的手同为做不完的活而长起老茧之前早已又红又肿,像煮过的牛肉,主要同为洗衣服,茉莉安妹妹干活。上个夏天他去罐头厂干活,那双白嫩美丽的手便叫番茄刀割出了许多伤疤_而去年冬天她还把两个指头尖留在了纸盒厂的切纸机里。他记得母亲躺在棺材里时那粗糙的手心;他的父亲是一直干到呼出最后一口微弱的气才死去的,死时手上的硬茧足有半英寸厚。但是露丝的手却柔嫩,她母亲的手、哥哥的手也如此。她哥哥的手使他吃惊,这一事实雄辩地表明了他家阶级地位之高,也表明了露丝和他之间的距离之大。

他苦笑了一下,坐回床上,总算脱下了鞋。他是个傻瓜,竟然会为一个女人的脸和她柔嫩白皙的手沉醉。眼前肮脏的涂料墙上又出现了一个幻影。是晚上。在伦敦的东头,他站在一家阴暗的公寓门前。面前站着玛尔姬,一个十五岁的小女工。吃完解雇宴他送她回到了家门口。她就住在那幢阴暗的、连猪也不宜住的公寓里。他把手伸向她,道了晚安。她仰起嘴唇等着他亲吻,但他不想吻她。不知为什么他有些怕她。于是她抓住了他的手狂热地捏。他感到她手上的老茧磨擦着也硌着他手上的老茧,心里不禁涌起强烈的怜悯之情。他看见她那期待的眼神和她那营养不良的女性的身子。那身子正带着恐惧匆忙而残忍地成熟起来。于是他怀着极大的宽容拥抱了她,弯下腰吻了她的嘴唇。她那低声的欢叫震响在他耳里。他感到她紧偎着他,像只猫。可怜的饥渴的姑娘!他继续凝望着许久以前的往事的幻觉,他的肉体悸动起来,跟那天夜里小姑娘紧偎着他时一样。他心里一阵热,怜惜之情油然而生。那是个灰色的场面,阴沉的灰色,细雨阴沉地洒落在铺路石上。此刻,一片辉煌的光照到墙上,她那头金冠般的秀发下的苍白的面孔穿透了适才的幻影,取代了它,却辽远得无法企及,像颗星星。

他从椅子上拿起勃朗宁和史文朋的作品,亲了亲,反正她曾经要我再去看她,他想。又看了看镜里的自己,极为庄严地叫道:

“马丁·伊登、你明天早上第一件事就是去免费图书馆读读社交礼仪。懂吗!”

他关掉灯,弹簧又在他身子底下吱吱地喘。

“可是你不能再骂粗话了,马丁,伙计,不能骂粗话!”他大声说。

于是他朦胧睡去,做起梦来。那梦之疯狂大胆不亚于鸦片鬼的梦。
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