苔丝
Tess


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    The Maiden 1
    The Maiden 1
    
    One evening at the end of May a middle-aged man was walking home from Shaston to the village of Marlott in the Vale of Blackmoor.His legs were thin and weak,and he could not walk in a straight line.He had an empty egg-basket on his arm, and his hat was old and worn.After a while he passed an elderly parson riding a grey horse.
    ‘Good night,’said the man with the basket.
    ‘Good night,Sir John,’said the parson.
    After another step or two the man stopped and turned round to speak to the parson.
    ‘Now,sir,last market-day we met on this road at the same time,and I said “Good night”and you answered“Good night,Sir John,”as you did just now.’
    ‘I did,’said the parson.
    ‘And once before that,almost a month ago.’
    ‘I may have.’
    ‘So why do you call me Sir John,when I am only John Durbeyfield?’
    The parson rode nearer,and after a moment's hesitation,explained:‘It was because I've discovered something of historical interest.I am Parson Tringham,the historian.Do you really not know,Durbeyfield,that you are a direct descendant of the ancient and noble family of the d’Urbervilles?They descended from Sir Pagan d’Urberville,who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror in 1066.’
    ‘Never heard that before,sir!’
    ‘Well,it's true.Let me see your face.Yes, you have the d’Urberville nose and chin.D’Urbervilles have owned land and served their King for hundreds of years.There have been many Sir Johns,and you could have been Sir John yourself.’
    ‘Well!’exclaimed the man.‘And how long has this news about me been known,Parson Tringham?’
    ‘Nobody knows about it at all,’said the parson.‘I just happened to discover it last spring,when I was trying to find out more about the d’Urbervilles and noticed your name in the village.’
    ‘I've got an old silver spoon,and an old seal too at home,’said the man,wondering.‘So where do we d”Urbervilles live now,Parson?’
    ‘You don't live anywhere.You have died,as a noble family.’
    ‘That's bad.So where do we lie?’
    ‘In the churchyard at Kingsbere-sub-Greenhill.’
    ‘And where are our family lands?’
    ‘You haven't any.’
    John Durbeyfield paused.‘And what should I do about it,sir?’
    ‘Oh,nothing.It's a fact of historical interest,nothing more.Good night.’
    ‘But you'll come and have some beer with me,Parson Tringham?’
    ‘No,thank you,not this evening,Durbeyfield.You've had enough already.’The parson rode away,half regretting that he had told Durbeyfield of his discovery.
    Durbeyfield walked on a few steps in a dream,then sat down with his basket.In a few minutes a boy appeared.Durbeyfield called to him.
    ‘Boy!Take this basket!I want you to go and do something for me.’
    The boy frowned.‘Who are you,John Durbeyfield,to order me about and call me“boy”?You know my name as well as I know yours!’
    ‘Do you,do you?That's the secret!Well,Fred,I don't mind telling you that the secret is that I'm one of a noble family.’And Durbeyfield lay back comfortably on the grass.‘Sir John d’Urberville,that's who I am.And I've got the family seal to prove it!’
    ‘Oh?’
    ‘Now take up the basket,and tell them in the village to send a horse and carriage to me immediately.Here's a shilling for you.’
    This made a difference to the boy's view of the situation.
    ‘Yes,Sir John.Thank you,Sir John.’
    As they spoke,sounds of music came through the evening air from the village.
    ‘What's that?’said Durbeyfield.‘Have they heard my news already?’
    ‘It's the women dancing,Sir John.’
    The boy went on his way and Durbeyfield lay waiting in the evening sun.Nobody passed by for a long time,and he could just hear the faint music in the distance.
    The village of Marlott lies in the beautiful Vale of Blackmoor.Although this valley is only four hours away from London,it has not yet been discovered by tourists and artists.The best view of the vale is from the hills surrounding it;it looks like a map spread out.It is a quiet,sheltered part of the countryside,where the fields are always green and the rivers never dry up.To the south lies the great dividing line of hills.From here to the coast the hills are open,the sun pours down on the huge dry fields,the atmosphere is colourless.But here in the valley lies a completely different countryside,smaller and more delicate.The fields are tiny,the air makes you sleepy,the sky is of the deepest blue.Everywhere you can see a rich greenery of grass and trees,covering smaller hills and valleys.This is the Vale of Blackmoor.
