The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

The young man, who was dining alone with hismother and sister, glanced up in surprise and saw Mrs.Archer's gaze demurely bent on her plate. Mrs. Archerdid not regard her seclusion from the world as a reasonfor being forgotten by it; and Newland guessed thatshe was slightly annoyed that he should be surprised byMadame Olenska's visit.

年轻人正与母亲、妹妹一起吃晚饭,他意外地抬头瞥了一眼,只见阿切尔太太正目光严肃地低头用餐。阿切尔太太并不认为自己不涉交际就应当被社交界遗忘。纽兰猜想,他对奥兰斯卡夫人的造访感到惊讶,可能使她有点恼火。

"She had on a black velvet polonaise with jetbuttons, and a tiny green monkey muff; I never saw her sostylishly dressed," Janey continued. "She came alone,early on Sunday afternoon; luckily the fire was lit inthe drawing-room. She had one of those new card-cases. She said she wanted to know us because you'dbeen so good to her."

“她穿了一件黑丝绒的波兰连衣裙,扣子乌黑发亮,戴着一个小巧的绿色猴皮手筒,我从未见她打扮得这么时髦,”詹尼接下去说。“她单独一个人,星期日下午早早就来了。可巧客厅里生着火。她带了一个那种新的名片盒。她说她想认识我们,因为你对她太好了。”

Newland laughed. "Madame Olenska always takesthat tone about her friends. She's very happy at beingamong her own people again."

纽兰笑了起来。“奥兰斯卡夫人说到她的朋友们,总是这样的口吻:她重新回到自己人中间,感到很幸福。”

"Yes, so she told us," said Mrs. Archer. "I must sayshe seems thankful to be here."

“不错,她对我就是这样讲的,”阿切尔太太说。“我得说,她来到这儿好像很高兴。”

"I hope you liked her, mother."

“我希望你还喜欢她,母亲。”

Mrs. Archer drew her lips together. "She certainlylays herself out to please, even when she is calling onan old lady."

阿切尔太太噘起嘴说:“她当然是竭力地取悦于人,即使在她拜访一位老夫人时。”

"Mother doesn't think her simple," Janey interjected,her eyes screwed upon her brother's face.

“妈妈认为她并不简单,”詹尼插言道,她眯起两眼,注视着哥哥。

"It's just my old-fashioned feeling; dear May is myideal," said Mrs. Archer.

“这只不过是我的老眼光,我觉得亲爱的梅是最理想的,”阿切尔太太说。

"Ah," said her son, "they're not alike."

“哦,”她儿子说,“她们两个不一样。”

Archer had left St. Augustine charged with manymessages for old Mrs. Mingott; and a day or two after hisreturn to town he called on her.

阿切尔离开圣奥古斯丁时受托给明戈特老太太带了很多口信,他回城过了一两天便去拜访她。

The old lady received him with unusual warmth; shewas grateful to him for persuading the Countess Olenskato give up the idea of a divorce; and when he told herthat he had deserted the office without leave, and rusheddown to St. Augustine simply because he wanted to seeMay, she gave an adipose chuckle and patted his kneewith her puff-ball hand.

老夫人异常热情地接待了他,她感激他说服奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人打消了离婚念头。当他告诉老夫人,他不辞而别离开事务所、匆忙赶到圣奥古斯丁仅仅因为想见一见梅的时候,她抖着肥胖的两腮咯咯笑了起来,并用她那圆鼓鼓的手拍了拍他的膝盖。

"Ah, ah--so you kicked over the traces, did you?And I suppose Augusta and Welland pulled long faces,and behaved as if the end of the world had come? Butlittle May--she knew better, I'll be bound?"

“啊哈——这么说你挣脱了缰绳、不守规矩了,是不是?我猜奥古斯塔和韦兰一定是拉长了脸,好像世界末日来临了一样吧?不过小梅——她会理解吧,我肯定?”

"I hoped she did; but after all she wouldn't agree towhat I'd gone down to ask for."

“我原指望她会;不过到底她还是不同意我跑去提出的要求。”

"Wouldn't she indeed? And what was that?"

“真的吗?是什么要求?”

"I wanted to get her to promise that we should bemarried in April. What's the use of our wasting another year?"

