网站首页 (Homepage)                       欢   迎   访   问  谢  国  芳 (Roy  Xie) 的  个  人  主  页                    返回 (Return)
                    
Welcome to Roy Xie's Homepage                   





                       ——
  外语解密学习法 逆读法(Reverse Reading Method)   解读法(Decode-Reading Method)训练范文 ——                 

解密目标语言:英语                                解密辅助语言:汉语
              Language to be decoded:  English             Auxiliary Language : Chinese  

  
       
解密文本:     《悲惨世界》   [法] 雨果  著         


Les Misérables
Victor Hugo
Tome I — FANTINE

 

Les Misérables
Victor Hugo
Volume 1 — FANTINE

 前言(Preface)· 卷一(Book 1)· 卷二(Book 2)· 卷三(Book 3)· 卷四(Book 4)· 卷五(Book 5)· 卷六(Book 6)· 卷七(Book 7)· 卷八(Book 8)

第一部(Volume1) ||    第二部(Volume2) ||    第三部(Volume3) ||    第四部(Volume4) ||    第五部(Volume5)

  只看法语(French Only)     只看英语(English Only)     只看汉语(Chinese Only)     英汉对照(English & Chinese)       法汉对照(French & Chinese)        法英对照(French & English)     


普通版(General Version) iPad版(iPad Version)

  

 

BOOK 1 —  A JUST MAN
 

CHAPTER I
M. MYRIEL

  In 1815, M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D---- He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied the see of D---- since 1806.
  Although this detail has no connection whatever with the real substance of what we are about to relate, it will not be superfluous, if merely for the sake of exactness in all points, to mention here the various rumors and remarks which had been in circulation about him from the very moment when he arrived in the diocese.
  True or false, that which is said of men often occupies as important a place in their lives, and above all in their destinies, as that which they do. M. Myriel was the son of a councillor of the Parliament of Aix; hence he belonged to the nobility of the bar.
  It was said that his father, destining him to be the heir of his own post, had married him at a very early age, eighteen or twenty, in accordance with a custom which is rather widely prevalent in parliamentary families. In spite of this marriage, however, it was said that Charles Myriel created a great deal of talk.
  He was well formed, though rather short in stature, elegant, graceful, intelligent; the whole of the first portion of his life had been devoted to the world and to gallantry.
  The Revolution came; events succeeded each other with precipitation; the parliamentary families, decimated, pursued, hunted down, were dispersed.
  M. Charles Myriel emigrated to Italy at the very beginning of the Revolution.
  There his wife died of a malady of the chest, from which she had long suffered.
  He had no children. What took place next in the fate of M. Myriel?
  The ruin of the French society of the olden days, the fall of his own family, the tragic spectacles of '93, which were, perhaps, even more alarming to the emigrants who viewed them from a distance, with the magnifying powers of terror,--did these cause the ideas of renunciation and solitude to germinate in him?
  Was he, in the midst of these distractions, these affections which absorbed his life, suddenly smitten with one of those mysterious and terrible blows which sometimes overwhelm, by striking to his heart, a man whom public catastrophes would not shake, by striking at his existence and his fortune?
  No one could have told:
  all that was known was, that when he returned from Italy he was a priest.
  In 1804, M. Myriel was the Cure of B---- [Brignolles]. He was already advanced in years, and lived in a very retired manner.
  About the epoch of the coronation, some petty affair connected with his curacy--just what, is not precisely known--took him to Paris.
  Among other powerful persons to whom he went to solicit aid for his parishioners was M. le Cardinal Fesch.
  One day, when the Emperor had come to visit his uncle, the worthy Cure, who was waiting in the anteroom, found himself present when His Majesty passed.
  Napoleon, on finding himself observed with a certain curiosity by this old man, turned round and said abruptly:--
  "Who is this good man who is staring at me?"
  "Sire," said M. Myriel, "you are looking at a good man, and I at a great man.
  Each of us can profit by it."
  That very evening, the Emperor asked the Cardinal the name of the Cure, and some time afterwards M. Myriel was utterly astonished to learn that he had been appointed Bishop of D----
  What truth was there, after all, in the stories which were invented as to the early portion of M. Myriel's life?
  No one knew. Very few families had been acquainted with the Myriel family before the Revolution.
  M. Myriel had to undergo the fate of every newcomer in a little town, where there are many mouths which talk, and very few heads which think. He was obliged to undergo it although he was a bishop, and because he was a bishop.
  But after all, the rumors with which his name was connected were rumors only,--noise, sayings, words; less than words-- palabres, as the energetic language of the South expresses it.
  However that may be, after nine years of episcopal power and of residence in D----, all the stories and subjects of conversation which engross petty towns and petty people at the outset had fallen into profound oblivion.
  No one would have dared to mention them; no one would have dared to recall them.
  M. Myriel had arrived at D---- accompanied by an elderly spinster, Mademoiselle Baptistine, who was his sister, and ten years his junior.
  Their only domestic was a female servant of the same age as Mademoiselle Baptistine, and named Madame Magloire, who, after having been the servant of M. le Cure, now assumed the double title of maid to Mademoiselle and housekeeper to Monseigneur.
  Mademoiselle Baptistine was a long, pale, thin, gentle creature; she realized the ideal expressed by the word "respectable"; for it seems that a woman must needs be a mother in order to be venerable. She had never been pretty; her whole life, which had been nothing but a succession of holy deeds, had finally conferred upon her a sort of pallor and transparency; and as she advanced in years she had acquired what may be called the beauty of goodness. What had been leanness in her youth had become transparency in her maturity; and this diaphaneity allowed the angel to be seen. She was a soul rather than a virgin.
  Her person seemed made of a shadow; there was hardly sufficient body to provide for sex; a little matter enclosing a light; large eyes forever drooping;-- a mere pretext for a soul's remaining on the earth.
  Madame Magloire was a little, fat, white old woman, corpulent and bustling; always out of breath,--in the first place, because of her activity, and in the next, because of her asthma.
  On his arrival, M. Myriel was installed in the episcopal palace with the honors required by the Imperial decrees, which class a bishop immediately after a major-general. The mayor and the president paid the first call on him, and he, in turn, paid the first call on the general and the prefect.
  The installation over, the town waited to see its bishop at work.

 

 


CHAPTER II

  M. MYRIEL BECOMES M. WELCOME


  The episcopal palace of D---- adjoins the hospital.
  The episcopal palace was a huge and beautiful house, built of stone at the beginning of the last century by M. Henri Puget, Doctor of Theology of the Faculty of Paris, Abbe of Simore, who had been Bishop of D---- in 1712.
  This palace was a genuine seignorial residence. Everything about it had a grand air,--the apartments of the Bishop, the drawing-rooms, the chambers, the principal courtyard, which was very large, with walks encircling it under arcades in the old Florentine fashion, and gardens planted with magnificent trees. In the dining-room, a long and superb gallery which was situated on the ground-floor and opened on the gardens, M. Henri Puget had entertained in state, on July 29, 1714, My Lords Charles Brulart de Genlis, archbishop; Prince d'Embrun; Antoine de Mesgrigny, the capuchin, Bishop of Grasse; Philippe de Vendome, Grand Prior of France, Abbe of Saint Honore de Lerins; Francois de Berton de Crillon, bishop, Baron de Vence; Cesar de Sabran de Forcalquier, bishop, Seignor of Glandeve; and Jean Soanen, Priest of the Oratory, preacher in ordinary to the king, bishop, Seignor of Senez. The portraits of these seven reverend personages decorated this apartment; and this memorable date, the 29th of July, 1714, was there engraved in letters of gold on a table of white marble.
  The hospital was a low and narrow building of a single story, with a small garden.
  Three days after his arrival, the Bishop visited the hospital. The visit ended, he had the director requested to be so good as to come to his house.
  "Monsieur the director of the hospital," said he to him, "how many sick people have you at the present moment?"
  "Twenty-six, Monseigneur."
  "That was the number which I counted," said the Bishop.
  "The beds," pursued the director, "are very much crowded against each other."
  "That is what I observed."
  "The halls are nothing but rooms, and it is with difficulty that the air can be changed in them."
  "So it seems to me."
  "And then, when there is a ray of sun, the garden is very small for the convalescents."
  "That was what I said to myself."
  "In case of epidemics,--we have had the typhus fever this year; we had the sweating sickness two years ago, and a hundred patients at times,--we know not what to do."
  "That is the thought which occurred to me."
  "What would you have, Monseigneur?" said the director.
  "One must resign one's self."
  This conversation took place in the gallery dining-room on the ground-floor.
  The Bishop remained silent for a moment; then he turned abruptly to the director of the hospital.
  "Monsieur," said he, "how many beds do you think this hall alone would hold?"
  "Monseigneur's dining-room?" exclaimed the stupefied director.
  The Bishop cast a glance round the apartment, and seemed to be taking measures and calculations with his eyes.
  "It would hold full twenty beds," said he, as though speaking to himself.
  Then, raising his voice:--
  "Hold, Monsieur the director of the hospital, I will tell you something. There is evidently a mistake here.
  There are thirty-six of you, in five or six small rooms.
  There are three of us here, and we have room for sixty.
  There is some mistake, I tell you; you have my house, and I have yours.
  Give me back my house; you are at home here."
  On the following day the thirty-six patients were installed in the Bishop's palace, and the Bishop was settled in the hospital.
  M. Myriel had no property, his family having been ruined by the Revolution.
  His sister was in receipt of a yearly income of five hundred francs, which sufficed for her personal wants at the vicarage.
  M. Myriel received from the State, in his quality of bishop, a salary of fifteen thousand francs.
  On the very day when he took up his abode in the hospital, M. Myriel settled on the disposition of this sum once for all, in the following manner. We transcribe here a note made by his own hand:--
   NOTE ON THE REGULATION OF MY HOUSEHOLD EXPENSES.
For the little seminary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,500 livres
Society of the mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 "
For the Lazarists of Montdidier . . . . . . . . . . 100 "
Seminary for foreign missions in Paris . . . . . . 200 "
Congregation of the Holy Spirit . . . . . . . . . . 150 "
Religious establishments of the Holy Land . . . . . 100 "
Charitable maternity societies . . . . . . . . . . 300 "
Extra, for that of Arles . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 "
Work for the amelioration of prisons . . . . . . . 400 "
Work for the relief and delivery of prisoners . . . 500 "
To liberate fathers of families incarcerated for debt 1,000 "
Addition to the salary of the poor teachers of thediocese . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,000 "
Public granary of the Hautes-Alpes . . . . . . . . 100 "
Congregation of the ladies of D----, of Manosque, and of Sisteron, for the gratuitous instruction of poor girls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,500 "
For the poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000 "
My personal expenses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,000 "
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,000 "
   M. Myriel made no change in this arrangement during the entire period that he occupied the see of D---- As has been seen, he called it regulating his household expenses.
  This arrangement was accepted with absolute submission by Mademoiselle Baptistine.
  This holy woman regarded Monseigneur of D---- as at one and the same time her brother and her bishop, her friend according to the flesh and her superior according to the Church. She simply loved and venerated him.
  When he spoke, she bowed; when he acted, she yielded her adherence.
  Their only servant, Madame Magloire, grumbled a little.
  It will be observed that Monsieur the Bishop had reserved for himself only one thousand livres, which, added to the pension of Mademoiselle Baptistine, made fifteen hundred francs a year.
  On these fifteen hundred francs these two old women and the old man subsisted.
  And when a village curate came to D----, the Bishop still found means to entertain him, thanks to the severe economy of Madame Magloire, and to the intelligent administration of Mademoiselle Baptistine.
  One day, after he had been in D---- about three months, the Bishop said:--
  "And still I am quite cramped with it all!"
  "I should think so!" exclaimed Madame Magloire.
  "Monseigneur has not even claimed the allowance which the department owes him for the expense of his carriage in town, and for his journeys about the diocese.
  It was customary for bishops in former days."
  "Hold!" cried the Bishop, "you are quite right, Madame Magloire."
  And he made his demand.
  Some time afterwards the General Council took this demand under consideration, and voted him an annual sum of three thousand francs, under this heading:
  Allowance to M. the Bishop for expenses of carriage, expenses of posting, and expenses of pastoral visits.
  This provoked a great outcry among the local burgesses; and a senator of the Empire, a former member of the Council of the Five Hundred which favored the 18 Brumaire, and who was provided with a magnificent senatorial office in the vicinity of the town of D----, wrote to M. Bigot de Preameneu, the minister of public worship, a very angry and confidential note on the subject, from which we extract these authentic lines:--
   "Expenses of carriage?
  What can be done with it in a town of less than four thousand inhabitants?
  Expenses of journeys?
  What is the use of these trips, in the first place?
  Next, how can the posting be accomplished in these mountainous parts?
  There are no roads. No one travels otherwise than on horseback.
  Even the bridge between Durance and Chateau-Arnoux can barely support ox-teams. These priests are all thus, greedy and avaricious.
  This man played the good priest when he first came.
  Now he does like the rest; he must have a carriage and a posting-chaise, he must have luxuries, like the bishops of the olden days.
  Oh, all this priesthood! Things will not go well, M. le Comte, until the Emperor has freed us from these black-capped rascals.
  Down with the Pope!
  [Matters were getting embroiled with Rome.] For my part, I am for Caesar alone." Etc., etc.
   On the other hand, this affair afforded great delight to Madame Magloire. "Good," said she to Mademoiselle Baptistine; "Monseigneur began with other people, but he has had to wind up with himself, after all. He has regulated all his charities.
  Now here are three thousand francs for us!
  At last!"
  That same evening the Bishop wrote out and handed to his sister a memorandum conceived in the following terms:--
  EXPENSES OF CARRIAGE AND CIRCUIT.
For furnishing meat soup to the patients in the hospital. 1,500 livres
For the maternity charitable society of Aix . . . . . . . 250 "
For the maternity charitable society of Draguignan . . . 250 "
For foundlings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 "
For orphans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 "
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,000 "
   Such was M. Myriel's budget.
  As for the chance episcopal perquisites, the fees for marriage bans, dispensations, private baptisms, sermons, benedictions, of churches or chapels, marriages, etc., the Bishop levied them on the wealthy with all the more asperity, since he bestowed them on the needy.
  After a time, offerings of money flowed in.
  Those who had and those who lacked knocked at M. Myriel's door,--the latter in search of the alms which the former came to deposit.
  In less than a year the Bishop had become the treasurer of all benevolence and the cashier of all those in distress.
  Considerable sums of money passed through his hands, but nothing could induce him to make any change whatever in his mode of life, or add anything superfluous to his bare necessities.
  Far from it.
  As there is always more wretchedness below than there is brotherhood above, all was given away, so to speak, before it was received.
  It was like water on dry soil; no matter how much money he received, he never had any.
  Then he stripped himself.
  The usage being that bishops shall announce their baptismal names at the head of their charges and their pastoral letters, the poor people of the country-side had selected, with a sort of affectionate instinct, among the names and prenomens of their bishop, that which had a meaning for them; and they never called him anything except Monseigneur Bienvenu [Welcome]. We will follow their example, and will also call him thus when we have occasion to name him.
  Moreover, this appellation pleased him.
  "I like that name," said he.
  "Bienvenu makes up for the Monseigneur."
  We do not claim that the portrait herewith presented is probable; we confine ourselves to stating that it resembles the original.

 



CHAPTER III
  A HARD BISHOPRIC FOR A GOOD BISHOP

   The Bishop did not omit his pastoral visits because he had converted his carriage into alms.
  The diocese of D---- is a fatiguing one. There are very few plains and a great many mountains; hardly any roads, as we have just seen; thirty-two curacies, forty-one vicarships, and two hundred and eighty-five auxiliary chapels.
  To visit all these is quite a task.
  The Bishop managed to do it.
  He went on foot when it was in the neighborhood, in a tilted spring-cart when it was on the plain, and on a donkey in the mountains.
  The two old women accompanied him. When the trip was too hard for them, he went alone.
  One day he arrived at Senez, which is an ancient episcopal city. He was mounted on an ass.
  His purse, which was very dry at that moment, did not permit him any other equipage.
  The mayor of the town came to receive him at the gate of the town, and watched him dismount from his ass, with scandalized eyes.
  Some of the citizens were laughing around him.
  "Monsieur the Mayor," said the Bishop, "and Messieurs Citizens, I perceive that I shock you.
  You think it very arrogant in a poor priest to ride an animal which was used by Jesus Christ.
  I have done so from necessity, I assure you, and not from vanity."
  In the course of these trips he was kind and indulgent, and talked rather than preached.
  He never went far in search of his arguments and his examples.
  He quoted to the inhabitants of one district the example of a neighboring district.
  In the cantons where they were harsh to the poor, he said:
  "Look at the people of Briancon! They have conferred on the poor, on widows and orphans, the right to have their meadows mown three days in advance of every one else. They rebuild their houses for them gratuitously when they are ruined. Therefore it is a country which is blessed by God.
  For a whole century, there has not been a single murderer among them."
  In villages which were greedy for profit and harvest, he said: "Look at the people of Embrun!
  If, at the harvest season, the father of a family has his son away on service in the army, and his daughters at service in the town, and if he is ill and incapacitated, the cure recommends him to the prayers of the congregation; and on Sunday, after the mass, all the inhabitants of the village--men, women, and children--go to the poor man's field and do his harvesting for him, and carry his straw and his grain to his granary." To families divided by questions of money and inheritance he said: "Look at the mountaineers of Devolny, a country so wild that the nightingale is not heard there once in fifty years.
  Well, when the father of a family dies, the boys go off to seek their fortunes, leaving the property to the girls, so that they may find husbands." To the cantons which had a taste for lawsuits, and where the farmers ruined themselves in stamped paper, he said:
  "Look at those good peasants in the valley of Queyras!
  There are three thousand souls of them. Mon Dieu! it is like a little republic.
  Neither judge nor bailiff is known there.
  The mayor does everything.
  He allots the imposts, taxes each person conscientiously, judges quarrels for nothing, divides inheritances without charge, pronounces sentences gratuitously; and he is obeyed, because he is a just man among simple men." To villages where he found no schoolmaster, he quoted once more the people of Queyras:
  "Do you know how they manage?" he said.
  "Since a little country of a dozen or fifteen hearths cannot always support a teacher, they have school-masters who are paid by the whole valley, who make the round of the villages, spending a week in this one, ten days in that, and instruct them.
  These teachers go to the fairs. I have seen them there.
  They are to be recognized by the quill pens which they wear in the cord of their hat.
  Those who teach reading only have one pen; those who teach reading and reckoning have two pens; those who teach reading, reckoning, and Latin have three pens.
  But what a disgrace to be ignorant!
  Do like the people of Queyras!"
  Thus he discoursed gravely and paternally; in default of examples, he invented parables, going directly to the point, with few phrases and many images, which characteristic formed the real eloquence of Jesus Christ.
  And being convinced himself, he was persuasive.

 



CHAPTER IV
  WORKS CORRESPONDING TO WORDS

   His conversation was gay and affable.
  He put himself on a level with the two old women who had passed their lives beside him. When he laughed, it was the laugh of a schoolboy.
  Madame Magloire liked to call him Your Grace [Votre Grandeur]. One day he rose from his arm-chair, and went to his library in search of a book. This book was on one of the upper shelves.
  As the bishop was rather short of stature, he could not reach it.
  "Madame Magloire," said he, "fetch me a chair.
  My greatness [grandeur] does not reach as far as that shelf."
  One of his distant relatives, Madame la Comtesse de Lo, rarely allowed an opportunity to escape of enumerating, in his presence, what she designated as "the expectations" of her three sons. She had numerous relatives, who were very old and near to death, and of whom her sons were the natural heirs.
  The youngest of the three was to receive from a grand-aunt a good hundred thousand livres of income; the second was the heir by entail to the title of the Duke, his uncle; the eldest was to succeed to the peerage of his grandfather.
  The Bishop was accustomed to listen in silence to these innocent and pardonable maternal boasts.
  On one occasion, however, he appeared to be more thoughtful than usual, while Madame de Lo was relating once again the details of all these inheritances and all these "expectations."
  She interrupted herself impatiently: "Mon Dieu, cousin!
  What are you thinking about?"
  "I am thinking," replied the Bishop, "of a singular remark, which is to be found, I believe, in St. Augustine,--`Place your hopes in the man from whom you do not inherit.'"
  At another time, on receiving a notification of the decease of a gentleman of the country-side, wherein not only the dignities of the dead man, but also the feudal and noble qualifications of all his relatives, spread over an entire page:
  "What a stout back Death has!" he exclaimed.
  "What a strange burden of titles is cheerfully imposed on him, and how much wit must men have, in order thus to press the tomb into the service of vanity!"
  He was gifted, on occasion, with a gentle raillery, which almost always concealed a serious meaning.
  In the course of one Lent, a youthful vicar came to D----, and preached in the cathedral. He was tolerably eloquent.
  The subject of his sermon was charity. He urged the rich to give to the poor, in order to avoid hell, which he depicted in the most frightful manner of which he was capable, and to win paradise, which he represented as charming and desirable. Among the audience there was a wealthy retired merchant, who was somewhat of a usurer, named M. Geborand, who had amassed two millions in the manufacture of coarse cloth, serges, and woollen galloons. Never in his whole life had M. Geborand bestowed alms on any poor wretch. After the delivery of that sermon, it was observed that he gave a sou every Sunday to the poor old beggar-women at the door of the cathedral. There were six of them to share it.
  One day the Bishop caught sight of him in the act of bestowing this charity, and said to his sister, with a smile, "There is M. Geborand purchasing paradise for a sou."
  When it was a question of charity, he was not to be rebuffed even by a refusal, and on such occasions he gave utterance to remarks which induced reflection.
  Once he was begging for the poor in a drawing-room of the town; there was present the Marquis de Champtercier, a wealthy and avaricious old man, who contrived to be, at one and the same time, an ultra-royalist and an ultra-Voltairian. This variety of man has actually existed.
  When the Bishop came to him, he touched his arm, "You must give me something, M. le Marquis." The Marquis turned round and answered dryly, "I have poor people of my own, Monseigneur."
  "Give them to me," replied the Bishop.
  One day he preached the following sermon in the cathedral:--
   "My very dear brethren, my good friends, there are thirteen hundred and twenty thousand peasants' dwellings in France which have but three openings; eighteen hundred and seventeen thousand hovels which have but two openings, the door and one window; and three hundred and forty-six thousand cabins besides which have but one opening, the door.
  And this arises from a thing which is called the tax on doors and windows.
  Just put poor families, old women and little children, in those buildings, and behold the fevers and maladies which result!
  Alas!
  God gives air to men; the law sells it to them. I do not blame the law, but I bless God.
  In the department of the Isere, in the Var, in the two departments of the Alpes, the Hautes, and the Basses, the peasants have not even wheelbarrows; they transport their manure on the backs of men; they have no candles, and they burn resinous sticks, and bits of rope dipped in pitch. That is the state of affairs throughout the whole of the hilly country of Dauphine.
  They make bread for six months at one time; they bake it with dried cow-dung. In the winter they break this bread up with an axe, and they soak it for twenty-four hours, in order to render it eatable.
  My brethren, have pity! behold the suffering on all sides of you!"
  Born a Provencal, he easily familiarized himself with the dialect of the south.
  He said, "En be! moussu, ses sage?" as in lower Languedoc; "Onte anaras passa?" as in the Basses-Alpes; "Puerte un bouen moutu embe un bouen fromage grase," as in upper Dauphine.
  This pleased the people extremely, and contributed not a little to win him access to all spirits.
  He was perfectly at home in the thatched cottage and in the mountains.
  He understood how to say the grandest things in the most vulgar of idioms.
  As he spoke all tongues, he entered into all hearts.
  Moreover, he was the same towards people of the world and towards the lower classes.
  He condemned nothing in haste and without taking circumstances into account.
  He said, "Examine the road over which the fault has passed."
  Being, as he described himself with a smile, an ex-sinner, he had none of the asperities of austerity, and he professed, with a good deal of distinctness, and without the frown of the ferociously virtuous, a doctrine which may be summed up as follows:--
  "Man has upon him his flesh, which is at once his burden and his temptation.
  He drags it with him and yields to it. He must watch it, cheek it, repress it, and obey it only at the last extremity.
  There may be some fault even in this obedience; but the fault thus committed is venial; it is a fall, but a fall on the knees which may terminate in prayer.
  "To be a saint is the exception; to be an upright man is the rule. Err, fall, sin if you will, but be upright.
  "The least possible sin is the law of man.
  No sin at all is the dream of the angel.
  All which is terrestrial is subject to sin. Sin is a gravitation."
  When he saw everyone exclaiming very loudly, and growing angry very quickly, "Oh! oh!" he said, with a smile; "to all appearance, this is a great crime which all the world commits.
  These are hypocrisies which have taken fright, and are in haste to make protest and to put themselves under shelter."
  He was indulgent towards women and poor people, on whom the burden of human society rest.
  He said, "The faults of women, of children, of the feeble, the indigent, and the ignorant, are the fault of the husbands, the fathers, the masters, the strong, the rich, and the wise."
  He said, moreover, "Teach those who are ignorant as many things as possible; society is culpable, in that it does not afford instruction gratis; it is responsible for the night which it produces. This soul is full of shadow; sin is therein committed.
  The guilty one is not the person who has committed the sin, but the person who has created the shadow."
  It will be perceived that he had a peculiar manner of his own of judging things:
  I suspect that he obtained it from the Gospel.
  One day he heard a criminal case, which was in preparation and on the point of trial, discussed in a drawing-room. A wretched man, being at the end of his resources, had coined counterfeit money, out of love for a woman, and for the child which he had had by her. Counterfeiting was still punishable with death at that epoch. The woman had been arrested in the act of passing the first false piece made by the man.
  She was held, but there were no proofs except against her.
  She alone could accuse her lover, and destroy him by her confession.
  She denied; they insisted.
  She persisted in her denial.
  Thereupon an idea occurred to the attorney for the crown. He invented an infidelity on the part of the lover, and succeeded, by means of fragments of letters cunningly presented, in persuading the unfortunate woman that she had a rival, and that the man was deceiving her.
  Thereupon, exasperated by jealousy, she denounced her lover, confessed all, proved all.
  The man was ruined.
  He was shortly to be tried at Aix with his accomplice.
  They were relating the matter, and each one was expressing enthusiasm over the cleverness of the magistrate. By bringing jealousy into play, he had caused the truth to burst forth in wrath, he had educed the justice of revenge.
  The Bishop listened to all this in silence.
  When they had finished, he inquired,--
  "Where are this man and woman to be tried?"
  "At the Court of Assizes."
  He went on, "And where will the advocate of the crown be tried?"
  A tragic event occurred at D---- A man was condemned to death for murder.
  He was a wretched fellow, not exactly educated, not exactly ignorant, who had been a mountebank at fairs, and a writer for the public.
  The town took a great interest in the trial. On the eve of the day fixed for the execution of the condemned man, the chaplain of the prison fell ill.
  A priest was needed to attend the criminal in his last moments.
  They sent for the cure. It seems that he refused to come, saying, "That is no affair of mine.
  I have nothing to do with that unpleasant task, and with that mountebank:
  I, too, am ill; and besides, it is not my place." This reply was reported to the Bishop, who said, "Monsieur le Cure is right:
  it is not his place; it is mine."
  He went instantly to the prison, descended to the cell of the "mountebank," called him by name, took him by the hand, and spoke to him. He passed the entire day with him, forgetful of food and sleep, praying to God for the soul of the condemned man, and praying the condemned man for his own.
  He told him the best truths, which are also the most simple.
  He was father, brother, friend; he was bishop only to bless.
  He taught him everything, encouraged and consoled him. The man was on the point of dying in despair.
  Death was an abyss to him. As he stood trembling on its mournful brink, he recoiled with horror. He was not sufficiently ignorant to be absolutely indifferent. His condemnation, which had been a profound shock, had, in a manner, broken through, here and there, that wall which separates us from the mystery of things, and which we call life.
  He gazed incessantly beyond this world through these fatal breaches, and beheld only darkness.
  The Bishop made him see light.
  On the following day, when they came to fetch the unhappy wretch, the Bishop was still there.
  He followed him, and exhibited himself to the eyes of the crowd in his purple camail and with his episcopal cross upon his neck, side by side with the criminal bound with cords.
  He mounted the tumbril with him, he mounted the scaffold with him. The sufferer, who had been so gloomy and cast down on the preceding day, was radiant.
  He felt that his soul was reconciled, and he hoped in God.
  The Bishop embraced him, and at the moment when the knife was about to fall, he said to him:
  "God raises from the dead him whom man slays; he whom his brothers have rejected finds his Father once more.
  Pray, believe, enter into life:
  the Father is there." When he descended from the scaffold, there was something in his look which made the people draw aside to let him pass.
  They did not know which was most worthy of admiration, his pallor or his serenity. On his return to the humble dwelling, which he designated, with a smile, as his palace, he said to his sister, "I have just officiated pontifically."
  Since the most sublime things are often those which are the least understood, there were people in the town who said, when commenting on this conduct of the Bishop, "It is affectation."
  This, however, was a remark which was confined to the drawing-rooms. The populace, which perceives no jest in holy deeds, was touched, and admired him.
  As for the Bishop, it was a shock to him to have beheld the guillotine, and it was a long time before he recovered from it.
  In fact, when the scaffold is there, all erected and prepared, it has something about it which produces hallucination. One may feel a certain indifference to the death penalty, one may refrain from pronouncing upon it, from saying yes or no, so long as one has not seen a guillotine with one's own eyes: but if one encounters one of them, the shock is violent; one is forced to decide, and to take part for or against. Some admire it, like de Maistre; others execrate it, like Beccaria. The guillotine is the concretion of the law; it is called vindicte; it is not neutral, and it does not permit you to remain neutral. He who sees it shivers with the most mysterious of shivers. All social problems erect their interrogation point around this chopping-knife. The scaffold is a vision.
  The scaffold is not a piece of carpentry; the scaffold is not a machine; the scaffold is not an inert bit of mechanism constructed of wood, iron and cords.
  It seems as though it were a being, possessed of I know not what sombre initiative; one would say that this piece of carpenter's work saw, that this machine heard, that this mechanism understood, that this wood, this iron, and these cords were possessed of will. In the frightful meditation into which its presence casts the soul the scaffold appears in terrible guise, and as though taking part in what is going on.
  The scaffold is the accomplice of the executioner; it devours, it eats flesh, it drinks blood; the scaffold is a sort of monster fabricated by the judge and the carpenter, a spectre which seems to live with a horrible vitality composed of all the death which it has inflicted.
  Therefore, the impression was terrible and profound; on the day following the execution, and on many succeeding days, the Bishop appeared to be crushed.
  The almost violent serenity of the funereal moment had disappeared; the phantom of social justice tormented him.
  He, who generally returned from all his deeds with a radiant satisfaction, seemed to be reproaching himself. At times he talked to himself, and stammered lugubrious monologues in a low voice.
  This is one which his sister overheard one evening and preserved:
  "I did not think that it was so monstrous. It is wrong to become absorbed in the divine law to such a degree as not to perceive human law.
  Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men touch that unknown thing?"
  In course of time these impressions weakened and probably vanished. Nevertheless, it was observed that the Bishop thenceforth avoided passing the place of execution.
  M. Myriel could be summoned at any hour to the bedside of the sick and dying.
  He did not ignore the fact that therein lay his greatest duty and his greatest labor.
  Widowed and orphaned families had no need to summon him; he came of his own accord.
  He understood how to sit down and hold his peace for long hours beside the man who had lost the wife of his love, of the mother who had lost her child.
  As he knew the moment for silence he knew also the moment for speech.
  Oh, admirable consoler!
  He sought not to efface sorrow by forgetfulness, but to magnify and dignify it by hope.
  He said:--
  "Have a care of the manner in which you turn towards the dead. Think not of that which perishes.
  Gaze steadily.
  You will perceive the living light of your well-beloved dead in the depths of heaven." He knew that faith is wholesome.
  He sought to counsel and calm the despairing man, by pointing out to him the resigned man, and to transform the grief which gazes upon a grave by showing him the grief which fixes its gaze upon a star.

