The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

Archer found a cab and drove to the Somerset Clubfor breakfast. Even the fashionable quarters had the airof untidy domesticity to which no excess of heat everdegrades the European cities. Care-takers in calicolounged on the door-steps of the wealthy, and theCommon looked like a pleasure-ground on the morrowof a Masonic picnic. If Archer had tried to imagineEllen Olenska in improbable scenes he could not havecalled up any into which it was more difficult to fit herthan this heat-prostrated and deserted Boston.

阿切尔租了辆马车去萨默塞特俱乐部吃早餐。甚至高级住宅区也同样透出一股杂乱无章的气息;而在欧洲,即使天气再热,那些城市也是不会堕落到这种境地的。穿印花布的看门人在富人的门阶上荡来荡去,广场看起来就像共济会野餐后的游乐场。如果说阿切尔曾竭力想象埃伦·奥兰斯卡所处环境的恶劣不堪,他却从没想到过有哪个地方,会比热浪肆虐、遭人遗弃的波士顿对她更不合适。

He breakfasted with appetite and method, beginningwith a slice of melon, and studying a morning paperwhile he waited for his toast and scrambled eggs. Anew sense of energy and activity had possessed himever since he had announced to May the night beforethat he had business in Boston, and should take theFall River boat that night and go on to New York thefollowing evening. It had always been understood thathe would return to town early in the week, and whenhe got back from his expedition to Portsmouth a letterfrom the office, which fate had conspicuously placedon a corner of the hall table, sufficed to justify hissudden change of plan. He was even ashamed of theease with which the whole thing had been done: itreminded him, for an uncomfortable moment, of LawrenceLefferts's masterly contrivances for securing hisfreedom. But this did not long trouble him, for he wasnot in an analytic mood.

他慢条斯理地吃着早餐。他胃口极好。他先吃了一片甜瓜,然后一边等吐司和炒蛋,一边读一份晨报。自从昨晚告诉梅他要去波士顿办公事,需乘当晚的福尔里弗号并于翌日傍晚回纽约之后,他心中就产生了一种充满活力的新鲜感觉。大家一直认为,他可能要在周初回城。但显然是命运在作怪,当他从普茨茅斯探险归来时,一封来自事务所的信摆在门厅的桌子角上,为他突然改变计划提供了充足的理由。如此轻而易举地把事情安排停当,他甚至感到羞愧:这使他想起了劳伦斯·莱弗茨为获得自由而施展的巧妙伎俩,一时间心中感到不安。但这并没有困扰他很久,因为他此时已无心细细琢磨。

After breakfast he smoked a cigarette and glancedover the Commercial Advertiser. While he was thusengaged two or three men he knew came in, and theusual greetings were exchanged: it was the same worldafter all, though he had such a queer sense of havingslipped through the meshes of time and space.

早餐后,他燃起一支烟,浏览着《商业广告报》。其间进来了两三个熟人,彼此照例互致寒暄:这个世界毕竟还是老样子,尽管他有一种稀奇古怪的感觉,仿佛自己是从时空之网悄悄溜了出来似的。

He looked at his watch, and finding that it washalf-past nine got up and went into the writing-room.There he wrote a few lines, and ordered a messenger totake a cab to the Parker House and wait for theanswer. He then sat down behind another newspaper andtried to calculate how long it would take a cab to get tothe Parker House.

他看了看表,见时间已是9点半,便起身进了写字间,在里面写了几行字,指示信差坐马车送到帕克旅馆,他立候回音。然后便坐下展开另一张报纸,试着计算马车到帕克旅馆需要多少时间。

"The lady was out, sir," he suddenly heard a waiter'svoice at his elbow; and he stammered: "Out?--" as ifit were a word in a strange language.

“那位女士出去了,先生,”他猛然听到身边侍者的声音。他结结巴巴地重复说:“出去了——”这话听起来仿佛是用一种陌生语言讲的。

He got up and went into the hall. It must be amistake: she could not be out at that hour. He flushedwith anger at his own stupidity: why had he not sentthe note as soon as he arrived?

他起身走进门厅。一定是弄错了:这个时候她是不会出去的。他因自己的愚蠢而气得满脸通红:为什么没有一到这儿就派人送信去呢?

He found his hat and stick and went forth into thestreet. The city had suddenly become as strange andvast and empty as if he were a traveller from distantlands. For a moment he stood on the door-step hesitating;then he decided to go to the Parker House. What ifthe messenger had been misinformed, and she were stillthere?

他找到帽子和手杖,径直走到街上。这座城市突然变得陌生。辽阔并且空漠,他仿佛是个来自遥远国度的旅行者。他站在门前的台阶上迟疑了一阵,然后决定去帕克旅馆。万一信差得到的消息是错误的,她还在那儿呢?

