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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第四十二章

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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Chapter 42

A TOUCH OF SPRING: THE EMPTY SHELL

Those who look upon Hurstwood's Brooklyn venture as an error of judgment will none the less realise the negative influence on him of the fact that he had tried and failed. Carrie got a wrong idea of it. He said so little that she imagined he had encountered nothing worse than the ordinary roughness -- quitting so soon in the face of this seemed trifling. He did not want to work.

She was now one of a group of oriental beauties who, in the second act of the comic opera, were paraded by the vizier before the new potentate as the treasures of his harem. There was no word assigned to any of them, but on the evening when Hurstwood was housing himself in the loft of the street-car barn, the leading comedian and star, feeling exceedingly facetious, said in a profound voice, which created a ripple of laughter:

"Well, who are you?"

It merely happened to be Carrie who was courtesying before him. It might as well have been any of the others, so far as he was concerned. He expected no answer and a dull one would have been reproved. But Carrie, whose experience and belief in herself gave her daring, courtesied sweetly again and answered:

"I am yours truly."

It was a trivial thing to say, and yet something in the way she did it caught the audience, which laughed heartily at the mock-fierce potentate towering before the young woman. The comedian also liked it, hearing the laughter.

"I thought your name was Smith," he returned, endeavouring to get the last laugh.

Carrie almost trembled for her daring after she had said this. All members of the company had been warned that to interpolate lines or "business" meant a fine or worse. She did not know what to think.

As she was standing in her proper position in the wings, awaiting another entry, the great comedian made his exit past her and paused in recognition.

"You can just leave that in hereafter," he remarked, seeing how intelligent she appeared. "Don't add any more, though."

"Thank you," said Carrie, humbly. When he went on she found herself trembling violently.

"Well, you're in luck," remarked another member of the chorus. "There isn't another one of us has got a line."

There was no gainsaying the value of this. Everybody in the company realised that she had got a start. Carrie hugged herself when next evening the lines got the same applause. She went home rejoicing, knowing that soon something must come of it. It was Hurstwood who, by his presence, caused her merry thoughts to flee and replaced them with sharp longings for an end of distress.

The next day she asked him about his venture.

"They're not trying to run any cars except with police. They don't want anybody just now -- not before next week."

Next week came, but Carrie saw no change. Hurstwood seemed more apathetic than ever. He saw her off mornings to rehearsals and the like with the utmost calm. He read and read. Several times he found himself staring at an item, but thinking of something else. The first of these lapses that he sharply noticed concerned a hilarious party he had once attended at a driving club, of which he had been a member. He sat, gazing downward, and gradually thought he heard the old voices and the clink of glasses.

"You're a dandy, Hurstwood," his friend Walker said. He was standing again well dressed, smiling, good-natured, the recipient of encores for a good story.

All at once he looked up. The room was so still it seemed ghostlike. He heard the clock ticking audibly and half suspected that he had been dozing. The paper was so straight in his hands, however, and the items he had been reading so directly before him, that he rid himself of the doze idea. Still, it seemed peculiar. When it occurred a second time, however, it did not seem quite so strange.

Butcher and grocery man, baker and coal man -- not the group with whom he was then dealing, but those who had trusted him to the limit -- called. He met them all blandly, becoming deft in excuse. At last he became bold, pretended to be out, or waved them off.

"They can't get blood out of a turnip," he said. "If I had it I'd pay them."

Carrie's little soldier friend, Miss Osborne, seeing her succeeding, had become a sort of satellite. Little Osborne could never of herself amount to anything. She seemed to realise it in a sort of pussy-like way and instinctively concluded to cling with her soft little claws to Carrie.

"Oh, you'll get up," she kept telling Carrie with admiration. "You're so good."

Timid as Carrie was, she was strong in capability. The reliance of others made her feel as if she must, and when she must she dared. Experience of the world and of necessity was in her favour. No longer the lightest word of a man made her head dizzy. She had learned that men could change and fail. Flattery in its most palpable form had lost its force with her. It required superiority -- kindly superiority -- to move her -- the superiority of a genius like Ames.

"I don't like the actors in our company," she told Lola one day. "They're all so stuck on themselves."

"Don't you think Mr. Barclay's pretty nice?" inquired Lola, who had received a condescending smile or two from that quarter.