 

 

 

CHAPTER V
   MONSEIGNEUR BIENVENU MADE HIS CASSOCKS LAST TOO LONG

   The private life of M. Myriel was filled with the same thoughts as his public life.
  The voluntary poverty in which the Bishop of D---- lived, would have been a solemn and charming sight for any one who could have viewed it close at hand.
  Like all old men, and like the majority of thinkers, he slept little. This brief slumber was profound.
  In the morning he meditated for an hour, then he said his mass, either at the cathedral or in his own house. His mass said, he broke his fast on rye bread dipped in the milk of his own cows.
  Then he set to work.
  A Bishop is a very busy man:
  he must every day receive the secretary of the bishopric, who is generally a canon, and nearly every day his vicars-general. He has congregations to reprove, privileges to grant, a whole ecclesiastical library to examine,-- prayer-books, diocesan catechisms, books of hours, etc.,--charges to write, sermons to authorize, cures and mayors to reconcile, a clerical correspondence, an administrative correspondence; on one side the State, on the other the Holy See; and a thousand matters of business.
  What time was left to him, after these thousand details of business, and his offices and his breviary, he bestowed first on the necessitous, the sick, and the afflicted; the time which was left to him from the afflicted, the sick, and the necessitous, he devoted to work. Sometimes he dug in his garden; again, he read or wrote.
  He had but one word for both these kinds of toil; he called them gardening. "The mind is a garden," said he.
  Towards mid-day, when the weather was fine, he went forth and took a stroll in the country or in town, often entering lowly dwellings. He was seen walking alone, buried in his own thoughts, his eyes cast down, supporting himself on his long cane, clad in his wadded purple garment of silk, which was very warm, wearing purple stockings inside his coarse shoes, and surmounted by a flat hat which allowed three golden tassels of large bullion to droop from its three points.
  It was a perfect festival wherever he appeared.
  One would have said that his presence had something warming and luminous about it. The children and the old people came out to the doorsteps for the Bishop as for the sun.
  He bestowed his blessing, and they blessed him. They pointed out his house to any one who was in need of anything.
  Here and there he halted, accosted the little boys and girls, and smiled upon the mothers.
  He visited the poor so long as he had any money; when he no longer had any, he visited the rich.
  As he made his cassocks last a long while, and did not wish to have it noticed, he never went out in the town without his wadded purple cloak.
  This inconvenienced him somewhat in summer.
  On his return, he dined.
  The dinner resembled his breakfast.
  At half-past eight in the evening he supped with his sister, Madame Magloire standing behind them and serving them at table. Nothing could be more frugal than this repast.
  If, however, the Bishop had one of his cures to supper, Madame Magloire took advantage of the opportunity to serve Monseigneur with some excellent fish from the lake, or with some fine game from the mountains.
  Every cure furnished the pretext for a good meal:
  the Bishop did not interfere. With that exception, his ordinary diet consisted only of vegetables boiled in water, and oil soup.
  Thus it was said in the town, when the Bishop does not indulge in the cheer of a cure, he indulges in the cheer of a trappist.
  After supper he conversed for half an hour with Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire; then he retired to his own room and set to writing, sometimes on loose sheets, and again on the margin of some folio. He was a man of letters and rather learned.
  He left behind him five or six very curious manuscripts; among others, a dissertation on this verse in Genesis, In the beginning, the spirit of God floated upon the waters.
  With this verse he compares three texts: the Arabic verse which says, The winds of God blew; Flavius Josephus who says, A wind from above was precipitated upon the earth; and finally, the Chaldaic paraphrase of Onkelos, which renders it, A wind coming from God blew upon the face of the waters. In another dissertation, he examines the theological works of Hugo, Bishop of Ptolemais, great-grand-uncle to the writer of this book, and establishes the fact, that to this bishop must be attributed the divers little works published during the last century, under the pseudonym of Barleycourt.
  Sometimes, in the midst of his reading, no matter what the book might be which he had in his hand, he would suddenly fall into a profound meditation, whence he only emerged to write a few lines on the pages of the volume itself.
  These lines have often no connection whatever with the book which contains them.
  We now have under our eyes a note written by him on the margin of a quarto entitled Correspondence of Lord Germain with Generals Clinton, Cornwallis, and the Admirals on the American station.
  Versailles, Poincot, book-seller; and Paris, Pissot, bookseller, Quai des Augustins.
  Here is the note:--
  "Oh, you who are!
  "Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees call you the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you liberty; Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you Wisdom and Truth; John calls you Light; the Books of Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls you Providence; Leviticus, Sanctity; Esdras, Justice; the creation calls you God; man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion, and that is the most beautiful of all your names."
  Toward nine o'clock in the evening the two women retired and betook themselves to their chambers on the first floor, leaving him alone until morning on the ground floor.
  It is necessary that we should, in this place, give an exact idea of the dwelling of the Bishop of D----




CHAPTER VI
  WHO GUARDED HIS HOUSE FOR HIM

   The house in which he lived consisted, as we have said, of a ground floor, and one story above; three rooms on the ground floor, three chambers on the first, and an attic above.
  Behind the house was a garden, a quarter of an acre in extent.
  The two women occupied the first floor; the Bishop was lodged below.
  The first room, opening on the street, served him as dining-room, the second was his bedroom, and the third his oratory.
  There was no exit possible from this oratory, except by passing through the bedroom, nor from the bedroom, without passing through the dining-room. At the end of the suite, in the oratory, there was a detached alcove with a bed, for use in cases of hospitality.
  The Bishop offered this bed to country curates whom business or the requirements of their parishes brought to D----
  The pharmacy of the hospital, a small building which had been added to the house, and abutted on the garden, had been transformed into a kitchen and cellar.
  In addition to this, there was in the garden a stable, which had formerly been the kitchen of the hospital, and in which the Bishop kept two cows.
  No matter what the quantity of milk they gave, he invariably sent half of it every morning to the sick people in the hospital.
  "I am paying my tithes," he said.
  His bedroom was tolerably large, and rather difficult to warm in bad weather.
  As wood is extremely dear at D----, he hit upon the idea of having a compartment of boards constructed in the cow-shed. Here he passed his evenings during seasons of severe cold: he called it his winter salon.
  In this winter salon, as in the dining-room, there was no other furniture than a square table in white wood, and four straw-seated chairs. In addition to this the dining-room was ornamented with an antique sideboard, painted pink, in water colors.
  Out of a similar sideboard, properly draped with white napery and imitation lace, the Bishop had constructed the altar which decorated his oratory.
  His wealthy penitents and the sainted women of D---- had more than once assessed themselves to raise the money for a new altar for Monseigneur's oratory; on each occasion he had taken the money and had given it to the poor.
  "The most beautiful of altars," he said, "is the soul of an unhappy creature consoled and thanking God."
  In his oratory there were two straw prie-Dieu, and there was an arm-chair, also in straw, in his bedroom.
  When, by chance, he received seven or eight persons at one time, the prefect,
or the general, or the staff of the regiment in garrison, or several pupils from the little seminary, the chairs had to be fetched from the winter salon in the stable, the prie-Dieu from the oratory, and the arm-chair from the bedroom:
  in this way as many as eleven chairs could be collected for the visitors.
  A room was dismantled for each new guest.
  It sometimes happened that there were twelve in the party; the Bishop then relieved the embarrassment of the situation by standing in front of the chimney if it was winter, or by strolling in the garden if it was summer.
  There was still another chair in the detached alcove, but the straw was half gone from it, and it had but three legs, so that it was of service only when propped against the wall.
  Mademoiselle Baptistine had also in her own room a very large easy-chair of wood, which had formerly been gilded, and which was covered with flowered pekin; but they had been obliged to hoist this bergere up to the first story through the window, as the staircase was too narrow; it could not, therefore, be reckoned among the possibilities in the way of furniture.
  Mademoiselle Baptistine's ambition had been to be able to purchase a set of drawing-room furniture in yellow Utrecht velvet, stamped with a rose pattern, and with mahogany in swan's neck style, with a sofa.
  But this would have cost five hundred francs at least, and in view of the fact that she had only been able to lay by forty-two francs and ten sous for this purpose in the course of five years, she had ended by renouncing the idea.
  However, who is there who has attained his ideal?
  Nothing is more easy to present to the imagination than the Bishop's bedchamber.
  A glazed door opened on the garden; opposite this was the bed,--a hospital bed of iron, with a canopy of green serge; in the shadow of the bed, behind a curtain, were the utensils of the toilet, which still betrayed the elegant habits of the man of the world: there were two doors, one near the chimney, opening into the oratory; the other near the bookcase, opening into the dining-room. The bookcase was a large cupboard with glass doors filled with books; the chimney was of wood painted to represent marble, and habitually without fire. In the chimney stood a pair of firedogs of iron, ornamented above with two garlanded vases, and flutings which had formerly been silvered with silver leaf, which was a sort of episcopal luxury; above the chimney-piece hung a crucifix of copper, with the silver worn off, fixed on a background of threadbare velvet in a wooden frame from which the gilding had fallen; near the glass door a large table with an inkstand, loaded with a confusion of papers and with huge volumes; before the table an arm-chair of straw; in front of the bed a prie-Dieu, borrowed from the oratory.
  Two portraits in oval frames were fastened to the wall on each side of the bed.
  Small gilt inscriptions on the plain surface of the cloth at the side of these figures indicated that the portraits represented, one the Abbe of Chaliot, bishop of Saint Claude; the other, the Abbe Tourteau, vicar-general of Agde, abbe of Grand-Champ, order of Citeaux, diocese of Chartres.
  When the Bishop succeeded to this apartment, after the hospital patients, he had found these portraits there, and had left them.
  They were priests, and probably donors--two reasons for respecting them.
  All that he knew about these two persons was, that they had been appointed by the king, the one to his bishopric, the other to his benefice, on the same day, the 27th of April, 1785.
  Madame Magloire having taken the pictures down to dust, the Bishop had discovered these particulars written in whitish ink on a little square of paper, yellowed by time, and attached to the back of the portrait of the Abbe of Grand-Champ with four wafers.
  At his window he had an antique curtain of a coarse woollen stuff, which finally became so old, that, in order to avoid the expense of a new one, Madame Magloire was forced to take a large seam in the very middle of it.
  This seam took the form of a cross. The Bishop often called attention to it:
  "How delightful that is!" he said.
  All the rooms in the house, without exception, those on the ground floor as well as those on the first floor, were white-washed, which is a fashion in barracks and hospitals.
  However, in their latter years, Madame Magloire discovered beneath the paper which had been washed over, paintings, ornamenting the apartment of Mademoiselle Baptistine, as we shall see further on. Before becoming a hospital, this house had been the ancient parliament house of the Bourgeois.
  Hence this decoration. The chambers were paved in red bricks, which were washed every week, with straw mats in front of all the beds.
  Altogether, this dwelling, which was attended to by the two women, was exquisitely clean from top to bottom.
  This was the sole luxury which the Bishop permitted. He said, "That takes nothing from the poor."
  It must be confessed, however, that he still retained from his former possessions six silver knives and forks and a soup-ladle, which Madame Magloire contemplated every day with delight, as they glistened splendidly upon the coarse linen cloth. And since we are now painting the Bishop of D---- as he was in reality, we must add that he had said more than once, "I find it difficult to renounce eating from silver dishes."
  To this silverware must be added two large candlesticks of massive silver, which he had inherited from a great-aunt. These candlesticks held two wax candles, and usually figured on the Bishop's chimney-piece. When he had any one to dinner, Madame Magloire lighted the two candles and set the candlesticks on the table.
  In the Bishop's own chamber, at the head of his bed, there was a small cupboard, in which Madame Magloire locked up the six silver knives and forks and the big spoon every night. But it is necessary to add, that the key was never removed.
  The garden, which had been rather spoiled by the ugly buildings which we have mentioned, was composed of four alleys in cross-form, radiating from a tank.
  Another walk made the circuit of the garden, and skirted the white wall which enclosed it.
  These alleys left behind them four square plots rimmed with box.
  In three of these, Madame Magloire cultivated vegetables; in the fourth, the Bishop had planted some flowers; here and there stood a few fruit-trees. Madame Magloire had once remarked, with a sort of gentle malice: "Monseigneur, you who turn everything to account, have, nevertheless, one useless plot.
  It would be better to grow salads there than bouquets." "Madame Magloire," retorted the Bishop, "you are mistaken. The beautiful is as useful as the useful."
  He added after a pause, "More so, perhaps."
  This plot, consisting of three or four beds, occupied the Bishop almost as much as did his books.
  He liked to pass an hour or two there, trimming, hoeing, and making holes here and there in the earth, into which he dropped seeds.
  He was not as hostile to insects as a gardener could have wished to see him.
  Moreover, he made no pretensions to botany; he ignored groups and consistency; he made not the slightest effort to decide between Tournefort and the natural method; he took part neither with the buds against the cotyledons, nor with Jussieu against Linnaeus.
  He did not study plants; he loved flowers. He respected learned men greatly; he respected the ignorant still more; and, without ever failing in these two respects, he watered his flower-beds every summer evening with a tin watering-pot painted green.
  The house had not a single door which could be locked.
  The door of the dining-room, which, as we have said, opened directly on the cathedral square, had formerly been ornamented with locks and bolts like the door of a prison.
  The Bishop had had all this ironwork removed, and this door was never fastened, either by night or by day, with anything except the latch.
  All that the first passerby had to do at any hour, was to give it a push.
  At first, the two women had been very much tried by this door, which was never fastened, but Monsieur de D---- had said to them, "Have bolts put on your rooms, if that will please you."
  They had ended by sharing his confidence, or by at least acting as though they shared it.
  Madame Magloire alone had frights from time to time.
  As for the Bishop, his thought can be found explained, or at least indicated, in the three lines which he wrote on the margin of a Bible, "This is the shade of difference:
  the door of the physician should never be shut, the door of the priest should always be open."
  On another book, entitled Philosophy of the Medical Science, he had written this other note:
  "Am not I a physician like them? I also have my patients, and then, too, I have some whom I call my unfortunates."
  Again he wrote:
  "Do not inquire the name of him who asks a shelter of you.
  The very man who is embarrassed by his name is the one who needs shelter."
  It chanced that a worthy cure, I know not whether it was the cure of Couloubroux or the cure of Pompierry, took it into his head to ask him one day, probably at the instigation of Madame Magloire, whether Monsieur was sure that he was not committing an indiscretion, to a certain extent, in leaving his door unfastened day and night, at the mercy of any one who should choose to enter, and whether, in short, he did not fear lest some misfortune might occur in a house so little guarded.
  The Bishop touched his shoulder, with gentle gravity, and said to him, "Nisi Dominus custodierit domum, in vanum vigilant qui custodiunt eam," Unless the Lord guard the house, in vain do they watch who guard it.
  Then he spoke of something else.
  He was fond of saying, "There is a bravery of the priest as well as the bravery of a colonel of dragoons,--only," he added, "ours must be tranquil."



CHAPTER VII
  CRAVATTE

   It is here that a fact falls naturally into place, which we must not omit, because it is one of the sort which show us best what sort of a man the Bishop of D---- was.
  After the destruction of the band of Gaspard Bes, who had infested the gorges of Ollioules, one of his lieutenants, Cravatte, took refuge in the mountains.
  He concealed himself for some time with his bandits, the remnant of Gaspard Bes's troop, in the county of Nice; then he made his way to Piedmont, and suddenly reappeared in France, in the vicinity of Barcelonette.
  He was first seen at Jauziers, then at Tuiles.
  He hid himself in the caverns of the Joug-de-l'Aigle, and thence he descended towards the hamlets and villages through the ravines of Ubaye and Ubayette.
  He even pushed as far as Embrun, entered the cathedral one night, and despoiled the sacristy.
  His highway robberies laid waste the country-side. The gendarmes were set on his track, but in vain. He always escaped; sometimes he resisted by main force.
  He was a bold wretch.
  In the midst of all this terror the Bishop arrived. He was making his circuit to Chastelar.
  The mayor came to meet him, and urged him to retrace his steps.
  Cravatte was in possession of the mountains as far as Arche, and beyond; there was danger even with an escort; it merely exposed three or four unfortunate gendarmes to no purpose.
  "Therefore," said the Bishop, "I intend to go without escort."
  "You do not really mean that, Monseigneur!" exclaimed the mayor.
  "I do mean it so thoroughly that I absolutely refuse any gendarmes, and shall set out in an hour."
  "Set out?"
  "Set out."
  "Alone?"
  "Alone."
  "Monseigneur, you will not do that!"
  "There exists yonder in the mountains," said the Bishop, a tiny community no bigger than that, which I have not seen for three years. They are my good friends, those gentle and honest shepherds.
  They own one goat out of every thirty that they tend.
  They make very pretty woollen cords of various colors, and they play the mountain airs on little flutes with six holes.
  They need to be told of the good God now and then.
  What would they say to a bishop who was afraid? What would they say if I did not go?"
  "But the brigands, Monseigneur?"
  "Hold," said the Bishop, "I must think of that.
  You are right. I may meet them.
  They, too, need to be told of the good God."
  "But, Monseigneur, there is a band of them!
  A flock of wolves!"
  "Monsieur le maire, it may be that it is of this very flock of wolves that Jesus has constituted me the shepherd.
  Who knows the ways of Providence?"
  "They will rob you, Monseigneur."
  "I have nothing."
  "They will kill you."
  "An old goodman of a priest, who passes along mumbling his prayers? Bah!
  To what purpose?"
  "Oh, mon Dieu! what if you should meet them!"
  "I should beg alms of them for my poor."
  "Do not go, Monseigneur.
  In the name of Heaven!
  You are risking your life!"
  "Monsieur le maire," said the Bishop, "is that really all? I am not in the world to guard my own life, but to guard souls."
  They had to allow him to do as he pleased.
  He set out, accompanied only by a child who offered to serve as a guide.
  His obstinacy was bruited about the country-side, and caused great consternation.
  He would take neither his sister nor Madame Magloire.
  He traversed the mountain on mule-back, encountered no one, and arrived safe and sound at the residence of his "good friends," the shepherds. He remained there for a fortnight, preaching, administering the sacrament, teaching, exhorting.
  When the time of his departure approached, he resolved to chant a Te Deum pontifically.
  He mentioned it to the cure.
  But what was to be done?
  There were no episcopal ornaments. They could only place at his disposal a wretched village sacristy, with a few ancient chasubles of threadbare damask adorned with imitation lace.
  "Bah!" said the Bishop.
  "Let us announce our Te Deum from the pulpit, nevertheless, Monsieur le Cure.
  Things will arrange themselves."
  They instituted a search in the churches of the neighborhood. All the magnificence of these humble parishes combined would not have sufficed to clothe the chorister of a cathedral properly.
  While they were thus embarrassed, a large chest was brought and deposited in the presbytery for the Bishop, by two unknown horsemen, who departed on the instant.
  The chest was opened; it contained a cope of cloth of gold, a mitre ornamented with diamonds, an archbishop's cross, a magnificent crosier,--all the pontifical vestments which had been stolen a month previously from the treasury of Notre Dame d'Embrun. In the chest was a paper, on which these words were written, "From Cravatte to Monseigneur Bienvenu."
  "Did not I say that things would come right of themselves?" said the Bishop.
  Then he added, with a smile, "To him who contents himself with the surplice of a curate, God sends the cope of an archbishop."
  "Monseigneur," murmured the cure, throwing back his head with a smile. "God--or the Devil."
  The Bishop looked steadily at the cure, and repeated with authority, "God!"
  When he returned to Chastelar, the people came out to stare at him as at a curiosity, all along the road.
  At the priest's house in Chastelar he rejoined Mademoiselle Baptistine and Madame Magloire, who were waiting for him, and he said to his sister:
  "Well! was I in the right?
  The poor priest went to his poor mountaineers with empty hands, and he returns from them with his hands full. I set out bearing only my faith in God; I have brought back the treasure of a cathedral."
  That evening, before he went to bed, he said again:
  "Let us never fear robbers nor murderers.
  Those are dangers from without, petty dangers.
  Let us fear ourselves.
  Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers.
  The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse!
  Let us think only of that which threatens our soul."
  Then, turning to his sister:
  "Sister, never a precaution on the part of the priest, against his fellow-man. That which his fellow does, God permits.
  Let us confine ourselves to prayer, when we think that a danger is approaching us.
  Let us pray, not for ourselves, but that our brother may not fall into sin on our account."
  However, such incidents were rare in his life.
  We relate those of which we know; but generally he passed his life in doing the same things at the same moment.
  One month of his year resembled one hour of his day.
  As to what became of "the treasure" of the cathedral of Embrun, we should be embarrassed by any inquiry in that direction. It consisted of very handsome things, very tempting things, and things which were very well adapted to be stolen for the benefit of the unfortunate.
  Stolen they had already been elsewhere. Half of the adventure was completed; it only remained to impart a new direction to the theft, and to cause it to take a short trip in the direction of the poor.
  However, we make no assertions on this point.
  Only, a rather obscure note was found among the Bishop's papers, which may bear some relation to this matter, and which is couched in these terms, "The question is, to decide whether this should be turned over to the cathedral or to the hospital."



CHAPTER VIII
  PHILOSOPHY AFTER DRINKING

   The senator above mentioned was a clever man, who had made his own way, heedless of those things which present obstacles, and which are called conscience, sworn faith, justice, duty:
  he had marched straight to his goal, without once flinching in the line of his advancement and his interest.
  He was an old attorney, softened by success; not a bad man by any means, who rendered all the small services in his power to his sons, his sons-in-law, his relations, and even to his friends, having wisely seized upon, in life, good sides, good opportunities, good windfalls. Everything else seemed to him very stupid.
  He was intelligent, and just sufficiently educated to think himself a disciple of Epicurus; while he was, in reality, only a product of Pigault-Lebrun. He laughed willingly and pleasantly over infinite and eternal things, and at the "Crotchets of that good old fellow the Bishop." He even sometimes laughed at him with an amiable authority in the presence of M. Myriel himself, who listened to him.
  On some semi-official occasion or other, I do not recollect what, Count*** [this senator] and M. Myriel were to dine with the prefect. At dessert, the senator, who was slightly exhilarated, though still perfectly dignified, exclaimed:--
  "Egad, Bishop, let's have a discussion.
  It is hard for a senator and a bishop to look at each other without winking.
  We are two augurs. I am going to make a confession to you.
  I have a philosophy of my own."
  "And you are right," replied the Bishop.
  "As one makes one's philosophy, so one lies on it.
  You are on the bed of purple, senator."
  The senator was encouraged, and went on:--
  "Let us be good fellows."
  "Good devils even," said the Bishop.
  "I declare to you," continued the senator, "that the Marquis d'Argens, Pyrrhon, Hobbes, and M. Naigeon are no rascals. I have all the philosophers in my library gilded on the edges."
  "Like yourself, Count," interposed the Bishop.
  The senator resumed:--
  "I hate Diderot; he is an ideologist, a declaimer, and a revolutionist, a believer in God at bottom, and more bigoted than Voltaire. Voltaire made sport of Needham, and he was wrong, for Needham's eels prove that God is useless.
  A drop of vinegar in a spoonful of flour paste supplies the fiat lux.
  Suppose the drop to be larger and the spoonful bigger; you have the world.
  Man is the eel. Then what is the good of the Eternal Father?
  The Jehovah hypothesis tires me, Bishop.
  It is good for nothing but to produce shallow people, whose reasoning is hollow.
  Down with that great All, which torments me! Hurrah for Zero which leaves me in peace!
  Between you and me, and in order to empty my sack, and make confession to my pastor, as it behooves me to do, I will admit to you that I have good sense. I am not enthusiastic over your Jesus, who preaches renunciation and sacrifice to the last extremity.
  'Tis the counsel of an avaricious man to beggars.
  Renunciation; why?
  Sacrifice; to what end? I do not see one wolf immolating himself for the happiness of another wolf.
  Let us stick to nature, then.
  We are at the top; let us have a superior philosophy.
  What is the advantage of being at the top, if one sees no further than the end of other people's noses?
  Let us live merrily.
  Life is all.
  That man has another future elsewhere, on high, below, anywhere, I don't believe; not one single word of it.
  Ah! sacrifice and renunciation are recommended to me; I must take heed to everything I do; I must cudgel my brains over good and evil, over the just and the unjust, over the fas and the nefas.
  Why?
  Because I shall have to render an account of my actions.
  When?
  After death.
  What a fine dream! After my death it will be a very clever person who can catch me. Have a handful of dust seized by a shadow-hand, if you can. Let us tell the truth, we who are initiated, and who have raised the veil of Isis:
  there is no such thing as either good or evil; there is vegetation.
  Let us seek the real.
  Let us get to the bottom of it.
  Let us go into it thoroughly.
  What the deuce! let us go to the bottom of it!
  We must scent out the truth; dig in the earth for it, and seize it.
  Then it gives you exquisite joys. Then you grow strong, and you laugh.
  I am square on the bottom, I am.
  Immortality, Bishop, is a chance, a waiting for dead men's shoes.
  Ah! what a charming promise! trust to it, if you like! What a fine lot Adam has!
  We are souls, and we shall be angels, with blue wings on our shoulder-blades. Do come to my assistance: is it not Tertullian who says that the blessed shall travel from star to star?
  Very well.
  We shall be the grasshoppers of the stars. And then, besides, we shall see God.
  Ta, ta, ta!
  What twaddle all these paradises are!
  God is a nonsensical monster.
  I would not say that in the Moniteur, egad! but I may whisper it among friends. Inter pocula.
  To sacrifice the world to paradise is to let slip the prey for the shadow.
  Be the dupe of the infinite! I'm not such a fool.
  I am a nought.
  I call myself Monsieur le Comte Nought, senator.
  Did I exist before my birth?
  No. Shall I exist after death?
  No. What am I?
  A little dust collected in an organism. What am I to do on this earth?
  The choice rests with me: suffer or enjoy.
  Whither will suffering lead me?
  To nothingness; but I shall have suffered.
  Whither will enjoyment lead me? To nothingness; but I shall have enjoyed myself.
  My choice is made. One must eat or be eaten.
  I shall eat.
  It is better to be the tooth than the grass.
  Such is my wisdom.
  After which, go whither I push thee, the grave-digger is there; the Pantheon for some of us: all falls into the great hole.
  End.
  Finis.
  Total liquidation. This is the vanishing-point. Death is death, believe me. I laugh at the idea of there being any one who has anything to tell me on that subject.
  Fables of nurses; bugaboo for children; Jehovah for men.
  No; our to-morrow is the night.
  Beyond the tomb there is nothing but equal nothingness.
  You have been Sardanapalus, you have been Vincent de Paul--it makes no difference.
  That is the truth.
  Then live your life, above all things.
  Make use of your _I_ while you have it.
  In truth, Bishop, I tell you that I have a philosophy of my own, and I have my philosophers.
  I don't let myself be taken in with that nonsense.
  Of course, there must be something for those who are down,--for the barefooted beggars, knife-grinders, and miserable wretches.
  Legends, chimeras, the soul, immortality, paradise, the stars, are provided for them to swallow. They gobble it down.
  They spread it on their dry bread. He who has nothing else has the good.
  God.
  That is the least he can have.
  I oppose no objection to that; but I reserve Monsieur Naigeon for myself.
  The good God is good for the populace."
  The Bishop clapped his hands.
  "That's talking!" he exclaimed.
  "What an excellent and really marvellous thing is this materialism!
  Not every one who wants it can have it.
  Ah! when one does have it, one is no longer a dupe, one does not stupidly allow one's self to be exiled like Cato, nor stoned like Stephen, nor burned alive like Jeanne d'Arc. Those who have succeeded in procuring this admirable materialism have the joy of feeling themselves irresponsible, and of thinking that they can devour everything without uneasiness,--places, sinecures, dignities, power, whether well or ill acquired, lucrative recantations, useful treacheries, savory capitulations of conscience,--and that they shall enter the tomb with their digestion accomplished.
  How agreeable that is! I do not say that with reference to you, senator.
  Nevertheless, it is impossible for me to refrain from congratulating you.
  You great lords have, so you say, a philosophy of your own, and for yourselves, which is exquisite, refined, accessible to the rich alone, good for all sauces, and which seasons the voluptuousness of life admirably.
  This philosophy has been extracted from the depths, and unearthed by special seekers.
  But you are good-natured princes, and you do not think it a bad thing that belief in the good God should constitute the philosophy of the people, very much as the goose stuffed with chestnuts is the truffled turkey of the poor."



