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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第十六章

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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Chapter 16

A WITLESS ALADDIN: THE GATE TO THE WORLD

 

In the course of his present stay in Chicago, Drouet paid some slight attention to the secret order to which he belonged. During his last trip he had received a new light on its importance.

"I tell you," said another drummer to him, "it's a great thing. Look at Hazenstab. He isn't so deuced clever. Of course he's got a good house behind him, but that won't do alone. I tell you it's his degree. He's a way-up Mason, and that goes a long way. He's got a secret sign that stands for something."

Drouet resolved then and there that he would take more interest in such matters. So when he got back to Chicago he repaired to his local lodge headquarters.

"I say, Drouet," said Mr. Harry Quincel, an individual who was very prominent in this local branch of the Elks, "you're the man that can help us out."

It was after the business meeting and things were going socially with a hum. Drouet was bobbing around chatting and joking with a score of individuals whom he knew.

"What are you up to?" he inquired genially, turning a smiling face upon his secret brother.

"We're trying to get up some theatricals for two weeks from to-day, and we want to know if you don't know some young lady who could take a part -- it's an easy part."

"Sure," said Drouet, "what is it?" He did not trouble to remember that he knew no one to whom he could appeal on this score. His innate good-nature, however, dictated a favourable reply.

"Well, now, I'll tell you what we are trying to do," went on Mr. Quincel. "We are trying to get a new set of furniture for the lodge. There isn't enough money in the treasury at the present time, and we thought we would raise it by a little entertainment."

"Sure," interrupted Drouet, "that's a good idea."

"Several of the boys around here have got talent. There's Harry Burbeck, he does a fine black-face turn. Mac Lewis is all right at heavy dramatics. Did you ever hear him recite 'Over the Hills'?"

"Never did."

"Well, I tell you, he does it fine."

"And you want me to get some woman to take a part?" questioned Drouet, anxious to terminate the subject and get on to something else. "What are you going to play?"

"'Under the Gaslight,'" said Mr. Quincel, mentioning Augustin Daly's famous production, which had worn from a great public success down to an amateur theatrical favourite, with many of the troublesome accessories cut out and the dramatis personae reduced to the smallest possible number.

Drouet had seen this play some time in the past.

"That's it," he said; "that's a fine play. It will go all right. You ought to make a lot of money out of that."

"We think we'll do very well," Mr. Quincel replied. "Don't you forget now," he concluded, Drouet showing signs of restlessness; "some young woman to take the part of Laura."

"Sure, I'll attend to it."

He moved away, forgetting almost all about it the moment Mr. Quincel had ceased talking. He had not even thought to ask the time or place.

Drouet was reminded of his promise a day or two later by the receipt of a letter announcing that the first rehearsal was set for the following Friday evening, and urging him to kindly forward the young lady's address at once, in order that the part might be delivered to her.

"Now, who the deuce do I know?" asked the drummer reflectively, scratching his rosy ear. "I don't know any one that knows anything about amateur theatricals."

He went over in memory the names of a number of women he knew, and finally fixed on one, largely because of the convenient location of her home on the West Side, and promised himself that as he came out that evening he would see her. When, however, he started west on the car he forgot, and was only reminded of his delinquency by an item in the "Evening News" -- a small three-line affair under the head of Secret Society Notes -- which stated the Custer Lodge of the Order of Elks would give a theatrical performance in Avery Hall on the 16th, when "Under the Gaslight" would be produced.

"George!" exclaimed Drouet, "I forgot that."

"What?" inquired Carrie.

They were at their little table in the room which might have been used for a kitchen, where Carrie occasionally served a meal. To-night the fancy had caught her, and the little table was spread with a pleasing repast.

"Why, my lodge entertainment. They're going to give a play, and they wanted me to get them some young lady to take a part."

"What is it they're going to play?"

"'Under the Gaslight.'"

"When?"

"On the 16th."

"Well, why don't you?" asked Carrie.

"I don't know any one," he replied.

Suddenly he looked up.

"Say," he said, "how would you like to take the part?"

"Me?" said Carrie. "I can't act."

"How do you know?" questioned Drouet reflectively.

"Because," answered Carrie, "I never did."

