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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第三十九章

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Chapter 39

OF LIGHTS AND OF SHADOWS: THE PARTING OF WORLDS

 

What Hurstwood got as the result of the determination was more self-assurance that each particular day was not the day. At the same time, Carrie passed through thirty days of mental distress.

Her need of clothes -- to say nothing of her desire for ornaments -- grew rapidly as the fact developed that for all her work she was not to have them. The sympathy she felt for Hurstwood, at the time he asked her to tide him over, vanished with these newer urgings of decency. He was not always renewing his request, but this love of good appearance was. It insisted, and Carrie wished to satisfy it, wished more and more that Hurstwood was not in the way.

Hurstwood reasoned, when he neared the last ten dollars, that he had better keep a little pocket change and not become wholly dependent for car-fare, shaves, and the like; so when this sum was still in his hand he announced himself as penniless.

"I'm clear out," he said to Carrie one afternoon. "I paid for some coal this morning, and that took all but ten or fifteen cents."

"I've got some money there in my purse."

Hurstwood went to get it, starting for a can of tomatoes. Carrie scarcely noticed that this was the beginning of the new order. He took out fifteen cents and bought the can with it. Thereafter it was dribs and drabs of this sort, until one morning Carrie suddenly remembered that she would not be back until close to dinner time.

"We're all out of flour," she said; "you'd better get some this afternoon. We haven't any meat, either. How would it do if we had liver and bacon?"

"Suits me," said Hurstwood.

"Better get a half or three-quarters of a pound of that."

"Half'll be enough," volunteered Hurstwood.

She opened her purse and laid down a half dollar. He pretended not to notice it.

Hurstwood bought the flour -- which all grocers sold in 3 1/2 pound packages -- for thirteen cents and paid fifteen cents for a half-pound of liver and bacon. He left the packages, together with the balance of thirty-two cents, upon the kitchen table, where Carrie found it. It did not escape her that the change was accurate. There was something sad in realising that, after all, all that he wanted of her was something to eat. She felt as if hard thoughts were unjust. Maybe he would get something yet. He had no vices.

That very evening, however, on going into the theatre, one of the chorus girls passed her all newly arrayed in a pretty mottled tweed suit, which took Carrie's eye. The young woman wore a fine bunch of violets and seemed in high spirits. She smiled at Carrie good-naturedly as she passed, showing pretty, even teeth, and Carrie smiled back.

"She can afford to dress well," thought Carrie, "and so could I, if I could only keep my money. I haven't a decent tie of any kind to wear."

She put out her foot and looked at her shoe reflectively.

"I'll get a pair of shoes Saturday, anyhow; I don't care what happens."

One of the sweetest and most sympathetic little chorus girls in the company made friends with her because in Carrie she found nothing to frighten her away. She was a gay little Manon, unwitting of society's fierce conception of morality, but, nevertheless, good to her neighbour and charitable. Little license was allowed the chorus in the matter of conversation, but, nevertheless, some was indulged in.

"It's warm to-night, isn't it?" said this girl, arrayed in pink fleshings and an imitation golden helmet. She also carried a shining shield.

"Yes; it is," said Carrie, pleased that some one should talk to her.

"I'm almost roasting," said the girl.

Carrie looked into her pretty face, with its large blue eyes, and saw little beads of moisture.

"There's more marching in this opera than ever I did before," added the girl.

"Have you been in others?" asked Carrie, surprised at her experience.

"Lots of them," said the girl; "haven't you?"

"This is my first experience."

"Oh, is it? I thought I saw you the time they ran 'The Queen's Mate' here."

"No," said Carrie, shaking her head; "not me."

This conversation was interrupted by the blare of the orchestra and the sputtering of the calcium lights in the wings as the line was called to form for a new entrance. No further opportunity for conversation occurred, but the next evening, when they were getting ready for the stage, this girl appeared anew at her side.

"They say this show is going on the road next month."

"Is it?" said Carrie.

"Yes; do you think you'll go?"

"I don't know; I guess so, if they'll take me."

"Oh, they'll take you. I wouldn't go. They won't give you any more, and it will cost you everything you make to live. I never leave New York. There are too many shows going on here."

"Can you always get in another show?"

"I always have. There's one going on up at the Broadway this month. I'm going to try and get in that if this one really goes."

Carrie heard this with aroused intelligence. Evidently it wasn't so very difficult to get on. Maybe she also could get a place if this show went away.

"Do they all pay about the same?" she asked.

"Yes. Sometimes you get a little more. This show doesn't pay very much."

"I get twelve," said Carrie.

"Do you?" said the girl. "They pay me fifteen, and you do more work than I do. I wouldn't stand it if I were you. They're just giving you less because they think you don't know. You ought to be making fifteen."

"Well, I'm not," said Carrie.

"Well, you'll get more at the next place if you want it," went on the girl, who admired Carrie very much. "You do fine, and the manager knows it."

