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

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

  
                    解密文本:
   《项链》  [法国] 莫泊桑 著, 中文译者 谢国芳(Roy Xie)
   
    

                                                      
La Parure
par  Guy de Maupassant

  
    

       

                                                    
                 The Diamond Necklace             
             by  Guy de Maupassant     

    
                                                    
        法汉对照(French & Chinese)                                    法英对照(French & English)                               英汉对照(English & Chinese)
    

 

She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education.
    Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.

She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury. She suffered from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains. All these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware, tormented and insulted her. The sight of the little Breton girl who came to do the work in her little house aroused heart-broken regrets and hopeless dreams in her mind. She imagined silent antechambers, heavy with Oriental tapestries, lit by torches in lofty bronze sockets, with two tall footmen in knee-breeches sleeping in large armchairs, overcome by the heavy warmth of the stove.She imagined vast saloons hung with antique silks, exquisite pieces of furniture supporting priceless ornaments, and small, charming, perfumed rooms, Created just for little parties of intimate friends, men who were famous and sought after, whose homage roused every other woman’s envious longings.

When she sat down for dinner at the round table covered with a three-days-old cloth, opposite her husband, who took the cover off the soup-tureen, exclaiming delightedly: "Aha! Scotch broth! What could be better?" she imagined delicate meals, gleaming silver, tapestries peopling the walls with folk of a past age and strange birds in fairy forests; she imagined delicate food served in marvelous dishes, murmured gallantries, listened to with an inscrutable smile as one trifled with the rosy flesh of trout or wings of asparagus chicken.

She had no clothes, no jewels, nothing. And these were the only things she loved; she felt that she was made for them. She had longed so eagerly to charm, to be desired, to be wildly attractive and sought after.

She had a rich friend, an old school friend whom she refused to visit, because she suffered so keenly when she returned home. She would weep whole days, with grief, regret, despair, and misery.

One evening her husband came home with an exultant air, holding a large envelope in his hand.
     "Here's something for you," he said.

Swiftly she tore the paper and drew out a printed card on which were these words:

"The Minister of Education and Madame Ramponneau request the pleasure of the company of Monsieur and Madame Loisel at the Ministry on the evening of Monday, January the 18th."

Instead of being delighted, as her husband hoped, she flung the invitation petulantly across the table, murmuring:

"What do you want me to do with this?"

"Why, darling, I thought you’d be pleased. You never go out, and this is a great occasion. I had tremendous trouble to get it. Every one wants one; it's very select, and very few go to the clerks. You’ll see all the really big people there."

She looked at him out of furious eyes, and said impatiently:

"And what do you suppose I am to wear at such an affair?"

He had not thought about it; he stammered:
"Why, the dress you go to the theater in. It looks very nice, to me . . ."

He stopped, stupefied and utterly at a loss when he saw that his wife was beginning to cry. Two large tears ran slowly down from the corners of her eyes towards the corners of her mouth.

"What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you?" he faltered.

But with a violent effort she overcame her grief and replied in a calm voice, wiping her wet cheeks:

"Nothing. Only I haven't a dress and so I can't go to this party. Give your invitation to some friend of yours whose wife will be turned out better than I shall."

He was heart-broken.

"Look here, Mathilde," he persisted. "What would be the cost of a suitable dress, which you could use on other occasions as well, something very simple?"

She thought for several seconds, reckoning up prices and also wondering for how large a sum she could ask without bringing upon herself an immediate refusal and an exclamation of horror from the prudent clerk.

At last she replied with some hesitation:
     "I don't know exactly, but I think I could do it on four hundred francs."
    He grew slightly pale, for this was exactly the amount he had been saving for a gun, intending to get a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre with some friends who went lark-shooting there on Sundays.

Nevertheless he said: "Very well. I'll give you four hundred francs. But try and get a really nice dress with the money."

The day of the party drew near, and Madame Loisel seemed sad, uneasy and anxious. Her dress was ready, however. One evening her husband said to her:

"What's the matter with you? You’ve been very odd for the last three days."

"I'm utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear," she replied. "I shall look absolutely no one. I would almost rather not go to the party."

"Wear flowers," he said. "They’re very smart at this time of the year. For ten francs you could get two or three gorgeous roses."

