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嘉莉妹妹(Sister Carrie) 第四十四章

时间:2010-07-16 10:07    来源:    作者: 点击:
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Chapter 44

AND THIS IS NOT ELF LAND: WHAT GOLD WILL NOT BUY

 

When Carrie got back on the stage, she found that over night her dressing-room had been changed.

"You are to use this room, Miss Madenda," said one of the stage lackeys.

No longer any need of climbing several flights of steps to a small coop shared with another. Instead, a comparatively large and commodious chamber with conveniences not enjoyed by the small fry overhead. She breathed deeply and with delight. Her sensations were more physical than mental. In fact, she was scarcely thinking at all. Heart and body were having their say.

Gradually the deference and congratulation gave her a mental appreciation of her state. She was no longer ordered, but requested, and that politely. The other members of the cast looked at her enviously as she came out arrayed in her simple habit, which she wore all through the play. All those who had supposedly been her equals and superiors now smiled the smile of sociability, as much as to say: "How friendly we have always been." Only the star comedian whose part had been so deeply injured stalked by himself. Figuratively, he could not kiss the hand that smote him.

Doing her simple part, Carrie gradually realised the meaning of the applause which was for her, and it was sweet. She felt mildly guilty of something -- perhaps unworthiness. When her associates addressed her in the wings she only smiled weakly. The pride and daring of place were not for her. It never once crossed her mind to be reserved or haughty -- to be other than she had been. After the performances she rode to her room with Lola, in a carriage provided.

Then came a week in which the first fruits of success were offered to her lips -- bowl after bowl. It did not matter that her splendid salary had not begun. The world seemed satisfied with the promise. She began to get letters and cards. A Mr. Withers -- whom she did not know from Adam -- having learned by some hook or crook where she resided, bowed himself politely in.

"You will excuse me for intruding," he said; "but have you been thinking of changing your apartments?"

"I hadn't thought of it," returned Carrie.

"Well, I am connected with the Wellington -- the new hotel on Broadway. You have probably seen notices of it in the papers."

Carrie recognised the name as standing for one of the newest and most imposing hostelries. She had heard it spoken of as having a splendid restaurant.

"Just so," went on Mr. Withers, accepting her acknowledgment of familiarity. "We have some very elegant rooms at present which we would like to have you look at, if you have not made up your mind where you intend to reside for the summer. Our apartments are perfect in every detail -- hot and cold water, private baths, special hall service for every floor, elevators and all that. You know what our restaurant is."

Carrie looked at him quietly. She was wondering whether he took her to be a millionaire.

"What are your rates?" she inquired.

"Well, now, that is what I came to talk with you privately about. Our regular rates are anywhere from three to fifty dollars a day."

"Mercy!" interrupted Carrie. "I couldn't pay any such rate as that."

"I know how you feel about it," exclaimed Mr. Withers, halting. "But just let me explain. I said those are our regular rates. Like every other hotel we make special ones, however. Possibly you have not thought about it, but your name is worth something to us."

"Oh!" ejaculated Carrie, seeing at a glance.

"Of course. Every hotel depends upon the repute of its patrons. A well-known actress like yourself," and he bowed politely, while Carrie flushed, "draws attention to the hotel, and -- although you may not believe it -- patrons."

"Oh, yes," returned Carrie, vacantly, trying to arrange this curious proposition in her mind.

"Now," continued Mr. Withers, swaying his derby hat softly and beating one of his polished shoes upon the floor, "I want to arrange, if possible, to have you come and stop at the Wellington. You need not trouble about terms. In fact, we need hardly discuss them. Anything will do for the summer -- a mere figure -- anything that you think you could afford to pay."

Carrie was about to interrupt, but he gave her no chance.

"You can come to-day or to-morrow-the earlier the better -- and we will give you your choice of nice, light, outside rooms -- the very best we have."

"You're very kind," said Carrie, touched by the agent's extreme affability. "I should like to come very much. I would want to pay what is right, however. I shouldn't want to-"

"You need not trouble about that at all," interrupted Mr. Withers. "We can arrange that to your entire satisfaction at any time. If three dollars a day is satisfactory to you, it will be so to us. All you have to do is to pay that sum to the clerk at the end of, the week or month, just as you wish, and he will give you a receipt for what the rooms would cost if charged for at our regular rates."

