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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:《羊脂球》  [法国] 莫泊桑 原著          
 
 Boule de Suif
 par  Guy de Maupassant

 

                Boule de Suif            
                                                                         by  Guy de Maupassant     
                                                                

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

  

 

For several days in succession fragments of a defeated army had passed through the town. They were mere disorganized bands, not disciplined forces. The men wore long, dirty beards and tattered uniforms; they advanced in listless fashion, without a flag, without a leader. All seemed exhausted, worn out, incapable of thought or resolve, marching onward merely by force of habit, and dropping to the ground with fatigue the moment they halted. One saw, in particular, many enlisted men, peaceful citizens, men who lived quietly on their income, bending beneath the weight of their rifles; and little active volunteers, easily frightened but full of enthusiasm, as eager to attack as they were ready to take to flight; and amid these, a sprinkling of red-breeched soldiers, the pitiful remnant of a division cut down in a great battle; somber artillerymen, side by side with nondescript foot-soldiers; and, here and there, the gleaming helmet of a heavy-footed dragoon who had difficulty in keeping up with the quicker pace of the soldiers of the line.

Legions of irregulars with high-sounding names "Avengers of Defeat," "Citizens of the Tomb," "Brethren in Death"—passed in their turn, looking like banditti.

Their leaders, former drapers or grain merchants, or tallow or soap chandlers—warriors by force of circumstances, officers by reason of their mustachios or their money—covered with weapons, flannel and gold lace, spoke in an impressive manner, discussed plans of campaign, and behaved as though they alone bore the fortunes of dying France on their braggart shoulders; though, in truth, they sometimes were even afraid of their own men—scoundrels often brave beyond measure, but pillagers and debauchees.

Rumor had it that the Prussians were about to enter Rouen.

The members of the National Guard, who for the past two months had been reconnoitering with the utmost caution in the neighboring woods, occasionally shooting their own sentinels, and making ready for fight whenever a rabbit rustled in the undergrowth, had now returned to their homes. Their arms, their uniforms, all the death-dealing paraphernalia with which they had terrified all the milestones along the highroad for eight miles round, had suddenly and marvelously disappeared.

The last of the French soldiers had just crossed the Seine on their way to Pont –Audemer, through Saint-Sever and Bourg-Achard, and in their rear the vanquished general, powerless to do aught with the forlorn remnants of his army, himself dismayed at the final overthrow of a nation accustomed to victory and disastrously beaten despite its legendary bravery, walked between two orderlies.

Then a profound calm, a shuddering, silent dread, settled on the city. Many a round-paunched citizen, emasculated by years devoted to business, anxiously awaited the conquerors, trembling lest his roasting jacks or kitchen knives should be looked upon as weapons.   

Life seemed to have stopped short; the shops were shut, the streets deserted. Now and then an inhabitant, awed by the silence, glided swiftly by in the shadow of the walls.

The anguish of suspense made men even desire the arrival of the enemy.

In the afternoon of the day following the departure of the French troops, a number of uhlans, coming no one knew whence, passed rapidly through the town. A little later on, a black mass descended St. Catherine’s Hill, while two other invading bodies appeared respectively on the Darnetal and the Boisguillaume roads. The advance guards of the three corps arrived at precisely the same moment at the Square of the Hotel de Ville, and the German army poured through all the adjacent streets, its battalions making the pavement ring with their firm, measured tread.

Orders shouted in an unknown, guttural tongue rose to the windows of the seemingly dead, deserted houses; while behind the fast-closed shutters eager eyes peered forth at the victors—masters now of the city, its fortunes, and its lives, by "right of war." The inhabitants, in their darkened rooms, were possessed by that terror which follows in the wake of cataclysms, of deadly upheavals of the earth, against which all human skill and strength are vain. For the same thing happens whenever the established order of things is upset, when security no longer exists, when all those rights usually protected by the law of man or of Nature are at the mercy of unreasoning, savage force. The earthquake crushing a whole nation under falling roofs; the flood let loose, and engulfing in its swirling depths the corpses of drowned peasants, along with dead oxen and beams torn from shattered houses; or the army, covered with glory, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword, and giving thanks to God to the thunder of cannon—all these are appalling scourges, which destroy all belief in eternal justice, all that confidence we have been taught to feel in the protection of Heaven and the reason of man.

Small detachments of soldiers knocked at each door, and then disappeared within the houses; for the vanquished saw they would have to be civil to their conquerors.

At the end of a short time, once the first terror had subsided, calm was again restored. In many houses the Prussian officer ate at the same table with the family. He was often well-bred, and, out of politeness, expressed sympathy with France and repugnance at being compelled to take part in the war. This sentiment was received with gratitude; besides, his protection might be needful some day or other. By the exercise of tact the number of men quartered in one's house might be reduced; and why should one provoke the hostility of a person on whom one's whole welfare depended? Such conduct would savor less of bravery than of foolhardiness. And foolhardiness is no longer a failing of the citizens of Rouen as it was in the days when their city earned renown by its heroic defenses. Last of all—final argument based on the national politeness--the folk of Rouen said to one another that it was only right to be civil in one's own house, provided there was no public exhibition of familiarity with the foreigner. Out of doors, therefore, citizen and soldier did not know each other; but in the house both chatted freely, and each evening the German remained a little longer warming himself at the hospitable hearth.

Even the town itself resumed by degrees its ordinary aspect. The French seldom walked abroad, but the streets swarmed with Prussian soldiers. Moreover, the officers of the Blue Hussars, who arrogantly dragged their instruments of death along the pavements, seemed to hold the simple townsmen in but little more contempt than did the French cavalry officers who had drunk at the same cafes the year before.

But there was something in the air, a something strange and subtle, an intolerable foreign atmosphere like a penetrating odor--the odor of invasion. It permeated dwellings and places of public resort, changed the taste of food, made one imagine one's self in far-distant lands, amid dangerous, barbaric tribes.

The conquerors exacted money, much money. The inhabitants paid what was asked; they were rich. But, the wealthier a Norman tradesman becomes, the more he suffers at having to part with anything that belongs to him, at having to see any portion of his substance pass into the hands of another.

Nevertheless, within six or seven miles of the town, along the course of the river as it flows onward to Croisset, Dieppedalle and Biessart, boatmen and fishermen often hauled to the surface of the water the body of a German, bloated in his uniform, killed by a blow from knife or club, his head crushed by a stone, or perchance pushed from some bridge into the stream below. The mud of the river-bed swallowed up these obscure acts of vengeance—savage, yet legitimate; these unrecorded deeds of bravery; these silent attacks fraught with greater danger than battles fought in broad day, and surrounded, moreover, with no halo of romance. For hatred of the foreigner ever arms a few intrepid souls, ready to die for an idea.

At last, as the invaders, though subjecting the town to the strictest discipline, had not committed any of the deeds of horror with which they had been credited while on their triumphal march, the people grew bolder, and the necessities of business again animated the breasts of the local merchants. Some of these had important commercial interests at Havre—occupied at present by the French army--and wished to attempt to reach that port by overland route to Dieppe, taking the boat from there.

Through the influence of the German officers whose acquaintance they had made, they obtained a permit to leave town from the general in command.

A large four–horse coach having, therefore, been engaged for the journey, and ten passengers having given in their names to the proprietor, they decided to start on a certain Tuesday morning before daybreak, to avoid attracting a crowd.

The ground had been frozen hard for some time past, and about three o'clock on Monday afternoon—large black clouds from the north shed their burden of snow uninterruptedly all through that evening and night.

At half past four in the morning the travelers met in the courtyard of the Hotel de Normandy, where they were to take their seats in the coach.

They were still half asleep, and shivering with cold under their wraps. They could see one another but indistinctly in the darkness, and the mountain of heavy winter wraps in which each was swathed made them look like a gathering of obese priests in their long cassocks. But two men recognized each other, a third accosted them, and the three began to talk. "I am bringing my wife," said one. "So am I." "And I, too." The first speaker added: "We shall not return to Rouen, and if the Prussians approach Havre we will cross to England." All three, it turned out, had made the same plans, being of similar disposition and temperament.

Still the horses were not harnessed. A small lantern carried by a stable-boy emerged now and then from one dark doorway to disappear immediately in another. The stamping of horses’ hoofs, deadened by the dung and straw of the stable, was heard from time to time, and from inside the building issued a man’s voice, talking to the animals and swearing at them. A faint tinkle of bells showed that the harness was being got ready; this tinkle soon developed into a continuous jingling, louder or softer according to the movements of the horse, Sometimes stopping altogether, then breaking out in a sudden peal accompanied by a pawing of the ground by an iron-shod hoof.

The door suddenly closed. All noise ceased. The frozen townsmen were silent; they remained motionless, stiff with cold.

A thick curtain of glistening white flakes fell ceaselessly to the ground; it obliterated all outlines, enveloped all objects in an icy mantle of foam; nothing was to be heard throughout the length and breadth of the silent, winter-bound city save the vague, nameless rustle of falling snow—a sensation rather than a sound--the gentle mingling of light atoms which seemed to fill all space, to cover the whole world.

The man reappeared with his lantern, leading by a rope a melancholy-looking horse, evidently being led out against his inclination. The hostler placed him beside the pole, fastened the traces, and spent some time in walking round him to make sure that the harness was all right; for he could use only one hand, the other being engaged in holding the lantern. As he was about to fetch the second horse he noticed the motionless group of travelers, already white with snow, and said to them: "Why don't you get inside the coach? You'd be under shelter, at least."

This did not seem to have occurred to them, and they at once took his advice. The three men seated their wives at the far end of the coach, then got in themselves; lastly the other vague, snow-shrouded forms clambered to the remaining places without a word.

The floor was covered with straw, into which the feet sank. The ladies at the far end, having brought with them little copper foot-warmers heated by means of a kind of chemical fuel, proceeded to light these, and spent some time in expatiating in low tones on their advantages, saying over and over again things which they had all known for a long time.

At last, six horses instead of four having been harnessed to the diligence, on account of the heavy roads, a voice outside asked: "Is every one there?" To which a voice from the interior replied: "Yes," and they set out.

The vehicle moved slowly, very slowly, at a snail's pace; the wheels sank into the snow; the entire body of the coach creaked and groaned; the horses slipped, puffed, steamed, and the coachman’s long whip cracked incessantly, flying hither and thither, coiling up, then flinging out its length like a slender serpent, as it lashed some rounded flank, which instantly grew tense as it strained in further effort.

But the day grew apace. Those light flakes which one traveller, a native of Rouen, had compared to a rain of cotton fell no longer. A murky light filtered through dark, heavy clouds, which made the country more dazzlingly white by contrast, a whiteness broken sometimes by a row of tall trees spangled with hoarfrost, or by a cottage roof hooded in snow.

Within the coach the passengers eyed one another curiously in the dim light of dawn.

Right at the back, in the best seats of all, Monsieur and Madame Loiseau, wholesale wine merchants of the Rue Grand –Pont, slumbered opposite each other.

Formerly clerk to a merchant who had failed in business, Loiseau had bought his master’s interest, and made a fortune for himself. He sold very bad wine at a very low price to the retail-dealers in the country, and had the reputation, among his friends and acquaintances, of being a shrewd rascal, a true Norman, full of quips and wiles.

So well established was his reputation as a cheat that, in the mouths of the citizens of Rouen, the very name of Loiseau became a byword for sharp practice.

Above and beyond this, Loiseau was noted for his practical jokes of every description--his tricks, good or ill-natured; and no one could mention his name without adding at once: "He's an extraordinary man—Loiseau."

He was undersized and potbellied, had a florid face with grayish whiskers.

His wife—tall, strong, determined, with a loud voice and decided manner—represented the spirit of order and arithmetic in the business house which Loiseau enlivened by his jovial activity.

Beside them, dignified in bearing, belonging to a superior caste, sat Monsieur Carre-Lamadon, a man of considerable importance, a king in the cotton trade, proprietor of three spinning-mills, officer of the Legion of Honor, and member of the General Council. During the whole time of the Empire he remained the chief of the well-disposed Opposition, merely in order to command a higher value for his devotion when he should rally to the cause which he meanwhile opposed with "courteous weapons," to use his own expression.

Madame Carre-Lamadon, much younger than her husband, was the consolation of all the officers of good family quartered at Rouen. Pretty, slender, graceful, she sat opposite her husband, curled up in her furs, and gazing mournfully at the sorry interior of the coach.

Her neighbors, the Comte and Comtesse Hubert de Breville, bore one of the noblest and most ancient names in Normandy. The count, a nobleman advanced in years and of aristocratic bearing, strove to enhance by every artifice of the toilet, his natural resemblance to King Henry IV, who, according to a legend of which the family were inordinately proud, had been the favored lover of a De Breville lady, and father of her child-- the frail one's husband having, in recognition of this fact, been made a count and governor of a province.

A colleague of Monsieur Carre-Lamadon in the General Council, Count Hubert represented the Orleanist party in his department. The story of his marriage with the daughter of a small shipowner at Nantes had always remained a mystery. But as the countess had an air of unmistakable breeding, entertained faultlessly, and was even supposed to have been loved by a son of Louis-Philippe, the nobility vied with one another in doing her honor, and her drawing-room remained the most select in the whole countryside--the only one which retained the old spirit of gallantry, and to which access was not easy.

The fortune of the Brevilles, all in real estate, amounted, it was said, to five hundred thousand francs a year.

These six people occupied the farther end of the coach, and represented Society—with an income--the strong, established society of good people with religion and principle.

It happened by chance that all the women were seated on the same side; and the countess had, moreover, as neighbors two nuns, who spent the time in fingering their long rosaries and murmuring paternosters and aves. One of them was old, and so deeply pitted with smallpox that she looked for all the world as if she had received a charge of shot full in the face. The other, of sickly appearance, had a pretty but wasted countenance, and a narrow, consumptive chest, sapped by that devouring faith which is the making of martyrs and visionaries.

A man and woman, sitting opposite the two nuns, attracted all eyes.

The man--a well-known character—was Cornudet, the democrat, the terror of all respectable people. For the past twenty years his big red beard had been on terms of intimate acquaintance with the tankards of all the republican cafes. With the help of his comrades and brethren he had dissipated a respectable fortune left him by his father, an old-established confectioner, and he now impatiently awaited the Republic, that he might at last be rewarded with the post he had earned by his revolutionary orgies. On the fourth of September—possibly as the result of a practical joke—he was led to believe that he had been appointed prefect; but when he attempted to take up the duties of the position the clerks in charge of the office refused to recognize his authority, and he was compelled in consequence to retire. A good sort of fellow in other respects, inoffensive and obliging, he had thrown himself zealously into the work of making an organized defense of the town. He had had pits dug in the level country, young forest trees felled, and traps set on all the roads; then at the approach of the enemy, thoroughly satisfied with his preparations, he had hastily returned to the town.

He thought he might now do more good at Havre, where new entrenchments would soon be necessary.

The woman, who belonged to the courtesan class, was celebrated for an embonpoint unusual for her age, which had earned for her the sobriquet of "Boule de Suif" (Tallow Ball). Short and round, fat as a pig, with puffy fingers constricted at the joints, looking like rows of short sausages; with a shiny, tightly-stretched skin and an enormous bust filling out the bodice of her dress, she was yet attractive and much sought after, owing to her fresh and pleasing appearance. Her face was like a crimson apple, a peony – bud just bursting into bloom; she had two magnificent dark eyes, fringed with thick, heavy lashes, which cast a shadow into their depths; her mouth was small, ripe, kissable, and was furnished with the tiniest of white teeth.

As soon as she was recognized the respectable matrons of the party began to whisper among themselves, and the words "hussy" and "public scandal" were uttered so loudly that Boule de Suif raised her head. She forthwith cast such a challenging, bold look at her neighbors that a sudden silence fell on the company, and all lowered their eyes, with the exception of Loiseau, who watched her with evident interest.

But conversation was soon resumed among the three ladies, whom the presence of this girl had suddenly drawn together in the bonds of friendship--one might almost say in those of intimacy. They decided that they ought to combine, as it were, in their dignity as wives in face of this shameless hussy; for legitimized love always despises its easygoing brother.

The three men, also, brought together by a certain conservative instinct awakened by the presence of Cornudet, spoke of money matters in a tone expressive of contempt for the poor. Count Hubert related the losses he had sustained at the hands of the Prussians, spoke of the cattle which had been stolen from him, the crops which had been ruined, with the easy manner of a nobleman who was also a tenfold millionaire, and whom such reverses would scarcely inconvenience for a single year. Monsieur Carre-Lamadon, a man of wide experience in the cotton industry, had taken care to remit six hundred thousand francs to England as provision against the rainy day he was always anticipating. As for Loiseau, he had managed to sell to the French commissariat department all the wines he had in stock, so that the state now owed him a considerable sum, which he hoped to receive at Havre.

And all three eyed one another in friendly, well-disposed fashion. Although of varying social status, they were united in the brotherhood of money—in that vast freemasonry made up of those who possess, who can jingle gold wherever they choose to put their hands into their breeches’ pockets.

The coach went along so slowly that at ten o'clock in the morning it had not covered twelve miles. Three times the men of the party got out and climbed the hills on foot. The passengers were becoming uneasy, for they had counted on lunching at Totes, and it seemed now as if they would hardly arrive there before nightfall. Every one was eagerly looking out for an inn by the roadside, when, suddenly, the coach foundered in a snowdrift, and it took two hours to extricate it.

As appetites increased, their spirits fell; no inn, no wine shop could be discovered, the approach of the Prussians and the transit of the starving French troops having frightened away all business.

The men sought food in the farmhouses beside the road, but could not find so much as a crust of bread; for the suspicious peasant invariably hid his stores for fear of being pillaged by the soldiers, who, being entirely without food, would take violent possession of everything they found.

About one o'clock Loiseau announced that he positively had a big hollow in his stomach. They had all been suffering in the same way for some time, and the increasing gnawings of hunger had put an end to all conversation. 

Now and then some one yawned, another followed his example, and each in turn, according to his character, breeding and social position, yawned either quietly or noisily, placing his hand before the gaping void whence issued breath condensed into vapor.

Several times Boule de Suif stooped, as if searching for something under her petticoats. She would hesitate a moment, look at her neighbors, and then quietly sit upright again. All faces were pale and drawn. Loiseau declared he would give a thousand francs for a knuckle of ham. His wife made an involuntary and quickly checked gesture of protest. It always hurt her to hear of money being squandered, and she could not even understand jokes on such a subject.

"As a matter of fact, I don't feel well," said the count. "Why did I not think of bringing provisions?" Each one reproached himself in similar fashion.

