The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

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

她渐渐厌倦了人们所说的“社交界”;纽约社会是友善的,它的殷勤好客几乎到了令人难以忍受的地步;她不会忘记它是怎样欢迎她归来的;但经历了最初的新奇兴奋之后,她发现自己——像她说的——是那么“格格不人”,她无法喜欢纽约喜欢的事情。所以,她决定去华盛顿试试看,在那里大概可以遇到各种各样的人,听到各种各样的见解。总之,她或许应在华盛顿安顿下来,在那儿为可怜的梅多拉提供一个家:所有其他的亲戚都已对她失去了耐心,而那时她又最需要照顾,最需要防止婚姻的危险。

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

“可是卡弗博士——你不是担心他吧?我听说,他一直和你们一起在布兰克家。”

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

她莞尔一笑。“咳,卡弗危机已经过去了。卡弗博士人很聪明,他想要一个有钱的妻子为他的计划提供资金。作为一名皈依者,梅多拉只是个好广告。”

"A convert to what?"

“皈依什么?”

"To all sorts of new and crazy social schemes. But, do you know, they interest me more than the blind conformity to tradition--somebody else's tradition--that I see among our own friends. It seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it into a copy of another country." She smiled across the table. "Do you suppose Christopher Columbus would have taken all that trouble just to go to the Opera with the Selfridge Merrys?"

“皈依各种新奇疯狂的社会计划呀。不过,你知道吗,我对那些计划倒是更感兴趣,它们胜过盲从传统,盲从他人的传统——像我在我们的朋友中间见到的那些。如果发现美洲只是为了把它变成另一个国家的翻版,那似乎是很愚蠢的,”她在桌对面笑了笑。“你能想象克里斯托弗·哥伦布历尽艰辛只是为了跟塞尔弗里奇·梅里一家去看歌剧吗?”

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

阿切尔脸色大变。“那么博福特——你常跟博福特谈起这些事吗?”他突然问道。

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

“我很久没见他了,但过去常对他讲,他能理解。”

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

“啊,还是我一再对你说的那句话,你不喜欢我们。你喜欢博福特,因为他与我们截然不同。”他环视空荡荡的屋子、外面空荡荡的海滨,以及沿海岸一字排列的空荡荡的白色农舍。“我们愚蠢透顶,没有个性,没有特色,单调乏味。——我觉得奇怪,”他脱口而出,“你干吗不回去呢?”

Her eyes darkened, and he expected an indignant rejoinder. But she sat silent, as if thinking over what he had said, and he grew frightened lest she should answer that she wondered too.

她的眼睛黯淡下来,他等待着她愤然的还击。然而她却坐着一声不吭,仿佛在细细考虑他说的话。他开始害怕了,惟恐她会说她也觉得奇怪。终于,她开口说:“我想是因为你的缘故。”

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

没有比这更不动声色的坦白了,或者说,没有比这更能激发听者虚荣心的口吻了。阿切尔的脸红到了太阳穴,他却既不敢动弹又不敢开口:仿佛她的话是只珍稀的蝴蝶,只要有一点儿轻微的响动,便会令它振动受惊的翅膀飞走;而若不受惊扰,它便会在周围引来一群蝴蝶。

It was impossible to make the confession more dispassionately, or in a tone less encouraging to the vanity of the person addressed. Archer reddened to the temples, but dared not move or speak: it was as if her words had been some rare butterfly that the least motion might drive off on startled wings, but that might gather a flock about it if it were left undisturbed.

“至少,”她接下去说,“是你使我认识到,在愚钝的背后还有那么美好、敏感而优雅的东西,它使我在另一种生活中喜爱的事物也相形见细。我不知该怎样表达——”她苦恼地皱起了眉头。“但我以前似乎从不知道为了那些高雅的乐趣,我要付出多少艰辛和屈辱。”

"At least," she continued, "it was you who made me understand that under the dullness there are things so fine and sensitive and delicate that even those I most cared for in my other life look cheap in comparison. I don't know how to explain myself"--she drew together her troubled brows-- "but it seems as if I'd never before understood with how much that is hard and shabby and base the most exquisite pleasures may be paid."