She was not convinced.
     "No . . . there's nothing so humiliating as looking poor in the middle of a lot of rich women."

"How stupid you are!" exclaimed her husband. "Go and see Madame Forestier and ask her to lend you some jewels. You know her quite well enough for that."

She uttered a cry of delight.
     "That's true. I never thought of it."

Next day she went to see her friend and told her her trouble.
     Madame Forestier went to her dressing-table, took up a large box, brought it to Madame Loisel, opened it, and said:

"Choose, my dear."

First she saw some bracelets, then a pearl necklace, then a Venetian cross in gold and gems, of exquisite workmanship. She tried the effect of the jewels before the mirror, hesitating, unable to make up her mind to leave them, to give them up. She kept on asking:

"Haven't you anything else?"

"Yes. Look for yourself. I don't know what you would like best."

Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin case, a superb diamond necklace; her heart began to beat covetously. Her hands trembled as she lifted it. She fastened it round her neck, upon her high dress, and remained in ecstasy at sight of herself.

Then, with hesitation, she asked anxiously:

"Could you lend me this, just this alone?"

"Yes, of course."

She threw herself on her friend’s breast, embraced her frenziedly, and went away with her treasure.

The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was the prettiest woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling, and quite beside herself with happiness. All the men stared at her, inquired her name, and asked to be introduced to her. All the Under-Secretaries of State were eager to waltz with her. The Minister noticed her.

She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart.

She left about four o'clock in the morning. Since midnight her husband had been dozing in a deserted little room, in company with three other men whose wives were having a good time.

He threw over her shoulders the garments he had brought for them to go home in, modest everyday clothes, whose poverty clashed with the beauty of the ball-dress. She was conscious of this and was anxious to hurry away, so that she should not be noticed by the other women putting on their costly furs.

Loisel restrained her.

"Wait a little. You’ll catch cold in the open. I'm going to fetch a cab."

But she did not listen to him and rapidly descended the staircase. When they were out in the street they could not find a cab; they began to look for one, shouting at the drivers whom they saw passing in the distance.

They walked down towards the Seine, desperate and shivering. At last they found on the quay one of those old night prowling carriages which are only to be seen in Paris after dark, as though they were ashamed of their shabbiness in the daylight.

It brought them to their door in the Rue des Martyrs, and sadly they walked up to their own apartment. It was the end, for her. As for him, he was thinking that he must be at the office at ten.

She took off the garments in which she had wrapped her shoulders, so as to see herself in all her glory once more before the mirror. But suddenly she uttered a cry. The necklace was no longer round her neck!

"What's the matter with you?" asked her husband, already half undressed.

She turned towards him in the utmost distress.

"I . . . I . . . I've no longer got Madame Forestier’s necklace. . . ."

He stood up, bewildered.

"What! . . . Impossible!"

They searched in the folds of her dress, in the folds of the coat, in the pockets, everywhere. They could not find it.

"Are you sure that you still had it on when you came away from the ball?" he asked.

"Yes, I touched it in the hall at the Ministry."

"But if you had lost it in the street, we should have heard it fall. It must be in the cab."

"Yes. Probably. Did you take the number of the cab?"

"No. You didn't notice it, did you?"
     "No."

They stared at one another, dumbfounded. At last Loisel put on his clothes again.

"I'll go over all the ground we walked," he said, "and see if I can find it."

And he went out. She remained in her evening clothes, lacking strength to get into bed, huddled on a chair, without volition or power of thought.

Her husband returned about seven. He had found nothing.

He went to the police station, to the newspapers, to offer a reward, to the cab companies, everywhere that a ray of hope impelled him.

She waited all day long, in the same state of bewilderment at this fearful catastrophe.

Loisel came home at night, his face weary and pale; he had discovered nothing.

"You must write to your friend," he said, "and tell her that you’ve broken the clasp of her necklace and are getting it mended. That will give us time to turn round."

