Of Human Bondage  人性的枷锁

He did not care much. He had other things to think of. He told himself that Mildred must have senses like anybody else, it was only a question of awakening them; he had theories about woman, the rip at heart, and thought that there must come a time with everyone when she would yield to persistence. It was a question of watching for the opportunity, keeping his temper, wearing her down with small attentions, taking advantage of the physical exhaustion which opened the heart to tenderness, making himself a refuge from the petty vexations of her work. He talked to her of the relations between his friends in Paris and the fair ladies they admired. The life he described had a charm, an easy gaiety, in which was no grossness. Weaving into his own recollections the adventures of Mimi and Rodolphe, of Musette and the rest of them, he poured into Mildred’s ears a story of poverty made picturesque by song and laughter, of lawless love made romantic by beauty and youth. He never attacked her prejudices directly, but sought to combat them by the suggestion that they were suburban. He never let himself be disturbed by her inattention, nor irritated by her indifference. He thought he had bored her. By an effort he made himself affable and entertaining; he never let himself be angry, he never asked for anything, he never complained, he never scolded. When she made engagements and broke them, he met her next day with a smiling face; when she excused herself, he said it did not matter. He never let her see that she pained him. He understood that his passionate grief had wearied her, and he took care to hide every sentiment which could be in the least degree troublesome. He was heroic.

菲利普倒也不怎么在乎。他还有别的事情要操心。他对自己说,米尔德丽德也是血肉凡胎,想必总有七情六欲,问题在于如何唤醒她的这些潜在意识。对于女人,他自有一套理论,认为她们个个色厉内荏,只要死死地盯住不放,她们总有俯首就范的时候。关键在于耐住性子,窥伺时机:不时向她们献点殷勤,以消浊她们的意志;趁她们身体累乏之时,对她们备加温存,从而叩开她们的心扉,每当她们在工作中遇到什么不称心的事儿,能及时为她们解怨排闷。菲利普给米尔德丽德讲了巴黎旧友的一些情况,谈到他们如何同自己的心上人亲切交往。那儿的生活经他一描绘,顿时逸闻横生,不但显得轻松愉快,且无半点粗俗之气。他把米密和鲁多尔夫以及缪塞和其他人的风流艳史交织在自己对往事的回忆之中,让米尔德丽德听起来觉得那儿的生活虽说贫困,却充满诗情画意,洋溢着歌声和欢笑,甚至男女之间的那些苟且之事,由于焕发着青春与美而带上罗曼蒂克的色彩。他从来不直截了当地抨击她的偏见,而是旁敲侧击地加以暗示:她的那些看法纯系孤陋寡闻所致。现在,哪怕她再漫不经心,态度再冷淡,他也决不为此空自烦恼或是悻然不悦。他觉得自己已惹她生厌了。他尽量显得温和恭顺,使自己的谈吐富有情趣;他不再使性子,耍脾气,从不提出任何要求,也决不埋怨、责怪。即使有时她失信爽约,第二:天他照样笑脸相迎;而当她向他表示歉意时,他只是说一声"没关系"。他从来不让她察觉到自己为她受尽了痛苦折磨。他知道他过去向她倾诉相思之苦,结果反使她不胜厌烦,所以现在他处处留神,不轻易流露一丝半点的情感,免得招她嫌恶。他的用心可谓良苦矣。

Though she never mentioned the change, for she did not take any conscious notice of it, it affected her nevertheless: she became more confidential with him; she took her little grievances to him, and she always had some grievance against the manageress of the shop, one of her fellow waitresses, or her aunt; she was talkative enough now, and though she never said anything that was not trivial Philip was never tired of listening to her.

尽管米尔德丽德从不提及他态度上的微妙变化---因为她不屑费神去留心这种事儿--然而,这毕竟对她还是起到了潜移默化的作用,她开始同菲利普讲心里话了。每回受到了点什么委屈,她总要到菲利普这儿来发泄一通;她还常在菲利普面前抱怨诉苦,说店里的女经理、同事中的某个女招待,或是她姨妈怎么怎么亏待她了。她现在絮絮叨叨的,话还真多,虽然讲的不外乎一些鸡毛蒜皮的小事情,可菲利普听了从不感到厌烦。

‘I like you when you don’t want to make love to me,’ she told him once.

"只要你不死缠着向我求爱,我还真有点喜欢你呢,"有一次她对他这么说。

‘That’s flattering for me,’ he laughed.

"承蒙你抬举我了。"菲利普呵呵一笑。

She did not realise how her words made his heart sink nor what an effort it needed for him to answer so lightly.

殊不知她的这句话像当头一盆冷水,浇得菲利普透心凉了。别看菲利普回话的口气挺轻松,那可是咬紧了牙硬挤出来的呀。

‘Oh, I don’t mind your kissing me now and then. It doesn’t hurt me and it gives you pleasure.’

