Of Human Bondage  人性的枷锁

Dear Philip,

亲爱的菲利普:

If you are thinking of taking a holiday soon and care to come down here I shall be pleased to see you. I was very ill with my bronchitis in the winter and Doctor Wigram never expected me to pull through. I have a wonderful constitution and I made, thank God, a marvellous recovery.

  如果你考虑近期内度假并愿意上这儿来的话,我将为见到你而感到高兴。冬天,因慢性支气管炎发作,我病得很重,而威格拉姆大夫对我的康复不抱任何希望。我体魄异乎寻常的强健,感谢上帝,我奇迹般地恢复过来了。

Yours affectionately, William Carey.

   你的亲爱的

The letter made Philip angry. How did his uncle think he was living? He did not even trouble to inquire. He might have starved for all the old man cared. But as he walked home something struck him; he stopped under a lamp-post and read the letter again; the handwriting had no longer the business-like firmness which had characterised it; it was larger and wavering: perhaps the illness had shaken him more than he was willing to confess, and he sought in that formal note to express a yearning to see the only relation he had in the world. Philip wrote back that he could come down to Blackstable for a fortnight in July. The invitation was convenient, for he had not known what to do, with his brief holiday. The Athelnys went hopping in September, but he could not then be spared, since during that month the autumn models were prepared. The rule of Lynn’s was that everyone must take a fortnight whether he wanted it or not; and during that time, if he had nowhere to go, the assistant might sleep in his room, but he was not allowed food. A number had no friends within reasonable distance of London, and to these the holiday was an awkward interval when they had to provide food out of their small wages and, with the whole day on their hands, had nothing to spend. Philip had not been out of London since his visit to Brighton with Mildred, now two years before, and he longed for fresh air and the silence of the sea. He thought of it with such a passionate desire, all through May and June, that, when at length the time came for him to go, he was listless.

   威廉·凯里

On his last evening, when he talked with the buyer of one or two jobs he had to leave over, Mr. Sampson suddenly said to him:

  读罢此信,菲利普心中不觉忿然。在大伯的心目中,菲利普过的是一种什么日子呢?他甚至在信中问也不问一声。他就是饿死了,那老东西也不放在心上。然而,在回宿舍的路上,菲利普蓦地起了一个念头,戛然收住脚步,立在一盏路灯下,把信掏出来又看了一遍,只见那信上的笔迹失去了其通常所特有的那种公事公办的执拗劲头,一个个字写得斗大,还东倒西歪的。或许疾病对他的打击远远超过了他愿意承认的程度,于是他想借此正式的信件,表达其对他世上唯一的亲人的渴想之情吧。菲利普回信说他可以于七月间到布莱克斯泰勃去度上半个月的假期。这份请柬来得正是时候,因为他一直在为如何打发这一短短的假期犯愁。九月里,阿特尔涅全家要去采蛇麻子,而他是不能不去的,因为到了九月,秋季的服装图样都已搞完了。莱恩公司有个规矩,即每个雇员不管愿意与否都得过上半个月的假期,而在度假期间,要是没地方可去,仍可睡在宿舍里,但膳食得自理。有些店员在伦敦附近没有朋友,对他们来说,假期倒是件伤脑筋的事情。这时,他们只得从微薄的工资里扣出几个钱来买食物充饥,整天价无所事事,日子过得百无聊赖。自从同米尔德丽德一起去布赖顿以来,已经两年过去了,在这期间,菲利普一直没有离开过伦敦一步。眼下,他渴望着呼吸一下新鲜空气,企求着享受一下海边的静谧。他怀着这种强烈的欲望熬过了五月和六月,最后真到了要离开伦敦时,他倒变得惴惴不安起来。

‘What wages have you been getting?’

  离伦敦前最后一个夜晚,菲利普向桑普森先生交代了留下来的一两件活计。突然间,桑普森先生对他说:

‘Six shillings.’

  "你一身拿多少工资?"