To say the truth, Carrie did unconsciously move about with an air pleasing and somewhat distinctive. It was due wholly to her natural manner and total lack of self-consciousness.

"Do you suppose I could get more up at the Broadway?"

"Of course you can," answered the girl. "You come with me when I go. I'll do the talking."

Carrie heard this, flushing with thankfulness. She liked this little gaslight soldier. She seemed so experienced and self-reliant in her tinsel helmet and military accoutrements.

"My future must be assured if I can always get work this way," thought Carrie.

Still, in the morning, when her household duties would infringe upon her and Hurstwood sat there, a perfect load to contemplate, her fate seemed dismal and unrelieved. It did not take so very much to feed them under Hurstwood's close-measured buying, and there would possibly be enough for rent, but it left nothing else. Carrie bought the shoes and some other things, which complicated the rent problem very seriously. Suddenly, a week from the fatal day, Carrie realised that they were going to run short.

"I don't believe," she exclaimed, looking into her purse at breakfast, "that I'll have enough to pay the rent."

"How much have you?" inquired Hurstwood.

"Well, I've got twenty-two dollars, but there's everything to be paid for this week yet, and if I use all I get Saturday to pay this, there won't be any left for next week. Do you think your hotel man will open his hotel this month?"

"I think so," returned Hurstwood. "He said he would."

After a while, Hurstwood said:

"Don't worry about it. Maybe the grocer will wait. He can do that. We've traded there long enough to make him trust us for a week or two."

"Do you think he will?" she asked.

"I think so."

On this account, Hurstwood, this very day, looked grocer Oeslogge clearly in the eye as he ordered a pound of coffee, and said:

"Do you mind carrying my account until the end of every week?"

"No, no, Mr. Wheeler," said Mr. Oeslogge. "Dat iss all right."

Hurstwood, still tactful in distress, added nothing to this. It seemed an easy thing. He looked out of the door, and then gathered up his coffee when ready and came away. The game of a desperate man had begun.

Rent was paid, and now came the grocer. Hurstwood managed by paving out of his own ten and collecting from Carrie at the end of the week. Then he delayed a day next time settling with the grocer, and so soon had his ten back, with Oeslogge getting his pay on this Thursday or Friday for last Saturday's bill.

This entanglement made Carrie anxious for a change of some sort. Hurstwood did not seem to realise that she had a right to anything. He schemed to make what she earned cover all expenses, but seemed not to trouble over adding anything himself.

"He talks about worrying," thought Carrie. "If he worried enough he couldn't sit there and wait for me. He'd get something to do. No man could go seven months without finding something if he tried."

The sight of him always around in his untidy clothes and gloomy appearance drove Carrie to seek relief in other places. Twice a week there were matinees, and then Hurstwood ate a cold snack, which he prepared himself. Two other days there were rehearsals beginning at ten in the morning and lasting usually until one. Now, to this Carrie added a few visits to one or two chorus girls, including the blue-eyed soldier of the golden helmet. She did it because it was pleasant and a relief from dulness of the home over which her husband brooded.

The blue-eyed soldier's name was Osborne -- Lola Osborne. Her room was in Nineteenth Street near Fourth Avenue, a block now given up wholly to office buildings. Here she had a comfortable back room, looking over a collection of back yards in which grew a number of shade trees pleasant to see.

"Isn't your home in New York?" she asked of Lola one day.

"Yes; but I can't get along with my people. They always want me to do what they want. Do you live here?"

"Yes," said Carrie.

"With your family?"

Carrie was ashamed to say that she was married. She had talked so much about getting more salary and confessed to so much anxiety about her future, that now, when the direct question of fact was waiting, she could not tell this girl.

"With some relatives," she answered.

Miss Osborne took it for granted that, like herself, Carrie's time was her own. She invariably asked her to stay, proposing little outings and other things of that sort until Carrie began neglecting her dinner hours. Hurstwood noticed it, but felt in no position to quarrel with her. Several times she came so late as scarcely to have an hour in which to patch up a meal and start for the theatre.

"Do you rehearse in the afternoons?" Hurstwood once asked, concealing almost completely the cynical protest and regret which prompted it.

"No; I was looking around for another place," said Carrie.

As a matter of fact she was, but only in such a way as furnished the least straw of an excuse. Miss Osborne and she had gone to the office of the manager who was to produce the new opera at the Broadway and returned straight to the former's room, where they had been since three o'clock.

Carrie felt this question to be an infringement on her liberty. She did not take into account how much liberty she was securing. Only the last step, the newest freedom, must not be questioned.

Hurstwood saw it all clearly enough. He was shrewd after his kind, and yet there was enough decency in the man to stop him from making an effectual protest. In his almost inexplicable apathy he was content to droop supinely while Carrie drifted out of his life, just as he was willing supinely to see opportunity pass beyond his control. He could not help clinging and protesting in a mild, irritating, and ineffectual way, however -- a way that simply widened the breach by slow degrees.

