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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第四十三章

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Chapter 43

THE WORLD TURNS FLATTERER: AN EYE IN THE DARK

 

Installed in her comfortable room, Carrie wondered how Hurstwood had taken her departure. She arranged a few things hastily and then left for the theatre, half expecting to encounter him at the door. Not finding him, her dread lifted, and she felt more kindly toward him. She quite forgot him until about to come out, after the show, when the chance of his being there frightened her. As day after day passed and she heard nothing at all, the thought of being bothered by him passed. In a little while she was, except for occasional thoughts, wholly free of the gloom with which her life had been weighed in the flat.

It is curious to note how quickly a profession absorbs one. Carrie became wise in theatrical lore, hearing the gossip of little Lola. She learned what the theatrical papers were, which ones published items about actresses and the like. She began to read the newspaper notices, not only of the opera in which she had so small a part, but of others. Gradually the desire for notice took hold of her. She longed to be renowned like others, and read with avidity all the complimentary or critical comments made concerning others high in her profession. The showy world in which her interest lay completely absorbed her.

It was about this time that the newspapers and magazines were beginning to pay that illustrative attention to the beauties of the stage which has since become fervid. The newspapers, and particularly the Sunday newspapers, indulged in large decorative theatrical pages, in which the faces and forms of well-known theatrical celebrities appeared, enclosed with artistic scrolls. The magazines also -- or at least one or two of the newer ones -- published occasional portraits of pretty stars, and now and again photos of scenes from various plays. Carrie watched these with growing interest. When would a scene from her opera appear? When would some paper think her photo worth while?

The Sunday before taking her new part she scanned the theatrical pages for some little notice. It would have accorded with her expectations if nothing had been said, but there in the squibs, tailing off several more substantial items, was a wee notice. Carrie read it with a tingling body:

The part of Katisha, the country maid, in "The Wives of Abdul" at the Broadway, heretofore played by Inez Carew, will be hereafter filled by Carrie Madenda, one of the cleverest members of the chorus.

Carrie hugged herself with delight. Oh, wasn't it just fine! At last! The first, the long-hoped for, the delightful notice! And they called her clever. She could hardly restrain herself from laughing loudly. Had Lola seen it?

"They've got a notice here of the part I'm going to play tomorrow night," said Carrie to her friend.

"Oh, jolly! Have they?" cried Lola, running to her. "That's all right," she said, looking. "You'll get more now, if you do well. I had my picture in the 'World' once."

"Did you?" asked Carrie.

"Did I? Well, I should say," returned the little girl. "They had a frame around it."

Carrie laughed.

"They've never published my picture."

"But they will," said Lola. "You'll see. You do better than most that get theirs in now."

Carrie felt deeply grateful for this. She almost loved Lola for the sympathy and praise she extended. It was so helpful to her -- so almost necessary.

Fulfilling her part capably brought another notice in the papers that she was doing her work acceptably. This pleased her immensely. She began to think the world was taking note of her.

The first week she got her thirty-five dollars, it seemed an enormous sum. Paving only three dollars for room rent seemed ridiculous. After giving Lola her twenty-five, she still had seven dollars left. With four left over from previous earnings, she had eleven. Five of this went to pay the regular installment on the clothes she had to buy. The next week she was even in greater feather. Now, only three dollars need be paid for room rent and five on her clothes. The rest she had for food and her own whims.

"You'd better save a little for summer," cautioned Lola. "We'll probably close in May."

"I intend to," said Carrie.

The regular entrance of thirty-five dollars a week to one who has endured scant allowances for several years is a demoralising thing. Carrie found her purse bursting with good green bills of comfortable denominations. Having no one dependent upon her, she began to buy pretty clothes and pleasing trinkets, to eat well, and to ornament her room. Friends were not long in gathering about. She met a few young men who belonged to Lola's staff. The members of the opera company made her acquaintance without the formality of introduction. One of these discovered a fancy for her. On several occasions he strolled home with her.

"Let's stop in and have a rarebit," he suggested one midnight.

"Very well," said Carrie.

In the rosy restaurant, filled with the merry lovers of late hours, she found herself criticising this man. He was too stilted, too self-opinionated. He did not talk of anything that lifted her above the common run of clothes and material success. When it was all over, he smiled most graciously.