Nevertheless, she was pleased to think he would ask. Her eyes brightened, for if there was anything that enlisted her sympathies it was the art of the stage.

True to his nature, Drouet clung to this idea as an easy way out.

"That's nothing. You can act all you have to down there."

"No, I can't," said Carrie weakly, very much drawn toward the proposition and yet fearful.

"Yes, you can. Now, why don't you do it? They need some one, and it will be lots of fun for you."

"Oh, no, it won't," said Carrie seriously.

"You'd like that. I know you would. I've seen you dancing around here and giving imitations and that's why I asked you. You're clever enough, all right."

"No, I'm not," said Carrie shyly.

"Now, I'll tell you what you do. You go down and see about it. It'll be fun for you. The rest of the company isn't going to be any good. They haven't any experience. What do they know about theatricals?"

He frowned as he thought of their ignorance.

"Hand me the coffee," he added.

"I don't believe I could act, Charlie," Carrie went on pettishly. "You don't think I could, do you?"

"Sure. Out o' sight. I bet you make a hit. Now you want to go, I know you do. I knew it when I came home. That's why I asked you."

"What is the play, did you say?"

"'Under the Gaslight.'"

"What part would they want me to take?"

"Oh, one of the heroines -- I don't know."

"What sort of a play is it?"

"Well," said Drouet, whose memory for such things was not the best, "it's about a girl who gets kidnapped by a couple of crooks -- a man and a woman that live in the slums. She had some money or something and they wanted to get it. I don't know now how it did go exactly."

"Don't you know what part I would have to take?"

"No, I don't, to tell the truth." He thought a moment. "Yes, I do, too. Laura, that's the thing -- you're to be Laura."

"And you can't remember what the part is like?"

"To save me, Cad, I can't," he answered. "I ought to, too; I've seen the play enough. There's a girl in it that was stolen when she was an infant -- was picked off the street or something -- and she's the one that's hounded by the two old criminals I was telling you about." He stopped with a mouthful of pie poised on a fork before his face. "She comes very near getting drowned -- no, that's not it. I'll tell you what I'll do," he concluded hopelessly, "I'll get you the book. I can't remember now for the life of me."

"Well, I don't know," said Carrie, when he had concluded, her interest and desire to shine dramatically struggling with her timidity for the mastery. "I might go if you thought I'd do all right."

"Of course, you'll do," said Drouet, who, in his efforts to enthuse Carrie, had interested himself. "Do you think I'd come home here and urge you to do something that I didn't think you would make a success of? You can act all right. It'll be good for you."

"When must I go?" said Carrie, reflectively.

"The first rehearsal is Friday night. I'll get the part for you to-night."

"All right," said Carrie resignedly, "I'll do it, but if I make a failure now it's your fault."

"You won't fail," assured Drouet. "Just act as you do around here. Be natural. You're all right. I've often thought you'd make a corking good actress."

"Did you really?" asked Carrie.

"That's right," said the drummer.

He little knew as he went out of the door that night what a secret flame he had kindled in the bosom of the girl he left behind. Carrie was possessed of that sympathetic, impressionable nature which, ever in the most developed form, has been the glory of the drama. She was created with that passivity of soul which is always the mirror of the active world. She possessed an innate taste for imitation and no small ability. Even without practice, she could sometimes restore dramatic situations she had witnessed by re-creating, before her mirror, the expressions of the various faces taking part in the scene. She loved to modulate her voice after the conventional manner of the distressed heroine, and repeat such pathetic fragments as appealed most to her sympathies. Of late, seeing the airy grace of the ingenue in several well-constructed plays, she had been moved to secretly imitate it, and many were the little movements and expressions of the body in which she indulged from time to time in the privacy of her chamber. On several occasions, when Drouet had caught her admiring herself, as he imagined, in the mirror, she was doing nothing more than recalling some little grace of the mouth or the eyes which she had witnessed in another. Under his airy accusation she mistook this for vanity and accepted the blame with a faint sense of error, though, as a matter of fact, it was nothing more than the first subtle outcroppings of an artistic nature, endeavouring to re-create the perfect likeness of some phase of beauty which appealed to her. In such feeble tendencies, be it known, such outworking of desire to reproduce life, lies the basis of all dramatic art.

