The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

She was dressed as if for a ball. Everything about hershimmered and glimmered softly, as if her dress hadbeen woven out of candle-beams; and she carried herhead high, like a pretty woman challenging a roomfulof rivals.

她打扮得像是要参加舞会的样子,周身散发着柔和的亮光,仿佛她的衣服是用烛光编织成的一样。她高昂着头,像个傲视满屋竞争者的漂亮女子。

"We were saying, my dear, that here was somethingbeautiful to surprise you with," Mrs. Manson rejoined,rising to her feet and pointing archly to the flowers.

“我们正在说,亲爱的,这儿有件美丽的东西让你吃惊,”曼森夫人回答说,她站起身,诡秘地指着那些鲜花。

Madame Olenska stopped short and looked at thebouquet. Her colour did not change, but a sort ofwhite radiance of anger ran over her like summer lightning."Ah," she exclaimed, in a shrill voice that theyoung man had never heard, "who is ridiculous enoughto send me a bouquet? Why a bouquet? And whytonight of all nights? I am not going to a ball; I am nota girl engaged to be married. But some people arealways ridiculous."

奥兰斯卡夫人突然停住脚步,看着那束花。她的脸色并没有变,但一种无色透明的怒气像夏天的闪电般从她身上溢出。“咳,”她喊道,那尖厉的声音是年轻人从未听到过的,“谁这么荒唐给我送花来?为什么送花?而且,为什么单单选在今天晚上?我又不去参加舞会,我也不是订了婚准备出嫁的姑娘。可有些人老是这么荒唐。”

She turned back to the door, opened it, and calledout: "Nastasia!"

她回身走到门口,打开门,喊道:“娜斯塔西娅!”

The ubiquitous handmaiden promptly appeared, andArcher heard Madame Olenska say, in an Italian thatshe seemed to pronounce with intentional deliberatenessin order that he might follow it: "Here--throwthis into the dustbin!" and then, as Nastasia staredprotestingly: "But no--it's not the fault of the poorflowers. Tell the boy to carry them to the house threedoors away, the house of Mr. Winsett, the dark gentlemanwho dined here. His wife is ill--they may give herpleasure . . . The boy is out, you say? Then, my dearone, run yourself; here, put my cloak over you and fly.I want the thing out of the house immediately! And, asyou live, don't say they come from me!"

那位无所不在的侍女立即出现了。奥兰斯卡夫人似乎是为了让他听懂,故意把意大利语讲得很慢。只听她说:“来——把这东西扔进垃圾箱!”接着,由于娜斯塔西娅表示异议地瞪着眼睛,她又说:“先甭扔了——这些可怜的花并没有错。告诉男仆把它送到隔三个门的那家去,在这儿吃晚饭的那位阴郁的绅士温塞特先生家。他妻子正生病——这些花会给她快乐的……你说男仆出去了?那么,亲爱的,你亲自跑一趟。给,披上我的斗篷,快去。我要这东西立刻离开我的家!可千万别说是我送的!”

She flung her velvet opera cloak over the maid'sshoulders and turned back into the drawing-room, shuttingthe door sharply. Her bosom was rising high underits lace, and for a moment Archer thought she wasabout to cry; but she burst into a laugh instead, andlooking from the Marchioness to Archer, asked abruptly:"And you two--have you made friends!"

她把她看歌剧的丝绒斗篷拨到女佣肩上,转身回到客厅,并猛地把门关上。她的胸部在剧烈地起伏,一时间,阿切尔以为她马上要哭了。可她反而爆发出一阵笑声,看看侯爵夫人,又看看阿切尔,冷不丁地问道:“你们两个——已经是朋友了?”

"It's for Mr. Archer to say, darling; he has waitedpatiently while you were dressing."

“这要让阿切尔先生说,亲爱的。你梳妆的时候他一直耐心等着。”

"Yes--I gave you time enough: my hair wouldn'tgo," Madame Olenska said, raising her hand to theheaped-up curls of her chignon. "But that reminds me:I see Dr. Carver is gone, and you'll be late at theBlenkers'. Mr. Archer, will you put my aunt in thecarriage?"

“是啊——我给你们留了足够的时间,我的头发老不听话,”奥兰斯卡夫人说,一面抬手摸着假髻上那一堆发鬈。“可我倒想起来了:我看卡弗博士已经走了,你要去布兰克家,也该走了。阿切尔先生,请你把我姑妈送上车好吗?”

She followed the Marchioness into the hall, saw herfitted into a miscellaneous heap of overshoes, shawlsand tippets, and called from the doorstep: "Mind, thecarriage is to be back for me at ten!" Then she returnedto the drawing-room, where Archer, on re-entering it,found her standing by the mantelpiece, examining herselfin the mirror. It was not usual, in New Yorksociety, for a lady to address her parlour-maid as "mydear one," and send her out on an errand wrapped inher own opera-cloak; and Archer, through all his deeperfeelings, tasted the pleasurable excitement of being in aworld where action followed on emotion with suchOlympian speed.