A further enlargement of this chasm between them came when the manager, looking between the wings upon the brightly lighted stage where the chorus was going through some of its glittering evolutions, said to the master of the ballet:

"Who is that fourth girl there on the right -- the one coming round at the end now?"

"Oh," said the ballet-master, "that's Miss Madenda."

"She's good looking. Why don't you let her head that line?"

"I will," said the man.

"Just do that. She'll look better there than the woman you've got."

"All right. I will do that," said the master.

The next evening Carrie was called out, much as if for an error.

"You lead your company to-night," said the master.

"Yes, sir," said Carrie.

"Put snap into it," he added. "We must have snap."

"Yes, sir," replied Carrie.

Astonished at this change, she thought that the heretofore leader must be ill; but when she saw her in the line, with a distinct expression of something unfavourable in her eye, she began to think that perhaps it was merit.

She had a chic way of tossing her head to one side, and holding her arms as if for action -- not listlessly. In front of the line this showed up even more effectually.

"That girl knows how to carry herself," said the manager, another evening. He began to think that he should like to talk with her. If he hadn't made it a rule to have nothing to do with the members of the chorus, he would have approached her most unbendingly.

"Put that girl at the head of the white column," he suggested to the man in charge of the ballet.

This white column consisted of some twenty girls, all in snow-white flannel trimmed with silver and blue. Its leader was most stunningly arrayed in the same colours, elaborated, however, with epaulets and a belt of silver, with a short sword dangling at one side. Carrie was fitted for this costume, and a few days later appeared, proud of her new laurels. She was especially gratified to find that her salary was now eighteen instead of twelve.

Hurstwood heard nothing about this.

"I'll not give him the rest of my money," said Carrie. "I do enough. I am going to get me something to wear."

As a matter of fact, during this second month she had been buying for herself as recklessly as she dared, regardless of the consequences. There were impending more complications rent day and more extension of the credit system in the neighbourhood. Now, however, she proposed to do better by herself.

Her first move was to buy a shirt waist, and in studying these she found how little her money would buy -- how much, if she could only use all. She forgot that if she were alone she would have to pay for a room and board, and imagined that every cent of her eighteen could be spent for clothes and things that she liked.

At last she picked upon something, which not only used up all her surplus above twelve, but invaded that sum. She knew she was going too far, but her feminine love of finery prevailed. The next day Hurstwood said:

"We owe the grocer five dollars and forty cents this week."

"Do we?" said Carrie, frowning a little.

She looked in her purse to leave it.

"I've only got eight dollars and twenty cents altogether."

"We owe the milkman sixty cents," added Hurstwood.

"Yes, and there's the coal man," said Carrie.

Hurstwood said nothing. He had seen the new things she was buying; the way she was neglecting household duties; the readiness with which she was slipping out afternoons and staying. He felt that something was going to happen. All at once she spoke:

"I don't know," she said; "I can't do it all. I don't earn enough."

This was a direct challenge. Hurstwood had to take it up. He tried to be calm.

"I don't want you to do it all," he said. "I only want a little help until I can get something to do."

"Oh, yes," answered Carrie. "That's always the way. It takes more than I can earn to pay for things. I don't see what I'm going to do."

"Well, I've tried to get something," he exclaimed. "What do you want me to do?"

"You couldn't have tried so very hard," said Carrie. "I got something."

"Well, I did," he said, angered almost to harsh words. "You needn't throw up your success to me. All I asked was a little help until I could get something. I'm not down yet. I'll come up all right."

He tried to speak steadily, but his voice trembled a little.

Carrie's anger melted on the instant. She felt ashamed.

"Well," she said, "here's the money," and emptied it out on the table. "I haven't got quite enough to pay it all. If they can wait until Saturday, though, I'll have some more."

"You keep it," said Hurstwood, sadly. "I only want enough to pay the grocer."

She put it back, and proceeded to get dinner early and in good time. Her little bravado made her feel as if she ought to make amends.

In a little while their old thoughts returned to both.

"She's making more than she says," thought Hurstwood. "She says she's making twelve, but that wouldn't buy all those things. I don't care. Let her keep her money. I'll get something again one of these days. Then she can go to the deuce."

He only said this in his anger, but it prefigured a possible course of action and attitude well enough.

"I don't care," thought Carrie. "He ought to be told to get out and do something. It isn't right that I should support him."

In these days Carrie was introduced to several youths, friends of Miss Osborne, who were of the kind most aptly described as gay and festive. They called once to get Miss Osborne for an afternoon drive. Carrie was with her at the time.

"Come and go along," said Lola.

"No, I can't," said Carrie.

"Oh, yes, come and go. What have you got to do?"

"I have to be home by five," said Carrie.

"What for?"

"Oh, dinner."

"They'll take us to dinner," said Lola.

"Oh, no," said Carrie. "I won't go. I can't."

"Oh, do come. They're awful nice boys. We'll get you back in time. We're only going for a drive in Central Park."

Carrie thought a while, and at last yielded.