“我原想让她答应四月份结婚,再浪费一年时间有什么意思?”

Mrs. Manson Mingott screwed up her little mouthinto a grimace of mimic prudery and twinkled at himthrough malicious lids. "`Ask Mamma,' I suppose--the usual story. Ah, these Mingotts--all alike! Born ina rut, and you can't root 'em out of it. When I builtthis house you'd have thought I was moving to California!Nobody ever HAD built above Fortieth Street--no,says I, nor above the Battery either, before ChristopherColumbus discovered America. No, no; not one ofthem wants to be different; they're as scared of it as thesmall-pox. Ah, my dear Mr. Archer, I thank my starsI'm nothing but a vulgar Spicer; but there's not one ofmy own children that takes after me but my littleEllen." She broke off, still twinkling at him, and asked,with the casual irrelevance of old age: "Now, why inthe world didn't you marry my little Ellen?"

曼森·明戈特太太噘起小嘴,装出一本正经的样子,对他不怀好意地眨巴着眼睛说:“‘去问妈妈吧’,我猜——还是老一套的把戏吧。唉,明戈特家这些人呀——全都一样!生就的循规蹈矩,你休想把他们从辙沟里拉出来。当年我建这所宅子时,人们可能以为我要搬到加利福尼亚去呢!从来没有人在40街以外建过 ——不错,我说,在哥伦布发现美洲之前,还没有人在巴特利以外建过呢。没有,没有,他们没有一个人想与别人不同,都像害怕天花一样避之惟恐不及。唉,我亲爱的阿切尔先生,感谢命运,我只不过是个斯派塞家的粗人,可我自己的孩子们没有一个人像我,除了我的小埃伦。”她停住话头,依然对他眨着眼睛,带着老年人毫不在乎的口气说:“哎,可究竟为什么你没娶我的小埃伦呢?”

Archer laughed. "For one thing, she wasn't there tobe married."

阿切尔笑了起来。“首先,她没在那里等着我娶啊。”

"No--to be sure; more's the pity. And now it's toolate; her life is finished." She spoke with the cold-blooded complacency of the aged throwing earth intothe grave of young hopes. The young man's heart grewchill, and he said hurriedly: "Can't I persuade you touse your influence with the Wellands, Mrs. Mingott? Iwasn't made for long engagements."

“不错——当然;可惜啊。可现在已经太晚了;她这一辈子算完了。”她的口气里带着一种白发人送黑发人的冷酷自得。年轻人不觉有些寒心,他急忙说:“明戈特太太,请你对韦兰夫妇施加点儿影响好吗?我可不喜欢漫长的订婚期。”

Old Catherine beamed on him approvingly. "No; Ican see that. You've got a quick eye. When you were alittle boy I've no doubt you liked to be helped first."She threw back her head with a laugh that made herchins ripple like little waves. "Ah, here's my Ellennow!" she exclaimed, as the portieres parted behindher.

老凯瑟琳赞同地向他露出笑脸。“是啊,我看得出来。你眼睛可真尖,当你还是个小男孩时,我就看出你喜欢首先让别人帮你忙。”她头向后一仰笑了起来,这使她的下巴颏生出了层层细浪。“啊,我的埃伦来喽!”她喊道。这时,她身后的门帘开了。

Madame Olenska came forward with a smile. Herface looked vivid and happy, and she held out her handgaily to Archer while she stooped to her grandmother'skiss.

奥兰斯卡夫人笑盈盈地走上前来。她脸上喜气洋洋,一面弯腰接受祖母的亲吻,一面高兴地向阿切尔伸出一只手。

"I was just saying to him, my dear: `Now, whydidn't you marry my little Ellen?'"

“亲爱的,我刚刚才对他说:‘哎,你干吗没娶我的小埃伦?’”

Madame Olenska looked at Archer, still smiling. "Andwhat did he answer?"

奥兰斯卡夫人依然面带微笑看着阿切尔说:“他是怎样回答的呢?”

"Oh, my darling, I leave you to find that out! He'sbeen down to Florida to see his sweetheart."

“咳,宝贝,留给你自己猜吧!他刚到佛罗里达去看过他的心上人。”

"Yes, I know." She still looked at him. "I went to seeyour mother, to ask where you'd gone. I sent a notethat you never answered, and I was afraid you wereill."

