第二卷沉沦 第06章冉阿让
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-07-04 00:08:13  【打印
CHAPTER VI JEAN VALJEAN







Towards the middle of the night Jean Valjean woke.



Jean Valjean came from a poor peasant family of Brie. He had not learned to read in his childhood. When he reached man's estate, be became a tree-pruner at Faverolles. His mother was named Jeanne Mathieu; his father was called Jean Valjean or Vlajean, probably a sobriquet, and a contraction of viola Jean, "here's Jean."



Jean Valjean was of that thoughtful but not gloomy disposition which constitutes the peculiarity of affectionate natures. On the whole, however, there was something decidedly sluggish and insignificant about Jean Valjean in appearance, at least. He had lost his father and mother at a very early age. His mother had died of a milk fever, which had not been properly attended to. His father, a tree-pruner, like himself, had been killed by a fall from a tree. All that remained to Jean Valjean was a sister older than himself,--a widow with seven children, boys and girls. This sister had brought up Jean Valjean, and so long as she had a husband she lodged and fed her young brother.



The husband died. The eldest of the seven children was eight years old. The youngest, one.



Jean Valjean had just attained his twenty-fifth year. He took the father's place, and, in his turn, supported the sister who had brought him up. This was done simply as a duty and even a little churlishly on the part of Jean Valjean. Thus his youth had been spent in rude and ill-paid toil. He had never known a "kind woman friend" in his native parts. He had not had the time to fall in love.



He returned at night weary, and ate his broth without uttering a word. His sister, mother Jeanne, often took the best part of his repast from his bowl while he was eating,--a bit of meat, a slice of bacon, the heart of the cabbage,--to give to one of her children. As he went on eating, with his head bent over the table and almost into his soup, his long hair falling about his bowl and concealing his eyes, he had the air of perceiving nothing and allowing it. There was at Faverolles, not far from the Valjean thatched cottage, on the other side of the lane, a farmer's wife named Marie-Claude; the Valjean children, habitually famished, sometimes went to borrow from Marie-Claude a pint of milk, in their mother's name, which they drank behind a hedge or in some alley corner, snatching the jug from each other so hastily that the little girls spilled it on their aprons and down their necks. If their mother had known of this marauding, she would have punished the delinquents severely. Jean Valjean gruffly and grumblingly paid Marie-Claude for the pint of milk behind their mother's back, and the children were not punished.



In pruning season he earned eighteen sous a day; then he hired out as a hay-maker, as laborer, as neat-herd on a farm, as a drudge. He did whatever he could. His sister worked also but what could she do with seven little children? It was a sad group enveloped in misery, which was being gradually annihilated. A very hard winter came. Jean had no work. The family had no bread. No bread literally. Seven children!



One Sunday evening, Maubert Isabeau, the baker on the Church Square at Faverolles, was preparing to go to bed, when he heard a violent blow on the grated front of his shop. He arrived in time to see an arm passed through a hole made by a blow from a fist, through the grating and the glass. The arm seized a loaf of bread and carried it off. Isabeau ran out in haste; the robber fled at the full speed of his legs. Isabeau ran after him and stopped him. The thief had flung away the loaf, but his arm was still bleeding. It was Jean Valjean.



This took place in 1795. Jean Valjean was taken before the tribunals of the time for theft and breaking and entering an inhabited house at night. He had a gun which he used better than any one else in the world, he was a bit of a poacher, and this injured his case. There exists a legitimate prejudice against poachers. The poacher, like the smuggler, smacks too strongly of the brigand. Nevertheless, we will remark cursorily, there is still an abyss between these races of men and the hideous assassin of the towns. The poacher lives in the forest, the smuggler lives in the mountains or on the sea. The cities make ferocious men because they make corrupt men. The mountain, the sea, the forest, make savage men; they develop the fierce side, but often without destroying the humane side.



Jean Valjean was pronounced guilty. The terms of the Code were explicit. There occur formidable hours in our civilization; there are moments when the penal laws decree a shipwreck. What an ominous minute is that in which society draws back and consummates the irreparable abandonment of a sentient being! Jean Valjean was condemned to five years in the galleys.



