The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

Old Mr. Letterblair, the accredited legal adviser ofthree generations of New York gentility, throned behindhis mahogany desk in evident perplexity. As hestroked his closeclipped white whiskers and ran hishand through the rumpled grey locks above his juttingbrows, his disrespectful junior partner thought howmuch he looked like the Family Physician annoyedwith a patient whose symptoms refuse to be classified.

老莱特布赖先生,这位受纽约上层阶级三代人信托的法律顾问,端坐在他的红木写字台后面,显然遇到了麻烦。他用手捋了捋浓密的白胡须,理理突起的眉头上方那凌乱的灰发,他那位不敬的年轻合伙人心想,他多像一位因为无法判断病人症状而苦恼的家庭医生啊。

"My dear sir--" he always addressed Archer as"sir"--"I have sent for you to go into a little matter; amatter which, for the moment, I prefer not to mentioneither to Mr. Skipworth or Mr. Redwood." The gentlemenhe spoke of were the other senior partners of thefirm; for, as was always the case with legal associationsof old standing in New York, all the partners namedon the office letter-head were long since dead; and Mr.Letterblair, for example, was, professionally speaking,his own grandson.

“亲爱的先生,”他一贯称阿切尔为“先生”——“我请你来研究一件小事,一件我暂时不想让斯基普沃思和雷德伍德知道的事。”他所说的这两位绅士是事务所另外两名资深合伙人。正如纽约别的历史悠久的法律事务所的情况那样,这家事务所信笺头上列有姓名的那几个原来的合伙人都早已作古,像这位莱特布赖先生,就其职业称谓而言,他实际上成了自己的祖父。

He leaned back in his chair with a furrowed brow."For family reasons--" he continued.

他在椅子里朝后一仰,皱起眉头,然后说:“由于家庭的原因——”

Archer looked up.

阿切尔抬起头来。

"The Mingott family," said Mr. Letterblair with anexplanatory smile and bow. "Mrs. Manson Mingottsent for me yesterday. Her grand-daughter the CountessOlenska wishes to sue her husband for divorce.Certain papers have been placed in my hands." Hepaused and drummed on his desk. "In view of yourprospective alliance with the family I should like toconsult you--to consider the case with you--beforetaking any farther steps."

“明戈特家,”莱特布赖微笑着点了点头解释说。“曼森·明戈特太太昨天派人请我去。她的孙女奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人想向法庭起诉,要求与丈夫离婚,有些文件已交到我手上。”他停了一会儿,敲敲桌子。“考虑到你将要与这个家庭联姻,我愿在采取进一步行动之前,先找你咨询一下——与你商量商量这件案子。”

Archer felt the blood in his temples. He had seen theCountess Olenska only once since his visit to her, andthen at the Opera, in the Mingott box. During thisinterval she had become a less vivid and importunateimage, receding from his foreground as May Wellandresumed her rightful place in it. He had not heard herdivorce spoken of since Janey's first random allusion toit, and had dismissed the tale as unfounded gossip.Theoretically, the idea of divorce was almost asdistasteful to him as to his mother; and he was annoyedthat Mr. Letterblair (no doubt prompted by old CatherineMingott) should be so evidently planning to drawhim into the affair. After all, there were plenty ofMingott men for such jobs, and as yet he was not evena Mingott by marriage.

阿切尔觉得热血涌上了太阳穴。拜访过奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人之后,他只见过她一次,那是在看歌剧的时候,在明戈特的包厢里。这段时间,由于梅·韦兰在他心目中恢复了应有的地位,奥兰斯卡夫人的形象正在消退,已经不那么清晰、那么索绕心头了。第一次听詹尼随便说起她要离婚时,他把它当作了毫无根据的流言,并没在意。此后,他再也没有听人说过这事。从理论上讲,他对离婚几乎跟母亲一样抱有反感;令他恼火的是,莱特布赖先生(无疑受了老凯瑟琳·明戈特的怂恿)显然打算把他拉进这件事情中来。明戈特家能干这种事的男人多着哩,何况他目前还没有通过婚姻变成明戈特家的一分子。

He waited for the senior partner to continue. Mr.Letterblair unlocked a drawer and drew out a packet."If you will run your eye over these papers--"

他等待老合伙人说下去。莱特布赖先生打开一个抽屉,抽出了一包东西。

Archer frowned. "I beg your pardon, sir; but justbecause of the prospective relationship, I should preferyour consulting Mr. Skipworth or Mr. Redwood."

