The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

The day was delectable. The bare vaulting of treesalong the Mall was ceiled with lapis lazuli, and archedabove snow that shone like splintered crystals. It wasthe weather to call out May's radiance, and she burnedlike a young maple in the frost. Archer was proud ofthe glances turned on her, and the simple joy ofpossessorship cleared away his underlying perplexities.

天气十分信人。碧蓝的天空衬托着林阴大道上那些树木光秃秃的圆顶,树顶下面的残雪像无数水晶碎片熠熠闪光。这天气使得梅容光焕发,像霜雪中的一棵小枫树那样光彩夺目。阿切尔为路人投向她的目光而感到自豪,占有者率直的幸福感清除了他内心深处的烦恼。

"It's so delicious--waking every morning to smelllilies-of-the-valley in one's room!" she said.

“每天清晨醒来在自己屋里闻到铃兰的香味,真是太美了!”她说。

"Yesterday they came late. I hadn't time in themorning--"

“昨天送晚了,上午我没时间——”

"But your remembering each day to send them makesme love them so much more than if you'd given astanding order, and they came every morning on theminute, like one's music-teacher--as I know GertrudeLefferts's did, for instance, when she and Lawrencewere engaged."

“可你天天都想到送鲜花来,这比长期预订更让我喜欢。而且每天早晨都按时送到,就像音乐教师那样准时——比如就我所知,格特鲁德·莱弗茨和劳伦斯订婚期间,她就是这样。”

"Ah--they would!" laughed Archer, amused at herkeenness. He looked sideways at her fruit-like cheekand felt rich and secure enough to add: "When I sentyour lilies yesterday afternoon I saw some rathergorgeous yellow roses and packed them off to MadameOlenska. Was that right?"

“啊,这是完全应该的!”阿切尔笑着说,觉得她那热诚的样子很有趣。他斜视着她苹果般的脸颊,想起昨天送花的事,觉得虽然荒唐却也很安全,不由得说道:“我昨天下午给你送铃兰的时候,看到几支漂亮的黄玫瑰,便叫人给奥兰斯卡夫人送去了。你说好吗?”

"How dear of you! Anything of that kind delightsher. It's odd she didn't mention it: she lunched with ustoday, and spoke of Mr. Beaufort's having sent herwonderful orchids, and cousin Henry van der Luyden awhole hamper of carnations from Skuytercliff. She seemsso surprised to receive flowers. Don't people send themin Europe? She thinks it such a pretty custom."

“你真可爱!这样的事会让她十分高兴的。奇怪,她怎么没提呢?她今天跟我们一起吃的午饭,还说起博福特先生给她送去了漂亮的兰花,亨利·范德卢顿送了满满一篮斯库特克利夫的石竹呢。她收到花好像十分惊讶。难道欧洲人不送鲜花吗?不过她认为这种风俗非常好。”

"Oh, well, no wonder mine were overshadowed byBeaufort's," said Archer irritably. Then he rememberedthat he had not put a card with the roses, andwas vexed at having spoken of them. He wanted tosay: "I called on your cousin yesterday," but hesitated.If Madame Olenska had not spoken of his visit it mightseem awkward that he should. Yet not to do so gavethe affair an air of mystery that he disliked. To shakeoff the question he began to talk of their own plans,their future, and Mrs. Welland's insistence on a longengagement.

“噢,一准是我的花被博福特的压住了,”阿切尔烦躁地说。接着他想起自己没有随玫瑰花附上名片,又懊悔说出了这件事。他想说,“我昨天拜访了你的表姐”,但又犹豫了。假如奥兰斯卡夫人没有讲起他的拜访,他说出来似乎有些尴尬。然而不讲又会使事情带上一层神秘色彩,他不喜欢那样。为了甩掉这个问题,他开始谈论他们自己的计划,他们的未来,以及韦兰太太坚持要延长订婚期的事。

"If you call it long! Isabel Chivers and Reggie wereengaged for two years: Grace and Thorley for nearly ayear and a half. Why aren't we very well off as weare?"

