小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 经典英文小说 » Jane Eyre简爱 » Chapter 6
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
Chapter 6

THE next day commenced as before, getting up and dressing by rushlight; but this morning we were obliged to dispense with the ceremony of washing; the water in the pitchers was frozen. A change had taken place in the weather the preceding evening, and a keen north-east wind, whistling through the crevices of our bedroom windows all night long, had made us shiver in our beds, and turned the contents of the ewers to ice.
Before the long hour and a half of prayers and Bible-reading was over, I felt ready to perish with cold. Breakfast-time came at last, and this morning the porridge was not burnt; the quality was eatable, the quantity small. How small my portion seemed! I wished it had been doubled.

In the course of the day I was enrolled a member of the fourth class, and regular tasks and occupations were assigned me: hitherto, I had only been a spectator of the proceedings at Lowood; I was now to become an actor therein. At first, being little accustomed to learn by heart, the lessons appeared to me both long and difficult; the frequent change from task to task, too, bewildered me; and I was glad when, about three o'clock in the afternoon, Miss Smith put into my hands a border of muslin two yards long, together with needle, thimble, etc., and sent me to sit in a quiet corner of the schoolroom, with directions to hem the same. At that hour most of the others were sewing likewise; but one class still stood round Miss Scatcherd's chair reading, and as all was quiet, the subject of their lessons could be heard, together with the manner in which each girl acquitted herself, and the animadversions or commendations of Miss Scatcherd on the performance. It was English history: among the readers I observed my acquaintance of the verandah: at the commencement of the lesson, her place had been at the top of the class, but for some error of pronunciation, or some inattention to stops, she was suddenly sent to the very bottom. Even in that obscure position, Miss Scatcherd continued to make her an object of constant notice; she was continually addressing to her such phrases as the following:-'Burns' (such it seems was her name: the girls here were all called by their surnames, as boys are elsewhere), 'Burns, you are standing on the side of your shoe; turn your toes out immediately.' 'Burns, you poke your chin most unpleasantly; draw it in.' 'Burns, I insist on your holding your head up; I will not have you before me in that attitude,' etc. etc.

A chapter having been read through twice, the books were closed and the girls examined. The lesson had comprised part of the reign of Charles I, and there were sundry questions about tonnage and poundage and ship-money, which most of them appeared unable to answer; still, every little difficulty was solved instantly when it reached  Burns: her memory seemed to have retained the substance of the whole lesson, and she was ready with answers on every point. I kept expecting that Miss Scatcherd would praise her attention; but, instead of that, she suddenly cried out- 'You dirty, disagreeable girl! you have never cleaned your nails this morning!'

Burns made no answer: I wondered at her silence.

'Why,' thought I, 'does she not explain that she could neither clean her nails nor wash her face, as the water was frozen?'

My attention was now called off by Miss Smith desiring me to hold a skein of thread: while she was winding it, she talked to me from time to time, asking whether I had ever been at school before, whether I could mark, stitch, knit, etc.; till she dismissed me, I could not pursue my observations on Miss Scatcherd's movements. When I returned to my seat, that lady was just delivering an order of which I did not catch the import; but Burns immediately left the class, and going into the small inner room where the books were kept, returned in half a minute, carrying in her hand a bundle of twigs tied together at one end. This ominous tool she presented to Miss Scatcherd with a respectful curtsey; then she quietly, and without being told, unloosed her pinafore, and the teacher instantly and sharply inflicted on her neck a dozen strokes with the bunch of twigs. Not a tear rose to Burns's eye; and, while I paused from my sewing, because my fingers quivered at this spectacle with a sentiment of unavailing and impotent anger, not a feature of her pensive face altered its ordinary expression.

'Hardened girl!' exclaimed Miss Scatcherd; 'nothing can correct you of your slatternly habits: carry the rod away.'

Burns obeyed: I looked at her narrowly as she emerged from the book-closet; she was just putting back her handkerchief into her pocket, and the trace of a tear glistened on her thin cheek.

