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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:     《红与黑》   [法] 司汤达  著         
 
Le Rouge et Le Noir
par   Stendhal

 

The Red and the Black
by   Stendhal

第一部(Book 1)  第1-10章(Chapter1-10) |   第11-20章(Chapter11-20) |   第21-30章(Chapter21-30)   ||    第二部(Book 2)

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

  

 

 CHAPTER 1

A Small Town

 

 The small town of Verrieres may be regarded as one of the most attractive in the Franche-Comte. Its white houses with their high pitched roofs of red tiles are spread over the slope of a hill, the slightest contours of which are indicated by clumps of sturdy chestnuts. The Doubs runs some hundreds of feet below its fortifications, built in times past by the Spaniards, and now in ruins.

 Verrieres is sheltered on the north by a high mountain, a spur of the Jura.  The jagged peaks of the Verra put on a mantle of snow in the first cold days of October. A torrent which comes tearing down from the mountain passes through Verrieres before emptying its waters into the Doubs, and supplies power to a great number of sawmills; this is an extremely simple industry, and procures a certain degree of comfort for the majority of the inhabitants, who are of the peasant rather than of the burgess class. It is not, however, the sawmills that have made this little town rich. It is to the manufacture of printed calicoes, known as Mulhouse stuffs, that it owes the general prosperity which, since the fall of Napoleon, has led to the refacing of almost all the houses in Verrieres.

 No sooner has one entered the town than one is startled by the din of a noisy machine of terrifying aspect. A score of weighty hammers, falling with a clang which makes the pavement tremble, are raised aloft by a wheel which the water of the torrent sets in motion. Each of these hammers turns out, daily, I cannot say how many thousands of nails. A bevy of fresh, pretty girls subject to the blows of these enormous hammers, the little scraps of iron which are rapidly transformed into nails. This work, so rough to the outward eye, is one of the industries that most astonish the traveller who ventures for the first time among the mountains that divide France from Switzerland. If, on entering Verrieres, the traveller inquires to whom belongs that fine nail factory which deafens everybody who passes up the main street, he will be told in a drawling accent: 'Eh! It belongs to the Mayor.'

 Provided the traveller halts for a few moments in this main street of Verrieres, which runs from the bank of the Doubs nearly to the summit of the hill, it is a hundred to one that he will see a tall man appear, with a busy, important air.

 At the sight of him every hat is quickly raised. His hair is turning grey, and he is dressed in grey. He is a Companion of several Orders, has a high forehead, an aquiline nose, and on the whole his face is not wanting in a certain regularity: indeed, the first impression formed of it may be that it combines with the dignity of a village mayor that sort of charm which may still be found in a man of forty-eight or fifty. But soon the visitor from Paris is annoyed by a certain air of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency mingled with a suggestion of limitations and want of originality. One feels, finally, that this man's talent is confined to securing the exact payment of whatever is owed to him and to postponing payment till the last possible moment when he is the debtor.

 Such is the Mayor of Verrieres, M. de Renal. Crossing the street with a solemn step, he enters the town hall and passes from the visitor's sight.  But, a hundred yards higher up, if the visitor continues his stroll, he will notice a house of quite imposing appearance, and, through the gaps in an iron railing belonging to the house, some splendid gardens. Beyond, there is a line of horizon formed by the hills of Burgundy, which seem to have been created on purpose to delight the eye. This view makes the visitor forget the pestilential atmosphere of small financial interests which was beginning to stifle him.

 He is told that this house belongs to M. de Renal. It is to the profits that he has made from his great nail factory that the Mayor of Verrieres is indebted for this fine freestone house which he has just finished building.  His family, they say, is Spanish, old, and was or claims to have been established in the country long before Louis XIV conquered it.

 Since 1815 he has blushed at his connection with industry: 1815 made him Mayor of Verrieres. The retaining walls that support the various sections of this splendid garden, which, in a succession of terraces, runs down to the Doubs, are also a reward of M. de Renal's ability as a dealer in iron.

 You must not for a moment expect to find in France those picturesque gardens which enclose the manufacturing towns of Germany; Leipsic, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, and the rest. In the Franche-Comte, the more walls a man builds, the more he makes his property bristle with stones piled one above another, the greater title he acquires to the respect of his neighbours. M. de Renal's gardens, honeycombed with walls, are still further admired because he bought, for their weight in gold, certain minute scraps of ground which they cover. For instance that sawmill whose curious position on the bank of the Doubs struck you as you entered Verrieres, and on which you noticed the name _Sorel_, inscribed in huge letters on a board which overtops the roof, occupied, six years ago, the ground on which at this moment they are building the wall of the fourth terrace of M. de Renal's gardens.

 For all his pride, the Mayor was obliged to make many overtures to old Sorel, a dour and obstinate peasant; he was obliged to pay him in fine golden louis before he would consent to remove his mill elsewhere. As for the _public_ lade which supplied power to the saw, M. de Renal, thanks to the influence he wielded in Paris, obtained leave to divert it. This favour was conferred upon him after the 182- elections.

 He gave Sorel four acres in exchange for one, five hundred yards lower down by the bank of the Doubs. And, albeit this site was a great deal more advantageous for his trade in planks of firwood, Pere Sorel, as they have begun to call him now that he is rich, contrived to screw out of the impatience and _landowning mania_ which animated his neighbour a sum of 6,000 francs.

 It is true that this arrangement was adversely criticised by the local wiseacres. On one occasion, it was a Sunday, four years later, M. de Renal, as he walked home from church in his mayoral attire, saw at a distance old Sorel, supported by his three sons, watching him with a smile. That smile cast a destroying ray of light into the Mayor's soul; ever since then he has been thinking that he might have brought about the exchange at less cost to himself.

 To win popular esteem at Verrieres, the essential thing is not to adopt (while still building plenty of walls) any plan of construction brought from Italy by those masons who in spring pass through the gorges of the Jura on their way to Paris. Such an innovation would earn the rash builder an undying reputation fot wrong-headedness, and he would be lost forever among the sober and moderate folk who create reputations in the Franche-Comte.

 As a matter of fact, these sober folk wield there the most irritating form of _despotism_; it is owing to that vile word that residence in small towns is intolerable to anyone who has lived in that great republic which we call Paris. The tyranny of public opinion (and what an opinion!) is as fatuous in the small towns of France as it is in the United States of America.

 

 

CHAPTER 2

A Mayor

      

 Fortunately for M. de Renal's reputation as an administrator, a huge retaining wall was required for the public avenue which skirts the hillside a hundred feet above the bed of the Doubs. To this admirable position it is indebted for one of the most picturesque views in France. But, every spring, torrents of rainwater made channels across the avenue, carved deep gullies in it and left it impassable. This nuisance, which affected everybody alike, placed M. de Renal under the fortunate obligation to immortalise his administration by a wall twenty feet in height and seventy or eighty yards long.

 The parapet of this wall, to secure which M. de Renal was obliged to make three journeys to Paris, for the Minister of the Interior before last had sworn a deadly enmity to the Verrieres avenue; the parapet of this wall now rises four feet above the ground. And, as though to defy all Ministers past and present, it is being finished off at this moment with slabs of dressed stone.

 How often, my thoughts straying back to the ball-rooms of Paris, which I had forsaken overnight, my elbows leaning upon those great blocks of stone of a fine grey with a shade of blue in it, have I swept with my gaze the vale of the Doubs! Over there, on the left bank, are five or six winding valleys, along the folds of which the eye can make out quite plainly a number of little streams. After leaping from rock to rock, they may be seen falling into the Doubs.  The sun is extremely hot in these mountains; when it is directly overhead, the traveller's rest is sheltered on this terrace by a row of magnificent planes. Their rapid growth, and handsome foliage of a bluish tint are due to the artificial soil with which the Mayor has filled in the space behind his immense retaining wall, for, despite the opposition of the town council, he has widened the avenue by more than six feet (although he is an Ultra and I myself a Liberal, I give him credit for it), that is why, in his opinion and in that of M. Valenod, the fortunate governor of the Verrieres poorhouse, this terrace is worthy to be compared with that of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

 For my part, I have only one fault to find with the _Cours de la Fidelite_; one reads this, its official title, in fifteen or twenty places, on marble slabs which have won M. de Renal yet another Cross; what I should be inclined to condemn in the Cours de la Fidelite is the barbarous manner in which the authorities keep these sturdy plane trees trimmed and pollarded.  Instead of suggesting, with their low, rounded, flattened heads, the commonest of kitchen garden vegetables, they would like nothing better than to assume those magnificent forms which one sees them wear in England. But the Mayor's will is despotic, and twice a year every tree belonging to the commune is pitilessly lopped. The Liberals of the place maintain, but they exaggerate, that the hand of the official gardener has grown much more severe since the Reverend Vicar Maslon formed the habit of appropriating the clippings.

 This young cleric was sent from Besancon, some years ago, to keep an eye upon the abbe Chelan and certain parish priests of the district. An old Surgeon-Major of the Army of Italy, in retirement at Verrieres, who in his time had been simultaneously, according to the Mayor, a Jacobin and a Bonapartist, actually ventured one day to complain to him of the periodical mutilation of these fine trees.

 'I like shade,' replied M. de Renal with the touch of arrogance appropriate when one is addressing a surgeon, a Member of the Legion of Honour; 'I like shade, I have my trees cut so as to give shade, and I do not consider that a tree is made for any other purpose, unless, like the useful walnut, it _yields a return_.'

 There you have the great phrase that decides everything at Verrieres: YIELD A RETURN; it by itself represents the habitual thought of more than three fourths of the inhabitants.

 _Yielding a return_ is the consideration that settles everything in this little town which seemed to you, just now, so attractive. The stranger arriving there, beguiled by the beauty of the cool, deep valleys on every side, imagines at first that the inhabitants are influenced by the idea of beauty; they are always talking about the beauty of their scenery: no one can deny that they make a great to-do about it; but this is because it attracts a certain number of visitors whose money goes to enrich the innkeepers, and thus, through the channel of the rate-collector, _yields a return_ to the town.

 It was a fine day in autumn and M. de Renal was strolling along the Cours de la Fidelite, his lady on his arm. While she listened to her husband, who was speaking with an air of gravity, Madame de Renal's eye was anxiously following the movements of three little boys. The eldest, who might be about eleven, was continually running to the parapet as though about to climb on top. A gentle voice then uttered the name Adolphe, and the child abandoned his ambitious project. Madame de Renal looked like a woman of thirty, but was still extremely pretty.

 'He may live to rue the day, that fine gentleman from Paris,' M. de Renal was saying in a tone of annoyance, his cheek paler even than was its wont.  'I myself am not entirely without friends at Court....'

 But albeit I mean to speak to you of provincial life for two hundred pages, I shall not be so barbarous as to inflict upon you the tedium and all the clever turns of a provincial dialogue.

 This fine gentleman from Paris, so odious to the Mayor of Verrieres, was none other than M. Appert, [Footnote: A contemporary philanthropist and prison visitor.] who, a couple of days earlier, had contrived to make his way not only into the prison and the poorhouse of Verrieres, but also into the hospital, administered gratuitously by the Mayor and the principal landowners of the neighbourhood.

 'But,' Madame de Renal put in timidly, 'what harm can this gentleman from Paris do you, since you provide for the welfare of the poor with the most scrupulous honesty?'

 'He has only come to cast blame, and then he'll go back and have articles put in the Liberal papers.'

 'You never read them, my dear.'

 'But people tell us about those Jacobin articles; all that distracts us, and hinders us from doing good. [Author's footnote: authentic] As for me, I shall never forgive the cure.'

 

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 3

The Bread of the Poor

                    

 It should be explained that the cure of Verrieres, an old man of eighty, but blessed by the keen air of his mountains with an iron character and strength, had the right to visit at any hour of the day the prison, the hospital, and even the poorhouse. It was at six o'clock in the morning precisely that M. Appert, who was armed with an introduction to the cure from Paris, had had the good sense to arrive in an inquisitive little town.  He had gone at once to the presbytery.

 As he read the letter addressed to him by M. le Marquis de La Mole, a Peer of France, and the wealthiest landowner in the province, the cure Chelan sat lost in thought.

 'I am old and liked here,' he murmured to himself at length, 'they would never dare!' Turning at once to the gentleman from Paris, with eyes in which, despite his great age, there burned that sacred fire which betokens the pleasure of performing a fine action which is slightly dangerous:

 'Come with me, Sir, and, in the presence of the gaoler and especially of the superintendents of the poorhouse, be so good as not to express any opinion of the things we shall see.' M. Appert realised that he had to deal with a man of feeling; he accompanied the venerable cure, visited the prison, the hospital, the poorhouse, asked many questions and, notwithstanding strange answers, did not allow himself to utter the least word of reproach.

 This visit lasted for some hours. The cure invited M. Appert to dine with him, but was told that his guest had some letters to write: he did not wish to compromise his kind friend any further. About three o'clock, the gentlemen went back to complete their inspection of the poorhouse, after which they returned to the prison. There they found the gaoler standing in the doorway; a giant six feet tall, with bandy legs; terror had made his mean face hideous.

 'Ah, Sir,' he said to the cure, on catching sight of him, 'is not this gentleman, that I see with you, M. Appert?'

 'What if he is?' said the cure.

 'Because yesterday I received the most definite instructions, which the Prefect sent down by a gendarme who had to gallop all night long, not to allow M. Appert into the prison.'

 'I declare to you, M. Noiroud,' said the cure, 'that this visitor, who is in my company, is M. Appert. Do you admit that I have the right to enter the prison at any hour of the day or night, bringing with me whom I please?'

 'Yes, M. le cure,' the gaoler murmured in a subdued tone, lowering his head like a bulldog brought reluctantly to obedience by fear of the stick.  'Only, M. le cure, I have a wife and children, if I am reported I shall be dismissed; I have only my place here to live on.'

 'I too should be very sorry to lose mine,' replied the worthy cure, in a voice swayed by ever increasing emotion.

 'What a difference!' the gaoler answered promptly; 'why you, M. le cure, we know that you have an income of 800 livres, a fine place in the sun ...'

 Such are the events which, commented upon, exaggerated in twenty different ways, had been arousing for the last two days all the evil passions of the little town of Verrieres. At that moment they were serving as text for the little discussion which M. de Renal was having with his wife. That morning, accompanied by M. Valenod, the governor of the poorhouse, he had gone to the cure's house, to inform him of their extreme displeasure. M. Chelan was under no one's protection; he felt the full force of their words.

 'Well, gentlemen, I shall be the third parish priest, eighty years of age, to be deprived of his living in this district. I have been here for six and fifty years; I have christened almost all the inhabitants of the town, which was no more than a village when I came. Every day I marry young couples whose grandparents I married long ago. Verrieres is my family; but I said to myself, when I saw the stranger: "This man, who has come from Paris, may indeed be a Liberal, there are far too many of them; but what harm can he do to our poor people and our prisoners?"'

 The reproaches of M. de Renal, and above all those of M. Valenod, the governor of the poorhouse, becoming more and more bitter:

 'Very well, gentlemen, have me deprived,' the old cure had cried, in a quavering voice. 'I shall live in the town all the same. You all know that forty-eight years ago I inherited a piece of land which brings me 800 livres; I shall live on that income. I save nothing out of my stipend, gentlemen, and that may be why I am less alarmed when people speak of taking it from me.'

 M. de Renal lived on excellent terms with his wife; but not knowing what answer to make to the question, which she timidly repeated: 'What harm can this gentleman from Paris do to the prisoners?' he was just about to lose his temper altogether when she uttered a cry. Her second son had climbed upon the parapet of the wall of the terrace, and was running along it, though this wall rose more than twenty feet from the vineyard beneath. The fear of alarming her son and so making him fall restrained Madame de Renal from calling him. Finally the child, who was laughing at his own prowess, turned to look at his mother, noticed how pale she was, sprang down upon the avenue and ran to join her. He was well scolded.

 This little incident changed the course of the conversation.

 'I am quite determined to engage young Sorel, the sawyer's son,' said M. de Renal; 'he will look after the children, who are beginning to be too much of a handful for us. He is a young priest or thereabouts, a good Latin scholar, and will bring the children on; for he has a strong character, the cure says. I shall give him 300 francs and his board. I had some doubts as to his morals; for he was the Benjamin of that old surgeon, the Member of the Legion of Honour who on pretence of being their cousin came to live with the Sorels. He might quite well have been nothing better than a secret agent of the Liberals; he said that our mountain air was good for his asthma; but that has never been proved. He had served in all _Buonaparte's_ campaigns in Italy, and they even say that he voted against the Empire in his day. This Liberal taught young Sorel Latin, and left him all the pile of books he brought here with him. Not that I should ever have dreamed of having the carpenter's son with my children; but the cure, only the day before the scene which has made a permanent breach between us, told me that this Sorel has been studying theology for the last three years, with the idea of entering the Seminary; so he is not a Liberal, and he is a Latin scholar.

 'This arrangement suits me in more ways than one,' M. de Renal went on, looking at his wife with an air of diplomacy; 'Valenod is tremendously proud of the two fine Norman horses he has just bought for his calash. But he has not got a tutor for his children.'

 'He is quite capable of taking this one from us.'

 'Then you approve of my plan?' said M. de Renal, thanking his wife, with a smile, for the excellent idea that had just occurred to her. 'There, that's settled.'

 'Oh, good gracious, my dear, how quickly you make up your mind!'

 'That is because I have a strong character, as the cure has had occasion to see. Let us make no pretence about it, we are surrounded by Liberals here.  All these cloth merchants are jealous of me, I am certain of it; two or three of them are growing rich; very well, I wish them to see M. de Renal's children go by, out walking in the care of their tutor. It will make an impression. My grandfather used often to tell us that in his young days he had had a tutor. It's a hundred crowns he's going to cost me, but that will have to be reckoned as a necessary expense to keep up our position.'

 This sudden decision plunged Madame de Renal deep in thought. She was a tall, well-made woman, who had been the beauty of the place, as the saying is in this mountain district. She had a certain air of simplicity and bore herself like a girl; in the eyes of a Parisian, that artless grace, full of innocence and vivacity, might even have suggested ideas of a mildly passionate nature. Had she had wind of this kind of success, Madame de Renal would have been thoroughly ashamed of it. No trace either of coquetry or of affectation had ever appeared in her nature. M. Valenod, the wealthy governor of the poorhouse, was supposed to have paid his court to her, but without success, a failure which had given a marked distinction to her virtue; for this M. Valenod, a tall young man, strongly built, with a vivid complexion and bushy black whiskers, was one of those coarse, brazen, noisy creatures who in the provinces are called fine men.

 Madame de Renal, being extremely shy and liable to be swayed by her moods, was offended chiefly by the restless movements and loud voice of M. Valenod. The distaste that she felt for what at Verrieres goes by the name of gaiety had won her the reputation of being extremely proud of her birth.  She never gave it a thought, but had been greatly pleased to see the inhabitants of Verrieres come less frequently to her house. We shall not attempt to conceal the fact that she was reckoned a fool in the eyes of their ladies, because, without any regard for her husband's interests, she let slip the most promising opportunities of procuring fine hats from Paris or Besancon. Provided that she was left alone to stroll in her fine garden, she never made any complaint.

 She was a simple soul, who had never risen even to the point of criticising her husband, and admitting that he bored her. She supposed, without telling herself so, that between husband and wife there could be no more tender relations. She was especially fond of M. de Renal when he spoke to her of his plans for their children, one of whom he intended to place in the army, the second on the bench, and the third in the church. In short, she found M. de Renal a great deal less boring than any of the other men of her acquaintance.

 This wifely opinion was justified. The Mayor of Verrieres owed his reputation for wit, and better still for good tone, to half a dozen pleasantries which he had inherited from an uncle. This old Captain de Renal had served before the Revolution in the Duke of Orleans's regiment of infantry, and, when he went to Paris, had had the right of entry into that Prince's drawing-rooms. He had there seen Madame de Montesson, the famous Madame de Genlis, M. Ducrest, the 'inventor' of the Palais-Royal.  These personages figured all too frequently in M. de Renal's stories. But by degrees these memories of things that it required so much delicacy to relate had become a burden to him, and for some time now it was only on solemn occasions that he would repeat his anecdotes of the House of Orleans. As he was in other respects most refined, except when the talk ran on money, he was regarded, and rightly, as the most aristocratic personage in Verrieres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 4

Father and Son

 

 'My wife certainly has a head on her shoulders!' the Mayor of Verrieres remarked to himself the following morning at six o'clock, as he made his way down to Pere Sorel's sawmill. 'Although I said so to her, to maintain my own superiority, it had never occurred to me that if I do not take this little priest Sorel, who, they tell me, knows his Latin like an angel, the governor of the poorhouse, that restless spirit, might very well have the same idea, and snatch him from me, I can hear the tone of conceit with which he would speak of his children's tutor! ... This tutor, once I've secured him, will he wear a cassock?'

 M. de Renal was absorbed in this question when he saw in the distance a peasant, a man of nearly six feet in height, who, by the first dawning light, seemed to be busily occupied in measuring pieces of timber lying by the side of the Doubs, upon the towpath. The peasant did not appear any too well pleased to see the Mayor coming towards him; for his pieces of wood were blocking the path, and had been laid there in contravention of the law.

 Pere Sorel, for it was he, was greatly surprised and even more pleased by the singular offer which M. de Renal made him with regard to his son Julien. He listened to it nevertheless with that air of grudging-melancholy and lack of interest which the shrewd inhabitants of those mountains know so well how to assume. Slaves in the days of Spanish rule, they still retain this facial characteristic of the Egyptian fellahin.

 Sorel's reply was at first nothing more than a long-winded recital of all the formal terms of respect which he knew by heart. While he was repeating these vain words, with an awkward smile which enhanced the air of falsehood and almost of rascality natural to his countenance, the old peasant's active mind was seeking to discover what reason could be inducing so important a personage to take his scapegrace of a son into his establishment. He was thoroughly dissatisfied with Julien, and it was for Julien that M. de Renal was offering him the astounding wage of 300 francs annually, in addition to his food and even his clothing. This last condition, which Pere Sorel had had the intelligence to advance on the spur of the moment, had been granted with equal readiness by M. de Renal.

 This demand impressed the Mayor. 'Since Sorel is not delighted and overwhelmed by my proposal, as he ought naturally to be, it is clear,' he said to himself, 'that overtures have been made to him from another quarter; and from whom can they have come, except from Valenod?' It was in vain that M. de Renal urged Sorel to conclude the bargain there and then: the astute old peasant met him with an obstinate refusal; he wished, he said, to consult his son, as though, in the country, a rich father ever consulted a penniless son, except for form's sake.

 A sawmill consists of a shed by the side of a stream. The roof is held up by rafters supported on four stout wooden pillars. Nine or ten feet from the ground, in the middle of the shed, one sees a saw which moves up and down, while an extremely simple mechanism thrusts forward against this saw a piece of wood. This is a wheel set in motion by the mill lade which drives both parts of the machine; that of the saw which moves up and down, and the other which pushes the piece of wood gently towards the saw, which slices it into planks.

 As he approached his mill, Pere Sorel called Julien in his stentorian voice; there was no answer. He saw only his two elder sons, young giants who, armed with heavy axes, were squaring the trunks of fir which they would afterwards carry to the saw. They were completely engrossed in keeping exactly to the black line traced on the piece of wood, from which each blow of the axe sent huge chips flying. They did not hear their father's voice. He made his way to the shed; as he entered it, he looked in vain for Julien in the place where he ought to have been standing, beside the saw. He caught sight of him five or six feet higher up, sitting astride upon one of the beams of the roof. Instead of paying careful attention to the action of the machinery, Julien was reading a book. Nothing could have been less to old Sorel's liking; he might perhaps have forgiven Julien his slender build, little adapted to hard work, and so different from that of his elder brothers; but this passion for reading he detested: he himself was unable to read.

 It was in vain that he called Julien two or three times. The attention the young man was paying to his book, far more than the noise of the saw, prevented him from hearing his father's terrifying voice. Finally, despite his years, the father sprang nimbly upon the trunk that was being cut by the saw, and from there on to the cross beam that held up the roof. A violent blow sent flying into the mill lade the book that Julien was holding; a second blow no less violent, aimed at his head, in the form of a box on the ear, made him lose his balance. He was about to fall from a height of twelve or fifteen feet, among the moving machinery, which would have crushed him, but his father caught him with his left hand as he fell.

 'Well, idler! So you keep on reading your cursed books, when you ought to be watching the saw? Read them in the evening, when you go and waste your time with the cure.'

 Julien, although stunned by the force of the blow, and bleeding profusely, went to take up his proper station beside the saw. There were tears in his eyes, due not so much to his bodily pain as to the loss of his book, which he adored.

 'Come down, animal, till I speak to you.' The noise of the machine again prevented Julien from hearing this order. His father who had stepped down not wishing to take the trouble to climb up again on to the machine, went to find a long pole used for knocking down walnuts, and struck him on the shoulder with it. No sooner had Julien reached the ground than old Sorel, thrusting him on brutally from behind, drove him towards the house. 'Heaven knows what he's going to do to me!' thought the young man. As he passed it, he looked sadly at the mill lade into which his book had fallen; it was the one that he valued most of all, the _Memorial de Sainte-Helene_.

 His cheeks were flushed, his eyes downcast. He was a slim youth of eighteen or nineteen, weak in appearance, with irregular but delicate features and an aquiline nose. His large dark eyes, which, in moments of calm, suggested a reflective, fiery spirit, were animated at this instant with an expression of the most ferocious hatred. Hair of a dark chestnut, growing very low, gave him a narrow brow, and in moments of anger a wicked air. Among the innumerable varieties of the human countenance, there is perhaps none that is more strikingly characteristic. A slim and shapely figure betokened suppleness rather than strength. In his childhood, his extremely pensive air and marked pallor had given his father the idea that he would not live, or would live only to be a burden upon his family. An object of contempt to the rest of the household, he hated his brothers and father; in the games on Sundays, on the public square, he was invariably beaten.