“是啊,我知道,”她仍然看着他说。“我去看过你母亲,问你到哪儿去了。我给你去过一封信,你一直没回音,我还以为你生病了呢。”

He muttered something about leaving unexpectedly,in a great hurry, and having intended to write to herfrom St. Augustine.

他咕哝着说走得很突然,很匆忙,本打算从圣奥古斯丁给她写信来着。

"And of course once you were there you never thoughtof me again!" She continued to beam on him with agaiety that might have been a studied assumption ofindifference.

“当然,你一到了那儿就再也想不起我了!”她依旧对他微笑着,那副快乐的神情很可能是故意装作毫不在乎。

"If she still needs me, she's determined not to let mesee it," he thought, stung by her manner. He wanted tothank her for having been to see his mother, but underthe ancestress's malicious eye he felt himself tongue-tied and constrained.

“如果她还需要我,那她一定是不想让我看出来,”他心想,被她那副样子给刺痛了。他想感谢她去看他母亲,但在老祖母不怀好意的目光底下,他觉得自己好像给扎住了舌头,张不开口了。

"Look at him--in such hot haste to get married thathe took French leave and rushed down to implore thesilly girl on his knees! That's something like a lover--that's the way handsome Bob Spicer carried off mypoor mother; and then got tired of her before I wasweaned--though they only had to wait eight monthsfor me! But there--you're not a Spicer, young man;luckily for you and for May. It's only my poor Ellenthat has kept any of their wicked blood; the rest ofthem are all model Mingotts," cried the old ladyscornfully.

“你瞧他——这么急于结婚,未经批准就悄悄开溜!匆匆跑去跪在那个傻丫头面前哀求!这才有点儿恋人味呢——漂亮的鲍勃·斯派塞就是这样子拐走我可怜的母亲的,后来,我还没有断奶他就厌倦了她——尽管他们只须为我再等8个月!可是对了——你可不是个斯派塞,年轻人;这对你、对梅都是件幸事。只有我可怜的埃伦才有一点儿他们家的坏血统;其他人全都是典型的明戈特家的,”老夫人轻蔑地喊道。

Archer was aware that Madame Olenska, who hadseated herself at her grandmother's side, was stillthoughtfully scrutinising him. The gaiety had fadedfrom her eyes, and she said with great gentleness: "Surely,Granny, we can persuade them between us to do as hewishes."

阿切尔觉察到,已坐在祖母身边的奥兰斯卡夫人仍然沉思地打量着他,喜悦从她目光里消失了。她十分温柔地说:“当然啦,奶奶,我们俩一定能说服他们照他的心意办。”

Archer rose to go, and as his hand met MadameOlenska's he felt that she was waiting for him to makesome allusion to her unanswered letter.

阿切尔起身告辞,当他的手接住奥兰斯卡夫人伸来的手时,他觉得她好像等着他提示一下那封未回复的信的事。

"When can I see you?" he asked, as she walked withhim to the door of the room.

“我什么时候可以去见你?”她陪他走到屋门口时他问道。

"Whenever you like; but it must be soon if you wantto see the little house again. I am moving next week."

“什么时间都行,不过你若想再看看那所小房子,可一定得早点儿,下星期我就要搬家了。”

A pang shot through him at the memory of hislamplit hours in the low-studded drawing-room. Fewas they had been, they were thick with memories.

回想起在那间低矮客厅的灯光下度过的那几个小时,他心中一阵痛楚。尽管那只是短短几个小时,但却令人难忘。

"Tomorrow evening?"

“明晚怎么样?”

She nodded. "Tomorrow; yes; but early. I'm goingout."

她点了点头。“明天,好吧;不过要早些,我还要外出。”

The next day was a Sunday, and if she were "goingout" on a Sunday evening it could, of course, be onlyto Mrs. Lemuel Struthers's. He felt a slight movementof annoyance, not so much at her going there (for herather liked her going where she pleased in spite of thevan der Luydens), but because it was the kind of houseat which she was sure to meet Beaufort, where shemust have known beforehand that she would meethim--and where she was probably going for thatpurpose.