CHAPTER IX
  THE BROTHER AS DEPICTED BY THE SISTER

        In order to furnish an idea of the private establishment of the Bishop of D----, and of the manner in which those two sainted women subordinated their actions, their thoughts, their feminine instincts even, which are easily alarmed, to the habits and purposes of the Bishop, without his even taking the trouble of speaking in order to explain them, we cannot do better than transcribe in this place a letter from Mademoiselle Baptistine to Madame the Vicomtess de Boischevron, the friend of her childhood.
  This letter is in our possession.
  D----, Dec. 16, 18--. MY GOOD MADAM:
  Not a day passes without our speaking of you. It is our established custom; but there is another reason besides. Just imagine, while washing and dusting the ceilings and walls, Madam Magloire has made some discoveries; now our two chambers hung with antique paper whitewashed over, would not discredit a chateau in the style of yours.
  Madam Magloire has pulled off all the paper. There were things beneath.
  My drawing-room, which contains no furniture, and which we use for spreading out the linen after washing, is fifteen feet in height, eighteen square, with a ceiling which was formerly painted and gilded, and with beams, as in yours. This was covered with a cloth while this was the hospital. And the woodwork was of the era of our grandmothers.
  But my room is the one you ought to see.
  Madam Magloire has discovered, under at least ten thicknesses of paper pasted on top, some paintings, which without being good are very tolerable.
  The subject is Telemachus being knighted by Minerva in some gardens, the name of which escapes me.
  In short, where the Roman ladies repaired on one single night.
  What shall I say to you?
  I have Romans, and Roman ladies [here occurs an illegible word], and the whole train. Madam Magloire has cleaned it all off; this summer she is going to have some small injuries repaired, and the whole revarnished, and my chamber will be a regular museum.
  She has also found in a corner of the attic two wooden pier-tables of ancient fashion. They asked us two crowns of six francs each to regild them, but it is much better to give the money to the poor; and they are very ugly besides, and I should much prefer a round table of mahogany.
  I am always very happy.
  My brother is so good.
  He gives all he has to the poor and sick.
  We are very much cramped.
  The country is trying in the winter, and we really must do something for those who are in need.
  We are almost comfortably lighted and warmed. You see that these are great treats.
  My brother has ways of his own.
  When he talks, he says that a bishop ought to be so.
  Just imagine! the door of our house is never fastened. Whoever chooses to enter finds himself at once in my brother's room. He fears nothing, even at night.
  That is his sort of bravery, he says.
  He does not wish me or Madame Magloire feel any fear for him. He exposes himself to all sorts of dangers, and he does not like to have us even seem to notice it.
  One must know how to understand him.
  He goes out in the rain, he walks in the water, he travels in winter. He fears neither suspicious roads nor dangerous encounters, nor night.
   year he went quite alone into a country of robbers.
  He would not take us.
  He was absent for a fortnight.
  On his return nothing had happened to him; he was thought to be dead, but was perfectly well, and said, "This is the way I have been robbed!"
  And then he opened a trunk full of jewels, all the jewels of the cathedral of Embrun, which the thieves had given him.
  When he returned on that occasion, I could not refrain from scolding him a little, taking care, however, not to speak except when the carriage was making a noise, so that no one might hear me.
  At first I used to say to myself, "There are no dangers which will stop him; he is terrible."
  Now I have ended by getting used to it. I make a sign to Madam Magloire that she is not to oppose him. He risks himself as he sees fit.
  I carry off Madam Magloire, I enter my chamber, I pray for him and fall asleep.
  I am at ease, because I know that if anything were to happen to him, it would be the end of me.
  I should go to the good God with my brother and my bishop.
  It has cost Madam Magloire more trouble than it did me to accustom herself to what she terms his imprudences.
  But now the habit has been acquired.
  We pray together, we tremble together, and we fall asleep.
  If the devil were to enter this house, he would be allowed to do so.
  After all, what is there for us to fear in this house?
  There is always some one with us who is stronger than we.
  The devil may pass through it, but the good God dwells here.
  This suffices me.
  My brother has no longer any need of saying a word to me.
  I understand him without his speaking, and we abandon ourselves to the care of Providence.
  That is the way one has to do with a man who possesses grandeur of soul.
  I have interrogated my brother with regard to the information which you desire on the subject of the Faux family.
  You are aware that he knows everything, and that he has memories, because he is still a very good royalist.
  They really are a very ancient Norman family of the generalship of Caen.
  Five hundred years ago there was a Raoul de Faux, a Jean de Faux, and a Thomas de Faux, who were gentlemen, and one of whom was a seigneur de Rochefort. The last was Guy-Etienne-Alexandre, and was commander of a regiment, and something in the light horse of Bretagne.
  His daughter, Marie-Louise, married Adrien-Charles de Gramont, son of the Duke Louis de Gramont, peer of France, colonel of the French guards, and lieutenant-general of the army.
  It is written Faux, Fauq, and Faoucq.
  Good Madame, recommend us to the prayers of your sainted relative, Monsieur the Cardinal.
  As for your dear Sylvanie, she has done well in not wasting the few moments which she passes with you in writing to me.
  She is well, works as you would wish, and loves me.
  That is all that I desire.
  The souvenir which she sent through you reached me safely, and it makes me very happy.
  My health is not so very bad, and yet I grow thinner every day.
  Farewell; my paper is at an end, and this forces me to leave you.
  A thousand good wishes.
   BAPTISTINE.
   P.S. Your grand nephew is charming.
  Do you know that he will soon be five years old?
  Yesterday he saw some one riding by on horseback who had on knee-caps, and he said, "What has he got on his knees?" He is a charming child!
  His little brother is dragging an old broom about the room, like a carriage, and saying, "Hu!"
   As will be perceived from this letter, these two women understood how to mould themselves to the Bishop's ways with that special feminine genius which comprehends the man better than he comprehends himself. The Bishop of D----, in spite of the gentle and candid air which never deserted him, sometimes did things that were grand, bold, and magnificent, without seeming to have even a suspicion of the fact. They trembled, but they let him alone.
  Sometimes Madame Magloire essayed a remonstrance in advance, but never at the time, nor afterwards. They never interfered with him by so much as a word or sign, in any action once entered upon.
  At certain moments, without his having occasion to mention it, when he was not even conscious of it himself in all probability, so perfect was his simplicity, they vaguely felt that he was acting as a bishop; then they were nothing more than two shadows in the house.
  They served him passively; and if obedience consisted in disappearing, they disappeared. They understood, with an admirable delicacy of instinct, that certain cares may be put under constraint.
  Thus, even when believing him to be in peril, they understood, I will not say his thought, but his nature, to such a degree that they no longer watched over him. They confided him to God.
  Moreover, Baptistine said, as we have just read, that her brother's end would prove her own.
  Madame Magloire did not say this, but she knew it.


 


CHAPTER X
  THE BISHOP IN THE PRESENCE OF AN UNKNOWN LIGHT


   At an epoch a little later than the date of the letter cited in the preceding pages, he did a thing which, if the whole town was to be believed, was even more hazardous than his trip across the mountains infested with bandits.
  In the country near D---- a man lived quite alone.
  This man, we will state at once, was a former member of the Convention. His name was G----
  Member of the Convention, G---- was mentioned with a sort of horror in the little world of D---- A member of the Convention--can you imagine such a thing?
  That existed from the time when people called each other thou, and when they said "citizen."
  This man was almost a monster.
  He had not voted for the death of the king, but almost.
  He was a quasi-regicide. He had been a terrible man. How did it happen that such a man had not been brought before a provost's court, on the return of the legitimate princes? They need not have cut off his head, if you please; clemency must be exercised, agreed; but a good banishment for life.
  An example, in short, etc.
  Besides, he was an atheist, like all the rest of those people.
  Gossip of the geese about the vulture.
  Was G---- a vulture after all?
  Yes; if he were to be judged by the element of ferocity in this solitude of his.
  As he had not voted for the death of the king, he had not been included in the decrees of exile, and had been able to remain in France.
  He dwelt at a distance of three-quarters of an hour from the city, far from any hamlet, far from any road, in some hidden turn of a very wild valley, no one knew exactly where.
  He had there, it was said, a sort of field, a hole, a lair.
  There were no neighbors, not even passers-by. Since he had dwelt in that valley, the path which led thither had disappeared under a growth of grass. The locality was spoken of as though it had been the dwelling of a hangman.
  Nevertheless, the Bishop meditated on the subject, and from time to time he gazed at the horizon at a point where a clump of trees marked the valley of the former member of the Convention, and he said, "There is a soul yonder which is lonely."
  And he added, deep in his own mind, "I owe him a visit."
  But, let us avow it, this idea, which seemed natural at the first blush, appeared to him after a moment's reflection, as strange, impossible, and almost repulsive.
  For, at bottom, he shared the general impression, and the old member of the Convention inspired him, without his being clearly conscious of the fact himself, with that sentiment which borders on hate, and which is so well expressed by the word estrangement.
  Still, should the scab of the sheep cause the shepherd to recoil? No. But what a sheep!
  The good Bishop was perplexed.
  Sometimes he set out in that direction; then he returned.
  Finally, the rumor one day spread through the town that a sort of young shepherd, who served the member of the Convention in his hovel, had come in quest of a doctor; that the old wretch was dying, that paralysis was gaining on him, and that he would not live over night.--"Thank God!" some added.
  The Bishop took his staff, put on his cloak, on account of his too threadbare cassock, as we have mentioned, and because of the evening breeze which was sure to rise soon, and set out.
  The sun was setting, and had almost touched the horizon when the Bishop arrived at the excommunicated spot.
  With a certain beating of the heart, he recognized the fact that he was near the lair. He strode over a ditch, leaped a hedge, made his way through a fence of dead boughs, entered a neglected paddock, took a few steps with a good deal of boldness, and suddenly, at the extremity of the waste land, and behind lofty brambles, he caught sight of the cavern.
  It was a very low hut, poor, small, and clean, with a vine nailed against the outside.
  Near the door, in an old wheel-chair, the arm-chair of the peasants, there was a white-haired man, smiling at the sun.
  Near the seated man stood a young boy, the shepherd lad. He was offering the old man a jar of milk.
  While the Bishop was watching him, the old man spoke:
  "Thank you," he said, "I need nothing."
  And his smile quitted the sun to rest upon the child.
  The Bishop stepped forward.
  At the sound which he made in walking, the old man turned his head, and his face expressed the sum total of the surprise which a man can still feel after a long life.
  "This is the first time since I have been here," said he, "that any one has entered here.
  Who are you, sir?"
  The Bishop answered:--
  "My name is Bienvenu Myriel."
  "Bienvenu Myriel?
  I have heard that name.
  Are you the man whom the people call Monseigneur Welcome?"
  "I am."
  The old man resumed with a half-smile
  "In that case, you are my bishop?"
  "Something of that sort."
  "Enter, sir."
  The member of the Convention extended his hand to the Bishop, but the Bishop did not take it.
  The Bishop confined himself to the remark:--
  "I am pleased to see that I have been misinformed.
  You certainly do not seem to me to be ill."
  "Monsieur," replied the old man, "I am going to recover."
  He paused, and then said:--
  "I shall die three hours hence."
  Then he continued:--
  "I am something of a doctor; I know in what fashion the last hour draws on.
  Yesterday, only my feet were cold; to-day, the chill has ascended to my knees; now I feel it mounting to my waist; when it reaches the heart, I shall stop.
  The sun is beautiful, is it not?
  I had myself wheeled out here to take a last look at things.
  You can talk to me; it does not fatigue me.
  You have done well to come and look at a man who is on the point of death. It is well that there should be witnesses at that moment.
  One has one's caprices; I should have liked to last until the dawn, but I know that I shall hardly live three hours.
  It will be night then. What does it matter, after all?
  Dying is a simple affair. One has no need of the light for that.
  So be it.
  I shall die by starlight."
  The old man turned to the shepherd lad:--
  "Go to thy bed; thou wert awake all last night; thou art tired."
  The child entered the hut.
  The old man followed him with his eyes, and added, as though speaking to himself:--
  "I shall die while he sleeps.
  The two slumbers may be good neighbors."
  The Bishop was not touched as it seems that he should have been. He did not think he discerned God in this manner of dying; let us say the whole, for these petty contradictions of great hearts must be indicated like the rest:
  he, who on occasion, was so fond of laughing at "His Grace," was rather shocked at not being addressed as Monseigneur, and he was almost tempted to retort "citizen." He was assailed by a fancy for peevish familiarity, common enough to doctors and priests, but which was not habitual with him. This man, after all, this member of the Convention, this representative of the people, had been one of the powerful ones of the earth; for the first time in his life, probably, the Bishop felt in a mood to be severe.
  Meanwhile, the member of the Convention had been surveying him with a modest cordiality, in which one could have distinguished, possibly, that humility which is so fitting when one is on the verge of returning to dust.
  The Bishop, on his side, although he generally restrained his curiosity, which, in his opinion, bordered on a fault, could not refrain from examining the member of the Convention with an attention which, as it did not have its course in sympathy, would have served his conscience as a matter of reproach, in connection with any other man. A member of the Convention produced on him somewhat the effect of being outside the pale of the law, even of the law of charity.
  G----, calm, his body almost upright, his voice vibrating, was one of those octogenarians who form the subject of astonishment to the physiologist. The Revolution had many of these men, proportioned to the epoch. In this old man one was conscious of a man put to the proof. Though so near to his end, he preserved all the gestures of health. In his clear glance, in his firm tone, in the robust movement of his shoulders, there was something calculated to disconcert death. Azrael, the Mohammedan angel of the sepulchre, would have turned back, and thought that he had mistaken the door.
  G---- seemed to be dying because he willed it so.
  There was freedom in his agony.
  His legs alone were motionless.
  It was there that the shadows held him fast. His feet were cold and dead, but his head survived with all the power of life, and seemed full of light.
  G----, at this solemn moment, resembled the king in that tale of the Orient who was flesh above and marble below.
  There was a stone there.
  The Bishop sat down.
  The exordium was abrupt.
  "I congratulate you," said he, in the tone which one uses for a reprimand.
  "You did not vote for the death of the king, after all."
  The old member of the Convention did not appear to notice the bitter meaning underlying the words "after all."
  He replied. The smile had quite disappeared from his face.
  "Do not congratulate me too much, sir.
  I did vote for the death of the tyrant."
  It was the tone of austerity answering the tone of severity.
  "What do you mean to say?" resumed the Bishop.
  "I mean to say that man has a tyrant,--ignorance.
  I voted for the death of that tyrant.
  That tyrant engendered royalty, which is authority falsely understood, while science is authority rightly understood. Man should be governed only by science."
  "And conscience," added the Bishop.
  "It is the same thing.
  Conscience is the quantity of innate science which we have within us."
  Monseigneur Bienvenu listened in some astonishment to this language, which was very new to him.
  The member of the Convention resumed:--
  "So far as Louis XVI.
  was concerned, I said `no.' I did not think that I had the right to kill a man; but I felt it my duty to exterminate evil.
  I voted the end of the tyrant, that is to say, the end of prostitution for woman, the end of slavery for man, the end of night for the child.
  In voting for the Republic, I voted for that.
  I voted for fraternity, concord, the dawn. I have aided in the overthrow of prejudices and errors.
  The crumbling away of prejudices and errors causes light.
  We have caused the fall of the old world, and the old world, that vase of miseries, has become, through its upsetting upon the human race, an urn of joy."
  "Mixed joy," said the Bishop.
  "You may say troubled joy, and to-day, after that fatal return of the past, which is called 1814, joy which has disappeared! Alas!
  The work was incomplete, I admit:
  we demolished the ancient regime in deeds; we were not able to suppress it entirely in ideas. To destroy abuses is not sufficient; customs must be modified. The mill is there no longer; the wind is still there."
  "You have demolished.
  It may be of use to demolish, but I distrust a demolition complicated with wrath."
  "Right has its wrath, Bishop; and the wrath of right is an element of progress.
  In any case, and in spite of whatever may be said, the French Revolution is the most important step of the human race since the advent of Christ.
  Incomplete, it may be, but sublime. It set free all the unknown social quantities; it softened spirits, it calmed, appeased, enlightened; it caused the waves of civilization to flow over the earth.
  It was a good thing.
  The French Revolution is the consecration of humanity."
  The Bishop could not refrain from murmuring:--
  "Yes? '93!"
  The member of the Convention straightened himself up in his chair with an almost lugubrious solemnity, and exclaimed, so far as a dying man is capable of exclamation:--
  "Ah, there you go; '93!
  I was expecting that word.
  A cloud had been forming for the space of fifteen hundred years; at the end of fifteen hundred years it burst.
  You are putting the thunderbolt on its trial."
  The Bishop felt, without, perhaps, confessing it, that something within him had suffered extinction.
  Nevertheless, he put a good face on the matter.
  He replied:--
  "The judge speaks in the name of justice; the priest speaks in the name of pity, which is nothing but a more lofty justice. A thunderbolt should commit no error."
  And he added, regarding the member of the Convention steadily the while, "Louis XVII.?"
  The conventionary stretched forth his hand and grasped the Bishop's arm.
  "Louis XVII.! let us see.
  For whom do you mourn? is it for the innocent child? very good; in that case I mourn with you. Is it for the royal child?
  I demand time for reflection. To me, the brother of Cartouche, an innocent child who was hung up by the armpits in the Place de Greve, until death ensued, for the sole crime of having been the brother of Cartouche, is no less painful than the grandson of Louis XV., an innocent child, martyred in the tower of the Temple, for the sole crime of having been grandson of Louis XV."
  "Monsieur," said the Bishop, "I like not this conjunction of names."
  "Cartouche?
  Louis XV.? To which of the two do you object?"
  A momentary silence ensued.
  The Bishop almost regretted having come, and yet he felt vaguely and strangely shaken.
  The conventionary resumed:--
  "Ah, Monsieur Priest, you love not the crudities of the true. Christ loved them.
  He seized a rod and cleared out the Temple. His scourge, full of lightnings, was a harsh speaker of truths. When he cried, `Sinite parvulos,' he made no distinction between the little children.
  It would not have embarrassed him to bring together the Dauphin of Barabbas and the Dauphin of Herod.
  Innocence, Monsieur, is its own crown.
  Innocence has no need to be a highness. It is as august in rags as in fleurs de lys."
  "That is true," said the Bishop in a low voice.
  "I persist," continued the conventionary G---- "You have mentioned Louis XVII.
  to me.
  Let us come to an understanding.
  Shall we weep for all the innocent, all martyrs, all children, the lowly as well as the exalted?
  I agree to that.
  But in that case, as I have told you, we must go back further than '93, and our tears must begin before Louis XVII.
  I will weep with you over the children of kings, provided that you will weep with me over the children of the people."
  "I weep for all," said the Bishop.
  "Equally!" exclaimed conventionary G----; "and if the balance must incline, let it be on the side of the people.
  They have been suffering longer."
  Another silence ensued.
  The conventionary was the first to break it. He raised himself on one elbow, took a bit of his cheek between his thumb and his forefinger, as one does mechanically when one interrogates and judges, and appealed to the Bishop with a gaze full of all the forces of the death agony.
  It was almost an explosion.
  "Yes, sir, the people have been suffering a long while.
  And hold! that is not all, either; why have you just questioned me and talked to me about Louis XVII.? I know you not.
  Ever since I have been in these parts I have dwelt in this enclosure alone, never setting foot outside, and seeing no one but that child who helps me. Your name has reached me in a confused manner, it is true, and very badly pronounced, I must admit; but that signifies nothing:
  clever men have so many ways of imposing on that honest goodman, the people. By the way, I did not hear the sound of your carriage; you have left it yonder, behind the coppice at the fork of the roads, no doubt. I do not know you, I tell you.
  You have told me that you are the Bishop; but that affords me no information as to your moral personality. In short, I repeat my question.
  Who are you?
  You are a bishop; that is to say, a prince of the church, one of those gilded men with heraldic bearings and revenues, who have vast prebends,-- the bishopric of D---- fifteen thousand francs settled income, ten thousand in perquisites; total, twenty-five thousand francs,-- who have kitchens, who have liveries, who make good cheer, who eat moor-hens on Friday, who strut about, a lackey before, a lackey behind, in a gala coach, and who have palaces, and who roll in their carriages in the name of Jesus Christ who went barefoot! You are a prelate,--revenues, palace, horses, servants, good table, all the sensualities of life; you have this like the rest, and like the rest, you enjoy it; it is well; but this says either too much or too little; this does not enlighten me upon the intrinsic and essential value of the man who comes with the probable intention of bringing wisdom to me.
  To whom do I speak? Who are you?"
  The Bishop hung his head and replied, "Vermis sum--I am a worm."
  "A worm of the earth in a carriage?" growled the conventionary.
  It was the conventionary's turn to be arrogant, and the Bishop's to be humble.
  The Bishop resumed mildly:--
  "So be it, sir.
  But explain to me how my carriage, which is a few paces off behind the trees yonder, how my good table and the moor-hens which I eat on Friday, how my twenty-five thousand francs income, how my palace and my lackeys prove that clemency is not a duty, and that '93 was not inexorable.
  The conventionary passed his hand across his brow, as though to sweep away a cloud.
  "Before replying to you," he said, "I beseech you to pardon me. I have just committed a wrong, sir.
  You are at my house, you are my guest, I owe you courtesy.
  You discuss my ideas, and it becomes me to confine myself to combating your arguments.
  Your riches and your pleasures are advantages which I hold over you in the debate; but good taste dictates that I shall not make use of them.
  I promise you to make no use of them in the future."
  "I thank you," said the Bishop.
  G---- resumed.
  "Let us return to the explanation which you have asked of me. Where were we?
  What were you saying to me?
  That '93 was inexorable?"
  "Inexorable; yes," said the Bishop.
  "What think you of Marat clapping his hands at the guillotine?"
  "What think you of Bossuet chanting the Te Deum over the dragonnades?"
  The retort was a harsh one, but it attained its mark with the directness of a point of steel.
  The Bishop quivered under it; no reply occurred to him; but he was offended by this mode of alluding to Bossuet.
  The best of minds will have their fetiches, and they sometimes feel vaguely wounded by the want of respect of logic.
  The conventionary began to pant; the asthma of the agony which is mingled with the last breaths interrupted his voice; still, there was a perfect lucidity of soul in his eyes.
  He went on:--
  "Let me say a few words more in this and that direction; I am willing.
  Apart from the Revolution, which, taken as a whole, is an immense human affirmation, '93 is, alas! a rejoinder. You think it inexorable, sir; but what of the whole monarchy, sir? Carrier is a bandit; but what name do you give to Montrevel? Fouquier-Tainville is a rascal; but what is your opinion as to Lamoignon-Baville? Maillard is terrible; but Saulx-Tavannes, if you please?
  Duchene senior is ferocious; but what epithet will you allow me for the elder Letellier?
  Jourdan-Coupe-Tete is a monster; but not so great a one as M. the Marquis de Louvois. Sir, sir, I am sorry for Marie Antoinette, archduchess and queen; but I am also sorry for that poor Huguenot woman, who, in 1685, under Louis the Great, sir, while with a nursing infant, was bound, naked to the waist, to a stake, and the child kept at a distance; her breast swelled with milk and her heart with anguish; the little one, hungry and pale, beheld that breast and cried and agonized; the executioner said to the woman, a mother and a nurse, `Abjure!' giving her her choice between the death of her infant and the death of her conscience.
  What say you to that torture of Tantalus as applied to a mother?
  Bear this well in mind sir: the French Revolution had its reasons for existence; its wrath will be absolved by the future; its result is the world made better. From its most terrible blows there comes forth a caress for the human race.
  I abridge, I stop, I have too much the advantage; moreover, I am dying."
  And ceasing to gaze at the Bishop, the conventionary concluded his thoughts in these tranquil words:--
  "Yes, the brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over, this fact is recognized,--that the human race has been treated harshly, but that it has progressed."
  The conventionary doubted not that he had successively conquered all the inmost intrenchments of the Bishop.
  One remained, however, and from this intrenchment, the last resource of Monseigneur Bienvenu's resistance, came forth this reply, wherein appeared nearly all the harshness of the beginning:--
  "Progress should believe in God.
  Good cannot have an impious servitor. He who is an atheist is but a bad leader for the human race."
  The former representative of the people made no reply.
  He was seized with a fit of trembling.
  He looked towards heaven, and in his glance a tear gathered slowly.
  When the eyelid was full, the tear trickled down his livid cheek, and he said, almost in a stammer, quite low, and to himself, while his eyes were plunged in the depths:--
  "O thou!
  O ideal!
  Thou alone existest!"
  The Bishop experienced an indescribable shock.
  After a pause, the old man raised a finger heavenward and said:--
  "The infinite is.
  He is there.
  If the infinite had no person, person would be without limit; it would not be infinite; in other words, it would not exist.
  There is, then, an _I_. That _I_ of the infinite is God."
  The dying man had pronounced these last words in a loud voice, and with the shiver of ecstasy, as though he beheld some one. When he had spoken, his eyes closed.
  The effort had exhausted him. It was evident that he had just lived through in a moment the few hours which had been left to him.
  That which he had said brought him nearer to him who is in death.
  The supreme moment was approaching.
  The Bishop understood this; time pressed; it was as a priest that he had come:
  from extreme coldness he had passed by degrees to extreme emotion; he gazed at those closed eyes, he took that wrinkled, aged and ice-cold hand in his, and bent over the dying man.
  "This hour is the hour of God.
  Do you not think that it would be regrettable if we had met in vain?"
  The conventionary opened his eyes again.
  A gravity mingled with gloom was imprinted on his countenance.
  "Bishop," said he, with a slowness which probably arose more from his dignity of soul than from the failing of his strength, "I have passed my life in meditation, study, and contemplation. I was sixty years of age when my country called me and commanded me to concern myself with its affairs.
  I obeyed.
  Abuses existed, I combated them; tyrannies existed, I destroyed them; rights and principles existed, I proclaimed and confessed them.
  Our territory was invaded, I defended it; France was menaced, I offered my breast. I was not rich; I am poor.
  I have been one of the masters of the state; the vaults of the treasury were encumbered with specie to such a degree that we were forced to shore up the walls, which were on the point of bursting beneath the weight of gold and silver; I dined in Dead Tree Street, at twenty-two sous. I have succored the oppressed, I have comforted the suffering. I tore the cloth from the altar, it is true; but it was to bind up the wounds of my country.
  I have always upheld the march forward of the human race, forward towards the light, and I have sometimes resisted progress without pity.
  I have, when the occasion offered, protected my own adversaries, men of your profession.
  And there is at Peteghem, in Flanders, at the very spot where the Merovingian kings had their summer palace, a convent of Urbanists, the Abbey of Sainte Claire en Beaulieu, which I saved in 1793.
  I have done my duty according to my powers, and all the good that I was able. After which, I was hunted down, pursued, persecuted, blackened, jeered at, scorned, cursed, proscribed.
  For many years past, I with my white hair have been conscious that many people think they have the right to despise me; to the poor ignorant masses I present the visage of one damned.
  And I accept this isolation of hatred, without hating any one myself.
  Now I am eighty-six years old; I am on the point of death.
  What is it that you have come to ask of me?"
  "Your blessing," said the Bishop.
  And he knelt down.
  When the Bishop raised his head again, the face of the conventionary had become august.
  He had just expired.
  The Bishop returned home, deeply absorbed in thoughts which cannot be known to us.
  He passed the whole night in prayer. On the following morning some bold and curious persons attempted to speak to him about member of the Convention G----; he contented himself with pointing heavenward.
  From that moment he redoubled his tenderness and brotherly feeling towards all children and sufferers.
  Any allusion to "that old wretch of a G----" caused him to fall into a singular preoccupation.
  No one could say that the passage of that soul before his, and the reflection of that grand conscience upon his, did not count for something in his approach to perfection.
  This "pastoral visit" naturally furnished an occasion for a murmur of comment in all the little local coteries.
  "Was the bedside of such a dying man as that the proper place for a bishop?
  There was evidently no conversion to be expected. All those revolutionists are backsliders.
  Then why go there? What was there to be seen there?
  He must have been very curious indeed to see a soul carried off by the devil."
  One day a dowager of the impertinent variety who thinks herself spiritual, addressed this sally to him, "Monseigneur, people are inquiring when Your Greatness will receive the red cap!"--"Oh! oh! that's a coarse color," replied the Bishop. "It is lucky that those who despise it in a cap revere it in a hat."