"Now, I must be back by half-past four," she said.

The information went in one ear of Lola and out the other.

After Drouet and Hurstwood, there was the least touch of cynicism in her attitude toward young men -- especially of the gay and frivolous sort. She felt a little older than they. Some of their pretty compliments seemed silly. Still, she was young in heart and body and youth appealed to her.

"Oh, we'll be right back, Miss Madenda," said one of the chaps, bowing. "You wouldn't think we'd keep you over time, now, would you?"

"Well, I don't know," said Carrie, smiling.

They were off for a drive -- she, looking about and noticing fine clothing, the young men voicing those silly pleasantries and weak quips which pass for humour in coy circles. Carrie saw the great park parade of carriages, beginning at the Fifty-ninth Street entrance and winding past the Museum of Art to the exit at One Hundred and Tenth Street and Seventh Avenue. Her eye was once more taken by the show of wealth -- the elaborate costumes, elegant harnesses, spirited horses, and, above all, the beauty. Once more the plague of poverty galled her, but now she forgot in a measure her own troubles so far as to forget Hurstwood. He waited until four, five, and even six. It was getting dark when he got up out of his chair.

"I guess she isn't coming home," he said, grimly.

"That's the way," he thought. "She's getting a start now. I'm out of it."

Carrie had really discovered her neglect, but only at a quarter after five, and the open carriage was now far up Seventh Avenue, near the Harlem River.

"What time is it?" she inquired. "I must be getting back."

"A quarter after five," said her companion, consulting an elegant, open-faced watch.

"Oh, dear me!" exclaimed Carrie. Then she settled back with a sigh. "There's no use crying over spilt milk," she said. "It's too late."

"Of course it is," said the youth, who saw visions of a fine dinner now, and such invigorating talk as would result in a reunion after the show. He was greatly taken with Carrie. "We'll drive down to Delmonico's now and have something there, won't we, Orrin?"

"To be sure," replied Orrin, gaily.

Carrie thought of Hurstwood. Never before had she neglected dinner without an excuse.

They drove back, and at 6.15 sat down to dine. It was the Sherry incident over again, the remembrance of which came painfully back to Carrie. She remembered Mrs. Vance, who had never called again after Hurstwood's reception, and Ames.

At this figure her mind halted. It was a strong, clean vision. He liked better books than she read, better people than she associated with. His ideals burned in her heart.

"It's fine to be a good actress," came distinctly back.

What sort of an actress was she?

"What are you thinking about, Miss Madenda?" inquired her merry companion. "Come, now, let's see if I can guess."

"Oh, no," said Carrie. "Don't try."

She shook it off and ate. She forgot, in part, and was merry. When it came to the after-theatre proposition, however, she shook her head.

"No," she said, "I can't. I have a previous engagement."

"Oh, now, Miss Madenda," pleaded the youth.

"No," said Carrie, "I can't. You've been so kind, but you'll have to excuse me."

The youth looked exceedingly crestfallen.

"Cheer up, old man," whispered his companion. "We'll go around, anyhow. She may change her mind."

第三十九章

光明与黑暗:分道扬镳

 


这个决心在赫斯渥身上产生的结果是,他更加相信每一个特定的日子都不是找事做的好日子。与此同时,嘉莉却度过了三十个精神痛苦的日子。

她对衣物的需求--更不必说她对装饰物的欲望--随着现实的发展而迅速增加,现实表明,尽管她已在工作,她的需求仍然得不到满足。她有了这些新的想要体面的迫切要求之后,当赫斯渥求她帮助他度过难关时,她对他抱有的那份同情就消失了。他没有总是重提他的要求,而这爱美的愿望却一直在提着要求。这种愿望的要求十分坚决,嘉莉也希望能够如愿以偿,于是就越来越希望赫斯渥不要挡她的道。

当赫斯渥差不多只剩下最后10块钱时,他想自己最好还是留点零用钱,不要弄得连乘车、修面之类的费用都要完全依赖于人。因此,当他手头还剩下10块钱时,他就宣布自己已经身无分文了。

“我是一文不名了,”一天下午,他对嘉莉说。“今天早上我付了一些煤钱,这样一来,只剩下1毛或者1毛5分钱了。”“我那边的钱包里还有一些钱。”赫斯渥走过去拿了钱,开始是为了买一罐番茄。嘉莉几乎没有注意到这就是新秩序的开始。他拿了1毛5分钱,用这钱买了罐头。此后,他就是这样一点一点地向她要钱,直到有一天早晨,嘉莉突然想起她要到吃晚饭的时候才能回来。

“我们的面粉全吃光了,”她说,“你最好下午去买一些。鲜肉也吃完了。你看我们吃些肝和咸肉行吗?”“行啊,”赫斯渥说。

“最好是买半磅或者3A4磅。”

