第09章 医生
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-07-26 19:40:54  【打印
Chapter 09 THE LEECH









UNDER the appellation of Roger Chillingworth, the reader will remember, was hidden another name, which its former wearer had resolved should never more be spoken. It has been related, how, in the crowd that witnessed Hester Prynne's ignominious exposure, stood a man, elderly, travel-worn, who, just emerging from the perilous wilderness, beheld the woman, in whom he hoped to find embodied the warmth and cheerfulness of home, set up as a type of sin before the people. Her matronly fame was trodden under all men's feet. Infamy was babbling around her in the public market-place. For her kindred, should the tidings ever reach them, and for the companions of her unspotted life, there remained nothing but the contagion of her dishonour; which would not fail to be distributed in strict accordance and proportion with the intimacy and sacredness of their previous relationship. Then why- since the choice was with himself- should the individual, whose connection with the fallen woman had been the most intimate and sacred of them all, come forward to vindicate his claim to an inheritance so little desirable? He resolved not to be pilloried beside her on her pedestal of shame. Unknown to all but Hester Prynne, and possessing the lock and key of her silence, he chose to withdraw his name from the roll of mankind, and as regarded his former ties and interests, to vanish out of life as completely as if he indeed lay at the bottom of the ocean, whither rumour had long ago consigned him. This purpose once effected, new interests would immediately spring up, and likewise a new purpose; dark, it is true, if not guilty, but of force enough to engage the full strength of his faculties.



In pursuance of this resolve, he took up his residence in the Puritan town, as Roger Chillingworth, without other introduction than the learning and intelligence of which he possessed more than a common measure. As his studies, at a previous period of his life, had made him extensively acquainted with the medical science of the day, it was as a physician that he presented himself, and as such was cordially received. Skilful men, of the medical and chirurgical profession, were of rare occurrence in the colony. They seldom, it would appear, partook of the religious zeal that brought other emigrants across the Atlantic. In their researches into the human frame, it may be that the higher and more subtile faculties of such men were materialised, and that they lost the spiritual view of existence amid the intricacies of that wondrous mechanism, which seemed to involve art enough to comprise all of life within itself. At all events, the health of the good town of Boston, so far as medicine had aught to do with it, had hitherto lain in the guardianship of an aged deacon and apothecary, whose piety and godly deportment were stronger testimonials in his favour than any that he could have produced in the shape of a diploma. The only surgeon was one who combined the occasional exercise of that noble art with the daily and habitual flourish of a razor. To such a professional body Roger Chillingworth was a brilliant acquisition. He soon manifested his familiarity with the ponderous and imposing machinery of antique physic; in which every remedy contained a multitude of far-fetched and heterogeneous ingredients, as elaborately compounded as if the proposed result had been the Elixir of Life. In his Indian captivity, moreover, he had gained much knowledge of the properties of native herbs and roots; nor did he conceal from his patients, that these simple medicines, Nature's boon to the untutored savage, had quite as large a share of his own confidence as the European pharmacopoeia, which so many learned doctors had spent centuries in elaborating.



This learned stranger was exemplary, as regarded, at least, the outward forms of a religious life, and, early after his arrival, had chosen for his spiritual guide the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. The young divine, whose scholar-like renown still lived in Oxford, was considered by his more fervent admirers as little less than a heavenly-ordained apostle, destined, should he live and labour for the ordinary term of life, to do as great deeds for the now feeble New England Church, as the early Fathers had achieved for the infancy of the Christian faith. About this period, however, the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail. By those best acquainted with his habits, the paleness of the young minister's cheek was accounted for by his too earnest devotion to study, his scrupulous fulfilment of parochial duty, and, more than all, by the fasts and vigils of which he made a frequent practice, in order to keep the grossness of this earthly state from clogging and obscuring his spiritual lamp. Some declared, that, if Mr. Dimmesdale were really going to die, it was cause enough, that the world was not worthy to be any longer trodden by his feet. He himself, on the other hand, with characteristic humility, avowed his belief, that, if Providence should see fit to remove him, it would be because of his own unworthiness to perform its humblest mission here on earth. With all this difference of opinion as to the cause of his decline, there could be no question of the fact. His form grew emaciated; his voice, though still rich and sweet, had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often observed, on any slight alarm or other sudden accident, to put his hand over his heart, with first a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain.