The play-hour in the evening I thought the pleasantest fraction of the day at Lowood: the bit of bread, the draught of coffee swallowed at five o'clock had revived vitality, if it had not satisfied hunger: the long restraint of the day was slackened; the schoolroom felt warmer than in the morning- its fires being allowed to burn a little more brightly, to supply, in some measure, the place of candles, not yet introduced: the ruddy gloaming, the licenseduproar, the confusion of many voices gave one a welcome sense of liberty.

On the evening of the day on which I had seen Miss Scatcherd flog her pupil, Burns, I wandered as usual among the forms and tables and laughing groups without a companion, yet not feeling lonely: when I passed the windows, I now and then lifted a blind, and looked out; it snowed fast, a drift was already forming against the lower panes; putting my ear close to the window, I could distinguish from the gleeful tumult within, the disconsolate moan of the wind outside.

Probably, if I had lately left a good home and kind parents, this would have been the hour when I should most keenly have regretted the separation; that wind would then have saddened my heart, this obscure chaos would have disturbed my peace! as it was, I derived from both a strange excitement, and reckless and feverish, I wished the wind to howl more wildly, the gloom to deepen to darkness, and the confusion to rise to clamour.

Jumping over forms, and creeping under tables, I made my way to one of the fire-places; there, kneeling by the high wire fender, I found Burns, absorbed, silent, abstracted from all round her by the companionship of a book, which she read by the dim glare of the embers.

'Is it still Rasselas?' I asked, coming behind her.

'Yes,' she said, 'and I have just finished it.'

And in five minutes more she shut it up. I was glad of this.

'Now,' thought I, 'I can perhaps get her to talk.' I sat down by her on the floor.

'What is your name besides Burns?'

'Helen.'

'Do you come a long way from here?'

'I come from a place farther north, quite on the borders of Scotland.'

'Will you ever go back?'

'I hope so; but nobody can be sure of the future.'

'You must wish to leave Lowood?'

'No! why should I? I was sent to Lowood to get an education; and it would be of no use going away until I have attained that object.'

'But that teacher, Miss Scatcherd, is so cruel to you?'

'Cruel? Not at all! She is severe: she dislikes my faults.'

'And if I were in your place I should dislike her; I should resist her. If she struck me with that rod, I should get it from her hand; I should break it under her nose.'

'Probably you would do nothing of the sort: but if you did, Mr. Brocklehurst would expel you from the school; that would be a great grief to your relations. It is far better to endure patiently a smart which nobody feels but yourself, than to commit a hasty action whose evil consequences will extend to all connected with you; and besides, the Bible bids us return good for evil.'

'But then it seems disgraceful to be flogged, and to be sent to stand in the middle of a room full of people; and you are such a great girl: I am far younger than you, and I could not bear it.'

'Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it: it is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear.'

I heard her with wonder: I could not comprehend this doctrine of endurance; and still less could I understand or sympathise with the forbearance she expressed for her chastiser. Still I felt that Helen Burns considered things by a light invisible to my eyes. I suspected she might be right and I wrong; but I would not ponder the matter deeply; like Felix, I put it off to a more convenient season.

'You say you have faults, Helen: what are they? To me you seem very good.'

'Then learn from me, not to judge by appearances: I am, as Miss Scatcherd said, slatternly; I seldom put, and never keep, things in order; I am careless; I forget rules; I read when I should learn my lessons; I have no method; and sometimes I say, like you, I cannot bear to be subjected to systematic arrangements. This is all very provoking to Miss Scatcherd, who is naturally neat, punctual, and particular.'

'And cross and cruel,' I added; but Helen Burns would not admit my addition: she kept silence.

'Is Miss Temple as severe to you as Miss Scatcherd?'

At the utterance of Miss Temple's name, a soft smile flitted over her grave face.

