第十五卷武人街 第02章野孩敌视路灯
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-10-17 22:35:13  【打印
CHAPTER II THE STREET URCHIN AN ENEMY OF LIGHT





How long did he remain thus? What was the ebb and flow of this tragic meditation? Did he straighten up? Did he remain bowed? Had he been bent to breaking? Could he still rise and regain his footing in his conscience upon something solid? He probably would not have been able to tell himself.



The street was deserted. A few uneasy bourgeois, who were rapidly returning home, hardly saw him. Each one for himself in times of peril. The lamp-lighter came as usual to light the lantern which was situated precisely opposite the door of No.7, and then went away. Jean Valjean would not have appeared like a living man to any one who had examined him in that shadow. He sat there on the post of his door, motionless as a form of ice. There is congealment in despair. The alarm bells and a vague and stormy uproar were audible. In the midst of all these convulsions of the bell mingled with the revolt, the clock of Saint-Paul struck eleven, gravely and without haste; for the tocsin is man; the hour is God. The passage of the hour produced no effect on Jean Valjean; Jean Valjean did not stir. Still, at about that moment, a brusque report burst forth in the direction of the Halles, a second yet more violent followed; it was probably that attack on the barricade in the Rue de la Chanvrerie which we have just seen repulsed by Marius. At this double discharge, whose fury seemed augmented by the stupor of the night, Jean Valjean started; he rose, turning towards the quarter whence the noise proceeded; then he fell back upon the post again, folded his arms, and his head slowly sank on his bosom again.



He resumed his gloomy dialogue with himself.



All at once, he raised his eyes; some one was walking in the street, he heard steps near him. He looked, and by the light of the lanterns, in the direction of the street which ran into the Rue-aux-Archives, he perceived a young, livid, and beaming face.



Gavroche had just arrived in the Rue l'Homme Arme.



Gavroche was staring into the air, apparently in search of something. He saw Jean Valjean perfectly well but he took no notice of him.



Gavroche after staring into the air, stared below; he raised himself on tiptoe, and felt of the doors and windows of the ground floor; they were all shut, bolted, and padlocked. After having authenticated the fronts of five or six barricaded houses in this manner, the urchin shrugged his shoulders, and took himself to task in these terms:--



"Pardi!"



Then he began to stare into the air again.



Jean Valjean, who, an instant previously, in his then state of mind, would not have spoken to or even answered any one, felt irresistibly impelled to accost that child.



"What is the matter with you, my little fellow?" he said.



"The matter with me is that I am hungry," replied Gavroche frankly. And he added: "Little fellow yourself."



Jean Valjean fumbled in his fob and pulled out a five-franc piece.



But Gavroche, who was of the wagtail species, and who skipped vivaciously from one gesture to another, had just picked up a stone. He had caught sight of the lantern.



"See here," said he, "you still have your lanterns here. You are disobeying the regulations, my friend. This is disorderly. Smash that for me."



And he flung the stone at the lantern, whose broken glass fell withsuch a clatter that the bourgeois in hiding behind their curtains in the opposite house cried: "There is `Ninety-three' come again."



The lantern oscillated violently, and went out. The street had suddenly become black.



"That's right, old street," ejaculated Gavroche, "put on your night-cap."



And turning to Jean Valjean:--



"What do you call that gigantic monument that you have there at the end of the street? It's the Archives, isn't it? I must crumble up those big stupids of pillars a bit and make a nice barricade out of them."



Jean Valjean stepped up to Gavroche.



"Poor creature," he said in a low tone, and speaking to himself, "he is hungry."



And he laid the hundred-sou piece in his hand.



Gavroche raised his face, astonished at the size of this sou; he stared at it in the darkness, and the whiteness of the big sou dazzled him. He knew five-franc pieces by hearsay; their reputation was agreeable to him; he was delighted to see one close to. He said:--



"Let us contemplate the tiger."



He gazed at it for several minutes in ecstasy; then, turning to Jean Valjean, he held out the coin to him, and said majestically to him:--



"Bourgeois, I prefer to smash lanterns. Take back your ferocious beast. You can't bribe me. That has got five claws; but it doesn't scratch me."



"Have you a mother?" asked Jean Valjean.



Gavroche replied:--



"More than you have, perhaps."



"Well," returned Jean Valjean, "keep the money for your mother!"



Gavroche was touched. Moreover, he had just noticed that the man who was addressing him had no hat, and this inspired him with confidence.



"Truly," said he, "so it wasn't to keep me from breaking the lanterns?"



"Break whatever you please."



"You're a fine man," said Gavroche.



And he put the five-franc piece into one of his pockets.



His confidence having increased, he added:--



"Do you belong in this street?"



"Yes, why?"



"Can you tell me where No.7 is?"



"What do you want with No.7?"



Here the child paused, he feared that he had said too much; he thrust his nails energetically into his hair and contented himself with replying:--



"Ah! Here it is."



