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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第十八章

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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Chapter 18

JUST OVER THE BORDER: A HAIL AND FAREWELL

 

By the evening of the 16th the subtle hand of Hurstwood had made itself apparent. He had given the word among his friends -- and they were many and influential -- that here was something which they ought to attend, and, as a consequence, the sale of tickets by Mr. Quincel, acting for the lodge, had been large. Small four-line notes had appeared in all of the daily newspapers. These he had arranged for by the aid of one of his newspaper friends on the "Times," Mr. Harry McGarren, the managing editor.

"Say, Harry," Hurstwood said to him one evening, as the latter stood at the bar drinking before wending his belated way homeward, "you can help the boys out, I guess."

"What is it?" said McGarren, pleased to be consulted by the opulent manager.

"The Custer Lodge is getting up a little entertainment for their own good, and they'd like a little newspaper notice. You know what I mean -- a squib or two saying that it's going to take place."

"Certainly," said McGarren, "I can fix that for you, George."

At the same time Hurstwood kept himself wholly in the background. The members of Custer Lodge could scarcely understand why their little affair was taking so well. Mr. Harry Quincel was looked upon as quite a star for this sort of work.

By the time the 16th had arrived Hurstwood's friends had rallied like Romans to a senator's call. A well-dressed, good-natured, flatteringly-inclined audience was assured from the moment he thought of assisting Carrie.

That little student had mastered her part to her own satisfaction, much as she trembled for her fate when she should once face the gathered throng, behind the glare of the footlights. She tried to console herself with the thought that a score of other persons, men and women, were equally tremulous concerning the outcome of their efforts, but she could not disassociate the general danger from her own individual liability. She feared that she would forget her lines, that she might be unable to master the feeling which she now felt concerning her own movements in the play. At times she wished that she had never gone into the affair; at others, she trembled lest she should be paralysed with fear and stand white and gasping, not knowing what to say and spoiling the entire performance.

In the matter of the company, Mr. Bamberger had disappeared. That hopeless example had fallen under the lance of the director's criticism. Mrs. Morgan was still present, but envious and determined, if for nothing more than spite, to do as well as Carrie at least. A loafing professional had been called in to assume the role of Ray, and, while he was a poor stick of his kind, he was not troubled by any of those qualms which attack the spirit of those who have never faced an audience. He swashed about (cautioned though he was to maintain silence concerning his past theatrical relationships) in such a self-confident manner that he was like to convince every one of his identity by mere matter of circumstantial evidence.

"It is so easy," he said to Mrs. Morgan, in the usual affected stage voice. "An audience would be the last thing to trouble me. It's the spirit of the part, you know, that is difficult."

Carrie disliked his appearance, but she was too much the actress not to swallow his qualities with complaisance, seeing that she must suffer his fictitious love for the evening.

At six she was ready to go. Theatrical paraphernalia had been provided over and above her care. She had practised her make-up in the morning, had rehearsed and arranged her material for the evening by one o'clock, and had gone home to have a final look at her part, waiting for the evening to come.

On this occasion the lodge sent a carriage. Drouet rode with her as far as the door, and then went about the neighbouring stores, looking for some good cigars. The little actress marched nervously into her dressing-room and began that painfully anticipated matter of make-up which was to transform her, a simple maiden, to Laura, The Belle of Society.

The flare of the gas-jets, the open trunks, suggestive of travel and display, the scattered contents of the make-up box -- rouge, pearl powder, whiting, burnt cork, India ink, pencils for the eyelids, wigs, scissors, looking-glasses, drapery -- in short, all the nameless paraphernalia of disguise, have a remarkable atmosphere of their own. Since her arrival in the city many things had influenced her, but always in a far-removed manner. This new atmosphere was more friendly. It was wholly unlike the great brilliant mansions which waved her coldly away, permitting her only awe and distant wonder. This took her by the hand kindly, as one who says, "My dear, come in." It opened for her as if for its own. She had wondered at the greatness of the names upon the bill-boards, the marvel of the long notices in the papers, the beauty of the dresses upon the stage, the atmosphere of carriages, flowers, refinement. Here was no illusion. Here was an open door to see all of that. She had come upon it as one who stumbles upon a secret passage, and, behold, she was in the chamber of diamonds and delight!

