The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

Beyond the small and slippery pyramid whichcomposed Mrs. Archer's world lay the almost unmappedquarter inhabited by artists, musicians and "peoplewho wrote." These scattered fragments of humanityhad never shown any desire to be amalgamated withthe social structure. In spite of odd ways they were saidto be, for the most part, quite respectable; but theypreferred to keep to themselves. Medora Manson, inher prosperous days, had inaugurated a "literarysalon"; but it had soon died out owing to the reluctanceof the literary to frequent it.

在构成阿切尔太太的圈子的又尖又滑的小金字塔外面,有一个地图上很可能没有标记的区域,里面住着画家、音乐家和“搞写作的人”。人类的这一部分散兵游勇从来没有表示过与上流社会结构融为一体的愿望。尽管人们说他们生活方式奇特,但他们大多数人都还品行端正,只不过不喜欢与人往来。梅多拉·曼森在她兴旺时期曾创办过一个“文学沙龙”,但不久便因为文人们不肯光顾而销声匿迹。

Others had made the same attempt, and there was ahousehold of Blenkers--an intense and voluble mother,and three blowsy daughters who imitated her--whereone met Edwin Booth and Patti and William Winter,and the new Shakespearian actor George Rignold, andsome of the magazine editors and musical and literarycritics.

其他人也做过相同的尝试,其中有个姓布兰克的家庭——一位热情健谈的母亲和三个紧步其后尘的邋遢女儿。在她们家可以见到埃德温·布思、帕蒂和威廉·温特,还有演莎士比亚戏剧的新演员乔治·里格诺尔德,几个刊物编辑,以及音乐与文学评论家。

Mrs. Archer and her group felt a certain timidityconcerning these persons. They were odd, they wereuncertain, they had things one didn't know about inthe background of their lives and minds. Literature andart were deeply respected in the Archer set, and Mrs.Archer was always at pains to tell her children howmuch more agreeable and cultivated society had beenwhen it included such figures as Washington Irving,Fitz-Greene Halleck and the poet of "The Culprit Fay."The most celebrated authors of that generation hadbeen "gentlemen"; perhaps the unknown persons whosucceeded them had gentlemanly sentiments, but theirorigin, their appearance, their hair, their intimacy withthe stage and the Opera, made any old New Yorkcriterion inapplicable to them.

阿切尔太太与她那个小圈子对这些文化人感到有点畏惧:他们为人古怪,捉摸不透,而且在他们生活与思想的背景中有些不为人知的东西。姓阿切尔的这个阶层对文学与艺术非常看重,阿切尔太太总是不遗余力地告诉孩子们;过去,社交界包括了华盛顿·欧文、费兹一格林·哈勒克及写了《犯罪的小仙女》的诗人这样的人物,那时候是多么有礼貌、有教养。那一代最有名的作家都是“绅士”,而那些继承他们事业的无名之辈或许也有绅士的情感,但他们的出身,他们的仪表和头发,以及他们与舞台及歌剧的密切关系,使得老纽约的准则对他们统统不适用了。

"When I was a girl," Mrs. Archer used to say, "weknew everybody between the Battery and Canal Street;and only the people one knew had carriages. It wasperfectly easy to place any one then; now one can't tell,and I prefer not to try."

“在我做姑娘的时候,”阿切尔太太经常说,“我们认识巴特利与运河街一带的每一个人,而且只有我们认识的人才有马车。那时判断一个人的身份易如反掌,现在可没法说了,我宁愿试都不试。”

Only old Catherine Mingott, with her absence ofmoral prejudices and almost parvenu indifference tothe subtler distinctions, might have bridged the abyss;but she had never opened a book or looked at apicture, and cared for music only because it reminded herof gala nights at the Italiens, in the days of her triumphat the Tuileries. Possibly Beaufort, who was her matchin daring, would have succeeded in bringing about afusion; but his grand house and silk-stockinged footmenwere an obstacle to informal sociability. Moreover,he was as illiterate as old Mrs. Mingott, andconsidered "fellows who wrote" as the mere paidpurveyors of rich men's pleasures; and no one rich enoughto influence his opinion had ever questioned it.

