The Age of Innocence  纯真年代

The scene was the van der Luydens' black walnutdining-room in Madison Avenue, and the time the eveningafter Newland Archer's visit to the Museum ofArt. Mr. and Mrs. van der Luyden had come to townfor a few days from Skuytercliff, whither they hadprecipitately fled at the announcement of Beaufort'sfailure. It had been represented to them that the disarrayinto which society had been thrown by this deplorableaffair made their presence in town more necessarythan ever. It was one of the occasions when, as Mrs.Archer put it, they "owed it to society" to show themselvesat the Opera, and even to open their own doors.

地点是麦迪逊大街范德卢顿家黑胡桃木的餐厅,时间是阿切尔参观艺术馆的翌日傍晚。范德卢顿先生与太太从斯库特克利夫回城小住几日,他们是在宣告博福特破产消息时慌忙逃到那儿去的。听说这一悲惨事件使社交界陷入一片混乱,这使得他们俩在城里露面显得越发重要。事态又到了十分关键的时刻,正如阿切尔太太说的,到歌剧院露露面、甚至打开他们家的大门,是他们“对社交界义不容辞的责任”。

"It will never do, my dear Louisa, to let people likeMrs. Lemuel Struthers think they can step into Regina'sshoes. It is just at such times that new people pushin and get a footing. It was owing to the epidemic ofchicken-pox in New York the winter Mrs. Struthersfirst appeared that the married men slipped away toher house while their wives were in the nursery. Youand dear Henry, Louisa, must stand in the breach asyou always have."

“亲爱的露易莎,让莱姆尔·斯特拉瑟斯太太那样的人以为她们可以取代里吉纳,这绝对不行。那些新人正是利用这种时机闯进来,取得立足之地的。斯特拉瑟斯太太初到纽约的那年冬天,正是由于水痘的流行,才让那些已婚男人趁妻子呆在育儿室的机会溜到她家里去的。路易莎,你和亲爱的亨利一定要像以往那样担当中流砥柱啊。”

Mr. and Mrs. van der Luyden could not remain deafto such a call, and reluctantly but heroically they hadcome to town, unmuffled the house, and sent outinvitations for two dinners and an evening reception.

范德卢顿先生与太太对这样的召唤总不能充耳不闻,于是他们勉强却很勇敢地回到了城里,重开门庭,并发出请柬要举办两场宴会和一场晚会。

On this particular evening they had invited SillertonJackson, Mrs. Archer and Newland and his wife to gowith them to the Opera, where Faust was being sungfor the first time that winter. Nothing was done withoutceremony under the van der Luyden roof, andthough there were but four guests the repast had begunat seven punctually, so that the proper sequence ofcourses might be served without haste before the gentlemensettled down to their cigars.

这天晚上,他们邀请了西勒顿·杰克逊、阿切尔太太、纽兰和妻子一起去歌剧院,去听今年冬天首场演出的《浮士德》。在范德卢顿的屋檐下事事少不了客套,尽管只有4位客人,就餐也在7点钟准时开始,所以一道道菜肴有条不紊地用过之后,绅士们还可以安下心来抽一支雪茄。

Archer had not seen his wife since the eveningbefore. He had left early for the office, where he hadplunged into an accumulation of unimportant business.In the afternoon one of the senior partners had madean unexpected call on his time; and he had reachedhome so late that May had preceded him to the van derLuydens', and sent back the carriage.

阿切尔自昨晚还没见过妻子的面。他一早就去了事务所,埋头于累积下的一堆业务琐事,下午一位上司又意外地召见了他。所以他回到家已经很晚了,梅已经提前去了范德卢顿家,并把马车打发了回来。

Now, across the Skuytercliff carnations and the massiveplate, she struck him as pale and languid; but hereyes shone, and she talked with exaggerated animation.

此刻,隔着斯库特克利夫的石榴花和一大堆菜盘,她给他的印象是苍白与疲倦,不过她那双眼睛依然很亮,讲话时有点儿过分活跃。

The subject which had called forth Mr. SillertonJackson's favourite allusion had been brought up (Archerfancied not without intention) by their hostess. TheBeaufort failure, or rather the Beaufort attitude sincethe failure, was still a fruitful theme for the drawing-room moralist; and after it had been thoroughly examinedand condemned Mrs. van der Luyden had turnedher scrupulous eyes on May Archer.