"Got to go straight home, have you?" he said.

"Yes," she answered, with an air of quiet understanding.

"She's not so inexperienced as she looks," he thought, and thereafter his respect and ardour were increased.

She could not help sharing in Lola's love for a good time. There were days when they went carriage riding, nights when after the show they dined, afternoons when they strolled along Broadway, tastefully dressed. She was getting in the metropolitan whirl of pleasure.

At last her picture appeared in one of the weeklies. She had not known of it, and it took her breath. "Miss Carrie Madenda," it was labelled. "One of the favourites of 'The Wives of Abdul' company." At Lola's advice she had had some pictures taken by Sarony. They had got one there. She thought of going down and buying a few copies of the paper, but remembered that there was no one she knew well enough to send them to. Only Lola, apparently, in all the world was interested.

The metropolis is a cold place socially, and Carrie soon found that a little money brought her nothing. The world of wealth and distinction was quite as far away as ever. She could feel that there was no warm, sympathetic friendship back of the easy merriment with which many approached her. All seemed to be seeking their own amusement, regardless of the possible sad consequence to others. So much for the lessons of Hurstwood and Drouet.

In April she learned that the opera would probably last until the middle or the end of May, according to the size of the audiences. Next season it would go on the road. She wondered if she would be with it. As usual, Miss Osborne, owing to her moderate salary, was for securing a home engagement.

"They're putting on a summer play at the Casino," she announced, after figuratively putting her ear to the ground. "Let's try and get in that."

"I'm willing," said Carrie.

They tried in time and were apprised of the proper date to apply again. That was May 16th. Meanwhile their own show closed May 5th.

"Those that want to go with the show next season," said the manager, "will have to sign this week."

"Don't you sign," advised Lola. "I wouldn't go."

"I know," said Carrie, "but maybe I can't get anything else."

"Well, I won't," said the little girl, who had a resource in her admirers. "I went once and I didn't have anything at the end of the season."

Carrie thought this over. She had never been on the road.

"We can get along," added Lola. "I always have."

Carrie did not sign.

The manager who was putting on the summer skit at the Casino had never heard of Carrie, but the several notices she had received, her published picture, and the programme bearing her name had some little weight with him. He gave her a silent part at thirty dollars a week.

"Didn't I tell you?" said Lola. "It doesn't do you any good to go away from New York. They forget all about you if you do."

Now, because Carrie was pretty, the gentlemen who made up the advance illustrations of shows about to appear for the Sunday papers selected Carrie's photo along with others to illustrate the announcement. Because she was very pretty, they gave it excellent space and drew scrolls about it. Carrie was delighted. Still, the management did not seem to have seen anything of it. At least, no more attention was paid to her than before. At the same time there seemed very little in her part. It consisted of standing around in all sorts of scenes, a silent little Quakeress. The author of the skit had fancied that a great deal could be made of such a part, given to the right actress, but now, since it had been doled out to Carrie, he would as leave have had it cut out.

"Don't kick, old man," remarked the manager. "If it don't go the first week we will cut it out."

Carrie had no warning of this halcyon intention. She practised her part ruefully, feeling that she was effectually shelved. At the dress rehearsal she was disconsolate.

"That isn't so bad," said the author, the manager noting the curious effect which Carrie's blues had upon the part. "Tell her to frown a little more when Sparks dances."

Carrie did not know it, but there was the least show of wrinkles between her eyes and her mouth was puckered quaintly.

"Frown a little more, Miss Madenda," said the stage manager.

Carrie instantly brightened up, thinking he had meant it as a rebuke.

"No; frown," he said. "Frown as you did before."

Carrie looked at him in astonishment.

"I mean it," he said. "Frown hard when Mr. Sparks dances. I want to see how it looks."

It was easy enough to do. Carrie scowled. The effect was something so quaint and droll it caught even the manager.

"That is good," he said. "If she'll do that all through, I think it will take."

Going over to Carrie, he said:

"Suppose you try frowning all through. Do it hard. Look mad. It'll make the part really funny."

