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apprehensive/[͵æpri'hensiv]/ a. 惴惴不安的, 敏悟的, 知晓的...

第014章 两犯人

本文属阅读资料
The Count of Monte Cristo

Chapter 14 The Two Prisoners





A YEAR AFTER Louis XVIII's restoration, a visit was made by the inspector-general of prisons. Dantès in his cell heard the noise of preparation,--sounds that at the depth where he lay would have been inaudible to any but the ear of a prisoner, who could hear the plash of the drop of water that every hour fell from the roof of his dungeon. He guessed something uncommon was passing among the living; but he had so long ceased to have any intercourse with the world, that he looked upon himself as dead.

The inspector visited, one after another, the cells and dungeons of several of the prisoners, whose good behavior or stupidity recommended them to the clemency of the government. He inquired how they were fed, and if they had any request to make. The universal response was, that the fare was detestable, and that they wanted to be set free.

The inspector asked if they had anything else to ask for. They shook their heads. What could they desire beyond their liberty? The inspector turned smilingly to the governor.

"I do not know what reason government can assign for these useless visits; when you see one prisoner, you see all,--always the same thing,--ill fed and innocent. Are there any others?"

"Yes; the dangerous and mad prisoners are in the dungeons."

"Let us visit them," said the inspector with an air of fatigue. "We must play the farce to the end. Let us see the dungeons."

"Let us first send for two soldiers," said the governor. "The prisoners sometimes, through mere uneasiness of life, and in order to be sentenced to death, commit acts of useless violence, and you might fall a victim."

"Take all needful precautions," replied the inspector.

Two soldiers were accordingly sent for, and the inspector descended a stairway, so foul, so humid, so dark, as to be loathsome to sight, smell, and respiration.

"Oh," cried the inspector, "who can live here?"

"A most dangerous conspirator, a man we are ordered to keep the most strict watch over, as he is daring and resolute."

"He is alone?"

"Certainly."

"How long his he been there?"

"Nearly a year."

"Was he placed here when he first arrived?"

"No; not until he attempted to kill the turnkey, who took his food to him."

"To kill the turnkey?"

"Yes, the very one who is lighting us. Is it not true, Antoine?" asked the governor.

"True enough; he wanted to kill me!" returned the turnkey.

"He must be mad," said the inspector.

"He is worse than that,--he is a devil!" returned the turnkey.

"Shall I complain of him?" demanded the inspector.

"Oh, no; it is useless. Besides, he is almost mad now, and in another year he will be quite so."

"So much the better for him,--he will suffer less," said the inspector. He was, as this remark shows, a man full of philanthropy, and in every way fit for his office.

"You are right, sir," replied the governor; "and this remark proves that you have deeply considered the subject. Now we have in a dungeon about twenty feet distant, and to which you descend by another stair, an abbé, formerly leader of a party in Italy, who has been here since 1811, and in 1813 he went mad, and the change is astonishing. He used to weep, he now laughs; he grew thin, he now grows fat. You had better see him, for his madness is amusing."

"I will see them both," returned the inspector; "I must conscientiously perform my duty." This was the inspector's first visit; he wished to display his authority.

"Let us visit this one first," added he.

"By all means," replied the governor, and he signed to the turnkey to open the door. At the sound of the key turning in the lock, and the creaking of the hinges, Dantès, who was crouched in a corner of the dungeon, whence he could see the ray of light that came through a narrow iron grating above, raised his head. Seeing a stranger, escorted by two turnkeys holding torches and accompanied by two soldiers, and to whom the governor spoke bareheaded, Dantès, who guessed the truth, and that the moment to address himself to the superior authorities was come, sprang forward with clasped hands.

The soldiers interposed their bayonets, for they thought that he was about to attack the inspector, and the latter recoiled two or three steps. Dantès saw that he was looked upon as dangerous. Then, infusing all the humility he possessed into his eyes and voice, he addressed the inspector, and sought to inspire him with pity.

The inspector listened attentively; then, turning to the governor, observed, "He will become religious--he is already more gentle; he is afraid, and retreated before the bayonets--madmen are not afraid of anything; I made some curious observations on this at Charenton." Then, turning to the prisoner, "What is it you want?" said he.