The speaker paused.

"Suppose you come and look at the rooms," he added.

"I'd be glad to," said Carrie, "but I have a rehearsal this morning."

"I did not mean at once," he returned, "Any time will do. Would this afternoon be inconvenient?"

"Not at all," said Carrie.

Suddenly she remembered Lola, who was out at the time.

"I have a room-mate," she added, "who will have to go wherever I do. I forgot about that."

"Oh, very well," said Mr. Withers, blandly. "It is for you to say whom you want with you. As I say, all that can be arranged to suit yourself."

He bowed and backed toward the door.

"At four, then, we may expect you?"

"Yes," said Carrie.

"I will be there to show you," and so Mr. Withers withdrew.

After rehearsal Carrie informed Lola.

"Did they really?" exclaimed the latter, thinking of the Wellington as a group of managers. "Isn't that fine? Oh, jolly! It's so swell. That's where we dined that night we went with those two Cushing boys. Don't you know?"

"I remember," said Carrie.

"Oh, it's as fine as it can be."

"We'd better be going up there," observed Carrie, later in the afternoon.

The rooms which Mr. Withers displayed to Carrie and Lola were three and bath -- a suite on the parlour floor. They were done in chocolate and dark red, with rugs and hangings to match. Three windows looked down into busy Broadway on the east, three into a side street which crossed there. There were two lovely bedrooms, set with brass and white enamel beds, white, ribbon-trimmed chairs and chiffoniers to match. In the third room, or parlour, was a piano, a heavy piano lamp, with a shade of gorgeous pattern, a library table, several huge easy rockers, some dado book shelves, and a gilt curio case, filled with oddities. Pictures were upon the walls, soft Turkish pillows upon the divan, footstools of brown plush upon the floor. Such accommodations would ordinarily cost a hundred dollars a week.

"Oh, lovely!" exclaimed Lola, walking about.

"It is comfortable," said Carrie, who was lifting a lace curtain and looking down into crowded Broadway.

The bath was a handsome affair, done in white enamel, with a large, blue-bordered stone tub and nickel trimmings. It was bright and commodious, with a bevelled mirror set in the wall at one end and incandescent lights arranged in three places.

"Do you find these satisfactory?" observed Mr. Withers.

"Oh, very," answered Carrie.

"Well, then, any time you find it convenient to move in, they are ready. The boy will bring you the keys at the door."

Carrie noted the elegantly carpeted and decorated hall, the marbelled lobby, and showy waiting-room. It was such a place as she had often dreamed of occupying.

"I guess we'd better move right away, don't you think so?" she observed to Lola, thinking of the commonplace chamber in Seventeenth Street.

"Oh, by all means," said the latter.

The next day her trunks left for the new abode.

Dressing, after the matinee on Wednesday, a knock came at her dressing-room door.

Carrie looked at the card handed by the boy and suffered a shock of surprise.

"Tell her I'll be right out," she said softly. Then, looking at the card, added: "Mrs. Vance."

"Why, you little sinner," the latter exclaimed, as she saw Carrie coming toward her across the now vacant stage. "How in the world did this happen?"

Carrie laughed merrily. There was no trace of embarrassment in her friend's manner. You would have thought that the long separation had come about accidentally.

"I don't know," returned Carrie, warming, in spite of her first troubled feelings, toward this handsome, good-natured young matron.

"Well, you know, I saw your picture in the Sunday paper, but your name threw me off. I thought it must be you or somebody that looked just like you, and I said: 'Well, now, I will go right down there and see.' I was never more surprised in my life. How are you, anyway?"

"Oh, very well," returned Carrie. "How have you been?"

"Fine. But aren't you a success! Dear, oh! All the papers talking about you. I should think you would be just too proud to breathe. I was almost afraid to come back here this afternoon."

"Oh, nonsense," said Carrie, blushing. "You know I'd be glad to see you."

"Well, anyhow, here you are. Can't you come up and take dinner with me now? Where are you stopping?"

"At the Wellington," said Carrie, who permitted herself a touch of pride in the acknowledgment.

"Oh, are you?" exclaimed the other, upon whom the name was not without its proper effect.

Tactfully, Mrs. Vance avoided the subject of Hurstwood, of whom she could not help thinking. No doubt Carrie had left him. That much she surmised.

