第八卷作恶的穷人 第12章白先生的五个法郎的用途
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-10-10 01:22:33  【打印
CHAPTER XII THE USE MADE OF M. LEBLANC'S FIVE-FRANC PIECE





Nothing in the aspect of the family was altered, except that the wife and daughters had levied on the package and put on woollen stockings and jackets. Two new blankets were thrown across the two beds.



Jondrette had evidently just returned. He still had the breathlessness of out of doors. His daughters were seated on the floor near the fireplace, the elder engaged in dressing the younger's wounded hand. His wife had sunk back on the bed near the fireplace, with a face indicative of astonishment. Jondrette was pacing up and down the garret with long strides. His eyes were extraordinary.  



The woman, who seemed timid and overwhelmed with stupor in the presence of her husband, turned to say:-- 



"What, really? You are sure?"



"Sure! Eight years have passed! But I recognize him! Ah! I recognize him. I knew him at once! What! Didn't it force itself on you?"  



"No." 



"But I told you: `Pay attention!' Why, it is his figure, it is his face, only older,--there are people who do not grow old, I don't know how they manage it,--it is the very sound of his voice.He is better dressed, that is all! Ah! you mysterious old devil,I've got you, that I have!" 



He paused, and said to his daughters:--



"Get out of here, you!--It's queer that it didn't strike you!" 



They arose to obey. 



The mother stammered:-- 



"With her injured hand."



"The air will do it good," said Jondrette. "Be off."



It was plain that this man was of the sort to whom no one offers to reply. The two girls departed. 



At the moment when they were about to pass through the door, the father detained the elder by the arm, and said to her with a peculiar accent:--



"You will be here at five o'clock precisely. Both of you. I shall need you."



Marius redoubled his attention. 



On being left alone with his wife, Jondrette began to pace the room again, and made the tour of it two or three times in silence. Then he spent several minutes in tucking the lower part of the woman's chemise which he wore into his trousers.



All at once, he turned to the female Jondrette, folded his arms and exclaimed:--



"And would you like to have me tell you something? The young lady--" 



"Well, what?" retorted his wife, "the young lady?" 



Marius could not doubt that it was really she of whom they were speaking. He listened with ardent anxiety. His whole life was in his ears. 



But Jondrette had bent over and spoke to his wife in a whisper. Then he straightened himself up and concluded aloud:-- 



"It is she!"



"That one?" said his wife.



"That very one," said the husband.



No expression can reproduce the significance of the mother's words. Surprise, rage, hate, wrath, were mingled and combined in one monstrous intonation. The pronunciation of a few words, the name, no doubt, which her husband had whispered in her ear, had sufficed to rouse this huge, somnolent woman, and from being repulsive she became terrible.



"It is not possible!" she cried. "When I think that my daughters are going barefoot, and have not a gown to their backs! What! A satin pelisse, a velvet bonnet, boots, and everything; more than two hundred francs' worth of clothes! so that one would think she was a lady! No, you are mistaken! Why, in the first place, the other was hideous, and this one is not so bad-looking!She really is not bad-looking! It can't be she!" 



"I tell you that it is she. You will see." 



At this absolute assertion, the Jondrette woman raised her large, red, blonde face and stared at the ceiling with a horrible expression. At that moment, she seemed to Marius even more to be feared than her husband. She was a sow with the look of a tigress.  



"What!" she resumed, "that horrible, beautiful young lady, who gazed at my daughters with an air of pity,--she is that beggar brat! Oh! I should like to kick her stomach in for her!"



She sprang off of the bed, and remained standing for a moment, her hair in disorder, her nostrils dilating, her mouth half open, her fists clenched and drawn back. Then she fell back on the bed once more. The man paced to and fro and paid no attention to his female.



After a silence lasting several minutes, he approached the female Jondrette, and halted in front of her, with folded arms, as he had done a moment before:--  



"And shall I tell you another thing?" 



"What is it?" she asked.



He answered in a low, curt voice:--  



"My fortune is made." 



The woman stared at him with the look that signifies: "Is the person who is addressing me on the point of going mad?" 