Cornudet, however, had a bottle of rum, which he offered to his neighbors. They all coldly refused except Loiseau, who took a sip, and returned the bottle with thanks, saying: "That's good stuff; it warms one up, and cheats the appetite." The alcohol put him in good humor, and he proposed they should do as the sailors did in the song: eat the fattest of the passengers. This indirect allusion to Boule de Suif shocked the respectable members of the party. No one replied; only Cornudet smiled. The two good sisters had ceased to mumble their rosary, and, with hands enfolded in their wide sleeves, sat motionless, their eyes steadfastly cast down, doubtless offering up as a sacrifice to Heaven the suffering it had sent them.

At last, at three o'clock, as they were in the midst of an apparently limitless plain, with not a single village in sight, Boule de Suif stooped quickly, and drew from underneath the seat a large basket covered with a white napkin.

From this she extracted first of all a small earthenware plate and a silver drinking cup, then an enormous jar containing two whole chickens cut into joints and imbedded in jelly. The basket was seen to contain other good things: pies, fruit, dainties of all sorts—provisions, in fine, for a three days’ journey, rendering their owner independent of wayside inns. The necks of four bottles protruded from among the food. She took a chicken wing, and began to eat it daintily, together with one of those rolls called in Normandy "Regence."

All looks were directed toward her. An odor of food filled the air, causing nostrils to dilate, mouths to water, and jaws to contract painfully. The scorn of the ladies for this disreputable female grew positively ferocious; they would have liked to kill her, or throw, her and her drinking cup, her basket, and her provisions, out of the coach into the snow of the road below.

But Loiseau’s gaze was fixed greedily on the jar of chicken. He said:

"Well, well, this lady had more forethought than the rest of us. Some people think of everything."

She looked up at him.

"Would you like some, sir? It is hard to go on fasting all day."

He bowed.

"Upon my soul, I can't refuse; I cannot hold out another minute. All is fair in war time, is it not, madame?" And, casting a glance on those around, he added:

"At times like this it is very pleasant to meet with obliging people."

He spread a newspaper over his knees to avoid soiling his trousers, and, with a pocketknife he always carried, helped himself to a chicken leg coated with jelly, which he thereupon proceeded to devour.

Then Boule de Suif, in low, humble tones, invited the nuns to partake of her repast. They both accepted the offer unhesitatingly, and after a few stammered words of thanks began to eat quickly, without raising their eyes. Neither did Cornudet refuse his neighbor's offer, and, in combination with the nuns, a sort of table was formed by opening out the newspaper over the four pairs of knees.

Mouths kept opening and shutting, ferociously masticating and devouring the food. Loiseau, in his corner, was hard at work, and in low tones urged his wife to follow his example. She held out for a long time, but gave way at last. Her husband, assuming his politest manner, asked their "charming companion" if he might be allowed to offer Madame Loiseau a small helping.

"Why, certainly, sir," she replied, with an amiable smile, holding out the dish.

When the first bottle of claret was opened some embarrassment was caused by the fact that there was only one drinking cup, but this was passed from one to another, after being wiped. Cornudet alone, doubtless in a spirit of gallantry, raised to his own lips that part of the rim which was still moist from those of his fair neighbor.

Then, surrounded by people who were eating, and well-nigh suffocated by the odor of food, the Comte and Comtesse de Breville and Monsieur and Madame Carre-Lamadon endured that hateful form of torture which has perpetuated the name of Tantalus. All at once the manufacturer’s young wife heaved a sigh which made every one turn and look at her; she was white as the snow without; her eyes closed, her head fell forward; she had fainted. Her husband, beside himself, implored the help of his neighbors. No one seemed to know what to do until the elder of the two nuns, raising the patient’s head, placed Boule de Suif’s drinking cup to her lips, and made her swallow a few drops of wine. The pretty invalid moved, opened her eyes, smiled, and declared in a feeble voice that she was all right again. But, to prevent a recurrence of the catastrophe, the nun made her drink a cupful of claret, adding: "It's just hunger--that's what is wrong with you."

Then Boule de Suif, blushing and embarrassed, stammered, looking at the four passengers who were still fasting:

"'Mon Dieu, if I might offer these ladies and gentlemen----"

She stopped short, fearing a snub.

But Loiseau continued:

"Hang it all, in such a case as this we are all brothers and sisters and ought to assist each other. Come, come, ladies, don't stand on ceremony, for goodness' sake! Do we even know whether we shall find a house in which to pass the night? At our present rate of going we shan't be at Totes till midday tomorrow."

They hesitated, no one daring to be the first to accept. But the count settled the question. He turned toward the abashed girl, and in his most distinguished manner said:

"We accept gratefully, madame."

As usual, it was only the first step that cost. This Rubicon once crossed, they set to work with a will. The basket was emptied. It still contained a pate de foie gras, a lark pie, a piece of smoked tongue, Crassane pears, Pont-Leveque gingerbread, fancy cakes, and a cup full of pickled gherkins and onions--Boule de Suif, like all women, being very fond of indigestible things.

They could not eat this girl’s provisions without speaking to her. So they began to talk, stiffly at first; then, as she seemed by no means forward , with greater freedom. Mesdames de Breville and Carre-Lamadon, who were accomplished women of the world, were gracious and tactful. The countess especially displayed that amiable condescension characteristic of great ladies whom no contact with baser mortals can sully. But the sturdy Madame Loiseau, who had the soul of a gendarme, continued morose, speaking little and eating much.

Conversation naturally turned on the war. Terrible stories were told about the Prussians, deeds of bravery were recounted of the French; and all these people who were fleeing themselves were ready to pay homage to the courage of their compatriots. Personal experiences soon followed, and Bottle le Suif related with genuine emotion, and with that warmth of language not uncommon in women of her class and temperament, how it came about that she had left Rouen.

"I thought at first that I should be able to stay," she said. "My house was well stocked with provisions, and it seemed better to put up with feeding a few soldiers than to banish myself goodness knows where. But when I saw these Prussians it was too much for me! My blood boiled with rage; I wept the whole day for very shame.

Oh, if only I had been a man! I looked at them from my window--the fat swine, with their pointed helmets!—and my maid held my hands to keep me from throwing my furniture down on them. Then some of them were quartered on me; I flew at the throat of the first one who entered. They are just as easy to strangle as other men! And I'd have been the death of that one if I hadn't been dragged away from him by my hair. I had to hide after that. And as soon as I could get an opportunity I left the place, and here I am."

She was warmly congratulated. She rose in the estimation of her companions, who had not been so brave; and Cornudet listened to her with the approving and benevolent smile of an apostle, the smile a priest might wear in listening to a devotee praising God; for long-bearded democrats of his type have a monopoly of patriotism, just as priests have a monopoly of religion. He held forth in turn, with dogmatic self-assurance, in the style of the proclamations daily pasted on the walls of the town, winding up with a specimen of stump oratory in which he reviled "that besotted fool of a Louis-Napoleon."

But Boule de Suif was indignant, for she was an ardent Bonapartist. She turned as red as a cherry, and stammered in her wrath:

"I'd just like to have seen you in his place—you and your sort! There would have been a nice mix-up. Oh, yes! It was you who betrayed that man. It would be impossible to live in France if we were governed by such rascals as you!"

Cornudet, unmoved by this tirade, still smiled a superior, contemptuous smile; and one felt that high words were impending, when the count interposed, and, not without difficulty, succeeded in calming the exasperated woman, saying that all sincere opinions ought to be respected. But the countess and the manufacturer's wife, imbued with the unreasoning hatred of the upper classes for the Republic, and, moreover, with the affection felt by all women for the pomp and circumstance of despotic government, were drawn, in spite of themselves, toward this dignified young woman, whose opinions coincided so closely with their own.

The basket was empty. The ten people had finished its contents without difficulty amid general regret that it did not hold more. Conversation went on a little longer, though it flagged somewhat after the passengers had finished eating.

Night fell, the darkness grew deeper and deeper, and the cold made Boule de Suif shiver, in spite of her plumpness. So Madame de Breville offered her her foot-warmer, the fuel of which had been several times renewed since the morning, and she accepted the offer at once, for her feet were icy cold. Mesdames Carre-Lamadon and Loiseau gave theirs to the nuns.

The driver lighted his lanterns. They cast a bright gleam on a cloud of vapor which hovered over the sweating flanks of the horses, and on the roadside snow, which seemed to unroll as they went along in the changing light of the lamps.

All was now indistinguishable in the coach; but suddenly a movement occurred in the corner occupied by Boule de Suif and Cornudet; and Loiseau, peering into the gloom, fancied he saw the big, bearded democrat move hastily to one side, as if he had received a well-directed, though noiseless, blow in the dark.

Tiny lights glimmered ahead. It was Totes. The coach had been on the road eleven hours, which, with the three hours allotted the horses in four periods for feeding and breathing, made fourteen. It entered the town, and stopped before the Hotel du Commerce.

The coach door opened; a well-known noise made all the travelers start; it was the clanging of a scabbard, on the pavement; then a voice called out something in German.

Although the coach had come to a standstill, no one got out; it looked as if they were afraid of being murdered the moment they left their seats. Thereupon the driver appeared, holding in his hand one of his lanterns, which cast a sudden glow on the interior of the coach, lighting up the double row of startled faces, mouths agape, and eyes wide open in surprise and terror.

Beside the driver stood in the full light a German officer, a tall young man, fair and slender, tightly encased in his uniform like a woman in her corset, his flat shiny cap, tilted to one side of his head, making him look like an English hotel runner. His exaggerated mustache, long and straight and tapering to a point at either end in a single blond hair that could hardly be seen, seemed to weigh down the corners of his mouth and give a droop to his lips.

In Alsatian French he requested the travelers to alight, saying stiffly:

"Kindly get down, ladies and gentlemen."

The two nuns were the first to obey, manifesting the docility of holy women accustomed to submission on every occasion. Next appeared the count and countess, followed by the manufacturer and his wife, after whom came Loiseau, pushing his larger and better half before him.

"Good-day, sir," he said to the officer as he put his foot to the ground, acting on an impulse born of prudence rather than of politeness. The other, insolent like all in authority, merely stared without replying.

Boule de Suif and Cornudet, though near the door, were the last to alight, grave and dignified before the enemy. The stout girl tried to control herself and appear calm; the democrat stroked his long russet beard with a somewhat trembling hand. Both strove to maintain their dignity, knowing well that at such a time each individual is always looked upon as more or less typical of his nation; and, also, resenting the complaisant attitude of their companions, Boule de Suif tried to wear a bolder front than her neighbors, the virtuous women, while he, feeling that it was incumbent on him to set a good example, kept up the attitude of resistance which he had first assumed when he undertook to mine the high roads round Rouen.

They entered the spacious kitchen of the inn, and the German, having demanded the passports signed by the general in command, in which were mentioned the name, description and profession of each traveler, inspected them all minutely, comparing their appearance with the written particulars.

Then he said brusquely: "All right," and turned on his heel.

They breathed freely, All were still hungry; so supper was ordered. Half an hour was required for its preparation, and while two servants were apparently engaged in getting it ready the travelers went to look at their rooms. These all opened off a long corridor, at the end of which was a glazed door with a number on it.

They were just about to take their seats at table when the innkeeper appeared in  person. He was a former horse dealer--a large, asthmatic individual, always wheezing, coughing, and clearing his throat. Follenvie was his patronymic.

He called:

"Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset?"

Boule de Suif started, and turned round.

"That is my name."

"Mademoiselle, the Prussian officer wishes to speak to you immediately."

"To me?"

"Yes; if you are Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset."

She hesitated, reflected a moment, and then declared roundly:

"That may be; but I'm not going."

They moved restlessly around her; every one wondered and speculated as to the cause of this order. The count approached:

"You are wrong, madame, for your refusal may bring trouble not only on yourself but also on all your companions. It never pays to resist those in authority. Your compliance with this request cannot possibly be fraught with any danger; it has probably been made because some formality or other was forgotten."

All added their voices to that of the count; Boule de Suif was begged, urged, lectured, and at last convinced; every one was afraid of the complications which might result from headstrong action on her part. She said finally:

"I am doing it for your sakes, remember that!"

The countess took her hand.

"And we are grateful to you."

She left the room. All waited for her return before commencing the meal.

Each was distressed that he or she had not been sent for rather than this impulsive, quick-tempered girl, and each mentally rehearsed platitudes in case of being summoned also.

But at the end of ten minutes she reappeared breathing hard, crimson with indignation.

"Oh! the scoundrel! the scoundrel!" she stammered.

All were anxious to know what had happened; but she declined to enlighten them, and when the count pressed the point, she silenced him with much dignity, saying:

"No; the matter has nothing to do with you, and I cannot speak of it."

Then they took their places round a high soup tureen, from which issued an odor of cabbage. In spite of this unexpected incident, the supper was cheerful. The cider was good; the Loiseaus and the nuns drank it from motives of economy. The others ordered wine; Cornudet demanded beer. He had his own fashion of uncorking the bottle and making the beer foam, gazing at it as he inclined his glass and then raised it to a position between the lamp and his eye that he might judge of its color. When he drank, his great beard, which matched the color of his favorite beverage, seemed to tremble with affection; his eyes positively squinted in the endeavor not to lose sight of the beloved glass, and he looked for all the world as if he were fulfilling the only function for which he was born. He seemed to have established in his mind an affinity between the two great passions of his life--pale ale and revolution--and assuredly he could not taste the one without dreaming of the other.

Monsieur and Madame Follenvie dined at the other end of the table. The man, wheezing like a broken-down locomotive, was too short-winded to talk when he was eating. But the wife was not silent a moment; she told how the Prussians had impressed her on their arrival, what they did, what they said; execrating them in the first place because they cost her money, and in the second because she had two sons in the army. She addressed herself principally to the countess, flattered at the opportunity of talking to a lady of quality.

Then she lowered her voice, and began to broach delicate subjects. Her husband interrupted her from time to time, saying:

"You would do well to hold your tongue, Madame Follenvie."

But she took no notice of him, and went on:

"Yes, madame, these Germans do nothing but eat potatoes and pork, and then pork and potatoes. And don't imagine for a moment that they are clean! No, indeed! And if only you saw them drilling for hours, indeed for days, together; they all collect in a field, then they do nothing but march backward and forward, and wheel this way and that. If only they would cultivate the land, or remain at home and work on their high roads! Really, madame, these soldiers are of no earthly use! Poor people have to feed and keep them, only in order that they may learn how to kill! True, I am only an old woman with no education, but when I see them wearing themselves out marching about from morning till night, I say to myself: When there are people who make discoveries that are of use to people, why should others take so much trouble to do harm? Really, now, isn't it a terrible thing to kill people, whether they are Prussians, or English, or Poles, or French? If we revenge ourselves on any one who injures us we do wrong, and are punished for it; but when our sons are shot down like partridges, that is all right, and decorations are given to the man who kills the most. No, indeed, I shall never be able to understand it."

Cornudet raised his voice:

"War is a barbarous proceeding when we attack a peaceful neighbor, but it is a sacred duty when undertaken in defense of one's country."

The old woman looked down:

"Yes; it's another matter when one acts in self-defense; but would it not be better to kill all the kings, seeing that they make war just to amuse themselves?"

Cornudet’s eyes kindled.

"Bravo, citizens!" he said.

Monsieur Carre-Lamadon was reflecting profoundly. Although an ardent admirer of great generals, the peasant woman’s sturdy common sense made him reflect on the wealth which might accrue to a country by the employment of so many idle hands now maintained at a great expense, of so much unproductive force, if they were employed in those great industrial enterprises which it will take centuries to complete.

But Loiseau, leaving his seat, went over to the innkeeper and began chatting in a low voice. The big man chuckled, coughed, sputtered; his enormous carcass shook with merriment at the pleasantries of the other; and he ended by buying six casks of claret from Loiseau to be delivered in spring, after the departure of the Prussians.

The moment supper was over every one went to bed, worn out with fatigue.

But Loiseau, who had been making his observations on the sly, sent his wife to bed, and amused himself by placing first his ear, and then his eye, to the bedroom keyhole, in order to discover what he called "the mysteries of the corridor."

At the end of about an hour he heard a rustling, peeped out quickly, and caught sight of Boule de Suif, looking more rotund than ever in a dressing-gown of blue cashmere trimmed with white lace. She held a candle in her hand, and directed her steps to the numbered door at the end of the corridor. But one of the side doors was partly opened, and when, at the end of a few minutes, she returned, Cornudet, in his shirt-sleeves, followed her. They spoke in low tones, then stopped short. Boule de Suif seemed to be stoutly denying him admission to her room. Unfortunately, Loiseau could not at first hear what they said; but toward the end of the conversation they raised their voices, and he caught a few words. Cornudet was loudly insistent.

"How silly you are! What does it matter to you?" he said.

She seemed indignant, and replied:

"No, my good man, there are times when one does not do that sort of thing; besides, in this place it would be shameful."

Apparently he did not understand, and asked the reason. Then she lost her temper and her caution, and, raising her voice still higher, said:

"Why? Can't you understand why? When there are Prussians in the house! Perhaps even in the very next room!"

He was silent. The patriotic shame of this wanton, who would not suffer herself to be caressed in the neighborhood of the enemy, must have roused his dormant dignity, for after bestowing on her a simple kiss he crept softly back to his room. Loiseau, much edified, capered round the bedroom before taking his place beside his slumbering spouse.

Then silence reigned throughout the house. But soon there arose from some remote part--it might easily have been either cellar or attic--a stertorous, monotonous, regular snoring, a dull, prolonged rumbling, varied by tremors like those of a boiler under pressure of steam. Monsieur Follenvie had gone to sleep.

As they had decided on starting at eight o'clock the next morning, every one was in the kitchen at that hour; but the coach, its roof covered with snow, stood by itself in the middle of the yard, without either horses or driver. They sought the latter in the stables, coach-houses and barns—but in vain. So the men of the party resolved to scour the town for him, and sallied forth. They found themselves in the square, with the church at the farther side, and to right and left low-roofed houses where there were some Prussian soldiers. The first soldier they saw was peeling potatoes. The second, farther on, was washing out a barber's shop. Another, bearded to the eyes, was fondling a crying infant, and dandling it on his knees to quiet it; and the stout peasant women, whose menfolk were for the most part at the war, were, by means of signs, telling their obedient conquerors what work they were to do: chop wood, prepare soup, grind coffee; one of them even was doing the washing for his hostess, an infirm old grandmother.

The count, astonished at what he saw, questioned the beadle who was coming out of the presbytery. The old man answered:

"Oh, those men are not at all a bad sort; they are not Prussians, I am told; they come from somewhere farther off, I don't exactly know where. And they have all left wives and children behind them; they are not fond of war either, you may be sure! I am sure they are mourning for the men where they come from, just as we do here; and the war causes them just as much unhappiness as it does us. As a matter of fact, things are not so very bad here just now, because the soldiers do no harm, and work just as if they were in their own homes. You see, sir, poor folk always help one another; it is the great ones of this world who make war."