惟独老凯瑟琳·明戈特有可能跨过了这道深渊,因为她没有道德偏见,且对那些敏感的差别持有与新贵们几乎相同的冷漠态度。然而她从未翻过一本书、看过一幅画,而且,她喜欢音乐也只是因为它使她回想起她在意大利时的那些狂欢之夜,她在杜伊勒里宫那段辉煌的日子。与她同样勇敢的博福特本来可能促成融合,但他那豪华住宅与穿丝袜的男仆成了非正式交际的障碍。而且他跟明戈特太太一样目不识丁,他认为“搞写作的人”不过是些拿了钱为富人提供享乐的家伙。而能够对他施加影响的那些富人,没有一个曾怀疑过这种观点。

Newland Archer had been aware of these things eversince he could remember, and had accepted them aspart of the structure of his universe. He knew thatthere were societies where painters and poets andnovelists and men of science, and even great actors, wereas sought after as Dukes; he had often pictured tohimself what it would have been to live in the intimacyof drawing-rooms dominated by the talk of Merimee(whose "Lettres a une Inconnue" was one of hisinseparables), of Thackeray, Browning or William Morris.But such things were inconceivable in New York, andunsettling to think of. Archer knew most of the"fellows who wrote," the musicians and the painters: hemet them at the Century, or at the little musical andtheatrical clubs that were beginning to come intoexistence. He enjoyed them there, and was bored withthem at the Blenkers', where they were mingled withfervid and dowdy women who passed them about likecaptured curiosities; and even after his most excitingtalks with Ned Winsett he always came away with thefeeling that if his world was small, so was theirs, andthat the only way to enlarge either was to reach a stageof manners where they would naturally merge.

纽兰·阿切尔从记事的时候起就知道这些事情,并把它们看作他那个世界的组成部分。他知道在有些上流社会里,画家。诗人、小说家、科学家、甚至大演员都像公侯一样受到追捧。过去他时常想象,置身于以谈论梅里美(他的《致无名氏的信》使他爱不释手)、萨克雷、布朗宁和威廉·莫里斯等大作家为主要话题的客厅里,会有怎样一种感觉,然而那种事在纽约是不可能的,想起来真令人不安。阿切尔认识很多“搞写作的人”、音乐家和画家。他在“世纪”或另一些刚成立的小型的音乐或戏剧俱乐部里与他们见面。在那儿,他欣赏他们,而在布兰克家中他却厌烦他们,因为他们和一些热情高涨、俗里俗气的女人混在一起,她们像捕获的怪物似的在他们身边走来走去。甚至在他与内德·温赛特最兴奋的交谈之后,他总是觉得,如果说他的天地很小,那么他们的也不大,而要拓展任何一方的空间,惟一的途径是使他们在生活方式上自然而然地融为一体。

He was reminded of this by trying to picture thesociety in which the Countess Olenska had lived andsuffered, and also--perhaps--tasted mysterious joys.He remembered with what amusement she had toldhim that her grandmother Mingott and the Wellandsobjected to her living in a "Bohemian" quarter givenover to "people who wrote." It was not the peril butthe poverty that her family disliked; but that shadeescaped her, and she supposed they consideredliterature compromising.

他之所以想到这些事,是因为他想对奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人曾经生活过、忍受过——或许还品尝过其神秘的快乐的上流社会进行一番设想。他记得她曾怀着怎样的乐趣告诉他,她祖母明戈特和韦兰夫妇反对她住在专供“搞写作的人”居住的放荡不羁的文化人的街区。令她的家人反感的不是冒险,而是贫穷,但那种阴影她却早已忘记了,她以为他们是认为文学名声不好。

She herself had no fears of it, and the booksscattered about her drawing-room (a part of the house inwhich books were usually supposed to be "out of place"),though chiefly works of fiction, had whetted Archer'sinterest with such new names as those of Paul Bourget,Huysmans, and the Goncourt brothers. Ruminating onthese things as he approached her door, he was oncemore conscious of the curious way in which shereversed his values, and of the need of thinking himselfinto conditions incredibly different from any that heknew if he were to be of use in her present difficulty.

她本人对文学倒没有什么顾虑,她的客厅里(一般认为最不宜放书的地方)四处散乱的书籍虽然主要是小说作品,但像保罗·布尔热、休斯曼及龚古尔兄弟这些新名字都曾引起阿切尔的兴趣。他一边思考着这些事情一边走到了她的门前,又一次意识到她反转他的价值观的奇妙方式,意识到如果他要在她目前的困境中发挥作用,必须设想自己进入与过去有着惊人差别的境界。

Nastasia opened the door, smiling mysteriously. Onthe bench in the hall lay a sable-lined overcoat, afolded opera hat of dull silk with a gold J. B. on thelining, and a white silk muffler: there was no mistakingthe fact that these costly articles were the property ofJulius Beaufort.