"I want to know what crime I have committed--to be tried; and if I am guilty, to be shot; if innocent, to be set at liberty."

"Are you well fed?" said the inspector.

"I believe so; I don't know; it's of no consequence. What matters really, not only to me, but to officers of justice and the king, is that an innocent man should languish in prison, the victim of an infamous denunciation, to die here cursing his executioners."

"You are very humble to-day," remarked the governor; "you are not so always; the other day, for instance, when you tried to kill the turnkey."

"It is true, sir, and I beg his pardon, for he his always been very good to me, but I was mad."

"And you are not so any longer?"

"No; captivity his subdued me--I have been here so long."

"So long?--when were you arrested, then?" asked the inspector.

"The 28th of February, 1815, at half-past two in the afternoon."

"To-day is the 30th of July, 1816,--why it is but seventeen months."

"Only seventeen months," replied Dantès. "Oh, you do not know what is seventeen months in prison!--seventeen ages rather, especially to a man who, like me, had arrived at the summit of his ambition--to a man, who, like me, was on the point of marrying a woman he adored, who saw an honorable career opened before him, and who loses all in an instant--who sees his prospects destroyed, and is ignorant of the fate of his affianced wife, and whether his aged father be still living! Seventeen months captivity to a sailor accustomed to the boundless ocean, is a worse punishment than human crime ever merited. Have pity on me, then, and ask for me, not intelligence, but a trial; not pardon, but a verdict--a trial, sir, I ask only for a trial; that, surely, cannot be denied to one who is accused!"

"We shall see," said the inspector; then, turning to the governor, "On my word, the poor devil touches me. You must show me the proofs against him."

"Certainly; but you will find terrible charges."

"Monsieur," continued Dantès, "I know it is not in your power to release me; but you can plead for me--you can have me tried--and that is all I ask. Let me know my crime, and the reason why I was condemned. Uncertainty is worse than all."

"Go on with the lights," said the inspector.

"Monsieur," cried Dantès, "I can tell by your voice you are touched with pity; tell me at least to hope."

"I cannot tell you that," replied the inspector; "I can only promise to examine into your case."

"Oh, I am free--then I am saved!"

"Who arrested you?"

"M. Villefort. See him, and hear what he says."

"M. Villefort is no longer at Marseilles; he is now at Toulouse."

"I am no longer surprised at my detention," murmured Dantès, "since my only protector is removed."

"Had M. de Villefort any cause of personal dislike to you?"

"None; on the contrary, he was very kind to me."

"I can, then, rely on the notes he has left concerning you?"

"Entirely."

"That is well; wait patiently, then." Dantès fell on his knees, and prayed earnestly. The door closed; but this time a fresh inmate was left with Dantès--hope.

"Will you see the register at once," asked the governor, "or proceed to the other cell?"

"Let us visit them all," said the inspector. "If I once went up those stairs. I should never have the courage to come down again."

"Ah, this one is not like the other, and his madness is less affecting than this one's display of reason."

"What is his folly?"

"He fancies he possesses an immense treasure. The first year he offered government a million of francs for his release; the second, two; the third, three; and so on progressively. He is now in his fifth year of captivity; he will ask to speak to you in private, and offer you five millions."

"How curious!--what is his name?"

"The Abbé Faria."

"No. 27," said the inspector.

"It is here; unlock the door, Antoine." The turnkey obeyed, and the inspector gazed curiously into the chamber of the "mad abbé."

In the centre of the cell, in a circle traced with a fragment of plaster detached from the wall, sat a man whose tattered garments scarcely covered him. He was drawing in this circle geometrical lines, and seemed as much absorbed in his problem as Archimedes was when the soldier of Marcellus slew him.

He did not move at the sound of the door, and continued his calculations until the flash of the torches lighted up with an unwonted glare the sombre walls of his cell; then, raising his head, he perceived with astonishment the number of persons present. He hastily seized the coverlet of his bed, and wrapped it round him.

"What is it you want?" said the inspector.

"I, monsieur," replied the abbé with an air of surprise--"I want nothing."

"You do not understand," continued the inspector; "I am sent here by government to visit the prison, and hear the requests of the prisoners."