“这还算长!伊莎贝尔·奇弗斯和里吉的订婚期是两年,格雷斯和索利差不多有一年半。我们这样不是很好吗?”

It was the traditional maidenly interrogation, and hefelt ashamed of himself for finding it singularly childish.No doubt she simply echoed what was said for her;but she was nearing her twenty-second birthday, andhe wondered at what age "nice" women began tospeak for themselves.

这是少女习惯性的反问,他觉得特别幼稚,并为此感到惭愧。她无疑是在重复别人对她说过的话,可是她都快满22岁了,他不明白,“有教养”的女子要到多大年龄才能开始替自己说话。

"Never, if we won't let them, I suppose," he mused,and recalled his mad outburst to Mr. Sillerton Jackson:"Women ought to be as free as we are--"

“她们永远不会的,假如我们不允许她们,”他在心里想道。他突然记起了他对西勒顿·杰克逊说过的那句义正词严的话:“女人应当跟我们一样自由——”

It would presently be his task to take the bandagefrom this young woman's eyes, and bid her look forthon the world. But how many generations of the womenwho had gone to her making had descended bandagedto the family vault? He shivered a little, rememberingsome of the new ideas in his scientific books, and themuch-cited instance of the Kentucky cave-fish, whichhad ceased to develop eyes because they had no use forthem. What if, when he had bidden May Welland toopen hers, they could only look out blankly at blankness?

他眼下的任务是取下蒙在这位年轻女子眼上的绷带,让她睁开眼睛看一看世界。然而,在她之前,已经有多少代像她这样的女人,带着蒙在眼上的绷带沉入了家族的地下灵堂呢?他不禁打了个冷颤,想起在科学书籍中读到的一些新思想,还想起经常被引证的肯塔基的岩洞鱼,那种鱼由于眼睛派不上用场,它们的眼睛已经大大退化了。假如他让梅·韦兰睁开眼睛,她只能茫然地看到一片空白,那该怎么办呢?

"We might be much better off. We might bealtogether together--we might travel."

“我们可以过得更快乐,我们可以始终在一起——我们可以去旅行。”

Her face lit up. "That would be lovely," she owned:she would love to travel. But her mother would notunderstand their wanting to do things so differently.

她脸上露出喜色说:“那倒是很美。”她承认她喜爱旅行,但他们想做的事那么与众不同,她母亲是不会理解的。

"As if the mere `differently' didn't account for it!"the wooer insisted.

“好像这还不仅仅是‘与众不同’的问题!”阿切尔坚持说。

"Newland! You're so original!" she exulted.

“纽兰!你是多么独特呀!”她高兴地说。

His heart sank, for he saw that he was saying all thethings that young men in the same situation wereexpected to say, and that she was making the answersthat instinct and tradition taught her to make--even tothe point of calling him original.

他的心不由一沉。他觉得自己讲的完全是处于同样情况下的年轻人肯定要讲的内容,而她的回答却完全是本能与传统教她的那种回答。她居然会说他“独特”!

"Original! We're all as like each other as those dollscut out of the same folded paper. We're like patternsstencilled on a wall. Can't you and I strike out forourselves, May?"

“有什么‘独特’的!我们全都跟用同一块折叠的纸剪出的娃娃一样相似,我们就像用模板印在墙上的图案。难道你我不能走自己的路吗,梅?”

He had stopped and faced her in the excitement oftheir discussion, and her eyes rested on him with abright unclouded admiration.

他打住话头,面对着她,沉浸在因讨论产生的兴奋之中;她望着他,目光里闪烁着欣喜明朗的倾慕。

"Mercy--shall we elope?" she laughed.

“天哪——我们私奔好吗?”她笑着说。

"If you would--"

“如果你肯——”

"You DO love me, Newland! I'm so happy."

“你确实很爱我,纽兰!我真幸福。”

"But then--why not be happier?"

“那么——为什么不更幸福些?”

"We can't behave like people in novels, though, canwe?"

“可是,我们也不能像小说中的人那样啊,对吗?”