“半磅就够了,”赫斯渥主动地说。

她打开钱包,拿出5毛钱放在桌上。他假装没有看见。

赫斯渥花了1毛3分钱买了一袋3磅半的面粉--所有食品商卖的面粉都是这种包装,又花了1毛5分钱买了半磅肝和咸肉。他把这些东西和2毛2分钱的找头,放在厨房的桌子上,嘉莉是在那里看见的。找头一分不少。这没有逃过她的眼睛。当她意识到,他原来只是想从她这里讨口饭吃的时候,她有点伤心了。她觉得对他太苛刻似乎不大公平。也许他还会找到事做。他也没干什么坏事。

可是,就在那天晚上,当她走进戏院时,一个群舞队的姑娘,穿着一身崭新的漂亮的杂色的花呢套装从她身边走过,这套衣服吸引住了嘉莉的目光。这个年轻的姑娘佩戴着一束精美的紫罗兰,看上去情绪高涨。她走过时善意地对嘉莉笑了笑,露出漂亮、整齐的牙齿,嘉莉也对她笑了笑。

“她打扮得起,”嘉莉想,“我也一样,只要我能把自己的钱留下来。我连一条像样的领带都没有。”她伸出一只脚,看着她的鞋子发愣。

“无论如何,我星期六都要去买双鞋。我才不管会发生什么事呢。”剧团群舞队的演员中有一个最可爱、最富有同情心的小姑娘和她交上了朋友,因为在嘉莉身上,她没有发现任何令她望而生畏的东西。她是一个快乐的小曼依,对社会上严格的道德观点丝毫不懂,然而对她周围的人却很和善宽厚。群舞队的演员很少有交谈的自由,不过还是有一些交谈的。

“今天晚上很暖和,是吗?”这个姑娘说,她穿着肉色的紧身衣,戴着金色的假头盔。她还拿着一面闪闪发亮的盾牌。

“是啊,是很暖和,”嘉莉很高兴居然会有人和她说话。

“我像是在炉子里烤着,”姑娘说。

嘉莉仔细看着她那有着一双蓝色的大眼睛的漂亮的脸庞,发现她脸上有了小小的汗珠。

“这出歌剧中,大步走的动作比我以前演过的任何戏中都要多,”姑娘补充说道。

“你还演过别的戏吗?”嘉莉问,对她的经历很感吃惊。

“多得很,”姑娘说,“你呢?”

“我这是第一次。”

“哦,是吗?我还以为《皇后的配偶》在这里上演的时候,我见过你呢。”“不,”嘉莉摇摇头说,“那不是我。”这段谈话被乐队的吹奏声和舞台两侧电石灯的噼啪声打断了,这时群舞队员们被叫来排好队,准备再次上常这以后没再出现谈话的机会。可是第二天晚上,当她们在作上台的准备时,这个姑娘又出现在她的身边。

“他们说这台戏下个月要出去巡回演出。”“是吗?”嘉莉说。

“是的,你想去吗?”

“我不知道。要是他们让我去的话,我想我会去的。”“哦,他们会让你去的。我可不愿意去。他们不会多给你薪水,而你要把挣来的钱全用在生活费上。我从不离开纽约。

这里上演的戏可多着呢。”

“你总是能找到别的戏演吗?”

“我总是找得到的。这个月就有一台戏在百老汇剧院上演。如果这台戏真要出演的话,我就打算去那家试试,找个角色演演。”嘉莉听着这些,恍然大悟。很显然,要混下去并不十分困难。倘若这台戏出去演,也许她也能再找到一个角色。

“他们付的薪水都差不多吗?”她问。

“是的。有时候你可以稍微多拿一点。这一家给得可不太多。”“我拿12块,“嘉莉说。

“是吗?”姑娘说。“他们给我15块。而你的戏比我的重。

要是我是你的话,我可受不了这个。他们少付你薪水,就是因为他们认为你不知道。你应该能挣15块的。”“唉,我可没挣到这么多,”嘉莉说。

“那么,如果你愿意的话,换个地方就能多挣一些,”姑娘接着说,她非常喜欢嘉莉。“你演得很好的,经理是知道的。”说实话,嘉莉的表演确实具有一种令人赏心悦目且有几分与众不同的风采,她自己并没有意识到这一点。这完全是由于她姿态自然,毫无忸怩。

“你认为我去百老汇剧院能多挣一些吗?”“你当然能多挣一些,”姑娘回答。“等我去的时候,你和我一起。我来和他们谈。”嘉莉听到这里,感激得脸都红了。她喜欢这个扮演士兵的小姑娘。她戴着金箔头盔,佩着士兵装备,看上去经验丰富,信心十足。

“如果我总能这样找到工作的话,我的将来就一定有保障了,”嘉莉想。

可是,到了早晨,她受到家务的骚扰,而赫斯渥则坐在那里,俨然一个累赘,这时她的命运还是显得凄惨而沉重。在赫斯渥的精打细算下,他们吃饭的开销并不太大,可能还有足够的钱付房租,但是这样也就所剩无几了。嘉莉买了鞋和其它一些东西,这就使房租问题变得十分严重。在那个不幸的付房租的日子前一个星期,嘉莉突然发现钱快用完了。