"Oh, he's nice enough," answered Carrie; "but he isn't sincere. He assumes such an air."

Lola felt for her first hold upon Carrie in the following manner:

"Are you paying room-rent where you are?"

"Certainly," answered Carrie. "Why?"

"I know where I could get the loveliest room and bath, cheap. It's too big for me, but it would be just right for two, and the rent is only six dollars a week for both."

"Where?" said Carrie.

"In Seventeenth Street."

"Well, I don't know as I'd care to change," said Carrie, who was already turning over the three-dollar rate in her mind. She was thinking if she had only herself to support this would leave her seventeen for herself.

Nothing came of this until after the Brooklyn adventure of Hurstwood's and her success with the speaking part. Then she began to feel as if she must be free. She thought of leaving Hurstwood and thus making him act for himself, but he had developed such peculiar traits she feared he might resist any effort to throw him off. He might hunt her out at the show and hound her in that way. She did not wholly believe that he would, but he might. This, she knew, would be an embarrassing thing if he made himself conspicuous in any way. It troubled her greatly.

Things were precipitated by the offer of a better part. One of the actresses playing the part of a modest sweetheart gave notice of leaving and Carrie was selected.

"How much are you going to get?" asked Miss Osborne, on hearing the good news.

"I didn't ask him," said Carrie.

"Well, find out. Goodness, you'll never get anything if you don't ask. Tell them you must have forty dollars, anyhow."

"Oh, no," said Carrie.

"Certainly!" exclaimed Lola. "Ask 'em, anyway."

Carrie succumbed to this prompting, waiting, however, until the manager gave her notice of what clothing she must have to fit the part.

"How much do I get?" she inquired.

"Thirty-five dollars," he replied.

Carrie was too much astonished and delighted to think of mentioning forty. She was nearly beside herself, and almost hugged Lola, who clung to her at the news.

"It isn't as much as you ought to get," said the latter, "especially when you've got to buy clothes."

Carrie remembered this with a start. Where to get the money? She had none laid up for such an emergency. Rent day was drawing near.

"I'll not do it," she said, remembering her necessity. "I don't use the flat. I'm not going to give up my money this time. I'll move."

Fitting into this came another appeal from Miss Osborne, more urgent than ever.

"Come live with me, won't you?" she pleaded. "We can have the loveliest room. It won't cost you hardly anything that way."

"I'd like to," said Carrie, frankly.

"Oh, do," said Lola. "We'll have such a good time."

Carrie thought a while.

"I believe I will," she said, and then added: "I'll have to see first, though."

With the idea thus grounded, rent day approaching, and clothes calling for instant purchase, she soon found excuse in Hurstwood's lassitude. He said less and drooped more than ever.

As rent day approached, an idea grew in him. It was fostered by the demands of creditors and the impossibility of holding up many more. Twenty-eight dollars was too much for rent. "It's hard on her," he thought. "We could get a cheaper place."

Stirred with this idea, he spoke at the breakfast table.

"Don't you think we pay too much rent here?" he asked.

"Indeed I do," said Carrie, not catching his drift.

"I should think we could get a smaller place," he suggested. "We don't need four rooms."

Her countenance, had he been scrutinising her, would have exhibited the disturbance she felt at this evidence of his determination to stay by her. He saw nothing remarkable in asking her to come down lower.

"Oh, I don't know," she answered, growing wary.

"There must be places around here where we could get a couple of rooms, which would do just as well."

Her heart revolted. "Never!" she thought. Who would furnish the money to move? To think of being in two rooms with him! She resolved to spend her money for clothes quickly, before something terrible happened. That very day she did it. Having done so, there was but one other thing to do.

"Lola," she said, visiting her friend, "I think I'll come."

"Oh, jolly!" cried the latter.

"Can we get it right away?" she asked, meaning the room.

"Certainly," cried Lola.

They went to look at it. Carrie had saved ten dollars from her expenditures -- enough for this and her board beside. Her enlarged salary would not begin for ten days yet -- would not reach her for seventeen. She paid half of the six dollars with her friend.

"Now, I've just enough to get on to the end of the week," she confided.

"Oh, I've got some," said Lola. "I've got twenty-five dollars, if you need it."

"No," said Carrie. "I guess I'll get along."