“如果你浏览一下这些文件——”

Mr. Letterblair looked surprised and slightly offended.It was unusual for a junior to reject such an opening.

阿切尔皱起了眉头。“请原谅,先生;可正因为未来的亲戚关系,我更希望你与斯吉普沃思先生或雷德伍德先生商讨这件事。”

He bowed. "I respect your scruple, sir; but in thiscase I believe true delicacy requires you to do as I ask.Indeed, the suggestion is not mine but Mrs. MansonMingott's and her son's. I have seen Lovell Mingott;and also Mr. Welland. They all named you."

莱特布赖先生似乎颇感意外,而且有点生气。一位下级拒绝这样的开场白是很少见的。

Archer felt his temper rising. He had been somewhatlanguidly drifting with events for the last fortnight, andletting May's fair looks and radiant nature obliteratethe rather importunate pressure of the Mingott claims.But this behest of old Mrs. Mingott's roused him to asense of what the clan thought they had the right toexact from a prospective son-in-law; and he chafed atthe role.

他点了点头,说:“我尊重你的顾虑,先生,不过对这件事,我以为真正的审慎还是要按我说的去做。说老实话,这并不是我的提议,而是曼森·明戈特和她的儿子们的提议。我已经见过了洛弗尔·明戈特,还有韦兰先生,他们全都指名要你办。”

"Her uncles ought to deal with this," he said.

阿切尔感到怒火在上升。最近两个星期,他一直有点不由自主地随波逐流,以梅的漂亮容貌和光彩个性去对付明戈特家那些纠缠不休的要求。然而老明戈特太太的这道谕旨却使他清醒地看到,这个家族认为他们有权强迫未来的女婿去干些什么,他被这种角色激怒了。

"They have. The matter has been gone into by thefamily. They are opposed to the Countess's idea; butshe is firm, and insists on a legal opinion."

“她的叔叔们应该处理这件事,”他说。

The young man was silent: he had not opened thepacket in his hand.

“他们处理了。全家人进行了研究,他们反对伯爵夫人的意见,但她很坚决,坚持要求得到法律的判决。”

"Does she want to marry again?"

年轻人不作声了:他还没有打开手上的纸包。

"I believe it is suggested; but she denies it."

“她是不是想再嫁人?”

"Then--"

“我认为有这个意思;但她否认这一点。”

"Will you oblige me, Mr. Archer, by first lookingthrough these papers? Afterward, when we have talkedthe case over, I will give you my opinion."

“那么——”

Archer withdrew reluctantly with the unwelcomedocuments. Since their last meeting he had half-unconsciouslycollaborated with events in ridding himself of the burdenof Madame Olenska. His hour alone with her bythe firelight had drawn them into a momentary intimacyon which the Duke of St. Austrey's intrusion withMrs. Lemuel Struthers, and the Countess's joyous greetingof them, had rather providentially broken. Twodays later Archer had assisted at the comedy of herreinstatement in the van der Luydens' favour, and hadsaid to himself, with a touch of tartness, that a ladywho knew how to thank all-powerful elderly gentlemento such good purpose for a bunch of flowers did notneed either the private consolations or the publicchampionship of a young man of his small compass. To lookat the matter in this light simplified his own case andsurprisingly furbished up all the dim domestic virtues.He could not picture May Welland, in whateverconceivable emergency, hawking about her private difficultiesand lavishing her confidences on strange men; andshe had never seemed to him finer or fairer than in theweek that followed. He had even yielded to her wishfor a long engagement, since she had found the onedisarming answer to his plea for haste.

“阿切尔先生,劳驾你先看一遍这些文件好吗?以后,等我们把情况交谈之后,我会告诉你我的意见。”

"You know, when it comes to the point, your parentshave always let you have your way ever since youwere a little girl," he argued; and she had answered,with her clearest look: "Yes; and that's what makes itso hard to refuse the very last thing they'll ever ask ofme as a little girl."