"嗯,你不时要吻我一下,我也不在乎。反正又伤不着我什么。只要你觉着高兴就好了。"

Occasionally she went so far as to ask him to take her out to dinner, and the offer, coming from her, filled him with rapture.

有时候,她甚至主动要菲利普带她去外面用餐,她肯这么赏脸,菲利普自然喜出望外。

‘I wouldn’t do it to anyone else,’ she said, by way of apology. ‘But I know I can with you.’

"对别人我才不肯说这个话呢,"她还为自己辩解一句。"你嘛,我知道不会见怪的。"

‘You couldn’t give me greater pleasure,’ he smiled.

"你肯赏脸,实在是给了我天大的面子,"菲利普笑吟吟地说。

She asked him to give her something to eat one evening towards the end of April.

临四月底的一个晚上,米尔德丽德要菲利普请她去吃点什么。

‘All right,’ he said. ‘Where would you like to go afterwards?’

"行,吃点好饭,你想去哪儿?"

‘Oh, don’t let’s go anywhere. Let’s just sit and talk. You don’t mind, do you?’

"哟,哪儿也别去,就陪我坐着聊聊。你不会有意见吧,呃?"

‘Rather not.’

"那还用说。"

He thought she must be beginning to care for him. Three months before the thought of an evening spent in conversation would have bored her to death. It was a fine day, and the spring added to Philip’s high spirits. He was content with very little now.

菲利普心想,她淮是对他自己有了几分情意。假使在三个月以前,要她一晚上哪儿也别去,净坐着聊天,她不觉得厌烦死了才怪呢。那天天气晴朗,春意盎然,这更增添了菲利普的兴致。他现在极容易满足。

‘I say, won’t it be ripping when the summer comes along,’ he said, as they drove along on the top of a ‘bus to Soho—she had herself suggested that they should not be so extravagant as to go by cab. ‘We shall be able to spend every Sunday on the river. We’ll take our luncheon in a basket.’

"我说,等夏天来了那才带劲呢,"菲利普说,此刻他们正坐在去索霍区的公共汽车的顶层上(米尔德丽德主动提议说,不该那么铺张,出门老是坐马车)。"每逢星期天,我们就可以在泰晤十河上玩它一整天。我们可以自备午餐,随身带个食品篮。"

She smiled slightly, and he was encouraged to take her hand. She did not withdraw it.

她莞尔一笑,菲利普见了顿添一股勇气,一把握住她的手。她也无意抽回。

‘I really think you’re beginning to like me a bit,’ he smiled.

"我真要说,你开始有点喜欢我了。"他满面春风。

‘You ARE silly, you know I like you, or else I shouldn’t be here, should I?’

"你真傻。明知道我喜欢你,要不我干吗跟你上这儿来呢?"

They were old customers at the little restaurant in Soho by now, and the patronne gave them a smile as they came in. The waiter was obsequious.

他俩现在已是索霍区那家小餐馆的老主顾了,patronne一见他们进来,就冲着他们含笑致意。那个跑堂的更是一脸巴结之色。

‘Let me order the dinner tonight,’ said Mildred.

"今晚让我来点菜,"米尔德丽德说。

Philip, thinking her more enchanting than ever, gave her the menu, and she chose her favourite dishes. The range was small, and they had eaten many times all that the restaurant could provide. Philip was gay. He looked into her eyes, and he dwelt on every perfection of her pale cheek. When they had finished Mildred by way of exception took a cigarette. She smoked very seldom.

菲利普把菜单递给了她,觉得她今晚分外妩媚动人。她点了几个她最爱吃的菜肴。菜单上不多几样菜,这家馆子所有的菜肴他们都已品尝过多次。菲利普喜形于色,一会儿窥视她的双眼,一会儿望着她那张尽善尽美的苍白脸庞出神。吃完晚餐,米尔德丽德破例抽了支烟,她是难得抽烟的。

‘I don’t like to see a lady smoking,’ she said.

"我觉得女人抽烟叫人看着怪不顺眼的,"她说。

She hesitated a moment and then spoke.

她迟疑了片刻,又接着说:

‘Were you surprised, my asking you to take me out and give me a bit of dinner tonight?’

"我要你今晚带我出来,又要你请我吃饭,你是否感到有点意外?"

‘I was delighted.’

"我高兴还来不及呢。"

‘I’ve got something to say to you, Philip.’

"我有话要对你说,菲利普。"

He looked at her quickly, his heart sank, but he had trained himself well.

他飞快地瞥了她一眼,心头猛地咯瞪一沉。不过他现在已老练多了。

‘Well, fire away,’ he said, smiling.

"往下说呀,"他脸上仍挂着微笑。

‘You’re not going to be silly about it, are you? The fact is I’m going to get married.’

"你不会傻呵呵地想不开吧?告诉你,我快要结婚了。"

‘Are you?’ said Philip.