As she dressed with a flutter, in her little stage room, hearing the voices outside, seeing Mr. Quincel hurrying here and there, noting Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Hoagland at their nervous work of preparation, seeing all the twenty members of the cast moving about and worrying over what the result would be, she could not help thinking what a delight this would be if it would endure; how perfect a state, if she could only do well now, and then some time get a place as a real actress. The thought had taken a mighty hold upon her. It hummed in her ears as the melody of an old song.

Outside in the little lobby another scene was being enacted. Without the interest of Hurstwood, the little hall would probably have been comfortably filled, for the members of the lodge were moderately interested in its welfare. Hurstwood's word, however, had gone the rounds. It was to be a full-dress affair. The four boxes had been taken. Dr. Norman McNeill Hale and his wife were to occupy one. This was quite a card. C. R. Walker, drygoods merchant and possessor of at least two hundred thousand dollars, had taken another; a well-known coal merchant had been induced to take the third, and Hurstwood and his friends the fourth. Among the latter was Drouet. The people who were now pouring here were not celebrities, nor even local notabilities, in a general sense. They were the lights of a certain circle -- the circle of small fortunes and secret order distinctions. These gentlemen Elks knew the standing of one another. They had regard for the ability which could amass a small fortune, own a nice home, keep a barouche or carriage, perhaps, wear fine clothes, and maintain a good mercantile position. Naturally, Hurstwood, who was a little above the order of mind which accepted this standard as perfect, who had shrewdness and much assumption of dignity, who held an imposing and authoritative position, and commanded friendship by intuitive tact in handling people, was quite a figure. He was more generally known than most others in the same circle, and was looked upon as some one whose reserve covered a mine of influence and solid financial prosperity.

To-night he was in his element. He came with several friends directly from Rector's in a carriage. In the lobby he met Drouet, who was just returning from a trip for more cigars. All five now joined in an animated conversation concerning the company present and the general drift of lodge affairs.

"Who's here?" said Hurstwood, passing into the theatre proper, where the lights were turned up and a company of gentlemen were laughing and talking in the open space back of the seats.

"Why, how do you do, Mr. Hurstwood?" came from the first individual recognised.

"Glad to see you," said the latter, grasping his hand lightly.

"Looks quite an affair, doesn't it?"

"Yes, indeed," said the manager.

"Custer seems to have the backing of its members," observed the friend.

"So it should," said the knowing manager. "I'm glad to see it."

"Well, George," said another rotund citizen, whose avoirdupois made necessary an almost alarming display of starched shirt bosom, "how goes it with you?"

"Excellent," said the manager.

"What brings you over here? You're not a member of Custer."

"Good-nature," returned the manager. "Like to see the boys, you know."

"Wife here?"

"She couldn't come to-night. She's not well."

"Sorry to hear it -- nothing serious, I hope."

"No, just feeling a little ill."

"I remember Mrs. Hurstwood when she was travelling once with you over to St. Joe-" and here the newcomer launched off in a trivial recollection, which was terminated by the arrival of more friends.

"Why, George, how are you?" said another genial West Side politician and lodge member. "My, but I'm glad to see you again; how are things, anyhow?"

"Very well; I see you got that nomination for alderman."

"Yes, we whipped them out over there without much trouble."

"What do you suppose Hennessy will do now?"

"Oh, he'll go back to his brick business. He has a brick-yard, you know."

"I didn't know that," said the manager. "Felt pretty sore, I suppose, over his defeat."

"Perhaps," said the other, winking shrewdly.

Some of the more favoured of his friends whom he had invited began to roll up in carriages now. They came shuffling in with a great show of finery and much evident feeling of content and importance.

"Here we are," said Hurstwood, turning to one from a group with whom he was talking.

"That's right," returned the newcomer, a gentleman of about forty-five.