‘I don’t think it’s enough. I’ll see that you’re put up to twelve when you come back.’

  "六先令。"

‘Thank you very much,’ smiled Philip. ‘I’m beginning to want some new clothes badly.’

  "我想六先令太少了。等你度假回来,我去要求给你增加到十二先令。"

‘If you stick to your work and don’t go larking about with the girls like what some of them do, I’ll look after you, Carey. Mind you, you’ve got a lot to learn, but you’re promising, I’ll say that for you, you’re promising, and I’ll see that you get a pound a week as soon as you deserve it.’

  "那太谢谢了,"菲利普笑吟吟地说,"我正非常需要添置几件衣服呢。"

Philip wondered how long he would have to wait for that. Two years?

  "凯里,只要你忠于职守,不要像他们中间有些人那样,成天同姑娘们混在一起嬉耍逗乐,我会照应你的。注意,你要学的东西还多着呢,不过你还是有出息的。我要说,你是有出息的。一旦时机成熟,我一定设法让你拿每周一镑的工资。"

He was startled at the change in his uncle. When last he had seen him he was a stout man, who held himself upright, clean-shaven, with a round, sensual face; but he had fallen in strangely, his skin was yellow; there were great bags under the eyes, and he was bent and old. He had grown a beard during his last illness, and he walked very slowly.

  菲利普心中暗自纳闷,不知还得等多久才能拿到每周一镑的工资呢?还得等上两年?

‘I ‘m not at my best today,’ he said when Philip, having just arrived, was sitting with him in the dining-room. ‘The heat upsets me.’

  菲利普吃惊地发现他大伯容颜大变。上次见到大伯时,他身子还很结实,腰板直挺挺的,胡子剃得光光的,一张世俗的脸圆圆的。然而,他的身体莫名其妙地垮了下来,皮肤焦黄,眼泡浮肿,身子佝偻着,显得老态龙钟。在这次生病期间,他蓄起了胡须,走起路来,步履迟缓。

Philip, asking after the affairs of the parish, looked at him and wondered how much longer he could last. A hot summer would finish him; Philip noticed how thin his hands were; they trembled. It meant so much to Philip. If he died that summer he could go back to the hospital at the beginning of the winter session; his heart leaped at the thought of returning no more to Lynn’s. At dinner the Vicar sat humped up on his chair, and the housekeeper who had been with him since his wife’s death said:

  "今天我的身体不怎么好,"当菲利普刚回到牧师公馆,跟大伯一道坐在餐厅里时,大伯就说开了。"高温搅得我心烦意乱,人觉得很不舒服。"

‘Shall Mr. Philip carve, sir?’

  菲利普询问了一些有关教区的事务,在这当儿,他凝视着他大伯,暗暗打量着他大伯究竟还能活多久。炎热的夏季足以让他完蛋。菲利普注意到他那双手瘦骨嶙峋的,还不住地打颤。这对菲利普来说倒是利害攸关的啊。如果他大伯夏天就去世,那冬季学期一开学,他就可以回到圣路加医院去。一想到再也不必回到莱恩公司去了,他的心情万分激动。吃饭时,牧师大伯弓着背坐在椅子上,那位打他妻子死后前来料理他生活的管家问道:

The old man, who had been about to do so from disinclination to confess his weakness, seemed glad at the first suggestion to relinquish the attempt.

  "先生,让菲利普先生切肉好吗?"

‘You’ve got a very good appetite,’ said Philip.

  那个老头儿出于不甘流露自己的虚弱的心理,本想自己动手切肉,但一听到管家的提议,心中不免一喜,便作罢了。

‘Oh yes, I always eat well. But I’m thinner than when you were here last. I’m glad to be thinner, I didn’t like being so fat. Dr. Wigram thinks I’m all the better for being thinner than I was.’

  "您的胃口还真好哩,"菲利普说。

When dinner was over the housekeeper brought him some medicine.

