第七卷商马第案件 第06章散普丽斯姆姆受考验
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-07-23 00:16:41  【打印
CHAPTER VI SISTER SIMPLICE PUT TO THE PROOF







But at that moment Fantine was joyous.



She had passed a very bad night; her cough was frightful; her fever had doubled in intensity; she had had dreams: in the morning, when the doctor paid his visit, she was delirious; he assumed an alarmed look, and ordered that he should be informed as soon as M. Madeleine arrived.



All the morning she was melancholy, said but little, and laid plaits in her sheets, murmuring the while, in a low voice, calculations which seemed to be calculations of distances. Her eyes were hollow and staring. They seemed almost extinguished at intervals, then lighted up again and shone like stars. It seems as though, at the approach of a certain dark hour, the light of heaven fills those who are quitting the light of earth.



Each time that Sister Simplice asked her how she felt, she replied invariably, "Well. I should like to see M. Madeleine."



Some months before this, at the moment when Fantine had just lost her last modesty, her last shame, and her last joy, she was the shadow of herself; now she was the spectre of herself. Physical suffering had completed the work of moral suffering. This creature of five and twenty had a wrinkled brow, flabby cheeks, pinched nostrils, teeth from which the gums had receded, a leaden complexion, a bony neck, prominent shoulder-blades, frail limbs, a clayey skin, and her golden hair was growing out sprinkled with gray. Alas! how illness improvises old-age!



At mid-day the physician returned, gave some directions, inquired whether the mayor had made his appearance at the infirmary, and shook his head.



M. Madeleine usually came to see the invalid at three o'clock. As exactness is kindness, he was exact.



About half-past two, Fantine began to be restless. In the course of twenty minutes, she asked the nun more than ten times, "What time is it, sister?"



Three o'clock struck. At the third stroke, Fantine sat up in bed; she who could, in general, hardly turn over, joined her yellow, fleshless hands in a sort of convulsive clasp, and the nun heard her utter one of those profound sighs which seem to throw off dejection. Then Fantine turned and looked at the door.



No one entered; the door did not open.



She remained thus for a quarter of an hour, her eyes riveted on the door, motionless and apparently holding her breath. The sister dared not speak to her. The clock struck a quarter past three. Fantine fell back on her pillow.



She said nothing, but began to plait the sheets once more.



Half an hour passed, then an hour, no one came; every time the clock struck, Fantine started up and looked towards the door, then fell back again.



Her thought was clearly perceptible, but she uttered no name, she made no complaint, she blamed no one. But she coughed in a melancholy way. One would have said that something dark was descending upon her. She was livid and her lips were blue. She smiled now and then.



Five o'clock struck. Then the sister heard her say, very low and gently, "He is wrong not to come to-day, since I am going away to-morrow."



Sister Simplice herself was surprised at M. Madeleine's delay.



In the meantime, Fantine was staring at the tester of her bed. She seemed to be endeavoring to recall something. All at once she began to sing in a voice as feeble as a breath. The nun listened. This is what Fantine was singing:--



"Lovely things we will buy As we stroll the faubourgs through. Roses are pink, corn-flowers are blue, I love my love, corn-flowers are blue.



"Yestere'en the Virgin Mary came near my stove, in a broidered mantle clad, and said to me, `Here, hide 'neath my veil the child whom you one day begged from me. Haste to the city, buy linen, buy a needle, buy thread.'



"Lovely things we will buy As we stroll the faubourgs through.



"Dear Holy Virgin, beside my stove I have set a cradle with ribbons decked. God may give me his loveliest star; I prefer the child thou hast granted me. `Madame, what shall I do with this linen fine?'--`Make of it clothes for thy new-born babe.'



"Roses are pink and corn-flowers are blue, I love my love, and corn-flowers are blue.



"`Wash this linen.'--`Where?'--`In the stream. Make of it, soiling not, spoiling not, a petticoat fair with its bodice fine, which I will embroider and fill with flowers.'--`Madame, the child is no longer here; what is to be done?'--`Then make of it a winding-sheet in which to bury me.'