She wrote at his dictation.
    By the end of a week they had lost all hope.
Loisel, who had aged five years, declared:
    "We must consider how to replace the diamonds."
    Next day they took the box which had held the necklace and went to the jewelers whose name was inside. He consulted his books.
    "It was not I who sold this necklace, Madame; I must have merely supplied the case."
    Then they went from jeweler to jeweler, searching for another necklace like the lost one, consulting their memories, both ill with remorse and anguish.
    In a shop at the Palais-Royal they found a string of diamonds which seemed to them exactly like the one they were looking for. It was worth forty thousand francs. They were allowed to have it for thirty-six thousand.
    They begged the jeweler not to sell it for three days. And they arranged matters on the understanding that it would be taken back for thirty-four thousand francs, if the missing one were found before the end of February.
    Loisel possessed eighteen thousand francs left to him by his father. He intended to borrow the rest.

He did borrow it, getting a thousand from one man, five hundred from another, five louis here, three louis there. He gave notes of hand, entered into ruinous agreements, did business with usurers and the whole tribe of money-lenders. He mortgaged the whole remaining years of his existence, risked his signature without even knowing if he could honor it, and, frightened by the trouble yet to come, by the black misery that was about to fall upon him, by the prospect of all the physical privations and moral tortures that he was to suffer, he went to get the new necklace, laying upon the jeweler’s counter thirty-six thousand francs.
    When Madame Loisel took back the necklace to Madame Forestier, the latter said to her in a chilly voice:
    "You ought to have brought it back sooner; I might have needed it."
    She did not, as her friend had feared, open the case. If she had noticed the substitution, what would she have thought? What would she have said? Would she not have taken her for a thief?

Madame Loisel came to know the ghastly life of abject poverty. From the very first she played her part heroically. This fearful debt must be paid off. She would pay it. The servant was dismissed. They changed their flat; they took a garret under the roof.

She came to know the heavy work of the house, the hateful duties of the kitchen. She washed the plates, wearing out her pink nails on the coarse pottery and the bottoms of pans. She washed the dirty linen, the shirts and dishcloths, and hung them out to dry on a string; every morning she took the dustbin down into the street and carried up the water, stopping on each landing to get her breath. And, clad like a poor woman, she went to the fruiterer, to the grocer, to the butcher, a basket on her arm, haggling, insulted, defending her wretched money, sou by sou.

Every month notes had to be paid off, others renewed, time gained.
    Her husband worked in the evenings at putting straight a merchant’s accounts, and late at night he often copied manuscript for five sous a page.
And this life lasted ten years.
    At the end of ten years everything was paid off, everything, including the usurer’s charges and the accumulation of superimposed interest.

Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, tough, coarse women of impoverished households. With frowzy hair, skirts askew and red hands, she spoke in a shrill voice and washed the floor with great swishes of water.

But sometimes, when her husband was at the office, she sat down by the window and thought of that evening long ago, of the ball at which she had been so beautiful and so much admired.
    What would have happened if she had never lost those jewels. Who knows? Who knows? How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed to ruin or to save you!

One Sunday, as she had gone for a walk along the Champs-Elysees to relax herself after the labors of the week, she suddenly caught sight of a woman who was leading a child. It was Madame Forestier, still young, still beautiful, still attractive.

Madame Loisel felt moved. Should she speak to her? Yes, certainly. And now that she had paid, she would tell her all. Why not?
    She went up to her.
    "Good morning, Jeanne."
    The other did not recognize her, and was surprised at being thus familiarly addressed by a poor woman.
    "But . . . Madame . . ." she stammered. "I don't know . . . you must be making a mistake."
    "No . . . I am Mathilde Loisel."
    Her friend uttered a cry.
    "Oh! . . . my poor Mathilde, how you have changed! . . ."
    "Yes, I've had some hard times since I last saw you; and many sorrows . . . and all on your account."
    "On my account! . . . How was that?"
    "You remember the diamond necklace you lent me for the ball at the Ministry?"
   "Yes. Well?"
    "Well, I lost it."
    "How could you? Why, you brought it back."
    "I brought you another one just like it. And for the last ten years we have been paying for it. You know it wasn't easy for us; we had no money. . . . Well, at last it is ended, and I'm so glad."
    Madame Forestier had halted.
    "You say you bought a diamond necklace to replace mine?"
    "Yes. You hadn't noticed it? They were very much alike."
    And she smiled in proud and innocent happiness.
    Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took her two hands.
    "Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at most five hundred francs! . . . "

 

 