“我看,”早饭时,她看着自己的钱包,叫了起来,“我没有足够的钱付房租了。”“你还有多少钱?”赫斯渥问。

“喔,我还有22块钱。但是还有这个星期的所有费用要付,如果我把星期六拿的钱全部用来付房租的话,那么下星期就一分钱也没有了。你认为你那个开旅馆的人这个月会开张吗?”“我想会的,”赫斯渥回答。“他说过要开的。”过了一会儿,赫斯渥说:“别担心了。也许食品店的老板会愿意等一等。他能等的。

我们和他打了这么久的交道,他会相信我们,让我们赊欠一两个星期的。”“你认为他会愿意吗?"她问。

“我想会的。”

因此,就在这一天,赫斯渥在要1磅咖啡时,坦然地直视着食品店老板奥斯拉格的眼睛,说道:“你给我记个帐,每个周末总付行吗?”“行的,行的,惠勒先生,”奥斯拉格先生说,“这没问题。”赫斯渥贫困中仍不失老练,听了这话就不再说什么了。这看来是件容易的事。他望着门外,然后,等咖啡包好,拿起就走了。一个身处绝境的人的把戏就此开始了。

付过房租,现在又该付食品店老板了。赫斯渥设法用自己那10块钱先付上,到周末再向嘉莉要。然后,到了下一次,他推迟一天和食品店老板结帐,这样很快他那10块钱又回来了,而奥斯拉格要到星期四或星期五才能收到上星期六的欠帐。

这种纠葛弄得嘉莉急于改变一下。赫斯渥好像没有意识到她有权做任何事情。他只是挖空心思地用她的收入来应付所有的开支,但是并不想自己设法来增加一点收入。

“他说他在发愁,”嘉莉想,“要是他真的很发愁的话,他就不会坐在那里,等着我拿钱了。他应该找些事情做。只要努力去找,谁也不会七个月都找不到事做的。”看他总是呆在家里,衣着不整,愁容满面,嘉莉不得不去别的地方寻求安慰。她一星期有两场日戏,这时赫斯渥就吃自己做的冷快餐。另有两天,排演从上午10点开始,一般要练到下午1点钟。除了这些以外,嘉莉现在又加上了几次去拜访一两个群舞队演员,其中包括那个戴着金色头盔的蓝眼睛士兵。

她去拜访她们,因为这使她感到愉快,她还可以摆脱一下那个枯燥无味的家和她那个守在家里发呆的丈夫。

那个蓝眼睛士兵的名字叫奥斯本--萝拉·奥斯本。她住在十九街,靠近第四大道,这片街区全都造上了办公大楼。

她在这里有一间舒适的后房间,能看见下面的很多后院,院子里种着一些遮阴的树木,看上去十分宜人。

“你家不在纽约吗?"一天,她问萝拉。

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“在的,但是我和家里的人相处不好。他们总是要我按照他们的意愿去做。你住在这里吗?”“是的,"嘉莉说。

“和你家里人住在一起?”

嘉莉不好意思说自己已经结婚了。她多次谈起过关于多挣薪水的愿望,多次表露过对自己将来的忧虑。可是现在,当她被直接问及事实,等候回答时,她却无法告诉这个姑娘了。

“和亲戚住在一起,”她回答。

奥斯本小姐想当然地认为,像她自己一样,嘉莉的时间属于她自己。她总是叫她多待一下,建议出去玩一会儿和做一些其它类似的事,这样一来嘉莉开始忘记吃晚饭的时间了。赫斯渥注意到了这一点,但是觉得无权埋怨她。有几次她回来得太晚,只剩不到一个钟头的时间,匆忙凑合着吃了一顿饭,就动身去戏院了。

“你们下午也排演吗?”一次,赫斯渥问道。他问这话本来是想用讥讽的口气表示一下抗议和遗憾,但是问话时,他几乎把自己的本意完全掩盖住了。

“不,我在另找一份工作,”嘉莉说。

事实上她的确是在找,但是说这话只是提供了一个非常牵强的借口,奥斯本小姐和她去了那位即将在百老汇剧院上演新歌剧的经理的办公室,然后直接回到了奥斯本小姐的住处,3点钟以后她们一直待在那里。

嘉莉觉得这个问题是对她的自由的侵犯。她并不考虑自己已获得了多少自由。只是觉得她最近的行动,也是她最新获得的自由,不应该受到质问。

这一切赫斯渥都看得清清楚楚。他有他的精明之处,可是这个人很好面子,这妨碍了他提出任何有力的抗议。他的那种几乎无法理解的冷漠,使得他在嘉莉游离出他的生活的时候,还能得过且过地满足于自我消沉,就像他能得过且过地甘愿看着机会从他的掌握之中流失一样。他又不禁恋恋不舍,以一种温和、恼人而无力的方式表示着抗议。然而,这种方式只是逐渐地扩大了他们之间的裂痕。