"Lovely things we will buy As we stroll the faubourgs through, Roses are pink, corn-flowers are blue, I love my love, corn-flowers are blue."



This song was an old cradle romance with which she had, in former days, lulled her little Cosette to sleep, and which had never recurred to her mind in all the five years during which she had been parted from her child. She sang it in so sad a voice, and to so sweet an air, that it was enough to make any one, even a nun, weep. The sister, accustomed as she was to austerities, felt a tear spring to her eyes.



The clock struck six. Fantine did not seem to hear it. She no longer seemed to pay attention to anything about her.



Sister Simplice sent a serving-maid to inquire of the portress of the factory, whether the mayor had returned, and if he would not come to the infirmary soon. The girl returned in a few minutes.



Fantine was still motionless and seemed absorbed in her own thoughts.



The servant informed Sister Simplice in a very low tone, that the mayor had set out that morning before six o'clock, in a little tilbury harnessed to a white horse, cold as the weather was; that he had gone alone, without even a driver; that no one knew what road he had taken; that people said he had been seen to turn into the road to Arras; that others asserted that they had met him on the road to Paris. That when he went away he had been very gentle, as usual, and that he had merely told the portress not to expect him that night.



While the two women were whispering together, with their backs turned to Fantine's bed, the sister interrogating, the servant conjecturing, Fantine, with the feverish vivacity of certain organic maladies, which unite the free movements of health with the frightful emaciation of death, had raised herself to her knees in bed, with her shrivelled hands resting on the bolster, and her head thrust through the opening of the curtains, and was listening. All at once she cried:--



"You are speaking of M. Madeleine! Why are you talking so low? What is he doing? Why does he not come?"



Her voice was so abrupt and hoarse that the two women thought they heard the voice of a man; they wheeled round in affright.



"Answer me!" cried Fantine.



The servant stammered:--



"The portress told me that he could not come to-day."



"Be calm, my child," said the sister; "lie down again."



Fantine, without changing her attitude, continued in a loud voice, and with an accent that was both imperious and heart-rending:--



"He cannot come? Why not? You know the reason. You are whispering it to each other there. I want to know it."



The servant-maid hastened to say in the nun's ear, "Say that he is busy with the city council."



Sister Simplice blushed faintly, for it was a lie that the maid had proposed to her.



On the other hand, it seemed to her that the mere communication of the truth to the invalid would, without doubt, deal her a terrible blow, and that this was a serious matter in Fantine's present state. Her flush did not last long; the sister raised her calm, sad eyes to Fantine, and said, "Monsieur le Maire has gone away."



Fantine raised herself and crouched on her heels in the bed: her eyes sparkled; indescribable joy beamed from that melancholy face.



"Gone!" she cried; "he has gone to get Cosette."



Then she raised her arms to heaven, and her white face became ineffable; her lips moved; she was praying in a low voice.



When her prayer was finished, "Sister," she said, "I am willing to lie down again; I will do anything you wish; I was naughty just now; I beg your pardon for having spoken so loud; it is very wrong to talk loudly; I know that well, my good sister, but, you see, I am very happy: the good God is good; M. Madeleine is good; just think! he has gone to Montfermeil to get my little Cosette."



She lay down again, with the nun's assistance, helped the nun to arrange her pillow, and kissed the little silver cross which she wore on her neck, and which Sister Simplice had given her.



"My child," said the sister, "try to rest now, and do not talk any more."



Fantine took the sister's hand in her moist hands, and the latter was pained to feel that perspiration.