 It was only during the last year that his good looks had begun to win him a few supporters among the girls. Universally despised, as a feeble creature, Julien had adored that old Surgeon-Major who one day ventured to speak to the Mayor on the subject of the plane trees.

 This surgeon used now and then to pay old Sorel a day's wage for his son, and taught him Latin and history, that is to say all the history that he knew, that of the 1796 campaign in Italy. On his death, he had bequeathed to him his Cross of the Legion of Honour, the arrears of his pension, and thirty or forty volumes, the most precious of which had just taken a plunge into the public lade, diverted by the Mayor's influence.

 As soon as he was inside the house, Julien felt his shoulder gripped by his father's strong hand; he trembled, expecting to receive a shower of blows.

 'Answer me without lying,' the old peasant's harsh voice shouted in his ear, while the hand spun him round as a child's hand spins a lead soldier.  Julien's great dark eyes, filled with tears, found themselves starting into the little grey eyes of the old peasant, who looked as though he sought to penetrate to the depths of his son's heart.

 

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 5

Driving a Bargain

   

 'Answer me, without lying, if you can, you miserable bookworm; how do you come to know Madame de Renal? When have you spoken to her?'

 'I have never spoken to her,' replied Julien, 'I have never seen the lady except in church.'

 'But you must have looked at her, you shameless scoundrel?'

 'Never! You know that in church I see none but God,' Julien added with a hypocritical air, calculated, to his mind, to ward off further blows.

 'There is something behind this, all the same,' replied the suspicious peasant, and was silent for a moment; 'but I shall get nothing out of you, you damned hypocrite. The fact is, I'm going to be rid of you, and my saw will run all the better without you. You have made a friend of the parson or someone, and he's got you a fine post. Go and pack your traps, and I'll take you to M. de Renal's where you're to be tutor to the children.'

 'What am I to get for that?'

 'Board, clothing and three hundred francs in wages.'

 'I do not wish to be a servant,'

 'Animal, who ever spoke of your being a servant? Would I allow my son to be a servant?'

 'But, with whom shall I have my meals?'

 This question left old Sorel at a loss; he felt that if he spoke he might be guilty of some imprudence; he flew into a rage with Julien, upon whom he showered abuse, accusing him of greed, and left him to go and consult his other sons.

 Presently Julien saw them, each leaning upon his axe and deliberating together. After watching them for some time, Julien, seeing that he could make out nothing of their discussion, went and took his place on the far side of the saw, so as not to be taken by surprise. He wanted time to consider this sudden announcement which was altering his destiny, but felt himself to be incapable of prudence; his imagination was wholly taken up with forming pictures of what he would see in M. de Renal's fine house.

 'I must give up all that,' he said to himself, 'rather than let myself be brought down to feeding with the servants. My father will try to force me; I would sooner die. I have saved fifteen francs and eight sous, I shall run away tonight; in two days, by keeping to side-roads where I need not fear the police, I can be at Besancon; there I enlist as a soldier, and, if necessary, cross the border into Switzerland. But then, good-bye to everything, good-bye to that fine clerical profession which is a stepping-stone to everything.'

 This horror of feeding with the servants was not natural to Julien; he would, in seeking his fortune, have done other things far more disagreeable. He derived this repugnance from Rousseau's _Confessions_. It was the one book that helped his imagination to form any idea of the world.  The collection of reports of the Grand Army and the _Memorial de Sainte-Helene_ completed his Koran. He would have gone to the stake for those three books. Never did he believe in any other. Remembering a saying of the old Surgeon-Major, he regarded all the other books in the world as liars, written by rogues in order to obtain advancement.

 With his fiery nature Julien had one of those astonishing memories so often found in foolish people. To win over the old priest Chelan, upon whom he saw quite clearly that his own future depended, he had learned by heart the entire New Testament in Latin; he knew also M. de Maistre's book _Du Pape_, and had as little belief in one as in the other.

 As though by a mutual agreement, Sorel and his son avoided speaking to one another for the rest of the day. At dusk, Julien went to the cure for his divinity lesson, but did not think it prudent to say anything to him of the strange proposal that had been made to his father. 'It may be a trap,' he told himself; 'I must pretend to have forgotten about it.'

 Early on the following day, M. de Renal sent for old Sorel, who, after keeping him waiting for an hour or two, finally appeared, beginning as he entered the door a hundred excuses interspersed with as many reverences. By dint of giving voice to every sort of objection, Sorel succeeded in gathering that his son was to take his meals with the master and mistress of the house, and on days when they had company in a room by himself with the children. Finding an increasing desire to raise difficulties the more he discerned a genuine anxiety on the Mayor's part, and being moreover filled with distrust and bewilderment, Sorel asked to see the room in which his son was to sleep. It was a large chamber very decently furnished, but the servants were already engaged in carrying into it the beds of the three children.

 At this the old peasant began to see daylight; he at once asked with assurance to see the coat which would be given to his son. M. de Renal opened his desk and took out a hundred francs.

 'With this money, your son can go to M. Durand, the clothier, and get himself a suit of black.'

 'And supposing I take him away from you,' said the peasant, who had completely forgotten the reverential forms of address. 'Will he take this black coat with him?'

 'Certainly.'

 'Oh, very well!' said Sorel in a drawling tone, 'then there's only one thing for us still to settle: the money you're to give him.'

 'What!' M. de Renal indignantly exclaimed, 'we agreed upon that yesterday: I give three hundred francs; I consider that plenty, if not too much.'

 'That was your offer, I do not deny it,' said old Sorel, speaking even more slowly; then, by a stroke of genius which will astonish only those who do not know the Franc-Comtois peasant, he added, looking M. de Renal steadily in the face: '_We can do better elsewhere_.'

 At these words the Mayor was thrown into confusion. He recovered himself, however, and, after an adroit conversation lasting fully two hours, in which not a word was said without a purpose, the peasant's shrewdness prevailed over that of the rich man, who was not dependent on his for his living. All the innumerable conditions which were to determine Julien's new existence were finally settled; not only was his salary fixed at four hundred francs, but it was to be paid in advance, on the first day of each month.

 'Very well! I shall let him have thirty-five francs,' said M. de Renal.

 'To make a round sum, a rich and generous gentleman like our Mayor,' the peasant insinuated in a coaxing voice, 'will surely go as far as thirty-six.'

 'All right,' said M. de Renal, 'but let us have no more of this.'

 For once, anger gave him a tone of resolution. The peasant saw that he could advance no farther. Thereupon M. de Renal began in turn to make headway. He utterly refused to hand over the thirty-six francs for the first month to old Sorel, who was most eager to receive the money on his son's behalf. It occurred to M. de Renal that he would be obliged to describe to his wife the part he had played throughout this transaction.

 'Let me have back the hundred francs I gave you,' he said angrily. 'M. Durand owes me money. I shall go with your son to choose the black cloth.'

 After this bold stroke, Sorel prudently retired upon his expressions of respect; they occupied a good quarter of an hour. In the end, seeing that there was certainly nothing more to be gained, he withdrew. His final reverence ended with the words:

 'I shall send my son up to the chateau.'

 It was thus that the Mayor's subordinates spoke of his house when they wished to please him.

 Returning to his mill, Sorel looked in vain for his son. Doubtful as to what might be in store for him, Julien had left home in the dead of night.  He had been anxious to find a safe hiding-place for his books and his Cross of the Legion of Honour. He had removed the whole of his treasures to the house of a young timber-merchant, a friend of his, by the name of Fouque, who lived on the side of the high mountain overlooking Verrieres.

 When he reappeared: 'Heaven knows, you damned idler,' his father said to him, 'whether you will ever have enough honour to pay me for the cost of your keep, which I have been advancing to you all these years! Pack up your rubbish, and off with you to the Mayor's.'

 Julien, astonished not to receive a thrashing, made haste to set off. But no sooner was he out of sight of his terrible father than he slackened his pace. He decided that it would serve the ends of his hypocrisy to pay a visit to the church.

 The idea surprises you? Before arriving at this horrible idea, the soul of the young peasant had had a long way to go.

 When he was still a child, the sight of certain dragoons of the 6th, in their long, white cloaks, and helmets adorned with long crests of black horsehair, who were returning from Italy, and whom Julien saw tying their horses to the barred window of his father's house, drove him mad with longing for a military career.

 Later on he listened with ecstasy to the accounts of the battles of the Bridge of Lodi, Arcole and Rivoli given him by the old Surgeon-Major. He noticed the burning gaze which the old man directed at his Cross.

 But when Julien was fourteen, they began to build a church at Verrieres, one that might be called magnificent for so small a town. There were, in particular, four marble pillars the sight of which impressed Julien; they became famous throughout the countryside, owing to the deadly enmity which they aroused between the Justice of the Peace and the young vicar, sent down from Besancon, who was understood to be the spy of the Congregation. The Justice of the Peace came within an ace of losing his post, such at least was the common report. Had he not dared to have a difference of opinion with a priest who, almost every fortnight, went to Besancon, where he saw, people said, the Right Reverend Lord Bishop?

 In the midst of all this, the Justice of the Peace, the father of a large family, passed a number of sentences which appeared unjust; all of these were directed against such of the inhabitants as read the _Constitutionnel_. The right party was triumphant. The sums involved amounted, it was true, to no more than four or five francs; but one of these small fines was levied upon a nailsmith, Julien's godfather. In his anger, this man exclaimed: 'What a change! And to think that, for twenty years and more, the Justice was reckoned such an honest man!' The Surgeon-Major, Julien's friend, was dead.

 All at once Julien ceased to speak of Napoleon; he announced his intention of becoming a priest, and was constantly to be seen, in his father's sawmill, engaged in learning by heart a Latin Bible which the cure had lent him. The good old man, amazed at his progress, devoted whole evenings to instructing him in divinity. Julien gave utterance in his company to none but pious sentiments. Who could have supposed that that girlish face, so pale and gentle, hid the unshakeable determination to expose himself to the risk of a thousand deaths rather than fail to make his fortune?

 To Julien, making a fortune meant in the first place leaving Verrieres; he loathed his native place. Everything that he saw there froze his imagination.

 >From his earliest boyhood, he had had moments of exaltation. At such times he dreamed with rapture that one day he would be introduced to the beautiful ladies of Paris; he would manage to attract their attention by some brilliant action. Why should he not be loved by one of them, as Bonaparte, when still penniless, had been loved by the brilliant Madame de Beauharnais? For many years now, perhaps not an hour of Julien's life had passed without his reminding himself that Bonaparte, an obscure subaltern with no fortune, had made himself master of the world with his sword. This thought consoled him for his misfortunes which he deemed to be great, and enhanced his joy when joy came his way.

 The building of the church and the sentences passed by the Justice brought him sudden enlightenment; an idea which occurred to him drove him almost out of his senses for some weeks, and finally took possession of him with the absolute power of the first idea which a passionate nature believes itself to have discovered.

 'When Bonaparte made a name for himself, France was in fear of being invaded; military distinction was necessary and fashionable. Today we see priests at forty drawing stipends of a hundred thousand francs, that is to say three times as much as the famous divisional commanders under Napoleon.  They must have people to support them. Look at the Justice here, so wise a man, always so honest until now, sacrificing his honour, at his age, from fear of offending a young vicar of thirty. I must become a priest.'

 On one occasion, in the midst of his new-found piety, after Julien had been studying divinity for two years, he was betrayed by a sudden blaze of the fire that devoured his spirit. This was at M. Chelan's; at a dinner party of priests, to whom the good cure had introduced him as an educational prodigy, he found himself uttering frenzied praise of Napoleon. He bound his right arm across his chest, pretending that he had put the arm out of joint when shifting a fir trunk, and kept it for two months in this awkward position. After this drastic penance, he forgave himself. Such is the young man of eighteen, but weak in appearance, whom you would have said to be, at the most, seventeen, who, carrying a small parcel under his arm, was entering the magnificent church of Verrieres.

 He found it dark and deserted. In view of some festival, all the windows in the building had been covered with crimson cloth; the effect of this, when the sun shone, was a dazzling blaze of light, of the most imposing and most religious character.  Julien shuddered. Being alone in the church, he took his seat on the bench that had the most handsome appearance. It bore the arms of M. de Renal.

 On the desk in front, Julien observed a scrap of printed paper, spread out there as though to be read. He looked at it closely and saw:

 'Details of the execution and of the last moments of Louis Jenrel, executed at Besancon, on the ...'

 The paper was torn. On the other side he read the opening words of a line, which were: 'The first step.'

 'Who can have put this paper here?' said Julien. 'Poor wretch!' he added with a sigh, 'his name has the same ending as mine.' And he crumpled up the paper.

 On his way out, Julien thought he saw blood by the holy water stoup; it was some of the water that had been spilt: the light from the red curtains which draped the windows made it appear like blood.

 Finally, Julien felt ashamed of his secret terror.

 'Should I prove coward?' he said to himself. '_To arms_!'

 This phrase, so often repeated in the old Surgeon's accounts of battles, had a heroic sound in Julien's ears. He rose and walked rapidly to M. de Renal's house.

 Despite these brave resolutions, as soon as he caught sight of the house twenty yards away he was overcome by an unconquerable shyness. The iron gate stood open; it seemed to him magnificent. He would have now to go in through it.

 Julien was not the only person whose heart was troubled by his arrival in this household. Madame de Renal's extreme timidity was disconcerted by the idea of this stranger who, in the performance of his duty, would be constantly coming between her and her children. She was accustomed to having her sons sleep in her own room. That morning, many tears had flowed when she saw their little beds being carried into the apartment intended for the tutor. In vain did she beg her husband to let the bed of Stanislas Xavier, the youngest boy, be taken back to her room.

 Womanly delicacy was carried to excess in Madame de Renal. She formed a mental picture of a coarse, unkempt creature, employed to scold her children, simply because he knew Latin, a barbarous tongue for the sake of which her sons would be whipped.

 

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 6

Dullness

 

 With the vivacity and grace which came naturally to her when she was beyond the reach of male vision, Madame de Renal was coming out through the glass door which opened from the drawing-room into the garden, when she saw, standing by the front door, a young peasant, almost a boy still, extremely pale and showing traces of recent tears. He was wearing a clean white shirt and carried under his arm a neat jacket of violet ratteen.

 This young peasant's skin was so white, his eyes were so appealing, that the somewhat romantic mind of Madame de Renal conceived the idea at first that he might be a girl in disguise, come to ask some favour of the Mayor.  She felt sorry for the poor creature, who had come to a standstill by the front door, and evidently could not summon up courage to ring the bell.  Madame de Renal advanced, oblivious for the moment of the bitter grief that she felt at the tutor's coming. Julien, who was facing the door, did not see her approach. He trembled when a pleasant voice sounded close to his ear:

 'What have you come for, my boy?'

 Julien turned sharply round, and, struck by the charm of Madame de Renal's expression, forgot part of his shyness. A moment later, astounded by her beauty, he forgot everything, even his purpose in coming. Madame de Renal had repeated her question.

 'I have come to be tutor, Madame,' he at length informed her, put to shame by his tears which he dried as best he might.

 Madame de Renal remained speechless; they were standing close together, looking at one another. Julien had never seen a person so well dressed as this, let alone a woman with so exquisite a complexion, to speak to him in a gentle tone. Madame de Renal looked at the large tears which lingered on the cheeks (so pallid at first and now so rosy) of this young peasant. Presently she burst out laughing, with all the wild hilarity of a girl; she was laughing at herself, and trying in vain to realise the full extent of her happiness. So this was the tutor whom she had imagined an unwashed and ill-dressed priest, who was coming to scold and whip her children.

 'Why, Sir!' she said to him at length, 'do you know Latin?'

 The word 'Sir' came as such a surprise to Julien that he thought for a moment before answering.

 'Yes, Ma'am,' he said shyly.

 Madame de Renal felt so happy that she ventured to say to Julien:

 'You won't scold those poor children too severely?'

 'Scold them? I?' asked Julien in amazement. 'Why should I?'

 'You will, Sir,' she went on after a brief silence and in a voice that grew more emotional every moment, 'you will be kind to them, you promise me?'

 To hear himself addressed again as 'Sir', in all seriousness, and by a lady so fashionably attired, was more than Julien had ever dreamed of; in all the cloud castles of his boyhood, he had told himself that no fashionable lady would deign to speak to him until he had a smart uniform. Madame de Renal, for her part, was completely taken in by the beauty of Julien's complexion, his great dark eyes and his becoming hair which was curling more than usual because, to cool himself, he had just dipped his head in the basin of the public fountain. To her great delight, she discovered an air of girlish shyness in this fatal tutor, whose severity and savage appearance she had so greatly dreaded for her children's sake. To Madame de Renal's peace-loving nature the contrast between her fears and what she now saw before her was a great event. Finally she recovered from her surprise. She was astonished to find herself standing like this at the door of her house with this young man almost in his shirtsleeves and so close to her.

 'Let us go indoors, Sir,' she said to him with an air of distinct embarrassment.

 Never in her life had a purely agreeable sensation so profoundly stirred Madame de Renal; never had so charming an apparition come in the wake of more disturbing fears. And so those sweet children, whom she had tended with such care, were not to fall into the hands of a dirty, growling priest. As soon as they were in the hall, she turned to Julien who was following her shyly. His air of surprise at the sight of so fine a house was an additional charm in the eyes of Madame de Renal. She could not believe her eyes; what she felt most of all was that the tutor ought to be wearing a black coat.

 'But is it true, Sir,' she said to him, again coming to a halt, and mortally afraid lest she might be mistaken, so happy was the belief making her, 'do you really know Latin?'

 These words hurt Julien's pride and destroyed the enchantment in which he had been living for the last quarter of an hour.

 'Yes, Ma'am,' he informed her, trying to adopt a chilly air; 'I know Latin as well as M. le cure; indeed, he is sometimes so kind as to say that I know it better.'

 Madame de Renal felt that Julien had a very wicked air; he had stopped within arm's length of her. She went nearer to him, and murmured:

 'For the first few days, you won't take the whip to my children, even if they don't know their lessons?'

 This gentle, almost beseeching tone coming from so fine a lady at once made Julien forget what he owed to his reputation as a Latin scholar. Madame de Renal's face was close to his own, he could smell the perfume of a woman's summer attire, so astounding a thing to a poor peasant. Julien blushed deeply, and said with a sigh and in a faint voice:

 'Fear nothing, Ma'am, I shall obey you in every respect.'

 It was at this moment only, when her anxiety for her children was completely banished, that Madame de Renal was struck by Julien's extreme good looks. The almost feminine cast of his features and his air of embarrassment did not seem in the least absurd to a woman who was extremely timid herself. The manly air which is generally considered essential to masculine beauty would have frightened her.

 'How old are you, Sir?' she asked Julien.

 'I shall soon be nineteen.'

 'My eldest son is eleven,' went on Madame de Renal, completely reassured; 'he will be almost a companion for you, you can talk to him seriously. His father tried to beat him once, the child was ill for a whole week, and yet it was quite a gentle blow.'

 'How different from me,' thought Julien. 'Only yesterday my father was thrashing me. How fortunate these rich people are!'

 Madame de Renal had by this time arrived at the stage of remarking the most trivial changes in the state of the tutor's mind; she mistook this envious impulse for shyness, and tried to give him fresh courage.

 'What is your name, Sir?' she asked him with an accent and a grace the charm of which Julien could feel without knowing whence it sprang.

 'They call me Julien Sorel, Ma'am; I am trembling as I enter a strange house for the first time in my life; I have need of your protection, and shall require you to forgive me many things at first. I have never been to College, I was too poor; I have never talked to any other men, except my cousin the Surgeon-Major, a Member of the Legion of Honour, and the Reverend Father Chelan. He will give you a good account of me. My brothers have always beaten me, do not listen to them if they speak evil of me to you; pardon my faults, Ma'am, I shall never have any evil intention.'

 Julien plucked up his courage again during this long speech; he was studying Madame de Renal. Such is the effect of perfect grace when it is natural to the character, particularly when she whom it adorns has no thought of being graceful. Julien, who knew all that was to be known about feminine beauty, would have sworn at that moment that she was no more than twenty. The bold idea at once occurred to him of kissing her hand. Next, this idea frightened him; a moment later, he said to himself: 'It would be cowardly on my part not to carry out an action which may be of use to me, and diminish the scorn which this fine lady probably feels for a poor workman, only just taken from the sawbench.' Perhaps Julien was somewhat encouraged by the words 'good-looking boy' which for the last six months he had been used to hearing on Sundays on the lips of various girls. While he debated thus with himself, Madame de Renal offered him a few suggestions as to how he should begin to handle her children. The violence of Julien's effort to control himself made him turn quite pale again; he said, with an air of constraint:

 'Never, Ma'am, will I beat your children; I swear it before God.'

 And so saying he ventured to take Madame de Renal's hand and carry it to his lips. She was astonished at this action, and, on thinking it over, shocked. As the weather was very warm, her arm was completely bare under her shawl, and Julien's action in raising her hand to his lips had uncovered it to the shoulder. A minute later she scolded herself; she felt that she had not been quickly enough offended.

 M. de Renal, who had heard the sound of voices, came out of his study; with the same majestic and fatherly air that he assumed when he was conducting marriages in the Town Hall, he said to Julien:

 'It is essential that I speak to you before the children see you.'

 He ushered Julien into one of the rooms and detained his wife, who was going to leave them together. Having shut the door, M. de Renal seated himself with gravity.

 'The cure has told me that you were an honest fellow, everyone in this house will treat you with respect, and if I am satisfied I shall help you to set up for yourself later on. I wish you to cease to see anything of either your family or your friends, their tone would not be suited to my children. Here are thirty-six francs for the first month; but I must have your word that you will not give a penny of this money to your father.'

 M. de Renal was annoyed with the old man, who, in this business, had proved more subtle than he himself.

 'And now, _Sir_, for by my orders everyone in this house is to address you as Sir, and you will be conscious of the advantage of entering a well-ordered household; now, Sir, it is not proper that the children should see you in a jacket. Have the servants seen him?' M. de Renal asked his wife.

 'No, dear,' she replied with an air of deep thought.

 'Good. Put on this,' he said to the astonished young man, handing him one of his own frock coats. 'And now let us go to M. Durand, the clothier.'

 More than an hour later, when M. de Renal returned with the new tutor dressed all in black, he found his wife still seated in the same place. She felt soothed by Julien's presence; as she studied his appearance she forgot to feel afraid. Julien was not giving her a thought; for all his mistrust of destiny and of mankind, his heart at that moment was just like a child's; he seemed to have lived whole years since the moment when, three hours earlier, he stood trembling in the church. He noticed Madame de Renal's frigid manner, and gathered that she was angry because he had ventured to kiss her hand. But the sense of pride that he derived from the contact of garments so different from those which he was accustomed to wear caused him so much excitement, and he was so anxious to conceal his joy that all his gestures were more or less abrupt and foolish. Madame de Renal gazed at him with eyes of astonishment.

 'A little gravity, Sir,' M. de Renal told him, 'if you wish to be respected by my children and my servants.'

 'Sir,' replied Julien, 'I am uncomfortable in these new clothes; I, a humble peasant, have never worn any but short jackets; with your permission, I shall retire to my bedroom.'

 'What think you of this new acquisition?' M. de Renal asked his wife.

 With an almost instinctive impulse, of which she herself certainly was not aware, Madame de Renal concealed the truth from her husband.

 'I am by no means as enchanted as you are with this little peasant; your kindness will turn him into an impertinent rascal whom you will be obliged to send packing within a month.'

 'Very well! We shall send him packing; he will have cost me a hundred francs or so, and Verrieres will have grown used to seeing a tutor with M. de Renal's children. That point I should not have gained if I had let Julien remain in the clothes of a working man. When I dismiss him, I shall of course keep the black suit which I have just ordered from the clothier.  He shall have nothing but the coat I found ready made at the tailor's, which he is now wearing.'

 The hour which Julien spent in his room seemed like a second to Madame de Renal. The children, who had been told of their new tutor's arrival, overwhelmed their mother with questions. Finally Julien appeared. He was another man. It would have been straining the word to say that he was grave; he was gravity incarnate. He was introduced to the children, and spoke to them with an air that surprised M. de Renal himself.

 'I am here, young gentlemen,' he told them at the end of his address, 'to teach you Latin. You know what is meant by repeating a lesson. Here is the Holy Bible,' he said, and showed them a tiny volume in 32mo, bound in black. 'It is in particular the story of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the part which is called the New Testament. I shall often make you repeat lessons; now you must make me repeat mine.'

 Adolphe, the eldest boy, had taken the book.

 'Open it where you please,' Julien went on, 'and tell me the first word of a paragraph. I shall repeat by heart the sacred text, the rule of conduct for us all, until you stop me.'

 Adolphe opened the book, read a word, and Julien repeated the whole page as easily as though he were speaking French. M. de Renal looked at his wife with an air of triumph. The children, seeing their parents' amazement, opened their eyes wide. A servant came to the door of the drawing-room, Julien went on speaking in Latin. The servant at first stood motionless and then vanished. Presently the lady's maid and the cook appeared in the doorway; by this time Adolphe had opened the book at eight different places, and Julien continued to repeat the words with the same ease.

 'Eh, what a bonny little priest,' the cook, a good and truly devout girl, said aloud.

 M. de Renal's self-esteem was troubled; so far from having any thought of examining the tutor, he was engaged in ransacking his memory for a few words of Latin; at last, he managed to quote a line of Horace. Julien knew no Latin apart from the Bible. He replied with a frown:

 'The sacred ministry to which I intend to devote myself has forbidden me to read so profane a poet.'

 M. de Renal repeated a fair number of alleged lines of Horace. He explained to his children what Horace was; but the children, overcome with admiration, paid little attention to what he was saying. They were watching Julien.

 The servants being still at the door, Julien felt it incumbent upon him to prolong the test.

 'And now,' he said to the youngest boy, 'Master Stanislas Xavier too must set me a passage from the Holy Book.'