"And say," he whispered, jovially, pulling Hurstwood over by the shoulder so that he might whisper in his ear, "if this isn't a good show, I'll punch your head."

"You ought to pay for seeing your old friends. Bother the show!"

To another who inquired, "Is it something really good?" the manager replied:

"I don't know. I don't suppose so." Then, lifting his hand graciously, "For the lodge."

"Lots of boys out, eh?"

"Yes, look up Shanahan. He was just asking for you a moment ago."

It was thus that the little theatre resounded to a babble of successful voices, the creak of fine clothes, the commonplace of good-nature, and all largely because of this man's bidding. Look at him any time within the half hour before the curtain was up, he was a member of an eminent group -- a rounded company of five or more whose stout figures, large white bosoms, and shining pins bespoke the character of their success. The gentlemen who brought their wives called him out to shake hands. Seats clicked, ushers bowed while he looked blandly on. He was evidently a light among them, reflecting in his personality the ambitions of those who greeted him. He was acknowledged, fawned upon, in a way lionised. Through it all one could see the standing of the man. It was greatness in a way, small as it was.

第十八章

初登大堂:欢呼与告别

 


到了16日晚上,赫斯渥已经巧妙地大显神通。他在他的朋友们中间散布消息说这场演出很值得一看--而他的朋友不仅人数众多,而且很有势力--结果支部干事昆塞尔先生卖出了大量的戏票。所有的日报都为这事发了一条四行的消息。这一点是靠他的新闻界的朋友哈莱·麦格伦先生办到的。

麦格伦先生是芝加哥《时报》的主编。

“喂,哈莱,”一天夜里麦格伦回家前先在酒馆柜台边喝上两杯时,于是赫斯渥对他说,“我看你能给支部的那些孩子们帮个忙。”“什么事啊?”麦格伦先生问道。这个富有的经理这么看得其他,着实让他高兴。

“寇斯特支部为了筹款要举办一场小小的演出,他们很希望报纸能发条消息。你明白我的意思--来上两三句说明何时何地有这么场演出就行了。”“没问题,”麦格伦说,“这事我能替你办到,乔治。”这期间,赫斯渥自己一直躲在幕后。寇斯特支部的人几乎无法理解他们的小玩意儿为什么这么受欢迎。于是昆塞尔先生被看作是主办这类事的天才。

到了16日这天,赫斯渥的朋友们纷纷去捧场,就好像罗马人听到了他们元老的召唤一样。从赫斯渥决定帮嘉莉那一刻起,就可以肯定,去看演出的将都是些衣冠楚楚,满怀善意,一心想捧场的人士。

那个戏剧界的小学生这时已经掌握了她那个角色的表演,自己还相当满意。尽管她一想到自己要在舞台强烈的灯光下,在满堂观众面前演戏,不禁吓得发抖,为自己的命运担心。

她竭力安慰自己说,还有二十来个别的人,有男有女,也在为演出的结果紧张得发抖。可是这没有用。她想到总体失败的可能性就不能不想到她个人失败的可能性。她担心自己会临时忘词,又担心在舞台上她不能把她对角色的情感变化的理解表现出来。有时候她真希望自己当初没有参与这件事就好了。有时候她又担心自己到了台上会吓呆了,只会脸色苍白气喘吁吁地站在台上,不知道说什么好,使整个演出都砸在她手里,这种可能性让她吓得发抖。

在演员阵容方面,班贝格先生已经去掉了。这个不可救药的先生在导演的唇枪舌剑的指责下只好退出。莫根太太还在班子里,但是妒忌得要命,不为别的,光为这份怨恨,她也决心要演得至少像嘉莉一样好。一个失业的演员被请来演雷埃这个角色。尽管他只是个蹩脚演员,他不像那些没有在观众前亮过相的演员那样提心吊胆,焦虑不安。尽管他已被警告过不要提其他以前和戏剧界的联系,可是他那么神气活现地走来走去,一副信心十足的样子,单凭这些间接证据,就足以让别人知道他吃的是哪一行饭了。