Such was the young clergyman's condition, and so imminent the prospect that his dawning light would be extinguished, all untimely, when Roger Chillingworth made his advent to the town. His first entry on the scene, few people could tell whence, dropping down, it were, out of the sky, or starting from the nether earth, had an aspect of mystery, which was easily heightened to the miraculous. He was now known to be a man of skill; it was observed that he gathered herbs, and the blossoms of wild-flowers, and dug up roots, and plucked off twigs from the forest-trees like one acquainted with hidden virtues in what was valueless to common eyes. He was heard to speak of Sir Kenelm Digby, and other famous men- whose scientific attainments were esteemed hardly less than supernatural- as having been his correspondents or associates. Why, with such rank in the learned world, had he come hither? What could he, whose sphere was in great cities, be seeking in the wilderness? In answer to this query, a rumour gained ground- and, however absurd, was entertained by some very sensible people- that Heaven had wrought an absolute miracle, by transporting an eminent Doctor of Physic, from a German university, bodily through the air, and setting him down at the door of Mr. Dimmesdale's study! Individuals of wiser faith, indeed, who knew that Heaven promotes its purposes without aiming at the stage-effect of what is called miraculous interposition, were inclined to see a providential hand in Roger Chillingworth's so opportune arrival.



This idea was countenanced by the strong interest which the physician ever manifested in the young clergyman; he attached himself to him as a parishioner, and sought to win a friendly regard and confidence from his naturally reserved sensibility. He expressed great alarm at his pastor's state of health, but was anxious to attempt the cure, and, if early undertaken, seemed not despondent of a favourable result. The elders, the deacons, the motherly dames, and the young and fair maidens, of Mr. Dimmesdale's flock, were alike importunate that he should make trial of the physician's frankly offered skill. Mr. Dimmesdale gently repelled their entreaties.



"I need no medicine," said he.



But how could the young minister say so, when, with every successive Sabbath, his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before- when it had now become a constant habit, rather than a casual gesture, to press his hand over his heart? Was he weary of his labours? Did he wish to die? These questions were solemnly propounded to Mr. Dimmesdale by the elder ministers of Boston and the deacons of his church, who, to use their own phrase, "dealt with him" on the sin of rejecting the aid which Providence so manifestly held out. He listened in silence, and finally promised to confer with the physician.



"Were it God's will," said the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, when, in fulfilment of this pledge, he requested old Roger Chillingworth's professional advice, "I could be well content, that my labours and my sorrows, and my sins and my pains, should shortly end with me, and what is earthly of them be buried in my grave, and the spiritual go with me to my eternal state, rather than that you should put your skill to the proof in my behalf."



"Ah," replied Roger Chillingworth, with that quietness which, whether imposed or natural, marked all his deportment, "it is thus that a young clergyman is apt to speak. Youthful men, not having taken a deep root, give up their hold of life so easily! And saintly men, who walk with God on earth, would fain be away, to walk with Him on the golden pavements of the New Jerusalem."



"Nay," rejoined the young minister, putting his hand to his heart, with a flush of pain flitting over his brow, "were I worthier to walk there, I could be better content to toil here."



"Good men ever interpret themselves too meanly," said the physician.



In this manner, the mysterious old Roger Chillingworth became the medical adviser of the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. As not only the disease interested the physician, but he was strongly moved to look into the character and qualities of the patient, these two men, so different in age, came gradually to spend much time together. For the sake of the minister's health, and to enable the leech to gather plants with healing balm in them, they took long walks on the sea-shore, or in the forest; mingling various talk with the plash and murmur of the waves, and the solemn wind-anthem among the tree-tops. Often, likewise, one was the guest of the other, in his place of study and retirement. There was a fascination for the minister in the company of the man of science, in whom he recognised an intellectual cultivation of no moderate depth or scope; together with a range and freedom of ideas, that he would have vainly looked for among the members of his own profession. In truth, he was startled, if not shocked, to find this attribute in the physician. Mr. Dimmesdale was a true priest, a true religionist, with the reverential sentiment largely developed, and an order of mind that impelled itself powerfully along the track of a creed, and wore its passage continually deeper with the lapse of time. In no state of society would he have been what is called a man of liberal views; it would always be essential to his peace to feel the pressure of a faith about him, supporting, while it confined him within its iron framework. Not the less, however, though with a tremulous enjoyment, did he feel the occasional relief of looking at the universe through the medium of another kind of intellect than those with which he habitually held converse. It was as if a window were thrown open,admitting a freer atmosphere into the close and stifled study, where his life was wasting itself away, amid lamplight, or obstructed day-beams, and the musty fragrance, be it sensual or moral, that exhales from books. But the air was too fresh and chill to be long breathed with comfort. So the minister, and the physician with him, withdrew again within the limits of what their church defined as orthodox.