他们之间的裂痕又进一步加大了,这是因为当经理从舞台的两侧之间,看着群舞队在被灯光照得雪亮的台上表演一些令人眼花缭乱的规定动作时,对群舞队的主管说了一番话。

“那个右边的第四个姑娘是谁--就是正在那一头转过来的那一个?”“哦,”群舞队的主管说,“那是麦登达小姐。”“她长得很漂亮。你为什么不让她领那一队呢?”“我会照你的意思办的,”那人说。

“就这么办,她在那个位置要比你现在的这一个好看些。”“好的,我一定照办,”主管说。

第二天晚上,嘉莉被叫出队来,很像是做错了什么。

“今天晚上你领这一队,”主管说。

“是,先生,”嘉莉说。

“要演得起劲一些,”他又说,“我们得演得有劲儿才行。”“是,先生,”嘉莉回答。

她对这个变动很感惊讶,以为原来的领队一定是病了,但是当她看见她还在队伍里,眼睛里明显地流露出不高兴时,她开始意识到也许是因为她更强一些。

她那把头甩向一侧,摆好双臂像是要做动作的姿势非常潇洒,显得精神十足。站在队伍的前头,这种姿势得到更加充分的表现。

“那个姑娘懂得怎样保持自己的姿势优美,”又一天晚上,经理说。他开始想要和她谈谈了。如果他没有定下规矩,不和群舞队队员有任何来往的话,他会毫不拘束地去找她。

“把那个姑娘放在白衣队的前头,”他对群舞队的主管建议道。

这支白衣队伍由大约二十个姑娘组成,全都穿着镶有银色和蓝色花边的雪白的法兰绒衣裙。领队的穿着最为夺目。同样的白色衣裙,但是要精致得多,佩带着肩章和银色腰带,一侧还挂着一柄短剑。嘉莉去试穿了这套戏装,几天后就这样登台了,她对自己这些新的荣誉很是得意。她感到特别满意的是,她知道自己的薪水现在由12块钱变成了18块钱。

赫斯渥对此一无所知。

“我不会把我多加的钱给他的,”嘉莉说,“我给得够多了。

我要为自己买些衣服穿。”

实际上,在这第二个月里,她一直尽可能大胆地、不顾一切地为自己买东西,毫不考虑后果。付房租的日子临头时的麻烦更多了,在附近买东西的赊帐范围也更广了。可是现在,她却打算对自己更大方一些。

她第一步是想买一件仿男式衬衫。在选购衬衫时,她发现她的钱能买的东西太少了--要是全部的钱都归她用,那样就能买很多东西了。她忘了如果她单过,她还得付房租和饭钱,而只是想象着她那18块钱的每一个子儿都能用来购买她喜欢的衣服和东西。

最后,她挑中了一些东西,不仅用完了12块钱以外的全部多加的钱,而且还透支了那12块钱。她知道自己做得太过份了,但是她那喜欢漂亮衣服的女人天性占了上风。第二天赫斯渥说:“这星期我们欠了食品店老板5块4毛钱。”“是吗?”嘉莉说,稍稍皱了皱眉头。

她看着钱包里面,准备拿出钱来。

“我一共只有8块2毛钱了。”

“我们还欠送牛奶的6毛钱,”赫斯渥补充说。

“是啊,还有送煤的,”嘉莉说。

赫斯渥不说话了。他已经看见了她买的那些新东西,她那不顾家务的情形,还有她动辄就要在下午溜出去,迟迟不归。

他感到有什么事要发生了。突然,她开口说道:“我不知该不该说,”她说,“可是我无法负担一切。我挣的钱不够。”这是个公开的挑战。赫斯渥不得不应战。他努力保持着冷静。

“我并没有要你负担一切,”他说,“我只是要你帮点忙,等我找到事做。”“哦,是啊,”嘉莉说,“总是这句话。我是入不敷出。我不知道怎么办才好。”“咳,我也在努力找事做嘛!”他叫了起来。“你要我怎么办呢?”“你也许还不够卖力吧?”嘉莉说,“我可是找到事做了。”“嘿,我很卖力的,”他说,气得几乎要说难听的话了。“你不用向我炫耀你的成功。我只是要你帮点忙,等我找到事做。

我还没有完蛋呢。我会好起来的。”

他努力说得很坚定,但是他的声音有一点颤抖。

嘉莉立刻消了气。她感到惭愧了。

“好啦,”她说,“给你钱吧,”把钱包里的钱全倒在桌上。

“我的钱不够付全部赊帐。不过,要是他们能等到星期六,我还会拿到一些钱。”“你留着吧,”赫斯渥伤心地说,“我只要够付食品店老板的钱就行了。”她把钱放回钱包,就去早早准备晚饭,以便按时开饭。她这样闹了一下之后,觉得自己似乎应该作些补偿。

