A Gentle Spirit  性格温柔的女人

Neither. It began of itself from the very first. I have said that with sternness i brought her into the house. From the first step, however, I softened it. Before she was married it was explained to her that she would have to take pledges and pay out money, and she said nothing at the time (note that). What is more, she set to work with positive zeal. Well, of course, my lodging, my furniture all remained as before. My lodging consisted of two rooms, a large room from which the shop was partitioned off, and a second one, also large, our living room and bedroom. My furniture is scanty: even her aunts had better things. My shrine of ikons with the lamp was in the outer room where the shop is; in the inner room my bookcase with a few books in and a trunk of which I keep the key; married I told her that one rouble a day and not more, was to be spent on our board - that is, on food for me, her and Lukerya whom I had enticed to come to us. "I must have thirty thousand in three years," said I, "and we can't save the money if we spend more." She fell in with this, but I raised the sum by thirty kopecks a day. It was the same with the theatre. I told her before marriage that she would not go to the theatre, and yet I decided once a month to go to he theatre, and in a decent way, to the stalls. We went together. We went three times and saw The Hunt after Happiness, and Singing Birds, I believe. (Oh, what does it matter!)

谁也不是。从第一步开始就是自动进行的。我说过,我是极其严厉地将她带进我的家里的,不过,从第一步起,我就变软了。还是未婚妻的时候,她就被告知:她要接收典当品,付钱,她当时什么话也没说(这一点请您记住),而且她开始干这工作的时候,还是很热心的。唔,当然住房和家俱等等一切都照旧。住房嘛,一共有两间;一间是大厅,与帐房是隔开的;另一间也很大,是我们共用的,也是我们的卧室。我的家俱很简单,甚至不如她两个姑姑的好。我的神龛和神灯,摆在设帐房的那间厅里。我的房里摆着我的一个柜子,里面有几本书,一个小匣子和钥匙,我随身带着;当然那里还有被褥和桌椅板凳。我还告诉未婚妻,我们的生活费,也就是我、她和我诱惑过来的卢凯里娅三个人的伙食费,确定为一天一个卢布,不能再多。我告诉她:“三年之内我要积攒起三万卢布,如果不节省点,钱是攒不起来的。”她没有加以阻挠,不过,我自己把生活费提高了三十戈比。也上戏院。我告诉未婚妻,说不得看戏,不过,我还是每月让她进一次戏院,而且体体面面地坐在池座里。我们是两人一起上戏院的,去过三次,看了《追求幸福》和《会唱歌的小鸟》①,好像是这样的。(啊,不值一提,不值一提!)

We went in silence and in silence we returned. Why, why, from the very beginning, did we take to being silent? From the very first, you know, we had no quarrels, but always the same silence. She was always, I emember, watching me stealthily in those days; as soon as I noticed it I became more silent that before. It is true that it was I insisted on the silence, not she. On her part there were one or two outbursts, she rushed to embrace me; but as these outbursts were hysterical, painful, and I wanted secure happiness, with respect from her, I received them coldly. And indeed, I was right; each time the outburst was followed next day by a quarrel.

我们默默不语地走去,又默默不语地回来。为什么,为什么我们一开始就采取沉默不语的作法呢?起初,我们没有发生争吵,也是沉默不语。我记得她当时好像老是偷偷地望我;我一发现,她就更加保持沉默。的确,坚持沉默的是我,而不是她。从她那方面来说,出现过一两次激情,扑过来拥抱我,但是,因为这种激情是病态的、歇斯底里的,而我需要的是坚实的幸福、是她对我的尊重,所以我对之采取冷漠的态度。这也是做得对的,因为每次这样的冲动过后,第二天免不了要大吵一场。--------①法国作曲家奥菲巴赫(一八一九—一八八○)的歌剧。

Though, again, there were no quarrels, but there was silence and - and on her side a more and more defiant air. "Rebellion and independence," that's what it was, only she didn't know how to show it. Yes, that gentle creature was becoming more and more defiant. Would you believe it, I was becoming revolting to her? I learned that. And there could be no doubt that she was moved to frenzy at times. Think, for instance, of her beginning to sniff at our poverty, after her coming from such sordidness and destitution - from scrubbing the floors! You see, there was no poverty; there was frugality, but there was abundance of what was necessary, of linen, for instance, and the greatest cleanliness. I always used to dream that cleanliness in a husband attracts a wife.