'Miss Temple is full of goodness; it pains her to be severe to any one, even the worst in the school: she sees my errors, and tells me of them gently; and if I do anything worthy of praise, she gives me my meed liberally. One strong proof of my wretchedly defective nature is, that even her expostulations, so mild, so rational, have no influence to cure me of my faults; and even her praise, though I value it most highly, cannot stimulate me to continued care and foresight.'

'That is curious,' said I, 'it is so easy to be careful.'

'For you I have no doubt it is. I observed you in your class this morning, and saw you were closely attentive: your thoughts never seemed to wander while Miss Miller explained the lesson and questioned you. Now, mine continually rove away; when I should be listening to Miss Scatcherd, and collecting all she says with assiduity, often I lose the very sound of her voice; I fall into a sort of dream.

Sometimes I think I am in Northumberland, and that the noises I hear round me are the bubbling of a little brook which runs through Deepden, near our house;- then, when it comes to my turn to reply, I have to be awakened; and having heard nothing of what was read for listening to the visionary brook, I have no answer ready.'

'Yet how well you replied this afternoon.'

'It was mere chance; the subject on which we had been reading had interested me. This afternoon, instead of dreaming of Deepden, I was wondering how a man who wished to do right could act so unjustly and unwisely as Charles the First sometimes did; and I thought what a pity it was that, with his integrity and conscientiousness, he could see no farther than the prerogatives of the crown. If he had but been able to look to a distance, and see how what they call the spirit of the age was tending! Still, I like Charles- I respect him- I pity him, poor murdered king! Yes, his enemies were the worst: they shed blood they had no right to shed. How dared they kill him!'

Helen was talking to herself now: she had forgotten I could not very well understand her- that I was ignorant, or nearly so, of the subject she discussed. I recalled her to my level.

'And when Miss Temple teaches you, do your thoughts wander then?'

'No, certainly, not often: because Miss Temple has generally something to say which is newer than my own reflections; her language is singularly agreeable to me, and the information she communicates is often just what I wished to gain.'

'Well, then, with Miss Temple you are good?'

'Yes, in a passive way: I make no effort; I follow as inclination guides me. There is no merit in such goodness.'

'A great deal: you are good to those who are good to you. It is all I ever desire to be. If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and unjust, the wicked people would have it all their own way: they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse. When we are struck at without a reason, we should strike back again very hard; I am sure we should- so hard as to teach the person who struck us never to do it again.'

'You will change your mind, I hope, when you grow older: as yet you are but a little untaught girl.'

'But I feel this, Helen; I must dislike those who, whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should love those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved.'

'Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilised nations disown it.'

'How? I don't understand.'

'It is not violence that best overcomes hate- nor vengeance that most certainly heals injury.'

'What then?'

'Read the New Testament, and observe what Christ says, and how He acts; make His word your rule, and His conduct your example.'

'What does He say?'

'Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you.'

'Then I should love Mrs. Reed, which I cannot do; I should bless her son John, which is impossible.'

In her turn, Helen Burns asked me to explain, and I proceeded forthwith to pour out, in my own way, the tale of my sufferings and resentments. Bitter and truculent when excited, I spoke as I felt, without reserve or softening.

Helen heard me patiently to the end: I expected she would then make a remark, but she said nothing.

'Well,' I asked impatiently, 'is not Mrs. Reed a hard-hearted, bad woman?'

'She has been unkind to you, no doubt; because you see, she dislikes your cast of character, as Miss Scatcherd does mine; but how minutely you remember all she has done and said to you! What a singularly deep impression her injustice seems to have made on your heart! No ill-usage so brands its record on my feelings. Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited? Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain,- the impalpable principle of light and thought, pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature: whence it came it will return; perhaps again to be communicated to some being higher than man- perhaps to pass through gradations of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the seraph! Surely it Will never, on the contrary, be suffered to degenerate from man to fiend? No; I cannot believe that: I hold another creed: which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention; but in which I delight, and to which I cling: for it extends hope to all: it makes Eternity a rest- a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last: with this creed revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low: I live in calm, looking to the end.'