第二天是星期日,假如她星期日晚上“外出”,当然只能是去莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太家。他感到有点厌烦,这倒不是为了她到那儿去(因为他倒喜欢她乐意去哪儿就去哪儿,而不顾忌范德卢顿夫妇),而是因为她去那家肯定会遇见博福特,她事先肯定知道会遇见他——可能就是为这一目的才去吧。

"Very well; tomorrow evening," he repeated, inwardlyresolved that he would not go early, and that by reachingher door late he would either prevent her fromgoing to Mrs. Struthers's, or else arrive after she hadstarted--which, all things considered, would no doubtbe the simplest solution.

“很好,明天晚上,”他重复道,心里却决定不早去,他晚点儿到,要么可以阻止她去斯特拉瑟斯太太家,要么在她出门后再到——那样,通盘考虑,无疑是最干脆的办法。

It was only half-past eight, after all, when he rang thebell under the wisteria; not as late as he had intendedby half an hour--but a singular restlessness had drivenhim to her door. He reflected, however, that Mrs.Struthers's Sunday evenings were not like a ball, andthat her guests, as if to minimise their delinquency,usually went early.

当他拉动紫藤底下的门铃时,时间也不过才8点半钟,他没有按原先的打算拖后半个小时——一种特别的不安驱使他来到她的门前。不过他想,斯特拉瑟斯家的星期日晚会不同于舞会,客人们似乎会尽可能克服懒散,一般去得较早。

The one thing he had not counted on, in enteringMadame Olenska's hall, was to find hats and overcoatsthere. Why had she bidden him to come early if shewas having people to dine? On a closer inspection ofthe garments besides which Nastasia was laying hisown, his resentment gave way to curiosity. The overcoatswere in fact the very strangest he had ever seenunder a polite roof; and it took but a glance to assurehimself that neither of them belonged to Julius Beaufort.One was a shaggy yellow ulster of "reach-me-down" cut, the other a very old and rusty cloak with acape--something like what the French called a "Macfarlane."This garment, which appeared to be made fora person of prodigious size, had evidently seen longand hard wear, and its greenish-black folds gave out amoist sawdusty smell suggestive of prolonged sessionsagainst bar-room walls. On it lay a ragged grey scarfand an odd felt hat of semiclerical shape.

他事先没有算计到的是,走进奥兰斯卡夫人的门厅,竟发现那里有几顶帽子和几件外套。如果她请人吃饭,为什么还让他早些来呢?当娜斯塔西娅摆放他的大衣时,他对旁边那几件衣物做了进一步观察,这时,他的好奇心代替了烦恼。那几件外套实际上是他在讲斯文的住宅中见到的最古怪的东西。他一眼就断定其中没有一件是属于朱利叶斯·博福特的。有一件廉价的黄色毛绒粗呢大衣,另一件是褪色的破旧斗篷,还带一个披肩——类似法国人所说的“披肩斗篷”。这外套看样子是专为一位身材特别高大的人做的,显然穿了很久,已经很旧,表面黑绿色的褶缝里散发出一种湿木屑的气味,使人联想到是倚靠在酒吧墙壁上时间太久了的缘故,上面摆了一条皱巴巴的灰领带和一顶有点儿像牧师戴的那种古怪的软帽。

Archer raised his eyebrows enquiringly at Nastasia,who raised hers in return with a fatalistic "Gia!" asshe threw open the drawing-room door.

阿切尔抬眼询问地看看娜斯塔西娅,她也抬头看着他,并满不在乎地随口喊了声“去啊”,推开了客厅的门。

The young man saw at once that his hostess was notin the room; then, with surprise, he discovered anotherlady standing by the fire. This lady, who was long, leanand loosely put together, was clad in raiment intricatelylooped and fringed, with plaids and stripes andbands of plain colour disposed in a design to which theclue seemed missing. Her hair, which had tried to turnwhite and only succeeded in fading, was surmountedby a Spanish comb and black lace scarf, and silk mittens,visibly darned, covered her rheumatic hands.