CHAPTER XI
  A RESTRICTION

   We should incur a great risk of deceiving ourselves, were we to conclude from this that Monseigneur Welcome was "a philosophical bishop," or a "patriotic cure."
  His meeting, which may almost be designated as his union, with conventionary G----, left behind it in his mind a sort of astonishment, which rendered him still more gentle. That is all.
  Although Monseigneur Bienvenu was far from being a politician, this is, perhaps, the place to indicate very briefly what his attitude was in the events of that epoch, supposing that Monseigneur Bienvenu ever dreamed of having an attitude.
  Let us, then, go back a few years.
  Some time after the elevation of M. Myriel to the episcopate, the Emperor had made him a baron of the Empire, in company with many other bishops.
  The arrest of the Pope took place, as every one knows, on the night of the 5th to the 6th of July, 1809; on this occasion, M. Myriel was summoned by Napoleon to the synod of the bishops of France and Italy convened at Paris.
  This synod was held at Notre-Dame, and assembled for the first time on the 15th of June, 1811, under the presidency of Cardinal Fesch.
  M. Myriel was one of the ninety-five bishops who attended it.
  But he was present only at one sitting and at three or four private conferences. Bishop of a mountain diocese, living so very close to nature, in rusticity and deprivation, it appeared that he imported among these eminent personages, ideas which altered the temperature of the assembly.
  He very soon returned to D---- He was interrogated as to this speedy return, and he replied:
  "I embarrassed them. The outside air penetrated to them through me.
  I produced on them the effect of an open door."
  On another occasion he said, "What would you have?
  Those gentlemen are princes.
  I am only a poor peasant bishop."
  The fact is that he displeased them.
  Among other strange things, it is said that he chanced to remark one evening, when he found himself at the house of one of his most notable colleagues:
  "What beautiful clocks!
  What beautiful carpets!
  What beautiful liveries! They must be a great trouble.
  I would not have all those superfluities, crying incessantly in my ears:
  `There are people who are hungry! There are people who are cold!
  There are poor people!
  There are poor people!'"
  Let us remark, by the way, that the hatred of luxury is not an intelligent hatred.
  This hatred would involve the hatred of the arts.
  Nevertheless, in churchmen, luxury is wrong, except in connection with representations and ceremonies.
  It seems to reveal habits which have very little that is charitable about them. An opulent priest is a contradiction.
  The priest must keep close to the poor.
  Now, can one come in contact incessantly night and day with all this distress, all these misfortunes, and this poverty, without having about one's own person a little of that misery, like the dust of labor?
  Is it possible to imagine a man near a brazier who is not warm?
  Can one imagine a workman who is working near a furnace, and who has neither a singed hair, nor blackened nails, nor a drop of sweat, nor a speck of ashes on his face?
  The first proof of charity in the priest, in the bishop especially, is poverty.
  This is, no doubt, what the Bishop of D---- thought.
  It must not be supposed, however, that he shared what we call the "ideas of the century" on certain delicate points.
  He took very little part in the theological quarrels of the moment, and maintained silence on questions in which Church and State were implicated; but if he had been strongly pressed, it seems that he would have been found to be an ultramontane rather than a gallican.
  Since we are making a portrait, and since we do not wish to conceal anything, we are forced to add that he was glacial towards Napoleon in his decline. Beginning with 1813, he gave in his adherence to or applauded all hostile manifestations.
  He refused to see him, as he passed through on his return from the island of Elba, and he abstained from ordering public prayers for the Emperor in his diocese during the Hundred Days.
  Besides his sister, Mademoiselle Baptistine, he had two brothers, one a general, the other a prefect.
  He wrote to both with tolerable frequency.
  He was harsh for a time towards the former, because, holding a command in Provence at the epoch of the disembarkation at Cannes, the general had put himself at the head of twelve hundred men and had pursued the Emperor as though the latter had been a person whom one is desirous of allowing to escape.
  His correspondence with the other brother, the ex-prefect, a fine, worthy man who lived in retirement at Paris, Rue Cassette, remained more affectionate.
  Thus Monseigneur Bienvenu also had his hour of party spirit, his hour of bitterness, his cloud.
  The shadow of the passions of the moment traversed this grand and gentle spirit occupied with eternal things. Certainly, such a man would have done well not to entertain any political opinions.
  Let there be no mistake as to our meaning: we are not confounding what is called "political opinions" with the grand aspiration for progress, with the sublime faith, patriotic, democratic, humane, which in our day should be the very foundation of every generous intellect.
  Without going deeply into questions which are only indirectly connected with the subject of this book, we will simply say this:
  It would have been well if Monseigneur Bienvenu had not been a Royalist, and if his glance had never been, for a single instant, turned away from that serene contemplation in which is distinctly discernible, above the fictions and the hatreds of this world, above the stormy vicissitudes of human things, the beaming of those three pure radiances, truth, justice, and charity.
  While admitting that it was not for a political office that God created Monseigneur Welcome, we should have understood and admired his protest in the name of right and liberty, his proud opposition, his just but perilous resistance to the all-powerful Napoleon. But that which pleases us in people who are rising pleases us less in the case of people who are falling.
  We only love the fray so long as there is danger, and in any case, the combatants of the first hour have alone the right to be the exterminators of the last.
  He who has not been a stubborn accuser in prosperity should hold his peace in the face of ruin.
  The denunciator of success is the only legitimate executioner of the fall. As for us, when Providence intervenes and strikes, we let it work. 1812 commenced to disarm us.
  In 1813 the cowardly breach of silence of that taciturn legislative body, emboldened by catastrophe, possessed only traits which aroused indignation.
  And it was a crime to applaud, in 1814, in the presence of those marshals who betrayed; in the presence of that senate which passed from one dunghill to another, insulting after having deified; in the presence of that idolatry which was loosing its footing and spitting on its idol,-- it was a duty to turn aside the head.
  In 1815, when the supreme disasters filled the air, when France was seized with a shiver at their sinister approach, when Waterloo could be dimly discerned opening before Napoleon, the mournful acclamation of the army and the people to the condemned of destiny had nothing laughable in it, and, after making all allowance for the despot, a heart like that of the Bishop of D----, ought not perhaps to have failed to recognize the august and touching features presented by the embrace of a great nation and a great man on the brink of the abyss.
  With this exception, he was in all things just, true, equitable, intelligent, humble and dignified, beneficent and kindly, which is only another sort of benevolence.
  He was a priest, a sage, and a man.
  It must be admitted, that even in the political views with which we have just reproached him, and which we are disposed to judge almost with severity, he was tolerant and easy, more so, perhaps, than we who are speaking here.
  The porter of the town-hall had been placed there by the Emperor.
  He was an old non-commissioned officer of the old guard, a member of the Legion of Honor at Austerlitz, as much of a Bonapartist as the eagle. This poor fellow occasionally let slip inconsiderate remarks, which the law then stigmatized as seditious speeches.
  After the imperial profile disappeared from the Legion of Honor, he never dressed himself in his regimentals, as he said, so that he should not be obliged to wear his cross.
  He had himself devoutly removed the imperial effigy from the cross which Napoleon had given him; this made a hole, and he would not put anything in its place. "I will die," he said, "rather than wear the three frogs upon my heart!"
  He liked to scoff aloud at Louis XVIII.
  "The gouty old creature in English gaiters!" he said; "let him take himself off to Prussia with that queue of his."
  He was happy to combine in the same imprecation the two things which he most detested, Prussia and England.
  He did it so often that he lost his place. There he was, turned out of the house, with his wife and children, and without bread.
  The Bishop sent for him, reproved him gently, and appointed him beadle in the cathedral.
  In the course of nine years Monseigneur Bienvenu had, by dint of holy deeds and gentle manners, filled the town of D---- with a sort of tender and filial reverence.
  Even his conduct towards Napoleon had been accepted and tacitly pardoned, as it were, by the people, the good and weakly flock who adored their emperor, but loved their bishop.

 




CHAPTER XII
  THE SOLITUDE OF MONSEIGNEUR WELCOME

   A bishop is almost always surrounded by a full squadron of little abbes, just as a general is by a covey of young officers. This is what that charming Saint Francois de Sales calls somewhere "les pretres blancs-becs," callow priests.
  Every career has its aspirants, who form a train for those who have attained eminence in it. There is no power which has not its dependents.
  There is no fortune which has not its court.
  The seekers of the future eddy around the splendid present.
  Every metropolis has its staff of officials. Every bishop who possesses the least influence has about him his patrol of cherubim from the seminary, which goes the round, and maintains good order in the episcopal palace, and mounts guard over monseigneur's smile.
  To please a bishop is equivalent to getting one's foot in the stirrup for a sub-diaconate. It is necessary to walk one's path discreetly; the apostleship does not disdain the canonship.
  Just as there are bigwigs elsewhere, there are big mitres in the Church. These are the bishops who stand well at Court, who are rich, well endowed, skilful, accepted by the world, who know how to pray, no doubt, but who know also how to beg, who feel little scruple at making a whole diocese dance attendance in their person, who are connecting links between the sacristy and diplomacy, who are abbes rather than priests, prelates rather than bishops. Happy those who approach them!
  Being persons of influence, they create a shower about them, upon the assiduous and the favored, and upon all the young men who understand the art of pleasing, of large parishes, prebends, archidiaconates, chaplaincies, and cathedral posts, while awaiting episcopal honors.
  As they advance themselves, they cause their satellites to progress also; it is a whole solar system on the march.
  Their radiance casts a gleam of purple over their suite.
  Their prosperity is crumbled up behind the scenes, into nice little promotions.
  The larger the diocese of the patron, the fatter the curacy for the favorite.
  And then, there is Rome.
  A bishop who understands how to become an archbishop, an archbishop who knows how to become a cardinal, carries you with him as conclavist; you enter a court of papal jurisdiction, you receive the pallium, and behold! you are an auditor, then a papal chamberlain, then monsignor, and from a Grace to an Eminence is only a step, and between the Eminence and the Holiness there is but the smoke of a ballot.
  Every skull-cap may dream of the tiara. The priest is nowadays the only man who can become a king in a regular manner; and what a king! the supreme king.
  Then what a nursery of aspirations is a seminary!
  How many blushing choristers, how many youthful abbes bear on their heads Perrette's pot of milk! Who knows how easy it is for ambition to call itself vocation? in good faith, perchance, and deceiving itself, devotee that it is.
  Monseigneur Bienvenu, poor, humble, retiring, was not accounted among the big mitres.
  This was plain from the complete absence of young priests about him.
  We have seen that he "did not take" in Paris.
  Not a single future dreamed of engrafting itself on this solitary old man.
  Not a single sprouting ambition committed the folly of putting forth its foliage in his shadow.
  His canons and grand-vicars were good old men, rather vulgar like himself, walled up like him in this diocese, without exit to a cardinalship, and who resembled their bishop, with this difference, that they were finished and he was completed.
  The impossibility of growing great under Monseigneur Bienvenu was so well understood, that no sooner had the young men whom he ordained left the seminary than they got themselves recommended to the archbishops of Aix or of Auch, and went off in a great hurry.
  For, in short, we repeat it, men wish to be pushed.
  A saint who dwells in a paroxysm of abnegation is a dangerous neighbor; he might communicate to you, by contagion, an incurable poverty, an anchylosis of the joints, which are useful in advancement, and in short, more renunciation than you desire; and this infectious virtue is avoided.
  Hence the isolation of Monseigneur Bienvenu.
  We live in the midst of a gloomy society. Success; that is the lesson which falls drop by drop from the slope of corruption.
  Be it said in passing, that success is a very hideous thing.
  Its false resemblance to merit deceives men.
  For the masses, success has almost the same profile as supremacy.
  Success, that Menaechmus of talent, has one dupe,--history.
  Juvenal and Tacitus alone grumble at it. In our day, a philosophy which is almost official has entered into its service, wears the livery of success, and performs the service of its antechamber.
  Succeed:
  theory.
  Prosperity argues capacity. Win in the lottery, and behold! you are a clever man.
  He who triumphs is venerated.
  Be born with a silver spoon in your mouth! everything lies in that.
  Be lucky, and you will have all the rest; be happy, and people will think you great.
  Outside of five or six immense exceptions, which compose the splendor of a century, contemporary admiration is nothing but short-sightedness. Gilding is gold.
  It does no harm to be the first arrival by pure chance, so long as you do arrive.
  The common herd is an old Narcissus who adores himself, and who applauds the vulgar herd.
  That enormous ability by virtue of which one is Moses, Aeschylus, Dante, Michael Angelo, or Napoleon, the multitude awards on the spot, and by acclamation, to whomsoever attains his object, in whatsoever it may consist. Let a notary transfigure himself into a deputy:
  let a false Corneille compose Tiridate; let a eunuch come to possess a harem; let a military Prudhomme accidentally win the decisive battle of an epoch; let an apothecary invent cardboard shoe-soles for the army of the Sambre-and-Meuse, and construct for himself, out of this cardboard, sold as leather, four hundred thousand francs of income; let a pork-packer espouse usury, and cause it to bring forth seven or eight millions, of which he is the father and of which it is the mother; let a preacher become a bishop by force of his nasal drawl; let the steward of a fine family be so rich on retiring from service that he is made minister of finances,--and men call that Genius, just as they call the face of Mousqueton Beauty, and the mien of Claude Majesty.
  With the constellations of space they confound the stars of the abyss which are made in the soft mire of the puddle by the feet of ducks.





CHAPTER XIII
  WHAT HE BELIEVED

   We are not obliged to sound the Bishop of D---- on the score of orthodoxy.
  In the presence of such a soul we feel ourselves in no mood but respect.
  The conscience of the just man should be accepted on his word.
  Moreover, certain natures being given, we admit the possible development of all beauties of human virtue in a belief that differs from our own.
  What did he think of this dogma, or of that mystery?
  These secrets of the inner tribunal of the conscience are known only to the tomb, where souls enter naked.
  The point on which we are certain is, that the difficulties of faith never resolved themselves into hypocrisy in his case.
  No decay is possible to the diamond. He believed to the extent of his powers.
  "Credo in Patrem," he often exclaimed.
  Moreover, he drew from good works that amount of satisfaction which suffices to the conscience, and which whispers to a man, "Thou art with God!"
  The point which we consider it our duty to note is, that outside of and beyond his faith, as it were, the Bishop possessed an excess of love.
  In was in that quarter, quia multum amavit,--because he loved much--that he was regarded as vulnerable by "serious men," "grave persons" and "reasonable people"; favorite locutions of our sad world where egotism takes its word of command from pedantry. What was this excess of love?
  It was a serene benevolence which overflowed men, as we have already pointed out, and which, on occasion, extended even to things.
  He lived without disdain. He was indulgent towards God's creation.
  Every man, even the best, has within him a thoughtless harshness which he reserves for animals. The Bishop of D---- had none of that harshness, which is peculiar to many priests, nevertheless.
  He did not go as far as the Brahmin, but he seemed to have weighed this saying of Ecclesiastes:
  "Who knoweth whither the soul of the animal goeth?"
  Hideousness of aspect, deformity of instinct, troubled him not, and did not arouse his indignation.
  He was touched, almost softened by them. It seemed as though he went thoughtfully away to seek beyond the bounds of life which is apparent, the cause, the explanation, or the excuse for them.
  He seemed at times to be asking God to commute these penalties.
  He examined without wrath, and with the eye of a linguist who is deciphering a palimpsest, that portion of chaos which still exists in nature.
  This revery sometimes caused him to utter odd sayings.
  One morning he was in his garden, and thought himself alone, but his sister was walking behind him, unseen by him:
  suddenly he paused and gazed at something on the ground; it was a large, black, hairy, frightful spider.
  His sister heard him say:--
  "Poor beast!
  It is not its fault!"
  Why not mention these almost divinely childish sayings of kindness? Puerile they may be; but these sublime puerilities were peculiar to Saint Francis d'Assisi and of Marcus Aurelius.
  One day he sprained his ankle in his effort to avoid stepping on an ant. Thus lived this just man.
  Sometimes he fell asleep in his garden, and then there was nothing more venerable possible.
  Monseigneur Bienvenu had formerly been, if the stories anent his youth, and even in regard to his manhood, were to be believed, a passionate, and, possibly, a violent man.
  His universal suavity was less an instinct of nature than the result of a grand conviction which had filtered into his heart through the medium of life, and had trickled there slowly, thought by thought; for, in a character, as in a rock, there may exist apertures made by drops of water. These hollows are uneffaceable; these formations are indestructible.
  In 1815, as we think we have already said, he reached his seventy-fifth birthday, but he did not appear to be more than sixty.
  He was not tall; he was rather plump; and, in order to combat this tendency, he was fond of taking long strolls on foot; his step was firm, and his form was but slightly bent, a detail from which we do not pretend to draw any conclusion.
  Gregory XVI., at the age of eighty, held himself erect and smiling, which did not prevent him from being a bad bishop.
  Monseigneur Welcome had what the people term a "fine head," but so amiable was he that they forgot that it was fine.
  When he conversed with that infantile gayety which was one of his charms, and of which we have already spoken, people felt at their ease with him, and joy seemed to radiate from his whole person.
  His fresh and ruddy complexion, his very white teeth, all of which he had preserved, and which were displayed by his smile, gave him that open and easy air which cause the remark to be made of a man, "He's a good fellow"; and of an old man, "He is a fine man."
  That, it will be recalled, was the effect which he produced upon Napoleon.
  On the first encounter, and to one who saw him for the first time, he was nothing, in fact, but a fine man.
  But if one remained near him for a few hours, and beheld him in the least degree pensive, the fine man became gradually transfigured, and took on some imposing quality, I know not what; his broad and serious brow, rendered august by his white locks, became august also by virtue of meditation; majesty radiated from his goodness, though his goodness ceased not to be radiant; one experienced something of the emotion which one would feel on beholding a smiling angel slowly unfold his wings, without ceasing to smile.
  Respect, an unutterable respect, penetrated you by degrees and mounted to your heart, and one felt that one had before him one of those strong, thoroughly tried, and indulgent souls where thought is so grand that it can no longer be anything but gentle.
  As we have seen, prayer, the celebration of the offices of religion, alms-giving, the consolation of the afflicted, the cultivation of a bit of land, fraternity, frugality, hospitality, renunciation, confidence, study, work, filled every day of his life.
  Filled is exactly the word; certainly the Bishop's day was quite full to the brim, of good words and good deeds.
  Nevertheless, it was not complete if cold or rainy weather prevented his passing an hour or two in his garden before going to bed, and after the two women had retired. It seemed to be a sort of rite with him, to prepare himself for slumber by meditation in the presence of the grand spectacles of the nocturnal heavens.
  Sometimes, if the two old women were not asleep, they heard him pacing slowly along the walks at a very advanced hour of the night.
  He was there alone, communing with himself, peaceful, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the ether, moved amid the darkness by the visible splendor of the constellations and the invisible splendor of God, opening his heart to the thoughts which fall from the Unknown. At such moments, while he offered his heart at the hour when nocturnal flowers offer their perfume, illuminated like a lamp amid the starry night, as he poured himself out in ecstasy in the midst of the universal radiance of creation, he could not have told himself, probably, what was passing in his spirit; he felt something take its flight from him, and something descend into him.
  Mysterious exchange of the abysses of the soul with the abysses of the universe!
  He thought of the grandeur and presence of God; of the future eternity, that strange mystery; of the eternity past, a mystery still more strange; of all the infinities, which pierced their way into all his senses, beneath his eyes; and, without seeking to comprehend the incomprehensible, he gazed upon it.
  He did not study God; he was dazzled by him.
  He considered those magnificent conjunctions of atoms, which communicate aspects to matter, reveal forces by verifying them, create individualities in unity, proportions in extent, the innumerable in the infinite, and, through light, produce beauty. These conjunctions are formed and dissolved incessantly; hence life and death.
  He seated himself on a wooden bench, with his back against a decrepit vine; he gazed at the stars, past the puny and stunted silhouettes of his fruit-trees. This quarter of an acre, so poorly planted, so encumbered with mean buildings and sheds, was dear to him, and satisfied his wants.
  What more was needed by this old man, who divided the leisure of his life, where there was so little leisure, between gardening in the daytime and contemplation at night?
  Was not this narrow enclosure, with the heavens for a ceiling, sufficient to enable him to adore God in his most divine works, in turn?
  Does not this comprehend all, in fact? and what is there left to desire beyond it? A little garden in which to walk, and immensity in which to dream. At one's feet that which can be cultivated and plucked; over head that which one can study and meditate upon:
  some flowers on earth, and all the stars in the sky.

 





CHAPTER XIV
  WHAT HE THOUGHT

   One last word.
  Since this sort of details might, particularly at the present moment, and to use an expression now in fashion, give to the Bishop of D---- a certain "pantheistical" physiognomy, and induce the belief, either to his credit or discredit, that he entertained one of those personal philosophies which are peculiar to our century, which sometimes spring up in solitary spirits, and there take on a form and grow until they usurp the place of religion, we insist upon it, that not one of those persons who knew Monseigneur Welcome would have thought himself authorized to think anything of the sort. That which enlightened this man was his heart.
  His wisdom was made of the light which comes from there.
  No systems; many works.
  Abstruse speculations contain vertigo; no, there is nothing to indicate that he risked his mind in apocalypses. The apostle may be daring, but the bishop must be timid.
  He would probably have felt a scruple at sounding too far in advance certain problems which are, in a manner, reserved for terrible great minds. There is a sacred horror beneath the porches of the enigma; those gloomy openings stand yawning there, but something tells you, you, a passer-by in life, that you must not enter. Woe to him who penetrates thither!
  Geniuses in the impenetrable depths of abstraction and pure speculation, situated, so to speak, above all dogmas, propose their ideas to God.
  Their prayer audaciously offers discussion. Their adoration interrogates.
  This is direct religion, which is full of anxiety and responsibility for him who attempts its steep cliffs.
  Human meditation has no limits.
  At his own risk and peril, it analyzes and digs deep into its own bedazzlement.
  One might almost say, that by a sort of splendid reaction, it with it dazzles nature; the mysterious world which surrounds us renders back what it has received; it is probable that the contemplators are contemplated.
However that may be, there are on earth men who--are they men?-- perceive distinctly at the verge of the horizons of revery the heights of the absolute, and who have the terrible vision of the infinite mountain.
  Monseigneur Welcome was one of these men; Monseigneur Welcome was not a genius.
  He would have feared those sublimities whence some very great men even, like Swedenborg and Pascal, have slipped into insanity.
  Certainly, these powerful reveries have their moral utility, and by these arduous paths one approaches to ideal perfection.
  As for him, he took the path which shortens,-- the Gospel's.
  He did not attempt to impart to his chasuble the folds of Elijah's mantle; he projected no ray of future upon the dark groundswell of events; he did not see to condense in flame the light of things; he had nothing of the prophet and nothing of the magician about him. This humble soul loved, and that was all.
  That he carried prayer to the pitch of a superhuman aspiration is probable:
  but one can no more pray too much than one can love too much; and if it is a heresy to pray beyond the texts, Saint Theresa and Saint Jerome would be heretics.
  He inclined towards all that groans and all that expiates. The universe appeared to him like an immense malady; everywhere he felt fever, everywhere he heard the sound of suffering, and, without seeking to solve the enigma, he strove to dress the wound. The terrible spectacle of created things developed tenderness in him; he was occupied only in finding for himself, and in inspiring others with the best way to compassionate and relieve.
  That which exists was for this good and rare priest a permanent subject of sadness which sought consolation.
  There are men who toil at extracting gold; he toiled at the extraction of pity.
  Universal misery was his mine.
  The sadness which reigned everywhere was but an excuse for unfailing kindness.
  Love each other; he declared this to be complete, desired nothing further, and that was the whole of his doctrine.
  One day, that man who believed himself to be a "philosopher," the senator who has already been alluded to, said to the Bishop:
  "Just survey the spectacle of the world: all war against all; the strongest has the most wit.
  Your love each other is nonsense."--"Well," replied Monseigneur Welcome, without contesting the point, "if it is nonsense, the soul should shut itself up in it, as the pearl in the oyster."
  Thus he shut himself up, he lived there, he was absolutely satisfied with it, leaving on one side the prodigious questions which attract and terrify, the fathomless perspectives of abstraction, the precipices of metaphysics--all those profundities which converge, for the apostle in God, for the atheist in nothingness; destiny, good and evil, the way of being against being, the conscience of man, the thoughtful somnambulism of the animal, the transformation in death, the recapitulation of existences which the tomb contains, the incomprehensible grafting of successive loves on the persistent _I_, the essence, the substance, the Nile, and the Ens, the soul, nature, liberty, necessity; perpendicular problems, sinister obscurities, where lean the gigantic archangels of the human mind; formidable abysses, which Lucretius, Manou, Saint Paul, Dante, contemplate with eyes flashing lightning, which seems by its steady gaze on the infinite to cause stars to blaze forth there.
  Monseigneur Bienvenu was simply a man who took note of the exterior of mysterious questions without scrutinizing them, and without troubling his own mind with them, and who cherished in his own soul a grave respect for darkness.



 


第一卷    一个正直的人


第一章 

米里哀先生


  一八一五年,迪涅[1]的主教是查理·佛朗沙·卞福汝·米里哀先生。他是个七十五岁左右的老人;从一八零六年起,他已就任迪涅区主教的职位。
  虽然这些小事绝不触及我们将要叙述的故事的本题,但为了全面精确起见,在此地提一提在他就任之初,人们所传播的有关他的一些风闻与传说也并不是无用的。大众关于某些人的传说,无论是真是假,在他们的生活中,尤其是在他们的命运中所占的地位,往往和他们亲身所作的事是同等重要的。米里哀先生是艾克斯法院的一个参议的儿子,所谓的司法界的贵族。据说他的父亲因为要他继承[2]那职位,很早,十八岁或二十岁,就按照司法界贵族家庭间相当普遍的习惯,为他完了婚。米里哀先生虽已结婚,据说仍常常惹起别人的谈论。他品貌不凡,虽然身材颇小,但是生得俊秀,风度翩翩,谈吐隽逸;他一生的最初阶段完全消磨在交际场所和与妇女们的厮混中。革命[3]爆发了,事变叠出,司法界贵族家庭因受到摧毁,驱逐,追捕而东奔西散了。米里哀先生,当革命刚开始时便出亡到意大利。他的妻,因早已害肺病,死了。他们一个孩子也没有。此后,他的一生有些什么遭遇呢?法国旧社会的崩溃,他自己家庭的破落,一般流亡者可能因远道传闻和恐怖的夸大而显得更加可怕的九三年[4]的种种悲剧,是否使他在思想上产生过消沉和孤独的意念呢?一个人在生活上或财产上遭了大难还可能不为所动,但有时有一种神秘可怕的打击,打在人的心上,却能使人一蹶不振;一向在欢乐和温情中度日的他,是否受过那种突如其来的打击呢?没有谁那样说,我们所知道的只是:他从意大利回来,就已经当了教士了。

    [1] 迪涅(Digne)在法国南部,是下阿尔卑斯省的省会。
  
[2] 当时法院的官职是可以买的,并可传给儿孙。
  
[3] 指一七八九年法国资产阶级革命。
  [4] 一七九三年是革命达到(禁止)的一年。

  一八零四年,米里哀先生是白里尼奥尔的本堂神甫。他当时已经老了,过着深居简出的生活。
  接近加冕[5]时,他为了本区的一件不知道什么小事,到巴黎去过一趟。他代表他教区的信众们向上级有所陈请,曾夹在一群显要人物中去见过费什红衣主教。一天,皇帝来看他的舅父[6],这位尊贵的本堂神甫正在前厅候见,皇上也恰巧走过。拿破仑看见这位老人用双好奇的眼睛瞧着他,便转过身来,突然问道:
  “瞧着我的那汉子是谁呀?”
  “陛下,”米里哀先生说,“您瞧一个汉子,我瞧一个天子。
  彼此都还上算。”  

[5] 拿破仑于一八零四年三月十八日称帝,十二月二日加冕。
[6] 指费什。


  皇帝在当天晚上向红衣主教问明了这位本堂神甫的姓名。不久以后,米里哀先生极其诧异地得到被任为迪涅主教的消息。
  此外,人们对米里哀先生初期生活所传述的轶事,哪些是真实的?谁也不知道。很少人知道米里哀这家人在革命以前的情况。
  任何人初到一个说话的嘴多而思考的头脑少的小城里总有够他受的,米里哀先生所受的也不例外。尽管他是主教,并且正因为他是主教,他就得受。总之,牵涉到他名字的那些谈话,也许只是一些闲谈而已,内容不过是听来的三言两语和捕风捉影的东西,有时甚至连捕风捉影也说不上,照南方人那种强烈的话来说,只是“胡诌”而已。
  不管怎样,他住在迪涅担任教职九年以后,当初成为那些小城市和小人们谈话的题材的闲话,都完全被丢在脑后了。没有谁再敢提到,甚至没有谁再敢回想那些闲话了。
  米里哀先生到迪涅时有个老姑娘伴着他,这老姑娘便是比他小十岁的妹子巴狄斯丁姑娘。
  他们的佣人只是一个和巴狄斯丁姑娘同年的女仆,名叫马格洛大娘,现在,她在做了“司铎先生的女仆”后,取得了这样一个双重头衔:姑娘的女仆和主教的管家。
  巴狄斯丁姑娘是个身材瘦长、面貌清癯、性情温厚的人儿,她体现了“可敬”两个字所表达的理想,因为一个妇人如果要达到“可敬”的地步,似乎总得先做母亲。她从不曾有过美丽的时期,她的一生只是一连串圣洁的工作,这就使她的身体呈现白色和光彩;将近老年时,她具有我们所谓的那种“慈祥之美”。她青年时期的消瘦到她半老时,转成了一种清虚疏朗的神韵,令人想见她是一个天使。她简直是个神人,处女当之也有逊色。她的身躯,好象是阴影构成的,几乎没有足以显示性别的实体,只是一小撮透着微光的物质,秀长的眼睛老低垂着,我们可以说她是寄存在人间的天女。
  马格洛大娘是个矮老、白胖、臃肿、忙碌不定、终日气喘吁吁的妇人,一则因为她操作勤劳,再则因为她有气喘病。
  米里哀先生到任以后,人们就照将主教列在仅次于元帅地位的律令所规定的仪节,把他安顿在主教院里。市长和议长向他作了初次的拜访,而他,在他那一面,也向将军和省长作了初次的拜访。
  部署既毕,全城静候主教执行任务。
  
  







