第五卷无声的狗群黑夜搜索 第09章佩带铃铛的人
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-08-10 21:50:56  【打印
CHAPTER IX THE MAN WITH THE BELL







He walked straight up to the man whom he saw in the garden. He had taken in his hand the roll of silver which was in the pocket of his waistcoat.



The man's head was bent down, and he did not see him approaching. In a few strides Jean Valjean stood beside him.



Jean Valjean accosted him with the cry:--



"One hundred francs!"



The man gave a start and raised his eyes.



"You can earn a hundred francs," went on Jean Valjean, "if you will grant me shelter for this night."



The moon shone full upon Jean Valjean's terrified countenance.



"What! so it is you, Father Madeleine!" said the man.



That name, thus pronounced, at that obscure hour, in that unknown spot, by that strange man, made Jean Valjean start back.



He had expected anything but that. The person who thus addressed him was a bent and lame old man, dressed almost like a peasant, who wore on his left knee a leather knee-cap, whence hung a moderately large bell. His face, which was in the shadow, was not distinguishable.



However, the goodman had removed his cap, and exclaimed, trembling all over:--



"Ah, good God! How come you here, Father Madeleine? Where did you enter? Dieu-Jesus! Did you fall from heaven? There is no trouble about that: if ever you do fall, it will be from there. And what a state you are in! You have no cravat; you have no hat; you have no coat! Do you know, you would have frightened any one who did not know you? No coat! Lord God! Are the saints going mad nowadays? But how did you get in here?"



His words tumbled over each other. The goodman talked with a rustic volubility, in which there was nothing alarming. All this was uttered with a mixture of stupefaction and naive kindliness.



"Who are you? and what house is this?" demanded Jean Valjean.



"Ah! pardieu, this is too much!" exclaimed the old man. "I am the person for whom you got the place here, and this house is the one where you had me placed. What! You don't recognize me?"



"No," said Jean Valjean; "and how happens it that you know me?"



"You saved my life," said the man.



He turned. A ray of moonlight outlined his profile, and Jean Valjean recognized old Fauchelevent.



"Ah!" said Jean Valjean, "so it is you? Yes, I recollect you."



"That is very lucky," said the old man, in a reproachful tone.



"And what are you doing here?" resumed Jean Valjean.



"Why, I am covering my melons, of course!"



In fact, at the moment when Jean Valjean accosted him, old Fauchelevent held in his hand the end of a straw mat which he was occupied in spreading over the melon bed. During the hour or thereabouts that he had been in the garden he had already spread out a number of them. It was this operation which had caused him to execute the peculiar movements observed from the shed by Jean Valjean.



He continued:--



"I said to myself, `The moon is bright: it is going to freeze. What if I were to put my melons into their greatcoats?' And," he added, looking at Jean Valjean with a broad smile,--"pardieu! you ought to have done the same! But how do you come here?"



Jean Valjean, finding himself known to this man, at least only under the name of Madeleine, thenceforth advanced only with caution. He multiplied his questions. Strange to say, their roles seemed to be reversed. It was he, the intruder, who interrogated.



"And what is this bell which you wear on your knee?"



"This," replied Fauchelevent, "is so that I may be avoided."



"What! so that you may be avoided?"



Old Fauchelevent winked with an indescribable air.



"Ah, goodness! there are only women in this house--many young girls. It appears that I should be a dangerous person to meet. The bell gives them warning. When I come, they go.



"What house is this?"



"Come, you know well enough."



"But I do not."



"Not when you got me the place here as gardener?"



"Answer me as though I knew nothing."



"Well, then, this is the Petit-Picpus convent."



Memories recurred to Jean Valjean. Chance, that is to say, Providence, had cast him into precisely that convent in the Quartier Saint-Antoine where old Fauchelevent, crippled by the fall from his cart, had been admitted on his recommendation two years previously. He repeated, as though talking to himself:--



"The Petit-Picpus convent."



"Exactly," returned old Fauchelevent. "But to come to the point, how the deuce did you manage to get in here, you, Father Madeleine? No matter if you are a saint; you are a man as well, and no man enters here."



"You certainly are here."



"There is no one but me."



"Still," said Jean Valjean, "I must stay here."



"Ah, good God!" cried Fauchelevent.



Jean Valjean drew near to the old man, and said to him in a grave voice:--



"Father Fauchelevent, I saved your life."



"I was the first to recall it," returned Fauchelevent.



"Well, you can do to-day for me that which I did for you in the olden days."