On the 22d of April, 1796, the victory of Montenotte, won by the general-in-chief of the army of Italy, whom the message of the Directory to the Five Hundred, of the 2d of Floreal, year IV., calls Buona-Parte, was announced in Paris; on that same day a great gang of galley-slaves was put in chains at Bicetre. Jean Valjean formed a part of that gang. An old turnkey of the prison, who is now nearly eighty years old, still recalls perfectly that unfortunate wretch who was chained to the end of the fourth line, in the north angle of the courtyard. He was seated on the ground like the others. He did not seem to comprehend his position, except that it was horrible. It is probable that he, also, was disentangling from amid the vague ideas of a poor man, ignorant of everything, something excessive. While the bolt of his iron collar was being riveted behind his head with heavy blows from the hammer, he wept, his tears stifled him, they impeded his speech; he only managed to say from time to time, "I was a tree-pruner at Faverolles." Then still sobbing, he raised his right hand and lowered it gradually seven times, as though he were touching in succession seven heads of unequal heights, and from this gesture it was divined that the thing which he had done, whatever it was, he had done for the sake of clothing and nourishing seven little children.



He set out for Toulon. He arrived there, after a journey of twenty-seven days, on a cart, with a chain on his neck. At Toulon he was clothed in the red cassock. All that had constituted his life, even to his name, was effaced; he was no longer even Jean Valjean; he was number 24,601. What became of his sister? What became of the seven children? Who troubled himself about that? What becomes of the handful of leaves from the young tree which is sawed off at the root?



It is always the same story. These poor living beings, these creatures of God, henceforth without support, without guide, without refuge, wandered away at random,--who even knows?-- each in his own direction perhaps, and little by little buried themselves in that cold mist which engulfs solitary destinies; gloomy shades, into which disappear in succession so many unlucky heads, in the sombre march of the human race. They quitted the country. The clock-tower of what had been their village forgot them; the boundary line of what had been their field forgot them; after a few years' residence in the galleys, Jean Valjean himself forgot them. In that heart, where there had been a wound, there was a scar. That is all. Only once, during all the time which he spent at Toulon, did he hear his sister mentioned. This happened, I think, towards the end of the fourth year of his captivity. I know not through what channels the news reached him. Some one who had known them in their own country had seen his sister. She was in Paris. She lived in a poor street Rear Saint-Sulpice, in the Rue du Gindre. She had with her only one child, a little boy, the youngest. Where were the other six? Perhaps she did not know herself. Every morning she went to a printing office, No. 3 Rue du Sabot, where she was a folder and stitcher. She was obliged to be there at six o'clock in the morning--long before daylight in winter. In the same building with the printing office there was a school, and to this school she took her little boy, who was seven years old. But as she entered the printing office at six, and the school only opened at seven, the child had to wait in the courtyard, for the school to open, for an hour--one hour of a winter night in the open air! They would not allow the child to come into the printing office, because he was in the way, they said. When the workmen passed in the morning, they beheld this poor little being seated on the pavement, overcome with drowsiness, and often fast asleep in the shadow, crouched down and doubled up over his basket. When it rained, an old woman, the portress, took pity on him; she took him into her den, where there was a pallet, a spinning-wheel, and two wooden chairs, and the little one slumbered in a corner, pressing himself close to the cat that he might suffer less from cold. At seven o'clock the school opened, and he entered. That is what was told to Jean Valjean.



They talked to him about it for one day; it was a moment, a flash, as though a window had suddenly been opened upon the destiny of those things whom he had loved; then all closed again. He heard nothing more forever. Nothing from them ever reached him again; he never beheld them; he never met them again; and in the continuation of this mournful history they will not be met with any more.