纳斯塔西娅开了门,脸上露出神秘的笑容。门厅的凳子上放着一件貂皮村里的外套,上面摆着一顶折叠的深色丝制歌剧礼帽,衬里有“J.B.”两个金字,还有一条丝巾。这几件贵重物品一准是朱利叶斯·博福特的财产。

Archer was angry: so angry that he came near scribblinga word on his card and going away; then heremembered that in writing to Madame Olenska hehad been kept by excess of discretion from saying thathe wished to see her privately. He had therefore no onebut himself to blame if she had opened her doors toother visitors; and he entered the drawing-room withthe dogged determination to make Beaufort feel himselfin the way, and to outstay him.

阿切尔愤怒了:他非常气愤,差一点要在名片上划几个字一走了之。但他随即想起在给奥兰斯卡写便函的时候,由于过于审慎而没有讲希望私下见她的话,因此,如果她已经向别的客人敞开了大门,这只能怪他自己。于是他昂首走进客厅,决心要让博福特感到他在这儿碍手碍脚,从而把他挤走。

The banker stood leaning against the mantelshelf,which was draped with an old embroidery held in placeby brass candelabra containing church candies ofyellowish wax. He had thrust his chest out, supporting hisshoulders against the mantel and resting his weight onone large patent-leather foot. As Archer entered he wassmiling and looking down on his hostess, who sat on asofa placed at right angles to the chimney. A tablebanked with flowers formed a screen behind it, andagainst the orchids and azaleas which the young manrecognised as tributes from the Beaufort hot-houses,Madame Olenska sat half-reclined, her head proppedon a hand and her wide sleeve leaving the arm bare tothe elbow.

银行家正倚着壁炉架立着,炉架上挂着一块旧的刺绣帷慢,由几个枝形铜烛台压住,烛台里盛着发黄的教堂用的蜡烛。他挺着胸脯,两肩靠在炉架上,身体的重量支撑在一只穿漆皮鞋的大脚上。阿切尔进屋时他正面带笑容低头看着女主人,她坐在一张与烟囱摆成直角的沙发上。一张堆着鲜花的桌子在沙发后面形成一道屏障,年轻人认得出那些兰花与杜鹃是来自博福特家温室的赠品。奥兰斯卡夫人面朝鲜花半倚半坐,一只手托着头,她那宽松的袖筒一直把胳臂露到肘部。

It was usual for ladies who received in the eveningsto wear what were called "simple dinner dresses": aclose-fitting armour of whale-boned silk, slightly openin the neck, with lace ruffles filling in the crack, andtight sleeves with a flounce uncovering just enoughwrist to show an Etruscan gold bracelet or a velvetband. But Madame Olenska, heedless of tradition, wasattired in a long robe of red velvet bordered about thechin and down the front with glossy black fur. Archerremembered, on his last visit to Paris, seeing a portraitby the new painter, Carolus Duran, whose pictureswere the sensation of the Salon, in which the lady woreone of these bold sheath-like robes with her chin nestlingin fur. There was something perverse and provocativein the notion of fur worn in the evening in a heateddrawing-room, and in the combination of a muffledthroat and bare arms; but the effect was undeniablypleasing.

女士们晚上会客通常都穿一种叫做“晚餐便装”的衣服:一件鲸须丝做的紧身内衣,领口很小,用花边的皱褶填在开口处,贴紧的袖子上带一个荷叶边,刚好露出手腕,以展示金手镯或丝带。而奥兰斯卡夫人却不顾习俗,穿了一件红丝绒的长睡袍,睡袍上端是光滑的黑毛皮镶边,环绕下巴一周并顺着前胸垂下来。阿切尔记起他最近一次访问巴黎时曾见过新画家卡罗勒斯·杜兰——他的轰动了巴黎美术展览会——的一幅画像,上面那位夫人就穿了一件这种像刀鞘一样的浓艳睡袍,下巴偎依在毛皮中。晚上在气氛热烈的客厅里穿戴毛皮,再加上围拢的脖颈和裸露的手臂,给人一种任性与挑逗的感觉。但不可否认,那效果却十分悦人。

"Lord love us--three whole days at Skuytercliff!"Beaufort was saying in his loud sneering voice as Archerentered. "You'd better take all your furs, and ahot-water-bottle."