"Oh, that is different," cried the abbé; "and we shall understand each other, I hope."

"There, now," whispered the governor, "it is just as I told you."

"Monsieur," continued the prisoner, "I am the Abbé Faria, born at Rome. I was for twenty years Cardinal Spada's secretary; I was arrested, why, I know not, toward the beginning of the year 1811; since then I have demanded my liberty from the Italian and French government."

"Why from the French government?"

"Because I was arrested at Piombino, and I presume that, like Milan and Florence, Piombino has become the capital of some French department."

"Ah," said the inspector, "you have not the latest news from Italy?"

"My information dates from the day on which I was arrested," returned the Abbé Faria; "and as the emperor had created the kingdom of Rome for his infant son, I presume that he has realized the dream of Machiavelli and C?sar Borgia, which was to make Italy a united kingdom."

"Monsieur," returned the inspector, "providence has changed this gigantic plan you advocate so warmly."

"It is the only means of rendering Italy strong, happy, and independent."

"Very possibly; only I am not come to discuss politics, but to inquire if you have anything to ask or to complain of."

"The food is the same as in other prisons,--that is, very bad; the lodging is very unhealthful, but, on the whole, passable for a dungeon; but it is not that which I wish to speak of, but a secret I have to reveal of the greatest importance."

"We are coming to the point," whispered the governor.

"It is for that reason I am delighted to see you," continued the abbé, "although you have disturbed me in a most important calculation, which, if it succeeded, would possibly change Newton's system. Could you allow me a few words in private."

"What did I tell you?" said the governor.

"You knew him," returned the inspector with a smile.

"What you ask is impossible, monsieur," continued he, addressing Faria.

"But," said the abbé, "I would speak to you of a large sum, amounting to five millions."

"The very sum you named," whispered the inspector in his turn.

"However," continued Faria, seeing that the inspector was about to depart, "it is not absolutely necessary for us to be alone; the governor can be present."

"Unfortunately," said the governor, "I know beforehand what you are about to say; it concerns your treasures, does it not?" Faria fixed his eyes on him with an expression that would have convinced any one else of his sanity.

"Of course," said he; "of what else should I speak?"

"Mr. Inspector," continued the governor, "I can tell you the story as well as he, for it has been dinned in my ears for the last four or five years."

"That proves," returned the abbé, "that you are like those of Holy Writ, who having ears hear not, and having eyes see not."

"My dear sir, the government is rich and does not want your treasures," replied the inspector; "keep them until you are liberated." The abbé's eyes glistened; he seized the inspector's hand.

"But what if I am not liberated," cried he, "and am detained here until my death? this treasure will be lost. Had not government better profit by it? I will offer six millions, and I will content myself with the rest, if they will only give me my liberty."

"On my word," said the inspector in a low tone, "had I not been told beforehand that this man was mad, I should believe what he says."

"I am not mad," replied Faria, with that acuteness of hearing peculiar to prisoners. "The treasure I speak of really exists, and I offer to sign an agreement with you, in which I promise to lead you to the spot where you shall dig; and if I deceive you, bring me here again,--I ask no more."

The governor laughed. "Is the spot far from here?"

"A hundred leagues."

"It is not ill-planned," said the governor. "If all the prisoners took it into their heads to travel a hundred leagues, and their guardians consented to accompany them, they would have a capital chance of escaping."

"The scheme is well known," said the inspector; "and the abbé's plan has not even the merit of originality."

Then turning to Faria--"I inquired if you are well fed?" said he.

"Swear to me," replied Faria, "to free me if what I tell you prove true, and I will stay here while you go to the spot."

"Are you well fed?" repeated the inspector.

"Monsieur, you run no risk, for, as I told you, I will stay here; so there is no chance of my escaping."

"You do not reply to my question," replied the inspector impatiently.

"Nor you to mine," cried the abbé. "You will not accept my gold; I will keep it for myself. You refuse me my liberty; God will give it me." And the abbé, casting away his coverlet, resumed his place, and continued his calculations.

"What is he doing there?" said the inspector.

"Counting his treasures," replied the governor.

Faria replied to this sarcasm with a glance of profound contempt. They went out. The turnkey closed the door behind them.

"He was wealthy once, perhaps?" said the inspector.