Towards the end of this fourth year Jean Valjean's turn to escape arrived. His comrades assisted him, as is the custom in that sad place. He escaped. He wandered for two days in the fields at liberty, if being at liberty is to be hunted, to turn the head every instant, to quake at the slightest noise, to be afraid of everything,--of a smoking roof, of a passing man, of a barking dog, of a galloping horse, of a striking clock, of the day because one can see, of the night because one cannot see, of the highway, of the path, of a bush, of sleep. On the evening of the second day he was captured. He had neither eaten nor slept for thirty-six hours. The maritime tribunal condemned him, for this crime, to a prolongation of his term for three years, which made eight years. In the sixth year his turn to escape occurred again; he availed himself of it, but could not accomplish his flight fully. He was missing at roll-call. The cannon were fired, and at night the patrol found him hidden under the keel of a vessel in process of construction; he resisted the galley guards who seized him. Escape and rebellion. This case, provided for by a special code, was punished by an addition of five years, two of them in the double chain. Thirteen years. In the tenth year his turn came round again; he again profited by it; he succeeded no better. Three years for this fresh attempt. Sixteen years. Finally, I think it was during his thirteenth year, he made a last attempt, and only succeeded in getting retaken at the end of four hours of absence. Three years for those four hours. Nineteen years. In October, 1815, he was released; he had entered there in 1796, for having broken a pane of glass and taken a loaf of bread.



Room for a brief parenthesis. This is the second time, during his studies on the penal question and damnation by law, that the author of this book has come across the theft of a loaf of bread as the point of departure for the disaster of a destiny. Claude Gaux had stolen a loaf; Jean Valjean had stolen a loaf. English statistics prove the fact that four thefts out of five in London have hunger for their immediate cause.



Jean Valjean had entered the galleys sobbing and shuddering; he emerged impassive. He had entered in despair; he emerged gloomy.



What had taken place in that soul?







六 冉阿让









半夜,冉阿让醒了。



冉阿让生在布里的一个贫农家里。他幼年不识字。成人以后,在法维洛勒做修树枝的工人,他的母亲叫让·马弟,他的父亲叫冉阿让,或让来,让来大致是浑名,也是“阿让来了”的简音。



冉阿让生来就好用心思,但并不沉郁,那是富于情感的人的特性。但是他多少有些昏昏沉沉、无足轻重的味儿,至少表面如此。他在很小时就失去父母。他的母亲是因为害乳炎,诊治失当死的。他的父亲和他一样,也是个修树枝的工人,从树上摔下来死的。冉阿让只剩一个姐姐,姐姐孀居,有七个子女。把冉阿让抚养成人的就是这个姐姐。丈夫在世时,她一直负担着她小弟弟的膳宿。丈夫死了。七个孩子中最大的一个有八岁,最小的一岁。冉阿让刚到二十五岁,他代行父职,帮助姐姐,报答她当年抚养之恩。那是很自然的事,象一种天职似的,冉阿让甚至做得有些过火。他的青年时期便是那样在干着报酬微薄的辛苦工作中消磨过去的。他家乡的人从来没有听说他有过“女朋友”。他没有时间去想爱情问题。



他天黑回家,精疲力尽,一言不发,吃他的菜汤。他吃时,他姐姐让妈妈,时常从他的汤瓢里把他食物中最好的一些东西,一块瘦肉,一片肥肉,白菜的心,拿给她的一个孩子吃。他呢,俯在桌上,头几乎浸在汤里,头发垂在瓢边,遮着他的眼睛,只管吃,好象全没看见,让人家拿。



在法维洛勒的那条小街上,阿让茅屋斜对面的地方,住着一个农家妇女,叫玛丽-克洛德,阿让家的孩子们,挨饿是常事,他们有时冒他们母亲的名,到玛丽-克洛德那里去借一勺牛奶,躲在篱笆后面或路角上喝起来,大家拿那奶罐抢来抢去,使那些小女孩子紧张到泼得身上、颈子上都是奶。母亲如果知道了这种欺诈行为,一定会严厉惩罚这些小骗子的。冉阿让气冲冲,嘴里唠叨不绝,瞒着孩子们的母亲把牛奶钱照付给玛丽-克洛德,他们才没有挨揍。



在修树枝的季节里,他每天可以赚十八个苏,过后他就替人家当割麦零工、小工、牧牛人、苦工。他做他能做的事。他的姐也作工,但是拖着七个孩子怎么办呢?那是一群苦恼的人,穷苦把他们逐渐围困起来。有一年冬季,冉阿让找不到工作。