“哎呀,太好了——到斯库特克利夫呆整整3天!”阿切尔进屋时博福特正以嘲笑的口吻大声说。“你最好带上所有的毛皮衣服,外加一个热水瓶。”

"Why? Is the house so cold?" she asked, holding outher left hand to Archer in a way mysteriously suggestingthat she expected him to kiss it.

“为什么?那房子很冷吗?”她问道,一面向阿切尔伸出左手,那诡秘的样子仿佛表示期待他去吻它。

"No; but the missus is," said Beaufort, noddingcarelessly to the young man.

“不是房子冷,而是女主人冷,”博福特说着,一面心不在焉地朝年轻人点点头。

"But I thought her so kind. She came herself to inviteme. Granny says I must certainly go."

“可我觉得她很好,是她亲自来邀请我的,奶奶说我当然一定得去。”

"Granny would, of course. And I say it's a shameyou're going to miss the little oyster supper I'd plannedfor you at Delmonico's next Sunday, with Campaniniand Scalchi and a lot of jolly people."

“奶奶当然会那样说。我看,你要是错过下星期天我为你安排的德尔莫尼柯家小型牡蛎晚餐,那真是太可惜了,坎帕尼尼、斯卡尔奇,还有好多有趣的人都会去呢。”

She looked doubtfully from the banker to Archer.

她疑惑地看看银行家,又看看阿切尔。

"Ah--that does tempt me! Except the other eveningat Mrs. Struthers's I've not met a single artist since I'vebeen here."

“啊——我真想去!除了在斯特拉瑟斯太太家的那天晚上,我来这儿以后一位艺术家还没见过呢。”

"What kind of artists? I know one or two painters,very good fellows, that I could bring to see you if you'dallow me," said Archer boldly.

“你想见什么样的艺术家?我认识两个画家,人都很好,假如你同意,我可以带你去见他们。”阿切尔冒昧地说。

"Painters? Are there painters in New York?" askedBeaufort, in a tone implying that there could be nonesince he did not buy their pictures; and Madame Olenskasaid to Archer, with her grave smile: "That would becharming. But I was really thinking of dramatic artists,singers, actors, musicians. My husband's house wasalways full of them."

“画家?纽约有画家吗?”博福特问,那口气表示,既然他没有买他们的画,他们就不可能算是画家。奥兰斯卡夫人面带庄重的笑容对阿切尔说:“那太好了。不过我实际上指的是戏剧艺术家。歌唱家、演员、音乐家等。在我丈夫家里老是有很多那种人的。”

She said the words "my husband" as if no sinisterassociations were connected with them, and in a tonethat seemed almost to sigh over the lost delights of hermarried life. Archer looked at her perplexedly, wonderingif it were lightness or dissimulation that enabled herto touch so easily on the past at the very moment whenshe was risking her reputation in order to break with it.

她讲“我丈夫”时,好像根本没有什么不祥的东西与这几个字相关,而且那口气几乎是在惋惜已失去的婚姻生活的快乐。阿切尔困惑地看着她,不知她是出于轻松还是故作镇静,才在为解除婚姻而拿自己的名誉冒险时如此轻易地提到了它。

"I do think," she went on, addressing both men,that the imprevu adds to one's enjoyment. It's perhapsa mistake to see the same people every day."

“我就是认为,”她接下去对着两位男士说,“出乎意料的事才更加令人愉快。天天见同一些人也许是个错误。”

"It's confoundedly dull, anyhow; New York is dyingof dullness," Beaufort grumbled. "And when I try toliven it up for you, you go back on me. Come--thinkbetter of it! Sunday is your last chance, for Campaninileaves next week for Baltimore and Philadelphia; andI've a private room, and a Steinway, and they'll sing allnight for me."

“不管怎么说,是太沉闷了;纽约真是沉闷得要死,”博福特抱怨说。“而正当我设法为你活跃一下气氛时,你却让我失望。听我说——再好好想一想吧!星期天是你最后的机会了,因为坎帕尼尼下周就要到巴尔的摩和费城去。我有个幽静的地方,还有一架斯坦韦钢琴,他们会为我唱个通宵。”

"How delicious! May I think it over, and write toyou tomorrow morning?"

“太妙了!让我考虑考虑,明天上午写信告诉你行吗?”

She spoke amiably, yet with the least hint ofdismissal in her voice. Beaufort evidently felt it, and beingunused to dismissals, stood staring at her with an obstinateline between his eyes.

她亲切地说,但话音里有一点收场的暗示。博福特显然感觉到了,但由于不习惯遭人拒绝,他仍站在那儿盯着她,两眼之间凝成一道顽固的皱纹。

"Why not now?"