"Why not--why not--why not?"

“为什么不——为什么不——为什么不呢?”

She looked a little bored by his insistence. She knewvery well that they couldn't, but it was troublesome tohave to produce a reason. "I'm not clever enough toargue with you. But that kind of thing is rather--vulgar,isn't it?" she suggested, relieved to have hit on a wordthat would assuredly extinguish the whole subject.

她看上去对他的执拗有点不悦,她很清楚他们不能那样做,不过要说清道理却又很难。“我没那么聪明,无法跟你争论。可那种事有点——粗俗,不是吗?”她暗示说,因为想出了一个肯定能结束这个话题的词而松了口气。

"Are you so much afraid, then, of being vulgar?"

“这么说,你是很害怕粗俗了?”

She was evidently staggered by this. "Of course Ishould hate it--so would you," she rejoined, a trifleirritably.

她显然被这话吓了一跳。“我当然会讨厌了——你也会的,”她有点生气地回答说。

He stood silent, beating his stick nervously againsthis boot-top; and feeling that she had indeed found theright way of closing the discussion, she went on light-heartedly: "Oh, did I tell you that I showed Ellen myring? She thinks it the most beautiful setting she eversaw. There's nothing like it in the rue de la Paix, shesaid. I do love you, Newland, for being so artistic!"

他站在那儿一语不发,神经质地用手杖敲着他的靴子尖,觉得她的确找到了结束争论的好办法。她心情轻松地接着说:“喂,我让埃伦看过我的戒指了,我告诉过你了吗?她认为这是她见过的最美的镶嵌了。她说,贝克斯大街上根本没有能与之相比的货色。我太爱你了,纽兰,因为你这么有艺术眼光。”

The next afternoon, as Archer, before dinner, satsmoking sullenly in his study, Janey wandered in onhim. He had failed to stop at his club on the way upfrom the office where he exercised the profession of thelaw in the leisurely manner common to well-to-do NewYorkers of his class. He was out of spirits and slightlyout of temper, and a haunting horror of doing the samething every day at the same hour besieged his brain.

第二天晚饭之前,阿切尔正心情阴郁地坐在书房里吸烟,詹尼漫步进来走到他跟前。他今天从事务所回来的路上,没有去俱乐部逗留。他从事法律职业,对待工作像纽约他那个富有阶级的其他人一样漫不经心。他情绪低落,心烦意乱。每天在同一时间都要干同样的事,这使他脑子里塞满了挥之不去的痛苦。

"Sameness--sameness!" he muttered, the wordrunning through his head like a persecuting tune as he sawthe familiar tall-hatted figures lounging behind the plate-glass; and because he usually dropped in at the club atthat hour he had gone home instead. He knew not onlywhat they were likely to be talking about, but the parteach one would take in the discussion. The Duke ofcourse would be their principal theme; though theappearance in Fifth Avenue of a golden-haired lady in asmall canary-coloured brougham with a pair of blackcobs (for which Beaufort was generally thoughtresponsible) would also doubtless be thoroughly goneinto. Such "women" (as they were called) were few inNew York, those driving their own carriages still fewer,and the appearance of Miss Fanny Ring in Fifth Avenueat the fashionable hour had profoundly agitatedsociety. Only the day before, her carriage had passedMrs. Lovell Mingott's, and the latter had instantly rungthe little bell at her elbow and ordered the coachman todrive her home. "What if it had happened to Mrs. vander Luyden?" people asked each other with a shudder.Archer could hear Lawrence Lefferts, at that very hour,holding forth on the disintegration of society.