家里没有面包。绝对没有一点面包,却有七个孩子。



住在法维洛勒的天主堂广场上的面包店老板穆伯·易查博,一个星期日的晚上正预备去睡时,忽听得有人在他铺子的那个装了铁丝网的玻璃橱窗上使劲打了一下。他赶来正好看见一只手从铁丝网和玻璃上被拳头打破的一个洞里伸进来,把一块面包抓走了。易查博赶忙追出来,那小偷也拚命逃,易查博跟在他后面追,捉住了他。他丢了面包,胳膊却还流着血。



那正是冉阿让。



那是一七九五年的事。冉阿让被控为“黑夜破坏有人住着的房屋入内行窃”,送到当时的法院。他原有一枝枪,他比世上任何枪手都射得好,有时并且喜欢私自打猎,那对他是很不利的。大家对私自打猎的人早有一种合法的成见。私自打猎的人正如走私的人,都和土匪相去不远。但是,我们附带说一句,那种人和城市中那些卑鄙无耻的杀人犯比较起来总还有天壤之别。私自打猎的人住在森林里,走私的人住在山中或海上。城市会使人变得凶残,因为它使人腐化堕落。山、海和森林使人变得粗野。它们只发展这种野性,却不毁灭人性。



冉阿让被判罪。法律的条文是死板的。在我们的文明里,有许多令人寒心的时刻,那就是刑法令人陷入绝境的时刻。一个有思想的生物被迫远离社会,遭到了无可挽救的遗弃,那是何等悲惨的日子!冉阿让被宣判服五年苦役。



一七九六年四月二十二日,巴黎正欢呼意大利前线①总指挥(共和四年花月二日执政内阁致五百人院咨文中称作Buona-Parte②的那位总指挥)在芒泰诺泰③所获的胜利。这同一天,在比塞特监狱中却扣上了一长条铁链。冉阿让便是那铁链上的一个。当时的一个禁子,现在已年近九十了,还记得非常清楚,那天,那个可怜人待在院子的北角上,被锁在第四条链子的末尾。他和其余的犯人一样,坐在地上。他除了知道他的地位可怕以外好象完全莫名其妙。或许在他那种全无知识的穷人的混沌观念里,他多少也还觉得在这件事里有些过火的地方。当别人在他脑后用大锤钉着他枷上的大头钉时,他不禁痛哭起来。眼泪使他气塞,呜咽不能成声。他只能断续地说:“我是法维洛勒修树枝的工人。”过后,他一面痛哭,一面伸起他的右手,缓缓地按下去,这样一共做了七次,好象他依次抚摩了七个高矮不齐的头顶。我们从他这动作上可以猜想到,他所做的任何事全是为了那七个孩子的衣食。



①当时欧洲联盟国的军队从意大利和莱茵河两方面进攻革命的法国,拿破仑从意大利出击,在意大利境内击溃奥地利军队以后,直趋维也纳,以一年时间,迫使奥地利求和。



②拿破仑出生于科西嘉岛,该岛原属意大利,一七六八年卖给法国。他的姓,Bonaparte(波拿巴),按原来意大利文写法是Buonaparte。此处所言咨文,将一字写成两字,盖当时其名未显,以致发生这一错误。



③芒泰诺泰(Montenotte),意大利北部距法国国境不远的一个村镇。



他出发到土伦去。他乘着小车,颈上悬着铁链,经过二十七天的路程到了那地方。在土伦,他穿上红色囚衣。他生命中的一切全消灭了,连他的名字也消灭了。他已不再是冉阿让,而是二四六○一号。姐姐怎样了呢?七个孩子怎样了呢?谁照顾他们呢?一棵年轻的树被大齐根锯了,它的一撮嫩叶怎样了呢?