On the opening night it looked to Carrie as if there were nothing to her part, after all. The happy, sweltering audience did not seem to see her in the first act. She frowned and frowned, but to no effect. Eyes were riveted upon the more elaborate efforts of the stars.

In the second act, the crowd, wearied by a dull conversation, roved with its eyes about the stage and sighted her. There she was, gray-suited, sweet-faced, demure, but scowling. At first the general idea was that she was temporarily irritated, that the look was genuine and not fun at all. As she went on frowning, looking now at one principal and now at the other, the audience began to smile. The portly gentlemen in the front rows began to feel that she was a delicious little morsel. It was the kind of frown they would have loved to force away with kisses. All the gentlemen yearned toward her. She was capital.

At last, the chief comedian, singing in the centre of the stage, noticed a giggle where it was not expected. Then another and another. When the place came for loud applause it was only moderate. What could be the trouble? He realised that something was up.

All at once, after an exit, he caught sight of Carrie. She was frowning alone on the stage and the audience was giggling and laughing.

"By George, I won't stand that!" thought the thespian. "I'm not going to have my work cut up by some one else. Either she quits that when I do my turn or I quit."

"Why, that's all right," said the manager, when the kick came. "That's what she's supposed to do. You needn't pay any attention to that."

"But she ruins my work."

"No, she don't," returned the former, soothingly. "It's only a little fun on the side."

"It is, eh?" exclaimed the big comedian. "She killed my hand all right. I'm not going to stand that."

"Well, wait until after the show. Wait until tomorrow. We'll see what we can do."

The next act, however, settled what was to be done. Carrie was the chief feature of the play. The audience, the more it studied her, the more it indicated its delight. Every other feature paled beside the quaint, teasing, delightful atmosphere which Carrie contributed while on the stage. Manager and company realised she had made a hit.

The critics of the daily papers completed her triumph. There were long notices in praise of the quality of the burlesque, touched with recurrent references to Carrie. The contagious mirth of the thing was repeatedly emphasised.

"Miss Madenda presents one of the most delightful bits of character work ever seen on the Casino stage," observed the sage critic of the "Sun." "It is a bit of quiet, unassuming drollery which warms like good wine. Evidently the part was not intended to take precedence, as Miss Madenda is not often on the stage, but the audience, with the characteristic perversity of such bodies, selected for itself. The little Quakeress was marked for a favourite the moment she appeared, and thereafter easily held attention and applause. The vagaries of fortune are indeed curious."

The critic of the "Evening World," seeking as usual to establish a catch phrase which should "go" with the town, wound up by advising: "If you wish to be merry, see Carrie frown."

The result was miraculous so far as Carrie's fortune was concerned. Even during the morning she received a congratulatory message from the manager.

"You seem to have taken the town by storm," he wrote. "This is delightful. I am as glad for your sake as for my own."

The author also sent word.

That evening when she entered the theatre the manager had a most pleasant greeting for her.

"Mr. Stevens," he said, referring to the author, "is preparing a little song, which he would like you to sing next week."

"Oh, I can't sing," returned Carrie.

"It isn't anything difficult. 'It's something that is very simple,' he says, 'and would suit you exactly.'"

"Of course, I wouldn't mind trying," said Carrie, archly.

"Would you mind coming to the box-office a few moments before you dress?" observed the manager, in addition. "There's a little matter I want to speak to you about."

"Certainly," replied Carrie.

In that latter place the manager produced a paper.

"Now, of course," he said, "we want to be fair with you in the matter of salary. Your contract here only calls for thirty dollars a week for the next three months. How would it do to make it, say, one hundred and fifty a week and extend it for twelve months?"

"Oh, very well," said Carrie, scarcely believing her ears.

"Supposing, then, you just sign this."

Carrie looked and beheld a new contract made out like the other one, with the exception of the new figures of salary and time. With a hand trembling from excitement she affixed her name.

"One hundred and fifty a week!" she murmured, when she was again alone. She found, after all -- as what millionaire has not? -- that there was no realising, in consciousness, the meaning of large sums. It was only a shimmering, glittering phrase in which lay a world of possibilities.

Down in a third-rate Bleecker Street hotel, the brooding Hurstwood read the dramatic item covering Carrie's success, without at first realising who was meant. Then suddenly it came to him and he read the whole thing over again.