Cornudet indignant at the friendly understanding established between conquerors and conquered, withdrew, preferring to shut himself up in the inn.

"They are repeopling the country," jested Loiseau.

"They are undoing the harm they have done," said Monsieur Carre-Lamadon gravely.

But they could not find the coach driver. At last he was discovered in the village cafe, fraternizing cordially with the officer’s orderly.

"Were you not told to harness the horses at eight o'clock?" demanded the count.

"Oh, yes; but I've had different orders since."

"What orders?"

"Not to harness at all."

"Who gave you such orders?"

"Why, the Prussian officer."

"But why?"

"I don't know. Go and ask him. I am forbidden to harness the horses, so I don't harness them--that's all."

"Did he tell you so himself? "

"No, sir; the innkeeper gave me the order from him."

"When?"

"Last evening, just as I was going to bed."

The three men returned in a very uneasy frame of mind.

 They asked for Monsieur Follenvie, but the servant replied that on account of his asthma he never got up before ten o'clock. They were strictly forbidden to rouse him earlier, except in case of fire.

They wished to see the officer, but that also was impossible, although he lodged in the inn. Monsieur Follenvie alone was authorized to interview him on civil matters. So they waited. The women returned to their rooms, and occupied themselves with trivial matters.

Cornudet settled down beside the tall kitchen fireplace, before a blazing fire. He had a small table and a jug of beer placed beside him, and he smoked his pipe—a pipe which enjoyed among democrats a consideration almost equal to his own, as though it had served its country in serving Cornudet. It was a fine meerschaum, admirably colored to a black the shade of its owner’s teeth, but sweet-smelling, gracefully curved, at home in its master’s hand, and completing his physiognomy.

And Cornudet sat motionless, his eyes fixed now on the dancing flames, now on the froth which crowned his beer;

and after each draught he passed his long, thin fingers with an air of satisfaction through his long, greasy hair, as he sucked the foam from his mustache.

Loiseau, under pretence of stretching his legs, went out to see if he could sell wine to the country dealers. The count and the manufacturer began to talk politics. They forecast the future of France. One believed in the Orleans dynasty, the other in an unknown savior--a hero who should rise up in the last extremity: a Du Guesclin, perhaps a Joan of Arc? or another Napoleon the First? Ah! if only the Prince Imperial were not so young! Cornudet, listening to them, smiled like a man who holds the keys of destiny in his hands. His pipe perfumed the whole kitchen.

As the clock struck ten, Monsieur Follenvie appeared. He was immediately surrounded and questioned, but could only repeat, three or four times in succession, and without variation, the words:

"The officer said to me, just like this: 'Monsieur Follenvie, you will forbid them to harness up the coach for those travelers tomorrow. They are not to start without an order from me. You hear? That is sufficient.'"

Then they asked to see the officer. The count sent him his card, on which Monsieur Carre-Lamadon also inscribed his name and titles. The Prussian sent word that the two men would be admitted to see him after his luncheon--that is to say, about one o'clock.

The ladies reappeared, and they all ate a little, in spite of their anxiety. Boule de Suif appeared ill and very much worried.

They were finishing their coffee when the orderly came to fetch the gentlemen.

Loiseau joined the other two; but when they tried to get Cornudet to accompany them, by way of adding greater solemnity to the occasion, he declared proudly that he would never have anything to do with the Germans, and, resuming his seat in the chimney corner, he called for another jug of beer.

The three men went upstairs, and were ushered into the best room in the inn, where the officer received them lolling at his ease in an armchair, his feet on the mantelpiece, smoking a long porcelain pipe, and enveloped in a gorgeous dressing-gown, doubtless stolen from the deserted dwelling of some citizen destitute of taste in dress. He neither rose, greeted them, nor even glanced in their direction. He afforded a fine example of that insolence of bearing which seems natural to the victorious soldier.

After the lapse of a few moments he said in his halting French:

"What do you want?"

"We wish to start on our journey," said the count.

"No."

"May I ask the reason of your refusal?"

"Because I don't choose."

"I would respectfully call your attention, monsieur, to the fact that your general in command gave us a permit to proceed to Dieppe; and I do not think we have done anything to deserve this harshness at your hands."

"I don't choose--that's all. You may go."

They bowed, and retired.

The afternoon was wretched. They could not understand the caprice of this German, and the strangest ideas came into their heads. They all congregated in the kitchen, and talked the subject to death, imagining all kinds of unlikely things. Perhaps they were to be kept as hostages –but for what reason? or to be extradited as prisoners of war? or possibly they were to be held for ransom? They were panic-stricken at this last supposition. The richest among them were the most alarmed, seeing themselves forced to empty bags of gold into the insolent soldier’s hands in order to buy back their lives. They racked their brains for plausible lies whereby they might conceal the fact that they were rich, and pass themselves off as poor—very poor. Loiseau took off his watch chain, and put it in his pocket. The approach of night increased their apprehension. The lamp was lighted, and as it wanted yet two hours to dinner, Madame Loiseau proposed a game of trente et un. It would distract their thoughts. The rest agreed, and Cornudet himself joined the party, first putting out his pipe for politeness' sake.

The count shuffled the cards—dealt--and Boule de Suif had thirty-one to start with; soon the interest of the game assuaged the anxiety of the players. But Cornudet noticed that Loiseau and his wife were in league to cheat.

They were about to sit down to dinner when Monsieur Follenvie appeared, and in his grating voice announced:

"The Prussian officer sends to ask Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset if she has changed her mind yet."

Boule de Suif stood still, pale as death. Then, suddenly turning crimson with anger, she gasped out:

"Kindly tell that scoundrel, that cur, that carrion of a Prussian, that I will never consent—you understand?—never, never, never!"

The fat innkeeper left the room. Then Boule de Suif was surrounded, questioned, entreated on all sides to reveal the mystery of her visit to the officer. She refused at first; but her wrath soon got the better of her.

"What does he want? He wants to sleep with me!" she cried.

No one was shocked at the word, so great was the general indignation. Cornudet broke his jug as he banged it down on the table. A loud outcry arose against this base soldier. All were furious. They drew together in common resistance against the foe, as if some part of the sacrifice exacted of Boule de Suif had been demanded of each. The count declared, with supreme disgust, that those people behaved like ancient barbarians. The women, above all, manifested a lively and tender sympathy for Boule de Suif. The nuns, who appeared only at meals, cast down their eyes, and said nothing.

They dined, however, as soon as the first indignant outburst had subsided; but they spoke little and thought much.

The ladies went to bed early; and the men, having lighted their pipes, proposed a game of ecarte, in which Monsieur Follenvie was invited to join, the travelers hoping to question him skillfully as to the best means of vanquishing the officer’s obduracy. But he thought of nothing but his cards, would listen to nothing, reply to nothing, and repeated, time after time : "Attend to the game, gentlemen! attend to the game!" So absorbed was his attention that he even forgot to expectorate. The consequence was that his chest gave forth rumbling sounds like those of an organ. His wheezing lungs struck every note of the asthmatic scale, from deep, hollow tones to a shrill, hoarse piping resembling that of a young cock trying to crow.

He refused to go to bed when his wife, overcome with sleep, came to fetch him. So she went off alone, for she was an early bird, always up with the sun; while he was addicted to late hours, ever ready to spend the night with friends. He merely said: "Put my egg-nog by the fire," and went on with the game. When the other men saw that nothing was to be got out of him they declared it was time to retire, and each sought his bed.

They rose fairly early the next morning, with a vague hope of being allowed to start, a greater desire than ever to do so, and a terror at having to spend another day in this wretched little inn.

Alas! the horses remained in the stable, the driver was invisible. They spent their time, for want of something better to do, in wandering round the coach.

Luncheon was a gloomy affair; and there was a general coolness toward Boule de Suif, for night, which brings counsel, had somewhat modified the judgment of her companions. They almost bore a grudge against the girl for not having secretly sought out the Prussian, that the rest of the party might receive a joyful surprise when they awoke. What more simple?

Besides, who would have known? She might have saved appearances by telling the officer that she had taken pity on their distress. Such a step would be of so little consequence to her.

But no one as yet confessed to such thoughts.

In the afternoon, seeing that they were all bored to death, the count proposed a walk in the neighborhood of the village. Each one wrapped himself up well, and the little party set out, leaving behind only Cornudet, who preferred to sit over the fire, and the two nuns, who were in the habit of spending their day in the church or at the presbytery.

The cold, which grew more intense each day, almost froze the noses and ears of the pedestrians, their feet began to pain them so that each step was a penance, and when they reached the open country it looked so mournful and depressing in its limitless mantle of white that they all hastily retraced their steps, with bodies benumbed and hearts heavy.

The four women walked in front, and the three men followed a little in their rear.

Loiseau, who saw perfectly well how matters stood, asked suddenly if that trollop were going to keep them waiting much longer in this Godforsaken spot. The count, always courteous, replied that they could not exact so painful a sacrifice from any woman, and that the first move must come from herself. Monsieur Carre-Lamadon pointed out that if the French, as they talked of doing, made a counter attack by way of Dieppe, their encounter with the enemy must inevitably take place at Totes. This reflection made the other two anxious.

"Supposing we escape on foot?" said Loiseau.

The count shrugged his shoulders.

"How can you think of such a thing, in this snow? And with our wives? Besides, we should be pursued at once, overtaken in ten minutes, and brought back as prisoners at the mercy of the soldiery."

This was true enough; they were silent.

The ladies talked of dress, but a certain constraint seemed to prevail among them.

Suddenly, at the end of the street, the officer appeared. His tall, wasp-like, uniformed figure was outlined against the snow which bounded the horizon, and he walked, knees apart, with that motion peculiar to soldiers, who are always anxious not to soil their carefully polished boots.

He bowed as he passed the ladies, then glanced scornfully at the men, who had sufficient dignity not to raise their hats, though Loiseau made a movement to do so.

Boule de Suif flushed crimson to the ears, and the three married women felt unutterably humiliated at being met thus by the soldier in company with the girl whom he had treated with such scant ceremony.

Then they began to talk about him, his figure, and his face. Madame Carre-Lamadon, who had known many officers and judged them as a connoisseur, thought him not at all bad-looking; she even regretted that he was not a Frenchman, because in that case he would have made a very handsome hussar, with whom all the women would assuredly have fallen in love.

When they were once more within doors they did not know what to do with themselves. Sharp words even were exchanged apropos of the merest trifles. The silent dinner was quickly over, and each one went to bed early in the hope of sleeping, and thus killing time.

They came down next morning with tired faces and irritable tempers; the women scarcely spoke to Boule de Suif.

A church bell summoned the faithful to a baptism. Boule de Suif had a child being brought up by peasants at Yvetot. She did not see him once a year, and never thought of him; but the idea of the child who was about to be baptized induced a sudden wave of tenderness for her own, and she insisted on being present at the ceremony.

As soon as she had gone out, the rest of the company looked at one another and then drew their chairs together; for they realized that they must decide on some course of action. Loiseau had an inspiration: he proposed that they should ask the officer to detain Boule de Suif only, and to let the rest depart on their way.

Monsieur Follenvie was entrusted with this mission, but he returned to them almost immediately. The German, who knew human nature, had shown him the door. He intended to keep all the travelers until his condition had been complied with.

Whereupon Madame Loiseau’s vulgar temperament broke bounds.

"We’re not going to die of old age here!" she cried. "Since it's that vixen’s trade to behave so with men I don't see that she has any right to refuse one more than another. I may as well tell you she took any lovers she could get at Rouen—even coachmen! Yes, indeed, madame--the coachman at the prefecture! I know it for a fact, for he buys his wine of us. And now that it is a question of getting us out of a difficulty she puts on virtuous airs, the drab! For my part, I think this officer has behaved very well. Why, there were three others of us, any one of whom he would undoubtedly have preferred. But no, he contents himself with the girl who is common property. He respects married women. Just think. He is master here. He had only to say: 'I wish it!' and he might have taken us by force, with the help of his soldiers."

The two other women shuddered; the eyes of pretty Madame Carre-Lamadon glistened, and she grew pale, as if the officer were indeed in the act of laying violent hands on her.

The men, who had been discussing the subject among themselves, drew near. Loiseau, in a state of furious resentment, was for delivering up "that miserable woman," bound hand and foot, into the enemy’s power. But the count, descended from three generations of ambassadors, and endowed, moreover, with the lineaments of a diplomat, was in favor of more tactful measures.

"We must persuade her," he said.

Then they laid their plans.

The women drew together; they lowered their voices, and the discussion became general, each giving his or her opinion. But the conversation was not in the least coarse. The ladies, in particular, were adept at delicate phrases and charming subtleties of expression to describe the most improper things. A stranger would have understood none of their allusions, so guarded was the language they employed. But, seeing that the thin veneer of modesty with which every woman of the world is furnished goes but a very little way below the surface, they began rather to enjoy this unedifying episode, and at bottom were hugely delighted—feeling themselves in their element, furthering the schemes of lawless love with the gusto of a gourmand cook who prepares supper for another.

Their gaiety returned of itself, so amusing at last did the whole business seem to them. The count uttered several rather risky witticisms, but so tactfully were they said that his audience could not help smiling. Loiseau in turn made some considerably broader jokes, but no one took offence; and the thought expressed with such brutal directness by his wife was uppermost in the minds of all:"Since it's the girl’s trade, why should she refuse this man more than another?" Dainty Madame Carre-Lamadon seemed to think even that in Boule de Suif's place she would be less inclined to refuse him than another.

The blockade was as carefully arranged as if they were investing a fortress. Each agreed on the role which he or she was to play, the arguments to be used, the maneuvers to be executed. They decided on the plan of campaign, the stratagems they were to employ, and the surprise attacks which were to reduce this human citadel and force it to receive the enemy within its walls.

But Cornudet remained apart from the rest, taking no share in the plot.

So absorbed was the attention of all that Boule de Suif’s entrance was almost unnoticed. But the count whispered a gentle "Hush!" which made the others look up. She was there. They suddenly stopped talking, and a vague embarrassment prevented them for a few moments from addressing her. But the countess, more practiced than the others in the wiles of the drawing-room, asked her:

"Was the baptism interesting?"

The girl, still under the stress of emotion, told what she had seen and heard, described the faces, the attitudes of those present, and even the appearance of the church. She concluded with the words:

"It does one good to pray sometimes."

Until lunch time the ladies contented themselves with being pleasant to her, so as to increase her confidence and make her amenable to their advice.

As soon as they took their seats at table the attack began. First they opened a vague conversation on the subject of self-sacrifice. Ancient examples were quoted: Judith and Holofernes; then, irrationally enough, Lucrece and Sextus; Cleopatra and the hostile generals whom she reduced to abject slavery by sleeping with them. Next was recounted an extraordinary story, born of the imagination of these ignorant millionaires, which told how the matrons of Rome seduced Hannibal, his lieutenants, and all his mercenaries at Capua. They held up to admiration all those women who from time to time have arrested the victorious progress of conquerors, made of their bodies a field of battle, a means of ruling, a weapon; who have vanquished by their heroic caresses hideous or detested beings, and sacrificed their chastity to vengeance and devotion.

All was said with due restraint and regard for propriety, the effect heightened now and then by an outburst of forced enthusiasm calculated to excite emulation.

A listener would have thought at last that the one role of woman on earth was a perpetual sacrifice of her person, a continual abandonment of herself to the caprices of a hostile soldiery.

The two nuns seemed to hear nothing, and to be lost in thought. Boule de Suif also was silent.

During the whole afternoon she was left to her reflections. But instead of calling her "madame" as they had done hitherto, her companions addressed her simply as "mademoiselle," without exactly knowing why, but as if desirous of making her descend a step in the esteem she had won, and forcing her to realize her degraded position.

Just as soup was served, Monsieur Follenvie reappeared, repeating his phrase of the evening before:

"The Prussian officer sends to ask if Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset has changed her mind."

Boule de Suif answered briefly:

"No, monsieur."

But at dinner the coalition weakened. Loiseau made three unfortunate remarks. Each was cudgeling his brains for further examples of self-sacrifice, and could find none, when the countess, possibly without ulterior motive, and moved simply by a vague desire to do homage to religion, began to question the elder of the two nuns on the most striking facts in the lives of the saints. Now, it fell out that many of these had committed acts which would be crimes in our eyes, but the Church readily pardons such deeds when they are accomplished for the glory of God or the good of mankind. This was a powerful argument, and the countess made the most of it. Then, whether by reason of a tacit understanding, a thinly veiled act of complaisance such as those who wear the ecclesiastical habit excel in, or whether merely as the result of sheer stupidity--a stupidity admirably adapted to further their designs-- the old nun rendered formidable aid to the conspirator. They had thought her timid; she proved herself bold, talkative, bigoted. She was not troubled by the ins and outs of casuistry; her doctrines were as iron bars; her faith knew no doubt; her conscience no scruples. She looked on Abraham’s sacrifice as natural enough, for she herself would not have hesitated to kill both father and mother if she had received divine order to that effect; and nothing, in her opinion, could displease our Lord, provided the motive were praiseworthy. The countess, putting to good use the consecrated authority of her unexpected ally, led her on to make a lengthy and edifying paraphrase of that axiom enunciated by a certain school of moralists: "The end justifies the means."

"Then, sister," she asked, "you think God accepts all methods, and pardons the act when the motive is pure?"

"Undoubtedly, madame. An action reprehensible in itself often derives merit from the thought which inspires it."

And in this wise they talked on, fathoming the wishes of God, predicting His judgments, describing Him as interested in matters which assuredly concern Him but little.

All was said with the utmost care and discretion, but every word uttered by the holy woman in her nun’s garb weakened the indignant resistance of the courtesan. Then the conversation drifted somewhat, and the nun began to talk of the convents of her order, of her Superior, of herself, and of her fragile little neighbor, Sister St. Nicephore. They had been sent for from Havre to nurse the hundreds of soldiers who were in hospitals, stricken with smallpox. She described these wretched invalids and their malady. And, while they themselves were detained on their way by the caprices of the Prussian officer, scores of Frenchmen might be dying, whom they would otherwise have saved! For the nursing of soldiers was the old nun’s specialty; she had been in the Crimea, in Italy, in Austria; and as she told the story of her campaigns she revealed herself as one of those holy sisters of the fife and drum who seem designed by nature to follow camps, to snatch the wounded from amid the strife of battle, and to quell with a word, more effectually than any general, the rough and insubordinate troopers--a masterful woman, her seamed and pitted face itself an image of the devastations of war.

No one spoke when she had finished for fear of spoiling the excellent effect of her words.

As soon as the meal was over the travelers retired to their rooms, from which they emerged the following day at a late hour of the morning.

Luncheon passed off quietly. The seed sown the preceding evening was being given time to germinate and bring forth fruit.

In the afternoon the countess proposed a walk; then the count, as had been arranged beforehand, took Boule de Suif’s arm, and walked with her at some distance behind the rest.

