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茶花女5 [复制链接]

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发表于 2013-5-31 11:30:01 |显示全部楼层
A CONSIDERABLE time elapsed without my hearing a word about Armand, but on the other hand the subject of Marguerite had come up a great deal.
I do not know if you have noticed, but it only takes the name of someone who should in all likelihood have remained unknown or at least of no particular interest to you, to be pronounced once in your hearing, for all sorts of details to collect round that name, and for you then to have all your friends speak about a subject of which they had never spoken to you before. Next thing, you discover that the person in question was there, just out of range, all the while. You realize that your paths have crossed many times without your noticing, and you find in the events which others recount some tangible link or affinity with certain events in your own past. I had not quite reached that point with Marguerite, since I had seen her, met her, knew her by her face and habits. Yet ever since the auction, her name had cropped up so frequently in my hearing and, in the circumstances which I have related in the previous chapter, her name had become associated with sorrow so profound, that my surprise had gone on growing and my curiosity had increased.
The result was that now I never approached any friends, with whom I had never spoken of Marguerite, without saying:
'Did you know someone called Marguerite Gautier?'
'The Lady of the Camellias?'
'That's her.'
'Rather!'
These 'Rather!'sometimes came with smiles which left no possible doubt as to their meaning.
'Well, what kind of girl was she?' I would go on.
'A very decent sort. '
'Is that all? '
'Heavens! I should hope so. A few more brains and perhaps a bit more heart than the rest of them. '
'But you know nothing particular about her? '
'She ruined Baron de G.'
'Anyone else?'
'She was the mistress of the old Duke de.'
'Was she really his mistress?'
'That's what they say: at any rate, he gave her a great deal of money.'
Always the same general details.
But I would have been interested to learn a little about the affair between Marguerite and Armand.
One day, I chanced upon one of those men who live habitually on intimate terms with the most notorious courtesans. I questioned him.
'Did you know Marguerite Gautier?'
The answer was that same 'Rather!'
'What sort of girl was she?'
'A fine-looking, good-hearted type. Her death was a great sadness to me.'
'She had a lover called Armand Duval, didn't she?'
'Tall chap with fair hair?'
'That's him.'
'Yes, she did.'
'And what was this Armand like?'
'A young fellow who threw away the little he had on her, I believe, and was forced to give her up. They say it affected his reason.'
'What about her?'
'She loved him very much too, they also say, but as girls of her sort love. You should never ask more of them than they can give.'
'What became of Armand?'
'Couldn't say. We didn't know him all that well. He stayed five or six months with Marguerite, in the country. When she came back to town, he went off somewhere.'
'And you haven't seen him since?'
'Never.'
I had not seen Armand again either. I had begun to wonder if, the day he called on me, the recent news of Marguerite's death had not exaggerated the love he had once felt for her and therefore his grief, and I told myself that perhaps, in forgetting the dead girl, he had also forgotten his promise to return to see me.
Such a hypotheses would have been plausible enough with anybody else, but in Armand's despair there had been a note of real sincerity and, moving from one extreme to the other, I imagined that his grief could well have turned into sickness and that, if I had not heard from him, then it was because he was ill, dead even.
Despite myself, I still felt an interest in this young man. It may be that my interest was not without an element of selfishness; perhaps I had glimpsed a touching love story behind his grief, perhaps, in short, my desire to be acquainted with it loomed large in the concern I felt about Armand's silence.
Since Monsieur Duval did not return to see me, I resolved to go to him. A pretext was not difficult to find. Unfortunately, I did not know his address, and of all those I had questioned, no one had been able to tell me what it was.
I went to the rue d'Antin. Perhaps Marguerite's porter knew where Armand lived. There had been a change of porter. He did not know any more than I did. I then asked in which cemetery Mademoiselle Gautier had been buried. It was Montmartre cemetery.
April had come round again, the weather was fine, the graves would no longer have the mournful, desolate look which winter gives them; in a word, it was already warm enough for the living to remember the dead and visit them. I went to the cemetery, telling myself: 'One quick look at Marguerite's grave, and I shall know whether Armand is still grieving and perhaps discover what has become of him.'
I entered the keeper's lodge and asked him if, on the 22nd of the month of February, a woman named Marguerite Gautier had not been buried in Montmartre cemetery.
The man looked through a fat ledger in which the names of all those who come to their final place of rest are entered and given a number, and he answered that on 22 February, at noon, a woman of that name had indeed been interred.