“高雅的乐趣——是值得追求的啊!”他想这样顶她一句,但她恳求的目光使他沉默了。

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

她接着说:“我想非常诚实地对待你——和我自己。很久以来,我就盼望有这样一次机会,能告诉你,你怎样帮助了我,你怎样改变了我——”

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

阿切尔坐在那儿,紧锁眉头,睁大了眼睛。他笑了一声打断了她的话。“可你知道你如何改变了我吗?”

Archer sat staring beneath frowning brows. He interrupted her with a laugh. "And what do you make out that you've made of me?"

她脸色有些苍白地问:“改变了你?”

She paled a little. "Of you?"

“对,你改变我的东西远比我改变你的要多。我娶了一个女人是因为另一个女人要我这么做。”

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

她苍白的脸色顿时红了。“我以为——你答应过——今天不讲这些事。”

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

“啊——真是个十足的女人啊!你们这些女人谁都不肯把一件糟糕的事解决好!”

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

她压低声音说:“那是糟糕的事吗——对梅来说?”

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

他站在窗口,敲打着拉起的吊窗框,每根神经都感受到她提起表妹的名字时那种眷恋之情。

He stood in the window, drumming against the raised sash, and feeling in every fibre the wistful tenderness with which she had spoken her cousin's name.

“因为这正是我们一直不得不考虑的——不是吗——你自己的表现不也说明如此吗?”她坚持说。

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

“我自己的表现?”他重复说,茫然的双眼仍然望着大海。

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

“如果不是,”她接着说,痛苦专注地继续追寻着自己的思路,“如果说,为了让别人免于幻灭与痛苦而放弃和失去一些东西是不值得的——那么,我回家来的目的,使我的另一段生活因为没人关心而显得空虚可悲的一切——不都变成了虚假的梦幻——”

"Or if not," she continued, pursuing her own thought with a painful application, "if it's not worth while to have given up, to have missed things, so that others may be saved from disillusionment and misery--then everything I came home for, everything that made my other life seem by contrast so bare and so poor because no one there took account of them--all these things are a sham or a dream--"

他原地转过身来。“如果是这样,那你就更没有理由不回去了?”他替她下结论说。

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

她绝望地两眼紧盯着他说:“啊,是没有理由吗?”

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

“没有——如果你把全部赌注都押在我婚姻的成功上。我的婚姻,”他粗暴地说,“不会成为留住你的一道风景。”她没有作声,阿切尔继续说:“这有什么意义呢?你使我第一次认识了真正的生活,而同时,你又要求我继续过虚伪的生活。这是任何人都无法忍受的——仅此而已。”

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

“啊,别这样说;我在忍受着呢。”她嚷道,眼睛里噙满了泪水。

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

她的双臂顺着桌子垂下去,她坐在那儿,任他凝视着自己的脸,仿佛对面临的严重危险已毫无顾忌。这张脸仿佛把她整个儿袒露了出来,让人看到里面的灵魂。阿切尔站在那儿目瞪口呆,被这种突然的表示吓得不知所措。

Her arms had dropped along the table, and she sat with her face abandoned to his gaze as if in the recklessness of a desperate peril. The face exposed her as much as if it had been her whole person, with the soul behind it: Archer stood dumb, overwhelmed by what it suddenly told him.

“你也——啊,这些日子,你也在忍受吗?”

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

作为回答,她让噙着的泪珠溢出眼睑,缓缓流淌下来。

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

他们两人之间仍有半室之隔,而彼此都没有移动的表示。阿切尔意识到自己对她的肉体存在有一种奇怪的冷漠:假如不是她突然伸到桌子上的一只手吸引住他的视线,他几乎就没有觉察到它。就像那一次在23街那个小房子里一样,为了不去看她的脸庞,他一直盯着这只手。他的想像力在这只手上盘旋着,就像在旋涡的边缘那样;但他仍不想接近她。他知道爱抚会激化爱情,而爱情又会激化爱抚;但这种难分难解的爱却是表面的接触无法满足的,他惟恐任何举动会抹去她话语的声音与印象,他惟一的心思是他永远不再感到孤独。