He went on:-- 



"Thunder! It was not so very long ago that I was a parishioner of the parish of die-of-hunger-if-you-have-a-fire,-die-of-cold-if-you-have-bread! I have had enough of misery! my share and other people's share! I am not joking any longer, I don't find it comic any more, I've had enough of puns, good God! no more farces, Eternal Father! I want to eat till I am full, I want to drink my fill! to gormandize! to sleep! to do nothing! I want to have my turn, so I do, come now! before I die! I want to be a bit of a millionnaire!"  



He took a turn round the hovel, and added:-- 



"Like other people." 



"What do you mean by that?" asked the woman. 



He shook his head, winked, screwed up one eye, and raised his voice like a medical professor who is about to make a demonstration:--



"What do I mean by that? Listen!"



"Hush!" muttered the woman, "not so loud! These are matters which must not be overheard."



"Bah! Who's here? Our neighbor? I saw him go out a little while ago. Besides, he doesn't listen, the big booby. And I tell you that I saw him go out."



Nevertheless, by a sort of instinct, Jondrette lowered his voice, although not sufficiently to prevent Marius hearing his words. One favorable circumstance, which enabled Marius not to lose a word of this conversation was the falling snow which deadened the sound of vehicles on the boulevard.



This is what Marius heard:--



"Listen carefully. The Croesus is caught, or as good as caught! That's all settled already. Everything is arranged. I have seen some people. He will come here this evening at six o'clock. To bring sixty francs, the rascal! Did you notice how I played that game on him, my sixty francs, my landlord, my fourth of February? I don't even owe for one quarter! Isn't he a fool! So he will come at six o'clock! That' color

And he burst out laughing.



This was the first time Marius had seen him laugh. The laugh was cold and sweet, and provoked a shudder.



Jondrette opened a cupboard near the fireplace, and drew from it an old cap, which he placed on his head, after brushing it with his sleeve. 



"Now," said he, "I'm going out. I have some more people that I must see. Good ones. You'll see how well the whole thing will work. I shall be away as short a time as possible, it's a fine stroke of business, do you look after the house." 



And with both fists thrust into the pockets of his trousers, he stood for a moment in thought, then exclaimed:-- 



"Do you know, it's mighty lucky, by the way, that he didn't recognize me! If he had recognized me on his side, he would not have come back again. He would have slipped through our fingers! It was my beard that saved us! my romantic beard! my pretty little romantic beard!"



And again he broke into a laugh.



He stepped to the window. The snow was still falling, and streaking the gray of the sky.



"What beastly weather!" said he.



Then lapping his overcoat across his breast:-- 



"This rind is too large for me. Never mind," he added, "he did a devilish good thing in leaving it for me, the old scoundrel!If it hadn't been for that, I couldn't have gone out, and everything would have gone wrong! What small points things hang on, anyway!"



And pulling his cap down over his eyes, he quitted the room.



He had barely had time to take half a dozen steps from the door,when the door opened again, and his savage but intelligent face made its appearance once more in the opening.



"I came near forgetting," said he. "You are to have a brazier of charcoal ready."



And he flung into his wife's apron the five-franc piece which the "philanthropist" had left with him. 



"A brazier of charcoal?" asked his wife.



"Yes."



"How many bushels?"



"Two good ones."



"That will come to thirty sous. With the rest I will buy something for dinner."



"The devil, no."



"Why?"



"Don't go and spend the hundred-sou piece."



"Why?"



"Because I shall have to buy something, too."



"What?"



"Something."



"How much shall you need?"



"Whereabouts in the neighborhood is there an ironmonger's shop?"



"Rue Mouffetard." 



"Ah! yes, at the corner of a street; I can see the shop."



"But tell me how much you will need for what you have to purchase?"



"Fifty sous--three francs."



"There won't be much left for dinner."



"Eating is not the point to-day. There's something better to be done."



"That's enough, my jewel."



At this word from his wife, Jondrette closed the door again,and this time, Marius heard his step die away in the corridor of the hovel, and descend the staircase rapidly.



At that moment, one o'clock struck from the church of Saint-Medard.







