The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

New York was inexorable in its condemnation ofbusiness irregularities. So far there had been no exceptionto its tacit rule that those who broke the law ofprobity must pay; and every one was aware that evenBeaufort and Beaufort's wife would be offered upunflinchingly to this principle. But to be obliged to offerthem up would be not only painful but inconvenient.The disappearance of the Beauforts would leave aconsiderable void in their compact little circle; and thosewho were too ignorant or too careless to shudder at themoral catastrophe bewailed in advance the loss of thebest ball-room in New York.

纽约社会对生意场中不轨行为的谴责是毫不留情的。迄今为止,这项不言而喻的规矩尚无一个例外:破坏这项诚实法则的人都必须付出代价;人人都清楚,即使是博福特和博福特的妻子,也会被毫不犹豫地端出来,作为这项法则的祭品。然而不得已将他们端出来,不仅是件费力的事,且会带来诸多不便。博福特夫妇的消失将会在他们紧密的小圈子里造成相当大的空白;而那些过于无知、过于粗心、因而不会为道德灾难而惊恐的人们,已经为要失去纽约最好的舞厅而提前发出悲哀的叹息了。

Archer had definitely made up his mind to go toWashington. He was waiting only for the opening ofthe law-suit of which he had spoken to May, so that itsdate might coincide with that of his visit; but on thefollowing Tuesday he learned from Mr. Letterblair thatthe case might be postponed for several weeks. Nevertheless,he went home that afternoon determined in anyevent to leave the next evening. The chances were thatMay, who knew nothing of his professional life, andhad never shown any interest in it, would not learn ofthe postponement, should it take place, nor rememberthe names of the litigants if they were mentioned beforeher; and at any rate he could no longer put off seeingMadame Olenska. There were too many things that hemust say to her.

阿切尔已打定主意要去华盛顿。他只盼着他对梅讲的那件诉讼开庭,以便其日期可能与他的拜访巧合。然而第二周的周二,他从莱特布赖先生那儿得知案子可能要推迟几个星期。尽管如此,这天下午他回家后依然决定,无论如何要在翌日傍晚动身。侥幸的是梅对他的职业生活一无所知,而已从来没表露过任何兴趣,她大概不会了解延期的事,即使知道了,在她面前提起当事人的名字,她也不会记得。而不管怎样,他不能再推迟去见奥兰斯卡夫人了,他有太多太多的事必须对她讲。

On the Wednesday morning, when he reached hisoffice, Mr. Letterblair met him with a troubled face.Beaufort, after all, had not managed to "tide over";but by setting afloat the rumour that he had done so hehad reassured his depositors, and heavy payments hadpoured into the bank till the previous evening, whendisturbing reports again began to predominate. Inconsequence, a run on the bank had begun, and its doorswere likely to close before the day was over. The ugliestthings were being said of Beaufort's dastardlymanoeuvre, and his failure promised to be one of themost discreditable in the history of Wall Street.

星期三上午他到了办公室,看见莱特布赖先生满面愁容。博福特到底还是未能设法“过关”。但他通过散布自己已度过难关的谣言,让他的存款人安了心,截止前一天傍晚,大量的付款源源不断地注入银行,而这时,令人不安的报道才又开始占据上风。结果向银行的挤兑又开始了,不等今天结束,银行很可能就得关门。人们纷纷议论博福特丑恶的懦夫行径,他的失败可能成为华尔街历史上最可耻的事件。

The extent of the calamity left Mr. Letterblair whiteand incapacitated. "I've seen bad things in my time;but nothing as bad as this. Everybody we know will behit, one way or another. And what will be done aboutMrs. Beaufort? What CAN be done about her? I pityMrs. Manson Mingott as much as anybody: coming ather age, there's no knowing what effect this affair mayhave on her. She always believed in Beaufort--she madea friend of him! And there's the whole Dallas connection:poor Mrs. Beaufort is related to every one of you.Her only chance would be to leave her husband--yethow can any one tell her so? Her duty is at his side;and luckily she seems always to have been blind to hisprivate weaknesses."

