第三卷陷入泥泞,心却坚贞 第08章撕下的一角衣襟
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2007-10-17 23:55:17  【打印
CHAPTER VIII THE TORN COAT-TAIL





In the midst of this prostration, a hand was laid on his shoulder, and a low voice said to him:



"Half shares."



Some person in that gloom? Nothing so closely resembles a dream as despair. Jean Valjean thought that he was dreaming. He had heard no footsteps. Was it possible? He raised his eyes.



A man stood before him.



This man was clad in a blouse; his feet were bare; he held his shoes in his left hand; he had evidently removed them in order to reach Jean Valjean, without allowing his steps to be heard.



Jean Valjean did not hesitate for an instant. Unexpected as was this encounter, this man was known to him. The man was Thenardier.



Although awakened, so to speak, with a start, Jean Valjean, accustomed to alarms, and steeled to unforeseen shocks that must be promptly parried, instantly regained possession of his presence of mind. Moreover, the situation could not be made worse, a certain degree of distress is no longer capable of a crescendo, and Thenardier himself could add nothing to this blackness of this night.



A momentary pause ensued.



Thenardier, raising his right hand to a level with his forehead, formed with it a shade, then he brought his eyelashes together, by screwing up his eyes, a motion which, in connection with a slight contraction of the mouth, characterizes the sagacious attention of a man who is endeavoring to recognize another man. He did not succeed. Jean Valjean, as we have just stated, had his back turned to the light, and he was, moreover,so disfigured,so bemired, so bleeding that he would have been unrecognizable in full noonday. On the contrary, illuminated by the light from the grating, a cellar light, it is true, livid, yet precise in its lividness, Thenardier, as the energetic popular metaphor expresses it, immediately "leaped into" Jean Valjean's eyes. This inequality of conditions sufficed to assure some advantage to Jean Valjean in that mysterious duel which was on the point of beginning between the two situations and the two men. The encounter took place between Jean Valjean veiled and Thenardier unmasked.



Jean Valjean immediately perceived that Thenardier did not recognize him.



They surveyed each other for a moment in that half-gloom, as though taking each other's measure. Thenardier was the first to break the silence.



"How are you going to manage to get out?"



Jean Valjean made no reply. Thenardier continued:



"It's impossible to pick the lock of that gate. But still you must get out of this."



"That is true," said Jean Valjean.



"Well, half shares then."



"What do you mean by that?"



"You have killed that man; that's all right. I have the key."



Thenardier pointed to Marius. He went on:



"I don't know you, but I want to help you. You must be a friend."



Jean Valjean began to comprehend. Thenardier took him for an assassin.



Thenardier resumed:



"Listen, comrade. You didn't kill that man without looking to see what he had in his pockets. Give me my half. I'll open the door for you."



And half drawing from beneath his tattered blouse a huge key, he added:



"Do you want to see how a key to liberty is made? Look here."



Jean Valjean "remained stupid"--the expression belongs to the elder Corneille--to such a degree that he doubted whether what he beheld was real. It was providence appearing in horrible guise, and his good angel springing from the earth in the form of Thenardier.



Thenardier thrust his fist into a large pocket concealed under his blouse, drew out a rope and offered it to Jean Valjean.



"Hold on," said he, "I'll give you the rope to boot."



"What is the rope for?"



"You will need a stone also, but you can find one outside. There's a heap of rubbish."



"What am I to do with a stone?"



"Idiot, you'll want to sling that stiff into the river, you'll need a stone and a rope, otherwise it would float on the water."



Jean Valjean took the rope. There is no one who does not occasionally accept in this mechanical way.



Thenardier snapped his fingers as though an idea had suddenly occurred to him.



"Ah, see here, comrade, how did you contrive to get out of that slough yonder? I haven't dared to risk myself in it. Phew! You don't smell good."



After a pause he added:



"I'm asking you questions, but you're perfectly right not to answer. It's an apprenticeship against that cursed quarter of an hour before the examining magistrate. And then, when you don't talk at all, you run no risk of talking too loud. That's no matter, as I can't see your face and as I don't know your name, you are wrong in supposing that I don't know who you are and what you want. I twig. You've broken up that gentleman a bit; now you want to tuck him away somewhere. The river, that great hider of folly, is what you want. I'll get you out of your scrape. Helping a good fellow in a pinch is what suits me to a hair."