He began talking to her in that familiar, paternal, slightly contemptuous tone which men of his class adopt in speaking to women like her, calling her "my dear child," and talking down to her from the height of his exalted social position and stainless reputation. He came straight to the point.

"So you prefer to leave us here, exposed like yourself to all the violence which would follow on a repulse of the Prussian troops, rather than consent to surrender yourself, as you have done so many times in your life?"

The girl did not reply.

He tried kindness, argument, sentiment. He still bore himself as count, even while adopting, when desirable, an attitude of gallantry, and making pretty—nay, even tender—speeches. He exalted the service she would render them, spoke of their gratitude; then, suddenly, using the familiar "thou":

"And you know, my dear, he could boast then of having made a conquest of a pretty girl such as he won't often find in his own country."

Boule de Suif did not answer, and joined the rest of the party.

As soon as they returned she went to her room, and was seen no more. The general anxiety was at its height. What would she do? If she still resisted, how awkward for them all!

The dinner hour struck; they waited for her in vain. At last Monsieur Follenvie entered, announcing that Mademoiselle Rousset was not well, and that they might sit down to table. They all pricked up their ears. The count drew near the innkeeper, and whispered:

"Is it all right?"

"Yes."

Out of regard for propriety he said nothing to his companions, but merely nodded slightly toward them. A great sigh of relief went up from all breasts; every face was lighted up with joy.

"By Gad!" shouted Loiseau, "I'll stand champagne all round if there's any to be found in this place." And great was Madame Loiseau’s dismay when the proprietor came back with four bottles in his hands. They had all suddenly become talkative and merry; a lively joy filled all hearts. The count seemed to perceive for the first time that Madame Carre-Lamadon was charming; the manufacturer paid compliments to the countess. The conversation was animated, sprightly, witty, and, although many of the jokes were in the worst possible taste, all the company were amused by them, and none offended—indignation being dependent, like other emotions, on surroundings. And the mental atmosphere had gradually become filled with gross imaginings and unclean thoughts.

At dessert even the women indulged in discreetly worded allusions. Their glances were full of meaning; they had drunk much. The count, who even in his moments of relaxation preserved a dignified demeanor, hit on a much- appreciated comparison of the condition of things with the termination of a winter spent in the icy solitude of the North Pole and the joy of shipwrecked mariners who at last perceive a southward track opening out before their eyes.

Loiseau, fairly in his element, rose to his feet, holding aloft a glass of champagne.

"I drink to our deliverance!" he shouted.

All stood up, and greeted the toast with acclamation. Even the two good sisters yielded to the solicitations of the ladies, and consented to moisten their lips with the foaming wine, which they had never before tasted. They declared it was like effervescent lemonade, but with a pleasanter flavor.

"It is a pity," said Loiseau, "that we have no piano; we might have had a quadrille."

Cornudet had not spoken a word or made a movement; he seemed plunged in serious thought, and now and then tugged furiously at his great beard, as if trying to add still further to its length. At last, toward midnight, when they were about to separate, Loiseau, whose gait was far from steady, suddenly slapped him on the back, saying thickly:

"You're not jolly tonight; why are you so silent, old man?"

Cornudet threw back his head, cast one swift and scornful glance over the assemblage, and answered:

"I tell you all, you have done an infamous thing!"

He rose, reached the door, and repeating: "Infamous!" disappeared.

A chill fell on all. Loiseau himself looked foolish and disconcerted for a moment, but soon recovered his aplomb, and, writhing with laughter, exclaimed:

"Really, you are all too green for anything!"

Pressed for an explanation, he related the "mysteries of the corridor," whereat his listeners were hugely amused. The ladies could hardly contain their delight. The count and Monsieur Carre-Lamadon laughed till they cried. They could scarcely believe their ears.

"What! You are sure? He wanted----"

"I tell you I saw it with my own eyes."

"And she refused?"

"Because the Prussian was in the next room!"

"Surely you are mistaken?"

"I swear I'm telling you the truth."

The count was choking with laughter. The manufacturer held his sides. Loiseau continued:

"So you may well imagine he doesn't think this evening’s business at all amusing."

And all three began to laugh again, choking, coughing, almost ill with merriment.

Then they separated. But Madame Loiseau, who was nothing if not spiteful, remarked to her husband as they were on the way to bed that "that stuck-up little minx of a Carre-Lamadon had laughed on the wrong side of her mouth all the evening."

"You know," she said, "when women run after uniforms it's all the same to them whether the men who wear them are French or Prussian. It's perfectly sickening!"

The next morning a clear winter sun shone on the dazzlingly white snow. The coach, ready at last, waited before the door; while a flock of white pigeons, with pink eyes spotted in the centers with black, puffed out their white feathers and walked sedately between the legs of the six horses, picking at the steaming manure.

The driver, wrapped in his sheepskin coat, was smoking a pipe on the box, and all the passengers, radiant with delight at their approaching departure, were putting up provisions for the remainder of the journey.

They were waiting only for Boule de Suif. At last she appeared.

She seemed rather shamefaced and embarrassed, and advanced with timid step toward her companions, who with one accord turned aside as if they had not seen her. The count, with much dignity, took his wife by the arm, and removed her from the unclean contact.

The girl stood still, stupefied with astonishment; then, plucking up courage, accosted the manufacturer’s wife with a humble "Good-morning, madame," to which the other replied merely with a slight arid insolent nod, accompanied by a look of outraged virtue. Every one suddenly appeared extremely busy, and kept as far from Boule de Suif as if her skirts had been infected with some deadly disease. Then they hurried to the coach, followed by the despised courtesan, who, arriving last of all, silently took the place she had occupied during the first part of the journey.

The rest seemed neither to see nor to know her--all save Madame Loiseau, who, glancing contemptuously in her direction, remarked, half aloud, to her husband:

"What a mercy I am not sitting beside that creature!"

The lumbering vehicle started on its way, and the journey began afresh.

At first no one spoke. Boule de Suif dared not even raise her eyes. She felt at once indignant with her neighbors, and humiliated at having yielded to the Prussian into whose arms they had so hypocritically cast her.

But the countess, turning toward Madame Carre-Lamadon, soon broke the painful silence:

"I think you know Madame d'Etrelles?"

"Yes; she is a friend of mine."

"Such a charming woman!"

"Delightful! Exceptionally talented, and an artist to the finger tips. She sings marvelously and draws to perfection."

The manufacturer was chatting with the count, and amid the clatter of the window-panes a word of their conversation was now and then distinguishable: "Shares—maturity—premium--time-limit."

Loiseau, who had abstracted from the inn the timeworn pack of cards, thick with the grease of five years’ contact with half-wiped-off tables, started a game of bezique with his wife.

The good sisters, taking up simultaneously the long rosaries hanging from their waists, made the sign of the cross, and began to mutter in unison interminable prayers, their lips moving ever more and more swiftly, as if they sought which should outdistance the other in the race of orisons; from time to time they kissed a medal, and crossed themselves anew, then resumed their rapid and unintelligible murmur.

Cornudet sat still, lost in thought.

Ah the end of three hours Loiseau gathered up the cards, and remarked that he was hungry.

His wife thereupon produced a parcel tied with string, from which she extracted a piece of cold veal. This she cut into neat, thin slices, and both began to eat.

"We may as well do the same," said the countess. The rest agreed, and she unpacked the provisions which had been prepared for herself, the count, and the Carre-Lamadons. In one of those oval dishes, the lids of which are decorated with an earthenware hare, by way of showing that a game pie lies within, was a succulent delicacy consisting of the brown flesh of the game larded with streaks of bacon and flavored with other meats chopped fine. A solid wedge of Gruyere cheese, which had been wrapped in a newspaper, bore the imprint: "Items of News," on its rich, oily surface.

The two good sisters brought to light a hunk of sausage smelling strongly of garlic; and Cornudet, plunging both hands at once into the capacious pockets of his loose overcoat, produced from one four hard-boiled eggs and from the other a crust of bread. He removed the shells, threw them into the straw beneath his feet, and began to devour the eggs, letting morsels of the bright yellow yolk fall in his mighty beard, where they looked like stars.

Boule de Suif, in the haste and confusion of her departure, had not thought of anything, and, stifling with rage, she watched all these people placidly eating. At first, ill-suppressed wrath shook her whole person, and she opened her lips to shriek the truth at them, to overwhelm them with a volley of insults; but she could not utter a word, so choked was she with indignation.

No one looked at her, no one thought of her. She felt herself swallowed up in the scorn of these virtuous creatures, who had first sacrificed, then rejected her as a thing useless and unclean. Then she remembered her big basket full of the good things they had so greedily devoured: the two chickens coated in jelly, the pies, the pears, the four bottles of claret; and her fury broke down like a cord that is overstrained, and she was on the verge of tears. She made terrible efforts at self-control, drew herself up, swallowed the sobs which choked her; but the tears rose nevertheless, shone at the brink of her eyelids, and soon two heavy drops fell slowly down her cheeks. Others followed more quickly, like water filtering from a rock, and fell, one after another, on her rounded bosom. She sat upright, with a fixed expression, her face pale and rigid, hoping desperately that no one saw her give way.

But the countess noticed that she was weeping, and with a sign drew her husband’s attention to the fact. He shrugged his shoulders, as if to say: "Well, what of it? It's not my fault." Madame Loiseau chuckled triumphantly, and murmured:

"She’s weeping for shame."

The two nuns had betaken themselves once more to their prayers, first wrapping the remainder of their sausage in paper:

Then Cornudet, who was digesting his eggs, stretched his long legs under the opposite seat, threw himself back, folded his arms, smiled like a man who had just thought of a good joke, and began to whistle the Marseillaise.

The faces of his neighbors clouded; the popular air evidently did not find favor with them; they grew nervous and irritable, and seemed ready to howl as a dog does at the sound of a barrel organ. Cornudet saw the discomfort he was creating, and whistled the louder; sometimes he even hummed the words:  

          Amour sacre de la patrie,

          Conduis, soutiens, nos bras vengeurs,

          Liberte, liberte cherie,

          Combats avec tes defenseurs!  

The coach progressed more swiftly, the snow being harder now; and all the way to Dieppe, during the long, dreary hours of the journey, first in the gathering dusk, then in the thick darkness, raising his voice above the rumbling of the vehicle, Cornudet continued with fierce obstinacy his vengeful and monotonous whistling, forcing his weary and exasperated hearers to follow the song from end to end, to recall every word of every line.

And Boule de Suif still wept, and sometimes a sob she could not restrain was heard in the darkness between two verses of the song.

 