Half the width of the room was still between them, and neither made any show of moving. Archer was conscious of a curious indifference to her bodily presence: he would hardly have been aware of it if one of the hands she had flung out on the table had not drawn his gaze as on the occasion when, in the little Twenty- third Street house, he had kept his eye on it in order not to look at her face. Now his imagination spun about the hand as about the edge of a vortex; but still he made no effort to draw nearer. He had known the love that is fed on caresses and feeds them; but this passion that was closer than his bones was not to be superficially satisfied. His one terror was to do anything which might efface the sound and impression of her words; his one thought, that he should never again feel quite alone.

但过了一会儿,一种荒废时光的感觉又控制了他。在这儿,他们就在这儿,靠得很近,安全而又隐蔽;然而他们却被各自的命运所束缚,仿佛隔着半个世界。

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

“这还有什么意义呢——既然你准备回去?”他突然喊道。他的言外之意是绝望地向她乞求:我究竟怎样才能留住你?

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

她坐着纹丝不动,眼睑低垂。“哦——我现在还不会走嘛!”

She sat motionless, with lowered lids. "Oh--I shan't go yet!"

“还不会?那么,到某一时间就走?你已经预定了时间?”

"Not yet? Some time, then? Some time that you already foresee?"

听到这儿,她抬起一双清澈的眼睛说:“我答应你:只要你坚持住,只要我们能像现在这样正视对方,我就不走。”

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

他坐进自己的椅子里。她的回答实际上是说:“如果你抬起一根指头就会把我赶回去:回到你了解的所有那些令人厌恶的事情中去,回到你部分地猜中的那些诱惑中去。”他心里完全明白,仿佛她真的说出了这些话。这念头使他怀着激动、虔诚的心情顺从地固定在桌子这一边。

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

“这对你将是怎样一种生活啊!——”他呻吟着说。

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

“哦——只要它属于你生活的一部分。”

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

“我的生活也属于你生活的一部分?”

"And mine a part of yours?"

她点了点头。

She nodded.

“而这就是全部——对我们两人来说?”

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

“对,这就是全部,不是吗?”

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

听到这儿,他跳了起来,除了她可爱的面容,他什么都不记得了。她也站了起来,既不像是迎接他,也不像是逃避他,而是很镇静。既然任务最棘手的部分已经完成,那么她只需等待了。她是那样镇静,当他走近时,她伸出双手,不是阻挡他而是引导他。她的双手被他握住,她伸开的前臂并不僵硬,却把他隔在一定的距离,让她那张已经屈服的脸讲完余下的话。

At that he sprang up, forgetting everything but the sweetness of her face. She rose too, not as if to meet him or to flee from him, but quietly, as though the worst of the task were done and she had only to wait; so quietly that, as he came close, her outstretched hands acted not as a check but as a guide to him. They fell into his, while her arms, extended but not rigid, kept him far enough off to let her surrendered face say the rest.

也许他们这样站了很久,也许只有几秒钟时间,但这已足够让她默默地传达出她要说的一切了,同时也使他感觉到只有一件事是重要的:他一定不能轻举妄动,以免使这次相会成为诀别;他必须把他们的未来交给她安排,他只能请求她牢牢把它抓住。

They may have stood in that way for a long time, or only for a few moments; but it was long enough for her silence to communicate all she had to say, and for him to feel that only one thing mattered. He must do nothing to make this meeting their last; he must leave their future in her care, asking only that she should keep fast hold of it.

“不要——不要不高兴,”她说,声音有点嘶哑,同时把手抽了回去;他答道:“你不回去了——你是不回去了?”仿佛那是他惟一无法忍受的事情。

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

“我不回去了,”她说罢,转身打开门,率先朝公共餐厅走去。

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

那群叽叽喳喳的教师正整理行装,准备三五成群地奔向码头;沙滩对面的防波堤前停着那艘白色的汽船;在阳光照耀的水面那一边,波士顿隐约出现在一片雾霭之中。

The strident school-teachers were gathering up their possessions 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.