"Or dreamed he was, and awoke mad."

"After all," said the inspector, "if he had been rich, he would not have been here." So the matter ended for the Abbé Faria. He remained in his cell, and this visit only increased the belief in his insanity.

Caligula or Nero, those treasure-seekers, those desirers of the impossible, would have accorded to the poor wretch, in exchange for his wealth, the liberty he so earnestly prayed for. But the kings of modern times, restrained by the limits of mere probability, have neither courage nor desire. They fear the ear that hears their orders, and the eye that scrutinizes their actions. Formerly they believed themselves sprung from Jupiter, and shielded by their birth; but nowadays they are not inviolable.

It has always been against the policy of despotic governments to suffer the victims of their persecutions to reappear. As the Inquisition rarely allowed its victims to be seen with their limbs distorted and their flesh lacerated by torture, so madness is always concealed in its cell, from whence, should it depart, it is conveyed to some gloomy hospital, where the doctor has no thought for man or mind in the mutilated being the jailer delivers to him. The very madness of the Abbé Faria, gone mad in prison, condemned him to perpetual captivity.

The inspector kept his word with Dantès; he examined the register, and found the following note concerning him:--

Edmond Dantès:

Violent Bonapartist; took an active part in the return from Elba.

The greatest watchfulness and care to be exercised.

This note was in a different hand from the rest, which showed that it had been added since his confinement. The inspector could not contend against this accusation; he simply wrote,--"Nothing to be done."

This visit had infused new vigor into Dantès; he had, till then, forgotten the date; but now, with a fragment of plaster, he wrote the date, 30th July, 1816, and made a mark every day, in order not to lose his reckoning again. Days and weeks passed away, then months--Dantès still waited; he at first expected to be freed in a fortnight. This fortnight expired, he decided that the inspector would do nothing until his return to Paris, and that he would not reach there until his circuit was finished, he therefore fixed three months; three months passed away, then six more. Finally ten months and a half had gone by and no favorable change had taken place, and Dantès began to fancy the inspector's visit but a dream, an illusion of the brain.

At the expiration of a year the governor was transferred; he had obtained charge of the fortress at Ham. He took with him several of his subordinates, and amongst them Dantès' jailer. A new governor arrived; it would have been too tedious to acquire the names of the prisoners; he learned their numbers instead. This horrible place contained fifty cells; their inhabitants were designated by the numbers of their cell, and the unhappy young man was no longer called Edmond Dantès--he was now number 34.



基督山伯爵

第十四章 两犯人



路易十八复位后一年左右,监狱巡查员到伊夫堡来作了一次视察。唐太斯从他那幽深的地牢里听到了那准备迎接巡查员的嘈杂的声音,在地牢里的一般是听不见的,只有听惯了蜘蛛在夜的静寂里织网,凝聚在黑牢顶上的水珠间歇的滴声犯人的耳朵才能听得出来。他猜想生活在自由之中的那些人发生什么不平常的事了。他已很久没同外界发生任何接触了,以致他把自己看作了死人。

巡查员依次视察大牢单间牢房和地牢,有几个犯人,由于他们的行为良好或愚蠢得到了当局的怜悯。巡查员问他们的伙食如何,有什么要求没有。他们一致回答说伙食太坏,要求恢复自由。巡查员又问他们还有什么别的要求没有。他们摇摇头!他们除了自由以外还能希求什么别的呢?巡查员微笑着转过身来对监狱长说:“我真不明白上面为什么要作这些无用的视察,你见过一个犯人,就等于见到了全体犯人,说得总是老一套,什么伙食坏啦,冤枉啦。还有别的犯人吗?”

“有,危险的犯人和发疯的犯人都在地牢里。”

“我们去看看,”巡察查员带着疲乏的神色说。“我得完成我的任务。我们下去吧。”

“请等一下,我们先派两个士兵去,”监狱长说。“那些犯人有时只为了活得不耐烦,想判个死刑,就会毫无意义地走极端,那样你或许可能成为一个牺牲品的。”

“必须采取一切必要的防范措施。”巡查员说。

于是便找来了两个兵,巡查员他们顺着一条污臭,潮湿,黑暗的楼梯往下走,仅走过这些地方,就已使眼睛,鼻子和呼吸感到很难受了。

“噢!”巡查员走到中途停下来说道,“见什么鬼,是谁住在这种地方?”