      一连好几天,许多溃军的残余部分就在卢昂的市区里穿过。那简直不是队伍了,只算是好些散乱的游牧部落。弟兄们脸上全是又脏又长的胡子,身上全是破烂不堪的军服,并且没有团的旗帜也没有团的番号,他们带着疲惫的姿态向前走。全体都像是压伤了的,折断了腰的,头脑迟钝得想不起一点什么,打不定一点什么主意,只由于习惯性而向前走,并且设若停步就立刻会因为没有气力而倒下来。我们所看见的,主要的是一些因动员令而应征的人和好些素以机警出名而这次出队作战的国民防护队:前者都是性爱和平的人,依靠固定利息过活的安分守己的人,他们都扛着步枪弯着身体;后者都是易于受惊和易于冲动的人,既预备随时冲锋也预备随时开小差。并且在这两类人的中间有几个红裤子步兵都是某一师在一场恶战当中受过歼灭以后的孑遗;好些垂头丧气的炮兵同着这些种类不同的步兵混在一处;偶尔也有一个头戴发亮的铜盔的龙骑兵拖着笨重的脚跟在步兵的轻快步儿后面吃力地走。
  好些义勇队用种种壮烈的名称成立了,他们的名称是:失败复仇队——墟墓公民队——死亡分享队,也都带着土匪的神气走过。
  他们的首领,有些本是呢绒商人或者粮食商人,有些本是歇业的牛羊油贩子或者肥皂贩子,战事发生以后,他们都成了应时而起的战士,并且由于他们有银元或者有长胡子都做军官,满身全是武器,红绒绦子和金线,他们高谈阔论,讨论作战计划,用夸大的口吻声言垂危的法国全靠他们那种自吹自擂的人的肩膀去支撑,不过有时候,他们害怕他们的部下,那些常常过于勇猛喜欢抢劫和胡闹的强徒。
  普鲁士人快要进卢昂市区了,据人说。
  自从两个月以来,本市的国民防护队已经很小心地在附近各处森林中间做过好些侦察工作,偶尔还放枪误伤了自己的哨兵,有时候遇着一只小兔子在荆棘丛里动弹,他们就预备作战,现在他们都回家了。器械和服装,以及从前一切被他们拿着在市外周围三法里一带的国道边上去吓唬人的凶器,现在都忽然通通不见了。
  法国最后的那些士兵终于渡过了塞纳河,从汕塞韦和布尔阿沙转到俄德枚桥去;走在最后的是位师长,他拿着这些乱糟糟的残兵败将固然想不出一点办法,望着一个徒负盛名的善战民族竟至于因为惨败而崩溃,他也万念俱灰,只有两个副官陪着他徒步走着。
  随后,市区笼罩着一种深沉的宁静气氛和一种使人恐怖的寂寞等候状态。很多被商业弄昏了头脑的大肚子富翁都愁闷地等候战胜者,想起自己厨房里的烤肉铁叉和斩肉大刀设若被人当做武器看待,都不免浑身发抖。
  生活像是停顿了,店铺全关了门,街道全是没有声息的。偶尔有一个因为这社会的沉寂样子而胆怯的居民沿着墙边迅速地溜过。
  由于等候而生的烦闷反而使人指望敌人快点儿来。
  在法国军队完全撤退的第二天下午,三五个不知从哪儿出来的普鲁士骑兵匆促地在市区里穿过。随后略为迟一点,就有一堆乌黑的人马从汕喀德邻的山坡儿上开下来,同时另外两股人寇也在达尔内答勒的大路上和祁倭姆森林里的大路上出现了。这三个部队的前哨恰巧同时在市政府广场上面会师;末后,日耳曼人的主力从附近那些街道过来了,一个营接着一个营,用着强硬而带拍子的脚步踏得街面上的石块橐橐地响。
  好些口令用一阵陌生的和出自硬颚的声音被人喊出来,沿着那些像是死了一般的空房子向天空升上去,房子的百叶窗虽然全是闭了的,里面却有无数的眼睛正在窥视这些胜利的人,这些根据“战争法律”取得全市生命财产的主人地位的人。居民们在他们的晦暗屋子里都吓糊涂了,正同遇着了洪水横流,遇着了大地崩陷,若是想对抗那类灾害,那么任何聪明和气力都是没有用的。因为每逢一切事物的秩序受到了颠覆,每逢安全不复存在,每逢一切素来享受人为的或者自然的法律所保护的事物听凭一种无意识的残忍的暴力来摆布,这种同样的感觉必然也跟着显出来。无论是地震能使坍塌的房子去覆灭整个的民族,无论是江河决口能使落水的农人同着牛的尸体和冲散的栋梁一块儿漂流,无论是打了胜仗的军队屠杀并且俘虏那些自卫的人,又用刀神的名义实行抢劫并且用炮声向神灵表示谢意,同样是使人恐怖的天灾,同样破坏任何对于永恒公理的信仰,破坏我们那种通过教育对于上苍的保护和人类的理智而起的信任心。
  终于在每所房子的门外,都有人数不多的支队叩门了,随后又都在房子里消失了。这是侵入以后的占领行为。战败者对于战胜者应当表示的优待义务从此开始了。
  经过了不久的时间,初期的恐怖一旦消失了以后,一种新的宁静气氛又建立起来。在许多人家,普鲁士军官同着主人家一块儿吃饭。军官当中偶尔也有受过好教育的,并且由于礼貌关系,他也替法国叫屈,说自己参加这次战争是很不愿意的。由于这种情感,有人对他是感激的;随后,有人迟早可能还需要他的保护。既然应付着他,也许可以少供养几个士兵吧。并且为什么要去得罪一个完全可以依靠的人?这样的干法固然是轻率的意味多于豪放,不过轻率已经不是卢昂居民的一种缺点了,正和从前使得他们城市增光的壮烈防护时代不一样。终于有人根据那种从法国人的娴雅性情所演绎出来的莫大理由,说是不在公开地点和外国军人表示亲近,那么在家里讲究礼貌原是许可的。所以在门外装做彼此陌生,而在家里却快快乐乐谈话,末后日耳曼人每晚待得更长久一点,和主人家一家子同在一座壁炉跟前烤火了。
  市区甚至于慢慢恢复了它的平时状态。法国人还不大出门,不过普鲁士兵却在街道上往来不息。此外,好些蓝军服的轻装骑兵军官傲慢地在街面石块上拖着长大军刀向咖啡馆里走,但是对普通居民的轻蔑态度,并不比上一年在同样的咖啡馆里喝酒的法国步兵军官更为明显。
  然而在空气当中总有一点儿东西,一点儿飘忽不定无从捉摸的东西,一种不可容忍的异样气氛,仿佛是一种散开了的味儿,那种外祸侵入的味儿。它充塞着私人住宅和公共场所,它使得饮食变了滋味,它使人觉得是在旅行中间,旅行得很远,走进了野蛮而又危险的部落。
  战胜者需索银钱了,需索大量的银钱了。居民们始终照数缴纳;并且他们都是有钱的。不过一个诺曼底买卖人,越是变成了富裕的,那么他越害怕牺牲,越害怕看见自己财产的小部分转到另外一个人手里。
  然而,在市区下游两三法里左右的河里,靠近十字洲,吉艾卜达勒或者别萨尔那一带,时常有船户或者渔人从水底捞起了日耳曼人的尸首,这种包在军服里边发胀的尸首都是生前被人一刀戳死的或者一脚踢死的,脑袋被石头碰坏或者从桥上被人一下推下来落到水里。河底的污泥隐没了这类暧昧不明的野蛮而合法的报复,隐名的英雄行为,无声的袭击,这些远比白天的战斗可怕却没有荣誉的声光。
  因为对入侵者的憎恶,素来能够教三五个胆大的人格外坚强起来,使他们为了一个信念而不顾性命。
  最后,这些入侵者虽然用一种严酷的纪律控制市区,不过他们那些沿着整个胜利路线所干的骇人听闻的行为虽然早已造成了盛名,而目下在市区里还没有完成一件,这时候,人都渐渐胆壮了,做买卖的需要重新又在当地商人们的心眼儿里发动了。好几个都在哈佛尔订有利益重大的契约,而那个城市还在法军的防守之下,所以他们都想由陆路启程先到吉艾卜去,再坐船转赴这个海港。
  有人利用了自己熟识的日耳曼军官们的势力,终于获得一张由他们的总司令签发的出境证。
  所以,一辆用四匹牲口拉的长途马车被人定了去走这一趟路程,到车行里定座位的有10个旅客,并且决定在某个星期二还没有天亮的时候起程,免得惹人跑过来当热闹看。
  几天以来,地面都冻硬了,在星期一午后3点钟光景,成堆的黑云带着雪片儿从北方飞过来,一直下到天黑又下到深夜没有停住。
  在午前4点半光景,旅客们都到了诺曼底旅馆的天井里,那就是他们上车的地方。
  他们都还睡意沉沉,身子在衣服里面发抖。在黑暗当中谁也看不清楚谁;而且冬季的厚衣服把他们的身子堆得像是一些穿上长道袍的肥胖教士。不过有两个旅客互相认出来了,第三个就向他们身边走过去,他们开始谈天了。“我带了我的妻子。”某一个说。“我也是这么做的。”“我也一样。”那一个接着又说:“我们将来不回卢昂了,并且设若普鲁士人向哈佛尔走,我们将来到英国去。”由于品质相类,他们都有了相同的计划。
  这时候,却还没有人套车。一间乌黑的房子里的门开了,一个手提小风灯的马夫时而走出来,时而又立刻走进另一间屋子里。许多马蹄蹄着地面,不过地面上的厩草减轻了马蹄的声音,一阵向牲口说话和叱骂的人声从屋子的尽头传出来了。接着一阵轻微的铃子声音丁零地响着,那就是报告有人正触动到马的鞧辔;那种丁零的响声不久变成了一阵清脆而连续的颤抖,随着牲口的动作而变化,有时候却也停止一下,随即又在一种突然而起的动摇当中再响起来,同着一只蹄铁扑着地面的沉闷声音一齐传到了外面。
  门突然关上了。一切响声都停止了。那些冻僵了的市民都不说话了;他们都像僵了一般待着没有动。
  连绵不断的雪片像一面帏幕似的往地面上直落,同时耀出回光;它隐没着种种物体的外表,在那上面撒着一层冰苔;在这个宁静而且被严寒埋没的市区的深邃沉寂当中,人都只听见那种雪片儿落下来的飘忽模糊无从称呼的摩擦声息,说声息吗,不如说是感觉,不如说是微尘的交错活动仿佛充塞了空中,又遮盖了大地。
  那个马夫又带着风灯出来了,手里紧紧地牵着一匹不很愿意出来的可怜的马。他把牲口靠近了车辕,系好了挽革,前前后后长久地瞧了一番去拴紧牲口身上的各种马具,因为他一只手已经拿着风灯,所以他只有另一只手可以做事,他去牵第二匹马了,这时候他才注意到那些毫不动弹的旅客,发现他们已经浑身全是雪白的,于是说道:“各位为什么不上车,至少那是有遮盖的。”
  他们以前无疑地没有想到这一层,现在他们都赶忙向车子走。三个男旅客把他们的妻子都安排在顶前头的位子,自己都跟着上来;随后,另外那些遮头盖面的轮廓模糊的旅客彼此没有交谈一句话,就都坐在剩下来的位子上了。
  车里的地下铺着些麦秸,旅客们的脚都藏在那里边了。那些坐在顶前头的女客都带着那种装好化学炭饼的铜质手炉,烧燃了这种东西,便低声慢气地举出它的种种好处,互相重复地叙述那她们早已知道的事物。
  末了,车子套好了,因为拉起来比较困难,所以在向例的四匹牲口以外又加了两匹,有人在车子外面问:“旅客们可是都上了车?”车里有一道声音回答:“对的。”大家起程了。车子走得慢而又慢,简直全是小步儿。轮子隐到了雪里;整个车厢轧轧地呻吟着,牲口滑着,喘着,都是汗气蒸腾的。赶车的手里那根长鞭子不住地噼噼啪啪响着,向各方面飞扬,如同一条细蛇样地扭成一个结子又散开,陡然鞭着一匹牲口蹶起的臀部,马受到狠狠的一击,紧张地奔跑起来。
  但是天色不知不觉一步比一步亮起来了。那阵曾经被一个纯粹卢昂土著的旅客比成棉雨的雪片儿已经不下了。一阵昏浊的微光从雪堆儿里漏出来,云是在而密的,它使得那片平原,那片忽而有一行披着雪衣的大树忽而有一个顶着雪盔的茅屋的平原,显得更其耀眼。
  在车子里,大家利用这个黎明时候的黯淡光线,彼此好奇地互相望着。
  顶头的地方,最好的位子上,鸟先生两夫妇面对面地打着瞌睡,他俩是大桥街一家酒行的老板。
  他原是在一个亏了本的东家身边做伙计的,买了老板的店底并且发了财。他用很低的价把很坏的酒卖给乡下的小酒商,在相识者和朋友们当中,他被人看做是一个狡猾的坏坯子,一个满肚子诡计的和快乐的道地诺曼第人。
  他的偷偷摸摸的名声是人人皆知的,以至于某天晚上都尔内先生在州长的客厅里,使用同意异义的字眼把他这个用“鸟”字做姓的人作为戏谑的对象,都尔内先生是个寓言和歌曲的作家,文笔辛辣而且细腻,是地方上的一种光荣;那天晚上他看见女宾们都像要打瞌睡,就提议来做“鸟翩跹”的游戏;有人从他的语气之间懂得他想说的原是鸟骗钱,这句话就此自动穿过州长的客厅飞到了市区的各处客厅里,使全省的人张大嘴巴整整地笑了一个月。
  此外,鸟先生是以种种性质的恶作剧,善意的或者恶意的笑谈而出名的;只要谈到他,谁也不能不立即加上这么一句:“他是妙不可言的,这鸟。”
  他身躯很矮,腆着一个气球样的大肚子,顶着一副夹在两撮灰白长髯中间的赭色脸儿。
  他的妻子,高大,强壮,沉着,大嗓子,而且主意又快又坚决,在那个被他的兴高采烈的活动力所鼓舞的店里,简直是一种权威。
  在他俩身边坐着一个比较高贵的人,属于一种高尚阶级的迦来-辣马东先生,他是个被人重视的人物,以棉业起家,产业是3个纺织厂,曾得荣誉军团官长勋章,现充州参议会议员。在整个帝政时代,他始终是个善意反对派的领袖,根据他本人的说法,他是只用无刃的礼剑作战的,先攻击对方,再附和几声,以便索取高价的酬报。迦来-辣马东太太比她丈夫年轻得多,素来是卢昂驻军中出身名门的官长的“安慰品”。
  她和丈夫相对,显得很娇小,很玲珑,很漂亮,身上裹着皮衣,用一种颓丧的眼光望着车子内部的凄惨景象。
  他俩的身边是禹贝尔卜来韦伯爵两夫妇,他们出身于诺曼底的最古老又最高贵的一个世家。伯爵是个气派雍容的老绅士,他尽力修饰自己的服装以加重他和亨利四世的天然相似之点,根据他家庭里的一种光荣传说,亨利四世曾经使得卜来韦家一位夫人怀了妊,她的丈夫因此被封为伯爵,又做了本省的巡抚。
  禹贝尔卜来韦伯爵也和迦来-辣马东先生一样是州参议会议员,代表本州的奥尔雷阳党,他的太太是南特市一个小船长的女儿,他俩结婚的历史始终是被人认为神秘的。不过伯爵夫人的气概很大方,接待宾客的风度比谁都强,并且被人认为和路易菲力浦的一个儿子曾经有恋爱的经过,因此所有的贵族都好好地款待她,而她的客厅始终是当地的第一位,唯一保存着古老的恋爱风气的地方,要进去是费事的。
  卜来韦家的财产全是不动产,据说每年约莫有50万金法郎的收入。
  这六个人构成这辆车子的基本旅客,都是属于有经常收入的和稳定而有力的社会方面的,都是一些相信天主教和懂得教义的,有权有势的人。
  由于偶然遇合,车里某一边的长凳上坐的全是女客;靠近伯爵夫人的位子上有两个嬷嬷,她们正捏着长串的念珠一面念着天父和祷告。其中一个是年老的,脸上满是麻子,仿佛她的脸上曾经很近地中了排炮的许多散子似的。另一个,很虚弱,有一个漂亮而带病态的脑袋瓜和一个显出肺病的胸脯,那正是使她们毁坏肉体而成圣徒的吃人的信仰心侵蚀了它。两个嬷嬷的对面,有一个男子和一个女人吸引着全体的视线。
  男子很出名,是被人称为“民主朋友”的戈尔弩兑;好些被人敬重的人士却当他是祸根。二十年以来,他在各处民主派的咖啡馆里把大杯啤酒浸着他那一大嘴的火红色长胡子,他父亲本是一个糖果店商人,遗给他的那份财产是颇为丰厚的,他却带着他的弟兄们和朋友们挥霍干净,末后焦躁地等候共和政体使自己获得适当的地位来显示无数量的革命饮料的成绩。在9月4日,他也许由于上了一个恶作剧的当,自以为受到任命做了州长,不过到了他上任办公的时候,那些始终身居主人翁地位的机关公务员却拒绝承认他,终于逼得他只好退位。此外,他是个好好先生,毫无恶意而且肯替人效劳,这一次,他用一种谁也比他不上的热心尽力布置了防御工事。他教人在平原上掘了好些窟窿,在近处的森林里斩倒了所有的嫩树,在所有的大道上布置了好些陷阱,到了敌人快要到的时候,他满意于自己的种种措施就赶忙缩回市区里来。现在他想起自己倘若到哈佛尔可以做些比较有益的事情,因为在那地方,新的防御工事立刻会变成不可少的。女人呢,所谓尤物之一,她是以妙年发胖著名的,得了个和实际相符的诨名叫做羊脂球,矮矮的身材,满身各部分全是滚圆的,胖得像是肥膘,手指头儿全是丰满之至的,丰满得在每一节小骨和另一节接合的地方都箍出了一个圈,简直像是一串短短儿的香肠似的:皮肤是光润而且绷紧了的,胸脯丰满得在裙袍里突出来,然而她始终被人垂涎又被人追逐,她的鲜润气色教人看了多么顺眼。她的脸蛋儿像一个发红的苹果,一朵将要开花的芍药;脸蛋儿上半段,睁着一双活溜溜的黑眼睛,四周深而密的睫毛向内部映出一圈阴影;下半段,一张妩媚的嘴,窄窄儿的和润泽得使人想去亲吻,内部露出一排闪光而且非常纤细的牙齿。
  此外,人还说她是具备种种无从评价的品质的。
  她一下被人认出来以后,好些切切的密谈就在那些顾爱名誉的妇人道伴里流动起来,后来“卖淫妇”和“社会的羞辱”这一类字眼被她们很响亮地说个不休,因此使她抬起了脑袋。这时候,她向同车的人用很有挑战意味和胆大的眼光望了一周,于是一阵深远的沉寂立刻又恢复了,大家全低着头了,只有鸟老板是例外,他用一种开心的神气窥伺她。但是不久,三个贵妇人的谈话又开始了,有了这个“姑娘”在场,她们突然变成了几乎是非常亲密的朋友。觉得面对着这个毫无羞耻地卖身的女人,她们应当把有夫之妇的尊严身分结成一个团体;因为法定爱情素来高出自由爱情的头上。
  三个男人看见戈尔弩兑,也由于保守派的一种本能彼此接近起来,用一种蔑视穷人的姿态谈着钱财,禹贝尔伯爵说起普鲁士人使他遭到的损害,牲畜被虏和收获无望造成的损失,用一种家资千万的大领主的沉着态度说这些灾祸不过使他困苦一年。迦来一辣马东先生在棉业当中很有痛苦的经验,已经小心地汇了60万金法郎到英国作为随时的应急之用。至于鸟老板呢,他早和法国的军需当局有过商量,向政府卖出了他酒窖里的所有的普通葡萄酒,这样就使得政府欠了他一笔非常之大的现金,他现在就打算到哈佛尔去取。
  末后这三个男人都使出一个友谊的和迅速的眼色互相望了一下。各人的具体情况虽然不同,不过他们都是有钱的,他们都是那个大行会的成员,都是富豪得把手插到裤子口袋就会教金币清脆地响的,所以他们感到彼此都是弟兄。
  车子走得很慢,弄到早上10点钟还只走了四法里。男人们在上坡的时候一共下车步行了三回,大家渐渐不放心了,因为本来应当在多忒那地方吃午饭,现在眼见得非在黑夜是没法子赶到的。所以到了车子陷到积雪当中要两小时才拉得出来的时候,每一个人都去探索大路上的小酒店了。