 Little Stanislas, swelling with pride, read out to the best of his ability the opening words of a paragraph, and Julien repeated the whole page. That nothing might be wanting to complete M. de Renal's triumph, while Julien was reciting, there entered M. Valenod, the possessor of fine Norman horses, and M. Charcot de Maugiron, Sub-Prefect of the district. This scene earned for Julien the title 'Sir'; the servants themselves dared not withhold it from him.

 That evening, the whole of Verrieres flocked to M. de Renal's to behold the marvel. Julien answered them all with an air of gloom which kept them at a distance. His fame spread so rapidly through the town that, shortly afterwards, M. de Renal, afraid of losing him, suggested his signing a contract for two years.

 'No, Sir,' Julien replied coldly, 'if you chose to dismiss me I should be obliged to go. A contract which binds me without putting you under any obligation is unfair, I must decline.'

 Julien managed so skilfully that, less than a month after his coming to the house, M. de Renal himself respected him. The cure having quarrelled with MM. de Renal and Valenod, there was no one who could betray Julien's former passion for Napoleon, of whom he was careful to speak with horror.

  

 

 

  CHAPTER 7

Elective Affinities

          

 The children adored him, he did not care for them; his thoughts were elsewhere. Nothing that these urchins could do ever tried his patience.  Cold, just, impassive, and at the same time loved, because his coming had in a measure banished dullness from the house, he was a good tutor. For his part, he felt only hatred and horror for the high society in which he was allowed to occupy the very foot of the table, a position which may perhaps explain his hatred and horror. There were certain formal dinners at which he could barely contain his loathing of everything round about him.  On Saint Louis's day in particular, M. Valenod was laying down the law at M. de Renal's; Julien almost gave himself away; he escaped into the garden, saying that he must look after the children. 'What panegyrics of honesty!' he exclaimed; 'anyone would say that was the one and only virtue; and yet what consideration, what a cringing respect for a man who obviously has doubled and tripled his fortune since he has been in charge of the relief of the poor! I would wager that he makes something even out of the fund set apart for the foundlings, those wretches whose need is even more sacred than that of the other paupers. Ah, monsters! Monsters! And I too, I am a sort of foundling, hated by my father, my brothers, my whole family.'

 Some days earlier, Julien walking by himself and saying his office in a little wood, known as the Belvedere, which overlooks the Cours de la Fidelite, had tried in vain to avoid his two brothers, whom he saw approaching him by a solitary path. The jealousy of these rough labourers had been so quickened by the sight of their brother's handsome black coat, and air of extreme gentility, as well as by the sincere contempt which he felt for them, that they had proceeded to thrash him, leaving him there unconscious and bleeding freely. Madame de Renal, who was out walking with M. Valenod and the Sub-Prefect, happened to turn into the little wood; she saw Julien lying on the ground and thought him dead. She was so overcome as to make M. Valenod jealous.

 His alarm was premature. Julien admired Madame de Renal's looks, but hated her for her beauty; it was the first reef on which his fortune had nearly foundered. He spoke to her as seldom as possible, in the hope of making her forget the impulse which, at their first encounter, had led him to kiss her hand.

 Elisa, Madame de Renal's maid, had not failed to fall in love with the young tutor; she often spoke of him to her mistress. Miss Elisa's love had brought upon Julien the hatred of one of the footmen. One day he heard this man say to Elisa: 'You won't speak to me any more, since that greasy tutor has been in the house.' Julien did not deserve the epithet; but, with the instinct of a good-looking youth, became doubly attentive to his person. M. Valenod's hatred was multiplied accordingly. He said in public that so much concern with one's appearance was not becoming in a young cleric. Barring the cassock, Julien now wore clerical attire.

 Madame de Renal observed that he was speaking more often than before to Miss Elisa; she learned that these conversations were due to the limitations of Julien's extremely small wardrobe. He had so scanty a supply of linen that he was obliged to send it out constantly to be washed, and it was in performing these little services that Elisa made herself useful to him.

 This extreme poverty, of which she had had no suspicion, touched Madame de Renal; she longed to make him presents, but did not dare; this inward resistance was the first feeling of regret that Julien caused her. Until then the name of Julien and the sense of a pure and wholly intellectual joy had been synonymous to her.  Tormented by the idea of Julien's poverty, Madame de Renal spoke to her husband about making him a present of linen:

 'What idiocy!' he replied. 'What! Make presents to a man with whom we are perfectly satisfied, and who is serving us well? It is when he neglects his duty that we should stimulate his zeal.'

 Madame de Renal felt ashamed of this way of looking at things; before Julien came she would not have noticed it. She never saw the young cleric's spotless, though very simple, toilet without asking herself: 'Poor boy, how ever does he manage?'

 As time went on she began to feel sorry for Julien's deficiencies, instead of being shocked by them.

 Madame de Renal was one of those women to be found in the provinces whom one may easily take to be fools until one has known them for a fortnight.  She had no experience of life, and made no effort at conversation. Endowed with a delicate and haughty nature, that instinct for happiness natural to all human beings made her, generally speaking, pay no attention to the actions of the coarse creatures into whose midst chance had flung her.

 She would have been remarkable for her naturalness and quickness of mind, had she received the most scanty education; but in her capacity as an heiress she had been brought up by nuns who practised a passionate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and were animated by a violent hatred of the French as being enemies of the Jesuits. Madame de Renal had sufficient sense to forget at once, as absurdities, everything she had learned in the convent; but she put nothing else in its place, and ended by knowing nothing. The flatteries of which she had been the precocious object, as the heiress to a large fortune, and a marked tendency towards passionate devotion, had bred in her an attitude towards life that was wholly inward.  With an outward show of the most perfect submission, and a self-suppression which the husbands of Verrieres used to quote as an example to their wives, and which was a source of pride to M. de Renal, her inner life was, as a matter of fact, dictated by the most lofty disdain. Any princess who is quoted as an illustration of pride pays infinitely more attention to what her gentlemen are doing round about her than this meekest of women, so modest in appearance, gave to anything that her husband said or did. Until Julien arrived, she had really paid no attention to anyone but her children. Their little illnesses, their sorrows, their little pleasures absorbed the whole sensibility of this human soul, which had never, in the whole of her life, adored anyone save God, while she was at the Sacred Heart in Besancon.

 Although she did not condescend to say so to anyone, a feverish attack coming to one of her sons threw her almost into the same state as if the child had died. A burst of coarse laughter, a shrug of the shoulders, accompanied by some trivial maxim as to the foolishness of women, had regularly greeted the confessions of grief of this sort which the need of an outlet had led her to make to her husband during the first years of their married life. Witticisms of this sort, especially when they bore upon the illnesses of the children, turned the dagger in Madame de Renal's heart. This was all the substitute she found for the obsequious, honeyed flatteries of the Jesuitical convent in which she had passed her girlhood.  She was educated in the school of suffering. Too proud to speak of griefs of this sort, even to her friend Madame Derville, she imagined that all men resembled her husband, M. Valenod, and the Sub-Prefect Charcot de Maugiron.  Coarse wit and the most brutal insensibility to everything that did not promise money, promotion or a Cross; a blind hatred of every argument that went against them seemed to her to be things natural to the male sex, like the wearing of boots and felt hats.

 After many long years, Madame de Renal had not yet grown accustomed to these money-grubbing creatures among whom she had to live.

 Hence the success of the little peasant Julien. She found much pleasant enjoyment, radiant with the charm of novelty, in the sympathy of this proud and noble spirit. Madame de Renal had soon forgiven him his extreme ignorance, which was an additional charm, and the roughness of his manners, which she succeeded in improving. She found that it was worth her while to listen to him, even when they spoke of the most ordinary things, even when it was a question of a poor dog that had been run over, as it was crossing the street, by a peasant's cart going by at a trot. The sight of such a tragedy made her husband utter his coarse laugh, whereas she saw Julien's fine, beautifully arched black eyebrows wince. Generosity, nobility of soul, humanity, seemed to her, after a time, to exist only in this young cleric.  She felt for him alone all the sympathy and even admiration which those virtues arouse in well-bred natures.

 In Paris, Julien's position with regard to Madame de Renal would very soon have been simplified; but in Paris love is the child of the novels. The young tutor and his timid mistress would have found in three or four novels, and even in the lyrics of the Gymnase, a clear statement of their situation. The novels would have outlined for them the part to be played, shown them the model to copy; and this model, sooner or later, albeit without the slightest pleasure, and perhaps with reluctance, vanity would have compelled Julien to follow.

 In a small town of the Aveyron or the Pyrenees, the slightest incident would have been made decisive by the ardour of the climate. Beneath our more sombre skies, a penniless young man, who is ambitious only because the refinement of his nature puts him in need of some of those pleasures which money provides, is in daily contact with a woman of thirty who is sincerely virtuous, occupied with her children, and never looks to novels for examples of conduct. Everything goes slowly, everything happens by degrees in the provinces: life is more natural.

 Often, when she thought of the young tutor's poverty, Madame de Renal was moved to tears. Julien came upon her, one day, actually crying.

 'Ah, Ma'am, you have had some bad news!'

 'No, my friend,' was her answer: 'Call the children, let us go for a walk.'

 She took his arm and leaned on it in a manner which Julien thought strange.  It was the first time that she had called him 'my friend'.

 Towards the end of their walk, Julien observed that she was blushing deeply. She slackened her pace.

 'You will have heard,' she said without looking at him, 'that I am the sole heiress of a very rich aunt who lives at Besancon. She loads me with presents. My sons are making ... such astonishing progress ... that I should like to ask you to accept a little present, as a token of my gratitude. It is only a matter of a few louis to supply you with linen. But--' she added, blushing even more deeply, and was silent.

 'What, Ma'am?' said Julien.

 'It would be unnecessary,' she went on, lowering her head, 'to speak of this to my husband.'

 'I may be humble, Ma'am, but I am not base,' replied Julien coming to a standstill, his eyes ablaze with anger, and drawing himself up to his full height. 'That is a point which you have not sufficiently considered. I should be less than a footman if I put myself in the position of hiding from M. de Renal anything that had to do with my money.'

 Madame de Renal was overwhelmed.

 'The Mayor,' Julien went on, 'has given me thirty-six francs five times since I came to live in his house; I am prepared to show my account-book to M. de Renal or to anyone else, including M. Valenod who hates me.'

 This outburst left Madame de Renal pale and trembling, and the walk came to an end before either of them could find an excuse for renewing the conversation. Love for Madame de Renal became more and more impossible in the proud heart of Julien: as for her, she respected, she admired him; she had been scolded by him. On the pretext of making amends for the humiliation which she had unintentionally caused him, she allowed herself to pay him the most delicate attentions. The novelty of this procedure kept her happy for a week. Its effect was to some extent to appease Julien's anger; he was far from seeing anything in it that could be mistaken for personal affection.

 'That,' he said to himself, 'is what rich people are like: they humiliate one, and then think they can put things right by a few monkey-tricks.'

 Madame de Renal's heart was too full, and as yet too innocent for her, notwithstanding the resolutions she had made, not to tell her husband of the offer she had made to Julien and the manner in which she had been repulsed.

 'What,' M. de Renal retorted, with keen annoyance, 'could you tolerate a refusal from a servant?'

 And as Madame de Renal protested at this word:

 'I speak, Ma'am, as the late Prince de Conde spoke, when presenting his Chamberlains to his bride: "All these people," he told her, "are our servants." I read you the passage from Besenval's _Memoirs_, it is essential in questions of precedence. Everyone who is not a gentleman, who lives in your house and receives a salary, is your servant. I shall say a few words to this Master Julien, and give him a hundred francs.'

 'Ah, my dear,' said Madame de Renal trembling, 'please do not say anything in front of the servants.'

 'Yes, they might be jealous, and rightly,' said her husband as he left the room, thinking of the magnitude of the sum.

 Madame de Renal sank down on a chair, almost fainting with grief. 'He is going to humiliate Julien, and it is my fault!' She felt a horror of her husband, and hid her face in her hands. She promised herself that she would never confide anything in him again.

 When she next saw Julien, she was trembling all over, her bosom was so contracted that she could not manage to utter a single word. In her embarrassment she took his hands and wrung them.

 'Well, my friend,' she said to him after a little, 'are you pleased with my husband?'

 'How should I not be?' Julien answered with a bitter smile; 'he has given me a hundred francs.'

 Madame de Renal looked at him as though uncertain what to do.

 'Give me your arm,' she said at length with an accent of courage which Julien had never yet observed in her.

 She ventured to enter the shop of the Verrieres bookseller, in spite of his terrible reputation as a Liberal. There she chose books to the value of ten louis which she gave to her sons. But these books were the ones which she knew that Julien wanted. She insisted that there, in the bookseller's shop, each of the children should write his own name in the books that fell to his share. While Madame de Renal was rejoicing at the partial reparation which she had had the courage to make to Julien, he was lost in amazement at the quantity of books which he saw on the bookseller's shelves. Never had he dared to set foot in so profane a place; his heart beat violently.  So far from his having any thought of trying to guess what was occurring in the heart of Madame de Renal, he was plunged in meditation as to how it would be possible for a young student of divinity to procure some of these books. At length the idea came to him that it might be possible, by a skilful approach, to persuade M. de Renal that he ought to set his sons, as the subject for an essay, the lives of the celebrated gentlemen who were natives of the province. After a month of careful preliminaries, he saw his idea prove successful, so much so that, shortly afterwards, he ventured, in speaking to M. de Renal, to mention an action considerably more offensive to the noble Mayor; it was a matter of contributing to the prosperity of a Liberal, by taking out a subscription at the library.  M. de Renal entirely agreed that it was wise to let his eldest son have a _visual impression_ of various works which he would hear mentioned in conversation when he went to the Military School; but Julien found the Mayor obdurate in refusing to go any farther. He suspected a secret reason, which he was unable to guess.

 'I was thinking, Sir,' he said to him one day, 'that it would be highly improper for the name of a respectable gentleman like a Renal to appear on the dirty ledger of the librarian.'

 M. de Renal's face brightened.

 'It would also be a very bad mark,' Julien went on, in a humbler tone, 'against a poor divinity student, if it should one day be discovered that his name had been on the ledger of a bookseller who keeps a library. The Liberals might accuse me of having asked for the most scandalous books; for all one knows they might even go so far as to write in after my name the titles of those perverse works.'

 But Julien was going off the track. He saw the Mayor's features resume their expression of embarrassment and ill humour. Julien was silent. 'I have my man hooked,' he said to himself.

 A few days later, on the eldest boy's questioning Julien as to a book advertised in the _Quotidienne_, in M. de Renal's presence:

 'To remove all occasion for triumph from the Jacobin Party,' said the young tutor, 'and at the same time to enable me to answer Master Adolphe, one might open a subscription at the bookshop in the name of the lowest of your servants.'

 'That is not at all a bad idea,' said M. de Renal, obviously delighted.

 'Only it would have to be specified,' said Julien with that grave and almost sorrowful air which becomes certain people so well, when they see the success of the projects which have been longest in their minds, 'it would have to be specified that the servant shall not take out any novels.  Once they were in the house, those dangerous works might corrupt Madame's maids, not to speak of the servant himself.'

 'You forget the political pamphlets,' added M. de Renal, in a haughty tone.  He wished to conceal the admiration that he felt for the clever middle course discovered by his children's tutor.

 Julien's life was thus composed of a series of petty negotiations; and their success was of far more importance to him than the evidence of a marked preference for himself which was only waiting for him to read it in the heart of Madame de Renal.

 The moral environment in which he had been placed all his life was repeated in the household of the worshipful Mayor of Verrieres. There, as in his father's sawmill, he profoundly despised the people with whom he lived, and was hated by them. He saw every day, from the remarks made by the Sub-Prefect, by M. Valenod and by the other friends of the family, with reference to the things that had just happened under their eyes, how remote their ideas were from any semblance of reality. Did an action strike him as admirable, it was precisely what called forth blame from the people round about him. His unspoken retort was always: 'What monsters!' or 'What fools!' The amusing thing was that, with all his pride, frequently he understood nothing at all of what was being discussed.

 In his whole life, he had never spoken with sincerity except to the old Surgeon-Major; the few ideas that he had bore reference to Napoleon's campaigns in Italy, or to surgery. His youthful courage took delight in detailed accounts of the most painful operations; he said to himself: 'I should not have flinched.'

 The first time that Madame de Renal attempted a conversation with him on a subject other than that of the children's education, he began to talk of surgical operations; she turned pale, and begged him to stop.

 Julien knew nothing apart from these matters. And so, as he spent his time with Madame de Renal, the strangest silence grew up between them as soon as they were alone together. In her own drawing-room, humble as his bearing was, she found in his eyes an air of intellectual superiority over everyone that came to the house. Were she left alone for a moment with him, she saw him grow visibly embarrassed. This troubled her, for her womanly instinct made her realise that his embarrassment was not in the least degree amorous.

 In consequence of some idea derived from a description of good society, as the old Surgeon-Major had beheld it, as soon as conversation ceased in a place where he found himself in the company of a woman, Julien felt abashed, as though he himself were specially to blame for this silence. This sensation was a hundred times more painful when they were alone. His imagination, full of the most extravagant, the most Spanish notions as to what a man ought to say, when he is alone with a woman, offered him in his agitation none but inadmissible ideas. His soul was in the clouds, and yet he was incapable of breaking the most humiliating silence. Thus his air of severity, during his long walks with Madame de Renal and the children, was intensified by the most cruel sufferings. He despised himself hideously. If by mischance he forced himself to speak, he found himself saying the most ridiculous things. To increase his misery, he saw and exaggerated his own absurdity; but what he did not see was the expression in his eyes, they were so fine and revealed so burning a soul that, like good actors, they imparted at times a charming meaning to what was meaningless. Madame de Renal remarked that, when alone with her, he never expressed himself well except when he was distracted by some unforeseen occurrence, he never thought of turning a compliment. As the friends of the family did not spoil her by offering her new and brilliant ideas, she took a delight in the flashes of Julien's intellect.

 Since the fall of Napoleon, all semblance of gallantry in speech has been sternly banished from the code of provincial behaviour. People are afraid of losing their posts. The unscrupulous seek support from the _Congregation_ and hypocrisy has made the most brilliant advances even among the Liberal classes. Dulness increases. No pleasure is left, save in reading and agriculture.

 Madame de Renal, the wealthy heiress of a religious aunt, married at sixteen to a worthy gentleman, had never in her life felt or seen anything that bore the faintest resemblance to love. Her confessor, the good cure Chelan, was the only person almost who had ever spoken to her of love, with reference to the advances of M. Valenod, and he had drawn so revolting a picture of it that the word conveyed nothing to her but the idea of the most abject immorality. She regarded as an exception, or rather as something quite apart from nature, love such as she had found it in the very small number of novels that chance had brought to her notice. Thanks to this ignorance, Madame de Renal, entirely happy, occupied incessantly with the thought of Julien, was far from reproaching herself in the slightest degree.

  

 

  CHAPTER 8

Minor Events

  

 The angelic sweetness which Madame de Renal derived from her own character as well as from her present happiness was interrupted only when she happened to think of her maid Elisa. This young woman received a legacy, went to make her confession to the cure Chelan, and revealed to him her intention to marry Julien. The cure was genuinely delighted at his friend's good fortune; but his surprise was great when Julien informed him with a resolute air that Miss Elisa's offer could not be accepted.

 'Pay good heed, my son, to what is taking place in your heart,' said the cure, frowning; 'I congratulate you on your vocation, if it is to it alone that must be ascribed your scorn of a more than adequate provision. For fifty-six years and more have I been cure at Verrieres, and yet, so far as one can see, I am going to be deprived. This distresses me, albeit I have an income of eight hundred livres. I tell you of this detail in order that you may not be under any illusion as to what is in store for you in the priestly calling. If you think of paying court to the men in power, your eternal ruin is assured. You may make your fortune, but you will have to injure the poor and needy, flatter the Sub-Prefect, the Mayor, the important person, and minister to his passions: such conduct, which in the world is called the art of life, may, in a layman, be not wholly incompatible with salvation; but in our calling, we have to choose; we must make our fortune either in this world or in the next, there is no middle way. Go, my dear friend, reflect, and come back in three days' time with a definite answer. I am sorry to see underlying your character, a smouldering ardour which does not suggest to my mind the moderation and complete renunciation of earthly advantages necessary in a priest; I augur well from your intelligence; but, allow me to tell you,' the good cure went on, with tears in his eyes, 'in the calling of a priest, I shall tremble for your salvation.'

 Julien was ashamed of his emotion; for the first time in his life, he saw himself loved; he wept for joy, and went to hide his tears in the great woods above Verrieres.

 'Why am I in this state?' he asked himself at length; 'I feel that I would give my life a hundred times over for that good Father Chelan, and yet he has just proved to me that I am no better than a fool. It is he above all that I have to deceive, and he sees through me. That secret ardour of which he speaks is my plan for making my fortune. He thinks me unfit to be a priest, at the very moment when I imagined that the sacrifice of an income of fifty louis was going to give him the most exalted idea of my piety and my vocation.

 'For the future,' Julien continued, 'I shall rely only upon those elements of my character which I have tested. Who would ever have said that I should find pleasure in shedding tears? That I should love the man who proves to me that I am nothing more than a fool?'

 Three days later, Julien had found the pretext with which he should have armed himself from the first; this pretext was a calumny, but what of that?  He admitted to the cure, after much hesitation, that a reason which he could not explain to him, because to reveal it would injure a third party, had dissuaded him from the first from the projected marriage. This was tantamount to an indictment of Elisa's conduct. M. Chelan detected in his manner a fire that was wholly mundane, and very different from that which should have inspired a young Levite.

 'My friend,' he appealed to him again, 'be an honest yeoman, educated and respected, rather than a priest without a vocation.'

 Julien replied to these fresh remonstrances extremely well, so far as words went; he hit upon the expressions which a fervent young seminarist would have employed; but the tone in which he uttered them, the ill-concealed fire that smouldered in his eyes alarmed M. Chelan.

 We need not augur ill for Julien's future; he hit upon the correct form of words of a cunning and prudent hypocrisy. That is not bad at his age. As for his tone and gestures, he lived among country folk; he had been debarred from seeing the great models. In the sequel, no sooner had he been permitted to mix with these gentlemen than he became admirable as well in gesture as in speech.

 Madame de Renal was surprised that her maid's newly acquired fortune had not made the girl more happy; she saw her going incessantly to the cure's, and returning with tears in her eyes; finally Elisa spoke to her mistress of her marriage.

 Madame de Renal believed herself to have fallen ill; a sort of fever prevented her enjoying any sleep; she was alive only when she had her maid or Julien before her eyes. She could think of nothing but them and the happiness they would find in their married life. The poverty of the small house in which people would be obliged to live, with an income of fifty louis, portrayed itself to her in enchanting colours. Julien might very well become a lawyer at Bray, the Sub-Prefecture two leagues from Verrieres; in that event she would see something of him.

 Madame de Renal sincerely believed that she was going mad; she said so to her husband, and finally did fall ill. That evening, as her maid was waiting upon her, she noticed that the girl was crying. She loathed Elisa at that moment, and had spoken sharply to her; she begged the girl's pardon. Elisa's tears increased; she said that if her mistress would allow it, she would tell her the whole tale of her distress.

 'Speak,' replied Madame de Renal.

 'Well, the fact is, Ma'am, he won't have me; wicked people must have spoken evil of me to him, and he believes them.'

 'Who won't have you?' said Madame de Renal, scarcely able to breathe.

 'And who could it be, Ma'am, but M. Julien?' the maid replied through her sobs. 'His Reverence has failed to overcome his resistance; for His Reverence considers that he ought not to refuse a decent girl, just because she has been a lady's maid. After all, M. Julien's own father is no better than a carpenter; and he himself, how was he earning his living before he came to Madame's?'

 Madame de Renal had ceased to listen; surfeit of happiness had almost deprived her of the use of her reason. She made the girl repeat to her several times the assurance that Julien had refused in a positive manner, which would not permit of his coming to a more reasonable decision later on.

 'I wish to make a final effort,' she said to her maid. 'I shall speak to M. Julien.'

 Next day after luncheon, Madame de Renal gave herself the exquisite sensation of pleading her rival's cause, and of seeing Elisa's hand and fortune persistently refused for an hour on end.

 Little by little Julien abandoned his attitude of studied reserve, and ended by making spirited answers to the sound arguments advanced by Madame de Renal. She could not hold out against the torrent of happiness which now poured into her heart after all those days of despair. She found herself really ill. When she had come to herself, and was comfortably settled in her own room, she asked to be left alone. She was in a state of profound astonishment.

 'Can I be in love with Julien?' she asked herself at length.

 This discovery, which at any other time would have filled her with remorse and with a profound agitation, was no more to her than a singular spectacle, but one that left her indifferent. Her heart, exhausted by all that she had just undergone, had no sensibility left to place at the service of her passions.

 Madame de Renal tried to work, and fell into a deep sleep; when she awoke, she was less alarmed than she should have been. She was too happy to be able to take anything amiss. Artless and innocent as she was, this honest provincial had never tormented her soul in an attempt to wring from it some little sensibility to some novel shade of sentiment or distress. Entirely absorbed, before Julien came, in that mass of work which, outside Paris, is the lot of a good wife and mother, Madame de Renal thought about the passions, as we think about the lottery: a certain disappointment and a happiness sought by fools alone.

 The dinner bell rang; Madame de Renal blushed deeply when she heard Julien's voice as he brought in the children. Having acquired some adroitness since she had fallen in love, she accounted for her colour by complaining of a splitting headache.

 'There you have women,' put in M. de Renal, with a coarse laugh. 'There's always something out of order in their machinery.'

 Accustomed as she was to this form of wit, the tone of his voice hurt Madame de Renal. She sought relief in studying Julien's features; had he been the ugliest man in the world, he would have charmed her at that moment.

