第一卷滑铁卢 第19章战场上的夜景
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-07-24 00:33:13  【打印
CHAPTER XIX THE BATTLE-FIELD AT NIGHT







Let us return--it is a necessity in this book--to that fatal battle-field.



On the 18th of June the moon was full. Its light favored Blucher's ferocious pursuit, betrayed the traces of the fugitives, delivered up that disastrous mass to the eager Prussian cavalry, and aided the massacre. Such tragic favors of the night do occur sometimes during catastrophes.



After the last cannon-shot had been fired, the plain of Mont-Saint-Jean remained deserted.



The English occupied the encampment of the French; it is the usual sign of victory to sleep in the bed of the vanquished. They established their bivouac beyond Rossomme. The Prussians, let loose on the retreating rout, pushed forward. Wellington went to the village of Waterloo to draw up his report to Lord Bathurst.



If ever the sic vos non vobis was applicable, it certainly is to that village of Waterloo. Waterloo took no part, and lay half a league from the scene of action. Mont-Saint-Jean was cannonaded, Hougomont was burned, La Haie-Sainte was taken by assault, Papelotte was burned, Plancenoit was burned, La Belle-Alliance beheld the embrace of the two conquerors; these names are hardly known, and Waterloo, which worked not in the battle, bears off all the honor.



We are not of the number of those who flatter war; when the occasion presents itself, we tell the truth about it. War has frightful beauties which we have not concealed; it has also, we acknowledge, some hideous features. One of the most surprising is the prompt stripping of the bodies of the dead after the victory. The dawn which follows a battle always rises on naked corpses.



Who does this? Who thus soils the triumph? What hideous, furtive hand is that which is slipped into the pocket of victory? What pickpockets are they who ply their trade in the rear of glory? Some philosophers--Voltaire among the number--affirm that it is precisely those persons have made the glory. It is the same men, they say; there is no relief corps; those who are erect pillage those who are prone on the earth. The hero of the day is the vampire of the night. One has assuredly the right, after all, to strip a corpse a bit when one is the author of that corpse. For our own part, we do not think so; it seems to us impossible that the same hand should pluck laurels and purloin the shoes from a dead man.



One thing is certain, which is, that generally after conquerors follow thieves. But let us leave the soldier, especially the contemporary soldier, out of the question.



Every army has a rear-guard, and it is that which must be blamed. Bat-like creatures, half brigands and lackeys; all the sorts of vespertillos that that twilight called war engenders; wearers of uniforms, who take no part in the fighting; pretended invalids; formidable limpers; interloping sutlers, trotting along in little carts, sometimes accompanied by their wives, and stealing things which they sell again; beggars offering themselves as guides to officers; soldiers' servants; marauders; armies on the march in days gone by,-- we are not speaking of the present,--dragged all this behind them, so that in the special language they are called "stragglers." No army, no nation, was responsible for those beings; they spoke Italian and followed the Germans, then spoke French and followed the English. It was by one of these wretches, a Spanish straggler who spoke French, that the Marquis of Fervacques, deceived by his Picard jargon, and taking him for one of our own men, was traitorously slain and robbed on the battle-field itself, in the course of the night which followed the victory of Cerisoles. The rascal sprang from this marauding. The detestable maxim, Live on the enemy! produced this leprosy, which a strict discipline alone could heal. There are reputations which are deceptive; one does not always know why certain generals, great in other directions, have been so popular. Turenne was adored by his soldiers because he tolerated pillage; evil permitted constitutes part of goodness. Turenne was so good that he allowed the Palatinate to be delivered over to fire and blood. The marauders in the train of an army were more or less in number, according as the chief was more or less severe. Hoche and Marceau had no stragglers; Wellington had few, and we do him the justice to mention it.



Nevertheless, on the night from the 18th to the 19th of June, the dead were robbed. Wellington was rigid; he gave orders that any one caught in the act should be shot; but rapine is tenacious. The marauders stole in one corner of the battlefield while others were being shot in another.