"He set out this morning for Paris; in fact, he need not even go through Paris; Montfermeil is a little to the left as you come thence. Do you remember how he said to me yesterday, when I spoke to him of Cosette, Soon, soon? He wants to give me a surprise, you know! he made me sign a letter so that she could be taken from the Thenardiers; they cannot say anything, can they? they will give back Cosette, for they have been paid; the authorities will not allow them to keep the child since they have received their pay. Do not make signs to me that I must not talk, sister! I am extremely happy; I am doing well; I am not ill at all any more; I am going to see Cosette again; I am even quite hungry; it is nearly five years since I saw her last; you cannot imagine how much attached one gets to children, and then, she will be so pretty; you will see! If you only knew what pretty little rosy fingers she had! In the first place, she will have very beautiful hands; she had ridiculous hands when she was only a year old; like this! she must be a big girl now; she is seven years old; she is quite a young lady; I call her Cosette, but her name is really Euphrasie. Stop! this morning I was looking at the dust on the chimney-piece, and I had a sort of idea come across me, like that, that I should see Cosette again soon. Mon Dieu! how wrong it is not to see one's children for years! One ought to reflect that life is not eternal. Oh, how good M. le Maire is to go! it is very cold! it is true; he had on his cloak, at least? he will be here to-morrow, will he not? to-morrow will be a festival day; to-morrow morning, sister, you must remind me to put on my little cap that has lace on it. What a place that Montfermeil is! I took that journey on foot once; it was very long for me, but the diligences go very quickly! He will be here to-morrow with Cosette: how far is it from here to Montfermeil?"



The sister, who had no idea of distances, replied, "Oh, I think that be will be here to-morrow."



"To-morrow! to-morrow!" said Fantine, "I shall see Cosette to-morrow! you see, good sister of the good God, that I am no longer ill; I am mad; I could dance if any one wished it."



A person who had seen her a quarter of an hour previously would not have understood the change; she was all rosy now; she spoke in a lively and natural voice; her whole face was one smile; now and then she talked, she laughed softly; the joy of a mother is almost infantile.



"Well," resumed the nun, "now that you are happy, mind me, and do not talk any more."



Fantine laid her head on her pillow and said in a low voice: "Yes, lie down again; be good, for you are going to have your child; Sister Simplice is right; every one here is right."



And then, without stirring, without even moving her head, she began to stare all about her with wide-open eyes and a joyous air, and she said nothing more.



The sister drew the curtains together again, hoping that she would fall into a doze. Between seven and eight o'clock the doctor came; not hearing any sound, he thought Fantine was asleep, entered softly, and approached the bed on tiptoe; he opened the curtains a little, and, by the light of the taper, he saw Fantine's big eyes gazing at him.



She said to him, "She will be allowed to sleep beside me in a little bed, will she not, sir?"



The doctor thought that she was delirious. She added:--



"See! there is just room."



The doctor took Sister Simplice aside, and she explained matters to him; that M. Madeleine was absent for a day or two, and that in their doubt they had not thought it well to undeceive the invalid, who believed that the mayor had gone to Montfermeil; that it was possible, after all, that her guess was correct: the doctor approved.



He returned to Fantine's bed, and she went on:--



"You see, when she wakes up in the morning, I shall be able to say good morning to her, poor kitten, and when I cannot sleep at night, I can hear her asleep; her little gentle breathing will do me good."



"Give me your hand," said the doctor.



She stretched out her arm, and exclaimed with a laugh:--



"Ah, hold! in truth, you did not know it; I am cured; Cosette will arrive to-morrow."



The doctor was surprised; she was better; the pressure on her chest had decreased; her pulse had regained its strength; a sort of life had suddenly supervened and reanimated this poor, worn-out creature.



"Doctor," she went on, "did the sister tell you that M. le Maire has gone to get that mite of a child?"



The doctor recommended silence, and that all painful emotions should be avoided; he prescribed an infusion of pure chinchona, and, in case the fever should increase again during the night, a calming potion. As he took his departure, he said to the sister:--



"She is doing better; if good luck willed that the mayor should actually arrive to-morrow with the child, who knows? there are crises so astounding; great joy has been known to arrest maladies; I know well that this is an organic disease, and in an advanced state, but all those things are such mysteries: we may be able to save her."