她跟着侯爵夫人走进门厅,照看她穿戴上那一堆套鞋、披肩和斗篷。她在门阶上大声说:“记着,马车要在10点钟回来接我!”然后就回客厅去了。阿切尔重新进屋的时候,发现她正站在壁炉旁,对着镜子审视自己。一位夫人喊自己的客厅女佣“亲爱的”,并派她穿着自己的斗篷出去办事,这在纽约上流社会可是非同寻常的举动。面对这种随心所欲、雷厉风行的作法,阿切尔全身心地感到兴奋、惬意。

Madame Olenska did not move when he came upbehind her, and for a second their eyes met in themirror; then she turned, threw herself into her sofa-corner, and sighed out: "There's time for a cigarette."

他从后面走过来,奥兰斯卡夫人没有动。一瞬间,他们两人的目光在镜中相遇了。这时她转过身来,猛地坐到沙发角里,叹口气说:“还来得及吸支香烟。”

He handed her the box and lit a spill for her; and asthe flame flashed up into her face she glanced at himwith laughing eyes and said: "What do you think of mein a temper?"

他递给她烟盒,并为她点着一片引柴,火苗燃起来照到她的脸上,她两眼笑着瞧了他一眼说:“你觉得我发起火来怎么样?”

Archer paused a moment; then he answered withsudden resolution: "It makes me understand what youraunt has been saying about you."

阿切尔停了一会儿,接着毅然决然地说:“它使我明白了你姑妈刚才讲的你那些事。”

"I knew she'd been talking about me. Well?"

“我就知道她在谈论我,是吗?”

"She said you were used to all kinds of things--splendours and amusements and excitements--that wecould never hope to give you here."

“她讲到你过去习惯的各种事情——显赫、娱乐、刺激——我们这儿根本不可能向你提供的那些东西。”

Madame Olenska smiled faintly into the circle ofsmoke about her lips.

奥兰斯卡夫人淡然一笑,嘴里吐出一团烟圈。

"Medora is incorrigibly romantic. It has made up toher for so many things!"

“梅多拉的罗曼蒂克是根深蒂固的,这使她在许多方面得到了补偿!”

Archer hesitated again, and again took his risk. "Is youraunt's romanticism always consistent with accuracy?"

阿切尔又犹豫了,但他又大着胆子问:“你姑妈的浪漫主义是否一贯与准确性保持一致呢?”

"You mean: does she speak the truth?" Her niececonsidered. "Well, I'll tell you: in almost everything shesays, there's something true and something untrue. Butwhy do you ask? What has she been telling you?"

“你是说,她是否讲真话?”她的侄女推敲说,“唔,我来告诉你:差不多她说的每一件事都既有真实的成分,又有不真实的成分。不过你干吗问这件事?她对你讲什么啦?”

He looked away into the fire, and then back at hershining presence. His heart tightened with the thoughtthat this was their last evening by that fireside, and thatin a moment the carriage would come to carry her away.

他把目光移开,盯住炉火,然后又返回来看着她那光灿照人的姿容。想到这是他们在这个炉边相会的最后一个晚上,而且再过一会儿马车就要来把她接走,他的心不由绷紧了。

"She says--she pretends that Count Olenski has askedher to persuade you to go back to him."

“她说——她说奥兰斯基伯爵要求她劝你回到他身边去。”

Madame Olenska made no answer. She sat motionless,holding her cigarette in her half-lifted hand. Theexpression of her face had not changed; and Archerremembered that he had before noticed her apparentincapacity for surprise.

奥兰斯卡夫人没有回答。她坐着纹丝不动,举到半途的手里握着香烟,面部的表情也没有变化。阿切尔记得以前就注意到她明显没有惊讶的反应。

"You knew, then?" he broke out.

“这么说你早已知道了?”他喊道。

She was silent for so long that the ash dropped fromher cigarette. She brushed it to the floor. "She hashinted about a letter: poor darling! Medora's hints--"

她沉默了许久,烟灰从她的香烟上掉了下来,她把它掸到地上。“她暗示过一封信的事。可怜的东西!梅多拉的暗示——”

"Is it at your husband's request that she has arrivedhere suddenly?"

“她是不是应你丈夫的要求才突然来这儿的?”

Madame Olenska seemed to consider this questionalso. "There again: one can't tell. She told me she hadhad a `spiritual summons,' whatever that is, from Dr.Carver. I'm afraid she's going to marry Dr. Carver . . .poor Medora, there's always some one she wants tomarry. But perhaps the people in Cuba just got tired ofher! I think she was with them as a sort of paidcompanion. Really, I don't know why she came."