    And in the village of Marlott,following ancient custom,the young women gathered to dance every holiday. For this May- Day dance,all wore white dresses.There was a fine,handsome girl among them,with a red ribbon in her hair.As they danced,they noticed a carriage go by. Durbeyfield lay back in it,singing,‘I'm—Sir—John—and—I've—got—a—spoon—and—seal—and—my—family—lies—at—Kingsbere!’The girl with the ribbon,who was called Tess,turned red and said quickly to her friends,‘Father's tired,that's all.’The other girls just laughed but stopped when Tess looked unhappy.The dancing went on.
    In the evening the men of the village came to watch and later to join the dancers.Three young strangers,who were passing by,also stopped to look.They explained they were brothers on a walking tour.The older two continued their walk,but the youngest seemed more interested in the girls than his brothers were,and stayed to dance with several of them. As he left the dance, he noticed Tess, who seemed a little sad that he had not chosen her. He looked back from the road, and could still see her in her white dress, standing modestly apart from the dancers. He wished he had danced with her. He wished he had asked her name. But it was too late.He hurried on to join his brothers.
    The young stranger had made an impression on Tess. But soon, worried by her father's strange appearance that afternoon,she decided to walk home. After the excitement of the dance, her parents'small cottage was a depressing sight.It was dark inside, as they had only one candle.The furniture was old and worn. There were six children crowded into the tiny space.Their mother was doing the washing at the same time as putting the baby to sleep.Looking after so many children had aged Joan Durbeyfield, but she still showed some of her early prettiness,which Tess had inherited.
    ‘Let me help with the washing, mother,’said Tess gently.
    ‘Oh Tess,I'm glad you've come,’said her mother.‘There's something I must tell you.’
    ‘Is it anything to do with father making such a fool of himself this afternoon?’asked Tess,frowning.
    ‘That's all part of the excitement!They've discovered we're the oldest family in the whole county,going back a long way!And our real name is d’Urberville!Doesn't that make you proud!That's why your father rode home in the carriage,not because he'd been drinking, as people thought.’
    ‘I'm glad of that.Will it do us any good, mother?’
    ‘Oh yes!Great things may come of it.No doubt our noble relations will be arriving in their carriages as soon as they find out.’
    ‘Where is father now?’asked Tess suddenly.
    Her mother did not answer directly.‘He saw the doctor today, you know.It's fat round the heart,he says.That's the cause of his illness. He might last ten years… might last ten months or days.’
    Tess looked anxious.Her father, suddenly a great man, to die so soon!‘But where is father?’she asked firmly.
    ‘Now don't you get angry!’said Mrs Durbeyfield.‘The poor man was feeling so weak after the news that he went to Rolliver's.He needs to build up his strength to deliver the beehives tomorrow,remember.’
    ‘Oh my God!’cried Tess.‘He went to a public house!And you agreed to it, mother!’
    ‘No,I didn't,’said Mrs Durbeyfield crossly.‘I've been waiting for you to look after the children while I fetch him.’
    Tess knew that her mother greatly looked forwad to these trips to Rolliver's.There she could sit by her husband's side among the beer-drinkers,and forget that the children existed.It was one of the few bright moments in her hardworking life.Mrs Durbeyfield went out,and Tess was left with the children.They were very young,and totally dependent on the Durbeyfield couple:six helpless creatures who had not asked to be born at all,much less to be part of the irresponsible Durbeyfield family.