年轻人立刻发现女主人没在屋里,接着很意外地见到另一位夫人站在炉火旁边。这位夫人又瘦又高,一副懒散的样子。她穿的衣服又加环又带穗,显得很复杂,单色的方格、长条与镶边交织在一起,其图案让人不得要领。她的头发一度要变白,但结果仅仅是失去了光泽而已,上面戴着个西班牙发梳和一条黑花边的头巾,明显打了补丁的露指丝手套盖着她那双害风湿病的手。

Beside her, in a cloud of cigar-smoke, stood theowners of the two overcoats, both in morning clothesthat they had evidently not taken off since morning. Inone of the two, Archer, to his surprise, recognised NedWinsett; the other and older, who was unknown tohim, and whose gigantic frame declared him to be thewearer of the "Macfarlane," had a feebly leonine headwith crumpled grey hair, and moved his arms withlarge pawing gestures, as though he were distributinglay blessings to a kneeling multitude.

在她旁边,一团雪茄烟云中站着那两件外套的所有人,两位都身穿常礼服,显然从早晨就一直没有换过。阿切尔意外地发现,其中一位竟是内德·温塞特先生,另一位年纪大些的他不认识,他那庞大的身架说明他是那件“披肩斗篷”的所有者,其人长着个虚弱无力的狮子脑袋,一头篷乱的灰发,他挥动着胳膊像要抓东西的样子,仿佛在为一群跪倒的会众做俗民祝福。

These three persons stood together on the hearth-rug, their eyes fixed on an extraordinarily large bouquetof crimson roses, with a knot of purple pansies attheir base, that lay on the sofa where Madame Olenskausually sat.

那三个人一块儿站在炉前的地毯上,眼睛紧盯着一束特大的深红色玫瑰花,花束底层是一簇紫罗兰,摆在奥兰斯卡夫人平时就坐的沙发上。

"What they must have cost at this season--though ofcourse it's the sentiment one cares about!" the lady wassaying in a sighing staccato as Archer came in.

“这些花在这时节得花多少钱啊——虽然人们注重的当然是感情!”阿切尔进屋时,那位夫人正断断续续地感慨说。

The three turned with surprise at his appearance,and the lady, advancing, held out her hand.

一见到他,三个人都惊讶地转过身来,那位夫人走上前来,伸出了手。

"Dear Mr. Archer--almost my cousin Newland!"she said. "I am the Marchioness Manson."

“亲爱的阿切尔先生——差不多是我的侄子纽兰!”她说。“我是曼森侯爵夫人。”

Archer bowed, and she continued: "My Ellen hastaken me in for a few days. I came from Cuba, where Ihave been spending the winter with Spanish friends--such delightful distinguished people: the highest nobilityof old Castile--how I wish you could know them!But I was called away by our dear great friend here,Dr. Carver. You don't know Dr. Agathon Carver,founder of the Valley of Love Community?"

阿切尔低头行礼。她接下去说:“我的埃伦把我接来住几天。我从古巴来,一直在那儿过冬天,和西班牙朋友一起——一些非常可爱的高贵人物:卡斯提尔最有身份的贵族——我多希望你能认识他们啊!不过我被这儿的高贵朋友卡弗博士召唤来了。你不认识‘幽谷爱社’的创办人卡弗博士吧?”

Dr. Carver inclined his leonine head, and theMarchioness continued: "Ah, New York--New York--howlittle the life of the spirit has reached it! But I see youdo know Mr. Winsett."

卡弗博士低了低他那狮子脑袋,侯爵夫人继续说道:“咳,纽约啊——纽约,精神生活传到这儿太少了!不过我看你倒是认识温塞特先生的。”

"Oh, yes--I reached him some time ago; but not bythat route," Winsett said with his dry smile.

“哦,不错——我和他结识有一段时间了,不过不是通过那条途径,”温塞特干笑着说。

The Marchioness shook her head reprovingly. "Howdo you know, Mr. Winsett? The spirit bloweth where itlisteth."

侯爵夫人责怪地摇了摇头。“何以见得呢,温塞特先生?精神有所寄,花开必无疑嘛。”

"List--oh, list!" interjected Dr. Carver in a stentorianmurmur.

“有所寄——啊,有所寄!”卡弗博士大声咕哝着插言道。

"But do sit down, Mr. Archer. We four have beenhaving a delightful little dinner together, and my childhas gone up to dress. She expects you; she will bedown in a moment. We were just admiring these marvellousflowers, which will surprise her when shereappears."