阿切尔无可奈何地带着那些不受欢迎的文件退了出来。他们上次见面以来,他一直漫不经心地对待社交活动,以便使自己摆脱奥兰斯卡夫人的负担。他与她在炉火旁单独相处建立的短暂亲密关系,由于圣奥斯特利公爵与莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太的闯入,以及伯爵夫人对他们愉快的欢迎,已经天助神依般地破灭了。两天之后,在她重获范德卢顿夫妇欢心的喜剧中阿切尔助了一臂之力,他不无尖酸地心想,对于有权势的老绅士用一束鲜花表示的善意,一位夫人是知道如何感激的,她不需要他这样能力有限的年轻人私下的安慰,也不需要他公开的捍卫。这样一想,就把他个人的问题简化了,同时也令人惊奇地修复了他模糊的家庭观念。无论梅遇到什么紧急情况,他都无法想象她会对陌生男人大讲自己的困难,不加考虑地信赖他们。在随后的一个星期中,他觉得她比以往任何时候都更优雅更美丽。他甚至屈从了她延长订婚期的愿望,因为她找到了解除争端的办法,使他放弃了尽快结婚的要求。

That was the old New York note; that was the kindof answer he would like always to be sure of his wife'smaking. If one had habitually breathed the New Yorkair there were times when anything less crystalline seemedstifling.

“你知道,从你还是个小姑娘的时候起,只要你说到点子上,你父母一直都是容许你自行其事的,”他争辩说。她神色十分安详地回答道:“不错;正是由于这个原因,才使得我难以拒绝他们把我看作小姑娘而提的最后一个要求。”

The papers he had retired to read did not tell him muchin fact; but they plunged him into an atmosphere inwhich he choked and spluttered. They consisted mainlyof an exchange of letters between Count Olenski'ssolicitors and a French legal firm to whom the Countesshad applied for the settlement of her financialsituation. There was also a short letter from the Count tohis wife: after reading it, Newland Archer rose, jammedthe papers back into their envelope, and reentered Mr.Letterblair's office.

这是老纽约的调子;这是他愿永远确信他的妻子会做的那种回答。假如一个人一直习惯于呼吸纽约的空气,那么,有时候,不够清澈的东西似乎就会让他窒息。

"Here are the letters, sir. If you wish, I'll seeMadame Olenska," he said in a constrained voice.

他回来后阅读的那些文件实际上并没有告诉他多少情况,却使他陷入一种窒息和气急败坏的心清。文件主要是奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人的律师与法国一个法律机构的往来信件,伯爵夫人曾请求该机构澄清她的经济状况;另外还有一封伯爵写给妻子的短信。读过那封信后,纽兰·阿切尔站起来,把文件塞进信封,重新走进了莱特布赖的办公室。

"Thank you--thank you, Mr. Archer. Come anddine with me tonight if you're free, and we'll go intothe matter afterward: in case you wish to call on ourclient tomorrow."

“还给你这些信,先生。如果你愿意,我想见见奥兰斯卡夫人,”他声音有些不自然地说。

Newland Archer walked straight home again thatafternoon. It was a winter evening of transparent clearness,with an innocent young moon above the house-tops; and he wanted to fill his soul's lungs with thepure radiance, and not exchange a word with any onetill he and Mr. Letterblair were closeted together afterdinner. It was impossible to decide otherwise than hehad done: he must see Madame Olenska himself ratherthan let her secrets be bared to other eyes. A greatwave of compassion had swept away his indifferenceand impatience: she stood before him as an exposedand pitiful figure, to be saved at all costs from fartherwounding herself in her mad plunges against fate.

“谢谢你——谢谢你,阿切尔先生。如果你有空,今晚请过来一起吃晚饭,饭后我们把事情研究一下——假如你想明天拜访我们的委托人的话。”

He remembered what she had told him of Mrs.Welland's request to be spared whatever was "unpleasant"in her history, and winced at the thought that it wasperhaps this attitude of mind which kept the New Yorkair so pure. "Are we only Pharisees after all?" hewondered, puzzled by the effort to reconcile his instinctivedisgust at human vileness with his equally instinctivepity for human frailty.