奥兰斯卡夫人似乎也在思考这个问题。“又来了,谁知道呢?她对我说是受卡弗博士的什么‘精神召唤’而来的。我看她打算嫁给卡弗博士……可怜的梅多拉,总是有那么个人她想嫁。但也许是古巴的那些人对她厌倦了。我想她跟他们在一起,身份是拿工钱的陪伴。真的,我搞不清她为什么来这儿。”

"But you do believe she has a letter from yourhusband?"

“可你确实相信她手上有一封你丈夫的信?”

Again Madame Olenska brooded silently; then shesaid: "After all, it was to be expected."

奥兰斯卡夫人又一次默然沉思起来,过了一会儿,她说:“毕竟,这是预料中的事。”

The young man rose and went to lean against thefireplace. A sudden restlessness possessed him, and hewas tongue-tied by the sense that their minutes werenumbered, and that at any moment he might hear thewheels of the returning carriage.

年轻人站起来,走过去倚在了壁炉架上。他突然变得紧张不安,舌头像是被扎住了似的,因为他意识到他们没有多少时间了,他随时都可能听到归来的车轮声。

"You know that your aunt believes you will go back?"

“你知道你姑妈相信你会回去吗?”

Madame Olenska raised her head quickly. A deepblush rose to her face and spread over her neck andshoulders. She blushed seldom and painfully, as if ithurt her like a burn.

奥兰斯卡夫人迅速抬起头来,一片深红色在她脸上泛起,漫过她的脖颈。肩头。她很少脸红,而脸红的时候显得很痛苦,仿佛被烫伤了似的。

"Many cruel things have been believed of me," shesaid.

“人们相信我会做很多残忍的事,”她说。

"Oh, Ellen--forgive me; I'm a fool and a brute!"

“唉,埃伦——原谅我;我是个可恶的傻瓜!”

She smiled a little. "You are horribly nervous; youhave your own troubles. I know you think the Wellandsare unreasonable about your marriage, and ofcourse I agree with you. In Europe people don't understandour long American engagements; I suppose theyare not as calm as we are." She pronounced the "we"with a faint emphasis that gave it an ironic sound.

她露出一点笑容说:“你非常紧张,你有自己的烦恼。我知道,你觉得韦兰夫妇对你的婚事十分不通情理,我当然赞同你的意见。欧洲人不理解我们美国人漫长的订婚期,我想他们不如我们镇定。”她讲“我们”时稍稍加重了语气,使人听起来有一点讽刺的意味。

Archer felt the irony but did not dare to take it up.After all, she had perhaps purposely deflected theconversation from her own affairs, and after the pain hislast words had evidently caused her he felt that all hecould do was to follow her lead. But the sense of thewaning hour made him desperate: he could not bearthe thought that a barrier of words should dropbetween them again.

阿切尔感觉到了这种讽刺,但却不敢接过话头。毕竟,她也许只是有意地把话题从自己身上转开,在他最后那句话显然引起了她的痛苦之后,他觉得现在只能随着她说。然而时间的流逝使他不顾一切:他不能忍受再让口舌的障碍把他们隔开了。

"Yes," he said abruptly; "I went south to ask Mayto marry me after Easter. There's no reason why weshouldn't be married then."

“不错,”他突然说,“我曾到南方要求梅复活节后与我结婚,到那时还不结婚,是没有道理的。”

"And May adores you--and yet you couldn't convinceher? I thought her too intelligent to be the slaveof such absurd superstitions."

“而且梅很崇拜你——可你没能说服她,是吗?我原来以为她很聪明,不会对那种荒唐的迷信习惯惟命是从呢。”

"She IS too intelligent--she's not their slave."

“她是太聪明了——她没有惟命是从。”

Madame Olenska looked at him. "Well, then--I don'tunderstand."

奥兰斯卡夫人看着他说:“哦,这样——我就不明白了。”

Archer reddened, and hurried on with a rush. "Wehad a frank talk--almost the first. She thinks myimpatience a bad sign."

阿切尔涨红了脸,急忙说下去。“我们俩坦率地交谈了一次——一差不多是第一次。她以为我的急不可耐是一种坏兆头。”

"Merciful heavens--a bad sign?"

“老大爷——坏兆头?”

"She thinks it means that I can't trust myself to goon caring for her. She thinks, in short, I want to marryher at once to get away from some one that I--care formore."

“她以为这说明我对自己能否继续喜欢她缺乏信心。总之,她以为,我想立即同她结婚,是为了逃避某一个——我更喜欢的人。”

Madame Olenska examined this curiously. "But ifshe thinks that--why isn't she in a hurry too?"

奥兰斯卡大人好奇地推敲这件事。“可如果她那样想——干吗不也急着结婚呢?”

"Because she's not like that: she's so much nobler.She insists all the more on the long engagement, to giveme time--"

“因为她不是那种人:她非常地高尚,反而越发坚持订婚期要长,以便给我时间——”

"Time to give her up for the other woman?"