过了一会儿,他们又像以前一样各想各的了。

“她挣的钱比她说的要多,”赫斯渥想。“她说她挣12块钱,但是这个数是买不了那么多东西的。我也不在乎。就让她留着她的钱吧。我总有一天会找到事做的。到那时就叫她见鬼去吧。”他只是在气头上说了这些话,但这却充分预示了一种可能的事态发展以及对此的态度。

“我才不管呢,”嘉莉想,“应该有人叫他出去,做点事情。

怎么说也不该要我来养活他呀。”

在这些日子里,嘉莉通过介绍认识了几个年轻人,他们是奥斯本小姐的朋友,是那种名符其实的愉快而欢乐的人。一次,他们来找奥斯本小姐,邀下午一起乘马车兜风。当时嘉莉也在她那里。

“走,一起去吧,”萝拉说。

“不,我不能去,”嘉莉说。

“哎呀,能去的,一起去吧,你有什么事情呀?”“我得5点钟到家,”嘉莉说。

“干什么?”

“哦,吃晚饭。”

“他们会请我们吃晚饭的,”萝拉说。

“啊,不,”嘉莉说,“我不去。我不能去。”“哦,去吧,他们是些好小伙子。我们会准时送你回去的。

我们只去中央公园兜兜风。”

嘉莉考虑了一会儿,终于让步了。

“不过,我4点半必须回去,”她说。

这句话从萝拉的一只耳朵进去,又从另一只耳朵出来了。

在杜洛埃和赫斯渥之后,对待青年男子,尤其是对那种冒失而轻浮的人,她的态度总有那么一点讥讽的味道。她觉得自己比他们老成一些。他们说的有些恭维话听起来很愚蠢。然而,她的身心毕竟都还年轻,青年人对她仍有吸引力。

“哦,我们马上就回来,麦登达小姐,”小伙子中的一个鞠了鞠躬说。“现在你相信我们不会耽搁你的,对不对?”“哦,这我就不知道了,”她笑着说。

他们动身去兜风。她环顾四周,留意着华丽的服饰。小伙子们则说着那些愚蠢的笑话和无味的妙语,这在故作忸怩的荡子圈子里就算是幽默了。嘉莉看到了去公园的庞大的马车队伍,从五十九街的入口处开始,绕过艺术博物馆,直到一百一十街和第七大道拐角的出口处。她的目光又一次被这派富裕的景象所吸引--考究的服装,雅致的马具,活泼的马儿,更重要的是,还有美人。贫困的折磨又一次刺痛了她,但是现在,她忘记了赫斯渥,也就多少忘记了一些自己的烦恼。

赫斯渥等到4点、5点、甚至6点钟。当他从椅子里站起来的时候,天已经快黑了。

“我看她是不会回家了,”他冷冷地说。

“就是这么回事,”他想,“她现在崭露头角了。我就没份了。”嘉莉倒是的确发觉了自己的疏忽,但那时已经是5点1刻了,那辆敞篷马车则远在第七大道上,靠近哈莱姆河边。

“几点钟了?”她问。“我得回去了。”

“5点1刻,”她身边的伙伴看了看一只精致的敞面怀表,说道。

“哦,天哪!”嘉莉叫道。然后,她叹了一口气,又靠在座位上。“无法挽回的事,哭也没用了,”她说,“太迟了。”“是太迟了,”那个青年说,这时他在想象着丰盛的晚餐以及怎样能使谈话愉快,以便在散戏之后能再相聚。他对嘉莉很着迷。“我们现在就去德尔莫尼利饭店吃些东西好吗,奥林?”“当然好啦,”奥林高兴地回答。

嘉莉想到了赫斯渥。以前她从来没有无缘无故就不回家吃晚饭的。

他们乘车往回赶,6点1刻时才坐下来吃饭。这是谢丽饭店那晚餐的重演,嘉莉痛苦地回想起当时的情景。她想起了万斯太太,从那次赫斯渥接待了她之后,就再也没有来过。她还想起了艾姆斯。

她的记忆在这个人身上停住了。这是个强烈而清晰的幻象。他喜欢的书比她看的要好,喜欢的人比她结交的要强。他的那些理想在她的心里燃烧。

“当一个好的女演员的确不错,”她又清楚地听到了这句话。

她算个什么样的女演员呢?

“你在想什么,麦登达小姐?”她的那位快乐的伙伴问道。

“好吧,现在让我看看能否猜得出来。”

“哦,不,”嘉莉说,“别猜了。”

她抛开幻想,吃起饭来。她有些把它忘记了,心情倒也愉快。可是当提到散戏之后再见面的事时,她摇了摇头。

“不,”她说,“我不行。我已经有了约会。”“哦,行的,麦登达小姐,”那青年恳求道。

“不,”嘉莉说,“我不行。你对我真好,可我还得请你原谅我。”那青年看上去垂头丧气极了。

“振作一点,老家伙,”他的朋友对着他的耳朵低声说,“不管怎么样,我们都要去一趟那里。她也许会改变主意的。”




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