While expressing his approval of Jean Valjean's silence, he endeavored to force him to talk. He jostled his shoulder in an attempt to catch a sight of his profile, and he exclaimed, without, however, raising his tone:



"Apropos of that quagmire, you're a hearty animal. Why didn't you toss the man in there?"



Jean Valjean preserved silence.



Thenardier resumed, pushing the rag which served him as a cravat to the level of his Adam's apple, a gesture which completes the capable air of a serious man:



"After all, you acted wisely. The workmen, when they come to-morrow to stop up that hole, would certainly have found the stiff abandoned there, and it might have been possible, thread by thread, straw by straw, to pick up the scent and reach you. Some one has passed through the sewer. Who? Where did he get out? Was he seen to come out? The police are full of cleverness. The sewer is treacherous and tells tales of you. Such a find is a rarity, it attracts attention, very few people make use of the sewers for their affairs, while the river belongs to everybody. The river is the true grave. At the end of a month they fish up your man in the nets at Saint-Cloud. Well, what does one care for that? It's carrion! Who killed that man? Paris. And justice makes no inquiries. You have done well."



The more loquacious Thenardier became, the more mute was Jean Valjean.



Again Thenardier shook him by the shoulder.



"Now let's settle this business. Let's go shares. You have seen my key, show me your money."



Thenardier was haggard, fierce, suspicious, rather menacing, yet amicable.



There was one singular circumstance; Thenardier's manners were not simple; he had not the air of being wholly at his ease; while affecting an air of mystery, he spoke low; from time to time he laid his finger on his mouth, and muttered, "hush!" It was difficult to divine why. There was no one there except themselves. Jean Valjean thought that other ruffians might possibly be concealed in some nook, not very far off, and that Thenardier did not care to share with them.



Thenardier resumed:



"Let's settle up. How much did the stiff have in his bags?"



Jean Valjean searched his pockets.



It was his habit, as the reader will remember, to always have some money about him. The mournful life of expedients to which he had been condemned imposed this as a law upon him. On this occasion, however, he had been caught unprepared. When donning his uniform of a National Guardsman on the preceding evening, he had forgotten, dolefully absorbed as he was, to take his pocket-book. He had only some small change in his fob. He turned out his pocket, all soaked with ooze, and spread out on the banquette of the vault one louis d'or, two five-franc pieces, and five or six large sous.



Thenardier thrust out his lower lip with a significant twist of the neck.



"You knocked him over cheap," said he.



He set to feeling the pockets of Jean Valjean and Marius, with the greatest familiarity. Jean Valjean, who was chiefly concerned in keeping his back to the light, let him have his way.



While handling Marius' coat, Thenardier, with the skill of a pickpocket, and without being noticed by Jean Valjean, tore off a strip which he concealed under his blouse, probably thinking that this morsel of stuff might serve, later on, to identify the assassinated man and the assassin. However, he found no more than the thirty francs.



"That's true," said he, "both of you together have no more than that."



And, forgetting his motto: "half shares," he took all.



He hesitated a little over the large sous. After due reflection, he took them also, muttering:



"Never mind! You cut folks' throats too cheap altogether."



That done, he once more drew the big key from under his blouse.



"Now, my friend, you must leave. It's like the fair here, you pay when you go out. You have paid, now clear out."



And he began to laugh.



Had he, in lending to this stranger the aid of his key, and in making some other man than himself emerge from that portal, the pure and disinterested intention of rescuing an assassin? We may be permitted to doubt this.



Thenardier helped Jean Valjean to replace Marius on his shoulders, then he betook himself to the grating on tiptoe, and barefooted, making Jean Valjean a sign to follow him, looked out, laid his finger on his mouth, and remained for several seconds, as though in suspense; his inspection finished, he placed the key in the lock. The bolt slipped back and the gate swung open. It neither grated nor squeaked. It moved very softly.



It was obvious that this gate and those hinges, carefully oiled, were in the habit of opening more frequently than was supposed. This softness was suspicious; it hinted at furtive goings and comings, silent entrances and exits of nocturnal men, and the wolf-like tread of crime.



The sewer was evidently an accomplice of some mysterious band. This taciturn grating was a receiver of stolen goods.



Thenardier opened the gate a little way, allowing just sufficient space for Jean Valjean to pass out, closed the grating again, gave the key a double turn in the lock and plunged back into the darkness, without making any more noise than a breath. He seemed to walk with the velvet paws of a tiger.