The moon was sinister over this plain.



Towards midnight, a man was prowling about, or rather, climbing in the direction of the hollow road of Ohain. To all appearance he was one of those whom we have just described,--neither English nor French, neither peasant nor soldier, less a man than a ghoul attracted by the scent of the dead bodies having theft for his victory, and come to rifle Waterloo. He was clad in a blouse that was something like a great coat; he was uneasy and audacious; he walked forwards and gazed behind him. Who was this man? The night probably knew more of him than the day. He had no sack, but evidently he had large pockets under his coat. From time to time he halted, scrutinized the plain around him as though to see whether he were observed, bent over abruptly, disturbed something silent and motionless on the ground, then rose and fled. His sliding motion, his attitudes, his mysterious and rapid gestures, caused him to resemble those twilight larvae which haunt ruins, and which ancient Norman legends call the Alleurs.



Certain nocturnal wading birds produce these silhouettes among the marshes.



A glance capable of piercing all that mist deeply would have perceived at some distance a sort of little sutler's wagon with a fluted wicker hood, harnessed to a famished nag which was cropping the grass across its bit as it halted, hidden, as it were, behind the hovel which adjoins the highway to Nivelles, at the angle of the road from Mont-Saint-Jean to Braine l'Alleud; and in the wagon, a sort of woman seated on coffers and packages. Perhaps there was some connection between that wagon and that prowler.



The darkness was serene. Not a cloud in the zenith. What matters it if the earth be red! the moon remains white; these are the indifferences of the sky. In the fields, branches of trees broken by grape-shot, but not fallen, upheld by their bark, swayed gently in the breeze of night. A breath, almost a respiration, moved the shrubbery. Quivers which resembled the departure of souls ran through the grass.



In the distance the coming and going of patrols and the general rounds of the English camp were audible.



Hougomont and La Haie-Sainte continued to burn, forming, one in the west, the other in the east, two great flames which were joined by the cordon of bivouac fires of the English, like a necklace of rubies with two carbuncles at the extremities, as they extended in an immense semicircle over the hills along the horizon.



We have described the catastrophe of the road of Ohain. The heart is terrified at the thought of what that death must have been to so many brave men.



If there is anything terrible, if there exists a reality which surpasses dreams, it is this: to live, to see the sun; to be in full possession of virile force; to possess health and joy; to laugh valiantly; to rush towards a glory which one sees dazzling in front of one; to feel in one's breast lungs which breathe, a heart which beats, a will which reasons; to speak, think, hope, love; to have a mother, to have a wife, to have children; to have the light--and all at once, in the space of a shout, in less than a minute, to sink into an abyss; to fall, to roll, to crush, to be crushed; to see ears of wheat, flowers, leaves, branches; not to be able to catch hold of anything; to feel one's sword useless, men beneath one, horses on top of one; to struggle in vain, since one's bones have been broken by some kick in the darkness; to feel a heel which makes one's eyes start from their sockets; to bite horses' shoes in one's rage; to stifle, to yell, to writhe; to be beneath, and to say to one's self, "But just a little while ago I was a living man!"



There, where that lamentable disaster had uttered its death-rattle, all was silence now. The edges of the hollow road were encumbered with horses and riders, inextricably heaped up. Terrible entanglement! There was no longer any slope, for the corpses had levelled the road with the plain, and reached the brim like a well-filled bushel of barley. A heap of dead bodies in the upper part, a river of blood in the lower part--such was that road on the evening of the 18th of June, 1815. The blood ran even to the Nivelles highway, and there overflowed in a large pool in front of the abatis of trees which barred the way, at a spot which is still pointed out.



It will be remembered that it was at the opposite point, in the direction of the Genappe road, that the destruction of the cuirassiers had taken place. The thickness of the layer of bodies was proportioned to the depth of the hollow road. Towards the middle, at the point where it became level, where Delort's division had passed, the layer of corpses was thinner.