“干吗不现在呢?”

"It's too serious a question to decide at this latehour."

“这个问题太重要啦,时间又这么晚了,我不能仓促决定呀。”

"Do you call it late?"

“你认为时间很晚了吗?”

She returned his glance coolly. "Yes; because I havestill to talk business with Mr. Archer for a little while."

她冷冷地回视他一眼说:“是的;因为我还要同阿切尔先生谈一会儿正事。”

"Ah," Beaufort snapped. There was no appeal fromher tone, and with a slight shrug he recovered hiscomposure, took her hand, which he kissed with apractised air, and calling out from the threshold: "Isay, Newland, if you can persuade the Countess to stopin town of course you're included in the supper," leftthe room with his heavy important step.

“噢,”博福特生气道。她的语气里没有一点恳求的意味,他轻轻耸了耸肩,恢复了镇静。他拉起她的手,熟练地吻了一下,到了门口又大声喊道:“听我说,纽兰,假如你能说服伯爵夫人留在城里,你当然也可一块儿去吃晚饭。”说完,他迈着傲慢有力的脚步离开了客厅。

For a moment Archer fancied that Mr. Letterblairmust have told her of his coming; but the irrelevance ofher next remark made him change his mind.

有一会儿功夫,阿切尔以为莱特布赖先生一定已把他来访的事告诉了她;不过她接着说的毫不相干的话又改变了他的想法。

"You know painters, then? You live in their milieu?"she asked, her eyes full of interest.

“这么说,你认识画家?你对他们的环境很熟悉?”她带着好奇的目光问道。

"Oh, not exactly. I don't know that the arts have amilieu here, any of them; they're more like a verythinly settled outskirt."

“哦,不完全是这样。我看艺术家们在这里没有什么环境,哪一个都没有。他们更像一层薄薄的外缘。”

"But you care for such things?"

“可你喜欢这类东西吗?”

"Immensely. When I'm in Paris or London I nevermiss an exhibition. I try to keep up."

“非常喜欢。我在巴黎和伦敦的时候,从不放过一次展览。我尽量跟上潮流。”

She looked down at the tip of the little satin bootthat peeped from her long draperies.

她低头看着从她那身绸缎长裙底下露出来的缎靴的靴尖。

"I used to care immensely too: my life was full ofsuch things. But now I want to try not to."

“我过去也非常喜欢:我的生活里充满了这些东西。可现在,我想尽量不去喜欢它们。”

"You want to try not to?"

“你想尽量不去喜欢?”

"Yes: I want to cast off all my old life, to becomejust like everybody else here."

“不错,我想全部放弃过去的生活,变得跟这里每个人完全一样。”

Archer reddened. "You'll never be like everybodyelse," he said.

阿切尔红了脸说:“你永远也不会跟这里的每个人一样。”

She raised her straight eyebrows a little. "Ah, don'tsay that. If you knew how I hate to be different!"

她抬起端正的眉毛,停了一会儿说:“啊,别这样说。你若是明白我多么讨厌与众不同就好了!”

Her face had grown as sombre as a tragic mask. Sheleaned forward, clasping her knee in her thin hands,and looking away from him into remote dark distances.

她的脸变得像一张悲剧面具那样忧郁。她向前躬了躬身子,用两只纤瘦的手紧紧抱住双膝,目光从他身上移开,投向了神秘的远方。

"I want to get away from it all," she insisted.

“我想彻底摆脱过去的生活,”她坚决地说。

He waited a moment and cleared his throat. "I know.Mr. Letterblair has told me."

他等了一会,清了清喉咙说:“我知道。莱特布赖先生对我讲了。”

"Ah?"

“啊?”

"That's the reason I've come. He asked me to--yousee I'm in the firm."

“我来就是为了这件事。他让我来——你知道,我在事务所工作。”

She looked slightly surprised, and then her eyes brightened."You mean you can manage it for me? I can talkto you instead of Mr. Letterblair? Oh, that will be somuch easier!"

她看上去有点意外,接着,眼睛里又露出喜色。“你是说你可以为我处理这件事?我可以跟你谈,不用跟莱特布赖先生?啊,这会轻松多了!”

Her tone touched him, and his confidence grew withhis self-satisfaction. He perceived that she had spokenof business to Beaufort simply to get rid of him; and tohave routed Beaufort was something of a triumph.