“一个最危险的谋反分子,一个我们奉命要特别严加看守的人,这个家伙什么都干得出。”

“就他一个人吗?”

“当然罗。”

“他到这儿多久了?”

“有一年了吧。”

“他一来就关在这种地方吗?”

“不,是他想杀死一狱卒以后才关到这里来的。”

“他想杀死狱卒?”

“是呀,就是替我们掌灯的这一个。对不对,安多尼?”

“对,他要杀我!”狱卒回答。

“他一定是发疯了。”巡察说。

“他比疯子还糟糕——他是一个恶鬼!”狱卒答道。

“您要我训斥他一顿吗?”巡查员问。

“噢,不必了,这是没有用的。他已经受够罪的了。而且,他现在差不多已经疯了,再过一年,就会变成一个十足的疯子的。”

“疯了对他来说反而好些,——他的痛苦会少一些。”巡查员说。从这句话上读者可以看出,巡查员是一个较有人情味的人,做他这份差事很合适。

“您说得不错,先生,”监狱长说,“这句话说明您对这一行很有研究,现在,大约再走二十步,下一层楼梯,我们就可以在一间地牢里看见一个老神甫,他原是意大利一个政党的领袖,从一八一一年起他就在这儿了,一八一三年发了疯,从那时起,他就来了一个惊人的转变。他时而哭,时而笑。以前愈来愈瘦,现在胖起来了。您最好还是去看看他,别去看那个,因为他疯得很有趣。”

“两个我都要看,”巡查员回答,“我做事不能敷衍唐塞。”

这是巡查员第一次视察,他想显示一下他的权威。“我们先去看这一个。”他又说。

“好的。”监狱长答道。于是他向狱卒示意,叫他打开牢门。

听到钥匙在锁里的转动的声音以及铰链的嘎嘎声,那本来踯伏在地牢的一角,带着说不出的快乐在享受从铁栅里射进来的一线微光的唐太斯,他抬起头来。看到了一个陌生人,两个狱卒掌着灯,还有两个兵陪着他,而且监狱长还脱了帽对他讲话,唐太斯猜到来者是何许人,知道他向上层当局申诉的时机到了,于是合着双手跳向前去。

两个兵急忙用他们的刺刀向前一挡,因为他们以为他要来伤害巡查员,巡查员也退后了两三步。唐太斯看出自己被人当作是一个危险的犯人了。于是,他脸上做了一个心地最温顺,最卑微的人所能有的全部表情,用一种令人非常惊讶的虔敬的雄辩进行了一番表白,想打动巡查员的心。

巡查员留神倾听着,然后转向监狱长,说道:“他会皈依宗教的,他已经驯服多了。他很害怕,看见刺刀就后退,疯子是什么都不怕的。这一点在夏朗东曾出于好奇心而观察过几次。”

然后他又转向犯人,“你有什么要求?”他说。

“我要求知道我犯了什么罪,我要求公开审判,总而言之,我要求:假如我有罪,就枪毙我,假如我是冤枉的,就该让我自由。”

“你的伙食怎么样?”巡查员说。

“还可以,我也不知道,但那没有关系。真正重要的是,一个清白无辜的人,不该是一次卑鄙的告密的牺牲品,不该就这样一直咒骂着他的刽子手而老死在狱中,这不仅关系到我这个不幸的犯人,还关系到司法长官,更关系到统治我们的国王。”

“你今天倒非常恭顺,”监狱长说。“但你并不总是这样的,譬如说,那一天,你就要想杀死狱卒。”

“不错,先生,我请他原谅,因为他一向待我很好,我当时非常恼怒,简直是发疯啦。”

“你现在不那样了吗?”