第二章 米里哀先生改称卞福汝主教

  迪涅的主教院是和医院毗连的。
  主教院是座广阔壮丽、石料建成的大厦,是巴黎大学神学博士,西摩尔修院院长,一七一二年的迪涅主教亨利·彼惹在前世纪初兴建的。那确是一座华贵的府第。其中一切都具有豪华的气派,主教的私邸,大小客厅,各种房间,相当宽敞的院子,具有佛罗伦萨古代风格的穹窿的回廊,树木苍翠的园子。楼下朝花园的一面,有间富丽堂皇的游廊式的长厅,一七一四年七月二十九日,主教亨利·彼惹曾在那餐厅里公宴过这些要人:
  昂布伦亲王——大主教查理·勃吕拉·德·让利斯;
  嘉布遣会修士——格拉斯主教安东尼·德·梅吉尼;
  法兰西祈祷大师——雷兰群岛圣奥诺雷修院院长菲力浦·德·旺多姆;
  梵斯男爵——主教佛朗沙·德·白东·德·格利翁;
  格朗代夫贵人——主教凯撒·德·沙白朗·德·福高尔吉尔;
  经堂神甫——御前普通宣道士——塞内士贵人——主教让·沙阿兰。
  这七个德高望重的人物的画像一直点缀着那间长厅,“一七一四年七月二十九日”这个值得纪念的日子,也用金字刻在厅里的一张白大理石碑上。
  那医院却是一所狭隘低陋的房子,只有一层楼,带个小小花园。
  主教到任三天以后参观了医院。参观完毕,他恭请那位院长到他家里去。
  “院长先生,”他说,“您现在有多少病人?”
  “二十六个,我的主教。”
  “正和我数过的一样。”主教说。
  “那些病床,”院长又说,“彼此靠得太近了,一张挤着一张的。”
  “那正是我注意到的。”
  “那些病房都只是一些小间,里面的空气很难流通。”
  “那正是我感觉到的。”
  “并且,即使是在有一线阳光的时候,那园子对刚刚起床的病人们也是很小的。”
  “那正是我所见到的。”
  “传染病方面,今年我们有过伤寒,两年前,有过疹子,有时多到百来个病人,我们真不知道怎么办。”
  “那正是我所想到的。”
  “有什么办法呢,我的主教?”院长说,“我们总得将就些。”
  那次谈话正是在楼下那间游廊式的餐厅里进行的。
  主教沉默了一会,突然转向院长。
  “先生,”他说,“您以为,就拿这个厅来说,可以容纳多少床位?”
  “主教的餐厅!”惊惶失措的院长喊了起来。
  主教把那间厅周围望了一遍,象是在用眼睛测算。
  “此地足够容纳二十张病床!”他自言自语地说,随着又提高嗓子,“瞧,院长先生,我告诉您,这里显然有了错误。你们二十六个人住在五六间小屋子里,而我们这儿三个人,却有六十个人的地方。这里有了错误,我告诉您。您来住我的房子,我去住您的。您把我的房子还我。这儿是您的家。”
  第二天,那二十六个穷人便安居在主教的府上,主教却住在医院里。
  米里哀先生绝没有财产,因为他的家已在革命时期破落了。他的妹子每年领着五百法郎的养老金,正够她个人住在神甫家里的费用。米里哀先生以主教身份从政府领得一万五千法郎的薪俸。在他搬到医院的房子里去住的那天,米里哀先生就一次作出决定,把那笔款分作以下各项用途。我们把他亲手写的一张单子抄在下面。
      我的家用分配单
  教士培养所津贴一千五百利弗[7]
  传教会津贴一百利弗
  孟迪第圣辣匝禄会修士们津贴一百利弗
  巴黎外方传教会津贴二百利弗
  圣灵会津贴一百五十利弗
  圣地宗教团体津贴一百利弗
  各慈幼会津贴三百利弗
  阿尔勒慈幼会补助费五十利弗
  改善监狱用费四百利弗
  囚犯抚慰及救济事业费五百利弗
  赎免因债入狱的家长费一千利弗
  补助本教区学校贫寒教师津贴二千利弗
  捐助上阿尔卑斯省义仓一百利弗
  迪涅,玛诺斯克,锡斯特龙等地妇女联合会,
  贫寒女孩的义务教育费一千五百利弗
  穷人救济费六千利弗
  本人用费一千利弗
  共计 一万五千利弗

  [7 ]利弗(livre)是当时的一种币制,等于一法郎。


  米里哀先生在他当迪涅主教的任期中,几乎没有改变过这个分配办法。我们知道,他把这称作“分配了他的家用”。
  那种分配是被巴狄斯丁姑娘以绝对服从的态度接受了的。米里哀先生对那位圣女来说,是她的阿哥,同时也是她的主教,是人世间的朋友和宗教中的上司。她爱他,并且极其单纯地敬服他。当他说话时,她俯首恭听;当他行动时,她追随伺候。只有那位女仆马格洛大娘,稍微有些噜苏。我们已经知道,主教只为自己留下一千利弗,和巴狄斯丁姑娘的养老金合并起来,每年才一千五百法郎。两个老妇人和老头儿都在那一千五百法郎里过活。
  当镇上有教士来到迪涅时,主教先生还有办法招待他们。
  那是由于马格洛大娘的极其节俭和巴狄斯丁姑娘的精打细算。
  一天——到迪涅约三个月时,主教说:
  “这样下去,我真有些维持不了!”
  “当然罗!”马格洛大娘说。“主教大人连省里应给的那笔城区车马费和教区巡视费都没有要来。对从前的那几位主教,原是照例有的。”
  “对!”主教说。“您说得对,马格洛大娘。”
  他提出了申请。
  过了些时候,省务委员会审查了那申请,通过每年给他一笔三千法郎的款子,名义是“主教先生的轿车、邮车和教务巡视津贴”。
  这件事使当地的士绅们大嚷起来。有一个帝国元老院[8]的元老,他从前当过五百人院[9]的元老,曾经赞助雾月十八日政变[10],住在迪涅城附近一座富丽堂皇的元老宅第里,为这件事,他写了一封怨气冲天的密函给宗教大臣皮戈·德·普雷阿麦内先生。我们现在把它的原文节录下来:
    “轿车津贴?在一个人口不到四千的城里,有什么用处?邮车和巡视津贴?首先要问这种巡视有什么好处,其次,在这样的山区,怎样走邮车?路都没有。只能骑着马走。从迪朗斯到阿尔努堡的那座桥也只能够走小牛车。所有的神甫全一样,又贪又吝。这一个在到任之初,还象个善良的宗徒。现在却和其他人一样了,他非坐轿车和邮车不行了,他非享受从前那些主教所享受的奢侈品不可了。咳!这些臭神甫!伯爵先生,如果皇上不替我们肃清这些吃教的坏蛋,一切事都好不了。打倒教皇!(当时正和罗马[11]发生磨擦。)至于我,我只拥护恺撒……”

    [8] 指拿破仑帝国的元老院,由二十四人组成,任期是终身的。
  [9] 一七九五年十月,代表新兴资产阶级的热月党,根据自己制定的新宪法,由有产者投票选举,成立了元老院(上院)和五百人院(下院)。
  [10] 法兰西共和国八年雾月十八日(一七九九年十一月九日),拿破仑发动政变,开始了独裁统治。
  [11] 教皇庇护七世于一八零四年到巴黎为拿破仑加冕,后被拘禁在法国,直到拿破仑失败。

  在另一方面,这件事却使马格洛大娘大为高兴。
  “好了!”她对巴狄斯丁姑娘说。“主教在开始时只顾别人,但结果也非顾自己不可了。他已把他的慈善捐分配停当,这三千法郎总算是我们的了。”
  当天晚上,主教写了这样一张单子交给他的妹子。
      车马费及巡视津贴
  供给住院病人肉汤的津贴一千五百利弗
  艾克斯慈幼会的津贴二百五十利弗
  德拉吉尼昂慈幼会的津贴二百五十利弗
  救济被遗弃的孩子五百利弗
  救济孤儿五百利弗
  共计三千利弗
  以上就是米里哀先生的预算表。
  至于主教的额外开支,以及请求提早婚礼费、特许开斋费、婴孩死前洗礼费、宣教费、为教堂或私立小堂祝圣费、行结婚典礼费等等,这位主教都到有钱人身上去取来给穷人;取得紧也给得急。
  没有多久,各方捐赠的钱财源源而来。富有的和贫乏的人都来敲米里哀先生的门,后者来请求前者所留下的捐赠。不到一年功夫,主教便成了一切慈善捐的保管人和苦难的援助者。大笔大笔的款项都经过他的手,但没有任何东西能稍稍改变他的生活方式,或使他在他所必需的用品以外增添一点多余的东西。
  不但如此,由于社会上层的博爱总敌不过下层的穷苦,我们可以说,所有的钱都早已在收入以前付出了,正好象旱地上的水一样;他白白地收进一些钱,却永远没有余款;于是他从自己身上搜刮起来。
  主教们照例把自己的教名全部写在他们的布告和公函头上。当地的穷人,由于一种本能的爱戴,在这位主教的几个名字中,挑选了对他们具有意义的一个,称他为卞福汝①主教。我们也将随时照样用那名字称呼他。并且这个称呼很中他的意。

  ①卞福汝(Bienvenu)是“欢迎”的意思。

  “我喜欢这名称,”他说,“卞福汝赛过主教大人。”
  我们并不认为在此地所刻画的形象是逼真的,我们只说它近似而已。
  
  





三 好主教碰到苦教区

  主教先生并不因为他的马车变成了救济款而减少他的巡回视察工作。迪涅教区是个苦地方。平原少,山地多,我们刚才已经提到。三十二个司铎区,四十一个监牧区,二百八十五个分区。巡视那一切,确成问题,这位主教先生却能完成任务。如果是在附近,他就步行;在平原,坐小马车;在山里,就乘骡兜。那两个高年的妇人还陪伴着他。如果路程对她们太辛苦,他便一个人去。
  一天,他骑着一头毛驴,走到塞内士,那是座古老的主教城。当时他正囊空如洗,不可能有别种坐骑。地方长官来到主教公馆门口迎接他,瞧见他从驴背上下来,觉得有失体统。另外几个士绅也围着他笑。
  “长官先生和各位先生,”主教说,“我知道什么事使你们感到丢人,你们一定认为一个贫苦的牧师跨着耶稣基督的坐
  骑未免妄自尊大。我是不得已才这样做的,老实说,并非出自虚荣。”
  在巡视工作中,他是谦虚和蔼的,闲谈的时间多,说教的时候少。他素来不把品德问题提到高不可攀的地步,也从不向远处去找他的论据和范例。对某一乡的居民,他常叙说邻乡的榜样。在那些对待穷人刻薄的镇上,他说:“你们瞧瞧布里昂松地方的人吧。他们给了穷人、寡妇和孤儿一种特权,使他们可以比旁人早三天割他们草场上的草料。如果他们的房屋要坍了,就会有人替他们重盖,不要工资。这也可算得上是上帝庇佑的地方了。在整整一百年中,从没一个人犯过凶杀案。”
  在那些斤斤计较利润和收获物的村子里,他说:“你们瞧瞧昂布伦地方的人吧。万一有个家长在收割时,因儿子都在服兵役,女孩也在城里工作,而自己又害病不能劳动,本堂神甫就把他的情形在宣道时提出来,等到礼拜日,公祷完毕,村里所有的人,男的,女的,孩子们都到那感到困难的人的田里去替他收割,并且替他把麦秸和麦粒搬进仓去。”对那些因银钱和遗产问题而分裂的家庭,他说:“你们瞧瞧德福宜山区的人吧。那是一片非常荒凉的地方,五十年也听不到一次黄莺的歌声。可是,当有一家的父亲死了,他的儿子便各自出外谋生,把家产留给姑娘们,好让她们找得到丈夫。”在那些争讼成风,农民每因告状而倾家荡产的镇上,他说:“你们看看格拉谷的那些善良的老乡吧。那里有三千人口。我的上帝!那真象一个小小的共和国。他们既不知道有审判官,也不知道有执法官。处理一切的是乡长。他分配捐税,凭良心向各人抽捐,义务地排解纠纷,替人分配遗产,不取酬金,判处案情,不收讼费;大家也都服他,因为他是那些简朴的人中一个正直的人。”在那些没有教师的村子里,他又谈到格拉谷的居民了:“你们知道他们怎么办?”他说,“一个只有十家到十五家人口的小地方,自然不能经常供养一个乡村教师,于是他们全谷公聘几个教师,在各村巡回教学,在这村停留八天,那村停留十天。那些教师常到市集上去,我常在那些地方遇见他们。我们只须看插在帽带上的鹅毛笔,就可以认出他们来。那些只教人读书的带一管笔,教人读又教人算的带两管,教人读算和拉丁文的带三管。他们都是很有学问的人。做一个无知无识的人多么可羞!
  你们向格拉谷的居民学习吧。”
  他那样谈着,严肃地,象父兄那样;在缺少实例的时候,他就创造一些言近而意远的话,用简括的词句和丰富的想象,直达他的目的;那正是耶稣基督的辩才,能自信,又能服人。
  
  










四 言行合一


  他的谈话是随和而愉快的。他总要求自己适合那两个伴他过活的老妇人的知识水平。当他笑起来,那确是小学生的笑。
  马格洛大娘诚心诚意地称他做“大人”。一天,他从他的围椅里站起来走向书橱,要去取一本书。那本书正在顶上的那一格。主教的身材矮小,达不到。
  “马格洛大娘,”他说,“请您搬张椅子给我。本大人还‘大’不到那块木板呢。”
  他的一个远亲,德·洛伯爵夫人,一有机会,总爱在他跟前数她三个儿子的所谓“希望”。她有几个年纪很老行将就木的长辈,她那几个孩子自然是他们的继承人了。三个中最年幼的一个将从一个姑祖母那里获得一笔整整十万利弗的年金,第二个承继他叔父的公爵头衔,长子应承袭他祖先的世卿爵位。主教平日常听这位做母亲的那些天真可恕的夸耀,从不开口。但有一次,当德·洛夫人又唠唠叨叨提到所有那些承继和“希望”时,他仿佛显得比平日更出神一些。她不耐烦地改变自己的话题说:“我的上帝,我的表哥!您到底在想什么?”“我在想,”主教说,“一句怪话,大概出自圣奥古斯丁:‘把你们的希望寄托在那个无可承继者的身上吧。’”
  另一次,他接到本乡一个贵人的讣告,一大张纸上所铺排的,除了亡人的各种荣衔以外,还把他所有一切亲属的各种封建的和贵族的尊称全列了上去。他叫着说:“死人的脊骨多么结实!别人把一副多么显赫的头衔担子叫他轻快地背着!这些人也够聪明了,坟墓也被虚荣心所利用!”
  他一有机会,总爱说一些温和的讥诮言词,但几乎每次都含着严正的意义。一次,在封斋节,有个年轻的助理主教来到迪涅,在天主堂里讲道。他颇有口才,讲题是“慈善”。他要求富人拯救穷人,以免堕入他尽力形容的那种阴森可怕的地狱,而进入据他所说非常美妙动人的天堂。在当时的听众中,有个叫惹波兰先生的歇了业的商人,这人平时爱放高利贷,在制造大布、哔叽、毛布和高呢帽时赚了五十万。惹波兰先生生平从没有救助过任何穷人。自从那次讲道以后,大家都看见他每逢星期日总拿一个苏①给天主堂大门口的那几个乞讨的老婆婆。她们六个人得去分那个苏。一天,主教撞见他在行那件善事,他笑嘻嘻向他的妹子说:“惹波兰先生又在那儿买他那一个苏的天堂了。”
  谈到慈善事业时,他即使碰壁也不退缩,并还想得出一些耐人寻味的话。一次,他在城里某家客厅里为穷人募捐。在座的有一个商特西侯爵,年老,有钱,吝啬,他有方法同时做极端保王党和极端伏尔泰②派。那样的怪事是有过的。主教走到他跟前,推推他的手臂说:“侯爵先生,您得替我捐几文。”侯爵转过脸去,干脆回答说:“我的主教,我有我自己的穷人呢。”
  ①苏(sou),法国辅币名,相当于二十分之一法郎,即五生丁。
  ②伏尔泰(Voltaire,1694—1778),一生强烈反对封建制度和贵族僧侣的统治权。

  “把他们交给我就是了。”主教说。
  一天,在天主堂里,他这样布道:
  “我极敬爱的兄弟们,我的好朋友们,在法国的农村中,有一百三十二万所房子都只有三个洞口;一百八十一万七千所有两个洞口,就是门和窗;还有二十四万六千个棚子都只有一个洞口,那就是门。这是因为那种所谓门窗税才搞到如此地步。请你们替我把一些穷人家、老太婆、小孩子塞在那些房子里吧,瞧有多少热症和疾病!咳!上帝把空气给人,法律却拿空气做买卖。我并不诋毁法律,但是我颂扬上帝。在伊泽尔省,瓦尔省,两个阿尔卑斯省,就是上下阿尔卑斯省,那些农民连小车也没有,他们用自己的背去背肥料;他们没有蜡烛,点的
  是松枝和蘸着松脂的小段绳子。在多菲内省,全部山区也是那样的。他们做一次面包要吃六个月,并且是用干牛粪烘出来的。到了冬天,他们用斧子把那种面包砍开,放在水里浸上二十四个钟头才能吃。我的弟兄们,发发善心吧!看看你们四周的人多么受罪!”
  他出生在南部,所以很容易掌握南方的各种方言。他学下朗格多克省的方言:“Eh bé! moussu, sès sagé??”学下阿尔卑斯省的方言:“Onté anaras passa?”学上多菲内省的方言:
  “Puerte un bouen moutou embe un bouen froumage grase

 
  这样就博得了群众的欢心,大大帮助了他去接近各种各样的人。他在茅屋里或山中,正象在自己的家里,他知道用最俚俗的方言去说明最伟大的事物。他能说各种语言,也就能和一切心灵打成一片。
  并且他对上层的人和人民大众都是一样的。
  他在没有充分了解周围环境时从不粗率地判断一件事。
  他常说:“让我们先研究研究发生这错误的经过吧。”
  他原是个回头的浪子,他也常笑嘻嘻地那样形容自己。他丝毫不唱严格主义的高调;他大力宣传一种教义,但绝不象那些粗暴的卫道者那样横眉怒目,他那教义大致可以这样概括:
  “人有(禁止),这(禁止)同时就是人的负担和诱惑。人拖着它并受它的支配。
  “人应当监视它,约束它,抑制它,必须是到了最后才服从它。在那样的服从里,也还可以有过失;但那样犯下的过失是可蒙赦宥的。那是一种堕落,但只落在膝头上,在祈祷中还可以自赎。
  “做一个圣人,那是特殊情形;做一个正直的人,那却是为人的正轨。你们尽管在歧路徘徊,失足,犯错误,但总应当做个正直的人。
  “尽量少犯错误,这是人的准则;不犯错误,那是天使的梦想。尘世的一切都免不了犯错误。错误就象一种地心吸力。”
  当他看见大家吵闹并且轻易动怒时,他常笑嘻嘻地说:“看来这就是我们大家都在犯的严重罪行呢。现在只因为假面具被揭穿急于申明和掩饰罢了。”
  他对于人类社会所压迫的妇女和穷人总是宽厚的。他说:“凡是妇女、孩子、仆役、没有力量的、贫困的和没有知识的人的过失,都是丈夫、父亲、主人、豪强者、有钱的和有学问的人的过失。”
  他又说:“对无知识的人,你们应当尽你们所能的多多地教给他们;社会的罪在于不办义务教育;它负有制造黑暗的责任。当一个人的心中充满黑暗,罪恶便在那里滋长起来。有罪的并不是犯罪的人,而是那制造黑暗的人。”
  我们看得出,他有一种奇特和独有的批判事物的态度。我怀疑他是从《福音书》中得到这一切的。
  一天,他在一个客厅里听到大家谈一桩正在研究调查、不久就要交付审判的案子。有个穷苦无告的人,为了他对一个女子和所生孩子的爱,在生路断绝时铸了私钱。铸私钱在那个时代是要受极刑的。那女子拿着他所造的第一个私钱去用,被捕了。他们把她抓了起来,但是只有她本人犯罪的证据。只有她一个人能告发她的情人,送他的命。她不肯招供。他们再三追问。她仍坚决不招供。这样,检察长心生一计。他编造她的情人变了心,极巧妙地伪造许多信札的断片,来说服那个苦恼的女人,使她相信她有一个情敌,那男子有负心的行为。在妒恨悲愤之中,她终于举发她的情人,一切都招供了,一切都证实了。那男子是无法挽救了。不久他就得在艾克斯和他的同谋女犯一同受审。大家谈着那件事,每个人都称赞那官员的才干,说他能利用妒嫉之心,因愤怒而真相大白,法律的威力也因报复的心理而得以伸张。主教静悄悄地听着这一切,等到大家说完了,他问道:
  “那一对男女将在什么地方受审?”
  “在地方厅。”
  他又问:“那么,那位检察长将在什么地方受审呢?”
  迪涅发生过一件惨事。有个人因谋害人命而被判处死刑。那个不幸的人并不是什么读书人,但也不是完全无知无识的人,他曾在市集上卖技,也摆过书信摊。城里的人对那案子非常关心。在行刑的前一日,驻狱神甫忽然害了病。必须有个神甫在那受刑的人临终时帮助他。有人去找本堂神甫。他好象有意拒绝,他说:“这不关我事。这种苦差事和那耍把戏的人和我都不相干,我也正害着病,况且那地方下属我的范围。”他这答复传到主教那儿去了。主教说:“本堂神甫说得对。那不属于他的范围,而是属于我的。”
  他立刻跑到监狱去,下到那“耍把戏的人”的牢房里,他叫他的名字,搀着他的手,和他谈话。他在他的身旁整整过了一天一夜,饮食睡眠全忘了,他为那囚犯的灵魂向上帝祈祷,也祈求那囚犯拯救他自己的灵魂。他和他谈着最善的、亦即最简单的真理。他直象他的父亲、兄长、朋友;如果不是在祝福祈祷,他就一点也不象个主教。他在稳定他和安慰他的同时,把一切都教给他了。那个人原是要悲痛绝望而死的。在先,死对他好象是个万丈深渊,他站在那阴惨的边缘上,一面战栗,一面又心胆俱裂地向后退却。他并没有冥顽到对死活也绝不关心的地步。他受到的判决是一种剧烈的震撼,仿佛在他四周的某些地方,把隔在万物的神秘和我们所谓生命中间的那堵墙震倒了。他从那无法补救的缺口不停地望着这世界的外面,而所见的只是一片黑暗。主教却使他见到了一线光明。
  第二天,他们来提这不幸的人了,主教仍在他身旁。他跟着他走。他披上紫披肩,颈上悬着主教的十字架,和那被缚在绳索中的临难人并肩站在大众的面前。
  他和他一同上囚车,一同上断头台。那个受刑的人,昨天是那样愁惨,那样垂头丧气,现在却舒展兴奋起来了。他觉得他的灵魂得了救,他期待着上帝。主教拥抱了他,当刀子将要落下时,他说:“人所杀的人,上帝使他复活;弟兄们所驱逐的人得重见天父。祈祷,信仰,到生命里去。天父就在前面。”他从断头台上下来时,他的目光里有种东西使众人肃然退立。我们不知道究竟哪一样最使人肃然起敬,是他面色的惨白呢,还是他神宇的宁静。在回到他一惯戏称为“他的宫殿”的那所破屋子里时,他对他的妹子说:“我刚刚进行了一场隆重的大典。”
  最卓越的东西也常是最难被人了解的东西,因此,城里有许多人在议论主教那一举动,说那是矫揉造作。不过那是上层阶级客厅里的一种说法。对圣事活动不怀恶意的人民却感动了,并且十分钦佩主教。
  至于主教,对他来说,看断头台行刑确是一种震动;过了许久,他才镇定下来。
  断头台,的确,当它被架起来屹立在那里时,是具有一种使人眩惑的力量的;在我们不曾亲眼见过断头台前,我们对死刑多少还能漠然视之,不表示自己的意见,不置可否;但是,如果我们见到了一座,那种惊骇真是强烈,我们非作出决定,非表示赞同或反对不可。有些人赞叹它,如德·梅斯特尔①。有些人痛恨它,如贝卡里亚②。断头台是法律的体现,它的别名是“镇压”,它不是中立的,也不让人中立。看见它的人都产生最神秘的战栗。所有的社会问题都在那把板斧的四周举起了它们的问号。断头台是想象。断头台不是一个架子。断头台不是一种机器。断头台不是由木条、铁器和绳索所构成的无生气的机械。它好象是种生物,具有一种说不出的阴森森的主动能力。我们可以说那架子能看见,那座机器能听见,那种机械能了解,那些木条铁件和绳索都具有意识。当它的出现把我们的心灵抛入凶恶的梦想时,断头台就显得怪可怕,并和它所作所为的一切都结合在一起了。断头台是刽子手的同伙,它在吞噬东西,在吃肉,在饮血。断头台是法官和木工合造的怪物,是一种鬼怪,它以自己所制造的死亡为生命而进行活动。
 ① 德·梅斯特尔(deMaistre,1753—1821),法国神学家。
 ②贝卡里亚(Beccaria,1738—1794),意大利启蒙运动的著名代表人物,法学家,主张宽刑。

  那次的印象也确是可怕和深刻的,行刑的第二天和许多天以后,主教还表现出惶惶不可终日的样子。送死时那种强迫的镇静已经消逝了,社会威权下的鬼魂和他纠缠不清,他平时工作回来,素来心安理得,神采奕奕,这时他却老象是在责备自己。有时,他自言自语,吞吞吐吐,低声说着一些凄惨的话。下面是他妹子在一天晚上听了记下来的一段:“我从前还不知道是那么可怕。只专心注意上帝的法则而不关心人的法律,那是错误的。死只属于上帝,人有什么权力过问那件未被认识的事呢?”
  那些印象随着时间渐渐减褪或竟消失了,但是人们察觉到,从此以后,主教总避免经过那刑场。
  人们可以在任何时候把主教叫到病人和临死的人的床边。他深深知道他最大的职责和最大的任务是在那些地方。寡妇和孤女的家,不用请,他自己就会去的。他知道在失去爱妻的男子和失去孩子的母亲身旁静静坐上几个钟头。他既懂得闭口的时刻,也就懂得开口的时刻。呵!可敬可佩的安慰人的人!他不以遗忘来消除苦痛,却希望去使苦痛显得伟大和光荣。他说:“要注意您对死者的想法。不要在那溃烂的东西上去想。定神去看,您就会在穹苍的极尽处看到您亲爱的死者的生命之光。”他知道信仰能护人心身。他总设法去慰藉失望的人,使他们能退一步着想,使俯视墓穴的悲痛转为仰望星光的悲痛。
  
  










五 卞福汝主教的道袍穿得太久了



  米里哀先生的家庭生活,正如他的社会生活那样,是受同样的思想支配的。对那些有机会就近观察的人,迪涅主教所过的那种自甘淡泊的生活,确是严肃而动人。
  和所有老年人及大部分思想家一样,他睡得少,但他的短暂的睡眠却是安稳的。早晨,他静修一个钟头,再念他的弥撒经,有时在天主堂里,有时在自己的经堂里。弥撒经念过以后,作为早餐,他吃一块黑麦面包,蘸着自家的牛的乳汁。随后,他开始工作。
  主教总是相当忙的,他得每天接见主教区的秘书——通常是一个司祭神甫,并且几乎每天都得接见他的那些助理主教。他有许多会议要主持,整个宗教图书室要检查,还要诵弥撒经、教理问答、日课经等等;还有许多训示要写,许多讲稿要批示,还要和解教士与地方官之间的争执,还要办教务方面的信件、行政方面的信件,一方是政府,一方是宗教,总有作不完的事。
  那些无穷尽的事务和他的日课以及祈祷所余下的时间,他首先用在贫病和痛苦的人身上;在痛苦和贫病的人之后留下的时间,他用在劳动上。他有时在园里铲土,有时阅读和写作。他对那两种工作只有一种叫法,他管这叫“种地”,他说:
  “精神是一种园地。”
  日中,他用午餐。午餐正和他的早餐一样。
  将近两点时,如果天气好,他去乡间或城里散步,时常走进那些破烂的人家。人们看见他独自走着,低着眼睛,扶着一根长拐杖,穿着他那件相当温暖的紫棉袍,脚上穿着紫袜和粗笨的鞋子,头上戴着他的平顶帽,三束金流苏从帽顶的三只角里坠下来。
  他经过的地方就象过节似的。我们可以说他一路走过,就一路在散布温暖和光明。孩子和老人都为主教而走到大门口来,有如迎接阳光。他祝福大家,大家也为他祝福。人们总把他的住所指给任何有所需求的人们看。
  他随处停下来,和小男孩小女孩们谈话,也向着母亲们微笑。他只要有钱,总去找穷人;钱完了,便去找有钱人。
  由于他的道袍穿得太久了,却又不愿被别人察觉,因此他进城就不得不套上那件紫棉袍。在夏季,那是会有点使他不好受的。
  晚上八点半,他和他的妹子进晚餐,马格洛大娘立在他们的后面照应。再没有比那种晚餐更简单的了。但是如果主教留他的一位神甫晚餐,马格洛大娘就借此机会为主教做些鲜美的湖鱼或名贵的野味。所有的神甫都成了预备盛餐的借口,主教也让人摆布。此外,他日常的伙食总不外水煮蔬菜和素油汤。城里的人都说:“主教不吃神甫菜的时候,就吃苦修会的修士菜。”
  晚餐过后,他和巴狄斯丁姑娘与马格洛大娘闲谈半小时,再回到自己的房间从事写作,有时写在单页纸上,有时写在对开本书本的空白边上。他是个文人,知识颇为渊博,他留下了五种或六种相当奇特的手稿,其中一种是关于《创世记》中“上帝的灵运行在水面上”①那一节的研究。他拿三种经文来作比较:阿拉伯译文作“上帝的风吹着”;弗拉菲于斯·约瑟夫②作“上界的风骤临下土”;最后翁格洛斯的迦勒底③文的注释性翻译则作“来自上帝的一阵风吹在水面上”。在另外一篇论文里,他研究了雨果关于神学的著作——雨果是普托利迈伊斯的主教,本书作者的叔曾祖;他还证明在前世纪以笔名巴勒古尔发表的各种小册子都应是那位主教的。
  ①这一句话原文见《创世记》第一章第二节。
  ②弗拉菲于斯·约瑟夫(FlaviusJosephe),一世纪末的犹太历史家。
  ③迦勒底(Chaldée),巴比伦一带地方的古称。
  有时,他正在阅读,不问在他手里的是什么书,他会忽然堕入深远的思考,想完以后,立即在原书中写上几行。那样的几行字时常是和他手中的书毫无关系的。目下我们有他在一本四开本书的边上所写的注,书名是《贵人日耳曼和克林东、柯恩华立斯两将军以及美洲海域海军上将们的往来信札》,凡尔赛盘索书店及巴黎奥古斯丁河沿毕索书店印行。
  注是这样的:
  “呵!存在着的你!
  “《传道书》称你为全能,马加比人称你为创造主,《以弗所书》称你为自由,巴录称你为广大,《诗篇》称你为智慧与真理,约翰称你为光明,《列王纪》称你为天主,《出埃及记》呼汝为主宰,《利未记》呼汝为神圣,以斯拉呼汝为公正,《创世记》称你为上帝,人称你为天父,但是所罗门称你为慈悲,这才是你名称中最美的一个。”
  近九点钟时,两位妇女退到楼上自己的房间去,让他独自留在楼下,直到天明。
  