  "喔,那倒是的,我一向吃得下东西。不过我比你上次在这里的时候瘦多了。瘦一点也好,我一直就不喜欢发胖。威格拉姆大夫认为我的消瘦倒是件求之不得的大好事。"

‘Show the prescription to Master Philip,’ he said. ‘He’s a doctor too. I’d like him to see that he thinks it’s all right. I told Dr. Wigram that now you’re studying to be a doctor he ought to make a reduction in his charges. It’s dreadful the bills I’ve had to pay. He came every day for two months, and he charges five shillings a visit. It’s a lot of money, isn’t it? He comes twice a week still. I’m going to tell him he needn’t come any more. I’ll send for him if I want him.’

  饭后,管家给牧师大伯送来了药。

He looked at Philip eagerly while he read the prescriptions. They were narcotics. There were two of them, and one was a medicine which the Vicar explained he was to use only if his neuritis grew unendurable.

  "把处方拿来给菲利普少爷看看,"牧师吩咐说。"他也是一名医生。我希望他能认为这处方开得不错。我曾告诉威格拉姆大夫,说你眼下正在学习当医生,他应该削减医药费。我要付的帐单可吓人了。这两个月来,他天天上门来替我看病,而每来一次就索费五先令。这笔费用不小吧,是不?现在他每周来两次。我打算叫他不必再上门来了,如有必要,我会派人去请他的。"

‘I’m very careful,’ he said. ‘I don’t want to get into the opium habit.’

  他目光急切地凝望着菲利普看医生开的处方。处方上开的尽是麻醉剂,一共两味药,牧师解释说,其中的一味只有在神经炎发得难以忍受时才服用。

He did not mention his nephew’s affairs. Philip fancied that it was by way of precaution, in case he asked for money, that his uncle kept dwelling on the financial calls upon him. He had spent so much on the doctor and so much more on the chemist, while he was ill they had had to have a fire every day in his bed-room, and now on Sunday he needed a carriage to go to church in the evening as well as in the morning. Philip felt angrily inclined to say he need not be afraid, he was not going to borrow from him, but he held his tongue. It seemed to him that everything had left the old man now but two things, pleasure in his food and a grasping desire for money. It was a hideous old age.

  "我用药时很当心,"他说,"我可不想染上吸鸦片的恶习。"

In the afternoon Dr. Wigram came, and after the visit Philip walked with him to the garden gate.

  他压根儿没提他侄儿的事情。菲利普想大伯生怕自己向他伸手要钱,所以小心提防着,来个先声夺人,絮聒不休地数说他要付各种各样的帐目。他在大夫身上已经花去了那么多的钱,而付给药房的钱还要更多。再说,他生病期间,卧室里每天都得生火。现在每逢星期天,他早晚都要坐马车上教堂。菲利普生气极了,真想对他大伯说他不必担心,他侄儿并不打算向他借钱,但是他还是忍住没说。在菲利普看来,除了耽于口腹之乐和对金钱的占有欲之外,生活的一切乐趣都在那个老头儿身上丧失殆尽。人到老年,真令人可恶。

‘How d’you think he is?’ said Philip.

  下午,威格拉姆大夫来了。看完病以后,菲利普陪他走到花园门口。

Dr. Wigram was more anxious not to do wrong than to do right, and he never hazarded a definite opinion if he could help it. He had practised at Blackstable for five-and-thirty years. He had the reputation of being very safe, and many of his patients thought it much better that a doctor should be safe than clever. There was a new man at Blackstable—he had been settled there for ten years, but they still looked upon him as an interloper—and he was said to be very clever; but he had not much practice among the better people, because no one really knew anything about him.

  "您认为他的病况如何?"菲利普询问道。

‘Oh, he’s as well as can be expected,’ said Dr. Wigram in answer to Philip’s inquiry.