An idea flashed through Jean Valjean's mind. Anguish does have these gleams. He said to the lad:--



"Are you the person who is bringing a letter that I am expecting?"



"You?" said Gavroche. "You are not a woman."



"The letter is for Mademoiselle Cosette, is it not?"



"Cosette," muttered Gavroche. "Yes, I believe that is the queer name."



"Well," resumed Jean Valjean, "I am the person to whom you are to deliver the letter. Give it here."



"In that case, you must know that I was sent from the barricade."



"Of course," said Jean Valjean.



Gavroche engulfed his hand in another of his pockets and drew out a paper folded in four.



Then he made the military salute.



"Respect for despatches," said he. "It comes from the Provisional Government."



"Give it to me," said Jean Valjean.



Gavroche held the paper elevated above his head.



"Don't go and fancy it's a love letter. It is for a woman, but it's for the people. We men fight and we respect the fair sex. We are not as they are in fine society, where there are lions who send chickens[55] to camels."



[55] Love letters.



"Give it to me."



"After all," continued Gavroche, "you have the air of an honest man."



"Give it to me quick."



"Catch hold of it."



And he handed the paper to Jean Valjean.



"And make haste, Monsieur What's-your-name, for Mamselle Cosette is waiting."



Gavroche was satisfied with himself for having produced this remark.



Jean Valjean began again:--



"Is it to Saint-Merry that the answer is to be sent?"



"There you are making some of those bits of pastry vulgarly called brioches [blunders]. This letter comes from the barricade of the Rue de la Chanvrerie, and I'm going back there. Good evening, citizen."



That said, Gavroche took himself off, or, to describe it more exactly, fluttered away in the direction whence he had come with a flight like that of an escaped bird. He plunged back into the gloom as though he made a hole in it, with the rigid rapidity of a projectile; the alley of l'Homme Arme became silent and solitary once more; in a twinkling, that strange child, who had about him something of the shadow and of the dream, had buried himself in the mists of the rows of black houses, and was lost there, like smoke in the dark; and one might have thought that he had dissipated and vanished, had there not taken place, a few minutes after his disappearance, a startling shiver of glass, and had not the magnificent crash of a lantern rattling down on the pavement once more abruptly awakened the indignant bourgeois. It was Gavroche upon his way through the Rue du Chaume.



二 野孩敌视路灯





他这样待了多久?那些痛心的冥想有过怎样的起伏?他振作起来了吗?他屈伏下去了吗?他已被压得腰弯骨折了吗?他还能直立起来并在他良心上找到坚实的立足点吗?他自己心中大致也无数。



那条街是冷清清的。偶尔有几个心神不定,急于要回家的资产阶级也几乎没有看见他。在危难的时刻人人都只顾自己。点路灯的人和平时一样,把装在七号门正对面的路灯点燃以后便走了。冉阿让待在阴暗处,如果有人观察他,会感到他不是个活人。他坐在大门旁的护墙石上,象个冻死鬼似的,纹丝不动。失望原可使人凝固。人们听到号召武装反抗的钟声,也隐约听到风暴似的鼓噪声。在这一片狂敲猛打的钟声和喧腾哗乱的人声中,圣保罗教堂的时钟庄严舒缓地敲着十一点,警钟是人的声音,时钟是上帝的声音。冉阿让对时间的流逝毫无感觉,他呆坐不动。这时,从菜市场方面突然传来一阵爆破的巨响,接着又传来第二声,比第一次更猛烈,这大概就是我们先头见到的、被马吕斯击退了的那次对麻厂街街垒的攻打。那连续两次的射击,发生在死寂的夜间,显得格外狂暴,冉阿让听了也大吃一惊,他立了起来,面对发出那声音的方向,随即又落在护墙石上,交叉着手臂,头又慢慢垂到了胸前。



他重又和自己作愁惨的交谈。



他忽然抬起眼睛,听见街上有人在近处走路的声音,在路灯的光中,他望见一个黄瘦小伙子,从通往历史文物陈列馆的那条街上兴高采烈地走来。



伽弗洛什刚走到武人街。



伽弗洛什昂着头左右张望,仿佛要找什么。他明明看见了冉阿让,却没有理睬他。



伽弗洛什昂首望了一阵以后,又低下头来望,他踮起脚尖去摸那些门和临街的窗子,门窗全关上、销上、锁上了,试了五六个这样严防紧闭着的门窗以后,那野孩耸了耸肩,冒出了这样一句话:



“见他妈的鬼!”



接着他又朝上望。



在这以前,冉阿让在他那样的心境中是对谁都不会说一句话,也不会答一句话的。这时他却按捺不住,主动向那孩子说话了。



“小孩儿,”他说,“你要什么?”