"Oh, I don't think I can," said Carrie, "to-night. I have so little time. I must be back here by 7.30. Won't you come and dine with me?"

"I'd be delighted, but I can't to-night," said Mrs. Vance, studying Carrie's fine appearance. The latter's good fortune made her seem more than ever worthy and delightful in the other's eyes. "I promised faithfully to be home at six." Glancing at the small gold watch pinned to her bosom, she added: "I must be going, too. Tell me when you're coming up, if at all."

"Why, any time you like," said Carrie.

"Well, to-morrow then. I'm living at the Chelsea now."

"Moved again?" exclaimed Carrie, laughing.

"Yes. You know I can't stay six months in one place. I just have to move. Remember now -- half-past five."

"I won't forget," said Carrie, casting a glance at her as she went away. Then it came to her that she was as good as this woman now -- perhaps better. Something in the other's solicitude and interest made her feel as if she were the one to condescend.

Now, as on each preceding day, letters were handed her by the doorman at the Casino. This was a feature which had rapidly developed since Monday. What they contained she well knew. Mash notes were old affairs in their mildest form. She remembered having received her first one far back in Columbia City. Since then, as a chorus girl, she had received others -- gentlemen who prayed for an engagement. They were common sport between her and Lola, who received some also. They both frequently made light of them.

Now, however, they came thick and fast. Gentlemen with fortunes did not hesitate to note, as an addition to their own amiable collection of virtues, that they had their horses and carriages. Thus one:

I have a million in my own right. I could give you every luxury. There isn't anything you could ask for that you couldn't have. I say this, not because I want to speak of my money, but because I love you and wish to gratify your every desire. It is love that prompts me to write. Will you not give me one half-hour in which to plead my cause?

Such of these letters as came while Carrie was still in the Seventeenth Street place were read with more interest -- though never delight -- than those which arrived after she was installed in her luxurious quarters at the Wellington. Even there her vanity -- or that self-appreciation which, in its more rabid form, is called vanity -- was not sufficiently cloyed to make these things wearisome. Adulation, being new in any form, pleased her. Only she was sufficiently wise to distinguish between her old condition and her new one. She had not had fame or money before. Now they had come. She had not had adulation and affectionate propositions before. Now they had come. Wherefore? She smiled to think that men should suddenly find her so much more attractive. In the least way it incited her to coolness and indifference.

"Do look here," she remarked to Lola. "See what this man says: 'If you will only deign to grant me one half-hour,'" she repeated, with an imitation of languor. "The idea. Aren't men silly?"

"He must have lots of money, the way he talks," observed Lola.

"That's what they all say," said Carrie, innocently.

"Why don't you see him," suggested Lola, "and hear what he has to say?"

"Indeed I won't," said Carrie. "I know what he'd say. I don't want to meet anybody that way."

Lola looked at her with big, merry eyes.

"He couldn't hurt you," she returned. "You might have some fun with him."

Carrie shook her head.

"You're awfully queer," returned the little, blue-eyed soldier.

Thus crowded fortune. For this whole week, though her large salary had not yet arrived, it was as if the world understood and trusted her. Without money -- or the requisite sum, at least -- she enjoyed the luxuries which money could buy. For her the doors of fine places seemed to open quite without the asking. These palatial chambers, how marvellously they came to her. The elegant apartments of Mrs. Vance in the Chelsea -- these were hers. Men sent flowers, love notes, offers of fortune. And still her dreams ran riot. The one hundred and fifty! the one hundred and fifty! What a door to an Aladdin's cave it seemed to be. Each day, her head almost turned by developments, her fancies of what her fortune must be, with ample money, grew and multiplied. She conceived of delights which were not -- saw lights of joy that never were on land or sea. Then, at last, after a world of anticipation, came her first installment of one hundred and fifty dollars.

It was paid to her in greenbacks -- three twenties, six tens, and six fives. Thus collected it made a very convenient roll. It was accompanied by a smile and a salutation from the cashier who paid it.

"Ah, yes," said the latter, when she applied; "Miss Madenda -- one hundred and fifty dollars. Quite a success the show seems to have made."

"Yes, indeed," returned Carrie.

Right after came one of the insignificant members of the company, and she heard the changed tone of address.

