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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第三十八章

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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Chapter 38

IN ELF LAND DISPORTING: THE GRIM WORLD WITHOUT

 

When Carrie renewed her search, as she did the next day, going to the Casino, she found that in the opera chorus, as in other fields, employment is difficult to secure. Girls who can stand in a line and look pretty are as numerous as labourers who can swing a pick. She found there was no discrimination between one and the other of applicants, save as regards a conventional standard of prettiness and form. Their own opinion or knowledge of their ability went for nothing.

"Where shall I find Mr. Gray?" she asked of a sulky doorman at the stage entrance of the Casino.

"You can't see him now; he's busy."

"Do you know when I can see him?"

"Got an appointment with him?"

"No."

"Well, you'll have to call at his office."

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Carrie. "Where is his office?"

He gave her the number.

She knew there was no need of calling there now. He would not be in. Nothing remained but to employ the intermediate hours in search.

The dismal story of ventures in other places is quickly told. Mr. Daly saw no one save by appointment. Carrie waited an hour in a dingy office, quite in spite of obstacles, to learn this fact of the placid, indifferent Mr. Dorney.

"You will have to write and ask him to see you."

So she went away.

At the Empire Theatre she found a hive of peculiarly listless and indifferent individuals. Everything ornately upholstered, everything carefully finished, everything remarkably reserved.

At the Lyceum she entered one of those secluded, under-stairway closets, berugged and bepanneled, which causes one to feel the greatness of all positions of authority. Here was reserve itself done into a box-office clerk, a doorman, and an assistant, glorying in their fine positions.

"Ah, be very humble now -- very humble indeed. Tell us what it is you require. Tell it quickly, nervously, and without a vestige of self-respect. If no trouble to us in any way, we may see what we can do."

This was the atmosphere of the Lyceum -- the attitude, for that matter, of every managerial office in the city. These little proprietors of businesses are lords indeed on their own ground.

Carrie came away wearily, somewhat more abashed for her pains.

Hurstwood heard the details of the weary and unavailing search that evening.

"I didn't get to see any one," said Carrie. "I just walked, and walked, and waited around."

Hurstwood only looked at her.

"I suppose you have to have some friends before you can get in," she added, disconsolately.

Hurstwood saw the difficulty of this thing, and yet it did not seem so terrible. Carrie was tired and dispirited, but now she could rest. Viewing the world from his rocking-chair, its bitterness did not seem to approach so rapidly. To-morrow was another day.

To-morrow came, and the next, and the next.

Carrie saw the manager at the Casino once.

"Come around," he said, "the first of next week. I may make some changes then."

He was a large and corpulent individual, surfeited with good clothes and good eating, who judged women as another would horseflesh. Carrie was pretty and graceful. She might be put in even if she did not have any experience. One of the proprietors had suggested that the chorus was a little weak on looks.

The first of next week was some days off yet. The first of the month was drawing near. Carrie began to worry as she had never worried before.

"Do you really look for anything when you go out?" she asked Hurstwood one morning as a climax to some painful thoughts of her own.

"Of course I do," he said pettishly, troubling only a little over the disgrace of the insinuation.

"I'd take anything," she said, "for the present. It will soon be the first of the month again."

She looked the picture of despair.

Hurstwood quit reading his paper and changed his clothes.

"He would look for something," he thought. "He would go and see if some brewery couldn't get him in somewhere. Yes, he would take a position as bartender, if he could get it."

It was the same sort of pilgrimage he had made before. One or two slight rebuffs, and the bravado disappeared.

"No use," he thought. "I might as well go on back home."

Now that his money was so low, he began to observe his clothes and feel that even his best ones were beginning to look commonplace. This was a bitter thought.

Carrie came in after he did.

"I went to see some of the variety managers," she said, aimlessly. "You have to have an act. They don't want anybody that hasn't."

"I saw some of the brewery people to-day," said Hurstwood. "One man told me he'd try to make a place for me in two or three weeks."

In the face of so much distress on Carrie's part, he had to make some showing, and it was thus he did so. It was lassitude's apology to energy.