“千篇一律——千篇一律!”他看着玻璃板后面那些百无聊赖的戴高帽子的熟悉身影咕哝说,这话像纠缠不休的乐曲在他脑袋里不停地回响,平时这个时候他都是在俱乐部逗留,而今天他却直接回了家。他不仅知道他们可能谈论什么,而且还知道每个人在讨论中站在哪一方。公爵当然会是他们谈论的主题,尽管那位乘坐一对黑色矮脚马拉的淡黄色小马车的金发女子在第五大街的露面(此事人们普遍认为归功于博福特)无疑也将会被他们深入的研究。这样的“女人”(人们如此称呼她们)在纽约还很少见,自己驾驶马车的就更稀罕了。范妮·琳小姐在社交时间出现在第五大街,深深刺激了上流社会。就在前一天,她的马车从洛弗尔·明戈特太太的车旁驶过,后者立即摇了摇身边的小铃铛,命令车夫马上送她回家。“这事若发生在范德卢顿太太身上,又会怎样呢?”人们不寒而栗地相互问道。此时此刻,阿切尔甚至仿佛能听见劳伦斯·莱弗茨正就社交界的分崩离析发表高见。

He raised his head irritably when his sister Janeyentered, and then quickly bent over his book (Swinburne's"Chastelard"--just out) as if he had not seenher. She glanced at the writing-table heaped with books,opened a volume of the "Contes Drolatiques," madea wry face over the archaic French, and sighed: "Whatlearned things you read!"

妹妹詹尼进屋的时候,他烦躁地抬起头来,接着又迅速俯身读他的书(斯温伯恩的《沙特拉尔》——刚出版的),仿佛没看见她一样。她瞥了一眼堆满书籍的写字台,打开一卷《幽默故事》,对着那些古法语愁眉苦脸地说:“你读的东西好深奥呀!”

"Well--?" he asked, as she hovered Cassandra-likebefore him.

“嗯——?”他问道,只见她像卡珊德拉一样站在面前。

"Mother's very angry."

“妈妈非常生气呢。”

"Angry? With whom? About what?"

“生气?跟谁?为什么?”

"Miss Sophy Jackson has just been here. She broughtword that her brother would come in after dinner: shecouldn't say very much, because he forbade her to: hewishes to give all the details himself. He's with cousinLouisa van der Luyden now."

“索菲·杰克逊小姐刚才来过,捎话说她哥哥晚饭后要来我们家;她不能多讲,因为他不许她讲,他要亲自告诉我们全部细节。他现在跟路易莎·范德卢顿在一起。”

"For heaven's sake, my dear girl, try a fresh start. Itwould take an omniscient Deity to know what you'retalking about."

“老天爷,我的好姑娘,求你从头讲一遍。只有全能的上帝才能听明白你讲的究竟是什么事。”

"It's not a time to be profane, Newland. . . . Motherfeels badly enough about your not going to church . . ."

“这可不是亵渎神灵的时候,纽兰……你没去教堂的事让妈妈伤心透了……”

With a groan he plunged back into his book.

他哼了一声,又埋头读他的书去了。

"NEWLAND! Do listen. Your friend Madame Olenskawas at Mrs. Lemuel Struthers's party last night: shewent there with the Duke and Mr. Beaufort."

“纽兰!你听着,你的朋友奥兰斯卡夫人昨晚参加了莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太的宴会,她是跟公爵和博福特先生一起去的。”

At the last clause of this announcement a senselessanger swelled the young man's breast. To smother it helaughed. "Well, what of it? I knew she meant to."

听了最后一句话,一团无名火涌上年轻人的心头。为了压住怒火,他放声大笑起来。“哈哈,这有什么了不起?我本来就知道她要去的。”

Janey paled and her eyes began to project. "Youknew she meant to--and you didn't try to stop her? Towarn her?"

詹尼脸色煞白,两眼发直。“你本来就知道她要去——而你却没有设法阻止她,警告她?”

"Stop her? Warn her?" He laughed again. "I'm notengaged to be married to the Countess Olenska!" Thewords had a fantastic sound in his own ears.

“阻止她,警告她?”他又大笑起来。“我的婚约又不是要我娶奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人!”

"You're marrying into her family."

“可你就要跟她的家庭结亲了。”

"Oh, family--family!" he jeered.

“哼,什么家庭——家庭!”他嘲笑说。

"Newland--don't you care about Family?"

“纽兰——难道你不关心家庭吗?”

"Not a brass farthing."