她的语气感动了他,他的信心也伴随自我满足而倍增。他发觉她对博福特讲有正经事要谈纯粹是为了摆脱他。而赶走博福特不啻是一种胜利。

"I am here to talk about it," he repeated.

“我来这儿就是谈这件事的,”他重复说。

She sat silent, her head still propped by the arm thatrested on the back of the sofa. Her face looked paleand extinguished, as if dimmed by the rich red of herdress. She struck Archer, of a sudden, as a pathetic andeven pitiful figure.

她坐着沉默不语,脑袋依然由放在沙发背上的一只胳臂支撑着。她的脸看上去苍白、黯淡,仿佛被那身鲜红的衣服比得黯然失色了。他突然想到她是个可悲甚至可怜的人。

"Now we're coming to hard facts," he thought,conscious in himself of the same instinctive recoil that hehad so often criticised in his mother and her contemporaries.How little practice he had had in dealing withunusual situations! Their very vocabulary was unfamiliarto him, and seemed to belong to fiction and thestage. In face of what was coming he felt as awkwardand embarrassed as a boy.

“现在我们要面对严酷的事实了,”他想,同时感到自己心中产生了他经常批评他母亲及其同龄人的那种本能的畏缩情绪。他处理例外情况的实践真是太少了!连其中所用的词汇他都不熟悉,仿佛那些话都是用在小说当中或舞台上的。面对即将发生的情况,他觉得像个小男孩似的局促不安。

After a pause Madame Olenska broke out withunexpected vehemence: "I want to be free; I want to wipeout all the past."

停了一会儿,奥兰斯卡夫人出乎意料地感情爆发了。“我想获得自由,我想清除过去的一切。”

"I understand that."

“我理解。”

Her face warmed. "Then you'll help me?"

她脸上露出喜色。“这么说,你愿意帮我了?”

"First--" he hesitated--"perhaps I ought to know alittle more."

“首先——”他迟疑地说,“也许我应该了解多一点。”

She seemed surprised. "You know about my husband--my life with him?"

她似乎很惊讶。“你了解我丈夫——我跟他的生活吧?”

He made a sign of assent.

他做了个认可的手势。

"Well--then--what more is there? In this countryare such things tolerated? I'm a Protestant--our churchdoes not forbid divorce in such cases."

“哎——那么——还有什么呢?在这个国家难道可以容忍那种事情吗?我是个新教徒——我们的教会并不禁止在这种情况下离婚。”

"Certainly not."

“当然不。”

They were both silent again, and Archer felt thespectre of Count Olenski's letter grimacing hideouslybetween them. The letter filled only half a page, andwas just what he had described it to be in speaking of itto Mr. Letterblair: the vague charge of an angryblackguard. But how much truth was behind it? Only CountOlenski's wife could tell.

两个人又都默不作声了。阿切尔觉得奥兰斯基伯爵那封信像幽灵一样在他俩中间讨厌地做着鬼脸。那封信只有半页,内容正如他同莱特布赖谈到时所说的那样:一个发怒的恶棍含糊其辞的指责。然而在它背后有多少事实呢?只有奥兰斯基伯爵的妻子能说清楚。

"I've looked through the papers you gave to Mr.Letterblair," he said at length.

“你给莱特布赖先生的文件我已经看了一遍,”他终于说道。

"Well--can there be anything more abominable?"

“唔——还有比那更讨厌的东西吗?”

"No."

“没有了。”

She changed her position slightly, screening her eyeswith her lifted hand.

她稍稍改换一下姿势,抬起一只手遮住她的眼睛。

"Of course you know," Archer continued, "that ifyour husband chooses to fight the case--as he threatens to--"

“当然,你知道,”阿切尔接着说,“假如你丈夫要想打官司——像他威胁的那样——”

"Yes--?"

“是吗——?”

"He can say things--things that might be unpl--mightbe disagreeable to you: say them publicly, so that theywould get about, and harm you even if--"

“他可能讲一些——一些可能不愉——对你不利的事情:公开讲出来,被到处传播,伤害你,即使——”

"If--?"

“即使——怎么样?”

"I mean: no matter how unfounded they were."

“我是说:不论那些事情多么没有根据。”

She paused for a long interval; so long that, notwishing to keep his eyes on her shaded face, he hadtime to imprint on his mind the exact shape of herother hand, the one on her knee, and every detail of thethree rings on her fourth and fifth fingers; among which,he noticed, a wedding ring did not appear.