Thus Roger Chillingworth scrutinised his patient carefully, both as he saw him in his ordinary life, keeping an accustomed pathway in the range of thoughts familiar to him, and as he appeared when thrown amidst other moral scenery, the novelty of which might call out something new to the surface of his character. He deemed it essential, it would seem, to know the man, before attempting to do him good. Wherever there is a heart and an intellect, the diseases of the physical frame are tinged with the peculiarities of these. In Arthur Dimmesdale, thought and imagination were so active, and sensibility so intense, that the bodily infirmity would be likely to have its groundwork there. So Roger Chillingworth- the man of skill, the kind and friendly physician- strove to go deep into his patient's bosom, delving among his principles, prying into his recollections, and probing everything with a cautious touch, like a treasure-seeker in a dark cavern. Few secrets can escape an investigator, who has opportunity and license to undertake such a quest, and skill to follow it up. A man burdened with a secret should especially avoid the intimacy of his physician. If the latter possess native sagacity, and a nameless something more- let us call it intuition; if he show no intrusive egotism, nor disagreeably prominent characteristics of his own; if he have the power, which must be born with him, to bring his mind into such affinity with his patient's, that this last shall unawares have spoken what he imagines himself only to have thought; if such revelations be received without tumult, and acknowledged not so often by an uttered sympathy as by silence, an inarticulate breath, and here and there a word, to indicate that all is understood; if to these qualifications of a confidant be joined the advantages afforded by his recognised character as a physician- then, at some inevitable moment, will the soul of the sufferer be dissolved, and flow forth in a dark, but transparent stream, bringing all its mysteries into the daylight.



Roger Chillingworth possessed all, or most, of the attributes above enumerated. Nevertheless, time went on; a kind of intimacy, as we have said, grew up between these two cultivated minds, which had as wide a field as the whole sphere of human thought and study, to meet upon; they discussed every topic of ethics and religion, of public affairs, and private character; they talked much, on both sides, of matters that seemed personal to themselves; and yet no secret, such as the physician fancied must exist there, ever stole out of the minister's consciousness into his companion's ear. The latter had his suspicions, indeed, that even the nature of Mr. Dimmesdale's bodily disease had never fairly been revealed to him. It was a strange reserve!



After a time, at a hint from Roger Chillingworth, the friends of Mr. Dimmesdale effected an arrangement by which the two were lodged in the same house; so that every ebb and flow of the minister's life-tide might pass under the eye of his anxious and attached physician. There was much joy throughout the town, when this greatly desirable object was attained. It was held to be the best possible measure for the young clergyman's welfare: unless, indeed, as often urged by such as felt authorised to do so, he had selected some one of the many blooming damsels, spiritually devoted to him, to become his devoted wife. This latter step, however, there was no present prospect that Arthur Dimmesdale would be prevailed upon to take; he rejected all suggestions of the kind, as if priestly celibacy were one of his articles of church-discipline. Doomed by his own choice, therefore, as Mr. Dimmesdale so evidently was, to eat his unsavoury morsel always at another's board, and endure the lifelong chill which must be his lot who seeks to warm himself only at another's fireside, it truly seemed that this sagacious, experienced, benevolent old physician, with his concord of paternal and reverential love for the young pastor, was the very man, of all mankind, to be constantly within reach of his voice.



The new abode of the two friends was with a pious widow, of good social rank, who dwelt in a house covering pretty nearly the site on which the venerable structure of King's Chapel has since been built. It had the graveyard, originally Isaac Johnson's home-field, on one side, and so was well adapted to call up serious reflections, suited to their respective employments, in both minister and man of physic. The motherly care of the good widow assigned to Mr. Dimmesdale a front apartment, with a sunny exposure, and heavy window-curtains, to create a noon-tide shadow, when desirable. The walls were hung round with tapestry, said to be from the Gobelin looms, and, at all events, representing the Scriptural story of David and Bathsheba, and Nathan the Prophet, in colours still unfaded, but which made the fair woman of the scene almost as grimly picturesque as the woe-denouncing seer. Here, the pale clergyman piled up his library, rich with parchment-bound folios of the Fathers, and the lore of Rabbis, and monkish erudition, of which the Protestant divines, even while they vilified and decried that class of writers, were yet constrained often to avail themselves. On the other side of the house, old Roger Chillingworth arranged his study and laboratory; not such as a modern man of science would reckon even tolerably complete, but provided with a distilling apparatus, and the means of compounding drugs and chemicals, which the practised alchemist knew well how to turn to purpose. With such commodiousness of situation, these two learned persons sat themselves down, each in his own domain, yet familiarly passing from one apartment to the other, and bestowing a mutual and not incurious inspection into one another's business.