  吃东西的欲望一步一步增加,使得每一个饿了的人都是心慌的;然而没有人看见一家饭铺子,一家酒铺子,因为法国的饥饿队伍走过之后,又有普鲁士人就要开过来,所有做生意的人都吓跑了。
  先生们跑到大路边上的农庄里去寻找食物了,不过他们连面包都没有找着,因为心下怀疑的农人们,生怕那些一点什么也啃不着的军人发现什么就用武力来抢什么,所以都隐藏了他们的储藏品。
  午后一点快到了,鸟老板扬言自己的确感到肚子里空得非常厉害。大家久已是和他一样感到痛苦的;这种不断扩大的求食的强烈需要终于关上了他们的话匣子。
  不时有人打呵欠了,另一个几乎立刻就摹仿他;每一个人在轮到自己受着影响的时候也都打呵欠了,不过却随着自己的个性和世故以及社会地位,或者带着响声张开嘴巴,或者略略张开随即举起一只手掩住那只吐出热气的大窟窿。羊脂球一连好几次弯着身子,如同在裙子里寻找什么一样。她迟疑了一刹那,望了望同车的人,随后她安安静静挺直了身子。各人的脸上都是苍白的和缩紧的。鸟老板肯定自己可以出一千金法郎去买一只肘子吃。他的妻子如同抗议似的做了一个手势,随后她不动弹了。听到说起乱花钱,她素来是肉疼的,甚至于把有关这类的戏谑也当成了真的,伯爵说:“我在事实上觉得不好受,为什么我先前没有想到带些吃的东西?”每一个人都同样埋怨自己了。
  然而戈尔弩兑却带了一满瓶蔗渣酒,他邀请大家喝一点;大家都冷冷地拒绝了他。只有鸟老板答应喝两滴,后来他在交还酒瓶子的时候道谢了:“这毕竟有用,这教人得点儿暖气,可以骗着人不想什么吃。”酒精教他高兴起来了,他建议照着歌词中小船上的办法:分吃那个最肥胖的旅客。这种直接对着羊脂球而下的隐语,是教那些受过好教育的人感到刺耳的。并没有人回答他;只有戈尔弩兑微笑了一下。两个嬷嬷已经不捏她们的念珠了,双手笼在长大的袖子里不再动弹,坚定地低着眼睛,无疑地把上苍派给她们的痛苦再向上苍回敬。最后,是3点了,这时候,车子走到了一片漫无边际的平原中央,看不见一个村子,羊脂球活泼泼地弯下了身子,在长凳底下抽出一个盖着白饭巾的大提蓝。
  她首先从提篮里取出一只陶质的小盆子,一只细巧的银杯子,随后一只很大的瓦钵子,那里面盛着两只切开了的子鸡,四面满是胶冻,后来旁人又看见提篮里还有好些包着的好东西,蛋糕,水果,甜食,这一切食物是为三天的旅行而预备的,使人简直可以不必和客店里的厨房打交道。在这些食物包裹之间还伸着四只酒瓶的颈子。她取了子鸡一只翅膀斯斯文文同着小面包吃,小面包就是在诺曼底被人叫做“摄政王”的那一种。
  所有的眼光都向她射过来了,不久香味散开了,它增强了人的嗅觉,使得人的嘴里浸出大量的口水,而同时腮骨的耳朵底下发生一阵疼痛的收缩。几个贵妇人对这个“姑娘”的轻视变得更猛烈了,那简直像是一种嫉妒心,要弄死她,或者把她连着银杯子和提篮以及种种食品都扔到车子底下的雪里去。
  不过鸟老板却用眼睛死死盯着那只盛子鸡的瓦钵子。他说:“真好哟,这位夫人从前比我们考虑得周到。有些人素来是什么都会想到的。”她抬头向着他说:“您可是想吃一点,先生?从早上饿到现在是够得受的。”他欠一欠身子:“说句真心话。我不拒绝,我再也受不住了。打仗的时候是打仗的样子,可对,夫人?”末后,他向周围用眼光归了一圈接着说:“在这样一种时候,遇见有人为自己帮忙是很快活的。”他带了一张报纸,现在为了不至于弄脏裤子就把它打开铺在两只膝头上,接着再从口袋里取出一柄永不离身的小刀,扳开它用尖子挑着一只满是亮晶晶的胶冻的鸡腿,他用牙齿咬开了它,再带着一阵很明显的满意来咀嚼,使得车子里起了一阵伤心的长叹。
  但是羊脂球用一道谦卑而甜美的声音邀请两个嬷嬷来分尝她的便餐。她俩立即接受了,在含糊道了谢之后,并没有抬起眼睛就很快地吃起来。戈尔弩兑也没有拒绝他身边这位旅伴的赠与,他和两个嬷嬷在膝头上展开好些报纸,构成了一种桌子。
  几张嘴不住地张开来又合拢去,吞着,嚼着,如狼似虎地消纳着。鸟老板坐在角儿上吃个痛快,一面低声劝他的妻子也学他的样子。她抗拒了好半天,随后她肚子里经过一阵往来不断的抽掣,她答应了。这时候,她丈夫用婉转的语句,去请教他们的“旅行良伴”是否允许他取一小块儿转给鸟夫人。她带着和蔼的微笑说:“可以的,当然,先生,”接着她就托起了那只瓦钵子。
  有人拔开第一瓶葡萄酒的塞子了,这时候却发生一件尴尬的事:只有一只杯子。于是只好在一个人喝完以后经过拂拭再传给第二个人。只有戈尔弩兑偏偏把嘴唇去接触羊脂球的酒杯上吮过还没有干的地方,无疑地这是由于表示献媚。这时候,卜来韦伯爵两夫妇和迦来-辣马东先生两夫妇,受到这些吃喝着的人的围绕又被食品发散出来的香味弄得呼吸急促,都简直同当达勒一样只好熬受这类可恨的苦刑。忽然间,厂长的青年配偶发出了一声使得好些人回头来望的叹息,她脸色白得和外面的雪一样了,眼睛闭了,额头往下低了:她已经失了知觉。他丈夫急得发痴,恳求大家援救。每一个人都失了主意,这时候,那个年长一些的嬷嬷扶着病人的头,把羊脂球的酒杯塞到病人的嘴唇缝儿里,使她吞了几滴葡萄酒。漂亮的贵妇人动弹了,张开眼睛了,微笑了,并且用一种命在垂危者的声音说自己现在觉得很好了。不过,为了教这种病状不再发作,嬷嬷又强迫她去喝一满杯葡萄酒而且还说道:“这因为饿极了,没有旁的。”
  这样一来,羊脂球脸上发红而且进退两难了,她望着这四个始终空着肚子的男女旅客们一面吞吞吐吐地说:“老天,我真想向这两位先生和这两位夫人献出,可是……”说到这里,她害怕惹起一种顶撞就没有再往下说。鸟老板发言了:“还用多说!在这样的情况里,大家都是弟兄而且应当互相帮助。赶快吧,夫人们,不必讲虚文哟,请接受吧,自然哪!我们可知道是否还找得着一间屋子过夜?照这样走法是不能在明天中午以前到多忒的。”他们仍旧迟疑,没有一个敢于负起责任来说一声:“可以。”
  不过伯爵来解决问题了。他转过身来对着这个胆怯的胖“姑娘”,拉着显出他那种世家子弟的雍容大度向她说道:“我们用感恩的态度来接受,夫人。”
  只有第一步是费事的。一下越过了吕必功河的人就简直为所欲为。提篮的东西都搬出来了。它还盛着一份鹅肝冻,一份云雀冻,一份熏牛舌,好些克拉萨因的梨子,一方主教桥的甜面包,好些小件头甜食和一只满是醋泡乳香瓜和圆葱头的小磁缸,羊脂球也像一切的妇人一样最爱生的蔬菜。
  吃了这个“姑娘”的东西自然不能不和她说话。所以大家谈天了,开初,姿态是慎重的,随后,因为她的态度很好,大家也就随便得多。卜来韦和迦来-辣马东两位夫人本来都很懂得处世之道,现在都妙曼地显出和颜悦色的样子,尤其是伯爵夫人,她显出了那种一尘不染的高级贵妇人的和蔼的谦虚样子,并且来得娇媚。不过那个高大的鸟夫人素来怀着保安警察的心理,所以仍旧是顽梗不化,话说得少而东西吃得多。
  大家自然谈到战事了。叙述到普鲁士人的种种骇人的事实,法国人的种种英勇的行动;而这些逃难的男男女女对于旁人的勇气都表示尊敬,不久大家开始说到个人的经历了,羊脂球用一种真正的愤慨,用那种在姑娘们表现天然怒气的时候往往使用的热烈语言,叙述自己怎样离开卢昂,她说:“开初我以为自己能够待下去。家里本来满是吃的东西,甘愿养几个兵士,决不离开家乡跑到旁的地方去。不过等到我看见了那些家伙,那些普鲁士人,我真不由自主了!他们使得我满肚子全是怒气了,我惭愧得哭了一天。哈!倘若我是个男子汉,上前去吧!我从窗子里望着他们,那些戴着尖顶铁盔的肥猪,于是我的女佣人抓住我的双手,免得我把我的桌子椅子扔到他们的脊梁上。随后有几个到我家里来住宿了;那时候,我扑到了其中第一个的脖子上。掐死他们并不比掐死其余的人格外难!倘若没有人抓着我的头发,我是可以结果那一个的。事后我不得不躲藏了。到末了,我找着了机会就动身了,现在我在这儿。”
  大家称赞她了。在这些没有表示那么猛干的旅伴的评价中间,她的地位增高了;戈尔弩兑静听着她,一面保持一种心悦诚服者的赞叹而且亲切的微笑;甚至于就像一个教士听见一个信徒赞美上帝,因为长胡子的民主朋友都有爱国主义专卖权,正和穿道袍的汉子们都有宗教专卖权一样。轮到他发言,他用一种理论家的语调,用那种从每天粘在墙上的宣言里学得来的夸张口吻发言了,末后他用一段雄辩作了结论,用威严的态度攻击那个“流氓样的巴丹盖。”
  不过羊脂球立刻生气了,因为她是波拿巴党,她的脸蛋儿红得像是一颗樱桃,噘着嘴巴气忿地说:“我真要看看你们坐在他的位子上会怎么干,你们这些人。那大概是很像样的,对呀!这回正是你们出卖了他,这个人!倘若人都被你们这样胡作非为的人统治,那么只好离开法国了!”戈尔弩兑是意气自若的,始终保持一种高高在上的轻蔑微笑,不过大家觉得骂街的字眼差不多要出口了,这时候,伯爵插入中间费着劲儿安定那个怒气冲天的“姑娘”,一面用权威的态度声言一切诚实的见解都是可以敬重的。伯爵夫人和厂长夫人,她们的脑子里素来怀着正经人对于共和国而起的无理憎恨,以及一切妇女对于神气活现实行专制的政府而抱的天然爱惜,都不由自主地觉得自己倾向于这个难能可贵的卖淫妇了:她的情感和她们的真很相像。
  提篮空了。十个人不用费事吃空了它,一面认为它当初没有编得更大一点未免可惜。谈话又继续了一会,不过自从吃完了以后却多少冷落一些。
  夜色下来了,黑暗渐渐变成了深沉的,寒气在人消化食物的时候是更其使人觉得的,羊脂球尽管富于脂肪,寒气也有些使得她发噤,于是卜来韦夫人把自己的袖珍手炉送给她用,那里边的炭从早上到现在已经换了好几回,羊脂球立刻接受了这种好意,因为她觉得自己的脚冻木了。迦来-辣马东夫人和鸟夫人把她俩的借给了两个嬷嬷。
  赶车的点燃了车外的风灯。灯光是明亮而闪动的,照见辕子两边的牲口臀部的汗气像云气一样飘浮;大路两边的雪仿佛在移动的亮光底下伸展。
  车子里什么也分辨不出来了,不过在羊脂球和戈尔弩兑中间忽然起了一种动作;鸟老板的眼睛正在暗中窥探,他相信看见那个大胡子突然向旁一偏,如同沉重地接受了什么没有声音的打击。
  前面的大路上出现一星一星的灯火了。那就是多忒镇。他们走了11小时,再加牲口在路上吃了四次草料休息了两小时,一共就是13小时了。车子开到了镇上,在招商旅馆的门口歇下来。
  车门开了!一阵听惯了的声音教所有的旅客感到心惊肉跳;那正是军刀鞘子接接连接撞着路面。立刻就有一个日耳曼人的声音嚷着几句话。
  车子虽然停了,不过谁也没有下来,仿佛正有人等着旅客一下车就来屠杀。这时候,赶车的出面了,他从车外取下一盏风灯拿着向车里一照,登时照明了车子内部那两行神色张皇的脸儿,因为惊惧交集,眼睛都是睁大的,嘴巴全是张开的。
  在赶车的旁边,灯光当中站着一个日耳曼军官,一个非常之瘦的长个儿青年人,头发是金黄的,军服紧紧地缚着他的腰身仿佛是一个女孩子缚着腰甲,平顶的漆皮军帽歪歪地偏向一边,使人觉得他很像一家英国旅馆里的小使。他两撇长得过度的髭须直挺挺地翘起,不断地向上收束,最后只有一茎金黄色的毫毛,纤细得教人望不见它的杪末,那像是压着他的嘴角儿,牵着他的腮帮子,在嘴唇上印出一道下坠的折纹。
  他用阿尔萨斯口音的法语请旅客们下车,用一道生硬的语气说:“各位可愿意下车,先生们和夫人们!”
  两个嬷嬷用那种惯于听受一切征服力的圣女式的柔顺态度首先表示了服从,接着下车的是伯爵两夫妇,而厂长两夫妇跟在他们后边,随后才是鸟老板推着他那个高大的老婆在他头里走。他的一只脚刚着地,就用一种谨慎超于礼貌的情感向军官说了一声:“先生你好。”另一个却倨傲得像是能力万全的人一般望着鸟老板没有答礼。
  羊脂球和戈尔弩兑尽管本来都坐在门口边,下车却在最后,而且在敌人跟前显得又稳重又高傲。胖“姑娘”极力镇定自己,使自己显得安详,民主朋友用一只具有悲剧意味而且略略发抖的手捋着自己的火红长胡子。他和她都懂得在这种遭遇中间每一个人多少代表着祖国,所以都愿意保持一点庄严态度;并且同样都因为他们同车的旅伴们的软弱样子而发生反感,所以她极力显出自己比她那些女旅伴,那些顾爱名誉的妇人来得自负,他呢,觉得应当以身作则,在整个态度上继续他那种已经由破坏大路开始了的抗敌使命。
  一行人都走到旅馆的宽大的厨房里了,日耳曼人教他们出示了那份由总司令签了名的出境证,那上面是载着每一个旅客的姓名,年貌和职业的,他长久地端详着这一行人,把他们本人和书面记载来作比较。
  随后他突然说道:“这对的。”接着他走开了。
  这时候,人人都松了一口气,因为依然都还饿着肚子,就教人预备宵夜。为了安排那非得花半小时不可;于是趁着旅馆里两个女佣像是着手料理的时候,旅客们去看屋子了。屋子都在一条长的过道里,尽头有一扇玻璃门写着一个表示意义的号码。
  大家终于坐在饭桌上,这时候,旅馆的掌柜亲自走出来。那原是一个做马贩子的,一个害着气喘病的胖子,他嗓子里始终呼啸,发哑,带着痰响。他父亲传给他的姓氏是伏郎卫。他问道:
  “哪一位是艾丽萨贝特鲁西小姐?”
  羊脂球吃惊了,转过头来回答:
  “是我。”
  “小姐,普鲁士军官立刻要和您说话。”
  “和我吗?”
  “是呀,倘若您的确是艾丽萨贝特鲁西小姐。”
  她摸不着头脑了,思索了一下,随后爽利地说:
  “这是可能的,不过我不会去。”
  她的周围发生一阵骚动,每个人都发表意见,探究这道命令的来由,伯爵走近她跟前说:
  “您错了,夫人,因为您的拒绝是能够引起种种重大困难的,不仅对于您自己,而且甚至对于您的全体旅伴也一样。人总是从来不应当和最强的人作对的。他这种要求确实不能引起任何危险;无疑地是为了一点儿漏了的手续。”
  大家都和伯爵一致了,央求她,催促她,重复地劝告她,终于说服了她;因为谁都害怕一个冒昧举动可能带来种种麻烦。最后她说:
  “确实是为了各位,我才这样做。”
  伯爵夫人握着她的手。
  “这样,我们谢谢您。”
  她出去了。大家等着她转来吃饭。
  由于没有像这个性情暴躁的“姑娘”被人传唤,每一个人都发愁了,并且暗自预先想好些卑屈的办法,以便自己也被传唤的时候可以使用。
  不过,10分钟以后,她回来了,脸上绯红,喘得连话都说不出,而且非常生气,她吃着嘴说道:“哈,混蛋!混蛋!”全体都急于要知道底细,不过她什么也不说;末后伯爵再三盘问,她才用一种非常庄严的神气回答:“不成,那和各位没有关系,我不能说。”
  于是大家围着一个高大的汤罐坐下了,其中有一阵卷心白菜的香味散出来。他们固然受了惊慌,不过这顿宵夜却是快乐的。苹果酒的味道不错,由于省钱,鸟家两夫妇和两个嬷嬷都喝着它。其余的人叫的都是葡萄酒;戈尔弩兑叫的是啤酒。他有一套特别的方式去开酒瓶,去让酒吐出泡沫,偏着杯子去细看,接着就举在眼睛和灯光的中间去玩赏它的颜色。在他喝的时候,他那一丛大胡子本来保存了这种他心爱的饮料的色彩,现在竟像是因为受到爱抚而颤抖起来;他斜着眼光盯着他的杯子,仿佛这样就尽到了他今生今世的唯一职责。他毕生只有两件大的癖好:一件是浅颜色啤酒,而另一件是革命,竟可以说他心里想使这两件癖好能够彼此接近,并且能够彼此交融如同水乳似的,所以他确实不能尝着这一件的滋味而不念及另一件。
  伏郎卫先生两夫妇都坐在桌子的另一头吃东西,男的呢,喘得像是一个坏了的火车头,他肺部呼出吸进的气太多,以致无法在吃饭的时候谈天;不过他的女人却永远是叽叽呱呱的。她讲起自己在普鲁士人初到时得来的种种印象,他们做过的事,他们说过的话,她咒骂他们,首先因为他们害得她花了钱,其次,因为她有两个儿子从军去了。她尤其爱对伯爵夫人谈天,因为和一个有地位的夫人谈天在她是受到了宠遇。
  随后,她压低声音来说那些微妙的事了,她丈夫不时阻止她:“你别开口总好一些,伏郎卫夫人。”不过她绝不买帐,仍旧继续说下去:
  “对啊,夫人,那些人做的事不过是吃马铃薯和猪肉,以后又是猪肉和马铃薯。而且千万别相信他们都是清洁的。——哈,简直不成!——说句不客气的话,他们四处随意拉撒。设若您看见他们连着整天整天的操演哟;他们操演起来都在那边的一片地里:向前进,向后退,向这边转,向那边转。——设若他们在他们国内至少种地,或者修路!那还罢了。——但是并没有,夫人,这些军人对谁都没有益处。是不是应当由可怜的百姓养活他们使他们只去学着屠杀!——我自己不过是一个没有受过教育的老妇人,这是真的,不过我看见他们费尽气力去从早到晚在地面上踏过去又踏过来,就暗自说道:‘在世上正有好些人为了有益于人求得那么多的发明,另外好些人却费着这么多的气力来使自己可以害人!真的,难道杀人不是一件令人憎恶的事?无论是普鲁士人,是英国人,是波兰人或者是法国人。’——倘若有人在一个害过他的人身上寻报复,那是错的,因为法律惩罚寻报复的人;不过到了有人把我们的孩子当作野味一般开枪去围剿的时候,既然有人把勋章赏给那些最会摧毁我们孩子的人,所以那是对的,这又怎么说呢?——不成,您看这是怎么回事,我简直弄不懂!”
  戈尔弩兑提高嗓门说道:
  “在侵略一个爱和平的邻国的时候,打仗是一种野蛮行为;在防护祖国的时候,那是一种神圣义务。”
  老妇人低着头说:
  “对呀,防护祖国那是另外一件事,不过人难道不应当杀绝那些用打仗来寻乐的帝王吗?”
  戈尔弩兑的眼光如同着了火一样了。
  “好极了,女公民!”他说。
  迦来-辣马东先生深沉地思索起来。他虽然非常迷信出名的将官,不过这个乡下老妇人的常识却引起了他的思考:这么多的人手空着不做事自然就是坐吃山空的,若是用着这些人手在一个国家做事可以造成何等的繁荣,这么多的被人废置不用的劳动力,若是用在大规模的工业上真得要好几百华才用得完。
  不过鸟老板呢,离开座位走到旅馆掌柜身边用很低的声音和他谈话了。那胖子笑着,咳嗽着、吐着痰,他的大肚子因为身边那个人的诙谐而快乐得一起一伏地动着,后来他向他买进了六件半桶头的红葡萄酒,到明年春天普鲁士人走了以后收货。