"That's her, all right, I guess," he said.

Then he looked about upon a dingy, moth-eaten hotel lobby.

"I guess she's struck it," he thought, a picture of the old shiny, plush-covered world coming back, with its lights, its ornaments, its carriages, and flowers. Ah, she was in the walled city now! Its splendid gates had opened, admitting her from a cold, dreary outside. She seemed a creature afar off -- like every other celebrity he had known.

"Well, let her have it," he said. "I won't bother her."

It was the grim resolution of a bent, bedraggled, but unbroken pride.

 

第四十三章

赞誉的海洋:黑暗中的眼睛

 


嘉莉在她那舒适的房间里安顿了下来,这时她在想不知道赫斯渥会怎样看待她的出走。她把几件东西匆匆摆好后,就动身去戏院,心里有些料想会在戏院门口碰到他。因为没有发现他,她的恐惧心理消失了,于是她感觉对他更加友好了一些。她几乎把他忘了,直到散戏后准备出来时,想到他可能趁这个机会等在那里,她又感到害怕了。一天又一天过去了,她没有听到任何消息,这样一来打消了他会来找她麻烦的想法。

过了不久,除了偶尔想起以外,她完全摆脱了在公寓里时那种压在她生活上的忧愁。

如果你注意到一种职业会有多快就能把一个人完全吸引住的话,你会感到奇怪的。听着小萝拉的闲言碎语,嘉莉开始了解戏剧界的情况了。她知道了戏剧界的报纸是个什么样子,哪些报纸刊登有关女演员的新闻和类似的东西。她开始看报纸上的那些评论介绍,不单是有关她在其中扮演一个很小的角色的那出歌剧的,也看其它的。渐渐地,她心里充满了想上报的愿望。她渴望自己也像别人一样有名,并且贪婪地阅读一切有关她这一行里那些名角儿的褒贬评论。她所神往的这个花花世界完全把她吸引住了。

差不多也就在这个时候,报纸和杂志开始将舞台上的美人的照片用作插图,而且此后这种作法形成了热潮。装饰性很强的带有插图的大幅戏剧版面充斥了各种报纸,特别是星期日版报纸,这些版面上刊登出戏剧界大名角儿的半身和全身照片,照片四周还饰有艺术花边。杂志--或者至少是一两种较新的杂志--也偶尔刊登漂亮名角儿的照片,时而还刊登各剧的剧照。嘉莉看着这些,兴趣越来越大。什么时候会登出一幅她正在演的那出歌剧的剧照呢?什么时候会有份报纸认为她的照片值得一登呢?

在她出演新角色之前的那个星期天,她浏览了报纸上的戏剧版,想看看会不会有什么短的介绍。倘若报上只字不提,也是在她的意料之中的,但是在那些小新闻中,接在几则较为重要的新闻之后,还真有一段很短的介绍。嘉莉看的时候,全身都激动起来。

正在百老汇戏院上演的《阿布都尔的后妃》一剧中的乡下姑娘卡蒂莎一角,原由伊内兹·卡鲁扮演,今后将由群舞队中最伶俐的队员嘉莉·麦登达担任。

嘉莉高兴地为自己感到庆幸。啊,这可是太好了!终于上报了!这生平第一次的、盼望已久的、令人愉快的报纸介绍!而且他们说她伶俐。她都忍不住想放声大笑一常不知萝拉看见了没有?

“这张报纸登了关于明晚我要扮演新角色的介绍。”嘉莉对她的朋友说。

“哦,好极了!是真的登了?”萝拉喊着,朝她跑来。“这就好了,”她说,看看报纸。“现在只要你演得好,报上的评论会更多的。我的照片有一次登在《世界报》上。”“这是真的?”嘉莉问。

“什么这是真的?哦,据我看是真的,”小姑娘回答,“他们还在照片四周饰了花边。”嘉莉笑了。

“报上还从未登过我的照片呢。”

“但是会登的,”萝拉说,“你就等着瞧吧。你演得比现在大多数登过照片的人都要好。”听到这话,嘉莉深深地觉得感激。她差不多要爱上萝拉了,因为萝拉给了她同情和赞美。这对她十分有益,而且几乎是十分必要的。