“给你时间抛弃她,去找另一个女人?”

"If I want to."

“假如我想那样做的话。”

Madame Olenska leaned toward the fire and gazedinto it with fixed eyes. Down the quiet street Archerheard the approaching trot of her horses.

奥兰斯卡夫人朝炉火探了探身,目光凝视着炉火。阿切尔听见下面安静的街道上传来她的马越来越近的奔跑声。

"That IS noble," she said, with a slight break in hervoice.

“这的确很高尚,”她说,声音有点儿沙哑。

"Yes. But it's ridiculous."

“是的,不过很荒唐。”

"Ridiculous? Because you don't care for any oneelse?"

“荒唐?因为你根本不喜欢别的人?”

"Because I don't mean to marry any one else."

“因为我不打算娶别的人。”

"Ah." There was another long interval. At length shelooked up at him and asked: "This other woman--does she love you?"

“噢。”又是一阵长时间的停顿。最后,她抬头看着他问道:“这位另一个女人——她爱你吗?”

"Oh, there's no other woman; I mean, the personthat May was thinking of is--was never--"

“咳,根本就没有另一个女人;我是说,梅所想象的那个人决不——从来没——”

"Then, why, after all, are you in such haste?"

“那么,你究竟为什么这样着急呢?”

"There's your carriage," said Archer.

“你的马车来了,”阿切尔说。

She half-rose and looked about her with absent eyes.Her fan and gloves lay on the sofa beside her and shepicked them up mechanically.

她半立起身子,目光茫然地打量一下身边。她的扇子和手套摆在她身旁的沙发上,她心不在焉地拾了起来。

"Yes; I suppose I must be going."

“是啊,我想我得准备走了。”

"You're going to Mrs. Struthers's?"

“是到斯特拉瑟斯太太家去吗?”

"Yes." She smiled and added: "I must go where I aminvited, or I should be too lonely. Why not come withme?"

“是的。”她露出笑容补充说:“我必须到受欢迎的地方去,不然我会感到太孤单,干吗不跟我一块儿去?”

Archer felt that at any cost he must keep her besidehim, must make her give him the rest of her evening.Ignoring her question, he continued to lean against thechimney-piece, his eyes fixed on the hand in which sheheld her gloves and fan, as if watching to see if he hadthe power to make her drop them.

阿切尔觉得不论付出什么代价他都必须把她留在身边,必须让她把今晚的时间给他。他没有回答她的询问,继续倚在壁炉架上,目光凝视着她那只拿着手套和扇子的手,仿佛要看一看,他是否有力量让她放下那两件东西。

"May guessed the truth," he said. "There is anotherwoman--but not the one she thinks."

“梅猜对了,”他说。“是有另外一个女人——但不是她想的那一位”

Ellen Olenska made no answer, and did not move.After a moment he sat down beside her, and, takingher hand, softly unclasped it, so that the gloves and fanfell on the sofa between them.

埃伦·奥兰斯卡没有搭言,也没有动弹。过了一会儿,他坐到她身旁,拿起她的手,轻轻把它伸开,结果手套和扇子落在了他俩中间的沙发上。

She started up, and freeing herself from him movedaway to the other side of the hearth. "Ah, don't makelove to me! Too many people have done that," shesaid, frowning.

她跳了起来,挣开他的手,移到壁炉另一边。“哎哟,可别向我求爱!这样做的人可太多了,”她皱起眉头说。

Archer, changing colour, stood up also: it was thebitterest rebuke she could have given him. "I havenever made love to you," he said, "and I never shall.But you are the woman I would have married if it hadbeen possible for either of us."

阿切尔脸色都变了,他也站了起来。这是她能够给他的最苛刻的指责了。“我从来没向你求过爱,”他说,“而且今后也永远不会。但是,假如不是我们两人都没有了这种可能,你正是我会娶的那个女人。”

"Possible for either of us?" She looked at him withunfeigned astonishment. "And you say that--when it'syou who've made it impossible?"

“我们两人都没有了可能?”她面带真诚的惊讶看着他说。“你还说这话——当你亲自制造了这种不可能的时候?”

He stared at her, groping in a blackness throughwhich a single arrow of light tore its blinding way.

他睁大眼睛看着她,在黑暗中搜索着,一支闪光的箭令人眩目地划破了黑暗。

"I'VE made it impossible--?"

“是我制造了这种不可能——?”

"You, you, YOU!" she cried, her lip trembling like achild's on the verge of tears. "Isn't it you who made megive up divorcing--give it up because you showed mehow selfish and wicked it was, how one must sacrificeone's self to preserve the dignity of marriage . . . and tospare one's family the publicity, the scandal? Andbecause my family was going to be your family--forMay's sake and for yours--I did what you told me,what you proved to me that I ought to do. Ah," shebroke out with a sudden laugh, "I've made no secret ofhaving done it for you!"