  威格拉姆大夫说话做事关心的倒不是对与不对,而是要不得罪人,只要有可能,他总是不会冒险提出明确的意见来的。他在布莱克斯泰勃行医已有三十五年之久,赢得了为人可靠的名声,而许多病人认为作为一个医生,要紧的倒不是聪明,而是为人可靠。布莱克斯泰勃新来了位医生--虽说此人在此定居已达十年,但是人们仍旧把他看作是个抢人饭碗的侵夺者--据说他人非常聪明,可是体面人家很少找他看病的,因为没有人真正了解他的情况呀。

‘Has he got anything seriously the matter with him?’

  "喔,他比意料的要好得多,"威格拉姆回答菲利普的询问时说。

‘Well, Philip, your uncle is no longer a young man,’ said the doctor with a cautious little smile, which suggested that after all the Vicar of Blackstable was not an old man either.

  "他身上有没有要紧的毛病呀?"

‘He seems to think his heart’s in a bad way.’

  "唔,菲利普,你大伯可不年轻罗,"那位大夫说话间,脸上泛起一种审慎的微笑,这笑容似乎在说那位布莱克斯泰勃教区牧师毕竟还不是个龙钟的老人哪。

‘I’m not satisfied with his heart,’ hazarded the doctor, ‘I think he should be careful, very careful.’

  "他似乎认为他的心脏不怎么好。"

On the tip of Philip’s tongue was the question: how much longer can he live? He was afraid it would shock. In these matters a periphrase was demanded by the decorum of life, but, as he asked another question instead, it flashed through him that the doctor must be accustomed to the impatience of a sick man’s relatives. He must see through their sympathetic expressions. Philip, with a faint smile at his own hypocrisy, cast down his eyes.

  "对他的心脏,我倒是不大满意的,"那位大夫竟妄加猜测起来,"我认为他应该小心才是,要多加小心啊。"

‘I suppose he’s in no immediate danger?’

  一个就在菲利普舌边打滚而没问出口的问题是:他大伯究竟还能活多久?他怕问出来,威格拉姆会感到震惊。碰到诸如此类的问题,就要遵循生活的礼节,话要说得含蓄。不过,菲利普在问另一个问题的当儿,脑际突然掠过一个念头,那位大夫想必对一个病人的亲人的焦急心情已是司空见惯,不会心生奇怪的。他一定能透过他们衷切怜悯的表情看到他们的心。菲利普对自己的虚伪报以淡淡一笑,随即垂下眼睑,问威格拉姆大夫道:

This was the kind of question the doctor hated. If you said a patient couldn’t live another month the family prepared itself for a bereavement, and if then the patient lived on they visited the medical attendant with the resentment they felt at having tormented themselves before it was necessary. On the other hand, if you said the patient might live a year and he died in a week the family said you did not know your business. They thought of all the affection they would have lavished on the defunct if they had known the end was so near. Dr. Wigram made the gesture of washing his hands.

  "我想他马上还不至于有生命危险吧?"

‘I don’t think there’s any grave risk so long as he—remains as he is,’ he ventured at last. ‘But on the other hand, we mustn’t forget that he’s no longer a young man, and well, the machine is wearing out. If he gets over the hot weather I don’t see why he shouldn’t get on very comfortably till the winter, and then if the winter does not bother him too much, well, I don’t see why anything should happen.’

  这种问题是医生最忌讳的。要是说病人至多只能再活上一个月,那他家里就会立即忙着操办丧事,可是如果到时病人依然活在世上,他家里人就会带着满肚子的不高兴朝护理人员发泄,埋怨让他们过早地遭受到不必要的精神折磨。从另一方面来讲,要是说病人或许还能活上一年,可他不出一个礼拜就命赴阴曹,那死者家属就会说你是不懂医术的饭囊。他们想要是早知道病人这么快就会咽气的话,他们满可以趁他咽气之前多给他点温暖啊。威格拉姆大夫打了个手势,表示不再让菲利普纠缠下去了。

Philip went back to the dining-room where his uncle was sitting. With his skull-cap and a crochet shawl over his shoulders he looked grotesque. His eyes had been fixed on the door, and they rested on Philip’s face as he entered. Philip saw that his uncle had been waiting anxiously for his return.