I asked if he could get someone to take me to the grave for, without a guide, there is no way of finding one's way around this city of the dead which has its streets like the cities of the living. The keeper called a gardener, to whom he gave the necessary details but who cut him short, saying: 'I know, I know...Oh! that grave is easy enough to pick out, ' he went on, turning to me.
'Why?' I said.
'Because it's got different flowers from all the others.'
'Are you the person who looks after it?'
'Yes, sir, and I could only wish all relatives took as good care of the departed as the young man who asked me to look after that one.'
Several turnings later, the gardener stopped and said:
'Here we are.'
And indeed, before my eyes, were flowers arranged in a square which no one would ever have taken for a grave if a white marble stone with a name on it had not proclaimed it to be so.
This marble block was set upright, iron railings marked the boundary of the plot that had been bought, and every inch of ground was covered with white camellias.
'What do you say to that?' said the gardener.
'It's very beautiful.'
'And every time a camellia withers, my orders are to put another one in its place.'
'And who gave you your orders?'
'A young chap who cried a lot the first time he came. An old gentleman friend of the departed, I'll be bound, because they do say she was a bit of a one, you know. I hear tell she was very bonny. Did you know her, sir?'
'Yes.'
'Like the other chap, ' the gardener said with a knowing grin.
'No, I never spike to her.'
'But you've come to see her here; that's very nice of you, because people who come to see the poor girl don't exactly clutter up the cemetery.'
'So no one comes?'
'Nobody, except that young chap who came once.'
'Just once?'
'Yes, sir.'
'And he never returned?'
'No, but he'll come as soon as he gets back.'
'He's away travelling, then?'
'Yes.'
'And do you know where he is?'
'I do believe he's gone to see Mademoiselle Gautier's sister.'
'What's he doing there?'
'He's going to ask authorization to exhume the body and have it put somewhere else.'
'Why shouldn't he leave her here?'
'You know, sir, people get queer ideas about the departed. See it all the time, we do. This plot was bought for five years only, and that young chap wants a plot in perpetuity and a larger bit of ground: in the new part would be best.'
'What do you call the new part?'
'The new plots that are being sold just now, to your left. If the cemetery had always been kept like it is nowadays, there wouldn't have been another like it in the world; but there's still a lot to do before it's just like it should be. And then, folk are so queer.'
'What do you mean?'
'I mean that there's people who even bring their pride in here. Take this Mademoiselle Gautier. Seems she'd been around a bit, if you'll pardon the expression. She's dead now, is that poor young woman; there's as much left of her as of other women you couldn't say a word against whose resting places we keep watering every day. Well now, when the relatives of them as are buried next to her found out who she was, blow me if they didn't up and say they was against putting her here, and that there ought to be ground set apart for women of her sort, like there is for the poor. Ever hear the like of it? I told them straight, I did; very well-to-do folks who can't even come four times a year to pay their respects to their departed. They bring their own flowers and some flowers they are too, are very particular about arranging upkeep for them as they say they mourn, inscribe on their tombstones the tears they never shed, and are very fussy about who is buried next door. Believe me if you like, sir, I didn't know this young lady, I've no idea what she got up to. But I tell you, I love that poor little girl and I take good care of her, and I let her have the camellias at a very fair price. Of all the departed, she's my favourite. Here, sir, we're obliged to love the dead, for we're kept so busy that we hardly have time to love anything else.'
I looked at this man, and some of my readers will understand, without my having to explain it to them, what I felt as I heard his words.
He sensed my feelings, no doubt, for he went on:
'They say there were gents who ruined themselves for that girl, and that she had lovers who worshipped her; well, when I think that there's not one comes and buys her a single flower, then I say that it's peculiar and sad. Though this one can't complain. She's got a grave, and if there's only one as remembers her, he does right by the others as well. But we've got poor girls here of the same sort and the same age that get thrown into a pauper's grave, and it breaks my heart when I hear their poor bodies drop into the earth. And not a soul looks out for them once they're dead! It's not always very cheery, this job of ours, especially when you've got a bit of feeling left in you. But what do you expect? I can't help it. I got a fine- looking grown-up daughter of twenty, and whenever some dead girl her age is brought in, I think of her, and be it some great lady or a trollop, I can't help being upset.
But I expect I'm wearying you with all this talk, and you didn't come here to listen to me going on. I was told to take you to Mademoiselle Gautier's grave and here you are. Is there anything else I can do for you?'
'Do you know Monsieuer Duval's address?' I asked the man.
'Yes, he lives in the rue de, or at least that's where I went to get paid for all the flowers you see here.'