Now, when Carrie heard Drouet's laudatory opinion of her dramatic ability, her body tingled with satisfaction. Like the flame which welds the loosened particles into a solid mass, his words united those floating wisps of feeling which she had felt, but never believed, concerning her possible ability, and made them into a gaudy shred of hope. Like all human beings, she had a touch of vanity. She felt that she could do things if she only had a chance. How often had she looked at the well-dressed actresses on the stage and wondered how she would look, how delightful she would feel if only she were in their place. The glamour, the tense situation, the fine clothes, the applause, these had lured her until she felt that she, too, could act -- that she, too, could compel acknowledgment of power. Now she was told that she really could -- that little things she had done about the house had made even him feel her power. It was a delightful sensation while it lasted.

When Drouet was gone, she sat down in her rocking-chair by the window to think about it. As usual, imagination exaggerated the possibilities for her. It was as if he had put fifty cents in her hand and she had exercised the thoughts of a thousand dollars. She saw herself in a score of pathetic situations in which she assumed a tremulous voice and suffering manner. Her mind delighted itself with scenes of luxury and refinement, situations in which she was the cynosure of all eyes, the arbiter of all fates. As she rocked to and fro she felt the tensity of woe in abandonment, the magnificence of wrath after deception, the languour of sorrow after defeat. Thoughts of all the charming women she had seen in plays -- every fancy, every illusion which she had concerning the stage -- now came back as a returning tide after the ebb. She built up feelings and a determination which the occasion did not warrant.

Drouet dropped in at the lodge when he went down town, and swashed around with a great air, as Quincel met him.

"Where is that young lady you were going to get for us?" asked the latter.

"I've got her," said Drouet.

"Have you?" said Quincel, rather surprised by his promptness; "that's good. What's her address?" and he pulled out his note-book in order to be able to send her part to her.

"You want to send her her part?" asked the drummer.

"Yes."

"Well, I'll take it. I'm going right by her house in the morning."

"What did you say her address was? We only want it in case we have any information to send her."

"Twenty-nine Ogden Place."

"And her name?"

"Carrie Madenda," said the drummer, firing at random. The lodge members knew him to be single.

"That sounds like somebody that can act, doesn't it?" said Quincel.

"Yes, it does."

He took the part home to Carrie and handed it to her with the manner of one who does a favour.

"He says that's the best part. Do you think you can do it?"

"I don't know until I look it over. You know I'm afraid, now that I've said I would."

"Oh, go on. What have you got to be afraid of? It's a cheap company. The rest of them aren't as good as you are."

"Well, I'll see," said Carrie, pleased to have the part, for all her misgivings.

He sidled around, dressing and fidgeting before he arranged to make his next remark.

"They were getting ready to print the programmes," he said, "and I gave them the name of Carrie Madenda. Was that all right?"

"Yes, I guess so," said his companion, looking up at him. She was thinking it was slightly strange.

"If you didn't make a hit, you know," he went on.

"Oh, yes," she answered, rather pleased now with his caution. It was clever for Drouet.

"I didn't want to introduce you as my wife, because you'd feel worse then if you didn't go. They all know me so well. But you'll go all right. Anyhow, you'll probably never meet any of them again."

"Oh, I don't care," said Carrie desperately. She was determined now to have a try at the fascinating game.

Drouet breathed a sigh of relief. He had been afraid that he was about to precipitate another conversation upon the marriage question.

The part of Laura, as Carrie found out when she began to examine it, was one of suffering and tears. As delineated by Mr. Daly, it was true to the most sacred traditions of melodrama as he found it when he began his career. The sorrowful demeanour, the tremolo music, the long, explanatory, cumulative addresses, all were there.

"Poor fellow," read Carrie, consulting the text and drawing her voice out pathetically. "Martin, be sure and give him a glass of wine before he goes."

She was surprised at the briefness of the entire part, not knowing that she must be on the stage while others were talking, and not only be there, but also keep herself in harmony with the dramatic movement of the scenes.

"I think I can do that, though," she concluded.

When Drouet came the next night, she was very much satisfied with her day's study.

"Well, how goes it, Caddie?" he said.