"How much?" said the same cashier, sharply. One, such as she had only recently been, was waiting for her modest salary. It took her back to the few weeks in which she had collected -- or rather had received -- almost with the air of a domestic, four-fifty per week from a lordly foreman in a shoe factory -- a man who, in distributing the envelopes, had the manner of a prince doling out favours to a servile group of petitioners. She knew that out in Chicago this very day the same factory chamber was full of poor homely-clad girls working in long lines at clattering machines; that at noon they would eat a miserable lunch in a half-hour; that Saturday they would gather, as they had when she was one of them, and accept the small pay for work a hundred times harder than she was now doing. Oh, it was so easy now! The world was so rosy and bright. She felt so thrilled that she must needs walk back to the hotel to think, wondering what she should do.

It does not take money long to make plain its impotence, providing the desires are in the realm of affection. With her one hundred and fifty in hand, Carrie could think of nothing particularly to do. In itself, as a tangible, apparent thing which she could touch and look upon, it was a diverting thing for a few days, but this soon passed. Her hotel bill did not require its use. Her clothes had for some time been wholly satisfactory. Another day or two and she would receive another hundred and fifty. It began to appear as if this were not so startlingly necessary to maintain her present state. If she wanted to do anything better or move higher she must have more -- a great deal more.

Now a critic called to get up one of those tinsel interviews which shine with clever observations, show up the wit of critics, display the folly of celebrities, and divert the public. He liked Carrie, and said so, publicly -- adding, however, that she was merely pretty, good-natured, and lucky. This cut like a knife. The "Herald," getting up an entertainment for the benefit of its free ice fund, did her the honour to beg her to appear along with celebrities for nothing. She was visited by a young author, who had a play which he thought she could produce. Alas, she could not judge. It hurt her to think it. Then she found she must put her money in the bank for safety, and so moving, finally reached the place where it struck her that the door to life's perfect enjoyment was not open.

Gradually she began to think it was because it was summer. Nothing was going on much save such entertainments as the one in which she was star. Fifth Avenue was boarded up where the rich had deserted their mansions. Madison Avenue was little better. Broadway was full of loafing thespians in search of next season engagements. The whole city was quiet and her nights were taken up with her work. Hence the feeling that there was little to do.

"I don't know," she said to Lola one day, sitting at one of the windows which looked down into Broadway, "I get lonely; don't you?"

"No," said Lola, "not very often. You won't go anywhere. That's what's the matter with you."

"Where can I go?"

"Why, there're lots of places," returned Lola, who was thinking of her own lightsome tourneys with the gay youths. "You won't go with anybody."

"I don't want to go with these people who write to me. I know what kind they are."

"You oughtn't to be lonely," said Lola, thinking of Carrie's success. "There're lots would give their ears to be in your shoes."

Carrie looked out again at the passing crowd.

"I don't know," she said.

Unconsciously her idle hands were beginning to weary.

第四十四章

此间并非仙境:黄金难买幸福

 


等嘉莉又来到后台的时候,她发现一夜之间她的化妆室换了。

“你用这一间吧,麦登达小姐,”一个后台侍役说。

她用不着再爬几段楼梯去和另一个演员合用一小间了。

换了一个较宽敞的化妆室,装备有楼上那些跑龙套的无名之辈享受不到的便利设施。她高兴得深深地透了一口气。但她的感受是肉体上的而不是精神上的。实际上,她根本就不在思考。支配她的只是感情和知觉。

渐渐地,别人的敬意和祝贺使她能从精神上欣赏自己的处境了。她不用再听从别人的指挥,而是接受别人的请求了,还是很客气的请求。当她穿着她那身整出戏从头穿到尾的简单行头出场时,剧组的其他演员都妒忌地看着她。所有那些原以为和她地位相同以及高她一等的人,现在都友好地对她笑着,像是在说:“我们一向都很友好的。”只有那个自己的角色深受损害的喜剧明星,傲慢地独自走着。打个比方说,他是不能认敌为友。

嘉莉演着自己的简单角色,渐渐明白了观众为什么为她喝彩,感觉到其中的美妙。她觉得有点内疚--也许是因为受之有愧吧。当她的同伴们在舞台两侧招呼她时,她只是淡淡地笑笑。她不是那种一有了地位就妄自尊大的人。她从来就没想过要故作矜持或傲慢--改变自己平常的样子。演出结束以后,她和萝拉一起坐戏院提供的马车回到自己的房间。