 世上一些美丽迷人的姑娘,仿佛由于命运的差错偏偏出生在工匠的家庭;我们的女主人公就是其中的一位。她没有嫁妆、没有指望、没有任何方法能使一个富有而显赫的男人认识她、了解她、爱她、娶她;到末了,她只好任由家人把自己嫁给了一个教育部的小职员。
     不能讲求打扮的她是简朴的,但却不幸得像一位下嫁的贵妇;因为女人没有阶级或等级,她们的美丽、优雅和魅力就充当了她们的出身与门第。她们天生的圆滑,本能的典雅和机敏的才智,乃是她们唯一的等级标志,足以让贫民窟的女孩与最高贵的淑女平起平坐。

她觉得自己就是为了享受一切精美与奢华而生的,因此不停地受着折磨。因为破旧的住宅、简陋的墙壁、用旧的椅子和难看的窗帘,她万分痛苦。所有这些换成别的和她同阶层的女人甚至都不会留意的事情都深深地折磨着她、刺激着她。一看见到她的小屋来做家务的那个布列塔尼小女佣,就会引发她心中无数伤心欲绝的懊悔和没有希望的梦想。她幻想那悄无声息的前厅,墙上挂满了东方的壁毯,高高的青铜烛台上的火炬照亮了整间屋子,两个穿着齐膝短裤的高个子男仆被火炉的热量烘得靠在宽大的扶手椅上昏昏睡去。她幻想那挂着古代丝绸的巨大的客厅,那一件件摆放着贵重装饰品的精美家具,还有那些小巧可爱、洒了香水的房间,它们是专供自己和亲密的男友们在那儿聚会用的,后者当然个个都是深受欢迎的知名人士,他们对自己的敬意会惹起所有其他女人羡慕的渴望。
     每天吃晚饭的时候,她在那张桌布三天没有换的圆餐桌前和丈夫面对面坐下,后者揭开那只大汤碗的盖子,便快乐地呼喊:“啊哈!苏格兰浓汤!世上还有什么比这更好的吗?”她于是又幻想精美的膳食,闪闪发亮的银器,绣有古代人物和仙境般的森林中间各种奇禽的挂毯;幻想那些盛在上等餐具里的美味佳肴,自己一边吃着粉红色的鳟鱼肉或者芦笋鸡翅、一边带着不可捉摸的微笑聆听那些小声说出的甜言蜜语。

她没有像样的衣服,没有珠宝首饰,什么都没有。可是她偏偏喜欢这些东西,觉得自己生来就适合穿戴它们。她是如此热切地渴望讨人喜欢、被人需要、妩媚迷人、被人追逐。
     她有一位有钱的朋友,一个老同学,但她再也不想去看望她了,因为每次回到家,她总会感到如此强烈的痛苦,由于悲伤、懊悔、绝望和苦恼,她会哭上好几天。
     一天晚上,她的丈夫带着兴高采烈的神气回家来,手里拿着一个大信封。
  “这是给你的一点东西,”他说道。

她迅速地扯破了封皮纸,从里面抽出了一张印着下面这些词句的卡片:

教育部部长郎波诺及其夫人敬请罗塞尔先生和太太莅临元月十八日星期一在本部办公大楼举行的晚会。

     她不但没有感到欣喜,如她的丈夫所希望的那样,反而气恼地把请柬扔到了桌上,低声抱怨说:
   “你想要我拿这东西干什么?”
      “哎呀,亲爱的,我原以为你会高兴呢。你从来都不出门,而这是一个绝好的机会。我花了九牛二虎之力才得到它。人人都想要,精挑细选,发给职员们的份数很少很少。在那儿你将见到所有的大人物。”
      她用狂怒的眼神看着他,接着不耐烦地说道:
  “你想要我穿什么去参加那样的活动?”