Monday Carrie went again to the Casino.

"Did I tell you to come around to-day?" said the manager, looking her over as she stood before him.

"You said the first of the week," said Carrie, greatly abashed.

"Ever had any experience?" he asked again, almost severely.

Carrie owned to ignorance.

He looked her over again as he stirred among some papers. He was secretly pleased with this pretty, disturbed-looking young woman. "Come around to the theatre to-morrow morning."

Carrie's heart bounded to her throat.

"I will," she said with difficulty. She could see he wanted her, and turned to go.

"Would he really put her to work? Oh, blessed fortune, could it be?"

Already the hard rumble of the city through the open windows became pleasant.

A sharp voice answered her mental interrogation, driving away all immediate fears on that score.

"Be sure you're there promptly," the manager said roughly. "You'll be dropped if you're not."

Carrie hastened away. She did not quarrel now with Hurstwood's idleness. She had a place -- she had a place! This sang in her ears.

In her delight she was almost anxious to tell Hurstwood. But, as she walked homeward, and her survey of the facts of the case became larger, she began to think of the anomaly of her finding work in several weeks and his lounging in idleness for a number of months.

"Why don't he get something?" she openly said to herself. "If I can he surely ought to. It wasn't very hard for me."

She forgot her youth and her beauty. The handicap of age she did not, in her enthusiasm, perceive.

Thus, ever, the voice of success.

Still, she could not keep her secret. She tried to be calm and indifferent, but it was a palpable sham.

"Well?" he said, seeing her relieved face.

"I have a place."

"You have?" he said, breathing a better breath.

"Yes."

"What sort of a place is it?" he asked, feeling in his veins as if now he might get something good also.

"In the chorus," she answered.

"Is it the Casino show you told me about?"

"Yes," she answered. "I begin rehearsing tomorrow."

There was more explanation volunteered by Carrie, because she was happy. At last Hurstwood said:

"Do you know how much you'll get?"

"No, I didn't want to ask," said Carrie. "I guess they pay twelve or fourteen dollars a week."

"About that, I guess," said Hurstwood.

There was a good dinner in the flat that evening, owing to the mere lifting of the terrible strain. Hurstwood went out for a shave, and returned with a fair-sized sirloin steak.

"Now, to-morrow," he thought, "I'll look around myself," and with renewed hope he lifted his eyes from the ground.

On the morrow Carrie reported promptly and was given a place in the line. She saw a large, empty, shadowy play-house, still redolent of the perfumes and blazonry of the night, and notable for its rich, oriental appearance. The wonder of it awed and delighted her. Blessed be its wondrous reality. How hard she would try to be worthy of it. It was above the common mass, above idleness, above want, above insignificance. People came to it in finery and carriages to see. It was ever a center of light and mirth. And here she was of it. Oh, if she could only remain, how happy would be her days!

"What is your name?" said the manager, who was conducting the drill.

"Madenda," she replied, instantly mindful of the name Drouet had selected in Chicago. "Carrie Madenda."

"Well, now, Miss Madenda," he said, very affably, as Carrie thought, "you go over there."

Then he called to a young woman who was already of the company:

"Miss Clark, you pair with Miss Madenda."

This young lady stepped forward, so that Carrie saw where to go, and the rehearsal began.

Carrie soon found that while this drilling had some slight resemblance to the rehearsals as conducted at Avery Hall, the attitude of the manager was much more pronounced. She had marvelled at the insistence and superior airs of Mr. Millice, but the individual conducting here had the same insistence, coupled with almost brutal roughness. As the drilling proceeded, he seemed to wax exceedingly wroth over trifles, and to increase his lung power in proportion. It was very evident that he had a great contempt for any assumption of dignity or innocence on the part of these young women.

"Clark," he would call -- meaning, of course, Miss Clark -- "why don't you catch step there?"

"By fours, right! Right, I said, right! For heaven's sake, get on to yourself! Right!" and in saying this he would lift the last sounds into a vehement roar.

"Maitland! Maitland!" he called once.

A nervous, comely-dressed little girl stepped out. Carrie trembled for her out of the fulness of her own sympathies and fear.