她扮演这个角色所展示的才能又引来了报纸的另一段评论,说她的表演受到欢迎。这使她高兴万分。她开始认为自己正在引起世人的注意。

她第一个星期拿到她那35块钱的时候,觉得这是一个巨大的数目。付房租只要花3块钱。说起来似乎很可笑。把借萝拉的那25块钱还掉之后,她还剩下7块钱。加上以前余下的4块钱,她已经有了11块钱。其中的5块钱被用来付她非买不可的行头的分期付款。第二个星期她更加情绪高涨。现在只要付3块钱的房租和5块钱的行头。剩下的钱她用来吃饭和买一些自己喜欢的东西。

“你最好攒一点钱夏天用,”萝拉提醒道。“我们可能在5月份停演的。”“我会攒的,”嘉莉说。

每星期35块钱的固定收入,对一个几年来一直忍受着靠几个零花钱过日子的人,是会产生消极影响的。嘉莉发现自己的钱包里装满了面值可观的绿色钞票。没有人要靠她养活,因此她开始购买漂亮的衣服和可爱的小玩意儿,开始吃好的,并装饰自己的房间,不久她的身边就聚集了一些朋友。她和萝拉的那伙人中的几个青年见了面。剧团的男演员也未经正式介绍就结识了她。其中的一个还迷上了她。有几次他陪她走回家。

“我们停一下,进去吃点点心吧,”一天午夜,他建议说。

“很好,”嘉莉说。

餐馆里被灯光照成了玫瑰色,坐满了喜欢夜里出来寻欢作乐的人。她发现自己在挑这个男人的毛玻他太做作,太固执己见了。他和她的谈话从未超出一般的服饰和物质成就的话题。点心吃完时,他极有礼貌地笑了笑。

“你得直接回家,是吗?”他说。

“是的,”她回答,露出心领神会的神气。

“她可不像看上去那样幼稚,”他想,从此对她更加尊重和热情。

她难免受到萝拉的爱好的影响,和她一起寻欢作乐。有些白天,她们出去乘马车兜风;有些夜晚,她们在散戏之后去吃宵夜;有些下午,她们打扮得十分雅致,在百老汇大街上散步。

她正投身于这大都市的欢乐的漩涡之中。

终于有一家周报登出了她的照片。她事先不知道,所以这张照片还让她吃了一惊。照片附有简短的说明:“嘉莉·麦登达小姐,上演《阿布都尔的后妃》的剧团的红演员之一。”她听从萝拉的劝告,曾经请萨罗尼为她拍了几张照片。他们登出了一张。她想去街上买几份这张报纸,但是又想起自己没有什么很熟的朋友可以送的。在这个世界上,显然只有萝拉一个人对此感兴趣。

从社交方面看,大都市是个冷酷的地方,嘉莉很快就发现有一点钱并没有带给她任何东西。富人和名人的世界还是和以前一样可望而不可及。她能够感觉得到,很多接近她的人所表现的那份悠闲快乐的背后,并没有任何温暖的、富于同情心的友谊。所有的人似乎都在自寻其乐,不顾可能给别人带来悲伤的后果。赫斯渥和杜洛埃给她的教训已经够多的了。

4月里,她得知歌剧可能演到5月中旬或者5月底结束,这要根据观众多少而定。下个季度就要出去巡回演出。她不知道自己是否跟着去。奥斯本小姐则因为自己的薪水不高,照例想在本地另签演出合同。

“卡西诺戏院将在夏季上演一出戏,”她出去打听了一下情况后,宣布说,“我们试试去那里找个角色。”“我很乐意,”嘉莉说。

她们及时去联系,并被告知了再去申请的合适时间。这个时间是5月16日。而她们自己的演出5月5日就结束。

“凡是下季度愿意随团外出演出的人,”经理说,“都得在这个星期签约。”“你别签,”萝拉劝道,“我不会去的。”“我知道,”嘉莉说,“可是也许我找不到别的事做。”“哼,我可不去,”这个小姑娘说,她有些捧场的人能帮她的忙。“我去过一次,一个季度演到头却毫无收获。”嘉莉考虑了一下这件事。她从来没有出去巡回演出过。