六 散普丽斯姆姆受考验









可是这时,芳汀却正在欢乐中。



她那一夜原来过得很不舒服。剧烈地咳嗽,体温更高,她做了一夜的梦。医生早晨来检查时,她还正说着胡话。医生的脸色有些紧张,吩咐大家说,等到马德兰先生回来了,便立刻去通知他。



在那整个早晨,她精神委靡,不多说话,两手只把那被单捏出一条条小褶纹,嘴里低声念着一些数字,仿佛是在计算里程。她的眼睛已经深陷而且不能转动了,眼神也几乎没有了。但有时又忽然充满光彩,耀如明星。仿佛在某种惨痛的时刻临近时,上天的光特来照临那些被尘世的光所离弃了的人们一样。



每当散普丽斯姆姆问她觉得怎样时,她总照例回答:



“还好。我想看看马德兰先生。”



几个月前,在芳汀刚刚失去她最后的贞操、最后的羞耻、最后的欢乐时,她还算得上是自己的影子,现在她只是自己的幽灵了。生理上的疾病加深了精神上的创伤。这个二十五岁的人儿已皱纹满额,两颊浮肿,鼻孔萎削,牙齿松弛,面色铁青,颈骨毕露,肩胛高耸,四肢枯槁,肤色灰白,新生的金发丝也杂有白毛了。可怜!病苦催人老!



到中午,医生又来了,他开了药方,问马德兰先生来过疗养室没有,并连连摇头。



马德兰先生照例总在三点钟来看这病人的。因为守时是一种仁爱,他总是守时的。



将近两点半钟,芳汀焦急起来了。二十分钟之内,她向那信女连问了十次:



“我的姆姆,什么时候了?”



三点钟敲了。敲到第三下,平时几乎不能在床上转动的芳汀竟坐起来了。她焦灼万分,紧紧捏着自己的那双又瘦又黄的手。信女还听见她发了一声长叹,仿佛吐出了满腔的积郁。芳汀转过头去,望着门。



没有人进来,门外毫无动静。



她这样待了一刻钟,眼睛盯在门上,不动,好象也不呼吸。那姆姆不敢和她说话。礼拜堂报着三点一刻。芳汀又倒在枕头上了。



她没有说一句话,仍旧折她的被单。



半个钟头过去了,接着一个钟头又过去了。没有人来。每次钟响,芳汀便坐起来,望着门,继又倒下去。



我们明白她的心情,但是她绝不曾提起任何一个人的名字,不怨天,不尤人。不过她咳得惨不忍闻。我们可以说已有一种阴气在向她进袭。她面色灰黑,嘴唇发青。但她不时还在微笑。



五点敲过了,那姆姆听见她低声慢气说道:



“既然我明天要走了,他今天便不应该不来呵!”



连散普丽斯姆姆也因马德兰先生的迟到而感到惊奇。



这时,芳汀望着她的帐顶,她的神气象是在追忆一件往事。忽然,她唱了起来,歌声微弱,就象嘘气一样。信女在一旁静听。下面便是芳汀唱的歌:



我们顺着城郊去游戏,



要买好些最美丽的东西。



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,玫瑰花儿红又香,



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,我爱我的小心肝。



童贞圣母马利亚,



昨天穿着绣花衣,来到炉边向我提:



“从前有一天,你曾向我要个小弟弟,



小弟弟,如今就在我的面纱里。”



“快去城里买细布,



买了针线还要买针箍。”



我们顺着城郊去游戏,



要买好些最美丽的东西。



“童贞圣母你慈悲,



瞧这炉边的摇篮上,各色丝带全齐备;



即使上帝赐我星星最最美,



我也只爱你给我的小宝贝。”



“大嫂,要这细布做什么?”



“替我新生的宝宝做衣被。”



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,玫瑰花儿红又香,



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,我爱我的小心肝。



“请把这块细布洗干净。”



“哪里洗?”“河里洗。



还有他的兜兜布,不要弄脏不要弄破,



我要做条漂亮裙,我要满满绣花朵。



”“孩子不在了,大嫂,怎么办?”



