A Gentle Spirit  性格温柔的女人

It was, if you care to know, that is to take it from the beginning, that she used to come to me simply to pawn things, to pay for advertising in the VOICE to the effect that a governess was quite willing to travel, to give lessons at home, and so on, and so on.

如果您想知道,也就是说如果从头说起来,那么很简单,她当时是到我这里来当东西,以便偿付《呼声》报的广告费,广告的内容说是某家庭教师同意出外教书,登门上课等等。

That was at the very beginning, and I, of course, made no difference between her and the others: "She comes," I thought, "like any one else," and so on. But afterwards I began to see a difference. She was such a slender, fair little thing, rather tall, always a little awkward with me, as though embarrassed (I fancy she was the same with all strangers, and in her eyes, of course, I was exactly like anybody else - that is, not as a pawnbroker but as a man). As soon as she received the money she would turn round at once and go away. And always in silence. Other women argue so, entreat, haggle for me to give them more; this one did not ask for more. . . .

这是最初的情况,当然我就没有看出她与其他人有什么区别:她像其他人一样常来,来了又走了。可后来我就开始注意她了。她长得那么苗条,头发浅黄,中等个子;同我在一起时,她总是显得有点笨拙,好像不好意思似的,(我想她对所有的陌生人都是那个样子,当然,我在她眼中也跟别的人一样,这是说,如果不把我当作当铺老板,而当作一般人的话。)不过,她每次来一拿到钱,马上转身就走,而且总是一句话也不说。其他人为了多要点钱,总是争呀,求呀,同你讨价还价的。可这个女人不同,你给多少,她拿多少……

I believe I am muddling it up.

我好像,我老是颠三倒四,纠缠不清……

Yes; I was struck first of all by the things she brought: poor little silver gilt earrings, a trashy little locket, things not worth sixpence. She knew herself that they were worth next to nothing, but I could see from her face that they were treasures to her, and I found out afterwards as a fact that they were all that was left her belonging to her father and mother.

对了,首先令我感到吃惊的,是她拿来典当的东西:银质镀金的耳环,顶顶蹩脚的嵌有头像的圆形颈饰——都是一些只值二十戈比的东西。她自己也知道,这些东西不值几个钱,但从她的脸色来看,我看出这些东西是她的宝贝。后来我才知道,这些东西确实是她父母留下的全部遗产。

Only once I allowed myself to scoff at her things. You see I never allow myself to behave like that. I keep up a gentlemanly tone with my clients: few words, politeness and severity. "Severity, severity!" But once she ventured to bring her last rag, that is, literally the remains of an old hareskin jacket, and I could not resist saying something by way of a joke. My goodness! how she flared up! Her eyes were large, blue and dreamy but - how they blazed. But she did not drop one word; picking up her "rags" she walked out.

只有一次,我忍不住对着她的东西笑了一下。您知道吗,我是从不允许自己这么放肆的,我对待顾客,口气总是客客气气的:既有礼貌,又非常严肃,说话是很少的。“严肃、严肃,第三还是严肃。”但她突然拿来了一件旧兔皮女短袄残片(真是名副其实的残片),我忍不住突然对她说了些类似于讽刺的尖刻话。天啦,她可生了大气啦!她的一双眼睛,又大又蓝,善于沉思,现在可像着了火似的!但她一句话也没说,象起她的“残片”就走了出去。

It was then for the first time I noticed her particularly, and thought something of the kind about her - that it, something of a particular kind. Yes, I remember another impression - that is, if you will have it, perhaps the chief impression, that summed up everything. It was that she was terribly young, so young that she looked just fourteen. And yet she was within three months of sixteen. I didn't mean that, though, that wasn't what summed it all up. Next day she came again. I found out later that she had been to Dobranravov's and to Mozer's with that jacket, but they take nothing but gold and would have nothing to say to it. I once took some stones from her (rubbishy little ones) and, thinking it over afterwards, I wondered: I, too, only lend on gold and silver, yet from her I accepted stones. That was my second thought about her then; that I remember.