引出西勒顿·杰克逊得意的典故的是女主人提出的话题(阿切尔猜想她并非无意)。博福特的破产,或者说博福特破产后的态度,依然是客厅伦理学家卓有成效的话题,在对其进行彻底调查与谴责之后,范德卢顿太太国不转睛地注视着梅·阿切尔。

"Is it possible, dear, that what I hear is true? I wastold your grandmother Mingott's carriage was seenstanding at Mrs. Beaufort's door." It was noticeablethat she no longer called the offending lady by herChristian name.

“亲爱的,我听人说的这件事能是真的吗?据说有人曾看到你外婆明戈特的马车停在博福特太太的大门口。”引人注意的是,她不再用教名称呼那位犯了众怒的夫人了。

May's colour rose, and Mrs. Archer put in hastily:"If it was, I'm convinced it was there without Mrs.Mingott's knowledge."

梅的脸上泛起了红晕,阿切尔太太急忙插言说:“假如是真的,我相信明戈特太太也不知其事。”

"Ah, you think--?" Mrs. van der Luyden paused,sighed, and glanced at her husband.

“啊,你认为——?”范德卢顿太太打住话头,叹了口气,瞥了丈夫一眼。

"I'm afraid," Mr. van der Luyden said, "that MadameOlenska's kind heart may have led her into theimprudence of calling on Mrs. Beaufort."

“恐怕是,”范德卢顿先生说,“奥兰斯卡夫人的善心,可能促使她唐突地去看望了博福特太太。”

"Or her taste for peculiar people," put in Mrs. Archerin a dry tone, while her eyes dwelt innocently on herson's.

“或者说是她对特殊人物的兴趣,”阿切尔太太语气冷淡地说,同时傻乎乎地用眼睛紧盯着儿子。

"I'm sorry to think it of Madame Olenska," saidMrs. van der Luyden; and Mrs. Archer murmured:"Ah, my dear--and after you'd had her twice atSkuytercliff!"

“我很遗憾这种事与奥兰斯卡夫人联系在一起,”范德卢顿太太说。阿切尔太太咕哝道:“啊,亲爱的——而且是你在斯库特克利夫接待了她两次之后!”

It was at this point that Mr. Jackson seized thechance to place his favourite allusion.

杰克逊先生正是在这个节骨眼上抓住机会,提出了他得意的典故。

"At the Tuileries," he repeated, seeing the eyes of thecompany expectantly turned on him, "the standardwas excessively lax in some respects; and if you'd askedwhere Morny's money came from--! Or who paid thedebts of some of the Court beauties . . ."

“在杜伊勒利宫,”他重复道,发现大伙都把期待的目光转向了他,“对某些问题的规范是很不严格的;假若你问到莫尼的钱是哪儿来的——或者谁为宫里的美人付债……”

"I hope, dear Sillerton," said Mrs. Archer, "you arenot suggesting that we should adopt such standards?"

“亲爱的西勒顿,”阿切尔太太说,“我希望你不是在建议我们也接受这种规范吧?”

"I never suggest," returned Mr. Jackson imperturbably."But Madame Olenska's foreign bringing-up maymake her less particular--"

“我决不会建议的,”杰克逊先生冷静地回答道。“不过奥兰斯卡夫人在国外所受的教养可能使她不太讲究——”

"Ah," the two elder ladies sighed.

“唉,”两位年长的夫人叹了口气。

"Still, to have kept her grandmother's carriage at adefaulter's door!" Mr. van der Luyden protested; andArcher guessed that he was remembering, and resenting,the hampers of carnations he had sent to the littlehouse in Twenty-third Street.

“尽管如此,也不该将她祖母的马车停在一个赖债的家伙门口呀!”范德卢顿先生反对说。阿切尔猜测他可能是想起了他送到23街那座小房子里的那几篮子康乃馨,并因此而愤愤然。

"Of course I've always said that she looks at thingsquite differently," Mrs. Archer summed up.

“那是当然,我一直说她看问题跟别人两样,”阿切尔太太总结说。

A flush rose to May's forehead. She looked acrossthe table at her husband, and said precipitately: "I'msure Ellen meant it kindly."