Fauchelevent took in his aged, trembling, and wrinkled hands Jean Valjean's two robust hands, and stood for several minutes as though incapable of speaking. At length he exclaimed:--



"Oh! that would be a blessing from the good God, if I could make you some little return for that! Save your life! Monsieur le Maire, dispose of the old man!"



A wonderful joy had transfigured this old man. His countenance seemed to emit a ray of light.



"What do you wish me to do?" he resumed.



"That I will explain to you. You have a chamber?"



"I have an isolated hovel yonder, behind the ruins of the old convent, in a corner which no one ever looks into. There are three rooms in it."



The hut was, in fact, so well hidden behind the ruins, and so cleverly arranged to prevent it being seen, that Jean Valjean had not perceived it.



"Good," said Jean Valjean. "Now I am going to ask two things of you."



"What are they, Mr. Mayor?"



"In the first place, you are not to tell any one what you know about me. In the second, you are not to try to find out anything more."



"As you please. I know that you can do nothing that is not honest, that you have always been a man after the good God's heart. And then, moreover, you it was who placed me here. That concerns you. I am at your service."



"That is settled then. Now, come with me. We will go and get the child."



"Ah!" said Fauchelevent, "so there is a child?"



He added not a word further, and followed Jean Valjean as a dog follows his master.



Less than half an hour afterwards Cosette, who had grown rosy again before the flame of a good fire, was lying asleep in the old gardener's bed. Jean Valjean had put on his cravat and coat once more; his hat, which he had flung over the wall, had been found and picked up. While Jean Valjean was putting on his coat, Fauchelevent had removed the bell and kneecap, which now hung on a nail beside a vintage basket that adorned the wall. The two men were warming themselves with their elbows resting on a table upon which Fauchelevent had placed a bit of cheese, black bread, a bottle of wine, and two glasses, and the old man was saying to Jean Valjean, as he laid his hand on the latter's knee: "Ah! Father Madeleine! You did not recognize me immediately; you save people's lives, and then you forget them! That is bad! But they remember you! You are an ingrate!"











九 佩带铃铛的人









他望着园里的那个人一径走去。手里捏着一卷从背心口袋里掏出来的钱。



那人正低着脑袋,没有看见他来。冉阿让几大步便跨到了他身边。



冉阿让劈头便喊:



“一百法郎!”



那人吓得一跳,睁圆了眼。



“一百法郎给您挣,”冉阿让接着又说,“假使您今晚给我一个地方过夜!”



月亮正全面照着冉阿让惊慌的面孔。



“啊,是您,马德兰爷爷!”那人说。



这名字,在这样的黑夜里,在这样一个没有到过的地方,从这样一个陌生人的嘴里叫出来,冉阿让听了连忙往后退。



什么他都有准备,却没有料到这一手。和他说话的是一个腰驼腿瘸的老人,穿的衣服几乎象个乡巴佬,左膝上绑着一条皮带,上面吊个相当大的铃铛。他的脸正背着光,因此看不清楚。



这时,老人已经摘下了帽子,哆哆嗦嗦地说道:“啊,我的天主!您怎么会在这儿的,马德兰爷爷?您是从哪儿进来的,天主耶稣!您是从天上掉下来的!这不希奇,要是您掉下来,您一定是从那上面掉下来的。瞧瞧您现在的样子!您没有领带,您没有帽子,您没有大衣!您不知道,要是人家不认识您,您才把人吓坏了呢。没有大衣!我的天主爷爷,敢是今天的诸圣天神全疯了?您是怎样到这里来的?”



一句紧接着一句。老头儿带着乡下人的那种爽利劲儿一气说完,叫人听了一点也不感到别扭。语气中夹杂着惊讶和天真淳朴的神情。



“您是谁?这是什么宅子?”冉阿让问。



“啊,老天爷,您存心开玩笑!”老头儿喊着说,“是您把我安插在这里的,是您把我介绍到这宅子里来的。哪里的话!您会不认识我了?”



“不认识,”冉阿让说,“您怎么会认识我的,您?”



“您救过我的命。”那人说。



他转过身去,一线月光正照着他的半边脸,冉阿让认出了割风老头儿。



“啊!”冉阿让说,“是您吗?对,我认识您。”



“幸亏还好!”老头儿带着埋怨的口气说。



“您在这里干什么?”冉阿让接着又问。



“嘿!我在盖我的瓜嘛!”