“你,是你,是你!”她喊道,嘴唇像小孩子似的颤抖着,眼看要涕泪横溢了。“让我放弃离婚的不正是你吗——不正是因为你向我说明离婚多么自私、多么有害,为了维护婚姻的尊严……为了家庭避免舆论、避免丑闻,必须自我牺牲,我才放弃了吗?因为我的家庭即将变成你的家庭——为了你和梅的关系——我按你说的做了,按你向我指明应当做的做了。啊,”她突然爆发出一阵笑声。“我可没有隐瞒:我是为了你才这样做的!”

She sank down on the sofa again, crouching amongthe festive ripples of her dress like a stricken masquerader;and the young man stood by the fireplace andcontinued to gaze at her without moving.

她重新坐到沙发上,蜷缩在她那节日盛装的波纹中间,像个受了挫折的跳假面舞的人。年轻人站在壁炉跟前,依旧一动不动地凝视着她。

"Good God," he groaned. "When I thought--"

“我的老天,”他沉吟道,“当我想到——”

"You thought?"

“你想到什么?”

"Ah, don't ask me what I thought!"

“唉,别问我想到什么!”

Still looking at her, he saw the same burning flushcreep up her neck to her face. She sat upright, facinghim with a rigid dignity.

他仍然在盯着她,只见那种像火一般的深红色又涌上了她的脖颈和脸。她坐直身体,十分威严地面对着他。

"I do ask you."

“我偏要问。”

"Well, then: there were things in that letter youasked me to read--"

“唔,好吧:你当时让我读的那封信里有些内容——”

"My husband's letter?"

“我丈夫那封信?”

"Yes."

“是啊。”

"I had nothing to fear from that letter: absolutelynothing! All I feared was to bring notoriety, scandal,on the family--on you and May."

“那封信中没有什么可怕的东西,绝对没有!我全部的担心就是给家庭——也给你和梅——带来恶名和丑闻。”

"Good God," he groaned again, bowing his face inhis hands.

“我的老天,”他又沉吟道,同时低下头,两手捂住了脸。

The silence that followed lay on them with the weightof things final and irrevocable. It seemed to Archer tobe crushing him down like his own grave-stone; in allthe wide future he saw nothing that would ever lift thatload from his heart. He did not move from his place, orraise his head from his hands; his hidden eyeballs wenton staring into utter darkness.

随后的那一阵沉默对他们具有决定性的、无可挽回的意义。阿切尔觉得仿佛是他自己的墓碑正把他压倒在下面,前景尽管广阔,他却找不到任何能够除去他心头重负的东西。他站在原地不动,也没有从双手中抬起头,遮藏着的两只眼睛继续凝望着一片黑暗。

"At least I loved you--" he brought out.

“至少我爱过你——”他开口说。

On the other side of the hearth, from the sofa-cornerwhere he supposed that she still crouched, he heard afaint stifled crying like a child's. He started up andcame to her side.

在壁炉的另一侧,从他猜测她依然蜷缩的沙发角里,他听见一声小孩子似的抽噎声。他大吃一惊,急忙走到她的身边。

"Ellen! What madness! Why are you crying? Nothing'sdone that can't be undone. I'm still free, andyou're going to be." He had her in his arms, her facelike a wet flower at his lips, and all their vain terrorsshrivelling up like ghosts at sunrise. The one thing thatastonished him now was that he should have stood forfive minutes arguing with her across the width of theroom, when just touching her made everything so simple.

“埃伦!你疯啦!干吗要哭?天下没有不能更改的事。我还是自由的,你不久也可以。”他把她搂在怀里,他唇下那张脸就像被雨水打湿的一朵鲜花。他们所有徒然的恐惧都像日出后的鬼魂一样消逝了,惟一使他吃惊的是,当着一触摸她便使一切变得如此简单的时候,他竟然站了5分钟时间,在屋子另一端与她争论。

She gave him back all his kiss, but after a moment hefelt her stiffening in his arms, and she put him asideand stood up.

她回报他所有的吻。但过了一会儿,他觉得她在他怀中僵挺起来,她把他推到一边,站起身来。

"Ah, my poor Newland--I suppose this had to be.But it doesn't in the least alter things," she said, lookingdown at him in her turn from the hearth.

“啊,可怜的纽兰——我想这是早已注定了的,那样说一点也改变不了现实,”她说,这回是她从炉边低头望着他。

"It alters the whole of life for me."

“它会改变我的整个生活。”

"No, no--it mustn't, it can't. You're engaged toMay Welland; and I'm married."

“不,不——那不应该,不可能。你已经和梅·韦兰订了婚,而我又是个已婚的女人。”

He stood up too, flushed and resolute. "Nonsense!It's too late for that sort of thing. We've no right to lieto other people or to ourselves. We won't talk of yourmarriage; but do you see me marrying May after this?"