一片红润涌上梅的额头,她看着桌子对面的丈夫,贸然地说:“我敢肯定,埃伦原本是出于好心。”

"Imprudent people are often kind," said Mrs. Archer,as if the fact were scarcely an extenuation; and Mrs.van der Luyden murmured: "If only she had consultedsome one--"

“轻率的人经常是出于好心的,”阿切尔太太说,仿佛这也很难为其开脱。范德卢顿太太低声说:“她若是能找个人商量一下——”

"Ah, that she never did!" Mrs. Archer rejoined.

“咳,她从来不会找人商量的!”阿切尔太太应声说。

At this point Mr. van der Luyden glanced at his wife,who bent her head slightly in the direction of Mrs.Archer; and the glimmering trains of the three ladiesswept out of the door while the gentlemen settled downto their cigars. Mr. van der Luyden supplied short oneson Opera nights; but they were so good that they madehis guests deplore his inexorable punctuality.

这时候,范德卢顿先生瞥了妻子一眼,后者朝阿切尔太太略一欠身,接着三位女士便拖着熠熠闪光的裙裾,一溜烟儿似的从门口出去了。绅士们则安心地抽起雪茄。范德卢顿先生供应的是晚上听歌剧吸的短雪茄,不过品味极佳,以致客人们动身时都为主人的恪守时间而感到惋惜。

Archer, after the first act, had detached himself fromthe party and made his way to the back of the clubbox. From there he watched, over various Chivers,Mingott and Rushworth shoulders, the same scene thathe had looked at, two years previously, on the night ofhis first meeting with Ellen Olenska. He had half-expected her to appear again in old Mrs. Mingott'sbox, but it remained empty; and he sat motionless, hiseyes fastened on it, till suddenly Madame Nilsson'spure soprano broke out into "M'ama, non m'ama . . . "

第一幕结束后,阿切尔摆脱开同伴,朝俱乐部包厢的后面走去。从那儿,越过姓奇弗斯、明戈特、拉什沃斯的许多人的肩膀,他注视着两年前与埃伦·奥兰斯卡第一次见面那天晚上他看到的场景。他有意无意地盼望她会再出现在老明戈特太太的包厢里,但包厢里空无一人。他坐着一动不动,两眼紧盯着那个包厢,直到尼尔森夫人纯正的女高音突然进发出“呣啊嘛——哝——呣啊嘛……”

Archer turned to the stage, where, in the familiarsetting of giant roses and pen-wiper pansies, the samelarge blonde victim was succumbing to the same smallbrown seducer.

阿切尔转向舞台,上面硕大的玫瑰花与三色董的熟悉布景中,同一位无辜的高大金发女郎正屈服于同一位矮小的棕发引诱者。

From the stage his eyes wandered to the point of thehorseshoe where May sat between two older ladies,just as, on that former evening, she had sat betweenMrs. Lovell Mingott and her newly-arrived "foreign"cousin. As on that evening, she was all in white; andArcher, who had not noticed what she wore, recognisedthe blue-white satin and old lace of her wedding dress.

他的目光扫视了一个U字形,落到梅就坐的地方。她夹在两位老夫人中间,跟两年前那个晚上很相似。当时,她坐在洛弗尔·明戈特与她那位刚到的“外国”表姐中间。那天晚上她穿的是一身白衣服,阿切尔刚才没注意她穿的什么,这会儿才看出她穿的是那身带老式花边的蓝白缎子婚礼服。

It was the custom, in old New York, for brides toappear in this costly garment during the first year ortwo of marriage: his mother, he knew, kept hers intissue paper in the hope that Janey might some daywear it, though poor Janey was reaching the age whenpearl grey poplin and no bridesmaids would be thoughtmore "appropriate."

按纽约的老风俗,新娘在婚后头一两年内穿这身贵重的衣服。据他所知,他母亲一直把自己那身婚服包在绵纸里保存着,指望有朝一日让詹尼穿。可是可怜的詹尼眼看已到了穿珠灰色府绸的年纪,且已不适合做伴娘了。

It struck Archer that May, since their return fromEurope, had seldom worn her bridal satin, and thesurprise of seeing her in it made him compare herappearance with that of the young girl he had watchedwith such blissful anticipations two years earlier.