'Thank you, my man.'
I cast a final glance at the flower- strewn grave whose depths, despite myself, I would have gladly plumbed for a sight of what the earth had done with the beautiful creature who had been lowered into it, and then I came away, feeling very sad.
'Do you want to see Monsieur Duval, sir?' continued the gardener, who walked at my side.
'Yes.'
'The thing is, I'm pretty near certain that he's not back yet. Otherwise I'd have seen him here already.'
'So you are convinced that he hasn't forgotten Marguerite?'
'Not just convinced, I'd bet anything that this wanting to move her to another grave is his way of wanting to see her again.'
'How do you mean?'
'The first thing he said when he came to the cemetery was: "What do I have to do to see her again?" That can only happen if the body is shifted to another grave, and I told him all about the formalities that have to be gone through to secure a transfer, because, you know, before bodies can be moved from one grave to another, they must be identified, and only the family can authorize the operation which has to be supervised by a police superintendent. It was to get this authorization that Monsieur Duval went to see Mademoiselle Gautier's sister, and his first call will obviously be on us.'
We had arrived at the cemetery gates; I thanked the gardener again, slipping a few coins into his hand, and I went round to the address he had given me.
Armand was not back.
I left a note for him, asking him to come and see me as soon as he arrived, or to let me know where I might find him.
The following morning, I received a letter from Duval which informed me of his return and asked me to drop by, adding that, being worn out by fatigue, it was impossible for him to go out.
    有很长一段时间阿尔芒杳无音讯,而玛格丽特倒经常有人提起。
我不知道您可曾有过这样的感觉:一个看来跟您素不相识或者至少是毫无关系的人,一旦有人在您面前提到他的姓名,跟这个人有关的各种琐闻就会慢慢地汇集拢来,您的三朋四友也都会来和您谈起他们从来也没有跟您谈过的事,您几乎就会觉得这个人仿佛就在您的身边。您会发现,在您的生活里,这个人曾屡次出现过,只不过没有引起您的注意罢了。您会在别人讲给您听的那些事情里面找到和您自己生活中的某些经历相吻合、相一致的东西。我跟玛格丽特倒并非如此,因为曾经看见过她,遇到过她。我还记得她的容貌,知道她的习惯。不过,自从那次拍卖以后,我就经常听见有人提到她的名字。我在前一章中曾提到这种情况,这个名字与一个极其巨大的悲痛牵扯在一起。因此我越来越感到诧异,好奇心也越来越重了。
过去,我从来也没有跟朋友们谈到过玛格丽特;现在,我一碰到他们就问:
“您认识一个名字叫玛格丽特戈蒂埃的女人吗?”
“茶花女吗?”
“就是她。”
“熟悉得很!”
“熟悉得很!”他们说这句话的时候,有时脸上还带着那种含义显而易见的微笑。
“那么,这个姑娘怎么样?”我继续问道。
“一个好姑娘。”
“就这些吗?”
“我的天!是啊,比别的姑娘聪明一些,可能比她们更善良一些。”
“您一点也不知道她有什么特别的事吗?”
“她曾经使G男爵倾家荡产。”
“就这一点吗?”
“她还做过……老公爵的情妇。”
“她真的是他的情妇吗?”
“大家都是这么说的,不管怎么说,那老公爵给过她很多钱。”
听到的总是那一套泛泛之谈。
然而,我非常渴望知道一些关于玛格丽特和阿尔芒之间的事。
一天,我遇到了一个人。这个人和那些风月场中的名媛过从甚密。我问她:
“您认识玛格丽特戈蒂埃吗?”
回答又是“熟悉得很”。
“她是个怎么样的姑娘?”
“一个美丽善良的姑娘。她死了,我挺难过。”
“她有没有一个叫阿尔芒迪瓦尔的情人?”
“一个金黄头发的高个儿吗?”
“是啊!”
“有这么个人。”
“阿尔芒是个怎么样的人?”
“一个年轻人,我相信他把自己仅有的一点儿钱和玛格丽特两人一起花光了,后来他不得不离开了她。据说他几乎为她发了疯。”
“那么玛格丽特呢?”
“她也非常爱他,大家一直这么说。不过这种爱就像那些姑娘们的爱一样,总不能向她们要求她们没法给的东西吧。”
“后来阿尔芒怎么样了?”
“我一无所知。我们跟他不熟。他和玛格丽特在乡下同居了五六个月。不过那是在乡下,她回到巴黎时,他就走了。”
“以后您就没有看见过他吗?”