    
    处 女 1
    
    5月末的一天傍晚,有个中年汉子正从夏斯顿回家到黑荒野山谷的马勒特村去。他双腿瘦弱,一路东倒西歪。他手挽一个盛鸡蛋用的空篮子,帽子又旧又破。走了一会儿,他遇见了一位骑匹灰马的老牧师。
    “晚安。”挽着篮子的人说。
    “晚安,约翰爵士,”牧师说道。
    刚走出一两步,这人停了下来,转过身对牧师说:
    “嗯,先生,上次赶集那天,大约也是这个时候,我们在这条路上碰到过的。当时我向您道声‘晚安’,您也和刚才一样回答说‘晚安,约翰爵士’。”
    “我是那么说的,”牧师说道。
    “而且更早以前还曾有过一回——将近一个月以前吧。”
    “我也许是说过的。”
    “那么您为什么要称呼我‘约翰爵士’呢?我只不过是约翰·德北呀。”
    牧师拍马走近,略一犹豫,便解释道:“那是因为最近我发现了一些史实。我是特林厄姆牧师,历史学家。德北呀,难道你真的不知道自己是那古老而高贵的德伯家族的一支直系后裔吗?这个家族起始于培根·德伯爵士,他是在1066年随同征服者威廉国王从诺曼底来到英格兰的。”
    “这事我以前可从没听说过,先生!”
    “哟,这可是千真万确的。让我看看你的脸。没错,你有德伯家的鼻子和下巴。德伯家族拥有大片土地,而且数百年来效忠于国王。哦,对啦,你们家族中有过好多个约翰爵士呐,而你自己就可能是一个。”
    “哦!”这人惊呼道,“特林厄姆先生,有关我的事情,被发现有多久了?”
    “根本没有人知道,”牧师说,“我是去年春天碰巧发现的,那时我正在努力发掘有关德伯家族的更多情况,于是在村子里注意到了你的姓氏。”
    “我家里倒是有一把银匙和一枚旧印。”这人思忖道,“那么你说,我们德伯家族的人现在住在哪儿呢?”
    “你们家族的人哪儿都没有了。你们这个豪门望族,算是已经完结了。”
    “真可悲呀。那么,我们家族埋在哪儿?”
    “绿山底王陴那儿的教堂墓地。”
    “我们家族的田地又在哪儿呢?”
    “你们什么也没有了。”
    过了一会儿,约翰·德北又问:“那这事我该怎么办呢,先生?”
    “唉,毫无办法。这只是有关历史的一桩事实,别无他意。告辞了。”
    “特林厄姆牧师,您愿意来同我一起喝杯啤酒吗?”
    “不,谢谢你啦,今晚不喝了,德北。你已经喝得够多了。”牧师拍马离去,有些后悔对德北说了他的发现。
    德北走了几步,做梦一般。随后,他就挎着篮子坐了下来。过了几分钟,来了一个男孩,德北朝他喊道:
    “小家伙,拎着我的篮子!我想要你替我办点事儿。”
    男孩皱起眉头:“你是谁哟,约翰·德北,对我这么吆三喝四的,还叫我‘小家伙’?咱们俩谁还不知道谁叫什么呀!”
    “你知道?你知道我的名字?这可是秘密。嗯,弗雷德,我不妨告诉你吧。这个秘密就是我是贵族人家的一员。”德北美滋滋地在草地上躺下来。“约翰·德伯爵士——那便是我,我有家族的印章可以证明!”
    “哦?”
    “现在,你拎上篮子,告诉村里的人立即给我派一辆单马马车来。这是给你的一先令。”
    有了这钱,小伙子对这事儿的想法就不同了。
    “遵命,约翰爵士。谢谢您啦,约翰爵士。”
    他们正说着话,一阵音乐声穿过夜空从村头传来。
    “怎么回事?”德北说,“他们已经得知我的新闻了吗?”