"Yes, sir," said Miss Maitland.

"Is there anything the matter with your ears?"

"No, sir."

"Do you know what 'column left' means?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, what are you stumbling around the right for? Want to break up the line?"

"I was just-"

"Never mind what you were just. Keep your ears open."

Carrie pitied, and trembled for her turn.

Yet another suffered the pain of personal rebuke.

"Hold on a minute," cried the manager, throwing up his hands, as if in despair. His demeanour was fierce.

"Elvers," he shouted, "what have you got in your mouth?"

"Nothing," said Miss Elvers, while some smiled and stood nervously by.

"Well, are you talking?"

"No, sir."

"Well, keep your mouth still then. Now, all together again." At last Carrie's turn came. It was because of her extreme anxiety to do all that was required that brought on trouble.

She heard some one called.

"Mason," said the voice. "Miss Mason."

She looked around to see who it could be. A girl behind shoved her a little, but she did not understand.

"You, you!" said the manager. "Can't you hear?"

"Oh," said Carrie, collapsing, and blushing fiercely.

"Isn't your name Mason?" asked the manager.

"No, sir," said Carrie, "it's Madenda."

"Well, what's the matter with your feet? Can't you dance?"

"Yes, sir," said Carrie, who had long since learned this art.

"Why don't you do it then?" Don't go shuffling along as if you were dead. I've got to have people with life in them."

Carrie's cheek burned with a crimson heat. Her lips trembled a little.

"Yes, sir," she said.

It was this constant urging, coupled with irascibility and energy, for three long hours. Carrie came away worn enough in body, but too excited in mind to notice it. She meant to go home and practise her evolutions as prescribed. She would not err in any way, if she could help it.

When she reached the flat Hurstwood was not there. For a wonder he was out looking for work, as she supposed. She took only a mouthful to eat and then practised on, sustained by visions of freedom from financial distress -- "The sound of glory ringing in her ears."

When Hurstwood returned he was not so elated as when he went away, and now she was obliged to drop practice and get dinner. Here was an early irritation. She would have her work and this. Was she going to act and keep house?

"I'll not do it," she said, "after I get started. He can take his meals out."

Each day thereafter brought its cares. She found it was not such a wonderful thing to be in the chorus, and she also learned that her salary would be twelve dollars a week. After a few days she had her first sight of those high and mighties -- the leading ladies and gentlemen. She saw that they were privileged and deferred to. She was nothing -- absolutely nothing at all.

At home was Hurstwood, daily giving her cause for thought. He seemed to get nothing to do, and yet he made bold to inquire how she was getting along. The regularity with which he did this smacked of some one who was waiting to live upon her labour. Now that she had a visible means of support, this irritated her. He seemed to be depending upon her little twelve dollars.

"How are you getting along?" he would blandly inquire.

"Oh, all right," she would reply.

"Find it easy?"

"It will be all right when I get used to it."

His paper would then engross his thoughts.

"I got some lard," he would add, as an afterthought. "I thought maybe you might want to make some biscuit."

The calm suggestion of the man astonished her a little, especially in the light of recent developments. Her dawning independence gave her more courage to observe, and she felt as if she wanted to say things. Still she could not talk to him as she had to Drouet. There was something in the man's manner of which she had always stood in awe. He seemed to have some invisible strength in reserve.

One day, after her first week's rehearsal, what she expected came openly to the surface.

"We'll have to be rather saving," he said, laying down some meat he had purchased. "You won't get any money for a week or so yet.

"No," said Carrie, who was stirring a pan at the stove.

"I've only got the rent and thirteen dollars more," he added.

"That's it," she said to herself. "I'm to use my money now."

Instantly she remembered that she had hoped to buy a few things for herself. She needed clothes. Her hat was not nice.

"What will twelve dollars do towards keeping up this flat?" she thought. "I can't do it. Why doesn't he get something to do?"

The important night of the first real performance came. She did not suggest to Hurstwood that he come and see. He did not think of going. It would only be money wasted. She had such a small part.