“我毫不在乎。”

"Nor about what cousin Louisa van der Luyden willthink?"

“连路易莎·范德卢顿会怎样想也不在乎?”

"Not the half of one--if she thinks such old maid'srubbish."

“半点都不——假如她想的是这种老处女的废话。”

"Mother is not an old maid," said his virgin sisterwith pinched lips.

“妈妈可不是老处女,”身为处女的妹妹噘着嘴说。

He felt like shouting back: "Yes, she is, and so arethe van der Luydens, and so we all are, when it comesto being so much as brushed by the wing-tip of Reality."But he saw her long gentle face puckering intotears, and felt ashamed of the useless pain he wasinflicting.

他想朝她大叫大嚷:“不,她是个老处女。范德卢顿夫妇也是老处女。而且一旦被现实廓清面目之后,我们大家全都是老处女。”然而,一看到她那张文静的长脸皱缩着流下了眼泪,他又为使她蒙受痛苦而感到惭愧了。

"Hang Countess Olenska! Don't be a goose, Janey--I'm not her keeper."

“去他的奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人!别像个小傻瓜似的,詹尼——我可不是她的监护人。”

"No; but you DID ask the Wellands to announceyour engagement sooner so that we might all back herup; and if it hadn't been for that cousin Louisa wouldnever have invited her to the dinner for the Duke."

“对;可你要求韦兰家提前宣布你的订婚消息,还不是为了让我们都去支持她?而且,若不是这个理由,路易莎也决不会请她参加为公爵举办的宴会。”

"Well--what harm was there in inviting her? Shewas the best-looking woman in the room; she made thedinner a little less funereal than the usual van derLuyden banquet."

“哎——邀请了她又有何妨?她成了客厅里最漂亮的女人,她使得晚宴比范德卢顿平日那种宴会少了不少丧葬气氛。”

"You know cousin Henry asked her to please you:he persuaded cousin Louisa. And now they're so upsetthat they're going back to Skuytercliff tomorrow. Ithink, Newland, you'd better come down. You don'tseem to understand how mother feels."

“你知道亨利表亲邀请她是为了让你高兴,是他说服了路易莎。他们现在很烦恼,准备明天就回斯库特克利夫去。我想,你最好下去一趟,纽兰。看来你还不理解妈妈的心情。”

In the drawing-room Newland found his mother. Sheraised a troubled brow from her needlework to ask:"Has Janey told you?"

纽兰在客厅里见到了母亲。她停下针线活,抬起忧虑的额头问道:“詹尼告诉你了吗?”

"Yes." He tried to keep his tone as measured as herown. "But I can't take it very seriously."

“告诉了,”他尽量用像她那样审慎的语气说。“不过我看问题没那么严重。”

"Not the fact of having offended cousin Louisa andcousin Henry?"

“得罪了路易莎和亨利表亲还不严重?”

"The fact that they can be offended by such a trifleas Countess Olenska's going to the house of a womanthey consider common."

“我是说奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人去了一个他们认为是平民的女人家,他们不会为这样一件小事生气。”

"Consider--!"

“认为——?”

"Well, who is; but who has good music, and amusespeople on Sunday evenings, when the whole of NewYork is dying of inanition."

“哦,她就是平民;不过她有好的音乐天赋,在星期天晚上整个纽约空虚得要命时给人们助兴。”

"Good music? All I know is, there was a womanwho got up on a table and sang the things they sing atthe places you go to in Paris. There was smoking andchampagne."

“音乐天赋?据我所知,有个女人爬到了桌子上,唱了那种你在巴黎去的那些去处才唱的东西。还吸烟喝香摈呢。”

"Well--that kind of thing happens in other places,and the world still goes on."

“唔——这种事在其他地方也有,可地球还不是照转不误!”

"I don't suppose, dear, you're really defending theFrench Sunday?"

“我想,亲爱的,你不是当真在为法国的星期天辩护吧?”

"I've heard you often enough, mother, grumble atthe English Sunday when we've been in London."