十二 白先生的五个法郎的用途



那家里的样子一点没有改变,只是那妇人和姑娘们取用了包里的衣服,穿上了袜子和毛线衫。两条新毛毯丢在两张床上。



容德雷特显然是刚刚回来。他还有从户外带来的那种急促的呼吸。他的两个女儿坐在壁炉旁边的地上,姐姐在包扎妹妹的手。他的女人好象泄了气似的躺在靠近壁炉的那张破床上,脸上露出惊讶的神情。容德雷特在屋子里大踏步地来回走动。他的眼睛异乎寻常。



那妇人,在她丈夫跟前好象有些胆怯,愣住了似的,壮着胆子对他说:



“怎么,真的吗?你看准了吗?”



“看准了!已经八年了!但是我还认识他!啊!我还认识他!我一下便把他认出来了!怎么,你就没有看出来?”



“没有。”



“但是我早就提醒过你,要你注意!当然,是那身材,是那相貌,没有老多少,有些人是不会老的,我不知道他们是怎么搞的,是那说话的声音。他穿得比较好些就是了!啊!神秘的鬼老头,今天可落在我掌心里了,哈!”



他停下来,对他两个女儿说:



“不要待在这儿,你们两个!怪事,你竟没有看出来。”



为了服从,她们站起来了。



那母亲怯生生地说:



“她手痛也要出去?”



“冷空气会对她有好处的,”容德雷特说,“去吧。”



这显然是个那种不容别人表示不同意见的人。两个姑娘出去了。



她们正要走出房门,父亲拉住大姑娘的胳膊,用一种特殊的口气说:



“五点正,你们得回到这儿来。两个人都回来。我有事要你们办。”



马吕斯加倍集中了注意力。



容德雷特独自和他女人待在一道,又开始在屋子里走起来,一声不响地兜了两三个圈子。接着他花了几分钟把身上穿的那件女人衬衫的下摆塞进裤腰。



突然他转向他女人,叉起两条胳膊,大声说:



“你要我再告诉你一件事吗?那小姐……”



“怎么?”那女人接着说,“那小姐?”



马吕斯心下明白,他们要谈的一定是她了。他以炽烈的焦急心情倾耳细听。他的全部生命力都集中在两只耳朵上。



但是容德雷特弯下腰,放低了声音和他女人谈话。过后他才站起来,大声结束说:



“就是她!”



“那东西?”女人说。



“那东西!”丈夫说。



任何语言都不能表达那母亲所问的“那东西?”这句话里的意思。那是搀杂在一种凶狠恶毒的声调中的惊讶、狂暴、仇恨、愤怒。这痴肥疲软的女人,经她丈夫在耳边说了几个字,大致是个什么人的名字,便立即醒觉过来,从丑陋可憎变成狰狞可怕了。



“决不可能!”她吼着说,“当我想到我的女儿都还赤着脚,而且还穿不上一件裙袍时,怎么!又是缎斗篷,又是丝绒帽,缎子靴,一切!身上就已是两百多法郎的家当!简直象个贵妇人!不会的,你搞错了!首先,那一个丑得很,这一个生得并不坏!



她的确生得不坏!这不可能是她!”



“我说一定是她。你等着瞧吧。”



听见这斩钉截铁的话,容德雷特婆娘抬起一张又红又白的宽脸,用一种奇丑的神情,注视着天花板。这时,马吕斯感到她的模样比容德雷特更吓人。那是一头虎视眈眈的母猪。



“不成话!”她又说,“这个用怜悯神气望着我那两个闺女的不讨人喜欢的漂亮小姐,竟会是那个小叫化子!呵!我恨不得提起木鞋,几脚踢出她的肚肠。”



她从床上跳下来,蓬头散发,鼓起两个鼻孔,掀着嘴,捏紧拳头,身体向后仰着,站了不大一会儿,又倒在破床上。她男人只顾来回走动,毫不理会他老婆。



一会儿的寂静无声,他又走近女人跟前停住,象先头那样,叉起两条胳膊。



“还要我再告诉你一件事吗?”



“什么事?”她问。



他用干脆低沉的声音回答说:



“我发了财了。”



女人呆望着他,那神气仿佛是在想:“和我谈话的这个人难道疯了?”