  










六 他托谁看守他的房子



  他住的房子,我们已经说过,是一所只有一层楼的楼房,楼下三间,楼上三间,顶上一间气楼,后面有一个四分之一亩大的园子。两位妇女住在楼上,主教住在楼下。临街的第一间是他的餐室,第二间是卧室。第三间是经堂。从经堂出来,必须经过卧室;从卧室出来,又必须经过餐室。经堂底里,有半间小暖房,仅容一张留备客人寄宿的床。主教常把那床让给那些因管辖区的事务或需要来到迪涅的乡村神甫们住宿。
  原来医院的药房是间小房子,通正屋,盖在园子里,现在已改为厨房和贮藏食物的地方了。
  此外,园里还有一个牲口棚,最初是救济院的厨房,现在主教在那里养着两头母牛。无论那两头牛供给多少奶,他每天早晨总分一半给医院里的病人。“这是我付的什一税。”他说。
  他的房间相当大,在恶劣的季节里相当难于保暖。由于木柴在迪涅非常贵,他便设法在牛棚里用板壁隔出了一小间。严寒季节便成了他夜间生活的地方。他叫那做“冬斋”。
  在冬斋里,和在餐室里一样,除了一张白木方桌和四张麦秸心椅子外,再也没有旁的家具。餐室里却还陈设着一个涂了淡红胶的旧碗橱。主教还把一张同样的碗橱,适当地罩上白布帷和假花边,作为祭坛,点缀着他的经堂。
  迪涅的那些有钱的女忏悔者和虔诚的妇女,多次凑了些钱,要为主教的经堂修一座美观的新祭坛,他每次把钱收下,却都送给了穷人。
  “最美丽的祭坛,”他说,“是一个因得到安慰而感谢上帝的受苦人的灵魂。”
  他有两张麦秸心的祈祷椅在他的经堂里,卧室里还有一张有扶手的围椅,也是麦秸心的。万一他同时接见七八个人,省长、将军或是驻军的参谋,或是教士培养所的几个学生,他们就得到牛棚里去找冬斋的椅子,经堂里去找祈祷椅,卧室里去找围椅。这样,他们可以收集到十一张待客的坐具。每次有人来访,总得搬空一间屋子。
  有时来了十二个人,主教为了遮掩那种窘境,如果是在冬天,他便自己立在壁炉边,如果是在夏天,他就建议到园里去兜个圈子。
  在那小暖房里,的确还有一张椅子,但是椅上的麦秸已经脱了一半,并且只有三只脚,只是靠在墙上才能用。巴狄斯丁姑娘也还有一张很大的木靠椅,从前是漆过金的,并有锦缎的椅套,但是那靠椅由于楼梯太窄,已从窗口吊上楼了,因而它不能作为机动的家具。
  巴狄斯丁姑娘的奢望是想买一套客厅里用的荷兰黄底团花丝绒的天鹅颈式紫檀座架的家具,再配上长沙发。但是这至少得花五百法郎。她为那样一套东西省吃节用,五年当中,只省下四十二个法郎和十个苏,于是也就不再作此打算。而且谁又能实现自己的理想呢?
  去想象一下主教的卧室,再简单也没有了。一扇窗门朝着园子,对面是床——一张医院用的病床,铁的,带着绿哔叽帷子。在床里的阴暗处,帷的后面,还摆着梳妆用具,残留着他旧时在繁华社会中做人的那些漂亮习气;两扇门,一扇靠近壁炉,通经堂,一扇靠近书橱,通餐室;那书橱是一个大玻璃橱,装满了书;壁炉的木框,描上了仿大理石的花纹,炉里通常是没有火的;壁炉里有一对铁炉篦,篦的两端装饰着两个瓶,瓶上绕着花串和槽形直条花纹,并贴过银箔,那是主教等级的一种奢侈品;上面,在通常挂镜子的地方,有一个银色已褪的铜十字架,钉在一块破旧的黑线上,装在一个金色暗敝的木框里。窗门旁边,有一张大桌子,摆了一个墨水瓶,桌上堆着零乱的纸张和大本的书籍。桌子前面,一张麦秸椅。床的前面,一张从经堂里搬来的祈祷椅。椭圆框里的两幅半身油画像挂在他床两旁的墙上。在画幅的素净的背景上有几个小金字写在像的旁边,标明一幅是圣克鲁的主教查里奥教士的像,一幅是夏尔特尔教区西多会大田修院院长阿格德的副主教杜尔多教士的像。主教在继医院病人之后住进那间房时,就已看见有这两幅画像,也就让它挂在原处。他们是神甫,也许是施主,这就是使他尊敬他们的两个理由。他所知道关于那两个人物的,只是他们在同一天,一七八五年四月二十七日,由王命,一个授以教区,一个授以采地。马格洛大娘曾把那两幅画取下来掸灰尘,主教才在大田修院院长的像的后面,看见在一张用四片胶纸粘着四角、年久发黄的小方纸上,用淡墨汁注出的这两位人物的出身。
  窗门上,有一条古老的粗毛呢窗帷,已经破旧不堪,为了节省新买一条的费用,马格洛大娘只得在正中大大地缝补一番,缝补的纹恰成一个十字形。主教常常叫人看。
  “这缝得多好!”他说。
  那房子里所有的房间,无论楼下楼上,没有一间不是用灰浆刷的,营房和医院照例如此。
  但是,后来的几年中,马格洛大娘在巴狄斯丁姑娘房间的裱墙纸下面(我们在下面还会谈到),发现了一些壁画。这所房子,在成为医院以前,曾是一些士绅们的聚会场所。所以会有那种装饰。每间屋子的地上都铺了红砖,每星期洗一次,床的前面都铺着麦秸席。总之,这住宅,经那两位妇女的照料,从上到下,都变得异常清洁。那是主教所许可的唯一的奢华。他说:
  “这并不损害穷人的利益。”
  但是我们得说清楚,在他从前有过的东西里,还留下六套银餐具和一只银的大汤勺,马格洛大娘每天都喜洋洋地望着那些银器在白粗布台毯上放射着灿烂夺目的光。我们既然要把迪涅的这位主教据实地写出来,就应当提到他曾几次这样说过:“叫我不用银器盛东西吃,我想是不容易做到的。”
  在那些银器以外,还有两个粗重的银烛台,是从他一个姑祖母的遗产中得来的。那对烛台上插着两支烛,经常陈设在主教的壁炉上。每逢他留客进餐,马格洛大娘总点上那两支烛,连着蜡台放在餐桌上。
  在主教的卧室里,床头边,有一张壁橱,每天晚上,马格洛大娘把那六套银器和大汤勺塞在橱里,橱门上的钥匙是从来不拿走的。
  那个园子,在我们说过的那些相当丑陋的建筑物的陪衬下,也显得有些减色。园子里有四条小道,交叉成十字形,交叉处有一个水槽;另一条小道沿着白围墙绕园一周。小道与小道之间,形成四块方地,边沿上种了黄杨。马格洛大娘在三块方地上种着蔬菜,在第四块上,主教种了些花卉。几株果树散布在各处。
  一次,马格洛大娘和蔼地打趣他说:“您处处都盘算,这儿却有一块方地没有用上。种上些生菜,不比花好吗?”“马格洛大娘,”主教回答说,“您弄错了。美和适用是一样有用的。”停了一会,他又加上一句:“也许更有用些。”
  那块方地又分作三四畦,主教在那地上所费的劳力和他在书本里所费的劳力是一样的。他乐意在这里花上一两个钟头,修枝,除草,这儿那儿,在土里搠一些窟窿,摆下种子。他并不象园艺工作者那样仇视昆虫。对植物学他没有任何幻想;他不知道分科,也不懂骨肉发病说;他绝不研究在杜纳福尔①和自然操作法之间应当有何取舍,既不替胞囊反对子叶,也不替舒习尔②反对林内③。他不研究植物,而赞赏花卉。他非常敬重科学家,更敬重无知识的人,在双方并重之下,每当夏季黄昏,他总提着一把绿漆白铁喷壶去浇他的花畦。
  ①杜纳福尔(Tournefort),法国十世纪的植物学家。
  ②舒习尔(Jussieu),法国十八世纪植物学家。
  ③林内(Linné),瑞典十八世纪生物学家,是植物和动物分类学的鼻祖。
  那所房子没有一扇门是锁得上的。餐室的门,我们已经说过,开出去便是天主堂前面的广场,从前是装了锁和铁闩的,正象一扇牢门。主教早已叫人把那些铁件取去了,因而那扇门,无论昼夜,都只用一个活梢扣着。任何过路的人,在任何时刻,都可以摇开。起初,那两位妇女为了那扇从来不关的门非常发愁,但是迪涅主教对她们说:“假如你们喜欢,不妨在你们的房门上装上铁闩。”到后来,她们看见他既然放心,也就放了心,或者说,至少她们装出放心的样子。马格洛大娘有时仍不免提心吊胆。主教的想法,已经在他在《圣经》边上所写的这三行字里说明了,至少是提出了:“这里只有最微小的一点区别:
  医生的门,永不应关,教士的门,应常开着。”
  在一本叫做《医学的哲学》的书上,他写了这样一段话:“难道我们不和他们一样是医生吗?我一样有我的病人。首先我有他们称为病人的病人,其次我还有我称为不幸的人的病人。”
  在另一处,他还写道:“对向你求宿的人,不可问名问姓,不便把自己姓名告人的人也往往是最需要找地方住的人。”
  有一天,忽然来了个大名鼎鼎的教士,我已经记不清是古娄布鲁教士,还是彭弼力教士,想起要问主教先生(那也许是受了马格洛大娘的指使),让大门日夜开着,人人都可以进来,主教是否十分有把握不至于发生某种意外,是否不怕在那防范如此松懈的家里,发生什么不幸的事。主教严肃而温和地在他肩上点了一下,对他说:“除非上帝要保护这家人,否则看守也徒然。”①他接着就谈旁的事。
  ①这两句话原文为拉丁文,即DisiDominuscustodieritdomum,invanumvigilantquicustodiunteam。
  他常爱说:“教士有教士的勇敢,正如龙骑队长有龙骑队长的勇敢。”不过,他又加上一句:“我们的勇敢应当是宁静的。”
  
  










七 克拉华特



  此地自然有着一件我们不应忽略的事,因为这件事足以说明迪涅的这位主教先生是怎样一个人。
  加斯帕尔·白匪帮曾一度横行在阿柳尔峡一带,在被击溃以后,有个叫克拉华特的部将却还躲在山林里。他领着他的徒众,加斯帕尔·白的残部,在尼斯伯爵领地里藏匿了一些时候,继又转到皮埃蒙特区①,忽而又在法国境内巴塞隆内特附近出现。最初,有人曾在若齐埃见过他,过后又在翟伊尔见过他。他躲在鹰轭山洞里,从那里出来,经过玉碑和小玉碑峡谷,走向村落和乡镇。他甚至敢于进逼昂布伦,黑夜侵入天主堂,卷走圣衣库中的东西。他的劫掠使那一乡的人惴惴不安。警察追击也无用。他屡次逃脱,有时还公然抵抗。他是个大胆的恶汉。正当人心惶惶时主教来了。他正在那一乡巡视。乡长赶到沙斯特拉来找他,并且劝他转回去。当时克拉华特已占据那座山,直达阿什一带,甚至还更远。即使由卫队护送,也有危险。那不过是把三四个警察白白拿去送死罢了。
  ①皮埃蒙特区(Piémont),在意大利北部。
  “那么,”主教说,“我打算不带卫兵去。”
  “您怎么可以那样打算,主教?”那乡长说。
  “我就那样打算,我绝对拒绝卫兵,并且一个钟头以内我就要走。”
  “走?”
  “走。”
  “一个人去吗?”
  “一个人。”
  “主教,您不能那样做。”
  “在那儿,”主教又说,“有个穷苦的小村子,才这么一点大,我三年没有见着他们了。那里的人都是我的好朋友。一些和蔼诚实的牧人。他们牧羊,每三十头母羊里有一头是属于他们自己的。他们能做各种颜色的羊毛绳,非常好看。他们用六孔小笛吹各种山歌。他们需要有人不时和他们谈谈慈悲的上帝。主教如果也害怕,他们将说什么呢?假使我不到那里去一下,他们将说些什么呢?”
  “可是,主教,您对那些强盗怎么办,万一您遇见了强盗!”
  “对呀,”主教说,“我想起来了。您说得有理。我可以遇见他们。他们也需要有人和他们谈谈慈悲的上帝。”
  “主教,那是一伙土匪呀,是一群狼呀!”
  “乡长先生,也许耶稣正要我去当那一群狼的牧人呢,谁知道主宰的旨意?”
  “主教,他们会把您抢光的。”
  “我没有什么可抢的。”
  “他们会杀害您的。”
  “杀害一个念着消食经过路的老教士?啐!那有什么好处?”
  “唉!我的上帝!万一您碰见他们!”
  “我就请他们捐几文给我的穷人们。”
  “主教,以上天之名,不要到那儿去吧!您冒着生命危险呢。”
  “乡长先生,”主教说,“就只是这点小事吗?我活在世上不是为了自己的生命,而是来保护世人的心灵的。”
  只好让他走。他走了,只有一个自愿当向导的小孩伴着他。他那种蛮劲使那一乡议论纷纷,甚至个个替他捏一把汗。
  他不愿带他的妹子,也没有带马格洛大娘。他骑上骡子,穿过山路,一个人也没有碰见,平平安安到了他的“好朋友”——牧人的家里。他在那里住了两星期,传道,行圣礼,教育人,感化人。到了快离开时,他决计用主教的仪式做一场大弥撒。他和本堂神甫商量。但是怎么办呢?没有主教的服饰。他们只能把简陋的乡间圣衣库供他使用,那里只有几件破旧的、装着假金线的锦缎祭服。
  “没有关系!”主教说。“神甫先生,我们不妨把要做大弥撤那件事在下次礼拜时,向大众宣告一下,会有办法的。”
  在附近的几个天主堂里都寻遍了。那些穷教堂里所有的精华,凑拢来还不能适当装饰一个大天主堂里的唱诗童子。
  正在大家为难时,有两个陌生人,骑着马,带了一只大箱子,送来给主教先生,箱子放在本堂神甫家里人立即走了。打开箱子一看,里面有件金线呢披氅,一顶装有金刚钻的主教法冠,一个大主教的十字架,一条华美的法杖,一个月以前,在昂布伦圣母堂的圣衣库里被抢的法衣,全部都在。箱子里有张纸,上面写着:“克拉华特呈奉卞福汝主教。”
  “我早说过会有办法的!”主教说,随后他含笑补充一句,“以神甫的白衣自足的人蒙上帝赐来大主教的披氅了。”
  “我的主教,”神甫点头含笑低声说,“不是上帝便是魔鬼。”
  主教用眼睛盯住神甫,一本正经地说:“是上帝!”
  回沙斯特拉时一路上都有人来看他,引为奇谈。他在沙斯特拉的神甫家里,又和巴狄斯丁姑娘和马格洛大娘相见了,她们也正渴望他回来。他对他的妹子说:
  “怎样,我的打算没有错吧?我这穷教士,两手空空,跑到山里那些穷百姓家里去过了,现在又满载而归。我当初出发时,只带着一片信仰上帝的诚心,回来时,却把一个天主堂的宝库带回了。”
  晚上,他在睡前还说:
  “永远不要害怕盗贼和杀人犯。那是身外的危险。我们应当害怕自己。偏见便是盗贼,恶习便是杀人犯。重大的危险都在我们自己的心里。危害我们脑袋和钱袋的人何足介意呢?我们只须想到危害灵魂的东西就得了。”
  他又转过去对他妹子说:
  “妹妹,教士永远不可提防他的邻人。邻人做的事,总是上帝允许的。我们在危险临头时,只应祷告上帝。祈求他,不是为了我们自己,而是为了不要让我们的兄弟因我们而犯罪。”
  总之,他生平的特殊事故不多。我们就自己所知道的谈谈。不过他在他一生中,总是在同样的时刻做同样的事。他一年的一月,就象他一日的一时。
  至于昂布伦天主堂的“财宝”下落如何,我们对这问题,却有些难于回答。那都是些美丽的、令人爱不忍释的、很值得偷去救济穷人的东西。况且那些东西是早已被人偷过了的。那种冒险行为已经完成了一半,余下的工作只须改变偷窃的目的,再向穷人那边走一小段路就可以了。关于这问题,我们什么也不肯定。不过,曾经有人在主教的纸堆里发现过一张词意不明的条子,也许正是指那件事的,上面写着:“问题在于明确这东两应当归天主堂还是归医院。”
  
  










八 酒后的哲学



  我们曾经谈到过一个元老院元老,那是个精明果断的人,一生行事,直截了当,对于人生所能遇到的难题,如良心、信誓、公道、天职之类从不介怀;他一往直前地向着他的目标走去,在他个人发达和利益的道路上,他从不曾动摇过一次。他从前当过检察官,因处境顺利,为人也渐趋温和了,他绝不是个有坏心眼的人。他在生活中审慎地抓住那些好的地方、好的机会和好的财源之后,对儿子、女婿、亲戚甚至朋友,也尽力帮些小忙。其余的事,在他看来,好象全是傻事。他善诙谐,通文墨,因而自以为是伊壁鸠鲁①的信徒,实际上也许只是比戈·勒白朗②之流亚。对无边的宇宙和永恒的事业以及“主教老头儿的种种无稽之谈”,他常喜欢用解颐的妙语来加以述说。有时,他会带着和蔼的高傲气派当面嘲笑米里哀先生,米里哀先生总由他嘲笑。
  ①伊壁鸠鲁(Epicure,公元前341—270),希腊唯物主义哲学家,主张享乐,他的所谓享乐是精神恬静愉快,不动心。
  ②比戈·勒白朗(PigaultLebrun),十八世纪法国色情小说家。
  不知是在举行什么半官式典礼时,那位伯爵(就是那位元老)和米里哀先生都应在省长公馆里参加宴会。到了用甜品时,这位元老已经略带酒意,不过态度仍旧庄重,他大声说:“主教先生,我们来扯扯。一个元老和一个主教见了面,就难免要彼此挤眉弄眼。一狼一狈,心照不宣。我要和您谈句知心话。我有我自己一套哲学。”
  “您说得对,”主教回答,“人总是睡下来搞他的哲学的,何况您是睡在金屋玉堂中的,元老先生。”
  元老兴致勃发,接着说:
  “让我们做好孩子。”
  “就做顽皮鬼也不打紧。”主教说。
  “我告诉您,”元老说,“阿尔让斯侯爵、皮隆、霍布斯、内戎①先生这些人都不是等闲之辈。在我的图书室里的这些哲学家的书边上都是烫了金的。”
  “和您自己一样,元老先生。”主教抢着说。
  元老接着说:
  “我恨狄德罗②,他是个空想家,大言不惭,还搞革命,实际上却信仰上帝,比伏尔泰更着迷。伏尔泰嘲笑过尼登,他不应当那么做,因为尼登的鳝鱼已经证明上帝的无用了。一匙面糊加一滴酸醋,便可以代替圣灵。假设那一滴再大一点,那一匙也再大一点,便是这世界了。人就是鳝鱼。又何必要永生之父呢?主教先生,关于耶和华的那种假设叫我头痛。它只对那些外弱中干的人有些用处。打倒那个惹人厌烦的万物之主!虚空万岁!虚空才能叫人安心。说句知心话,并且我要说个痛快,好好向我的牧师交代一番,我告诉您,我观点明确。您那位东劝人谦让、西劝人牺牲的耶稣瞒不过我的眼睛。那种说法是吝啬鬼对穷鬼的劝告。谦让!为什么?牺牲!为什么?我从来没有见过一只狼为另一只狼的幸福而牺牲它自己。我们还是游戏人间的好。人为万物之灵。我们应当有高明的哲学。假使目光如鼠,又何必生为万物之灵?让我们嘻嘻哈哈过这一世吧。人生,就是一切。说人在旁的地方,天上、地下,某处,有另外一个来生,我绝不信那些鬼话。哼!有人要我谦让,要我牺牲,那么,一举一动,我都得谨慎小心,我得为善恶、曲直、从违等问题来伤脑筋。为什么?据说对自己的行为我将来得做个交代。什么时候?死后。多么好的梦!在我死了以后,有人捉得住我那才妙呢。您去叫一只鬼手抓把灰给我看看。我们都是过来人,都是揭过英蓉仙子的亵衣的人,让我们说老实话吧,这世上只有生物,既无所谓善,也无所谓恶。我们应当追求实际,一直深入下去,穷其究竟,有什么大不了的!我们应当嗅出真理,根究到底,把真理掌握在自己的手里。那样它才会给你一种无上的快乐。那样你才会充满信心,仰天大笑。我一点不含糊,我。主教先生,永生之说只能哄哄小孩。哈!多么中听的诺言!您去信您的吧!骗鬼的空头支票。人是灵魂,人可以成为天使,人可以在肩胛骨上生出一对蓝翅膀。有福气的人可以从这一个星球游到那一个星球,这句话是不是德尔图良③说的,请您告诉我。就算是的。我们会变成星际间的蝗虫。还会看见上帝,等等,等等。什么天堂,妄谈而已。上帝是种荒谬透顶的胡说。我当然不会在政府公报里说这种话。朋友之间,却不妨悄悄地谈谈。酒后之言嘛。为了天堂牺牲人世,等于捕雀而捉影。为永生之说所愚弄!还不至于那么蠢。我是一无所有的。我叫做一无所有伯爵。元老院元老。在我生前,有我吗?没有。在我死后,有我吗?没有。我是什么呢?我不过是一粒和有机体组合起来的尘土。在这世界上,我有什么事要做?我可以选择,受苦或享乐。受苦,那会把我引到什么地方去呢?引到一无所有。而我得受一辈子的苦。享乐又会把我引到什么地方去呢?也是引到一无所有。而我可以享一辈子的乐。我已经选定了。不吃就得被吃。做牙齿总比做草料好些。那正是我聪明的地方。过后,听其自然,掘坟坑的人会来的,坟坑便是我们这种人的先贤祠,一切都落在那大洞里。完事大吉。一切皆空。全部清算完毕。那正是一切化为乌有的下场。连死的份儿也不会再有了,请相信我。说什么还有一个人在等着我去谈话,我想来就要发笑。奶妈的创作。奶妈发明了妖怪来吓唬小孩,也发明了耶和华来吓唬大人。不,我们的明天是一片黑。在坟墓的后面,一无所有,这对任何人来说也都一样。即使你做过萨尔达尼拔④,即使你做过味增爵⑤,结果都一样归于乌有。这是真话。因此,享乐高于一切。当你还有你的时候,就应当利用这个你。老实说,我告诉您,主教先生,我有我的一套哲学,也有我的同道。我不让那些无稽之谈牵着我的鼻子走。可是,对于那些下等人,那些赤脚鬼、穷光蛋、无赖汉,却应当有一种东西。我们不妨享以种种传说、幻想、灵魂、永生、天堂、星宿。让他们大嚼特嚼,让他们拿去涂在他们的干面包上。两手空空的人总算也还捧着一位慈悲的上帝。那并不过分。我也一点不反对,但为我自己,我还是要留下我的内戎先生。慈悲的上帝对平民来说,还是必要的。”
  ①皮隆(Pyrrhon),四世纪希腊怀疑派哲学家。霍布斯(Hobbes,1588—1679),英国唯物主义哲学家。内戎(Naigeon,1738—1810),法国文人,唯物主义者。
  ②狄德罗(Diderot,1713—1784),杰出的法国哲学家,机械唯物主义的代表人物,无神论者,法国资产阶级革命的思想家之一,启蒙运动者,百科全书派领袖,一七四九年因自己的著作而被监禁。
  ③德尔图良(Tertullien,约150—222),基督教反动神学家。
  ④萨尔达尼拔(Sardanapale),又译亚述巴尼拔(Assurbanipal,前668—约前626),亚述国王。
  ⑤味增爵(VincentdePaul,1581—1660),法国天主教遣使会和仁爱会的创始人。
  主教鼓掌大声说:
  “妙论,妙论!这个唯物主义,确是一种至美绝妙的东西。要找也找不到的。哈!一旦掌握了它,谁也就不上当了,谁也就不会再傻头傻脑,象卡托①那样任人放逐,象艾蒂安①那样任人用石头打死,象贞德③那样任人活活烧死了。获得了这种宝贵的唯物主义的人,也就可以有那种觉得自己不用负责的快感,并认为自己可以心安理得地霸占一切,地盘、恩俸、荣誉、正当得来或暖昧得来的权力,可以为金钱背弃信义,为功利出卖朋友,昧尽天良也还可以自鸣得意。等到酒肉消化完了,便往坟墓里一钻了事。那多么舒服。我这些话并不是为您说的,元老先生。可是我不能不庆贺您。你们那些贵人,正如您说的,有一套自己的、为你们自己服务的哲学,一套巧妙、高明、仅仅适用于有钱人、可以调和各种口味、增加人生乐趣、美不胜收的哲学。那种哲学是由特殊钻探家从地下深处发掘得来的。一般平民以信仰上帝作为他们的哲学,正如穷人以栗子烧鹅肉当作蘑菇煨火(又鸟),而您并不认为那是件坏事,您确是一位忠厚长者。”
  ①卡托(Caton,前234—149),罗马政治家和作家,贵族特权的拥护者,为监察官时极为严格。
  ②艾蒂安(Etienne),基督教的一个殉教者,死在耶路撒冷。
  ③贞德(JeannedAArc),百年战争期间法国的民族女英雄,一四三一年被俘,焚死。
  
  










九 阿妹谈阿哥



  为了说明迪涅主教先生的家庭概况,为了说明那两位圣女怎样用她们的行动、思想、甚至女性的那种易受惊恐的本能去屈从主教的习惯和意愿,使他连开口吩咐的麻烦都没有,我们最好是在此地把巴狄斯丁姑娘写给她幼年时的朋友,波瓦舍佛隆子爵夫人的一封信转录下来。那封信在我们的手里。
  我仁慈的夫人,我们没有一天不谈到您。那固然是我们的习惯,也还有另外一个理由。您没有想到,马格洛大娘居然在洗刷天花板和墙壁时,发现了许多东西。现在我们这两间原来裱着旧纸、刷过灰浆的房间,和您那子爵府第相比,也不至于再有逊色。马格洛大娘撕去了全部的纸。那下面有些东西。我们用来晾衣服,没有家具的那间客厅,有十五尺高,十八尺见方,天花板和梁上都画了仿古金花,正和府上一样。从前当作医院时,它是用块布遮住了的。还有我们祖母时代的板壁。不过应当看看的是我的房间。马格洛大娘在那至少有十层的裱墙纸下发现了一些油画,虽然不好,却还过得去。画的是密涅瓦①封忒勒玛科斯②为骑士。另一幅园景里也有他。那花园的名字我一时想不起了。总之是罗马贵妇们在某一夜到过的地方。我还要说什么?那上面有罗马(这儿有个字,字迹不明)男子和妇女以及他们的全部侍从。马格洛大娘把一切都擦拭干净,今年夏天,她还要修整几处小小的破损,全部重行油漆,我的屋子就会变成一间真正的油画陈列馆了。她还在顶楼角落里找出两只古式壁儿。可是重上一次金漆就得花去两枚值六利弗的银币,还不如留给穷人们使用好些;并且式样也相当丑陋,我觉得如果能有一张紫檀木圆桌,我还更合意些。
  ①密涅瓦(Minerva),艺术和智慧之神。
  ②忒勒玛科斯(Télémaque),智勇之神。
  我总是过得很快乐。我哥是那么仁厚,他把他所有的一切都施给穷人和病人。我们手边非常拮据。到了冬天这地方就很苦。帮助穷人总是应当的。我们还算有火有灯。您瞧,这样已经很温暖了。
  我哥有他独特的习惯。他在聊天时,老说一个主教应当这样。您想想,我们家里的大门总是不关的。任何人都可以闯进来,并且开了门就是我哥的屋子。他什么都不怕,连黑夜也不怕。照他说来,那是他特有的果敢。
  他不要我替他担忧,也不要马格洛大娘替他担忧。他冒着各种危险,还不许我们有感到危险的神情。我们应当知道怎样去领会他。
  他常在下雨时出门,在水里行走,在严冬旅行。他不怕黑夜,不怕可疑的道路和遭遇。
  去年,他独自一人走到匪窟里去了。他不肯带我们去。他去了两星期。一直到回来,他什么危险也没碰着。我们以为他死了,而他却健康得很。他还说你们看我被劫了没有。他打开一只大箱子,里面装满了昂布伦天主堂的珍宝,是那些土匪送给他的。那一次,在他回来时,我和他的几位朋友,到两里路远的地方去迎接他。我实在不得不稍微责备他几句,但是我很小心,只在车轮响时才说话,免得旁人听见。
  起初,我常对自己说:“没有什么危险能阻拦他,他真够叫人焦急的了。”到现在,我也习惯了。我常向马格洛大娘使眼色叫她不要惹他。他要冒险,让他去。我引着马格洛大娘回我的房间。我为他祷告。我睡我的觉。我安心,因为我知道,万一他遇到不幸,我也决不再活了。我要随着我的哥兼我的主教一同归天。马格洛大娘对她所谓的“他的粗心大意”却看不惯,但是到现在,习惯已成自然。我们俩一同害怕,一同祈祷,也就一同睡去了。魔鬼可以走进那些可以让它放肆的人家,但在我们家里,有什么可怕的呢?最强的那位时常是和我们同在一道的,魔鬼可以经过此地,但是慈悲的上帝常住在我们家里。
  这样我已经满足了。我的哥,现在用不着再吩咐我什么,他不开口,我也能领会他的意思。我们把自己交给了天主。
  这就是我们和一个胸襟开阔的人相处之道。
  您问我关于傅家的历史,这事我已向我哥问明了。您知道,他知道得多么清楚,记得多么详细呵。因为他始终是一个非常忠实的保王党。那的确是卡昂税区一家很老的诺曼底世家。五百年来,有一个拉乌尔·德·傅,一个让·德·傅和一个托马·德·傅,都是贵人,其中一个是罗什福尔采地的领主。最末的一个是居伊·艾蒂安·亚历山大,·路易丝嫁给了法兰西世卿,法兰西警卫军大佐和陆军中将路易·德·格勒蒙的儿子阿德利安·查理·德·格勒蒙。他们的姓,傅,有三种写法:Faux,Fauq,Faoucq。仁慈的夫人,请您代求贵戚红衣主教先生为我们祷告。至于您亲爱的西尔华尼,她没有浪费她亲近您的短暂时间来和我写信,那是对的。她既然身体好,也能依照尊意工作,并且仍旧爱我,那已是我所希望的一切了。我从尊处得到她的问候,我感到幸福。我的身体并不太坏,可是一天比一天消瘦下去了。再谈,纸已写满了,我只得停笔。一切安好。
   巴狄斯丁
  一八……年,十二月十六日,于迪涅。
  再者:令嫂仍和她令郎的家眷住在此地。您的侄孙真可爱。您知道,他快五岁了!昨天他看见一匹马走过,腿上裹了护膝,他说:“它膝头上是什么?”那孩子,他是那样惹人爱。他的小兄弟在屋子里拖着一把破扫帚当车子,嘴里还喊着:“走!”
  从这封信里我们可以看出,那两位妇人知道用女性所特有的那种比男子更了解男子的天才,去曲承主教的生活方式。迪涅那位主教有着那种始终不渝、温和敦厚的神情风度,有时作出一些伟大、果敢、辉煌的行动,仿佛连他自己也不觉得。她们为那些事提心吊胆,但是让他去做。马格洛大娘有时试着在事先劝劝,但从不在事情进行时或事后多话。当行动已经开始,她们就从不阻拦他,连一点颜色也不表露。某些时候,她们只似懂非懂地觉得他是在尽主教的职责;他自己并不说出,甚至连他自己也不一定有那种感觉,因为他的那种赤子之心是那样淳朴,因此,她们在家里只是两个黑影。她们被动地服侍着他,如果为了服从,应当退避,她们便退避。由于一种可喜的、体贴入微的本能,她们知道,某种关切反而会使他为难。我不说她们能了解他的思想,但是她们了解他的性格,因而即使知道他是在危险中,也只好不过问。她们把他托付给了上帝。
  而且巴狄斯丁还常说,正如我们刚才念过的,她哥的不幸也就是她自己的末日。马格洛大娘没有那样说,但是她心里有数。
  