“妈妈,我们在伦敦的时候,我可是常听你抱怨英国的星期天呢。”

"New York is neither Paris nor London."

“纽约既不是巴黎,也不是伦敦。”

"Oh, no, it's not!" her son groaned.

“噢,对,不是!”儿子哼着说。

"You mean, I suppose, that society here is not asbrilliant? You're right, I daresay; but we belong here,and people should respect our ways when they comeamong us. Ellen Olenska especially: she came back toget away from the kind of life people lead in brilliantsocieties."

“我想,你的意思是这里的社交界不够出色?我敢说,你说得很对;但我们属于这里。有人来到我们中间就应该尊重我们的生活方式,尤其是埃伦·奥兰斯卡:她来这儿不就是为了摆脱在出色的社交界过的那种生活嘛。”

Newland made no answer, and after a moment hismother ventured: "I was going to put on my bonnetand ask you to take me to see cousin Louisa for amoment before dinner." He frowned, and she continued:"I thought you might explain to her what you'vejust said: that society abroad is different . . . that peopleare not as particular, and that Madame Olenskamay not have realised how we feel about such things. Itwould be, you know, dear," she added with an innocentadroitness, "in Madame Olenska's interest if youdid."

纽兰没有回答。过了一会儿,她母亲又试探地说:“我刚才正要戴上帽子,让你带我在晚饭前去见一见路易莎。”他皱起了眉头,她接着说:“我以为你可以向她解释一下你刚刚说过的话:国外的社交界有所不同……人们并不那么计较。还有,奥兰斯卡夫人可能没想到我们对这种事情的态度。你知道,亲爱的,”她故作天真地巧言补充说:“如果你这么做,对奥兰斯卡夫人是很有好处的。”

"Dearest mother, I really don't see how we'reconcerned in the matter. The Duke took Madame Olenskato Mrs. Struthers's--in fact he brought Mrs. Struthersto call on her. I was there when they came. If the vander Luydens want to quarrel with anybody, the realculprit is under their own roof."

“亲爱的妈妈,我真不明白,我们与这件事有什么相干。是公爵带奥兰斯卡夫人到斯特拉瑟斯太太家去的——实际上是他先带了斯特拉瑟斯太太去拜访了她。他们去的时候我在那儿。假如范德卢顿夫妇想跟谁吵架,真正的教唆犯就在他们自己家。”

"Quarrel? Newland, did you ever know of cousinHenry's quarrelling? Besides, the Duke's his guest; anda stranger too. Strangers don't discriminate: how shouldthey? Countess Olenska is a New Yorker, and shouldhave respected the feelings of New York."

“吵架?纽兰,你听说过,亨利表兄吵过架吗?而且,公爵是他的客人,又是个外国人,外国人不见怪,他们怎么会吵架呢?奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人是个纽约人,她倒是应该尊重纽约人的感情的。”

"Well, then, if they must have a victim, you have myleave to throw Madame Olenska to them," cried herson, exasperated. "I don't see myself--or you either--offering ourselves up to expiate her crimes."

“嗯,如果他们一定要找一个牺牲品,那我同意你把奥兰斯卡夫人交给他们,”儿子恼怒地喊道。“我是不会——你也未必会——自动替她抵罪的。”

"Oh, of course you see only the Mingott side," hismother answered, in the sensitive tone that was hernearest approach to anger.

“你当然只会为明戈特一方考虑了,”母亲回答说,她语气很敏感,眼看就要发怒了。

The sad butler drew back the drawing-roomportieres and announced: "Mr. Henry van der Luyden."

脸色阴郁的管家拉起了客厅的门帘,通报说:“亨利·范德卢顿先生到。”

Mrs. Archer dropped her needle and pushed herchair back with an agitated hand.

阿切尔太太扔下手中的针,用颤抖的手把椅子向后推了推。

"Another lamp," she cried to the retreating servant,while Janey bent over to straighten her mother's cap.

“再点一盏灯,”她向退出去的仆人喊道,詹尼这时正低头抚平母亲的便帽。

Mr. van der Luyden's figure loomed on the threshold,and Newland Archer went forward to greet hiscousin.