They decided to move Friday, which was two days away. Now that the thing was settled, Carrie's heart misgave her. She felt very much like a criminal in the matter. Each day looking at Hurstwood, she had realised that, along with the disagreeableness of his attitude, there was something pathetic.

She looked at him the same evening she had made up her mind to go, and now he seemed not so shiftless and worthless, but run down and beaten upon by chance. His eyes were not keen, his face marked, his hands flabby. She thought his hair had a touch of grey. All unconscious of his doom, he rocked and read his paper, while she glanced at him.

Knowing that the end was so near, she became rather solicitous.

"Will you go over and get some canned peaches?" she asked Hurstwood, laying down a two-dollar bill.

"Certainly," he said, looking in wonder at the money.

"See if you can get some nice asparagus," she added. "I'll cook it for dinner."

Hurstwood rose and took the money, slipping on his overcoat and getting his hat. Carrie noticed that both of these articles of apparel were old and poor looking in appearance. It was plain enough before, but now it came home with peculiar force. Perhaps he couldn't help it, after all. He had done well in Chicago. She remembered his fine appearance the days he had met her in the park. Then he was so sprightly, so clean. Had it been all his fault?

He came back and laid the change down with the food.

"You'd better keep it," she observed. "We'll need other things."

"No," he said, with a sort of pride; "you keep it."

"Oh, go on and keep it," she replied, rather unnerved. "There'll be other things."

He wondered at this, not knowing the pathetic figure he had become in her eyes. She restrained herself with difficulty from showing a quaver in her voice.

To say truly, this would have been Carrie's attitude in any case. She had looked back at times upon her parting from Drouet and had regretted that she had served him so badly. She hoped she would never meet him again, but she was ashamed of her conduct. Not that she had any choice in the final separation. She had gone willingly to seek him, with sympathy in her heart, when Hurstwood had reported him ill. There was something cruel somewhere, and not being able to track it mentally to its logical lair, she concluded with feeling that he would never understand what Hurstwood had done and would see hard-hearted decision in her deed; hence her shame. Not that she cared for him. She did not want to make any one who had been good to her feel badly.

She did not realise what she was doing by allowing these feelings to possess her. Hurstwood, noticing the kindness, conceived better of her. "Carrie's good-natured, anyhow," he thought.

Going to Miss Osborne's that afternoon, she found that little lady packing and singing.

"Why don't you come over with me to-day?" she asked.

"Oh, I can't," said Carrie. "I'll be there Friday. Would you mind lending me the twenty-five dollars you spoke of?"

"Why, no," said Lola, going for her purse.

"I want to get some other things," said Carrie.

"Oh, that's all right," answered the little girl, good-naturedly, glad to be of service.

It had been days since Hurstwood had done more than go to the grocery or to the news-stand. Now the weariness of indoors was upon him -- had been for two days -- but chill, grey weather had held him back. Friday broke fair and warm. It was one of those lovely harbingers of spring, given as a sign in dreary winter that earth is not forsaken of warmth and beauty. The blue heaven, holding its one golden orb, poured down a crystal wash of warm light. It was plain, from the voice of the sparrows, that all was halcyon outside. Carrie raised the front windows, and felt the south wind blowing.

"It's lovely out to-day," she remarked.

"Is it?" said Hurstwood.

After breakfast, he immediately got his other clothes.

"Will you be back for lunch?" asked Carrie, nervously.

"No," he said.

He went out into the streets and tramped north, along Seventh Avenue, idly fixing upon the Harlem River as an objective point. He had seen some ships up there, the time he had called upon the brewers. He wondered how the territory thereabouts was growing.

Passing Fifty-ninth Street, he took the west side of Central Park, which he followed to Seventy-eighth Street. Then he remembered the neighbourhood and turned over to look at the mass of buildings erected. It was very much improved. The great open spaces were filling up. Coming back, he kept to the Park until 110th Street, and then turned into Seventh Avenue again, reaching the pretty river by one o'clock.

There it ran winding before his gaze, shining brightly in the clear light, between the undulating banks on the right and the tall, tree-covered heights on the left. The spring-like atmosphere woke him to a sense of its loveliness, and for a few moments he stood looking at it, folding his hands behind his back. Then he turned and followed it toward the east side, idly seeking the ships he had seen. It was four o'clock before the waning day, with its suggestion of a cooler evening, caused him to return. He was hungry and would enjoy eating in the warm room.