The advertisements were already in the papers; the posters upon the bill-boards. The leading lady and many members were cited. Carrie was nothing.

As in Chicago, she was seized with stage fright as the very first entrance of the ballet approached, but later she recovered. The apparent and painful insignificance of the part took fear away from her. She felt that she was so obscure it did not matter. Fortunately, she did not have to wear tights. A group of twelve were assigned pretty golden-hued skirts which came only to a line about an inch above the knee. Carrie happened to be one of the twelve.

In standing about the stage, marching, and occasionally lifting up her voice in the general chorus, she had a chance to observe the audience and to see the inauguration of a great hit. There was plenty of applause, but she could not help noting how poorly some of the women of alleged ability did.

"I could do better than that," Carrie ventured to herself, in several instances. To do her justice, she was right.

After it was over she dressed quickly, and as the manager had scolded some others and passed her, she imagined she must have proved satisfactory. She wanted to get out quickly, because she knew but few, and the stars were gossiping. Outside were carriages and some correct youths in attractive clothing, waiting. Carrie saw that she was scanned closely. The flutter of an eyelash would have brought her a companion. That she did not give.

One experienced youth volunteered, anyhow.

"Not going home alone, are you?" he said.

Carrie merely hastened her steps and took the Sixth Avenue car. Her head was so full of the wonder of it that she had time for nothing else.

"Did you hear any more from the brewery?" she asked at the end of the week, hoping by the question to stir him on to action.

"No," he answered, "they're not quite ready yet. I think something will come of that, though."

She said nothing more then, objecting to giving up her own money, and yet feeling that such would have to be the case. Hurstwood felt the crisis, and artfully decided to appeal to Carrie. He had long since realised how good-natured she was, how much she would stand. There was some little shame in him at the thought of doing so, but he justified himself with the thought that he really would get something. Rent day gave him his opportunity.

"Well," he said, as he counted it out, "that's about the last of my money. I'll have to get something pretty soon."

Carrie looked at him askance, half-suspicious of an appeal.

"If I could only hold out a little longer I think I could get something. Drake is sure to open a hotel here in September."

"Is he?" said Carrie, thinking of the short month that still remained until that time.

"Would you mind helping me out until then?" he said appealingly. "I think I'll be all right after that time."

"No," said Carrie, feeling sadly handicapped by fate.

"We can get along if we economise. I'll pay you back all right."

"Oh, I'll help you," said Carrie, feeling quite hard-hearted at thus forcing him to humbly appeal, and yet her desire for the benefit of her earnings wrung a faint protest from her.

"Why don't you take anything, George, temporarily?" she said. "What difference does it make? Maybe, after a while, you'll get something better."

"I will take anything," he said, relieved, and wincing under reproof. "I'd just as leave dig on the streets. Nobody knows me here."

"Oh, you needn't do that," said Carrie, hurt by the pity of it. "But there must be other things."

"I'll get something!" he said, assuming determination.

Then he went back to his paper.

第三十八章

仙境里的游戏:境外的冷酷世界

 


当第二天嘉莉重新寻找工作,去卡西诺戏院时,她发现在歌剧群舞队里,就像在其它行当里一样,很难找到事做。能站在群舞队里的漂亮姑娘多得如同能挥镐干活的工人。她还发现,除了用世俗的标准来衡量美貌和身材之外,对于不同的求职者并不存在任何其它的区别。求职者自己的意愿或对自己的才能的了解,则一文不值。

“请问哪里能找到格雷先生?”她在卡西诺戏院的后台入口处,问一个阴沉着脸的看门人。

“现在你不能见他。他很忙。”

“那你知道我什么时候能见他呢?”

“和他约好了吗?”