范德卢顿先生的身影出现在门口,纽兰·阿切尔走上前去欢迎这位表亲。

"We were just talking about you, sir," he said.

“我们正在谈论你呢,大人,’他说。

Mr. van der Luyden seemed overwhelmed by theannouncement. He drew off his glove to shake handswith the ladies, and smoothed his tall hat shyly, whileJaney pushed an arm-chair forward, and Archercontinued: "And the Countess Olenska."

范德卢顿先生听了这一消息似乎深受感动,他脱掉手套去跟女士们握手,然后小心地抚平他的高礼帽,这时詹尼将一把扶手椅推到前边,阿切尔则接着说:“还说到奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人。”

Mrs. Archer paled.

阿切尔太太脸色煞白。

"Ah--a charming woman. I have just been to seeher," said Mr. van der Luyden, complacency restoredto his brow. He sank into the chair, laid his hat andgloves on the floor beside him in the old-fashionedway, and went on: "She has a real gift for arrangingflowers. I had sent her a few carnations from Skuytercliff,and I was astonished. Instead of massing them in bigbunches as our head-gardener does, she had scatteredthem about loosely, here and there . . . I can't say how.The Duke had told me: he said: `Go and see howcleverly she's arranged her drawing-room.' And shehas. I should really like to take Louisa to see her, if theneighbourhood were not so--unpleasant."

“啊——一个迷人的女子。我刚去看过她,”范德卢顿先生说,得意的神情又回到他的脸上。他坐到椅子上,按老习惯把礼帽和手套放在身旁的地板上,接着说: “她布置鲜花可真有天才,我给她送去一点斯库特克利夫的石竹花。让我吃了一惊的是,她不是像园丁那样把它们集成一束一束的,而是随意地把它们散开,这儿一些,那儿一些……我不知道她怎么那么灵巧。公爵事前告诉过我,他说:‘去瞧瞧她布置客厅有多巧吧。’确实不错。我本想带路易莎去看她来着,若不是周围环境那样——不愉快。”

A dead silence greeted this unusual flow of wordsfrom Mr. van der Luyden. Mrs. Archer drew herembroidery out of the basket into which she hadnervously tumbled it, and Newland, leaning against thechimney-place and twisting a humming-bird-featherscreen in his hand, saw Janey's gaping countenance litup by the coming of the second lamp.

迎接范德卢顿先生非同寻常的滔滔话语的是一阵死寂。阿切尔太太从篮子里抽出她刚才紧张地塞在里面的刺绣,阿切尔倚在壁炉边,拧着手中的蜂鸟羽毛帘子,他看见詹尼目瞪口呆的表情被送来的第二盏灯照得一清二楚。

"The fact is," Mr. van der Luyden continued, strokinghis long grey leg with a bloodless hand weigheddown by the Patroon's great signet-ring, "the fact is, Idropped in to thank her for the very pretty note shewrote me about my flowers; and also--but this isbetween ourselves, of course--to give her a friendly warningabout allowing the Duke to carry her off to partieswith him. I don't know if you've heard--"

“事实上,”范德卢顿先生接着说,一面用一只没有血色的手抚摩着他那长长的灰靴筒,手上戴着那枚硕大的庄园主图章戒指。“事实上,我的顺访是为了感谢她为那些花而写的非常漂亮的回函;还想——这一点可别向外传——向她提出友好的警告,叫她别让公爵随便带着去参加聚会。我不知你们是否听到了——”

Mrs. Archer produced an indulgent smile. "Has theDuke been carrying her off to parties?"

阿切尔太太脸上露出宽容的微笑。“公爵是诱使她参加聚会了吗?”