 这是他所没有想到的,他结结巴巴地说:
  “这个,你平常穿着去看戏的那件衣服,我觉得就很好,在我看来……”
      他突然停住了,愣在那里,全然不知所措,因为他瞧见妻子开始哭了,两颗很大的泪珠缓缓地从她的眼角向嘴角流了下来。
  “你怎么了?你怎么了?”他支支吾吾地说。
       但她竭力抑制住了悲痛,一边擦着湿润的面颊,一边用平静的声音回答说:
“没什么。只是我没有一件衣服,所以不能去参加这个宴会。你的朋友当中,谁的妻子能够比我打扮得更好,你就把这请帖送给他吧。”

  他伤心极了,可仍然坚持说道:
  “这样吧,玛蒂尔德,一件合适的衣服大概要花费多少钱?以后其他的场合你也可以穿的,很朴素的那种?”
     她思考了几秒钟,计算着价钱,同时盘算着她可以要求多大的数目而不至于招来这个节俭的小职员的当场拒绝和一声惊叫。
      最后,她带着一些犹豫回答说:
  “确切地我不知道,不过我想,有四百法郎就能办到吧。”

  他的脸色稍稍变得苍白了,因为这恰好是他储蓄的用来买枪的数目——他打算下个夏季和一些朋友(他们星期天常常去打云雀)一起到南兑尔平原去打猎。
      然而他还是说道:
  “好吧,我给你四百法郎,不过你要争取用这笔钱买一套真正漂亮的衣服。”

  宴会的日子临近了,罗塞尔太太却显得很悲伤,心神不宁、忧虑重重。然而她的衣服却准备好了。一天晚上,她的丈夫对她说道:
  “你怎么了?最近这三天你的样子很奇怪。”
     

  她回答说:
  “我没有什么可以佩戴的,没有任何首饰,没有一颗宝石,这让我难受极了。到时候一定会丢人现眼,我宁可不去参加这个宴会。”

  “你可以戴花呀,”他说道,“在现在这个时节,那是很时髦的,花十个法郎,你就能买到两三朵极好的玫瑰。”

 她并没有被说服,
  “不行……没有什么比在一大堆富有的女人中间露穷相更丢脸的了。”
这时她的丈夫大叫道:

  “瞧你有多傻!你可以去找福雷斯蒂埃夫人啊,请求她借给你一些首饰,凭你和她的交情她一定会答应的。”

 她发出了一声快乐的叫喊:
  “是啊!我怎么就没想到。”

  第二天,她就去找她的朋友,向她讲述了自己的烦恼。
      福雷斯蒂埃夫人朝她的梳妆台走去,取出一个大盒子,拿到罗塞尔太太跟前打开说道:
  “你自己挑选吧,亲爱的。”

  她首先看了一些手镯,接着一个珍珠项链,然后是一个做工精巧、镶着金子和宝石的威尼斯十字架。她在镜子前面试着这些首饰的效果,犹豫着,下不了决心卸下它们,割舍它们。她总是不停地问:
  “你再也没有别的什么了吗?” 

 “有的是,你自个儿慢慢找吧。我不知道你最喜欢什么。”

  突然,她在一个黑色的绸缎盒子里发现了一串极其漂亮的砖石项链,她的心因为渴望开始狂跳起来。她用颤抖的双手捧起它,她把它系到脖子上了,压在高领外套的上面,看着镜子里的自己出了半天神。
      然后,她犹豫着,焦虑不安地问道:
  “你可以把这个借给我吗,只借这一件?”
  “行,当然可以。”
      她扑倒在她的朋友怀里,狂热地拥抱她,然后带着她的宝贝离开了。

  宴会的日子来临了,罗塞尔太太大获成功,她是所有在场的女人中最漂亮的,她举止端庄、姿态优雅,始终面带微笑,快乐得如痴若狂。所有的男人都目不转睛地盯着她,询问她的名字,求人向她介绍自己。所有的次长都渴望和她跳华尔兹舞,部长也注意到她了。
      她疯狂而入迷地跳着,巨大的快乐令她陶醉,忘却了一切,她陶醉于自己美貌的胜利中,陶醉于自己成功的骄傲里,普遍的敬意与仰慕、被她所唤醒的欲望、以及这一场对她那女性的心灵来说如此宝贵的完全的胜利,组成了一朵朵幸福的祥云,令她飘飘欲仙了。
   

  她是清晨四点钟左右离开的。她的丈夫自从午夜起,就和另外三个男人一起(他们的妻子们也玩得很开心)在一间僻静的小房间打瞌睡。
      他把他带来的那些供他们回家时穿的外衣披上了她的肩头,这些朴素的日常衣服的寒伧与漂亮的舞会服很不协调。她意识到了这一点,为了不被其他正在披上贵重皮裘的女人们注意,她急着想匆匆离去。