“替我自己做块裹尸布。”



我们顺着城郊去游戏,



要买好些最美丽的东西。



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,玫瑰花儿红又香,



矢车菊,朵朵蓝,我爱我的小心肝。



这歌是一首旧时的摇篮曲,从前她用来催她的小珂赛特入睡的,她五年不见那孩子了,便也没有再想。现在她用那样幽怨的声音,唱着那样柔和的歌曲,真令人心酸,连信女也几乎要哭出来。那个一贯严肃的姆姆也觉得要流泪了。



钟敲了六点。芳汀好象没有听见。对四周的事物她仿佛已不注意了。



散普丽斯姆姆派了一个侍女去找那看守厂门的妇人,问她马德兰先生回来了没有,会不会立即到疗养室来。几分钟过后,那侍女回来了。



芳汀始终不动,似乎在细想她的心事。



那侍女声音很低地向散普丽斯姆姆说,市长先生不顾那样冷的天气,竟在清早六点钟以前,乘着一辆白马拉的小车,独自一人走了,连车夫也没有,大家都不知道他是朝哪个方向走的,有些人看见他转向去阿拉斯的那条路,有些人又说在去巴黎的路上确实碰见他。他动身时,和平时一样,非常和蔼,只和那看门的妇人说过今晚不必等他。



正当那两个妇人背朝着芳汀的床、正在一问一猜互相耳语时,芳汀爬了起来,跪在床上,两只手握紧了拳头,撑在长枕上,把头伸在帐缝里听,她忽然产生了一种病态的急躁,兴奋起来,于是完全象个健康的人一样,一点也看不出她因重病而危在旦夕。她忽然叫道:



“你们在那儿谈马德兰先生!你们说话为什么那样低?他在干什么?他为什么不来?”



她的声音是那样突兀、那样粗暴,以致那两个妇人以为听见了什么男子说话的声音,她们转过身来,大为惊讶。



“回答嘛!”芳汀喊着说。



那侍女吞吞吐吐地说:



“那看门的大妈说他今天不能来。”



“我的孩子。”那姆姆说,“放安静些,睡下去吧。”



芳汀不改变姿势,用一种又急躁又惨痛的口气高声说:“他不能来?为什么?你们知道原因。你们两人私下谈着。



我也要知道。”



那侍女连忙在女信徒的耳边说道:“回答她说,他正在开市政会议。”



散普丽斯姆姆的面孔微微地红了一下,那侍女教她的是种谎话。另一方面,她又好象很明白,如果向病人说真话,一定会给她一种强烈的刺激,处在芳汀的那种状况下,那是受不了的。她脸红,立刻又平复了。那姆姆抬起她那双镇静而愁郁的眼睛,望着芳汀说:



“马德兰先生走了。”



芳汀竖起身子,坐在自己的脚跟上,眼睛炯炯发光。从她那愁容里放射出一阵从来不曾有过的喜色。



“走了!”她喊着说。“他去找珂赛特去了。”



于是她举起双手,指向天空,她的面容完全是无可形容的。她的嘴唇频频启合,她在低声祈祷。



当她祈祷完时:



“姆姆,”她说,“我很愿意唾下去,无论你们说什么,我全听从;刚才我太粗暴了,我求您原谅我那样大声说话,大声说话是非常不好的,我很明白;但是,我的姆姆,您看吧,我是非常开心的。慈悲的上帝是慈悲的,马德兰先生也是慈悲的,您想想吧,他到孟费?去找我的珂赛特去了。”



她又躺了下去,帮着那姆姆整理枕头,吻着自己颈上散普丽斯姆姆给她的那只小银十字架。



“我的孩子,”姆姆说,“现在稍稍休息一下吧,别再说话了。”