“没有。”
我也没有再看见过阿尔芒。我甚至在寻思,他来我家,是不是因为他知道了玛格丽特刚才死去的消息而勾起了旧情,因此才格外悲伤。我思忖他也许早就把再来看我的诺言随同死者一起抛到九霄云外去了。
对别人来说很可能如此,可是阿尔芒不会。他当时那种悲痛欲绝的声调是非常真诚的。因此我从这一个极端又想到了另外一个极端,我想阿尔芒一定是哀伤成疾,我得不到他的消息,是因为他病了,兴许已经死了。
我不由自主地关心起这个年轻人来了。这种关心也许搀杂着某些私心,说不定在他这种痛苦下,我已揣测到有一个缠绵悱恻的爱情故事;也可能我正是因为急于想知道这个故事,所以才对阿尔芒的销声匿迹感到如此不安的。
既然迪瓦尔先生没有再来看我,我就决意到他家里去。要找一个拜访他的借口并不难,可惜我不知道他的住址。我到处打听,但谁都没法告诉我。
我就到昂坦街去打听。玛格丽特的看门人可能知道阿尔芒住在哪儿。看门人已经换了一个新的,他跟我一样不知道阿尔芒的住址。于是我就问戈蒂埃小姐葬在哪里。在蒙马特公墓。
已经是四月份了,天气晴朗,阳光明媚,坟墓不再像冬天时那样显得阴森凄凉了。总之,气候已经相当暖和,活着的人因此想起了死去的人,就到他们坟上去扫墓。我在去公墓的路上想着,我只要观察一下玛格丽特的坟墓,就可以看出阿尔芒是不是还在伤心,也许还会知道他现在究竟怎么样了。
我走进公墓看守的房间,我问他在二月二十二日那天,是不是有一个名叫玛格丽特戈蒂埃的女人葬在蒙马特公墓里。
那个人翻阅一本厚厚的簿子,簿子上按号码顺序登记着所有来到这个最后归宿地的人的名字。接着他回答我说,二月二十二日中午,的确有一个叫这个名字的女人在这里下葬。
我请他叫人把我带到她的坟上去,因为在这个死人的城市里,就像在活人的城市里一样,街道纵横交错,如果没有人指引,很难辨清方向。看守叫来一个园丁,并关照他一些必要的事情。园丁插嘴说:“我知道,我知道……”接着转身对我说,“啊!那个坟墓好认得很!”
“为什么呢?”我问他。
“因为那上面的花和别的坟上的花完全不同。”
“那个坟墓是您照管的吗?”
“是的,是一个年轻人托我照管的。先生,但愿所有死者的亲属都能像他一样惦念死者就好了。”
拐了几个弯以后,园丁站住了,对我说:
“我们到了。”
果然,一块方形花丛呈现在我眼前,如果没有一块刻着名字的白色大理石在那里作证的话,谁也认不出这是一个坟墓。
这块大理石笔直地竖在那儿,一圆铁栅栏把这块买下的坟地围了起来,坟地上铺满了白色的茶花。
“您觉得怎么样?”园丁问我。
“美极了。”
“只要有一朵茶花枯萎了,我就按照吩咐另换新的。”
“那么是谁吩咐您的呢?”
“一个年轻人,他第一次来的时候哭得很伤心,大概是死者的老相好,因为那个女的好像不是个规矩人。据说她过去长得很标致。先生,您认得她吗?”
“认得。”
“跟那位先生一样吧,”园丁带着狡黠的微笑对我说。
“不一样,我从来也没有跟她讲过话。”
“而您倒来这里看她,那您心肠可真好!因为到这公墓里来看这个可怜的姑娘的可真是稀客呐!”
“您是说从来没有人来过?”
“除了那位年轻先生来过一次以外,没有别人来过。”
“只来过一次?”
“是的,先生。”
“后来他没有来过吗?”
“没有来过,但是他回来以后会来的。”
“这么说他是出门去了?”
“是的。”
“您知道他上哪儿去了?”
“我想他是到戈蒂埃小姐的姐姐那儿去了。”
“他到那儿去干什么?”
“他去请求玛格丽特的姐姐同意把死者挪个地方,他要把玛格丽特葬到别处去。”
“为什么不让她葬在这儿呢?”
“您知道,先生,人们对死人有种种看法。这种事,我们这些人每天都看得到。这块坟地的租用期才五年,而这个年轻人想要有一块永久性出让的、面积更大一点的坟地,最好是新区里的地。”
“什么新区?”