“我要吃的,我肚子饿,”伽弗洛什毫不含糊地回答。他还加上一句,“老孩儿。”



冉阿让从他的背心口袋里摸出一个值五法郎的钱币。



伽弗洛什,象只动作急捷变换不停的??,已从地上拾起一块石头。他早注意到了那盏路灯。



“嗨,”他说,“你们这儿还点着灯笼。你们不守规则,我的朋友。这是破坏秩序。砸掉它。”



他拿起石头往路灯砸去,灯上的玻璃掉得一片响,住在对面房子里的几个资产阶级从窗帘下面伸出头来大声说:“九三年的那套又来了!”



路灯猛烈地摇晃着,熄灭了。街上一下子变得漆黑。



“就得这样,老腐败街,”伽弗洛什说,“戴上你的睡帽吧。”



接着又转向冉阿让说:



“这条街尽头的那栋大楼,你们管它叫什么啊?历史文物陈列馆,不是吗?它那些老大老粗的石头柱子,得替我稍微打扫一下,好好地做一座街垒。”



冉阿让走到伽弗洛什身旁,低声对自己说:



“可怜的孩子,他饿了。”



他把那枚值一百个苏的钱放在他的手里。



伽弗洛什抬起他的鼻子,见到那枚钱币会那么大,不免有点吃惊,他在黑暗中望着那个大苏,它的白光照花了他的眼睛。他听人说过,知道有这么一种值五法郎的钱,思慕已久,现在能亲眼见到一个,大为高兴。他说:“让我看看这上面的老虎。”



他心花怒放地细看了一阵,又转向冉阿让,把钱递给他,一本正经地说:



“老板,我还是喜欢去砸路灯。把您这老虎收回去。我绝不受人家的腐蚀。这玩意儿有五个爪子,但是它抓不到我。”



“你有母亲吗?’冉阿让问。



“也许比您的还多。”



“好嘛,”冉阿让又说,“你就把这个钱留给你母亲吧。”



伽弗洛什心里觉得受了感动。并且他刚才已注意到,和他谈话的这个人没有帽子,这就增加了他对这人的好感。



“真是!”他说,“这不是为了防止我去砸烂路灯吧?”



“你爱砸什么,便砸什么吧。”



“您是个诚实人。”伽弗洛什说。



他随即把那值五法郎的钱塞在自己的衣袋里。



他的信任感加强了,接着又问:



“您是住在这街上的吗?”



“是的,你为什么要问?”



“您肯告诉我哪儿是七号吗?”



“你问七号干什么?”



那孩子不开口。他怕说得太多,他使劲把手指甲插在头发里,只回答了这一句:



“啊!没什么。”



冉阿让心里一动。焦急心情常使人思想灵敏。他对那孩子说:



“我在等一封信,你是来送信的吧?”



“您?”伽弗洛什说,“您又不是个女人。”



“信是给珂赛特小姐的,不是吗?”



“珂赛特?”伽弗洛什嘟囔着,“对,我想是的,是这么个怪滑稽的名字。”



“那么,”冉阿让又说,“是我应当把这信交给她。你给我就是。”



“既是这样,您总该知道我是从街垒里派来的吧。”



“当然。”冉阿让说。



伽弗洛什把他的拳头塞进另一个口袋,从那里抽出一张一折四的纸。



他随即行了个军礼。



“向这文件致敬礼,”他说,“它是由临时政府发出的。”



“给我。”冉阿让说。



伽弗洛什把那张纸高举在头顶上。



“您不要以为这是一封情书。它是写给一个女人的,但是为人民的。我们这些人在作战,并且尊重女性。我们不象那些公子哥儿,我们那里没有把小母鸡送给骆驼的狮子。”



“给我。”



“的确,”伽弗洛什继续说,“在我看来,您好象是个诚实人。”



“快点给我。”



“拿去吧。”



说着他把那张纸递给了冉阿让。



“还得请您早点交去,可塞先生,因为可塞特小姐在等着。”



伽弗洛什感到他能创造出这么个词,颇为得意。



冉阿让又说:



“回信应当送到圣美里吧?”



“您这简直是胡扯,”伽弗洛什大声说,“这信是从麻厂街街垒送来的。我这就要回到那儿去,祝您晚安,公民。”说完这话,伽弗洛什便走了,应当说,象只出笼的小鸟,朝着先头来的方向飞走了。他以炮弹直冲的速度,又隐没在黑暗中,象是把那黑影冲破了一个洞似的,小小的武人街又回复了寂静荒凉,这个仿佛是由阴影和梦魂构成的古怪孩子,一眨眼,又消失在那些排列成行的黑暗房屋中的迷雾里,一缕烟似的飘散在黑夜中不见了。他好象已完全泯没了,但是,几分钟过后,一阵清脆的玻璃破裂和路灯落地声又把那些怒气冲天的资产阶级老爷们惊醒了。伽弗洛什正走过麦茬街。

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