When he reached the flat by half-past five, it was still dark. He knew that Carrie was not there, not only because there was no light showing through the transom, but because the evening papers were stuck between the outside knob and the door. He opened with his key and went in. Everything was still dark. Lighting the gas, he sat down, preparing to wait a little while. Even if Carrie did come now, dinner would be late. He read until six, then got up to fix something for himself.

As he did so, he noticed that the room seemed a little queer. What was it? He looked around, as if he missed something, and then saw an envelope near where he had been sitting. It spoke for itself, almost without further action on his part.

Reaching over, he took it, a sort of chill settling upon him even while he reached. The crackle of the envelope in his hands was loud. Green paper money lay soft within the note.

"Dear George," he read, crunching the money in one hand. "I'm going away. I'm not coming back any more. It's no use trying to keep up the flat; I can't do it. I wouldn't mind helping you, if I could, but I can't support us both, and pay the rent. I need what little I make to pay for my clothes. I'm leaving twenty dollars. It's all I have just now. You can do whatever you like with the furniture. I won't want it. -- Carrie."

He dropped the note and looked quietly round. Now he knew what he missed. It was the little ornamental clock, which was hers. It had gone from the mantel-piece. He went into the front room, his bedroom, the parlour, lighting the gas as he went. From the chiffonier had gone the knick-knacks of silver and plate. From the table-top, the lace coverings. He opened the wardrobe -- no clothes of hers. He opened the drawers -- nothing of hers. Her trunk was gone from its accustomed place. Back in his own room hung his old clothes, just as he had left them. Nothing else was gone.

He stepped onto the parlour and stood for a few moments looking vacantly at the floor. The silence grew oppressive. The little flat seemed wonderfully deserted. He wholly forgot that he was hungry, that it was only dinner-time. It seemed later in the night.

Suddenly, he found that the money was still in his hands. There were twenty dollars in all, as she had said. Now he walked back, leaving the lights ablaze, and feeling as if the flat were empty.

"I'll get out of this," he said to himself.

Then the sheer loneliness of his situation rushed upon him in full.

"Left me!" he muttered, and repeated, "left me!"

The place that had been so comfortable, where he had spent so many days of warmth, was now a memory. Something colder and chillier confronted him. He sank down in his chair, resting his chin in his hand -- mere sensation, without thought, holding him.

Then something like a bereaved affection and self-pity swept over him.

"She needn't have gone away," he said. "I'd have got something."

He sat a long while without rocking, and added quite clearly, out loud:

"I tried, didn't I?"

At midnight he was still rocking, staring at the floor.

第四十二章

春意融融:人去楼空

 


然而,那些认为赫斯渥的布鲁克林之行是个判断错误的人,也将意识到他尝试过并且失败了的事实在他身上产生的消极影响。对这件事情,嘉莉得出了错误的看法。他谈得很少,她还以为他遇到的只不过是些一般的粗暴行为。遇到这种情况,这么快就不干了,真是没意思。他就是不想工作。

她这时在扮演一群东方美女中的一个。在这出喜歌剧的第二幕中,宫廷大臣让这群美女列队从新登基的国王面前走过,炫耀他的这群后宫宝贝。她们中谁都没被指定有台词,但是在赫斯渥睡在电车场的阁楼上的那天晚上,那个演主角的喜剧明星想玩个噱头,就声音洪亮地说:“喂,你是谁呀?”引起了一阵笑声。

只是碰巧这时是嘉莉在他面前行礼。就他而言,原本随便对谁都是一样的。他并不指望听到回答,而且如果回答得笨拙是要挨骂的。但是,嘉莉的经验和自信给了她胆量,她又甜甜地行了个礼,回答说:“我是你忠实的姬妾。”这是一句很平常的话,但是她说这话时的风度却吸引了观众,他们开心地嘲笑着假装凶相、威严地站在这个年轻女人面前的国王。这个喜剧演员听到了笑声,也喜欢这句话。