A moment later, that hideous providence had retreated into the invisibility.



Jean Valjean found himself in the open air.







八 撕下的一角衣襟





他正处在万分颓丧之中,忽然一只手放在他的肩上,一个轻轻的声音向他说:



“两人平分。”



黑暗中难道竟还有人?没有比绝望更象梦境的了。冉阿让以为是在做梦,他没有听见一点脚步声。这可能吗?他抬头一望。



一个人站在他面前。



这个人穿一件罩衫,光着脚,左手拿着鞋,他脱去鞋肯定是为了走近冉阿让而不让人听到他的走路声。



冉阿让一刻也不犹豫,相遇虽然如此突然,但他认得这个人。这就是德纳第。



可以这么说,冉阿让尽管被惊醒,但他对惊慌也早已习惯,他经受过需要快速对付的意外打击,于是立刻恢复了清醒的头脑。何况,处境也不能更为恶劣,困境到了某种程度已无法再升级,德纳第本人也不能使这黑夜更黑。



一刹那间的等待。



德纳第把右手举到额际来遮阳,接着又皱起眉头眨眨眼,这一动作再加上略闭双唇,说明一个精明的人试着去认出另一个人。但他没有认出来。我们刚才说过,冉阿让背着阳光,加上他又变得如此面目全非,满脸的污泥和鲜血,就是在白天,也未必能被人认出来。相反地,铁栅栏的光??这地窟中的光??正面照着德纳第,确实是这样,他是惨淡的,但能看得清清楚楚,正如俗话所说,说得很对,冉阿让一眼就认出了德纳第。所处情况的不同使得这一秘密的即将开始的两种地位和两个人之间的决斗将对冉阿让有利。两人相遇,一个是面目看不清楚的冉阿让,另一个是真相毕露的德纳第。



冉阿让立刻发现德纳第没有认出他来。



他们在这半明半暗的地方互相观察了一番,好象在进行较量,德纳第首先打破了沉默:



“你打算怎么出去?”



冉阿让不回答。



德纳第继续说:



“无法用小钩开锁,可是你必须出去。”



“对。”冉阿让说。



“那么对半分。”



“你说什么?”



“你杀了人,好罢,我呢,我有钥匙。”



德纳第用手指着马吕斯,继续说:



“我不认识你,但我愿意帮助你,你得够朋友。”



冉阿让开始懂了,德纳第以为他是一个凶手。



德纳第又说:



“听着,伙伴,你不会没看看兜里有什么就把人杀了。给我一半,我就替你开门。”



他从有着无数洞的罩衫下面露出了一把大钥匙的一半,又加上一句:



“你要见识一下田野的钥匙①是什么样的吗?在这儿。”冉阿让“愣住了”,这是老高乃依的说法,他甚至怀疑所见是否是现实。这是外表看起来可怕的老天爷,以德纳第的形象从地底下钻出来的善良天使。



德纳第把拳头塞进罩衫的一个大口袋里,抽出一根绳索递给冉阿让。



“拿着,”他说,“我还外饶你这根绳子。”



“一根绳子,派什么用处?”



“你还需要一块石头,但你在外边找得到,那儿有一堆废物。”



“派什么用处,一块石头?”



“笨蛋,你既然要把这傻瓜②丢下河,就得有一块石头和一根绳子,不然他就会漂起来。”



①“拿田野的钥匙”是句成语,意思是“逃之夭夭”。



②傻瓜,原文为黑话pantre。 



冉阿让接过绳子,每个人都会这样机械地接受东西。



德纳第弹了一个响指,好象忽然想起了一件事:



“喂,伙伴,你怎么搞的竟能摆脱那儿的洼地!我没敢冒险去那儿。呸!你好难闻。”



停了一下,他又说:



“我问你话,你不回答是对的,这是学习对付在预审推事前的那难堪的一刻钟。还有,一点不说,就不怕说得太响。我看不清你的脸,又不知道你的姓名,尽管如此,你别以为我就不知道你是什么人,想干什么。我什么都知道。你敲了一下这位先生,现在你要把他藏在一个地方,你需要的是河,这是藏祸之处。我来帮你摆脱窘境。在困难中帮助一个好人,我很乐意。”



他尽管赞许冉阿让的缄默,显然他也在设法使他开口。他推推他的肩膀,想从侧面观察他,并用他一直保持着的不高不低的声音叫道:



“说起洼地来,你真是一个古怪的家伙,为什么你不把这个人丢进去?”