灾难的严重性使莱特布赖先生脸色煞白,一筹莫展。“我一生见过很多糟糕的事情,但没有一次比这一件更糟糕。我们认识的每一个人都会这样那样地受到打击。博福特太太该怎么办呢?她又能怎么办?我同样也很同情曼森·明戈特太太:到了她这样的年纪,不知道这事会对她产生什么影响、她一直信任博福特——还把他当成朋友呢!还有达拉斯家的全部亲戚,可怜的博福特太太与你们每个人都有亲戚关系。她惟一的机会是离开她丈夫——可怎么能对她讲呢?留在他身边是她的本分,幸运的是她似乎一直对他私下的癖好视而不见。”

There was a knock, and Mr. Letterblair turned hishead sharply. "What is it? I can't be disturbed."

传来一声敲门声,莱特布赖猛地转过头去。“什么事?别来打扰我。”

A clerk brought in a letter for Archer and withdrew.Recognising his wife's hand, the young man openedthe envelope and read: "Won't you please come uptown as early as you can? Granny had a slight strokelast night. In some mysterious way she found out beforeany one else this awful news about the bank.Uncle Lovell is away shooting, and the idea of thedisgrace has made poor Papa so nervous that he has atemperature and can't leave his room. Mamma needsyou dreadfully, and I do hope you can get away at onceand go straight to Granny's."

一位职员送来一封给阿切尔的信,接着便出去了。年轻人认出是他妻子的笔迹,便打开信封,读道:“请尽快进城来好吗?昨晚外婆有点犯病,她很神秘地最先发现了有关银行的可怕消息。洛弗尔舅舅外出打猎去了,可怜的爸爸十分害怕丢脸,竞发起烧来,不能出门。妈妈非常需要你来,我也希望你立刻动身,直接到外婆家去。”

Archer handed the note to his senior partner, and afew minutes later was crawling northward in a crowdedhorse-car, which he exchanged at Fourteenth Street forone of the high staggering omnibuses of the Fifth Avenueline. It was after twelve o'clock when this laboriousvehicle dropped him at old Catherine's. Thesitting-room window on the ground floor, where sheusually throned, was tenanted by the inadequate figureof her daughter, Mrs. Welland, who signed a haggardwelcome as she caught sight of Archer; and at the doorhe was met by May. The hall wore the unnaturalappearance peculiar to well-kept houses suddenlyinvaded by illness: wraps and furs lay in heaps on thechairs, a doctor's bag and overcoat were on the table,and beside them letters and cards had already piled upunheeded.

阿切尔将信递给他的上司,几分钟之后他便坐上拥挤的马拉街车,慢吞吞向北驶去。在14街他又换乘第五大街专线一辆摇摇晃晃的公共马车。过了12点,那笨重的交通工具才把他丢在老凯瑟琳家的门前。平时由她君临的一楼起居室窗口被她女儿韦兰太太不相称的身影占据了。后者看见阿切尔,憔悴的脸上露出欢迎的神色。梅在门口迎住他。门厅的外观有些异样,这是整洁住宅在突遭疾病袭击时的特有现象:椅子上一堆堆的披肩和皮衣,桌上摆着医生的提包和外套,旁边堆着无人留意的信件与名片。

May looked pale but smiling: Dr. Bencomb, whohad just come for the second time, took a more hopefulview, and Mrs. Mingott's dauntless determination tolive and get well was already having an effect on herfamily. May led Archer into the old lady's sitting-room,where the sliding doors opening into the bedroom hadbeen drawn shut, and the heavy yellow damask portieresdropped over them; and here Mrs. Welland communicatedto him in horrified undertones the details ofthe catastrophe. It appeared that the evening beforesomething dreadful and mysterious had happened. Atabout eight o'clock, just after Mrs. Mingott had finishedthe game of solitaire that she always played afterdinner, the door-bell had rung, and a lady so thicklyveiled that the servants did not immediately recogniseher had asked to be received.