他也站了起来,脸色通红,毅然决然地说:“瞎说!说这种话已经太晚了,我们没有权力对别人撒谎、对我们自己撒谎。且不谈你的婚事,经过这一切之后,你想我还会娶梅吗?”

She stood silent, resting her thin elbows on the mantelpiece,her profile reflected in the glass behind her. Oneof the locks of her chignon had become loosened andhung on her neck; she looked haggard and almost old.

她沉默无言地站着,将瘦削的两肘支在壁炉台上,她的侧影映射在身后的玻璃上。她那假髻有一个发鬈松开了,垂挂在脖于上,她看上去很憔悴,甚至有点儿衰老。

"I don't see you," she said at length, "putting thatquestion to May. Do you?"

“我想,”她终于说,“你没法向梅提这个问题,你说呢?”

He gave a reckless shrug. "It's too late to doanything else."

他满不在乎地耸了耸肩说:“现在太晚了,已经别无选择。”

"You say that because it's the easiest thing to say atthis moment--not because it's true. In reality it's toolate to do anything but what we'd both decided on."

“你说这话是因为眼前这样讲最容易——而不是因为当真如此。事实上,除了我们既定的事实,其他事才是太晚了呢。”

"Ah, I don't understand you!"

“唉,我不懂你的意思!”

She forced a pitiful smile that pinched her faceinstead of smoothing it. "You don't understand becauseyou haven't yet guessed how you've changed things forme: oh, from the first--long before I knew all you'ddone."

她勉强苦笑了一下,她的脸非但没有舒展开,反而皱缩起来。“你不懂是因为你还没有估计到,你已经为我扭转了局面:啊,从一开始——远在我了解你所做的一切之前。”

"All I'd done?"

“我所做的一切?”

"Yes. I was perfectly unconscious at first that peoplehere were shy of me--that they thought I was a dreadfulsort of person. It seems they had even refused tomeet me at dinner. I found that out afterward; andhow you'd made your mother go with you to the vander Luydens'; and how you'd insisted on announcingyour engagement at the Beaufort ball, so that I mighthave two families to stand by me instead of one--"

“是的。开始我一点儿也不知道这里的人对我存有戒心——不知道他们都认为我是个讨厌的人。好像他们都不肯在宴会上见我。后来我才明白了,明白了你怎样说服你母亲跟你去范德卢顿家,怎样坚持要在博福特家的舞会上宣布你的订婚消息,以便可以有两个家庭——而不是一个——支持我——”

At that he broke into a laugh.

听到这儿,阿切尔突然大笑起来。

"Just imagine," she said, "how stupid and unobservantI was! I knew nothing of all this till Grannyblurted it out one day. New York simply meant peaceand freedom to me: it was coming home. And I was sohappy at being among my own people that every one Imet seemed kind and good, and glad to see me. Butfrom the very beginning," she continued, "I felt therewas no one as kind as you; no one who gave mereasons that I understood for doing what at first seemedso hard and--unnecessary. The very good people didn'tconvince me; I felt they'd never been tempted. But youknew; you understood; you had felt the world outsidetugging at one with all its golden hands--and yet youhated the things it asks of one; you hated happinessbought by disloyalty and cruelty and indifference. Thatwas what I'd never known before--and it's better thananything I've known."

“你想想看,”她说,“我是多么蠢,多么没眼力呀!我对这些事一无所知,直到有一天祖母漏嘴说了出来。那时候,纽约对我来说就等于太平,等于自由:这是回到了家。回到自己人中间我是那样高兴,我遇到的每一个人似乎都很善良,很高兴见我。不过从一开始,”她接着说,“我就觉得,没有人像你那样友好,没有人向我讲述我能听得懂的道理,劝我去做那些起初看来很苦并且很——没有必要的事。那些好人却不来劝我,我觉得他们从没有过那种想法。可是你懂,你理解;你体验过外面的世界竭力用金手铐拖你下水的滋味——但你讨厌它让人付出的代价,你讨厌以不忠诚、冷酷、麻木换取的幸福。这些是我过去从来不懂的事——它比什么都宝贵。”

She spoke in a low even voice, without tears orvisible agitation; and each word, as it dropped fromher, fell into his breast like burning lead. He sat bowedover, his head between his hands, staring at the hearthrug,and at the tip of the satin shoe that showed underher dress. Suddenly he knelt down and kissed the shoe.

她的声音低沉平静,没有眼泪,也看不出激动。从她口中说出的每一个字,都像烧红的铅块一样落在他的心上。他弯腰坐着,两手抱头,凝视着炉边的地毯,凝视着露在她衣服底下那只缎鞋的脚尖。突然,他跪下来,亲吻起那只鞋。

She bent over him, laying her hands on his shoulders,and looking at him with eyes so deep that he remainedmotionless under her gaze.