“我还以为你叫史密斯呢,”他回答说,想博得最后的一阵笑声。

说完这句话,嘉莉几乎被自己的大胆吓得发抖。剧团的全体成员都受过警告,擅自加台词或动作,要受到罚款或更严重的惩罚。她不知如何是好。

当她站在舞台侧面自己的位置上,等待下一次上场时,那位喜剧大师退场从她身边走过,认出了她便停了下来。

“你以后就保留这句台词吧,”他说,看出她显得非常聪明。“不过,别再加什么了。”“谢谢你,”嘉莉毕恭毕敬地说。等他走了,她发现自己在剧烈地颤抖。

“哦,你真走运,”群舞队的另一个队员说,“我们中间没有谁能得到过一句台词。”这件事的重要性是无可置疑的。剧团里人人都意识到她已经开始崭露头角了。第二天晚上,这句台词又博得了喝彩,嘉莉暗自感到庆幸。她回家时非常高兴,知道这事肯定很快就会有好的结果。可是,见到赫斯渥在家,她的那些愉快的想法就被赶跑了。取而代之的是要结束这种痛苦局面的强烈愿望。

第二天,她问他找事做的情况。

“他们不想出车了,除非有警察保护。他们目前不要用人,下星期之前都不要用人。”下一个星期到了,但是嘉莉没见赫斯渥有什么变化。他似乎比以前更显得麻木不仁。他看着嘉莉每天早晨出去参加排练之类的事,冷静到了极点。他只是看报,看报。有几次他发现自己眼睛盯着一则新闻,脑子里却在想着别的事情。他第一次明显地感到这样走神时,他正在回想他曾在骑马俱乐部里参加过的一次狂欢舞会,他当时曾是这个俱乐部的会员。他坐在那里,低着头,渐渐地以为自己听到了往日的人声和碰杯声。

“你太棒了,赫斯渥,”他的朋友沃克说,他又打扮得漂漂亮亮地站在那里,满面笑容,态度和善,刚才讲了一个好听的故事,此刻正在接受旁人的喝彩。

突然他抬头一看,屋里寂静得像是有幽灵一般。他听到时钟清楚的滴嗒声,有些怀疑刚才自己是在打瞌睡。可是,报纸还是笔直地在他手里竖着,刚才看的新闻就在他眼前,于是他打消了认为自己刚才是在打瞌睡的想法。可这事还是很奇怪。

等到第二次又发生这样的事时,似乎就不那么奇怪了肉铺、食品店、面包房和煤炭店的老板们--不是他正在打交道的那些人,而是那些曾最大限度地赊帐给他的人--上门要帐了。他和气地对付所有的这些人,在找借口推托上变得很熟练了。最后,他胆大起来,或是假装不在家,或是挥挥手叫他们走开。

“石头里榨不出油来,”他说,“假如我有钱,我会付给他们的。”嘉莉正在走红。她那个演小兵的朋友奥斯本小姐,已经变得像是她的仆人了。小奥斯本自己不可能有任何作为。她就像小猫一样意识到了这一点,本能地决定要用她那柔软的小爪子抓住嘉莉不放。

“哦,你会红起来的,”她总是这样赞美嘉莉,“你太棒了。”嘉莉虽然胆子很小,但是能力很强。别人对她的信赖使她自己也觉得仿佛一定会红起来,既然她一定会红,她也就胆大了起来。她已经老于世故并经历过贫困,这些都对她有利。她不再会被男人一句无足轻重的话弄得头脑发昏。她已经明白男人也会变化,也会失败。露骨的奉承对她已经失去了作用。

要想打动她,得有高人一等的优势--善意的优势-—像艾姆斯那样的天才的优势。

“我不喜欢我们剧团里的男演员,”一天她告诉萝拉,“他们都太自负了。”“你不认为巴克利先生很好吗?”萝拉问,她曾经得到过这个人恩赐给她的一两次微笑。

“喔,他是不错,”嘉莉回答,“但是他不真诚。他太装模作样了。”萝拉第一次试探着影响嘉莉,用的是以下的方式。

“你住的地方要付房租吗?”