纽兰·阿切尔这天下午又是直接走回家的。这是个明净清澈的冬季傍晚,一弯皎洁的新月刚升起在房顶上方。他想让灵魂内部注满纯净的光辉,在晚饭后与莱特布赖关进密室之前这段时间,不想跟任何人说一句话。再做其他决定是不可能的,一定得按他的意见办:他必须亲自去见奥兰斯卡夫人,而不能让她的秘密暴露给其他人。一股同情的洪流已经冲走了他的冷漠与厌烦。她像一个无人保护的弱者站在他面前,等待着他不惜一切代价去拯救,以免她在对抗命运的疯狂冒险中受到进一步的伤害。

For the first time he perceived how elementary hisown principles had always been. He passed for a youngman who had not been afraid of risks, and he knewthat his secret love-affair with poor silly Mrs. ThorleyRushworth had not been too secret to invest him witha becoming air of adventure. But Mrs. Rushworth was"that kind of woman"; foolish, vain, clandestine bynature, and far more attracted by the secrecy and perilof the affair than by such charms and qualities as hepossessed. When the fact dawned on him it nearlybroke his heart, but now it seemed the redeeming featureof the case. The affair, in short, had been of thekind that most of the young men of his age had beenthrough, and emerged from with calm consciences andan undisturbed belief in the abysmal distinction betweenthe women one loved and respected and thoseone enjoyed--and pitied. In this view they weresedulously abetted by their mothers, aunts and other elderlyfemale relatives, who all shared Mrs. Archer's beliefthat when "such things happened" it was undoubtedlyfoolish of the man, but somehow always criminal ofthe woman. All the elderly ladies whom Archer knewregarded any woman who loved imprudently as necessarilyunscrupulous and designing, and mere simple-minded man as powerless in her clutches. The onlything to do was to persuade him, as early as possible, tomarry a nice girl, and then trust to her to look after him.

他记起她对他讲过,韦兰太太曾要求她免谈她过去任何“不愉快的事”。想到也许正是这种心态才使得纽约的空气如此纯净,他不觉有些畏缩。“难道我们竟是法利赛人不成?”他困惑地想。为了摆平憎恶人类罪恶与同情人类脆弱这两种本能的感情,他大伤脑筋。

In the complicated old European communities, Archerbegan to guess, love-problems might be less simple andless easily classified. Rich and idle and ornamentalsocieties must produce many more such situations; andthere might even be one in which a woman naturallysensitive and aloof would yet, from the force ofcircumstances, from sheer defencelessness and loneliness, bedrawn into a tie inexcusable by conventional standards.

他第一次认识到他恪守的那些原则是多么初级。他被认为是个不怕冒险的年轻人,他知道他与傻乎乎的托雷·拉什沃斯太太的桃色秘密还不够秘密,无法给他蒙上一层名副其实的冒险色彩。然而拉什沃斯太太属于“那种女人”:愚蠢、虚荣、生性喜欢偷偷摸摸,事情的秘密性与冒险性对她的吸引力远大于他的魅力与品质。当他明白真相之后,难受得差点儿心碎,不过现在看来却起到了补偿作用。总之,那段恩怨属于跟他同龄的多数年轻人都经历过的那一种,它的发生于良心是平静的,且丝毫不会动摇这样一种信念:一个人尊重、爱恋的女人与他欣赏——并怜悯的女人是有天渊之别的。按照这种观点,年轻人都受到他们的母亲、姑姨及其他女长辈百般的怂恿和支持,她们都与阿切尔太太持同样的看法:“发生这种事”,对于男人无疑是愚蠢的,而对于女人——不知何故——却是罪恶的。阿切尔太太认识的所有上年纪的夫人们都认为,任何轻率与人相爱的女人都必然是寡廉鲜耻、工于心计的,而心地单纯的男人在其控制下则是无能为力的。惟一的办法是尽早说服他娶一位好姑娘,然后委托她去照管他。

On reaching home he wrote a line to the CountessOlenska, asking at what hour of the next day she couldreceive him, and despatched it by a messenger-boy,who returned presently with a word to the effect thatshe was going to Skuytercliff the next morning to stayover Sunday with the van der Luydens, but that hewould find her alone that evening after dinner. Thenote was written on a rather untidy half-sheet, withoutdate or address, but her hand was firm and free. Hewas amused at the idea of her week-ending in thestately solitude of Skuytercliff, but immediately afterwardfelt that there, of all places, she would most feelthe chill of minds rigorously averted from the "unpleasant."