    “那是妇女舞会,约翰爵士。”
    男孩上路走了,德北躺在夕阳下等着。好长一段时间,没有人路过那儿,他只听到那悠远的音乐。
    马勒特村位于美丽的黑荒野山谷。虽然山谷距伦敦只有四小时的路程,却尚未被游客和艺术家们发现。眺望山谷的最好视角是在环绕的山峦上;从那儿看过去,它宛如一幅平展的地图。这是一片峦嶂掩蔽的宁静乡村,田地总是郁郁葱葱的,溪流从不干涸。往南是耸立的山脉。由此往海岸去,山峦平缓开阔,阳光倾射在大片干涸的土地上,空气了无色彩。但在这里的山谷间,却是一派迥异的乡村景致,更小更精巧。田地不大,空气催人入梦,天空是最深最深的湛蓝。处处可见那树木草地的欲滴翠绿,覆盖了满山遍谷。这就是黑荒野山谷。
    在马勒特村,遵从古老的习俗,每到假日,年轻妇女们都聚在一起跳舞。为这一次五月节,妇女们都身穿白衣裳。其中有一位纤秀好看的姑娘,头戴红色的发带。就在她们跳着舞时,她们看到一辆马车驰过。德北正仰身坐靠其中,唱道:“我是约翰爵士,我有银匙和印章,我的家庭埋在王陴那里。”那个头戴红发带、名叫苔丝的姑娘脸都涨红了,赶忙对伙伴们说:“父亲累了,就这么回事。”其他的姑娘全都大笑起来,但当她们察觉到苔丝的不悦时便停住了。舞会仍在继续进行着。
    傍晚,村里的男人们赶来观看,并跟着跳了起来。还有三个路过的陌生人也停下来看了一会儿。他们解释说,他们兄弟三人正在远足旅行的途中。后来两个哥哥继续赶路了,而老三似乎比哥哥们对姑娘更感兴趣。他待了会儿,并和几个姑娘跳了舞。就在他离开舞会时,他注意到了苔丝。她看起来有点儿伤心,因为他没有邀她跳舞。当他在路上回头张望时,仍能见到穿着一身白色衣裙的她,优雅端庄地站在一群跳舞者的旁边。他真希望自己当初请她跳了舞,还想问问她的芳名,但现在已经来不及了。他要尽快赶上他的哥哥们。
    陌生的年轻人给苔丝留下了印象,但很快苔丝想起了父亲下午古怪的模样,有些担心。于是她决定走回家去。她刚刚走出舞会,有些兴奋,她们家的小屋便显得有些抑郁。因为只有一根蜡烛,屋子里很昏暗。家具都是又旧又破的,还有六个孩子挤在这么一个小地方。苔丝的母亲一边在哄小宝宝入睡,一边洗着衣服。一个人要照料这么多孩子,这加速了琼·德北的衰老,但从她身上仍不难看出几分年轻时的姿色。苔丝承袭了母亲的美貌。
    “让我帮你洗吧,妈,”苔丝温柔地说。
    “哟,苔丝,你回来了我真高兴,”她母亲说,“我正有事儿要跟你说呢。”
    “是关于爸爸下午出丑的事儿吗?”苔丝皱着眉头问道。
    “就是那件让人激动的事儿!有人发现我们是整个郡里最古老的家族。有好长的历史哩!我们的真实姓氏是德伯!这不让你觉得骄傲吗?你爸爸就是因为这个才乘着马车回家的,可不像人家想的那样,是因为喝醉了酒。”
    “我很高兴有这么回事儿。这对我们有什么好处吗,妈?”
    “哦,当然!没准儿能由此产生一些大好事儿呢!毫无疑问,我们那些高贵的亲戚一旦得知此事,就会乘坐马车来看望我们的。”
    “现在爸爸在哪儿?”苔丝突然问道。
    母亲没有直接回答:“你知道他今天去看医生了。说病因是心脏周围堆了脂肪。也许他能再活十年……再活十个月或者十天。”
    苔丝愁容满面。她的父亲,一个突然间变得如此伟大的人物,会这么快就死去!“但爸爸在哪儿啊?”她加重语气问道。
    “嗯,你可别生气,”德北夫人说,“这可怜的人儿在听说了那则特大消息后,就浑身酥软啦,他只好去了罗里弗酒店。他需要积蓄点儿力气,要知道,明早他还得赶运那些蜂箱呢。”
    “哦,天哪!”苔丝叫了起来,“他上酒店了!而你却同意了,妈!”
    “不,我没有同意。”德北夫人生气地说。“我一直在等着你回来照看孩子们,这样我就可以去接他了。”
    苔丝知道母亲非常希望到罗里弗酒店去。在那儿,她可以挨着丈夫坐在一群喝啤酒的人当中,忘掉孩子们的存在。这是她繁重的生活中难得的一小段幸福时光。德北夫人出去了,苔丝留下来与弟弟妹妹们在一起。他们都还这么小,还全得依靠德北夫妇:六个无助的小生命,他们自己并没有要求降临到这个世界上,更没有想要成为(这样)不能尽责的德北家庭中的成员。
    

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