此后的一个星期里,成功的最初果实一盘接一盘地送到了她的嘴边。她那丰厚的薪水尚未到手,但这无关紧要。看来只要有了许诺,世人就满足了。她开始收到来信和名片。一位威瑟斯先生--这人她根本不认识--想方设法地打听到了她的住处,走了进来,客气地鞠着躬。

“请原谅我的冒昧,”他说,“你想过要换房子吗?”“我没想过,”嘉莉回答。

“哦,我在威灵顿饭店工作,那是百老汇大街上的一家新旅馆。你可能在报上看过有关它的报道。”嘉莉想起这是个旅馆的名字,是那些最新、最富丽堂皇的旅馆中的一家。她听人说起它里面设有一个豪华的餐厅。

“正是这样,”威瑟斯先生见她承认知道这家旅馆,继续说道。“倘若你还没有决定住在哪里度夏的话,我们现在有几套十分高雅的房阁,想请你去看看。我们的套房各项设施齐全--热水、冷水、独用浴室、每层楼的专门服务、电梯等,应有尽有。你是知道我们餐厅的情况的。”嘉莉默默地看着他。她在怀疑,他是不是把她当成了百万富翁。

“你们的房钱是多少?”她问。

“哦,这就是我现在来要和你私下里谈的事。我们规定的房钱自3块至50块钱一天不等。”“天哪!"嘉莉打断他说,"我可付不起那么高的房钱。”“我知道你是怎么想的,”威瑟斯先生大声说,停顿了一下。“但是让我来解释一下。我说过那是我们规定的价格。可是,像所有其它旅馆一样,我们还有特优价格。也许你还没有想过,但是你的大名对我们是有价值的。”“啊!”嘉莉不由自主地喊了起来,一眼看出了他的用意。

“当然啦,每家旅馆都要依靠其主顾的名声。像你这样的名角儿,”说着,他恭敬地鞠了鞠躬,嘉莉却羞红了脸,“可以引起人们对旅馆的注意,而且--虽然你可能不会相信--还可以招徕顾客。”“哦,是啊,”嘉莉茫然地回答,想在心里安下这个奇特的建议。

“现在,”威瑟斯先生接着说,一边轻轻地挥动着他的圆顶礼帽,并用一只穿着擦得很亮的皮鞋的脚敲打着地板,“如果可能的话,我想安排你来住在威灵顿饭店。你不用担心费用问题。实际上,我们用不着谈这些。多少都行,住一个夏天,一点点意思就行了,你觉得能付多少就付多少。”嘉莉要插话,但是他不让她有机会开口。

“你可以今天或者明天来,越早越好。我们会让你挑选优雅、明亮、临街的房间--我们的头等房间。”“承蒙你一片好意。”嘉莉说,被这个代理人的极端热忱感动了。“我很愿意来的。不过,我想我还是按章付费。我可不想--”“你根本不用担心这个,”威瑟斯先生打断了她。“我们可以把这事安排得让你完全满意,什么时候都可以。倘若你对3块钱一天感到满意的话,我们也同样满意。你只要在周末或者月底,悉听尊便,把这笔钱付给帐房就可以了,他会给你一张这种房间按我们的规定价格收费的收据。”说话的人停顿了一下。

“你就来看看房间吧,”他补充说。

“我很高兴去,”嘉莉说,“但是今天上午我要排练。”“我的意思并不是要你立刻就去,”他回答,“任何时候都行。今天下午可有什么不方便吗?”“一点也没有,”嘉莉说。

突然,她想起了此时不在家的萝拉。

“我有一个同住的人,”她补充说,“我到哪里,她也得到哪里。刚才我忘了这一点。”“哦,行啊,”威瑟斯先生和悦地说。“你说和谁住就和谁祝我已经说过,一切都可以按你的意思来安排。”他鞠着躬,朝门口退去。

“那么,4点钟,我们等你好吗?”

“好的,”嘉莉说。

“我会等在那里,领你去看房间的,”威瑟斯先生这样说着,退了出去。

排练结束后,嘉莉把这事告诉了萝拉。

“他们真是这个意思吗?”后者叫了起来,心想威灵顿饭店可是那帮大老板的天下。“这不是很好吗?哦,太妙了!这太好了。那就是那天晚上我们和库欣两兄弟一起去吃饭的地方。

你知道不知道?”