他又说:



“他妈的!时间不短了,我老在这个‘不挨冻你就得挨饿不挨饿你就得挨冻’的教区里当一个教民!我可受够穷罪了!我受罪,别人也受罪!我不愿再开玩笑,我已不觉得那有什么好玩的,好话听够了,好天主!不用再捉弄人吧,永生的天父!我要吃个够,喝个痛快!塞饱,睡足,什么事也不做!也该轮到我来享福了!在进棺材前,我要过得稍稍象个百万富翁!”



他在那穷窟里走了一圈,又加上一句:



“跟别人一样。”



“你说这些话是什么意思?”那妇人问。



他摇头晃脑,眯一只眼睛,提高嗓门,活象一个在十字路口准备开始表演的卖艺人:



“什么意思?听我说!”



“轻点!”容德雷特大娘悄悄地说,“不要说这么响,假使这是一些不能让别人听见的事。”



“没关系!谁听?隔壁那个人?我刚才看见他出去了。再说他能听见吗,这大傻子?没有问题,我看见他出去了。”



可是,出于一种本能,容德雷特放低了声音,却也没有低到使马吕斯听不见他的话。马吕斯能完全听清这次对话的一个有利条件,是街上的积雪减轻了过往车辆震动的声音。



马吕斯听到的是:



“留心听我说。他已被逮住了,那财神爷!等于被逮住了。已经不成问题。一切全布置好了。我约了好几个人。他今晚六点钟便会来,送他那六十法郎来,坏蛋!你看到我是怎样替你们操心的吧,我的那六十法郎,我的房东,我的二月四号!这根本就不是一个什么季度的期限!真滑稽!他六点钟要来!正是邻居去吃晚饭的时候。毕尔贡妈妈也到城里洗碗去了。这房子里一个人也没有。隔壁的邻居在十一点以前是从不回来的。两个小把戏可以把风。你也可以帮帮我们。他会低头的。”



“万一他不低头呢?”那妇人问。



容德雷特做了个阴森森的手势,说道:



“我们便砍他的头。”



接着,他一阵大笑。



这是马吕斯第一次看见他笑。笑声是冷漠而平静。教人听了寒毛直竖。



容德雷特拉开壁炉旁的壁柜,取出一顶鸭舌帽,用自己的袖口擦了几下,把它戴在头上。



“现在,”他说,“我要出去一下。我还要去看几个人。几个好手。你可以看见一切都会很顺当。我尽早赶回来,这是一笔好买卖。你看好家。”



接着,他把两个拳头插在裤袋里,想了一会儿,又大声说:“你知道,幸而他没有认出我来,他!假使他也认出了我,便不会再来了。他一向是躲着我们的!是我这胡子把我救了!我这浪漫派的络腮胡子!我这漂亮的浪漫派的小络腮胡子!”



他又笑了出来。



他走到窗口。雪仍在下,把灰色的天划成无数的条条。



“狗天气!”他说。



他裹紧大衣。



“这腰身太宽了,不过没关系,”他又加上一句,“幸亏他把它留下给我穿,那老杂种!要是没有它,我便出不了门,这一套也就玩不起来了!可见事物是怎样关连着的!”



他把鸭舌帽拉到眼皮上,走了。



他在外面还没有走上几步,房门又开了,他那险恶狡猾的侧影从门缝里伸了进来。



“我忘了,”他说,“你得准备一炉煤火。”



同时他把“慈善家”留给他的那枚当五法郎的钱扔在女人的围裙兜里。



“一炉煤火?”那女人问。



“对。”



“要几斗煤?”



“两斗足足的。”



“这就得花三十个苏。剩下的钱,我拿去买东西吃顿晚饭。”



“见鬼,那不成。”



“为什么?”



“不要花光这块钱。”



“为什么?”



“因为我这方面也有些东西要买。”



“什么东西?”



“有些东西。”



“你得花多少钱?”



“附近有五金店吗?”



“穆夫达街上有。”



“啊,对,在一条街的拐角上,我想起那铺子了。”



“你总可以告诉我你得花多少钱去买你的那些东西吧?”



“五十个苏到三法郎。”



“剩下的用来吃饭已经不多了。”



“今天还谈不上吃。有更重要的事要干呢。”



“也够了,我的宝贝。”



听他女人说完,容德雷特又带上了门,这一次,马吕斯听到他的脚步在过道里越走越远,很快便下了楼梯。



这时,圣美达教堂的钟正敲一点。

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