  










十 主教走访不为人知的哲人



  我们在前面几页提过一封信,在那信上所载日期过后不久的一个时期里,他又做了一件事,这一件事,在全城的人的心目中,是比上次他在那强人出没的山中旅行,更加来得冒失。
  在迪涅附近的一个乡村里住着一个与世隔绝的人。那人曾经当过……让我们立即说出他那不中听的名称:国民公会①代表。他姓G.。
  ①国民公会成立于一七九二年九月二十一日,是由人民大众选举产生的。会议宣布法兰西共和国的成立,判处国王路易十六和王后玛丽·安东尼特死刑。
  在迪涅那种小天地里,大家一谈到国民公会的那位G.代表,便有谈虎色变之感。一个国民公会代表,那还了得!那种东西是大家在以“你”和“公民”①相称的年代里存在过的。那个人就差不多是魔怪。他虽然没有投票判处国王死刑,但是已相去不远。那是个类似弑君的人。他是横暴骇人的。正统的王爷们回国②后,怎么会没有人把他告到特别法庭里去呢?不砍掉他的脑袋,也未尝不可,我们应当宽大,对的;但是好好地来他一个终身放逐,总是应当的吧?真是怪事!诸如此类的话。他并且和那些人一样,是个无神论者——这些全是鹅群诋毁雄鹰的妄谈。
  ①革命期间,人民语言中称“你”不称“您”。称“某某公民”而不称“某某先生”。
  ②一八一四年,拿破仑帝国被颠覆,王室复辟,路易十六之弟路易十八回国称王。
  G.究竟是不是雄鹰呢?如果我们从他那孤独生活中所特有的蛮性上着眼,他确是。由于他没有投票赞成处决国王,所以屡次的放逐令上都没有他的名字,他也就能留在法国。
  他的住处离城有三刻钟的路程,远离一切村落,远离一切道路,不知是在哪个荒山野谷、人迹不到的角落里。据说他在那里有一块地、一个土洞,一个窝巢。没有邻居,甚至没有过路的人。那条通到他那里去的小路,自从他住在那山谷里以后,也就消失在荒草中了。大家提起他那住处,就好象谈到刽子手的家。
  可是主教不能忘怀,他不时朝着这位老代表的住处,有一丛树木标志着的山谷,远远望去,他还说:“那儿有个孤独的灵魂。”
  在他思想深处,他还要说:“我迟早得去看他一遭。”
  但是,老实说,那个念头在起初虽然显得自然,经过一番思考之后,他却又好象觉得它奇怪,觉得这是做不到的,几乎是不能容忍的。因为实际上他也具有一般人的看法,那位国民公会代表使他莫名其妙地产生一种近似仇恨的恶感,也就是“格格不入”这四个字最能表达的那种恶感。
  可是羔羊的癣疥应当使牧人却步吗?不应当。况且那又是怎样的一头羔羊!
  那位慈祥的主教为之犹豫不决。有时,他朝那方向走去,随即又转回来。
  一天,有个在那窑洞里伺候那位G.代表的少年牧人来到城里找医生,说那老贼已经病到垂危,他得了瘫痪症,过不了夜。这话在城里传开了,许多人说:“谢天谢地。”
  主教立即拿起他的拐杖,披上他的外衣(因为,正如我们说过的,他的道袍太旧了,也因为将有晚风),一径走了。
  当他走到那无人齿及的地方,太阳正往西沉,几乎到了地平线。他的心怦怦跳动,他知道距那兽穴已经不远。他跨过一条沟,越过一道篱,打开栅门,走进一个荒芜的菜圃,相当大胆地赶上几步,到了那荒地的尽头,一大丛荆棘的后面,他发现了那窝巢。
  那是一所极其低陋狭窄而整洁的木屋,前面墙上钉着一列葡萄架。
  门前,一个白发老人坐在一张有小轮子的旧椅子(农民的围椅)里,对着太阳微笑。
  在那坐着的老人身旁,立着个少年,就是那牧童。他正递一罐牛奶给那老人。
  主教正张望,那老人提高嗓子说:
  “谢谢,我不再需要什么了。”
  同时,他把笑脸从太阳移向那孩子。
  主教往前走。那坐着的老人,听见他的脚步声转过头来,如闻空谷足音,脸上露出极端惊讶的颜色。
  “自从我住到这里以来,”他说,“这还是第一次有人上我的门。先生,您是谁?”
  主教回答:
  “我叫卞福汝·米里哀。”
  “卞福汝·米里哀!我听人说过这名字。老乡们称为卞福汝主教的,难道就是您吗?”
  “就是我。”
  那老人面露微笑,接着说:
  “那么,您是我的主教了?”
  “有点儿象。”
  “请进,先生。”
  那位国民公会代表把手伸给主教,但是主教没有和他握手,只说道:
  “我很高兴上了人家的当。看您的样子,您一点也没有病。”
  “先生,”那老人回答,“我会好的。”
  他停了一会,又说:
  “我过不了三个钟头,就要死了。”
  随后他又说:
  “我稍稍懂一点医道,我知道临终的情形是怎样的。昨天我还只是脚冷;今天,冷到膝头了;现在我觉得冷齐了腰,等到冷到心头,我就停摆了。夕阳无限好,不是吗?我叫人把我推到外面来,为的是要对这一切景物,作最后一次展望。您可以和我谈话,一点也不会累我的。您赶来看一个快死的人,这是好的。这种时刻,能有一两个人在场,确是难得。妄想人人都有,我希望能拖到黎明。但是我知道,我只有不到三个钟头的时间了。到那时,天已经黑了。其实,有什么关系!死是一件简单的事。并不一定要在早晨。就这样吧。我将披星戴月而去。”
  老人转向那牧童说:
  “你,你去睡吧。你昨晚已经守了一夜。你累了。”
  那孩子回到木屋里去了。
  老人用眼睛送着他,仿佛对自己说:
  “他入睡,我长眠。同是梦中人,正好相依相伴。”
  主教似乎会受到感动,其实不然。他不认为这样死去的人可以悟到上帝。让我们彻底谈清楚,因为宽大的胸怀中所含的细微的矛盾也一样是应当指出来的。平时,遇到这种事,如果有人称他为“主教大人”,他认为不值一笑,可是现在没有人称他为“我的主教”,却又觉得有些唐突,并且几乎想反过来称这位老人为“公民”了。他在反感中突然起了一种想对人亲切的心情,那种心情在医生和神甫中是常见的,在他说来却是绝无仅有的。无论如何,这个人,这个国民公会代表,这位人民喉舌,总当过一时的人中怪杰,主教觉得自己的心情忽然严峻起来,这在他一生中也许还是第一次。
  那位国民公会代表却用一种谦虚诚挚的态度觑着他,从这里我们可以看出其中含有那种行将物化的人的卑怯神情。
  在主教方面,他平素虽然约束自己,不起窥测旁人隐情的心思,因为在他看来,蓄意窥测旁人隐情,即类似对人存心侵犯,可是对这位国民公会代表,却不能不细心研究;这种不是由同情心出发的动机,如果去对待另一个人,他也许会受到自己良心的责备。但是一个国民公会代表,在他的思想上多少有些法外人的意味,甚至连慈悲的法律也是不予保护的。G.,这位八十岁的魁梧老叟,态度镇定,躯干几乎挺直,声音宏亮,足以使生理学家惊叹折服。革命时期有过许多那样的人,都和那时代相称。从这个老人身上,我们可以想见那种经历过千锤百炼的人。离死已经那样近了,他还完全保有健康的状态。他那明炯的目光、坚定的语气、两肩强健的动作,都足以使死神望而生畏。伊斯兰教中的接引天使阿兹拉伊尔①也会望而却步,以为走错了门呢。G.的样子好象即将死去,那只是因为他自己愿意那样的缘故罢了。他在临终时却仍能自主,只是两条腿僵了,他只是在那一部分被幽魂扼制住了。两只脚死了,也冷了,头脑却还活着,还保持着生命的全部活力,并且似乎还处在精神焕发的时期。G.在这一严重的时刻,正和东方神话中的那个国王相似,上半是肉身,下半是石体。
  ①阿兹拉伊尔(AzeBral),伊斯兰教四大天使之一,专司死亡事宜,人死时由其取命。
  他旁边有块石头。主教便在那上面坐下。他们突然开始对话。
  “我祝贺您,”他用谴责的语气说,“您总算没有投票赞成判处国王死刑。”
  国民公会代表好象没有注意到“总算”那两个字所含的尖刻意味。他开始回答,脸上的笑容全消灭了:
  “不要祝贺得太甚了,先生。我曾投票表决过暴君的末日。”
  那种刚强的语气是针对着严肃的口吻而发的。
  “您这话怎讲?”
  “我的意思是说,人类有一个暴君,那就是蒙昧。我表决了这个暴君的末日。王权就是从那暴君产生的,王权是一种伪造的权力,只有知识才是真正的权力。人类只应受知识的统治。”
  “那么,良心呢?”主教接着说。
  “那是同一回事。良心,是存在于我们心中与生俱有的那么一点知识。”
  那种论调对卞福汝主教是非常新奇的,他听了,不免有些诧异。
  国民公会代表继续说:
  “关于路易十六的事,我没有赞同。我不认为我有处死一个人的权利;但是我觉得我有消灭那种恶势力的义务。我表决了那暴君的末日,这就是说,替妇女消除了卖身制度,替男子消除了奴役制度,替幼童消除了不幸生活。我在投票赞成共和制度时也就赞助了那一切。我赞助了博爱、协和、曙光!我出力打破了邪说和谬见。邪说和谬见的崩溃造成了光明。我们这些人推翻了旧世界,旧世界就好象一个苦难的瓶,一旦翻倒在人类的头上,就成了一把欢乐的壶。”
  “光怪陆离的欢乐。”主教说。
  “您不妨说多灾多难的欢乐,如今,目从那次倒霉的所谓一八一四年的倒退以后,也就可以说是昙花一现的欢乐了。可惜!那次的事业是不全面的,我承认;我们在实际事物中摧毁了旧的制度,在思想领域中却没能把它完全铲除掉。消灭恶习是不够的,还必须转移风气。风车已经不存在了,风却还存在。”
  “您做了摧毁工作。摧毁可能是有好处的。可是对夹有怒气的摧毁行为,我就不敢恭维。”
  “正义是有愤怒的,主教先生,并且正义的愤怒是一种进步的因素。没关系,无论世人怎样说,法兰西革命是自从基督出世以来人类向前走得最得力的一步。不全面,当然是的,但是多么卓绝。它揭穿了社会上的一切黑幕。它涤荡了人们的习气,它起了安定、镇静、开化的作用,它曾使文化的洪流广被世界。它是仁慈的。法兰西革命是人类无上的光荣。”
  主教不禁嗫嚅:
  “是吗?九三①!”
  ①一七九三年的简称,那是革命进入(禁止)、处死国王路易十六的一年。
  国民公会代表直从他的椅子上竖立起来,容貌严峻,几乎是悲壮的,尽他瞑目以前的周身气力,大声喊着说:
  “呀!对!九三!这个字我等了许久了。满天乌云密布了一千五百年。过了十五个世纪之后,乌云散了,而您却要加罪于雷霆。”
  那位主教,嘴里虽未必肯承认,却感到心里有什么东西被他击中了。不过他仍然不动声色。他回答:
  “法官说话为法律,神甫说话为慈悲,慈悲也不过是一种比较高级的法律而已。雷霆的一击总不应搞错目标吧。”
  他又聚精会神觑着那国民公会代表,加上一句:
  “路易十七①呢?”
  国民公会代表伸出手来,把住主教的胳膊:
  “路易十七!哈。您在替谁流泪?替那无辜的孩子吗?那么,好吧。我愿和您同声一哭。替那年幼的王子吗?我却还得考虑考虑。在我看来,路易十五的孙子②是个无辜的孩子,他唯一的罪名是做了路易十五的孙子,以致殉难于大庙;卡图什③的兄弟也是一个无辜的孩子,他唯一的罪名是做了卡图什的兄弟,以致被人捆住胸脯,吊在格雷沃广场,直到气绝,那孩子难道就死得不惨?”
  ①路易十七是路易十六的儿子,十岁上(1795)死在狱中。
  ②指路易十七。
  ③卡图什(Cartouche,1693—1721),人民武装起义领袖,一七二一年被捕,被处死刑。
  “先生,”主教说,“我不喜欢把这两个名字联在一起。”
  “卡图什吗?路易十五吗?您究竟替这两个中的哪一个叫屈呢?”
  一时相对无言。主教几乎后悔多此一行,但是他觉得自己隐隐地、异样地被他动摇了。
  国民公会代表又说:
  “咳!主教先生,您不爱真理的辛辣味儿。从前基督却不象您这样。他拿条拐杖,清除了圣殿。他那条电光四射的鞭子简直是真理的一个无所顾忌的代言人。当他喊道‘让小孩子到我这里来!’①时,他对于那些孩子,并没有厚此薄彼的意思。他对巴拉巴②的长子和希律③的储君能同眼看待而无动于衷。先生,天真本身就是王冕。天真不必有所作为也一样是高尚的。它无论是穿着破衣烂衫或贵为公子王孙,总是同样尊贵的。”
  ①“让小孩子到我这里来”,这是耶稣对那些不许孩子听道的门徒说的话。原文是拉丁文Siniteparvulos(见《圣经·马太福音》第十九章)
  ②巴拉巴(Barabbas),和耶稣同时判罪的罪犯。
  ③希律(Hérode),(被禁止)前犹太国王。
  “那是真话。”主教轻轻地说。
  “我要坚持下去,”国民公会代表G.继续说,“您对我提到过路易十七。让我们在这上面取得一致的看法。我们是不是为一切在上层和在下层的无辜受害者、殉难者、孩子们同声一哭呢?我会和您一道哭的。不过,我已对您说过,我们必须追溯到九三年以前。我们的眼泪应当从九三年以前流起。我一定和您同哭王室的孩子,如果您也和我同哭平民的幼童。”
  “我为他们全体哭。”主教说。
  “同等分量吗?”G.大声说,“这天平如果倾斜,也还应当偏向平民一面吧。平民受苦的年代比较长些。”
  又是一阵沉寂。突破沉寂的仍是那国民公会代表。他抬起身子,倚在一只肘上,用他的拇指和曲着的食指捏着一点腮,正如我们在盘问和审讯时无意中作出的那种样子,他向主教提出质问,目光中充满了临终时的全部气力。那几乎是一阵爆炸。
  “是呀,先生,平民受苦的日子够长了。不但如此,您走来找我,问这问那,和我谈到路易十七,目的何在?我并不认识您呀。自从我住在这地方,孤零零的我在这围墙里过活,两只脚从不出门,除了那个帮我的小厮以外谁也不见面。的确,我的耳朵也偶尔刮到过您的名字,我还应当说,您的名气并不太坏,但是那并不说明什么问题,聪明人自有层出不穷的办法来欺哄一个忠厚老实的平民。说也奇怪,我刚才没有听到您车子的声音,也许您把它留在岔路口那面的树丛后面了吧。我并不认识您,您听见了吧。您刚才说您是主教,但是这话一点也不能对我说明您的人格究竟怎样。我只得重复我的问题。您是谁?您是一个主教,那就是说一个教门里的王爷,那些装了金,穿着铠甲,吃利息,坐享大宗教款的人中的一个——迪涅的主教,一万五千法郎的正式年俸,一万法郎的特别费,合计二万五千法郎——,有厨子,有随从,有佳肴美酒,星期五吃火(又鸟),仆役在前,仆役在后,高视阔步,坐华贵的轿式马车,住的是高楼大厦,捧着跣足徒步的耶稣基督做幌子,高车驷马,招摇过市,主教便是这一类人中的一个。您是一位高级教主,年俸、宫室、骏马、侍从、筵席、人生的享乐,应有尽有,您和那些人一样,也有这些东西,您也和他们一样,享乐受用,很好,不过事情已够明显了,但也可能还不够明显;您来到此地,也许发了宏愿,想用圣教来开导我,但是您并没有教我认清您自身的真正品质。我究竟是在和什么人谈话?您是谁?”
  主教低下头,回答:“我是一条蛆。”①
  “好一条坐轿车的蛆!”国民公会代表咬着牙说。
  这一下,轮到国民公会代表逞强,主教低声下气了。
  主教和颜悦色,接着说:
  “先生,就算是吧。但是请您替我解释解释:我那辆停在树丛后面不远的轿车,我的筵席和我在星期五吃的火(又鸟),我的二万五千法郎的年俸,我的宫室和我的侍从,那些东西究竟怎样才能证明慈悲不是一种美德,宽厚不是一种为人应尽之道,九三年不是伤天害理的呢?”
  国民公会代表把一只手举上额头,好象要拨开一阵云雾。
  “在回答您的话以前,”他说,“我要请您原谅。我刚才失礼了,先生。您是在我家里,您是我的客人。我应当以礼相待。您讨论到我的思想,我只应当批判您的论点就可以了。您的富贵和您的享乐,在辩论当中,我固然可以用来作为反击您的利器,但究竟有伤忠厚,不如不用。我一定不再提那些事了。”
  “我对您很感谢。”主教说。
  G.接着说:
  “让我们回到您刚才向我要求解释的方面去吧。我们刚才谈到什么地方了?您刚才说的是……您说九三年伤天害理吗?”
  “伤天害理,是的,”主教说,“您对马拉②朝着断头台鼓掌有怎样一种看法?”
  ①这一句原文为拉丁文“Vermissum”。
  ②马拉(Marat,1743—1793),法国政论家,雅各宾派领袖之一,罗伯斯庇尔的忠实战友,群众称他为“人民之友”。
  “您对博须埃①在残害新教徒时高唱圣诗,又是怎样想的呢?”
  那种回答是坚劲的,直指目标,锐如利剑。主教为之一惊,他绝想不出一句回驳的话,但是那样提到博须埃,使他感到大不痛快。极高明的人也有他们的偶像,有时还会由于别人不尊重逻辑而隐痛在心。
  国民公会代表开始喘气了,他本来已经气力不济,加以临终时呼吸阻塞,说话的声音便成了若断若续的了,可是他的眼睛表现出他的神志还是完全清醒的。
  他继续说:
  “让我们再胡乱谈几句,我很乐意。那次的革命,总的说来,是获得了人类的广泛赞扬的,只可惜九三年成了一种口实。您认为那是伤天害理的一年,但就整个zhuanzhi政体来说呢,先生?卡里埃②是个匪徒;但是您又怎样称呼蒙特维尔③呢?富基埃-泰维尔④是个无赖;但是您对拉莫瓦尼翁-巴维尔⑤有什么见解呢?马亚尔⑥罪大恶极,但请问索尔-达瓦纳⑦呢,杜善伯伯⑧横蛮凶狠,但对勒泰利埃神甫⑨,您又加上怎样的评语呢?茹尔丹屠夫⑩是个魔怪,但是还比不上卢夫瓦⑾侯爷。先生呀,先生,我为大公主和王后玛丽·安东尼特叫屈,但是我也为那个信仰新教的穷妇人叫屈,那穷妇人在一六八五年大路易当国的时候,先生呀,正在给她孩子喂奶,却被人家捆在一个木桩上,上身(禁止),孩子被放在一旁;她乳中充满乳汁,心中充满怆痛;那孩子,饥饿不堪,脸色惨白,瞧着母亲的乳,有气无力地哭个不停;刽子手却对那做母亲和乳娘的妇人说:‘改邪归正!’要她在她孩子的死亡和她信心的死亡中任择一种。教一个做母亲的人受那种眼睁睁的生离死别的苦痛,您觉得有什么可说的吗?先生,请记住这一点,法国革命自有它的理论根据。它的愤怒在未来的岁月中会被人谅解的。它的成果便是一个改进了的世界。从它的极猛烈的鞭挞中产生出一种对人类的爱抚。我得少说话,我不再开口了,我的理由太充足。况且我快断气了。”
  ①博须埃(Bossuet,1627—1704),法国天主教的护卫者,是最有声望的主教之一。
  ②卡里埃(Carrier,1756—1794),国民公会代表,一七九四年上断头台。
  ③蒙特维尔(Montrevel),十七世纪末法国朗格多克地区新教徒的迫害者。
  ④富基埃-泰维尔(ForguierCTinville),法国十八世纪末革命法庭的起诉人,恐怖时期尤为有名,后被处死。
  ⑤拉莫瓦尼翁-巴维尔(LamoignonCBaville,1648—1724),法国朗格多克地区总督,一六八五年无情镇压新教徒。
  ⑥马亚尔(StanislasMaillard),以执行一七九二年九月的大屠杀而闻名于世。
  ⑦索尔-达瓦纳(SaulxCTavannes),达瓦纳的贵族,一五七二年巴托罗缪屠杀案的唆使者之一。
  ⑧杜善伯伯(lepèreDuchène),原是笑剧中一个普通人的形象,后来成了平民的通称。
  ⑨勒泰利埃神甫(lepèreLetellier,1643—1719),耶稣会教士,路易十四的忏悔神甫,曾使路易十四毁坏王家港。
  ⑩马蒂厄·儒弗(MathieuJouve,1749—1794),一七九一年法国阿维尼翁大屠杀的组织者,后获得屠夫茹尔丹的称号。
  ⑾卢夫瓦(Louvois,1641—1691),路易十四的军事大臣,曾劫掠巴拉丁那(今西德法尔茨)。
  随后这位国民公会代表的眼睛不再望着主教,他只用这样的几句话来结束他的思想:
  “是呀,进步的暴力便叫做革命。暴力过去以后,人们就认识到这一点:人类受到了呵斥,但是前进了。
  国民公会代表未尝不知道他刚才已把主教心中的壁垒接二连三地夺过来了,可是还留下一处,那一处是卞福汝主教防卫力量的最后源泉,卞福汝主教说了这样一句话,几乎把舌战开始时的激烈态度又全流露出来了:
  “进步应当信仰上帝。善不能由背弃宗教的人来体现,无神论者是人类的恶劣的带路人。”
  那个年迈的人民代表没有回答。他发了一阵抖,望着天,眼睛里慢慢泌出一眶眼泪,眶满以后,那眼泪便沿着他青灰的面颊流了下来,他低微地对自己说,几乎语不成声,目光迷失在穹苍里:
  “呵你!呵理想的境界!惟有你是存在的!”
  主教受到一种无可言喻的感动。
  一阵沉寂过后,那老人翘起一个指头,指着天说:
  “无极是存在的。它就在那里。如果无极之中没有我,我就是它的止境;它也不成其为无极了;换句话说,它就是不存在的了。因此它必然有一个我。无极中的这个我,便是上帝。”
  那垂死的人说了最后几句话,声音爽朗,还带着灵魂离开(禁止)时那种至乐的颤动,好象他望见了一个什么人似的。语声歇了过后,他的眼睛也合上了。一时的兴奋已使他精力涸竭。他剩下的几个钟头,显然已在顷刻之中耗尽了。他刚才说的那几句话已使他接近了那位生死的主宰。最紧要的时刻到了。
  主教懂得,时间紧迫,他原是以神甫身份来到此地的,他从极端的冷淡一步步地进入了极端的冲动,他望着那双闭了的眼睛,他抓住那只枯皱冰冷的手,弯下腰去向那临终的人说:
  “这个时刻是上帝的时刻了。如果我们只这样白白地聚首一场,您不觉得遗憾吗?”
  国民公会代表重又张开眼睛。眉宇间呈现出一种严肃而阴郁的神情。
  “主教先生,”他说,说得很慢,那不单是由于气力不济,还多半由于他心灵的高傲,“我在深思力学和观察当中度过了这一生。我六十岁的时候祖国号召我去管理国家事务。我服从了。当时有许多积弊,我进行了斗争;有暴政,我消除了暴政;有人权和法则,我都公布了,也进行了宣传。国土被侵犯,我保卫了国土:法兰西受到威胁,我献出我的热血。我从前并不阔气,现在也没有钱。我曾是政府领导人之一,当时在国库的地窖里堆满了现金,墙头受不住金银的压力,随时可以坍塌,以致非用支柱撑住不可,我却在枯树街吃二十二个苏一顿的饭。我帮助了受压迫的人,医治了人们的痛苦。我撕毁了祭坛上的布毯,那是真的,不过是为了裹祖国的创伤。我始终维护人类走向光明的步伐,有时也反抗过那种无情的进步。有机会,我也保护过我自己的对手,就是说,你们这些人。在佛兰德的比特罕地方,正在墨洛温王朝①夏宫的旧址上,有一座乌尔班派的寺院,就是波里尔的圣克雷修道院,那是我在一七九三年救出来的。我尽过我力所能及的职责,我行过我所能行的善事。此后我却被人驱逐,搜捕,通缉,迫害,诬蔑,讥诮,侮辱,诅骂,剥夺了公民权。多年以来,我白发苍苍,只觉得有许多人自以为有权轻视我,那些愚昧可怜的群众认为我面目可憎。我并不恨人,却乐于避开别人的恨。现在,我八十六岁了,快死了。您还来问我什么呢?”
  “我来为您祝福。”主教说。
  ①墨洛温(Mérovée),法国第一个王朝,从五世纪中叶到八世纪中叶。
  他跪了下来。
  等到主教抬起头来,那个国民公会代表已经神色森严,气绝了。
  主教回到家中,深深沉浸在一种无可言喻的思绪里。他整整祈祷了一夜。第二天,几个胆大好奇的人,想方设法,要引他谈论那个G.代表,他却只指指天。从此,他对小孩和有痛苦的人倍加仁慈亲切。
  任何言词,只要影射到“G.老贼”,他就必然会陷入一种异样不安的状态中。谁也不能说,那样一颗心在他自己的心前的昭示,那伟大的良心在他的意识上所起的反应,对他日趋完善的精神会毫无影响。
  那次的“乡村访问”当然要替本地的那些小集团提供饶舌的机会:
  “那种死人的病榻前也能成为主教涉足的地方吗?明明没有什么感化可以指望。那些革命党人全是屡背圣教的。那,又何必到那里去呢?那里有什么可看的呢?真是好奇,魔鬼接收灵魂,他也要去看看。”
  一天,有个阔寡妇,也就是那些自作聪明的冒失鬼中的一个,问了他这样一句俏皮话:“我的主教,有人要打听,大人您在什么时候能得到一顶红帽子①。”
  “呵!呵!多么高贵的颜色,”主教回答,“幸而鄙视红帽子的人也还崇拜红法冠呢。”
  ①戴红帽子,即参加革命的意思。
  
  