阿切尔忽然想到,自从他们从欧洲回来后,梅一直很少穿她的新娘缎服。现在意外地见她穿在身上,他不由得将她的外貌与两年前他怀着幸福的憧憬观察的那位姑娘做了一番比较。

Though May's outline was slightly heavier, as hergoddesslike build had foretold, her athletic erectness ofcarriage, and the girlish transparency of her expression,remained unchanged: but for the slight languor thatArcher had lately noticed in her she would have beenthe exact image of the girl playing with the bouquet oflilies-of-the-valley on her betrothal evening. The factseemed an additional appeal to his pity: such innocencewas as moving as the trustful clasp of a child. Then heremembered the passionate generosity latent under thatincurious calm. He recalled her glance of understandingwhen he had urged that their engagement should beannounced at the Beaufort ball; he heard the voice inwhich she had said, in the Mission garden: "I couldn'thave my happiness made out of a wrong--a wrong tosome one else;" and an uncontrollable longing seizedhim to tell her the truth, to throw himself on hergenerosity, and ask for the freedom he had once refused.

虽然梅那女神般的体态早就预示她的轮廓会像现在这样略嫌粗大,但她昂首挺身的运动员风采及一脸小姑娘似的坦城却依然如故。若不是阿切尔近来注意到的那一丝倦怠,她简直跟订婚那大晚上侍弄那束铃兰的那位姑娘一模一样。这一事实似乎格外引起他的同情,她的单纯就像小孩子信赖的拥抱那样感人至深。接着,他记起了隐伏于她的漠然与沉静中的激昂慷慨,回想起当他力劝她在博福特家舞会上宣布他们的订婚消息时她那理解的目光;他仿佛又听到了她在教区花园里说过的那番话: “我不能把自己的幸福建筑在对另一个人的不——不公平上。”他抑制不住地产生了一种渴望:想对她说出真相,以便仰仗她的宽宏大量,请求得到他一度拒绝过的自由。

Newland Archer was a quiet and self-controlled youngman. Conformity to the discipline of a small societyhad become almost his second nature. It was deeplydistasteful to him to do anything melodramatic andconspicuous, anything Mr. van der Luyden would havedeprecated and the club box condemned as bad form.But he had become suddenly unconscious of the clubbox, of Mr. van der Luyden, of all that had so longenclosed him in the warm shelter of habit. He walkedalong the semi-circular passage at the back of the house,and opened the door of Mrs. van der Luyden's box asif it had been a gate into the unknown.

纽兰·阿切尔是个善于自我克制的沉稳青年,遵循一个狭小社会阶层的行为准则几乎已经成了他的第二天性。对于任何哗众取宠的行为,对于任何范德卢顿先生与俱乐部包厢里的人们指责为粗鲁的行为,他都深恶痛绝。但忽然间,他忘记了俱乐部包厢,忘记了范德卢顿先生,以及长期将他包围在习惯庇护中的一切。他穿过剧场后面半圆形的过道,打开范德卢顿太太包厢的门,仿佛那原是一道通往未知世界的门一样。

"M'ama!" thrilled out the triumphant Marguerite;and the occupants of the box looked up in surprise atArcher's entrance. He had already broken one of therules of his world, which forbade the entering of a boxduring a solo.

“呣阿麻!”得意洋洋的玛格丽特正用颤音尖声唱着。阿切尔一进去,包厢里的人全都惊讶地抬起头来看他:他已经违背了他那个圈子的一条规则——在独唱表演期间是不准进入包厢的。

Slipping between Mr. van der Luyden and SillertonJackson, he leaned over his wife.

他悄悄从范德卢顿先生与西勒顿先生中间走过去,探身俯于妻子上方。

"I've got a beastly headache; don't tell any one, butcome home, won't you?" he whispered.

“我头痛得厉害。别对任何人讲,跟我回家好吗?”他悄声说。

May gave him a glance of comprehension, and hesaw her whisper to his mother, who nodded sympathetically;then she murmured an excuse to Mrs. vander Luyden, and rose from her seat just as Margueritefell into Faust's arms. Archer, while he helped her onwith her Opera cloak, noticed the exchange of a significantsmile between the older ladies.