“没有。”

“那样的话,你得去他的办公室找他。”“哦,天哪!”嘉莉叫道,“他的办公室在哪里?”他给了她门牌号码。

她知道这时去那里是没有用的,他不会在那里。没有办法,只有利用期间的时间再去找找。

在其它几个地方的冒险很快就结束了,故事都很凄惨。戴利先生只见事先约好的客人。嘉莉在一间阴暗的办公室里,不顾阻拦,等了一个钟头之后,才从沉着、冷漠的多尼先生嘴里知道了这个规矩。

“你得写信请求他接见你。”

这样她就离开了。

在帝国剧院,她看到一群特别无精打采、无动于衷的人。

一切都布置得十分华丽,一切都安排得非常细致,一切都显得那么矜持而高不可攀。

在蓝心戏院,她走进一个平静的楼梯下面的小房间里,地上铺着地毯,墙上装着护墙板。这种地方使人感受到所有权威人士的地位的崇高。在这里,矜持的神气活生生地体现在一个售票员、一个门房和一个助手的身上,他们都因自己的崇高地位而得意洋洋。

“啊,现在要表现得非常谦卑--非常非常谦卑。请告诉我们你的要求。说得要快,要显得紧张,不要露出丝毫的自尊。

要是我们一点不感到为难的话,我们可以看看能为你效什么劳。”这就是蓝心戏院的气氛。实际上,这也是城里每一家经理室的共同气氛。这些小业主们,在他们自己的行当中,就是真正的至高无上的统治者。

嘉莉疲惫地走开了,悲痛之余更加感到难堪。

那天晚上,赫斯渥听到了这次劳而无获的寻找的详细情况。

“我连一个人都没见着,”嘉莉说,“我只是走啊,走啊,到处等人。”赫斯渥只是看着她。

“我看得先有些朋友才能进这一行,”她闷闷不乐地加了一句。

赫斯渥看出了这件事的困难,但并不认为这有多么可怕。

嘉莉又疲倦又丧气,不过现在她可以休息了。坐在他的摇椅里,观看这个世界,世间的苦难来得并不很快。明天又是一天嘛。

明天来了,接下去又是一天,又是一天。

嘉莉见到了一次卡西诺戏院的经理。

“你来吧,”他说,“下个星期一来,那时我可能要换些人。”他是个高大而肥胖的人,穿得好,吃得好,鉴别女人就像别人鉴别马匹一样。嘉莉长得俏丽妩媚。即便她一点经验都没有,也可以把她安排进来。有一个东家曾经提到过,群舞队员的相貌差了一些。

离下星期一还有好几天的时间。离下月1号倒是很近了。

嘉莉开始发起愁来,她以前还从来没有这么发愁过。

“你出去的时候真的是在找事做吗?”一天早晨,她问赫斯渥。她自己愁得急了,就想到这上面来了。

“我当然是在找啦,”他有些生气地说,对这个羞辱他的暗示只是稍微有点感到不安。

“眼下,”她说,“我可是什么事都愿意做。马上又到下个月1号了。”她看上去绝望极了。

赫斯渥停止了看报,换上衣服。

他想,他要出去找事做。他要去看看哪家酿酒厂是否会安排他进某家酒店。是啊,倘若能找到的话,做侍者他也愿意。

现在他的钱就快用完了,于是开始注意起自己的衣服来,觉得连自己最好的衣服都开始显得旧了。这一点真让他难受。

嘉莉在他之后回到家里。

“我去见了几家杂耍剧场的经理,”她无可奈何地说,“你得有一个表演节目才行。他们不要没有表演节目的人。”“我今天见了个开酿酒厂的人,”赫斯渥说,“有一个人告诉我说他会设法在两三个星期之内给我找个职位。”看见嘉莉这么苦恼:他得有所表示,因此他就这样说了。

这是无精打采的人面对精力充沛的人找的托辞。

星期一,嘉莉又去了卡西诺戏院。

“是我叫你今天来的吗?”经理说,上下打量了一番站在他面前的她。

“你是说星期一来的,”嘉莉很窘迫地说。

“有过什么经验吗?”他又问,口气几近严厉了。

嘉莉承认毫无经验。

他一边翻动一些报纸,一边又把她打量了一番。对这个漂亮的、看上去心绪不宁的年轻女人,他暗自感到满意。“明天早晨来戏院吧。”嘉莉的心跳上了喉头。

“我会来的,”她吃力地说。她看得出他想要她,转身准备走了。

他真的会让她工作吗?啊,可爱的命运之神,真的会这样吗?