Helen's head, always drooping, sank a little lower as she finished this sentence. I saw by her look she wished no longer to talk to me, but rather to converse with her own thoughts. She was not allowed much time for meditation: a monitor, a great rough girl, presently came up, exclaiming in a strong Cumberland accent- 'Helen Burns, if you don't go and put your drawer in order, and fold up your work this minute, I'll tell Miss Scatcherd to come and look at it!'

Helen sighed as her reverie fled, and getting up, obeyed the monitor without reply as without delay.


第二天开始了,同以前一样,穿衣起身还是借着灯草芯蜡烛的微光,不过今天早晨不得不放弃洗脸仪式了,因为罐里的水都结了冰。头一天夜里、天气变了,刺骨的东北风,透过寝室窗门的缝隙,彻夜呼呼吹着,弄得我们在床上直打哆嗦,罐子里的水也结起了冰。

一个半小时的祷告和圣经诵读还没结束,我已觉得快要冻死了。早餐时间终于到来,而且今天的粥没有烧焦,能够下咽,可惜量少。我的那份看上去多少呀!我真希望能增加一倍。

那天我被编入第四班,给布置了正规任务和作业。在此之前,我在罗沃德不过是静观一切进程的旁观者,而现在己成了其中的一名演员。起先,由于我不习惯背诵,觉得课文似乎又长又难,功课一门门不断变换,弄得我头昏脑胀。下午三点光景,史密斯小姐把一根两码长的平纹细布滚边塞到我手里,连同针和顶针之类的东西,让我坐在教室僻静的角落,根据指令依样画葫芦缝上滚边,我一时喜出望外。在那时刻,其他人也大多一样在缝,只有一个班仍围着斯卡查德小姐的椅子,站着读书。四周鸦雀无声,所以听得见她们功课的内容,也听得见每个姑娘读得怎样,听得见斯卡查德小姐对她们表现的责备和赞扬。这是一堂英国历史课,我注意到在读书的人中,有一位是我在游廊上相识的。开始上课时,她被安排在全班首位,可是由于某些发音错误及对句号的忽视,她突然被降到末尾去了。即使在这种不起眼的位置上,斯卡查德小姐也继续使她成为始终引人注目的对象,不断用这样的措词同她说话:

“彭斯,(这似乎就是她的名字,这儿的女孩像其他地方的男孩一样,都按姓来叫的)彭斯,你鞋子踩偏了,快把脚趾伸直。”“彭斯,你伸着下巴,多难看,把它收回去。”“彭斯,我要你抬起头来,我不允许你在我面前做出这付样子来”等等。

一章书从头到尾读了两遍,课本便合了起来,姑娘们受到了考问。这堂课讲的是查理一世王朝的一个时期,问的问题形形式式,船舶吨位税呀,按镑收税呀,造船税呀,大多数人似乎都无法回答,但是一到彭斯那里,每一道难题都迎刃而解。她像已经把整堂课的内容都记在脑子里了,任何问题都能应对自如。我一直以为斯卡查德小姐要称赞她专心致志了,谁知她突然大叫起来:“你这讨厌的邋遢姑娘?你早上根本没有洗过指甲?”

彭斯没有回答,我对她的沉默感到纳闷。

“为什么,”我想,“她不解释一下,水结冻了,脸和指甲都没法洗?”