梅理解地看了他一眼,只见她悄声告诉了她母亲,后者同情地点了点头,接着她又嗫嚅着向范德卢顿太太表示了歉意,便从座位上站了起来。这时正值玛格丽特落进浮士德的怀抱。当阿切尔帮她穿外衣时,他注意到两位老夫人相互交换了个意味深长的微笑。

As they drove away May laid her hand shyly onhis. "I'm so sorry you don't feel well. I'm afraid they'vebeen overworking you again at the office."

他们乘车离开,梅怯生生地把手放在他的手上。“你不舒服,我心里很难过。怕是他们在事务所又让你劳累过度了吧。”

"No--it's not that: do you mind if I open thewindow?" he returned confusedly, letting down the paneon his side. He sat staring out into the street, feeling hiswife beside him as a silent watchful interrogation, andkeeping his eyes steadily fixed on the passing houses.At their door she caught her skirt in the step of thecarriage, and fell against him.

“不——不是那么回事。我把窗打开行吗?”他不知所措地说,一面落下他那边的窗玻璃。他坐在那儿,眼睛盯着窗外的街道,觉得妻子在身边就像在默默地对他监视、审讯一样,便用眼睛紧紧盯着一座座路过的房子。到了家门口,她在马车的阶蹬上被裙子绊了一下,倒在他身上。

"Did you hurt yourself?" he asked, steadying herwith his arm.

“你没受伤吧?”他问道,并用胳膊扶稳她。

"No; but my poor dress--see how I've torn it!" sheexclaimed. She bent to gather up a mud-stained breadth,and followed him up the steps into the hall. The servantshad not expected them so early, and there wasonly a glimmer of gas on the upper landing.

“没有;可是我可怜的衣服——瞧我把它撕坏了!”她大声说,弯身提起被泥土弄脏的那一面,跟着他跨上台阶进了门厅。仆人们没想到他们这么早回来,上面平台上只有一盏微弱的煤气灯。

Archer mounted the stairs, turned up the light, andput a match to the brackets on each side of the librarymantelpiece. The curtains were drawn, and the warmfriendly aspect of the room smote him like that of afamiliar face met during an unavowable errand.

阿切尔上楼捻亮了灯,并用火柴点着图书室壁炉台两侧的煤气灯嘴。窗帘都拉上了,屋子里暖融融的温馨气氛深深触动了他,使他觉得好像在执行一项难于启齿的任务时遇上了熟人一样。

He noticed that his wife was very pale, and asked ifhe should get her some brandy.

他注意到妻子脸色十分苍白,问她是否需要他弄点儿白兰地来。

"Oh, no," she exclaimed with a momentary flush, asshe took off her cloak. "But hadn't you better go tobed at once?" she added, as he opened a silver box onthe table and took out a cigarette.

“噢,不用,”她说着一阵脸红,脱下了外套。“你赶紧上床不好吗?”她又说。这时他打开桌上一个银匣子,取出一支香烟。

Archer threw down the cigarette and walked to hisusual place by the fire.

阿切尔丢下烟,走到他平时坐的炉火旁边。

"No; my head is not as bad as that." He paused."And there's something I want to say; somethingimportant--that I must tell you at once."

“不用,我的头痛得没那么厉害。”他停顿了一下又说:“我有件事想说一说,一件重要的事——我必须立即告诉你。”

She had dropped into an armchair, and raised herhead as he spoke. "Yes, dear?" she rejoined, so gentlythat he wondered at the lack of wonder with which shereceived this preamble.

她已坐在扶手椅里,听他一说,抬起头来。“是吗,亲爱的?”她应声道,声音那么温柔,她对他的开场白见怪不怪的态度倒使他感到奇怪了。

"May--" he began, standing a few feet from herchair, and looking over at her as if the slight distancebetween them were an unbridgeable abyss. The soundof his voice echoed uncannily through the homelikehush, and he repeated: "There is something I've got totell you . . . about myself . . ."