"You know what these English grandees are. They'reall alike. Louisa and I are very fond of our cousin--butit's hopeless to expect people who are accustomed tothe European courts to trouble themselves about ourlittle republican distinctions. The Duke goes where he'samused." Mr. van der Luyden paused, but no onespoke. "Yes--it seems he took her with him last nightto Mrs. Lemuel Struthers's. Sillerton Jackson has justbeen to us with the foolish story, and Louisa wasrather troubled. So I thought the shortest way was togo straight to Countess Olenska and explain--by themerest hint, you know--how we feel in New Yorkabout certain things. I felt I might, without indelicacy,because the evening she dined with us she rathersuggested . . . rather let me see that she would be gratefulfor guidance. And she WAS."

“你知道这些英国显贵的德性,他们全都一样。路易莎和我很喜欢我们这位表亲——不过指望习惯了欧洲宅邸的人劳神去留心我们共和主义的小小差别,那是绝对办不到的。哪里能寻开心,公爵就到哪里去。”范德卢顿停顿一下,但没有人吭声。“是的——看来昨晚是他带她到莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太家去的。西勒顿· 杰克逊刚才到我们家去过,讲了这件荒唐事。路易莎很不安。所以我想最好的捷径就是直接去找奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人,并向她说明——仅仅是暗示,你知道——在纽约我们对某些事情的看法。我觉得我可以做到这一点,而且不会有什么不得体,因为她同我们一起进晚餐的那天晚上,她好像说过——让我想想看——她会感激对她的指导,而她的确如此。”

Mr. van der Luyden looked about the room withwhat would have been self-satisfaction on features lesspurged of the vulgar passions. On his face it became amild benevolence which Mrs. Archer's countenancedutifully reflected.

范德卢顿先生四面看了看,那神态若是出现在普通的庸俗之辈的脸上,满可以称得上是一种自鸣得意。但在他的脸上,却是一种淡淡的仁慈;阿切尔太太一见,马上义不容辞地露出了同样的表情。

"How kind you both are, dear Henry--always!Newland will particularly appreciate what you havedone because of dear May and his new relations."

“你们俩真是太仁慈了,亲爱的亨利——而且是一贯如此呀!你对梅和他的新亲戚的关照,纽兰会分外感激的。”

She shot an admonitory glance at her son, who said:"Immensely, sir. But I was sure you'd like MadameOlenska."

她向儿子投去敦促的目光。儿子说:“感激不尽,大人。不过我早知道你会喜欢奥兰斯卡夫人的。”

Mr. van der Luyden looked at him with extremegentleness. "I never ask to my house, my dear Newland,"he said, "any one whom I do not like. And so I havejust told Sillerton Jackson." With a glance at the clockhe rose and added: "But Louisa will be waiting. We aredining early, to take the Duke to the Opera."

范德卢顿先生极有风度地看着他说:“亲爱的纽兰,我从来不请任何我不喜欢的人到我家作客。我刚才也对西勒顿·杰克逊这样讲过。”他瞥了一眼时钟站了起来,接着说:“路易莎要等我了。我们准备早点儿吃饭,带公爵去听歌剧。”

After the portieres had solemnly closed behind theirvisitor a silence fell upon the Archer family.

门帘在客人身后庄严地合拢之后,一片沉寂降临在阿切尔的家人之中。

"Gracious--how romantic!" at last broke explosivelyfrom Janey. No one knew exactly what inspired herelliptic comments, and her relations had long sincegiven up trying to interpret them.

“真高雅——太浪漫了!”詹尼终于爆发似地说。谁都不明白什么事激发了她这简洁的评论,她的亲人早已放弃了解释这种评论的企图。

Mrs. Archer shook her head with a sigh. "Provided itall turns out for the best," she said, in the tone of onewho knows how surely it will not. "Newland, youmust stay and see Sillerton Jackson when he comes thisevening: I really shan't know what to say to him."

阿切尔太太叹口气摇了摇头。“但愿结果是皆大欢喜,”她说,那口气却明知绝对不可能。“纽兰,你一定要待在家里,等晚上西勒顿·杰克逊先生来的时候见见他,我真的不知该对他说些什么。”

"Poor mother! But he won't come--" her son laughed,stooping to kiss away her frown.

“可怜的妈妈!可是他不会来了——”儿子笑着说,一面弯身吻开她的愁眉。