He started to walk across the Common; and on thefirst bench, under a tree, he saw her sitting. She had agrey silk sunshade over her head--how could he everhave imagined her with a pink one? As he approachedhe was struck by her listless attitude: she sat there as ifshe had nothing else to do. He saw her drooping profile,and the knot of hair fastened low in the neckunder her dark hat, and the long wrinkled glove on thehand that held the sunshade. He came a step or twonearer, and she turned and looked at him.

他举步穿过广场,只见她正坐在树下第一条凳子上。一把灰色的丝绸阳伞挡在她头上——他怎么会想象她带着粉红色阳伞呢?他走上前去,被她无精打采的神态触动了:她坐在那儿,一副百无聊赖的样子。她低垂着头,侧对着他,黑色的帽子下面,发结低低地打在脖颈处,撑着伞的手上戴着打褶的长手套。他又向前走了一两步,她一转身看到了他。

"Oh"--she said; and for the first time he noticed astartled look on her face; but in another moment itgave way to a slow smile of wonder and contentment.

“哦——”她说,阿切尔第一次见到她脸上露出惊讶的神情;但一会功夫,它便让位于困惑而又满足的淡淡笑容。

"Oh"--she murmured again, on a different note, ashe stood looking down at her; and without rising shemade a place for him on the bench.

“哦——”当他站在那儿低头看她时,她又一次低声说,但语气已有所不同。她并没有站起来,而是在长凳上给他空出了位置。

"I'm here on business--just got here," Archerexplained; and, without knowing why, he suddenly beganto feign astonishment at seeing her. "But what on earthare you doing in this wilderness?" He had really noidea what he was saying: he felt as if he were shoutingat her across endless distances, and she might vanishagain before he could overtake her.

“我来这儿办事——刚到,”阿切尔解释说,不知为什么,他忽然开始假装见到她非常惊讶。“可你究竟在这个荒凉的地方干什么呢?”他实际上不知自己说的是什么:他觉得自己仿佛在很远很远的地方向她叫喊;仿佛不等他赶上,她可能又会消失了。

"I? Oh, I'm here on business too," she answered,turning her head toward him so that they were face toface. The words hardly reached him: he was awareonly of her voice, and of the startling fact that not anecho of it had remained in his memory. He had noteven remembered that it was low-pitched, with a faintroughness on the consonants.

“我?啊,我也是来办事,”她答道,转过头来面对着他。她的话几乎没传进他的耳朵:他只注意到了她的声音和一个令人震惊的事实——她的声音竟没有在他的记忆里留下印象,甚至连它低沉的音调和稍有些刺耳的辅音都不曾记得。

"You do your hair differently," he said, his heartbeating as if he had uttered something irrevocable.

“你改了发型了,”他说,心里砰砰直跳,仿佛说了什么不可挽回的话似的。

"Differently? No--it's only that I do it as best I canwhen I'm without Nastasia."

“改了发型?不——这只是娜斯塔西娅不在身边时,我自己尽可能做的。”

"Nastasia; but isn't she with you?"

“娜斯塔西娅?可她没跟着你吗?”

"No; I'm alone. For two days it was not worth whileto bring her."

“没有,我一个人来的。因为只有两天,没必要把她带来。”

"You're alone--at the Parker House?"

“你一个人——在帕克旅馆?”

She looked at him with a flash of her old malice."Does it strike you as dangerous?"

她露出一丝旧日的怨恨看着他说:“这让你感到危险了?”

"No; not dangerous--"

“不,不是危险——”

"But unconventional? I see; I suppose it is." Sheconsidered a moment. "I hadn't thought of it, becauseI've just done something so much more unconventional."The faint tinge of irony lingered in her eyes. "I've justrefused to take back a sum of money--that belonged tome."

“而是不合习俗?我明白了;我想是不合习俗。”她沉吟了片刻。“我没想过这一点,因为我刚做了件更不合习俗的事,”她眼神略带嘲讽地说。“我刚刚拒绝拿回一笔钱——一笔属于我的钱。”

Archer sprang up and moved a step or two away.She had furled her parasol and sat absently drawingpatterns on the gravel. Presently he came back andstood before her.

阿切尔跳起来,后退了两步。她收起阳伞,坐在那儿,心不在焉地在沙砾上画着图案。他接着又回来站在她面前。

"Some one--has come here to meet you?"

“有一个人——来这儿见你了?”

"Yes."

“对。”

"With this offer?"

“带着这项提议?”

She nodded.

她点了点头。

"And you refused--because of the conditions?"

“而你拒绝了——因为所提的条件?”

"I refused," she said after a moment.