“可是请坐呀,阿切尔先生。我们四人刚刚进行了小小的聚餐,我的孩子到楼上梳妆去了,她在等你,一会就下来。我们刚在这儿称赞这些奇异的花,她回来见了一定很吃惊。”

Winsett remained on his feet. "I'm afraid I must beoff. Please tell Madame Olenska that we shall all feellost when she abandons our street. This house has beenan oasis."

温塞特依旧站着。“恐怕我得走了。请转告奥兰斯卡夫人,她抛弃这条街以后我们都会感到有所失落的,这座房子一直是个绿洲。”

"Ah, but she won't abandon YOU. Poetry and art arethe breath of life to her. It IS poetry you write, Mr.Winsett?"

“哟,不过她是不会抛弃你的。诗与艺术对她来说是生命的元气。你是写诗的吧,温塞特先生?”

"Well, no; but I sometimes read it," said Winsett,including the group in a general nod and slipping outof the room.

“哦,不是,不过我有时候读诗,”温塞特说,一面对大伙儿点了点头,悄悄溜出了客厅。

"A caustic spirit--un peu sauvage. But so witty; Dr.Carver, you DO think him witty?"

“一个刻薄的人——有一点儿孤僻,不过很机智。卡弗博士,你也认为他很机智吧?”

"I never think of wit," said Dr. Carver severely.

“我从来不考虑机智不机智的问题,”卡弗博士严厉地说。

"Ah--ah--you never think of wit! How merciless heis to us weak mortals, Mr. Archer! But he lives only inthe life of the spirit; and tonight he is mentally preparingthe lecture he is to deliver presently at Mrs. Blenker's.Dr. Carver, would there be time, before you start forthe Blenkers' to explain to Mr. Archer your illuminatingdiscovery of the Direct Contact? But no; I see it isnearly nine o'clock, and we have no right to detain youwhile so many are waiting for your message."

“哎——哟——你从不考虑!他对我们这些居弱的凡人多么冷酷啊,阿切尔先生!不过他过的只是精神生活,而今晚他正在为马上要在布兰克太太家作的讲演做精神准备。卡弗博士,在你动身去布兰克太太家之前,还有时间向阿切尔先生说明一下你对‘直接交往’的光辉发现吗?可是不行,我知道快9点了,我们没有权力再留你,因为有那么多人在等着你的启迪呢。”

Dr. Carver looked slightly disappointed at thisconclusion, but, having compared his ponderous gold time-piece with Madame Olenska's little travelling-clock, hereluctantly gathered up his mighty limbs for departure.

卡弗博士对这一结论似乎有点儿失望,不过他把那块笨重的金表与奥兰斯卡夫人的小旅行钟对过之后,便不情愿地收拢粗大的躯体,准备动身了。

"I shall see you later, dear friend?" he suggested tothe Marchioness, who replied with a smile: "As soonas Ellen's carriage comes I will join you; I do hope thelecture won't have begun."

“过一会儿你去吗,亲爱的朋友?”他向侯爵夫人提醒道,她嫣然一笑回答说:“埃伦的马车一到我就去找你;我真希望那时讲演还没开始。”

Dr. Carver looked thoughtfully at Archer. "Perhaps,if this young gentleman is interested in my experiences,Mrs. Blenker might allow you to bring him with you?"

卡弗博士若有所思地看了看阿切尔。“假如这位年轻绅士对我的经验有兴趣,布兰克太太会允许你带他一起来吧?”

"Oh, dear friend, if it were possible--I am sure shewould be too happy. But I fear my Ellen counts on Mr.Archer herself."

“哦,亲爱的朋友,如果有可能——我相信她会很高兴。不过怕是我的埃伦还等着他呢。”

"That," said Dr. Carver, "is unfortunate--but hereis my card." He handed it to Archer, who read on it, inGothic characters:

卡弗博士说:“这太不幸了——不过这是我的名片。”他把名片递给阿切尔,他见上面用哥特式字体写道:

|---------------------------|| Agathon Carter || The Valley of Love || Kittasquattamy, N. Y. ||---------------------------|

阿加顿·卡弗

Dr. Carver bowed himself out, and Mrs. Manson,with a sigh that might have been either of regret orrelief, again waved Archer to a seat.