“梅——”他开口道。他站在离她的椅于几英尺之外,对面看着她,仿佛他们之间这点距离是不可逾越的深渊似的。他的话音在这种舒适安静的气氛中听起来有点怪异,他又重复地说:“有件事情我必须告诉你……关于我自己……”

She sat silent, without a movement or a tremor ofher lashes. She was still extremely pale, but her facehad a curious tranquillity of expression that seemeddrawn from some secret inner source.

她沉静地坐着,一动不动,眼睛都没眨一下。她的脸色仍然非常苍白,但表情却出奇地平静,那平静仿佛来源于内心一种神秘的力量。

Archer checked the conventional phrases of self-accusalthat were crowding to his lips. He was determined toput the case baldly, without vain recrimination or excuse.

阿切尔压住了涌到嘴边的那种自责的套语,他决心直截了当地把事情说开,不做徒劳的自责或辩解。

"Madame Olenska--" he said; but at the name hiswife raised her hand as if to silence him. As she did sothe gaslight struck on the gold of her wedding-ring,

“奥兰斯卡夫人——”他说道,但妻子一听这个名字便举起一只手,好像让他住口似的。这样一来,煤气灯光便照射在她那枚结婚戒指的金面上。

"Oh, why should we talk about Ellen tonight?" sheasked, with a slight pout of impatience.

“咳,今晚我们干吗要谈论埃伦呢?”她略显厌烦地绷着脸问道。

"Because I ought to have spoken before."

“因为我早就该讲了。”

Her face remained calm. "Is it really worth while,dear? I know I've been unfair to her at times--perhapswe all have. You've understood her, no doubt, betterthan we did: you've always been kind to her. But whatdoes it matter, now it's all over?"

她脸色依然很平静。“真有必要吗,亲爱的?我知道有时我对她不够公正——也许我们都不公正。无疑你比我更理解她:你一直对她很好。不过,既然都已经过去了,还有什么关系呢?”

Archer looked at her blankly. Could it be possiblethat the sense of unreality in which he felt himselfimprisoned had communicated itself to his wife?

阿切尔惶惑地看着她。束缚着自己的那种虚幻感觉难道已传染给他妻子了吗?

"All over--what do you mean?" he asked in anindistinct stammer.

“都过去了——你这话什么意思?”他含糊不清地结巴着说。

May still looked at him with transparent eyes. "Why--since she's going back to Europe so soon; since Grannyapproves and understands, and has arranged to makeher independent of her husband--"

梅仍然用坦率的目光看着他。“怎么——因为她很快就回欧洲了;因为外婆赞成她、理解她,而且已经安排好让她不依赖她丈夫而独立——”

She broke off, and Archer, grasping the corner of themantelpiece in one convulsed hand, and steadying himselfagainst it, made a vain effort to extend the samecontrol to his reeling thoughts.

她突然住了口,阿切尔用一只抖动的手抓住壁炉架的一角,借以支撑住自己,并徒然地想对混乱的思绪进行同样的控制。

"I supposed," he heard his wife's even voice go on,"that you had been kept at the office this eveningabout the business arrangements. It was settled thismorning, I believe." She lowered her eyes under hisunseeing stare, and another fugitive flush passed overher face.

“我以为,”他听见妻子那平静的声音继续说,“你今天傍晚留在办公室是进行事务性准备呢。我想,事情是今天上午决定的。”在他茫然的注视下,她低垂下眼睛,脸上又掠过一片难以捉摸的红晕。

He understood that his own eyes must be unbearable,and turning away, rested his elbows on the mantel-shelf and covered his face. Something drummed andclanged furiously in his ears; he could not tell if it werethe blood in his veins, or the tick of the clock on themantel.

他觉得自己的目光一定是令人无法忍受,于是转过身去,将双肘支在壁炉台上,捂住了脸。有什么东西在他耳朵里唿咚唿咚地乱响,他说不清是他血管里血的悸动,还是壁炉上钟表的咔嗒声。

May sat without moving or speaking while the clockslowly measured out five minutes. A lump of coal fellforward in the grate, and hearing her rise to push itback, Archer at length turned and faced her.

梅坐在那儿一动未动,也没有讲话,那种表缓缓地走了5分钟。炉格里有一块煤向前滚落下来,他听见她起身把它推了回去。阿切尔终于转过身来面对着她。

"It's impossible," he exclaimed.