梅脸色苍白,但露着笑容告诉他:本科姆医生刚刚第二次光临,他的态度更加乐观了。明戈特太太活下去并恢复健康的坚强决心已经对家人产生影响。她领着阿切尔进了老夫人的起居室,里面那直通卧室的斜拉门已经关上,沉甸甸的黄缎门帘挂在上面。韦兰太太在这儿用惊恐的低音向他转述了灾难的详情。似乎是在前一大晚上,发生了一件神秘而又可怕的事。大约8点钟,明戈特太太刚结束她平时在饭后玩的单人纸牌游戏,这时门铃响了,一位戴着厚面纱的夫人求见,仆人当时没认出是谁。

The butler, hearing a familiar voice, had thrownopen the sitting-room door, announcing: "Mrs. JuliusBeaufort"--and had then closed it again on the twoladies. They must have been together, he thought, aboutan hour. When Mrs. Mingott's bell rang Mrs. Beauforthad already slipped away unseen, and the old lady,white and vast and terrible, sat alone in her great chair,and signed to the butler to help her into her room. Sheseemed, at that time, though obviously distressed, incomplete control of her body and brain. The mulattomaid put her to bed, brought her a cup of tea as usual,laid everything straight in the room, and went away;but at three in the morning the bell rang again, and thetwo servants, hastening in at this unwonted summons(for old Catherine usually slept like a baby), had foundtheir mistress sitting up against her pillows with acrooked smile on her face and one little hand hanginglimp from its huge arm.

管家听声音很熟,便推开起居室的门通报道:“朱利叶斯·博福特太太到。”接着又为两位夫人关上了门,他觉得她们俩一起待了大约一个小时光景。当明戈特太太的铃声响起时,博福特太太已悄然离去。只见老夫人独自坐在她那把大椅子里,脸色煞白,十分吓人,她示意管家帮她进卧室。那时候,她看起来尽管明显十分苦恼,但身体与头脑仍能完全控制。那位混血女佣把她安置在床上,跟平时一样给她端来一杯茶,把屋子里一一收拾停当,便走了。但在凌晨3点钟,铃声又响了,两个仆人听到这不寻常的召唤急忙赶来(因为老凯瑟琳平时睡得像婴儿一般甜),发现他们的女主人抵着枕头坐着,脸上挂着一丝苦笑,一只小手从大胳臂上无力地垂下来。

The stroke had clearly been a slight one, for she wasable to articulate and to make her wishes known; andsoon after the doctor's first visit she had begun toregain control of her facial muscles. But the alarm hadbeen great; and proportionately great was the indignationwhen it was gathered from Mrs. Mingott's fragmentaryphrases that Regina Beaufort had come to askher--incredible effrontery!--to back up her husband,see them through--not to "desert" them, as she calledit--in fact to induce the whole family to cover andcondone their monstrous dishonour.

这次中风显然还属轻度,因为她吐字还算清晰,能表达自己的愿望;而且医生第一次诊治之后,很快便恢复了面部肌肉的控制。然而,这件事不仅引起全家人极大的惊恐,同时在了解真相后,他们也产生了极大的愤慨。大家从明戈特太太支离破碎的话语中得知,里吉纳·博福特是来要求她——真是厚颜无耻!——支持她丈夫,帮他们度过难关,照她的说法,别“抛弃”他们——实际上是功全家人掩盖并宽恕他们的丑恶行径。

"I said to her: "Honour's always been honour, andhonesty honesty, in Manson Mingott's house, and willbe till I'm carried out of it feet first,'" the old womanhad stammered into her daughter's ear, in the thickvoice of the partly paralysed. "And when she said: `Butmy name, Auntie--my name's Regina Dallas,' I said: `Itwas Beaufort when he covered you with jewels, and it'sgot to stay Beaufort now that he's covered you withshame.'"