The nocturnal prowler whom we have just shown to the reader was going in that direction. He was searching that vast tomb. He gazed about. He passed the dead in some sort of hideous review. He walked with his feet in the blood.



All at once he paused.



A few paces in front of him, in the hollow road, at the point where the pile of dead came to an end, an open hand, illumined by the moon, projected from beneath that heap of men. That hand had on its finger something sparkling, which was a ring of gold.



The man bent over, remained in a crouching attitude for a moment, and when he rose there was no longer a ring on the hand.



He did not precisely rise; he remained in a stooping and frightened attitude, with his back turned to the heap of dead, scanning the horizon on his knees, with the whole upper portion of his body supported on his two forefingers, which rested on the earth, and his head peering above the edge of the hollow road. The jackal's four paws suit some actions.



Then coming to a decision, he rose to his feet.



At that moment, he gave a terrible start. He felt some one clutch him from behind.



He wheeled round; it was the open hand, which had closed, and had seized the skirt of his coat.



An honest man would have been terrified; this man burst into a laugh.



"Come," said he, "it's only a dead body. I prefer a spook to a gendarme."



But the hand weakened and released him. Effort is quickly exhausted in the grave.



"Well now," said the prowler, "is that dead fellow alive?



Let's see."



He bent down again, fumbled among the heap, pushed aside everything that was in his way, seized the hand, grasped the arm, freed the head, pulled out the body, and a few moments later he was dragging the lifeless, or at least the unconscious, man, through the shadows of hollow road. He was a cuirassier, an officer, and even an officer of considerable rank; a large gold epaulette peeped from beneath the cuirass; this officer no longer possessed a helmet. A furious sword-cut had scarred his face, where nothing was discernible but blood.



However, he did not appear to have any broken limbs, and, by some happy chance, if that word is permissible here, the dead had been vaulted above him in such a manner as to preserve him from being crushed. His eyes were still closed.



On his cuirass he wore the silver cross of the Legion of Honor.



The prowler tore off this cross, which disappeared into one of the gulfs which he had beneath his great coat.



Then he felt of the officer's fob, discovered a watch there, and took possession of it. Next he searched his waistcoat, found a purse and pocketed it.



When he had arrived at this stage of succor which he was administering to this dying man, the officer opened his eyes.



"Thanks," he said feebly.



The abruptness of the movements of the man who was manipulating him, the freshness of the night, the air which he could inhale freely, had roused him from his lethargy.



The prowler made no reply. He raised his head. A sound of footsteps was audible in the plain; some patrol was probably approaching.



The officer murmured, for the death agony was still in his voice:--



"Who won the battle?"



"The English," answered the prowler.



The officer went on:--



"Look in my pockets; you will find a watch and a purse. Take them."



It was already done.



The prowler executed the required feint, and said:--



"There is nothing there."



"I have been robbed," said the officer; "I am sorry for that. You should have had them."



The steps of the patrol became more and more distinct.



"Some one is coming," said the prowler, with the movement of a man who is taking his departure.



The officer raised his arm feebly, and detained him.



"You have saved my life. Who are you?"



The prowler answered rapidly, and in a low voice:--



"Like yourself, I belonged to the French army. I must leave you. If they were to catch me, they would shoot me. I have saved your life. Now get out of the scrape yourself."



"What is your rank?"



"Sergeant."



"What is your name?"



"Thenardier."



"I shall not forget that name," said the officer; "and do you remember mine. My name is Pontmercy."