就在这时我第一次·特·别注意她,而且对她有了一点此类的想法,也就是觉得她有点特别。对了,我还记得一个印象,如果您愿意听的话,那是最主要的印象,能说明一切的印象:就是她非常年轻,年轻得好像只有十四岁。实际上她当时已经离十六岁只差三个月。不过,我想说的并不是这一点,能说明一切的东西也不是这些。第二天她又来了。我后来打听到她带着那件女皮袄到过多勃罗恩拉沃夫和莫泽尔两家当铺,但是他们除开金子以外,什么也不接,甚至连话都懒得说。有一次我接了她一块玉石(也是很不好的),后来我仔细一琢磨,不禁大吃一惊:我本来也是除开金银以外,什么也不当的,可我却接了她的一块玉石。这是我当时对她的第二个想法。这一点我现在还清楚记得。

That time, that is when she came from Mozer's, she brought an amber cigar-holder. It was a connoisseur's article, not bad, but again, of no value to us, because we only deal in gold. As it was the day after her "mutiny", I received her sternly. Sternness with me takes the form of dryness. As I gave her two roubles, however, I could not resist saying, with a certain irritation, "I only do it for you, of course; Mozer wouldn't take such a thing."

这一次,也就是从莫泽尔那里回来的那一次,她带来了一个琥珀烟嘴——那玩意儿还不错,喜欢它的人或许是有的,不过在我们这儿还是一文不值,因为我们只要金子。因为她是在昨天出了乱子之后来的,所以我接待她很严肃。我的严肃就是干巴。但是交给她两个卢布以后,我终于忍不住了,似乎带了一点愤怒地对她说了一句:“你知道,我只是为了您才这么干呢,您的这种东西莫泽尔是不会收的。”

The word "for you" I emphasised particularly, and with a particular implication.

“为了您”这个词我特别作了强调,正是使它具备某种含义。

I was spiteful. She flushed up again when she heard that "for you", but she did not say a word, she did not refuse the money, she took it - that is poverty! But how hotly she flushed! I saw I had stung her. And when she had gone out, I suddenly asked myself whether my triumph over her was worth two roubles. He! He!! He!!! I remember I put that question to myself twice over, "was it worth it? was it worth it? " And, laughing, I inwardly answered it in the affirmative. And I felt very much elated. But that was not an evil feeling; I said it with design, with a motive; I wanted to test her, because certain ideas with regard to her had suddenly come into my mind. That was the third thing I thought particularly about her. . . .

我的样子是难看的。听了这个“为了您”之后,她又发火了,但没作声,也没把钱扔掉,而是收起来了——人穷嘛!可她的火发的可大啊!我明白,我刺痛了她的心。她刚一走出去,我突然问我自己:难道这场对她的胜利能值两个卢布吗?嘿、嘿、嘿!我记得正是这个问题我提了两次:“值得吗?值得吗?”我笑着对这个问题在内心里作了肯定的回答。当时我还很得意。但是这并不是一个很坏的感觉:我是故意的,有目的的。我想考验考验她,因为我突然萌发了一些盘算她的念头。这是关于她的第三个特别的想法。

Well, it was from that time it all began. Of course, I tried at once to find out all her circumstances indirectly, and awaited her coming with a special impatience. I had a presentiment that she would come soon. When she came, I entered into affable conversation with her, speaking with unusual politeness. I have not been badly brought up and have manners. H'm. It was then I guessed that she was soft-hearted and gentle. The gentle and soft-hearted do not resist long, and though they are by no means very ready to reveal themselves, they do not know how to escape from a conversation; they are niggardly in their answers, but they do answer, and the more readily the longer you go on. Only, on your side you must not flag, if you want them to talk. I need hardly say that she did not explain anything to me then. About the Voice and all that I found out afterwards. She was at that time spending her last farthing on advertising, haughtily at first, of course. "A governess prepared to travel and will send terms on application," but, later on: "willing to do anything, to teach, to be a companion, to be a housekeeper, to wait on an invalid, plain sewing, and so on, and so on", the usual thing! Of course, all this was added to the advertisement a bit at a time and finally, when she was reduced to despair, it came to: "without salary in return for board." No, she could not find a situation. I made up my mind then to test her for the last time. I suddenly took up the Voice of the day and showed her an advertisement. "A young person, without friends and relations, seeks a situation as a governess to young children, preferably in the family of a middle-aged widower. Might be a comfort in the home."