“不了,监狱生活已经使我低头屈膝,俯首贴耳了。我来这儿已经这么久啦。”

“这么久啦?你是什么时候被捕的?”巡查员问。

“一八一五年二月二十八日,下午两点半钟。”

“今天是一八一六年七月三十。咦,才十七个月呀。”

“才十七个月!”唐太斯答道。“噢,您不知道在监狱里的十七个月意味着什么!那简直等于说十七个世纪,尤其是象我这样一个即将得到幸福,将和他所喜欢的女子结婚的人,他看到光明的前途就在他眼前而霎那间竟一切都失去了,他从最欢乐的白天一下子堕入了无穷无尽的黑夜。他看到自己的前途给毁灭了,他不知道他未婚妻的命运现在怎样了,也不知道他年老的父亲究竟是否还活着!十七个月的监狱生活对一个呼吸惯了海上的空气,过惯了水手的独立生活,看惯了海阔天空,无拘无束的人是太难过了!先生,即使是犯了人类史上最令人发指的罪行,十七个月的禁闭也是惩罚得太重了。可怜可怜我吧,我不求赦罪,只求公开审判。先生,我只要求见一见法官,他们是不该拒绝审问嫌疑犯的。”

“我们研究研究吧,”巡查员说,然后转向监狱长,“凭良心说,这个可怜的犯人真使我有点感动了。你一定得把他的档案给我看看。”

“当然可以,但您只会看到对他不利的可怕的记录。”

“先生,”唐太斯又说,“我知道您无权释放我的,但您可以代我向上面提出请求,您可以使我受审,我所要求的仅此而已。”

“你说明白一点。”巡查员说。

“先生,”唐太斯大声说道,“从您的声音里我可以听出您已经被怜悯心所感动了,请告诉我,至少我有希望吧。”

“我还不能这样说,”巡查员答道,“我只能答应调查一下你的案子。”

“噢,那么我自由了!我得救了!”

“是谁下令逮捕你的?”

“是维尔福先生。请去见他,听他说些什么。”

“维尔福先生已不在马赛了,他现在在图卢兹。”

“怪不得我迟迟不放,”唐太斯喃喃地说,“原来我唯一的保护人调走了。”

“他对你有没有什么私人的恩怨?”

“一点没有,正相反,他对我非常好。”

“那么,关于你的事,我可以信赖他所留下来的记录或他给我的意见了?”

“绝对可信。”

“很好,那么,耐心等着吧。”

唐太斯跪下来,喃喃地祷告着,他祈祷上帝赐福于这个象救世主去拯救地狱里的灵魂一样到他狱中来的这个人。门又关上了,但现在唐太斯心中又怀有了一个新来的希望。

“您是想马上看那档案呢,还是先去看看别的牢房?”监狱长问。

“我们先把牢房看完了再说吧,”巡查员说。“我一旦上去了,恐怕就没有勇气再下来了。”

“嗯,这个犯人,不象那一个。他疯得跟他的邻居不一样,也不那么感动人。”

“他有什么怪念头?”

“他只认为他有着一处极大的宝藏。头一年,他提议献给政府一百万让他自由,第二年,两百万,第三年,三百万,不断地这样加上去。现在他入狱已经是五个年头了,他一定会要求和您密谈,给您五百万的。”

“哦,那倒的确很有趣。这位大富翁叫什么名字?”

“法利亚神甫。”

“二十七号。”巡查员说。

“就是这里,打开门,安多尼。”

狱卒遵命打开了牢门,巡查员好奇地向“疯神甫”的牢房里探视着。在这个地牢的中央,有一个用从墙壁上挖下来的石灰画成的圆圈,圆圈里坐着一个人,他的衣服已成了碎布条,难以遮住身体了。他正在圆圈里划几何线,那神态就象阿基米德当马赛鲁斯的兵来杀他时的那样全神贯注。尽管开门的声音很响,但他却一动也不动,继续演算他的问题,直到火炬的光以稀有的光芒照亮了地牢阴暗的墙壁,他才抬起头来,很惊奇地发现他的地牢里竟来了这么多人。他急忙从他的床上抓过被单,把他自己裹了起来。

“你有什么要求?”巡查员问。

“我吗,先生!”神甫带着一种惊愕的神气答道,“我什么要求也没有。”

“你没弄明白,”巡查员又说,“我是当局派来视察监狱,听取犯人的要求的。”

“哦,那就不同了,”神甫大声说,“我希望我们大家能互想谅解。”

“又来了,监狱长低声说道,“就象我告诉过您的那样,他又要开始讲了。”

“先生,”犯人继续说道,“我是法里亚神甫,罗马人。我曾给红衣主教斯巴达当过二十年秘书。我是在一八一一年被捕的,是什么原因我却不知道。从那时起,我就在向意法两国政府要求还我自由。”

“为什么要向法国政府要求呢?”