"All right," she laughed. "I think I have it memorised nearly."

"That's good," he said. "Let's hear some of it."

"Oh, I don't know whether I can get up and say it off here," she said bashfully.

"Well, I don't know why you shouldn't. It'll be easier here than it will there."

"I don't know about that," she answered.

Eventually she took off the ball-room episode with considerable feeling, forgetting, as she got deeper in the scene, all about Drouet, and letting herself rise to a fine state of feeling.

"Good," said Drouet; "fine; out o' sight! You're all right, Caddie, I tell you."

He was really moved by her excellent representation and the general appearance of the pathetic little figure as it swayed and finally fainted to the floor. He had bounded up to catch her, and now held her laughing in his arms.

"Ain't you afraid you'll hurt yourself?" he asked.

"Not a bit."

"Well, you're a wonder. Say, I never knew you could do anything like that."

"I never did, either," said Carrie merrily, her face flushed with delight.

"Well, you can bet that you're all right," said Drouet. "You can take my word for that. You won't fail."

第十六章

缺心眼的阿拉丁:入世之门

杜洛埃这次出差回到芝加哥以后,对于他所属的秘密会社比以前关心了。这是因为上次出门做生意时,他对秘密会社的重要性有了新的认识。

“我告诉你,”另一个旅行推销员对他说,“这是件大事。你瞧瞧人家哈森斯达。他并不怎么机灵。当然他所属的那家商号给他撑了腰,但是光靠这点是不够的。你知道,他靠的是他在会社里的地位。他在共济会里地位很高,这一点起了很大的作用。他有一个秘密切口,那个切口代表了他的身份。”杜洛埃当场决定,他今后对这种事要更关心一点。所以等他回到芝加哥,他就到他那个会社的当地支部所在地去走走。

“听我说,杜洛埃,”哈莱·昆塞尔先生说,他在兄弟会的这个支部里身居要职,“你一定能帮我们解决这个难题。”当时刚散了会,大家正在活跃地交谈和寒暄。杜洛埃在人群中走来走去,和十来个熟人聊着,开着玩笑。

“你们有什么打算吗?”他对他秘密会社的兄弟笑脸相迎,态度和气地问道。

“我们在考虑过两个星期举行一场演出。我们想了解一下你是不是认识什么姑娘可以演一个角色--一个很容易演的角色。”“没问题,”杜洛埃说,“是怎么一回事呢?”他没有费心去想想他其实并不认识什么姑娘可以请来演戏的。但是他天生的好心肠使他一口答应了下来。

“嗯,我来告诉你我们的打算,”昆塞尔先生继续说道,“我们想给支部买一套新家具。但是目前财务处没有足够的钱。因此我们想搞点娱乐活动筹款。”“对,这主意不错,”杜洛埃插嘴说。

“我们这里有好几个小伙子很有才能。哈莱·比尔别克善于扮黑人,麦克·刘易土演悲剧没问题。你听过他朗诵《山那边》吗?”“没有。”“那我告诉你,他念得好极了。”“你要我找位小姐来串个角吗?”杜洛埃问道,他急于要结束这个话题,好谈点别的事。“你们打算演哪个戏?”“《煤气灯下》,”昆塞尔先生说。他指的是奥古斯钉戴利写的那个有名的戏。那个戏在戏院演出时曾经轰动一时,非常叫座。现在已经降格为业余剧团的保留节目,其中难演的部分已经删除,剧中的角色也减少到最低的限度。

杜洛埃以前曾经看过这出戏。

“好,”他说,“这个戏选得不错,会演好的。你们会赚到不少钱的。”“我们想会成功的,”昆塞尔先生说。“你千万别忘了,给我们找位小姐演罗拉这个角色。”他说完的时候杜洛埃已经显出坐立不安的样子。

“你放心吧,我会给你们办到的。”