  罗塞尔阻止了她:
   “等一下,到外面你会着凉的,我去叫一辆出租马车。”
  可她不听他的,迅速地走下了楼梯。当他们来到街上时却找不到出租马车,他们开始到处找,远远地看见有马车经过,就冲着车夫大声叫喊。

  他们一路朝塞纳河走去,心灰意冷,浑身哆嗦。最后,他们俩在码头上找到了一辆夜间潜行的旧马车——这种车子在巴黎只有天黑后才能见到,白天它们仿佛羞于自己的破旧,从不抛头露面。
      它把他们带到了玛尔图尔街的家门口,俩人凄惨地爬上楼,回到了他们自己的寓所。对她来说,一切都结束了,至于他则想着明天早上十点必须到办公室上班。
      她脱下了裹着肩膀的衣服,为了在镜子前再看一眼光彩照人的自己。可她突然发出了一声叫喊,那串围在脖子上的项链不见了!
      已经脱掉一半衣服的丈夫问道:“你怎么了?”
  她朝他转过身去,失魂落魄地说道:
  “我……我……我把福雷斯蒂埃夫人的项链弄丢了!”

  他不知所措地站起来:
  “什么!……这不可能!”
  于是他们搜查了她那件衣服的褶子、外套的褶子、所有的口袋,到处都翻遍了,可还是没有找到。
       “你确定你离开舞会的时候还戴着吗?”他问道。
  “是啊,在教育部的大厅我还摸过它。”
       “可如果你是在街上丢的,我们应该能听见它落地的声音啊。它一定是掉在出租马车上了。”
   “是的,很有可能。你记下了那辆出租马车的号码吗?”
  “没有。你也没有留意吗?”
  “没有。”

   他们面面相觑,目瞪口呆。最后罗塞尔重新穿上衣服说:
  “我去把我们走过的所有地方再走一遍,看是否能把它找回来。”

  于是他出去了。而她则一直穿着晚会的衣服,连上床的力气都没有,蜷缩在一把椅子上,脑子一片空白,既没有意欲、也没有能力想任何事情。
      她的丈夫七点钟左右回来了。什么也没有找到。
      他去了警察局,又去报馆悬赏,又去了各个出租马车公司,凡是有一线希望驱使他去的所有地方,全都跑遍了。

   她等了一整天,面对这可怕的灾祸,一直处于迷乱惊慌的状态。
  罗塞尔晚上回到家,一脸倦容,面色苍白,什么也没有发现。
       “你应当写信给你的朋友,”他说道,“告诉她你折断了她那串项链的扣钩,现在正在叫人修理。这会给我们想办法的时间。”
  她在他的口授下写了一封信。