十九 战场上的夜景









我们再来谈谈那不幸的战场,这对本书是必要的。



一八一五年六月十八日正是月圆之夜。月色给布吕歇尔的猛烈追击以许多方便,替他指出逃兵的动向,把那浩劫中的人流交付给贪戾的普鲁士骑兵,促成了那次屠杀。天灾人祸中,夜色有时是会那样助人杀兴的。



在放过那最后一炮后,圣约翰山的原野上剩下的只是一片凄凉景象。



英军占了法军的营幕,那是证明胜利的一贯做法,在失败者的榻上高枕而卧。他们越过罗松,安营露宿。普鲁士军奋力穷追,向前推进。威灵顿回到滑铁卢村里写军书,向贵人巴塞司特报捷。



假使“有名无实”这个词能用得恰当,那就一定可以用在滑铁卢村,滑铁卢什么也没有做,它离开作战地点有半法里远。圣约翰山被炮轰击过,乌古蒙烧了,帕佩洛特烧了,普朗尚努瓦烧了,圣拉埃受过攻打,佳盟见过两个胜利者的拥抱;那些地方几乎无人知晓,而滑铁卢在这次战争中毫不出力,却享尽了荣誉。



我们都不是那种赞扬战争的人,所以一有机会,便把战争的实情说出。战争有它那骇人的美,我们一点也不隐讳;但也应当承认,它有它的丑,其中最骇人听闻的一种,便是在胜利过后立即搜刮死人的财物。战争翌日,晨曦往往照着赤身露体的尸首。



是谁干那种事,谁那样污辱胜利?偷偷伸在胜利的衣袋里的那只凶手是谁的?隐在光荣后面实行罪恶勾当的那些无赖是些什么人?有些哲学家,例如伏尔泰诸人,都肯定说干那种事的人恰巧是胜利者。据说他们全是一样的,没有区别,立着的人抢掠倒下的人。白昼的英雄便是夜间的吸血鬼。况且既杀其人,再稍稍沾一点光也是分内应享的权利。至于我们,却不敢轻信。赢得桂冠而又偷窃一个死人的鞋子,在我们看来,似乎不是同一只手干得出来的。



有一点却是确实的,就是常有小偷跟在胜利者后面。但是我们应当撇开士兵不谈,尤其是现代的士兵。



每个军队都有个尾巴,那才是该控诉的地方。一些蝙蝠式的东西,半土匪半仆役,从战争的悲惨日子里产生的各种飞鼠,穿军装而不上阵,装假病,足跛心黑骑着马,有时带着女人,坐上小车,贩卖私货,卖出而又随手偷进的火头兵,向军官们请求作向导的乞丐、勤务兵、扒手之类,从前军队出发??我们不谈现代??每每拖着那样一批家伙,因而专业用语里称之谓“押队”。任何军队或任何国家都不对那些人负责。他们说意大利语却跟着德国人,说法语却跟着英国人。切里索尔①战役胜利的那天晚上,费瓦克侯爷遇见一个说法语的西班牙押队,听了他的北方土话,便把他当作一家人,当晚被那无赖谋害在战场上,东西也被他偷走了。有偷就有贼。有句可鄙的口语“靠敌人吃饭”说明了这种麻疯病的由来,只有严厉的军纪才能医治。有些人是徒有其名的,我们不能一一知道为什么某某将军,甚至某某大将军的名气会那样大。蒂雷纳②受到他的士兵的爱戴,正因为他纵容劫掠,纵恶竟成了仁爱的一个组成部分,蒂雷纳仁爱到听凭部下焚毁屠杀巴拉蒂纳③。军队后面窃贼的多寡,全以将领的严弛为准则。奥什④和马尔索⑤绝对没有押队,威灵顿有而不多??我们乐于为他说句公道话。