幽谷爱社

"Ellen will be down in a moment; and before shecomes, I am so glad of this quiet moment with you."

基塔斯夸塔密,纽约

Archer murmured his pleasure at their meeting, andthe Marchioness continued, in her low sighing accents:"I know everything, dear Mr. Archer--my child hastold me all you have done for her. Your wise advice:your courageous firmness--thank heaven it was nottoo late!"

卡弗博士欠身告辞。曼森太太不是惋惜便是宽慰地叹了口气,又一次示意阿切尔坐下。

The young man listened with considerableembarrassment. Was there any one, he wondered, to whomMadame Olenska had not proclaimed his interventionin her private affairs?

“埃伦马上就下来了,她来之前,我很高兴能安静地和你待一会儿。”

"Madame Olenska exaggerates; I simply gave her alegal opinion, as she asked me to."

阿切尔嗫嚅说与她相见很高兴,侯爵夫人接着低声叹息说:“我全都知道,亲爱的阿切尔先生——我的孩子把你对她的帮助全告诉我了:你的英明的劝告,你的勇敢与坚强——感谢上帝事情还不算太迟!”

"Ah, but in doing it--in doing it you were theunconscious instrument of--of--what word have we modernsfor Providence, Mr. Archer?" cried the lady, tiltingher head on one side and drooping her lids mysteriously."Little did you know that at that very moment Iwas being appealed to: being approached, in fact--fromthe other side of the Atlantic!"

年轻人相当尴尬地听着,不知他干预她私事的事,奥兰斯卡夫人还有没有人没通知到。

She glanced over her shoulder, as though fearful ofbeing overheard, and then, drawing her chair nearer,and raising a tiny ivory fan to her lips, breathed behindit: "By the Count himself--my poor, mad, foolishOlenski; who asks only to take her back on her ownterms."

“奥兰斯卡夫人夸大其辞了。我只不过接她的要求向她提出了法律上的意见。”

"Good God!" Archer exclaimed, springing up.

“哎,可是这样——这样你就不知不觉地代表了——代表了——我们现代人称作‘大意’的那个词叫什么来,阿切尔先生?”夫人大声地问道,一面把头歪向一边,神秘地垂下了眼睑。“你有所不知,就在那个时候也有人在向我求助:实际上是找我疏通——从大西洋彼岸来的!”

"You are horrified? Yes, of course; I understand. Idon't defend poor Stanislas, though he has always calledme his best friend. He does not defend himself--hecasts himself at her feet: in my person." She tapped heremaciated bosom. "I have his letter here."

她从肩膀上向后瞥了一眼,仿佛怕被人听见似的,然后把椅子拉近一点儿,将一把小象牙扇子举到嘴边,挡在后面呼吸。“是伯爵本人——那个可怜的、发疯的傻瓜奥兰斯基;他只要求能把她弄回去,她提的条件他全部接受。”

"A letter?--Has Madame Olenska seen it?" Archerstammered, his brain whirling with the shock of theannouncement.

“我的老天!”阿切尔喊道,他跳了起来。

The Marchioness Manson shook her head softly."Time--time; I must have time. I know my Ellen--haughty, intractable; shall I say, just a shadeunforgiving?"

“你吓坏了?是啊,当然,这我明白。我不替可怜的斯坦尼斯拉斯辩解,虽然他一直把我当成最好的朋友,他并不为自己辩护——他跪倒在她的脚下:我亲眼看见的,”她拍着瘦削的胸膛说。“我这里有他的信。”

"But, good heavens, to forgive is one thing; to goback into that hell--"

“信?——奥兰斯卡夫人看过了吗?”阿切尔结巴地问,受到这消息的震动,他的头脑有些发昏。

"Ah, yes," the Marchioness acquiesced. "So shedescribes it--my sensitive child! But on the material side,Mr. Archer, if one may stoop to consider such things;do you know what she is giving up? Those roses thereon the sofa--acres like them, under glass and in theopen, in his matchless terraced gardens at Nice! Jewels--historic pearls: the Sobieski emeralds--sables,--but shecares nothing for all these! Art and beauty, those shedoes care for, she lives for, as I always have; and thosealso surrounded her. Pictures, priceless furniture, music,brilliant conversation--ah, that, my dear youngman, if you'll excuse me, is what you've no conceptionof here! And she had it all; and the homage of thegreatest. She tells me she is not thought handsome inNew York--good heavens! Her portrait has been paintednine times; the greatest artists in Europe have beggedfor the privilege. Are these things nothing? And theremorse of an adoring husband?"