她在他上方弯下身,把两手放在他的肩头,用那么深沉的目光看着他,在她的注视下,他呆着一动不动。

"Ah, don't let us undo what you've done!" she cried."I can't go back now to that other way of thinking. Ican't love you unless I give you up."

“啊,我们还是不要更改你已经做了的事吧!”她喊道。“现在我无法再恢复以前那种思维方式了。只有放弃你,我才能够爱你。”

His arms were yearning up to her; but she drewaway, and they remained facing each other, divided bythe distance that her words had created. Then, abruptly,his anger overflowed.

他渴望地向她伸开双臂,但她却退缩了。他们依然面对着面,被她这句话制造的距离分开了。这时,他的怒气勃然而起。

"And Beaufort? Is he to replace me?"

“那么是博福特?他要取代我的位置?”

As the words sprang out he was prepared for ananswering flare of anger; and he would have welcomedit as fuel for his own. But Madame Olenska only grewa shade paler, and stood with her arms hanging downbefore her, and her head slightly bent, as her way waswhen she pondered a question.

随着这句话冲口而出,他也做好了准备,等待一场怒火迸发的回答,他倒会欢迎为他火上添油。然而奥兰斯卡夫人仅仅脸色更苍白了些,她站在那儿,两臂垂挂在身前,头略前倾,就像她平时思考问题时的样子。

"He's waiting for you now at Mrs. Struthers's; whydon't you go to him?" Archer sneered.

“他正在斯特拉瑟斯太太家等你呢,干吗不去找他?”阿切尔冷笑着说。

She turned to ring the bell. "I shall not go out thisevening; tell the carriage to go and fetch the SignoraMarchesa," she said when the maid came.

她转过身去摇了摇铃。女佣进来后,她说:“今晚我不出去了,通知马车去接西格诺拉·马西哑去吧。”

After the door had closed again Archer continued tolook at her with bitter eyes. "Why this sacrifice? Sinceyou tell me that you're lonely I've no right to keep youfrom your friends."

门关上之后,阿切尔继续用讥讽的目光看着她说:“何必做这种牺牲呢?既然你告诉我你很孤单,那么我没有权力让你离开你的朋友们。”

She smiled a little under her wet lashes. "I shan't belonely now. I WAS lonely; I WAS afraid. But the emptinessand the darkness are gone; when I turn back intomyself now I'm like a child going at night into a roomwhere there's always a light."

她那湿润的眼睫毛下露出一丝笑意。“现在我不会孤单了。我孤单过,害怕过,但空虚与黑暗已经消逝了。现在,当我重新清醒过来之后,我就像个小孩子晚上走进一直有灯光的房间一样。”

Her tone and her look still enveloped her in a softinaccessibility, and Archer groaned out again: "I don'tunderstand you!"

她的语气与神色仍然像一层外壳一样包围着她,使她处于一种不可接近的朦胧之中。阿切尔又抱怨地说:“我不理解你!”

"Yet you understand May!"

“可你却理解梅!”

He reddened under the retort, but kept his eyes onher. "May is ready to give me up."

听了这句反责,他脸红了,但眼睛依然看着她说:“梅随时准备放弃我。”

"What! Three days after you've entreated her onyour knees to hasten your marriage?"

“什么?在你下跪恳求她赶紧结婚刚过3天之后?”

"She's refused; that gives me the right--"

“她拒绝了我;这就给了我权力——”

"Ah, you've taught me what an ugly word that is,"she said.

“啊,你让我明白了这个字有多丑恶,”她说。

He turned away with a sense of utter weariness. Hefelt as though he had been struggling for hours up theface of a steep precipice, and now, just as he hadfought his way to the top, his hold had given way andhe was pitching down headlong into darkness.

他非常厌烦地转过脸去,他觉得仿佛挣扎了好几个小时攀登一块陡峭的悬崖,现在,当他奋力到达顶峰时,他的手又把不住了,他又一头扎向黑暗之中。

If he could have got her in his arms again he mighthave swept away her arguments; but she still held himat a distance by something inscrutably aloof in her lookand attitude, and by his own awed sense of her sincerity.At length he began to plead again.

假如他再次把她搂到怀里,他会轻而易举地驳倒她那些观点,然而,她神色态度中那种不可思议的冷漠,以及他对她的认真所产生的敬畏,使他依然与她保持着一定的距离。最后他又开始恳求了。

"If we do this now it will be worse afterward--worsefor every one--"

“假如我们像现在这样,以后事情会更糟——对每个人都更糟——”

"No--no--no!" she almost screamed, as if he frightened her.

“不——不——不!”她几乎是尖叫着说,仿佛他把她吓坏了。

At that moment the bell sent a long tinkle throughthe house. They had heard no carriage stopping at thedoor, and they stood motionless, looking at each otherwith startled eyes.