 Always zealous in imitating the habits of the Court, with the first fine days of spring M. de Renal removed his household to Vergy; it is the village rendered famous by the tragic adventure of Gabrielle. A few hundred yards from the picturesque ruins of the old gothic church, M. de Renal owned an old castle with its four towers, and a garden laid out like that of the Tuileries, with a number of box borders, and chestnut alleys trimmed twice in the year. An adjoining field, planted with apple trees, allowed the family to take the air. Nine or ten splendid walnuts grew at the end of the orchard; their massive foliage rose to a height of some eighty feet.

 'Each of those damned walnuts,' M. de Renal would say when his wife admired them, 'costs me half an acre of crop; the corn will not grow in their shade.'

 The rustic scene appeared to come as a novelty to Madame de Renal; her admiration knew no bounds. The feeling that animated her gave her a new spirit and determination. On the second day after their removal to Vergy, M. de Renal having returned to town upon some official business, his wife engaged labourers at her own expense. Julien had given her the idea of a little gravelled path, which should run round the orchard and beneath the big walnuts, and would allow the children to walk there in the early morning without wetting their shoes in the dew. This plan was put into execution within twenty-four hours of its conception. Madame de Renal spent a long and happy day with Julieu supervising the labourers.

 When the Mayor of Verrieres returned from the town, he was greatly surprised to find the path finished. His coming surprised Madame de Renal also; she had forgotten that he existed. For the next two months, he continued to speak with annoyance of their presumption in having carried out, without consulting him, so important a repair, but Madame de Renal had done it at her own expense, and this to some extent consoled him.

 She spent her days running about the orchard with her children, and chasing butterflies. They had made a number of large nets of light-coloured gauze, with which they caught the unfortunate lepidoptera. This was the outlandish name which Julien taught Madame de Renal. For she had sent to Besancon for the handsome work on the subject by M. Godart; and Julien read to her the strange habits of these insects.

 They fastened them, without compunction, with pins upon a large sheet of pasteboard, also prepared by Julien.

 At last Madame de Renal and Julien had a subject for conversation; he was no longer exposed to the frightful torture inflicted on him by intervals of silence.

 They conversed incessantly, and with extreme interest, although always of the most innocent things. This life, active, occupied and cheerful, suited everyone, except Miss Elisa, who found herself worked to death. 'Even at carnival-time,' she said, 'when there is a ball at Verrieres, Madame has never taken so much trouble over her dress; she changes her clothes two or three times a day.'

 As it is our intention to flatter no one, we shall not conceal the fact that Madame de Renal, who had a superb skin, had dresses made for her which exposed her arms and bosom freely. She was very well made, and this way of dressing suited her to perfection.

 'You have never _been so young_, Ma'am,' her friends from Verrieres used to tell her when they came to dine at Vergy. (It is a local form of speech.)

 A curious point, which our readers will scarcely believe, was that Madame de Renal had no deliberate intention in taking such pains with her appearance. She enjoyed doing so; and, without giving the matter any particular thought, whenever she was not chasing butterflies with the children and Julien, she was engaged with Elisa making dresses. Her one expedition to Verrieres was due to a desire to purchase new summer clothes which had just arrived there from Mulhouse.

 She brought back with her to Vergy a young woman, one of her cousins. Since her marriage, Madame de Renal had gradually formed an intimate friendship with Madame Derville, who in their younger days had been her school-fellow at the Sacre-Coeur.

 Madame Derville laughed heartily at what she called her cousin's absurd ideas. 'If I were alone, they would never occur to me,' she used to say.  These sudden ideas, which in Paris would have been called sallies, made Madame de Renal feel ashamed, as of something foolish, when she was with her husband; but Madame Derville's presence gave her courage. She began by telling her what she was thinking in a timid voice; when the ladies were by themselves for any length of time, Madame de Renal would become animated, and a long, undisturbed morning passed in a flash and left the friends quite merry. On this visit, the sensible Madame Derville found her cousin much less merry and much happier.

 Julien, meanwhile, had been living the life of a child since he had come to the country, as happy to be running after butterflies as were his pupils.  After so much constraint and skilful diplomacy, alone, unobserved by his fellow-men, and, instinctively, feeling not in the least afraid of Madame de Renal, he gave himself up to the pleasure of being alive, so keen at his age, and in the midst of the fairest mountains in the world.

 As soon as Madame Derville arrived, Julien felt that she was his friend; he hastened to show her the view that was to be seen from the end of the new path; as a matter of fact it was equal, if not superior to the most admirable scenery which Switzerland and the Italian lakes have to offer. By climbing the steep slope which began a few yards farther on, one came presently to high precipices fringed with oakwoods, which projected almost over the bed of the river. It was to the summits of these sheer rocks that Julien, happy, free, and indeed something more, lord of the house, led the two friends, and relished their admiration of those sublime prospects.

 'To me it is like Mozart's music,' said Madame Derville.

 His brothers' jealousy, the presence of a despotic and ill-tempered father had spoiled the country round Verrieres in Julien's eyes. At Vergy, he found no trace of these unpleasant memories; for the first time in his life, he could see no one that was his enemy. When M. de Renal was in town, as frequently happened, he ventured to read; soon, instead of reading at night, and then taking care, moreover, to shade his lamp with an inverted flower-pot, he could take his full measure of sleep; during the day, in the interval between the children's lessons, he climbed up among these rocks with the book that was his sole rule of conduct, and the sole object of his transports. He found in it at once happiness, ecstasy and consolation in moments of depression.

 Certain things which Napoleon says of women, various discussions of the merits of the novels in vogue during his reign, furnished him now, for the first time, with several ideas which would long since have been familiar to any other young man of his age.

 The hot weather came. They formed the habit of spending the evening under a huge lime a few yards from the house. There the darkness was intense. One evening, Julien was talking with emphasis, he was revelling in the pleasure of talking well and to young married women; as he gesticulated, he touched the hand of Madame de Renal, who was leaning on the back of one of those chairs of painted wood that are placed in gardens.

 The hand was hurriedly withdrawn; but Julien decided that it was his _duty_ to secure that the hand should not be withdrawn when he touched it. The idea of a duty to be performed, and of making himself ridiculous, or rather being left with a sense of inferiority if he did not succeed in performing it, at once took all the pleasure from his heart.

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 9

An Evening in the Country

   

 When he saw Madame de Renal again, the next morning, there was a strange look in his eyes; he watched her like an enemy with whom he would presently be engaged. This expression, so different from his expression overnight, made Madame de Renal lose her head; she had been kind to him, and he appeared vexed. She could not take her eyes from his.

 Madame Derville's presence excused Julien from his share of the conversation, and enabled him to concentrate his attention upon what he had in mind. His sole occupation, throughout the day, was that of fortifying himself by reading the inspired text which refreshed his soul.

 He greatly curtailed the children's lessons, and when, later on, the presence of Madame de Renal recalled him to the service of his own vanity, decided that it was absolutely essential that this evening she should allow her hand to remain in his.

 The sun as it set and so brought nearer the decisive moment made Julien's heart beat with a strange excitement. Night fell. He observed, with a joy that lifted a huge weight from his breast, that it was very dark. A sky packed with big clouds, kept in motion by a hot breeze, seemed to forebode a tempest. The two women continued strolling until a late hour. Everything that they did this evening seemed strange to Julien.  They were enjoying this weather, which, in certain delicate natures, seems to enhance the pleasure of love.

 At last they sat down, Madame de Renal next to Julien, and Madame Derville on the other side of her friend. Preoccupied with the attempt he must shortly make, Julien could think of nothing to say. The conversation languished.

 'Shall I tremble like this and feel as uncomfortable the first time I have to fight a duel?' Julien wondered; for he had too little confidence either in himself or in others not to observe the state he was in.

 In this agonising uncertainty, any danger would have seemed to him preferable. How often did he long to see Madame de Renal called by some duty which would oblige her to return to the house and so leave the garden!  The violence of the effort which Julien had to make to control himself was such that his voice was entirely altered; presently Madame de Renal's voice became tremulous also, but Julien never noticed this. The ruthless warfare which his sense of duty was waging with his natural timidity was too exhausting for him to be in a condition to observe anything outside himself. The quarter before ten had sounded from the tower clock, without his having yet ventured on anything. Julien, ashamed of his cowardice, told himself: 'At the precise moment when ten o'clock strikes, I shall carry out the intention which, all day long, I have been promising myself that I would fulfil this evening, or I shall go up to my room and blow my brains out.'

 After a final interval of tension and anxiety, during which the excess of his emotion carried Julien almost out of his senses, the strokes of ten sounded from the clock overhead. Each stroke of that fatal bell stirred an echo in his bosom, causing him almost a physical revulsion.

 Finally, while the air was still throbbing with the last stroke of ten, he put out his hand and took that of Madame de Renal, who at once withdrew it.  Julien, without exactly knowing what he was doing, grasped her hand again.  Although greatly moved himself, he was struck by the icy coldness of the hand he was clasping; he pressed it with convulsive force; a last attempt was made to remove it from him, but finally the hand was left in his grasp.

 His heart was flooded with joy, not because he loved Madame de Renal, but because a fearful torment was now at an end. So that Madame Derville should not notice anything, he felt himself obliged to speak; his voice, now, was loud and ringing. Madame de Renal's, on the other hand, betrayed such emotion that her friend thought she must be ill and suggested to her that they should go indoors. Julien saw the danger: 'If Madame de Renal returns to the drawing-room, I am going to fall back into the horrible position I have been in all day. I have not held this hand long enough to be able to reckon it as a definite conquest.'

 When Madame Derville repeated her suggestion that they should go into the drawing-room, Julien pressed the hand that lay in his.

 Madame de Renal, who was preparing to rise, resumed her seat, saying in a faint tone:

 'I do, as a matter of fact, feel a little unwell, but the fresh air is doing me good.'

 These words confirmed Julien's happiness, which, at this moment, was extreme: he talked, forgot to dissimulate, appeared the most charming of men to his two hearers. And yet there was still a slight want of courage in this eloquence which had suddenly come to him. He was in a deadly fear lest Madame Derville, exhausted by the wind which was beginning to rise, and heralded the storm, might decide to go in by herself to the drawing-room.  Then he would be left alone with Madame de Renal. He had found almost by accident the blind courage which was sufficient for action; but he felt that it lay beyond his power to utter the simplest of words to Madame de Renal. However mild her reproaches might be, he was going to be defeated, and the advantage which he had just gained wiped out.

 Fortunately for him, this evening, his touching and emphatic speeches found favour with Madame Derville, who as a rule found him as awkward as a schoolboy, and by no means amusing. As for Madame de Renal, her hand lying clasped in Julien's, she had no thought of anything; she was allowing herself to live. The hours they spent beneath this huge lime, which, local tradition maintained, had been planted by Charles the Bold, were for her a time of happiness. She listened with rapture to the moaning of the wind in the thick foliage of the lime, and the sound of the first few drops that were beginning to fall upon its lowest leaves. Julien did not notice a detail which would have greatly reassured him; Madame de Renal, who had been obliged to remove her hand from his, on rising to help her cousin to pick up a pot of flowers which the wind had overturned at their feet, had no sooner sat down again than she gave him back her hand almost without difficulty, and as though it had been an understood thing between them.

 Midnight had long since struck; at length it was time to leave the garden: the party broke up. Madame de Renal, transported by the joy of being in love, was so ignorant that she hardly reproached herself at all. Happiness robbed her of sleep. A sleep like lead carried off Julien, utterly worn out by the battle that had been raging all day in his heart between timidity and pride.

 Next morning he was called at five o'clock; and (what would have been a cruel blow to Madame de Renal had she known of it) he barely gave her a thought. He had done _his duty, and a heroic duty_. Filled with joy by this sentiment, he turned the key in the door of his bedroom and gave himself up with an entirely new pleasure to reading about the exploits of his hero.

 When the luncheon bell sounded, he had forgotten, in reading the reports of the Grand Army, all the advantages he had won overnight. He said to himself, in a careless tone, as he went down to the drawing-room: 'I must tell this woman that I love her.'

 Instead of that gaze charged with passion which he expected to meet, he found the stern face of M. de Renal, who, having arrived a couple of hours earlier from Verrieres, did not conceal his displeasure on finding that Julien was wasting the whole morning without attending to the children. No sight could have been so unprepossessing as that of this self-important man, conscious of a grievance and confident of his right to let it be seen.

 Each of her husband's harsh words pierced Madame de Renal to the heart. As for Julien, he was so plunged in ecstasy, still so absorbed in the great events which for the last few hours had been happening before his eyes, that at first he could barely lower the pitch of his attention to listen to the stern voice of M. de Renal. At length he answered him, sharply enough:

 'I was unwell.'

 The tone of this reply would have stung a man far less susceptible than the Mayor of Verrieres; it occurred to him to reply to Julien with an immediate dismissal. He was restrained only by the maxim which he had laid down for himself, never to be too hasty in business matters.

 'This young fool,' he soon reminded himself, 'has made himself a sort of reputation in my house; Valenod may take him on, or else he will marry Elisa, and, in either case, he can afford to laugh at me in his heart.'

 Despite the wisdom of these reflections, M. de Renal's displeasure found an outlet nevertheless in a succession of coarse utterances which succeeded in irritating Julien. Madame de Renal was on the point of subsiding in tears.  As soon as the meal was ended, she asked Julien to give her his arm for their walk; she leaned upon it in a friendly way. To all that Madame de Renal said to him, Julien could only murmur in reply:

 'This is what rich people are like!'

 M. de Renal kept close beside them; his presence increased Julien's anger.  He noticed suddenly that Madame de Renal was leaning upon his arm in a marked manner; this action horrified him, he repulsed her violently, freeing his arm from hers.

 Fortunately M. de Renal saw nothing of this fresh impertinence; it was noticed only by Madame Derville; her friend burst into tears. At this moment M. de Renal began flinging stones at a little peasant girl who was trespassing by taking a short cut across a corner of the orchard.

 'Monsieur Julien, kindly control yourself, remember that we are all of us liable to moments of ill temper,' Madame Derville said hastily.

 Julien looked at her coldly with eyes in which the loftiest contempt was portrayed.

 This look astonished Madame Derville, and would have surprised her far more could she have guessed its full meaning; she would have read in it a vague hope of the most terrible revenge. It is doubtless to such moments of humiliation that we owe men like Robespierre.

 'Your Julien is very violent, he frightens me,' Madame Derville murmured to her friend.

 'He has every reason to be angry,' the other replied. 'After the astonishing progress the children have made with him, what does it matter if he spends a morning without speaking to them? You must admit that gentlemen are very hard.'

 For the first time in her life, Madame de Renal felt a sort of desire to be avenged on her husband. The intense hatred that animated Julien against rich people was about to break forth. Fortunately M. de Renal called for his gardener, with whom for the rest of the time he busied himself in stopping up with faggots of thorn the short cut that had been made across the orchard. Julien did not utter a single word in reply to the attentions that were shown him throughout the remainder of the walk. As soon as M. de Renal had left them, the two ladies, on the plea that they were tired, had asked him each for an arm.

 As he walked between these women whose cheeks were flushed with the embarrassment of an intense discomfort, Julien's sombre and decided air formed a striking contrast. He despised these women, and all tender feelings.

 'What!' he said to himself, 'not even an allowance of five hundred francs to complete my studies! Ah! How I should send her packing!'

 Absorbed in these drastic thoughts, the little that he deigned to take in of the polite speeches of the two ladies displeased him as being devoid of meaning, silly, feeble, in a word _feminine_.

 By dint of talking for talking's sake, and of trying to keep the conversation alive, Madame de Renal found herself saying that her husband had come from Verrieres because he had made a bargain, for the purchase of maize straw, with one of his farmers. (In this district maize straw is used to stuff the palliasses of the beds.)

 'My husband will not be joining us again,' Madame de Renal went on: 'he will be busy with the gardener and his valet changing the straw in all the palliasses in the house. This morning he put fresh straw on all the beds on the first floor, now he is at work on the second.'

 Julien changed colour; he looked at Madame de Renal in an odd manner, and presently drew her apart, so to speak, by increasing his pace. Madame Derville allowed them to move away from her.

 'Save my life,' said Julien to Madame de Renal, 'you alone can do it; for you know that the valet hates me like poison. I must confess to you, Ma'am, that I have a portrait; I have hidden it in the palliasse on my bed.'

 At these words, Madame de Renal in turn grew pale.

 'You alone, Ma'am, can go into my room at this moment; feel, without letting yourself be observed, in the corner of the palliasse nearest to the window; you will find there a small box of shiny black pasteboard.'

 'It contains a portrait?' said Madame de Renal, barely able to stand.

 Her air of disappointment was noticed by Julien, who at once took advantage of it.

 'I have a second favour to ask of you, Ma'am; I beg you not to look at the portrait, it is my secret.'

 'It is a secret!' repeated Madame de Renal, in faint accents.

 But, albeit she had been reared among people proud of their wealth, and sensible of pecuniary interests alone, love had already instilled some generosity into her heart. Though cruelly wounded, it was with an air of the simplest devotion that Madame de Renal put to Julien the questions necessary to enable her to execute his commission properly.

 'And so,' she said, as she left him, 'it is a little round box, of black pasteboard, and very shiny.'

 'Yes, Ma'am,' replied Julien in that hard tone which danger gives a man.

 She mounted to the second floor of the house, as pale as though she were going to her death. To complete her misery she felt that she was on the point of fainting, but the necessity of doing Julien a service restored her strength.

 'I must have that box,' she said to herself as she quickened her pace.

 She could hear her husband talking to the valet, actually in Julien's room.  Fortunately they moved into the room in which the children slept. She lifted the mattress and plunged her hand into the straw with such force as to scratch her fingers. But, although extremely sensitive to slight injuries of this sort, she was now quite unconscious of the pain, for almost immediately she felt the polished surface of the pasteboard box. She seized it and fled.

 No sooner was she rid of the fear of being surprised by her husband, than the horror inspired in her by this box made her feel that in another minute she must unquestionably faint.

 'So Julien is in love, and I have here the portrait of the woman he loves.'

 Seated on a chair in the sitting-room of this apartment, Madame de Renal fell a prey to all the horrors of jealousy. Her extreme ignorance was of service to her again at this moment; astonishment tempered her grief.  Julien appeared, snatched the box, without thanking her, without saying a word, and ran into his bedroom, where he struck a light and immediately destroyed it. He was pale, speechless; he exaggerated to himself the risk he had been running.

 'The portrait of Napoleon,' he said to himself with a toss of the head, 'found hidden in the room of a man who professes such hatred for the usurper! Found by M. de Renal, so _ultra_ and so angry! and, to complete the imprudence, on the white card at the back of the portrait, lines in my writing! And lines that can leave no doubt as to the warmth of my admiration! And each of those transports of love is dated! There was one only two days ago!

 'All my reputation brought down, destroyed in a moment!' Julien said to himself as he watched the box burn, 'and my reputation is all I have, I live by it alone ... and what a life at that, great God!'

 An hour later, his exhaustion and the pity he felt for himself disposed him to feel affection. He met Madame de Renal and took her hand which he kissed with more sincerity than he had ever yet shown. She coloured with delight, and almost simultaneously repulsed Julien with the anger of a jealous woman. Julien's pride, so recently wounded, made a fool of him at that moment. He saw in Madame de Renal only a rich woman, he let fall her hand with contempt, and strode away. He went out and walked pensively in the garden; presently a bitter smile appeared on his lips.

 'Here I am walking about as calm as a man who is his own master! I am not looking after the children! I am exposing myself to the humiliating remarks of M. de Renal, and he will be justified.' He hastened to the children's room.

 The caresses of the youngest boy, to whom he was greatly attached, did something to soothe his agonising pain.

 'This one does not despise me yet,' thought Julien. But presently he blamed himself for this relief from pain, as for a fresh weakness. These children fondle me as they might fondle the puppy that was bought yesterday.'

 

 

 

  CHAPTER 10

A Large Heart and a Small Fortune

 

 M. de Renal, who was visiting every room in the house, reappeared in the children's room with the servants who brought back the palliasses refilled.  The sudden entry of this man was the last straw to Julien.

 Paler, more sombre than usual, he advanced towards him. M. de Renal stood still and looked at his servants.

 'Sir,' Julien began, 'do you suppose that with any other tutor your children would have made the same progress that they have made with me? If your answer is no,' he went on without giving M. de Renal time to speak, 'how dare you presume to reproach me with neglecting them?'

 M. de Renal, who had barely recovered from his alarm, concluded from the strange tone which he saw this young peasant adopt that he had in his pocket some more attractive offer and was going to leave him. Julien's anger increasing as he spoke:

 'I can live without you, Sir,' he concluded.

 'I am extremely sorry to see you so agitated,' replied M. de Renal, stammering a little. The servants were a few feet away, and were occupied in making the beds.

 'That is not enough for me, Sir,' Julien went on, beside himself with rage; 'think of the abominable things you said to me, and in the presence of ladies, too!'

 M. de Renal was only too well aware of what Julien was asking, and conflicting passions did battle in his heart. It so happened that Julien, now really mad with rage, exclaimed: 'I know where to go, Sir, when I leave your house.'

 On hearing these words, M. de Renal had a vision of Julien established in M. Valenod's household.

 'Very well, Sir,' he said at length with a sigh, and the air of a man calling in a surgeon to perform the most painful operation, 'I agree to your request. From the day after tomorrow, which is the first of the month, I shall give you fifty francs monthly.'

 Julien wanted to laugh and remained speechless: his anger had completely vanished.

 'I did not despise the animal enough,' he said to himself. 'This, no doubt, is the most ample apology so base a nature is capable of making.'

 The children, who had listened to this scene open-mouthed, ran to the garden to tell their mother that M. Julien was in a great rage, but that he was to have fifty francs a month.

 Julien went after them from force of habit, without so much as a glance at M. de Renal, whom he left in a state of intense annoyance.

 'That's a hundred and sixty-eight francs,' the Mayor said to himself, 'that M. Valenod has cost me. I must really say a few firm words to him about his contract to supply the foundlings.'

 A moment later, Julien again stood before him.

 'I have a matter of conscience to discuss with M. Chelan. I have the honour to inform you that I shall be absent for some hours.'

 'Ah, my dear Julien,' said M. de Renal, laughing in the most insincere manner, 'the whole day, if you wish, the whole of tomorrow, my worthy friend. Take the gardener's horse to go to Verrieres.'

 'There,' M. de Renal said to himself, 'he's going with an answer to Valenod; he's given me no promise, but we must let the young hothead cool down.'

 Julien made a speedy escape and climbed up among the big woods through which one can go from Vergy to Verrieres. He was in no hurry to reach M. Chelan's. So far from desiring to involve himself in a fresh display of hypocrisy, he needed time to see clearly into his own heart, and to give audience to the swarm of conflicting feelings that disturbed it.

 'I have won a battle,' he said to himself as soon as he found himself in the shelter of the woods and out of sight of anyone, 'I have really won a battle!'

 The last word painted his whole position for him in glowing colours, and restored some degree of tranquillity to his heart.

 'Here I am with a salary of fifty francs a month; M. de Renal must be in a fine fright. But of what?'

 His meditation as to what could have frightened the prosperous and powerful man against whom, an hour earlier, he had been seething with rage completely restored Julien's serenity. He was almost conscious, for a moment, of the exquisite beauty of the woods through which he was walking.  Enormous fragments of bare rock had in times past fallen into the heart of the forest from the side of the mountain. Tall beeches rose almost as high as these rocks whose shadow provided a delicious coolness within a few yards of places where the heat of the sun's rays would have made it impossible to stop.

 Julien paused for a breathing-space in the shadow of these great rocks, then went on climbing. Presently, by following a narrow path, barely visible and used only by goatherds, he found himself standing upon an immense rock, where he could be certain of his complete isolation from his fellow-men. This natural position made him smile, it suggested to him the position to which he was burning to attain in the moral sphere. The pure air of these lofty mountains breathed serenity and even joy into his soul.  The Mayor of Verrieres might still, in his eyes, be typical of all the rich and insolent denizens of the earth, but Julien felt that the hatred which had convulsed him that afternoon contained, notwithstanding its violence, no element of personal ill-feeling. Should he cease to see M. de Renal, within a week he would have forgotten him, the man himself, his house, his dogs, his children and all that was his. 'I have forced him, I do not know how, to make the greatest of sacrifices. What, more than fifty crowns a year? A moment earlier I had just escaped from the greatest danger. That makes two victories in one day; the second contains no merit, I must try to discover the reason. But we can leave such arduous research for tomorrow.'

 Julien, erect upon his mighty rock, gazed at the sky, kindled to flame by an August sun. The grasshoppers were chirping in the patch of meadow beneath the rock; when they ceased everything around him was silence.  Twenty leagues of country lay at his feet. From time to time a hawk, risen from the bare cliffs above his head, caught his eye as it wheeled silently in its vast circles. Julien's eye followed mechanically the bird of prey. Its calm, powerful motion impressed him, he envied such strength, he envied such isolation.

 It was the destiny of Napoleon, was it one day to be his own?

 

 


第一章

小城

 

维里埃算得弗朗什-孔泰最漂亮的小城之一。一幢幢房子,白墙,红瓦,尖顶,展布在一座小山的斜坡上。茁壮的栗树密密匝匝,画出了小山最细微的凹凸。城墙下数百步外,有杜河流过。这城墙早年为西班牙人所建,如今已残破不堪。

维里埃北面有高山荫护,那是汝拉山脉的一支。十月乍寒,破碎的威拉峰顶便已盖满了雪,从山上下来的一股激流,穿过小城注入杜河,使大量的木锯转动起来。这是一种很简单的工业,小城的居民更象是乡下人,多数人家的日子于是有了几分舒适。不过,使小城富起来的并非木锯。普遍的富裕靠的是生产一种印花布,世称米鲁兹花布,所以,拿破仑倒台以后,维里埃几乎家家户户都把房屋的门面重新修过。

一进城,就会听见一台声音嘈杂、样子吓人的机器轰隆隆作响,搅得人头昏脑胀。二十个沉重的铁锤,全靠一只由湍急的水流带动的轮子,升起,落下,震得路面直打颤。我也说不清一个铁锤一天要生产几千枚钉子。起落之间一些水灵俏丽的姑娘把小铁块送到巨大的铁锤下面,铁块旋即变成了钉子。这劳动看起来如此粗笨,却使初次进入法国和瑞士之间这片山区的旅人啧啧称奇,倘若踏入维里埃的旅人问起大街上耳朵都被震聋了的行人,那座漂亮的制钉厂是谁的,有人就会打着一种拖长的腔调说:“咳,市长先生的呗!”