“我记得的,”嘉莉说。

“啊,这真是好极了。”

“我们最好去那里看看吧,”后来到了下午,嘉莉说。

威瑟斯先生带嘉莉和萝拉看的房间是和会客厅在同一层楼的一个套房,有三个房间带一间浴室。房间都漆成巧克力色和深红色,配有相称的地毯和窗帘。东面有三扇窗户可以俯瞰繁忙的百老汇大街,还有三扇窗户俯瞰与百老汇大街交叉的一条小街。有两间漂亮的卧室,里面放有涂着白色珐琅的铜床,缎带包边的白色椅子以及与之配套的五斗橱。第三个房间,或者说是会客室,里面有一架钢琴,一只沉甸甸的钢琴灯,灯罩的式样很华丽,一张书桌,几只舒服的大摇椅,几只沿墙放的矮书架,还有一只古玩架子,上面摆满了稀奇古怪的玩意儿。墙上有画,长沙发上有柔软的土耳其式枕垫,地板上有棕色长毛绒面的踏脚凳。配有这些设施的房间通常的价格是每周100块钱。

“啊,真可爱!”萝拉四处走动着,叫了起来。

“这地方很舒服,”嘉莉说,她正掀起一幅网眼窗帘,看着下面拥挤的百老汇大街。

浴室装修得很漂亮,铺着白色的瓷砖,里面有一只蓝边的磨石大浴缸,配有镀镍的水龙头等。浴室里又亮又宽敞,一头的墙上嵌着一面斜边镜子,有三个地方装着白炽灯。

“你对这些感到满意吗?”威瑟斯先生问道。

“喔,非常满意,”嘉莉回答。

“好的,那么,你觉得什么时候方便就搬进来,这套房子随时恭候你的光临。茶房会在门口把钥匙交给你的。”嘉莉注意到了铺着优美的地毯,装璜高雅的走廊,铺着大理石的门厅,还有华丽的接待室,这就是她曾经梦寐以求的地方。

“我看我们最好现在就搬进来,你看怎么样?”她对萝拉说,心里想着十七号街的那套普通的房间。

“哦,当然可以,”后者说。

第二天,她的箱子就搬到了新居。

星期三,演完日戏之后,她正在换装,听到有人敲她的化妆室的门。

嘉莉看到茶房递给她的名片,大大地吃了一惊。

“请告诉她,我马上就出来,”她轻声说道。然后,看着名片,加了一句:“万斯太太。”“喂,你这个小坏蛋,”当她看见嘉莉穿过这时已经空了的舞台向她走来时,万斯太太叫了起来。“这究竟是怎么回事呀?”嘉莉高兴地放声大笑。她的这位朋友的态度丝毫不显得尴尬。你会以为这么长时间的分别只不过是一件偶然发生的事而已。

“这我就不知道了,”嘉莉回答,对这位漂亮善良的年轻太太很热情,尽管开始时感到有些不安。

“哦,你知道的,我在星期日版的报纸上看到了你的照片,但是你的名字把我弄糊涂了。我想这一定是你,或者是一个和你长得一模一样的人,于是我说:'好哇,现在我就去那里看个明白。'我长这么大还没有这么吃惊过呢。不管那些了,你好吗?”“哦,非常好,”嘉莉回答,“你这一向也好吗?”“很好。你可真是成功了。所有的报纸都在谈论你。我都怕你会得意忘形了。今天下午我差一点就没敢到这里来。”“哦,别胡说了,”嘉莉说,脸都红了。“你知道,我会很高兴见到你的。”“好啦,不管怎么样,我找到了你。现在你能来和我一起吃晚饭吗?你住在哪里?”“在威灵顿饭店,”嘉莉说。她让自己在说这话时流露出一些得意。

“哦,是真的吗?”对方叫道。在她身上,这个名字产生了起应有的影响。

万斯太太知趣地避而不谈赫斯渥,尽管她不由自主地想起了他。毫无疑问,嘉莉已经抛弃了他。她至少能猜到这一点。

“哦,我看今天晚上是不行了,”嘉莉说。“我来不及。我得7点半就回到这里,你来和我一起吃饭好吗?”“我很乐意。但是我今天晚上不行,”万斯太太说,仔细地打量着嘉莉漂亮的容貌。在她看来,嘉莉的好运气使她显得比以前更加高贵、更加可爱了。"我答应过6点钟一准回家的。"她看了看别在胸前的小金表,补充说。“我也得走了。告诉我假如你能来的话,什么时候会来。”“噢,你高兴什么时候就什么时候,”嘉莉说。