“因为我是在皮昂比诺被捕的,而据我推测,象梅朗和佛罗伦萨一样,皮昂比诺已成为法国所属的省会了。”

巡查员和监狱长相视而笑。

“见鬼!亲爱的,”巡察员说,“你从意大利得来的新闻已经是老皇历啦!”

“这是根据我被捕那一天的消息推测的,”法利亚神甫答道。“既然皇帝要为他的儿子建立罗马王国,我想他大概也已实现了马基难里和凯撒·布琪亚的梦想,把意大利变成了一个统一的王国了吧。”

“先生,”巡查员回答说,“上帝已经把你这个看来竭诚支持的计划改变过了。”

“这可是使意大利获得幸福和独立和唯一方法呀。”

“可能是吧,但我不是来和你讨论意大利政治的,我是来问你,你对于吃的和住的有什么要求吗。”

“吃的东西和其他监狱一样,也就是说,坏极了,住的地方非常不卫生,但既然是地牢,也总算还过得去。这都没什么关系。我要讲的是一个秘密,我所要揭露的秘密可是极其重要的。”

“那一套又来了。”监狱长耳语道。

“为了那个理由,我很高兴见到您,”神甫继续说道,“尽管您刚才打断了我一次最重要的演算,如果那个演算成功,可能会把牛顿的学说都改变过来。您能允许我同您私下谈几句话吗?”

“我说得怎么样?”监狱长说。

“你的确了解。”巡查员回答道。

“你所要求的事是不可能的,先生。”他对法利亚说道。

“可是,神甫说,“我要和您说的可是很大一笔钱,达五百万呢。”

“正是你所说的那个数目。”这次是巡查员对监狱长耳语了。

“当然,法里亚看到巡查员已想走开,就继续说,“我们也并非绝对要单独谈话,监狱长也可以在场。”

“不幸的是,”监狱长说,“我早已知道你要说什么了,是关于你的宝藏,是不是?”

法里亚眼睛盯住他,那种表情足以使任何人都相信他是神志清楚的。“当然罗,”他说,“除此之外我还有什么可说的呢?”

“巡查员先生,监狱长又说,“那个故事我也可以告诉您,因为它已经在我耳边喋喋不休了四五年了。”

“那就证明,”神甫说道。“你正如《圣经》上所说的那些人,他们视而不见,听而不闻。”

“政府不需要你的宝藏,”巡查员说道:“留着吧,等你释放以后自己享用好了。”

神甫的眼睛闪闪发光,他一把抓住巡查员的手。“可以假如我出不了狱呢,”他大声说道。“假如,偏偏不讲公道,我被老关在这间地牢里,假如我死在这儿而不曾告诉过任何人我的秘密,则那个宝藏不是就白白地丧失了吗?”倒不如由政府享一点利益,我自己也享受一点,那不更好吗?”我情愿出到六百万,先生,是的,我愿意放弃六百万,余下的那些我也就满足了,只要换来我的自由。”

“老实说,”巡查员低声说道,“要不是你事先早告诉我这个人是个疯子,说不定我真会相信他说的话呢。”

“我没有疯!”法里亚大声回答说道,他有着犯人们那特有的敏锐的听觉,把巡查员所说的每一个字都听得清清楚楚。

“我所说的宝藏真有其事,我提议来签订一个协议,内容说明,我答应领你们到那个地方去,由你们来挖,假如我欺骗了你们,就把我再带回到这儿来,我不求别的。”

监狱长大笑起来。“那个地方离这儿远吗?”