这时从院于里传来一阵了零零的铃声。他们没听见马车停在门口的声音,两人一动不动地站在那儿,用惊异的目光对视着。

Outside, Nastasia's step crossed the hall, the outerdoor opened, and a moment later she came in carryinga telegram which she handed to the Countess Olenska.

只听外面娜斯塔西娅的脚步声穿过了门厅,外门打开,随即她拿着一封电报进屋,交给了奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人。

"The lady was very happy at the flowers," Nastasiasaid, smoothing her apron. "She thought it was hersignor marito who had sent them, and she cried a littleand said it was a folly."

“那位夫人见到花非常高兴,”娜斯塔西娅说,一面抚平她的围裙。“她还以为是她先生送的呢,哭了一阵子,还说他乱花钱。”

Her mistress smiled and took the yellow envelope.She tore it open and carried it to the lamp; then, whenthe door had closed again, she handed the telegram toArcher.

女主人嫣然一笑,接过信封。她把电报拆开,拿到灯前。接着,等门又关上之后,她把电报递给了阿切尔。

It was dated from St. Augustine, and addressed tothe Countess Olenska. In it he read: "Granny's telegramsuccessful. Papa and Mamma agree marriage afterEaster. Am telegraphing Newland. Am too happyfor words and love you dearly. Your grateful May."

电报注明发自圣奥古斯丁,寄给奥兰斯卡伯爵夫人,里面写道:“外婆电报成功,爸妈同意复活节后结婚。将致电纽兰,兴奋难言。爱你,谢谢。梅。”

Half an hour later, when Archer unlocked his ownfront-door, he found a similar envelope on the hall-tableon top of his pile of notes and letters. The messageinside the envelope was also from May Welland, andran as follows: "Parents consent wedding Tuesday afterEaster at twelve Grace Church eight bridesmaidsplease see Rector so happy love May."

半小时之后,阿切尔打开前门的门锁,在门厅桌子上他那一堆笔记和信函顶上,他见到一个类似的信封。信封里的电报也是梅·韦兰发来的,电文如下:“父母同意复活节后周二12点在格雷斯教堂举行婚礼。8名伴娘。请见教区长。很高兴。爱你,梅。”

Archer crumpled up the yellow sheet as if the gesturecould annihilate the news it contained. Then he pulledout a small pocket-diary and turned over the pageswith trembling fingers; but he did not find what hewanted, and cramming the telegram into his pocket hemounted the stairs.

阿切尔把那张黄纸揉成,一团,仿佛这样可以消除上面的消息似的。接着他抽出一本小小的袖珍日记,用颤抖的手指翻着纸页,但没有找到他想要的内容,于是把电报塞进口袋,上了楼。

A light was shining through the door of the littlehall-room which served Janey as a dressing-room andboudoir, and her brother rapped impatiently on thepanel. The door opened, and his sister stood beforehim in her immemorial purple flannel dressing-gown,with her hair "on pins." Her face looked pale andapprehensive.

一缕灯光从小小的门厅里照射出来,那儿是詹尼的化妆室兼闺房。哥哥焦急地拍打门板,门开了,妹妹站在他面前,穿着那件远古式的紫色丝绒晨衣,头发上“戴着夹”。她脸色苍白,一副忧心忡忡的样儿。

"Newland! I hope there's no bad news in thattelegram? I waited on purpose, in case--" (No item of hiscorrespondence was safe from Janey.)

“纽兰!我希望电报里没什么坏消息吧?我特意在等着,万———”(他的信件没有一件能躲得过詹尼。)

He took no notice of her question. "Look here--what day is Easter this year?"

他没有注意她的问题。“听我说——今年的复活节是哪一天!”

She looked shocked at such unchristian ignorance."Easter? Newland! Why, of course, the first week inApril. Why?"

她看起来对这种不信基督的愚昧大为震惊。

"The first week?" He turned again to the pages ofhis diary, calculating rapidly under his breath. "Thefirst week, did you say?" He threw back his head witha long laugh.

“复活节?纽兰!怎么啦,当然是4月第一周啊。什么事?”

"For mercy's sake what's the matter?"

“第一周?”他重又翻起他日记的纸页,压低嗓音迅速计算着。“你说是第一周?”他扭回头去,大声笑个不停。

"Nothing's the matter, except that I'm going to bemarried in a month."

“老天爷,出了什么事?”

Janey fell upon his neck and pressed him to herpurple flannel breast. "Oh Newland, how wonderful!I'm so glad! But, dearest, why do you keep on laughing?Do hush, or you'll wake Mamma."

“啥事也没有,只是再过一个月我就要结婚了。”

詹尼趴到他的脖子上,把他紧紧搂在紫丝绒衣的胸前。“啊,纽兰,太好了!我太高兴了!可是,亲爱的,你干吗笑个不停?安静些吧,不然会吵醒妈妈的。”