外语教育网
您的位置:外语教育网 > 英语文化视窗 > 文学与艺术 > 小说 正文
  • 站内搜索:

中英:月亮和六便士(13)

2006-08-22 21:15

    Chapter XIII

    I dare say it would have been more seemly to decline this proposal. I think perhaps I should have made a show of the indignation I really felt, and I am sure that Colonel MacAndrew at least would have thought well of me if I had been able to report my stout refusal to sit at the same table with a man of such character. But the fear of not being able to carry it through effectively has always made me shy of assuming the moral attitude; and in this case the certainty that my sentiments would be lost on Strickland made it peculiarly embarrassing to utter them. Only the poet or the saint can water an asphalt pavement in the confident anticipation that lilies will reward his labour.

    I paid for what we had drunk, and we made our way to a cheap restaurant, crowded and gay, where we dined with pleasure. I had the appetite of youth and he of a hardened conscience. Then we went to a tavern to have coffee and liqueurs.

    I had said all I had to say on the subject that had brought me to Paris, and though I felt it in a manner treacherous to Mrs. Strickland not to pursue it, I could not struggle against his indifference. It requires the feminine temperament to repeat the same thing three times with unabated zest. I solaced myself by thinking that it would be useful for me to find out what I could about Strickland's state of mind. It also interested me much more. But this was not an easy thing to do, for Strickland was not a fluent talker. He seemed to express himself with difficulty, as though words were not the medium with which his mind worked; and you had to guess the intentions of his soul by hackneyed phrases, slang, and vague, unfinished gestures. But though he said nothing of any consequence, there was something in his personality which prevented him from being dull. Perhaps it was sincerity. He did not seem to care much about the Paris he was now seeing for the first time (I did not count the visit with his wife), and he accepted sights which must have been strange to him without any sense of astonishment. I have been to Paris a hundred times, and it never fails to give me a thrill of excitement; I can never walk its streets without feeling myself on the verge of adventure. Strickland remained placid. Looking back, I think now that he was blind to everything but to some disturbing vision in his soul.

    One rather absurd incident took place. There were a number of harlots in the tavern: some were sitting with men, others by themselves; and presently I noticed that one of these was looking at us. When she caught Strickland's eye she smiled. I do not think he saw her. In a little while she went out, but in a minute returned and, passing our table, very politely asked us to buy her something to drink. She sat down and I began to chat with her; but, it was plain that her interest was in Strickland. I explained that he knew no more than two words of French. She tried to talk to him, partly by signs, partly in pidgin French, which, for some reason, she thought would be more comprehensible to him, and she had half a dozen phrases of English. She made me translate what she could only express in her own tongue, and eagerly asked for the meaning of his replies. He was quite good-tempered, a little amused, but his indifference was obvious.

    "I think you've made a conquest, " I laughed.

    "I'm not flattered. "

    In his place I should have been more embarrassed and less calm. She had laughing eyes and a most charming mouth. She was young. I wondered what she found so attractive in Strickland. She made no secret of her desires, and I was bidden to translate.

    "She wants you to go home with her. "

    "I'm not taking any, " he replied.

    I put his answer as pleasantly as I could. It seemed to me a little ungracious to decline an invitation of that sort, and I ascribed his refusal to lack of money.

    "But I like him, " she said. "Tell him it's for love. "

    When I translated this, Strickland shrugged his shoulders impatiently.

    "Tell her to go to hell, " he said.

    His manner made his answer quite plain, and the girl threw back her head with a sudden gesture. Perhaps she reddened under her paint. She rose to her feet.

    "Monsieur n'est pas poli, " she said.

    She walked out of the inn. I was slightly vexed.

    "There wasn't any need to insult her that I can see, " I said. "After all, it was rather a compliment she was paying you. "

    "That sort of thing makes me sick, " he said roughly.

    I looked at him curiously. There was a real distaste in his face, and yet it was the face of a coarse and sensual man. I suppose the girl had been attracted by a certain brutality in it.

    I could have got all the women I wanted in London. I didn't come here for that. "

    我知道更合体的作法是拒绝他的邀请。我想也许我该把我真正感到的气愤显示一番,如果我回去以后能够向他们汇报,我如何一口拒绝了同这种品行的人共进晚餐的邀请,起码麦克安德鲁上校会对我表示好感的。但是我总是害怕这出戏自己演得不象,而且不能一直演到底,这就妨碍了我装出一副道貌岸然的样子。再说,我肯定知道,我的表演在思特里克兰德身上不会引起任何反响,这就更加使我难以把辞谢的话说出口了。只有诗人同圣徒才能坚信,在沥青路面上辛勤浇水会培植出百合花来。

    我付了酒账,同他走到一家廉价的餐馆去。我们在这家顾客拥挤的热闹的餐馆里痛痛快快吃了一顿晚餐。我们俩胃口都很好,我是因为年轻,他是因为良心已经麻木。这以后我们到一家酒店去喝咖啡和甜酒。