“当然要付,”嘉莉回答。“为什么问这个?”“我知道一个地方能租到最漂亮的房间带浴室,很便宜。

我一个人住太大了,要是两个人合住就正合适,房租两个人每周只要6块钱。

“在哪里?”嘉莉说。

“十七街。”

“可是,我还不知道我是不是想换个地方住,”嘉莉说,脑子里已经在反复考虑那3块钱的房租了。她在想,如果她只需养活她自己,那她就能留下她那17块钱自己用了。

这件事直到赫斯渥从布鲁克林冒险回来而且嘉莉的那句台词获得成功之后才有了下文。这时,她开始感到自己必须得到解脱。她想离开赫斯渥,这样让他自己去奋斗。但是他的性格已经变得很古怪,她怕他可能不会让她离开他的。他可能去戏院找到她,就那样追着她不放。她并不完全相信他会那样做,但是他可能会的。她知道,如果他使自己引起了人们的注意,不管是怎么引起的,这件事都会令她难堪的。这使她十分苦恼。

有一个更好的角色要让她来扮演,这样一来就使情况急转直下了。这个角色是个贤淑的情人,扮演它的女演员提出了辞职,于是嘉莉被选中来补缺。

“你能拿多少钱?”听到这个好消息,奥斯本小姐问道。

“我没有问,”嘉莉说。

“那就去问清楚。天哪,不去问,你什么也得不到的。告诉他们,不管怎样,你都得拿40块钱。”“哦,不,”嘉莉说。

“别不啦!”萝拉叫了起来。“无论如何要问问他们。”嘉莉听从了这个劝告,不过还是一直等到经理通知她扮演这个角色她得有些什么行头的时候。

“我能拿多少钱?”她问。

“35块,”他回答。

嘉莉惊喜至极,竟没想起要提40块钱的事。她高兴得几乎发狂,差一点要拥抱萝拉了。萝拉听到这个消息就粘上了她。

“你应该拿得比这更多,”萝拉说,“尤其是如果你得自备行头的话。”嘉莉想起这事吃了一惊。去哪里弄这一笔钱呢?她没有积蓄能应付这种急需,付房租的日子又快到了。

“我不付房租了,”她说,想起自己的急需。“我用不着这套公寓了。这一次我不会拿出我的钱。我要搬家。”奥斯本小姐的再次恳求来的正是时候,这一次提得比以前更加迫切。

“来和我一起住,好吗?”她恳求说,“我们可以得到最可爱的房间。而且那样你几乎不用花什么钱。”“我很愿意,”嘉莉坦率地说。

“哦,那就来吧,”萝拉说。“我们一定会很快活的。”嘉莉考虑了一会儿。

“我想我会搬的,”她说,然后又加了一句。“不过,我得先看看。”这样打定了这个主意之后,随着付房租的日子的临近,加上购置行头又迫在眉睫,她很快就从赫斯渥的没精打采上找到了借口。他比以前更少说话,更加消沉。

当付房租的日子快到的时候,他心里产生了一个念头。债权人催着要钱,又不可能再往下拖了,于是就有了这个念头。

28块钱的房租实在太多了。“她也够难的,”他想,“我们可以找个便宜一些的地方。”动了这个念头之后,他在早餐桌上开了口。

“你觉得我们这里的房租是不是太贵了?”他问。

“我是觉得太贵了,”嘉莉说,不明白他是什么意思。

“我想我们可以找个小点的地方,”他建议说,“我们不需要四间房子。”这明显地表明他决心和她待在一起,她对此感到不安。如果他在仔细地观察,就会从她的面部表情上看出这一点。他并不认为要求她屈就一些有什么可大惊小怪的。

“哦,这我就不知道了,”她回答,变得谨慎起来。

“这周围肯定有地方能租到两间房子,我们住两间也就够了。”她心里很反感。“不可能的!”她想。谁拿钱来搬家?连想都不敢想和他一起住在两间房子里!她决定尽快把自己的钱花在买行头上,要赶在什么可怕的事情发生之前。就在这一天,她买了行头。这样做了以后,就别无选择了。

“萝拉,”她拜访她的朋友时说,“我看我要搬来了。”“啊,太好了!”后者大叫起来。

“我们马上就能拿到手吗?”她问,指的是房子。

“当然罗,”萝拉嚷道。

她们去看了房子。嘉莉从自己的开支中省下了10块钱,够付房租而且还够吃饭的。她的薪水要等十天以后才开始增加,要等十七天后才能到她的手中。她和她的朋友各付了6块钱房租的一半。