从敞开的窗口传来的城市的刺耳的嘈杂声,已经变得悦耳动听了。

一个严厉的声音,回答了她内心的疑向,消除了她对此的一切担忧。

“你一定要准时来这里,”经理粗鲁地说。“否则就会被除名的。”嘉莉匆忙走开。这时她也不去埋怨赫斯渥的游手好闲了。

她有了一份工作--她有了一份工作!她的耳朵里响起这美妙的歌声。

她一高兴,差一点就急着要去告诉赫斯渥了。可是,在往家走时,她从更多的方面考虑了这件事情,开始想到她几个星期就找到了工作,而他却闲荡了几个月,这是很反常的。

“为什么他就找不到事情做呢?”她对自己直言道,“如果我找得到,他也一定应该找得到。我找工作并不是很难呀。”她忘记了自己的年轻美貌。她在兴奋的时候,觉察不到年龄的障碍。

成功的人总会这样说的。

可是,她还是掩藏不住自己的秘密。她想表现得镇静自若,无动于衷,但是一眼就能看穿她这是装出来的。

“怎么样?”看见她轻松的脸色,他说。

“我找到了一份工作。”

“找到了吗?”他说,松了一口气。

“是的。”

“是份什么样的工作?”他兴致勃勃地问,觉得似乎现在他也能找到什么好的事做了。

“当群舞队演员,”她回答。

“是不是你告诉过我的要在卡西诺戏院上演的那出戏?”“是的,”她回答,“我明天开始排练。”因为很高兴,嘉莉还主动作了一些解释。最后,赫斯渥说:“你知道你能拿到多少薪水吗?”“不知道,我也没想要问,”嘉莉说。“我猜他们每星期会付12或14块钱吧。”“我看也就是这个数左右,”赫斯渥说。

那天晚上,他们在家里好好吃了一顿饭,只是因为不再感觉那么紧张可怕了。赫斯渥出去修了面,回来时带了一大块牛腰肉。

“那么,明天,”他想着,“我自己也去找找看。”怀着新的希望,他抬起头来,不看地板了。

第二天,嘉莉准时去报到,被安排在群舞队里。她看到的是一个空荡荡、阴森森的大戏院,还带着昨夜演出的余香和排场,它以富丽堂皇和具有东方情调而著称。面对如此奇妙的地方,她又是敬畏又是欣喜。老天保佑这里的一切都是真的。

她会竭尽全力使自己当之无愧的。这里没有平凡,没有懒散,没有贫困,也没有低微。到这里来看戏的,都是衣着华丽、马车接送的人。这里永远是愉快和欢乐的中心。而现在她也属于这里。啊,但愿她能留下来,那她的日子将会多么幸福!

“你叫什么名字?”经理说,这时他正在指挥排练。

“麦登达,”她立刻想起了在芝加哥时杜洛埃替她选的姓氏,就回答说。“嘉莉·麦登达。”“好吧,现在,麦登达小姐,”他说,嘉莉觉得他的口气非常和蔼可亲,“你去那边。”然后,他对一个年轻的老队员喊道:“克拉克小姐,你和麦登达小姐一对。”这个年轻的姑娘向前迈了一步,这样嘉莉知道该站到哪里,排演就开始了。

嘉莉很快就发现,这里的排练虽然和阿佛莱会堂的排练稍微有一点相似,但这位经理的态度却要严厉得多。她曾经对米利斯先生的固执己见和态度傲慢感到很惊讶,而在这里指挥的这个人不仅同样地固执己见,而且态度粗暴得近乎野蛮。

在排练进行之中,他似乎对一些小事都表现得愤怒至极,嗓门也相应地变得越来越大。非常明显,他十分瞧不起这些年轻女人任何乔装的尊严和天真。

“克拉克,”他会叫道,当然是指克拉克小姐。“你现在怎么不跟上去?”“四人一排,向右转!向右转,我说是向右转!老天爷,清醒些!向右转!”在说这些话时,他会提高最后几个字音,变成咆哮。

“梅特兰!梅特兰!”一次,他叫道。

一个紧张不安、衣着漂亮的小姑娘站了出来。嘉莉替她担忧,因为她自己心里充满了同情和恐惧。

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“是的,先生,”梅特兰小姐说。

“你耳朵有毛病吗?”