此刻,史密斯小姐转移了我的注意力,她让我替她撑住一束线,一面绕,一面不时跟我说话。问我以前是否进过学校,能否绣花、缝纫、编织等,直到她打发我走,我才有可能进一步观察斯卡查德小姐的行动。我回到自己的座位上时,那女人正在发布一道命令,命令的内容我没有听清楚。但是彭斯立刻离开了班级,走进里面一个放书的小间,过了半分钟又返回来,手里拿着一束一头扎好的木条。她毕恭毕敬地行了个屈膝礼,把这个不祥的刑具递交给了斯卡查德小姐。随后,她不用吩咐,便默默地解开了罩衣,这位教师立刻用这束木条狠狠地在她脖子上揍了十几下,彭斯没有掉一滴眼泪。见了这种情景,我心头涌起了一种徒劳无益、无能为力的愤怒,气得手指都颤抖起来,而不得不停下手头的针线活。她那忧郁的面容毫不改色,依然保持着平日的表情。

“顽固不化的姑娘!”斯卡查德小姐嚷道,“什么都改不掉你邋遢的习性,把木条拿走。”

彭斯听从吩咐。她从藏书室里出来时,我细细打量了她,她正把手帕放回自己的口袋,瘦瘦的脸颊闪着泪痕。

晚间的玩耍时光,我想是罗沃德一天中最愉快的一丁点儿时间。五点钟吞下的一小块面包和几口咖啡,虽然没有消除饥饿感,却恢复了活力。一整天的清规戒律放松了;教室里比早上要暖和;炉火允许燃得比平时旺,多少代替了尚未点燃的蜡烛。红通通的火光,放肆的喧闹,嘈杂的人声,给人以一种值得欢迎的自由感。

在我看见斯卡查德小姐鞭打她的学生彭斯的那天晚上,我照例在长凳、桌子和笑声不绝的人群中间穿来穿去,虽然无人作伴,倒也并不寂寞。经过窗户时,我不时拉起百叶窗,向外眺望。雪下得很紧,下端的窗玻璃上已经积起了一层,我把耳朵贴在窗上,分辩得出里面轻快的喧哗和外面寒风凄厉的呻吟。

如果我刚离开了一个温暖的家和慈祥的双亲,这一时刻也许会非常后悔当初的离别;那风会使我伤心不已:这种模糊的混沌会打破我的平静,但实际上两者激起了我一莫名的兴奋,在不安和狂热之中,我盼望风会咆哮得更猛烈;天色会更加昏暗变得一团漆黑,嗡嗡的人声会进而成为喧嚣。

我跨过凳子钻过桌子,寻路来到一个壁炉跟前,跪在高高的铁丝防护板旁边,我发现彭斯有一本书作伴,全神贯注,沉默不语,忘掉了周围的一切,借着余火灰暗的闪光读着书。

“还是那本《拉塞拉斯》吗?”我来到她背后说。

“是的,”她说,“我刚读完它。”

过了五分钟她掩上了书。这正合我心意。

“现在,”我想,“我也许能使她开口了吧。”我—屁股坐在她旁边的地板上。

“除了彭斯,你还叫什么?”

“海伦。”

“你从很远的地方来吗?”

“我来自很靠北的一个地方,靠近苏格兰边界了。”

“你还回去吗?”

“我希望能这样,可是对未来谁也没有把握。”

“你想必很希望离开罗沃德,是吗?”

“不,干嘛要这样呢?送我到罗沃德来是接受教育的,没有达到这个目的就走才没有意思呢。”

“可是那位教师,就是斯卡查德小姐,对你那么凶狠。”

“凶狠?一点也没有!她很严格。她不喜欢我的缺点。”

“如果我是你,我会讨厌她的,我会抵制。要是她用那束木条打我,我会从她手里夺过来,当着她的面把它折断。”

“兴许你根本不会干那类事。但要是你干了,布罗克赫斯特先生会把你撵出学校的,那会使你的亲戚感到难过。耐心忍受只有自己感到的痛苦,远比草率行动,产生连累亲朋的恶果要好,更何况《圣经》上嘱咐我们要以德报怨。”

“可是挨鞭子,罚站在满屋子是人的房间当中,毕竟是丢脸的呀!而且你己经是那么个大姑娘了。我比你小得多还受不了呢。”