或者说还是没有争吵,但是默默不语,于是她的态度便越来越大胆了。“反叛与独立”,就是这么回事,不过,她还不善于表达罢了。是的,这个性格温和的人,变得越来越大胆,越来越放肆了。您信不信呢,我在她的眼中变成了大坏蛋,这事我是作过深入的研究的。问题是她经常控制不住自己的激情,大肆发作,这一点已经不容怀疑了。比方说,她刚刚摆脱肮脏与贫穷,不再擦洗地板,就突然对我们的贫困看不上眼了!您是看得清楚的,先生:这不是贫穷,而是节俭。应该有的东西,哪样不多的是?比方说,要衣服有衣服,要整洁有整洁。我以前老是想,丈夫的整洁是会赢得妻子的欢心的。

It was not our poverty she was scornful of, but my supposed miserliness in the housekeeping: "he has his objects," she seemed to say, "he is showing his strength of will." She suddenly refused to go to the theatre. And more and more often an ironical look. . . . And I was more silent, more and more silent.

不过,她似乎不是嫌我贫穷,而是嫌我在开销方面的过分吝啬,她似乎在说:“人是有目标的,是要表现坚强的性格的。”她突然主动提出不上戏院。而且讥讽的神情表现得越来越强烈……我呢,也变得越来越不说话,越来越沉默。

I could not begin justifying myself, could I? What was at the bottom of all this was the pawnbroking business. Allow me, I knew that a woman, above all at sixteen, must be in complete subordination to a man. Women have no originality. That - that is an axiom; even now, even now, for me it is an axiom! What does it prove that she is lying there in the outer room? Truth is truth, and even Mill is no use against it! And a woman who loves, oh, a woman who loves idealizes even the vices, even the villainies of the man she loves. He would not himself even succeed in
finding such justification for his villanies as she will find for him. That is generous but not original. it is the lack of originality alone that has been the ruin of women. And, I repeat, what is the use of your point to that table? Why, what is there original in her being on that table? O - O - Oh!

不必进行辩护吗?这里最主要的是这个当铺。对不起,先生:我知道,一个女人,而且还是个十六岁的女人,是不能不完全听命于男人的。女人没有独特的见解,这是显而易见的公理,即便现在对我来说,也是如此!那是什么东西,躺在厅里的是什么呢?真理就是真理,就是穆勃①本人来,也是一点办法也没有的!可是一个爱着男人的女人,啊,一个爱着男人的女人,甚至对她所爱的人的罪过,甚至对他的恶行,也加以神化。她找到为他的罪恶行径开脱的理由,他本人都未必能够找到。这是心地宽宏,并不是独特的见解。仅仅一个见解平平,就把一个女人给毁了。我再说一遍,您指着我看桌子上摆的是什么,又有什么意义呢?难道躺在桌子上就是独特吗?啊! --------①约翰·斯图尔特·穆勃(一八○六—一八七三)英国哲学家、经济学家、逻辑学家,主要著作有《逻辑体系》、《政治经济学原理》、《论自由》等。

Listen. I was convinced of her love at that time. Why, she used to throw herself on my neck in those days. She loved me; that is, more accurately, she wanted to love. Yes, that's just what it was, she wanted to love; she was trying to love.

请您听着:对于她的爱情,我当时是相信的。因为她当时曾经扑到我身上,抱住过我的脖子。她爱过我,更确切点说,她希望爱。

And the point was that in this case there were no villanies for which she had to find justification. You will say, I'm a pawnbroker; and every one says the same. But what if I am a pawnbroker? It follows that there must be reasons since the most generous of men had become a pawnbroker. You see, gentlemen, there are ideas . . . that is, if one expresses some ideas, utters them in words, the effect is very stupid. The effect is to make one ashamed. For what reason? For no reason. Because we are all wretched creatures and cannot hear the truth, or I do not know why. I said just now, "the most generous of men" - that is absurd, and yet that is how it was. It's the truth, that is, the absolute, absolute truth!

是的,事情正是如此:她想爱,想方设法寻找爱。您知道,主要是这里没有任何罪恶行径,用不着她去寻求辩护。您说,当铺掌柜,大家也这么说。可是当铺掌柜又算得了什么呢?这就是说,既然一个心地极其宽宏的人居然当了当铺掌柜,自然是有原因的。先生们,你们看吧,是有思想的……这也是说,你们看,如果把一些想法说出来,用语言把它表达出来,那结果会是很愚蠢的。会自己都觉得可耻的。为什么呢?不为什么。因为我们大家都是混蛋,承受不起真理,要么,我就不知道了。我刚才说我是“心地最最宽宏的人”,这是非常可笑的,然而事实又确实如此。因为这是真理,也就是最最真实的事实。

Yes, I had the right to want to make myself secure and open that pawnbroker's shop: "You have rejected me, you - people, I mean - you have cast me out with contemptuous silence. My passionate yearning towards you you have met with insult all my life. Now I have the right to put up a wall against you, to save up that thirty thousand roubles and end my life somewhere in the Crimea, on the south coast, among the mountains and vineyards, on my own estate bought with that thirty thousand, and above everything, far away from you all, living without malice against you, with an ideal in my soul, with a beloved woman at my heart, and a family, if God sends one, and - helping the inhabitants all around." Of course, it is quite right that I say this to myself now, but what could have been more stupid than describing all that aloud to her?