And the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale's best discerning friends, as we have intimated, very reasonably imagined that the hand of Providence had done all this, for the purpose- besought in so many public, and domestic, and secret prayers- of restoring the young minister to health. But- it must now be said- another portion of the community had latterly begun to take its own view of the relation betwixt Mr. Dimmesdale and the mysterious old physician. When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived. When, however, it forms its judgment, as it usually does, on the intuitions of its great and warm heart, the conclusions thus attained are often so profound and so unerring, as to possess the character of truths supernaturally revealed. The people, in the case of which we speak, could justify its prejudice against Roger Chillingworth by no fact or argument worthy of serious refutation. There was an aged handicraftsman, it is true, who had been a citizen of London at the period of Sir Thomas Overbury's murder, now some thirty years agone; he testified to having seen the physician, under some other name, which the narrator of the story had now forgotten, in company with Doctor Forman, the famous old conjurer, who was implicated in the affair of Overbury. Two or three individuals hinted, that the man of skill, during his Indian captivity, had enlarged his medical attainments by joining in the incantations of the savage priests; who were universally acknowledged to be powerful enchanters, often performing seemingly miraculous cures by their skill in the black art. A large number- and many of these were persons of such sober sense and practical observation that their opinions would have been valuable in other matters- affirmed that Roger Chillingworth's aspect had undergone a remarkable change while he had dwelt in town, and especially since his abode with Mr. Dimmesdale. At first, his expression had been calm, meditative, scholar-like. Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face, which they had not previously noticed, and which grew still the more obvious to sight, the oftener they looked upon him. According to the vulgar idea, the fire in his laboratory had been brought from the lower regions, and was fed with infernal fuel; and so, as might be expected, his visage was getting sooty with the smoke.



To sum up the matter, it grew to be a widely diffused opinion, that the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, like many other personages of especial sanctity, in all ages of the Christian world, was haunted either by Satan himself, or Satan's emissary, in the guise of old Roger Chillingworth. This diabolical agent had the Divine permission, for a season, to burrow into the clergyman's intimacy, and plot against his soul. No sensible man, it was confessed, could doubt on which side the victory would turn. The people looked, with an unshaken hope, to see the minister come forth out of the conflict, transfigured with the glory which he would unquestionably win. Meanwhile, nevertheless, it was sad to think of the perchance mortal agony through which he must struggle towards his triumph.



Alas! to judge from the gloom and terror in the depths of the poor minister's eyes, the battle was a sore one, and the victory anything but secure.











第九章 医生









读者会记得,在罗杰·齐灵渥斯的称呼背后,还隐藏着另一个姓名,原来叫那姓名的人下了决心再不让人提起。前面已经叙述过,在目睹海丝特·白兰示众的人群中,站着一个风尘仆仆的上了年纪的男人,他刚刚逃出危险的荒野,却看到体现着他所希冀的家庭温暖和欢乐的女人,在众人面前作为罪孽的典型高高站在那里。她那主妇的声名任凭所有的人践踏在脚下。在公共市场上,她周围泛滥着对她丑行的种种议论。若是这些浪潮传到她的亲属或是她身无暇疵时代的同伴那里,除去染上她的耻辱之外,别无其它!这种耻辱,会随原有关系的亲密和神圣程度,而严格成比例地在亲友中相应加以分配。那么,作为与这个堕落的女人关系最亲密和最神圣的一个人,既然他还有选挥的余地,何必前来公开要求这份并非求之不得的遗产呢?他决心不同她在那受辱台上并肩而立。由于除海丝特·白兰之外谁都不认识他,而且他还掌握着锁钥,让她缄口不言,他打定主意将自己的姓名从人类的名单上勾销;即使考虑到他原先的关系和利益,他也要从生活中彻底消失,就象他当真如早已风传的那样葬身海底了。这一目的一旦达到,就立刻涌现了新的利益,于是也就又有了新的目标;这个目标即使不是罪过的,也实在是见不得人的,但其力量之强,足以运用他的全部机能与精力去奋争。



