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中英:月亮和六便士(27)

2006-08-22 21:27

    Chapter XXVII

    Two or three weeks passed. One morning, having come to a pause in my work, I thought I would give myself a holiday, and I went to the Louvre. I wandered about looking at the pictures I knew so well, and let my fancy play idly with the emotions they suggested. I sauntered into the long gallery, and there suddenly saw Stroeve. I smiled, for his appearance, so rotund and yet so startled, could never fail to excite a smile, and then as I came nearer I noticed that he seemed singularly disconsolate. He looked woebegone and yet ridiculous, like a man who has fallen into the water with all his clothes on, and, being rescued from death, frightened still, feels that he only looks a fool. Turning round, he stared at me, but I perceived that he did not see me. His round blue eyes looked harassed behind his glasses.

    "Stroeve, " I said.

    He gave a little start, and then smiled, but his smile was rueful.

    "Why are you idling in this disgraceful fashion?" I asked gaily.

    "It's a long time since I was at the Louvre. I thought I'd come and see if they had anything new. "

    "But you told me you had to get a picture finished this week. "

    "Strickland's painting in my studio. "

    "Well?"

    "I suggested it myself. He's not strong enough to go back to his own place yet. I thought we could both paint there. Lots of fellows in the Quarter share a studio. I thought it would be fun. I've always thought it would be jolly to have someone to talk to when one was tired of work. "

    He said all this slowly, detaching statement from statement with a little awkward silence, and he kept his kind, foolish eyes fixed on mine. They were full of tears.

    "I don't think I understand, " I said.

    "Strickland can't work with anyone else in the studio. "

    "Damn it all, it's your studio. That's his lookout. "

    He looked at me pitifully. His lips were trembling.

    "What happened?" I asked, rather sharply.

    He hesitated and flushed. He glanced unhappily at one of the pictures on the wall.

    "He wouldn't let me go on painting. He told me to get out. "

    "But why didn't you tell him to go to hell?"

    "He turned me out. I couldn't very well struggle with him. He threw my hat after me, and locked the door. "

    I was furious with Strickland, and was indignant with myself, because Dirk Stroeve cut such an absurd figure that I felt inclined to laugh.

    "But what did your wife say?"

    "She'd gone out to do the marketing. "

    "Is he going to let her in?"

    "I don't know. "

    I gazed at Stroeve with perplexity. He stood like a schoolboy with whom a master is finding fault.

    "Shall I get rid of Strickland for you?" I asked.

    He gave a little start, and his shining face grew very red.

    "No. You'd better not do anything. "

    He nodded to me and walked away. It was clear that for some reason he did not want to discuss the matter. I did not understand.

    又过了两三个星期。一天早晨,我的工作正好告一段落,我觉得可以放自己一天假,便决定到卢佛尔宫去消磨一天。我在画廊里随便走着,一边欣赏那些我早已非常熟悉的名画,一边任凭我的幻想同这些画幅所激起的感情随意嬉戏。我悠闲地走进长画廊,突然一眼看到了施特略夫。我脸上泛起了笑容,因为他那圆胖的身躯、象受了惊吓似的神情使我每次见到总是要发笑。但是在我走近他以后,我发现他的神情非常沮丧。他的样子凄苦不堪,但又那么滑稽,好象一个穿得衣冠齐楚而失足落水的人被打捞上来以后仍然心怀余悸,生怕别人拿他当笑话看。他转过身来,两眼瞪着我,但是我知道他并没有看见我。他的一双碧蓝的圆眼睛在眼镜片后面充满了忧伤。

    “施特略夫。”我叫了一声。

    他吓了一跳,接着就露出笑容来,但是他笑得那么凄惨。

    “你怎么这样丢了魂似地在这里游荡?”我用快活的语调问道。

    “我很久没有到卢佛尔宫来了。我想得来看看他们展出了什么新东西没有。”

    “可是你不是告诉我,这礼拜得画好一幅画吗?”

    “思特里克兰德在我画室里画画儿呢。”

    “哦?”

    “我提议叫他在那里画的。他身体还不够好,还不能回到自己的住处去。我本来想我们可以共用那间画室。在拉丁区很多人都是合伙租用一间画室。我本来以为这是个好办法。一个人画累了的时候,身边有个伴儿可以谈两句,我一直以为这样做会很有趣。”

    这些话他说得很慢,每说一句话就非常尴尬地停歇好半晌儿,与此同时,他的一对温柔的、有些傻气的大眼睛却一直紧紧盯着我,只是在那里面已经充满了泪水了。

    “我不懂你说的话,”我说。

    “思特里克兰德身边有人的时候不能工作。”

    “去他妈的,那是你的画室啊。他应该自己想办法。”

    他凄凄惨惨地看着我,嘴唇抖个不停。

    “出了什么事了?”我问,语气很不客气。

    他吞吞吐吐地半天没说话,脸涨得通红。他看了看墙上挂的一张画,脸色非常痛苦。

    “他不让我画下去。他叫我到外边去。”

    “你为什么不叫他滚蛋呢?”

    “他把我赶出来了。我不能同他动手打架呀。他把我的帽子随后也扔了出来,把门锁上了。”

    思特里克兰德的做法使我气得要命,但是我也挺生自己的气,因为戴尔克。施特略夫扮演了这样一个滑稽角色,我居然憋不住想笑出来。

    “你的妻子说什么了?”

    “她出去买东西去了。”

    “他会不会也不让她进去?”

    “我不知道。”

    我不解地看着施特略夫。他站在那里,象一个正挨老师训的小学生。

    “我去替你把思特里克兰德赶走怎么样?”我问。

    他的身体抖动了一下,一张闪闪发光的面孔涨得通红。

    “不要。你最好什么也不要做。”

    他向我点了点头,便走开了。非常清楚,由于某种原因他不想同我讨论这件事。我不懂他为什么要这样。

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