“我们能混下去的,”萝拉补充说,“我总是这样过来的。”嘉莉没有签约。

那个要在夏季在卡西诺戏院上演滑稽剧的经理,从未听说过嘉莉,但是报上对她的那几次介绍、登出的照片以及有她名字的节目单,对他产生了一些的影响。他按30块钱的周薪分给她一个没有台词的角色。

“我不是告诉过你吗?”萝拉说,“离开纽约不会对你有任何好处。你一走,人们就把你全忘了。”这时,那些在星期日版报纸上刊登插图预告即将上演的戏剧的先生们,因为嘉莉容貌美丽,选中了她和其他一些演员的照片作为这出戏的预告的插图。因为她长得非常漂亮,他们把她的照片放在显著的位置,四周还饰了花边。嘉莉很高兴。

可是,剧团经理部的人似乎并没有从中看出什么。至少,对她并不比以前更为重视。同时,她演的这个角色简直没什么可演的。这个角色是一个没有台词的教友会小教徒,只是在各场戏中站在一边。剧作家原来设想如果找到合适的女演员担任这个角色,这个角色的戏会大有看头,但是现在既然这个角色胡乱分给了嘉莉,他倒宁愿砍了这个角色。

“别抱怨了,老朋友,”经理说,“如果第一个星期演不好的话,我们就砍了它。”嘉莉事先一点不知道这个息事宁人的主意。她懊丧地排练着自己的角色,觉得自己实际上是被闲置在一边。彩排时她闷闷不乐。

“并不太糟嘛,”剧作家说,经理也注意到嘉莉的忧郁使这个角色产生了奇妙的效果。“告诉她在斯派克斯跳舞的时候,眉头再皱紧一些。”嘉莉自己并不知道,但是在她的眉间稍稍出现了一些皱纹,而且她的嘴也很奇特地撅着。

“再皱紧一点眉头,麦登达小姐,”舞台监督说。

嘉莉立刻露出高兴的脸色,以为他的意思是在指责她。

“不对,要皱眉,”他说,“像你刚才那样皱眉。”嘉莉吃惊地看着他。

“我真的要你皱眉头,”他说,“等斯派克斯先生跳舞的时候,使劲地邹起眉头。我要看看效果怎么样。”这太容易做到了。嘉莉做出愁眉苦脸的样子。效果十分奇妙而可笑,连经理也被吸引住了。

“这样很好,”他说,“要是她能这样做到底,我看会成功的。”他走到嘉莉面前说:“你就一直皱着眉头。使劲地皱着。做出非常生气的样子。

这样就会使这个角色很引人发笑了。”

开演的那天晚上,嘉莉觉得似乎自己演的角色终究还是无足轻重。那些快乐、狂热的观众在第一幕里好像都没有看见她。她把眉头皱了又皱。但是什么效果也没有。观众的目光都集中在那些主角们的精心表演上。

在第二幕里,观众们因为听厌了一段枯燥无味的对白,目光开始在舞台上扫来扫去,于是就看见了她。她就在那里,穿着灰色的衣服,漂亮的脸上显得严肃而忧郁。起初,大家都以为她是一时不高兴,表情是真的,一点也不觉得可笑。但她一直皱着眉头,时而看看这个主角,时而又看看那个主角。这时,观众开始发笑了。前排的那些大腹便便的绅士们开始觉得她是一个可人的小东西。她的那种皱眉正是他们乐于用亲吻来抚平的。所有的男人都向往着她。她演得真是棒极了。

最后,那个正在舞台中心演唱的主要喜剧演员,注意到在不该笑的时候有人发出一阵咯咯的笑声。然后,一阵又是一阵。到了应该博得高声喝彩的地方,听到的喝彩声却不大。是怎么回事呢?他知道是出了问题。

