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中英:月亮和六便士(33)

2006-08-22 21:31

    Chapter XXXIII

    Two or three days later Dirk Stroeve called on me.

    "I hear you've seen Blanche, " he said.

    "How on earth did you find out?"

    "I was told by someone who saw you sitting with them. Why didn't you tell me?"

    "I thought it would only pain you. "

    "What do I care if it does? You must know that I want to hear the smallest thing about her. "

    I waited for him to ask me questions.

    "What does she look like?" he said.

    "Absolutely unchanged. "

    "Does she seem happy?"

    I shrugged my shoulders.

    "How can I tell? We were in a cafe; we were playing chess; I had no opportunity to speak to her. "

    "Oh, but couldn't you tell by her face?"

    I shook my head. I could only repeat that by no word, by no hinted gesture, had she given an indication of her feelings. He must know better than I how great were her powers of self-control. He clasped his hands emotionally.

    "Oh, I'm so frightened. I know something is going to happen, something terrible, and I can do nothing to stop it. "

    "What sort of thing?" I asked.

    "Oh, I don't know, " he moaned, seizing his head with his hands. "I foresee some terrible catastrophe. "

    Stroeve had always been excitable, but now he was beside himself; there was no reasoning with him. I thought it probable enough that Blanche Stroeve would not continue to find life with Strickland tolerable, but one of the falsest of proverbs is that you must lie on the bed that you have made. The experience of life shows that people are constantly doing things which must lead to disaster, and yet by some chance manage to evade the result of their folly. When Blanche quarrelled with Strickland she had only to leave him, and her husband was waiting humbly to forgive and forget. I was not prepared to feel any great sympathy for her.

    "You see, you don't love her, " said Stroeve.

    "After all, there's nothing to prove that she is unhappy. For all we know they may have settled down into a most domestic couple. "

    Stroeve gave me a look with his woeful eyes.

    "Of course it doesn't much matter to you, but to me it's so serious, so intensely serious. "

    I was sorry if I had seemed impatient or flippant.

    "Will you do something for me?" asked Stroeve.

    "Willingly. "

    "Will you write to Blanche for me?"

    "Why can't you write yourself?"

    "I've written over and over again. I didn't expect her to answer. I don't think she reads the letters. "

    "You make no account of feminine curiosity. Do you think she could resist?"

    "She could —— mine. "

    I looked at him quickly. He lowered his eyes. That answer of his seemed to me strangely humiliating. He was conscious that she regarded him with an indifference so profound that the sight of his handwriting would have not the slightest effect on her.

    "Do you really believe that she'll ever come back to you?" I asked.

    "I want her to know that if the worst comes to the worst she can count on me. That's what I want you to tell her. "

    I took a sheet of paper.

    "What is it exactly you wish me to say?"

    This is what I wrote:

    DEAR MRS. STROEVE, Dirk wishes me to tell you that if at any time you want him he will be grateful for the opportunity of being of service to you. He has no ill-feeling towards you on account of anything that has happened. His love for you is unaltered. You will always find him at the following address:

    两三天以后,戴尔克。施特略夫来找我。

    “听说你见到勃朗什了?”他说。

    “你怎么会知道的?”

    “有人看见你同他们坐在一起,告诉我了。你干嘛不告诉我?”

    “我怕会使你痛苦。”

    “使我痛苦又有什么关系?你必须知道,只要是她的事,哪怕最微不足道的,我也想知道。”

    我等着他向我提问。

    “她现在是什么样子?”他问。

    “一点儿也没改变。”

    “你看她的样子幸福吗?”

    我耸了耸肩膀。

    “我怎么知道?我们是在咖啡馆里,我在同思特里克兰德下棋。我没有机会同她谈话。”

    “啊,但是你从她的面容看不出来吗?”

    我摇了摇头。我只能把我想到的给他讲了一遍:她既没用话语也没用手势向我透露她的任何感情。他一定比我更了解,她自我克制的力量多么大。戴尔克感情激动地两手紧握在一起。

    “啊,我非常害怕。我知道一定会发生一件事,一件可怕的事,可是我却没有办法阻止它。”

    “会发生什么样儿的事?”我问道。

    “啊,我也不知道,”他用两手把头抱住,呻吟道,“我预见到一件可怕的灾难。”

    施特略夫一向就很容易激动,现在简直有些神经失常了。我根本无法同他讲道理。我认为很可能勃朗什。施特略夫已经发觉不可能再同思特里克兰德继续生活下去,但是人们经常说的那句俗话“自作自受”,实在是最没有道理的。生活的经验让我们看到的是,尽管人们不断地做一些必然招灾惹祸的事,但总能找个机会逃避掉这些蠢事带来的后果。当勃朗什同思特里克兰德吵了架以后,她只有离开他一条路好走,而她丈夫却在低声下气地等着,准备原谅她,把过去的事忘掉。我对勃朗什是不想寄予很大同情的。

    “你知道,你是不喜欢她的。”施特略夫说。

    “归根结底,现在还没有迹象说明她生活得不幸福。据我们所知道,说不定这两人已经象夫妻一样过起日子来了。”

    施特略夫用他那对愁苦的眼睛瞪了我一眼。

    “当然了,这对你是无所谓的,可是对我说,这件事很重要,极端重要。”

    如果当时我的神色有些不耐烦,或者不够严肃,我是有点儿对不起施特略夫的。

    “你愿意不愿意替我做一件事?”施特略夫问我。

    “愿意。”

    “你能不能替我给勃朗什写一封信?”

    “你为什么自己不写呢?”

    “我已经写了不知多少封了。我早就想到她不会回信。我猜我写的那些信她根本就不看。”

    “你没有把妇女的好奇心考虑在内。你认为她抵拒得了自己的好奇心吗?”

    “她没有好奇心——对于我。”

    我很快地看了他一眼。他垂下了眼皮。他的这句回答我听着有一种奇怪的自暴自弃的味道。他清楚地意识到她对他冷漠到极点,见到他的笔迹一丝一毫的反响也没有。

    “你真的相信有一天她会回到你身边来吗?”我问道。

    “我想叫她知道,万一有什么不幸的事情发生,她还是可以指望我的。我要让你写信告诉她的就是这一点。”

    我拿出来一张信纸。

    “你要说的具体是什么?”

    下面是我写的信:

    亲爱的施特略夫太太:

    戴尔克让我告诉你,不论任何时候如果你要他做什么事,他将会非常感激你给他一个替你效劳的机会。对于已经发生的事,他对你并无嫌怨。他对你的爱情始终如一。你在下列地址随时可以和他取得联系。

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