……好啦,从那以后,一切就开始啦。当然罗,我马上想方设法从旁详细打听她的一切情况,并且带着特别焦急的心情,等待她的到来。你知道,我已经预感到,她很快就会来。她一来我就特别客气地同她进行友好的交谈。你知道我是受过良好教育的,有风度。嗯,我这时马上就猜到了:她心地善良,性格温和。心地善良而又性格温和的人反抗是不会很久的,虽然根本不会向人敞开心扉,但也决不会回避与人交谈的:回答非常简短,但回答总会有的,如果您自己不感到疲倦又需要他说话的话,时间越久,他的话就会越说越多。当然,她当时并没有向我解释什么。关于《呼声》报和其他的事情,都是我后来打听到的。她当时正在竭尽全力登广告,起初自然是高傲的:“某家庭女教师同意出外任教,条件函告”,可后来就“什么事都同意干,包括教课、陪人、管理家务、看护病人,而且擅长缝纫”等等。都是人所共知的那一套!当然,所有这一切都是用各种不同的手法添加到广告上去的,最后,到了绝望的时候,甚至提出:“不需薪水,只图饭食”。不,即便如此,她也没有找到工作!当时,我决定最后试她一次:我忽然拿起一份当天的《呼声》报,给她看一则广告:“某青年女子,父母双亡,谋求少儿家庭女教师之职务,特别愿意供职于中年以上的鳏夫之家。并愿协助料理家务。”

"Look here how this lady has advertised this morning, and by the evening she will certainly have found a situation. That's the way to advertise."

“您看,这女子今天早晨发广告,到傍晚准能找到工作。做广告嘛,就得这么写!”

Again she flushed crimson and her eyes blazed, she turned round and went straight out. I was very much pleased, though by that time I felt sure of everything and had no apprehensions; nobody will take her cigar-holders, I thought. Besides, she has got rid of them all. And so it was, two days later, she came in again, such a pale little creature, all agitation - I saw that something had happened to her at home, and something really had. I will explain directly what had happened, but now I only want to recall how I did something chic, and rose in her opinion. I suddenly decided to do it. The fact is she was pawning the ikon (she had brought herself to pawn it!) . . Ah!
listen! listen! This is the beginning now, I've been in a muddle. You see I want to recall all this, every detail, every little point. I want to bring them all together and look at them as a whole and - I cannot . . . It's these little things, these little things. . . .

她又发火了,两眼冒出了火星,背转身子,马上就走掉了。我感到很高兴!不过我当时已经感到很有把握,一点也不耽心,因为烟嘴是谁也不会变当的。而她的烟斗嘴又已经当出去了。果然,第三天她来了,脸色是那么苍白,心情是那么激动——我明白她家里一定是出什么事了,事情确实如此。我马上来说明到底出了什么事,不过现在我只想提起我当时突然给她出了一个好主意,使得我在她心目中提高了威信。我突然出现了一个这样的想法。事情是她带来了这个圣像(她是下了狠心才拿来的)……啊呀,您听听吧!您听听吧!现在才开始,可我老是丢三拉四,把一切都搞乱了……问题是我现在什么都想记起来,每一个细节,每一件小事都记起来。我总想把思想集中到一点上,但是我又做不到,而这些小事,小事又都……

It was an ikon of the Madonna. A Madonna with the Babe, and old-fashioned, homely one, and the setting was silver gilt, worth - well, six roubles perhaps. I could see the ikon was precious to her; she was pawning it whole, not taking it out of the setting. I said to her - "You had better take it out of the setting, and take the ikon home; for it's not the thing to pawn."