维里埃有一条大街,从杜河岸边一直爬到山顶。旅人只要稍作停留,十有**会遇见一个身材高大的人,神色匆匆,一副很了不起的样子。行人一看见他,就赶紧脱帽致意。这位好几等骑士勋章的获得者穿着一身灰色的衣服,头发已经花白,大脑门,鹰勾鼻,五官大致算得端正:初见,人们甚至还会觉得这张脸兼有小城市长的威严和尚存于四十八岁至五十岁男人身上的那种吸引力。然而,巴黎来的旅人转眼间便会感到不快,他那种志得意满的神气中还混杂有一种说不上来的狭隘和创造力的匮乏。这位旅人终于意识到,此人的才干仅止于让欠帐的人如期偿还,而若是他欠了账,则要拖得不能再拖。

这便是维里埃的市长德·莱纳先生。他步履庄重,穿过大街,进入市政厅,在旅人的眼前消失。这位旅人若继续闲逛,再往上走一百步,他会瞥见一幢外观相当漂亮的房子,越过与之相连的一道铁栅栏,还有一片极美的花园。远处是勃艮第的丘陵形成的一线天际,曲折有致,尽如人意,仿佛就是为了让人看着舒服。这景色使旅人忘掉了锱铢必较的铜臭,他已经因此而透不过气来了。

有人告诉他,这幢房子属于德·莱纳先生,刚刚落成。这方石砌就的漂亮住宅是维里埃的市长用他那座大制钉厂赚来的。据说他祖上是西班牙人,是个古老的家族,似乎早在路易十四征服此地之前就已定居下来。

自从一八一五年起,他就耻于再作工厂主了,因为一八一五年使他当上了维里埃的市长。那座极美的花园有好几层,直伸到杜河岸边,每一层都筑有护墙,这也是对德·莱纳先生在铁器买卖中的精明给予的酬报。

在法国,您别指望看见德国的莱比锡、法兰克福、纽伦堡等工业城市周围那种秀丽别致的花园。在弗朗什-孔泰,愈是砌墙,愈是在地产上堆起一层层的石头,就愈是有权受到邻人的尊敬。德·莱纳先生的花园里便是高墙纵横,尤其是里面有几小块地,是他花了大价钱才买下的,这花园就更加令人赞赏了。就说那个锯木厂吧,它在杜河岸边的特殊位置让您一进城就留下深刻的印象,您也注意到屋顶一块大木板上用极大的字写着“索莱尔”这姓氏,而在这块六年前还是锯木厂的土地上,眼下正在修筑花园第四层平台的护墙。

市长先生固然高傲,却不得不费些心力央求老索莱尔那个既冷酷又顽固的农民,不得不付给他明晃晃的金路易,才使他把工厂迁往别处。至于那条使锯子转动起来的公共水流,则是他利用自己在巴黎的影响让它改了道。这个恩惠是他在一八二×年选举之后得到的。德·莱纳先生为了这块一阿尔邦的地,把杜河下游五百步处的四阿尔邦给了索莱尔。尽管这块地的位置对他的枞木板生意有利得多,索老爹(自打他发了,他就有了这称呼)还是巧妙地利用了这位邻居的急迫和占有欲,敲了他六千法朗。

果然,这笔交易受到当地一些有识之士的非议。有一次,四年以后的一个礼拜天,德·莱纳先生身着市长礼服从教堂回家,远远地看见老索莱尔由三个儿子护着,正看着他笑呢。这一笑使市长先生恍然大悟,他从此就老是想,他原本可以更便宜地做成这笔交易呀。

在维里埃,要造许多的护墙,才能获得公众的敬重,要紧的是不要采用那些每年春天经由汝拉山口去往巴黎的泥瓦匠带来的意大利图纸,否则,这样一种革新将给鲁莽的造墙者带来标新立异的坏名声,永远洗刷不掉,他在那些明智而稳健的人眼中也就永远地身败名裂了,因为正是这些人在弗朗什—孔泰握有敬意的予夺之权。

事实上,这些明智之士在当地施行着最讨厌的**;正是由于这个丑恶的字眼,对于那些在世称伟大的共和国的巴黎生活过的人来说,小城市里的日子简直不堪忍受。舆论的专横,而且是怎样一种舆论啊!在法国的小城市和在美利坚合众国是一样地愚蠢。

 

 

第二章

市长

 

杜河水面上方一百尺,沿小山有一公共散步道,需要修筑一堵巨大的挡土墙。对于德·莱纳先生的政声来说,这真是一次千载难逢的好机会。散步道所处位置极佳,入眼的乃是法国最秀丽的风光。不过,每到春季,雨水一冲,路面就沟壑纵横,坑洼遍地,殊难涉足,人人都感到不便,德·莱纳先生就趁机修了一堵二十尺高二百多尺长的墙,非如此是不足以使他的政绩永垂不朽的。

为了这墙上的胸墙,德·莱纳先生不得不三上巴黎,因为前前任内务部长自称是维里埃的散步道的死敌;如今这胸墙已经起来,离地四尺高。仿佛是向一切现任和前任的部长们示威似的,眼下有人正在往上装方石板。

有多少次啊,我的胸抵着泛出美丽的蓝灰色的巨大石块,心里想着昨夜告别的巴黎的舞会,眼睛却眺望着杜河的谷地!远处,左岸,五六条山谷曲折蜿蜒,其深处有数条小溪历历在目,一路奔泻跳荡,急匆匆跌进杜河。山里的太阳很猛,正当顶的时候,旅人却可在这方平台上享受枝叶婆娑的悬铃木的荫护,任遐想驰骋。这些树生长迅速,美丽的绿色微含蓝意,这都得力于市长先生命人填在巨大的防土墙后面的新土,因为他不顾市议会的反对,硬是把散步道拓宽了六尺(尽管他是极端保王党人,我是自由党人,这件事我还是要称赞他),因此,他和幸运的乞丐收容所所长瓦勒诺先生都认为,这个平台比圣日尔曼—昂—莱的平台并不逊色。

散步道的正式名称是忠诚大道,见于沿路十五或二十块大理石板上,这又使德·莱纳先生获得一枚十字勋章。我只有一件事要指责这条忠诚大道,那就是市政当局让人修剪乃至剃秃这些茁壮的悬铃木的那种野蛮方式。这些树与其让自己的脑袋低而圆,圆而平,活象园子里最平常的蔬菜,宁可要英国花园里常见的那种漂亮大方的外形。然而市长先生的意志不可违抗,属市政府所有的那些树每年都要两度遭此无情的残害。当地的自由党人声称(当然有些夸张),自从马斯隆副本堂神甫养成了把修剪下来的树枝据为己有的习惯之后,市府的园丁的手变得愈发无情了。

这位年轻的教士是几年前从贝藏松派来监视谢朗神甫和附近几位本堂神甫的。有一位外科老军医,曾在意大利打过仗,退伍来到了维里埃,据市长先生说,他生前既是雅各宾党人又是波拿巴分子,有一次竟敢当面抱怨对这些美丽的树所施行的周期性毁伤。

“我喜欢荫凉,”德·莱纳先生回答说,口气中有一种居高临下的意味,但对一个身为荣誉团骑士的外科医生说话还就得这样才见得合适;“我喜欢荫凉,我让人修剪我的树,为的是有更多的荫凉,—棵树若不能像有用的胡桃树那样带来收益,我想不出它还能有别的什么用处。”

“带来收益”,这就是在维里埃决定一切的至理名言。单单这个词就代表了四分之三的居民的习惯性思想。

在这座您觉得如此美丽的小城里,带来收益,乃是决定一切的大道理。初到此地的外乡人醉心于周围那清凉幽深的山谷,首先会想到居民们对美很敏感;他们也的确没少把本地的美丽风光挂在嘴上,人们也不能否认他们对此看得很重,因为美丽的风光招来了外地人,而游客的钱富了旅店老板,于是就通过税收的渠道给城市带来收益。

一个晴朗的秋日,德·莱纳先生让妻子挽着胳膊,在忠诚大道上散步,他说话的神情很严肃,德·莱纳夫人听着,眼睛却不安地注视着她的三个孩子的动静。大孩子能有十一岁,总是靠近胸墙,并且做出要爬上去的样子。于是一个温柔的声音唤出了阿道夫这名字,那孩子遂放弃了他的雄心壮志。德·莱纳夫人看上去有三十岁,依然相当漂亮。

“他会后悔的,巴黎来的这位漂亮先生,”德·莱纳先生忿忿地说,脸色比平时更加苍白,“我在宫里也不是没有朋友……”

虽然我很愿意用二百页的篇幅跟您谈谈外省,但是我毕竟不能如此残忍,让您忍受外省的谈话所具有的那种冗长和那种巧妙的转弯抹角。

在维里埃市长眼中如此可恶的这位巴黎来的漂亮先生不是别人,正是阿佩尔先生,两天前,他不仅设法进入维里埃的监狱和乞丐收容所,还进入了市长和当地主要的业主义务管理的医院。

“可是,”德·莱纳夫人怯生生地说,“既然您清白廉洁地管理着穷人的福利,巴黎来的这位先生又能把您怎么样呢?”

他们是为了找茬儿才来的,然后就在自由党的报纸上写文章。

“可您从来不看这些报纸呀,我的朋友。”

“可人家跟我们谈论这些雅各宾派的文章呀;这都使我们受到干扰,欲做好事而不能。哼,我呀,我永远不会愿谅这个本堂神甫。”

 

 

 

第三章

穷人的福利

 

维里埃的本堂神甫已是一位八十岁的老人,然而山里的新鲜空气给了他一副铁铸的体魄和性格。应该知道,他有权随时造访监狱,医院,甚至乞丐收容所。阿佩尔先生是巴黎方面向本堂神甫推荐的,他很聪明,恰好早晨六点钟到达一个居民很好奇的小城。他一到就直奔神甫住宅。

谢朗神甫读着德·拉莫尔侯爵写给他的信,沉思良久。侯爵是法国贵族院议员,本省最大的地主。

神甫暗自沉吟:“我一大把年纪了,并且在此地受人爱戴,他们不敢!”他立刻朝巴黎来的先生转过身。他虽然年事已高,两眼仍闪烁着火一样的热情,表明他乐于从事一桩多少有些危险的高尚行动。

“跟我来,先生。请不要在看守面前特别是在乞丐收容所的管事面前发表任何意见,无论我们看到了什么。”阿佩尔先生明白他遇上了一个好心人:他跟着这位可敬的本堂神甫参观了监狱、医院和收容所,提出许多问题,尽管回答千奇百怪,他却忍住没有流露出任何指责的意思。

参观持续了好几个小时。神甫邀请阿佩尔先生共进午餐。阿佩尔先生不愿意更多地连累这位好心的朋友,就推说有几封信要写。三点钟前后,两位先生结束了对乞丐收容所的视察又回到监狱。他们在门口遇见了看守,这是一个巨人般的家伙,六尺高,罗圈腿,一张极难看的脸因恐惧而变得极可憎。

“啊!先生,”他一看见神甫,就立刻对他说,“跟您在一起的这一位可是阿佩尔先生?”

“是又怎么样?”神甫说。

“昨天我接到最明确的命令,不准阿佩尔先生进入监狱,命令是省长派一名宪兵送来的,他大概骑着马跑了一整夜呢。”

“我告诉您,诺瓦鲁先生,”神甫说,“跟我在—起的这位旅人正是阿佩尔先生。您承认不承认,我有权随时进入监狱,不管是白天还是晚上,并且愿意让谁陪同就让谁陪同?”

“是的,神甫先生,”看守低声说,耷拉下脑袋,活像害怕挨棍子而勉强服从的一条狗。“只是,神甫先生,我有老婆孩子,要是有人告发,他们会把我撤职的;我全靠这职位生活啊。”

“我的职位丢了我也很不高兴,”善良的神甫说,声音越来越激动。

“那可不一样啊!”看守急了,“您哪,神甫先生,谁都知道您有八百利弗尔的年金,一份上好的产业……”

这就是事情的原委,可两天来满城风雨,众说纷纭,更有人添枝加叶,在维里埃这座小城里搅动起各种充满仇恨的情绪。眼下德·莱纳先生和他妻子之间发生的小小争论,正是为了这件事。早晨,他带着乞丐收容所所长瓦勒诺先生去过本堂神甫家,向他表示最强烈的不满。谢朗先生没有任何后台,觉出了他们的话的份量。

“好吧,先生们!我已经八十岁了,我将是附近第三个被撤职的本堂神甫。我在此地已经五十六年;我为本城差不多全部居民行过洗礼,我来的时候这个城市还是个小镇呢。我每天都为年轻人主持婚礼,从前他们的祖父的婚礼也是我主持的。维里埃是我的家,但是我看见这个陌生人时心里想:‘这个人从巴黎来,也许真是个自由党人,那里可是太多了;但是他对我们的穷人和囚犯能有什么危害呢?’”

德·莱纳先生的指责,尤其是乞丐收容所所长瓦勒诺先生的指责,越来越凶了。

“那好,先生们,把我撤了吧:“老神甫喊了起来,声音都发抖了。“可是我还要住在此地。大家知道我四十八年前继承了一片土地,每年有八百利弗尔的进项。我靠这些收入足以过活。我在任职期间可是没有任何积蓄,先生们,也许正因为如此,当有人跟我谈到撤职时,我才不那么害怕。”

德·莱纳先生与妻子相处极好,然而他不知道如何回答妻子怯生生地反复提出的问题:“巴黎来的这位先生能对囚犯有什么危害呢?”他简直要发火了,正在这时,妻子惊叫了一声。原来她的第二个儿子爬上了挡土墙的胸墙,还在上面跑,而这挡土墙高出墙外葡萄园有二十尺呢,德·莱纳夫人害怕孩子受到惊吓,掉下去,不敢跟他说话。那孩子正为自己的壮举得意呢,最后终于看到了母亲,见她面色如土,就跳到散步道上,朝她跑过去。他被好一个说。

这个小小的事件扭转了谈话的方向。

“我一定要把锯木工的儿子索莱尔弄到家里来,”德·莱纳先生说,“让他照看孩子,他们越来越淘气,我们管不住了。他是个教士,不是也差不多,还精通拉丁文,他会让孩子们取得进步的,因为神甫说他性格坚强。我给他三百法郎,管他吃。我过去对他的品行一直有些猜疑,他是那个老外科医生,荣誉团骑士的宠儿,医生借口是亲戚,就住在他们家里。这个人实际上很可能是自由党的密探,他说我们山里的空气对他的风湿病有好处,可这并没有得到证实。他参过布奥纳巴尔德在意大利的历次战役,据说还曾签名反对建立帝国。这个自由党教小索莱尔拉丁文,还把带来的大量书籍留给他。所以我本来绝不会想到让木工的儿子和我们的孩子在一起的,可就在这场让我们闹翻的争吵的前一天,神甫对我说索菜尔攻读神学已经三年,准备进神学院,因此,他不是自由党人,他是个拉丁文学者。”

“这样安排还有一个理由,”德·莱纳先生继续说,一边用一种外交家的神情看着妻子,“瓦勒诺刚刚给他的敞蓬四轮马车买下两匹诺曼底马,正得意着哪,可他没有给孩子请家庭教师。”

“他会把我们的这一个抢走呀。”

“这么说你赞成我的计划喽?”德·菜纳先生说,朝她微微一笑,算是感谢她刚才的这个好主意。“好了,就这么定了。”

“啊,上帝!亲爱的朋友,你的决心下得这么快!”

“这是因为我性格刚强,本堂神甫已经领教过了。我们不必隐瞒什么,我们在此地是被自由党人包围着的。所有那些布商都嫉妒我,我对此深信不疑;其中两三个正在阔起来;那好吧,我倒很喜欢让这些人看看德·莱纳先生的孩子怎样在他们的家庭教师带领下散步。不由他们不肃然起敬。我的祖父常对我说,他小时候就有一个家庭教师。这大概要花我一百个埃居,不过应该把这笔开支看作为了保持我们的身份所必需的。”

德·莱那夫人沉思不语,这个决定太突然了。这女人身材高而苗条,曾经是当地有名的美人儿,山里人都这么说。她具有某种纯朴的仪态,举手投足仍透出一股青春的活力;在一位巴黎人看来,这种天真活泼的自然风韵甚至会唤起温柔的快感,让人想入非非,德·莱纳夫人若是知道自己会有这一类的成功,一定会羞得无地自容。什么卖弄风情呀,忸怩作态呀,这种事情从未挨近过这颗心。据说有钱的乞丐收容所所长瓦勒诺先生曾经追过她,但没有成功,这曾使她的品德大放异采,因为这位瓦勒诺先生,年轻高大,孔武有力,满面红光,蓄着一把又浓又黑的连腮胡,是外省人称为美男子的那种粗鲁、放肆、说起话来乱嚷嚷的人。

德·莱纳夫人很害羞,性情看上去很是平和,特别讨厌瓦勒诺先生不住地动和他的大嗓门。她远离维里埃人所谓的快乐,这使人认为她对自己的出身感到非常骄傲。她倒也不在意,看到本城男性居民越来越少登她家的门,反而感到很高兴。我们无须隐瞒,她在那些人的太太们眼中是个傻瓜,因为她在丈夫身上竟然一点儿心计也不用,白白放过一些让人从巴黎或贝藏松为自己买来漂亮帽子的好机会。只要大家能让她一个人在自家美丽的花园中随意走走,她也就心满意足了。

她是一个天真幼稚的女人,从未想到对丈夫品头评足,也从未承认丈夫使她感到厌烦。她猜想,当然未曾向自己说破,夫妻之间不过如此罢了,不会有更亲密的关系。当德·莱纳先生跟她谈论他对孩子的打算时,她倒是爱他的;他想让老大进军队,老二进法院,老三进教会。总之,和她认识的那些男人相比,她觉得德·莱纳先生算是最不讨厌的。

妻子对丈夫的这种评价倒也合情合理。维里埃的市长被认为是—个风趣、高雅的人,这名声全靠他从一位叔父那里学来的那五、六个笑话。老上尉德·莱纳革命前在奥尔良公爵的步兵团里效力,他去巴黎的时候有幸进入亲王的客厅。他在那里见过德·泰莱松夫人,著名的德·让利夫人,王宫里的发明家杜卡莱先生。这些人物经常出现在德·莱纳先生的故事里。不过,回忆这种讲起来极微妙的事情渐渐成了他的一项工作,所以,近来他只在重大场合才重复这些与奥尔良家族有关的奇闻轶事。再说,只要不谈钱,他的确是彬彬有礼的,所以,他有理由被看作是维里埃最有贵族气派的人物。

 

 

 

第四章

父与子

 

第二天早晨六点钟,维里埃的市长前往坡下索老爹的锯木厂。他一边走,一边想:“我的妻子的确很有头脑。优势当然还在我这边,但是说一千道一万,我毕竟没有想到,倘若我不把索莱尔这个小神甫弄到手,据说他的拉丁文好得不得了,收容所所长那个脑子转个不停的家伙很可能和我打一样的主意,并且抢在我的前头。他将以多么自负的口吻谈论他的孩子的家庭教师啊……这位家庭教师一旦属于我,要不要穿黑袍子呢?”

德·莱纳先生在这个问题上颠来倒去,犹豫不决,突然,他看见一个乡巴佬,身高近六尺,大清早就似乎忙着丈量堆放在河边纤道上的木材。这乡巴佬看见市长先生走近好像不大高兴,这些木材堵塞了道路,堆放在那儿是违章的。

这乡巴佬正是索老爹。德·莱纳先生关于他的儿子于连的提议使他大感意外,但更使他感到高兴。不过他听的时候仍然带着那种愁苦不乐和漠不关心的神情,这山区的居民很善于这样来掩饰他们的精明。他们在西班牙人统治时期当过奴隶,如今仍保留着埃及小农的这种表情特征。

索莱尔的开场白只不过是大段背下来的记得滚瓜烂熟的客套话。他笨拙地做出微笑的样子,却更暴露出神情的虚假;他本来生就一副无赖相,这下反而欲盖弥彰。他一边重复着那些废话,一边脑子里不停地转,试图弄明白是什么原因能使一个如此有权势的人想把他那废物儿子搞到家里去。他很不喜欢于连,可是德·莱纳先生偏偏要给他—年三百法郎的工钱,管吃,甚至还管穿。这后一项要求是索老爹灵机一动突然提出来的,德·莱纳先生也是灵机一动突然答应的。

这一要求使德·莱纳先生大吃一惊。他想:“对我的提议,索莱尔竟没有理所当然地感到高兴和满意,显然已另外有人向他提出过什么,除了瓦勒诺先生之外,还能是谁呢?”德·莱纳先生催促索莱尔立刻定下来,然而没有用;老农民诡计多端,死活不同意;他说他想征求一下儿子的意见,好像在外省一个有钱的父亲除了走形式外还真地要问问一无所有的儿子似的。

一座水力锯木厂其实就是一个建在水边的大棚,四根粗大的木柱支起屋架,上面复有棚顶。棚子中央八、九尺高处有一把锯上上下下,一种很简单的机器把木头对着锯推过去。溪水推动一个轮子,产生两种机械作用:一是锯的上下运动,二是缓缓推向锯子,最后破成板子。

索老爹走近工厂时,亮出大嗓门,高喊于连,没有人应声。他只看见两个大儿子,他们生得膀大腰圆,正挥动沉重的斧子整理枞树干,好送上去锯。他们仔细对准画好的黑线,一斧子下去就是一大堆木屑。他们没有听见父亲的喊声。他朝大棚走去,进去一看,于连没有守在锯旁,却骑在五、六尺高处的棚顶的一根梁上。于连不专心照看机器的运转,却在埋头读书。老索莱尔对此最为反感,他可以原谅于连身材瘦削,跟他的两个哥哥不一样,不适合干力气活儿,但他不能容忍于连的这种读书癖,因为他自己不识字。

他叫了于连两、三声,还是白费力气。年轻人的注意力全在书本上,加上锯子的嘈杂声,更使他听不见父亲那可怕的声音。这父亲虽然年纪大了,却仍敏捷地跳上正在锯着的一个树干,又跳上支撑着棚顶的横梁,猛地一掌,把于连拿着的书打落到河里,接着又是猛地一掌,打在于连的头上。于连身子一歪,眼看就要跌倒,若是跌进十四、五尺下面正在运转的机器的杠杆中间,非粉身碎骨不可;这当儿,他的父亲伸出左手,一把将他揪住:

“好哇,懒鬼!你看锯的时候还要读你那些该死的书吗?你晚上去神甫那儿瞎混的时候再读吧,那是你看书的时候。”于连被打得晕头转向,满脸是血,还得回到锯子旁自己的岗位上去。他的眼里含着泪,**的痛苦自不待言,更重要的原因是他失去了心爱的书。

“下来,畜生,我有话跟你说。”机器的声音仍使于连听不见这命令。他的父亲已经下地,不愿再登上机器,就找了一根打胡桃的长杆子,抽他的肩膀。于连脚刚一落地,老索莱尔就推推搡搡地把他往家里赶。“天知道他又要把我怎么样!”年轻人心里嘀咕。他一边走,一边看着那条小溪,真伤心啊,他的书就掉在那里面;那是他最喜欢的《圣赫勒拿岛回忆录》。

于连双颊绯红,两眼低垂,他是个十八、九岁的瘦小青年,看起来羸弱,面部的轮廓也不大周正,但颇清秀,还有一个鹰勾鼻子。一双大而黑的眼睛,静时显露出沉思和热情。此刻却闪烁着最凶恶的憎恨的表情。深褐色的头发长得很低,盖住了大半个额头,发怒的时候凶相毕露,人的相貌无数,然而更具惊人的特性者怕是没有了。他的身材修长而匀称,更多地显示出轻捷而非力量。自幼年起,他那极端沉思的神情和极为苍白的脸色,就使他的父亲以为他活不长,或者将成为家庭的负担,家里人都看不起他,他也恨父亲和两个哥哥;礼拜天在广场上玩耍,他总是挨打。

不到一年以前,他那张漂亮的脸才开始博得年轻姑娘们几句亲切的话。于连被当作弱者受到众人的轻蔑,然而他崇拜那位敢于和市长谈论悬铃木的老外科军医。

这位外科医生有时付钱给索老爹,让他的儿子跟着他学习拉丁文和历史,即一七九六年的意大利战役,临终时他把他的荣誉团十字勋章、半饷的欠款和三、四十本书留给他,其中最珍贵的那一本已经掉进市长先生利用其影响使之改道的那条公共水流里了。

于连刚踏进屋门,就感到肩膀被父亲那只强有力的手抓住了;他吓得发抖,等着挨揍。

“老实回答我,”老农民对着他的耳朵厉声喝道,一边用手把他扳过来,好像小孩用手扳铅制玩具兵一样。于连那双又大又黑,泪汪汪的眼睛遇上了老木匠的一双灰色的、凶恶的小眼睛,这老木匠似乎想把他的灵魂深处看个一清二楚。

 

第五章

谈判

 

“看你能老实回答我,臭书呆子;你在哪儿认识德·莱纳夫人的?你什么时候跟她说过话?”

“我从来没跟她说过话,”于连答道,“我只在教堂看见过这位夫人。”

“那你是不是看她啦,不要脸的下流胚?”

“从来没有:您知道我在教堂里只看上帝,”于连说,多少有一点假正经的样子,反正怎么样都行,只要脑袋上不再挨巴掌。

“这里面总是有点名堂,”狡猾的乡巴佬说,接着顿了顿,又说道,“我是不能从你这儿套出什么啦,该死的伪君子。总之,我要甩掉你了,而我的锯木厂只会办得更好。你讨得了本堂神甫先生或其他什么人的欢心,他们给你找了个好位置。收拾你的东西吧,我送你去德·莱纳先生家,你要当孩子们的家庭教师啦。”

“那给我什么?”