为了实现自己的决心,他以罗杰·齐灵漫斯的名义在这座清教徒城镇中居住下来,他毋须其它介绍,只消他所具备的异乎寻常的学识就成了。由于他的前半生对当时的医学科学作了广泛的研究,于是他就以所熟悉的医生这—行当为业、出现在这里,并且受到了热烈欢迎。当时在殖民地,精通内外科医术的人尚不多见。看来,医生们并不具备促使其他人飘洋过海的那种宗教热情。他们在深入钻研人体内部时,可能把更高明、更微妙的能力表现在物质上,错综复杂的人体机构令人惊诧,似乎其内部包含着全部生命,具备足够的艺术,从而对生命的存在丧失了精伸方面的看法。无论如何,波士顿这座美好城镇的健康,凡涉及医学二字的,以往全都置于一位年老的教会执事兼任药剂师的监督之下,他那驾信宗教的举止就是明证,比起靠一纸文凭配出的药剂,更能赢得人们的信赖。唯一的外科医生则是一位每日惯于操刀为人忙于理发的人,只是偶尔才实践一下这种高贵的技艺。与这两位同行相比,罗杰·齐灵渥斯成了夺目的新星。他很快就证明他对博大精深的古典医道了如指掌,其中每个偏方都含有许多四处接寻面来、形形色色的成分,其配制之精良,似是要获得长生不老药的效果。况且,在他被印第安人俘虏囚禁期间,又对当地的草药的性质掌握了大量的知识;他对病人毫不隐讳地说,大自然恩赐给那些未开化的野蛮入的这些简单药物,同众多博学的医生在试验室中花费了数世纪才积累起来的欧洲药典,几乎可以取得他本人同等的信任。



人们认为,这位陌生的学者至少在宗教生活的表面形式上看,堪称楷模;他来到之后不久,就选定丁梅斯代尔牧师先生作他精神上的导师。这位年轻的圣徒在牛津始终享有学者般的声誊,他的最热心的崇拜者认为,在他的有生之年,只要他能为如今尚属无力的新英格兰教会做出象古代圣徒在基督教信仰初期所成就的那种伟业,便可与上天指定的使徒相提并论。然而,就在此时,丁梅斯代尔先生的健康开始明显地恶化。据那些最熟悉他日常生活的人说,这位年轻牧师的面颊之所以苍白,是因为他过分热衷于潜心研究学问和一丝不苟地完成教区的职守,尤其是为使粗鄙的世俗环境不致遮蔽他精神上的明灯,他经常彻夜不眠并施行斋戒。还有人宣称,如果丁梅斯代尔先生当真要死,无非是因为这个世界不配他的脚再在上面踩踏。反之,他本人则以他特有的谦逊申明他的信念:如果天意认为他应该离世,那就是因为他没有资格在这人世间执行其最卑微的使命。虽说对他健康每况愈下的原因众说纷纭,但事实却是不容质疑的。他身体日见消损,他的嗓畜虽仍然丰润而甜美,却含有某种预示衰颓的忧郁;人们时常观察到,每逢稍有惊恐或其它突发事件,他就会用手捂住心口,脸上一红一自,说明他很痛苦。



这位青年牧师的身体就是这种状况,当罗杰·齐灵渥斯初到镇上的时候,情况已经相当危险,这年轻人的曙光眼见就要过早地殒灭了。齐灵渥斯首次登场时,谁也说不出所以然,简直象是从天而降或从地狱钻出,这就具有一种神秘色彩,从而很容易被夸大成奇迹。如今无人不晓他是一名医生!人们注意到他采集药草、摘取野花、挖掘植根,还从树上折取细校,常人眼中的无用之物,他似是熟知其隐含的价值。人们听到他提起坎奈姆·狄戈比爵士①和其他名人——他们的科学造诣简直被视作超自然的,但他却说是他的笔友或熟人。他既然在学术界地位如此之高,为什么要到这里来呢?他的天地理应在大城市,在这蛮荒野地中又能寻找到什么呢?为了回答这些疑问,于是就有了谣言的土壤,不管一些风传多么离奇,也为一些明智的人所接受:说是上天创造了一个绝对的奇迹,把一位著名的医学博士,从一所德意志大学里,凭空摄到了丁梅斯代尔先生书斋的门前。而一些具有更加聪慧的信仰的人明知,上天为实现其目的,不必求助于所谓奇迹的插曲来达到舞台效果,但也乐于看到罗杰·齐灵握斯是假上天之手才及时到来的。