“这不可能,”他大声说。

"Impossible--?"

“不可能——?”

"How do you know--what you've just told me?"

“你怎么知道——刚才你对我讲的事?”

"I saw Ellen yesterday--I told you I'd seen her atGranny's."

“昨天我见到埃伦了——我告诉了你我在外婆家见到了她。”

"It wasn't then that she told you?"

“她不是那时告诉你的吧?”

"No; I had a note from her this afternoon.--Do youwant to see it?"

“不是;今天下午我收到她一封信——你想看看吗?”

He could not find his voice, and she went out of theroom, and came back almost immediately.

他一时张口结舌。她出了房间,旋即又转了回来。

"I thought you knew," she said simply.

“我还以为你知道了呢,”她坦然地说。

She laid a sheet of paper on the table, and Archer putout his hand and took it up. The letter contained only afew lines.

她把一张纸放在桌上,阿切尔伸手拿了起来。那封信只有几行字:

"May dear, I have at last made Granny understandthat my visit to her could be no more than a visit; andshe has been as kind and generous as ever. She seesnow that if I return to Europe I must live by myself, orrather with poor Aunt Medora, who is coming withme. I am hurrying back to Washington to pack up, andwe sail next week. You must be very good to Grannywhen I'm gone--as good as you've always been to me.Ellen.

“亲爱的梅,我终于让祖母明白了,我对她的看望只能是一次看望而已。她一向都是这么善良、这么宽宏大量。她现在看清了,假如我回欧洲去,那么我必须自己生活,或者跟可怜的梅多拉姑妈一起,姑妈要跟我一起去。我要赶回华盛顿去打点行装,下星期我们乘船走。我不在的时候你一定要善待祖母——就像你一直对我那样好。埃伦。

"If any of my friends wish to urge me to change mymind, please tell them it would be utterly useless."

“假如我的朋友有谁想劝我改变主意,请告诉他们那是完全没有用的。”

Archer read the letter over two or three times; thenhe flung it down and burst out laughing.

阿切尔把信读了两三遍,然后把它扔下,突然放声大笑起来。

The sound of his laugh startled him. It recalled Janey'smidnight fright when she had caught him rocking withincomprehensible mirth over May's telegram announcingthat the date of their marriage had been advanced.

他的笑声把自己吓了一跳,使他想起那天半夜里的情形。当时他对着梅那封宣布婚礼提前的电报高兴得前俯后仰,那种令人不解的样子把詹尼吓了一跳。

"Why did she write this?" he asked, checking hislaugh with a supreme effort.

“她干吗要写这些话?”他极力止住笑,问道。

May met the question with her unshaken candour. "Isuppose because we talked things over yesterday--"

梅坚定、坦率地回答了他的问题。“我想是因为我们昨天谈论过的一些事情。”

"What things?"

“什么事。清?”

"I told her I was afraid I hadn't been fair to her--hadn't always understood how hard it must have beenfor her here, alone among so many people who wererelations and yet strangers; who felt the right to criticise,and yet didn't always know the circumstances."She paused. "I knew you'd been the one friend shecould always count on; and I wanted her to know thatyou and I were the same--in all our feelings."

“我告诉她,恐怕我过去对她不够公平——不能总是理解她在这儿的处境有多艰难:她一个人呆在这么多陌生的亲戚中间,他们都觉得有批评的权力,但却不总是了解事情的原委。”她停了停又说:“我知道你一直是她可以永远信赖的朋友;我想让她明白,我和你一样——我们的感情是完全一致的。”

She hesitated, as if waiting for him to speak, andthen added slowly: "She understood my wishing to tellher this. I think she understands everything."

她稍作停顿,似乎等他说话似的,然后又缓缓地说:“她理解我想告诉她这些事的心情,我认为她对一切都很明白。”

She went up to Archer, and taking one of his coldhands pressed it quickly against her cheek.

她走到阿切尔跟前,拿起他一只冰冷的手迅速按在自己的面颊上。

"My head aches too; good-night, dear," she said,and turned to the door, her torn and muddy wedding-dress dragging after her across the room.

“我的头也痛起来了;晚安,亲爱的。”她说罢朝门的方向转过身去,拖着那件破损、泥污的婚礼服从屋里走了出去。