他说着走开了。昆塞尔先生一说完,他就把这件事几乎丢到脑后去了。他甚至没想到问问演戏的时间和地点。

过了一两天,杜洛埃收到一封信,通知他星期五晚上第一次排演,请他把那位小姐的地址尽快告诉他们,以便把她的台词送去。杜洛埃这才想起他自己承诺的事。

“见鬼,我哪里认识什么人啊?”这个推销员搔着他粉红的耳朵,心里想,“会演戏能串个角的人我一个也不认识。”他在脑子里把他认识的那些女人的名字筛了一遍,最后确定了一个人。选中她主要是因为她家住在西区,找起来方便。他心里打算晚上出门时顺便去找她,但是当他坐上街车往西去时,他把这事儿压根忘了,一直到夜里看《晚报》时,才想起自己该干没干的事。报上在秘密会社通知的标题下有一条三行的小消息。消息说,兄弟会寇斯特支部将于16日在阿佛莱礼堂演出,届时将上演《煤气灯下》一剧。

“天哪,”杜洛埃叫了起来,“我把这事儿忘了。”“什么事啊?"嘉莉问。

他们当时正坐在可以当厨房的那间房间的小桌子旁。嘉莉有时在那里开饭。今晚上她心血来潮,准备了一桌子可口的饭菜。

“嗯,是我们支部演戏的事。他们想演个戏,请我给他们找位小姐串个角。”“他们想演哪出戏?”“《煤气灯下》。”“什么时候?”“16号。”“那你怎么不给他们找啊?”嘉莉问。

“我不认识什么人嘛,”他回答。

他突然抬起头来。

“嘿,你来演这个角色怎么样?”他问。

“我?”嘉莉说,“我不会演戏。”

“你怎么知道不会呢?”杜洛埃沉思地问道。

“因为我从来没演过戏,”嘉莉回答。

但是对于杜洛埃的这个提议她仍然感到很开心,她兴奋得眼睛也发光了。如果说有什么事让她感兴趣的话,那就是舞台艺术了。

杜洛埃按照他的老脾气,一旦有了这个省事的法子,就紧紧抓住不放了。

“不难的,你能演好戏里那个角色的。”

“不行,我演不上来的。”嘉莉反对得并不起劲,她被这个提议深深吸引住了,可是又感到胆怯。

“我说你一定行。何不试一下呢?他们需要人手,你可以从中得到乐趣。”“不,不,”嘉莉认真地说。

“你会喜欢的,我知道你会的。我看到过你在家里跳舞,还看到你模仿别人,所以我才请你演的。你很聪明,会演好的。”“不,我不聪明,”她害羞地说。

“那么你听我说怎么办。你到排演的地方去试试,你会很开心的。剧团里的其他人都不怎么样,他们什么经验也没有。

“他们对演戏又懂得什么呢?”

想到他们的无知,他不禁皱起了眉头。

“请把咖啡递给我,”他加了一句。

“我不相信我能演戏,查理。”嘉莉撒娇地说,“你也不相信我会演戏,是不是?”“哪里,你一定会演得棒极了。我敢打赌,你会一炮打响。”

“你答应了,是吗?我知道你会答应的。我回家时就知道你会的,所以我才请你。”“你刚才说是什么戏?”“《煤气灯下》”。

“他们要我演哪个角色?”

“噢,是女主角之一,我也不记得是哪个了。”“那个戏是讲什么的?”“嗯,”杜洛埃,他在这种事上记忆力不是最好的,讲的是一个女孩被两个坏蛋-贫民窟里的一男一女--拐走了。

她有些钱财或别的什么东西,他们想从她那里夺去,确切的我现在记不得了。““你不记得我该演什么角色吗?”“不,说实话,不记得了。“他想了一会儿,”噢,是的,我想起来了,罗拉!对,就是这个角色--你要演的是罗拉。”“你不记得那个角色是个什么样的人物吧?”“天哪,我实在记不得了。嘉莉,"他回答,“我该记得的,这个戏我看过好几遍了。戏里有一个女孩,在孩提时候就被人偷走了--是在街上或者别的什么地方被抱走的--她一直被那两个坏蛋追踪--就是我刚才告诉你的那两个家伙。"他停了下来,手里的叉子上还叉着一小块馅饼举在她面前,“她差一点让人淹死了。--噢,不对,不是这样的。我告诉你怎么办吧,”他最后束手无策地说,“我去给你找那本书。现在要了我的命也记不起来了。”“我真的不知道自己行不行,”嘉莉说。他的话说完以后,她内心思想斗争激烈,她对戏剧的爱好和登台亮相的愿望竭力要胜过她的胆怯害怕心理,“如果你觉得我还行的话,我也许可以去试试。”“当然,你一定行的,”杜洛埃说。他给嘉莉鼓劲时,自己的兴趣也上来了。“如果我不认为你会成功的话,我会回家来怂恿你去干吗?你会演好的,这对你会有好处的。”“我什么时候该去呢?”嘉莉沉思地问。