“三百里。”

“这个主意倒不坏,”监狱长说道。“假如每个犯人都想作一次三百里的旅行,而他们的看守又答应陪他们去,他们倒是有了一个很妙的逃跑的机会了。”

“这个办法并不新奇,巡查员说道,“神甫先生看来是不能享受发明权了。”然后他又转向法里亚,“我已经问过了你的伙食怎么样?”他说。

“请对我发个誓,”法里亚答道,“假如我对您讲的话证明是真实的话,就一定要让我自由,那么你们去那儿,我可以留在这儿等。”

“你的伙食怎么样?”巡查员又问了一遍。

“先生,你们毫无危险呀,因为,如我所说的,我愿意在这儿等,那我就不会有逃跑的机会啦。”

“你还没回答我的问题呢。”巡查员不耐烦地说道。

“你也没回答我的呀,”神甫大声说道。“那以,你也该受诅咒!象其他那些不肯相信我的傻瓜一样。你不愿意接受我的金子,我就留着给自己。你不肯给我自由,上帝会给我的。你们走吧!我没什么可说的了。”于是神甫扔下他的床单,又坐回到了老地方,继续进行他的演算去了。

“他在那儿干什么?”

“在计算他的宝藏呢。”监狱长回答说。

法里亚以极其轻蔑的一瞥回敬了这句讽刺他的话。

他们走了出去,狱卒在他们身后把门又锁上了。

“或许他曾一度有过钱。”巡查员说。

“也许是做梦发了财,醒来后就疯了。”

“总而言之,”巡查员说,“假如他有钱,他就不会到这儿来了。”这句话坦白道出了当时的腐败情形。

法里亚神甫的这次遭遇就这样结束了。他依旧还是住在他的地牢里,这次视察只是更加使人相信他是个疯子了。

假如神甫遭到的是那些热衷于寻找宝藏的人,那些认为天下没有办不到之事的狂想者,如凯力球垃王或尼罗王,则他们就会答应这个可怜的人,允许他以他的财富来换取他迫切祈求得到的自由和空气。但近代的国王,他们生活的天地是这样狭窄,已不再有勇气狂想了。从前,国王都相信他们是天神的儿子,或至少如此自以为是,而且多少还带着点他们父亲天神的风度。而现在,云层后面的变幻虽尚无法控制,但国王却已都自视为常人了。

要专制政府允许那些牺牲在他人的政权之下的重见天日,一向是和他们的政策相违背的。犯人被毒打得肢体不全,血肉模糊,法庭当然不愿意他再被人看见,疯子总是被藏在地牢里的,即使让他出狱,也不过是往某个阴气沉沉的医院里一送,狱卒送他到那儿时往往只是一具变了形的人体残骸了,连医生也认不出这还是一个人,还留有一点思想。法里亚神是在监狱里发疯的,单凭他的发疯就足以判他无期徒刑。

巡查员实践了他对唐太斯的诺言。他检查了档案,找到了下面这张关于他的记录:

爱德蒙·唐太斯拿破仑党分子,曾负责协助逆贼自厄尔巴岛归来。应严加看守,小心戒备。

这条记录的笔迹和其它的不同,证明是在他入狱以后附加的。巡查员面对眼前记录上这个无法抗争的罪名,只得批上一句,“无需复议。”

那次巡查又在唐太斯的心中重新燃起了希望。自从入狱以来,他已忘记了计算日期。但巡查员给了他一个新的日期,他没有忘记。他用一块从屋顶上掉下来的石灰在墙上写道,“一八一六年七月三十日”,从那时起,他每天做一个记号,以免再把日子忘掉。日子一天天,一个星期一个星期地过去了,后来是一个月一个月地过去了,唐太斯仍然处在期待之中。他最初预计可在两个星期以内释放。可是两个星期过去然后他想到巡查员可在回到巴黎以前是不会有所行动的,而他要在巡查完毕以后才能回到那儿,所以他又定期为三个月。但三个月也过去了,三个月之后又过了六个月。在这么长一段时间里,没有发生任何有利的转变。于是唐太斯开始幻想,认为巡查员的视察只不过是一个梦,是脑子里的一个幻想而已。

一年以后,监狱长被调任汉姆市长。他带走了几个下属,看管唐太斯的狱卒也在其中。新监狱长到任了。他认为记犯人的名字实在太麻烦了,所以干脆他用他们的号码来代替。这个可怕的地方一共有五十个房间,犯人们以他们的房间号码来命名。那不幸的青年已不再叫爱德蒙·唐太斯,他现在成了“三十四号”。
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