“现在,我的钱只够用到这个周末了,”她坦白说。

“哦,我还有一些,”萝拉说。“如果你要用,我还有25块钱。”“不用,”嘉莉说。“我想我能对付的。”她们决定星期五搬家,也就是两天以后。现在事情已经定了下来,嘉莉却感到心中不安起来。她觉得自己在这件事情上很像是一个罪犯。每天看看赫斯渥,她发现他的态度虽然令人生厌,但也有些叫人可怜的地方。

就在她打定主意要走的当天晚上,她看着他,发现这时的他不再显得那么既无能又无用,而只不过是被倒霉的运气压垮和打败了。他目光呆滞,满脸皱纹,双手无力。她觉得他的头发也有些灰白了。当她看着他时,他对自己的厄运毫无察觉,坐在摇椅里边摇边看着纸。

她知道这一切即将结束,反倒变得很有些放心不下了。

“你出去买些罐头桃子好吗?”她问赫斯渥,放下一张2块钱的钞票。

“当然可以,”他说,惊讶地看着钱。

“你看看能不能买些好芦笋,”她补充说,“我要用来做晚饭。”赫斯渥站起来,拿了钱,匆忙穿上大衣,又拿了帽子。嘉莉注意到他这两件穿戴的东西都已经旧了,看上去很寒酸。这在以前显得很平常,但是现在却使她觉得特别地触目惊心。也许他实在是没有办法。他在芝加哥干得很好的。她回想起他在公园里和她约会的那些日子里他那堂堂的仪容。那时候,他是那么生气勃勃、衣冠整洁。难道这一切全是他的错吗?

他回来了,把找头和食物一起放下。

“还是你拿着吧,”她说,“我们还要买别的东西。”“不,”他说,口气里带着点自尊,“你拿着。”“哦,你就拿着吧,”她回答,真有些气馁。“还有别的东西要买。”他对此感到惊奇,不知道自己在她眼里已经变成了一个可怜虫。她努力克制住自己,不让自己的声音发抖。

说实话,对待任何事情,嘉莉的态度都是这样。她有时也回想起自己离开杜洛埃,待他那么不好,感到很后悔。她希望自己永远不要再见到他,但她对自己的行为却感到羞愧。这倒不是说在最后分手时,她还有什么别的选择。当赫斯渥说他受伤时,她是怀着一颗同情的心,自愿去找他的。然而在某个方面曾有过某些残忍之处,可她又无法按照逻辑推理来想出究竟残忍在哪里,于是她就凭感觉断定,她永远不会理解赫斯渥的所作所为,而只会从她的行为上看出她在作决定时心肠有多么硬。因此她感到羞愧。这倒不是说她还对他有情。她只是不想让任何曾经善待过她的人感到难过而已。

她并没有意识到她这样让这些感情缠住自己是在做些什么。赫斯渥注意到了她的善意,把她想得好了一些。“不管怎么说,嘉莉还是好心肠的。”他想。

那天下午,她去奥斯本小姐的住处,看见这位小姐正在边唱歌边收拾东西。

“你为什么不和我一道今天就搬呢?”她问道。

“哦,我不行,”嘉莉说。“我星期五会到那里的。你愿意把你说过的那25块钱借给我吗?”“噢,当然愿意,”萝拉说着,就去拿自己的钱包。

“我想买些其它的东西,”嘉莉说。

“哦,这没问题,”这位小姑娘友善地回答,很高兴能帮上忙。

赫斯渥已经有好些天除了跑跑食品店和报摊以外,整天无所事事了,现在他已厌倦了待在室内--这样已有两天了--可是寒冷、阴暗的天气又使他不敢出门。星期五天放晴了,暖和起来。这是一个预示着春天即将到来的可爱的日子。

这样的日子在阴冷的冬天出现,表明温暖和美丽并没有抛弃大地。蓝蓝的天空托着金色的太阳,洒下一片水晶般明亮温暖的光辉。可以听得见麻雀的叫声,显然外面是一片平静。嘉莉打开前窗,迎面吹来一阵南风。

