第五卷下坡路 第09章维克杜尼昂夫人大功告成
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-07-06 22:25:59  【打印
CHAPTER IX MADAME VICTURNIEN'S SUCCESS







So the monk's widow was good for something.



But M. Madeleine had heard nothing of all this. Life is full of just such combinations of events. M. Madeleine was in the habit of almost never entering the women's workroom.



At the head of this room he had placed an elderly spinster, whom the priest had provided for him, and he had full confidence in this superintendent,--a truly respectable person, firm, equitable, upright, full of the charity which consists in giving, but not having in the same degree that charity which consists in understanding and in forgiving. M. Madeleine relied wholly on her. The best men are often obliged to delegate their authority. It was with this full power, and the conviction that she was doing right, that the superintendent had instituted the suit, judged, condemned, and executed Fantine.



As regards the fifty francs, she had given them from a fund which M. Madeleine had intrusted to her for charitable purposes, and for giving assistance to the workwomen, and of which she rendered no account.



Fantine tried to obtain a situation as a servant in the neighborhood; she went from house to house. No one would have her. She could not leave town. The second-hand dealer, to whom she was in debt for her furniture--and what furniture!--said to her, "If you leave, I will have you arrested as a thief." The householder, whom she owed for her rent, said to her, "You are young and pretty; you can pay." She divided the fifty francs between the landlord and the furniture-dealer, returned to the latter three-quarters of his goods, kept only necessaries, and found herself without work, without a trade, with nothing but her bed, and still about fifty francs in debt.



She began to make coarse shirts for soldiers of the garrison, and earned twelve sous a day. Her daughter cost her ten. It was at this point that she began to pay the Thenardiers irregularly.



However, the old woman who lighted her candle for her when she returned at night, taught her the art of living in misery. Back of living on little, there is the living on nothing. These are the two chambers; the first is dark, the second is black.



Fantine learned how to live without fire entirely in the winter; how to give up a bird which eats a half a farthing's worth of millet every two days; how to make a coverlet of one's petticoat, and a petticoat of one's coverlet; how to save one's candle, by taking one's meals by the light of the opposite window. No one knows all that certain feeble creatures, who have grown old in privation and honesty, can get out of a sou. It ends by being a talent. Fantine acquired this sublime talent, and regained a little courage.



At this epoch she said to a neighbor, "Bah! I say to myself, by only sleeping five hours, and working all the rest of the time at my sewing, I shall always manage to nearly earn my bread. And, then, when one is sad, one eats less. Well, sufferings, uneasiness, a little bread on one hand, trouble on the other,--all this will support me."



It would have been a great happiness to have her little girl with her in this distress. She thought of having her come. But what then! Make her share her own destitution! And then, she was in debt to the Thenardiers! How could she pay them? And the journey! How pay for that?



The old woman who had given her lessons in what may be called the life of indigence, was a sainted spinster named Marguerite, who was pious with a true piety, poor and charitable towards the poor, and even towards the rich, knowing how to write just sufficiently to sign herself Marguerite, and believing in God, which is science.



There are many such virtuous people in this lower world; some day they will be in the world above. This life has a morrow.



At first, Fantine had been so ashamed that she had not dared to go out.



When she was in the street, she divined that people turned round behind her, and pointed at her; every one stared at her and no one greeted her; the cold and bitter scorn of the passers-by penetrated her very flesh and soul like a north wind.



It seems as though an unfortunate woman were utterly bare beneath the sarcasm and the curiosity of all in small towns. In Paris, at least, no one knows you, and this obscurity is a garment. Oh! how she would have liked to betake herself to Paris! Impossible!



She was obliged to accustom herself to disrepute, as she had accustomed herself to indigence. Gradually she decided on her course. At the expiration of two or three months she shook off her shame, and began to go about as though there were nothing the matter. "It is all the same to me," she said.



She went and came, bearing her head well up, with a bitter smile, and was conscious that she was becoming brazen-faced.



Madame Victurnien sometimes saw her passing, from her window, noticed the distress of "that creature" who, "thanks to her," had been "put back in her proper place," and congratulated herself. The happiness of the evil-minded is black.



Excess of toil wore out Fantine, and the little dry cough which troubled her increased. She sometimes said to her neighbor, Marguerite, "Just feel how hot my hands are!"



Nevertheless, when she combed her beautiful hair in the morning with an old broken comb, and it flowed about her like floss silk, she experienced a moment of happy coquetry.