"真的?"菲利普说。

He could think of nothing else to say. He had considered the possibility often and had imagined to himself what he would do and say. He had suffered agonies when he thought of the despair he would suffer, he had thought of suicide, of the mad passion of anger that would seize him; but perhaps he had too completely anticipated the emotion he would experience, so that now he felt merely exhausted. He felt as one does in a serious illness when the vitality is so low that one is indifferent to the issue and wants only to be left alone.

他一时想不出别的话来说。他以前也常考虑到这种可能性,还想象自己到时候会作何反应。他一想到自己早晚难逃此绝境,便觉得心如刀绞,甚至还转过自杀的念头,估计自己到时候会陷入疯狂的怒火而无力自拔。然而,也许正因为他对这一局面早有充分的思想准备,所以事到临头,他反倒只有一种精疲力竭之感,好似一个病入膏盲的病人,业已气息奄奄,万念俱灰,只求他人别来打扰。

‘You see, I’m getting on,’ she said. ‘I’m twenty-four and it’s time I settled down.’

"你知道我年纪一天天大了,"她说,"今年已经二十四岁,该有个归宿了。"

He was silent. He looked at the patronne sitting behind the counter, and his eye dwelt on a red feather one of the diners wore in her hat. Mildred was nettled.

菲利普没有应声。他望望坐在柜台后面的饭馆老板,随后目光又落在一位女客身上,望着她帽子上的一根红羽毛。米尔德丽德有些恼火。

‘You might congratulate me,’ she said.

"你该向我道喜才是。"

‘I might, mightn’t I? I can hardly believe it’s true. I’ve dreamt it so often. It rather tickles me that I should have been so jolly glad that you asked me to take you out to dinner. Whom are you going to marry?’

"该向你道喜,可不?我简直不敢相信这是真的。我经常在梦里梦到这事。你要我带你出来吃饭,我喜欢得合不拢嘴,原来竟是这么回事,想想还真发噱。你要同谁结婚?"

‘Miller,’ she answered, with a slight blush.

"米勒,"她回答说,现出几分赧颜。

‘Miller?’ cried Philip, astounded. ‘But you’ve not seen him for months.’

"米勒!"菲利普惊讶得失声叫了起来,"这几个月你一直没见到过他。"

‘He came in to lunch one day last week and asked me then. He’s earning very good money. He makes seven pounds a week now and he’s got prospects.’

"上星期他上店里来吃中饭,把这事儿提了出来。他是个赚大钱的人。眼下每星期挣七镑,日后光景还要好。"

Philip was silent again. He remembered that she had always liked Miller; he amused her; there was in his foreign birth an exotic charm which she felt unconsciously.

菲利普又不做声了。他想到米尔德丽德过去就一向喜欢米勒。米勒能使她笑逐颜开,他的异国血统中有着一股奇异的魅力,米尔德丽德不知不觉地被他迷住了。

‘I suppose it was inevitable,’ he said at last. ‘You were bound to accept the highest bidder. When are you going to marry?’

"说来这也是难免的,"他最后这么说道。"谁出的价高,就该归谁所有。你们打算什么时候结婚?"

‘On Saturday next. I have given notice.’

"就在下星期六。我已经通知亲友了。"

Philip felt a sudden pang.

菲利普心里猛地一揪。

‘As soon as that?’

"这么快?"

‘We’re going to be married at a registry office. Emil prefers it.’

"我们不准备搞什么结婚仪式,去登记处办个手续就行了。埃米尔喜欢这样。"

Philip felt dreadfully tired. He wanted to get away from her. He thought he would go straight to bed. He called for the bill.

菲利普心力交瘁,想快点脱身,立即上床去睡觉。他招呼跑堂结帐。

‘I’ll put you in a cab and send you down to Victoria. I daresay you won’t have to wait long for a train.’

"我去叫辆马车送你去维多利亚车站。我想你不用久等就能上火车的。"

‘Won’t you come with me?’

"你不陪我去了?"

‘I think I’d rather not if you don’t mind.’

"假如你不介意,我想就不奉陪了。"

‘It’s just as you please,’ she answered haughtily. ‘I suppose I shall see you at tea-time tomorrow?’

"随你便吧,"她口气傲慢地说,"我想明天用茶点的时候还会再见面的吧?"

‘No, I think we’d better make a full stop now. I don’t see why I should go on making myself unhappy. I’ve paid the cab.’

"不,我想咱俩最好就此一刀两断。我何苦要继续折磨自己呢。车资我已经付了。"

He nodded to her and forced a smile on his lips, then jumped on a ‘bus and made his way home. He smoked a pipe before he went to bed, but he could hardly keep his eyes open. He suffered no pain. He fell into a heavy sleep almost as soon as his head touched the pillow.

他强作笑颜,朝她一点头,随即跳上公共汽车回寓所去了。上床前,他抽了一斗烟,但似乎连眼皮子也撑不开。他不觉得有一丝半点的痛苦,头一搁到枕头上,便立即呼呼睡去。