  "只要他能维持现状,我认为他还不会有什么严重的危险,"他终于不揣冒昧地说。"不过,从另一方面来说,我们别忘了,他毕竟不年轻了,嗯,这部机器渐渐磨损了。如果他能挺过夏天,我看不出他为什么就不能非常舒适地活到冬天;然后,要是冬天不给他带来多大的不快,唔,我不认为他还会发生什么不测。"

‘Well, what did he say about me?’

  菲利普返身折回餐厅,他大伯还坐在那儿。牧师头上戴了顶室内便帽,肩头裹着一条长方形钩针编织的披巾,看上去样子古怪极了。他两眼直愣愣地望着餐厅门口,菲利普走进来时,眼光一下子停留在菲利普的脸上。菲利普发觉他大伯一直在焦急地等待着他。

Philip understood suddenly that the old man was frightened of dying. It made Philip a little ashamed, so that he looked away involuntarily. He was always embarrassed by the weakness of human nature.

  "嗯,关于我的情况他说什么来着?"

‘He says he thinks you’re much better,’ said Philip.

  菲利普突然领悟到他大伯非常怕死。菲利普感到有点惭愧,于是自觉不自觉地把目光移向别处。他常常因人性的怯弱而陷入困窘。

A gleam of delight came into his uncle’s eyes.

  "他说他认为您眼下大有好转,"菲利普答了一声。

‘I’ve got a wonderful constitution,’ he said. ‘What else did he say?’ he added suspiciously.

  他大伯的双眸顿然放出一丝兴奋的光亮。

Philip smiled.

  "我的体格简直强健极了,"牧师说道,"旁的他还说了些什么?"他又满腹狐疑地追问了一句。

‘He said that if you take care of yourself there’s no reason why you shouldn’t live to be a hundred.’

  菲利普粲然一笑,接着说:

‘I don’t know that I can expect to do that, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t see eighty. My mother lived till she was eighty-four.’

  "他说,只要您当心,就没有理由说明您为什么不能活到一百岁。"

There was a little table by the side of Mr. Carey’s chair, and on it were a Bible and the large volume of the Common Prayer from which for so many years he had been accustomed to read to his household. He stretched out now his shaking hand and took his Bible.

  "我不知道我能不能活到一百岁,但是我就不信活不到八十岁。我母亲就活到八十四岁才去世的嘛。"

‘Those old patriarchs lived to a jolly good old age, didn’t they?’ he said, with a queer little laugh in which Philip read a sort of timid appeal.

  凯里先生座位旁摆着一张小桌子,上面放着一本《圣经》和一卷厚厚的《英国国教祈祷书》,多少年来,他一直惯于对全家吟诵这中间的内容。此刻,他伸出不住颤抖着的手,拿起了《圣经》。

The old man clung to life. Yet he believed implicitly all that his religion taught him. He had no doubt in the immortality of the soul, and he felt that he had conducted himself well enough, according to his capacities, to make it very likely that he would go to heaven. In his long career to how many dying persons must he have administered the consolations of religion! Perhaps he was like the doctor who could get no benefit from his own prescriptions. Philip was puzzled and shocked by that eager cleaving to the earth. He wondered what nameless horror was at the back of the old man’s mind. He would have liked to probe into his soul so that he might see in its nakedness the dreadful dismay of the unknown which he suspected.