“我拒绝了,”过了一会儿她说。

He sat down by her again. "What were the conditions?"

他又坐到她身边。“是什么条件?”

"Oh, they were not onerous: just to sit at the head ofhis table now and then."

“噢,不属于法定义务:只是偶尔在他的餐桌首位坐坐。”

There was another interval of silence. Archer's hearthad slammed itself shut in the queer way it had, and hesat vainly groping for a word.

又是一阵沉默。阿切尔的心脏以它奇特的方式骤然停止了跳动,他坐在那儿,徒劳地寻找话语。

"He wants you back--at any price?"

“他想让你回去——不惜任何代价?”

"Well--a considerable price. At least the sum isconsiderable for me."

“对——代价很高,至少对我来说是巨额。”

He paused again, beating about the question he felthe must put.

他又停下来,焦急地搜寻他觉得必须问的问题。

"It was to meet him here that you came?"

“你来这儿是为了见他?”

She stared, and then burst into a laugh. "Meethim--my husband? HERE? At this season he's always atCowes or Baden."

她瞪大眼睛,接着爆发出一阵笑声。“见他——我丈夫?在这儿?这个季节他总是在考斯或是巴登。”

"He sent some one?"

“他派了个人来?”

"Yes."

“对”

"With a letter?"

“带来一封信?”

She shook her head. "No; just a message. He neverwrites. I don't think I've had more than one letter fromhim." The allusion brought the colour to her cheek,and it reflected itself in Archer's vivid blush.

她摇摇头说:“不,只是个口信。他从来不写信。我想我一共就收到过他一封信。”一提此事令她双颊绯红,这红润也反射给了阿切尔,他也面色通红。

"Why does he never write?"

“他为什么从不写信?”

"Why should he? What does one have secretariesfor?"

“他干吗要写?要秘书是干什么的?”

The young man's blush deepened. She had pronouncedthe word as if it had no more significance than anyother in her vocabulary. For a moment it was on thetip of his tongue to ask: "Did he send his secretary,then?" But the remembrance of Count Olenski's onlyletter to his wife was too present to him. He pausedagain, and then took another plunge.

年轻人的脸更红了。她说出这个词仿佛它在她的语汇中并不比其他词有更多的意义。一时间,他差一点就冲口发问:“那么,他是派秘书来的?”但对奥兰斯基伯爵给妻子的惟一一封信的回忆对他来说太现实了。他再次停住话头,然后开始又一次冒险。

"And the person?"--

“而那个人呢?”

"The emissary? The emissary," Madame Olenskarejoined, still smiling, "might, for all I care, have leftalready; but he has insisted on waiting till this evening. . . in case . . . on the chance . . ."

“你指的是使者吗?这位使者,”奥兰斯卡夫人依然微笑着答道,“按我的心意,早该走了,但他却坚持要等到傍晚……以防……万一……”

"And you came out here to think the chance over?"

“那么你出来是为了仔细考虑那种可能?”

"I came out to get a breath of air. The hotel's toostifling. I'm taking the afternoon train back to Portsmouth."

“我出来是为了透透气,旅馆里太问了。我要乘下午的火车回普茨茅斯。”

They sat silent, not looking at each other, but straightahead at the people passing along the path. Finally sheturned her eyes again to his face and said: "You're notchanged."

他们默默无语地坐着,眼睛不看对方,而是直盯着前面过往的行人。最后,她又把目光转到他的脸上,说:“你没有变。”

He felt like answering: "I was, till I saw you again;"but instead he stood up abruptly and glanced abouthim at the untidy sweltering park.

他很想说:“我变了;只是在又见到你之后,我才又是原来的我了。”但他猛然站起来,打量着周围又脏又热的公园。

"This is horrible. Why shouldn't we go out a little onthe bay? There's a breeze, and it will be cooler. Wemight take the steamboat down to Point Arley." Sheglanced up at him hesitatingly and he went on: "On aMonday morning there won't be anybody on the boat.My train doesn't leave till evening: I'm going back toNew York. Why shouldn't we?" he insisted, lookingdown at her; and suddenly he broke out: "Haven't wedone all we could?"

“这里糟透了。我们何不去海湾边呆一会儿?那儿有点风,会凉快些。我们可以乘汽船下行去阿利角。”她抬起头迟疑地望了望他。他接着说:“星期一早晨,船上不会有什么人的。我乘的火车傍晚才开:我要回纽约。我们干吗不去呢?”他低头看着她,突然又冒出一句:“难道我们不是已经尽了最大努力克制自己了吗?”

"Oh"--she murmured again. She stood up andreopened her sunshade, glancing about her as if to takecounsel of the scene, and assure herself of the impossibilityof remaining in it. Then her eyes returned to hisface. "You mustn't say things like that to me," shesaid.