“就是现在正在出售的,靠左面的那些新坟地。如果这个公墓以前一直像现在那样管理,那么很可能是世界上独一无二的了。但是要使一切都做得那么十全十美,那还差得远呢。
再说人们又是那么可笑。”
“您这是什么意思?”
“我的意思是说,有些人一直到了这里还要神气活现。就说这位戈蒂埃小姐,好像她生活有点儿放荡,请原谅我用了这个词。现在,这位可怜的小姐,她死了;而如今没有给人落下过什么话柄我们却天天在她们坟上浇花的女人不是同样有的是吗?但是,那些葬在她旁边的死者的亲属知道了她是个什么样的人以后,亏他们想得出,说他们反对把她葬在这儿,还说这种女人应该像穷人一样,另外有个专门埋葬的地方。谁看见过这种事?我狠狠地把他们顶了回去:有些阔佬来看望他们死去的亲人,一年来不了四次,他们还自己带花束,看看都是些什么花!他们说要为死者哭泣,但却不肯花钱修理坟墓;他们在死者的墓碑上写得悲痛欲绝,却从未流过一滴眼泪,还要来跟他们亲属坟墓的邻居找麻烦。您信么?先生,我不认识这位小姐,我也不知道她做过些什么事,但是我喜欢她,这个可怜的小姑娘,我关心她,我给她拿来的茶花价格公道,她是我偏爱的死人。先生,我们这些人没有办法,只能爱死人,因为我们忙得不可开交,几乎没有时间去爱别的东西了。”
我望着这个人,用不着我多作解释,一些读者就会懂得,在我听他讲这些话的时候,我的内心有多么激动。
他可能也看出来了。因为他接着又说:
“据说有些人为了这个姑娘倾家荡产,还说她有一些十分迷恋她的情人,嗨,当我想到竟然连买一朵花给她的人也没有,不免感到又是奇怪又是悲哀。不过,她也没有什么可抱怨的,因为她总算还有一个坟墓吧,虽说只有一个人怀念她,这个人也已经替别人做了这些事。但是我们这里还有一些和她身世相同、年龄相仿的可怜的姑娘,她们被埋在公共墓地里。每当我听到她们可怜的尸体被扔进墓地的时候,我的心总像被撕碎了似地难受。只要她们一死,就谁也不管她们了。干我们这一行的,尤其是如果还有些良心的话,有时是快活不起来的唷。您说有什么办法呢?我也是无能为力的啊!我有一个二十岁的美丽的大姑娘,每当有人送来一个和她一样年纪的女尸时,我就想到了她,不论送来的是一位阔小姐,还是一个流浪女,我都难免要动感情。
“这些罗唆事您一定听厌烦了吧,再说您也不是来听这些故事的。他们要我带您到戈蒂埃小姐的坟上来,这儿就是,您还有什么事要我做吗?”
“您知不知道阿尔芒迪瓦尔先生的住址?”我问这个园丁。
“我知道,他住在……街,您看见这些花了吧,买这些花的钱我就是到那儿去收的。”
“谢谢您,我的朋友。”
我最后望了一眼这个铺满鲜花的坟墓,不由自主地产生了一个念头,想探测一下坟墓有多深,好看看被丢在泥土里的那个漂亮的女人究竟怎么样了,然后,我心情忧郁地离开了玛格丽特的坟墓。
“先生是不是想去拜访迪瓦尔先生?”走在我旁边的园丁接着说。
“是的。”
“我肯定他还没有回来,要不他早到这儿来了。”
“那么您可以肯定他没有忘记玛格丽特吗?”
“不但可以肯定,而且我可以打赌,他想替玛格丽特迁葬就是为了想再见她一面。”
“这是怎么回事?”
“上次他到公墓来时第一句话就是‘有什么办法可以再见到她呢?’这样的事除非迁葬才办得到。我把迁葬需要办的手续一一告诉了他,因为您知道,要替死人迁葬,必须先验明尸身,而这要得到死者家属的许可才能做,而且还要由警长来主持。迪瓦尔先生去找戈蒂埃小姐的姐姐就是为了征得她的同意。他一回来肯定会先到我们这儿来的。”
我们走到了公墓的门口,我又一次谢了园丁,给了他几个零钱,就向他告诉我的那个地址走去。
阿尔芒还没有回来。
我在他家里留了话,请他回来以后就来看我,或者通知我在什么地方可以找到他。
第二天早晨,我收到了迪瓦尔先生的一封信,他告诉我他已经回来了,请我到他家里去,还说他因为疲劳过度不能外出。
       

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