  一个星期后,他们丧失了全部希望。一下子老了五岁的罗塞尔宣告:
  “我们应当考虑使用掉包计了。”
      第二天,他们拿着装那串项链的盒子,根据写在里面的名字找到了那个珠宝商,后者查阅了他的账簿后说道:
  “夫人,这串项链不是我卖出去的,我肯定仅仅提供了这个盒子。”
      接着他们从一家珠宝商走到另一家,凭他们的记忆四处寻找与丢失的那串相像的项链,因为懊悔和极度痛苦,两个人都快病倒了。
      他们在王宫街的一家商店里找到了一串钻石,他们觉得像极了他们正在寻找的那一串。它价值四万法郎。店里愿意以三万六千法郎的价钱卖给他们。
      他们恳求珠宝商在三天之内不要卖掉它,他们还商定好了,假如丢失的那串在二月底之前被找到的话,店里就以三万四千法郎的价钱再把它赎回去。
      罗塞尔拥有他的父亲留给他的一万八千法郎的财产。剩下的他打算去借。
      他开始借钱了,向这一个人借一千法郎,再向另一个人借五百法郎,这里借五个金路易,那里借三个金路易。他签了许多期票,订立了一些会招致灾难的协议,与高利贷者及形形色色的放款人打交道。他抵押了自己的后半生,不顾一切地在各种借据上画押,甚至不知道自己是否能够兑现上面的条款。未来的麻烦、行将降临到他头上的悲惨的贫困、和他将要遭受的种种物质的匮乏和精神的折磨之景象令他惊恐万状,然而他终于去取那条新项链了,在那个珠宝商的柜台上放下了三万六千法郎。
      当罗塞尔太太把项链送还给福雷斯蒂埃夫人的时候,后者用冷淡的语调对她说道:
  “你应该早一点拿回来,因为我可能需要它。”
      她并没有如她的朋友所惧怕的那样打开首饰盒。倘若她觉察到了替换,她会怎么想呢?她会说些什么呢?她会不会把自己当作一个窃贼呢?
      罗塞尔太太体验到了可怕的赤贫生活。但是从一开始她就英勇地承担起自己的职责。这笔可怕的债务是必须偿还的,她一定会偿还。他们辞退了佣人,更换了公寓,租了一间屋顶下面的阁楼。
      她干起了屋里的重活,负起了厨房里那些可憎的职责。她洗盘子,在粗糙的陶器上面和平底锅底磨坏了她的粉红色的指甲。她亲自洗肮脏的亚麻织物,衬衫和抹布,然后再把它们挂出去晾在绳子上晒干;每天早上,她都要把垃圾箱搬下去,运到街上,再把水提上来,在每一层的楼梯平台她都要停下来歇口气。她穿得像一个贫穷的妇人,挽着篮子去水果店、杂货店和肉店,讨价还价,受着辱骂,一个苏一个苏地捍卫她那点儿可怜的钱。
      每个月都必须偿付一些票据,续借另外的几张,赢得时间。
      她丈夫晚上替一个商人誊清账目,在深夜,他还常常抄写五个苏一页的手稿。
这种生活持续了十年。
   十年后,他们偿还了所有的债务,包括高利贷者收取的费用和利滚利。

 

 如今罗塞尔太太看上去苍老了。她已经变成了贫苦家庭那种强壮的、能吃苦耐劳的粗俗女人。她散乱着头发,歪系着裙子,露着红通通的双手,尖着嗓子说话,用大水冲洗地板。

 但是有时候,当她的丈夫去办公室上班了,她会独自坐在窗前,遥想很久以前的那个晚上,那场舞会,在那儿她曾经是那样美丽,那样地受人仰慕。
      倘若她没有丢失那件首饰,会发生什么呢?谁知道?谁知道啊?人生是多么奇怪,多么变幻无常啊!不管是毁灭还是拯救你,都只需要那么一点点小事而已!

  一个星期天,为了在一周的辛劳后放松一下,她去香榭丽舍大街散步。突然,她瞥见了一个领着孩子的女人。那正是福雷斯蒂埃夫人,依旧那么年轻、那么美丽、那么迷人。
      罗塞尔太太感到十分激动。要不要上去和她说话?是的,当然。现在既然已经付清了全部债务,她将把一切都告诉她。为什么不呢?
      她走到她的跟前,说道:
  “早上好,雅妮。”
      对方竟认不出她了,被一个穷女人这样亲密地称呼,她感到惊讶不已,结结巴巴地说道:
      “可是……太太!……我不知道……您一定是搞错了。
      “没有……我是玛蒂尔德•罗塞尔。”
      她的朋友叫喊起来:
      “哦!……我可怜的玛蒂尔德,你真变了模样!……”
      “是的,自从上次和你见面后,我熬过了一些很艰苦的日子,和许多的磨难……,而这一切全都是因为你!……”
      “因为我……怎么会呢?”
      “你还记不记得你借给我去参加部里舞会的那串钻石项链?”
  “是啊,怎么了?”
  “哎,我把它丢了。”
  “怎么会?你不是把它送回来了吗。”
“我带给你的是另一串和它一模一样的项链。在过去的这十年里,我们一直都在支付它。你知道,对我们来说,这不是件容易的事,我们没有什么钱……好了,这一切终于结束了,我是多么高兴啊。”
      福雷斯蒂埃夫人停下了脚步:
  “你是说你买了一串钻石项链替换了我的那一串?”
       “是啊,你没有注意到吗?它们像极了。”
  说完,她带着一种既骄傲又天真的快乐神气微笑了。
      福雷斯蒂埃太太被深深地感动了,抓住了她的两只手说:
  “哦,我可怜的玛蒂尔德,我的那一串是赝品,它顶多值五百法郎!……”


    

 

 

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