“哦——”她又低声说,接着站了起来,重新撑开阳伞,向四周打量一番,仿佛审视眼前的环境,下决心不能再呆在里面了,然后又把目光转到他脸上。“你千万不要对我说那些事了,”她说。

"I'll say anything you like; or nothing. I won't openmy mouth unless you tell me to. What harm can it doto anybody? All I want is to listen to you," hestammered.

“你喜欢什么我就说什么,或者干脆什么都不说。除非你让我说,否则决不开口。这又能伤害谁呢?我只想听你说话,”他结巴着说。

She drew out a little gold-faced watch on anenamelled chain. "Oh, don't calculate," he broke out; "giveme the day! I want to get you away from that man. Atwhat time was he coming?"

她取出一只金面小怀表,表上系着彩饰的表链。“啊,不要计算时间,”他脱口而出说,“给我一天吧!我想让你甩掉那个人。他什么时候来?”

Her colour rose again. "At eleven."

她的脸又红了。“门点。”

"Then you must come at once."

“那你必须立即回来。”

"You needn't be afraid--if I don't come."

“你不必担心——如果我不来的话。”

"Nor you either--if you do. I swear I only want tohear about you, to know what you've been doing. It's ahundred years since we've met--it may be anotherhundred before we meet again."

“你也不必担心——如果你来的话。我发誓我只想听听你的情况,想知道你一直在干什么。自从我们上次见面,已经有一百年了——也许再过一百年我们才能再见面。”

She still wavered, her anxious eyes on his face. "Whydidn't you come down to the beach to fetch me, theday I was at Granny's?" she asked.

她仍然举棋不定,目光焦虑地望着他的脸。“我在奶奶家那天,为什么你不到海滩上接我?”她问道。

"Because you didn't look round--because you didn'tknow I was there. I swore I wouldn't unless you lookedround." He laughed as the childishness of the confessionstruck him.

“因为你没回头——因为你不知道我在那儿。我发誓只要你不回头,我就不过去,”他想到这种孩子气的坦白,笑了。

"But I didn't look round on purpose."

“可我是故意不回头的。”

"On purpose?"

“故意?”

"I knew you were there; when you drove in Irecognised the ponies. So I went down to the beach."

“我知道你在那儿。当你们驾车来时我认出了那几匹马,所以去了海滨。”

"To get away from me as far as you could?"

“为了尽量离我远些?”

She repeated in a low voice: "To get away from youas far as I could."

她低声重复说:“为了尽量离你远些。”

He laughed out again, this time in boyish satisfaction."Well, you see it's no use. I may as well tell you,"he added, "that the business I came here for was just tofind you. But, look here, we must start or we shall missour boat."

他又放声大笑起来,这次是因为男孩子的满足感。“哎,你知道,那是没用的。我还可以告诉你,”他补充说,“我来这儿要办的公事就是找你。可你瞧,我们必须动身了,否则会误了我们的船。”

"Our boat?" She frowned perplexedly, and thensmiled. "Oh, but I must go back to the hotel first: Imust leave a note--"

“我们的船?”她困惑地皱起眉头,接着又嫣然一笑。“啊,可我必须先回旅馆:我得留个便条——”

"As many notes as you please. You can write here."He drew out a note-case and one of the new stylographicpens. "I've even got an envelope--you see howeverything's predestined! There--steady the thing onyour knee, and I'll get the pen going in a second. Theyhave to be humoured; wait--" He banged the handthat held the pen against the back of the bench. "It'slike jerking down the mercury in a thermometer: just atrick. Now try--"

“你喜欢国多少就留多少。你可以在这儿写。”他取出皮夹和一支自来水笔。“我甚至有个信封——你看,事事都是命中注定的!来——把它固定在膝盖上,我马上就会让笔听话;等着——”他用力以拿笔的手敲打着凳子背。“这就像把温度计里的水银柱甩下来:是个小把戏。现在试试看——”

She laughed, and bending over the sheet of paperwhich he had laid on his note-case, began to write.Archer walked away a few steps, staring with radiantunseeing eyes at the passersby, who, in their turn,paused to stare at the unwonted sight of a fashionably-dressed lady writing a note on her knee on a bench inthe Common.

她大笑起来,然后在阿切尔铺在皮夹上的纸上写起来。阿切尔走开几步,用那双喜气洋洋的眼睛视而不见地盯着过往的行人,那些人轮番驻足注视这不寻常的光景:在广场的长凳上,一位穿着时髦的女士伏在膝头写信。

Madame Olenska slipped the sheet into the envelope,wrote a name on it, and put it into her pocket. Thenshe too stood up.