“吃,穿,还有三百法郎的工钱。”

“我不愿意当仆人。”

“畜生,谁说让你当仆人啦?难道我愿意我的儿子当仆人吗?”

“可是,我跟谁一起吃饭呢?”

这个问题把老索莱尔问住了,他觉得不能再谈下去,言多语失啊;于是他暴跳如雷,大骂于连,说他就知道吃,撇下他找另外两个儿子商量去了。

过了一会儿,于连看见他们各自拄着一把斧子,正在商量。于连看了很久,觉得也猜不出什么,又怕被人撞见,就往锯子的另一侧去。他想好好考虑一下这个改变他命运的意外消息,但是他觉得静不下心来,他的想象力全部用来描画他将在德·莱纳先生的漂亮房子里看到的东西了。

他心想:“宁可放弃这—切,也不能沦落到和仆人一起吃饭的地步。我父亲想强迫我,那我就去死。我有十五个法郎八个苏的积蓄,今夜就逃走;走小路碰不上宪兵,两天就到了贝藏松;我在那儿当兵,需要的话,就去瑞士。不过,这么一来,前程完了,雄心壮志完了,无所不能的教士这一类好职业也完了。”

于连厌恶跟仆人一起吃饭,并非天生如此,为了飞黄腾达,他可以做令人痛苦得多的事情,他的这种厌恶得之于卢梭的《忏悔录》。他全靠这本书来想象世界是一副什么样子。大军公报汇编和《圣赫勒布岛回忆录》则补足了他的《可兰经》。为了这三本书,他可以豁出命去。他绝不相信任何别的一本书,他相信老外科军医的话,认为世上其它的书都是谎言,是—些骗子为了升官发财而写出来的。

于连有一颗火热的心,还有一种常常与愚蠢相结合的惊人的记忆力,他看出他的前途取决于年老的本堂神父谢朗,为了讨得他的欢心,竟把一部拉丁文的《新约全书》背下;他也熟悉德·迈斯特先生的《论教皇》,虽然这两本书他都不相信。

好像双方有了默契,索莱尔和他的儿子这一天都避免和对方说话。傍晚,他到本堂神父那儿去上神学课,他认为把别人向他父亲提出的奇怪的建议告诉神甫是不谨慎的。“也许这是个圈套,”他想,“应该装作已经忘了的样子。”

第二天一大早,德、莱纳先生便差人来叫老索莱尔,而这个老索莱尔让他等了一、二个钟头,一进门便百般道歉,又百般表示敬意。他提出了各种各样的异议,终于弄明白他的儿子将和男主人女主人同桌吃饭,如有客人则独自在另一个房间和孩子们一起吃,便提出越来越多的附加条件,再说他心里还充满了怀嶷和惊奇,就要求看看他儿子睡觉的房间。那是一个布置得十分整洁的大房间,已经有人忙着把孩子们的床往里面搬了。

此情此景使这位老人大受启发,他立刻坚定要求看看他儿子要穿的衣服。德、莱纳先生拉开抽屉,拿出一百法郎。

“您和儿子拿这笔钱到呢绒商杜郎先生的店里,可以做一套黑衣服。”

“那么,即使我把他从这里领回去,”乡巴佬说,他一下子把他的繁文褥节得干干净净,“这衣服还是他的吗?”

“那当然。”

“那好吧,”索莱尔拿着一种慢悠悠的腔调说,“我们就乘一件事要达成一致意见:您给他多少钱。”

“什么!”德、莱纳先生生气地叫了起来,“我们昨天已经一致同意:我出三百法郎;我认为这已经够了,也许太多了。”

“这是您出的数,我不否认,”老索莱尔说得更慢了;他紧紧地盯着德、莱纳先生,使出只有不了解弗郎什-孔泰的农民的人才会感到惊奇的那种天才,补了一句:“我们找得到更好的地方。”

听了这句话,市长大惊失色。不过,他还是恢复了镇静,他们足足周旋了两个钟头,字斟句酌,没有一句信口胡说,农民的精明终于战胜了富人的精明,富人毕竟不以此为生啊。一大堆安排于连的新生活的条款一一商定;他的薪水不仅定为四百法郎,而每月一号预先付清。

“好吧,我每月给他三十五法郎,”德、莱纳先生说。

“凑个双数吧,”乡巴佬用谄媚的声调说,“像我们的市长先生这样有钱又慷慨的人,一定会改成三十六法郎的。”

“行,”德·莱纳先生说,“不过别再罗嗦了。”

这一回,愤怒使他的口气变得强硬,乡巴佬也看出他得见好就收。这下轮到德·莱纳先生占上风了。他始终不肯把第一个月的三十六法郎交给急于为儿子领钱的老索莱尔。德·莱纳先生突然想到,他必须把在整个谈判中起的作用讲给妻子听。

“把我刚才给您那一百法郎还给我,”他生气地说:“杜朗先生还欠着我呢。我跟您的儿子一块去扯黑呢料子。”

索莱尔见到这一强硬之举,便老老实实又拣起那些毕恭毕敬的套话,足足说了一刻钟。最后,他看出确实再捞不到什么了,便告辞。他最后鞠了一躬,以下面这句话结束:

“我回头就把我的儿子送到公馆来。”

每当市长先生的子民们想讨好他的时候,就这样称呼他的房子。

索莱尔回到锯木厂到处找不到儿子,原来于连对可能发生的事情心怀疑虑,半夜里就出门了。他想为他的书和荣誉团勋章找个安全的地方。他把这些东西都送到一个年轻的木材商那里,此人是他的朋友,名叫富凯,住在俯瞰维里埃的大山里。

当他回来的时候,他的父亲劈头便说:“该死的懒鬼,天知道你是不是争这口气,会把这么多年的饭钱还给我。拿着你的破烂,滚到市长先生那里去吧。”

于连感到惊奇,居然没有挨打,赶紧走了。然而,一当他那可怕的父亲看不见他,他就放慢了脚步。他认为到教堂转一圈儿对他的虚伪有好处。

“虚伪”这个词使您感到惊讶吗?在到达这个可怕的词之前,这年轻农民的心灵曾走过很长一段路呢。

还在很小的时候,于连看见第六团的几个龙骑兵,身披白色大氅,头戴饰有黑色鬃毛的盔,从意大利回来。他看见他们把马拴在父亲的房子的窗栅上,这使他发疯般地爱上了军人的职业。后来,他又激动地聆听老外科军医讲述洛迪桥战役、阿尔科战役和里沃利战役。他注意到老人投向他的十字勋章的火一样燃烧的目光。

然而当于连十四岁时,维里埃开始建一座教堂,对于一个如此小的城市来说,这教堂可称壮丽。尤其是那四根大理石柱,于连印象极深;这四根柱子曾在治安法官和年轻的副本堂神甫之间挑起不共戴天的仇恨,因此在当地出了名,年轻的副本神甫是从贝藏松来的,据说是圣会的密探,治安法官险些丢了位置,至少舆论是这么说的。他怎么敢与一位教士不和?此人每半个月去一次贝藏松,据说是去晋见主教大人。

就在这时,膝下儿女成行的治安法官似乎有几件案子判得不公,而都是针对居民中看《立宪新闻》的人。正确的一方终于胜诉。其实不过是三、五法郎的事,但是这些轻微的罚款中的一笔要由一个制钉工人出。这制钉工人是于连的教父。这人大怒,喊道:“世道真是变了!还说二十多年来治安法官一直被看作正派人呢!”外科军医,于连的朋友,此时已经去世。

于连突然不再谈论拿破仑,宣布他要当教士,人们看见他在父亲的锯木厂里孜孜不倦地背诵那本神甫借给他的拉丁文圣经。这位善良的老人对于连的进步大为赞叹,常常用整个晚上教他神学,于连只在他面前表露虔诚的感情。谁能猜得到,他脸色如此苍白,如此温柔,一副女孩子的容貌,心里竟藏着宁可死上一千次也要飞黄腾达的不可动摇的决心呢!

对于连来说,飞黄腾达首先就是离开维里埃,他恨透了他的家乡。他在那里看到的一切使他的想象力都冻住了。

他自幼年起,就常有兴奋的时刻。他曾美滋滋地梦想过,有朝一日被介绍给巴黎的美妇人,他会用辉煌的壮举邀得她们的垂青。为什么他就不能被其中的一个爱上呢?波拿巴不是还在穷困的时候就被光彩照人的德·博阿尔内夫人爱上了吗?多年以来,于连大概无时不对自己说,波拿巴,一个默默无闻又没有财产的中尉,靠他的剑做了世界的主人。这个想法给自认为极不幸的他带来安慰,又使他在快乐的时候感到加倍的快乐。

教堂的兴建和治安法官的宣判使他一下子恍然大悟;他有了—个念头,好几个星期里他就像疯了一样,最后,这个念头至高无上的威力完全控制了他。—个充满激情的人自认为他所创造的第—个念头,往往具有这种至高无上的威力。

“波拿巴名扬天下之日,正是法国害怕受到侵犯之时;战功不仅必要,而且时髦。可如今一些四十岁的教士就有十万法郎的年俸,相当象破仑的那些著名将领收入的三倍。—定有人支持他们。看这位治安法官,如此聪明,一直是如此正派,又如此年长,只因害怕得罪一个三十岁的年轻副本堂神甫,就坏了自己的名声。应该当教士。”

一次,他学习神学已经两年,新的虔诚正当盛时,那股噬咬着他的灵魂的火突然迸发出来,揭去了他的假面。那是在谢朗先生家里有许多教士参加的—次晚餐上,善良的本堂神甫把他当作神童介绍给大家,他却突然狂热地颂扬起拿破仑来了。事后他自己把右臂吊在胸前,说是翻转枞树干时脱了臼,这种不舒服的姿式他保持了两个月,这次体罚之后,他才饶恕自己。看,这个十九岁的年轻人,外表柔弱,看上去至多十七岁,正夹着一个小包,走进维里埃的壮丽的教堂。

他觉得这教堂阴暗、僻静,每逢节日,教堂的窗户都挂上深红色的帷幔,阳光射入,产生出—种最富庄严和宗教性的眩目的光线效果。于连战栗了。教堂里只有他一个人,他在一把外观最漂亮的椅子上坐下,这把椅子饰有德·莱纳先生家的纹章。

于连注意到跪凳上有一张印着字的小碎纸片,摊开在那儿,像是为了让人读到。他拾起凑近眼睛,读到:

……日,路易·让莱尔在贝藏松伏法,其处决及临终前之细节。

这张纸残破不全,背面还有一行字的头几个字:第一步。

“这纸能是谁放在这儿的呢?”于连想,“可怜的不幸的人啊,”他叹了一口气,“他的姓的结尾和我的一样……”他把纸揉成一团。

于连走出教堂,以为看见圣水缸旁有血,那是洒出来的圣水,窗子上的红帐的反光照在上面,看起来像是血。

最后,于连对自己内心中的恐惧感到羞愧。

“我是一个懦夫吗!”他自语道,“拿起武器:”

这句话,在老外科军医的战争故事中经常出现,对于连来说充满了英雄气概。他站起身来,快步朝德·莱纳先生的府邸走去。

尽管他下定了决心,但当他看见那幢房子就在二十步外的时候,还是被一种不可克服的胆怯攫住。铁栅栏门开着,他觉得很豪华,他必须进去。

来到这幢房子里而感到心慌意乱的,不止于连一个人。德·莱纳夫人胆子极小,一想到这个外人便仓皇失措,而根据职责这个人是要经常处在她和孩子们之间的。她习惯于让儿子们睡在她的房间里。早晨,她看见他们的小床被搬进指定给家庭教师的房间里,眼泪不住地流。她央求丈夫把小儿子斯坦尼斯拉—克萨维埃的床再搬回她的房间,但是没有用。

在德·莱纳夫人身上,女性的敏感到了过份的程度。她想象出一个最令人厌恶的家伙,粗鲁,蓬头垢面,只是因为会拉丁文就被雇来训斥她的孩子,为了这种野蛮的语言,她的儿子们还可能挨鞭子呢。

 

 

第六章

烦恼

 

德·莱纳夫人瞥见大门口有一张年轻的乡下人的脸,就从客厅开向花园的落地长窗走出来,活泼而优雅,没有丝毫的做作,像她平常远离男人的目光时一样。那乡下人几乎还是个孩子,脸色极苍白,刚刚哭过。他身着雪白的衬衫,臂下挟着一件很干净的紫色平纹格子花呢上衣。

这个小乡下人面色那么白,眼睛那么温柔,有点儿浪漫精神的德·莱纳夫人开始还以为可能是一个女扮男装的姑娘,来向市长先生求什么恩典的。她同情这个可怜的小家伙,他站在门口不动,显然是不敢抬手按门铃。她走过去,暂时排解了家庭教师的到来所引起的悲伤和忧愁。于连面对着大门,没有看见她走过来。他听见耳畔有温柔的话音响起,不由地打了个哆嗦:“您到这儿来干什么,我的孩子?”

于连猛地转过身,德·莱纳夫人的温情脉脉的目光打动了他,他不那么胆怯了。很快,他惊异于她的美,就把什么都忘了,甚至把他来干什么也忘了。德·莱纳夫人又问了一遍。

“我来当家庭教师,夫人,”他终于说,对自己的眼泪感到很不好意思,尽量揩干净。

德·莱纳夫人愣住了,他们互相望着,离得很近。于连从未见过穿得这么好的人,尤其是一个如此光艳照人的女人,而且还用一种温柔的口吻跟他说话。德·莱纳夫人望着他颊上的大颗泪珠,这年轻的乡下人的脸刚才还那么苍白,现在却变得那么红润。很快,她笑了起来,小姑娘般疯也似地快话,她笑自已,想不出自己有多幸福。怎么,这就是家庭教师,这就是她想象中的那个来训斥和鞭打她的孩子们的衣冠不整的肮脏教士!

“怎么,先生,”她终于开口,“您会拉丁文?”

“先生”这个词使于连大为惊讶,他想了片刻。

“是的,夫人,”他怯生生地回答。

德·莱纳夫人真是喜出望外,大着胆子问于连:“您不会过分地责骂这些可怜的孩子吧?”

“我,责骂他们,”于连感到奇怪,“为什么?”

“您会对他们很温和,是吗,先生?”她停了—会儿,说话声越来越激动,“您答应我吗?”

听见又一次被郑重其事地称作先生,而且出自—位穿得如此讲究的夫人之口,这是于连万万没有想到的,他少年时想入非非,对自已说,只有穿上漂亮的军装,体面的太太才肯跟他说话。德·莱纳夫人呢,她完全被于连好看的面色,大而黑的眼睛迷惑了,还有他那漂亮的头发比平时更加卷曲,因为他为了凉快,刚刚在公共水池中浸过。她高兴极了,这个不祥的家庭教师居然神情羞怯如年轻的站娘,而她却曾经为孩子们那样地担惊受怕,以为他必是心肠冷酷,面目可憎。德·莱纳夫人的心灵一向那样地平静,这种恐惧和所见之间的对照对她来说真是非同小可。她感到惊讶,她竟和这年轻人这样地站在自家的门口,他几乎只穿着衬衣,而她又离他这样近。

“我们进去吧,先生,”她对他说,神色挺尴尬。从未有一种纯粹是令人愉快的感觉如此深地打动过德·莱纳夫人的心,也从未有一种如此亲切的景象紧接着揪心的恐惧出现在她的面前。这下好了,她精心照料的这些漂亮孩子不会落入一个肮脏阴郁的教士之手了。刚一进前厅,她回头看了看于连,他正怯生生地跟着呢。于连看见一幢如此漂亮的房子时的惊讶表情,在德·莱纳夫人的眼中又添了一个可爱之处。她简直不能相信自己的眼睛了,她特别觉得一个家庭教师应该穿黑色的衣服。

“可是,这是真的吗,先生,”她停下来回他,“您真地会拉丁文吗?”她若是确信无疑,会使她多么地幸福啊,她真怕自己弄错了。

这句话刺伤了于连的自尊心,一刻钟以来的陶醉顿时烟消云散。

“是的,夫人,”他说,竭力作出冷冰冰的样子,“我的拉丁文和神甫先生的一样好,甚至有时候他还肯说我比他强呢。”

德·莱纳夫人发现于连的表情很凶恶,他早就在距她两步远的地方停住了。她走近他,低声说:“开头的几天,您是不是别用鞭子抽我的孩子,哪怕他们的功课不好?”

一位如此漂亮的夫人的如此温柔、近乎哀求的口吻一下子打掉了于连作为优秀的拉丁语学者的傲气。德·莱纳夫人的脸挨近他的脸,他闻到了一个女人的夏装的香气,这对—个穷乡下人来说并非一件寻常的事。于连的脸涨得通红,叹了口气,呻吟似地说:“您别害怕,夫人,我一切听您吩咐。”

德·莱纳夫人对孩子们的担心完全消除了,只是在这个时候,她才注意到于连的不寻常的美。他那近乎女性的容貌和困窘的神态,对一个自己就十分腼腆的女人来说,并不显得可笑。—般人认为男性美所必备的那种阳刚之气反倒教她害怕。

“您多大了,先生?”她问于连。

“很快就十九岁了。”

“我的大儿子十一岁,”德·莱纳夫人完全放心了,“差不多可以做您的朋友呢,您可以跟他讲道理。有一次他父亲要打他,他就足足病了一个星期、其实只是轻轻的一下,”

“这跟我多么地不同啊,”于连想,“昨天我父亲还打了我呢。这些有钱人多幸福啊!”

德·莱纳夫人已经能够看出这位家庭教师内心中所发生的最细微的变化,她把这种突然的悲伤当成了胆怯,想给他一点儿勇气。

“您叫什么名字,先生?”她问,那声调,那风度,于连都能感到其全部的魅力,然而是何原因,他就茫然了。

“我家叫我于连·索莱尔,夫人。我生平第一次进入陌生人的家,心里害怕,我需要您的保护,开头几天有好多事情您得多加原谅。我从未进过学校,我太穷了;除了我的表亲外科军医,他是荣誉团成员,和谢朗神甫先生之外,我没跟任何人说过话。神甫先生可以向您证明我的人品。我的哥哥们经常打我,如果他们跟您说我的坏话,您不要相信,如果我做错了事,请您原谅,夫人,我绝不会有不好的意图。”

这段话很长,他说着说着心里就有了底,他在仔细观察德·莱纳夫人。这就是完美的风度的效果,当风度乃本性天成的时候,尤其是有风度的人没有想到有风度的时候,就会有这种效果,于连对女性美是个内行,这个时候他会发誓说她只有二十岁。他突然生出一个大胆的念头,要吻她的手。他很快就害怕了,过了一会儿,他心想:“一个可能对我有用的行动,一个可能减少这位美丽的太太多半会对一个刚刚离开锯木厂的可怜工人所怀有的轻蔑的行动,我若不去完成,那我就是个懦夫。”于连也许多少受到“漂亮小伙子”这个词的鼓舞,近半年来,他每礼拜日都听见一些女孩子这样说他。他的内心斗争不已,德·莱纳夫人跟他说了二、三句话,告诉他开始时如何对待这些孩子。于连极力克制,脸色又变得苍白,很不自然地说道:

“夫人,我绝不会打您的孩子,我在天主面前发誓。”

他一边说,一边大着胆子抓住德·莱纳夫人的手,拉到唇边。她对这举动吃了一惊,想了想,又觉得受到了冒犯。天气很热,她的胳膊光光的,只盖着披肩,于连把她的手拉到唇边的动作使她的胳膊完全暴露出来,过了一会儿,她责备起自己来了,她觉得她的气愤来得不够快。

德·莱纳先生听见有人说话,就从工作间里出来,用他在市政厅主持婚礼时的那种既庄严又慈祥的语气对于连说:“我必须在孩子们见到您之前跟您谈一谈。”

他让于连进入一个房间,他的妻子想让他们单独谈话,但被他留住了。德·莱纳先生把门关上,坐下,态度很严肃。

“本堂神甫先生对我说您是一个品行端正的人,这里的人都会尊敬您的,如果我感到满意,我会帮助您谋个小小的前程。我要求您不再和亲戚以及朋友见面,他们的举止谈吐对我的孩子是不适宜的。这是第一个月的三十六法郎,但您要向我保证不给您父亲一个子儿。”

德·莱纳先生对那老头儿很恼火,因为在这笔交易中,那老头儿比他更精明。

“现在,先生,根据我的命令,这里的人都要称您先生,您将感到进入一个体面人家的好处。现在,先生,您还穿着短上衣,这让孩子们看见是很不成体统的。仆人们看见他了吗?”德·莱纳先生问妻子。

“还没有,我的朋友,”她答道,还沉浸在冥想中。

“太好了。穿上这件吧,”他对感到惊讶的年轻人说,把自己的一件礼服递给他。“我们现在到呢绒商杜朗先生那儿去吧。”

一小时以后,德·莱纳先生带着一身黑的新家庭教师回来了,他看见妻子还坐在老地方。有于连在,德·莱纳夫人感到心里平静了,她端详着他,忘记了害怕。于连可压根儿没想到她,尽管他对命运和人都不信任,此刻他的心情究竟还只是一个孩子的心情,他觉得打从他在教堂里发抖那一刻起,三个钟头以来,他已经生活了好几年了。他注意到德·莱纳夫人的冰冷的神情,知道她还在为他竟敢吻她的手而生气。然而,穿上一套与从前如此不同的衣服所产生的自豪感使他忘乎所以,他真想掩饰自己的快乐,却一举一动都露出生硬和狂乱。德·莱纳夫人望着他,吃惊地睁大了眼睛。

“庄重点,先生,”德·莱纳先生说,“假使您想获得我的孩子和我的下人的尊敬。”

“先生,”于连答道,“我穿着这身新衣服感到很不自在;我是个穷乡下人,我从来只穿短上衣;如果您允许,我去自己的房间了。”

“你觉得这个新收获怎么样?”德·莱纳先生问他的妻子。

德·莱纳夫人心中一动,几乎出于一种她自已肯定不曾意识到的本能,向她的丈夫隐瞒了真情。

“对这个小乡下人,我可不像您那么高兴,您的殷勤将使他变成一个傲慢无礼的人,不出一个月您就得打发他走。”

“好吧,那我们就打发他走,这不过破费我百把法郎,可维里埃城将习惯于看见德·莱纳先生的孩子有一位家庭教师。如果我让于连仍旧一身工人打扮,这个目的就根本达不到。打发他走的时候,我当然要留下我刚刚在呢绒商那儿做的这套黑衣服。他只能拿走我刚刚在裁缝那儿买的成衣,就是我让他穿的那一套。”

德·莱纳夫人觉得于连在房间里只待了一小会儿。孩子们听说家庭教师来了,围着她问个不停。终于,于连出来了。简直是换了一个人。说他庄重还不对,他真真是庄重的化身。他被介绍给孩子们,他跟他们说话的态度连德·莱纳先生都感到惊讶。

“先生们,我来到这里,”他在结束讲话时说,“是为了教你们拉丁文。你们当然知道背书是怎么回事。这是《圣经》,”他说,指给他们看一本三十二开黑面精装的小书,“特别是我主耶稣的故事,就是大家称为《新约》的那部分。我要常常让你们背诵,你们让我来背背看。”

最大的那个孩子阿道夫拿起书。

“请您随便翻开,”于连继续说,“找一段,把第一个字告诉我。我就把这本圣书,我们的行为准则,背下去,直到您让我停止。”

阿道夫打开书,念出一个字,于连就背下一整页,像他说法国话一样流利。德·莱纳先生望着他的妻子,好不得意。孩子们看到他们父母的惊讶表情,也都一个个睁大了眼睛。一个仆人走到客厅门口,于连还在说拉丁文。这仆人先是呆立不动,随即不见了。很快,夫人的女仆和女厨子来到门旁,这时,阿道夫已经把书翻了八个地方,于连总是背得那么流利。

“啊,我的天主:这小教士好漂亮,”女厨子高声说道,她是个极虔诚的好姑娘。

德·莱纳先生的自尊心动摇了,他不再想如何考察家庭教师,而是一门心思在记忆中翻腾,想找出几句拉丁文来;终于,他好不容易念出一句贺拉斯的诗。于连只知道《圣经》,就皱着眉头说:“我所献身的圣职禁止我读一位如此世俗的诗人。”

德·莱纳先生背了不少所谓贺拉斯的诗。他向孩子们解释谁是贺拉斯,但是孩子们已对于连佩服得要命,对父亲的话没听进几句。他们眼睁睁地望着于连。

仆人们一直站在门口,于连认为应该让考验继续下去。

“斯坦尼斯拉-克萨维埃先生也该在圣书中指一段,”他对最小的孩子说。

小斯坦尼斯拉很得意,好歹总算念出了某一行的第一个字,于连紧接着背出了一整页。合该德·莱纳先生大获全胜,正当于连倒背如流之际,诺曼底骏马的拥有者瓦勒诺先生和专区区长夏尔科·德·莫吉隆先生进来了。这个场面为于连赢得了先生的称呼,仆人们也不敢不这样称呼他了。

市长先生家里来了个奇才,当晚满城争睹,络绎不绝。于连沉着脸,不冷不热地一一应付过去。他的声名在城中迅速传播,几天之后,德·莱纳先生怕他被抢走,向他提出签订两年的合同。

“不行,先生,”于连冷冷地回答,“您要辞退我,我不得不走。一份合同拴住了我,您却不承担任何义务,这不平等,我不能接受。”

于连真行,来此不足一个月,连德·莱纳先生本人都敬重他了。本堂神甫已与德·莱纳先生和瓦勒诺先生闹翻,无人再能泄露于连往日对拿破仑的激情,他此后每谈及这个人,深恶痛绝之情都溢于言表。

 

 

第七章

精选的缘分

 

孩子们崇拜他,他却丝毫也不爱他们,他的心思在别的地方。任这些小家伙做什么,他都耐心对待。冷静,公正,喜怒不形于色,然而受人爱戴,因为他的到来可以说扫除了这个家的烦闷。他是一个好家庭教师。然而对于上流社会,他感到的只是仇恨和厌恶,这个上流社会实际上只是在餐桌的末端接纳了他,这也许解释了他的仇恨和厌恶。在几次盛大的宴会上,他好不容易才克制住对周围的一切所怀有的仇恨。圣路易节那天,瓦勒诺先生在德·莱纳先生家里成为谈话的中心,于连借口看看孩子们,跑进了花园。他嚷道:“对廉洁的颂扬多么动听啊!仿佛这是唯一的美德,然而对于一个自从管理穷人的福利之后显然把自己的财产增加了两、三倍的人,却又那样地敬重,那样地阿谀奉承!我敢打赌,他连专供弃儿使用的经费都要捞,而这些可怜的人的苦难是比其他人的苦难更为神圣的!啊!恶魔!恶魔!而我也是一种弃儿呀,父亲、哥哥,全家人都恨我。”

圣路易节前几天,于连独自在一片小树林里散步,一边念着日课经。这片小树林俯瞰忠诚大道,人称“观景台”。他远远地看见两个哥哥从一条僻静的小路上走过来,想躲也躲不及了。这两个粗鲁的工人看见他那一身漂亮的黑衣服、极其整洁的外貌、他对他们的**裸的轻蔑,不禁妒火中烧,把他揍了一顿,直打得他满脸是血,昏死过去。德·莱纳夫人和瓦勒诺先生、专区区长一起散步,偶然来到这座小树林;她看见于连直挺挺地躺在地上,以为他死了。她是那样的激动,直让瓦勒诺先生嫉妒。

瓦勒诺先生的担心未免早了点儿。于连觉得德·莱纳夫人很美,然而正是因为这美,他恨她;这是阻止他发迹的第—块礁石,他险些撞上。他尽量少跟她说话,想让她忘掉头一天促使他吻她的手的那种狂热。

德·莱纳夫人的女仆爱丽莎很快爱上了年轻的家庭教师,常在女主人面前谈到他。爱丽莎对于连的爱情为他招来一个男仆的仇恨。一天,于连听见这个人对爱丽莎说:“自从这个肮脏的家庭教师来了之后,您就不愿再和我说话了。”于连受冤,他并不肮脏,然而,出于漂亮小伙子的本能,他倒是加倍注意仪表了。加倍的还有瓦勒诺先生的嫉恨。他公开地说,一个年轻的教士不应该这样爱打扮。于连不穿黑袍子,他穿的是套装。

德·菜纳夫人注意到于连和爱丽莎小姐说话比往常更勤了,她又了解到这些交谈是于连的衣服不够穿引起的。于连的内衣很少,不得不经常送到外面去洗,在这些小事情上爱丽莎小姐对他很有用。这种极端的贫穷是德·菜纳夫人没有想到的,她深受触动。她想送他些礼物,但是不敢,这种内心的斗争是于连带给她的第一个痛苦的感觉。在此之前,于连的名字对她来说,完全是一种纯粹的、全然精神性的快乐感觉的同义词。她一想到于连的贫穷就焦虑不安,终于向她的丈夫说要送于连一些内衣。

“真傻!”他回答说,“怎么搞的!给一个我们完全满意、为我们服务得很好的人送礼?只有在他不好好干的情况下,才需要刺激他的热情。”

德·莱纳夫人对这种看问题的方式感到丢脸,要不是于连来了,她原本是不会注意到的。她每次看见年轻神甫的极其干净、但也极其简单的穿着,都要对自己说:“这可怜的孩子,真难为他了!”