那是一个圣母像。圣母带着一个婴儿,是一个常用的古老的家用圣像,带有镀金的银质服饰,大概值六七个卢布吧。我发现这尊圣像,她看得很重,她原封不动地把整个圣像都当了,服饰都没有脱下。我对她说,最好把服饰脱下当了,把圣像拿走,要不圣像总觉得有点那个。

"Why, are you forbidden to take them?"

“难道有人禁止您收受圣像吗?”

"No, it's not that we are forbidden, but you might,perhaps, yourself . . ."

“不,倒不是有人禁止,而是,也许,您自己……”

"Well, take it out."

“好吧,您就把服饰脱下吧!”

"I tell you what. I will not take it out, but I'll set it here in the shrine with the other ikons," I said, on reflection. "Under the little lamp" (I always had the lamp burning as soon as the shop was opened), "and you simply take ten roubles."

“您知道吗,我是不会脱下的,我要把它放到神龛里,”我想了一下以后说道,“和别的圣像一起,放到神灯底下(自从我开这个当铺以来,神灯就一直是点着的),您就干脆拿十卢布去吧。”

"Don't give me ten roubles. I only want five; I shall certainly redeem it."

“我不要十卢布,给我五卢布吧,我是一定要赎回去的。”

"You don't want ten? The ikon's worth it," I added noticing that her eyes flashed again.

“您不要十卢布?这尊圣像值这么多呢。”我发现她的小眼睛又亮了一下之后,补充说了这么一句。

She was silent. I brought out five roubles.

她没有说话。我给了她五卢布。

"Don't despise any one; I've been in such straits myself; and worse too, and that you see me here in this business. . . is owing to what I've been through in the past. . . ."

“您不要瞧不起人,我自己也受过这些煎熬,甚至还要坏呢,如果您现在看见我在干这个行当……那是因为我经受了这一切之后……”

"You're revenging yourself on the world? Yes?" she interrupted suddenly with rather sarcastic mockery, which, however, was to a great extent innocent (that is, it was general, because certainly at that time she did not distinguish me from others, so that she said it almost without malice). "Aha," thought I; "so that's what you're like. You've got character; you belong to the new movement."

“您是在向社会进行报复吗?是吗?”她突然带着相当挖苦的嘲笑,打断我的话,不过她的嘲讽之中有许多天真无邪的东西(也就是说里面包含着许多一般的东西,因为她当时根本没有把我和别的人区分开来,所以她说这些话,并无恶意)。“啊哈!”我心中一想,“你原来是这样的人,性格暴露出来了,完全是一个属于新派的人物。”

"You see!" I remarked at once, half-jestingly, half-mysteriously, "I am part of that part of the Whole that seeks to do ill, but does good. . . ."

“您看见了吧,”我马上半开玩笑半神秘地说道,“我是那个想作恶却在行善的那个整体的一部分……”

Quickly and with great curiosity, in which , however, there was something very childlike, she looked at me.

她带着很大的好奇心迅速地望了我一眼,不过,这好奇之中,又有着许多稚气。

"Stay . . . what's that idea? Where does it come from? I've heard it somewhere . . ."

“您等一等……这是什么思想?哪里来的?我好像在那里听说过。……”

"Don't rack your brains. In those words Mephistopheles introduces himself to Faust. Have you read Faust?"

“您不必伤脑筋了,这是米菲斯托菲尔向浮士德自我介绍时说的话。您读过《浮士德》吗?”

"Not . . . not attentively."

“没……没认真读过。”

"That is, you have not read it at all. You must read it. But I see an ironical look in your face again. Please don't imagine that I've so little taste as to try to use Mephistopheles to commend myself to you and grace the role of pawnbroker. A pawnbroker will still be a pawnbroker. We know."

“就是说,您根本没有读过。应该读一读。不过,我在您嘴巴上又看到了嘲笑的神态。请您不要设想我的情趣是那么低下,想粉饰我当铺老板的角色,在您面前装成是米菲斯托菲尔。当铺老板终归还是当铺老板。这一点我们是知道的。”

"You're so strange . . . I didn't mean to say anything of that sort."