十一 心中的委屈

  如果我们就凭以上所述作出结论,认为卞福汝主教是个“有哲学头脑的主教”或是个“爱国的神甫”,我们就很可能发生错误。他和那国民公会G.代表的邂逅——几乎可以说是他们的结合,只不过给他留下了一种使他变得更加温良的惊叹的回忆。如是而已。
  卞福汝主教虽然是个政治中人,我们或许也还应当在这里极简略地谈谈他对当代的国家大事所抱的态度,假定卞福汝主教也曾想过要采取一种态度的话。
  我们不妨把几年前的一些事回顾一下。
  米里哀先生升任主教不久,皇上便封了他为帝国的男爵,同时也封了好几个旁的主教。我们知道,教皇是在一八零九年七月五日至六日的夜晚被拘禁的,为了这件事,米里哀先生被拿破仑召到巴黎去参加法兰西和意大利的主教会议。那次会议是在圣母院举行的,一八一一年六月十五日,在红衣主教斐许主持下,召开了第一次会议。九十五个主教参加了会议,米里哀先生是其中之一。但是他只参加过一次大会和三四次特别会。他是一个山区的主教,平时过着僻陋贫困的生活,和自然环境接近惯了,他觉得他替那些达官贵人带来了一种改变会场气氛的见解。他匆匆忙忙地回到迪涅去了。有人问他为什么回去得那样匆促,他回答:
  “他们见了我不顺眼。外面的空气老跟着我钻到他们那里去。我在他们的眼里好象是一扇带不上的门。”
  另外一次,他还说:
  “有什么办法?那些先生们全是王子王孙。而我呢,只是一个干瘪瘪的乡下主教。”
  他确是惹人嫌,不时作怪。有一晚,他在一个最有地位的同道家里,说出了这样的话,也许是脱口而出的:
  “这许多漂亮的挂钟!这许多漂亮的地毯!这许多漂亮的服装!这些东西好不麻烦!我真不愿意听这些累赘的东西时常在我的耳边喊‘许多人在挨饿呢!许多人在挨冻呢!穷人多着呢!穷人多着呢!’”
  我们顺便谈谈,对华贵物品的仇恨也许是不聪明的,因为这种仇恨隐藏着对艺术的敌意。不过,就教会中人来说,除了表示身份和举行仪式而外,使用华贵物品是错误的。那些东西仿佛可以揭露那种并非真心真意解囊济困的作风。教士养尊处优,就是离经叛道。教士应当接近穷人。一个人既然日日夜夜和一切灾难、苦痛、贫困相接触,难道在他自己身上竟能不象在劳动中沾上一些尘土那样,一点也不带那种圣洁的清寒味吗?我们能想象一个人站在烈火旁而不感到热吗?我们能想象一个工人经常在溶炉旁工作,而能没有一根头发被烧掉,没有一个手指被熏黑,脸上没有一滴汗珠,也没有一点灰屑吗?教士,尤其是主教,他的仁慈的最起码的保证,便是清苦。
  这一定就是迪涅主教先生的见解了。
  我们还不应当认为他在某些棘手问题上肯迎合那种所谓的“时代的思潮”。他很少参加当时的神学争辩,对政教的纠纷问题,他也不表示意见;但是,如果有人向他紧紧追问,他就仿佛是偏向罗马派方面而并不属于法国派①。我们既然是在描写一个人,并且不愿有所隐讳,我们就必须补充说明他对那位气焰渐衰的拿破仑,可以说是冷若冰霜的。一八一三年②以后,他曾经参与,或鼓掌赞同过各种反抗活动。拿破仑从厄尔巴岛③回来时,他拒绝到路旁去欢迎他,在“百日帝政”④期间,也不曾替皇上布置公祭。除了他的妹子巴狄斯丁姑娘以外,他还有两个亲兄弟,一个当过将军,一个当过省长。他和他们通信,相当频繁。有个时期,他对第一个兄弟颇为冷淡,因为那个兄弟原来镇守普罗旺斯⑤。戛纳登陆时那位将军统率一千二百人去截击皇上,却又有意放他走过。另外那个兄弟,当过省长,为人忠厚自持,隐居在巴黎卡塞特街,他给这个兄弟的信就比较富于手足之情。
  ①从一六八二年起,法国天主教以国内教士代表会议为处理宗教事务的最高权力机关,不完全接受罗马教皇的命令,是为法国派(gallican),主张完全依附教皇的称罗马派(ultramontain)。直到一八七零年,法国天主教始完全依附于罗马教皇。
  ②一八一三年,拿破仑政权已濒于危殆,英、俄等七国联军节节进逼,国内工商业发生危机,由于缺乏劳动力,又因增加税收,大量征兵,资产阶级开始离贰,人民纷纷逃避兵役,老贵族也乘机阴谋恢复旧王朝。③拿破仑在一八一四年四月六日被迫逊位后,即被送往厄尔巴岛。王朝复辟,执行反动政策,人民普遍不满。拿破仑乘机于一八一五年三月一日在南方港口茹安(在戛纳附近)登陆,重返巴黎。
  ④拿破仑三月一日在茹安登陆,六月二十二日第二次逊位,那一时期叫“百日帝政”。
  ⑤普罗旺斯(Provence),法国南部一省。
  足见卞福汝主教也偶尔有过他的政见、他的苦闷、他的隐情。当年的爱憎的暗影也曾穿过他那颗温和宽厚、追求永恒事物的心。当然,象他那样的人最好是没有政治见解。请不要把我们的意思歪曲了,我们所说的“政治见解”并不是指那种对进步所抱的热望,也不是指我们今天构成各方面真诚团结的内在力量的那种卓越的爱国主义、民主主义和人道主义思想,彼此不可相混。我们不必深究那些只间接涉及本书内容的问题,我们只简单地说,假使卞福汝不是保王党,假使他的目光从来一刻也不曾离开过他那种宁静的景仰,并且能超然于人世的风云变幻之外,能在景仰中看清真理、公正、慈善等三道纯洁光辉的放射,那就更美满了。
  我们尽管承认上帝之所以创造卞福汝主教,绝不是为了一种政治作用,也仍然可以了解和钦佩他为人权和自由所提出的抗议,也就是他对那位不可一世的拿破仑所抱的高傲的对立态度和公正而危险的抗拒行为。但是藐视一个失势的人究竟不如藐视一个得势的人那样足快人意。我们只爱具有危险的斗争,在任何情况下,只有最初参加斗争的战士才有最后歼灭敌人的权利。谁没有在全盛时期提出过顽强的抗议,等到垮台时,谁就不该有发言权。只有控诉过胜利的人才有权裁判失败。至于我们,在上天不佑、降以大祸时,我们只能听其自然。一八一二年开始解除我们的武装。一八一三年,那个素来默不作声的立法机构,在国难临头时居然勇气百倍,大放厥词,这样只能令人齿冷,何足鼓掌称快?一八一四年,元帅们出卖祖国,上院从一个污池进入另一污池,始则尊为神人,继乃横加侮渎,从来崇拜偶像,忽又中途变节,反唾其面,这些事理应引起我们的反感;一八一五年,最后的灾难步步进逼了,法兰西因大祸临头而危险了,滑铁卢好象也展开在拿破仑跟前隐约可辨了;那时,军士和人民对那个祚运已尽的人的壮烈欢呼绝没有什么令人发叹的,并且,先不论那个zhuanzhi魔王是个怎样的人,当此千钧一发之际,这伟大的民族和这伟大的人杰间的紧密团结总是庄严动人的,象迪涅主教那样一个人的心,似乎不应当熟视无睹。
  除此以外,无论对什么事,他从来总是正直、诚实、公平、聪明、谦虚、持重的,好行善事,关心别人,这也是一种品德。他是一个神甫,一个贤达之士,也是一个大丈夫。他的政治见解,我们刚才已经批评过了,我们也几乎还可以严厉地指责他,可是应当指出,他尽管抱有那种见解,和我们这些现在在此地谈话的人比较起来,也许还更加厚道,更加平易近人一些。市政府的那个门房,当初是皇上安插在那里的。他原是旧羽林军里的一名下级军官,奥斯特里茨①战役勋章的获得者,一个象鹰那样精悍的拿破仑信徒。那个倒霉鬼会时常于无意中吐出一些牢骚话,那是被当时法律认为“叛逆言论”的。自从勋章上的皇帝侧面像被取消以后,为了避免佩带他那十字勋章,他的衣着就从来不再“遵照规定”(照他的说法)。他亲自把皇上的御影从拿破仑给他的那个十字勋章上虔诚地摘下来,那样就留下了一个窟窿,他却绝不愿代以其他的饰物。他常说:“我宁死也不愿在我的胸前挂上三个癞虾蟆!”他故意大声挖苦路易十八②。他又常说:“扎英国绑腿的烂脚鬼!快带着他的辫子到普鲁士去吧!”他以能那样把他最恨的两件东西,普鲁士和英格兰,连缀在一句骂人的话里而感到得意。他骂得太起劲了,以致丢了差事。他带着妻子儿女,无衣无食,流浪街头。主教却把他招来,轻轻责备了几句,派他去充当天主堂里的持戟士。
  ①奥斯特里茨(Austerlitz),在捷克境内,一八零五年,拿破仑在此战胜奥俄联军。
  ②路易十八是路易十六的兄弟,拿破仑失败后,他在英普联军护送下回到巴黎,恢复了波旁王室的统治。
  米里哀先生在他的教区里是一个名副其实的神甫,是大众的朋友。
  九年以来,由于他行为圣洁,作风和蔼,卞福汝主教使迪涅城里充满一种柔顺的推崇。连他对拿破仑的态度也被人民接受,默宥了,人民原是一群善良柔弱的牛羊,他们崇拜他们的皇上,也爱戴他们的主教。
  
  






十二 卞福汝主教门庭冷落


  在将军的周围,常有成群的青年军官,在主教的周围,几乎也常有成批的小教士。这种人正是可爱的圣方济各·撒肋①在某处所说的那些“白口教士”。任何事业都有追求的人,追随着此中的成功者。世间没有一种无喽罗的势力,也没有一种无臣仆的尊荣。指望前程远大的人都围绕着目前的显贵奔走钻营。每个主教衙门都有它的幕僚。每个稍有势力的主教都有他那群天使般的小修士在主教院里巡逻,照顾,守卫,以图博取主教大人的欢心。获得主教的赏识,也就等于福星高照,有充当五品修士的希望了。求上进是人情之常,上帝的宗徒是不会亏待他的下属的。
  ①方济各·撒肋(FrancoisdeSales,1567—1622),日内瓦主教,能文,重振天主教势力。
  在别处有高大的帽子,教堂里也同样有嵬峨的法冠。这种人也就是那些主教,他们有势,有钱,坐收年息,手腕灵活,受到上层社会宠信,善于求人,当然也善于使人,他们指使整个主教区的教民亲自登门拜谒,他们充当教会与外交界之间的桥梁,他们足为教士而不足为神甫,足为教廷执事而不足为主教。接近他们的人都皆大欢喜!那些地位优越的人,他们把肥的教区、在家修行人的赡养费、教区督察官职位、随军教士职位、天主堂里的差事,雨一般的撒在他们周围的那些殷勤献媚,博得他们欢心,长于讨好他们的青年们的头上,以待将来再加上主教的尊贵。他们自己高升,同时也带着卫星前进;那是在行进中的整个太阳系。他们的光辉把追随着他们的人都照得发紫。他们一人得志,众人都荫余福高升。老板的教区越广,宠幸的地盘也越大,并且还有罗马在。由主教而总主教而红衣主教的人可以提拔你为红衣主教的随员,你进入宗教裁判所,你会得到绣黑十字的白呢飘带,你就做起陪审官来了,再进而为内廷机要秘书,再进而为主教,并且只须再走一步就由主教升为红衣主教了,红衣主教与教皇之间也不过只有一番选举的虚文。凡是头戴教士小帽的人都可以梦想教皇的三重冕。神甫是今天唯一能按部就班升上王位的人,并且那是何等的王位!至高无上的王位。同时,教士培养所又是怎样一种培植野心的温床!多少腼腆的唱诗童子,多少年轻的教士都顶上了贝莱特①的奶罐!包藏野心的人自吹能虔诚奉教,自以为那是轻而易举的事,也许他确有那样一片诚心,谁知道?沉迷久了,自己也就有些莫名其妙。
  ①拉封丹(LaFontaine)的寓言谈到一个送奶的姑娘,叫贝莱特,她头上顶一罐奶进城,一路梦想把奶卖了,可以买一百个(又鸟)蛋,孵出小(又鸟)养大,卖了买猪,猪卖了又买牛,牛生了小牛,她看见小牛在草地上跳,乐到自己也跳起来,把奶罐翻在地上,结果是一场空。
  卞福汝主教谦卑、清寒、淡泊,没有被人列入那些高贵的主教里面。那可以从在他左右完全没有青年教士这一点上看出来。我们已经知道,他在巴黎“毫无成就”。没有一个后生愿把自己的前程托付给那样一个孤独老人。没有一株有野心的嫩苗起过想在他的庇荫了发绿的傻念头。他的那些教士和助理主教全是一些安分守己的老头儿,和他一样的一些老百姓,和他一同株守在那个没有福气产生红衣主教的教区里,他们就象他们的那位主教,不同的地方只是:他们是完了事的,而他是成了事的。大家都觉得在卞福汝主教跟前没有发迹的可能,以致那些刚从教士培养所里出来的青年人,经他任为神甫之后,便都转向艾克斯总主教或欧什总主教那里去活动,赶忙离开了他。因为,我们再说一次,凡人都愿意有人提拔。一个过于克己的圣人便是一个可以误事的伙伴,他可以连累你陷入一条无可救药的绝路,害你关节僵硬,行动不得,总之,他会要你躬行实践你不愿接受的那种谦让之道。因此大家都逃避那种癞疥似的德行。这也就是卞福汝主教门庭冷落的原因。我们生活在阴暗的社会里,向上爬,正是一种由上而下的慢性腐蚀教育。
  顺便谈一句,成功是一件相当丑恶的事。它貌似真才实学,而实际是以伪乱真。一般人常以为成功和优越性几乎是同一回事。成功是才能的假相,受它愚弄的是历史。只有尤维纳利斯①和塔西佗②在这方面表示过愤慨。在我们这时代有种几乎被人公认为哲学正宗的理论,它成了成功的仆从,它标榜成功,并不惜为成功操贱役。你设法成功吧,这就是原理。富贵就等于才能。中得头彩,你便是一个出色的人才。谁得势,谁就受人尊崇。只要你的八字好,一切都大有可为。只要你有好运气,其余的东西也就全在你的掌握中了。只要你能事事如意,大家便认为你伟大。除了五六个震动整个世纪的突出的例外以外,我们这时代的推崇全是近视的。金漆就是真金。阿猫阿狗,全无关系,关键只在成功。世间俗物,就象那顾影自怜的老水仙③一样,很能赞赏俗物。任何人在任何方面,只要达到目的,众人便齐声喝彩,夸为奇才异能,说他比得上摩西、埃斯库罗斯④、但丁、米开朗琪罗或拿破仑。无论是一个书吏当了议员,一个假高乃依⑤写了一本《第利达特》⑥,一个太监乱了宫闱,一个披着军服的纸老虎侥幸地打了一次划时代的胜仗,一个药剂师发明了纸鞋底冒充皮革,供给桑布尔和默兹军区而获得四十万利弗的年息,一个百货贩子盘剥厚利,攒聚了七八百万不义之财,一个宣道士因说话带浓重鼻音而当上了主教,一个望族的管家在告退时成了巨富,因而被擢用为财政大臣,凡此种种,人们都称为天才,正如他们以穆司克东⑦的嘴脸为美,以克劳狄乌斯⑧的派头为仪表一样。他们把穹苍中的星光和鸭掌在烂泥里踏出的迹印混为一谈。
  ①尤维纳利斯(Juvénal),一世纪罗马诗人。
  ②塔西佗(Tacite),一世纪罗马历史学家。
  ③据神话,水仙在水边望见自己的影子,一往情深,投入水中,化为水仙花。
  ④埃斯库罗斯(Eschyle),古希腊悲剧家。
  ⑤高乃依(Corneille),法国十七世纪古典悲剧作家。
  ⑥第利达特(Tiridate),一世纪亚美尼亚国王。
  ⑦穆司克东(Mousqueton),大仲马小说《二十年后》中人物,是个贪吃懒动,红光满面的仆人。
  ⑧克劳狄乌斯(Claude),罗马政治活动家,恺撒的拥护者,前五八年为人民护民官。
  

  


十三 他所信的

  在宗教的真谛问题上,我们对迪涅的主教先生不能作任何窥测。面对着象他那样一颗心,我们只能有敬佩的心情。我们应当完全信服一个心地正直的人。并且,我们认为,在具备了某些品质的情况下,人的品德的各种美都是可以在和我们不同的信仰中得到发展的。
  他对这样一种教义或那样一种神秘究竟作何理解呢?那些隐在心灵深处的秘密,只有那迎接赤裸裸的灵魂的坟墓才能知道。不过有一点我们可以肯定,那就是,在解决信仰方面的困难问题时,他从来不采取口是心非的虚伪态度。金刚石是决不至于腐烂的。他尽他力所能及,竭诚信仰。“信天父。”①他常说。此外,他还在行善中希求一定程度的、无愧于良心也无愧于上帝的满足。
  我们认为应当指出的是,主教在他的信心之外(不妨这样说)和这信心之上,还存在着一种过分的仁爱。正是在那上面,“由于多爱”②,他才被那些“端庄”、“严肃”和“通达”的人认为是有缺点的;“端庄”、“严肃”、“通达”这些字眼也正是我们这个凄惨世界里那些全凭贬抑别人来夸耀自己的人所喜闻乐见的。他那种过分的仁爱是什么?是一种冷静的对人关切的心,他关心众人,正如我们指出过的已经无微不至,有时还关心到其他的生物。他一生不曾有过奚落人的心。他对上帝的创造从不苛求。任何人,即使是最善良的人,对待动物,无意中总还保留一种暴戾之气。许多神甫都具有这种暴戾之气,而迪涅的这位主教却一点也没有。他虽然还没有达到婆罗门教的境界,但对圣书中“谁知道动物的灵魂归宿何处?”这一句话,似乎作过深长的思索。外形的丑陋和本性的怪异都不能惊动他,触犯他。他却反而会受到感动,几乎起爱怜的心。他聚精会神,仿佛要在生命的表相之外追究出其所以然的根源、理由或苦衷。有时他好象还恳求上帝加以改造。他用语言学家考证古人遗墨的眼光,平心静气地观察自然界中迄今还存在着的多种多样的混乱现象。那种遐想有时会使他说出一些怪话。一天早晨,他正在园里,他以为身边没有人,其实他的妹子在他后面跟着走,他没有瞧见,忽然,他停下来,望着地上的一件东西,一只黑色、毛茸茸、怪可怕的大蜘蛛。他妹子听见他说:
  “可怜虫!这不是它的过错。”
  ①“信天父”,原文为拉丁文CredoinPatrem。
  ②“由于多爱”,原文为拉丁文quiamultumamavit。
  那种出自菩萨心肠的孩儿话,为什么不可以说呢?当然那是一种稚气,但是这种绝妙的稚气也正是阿西西的圣方济各①和马可·奥里略②有过的。一天,他为了不肯踏死一只蚂蚁,竟扭伤了筋骨。
  ①圣方济各(FrancoisdAAssise,1181—1226),一译“法兰西斯”,方济各会创始人,生于意大利阿西西。一二零九年成立“方济各托钵修会”,修士自称“小兄弟”,故又名“小兄弟会”。
  ②马可·奥里略(MarcAurèle,121—180),罗马皇帝,斯多葛派哲学家。
  这个正直的人便是这样过活的。有时他睡在自己的园里,那真是一种最能令人向往的事。
  据传说,卞福汝主教从前在青年时期,甚至在壮年时期,都曾是一个热情的人,也许还是一个粗暴的人。他后来的那种溥及一切的仁慈,与其说是天赋的本性,不如说是他在生活过程中一步步逐渐达到大彻大悟的结果,因为,人心和岩石一样,也可以有被水滴穿的孔。那些空隙是不会消失的,那些成绩是毁灭不了的。
  在一八一五年,我们好象已经说过,他已到了七十五岁,但是看去好象还没有过六十。他的身材是矮矮胖胖的,为了避免肥满,他常喜欢作长距离的步行;他腿力仍健,背稍微伛一点,这些全是不重要的事,我们不打算在这上面作什么结论。格列高利十六①到了八十岁还是身躯挺直、笑容满面的,但他仍是一个坏主教。卞福汝主教的相貌正象老乡们所说的那种“美男子”,但他的和蔼性格已使人忘了他面貌的美。
  ①格列高利十六(GrégoireXVI,1765—1846),一八三一年至一八四六年为罗马教皇。
  他在谈话中不时嬉笑,有些孩子气,那也是他的风采之一。这我们已经说过了,我们和他接近就会感到身心怡畅,好象他的谈笑会带来满座春风。他的肤色红润,他保全了一嘴洁白的牙齿,笑时露出来,给他添上一种坦率和平易近人的神气,那种神气可以使一个壮年人被人称为“好孩子”,也可以使一个老年人被人称为“好汉子”。我们记得,他当年给拿破仑的印象正是这样的。乍一看来,他在初次和他见面的人的心目中,确也只不过是一个好汉子。但是如果我们和他接触了几小时,只须稍稍望见他运用心思,那个好汉子便慢慢变了样,会令人莫名其妙地肃然生畏;他那广而庄重、原就在白发下显得尊严的前额,也因潜心思考而倍加尊严了;威神出自慈祥,而慈祥之气仍不停散布;我们受到的感动,正如看见一个笑容可掬的天使在缓缓展开他的翅膀,一面仍不停地露着笑容。一种敬意,一种无可言喻的敬意会油然而生,直入你的胸臆,于是我们感到在我们面前的确是一位坚定、饱经世故的仁厚长者,他的胸襟既那么开朗,那他的思想也就必然温柔敦厚的了。
  我们已经见过,他一生中每一天的时刻都是被祈祷、上祭、布施、安慰伤心人、种一小块园地、实行仁爱、节食、招待过路客人、克己、信人、学习、劳动这些事充满了的。“充满”这两个字是恰当的,并且主教过的这种日子又一定洋溢着善良的思想、善良的言语和善良的行为,直到完善的境界。但是,到了晚上,当那两个妇女已经退去休息时,如果天冷,或是下雨,使他不能到园里去待上一两个钟点再去就寝的话,他那一天也还是过得不满足的。面对着太虚中寥廓的夜景,缪然默念,以待瞌睡,在他,这好象已是一种仪轨了。有时,夜深人静以后,那两个老妇人如果还没有睡着,她们常听见他在那几条小道上缓步徘徊。他在那里,独自一人,虔诚,恬静,爱慕一切,拿自己心中的谧静去比拟太空的谧静,从黑暗中去感受星斗的有形的美和上帝的无形的美。那时,夜花正献出它们的香气,他也献出了他的心,他的心正象一盏明灯,点在繁星闪闪的中央,景仰赞叹,飘游在造物的无边无际的光辉里。他自己也许说不出萦绕在他心中的究竟是什么,他只感到有东西从他体中飞散出去,也有东西降落回来。心灵的幽奥和宇宙的幽奥的神秘的交往!
  他想到上帝的伟大,也想到上帝和他同在;想到绵绵无尽的将来是一种深不可测的神秘,无可穷竟的往古,更是神秘渺茫;想到宇宙在他的眼底朝着各个方面无止境地扩展延伸;他不强求了解这种无法了解的现象,但是他凝神注视着一切。他不研究上帝,他为之心旷神怡。他涉想到原子的奇妙结合能使物质具有形象,能在组合时发生力量,在整体中创造出个体,在空间创造出广度和长度,在无极中创造出无量数,并能通过光线显示美。那样的结合,生生灭灭,了无尽期,因而有生死。
  他坐在一条木凳上,靠着一个朽了的葡萄架,穿过那些果树的瘦弱蜷屈的暗影,仰望群星。在那四分之一亩的地方,树木既种得那样少,残棚破屋又那么挤,但是他留恋它,心里也知足。
  这个老人一生的空闲时间既那么少,那一点空闲时间在白天又已被园艺占去,在晚上也已用在沉思冥想,他还有什么希求呢?那一小块园地,上有天空,不是已足供他用来反复景仰上帝的最美妙的工作和最卓绝的工作吗?的确,难道那样不已经十全十美,还有什么可奢求的呢?一院小小的园地供他盘桓,一片浩阔的天空供他神游。脚下有东西供他培植收获,头上有东西供他探讨思索,地下的是几朵花,天上的是万点星。
  
  




十四 他所想的


  最后几句话。
  由于这种详细的叙述,特别是在我们这时代,很可能赋予迪涅的这位主教一副泛神论者(暂用一个目下正流行的名词)的面貌,加以我们这世纪中的哲学流派多,那些纷纭的思想有时会在生活孤寂的人的精神上发芽成长,扩大影响,直到取宗教思想的地位而代之,我们的叙述,又还可以使人认为他也有他一套独特的人生观,无论这对他是指责还是赞扬,我们都应当着重指出,凡是认识卞福汝主教的人,没有一个敢有那样的想法。他之所以光明磊落,是由于他的心,他的智慧正是由那里发出的光构成的。
  他不守成规,又勇于任事。探赜索隐,每每使他神志昏瞀;他是否窥探过玄学,毫无迹象可寻。使徒行事,可以大刀阔斧,主教却应当谨小慎微。他也许认为某些问题是应当留待大智大慧的人去探讨的,他自己如果推究太深,于心反而不安。玄学的门,神圣骇人,那些幽暗的洞口,一一向人大开,但是有一种声音向你这生命中的过客说“进去不得”。进去的人都将不幸!而那些天才,置身于教律之上(不妨这样说),从抽象观念和唯理学说的无尽深渊中,向上帝提出他们的意见。他们的祷告发出了大胆的争论。他们的颂赞带着疑难。这是一种想直接证悟的宗教,妄图攀援绝壁的人必将烦恼重重,自食其果。
  人类的遐想是没有止境的。人常在遐想中不避艰险,分析研究并深入追求他自己所赞叹的妙境。我们几乎可以这样说,由于一种奇妙的反应作用,人类的遐想可以使宇宙惊奇,围绕着我们的这个神秘世界能吐其所纳,瞻望的人们也就很有被瞻望的可能。无论怎样,这世上确有一些人(如果他们仅仅是人),能在梦想的视野深处清清楚楚地望见绝对真理的高度和无极山峰的惊心触目的景象。卞福汝主教完全不是这种人,卞福汝主教不是天才。他也许害怕那种绝顶的聪明,有几个人,并且是才气磅礴的人,例如斯维登堡①和帕斯卡尔②,就是因为聪明绝顶而堕入精神失常的状态的。固然,那种强烈的梦想,对人的身心自有它的用处,并且通过那条险阻的道路,我们可以达到理想中的至善境界。可是他,他采择了一条捷径——《福音书》。
  他绝不想使他的祭服具有以利亚③的法衣的皱褶,他对这黑暗世界中人事的兴衰起伏,不怀任何希冀;他不希望能使一事一物的微光集成烈火,他丝毫没有那些先知和方士们的臭味。他那颗质朴的心只知道爱,如是而已。
  ①斯维登堡(Swedenborg,1688—1772),瑞典通灵论者。
  ②帕斯卡尔(Pascal,1623—1662),法国数学家,物理学家,哲学家。
  ③以利亚(Elie),犹太先知(《圣经·列王记》)。

  他的祈祷具有一种不同于一般人的憧憬,那是极可能的,但是必须先有极其殷切的爱,才能作出极其殷切的祈祷,如果祈祷的内容越出了经文的规范,便被认为异端,那么,圣泰莉莎和圣热罗姆岂不都成了异端了?
  他常照顾那些呻吟床褥和奄奄垂毙的人。这世界在他看来好象是一种漫无边际的病苦,他觉得遍地都是寒热,他四处诊察疾苦,他不想猜破谜底,只试图包扎创伤。人间事物的惨状使他具有悲天悯人的心,他一心一意想找出可以安慰人心和解除痛苦的最妥善的办法,那是为他自己也是为了影响旁人。世间存在的一切事物,对这位不可多得的慈悲神甫,都是引起恻隐之心和济世宏愿的永恒的动力。
  多少人在努力发掘黄金,他却只努力发掘慈悲心肠。普天下的愁苦便是他的矿。遍地的苦痛随时为他提供行善的机会。
  “你们应当彼此相爱”,他说如果能这样,便一切具足了,不必再求其他,这便是他的全部教义。一天,那个自命为“哲学家”的元老院元老(我们已经提到过他的名字)对他说:“您瞧瞧这世上的情形吧,人自为战,谁胜利,谁就有理。您的‘互爱’简直是胡说。”卞福汝主教并不和他争论,只回答:“好吧,即使是胡说,人的心总还应当隐藏在那里,如同珍珠隐在蚌壳里一样。”他自己便隐藏在那里,生活在那里,绝对心满意足,不理睬那些诱人而又骇人的重大问题,如抽象理论的无可揣摹的远景以及形而上学的探渊,所有那些针对同一问题的玄妙理论他都抛在一边,留给上帝的信徒和否定上帝的虚无论者去处理,这些玄论有命运、善恶、生物和生物间的斗争、动物的半睡眠半思想状态、死后的转化、坟墓中的生命总结、宿世的恩情对今生的“我”的那种不可理解的纠缠、元精、实质、色空、灵魂、本性、自由、必然,还有代表人类智慧的巨神们所探索的那些穷高极深的问题,还有卢克莱修①、摩奴②、圣保罗和但丁曾以炬火似的目光,凝神仰望那仿佛能使群星跃出的浩阔天空。
  卞福汝主教是一个普普通通的人,他只从表面涉猎那些幽渺的问题,他不深究,也不推波助澜,免得自己的精神受到骚扰,但是在他的心灵中,对于幽冥,却怀着一种深厚的敬畏。

 
  ①卢克莱修(Lucrèce,前98—55),罗马诗人,唯物主义者,无神论者。
  ②摩奴(Manou),印度神话中之人类始祖。

       


 

网站首页 (Homepage)                                   前页(Previous Page)                                             下页(Next Page)                                     返回 (Return)

 

 

       分类:             国芳多语对照文库 >> 法语-英语-汉语 >> 雨果 >> 长篇小说      
    Categories:  Xie's Multilingual Corpus >> French-English-Chinese >> Hugo >> Novel                                              
    

 

 



                              Copyright © 2001-2012 by Guofang Xie.    All Rights Reserved. 

                   谢国芳(Roy Xie)版权所有  © 2001-2012.   一切权利保留。
浙ICP备11050697号