“星期五晚上第一次排演,今晚我去给你拿台词。”“好吧,”嘉莉不再反对了,“我去演。不过如果演砸了,那要怪你。”“不会演砸的,”杜洛埃给她鼓劲说,“你演戏时就像在家里一样好了。自然一点,你就能演好了。我经常在想你会成为很了不起的女演员。”“你真这么想过吗?”嘉莉问。

“是真的,”那个推销员说。

那天晚上,当他把她丢在家里,一个人出门时,他压根想不到他这个姑娘心里点燃了一把什么样的秘密火焰。嘉莉天生情感丰富,易受感动。这种气质的最高阶段正是伟大的戏剧。造物主赋予她易感的灵魂,它像镜子一样反映着活跃的外部世界。她天生善于模仿,在这方面趣味高雅,不需要什么练习。她有时候在镜子前可以重现她见过的戏剧性场面,模拟这些场面中每个人物的表情和神态。她喜欢模仿传统的悲剧女主人公的声调,复述那些最令她感动的哀伤的片断。最近看了几出构思很好的戏以后,她被戏里那些天真姑娘的轻灵优雅的动作所吸引,就偷偷在家里模仿她们那种飘逸的姿态,反复做着那些形体上的小动作和表情。好几次被杜洛埃发现了,他以为她是在照镜子孤芳自赏,而其实她只是在回忆她在别人身上看到的那些嘴或眼睛的优美表情。在他的轻微责备下,她自己也把这错当成虚荣心,有点歉然地接受了他的批评。其实这只是她的艺术天性的自然流露,努力去完美地再现某些吸引了她的美的形态。要知道,一切戏剧艺术正是来源于这种努力重现生活的微弱倾向和意愿。

听到杜洛埃这么称道自己的演戏才能,她心满意足精神振奋。她对自己潜在的演戏才华原来就有一些零零星星的感觉,只是不敢相信。现在他的话把这些丝丝缕缕的感觉织成了五彩缤纷的希望的花布,就像火焰把松散的金属碎片焊成结实的整块一样。像旁人一样,她也有点虚荣心。她认为只要她有机会,她是能干出点名堂来的。当她看着舞台上衣服华丽的女演员时,她不止一次地想象如果她在台上演这个角色她会是什么样的,如果她处在她们的位子,心里又会多开心埃辉煌的舞台魅力,紧张的情节,漂亮的戏装,还有观众的掌声,这一切深深地吸引着她,使她感到自己也能演戏--也能让别人承认她的才华。现在有人告诉她,她真能演戏--她在家里做的那些模仿动作使杜洛埃也认识到了她的能力。当她这么想时,心里乐滋滋的。

杜洛埃走后,她就在窗子旁边的摇椅上坐下来想这件事。

像往常一样,她的想象力把她的机遇大大夸大了。就好像他在她手里放了五毛钱,她却把它想象成一千元一样。她想象自己在几十个令人伤心的场景里露面,做出痛苦的姿势,声音颤抖地说话。她又自得其乐地想象各种豪华风雅的场面,在这些场面里她是人们目光的焦点,主宰命运的女神。她坐在摇椅里摇晃着,一会儿感到被情人抛弃的深切痛苦,一会儿感到上当受骗后的怒火中烧,一会儿感到失败后的心灰意懒和悲伤。她在各个戏里看到的美人,她对于舞台的各种想象和错觉--这些思绪就像退潮后又涨潮的海水一样,又一起涌上心头。她在心里积蓄起那么多的感情和决心,实在超出了这次演戏机会的需要。