渐渐地,她对于连缺这少那产生同情,不再感到奇怪。

有些外省女人,人们在相识的头半个月里很可以把她们当成傻子,德·莱纳夫人就是其中之一。她对人生毫无经验,不喜欢说话。命运将她抛进一群粗俗的人中间,然而她天生一颗敏感而倨傲的心,人人生而有之的那种追求幸福的本能使她大部分时间里对那些人的行为浑然不觉。

但是如果她受过一点教育,她那淳朴的天性和灵活的头脑就会引人注目。然而她作为女继承人,是由狂热崇拜“耶稣圣心”,对与耶稣会为敌的法国人怀有深仇大恨的修女教养成人的。德·莱纳夫人有足够的理智,把她在修道院里学到的一切视为荒谬,很快忘掉;但是她没有用任何东西来代替,结果变得什么也不知道了。她作为一笔巨大财产的继承人过早地成为阿谀奉承的对象,还有她坚决地倾向于宗教的虔诚,这都使她具有一种完全内向的生活方式。她表面上极其随和,也善于克制个人的意愿,常被维里埃的丈夫们作为榜样让他们的妻子学,德·莱纳先生也引以为自豪,其实她的这种惯常的精神状态不过是一种最高傲的脾性造或的。任何一位因其骄傲而被称道的公主,对那些侍从贵族围绕着她的所作所为给予的注意,也要比这个看起来如此温柔;如此谦逊的女人对她丈夫的所言所行给予的注意多出不知多少。在于连到来之前,她关心的实际上只是她的那些孩子。他们的头疼脑热,他们的痛苦,他们的小小欢乐,占据了这颗心的全部感觉。她在贝藏松的圣心修道院时,只热爱过天主。

她不愿意对任何人说,她的一个孩子的一次发烧,几乎能让她急得如同这个孩子已经死了一样。结婚的最初几年,倾吐衷肠的需要促使她把这种痛苦说给丈夫听,然而碰到的总是一阵粗鲁的大笑,耸耸肩膀以及关于女人的傻念头的几句粗俗的格言。此类笑话,如果和孩子们的病痛有关,就会象匕首一样扎进她的心里。离开了度过少女时代的耶稣会修道院里那种殷勤的、甜得腻人的奉承,德·莫吉隆一样。粗鲁、对一切与金钱、地位和十字勋章无关的事情露骨的麻木,还有对一切使他们感到不快的推理所怀有的盲目仇恨,在她看来,这些东西对男人这个性别来说都是自然而然的,就像穿靴子戴毡帽一样。

许多年之后,德·莱纳夫人还是对这些嗜钱如命的人感到不习惯,然而她还得生活在他们中间。

于连这个小乡下人的成功盖出于此。德·莱纳夫人对这颗高尚而骄傲的心灵充满了同情,从中得到了美妙的、洋溢着新鲜事物的魅力的快乐。她很快就原谅了于连的极端无知,这无知成了他的又一个可爱之处;也原谅了于连的举止生硬,这生硬她竟能加以纠正。她发现他的谈话居然也值得一听,哪怕说的是一条狗横穿马路被农民急驶的大车压死。这个痛苦的场面使她的丈夫哈哈大笑,可于连呢,她看见他蹙紧了乌黑的、弯得很好看的眉毛。渐渐地,她觉得宽厚、灵魂高尚、仁慈只存在于这个年轻的神甫身上。她把这些美德在高贵的心灵中激起的同情心甚至钦佩之情都给了他一个人。

在巴黎,于连和德·莱纳夫人的关系很快会变得简单,因为在巴黎,爱情是小说的产儿。年轻的家庭教师和他的腼腆的女主人,可以在三、四本小说、甚至吉姆纳兹剧院的台词中找到对他们的处境的说明。小说可以勾画出要他们扮演的角色,提出可供他们模仿的榜样,而这榜样,虚荣心迟早要逼着于连照着去做,尽管并无丝毫的乐趣,甚至还会感到厌恶。

在阿韦龙或比利牛斯的一座小城里,气候的炎热可以让最不足道的一件小事变得具有决定性。在我们的比较阴沉的天空下,一个贫穷的年轻人只能野心勃勃,因为他那颗敏感细腻的心灵使他需要一些花钱的享受。他天天都看见一个三十岁的女人,这女人打心眼儿里规规矩矩,心思全在孩子身上,绝不会到小说里去找行动的榜样。在外省,一切都慢慢地来,一切都在逐渐中做成,这反倒更多些自然。

德·莱纳夫人想到年轻的家庭教师的贫穷,常常感到心头一热,流下泪来,有一次让于连撞见,她正哭得伤心。

“啊,夫人,您遇到了什么不幸吗?”

“不,我的朋友,”她答道,“去叫孩子们来,我们散步去。”

她挽起于连的胳膊,靠着他,那方式让于连觉得奇怪。她这是第一次称他“我的朋友”。,

散步快结束的时候,于连注意到她的脸通红。她放慢了脚步。

“可能有人跟您说过,”她说,并不看他,“我是一个很富有的姑母的唯一继承人,她住在贝藏松,常送我许多礼物……我的儿子们取得了进步……那样地惊人……为表示我的感激之情,我想请您接受一个小小的礼物。不过是几个路易罢了,您好买些内衣。不过……”她的脸更红,并且打住不说了。

“不过什么,夫人?”于连问。

“就不必跟我丈夫说了。”她说着低下了头。

“我出身卑微,夫人,但是我并不低贱,”于连说,停下脚步,并且挺直了身子,“您对此考虑不够啊。如果我对德·莱纳先生隐瞒有关我的钱的任何事情,那我就连一个仆人都不如了。”

德·莱纳夫人吓呆了。

“自从我住到这个家里来,”于连继续说,“市长先生已五次付给我三十六法郎,我随时准备把我的帐本给德·莱纳先生看,给随便什么人看,甚至给恨我的瓦勒诺先生看。”

这一通发泄之后,德·莱纳夫人一直脸色苍白,浑身发抖,直到散步结束,两个人谁也未能找出个话题来恢复中断了的谈话。在于连那颗骄傲的心里,对德·莱纳夫人的爱情是越来越不可能了;至于她,她尊重他,敬佩他;可她以前曾为此受到过申斥呀。她借口补救她无意中使他蒙受的屈辱,就容许自己给予他最温存的体贴。这种态度的新鲜感使她整整幸福了一个礼拜。结果,于连的愤怒得到部分的平复,但是他远远没有看到其中与个人之间的好感有什么相似的地方。

“看看,”他心想,“这些有钱人就是这样。他们侮辱了一个人,接着以为装装样子就能加以补救!”

德·莱纳夫人有一肚子话要说,况且她也太天真,尽管拿定主意,还是不能不把她送钱给于连以及受到回绝的事说给丈夫听。

“什么,”德·莱纳先生大为光火,“您居然能够容忍一个仆人的拒绝!”

由于德·莱纳夫人听见“仆人”这个字眼儿叫了起来,德·莱纳先生就说:

“我要像已故德·孔岱亲王一样,他在向新夫人介绍内侍们时说:‘这些人都是我们的仆人。’我给您读过博桑瓦尔的《回忆录》中的这一段,这对我们的特权来说至关重要。住在您家里的任何一个人,倘若不是绅士,并且接受一份工资,那他就是您的仆人。我去找这位于连先生谈谈,给他一百法郎。”

“啊!我的朋友,”德·莱纳夫人战战兢兢地说,“千万别当着仆人们的面呀!”

“对,他们会嫉妒的,而且有理由,”她的丈夫走开了,一边盘算着这笔钱的数目是不是太大了。

德·莱纳夫人一屁股坐在椅子上,痛苦得快要晕过去了。“他要去羞辱于连了,而且是由于我的过错!”她厌恶自己的丈夫,用双手捂住了脸。她发誓绝不再说心里话。

她再见到于连的时候,浑身哆哆嗦嗦,胸口抽得那么紧,连一句最简单的话都说不出来。她在窘迫中抓住他的手,紧紧地握住。

“怎么样?我的朋友,”她终于说,“您对我的丈夫可满意?”

“我怎么能不满意呢?”于连苦涩地笑了笑,“他给了我一百法郎。”

德·菜纳夫人望着他,心里没有底。

“把您的胳膊给我,”她终于说,那种勇敢劲儿于连从未见过。

她竟敢一直走进维里埃的书店,毫不在乎书店老板有自由主义思想的可怕名声。她为儿子选购了十路易的书。不过她知道那都是于连想读的。她要求孩子们就在书店里把各自的名字写在分给他们的书上。德·莱纳夫人大胆地采用这种方式向于连道歉,她为此感到幸福,而于连却因为在书店里看见那么多书而感到惊讶。他从未敢进入一个如此世俗的地方,他的心砰砰直跳。他想不到去猜测德·莱纳夫人心里想些什么,只一心一意地捉摸,像他这样的学神学的年轻人有什么办法能得到其中的几本。最后他有了一个主意,有可能巧妙地让德·莱纳先生相信,应该把出生在本省的著名贵族的历史拿来给他的儿子们作法文译拉丁文的练习材料。经过一个月的精心策划,他看到这个主意成功了,甚至不久之后,他在和德·莱纳先生谈话的时候,居然敢提到一个对高贵的市长来说困难得多的行动,即在书店里订阅书籍,虽说这等于帮助一个自由党人发财。德·莱纳先生也认为,他大儿子将来进军校会听到有人提及某些著作,让他对这些著作觉得“亲眼目睹”过,是明智的,然而于连也看到市长先生死活不肯再进一步。他猜想其中必有不可言明的原因,但是猜不出来。

“我一向认为,先生,”有—天,于连对他说,“一位可敬的贵族,例如莱纳家的人,其名字出现在书商的肮脏的登记簿上,是很不合适的。”

德·莱纳先生的额头开朗了。

“对于一个学神学的穷学生来说,”于连继续说,口气谦卑了些,“如果人们有朝一日发现他的名字写在一个出租书籍的书商的登记簿上,这也会是一个很大的污点。那些自由党人会指责我借过最下流的书,谁知道他们会不会在我的名下写上这些邪恶的书的书名呢。”

但是,于连走入歧途。他看见市长的脸又挂上了困惑和生气的表情。于连不说话了。他心里想:“我抓住了这家伙。”

几天之后,最大的那个孩子当着德·莱纳先生的面,向于连问起《每日新闻》预告过的一本书。

“为了使雅各宾党找不到任何理由感到得意,”年轻的家庭教师说,“同时又使我能够解答阿道夫先生的问题,可以让您府上地位最低的仆人到书店去登记。”

“唔,这个主意不坏,”德·莱纳先生说,显然很高兴。

“不过应该明确规定,”于连说,那种严肃、近乎惋惜的神情对于一个眼看着期望已久的事情终于成功的人很是合适,“应该明确规定这仆人不得拿任何小说。这些危险的书一旦进入府上,就会腐蚀夫人的女仆和这个仆人本人。”

“您忘了政治性的小册子,”德·莱纳先生傲慢地补充说。他孩子的家庭教师想出的这个巧妙的折衷办法博得了他的赞赏,不过他不想表现出来。

于连的生活就这样由一系列细小的谈判组成,他很关心它们的成功,远胜于关心德·莱纳夫人对他的偏爱之情,这种感情,只要他愿意,就能从她的心里看出。

他过去一直生活在其中的那种精神状态,在维里埃的市长先生家里又得以延续,在这里和在他父亲的锯木厂里一样,他打心眼儿里蔑视周围的人,而自己也遭到他们的憎恨。专区区长、瓦勒诺先主、市长家的其他朋友,每天都对眼前发生的事议论一番,于连从中看出他们的思想多么不符合事实。一个行动,他觉得可以称赞,却恰恰要受到他周围那些人的谴责。他内心里总是这样回答他们:“怎样的一群恶人啊!”或者“怎样的一帮蠢人啊:“有趣的是,他虽然那样地骄傲,却常常根本不懂他们说些什么。

他长这么大,推心置腹地谈过话的只老外科军医一人而已;他仅有的那一点点见解,不是与波拿巴在意大利的战役有关,就是与外科手术有关。他年轻,勇敢,喜欢听关于最痛苦的手术的详尽叙述,他心想:“我连眉头都不皱一皱。”

德·莱纳夫人第一次试图跟他谈谈教育孩子以外的事情,他就大谈外科手术,她吓得脸煞白,求他不要再说下去。

除此之外,于连一无所知。这样,他跟德·莱纳夫人一起生活,遇到两人独处的时候,就会出现一种最奇怪的沉默。在客厅里,无论他的举止多么谦卑,她总在他的眼睛里发现一种精神优越的神气,所有她家里来的那些人他都不屑一顾。她若单独和他在一起,哪怕短短的一刻,她也会看到他明显地发窘。她感到不安,因为女人的本能告诉她,这种窘迫毫无温情可言。

于连从老外科军医关于他所见过的上流社会的叙述中,得出了一种莫名其妙的看法,根据这种看法,在他和女人在一起的场合,只要大家不说话了,他就觉得丢脸,仿佛这沉默是他一个人的错。在两人单独谈话的时候,这种感觉更是使人百倍地痛苦。关于一个男人和一个女人独处时应该说些什么,他的想象中充满了最夸张的、最缥缈的观念,只能在他的慌乱中为他提供一些令人不能接受的主意。他的心灵堕入五里雾中,但是他摆脱不了最让人丢脸的沉默。于是,在他和德·莱纳夫人及孩子们的长时间的散步中。原本严肃的神情由于这种难以忍受的痛苦就变得更加严肃了。他极其看不起自己。如果他不幸强迫自己说话,他就会说出最为可笑的事情来。最糟糕的是,他看到并且夸大了他的荒唐,然而他看不到的是他眼睛的表情;他的眼睛那么美,显示出一颗那么热烈的灵魂,犹如那些好演员,它们有时赋与事物一种本来并没有的迷人的含义。德·莱纳夫人注意到,他跟她单独在一起时,永远也说不出什么正经的事情来,除非有一件突如其来的事情分散了他的注意力,他不再去想如何把一句恭维话说得漂亮。由于她从到家里来的朋友们那里听不到什么新颖的、出色的思想,所以她能怀着极大的乐趣欣赏于连的智慧的闪光。

自拿破仑倒台以来,向女人献殷勤被从外省的风俗中清除出去,严厉得不留一丝痕迹。人人都害怕失去自己的职位。骗子在圣会中寻求支持。伪善甚至在自由党的圈子里也得到长足的发展。烦闷变本加厉。除了读书种地之外,再没有别的消遣。

德·莱纳夫人是一位虔诚的姑母的富有继承人,十六岁上嫁给一位可敬的绅士,有生以来,连与爱情多少有点相似的感情都从未体验过,也从未见过。只是听她忏悔的善良的本堂神甫谢朗曾经针对瓦勒诺先生的追求跟她谈过爱情,而且向她描绘出一种令人作呕的景象,以至于爱情这个字眼在她的心目中就意味着最下流的淫荡。偶而也有几本小说落到她的眼下,她在那里面发现的爱情被当作一种例外,甚至被当作是不自然的。幸亏这种无知,德·莱纳夫人才感到十分幸福,不断地关心于连,绝想不到要对自己有丝毫的责备。

 

 

 

第八章

小小风波

 

德·菜纳夫人天使般的温柔,既得之于性格,也得之于眼前的幸福,只是偶而想到女仆爱丽莎,态度才稍许有些改变。这姑娘继承了一份遗产,去向谢朗神甫作忏悔,说她打算和于连结婚。神甫为朋友的幸福感到由衷的高兴,但是他万万没有想到,于连竟断然拒绝,说爱丽莎小姐的提议对他不合适。

“我的孩子,当心您在想些什么呀,”神甫皱着眉头说。“您若单单为了志向而蔑视一笔不俗的财富,我祝贺您。我当维里埃的本堂神甫已足足五十六年,然而种种迹象表明,我仍要被撤职,这使我很难过,但是我毕竟还有八百利弗尔的年金。我告诉您这一细节,为的是让您不要对当教士的前途抱有幻想。如果您想巴结权贵,那您必将堕入地狱,万劫不复。您可能发迹,那就得损害受苦的人,奉承专区区长、市长、有权有势的人,为其**效劳。这种行为在尘世间被称为处世之道,对一个世俗的人来说,这种处世之道和他的获救并非绝对地不相容。但是我们当教士的就要有所选择了。要么在尘世发财,要么在天国享福,没有中间道路。去吧,我亲爱的朋友,仔细想想,过三天给我最后的答复。我很难过,我在您的性格深处隐约看见郁结着一股热情,它向我表明的不是一个教士应具备的克制和对尘世利益的完全弃绝。我看透了您的心思。但是,请允许我对您说,”善良的神甫又补了一句,眼里含着泪,“您若当了教士,我担心您是否能获救。”

于连大为感动,心中不免惭傀;他生平第一次看到有人爱他;他高兴得哭了,为了不让人看见,他跑到山上的大树林里哭了个痛快。

“为什么我会这样?”最后他对自己说,“我觉得我能为谢朗这位善良的神甫去死一百次,然而他却刚刚向我证明我不过是个傻瓜而已。要紧的是把他骗过,而他却猜中了我的心思。他说的我那一股郁结的热情,正是我的发迹的计划呀。他认为我不配当教士,又恰恰是在我以为放弃五十路易的年金会使他对我的虔诚和志向给予最高评价的时候。”

“将来,”于连又想,“我只能相信我的性格中经过考验的那部分了。谁会对我说,我能在眼泪中找到快乐!我爱这个证明我不过是个傻瓜的人!”

三天以后,于连去见神甫。他已经找到托辞,其实他本该第一天就准备好的。这托辞乃是一种诽谤,不过这又有什么关系呢?他吞吞吐吐地向神甫承认,有一个不便言明的理由使他一开始就不能考虑这桩拟议中的婚事,说出来会损害一个第三者。这是谴责受丽莎行为不端啊。谢朗先生发现他的态度中有一种全然世俗的热情,与那种激励着一个年轻教士的热情迥然不同。

“我的朋友,”神甫对他说,“与其当一个没有信仰的教士,还是作一位受人尊敬的、有教养的乡绅吧。”

就言辞论,于连对这些新的告诫回答得很好,他找到了一个热忱的年轻神学院学生能够用的那些词儿。然而他的口气,还有那掩藏不住的,在他的眼睛里闪烁的热情,却使谢朗神甫深感不安。

对于连的前途倒也不可小看,他能就一种圆滑谨慎的伪善编造出一套得体的话来,这在他这个年纪已很不错。至于声口和做派只好不论,因为他一向只和乡下佬在一起,不曾见过大人物。日后只要他有机会接近那些先生们,他的谈吐和举止都会很快爱人赞赏的。

德·莱纳夫人很纳闷儿,女仆新近得了一笔财产,却没有变得更快活,她见她不断地去本堂神甫那儿,回来时眼里总噙着泪。爱丽莎终于跟她谈起自己的婚姻大事。

德·莱纳夫人相信自己是病了,浑身发热,夜不能眠,只在眼皮底下有女仆或于连的时候,才觉得自己是活着。她脑子里尽是他俩和他们家庭生活的幸福。这个小小的家庭只能靠五十路易的年金过活,然而其清贫却在她的面前呈现出迷人的色彩。于连很可以在距维里埃两法里的专区首府博莱当一名律师,这样她还能偶而见上他一面。

德·莱纳夫人真地以为她就要发疯了,她告诉了丈夫,终于病倒,当天晚上,女仆侍候她,她发现这姑娘在哭。她这时厌恶爱丽莎,刚刚还粗暴地对待过她,可是又请求她原谅。爱丽莎哭得更凶了,她说如果女主人允许,她将把她的不幸全都倾吐出来。

“说吧,”德·莱纳夫人答道。

“唉,夫人,他拒绝我。肯定有坏人说了我的坏话,他相信了。”

“谁拒绝您?”德·莱纳夫人喘不过气来了。

“夫人,除了于连先生还有谁呢?”女仆说着呜咽起来,“神甫先生也没能说动他,神甫先生认为他不应该拒绝一个好姑娘,就因为她是个女仆。说到底,于连先生的父亲也不过是个木匠罢了,他自己来夫人家之前又是怎样谋生来着?”

德·莱纳夫人不再听女仆说了,她大喜过望,几乎丧失了理智。她让女仆反复表明她确信于连已断然拒绝,不可能再回到—个更为明智的决定上去。

“我想最后再试一次,”她对女仆说,“我去跟于连先生谈谈……”

第二天午饭以后,整整一个钟头德·莱纳夫人一边为她的情敌说好话,一边又看到其婚事和财产不断地遭到拒绝,这其间的乐趣真是妙不可言啊。

渐渐地,于连放弃了他那些刻板的回答,对德·莱纳夫人的明智的劝告应对自如,饶有风趣。她度过了多少个绝望的日子啊,终于抵挡不住这股幸福的激流,她的灵魂被淹没了。她的头真地晕了。当她清醒过来,在卧室里坐定之后,就让左右的人一一退下。她深感惊异。

“莫非我对于连动了情?”最后,她心中暗想。

这一发现,若换个时候,必使她悔恨交加,坐卧不宁,而此刻不过成了似乎与己无关的一幕奇景。她的心力已被刚刚经历的这一切耗尽,再无感受力供激情驱遣了。

德·菜纳夫人想做活儿,不料竟沉沉睡去;醒来后,她本应十分害怕,然而却不曾。她是太幸福了,什么事情都不往坏处看。这个善良的外省女人天真无邪,从未折磨过自己的灵魂,令其稍许感受一下感情或痛苦的新变化。于连到来之前,德·莱纳夫人的心思完全被一大堆家务占住,对于一个远离巴黎的好家庭主妇来说,这也就是她的命运了,因此她想到激情就如同我们想到彩票一祥,不过是确定无疑的骗局和疯子们追逐的幸运罢了。

晚饭的铃声响了,于连已带着孩子们回来,德·莱纳夫人听见他的说话声,脸刷地红了。自打她恋爱以来,人也变得机灵些了,她为了解释脸红,就推说头疼得厉害。

“看看,女人都是这个样子,”德·莱纳先生哈哈大笑,回答说,“这架机器总有点毛病要修理!”