冉阿让保持沉默。



德纳第又说,同时把一块当作领结的小布举到喉结处,这个举动更显示了一个一本正经的人的明智:



“说实话,你这样干可能是聪明的。明天工人来补洞,肯定会找到遗忘在这儿的巴黎人①,他们可能会根据线索,一点一点,找到你的足迹,抓到你。有人经过这阴沟。谁?他打哪儿出去的?有人看见他出去了吗?警察十分机警。阴沟是阴险的,可以告发你。找到这样的东西是罕见的,能引人注意,很少人干事利用阴沟,至于河流则是为众人服务的。河流是真正的坟墓。一个月后,有人在圣克鲁的网里把这人打捞上来。好罢,这有什么关系?不过是一具腐烂的尸体罢了,谁杀了这个人?巴黎。这样,法院根本不过问,你做得对。”



①巴黎人,原文为黑话pantinois。 



德纳第越是话多,冉阿让也就越缄默。德纳第又摇摇他的肩膀。



“现在,把生意结束一下,要平分,你看见我的钥匙了,让我看看你的钱!”



德纳第一副凶相,就象野兽一样,形状可疑,带点恫吓的神气,然而又表现得很亲善。



有一桩怪事,德纳第的态度很不自然,他的神气很不自在,尽管没有装得很神秘的样子,他却低声说话,不时把手指放在嘴上轻声说:“嘘!”很难使人猜出其中的原因。这儿除了他们两人之外没有别人。冉阿让猜想可能还有其他盗贼藏在近处的角落里而德纳第不打算和他们分赃。



德纳第又说:



“让我们结束吧!那傻瓜的衣袋里究竟有多少钱?”



冉阿让在自己的衣袋里寻找。



我们记得,他的习惯总是要带点钱在身边。他过着随时要应付困难的阴暗的生活,这使他不得不这样做。然而这一次他措手不及,昨晚他穿上他的国民自卫军的军服时,心情颓丧之极,所以忘了带上钱包。他只有少数零钱在他背心的口袋里,总共有三十法郎左右。他翻转口袋,里面浸满了污泥,他把一个金路易和两个五法郎的钱币以及五六个铜币放在沟管的长凳上。



德纳第伸长了下唇,意味深长地扭了一下脖子。



“你杀了他没捞到多少钱。”他说。



他开始放肆地摸摸冉阿让的口袋和马吕斯的口袋。冉阿让主要是注意背着光线,随便他干。在翻着马吕斯的衣服时,德纳第用魔术师般灵巧的动作,设法撕下了一角衣襟藏在他罩衫里面而未被冉阿让看见,大概他想这块破布以后可能会帮助他认出被害者和凶手。他在三十法郎之外再也没有找到什么。



“不错,”他说,“两个人加起来,你们也只有这一点钱。”



他全部拿走了,忘了他所说的“平分”。



对铜币他稍稍犹豫了一下,想了想,他嘟囔着也拿了去:



“没有关系!杀人得这一点钱太少了。”



他说完后,又在罩衫下把大钥匙拉出来:



“现在你得出去了,朋友。这里和集市一样,出去是要付钱的。你既然付了,出去吧。”



于是他笑了起来。



他用钥匙来帮助一个陌生人,让除他之外的另一个人从这道门出去,他是否出于完全无私的目的去救一个凶手?这是值得怀疑的。



德纳第帮助冉阿让把马吕斯背上,事后他踮起赤脚的脚尖走到铁栅栏门前,同时向冉阿让做手势让他跟上来。他望望外面,把手指放在唇边,停了几秒钟;经过观察以后,他把钥匙伸进锁眼。铁闩滑开,门转动了。没有一点轧轧声和吱呀声,动作轻巧,显然这铁栅栏门和铰链都仔细地上了油,开的次数比人们想象的要多,这种轻巧是阴森的。这种轻巧使人感到偷偷地来来去去,静悄悄地出出进进的夜行人以及害人的豺狼的脚步。阴渠肯定是某个秘密集团的同谋。这沉默的铁栅栏门就是窝主。



德纳第半开着门,让冉阿让的身子刚刚能通过,他又关上了门,钥匙在锁中转两道,继而又钻进黑暗处,没发出一点比呼吸更大的声响。他好象是用老虎的毛茸茸的爪子在走路。不久以后,这个可怕的老天爷已看不见了。



冉阿让到了外边。

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