“不过,要是你无法避免,那你的职责就是忍受。如果你命里注定需要忍受,那么说自己不能忍受就是软弱,就是犯傻。”

我听了感到不胜惊讶。我不能理解这“忍受”信条,更无法明白或同情她对惩罚者所表现出的宽容。不过我仍觉得海伦.彭斯是根据一种我所看不见的眼光来考虑事情的。我怀疑可能她对,我不对。但是我对这事不想再去深究,像费利克斯一样,我将它推迟到以后方便的时候去考虑。

“你说你有缺陷,海伦,什么缺陷?我看你很好嘛。”

“那你就听我说吧,别以貌取人,像斯卡查德小姐说的那样,我很邋遢。我难得把东西整理好,永远那么乱糟糟。我很粗心,总把规则忘掉,应当学习功课时却看闲书。我做事没有条理。有时像你一样会说,我受不了那种井井有条的管束。这一桩桩都使斯卡查德小姐很恼火,她天生讲究整洁,遵守时刻,一丝不苟。”

“而且脾气急躁,强横霸道,”我补充说,但海论并没有附和,却依然沉默不语。

“坦普尔小姐跟斯卡查德小姐对你一样严厉吗?”

一提到坦普尔小姐的名字,她阴沉的脸上便掠过了一丝温柔的微笑。

“坦普尔小姐非常善良,不忍心对任何人严厉,即使是校里最差的学生。她看到我的错误,便和颜悦色地向我指出。要是我做了值得称赞的事情,她就慷慨地赞扬我。我的本性有严重缺陷,一个有力的证据是,尽管她的规劝那么恰到好处,那么合情合理,却依旧治不了我那些毛病。甚至她的赞扬,虽然我非常看重,却无法激励我始终小心谨慎,高瞻远瞩。”

“那倒是奇怪的,”我说,“要做到小心还不容易。”

“对你说来无疑是这样。早上我仔细观察了你上课时的情形,发现你非常专心。米勒小姐讲解功课,问你问题时,你思想从不开小差。而我的思绪却总是飘忽不定,当我应该听斯卡查德小姐讲课,应该用心把她讲的记住时,我常常连她说话的声音都听不见了。我进入了一种梦境,有时我以为自己到了诺森伯兰郡,以为周围的耳语声,是我家附近流过深谷那条小溪源源的水声,于是轮到我回答时,我得从梦境中被唤醒。而因为倾听着想象中的溪流声,现实中便什么也没有听到,我也就回答不上来了。”

“可是你今天,下午回答得多好!”

“那只是碰巧,因为我对我们读的内容很感兴趣,今天下午我没有梦游深谷,我在纳闷,一个像查理一世那样希望做好事的人,怎么有时会干出那么不义的蠢事来,我想这多可惜,那么正直真诚的人竟看不到皇权以外的东西。要是他能看得远些,看清了所谓时代精神的走向该多好!虽然这样,我还是喜欢查理一世,我尊敬他,我怜惜他,这位可怜的被谋杀的皇帝。不错,他的仇敌最坏,他们让自己没有权利伤害的人流了血,竟敢杀害了他!”

此刻海伦在自言自语了,她忘了我无法很好理解她的话,忘了我对她谈论的话题一无所知,或者差不多如此。我把她拉回到我的水准上来。

“那么坦普尔小姐上课的时候,你也走神吗?”

“当然不是,不常这样。因为坦普尔小姐总是有比我的想法更富有新意的东西要说。她的语言也特别让我喜欢,她所传授的知识常常是我所希望获得的。”

“这么看来,你在坦普尔小姐面前表现很好罗。”

“是的,出于被动。我没有费力气,只是随心所欲而己,这种表现好没有什么了不起。”

“很了不起,别人待你好,你待别人也好。我就一直希望这样做。要是你对那些强横霸道的人,总是客客气气,说啥听啥,那坏人就会为所欲为,就会天不怕地不怕,非但永远不会改,而且会愈变愈坏。要是无缘无故挨打,那我们就要狠狠地回击,肯定得这样,狠到可以教训那个打我们的人,让他再也洗手不干了。”