“我对她说了:‘名誉终归是名誉,诚实终归是诚实,在曼森·明戈特家,永远不会变,直到人家把我脚朝前从这儿抬出去,’”老太太用半瘫痪病人的沙哑声音结结巴巴对着女儿的耳朵说。“当她说‘可是姑妈,我的姓名——我的姓名是里吉纳·达拉斯’时,我说:‘博福特用珠宝把你包裹起来,你的姓就是博福特了,现在他又用耻辱包裹了你,你只好还叫博福特。’”

So much, with tears and gasps of horror, Mrs. Wellandimparted, blanched and demolished by the unwontedobligation of having at last to fix her eyes onthe unpleasant and the discreditable. "If only I couldkeep it from your father-in-law: he always says:`Augusta, for pity's sake, don't destroy my last illusions'--and how am I to prevent his knowing these horrors?"the poor lady wailed.

韦兰太太流着眼泪,惊恐万状地喘息着转述了这些情况。由于承担了这不寻常的义务,最终不得不面对这些讨厌而又可耻的事实,她脸色惨白,摇摇欲坠。 “我要是能瞒住你岳父该多好啊!他老是说:‘奥古斯塔,可怜可怜,别毁了我最后的幻想。’——可我怎么才能不让他知道这些可怕的事呢?”可怜的夫人哭泣着说。

"After all, Mamma, he won't have SEEN them," herdaughter suggested; and Mrs. Welland sighed: "Ah,no; thank heaven he's safe in bed. And Dr. Bencombhas promised to keep him there till poor Mamma isbetter, and Regina has been got away somewhere."

“妈妈,他毕竟见不到这些事了,”女儿提示说。韦兰太太则叹息道:“啊,是的;感谢上天,他躺在床上很安全。本科姆医生答应让他躺着,直到可怜的妈妈病情好转。而里吉纳也已经不知去向了。”

Archer had seated himself near the window and wasgazing out blankly at the deserted thoroughfare. It wasevident that he had been summoned rather for themoral support of the stricken ladies than because ofany specific aid that he could render. Mr. Lovell Mingotthad been telegraphed for, and messages were beingdespatched by hand to the members of the family livingin New York; and meanwhile there was nothing to dobut to discuss in hushed tones the consequences ofBeaufort's dishonour and of his wife's unjustifiableaction.

阿切尔坐在窗口,茫然地凝望着空无人迹的大街。显然,他被召来更多地是为了给罹难的夫人们以精神的支持,而不是因为他能提供什么具体帮助。已经给洛弗尔· 明戈特先生发了电报,给住在纽约的家族成员的信息也在派人传送。这期间,除了悄声议论博福特的耻辱与他妻子的不正当行为造成的恶果别无他事。

Mrs. Lovell Mingott, who had been in another roomwriting notes, presently reappeared, and added her voiceto the discussion. In THEIR day, the elder ladies agreed,the wife of a man who had done anything disgracefulin business had only one idea: to efface herself, todisappear with him. "There was the case of poor GrandmammaSpicer; your great-grandmother, May. Ofcourse," Mrs. Welland hastened to add, "your great-grandfather's money difficulties were private--lossesat cards, or signing a note for somebody--I never quiteknew, because Mamma would never speak of it. Butshe was brought up in the country because her motherhad to leave New York after the disgrace, whatever itwas: they lived up the Hudson alone, winter and sum-met, till Mamma was sixteen. It would never haveoccurred to Grandmamma Spicer to ask the family to`countenance' her, as I understand Regina calls it; thougha private disgrace is nothing compared to the scandalof ruining hundreds of innocent people."