一次下场后,他突然看见了嘉莉。她独自在舞台上皱着眉头,而观众有的在咯咯地笑,有的则在放声大笑。

“天哪,我可受不了这个!”这个演员想,“我可不要别人来搅了我的演出。要么我演的时候她不要这么干,要么我就不干了。”“咳,这没什么嘛,”当听到抗议时,经理说道。“那是她该做的。你不用理睬的。”“可是她毁了我的演出。”“不,她没有,”前者安慰说,“那只不过是附加的一点笑料。”“真是这样吗?”这个大喜剧演员嚷了起来,“她害得我一点也使不出身手。我不会容忍的。”“行啦,等戏演完了再说吧。等明天再说,让我们看看该怎么办。”可是,到了下一幕,就决定了该怎么办了。嘉莉成了这出戏的主要特色。观众越是仔细地观察她,就越明显地表示出对她的喜爱。嘉莉在舞台上给观众带来的那种奇特、撩人、愉快的气氛,使得这出戏的其它特色都相形见绌。经理和整个剧团都意识到她获得了成功。

那些报纸上的剧评家使她的成功更为圆满。有些长篇评论称赞这出滑稽剧的演出质量,一再提到嘉莉。并且反复强调了剧中那富有感染力的笑料。

“麦登达小姐在卡西诺戏院舞台上的特殊性格角色的表演是迄今在该戏院上演的此类演出中的最喜人的一段,"《太阳报》的德高望重的剧评家如是说。”这是一段既不哗众取宠又不矫揉造作的滑稽表演,像美酒一样温馨。显然这个角色原来并不想占有重要的地位,因为麦登达小姐不常出常但是观众却以其特有的癖好,做出了自己的选择。这个教友会小教徒的与众不同之处在于,她一出场就受到了青睐,而且此后很轻松地引人注目并博得喝彩。命运的变化莫测真是不可思议。“《世界晚报》的剧评家,照例想创造一个能风靡全城的警句,就用这样的建议作为结束语:“如果你想不发愁,请看嘉莉皱眉头。"就嘉莉的命运而言,这一切产生了奇迹般的效果,就在那天早晨,她收到经理的贺信。

“你就像风暴一样席卷了全城,”他写道,“这很可喜。我为你,也为我自己感到高兴。”剧作家也有信来。

那天晚上,当她走进戏院时,经理极其和悦地招呼她。

“史蒂文斯先生,”他说,指的是那位剧作家,“正在写一首小曲子,想要你下个星期演唱。”“哎呀,我不会唱歌,”嘉莉回答。

“这事并不难。那是一首很简单的曲子,”他说,“你唱正合适。”“当然可以,我愿意试试,”嘉莉伶俐地说。

“你化妆之前到票房里来一下好吗?”经理又补充说,“我有点小事想和你谈谈。”“我一定来,”嘉莉回答。

在票房里,经理拿出一张纸。

“现在,当然罗,”他说道,“我们不想在薪水上亏待你。按照你在这里的合同,今后的三个月里你每周只有30块钱。如果把它定为,比如说每周150块钱,并把合同期延长到十二个月,你看怎么样?”“哦,太好了,”嘉莉说,几乎不相信自己的耳朵。

“那么,就请你把这个签了吧。”

中 国 教育文 摘 WWw.EDUzhAi.Net

嘉莉一看是一份和先前那份同样格式的新合同,只是薪水和期限的数字变了。她用一只激动得发抖的手签上了自己的名字。

“每周150块钱!”当又只有一个人的时候,她喃喃地念着。她发现--哪个百万富翁不是这样呢?--人的头脑终究无法意识到大笔金额的意义。那只是闪闪发光的几个字,里面却包含着无限的可能性。

在布利克街一家三等旅馆里,郁郁沉思的赫斯渥,看见了报道嘉莉成功的戏剧新闻,但一开始他并没有意识到指的是谁。然后,他突然想起来了,就又把全篇报道看了一遍。

“是她,我看就是她,”他说。

这时他朝这个阴暗、破烂的旅馆门厅四周看了看。

“我看她是交了红运了,”他想,眼前又出现了昔日那明亮豪华的世界,那里的灯光、装饰、马车和鲜花。啊,她现在到了禁城里面了!禁城那些辉煌的大门都敞开了,请她从寒冷的凄凉的外面进到了里面。她仿佛成了一个高不可攀的人物--就像他曾经认识的所有其他名人一样。

“好哇,让她自己享受去吧,”他说,“我不会打扰她的。”这是一颗被压弯、玷污,但还没有被压碎的自尊心坚强地下的决心。




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