“我想,等你长大了你的想法会改变的,现在你不过是个没有受过教育的小姑娘。”

“可我是这么感觉的,海伦,那些不管我怎样讨他们欢心,硬是讨厌我的人,我必定会厌恶的。我必须反抗那些无理惩罚我的人。同样自然的是,我会爱那些爱抚我的人,或者当我认为自己该受罚的时候,我会心甘情愿去承受。”

“那是异教徒和野蛮宗族的信条,基督教徒和开化的民族不信这一套。”

“怎么会呢?我不懂。”

“暴力不是消除仇恨的最好办法——同样,报复也绝对医治不了伤害。”

“那么是什么呢?”

“读一读《新约全书》,注意一下基督的言行,把他的话当作你的准绳,把他的行为当你的榜样吧。”

“他怎么说?”

“你们的仇敌要爱他,咒诅你们的要为他祝福,恨你们、凌辱你们的要待他好。”

“那我应当爱里德太太了,这我可做不到;我应当祝福他儿子约翰了,但那根本不可能。”

这回轮到海伦.彭斯要求我解释明白了。我便以自己特有的方式,一五一十地向她诉说了自己的痛苦和愤懑。心里一激动,说话便尖酸刻薄,但我怎么感觉就怎么说,毫不保留,语气也不婉转。

海伦耐心地听完了我的话,我以为她会发表点感想,但她什么也没说。

“好吧,”我耐不住终于问,“难道里德太太不是一个冷酷无情的坏女人吗?”

“毫无疑问,她对你不客气。因为你瞧,她不喜欢你的性格,就像斯卡查德小姐不喜欢我的脾性一样,可是她的言行你却那么耿耿于怀!她的不公好像已经在你心坎里留下了特别深刻的印象!

无论什么虐待都不会在我的情感上烙下这样的印记。要是你忘掉她对你的严厉,忘掉由此而引起的愤慨,你不就会更愉快吗?对我来说,生命似乎太短暂了,不应用来结仇和记恨。人生在世,谁都会有一身罪过,而且必定如此,但我相信,很快就会有这么一天,我们在摆脱腐坏躯体的同时,也会摆脱这些罪过。到那时,堕落与罪过将会随同累赘的肉体离开我们,只留下精神的火花——生命和思想的本源,它像当初离开上帝使万物具有生命时那么纯洁,它从哪里来就回到哪里去,也许又会被传递给比人类更高级的东西一—也许会经过各个荣耀的阶段,从照亮人类的苍白灵魂,到照亮最高级的六翼天使。相反它决不会允许从人类坠落到魔鬼,是吧?是的,我不相信会这样。我持有另一种信条,这种信条没有人教过我,我也很少提起,但我为此感到愉快,我对它坚信不渝,因为它给所有的人都带来了希望。它使永恒成为一种安息,一个宏大的家,而并非恐惧和深渊。此外,有了这个信条,我能够清楚地分辨罪犯和他的罪孽,我可以真诚地宽恕前者,而对后者无比憎恶,有了这个信条,复仇永不会使我操心,坠落不会让我感到过份深恶痛绝,不公平不会把我完全压倒,我平静地生活,期待着末日。”

海伦向来耷拉着脑袋,而讲完这句话时她把头垂得更低了。从她的神态上我知道她不想跟我再谈下去了,而情愿同自己的思想交流。她也没有很多时间可以沉思默想了,马上就来了一位班长,一个又大又粗的姑娘,带着很重的昆布兰口音叫道:

“海伦.彭斯,要是这会儿你不去整理抽屉,收拾你的针线活儿,我要告诉斯卡查德小姐,请她来看看了。”

海伦的幻想烟消云散,她长叹一声,站了起来,没有回答,也没有耽搁,便服从了这位班长。



欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号