“好的,那么就明天吧。我现在住在切尔西旅馆。”“又搬家了?”嘉莉大声笑着说。

“是的。你知道我在一个地方住不到六个月的。我就是得搬家。现在记住了,5点半。”“我不会忘记的,”嘉莉说,当她走时又看了她一眼。这时,嘉莉想起,现在她已经不比这个女人差了--也许还要好一些。万斯太太的关心和热情,有点使她觉得自己是屈就的一方了。

现在,像前些天一样,每天卡西诺戏院的门房都要把一些信件交给她。这是自星期一以来迅速发展起来的一大特色。这些信件的内容她十分清楚。情书都是用最温柔的形式写的老一套东西。她记得她的第一封情书是早在哥伦比亚城的时候收到的。从那以后,在她当群舞演员时,又收到了一些--写信的是些想请求约会的绅士。它们成了她和也收到过一些这种信的萝拉之间的共同笑料。她们两个常常拿这些信来寻开心。

可是,现在信来得又多又快。那些有钱的绅士除了要提到自己种种和蔼可亲的美德之外,还会毫不犹豫地提其他们有马有车。因此有这样一封信说:我个人名下有百万财产。我可以让你享受一切荣华富贵。你想要什么就会有什么。我说这些,不是因为我要夸耀自己有钱,而是因为我爱你并愿意满足你的所有欲望。是爱情促使我写这封信的。你能给我半个小时,听我诉说衷肠吗?

嘉莉住在十七街时收到的这种来信,和她搬进威灵顿饭店的豪华房间之后收到的这一类来信相比,前者读起来更有兴趣一些,虽然从不会使她感到高兴。即便到了威灵顿饭店,她的虚荣心—-或者说是自我欣赏,其更为偏激的形式就被称作虚荣心--还没有得到充分的满足,以至于她对这些信件会感到厌烦。任何形式的奉承,只要她觉得新鲜,她都会喜欢。只是她已经懂得了很多,明白自己已经今非昔比。昔日,她没有名,也没有钱。今天,两者都有了。昔日,她无人奉承,也无人求爱。今天,两者都来了。为什么呢?想到那些男人们竟会突然发现她比之从前是如此地更加具有吸引力,她觉得很好笑。这至少激起了她的冷漠。

“你来看看吧,”她对萝拉说,“看看这个人说的话,‘倘若你能给我半个小时,’”她重复了一遍,装出可怜巴巴有气无力的口气。“真奇怪。男人们可不是蠢得很吗?”“听他的口气,他肯定很有钱,”萝拉说。

“他们全都是这样说的,”嘉莉天真地说。

“你为什么不见他一面,”萝拉建议说,“听听他要说些什么呢?”“我真的不愿意,”嘉莉说,“我知道他要说什么的。我不想以这种方式见任何人。”萝拉用愉快的大眼睛看着她。

“他不会伤害你的,”她回答,“你也许可以跟他开开心。”嘉莉摇了摇头。

“你也太古怪了,”这个蓝眼睛的小士兵说道。

好运就这样接踵而来。在这整整一个星期里,虽然她那数目巨大的薪水还没有到手,但是仿佛人们都了解她并信任她。

她并没有钱。或者至少是没有必要的一笔钱,但她却享受着金钱所能买到的种种奢侈豪华。那些上等地方的大门似乎都对她敞开着,根本不用她开口。这些宫殿般的房间多么奇妙地就到了她的手中。万斯太太优雅的房间在切尔西旅馆,而这些房间则属于她。男人们送来鲜花,写来情书,主动向她奉献财产。

可她还在异想天开地做着美梦。这150块钱!这150块钱!这多么像是一个通往阿拉丁宝洞般世界的大门。每天,她都被事态的发展弄得几乎头昏眼花,而且,她对有了这么多钱,自己将会有个什么样的未来的幻想也与日俱增,越来越丰富了。她想象出世间没有的乐事--看见了地面或海上都从未出现过的欢乐的光芒。然后,无限的期待终于盼来了她的第一份150块钱的薪水。