杜洛埃到市中心去时,顺便到会社的支部所在地去了一下。昆塞尔见到他时,他显出一副得意洋洋的神气。

“你答应给我们找的那位小姐在哪里啊?”昆塞尔问他。

“我已经找到了,”杜洛埃回答道。

“是吗?”昆塞尔对他这么快就找到了演员有点意外。“那很好。她的地址是哪里?”他掏出笔记本打算记下来,好给她送台词去。

“你是要给她送台词去吧,”推销员说。

“是埃”

“这样吧,我给你送去。明早我要从她门口经过。”“你刚才说她住哪里?我们要留个地址,有什么通知的话可以送给她。”“奥登广场二十九号。”“她叫什么名字?”“嘉莉·麦登达,"这个推销员随口说道,支部的成员都知道他是单身汉。

“这名字听上去像是个会演戏的人,是吗?”昆塞尔说。

“不错,是这么回事。”

他把台词拿回家去交给嘉莉。递给她时,脸上露出恩赐的神气。

“他说这个角色是最棒的,你看你能演吗?”“我要等看完台词才知道。我答应试试后,你想不出我心里有多害怕。”“哎,胆子放大一点嘛。你有什么好怕的呢?整个班子都很差劲,其他人还不如你呢。”“好吧,我就试试。"她尽管胆怯,拿到台词心里还是很高兴的。

他侧转身子,整理着衣服,坐立不安地忸怩了一阵子才说到下一件事上。

“他们正要印节目单,”他说,“我给你报的名字是嘉莉·麦登达。你看这样行吗?”“行啊,”他的同伴应声道。她抬头看着他,心里觉得这事有些蹊跷。

“你知道,我是怕你万一演砸了,”他又说。

“噢,不错,”她回答道。现在感到很高兴,认为他想得真周到。杜洛埃这么干真是机灵。

“我不想把你介绍给他们,说你是我太太。因为怕你万一演砸的话,你会感到更尴尬的。他们和我都很熟。不过你会演成功的。不管怎么样,今后你也许再也不会碰到他们中任何一个的。”“好吧,我无所谓,”她孤注一掷地说,现在已横下心来一定要试演戏这个迷人的玩意。

杜洛埃松了一口气。他刚才一直在担心又要谈到婚姻问题上去。

嘉莉看了剧本以后发现罗拉是个饱经折磨催人泪下的角色。正像剧作家戴利先生描述的那样,这个戏符合通俗剧的最神圣的传统,这些传统从他当剧作家起就没有变过。悲哀痛苦的姿势,如泣如诉的音乐,长长的说明性道白使情节层层推进,通俗剧的成份一样也没少。

“啊,可怜的人。”嘉莉一边看着台词,一边读了出来。她的声调因为悲悯而拖长了,“马丁,他走的时候别忘了给他喝杯酒。”她对自己的台词只有短短几页感到吃惊。她没有想到别的角色说话的时候,她也得在台上,不仅在台上,还要和剧情的进展相配合。

“不过,我看我能干得了,”她最后说。

杜洛埃第二天晚上回家的时候,嘉莉对自己一天的研究结果非常满意。

“喂,嘉德,进展如何啊?”他问。

“不错,”她粲然一笑,“我看我已经几乎全能背出来了。”“那太好了,”他说,“让我们来听听你说台词。”“嗯,我不知道我能不能站在这里说台词,”她扭扭怩怩地说。

“为什么不行呢?在家里说台词总要比在台上说容易些。”“这一点我可不敢肯定,”她回答。

她最后还是演了舞后那一幕。她演得很投入,随着剧情的进展,她完全忘了杜洛埃的在场,感情达到了升华的境界。

“好!”杜洛埃说,“真棒极了。你会演好的,嘉莉,真的。”对于她的杰出表演他确实大受感动。她的小小的身子轻轻摇晃,最后晕倒在地上,那样子真是惹人爱怜。他当时蹦了起来去搂住她。现在她在他怀里咯咯大笑。

“你难道不怕跌伤了自己吗?”他问道。

“一点也不。”

“嘿,你真了不起。我从来不知道你能演得这么棒。”“我也没想到,”嘉莉开心地说,她的脸因为兴奋泛起了红晕。

“我说,你一定能演好的,”杜洛埃说,“我敢打保票,你一定不会失败的。”




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