  宵夜刚好吃完,大家乏得不成样子,都去休息了。然而鸟老板早已看到了许多事,他教妻子上了床,自己却向房门上的钥匙洞儿里贴着眼睛向外望,一会儿又贴着耳朵向外听,这样轮番地做个不停,而目的就是要发现他所谓“过道里的秘密”。
  将近在一小时之末,他听见了一阵窸窸窣窣的声音,于是赶忙去望,终于望见了羊脂球,她披的是一件滚着白花边的蓝色山羊毛织品的浴衣,他觉得她比白天还更丰满一点。她端着一只烛台,向过道尽头那间标着很大号码的屋子走。不过旁边又有一张门也轻轻地开了,等到羊脂球在几分钟以后转来,戈尔弩兑跟在她后面了,他连坎肩都没有着,教人看见他的衬衣上背着一条背带。他们正低声谈着,随后又都停着不动。羊脂球仿佛毅然决然把守了自己的房门。不幸鸟老板听不见他们说些什么;不过到末了,他们提高了嗓门,他才听见了几句。戈尔弩兑用激烈的态度坚持己见,他说:“我们瞧吧,您真没有想通,这于您算个什么?”
  她像是生气了,回答道:
  “不成,好朋友,这些事情有时候是不能做的;并且,在这儿,那是件丢人的事。”
  他无疑地简直没有懂得,就问那是为什么。于是她很生气了,更提高了音调:
  “为什么?您不懂得为什么?这时候,有好些普鲁士人在旅馆里,也许就在隔壁房子里,不懂吗?”
  他不说话了。她是不肯在敌人近边受人爱抚的,这种妓女的爱国廉耻心应该在戈尔弩兑的心上唤醒了正在衰弱的品格吧,因为他仅仅在和她拥抱了以后,就蹑着脚回到自己的屋子里去。
  鸟老板浑身都是火了,他离开了钥匙洞儿,在屋子里赶忙轻轻地一跳,戴上了棉布睡帽,就揭开了那床盖着他配偶的粗硬身躯的被盖,用一个拥抱弄醒了她,一面低声慢气地说:“你可爱我,亲人儿?”
  这时候,整个一所房子全是没有声息的了。不过一会儿之后,在一个难于确定的方位,可能是在地下室也许是在搁楼,又起了一阵有力的和单调而有规律的抽鼾声音,一种迟钝而且拖长的噪音还带有锅炉受着蒸汽压力样的震动。伏郎卫先生睡着了。
  旅客们本来决定第二天八点起程,所以都看准钟点在厨房齐集,不过车子呢,顶棚上满是积雪,孤零零地停立在天井当中,没有牲口也没有赶车的。有人枉费气力去找他了,无论在马房里,在草料房里或者在车房里都找不着。于是所有的男人都决定到镇上去走一趟,他们出门了。走到了镇上的广场,看见礼拜堂正在广场的尽头,而两旁是许多矮房子,其中有好些普鲁士兵。他们看见的第一个正给马铃薯削皮,第二个,比较远一点的,正洗刷一间理发店,另外一个满脸的长胡子一直连到眼睛边的,吻着一个哭的婴孩,并且搁在膝头上摇着教他安静;好些胖乡下妇人,丈夫们都是属于作战部队的,用手势指点那些顺从的战胜者去做他们应当做的工作,譬如劈柴,给面包浇汤和磨咖啡之类;有一个甚至于替他的女房东,一个衰弱不堪的老祖母洗衣衫。
  伯爵诧异了,看见有一个礼拜堂小职员正从堂长的住宅里出来就向他探听。那个靠礼拜堂吃饭的耗子回答道:“噢!那些人并不凶恶;据说,那不是普鲁士人。他们都来得远一些,我不很知道那是什么地方,他们也都把妻室儿女留在自己的家乡,打仗在他们并不觉得好耍,还用多说!我很相信在他们那边很有人为着男的哭哪,而且打仗正和在我们国里一样也会在他们国里造成一种困苦。在目前,本地还没有很吃苦,因为他们都不做坏事,而且像在他们自己的家里一样做工。您可看见,先生,在穷人中间真应当互相帮助……因为要打仗的都是大人物哪。”
  这种在战胜者和战败者之间成立的真挚团结是使得戈尔弩兑生气的,他宁愿回到旅馆里闷坐,所以就抽身走了。鸟老板说了一句取笑的话:“他们正在繁殖人口。”迦来-辣马东说了一句庄重的话:“他们正在补救。”不过他们却找不到赶车的。最后才在镇上的咖啡馆找着了他,他正和普鲁士军官的勤务兵像弟兄一般同坐着一张桌子。伯爵向他质问道:
  “不是曾经吩咐您8点钟套车?”
  “一点不错,不过我又早接到了另外一种吩咐。”
  “哪一种吩咐?”
  “不用套车。”
  “这是谁吩咐您的?”
  “老天!普鲁士营长。”
  “为什么?”
  “我一点也不知道。请您去问他吧。他们禁止我套车,我呢,就不套。事情就是这样。”
  “可是他本人对您说的?”
  “不是,先生,这是旅馆掌柜照他的话吩咐的。”
  “在什么时候?”
  “昨天夜晚我正要睡的时候。”
  三个人很担忧地回来了。
  他们去找伏郎卫先生了,不过女佣人的答复是先生因为害着气喘病从来不在10点钟以前起床。并且他明确地禁止旁人在10点钟以前唤醒他,除非是发生了火警。
  他们想去看普鲁士军官了,不过那是绝对办不到的,虽然他本来就住在这旅馆里。为了民间的事,他只允许伏郎卫先生向他说话。这样一来,他们只好候着。女客回到各人的卧房去,忙着做些琐碎的事。
  尔弩兑在厨房里那座生着一炉好火的高大壁炉前面坐下了。他教人从旅馆的咖啡座内搬来了一张小桌子,一罐啤酒,于是他抽着他的烟斗,那东西在民主界中是几乎和他本人享受一种相等的尊敬的,仿佛它为戈尔弩兑服务就是为祖国服务一般。那是一枝熏得很透的海泡石烟斗,像它的主人翁的牙齿一样地黑,不过是香喷喷的,弯弯儿的,有光彩的,和他的手很亲密,并且使得他的仪表更加神气。末后,他不动作了,眼睛有时候盯着壁炉里的火,有时候盯着那层盖在他酒杯上的泡沫;他每逢喝过了一口,就吸着那些粘在髭须上的泡沫,同时得意地伸起几只瘦长的手指头儿,去搔自己那些油腻的长头发。
  鸟老板假借活动自己的腿子为名,走出去向镇上卖酒的小商人抛出了一些酒。伯爵和厂长开始谈着政治。他们预测法国的前途。一个相信要倚仗奥尔雷阳党,另一个却相信一个陌生的救国者,一个在全盘失望的时候就会出现的英雄:一个改克阑,个S焴茵达克吧,也许?或者另外一个拿破仑一世吧?哈!倘若皇子不是这样年轻该有多好!戈尔弩兑一面静听这类的话一面用懂得命运之说者的样子微笑。他的烟斗使得厨房变成芬芳的了。
  报过了10点,伏郎卫先生出来了。很快就有人询问他;不过他只能一个字也不变动地把这样的话说了两三遍:“军官对我说过:“伏郎卫先生,您要禁止明天有人替那些旅客套车。我不愿意他们没有我的吩咐就动身走。现在您听见了。这就够了。’”
  这样一来,他们想去见普鲁士军官了。伯爵教人把自己的名片送给他,迦来-辣马东把自己的姓名和一切头衔都添在伯爵的名片上。普鲁士人教人回答,说他允许这两位先生来和他说话,不过要等他吃过午饭,这就是说在一点光景。女旅客都出来了,大家尽管心绪不安却多少吃了一点。羊脂球仿佛生了病并且异样的心慌。
  大家喝完咖啡了,这时候,普鲁士军官的勤务兵来找那两位先生。
  鸟老板也和这两位结合在一起儿了,为了增加这种运动的声势,他们又打算去拉戈尔弩兑同走,不过他高岸地声言自己从不愿和日耳曼人发生任何关系,末后他又叫了一罐啤酒就回到他的壁炉边去。
  三个男人都上楼了,被人引到了旅馆那间最讲究的屋子里,那正是军官接见他们的地方,他躺在一张太师椅当中,双脚高高地翘在壁炉上,嘴里吸着一枝磁烟锅儿的长烟斗,身上裹着一件颜色耀眼儿的睡衣——这东西无疑地是从什么庸俗的有产阶级放弃了的住宅里偷来的。他不站起,不和他们打招呼,不望他们。他显出了那种属于得胜武夫的天生下流派头的绝好活标本。
  一会儿,他终于用日耳曼人的口音说着法语问道:
  “你们想要什么?”
  “我们想要动身,先生。”伯爵发言了。
  “不成。”
  “我是否可以请教这种拒绝的原故?”
  “因为我不愿意。”
  “先生,我恭恭敬敬请您查照您的总司令发给我们的护照,那上面是允许我们动身到吉艾卜去的;我想不起我们做了点什么事情要受您的严格处置。”
  “我不愿意……没有旁的……你们可以下楼去。”
  三个人鞠了躬就退出来了。
  午后的情况是凄惨的。这个日耳曼人的坏脾气,谁也不懂一点,各种各样最异样的意念搅得他们头脑发昏了。全体都坐在厨房里,想出好些虚构的事争论不休。他也许要留住他们做人质——不过目的何在?——或者拘留他们当俘虏吧?或者多半还是问他们要一笔可观的赎票费吧?想到这一层,一阵惊慌教他们发狂了。那些最有钱的都是害怕得最厉害的,他们有的是满盛着金币的钱包,他们似乎已经看见自身受到逼迫,把那些钱交到这个倨傲的丘八的两只手里,以赎回自己的生命。于是他们挖空头脑去寻觅种种合乎情理的谎语。去隐蔽他们的财富。去把自己装得贫穷,装得很贫穷。鸟老板拿下了自己那条金表链藏在衣袋里。下降的夜色增加了种种恐慌。灯点好了,这时候,在吃饭以前还有两小时,鸟太太就提议拿纸牌斗一局“三十一点”。那可是一种散心的事。大家同意了。戈尔弩兑也来参加了,由于礼貌,他事前弄熄了他的烟斗。
  伯爵洗了牌来分了,羊脂球举手就拿着了三十一点;不久,牌局的兴味压低了种种分心的畏惧。不过戈尔弩兑发现了鸟老板两口子结合着行使欺骗。
  正要快去吃饭的时候,伏郎卫先生又露面了,他用那种带着痰响的嗓子高声说道:“普鲁士军官要人来问艾丽萨贝特鲁西小姐是不是还没有改变她的主意。”
  羊脂球站着不动,脸色是很苍白的;随后突然变成了深红,她因为盛怒而呼吸迫促了,迫促得教她失去了说话的能力。末了她才嚷着说:“您可以告诉这个普鲁士下流东西,这个脏东西,这个死尸,说我永远不愿意,您听清楚,我永远不,永远不,永远不。”
  胖掌柜出去了。于是羊脂球被人包围了,被人询问了,被人央求了,所有的人都指望她揭穿普鲁士军官请她谈话的秘密。她开初是拒绝说明的;但是没有多久盛怒激动了她,她叫唤道:“他要的?他要的?他要的是和我睡觉!”谁也不觉得这句话刺耳,因为当时的公愤实在很活跃。戈尔弩兑猛烈地把酒杯向桌上一搁竟打破了它。那是大声斥责这个卑劣丘八的一种公愤,一种怒潮,一种为了抵抗的全体结合,仿佛那丘八向她身上强迫的这种牺牲就是向每一个人要求一部分。伯爵用厌弃的态度声言这些家伙的品行简直像古代的野蛮人。特别是那些妇人对于羊脂球都显示一种有力的和爱抚性的怜惜。两个嬷嬷本来是只在吃饭的时候才出来的,早就低着头什么也没有说。
  第一阵愤怒平了,那时候他们照旧吃了晚饭,不过话却说得不多;大家计划着。
  妇人们是早早退出的,男子们吸着雪茄,一面组织另外一种比较具有赌博性的牌局,邀请了伏郎卫先生参加,他们以为这样就便于巧妙地向掌柜询问怎样去制伏普鲁士军官。不过掌柜只注意自己的牌,什么话也不听,什么话也不回答,反而不断地重复说道:“留心牌哟,先生们,留心牌哟。”他的思虑紧张得连吐痰都忘了,使得痰在胸脯里不时装上了好些延音符。他的肺叶是呼啸的,发得出气喘症的全部音阶,从那些低而深的音符数到小雄鸡勉强啼唱样的尖锐而发哑声音都是无一不备的。
  他妻子被瞌睡困住的时候来找他了,他竟至于拒绝上楼去。于是她独自走了,因为她是“干早班的”,素来和太阳一同起身,而她丈夫却是“干晚班的”,素来准备和朋友们熬夜。他这时候向她叫唤:你要把我的蛋黄甜羹搁在火边。”接着又来斗牌了。大家在看见无法从他那里打听到一点消息的时候,就说是应当散了,每一个人都回到了床上。
  第三天,大家依然是起得早的,心里始终抱着一种空泛的希望,想动身的欲望也更迫切,因为在这个很可怕的乡村客店过日子实在令人恐慌。
  糟糕!牲口全系在马房里,赶车的始终杳无踪迹。由于无事可做,他们绕着车子兜圈子了。
  午饭是凄惨的,仿佛有一种冷落气氛针对着羊脂球发生了,因为深夜的宁静原是引得起考虑的,它已经略略变更了种种看法。他们现在几乎怨恨这个“姑娘”了:她没有秘密地去找普鲁士人,如果找了,就可以使同伴们一起床都得到一个意外的惊喜。哪儿还有更简单的?并且谁会知道?她只须对军官说自己原是可怜同伴们的悲叹,那就能够敷衍面子了。在她,那原是很不关重要的!
  不过谁也还没有道出这类的意思。
  午后,他们正厌烦得要死,伯爵就提议到镇外的附近各处去兜圈子。每一个人都细心地着了衣裳,于是这个小团体就出发了,只有戈尔弩兑是例外,他宁愿待在火旁边。至于两个嬷嬷,她们的白天时间都是在礼拜堂里或者堂长家里度过的。
  寒气一天比一天来得重了,像针刺一样严酷地扎着鼻子和耳朵,人的脚变成很痛苦的了,每走一步就要疼一下,后来走到了镇外,田野简直是一片白茫茫的,在他们眼里真凄惨得非常怕人,全体立刻转来了,心灵是冰凉的而心房是紧缩的。
  四个妇人走在头里,三个男人跟在后边,略略隔开了几步。
  鸟老板是了解情况的。忽然问道这个卖笑女人是否想教他们在这样一种怪地方还待些日子。伯爵始终是文雅的,说旁人不能把一种这样难受的牺牲去强迫一个妇人,而要她出于自愿。迦来-辣马东先生注意于倘若法国军队像大家所怀疑的一样真从吉艾卜开过来反攻,那么只能在多忒接触。这种思虑使得另外两个不安了。“倘若我们步行去逃难。”鸟老板说。伯爵耸着肩头说:“在这样的大雪里,您想这样办?而且还带着我们的家眷?末后我们立刻就会被人来追,不过10分钟就会被人赶到跟前,被人当俘虏一般牵着交给丘八们摆布。”这话原是真理,谁也不发言了。
  几个贵妇人谈着时装,不过某一种的拘束力仿佛得使她们都是貌合神离的。
  在街尾上,普鲁士军官忽然露面了。他在那种一望无际的积雪上面,映出身着军服的长个儿蜂腰的侧影,叉开双膝向前走,这种动作是军人们所独有的,他们极力防护那双仔细上了蜡的马靴不教它染上一点恶浊。
  在几个贵妇人近边走过的时候,他欠一欠身子,用一种轻蔑的神气望一望那几个男人,他们呢,都保持着尊严简直不对他脱一脱帽子,虽然鸟老板做了一个像是去揭帽子的手势。
  羊脂球连耳朵都是绯红的了,那三个有夫之妇认为这个丘八从前之对待这个“姑娘”是很具有骑士意味的。现在她们偏偏在同着她散步的时候遇见他,因此都感到了一阵大的屈辱。
  这样一来,大家谈到他了,谈到他的姿势和面貌了。迦来-辣马东夫人本认识很多军官而且能用识者的地位品评他们,这时候觉得这一个简直不坏,她甚至可惜他不是法国人,否则他可以做一个很漂亮的轻装骑兵军官,使得一切妇人一定因为他被弄得神魂颠倒。
  一下回到了旅馆里,大家都不知道怎么办。甚至于遇到一些细微的事也说些尖酸的语句。晚饭是静默的和短促的,末后每一个人希望利用睡觉去消磨时间,都上楼休息了。第四天,人人都带着疲倦的面目和焦躁的心情走下楼来。妇人们不大和羊脂球谈天了。
  一阵钟声传过来了。那是为了一场洗礼。胖“姑娘”本有一个孩子养在伊勿朵的农人家里,她每年看不见他一回,并且从不对他记挂;不过现在想起这一个就要被人送去受洗的孩子,她心里对自己的那一个动了一种突然而起的热烈慈爱,于是她坚决地要去参观这一场礼节。
  她刚好出去,大家互相使着眼色,随后就把椅子搬拢来,因为都很觉得终于应当有个决定。鸟老板动了灵感,说道:他主张去向军官提议,只把羊脂球扣下来而让其余的人都走。伏郎卫先生又负着这种使命上楼了,不过他几乎立刻又下来。日耳曼人原是认识人的本质的,他把他撵出了房门。口称在他的欲望没有满足的时候,他始终留着这班旅客。
  这样一来,鸟夫人的市井下流脾气爆发了:“然而我们不会老死在这儿。既然和一切的男人那么干,本是她的职业,这个贱货的职业,我认为她并没有权力来选精择肥。我现在请教一下:在卢昂她碰见谁就要谁,甚至于好些赶车的她也要!对呀,夫人,州长的赶车的!我很知道他,我,他到我店里买他喝的酒。今天遇着要给我们解除困难,她倒要撒娇,这个拖着鼻涕的家伙!我呢,认为他很懂规矩,这个军官。他也许旷了很久,我们三个无疑都是可以被他赏识的。但是他并不那么做,而满意于这个属于公共的女人。他敬重有夫之妇哪。您揣想一下吧,他是主人翁。只须开口说一声“我要”。就可以用他的部下仗着蛮劲来抓我们。”
  其余两个妇人都轻轻地打了一个寒噤。漂亮的迦来-辣马东夫人的眼睛发光了,她的脸色有点苍白了,如同觉得自己已经被军官用蛮劲抓住了。
  男人们本来都在另一旁说话,现在都走过来了,气忿忿的鸟老板想把“这个贱东西”的手脚缚起来送给别人。不过伯爵出身于三代都做过大使的家庭并且具有外交家的外貌,却主张用巧妙手腕:“应当教她自己决定。”他说。
  这样一来,他们发动阴谋了。
  妇人们交头接耳压低了声音,而且讨论得普遍,每一个人发表了自己的见解,究竟那是很合身份的,尤其是为了说出最不顺口的事情,这些贵妇人都找着了种种玲珑的转折,种种巧妙的动人口吻。语言上戒备得真严,一个局外的人可以一点也不懂。不过那层给上流妇人做掩护的薄薄的廉耻之感只蒙着表面,所以她们在这种放纵的冒险之中都是心花怒放的,都是实在快活得发痴的,都觉得正对她们的劲儿,把爱情和肉欲混在一块儿,好像一个馋嘴的厨子正给另一个人烹调肉汤一样。
  故事到末了真教人觉得滑稽,快乐的心情自然而然地发生了。伯爵找着那些趣味略辛辣的诙谐,不过叙述得非常之好只教人微笑。轮到了鸟老板,他发挥了三五段比较生硬的猥亵之谈,大家都简直不以为刺耳;后来他妻子粗率地发表的意见取得了全体的认可,她说:“既然那是这个‘姑娘’的职业,为什么她可以拒绝这一个比拒绝另一个厉害?”和蔼的迦来-辣马东夫人仿佛想起自己若是处于羊脂球的地位,那么她拒绝这个军官可以不及拒绝旁的一个人厉害。
  他们如同对于一座被攻的炮台一般长久地预备包围的步骤。每一个人都接受了自己将要扮演的角色,都接受了自己将要倚仗的论据,都接受了自己将要执行的动作。他们决定如何去进攻,种种可用的诡谋和冲锋的奇袭,去强迫这座有生命的堡垒在固有的阵地接待敌人。