①切里索尔(Cérisolles),村名,在意大利,一五四四年,法军败西班牙军于此。



②蒂雷纳(Turenne),十七世纪法国元帅。



③巴拉蒂纳(Palatinat),即今西德的法尔茨(Pfalz)。



④奥什(Hoche),法国革命时期的将军。



⑤马尔索(Marceau),同上。  



可是六月十八到十九的那天晚上有人盗尸。威灵顿是严明的,军中有当场拿获格杀勿论的命令,但是盗犯猖獗如故。



正当战场这边枪决盗犯时,战场那边却照样进行盗窃。



惨淡的月光照着那片原野。



夜半前后,有个人在奥安凹路一带徘徊,更确切地说,在那一带匍匐。从他的外貌看去,他正是我们刚才描写过的那种人,既不是法国人,也不是英国人,既不是农民,也不是士兵,三分象人,七分象鬼,他闻尸味而垂涎,以偷盗为胜利,现在前来搜刮滑铁卢。他穿一件蒙头斗篷式布衫,鬼鬼祟祟,却一身都是胆,他往前走,又向后看。那是个什么人?他的来历,黑夜也许要比白昼知道得更清楚些。他没有提囊,但在布衫下面显然有些大口袋。他不时停下来,四面张望,怕有人注意他,他突然弯下腰,翻动地上一些不出声气,动也不动的东西,随即又站起来,偷偷地走了。他那种滑动,那种神气,那种敏捷而神秘的动作,就象黄昏时在荒丘间出没的那种野鬼,也就是诺曼底古代传奇中所说的那种赶路鬼。



夜行陂泽间的某些涉禽是会有那种形象的。



假使有人留意,望穿那片迷雾,便会看到在他眼前不远,在尼维尔路转向从圣约翰山去布兰拉勒的那条路旁的一栋破屋后面,正停着,可以这么说,正躲着一辆小杂货车,车篷是柳条编的,涂了柏油,驾着一匹驽马,它饿到戴着勒口吃荨麻,车子里有个女人坐在一些箱匣包袱上面。也许那辆车和那忽来忽往的人有些关系。



夜色明静。天空无片云。血染沙场并不影响月色的皎洁,正所谓昊天不吊。原隔间,有些树枝已被炮弹折断,却不曾落地,仍旧连皮挂在树上,在晚风中微微动荡。一阵弱如鼻息的气流拂着野草。野草瑟缩,有如灵魂归去。



英军营幕前,夜巡军士来往逡巡的声音从远处传来,隐约可辨。



乌古蒙和圣拉埃,一在西,一在东,都还在燃烧,在那两篷烈火之间,远处的高坡上,英军营帐中的灯火连成一个大半圆形,好象一串解下了的红宝石项圈,两端各缀一块彩色水晶。



我们已经谈过奥安凹路的惨祸。那么多忠勇的人竟会死得那么惨,想来真令人心惊。



假使世间有桩可骇的事,比做梦还更现实的事,那一定是:活着,看见太阳,身强力壮,健康而温暖,能够开怀狂笑,向自己前面的光荣奔去,辉煌灿烂的光荣,觉得自己胸中有呼吸着的肺,跳动的心,明辨是非的意志,能够谈论,思想,希望,恋爱,有母亲,有爱妻,有儿女,有光明,可是陡然一下,在一声号叫里落在坑里,跌着。滚着,压着,被压着,看见麦穗、花、叶和枝,却抓不住,觉得自己的刀已经失去作用,下面是人,上面是马,徒劳挣扎,眼前一片黑,觉得自己是在马蹄的蹴踏之下,骨头折断了,眼珠突出了,疯狂地咬着马蹄铁,气塞了,号着,奋力辗转,被压在那下面,心里在想:“刚才我还是一个活人!”