这份薪水是用绿色钞票付给她的--三张20块,六张10块,还有六张5块。这样放到一起就成了使用起来很方便的一卷。发放薪水的出纳员在付钱的同时还对她含笑致意。

“啊,是的,”当她来领薪水时,出纳员说,“麦登达小姐,150块。看来戏演得很成功。”“是的,是很成功,”嘉莉回答。

紧接着上来一个剧团的无足轻重的演员。于是,她听到招呼这一位的口气改变了。

“多少?”同一个出纳员厉声说。一个像她不久前一样的无名演员在等着领她那微薄的薪水。这使她回想起曾经有几个星期,她在一家鞋厂里,几乎像个仆人一样,从一个傲慢无礼的工头手里领取--或者说是讨取--每周4块半的工钱。

这个人在分发薪水袋时,神情就像是一个王子在向一群奴颜卑膝的乞求者施舍恩惠。她知道,就在今天,远在芝加哥的那同一家工厂的厂房里,仍旧挤满了衣着简朴的穷姑娘,一长排一长排地在卡嗒作响的机器旁边干活。到了中午,她们只有半个钟头的时间胡乱吃一点东西。到了星期六,就像她是她们中的一个的时候一样,她们聚在一起领取少得可怜的工钱,而她们干的活却比她现在所做的事要繁重100倍。哦,现在是多么轻松啊!世界是多么美好辉煌。她太激动了,必须走回旅馆去想一想自己应该怎么办。

假如一个人的需求是属于感情方面的,金钱不久就会表明自己的无能。嘉莉手里拿着那150块钱,却想不出任何特别想做的事。这笔钱本身有形有貌,她看得见,摸得着,在头几天里,还是个让人高兴的东西。但是它很快就失去了这个作用。

她的旅馆帐单用不着这笔钱来支付。她的衣服在一段时间之内完全可以满足她了。再过一两天,她又要拿到150块钱。她开始觉得,要维持她眼前的状况,似乎并不是那么急需这笔钱。倘若她想干得更好或者爬得更高的话,她则必须拥有更多的钱--要多得多才行。

这时,来了一位剧评家,要写一篇那种华而不实的采访。

这种采访通篇闪耀着聪明的见解,显示出评论家的机智,暴露了名人们的愚蠢,因而能博得读者大众的欢心。他喜欢嘉莉,并且公开这么说,可是又补充说她只是漂亮、善良而且幸运而已。这话像刀子一样扎人。《先驱报》为筹措免费送冰基金而举行招待会,邀请她和名人们一同出席,但不用她捐款,以示对她的敬意。有一个年轻作家来拜访她,因为他有一个剧本,以为她可以上演。可惜她不能作主。想到这个,她就伤心。然后,她觉得自己必须把钱存进银行以保安全,这样发展下来,到了最后,她终于明白了,享受十全十美的生活的大门还没有打开。

渐渐地,她开始想到原因在于现在是夏季。除了她主演的这类戏剧之外,简直就没有其它的娱乐。第五大道上的富翁们已经出去避暑,空出的宅第都已锁好了门窗,钉上了木板。麦迪逊大街也好不了多少。百老汇大街上挤满了闲荡的演员,在寻找下个季度的演出机会。整个城市都很安静,而她的演出占用了她晚上的时间,因此有了无聊的感觉。

“我不明白,”一天,她坐在一扇能俯视百老汇大街的窗户旁边,对萝拉说,“我感到有些寂寞,你不觉得寂寞吗?”“不,”萝拉说,“不常觉得。你什么地方都不愿意去。这就是你感到寂寞的原因。”“我能去哪里呢?”“嗨,地方多得很,”萝拉回答。她在想着自己和那些快乐的小伙子的轻松愉快的交往。“你又不愿意跟任何人一起出去。”“我不想和这些给我写信的人一起出去。我知道他们是些什么样的人。”“你不应该感到寂寞,”萝拉说,想着嘉莉的成功。“很多人都愿意不惜任何代价来取得你的地位。”嘉莉又朝窗外看着过往的人群。

“我不明白,”她说。

不知不觉地,她闲着的双手开始使她感到厌倦。




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