割风老头儿,当冉阿让走近他时,他正提着一条草荐的边准备盖在瓜田上。他在园里已经待了个把钟头,已经盖上了相当数量的草荐。冉阿让先头在棚子里注意到的那种特殊动作,正是他干这活的动作。



他又说道:



“我先头在想,月亮这么明,快下霜了。要不要去替我的瓜披上大氅呢?”接着,他又呵呵大笑,望着冉阿让又补上这么一句,“您也得妈拉巴子好好披上这么一件了吧!到底您是怎样进来的?”



冉阿让心里寻思这人既然认得他,至少他认得马德兰这名字,自己就得格外谨慎才行。他从多方面提出问题。大有反客为主的样子,这真算得上是一件怪事。他是不速之客,反而盘问个不停。



“您膝头上带着个什么响铃?”



“这?”割风回答说,“带个响铃,好让人家听了避开我。”



“怎么!好让人家避开您?”



割风老头儿阴阳怪气地挤弄着一只眼。



“啊,妈的!这宅子里尽是些娘儿们,一大半还是小娘儿们。据说撞着我不是好玩儿的。铃儿叫她们留神。我来了,她们好躲开。”



“这是个什么宅子?”



“嘿!您还不知道!”



“的确我不知道。”



“您把我介绍到这里来当园丁,会不知道!”



“您就当作我不知道,回答我了吧。”



“好吧,这不就是小比克布斯女修院!”



冉阿让想起来了。两年前,割风老头儿从车上摔下来,摔坏了一条腿,由于冉阿让的介绍,圣安东尼区的女修院把他收留下来,而他现在恰巧又落在这女修院里,这是巧遇,也是天意。他象对自己说话似的嘟囔着:



“小比克布斯女修院!”



“啊,归根到底,老实说,”割风接着说,“您到底是从什么地方进来的,您,马德兰爷爷?您是一个正人君子,这也白搭,您总是个男人。男人是不许到这里来的。”



“您怎么又能来?”



“就我这么一个男人。”



“可是,”冉阿让接着说,“我非得在这儿待下不成。”



“啊,我的天主!”割风喊看说。



冉阿让向老头儿身边迈了一步,用严肃的声音向他说:



“割风爷,我救过您的命。”



“是我先想起这回事的。”割风回答说。



“那么,我从前是怎样对待您的,您今天也可以怎样对待我。”



割风用他两只已经老到颤巍巍的满是皱皮的手抱住冉阿让的两只铁掌,过了好一阵说不出话来。最后他才喊道:



“呵!要是我能报答您一丁点儿,那才是慈悲上帝的恩典呢!我!救您的命!市长先生,请您吩咐我这老头儿吧!”



一阵眉开眼笑的喜色好象改变了老人的容貌。他脸上也好象有了光彩。



“您说我得干些什么呢?”他接着又说。



“让我慢慢儿和您谈。您有一间屋子吗?”



“我有一个孤零零的破棚子,那儿,在老庵子破屋后面的一个弯角里,谁也瞧不见的地方。一共三间屋子。”



破棚隐在那破庵后面,地位确是隐蔽,谁也瞧不见,冉阿让也不曾发现它。



“好的,”冉阿让说,“现在我要求您两件事。”



“哪两件,市长先生?”



“第一件,您所知道的有关我的事对谁也不说。第二件,您不追问关于我的旁的事。”



“就这么办。我知道您干的全是光明正大的事,也知道您一辈子是慈悲上帝的人。并且是您把我安插在这儿的。那是您的事。我听您吩咐就是。”



“一言为定。现在请跟我来。我们去找孩子。”



“啊!”割风说,“还有个孩子!”



他没有再多说一句话,象条狗①一样跟着冉阿让走。



①以狗喻忠实朋友,不是侮称。 



小半个钟头过后,珂赛特已经睡在老园丁的床上,面前燃着一炉熊熊好火,脸色又转红了。冉阿让重行结上领带,穿上大衣,从墙头上丢过来的帽子也找到了,拾了回来,正当冉阿让披上大衣时,割风已经取下膝上的系铃带,走去挂在一只背箩旁的钉子上,点缀着墙壁。两个人一齐靠着桌子坐下烤火,割风早在桌上放了一块干酪、一块黑面包、一瓶葡萄酒和两个玻璃杯,老头儿把一只手放在冉阿让的膝头上,向他说:



“啊!马德兰爷爷!您先头想了许久才认出我来!您救了人家的命,又把人家忘掉!呵!这很不应该!人家老惦记着您呢!您这黑良心!”

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