在那场伤心惨目的灾难暴发的地方,现在连一点声息也没有了。那条凹路的两壁间已填满了马和骑士,层层叠叠,颠倒纵横,错杂骇人心魄。两旁已没有斜壁了。死人死马把那条路填得和旷野一样高,和路边一般平,正象一升量得满满的粟米。上层是一堆尸体,底下是一条血河,那条路在一八一五年六月十八日夜间的情形便是如此。血一直流到尼维尔路,并在砍来拦阻道路的那堆树木前面积成一个大血泊,直到现在,那地方还受人凭吊。我们记得,铁骑军遇险的地方是在对面,近热纳普路那一带。尸层的厚薄和凹路的深浅成正比。靠中间那段路平坑浅的地方,也就是德洛尔部越过的地方,尸层渐薄了。



我们刚才向读者约略谈到的那个夜间行窃的人,正是向那地段走去。他嗅着那条广阔的墓地。他东张西望。他检阅的是一种说不清的令人多么厌恶的死人的队伍。他踏着血泊往前走。



他突然停下。



在他前面相隔几步的地方,在那凹路里尸山的尽头,有一只手在月光下的那堆人马中伸出来。



那只手的指头上有一个明晃晃的东西,是个金戒指。



那人弯下腰去,蹲了一会儿,到他重行立起时,那只手上已没有戒指了。



他并没有真正立起来,他那形态好象一只惊弓的野兽,背朝着死人堆,眼睛望着远处,跪着,上身全部支在两只着地的食指上,头伸出凹路边,向外望。豺狗的四个爪子对某种行动是适合的。



随后,打定了主意,他才立起来。



正在那时,他大吃一惊,他觉得有人从后面拖住他。



他转过去看,正是那只原来张开的手,现已合拢,抓住了他的衣边。



诚实的人一定受惊不小,这一个却笑了起来。



“啐,”他说,“幸好是个死人!我宁肯碰见鬼也不愿碰见宪兵。”



他正说着,那只手气力已尽便丢开了他。死人的气力是有限的。



“怪事!”那贼又说,“这死人是活的吗?让我来看看。”



他重新弯下腰去,搜着那人堆,把碍手脚的东西掀开,抓着那只手,把住他的胳膊,搬出头,拖出身子,过一会儿,他把一个断了气的人,至少也是一个失了知觉的人,拖到凹路的黑影里去了。那是铁骑军的一个军官,并且是一个等级颇高的军官,一条很宽的金肩章从铁甲里露出来,那军官已经丢了铁盔。他脸上血迹模糊,有一长条刀砍的伤口,此外,他不象有什么折断了的肢体,并且侥幸得很,假使此地也可能有侥幸的话,有些尸体在他上面交叉构成一个空隙,因而他没有受压。



他眼睛闭上了。



在他的铁甲上,有个银质的功勋十字章。



那个贼拔下了十字章,塞在他那蒙头斗篷下面的那些无底洞里。



过后,他摸摸那军官的裤腰口袋,摸到一只表,一并拿了去。随后他搜背心,搜出一个钱包,也一并塞在自己的衣袋里。



正当他把那垂死的人救到现阶段时,那军官的眼睛睁开了。



“谢谢。”他气息奄奄地说。



那人翻动他的那种急促动作,晚风的凉爽,呼吸到的流畅的空气,使他从昏迷中醒过来了。



那贼没有答话。他抬起头来。他听见旷野里有脚步声,也许是什么巡逻队来了。



那军官低声说,因为他刚刚转过气来,去死还不远:



“谁胜了?”



“英国人。”那贼回答。



“您搜我的衣袋。我有一个钱包和一只表。您可以拿去。”



他早已拿去了。



那贼照他的话假装寻了一遍,说道:



“什么也没有。”



“已经有人偷去了,”那军官接着说,“岂有此理,不然就是您的了。”



巡逻队的脚步声越来越清楚了。



“有人来了。”那贼说,做出要走的样子。



那军官使尽力气,伸起手来,抓住他:



“您救了我的命。您是谁?”



那贼连忙低声回答说:



“我和您一样,也是法国军队里的。我得走开。假使有人捉住我,他们就会枪毙我。我已经救了您的命。现在您自己去逃生吧。”



“您是那一级的?”



“中士。”



“您叫什么名字?”



“德纳第。”



“我不会忘记这个名字,”那军官说,“您也记住我的名字,我叫彭眉胥。”

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