那是千篇一律的经过,那些可怜的活生生的人,上帝的创造物,从此无所凭借,无人指导,无处栖身,只得随着机缘东飘西荡,谁还能知道呵?或者是人各一方,渐渐陷入苦命人的那种丧身亡命的凄凉的迷雾里,一经进入人类的悲惨行列,他们便和那些不幸的黔首一样,一个接一个地消失了。他们背井离乡。他们乡村里的钟塔忘了他们,他们田地边的界石也忘了他们,冉阿让在监牢里住了几年之后,自己也忘了那些东西。在他的心上,从前有过一条伤口,后来只剩下一条伤痕,如是而已。关于他姐姐的消息,他在土伦从始至终只听见人家稍稍谈到过一次。那仿佛是在他坐监的第四年末。我已经想不起他是从什么地方得到了那消息。有个和他们相识的同乡人看见过他姐姐,说她到了巴黎。她住在常德尔街,即圣稣尔比斯教堂附近的一条穷街。她只带着一个孩子,她最小的那个男孩。其余的六个到什么地方去了呢?也许连她自己也不知道。每天早晨,她到木鞋街三号,一个印刷厂里去,她在那里做装订的女工。早晨六点她就得到厂,在冬季,那时离天亮还很早。在那印刷厂里有个小学校,她每天领着那七岁的孩子到学校里去读书。只不过她六点到厂,学校要到七点才开门,那孩子只好在院里等上一个钟头,等学校开门。到了冬天,那一个钟点是在黑暗中露天里等过的。他们不肯让那孩子进印刷厂的门,因为有人说他碍事。那些工人清早路过那里时,总看见那小把戏沉沉欲睡坐在石子路上,并且常是在一个黑暗的角落里,他蹲在地上,伏在他的篮子上便睡着了。下雨时,那个看门的老婆子看了过意不去,便把他引到她那破屋子里去,那屋子里只有一张破床、一架纺车和两张木椅,小孩便睡在屋角里,紧紧抱着一只猫,可以少受一点冻。到七点,学校开门了,他便跑进去。以上便是冉阿让听到的话。人家那天把这消息告诉他,那只是极短暂的一刹那,好象一扇窗子忽然开了,让他看了一眼他心爱的那些亲人的命运后随即一切又都隔绝了。从此以后,他再也没有听见人家说到过他们,永远没有得到过关于他们的其他消息,永远没有和他们再见面,也永远没有遇见过他们,并且就是在这一段悲惨故事的后半段,我们也不会再见到他们了。



到了第四年末,冉阿让有了越狱的机会。他的同伙帮助他逃走,这类事是同处困境中人常会发生的。他逃走了,在田野里自由地游荡了两天,如果自由这两个字的意义是这样的一些内容:受包围,时时朝后看,听见一点声音便吃惊,害怕一切,害怕冒烟的屋顶、过路的行人、狗叫、马跑、钟鸣、看得见东西的白昼、看不见东西的黑夜、大路、小路、树丛、睡眠。在第二天晚上,他又被逮住了。三十六个钟头以来他没有吃也没有睡。海港法庭对他这次过失,判决延长拘禁期三年,一共是八年。到第六年他又有了越狱的机会,他要利用那机会,但是他没能逃脱。点名时他不在。警炮响了,到了晚上,巡夜的人在一只正在建造的船骨里找到了他,他拒捕,但是被捕了。越狱并且拒捕,那种被特别法典预见的事受了加禁五年的处罚。五年当中,要受两年的夹链。一共是十三年。到第十年,他又有了越狱的机会,他又要趁机试一试,仍没有成功。那次的新企图又被判监禁三年。一共是十六年。到末了,我想是在第十三年内,他试了最后的一次,所得的成绩只是在四个钟头之后又被拘捕。那四个钟头换来了三年的监禁。一共是十九年。到一八一五年的十月里他被释放了。他是在一七九六年关进去的,为了打破一块玻璃,拿了一个面包。



此地不妨说一句题外的话。本书作者在他对刑法问题和法律裁判的研究里遇见的那种为了窃取一个面包而造成终身悲局的案情,这是第二次。克洛德·格①偷了一个面包,冉阿让也偷了一个面包。英国的一个统计家说,在伦敦五件窃案里,四件是由饥饿直接引起的。



①克洛德·格(ClaudeGueux)。雨果一八三四年为穷苦人民呼吁的小说《克洛德·格》的主角。



冉阿让走进牢狱时一面痛哭,面战栗,出狱时却无动于衷;他进去时悲痛失望,出来时老气横秋。



这个人的心有过怎样的波动呢?

文章来源:大耳朵英语--免费实用 http://www.bigear.cn