奥兰斯卡夫人将信纸塞进信封,写上名字,装进口袋,然后她站了起来。

They walked back toward Beacon Street, and nearthe club Archer caught sight of the plush-lined "herdic"which had carried his note to the Parker House,and whose driver was reposing from this effort bybathing his brow at the corner hydrant.

他们返身向比肯街走去。在俱乐部附近,阿切尔看到了将他的便函送往帕克旅馆的那辆装饰豪华的赫迪克马车。车夫正在拐角处的水龙头上冲洗脑门,以解送信的劳累。

"I told you everything was predestined! Here's a cabfor us. You see!" They laughed, astonished at the miracleof picking up a public conveyance at that hour, andin that unlikely spot, in a city where cab-stands werestill a "foreign" novelty.

“我对你说了,一切都是命中注定的!这儿有辆出租马车,你看!”他们大笑起来,对眼前的奇迹感到惊讶。在这座依然把出租马车场看作“舶来”的新事物的城市里,在这样的时刻和地点,他们竟找到一辆公用马车!

Archer, looking at his watch, saw that there wastime to drive to the Parker House before going to thesteamboat landing. They rattled through the hot streetsand drew up at the door of the hotel.

阿切尔看了看表,发现去汽艇停泊地之前还来得及乘车去一趟帕克旅馆。他们卡塔卡喀地沿着热气腾腾的街道疾驶,到旅馆门前停了车。

Archer held out his hand for the letter. "Shall I takeit in?" he asked; but Madame Olenska, shaking herhead, sprang out and disappeared through the glazeddoors. It was barely half-past ten; but what if theemissary, impatient for her reply, and not knowing howelse to employ his time, were already seated among thetravellers with cooling drinks at their elbows of whomArcher had caught a glimpse as she went in?

阿切尔伸手要信。“我把它送进去吧?”他问,但奥兰斯卡夫人摇了摇头,从车上跳下来,消失在玻璃门里面。时间还不到10点半,可是,假如那位信使等答复等得不耐烦,又不知如何打发时间,正好坐在阿切尔在她进旅馆时瞥见的附近那些喝冷饮的游客中,那可怎么办?

He waited, pacing up and down before the herdic. ASicilian youth with eyes like Nastasia's offered to shinehis boots, and an Irish matron to sell him peaches; andevery few moments the doors opened to let out hotmen with straw hats tilted far back, who glanced athim as they went by. He marvelled that the door shouldopen so often, and that all the people it let out shouldlook so like each other, and so like all the other hotmen who, at that hour, through the length and breadthof the land, were passing continuously in and out ofthe swinging doors of hotels.

他等着,在赫迪克马车前踱来踱去。一个眼睛跟娜斯塔西娅一样的西西里青年要给他擦靴子,一名爱尔兰女子要卖给他桃子;隔不了几分钟玻璃门便打开,放出一些急匆匆的人。他们把草帽远远推到脑后,眼睛打量着他从他身边过去。他奇怪门怎么开得这么勤,而且从里面出来的人竟如此相似,长得全都像此时此刻从本地各旅馆旋转门中进进出出的那些急匆匆的人。

And then, suddenly, came a face that he could notrelate to the other faces. He caught but a flash of it, forhis pacings had carried him to the farthest point of hisbeat, and it was in turning back to the hotel that hesaw, in a group of typical countenances--the lank andweary, the round and surprised, the lantern-jawed andmild--this other face that was so many more things atonce, and things so different. It was that of a youngman, pale too, and half-extinguished by the heat, orworry, or both, but somehow, quicker, vivider, moreconscious; or perhaps seeming so because he was sodifferent. Archer hung a moment on a thin thread ofmemory, but it snapped and floated off with the disappearingface--apparently that of some foreign businessman, looking doubly foreign in such a setting. Hevanished in the stream of passersby, and Archerresumed his patrol.

这时,突然出现了一张与众不同的脸,从他视线中一晃而过,因为他已走到踱步范围的尽头,是他转身折回旅馆时看见的,在几种类型的面孔中——倦怠的瘦脸、惊诧的圆脸、温和的长脸——一张迥然不同的脸。那是张年轻男子的脸,也很苍白,被热浪或焦虑或两者折磨得萎靡不振,但不知何故,看上去却比那些面孔机敏、生动、或更为清醒;也许是因为它迥然不同才显得如此。片刻间阿切尔似乎抓住了一根记忆的游丝,但它却迅即扯断,随着那张逝去的脸飘走了。显然那是张外国商人的脸,在这样的背景下益发像外国人。他随着过往的人流消逝了,阿切尔重新开始他的巡逻。

He did not care to be seen watch in hand withinview of the hotel, and his unaided reckoning of thelapse of time led him to conclude that, if MadameOlenska was so long in reappearing, it could only bebecause she had met the emissary and been waylaid byhim. At the thought Archer's apprehension rose toanguish.