  "那些基督教创始人一个个寿命都很长,对不?"牧师说着,神情诡谲地笑了笑。从他的笑声里,菲利普听出有一种胆怯的恳求的调子。

The fortnight passed quickly and Philip returned to London. He passed a sweltering August behind his screen in the costumes department, drawing in his shirt sleeves. The assistants in relays went for their holidays. In the evening Philip generally went into Hyde Park and listened to the band. Growing more accustomed to his work it tired him less, and his mind, recovering from its long stagnation, sought for fresh activity. His whole desire now was set on his uncle’s death. He kept on dreaming the same dream: a telegram was handed to him one morning, early, which announced the Vicar’s sudden demise, and freedom was in his grasp. When he awoke and found it was nothing but a dream he was filled with sombre rage. He occupied himself, now that the event seemed likely to happen at any time, with elaborate plans for the future. In these he passed rapidly over the year which he must spend before it was possible for him to be qualified and dwelt on the journey to Spain on which his heart was set. He read books about that country, which he borrowed from the free library, and already he knew from photographs exactly what each city looked like. He saw himself lingering in Cordova on the bridge that spanned the Gaudalquivir; he wandered through tortuous streets in Toledo and sat in churches where he wrung from El Greco the secret which he felt the mysterious painter held for him. Athelny entered into his humour, and on Sunday afternoons they made out elaborate itineraries so that Philip should miss nothing that was noteworthy. To cheat his impatience Philip began to teach himself Spanish, and in the deserted sitting-room in Harrington Street he spent an hour every evening doing Spanish exercises and puzzling out with an English translation by his side the magnificent phrases of Don Quixote. Athelny gave him a lesson once a week, and Philip learned a few sentences to help him on his journey. Mrs. Athelny laughed at them.

  那老头儿死死抱住尘世不放。诚然,他对他的宗教教义绝对信奉,对灵魂不灭说笃信不疑。他感到就凭他所处的地位,他一直修身养性,行善积德,足以使他的灵魂在他死后升上天国!在那漫长的传教布道的岁月里,他一定给众多生命垂危的人们带来了宗教的安慰!也许,他也像那从自己为自己开的处方里得不到一点好处的医生一样。菲利普为他大伯那种依恋俗世的执拗劲所震惊,所迷惑。那老头儿的灵魂深处究竟是一种什么样的难以言状的恐惧,他感到莫名其妙。他恨不能深入到他大伯的灵魂中去,那样的话,那种对他所怀疑的未知世界所怀有的恐惧感将赤裸裸地暴露在他的眼前。

‘You two and your Spanish!’ she said. ‘Why don’t you do something useful?’

  时光似流水,半个月的假期一晃就过去了。菲利普又回到了伦敦。在那挥汗如雨的八月里,他都呆在服装部屏风后面,穿着衬衫,不停地挥笔作画。轮休的店员们都外出度假去了。晚上,菲利普通常到海德公园里去听乐队演奏。他渐渐适应了自己的工作,因此,工作倒变得不像开始时那么累人了。他的脑子从长期的呆滞状态中恢复了过来,寻求着令人清新的活动。他一门心思期盼着他大伯快快死去,不停地做着同样的梦:一天清晨,递来一份报告那牧师猝然去世的电报,从此他彻底自由了!可眼皮一睁开,却原来梦幻一场,心里头顿时忧愤交加,不是个味儿。既然那老头儿的死亡是随时可能发生的,菲利普便沉湎于为自己的未来作出精心的安排。就这样,他很快就把这一年光阴打发过去了。这一年是他取得合格资格前必经的阶段,他竟还一心扑在他计划的西班牙之行中。他阅读有关该国情况的书籍,这些书籍均是他从免费公共图书馆借来的。从各式各样的图片中,他精确地知道西班牙每一座城地的风貌。他仿佛看到自己驻足在科尔多瓦那座横跨瓜达尔基维尔河的大桥上,穿行在托尔多市的弯弯曲曲的街道之间;坐在教堂里,从埃尔·格列柯那儿索取他感到这位神秘莫测的画家吸引他的人生奥秘。阿特尔涅体谅他的心情,每到星期天下午,他们俩就在一起绘制详尽的旅行路线,以便菲利普不致漏掉一块值得一游的地方。菲利普还开始自学西班牙语,以消除自己的不耐烦心理。每天黄昏,他就坐在哈林顿街宿舍楼里的无人问津的起居室,花一个小时做西班牙语练习,还借助手边的英语译稿,绞尽脑汁思索着《唐·吉沟诃》的妙语佳句。阿特尔涅每周给他上一次课,这样菲利普学会几句话,好在旅行时用。阿特尔涅太太在一旁讥笑他们。

But Sally, who was growing up and was to put up her hair at Christmas, stood by sometimes and listened in her grave way while her father and Philip exchanged remarks in a language she did not understand. She thought her father the most wonderful man who had ever existed, and she expressed her opinion of Philip only through her father’s commendations.