洛弗尔·明戈特太太刚才在另一间屋里写信,现在又过来加入了讨论。年长的夫人们一致认为,在她们那个时代,-。个在生意上丢了脸的男人,他妻子只能有一种想法:就是隐退,跟他一起销声匿迹。“可怜的祖母斯派塞——你的太外婆,梅——就是个例子。当然,”韦兰太太急忙补充说,“你太外公的财政困难是私人性质的——打牌输了,或者借给别人了——我一直不很清楚,因为妈妈从米不肯讲。但她是在乡下长大的,因为出了丢脸的事,不管是怎么回事,她母亲不得不离开了纽约。她们单独住在哈德逊河上游,年复一年,直到我妈妈16岁。斯派塞祖母是绝对不会像里吉纳那样要求家里人‘支持’她的,尽管私人性质的耻辱与毁了数百个无辜者的丑闻相比简直算不了什么。”

"Yes, it would be more becoming in Regina to hideher own countenance than to talk about other people's,"Mrs. Lovell Mingott agreed. "I understand thatthe emerald necklace she wore at the Opera last Fridayhad been sent on approval from Ball and Black's in theafternoon. I wonder if they'll ever get it back?"

“是啊,里吉纳若是躲起来不露面,比要求别人支持更得体,”洛弗尔太太赞同地说。“我听说,上星期五看歌剧时她戴的祖母绿项链是鲍尔一布莱克首饰店下午刚送去的试用品,不知他们是否还能收回去。”

Archer listened unmoved to the relentless chorus.The idea of absolute financial probity as the first law ofa gentleman's code was too deeply ingrained in him forsentimental considerations to weaken it. An adventurerlike Lemuel Struthers might build up the millions of hisShoe Polish on any number of shady dealings; butunblemished honesty was the noblesse oblige of oldfinancial New York. Nor did Mrs. Beaufort's fate greatlymove Archer. He felt, no doubt, more sorry for herthan her indignant relatives; but it seemed to him thatthe tie between husband and wife, even if breakable inprosperity, should be indissoluble in misfortune. AsMr. Letterblair had said, a wife's place was at herhusband's side when he was in trouble; but society'splace was not at his side, and Mrs. Beaufort's coolassumption that it was seemed almost to make her hisaccomplice. The mere idea of a woman's appealing toher family to screen her husband's business dishonourwas inadmissible, since it was the one thing that theFamily, as an institution, could not do.

阿切尔无动于衷地听着异口同声的无情声讨。在财政事务中的绝对诚实,是绅士规范的首要法则,这在他心目中根深蒂固,多愁善感的体恤也不能将其削弱。像莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯之流的投机分子可以靠无数见不得人的勾当为他的鞋油店聚集几百万,但清白诚实依然是老纽约金融界崇尚的道德规范。博福特太太的命运也没有给阿切尔以太太的触动。与她那些愤愤的亲戚相比,他无疑更为她感到遗憾,但他认为夫妻间的纽带即便顺利时可以破裂,在逆境中却应坚不可摧。正如莱特布赖先生说的,当丈夫遇到困难时,妻子应该站在他一边。然而上流社会却不会站在他一边。博福特太太厚颜地臆断它会支持他,这种想法几乎把她变成了他的帮凶。她请求她的家人遮盖她丈夫生意上的耻辱——仅仅有这种想法都是不能允许的,因为家庭作为社会的细胞是不能做那种事的。

The mulatto maid called Mrs. Lovell Mingott intothe hall, and the latter came back in a moment with afrowning brow.

混血女佣把洛弗尔太太叫到门厅,后者旋即皱着眉头回来了。

"She wants me to telegraph for Ellen Olenska. I hadwritten to Ellen, of course, and to Medora; but now itseems that's not enough. I'm to telegraph to herimmediately, and to tell her that she's to come alone."