他不愿在旅馆的视界内让人看见手中拿着表。单凭估计计算的时间,他觉得,如果奥兰斯卡夫人这么久还没回来,只能是因为她遇上了那位使者,并被他拦住了。想到这里,阿切尔心中忧虑万分。

"If she doesn't come soon I'll go in and find her," hesaid.

“如果她不马上出来,我就进去找她,”他说。

The doors swung open again and she was at his side.They got into the herdic, and as it drove off he tookout his watch and saw that she had been absent justthree minutes. In the clatter of loose windows thatmade talk impossible they bumped over the disjointedcobblestones to the wharf.

门又打开了,她来到他身边。他们进了马车,马车启动时,他掏出怀表一看,发现她只离开了3分钟。松动的车窗发出卡嗒卡嗒的声响,无法进行交谈。他们在没有规则的鹅卵石路上颠簸着,向码头奔去。

Seated side by side on a bench of the half-empty boatthey found that they had hardly anything to say to eachother, or rather that what they had to say communicateditself best in the blessed silence of their releaseand their isolation.

船上空着一半位子,他们并肩坐在长凳上,觉得几乎无话可讲,或者更确切地说,这种与世隔绝、身心舒展的幸福沉默完美地表达了他们要说的话。

As the paddle-wheels began to turn, and wharvesand shipping to recede through the veil of heat, itseemed to Archer that everything in the old familiarworld of habit was receding also. He longed to askMadame Olenska if she did not have the same feeling:the feeling that they were starting on some long voyagefrom which they might never return. But he was afraidto say it, or anything else that might disturb the delicatebalance of her trust in him. In reality he had nowish to betray that trust. There had been days andnights when the memory of their kiss had burned andburned on his lips; the day before even, on the drive toPortsmouth, the thought of her had run through himlike fire; but now that she was beside him, and theywere drifting forth into this unknown world, they seemedto have reached the kind of deeper nearness that atouch may sunder.

浆轮开始转动,码头与船只从热雾中向后退去,这时,阿切尔觉得过去熟悉的一切习俗也都随之退却。他很想问一问奥兰斯卡夫人是否也有同样的感觉:感觉他们正起程远航,一去不返。但他却害怕说出这些话,害怕打破支持她对他的信任的那种微妙的平衡。事实上,他也不希望辜负这种信任。他们亲吻的记忆曾日日夜夜灼烫着他的双唇;甚至昨天去普茨茅斯的路上,想起她心里还像着了火一般;然而此刻她近在眼前,他们正一起漂向一个未知的世界,亲近得仿佛已达到了那种手指轻轻一碰,就会立即分开的深层境界。

As the boat left the harbour and turned seaward abreeze stirred about them and the bay broke up intolong oily undulations, then into ripples tipped withspray. The fog of sultriness still hung over the city, butahead lay a fresh world of ruffled waters, and distantpromontories with light-houses in the sun. MadameOlenska, leaning back against the boat-rail, drank inthe coolness between parted lips. She had wound along veil about her hat, but it left her face uncovered,and Archer was struck by the tranquil gaiety of herexpression. She seemed to take their adventure as amatter of course, and to be neither in fear of unexpectedencounters, nor (what was worse) unduly elatedby their possibility.

船离开港湾向大海驶去。一阵微风吹来,水面上掀起泛着油污的长长的波浪,随后又变成浪花飞溅的涟漪。热雾仍挂在城市上空,但前方却是一个水波起伏的清凉世界,远处灯塔耸立的海岬沐浴在阳光中。奥兰斯卡夫人倚着船栏,张开双唇吮吸着这份清凉。她把长长的面纱缠在了帽子周围,这样却把脸露了出来,阿切尔被她那平静、愉悦的表情打动了。她似乎将他们的这次冒险视为理所当然的事,既不为意外遇上熟人而担心,也不因有那种可能而过分得意(那样更糟)。

In the bare dining-room of the inn, which he hadhoped they would have to themselves, they found astrident party of innocent-looking young men andwomen--school-teachers on a holiday, the landlord toldthem--and Archer's heart sank at the idea of having totalk through their noise.