  "瞧你们俩还学西班牙语!"她说。"你们就不能找件有益的事情做做吗?"

‘Father thinks a rare lot of your Uncle Philip,’ she remarked to her brothers and sisters.

  可是莎莉有时却站在一旁,神情严肃地谛听着她父亲和菲利普用一种她听不懂的语言交谈着。莎莉渐渐长大成人,这年圣诞节时,她就要把头发梳上去了。她认为她父亲是世界上有史以来最了不起的人物,总是引用她父亲对菲利普的赞词来表达她对菲利普的看法。

Thorpe, the eldest boy, was old enough to go on the Arethusa, and Athelny regaled his family with magnificent descriptions of the appearance the lad would make when he came back in uniform for his holidays. As soon as Sally was seventeen she was to be apprenticed to a dressmaker. Athelny in his rhetorical way talked of the birds, strong enough to fly now, who were leaving the parental nest, and with tears in his eyes told them that the nest would be there still if ever they wished to return to it. A shakedown and a dinner would always be theirs, and the heart of a father would never be closed to the troubles of his children.

  "爸爸对你们的菲利普叔叔可推崇了,"她对弟妹们这样说道。

‘You do talk, Athelny,’ said his wife. ‘I don’t know what trouble they’re likely to get into so long as they’re steady. So long as you’re honest and not afraid of work you’ll never be out of a job, that’s what I think, and I can tell you I shan’t be sorry when I see the last of them earning their own living.’

  长子索普已经是可以上"阿雷休所"号船当水手的年龄了,于是阿特尔涅便在家人面前绘声绘色地吹起他那儿子穿着水手制服回来度假时的模样儿来了。莎莉一到十七岁,就将去跟一位裁缝学徒。阿特尔涅又像发表演说似的谈论着小鸟翅膀硬了,一只只正扑翅飞离父母修筑的窝巢。他两眼噙着泪水告诉他们,说他们还想回来的话,窝巢依然还在原地,随时对以来吃顿便饭,叶以在临时搭起的地铺上歇息,还说做父亲的心扉永远对着他孩子们的苦恼开放。

Child-bearing, hard work, and constant anxiety were beginning to tell on Mrs. Athelny; and sometimes her back ached in the evening so that she had to sit down and rest herself. Her ideal of happiness was to have a girl to do the rough work so that she need not herself get up before seven. Athelny waved his beautiful white hand.

  "阿特尔涅!你又胡说了,"他的妻子嗔怪地说。"只要孩子们老老实实做人,我就不信他们会遭遇到什么烦恼。只要你做事牢靠,不怕吃苦,你的饭碗就永远不会被人砸掉,这就是我的看法。我还可以告诉你说,就是我再也看不到他们自己挣饭吃,我也不会感到难过的。"

‘Ah, my Betty, we’ve deserved well of the state, you and I. We’ve reared nine healthy children, and the boys shall serve their king; the girls shall cook and sew and in their turn breed healthy children.’ He turned to Sally, and to comfort her for the anti-climax of the contrast added grandiloquently: ‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’

  由于生育孩子、繁重的家务和不断的操心,阿特尔涅太太开始显得衰老了。有几次,黄昏时分,她的背疼痛难忍,只得坐下来歇息。她心目中的幸福就是能雇个姑娘来干些粗活,免得她每天早晨七点以前就得起床。阿特尔涅挥了挥他那秀美、白皙的手,说:

Athelny had lately added socialism to the other contradictory theories he vehemently believed in, and he stated now:

  "哎哟,我的贝蒂,你跟我两人为这个国家立了一大功劳哩。我们养育了九个身体壮实的孩子。男孩们将来可以为国王陛下效劳。姑娘们将来可以做饭、缝衣服,到时将轮到她们来生育白白胖胖的小崽子。"他掉过脸去,面对着莎莉,为了安抚她,用一种跟刚才适成对照的平稳但又不无夸张的口吻补了一句:"她们还可以伺候那些光站着不动只是等待的人。"

‘In a socialist state we should be richly pensioned, you and I, Betty.’

  近来,阿特尔涅在狂热地信奉各种自相矛盾的学说的同时,又钻研起社会主义理论来了。此刻,他说:

‘Oh, don’t talk to me about your socialists, I’ve got no patience with them,’ she cried. ‘It only means that another lot of lazy loafers will make a good thing out of the working classes. My motto is, leave me alone; I don’t want anyone interfering with me; I’ll make the best of a bad job, and the devil take the hindmost.’

  "贝蒂,在社会主义国家里,你和我两人可以领到优厚的退休金。"

‘D’you call life a bad job?’ said Athelny. ‘Never! We’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve had our struggles, we’ve always been poor, but it’s been worth it, ay, worth it a hundred times I say when I look round at my children.’

  "喔,别在我面前夸你那些社会主义者了,我可没这份耐心,"阿特尔涅太太嚷道。"我的生活信条是:别管我!我可不喜欢别人来打扰。我虽身处逆境,但不会灰心丧气。人各为己,迟者遭殃啊!"

‘You do talk, Athelny,’ she said, looking at him, not with anger but with scornful calm. ‘You’ve had the pleasant part of the children, I’ve had the bearing of them, and the bearing with them. I don’t say that I’m not fond of them, now they’re there, but if I had my time over again I’d remain single. Why, if I’d remained single I might have a little shop by now, and four or five hundred pounds in the bank, and a girl to do the rough work. Oh, I wouldn’t go over my life again, not for something.’

  "你把我们的生活说成是逆境吗?"阿特尔涅说。"根本不是那回事!我们的一生有过苦,也有过乐,我们作过斗争,我们家一向很穷,但是这种生活有意义,啊,当我看到站在周围的孩子,我得说,这种生活值得过上一百次!"

Philip thought of the countless millions to whom life is no more than unending labour, neither beautiful nor ugly, but just to be accepted in the same spirit as one accepts the changes of the seasons. Fury seized him because it all seemed useless. He could not reconcile himself to the belief that life had no meaning and yet everything he saw, all his thoughts, added to the force of his conviction. But though fury seized him it was a joyful fury. life was not so horrible if it was meaningless, and he faced it with a strange sense of power.

  "你又吹开了,阿特尔涅!"她说着,用一种不是忿恨而是稳重的责备的目光凝望着阿特尔涅。"生这些孩子,你倒舒服,自得其乐,可我却身受十月怀胎之苦,生下来还要我带。我不是说我不喜欢他们,眼下他们都在这儿,不过,要是我能回过去重新生活的话,我倒愿意一辈子一直一个人过。唉,要是光我一个人的话,说不定现在我自己就开了爿店了,银行里存着四五百英镑,还雇个姑娘替我做些粗活。喔,无论如何,我可不愿再回忆我这辈子过的日子。"

  菲利普暗自思忖,对难以数计的千百万芸芸众生来说,生活不过是没完没了的干活,既不美也不丑,只是像接受四季转换那样接受这种生活。世间的一切似乎都毫无意义,他不由得变得激愤起来。他不甘使自己相信人生毫无意义的说法,而他所见的一切,他的全部思想,无不更加坚定了他的信念。虽然他不胜愤慨,但这是一种令人快乐的愤慨。人生纵然没有意思,但还不至于那么吓人。于是,他以一种奇异的力量面对人生!