“她要我发电报叫埃伦·奥兰斯卡。当然,我已经给埃伦写了信去,也给梅多拉写了。可现在看来还不行,我得赶紧去给她发份电报,叫她一个人回来。”

The announcement was received in silence. Mrs.Welland sighed resignedly, and May rose from her seat andwent to gather up some newspapers that had beenscattered on the floor.

迎接这一消息的是一片沉默。韦兰太太听大由命地叹了口气,梅则从座位上站起来,去收拾散落在地上的几张报纸。

"I suppose it must be done," Mrs. Lovell Mingottcontinued, as if hoping to be contradicted; and Mayturned back toward the middle of the room.

“我看这电报是一定得发了。”洛弗尔·明戈特太太接着说,似乎希望有人反对似的。梅转身走向屋子中间。

"Of course it must be done," she said. "Grannyknows what she wants, and we must carry out all herwishes. Shall I write the telegram for you, Auntie? If itgoes at once Ellen can probably catch tomorrow morning'strain." She pronounced the syllables of the namewith a peculiar clearness, as if she had tapped on twosilver bells.

“当然一定得发了,”她说。“外婆清楚自己想干什么,我们必须满足她的所有要求。我来为你写电文好吗,舅妈?如果立即发走,埃伦也许能赶上明晨的火车。”她将那名字的音节说得特别清晰,仿佛敲响两只银铃似的。

"Well, it can't go at once. Jasper and the pantry-boyare both out with notes and telegrams."

“唔,马上可发不走,贾斯珀和配膳男仆都出去送信、发电报了。”

May turned to her husband with a smile. "But here'sNewland, ready to do anything. Will you take thetelegram, Newland? There'll be just time before luncheon."

梅嫣然一笑转向她的丈夫。“可这儿有纽兰待命呢。你去发电报好吗,纽兰?午饭前正好还来得及。”

Archer rose with a murmur of readiness, and sheseated herself at old Catherine's rosewood "Bonheurdu Jour," and wrote out the message in her largeimmature hand. When it was written she blotted itneatly and handed it to Archer.

阿切尔站起来,咕哝说行。她自己坐到老凯瑟琳玫瑰木的“迭式写字台”旁,用她那尚不够圆熟的大字体写起了电文。写完又用吸墨纸仔细吸干,交给了阿切尔。

"What a pity," she said, "that you and Ellen willcross each other on the way!--Newland," she added,turning to her mother and aunt, "is obliged to go toWashington about a patent law-suit that is coming upbefore the Supreme Court. I suppose Uncle Lovell willbe back by tomorrow night, and with Granny improvingso much it doesn't seem right to ask Newland togive up an important engagement for the firm--doesit?"

“多可惜呀,”她说,“你和埃伦要在路上擦肩而过了!”她转过身来对着母亲和舅妈补充说:“纽兰得到华盛顿去,为了一件即将提交最高法院的专利案件。我想,洛弗尔舅舅明晚就回来了,既然外婆大有好转,似乎不应该让纽兰放弃事务所的一项重要任务吧?”

She paused, as if for an answer, and Mrs. Wellandhastily declared: "Oh, of course not, darling. YourGranny would be the last person to wish it." As Archerleft the room with the telegram, he heard his mother-in-law add, presumably to Mrs. Lovell Mingott: "Butwhy on earth she should make you telegraph for EllenOlenska--" and May's clear voice rejoin: "Perhaps it'sto urge on her again that after all her duty is with herhusband."

她打住话头,仿佛等待回答。韦兰太太急忙声明说:“噢,当然不应该,亲爱的。你外婆最不愿那样了。”阿切尔拿着电报走出房间后,听到他的岳母又说 ——可能是对洛弗尔·明戈特:“可她究竟干吗要让你发电报叫埃伦·奥兰斯卡——”梅声音清晰地应声说:“也许是为了再次向她强调,她的职责终究是要和丈夫在一起。”

The outer door closed on Archer and he walkedhastily away toward the telegraph office.

外大门在阿切尔身后关上了,他急忙向电报局走去。