“演戏是很容易的,”他用舞台上念道白的口气拿腔拿调地对莫根太太说,“我一点也不为观众操心,你要知道,难的是把握角色的气质。”嘉莉不喜欢他的样子。但她是一个好演员,所以温顺地容忍了他这些气质。她知道这一晚上她必须忍受他那装模作样的谈情说爱。

6点钟,她已一切准备就绪可以出发了。演戏用的行头是主办单位提供的,不用她操心。上午她已试过化装,1点钟时彩排完毕,晚上演戏用的东西也都准备好了。然后她回家最后看了一遍她的台词,就等晚上到来了。

为了当晚的演出,支部派了马车来接她。杜洛埃和她一起坐马车到了剧场门口,就下车到附近店里去买几支上等雪茄。

这小女演员一个人惴惴不安地走进她的化妆间,开始了她那焦虑痛苦地期待着的化妆,这化妆要把一个单纯的姑娘变成罗拉,社交皇后。

耀眼的煤气灯,打开的箱子(令人想起旅行和排场),散乱的化妆用品--胭脂、珍珠粉、白垩粉、软木炭、墨汁、眼睑笔、假发、剪刀、镜子、戏装--总之,各种叫不上名来的化妆用的行头,应有尽有,各有自己独特的气息。自从她来到芝加哥,城里的许多东西深深吸引了她,但那些东西对她来说总是高不可攀。这新的气氛要友好得多。它完全不像那些豪门府第令她望而生畏,不准她走近,只准她远远地惊叹。这里的气氛却像一个老朋友,亲热地拉着她的手,对她说:“请进吧,亲爱的。"它把她当自己人向她敞开大门。戏院广告牌上那些大名鼎鼎的明星名字,报上长长的剧目,舞台上的华丽服装,还有马车,鲜花和高雅服饰带来的剧场气氛--这一切一直令她赞叹和好奇。如今这已不是幻想了。这扇门敞开着让她看看这一切。她就像一个偶然发现秘密通道的人一样,瞎碰瞎撞来到这里。睁眼一看,自己来到了一个堆满钻石和奇珍的宝库!

她在自己的小化妆间激动不安地穿戏装时,可以听到外面的说话声,看到昆塞尔先生在东奔西忙,莫根太太和霍格兰太太在忐忑不安地做准备工作,全团二十个演员都在走来走去,担心着戏不知会演得怎么样,这使她不禁暗想,如果这一切能永远地延续下去,那将多么令人愉快埃如果她这次能够演成功,以后某个时候再谋到一个当女演员的位子,那事情就太理想了。这个念头让她非常动心,就像一首古老民歌的旋律在她耳边不断地回响。

外面的小休息室里又是另一番景象。即使赫斯渥不施加影响,这个小剧场也许仍然会客满的,因为支部的人对支部的事情还是比较关心的。但是赫斯渥的话一传开,这场演出就成了必须穿晚礼服的社交盛会。四个包厢都让人包下了。诺曼·麦克尼·海尔医生和太太包了一个,这是张王牌。至少拥有二十万财产的呢绒商西·阿·华尔格也包了一个。一个有名的煤炭商听了劝说,订了第三个包厢。赫斯渥和他的朋友们订了第四个包厢。杜洛埃也在这群人中间。涌入这剧场来看戏的,总的来说,并不是名流们,甚至算不上当地的要人们,但他们是某一阶层的头面人物--那个颇有点资产的阶层加上帮会的要人们。这些兄弟会的先生们互相都知道各人的地位,对于彼此的能力表示敬意,因为他们都是凭自己的本事,创起一份小家业。他们都拥有一幢漂亮的住宅,置起了四轮大马车或者二轮马车,也许还穿得衣冠楚楚地在商界出人头地。在这群人中,赫斯渥自然是个重要人物。他比那些满足于目前地位的人在精神上要高出一筹。他为人精明,举止庄重,地位显要有权势,在待人接物上天生的圆活机敏,容易博得人们的友谊。