她停顿了很长一会。他不想眼睛一直盯在她遮住的脸上,因而有充足的时间把她放在膝盖上的另一只手精确的形状铭刻在心里,还有无名指及小指上那3枚戒指的种种细节;他注意到其中没有订婚戒指。

"What harm could such accusations, even if he madethem publicly, do me here?"

“那些指责,即便他公之于众,在这里对我能有什么危害呢?”

It was on his lips to exclaim: "My poor child--farmore harm than anywhere else!" Instead, he answered,in a voice that sounded in his ears like Mr. Letterblair's:"New York society is a very small world comparedwith the one you've lived in. And it's ruled, in spite ofappearances, by a few people with--well, rather old-fashioned ideas."

他差一点就要大声喊出:“我可怜的孩子——在这儿比任何地方危害都大呀!”然而,他却用他自己听起来都像莱特布赖先生的口气回答说:“与你过去居住的地方相比,纽约社交界是个很小的天地。而且,不管表面现象如何,它被少数——思想守旧的人统治着。”

She said nothing, and he continued: "Our ideas aboutmarriage and divorce are particularly old-fashioned.Our legislation favours divorce--our social customsdon't."

她一语不发,他接着说:“我们关于结婚、离婚的思想特别守旧,我们的立法支持离婚——而我们的社会风俗却不。”

"Never?"

“决不会支持?”

"Well--not if the woman, however injured, howeverirreproachable, has appearances in the least degreeagainst her, has exposed herself by any unconventionalaction to--to offensive insinuations--"

“唔——决不会,只要那位女子有一点点不利于她的表面现象,只要她由于任何违背常规的行为而使自己受到——受到含沙射影的攻击——不管她受到怎样的伤害,也不管她多么无可指责。”

She drooped her head a little lower, and he waitedagain, intensely hoping for a flash of indignation, or atleast a brief cry of denial. None came.

她的头垂得更低了,他又处于等待之中,紧张地期待一阵愤怒的爆发,或至少是短短一声表示抗议的喊叫。然而什么都没发生。

A little travelling clock ticked purringly at her elbow,and a log broke in two and sent up a shower of sparks.The whole hushed and brooding room seemed to bewaiting silently with Archer.

一个小旅行钟得意似地在她近旁嘀嗒直响,一块木柴烧成两半,升腾起一片火星,寂静的客厅仿佛在忧虑地与阿切尔一起默默地等待着。

"Yes," she murmured at length, "that's what myfamily tell me."

“不错,”她终于嗫嚅道,“我的家人对我就是这样说的。”

He winced a little. "It's not unnatural--"

他皱起眉头说:“这并不奇怪——”

"OUR family," she corrected herself; and Archercoloured. "For you'll be my cousin soon," she continuedgently.

“是我们的家人,”她纠正自己的话说;阿切尔红了脸。“因为你不久就是我的表亲了,”她接着温柔地说。

"I hope so."

“我希望如此。”

"And you take their view?"

“你接受他们的观点吗?”

He stood up at this, wandered across the room,stared with void eyes at one of the pictures against theold red damask, and came back irresolutely to her side.How could he say: "Yes, if what your husband hints istrue, or if you've no way of disproving it?"

听了这话,他站起身来,在屋子里踱步,两眼茫然地盯住一幅衬着旧红锦缎的画像,然后又犹豫不决地回到她身边。他无法对她说:“是的,假如你丈夫暗示的情况是真的,或者你没有办法驳斥它。”

"Sincerely--" she interjected, as he was about tospeak.

他正要开口,她却接着说:“你要说真心话——”

He looked down into the fire. "Sincerely, then--whatshould you gain that would compensate for the possibility--the certainty--of a lot of beastly talk?"

他低头望着炉火说:“好吧,我说真心话——面对一堆可能——不,肯定——会引起的肮脏闲话,你能得到什么好处呢?”

"But my freedom--is that nothing?"

“可我的自由——难道就无所谓了吗?”

It flashed across him at that instant that the chargein the letter was true, and that she hoped to marry thepartner of her guilt. How was he to tell her that, if shereally cherished such a plan, the laws of the State wereinexorably opposed to it? The mere suspicion that thethought was in her mind made him feel harshly andimpatiently toward her. "But aren't you as free as airas it is?" he returned. "Who can touch you? Mr.Letterblair tells me the financial question has beensettled--"

这时,他忽然想到,信中的指责是真的,她确曾想嫁给和她一起犯罪的那个人。假如她真有过那么一个计划,国法是不会容许的。可他该怎么告诉她呢?仅仅由于怀疑她有那种想法,就已使他对她严厉、不耐烦起来。“可你现在不是跟空气一样地自由吗?”他回答说。“谁能碰你一下呢?莱特布赖先生对我说,经济问题已经了断——”

"Oh, yes," she said indifferently.