是的,我有权使自己生活有保障,所以开设这家当铺:“你们不理我,你们,也就是人们,用蔑视的沉默,将我赶走。对我的热情,你们的回答是让我委曲一辈子。所以,我现在完全有权砌一堵墙,来把我们隔开,让我积攒起三万卢布,然后用这三万卢布买下一座庄园,让我到南方海岸边、克里米亚的某个地方,在丛林里,在葡萄园里,度过我的余年。最主要的是让我远离大家。不过,我对你们并无怨恨,我是带着理想、带着内心喜爱的女人,带着家小而去的,如果上帝允许的话,同时我也顺便帮帮村里的居民。”当然,现在我把自己的打算给自己说了,这是好的。要是我当时对她讲出来,那就可能太愚蠢了。

That was the cause of my proud silence, that's why we sat in silence. For what could she have understood? Sixteen years old, the earliest youth - yes, what could she have understood of my justification, of my sufferings? Undeviating traightness, ignorance of life, the cheap convictions of youth, the hen-like blindness of those "noble hearts," and what stood for most was – the pawnbroker's shop and - enough! (And was I a villain in the pawnbroker's shop? Did not she see how I acted? Did I extort too much?) Oh, how awful is truth on earth! That exquisite creature, that gentle spirit, that heaven - she was a tyrant, she was the insufferable tyrant and torture of my soul! I should be unfair to myself if I didn't say so! You imagine I didn't love her? Who can say that I did not love her! Do you see, it was a case of irony, the malignant irony of fate and nature!

这就是为什么她老是高傲地沉默,老是默默地坐着的原因。是因为她明白了什么吗?她才十六岁,刚刚进入青年时期,她怎么能够理解我的辩解,我的苦处呢?这里有的只是头脑的简单、对生活的无知,年轻人廉价的信念、对“美好心灵”盲目的追求,而最主要的是看着那座当铺,除此以外,就什么也没有了。(难道我是当铺里的坏蛋,难道她没看出我的为人,难道我多拿了别人的钱财?)啊,世界上的真理有多么可怕啊!这个美,这个性格温和的女人,这块天空,她简直是折磨我的心灵的暴君,是折磨我的、令人无法忍受的人!如果我把这事说出来,那不是对我自己进行诬蔑吗?您以为我不曾爱过她?谁能说我没爱过她呢?您看见了吗,这是讽刺,这是命运和大自然辛辣的讽刺!

We were under a curse, the life of men in general is under a curse! (mine in particular). Of course, I understand now that I made some mistake! Something went wrong. Everything was clear, my plan was clear as daylight: "Austere and proud, asking for no moral comfort, but suffering in silence." And that was how it was. I was not lying, I was not lying! "She will see for herself, later on, that it was heroic, only that she had not known how to see it, and when, some day, she divines, it she will prize me ten times more and will abase herself in the dust and fold her hands in homage" - that was my plan. But I forgot something or lost sight of it. There was something I failed to manage. But, enough, enough! And whose forgiveness am I to ask now? What is done is done. By bolder, man, and have some pride! It is not
your fault! . . .

我们确实该死,人们的生活总的说来,是该死的(特别是我的生活)!您知道,我现在才知道,我到底错在哪里。这里总有点不大对头。一切都是明明白白的、我的计划也是像天空一样清楚:“严肃、高傲,而且在精神方面不需要任何人的安慰,默默地承受着痛苦。”情况正是如此,我没瞎说,我没撒谎!“她自己会发现的,这是心地宽宏,不过她不善于发现它就是,将来一旦发现,她就会十倍尊敬我,然后跪在尘埃中,合掌祈祷的。”这就是我的计划,但是这里面我好像忘了点什么,或者忽略了一点什么。这里面好像我有点什么没有办好。不过,这已经够了,足够了。再说现在向谁请求宽恕呢?完了,就完了吧。你这人哪,放大胆一点,也要保持高傲!责任并不在你身上嘛!……

Well, I will tell the truth, I am not afraid to face the truth; it was her fault, her fault!

好吧,我一定把真相说出来,我不怕面对事实:错的是她,错的是她!