“没有,先生。”

“你知道‘全队向左转’是什么意思吗?”“知道,先生。”“那么,你跌跌绊绊地向右干什么?想打乱队形吗?”“我只是--”“不管你只是什么的。竖起耳朵听着。”嘉莉可怜她,又怕轮到自己。

可是,又有一个尝到了挨骂的滋味。

“暂停一下,”经理大叫一声,像是绝望般地举起双手。他的动作很凶猛。

“艾尔弗斯,”他大声嚷道,“你嘴里含着什么?”“没什么,”艾尔弗斯小姐说,这时有些人笑了,有些人紧张地站在一边。

“那么,你是在说话吗?”

“没有,先生。”

“那么,嘴就别动。现在,大家一起再来。"终于也轮到了嘉莉。她太急于照要求的一切去做了,因此惹出麻烦。

她听到在叫什么人。

“梅森,”那声音说,“梅森小姐。”

她四下里望望,想看看会是谁。她身后的一个姑娘轻轻地推了她一下,但她不明白是什么意思。

“你,你!”经理说,“你难道听不见吗?”“哎,”嘉莉说,腿吓得发软,脸涨得通红。

“你不是叫梅森吗?”经理问。

“不是,先生,”嘉莉说,“是麦登达。”

“好吧,你的脚怎么啦?你不会跳舞吗?”“会的,先生,”嘉莉说,她早已学会了跳舞这门艺术。

“那你为什么不跳呢?别像个死人似地拖着脚走。我要的是充满活力的人。”嘉莉的脸颊烧得绯红。她的嘴唇有些颤抖。

“是的,先生,”她说。

他就这样不断地督促着,加上脾气暴躁和精力充沛,过了长长的3个钟头。嘉莉走时已经很累了,只是心里太兴奋了,没有觉察到这一点。她想回家去,按照要求练习她的规定动作。只要有可能的话,她要避免做错任何动作。

她到家时,赫斯渥不在家里。她猜想他是出去找工作了,这可真是难得。她只吃了一口东西,然后又接着练习,支撑她的是能够摆脱经济困难的梦想--自豪的声音在她的耳朵里响起。

赫斯渥回来的时候不像出门时那样兴高采烈,而且这时她不得不中断练习去做晚饭。于是就有了最初的恼怒。她既要工作,又要做饭。难道她要一边演出一边持家吗?

“等我开始工作后,”她想,“我就不干这些事了。他可以在外面吃饭。”此后,烦恼与日俱增。她发现当群舞演员并不是什么很好的事,而且她还知道了她的薪水是每周12块钱。几天之后,她第一次见到了那些趾高气扬的人物--饰演主角的男女演员。她发现他们享有特权,受到尊敬。而她却微不足道--绝对的微不足道。

家里有着赫斯渥,每天都让她心烦。他似乎没事可干,但却敢问她工作如何。他每天要都照例问她这个,有点像是要靠她的劳动而过活的味道。这使她很生气,因为她自己有了具体的生活来源,他看来好像是要依赖于她那可怜的12块钱了。

“你干得怎么样?”他会和言悦色地问。

“哦,很好,”她会答道。

“觉得容易吗?”

“习惯了就会好的。”

然后,他就会埋头看报了。

“我买了一些猪油,”他会补充说,像是又想起来了。“我想也许你要做些饼干。”个人这样平静地提着建议,倒真使她有点吃惊,特别是考虑到最近的情况变化。她渐渐地开始独立,这使她更加有勇气冷眼旁观,她觉得自己很想说些难听的话。可是,她还是不能像对杜洛埃那样对他说话。这个人的举止中有着某种东西总是令她感到敬畏。他像是有着某种潜在的力量。

在她第一个星期的排演结束了之后,一天,她所预料的情况发生了。

“我们得过得很节省才行,”他说着,放下他买的一些肉。

“这一个星期左右你还拿不到钱的。”