由于医生对年轻的牧师从一开始就显示出强烈的兴趣,上述想法就得到了鼓励;医生以一个教民随身份与他形影相随,并且想战胜他天性中的含蓄和敏感,来赢得他的友谊和信任。他对他的牧师的健康深为震惊,还急切地给予治疗,他认为,如果及早诊治的话,总不会不见疗效的。丁梅斯代尔先生教团中的长老、执事、修女,以及年轻貌美的少女们都众口一词地再三要求他对医生自告奋勇的治疗不妨一试。但丁梅斯代尔先生却委婉地拒绝了这些恳求。



“我不需要医药,”他说。



但这位年轻牧师怎么能这样讲呢?一个接一个安息日,他的面颊越来越苍白消瘦,他的声音也比先前更加颤抖,而且他用手捂心口的动作,已经从漫不经心的姿态变成时时都有的习惯了。是他厌倦了他的工作吗?是他想死吗?丁梅斯代尔先生一路受到波土顿的长老们如此的盘诘和他教堂中的执事们的——用他们自己的话说——“规劝”:上天如此明显地伸出救援之手,拒绝是有罪的。他默默不语地听着,终于答应和医生谈谈看。



“如果这是上帝的意旨,”丁梅斯代尔牧师先生为了实现自己的诺言,向老罗杰·齐灵渥斯医生讨教时说,“我宁愿不要你为我的缘故来证明你医道精熟,我要满意地让我的辛劳、我的悲哀、我的罪孽和我的痛苦都尽快与我同归于尽,令其世俗部分埋在我的墓中,而将其精神部分随我同去永恒的境界。”



“啊,”罗杰·齐灵渥斯说,不管是做作的还是天生的,他的举止总是安详得令人瞩目,“一个年轻的牧师确实喜欢这么讲话。年轻人啊,都还没有扎下深根呢,就这么轻易地放弃生命吗?在人世间和上帝同行的圣人们,都会欣然随他而去,定在新耶路撤冷的黄金铺路上的。”



“不是的,”年轻的牧师插话说,他把手放在心口上,额上拣过一抹痛苦的红潮,“如果我还有资格到那里去走动的话,我倒宁愿留在这里来吃苦。”



“好心的人从来都是把自己说得十分卑微的,”医生说。就这样,神秘的老罗杰·齐灵渥斯成了丁梅斯代尔牧师先生的健康顾问。这位医生不仅对疾病感到兴趣,而且还对他的病人的个性和品质严加窥测。这两个人虽然在年纪上相差悬殊,但逐渐共同消磨超更多的时间了。为了牧师的健康,而且也使医生能够收集具有奇效的植物,他俩在海滨、林间长时间散步,聆听海浪的低语与林涛的戾鸣。同样,他俩也时常到彼此的书斋和卧室中去作客。对牧师来说,这位科学家的陪伴中自有一种魅力,因为从他身上可以看出广博精深的知识修养,以及浩渺无际的自由观念——这在自己的同行中是万难找到的。事实上,他在医生身上发现了这些特色,即使没有引起震惊,也足以深感诧异。丁梅斯代尔先生是一个地道的牧师,一个真正的笃信宗教的人,他有高度发展的虔诚的感情和有力地推动着自身沿着信仰的道路前进的心境,而且会随着时间的流逝面日渐深入。无论在何种社会形态中,他都不会是那种所谓有自由见解的人;他总要感到周国有一种信仰的压力,才能心平气和,这信仰既支撑着他,又将他禁闭在其铁笼之中。然而当他放弃惯常采用的认识而换用另一种知识媒介来观察字宙时,他也确实感到一种偶然的舒畅,尽管这种喜悦之中仍带着几分震颤。犹如打开了一扇窗户,使一种更自由的气息得以进入那闭锁和窒人的书斋,而他通常就在这里的灯光或遮着的阳光之下,伴着从经书中散发出来的霉烂气味——不管是感官上还是道德上的,消耗看他的生命。但这破窗而入的空气又过于清冷,使他无法坦然地长久吸取。于是,牧师和陪伴他的医生只好再龟缩到他们的教会划为正宗的禁区之内。