  然而戈尔弩兑是待在一旁的,完全和这一次的事件无关。一种很深刻的注意使得大家的头脑都是紧张的,以至于没有听见羊脂球正走进来。伯爵轻轻地嘘了一声,所有的眼睛都重新抬起了。她在跟前了,人们都突然不再发言,开初并且有某种尴尬心理阻止人向她说话。伯爵夫人是比其余的妇人更熟悉于客厅式的两面作风的,她向羊脂球问道:“可有趣味,那一场洗礼?”
  胖“姑娘”依然是怀着感慨的,她从头到尾说了一遍,到场的人的面貌和姿态以及礼拜堂本身的局面。她接着又说:“有时候,祷告很有益处。”
  一直到夜饭为止,那些贵妇人都高高兴兴对她显出和蔼的神情,目的就是除了向她劝告以外再增加她的信任心和服从性。
  一下坐到饭桌上,大家都着手来做种种接近功夫。开初那是一阵有关于献身出力的泛泛议论。有人举出了好些古代的例子:茹狄德和何洛斐伦,随后没来由地又提到了吕克蕾和塞克斯都斯,以及克莱沃葩蒂使得敌军将领们经过她的床上以后全体都变成忠实的奴隶。这样一来,一件虚构的历史又在这几个不学无术的家资百万的富翁的想象当中孵化出来了:罗马的女公民走到迦布埃城,教汉尼巴以及他的将佐士兵都在她们的怀里酣睡。他们述及所有擒获了征服者的妇女们,说她们把自己的身体做一种战场,做一种征服的方法,做一种武器,她们用种种英雄式的爱抚战败了好些丑恶的或者可鄙的敌人,并且把自己的贞操牺牲于复仇和献身报国。
  他们甚至于用遮遮掩掩的语句,谈起英国那个名门闺女使自己先去感染一种可怕的传染病再去传给拿破仑,当时由于一阵陡然而起的衰弱,他在无可避免的约会时刻若有神助地躲过了。
  这一切都是用一种适当的和蕴藉的方式叙述的,有时候还故意装出一种极端费叹的姿态去激起竞争心。
  到末了,人都可以相信妇女们在人间的惟一任务,就是一种个人的永久牺牲,一种对于强横的武人的暴戾脾气不断委身的义务。
  两个嬷嬷都像是什么也没有听见,完全坠入种种深邃的思念当中了,羊脂球没有说话。
  整个下半天,人都听凭羊脂球去思索。不过本来一直称呼她做“夫人”,现在却简单地称呼她做“小姐”了,谁也不很知道这是为着什么,仿佛她从前在评价当中爬到了某种地位,现在呢,人都想把她从那种地位拉下一级似的,使她明白自己的地位是可羞的。
  到了夜饭开始的时候,伏郎卫先生又出现了,口里重述着上一天那句老话:“普鲁士军官要人来问艾丽萨贝特鲁西小姐是不是还没有改变她的主意。”
  羊脂球干脆地回答:“没有,先生。”
  不过在饭桌上,同盟解体了。鸟老板说了三五句使人不大注意的话。每一个人都搜索枯肠去发现新的例子,然而却什么也找不着,这时候,伯爵夫人也许忽然感到一阵泛泛的需要想对天主教尊敬一番,于是对那个年龄较大的嬷嬷问起圣徒们生活中的伟大事迹。谁知有好多个圣徒做过的事,在我们看来都可以算是犯了重罪的行为;不过只要那都是为了上帝的光荣或者为了人类的幸福,天主教会并不处罚而都赦免了这类的罪恶。这是一种很有力的论据,伯爵夫人来利用它了。这样一来,年老的嬷嬷对阴谋带了一种巨大的支援,那或者由于一种默契,一种任何披着道袍的人最拿手的暗献殷勤,或者简单地由于一种凑巧的聪明的效力,一种可以受人利用的愚昧行为的效力。以前,人都以为她是胆怯的,现在,她显出她是胆大的、爱说话的、激烈的。这一个真没有被决疑论的暗中摸索搞糊涂,她的主义像铁一般坚硬,她的信仰心从不迟疑,她的良心毫没有顾虑。她认为亚伯拉罕的牺牲很简单,因为她本人若是接着了来自上苍的命令,可以立刻去杀父母,并且在她的见解里,只要居心可嘉,绝没有什么是可以使得主不快乐的。伯爵夫人利用她这来自望外的同谋者的神权,如同根据这种道德公理做了一个注脚似的向她说道:“结局是判断方法的标准哪。”
  随后她问嬷嬷了:
  “嬷嬷,那么您认定上帝容许一切方法,而在动机纯洁的时候上帝是原谅行为的?”
  “谁能够怀疑这一层,夫人?一个在自己认为可以谴责的行为,每每由于使它感受的思想而变成值得称赞的。”
  她俩这样继续谈下去,讨论上帝的种种意志,预料他的种种决策,替他和好些真的不大和他有关的事拉上了关系。这一切议论都是含蓄的,巧妙的,慎重的,不过这个戴着尖角风帽的圣女的每一句话,都使那个出卖风情的女人的愤怒抵抗力受到了损伤。随后,谈话略略转换了方向,手挽念珠的女人谈到她会里的那些修道院,谈到她的院长,谈到她本人又谈到她那矫小的同伴汕尼塞傅尔嬷嬷。有人从哈佛尔找她们去看护各医院里的好几百个出天花的士兵。她描绘那些可怜的人,详细说明他们的病状。而这时候她们在路上偏偏被这个普鲁士人的坏脾气扣住不教走,所以有许多可能由她们救出来的法国士兵都难免死亡!看护军人原是她本人的专门技术,她曾经到过克里米亚,到过意大利,到过奥地利,说起自己在那些地方的战场经历,她陡然一下表白自己是个听熟了铜鼓和喇叭的女修道士,这类的修道士都像是为了追踪战场,为了在战役的漩涡当中收容伤员而生到世上的,若是说到用一句话去控制那些不守纪律的老兵,她们的效力比一个官长的来得大,这真是一个军队中的嬷嬷,她那张满是小窟窿的破了相的脸儿似乎是战争种种破坏力的一幅小影。
  没有一个人接在她后面说一句话了,效力像是好极了的。饭一吃完,人都很快地就到楼上的卧房去了,第五天早上直到颇晚的时候才下来。
  午饭是吃得安静的。对于上一天播下的种子,人都留着时间让它发芽和结实。
  伯爵夫人提议在午后去散步,于是伯爵按照商量好了的一样挽着羊脂球的胳膊,并且和她都落在其余那些人的后面走。
  他对她说话的音调是亲切的,有长辈意味的,略略带点轻蔑的,正是爱摆架子的人对“姑娘们”说话所用的,他叫她做“我的好孩子”,用自己的社会地位低头和她谈判,用自己的不可争的名望和她谈判,他立刻透入了问题的中心:“所以,这样一种献殷勤的事情原是您在生活当中常常遇见的,而您现在不愿接受,反而宁愿让我们留在这儿,难道想教我们也像您自己一样,来冒犯一切可以跟着普鲁士人的溃败而起的暴烈行动?”
  羊脂球一个字也不回答。
  他用雍容的气概,用理论上的推敲,用情感去争取她的信心。他知道保持“伯爵先生”的身分,一面在必要的时候却显出自己是讨欢心的,会颂扬的,总而言之和蔼可亲的。他热烈地称赞她可以替他们去尽的力,表示他们对她的感戴,随后他突然快快活活用“你”字称呼对她说话:“你知道,我的亲爱的,那个普鲁士人将来可以夸口说自己尝着了一个漂亮姑娘,在他的国家里那真是不大找得着的。”
  羊脂球没有回答,并且赶到了头里和大家一块儿走。
  一回到旅馆,她就上楼到自己的卧房里去再也不出来。大家的记挂达于极点了。她将要怎么做?倘若她要抵抗,多么糟糕!
  晚饭的铃子响了,大家空自等着她,后来伏郎卫先生进来报告鲁西小姐不大舒服,各位可以用饭。大家都像是感到了威胁。伯爵走到旅馆掌柜跟前用很低的声音问:“可是妥当了?”对方回答:“是的。”由于表示蕴藉,他什么话也没有告诉同伴们,不过简单地对他们点头示意。立刻,各人的胸脯里吐出一声表示舒服的长叹,各人的脸上显出一阵喜悦。鸟老板嚷道:“大吉大利!倘若旅馆里找得出香槟酒,我来请大家喝。”鸟夫人感到肉痛了,等到掌柜带着四瓶转来的时候。每一个人徒然都变成欢喜说话而且都是声音很大的了,一阵豪爽的愉乐充满了大家的心。伯爵觉得迦来-辣马东夫人是娇媚的,厂长称赞伯爵夫人。人都谈论得活泼愉快而且充满了有声有色的气氛。
  鸟老板脸上忽然露出悬念的样子,而且他举起两只胳膊高声叫唤道:“肃静!”人都不说话了,吃惊了,几乎已经恐慌起来。这时候,他偏着耳朵一面用双手教人不要响动,双眼望着天花板重新再来静听,末后他用自自然然的声音变道:“请各位放心,一切都顺利。”
  大家都没有能够立刻懂得他的意思,但是不久就露出一阵微笑了。
  过了一刻钟光景,他又做着相同的滑稽样子,而且后来做了又做,他装模作样质问楼上的一个人,同时给了他好些双关意味的劝告。好些从掮客头脑当中想出来的双关意味的劝告。有时候,他做出一阵发愁的样子来叹着气说:“可怜的女孩子。”或者用一阵很生气的样子在牙缝当中含含糊糊地说,“普鲁士光棍,你走!”有时候人都不再去想这件事,他就用一道颤抖的声音接连好些次说道:“够了!够了!”末后他如同自言自语似的,“只须我们还可以和她再见,什么也成,所以指望这个无耻的家伙不把她置之死地!”
  这类诙谐虽然都是属于低级趣味的,不过却使人感到轻松而且又不得罪谁,因为忿怒素来倚赖环境为转移,而在他们的周遭渐渐形成了的气氛是充满着猥亵思想的。
  吃到饭后的甜食了,几个妇人相互间说了好些聪明而审慎的隐语。眼睛都是发光的了,人都喝得不少。伯爵开初本来保持着他那种大人物的沉着风仪,而且置身局外,现在他找着一个很使人玩味的比方,说这真像好些漂流在北冰洋的人遇着冬尽春回找到一条向南走的路。
  鸟老板兴高采烈,手里举着一杯香槟站起来:“我为了我们获得解放饮一杯!”全体都站起了,都向他喝采了。那两个嬷嬷因为几个贵妇人的央求,都答应把嘴唇放在这种从来没有试过的腾着泡沫的酒里沾一下。她们高声说这酒很像柠檬汽水,然而它的味道究竟比汽水好得多。
  鸟老板简单地提出了应景的意见。
  “这儿没有钢琴真不痛快,否则可以弹一首四人对舞的曲子。”
  戈尔弩兑一直没有说一句话,没有做一个手势,并且像是沉没在一些很严肃的思想里,偶尔用一个气忿得很的动作捋着自己的长胡子如同想再拉长一点似的。末了,在12点光景人都快要分手的时候,鸟老板正晃着身子摇摇摆摆,忽然拍着戈尔弩兑的肚子一面结结巴巴向他说:“您并不开开玩笑,今天晚上,您什么也不说吗,公民?”但是戈尔弩兑突然抬起了脑袋,用一阵亮得怕人的眼光向全体扫视了一周,他说:“我说你们各位刚才都做了一件很可耻的事!”他说完站起来,走到了门口又说一遍,“一件很可耻的事!”末了他走了。
  开初,这像是对他们泼了一头的凉水,鸟老板吃了一惊呆呆地待着,不过随后他恢复了稳定态度,突然弯着身子笑起来一面重复地说:“他们都太大意了,老朋友,他们都太大意了。”这时候,人们都不懂得他的意思,于是他叙述了“过道里的秘密”。这样使大家重新哄堂地大笑了一阵。那些贵妇人快活得如同痴婆子似的。伯爵和迦来-辣马东先生连眼泪都笑出来。他们简直不能相信这样一件事。
  “怎样!您确有把握?他当初想……”
  “我告诉各位那原是我亲自看见的。”
  “而她拒绝了……”
  “因为普鲁士人就住在旁边的屋子里。”
  “不可能吧?”
  “我向您发誓。”
  伯爵透不过气来了。实业家用双手捧着肚子。鸟老板接着说道:
  “各位明白了,所以今天晚上,他并不认为她是滑稽的,简直一点也不。”
  三个人又都再笑起来,直笑得心里都不好受,都透不过气来。
  大家就是这样分手了。不过鸟夫人的格性是和荨麻样的,到了两夫妇刚刚躺下去的时候,她向丈夫指出了迦来-辣马东家那个娇小的坏东西在整个晚上一直假笑:“你得知道,娘儿们到了心爱着军人时候,不管那是法国人或者普鲁士人,在她们看来全是一样的。这是不是一种怜悯的意思,我主上帝!”
  整整的一夜,在过道的黑暗中间,如同战栗似地传出一阵阵的轻微声息,那是仅仅教人察觉得到的,像是一阵阵的呼吸声,一阵阵赤脚的触地声,一阵阵无从捉摸的摩擦声。人都显然是睡得很迟的,因为有好些光线从各处屋子门底下的缝儿里长久地漏到了外面。香槟酒真有它的效力,据人说,它是扰乱瞌睡的。
  第六天,冬天的明亮太阳把积雪照成教人目眩的了。那辆终于套好了的长途马车在旅馆门外等着,一大群白的鸽子从它们的厚而密的羽毛里伸着脑袋,亮出它们那种瞳孔乌黑的玫瑰色眼睛,稳重地在六匹牲口的脚底下散步,向着牲口撒下的热气腾腾的粪里边寻觅它们的营养物。
  赶车的披上羊皮大衣,坐在车子头里的坐位上安闲地衔着烟斗,所有的人全是喜笑颜开的,匆匆忙忙让人包好为了在剩下的路程上去用的食品。
  人都只等候羊脂球来就开车。她终于出现了。
  她像是有点不安定,不好意思,后来她胆怯地向她的旅伴们走过来,旅伴们却在同一动作之下把身子偏向另一面,如同都没有望见她似的。伯爵用尊严的神气搀着他妻子的胳膊,使她远远地避开那种不清洁的接触。
  胖“姑娘”觉得心下茫然,停着不前进了,随后集中了全部勇气,她才卑屈地轻轻道出一声“早安,夫人”,走到厂长夫人的近边,那一个只用头部表示一个倨傲的招呼,同时还用一种失面子的人的眼光望着。大家都像是忙碌的,而且离开她远远站着,仿佛她的裙子里带来了一种肮脏。随后人都赶到了车子跟前,她单独地到得最后,静悄悄地重新坐上了她在第一天路上坐过的那个位子。
  大家都像是看不见她,认不得她;不过鸟夫人远远地用怒眼望着她,同时用低声向她丈夫说:“幸而我不同她坐在一条长凳上。”
  那辆笨重的马车摇晃起来,旅行又开始了。
  开初,谁都不说话。羊脂球不敢抬起头来。同时觉得自己对于同车的人怀着愤慨,觉得自己从前让步是受了委屈的,是被普鲁士人的嘴唇弄脏了的,然而从前把她扔到普鲁士人怀抱里的却是这些同车旅伴的假仁假义的手段。
  但是伯爵夫人偏过头来望着迦来-辣马东夫人,不久就打破了那种令人难堪的沉寂。
  “我想您认得艾忒来尔夫人,可对?”
  “对呀,那是我女朋友当中的一个。”
  “她多么娇媚哟!”
  “真教人爱哟!是一个真正的出色人物,并且知识很高,连手指头儿上都是艺术家的风度,唱得教人忘了忧愁,又画得尽善尽美。”
  厂长和伯爵谈着,在车上玻璃的震动喧闹当中偶然飞出来一两个名词:“息票——付款期限——票面超出额——期货。”
  鸟老板偷了旅馆里的一副旧纸牌,那是在那些揩得不干净的桌子上经过五六年的摩擦变成满是油腻的,现在他拿着这副牌和妻子斗着一种名叫“倍西格”的斗法。
  两个嬷嬷在腰带上提起那串垂着的长念珠,一同在胸脯上划着十字,并且她们的嘴唇陡然开始活泼地微动起来,渐渐愈动愈快,催动她们的模糊喃喃声音如同为了一种祈祷的竞赛,后来她们不时吻着一方金属圆牌,重新再划十字,再动口念着她们那种迅速而且不断的模糊咒语。
  戈尔弩兑坠入沉思了,没有动弹。
  在路上走过了三小时,鸟老板收起了纸牌,他说道:“饿了。”
  于是他妻子摸着了一个用绳子缚好的纸包,从中取出了一块冷的牛仔肉。她仔仔细细把它切成了一些齐整的薄片儿,两口子动手吃着。
  “我们是不是也照样做。”伯爵夫人说。有人同意了,于是她解开了那些为了两家而预备的食品。那是装在一只长形的陶质钵子里的,钵子的盖上塑着一只野兔,表示那盖着的是一份野兔胶冻,一份美味的冷食,看得见一些冻了的猪油透在那种和其他肉末相混的棕色野味中间,像是许多雪白的溪涧。另外有一方用报纸裹着的漂亮的乳酪干,报纸上面印的“琐闻”的大字标题还在它的腴润的表面上保留得清清楚楚。
  两个嬷嬷解开了一段滚圆的香肠,那东西的蒜味儿很重,戈尔弩兑把两只手同时插进了披风的两只大衣袋,从一只衣袋里取出了四个熟鸡蛋,从另一只里取出了一段面包。他剥去了蛋壳扔到脚底下的麦秸当中,就这样拿着蛋吃,使得好些蛋黄末儿落在他那一大簇长胡子当中像是好些星星一般挂着。
  羊脂球在慌忙中起床的时候是什么也没有打算的,现在望着这些平平静静吃东西的人,她气极了,因为愤怒而呼吸迫促了。开初,一阵骚动的暴怒使得她肌肉痉挛,她张开了嘴预备把一阵升到嘴边的辱骂去斥责他们的行为,不过因为愤怒扼住了嗓子,她简直不能够说话。
  没有一个人望她,没有一个人惦记她。她觉得自己被这些顾爱名誉的混帐东西的轻视淹没了,当初,他们牺牲了她,以后又把她当作一件肮脏的废物似的扔掉。于是她想起她那只满是美味的提篮,那里面本来盛着两只胶冻鲜明的子鸡,好些点心,好些梨子和四瓶波尔多的名产红葡萄酒,第一天通通被他们饕餮地吃喝得干干净净。末后,她的愤慨如同一根过度紧张的琴弦中断了似的忽然下降了,她觉得自己快要哭了。她使出了惊人的努力,镇定了自己,如同孩子一般吞住自己的呜咽,但是眼泪出来了,润湿了她的眼睑边缘,不久两点热泪从眼睛里往外流,慢慢地从颊部往下落,好些流得更迅速一些的眼泪又跟着来了,像一滴滴从岩石当中滤出的水,有规则地落到了她胸脯突出部分的曲线上。她直挺挺地坐着,眼光是定着不动的,脸色是严肃而且苍白的,她一心希望不至于有人看见她。不过伯爵夫人偏偏瞧出来了,用一个手势通知了丈夫。他耸着肩膀仿佛就是说:“您要怎么办,这不是我的过错。”鸟夫人得胜似的冷笑了一声,接着就低声慢气地说:“她哭自己的耻辱。”
  两个嬷嬷把剩下的香肠用一张纸卷好了以后,又开始来祷告了。
  这时候,戈尔弩兑正等着那四个鸡蛋在胃囊里消化,他向对面的长凳底下伸长着双腿,仰着身子,叉着胳膊,如同一个人刚刚找着一件很滑稽的玩意儿一般因此微笑,末了他开始用口哨吹起了《马赛曲》。
  所有的脸儿都变得暗淡了。这首人民的军歌显然使得同车的人很不开心。他们都变成神经质的了,受到刺激了,并且如同猎犬听见了手摇风琴一般都像是快要狂吠了。戈尔弩兑看出了这种情况,他的口哨就吹个不停了。甚至于有时候,他还轻轻地哼着好些歌词:
  至情,爱国的神圣的至情,
  你来领导支持我们的复仇之手,
  自由,我们十分宝贵的自由,
  你带着你的防护者来战斗!
  路上的雪冻成比较坚硬的,车子走得比较快了,经过旅行中的好些惨淡的钟点,在傍晚的时候颠簸晃动个不停,再后些时,车子里变成了黑暗世界,一直走到吉艾卜为止,戈尔弩兑始终用一种猛烈的不屈不挠态度吹着他这种复仇意味的单调口哨,强迫那些疲倦而且生气的头脑从头到尾地倾听他的歌唱,去记忆每一句被他们注意节奏的歌词。
  羊脂球始终哭着,并且不时还有一声忍不住的呜咽,在两段歌词的间歇中间在黑暗世界里传出来。
  

                  

 

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