阿切尔开始想,在复杂的老式欧洲社会里,爱情问题恐怕不这么简单,不这么容易分门归类。富足、悠闲、喜欢招摇的上流社会必然会发生许许多多这样的私情,甚至会有这种可能:一位生性敏感的孤单女子,由于环境势力所逼、由于全然孤立无助,会被牵涉进为传统规范不能饶恕的感情纠纷之中。

He was at Mr. Letterblair's punctually at seven, gladof the pretext for excusing himself soon after dinner.He had formed his own opinion from the papers entrustedto him, and did not especially want to go intothe matter with his senior partner. Mr. Letterblair wasa widower, and they dined alone, copiously and slowly,in a dark shabby room hung with yellowing prints of"The Death of Chatham" and "The Coronation ofNapoleon." On the sideboard, between fluted Sheratonknife-cases, stood a decanter of Haut Brion, and anotherof the old Lanning port (the gift of a client),which the wastrel Tom Lanning had sold off a year ortwo before his mysterious and discreditable death inSan Francisco--an incident less publicly humiliating tothe family than the sale of the cellar.

一回到家,他便给奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人写了几句话,问她第二天什么时间可以接见他。他打发信差送去,不久,便带话回来,说她翌晨要与范德卢顿夫妇去斯库特克利夫过星期天,不过晚饭以后她将一个人呆在家里。回函写在很不整洁的半页纸上,没有日期和地址,但她的书写流畅而道劲。他对她到豪华幽闭的斯库特克利夫度周末的主意感到高兴,但稍后他立即意识到,惟其在那个地方,她才会最深切地感受到坚决规避“不愉快”的那种思想的冷漠。

After a velvety oyster soup came shad and cucumbers,then a young broiled turkey with corn fritters,followed by a canvas-back with currant jelly and acelery mayonnaise. Mr. Letterblair, who lunched on asandwich and tea, dined deliberately and deeply, andinsisted on his guest's doing the same. Finally, whenthe closing rites had been accomplished, the cloth wasremoved, cigars were lit, and Mr. Letterblair, leaningback in his chair and pushing the port westward, said,spreading his back agreeably to the coal fire behindhim: "The whole family are against a divorce. And Ithink rightly."

7点钟,他准时到达莱特布赖先生的家,心中为饭后立即脱身的借口暗自高兴。他已从交给他的那些文件中形成了自己的意见,并不太想跟他的上司深入探讨。莱特布赖先生是个鳏夫,只有他们两人用餐。菜肴十分丰盛,而上菜却慢慢腾腾。阴暗寒怆的餐厅里挂着两张发黄的版画《查塔姆之死》与《拿破仑的加冕礼》。餐具柜上面,带凹槽的餐刀匣子中间,摆着一瓶豪特·布里翁的圆酒瓶,还有一瓶陈年拉宁红葡萄酒(一位委托人的礼品),那是汤姆·拉宁那个饭桶神秘可耻地死于旧金山前一两年打折倾销的——他的死亡还不及地下酒窖的拍卖给家庭带来的耻辱大。

Archer instantly felt himself on the other side of theargument. "But why, sir? If there ever was a case--"

一道可口的牡蛎汤之后,上了河鲱和黄瓜,然后是一客童子鸡与油炸玉米馅饼,接着又有灰背野鸭和醋栗酱和蛋黄汁芹菜。午饭吃三明治、喝茶的莱特布赖先生,晚餐却吃得从容不迫、专心致志,并坚持让他的客人也照此办理。终于,收场的礼节完成之后,撤掉桌布,点着雪茄,莱特布赖先生把酒瓶向西面一推,身体在椅子里朝后一靠,无拘无束地向身后的煤火舒展开后背,然后说道:“全家人都反对离婚,我认为这很正确。”

"Well--what's the use? SHE'S here--he's there; theAtlantic's between them. She'll never get back a dollarmore of her money than what he's voluntarily returnedto her: their damned heathen marriage settlements takeprecious good care of that. As things go over there,Olenski's acted generously: he might have turned herout without a penny."

阿切尔即刻觉得自己站在了争论的另一方。“可这是因为什么呢,先生?假如有个案子——”

The young man knew this and was silent.

“唉,案子有什么用?她在这里——他在那里,大西洋隔在他们中间。除了他自愿给她的,多一美元她也绝对要不回来,他们那该死的异教婚姻财产处理法规定得明明白白。按那边的情形,奥兰斯基做得已经很慷慨了:他本来可以一个铜板都不给就把她撵走的。”

"I understand, though," Mr. Letterblair continued,"that she attaches no importance to the money. Therefore,as the family say, why not let well enough alone?"