芳汀把那姆姆的手握在自己潮润的手里,姆姆触到了汗液,深感不快。



“他今天早晨动身去巴黎了。其实他用不着经过巴黎。孟费?稍许靠近到这儿来的路的左边。我昨天和他谈到珂赛特时,他向我说:‘快来了,快来了。’您还记得他是怎样对我说的吗?他要乘我不备,让我惊喜一场呢。您知道吗?他写了一封信,为了到德纳第家去带她回来,又叫我签了字。他们没有什么话可说的了,不是吗?他们会把珂赛特交来。他们的账已经清了。清了账还扣留孩子,法律不允许吧。我的姆姆,别做手势禁止我说话。我是快乐到极点了,我非常舒服,我完全没有病了,我将再和珂赛特会面,我还觉得饿极了。快五年了,我没有看见她。您,您想不到,那些孩子们,多么使您惦念呵!而且她是多么可爱,您就会看见!您哪里知道,她的小指头是那样鲜红漂亮的!首先,她的手是非常美丽的。在一岁时她的手丑得可笑。情况就是这样!现在她应当长大了。她已经七岁了,已经是个小姐了。我叫她做珂赛特,其实她的名字是欧福拉吉。听吧,今天早晨,我望着壁炉上的灰尘,我就有了种想法,不久我就可以和珂赛特会面了。我的上帝!一年一年地不看见自己的孩子,这多不应该呵!人们应当好好想想,生命不是永久的!呀!市长先生走了,他的心肠多么好!真的,天气很冷吗?他总穿了斗篷吧?他明天就会到这里。不是吗?明天是喜庆日。明天早晨,我的姆姆,请您提醒我戴那顶有花边的小帽子。孟费?,那是个大地方。从前我是从那条路一路走来的。对我来说真够远的。但是公共马车走得很快。他明天就会和珂赛特一同在这里了。从这里到孟费?有多少里路?”



姆姆对于里程完全外行,她回答说:



“呵!我想他明天总能到这里吧。”



“明天!明天!”芳汀说,“我明天可以和珂赛特见面了!您看,慈悲上帝的慈悲姆姆,我已经没有病了。我发疯了。假使你们允许的话,我可以跳舞呢。”



在一刻钟以前看见过她的人一定会莫名其妙。她现在脸色红润,说话的声音伶俐自如,满面只是笑容了。有时,她一面笑,一面又低声自言自语。慈母的欢乐几乎是和孩子的欢乐一样的。



“那么,”那信女又说,“您现在快乐了,听我的话,不要再说话了。”



芳汀把头放在枕头上,轻轻对自己说:“是的,你睡吧,乖乖的,你就会得到你的孩子了。散普丽斯姆姆说得有理。这儿的人个个都有理。”



于是她不动弹,不摇头,只用她一双睁大了的眼睛向四处望,神情愉快,不再说话了。



那姆姆把她的床帷重行放下,希望她可以稍稍睡一会。



七点多钟,医生来了。屋子里寂静无声,他以为芳汀睡着了,他轻轻走进来,踮着脚尖走近床边。他把床帷掀开一点,在植物油灯的微光中,他看见芳汀一双宁静的大眼睛正望着他。她向他说:“先生,不是吗?你们可以允许我,让她睡在我旁边的一张小床上。”



那医生以为她说胡话。她又说:



“您瞧,这里恰好有一个空地方。”



医生把散普丽斯姆姆引到一边,她才把那经过说清楚:马德兰先生在一两天之内不能来,病人以为市长先生去孟费?了,大家既然还不明白真相,便认为不应当道破她的错觉,况且她也可能猜对了。那医生也以为然。



他再走近芳汀的床,她又说:



“就是,您知道,当那可怜的娃娃早晨醒来时,我可以向她说早安,夜里,我不睡,我可以听她睡。她那种温和柔弱的呼吸使我听了心里多舒服。”



“把您的手伸给我。”医生说。



她伸出她的胳膊,又大声笑着说:



“呀!对了!的确,真的,您还不知道!我的病已经好了。



珂赛特明天就会来到。”



那医生大为惊讶。她确是好了一些。郁闷减轻了。脉也强了。一种突如其来的生命使这垂死的可怜人忽然兴奋起来。



“医生先生,”她又说,“这位姆姆告诉过您市长先生已去领小宝宝了吗?”



医生嘱咐要安静,并且要避免一切伤心的刺激。他开了药方,冲服纯奎宁,万一夜里体温增高,便服一种镇静剂。他临走时向姆姆说:“好一些了。假使托天之福,市长先生果真明天和那孩子一同到了,谁知道呢?病势的变化是那样不可测,我们见过多次极大的欢乐可以一下把病止住。我明明知道这是一种内脏的病,而且已很深了,但是这些事是那样不可解!也许我们可以把她救回来。”

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