侯爵夫人轻轻摇了摇头。“时间——时间,我必须有时间才行。我了解我的埃伦——傲慢,倔强。我可不可以说,她有点儿不宽容?”

As the Marchioness Manson rose to her climax herface assumed an expression of ecstatic retrospectionwhich would have moved Archer's mirth had he notbeen numb with amazement.

“可老天爷,宽容是一回事,而回到那个地狱——”

He would have laughed if any one had foretold tohim that his first sight of poor Medora Manson wouldhave been in the guise of a messenger of Satan; but hewas in no mood for laughing now, and she seemed tohim to come straight out of the hell from which EllenOlenska had just escaped.

“啊,对,”侯爵夫人赞同地说。“她也这样讲——我那敏感的孩子!不过,在物质方面,阿切尔先生,如果你可以屈尊考虑一下,你知道她打算放弃的是什么吗?瞧沙发上那些玫瑰——在他那无与伦比的尼斯台地花园里有几英亩这样的花,种在暖房里和露天里。还有珠宝——有历史价值的珍珠:索比埃斯基国王的祖母绿—— 紫貂皮——但她对这些东西一点都不在意!艺术和美,这才是她喜欢的,她活着就为了这,就像我一贯那样;而这些东西也一直包围着她。绘画、价值连城的家具、音乐、聪敏的谈话——啊,请原谅,亲爱的年轻人——这些东西你们这儿根本不懂!而她却全都拥有,并得到最崇高的敬意。她对我讲,在纽约人们认为她不漂亮 ——老天爷!她的像被画过9次,欧洲最伟大的画家恳求她赐给他们这种恩惠。难道这些事情都无足轻重吗?还有崇拜她的那位丈夫的悔恨呢?”

"She knows nothing yet--of all this?" he askedabruptly.

曼森侯爵夫人进入高潮的时候,她脸上的表情也因回忆往事而变得如痴如醉,若不是阿切尔先已经惊呆了,准会把他给逗乐。

Mrs. Manson laid a purple finger on her lips."Nothing directly--but does she suspect? Who can tell? Thetruth is, Mr. Archer, I have been waiting to see you.From the moment I heard of the firm stand you hadtaken, and of your influence over her, I hoped it mightbe possible to count on your support--to convinceyou . . ."

假若有谁事先告诉他,他第一次见到的可怜的梅多拉·曼森会是一副撒旦使者的面孔,他会放声大笑的,可现在他却没有心情去笑了。他觉得她好像是直接从埃伦·奥兰斯卡刚刚逃脱的那个地狱里来的。

"That she ought to go back? I would rather see herdead!" cried the young man violently.

“她对这一切还——一无所知吧?”他突然问道。

"Ah," the Marchioness murmured, without visibleresentment. For a while she sat in her arm-chair, openingand shutting the absurd ivory fan between hermittened fingers; but suddenly she lifted her head andlistened.

曼森夫人把一根紫色的手指放在嘴上。“她没有直接的了解——可她是不是有所猜测?谁知道呢?事实上,阿切尔先生,我一直等着见你,从我听说你采取的坚定立场以及对她的影响之后,我希望有可能得到你的支持——让你确信……”

"Here she comes," she said in a rapid whisper; andthen, pointing to the bouquet on the sofa: "Am I tounderstand that you prefer THAT, Mr. Archer? After all,marriage is marriage . . . and my niece is still a wife. . .

“你是说她应该回去?我宁愿看她去死!”年轻人激愤地喊道。

“啊,”侯爵夫人低声道,口气里并没有明显的怨恨。她在扶手椅里坐了一会儿,用她戴了露指手套的手反复开合那把古怪的象牙扇子。突然,她抬起头来倾听着。

“她来了,”她急促地小声说。然后指指沙发上的花束说:“我能指望你赞成这件事吗,阿切尔先生?婚姻毕竟是婚姻嘛……我侄女仍然是个妻子……