在小旅店简陋的餐厅里——阿切尔本希望他们两个人占用二一一池们发现有一群唧唧喳喳、面目天真的青年男女。店主告诉他们,那是一群度假的教师。一想到必须在他们的嘈杂声中交谈,阿切尔的心不觉往下一沉。

"This is hopeless--I'll ask for a private room," hesaid; and Madame Olenska, without offering any objection,waited while he went in search of it. The roomopened on a long wooden verandah, with the sea comingin at the windows. It was bare and cool, with atable covered with a coarse checkered cloth and adornedby a bottle of pickles and a blueberry pie under a cage.No more guileless-looking cabinet particulier everoffered its shelter to a clandestine couple: Archer fanciedhe saw the sense of its reassurance in the faintly amusedsmile with which Madame Olenska sat down oppositeto him. A woman who had run away from her husband--and reputedly with another man--was likely to havemastered the art of taking things for granted; butsomething in the quality of her composure took the edgefrom his irony. By being so quiet, so unsurprised andso simple she had managed to brush away the conventionsand make him feel that to seek to be alone wasthe natural thing for two old friends who had so muchto say to each other. . . .

“这不行——我去要个包间,”他说;奥兰斯卡夫人没提任何异议,等着他去找房间。包间开在长长的木制游廊上,大海穿过窗口扑面而来。屋子简陋却很凉爽,餐桌上铺着一块粗糙的花格桌布,放着一瓶泡菜和装在笼里的紫浆果馅饼。人们一眼便能看出,这小间是专供情人幽会的庇护所。阿切尔觉得,奥兰斯卡夫人在他对面坐下时,她脸上略显愉快的笑容流露了对这个所在的安全感。一个逃离了丈夫的女人——据说还是跟另一个男人一起逃离的——很可能已经掌握了处乱不惊的艺术。然而她那镇定自若的神态却遏止了他的嘲讽。她那样沉稳、镇静,那样坦然,说明她已经挣脱了陈规陋俗;并使他觉得,两位有许多话要谈的老朋友,找个僻静的处所是件很自然的事……

29 XXIV.

They lunched slowly and meditatively, with muteintervals between rushes of talk; for, the spell oncebroken, they had much to say, and yet moments whensaying became the mere accompaniment to long duologuesof silence. Archer kept the talk from his ownaffairs, not with conscious intention but because he didnot want to miss a word of her history; and leaning onthe table, her chin resting on her clasped hands, shetalked to him of the year and a half since they had met.

She had grown tired of what people called "society";New York was kind, it was almost oppressivelyhospitable; she should never forget the way in which it hadwelcomed her back; but after the first flush of noveltyshe had found herself, as she phrased it, too "different"to care for the things it cared about--and so she haddecided to try Washington, where one was supposed tomeet more varieties of people and of opinion. And onthe whole she should probably settle down in Washington,and make a home there for poor Medora, whohad worn out the patience of all her other relations justat the time when she most needed looking after andprotecting from matrimonial perils.

"But Dr. Carver--aren't you afraid of Dr. Carver? Ihear he's been staying with you at the Blenkers'."

She smiled. "Oh, the Carver danger is over. Dr.Carver is a very clever man. He wants a rich wife tofinance his plans, and Medora is simply a goodadvertisement as a convert."

"A convert to what?"

"To all sorts of new and crazy social schemes. But,do you know, they interest me more than the blindconformity to tradition--somebody else's tradition--thatI see among our own friends. It seems stupid to havediscovered America only to make it into a copy of anothercountry." She smiled across the table. "Do you supposeChristopher Columbus would have taken all that troublejust to go to the Opera with the Selfridge Merrys?"

Archer changed colour. "And Beaufort--do you saythese things to Beaufort?" he asked abruptly.

"I haven't seen him for a long time. But I used to;and he understands."

"Ah, it's what I've always told you; you don't likeus. And you like Beaufort because he's so unlike us."He looked about the bare room and out at the barebeach and the row of stark white village houses strungalong the shore. "We're damnably dull. We've nocharacter, no colour, no variety.--I wonder," he broke out,"why you don't go back?"

Her eyes darkened, and he expected an indignantrejoinder. But she sat silent, as if thinking over what hehad said, and he grew frightened lest she should answerthat she wondered too.

At length she said: "I believe it's because of you."

It was impossible to make the confession moredispassionately, or in a tone less encouraging to thevanity of the person addressed. Archer reddened to thetemples, but dared not move or speak: it was as if herwords had been some rare butterfly that the least motionmight drive off on startled wings, but that mightgather a flock about it if it were left undisturbed.

"At least," she continued, "it was you who made meunderstand that under the dullness there are things sofine and sensitive and delicate that even those I mostcared for in my other life look cheap in comparison. Idon't know how to explain myself"--she drew togetherher troubled brows-- "but it seems as if I'dnever before understood with how much that is hardand shabby and base the most exquisite pleasures maybe paid."

"Exquisite pleasures--it's something to have hadthem!" he felt like retorting; but the appeal in her eyeskept him silent.

"I want," she went on, "to be perfectly honest withyou--and with myself. For a long time I've hoped thischance would come: that I might tell you how you'vehelped me, what you've made of me--"

Archer sat staring beneath frowning brows. Heinterrupted her with a laugh. "And what do you make outthat you've made of me?"