“今天外面的天气真好,”她说。

“是吗?”赫斯渥说。

早饭后,他立刻换上了别的衣服。

“你回来吃中饭吗?”嘉莉紧张地问。

“不,”他说。

他出门来到街上,沿着第七大道朝北走去,随意选定了哈莱姆河作为目的地。他那次去拜访酿酒厂时,曾看见河上有几条船。他想看看那一带地区发展得怎么样了。

过了五十九街,他沿着中央公园的西边走到七十八街。这时,他想起了他们原来住的那块地方,就拐过去看看那一大片建起的高楼。这里已经大为改观。那些大片的空地已经造满了房子。他倒回来,沿着公园一直走到一百一十街,然后又拐进了第七大道,1点钟时才到达那条美丽的河边。

他注视着眼前的这条河流,右边是起伏不平的河岸,左边是丛林密布的高地,它就在这中间蜿蜒流去,在灿烂的阳光下闪闪发亮。这里春天般的气息唤醒了他,使他感觉到了这条河的可爱。于是,他背着双手,站了一会儿,看着河流。然后,他转身沿着河朝东区走去,漫不经心地寻找着他曾看见过的船只。等到他发现白天就要过去,夜晚可能转凉,想起要回去的时候,已经是4点钟了。这时他饿了,想坐在温暖的房间里好好地吃上一顿。

当他5点半钟回到公寓时,屋里还是黑的。他知道嘉莉不在家,不仅因为门上的气窗没有透出灯光,而且晚报还塞在门外的把手和门之间。他用钥匙打开门,走了进去。里面一片漆黑。他点亮煤气灯,坐了下来,准备等一小会儿。即使嘉莉现在就回来,也要很晚才能吃饭了。他看报看到6点钟。然后站起身来去弄点东西给自己吃。

他起身时,发觉房间里似乎有些异样。这是怎么啦?他看了看四周,觉得像是少了什么东西。然后,看见了一个信封放在靠近他坐的位置的地方。这个信封本身就说明了问题,几乎用不着他再做什么了。

他伸手过去拿起信封。他在伸手的时候,就浑身打了个寒战。信封拿在他手里发出很响的沙沙声。柔软的绿色钞皮夹在信里。

“亲爱的乔治,”他看着信,一只手把钞票捏得嘎吱响。“我要走了。我不再回来了。不用再设法租这套公寓了,我负担不起。倘若我能做得到的话,我会乐意帮你的,但是我无法维持我们两个人的生活,而且还要付房租。我要用我挣的那点钱来买衣服。我留下20块钱。我眼下只有这么多。家具任由你处理,我不要的。嘉莉。”他把信放下,默默地看了看四周。现在他知道少了什么了。是只当做摆设的小钟,那是她的东西。它已经不在壁炉台上了。他走进前房间、他的卧室和客厅,边走边点亮煤气灯。五斗橱上,不见了那些银制的和金属品做的小玩意儿。桌面上,没有了花边台布。他打开衣橱—-她的衣服不见了。他拉开抽屉--她的东西没有了。她的箱子也从老地方失踪了。回到他自己的房间里看看,他挂在那里的自己的旧衣服都还在原来的地方。其它的东西也没少。

他走进客厅站了一会儿,茫然地看着地板。屋里寂静得开始让人觉得透不过起来。这套小公寓看上去出奇地荒凉。他完全忘记了自己还饿着肚子,忘记了这时还是吃晚饭的时候,仿佛已经是深夜了。

他突然发现自己手里还拿着那些钞票。一共是20块钱,和她说的一样。这时他走了回来,让那些煤气灯继续亮着,感觉这套公寓像是空洞洞的。

“我要离开这里,”他对自己说。

此刻,想到自己的处境,一种无限凄凉的感觉猛然袭上他的心头。

“扔下了我!”他咕哝着,并且重复了一句。“扔下了我!”这个地方曾经是多么的舒适,在这里他曾经度过了多少温暖的日子,可如今这已经成了往事。他正面临着某种更加寒冷、更加凄凉的东西。他跌坐在摇椅里,用手托着下巴--没有思想,只有感觉把他牢牢地抓祝于是,一种类似失去亲人和自我怜悯的感觉控制了他。

“她没有必要出走的,”他说,“我会找到事做的。”他坐了很久,没有摇摇椅,然后很清楚地大声补充说:“我尝试过的,不是吗?”半夜了,他还坐在摇椅里摇着,盯着地板发呆。




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