“您这人有点怪……我压根儿就不想对您说这样的话……”

She meant to say: "I didn't expect to find you were an educated man"; but she didn't say it; I knew, though, that she thought that. I had pleased her very much.

她想说的是:我没有料到您是一个受过教育的人,但是她没有说出来,不过我知道她是这么想的。我使她感到非常满意。

"You see," I observed, "One may do good in any calling - I'm not speaking of myself, of course. Let us grant that I'm doing nothing but harm, yet . . ."

“您看见了吧,”我说道,“人在任何场所都是可以做好事的。我当然不是说我自己,我们假定,我除了坏事以外,什么事我也没做,但是……”

"Of course, one can do good in every position," she said, glancing at me with a rapid, profound look. "Yes, in any position," she added suddenly. Oh, I remember, I remember all those moments! And I want to add, too, that when such young creatures, such sweet young creatures want to say something so clever and profound, they show at once so truthfully and naively in their faces, "Here I am saying something clever and profound now" - and that is not from vanity, as it is with any one like me, but one sees that she appreciates it awfully herself, and believes in it, and thinks a lot of it, and imagines that you think a lot of all that, just as she does. Oh, truthfulness! it's by that they conquer us. How exquisite it was in her!

“当然在任何场所人都是可以做好事的。”她用尖锐的目光迅速望着我说道,“正是在任何地方,”她突然补充这么一句。啊,我记得,所有这些瞬间发生的事情,我都记得清清楚楚!而且我还想补充一句:当这些青年人,这些可爱的青年人,想说这样聪明而又感人的话的时候,他们的脸上马上就会过分真挚而又天真地露出这种神情来,仿佛说:“听吧,我现在就对你说聪明而又感人的话。”而且这样做并不是像我们兄弟那样,出于虚荣,而你可以看到,她自己对这一切看得极其重要,而且相信这一切,尊重这一切,还认为您也会像她那样,尊重这一切。啊,真诚!这就是他们胜利的法宝。而在它里面包含着多么美妙的东西啊!

I remember it, I have forgotten nothing! As soon as she had gone, I made up my mind. That same day I made my last investigations and found out every detail of her position at the moment; every detail of her past I had learned already from Lukerya, at that time a servant in the family, whom I had bribed a few days before. This position was so awful that I can't understand how she could laugh as she had done that day and feel interest in the words of Mephistopheles, when she was in such horrible straits. But - that's youth! That is just what I thought about her at the time with pride and joy; for, you know, there's a greatness of soul in it - to be able to say, "Though I am on the edge of the abyss, yet Goethe's grand words are radiant with light." Youth always has some greatness of soul, if its only a spark and that distorted. Though it's of her I am speaking, of her alone. And, above all, I looked upon her then as mine and did not doubt of my power. You know, that's a voluptuous idea when you feel no doubt of it.

我记得,什么也没忘记!她一走出去,我马上就作出了决定。就在当天,我去作了最后一次的搜索,打听到了她其余的一切情况和她现在的底细;至于她过去的全部底细,我已经从卢凯里娅那里了解清楚。卢凯里娅当时在她们家当佣人,几天前已经被我收买。那个底细是非常可怕的,我不明白她在那样可怕的境况之中,怎么还能像刚才那样发笑,还能有兴趣打听米菲斯托菲尔的话。不过,她是青年人!我当时怀着自豪和高兴的心情,想到她的正是这一点,因为这里有的正是度量的宽宏:即便是处在生死的边缘上,伟大歌德的语言依然光芒四射。青春,哪怕是一点点,即便是走上了邪道的,仍然总是宽宏大量的。我这是说她,说她一个人。最重要的是,我当时已经把她看成是·我·的了,而且并不怀疑我的强大力量。你们知道,一旦你无所怀疑的时候,这想法就是极其富有诱惑力的了。

But what is the matter with me? If I go on like this, when shall I put it all together and look at it as a whole. I must make haste, make haste - that is not what matters, oh, my God!

但是,我出了毛病啦。如果我这样下去,那么什么时候我才能把思想集中起来呢?快,快——问题完全不在这里,啊,天哪!