九 维克杜尼昂夫人大功告成









看来那修士的未亡人是起了积极作用的。



可是马德兰先生完全不知道这件事的经过。这不过是充满人间的那种瞒上欺下的手法而已。按照马德兰先生的习惯,他几乎从来不去女车间。他委托一个老姑娘全面照顾车间,那老姑娘是由本堂神甫介绍给他的,他对那女管理员完全信任,她为人也确实可敬,稳重、公平、廉洁、满腔慈悲,但是她的慈悲只限于施舍方面,至于了解人和容忍人的慈悲就比较差了。马德兰先生把一切事都委托给她。世间最善良的人也常有不得不把自己的权力托付给别人的时候。那女管理员便用了那种全权委托和她自以为是的见解,提出了那件案子,加以判断,作出决定,定了芳汀的罪。



至于那五十法郎,她是从马德兰先生托她在救助工人时不必报销的一笔款子里挪用的。



芳汀便在那地方挨家挨户找人雇她当仆人。没有人要她。她也不能离开那座城。向她收家具(什么家具!)费的那个旧货贩子向她说:“假使您走,我就叫人把您当作贼逮捕。”向她要房租的房主人向她说:“您又年轻又好看。您总应当有法子付钱。”她把那五十法郎分给房主人和旧货贩子,把她家具的四分之三退还给那商人,只留下非要不可的一部分,无工作,无地位,除卧榻之外一无所有,还欠着一百法郎左右的债。



她去替兵营里的士兵们缝粗布衬衫,每天可以赚十二个苏。她在这十二个苏中,得替她女儿花十个。从那时起,她才没有按时如数付钱给德纳第夫妇。



这时,有个老妇人,那个平时在芳汀夜晚回家时替她点上蜡烛的老妇人,把过苦日子的艺术教给她,在贫苦的生活后面,还有一种一无所有的生活。那好象是两间屋子,第一间是暗的,第二间是黑的。



芳汀学会了怎样在冬天完全不烤火,怎样不理睬一只每两天来吃一文钱粟米的小鸟,怎样拿裙子做被,拿被做裙,怎样在从对面窗子射来的光线里吃饭,以图节省蜡烛。我们不能一一知道某些终身潦倒的弱者,一贫如洗而又诚实自爱,怎样从一个苏里想办法。久而久之,那种方法便成为一种技能。芳汀得了那种高妙的技能,胆子便也壮了一点。



当时,她对一个邻妇说:“怕什么!我常对自己说,只睡五个钟头,其余的时间我全拿来做缝纫,我总可以马马虎虎吃一口饭。而且人在发愁时吃得也少些。再说,有痛苦,有忧愁,一方面有点面包,一方面有些烦恼,这一切已足够养活我了。”



如果能在这样的苦况里得到她的小女儿,那自然是一种莫大的幸福。她想把她弄来。但是怎么办!害她同吃苦吗?况且她还欠了德纳第夫妇的钱!怎么还清呢?还有旅费!怎么付呢?



把这种可以称为安贫方法的课程教给她的那个老妇人是一个叫做玛格丽特的圣女,她矢志为善,贫而待贫人以善,甚至待富人也一样,在写字方面,她勉强能签“玛格丽特”,并且信仰上帝,她的知识,也就只有信仰上帝。



世间有许多那样的善人,他们一时居人之下,有一天他们将居人之上。这种人是有前程的。



起初,芳汀惭愧到不敢出门。



当她走在街上时,她猜想得到,别人一定在她背后用手指指着她;大家都瞧着她,却没有一个人招呼她;路上那些人的那种冷酷的侮蔑态度,象一阵寒风似的,直刺入她的灵和肉。



在小城里,一个不幸的妇人,处在众人的嘲笑和好奇心下,就仿佛是赤裸裸无遮避似的。在巴黎,至少,没有人认识你,彼此不相识,倒好象有了件蔽体的衣服。唉!她多么想去巴黎!不可能了。



她已经受惯贫苦的滋味,她还得受惯遭人轻视的滋味。她渐渐打定了主意。两三个月过后,她克服了羞耻心理,若无其事地出门上街了。“这和我一点不相干。”她说。她昂着头,带点苦笑,在街上往来,她感到自己已变成不懂羞耻的人了。



维克杜尼昂夫人有时看见她从她窗子下面走过,看出了“那家伙”的苦难,又想到幸而有她,“那家伙”才回到“她应有的地位”,她心里一阵高兴。黑心人自有黑幸福。



过度的操劳使芳汀疲乏了,她原有的那种干咳病开始恶化。她有时对她的邻居玛格丽特说:“您摸摸看,我的手多么热。”



但在早晨,每当她拿着一把断了的旧梳子去梳她那一头光泽黑人,细软如丝的头发的那片刻,她还能得到一种顾影自怜的快感。

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