    关于这件使我来到巴黎的公事,该说的话我都已经说了,虽然我觉得就这样半半拉拉地把这件事放下手对思特里克兰德太太似乎有背叛之嫌,我却实在无法再同思特里克兰德的冷漠抗争了。只有女性才能以不息的热情把同一件事重复三遍。我自我安慰地想,尽力了解一下思特里克兰德的心境对我还是有用的。再说,我对这个也更感到兴趣。但这并不是一件容易事,因为思特里克兰德不是一个能说会道的人。他表白自己似乎非常困难,倒好象言语并不是他的心灵能运用自如的工具似的。你必须通过他的那些早被人们用得陈腐不堪的词句、那些粗陋的俚语、那些既模糊又不完全的手势才能猜测他的灵魂的意图。但是虽然他说不出什么有意义的话来,他的性格中却有一种东西使你觉得他这人一点也不乏味。或许这是由于他非常真挚。他对于第一次见到的巴黎(我没有算他同他妻子来度蜜月那一次)好象并不怎样好奇,对于那些对他说来肯定是非常新奇的景象并不感到惊异。我自己来巴黎少说有一百次了,可是哪次来都免不了兴奋得心头飘忽忽的,走在巴黎街头我总觉得随时都会经历到一场奇遇。思特里克兰德却始终声色不动。现在回想这件事,我认为他当时根本什么也看不到,他看到的只是搅动着他灵魂的一些幻景。

    这时发生了一件有些荒唐的事。酒馆里有几个妓女;有的同男人坐在一起,有的独自坐在那里。我们没进去多久,我就注意到其中的一个总是瞟着我们。当她的眼睛同思特里克兰德的目光相遇以后,她向他作了个笑脸。我想思特里克兰德根本没有注意她。过了一会儿她从酒馆里走了出去,但是马上又走进来;在经过我们座位的时候,她很有礼貌地请我们给她买一点什么喝的。她坐下来,我同她闲聊起来,但是她的目标显然是思特里克兰德。我对她讲,他法文只懂几个字。她试着同他讲了几句,一半用手势,一半用外国人说的蹩脚法语,不知为什么,她认为这种话他更容易懂,另外,她倒也会说五六句英国话。有的话她只能用法国话说,她就叫我给她翻译,而且热切地向我打听他回话的意思。思特里克兰德脾气很好,甚至还觉得这件事有些好笑,但是显然根本没有把她看在眼里。

    “我想你把一颗心征服了。”我笑着说。

    “我并不感到得意。”

    如果我换在他的地位上,我会感到很困窘,也不会象他这样心平气静。这个女人生着一双笑眼,一张很可爱的嘴。她很年轻。我奇怪她在思特里克兰德身上发现了什么吸引她的地方。她一点儿也不想隐瞒自己的要求,她叫我把她说的都翻译出来。

    “她要你把她带回家去。”

    “我用不着女人。”他回答。

    我尽量把他的回答说得很婉转;我觉得拒绝这种邀请有些太不礼貌了。我向她解释,他是因为没有钱才拒绝的。

    “但是我喜欢他,”她说,“告诉他是为了爱情。”

    当我把她的话翻译出以后,思特里克兰德不耐烦地耸了耸肩膀。

    “告诉她叫她快滚蛋。”他说。

    他的神色清楚地表明了他的意思,女孩子一下子把头向后一扬。也许在她涂抹的脂粉下脸也红起来。她站起身来。

    “这位先生太不懂得礼貌①。”她说。

    ①原文为法语。

    她走出酒馆,我觉得有些生气。

    “我看不出你有什么必要这样侮辱她,”我说,“不管怎么说,她这样做还是看得起你啊。”

    “这种事叫我恶心,”他没好气地说。

    我好奇地打量了他一会儿。他的脸上确实有一种厌恶的神情,然而这却是一张粗野的、显现着肉欲的脸。我猜想吸引了那个女孩子的正是他脸上的这种粗野。

    “我在伦敦想要什么女人都可以弄到手,我不是为这个到巴黎来的。”

相关热词:文学 小说 中英
栏目相关课程表
科目名称 主讲老师 课时 免费试听 优惠价 购买课程
英语零起点 郭俊霞 30课时 试听 150元/门 购买
综艺乐园 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
边玩边学 ------ 10课时 试听 60元/门 购买
情景喜剧 ------ 15课时 试听 100元/门 购买
欢乐课堂 ------ 35课时 试听 150元/门 购买
趣味英语速成 钟 平 18课时 试听 179元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语预备级 (Pre-Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语一级 (Starters) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语二级 (Movers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
剑桥少儿英语三级 (Flyers) ------ ------ 试听 200元/门 购买
初级英语口语 ------ 55课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
中级英语口语 ------ 83课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
高级英语口语 ------ 122课时 ------ 350元/门 购买
基础英语辅导课程
郭俊霞 北京语言大学毕业,国内某知名中学英语教研组长,教学标兵……详情>>
郭俊霞:零基础英语网上辅导名师
钟平 北大才俊,英语辅导专家,累计从事英语教学八年,机械化翻译公式发明人……详情>>
钟平:趣味英语速成网上辅导名师

  1、凡本网注明 “来源:外语教育网”的所有作品,版权均属外语教育网所有,未经本网授权不得转载、链接、转贴或以其他方式使用;已经本网授权的,应在授权范围内使用,且必须注明“来源:外语教育网”。违反上述声明者,本网将追究其法律责任。
  2、本网部分资料为网上搜集转载,均尽力标明作者和出处。对于本网刊载作品涉及版权等问题的,请作者与本网站联系,本网站核实确认后会尽快予以处理。本网转载之作品,并不意味着认同该作品的观点或真实性。如其他媒体、网站或个人转载使用,请与著作权人联系,并自负法律责任。
  3、联系方式
  编辑信箱:for68@chinaacc.com
  电话:010-82319999-2371