She paled a little. "Of you?"

"Yes: for I'm of your making much more than youever were of mine. I'm the man who married onewoman because another one told him to."

Her paleness turned to a fugitive flush. "I thought--you promised--you were not to say such things today."

"Ah--how like a woman! None of you will ever seea bad business through!"

She lowered her voice. "IS it a bad business--forMay?"

He stood in the window, drumming against the raisedsash, and feeling in every fibre the wistful tendernesswith which she had spoken her cousin's name.

"For that's the thing we've always got to think of--haven't we--by your own showing?" she insisted.

"My own showing?" he echoed, his blank eyes stillon the sea.

"Or if not," she continued, pursuing her own thoughtwith a painful application, "if it's not worth while tohave given up, to have missed things, so that othersmay be saved from disillusionment and misery--theneverything I came home for, everything that made myother life seem by contrast so bare and so poor becauseno one there took account of them--all these things area sham or a dream--"

He turned around without moving from his place."And in that case there's no reason on earth why youshouldn't go back?" he concluded for her.

Her eyes were clinging to him desperately. "Oh, ISthere no reason?"

"Not if you staked your all on the success of mymarriage. My marriage," he said savagely, "isn't goingto be a sight to keep you here." She made no answer,and he went on: "What's the use? You gave me myfirst glimpse of a real life, and at the same moment youasked me to go on with a sham one. It's beyond humanenduring--that's all."

"Oh, don't say that; when I'm enduring it!" sheburst out, her eyes filling.

Her arms had dropped along the table, and she satwith her face abandoned to his gaze as if in therecklessness of a desperate peril. The face exposed her asmuch as if it had been her whole person, with the soulbehind it: Archer stood dumb, overwhelmed by what itsuddenly told him.

"You too--oh, all this time, you too?"

For answer, she let the tears on her lids overflow andrun slowly downward.

Half the width of the room was still between them,and neither made any show of moving. Archer wasconscious of a curious indifference to her bodily presence:he would hardly have been aware of it if one ofthe hands she had flung out on the table had not drawnhis gaze as on the occasion when, in the little Twenty-third Street house, he had kept his eye on it in ordernot to look at her face. Now his imagination spunabout the hand as about the edge of a vortex; but stillhe made no effort to draw nearer. He had known thelove that is fed on caresses and feeds them; but thispassion that was closer than his bones was not to besuperficially satisfied. His one terror was to do anythingwhich might efface the sound and impression ofher words; his one thought, that he should never againfeel quite alone.

But after a moment the sense of waste and ruinovercame him. There they were, close together and safeand shut in; yet so chained to their separate destiniesthat they might as well have been half the world apart.

"What's the use--when you will go back?" he brokeout, a great hopeless HOW ON EARTH CAN I KEEP YOU?crying out to her beneath his words.

She sat motionless, with lowered lids. "Oh--I shan'tgo yet!"

"Not yet? Some time, then? Some time that youalready foresee?"

At that she raised her clearest eyes. "I promise you:not as long as you hold out. Not as long as we canlook straight at each other like this."

He dropped into his chair. What her answer reallysaid was: "If you lift a finger you'll drive me back:back to all the abominations you know of, and all thetemptations you half guess." He understood it as clearlyas if she had uttered the words, and the thought kepthim anchored to his side of the table in a kind ofmoved and sacred submission.

"What a life for you!--" he groaned.

"Oh--as long as it's a part of yours."

"And mine a part of yours?"

She nodded.

"And that's to be all--for either of us?"

"Well; it IS all, isn't it?"

At that he sprang up, forgetting everything but thesweetness of her face. She rose too, not as if to meethim or to flee from him, but quietly, as though theworst of the task were done and she had only to wait;so quietly that, as he came close, her outstretched handsacted not as a check but as a guide to him. They fellinto his, while her arms, extended but not rigid, kepthim far enough off to let her surrendered face say therest.

They may have stood in that way for a long time, oronly for a few moments; but it was long enough for hersilence to communicate all she had to say, and for himto feel that only one thing mattered. He must do nothingto make this meeting their last; he must leave theirfuture in her care, asking only that she should keep fasthold of it.

"Don't--don't be unhappy," she said, with a breakin her voice, as she drew her hands away; and heanswered: "You won't go back--you won't go back?"as if it were the one possibility he could not bear.

"I won't go back," she said; and turning away sheopened the door and led the way into the publicdining-room.

The strident school-teachers were gathering up theirpossessions preparatory to a straggling flight to the wharf;across the beach lay the white steam-boat at the pier;and over the sunlit waters Boston loomed in a line of haze.