“噢,是的,”她漠然地说。

"Well, then: is it worth while to risk what may beinfinitely disagreeable and painful? Think of thenewspapers--their vileness! It's all stupid and narrow andunjust--but one can't make over society."

“既然如此,再去招惹有可能无穷无尽的痛苦与不快,这值得吗?想一想那些报纸有多么恶毒!那完全是愚蠢的、狭隘的、不公正的——可谁也无法改变社会呀。”

"No," she acquiesced; and her tone was so faint anddesolate that he felt a sudden remorse for his own hardthoughts.

“不错,”她默认地说。她的声音那样轻、那样凄凉,突然使他对自己那些冷酷的想法感到懊悔。

"The individual, in such cases, is nearly alwayssacrificed to what is supposed to be the collective interest:people cling to any convention that keeps the familytogether--protects the children, if there are any," herambled on, pouring out all the stock phrases that roseto his lips in his intense desire to cover over the uglyreality which her silence seemed to have laid bare.Since she would not or could not say the one word thatwould have cleared the air, his wish was not to let herfeel that he was trying to probe into her secret. Betterkeep on the surface, in the prudent old New York way,than risk uncovering a wound he could not heal.

“在这种情况下,个人几乎总是要成为所谓集体利益的牺牲品:人们对维系家庭的任何常规都抱住不放——假如有什么常规,那也就是保护儿童。’他漫无边际地说下去,把跑到嘴边的陈词滥调统统倒出来,极力想掩盖她的沉默似乎已经暴露无遗的丑恶事实。既然她不肯或者不能说出一句澄清事实的话,那么,他的希望就是别让她以为他是想刺探她的秘密。按照老纽约精明老到的习惯,对于不能治愈的伤口,与其冒险揭开,还不如保持原状为好。

"It's my business, you know," he went on, "to helpyou to see these things as the people who are fondest ofyou see them. The Mingotts, the Wellands, the van derLuydens, all your friends and relations: if I didn't showyou honestly how they judge such questions, it wouldn'tbe fair of me, would it?" He spoke insistently, almostpleading with her in his eagerness to cover up thatyawning silence.

“我的职责是帮助你,使你能像那些最喜爱你的人一样看待这些事情,”他接着说。“像明戈特夫妇、韦兰夫妇、范德卢顿夫妇,你所有的亲戚朋友:假如我不实事求是地向你说明他们是怎样看待这类问题的,那我就是不公平了,不是吗?”他急于打破那令人惊恐的沉默,几乎是在恳求她似地,滔滔不绝地说着。

She said slowly: "No; it wouldn't be fair."

她慢声慢气地说:“是的,那会不公平的。”

The fire had crumbled down to greyness, and one ofthe lamps made a gurgling appeal for attention. MadameOlenska rose, wound it up and returned to thefire, but without resuming her seat.

炉火已经暗淡,一盏灯咯咯响着请求关照。奥兰斯卡夫人起身把灯头拧上来,又回到炉火旁,但没有重新就坐。

Her remaining on her feet seemed to signify thatthere was nothing more for either of them to say, andArcher stood up also.

她继续站在那儿,似乎表示两个人都已没有什么可说的了,于是阿切尔也站了起来。

"Very well; I will do what you wish," she saidabruptly. The blood rushed to his forehead; and, takenaback by the suddenness of her surrender, he caughther two hands awkwardly in his.

“很好;我会照你希望的去做,”她突然说。热血涌上了他的额头,被她突然的投降吓了一跳,他笨拙地抓起她的双手。

"I--I do want to help you," he said.

“我——我真的想帮助你,”他说。

"You do help me. Good night, my cousin."

“你是在帮助我。晚安,我的表弟。”

He bent and laid his lips on her hands, which werecold and lifeless. She drew them away, and he turnedto the door, found his coat and hat under the faintgas-light of the hall, and plunged out into the winternight bursting with the belated eloquence of the inarticulate.

他俯身将嘴唇放在她的手上,那双手冷冰冰地毫无生气。她把手抽开,他转身向门口走去,借着门厅暗淡的灯光找到他的外套和礼帽,然后便走进了冬季的夜色中,心中涌出迟到的滔滔话语。