罗杰·齐灵渥斯就是这样仔细检查他的病人的:一方面,观察他的日常生活,看他在熟悉的思绪上所保持的惯常的途径,另一方面,也观察他被投入另一种道德境界时的表现,因为那种境界的新意可能唤起某些新东西浮出他性格的表面。看来,医生认为首先要了解其人,然后才能对症下药。凡有心智的东西,其躯体上的病痛必然染有心智上的特色。在阿瑟,丁梅斯代尔的身上,他的思维和想象力十分活跃,他的情感又是十分专注,他身体上的病症大概根源于此。于是,罗杰·齐灵渥斯,那位和善友好又技艺精湛的医生,就竭力深入他病人的心扉,挖掘于他的准则之中,探询着他的记忆,而且如同一个在黑暗的洞穴中寻找宝藏的人一样,小心翼翼地触摸每一件东西。象他这样一个得到机会和特许来从事这种探索,而且又有熟巧将其进行下去的调查人,很少有秘密能逃过他的眼睛。一个荷有秘密的人应该特别避免与医生亲密相处。假如那医生有天生的洞察力,还有难以名状的某种能力——我们姑且称之为直觉吧,假如他没有流露出颐指气使的唯我独尊,他自己又没有鲜明的难以相处的个性,假如他生来就有一种与病人脉脉相通鲍能力,借此使病人丧失警觉,以致自言自语地说出心中所想的事,假如他平静地听到这些表白,只是偶尔用沉默无声的同情,用自然而然的喘息,以及间或的一两个字眼,表示充分的理解,假如在一个可信赖的人的这些品格上加上他那医生身分所提供的有利条件——那么,在某些难以避免的时刻,患者的灵魂便会融解,在一个黑暗而透明的小溪中涓涓向前,把全部隐私带到光天化日之下。



上述这些特色,罗杰·齐灵渥斯全部或者大部分具备。然面,随着时间的流逝,如我们所说,在这两个有教养的头脑之间发展起了亲密无间的关系,他们有如同人类思维与研究的整个领域那么广阔的地带可以交汇;他们讨论涉及伦理和宗教、公共事业和私人性格的各种题目;他们就似乎涉及两人自己私事的问题大量交谈;然而医生想象中肯定存在的那种隐私,却始终没有溜出牧师的意识传进他的同伴的耳中。的确,医生怀疑连丁梅斯代尔先生身体痼疾的本质都从来没有坦率地泄露给他。这种含蓄实在是太奇特了!



过了一段时间,在罗杰·齐灵渥斯的暗示之下,丁梅斯代尔先生的朋友们作出安排,让他俩同住在一栋房子里;这样,牧师生活之潮的每一个起落都只能在他的这位形影相随的热心医生的眼皮底下发生。这一众望所瞩的目的达到之后,举镇欢腾。人们认为,这是有利于年轻牧师的最好的可行措施。除非,当真如某些自认为有权威的人所一再催促的那样,他从那众多的如花似玉、在精神上崇拜他的年轻姑娘当中选择一位充当他忠实的妻子。然而,目前尚无迹象表明阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔已经屈从众愿采取这一步骤;他对这类建议一概加以拒绝,仿佛僧侣的独身主义是他教会规章中的一项条款。因此,既然丁梅斯代尔先生明显地作了这种选择,他就注定耍永远在别人的饭桌上吃无味的配餐,除去在别人的炉火旁取暖之外,只有忍受终生寒冷的份;看来,这位洞察一切、经验丰富、慈爱为本的老医生,以父兄般的关怀和教民的敬爱对待这年轻的牧师,确实是全人类中与他如影随形的最恰当的人选了。