“拿不到的,”嘉莉说,她正在炉子上翻动着锅里的菜。

“我除了房租钱,只有13块钱了,”他加了一句。

“完了,”她对自己说道。“现在要用我的钱了。”她立刻想起她曾希望为自己买几件东西。她需要衣服。她的帽子也不漂亮。

“要维持这个家,12块钱能顶什么用呢?”她想,“我无法维持。他为什么不找些事情做呢?”那个重要的第一次真正演出的夜晚来到了。她没有提议请赫斯渥来看。他也没想着要去看。那样只会浪费钱。她的角色太小了。

报纸上已经登出了广告,布告栏里也贴出了海报。上面提到了领衔主演的女演员和其他许多演员的名字。嘉莉不在起中。

就像在芝加哥一样,到了群舞队首次上场的那一刻,她怯场了,但后来她就恢复了平静。她演的角色显然无足轻重,这很令她伤心,但也消除了她的恐惧。她觉得自己太不起眼,也就无所谓了。有幸的是,她不用穿紧身衣服。有一组12人被指定要穿漂亮的金色短裙,裙长只及膝上约一英寸。嘉莉碰巧在这一组。

站在舞台上,随队而行,偶尔地提高嗓音加入大合唱,她有机会去注意观众,去目睹一出极受欢迎的戏是怎样开始的。

掌声很多,但是,她也注意到了一些所谓有才能的女演员表演得有多糟糕。

“我可以演得比这好,”有几次,嘉莉大胆地对自己说。说句公道话,她是对的。

戏演完之后,她赶快穿好衣服,因为经理责骂了几个人而放过了她,她想自己演得一定还令人满意。她想赶快出去,因为她的熟人很少,那些名演员都在闲聊。外面等候着马车和一些在这种场合少不了的衣着迷人的青年人。嘉莉发现人们在仔细地打量着她。她只需睫毛一动就能招来一个伴。但她没有这样做。

然而,一个精于此道的青年还是主动上来了。

“你是一个人回家,对吗?”他说。

嘉莉只是加快了脚步,上了第六大道的有轨电车。她满脑子都是对这事感到的惊奇,没有时间去想起它的事情。

“你有那家酿酒厂的消息了吗?”她在周末的时候问道,希望这样问能激其他的行动。

“没有,”他回答,“他们还没有完全准备好。不过,我想这事会有一些结果的。”这之后她没再说什么。她不乐意拿出自己的钱,可是又觉得非拿不可。赫斯渥已经感到了危机,精明地决定求助于嘉莉。他早就知道她有多么善良,有多大的忍耐力。想到要这么做,他有一点羞愧,但是想到他真能找到事做,他又觉得自己没错。付房租的那一天为他提供了机会。

“唉,”他数出钱来说道,“这差不多是我最后的一点钱了。

我得赶快找到事做。”

嘉莉斜眼看着他,有几分猜到他要有所要求了。

“只要能再维持一小段时间,我想我会找到事情的。德雷克9月份肯定会在这里开一家旅馆。”“是吗?”嘉莉说,心想离那时还有短短的一个月。

“在此之前,你愿意帮我的忙吗?”他恳求道,“然后我想一切都会好了。”“好的,”嘉莉说,命运如此捉弄她,她真是伤心。

“只要我们节省一些,是能过得去的。我会如数归还你的。”“哦,我会帮你的,”嘉莉说,觉得自己的心肠太硬,这么逼着他低声下气地哀求,可是她想从自己的收入中得到实惠的欲望又使她隐隐地感到不满。

“乔治,你为什么不暂时随便找个事做做呢?”她说,“这又有什么关系呢?也许过一段时间,你会找到更好的事情的。”“我什么事都愿意做,”他说,松了一口气,缩着头等着挨骂。“上街挖泥我也愿意。反正这里又没人认识我。”“哦,你用不着做那种事,”嘉莉说,为这话说得那么可怜感到伤心了。“但是肯定会有其它的事情的。”“我会找到事做的!”他说,像是下定了决心。

然后,他又去看报了。

 




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