德·莱纳夫人尽管已习惯了这样的俏皮话,但是那口气仍使她感到不快。为了分分神,她端详起于连的相貌;他即便是世上最丑的男人,此刻也会讨得她的喜欢。

德·莱纳先生很注意模仿宫廷人士的习惯,春天的晴好日子一到,就举家住进韦尔吉,这个村子因加布里埃尔的悲惨遭遇而出了名。村里曾有一哥特式教堂,现已成为废墟,颇堪入画,约百步外,德·莱纳先生拥有一座四个塔楼的古堡和一个花园,其布局很象杜伊勒里花园,有茂密的黄杨树墙,小径两侧是每年修剪两次的果树。毗邻的一片地上栽有苹果树,充作散步的场所。果园尽头有八棵到十棵雄伟的胡桃树,枝叶扶疏如巨盖,可能高达八、九十尺。

每当妻子赞美这些胡桃树的时候,德·莱纳先生就说:“这些该死的胡桃树,每一株都毁了我半阿尔邦地的收成,树荫下种不了麦子。”

在德·莱纳夫人的眼中,这里的山川草木焕然一新,她不住地赞叹,简直陶醉了。她的胸中涌动着那种感情,人也变得聪明而果断。来到韦尔吉的第三天,德·莱纳先生返城处理市政府的公务,德·菜纳夫人就自己出钱雇了些工人。原来是于连给她出主意,在果园里和那些大胡桃树下修一条小路,铺上沙子,这样,孩子们大清早出去散步,鞋子就不会被露水打湿了。这个主意一提出,二十四小时内便被付诸实施。德·莱纳夫人一整天和于连一起指挥那些工人,很是快活。

维里埃的市长从城里回来,看到一条新修的小路,十分惊讶。德·莱纳夫人看见他也感到惊讶,她早已把他抛在脑后了。一连两个月,他都气愤地谈到她的大胆妄为,居然不跟他商量就进行如此重大的维修工程。不过,德·莱纳夫人花的是自己的钱,这使他稍稍得到点安慰。

德·莱纳夫人天天和孩子们在果园里奔跑,扑蝴蝶。他们用浅色的薄纱做了几个大网,用来捕捉可怜的鳞翅目昆虫。这个野蛮的名称是于连教给她的。因为她让人从贝藏松买来戈达尔孔生的那部精采的著作,于连就把这些可怜的昆虫的奇特习性讲给她听。

它们被无情地用大头针钉在有框的大块硬纸板上,这硬纸板也是于连做的。

德·莱纳夫人和于连之间总算有了一个话题,他可以不再忍受沉默的时刻带给他的那种可怕的折磨了。

他们说个不停,而且兴趣极浓,虽则所谈都是些无谓的事情。这种活跃、忙碌而愉快的生活,正合大家的口味,除了爱丽莎小姐,她觉得有干不完的活儿。她说:“就是在过狂欢节的时候,在维里埃的舞会上,夫人也没有这样用心打扮,她现在每天总要换两、三次衣裳。”

我们无意奉承谁,但我们得承认德·菜纳夫人的皮肤极好,她让人做的连衣裙胳膊和胸脯都很暴露。她有一副好腰身,这样的穿着再合适不过。

维里埃的朋友们来韦尔吉吃饭,都说:“您从来没有这么年轻过,夫人。”(这是当地人的一种说法。)

有一件奇怪的事情,说来我们都不大相信,德·莱纳夫人这样用心打扮竟是出于无意。她只是觉得快乐,并无别的想法,她除了和孩子及于连一起捉蝴蝶外,剩下的时间都用来跟爱丽莎一起做连衣裙。她只去过维里埃一趟,那是想买刚从米鲁兹运来的新式夏裙。

她回韦尔市的时候,带来一位少妇,她的亲戚。结婚以后,德·莱纳夫人不知不觉地与德尔维夫人走动得勤了,她们原来在圣心修道院是同伴。

德尔维夫人听到表妹的那些她所谓的疯念头,常常大笑,说:“我一个人怎么也想不出。”这些谁也料不到的念头在巴黎是可以被称为隽语警句的,若是跟丈夫在一起,德·莱纳夫人会感到羞耻,仿佛说了句蠢话,然而德尔维产人的在场给了她勇气。她先是怯怯地谈出她的想法,后来两位夫人长时间独处,德·莱纳夫人的精神便兴奋起来,一个长长的寂寞的早晨转眼间就过去,两个朋友感到非常快乐。在这次旅行中,理智的德尔维夫人发现表妹远不如过去快活,但远比过去幸福。

至于于连,自打到了乡下,真地变成了一个孩子,跟他的学生们一样兴高采烈地追捕蝴蝶。从前他得处处克制,事事要手腕,如今他独来独往,远离男人们的目光,又本能地不惧怕德·莱纳夫人,因此能尽情享受生活的快乐,何况这快乐在他那个年纪是如此地强烈,又是在世界上最美丽的群山之中。

德尔维夫人一到,于连就觉得她是自己的朋友,于是急忙领她—去胡桃树下那条新修小路的尽头看风景。事实上,那景致不说胜过瑞士和意大利湖泊中最令人赞叹的美景,至少也是不相上下。如果再走出几步,沿着陡急的山坡,很快便可登上橡树林环抱着的悬崖峭壁。这悬崖峭壁几乎一直伸到河上。于连幸福,自由,俨然一家之主,常带两位女友登上斧劈般高耸的绝顶,她们对这壮丽的风光的赞叹使他心花怒放。

“对我来说,这就是莫扎特的音乐呀,”德尔维夫人说。

在于连看来,哥哥们的嫉妒、专横而脾气暴躁的父亲的存在,破坏了维里埃周围乡村的风光。在韦尔吉,他看不到什么可以勾起这些苦涩的回忆的东西,他有生以来第一次看不到敌人。德·莱纳先生常常在城里,他便放胆读书,很快他也能尽兴睡觉了,从前要读书就得在夜里,还要把灯藏在一只倒置的花瓶里。现在,白日里在孩子们做功课的间歇中,他带着那本书来到悬崖上,那可是他唯一的行为准则和陶醉的对象啊。他在那里面同时找到了幸福、狂喜和气馁时刻的慰籍。

拿破仑说到女人的某些话,他对其治下流行小说价值的一些议论,使于连开始有了一些思想,而这些思想,和他同龄的年轻人可能早就有了。

大热天来了。房子几步外有一株大椴树,到了晚上,大家就坐在树下。那里光线很暗。一天晚上,于连对着年轻女人侃侃而谈,心里美滋滋地。他说得兴起,指手划脚间,碰到了德·莱纳夫人的手,那只手正搁在平时置于院中的一把漆过的椅子的背上。

这只手很快抽了回去,然而于连想,要让这只手在他碰到时不抽回去,这乃是他的责任。想到有一种责任要履行,想到若做不到就会成为笑柄或招致一种自卑感,他心中的快乐顿时烟消云散。

 

 

 

第九章

乡间一夜

 

第二天,于连再见到德·莱纳夫人时,目光很古怪;他盯着她,仿佛面前是一个仇敌,他就要与之搏斗。这目光和昨天晚上的多么不同啊,德·莱纳夫人不知所措了:她一向待他很好,可是他好像气鼓鼓地。于是,她也不能不盯着他了。

德尔维夫人在场,于连正可少说话,更多地捉摸自己的心事。整个白天,他唯一的事情就是阅读那本有灵感的书,使自己的灵魂再一次得到锤炼,变得坚强。

他早早地放孩子们下了课,接着,德·莱纳夫人来到眼前,这又提醒他必须设法维护自已的荣誉,他下定决心,当晚无论如何要握住她的手,并且留下。

夕阳西下,决定性的时刻临近了,于连的心跳得好怪。入夜,他看出这一夜将是一个漆黑的夜,不由得心中大喜,压在胸口的一块巨石被掀掉了。天空布满大块的云,在热风中移动,预示着一场暴风雨。两个女友散步去了,很晚才回来。这一天晚上,她们俩做的事,件件都让于连觉得奇怪。她们喜欢这样的天气,对某些感觉细腻的人来说,这似乎增加了爱的欢乐。

大家终于落座,德·莱纳夫人坐在于连旁边,德尔维夫人挨着她的朋友。于连一心想着他要做的事,竟找不出话说。谈话无精打采,了无生气。

于连心想:“难道我会像第一次决斗那样发抖和可怜吗?”他看不清自己的精神状态,对自已和对别人都有太多的猜疑。

这种焦虑真是要命啊,简直无论遭遇什么危险都要好受些。他多少次希望德·莱纳夫人有什么事,不能不回到房里去,离开花园!于连极力克制自己,说话的声音完全变了;很快,德·莱纳夫人的声音也发颤了,然而于连竟浑然不觉。责任向胆怯发起的战斗太令人痛苦了,除了他自己,什么也引不起他的注意。古堡的钟已经敲过九点三刻,他还是不敢有所动作。于连对自己的怯懦感到愤怒,心想:“十点的钟声响过,我就要做我一整天里想在晚上做的事,否则我就回到房间里开枪打碎自己的脑袋。”

于连太激动了,几乎不能自己。终于,他头顶上的钟敲了十点,这等待和焦灼的时刻总算过去了。钟声,要命的钟声,一记记在他的脑中回荡,使得他心惊肉跳。

就在最后一记钟声余音未了之际,他伸出手,一把握住德·莱纳夫人的手,但是她立刻抽了回去。于连此时不知如何是好,重又把那只手握住。虽然他已昏了头,仍不禁吃了一惊,他握住的那只手冰也似的凉;他使劲地握着,手也战战地抖;德·莱纳夫人作了最后一次努力想把手抽回,但那只手还是留下了。

于连的心被幸福的洪流淹没了,不是他爱德·莱纳夫人,而是一次可怕的折磨终于到头了。他想他该说话了,不然德尔维夫人会有所察觉,这时他的声音变得响亮而有力。相反,德·莱纳夫人的声音却藏不住激动。她的女友以为她不舒服,建议她回房去。于连感到了危险:“假如德·莱纳夫人回客厅去,我就又陷入白天的那种可怕的境地了。这只手我握的时间还太短,还不能算是我的一次胜利。”

正当德尔维夫人再次建议回客厅时,于连用力握了一下那只手。

德·莱纳夫人已经站起来,复又坐下,有气无力地说:

“我是觉得有些不舒服,不过,外面的新鲜空气对我有好处。”

这些话确认了于连的幸福,此时此刻,他真是幸福到了极点:他口若悬河,忘掉了伪装,两个女友听着,简直觉得他是世间最可爱的男人。然而,这突如其来的雄辩仍嫌有气不足。起风了,暴风雨要来了,于连生怕德尔维夫人受不住而想一个人回客厅。那样的话,他就要和德·莱纳夫人面面相觑,单独在一起了。刚才,他是偶然地凭信一股盲目的勇气才有所行动,而现在他觉得哪怕对她说一句最简单的话也力不能及。无论她的责备多么轻微,他也会一触即溃,刚刚获得的胜利也将化为乌有。

幸运的是,这晚他的动人又夸张的议论博得了德尔维夫人的欢心,她先前常常觉得他笨拙得像一个孩子,不大讨人喜欢。至于德·莱纳夫人,手握在于连手里,倒是什么也没想,随波逐流由它去了。在当地传说大胆夏尔手植的这株大椴树下度过的这几个钟头,对她来说,是一段幸福的时光。风在椴树浓密的枝叶间低吟,稀疏的雨点滴滴答答落在最低的叶子上,她听得好开心啊。于连没有注意到一个本可以使他放心的情况:德·菜纳夫人和德尔维夫人脚旁的一只花盆被风掀倒,她不得不抽出手来,起身帮助表姐扶起花盆,可是她刚一坐下,就几乎很自然地把手伸给他,仿佛这已是他们之间的一种默契。

午夜的钟声早已响过,终须离开花园,这就是说,要分手了。陶醉于爱之幸福的德·莱纳夫人天真无知,竟没有丝毫的自责。幸福使她失眠了。于连却沉沉睡去,胆怯和骄傲在他心中交战了整整一天,弄得他筋疲力尽。

第二天早晨五点钟,他被人叫醒;他几乎已经把德·莱纳夫人忘了,她若是知道,那对她可是太残酷了。他履行了他的责任,而且是一个英雄的责任。这种感觉使他非常幸福,他把自己反锁在房间里,怀着一种全新的乐趣重温他的英雄的丰功伟绩。

午餐的铃声响了,他在阅读大军公报的时候已经把昨夜的胜利全部抛在脑后。他下楼朝餐厅走去,用一种轻佻的口吻对自己说:“应该告诉这个女人我爱她。”

他满以为会遇到一双柔情缱绻的眼睛,不料看见的却是德·莱纳先生的一张严厉的脸。德·莱纳先生两个小时前从维里埃来到,他毫不掩饰对于连的不满,他居然整整一上午扔下孩子不管。当这个有权有势的人不高兴并且认为无须掩饰的时候,他的脸真是再难看不过了。

丈夫的每句刻薄的话,都像针一样刺着德·莱纳夫人的心。可是于连还沉浸在狂喜之中,还在回味刚刚在他眼前发生的持续了数小时的一件件大事,因此一开始他不能令注意力屈尊去听德·莱纳先生的那些伤人的话。最后,他相当生硬地对他说:

“我刚才不舒服。”

既使是一个远非市长先生那么爱发火的人,也会被这回答的口吻激怒。他对于连的回答,就是想立即将他赶出去。不过他忍住了,他想起了自己的座右铭:凡事匆躁。

“这个小笨蛋,”他立刻心想,“他在我家里为自己赢得了声誉,瓦勒诺先生可以把他弄去,或者他会娶爱丽莎,无论哪一种情况,他都会在内心里嘲笑我。”

德·莱纳先生的考虑固然明智,可是他的不满仍旧爆发出未,一连串的粗话渐渐激怒了于连。德·莱纳夫人的眼里涌上了泪水,就要哭出来。午饭一过,她就请求于连让她挽着胳膊去散步。她亲切地依偎着他。无论德·菜纳夫人说什么,于连都只低声应着:

“这就是有钱人啊!”

德·莱纳先生就走在他们身边,于连一看见他,火就不打一处来。他突然感觉到德·莱纳夫人紧紧地靠在他的胳膊上,这个动作使他感到厌恶,他粗暴地推开她,把胳膊抽回来。

幸亏德·莱纳先生没有看见这一新的无礼举动,可是德尔维夫人看见了。她的朋友的眼泪扑簌簌流出来了。这时,德·莱纳先生正用石块驱赶一农家女孩,那女孩抄了一条小路,正穿越果园的一角。

“于连先生,我求求您,克制一下吧;您应该想想,我们人人都有发脾气的时候。”德尔维夫人很快地说道。

于连冷冷地看了她一眼,目光中流露出极端的轻蔑。

德尔维夫人大吃一惊,如果她猜得出这目光的真正含义,她还要更吃惊呢;她本来应该看出这目光中闪烁着一种进行最残忍报复的朦胧希望。大概正是此类屈辱的时刻造就了那些罗伯斯庇尔吧。

“您的于连很粗暴,我真害怕,”德尔维夫人向她的朋友低声说。

“他有理由发火,”她的朋友回答说,“他使孩子们取得了进步,一个早上不给他们上课有什么关系;我看男人都是很无情的。”

德·菜纳夫人生平第一次感到一种**,要对她的丈夫报复。于连对有钱人的极端仇恨也快爆发了。幸好这时德·莱纳先生唤来园丁,跟他一起忙着用一捆捆荆棘堵住穿越果园的那条踩出来的小路。此后于连受到无微不至的体贴,可是他就是不说话。德·莱纳先生刚一离开,她俩就声称累了,一人挽了他一只胳膊。

他夹在两个女人中间,她们因内心的慌乱而双颊飞上红晕,露出窘色,而于连却脸色苍白,神情阴沉而果决,两者适成奇异的对照。他蔑视这两个女人,也蔑视一切温柔的感情。

“什么!”他心里说,“我连供我完成学业的五百法郎年金都没有!啊!我真想把他撵走!”他全神贯注于这些严肃的思想,她们俩的殷勤话只是偶而屈尊听进几句,也觉得很不入耳,毫无意义,愚蠢,软弱,一言以蔽之,女人气。

没有话还得找话,又想让谈话生动活泼些,于是德·莱纳夫人就说到,他丈夫从维里埃回来,是因为他从一个佃户那里买了些玉米皮(在当地,人们用玉米皮填充床衬)。

“我丈夫不会回到我们这儿来了,”她说,“他要和园丁、男仆一起把全家的床衬都换过。今天上午,他把二楼的床衬都换过了玉米皮,现在他正在三楼呢。”

于连的脸色骤变,神情古怪地看了看德·莱纳夫人,立刻拉着她快走了几步,德尔维夫人让他们走开了。

“救救我的命吧,”于连对德·莱纳夫人说,“只有您能救我的命,因为您知道那个男仆恨我恨得要死。我应该向您坦白,夫人,我有一帧肖像。我把它藏在我那张床的床衬里。”

听了这话,德·莱纳夫人的脸色也惨白了。

“夫人,这个时候只有您才能进我的房间;别让人看见,在床衬最靠近窗户的那个角里摸一摸,有一个小纸盒子,黑色,很光滑。”

“那里面有一帧肖像!”德·菜纳夫人说,快要站不住了。

她的沮丧的神情被于连察觉了,他立刻趁势说道:

“我还要向您求个情,夫人,我求您别看这肖像,这是我的秘密。”

“这是个秘密,”德·莱纳夫人重复道,声音极端微弱。

尽管她在那些以财产自傲并只对金钱利益感兴趣的人中间长大,爱情却已经使她的灵魂变得宽宏大量。德·莱纳夫人被伤得好苦,却仍然表现出最单纯的忠诚,向于连提出了几个必须提出的问题,以保证顺利完成任务。

“是这样,”她边说边走,“一个小圆盒子,黑纸板的,很光滑。”

“是的,夫人,”于连答道,带着男人遇到危险时所具有的那种冷酷的神情。

她登上三楼,脸色苍白,犹如赴死一样。更为不幸的是,她觉得自己马上就要昏倒;可是她必须帮助于连啊,这又给了她力量。

“我必须拿到那个盒子,”她对自己说,一面加快了脚步。

她听见丈夫正跟男仆说话,就在于连的房间里。幸好,他们又到孩子们的房间里去了。她掀起床垫,把手伸进床衬,用力过猛,扎破了手指。本来她对这一类的小疼小痛十分敏感,现在却毫无感觉,因为她几乎同时摸到了一个光滑的纸盘子。她一把抓住,转身不见了。

她暗自庆幸没有被丈夫撞见,却立刻对这个盒子产生了恐惧,这下她真要病了。

“这么说于连在恋爱了,我这里拿着的是他爱的那个女人的肖像!”

德·莱纳夫人坐在前厅里的一张椅子上,经受着妒火的百般煎熬。她的极端无知这时倒有用了,惊奇减轻了痛苦。于连来了,不道谢,话也不说,一溜烟跑回房间,立刻点火焚烧。他脸色苍白,四肢瘫软,他夸大了刚才所遇到的危险。

“拿破仑的肖像,”他摇着头对自己说,“居然被发现藏在一个对篡位者怀有深仇大恨的人的房间里!还是被德·莱纳先生发现的,他是那么极端,又那样地被我激怒过!最不谨慎的是,我在肖像后面的白纸板上亲笔写了几行字!我的过分的钦佩之情无可怀疑!而这种仰慕之情的每一次表露都注明了日期!就在前一天还有过一次!

“我的名誉将一落千丈,毁于一旦!”于连一边对自己说,一边看着那盒子燃烧,“而我的全部财产就是荣誉呀,我就靠它生活……再说,这是怎样一种生活啊,伟大的天主!”

一个钟头以后,疲倦,他对自己的怜悯,都使他的心软下来。看见德·菜纳夫人,拿起她的手,怀着从未有过的那份真诚吻着。她幸福地脸红了,但几乎同时有怀着嫉妒的怒火推开了于连。于连早上被刺伤的自傲使他此时此刻成了一个大傻瓜。他在德·莱纳夫人身上只看见一个富家女,于是他厌恶地扔下她的手,扬长而去。他去花园,散步,沉思,他的嘴角很快露出一丝苦笑:

“我在这里散步,倒是悠闲得像一个有权支配自己的时间的人!我丢下孩子们不管。我又要听到德·莱纳先生那些让人感到屈辱的话了,而他是有理由的。”于是,他朝孩子们的房间走去,

他很喜欢最小的那—个,孩子的亲近稍许平复了他的剧烈的痛苦。

“这孩子还不蔑视我,”于连想。然而,他很快自责起来,将这痛苦的缓解视为新的软弱。“这些孩子亲近我就像他们亲近昨天买来的小猎狗一样。”

 

 

 

第十章

雄心和逆境

 

德·莱纳先生走遍了古堡的所有卧房,跟着搬回床垫的仆人又回到孩子们的卧房。这个人突然进来,对于连来说,犹如盛满水的罐子又加了一滴,立刻溢了出来。

于连朝着他冲过去,脸色比平时更苍白,更阴沉。德·莱纳先生站住了,看了看他的仆人们。

“先生,”于连对他说,“您认为您的孩子跟别的任何一位家庭教师会跟我取得同样的进步吗?如果您说不,”于连继续说,不容德·莱纳开口,“那您怎么敢指责我丢下他们不管呢?”

德·莱纳先生吓了一跳,惊魂甫定,立刻从这个小乡下人的奇怪的口吻中得出结论,他的口袋里肯定装着什么条件更好的建议,他要弃他而去了。于连越说火越大:

“我离了您也能活,先生,”他补了一句。

“看到您这样冲动,我确实感到遗憾,”德·莱纳先生有点儿结结巴巴地回答说。仆人们在十步以外,正忙着铺床。

“我要的不是这个,先生,”于连怒不可遏,“想想您对我说的那些破坏我的名誉的话吧,而且还是当着女人的面!”

德·莱纳先生太知道于连要什么了,一场痛苦的斗争撕扯着他的心。于连真地是疯了,吼道:

“出了您的门,先生,我知道上哪儿去。”

听了这句话,德·莱纳先生立刻看见于连在瓦勒诺先生家里安顿下来。

“好吧!先生,”他终于说,叹了口气,那神情就像请求外科医生给他做一个最令人痛苦的手术,“我同意您的要求。后天是一号,我从后天起每月给您五十法郎。”

于连真想笑,却惊得一下呆住,他的怒火已经无影无踪了。

“这畜生我还蔑视得不够,”他心想,“这大概是一个如此卑劣的人所能表示的最大的歉意了。”

孩子们听见了这场争吵,惊得嘴都合不上。他们跑到花园里,告诉他们的妈妈于连先生火发得好大,不过他每个月就要有五十法郎了。

于连习惯地跟着他们出去了,看都没有看德·莱纳先生一眼,留下他一个人在那儿气得鼓鼓地。

市长心里想:“瓦勒诺先生又让我破费了一百六十八法郎。他要管弃儿的供应,我一定得给他来两句硬的。”

过了一会儿,于连又来到德·莱纳先生面前。

“我有些良心上的事情要对谢朗先生说,我有幸通知您,我要离开几个小时。”

“啊,我亲爱的于连,”德·莱纳先生说,一边最虚假地笑笑,“您愿意的话,一整天都行,明天一整天吧,我的好朋友。骑上园丁的马到维里埃去吧。”

德·莱纳先生心里说:“他这是去给瓦勒诺先生回话了,他对我还没有任何许诺,不过应该让这个年轻人的头脑冷下来。”

于连迅速离开,走进山上的大树林,从那里可以直奔维里埃。他不想这么快就到谢朗先生那里去。他一点儿也不想强制自己再去演一场虚伪的戏,他需要把自己的心灵看个清楚,审视使他激动不已的那些蜂拥而至的感情。

“我打了一个胜仗,”他一进入树林,远离了众人的目光,就立刻对自己说,“我这是打了一个胜仗呀!”

这句话给他的整个处境涂上了一重美丽的色彩,使他的心平静了一些。

“我现在一个月有五十法郎啦,德·莱纳先生刚才肯定是怕得要命。可他怕什么呢?”

这个又幸运又有权势的家伙,于连一个小时之前还对他大发雷霆,能有什么事情让他害怕呢?于连想着想着,心里终于完全平静下来。他在树林中走着,一时居然对其迷人的美有了些感觉。大块大块光秃秃的岩石很久以前从山峰那边滚下来,落在树林中央,一些粗壮的山毛榉长得几乎和这些岩石一样高。岩石的阴影中凉爽宜人。三步之外,阳光炽热,晒得人不能驻足。

于连在这些巨石的阴影中喘了口气,然后又开始攀登。他沿一条很不明显的、只供放山羊的人走的狭窄小路走着,很快发现自己站在一块巨大的悬岩上,并且确信已经远离了所有的人。这种**的位置使他露出了微笑,为他描绘出他渴望达到的精神的位置。高山上纯净的空气给他的心灵送来了平静,甚至快乐。在他眼里,维里埃的市长当然一直是世上所有有钱的人和蛮横的人的代表,但是他感到,刚才还使他激动的那种仇恨虽然在情绪上表现得十分强烈,却没有丝毫个人的性质。倘使他不再看见德·莱纳先生了,只须一个礼拜,他就会忘掉他,忘掉他本人、他的古堡、他的狗、他的孩子和他的全家。“我不知道怎么就迫使他做出了最大的牺牲。怎么!每年五十多个埃居!而且我刚刚摆脱了最大的危险。一天里竟获得了两个胜利;第二个胜利不足道,但是应该猜出个究竟。不过,还是明天见吧,这种伤脑筋的追究。”

于连站在那块巨大的悬岩上,凝视着被八月的太阳烤得冒火的天空。蝉在悬岩下面的田野上鸣叫,当叫声停止的时候,周围一片寂静。方圆二十法里的地方展现在他的脚下,宛然在目。于连看见一只鹰从头顶上那些大块的山岩中飞出,静静地盘旋,不时画出一个个巨大的圆圆。于连的眼睛不由自主地跟随着这只猛禽。这只猛禽的动作安详宁静,浑厚有力,深深地打动了他,他羡慕这种力量,他羡慕这种孤独。

这曾经是拿破仑的命运,有一天这也将是他的命运吗?

 

       


 

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