在这个圈子里,他比大多数人出名,被看作是一个势力很大,财力殷实的人物。

今晚他在自己的圈子里活动,如鱼得水。他是和一些朋友直接从雷克脱饭店坐马车来戏院的。在休息室里他遇到了杜洛埃买了雪茄回来。五个人都兴高采烈地聊了起来,他们聊的是即将演出的班子和支部事务的一般情况。

“谁在这里啊?”赫斯渥从休息室走进演出大厅。大厅里灯都点起来了,一群先生正聚在座位后面的空地上高声谈笑着。

“喂,你好吗,赫斯渥先生?”他认出的第一个人向他打招呼。

“很高兴见到你,”赫斯渥和他轻轻地握了手,说道。

“这看上去很像一回事,是不是?”

“是啊,真不错,”经理先生说。

“寇斯特支部的人看来很齐心,”他的朋友议论说。

“应该这样,”世故的经理说道,“看到他们这样真让人高兴。”“喂,乔治,”另一个胖子说。他胖得把礼服领口都绷开了,露出了好大一片浆过的衬衫前胸,“你怎么样啊?”“很好,”经理说。

“你怎么会来的?你不是寇斯特支部的人嘛。”“我是好心好意来的,”经理回答说,“想看看这里的朋友,你知道。”“太太也来了?”“她今天来不了,她身体不太好。”“真遗憾--我希望不是什么大玻”“不是,只是小有不适。”“我还记得赫斯渥太太和你一起到圣乔旅行--”话题说到这里,这个新来的人开始回忆一些琐碎的小事。又来了一群朋友把这回忆打断了。

“喂,乔治,你好吗?”另一个人和颜悦色地问道。他是西区的政客又是支部的成员,“哇,我真高兴又见到你。你的情况怎么样?”“很不错。我得知你被提名当市议员了。”“是啊,我们没费多少事,就把他们打败了。”“依你看汉纳赛先生现在会做些什么?”“还是回去做他的砖瓦生意嘛。你知道他有一座砖厂。”“这一点我倒不知道,”经理说。“我猜想他这次竞选失败心里一定很不是滋味。”“也许吧,”对方精明地眨了一下眼睛说道。

wwW.eDuzhai.nEt中 国教$育文摘 

他邀请来的那些和他交情更深一些的朋友现在也坐着马车陆陆续续来到了,他们大摇大摆地进来,炫耀地穿着考究精美的服装,一副明显的志得意满的要人气派。

“我们都来了,”赫斯渥离开在在谈话的这些人,朝新来的一个人说道。

“是啊,”新来的人说道,他是个大约45岁的绅士。

“喂,”他快活地拉着赫斯渥的肩膀,把他拉过来说句悄悄话,“要是戏不好,我可要敲你的头。”“为了看看老朋友,也该掏腰包才对。这戏嘛,管它好不好!”另一个问他:“是不是有点看头?”经理回答:“我也不知道。我想不会有什么看头的。”然后他大度地扬扬手说,“为支部捧个场嘛。”“来了不少的人,是吧。”“是啊,你去找找珊纳汉先生吧,他刚才还在问起你。”就这样,这小小的剧场里回响着这些春风得意人物的交谈声,考究的服装发出的窸窣声,还有一般的表示善意的寒暄声。一大部分人是赫斯渥召来的。在戏开场前的半个小时里,你随时可以看到他和一群大人物在一起--五六个人围成一圈,一个个身子肥胖,西服领露出一大片白衬衫前胸,身上别着闪亮的饰针,处处显示他们是些成功的人物。那些携带太太同来的先生们都把他招呼过去和他握手。座位发出啪啦啪啦的声响,领座员朝客人们鞠躬,而他在一边温和殷勤地看着。

很显然,他是这群人中的佼佼者,在他身上反映着那些和他打招呼的人们的野心。他为他们所承认,受到他们的奉承,甚至有一点儿被当作大人物看待,从中可以看出这个人的地位。尽管他不属于最上层的社会,他在自己的圈子里可以算得上了不起了。




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