这两位朋友的新居属于一个虔信宗教的寡妇,她有着不错的社会地位,她这所住宅所占的地皮离后来修建的王家教堂相距不远,一边有一块墓地,就是原先艾萨克·约翰逊的旧宅,这里易于唤起严肃认真的回忆,很适合牧师和医生双方各自的职业。那好心肠的寡妇,以慈母般的关怀,分配丁梅斯代尔先生住在前室,那里有充分的阳光,还有厚实的窗帘,如果愿意的话,中午也可把房间遮得十分幽暗。四壁悬挂着据说是戈白林②织机上织出的织锦,不管真假,上面确实绣着《圣经》上面所记载的大卫、拔示巴和预言者拿单的故事③,颜色尚未褪掉,可惜画中的美妇简直如那宣告灾难的预言者一样面目可憎了。面色苍白的牧师在这里摞起他的丰富藏书,其中有对开桑皮纸精装本的先哲们的著作、拉比④们记下的传说、以及许多僧院的考证——对这类文献,请教教士们尽管竭力诋毁,却不得不备作不时之需。在住宅的另一侧,老罗杰·齐灵渥斯布置下他的书斋和实验室;在一位现代科学家看来,连勉强齐备都称不上,但总还有一个蒸馏釜及一些配药和化验的设备,都是这位惯于实验的炼丹术士深知如何加以利用的。有了这样宽敞的环境,这两位学者便在各自的房间里坐了下来,不过经常不拘礼节地互访,彼此怀着好奇心观察另一个人的事情。



我们已经提及,阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔牧师那些最明智的朋友于是便顺理成章地认为,是上天接受了人们在公开场合、在家中以及私下的许多祈祷,才安排了这一切,以达到恢复年轻牧师健康的目的。但是,我们现在必须说明的是,后来另外一部分居民开始对丁梅斯代尔先生和那神秘的老医生之间的关系持有异议了。当没有受过教育的人们试图用自己的眼光来看问题时,是极其容易上当的。不过,当他们通常凭自己伟大面温暖的心胸的直觉来形成自己的判断时,他们的结论往往深刻无误,具有超自然表象的真理的特征。就我们所谈的这些人而论,他们对罗杰·齐灵渥斯的偏见,其事实或理由都不值认真一驳。有一个上年纪的手艺人,在三十多年以前托玛斯·奥佛白利爵士⑤被害的时代,确曾是伦敦的一个市民;他出面证明说,他曾经看见这位医生——当时叫的是另外一个名字,笔者如今已经忘了,陷着那位著名的老术士福尔曼博士⑥,而那个老博士涉嫌与奥佛白利被害一事有关。还有两三个人暗示说,这位医术高明的人在被印第安人俘获的时期,曾经参与野蛮人法师的念咒活动,以此来增加其医学上的造诣;那些印第安法师的法力无边,这是众所周知的,他们时常用邪门歪道奇迹艇地把人治好。还有一大批人——其中不少都是头脑拎静、观察务实的,他们在别的事情上:的见解一向颇有价值——肯定地说,罗杰·齐灵渥斯自从在镇上定居,尤其是和丁梅斯代尔先生伙居一宅以来,外貌上发生了明显的变化。起初,他外表安详而沉思,一派学者模样;而如今,他的险上有一种前所末见的丑陋和邪恶,而且他们对他看得越多,那丑陋和邪恶就变得越明显。按照一种粗俗的说法,他实验室中的火来自下界,而且是用炼狱的柴薪来燃烧的;因此,理所当然地,他的面孔也就给那烟熏得越来越黑了。



总而言之,有一种广为流传的看法,认为阿瑟·丁梅斯代尔牧师和基督教世界各个时期特别圣洁的许多其他人一样,脑海中萦绕着的不是撒旦本人,就是扮作老罗杰·齐灵渥斯的撒旦的使者。这个恶魔的代理人获得神圣的特许,在一段时问里,钻入牧师的内心,阴谋破坏他的灵魂。人们断言,任何有理智的人都不会怀疑哪一方会得到胜利。人们都怀着不可动摇的希望,等着看到牧师焕发着必胜的荣光,走出这场争斗。然而,一想到他为了赢得胜利而在挣扎中所经受的致命的折磨,同时又令人神伤。



天啊!从这可怜的牧师眼睛深处的阴郁和恐怖来判断,这场争斗极其剧烈,而且远不能说胜利在握。



①狄戈比爵士(1603一1685),英国作家、航海家和外交家,皇家学会理事。他还发现了植物对氧的需要。



②15世纪时法国的一著名染织家族所建的同名织锦及壁毯场。



③《旧约·撤母耳记下》言,以色列王大卫杀死乌利亚,并夺其美妻拔示巴,面拿单则预言大卫必自取其祸。



④犹太教教士,基督教的诞生与古犹太教有渊源,战古犹太教拉比的著述有基督教古文献价值。



⑤奥佛白利爵士(1581一1613)英国诗人和散文家后因反对其恩主之婚姻,被投入伦敦塔监禁,并被慢性毒药毒死,



⑥福尔曼博士(Drrorman),生平不详,可能是作者假托的人物。

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