年轻人明白这一点,缄口无言了。

Archer had gone to the house an hour earlier in fullagreement with Mr. Letterblair's view; but put intowords by this selfish, well-fed and supremely indifferentold man it suddenly became the Pharisaic voice of asociety wholly absorbed in barricading itself against theunpleasant.

“可是我知道,”莱特布赖接下去说,“她对钱的问题并不重视。所以,就像她的家人所说的,干吗不听其自然呢?”

"I think that's for her to decide."

阿切尔一小时之前到他家来的时候,与莱特布赖先生的意见完全一致,但这些话一从这个酒足饭饱、冷漠自私的老人口中讲出来,却突然变成全神贯注地防范不愉快事情出现的上流社会伪善者的腔调。

"H'm--have you considered the consequences if shedecides for divorce?"

“我想这事该由她自己决定。”

"You mean the threat in her husband's letter? Whatweight would that carry? It's no more than the vaguecharge of an angry blackguard."

“唔——假如她决定离婚,你考虑过事情的后果吗?”

"Yes; but it might make some unpleasant talk if hereally defends the suit."

“你是说她丈夫信中的威胁?那有什么了不起?不过是一个发怒的恶棍含含糊糊的指控罢了。”

"Unpleasant--!" said Archer explosively.

“不错;可假如他真要进行抗辩,却有可能造成不愉快的口实。”

Mr. Letterblair looked at him from under enquiringeyebrows, and the young man, aware of the uselessnessof trying to explain what was in his mind, bowedacquiescently while his senior continued: "Divorce isalways unpleasant."

“不愉快的——!”阿切尔暴躁地说。

"You agree with me?" Mr. Letterblair resumed, aftera waiting silence.

莱特布赖先生诧异地挑起眉毛看着他,年轻人意识到向他说明自己的想法等于徒劳。他的上司接着说:“离婚永远是不愉快的。”他默认地点了点头。

"Naturally," said Archer.

莱特布赖先生沉默地等了一会儿又问道:“你同意我的意见吗?”

"Well, then, I may count on you; the Mingotts maycount on you; to use your influence against the idea?"

“那当然,”阿切尔说。

Archer hesitated. "I can't pledge myself till I've seenthe Countess Olenska," he said at length.

“这么说,我可以依靠你,明戈特家可以依靠你,运用你的影响反对这个主意了。”

"Mr. Archer, I don't understand you. Do you wantto marry into a family with a scandalous divorce-suithanging over it?"

阿切尔犹豫了。“会见奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人之前,我还不能打保票,”他终于说。

"I don't think that has anything to do with thecase."

“阿切尔先生,我不理解你。难道你想和一个即将有离婚诉讼丑闻的家庭结亲吗?”

Mr. Letterblair put down his glass of port and fixedon his young partner a cautious and apprehensive gaze.

“我认为那与这件事毫无关系。”

Archer understood that he ran the risk of having hismandate withdrawn, and for some obscure reason hedisliked the prospect. Now that the job had been thruston him he did not propose to relinquish it; and, toguard against the possibility, he saw that he must reassurethe unimaginative old man who was the legalconscience of the Mingotts.

莱特布赖先生放下酒杯,盯着他的年轻合伙人,审慎、忧虑地瞅了一眼。

"You may be sure, sir, that I shan't commit myselftill I've reported to you; what I meant was that I'drather not give an opinion till I've heard what MadameOlenska has to say."

阿切尔明白他在冒被收回成命的风险。由于某种说不清的原因,他并不喜欢那种前景。既然任务已经交给了他,他就不打算放弃它了,而且,为了防止那种可能,他明白必须让这位代表明戈特一家法律信仰的缺乏想像力的老人放下心来。

Mr. Letterblair nodded approvingly at an excess ofcaution worthy of the best New York tradition, andthe young man, glancing at his watch, pleaded anengagement and took leave.

“你可以放心,先生,不先向你汇报我是不会表态的;我刚才的意思是,我在听取奥兰斯卡夫人的想法之前,不愿发表意见。”

莱特布赖先生对这种称得上纽约优秀传统的过分谨慎赞许地点了点头。年轻人瞥了一眼手表,便借口有约,告辞而去。